H HUM. Now that Nancys baby is gurgling or squalling, according to a full tummy, or tooth conditions; and Nancy is looking, as Gadsby says, as good as a million dollars, I find that that busy young son-of-a-gun, Dan Cupid, is still snooping around Branton Hills And now who do you think is hit? Try to think of a lot of girls in Gadsbys old Organization Youth. No, its not Sarah Young, nor Lucy Donaldson, nor Virginia Adams. It was brought to your historian in this way:
Lady Gadsby and His Honor sat around his parlor lamp, His Honor noticing that Lady G. was smiling, finally saying:
Kathlyn and John Smith ,
I said that Kathlyn and John Smith want to
Oho! Aha!! Ill call up Pastor Brown to start right off dolling up his big church!
No, no! Not now! Wait about six months. This is only a troth. Folks dont jump into matrimony, that way.
Hm-m-m! I dont know about that, said Gadsby, laughing; and thinking way back to that captivating Iassoo!
John Smith was Branton Hills famous church organist; and, at a small, dainty lunch, Kathlyn told of this troth. In a day or two about all Branton Hills young girlhood had, on rushing in, told Kathlyn what a grand chap John was; and all that towns young manhood had told John similar things about Kathlyn. So, as this is a jumpy sort of a story, anyway, why not skip months of happy ardor, and find how this tying of an additional knot in our Mayors family will turn out? You know that Kathlyn dont think much of pomp or show, and such a big church ritual as Nancy had is all right if you want it, but Kathlyn had fond thoughts of just a small, parlor affair, with only a group of old chums; and no throwing of old boots, and sharp food-grains, which work downward, to scratch your back, or stick in your hair as stubbornly as burrs.
Such crazy doings, said Kathlyn, always look foolish. Its odd how anybody can follow up such antiquarian customs.
As Kathlyns big night was drawing nigh, Lady Gadsby and Nancy had constantly thought of a word synonymous with woman, and that word is scrub. Which is saying that Gadsbys mansion was about to submit to a gigantic scrubbing, painting, dusting, and so forth, so that Kathlyn should start out on that ship of matrimony from a spic-span wharf. Just why a woman thinks that a grain of dust in a totally inconspicuous spot is such a catastrophic abnormality is hard to say; but if you simply broach a thought that a grain of it might lurk in back of a piano, or up back of an oil painting, a flood of soap-suds will instantly burst forth; and any man who can flnd any of his things for four days is a clairvoyant, or a magician!
As Gadsby sat watching all this his thoughts took this form:
Isnt it surprising what an array of things a woman can drag forth, burrowing into attics, rooms and nooks! Things long out of mind; an old thing; a worn-out thing; but it has lain in that room, nook or bag until just such a riot of soap and scrubbing brush brings it out. And, as I think of it, a human mind could, and should go through just such a ransacking, occasionally; for you dont know half of what an accumulation of rubbish is kicking about, in its dark, musty corridors. Old fashions in thoughts; bigotry; vanity; all lying stagnant. So why not drag out and sort all that stuff, discarding all which is of no valuation? About half of us will find, in our minds, a room, having on its door a card, saying: It Was Not So In My Day. Go at that room, right off. That My Day is long past. Today is boss, now. If that My Day could crawl up on Today, what a mix-up in World affairs would occur! Ox cart against aircraft; oil lamps against arc lights! Slow, mail information against radio! But, as all this stuff is laid out, what will you do with it? Nobody wants it. So I say, burn it, and tomorrow morning, how happy you will find that musty old mind!
But His Honors mansion finally got back to normal as clouds of dust and swats and slaps from dusting cloths had shown Lady Gadsby and Kathlyn that that parlor was simply awful though Gadsby, Julius and Bill always had thought that It looks all right, causing Kathlyn to say:
A man thinks all dust stays outdoors.
Though marrying off a girl in church is a big proposition, it cant discount, in important data, doing a similar act in a parlor; for, as a parlor is a mighty small room in comparison with a church, you cant point to an inch of it that wont do its small part on such an occasion; so a woman will find about a thousand spots in which to put tacks from which to run strings holding floral chains, sprays, or small lights. So Gadsby, Bill and Julius, with armfuls of string and mouthfuls of tacks, not only put in hours at pounding said tacks, but an occasional vigorous word told that a thumb was substituting! But what man wouldnt gladly bang his thumb, or bark his shins on a wobbly stool, to aid so charming a girl as Kathlyn? And, on that most romantically important of all days!!
Anyway, that days night finally cast its soft shadows on Branton Hills. Night, with its twinkling stars, its lightning-bugs, and its call for girls most glorious wraps; and youths swallowtails, and tall silk hats,is Cupids own; lacking but organ music to turn it into Utopia.
And was Gadsbys mansion lit up from porch to roof? No. Only that parlor and a room or two upstairs, for wraps, mascarra, a final hair-quirk, a dab of lip-stick; for Kathlyn, against all forms of vain display, said: Im only going to marry a man; not put on a circus for all Branton Hills.
All right, darling, said Gadsby, you shall marry in a pitch dark room if you wish; for, as you say, a small, parlor affair is just as binding as a big church display. Its only your vows that count.
So but a small group stood lovingly in Gadsbys parlor, as Parson Brown brought into unity Kathlyn and John. Kathlyn was radiantly happy; and John, our famous organist, was as happy with only charming Sarah Young at an upright piano, as any organist in a big choir loft.
But to Lady Gadsby and His Honor, this was, in a way, a sad affair; for that big mansion now had lost two of its inhabitants; and, as many old folks know, a vast gap, or chasm thus forms, backward across which flit happy visions of laughing, romping, happy girlhood; happy hours around a sitting room lamp; and loving trips in nights small hours to a room or two, just to know that a small girl was all right, or that a big girl was not in a draft. But, though marrying off a girl will bring such a vacancy, that happy start out into a world throbbing with vitality and joy, can allay a bit of that void in a big mansion, or a small cabin. A birth, a tooth, a growth, a mating; and, again a birth, a tooth, and so on. Such is that mighty Law, which was laid down on that first of all days; and which will control Man, animal, and plant until that last of all nights.
So it was first Nancy, and now Kathlyn; and Branton Hills gossips thought of Bill and Julius, with whom many a young, romantic maid would gladly sit in a wistaria-drooping arbor on a warm, moon-lit night; flighty maids with Bill, adoring his high class social gossip; studious maids with Julius, finding much to think about in his practical talks on physics, zoology, and natural history. Thu Bill and Julius had shown no liability of biting at any alluring bait on any matrimonial hook; and Gadsby, winking knowingly, would say:
Bill is too frivolous, just now; and Julius too busy at our Hall of Natural History. But just wait until Dan Cupid starts shooting again, and watch things whiz !