“Bring flowers, fresh flowers for the bride to wear;
They were born to blush in her shining hair;
She’s leaving the home of her childhood’s mirth;
She hath bid farewell to her father’s hearth;
Her place is now by another’s side;
Bring flowers for the locks of the fair young bride.”
A fair October day is waning, and as the shadows deepen and the stars shine out here and there in the darkening sky, the grounds at the Oaks glitter with colored lamps, swinging from the branches of the trees that shade the long green alleys, and dependent from arches wreathed with flowers. In doors and out everything wears a festive look; almost the whole house is thrown open to the guests who will presently come thronging to it from nearly every plantation for miles around.
The grand wedding has been talked of, prepared for, and looked forward to for months past, and few, if any, favored with an invitation, will willingly stay away.
The spacious entrance hall is brilliantly lighted, and on either hand wide-open doors give admission to long suites of richly, tastefully furnished rooms, beautiful with rare statuary, paintings, articles of vertu, and flowers scattered everywhere, in bouquets, wreaths, festoons, filling the air with their delicious fragrance.
These apartments, waiting for the guests, are almost entirely deserted; but in Elsie’s dressing-room a bevy of gay young girls, in white tarletan and with flowers in their elaborately dressed hair, are laughing and chatting merrily, and now and then offering a suggestion to Aunt Chloe and Dinah, whose busy hands are arranging their young mistress for her bridal.
“Lovely!” “Charming!” “Perfect!” the girls exclaim in delighted, admiring chorus, as the tirewomen having completed their labors, Elsie stands before them in a dress of the richest white satin, with an overskirt of point lace, a veil of the same, enveloping her slender figure like an airy cloud, or morning mist, reaching from the freshly gathered orange blossoms wreathed in the shining hair to the tiny white satin slipper just peeping from beneath the rich folds of the dress. Flowers are her only ornament to-night, and truly she needs no other.
“Perfect! nothing superfluous, nothing wanting,” says Lottie King.
Rose, looking almost like a young girl herself, so sweet and fair in her beautiful evening dress, came in at that instant to see if all was right in the bride’s attire. Her eyes grew misty while she gazed, her heart swelling with a strange mixture of emotions: love, joy, pride, and a touch of sadness at the thought of the partial loss that night was to bring to her beloved husband and herself.
“Am I all right, mamma?” asked Elsie.