Chapter XXX. Mrs. Dick Rover--Conclusion
 

"The day of days, Dick!"

"Right you are, Sam! And what a perfect day it is!"

"Oh, I had this weather made to order," came from Tom Rover, with a grin.

"How do you feel, Tom?" questioned his big brother kindly, as he turned away from the window to look at the lad who had been hurt.

"Oh, I'm as chipper as a catbird with two tails!" sang out the fun-loving Rover. But his pale face was not in keeping with his words. Tom was not yet himself. But be wasn't going to show it-- especially on Dick's wedding day.

All of the Rovers had come up to Cedarville and they were now stopping at the home of Mr. Laning, the father of Grace and Nellie. As my old readers know, the Stanhopes lived but a short distance away, and nearby was Putnam Hall, where the boys had spent so many happy days.

Dora had left Hope as soon as it was settled that she and Dick should be married, and she and her mother, and the others, had been busy for some time getting ready for the wedding. Nellie and Grace were also home, and were as much excited as Dora herself, for they were both to be bridesmaids. The girls had spent several days in New York, shopping, and a dressmaker from the city had been called in to dress the young ladies as befitted the occasion.

Tom was to be Dick's best man, while Sam was to head the ushers at the church-- the other ushers being Songbird, Stanley, Fred Garrison, Larry Colby, and Bart Conners. A delegation of students from Brill-- including William Philander Tubbs-- had also come up, and were quartered at the Cedarville Hotel.

The wedding was to take place at the Cedarville Union Church, a quaint little stone edifice, covered with ivy, which the Stanhopes and the Lanings both attended and which the Rover boys had often visited while they were cadets at Putnam Hall. The interior of the church was a mass of palms, sent up on the boat from Ithaca.

Following the sending out of the invitations to the wedding, presents had come in thick and fast to the Stanhope home. From Dick's father came an elegant silver service, and from his brothers a beautifully-decorated dinner set; while Uncle Randolph and Aunt Martha contributed a fine set of the latest encyclopaedias, and a specially-bound volume of the uncle's book on scientific farming! Mr. Anderson Rover also contributed a bank book with an amount written therein that nearly took away Dora's breath.

"Oh, Dick, just look at the sum!" she cried.

"It sure is a tidy nest egg," smiled the husband-to-be. "I knew dad would come down handsomely. He's the best dad ever was!"

"Yes, Dick, and I know I am going to love him just as if I was his own daughter," answered Dora.

Mrs. Stanhope gave her daughter much of the family silver and jewelry, and also a full supply of table and other linen. From Captain Putnam came a handsome morris chair, and Songbird sent in a beautifully-bound volume of household poetry, with a poem of his own on the flyleaf. The students of Brill sent in a fine oil painting in a gold frame, and the girls at Hope contributed an inlaid workbox with a complete sewing outfit. From Dan Baxter, who had been invited, along with the young lady to whom he was engaged, came two gold napkin rings, each suitably engraved. Dan had written to Dick, saying he would come to the wedding if he had to take a week off to get there, he being then in Washington on a business trip.

The wedding was to take place at high noon, and long before that time the many guests began to assemble at the church. Among the first to arrive was Captain Putnam, in military uniform, and attended by about a dozen of the Hall cadets. George Strong, the head teacher, was also present, for he and Dick had always been good friends. Then came the students from Brill, all in full dress, and led by William Philander Tubbs, bedecked as only that dudish student would think of bedecking himself.

The Lanings and Mrs. Stanhope came together and the Rovers followed closely. Soon the little church was packed and many stood outside, unable to get in. The organ was playing softly.

Suddenly the bell in the tower struck twelve. As the last stroke died away the organ peeled forth in the grand notes of the wedding march. Then came the wedding party up the middle aisle, a little flower girl preceding them. Dora was on her uncle's arm, and wore white satin, daintily embroidered, and carried a bouquet of bridal roses. Around her neck was a string of pearls Dick had given her. The bridesmaids were in pink and also carried bouquets.

Dick was already at the altar to meet his bride, and then began the solemn ceremony that made the pair one for life. It was simple and short, and at the conclusion Dick kissed Dora tenderly.

The organ pealed out once more, and the happy couple marched from the church, everybody gazing after them in admiration.

"A fine couple," was Captain Putnam's comment. "A fine couple, truly!"

"Yes, indeed!" echoed George Strong. "I wish them every happiness."

"A perfectly splendid wedding, don't you know!" lisped William Philander Tubbs. "Why, I really couldn't run it off better myself!"

"It was all to the merry!" was Stanley's comment. "She's a dandy girl, too-- wish I had one half as good."

"Dick Rover deserves the best girl in the world," was Songbird's conclusion. "He is the finest fellow I know, barring none."

"I suppose you'll get up a poem about this, Songbird," suggested one of the other students.

