“Dear me,” he said absently, “that is strange—very strange.”
The bride, who was very nervous, began to cry. The bridegroom, who was not in the least nervous, giggled.
“Please, sir, I think you’re burying us instead of marrying us,” he said.
“Excuse me,” said Mr. Meredith, as it it did not matter much. He turned up the marriage service and got through with it, but the bride never felt quite properly married for the rest of her life.
He forgot his prayer-meeting again—but that did not matter, for it was a wet night and nobody came. He might even have forgotten his Sunday service if it had not been for Mrs. Alec Davis. Aunt Martha came in on Saturday afternoon and told him that Mrs. Davis was in the parlour and wanted to see him. Mr. Meredith sighed. Mrs. Davis was the only woman in Glen St. Mary church whom he positively detested. Unfortunately, she was also the richest, and his board of managers had warned Mr. Meredith against offending her. Mr. Meredith seldom thought of such a worldly matter as his stipend; but the managers were more practical. Also, they were astute. Without mentioning money, they contrived to instil into Mr. Meredith’s mind a conviction that he should not offend Mrs. Davis. Otherwise, he would likely have forgotten all about her as soon as Aunt Martha had gone out. As it was, he turned down his Ewald with a feeling of annoyance and went across the hall to the parlour.
Mrs. Davis was sitting on the sofa, looking about her with an air of scornful disapproval.
What a scandalous room! There were no curtains on the window. Mrs. Davis did not know that Faith and Una had taken them down the day before to use as court trains in one of their plays and had forgotten to put them up again, but she could not have accused those windows more fiercely if she had known. The blinds were cracked and torn. The pictures on the walls were crooked; the rugs were awry; the vases were full of faded flowers; the dust lay in heaps—literally in heaps.
“What are we coming to?” Mrs. Davis asked herself, and then primmed up her unbeautiful mouth.