Sue still held that there was not much queer or exceptional in them: that all were so. `Everybody is getting to feel as we do. We are a little beforehand, that's all. In fifty, a hundred, years the descendants of these two will act and feel worse than we. They will see weltering humanity still more vividly than we do now, as

Shapes like our own selves hideously multiplied,
and will be afraid to reproduce them.'

`What a terrible line of poetry! ... though I have felt it myself about my fellow-creatures, at morbid times.'

Thus they murmured on, till Sue said more brightly:

`Well - the general question is not our business, and why should we plague ourselves about it? However different our reasons are we come to the same conclusion; that for us particular two, an irrevocable oath is risky. Then, Jude, let us go home without killing our dream! Yes? How good you are, my friend: you give way to all my whims!'

`They accord very much with my own.'

He gave her a little kiss behind a pillar while the attention of everybody present was taken up in observing the bridal procession entering the vestry; and then they came outside the building. By the door they waited till two or three carriages, which had gone away for a while, returned, and the new husband and wife came into the open daylight. Sue sighed.

`The flowers in the bride's hand are sadly like the garland which decked the heifers of sacrifice in old times!'

`Still, Sue, it is no worse for the woman than for the man. That's what some women fail to see, and instead of protesting against the conditions they protest against the man, the other victim; just as a woman in a crowd will abuse the man who crushes against her, when he is only the helpless transmitter of the pressure put upon him.'

`Yes - some are like that, instead of uniting with the man against the common enemy, coercion.' The bride and bridegroom had by this time driven off, and the two moved away with the rest of the idlers. `No - don't let's do it,' she continued. `At least just now.'

They reached home, and passing the window arm in arm saw the widow looking out at them. `Well,' cried their guest when they entered, `I said to myself when I zeed ye coming so loving up to the door, `They made up their minds at last, then!''

They briefly hinted that they had not.

`What - and ha'n't ye really done it? Chok' it all, that I should have lived to see a good old saying like `marry in haste and repent at leisure' spoiled like this by you two! 'Tis time I got back again to Marygreen - sakes if tidden - if this is what the new notions be leading us to! Nobody thought o' being afeard o' matrimony in my time, nor of much else but a cannon-ball or empty cup-board! Why when I and my poor man were married we thought no more o't than of a game o' dibs!'

`Don't tell the child when he comes in,' whispered Sue nervously. `He'll think it has all gone on right, and it will be better that he should not be surprised and puzzled. Of course it is only put off for reconsideration. If we are happy as we are, what does it matter to anybody?'

  By PanEris using Melati.

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