The wedding was just as quiet as it could be, for Jack did not care to invite any of his friends. “Ma” and Saidie were altogether too impossible; and unfortunately no one seemed to mind whether he did or not. There was one unpleasantness connected with the day which Chetwynd felt Bella might have had tact enough to avoid. Two or three of Saidie’s friends, in light and eminently professional attire, were of the party, the women a good deal worse than the men; and they all returned together to Holly Street, where a meal had been prepared in the front parlours, the landlady having generously placed them at the disposal of her lodgers for the occasion. There was a good deal of banter and side jokes were bandied about from one to another; which was galling to young Chetwynd, and made him devoutly thankful that none of his own companions and friends were present. When at last Bella rose from the table to change her gown for the pale grey he himself had chosen, with the big hat and nodding plumes in which she had looked such a dainty little mortal, he pushed his chair back with a look of disgust on his face and left them to talk amongst themselves.
Saidie was distributing small pieces of wedding cake, laughing and screaming at the top of her voice.
“Saikes, man! you are not to eat it. Put it under your pillow and as sure as I’m a Yank you’ll see your intended,” she cried. And then followed an amount of vulgar chaff and coarse pleasantry which caused the “happy man” to set his teeth hard and register a vow at the bottom of his heart that this should be the last occasion on which his wife should associate with her sister’s friends.
And then Bella came tripping down the narrow staircase, her cheeks warm with a pale pink colour that made her inexpressibly lovely; and the carriage which Mrs. Blackall had insisted upon ordering to take the young couple to the station was at the door, and in the bustle that ensued Jack lost sight of all annoyances and remembered only that he had married the girl he loved and that he was the happiest fellow in the universe; and amid a shower of rice and a white satin slipper (one of Saidie’s), which fell right into Bella’s lap; the last farewell was spoken, and they drove away.
“Only to Brighton!” cried Nina Nankin, the celebrity famed for the height to which she could raise one leg while standing upon the other. “What a mean chap! He might have forked out enough for a trip to Paris, I should have thought.”
“It wouldn’t satisfy me,” returned Saidie, turning up her nose disdainfully; “but he isn’t my style, anyway.”
“Bit of a prig, eh?”
“I do detest a man who fancies himself a head and shoulders above the rest of his kind,” said that young lady vehemently; “you’ll generally find out he don’t amount to a row of pins. My! ain’t I glad I’m not going to live with him. I would as lief go to Bible-class every day of the week. I’ll bet my bottom dollar Bella’ll see the mistake she’s made before she’s many weeks older. There’s a chip of the old block about that young woman, for all her baby ways and her innocent know-nothing. He’ll be a spry man, will Dr. Chetwynd, to come up to her. It’ll take him all he knows to get ahead, you bet”.