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   Chapter 4 No.4

Elsie at Home By Martha Finley Characters: 14110

Updated: 2017-11-30 00:05


"Oh, Rosie, you here? I'm delighted! I hope you have come to spend the day?" exclaimed Lucilla, as on Monday she and Grace, on leaving the schoolroom where they had been reciting to their father, passed out upon the veranda in search of Evelyn and the older ladies and found Rose Travilla seated with the others.

"Thank you; but suppose I have come intending to stay longer than that? as long as mamma does, for instance?" laughed Rose, giving and receiving an affectionate caress; for they had seen nothing of each other for several days.

"The longer the better," was Lucilla's hearty rejoinder. "Do you not say so too, Mamma Vi?" turning to her.

"Indeed I do," said Violet. "She will certainly make a most pleasant addition to our party."

"I think you may as well accept the invitation, Rosie," her mother said with a pleased smile; "and as I know you do not care to keep your errand a secret from any of your friends here, we can call a family council and talk the matter over."

"Yes, mamma; that sounds as though you accept Solomon's teaching that 'In the multitude of counsellors there is safety.' And since he was the wisest of men we may surely consider ourselves safe in so doing. So, if you like, you may tell Lu and Gracie on what errand I came."

"Tell it yourself, child," returned her mother with an amused look.

At that Rosie held up a letter to the view of Lucilla and Grace, saying, with a smile and blush, "It is from Will Croly. He has grown tired of waiting and begs to have matters hurried up somewhat: proposes that I change my name next month, though the prescribed year of waiting would thereby be shortened by two months or more."

"Oh, do let him have his way, then!" exclaimed Grace-"at least if he will promise not to carry you off at once after the wedding-for there could not be a lovelier month for it than beautiful June, the month of roses."

"So I should say," chimed in Lucilla, then added hastily, "though I think I'd make him wait till June of next year, rather than leave such a mother as Grandma Elsie so soon."

At that Rosie glanced at her mother and her eyes filled with unbidden tears.

"I can't bear to think of that," she said with a tremble in her voice, "but perhaps I can coax Will to settle down somewhere in this neighbourhood-bringing his father and mother along so that they won't be lonely."

"A very nice plan, Rosie dear, if you can manage to carry it out," remarked Violet.

"And I have hope that Will, at least, will favour the plan; for he seemed much pleased with this neighbourhood when he was here," said Rosie, adding with a laugh and blush, "and I know my wishes carry great weight with him."

"And we will hope that those of his parents may coincide with yours," added her mother gently; "for I am sure my Rosie would not wish to be the cause of unhappiness to them."

"No, indeed, mamma; I can assure you it is my earnest desire to add to their happiness; not to take from it. I am strongly in hopes, however, that when they come to know you and all the rest of my dear relatives here, they will esteem it a delight to live in your midst."

"And I don't believe they can help it," said Grace. "I am sure everybody who knows Grandma Elsie, mamma, and papa-not to mention all the other dear people-loves them and their pleasant society."

"In all of which I am sure you are quite right, Gracie," said Evelyn.

"I, too," said Lulu. "But now let us hear the plans for the wedding."

"They are yet to be made," laughed Rosie.

"You will want a grand one?" Lulu said in a tone of mingled assertion and inquiry.

"Not so very," Rosie answered with a slight shake of her pretty head. "I think only the relatives and most intimate friends. They alone will make quite a party, you know. I'll want some bridesmaids. You'll be one, Lu, won't you? Unless you fear the truth of the old saying, 'Twice a bridesmaid never a bride.'"

"Pooh! what difference need that make?" returned Lulu; "since I don't intend ever to marry."

"You don't?" exclaimed Rosie.

"No; for there is not another man in the world whom I could love half so dearly as I love my father."

"Oh, well! that is only because you and the right one haven't happened to meet yet."

"Yes, Lulu," said Grandma Elsie, "at your age I thought and felt just as you do now, but some years later I found that another had gained the first place in my heart."

