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came to breakfast, all noticed an unusual gentleness and benignity of manner, and Mary, she knew not why, saw tears rising in his eyes when he looked at her.
After breakfast he requested Mrs. Scudder to step with him into his study, and Miss Prissy shook in her little shoes as she saw the matron entering. The door was shut for a long time, and two voices could be heard in earnest conversation.
Meanwhile James Marvyn entered the cottage, prompt to remind Mary of her promise that she would talk with him again this morning.
They had talked with each other but a few moments, by the sweetbrier-shaded window in the best room, when Mrs. Scudder appeared at the door of the apartment, with traces of tears upon her cheeks.
"Good morning, James," she said. "The Doctor wishes to see you and Mary a moment, together."
Both looked sufficiently astonished, knowing, from Mrs. Scudder's looks, that something was impending. They followed her, scarcely feeling the ground they trod on.
The Doctor was sitting at his table, with his favorite large-print Bible open before him. He rose to receive them, with a manner at once gentle and grave.
There was a pause of some minutes, during which he sat with his head leaning upon his hand.
You all know," he said, turning toward Mary, who sat very near him, “ the near and dear relation in which I have been expected to stand towards this friend. I should not have been worthy of that relation, if I had not felt in my heart the true love of a husband, as set forth in the New Testament, - who should love his wife even as Christ loved the Church and gave himself for it; and in case any peril or danger threatened this dear soul, and I could not give myself for her, I had never been worthy the honor she has done me. For, I take it, whenever there is a cross or burden to be borne by one or the other, that the
man, who is made in the image of God as to strength and endurance, should take it upon himself, and not lay it upon her that is weaker; for he is therefore strong, not that he may tyrannize over the weak, but bear their burdens for them, even as Christ for his Church.
"I have just discovered," he added, looking kindly upon Mary, "that there is a great cross and burden which must come, either on this dear child or on myself, through no fault of either of us, but through God's good providence; and therefore let me bear it.
"Mary, my dear child," he said, “ I will be to thee as a father, but I will not force thy heart."
At this moment, Mary, by a sudden, impulsive movement, threw her arms around his neck and kissed him, and lay sobbing on his shoulder.
"No! no!" she said,-"I will marry you, as I said!"
"Not, if I will not," he replied, with a benign smile. "Come here, young man," he said, with some authority, to James. "I give thee this maiden to wife." And he lifted her from his shoulder, and placed her gently in the arms of the young man, who, overawed and overcome, pressed her silently to his heart.
their edification an autograph letter of Miss Prissy's, still preserved in a black oaken cabinet of our great-grandmother's; and with which we take no further liberties than the correction of a somewhat peculiar orthography. It is written to that sister “Lizabeth,” in Boston, of whom she made such frequent mention, and whom, it appears, it was her custom to keep well-informed in all the gossip of her immediate sphere.
"MY DEAR SISTER:
"You wonder, I s'pose, why I haven't written you; but the fact is, I've been run just off my feet, and worked till the flesh aches so it seems as if it would drop off my bones, with this wedding of Mary Scudder's. And, after all, you'll be astonished to hear that she ha'n't married the Doctor, but that Jim Marvyn that I told you about. You see, he came home a week before the wedding was to be, and Mary, she was so conscientious she thought 'twa'n't right to break off with the Doctor, and so she was for going right on with it; and Mrs. Scudder, she was for going on more yet; and the poor young man, he couldn't get a word in edgeways, and there wouldn't anybody tell the Doctor a word about it, and there 'twas drifting along, and both on 'em feeling dreadful, and so I thought to myself, I'll just take my life in my hand, like Queen Esther, and go in and tell the Doctor all about it.' And so I did. I'm scared to death always when I think of it. But that dear blessed man, he took it like a saint. He just gave her up as serene and calm as a psalm-book, and called Jim in and told him to take her. "Jim was fairly overcrowed, it really made him feel small, and he he'll says
agree that there is more in the Doctor's religion than most men's: which shows how important it is for professing Christians to bear testimony in their works, as I was telling Cerinthy Ann Twitchel; and she said there wa'n't anything made her want to be a Christian so much, if that was what religion would do for people.
