The next day was a busy one for all of us. Polly and Jane drove to the Gordons and secured Miss Jessie, and then Jane went to town to fetch her other friends. Jack went with her, after having telegraphed to Jim Jarvis. They all came home by mid-afternoon, just as a message came from Jarvis: “Will be on deck at six.”
Florence Marcy and Minnie Henderson were former neighbors and schoolmates of Jane’s. They were fine girls to look at and bright girls to talk with; blondes, eighteen, high-headed, full of life, and great girls for a house party. Phil and Frank were good specimens of their kinds. Frank was a little below medium height, slight, blond, vivacious to a degree, full of fun, and the most industrious talker within miles; he would “stir things up” at a funeral. Phil Stone was tall, slender, dark, quiet, well-dressed, a good dancer, and a very agreeable fellow in the corner of the room, where his low musical voice was most effective.
Jessie Gordon came at five o’clock. We were all very fond of Jessie, and who could help it? She was tall (considerably above the average height), slender, straight as an arrow, graceful in repose and in motion. She carried herself like a queen, with a proud kind of shyness that became her well. Her head was small and well set on a slender neck, her hair dark, luxurious, wavy, and growing low over a broad forehead, her eyes soft brown, shaded by heavy brows and lashes. She had a Grecian nose, and her mouth was a shade too wide, but it was guarded by singularly perfect and sensitive lips. Her chin was pronounced enough to give the impression of firmness; indeed, save for the soft eyes and sensitive mouth, firmness predominated. She was not a great talker, yet every one loved to listen to her. She laughed with her eyes and lips, but rarely with her voice. She enjoyed intensely, and could, therefore, suffer intensely. She was a dear girl in every way.
All was now ready for the debut of Jack’s paragon. Jack had driven to the station to fetch him, and presently the sound of wheels on the gravel drive announced the arrival of the last guest. I went into the hall to meet the men.
“Daddy, I want you to know my chum, Jim Jarvis,—the finest all-round son of old Eli. Jarvis, this is my daddy,—the finest father that ever had son!”
“I’m right glad to meet you, Mr. Jarvis; your renown has preceded you.”
“I fear, Doctor, it has exceeded me as well. Jack is not to be trusted on all subjects. But, indeed, I thank you for your hospitality; it was a godsend to me.”
As we entered the living room, Polly came forward and I presented Jarvis to her.
“You are more than welcome, Mr. Jarvis! Jack’s ‘best friend’ is certain of a warm corner at our fireside.”
“Madam, I find no word of thanks, but I do thank you. I have envied Jack his home letters and the evidences of mother care more than anything else,—and God knows there are enough other things to envy him for. I have no mother, and my father is too busy to pay much attention to me. I wish you would adopt me; I’ll try to rival Jack in all that is dutiful.”