Whaton and Bartles spoke to the clergyman first thing the next morning, explaining the need for a quick marriage. He agreed it was in the best interest of all parties to marry mmediately to avoid the appearance of wrong doing. Molly would have liked time to make a fine dress, but Aggie loaned her a lace collar and presented Molly with two yards of fine linen and a skein of lace for a new apron. Her blue Linsey-Wolsey was still new enough to make her proud as she stood beside Master Wharton in what was to be her new home. Aggie and Will Bartles felt like family as they stood up with her. The relief at her unexpected marriage help salve her grief at the loss of the first man she’d ever loved, the father of her unborn child. She determined to look ahead with joy and gratitude. They were all relieved when the minister stated he’d not checked a calendar in three days, so it was up to them to record their marriage dates in their own Bible. “I’ve lost track of the dates of a lot of marriages over the years. The happiness of a marriage never seemed to depend on the date,” he told them as he left.
Aggie had baked a honey cake and served a heady punch while Battles served a pig roasted with yams and corn, so the wedding feast was fine. Aggie and Will insisted on doing their evening chores as a wedding favor then left them alone as the crickets chirped and fireflies flashed in the early evening. They stood together in the fading light till her new husband told her they needed to go in.
“Sit with me,” he said, taking her hand and lead her to a seat at the table. “I know you didn’t marry me for love, but I vow that I will make you as good a husband as I am able. I will love you and hope you feel kindly toward me, as well. Your child will be mine. I won’t ask for more than you can give now, but look forward to being your husband n every sense when you’ve put your grief behind.”
“James, you are my husband today and every day. I would not have married you had I not intended to be your true wife. We will make our way together, Dearest.”
She stood and took his weathered hand.