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Title: Patty's Pleasure Trip
Author: Wells, Carolyn
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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Patty’s Pleasure Trip

  BY
  CAROLYN WELLS

  AUTHOR OF
    TWO LITTLE WOMEN SERIES,
    THE MARJORIE SERIES, ETC.

  GROSSET & DUNLAP
  PUBLISHERS      NEW YORK



  Copyright, 1909, by
  DODD, MEAD AND COMPANY
  Published, September, 1909

  Printed in U.S.A.



CONTENTS


  CHAPTER                               PAGE

      I FUN AT THE GRANGE                  9

     II A SUMMONS HOME                    23

    III A PLEASURE TRIP OFFERED           37

     IV A FAREWELL PARTY                  51

      V DAYS IN PARIS                     67

     VI THE GRANDEUR THAT WAS ROME        83

    VII AMERICAN FRIENDS AND OTHERS       97

   VIII PLAYING HOUSE                    113

     IX A ROMAN TEA                      130

      X THE WONDERERS                    146

     XI ROMAN PUNCH                      161

    XII PATTY AND PETER                  179

   XIII A NOBLE SOLDIER                  190

    XIV CARLO AS GUIDE                   204

     XV GOOD-BY TO FLORENCE              220

    XVI AN EXCITING ADVENTURE            235

   XVII THE OTHER SIDE OF THE STORY      250

  XVIII VENICE AT LAST                   263

    XIX PIGEONS AND POETRY               279

     XX HOMEWARD BOUND                   292



CHAPTER I

FUN AT THE GRANGE


“Yes, indeed,” said Patty, pleasantly.

“And then a broad-leafed hat, with ribbons from the edge of the brim,
tied under my chin,--or, perhaps chiffon ties. Which would you have,
Patty?”

“Yes, indeed,” said Patty, in a voice of enthusiasm, but not looking up
from her book.

“Oh, Patty, you silly! Now, listen. Look at these plates, and pick out
the prettiest hat so I may get it for the garden-party.”

Lady Kitty spread out the sheets of millinery designs, and still
absorbed in her reading, Patty lifted her hand and, without looking,
pointed a finger at random till it rested on one of the pictured hats.

“That one! Why, Patty, you’re crazy! I couldn’t wear that pudgy little
turban,--I want a big sun-hat. Would you have a straw or lace?”

“Yes, indeed,” said Patty, turning a leaf and devouring the next page
of her book.

“Angel child! You think you’re teasing me, don’t you? But not so! I
love to see you so bent on literary pursuits! Indeed, I don’t think one
book at a time is enough for a great brain like yours,--you should have
two at once. You go on with yours, and I’ll read another to you.”

Picking up a book from a rustic couch near by, Lady Kitty began to
read aloud. Her reading was more dramatic than the text warranted, and
besides much elocutionary effect, she gesticulated vigorously, and
finally rose, and standing straight in front of Patty, kept on reading
and declaiming in ludicrous style.

The two were under a large marquee, on the lawn of Markleham Grange,
the country home of Lady Hamilton, and her father, Sir Otho. Patty was
comfortably tucked up among the cushions of a lengthy wicker chair,
and had elected to spend the morning reading a new story-book of the
very kind she liked best. So, partly because she didn’t want to be
disturbed, but more for the sake of mischievously teasing her friend,
Patty pretended to be oblivious to the hat subject.

But she could not long keep a straight face while Kitty waved her arms
and trilled her voice in ridiculous fashion, as she continued to read
aloud from the book. Then she would drop into a monotonous drawl, then
gallop ahead without emphasis or inflection, and sometimes she would
chant the words in dramatic recitative.

Of course, while this went on, Patty couldn’t read her own book, so
finding herself beaten at her own game of teasing, she closed the
volume, and said quietly:

“I wish you’d let me advise you about that new hat you’re thinking of
buying. You always selects such frights.” As Lady Hamilton’s hats were
renowned for their beauty and variety, this speech was taken at its
worth, and in a moment the two friends were earnestly discussing the
respective merits of chiffon, lace, and straw, as protection against
the rays of a garden-party sun.

It was the latter part of a lovely morning in the latter part of
a lovely August. Patty had drifted through the summer, making and
unmaking plans continuously in her efforts to secure the greatest good
to the greatest number of her family and friends. She had not joined
her parents in Switzerland, as she had thought to do, for invitations
to various English country-houses had seemed more attractive, and
after a round of such parties, Patty had come to Markleham Grange, for
the double purpose of having a few quiet weeks, and of being with her
adored friend, Lady Kitty.

The Grange was a typical country home, with all the appurtenances of
terraces, gardens, duck-ponds, woodlands, and hunting preserves.

In the great, rambling house guests came and went, and Patty greatly
enjoyed the personal freedom that prevailed.

Though occupations and amusements of all sorts were provided, no
social obligations were exacted until afternoon tea time. At five,
however, everybody assembled on the lawn, or, if rainy, in Sir
Otho’s billiard-room, and the host himself accepted the attention
and companionship of his guests. Dinner, too, was rather formal, and
there was always pleasant entertainment in the evening. But it seemed
to Patty that she liked the mornings best. She strolled, often all
by herself, through the woods and parks; she chatted with the old
gardener about the rare and beautiful flowers; she played with the pet
fawns, or idly drifted about the lake in a small rowboat. Sometimes she
met Sir Otho on her morning rambles, and for a time they would chat
together. The old gentleman had a decided liking for Patty, and though
he was an opinionated man, and dictatorial of speech, the girl’s innate
tactfulness kept her from rousing his contradictory spirit, and they
were most amiable friends. But, perhaps best of all, Patty liked the
mornings when boxes of new books arrived from London.

Selecting an interesting story, she would make a bee-line for her
favourite reading-place. This was a large tent-like affair, canopied,
but without sides, and furnished with wicker chairs, tables, and
lounges. Soft rugs covered the ground, and the view was across a small
lake, dotted with tiny, flowery islands, to glorious green woodlands
beyond.

Here, Patty would read and dream until the all too short morning had
flown away, and a servant, or Lady Kitty herself, would come to summon
her to luncheon. And it was here that Lady Kitty came, with her sheets
of new hat designs, just up from London, when teasing Patty declined to
be interested.

But having at last thrown herself into the discussion it proved to be
an animated one, and ended by Lady Kitty’s return to the house to send
an order for hats for both of them.

Patty remained in her lounging chair, but did not immediately resume
her book. Her thoughts flew back to Kitty’s ridiculous antics as she
read aloud to tease Patty. Then her gaze wandered out to the lake, and
she watched a flock of ducklings, who were enthusiastically paddling
along by the side of their more sedate mother. Such funny, blundering,
little balls of down they were, and when one of them nearly turned a
somersault in its efforts to swim gracefully, Patty laughed aloud at
him.

“Do it again!” said a low but commanding voice at her side, and Patty
looked round to see a grave-looking young man seated on the arm of a
chair.

She had not heard him approach, and she stared at him with a pardonable
curiosity. He was garbed in white flannels, with a soft, white, silk
shirt and Windsor tie.

Though most correct in manner and bearing, he yet had an informal
effect, and his large dark eyes looked almost mournfully at Patty.

“I said, do it again!” he repeated, in a slightly aggrieved tone.

“Do what again?” said Patty, more astonished than offended.

“Make that funny noise,--something like a laugh; _was_ it a laugh?”

“Why, yes; one of my very best ones. Didn’t you like it?”

“I thought it was a chime of fairy bells,” was the reply, so fervently
given that Patty laughed again.

The young man solemnly bowed as if in acknowledgment of her kindness.

“Don’t take it so hard,” she said, smiling; “you’ll get over it; you’ll
be all right in a moment.”

“I’m all right now, thank you. I get used to things very quickly.
And,--by the way,--you don’t mind my talking to you? Without having
been properly introduced, I mean.”

“I do mind very much. I think you’re forward and unconventional, and I
hate both those traits.”

“You’re so direct! Now, a softer, subtler insinuation would have
pleased me better.”

“But I’m not trying to please you!”

“No? You really ought to study to please.” The young man arose and
looked at Patty with an air of calm, impersonal criticism. “It would
suit your personal appearance so well.”

“Indeed! What _is_ my personal appearance?”

“Ah, direct and curious, both! Well, your beauty is of the sort
described in most novels as ‘not a classic face, or even good-featured,
but with that indescribable charm’----”

“Indeed! I’ve been told that my features were very good.”

“Ridiculous nonsense! Why, your eyes are too large for your face; your
hair is too heavy for your head; and, and, your hands are too little
for anything!”

“How rude you are!” said Patty, shaking with laughter, “but as I
brought it on myself, I suppose I oughtn’t to complain. Now, let’s drop
personalities and talk commonplaces.”

“Awfully mean of you--before I had my innings. However, I don’t care;
let’s. It’s a fine, well-aired morning, isn’t it?”

“Are you always so funny?” asked Patty, staring at the young man, like
a child pleased with a new toy.

“’Most always,” was the cheerful retort; “aren’t you?”

“Now you’re rude again, and I must ask you to go away. But tell me your
name before you go, so that I may avoid you in future.”

“What a good plan! My name, on the Grampian Hills, is Floyd Austin,
and, truly, I’m well worth knowing. This performance this morning is
just an escapade. Into each life some escapades must fall, you know.
And, by the way, if you’ll disentangle your eyes from my gaze just
for a minute, and look the other way, you’ll see the august Sir Otho
coming, with ‘bless you, my children’ written legibly in every line of
his shining morning face.”

Sir Otho came toward them with hearty greetings.

“Well, well, Patty,” he said; “so you already know our friend Austin?
That’s good, that’s good! But you must be afraid of him, for he’s one
of our coming poets. He’s already a celebrity, you know.”

“Are you a celebrity?” demanded Patty, turning to Floyd Austin.

“I am,” he said, gravely, “why?”

“Why are you one?”

“To pay a bet,” Austin replied, so promptly that his two hearers
laughed.

“He’s crazy,” said Patty to Sir Otho; “I never heard such talk!”

“He’s a humorist, my dear child; you don’t know his language.”

“A humorist?” said Patty, turning to Austin with simple inquiry on her
pretty face. “I thought you were a poet.”

Austin flashed an amused look at Sir Otho, and then looking at Patty,
he said, in a smooth, even voice:

“‘The force of Nature could no further go,--To make myself she joined
the other two.’”

“I do understand your language,” cried Patty, gaily, “that’s in
Bartlett,--and it says, ‘Under Mr. Milton’s Picture’!”

“Oh, my dear Patty,” said Sir Otho, “is your poetical knowledge bounded
by Bartlett?”

“But, Sir Otho,” observed Floyd Austin, in his slow, quiet way,
“Bartlett is not such a bad boundary. His book is like a bird’s-eye
view of a city,--which is always a good thing, for one can then pick
out the churches and monuments so easily.”

“Yes, and one can miss the most interesting bits that lurk in narrow
streets and obscure corners.”

“True enough, and so we both have the best of the argument.”

Floyd Austin was a popular favourite, and one of the explanations of
his popularity lay in the fact that he rarely continued to disagree
with any one. The discomfiture of another, which is so pleasing to some
clever people, was positively painful to his sensitive nature, and so
easily adaptable were his own opinions, that he could adjust them to
suit those of another with no trouble at all. This made his character
somewhat indefinite, but added to the charm of his personality, and
his sunny good nature was a quick passport to the good will of a new
acquaintance.

One of Austin’s minor interests was harmony of colour. He looked at
Patty as she stood leaning lightly against the back of the chair from
which she had risen at Sir Otho’s approach. She wore a long summer
cloak of a light tan-coloured silk, lined with another silk that was
pink, like a seashell.

Simply cut, the long full folds almost hid her white frock, and she
gathered the yielding material about her with a graceful gesture.

“How well you wear that cape, Miss Fairfield,” said Floyd, and then
turning to Sir Otho, he asked, “Doesn’t she?”

“Why, yes; I daresay,” said the older man, uncertainly. “Do you, Patty?”

“I don’t know,” said the girl, laughing. “I hope so, I’m sure, for it’s
one of my favourite wraps. Are you an artist, Mr. Austin, that you’re
so observant?”

