A mere two weeks after "the terrible denouement at Mrs. Jackson's," which was the subject of our last excerpt from The Gossips of Rivertown, the ladies of Rivertown have something new to gossip about. Here's our next offering.
If Mrs. Harden was nearly overcome with the Jackson affair, imagine the state of her mind when, not two weeks after, it was rumoured that Mr. Jorden was going to be married--and to whom, of all people, but Mrs. Jackson's sister.
Yes, Mrs. Smith must remember her--that tall girl that always wore such low-necked dresses, and, positively, she'd been seen sitting at the window in short sleeves! when she was up from New York last summer. To be sure, if Harriet had done a thing of the kind, all Rivertown would have been in arms about it--but it was Mrs. Jackson's sister, and that was enough to make anything go down with the young men. The fact was, if Mrs. Jackson had been some people's wife, they'd look out after her a little closer; she had such girlish ways. But it wasn't her (Mrs. Harden's) business--and perhaps it was well for the poor little lady that it was not.
Yes, Mr. Jorden was going to be married, and to a city girl--that was unpardonable. Why couldn't people be content with those they'd known for years and years--been brought up with, as one might say. As if Rivertown girls were not good enough for anybody, and quite genteel enough, too. What was more, Mrs. Jackson was going to give a grand party in honour of the bride, such a party as Rivertown had never seen. Invitations were to be issued a week beforehand, and a large party of New York people were coming up on purpose to be there. Mr. Jorden's brother was to be groomsman, coming all the way from Baltimore--for he had been adopted by his uncle, Livingstone Carroll, when he was quite a lad, and Mrs. Harden had almost forgotten how he looked. Jane--that girl was invaluable to Mrs. Jackson; so said her neighbours, and who had a better right to know about Mrs. Jackson's domestics?--Jane said the cake was to come from New York, too, and--but Mrs. Harden wouldn't pretend to tell half she heard about it. Didn't Mrs. Smith think Mary Butler'd feel well now? If she'd only behaved herself, she might at least have had an invitation to the party, and that was something, at all events, considering these gentlemen were coming from New York. Mrs. Harden wondered if Harriet would be asked. Oh, of course, though, being that they were such near neighbours.
Sketch the First. The Neighbours. Chapter IV