by Jennie Betts Hartswick
Well, it's over, it's all over--bein' the last to leave I know
that--and I declare, I'm that full of all the things we had to eat
that John and me won't want any supper for a good hour yet, so I just
ran in to tell you about it while it's on top of my mind.
It's an everlastin' shame you had to miss it! One thing, though, you'll
get a trayful of the good things sent in to you, I shouldn't wonder. I
know there's loads left, for I happened to slip out to the kitchen for a
drink of water--I was that dry after all those salty nuts, and I
didn't want to trouble 'em--and I saw just heaps of things standin'
Most likely you'll get a good, large plate of cake, not just a pinchin'
little mite of a piece in a box. The boxes is real pretty, though, and
they did look real palatial all stacked up on a table by the front door
with a strange colored man, in white gloves like a pall-bearer, to hand
'em to you.
How did I get two of 'em? Why, it just happened that way. You see,
when I was leavin' I missed my sun-shade and I laid my box down on the
hatrack-stand while I went upstairs to look for it. I went through all
the rooms, and just when I'd about given it up, why, there it was, right
in my hand all the time! Wasn't it foolish? And when I came downstairs
I found I'd clean forgot where I'd laid that box of cake. I hunted
everywhere, and then I just had to tell the man how 'twas, so he
handed me another one, and I was just walkin' out the front door when,
would you believe it! if there wasn't the other one, just as innocent,
on the hatrack-stand where I had laid it. So now I have three of 'em,
I just can't seem to realize that Eleanor Jamison is married at last,
can you? She took her time if ever anybody did. They do say she was
real taken with that young college professor with the full beard and
spectacles that visited there last summer, and then to think that,
after all, she went and married a man with a smooth face. He wears
glasses, though; that's one point in common.
Eleanor's gone off a good deal lately, don't you think so? You hadn't
noticed it? But then you never was any great hand at noticin', I've
noticed you weren't. Why, the other day when I was there offerin' to
help 'em get ready for the weddin' I noticed that she looked real
worn, and there was two or three little fine lines in her
eye-corners--not real wrinkles, of course--but we all know that
lines is a forerunner. Her hair's beginnin' to turn, too; I noticed that
comin' out of church last Sunday. I dare say her knowing this made her
less particular than she'd once have been; and after all, marryin' any
husband is a good deal like buyin' a new black silk dress pattern--an
You may look at it on both sides and hold it up to the light, and pull
it to see if it'll fray and try if it'll spot, but you can't be sure
what it'll do till after you've worn it a spell.
There's one advantage to the dress pattern, though--you can make 'em
take it back if you mistrust it won't wear--if you haven't cut into it,
that is--but when you've got a husband, why, you've got him, to
have and to hold, for better and worse and good and all.
Yes, I'm comin' to the weddin'--I declare, when I think how careless
Eleanor is about little things I can't help mistrusting what kind of a
housekeeper she'll turn out. Why, when John's and my invitation came it
was only printed to the church--there wasn't any reception card among
Now I've supplied Eleanor's folks with butter and eggs and spring
chickens for thirty years, and I'd just have gone anyway, for I knew
it was a mistake, but John held out that 'twasn't--that they didn't
mean to have us to the house part; so to settle it I went right over
and told 'em. I told Eleanor she mustn't feel put out about it--we
was all mortal--and if it hadn't been for satisfyin' John I'd never
have let her know how careless she'd been--of course I'd made allowance,
a weddin' is upsettin' to the intellect--and so 'twas all right.
I had a real good view of the ceremony; but 'twasn't their fault
that I had; it just happened that way.
When John and me got there I asked the young man at the door--he was a
yusher and a stranger to me--to give us a front seat, but he said that
all the front places was reserved for the relations of the bride and
groom, and then I noticed that they'd tied off the middle aisle about
seven pews back with white satin ribbons and a big bunch of pink roses.
It seemed real impolite to invite folks to a weddin' and then take the
best seats themselves.
Well, just then I happened to feel my shoelacin' gettin' loose and I
stepped to one side to fix it; and when I got up from stoopin' and my
gloves on and buttoned--I had to take 'em off to tie my shoe--and
straightened John's cravat for him, why, there was the families on
both sides just goin' in.
