The Woodburn carriage was quite full with the captain and his entire family, excepting, of course, his eldest son, Max, who was far away on board a man-of-war.
“Well,” said Violet, as they drove out of Beechwood Avenue into the highway, “I have enjoyed little Ronald’s birthday party very much, and hope you can all say the same.”
“Oh, yes, mamma! I think we had good fun,” exclaimed Neddie. “To be sure Ronald is only a baby boy—just about half as old as I am—but he’s a very dear little fellow; and then his grandpa made a great deal of fun for us.”
“Sometimes it was his papa who did it, I think,” said Elsie.
“Oh, yes!” said Ned. “Papa, why don’t you do such things for us sometimes?”
“Really, my son, I do not seem to have any talent in that line,” returned the captain with a smile. “Your brother Max has, however, and I hope that, some of these days, he will come home and make the fun for you that you are so eager for.”
“Oh, I’ll be so glad! And will he teach me how to do it, too?”
“I hardly think he can,” his father answered, with an amused look; “at least, not till you are a good deal older than you are now.”
“Well, I’m getting older every day; mamma tells me so when she wants me to behave like a little gentleman.”
“Which is always, Neddie boy,” Violet said, with an amused look.
“Yes, my son, both mamma and papa want their little boy to be always a little gentleman—kind, courteous, and thoughtful for others,” the captain said, softly patting the little hand laid confidingly on his knee.
“Lu, do you know if Rosie sent off those important letters this morning?” asked Violet.
“Yes, she told me she did; also that she had learned from Cousin Mary that Cousin Arthur had written a warm invitation from himself and his wife, and from her and Cousin Cal, and sent it by the early morning mail. I presume they will be received by the Crolys to-morrow and that two or three days later the reply will come.”
“I think it can hardly fail to be an acceptance,” said Violet. “I shall be glad of the opportunity to make the acquaintance of Rosie’s future mother-in-law,—the father-in-law too,—and I dare say Will is anxious to have them know mamma, and perhaps the rest of us.”
“And, having done so they will be all the more pleased with the match,” added the captain. “By the way, my dear, we must keep open house for the entertainment of family connections when they are here to attend the wedding.”
“I am entirely willing,” Violet answered with a smile; “as well I may be when my husband bears all the expense and does the planning, with the housekeeper’s assistance, and she directs the servants, who do all the work. Really I do not know where a more fortunate woman than I can be found.”
“Nor I where a more appreciative wife could be discovered,” returned the captain, regarding her with a smile of profound affection.