“Who are they?” he asked, curiosity getting the better of his pain.
“I think the name is Raynor,” said the doctor; “Mrs. Raynor, Miss Eloise, and the youth, whose leg we set this morning. But say, young man, where are your people? Don’t you want some telegrams sent? You are not likely to get away from here very soon.”
Young Leslie groaned as he gave his father’s address at Cincinnati, then exclamed;—“See here, doctor, can’t you stop this confounded pain? What the deuce is the matter, anyway? Do get me out of this.”
The doctor gave him a soothing potion and bade him be quiet. He promised to send a nurse, then went to look after the more slightly injured patients.
Three weeks later found Hervey Leslie in dressing-gown and slippers, setting beside Miss Eloise Raynor under a large shade tree, the young lady reading aloud from Tennyson’s tender rhymes. At an open window in full view lay Charlie, still a prisoner, with his mother in close attendance.
Mr. Leslie had paid several visits, and assured his son that the only way in which he could repay him for postponing the wedding till he should be well enough to witness it, was by becoming reconciled to his new mother. At which the son smiled, for something had of late come over the spirit of his dream that predisposed him singularly in favor of weddings. A sort of low fever hung about him, which made it prudent for him to remain in the country; and he rather fixed the time of his departure when Charlie’s leg should justify the whole party’s leaving.
The young girl and her mother blamed themselves for his hurt and had paid him every kindly attention. He had gathered the story of the petted daughter, and in his enfeebled state their acquaintance made rapid progress. Even now it required no acute observer to surmise the ravages of the little god. No one interfered, and for once the course of true love seemed to glide smoothly on.
He had confessed his aversion to to the prospective mother, and endeavored to elicit sympathy by picturing to young Eloise what it would be to have another fill her dear father’s place. At such times her face was impenetrable, and he intuitively grew to avoid the topic.
Ere Charlie was able to get about, young Leslie had fallen in love with the whole family; and when he had sought and obtained the dimpled hand he had so coveted in the Pullman car, laughingly told the mother he was not so sure but that after all she was the one he loved best. A smile passed over the regular features as she said meaningly:
“Only love me as a son, my boy, and I think we can be happy in each other. But remember, a mother-in-law is a dangerous animal!”
Mr. Leslie was so happy in his son’s good fortune,—for so he evidently considered it—that he declared there must be a double wedding.
“You shall have your way,” he added, with some pique; “and not see Mrs. Dana till we meet at the church. Afterward, I’ll risk the meeting!”