“Farewell, Ivy Cliff! I shall return to you again, but not the same being I was when I left your pleasant scenes this morning.”
“A happier being I trust,” replied Miss Carman, one of her bridemaids.
Rose Carman was a young friend, residing in the neighborhood of her father, to whom Irene was tenderly attached.
“Something here says no.” And Irene, bending toward Miss Carman, pressed one of her hands against her bosom.
“The weakness of an hour like this,” answered her friend with an assuring smile. “It will pass away like the morning cloud and the early dew.”
Mr. Emerson noticed the shade upon the face of his bride, and drawing near to her, said, tenderly—
“I can forgive you a sigh for the past, Irene. Ivy Cliff is a lovely spot, and your home has been all that a maiden’s heart could desire. It would be strange, indeed, if the chords that have so long bound you there did not pull at your heart in parting.”
Irene did not answer, but let her eyes turn backward with a pensive almost longing glance toward the spot where lay hidden among the distant trees the home of her early years. A deep shadow had suddenly fallen upon her spirits. Whence it came she knew not and asked not; but with the shadow was a dim foreboding of evil.
There was tact and delicacy enough in the companions of Irene to lead them to withdraw observation and to withhold further remarks until she could recover the self-possession she had lost. This came back in a little while, when, with an effort, she put on the light, easy manner so natural to her.
“Looking at the signs?” said one of the party, half an hour afterward, as she saw the eyes of Irene ranging along the sky, where clouds were now seen towering up in steep masses, like distant mountains.
“If I were a believer of signs,” replied Irene, placing her arm within that of the maiden who had addressed her, and drawing her partly aside, “I might feel sober at this portent. But I am not. Still, sign or no sign, I trust we are not going to have a storm. It would greatly mar our pleasure.”
But long ere the boat reached Albany, rain began to fall, accompanied by lightning and thunder; and soon the clouds were dissolving in a mimic deluge. Hour after hour, the wind and rain and lightning held fierce revelry, and not until near the completion of the voyage did the clouds hold back their watery treasures, and the sunbeams force themselves through the storm’s dark barriers,
When the stars came out that evening, studding the heavens with light, there was no obscuring spot on all the o’erarching sky.
Under the cloud.