Helen was a Christian girl, and many a time had she prayed in secret that He who rules the deep would keep its waters calm and still while her sister was upon them, and she prayed so now, constantly, burying her face once in her hands, and asking that Katy might come back to them unchanged, if possible, and asking next that God would remove from her heart all bitterness toward the bridegroom, who was to be her brother, and whom, after that short, earnest prayer, she found herself liking better. He loved Katy, she was sure, and that was all she cared for, though she did wish he would release her before twelve o’clock on that night, the last she would spend with them for a long, long time. But Wilford kept her with him in the parlor, kissing away the tears which flowed so fast when she recalled the prayer said that night by Uncle Ephraim, with her kneeling by him as she might never kneel again. He had called her by her name and his voice was very sad as he commended her to God, asking that he would “be with our little Katy wherever she might go, keeping her in all the mewandering scenes of life, and bringing her at last to his own heavenly home.”
Wilford himself was touched, and though he noticed the deacon’s pronunciation, he did not even smile, and his manner was very respectful, when after the prayer over and they were alone, the white-haired deacon felt it incumbent upon him to say a few words concerning Katy.
“She’s a young, rattle-headed creature, not much like your own kin, I guess; but, young man, she is as dear as the apple of our eyes, and I charge you to treat her well. She has never had a crossways word spoke to her all her life, and don’t you be the first to speak it, nor let your folks browbeat her.”
As they were alone, and it was easier for Wilford to be humble and conciliatory, he promised all the old man required, and then went back to Katy, going into raptures over the beautiful little Geneva watch which Morris had just sent over as her bridal gift from him. Even Mrs. Cameron herself could have found no fault with this, and Wilford praised it as much as Katy could desire, noticing the inscription: “Katy, from Cousin Morris, June 10th, 18—,” wishing that after the “Katy” had come the name Cameron, and wondering if Morris had any design in omitting it. Wilford had not yet presented his father’s gift, but he did so now, and Katy’s tears dropped upon the pale, soft pearls as she whispered: “I shall like your father. I never thought of having things like these.”
Nor had she, but she would grow to them very soon, while even the family gathering around and sharing in her joy began to realize how great a lady their Katy was to be. It was late that night ere anybody slept, if sleep at all they did, which was doubtful, unless it were the bride, who with Wilford’s kisses warm upon her lips, crept up to bed just as the clock was striking twelve, nor woke until it was again chiming for six, and over her Helen bent, a dark ring about her eyes and her face very white as she whispered: “Wake, Katy darling, this is your wedding day.”