I suppose that, despite my change of name, I cannot yet be wholly a Tempest; for, while I remain perfectly serene and calm during Sir Roger’s few plain words, I am one red misery while Algy is returning thanks for the bridesmaids, which he does in so appallingly lame, stammering, and altogether agonizing a manner, that I have serious thoughts of slipping from my bridegroom’s side under the friendly shade of the table, among its sheltering legs.
Thank God it is over, and I am gone to put on my traveling-dress! The odious parting moment has come. The carriage is at the door: the maid and valet are in the dickey. What a pity that they are not bride and bridegroom too! Vick has jumped in—alert and self-respecting again now that she has bitten off her favor.
I have begun my voluminous farewells. I have kissed them all round once, and am beginning again. How can one make up one’s mind where to stop? with whom to end?
“Never you marry, Barbara!” say I, in a sobbing whisper, as I clasp her in my last embrace, greatly distorting my new bonnot, “it is so disagreeable!”
We are off, followed by a tornado of shoes—one, aimed with dexterous violence by that unlucky Bobby, goes nigh to cut the bridegroom’s left eye open, as he waves his good-byes.
As we trot smartly away, I turn round in the carriage and look at them through my tears. There they all are! After all, what a nice-looking family! Even Tou Tou! there is something pretty about her, and standing as she is now, her legs look quite nice and thick.
* * * * *
We reach Dover before dinner-time. Sir Roger has gone out to speak to the courier who meets us there. I am left alone in our great stiff sitting-room at the Lord Warden. Instantly I rush to the writing-materials.
“What, writing already?” says my husband, reentering, and coming over with a smile toward me. “Have you forgotten any of your finery?”
“No, no!” cry I, impulsively, spreading both hands over the sheet; “do not look! you must not look!”
“Do you think I should?” he says, reproachfully, turning quickly away.
“But you may,” cry I, with one of my sudden useless remorses, holding out the note to him. “Do! I should like you to!—I do not know why I said it!—I was only sending them a line, just to tell them how dreadfully I missed them all!”
I have been married a week. A week indeed! a week in the sense in which the creation of the world occupied a week!—seven geological ages, perhaps, but not seven days. We have been to Brussels, to Antwerp, to Cologne. We have seen—(with the penetrating incense odor in our nostrils, and the kneeling peasants at our feet)—the Descent from the Cross, the Elevation of the Cross—dead Christs manifold. Can it be possible that the brush which worthily painted