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"Now I don't want to hurry you; but Dr.
Sampson is come."

The handmaids, flustered, tried to go faster;
and, when the work was done, Julia took her
little hand-glass and inspected her back: " Oh,"
she screamed, "I am crooked. There, go for

Mamma soon came, and the poor bride held
out imploring hands: "I'm all awry; I'm as
crooked as a ram's horn."

"La, miss," said Sarah, "it's only behind;
nobody will notice it."

"How can they help it? Mamma! am I

Mrs. Dodd smiled superior and bade her be
calm: " It is the lacing, dear. No, Sarah, it is
no use your pulling it; all the pulling in the
world will not straighten it. I thought so: you
have missed the second top hole."

Julia's little foot began to beat a tattoo on
the floor: " There is not a soul in the house but
you can do the simplest thing. Eyes and
no eyes! Fingers and no fingers! I never

"Hush, love, we all do our best."

"Oh, I am sure of that; poor things."

"Nobody can lace you if you fidget about,
love," objected Mrs. Dodd.

(Bump!) "Now I don't want to hurry
any man's cattle: but the bridesmaids are

"Oh dear, I shall never be ready in time,"
said Julia; and the tattoo recommenced.

"Plenty of time, love," said Mrs. Dodd,
quietly lacing: "not half-past ten yet. Sarah,
go and see if the bridegroom has arrived."

Sarah returned with the reassuring tidings
that the bridegroom had not yet arrived; though
the carriages had.

"Oh, thank Heaven he is not come," said
Julia. "If I keep him waiting to-day, he might
say' Oho'!"

Under dread of a comment so cutting she
was ready at last, and said majestically he
might come now whenever he liked.

Meantime, down stairs, an uneasiness of the
opposite kind was growing. Ten minutes past
the appointed time, and the bridegroom not
there. So while Julia, now full dressed, and
easy in her mind, was directing Sarah's sister to
lay out her plain travelling dress, bonnet and
gloves, on the bed, Mrs. Dodd was summoned
down stairs: she came down with Julia's white
gloves in her hand and a needle and thread, the
button sewed on by trade's fair hand having
flown at the first strain. Edward met her on the
stairs: "What had we better do, mother?" said
he, sotto voce: "there must be some mistake.
Can you remember? Wasn't he to call for me
on the way to the church?"

"I really do not know," said Mrs. Dodd.
"Is he at the church, do you think?"

"No, no, either he was to call for me, here,
or I for him. I'll go to the church though, it
is only a step."

He ran off, and in little more than five minutes
came into the drawing-room.

"No, he is not there. I must go to his
lodgings. Confound him, he has got reading
Aristotle, I suppose."

This passed before the whole party, Julia

Sampson looked at his watch, and said he
could conduct the ladies to the church while
Edward went for Alfred. "Division of labour,"
said he, gallantly, "and mine the delightful

Mrs. Dodd demurred to the plan. She was
for waiting quietly in one place.

"Well, but," said Edward, "we may overdo
that; here it is a quarter-past eleven, and you
know they can't be married after twelve. No, I
really think you had better all go with the
doctor; I dare say we shall be there as soon as
you will."

This was agreed on after some discussion:
Edward, however, to provide against all
contingencies, begged Sampson not to wait for him
should Alfred reach the church by some other
road: " I'm only groomsman, you know," said
he. He ran off at a racing pace. The bride
was then summoned, admired, and handed into
one carriage with her two bridesmaids, Miss
Bosanquet and Miss Darton; Sampson and
Mrs. Dodd went in the other; and by half-past
eleven they were all safe in the church.

A good many people high and low were about
the door, and in the pews, waiting to see the
beautiful Miss Dodd married to the son of a
personage once so popular as Mr. Hardie: it
had even transpired that Mr. Hardie
disapproved the match. They had been waiting a
long time, and were beginning to wonder what
was the matter, when, at last, the bride's
party walked up the aisle with a bright April
sun shining on them through the broad old
windows. The bride's rare beauty, and staglike
carriage of her head, imperial in its loveliness
and orange wreath, drew a hum of admiration.

The party stood a minute or two at the east
end of the church, and then the clergyman came
out and invited them into the vestry.

Their reappearance was eagerly expected; in
silence at first, but presently in loud and
multitudinous whispers.

At this moment a young lady with almost
perfect features, and sylph-like figure, modestly
dressed in dove-coloured silk, but with a new
chip bonnet and white gloves, entered a pew
near the west door, and said a little prayer;
then proceeded up the aisle, and exchanged a
word with the clerk, then into the vestry.

"Cheep! cheep! cheep! went fifty female
tongues, and the arrival of the bridesgroom's
sister became public news.

The bride welcomed her in the vestry with a
sweet guttural of surprise and delight, and they
kissed one another like little tigers.

"Oh my darling Jane, how kind of you!
have I got you back to make my happiness

Now none of her own party had thought it
wise to tell Julia there was any hitch: but Miss