He held out a small-sized box containing a most exquisite set of pearls, such as he fancied would be becoming to the soft, girlish beauty Wilford had described. Something in his father’s manner touched Wilford closely, making him resolve anew that if Kitty were not happy as Mrs. Cameron it should not be his fault. His mother had said all she wished to say, while his sisters had been gracious enough to send their love to the bride, Bell hoping she would look as well in the poplin and little plaid as she had done. Either was suitable for the wedding day, Mrs. Cameron said, and she might take her choice, only Wilford must see that she did not wear with the poplin the gloves and belt intended for the silk; country people had so little taste, and she did want Katy to look well, even if she were not there to see her. And with his brain a confused medley of poplins and plaids, belts and gloves, pearls and Katy, Wilford finally tore himself away, and at three o’clock that afternoon drove through Silverton village, past the little church which the Silverton maidens were decorating with flowers, pausing a moment in their work to look at him as he went by. Among them was Marian Hazelton, but she did not look up, she only bent lower over her work, thus hiding the tear which dropped from the delicate buds she was fashioning into the words, “Joy to the Bride,” intending the whole as the center of the wreath to be placed over the altar just where all could see it.
“The handsomest man I ever saw,” was the verdict of most of the girls as they came hack to their work, while Wilford drove on to the farmhouse where Katy had been so anxiously watching for him.
When he came in sight, however, and she knew he was actually there, she ran away to hide her blushes and the feeling of awe which had come suddenly over her for the man who was to be her husband. But Helen bade her go back, and so she went coyly in to Wilford, who met her with loving caresses, and then put upon her finger the superb diamond which he said he had thought to send as a pledge of their engagement, but had finally concluded to wait and present himself. Katy had heard much of diamonds, and seen some in Canandaigua; but the idea that she, plain Katy Lennox, would ever wear them, had never once entered her mind; and now as she looked at the brilliant gem sparkling upon her hand, she felt a thrill of something more than joy at that good fortune which had brought her to diamonds. Vanity, we suppose it was—such vanity as was very natural in her case, and she thought she should never tire of looking at the precious stone; but when Wilford showed her next the plain broad band of gold, and tried it on her third finger, asking if she knew what it meant, the true woman spoke within her, and she answered, tearfully:
“Yes, I know, and I will try to prove worthy of what I shall be to you when I wear that ring for good.”