“But when may he not return?” Elsie said with a shudder. “Papa, I tremble for you, and for—Mr. Travilla.”
“I am far more concerned for you,” he answered, gazing upon her pale face with pitying, fatherly tenderness. “But let us cast this care, with all others, upon our God. ’Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on Thee; because he trusteth in Thee.’”
“Of truth, he truly will
all styles deserve
Of wise, good, just; a man both soul and nerve.”
The story reached Mr. Travilla’s ears that evening, and finding he could be spared from the sick-room, he hastened to the Oaks. His emotions were too big for utterance as he took his “little friend” in his arms and clasped her to his beating heart.
“God be thanked that you are safe!” he said at last. “Oh, my darling, my darling, what peril you have been in and how bravely you met it! You are the heroine of the hour,” he added with a faint laugh, “all, old and young, male and female, black and white, are loud in praise of your wonderful firmness and courage. And, my darling, I fully agree with them, and exult in the thought that this brave lady is mine own.”
He drew her closer as he spoke, and just touched his lips to the shining hair and the pure white forehead resting on his breast.
“Ah!” she murmured low and softly, a dewy light shining in her eyes, “why should they think it anything wonderful or strange that I felt little dread or fear at the prospect of a sudden transit from earth to heaven—a quick summons home to my Father’s house on high, to be at once freed from sin and forever with the Lord? I have a great deal to live for, life looks very bright and sweet to me; yet but for you and papa, I think it would have mattered little to me had he carried out his threat.”
“My little friend, it would have broken my heart: to lose you were worse than a thousand deaths.”
They were alone in Elsie’s boudoir, but when an hour had slipped rapidly away there came a message from Mr. Dinsmore to the effect that their company would be very acceptable in the library.
They repaired thither at once, and found him and Rose laying out plans for a summer trip. The matter was under discussion all the rest of the evening and for some days after, resulting finally in the getting up a large party of tourists, consisting of the entire families of the Oaks and Ion, with the addition of Harry and Sophie Carrington, and Lora with her husband and children; servants of course included.
They kept together for some time, visiting different points of interest in Virginia, Pennsylvania, and New York; spending several weeks at Cape May; where they were joined by the Allisons of Philadelphia; Mr. Edward and Adelaide among the rest, they having returned from Europe shortly before.