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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 255 pages of information about Elsie's Womanhood.

Her idolized father only remained; and now all her gayety forsook her, all her calmness gave way, and clinging about his neck, “Papa, papa, oh papa!” she cried, with a burst of tears and sobs.

    “Holy and pure are the drops that fall,
     When the young bride goes from her father’s hall;
     She goes unto love yet untried and new—­
     She parts from love which hath still been true.”

It was his turn now to comfort her.  “Darling daughter,” he said, caressing her with exceeding tenderness, “we do not part for long.  Should it please God to spare our lives, I shall have my precious one in my arms in a few short weeks.  Meantime we can have a little talk on paper every day.  Shall we not?”

“Yes, yes, dear, dear, precious father.”

Mr. Travilla stood by with a face full of compassionate tenderness.  Putting one hand into her father’s, Elsie turned, gave him the other, and together they led her to the carriage and placed her in it.  There was a hearty, lingering hand-shaking between the two gentlemen.  Mr. Travilla took his seat by Elsie’s side, and amid a chorus of good-byes they were whirled rapidly away.

“Cheer up, my dear,” said Rose, leaning affectionately on her husband’s arm; “it is altogether addition and not subtraction; you have not lost a daughter but gained a son.”

“These rooms tell a different tale,” he answered with a sigh.  “How desolate they seem.  But this is no time for the indulgence of sadness.  We must return to our guests, and see that all goes merry as a marriage bell with them till the last has taken his departure.”

CHAPTER THIRTEENTH.

                                  “My bride,
    My wife, my life.  O we will walk this world
    Yok’d in all exercise of noble aim
    And so through those dark gates across the wild
    That no man knows.” 
                              —­TENNYSON’S PRINCESS.

Elsie’s tears were falling fast, but an arm as strong and kind as her father’s stole quietly about her, a hand as gentle and tender as a woman’s drew the weary head to a resting-place on her husband’s shoulder, smoothed back the hair from the heated brow, and wiped away the falling drops.

“My wife! my own precious little wife!”

How the word, the tone, thrilled her! her very heart leaped for joy through all the pain of parting from one scarcely less dear.  “My husband,” she murmured, low and shyly—­it seemed so strange to call him that, so almost bold and forward—­“my dear, kind friend, to be neither hurt nor angry at my foolish weeping.”

“Not foolish, dear one, but perfectly natural and right.  I understand it; I who know so well what your father has been to you these many years.”

“Father and mother both.”

“Yes; tutor, friend, companion, confidant, everything.  I know, dear little wife, that you are sacrificing much for me, even though the separation will be but partial.  And how I love you for it, and for all you are to me, God only knows.”

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