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    • It was long, tedious work, even though, for the most part, it was just plodding along with the cows, making sure they all stayed together and went the right way they were supposed to.  Even after the wind picked up, there were only a few mavericks who tried to wander off on their own, but the drag riders managed to coax them back to the herd.   As the day progressed, Annie became less jiggy, and Justus could tell she was getting tired.  "It's all right, Miz Annie."  He patted the horse's neck, then tightened the bandanna that was keeping his hat from blowing away.   "Ya think this is just a dry wind?" Justus called to Loredo, "or somethin' more movin' in?"  There wasn't the smell of rain in the air yet, nor clouds, but he knew that the weather could change quickly.  "Will they try ta settle in camp early?"  It seemed to him that if there was 'weather' moving in, it was better to have the cattle settled than moving, but what did he know? He just hoped it didn't impact supper!   @Flip
    • "Wonderful!"  Jonah almost clapped, for this had been going on for so long, that he really expected that this would be some sort of new setback, and Leah certainly didn't need any more complications.  "I'm sure it's going to be a huge relief when they finally break ground.  It's going to be rewarding to watch it take shape, and for you to know you are responsible for it."   He hoped, for her sake more than anything, that the weather cooperated, and that the progress was swift and without complications.    "You'll be overseeing the project?"  He couldn't imagine that she'd step back now, and not assure that every detail was right.   @Flip
    • "Boss, we found us a herd ripe for the pluckin'. Maybe we oughtta move on it afore they change where they're grazin' 'em, an make it more difficult." Toole suggested. "We can take close to a hunderd head easy enough, they move 'em, thet might not be the way of it."   "'Scuse me men, but Toole here is on to something, and cattle is our other business. We've customers waiting up north." Case said, not happy at being interrupted, yet realizing that what he said was true. It was why they were there, and it was what the did. "So go on and make yourselves to home while I get this job situated."   "Oh sure thing, Case, an thanks for the offer. We appreciate it, 'mon boys." Shannon said, and with that they walked outside to find the other building Case was talking about.   "Alright Toole what did you have in mind?" Case asked.   "The place is just at the foothills where they have their cattle. Now any buildin's 'er maybe a mile, mile'n a half away. What we saw was just maybe four riders wit the cattle, may not hav'ta kill any of 'em. We just filter down through the trees and then rush 'em. Maybe eight 'er ten of us, circle the heard an' push 'em back the way we come which was the long way around , and shore they'll be tracks alomst all the way to the dry river bed, maybe  whot, two mile from the tree line. Hard ground to river bed, but they won't catch us, not seein's they're out numbered."   Case gave it some thought, but Toole had been plotting how they would steal a herd for quite a while, and he knew what he was doing. Besides, no County Sheriff, no problem!   "Pick your men, Toole and get it done." Case said, knowing if they got a hundred head, that would be enough to drive north, once the brands were altered.
    • Having a second thought, to bolster the findings he sent for Fairchild before he could leave for New Orleans, and in the vicinity of Elinor Steelgrave, that could be done at another time after this meeting with Elias himself.   It was like hedging his bet on the situation. He wanted Elias to meet the man who could explain what was in the file in detail, much better than he himself.  might be able to. Nothing like being prepared. Elias could be unpredictable when upset, if a man like Fairchild explaining what he had found could manage to keep Steelgrave manage-ably clam then the expense was worth it to all concerned.   He had to congratulate himself on the idea. It just might work!
    • List in hand, they made their way back to town and to the Anderson's Mercantile where they laid out their list of needs. John and Mary Agnes looked over the list and began adding prices, plus shipping where it was warranted.   "So, you're in the mining business Marshal?" John asked.   "We are." Alice replied with a wide proud smile on her face. Speed just looked at her.   "Amos here found a property to good to pass up, so I bought it myself." Speed said, "Actually two properties, the other on is off to the west, but this one is just north of the Evergreen Ranch a couple of miles."   "Ah that would be the Henshaw mine. Sad about his wife passing on so suddenly. Life can be hard out here, it was just too hard for Martha Henshaw, though she tried as hard as anyone could." Mary Agnes said. "Most all of what you have here we have in stock. Most all of this was on Henshaw's list as well, he just quit before he paid for it. I believe we can give you a good price on the machinery out back. Right John?"   "Yes we can, The fact is Speed I'll let you have it at our cost, plus the shipping expenses, of course. Be good to free up that room back there. Let me see here at my cost, yes, well, it looks to be just under three thousand dollars, without the things we have in stock that wasn't Henshaw's."   Fair enough John, and we appreciate it. Now, if you'll let me get up to the bank, we want to use their money until we get started, and then we'll settle up."   "Makes sense to me, it's what we did. Hated those monthly payments, but it worked for us." John agreed.   "We'll be back." Speed promised.

