Chapter XVII: Aunt Olivia's Wedding
What a delightful, old-fashioned, wholesome excitement there was about Aunt Olivia's wedding! The Monday and Tuesday preceding it we did not go to school at all, but were all kept home to do chores and run errands. The cooking and decorating and arranging that went on those two days was amazing, and Felicity was so happy over it all that she did not even quarrel with Dan--though she narrowly escaped it when he told her that the Governor's wife was coming to the wedding.
"Mind you have some of her favourite rusks for her," he said.
"I guess," said Felicity with dignity, "that Aunt Olivia's wedding supper will be good enough for even a Governor's wife."
"I s'pose none of us except the Story Girl will get to the first table," said Felix, rather gloomily.
"Never mind," comforted Felicity. "There's a whole turkey to be kept for us, and a freezerful of ice cream. Cecily and I are going to wait on the tables, and we'll put away a little of everything that's extra nice for our suppers."
"I do so want to have my supper with you," sighed Sara Ray, "but I s'pose ma will drag me with her wherever she goes. She won't trust me out of her sight a minute the whole evening--I know she won't."
"I'll get Aunt Olivia to ask her to let you have your supper with us," said Cecily. "She can't refuse the bride's request."
"You don't know all ma can do," returned Sara darkly. "No, I feel that I'll have to eat my supper with her. But I suppose I ought to be very thankful I'm to get to the wedding at all, and that ma did get me a new white dress for it. Even yet I'm so scared something will happen to prevent me from getting to it."
Monday evening shrouded itself in clouds, and all night long the voice of the wind answered to the voice of the rain. Tuesday the downpour continued. We were quite frantic about it. Suppose it kept on raining over Wednesday! Aunt Olivia couldn't be married in the orchard then. That would be too bad, especially when the late apple tree had most obligingly kept its store of blossom until after all the other trees had faded and then burst lavishly into bloom for Aunt Olivia's wedding. That apple tree was always very late in blooming, and this year it was a week later than usual. It was a sight to see--a great tree-pyramid with high, far- spreading boughs, over which a wealth of rosy snow seemed to have been flung. Never had bride a more magnificent canopy.
To our rapture, however, it cleared up beautifully Tuesday evening, and the sun, before setting in purple pomp, poured a flood of wonderful radiance over the whole great, green, diamond- dripping world, promising a fair morrow. Uncle Alec drove off to the station through it to bring home the bridegroom and his best man. Dan was full of a wild idea that we should all meet them at the gate, armed with cowbells and tin-pans, and "charivari" them up the lane. Peter sided with him, but the rest of us voted down the suggestion.
"Do you want Dr. Seton to think we are a pack of wild Indians?" asked Felicity severely. "A nice opinion he'd have of our manners!"
"Well, it's the only chance we'll have to chivaree them," grumbled Dan. "Aunt Olivia wouldn't mind. SHE can take a joke."
"Ma would kill you if you did such a thing," warned Felicity. "Dr. Seton lives in Halifax and they NEVER chivaree people there. He would think it very vulgar."
"Then he should have stayed in Halifax and got married there," retorted Dan, sulkily.
We were very curious to see our uncle-elect. When he came and Uncle Alec took him into the parlour, we were all crowded into the dark corner behind the stairs to peep at him. Then we fled to the moonlight world outside and discussed him at the dairy.
"He's bald," said Cecily disappointedly.
"And RATHER short and stout," said Felicity.
"He's forty, if he's a day," said Dan.
"Never you mind," cried the Story Girl loyally, "Aunt Olivia loves him with all her heart."
"And more than that, he's got lots of money," added Felicity.
"Well, he may be all right," said Peter, "but it's my opinion that your Aunt Olivia could have done just as well on the Island."
"YOUR opinion doesn't matter very much to our family," said Felicity crushingly.
But when we made the acquaintance of Dr. Seton next morning we liked him enormously, and voted him a jolly good fellow. Even Peter remarked aside to me that he guessed Miss Olivia hadn't made much of a mistake after all, though it was plain he thought she was running a risk in not sticking to the Island. The girls had not much time to discuss him with us. They were all exceedingly busy and whisked about at such a rate that they seemed to possess the power of being in half a dozen places at once. The importance of Felicity was quite terrible. But after dinner came a lull.
