Saturday, March 19, 2016


Holy Matrimony

H.G. Wells (1866-1946), The History of Mr. Polly, Chapter 6, § IV:
The officiating clergy sighed deeply, began, and married them wearily and without any hitch.

"D'b'loved, we gath'd 'gether sight o' Gard 'n face this con'gation join 'gather Man, Worn' Holy Mat'my which is on'bl state stooted by Gard in times man's innocency...."

Mr. Polly's thoughts wandered wide and far, and once again something like a cold hand touched his heart, and he saw a sweet face in sunshine under the shadow of trees.

Someone was nudging him. It was Johnson's finger diverted his eyes to the crucial place in the prayer-book to which they had come.

"Wiltou lover, cumfer, oner, keeper sickness and health..."

"Say 'I will.'"

Mr. Polly moistened his lips. "I will," he said hoarsely.

Miriam, nearly inaudible, answered some similar demand.

Then the clergyman said: "Who gifs Worn married to this man?"

"Well, I'm doing that," said Mr. Voules in a refreshingly full voice and looking round the church. "You see, me and Martha Larkins being cousins—"

He was silenced by the clergyman's rapid grip directing the exchange of hands.

"Pete arf me," said the clergyman to Mr. Polly. "Take thee Mirum wed wife—"

"Take thee Mirum wed' wife," said Mr. Polly.

"Have hold this day ford."

"Have hold this day ford."

"Betworse, richpoo'—"

"Bet worsh, richpoo'...."

Then came Miriam's turn.

"Lego hands," said the clergyman; "got the ring? No! On the book. So! Here! Pete arf me, 'withis ring Ivy wed.'"

"Withis ring Ivy wed—"

So it went on, blurred and hurried, like the momentary vision of an utterly beautiful thing seen through the smoke of a passing train....

"Now, my boy," said Mr. Voules at last, gripping Mr. Polly's elbow tightly, "you've got to sign the registry, and there you are! Done!"

Before him stood Miriam, a little stiffly, the hat with a slight rake across her forehead, and a kind of questioning hesitation in her face. Mr. Voules urged him past her.

It was astounding. She was his wife!

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