The little church was profusely decorated with vines, ferns and potted plants, while a wealth of cut flowers adorned the altar, the front of the new organ, which rose towering to the very top of the church, and the pews reserved for the bridal party.
Outside the edifice hundreds of sightseers, not honored with invitations, lined both sides of the spacious Square in front of the church, and occupied positions of vantage on the steps.
It lacked but ten minutes of ten. The sexton rung a merry peal from the sweet-toned bell, which was the pride of the inhabitants of Mason’s Corner. Within the church the ushers, having attended to the seating of the audience, stood just within the door awaiting the arrival of the bride and groom. They were in dress suits, with white gloves, and each had a white rose in his butonhole. Robert Wood and Cobb’s twins had been assigned to the right of the centre aisle, while Abbott Smith, Benjamin Bates, and Emmanuel Howe had charge of the left side of the edifice. If any noticed the absence of Samuel Hill and Hiram Maxwell, it did not provoke general remark, although Mrs. Hawkins asked Jonas if he’d seen Mandy anywhere, and Tilly James’s school chum, Eliza Allen, managed to occupy two seats, so as to have one for Tilly when she came.
At exactly five minutes of ten, Professor Strout emerged from the rear of the platform and proceeded towards the new organ. He, like the ushers, was in a dress suit, with a white rose in the lapel of his coat. He was greeted with applause and bowed his acknowledgements. He took his seat at the organ and played a soft prelude, during which the Rev. Caleb Howe entered and advanced to the altar.
Then loud cheers were heard from the assembled crowd outside. The organ stopped and the sexton again filled the air with merry peals. The sight outside was one which those inside could not see, and therefore could not appreciate. What was that coming up the road? Mason’s Corner had never seen an equipage like that before. An open carriage, drawn by four cream-colored horses, with white manes and tails and silver-tipped harness. A coachman in livery sat upon the box, while a footman, in similar livery, rode behind. Following behind this were other carriages, containing the other members of the bridal party.
Within the church every eye was turned upon the door through which the party was to come. Professor Strout’s sharp eye saw the first couple as they reached the entrance, and the strains of Mendelssohn’s Wedding March, that have preceded so many happy bridals, sounded through the church. The party included Ezekiel and Huldy, Deacon Mason and wife, Mr. Sawyer and Miss Alice Pettengill, and a handsome, richly dressed lady unknown to any of the villagers, who was escorted by Mr. Isaac Pettengill.
Ezekiel and Huldy advanced and took their positions before the minister, while the remainder of the party took seats in one of the bridal pews.