Before he could tell her how the Little Ones had been predestined, she notified him that her kinsmen had been peering into the Future and that all the problematical Offspring had been put on the Waiting List at the First Baptist Church.
Here was a grand Opening for Ferdinand. He resolved to make a Stand and issue a ringing Ultimatum. He might as well tip it off to her and the whole Tribe that he was to be Caesar in his own Shack.
So he went up to her House ready to die in the last Ditch rather than yield to the advocates of Immersion. After viewing the Problem in all its Aspects, he and Honey compromised by deciding that the Bairns were to be orthodox Baptists.
Having sponged every Blot from the Escutcheon and laid out the Labels for all Generations yet unborn, the incipient Benedick thought there would be nothing more to it except Holding Hands and watching the Calendar.
Just then a Dress-Maker swooped down and stole away the Light of his Life.
Every time he went up to scratch on the Door and beg for a Kiss, a Strange Lady with Pins in her Mouth would come out and shoo him away, explaining that the Pearl of Womanhood was laid out in the Operating Room, being measured for something additional.
Occasionally he saw her, at one of the many Dinners decreed by Custom. They had to sit Miles apart, with Mountains of unseemly Victuals stacked between them, while some moss-grown Offshoot of the Family Tree rose and conquered his Asthma long enough to propose a Toast to the Bride.
What they really craved was a Dim Corner and a box of Candied Cherries.
The only Speeches they wished to hear could have been constructed out of the 40 words of standard Baby Talk, comprising what is known as the Mush Vocabulary.
Yet they had to muster the same old property Smile every time that Charley Bromide or old Mr. Platitude lifted a shell of sparkling Vinegar and fervently exclaimed, “Thuh Bride!”
Even after the Menu had been wrecked and the satiated Revelers had laboriously pried themselves away from the decorated Board, there was no escape.
The Women Folks led Adele away to some remote Apartment to sound a Few Warnings, while the Men sat around in the Blue Smoke and joshed Ferdinand to a fare-ye-well.
Each morning he found in his Mail a few Sealed Orders from Headquarters and about as many Stage Directions as would be required for putting on the Annual Show at the Hippodrome.
When he was not begging some one to come and Ush for him, he was either checking over the Glove List with a terrified Best Man or getting measured for a full layout of dark Livery that made him look like a refined Floor-Walker.
It seemed that Adele had a Step-Mother who had been crouched for Years waiting for a chance to bust into the Papers. Nothing would do her but a regular Madison Square Phantasmagoria, with two Rings and an elevated Platform.
She wanted Ribbons down the Aisle and little Girls sprinkling Posies, a Concert Orchestra buried under the Palms, and a few extra Ministers of the Gospel just to dress the Pulpit.
Every superfluous Accessory devised by the Nerve Specialist and approved by the Court of Bankruptcy was woven into the Nuptial Circus when Ferdinand and Adele were made one and Unhookable.
The Rehearsals somewhat resembled the Moving Pictures of the Durbar at Delhi.
As a final Preparation for the Stupendous Pageant, the Groom sat up all night in the Dipsomania Club, watching the Head-Liners of the Blue Book demolish Glassware.
According to the dictates of Fashion, one who is about to assume the solemn Responsibilities of Matrimony should abstain from Slumber for a week, devoting the time thus saved to a full consideration of Food and Drink.
The Ambulance bore his Remains to the Church. A few faithful Hang-Overs lifted him through the Portals, with his Toes dragging somewhat in the Rear.
They propped him against a Pilaster and told him his Name and begged him not to weaken, no matter what the Preacher might put up to him.
Soon after he saw a Haggard Creature all fluffed about with White advancing unsteadily toward him. With the Make-Up, she did not look a Day over 47.
He did not hear any of the Service, but those who were more fortunate told him afterward that it was a very Pretty Wedding, and that the Presents they got were Simply Great.
MORAL: Too many Trained Nurses discommode Cupid.