And, indeed, the loss of the charlotte russe did weigh heavily on Aunt Betsy’s mind, proving the straw too many, and only Bell Cameron, who, with Lieutenant Bob, had come on the same train with Mark and Mrs. Banker, had power to reassure her by telling her that charlotte russe was not essential at all; that, for her part, she was glad to have it out of sight, as it was her especial detestation. This comforted Aunt Betsy, who had made many of her preparations for the wedding with a direct reference to the “city folks” so confidently expected. The substantials were for the neighbors—those who would have no supper at home, but reserve their appetites for the wedding viands; while the delicacies, the knickknacks, were designed exclusively for “them stuck-up critters, the Camerons,” not one of whom, it now seemed, would be present except Bell. Father Cameron was not able to come; he would gladly have done so if he could, and he sent his blessing to Katy, with the wish that she might be very happy in her second married life. This message Bell gave to Katy, and then tried to form some reasonable excuse for her mother’s and Juno’s absence, for she could not tell how haughtily both had declined the invitation, Juno finding fault because Katy had not waited longer than two years, and Mrs. Cameron blaming her for being so very vulgar as to be married at home, instead of in church, where she ought to be. On this point Katy herself had been a little disquieted, feeling how much more appropriate it was that she be married in the church, but shrinking from standing again a bride at the same altar where she had once before been made a wife. She could not do it, she finally decided; there would be too many harrowing memories crowding upon her mind, and as Morris did not particularly care where the ceremony was performed, provided he got Katy at the last, it was settled that it should be at the house, even though Mrs. Deacon Bannister did say that she had supposed Dr. Grant too High Church to do anything as Presbyterianny as that.
Bell’s arrival at the farmhouse was timely, for the unexpected appearance in their midst of one whom they looked upon as surely dead had stunned and bewildered the family to such an extent that it needed the presence of just such a matter-of-fact, self-possessed woman as Bell to bring things back to their original shape. It was wonderful how the city girl fitted into the vacant niches, seeing to everything which needed seeing to, and still finding time to steal away alone with Lieutenant Bob, who kept her in a painful state of blushing by constantly wishing it was his bridal night as well as Dr. Grant’s, and by inveighing against the weeks which must still intervene ere the day appointed for the grand ceremony to take place in Grace Church, and which was to make Bell his wife.
* * * * *
“Ain’t Morris ever goin’ home? He won’t be dressed in time, as sure as the world, if he stays here much longer,” Aunt Betsy said a dozen times, until at last her patience was exhausted, and going boldly in where he was, she bade him start in at once, or he would not have time to put on his best coat and jacket, let alone Katy’s changin’ her clothes.