Polly Peablossom's Wedding

“My stars! that parson is powerful slow a-coming! I reckon he wa’n’t so tedious gitting to his own wedding as he is coming here,” said one of the bridesmaids of Miss Polly Peablossom, as she bit her lips to make them rosy, and peeped into a small looking-glass for the twentieth time.

“He preaches enough about the shortness of a lifetime,” remarked another pouting miss, “and how we ought to improve our opportunities, not to be creeping along like a snail, when a whole wedding-party is waiting for him and the waffles are getting cold, and the chickens burning to a crisp.”

“Have patience, girls. Maybe the man’s lost his spurs, and can’t get along any faster,” was the consolatory appeal of an arch-looking damsel, as she finished the last of a bunch of grapes.

“Or perhaps his old fox-eared horse has jumped out of the pasture, and the old gentleman has to take it afoot,” surmised the fourth bridesmaid.

The bride used industrious efforts to appear patient and rather indifferent amid the general restiveness of her aids, and would occasionally affect extreme merriment; but her shrewd attendants charged her with being fidgety and rather more uneasy than she wanted folks to believe.

“Helloo, Floyd!” shouted old Captain Peablossom, out of doors, to his copperas-trousered son, who was entertaining the young beaux of the neighbourhood with feats of agility in jumping with weights—“Floyd, throw down them rocks, and put the bridle on old Snip, and ride down the road and see if you can’t see Parson Gympsey, and tell him hurry along: we are all waiting for him. He must think weddings are like his meetings, that can be put off to the ‘Sunday after the fourth Saturday in next month,’ after the crowd’s all gathered and ready to hear the preaching. If you don’t meet him, go clean to his house. I ’spect he’s heard that Bushy Creek Ned’s here with his fiddle, and taken a scare.”

As the night was wearing on, and no parson had come yet to unite the destinies of George Washington Hodgkins and “the amiable and accomplished” Miss Polly Peablossom, the former individual intimated to his intended the propriety of passing off the time by having a dance.

Polly asked her ma, and her ma, after arguing that it was not the fashion in her time, in North Car’lina, to dance before the ceremony, at last consented.

The artist from Bushy Creek was called in, and, after much tuning and spitting on the screws, he struck up “Money Musk”; and away went the country-dance, Polly Peablossom at the head, with Thomas Jefferson Hodgkins as her partner, and George Washington Hodgkins next, with Polly’s sister Luvisa for his partner. Polly danced to every gentleman, and Thomas Jefferson danced to every lady; then up and down in the middle, and hands all round. Next came George Washington and his partner, who underwent the same process; and “so on through the whole,” as Daboll’s Arithmetic says.

The yard was lit up by three or four large light-wood fires, which gave a picturesque appearance to the groups outside. On one side of the house was Daniel Newman Peablossom and a bevy of youngsters, who either could not or did not desire to get into the dance—probably the former—and who amused themselves by jumping and wrestling. On the other side, a group of matrons sat under the trees, in chairs, and discoursed of the mysteries of making butter, curing chickens of the pip and children of the croup, besides lamenting the misfortunes of some neighbour, or the indiscretion of some neighbour’s daughter who had run away and married a circus-rider. A few pensive couples, eschewing the “giddy dance,” promenaded the yard and admired the moon, or “wondered if all them little stars were worlds like this.” Perhaps they may have sighed sentimentally at the folly of the mosquitoes and bugs which were attracted round the fires to get their pretty little wings scorched and lose their precious lives; or they may have talked of “true love,” and plighted their vows, for aught we know.

Old Captain Peablossom and his pipe, during the while, were the centre of a circle in front of the house, who had gathered around the old man’s arm-chair to listen to his “twice-told tales” of “hair-breadth ’scapes,”

  By PanEris using Melati.

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