By-and-by Mary disappeared. She would perhaps have preferred her ordinary dress—but the bridal white seemed to her to be due both to Louis and to the solemn rite and mystery; and when the time came, she met him, in her plain white muslin and long veil, confined by a few sprays of real orange flowers, beneath which her calmly noble face was seen, simple and collected as ever, forgetting in her earnestness all adjuncts that might have been embarrassing or distressing.
The large hall was darkening with twilight, and the flowers and branches that decked it showed gracefully in the subdued light. Prayer and praise had lately echoed there, and Louis and Mary could feel that He was with them who blessed the pair at Cana, far distant as they were from their own church—their own home. Yes, the Church, their mother, their home, was with them in her sacred ritual and her choice blessings, and their consciences were free from self-will, or self-pleasing, such as would have put far from them the precious gifts promised in the name of their Lord.
When it was over, and they first raised their eyes to one another’s faces, each beheld in the other a look of entire thankful content, not the less perfect because it was grave and peaceful.
‘I think mamma would be quite happy,’ said Mary.
THE MARVEL OF PERU.
Turn, Angelina, ever dear,
My charmer, turn to see
Thy own, thy long-lost Edwin here,
Restored to love and thee,
Lord Ormersfield sat alone in the library, where the fire burnt more for the sake of cheerfulness than of warmth. His eyes were weary with reading, and, taking off his spectacles, he turned his chair away from the table, and sat gazing into the fire, giving audience to dreamy thoughts.
He missed the sunny face ever prompt to watch his moods, and find or make time for the cheerful word or desultory chat which often broke and refreshed drier occupation. He remembered when he had hardly tolerated the glass of flowers, the scraps of drawing, the unbusinesslike books at his son’s end of the table, but the room looked dull without them now, and he was ready to own the value of the grace and finish of life, hindering the daily task from absorbing the whole man, as had been the case with himself in middle life.
Somewhat of the calm of old age had begun to fall on the Earl, and he had latterly been wont to think more deeply. These trifles could not have spoken to his heart save for their connexion with his son, and even Louis’s tastes would have worn out with habit, had it not been for the radiance permanent in his own mind, namely, the thankful, adoring love that finds the true brightness in “whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report.” This spirit it was which had kept his heart fresh, his spirit youthful, and changed constitutional versatility into a power of hearty adaptation to the least congenial tastes.