Clarissa: Chapter Twenty-Six

The morning of their wedding, as they were standing and talking together near the wharf, Clarissa and Roland, to their surprise, saw Roland’s brother stepping off of a boat. The two of them greeted Richard with a great deal of affection, and Roland delighted in being able to introduce his brother and his bride to each other. As Richard was not familiar with English as well, the three of them communicated happily in French and Clarissa offered Roland a place to stay with the family as she informed him that their father was in town as well. This was much to Richard’s liking, and the group walked towards Clarissa’s apartment to introduce Richard to his father, whom he had not seen in a few years.

Although the brothers did not have much time to catch up before the wedding, they did have at least enough time to discuss what they were doing and to celebrate the promotions that both of them had received in the service of counter-revolutionary regimes. After talking for a bit, it was time for the bride and groom to prepare for their wedding, and so they separated to do so. Roland went to the barracks and dressed in his best dress officer’s uniform. Since his brother had come, there was a rearrangement as to the placement of fellow officers to celebrate the wedding. The officers cheered Roland on and as many of them were married there was a great deal of understanding as to what would happen next, and nothing too wild about celebrations as they were professionals.

It is perhaps fortunate that Clarissa and Roland did not believe in the superstitious belief that a bride and groom should not spend time with each other on their wedding day, for had they not been wandering together near the wharf, it would have been more difficult for them to realize that Roland’s brother had been traveling to the wedding. Roland and Richard did not belong to a family that was used to traveling in the way that Clarissa’s family was used to traveling, even if the Viscount usually did not move much from Orient House himself. As it was, Clarissa found herself being taken care of by Lady Lipton, who helped her get ready in her beautiful if somewhat simple dress that played off her Mediterranean looks in an atmosphere that was well suited for it.

It was late morning when Clarissa Bennett and Roland de Villebois found themselves in the church waiting for the wedding to start. The officers of Roland’s regiment and the family of both bride and groom took up a fair bit of space within the small church in Gibraltar near the barracks. The wedding ceremony itself was handled simply enough, without a great deal of fuss, and when the ceremony was done there was a larger reception in which more people took part and enjoyed the food and drinks provided by Clarissa’s family.

After the wedding ceremony was done, Roland moved his belongings, such as they were, from the barracks to the new house he was going to share with Clarissa, which he already knew and liked. The two of them then spent some time talking to Richard and to their father, the Marquis, enjoying a bit of a family reunion. Richard shared his journey from Vienna and his new position, while Roland talked about the experience of fighting in Toulon, and both of them expressed their hope that the French people would eventually be able to have good government, as unlikely as that appeared at present. This conversation went well into the night, and soon it was time for Roland and Clarissa to go to bed together.

It is not the purpose of this account to pry into the private life of a new husband and wife who combined a passionate and affectionate nature with the self-restraint that had protected them from premature intimacy. Suffice it to say that Roland and Clarissa did not need any sort of sexual experimentation in order to enjoy each other’s company or to satisfy each other’s longings in that fashion. And that is really all that needs to be said about the matter. It is not our business to inquire further, except to note that husband and wife knew each other in the biblical sense and that there seemed little danger of either of them seeking intimacy from any other source from each other.

It must be admitted that even if Roland and Clarissa spent their first night as a married couple thinking only of each other, that there were plenty of other people who were thinking fondly and indulgently about them. Lady Lipton reminded Lord Lipton of how they had felt as a newlywed couple, and knew that there was a high likelihood that there would likely soon be young de Villebois children filling out the family tree of that noble French lineage. That was, after all, what was expected of couples, that they marry and then be fruitful and multiply in obedience to God’s oldest command.

The party of Lord Lipton, although a couple of the children were too young to understand what was going on, generally appreciated the opportunity to travel, and at least the oldest two sons of the family hoped that they would be able to travel more in the future. No one knew, after all, what the future held, but the opportunity to celebrate the joining of two families together by marriage always brought with it new connections and new opportunities to be informed about different aspects of life. It was to be assumed that the French emigre community would have a friend and supporter in Lord Lipton thanks to his own family connections, and people who were concerned about their ability to survive and blend into British society felt as if they had the chance to do so through service to common ideals and causes. This would hopefully lead to less stress upon British society itself.

As far as the other purpose of weddings in bringing people together who might wed in the future, this particular wedding did not have the composition of people that made such a thing more likely. There were no other unmarried young women around Clarissa’s age in her family network, and so there were no obvious brides to be found for Richard or for Henry, nor were there young ladies to flirt with for Lord Lipton’s children, who were at the age where they might at least be supposed to have a tender feeling for a girl that they danced with, had they had the chance to do so. Such opportunities would have to arise in the future.

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
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