The making of the cake was a great mental help to Aunt Amy. It seemed to ease her mind and aid her to think clearly. She thought of many things as she prepared the materials, made most clever plans. That all the plans had to do with the preventing of the marriage and the final circumventing of “Them” goes without saying. There was one especially good plan which came to her while she stoned the raisins. Still another, while the currants were being looked over, and a third, more brilliant than either, while she chopped the candied peel. The trouble was that when she came to mix all her ingredients into the batter, her plans began to mix up too, until all was hopeless confusion. It was most disheartening! And the wedding, now, only a few days off. She wanted to go away into a corner and wring her hands, but if she did, some one might notice—and then “They” would have the chance they were looking for. Aunt Amy was too clever for that!
The day before the wedding, the wedding dress came home. No one had seen it. Mary’s superstition in regard to this point was indulgently smiled at by everybody.
“But hadn’t I better see it on you just once,” suggested Esther. “Some trifle may have been forgotten and a missing hook and eye might spoil the effect of the whole thing.”
“Oh, I have thought of that. Miss Milligan is going to run in after supper to see that everything is right. Then if anything is needed she can attend to it at once. Of course, it doesn’t matter about Miss Milligan seeing it—for bad luck I mean.”
“How about me?” asked Callandar, smiling.
“You!” with a playful shriek, “you would be worse than anybody. You would hoodoo it entirely!”
“How about little girls?” asked Jane coaxingly.
Mary turned suddenly peevish. “Don’t bother me, Jane. I shall not let any one see it and that’s enough.” But their combined suggestions had disturbed her, and it was only upon their serious assurance that of course her wishes would be respected that her amiability returned.
Yet it was apparent that she felt rather worried about the dress herself for she had worked herself into a small fever of nervous anxiety before the promised appearance of Miss Milligan for the last fitting. When at last that lady arrived, a trifle late, and very much out of breath, Mary would hardly let her say good evening to the others, before hurrying her upstairs.
“And I think,” said she hesitatingly, “that I shan’t come down again to-night. I am tired. If the doctor calls in, tell him that I am trying to get a good rest for to-morrow. Good night, Miss Philps. Good night, Esther!”
To the girl’s astonishment she kissed her. A light, hot kiss which fell on her cheek like a fleck of glowing ash. Yet it was a real kiss and may have meant that the giver was not ungrateful. Jane, too, had a good night kiss that night; but Aunt Amy had already gone upstairs.