Open main menu

Page:Tono-Bungay.djvu/228

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
220
TONO-BUNGAY

Marion wore the white raiment of a bride, white silk and satin, that did not suit her, that made her seem large and strange to me; she obtruded bows and unfamiliar contours. She went through all this strange ritual of an English wedding with a sacramental gravity that I was altogether too young and egotistical to comprehend. It was all extraordinarily central and important to her; it was no more than an offensive, complicated, and disconcerting intrusion of a world I was already beginning to criticize very bitterly, to me. What was all this fuss for? The mere indecent advertisement that I had been passionately in love with Marion! I think, however, that Marion was only very remotely aware of my smouldering exasperation at having in the end behaved "nicely." I had played-up to the extent of dressing my part; I had an admirably cut frock-coat, a new silk hat, trousers as light as I could endure them—lighter, in fact—a white waistcoat, light tie, light gloves. Marion, seeing me despondent, had the unusual enterprise to whisper to me that I looked lovely; I knew too well I didn't look myself. I looked like a special coloured supplement to Men's Wear, or The Tailor and Cutter, Full Dress For Ceremonial Occasions. I had even the disconcerting sensations of an unfamiliar collar. I felt lost—in a strange body, and when I glanced down myself for reassurance, the straight white abdomen, the alien legs confirmed that impression.

My uncle was my best man, and looked like a banker—a little banker—in flower. He wore a white rose in his buttonhole. He wasn't, I think, par- ticularly talkative. At least I recall very little from him.

"George," he said once or twice, "this is a great occasion for you—a very great occasion."