Further Chronicles of Avonlea
XIV. Only A Common Fellow
On my dearie's wedding morning I wakened early and went to her room. Long and long
ago she had made me promise that I would be the one to wake her on the morning of
her wedding day.
"You were the first to take me in your arms when I came into the world, Aunt Rachel,"
she had said, "and I want you to be the first to greet me on that wonderful day."
But that was long ago, and now my heart foreboded that there would be no need of
wakening her. And there was not. She was lying there awake, very quiet, with her hand
under her cheek, and her big blue eyes fixed on the window, through which a pale, dull
light was creeping in--a joyless light it was, and enough to make a body shiver. I felt
more like weeping than rejoicing, and my heart took to aching when I saw her there so
white and patient, more like a girl who was waiting for a winding-sheet than for a bridal
veil. But she smiled brave-like, when I sat down on her bed and took her hand.
"You look as if you haven't slept all night, dearie," I said.
"I didn't--not a great deal," she answered me. "But the night didn't seem long; no, it
seemed too short. I was thinking of a great many things. What time is it, Aunt Rachel?"
"Then in six hours more--"
She suddenly sat up in her bed, her great, thick rope of brown hair falling over her white
shoulders, and flung her arms about me, and burst into tears on my old breast. I petted
and soothed her, and said not a word; and, after a while, she stopped crying; but she
still sat with her head so that I couldn't see her face.
"We didn't think it would be like this once, did we, Aunt Rachel?" she said, very softly.
"It shouldn't be like this, now," I said. I had to say it. I never could hide the thought of
that marriage, and I couldn't pretend to. It was all her stepmother's doings--right well I
knew that. My dearie would never have taken Mark Foster else.
"Don't let us talk of that," she said, soft and beseeching, just the same way she used to
speak when she was a baby-child and wanted to coax me into something. "Let us talk
about the old days--and HIM."
"I don't see much use in talking of HIM, when you're going to marry Mark Foster to-day,"