“They are Cousin Elsie’s wedding dress and veil,” replied Maud. “And she lends them to me to be married in. But it is to be a secret. Nobody is to know anything about it till I appear with them on—when I am to add the name of Percival to those I already bear,” she concluded in a tone that seemed to indicate that she was jesting to hide an inclination to indulge in tears.
“I highly approve,” said Mrs. Dinsmore. “The things—dress and veil—are beautiful, and will make our bride look bewitchingly lovely; I strongly approve, too, of the plan of keeping the matter a close secret until the bride enters the room on the bridegroom’s arm. But does the dress fit you, Maud?”
“Perfectly; as if it had just been made for me!” exclaimed Maud in tones of delight. “Oh, I do feel so glad, and so thankful to dear Cousin Elsie! I fear it must be somewhat trying to her feelings to see me wear it; but she is not one to hesitate for that when she has an opportunity to do a kindness. She is a good Christian if ever there was one.”
“Indeed she is!” exclaimed Mrs. Dinsmore and Sydney in a breath.
Mr. Dinsmore had already left the room.
“But now, girls, we must bestir ourselves and make ready for the day,” added Mrs. Dinsmore. “You know the morning is to be spent by the whole connection at Pinegrove, and the afternoon at Roselands. It won’t take you long to get ready, will it?”
“No, only a few minutes,” both answered, and she hurried away to complete her own preparations.
“Oh, Maud, dear!” said Sydney, taking up the bridal veil and gazing admiringly upon it, “I am so glad Cousin Elsie has lent you this bit of loveliness, and that beautiful dress to be married in. You will look just bewitching; and how proud Dick will be of his bride. I wish he was here now to see these charming things. Do you mean to tell him about them and show them to him beforehand?”
“I don’t know; I really haven’t thought about it yet,” Maud answered. “But we must make haste, now, and not keep Cousin Horace and Sue waiting.”
At Woodburn Captain Raymond and his eldest daughter had had their usual early ramble together about the grounds; then, coming in, had found a large mail, containing a number of business letters for him, awaiting them.
“I hope they are such as I can answer for you on the typewriter, papa,” Lucilla said cheerfully.
“Yes,” he replied; “if you have time and inclination to do so.”
“Always time to work for my father,” she said, giving him a bright, sweet smile, as she seated herself before the machine.
“Then we will do it at once,” he said, returning the smile as he uncovered the machine and put the paper in place for her. “’Business before pleasure’ is a good rule, and my dear, helpful daughter makes it an easier one for me to follow than it would be without her assistance.”