Contrary Mary (Chapter 2, page 2 of 11)


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Chapter 2

Aunt Isabelle followed, gently smiling. Aunt Isabelle was to Aunt
Frances as moonlight unto sunlight. Aunt Frances was married, Aunt
Isabelle was single; Aunt Frances wore amber, Aunt Isabelle silver gray;
Aunt Frances held up her head like a queen, Aunt Isabelle dropped hers
deprecatingly; Aunt Frances' quick ears caught the whispers of admiration
that followed her, Aunt Isabelle's ears were closed forever to all the
music of the universe.

No sooner had the two aunts taken their places to the left of a floral
bower than there was heard without the chanted wedding chorus, from a
side door stepped the clergyman and the bridegroom and his best man; then
from the hall came the little procession with Mary in the lead and
Constance leaning on the arm of her brother Barry.

They were much alike, this brother and sister. More alike than Mary and
Constance. Barry had the same gold in his hair, and blue in his eyes,
and, while one dared not hint it, in the face of his broad-shouldered
strength, there was an almost feminine charm in the grace of his manner
and the languor of his movements.

There were no bridesmaids, except Mary, but four pretty girls held the
broad white ribbons which marked an aisle down the length of the rooms.
These girls wore pink with close caps of old lace. Only one of them had
dark hair, and it was the dark-haired one, who, standing very still
throughout the ceremony, with the ribbon caught up to her in lustrous
festoons, never took her eyes from Barry Ballard's face.

And when, after the ceremony, the bride turned to greet her friends, the
dark-haired girl moved forward to where Barry stood, a little apart from
the wedding group.

"Doesn't it seem strange?" she said to him with quick-drawn breath.

He smiled down at her. "What?"

"That a few words should make such a difference?"

"Yes. A minute ago she belonged to us. Now she's Gordon's."

"And he's taking her to England?"

"Yes. But not for long. When he gets the branch office started over
there, they'll come back, and he'll take his father's place in the
business here, and let the old man retire."

She was not listening. "Barry," she interrupted, "what will Mary do?
She can't live here alone--and she'll miss Constance."

"Oh, Aunt Frances has fixed that," easily; "she wants Mary to shut up the
house and spend the winter in Nice with herself and Grace--it's a great
chance for Mary."

"But what about you, Barry?"

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