Up in the cosy chamber,
Where, on the snowy bed
The dress, and the pearls, and the new false curls,
For the morrow's use were spread,
The bride elect and her mother
Were sitting before the grate,
Talking over the days gone by,
And planning the future state.
"I really am quite well suited,"
Said Minnie, "with my outfit--
Jane says Kit Somers troussau,
Is nothing compared with it.
That her laces are imitation,
And her bonnet a perfect fright,
And she says I'll wholly eclipse her
In everybody's sight.
"And she isn't to make the tour,
But only to visit awhile.
I declare I'd never be married
If I couldn't do it in style.
Jane says her jewels, though splendid,
With mine can never compare:
I tell you I do love Harry,
When I look at this solataire.
"And I think he's a darling, mother,
For he's going to let me board,
At least he will, he says, until
He finds that he can afford
To purchase that house of Mosleys,
That splendid brown stone front.
I wouldn't have anything humbler,
And Harry says he wont.
"My presents are perfectly splendid,
Much finer than Kit's, I know,
I think that's half of a wedding
To have such things to show.
If we get that house of Mosleys,
What a brilliant life we'll live.
Such people as I'll have throng it--
Such parties as I will give.
I mean to just queen it mother,
In society everywhere,
And my title of belle of the City
I shall continue to wear.
I dont believe that a woman
By marriage should be tied down
To wearing a smile for her husband
And for all other men a frown.
"I mean to dress better than ever,
And be just as merry and free.
Children! the troublesome wretches!
No ma'm, not any for me.
I know I'd be cross and unhappy,
With children to tease, and annoy.
A joy, you say, to be mother,
Well, I will be spared that joy."
Across the hall in their bedroom
A hale old couple sat,
Minnies' grandfather and mother,
Having a good night chat.
"So the last of the children is going."
Grandmother said, and sighed,
"Minnie, (we named her Mary,)
To-morrow will be a bride.
"It will be a great occasion,
All glitter and glow and shine,
A nineteenth century wedding,
Not much like yours, and mine.
A few good friends were with us,
When we were married, John,
They came to see us united--
Not to see what the bride had on.
"I wore a snowy muslin,
And a white rose in my hair,
No silks nor gems, nor diadems--
And yet you thought me fair.
We stood in the broad cool kitchen,
On the white and sanded floor,
And a breeze from the odorous orchard,
Looked in at the open door.
"The minister read the service
That made us one for life,
And I was no longer a maiden
But a loved and cherished wife.
You took me home on the morrow!
Six miles, in a one horse chaise;
Folks didn't race over the country
'Touring' in these old days.
"Our house was a tiny cabin
That would just hold two, you said,
But ere a year, you found, my dear
There was room for three, instead.
Ah me! that wonderful baby!
Twas a moment of perfect bliss
When I held up the pink faced darling
For his father's tender kiss.
"Then came a dear little daughter!
And then more boys and girls
Till you built on a wing to the cabin
To cover their sunny curls.
There was never a happier woman
In all of the land I know,
Singing away at my labor--
Watching the children grow.
"I had my beaux and lovers,
When I was a girl; but when
I became your bride I put aside
All thoughts of other men.
Lover, and king, and husband,
And friend, I found in you.
And you repaid my devotion,
By being kind, and true.
"Ah well! the world keeps changing
And weddings have changed with the rest,
People go only to comment
And see how the bride is drest.
Girls wed houses and titles
Instead of men as of old,
And babies are out of the fashion
And all that glitters is gold.
"Perhaps these times are better,
Though I cannot think them so,
But I am a poor old woman,
And not supposed to know."
And grandmother finished her musings
With a meaning shake of the head
Over nineteenth century folly,
And sighed, and went to bed.
Shells by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
Milwaukee: Hauser & Storey, 1873.
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