“I’m an artist in most ways, yes,” he replied; “and I love colour
better than anything else in the world. Those two shades in your cloak,
now, are like----”

“Like coffee and strawberry ice cream,” put in saucy Patty, and young
Austin agreed enthusiastically.

“Just that,” he cried, “and surely there’s no better combination.”

“I like lemon, myself,” began Sir Otho, and just then Lady Hamilton
came trailing her soft frills across the lawn toward the group.

“Floyd Austin! by all that’s wonderful!” she exclaimed, as she held out
both hands to the young man, and smiled a welcome.

“Yes, Lady Kitty,” he said, taking her hands, and smiling an acceptance
of her welcome, “and so glad to see you again.”

“Is Mr. Austin a long-lost brother?” asked Patty, “and if so, why have
I never heard of him before?”

“Yes, he’s a brother of all the world,” said Kitty; “the very dearest
boy ever. I believe he lives next door to us, but he’s never there, for
when he’s there he’s always here!”

“Oh, is he Irish?” said Patty, and Floyd Austin’s eyes twinkled at her
quick repartee.

“He’s cosmopolitan,” said Sir Otho; “lives all over the world. But he’s
a dear vagabond, and as long as we can keep him here, we’re going to do
so.”

“Not long,” said Austin, shaking his head. “I’m just down for a
whiffling trip, and then off again to a summer clime.”

“Oh, you can change your plans,” said Lady Kitty, easily. “I’ve known
you to do it before. And I’m sure I can persuade you now, for I’ve Miss
Fairfield to help me coax you.”

“Oh, I’m no good at coaxing,” said saucy Patty, who was not yet quite
sure that she liked this rather audacious young man.

“But I’ll teach you how to coax prettily,” he said; “and then when you
learn, you can coax me to do anything, and I’ll allow myself to be
persuaded.”

“Allow yourself indeed!” said Patty. “Probably you won’t be able to
help yourself!”

“Probably not,” he responded, with his unfailing concurrence.



CHAPTER II

A SUMMONS HOME


Afternoon tea was in progress, and as a light rain had set in, it was
being served in the billiard-room.

This large apartment was very attractive, for aside from the purpose
for which it was intended, it was admirably adapted for a cosy
lounging-place. A sort of extension with roof and sides of stained
glass was an ideal place for the tea-table and its many appurtenances,
and except for the footman, who brought in fresh supplies, Lady Kitty
and her guests waited upon themselves.

Though never a large group, a few neighbours usually dropped in at
tea-time, and as there were always some people staying in the house,
the hour was a social one.

Patty, looking very dainty in a pretty little house-dress of Dresden
silk, was having a very good time.

Flo Carrington, a young English girl, whom she had met only the day
before, came bustling in with exclamations of dismay.

“I’m nearly drowned!” she cried. “The pelting rain has ruined me frock,
and I’m starving for me tea. Do give me some, dear Lady Kitty.”

“You shall have it at once,” declared Patty, hovering around the tea
things; “cream or lemon?”

“Lemon, and two lumps. You pretty Patty-thing, I’m so glad to see
you again. I’ve only known you twenty-four hours, but already I feel
one-sided if you’re not by me. Sit down, and let’s indulge in pleasant
conversation.”

So with their teacups, the girls sat down, and being largely about
their two selves, the conversation was very pleasant indeed. But soon
they were interrupted, as Cadwalader Oram, a typical young Englishman,
approached them.

“You two young women have monopolised each other long enough,” he
declared; “you must now endeavour to entertain me.”

“That’s easy,” said Patty, and turning to a near-by muffin-stand, she
took a plate of hot, buttered ones, and offered them to young Oram;
“have a muffin?”

“Indeed I will, they’re very entertaining. Have you ever noticed how
wonderful the Markleham muffins are? I get such nowhere else. Why is
that, I wonder?”

Lady Kitty, who was waiting by, answered this herself.

“Because at large and formal teas,” she said, “muffins are not served;
and if one’s friends drop in unexpectedly, muffins are rarely ready. It
is my aim in life to have just so many people to tea as will justify
muffins without prohibiting them.”

“At last I understand why the teas at this house are always
perfection,” said Oram, rising for a moment as Lady Kitty moved away.

A newcomer had arrived, and Patty, looking up, saw Floyd Austin’s grave
face in the doorway.

“Owing to the inclemency of the weather, the starving people gathered
in the billiard-room to partake of that nourishment which was to keep
them alive until the dinner hour.”

He said this in an impersonal, reading-aloud sort of voice, which
seemed to Patty extremely funny.

“He’s always doing that,” said Flo Carrington; “sometimes he’s
screamingly droll.”

After greeting his hostess, Austin made his way toward the small group
clustered round Patty.

With much chat and banter, he was served with tea and muffins, and
so much attention was shown him that Patty concluded he must be a
favourite indeed.

“I fear we have rudely run into a cloudburst or something,” remarked
Cadwalader Oram, unsuccessfully trying to look through a window, whose
stained glass was further obscured by slipping raindrops.

“Sit down, Caddy,” said Flo; “you mar the harmony of this meeting when
you’re so restless.”

“Being thus admonished, young Oram crumpled himself gracefully into a
chair,” drawled Floyd Austin, as Oram did that very thing, and Patty’s
laughter rang out at the apt description.

“Do that again,” said Austin, looking gravely at Patty, but she only
smiled saucily at him, and looked over his head at another man who was
approaching.

“Mayn’t I be invited to join this all-star group?” If the speaker’s
voice betokened a confidence in his own welcome, it was not misplaced,
for smiles of greeting were bestowed on him, and Flo Carrington moved
to make room for him between herself and Patty on the great settle.

“Striving to act as if a literary lion were an everyday occurrence, the
ladies beamed graciously upon him,” droned Austin; and so pat was his
allusion that they all laughed.

“This is Peter Homer, Miss Fairfield,” said Flo, and Austin added:

“Beyond all doubt, the most outrageously interesting man you have ever
met.”

“Just queer enough to be delightful,” put in Cadwalader Oram, and Mr.
Homer smiled benignly at the chaff flung at him.

“He isn’t queer at all,” declared Flo; “he’s a genius, and a thoroughly
sensible man.”

“Both? Impossible!” exclaimed Floyd Austin.

“Not at all!” said Mr. Homer, himself. “I’m writing a book in twenty
volumes, Miss Fairfield,--that proves my genius. And I’ve left my work
to come and chum with my friends,--that proves my sense.”

“What is your book about?” asked Patty, a little uncertain how to talk
to this wise man. “Tell me about your work.”

“How can I talk to you of work,” said Mr. Homer, “when you don’t even
know what the word means? Have you ever done any work in your life?”

“No,” admitted Patty; “I’m too busy being idle to have any time for
work. My life is nothing but folly.”

“But folly and happiness are twins,” said he, looking kindly at the
girl, and when kindness shone in Peter Homer’s blue eyes he was indeed
attractive.

“They are,” agreed Patty; “but pray how do you know what the word folly
means?”

“His folly is being wise,” broke in Cadwalader Oram.

“Good for you, Caddy!” exclaimed Floyd Austin. “If that didn’t have a
vaguely familiar ring about it, I should say you’d made an epigram.”

“Well, let’s say it all the same,” said Flo Carrington; “he may never
come any nearer to one.”

“I don’t want to,” returned Oram. “Stevenson says, ‘There’s nothing so
disenchanting as attainment,’ and that’s a delightful principle to
work on. I hope to goodness I shall always fail just as I’m about to
attain.”

“What nonsense!” cried Patty. “Then if you ever ask a lovely girl to
marry you, you’ll be secretly hoping she’ll say ‘no!’”

“My word! but Americans are clever!” said Mr. Oram, bowing to her; “but
for the sake of my argument, I must even subscribe to that.”

“Oh, pshaw, Caddy!” said Mr. Homer, “don’t worry over it. You know
you’re a younger son, and very few girls would marry you anyway.”

“Very few would be enough,” observed Cadwalader, quickly and Floyd
Austin immediately chimed in:

“Having neatly vanquished his opponent, the younger son chuckled softly
to himself.”

Then as Lady Kitty came, and took Mr. Homer away, the little group
broke up and somehow Patty found herself talking to Floyd Austin.

“Say some more of those funny things,” she demanded; “I never heard any
one do that before.”

“The young man glanced furtively at his watch, and a spasm of pain
crossed his features as he realised he must say adieu to the fair
young girl before him.”

Austin said this in a whimsical, high-pitched tone, and Patty laughed
aloud in spite of herself.

“Thank you,” he said, earnestly, for his admiration of her musical
laugh was now a standing joke between them. “And by the way, there’s a
dance at Three Towers to-morrow night. I suppose you’ll go. Will you
give me all the odd-numbered dances? Just for luck, you know.”

“All the odd numbers! Why, I never heard of such greediness! I’ll give
you just one dance, and you may be thankful if you get all of it!”

“Somehow, I can’t feel alarmed, for I know you’ll change your mind a
dozen times before to-morrow night comes.”

“How well you read me! But truly, I can’t help it. I always fraction
up my dances, and they won’t come out even, and then I have to tear
up my programme, and then of course I can’t remember who’s who in the
ballroom.”

“Who’s hoodooed in the ballroom, you mean. But after that programme’s
torn up, I may fare better than in the face of its accusing statistics.”

“Tell me something about Mr. Homer,” said Patty, as she looked at the
tall man who was the centre of an admiring group.

“Peter Homer? Well, he’s the rightest kind of a fellow, a great
scholar, and the best-looking man I ever saw,--outside my own mirror.”

“Do you think you’re pretty?” asked Patty, looking at him with an air
of innocent inquiry.

“Yes, indeed. Not as pretty as you are, of course, but still a beauty.
But Homer has the noble brow and lantern jaws that go to make up the
ideal of facial elegance. Isn’t his hair stunning?”

Mr. Homer’s hair was black and abundant. It was somewhat bushy and
of coarse texture, and was tossed over back, as if by the incessant
pushings of an impatient hand.

“You’ll like him,” Austin went on, “but you won’t understand or
appreciate him; you’re too young and ignorant.”

“Thank you,” said Patty.

“Not at all. Don’t mention it, no trouble, I assure you. But Homer’s a
puzzle.”

“I’m specially good at puzzles.”

“Ah, but he isn’t of the ‘transposed, I am a fish,’ variety. You never
can solve Peter Homer, little girl.”

“I’ve no desire to,” said Patty, a little chagrined at his superior
tone. “He isn’t a prize puzzle, is he?”

“With the native quickness of the young American, she gracefully took
the wind out of the sails of the conversation,” piped Austin, as he
looked at her admiringly. Just then a footman brought a telegram to
Patty.

“I brought it at once, ma’am,” he said, “if so there might be an
answer. The man will wait a bit.”

“Allow me,” said Austin, slitting the envelope for her; “and I’ll stand
in front of you while you read it, lest it may be of dire import, and
your emotion be exposed to the gaping crowd.”

Patty smiled at his nonsense, and read the telegram:

  “Last call. No more postponements. We will come for you next
  week, and all start for home September first. Be ready.

                                                   “Father.”

“Oh,” cried Patty in surprised dismay, as she grasped the sense of the
message.

“Can I help?” said Austin, quite serious now, for he saw Patty was
really agitated.

“No. It’s nothing tragic. At least, not really so, but it seems so to
me. I have to go home, that’s all.”

“Home? to America?”

“Yes; and of course, I’m glad to go, in some ways, but I wanted to stay
over here a little longer. Through the autumn, anyway.”

“It’s a beastly pity. I don’t want you to go. Who says you must?”

“My father,” said Patty. “I’ve been promising to join him all summer,
but somehow I didn’t get off, and now he suddenly says we’re all to go
home.”

“All?”

“Yes, father and Nan and me. Nan’s my dear little stepmother. She’s the
sweetest thing,--I just love her. I’m really crazy to see them both
again, but I don’t want to go back to New York quite yet. I’ll soon get
used to the idea, but coming just now, it’s a disappointment.”

“It is to me, I assure you. Why, we’re just beginning to be friends.”

