Marcia Schuyler (Chapter 4, page 2 of 10)

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Chapter 4

They were all seated at the table but Kate, and Squire Schuyler waited with pleasantly frowning brows to ask the blessing on the morning food. Kate was often late. She was the only member of the family who dared to be late to breakfast, and being the bride and the centre of the occasion more leniency was granted her this morning than ever before. Madam Schuyler waited until every one at the table was served to ham and eggs, coffee and bread-and-butter, and steaming griddle cakes, before she said, looking anxiously at the tall clock: "Marcia, perhaps you better go up and see if your sister needs any help. She ought to be down by now. Uncle Joab and Aunt Polly will be sure to be here by eight. She must have overslept, but we made so much noise she is surely awake by this time."

Marcia left her half-eaten breakfast and went slowly upstairs. She knew her sister would not welcome her, for she had often been sent on like errands before, and the brunt of Kate's anger had fallen upon the hapless messenger, wearing itself out there so that she might descend all smiles to greet father and mother and smooth off the situation in a most harmonious manner.

Marcia paused before the door to listen. Perhaps Kate was nearly ready and her distasteful errand need not be performed. But though she held her breath to listen, no sound came from the closed door. Very softly she tried to lift the latch and peep in. Kate must still be asleep. It was not the first time Marcia had found that to be the case when sent to bring her sister.

But the latch would not lift. The catch was firmly down from the inside. Marcia applied her eye to the keyhole, but could get no vision save a dim outline of the window on the other side of the room. She tapped gently once or twice and waited again, then called softly: "Kate, Kate! Wake up. Breakfast is ready and everybody is eating. Aunt Polly and Uncle Joab will soon be here."

She repeated her tapping and calling, growing louder as she received no answer. Kate would often keep still to tease her thus. Surely though she would not do so upon her wedding morning!

She called and called and shook the door, not daring, however, to make much of an uproar lest David should hear. She could not bear he should know the shortcomings of his bride.

But at last she grew alarmed. Perhaps Kate was ill. At any rate, whatever it was, it was time she was up. She worked for some minutes trying to loosen the catch that held the latch, but all to no purpose. She was forced to go down stairs and whisper to her stepmother the state of the case.

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