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McTeague

CHAPTER 9
Trina and McTeague were married on the first day of June, in the photographer's
rooms that the dentist had rented. All through May the Sieppe household had
been turned upside down. The little box of a house vibrated with excitement and
confusion, for not only were the preparations for Trina's marriage to be made, but
also the preliminaries were to be arranged for the hegira of the entire Sieppe
family.
They were to move to the southern part of the State the day after Trina's
marriage, Mr. Sieppe having bought a third interest in an upholstering business in
the suburbs of Los Angeles. It was possible that Marcus Schouler would go with
them.
Not Stanley penetrating for the first time into the Dark Continent, not Napoleon
leading his army across the Alps, was more weighted with responsibility, more
burdened with care, more overcome with the sense of the importance of his
undertaking, than was Mr. Sieppe during this period of preparation. From dawn to
dark, from dark to early dawn, he toiled and planned and fretted, organizing and
reorganizing, projecting and devising. The trunks were lettered, A, B, and C, the
packages and smaller bundles numbered. Each member of the family had his
especial duty to perform, his particular bundles to oversee. Not a detail was
forgotten—fares, prices, and tips were calculated to two places of decimals. Even
the amount of food that it would be necessary to carry for the black greyhound
was determined. Mrs. Sieppe was to look after the lunch, "der gomisariat." Mr.
Sieppe would assume charge of the checks, the money, the tickets, and, of
course, general supervision. The twins would be under the command of
Owgooste, who, in turn, would report for orders to his father.
Day in and day out these minutiae were rehearsed. The children were drilled in
their parts with a military exactitude; obedience and punctuality became cardinal
virtues. The vast importance of the undertaking was insisted upon with
scrupulous iteration. It was a manoeuvre, an army changing its base of
operations, a veritable tribal migration.
On the other hand, Trina's little room was the centre around which revolved
another and different order of things. The dressmaker came and went,
congratulatory visitors invaded the little front parlor, the chatter of unfamiliar
voices resounded from the front steps; bonnet-boxes and yards of dress-goods
littered the beds and chairs; wrapping paper, tissue paper, and bits of string
strewed the floor; a pair of white satin slippers stood on a corner of the toilet
table; lengths of white veiling, like a snow-flurry, buried the little work-table; and a
mislaid box of artificial orange blossoms was finally discovered behind the
bureau.
 
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