The Twins and a Wedding by Lucy Maud
Sometimes Johnny and I wonder what would really have happened if we
had never started for Cousin Pamelia's wedding. I think that Ted would
have come back some time; but Johnny says he doesn't believe he ever
would, and Johnny ought to know, because Johnny's a boy. Anyhow, he
couldn't have come back for four years. However, we did start for
the wedding and so things came out all right, and Ted said we were a
pair of twin special Providences.
Johnny and I fully expected to go to Cousin Pamelia's wedding because
we had always been such chums with her. And she did write to Mother to
be sure and bring us, but Father and Mother didn't want to be bothered
with us. That is the plain truth of the matter. They are good parents,
as parents go in this world; I don't think we could have picked out
much better, all things considered; but Johnny and I have always known
that they never want to take us with them anywhere if they can get out
of it. Uncle Fred says that it is no wonder, since we are a pair of
holy terrors for getting into mischief and keeping everybody in hot
water. But I think we are pretty good, considering all the temptations
we have to be otherwise. And, of course, twins have just twice as many
as ordinary children.
Anyway, Father and Mother said we would have to stay home with Hannah
Jane. This decision came upon us, as Johnny says, like a bolt from the
blue. At first we couldn't believe they were not joking. Why, we felt
that we simply had to go to Pamelia's wedding. We had never been to
a wedding in our lives and we were just aching to see what it would be
like. Besides, we had written a marriage ode to Pamelia and we wanted
to present it to her. Johnny was to recite it, and he had been
practising it out behind the carriage house for a week. I wrote the
most of it. I can write poetry as slick as anything. Johnny helped me
hunt out the rhymes. That is the hardest thing about writing poetry,
it is so difficult to find rhymes. Johnny would find me a rhyme and
then I would write a line to suit it, and we got on swimmingly.
When we realized that Father and Mother meant what they said we were
just too miserable to live. When I went to bed that night I simply
pulled the clothes over my face and howled quietly. I couldn't help it
when I thought of Pamelia's white silk dress and tulle veil and flower
girls and all the rest. Johnny said it was the wedding dinner he
thought about. Boys are like that, you know.
Father and Mother went away on the early morning train, telling us to
be good twins and not bother Hannah Jane. It would have been more to
the point if they had told Hannah Jane not to bother us. She worries
more about our bringing up than Mother does.
I was sitting on the front doorstep after they had gone when Johnny
came around the corner, looking so mysterious and determined that I
knew he had thought of something splendid.
"Sue," said Johnny impressively, "if you have any real sporting blood
in you now is the time to show it. If you've enough grit we'll get to
Pamelia's wedding after all."
"How?" I said as soon as I was able to say anything.
"We'll just go. We'll take the ten o'clock train. It will get to
Marsden by eleven-thirty and that'll be in plenty of time. The wedding
isn't until twelve."
"But we've never been on the train alone, and we've never been to
Marsden at all!" I gasped.
"Oh, of course, if you're going to hatch up all sorts of
difficulties!" said Johnny scornfully. "I thought you had more spunk!"
"Oh, I have, Johnny," I said eagerly. "I'm all spunk. And I'll do
anything you'll do. But won't Father and Mother be perfectly savage?"
"Of course. But we'll be there and they can't send us home again, so
we'll see the wedding. We'll be punished afterwards all right, but
we'll have had the fun, don't you see?"
I saw. I went right upstairs to dress, trusting everything blindly to
Johnny. I put on my best pale blue shirred silk hat and my blue
organdie dress and my high-heeled slippers. Johnny whistled when he
saw me, but he never said a word; there are times when Johnny is a
We slipped away when Hannah Jane was feeding the hens.
"I'll buy the tickets," explained Johnny. "I've got enough money left
out of my last month's allowance because I didn't waste it all on
candy as you did. You'll have to pay me back when you get your next
month's jink, remember. I'll ask the conductor to tell us when we get
to Marsden. Uncle Fred's house isn't far from the station, and we'll
be sure to know it by all the cherry trees round it."
It sounded easy, and it was easy. We had a jolly ride, and finally
the conductor came along and said, "Here's your jumping-off place,
Johnny didn't like being called a kiddy, but I saw the conductor's eye
resting admiringly on my blue silk hat and I forgave him.
