Chapter L: Winds up the Thread and Ties Two Knots at the End

Now there comes a rustling of drapery, and every one turns their heads as the brides sweep up to the altar. Here Is Mrs. Scully, looking quite as charming as she did fifteen years ago on the last occasion when she performed the ceremony. She was dressed in a French grey gown with bonnet to match, and the neatest little bouquet in the world, for which the major had ransacked Covent Garden. Behind her came bonny Kate, a very vision of loveliness in her fairy-like lace and beautiful ivory satin. Her dark lashes drooped over her violet eyes and a slight flush tinged her cheeks, but she glided steadily into her place and did her share in the responses when the earnest little clergyman appeared upon the scene. There was Dr. Dimsdale too, with the brightest of smiles and snowiest of waistcoats, giving away the brides in the most open-handed fashion. His wife too was by his side in tears and purple velvet, and many other friends and relations, including the two Socialists, who came at the major’s invitation, and beamed on every one out of a side pew.

Then there was the signing of the registers, and such a kissing and a weeping and a distributing of fees as never was seen in Castle Lane church before. And Mrs. Dimsdale, as one of the witnesses, would insist upon writing her name in the space reserved for the bride, on which there were many small jokes passed and much laughter. Then the wheezy old organ struck up Mendelssohn’s wedding march, and the major puffed out his chest and stumped down the aisle with his bride, while Tom followed with his, looking round with proud and happy eyes. The carriages rolled up, there was a slamming of doors and a cracking of whips, and two more couples had started hand in hand down the long road of life which leads—who shall say whither!

The breakfast was at Phillimore Gardens, and a very glorious breakfast it was. Those who were present still talk of the manner in which the health of the brides was proposed by Dr. Dimsdale and of the enthusiasm with which the toast was received by the company. Also of the flowery address in which the major returned thanks for the said toast, and the manly demeanour of the younger man as he followed suit. They speak too of many other pleasant things said and done upon that occasion. How Von Baumser proposed the health of the little incumbent, and the little incumbent that of Dr. Dimsdale, and the doctor drank to the unpronounceable Russian, who, being unable to reply, sang a revolutionary song which no one could understand. Very happy and very hearty was every one by the time that the hour came at which the carriages were ordered, when, amid a patter ing of rice and a chorus of heartfelt good wishes, the happy couples drove off upon their travels.

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