Marcia Schuyler (Chapter 7, page 1 of 8)

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Chapter 7

For some distance the way was lined with people they knew, servants and negroes, standing about the driveway and outside the fence, people of the village grouped along the sidewalk, everybody out upon their doorsteps to watch the coach go by, and to all the face of the bride was a puzzle and a surprise. They half expected to see another coach coming with the other bride behind.

Marcia nodded brightly to those she knew, and threw flowers from the great nosegay that had been put upon her lap by Harriet. She felt for a few minutes like a girl in a fairy-tale riding in this fine coach in grand attire. She stole a look at David. He certainly looked like a prince, but gravity was already settling about his mouth. Would he always look so now, she wondered, would he never laugh and joke again as he used to do? Could she manage to make him happy sometimes for a little while and help him to forget?

Down through the village they passed, in front of the store and post-office where Marcia had bought her frock but three days before, and they turned up the road she had come with Mary Ann. How long ago that seemed! How light her heart was then, and how young! All life was before her with its delightful possibilities. Now it seemed to have closed for her and she was some one else. A great ache came upon her heart. For a moment she longed to jump down and run away from the coach and David and the new clothes that were not hers. Away from the new life that had been planned for some one else which she must live now. She must always be a woman, never a girl any more.

Out past Granny McVane's they drove, the old lady sitting upon her front porch knitting endless stockings. She stared mildly, unrecognizingly at Marcia and paused in her rocking to crane her neck after the coach.

The tall corn rustled and waved green arms to them as they passed, and the cows looked up munching from the pasture in mild surprise at the turnout. The little coach dog stepped aside from the road to give them a bark as he passed, and then pattered and pattered his tiny feet to catch up. The old school house came in sight with its worn playground and dejected summer air, and Marcia's eyes searched out the window where she used to sit to eat her lunch in winters, and the tree under which she used to sit in summers, and the path by which she and Mary Ann used to wander down to the brook, or go in search of butternuts, even the old door knob that her hand would probably never grasp again. She searched them all out and bade them good-bye with her eyes. Then once she turned a little to see if she could catch a glimpse of the old blackboard through the window where she and Susanna Brown and Miller Thompson used to do arithmetic examples. The dust of the coach, or the bees in the sunshine, or something in her eyes blurred her vision. She could only see a long slant ray of a sunbeam crossing the wall where she knew it must be. Then the road wound around through a maple grove and the school was lost to view.

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