Marsden was a pretty little village, and away up the road we saw Uncle
Fred's place, for it was fairly smothered in cherry trees all white
with lovely bloom. We started for it as fast as we could go, for we
knew we had no time to lose. It is perfectly dreadful trying to hurry
when you have on high-heeled shoes, but I said nothing and just tore
along, for I knew Johnny would have no sympathy for me. We finally
reached the house and turned in at the open gate of the lawn. I
thought everything looked very peaceful and quiet for a wedding to be
under way and I had a sickening idea that it was too late and it was
"Nonsense!" said Johnny, cross as a bear, because he was really
afraid of it too. "I suppose everybody is inside the house. No, there
are two people over there by that bench. Let us go and ask them if
this is the right place, because if it isn't we have no time to lose."
We ran across the lawn to the two people. One of them was a young
lady, the very prettiest young lady I had ever seen. She was tall and
stately, just like the heroine in a book, and she had lovely curly
brown hair and big blue eyes and the most dazzling complexion. But she
looked very cross and disdainful and I knew the minute I saw her that
she had been quarrelling with the young man. He was standing in front
of her and he was as handsome as a prince. But he looked angry too.
Altogether, you never saw a crosser-looking couple. Just as we came up
we heard the young lady say, "What you ask is ridiculous and
impossible, Ted. I can't get married at two days' notice and I don't
mean to be."
And he said, "Very well, Una, I am sorry you think so. You would not
think so if you really cared anything for me. It is just as well I
have found out you don't. I am going away in two days' time and I
shall not return in a hurry, Una."
"I do not care if you never return," she said.
That was a fib and well I knew it. But the young man didn't—men are
so stupid at times. He swung around on one foot without replying and
he would have gone in another second if he had not nearly fallen over
Johnny and me.
"Please, sir," said Johnny respectfully, but hurriedly. "We're looking
for Mr. Frederick Murray's place. Is this it?"
"No," said the young man a little gruffly. "This is Mrs. Franklin's
place. Frederick Murray lives at Marsden, ten miles away."
My heart gave a jump and then stopped beating. I know it did, although
Johnny says it is impossible.
"Isn't this Marsden?" cried Johnny chokily.
"No, this is Harrowsdeane," said the young man, a little more mildly.
I couldn't help it. I was tired and warm and so disappointed. I sat
right down on the rustic seat behind me and burst into tears, as the
"Oh, don't cry, dearie," said the young lady in a very different voice
from the one she had used before. She sat down beside me and put her
arms around me. "We'll take you over to Marsden if you've got off at
the wrong station."
"But it will be too late," I sobbed wildly. "The wedding is to be at
twelve—and it's nearly that now—and oh, Johnny, I do think you might
try to comfort me!"
For Johnny had stuck his hands in his pockets and turned his back
squarely on me. I thought it so unkind of him. I didn't know then that
it was because he was afraid he was going to cry right there before
everybody, and I felt deserted by all the world.
"Tell me all about it," said the young lady.
So I told her as well as I could all about the wedding and how wild we
were to see it and why we were running away to it.
"And now it's all no use," I wailed. "And we'll be punished when they
find out just the same. I wouldn't mind being punished if we hadn't
missed the wedding. We've never seen a wedding—and Pamelia was to
wear a white silk dress—and have flower girls—and oh, my heart is
just broken. I shall never get over this—never—if I live to be as
old as Methuselah."
"What can we do for them?" said the young lady, looking up at the
young man and smiling a little. She seemed to have forgotten that they
had just quarrelled. "I can't bear to see children disappointed. I
remember my own childhood too well."
"I really don't know what we can do," said the young man, smiling
back, "unless we get married right here and now for their sakes. If it
is a wedding they want to see and nothing else will do them, that is
the only idea I can suggest."
"Nonsense!" said the young lady. But she said it as if she would
rather like to be persuaded it wasn't nonsense.
I looked up at her. "Oh, if you have any notion of being married I
wish you would right off," I said eagerly. "Any wedding would do just
as well as Pamelia's. Please do."
The young lady laughed.
"One might just as well be married at two hours' notice as two days',"
"Una," said the young man, bending towards her, "will you marry me
here and now? Don't send me away alone to the other side of the world,
"What on earth would Auntie say?" said Una helplessly.
"Mrs. Franklin wouldn't object if you told her you were going to be
married in a balloon."
"I don't see how we could arrange—oh, Ted, it's absurd."
"'Tisn't. It's highly sensible. I'll go straight to town on my wheel
for the licence and ring and I'll be back in an hour. You can be ready
by that time."
For a moment Una hesitated. Then she said suddenly to me, "What is
your name, dearie?"
"Sue Murray," I said, "and this is my brother, Johnny. We're twins.
