The reader, who perhaps has never held much converse in the language of far-off Lithuania, will be glad of the explanation that the place was the rear room of a saloon in that part of Chicago known as "back of the yards." This information is definite and suited to the matter of fact; but how pitifully inadequate it would have seemed to one who understood that it was also the supreme hour of ecstasy in the life of one of God's gentlest creatures, the scene of the wedding feast and the joy-transfiguration of little Ona Lukoszaite!
Ona was blue-eyed and fair, while Jurgis had great black eyes with beetling brows, and thick black hair that curled in waves about his ears--in short, they were one of those incongruous and impossible married couples with which Mother Nature so often wills to confound all prophets, before and after.
Suddenly some of the steam begins to advance, and, peering through it, you discern Aunt Elizabeth, Ona's stepmother--Teta Elzbieta, as they call her--bearing aloft a great platter of stewed duck.
His speech leaves them all so tearful that one of the guests, Jokubas Szedvilas, who keeps a delicatessen store on Halsted Street, and is fat and hearty, is moved to rise and say that things may not be as bad as that, and then to go on and make a little speech of his own, in which he showers congratulations and prophecies of happiness upon the bride and groom, proceeding to particulars which greatly delight the young men, but which cause Ona to blush more furiously than ever.
Ona was kept up by her excitement, but all of the women and most of the men were tired--the soul of Marija was alone unconquered.
No bill would be any less for turning out any one at this time; and then there would be the scandal--and Jurgis wanted nothing except to get away with Ona and to let the world go its own way.
Little Ona is nearly ready to faint--and half in a stupor herself, because of the heavy scent in the room.