Ding Dong! The Bells Are Gonna Chime...

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Mature Content: No

With: Barnabas Pike, Clara Redmond, all are invited!
Location: Church
When: May / 12 / 1876
Time of Day: Afternoon




Funny, but Emeline didn't have any butterflies flitting in her stomach like she'd had for her first wedding, but then, she was older now, had grown out of necessity, and knew some of what to expect.


Even so, this was different, she had never had this feeling of bursting inside, there was nothing she wanted more in this world right now than to become Mrs. Barnabas Pike, to bind her soul to his for the rest of their days, and even though it had only been a few months, it felt to her as if it had been an eternity since he'd proposed to her on Christmas.


"Thank you for your help," she said to Clara, giving the girl a big hug, keeping it brief, though, since she knew Clara didn't like the contact.  "I can't believe it's time!"


With Clara's help, as well as that of a few of the other ladies in town, she had finished her dress just the day before, Clara had helped with her hair, although the style only vaguely resembled the plate from Godey's Lady's Book that they were trying to replicate...not that it mattered much, for even now, as she prepared to walk down the aisle, Emeline pulled a organza veil that was trimmed in lace and hung nearly to her waist.


"Someday, I'll return this favor."  She smiled at Clara, still amused that her 'Maid of Honor' was so young, and figuring it would be a few years before the roles were reversed, but she owed the young woman a great deal.


"Well, let's do this!"  Taking up the bouquet of pink and white wildflowers, she waited for Clara to open the door for her, then smiled and nodded to Judge Peabody, slipping her arm through his, then walking into the chapel.  Her eyes were on the floor ahead of them as they made their way to the alter, she didn't want to see Barnabas until that moment...



@Flip; @Wayfarer; @boshmi; @Javia; @JulieS

wedding dress.jpg

Edited by Bongo (see edit history)
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Mr. Ryker had done an admirable job fixing the harmonium. The foot-pumped bellows no longer made that embarrassing/hilarious farting noise on the lower registers and the non-sounding keys had been fixed. It wasn’t exactly a hundred stop, eight manual church organ, but Arabella could now at least get a decent sound from the thing. Just as well, as that was her sole purpose at the Pike-Blakesley wedding: she wasn’t invited as a guest, just as ‘church staff’ along with the celebrant. She was to play in the bride and accompany any hymns as part of the service.


This was no doubt going to be a very ‘grown up’ affair, the only young person that she knew for sure would be there, apart from herself; was Clara Redmond, who was Emeline’s bride’s maid: understandable as the two worked so closely together and Em provided a motherly influence for Clara that Ara had never really felt from Mrs Devereau.


Still, she’d put on her Sunday dress and tied a nice light blue ribbon in her hair.


The choice of music for the entrance of Mrs Blakesly, soon to be Mrs Pike, was a three cornered fight between the two popular ones: Mendelssohn's Wedding March, the Bridal Chorus from Wagner's opera Lohengrin (somewhat frowned upon in some ecclesiastical circles for it’s theatrical and pagan connotations) and finally Stephen Foster’s Camptown Races.


All right, Arabella had tossed the last suggestion into the ring because she liked the tune. It wasn’t really suitable at all! Still, it would at least add a bit of fizz to what might otherwise be a dull affair. After all, she reasoned, Mrs Blakesley had been around this particular block previously and even Mr. Pike, no spring chicken at thirty three, was rumoured to have been mysteriously engaged once before. Arabella thought the idea of the whole congregation singing “Doo Dah!! Doo Dah!!” as the bride walked down the aisle lively and fun.

