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Chronicles of Avonlea

V. The Winning of Lucinda
The marriage of a Penhallow was always the signal for a gathering of the Penhallows.
From the uttermost parts of the earth they would come--Penhallows by birth, and
Penhallows by marriage and Penhallows by ancestry. East Grafton was the ancient
habitat of the race, and Penhallow Grange, where "old" John Penhallow lived, was a
Mecca to them.
As for the family itself, the exact kinship of all its various branches and ramifications was
a hard thing to define. Old Uncle Julius Penhallow was looked upon as a veritable
wonder because he carried it all in his head and could tell on sight just what relation any
one Penhallow was to any other Penhallow. The rest made a blind guess at it, for the
most part, and the younger Penhallows let it go at loose cousinship.
In this instance it was Alice Penhallow, daughter of "young" John Penhallow, who was
to be married. Alice was a nice girl, but she and her wedding only pertain to this story in
so far as they furnish a background for Lucinda; hence nothing more need be said of
her.
On the afternoon of her wedding day--the Penhallows held to the good, old-fashioned
custom of evening weddings with a rousing dance afterwards--Penhallow Grange was
filled to overflowing with guests who had come there to have tea and rest themselves
before going down to "young" John's. Many of them had driven fifty miles. In the big
autumnal orchard the younger fry foregathered and chatted and coquetted. Up-stairs, in
"old" Mrs. John's bedroom, she and her married daughters held high conclave. "Old"
John had established himself with his sons and sons-in-law in the parlour, and the three
daughters-in-law were making themselves at home in the blue sitting-room, ear-deep in
harmless family gossip. Lucinda and Romney Penhallow were also there.
Thin Mrs. Nathaniel Penhallow sat in a rocking chair and toasted her toes at the grate,
for the brilliant autumn afternoon was slightly chilly and Lucinda, as usual, had the
window open. She and plump Mrs. Frederick Penhallow did most of the talking. Mrs.
George Penhallow being rather out of it by reason of her newness. She was George
Penhallow's second wife, married only a year. Hence, her contributions to the
conversation were rather spasmodic, hurled in, as it were, by dead reckoning, being
sometimes appropriate and sometimes savouring of a point of view not strictly
Penhallowesque.
Romney Penhallow was sitting in a corner, listening to the chatter of the women, with
the inscrutable smile that always vexed Mrs. Frederick. Mrs. George wondered within
herself what he did there among the women. She also wondered just where he
belonged on the family tree. He was not one of the uncles, yet he could not be much
younger than George.
 
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