“Before I could say a word he had gathered Lizzie up in his arms an’ kissed her, an’ she kissed back as prompt as if it had been a slap in a game o’ tag.
“‘You silly man,’ she says, ‘you could have had me long ago.’
“’If I’d only ‘a’ known it,’ he says.
“‘Oh, the ignorance o’ some men!’ she says, lookin’ into his eyes.
“‘It exceeds the penetration o’ some women,’ I says.
“They came together ag’in quite spiteful. I separated ’em.
“‘Quit,’ I says. ‘Stop pickin’ on each other. It provokes you an’ me too. You’re like a pair o’ kids turned loose in a candy store. Behave yerselves an’ listen to reason.’
“Lizzie turned upon me as if she thought it was none o’ my business. Then she smiled an’ hid her face on the manly breast o’ Dan.
“‘Now Lizzie,’ I says, ‘get yer mind in workin’ order as soon as ye can. Dan, you go over an’ stand by the window. I want you to keep at least ten paces apart, an’ please don’t fire ’til ye get the signal. I’m goin’ to give a prize for the simplest weddin’ that ever took place in Pointview,’ I says. ’It will be five hundred dollars in gold for the bride. Don’t miss it.’
“‘The marriage will occur at noon,’ says Lizzie. ’There’ll be nothing but simple morning frocks. The girls can wear calico if they wish. No jewels, no laces, no elaborate breakfast.”
“‘An’ no presents, but mine, that cost over five dollars each,’ I says.
“An’ that’s the way it was—like old times. No hard work wasted in gettin’ ready, no vanity fair, no heart-burnin’, no bitter envy, no cussin’ about the expense. There was nothing but love an’ happiness an’ goodwill at that wedding. It was just as God would have a wedding, I fancy, if He were the master o’ ceremonies, as He ought to be.
“They are now settled on a thousand acres o’ land here in New England. Dan has eight gangs o’ human oxen from Italy at work for him getting in his fertilizers. He rides a horse all day an’ is as cordy as a Roman gladiator. Do you know what it means? Ten thousand like him are going into the same work, the greed o’ the middleman will be checked, an’ one o’ these days the old earth ’ll be lopsided with the fruitfulness of America.”
IN WHICH THE HONORABLE SOCRATES POTTER CATCHES UP WITH LIZZIE
Early in June I was invited to the wedding of Miss Betsey Smead and the Honorable Socrates Potter. Miss Betsey had inherited a large estate, and lived handsomely in the Smead homestead, built by her grandfather. She was a woman of taste and refinement, but, in deference to Socrates, no doubt, the invitations had been printed in the office of the local newspaper. There could have been no better example of honest simplicity. The good news sent me in quest of my friend the lawyer. I found him in Miss Betsey’s library. He was in high spirits and surrounded by treasures of art.