Edited by Javia (see edit history)
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The morning had been spent at the jail, an odd starting point for the groom and best man, but then again, it was Pike and Guyer. Speed had never been in a wedding party, let alone best man, and Pike had never been married before, so they were both fidgeting with their frock coats, ties, shirt collars and just about everything else.


"Okay," Pike began, looking at his watch, "I gave you the ring, right?"


"I got it right here." Speed said, then checked his vest pockets, and then his frock, finally in his trousers he located it. He held it out for Pike to see. "Putting in my vest pocket."


"Good. Came all the way from Nevada. Know the man who made it, M.M. Fredrick, corner of C an' Union. across from the Bucket of Blood. Silver's from the mine I own a part of, at least he said it was. Ever try gettin' a woman's ring size?" None of what he was saying was of the slightest importance, but both were nervous. "Cost me twenty-two dollars. He drew out his pocket watch and checked the time again.


"Maybe we ought to head on over to the church." Speed suggested. "Odd having Dutton Peabody escoting Em."


"Yeah, hoped we could do it upstairs but, well, we're over't the church. An' Dutton, who'da thunk it? Right?"


Speed smiled. "Gonna ride?"


"Nope, walkin, rather have dusty boots than smell like a horse after the bath an' all. But shore, let's go."


Edited by Flip (see edit history)
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The two lawmen, with only minutes to spare, due to Pikes watch which was a good five minutes low, slipped in the back door of the church. and then stepped into the main part, jerking off their hats as they stood to the side as if they had been there all along. (Had to add this so they would be at the church.)

@boshmi@Bongo@Javia@JulieS, and, anyone else.

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This was actually Clara's first wedding, well unless she was at one back in Pennsylvania as a young child in attendance but if so she had no memories of it. So she was both curious and excited about it. Plus it was Emeline and she was just so happy for the woman. If anyone deserved happiness it was Emeline and while Clara had been less than impressed with her groom at first, as she got to know the man, she realized her original snap judgement was wrong, he was a good man and they should make a fine couple. Not that they needed her approval of course!


Emeline had asked her if she would be willing to help and Clara jumped at the opportunity besides it was more like an honor really. So she did her part with the dressing, the bride's hair, whatever was needed of her.


"Thank you for your help," Emeline gave the girl a big hug, keeping it brief, though, Clara accepted it well enough as it was Emeline afterall  "I can't believe it's time!"


"You are most welcome. This is all so ...fascinating. And yes, it is past time. You two deserve to be married," Clara replied.


"Someday, I'll return this favor." 


Clara shrugged, "I can only hope, we will see."


And then it was time for the ceremony. Emeline was ready alright, "Well, let's do this!" 


"Indeed, you look so beautiful. Let me get the door," Clara then opened the church doors and the procession began, she fell in behind the bride.






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Arabella's honky-tonk tune opened up the wedding into one of the more bizarre processional themes that Thomas had heard. It bore a strange familiarity to the sort of thing played at theaters in the eastern states, alongside dancing girls or perhaps a minstrel show.

Far be it from him to dissuade Arabella from any decided course of action, though, and so long as the bride and groom did not take issue, there was no problem to be found.


Speaking of which, the sly entrance of two particular lawmen would indicate that all were present and ready to begin, so when the bridesmaid hurried forward to open the door, Thomas gave her a thankful smile, and then led the procession across the narthex and down the aisle.

Admittedly, Arabella's unorthodox choice of tune did kind-of-sort-of work, but it's tempo seemed to encourage a quicker pace than usual, and Thomas found himself struggling not to march right up to the lectern as though he were still in the army. With a self-imposed lag, he managed to make it up to the altar at a reasonable rate, but he could only hope that the rest of the procession followed suit.


Finally, he turned to face the congregation, and opened the bible upon the altar as Emeline and Barnabas came to bear.


