Forty Modern Fables, by George Ade, , at sacred-texts.com
THREE Days before the Wedding was to be Pulled Off, Cupid sat on a Mantel in the Bache1 br's Apartment and made a few Remarks to the scared Bridegroom.
"Old Pal, you are in for it," said the Roly-Poly Match-Maker. "You are Elected by a Pennsylvania Majority. I have got you to the Point from which there can be no Crawfishing. You could not Weaken now, even if you wanted to. If you have any lingering Doubts as to the Wisdom of this Jump, pray Forget them."
"I have no Doubts nor Fears," replied the Bachelor. "I have captured the sweetest Child that ever drew the Breath of Life. The Future is to be one long Pleasure Excursion in a rubber-tired Vehicle over an Asphalt Road with Syringa Bushes blooming on either side."
"That's the Style of Talk I like to hear," said the delighted Cupid. "I got you into this Mix-Up with my little Bow and Arrow and justly celebrated Love Philters and I am pleased to know that you are going to Stick. It was I who arranged that First Meeting at the Summer Hotel when you spotted her in the Red Jacket and the Short Skirt. You will recall the Fact that she did not wear any Hat. When you saw her with the Truant Locks blowing around her Eyes arid the Dimpled Cheeks warmed by a bona-fide Blush, you began to walk sideways. When I lured the two of you out to the Links and observed that you stood for her Slicing and Pulling and Doctored her Score, I saw that it was a Clear Case. It was I who shooed away the Intruders when you sat beside her on the Rustic Bench and gazed at her Foolish-Like, and wanted to let your Right Arm do its Duty, but you lacked the Nerve and feared that it might Queer Matters. It was your own little Cupid who finally convinced you that you could go ahead and get Busy without causing her to Faint or Shriek for Assistance. I braced you up to taking the High Hurdle after you had Balked a dozen times, and she was beginning to think that you were a Stick. As Superintendent of all those Happy Hours in the Hammock and the Boat Rides on the Lake, when she listened to your Singing and pretended to like it, I flatter myself that my Work speaks for itself. I have handled this Case to the Queen's Taste and now that the Match has been Clinched by an Engraved Invitation and the usual Newspaper Notoriety, I feel that I am entitled to about Two Weeks' Vacation."
"But you are not going to Quit me at this Crisis, are you?" asked the Dismayed Bachelor. "Think of the Ordeal that the Family of the Bride and other Officious Friends have mapped out for us. In the dreadful round of Ceremonies now bearing down upon us, we need you more than ever."
"That may be," replied Cupid, "but about to-morrow Evening this Game will begin to be too hot for any mere Child, so I am going to take to the Deep Woods. I want to get away before you give your Farewell Kick-Up to the Best Man and the Ushers and other Rowdy Friends. It is now the Practice in our most polite Circles to get the Groom good and Ory-Eyed about twenty-four Hours before he Steps Off and then have him keep his Edge until the whole Show is over and he is loaded on a Sleeper. A Bachelor Dinner with a lot of Broken Glassware, the Best Man crying into the Olives and some one named Horace asleep in the Corner, is no Place for a tender Infant. I will have to cut it out. And I must pass up the Exercises at the Church and the Reception at the House. Excuse me from getting packed in with a lot of Jay Relatives that you have to Ask out of Politeness. I have a perfect Horror of the Gentlemen's Dressing Room, where everybody will be taking Bromo and telling what time he got out of the Turkish Bath. Probably you will be a Sight, especially around the Eyes. Our Relations have been so Idyllic up to this Stage of the Proceedings that I could not bear to see you approach these Nuptials in a Trance. As for the Reception, I have no desire to be trampled upon by 285 male and female Indians herded into a Residence built to accommodate about nine.
"It is going to be something Dire," said the Bridegroom, with a mournful shake of the Head. "However, I must see it to a Finish."
"I suppose you must," said Cupid, "but when the Florist, the Caterer, the fussy Female Manager and the Detective to watch the Presents, come in at the Door, Love flies out at the Window. Cupid cannot operate in a Crowd. If my gentle Influence could Prevail against the Power of Precedent, I never would permit you Two to stand in front of the Frozen Face and promise to Love, Honor and Obey. I am for the Whispered Vow in the Dusky Corner with two Folks sitting in a Chair built for one, but Nix the Circus Performance. I do not believe that True Affection should be hauled out to Show Off before a curious Mob. And when the Gang begins to crowd up to kiss the Bride, that is when Cupid wants to be somewhere else. I never could see the Poetry in having a Pink-andWhite Bride pawed over by a lot of Uncles and Aunts, to say nothing of Cousin Charley, who generally manages to Ring In as a Practical Joker. If I were you, I should Register a Kick."
"I'd like to, but it wouldn't do any good," said the Bridegroom. "All the imbecilic Customs must be observed."
"Yes," continued Cupid. "After you have tried to crowd a lot of Rich Food on a persecuted Stomach that looks up and says, 'Please Don't,' then you will start for the Train. At this Juncture the Rice-Throwing Comedian and the Wag who ties White Satin Ribbons on the Trunks will get in their Cute Work. I suppose you will be very Jolly on the Train, with every one On to you bigger than a House. Little Oochkins will wear her Gray Going-Away Gown. She ought to call it her Gray Give-Away Gown. Whichever way you turn you will hear the Stage Whisper behind you, 'Look at 'em!' You certainly have a Hatful of Hilarious Moments ahead of you, I don't imagine. If Cupid had his Way, every Marriage Service would be enacted in the still Moonlight, with no $10 Preacher to give the Cues, and only the Peeping Stars as Witnesses. The Young Couple would repair at once to a Lodge in some Vast Wilderness, eighty-five Miles from a Hotel Clerk or a Fresh Drummer. But, as I am telling you, Love has no Voice during the so-called Festivities. When you begin to Frost the Cakes and hang Smilax on the Chandeliers, I fly the Coop."
"But you will return?" asked the Groom.
"I will wait until you have had your Fill of running the Gauntlet in Strange Hotels and cowering before Head Waiters," replied Cupid. "You will have to stay on your Tour for at least a few Weeks, just to prove that you can Afford it. When you come back and assume a Lease and count up your. Presents and begin to Swap duplicate Pickle-Dishes and Lamps for something you can use in the Kitchen, I may look in on you. If you have managed to get along without having any Spats and are really anxious to keep away from the Inquisitive Public, I shall come around and scratch on the Door and possibly you will permit me to come in and take charge of your real Honeymoon. If I can get the cooperation of a good Cook, I think I may be able to show you a choice quality of Connubial Bliss. But I am off the Contract until you get through with this Splurge."
And Cupid faded away.
MORAL: If it were not For the Presents, an Elopement would be Preferable.