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The final entry in Eleanor H. Porter’s charming Miss Billy Trilogy about a young orphan who finds love and acceptance in the family of her late father’s college friend, Miss Billy Married concludes the trilogy with an account of the heroine’s first few years as a newlywed. Through the ups and downs – including crossed wires with her new husband, difficulties in the domestic arena, and heartrending struggles with illness – Billy maintains the chipper attitude that has sustained her throughout all of life’s difficulties.
“I, Bertram, take thee, Billy,” chanted the white-robed clergyman.
“‘I, Bertram, take thee, Billy,’” echoed the tall young bridegroom, his eyes gravely tender.
“To my wedded wife.”
“‘To my wedded wife.’” The bridegroom’s voice shook a little.
“To have and to hold from this day forward.”
“‘To have and to hold from this day forward.’” Now the young voice rang with triumph. It had grown strong and steady.
“For better for worse.”
“‘For better for worse.’”
“For richer for poorer,” droned the clergyman, with the weariness of uncounted repetitions.
“‘For richer for poorer,’” avowed the bridegroom, with the decisive emphasis of one to whom the words are new and significant.
“In sickness and in health.”
“‘In sickness and in health.’”
“To love and to cherish.”
“‘To love and to cherish.’” The younger voice carried infinite tenderness now.
“Till death us do part.”
“‘Till death us do part,’” repeated the bridegroom’s lips; but everybody knew that what his heart said was: “Now, and through all eternity.”
“According to God’s holy ordinance.”
“‘According to God’s holy ordinance.’”
“And thereto I plight thee my troth.”
“‘And thereto I plight thee my troth.’”
There was a faint stir in the room. In one corner a white-haired woman blinked tear-wet eyes and pulled a fleecy white shawl more closely about her shoulders. Then the minister’s voice sounded again.
“I, Billy, take thee, Bertram.”
“‘I, Billy, take thee, Bertram.’”
This time the echoing voice was a feminine one, low and sweet, but clearly distinct, and vibrant with joyous confidence, on through one after another of the ever familiar, but ever impressive phrases of the service that gives into the hands of one man and of one woman the future happiness, each of the other.
The wedding was at noon. That evening Mrs. Kate Hartwell, sister of the bridegroom, wrote the following letter…