When the ceremony was over the audience naturally expected that the wedded couple would leave the church by the right-hand aisle, on both sides of which, from end to end, white silk ribbons had been drawn to keep the passage clear.
But no! Shouts and cheers were again heard from outside the church, again the church bell rang out, and once more the melody of the Wedding March fell upon the ears of the Professor’s auditors, while to their astonishment Ezekiel and his wife seated themselves quietly in the front bridal pew. Again every eye was turned, every neck was craned, and Samuel Hill and Tilly James walked down the centre aisle and took their places before the clergyman. Again the solemn words were spoken, and this time the spectators felt sure that the double couple would leave the church by the silken pathway.
But no; again were cheers and shouts from the outside borne to the excited spectators within. Once more the sexton sent out pleasing tones from the church bell; once more the Professor evoked those melodious strains from the sweet-toned organ; and as Samuel Hill and his wife took their seats in the front pew beside Mr. and Mrs. Ezekiel Pettengill, the excitement of the audience could no longer be controlled. It overcame all restraint, and as Hiram Maxwell and Mandy Skinner entered, the people arose to their feet and cheered loudly, as they would have done at a political meeting or a circus.
Again, and for the last time, the Rev. Mr. Howe went through the time-honored ceremony, and at its close Mr. and Mrs. Ezekiel Pettengill, Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Hill, and Mr. and Mrs. Hiram Maxwell left the church by way of the right-hand aisle, preceded by the ushers, who strewed the aisle with white roses as they advanced, and were followed by the occupants of the second bridal pew.
As Quincy rode over to Eastborough Centre with his Aunt Ella, after partaking of the wedding breakfast, which was served in Deacon Mason’s dining-room, she remarked to him that the events of the day had been most enjoyable, and that she didn’t know, after all, but that she should change her mind about getting married again.
When asked by Quincy if she had seen any one whom she thought would suit her for a second husband, she replied that “Mr. Isaac Pettengill was a very well-preserved old gentleman, and the most original man in thought and speech that she had met since Robert died.”
Quincy did not inform her that Uncle Ike had a wife and two grown-up daughters living, thinking it best to reserve that information for a future occasion.
That night Strout & Maxwell’s grocery store was the centre of attraction. Strout was in his glory, and was, of course, in his own opinion, the most successful feature of that eventful day. It was a very common thing to get married, but it was a most uncommon thing to play on a new church organ, and play as well as he had done, “for the first time, too,” as he remarked a score of times.