Amid this influence John and Eliza were made one, and the faces of the older generations grew soft beneath it, and pensive eyes became lustrous, and into pale cheeks the rosy tint came like an echo faintly back for a short hour. They made so little sound in their quiet happiness of congratulation that it might have been a dream; and they were so few that the house with the sense of its memories was not lost with the movement and crowding, but seemed still to preside over the whole, and send down its benediction.
When it was my turn to shake the hands of bride and groom, John asked:—
“What did your friend do with your advice?”
And I replied. “He has taken it.”
“Perhaps not that,” John returned, “but you must have helped him to see his way.”
When the bride came to cut the cake, she called me to her and fulfilled her promise.
“You have always liked my baking,” she said.
“Then you made it after all,” I answered.
“I would not have been married without doing so,” she declared sweetly.
When the time came for them to go away, they were surrounded with affectionate God-speeds; but Miss Josephine St. Michael waited to be the last, standing a little apart, her severe and chiselled face turned aside, and seeming to watch a mocking-bird that was perched in his cage at a window halfway up the stairs.
“He is usually not so silent,” Miss Josephine said to me. “I suppose we are too many visitors for him.”
Then I saw that the old lady, beneath her severity, was deeply moved; and almost at once John and Eliza came down the stairs. Miss Josephine took each of them to her heart, but she did not trust herself to speak; and a single tear rolled down her face, as the boy and girl continued to the hall-door. There Daddy Ben stood, and John’s gay good-by to him was the last word that I heard the bridegroom say. While we all stood silently watching them as they drove away from the tall iron gate, the mocking-bird on the staircase broke into melodious ripples of song.
XXIII: Poor Aunt Carola!
And now here goes my language back into the small-clothes that it wore at the beginning of all, when I told you something of that colonial society, the Selected Salic Scions, dear to the heart of my Aunt. It were beyond my compass to approach this august body of men and women with the respect that is its due, did I attire myself in that modern garment which, in the phrase of the vulgar, is denoted pants.