Wishful Weddings : Excerpt One

Romeo and Juliet

Juliet Capulet and Romeo Montague

Juliet Capulet, the sheltered daughter of Lord and Lady Capulet of fair Verona, was married yesterday to Romeo Montague, the ardent and impetuous son of Lord and Lady Montague, also of Verona. After a special dispensation from His Holiness the Pope, the ceremony was performed at the Church of the Annunciation by Friar Lawrence, who until now has restricted his duties to prayer and premarital counseling. Originally, both the bride and groom had expressed a strong desire for a moonlight ceremony on their very special spot, the balcony outside her bedchamber, but when they and Friar Lawrence and their immediate families all stepped out upon it for a rehearsal, it immediately crashed to the ground. Rushed to Verona for his estimate of the damage, Papal architect Michelangelo Buonarroti said that a new balcony of equal beauty could not possibly be built in time for the nuptial day.

The bride, 14, studied singing, flirting and gossiping with her nurse, and then learned aristocratic deportment and household supervision from her mother, Lady Maria Capulet, whose ancestors fought in the crusades to free Jerusalem from the infidels, and later introduced the pastry called Turkish delight to Italy. The ancestry of Lord Capulet is no less distinguished, and it was a fourteenth-century member of the Venetian branch of the family, Lord Luciano Capulet, who introduced the famous watercraft that still bears the name of his wife, the Lady Gondola of Milan.

Romeo, 19, who is majoring in falconry at the University of Turin, studied fencing with his friend Mercutio until the latter was killed in a street brawl with Tybalt, a kinsman of Mrs. Juliet Montague. When Romeo killed Tybalt in revenge, he was banished by the Duke until Lord Enrico Montague, Romeo's father, reminded the Duke that he had once saved him from drinking a Chianti '56, a gift from the vineyards of Lucretia Borgia. A gentleman of honor who can trace his ancestry back to King Priam of ancient Troy, the Duke returned the favor and pardoned Romeo on condition that he and the other Montagues forever after keep the public peace with the Capulets.

The wedding reception had just begun when Juliet 's old nurse was hurried away to her quarters. Already tipsy, she was singing a ditty to the effect that her former charge might become a mother in far fewer than the customary nine months after a nuptial night.



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