“Yes, I shall always remember you pleasantly.”

Patty was really thinking of something else, and said this so
perfunctorily that Floyd Austin drawled out:

“Having made a polite speech, the young lady promptly forgot the very
presence of the gentleman who was addressing her.”

“Nonsense,” said Patty laughing; “there, I’ll put this rather
disturbing telegram away for the present, and devote my attention
entirely to you!”

“Heaven be praised!” murmured Austin, rolling his melancholy eyes
toward the ceiling. “But oughtn’t you to answer it? You know the
henchman awaiteth.”

“Oh, yes; well, I’ll scribble a reply.”

Turning to a desk, Patty quickly wrote:

  “All right. Come on. I’ll be ready.”

Then addressing it, and signing it, she gave it to Floyd, who went in
search of a footman.

After the tea guests had all gone, Patty went to Lady Kitty’s room to
tell her the news.

“Wake up,” said Patty, gently dropping a kiss on the closed eyes of her
friend, who was resting a bit before dinner.

“What for?” asked Kitty, not opening her eyes.

“What for, indeed! To see the last of your rapidly-disappearing friend
and partner. Eyes, gaze your last! Heart, breathe your fond farewells!”

The big blue eyes of Kitty Hamilton slowly unclosed themselves.

“Melodramatics, my dear!” she said; “what do they mean?”

“Read that!” said Patty, handing her the telegram.

Kitty read it twice, and then sat up, wide awake enough now.

“My little Pattypat,” she said, “you can’t go away home to America. I
won’t let you!”

“You can’t help yourself, Kitsie. If father has made up his mind,--and
it does sound so,--off we go.”

“They’re coming here next week,” went on Kitty, musing over the
telegram. “That part of it’s delightful. I’ll make it so pleasant for
them that they can’t tear themselves away.”

“You can’t do that, dear. But it will be fun to see them. Blessed old
Nan! I’ve missed her a lot this summer.”

“You fraud! I do believe you’re glad you’re going home, after all.”

“Well, in some ways, I am. You know I’m rather adaptable, and when
I get my sailing orders, I begin to face toward the sea. I hate to
leave you, and lots of other friends over here, but, I have friends in
America, too, you know. And, Kitty, Sir Otho promised he’d bring you
over there some time.”

“Well, perhaps he will. At any rate, don’t let this summons cloud your
bright young life for the moment. Lock it up in your desk, and put it
out of your mind for to-night, anyway. Now, run and dress for dinner.
What are you wearing?”

“Are there guests?”

“Yes, a few. Nobody very especial. Put on that speckled gauze thing.”

“Don’t you call my dotted chiffon by disrespectful names,” and Patty
ran, singing, away to her own room.



CHAPTER III

A PLEASURE TRIP OFFERED


“Kitty, I’ve had a jounce,” said Patty, next day, as she sought her
friend and found her in the pleasant morning room that overlooked the
rose-garden.

Lady Hamilton treated her young guest to a haughty, disdainful stare.

“If you will talk in barbaric jargon,” she said, “you can’t expected
civilised people to understand you.”

Patty had an open letter in her hand, and as she fell sideways into a
big easy-chair, she gave her hostess a dear little smile of apology.

“It is horrid, I know,” she said, contritely. “I don’t know why the
excessively correct and well-bred atmosphere of Markleham Grange should
bring out my worst American slang, but it does. I beg your pardon,
Kitty, and I’ll try to mend my ways.”

“Oh, don’t take it too seriously,” laughed Lady Kitty, “and now, what
_jounced_ you?”

“Well, you may remember I had a telegram yesterday, from my adored
parent, telling me I was to start for home the first of September.”

“I remember it with startling distinctness.”

“Well, forget it, then, for it isn’t true. One of the clever operators
of your clever British telegraph company must have misread or
miswritten a word, for I have a letter here from my father, and it
seems he wrote _Rome_ instead of _home_.”

“Oh, Patty Fairfield! And aren’t you really going home at all? And are
you going to Rome? To Italy?”

“Yes, just that! Father and Nan have suddenly decided to spend the
autumn in Italy, a pleasure trip, you know, and go straight to Rome
first, and then go home later, about Christmas, they think.”

“Well, I don’t wonder you were,--what did you call it? Bumped?”

“No, I didn’t say that. I merely announced that I
was,--ahem,--surprised a bit.”

“And pleased?”

“Yes, very much pleased. I didn’t care a lot about Switzerland, but I’m
crazy to go to Rome and Venice and some few other Italian show-places.
Indeed it will be a pleasure trip for me.”

“Well, it’s lovely. I can’t leave now, of course, but father and I will
run down to see you later, wherever you are. I need a little southern
sun on my complexion.”

“Nothing could improve your complexion,” said Patty, kissing it, “but
it will be great to have you join us. I feel like a whirlpool. It’s
awful to have my outlook whipped about so often and so suddenly.”

“And to-morrow you may get a letter saying this is a mistake, and your
father is taking you to Kamschatka.”

“Indeed, it isn’t father who’s changeable! It’s that bright telegraph
operator, who can’t read a gentleman’s handwriting. Well, there’s no
harm done, and now I’ll run away and adjust my mind to my changed
fortunes.”

Patty went out to her favourite seat under the awning, and gave herself
up to day dreams of the delightful trip in store for her.

She had always longed to go to Italy, but had not expected to do so
for many years yet. For some reason Mr. and Mrs. Fairfield had changed
their plans, but though the letter told of this, it told little else.

“No hanging back now,” her father had written; “no excuses of week-ends
or house-parties. Cancel all your engagements, if you’ve made any, and
be ready to leave Markleham Grange when we come for you next week.”

“He needn’t have been so explicit,” thought Patty, “for I’ve no desire
to put house-parties ahead of a trip to Italy. Why, I wouldn’t miss it
for anything! I wonder if we will go to Venice. I suppose I ought to
study up art and things,--I’m fearfully ignorant. But I couldn’t learn
much in a week. I guess I’ll wait, and learn it on its native heath.
Perhaps I won’t care much for the old statues and things, anyway. I
suppose they’re awfully ruined. Must look like a railroad accident.
Oh, that’s horrid of me! I ought to have more respect for such things.
Well, I’m going anyhow, and I’ll have the time of my life, I know I
shall.”

Patty lived through that day absent-mindedly. Somehow, going to Italy
seemed a responsibility, and one not to be undertaken thoughtlessly.

She hinted this to Lady Hamilton, and Kitty laughed outright.

“My word!” she said; “don’t you think you’re going to do the Yankee
Tourist effect! Don’t you go pottering about the galleries with your
nose in a catalogue, and a Baedeker under your arm! A nice pleasure
trip that would be! You’re too ignorant to be an intelligent art lover,
and not ignorant enough to pose as one; just stumble around among the
pictures, and much of what is good will stick to your memory, and the
rest will brush off of itself.”

“You’re a comfort, Kitty,” said Patty; “I thought I ought to study up
Ruskin on the Tuscans and Etruscans, or whatever those art books are
about.”

“You’re too much of a goose, Patty, to study anything. But I expect
you’ll get a lot of fun out of Italy.”

“I rayther think I shall,” said Patty, with twinkling eyes; for, as she
well knew, she found fun wherever she looked for it.

That night they went to the dance at Three Towers. This was a
neighbouring country place, whose three noble towers ranked among the
oldest in England. Patty was enchanted with the grand old house, for
her delvings into architectural books through the summer had taught her
to appreciate historic mansions.

Patty almost held her breath as she entered the stately ballroom, with
its crystal chandeliers, like suspended frozen fountains, sparkling
with hundreds of wax candles. The floral decorations were elaborate,
but to Patty’s mind they almost detracted from the grandeur of the
massive beams and studded ceilings of the fine old hall. After greeting
the hostess, the Markleham party found themselves surrounded by friends
and acquaintances, and Patty learned that the dancing had already begun.

Sir Otho made his escape to some other room, where he might chat
undisturbed with some of his cronies, and Lady Kitty and Patty were
soon provided with programmes, and besieged for dances.

“Now you _have_ done it!” was Floyd Austin’s comment, as he presented
himself, and gazed in frank admiration at Patty’s pretty evening gown
of fluffy white tulle, decorated with silver tracery. “Is that the
frock of a hundred frills?”

“Aptly named, Floyd,” said Lady Kitty; “and a becoming costume for my
little girl, isn’t it?”

“Oh, fair,--madame, fair,” said Austin, teasingly.

“I’d rather be asked to dance than to have ambiguous compliments,”
said Patty, tapping her foot in time to the Viennese music of the
orchestra.

“Come, then,” said Austin, in a tone of patient resignation. “Shall I
humour her, Lady Kitty?”

Smiling assent was given, and the two joined the dancers on the
polished floor.

“How different from dancing in America,” said Patty, as they wound
slowly in and out among the circling throng.

“It’s different from anything, anywhere, any time,” said he.

“You’re too vague,” she sighed. “I never know whether you’re making fun
of me or not. Don’t I dance right?”

“Right? You dance like--like----”

“Now I know you’re trying to think of a pretty allusion. Do get a good
one.”

“Yes, I will. You dance like,--why, very much like I do! We’re both
ripping good dancers.”

Patty laughed out at this. “It _is_ a compliment,” she said, “though
not just the sort I expected.”

“Girls expect so much now-a-days. There, the music’s stopped! Must I
take you back to Lady Kitty, or will you give me the next dance?”

“Take me back, please. But later on, if you care for another dance, you
may come back,--if you like.”

“I _do_ like. I think you were made for men to come back to. Ah, Lady
Hamilton, here is your fair charge. Not a frill missing of the original
hundred, which speaks well for my guardianship, as many of the ladies
are ruefully regarding tattered _chiffons_, so crowded is the dancing
floor.”

“Will you trust yourself to me, then?” said another voice, and Patty
turned to see Peter Homer smiling at her.

“Yes, Mr. Homer,” she said, “as soon as I get my programme again. Mr.
Austin has it. Oh, here it is. Yes, you may have this one.”

And rosy with the fun of it all, Patty put her hand on Mr. Homer’s arm
and walked away.

But he led her away from the dancers to an adjoining room, where there
were fewer people, less light, and no music.

“Sit down here and talk to me,” he said, arranging a chair for her. “I
don’t care for dancing at all.”

“Well, upon my word!” said Patty. “But I do care for dancing.”

“Yes, I know you do. But just now you’re going to stay right here with
me; so you may as well accept it gracefully.”

“Why should I want to do that?” said Patty, who always rebelled at
coercion. “Everybody else is smiling and gay, while you look like
‘cloudy, with showers’!”

“Oh, no, I don’t,” said Mr. Homer, smiling; “and now what shall I talk
to you about?”

“Italy,” said Patty, promptly. “I’m going there soon. I don’t know a
thing about it, and I want to know it all. What’s it like?”

“Well, Italy is like a lovely Monday in the spring; when they’ve washed
the sky, and blued it, and hung it up in the sunshine to dry.”

“That’s pretty,” said Patty, approvingly. “And are there trees?”

“Yes; trees tied together with long ropes of grapevines. They look like
Alpine travellers roped together for safety.”

“What are they really tied for?”

“They’re not tied. The grapevines are festooned from one tree to
another in the orchards. Thus it is a vineyard and an orchard both.”

“It sounds lovely. Tell me more.”

“No; I would rather hear you talk. Tell me what you want most to find
in Italy.”

“Beauty.”

“There’s plenty of that. Italy is a saturated solution of beauty. Which
kind do you want, art or Nature?”

“I know so little about art. A lady at luncheon to-day was surprised
because I don’t even know the names of the twelve ‘world-pictures.’”

“World-pictures! What are they? The scenes of Creation?”

“Why, a list of twelve of the greatest pictures in the world.”

“My word! there’s no fool like an art fool. But you’re too chameleonic
to go to Italy, anyway. It has some several hundred sides, and you’ll
absorb a bit of every one of them, and come back a mosaic, yourself. I
wish you could concentrate, but I suppose you’re too young.”

“I’m not so dreadfully young, and--I am not bred so dull but I can
learn.”

