There was much surprise in the community when it was announced that Mr. Phosphorus had won the heart of Miss. Calcarea. Everyone was delighted as well as surprised, and everyone smiled so continually about it, there seemed to be no chance of ever seeing a frown in that neighbourhood again. Did I say everyone was pleased? There was one exception which proved the rule. Mr. Causticum couldn’t understand what Miss Calcarea could see in Mr. Phosphorus to admire. Mr. Phosphorus was tall, slim and had dark hair and brown eyes, while Miss Calcarea was short, had blue eyes and light hair, was plump, especially about the waist. After people began to think about it, they wondered why they were so stupid as not to see before hand that the two were intended for each other.
It is not my purpose to tell the history of the couple, but only to talk about the wedding. Miss Calcarea wanted to invite the whole community, so Mr. Phosphorus agreed that his feeling of enmity toward Mr. Causticum should not prevent the invitations including every one.
The wedding day came at last, a gloriously bright one much to the delight of the “high contracting parties” for somehow or the other, neither was at the best during the damp weather.
The bride’s mind had been more on internals than on externals, so without intending it, her simple white costume represented “beauty unadorned”.
The bridegroom wore a suit of conventional black and fairly beamed with pleasure. I could not describe the dress of the guests. It is sufficient to say that all were supremely happy.
The bride, whose motto was “Noblesse oblige” had studied the taste of each of her guests and had arranged things accordingly. The extension resembled a conservatory and all the windows could be opened at once if necessary. At the end of the dining-room opposite the conservatory, was a huge fireplace, in which roared an old fashioned fire. One long table extended through this room. At the middle of this table sat the newly wedded pair under the floral bell. On the opposite side of the room from the wedding bell and hidden by a bank of ferns and flowers, was the orchestra. In front of the flowers, danced the Tarentula sisters for the entertainment of the guests. The Tarentula girls could never keep their feet still during music. They were happier dancing than eating as long as the music continued.
At the conservatory end of the table sat Mr. Apis, while opposite him in front of the roaring fire, sat old Grandfather Psorinum, in his fur cap and ulster. No one had the heart to ask him to remove his cap and coat, so the sad old man was happy for once. He wasn’t intending to go the wedding, but his grandson Sulphur insisted upon it. Sulphur is never so happy as when he has brought his grandfather Psorinum forward in society. Sulphur would like to have been seated beside the old man, but he couldn’t endure the heat, so was placed, at the right of the bride towards the conservatory, while his grandson young Nux vomica sat beside his great grandfather Psorinum.
At the fireplace end of the room sat Psorinum, Nux vomica, Arsenicum, Nitric acid, Rumex, Silica, Mercurius, Rhus toxicodendron, Baby Chamomilla, and Baby Aconite, while at the conservatory end sat Apis, Pulsatilla, Secale, Iodum, Sabadilla, Ledum, Bryonia, Ignatia and Natrum muriaticum, and all the rest were placed on either side between Ignatia sat at this end, because she and Nux vomica could never agree. Rhus toxicodendron wanted to be near the conservatory but he was always quarreling with Apis, so for the sake of peace, was placed towards the fireplace. During the seating of the guests, there came very near being an unpleasantness. Mercurius and Silica who had been accidentally placed side by side, were looking daggers at each other. For a moment, the bride was distressed, but peacemaker Hepar instantly comprehended the situation, and quietly slipping in between the belligerents, averted the trouble.
The wedding breakfast was the result of much study on the part of the bride. She intended at first to have dinner, but a study of the tastes of the guests revealed the fact that most of them would have to sit through one or more courses without eating. Phosphorus himself and several of the guests didn’t like warm food at all, so at the suggestion of the bridegroom, she laid aside all formalities, ordered all the favourite dishes of each of the guests and had everything placed upon the table at once. Much care had to be taken in this, lest the pork should be placed near Miss Pulsatilla, or the hot food near Mr. Phosphorus, etc. She called it a wedding breakfast. (Wedding breakfast means almost anything, you know.) The bride more readily fell in with this arrangement because it was the only way she could have her dish of boiled eggs. Boiled eggs are not themselves when served in salad.
Phosphorus didn’t care what he had, so long as it served cold and wasn’t sweet. Pickles were ordered for Apis, Psorinum and Hepar; dainties for Sulphur; lemonade for Pulsatilla; rye bread for Ignatia; oysters for Lachesis and Rhus; sardines for Nitric acid and Veratrum album; pork for Nux vomica; ham for Mezereum; bread and butter for Mercurius; boiled eggs for the bride etc. I couldn’t begin to tell all there was on that table, but each guest was suited in every way. There was even a bottle of croup medicine near Baby Aconite to be used in case of emergency. When she came to Baby Chamomilla, the bride was puzzled. She expected trouble with little Chamomilla, but she hit upon the plan of putting him into a patent chair that was run by electricity. It was arranged to move up and down, backward and forward and had a dish fastened in front. She ordered the dish filled with sauerkraut, fastened the baby into the chair, set the machinery going and lo! the problem was solved.
There were only one or two little drawbacks to the occasion. Pulsatilla was constantly using her handkerchief to wipe away the tears. She had no idea what she was crying about, but someone must cry at every wedding, you know. Arsenicum was a little greedy with the ice-cream and suffered. Mr. Apis fainted but revived as soon as the windows were opened. The fainting of Mr. Apis so frightened Miss Ignatia that she fainted also. She revived, only to begin sobbing hysterically, whereupon her grandmother Natrum muriaticum, seeing that the excitement had been too much for her, took her home that she might recover in quiet. Bryonia and Nux vomica couldn’t refrain from scolding a little about such a nonsensical fuss over nothing, but aside from these few drawbacks everything went off well and everybody was happy; even widow Platina for the time, laid aside her lofty feelings and was as merry as her despised neighbours, and when the bridal party left for the train, it was showered with good wishes and rice.