people about, besides, the excitement might be too much for her. Tell you what I'll do, so's you shan't have to eat your heart out--I'll open the window-shutter flat against the wall. You'll be able to see it from the back of the house if you lean over the hedge . . .'--and he moved off.
Charles tied his horse to a tree. Then he ran to the footpath and waited. Half an hour passed, after which he counted another nineteen minutes by his watch. Suddenly there was a noise of something striking the wall. The shutter had been thrown open: the catch was still vibrating.
Next morning he was at the farm about nine. Emma blushed as he entered, though she tried to laugh in order to keep herself in countenance. Old Rouault embraced his future son-in-law. All talk about money matters was postponed. After all, there would be plenty of time for that, because the wedding could not decently take place until the period of Charles's mourning was over, that is to say, not until the spring of the following year.
In this state of waiting the winter passed away. Mademoiselle Rouault was busy with her trousseau. Part of it was ordered from Rouen, and she spent much time making nightdresses and nightcaps with the help of fashion-plates which she borrowed. Charles's visits to the farm were taken up with discussion of plans for the ceremony. In which room, they wondered, should the wedding-breakfast be laid, how many courses should they have, and what should the main dishes be?
Emma, for her part, would have liked a marriage at midnight* by the light of torches, but her father thought such an idea nonsensical. At last, matters were settled, and the wedding-party took place. The guests numbered forty-three, and sixteen hours were spent in eating. Next day the whole business began over again, and was repeated, on a miniature scale, during the rest of the week.
THE guests arrived early, and in a variety of vehicles--dog-carts, two-wheeled traps, old cabs minus their hoods, furniture vans with leather curtains. The young people from the nearer villages came standing packed together in wagons, holding on to the sides to keep