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Colin of the Ninth Concession
Chapter LVIII - Two Weddings

WELL, they were married ó Colin and Katie ó in the old kirk and by the old minister. It was a beautiful day in June. The birds sang cheerily as they flitted over the green fields; the meadow-lark never seemed to be in such high good humour; even the bees appeared to hum more cheerily. The entire population turned out to witness the ceremony, for no more popular boy and girl had ever lived in the Scotch Settlement than Colin and Katie. Colin, with Mrs. McNabb on his arm, entered the old stone church first. Placing the widow in a front seat, he stood, tall, straight, dignified, and handsome, in front of the pulpit, awaiting his bride.

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 settlement.

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 set off.

* * * * * * * * *

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!

How happy were Colin and Katie! I think, as Dooley, the blacksmith, would say, that "the main stay" of their happiness was their downright admiration for each other. Katie was very proud of Colin and regarded him as a hero, while on the other hand Colin believed that there was not such a lovable woman as Katie in the broad British dominions. I shall never forget the look of genuine pride that came into his face the first evening after their return from their continental wedding tour, when, after leading her to the chair at the dining-table, which had been filled by so many generations of fair and noble women, she presided with a grace, dignity, and simplicity never excelled by any predecessor.

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