“No, I don’t want to sit down,” said Caroline, and she kept her word better than Mrs. Jameson. She turned directly to the latter. “I have just been over to your house,” said she, “and they told me that you had come over here. I want to say something to you, and that is, I don’t want my son to marry your daughter, and I will never give my consent to it, never, never!”
Mrs. Jameson’s face was a study. For a minute she had not a word to say; she only gasped. Finally she spoke. “You can be no more unwilling to have your son marry my daughter than I am to have my daughter marry your son,” said she.
Then Caroline said something unexpected. “I would like to know what you have against my son, as fine a young man as there is anywhere about, I don’t care who he is,” said she.
And Mrs. Jameson said something unexpected. “I should like to inquire what you have against my daughter?” said she.
“Well, I’ll tell you one thing,” returned Caroline; “she doesn’t know enough to keep a doll-baby’s house, and she ain’t neat.”
Mrs. Jameson choked; it did not seem as if she could reply in her usual manner to such a plain statement of objections. She and Caroline glared at each other a minute; then to our great relief, for no one wants her house turned into the seat of war, Caroline simply repeated, “I shall never give my consent to have my son marry your daughter,” and went out.
Mrs. Jameson did not stay long after that. She rose, saying that her nerves were very much shaken, and that she felt it sad that all her efforts for the welfare and improvement of the village should have ended in this, and bade us a mournful good-evening and left.
Louisa and I had an impression that she held us in some way responsible, and we could not see why, though I did reflect guiltily how I had asked the lovers into my house that October night. Louisa and I agreed that, take it altogether, we had never seen so much mutual love and mutual scorn in two families.
The older one grows, the less one wonders at the sudden, inconsequent turns which an apparently reasonable person will make in a line of conduct. Still I must say that I was not prepared for what Mrs. H. Boardman Jameson did in about a week after she had declared that her daughter should never marry Harry Liscom: capitulated entirely, and gave her consent.
It was Grandma Cobb who brought us the news, coming in one morning before we had our breakfast dishes washed.
“My daughter told Harriet last night that she had written to her father and he had no objections, and that she would withdraw hers on further consideration,” said Grandma Cobb, with a curious, unconscious imitation of Mrs. Jameson’s calm state of manner. Then she at once relapsed into her own. “My daughter says that she is convinced that the young man is worthy, though he is not socially quite what she might desire, and she does not feel it right to part them if they have a true affection for each other,” said Grandma Cobb. Then she added, with a shake of her head and a gleam of malicious truth in her blue eyes: “That is not the whole of it; Robert Browning was the means of bringing it about.”