"Well, you see, when this came out, it wanted just three days of the wedding, which was to be Thursday, and that wedding-dress I told you about, that had lilies-of-the-valley on a white ground,
was pretty much made, except puffing the gauze round the neck, which I do with white satin piping-cord, and it looks beautiful too; and so Mrs. Scudder and I, we were thinking 'twould do just as well, when in come Jim Marvyn, bringing the sweetest thing you ever saw, that he had got in China, and I think I never did see anything lovelier. It was a white silk, as thick as a board, and so stiff that it would stand alone, and overshot with little fine dots of silver, so that it shone, when you moved it, just like frostwork; and when I saw it, I just clapped my hands, and jumped up from the floor, and says I, If I have to sit up all night, that dress shall be made, and made well, too.' For, you know, I thought I could get Miss Olladine Hocum to run the breadths and do such parts, so that I could devote myself to the fine work. And that French woman I told you about, she said she'd help, and she's a master hand for touching things up. There seems to be work provided for all kinds of people, and French people seem to have a gift in all sorts of dressy things, and 'tisn't a bad gift either.
"Well, as I was saying, we agreed that this was to be cut open with a train, and a petticoat of just the palest, sweetest, loveliest blue that ever you saw, and gauze puffings down the edgings each side, fastened in, every once in a while, with lilies-of-the-valley; and 'twas cut square in the neck, with puffings and flowers to match, and then tight sleeves, with full ruffles of that old Mechlin lace that you remember Mrs. Katy Scudder showed you once in that great camphorwood trunk.
in going round and getting evergreens and making wreaths, and putting up green boughs over the pictures, so that the room looked just like the Episcopal church at Christmas. In fact, Mrs. Scudder said, if it had been Christmas, she shouldn't have felt it right, but, as it was, she didn't think anybody would think it any harm.
"Well, Tuesday night, I and Madame de Frontignac, we dressed Mary ourselves, and, I tell you, the dress fitted as if it was grown on her; and Madame de Frontignac, she dressed her hair; and she had on a wreath of lilies-of-the-valley, and a gauze veil that came a'most down to her feet, and came all around her like a cloud, and you could see her white shining dress through it every time she moved, and she looked just as white as a snow-berry; but there were two little pink spots that came coming and going in her cheeks, that kind of lightened up when she smiled, and then faded down again. And the French lady put a string of real pearls round her neck, with a cross of pearls, which went down and lay hid in her bosom.
"She was mighty calm-like while she was being dressed; but just as I was putting in the last pin, she heard the rumbling of a coach down-stairs, for Jim Marvyn had got a real elegant carriage to carry her over to his father's in, and so she knew he was come. And pretty soon Mrs. Marvyn came in the room, and when she saw Mary, her brown eyes kind of danced, and she lifted up both hands, to see how beautiful she looked. And Jim Marvyn, he was standing at the door, and they told him it wasn't proper that he should see till the time come; but he begged so hard that he might just have one peep, that I let him come in, and he looked at her as if she was something he wouldn't dare to touch; and he said to me softly, says he, I'm 'most afraid she has got wings somewhere that will fly away from me, or that I shall wake up and find it is a dream.'
"Well, Cerinthy Ann Twitchel was the bridesmaid, and she came next with
that young man she is engaged to. It is all out now, that she is engaged, and she don't deny it. And Cerinthy, she looked handsomer than I ever saw her, in a white brocade, with rosebuds on it, which I guess she got in reference to the future, for they say she is going to be married next month.
