Weeks passed, and the hour of marriage drew nigh. The festivity was to be one of unusual splendor and gayety. For a long time had preparations been in progress.
It was painful for George to refer to a matter which he would not have spoken of had it not so much concerned the welfare of a sister whom he loved as his own self. When he mentioned the circumstances attending the party on board the “Vincennes,” she, in the fulness of her love, excused James, and brought up a host of arguments to prove the impossibility of a reoccurrence of any similar event.
Love is stronger than death; and, mastering all things, overlooks or decreases the evil and enlarges the goodness of its object. It was so in this case. Josephine’s attachment to James led her to sacrifice all other feelings and opinions to her deep affection for him, and made her willing to stand by him or fall with him, as the vine to the tree, bright and fresh, though the once sturdy oak lies fallen and blighted.
The evening came, and with it many a bright and joyous heart to the home of George Alverton. A more beautiful bride never pronounced the bridal-vow than she who there, encircled with bright eyes and smiling faces, gave all to James Clifton. And when it was over, when they joined the bright galaxy that were about them and mingled with others in the festive mirth of the hour, a life of joy and social comfort was predicted for the hearts which that night were made one! Music was there with its charms, Terpsichore with her graceful motions, and everything from commencement to close was conducted in so happy and agreeable a manner, that not a few young folks, as they rode home, agreed to go through the same performance at their earliest convenience.
After the usual “calls” had been attended and a few weeks had elapsed, James and his young wife located themselves in a dwelling-house, which was furnished in an elegant though not in an extravagant manner. He was to continue with Messrs. Laneville & Co. They reposed the utmost confidence in him, and considered him the best judge of liquors in the city. On the day of his marriage they increased his salary one third, so that his income was by no means to be complained of. It was such as to enable him to live well, and to lay aside quite a large amount quarterly. His prospects were good, and no young man ever had better hopes of success.
We cannot close this chapter without referring again to the fact that he dealt in that which made widows of wives, orphans of children, and sent down the stream of life a rivulet of death. This fact was like a cloud hanging over his path; and, though it was but as a speck far up in sky, who could tell what it might become?
For a year the young couple were most happy. The moments flew too quickly by; so laden were they with joy, they would have them endure forever. “Little Jim” was a smart one, if he was n’t as old as his father, and the handsomest piece of furniture in the house! Nobody doubted that; at least, it would n’t have been well for them to have expressed their doubts in a very audible manner, if they held any.