The next day at sharp nine two carriages were at the door.
But the ladies were not ready. Thus early in the campaign did they throw all into disorder. For so nicely had Raynal timed the several events that this threw him all into confusion. He stamped backwards and forwards, and twisted his mustaches, and swore. This enforced unpunctuality was a new torture to him. Jacintha told them he was angry, and that made them nervous and flurried, and their fingers strayed wildly among hooks and eyes, and all sorts of fastenings; they were not ready till half-past nine. Conscious they deserved a scolding, they sent Josephine down first to mollify. She dawned upon the honest soldier so radiant, so dazzling in her snowy dress, with her coronet of pearls (an heirloom), and her bridal veil parted, and the flush of conscious beauty on her cheek, that instead of scolding her, he actually blurted out, "Well! by St. Denis it was worth waiting half an hour for."
He recovered a quarter of an hour by making the driver gallop. Then occasional shrieks issued from the carriage that held the baroness. That ancient lady feared annihilation: she had not come down from a galloping age.
They drove into the town, drew up at the mayor's house, were received with great ceremony by that functionary and Picard, and entered the house.
When their carriages rattled into the street from the north side, Colonel Dujardin had already entered it from the south, and was riding at a foot's pace along the principal street. The motion of his horse now shook him past endurance. He dismounted at an inn a few doors from the mayor's house, and determined to do the rest of the short journey on foot. The landlord bustled about him obsequiously. "You are faint, colonel; you have travelled too far. Let me order you an excellent breakfast."
"No. I want a carriage; have you one?"
"I have two; but, unluckily, they are both engaged for the day, and by people of distinction. Commandant Raynal is married to-day."
"Ah! I wish him joy," said Camille, heartily. He then asked the landlord to open the window, as he felt rather faint. The landlord insisted on breakfast, and Camille sat down to an omelet and a bottle of red wine. Then he lay awhile near the window, revived by the air, and watched the dear little street he had not seen for years. He felt languid, but happy, celestially happy.
She was a few doors from him, and neither knew it.
A pen was put into her white hand, and in another moment she had signed a marriage contract.
"Now to the church," cried the baroness, gayly. To get to the church, they must pass by the window Camille reclined at.