Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Happy 104th anniversary!

To our dear Aunt Frances and Uncle Gilbert!

Happy 104th wedding anniversary!

Might I quote a little of Maisie Ward's records of this happy day?

The wedding day drew near and the presents were pouring in. "I feel like the young man in the Gospel," said Gilbert to Annie Firmin, "sorrowful, because I have great possessions." [See Matthew 19:22]

Conrad Noel married Gilbert and Frances at Kensington Parish Church on June 28, 1901. As Gilbert knelt down the price ticket on the sole of one of his new shoes became plainly visible. Annie caught Mrs. Chesterton's eye and they began to laugh helplessly. Annie thinks, too, that for once in their lives Gilbert and Cecil did not argue at the Reception.

Lucian Oldershaw drove ahead to the station with the heavy luggage, put it on the train and waited feverishly. That train went off (with the luggage), then another, and at last the happy couple appeared. Gilbert had felt it necessary to stop on the way "in order to drink a glass of milk in one shop and to buy a revolver with cartridges in another." The milk he drank because in childhood his mother used to give him a glass in that shop. The revolver was for the defense of his bride against possible dangers. They followed the luggage by a slow train.
[Ward, Gilbert Keith Chesterton 151]

... The only fresh detail I have learnt about the wedding comes from Rhoda Bastable, a young cousin of Frances, who was a bridesmaid. She remembers Gilbert's arrival at the church, for once correctly dressed - except that he had forgotten to put on a tie. Rhoda's brother was sent rushing off to buy one and returned triumphant just in time to get it round his neck.
[Ward, Return To Chesterton 69]

And dear, fat Uncle Gilbert - you did explain that milk and gun thing:

It is alleged against me, and with perfect truth, that I stopped on the way to drink a glass of milk in one shop and to buy a revolver with cartridges in another. Some have seen these as singular wedding-presents for a bridegroom to give to himself, and if the bride had known less of him, I suppose she might have fancied that he was a suicide or a murderer or, worst of all, a teetotaller. They seemed to me the most natural things in the world. I did not buy the pistol to murder myself - or my wife; I never was really modern. I bought it because it was the great adventure of my youth, with a general notion of protecting her from the pirates doubtless infesting the Norfolk Broads, to which we were bound; where, after all, there are still a suspiciously large number of families with Danish names. I shall not be annoyed if it is called childish; but obviously it was rather a reminiscence of boyhood, and not of childhood. But the ritual consumption of the glass of milk really was a reminiscence of childhood. I stopped at that particular dairy because I had always drunk a glass of milk there when walking with my mother in my infancy. And it seemed to me a fitting ceremonial to unite the two great relations of a man's life. Outside the shop there was the figure of a White Cow as a sort of pendant to the figure of the White Horse; the one standing at the beginning of my new journey and the other at the end.
[GKC, Autobiography CW16:43-44]

How happy you were! Dear Auntie, remember this poem Gilbert wrote for you?

"At Night" (For Frances)

How many million stars there be,
That only God hath numbered;
But this one only chosen for me
In time before her face was fled.
Shall not one mortal man alive
Hold up his head?

Please ask "The God with the Golden Key" (about whom you both wrote so well) to bless all married couples with special graces on this wonderful day.

Sent from Cosmos E. (I mean, the E-cosmos... hee hee!)

Your nephew,
Dr. Thursday


At 28 June, 2005 19:33, Blogger Nancy C. Brown said...

A beautiful poem, touching. What does make some marriages last? How can young people so foolishly and frivolously throw away their most precious gift of chastity on a person they aren't married to and don't plan to marry? I am a bit sad today, knowing a special neice of mine has done this...she is 23 and he is 34 and they have no plans to marry (they claim they are incompatible in the kitchen). Oh my heart aches, my niece! My poor, poor niece. Chesterton was a great romantic, but what a bond he and Frances forged. Theirs was a very public relationship, we know a lot about how dependent he was on her, but I be there's a hidden story of how dependent she was on him...
Yes, let us pray for married couples. And let us pray for more young people to see and understand God's plan for marriage...

At 28 June, 2005 20:21, Blogger Robert Pearson said...

Thank you, Dear Doctor, for this uplifting post. I will read it to my bride.


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