Lady Rosamond stood before her mirror to place a tiny rosebud in the raven hair that encircled her stately head in luxuriant coils. Slight and graceful in form, she saw indeed a pretty picture reflected there. It seemed to mock her with pitying gaze. Her black silk dress revealed the snowy whiteness of her beautifully rounded shoulders and arms, pure as the marble mantel upon which she rested. The costly locket, with its flashing diamonds, suspended by a heavy gold chain, rested upon her bosom. She thought of her father’s kindness as she placed his gift to her lips, exclaiming, “Poor, dear papa, how I should like to see him to-night; I love him so fondly. If he knew what I am suffering perhaps he might relent. No doubt he is lonely to-night and wishing to see his ‘only little girl,’ as he lovingly calls me.”
Presently Lady Rosamond was formally ushered into the apartment where the company, comprising the family and a few intimate friends, were assembled to divest the Christmas tree of its gay clothing and appendages.
As a veritable Santa Claus presented each present, the all-important Johnnie was ready to exclaim: “Thank old Sandy for that, can’t you? What a hale old chap is Sandy!” Turning to Lieutenant Trevelyan, the incorrigible ventured to ask who might be Sandy’s tailor?
When among the presents a tiny case, lined with white velvet, revealed a jewelled cross of exquisite design, Sir Howard exclaimed gaily, “Lady Rosamond, a coincidence—the cross followed by an anchor!” producing at the same time a costly ornament in the form of an anchor. “Have no fear, your cross is outweighed by the anchor Hope in the end. What a beautiful encouraging omen!”
St. John’s eve.
It was St. John’s Eve; Government House was a scene of splendour; truly every precinct was a blaze of dazzling light. Here was assembled the distinguished, gay, beauty, and wit of the Province; the learned and severe as well as the thoughtless. Hearts beat with throbbing and exciting pulsation, fired by hope’s fondest dreams. The spacious drawing-room, already described in a preceding chapter, now assumed, if possible, a more brilliant aspect—flooded with light, rendered more effective by an additional chandelier, a gem of countless scintillations, distracting in variety and prismatic design. The courtly reception, high-born dignity and ease exhibited in every smile, gesture, word and action of the distinguished occupants, might recall vivid conceptions of the days when beauty and chivalry were conspicuous in homage to royalty and grand pageantry.