CHAPTER VII—THE DISCORDANT NOTE
The wedding breakfast was given at Yann’s parents’, because Gaud’s home was so poor. It took place upstairs in the great new room. Five-and-twenty guests sat down round the newly married pair—sisters and brothers, cousin Gaos the pilot, Guermeur, Keraez, Yvon Duff, all of the old Marie’s crew, who were now the Leopoldine’s; four very pretty bridesmaids, with their hair-plaits wound round their ears, like the empresses’ in ancient Byzantium, and their modern white caps, shaped like sea-shells; and four best men, all broad-shouldered Icelanders, with large proud eyes.
Downstairs, of course, there was eating and cooking going on; the whole train of the wedding procession had gathered there in disorder; and the extra servants, hired from Paimpol, well-nigh lost their senses before the mighty lumbering up of the capacious hearth with pots and pans.
Yann’s parents would have wished a richer wife for their son, naturally, but Gaud was known now as a good, courageous girl; and then, in spite of her lost fortune, she was the greatest beauty in the country, and it flattered them to see the couple so well matched.
The old father was inclined to be merry after the soup, and spoke of the bringing up of his fourteen little Gaoses; but they were all doing well, thanks to the ten thousand francs that had made them well off.
Neighbour Guermeur related the tricks he played in the navy, yarns about China, the West Indies, and Brazil, making the young ones who would be off some day, open their eyes in wonderment.
“There is a cry against the sea-service,” said the old sailor, laughing, “but a man can have fine fun in it.”
The weather did not clear up; on the contrary, the wind and rain raged through the gloomy night; and in spite of the care taken, some of the guests were fidgety about their smacks anchored in the harbour, and spoke of getting up to go and see if all was right. But here a more jovial sound than ever was heard from downstairs, where the younger members of the party were supping together; cheers of joy and peals of laughter ascended. The little cousins were beginning to feel exhilarated by the cider.
Boiled and roasted meats had been served up with poultry, different kinds of fish, omelets and pancakes.
The debate had turned upon fishery and smuggling, and the best means of fooling the coast-guardsmen, who, as we all know, are the sworn enemies of honest seafarers.
Upstairs, at the grand table, old circumnavigators went so far as to relate droll stories, in the vernacular.
But the wind was raging altogether too strong; for the windows shook with a terrible clatter, and the man telling the tale had hurriedly ended to go and see to his smack.