Family Pride (Chapter IX - Before the Marriage, page 1 of 7)


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On the morning of the ninth day of June, 18--, Wilford Cameron stood in his father's parlor, surrounded by the entire family, who, after their usually early breakfast, had assembled to bid him good-by, for Wilford was going for his bride, and it would be months, if not a year, ere he returned to them again. They had given him up to his idol, asking only that none of the idol's family should be permitted to cross their threshold, and also that the idol should not often be allowed the privilege of returning to the place from whence she came. These restrictions had emanated from the female portion of the Cameron family, the mother, Juno and Bell. The father, on the contrary, had sworn roundly as he would sometimes swear at what he called the contemptible pride of his wife and daughters. Katy was sure of a place in his heart just because of the pride which was building up so high a wall between her and her friends, and when at parting he held his son's hand in his, he said: "I charge you, Will, be kind to that young girl, and don't, for Heaven's sake, go to cramming her with airs and nonsense which she does not understand. Tell her I'll be a father to her; her own, you say, is dead, and give her this as my bridal present."

He held out a small-sized box containing a most exquisite set of pearls, such as he fancied would be becoming to the soft, girlish beauty Wilford had described. Something in his father's manner touched Wilford closely, making him resolve anew that if Kitty were not happy as Mrs. Cameron it should not be his fault. His mother had said all she wished to say, while his sisters had been gracious enough to send their love to the bride, Bell hoping she would look as well in the poplin and little plaid as she had done. Either was suitable for the wedding day, Mrs. Cameron said, and she might take her choice, only Wilford must see that she did not wear with the poplin the gloves and belt intended for the silk; country people had so little taste, and she did want Katy to look well, even if she were not there to see her. And with his brain a confused medley of poplins and plaids, belts and gloves, pearls and Katy, Wilford finally tore himself away, and at three o'clock that afternoon drove through Silverton village, past the little church which the Silverton maidens were decorating with flowers, pausing a moment in their work to look at him as he went by. Among them was Marian Hazelton, but she did not look up, she only bent lower over her work, thus hiding the tear which dropped from the delicate buds she was fashioning into the words, "Joy to the Bride," intending the whole as the center of the wreath to be placed over the altar just where all could see it.

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