“My daughter,” he said, “I want you to avoid sin and strive to do right, not from fear of punishment, but that you may please and honor him whose disciple you hope you are.”
“Oh, yes, papa, I do want to for that reason and also to please and honor you—the best and dearest father in the world!” she concluded, putting her arms round his neck and laying her cheek lovingly to his. “But you will watch me and warn me and try to keep me from yielding to my dreadful temper?”
“Yes, dear child, I will, as I have promised you again and again, do all I can to help you in that way,” he replied in tenderest tones.
Then, as the carriage-wheels were heard on the drive without, “Ah, your mamma and our little ones have returned,” he said, putting her off his knee; and taking her hand led her out to the veranda to meet and welcome them home.
“Had you a call from Professor Manton, Levis?” asked Violet, as they sat together on the veranda that evening. “I thought so because he passed us as we were coming home and was looking very glum.”
“Yes, he was here this afternoon,” replied the captain.
“In search of pupils, I suppose?”
“Yes; and was rather disappointed to learn that I had none for him. He asked about Rosie and Walter, but I was unable to tell him positively whether they would, or would not, be sent to him; though I gave him but little encouragement, perhaps I should say none at all, to expect them.”
“No; I am nearly certain they will not be willing to go to him, and that mamma will not care to send them; indeed she more than hinted that she would be delighted to commit them to your care should you show yourself willing to undertake the task of instructing them. Are you willing?”
“I am hardly prepared to answer that question, my dear,” he replied thoughtfully. “They might not be willing to submit to the authority of a brother-in-law.”
“I am almost sure you would have no trouble in governing them,” returned Violet.
“I don’t believe you would have any at all, papa,” remarked Lulu, who was leaning on the arm of his chair and listening with much interest to the conversation; “neither of them is half so—so wilful and quick-tempered as I am.”
The captain smiled at that, put an arm about her, and drew her closer to him. “But they don’t belong to me as you do,” he said, touching his lips to her cheek. “You are my very own, own little daughter, you know.”
“Yes, indeed, and so glad to be,” she returned, putting her arm round his neck and gazing into his eyes, her own shining with filial love.
The younger ones were already in bed, even Gracie having felt too much fatigued with the duties and pleasures of the day to wait for evening prayers.
“Yes, I think you may esteem yourself a fortunate child in that respect, Lu,” said Violet. “I really believe it is the next best thing to being his wife,” she added, with a pleasant little laugh.