"Perhaps," was the answer, and the would-be poet smiled in a dreamy fashion.

"It seems only yesterday that the Rover boys came to the Hall," remarked Captain Putnam, to one of his friends. "My, how the years have flown!"

"But they are still boys-- at least Tom and Sam are," was the ready reply. "And Tom is just as full of sport as he ever was-- I don't believe he'll ever settle down."

"Time will tell. But with all his fun he is a good lad at heart-- and that is what counts."

"Right you are, Captain Putnam. I wouldn't give a rap for a lad who didn't have some fun in his make-up."

"All of them had plenty of fun while they were at my school. They cut up a good deal sometimes. But I liked them all the better for it, somehow," concluded the captain, with a twinkle in his eyes.

Carriages and automobiles were in waiting, and Dick and his bride, along with their relatives and many friends, were quickly whirled away to the Stanhope home. Here followed numerous congratulations, interspersed with not a few kisses. Mrs. Stanhope's eyes were still full of tears, but she smiled at her newly-made son-in-law.

"It's all right, Dick!" she whispered. "I'm not a bit sorry. But-- but a woman can't help crying when she sees her only girl getting married."

"You are not going to lose Dora," he answered, tenderly. "You are going to get a son, that's all."

A long table had been spread, from the dining-room to the sitting-room, with another table in the library, and soon a grand wedding dinner was in progress. Dora sat at her husband's side, and never did a pair feel or look more happy. Close at hand was Tom, paying his attentions to Nellie, and at the smaller table Sam was doing his best to entertain Grace. Mr. Anderson Rover sat beside Mrs. Stanhope, and not far away were the others of the families.

"Well, they are married at last," said Mr. Rover to Mrs. Stanhope. "I, for one, am well satisfied. I think they will get along well together."

"Yes, Mr. Rover, I think they will get along finely," answered Mrs. Stanhope. "I liked Dick from the first time I met him-- and Dora-- well, there was nobody else after he came into view," and she smiled faintly. Then her eyes traveled over to where Tom and Nellie were talking earnestly, and his followed. "I think that is another pair," she whispered.

"I shouldn't wonder," was the reply. "But they can wait a while. Tom is rather young yet."

"He looks rather pale."

"Yes, that blow he received on the head was a severe one. I am worried about it," went on Mr. Rover, soberly.

It had been arranged that Dick and Dora should depart on a honeymoon trip to Washington late that afternoon. The dinner over, the rooms were cleared, and the young folks enjoyed themselves in dancing, an orchestra having been engaged for that purpose.

"How perfectly happy they all seem to be!" remarked Aunt Martha to Anderson Rover, as they sat watching the dancing.

"Yes," he answered. "I trust that nothing happens to make it otherwise after this."

"Oh, something is bound to happen to those boys!" murmured the aunt. "You simply can't hold them in!" And something did happen, and what is was will be related in the next volume of this series, to be entitled: "The Rover Boys in Alaska; Or, Lost in the Fields of Ice." In that book we shall learn how Tom suddenly lost his mind and wandered away from home, and what strenuous things happened to Dick and Sam when they went after their brother.

But for the time being all went well. The young folks danced to their hearts' content, and Tom kept them roaring over the many jokes he had saved up for the occasion. His head ached a good deal, but he refused to let anybody know about it.

Then came the time for Dick and Dora to depart. An auto was at the door, gaily decorated with white ribbons, and bearing on the back a sign painted by Tom which read, "We're Just Married." Another auto was in the backyard, to take some of the guests to the steamboat dock.

"Good-bye!" was the cry, as the pair came down the stairs, ready for the trip. "Good-bye and good luck!" And then came a generous shower of rice and several old shoes. Dora kissed her mother for the last time and she and Dick hurried to the auto. Away they went, and the other auto after them, Tom and Sam and some others tooting horns and the girls shrieking gaily.

"To the steamboat dock, I suppose," said the driver of the auto, to Dick.

"Not much!" cried the newly-married youth. "Here is where we fool them. Straight for Ithaca, and as fast as the law allows!"

"I get you," replied the chauffeur, grinning.

"We want to catch the seven-forty-five train for New York," went on Dick.

"We'll do it, sir," was the answer, and then the auto driver turned on the speed, made a whirl around a corner of the road, and in a minute more was on the way to Ithaca, with the second car far behind.

"Hello! he's given us the slip!" cried Sam, in dismay.

"Never mind, let them go!" whispered Grace.

"Yes, we've had fun enough," added Nellie. "Oh, what a grand wedding it has been!" she added, with a sigh. And then, when Tom squeezed her hand, she blushed.

In the other automobile, Dora and Dick sat close together on the back seat. Under the robe her hand, the one with the wedding ring upon it, was clasped tightly within his own.

"Glad?" he whispered.

"Perfectly," she answered.

THE END