The wedding took place at the ugly little mission church, which was transformed into a beautiful garden, with weeping willows, chrysanthemums, and mountain ferns. Also we had a wedding-bell. In a wild moment of enthusiasm I proposed it. It is always a guess where your enthusiasm will land you out here. I coaxed a cross old tinner to make the frame for me. He expostulated the while that the thing was impossible, because it had never been done before in this part of the country. It was rather a weird shape, but I left the girls to trim it and went to the church to help decorate. The bell was to follow upon completion. It failed to follow and after waiting an hour or so I sent for it. The girls came carrying one trimmed bell and one half covered. I asked, “Why are you making two wedding-bells?” My answer was, “Why Sensei! must not the groom have one for his head too?”
Everybody wanted to do something for the little maid, for she had so bravely struggled with adversity of fortune and perversity of family. So there were four flower girls, and the music teacher played at the wedding march! In spite of her efforts, Lohengrin seemed suffering as it came from the complaining organ.
Miss First River was a lovely enough picture, in her bridal robes of crepe, to cause the guests to draw in long breaths of admiration, till the room sounded like the coming of a young cyclone. They were not accustomed to such prominence given a bride, nor to weddings served in Western style.
Oh, yes, the groom was there, a secondary consideration for the first time in the history of Hiroshima, but so in love he did not seem to mind the obscurity.
The ceremony over, the newly-wed seated themselves on a bench facing the guests. An elder of the church arose and with a solemnity befitting a burial, read a sermon on domestic happiness and some forty or fifty congratulatory telegrams. After an hour or so of this and several speeches, cake was passed around, and it was over. At the maid’s request I gave her an “American watch with a good engine in it” and my blessing with much love in it, and went back to work. Do not for a minute imagine that because I am not a regularly ordained missionary-sister, that I am not working. The fact is, Mate, the missionaries are still afflicted with the work habit, and so subtle is its cheerful influence, it weaves a spell over all who come near. No matter what your private belief is, you roll up your sleeves and pitch right in when you see them at it, and you put all your heart in it and thank the Lord for the opportunity to help.
The fun begins at 5:30 in the morning, to the merry clang of a brazen bell, and it keeps right on till 6 P.M. For fear of getting rusty before sunrise, some of the teachers have classes at night. I would rather have rest. I am too tired, then, to think.
I have put away all my vanity clothes. No need for them in Hiroshima and in an icy room on a winter’s morning, I do not stop to think whether my dress has an in-curve or an out-sweep. I fall into the first thing I find and finish buttoning it when the family fire in the dining-room is reached. A solitary warming-spot to a big house is one of the luxuries of missionary life.