“Well, learn right, then. Don’t let them teach you to rave over
Botticelli’s ‘Spring,’--go and look at ‘David’ instead.”

“Mightn’t that be merely a difference of individual taste?”

Mr. Homer frowned. “Yes, it might be,” he said; “have you an individual
taste?”

About to be offended, Patty thought better of it, and smiled.

“What a dear disposition you have,” said Homer, in a tone full of
contrition. “I have a brutal way of speaking, I know, and I am so
sorry. But I wish I could show you Italy as you should see it.”

“Everybody seems to want to show me Italy as I should see it,” observed
Patty, placidly.

“Yes, and you’ll get a fine jumble of it! Italy is half glory and half
glamour, and you’ll be so rolled up in the mists of glamour that you
can’t see the glory clearly.”

“I hope I shall,” exclaimed Patty. “I want the glamour. I want to see
the Coliseum by moonlight. I don’t care how hackneyed it is!”

“You oughtn’t to see it by moonlight. You ought to see it at midday,
in the strong, clear sunlight; and all alone, listen to its vibrant
silence that tells you of itself.”

“Oh,” said Patty, thrilled by the intense note in his voice. “I didn’t
know you had so much imagination.”

“That isn’t imagination, it’s reality. The real past speaks to you; not
a foolish emotional reproduction that you have conjured up yourself.”

“The curfew tolls the knell of our next dance,” chanted Floyd Austin,
coming toward them. “I thought I never should find you, Miss Fairfield.
May I have you, please?”

“Mr. Homer is telling me about the Coliseum,” said Patty, making no
move to go.

“Quite right, quite right. If any one has anything to say, he may as
well say it about the Coliseum. But that is liable to stand for some
time yet, and this witching hour is fleeting. So, cub, oh, cub with
be,--the bood is beabig.”

Patty rose, laughing.

“I suppose I must go,” she said, as Mr. Homer bowed courteously, and
murmured a few words of regret at her departure.

“Another victim?” said Austin, quizzically. “Now, how can a will o’ the
wisp like you attract a wise and solemn old owl like Homer?”

“He attracted me,” said Patty, simply.

“Oh, that explains it. But then, you also attract people who do not
attract you; myself, for instance.”

“Why, I think you’re quite pleasant,” said saucy Patty, looking at him
with an air of patronising indifference.

“You’d better think so, or I won’t be pleasant!”

“Oh, yes, you will; you’re always pleasant.”

“As Rollo’s uncle said to him, ‘It’s a pleasure to go about with such a
pleasant and sensible boy as you.’”

“But I didn’t say sensible.”

“Thank Heaven for that! Now never mind remembering what Homer told you
about the Coliseum, but remember what I tell you. Be sure to see it by
moonlight first. The night I first saw it, the moon was gibbous----”

“What does gibbous mean?”

“I haven’t the slightest idea. But, anyway, the moon was awful gibbous,
and the moonlight was misty, like spray, you know,--and it flooded the
Coliseum, and ran over onto the dome of St. Peter’s----”

“What nonsense are you talking? You can’t see St. Peter’s from the
Coliseum, can you? Have you ever been to Rome?”

“Now that you mention it, I don’t believe I have! But what’s the use of
imagination, if you can’t see things you’ve never seen?”

“You are too ridiculous!” declared Patty, laughing, and then nodding
him a dismissal, as Cadwalader Oram claimed her for a dance.

“How she is made for happiness,” said Austin, as he dropped into a
chair beside Lady Kitty, and together they watched Patty dance away.

“She is,” agreed Kitty, who was a life-long friend of Floyd Austin,
and greatly liked the young man; “yet she’s not nearly so much of a
butterfly as she seems.”

“I’m sure of that,--though I’ve only seen her butterflyish side. If
Meredith hadn’t already used the phrase, ‘a dainty rogue in porcelain,’
I should coin it to describe Miss Fairfield. Don’t tell me she has an
aim in life.”

“Not quite that; but I think sometimes she wishes she had one.”

“You mean, she thinks she ought to wish she had one.”

“Yes, that is a truer statement of the case,” agreed Kitty.



CHAPTER IV

A FAREWELL PARTY


Mr. and Mrs. Fairfield arrived duly at Markleham Grange, and in
response to urgent invitation consented to stay there for a few days
before taking Patty away with them.

But the last evening had come and the party that gathered on the
terrace after dinner showed that subdued air that last evenings usually
compel.

The party was not a small one, for there had been guests at dinner, and
several of the young people from the neighbouring country-houses had
come over later, to say good-by to Patty.

“I’m so sorry to have you go,” said Flo Carrington, as she possessed
herself of Patty’s hand and caressed it.

“I’m sorry to go,” replied Patty; “somehow it seems as if I were always
saying good-by to somebody. I’ve visited so much this summer, and every
visit means a regretful parting.”

“At the heartrending pathos of Miss Fairfield’s tones, everybody burst
into tears,” declaimed Floyd Austin, burying his face in a voluminous
handkerchief. But so burlesque was his woe that everybody burst into
laughter instead.

“You may stay here if you choose, instead of going with us, Patty,”
said her father. “I didn’t realise it would be such a wrench for you
and your friends.”

“No, thank you,” said Patty, decidedly. “The longer I stay, the more
painful would be the wrench,--and I’ve no notion of losing my Italian
trip, anyway.”

“That’s the right way to look at it,” said Austin, approvingly, “and
cheer up, the fatal blow is yet to fall. I, too, am going to Italy in a
few weeks, and I’ll meet you on any Rialto you say.”

“Are you really?” exclaimed Patty, pleased at the prospect. “Won’t that
be gay, father? And Lady Hamilton and her father are going later too.
We can have a reunion. Won’t you come, Flo?”

“I wish I could,” said the girl, and Mr. Fairfield said heartily:

“I shall be more than glad to welcome any of Patty’s friends, wherever
we meet them. When are you starting, Mr. Austin?”

“I’m not sure yet, Mr. Fairfield. Perhaps in two or three weeks. Keep
me posted as to your whereabouts, and I’ll find you somehow.”

“Do. We are going direct to Rome, and shall stay there for a time
before we begin a series of other cities.”

“Are you going to Milan?” asked Cadwalader Oram.

“Yes, later,” said Mr. Fairfield, and Patty said, “Why?”

“Because I want you to be sure to see the man with his skin hanging
over his arm.”

“What!”

“Yes, truly. It’s a great statue,--in the Cathedral, you know. The
gentleman was flayed,--he was one of the noble family of martyrs,--and
it was his whim to have his statue taken, with his whole skin flung
gracefully over one arm. It’s a most impressive sight.”

“I should think so!” said Patty. “I’ll jot that down in my book. I’m
making a list of things to see that are not in the guidebooks.”

“Well, you won’t find that in a guidebook. But be sure not to miss it.”

“We won’t,” said Mr. Fairfield, “it sounds extremely interesting.”

“I’m going to coax mother to let me go,” said Flo Carrington. “She’s
always promised me an Italian trip, and Snippy could take me as well as
not.”

“Who’s Snippy?” asked Patty.

“My governess. She’s been with us for years, and she’s awfully capable
and well-travelled, and languaged, and all that. If she will take me,
and mother lets me go, may I see you sometimes?”

“You may, indeed,” said Mr. Fairfield, answering for his daughter.
“Come right along, Miss Carrington, and we’ll be of service to you in
any way we can.”

“Oh, thank you,” said Flo, her dark eyes dancing at the thought of such
a pleasure trip. “I’ll try to wheedle mumsie into it, and I’ll let you
know, Patty, if I succeed. I’ll write you in London.”

“I wish my mumsie would let me go,” put in Caddy Oram, in such
plaintive tones that they all laughed. “But she can’t spare her pet boy
at present, so I can only wish you all sorts of happy experiences, Miss
Fairfield.”

The young man rose to go, and soon there was a general departure of
most of the guests. Floyd Austin and Peter Homer tarried after the
others had gone, and Lady Hamilton proposed that they all go indoors,
for the evening air was growing chill. Then to the dining-room for a
bit of a farewell supper, and Patty, as guest of honour, was queen of
the merry feast.

“I am very sorry to lose my little Miss Yankee Doodle,” said Sir Otho.
“Of all the American girls I’ve ever met,--and I’ve never met any
other,--she’s the most like an English girl.”

“I’m sorry not to return the compliment,” said Patty, “but you’re
not the least bit like an American. Though you’re quite the nicest
Englishman I know.”

A groan from Mr. Homer and a wail from Floyd Austin greeted this speech.

“Never mind,” said Austin, cheerfully, “our own English lassies like
us, anyway.”

“And mayn’t we count on your admiration, Mrs. Fairfield?” said Peter
Homer. “I trust all American ladies are not so exclusive in their
favours as Miss Patricia.”

“You may indeed,” said Nan, smiling; “and let me advise you not to
take Patty’s words too literally. I’m beginning to think that since
she escaped my restraining influences she has developed coquettish
tendencies. I’d not be surprised to learn that she admires both you
young men extremely.”

“Good for you, Nan!” cried Patty. “I do! I think they’re great! and I’m
not a coquette at all. I’d like to be, but I don’t know how.”

“Don’t bother to learn,” said Peter Homer. “It will come naturally
after a while.”

“’Deed I won’t bother to learn,” returned Patty. “I’ve too much to
learn now. I want to learn Italian perfectly, before I start for Italy
next week, and I want to learn all about art and architecture, and
everything like that, before I go, too.”

“Take the same advice for those things,” said Austin; “don’t bother to
learn them, and they’ll come naturally after a while.”

“I agree to that,” said Lady Hamilton. “Patty will learn more of art
and architecture by being thus suddenly pushed into it than she could
learn from a hundred text-books or tutors.”

“Right!” agreed Sir Otho, heartily. “But don’t try too hard to learn,
little girl; just enjoy. These are your years for enjoying. When
you’re my age you’ll have time to learn.”

“That’s a new theory,” said Mr. Fairfield, smiling, “but I rather think
it’s a sound one.”

“I think so, too,” said Nan. “I know lots of people who have just
spoiled a perfectly good trip through Italy, because they learned so
hard they had no time to enjoy.”

“One should go through Italy,” said Mr. Homer, “with a mind like a
sieve. Let it alone, and worthless trifles will sift through, and the
big, important things will remain.”

“All this is very comforting,” said Patty, with a relieved sigh; “I had
expected to cram as if for an examination, all next week. Now, I shan’t
even open a book.”

“Having supplied Miss Fairfield with all necessary advice and
information, the two scholarly and erudite gentlemen rose to take their
leave,” drawled Austin, as he rose from his chair and beckoned to Mr.
Homer to do the same.

Peter Homer made his adieus, and then, saying good-by to Patty, he
added:

“I wish I were to show you my Italy, but perhaps it’s just as well
for you to discover your own. Still, I must warn you not to let the
glamour gather too thickly. Brush it off once in a while, and look at
the real thing.”

“I’ll remember,” promised Patty. “But we’ll see you again, sooner or
later?”

“Oh, yes; I’ll be in Italy before Christmas, and everybody in Italy
runs against everybody else, somewhere. Good-by.”

“Good-by,” said Patty, with a kindly politeness, and turned to say the
same to Austin Floyd.

“Be sure to go to the Aquarium in Naples,” he reminded her, for the
fourteenth time. “The polyps are so pleasantly disgusting, and that
fat red starfish is a love. Don’t disgrace your country,--remember
you’re _Murrican_. I shall miss you,--oh, my heart will be as an empty
colander! My dolour will be as of one without hope! I shall be as a
mullein stalk--but, ’tis better so! Good-by!”

Austin’s melodramatic tone was so absurd that the final good-bys were
said amid much laughter, but Patty was conscious of a sincere regret
at leaving the gay merriment of Markleham Grange, and its pleasant
neighbours.

Next morning the three Fairfields started for London.

Sir Otho and Lady Kitty partly promised to join them later in Italy,
but the matter was not fully decided.

Flo Carrington, too, had sent over an early note, excitedly saying
that she was not yet sure she could go, but the outlook was extremely
hopeful.