Of course we had to follow right along behind 'em, and when we came
up to the ribbons--would you believe it?--the big bow just untied
itself--or seemed to--I heard afterward it was done by somebody pullin'
a invisible wire--and we all walked through and took seats. I made
John go into the pew ahead of me so's I could get out without
disturbin' anybody if I should have a headache or feel faint.
When John found we was settin' with the family--he was right close up
against Eleanor's mother--he was for gettin' up and movin' back. But I
just whispered to him, "John Appleby, do sit still! I hear the bridal
Of course I didn't just hear 'em, but I was sure they'd be along
in a minute, and I knew it wouldn't do to move our seats anyway, as if
we weren't satisfied with 'em.
The church was decorated beautiful. Eleanor's folks must have cleaned
out their green-house to put into it, besides tons of greens from
Pretty near the whole of Wrenville was there, and I must say the church
was a credit to the Wrenville dressmakers.
I could pick out all their different fits without any trouble.
There was Arabella Satterlee's--she shapes her backs like the top of
a coffin, or sometimes they remind me more of a kite; and Sallie Ann
Hodd's--she makes 'em square; and old Mrs. Tucker's--you can always
tell hers by the way the armholes draw; she makes the minister's wife's.
But they'd every one of 'em done their level best and I was proud of
Well, when the organ--it had been playin' low and soft all the
time--changed off into the weddin' march and the bridesmaids, eight
of 'em, marched up the aisle behind the eight yushers, I tell you,
Miss Halliday, it was a sight!
They was all in pink gauzy stuff--I happened to feel one of 'em as
she went by but I couldn't tell what 'twas made of; it seemed dreadful
flimsy--and big flat hats all made of roses on their heads, and
carryin' bunches pf long-stemmed roses so big that they had to hold
'em in their arms like young babes.
Eleanor came behind 'em all, walkin' with her father. He always was a
small-built man, and with her long trail and her veil spreadin' out so,
why, I declare, you couldn't hardly see him.
I whispered to John that they looked more as if Eleanor was goin' to
give her pa away than him her.
Eleanor's dress was elegant, only awful plain. It was made in New
York at Greenleaf's. I know, because when I was upstairs lookin' for
my sunshade--I told you about that, didn't I?--I happened to get into
Eleanor's room by mistake, and there was the box it came in right on
the bed before my eyes.
Well, when they was all past, I kept lookin' round me for the groom
and wonderin' how I had come to miss him, when all at once John nudged
me, and there he was right in front of me and the minister beginnin'
to marry 'em, and where he had sprung from I can't tell you this livin'
Came in from the vestry, did he? Well, now, I never would have thought
Well, when they was most married the most ridiculous thing happened.
You see, Eleanor's father in steppin' back after givin' her away had
put his foot right down on her trail and never noticed, and when it
came time for the prayer Eleanor pulled and pulled--they was to kneel
down on two big white satin cushions in front of 'em--but her pa never
budged--just stood there with his eyes shut and his head bowed as
devout as anything--and before Eleanor could stop him, her husband--he
was most her husband, anyway--had kneeled right down on to the cushion,
with his eyes shut, too, I suppose, and the minister had to pray over
'em that way. I could see Eleanor's shoulders shakin' under her veil,
and of course it was ridiculous if it hadn't been so solemn.
And then they all marched down the aisle, with the bride and groom
leadin' the procession. Eleanor's veil was put back, and I noticed
that she was half-laughin' yet, and her cheeks were real pink, and her
eyes sort of bright and moist--she looked real handsome. Good gracious,
Miss Halliday, don't ever tell me that's six o'clock! And I haven't
told a thing about the presents, and who was there, and Eleanor's
clothes, and what they had to eat--why, they didn't even use their
own china-ware! They had a colored caterer from New York, and he
brought everything--all the dishes and table-cloths and spoons and
forks, besides the refreshments. I know, because just after he came
I happened to carry over my eleven best forks--John broke the dozenth
tryin' to pry the cork out of a bottle of raspberry vinegar the year
we was married--I never take a fork to pry with--and offered to loan
'em for the weddin', but they didn't need 'em, so I just stayed a
minute or two in the butler's pantry and then went home--but I saw
the caterer unpackin'.
There! I knew I'd stay too long! There's John comin' in the gate
after me. I must go this blessed minute.
~~~~~~~ THE END ~~~~~~~