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Full Online Book HomeLong StoriesWest Wind Drift - Book 2 - Chapter 14
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West Wind Drift - Book 2 - Chapter 14 Post by :cshawl Category :Long Stories Author :George Barr Mccutcheon Date :May 2012 Read :2140

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West Wind Drift - Book 2 - Chapter 14

BOOK II CHAPTER XIV

A fortnight later, Ruth and Percival were married. He was now governor of Trigger Island.

The ceremony took place at noon on the Green in front of the Government Building,--(an imposing name added to the already extensive list by which the "meeting-house" was known),--and was attended by the whole population of the island. His desire for a simple wedding had been vigorously, almost violently opposed by the people. Led by Randolph Fitts and the eloquent Malone, they demanded the pomp and ceremony of a state wedding. As governor of Trigger Island, they clamoured, it was his duty to be married in the presence of a multitude! A general holiday was declared, a great "barbecue" was arranged--(minus the roasted ox),--and when it was all over, the joyous throng escorted the governor and his lady to the gaily decorated "barge" that was to transport them from the landing to the Doraine.

Olga Obosky made the bride's bonnet and veil, and draped the latter on the morning of the wedding day. Like the fabled merchants of the Arabian Nights she appeared to the bride-elect and displayed her wares. From the depths of her theatre trunks she produced a bewildering assortment of laces, chiffon, silks, and the filmiest of gauzes.

"You must not be afraid zat they will contaminate you," she explained, noting the look of dismay in Ruth's eyes. "Zey have never adorned my body, zey have never been expose to the speculating eye of the public, zey have not hid from view these charms of mine. No, these are fair and virtuous fabrics. It is you who will be the first to wear them, my friend. Take your choice. See! Zis piece, is it not wonderful? It comes from Buda Pesth. One day it would perhaps have caressed my flesh in the Dance of the Sultan's Dream,--but, alas,--zat is not to be. Feel, my friend,--take it in your hand. See? You could hide it in the palm of one of them,--and presto! Throw it outspread,--and it is like a blanket of mist filling the room. It is priceless. It is unobtainable. None except Obosky can afford to dance in such imperial stuff as this. Take it,--it is yours. It is my pleasure that you should have it. Better far it should be your bridal veil than to drape these abandoned legs of mine."

And so it was that the scant costume of the Sultan's Dream became the bridal veil of the governor's lady.

If Olga Obosky was sore at heart, she gave no sign. On the contrary, she revealed the sprightliest interest in the coming nuptials. Percival himself had told her the news within the hour after his interview with Mrs. Spofford. In his blind happiness, he had failed to notice the momentary stiffening of her body as if resisting a shock; he did not see the hurt, baffled look that darkened her eyes for a few seconds, and the swiftly passing pallor that stole into her face and vanished almost instantly. He saw only the challenging smile that followed close upon these fleeting signs, and the mocking gleam in her eyes.

"So?" she had said. "So the citadel is yours, my friend. Hail to the chief! I salute you. But consider, O conqueror, what it is you are about to do. You are setting a woeful example. There will be a stampede, a panic. People will trample each other under foot in ze mad rush for captivity. The wedding bell will crack under ze strain of so much ringing. Everybody will be getting married, now zat they find it is so easy and so simple. I congratulate you, my friend. You have been very slow,--I have said she was yours for the asking, you will remember. She is good, she is beautiful, she is pure gold, my friend. I am her friend. Do not ever forget, my Percivail, I am her friend."

He flushed warmly. He could not misinterpret her meaning. She spoke slowly, deliberately. It was renunciation on her part.

"I understand, Olga," he said.

She smiled, and shrugged her shoulders.

"Oh, but you do not understand!" she cried. "You are so very much perplexed. It is enough for me that you are perplexed. I am content. I am the puzzle you will never solve. So! La la! You will never cease to wonder. Look!"

She pointed her finger at a man who was crossing the Green below them.

"I am a puzzle to zat man also. He thought that he understood."

"Landover? What do you mean?"

A spasm of fury transformed her features. She hissed out the words:

"I did spit in his face last night,--zat is all."

The thirteenth of April, 1918, came on Saturday. Defying superstition, Ruth selected it as her wedding day. It was a bright, warm autumn day, bestowed by a gallant sun, and there was great rejoicing over this evidence of God's approval. It came as a winter's whim, for that night the skies were black and thunderous; the winds roared savagely between the lofty walls of Split Mountain and whined across the decks of the slanting Doraine, snug in the little basin, while out on the boundless deep the turmoil of hell was raging.

And so began the honeymoon of the stowaway and the lady fair, even as the "voyage" of the jockey and his bride had begun a fortnight before. They sat at the Captain's table in the ghostly, dismantled saloon. Above them hung two brightly burnished lanterns, shedding a mellow light upon the festal board. Outside, the whistling wind, the swish of the darkened waters, the rattle of davits and the creak of the straining timbers.

Up from his place at the head of the table rose the gray and gallant skipper.

"Up, gentlemen," said he, his face aglow. "I give you the health, the happiness and the never diminishing glory of the governor's lady."

"May she never be less," added the gaunt First Officer, who spent his days ashore watching the growth of a new Doraine and his nights on board with the failing master of the older one.

And in the rare old port from the Captain's locker they pledged the radiant bride.

"A long voyage and a merry one!" cried Mr. Codge, the purser, as he drained his goblet dry.

Mr. Furman Nicholas Chizler bowed very gravely to the lady on the Captain's right, and then to the one at his left.

"What care we which way we sail so long as the wind's behind us?" quoth he.

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NEXT BOOKS

West Wind Drift - Book 3 - Chapter 3 West Wind Drift - Book 3 - Chapter 3

West Wind Drift - Book 3 - Chapter 3
BOOK III CHAPTER IIIIt was Olga Obosky who discovered and exposed the plot. A young Spaniard had fallen hopelessly, madly in love with her. He was a good-looking, hard-eyed boy from the pampas,--a herder who was on his way to visit his mother in from Rio. He was a "gun-slinger" bearing close relationship to the type of cowboy that existed in the old days of the Far West but who is now extinct save for pictorial perpetuation on the moving-picture screens. Down in his wild young heart smouldered a furious jealousy of Percival. Crust played upon this jealousy to fine effect.
PREVIOUS BOOKS

West Wind Drift - Book 2 - Chapter 13 West Wind Drift - Book 2 - Chapter 13

West Wind Drift - Book 2 - Chapter 13
BOOK II CHAPTER XIIIAs he swung jauntily down the road in the direction of his "office," all the world might have seen that it was a beautiful place for him. He passed children hurrying to school, and shouted envious "hurry-ups" to them. Men and women, going about the morning's business, felt better for the cheery greetings he gave them. Even Manuel Crust, pushing a crude barrow laden with fire-wood, paused to look after the strutting figure, resuming his progress with an annoyed scowl on his brow, for he had been guilty of a pleasant response to Percival's genial "good-morning." Manuel went
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