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The Heir
by [?]

“Don’t listen to her, Dahlia,” I said. “I haven’t done anything to him. We were chatting together quite amicably until he suddenly caught sight of Myra and burst into tears.”

“He’s got a little pain,” said Dahlia gently taking him up and patting him.

“I think the trouble is mental,” suggested Archie. “He looks to me as if he had something on his conscience. Did he say anything to you about it when you were alone?”

“He didn’t say much,” I confessed, “but he seemed to be keeping something back. I think he wants a bit of a run, really.”

“Poor little lamb,” said Dahlia. “There, he’s better now, thank you.” She looked up at Archie and me. “I don’t believe you two love him a bit.”

Archie smiled at his wife and went over to the tea-table to pour out. I sat on the grass and tried to analyse my feelings to my nephew by marriage.

“As an acquaintance,” I said, “he is charming; I know no one who is better company. If I cannot speak of his more solid qualities, it is only because I do not know him well enough. But to say whether I love him or not is difficult; I could tell you better after our first quarrel. However, there is one thing I must confess. I am rather jealous of him.”

“You envy his life of idleness?”

“No, I envy him the amount of attention he gets from Myra. The love she wastes on him which might be better employed on me is a heartrending thing to witness. As her betrothed I should expect to occupy the premier place in her affections, but, really, I sometimes think that if the baby and I both fell into the sea she would jump in and save the baby first.”

“Don’t talk about his falling into the sea,” said Dahlia, with a shudder; “I can’t a-bear it.”

“I think it will be all right,” said Archie, “I was touching wood all the time.”

“What a silly godfather he nearly had!” whispered Myra at the cradle. “It quite makes you smile, doesn’t it, baby? Oh, Dahlia, he’s just like Archie when he smiles!”

“Oh, yes, he’s the living image of Archie,” said Dahlia confidently.

I looked closely at Archie and then at the baby.

“I should always know them apart,” I said at last. “That,” and I pointed to the one at the tea-table, “is Archie, and this,” and I pointed to the one in the cradle, “is the baby. But then I’ve such a wonderful memory for faces.”

“Baby,” said Myra, “I’m afraid you’re going to know some very foolish people.”


Thomas and Simpson arrived by the twelve-thirty train, and Myra and I drove down in the wagonette to meet them. Myra handled the ribbons (“handled the ribbons”–we must have that again) while I sat on the box-seat and pointed out any traction-engines and things in the road. I am very good at this.

“I suppose,” I said, “there will be some sort of ceremony at the station? The station-master will read an address while his little daughter presents a bouquet of flowers. You don’t often get two godfathers travelling by the same train. Look out,” I said, as we swung round a corner, “there’s an ant coming.”

“What did you say? I’m so sorry, but I listen awfully badly when I’m driving.”

“As soon as I hit upon anything really good I’ll write it down. So far I have been throwing off the merest trifles. When we are married, Myra—-“

“Go on; I love that.”

“When we are married we shan’t be able to afford horses, so we’ll keep a couple of bicycles, and you’ll be able to hear everything I say. How jolly for you.”

“All right,” said Myra quietly.

There was no formal ceremony on the platform, but I did not seem to feel the want of it when I saw Simpson stepping from the train with an enormous Teddy-bear under his arm.

“Hallo, dear old chap,” he said, “here we are! You’re looking at my bear. I quite forgot it until I’d strapped up my bags, so I had to bring it like this. It squeaks,” he added, as if that explained it. “Listen,” and the piercing roar of the bear resounded through the station.