Caterina was singing the very air from the Orfeo which we heard her singing so many months ago at the beginning of her sorrows. It was ’Ho perduto’, Sir Christopher’s favourite, and its notes seemed to carry on their wings all the tenderest memories of her life, when Cheverel Manor was still an untroubled home. The long happy days of childhood and girlhood recovered all their rightful predominance over the short interval of sin and sorrow.
She paused, and burst into tears—the first tears she had shed since she had been at Foxholm. Maynard could not help hurrying towards her, putting his arm round her, and leaning down to kiss her hair. She nestled to him, and put up her little mouth to be kissed.
The delicate-tendrilled plant must have something to cling to. The soul that was born anew to music was born anew to love.
On the 30th of May 1790, a very pretty sight was seen by the villagers assembled near the door of Foxholm Church. The sun was bright upon the dewy grass, the air was alive with the murmur of bees and the trilling of birds, the bushy blossoming chestnuts and the foamy flowering hedgerows seemed to be crowding round to learn why the church-bells were ringing so merrily, as Maynard Gilfil, his face bright with happiness, walked out of the old Gothic doorway with Tina on his arm. The little face was still pale, and there was a subdued melancholy in it, as of one who sups with friends for the last time, and has his ear open for the signal that will call him away. But the tiny hand rested with the pressure of contented affection on Maynard’s arm, and the dark eyes met his downward glance with timid answering love.
There was no train of bridesmaids; only pretty Mrs. Heron leaning on the arm of a dark-haired young man hitherto unknown in Foxholm, and holding by the other hand little Ozzy, who exulted less in his new velvet cap and tunic, than in the notion that he was bridesman to Tin-Tin.
Last of all came a couple whom the villagers eyed yet more eagerly than the bride and bridegroom: a fine old gentleman, who looked round with keen glances that cowed the conscious scapegraces among them, and a stately lady in blue-and-white silk robes, who must surely be like Queen Charlotte.
‘Well, that theer’s whut I coal a pictur,’ said old ‘Mester’ Ford, a true Staffordshire patriarch, who leaned on a stick and held his head very much on one side, with the air of a man who had little hope of the present generation, but would at all events give it the benefit of his criticism. ‘Th’ yoong men noo-a-deys, the’re poor squashy things—the’ looke well anoof, but the’ woon’t wear, the’ woon’t wear. Theer’s ne’er un’ll carry his ‘ears like that Sir Cris’fer Chuvrell.’
‘Ull bet ye two pots,’ said another of the seniors, ’as that yoongster a-walkin’ wi’ th’ parson’s wife ’ll be Sir Cris’fer’s son—he fevours him.’