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The Heir
by [?]

“Very fine. Hallo, Thomas!”

“Hallo!” said Thomas, and went to look after his luggage.

“I hope he’ll like it,” Simpson went on. “Its legs move up and down.” He put them into several positions, and then squeaked it again. “Jolly, isn’t it?”

“Ripping,” I agreed. “Who’s it for?”

He looked at me in astonishment for a moment.

“My dear old chap, for the baby.”

“Oh, I see. That’s awfully nice of you. He’ll love it.” I wondered if Simpson had ever seen a month-old baby. “What’s its name?”

“I’ve been calling it Duncan in the train, but, of course, he will want to choose his own name for it.”

“Well, you must talk it over with him to-night after the ladies have gone to bed. How about your luggage? We mustn’t keep Myra waiting.”

“Hallo, Thomas!” said Myra, as we came out. “Hallo, Samuel! Hooray!”

“Hallo, Myra!” said Thomas. “All right?”

“Myra, this is Duncan,” said Simpson, and the shrill roar of the bear rang out once more.

Myra, her mouth firm, but smiles in her eyes, looked down lovingly at him. Sometimes I think that she would like to be Simpson’s mother. Perhaps, when we are married, we might adopt him.

“For baby?” she said, stroking it with her whip. “But he won’t be allowed to take it into church with him, you know. No, Thomas, I won’t have the luggage next to me; I want some one to talk to. You come.”

Inside the wagonette Simpson squeaked his bear at intervals, while I tried to prepare him for his coming introduction to his godson. Having known the baby for nearly a week, and being to some extent in Myra’s confidence, I felt quite the family man beside Simpson.

“You must try not to be disappointed with his looks,” I said. “Anyway, don’t let Dahlia think you are. And if you want to do the right thing say that he’s just like Archie. Archie doesn’t mind this for some reason.”

“Is he tall for his age?”

“Samuel, pull yourself together. He isn’t tall at all. If he is anything he is long, but how long only those can say who have seen him in his bath. You do realize that he is only a month old?”

“My dear old boy, of course. One can’t expect much from him. I suppose he isn’t even toddling about yet?”

“No–no. Not actually toddling.”

“Well, we can teach him later on. And I’m going to have a lot of fun with him. I shall show him my watch–babies always love that.”

There was a sudden laugh from the front, which changed just a little too late into a cough. The fact is I had bet Myra a new golf-ball that Simpson would show the baby his watch within two minutes of meeting him. Of course, it wasn’t a certainty yet, but I thought there would be no harm in mentioning the make of ball I preferred. So I changed the conversation subtly to golf.

Amidst loud roars from the bear we drove up to the house and were greeted by Archie.

“Hallo, Thomas! how are you? Hallo, Simpson! Good heavens! I know that face. Introduce me, Samuel.”

“This is Duncan. I brought him down for your boy to play with.”

“Duncan, of course. The boy will love it. He’s tired of me already. He proposes to meet his godfathers at four p.m. precisely. So you’ll have nearly three hours to think of something genial to say to him.”

We spent the last of the three hours playing tennis, and at four p.m. precisely the introduction took place. By great good luck Duncan was absent; Simpson would have wasted his whole two minutes in making it squeak.

“Baby,” said Dahlia, “this is your Uncle Thomas.”

“Hallo!” said Thomas, gently kissing the baby’s hand. “Good old boy,” and he felt for his pipe.

“Baby,” said Dahlia, “this is your Uncle Samuel.”

As he leant over the child I whipped out my watch and murmured, “Go!” 4 hrs. 1 min. 25 sec. I wished Myra had not taken my “two minutes” so literally, but I felt that the golf-ball was safe.