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As 'Camp Town Races began, Pike looked at Speed, who looked back at Pike, both in disbelief. Yes they had arrived late, but the tune was far from the solemn type of music that either of them had expected. But it was in progress as the bridal party made their way down the isle.


When Pike looked away from the harmonium player his eyes came to rest on Em, the bride, beautiful in her gown. His breath was taken away by the vision coming toward him. It was not as if there had been a transformation, not at all, it was as if her natural beauty had been enhanced by her gown and the vale, she was radiant! Although she was not looking up, it did not matter, in moments she would be standing at his side, about to become Missus Pike. Then Arabella could play whatever she wanted.


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Camptown Races?  Really?


Emeline glanced back at Clara and rolled her eyes, although she wouldn't see through the veil.  Oh, well, she had said more than once that she wasn't concerned about convention or formality, that was why she hadn't protested when Arabella declared that she would play the organ for the ceremony.  But she hadn't expected this!  At least fifty years from now people would still remember 'that wedding where the played 'Camptown Races' for the processional!


Well,  she  wasn't going to let a jaunty ditty ruin her day, and dear Dutton Peabody did a fine job of keeping the pace regal.


Half way up the aisle, Emeline's heart started to pound in her chest, and it felt like she couldn't breathe, but a kind pat on her arm from the man beside her stilled her nerves.  When they stopped, she finally looked up, seeing Barnabas through the fine white sheen of organza veil and a faint mist that she blinked away.


And when Judge Peabody placed her hand in Barnabas', Emeline couldn't remember ever having been so happy, nor so content and positive about the future.


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There was old Dutton Peabody, sober as  a judge, and looking proud as a peacock, Leading , a true vision of beauty down the aisle, his vision of beauty. His nerves flared up the instant he saw her, this was really happening! At long last it was becoming a reality and he was feeling a rush of excitement at the prospect, no the reality of the fact, that in just a few minutes she would become his wife.


The closer she came to him, the dazzling white gown clinging to her, the train trailing behind, and the ornate veil resting in her hair, she was a sight to behold, his sight, radiant in her own natural beauty which was simply enhanced by the gown. It was then that the magic happened, Dutton placed her hand in his and it was like no other feeling he had ever experienced, a rush of joy combined with that same electricity that jolted him the first time they kissed, and then she looked up at him and he thought his heart would either burst or explode through his chest! All that he could do was mile.



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Clara was outwardly calm, her eyes fixed on Emeline, looking simply heavenly in that white bridal dress, as they processed down the aisle but inwardly she was seething. How could Arabella play such a tune? A couple's wedding was not a joke, frivolity should be saved for the reception. But though she and Emeline exchanged a quick glance, that was the extent of it because it simply would only make things worse if she charged up to Arabella and silenced her. And it wasn't like she could take the girl's place, she did not know how to play or even read music. Hardly an important skill in life, she felt.


But the couple looked so happy as they held hands and the minister began the rites, Clara thought back to what her father and mother must have looked like, felt like way back. Maybe someday she would too.

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Arabella let the final few notes of Mr Pike and Mrs Blakesley’s chosen melody echo around the building and turned to watch the ceremony from her seat at the Harmonium. Well, she thought that was the one that they had chosen: to be honest, they’d started to discuss it at some length when she’d asked them and she’d become so distracted by the antics of some ants that were attacking a bumble bee who was all tuckered out on the ground, that she forgot to get a definitive answer on the musical matter. Oh well, everybody seemed happy enough with the tune, even if Judge Peabody did look a little out of breath.


Mrs B. looked lovely in her dress (but white, really?) and beautiful Clara in her finery next to her. That was funny, Clara was staring at her. Maybe for guidance. She gave her a little wave and mouthed ‘don’t be nervous!’


She wouldn’t have much to do now until the first hymn, so she sat on her hands and tried not to fidget. She had suggested that she play some soft chords in the background as the Reverend Thomas narrated the Wedding ceremony and that she shout out “I hear you Brother Thomas!” and “Testify Brother, Testify!” at apposite moments, like they did at their big camp meetings down South, but he had turned her down.

