The Rebellious Bride
The Rebellious Bride
"Miss Abigail, you look downright pretty," Miss Hattie exclaimed after tying a sash about Abigail's waist. The rosy pink matched the blush on her fair cheeks, and the young woman's blonde curls were combed so they fell softly to her shoulders. Rarely did they look anything but wild, and Hattie was taking the moment to admire the way she'd tamed the savage locks into place. The only thing that was savage about her now were her eyes, and they would never be tamed. Looking like some fierce bird's, a darker light always beamed out from under the blue color to make them whisper things no child of her age should know about. Hattie always thought her young charge's eyes were too wise for her, but then maybe in time she'd catch up.
"It should be a fine party tonight," Hattie added for good measure, her hands toying with the gray blue skirt, that had the look of the sky on a stormy day. Abigail looked a bit like a storm cloud floating by in her long full skirt. It was good the lace softened her appearance. Miss Hattie thought she was much too severe when she first saw the dress.
"Oh, I don't care about the party, Hattie," Abigail answered saucily.
"For heaven's sakes, why not? It's your wedding banquet, there'll be a hundred people there. What finer occasion could there be to celebrate? You'll be the center of attention, you always like that." Hattie continued to fuss with her hair.
"If getting married appealed to me, then perhaps I'd be happy." She gently slapped the woman's hand away.
"What! That strapping young gentleman, Miss Abigail, I'm surprised."
"He's fine enough, but a little too stiff, I think. I'm having a terrible time imagining myself any man's wife, let alone his. I'd much rather be off with Darcy."
"Darcy's a hellion you'd best stay away from," Hattie scolded.
"I'm meeting her tonight, after the party," Abigail informed her with a devilish grin.
"You're what!" The maid looked at her wide-eyed in horror.
"Shush. Father wouldn't hear of inviting her to my party, so we're having our own later, just the two of us."
The old woman shook her head. It certainly wasn't the first wild escapade she'd been privy to, though it might be her last, with the young mistress leaving her family home the following day as Aaron Barrow's bride. That was good, Hattie thought to herself, Abigail was getting much too old for Darcy's spirited shenanigans, and the rude aftermath that often follows.
"You've tried my patience for the last time," Hattie said shaking her head. "Just don't dare get caught, Little Miss." Hattie always called her "Little Miss" when she was lecturing. "You don't want to go down the aisle with a bruised bottom from your daddy's cane, now, do you?"
"Believe me, the satisfaction would be worth the trouble. But even father wouldn't be that cruel. Not on the day before my wedding." Her perky smile tried to convince a wiser Hattie. So sure of herself, the old maid noted. How like the breezes of summer and spring thunderstorms this one is. For all her relief she would miss her.
The banquet was a terrific success, so everyone thought. Never had Neville McPhearson's house gleamed so brightly. All the oil lamps had been polished until they sparkled. The silver shone and the finest china and linens graced the tables and sideboard. And of course, the bride-to-be looked ravishing in her shimmering dress, like some angelic vision, coming down the stairs to take the hand of her intended and accompany him to the festivities. She didn't look at all like herself, but some civilized lady; though no one who looked on was deceived into believing that Abigail had been duly tamed by the prospects of marriage. It was generally accepted that Miss McPhearson was marrying the right man for her. The no nonsense Aaron wouldn't put up with her antics any more than her father did. And just maybe, the