She entered upon my arm, and I led her forward to
Colin, who received her with a happy, satisfied smile. The service was
brief, and the responses were clearly given. The hymn which was sung was
led with great gusto by Muckle Peter, whose face became so red in his
effort to sustain and prolong the notes, that there was danger of
apoplexy. But the crisis passed safely and Peter survived.
The ceremony over, the friends crowded around to
shake hands with the young couple and to extend con. gratulations. Many
were the "God bless youís" which were pronounced that day.
The last to make her way through the crowd to shake
hands was Auld Peggy, and a warm greeting both Colin and Katie gave her.
"Goad bless ye boath," were the only words the poor old body could say,
so full was her heart. Till the day of her death the poor old woman
never tired of expanding upon that spectacle in the auld kirk, and of
sounding the praises of the central figures.
As the couple left the church, guns were discharged
in the air, according to the custom of the settlement, and old shoes and
"moggasins" were thrown in abundance after the bride and groom.
Colin had resolved that the event should be
pleasantly remembered by the settlers, and, with the permission of the
widow, he had caused a luncheon to be spread in the orchard, all the
people for miles about being invited. The temporary tables were piled
with all the substantial and lighter viands that the town and country
could afford. A more cheerful company was never witnessed in the
With his bride on one side and the widow on the
other, while I was assigned a seat of honour with Wallace and Lizzie,
Colin sat at the head of the table and gave the signal for all to "fall
to," as Goarden put it in a subsequent glowing description.
I shall not stop to describe the scenes and incidents
of the picnic. It was one of those remarkable events in the settlement
which, like "the burniní" or "the hang-iní," furnished a new date on
which to base calendars.
That evening Colin and Katie drove off in one
vehicle, while Mrs. McNabb, Lizzie, Wallace, and I followed in a second.
We were on our way to New York to attend another nuptial event of almost
as much interest to us all as Cohnís and Katieís. We reached New York
the third day after we set out, and as might be expected, we received
the warmest kind of welcome. The Rolphes would hear of no arrangement
other than that we should all remain with them during our brief stay.
Naturally the experience of visiting such a great
city was entirely novel to most of the party, but they all enjoyed the
change, and I think the widow experienced as much genuine pleasure as
any other member of the party. Mrs. Rolphe took to her from the first,
and so did Helen. Indeed, it always seemed to me that there must be
something wrong about the person who did not instinctively like Mrs.
McNabb. She possessed such naturalness and repose under all conditions,
that it was impossible not to become attached to her if you were thrown
in her way.
It was a delightful picture to see Willie with his
mother. He was so genuinely proud of her, and he had talked so much to
Helen about her, that when the two were together his face beamed with
happiness as he witnessed evidences of mutual admiration between them.
If Mrs. Rolphe did not go out driving with Mrs. McNabb, Helen did; both
seemed to covet the pleasure of the good widowís company. Wallace and
the girls were delighted with the great city. Under the guidance of
Colin, and sometimes of Willie, when he wasnít too busy, they visited
all the places of interest.
The wedding of Willie and Helen was fixed for the
twentieth of June, just two weeks after that of Colin and Katie. The
event was of a more pretentious character than the other, for the
Rolphes possessed a large circle of friends and acquaintances, and many
of them had to be bidden. In addition, Willie himself had many friends
and admirers in the great city. Many of these were invited to witness
the ceremony, so that the number of guests at the wedding was large.
According to arrangement, Colin and Katie assisted at the altar.
Helen was a vision of modest loveliness, as, led by
her father up the aisle of the crowded church, she took her place by
Willieís side. I never could describe events of this kind, and to
attempt any particulars as to costumes or presents, would speedily take
me beyond my depth; so that all these must be left to the imagination of
the gentle reader.
The newspapers made a great deal of the occasion,
recalling the incident of Helenís rescue by her lover from the burning
building some years previously, and basing the most romantic stories
upon it. The ingenuity displayed by the reporters in dressing up the
incident for their respective journals was a source of great amusement
to Willie and Helen, and to the members of each family.
"What do you think of her, mother dear?" was a
question which the proud Willie frequently propounded to his mother, the
few days that she was in New York. As the fond motherís answer was
always the same, and entirely to the liking of the enthusiastic young
lover, he invariably hugged her. The good woman smiled her appreciation.
It had been agreed between Colin and Willie that they
should spend their honeymoon on the Mediterranean and in visiting
southern Europe. The good-byes were soon said and the happy quartette
* * * * * * * * *
It had been arranged that Mrs. McNabb, from whom a
promise to that effect had been extracted, with Lizzie, and Mr. and Mrs.
Rolphe, should proceed to England in time to welcome back from their
tour the brides and their husbands. This programme was carried out. I
accompanied the party and exerted myself to assist in their
entertainment, after our arrival at Beaumont.
Needless to say, a happier company never brightened
the old place, and merrier laughter never resounded through the old
ancestral halls of Beaumont than that which followed the advent of the
young earl and his bride, with Willie and Helen. Several weeks sped by
with a swiftness that astonished all, for scarcely a day was allowed to
pass that they did not participate in an excursion to some interesting
and historic spot.
Those excursions were especially enjoyed by Mrs.
McNabb. She used to linger over the points of historic interest in
Scotland, and often asked to be taken to localities made famous by Sir
Walter Scott, Burns, and other Scottish writers. Once she expressed the
desire to make the tour rendered famous by "Old Mortality," who, with
chisel and hammer, went about renewing the inscriptions on tombstones
erected to mark the resting-places of heroes who had died for Scotland.
How happy Helen and Willie were, as they wandered
about the Beaumont grounds and lingered in the evening on the old
bridges spanning the streamlets that wound their tortuous ways through
the meadows and woods! How happy was Mrs. McNabb, the dear widow, whose
cares had been so fortunately ended after her long and heroic struggle
with the world!