“I have known Wilford Cameron for years; he is my best friend, and I respect him as a brother. In some things he may be peculiar, but he will make your sister a kind husband. He loves her devotedly, I know, choosing her from the throng of ladies who would gladly have taken her place. I hope you will like him for my sake as well as Katy’s.”
His warm hand unclasped from Helen’s, and with another good-by he was gone, without seeing either Mrs. Lennox, Aunt Hannah or Aunt Betsy. This was not the time for extending his acquaintance, he knew, and he went away with Morris, feeling that the farmhouse, so far as he could judge, was not exactly what Wilford had pictured it. “But then he came for a wife, and I did not,” he thought, while Helen’s face came before him as it looked up to Morris, and he wondered, were he obliged to choose between the sisters, which he should prefer. During the few days passed in Boston he had become more than half in love with Katy himself, almost envying his friend the pretty little creature he had won. She was very beautiful and very fascinating in her simplicity, but there was something in Helen’s face more attractive than mere beauty, and Mark said to Morris as they walked along:
“Miss Lennox is not much like her sister.”
“Not much, no; but Helen is a splendid girl—more strength of character, perhaps, than Katy, who is younger than her years even. She has always been petted from babyhood; it will take time or some great sorrow to show what she really is.”
This was Morris’ reply, and the two then proceeded on in silence until they reached the boundary line between Morris’ farm and Uncle Ephraim’s, where they found the deacon mending a bit of broken fence, his coat lying on a pile of stones, and his wide, blue cotton trousers hanging loosely around him. When told who Mark was and that he brought news of Katy, he greeted him cordially, and sitting down upon his fence listened to all Mark had to say. Between the old and young man there seemed at once a mutual liking, the former saying to himself as Mark went on, and he resumed his work:
“I most wish it was this chap with Katy on the sea. I like his looks the best,” while Mark’s thoughts were:
“Will need not be ashamed of that man, though I don’t suppose I should really want him coming suddenly in among a drawing-room full of guests.”
Morris did not feel much like entertaining Mark, but Mark was fully competent to entertain himself, and thought the hour spent at Linwood a very pleasant one, half wishing for some excuse to tarry longer; but there was none, and so at the appointed time he bade Morris good-by and went on his way to New York.
First month of married life.