"Well, we all filled up the room pretty well, till Mrs. Scudder came in to tell us that the company were all together; and then they took hold of arms, and they had a little time practising how they must stand, and Cerinthy Ann's beau would always get her on the wrong side, 'cause he's rather bashful, and don't know very well what he's about; and Cerinthy Ann declared she was afraid that she should laugh out in prayer-time, 'cause she always did laugh when she knew she mus'n't. But finally Mrs. Scudder told us we must go in, and looked so reproving at Cerinthy that she had to hold her mouth with her pocket-handkerchief.
"Well, the old Doctor was standing there in the very silk gown that the ladies gave him to be married in himself,poor, dear man!- and he smiled kind of peaceful on 'em when they came in, and walked up to a kind of bower of evergreens and flowers that Madame de Frontignac had fixed for them to stand in. Mary grew rather white, as if she was going to faint; but Jim Marvyn stood up just as firm, and looked as proud and handsome as a prince, and he kind of looked down at her, 'cause, you know, he is a great deal taller,- kind of wondering, as if he wanted to know if it was really so. Well, when they got all placed, they let the doors stand open, and Cato and Candace came and stood in the door. And Candace had on her great splendid Mogadore turban, and a crimson and yellow shawl, that she seemed to take comfort in wearing, although it was pretty hot.
"Well, so when they were all fixed, the Doctor, he begun his prayer, and as 'most all of us knew what a great sacrifice he had made, I don't believe there was a dry eye in the room; and when he had done, there was a great time, people
blowing their noses and wiping their eyes, as if it had been a funeral. Then Cerinthy Ann, she pulled off Mary's glove pretty quick; but that poor beau of hers, he made such work of James's that he had to pull it off himself, after all, and Cerinthy Ann, she liked to have laughed out loud. And so when the Doctor told them to join hands, Jim took hold of Mary's hand as if he didn't mean to let go very soon, and so they were married.
"I was the first one that kissed the bride after Mrs. Scudder; -I got that promise out of Mary when I was making the dress. And Jim Marvyn, he insisted upon kissing me,-"'Cause,' says he, Miss Prissy, you are as young and handsome as any of 'em'; and I told him he was a saucy fellow, and I'd box his ears, if I could reach them.
"That French lady looked lovely, dressed in pale pink silk, with long pink wreaths of flowers in her hair; and she came up and kissed Mary, and said something to her in French.
"And after a while old Candace came up, and Mary kissed her; and then Candace put her arms round Jim's neck, and gave him a real hearty snack, so that everybody laughed.
"And then the cake and the wine was passed round, and every ly had good times till we heard the nine-o'clock-bell ring. And then the coach come up to the door, and Mrs. Scudder, she wrapped Mary up, kissing her, and crying over her, while Mrs. Marvyn stood stretching her arms out of the coach after her; and then Cato and Candace went after in the wagon behind, and so they all went off together; and that was the end of the wedding; and ever since then we ha'n't any of us done much but rest, for we were pretty much beat out. So no more at present from your affectionate sister, "PRISSY.
