“And I expect to put him to the additional expense of dressing Elsie handsomely for the occasion,” laughed Rosie.
“Ah! is she also to be a bridesmaid?” asked the captain with a smiling glance at his little girl, who was turning her bright eyes from one to another with a surprised, pleased, yet puzzled look.
“Not just that,” replied Rosie; then went on to explain her plan for giving the two little Elsies a part in the ceremony.
“Should you like to do that, daughter?” asked the captain, taking the hand of the little girl and drawing her to his side.
“I’m ’most afraid I would not know how to do it right, papa,” she answered with doubtful look and tone.
“You can take lessons beforehand,” he said; “but you shall do just as you please about it.”
“And the question need not be decided at once,” remarked Grandma Elsie. “We will let the matter rest till we learn what your cousin Elsie Dinsmore thinks about joining you in it.”
“Yes,” said Rosie, “and fortunately we do not need to settle anything more to-day. Maud and Sydney must be consulted before we quite decide on the colour and material of the bridesmaids’ dresses.”
A pause in the conversation upon the veranda was broken by an exclamation from little Ned. “Cousin Arthur is coming!” he cried as a carriage turned in at the great gates and came swiftly up the driveway.
“Yes,” said his father, stepping forward to meet and welcome Dr. Conly, “always a visitor we are delighted to see, whether we are sick or well. Good-morning, sir! We are all glad to see you as friend and guest, though fortunately not in need of your professional services at present. I hope the demands of other patients are not so pressing that we may not keep you here till after dinner.”
“Thank you, but I can stay for only a hasty call,” replied the doctor, alighting and shaking hands with one after another as they crowded about him.
“You look like the bringer of good news, cousin,” said Grandma Elsie, regarding him with a pleased smile.
“Yes,” he said, “I feel myself a very fortunate and happy man to-day, and have come to tell my news and ask the sympathy and congratulations of you my relatives and friends. My Marian and I have a son—a fine healthy babe, now some hours old—mother and child are doing as well as possible.”
The congratulations were poured forth without stint. Then Mr. Dinsmore asked, “What do you propose to call the lad?”
“Ronald. It is Marian’s choice and I am well content, for it is a good name, and I highly esteem the dear old cousin who has showed such kindness to the mother.”
“Yes, he is worthy of it,” said Grandma Elsie. “I have always felt proud to own him as my kinsman.”
“And Ronald and Conly go well together, making a very pretty name, to my thinking,” said Rosie.