As for Keith, he was looking out for an opportunity to avail himself of the father’s permission; not very hopefully, but still not in entire despair; thinking that clever courting might perhaps win her in the end. And he felt that she was worth much effort and long waiting for.
The afternoon passed quickly and the party broke up early, partly because of the necessary preparations for to-morrow’s wedding. The Oaks family, having the most of that to attend to, were the first to leave, and the others soon followed.
Ever since gaining her father’s permission to tell Lucilla the story of his love, Captain Keith had been watching for a favourable opportunity to do so, but thus far without avail.
“Now,” he thought, as they drove on the homeward way from Roselands to Woodburn, “I must try to get a few moments alone with her this evening.”
He did not succeed, however; there were still several guests besides himself, and Lucilla seemed to be always in request for conversation, or taking part in some game. And directly after the evening service she slipped away to her own apartments and was seen no more that night.
In the morning it was equally impossible to catch her alone for even a moment, so busy and excited were all with regard to what was to be the great event of the day.
The ladies began their toilets soon after breakfast and were not seen again until about to enter the carriages which were to carry them to The Oaks; this time Keith had not even the pleasure of being in the same vehicle with Lucilla.
Then, arrived at their destination, the young girls vanished from his sight, going into the dressing room appointed for their use in robing themselves for the ceremony.
Lucilla and Grace were to be bridesmaids,—Laura Howard, also,—and Sydney maid of honour.
Only a few minutes before their arrival Dick had been admitted to the room where his bride sat arrayed in her wedding attire—the beautiful dress and veil provided by the kindness of her Cousin Elsie.
“Oh, my darling!” he exclaimed in astonishment, “how lovely you are and how beautifully dressed. This is not the dress you spoke of wearing,—this rich white satin,—and the veil. Why, Rosie’s own were not handsomer!”
“No, I think not,” said Maud, smiling at his pleasure. “They are dear Cousin Elsie’s own wedding garments, kindly lent to me because I had no time to procure such for myself; and I was willing—yes, very glad to borrow them, because they are so lovely and becoming, and because, you know, it is said to be good luck to have something old to wear, as well as something new. I hope my bridegroom approves?”
“He could not do anything else, seeing how lovely his bride looks in them,” Dick replied, putting an arm about her and holding her close with more than one tender caress. Then, holding her off a little for another and closer inspection, “Oh, Maud, darling, how lovely you are!” he exclaimed. “I feel a rich and happy man to think you are all my own, my very own. Dearest, it shall not be my fault if you do not find yourself a happy woman in the sweet, new home to which I am about to take you.”