"But my father is so much kinder and more lovable than ever yours was," was the answering thought in Lucilla's mind, but unwilling to hurt the dear lady's feelings she refrained from expressing it, and only said with a little laugh of incredulity, "I suppose I should not be too certain, but I am entirely willing to run the risk of again acting as bridesmaid."

"So that much is settled," returned Rosie in a tone of satisfaction. "I have always counted upon Eva as another," she continued, "but--"

"Thank you, Rosie dear, but of course I cannot serve-under present circumstances," returned Evelyn in a tone of gentle sadness.

No one spoke again for a moment; then Violet broke the silence by asking, "How many do you think of having, Rosie?"

"Perhaps six," was the reply, in a musing tone, "at least including flower girls and maid of honour. Gracie, you will be one of the bridesmaids, will you not?"

"If papa does not object, as I hardly think he will."

"Maud and Sydney Dinsmore I think will serve," continued Rosie. "And wouldn't it be a pretty idea to have Elsie Raymond and Uncle Horace's Elsie, who is about the same size, as either bridesmaids or flower girls?"

Everyone approved of that idea.

"Now, it will be in order, I suppose, to settle about the material and colour of our dresses," remarked Lucilla.

"Perhaps it might be as well to first decide at what time of year they are to be worn," suggested Mrs. Travilla in her gentle tones.

"Yes, mamma, but-you do not want to disappoint Will, do you? And June is really the prettiest month in the year for a wedding, I think," said Rose.

"None lovelier, daughter," her mother responded with a slight sigh, "but October, my own wedding month, seems to me no less suitable."

"Why, yes, to be sure! if only Will could be satisfied to wait till then."

"It will be hardly longer than the time he was given to understand he must expect to wait," returned her mother pleasantly, "or than he ought to think my Rose worth waiting for. But at all events, daughter, we must consult with your grandpa before deciding. Have you had any talk with him on the subject?"

"No, mamma; I preferred coming to you first, and am almost sure grandpa will think it a matter for you to decide."

"Probably; yet I shall want his opinion; and besides he is your guardian as well as your grandfather."

"Along with you, mamma; and I love him as both, he is so dear and kind."

"He is indeed," assented her mother. "He has told me more than once or twice that my children are scarcely less dear to him than his own."

"Partly because our father was hi

s dear friend as well as his son-in-law," added Violet softly.

"Yes; they were bosom friends before I was born," her mother said with a far-away look in her eyes.

"Then you must have been very much younger than he, Grandma Elsie," remarked Grace, half inquiringly.

"Sixteen years younger. I was in my ninth year when I saw him first, and more than twice that age before I thought of him as anything but a dear, kind friend-my father's friend and mine."

"And after that he seemed to you to grow younger, did he not, mamma?" asked Rosie.

"Yes; when he joined us in Europe I had not seen him for two years, and as regarded age he seemed to have been standing still while I grew up to him; and in the daily and intimate intercourse of those months I learned that his worth was far greater than that of any other man of my acquaintance-excepting my father. Ah, there was never a better man, a truer friend, a kinder, more devoted husband and father than he."

The sweet voice trembled with emotion; she paused for a moment, then went on:

"He does not seem dead to me-he is not dead, but only gone before into the immediate presence of the dear Master, where I hope one day to join him for an eternity of bliss.

"''Tis there we'll meet

At Jesus' feet,

When we meet to part no more.'"

Again there was a brief silence, presently broken by the coming of the captain and his two younger children. All three seemed pleased to find Rosie there, greeted her affectionately, and then the captain remarked, glancing from one to another:

"It strikes me that you are all looking about as grave as if assembled to discuss the affairs of the nation. Can I have a voice in the subject, whatever it is?"

"Yes, Brother Levis," replied Rosie, "I am trying to make arrangements for-doing what you have done twice. And perhaps, since you have had so much practice, you may be more capable than these other friends and relatives of giving me advice."

"Something that I have done twice? What can that be?"

"Will Croly wants to help me," returned Rosie with a laugh and a blush.

"Ah! now I understand. Is the vexing question as to the colour and material of the wedding gown?"

