“Will you give this dear girl to me, Mrs. Travilla? She doesn’t deny that she loves me, and she is dearer to me than words can tell.”
“Then I cannot refuse,” returned the mother, with emotion, “knowing as I do that you are all a mother could ask in a suitor for her dear daughter’s hand. But do not ask me to part from her yet; she is—you are both—young enough to wait at least a year or two longer.”
“So I think,” said Rosie’s grandfather, coming up and laying a hand on her shoulder. “It would be hard to rob my dear eldest daughter of the last of her daughters; to say nothing about grandparents and brothers.”
“Well, sir, I thank both her mother and yourself for your willingness to let her engage herself to me, but I at least shall find it a little hard to wait,” said Croly. “I am well able to support a wife now, and—don’t you think we know each other well enough, and that early marriages are more likely to prove happy than later ones?”
“No, I don’t agree to any such sentiment as that; old folks may as reasonably look for happiness—perhaps a trifle more reasonably—than young ones.”
The words seemed to be spoken by someone coming down the cabin stairway, and everybody turned to look at the speaker; but he was not to be seen.
“Oh, that was Cousin Ronald!” exclaimed Violet, with a merry look at him, “and no wonder, since he has gone courting again in his latter days.”
“What! is that possible!” exclaimed Mr. Hugh Lilburn, in evident astonishment. “And who? Ah, I see and am well content,” catching sight of Annis’ sweet, blushing face. “Father, I offer my hearty congratulations.”
A merry, lively scene followed, mutual congratulations were exchanged, jests and badinage and spirited retorts were indulged in, and in the midst of it all there were other arrivals; Walter returned bringing with him the two Dinsmores and the Conly brothers and their wives; they were told the news, and the captain noticed that Chester cast a longing glance at Lulu, then turned with an entreating, appealing one to him. But the captain shook his head in silent refusal, and Chester seemed to give it up, and with another furtive glance at Lucilla, which she did not see, her attention being fully occupied with the others, he too joined in the mirthful congratulations and good wishes.
Upon leaving the supper table the whole company resorted to the deck, where most of them spent the evening, being very weary with the sight-seeing of the day and finding restful seats there and a view of much that was interesting and enjoyable. Chester and his brother left early to take an evening train for the South.
“I am sorry for you that you must leave without having seen everything at the Fair, Chester,” Lucilla said in bidding him good-by, “but we can’t any of us stay the necessary forty-two years. I’ll see all I can, though, and give you a full account of it after I get home; that is, if you care to come over to Woodburn and hear it.”