Ethelyn's Mistake (Chapter 4, page 1 of 4)


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Chapter 4

There was a great deal of sincere and tender interest in Richard's
manner when, in reply to his inquiries for Ethelyn's headache, Aunt
Barbara told him of the almost fainting fit in the morning and her
belief that Ethelyn was not as strong this summer as she used to be.

"The mountain air will do her good, I trust," casting wistful glances up
the stairs and toward the door of the chamber, where girlish voices were
heard, Nettie Hudson and Susie Granger chatting gayly and uttering
exclamations of delight as they arranged and adjusted Ethelyn's
bridal robes.

Once during the period of his judgeship Richard had attended a large and
fashionable bridal party, but when, on his return to Olney, Melinda
Jones questioned him with regard to the dresses of the bride and the
guests, he found himself utterly unable to give either fabric, fashion,
or even color, so little attention had he given to the subject. He never
noticed such things, he said, but he believed some of the dresses were
made of something flimsy, for he could see through them, and he knew
they were very long, for he had stepped on some half dozen. And this was
all the information the inquisitive Melinda could obtain. Dress was of
little consequence, he thought, so it was clean and whole.

This was his theory; but when, as the twilight deepened on the Chicopee
hills, and the lamps were lighted in Aunt Barbara's parlors, and old
Captain Markham began to wonder "why the plague the folks did not come,"
as he stalked up and down the piazza in all the pride and pomposity of
one who felt himself to all intents and purposes the village aristocrat,
and when the mysterious door of Ethie's room, which had been closed so
long, was opened, and the bridegroom told that he might go in, he
started in surprise at the beautiful tableau presented to his view as he
stepped across the threshold. As was natural, he fancied that never
before had he seen three young girls so perfectly beautiful as the three
before him--Ethie, and Susie, and Nettie.

As a matter of course, he gave the preference to Ethelyn, who was very,
very lovely in her bridal robes, with the orange wreath resting like a
coronet upon her marble brow. There were pearls upon her fair neck and
pearls upon her arms, the gift of Mrs. Dr. Van Buren, who had waited
till the very last, hoping the Judge would have forethought enough to
buy them himself. But the Judge had not. He knew something of diamonds,
for they had been Daisy's favorites; but pearls were novelties to him,
and Ethelyn's pale cheeks would have burned crimson had she known that
he was thinking "how becoming those white beads were to her."

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