Part 24 (1/2)

”I always did like the young gentleman--I am sure I always did,” she added, with an air of condescension. ”My daughter knows I always did. It was not on the young gentleman's account that I entertained a little misgiving (just a little) in reconciling the family connection.” Pausing suddenly, the lady turned to Mattie in a somewhat confused manner: ”My daughter, my daughter,” she returned, ”you must overlook a number of little things. You will--won't you? Now, don't say I am vain. But it was such a queer--yes, such a vulgar and very common name to carry into society.”

”There's just one favor I have to ask, my daughter. I am sure the young gentleman won't object to it--I am sure he won't.” Again Mrs. Chapman paused, and seemed a little confused.

”Certainly, ma, certainly,” replied Mattie, with a pleasant smile, ”anything to please my dear mother.”

”Well, then,” resumed Mrs. Chapman, mildly: ”There'll be no harm in changing the name a little--just a little, for the sake of the effect it will have on society. The young gentleman, I am sure he will (he has got the means to do it, you see) set up a nice establishment in the city, and (looking forward a little, you know) you will have a set of society of your own. Things change so, you see. You wouldn't mind changing the name so that it will read Von Toodleburg? T.B. Von Toodleburg would be so much nicer.”

I may mention here that such was the name the family took and flourished under at a subsequent period, as will appear in the second series of this work.

”Fix things, name and all, to your liking, my dear mother,” replied Mattie, laughing heartily. ”I don't believe t.i.te cares anything about it.”

”Never was ashamed of my name,” replied t.i.te, with an air of indifference, ”never was. But it doesn't matter much what a man's name is. They used to call me all sorts of names at sea.”

”Another little harmless request,” resumed Mrs. Chapman, with a condescending bow. ”You see there is Bowles. Bowles is such an excellent servant, and so very respectable. He has such a presentable appearance when in his livery. I have great respect for Bowles--he understands me so well. You won't have any objection to his having a fixed position in the family, will you?”

Mattie blushed, and drawing her mother aside, whispered in her ear: ”We can settle such matters, my dear mother, when others of more importance are disposed of.”

”But you know, my daughter,” she returned, with an air of great seriousness, ”he has done so much to make these common country people understand what our position was in the city.”

Two weeks were pa.s.sed in making preparations for the wedding. And now the day was come, and that ceremony that was to unite two loving hearts for weal or woe, which was to seal their fortunes in one bond, was to be performed in the little old church, quietly and unostentatiously, by Dominie Payson, for it had been settled after some reluctance on the part of Mrs. Chapman, that the job could be done by that worthy divine, and the world think none the less of the young people.