This time he would stop at Linwood, for Katy had asked Morris if he might, while Morris had told her “yes,” feeling his heart wound throb afresh, as he thought how hard it would be to entertain his rival. Of himself Morris could do nothing, but with the help he never sought in vain he could do all things, and so he gave orders that the best chamber should be prepared for his guest, bidding Mrs. Hull, his housekeeper, see that no pains were spared for his entertainment, and then with Katy he waited for the day, the last one in April, which should bring Wilford Cameron a second time to Silverton.
Wilford’s second visit.
Wilford Cameron had tried to forget Katy Lennox, while his mother and sisters had done their best to help to forget, or at least sicken of her; and as the three, Juno, Bell and the mother, were very differently constituted, they had widely different ways of assisting him in his dilemma, the mother complimenting his good sense in drawing back from an alliance which could only bring him mortification; Bell, the blue sister, ignoring the idea of Wilford’s marrying that country girl as something too preposterous to be contemplated for a moment, much less to be talked about; while Juno spared neither ridicule nor sarcasm, using the former weapon so effectually that her brother at one time nearly went over to the enemy; and Katy’s tears, shed so often when no one could see her, were not without a reason. Wilford was trying to forget her, both for his sake and her own, for he foresaw that she could not be happy with his family, and he came to think it might be a wrong to her, transplanting her into a soil so wholly unlike that in which her habits and affections had taken root.
His father once had abruptly asked him if there was any truth in the report that he was about to marry and make a fool of himself, and when Wilford had answered “No,” he had replied with a significant:
“Umph! Old enough, I should think, if you ever intend to marry. Wilford,” and the old man faced square about: “I know nothing of the girl, except what I gathered from your mother and sisters. You have not asked my advice. I don’t suppose you want it, but if you do, here it is. If you love the girl and she is respectable, marry her if she is poor as poverty and the daughter of a tinker; but if you don’t love her, and she’s rich as a nabob, for thunder’s sake keep away from her.”
This was the elder Cameron’s counsel, and Katy’s cause arose fifty per cent, in consequence. Still Wilford was sadly disquieted, so much so that his partner, Mark Ray, could not fail to observe that something was troubling him, and at last frankly asked what it was. Wilford knew he could trust Mark, and he confessed the whole, telling him far more of Silverton than he had told his mother, and then asking what his friend would do were the case his own.