"A wild dedication of yourselves
To unpath'd waters, undreamed shores."
On the day when Gwendolen Harleth was married and became Mrs. Grandcourt,
the morning was clear and bright, and while the sun was low a slight frost crisped
the leaves. The bridal party was worth seeing, and half Pennicote turned out to
see it, lining the pathway up to the church. An old friend of the rector's performed
the marriage ceremony, the rector himself acting as father, to the great
advantage of the procession. Only two faces, it was remarked, showed signs of
sadness--Mrs. Davilow's and Anna's. The mother's delicate eyelids were pink, as
if she had been crying half the night; and no one was surprised that, splendid as
the match was, she should feel the parting from a daughter who was the flower of
her children and of her own life. It was less understood why Anna should be
troubled when she was being so well set off by the bridesmaid's dress. Every one
else seemed to reflect the brilliancy of the occasion--the bride most of all. Of her
it was agreed that as to figure and carriage she was worthy to be a "lady o' title":
as to face, perhaps it might be thought that a title required something more rosy;
but the bridegroom himself not being fresh- colored--being indeed, as the miller's
wife observed, very much of her own husband's complexion--the match was the
more complete. Anyhow he must be very fond of her; and it was to be hoped that
he would never cast it up to her that she had been going out to service as a
governess, and her mother to live at Sawyer's Cottage--vicissitudes which had
been much spoken of in the village. The miller's daughter of fourteen could not
believe that high gentry behaved badly to their wives, but her mother instructed
her--"Oh, child, men's men: gentle or simple, they're much of a muchness. I've
heard my mother say Squire Pelton used to take his dogs and a long whip into
his wife's room, and flog 'em there to frighten her; and my mother was lady's-
maid there at the very time."
"That's unlucky talk for a wedding, Mrs. Girdle," said the tailor. "A quarrel may
end wi' the whip, but it begins wi' the tongue, and it's the women have got the
most o' that."
"The Lord gave it 'em to use, I suppose," said Mrs. Girdle. "He never meant you
to have it all your own way."
"By what I can make out from the gentleman as attends to the grooming at
Offendene," said the tailor, "this Mr. Grandcourt has wonderful little tongue.
Everything must be done dummy-like without his ordering."
"Then he's the more whip, I doubt," said Mrs. Girdle. "She's got tongue enough, I
warrant her. See, there they come out together!"