Late in the afternoon they reached London, and as they left the train
and found themselves in the ponderous bustle of the railway station,
going through the usual distracting hunt for their luggage, Patty’s
love for the great city came back to her, and she remarked to Nan that
she greatly preferred city to country at any time.

“You _are_ a chameleon, Patty,” said Nan, laughing. “I always said you
were. Wherever you are, you immediately claim that it’s the best place
in the world.”

“And a happy disposition, that is,” broke in Mr. Fairfield. “Though I’m
ready to admit that this sitting on one’s trunk, to prevent another
citizen from attaching it, is not my idea of luxurious ease.”

However, as always finally happens, a porter performed a great magic,
and the party, in cab, drove off to the Savoy. Once again in one of
its pleasantest apartments, the dust of travel removed, and tea served,
it seemed like getting back home once more.

Mr. Fairfield, having pronounced against a restaurant dinner, had a
delightful meal sent up to their own cosy drawing-room, and the three
greatly enjoyed their family reunion.

“You people are the best,” declared Patty, as she lingered
appreciatively over her somewhat scanty portion of ice cream. “By the
way,” she interrupted herself, “I know why in London they always say
‘ice,’ instead of ‘ice cream.’ It’s because they never serve enough
of it to justify the longer title, though it’s of the same materials
and quite as good as the American variety. Well, as I was saying, you
two are the best people I know. I’ve had quite enough of friends, and
acquaintances, and hostesses, and staying guests, and all that; I’m
glad to be back with my relatives.”

“I’d think more of that, Patty,” said Nan, smiling, “if I weren’t sure
that you’d take the first chance that offered to go straying off again.”

“Isn’t she awful, Daddy?” said Patty, placidly. “She doesn’t know a
compliment when she sees one. Well, let’s have these empty plates
removed, and get out our maps and plans. I’m crazy to see where we’re
going.”

“We shan’t have a cast-iron itinerary,” said Mr. Fairfield, as he
produced a bundle of maps and time-tables and memoranda. “We’ll leave
next Wednesday for Paris, stay there a day or two, if you girls want
to shop a little, then when we’re ready, we’ll take the Rome express,
right through. After we’re well settled in Rome, and have seen more or
less of its sights, we’ll plan what to do next. In a general way, I may
say that we’ll go from Rome up to the other principal cities, and back
to Rome again. We may decide to spend the whole winter there, but, for
my part, I’d be best pleased, that is, if it suits you two, to eat my
Christmas dinner in New York City, U. S. A.”

“Me too!” cried Patty, her thoughts suddenly rolling in a homesick wave
toward her native land.

“Me too!” cried Nan, enthusiastically, but Mr. Fairfield only smiled,
and said:

“We won’t decide that now; we’ll have a fine Italian trip, and it shall
be shorter or longer, as suits our pleasure.”

“Dear old Daddy,” said Patty, “you have the most gumption of anybody
I know. I’m so glad I picked out a wise father, as well as such a
handsome one.”

“I wish you had inherited either trait,” said Mr. Fairfield, with a
mock sigh, and Patty answered him only by a saucy glance.

The few days that intervened between their arrival in London and their
departure for Paris were busy ones for Nan and Patty. There was some
shopping to be done, but this was hurried through that they might have
more time to pay farewell visits to some of their favourite haunts.

“But you must get some dresses, Patty,” said Nan, as Patty, declared
her intention of spending a day in the picture galleries; “you can’t
wear garden-party muslin, and chiffon evening gowns on Italian
railroads.”

“Italians don’t have railroads, my ignorant little stepmother; they
have railways,--or, more likely they call them by some absurd,
unpronounceable name of their own. Well, as I was saying, I’ll get
dresses in Paris, but if we’re really going home from Italy, straight
to New York, and not coming back here again, there are some ‘loved
spots that my infancy knew’ in London, to which I simply _must_ repair
once more!”

“All right, girlie; you’ve only four days left in London, so spend them
as you like.”

So Patty wandered about as she chose; spending an afternoon in
Westminster Abbey, and a morning in the British Museum, and often
enjoying a drive in the parks. There were few people whom they knew in
London, as most of them were still in their country-places, but the
weather was cool and pleasant, and Patty declared she was glad not to
be bothered with social engagements.

At last the day came when they must leave for Paris. Trunks were
strapped and despatched. Boxes containing various purchases they had
made were shipped directly home to New York, and with real tears in her
eyes, Patty stood looking out of the hotel window down on the noisy,
bustling Strand.

“Cheer up,” said Nan, observing her, “we’ll come back here some day, if
not this year.”

“I never thought of that!” exclaimed Patty, as the smiles broke over
her face; “why, of course we shall! What a comfort you are, Nan. Why, I
shouldn’t wonder if we came over every summer, mayn’t we?”

“Every other summer, perhaps,” said Nan, a little absently, for she
was attending to some last matters.

“Come, Patty,” said her father, “the cab’s here. Wave a weeping
farewell to your London joys, and turn a smiling face to fresh fields
and pastures new.”

“All ready, Father,” said Patty, cheerily, and in a few moments they
were off.

At Victoria station they took the train for Dover, and Patty looked
from the window as long as it was possible to get glimpses of the great
city they were leaving.

To many people the crossing of the English Channel is not a pleasing
experience. Nan frankly confessed that she did not care for it at all;
but Patty and her father, being blessed with entire freedom from any
physical discomfort in the matter, went aboard the Channel steamer with
anticipations of a pleasant trip across. The ideal time to sail away
from the Dover cliffs is mid-afternoon, when the sunlight dazzles on
the white chalk formations, and the green grass and blue water and the
pink tints on the rocks all form a beautiful panorama of the brightest
colouring possible.

Patty and her father having done all they could to make Nan as
comfortable as possible, they left her at her own request in charge of
a kind-mannered stewardess, and returned to the upper deck. Here, in
two steamer chairs they sat, and watched England disappear.

As they went on, the intrusive spray dashed up on the deck, and finally
onto the travellers themselves.

Patty laughed in glee, for her travelling cloak was of staunch
material, and she thought the dashing drops great fun. But as the spray
flew higher, the deckmaster brought tarpaulins to wrap about them, and
thus protected, the two seafarers enjoyed the rough crossing.

“Isn’t it gay!” cried Patty, as a cloud of drops splashed full in her
face, making her curly hair curl tighter about her brow.

“Fine!” answered Mr. Fairfield, but he had to scream to make himself
heard above the racket of the sea.

As they neared shore, they went below to tidy up for the landing, and
found Nan, radiantly smiling, as she awaited them.

“I’m all right now,” she announced, “but I shouldn’t have been, if I’d
been pitching and tossing about in the upper air as you have. Goodness!
but you’re a sight! Both of you. Can you get wrung out in time to
land, do you think?” But in a short time Mr. Fairfield and Patty were
transformed into dry and correct-looking citizens, and no sign remained
of their watery escapade, save the damp curls that clustered around
Patty’s forehead.



CHAPTER V.

DAYS IN PARIS


The Fairfields spent a few delightful days in Paris. They staid at a
large and pleasant hotel, and their rooms looked out upon the Place
Vendôme, which was one of Patty’s favourite spots in the French capital.

“I own that column,” she remarked to her father, as they looked out the
window at the great shaft with its spiral decorations.

“Indeed!” said Mr. Fairfield; “given to you by the French people, as a
token of regard and esteem?”

“Not exactly that,” said Patty. “I own it by right of adoption, or
rather, appropriation. All the things I specially like, and that are
too big to carry home, I own that way.”

“A fine plan,” commented her father. “And it has the advantage of being
a cheap one too. But you must remember this Vendôme column especially,
for you’ll see its twin in Rome.”

“Another,--just like it?”

“Not just like it, but similar. The one in Rome is Trajan’s Column, and
is of marble. But this one, of masonry, covered with plates of bronze,
was constructed in imitation of the Roman one. This, however, is nearly
twice as high.”

“Oh, pooh, then I shan’t care for such a little sawed-off thing at all.”

“Wait till you see it,” said her father, laughing. “I think you’ll find
it interesting.”

“And is Trajan on top of it, as Napoleon is on this?”

“Trajan was, at first. But he has been replaced by a statue of St.
Peter.”

“I’m glad I’m going to see it,” said Patty, contentedly. “I love
columns.”

“That’s right, child. Learn to know columns and arches and steps, and
you’re fairly started on the road to architecture.”

“Steps!” cried Patty, in surprise, “are steps ever beautiful?”

“Yes, indeed. Don’t you remember I called your attention to them many
times in London. Those of the church of St. Martin’s-in-the-Field, for
instance.”

“Oh, yes, I remember those--I must look up this matter of steps.”

“I’ll show you plenty in Italy. I’m not going to overburden you, Patty,
with instructive lore, but you must acquire a general knowledge of what
you’re seeing.”

“Yes, I want to. I don’t want to talk like the people who say, ‘I don’t
know a thing about art, but I know what I like.’”

“If you ever express that sentiment, I’ll disown you. Some people
invariably like the wrong things.”

“Oh, I know how to find out what’s worth while. You just pick out a
most stupid and uninteresting little picture or statue, and then you
look in your Baedeker and he tells you it’s the gem of the collection.”

“You’re hopeless!” declared her father. “I wash my hands of you, and
you can do your sightseeing in your own way.”

But he well knew she was only jesting, and many a pleasant hour they
spent among the art treasures in Paris, while Patty unconsciously
absorbed a foundation of true principles of worth and beauty.

The statue of the Venus of Milo was her greatest delight. She never
tired of standing in front of it to gaze up into the beautiful face.

“Isn’t it strange,” she said to her father, one day, “that the
expression of that face should be so exquisite, so,--so,--well, so
perfectly lovely that I can’t stop looking at it; and yet, all the
photographs of it are so different. The photographs all make her have
a supercilious, ill-natured air, while the real statue is anything but
that.”

“I agree with you,” said Nan. “I’ve often noticed it. And the plaster
casts, or the bronzes, are not a bit like the original.”

“Of course,” said Mr. Fairfield, “the plaster or bronze of reduced size
can’t be expected to be exact portraits, but surely a photograph should
give the expression of the original face. For, doubtless, the lady
stands still when she has her picture taken.”

“But the pictures _aren’t_ like her,” insisted Patty. “I’ve bought
seventeen different photographs of her, including post-cards, and
they’re not the leastest mite like that dear face.”

“Seventeen!” exclaimed Mr. Fairfield; “are you going to set up a shop
in New York?”

“No, indeed, but I’ve been trying to get a satisfactory picture, and I
can’t.”

On their way home Patty asked to stop at a picture shop so she might
prove her assertions.

“I’m afraid to go in,” said Mr. Fairfield, as she paused at a small
shop on the Rue de Rivoli, “you’ll buy seventeen more, and expect me to
pay for them!”

“No, I won’t. Come on in; I know the dealer and he’ll show us his
wares.”

The proprietor of the shop was a funny little old Frenchman, who spoke
little English. He recognized Patty, and, shaking his head, said
“_Non_, no ones that are new.”

“He means he hasn’t any new photographs of the Venus, since I was here
yesterday,” explained Patty, laughing. “But, now, Father, look at these
and I’ll show you what I mean.”

Together, they looked at a number of photographs of the celebrated
statue, and suddenly Nan exclaimed; “You’re right, Patty! and I know
why. It’s because all these photographs are taken from too high a
level. We look at the face of the Venus from below, it was made to
be looked at that way. But all these photographs have been taken by
cameras raised to the level of the statue’s head, or above it, and that
foreshortens her face the wrong way. Why, look, in this one you see all
the top of her head. Looking at the real statue, you see only the hair
above her brow. I can’t explain it exactly, but that’s what makes her
expression so different.”

“It _is_, Nan,” cried Patty, “it makes her upper lip curl, and her nose
shrink up!”

“Patty, Patty!” said her father, “don’t use such expressions. But I
believe you’re right, Nan, a photograph taken from the same height as
our eyes, would give a far different view of the face.”

“Yes, indeed,” said Patty. “Oh, I wish they’d let me take one.”

“They won’t,” said Mr. Fairfield, “so you’ll just have to engrave her
on your memory.”

