“I’m right glad to see you,” said the girl, finally, a slow blush coming to the tan of her cheek. She slowly drew away her hand, as, apparently, Garrison had appropriated it forever.
“The honor is mine,” returned Garrison mechanically, as he replaced his hat. Where had he heard that throaty voice?
Also A ready-made husband.
A week had passed—a week of new life for Garrison, such as he had never dreamed of living. Even in the heyday of his fame, forgotten by him, unlimited wealth had never brought the peace and content of Calvert House. It seemed as if his niche had long been vacant in the household, awaiting his occupancy, and at times he had difficulty in realizing that he had won it through deception, not by right of blood.
The prognostications of the eminent lawyer, Mr. Snark, to the effect that everything would be surprisingly easy, were fully realized. To the major and his wife the birthmark of the spur was convincing proof; and, if more were needed, the thorough coaching of Snark was sufficient.
More than that, a week had not passed before it was made patently apparent to Garrison, much to his surprise and no little dismay, that he was liked for himself alone. The major was a father to him, Mrs. Calvert a mother in every sense of the word. He had seen Sue Desha twice since his “home-coming,” for the Calvert and Desha estates joined.
Old Colonel Desha had eyed Garrison somewhat queerly on being first introduced, but he had a poor memory for faces, and was unable to connect the newly discovered nephew of his neighbor and friend with little Billy Garrison, the one-time premiere jockey, whom he had frequently seen ride.
The week’s stay at Calvert House had already begun to show its beneficial effect upon Garrison. The regular living, clean air, together with the services of the family doctor, were fighting the consumption germs with no little success. For it had not taken the keen eye of the major nor the loving one of the wife very long to discover that the tuberculosis germ was clutching at Garrison’s lungs.
“You’ve gone the pace, young man,” said the venerable family doctor, tapping his patient with the stethoscope. “Gone the pace, and now nature is clamoring for her long-deferred payment.”
The major was present, and Garrison felt the hot blood surge to his face, as the former’s eyes were riveted upon him.
“Youth is a prodigal spendthrift,” put in the major sadly. “But isn’t it hereditary, doctor? Perhaps the seed was cultivated, not sown, eh?”