Great was the rejoicing of the whole household when at last Marjorie was able to come downstairs once more.
Uncle Steve assisted her down. He didn’t carry her, for he said she was far too much of a heavyweight for any such performance as that, but he supported her on one side, and with a banister rail on the other she managed beautifully.
And, anyway, her ankle was just about as well as ever. The doctor had not allowed the active child to come downstairs until there was little if any danger that an imprudence on her part might injure her again.
It was Saturday afternoon, and though she could not be allowed to walk about the place until the following week, yet Uncle Steve took her for a long, lovely drive behind Ned and Dick, and then brought her back to another jolly little surprise.
This was found in a certain sheltered corner of one of the long verandas. It was so built that it was almost like a cosy, little square room; and climbing vines formed a pleasant screen from the bright sunlight. To it Uncle Steve had brought a set of wicker furniture: dear little chairs and a table and a settee, all painted green. Then there was a green-and-white hammock swung at just the right height, and containing two or three fat, jolly-looking, green pillows, in the midst of which Puff had chosen to curl herself up for a nap.
There was a little bamboo bookcase, with a few books and papers, and a large box covered with Japanese matting, which had a hinged lid, and was lovely to keep things in. There was a rug on the floor, and Japanese lanterns hung from the ceiling, all in tones of green and white and silver.
Marjorie unceremoniously dislodged Puff from her comfortable position, and flung herself into the hammock instead.
“Uncle Steve!” she exclaimed, grabbing that gentleman tightly round the neck as he leaned over her to adjust her pillows, “you are the best man in the whole world, and I think you ought to be President! If you do any more of these lovely things for me I shall just—just suffocate with joy. What makes you so good to me, anyhow?”
“Oh, because you’re such a little saint, and never do anything naughty or mischievous!”
“That’s a splendid reason,” cried Marjorie, quite appreciating the joke, “and, truly, Uncle Steve,—don’t you tell,—it’s a great secret: but I am going to try to be more dignified and solemn.”
This seemed to strike Uncle Steve as being very funny, for he sat down on the little wicker settee and laughed heartily.
“Well, you may as well begin now, then; and put on your most dignified and pompous manner, as you lie there in that hammock, for I’m going to read to you until tea-time.”
“Goody, goody!” cried Marjorie, bobbing up her curly head, and moving about excitedly. “Please, Uncle, read from that new book you brought me last night. I’ll get it!”