Edited by Javia (see edit history)
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With all assembled, and most craning eager faces in the altar's direction, Thomas took up his position and began the rites;

"Friends and relations, we are gathered here today, in the sight of God to witness and bless the joining together of Barnabas Pike and Emeline Blakesley in Christian marriage. The covenant of marriage was established by God, who created us male and female for each other, and in the sacrificial love of Jesus Christ, gave us the example for the love of husband and wife. Barnabas and Emeline come to give themselves to one another in this holy covenant."


He looked down at the couple, and gave them an encouraging smile.


"I ask you both now, in the presence of God and these people, to declare your intention to enter into matrimony, through the grace of Jesus Christ, who calls you into union with himself as acknowledged in your baptism. Will you give yourselves to each other, to live together in holy marriage? Will you love, honor, comfort, and keep each other, in sickness and in health, and forsaking all others, be faithful, as long as you both shall live?"



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Twining her fingers into Barnabas', Emeline clung to him for support, never wanting to let go, confident that she never would have to let go.


It was only after Reverend Thomas had said their names for the second time that she actually heard what he was saying, and she looked up at him with a soft smile.  She had no qualms about this, she was just so thrilled that it was finally happening!


"I ask you both now, in the presence of God and these people, to declare your intention to enter into matrimony, through the grace of Jesus Christ, who calls you into union with himself as acknowledged in your baptism. Will you give yourselves to each other, to live together in holy marriage? Will you love, honor, comfort, and keep each other, in sickness and in health, and forsaking all others, be faithful, as long as you both shall live?"


Looking into Barnabas' eyes, Emeline squeezed his hands, then nodded.  "I will."  No hesitation, no holding back, just firm conviction.


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Suddenly the Reverend was speaking. he had been locked into the eyes of his bride to be, feeling the love that was between them. Their fingers intertwined, their eyes shining, and even he had a mist in his eyes. It was happening right then, at that moment, the words were being said, what they were for a moment, he did not know, but then, he understood.


"... in the presence of God and these people, to declare your intention to enter into matrimony, through the grace of Jesus Christ, who calls you into union with himself as acknowledged in your baptism. Will you give yourselves to each other, to live together in holy marriage? Will you love, honor, comfort, and keep each other, in sickness and in health, and forsaking all others, be faithful, as long as you both shall live?"


He heard her say "I will," and he smiled. There were a thousand other agreements pushing through his brain when he heard himself say, "I will." Like there had been a better one? Not hardly. Both had tightened their grip on one another slightly as they made their intentions know. A thought passed through his mind, 'might not be long enough.'



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Both parties declared their intent, unashamedly in love. That's how it went, at least; most of the time...


He raised his eyes to the audience, encompassing friends and relations, and not-so-friends and not-so-relations, and even Arabella on the harmonium over in the corner, who had seemed very eager to participate in the sermon. Of course, he had turned her down. Her showtune was already a tenuous proposition, and any other concessions might have been a bridge too far.


"The marriage of Barnabas and Emmeline unites their families and creates a new one. They ask for your blessing. Do you who represent their families rejoice in their union

and pray God's blessing upon them?" he asked.


All would agree, or so he hoped. Very rarely did anyone take issue with a predetermined marriage on the date itself.


Edited by boshmi (see edit history)
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"They'd better!" Emeline declared with a grin, loud enough to be heard, "everyone knows I keep a shotgun by the door!"


No one was going to object, and even if they did, it wouldn't stop them!


She lifted back the fine veil that had been covering her face, seeing Barnabas clearly for the first time that day, then took the ring that Clara had been holding for her.  It was a simple gold band, engraved with their intertwined initials. 


Taking his hand, she slipped the ring onto his finger.  "I never thought I would find such joy, and I will do everything in my power to make you happy and keep your home...and make you laugh."  She quickly crossed her eyes and twisted her face up, a fleeting gesture that only he and the parson, and perhaps Speed or Clara might see!


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It was like her to make a face at him during the most solemn part of the ceremony, and that was one of the reasons that he loved her. and now it was his moment to say something to her about what was to come.


