The service over and the names signed in the vestry, Mr. Wesley marched out to the porch for a view of the weather. Half a score of gossips were gathered there among the sodden graves awaiting the bridal party. They gave back a little, nudging and plucking one another by the arm. For all the notice he took of them they might have been tombstones.
The rain had ceased to fall, and though leaden clouds rolled up from the south-west, threatening more, a pale gleam, almost of sunshine, rested on the dreary landscape. The Rector nodded his head and strode briskly down the muddy path. The newly married pair followed at a respectful distance, Mrs. Wesley close behind. Hetty showed no sign of emotion. She had given her responses clearly and audibly before the altar, and she bore herself as bravely now.
As they entered the house the Rector turned and held out his hand to the bridegroom. “You will not find us hospitable, I fear. But there are some refreshments laid in the parlour: and my wife will see that you are served while I order the gig. Your wife will have time to say farewell to her sisters if she chooses. As I may not see her again, I commit her to your kindness and God’s forgiveness.”
“At least you will bless her, husband!” entreated Mrs. Wesley. But he turned away.
Twenty minutes later bridegroom and bride drove southward towards Lincoln, under a lashing shower and with the wind in their faces.
A few words will tie together the following letters or extracts from letters. John was ordained on September 19th. A few weeks later he preached his first sermon at South Leigh, a village near Witney and but a few miles out of Oxford. He and Charles visited Wroote that Christmas, and on January 11th he preached a funeral sermon at Epworth for John Griffith, a hopeful young man, the son of one of his father’s parishioners, taking for his theme 2 Samuel xii. 23, “But now he is dead, wherefore should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me “—a text obvious enough. He returned for the beginning of the Oxford Lent Term, having had no sight of Hetty. His chances of a fellowship at Lincoln College had long been debated, and on March 17th he was elected. Meanwhile Charles had passed out of Westminster with a studentship to support him at Christ Church, the college his brother was leaving.
The first letter—from Patty—bears no date, but was written from Wroote about the time of John’s ordination.
From Martha (Patty) Wesley to her brother John