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Getting Married
by [?]

Meanwhile the decorators are hard at work. A thrill of pride inflates me when I think of the decorators at work. I don’t know how they got there; I suppose I must have ordered them. Celia says that she ordered them and chose all the papers herself, and that all I did was to say that the papers she had chosen were very pretty; but this doesn’t sound like me in the least. I am convinced that I was the man of action when it came to ordering decorators.

“And now,” said Celia one day, “we can go and choose the electric-light fittings.”

“Celia,” I said in admiration, “you’re a wonderful person. I should have forgotten all about them.”

“Why, they’re about the most important thing in the flat.”

“Somehow I never regarded anybody as choosing them. I thought they just grew in the wall. From bulbs.”

When we got into the shop Celia became businesslike at once.

“We’d better start with the hall,” she told the man.

“Everybody else will have to,” I said, “so we may as well.”

“What sort of a light did you want there?” he asked.

“A strong one,” I said; “so as to be able to watch our guests carefully when they pass the umbrella-stand.”

Celia waved me away and explained that we wanted a hanging lantern. It appeared that this shop made a speciality not so much of the voltage as of the lamps enclosing it.

“How do you like that?” asked the man, pointing to a magnificent affair in brass. He wandered off to a switch, and turned it on.

“Dare you ask him the price?” I asked Celia. “It looks to me about a thousand pounds. If it is, say that you don’t like the style. Don’t let him think we can’t afford it.”

“Yes,” said Celia, in a careless sort of way. “I’m not sure that I care about that. How much is it?”

“Two pounds.”

I was not going to show my relief. “Without the light, of course?” I said disparagingly.

“How do you think it would look in the hall?” said Celia to me.

“I think our guests would be encouraged to proceed. They’d see that we were pretty good people.”

“I don’t like it. It’s too ornate.”

“Then show us something less ornate,” I told the man sternly.

He showed us things less ornate. At the end of an hour Celia said she thought we’d better get on to another room, and come back to the hall afterwards. We decided to proceed to the drawing-room.

“We must go all out over these,” said Celia; “I want these to be really beautiful.”

At the end of another hour Celia said she thought we’d better get on to my workroom. My workroom, as the name implies, is the room to which I am to retire when I want complete quiet. Sometimes I shall go there after lunch … and have it.

“We can come back to the drawing-room afterwards,” she said. “It’s really very important that we should get the right ones for that. Your room won’t be so difficult, but, of course, you must have awfully nice ones.”

I looked at my watch.

“It’s a quarter to one,” I said. “At 2.15 on the seventeenth of June we are due at St. Miriam’s. If you think we shall have bought anything by then, let’s go on. If, as seems to me, there is no hope at all, then let’s have lunch to-day anyhow. After lunch we may be able to find some way out of the impasse.”

After lunch I had an idea.

“This afternoon,” I said, “we will begin to get some furniture together.”

“But what about the electric fittings? We must finish off those.”

“This is an experiment. I want to see if we can buy a chest of drawers. It may just be our day for it.”

“And we settle the fittings to-morrow. Yes?”

“I don’t know. We may not want them. It all depends on whether we can buy a chest of drawers this afternoon. If we can’t, then I don’t see how we can ever be married on the seventeenth of June. Somebody’s got to be, because I’ve engaged the church. The question is whether it’s going to be us. Let’s go and buy a chest of drawers this afternoon, and see.”