The pleasure of our friends, during the rest of their stay at Viamede, was somewhat dampened by this unfortunate episode, though Elsie, for her father’s sake, did her best to rally from its effect on her spirits, and to be cheerful and gay as before.
Long, bright, loving letters from home, and Ion coming the next day, were a great help. Then the next day brought a chaplain, who seemed in all respects so well suited to his place as to entirely relieve her mind in regard to the future welfare of her people. He entered into all her plans for them, and promised to carry them out to the best of his ability.
So it was with a light heart, though not without some lingering regrets for the sad ones and the loveliness left behind, that she and her father set out on their homeward way.
Mr. Dinsmore’s man John, Aunt Chloe, and Uncle Joe, went with them; and it was a continual feast for master and mistress to see the happiness of the poor old couple, especially when their grandchild Dinah, their only living descendant so far as they could learn, was added to the party; Elsie purchasing her, according to promise, as they passed through New Orleans on their return trip.
Dinah was very grateful to find herself installed as assistant to her grandmother, who, Elsie said, must begin to take life more easily now in her old age. Yet that Aunt Chloe found it hard to do, for she was very jealous of having any hands but her own busied about the person of her idolized young mistress.
A glad welcome awaited them at home, where they arrived in due season for Adelaide’s wedding.
Sophie and Harry Carrington had returned from their wedding trip, and were making their home with his parents, at Ashlands; Richard, Fred, and May Allison, came with their brother Edward; but Harold, who was to meet them at Roselands, was not there. He had engaged to act as second groomsman, Richard being first, and there was much wondering over his absence; many regrets were expressed, and some anxiety was felt.
But Elsie and her father kept their own counsel, and breathed no word of the episode at Viamede, which would have explained all.
Harold’s coming was still hoped for by the others until the last moment, when Fred took his place, and the ceremony passed off as satisfactorily as if there had been no failure on the part of any expected, to participate in it.
It took place in the drawing-room at Roselands, in presence of a crowd of aristocratic guests, and was considered a very grand affair. A round of parties followed for the next two weeks, and then the happy pair set sail for Europe.
“My plots fall short, like
darts which rash hands throw
With an ill aim, and have too far to go.”
—SIR ROBERT HOWARD.
“I’m so glad it’s all over at last!”
“What, my little friend?” and Mr. Travilla looked fondly into the sweet face so bright and happy, where the beauties of rare intellect and moral worth were as conspicuous as the lesser ones of exquisite contour and coloring.