Though they were convinced that their theory was right, they couldn’t
persuade the old Frenchman to agree with them. He admitted that the
pictures were unlike the expression of the original face, but he
shrugged his shoulders and said:

“Many photographs,--many postcards,--but only one _orichinal!_” And the
rapt look in his eyes showed that he, like Patty, preferred his memory
of the marble to any possible reproduction of it.

The last day they spent in Paris, Nan declared she was going to buy
things.

“We’ll do plenty of sightseeing in Italy,” she said, “but there’s
nothing there to buy, except heads of Dante and models of the Roman
Forum.”

“And beads,” said Patty. “I’m going to get pecks of beads. Everybody
expects you to bring them home a string or two.”

“All right,” said Nan, “but I mean gorgeous raiment. Paris is the only
place for that. So, to-day, I buy me some wide-reaching hats, and
frippery teagowns and other gewgaws. Want to go, Patsy?”

“’Deed, I do. I adore to buy feathers and frills.”

“You’re two vain butterflies,” said Mr. Fairfield, “but if you’ll
excuse me from going with you on this excursion, I’ll agree to pay the
bills you send home.”

This was a highly satisfactory arrangement, and the two ladies started
out for a round of the shops.

Patty had such good taste, and Nan such good judgment, that they bought
only the most desirable things, and a fine collection they made.

“It’s really economy to buy these, Patty,” said Nan, holding up some
embroidered waists as sheer and fine as a handkerchief, “for they’re
about half the price they cost at home; and as these styles are ahead
of ours, they’ll be all right for next summer.”

“Right you are,” said Patty, gaily; “and what we don’t want ourselves
will be lovely for Christmas presents. And, oh, Nan, do look at these
lace parasols! I’m going to get one for Marian; she’ll be wild over it.”

“No, don’t, Patty; they are exquisite, and would be just the thing for
an English garden party. But Marian would never have an opportunity to
carry that fluff of lace and chiffon and pink roses.”

“I s’pose not,” said Patty, regretfully. “It would look startling to
take to the Tea Cub meetings at Vernondale, and she couldn’t carry it
to New York! Well, I’ll leave it, then, and get her a mackintosh or
something sensible, instead.”

“No, don’t go to the other extreme,” said Nan, laughing, “get her a
hat, if you like, or a feather boa, but get something that the girl can
use.”

“Sensible little stepmother,” said Patty, good-naturedly; “You’re
always right, and I’m proud to be your friend and partner.”

So the buying went merrily on. Sometimes Patty advised Nan against a
combination of colours that didn’t quite harmonise, or a decoration
that wasn’t exactly suitable, and Nan gladly deferred to the younger
girl’s taste.

“One more farewell glimpse of my Venus, and then I’ll go home,” said
Patty, as the afternoon shadows began to lengthen; and telling the
cabman to take them to the Louvre, the two went in for a last sight of
the statue.

“_Isn’t_ she beautiful!” said Patty, for the fiftieth time. “I _know_
there’ll be nothing in all Italy to compare with her.”

“You can’t know that till you’ve been there,” said practical Nan, and
then she had to drag Patty away, and they went back to the hotel. Their
purchases were there awaiting them, so quick are the ways of the Paris
shops, and they found Mr. Fairfield in the middle of their sitting room
completely surrounded by parcels of all shapes and sizes.

“Snowed under!” he declared, as they came in.

Then he good-naturedly helped to untie the bundles, and pack most of
them in trunks to be sent directly to America.

“We want to take whatever luggage we need with us,” he said, “but don’t
take anything we don’t need. Excess luggage is expensive in Italy,
but it’s worth the extra expense if we want it for our convenience or
pleasure.”

So each had a good-sized individual trunk, and another trunk held some
evening gowns for Nan and Patty, not to be opened except when social
occasions required. Still another trunk held indispensable odds and
ends that belonged to all of them, and Mr. Fairfield said that was
enough to look after.

“You’re lovely people to travel with,” said Patty, thoughtfully. “When
I came over here with the Farringtons, they had forty-’leven trunks,
and they never could find what they wanted without going through the
whole lot.”

“Much better to get along with a few,” said her father, “and then you
can find things more easily.”

Mr. Fairfield was a systematic and methodical man, and had always
instilled these traits into both Patty and Nan. So they were always
ready at traintime or a little before, and thus were saved the many
annoyances that follow in the train of delay and procrastination.

The next afternoon they started for Rome. Mr. Fairfield chose to go by
the “Rome Express” a rapid and well-appointed train. Patty was greatly
interested in the strange appointments of the cars. The Fairfields had
two compartments; the larger, double one for the use of Patty and Nan,
the other for Mr. Fairfield. But at first they all sat together in the
double compartment, which was arranged like a state-room, and not at
all like American sleeping-cars. They would be on the train two nights
and one day, and Mr. Fairfield chose this plan because it enabled them
to see the Alps by daylight.

“It’s just like being in our own house, isn’t it?” said Patty, as they
settled their belongings into place. And indeed it was. Shut away from
the other passengers in their cosy little room, they were as secluded
as if at home. The comfortable seats and convenient little tables,
racks and shelves, made room for all their impedimenta, and Patty
declared it was lots nicer than American parlour cars, where everybody
was in the same room.

“Though, of course, you can take a drawing-room,” said Nan.

“Yes, if you’re a millionaire,” said Patty. “But this is fixed so
everybody can be by themselves.”

“Would you rather have your dinner served in here?” asked her father.

“No; I’d rather go to the dining-car. I want to see more of my
fellow-travellers. There may be brigands on board. I always think of
Italy as peopled with brigands.”

“What are they like?” asked Nan, idly.

“Oh, they have big cowboy hats, and red silk sashes, and awful black
beards, and they carry cutlasses.”

“Those are pirates,” suggested her father.

“Oh, yes, so they are. Well, my brigands carry revolvers.”

“Oh, no,” said Nan, laughing; “not revolvers; you might as well give
them tomahawks. Brigands in Italy carry stilettos, of course.”

“Stilettos!” cried Patty, in amazement. “They’re what you use in
embroidery work.”

“Well, you _are_ an ignorant young person,” declared Mr. Fairfield. “An
Italian stiletto is a small dagger or poniard.”

“Poniard! that’s it!” exclaimed Patty. “No well-conducted brigand would
carry anything but a poniard. Do you suppose there are many on the
train, father?”

“I don’t know, I’m sure. But we’ll go to dinner now, and if there are
any we’ll scrape acquaintance with them.”

So to the dining-car they went, and Patty cast discreet but curious
glances in at the doors of the other compartments as she passed them.

She saw no brigands, and among the passengers were not many Italians.
They all seemed to be people of their own stamp, probably travelling on
the same kind of a trip.

The dining-car was comfortable and well-lighted. The tables on one side
held four people, and on the other side, each was arranged for two. The
Fairfields sat at a quartette table, and as no one occupied the fourth
seat, they were pleasantly by themselves again.

It was Patty’s first introduction to Italian cookery, and she was much
interested in the strange dishes.

The spaghetti, though very good, was served in such large quantities
that she was amazed.

“Does anyone ever eat a whole portion?” she said.

But she noticed that many of the diners did do so, and indeed she made
large inroads on her own share.

“It’s fine!” she said. “I did not know it could be so good.”

“On its native heath, spaghetti is quite different from an American
arrangement of it,” said her father. “I’m glad you like it, for you’ll
have very few meals without it all the time you’re in Italy.” The
other viands were good, too, and the variety of cheeses and fruits was
positively bewildering.

“How different from an English or French meal,” said Patty, as they
finished. “Isn’t it interesting, the different things that different
countries eat. Do you suppose that’s what makes them the sort of people
they are?”

“Your question is a little ambiguous,” laughed her father, “but it
doesn’t always seem logical. For instance, you’d scarcely think this
innocent spaghetti would produce a race of ferocious brigands, such as
you’re expecting to meet. By the way do you see any?”

“Not one,” said Patty, as she glanced round the car. “I’m fearfully
disappointed.”

“Don’t give up hope yet. Perhaps they’re lying in ambush somewhere, and
they’ll hold up the train in the night.”

After the long dinner, there was not much evening left, so our
travellers soon concluded they were ready for their rest.

“Don’t be afraid,” said Mr. Fairfield, as he left the two ladies, to
go to his own sleeping berth. “I don’t believe there’s a bad-tempered
brigand on the train.”

“I don’t either,” said Patty, “so I shan’t lie awake in shivering
terror.”

Soon she and Nan were sleeping quietly in the funny, narrow beds that
were so like shelves, and the next thing Patty knew was a knocking at
the door of the compartment.

She was awake in an instant and shook the sleeping Nan.

“Wake up,” she whispered, “there’s a brigand knocking at the door.”

“Nonsense!” said Nan, rubbing her eyes, “what do you mean?” The knock
was repeated and Nan jumped up.

“What shall we do?” she said. “Perhaps we’d better not answer at all.”

But the knocks became more peremptory, and throwing on a kimono, Nan
went to the door, and without opening it, said, “Who’s there?”

“Open the door,” said a commanding voice.

“It _is_ a brigand!” said Patty, hopping about on one foot. “Where are
your jewels, Nan?”

“Your father has them. Don’t be silly, Patty; of course it isn’t a
brigand, but who can it be? Perhaps Fred is ill.”

As the knocking continued, and as the voice kept on demanding that the
door be opened, Nan opened it cautiously and saw before her a big
burly man in an official uniform.

“Sorry to disturb you, ma’am,” he said, “but have you any luggage in
your room?”

“No,” said Nan, “only hand luggage.”

“How many trunks in the luggage-car?” he went on, and Nan told him.

“Anything dutiable in them?”

“Why, I don’t know. What is dutiable?”

“Spirits or tobacco, ma’am.”

“Why, no! Of course we haven’t any of those things in our trunks.”

“Any matches?”

“No.”

“Thank you. Good night, madam. Sorry to trouble you.”

The big man went away, and Patty tumbled back to bed, murmuring:

“Huh, to be waked up and bothered, and then not see a brigand after
all! I do think the customs men might at least wear red silk sashes.
They’d be so much more picturesque. What a queer time for him to come
to see about the trunks.”

“I believe they always come when we cross the border,” said Nan,
sleepily. “Good-night.”

“Good-night,” said Patty.



CHAPTER VI

THE GRANDEUR THAT WAS ROME


It was very early in the morning when the train pulled into the station
at Rome. Patty had been up and dressed for some time, watching from the
window the strange views and novel sights.

“Here we are,” said Mr. Fairfield, and Patty hurried from the train in
her eager interest to see the real Rome outside of a map or guidebook.

“Well!” she said, as she found herself in a great station, not so very
unlike railroad stations in other countries, “Well! if you call this
picturesque, I don’t!”

“Nothing can be picturesque when you’re hungry,” said Nan, “and I’m
going to get my breakfast before I express my opinion of the Eternal
City.”

“Good girl, Nan!” said Mr. Fairfield, approvingly. “And I fancy Patty,
too, is ready for some Roman breakfast food.”

“I am hungry,” said Patty, “but I’m so surprised at this place! Why!”
she went on, as they emerged into the great square in front of the
station, “look at the trolley-cars! It’s just like New York!”

“You needn’t get in a trolley-car,” said Mr. Fairfield, laughing at
Patty’s dismayed expression; “here’s the omnibus that’s to take us to
our hotel. Hop in.”

“Pooh! an omnibus!” said Patty, “that isn’t appropriate to Rome,
either!”

“I know what you want to ride in,” said her father. “One of those Roman
chariots drawn by four horses, that they race round the ring in, at the
circus.”

“Those rattlety-bang things?” said Patty, laughing at the recollection.
“Yes, they would be all right, only there’s so much danger of spilling
out behind.”

But she climbed into the omnibus with the others and in less than
five minutes they were round the corner, and stopping at their own
hotel. Mr. Fairfield had selected the Quirinal, as a comfortable
and convenient home for them, and when Patty went in, and saw the
handsomely appointed halls and picturesque winter-garden, she said,
“This is better than trolley-cars, but it isn’t so very Roman, after
all.”

