“I am sure your call has done me good, and I hope you will come again soon, dear cousin,” Marian said, receiving and returning a farewell caress.
“Sometime when your doctor gives permission,” was Elsie’s smiling reply. “Never mind coming down with me, Arthur,” she added, “I know the way and have a son waiting there on the veranda to hand me into the carriage. So good-bye, and don’t consider it necessary to wait for sickness among us to call you to Ion.”
Left alone upon the veranda, Harold sat scanning the columns of the morning paper, when a light step drew near, a pleasant voice said, “Good-morning,” and looking up he found Mrs. Calhoun Conly, with a babe in her arms, close by his side.
“Oh! good-morning to you, Cousin Mary,” he returned, hastily rising and gallantly handing her to a seat. “I am glad to see you and the little one looking so well.”
“Thank you,” she returned merrily, “it would be a pity if we failed to keep well with so many doctors about. Were you waiting to see Arthur? I believe he is in the house—probably up in his wife’s room—though I have not seen him since breakfast.”
“Yes, he is there, sharing with Marian a call from my mother.”
“Ah! that is nice for Marian; she has been wanting to see Cousin Elsie badly. I want a call from her too, and hope she will not forget me when through with my sister-in-law.”
“Hardly, I think; it is not mother’s way to forget anyone; especially so near and dear a relative as yourself, Cousin Mary. But don’t set your heart on a long call this morning, for some other folks want the doctor if you don’t.”
“Ah! and your mother has taken up the practice of medicine, has she?”
“Well, I don’t say that exactly, but certainly her advice and suggestions are sometimes more beneficial to the patient than those of her doctor son; then think of the enviable condition of the patient who can have both,” returned Harold laughingly. “Ah, here comes Cousin Cal!” as a horseman came galloping up the avenue.
“Good-morning, Harold!” Calhoun said, as he alighted, giving his steed in charge to a servant, and came up the veranda steps. “I have been out in the field for some hours, overseeing the work of my men, saw you passing a few moments since with your mother, and could not resist the temptation to leave them and come in for a bit of chat with her and yourself.”
“Especially with me, of course,” laughed Harold as the two shook hands and Calhoun, seating himself near his wife, took the babe, which was stretching out its arms to him with a cooing invitation not to be resisted by the doting father.
“Mother’s particular errand this morning was a call upon Marian; she is paying it now, and I presume will be down in the course of ten or fifteen minutes,” added Harold.
“You will both stay to dinner, won’t you?” queried Calhoun hospitably. “We’d be delighted to have you do so.”