"P.S.-I forgot to tell you that Jim Marvyn has come home quite rich. He fell in with a man in China who was at the head of one of their great merchanthouses, whom he nursed through a long
fever, and took care of his business, and so, when he got well, nothing would do but he must have him for a partner; and now he is going to live in this country and attend to the business of the firm here. They say he is going to build a house as grand as the Vernons'. And we hope he has experienced religion; and he means to join our church, which is a providence, for he is twice as rich and generous as that old Simeon Brown that snapped me up so about my wages. I never believed in him, for all his talk. I was down to Mrs. Scudder's when the Doctor examined Jim about his evidences. At first the Doctor seemed a little anxious, 'cause he didn't talk in the regular way; for you know Jim always did have his own way of talking, and never could say things in other people's words; and sometimes he makes folks laugh, when he himself don't know what they laugh at, because he hits the nail on the head in some strange way they aren't expecting. If I was to have died, I couldn't help laughing at some things he said; and yet I don't think I ever felt more solemnized. He sat up there in a sort of grand, straightforward, noble way, and told all the way the Lord had been leading of him, and all the exercises of his mind, and all about the dreadful shipwreck, and how he was saved, and the loving-kindness of the Lord, till the Doctor's spectacles got all blinded with tears, and he couldn't see the notes he made to examine him by; and we all cried, Mrs. Seudder, and Mary, and I; and as to Mrs. Marvyn, she just sat with her hands clasped, looking into her son's eyes, like a picture of the Virgin Mary. And when Jim got through, there wa'n't nothing to be heard for some minutes; and the Doctor, he wiped his eyes, and wiped his glasses, and looked over his papers, but he couldn't bring out a word, and at last says he, "Let us pray,"-for that was all there was to be said; for I think sometimes things so kind of fills folks up that there a'n't nothing to be done but pray, which, the Lord be praised, we are privileged to do always. Between you and I,
Martha, I never could understand all the distinctions our dear, blessed Doctor sets up; but when he publishes his system, if I work my fingers to the bone, I mean to buy one and study it out, because he is such a blessed man; though, after all's said, I have come back to my old place, and trust to the loving-kindness of the Lord, who takes care of the sparrow on the house-top, and all small, lone creatures like me; though I can't say I'm lone either, because nobody need say that, so long as there's folks to be done for. So if I don't understand the Doctor's theology, or don't get eyes to read it, on account of the fine stitching on his shirtruffles I've been trying to do, still I hope I may be accepted on account of the Lord's great goodness; for if we can't trust that, it's all over with us all."
We know it is fashionable to drop the curtain over a newly married pair, as they recede from the altar; but we cannot but hope our readers may by this time have enough of interest in our little history to wish for a few words on the lot of the personages whose acquaintance they have thereby made.
The conjectures of Miss Prissy in regard to the grand house which James was to build for his bride were as speedily as possible realized. On a beautiful elevation, a little out of the town of Newport, rose a fair and stately mansion, whose windows overlooked the harbor, and whose wide, cool rooms were adorned by the constant presence of the sweet face and form which has been the guiding star of our story. The fair poetic maiden, the seeress, the saint, has passed into that appointed shrine for woman, more holy than cloister, more saintly and pure than church or altar, -a Christian home. Priestess, wife, and mother, there she ministers daily in holy works of household peace, and by faith and prayer and love redeems from grossness and earthliness the common toils and wants of life.
The gentle guiding force that led James Marvyn from the maxims and habits and ways of this world to the higher conception of an heroic and Christ-like manhood was still ever present with him, gently touching the springs of life, brooding peacefully with dovelike wings over his soul, and he grew up under it noble in purpose and strong in spirit. He was one of the most energetic and fearless supporters of the Doctor in his life-long warfare against an inhumanity which was intrenched in all the mercantile interests of the day, and which at last fell before the force of conscience and moral appeal.
Candace in time transferred her allegiance to the growing family of her young master and mistress, and predominated proudly in gorgeous raiment with her butterfly turban over a rising race of young Marvyns. All the care not needed by them was bestowed upon the somewhat querulous old age of Cato, whose never-failing cough furnished occupation for all her spare hours and thought.
As for our end the Doctor, we trust our readers v appreciate the magnanimity with ch he proved a real and disinterested sve, in a point where so many men erience only the graspings of a selfi. i one. A mind so severely trained as his had been brings to a great crisis, involving severe self-denial, an amount of reserved moral force quite inexplicable to those less habituated to self-control. He was like a warrior whose sleep even was in armor, always ready to be roused to the conflict.
In regard to his feelings for Mary, he made the sacrifice of himself to her happiness so wholly and thoroughly that there was not a moment of weak hesitation,- no going back over the past, —no vain regret. Generous and brave souls find a support in such actions, because the very exertion raises them to a higher and purer plane of existence.
His diary records the event only in these very calm and temperate words:"It was a trial to me,- a very great trial; but as she did not deceive me,