But when the first rays of the sun streamed in at her window in the morning, she arose, and, after putting her room in perfect order, she opened the precious trunk and began to remove and undo the packages stored therein.
First, there was a long, flat box.
Opening it, she found a misty and ample veil of finest tulle, simply hemmed with a heavy thread of silk.
Then there was another smaller but deeper box, which contained a lovely wreath of pure white heath, with bouquets of the same mingled with lilies of the valley, for the corsage of her dress.
Still another, in which there was a pair of shining white satin boots, silken hose, and kid gloves, with a dainty handkerchief, fine and sheer as a cobweb.
Last, but not least, incased in several wrappings of soft white paper was the wedding-dress.
Virgie’s face paled and flushed many times while she was undoing this, for many hopes were centered in it, and tears rose unbidden to her eyes when at last it was laid out on the bed before her.
She had seen nothing one-half so lovely for years—not since she used to watch her mother dress for gay receptions and parties in the happy days so long ago.
It was of the finest India mull, very simply yet beautifully made, over an underskirt of plain white silk—an airy, gauzy thing, just suited for a youthful bride.
“How kind! how thoughtful!” the young girl breathed, as her glance ran over the different articles comprising her toilet. “He has not forgotten a single thing, and it is all so delicate and beautiful. This wreath of heath—how suggestive! and nothing could be prettier.
“Oh papa! I am glad you will have your wish, for it may be the very last one that can be gratified,” she concluded, with a long sigh.
Had it not been for her father’s condition, she would have been supremely happy on that bright morning. Even as it was, her heart was overflowing with love and gratitude toward her devoted lover for his kind consideration and generosity.
She went below at her usual hour to attend to her regular duties, which she performed in her customary quiet way, helping her father to rise and dress, arranging the rooms in the nicest order, and then serving breakfast to the invalid and their reverend guest.
Sir William was nowhere visible. He had spent the night with Mr. Abbot, and when morning broke he went away to his own cabin, where he remained until the hour for the ceremony.
The house was very quiet; there was no excitment, no bustle. Chi Lu alone betrayed any consciousness that an unusual event was to take place, and this only by a slight nervousness of manner and the restless flash of his dusky eyes.
After breakfast Virgie saw that her father was made comfortable in his reclining-chair in the parlor, and then giving him one last, lingering kiss, she turned to go up to her chamber to dress for her bridal.