“But it has all been kept secret from me,” she was saying. “I had no possible idea of where we were coming, and I am sure my son had not.” She turned to that son, but she could not get his attention, for the reason that his astonished gaze was fastened upon a person who had at that moment appeared in the doorway and paused there.
RED’S DEAREST PATIENTS
Jordan King looked, and looked again, and it was a wonder he did not rub his eyes to make sure he was fully awake. As he looked the figure in the doorway came forward. It was that of a girl in a white serge coat and skirt, with a smart little white hat upon her richly ruddy hair, and the look, from head to foot, of one who had just returned to a place where she belonged. And the next instant Anne Linton was greeting Ellen Burns and coming up to be presented to Mrs. Alexander King.
“This is my little sister, Mrs. King,” said Gardner Coolidge, smiling, and putting his arm about the white-serge-clad shoulders. “She is your hostess, you know. Alicia and I are only making her a visit.”
“I am so glad you are here, Mrs. King,” said a voice Jordan King well remembered, and Anne Linton’s eyes looked straight into those of her oldest guest, whose own were puzzled.
“I think,” said Mrs. King, holding the firm young hand which she had taken, “I have seen you before, my dear, though my memory—”
“Yes, Mrs. King,” the girl replied—and there was not the smallest shadow of triumph discernible in her tone or look—“you have. I came to see your son in the hospital, with Mrs. Burns, just before I left. It’s not strange you have forgotten me, for we went away almost at once. We are so delighted to have you come to see us. Isn’t it delightful that you knew our mother so well at school?”
Well, it came Jordan King’s turn in the end, although Anne Linton, so extraordinarily labelled “hostess” by her brother, discharged every duty of greeting her other guests before she turned to him. Meanwhile he had stood, frankly staring, hat in hand and growing colour on his cheek, while his eyes seemed to grow darker and darker under his heavily marked brows. When Anne turned to him he had no words for her, and hardly a smile, though his good breeding came to his rescue and put him through the customary forms of action, dazed though he yet was. He found himself presented to other people on the porch, whom he recognized as undoubtedly those whom he had met in the passing car at the time when he was in doubt as to Anne’s identity. Her aunt, uncle, and cousins they proved to be, though the young man whom he remembered as being present on that occasion was now happily absent. Jordan King found himself completely reconciled to this at once.
“How is our patient?” Burns said to Anne at the first opportunity. “Shall I go up at once?”
“Oh, please wait a minute, Doctor Burns; I want to go with you, and I must see my guests having some tea first.”