"I'm standin' here today because this woman is what my whole life will be about. To care for her, no matter what comes, to provide for her whether we're rich 'er poor, well 'er sick. Do all I can to make her happy, as happy as she makes me. So, best tighten yer cinch woman, we got it to do." He looked to Speed, who produced the ring which had made the trip from the Comstock without incident. He held it a moment, as he prepared to slide it on her finger. Solid silver with tiny inlaid gold hearts surrounding the quarter inch band. In a moment, it was on her hand.


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Clara held her breath when the minister asked if anyone had any objections, of course she didn't really expect that someone would dare say so aloud. But still, it would only take one rude idiot to shout out. She almost lost her solemn demeanor though at Emeline's crack, it was funny and so like her. The woman had a great sense of humor. Of course everyone approved and the ceremony moved on to the presentation of rings. Clara handed the ring in her care to Emeline and then watched and listened to Emeline put it on Pike's finger, and then there was another wisecrack and matching funny face by her too. This time Clara couldn't help herself but had to smile...for just an instant mind you.


They were going to make quite the couple alright.

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Arabella watched with vicarious pride as Clara fulfilled her role in the ceremony with such beauty, grace and charm. How lovely she looked. One day -oh, probably ever so far off and away into the future -  but one day, she knew that she too would make a lovely bride for some lucky man at the altar.


The transplanted Virginian girl was amazed when Emeline pulled a funny face: despite, or perhaps because of, the fact that it was the sort of thing she would do herself. But Mrs Blakesly – Pike now – was a grown up, an ancient old lady of 27, she hadn’t ought to be doing such things! At first she thought the poor woman was suffering a seizure: the pressure of the big day, etc. and it was with relief, at least, that she realised she was just (gasp) having fun.


Mr. Pike’s speech was sweet: Arabella wondered if he felt a little shy, having to say all this lovey-dovey stuff out loud in public in front of Marshall Guyer and the rest of the congregation. At the mention of tightening Mrs B’s cinch, her head filled with a rather disturbing and ludicrous picture of the pastry queen all saddled up, with a bit in her mouth, ready for Mr. Pike to ride on top of her. Well, there had been stranger wedding nights, she supposed.


Speechifying done, she twizzled on her stool, back to the harmonium and readied herself for the inevitable hymn: she needed to foot pump her bellows, ready for her next attack on the keyboard.


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Rings were exchanged, and a speech given at the declaration of intent. Thomas took up the bible which sat upon the lectern. "Let us pray." he said once the exchange had finished, he began the proceeding prayer.


"God of all peoples, you are the true light illumining everyone. You show us the way, the truth, and the life. You love us even when we are disobedient. You sustain us with your Holy Spirit. We rejoice in your life in the midst of our lives. We praise you for your presence with us, and especially in this act of solemn covenant; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen."


He glanced down at his bible, ribbon-marked and dog-eared several times over. "I will now read scripture from Isaiah 55, that we go out in joy. Feel free to, er... follow along, should you want."


Thomas cleared his throat, and began; "For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return there without watering the earth, and making it produce and sprout, and providing seed to the sower and bread to the eater; so will my word be which goes out of my mouth; it will not return to me empty, without accomplishing what I desire, and without succeeding in the purpose for which I sent it. For you will go out with joy and be led in peace; the mountains and the hills will break into shouts of joy before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands. Instead of the thorn bush, the juniper will come up, and instead of the stinging nettle, the myrtle will come up; and it will be a memorial to the Lord, an everlasting sign which will not be eliminated."


He paused for a moment, then added; "Just as this marriage shall be; an everlasting sign, which will not be eliminated. Amen."


Finally, looking up, he waved a hand to Arabella, only hoping that this time she stuck to a more conventional tune.


"Now, we will render 'Come Christians, Join to Sing', Arabella, if you'll...?"


Edited by boshmi (see edit history)
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He held the hand of his beautiful Emeline tenderly as he stood, gazing upon her as it it was the first time that he had seen her, truly seen her. A smile crept onto his face at this most solemn of moments. He could hear what was being said by the Reverend, Pastor, Priest, Pastor.


