Margery was disposed to delay the ceremony, at least until her brother and sister might be present. But to this le Bourdon himself was not much inclined. It had struck him that Gershom was opposed to an early marriage, most probably because he fancied himself more secure of the bee-hunter’s ingenious and important aid in getting back to the settlements, so long as this strong inducement existed to cling to himself, than if he should release his own hold of Margery, by giving her at once to her lover. Right or wrong, such was the impression taken up by le Bourdon, and he was glad when the missionary urged his request to be permitted to pronounce the nuptial benediction on the spot.
Little ceremony is generally used in an American marriage. In a vast many cases no clergyman is employed at all; and where there is, most of the sects have no ring, no giving away, nor any of those observances which were practised in the churches of old. There existed no impediment, therefore; and after a decent interval spent in persuasions, Margery consented to plight her vows to the man of her heart before they left the spot. She would fain have had Dorothy present, for woman loves to lean on her own sex on such occasions, but submitted to the necessity of proceeding at once, as the bee-hunter and the missionary chose to term it.
A better altar could not have been selected in all that vast region. It was one of nature’s own erecting; and le Bourdon and his pretty bride placed themselves before it, with feelings suited to the solemnity of the occasion. The good missionary stood within the shade of a burr oak in the centre of those park-like Openings, every object looking fresh, and smiling, and beautiful. The sward was gieen, and short as that of a well-tended lawn; the flowers were, like the bride herself, soft, modest, and sweet; while charming rural vistas stretched through the trees, much as if art had been summoned in aid of the great mistress who had designed the landscape. When the parties knelt in prayer—which all present did, not excepting the worthy corporal—it was on the verdant ground, with first the branches of the trees, and then the deep, fathomless vault of heaven for a canopy. In this manner was the marriage benediction pronounced on the bee-hunter and Margery Waring, in the venerable Oak Openings. No gothic structure, with its fretted aisles and clustered columns, could have been onehalf as appropriate for the union of such a couple.
No shrift the gloomy savage brooks,
As scowling on the priest he looks;
Let my father look on Bornazeen-
My father’s heart is the heart of a squaw,
But mine is so hard that it does not thaw,