"Thank goodness, everything is ready at last," breathed Felicity devoutly, as we foregathered for a brief space in the fir wood. "We've nothing more to do now but get dressed. It's really a serious thing to have a wedding in the family."
"I have a note from Sara Ray," said Cecily. "Judy Pineau brought it up when she brought Mrs. Ray's spoons. Just let me read it to you:--
DEAREST CECILY:--A DREADFUL MISFORTUNE has happened to me. Last night I went with Judy to water the cows and in the spruce bush we found a WASPS' NEST and Judy thought it was AN OLD ONE and she POKED IT WITH A STICK. And it was a NEW ONE, full of wasps, and they all flew out and STUNG US TERRIBLY, on the face and hands. My face is all swelled up and I can HARDLY SEE out of one eye. The SUFFERING was awful but I didn't mind that as much as being scared ma wouldn't take me to the wedding. But she says I can go and I'm going. I know that I am a HARD-LOOKING SIGHT, but it isn't anything catching. I am writing this so that you won't get a shock when you see me. Isn't it SO STRANGE to think your dear Aunt Olivia is going away? How you will miss her! But your loss will be her gain.
"'Your loving chum,
"That poor child," said the Story Girl.
"Well, all I hope is that strangers won't take her for one of the family," remarked Felicity in a disgusted tone.
Aunt Olivia was married at five o'clock in the orchard under the late apple tree. It was a pretty scene. The air was full of the perfume of apple bloom, and the bees blundered foolishly and delightfully from one blossom to another, half drunken with perfume. The old orchard was full of smiling guests in wedding garments. Aunt Olivia was most beautiful amid the frost of her bridal veil, and the Story Girl, in an unusually long white dress, with her brown curls clubbed up behind, looked so tall and grown- up that we hardly recognized her. After the ceremony--during which Sara Ray cried all the time--there was a royal wedding supper, and Sara Ray was permitted to eat her share of the feast with us.
"I'm glad I was stung by the wasps after all," she said delightedly. "If I hadn't been ma would never have let me eat with you. She just got tired explaining to people what was the matter with my face, and so she was glad to get rid of me. I know I look awful, but, oh, wasn't the bride a dream?"
We missed the Story Girl, who, of course, had to have her supper at the bridal table; but we were a hilarious little crew and the girls had nobly kept their promise to save tid-bits for us. By the time the last table was cleared away Aunt Olivia and our new uncle were ready to go. There was an orgy of tears and leavetakings, and then they drove away into the odorous moonlight night. Dan and Peter pursued them down the lane with a fiendish din of bells and pans, much to Felicity's wrath. But Aunt Olivia and Uncle Robert took it in good part and waved their hands back to us with peals of laughter.
"They're just that pleased with themselves that they wouldn't mind if there was an earthquake," said Felix, grinning.
"It's been splendid and exciting, and everything went off well," sighed Cecily, "but, oh dear, it's going to be so queer and lonesome without Aunt Olivia. I just believe I'll cry all night."
"You're tired to death, that's what's the matter with you," said Dan, returning. "You girls have worked like slaves today."
"Tomorrow will be even harder," said Felicity comfortingly. "Everything will have to be cleaned up and put away."
Peg Bowen paid us a call the next day and was regaled with a feast of fat things left over from the supper.
"Well, I've had all I can eat," she said, when she had finished and brought out her pipe. "And that doesn't happen to me every day. There ain't been as much marrying as there used to be, and half the time they just sneak off to the minister, as if they were ashamed of it, and get married without any wedding or supper. That ain't the King way, though. And so Olivia's gone off at last. She weren't in any hurry but they tell me she's done well. Time'll show."
"Why don't you get married yourself, Peg?" queried Uncle Roger teasingly. We held our breath over his temerity.
"Because I'm not so easy to please as your wife will be," retorted Peg.
She departed in high good humour over her repartee. Meeting Sara Ray on the doorstep she stopped and asked her what was the matter with her face.
"Wasps," stammered Sara Ray, laconic from terror.
"Humph! And your hands?"
"I'll tell you what'll take them away. You get a pertater and go out under the full moon, cut the pertater in two, rub your warts with one half and say, 'One, two, three, warts, go away from me.' Then rub them with the other half and say, 'One, two, three, four, warts, never trouble me more.' Then bury the pertater and never tell a living soul where you buried it. You won't have no more warts. Mind you bury the pertater, though. If you don't, and anyone picks it up, she'll get your warts."Next