"Then will ye trade her off for Valders-Roan?" ejaculated Garvestad, eagerly.
"No, I won't trade her for Valders-Roan or any other horse in creation."
"Don't be cantankerous, now, young fellow, or you might repent of it."
"I am not cantankerous. But I beg of you kindly to drop this matter. I came here, at your invitation, as a guest at your wedding, not for the purpose of trading horses."
It was an incautious speech, and was interpreted by everyone present as a rebuke to the bridegroom for his violation of the rules of hospitality. The captain, anxious to avoid a row, therefore broke in, in a voice of friendly remonstrance: "My dear Mr. Garvestad, do let us drop this matter. If you will permit us, we should like to dismount and drink a toast to your health, wishing you a long life and much happiness."
"Ah, yes, I understand your smooth palaver," the bridegroom growled between his teeth. "I have stood your insolence long enough, and, by jingo, I won't stand it much longer. What will ye take for your mare, I say, or how much do you want to boot, if you trade her for Valders-Roan?"
He shouted the last words with furious emphasis, holding his clinched fist up toward Erik, and glaring at him savagely.
But now Lady Clare, who became frightened perhaps by the loud talk and violent gestures, began to rear and plunge, and by an unforeseen motion knocked against the bridegroom, so that he fell backward into the horse-trough under the pump, which was full of water. The wedding-guests had hardly time to realize what was happening when a great splash sent the water flying into their faces, and the burly form of John Garvestad was seen sprawling helplessly in the horse-trough. But then--then they realized it with a vengeance. And a laugh went up--a veritable storm of laughter--which swept through the entire crowd and re-echoed with a ghostly hilarity from the mountains. John Garvestad in the meanwhile had managed to pick himself out of the horse-trough, and while he stood snorting, spitting, and dripping, Captain Carstens and his son politely lifted their hats to him and rode away. But as they trotted out of the gate they saw their host stretch a big clinched fist toward them, and heard him scream with hoarse fury: "I'll make ye smart for that some day, so help me God!"