Table of Contents

+ Add to Library

Previous Next

VIII

  • Even an hour like that passed. But Dr. Burnley and Rob returned alone. Ilse
  • would not come—that was all there was to it. Perry Miller was not killed—was
  • not even seriously injured—but Ilse would not come. She told her father that
  • she was going to marry Perry Miller and nobody else.
  • The doctor was the centre of a little group of dismayed and tearful women in
  • the upper hall. Aunt Elizabeth, Aunt Laura, Aunt Ruth, Emily.
  • "I suppose if her mother had lived this wouldn't have happened," said the
  • doctor dazedly. "I never dreamed she cared for Miller. I wish somebody had
  • wrung Ida Mitchell's neck in time. Oh, cry—cry—yes, cry"—fiercely to poor Aunt
  • Laura. "What good will yelping do? What a devil of a mess! Somebody's got to
  • tell Kent—I suppose I must. And those distracted fools down there have to be
  • fed. That's what half of them came for, anyway. Emily, you seem to be the only
  • creature left in the world with a grain of sense. See to things, there's a
  • good girl."
  • Emily was not of an hysterical temperament, but for the second time in her
  • life she was feeling that the only thing she could do would be to scream as
  • loud and long as possible. Things had got to the point where only screaming
  • would clear the air. But she got the guests marshalled to the tables.
  • Excitement calmed down somewhat when they found they were not to be cheated
  • out of everything. But the wedding-feast was hardly a success.
  • Even those who were hungry had an uneasy feeling that it wasn't the thing to
  • eat heartily under such circumstances. Nobody enjoyed it except old Uncle Tom
  • Mitchell, who frankly went to weddings for the spread and didn't care whether
  • there was a ceremony or not. Brides might come and brides might go but a
  • square meal was a feed. So he ate steadily away, only pausing now and then to
  • shake his head solemnly and ask, "What air the women coming to?"
  • Cousin Isabella was set up on presentiments for life, but nobody listened to
  • her. Most of the guests were afraid to speak, for fear of saying the wrong
  • thing. Uncle Oliver reflected that he had seen many funeral repasts that were
  • more cheerful. The waitresses were hurried and flurried and made ludicrous
  • mistakes. Mrs. Derwent, the young and pretty wife of the new minister, looked
  • to be on the point of tears—nay, actually had tears in her eyes. Perhaps she
  • had been building on the prospective wedding fee. Perhaps its loss meant no
  • new hat for her. Emily, glancing at her as she passed a jelly, wanted to
  • laugh—a desire as hysterical as her wish to scream. But no desire at all
  • showed itself on her cold white face. Shrewsbury people said she was as
  • disdainful and indifferent as always. Could  _anything_  really make that girl
  • _feel?_
  • And under it all she was keenly conscious of only one question. "Where was
  • Teddy? What was he feeling—thinking—doing?" She hated Ilse for hurting
  • him—shaming him. She did not see how  _anything_  could go on after  _this._
  • It was one of those events which  _must_  stop time.