“Hold your jabbering tongues—!” cried Isaac, in vexation. “You’re enough to bother a feller to death. I’d like to see some o’ the rest on ye cramped up fur a toast, jest to see how you’d feel with all on ’em hollering like.” A hearty laugh at his expense was all the sympathy poor Isaac received.
“Give us the bottle!” resumed Isaac. “Now here goes,” continued he, rising and holding Black Betty by the neck. “Here’s to the gals o’ old Kaintuck—Heaven bless ’em! May they bloom like clover heads, be plentier nor bar-skins, and follow the example o’ Peggy, every mother’s daughter on ’em!—hooray!” And having drank, the speaker resumed his seat, amid roars of laughter and three rounds of applause.
By the time this mirth had subsided, the fiddler struck up, and the dance again went on as before. Some two hours later the bridesmaid, with two or three others, managed to steal away the bride unobserved; and proceeding to a ladder at one end of the apartment, ascended to the chamber above, and saw her safely lodged in bed. In the course of another half hour the same number of gentlemen performed a like service for Isaac—such being customary at all weddings of that period.
During the night Black Betty, in company with more substantial refreshment, was sent up to the newly married pair some two or three times; and always returned (Black Betty we mean) considerable lighter than she went; thus proving, that if lovers can live on air, the married ones do not always partake of things less spiritual. About three o’clock in the morning, Algernon and Ella took leave of the company and set out upon their return—he pleading illness as an apology for withdrawing thus early. The remainder of the party keep together until five, when they gradually began to separate; and by six the dancing had ceased, and the greater portion of them had taken their departure. Thus ended the wedding of Isaac Younker—a fair specimen, by the way, of a backwood’s wedding in the early settlement of the west.
Deep and gloomy were the meditations of Algernon Reynolds, as, in company with Ella Barnwell, he rode slowly along the narrow path which he had traversed, if not with buoyant, at least with far lighter spirits than now, the morning before. From some, latent cause, he felt oppressed with a weight of despondency, as previously mentioned, that served to prostrate in a measure both his mental powers and physical system. He felt, though he could give no reason why, that some calamity was about to befall himself and the fair being by his side; and he strove to arouse himself and shake off the gloomy thoughts; but if he succeeded, it was only momentary, and they would again rush back with an increased power. He had been subject, since his unfortunate quarrel with his cousin, to gloomy reveries and depressions of spirits—but never before had he felt exactly as now; and though in all former cases the event referred to had been the cause of his sad abstractions, yet in the present instance it scarcely held a place in his thoughts. Could it be a presentiment, he asked himself, sent to warn him of danger and prepare him to meet it? But the question he could not answer.