"Just as this marriage shall be; an everlasting sign, which will not be eliminated. Amen."


"Amen." escaped his lips. He wasn't much for church going, never had been. But Em wanted to attend so, come Sundays, he dressed up, as was the custom, and walked with her to the service.  Church had been different down in Texas where he was reared, but actual church? That had never been a part of his upbringing.


"Now, we will render 'Come Christians, Join to Sing', Arabella, if you'll...?"


There was a song starting up, with Arabella on the harmonium, but that didn't interrupt him at all, he mouthed along as the others sang. She was all that was relevant, all that was present for that matter. He had never felt like this, not ever in his life.





Edited by Flip (see edit history)
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If asked later, Emeline would not have been able to name the song any more than Barnabas, and even though she was singing along, her voice muted with emotion.  Of course, 'Camptown Races' would be the song everyone remembered, and she was sure they would laugh about it later.  And hopefully, the erstwhile girl wouldn't play them out with 'Buffalo Gals'!


The music stopped, the final lingering note finally fading, and now it was the good part, the hugging, the kissing, the presentation of the new couple. 


Then they could all retreat to the Lickskillet for the reception...she had made a few simple sandwiches and pastries, and Clara had done far more than that, and she was looking forward to what the girl had done for them (although there were rumors that Miss Arabella had pitched in, so there was no telling what they'd find!).  Bridget had helped as well, and Emeline was grateful for it all.


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Arabella had frowned when Brother Thomas had asked for Come, Christians, Join to Sing - not because she didn’t know it, it was in the Methodist hymnal so of course she knew it, it was just easier to find the music for it by the number. Why couldn’t he have just said “Now, we will render 158”?


Now that the ‘farting’ lower register had been fixed on the harmonium, though, she had to find other ways to have some fun, so she employed her favourite trick. At the end of the second chorus she played a very final sounding coda, then waited a second as people relaxed and closed the hymn books and started to sit down – then she launched into the third and final chorus: eliciting a mass scramble to reopen hymn books and stand back up again.


Praise yet the Lord again:

Alleluia! Amen!

Life shall not end the strain:

Alleluia! Amen!

On heaven’s blissful shore

his goodness we’ll adore,

singing forevermore:

Alleluia! Amen!


Arabella sang beautifully and stridently as she turned and looked at them all balefully, as if they must be a bunch of sinners not to have known there was another part of the hymn. Tut, tut, tut – burn in Hell for that.


She finished the last stanza and watched with some satisfaction how various members of the congregation closed their hymn books and sat themselves down a little bit more gingerly this time. Mission accomplished.


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Despite Arabella's childish gimmicky musical accompaniment, Clara thought Emeline's wedding ceremony was beautiful and it was wonderful how Emeline and Pronto took everything in stride. They kept their focus on each other and that was the point of it all.


Once the wedding party retired to the Lick Skillet, it was time for food and relaxation. Clara had decorated both the diner's interior and the yard where they could do some dancing then. There were sandwiches and pastries plus some tea, lemonade, cider, and a bottle of elderberry wine for a bridal toast. For a cake, Clara made a coconut cake from a recipe she had discovered in a Helena newspaper from some New England lady named Emily Dickinson. * It had no fancy decorations on it, Clara wasn't confident enough to try that but the cake was light and tasty.


*Emily Dickinson was actually an excellent baker and this is a real recipe she would make.




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Things must have ended, but Barnabas continued holding em's hands and looking into her eyes. He simply wanted to sweep her off her feet and carry her away, far away, where they would be together and suddenly people were getting up and filing out. Had they been pronounced? He did not know, but assumed as much, he would make it a point to clarify that with the Reverend in private. 


He wouldn't want the others to realize that he had been so intent on his bride he missed that part, or the kissing of the bride, which of course would have been his favorite part.


He needed to talk with Em about all this if he could pull her aside for a moment. Suddenly Barnabas 'Pronto' Pike was afraid he had ruined their nuptials. Afraid part of the ceremony that was months in the making, had slipped past him.


"Off to the Lickskillet, I believe?" He asked her, she who was glowing. "This here, with you, is the best moment in my life."


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