Another Wedding

MR. SOWNDS the beadle, and Mrs. Miff the pew-opener, are early at their posts in the fine church where Mr. Dombey was married. A yellow-faced old gentleman from India, is going to take unto himself a young wife this morning, and six carriages full of company are expected, and Mrs. Miff has been informed that the yellow-faced old gentleman could pave the road to church with diamonds and hardly miss them. The nuptial benediction is to be a superior one, proceeding from a very reverend, a dean, and the lady is to be given away, as an extraordinary present, by somebody who comes express from the Horse Guards.

Mrs. Miff is more intolerant of common people this morning, than she generally is; and she has always strong opinions on that subject, for it is associated with free sittings. Mrs. Miff is not a student of political economy (she thinks the science is connected with dissenters; `Baptists or Wesleyans, or some o'them,' she says), but she can never understand what business your common folks have to be married. `Drat 'em,' says Mrs. Miff, `you read the same things over 'em, and instead of sovereigns get sixpences!'

Mr. Sownds the beadle is more liberal than Mrs. Miff--but then he is nor a pew-opener. `It must be done, ma'am,' he says. `We must marry 'em. We must have our national schools to walk at the head of, and we must have our standing armies. We must marry'em, ma'am,' says Mr. Sownds, `and keep the country going.'

Mr. Sownds is sitting on the steps and Mrs. Miff is dusting in the church, when a young couple, plainly dressed, come in. The mortified bonnet of Mrs. Miff is sharply turned towards them, for she espies in this early visit indications of a runaway match. But they don't want to be married--`Only,' says the gentleman, `to walk round the church.' And as he slips a genteel compliment into the palm of Mrs. Miff, her vinegary face relaxes, and her mortified bonnet and her spare dry figure dip and crackle.

Mrs. Miff resumes her dusting and plumps up her cushions--for the yellow-faced old gentleman is reported to have tender knees--but keeps her glazed, pew-opening eye on the young couple who are walking round the church. `Ahem,' coughs Mrs. Miff, whose cough is drier than the hay in any hassock in her charge, `you'll come to us one of these mornings, my dears, unless I'm much mistaken!'

They are looking at a tablet on the wall, erected to the memory of some one dead. They are a long way off from Mrs. Miff, but Mrs. Miff can see with half an eye how she is leaning on his arm, and how his head is bent down over her. `Well, well,' says Mrs. Miff, `you might do worse. For you're a tidy pair!'

There is nothing personal in Mrs. Miff's remark. She merely speaks of stock-in-trade. She is hardly more curious in couples than in coffins. She is such a spare, straight, dry old lady--such a pew of a woman--that you should find as many individual sympathies in a ship. Mr. Sownds, now, who is fleshy, and has scarlet in his coat, is of a different temperament. He says, as they stand upon the steps watching the young couple away, that she has a pretty figure, hasn't she, and as well as he could se (for she held her head down coming out), an uncommon pretty face. `Altogether, Mrs. Miff,' says Mr. Sownds with a relish, `she is what you may call a rose-bud.'

Mrs. Miff assents with a spare nod of her mortified bonnet; but approves of this so little, that she inwardly resolves she wouldn't be the wife of Mr. Sownds for any money he could give her, Beadle as he is.

And what are the young couple saying as they leave the church, and go out at the gate?

`Dear Walter, thank you! I can go away, now, happy.'

`And when we come back, Florence, we will come and see his grave again.'

Florence lifts her eyes, so bright with tears, to his kind face; and clasps her disengaged hand on that other modest little hand which clasps his arm.

`It is very early, Walter, and the streets are almost empty yet. Let us walk.'

  By PanEris using Melati.

Previous chapter Back Home Email this Search Discuss Bookmark Next chapter/page
Copyright: All texts on Bibliomania are © Ltd, and may not be reproduced in any form without our written permission. See our FAQ for more details.