“You may as well get rid of your ideas of ancient Rome,” said Mr.
Fairfield. “There is a little of that left, but most of the Rome
you’ll have to do with is decidedly twentieth century, and very much
up-to-date.”

“I believe you!” said Patty, as she noticed the fashionably attired
ladies about, and the modern appliances everywhere.

Then they were taken to their rooms, and Patty exclaimed with delight
at the pleasant apartment reserved for them.

“At last I’ve found something different,” she cried. “This isn’t a bit
like our apartments in London or Paris. Oh, Nan, do see this gorgeous
gold furniture in our drawing-room! I’m sure the Queen has lent it for
our use while we’re here!”

“Grand, but stuffy,” declared Nan, as she threw off her travelling
cloak.

“I like it,” said Patty; “it’s the first effect of Roman luxury I’ve
seen. Do we lie on couches to eat, father?”

“You may if you like, my dear; though I believe it isn’t done much this
year, in the best circles.”

Patty went on exploring, and was greatly pleased with the novelty of
her new surroundings. There was a grand drawing-room, furnished with
heavy velvet hangings and carpets; massive furniture, carved, gilded
and upholstered in rich brocatelles; immense crystal chandeliers;
elaborate mirrors, pictures and bric-à-brac; and a profusion of palms,
statuettes, footstools and sofa pillows.

From this opened a small breakfast-room, also lavishly decorated
and furnished. The bed-rooms, dressing-rooms, and baths were all in
harmonious style, and after a tour of the rooms, Patty declared herself
quite satisfied with the modern Roman notions of living.

“And only think,” said Mr. Fairfield, “the price we pay for all this
gorgeousness is not so much as we paid for far simpler accommodations
in Paris or London either.”

“Oh, let’s live in Rome always, then,” cried Patty, enthusiastically,
“I love it already.”

“Goose-girl!” exclaimed Nan, laughing at her raptures; “go and freshen
yourself up, get into a comfortable gown, and then we’ll have some
breakfast.”

Half an hour later the family gathered in their own breakfast-room,
and a delightful meal was served them there.

Patty and Nan, in pretty house dresses, welcomed the delicious fruits
and daintily-cooked eggs, and the coffee was pronounced better than
that of Paris.

“And as to London,” said Nan, “they spell coffee, T, e, a.”

“So they do,” said Patty, with a wry face at the recollection of London
coffee. “Give me Rome, every time!”

“There’s this difference, too,” said Mr. Fairfield, “you girls will
have to readjust your mode of living a little. In Paris, nobody gets
around till noon, and then they call luncheon breakfast. While here,
people get up and out fairly early, in order to utilize the morning
hours, which are the best of the day. Then they come back and stay
indoors during the middle of the day; luncheon is promptly at twelve,
for that reason; and stay in the house till three or four o’clock, then
go out again if you like for the sunset hours.”

“How funny!” said Patty. “Luncheon at twelve is very early.”

“When you’re in Rome you must do as the Romans do,” said her father,
“and now I’ve told you what that is. But to-day, you two are not going
out at all, at least not until four o’clock this afternoon. You must
rest this morning, and then, at four, I’ll take you out for a drive.
We’re not going to do a lot of sightseeing in a rush, and get all tired
out. We’re here for pleasure, and we must take it slowly, or we can’t
really enjoy it.”

“I’m agreeable,” declared Patty. “I can spend the day beautifully,
unpacking my trunk, and wandering about this hotel, and taking a nap,
and chattering with my stepmother, and lots of things. What are you
going to do, Daddy?”

“I’m going out to engage a Roman chariot for you to ride about in, and
to have the trolley-cars stopped, and the railroad station made over on
a more antique plan.”

“Oh, don’t bother about the station. I shan’t need it again till I go
home, so let it remain as it is.”

“Very well, then; now you two be ready when I come back at noon, and
we’ll lunch downstairs.”

Mr. Fairfield went away, and Patty and Nan went to their work of
unpacking.

Patty was of an orderly nature, and really enjoyed putting her things
neatly away in the wardrobes and drawers, of which there were plenty.
She was accustomed to wait on herself, and so declined the offers of
help from the willing but unintelligible maid who spoke no English.

“I suppose you’re offering to help me,” said Patty, smiling at her,
“but I can’t speak Italian, and I’d rather do things myself anyway.”

The little maid did not quite understand the words, but she gathered
Patty’s meaning, and tripped away to make similar offers to Nan. Nan
couldn’t talk Italian either, but she was inclined to have help, so, by
the aid of smiles and gestures, she quite made herself understood and
her rooms were soon in order.

“What a mess!” she exclaimed, as a couple of hours later she went
to Patty’s room and found that young woman in the midst of a sea of
dresses, hats, slippers, and toilet accessories of all sorts.

“A lovely mess,” returned Patty, placidly. “I’ll soon straighten it
out. But I never could do it, with a Choctaw-speaking Roman trying to
jabber out help.”

“Lucretia isn’t Choctaw; we understood each other perfectly, without
words, and she’s an awfully well-trained maid.”

“Is her name Lucretia? Is she of the old Borgia crowd? Now, she’ll
murder us in our sleep!”

“Like your brigand did! Patty, you’ll never get these clothes put away.
I’ll help you.”

So, working together, the room was soon tidy, and Patty had the
satisfaction of knowing that all her belongings were put away in proper
order.

“I like them so I can put my hand on anything I want in the dark,” she
said to Nan. “Though, indeed, it’s rarely I want my books or sewing
materials in the dark. Or my best hat, for that matter. What would be
the use of one’s best hat in the dark? Nobody could see it!”

But she easily found the clothes she did want, and when Mr. Fairfield
returned, he found two very correct looking ladies, in fresh white
costumes, ready to go to luncheon with him.

“I’ve good news for you,” he said, after they were seated at table; “I
ran across Jim Leland, and he’s living here in Rome, and he proposes to
make it pleasant for us in lots of ways while we’re here.”

“That’s lovely,” said Nan; “it’s always pleasant to know somebody who
lives in a place. Who’s he, Fred?”

“I used to know him twenty years ago, but haven’t seen him since. He’s
a bachelor, and has the reputation of being somewhat of a recluse, but
I know he’ll be genial and hospitable where we’re concerned. He and I
are good chums, though we don’t meet often. He has asked us to dine
with him some night, and I’ve accepted for us all on Monday. I suppose
you’ve no other engagement, Patty?”

“Not unless the King asks me informally to dinner,” she replied. “Where
does Mr. Leland live?”

“Not far away. Just across the street, in fact. He has bachelor
apartments, where he has lived for years, I believe.”

They lingered over their pleasant luncheon, and then strolled out to
the beautiful garden at the back of the hotel.

Here there were no flowers, but palms and strange tropical plants in
great variety. So dense was the foliage in some places that Patty
called it a jungle, and appropriating a wicker chair, declared her
intention of remaining there to read for a while.

“Do as you choose until four,” said her father, “and then your Roman
chariot will await you.”

The Roman chariot proved to be a low, comfortable open carriage, that
Mr. Fairfield had engaged to be at their disposal during their whole
stay in Rome.

As they started off on their first drive round the city, Patty asked
where they were going.

“Not to many places to-day,” said her father. “Just a drive to the
Pincio, and to get a bird’s-eye view of the city. But keep your eyes
open, for this drive will always remain in your memory.”

And it did. Patty never forgot that first afternoon in Rome. She almost
held her breath as they drove rather slowly along the streets, and her
ideas formed and changed and fled so swiftly that she scarcely could be
said to have any.

Her conversation was limited to gasps of surprise and delight,
exclamations of awe and wonder, and little squeals of glee and
merriment.

At last she recognised one thing at least, and cried out, “Oh, isn’t
that Trajan’s Column? It’s just like the Column Vendôme.”

“Good for you,” said her father, “to recognise it. Yes, that’s it, and
next to it you may see Trajan’s Forum.”

“Not a very big one,” said Patty, a little disappointed, “but very tidy
and set in neat rows.”

“Well, the columns weren’t just like that to begin with,” said Mr.
Fairfield, “but they’ve been set up in straight rows since.”

They went on for some distance, and then, at a word from Mr. Fairfield,
the driver paused and stopped at a point that commanded a fine view of
the Coliseum.

Patty first sat and looked at it. Indeed, they all sat silent, looking
at the great structure, as its wonderful lines stood out against the
blue sky.

“I didn’t think it was like that,” said Patty, at last. “I’ve seen
pictures of it, but, well, I don’t think it takes a good picture!”

“No, it doesn’t,” agreed Mr. Fairfield. “No photograph or painting
of the Coliseum can give the least idea of the calm sublimity of the
building itself.”

They drove round it, Patty becoming more and more deeply interested at
every step; but Mr. Fairfield said they would not go inside that day,
as he had other plans.

So they went on, under the great arch of Constantine, and at this
Patty was again dumb with awed admiration.

“How big the things are,” she said.

“And how old,” added Nan, greatly impressed with the ancient monuments.

Then they drove round by the Roman Forum. This was altogether too much,
and she gazed at it, with such a helpless expression on her face that
Mr. Fairfield laughed at her.

“Drive on,” he said to the man; “we’ll see the Forum some other
time. Well, Patty, my child, is Rome antique enough, or is it all
trolley-cars and railroad stations?”

“Oh, Father,” said Patty, and because of a queer lump in her throat,
she couldn’t talk in her usual merry fashion.

“There, there, dearie, don’t take it too seriously. I want you to love
it all, but don’t let it break you up so.”

“I can’t help it,” said Patty, laughing as she wiped her eyes with her
handkerchief; “it’s so big,--so--so----”

“So overpowering,--yes, I know. But that’s why I want you to get used
to it by degrees. Now, we’ll go through some beautiful gardens, and on
to the Pincio.”

Away they went along the Corso Umberto, and passed many statues,
villas, buildings, fountains, and arches, but none of them so impressed
Patty as the ancient ruins had done.

“Why is it,” she asked her father, “that the ruins are so much more
impressive than the complete buildings?”

“That’s partly glamour,” he said, with a twinkle in his eye, for he
remembered what Patty had told him of Mr. Homer’s remarks on glamour.

“And partly what else?” she asked.

“Partly the grandeur of the monuments themselves. If you hadn’t been
affected at the sight of the Coliseum I should have packed you back to
New York by the first boat.”

“And I should have deserved to go,” said Patty, decidedly. “I give you
both fair warning,--the first thing I do every morning while I’m in
Rome is to go straight to the Coliseum and hug it. After that I’ll go
to see the other sights.”

“Can you reach all the way around it?” asked Nan, smiling.

“Don’t be too literal,” said Patty, smiling back. “I shall only hug it
figuratively, but, oh, I do love it! The Venus of Milo has a rival in
my affections. No, not a rival, exactly, for they’re too different to
be compared. But they’re both my favourite statues.”

“That’s one way to put it,” laughed her father. “But here we are on the
top of the Pincian Hill. Will you get out and have some cakes and ices?”

They did so, and Patty found it delightful to sit at one of the little
tables under the trees, and have a Roman afternoon tea. There were a
great many people about, some of whom looked like Americans, and Patty
noticed two or three who belonged in their own hotel.

“Shall we get acquainted with any of the people at the hotel?” she
asked.

“Yes, I think so,” Nan answered. “There are some people from
Philadelphia there, whom I know slightly. I think I’ll look them up
to-morrow.”

“Oh, of course we’ll make acquaintances, sooner or later,” said Mr.
Fairfield.

“The Coliseum is chum enough for me,” said Patty, with a dreamy look.
“I don’t care for anybody else.”

“Glamour has hit you hard,” said her father; “we’d better be going home
and give you a change of scene.”



CHAPTER VII

AMERICAN FRIENDS AND OTHERS


“She’s coming!” announced Patty, as the family sat at luncheon some
days later.

“Who’s coming?” asked Nan, looking up from her own letters. They were
all reading their mail, which usually arrived about midday.

“Why, Flo Carrington, and her governess, whom she always calls
‘Snippy.’ I don’t know What the lady’s real name is.”

“Good!” said Mr. Fairfield. “I’ll be glad for you to have a young
companion, and Madame Snippy can probably look after you both.”

