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Noue dreamt that the Wind had a soul
In its mournful sighs.
Oh! happy Beam-how canst thou prove
That bright love of thine ?
Thou hast but to shine.
How its love can the Wind reveal ?
Unwelcome its sigh,
Its proof is to die.
Christmas morning was only struggling through the grey mists of its tardy day-break, when the whole inmates of Derley Manor were afoot, and busily engaged in preparations for the anticipated events of that auspicious day. Bridesmaids were hurrying about, perplexed between the important cares of their own toilet and the responsible duty of superintending that of the bride. The bridegroom was still more perplexed for lack of any very definite duties to occupy him, till the arrival of the hour when the whole party were to proceed to Ampthill Church, and Colonel Howard was to give away his loved Caroline to the care and love of one dearer to her than himself. Down stairs the bustle and excitement was even greater than above. Christmas festivities at no time passed away in the old manor house without an abundant display of hospitable cheer. The miseltoe had annually hung its mirthful signal from the roof of the great hall, and its walls had never lacked the seasonable decorations of ivy leaves and the sparkling holly bows, since the oldest of its inmates had romped on its old nursery floor, many a long winter and summer ago. But now all old festivities were to be surpassed on this mirth ful Christmas that was to celebrate the union of the two cousins, under their kind grandfather's roof.
The long expected hour came at length. The mirthful and the graver members of the happy circle of Derley Manor wended their way to Ampthill Church, and the solemn vows were spoken there which can never be recalled. Not a few tearful eyes might have been seen among that company had there been an indifferent one among them to take note of it; but the tears were not such as sorrow calls forth and they were soon forgotten, when at the close of the religious services of the day, the whole party sat down to the wedding feast within the hospitable old hall. Many a lively sally and merry jest mingled in the innocent pleasures of that happy Christmas; and though years have gone by since then, and changes have passed on both old and young, not a few still cherish pleasing recollections of that mirthful Christmas that crowned the loves of Alfred Dudley and Caroline Howard, nor do they forget in their annual congratulations to the happy couple, how much of this was due to the auspicious reigns of Queen Caroline and her successor, the first King and Queen who presided over these delightful EVENINGS AT DERLEY MANOR.