Some two months after the accident the programme was carried out. But the Raynors had remained at the farm-house till the appointed day, the young people growing all the while so distractingly fond of each other, that the really short time seemed to drag with leaden wings.
Quietly one morning, in the presence of intimate friends, and quite in the old-fashioned way, the two pairs of lovers walked up the church aisle to the minister in waiting. The ladies wore rich traveling-suits, and carriages waited to convey the immediate members of the family to the wedding breakfast. The younger bridegroom saw nothing but the sweet face at his side, though he started perceptibly when the service revealed that his father’s bride and his own bore the same musical name of Eloise.
When the first carriage closed with a snap, there was a relaxing of ceremony, and an interchange of congratulations, earnest, though somewhat amusing. For when Hervey raised his eyes to the despised mother’s face, he saw there the soft features of Mrs. Raynor, while his father smiled in contented expectancy. His own face was a study!
“Raynor?” he stammered. “Why I thought—I understood—”
“You said Raynor,” was the teasing reply; “we never did.”
“And whom have I married?” was his next question, with a grotesque grimace at the demure young person beside him.
“Eloise Dana, an’ it please your lordship. Do you mean to get a divorce?”
“It’s all right, my boy;” cheerily said his father, while all three heartily enjoyed the denouement. “It was only a little harmless plot, you know, to bring you to your senses! Besides, you were in too delicate a state of health to bear the truth!” This with decided relish.
“Bring me to my senses!” echoed the other. “You have about run me crazy! Here I’ve gone and married my wife’s brother to his sister, and the fathers and mothers are all fathers-in-law and mothers-in-law. But, my dear mamma,” he added, with an ‘Et-tu-Brute’ look at the amused lady, “I did not think you would play me false!”
“The temptation was too great,” she confessed, “after I saw your name on the tell-tale suit case; own the truth now, that as Mrs. Dana, you would never have fallen in love with me!”
“Ah, well,” he gave in, “let’s kiss and make friends. As for you, young lady,” he exclaimed with mock fierceness, “I shall exact the most implicit obedience. I must get even somehow.”
“No—no—I did not promise to obey—brides never do nowadays,” and the little gloved hand went up to his lips in protest.
Catching it fast, he threatened to proclaim the first time her hand had ever touched his lips, all unconscious though she was, and amid blushes and happiness all around, they arrived at the house, where the whole story had to be rehearsed to delighted friends, beginning with midnight vision in a Pullman car.