We've been twins for ten years."
"Well, Sue, I'm going to let you decide for me. This gentleman here,
whose name is Theodore Prentice, has to start for Japan in two days
and will have to remain there for four years. He received his orders
only yesterday. He wants me to marry him and go with him. Now, I shall
leave it to you to consent or refuse for me. Shall I marry him or
shall I not?"
"Marry him, of course," said I promptly. Johnny says she knew I would
say that when she left it to me.
"Very well," said Una calmly. "Ted, you may go for the necessaries.
Sue, you must be my bridesmaid and Johnny shall be best man. Come,
we'll go into the house and break the news to Auntie."
I never felt so interested and excited in my life. It seemed too good
to be true. Una and I went into the house and there we found the
sweetest, pinkest, plumpest old lady asleep in an easy-chair. Una
wakened her and said, "Auntie, I'm going to be married to Mr. Prentice
in an hour's time."
That was a most wonderful old lady! All she said was, "Dear me!" You'd
have thought Una had simply told her she was going out for a walk.
"Ted has gone for licence and ring and minister," Una went on. "We
shall be married out under the cherry trees and I'll wear my new white
organdie. We shall leave for Japan in two days. These children are Sue
and Johnny Murray who have come out to see a wedding—any wedding.
Ted and I are getting married just to please them."
"Dear me!" said the old lady again. "This is rather sudden. Still—if
you must. Well, I'll go and see what there is in the house to eat."
She toddled away, smiling, and Una turned to me. She was laughing, but
there were tears in her eyes.
"You blessed accidents!" she said, with a little tremble in her voice.
"If you hadn't happened just then Ted would have gone away in a rage
and I might never have seen him again. Come now, Sue, and help me
Johnny stayed in the hall and I went upstairs with Una. We had such an
exciting time getting her dressed. She had the sweetest white organdie
you ever saw, all frills and laces. I'm sure Pamelia's silk couldn't
have been half so pretty. But she had no veil, and I felt rather
disappointed about that. Then there was a knock at the door and Mrs.
Franklin came in, with her arms full of something all fine and misty
like a lacy cobweb.
"I've brought you my wedding veil, dearie," she said. "I wore it forty
years ago. And God bless you, dearie. I can't stop a minute. The boy
is killing the chickens and Bridget is getting ready to broil them.
Mrs. Jenner's son across the road has just gone down to the bakery for
a wedding cake."
With that she toddled off again. She was certainly a wonderful old
lady. I just thought of Mother in her place. Well, Mother would simply
have gone wild entirely.
When Una was dressed she looked as beautiful as a dream. The boy had
finished killing the chickens, and Mrs. Franklin had sent him up with
a basket of roses for us, and we had each the loveliest bouquet.
Before long Ted came back with the minister, and the next thing we
knew we were all standing out on the lawn under the cherry trees and
Una and Ted were being married.
I was too happy to speak. I had never thought of being a bridesmaid in
my wildest dreams and here I was one. How thankful I was that I had
put on my blue organdie and my shirred hat! I wasn't a bit nervous and
I don't believe Una was either. Mrs. Franklin stood at one side with a
smudge of flour on her nose, and she had forgotten to take off her
apron. Bridget and the boy watched us from the kitchen garden. It was
all like a beautiful, bewildering dream. But the ceremony was horribly
solemn. I am sure I shall never have the courage to go through with
anything of the sort, but Johnny says I will change my mind when I
When it was all over I nudged Johnny and said "Ode" in a fierce
whisper. Johnny immediately stepped out before Una and recited it.
Pamelia's name was mentioned three times and of course he should have
put Una in place of it, but he forgot. You can't remember everything.
"You dear funny darlings!" said Una, kissing us both. Johnny didn't
like that, but he said he didn't mind it in a bride.
Then we had dinner, and I thought Mrs. Franklin more wonderful than
ever. I couldn't have believed any woman could have got up such a
spread at two hours' notice. Of course, some credit must be given to
Bridget and the boy. Johnny and I were hungry enough by this time and
we enjoyed that repast to the full.
We went home on the evening train. Ted and Una came to the station
with us, and Una said she would write me when she got to Japan, and
Ted said he would be obliged to us forever and ever.
When we got home we found Hannah Jane and Father and Mother—who had
arrived there an hour before us—simply distracted. They were so glad
to see us safe and sound that they didn't even scold us, and when
Father heard our story he laughed until the tears came into his eyes.
"Some are born to luck, some achieve luck, and some have luck thrust
upon them," he said.