The orphan's eyes were bent to the floor, and never once lifted, even when the trembling voice of her beloved pastor pronounced her St. Elmo Murray's wife. The intense pallor of her face frightened Mrs. Andrews, who watched her with suspended breath, and once moved eagerly toward her. Mr. Murray felt her lean more heavily against him during the ceremony; and, now turning to take her in his arms, he saw that her eyelashes had fallen on her cheeks--she had lost all consciousness of what was passing. Two hours elapsed before she recovered fully from the attack; and when the blood showed itself again in lips that were kissed so repeatedly, Mr. Murray lifted her from the sofa in the study, and passing his arm around her, said:
"To-day I snap the fetters of your literary bondage. There
shall be no more books written! No more study, no more toil, no more
anxiety, no more heart-aches! And that dear public you love so well,
must even help itself, and whistle for a new pet. You belong solely to
me now, and I shall take care of the life you have nearly destroyed, in
your inordinate ambition. Come, the fresh air will revive you."
They stood a moment under the honeysuckle arch over the
parsonage gate, where the carriage was waiting to take them to Le
Bocage, and Mr. Murray asked:
"Are you strong enough to go to the church?"
"Yes, sir; the pain has all passed away. I am perfectly well again."
They crossed the street, and he took her in his arms and
carried her up the steps, and into the grand, solemn church, where the
soft, holy violet light from the richly-tinted glass streamed over
gilded organ-pipes and sculptured columns.
Neither Edna nor St. Elmo spoke as they walked down the
aisle; and in perfect silence both knelt before the shining altar, and
only God heard their prayers of gratitude.