"Mamma thinks the first thing is to settle when the ceremony is to be performed. She does not seem to sympathise in Will's haste to have it over."

"Which is not at all surprising," returned the captain, glancing at his two older daughters. "I can quite understand the feeling. But what is the time proposed by Will?"

"June of this year."

"June seems a very suitable month, but if you were my daughter I should say not June of this year-since you are both young enough to wait for that of next or the year after."

"Ah, sir! that was not the way you talked when you wanted to rob mamma of one of her daughters."

"No; but I was some years older than Mr. Croly is now, and your sister Violet very womanly in her ways."

"And I am not? Ah, well! perhaps it is fortunate for me that the decision rest with mamma and grandpa."

"So you, too, are in haste?" queried the captain, regarding her with a look of amusement.

"Not at all," she returned, drawing herself up with an air of pretended indignation. "Who would be in haste to leave such a home and mother as mine? If I consulted only my own feelings I should be more than willing to wait another year."

"Then why not decide to do so?" he asked with a quizzical look.

"Because I really have some regard for the wishes of my betrothed."

"And it makes it hard for you that the different ones you love cannot agree so that you might please them all," remarked Grace, then exclaimed, "Ah, here comes grandpa!" as at that moment the Ion carriage turned in at the great gates.

Mr. Dinsmore seldom let a day pass without a more or less extended interview with his eldest daughter, and had now come for a call at Woodburn, bringing his wife with him.

When the usual greetings had been exchanged the subject of Rosie's approaching marriage and the letter from Mr. Croly, urging that it take place speedily, were introduced, and after some discussion it was decided to let him have his own way. The day was not fixed upon any farther than that it should be near the end of the month of June, and with that Rosie seemed satisfied.

"Now, mamma," she said, "I think we may go on and discuss minor details, such as dresses and ornaments for bride and attendants."

"Very well, daughter; you may give us your views on the subject. You will want your own dress of some rich white material, I suppose?"

"Yes, mamma; of Bengaline silk, richly trimmed with lace; and I must have a veil and orange blossoms; also a bouquet of bride roses and smilax. Lu and Grace, you will want white silk dresses, won't you?"

"Yes," they replied. "And bouquets of white flowers," added Lucilla.

"Oh, papa, you will let me act as one of the bridesmaids, will you not?" asked Grace, turning to him.

"I have no objection," he replied. "You may both serve, since Rosie wishes it and I see you are pleased with the idea. As for the matter of dress you may settle that for yourselves."

"Oh, thank you, sir!" both exclaimed joyously, Grace adding, "But won't you please tell us, papa, just how much we may spend?"

"Any amount which your mamma and Grandma Elsie do not consider too great," he replied in an indulgent tone. "However, I think I should not hesitate to leave that matter to the judgment of my daughters themselves; for I know that neither of you is inclined to be at all extravagant."

"No, indeed," said Violet, "they are always very careful to make sure that papa is able to afford them what they want."

"It would be strange if we weren't, Mamma Vi," said Lucilla with a happy laugh, "for we know that papa loves us so dearly that he would go without things himself any time rather than deny us anything desirable."

"And I expect to put him to the additional expense of dressing Elsie handsomely for the occasion," laughed Rosie.

"Ah! is she also to be a bridesmaid?" asked the captain with a smiling glance at his little girl, who was turning her bright eyes from one to another with a surprised, pleased, yet puzzled look.

"Not just that," replied Rosie; then went on to explain her plan for giving the two little Elsies a part in the ceremony.

"Should you like to do that, daughter?" asked the captain, taking the hand of the little girl and drawing her to his side.

"I'm 'most afraid I would not know how to do it right, papa," she answered with doubtful look and tone.

"You can take lessons beforehand," he said; "but you shall do just as you please about it."

"And the question need not be decided at once," remarked Grandma Elsie. "We will let the matter rest till we learn what your cousin Elsie Dinsmore thinks about joining you in it."

"Yes," said Rosie, "and fortunately we do not need to settle anything more to-day. Maud and Sydney must be consulted before we quite decide on the colour and material of the bridesmaids' dresses."

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