“Or Flo and I can look after her,” observed Patty. “I’ve never met the
lady, but I think she goes around with her nose in a book. I’ve always
heard of her widespread knowledge of all sorts.”

“That will be a good thing for you,” said her father. “You’re not
overburdened with booklore, and though this is a pleasure trip for
you, I hope you’ll acquire some information that will stay by you.”

“There’s one thing sure,” said Patty; “as soon as I get home, I’m going
to take up a course of Roman history. It never seemed interesting to me
before, but now I know I shall like it.”

“I’m with you,” said Nan. “We’ll be a class all by ourselves, and read
every morning, after we’re back in New York.”

“And then, you see, Father,” went on Patty, “I can remember all these
things I’m seeing now, and, before you know it, I’ll be a great
scholar.”

“I’m not alarmed at the idea of your becoming a blue-stocking. Indeed,
I doubt if your interest remains after you’ve left these actual scenes.”

“Oh, yes, it will! I want to study up all about the early Christian
martyrs and the cruel emperors. I’m sure it will be most interesting.
You see, Flo knows it all. She has all history at her tongue’s end. And
she knows all about the great works of art and everything.”

“Can she recite the names of the twelve ‘world-pictures’?” asked Nan,
smiling.

“Oh, she doesn’t know it that way! No ‘Half Hours with the Best
Artists,’ for hers! She really knows, and she’s so unostentatious about
it.”

“Then she’ll be a good chum for you. Are they coming here? And when?”

“Yes, Father. They’ve engaged rooms here, on the same floor as ours,
and they’ll arrive next week. Oh, I’m so glad. I can go around a lot
with them, and that will leave you and Nan to flock by yourselves.
Won’t you be lonesome?”

“If we are, we’ll tag after you,” said Nan. “Patty, I think that I’ll
introduce ourselves to those people over there. They’re the Van Winkles
from Philadelphia, and I met Mrs. Van Winkle some years ago, though
she may not remember me. But I think she does, for she has smiled
pleasantly two or three times.”

“All right, Nan. I’ll go with you. Let’s go right after luncheon, if
they stop in the winter-garden, as they probably will. Daddy can make
himself invisible behind a newspaper until we call him into the game.”

So, as they rose from the table and passed through the winter-garden,
which was also a favourite lounging-place at all seasons of the year,
they found the Van Winkles had paused there, and were having their
coffee at a small table.

Nan soon discovered that Mrs. Van Winkle did indeed remember her, and
that they were all glad to become better acquainted. Mr. Fairfield
was summoned to join the group, and a pleasant hour followed. The
Van Winkle family consisted of the father and mother, also a son and
daughter. Patty liked the young people, and was much amused to learn
that the young man, whom his sister called Lank, was really named
Lancaster. The girl’s name was Violet, and she explained that she chose
it herself because it went so well with Van Winkle.

“I really had no name until I was about ten,” she said. “They always
called me Birdie or Tottie, or some foolish pet name. But I liked
Violet, so I just took it.”

“It’s a pretty name,” said Patty, with amiable intent, “and Lancaster
is a pretty name, too.”

“Yes,” said Violet, “but we call him Lank, because he’s so fat and
stuffy.”

He was a stout young man, and of a very good-natured countenance. He
seemed to admire Patty, and soon they all fell into easy conversation.

“Have you been here long?” asked Patty.

“Nearly a month,” said Violet. “We were thinking of going on next week,
but now that we’ve met you I’d like to stay longer.”

“I hope you will,” said Patty, cordially. “I’ve a friend coming in a
few days, and I know we could all have a good time together. I love a
lot of people, don’t you?”

“I do, if they pull together,” said Lank. “But if you start out
sight-seeing with a bunch of people, they never all want to go to the
same place at the same time.”

“I suppose that’s so,” said Patty, “but I’ve only my father and mother
in my party at present, and we go together, of course. But I’ve not
seen much yet. We’ve only been here a few days, and I’ve spent most of
the time in the Coliseum and Roman Forum. I do love them so, and I go
there expecting to study out the ruins and columns, and then I forget
all about studying, and just wander about, thinking of the old Romans
who used to be there.”

“That’s what I do!” exclaimed Lank. “I’m mad about the Forum, and I
just shuffle around it with my tongue out, sort of lapping it up.”

“He does!” said Violet, laughing. “You ought to see him. He looks like
an idiot.”

“I’d rather look like an idiot than a tourist,” said Lancaster, a
little resentfully.

“Don’t worry,” said Patty. “I’m sure you don’t look the least like a
tourist. I know you don’t keep one forefinger stuck into a Baedeker,
and the other pointing.”

“No, I don’t. But,” and the boy’s eyes twinkled, “I carry a pack of
postcards instead of a Baedeker!”

“Good for you!” cried Patty. “I love postcards too.”

“They’re so useful,” said Violet, “to direct your cabman where to go.
The cabmen never talk English, but if you show a postcard, they take
you right to the place. Go out with us to-morrow, won’t you, and let’s
visit the Forum together?”

“Indeed I will,” said Patty, “I’d love to. But I suppose I must start
in on the churches pretty soon. I’ll admire them, I expect, but I know
they won’t take hold of me as the ruins do.”

“So the ruins have caught you, have they?” said a deep voice behind
Patty’s chair, and turning quickly, she saw Peter Homer, smiling down
at her.

“Mr. Homer!” she cried, delightedly, as she jumped up to greet him.

“I told you I’d appear sooner or later,” he said, smiling at her
surprise.

“And I’m glad you came as soon as you did!” she replied merrily, and
then she introduced him to the Van Winkles, and Mr. and Mrs. Fairfield
added their welcome.

“I’m just here on one of my wonder-wanders,” said Mr. Homer, by way of
explaining his sudden appearance. “Every few years I run down to Rome,
and wander about, wondering. It’s a most satisfying occupation, and I
never tire of it.”

“That’s a good expression,” said Patty, thoughtfully. “I believe I’d
rather wander around and wonder, than to know it all.”

“It’s a whole lot easier,” said Lank Van Winkle. “Lets you out of a lot
of study.”

“And gives you equally good results,” said Mr. Homer. “A short cut and
a merry one, is my creed, to knowledge or across a street, or wherever
possible.”

“You don’t seem to pursue that plan in your twenty-volume book,” said
Patty, smiling.

“Oh, my book? That’s intended for other people, so I can’t consult my
own inclinations in the matter. But when I’m away on my wanderings and
wonderings, I try to forget those twenty volumes, and pretend I’m
entirely carefree.”

“That’s right,” said Mr. Van Winkle, approvingly; “when you take a
vacation, take it thoroughly. That’s what I’m doing. I’ve forgotten
that I have a business office in the United States, and I’ve become,
temporarily, a Roman citizen. Are you staying at this hotel, Mr. Homer?”

“No; my fate decrees an humbler home. But I’m comfortably housed only
a few blocks away, and I shall hope to see you all again. Now, I must
pursue my wanderings, as I have an engagement shortly. By the way, Miss
Fairfield, did you know your friend Floyd Austin is on his way here?”

“Really?” said Patty; “how delightful. We can have a Roman reunion, for
Miss Carrington is coming too.”

“Yes, I know it. And Caddy Oram is with Austin. We must have a meeting
of the clan soon.”

“We will,” said Patty; “I’ll invite you all to tea as soon as Flo
arrives, and we’ll have a lovely time.”

“Don’t you always have a lovely time?” asked Peter Homer, as he said
good-by to Patty.

“Yes, indeed,” she replied. “And in Rome, who could help it?”

“No one with eyes,” he said; “and which has pleased you more, so far,
the glamour or the ruins?”

Patty thought a moment.

“I can’t distinguish them,” she said, at last. “They’re so mixed up
with each other, and both so wonderful.”

Mr. Homer smiled. “That’s as it should be,” he said. “But if I may,
I’d like to wonder at little with you. What are you doing to-morrow
morning?”

“Going to the Forum with the two Van Winkles,” answered Patty. “Won’t
you go with us?”

“I’ll be glad to. Suppose I meet you here at ten o’clock.”

“Do. That will be fine. I’ve only just met the Van Winkles, but I like
them already.”

“Yes, they’re attractive people,” said Mr. Homer, a little absently,
and then he went away.

Although Peter Homer was only about twenty-five, and the Van Winkles
were near Patty’s age, he seemed much older than the other three. Patty
realised this, and attributed it to his really serious and scholarly
nature, which he hid behind his pretence of taking everything lightly.
She liked the man very much, for he was most interesting and amusing,
but he sometimes had a preoccupied air which made Patty feel young and
ignorant.

“Well, he can go with us to-morrow,” she thought, “and if he thinks
we’re not wise enough for him, he needn’t go again.”

       *       *       *       *       *

It was the evening they were to dine at Mr. Leland’s, and Patty looked
forward with pleasure to a visit to a real Roman home.

“Of course,” she said to Nan, “I don’t mean ancient Roman. I’ve learned
better than to look for couches instead of dining chairs; but I think
it will be fun to see how an American lives in Rome.”

So Patty ran away to her room to dress for the dinner party.

She chose a white chiffon, with a round, low-cut neck, and a skirt that
billowed into soft frills, and to it she added a beautiful Roman sash
that she had bought that very day.

She was peacocking up and down in front of the long mirror, when Nan
came in.

“I suppose I’m too grown up to wear a Roman sash,” said Patty, looking
over her shoulder at the soft silk ends, with their knotted fringe;
“but the colours are so lovely, and it seems appropriate.”

“By all means wear it, if you like,” said Nan; “it’s a beautiful
one; and anyway, I don’t suppose Mr. Leland will know a sash from a
redingote.”

Patty laughed at this, and concluded to wear her sash.

“You’ll be wasted on him, then,” she added, “for you do look bewitching
in that mauve tulle.”

Nan did look lovely in her pretty evening gown, and Mr. Fairfield
had reason to feel proud of the two distinguished-looking ladies he
escorted downstairs.

“Don’t bother with that ridiculous elevator,” said Patty, as she led
the way to the staircase. “I think its rheumatism is bad to-day. It
grunts fearfully, and limps like everything.”

“It never seems well on Mondays,” said Nan, sympathetically. “I think
it’s overworked, poor thing.”

“Overworked!” put in Mr. Fairfield; “it makes about three round trips
each day.”

“I like better to walk down, anyway,” said Patty. “These staircases are
so red velvety, and white marble-y, and gold-banister-y.” And with a
hop, skip, and jump, she landed on the lower hall floor.

“Behave yourself, Patty,” admonished Nan. “Don’t jump around like an
infant, even if you are wearing a little girl’s sash.”

“I’ve learned,” said Patty, with an air of great wisdom, “that an
American young woman in Rome may do anything she chooses, and she is
excused just because she’s _Murrican_.”

“Don’t you believe it,” said her father. “You behave yourself properly,
or you can’t go dining out with your elders again.”

“Then you can’t go,” cried irrepressible Patty, “for you can’t leave me
alone, either!”

But Patty’s manners were really above reproach, and it was a most
correctly behaved American girl who entered Mr. Leland’s drawing-room.
That gentleman proved to be a man of about Mr. Fairfield’s age, and he
was delighted to welcome guests from his native land.

“To humour my health,” he said, “I have lived in Rome for many years,
but my heart is still true to the old flag, and I wish I might go back
and live beneath its red, white, and blue.”

“But wouldn’t you hate to give up all this splendour?” asked Patty,
glancing about at the unusually fine apartment.

“Yes and no,” replied Mr. Leland, smiling. “I’ve collected my household
gods with great care, and they wouldn’t bear transplanting to America,
but still my native heath calls loudly to me at times.”

“Why couldn’t you take all these beautiful things home with you?” asked
Nan.

“I could; but they wouldn’t feel at home in an American house. Imagine
these rooms transported bodily to New York. They would appear bizarre
and over-ornate, while here they are neither.”

“That’s one reason I love Rome,” said Patty, enthusiastically; “it’s
all red velvet, and carved gold frames, and marble filigree-work, and
heavy tapestries, and mosaic floors,--oh, I adore it!”

“You’ve a barbaric love of colour,” said Mr. Leland, smiling, “unusual
in a young American girl. But you must remember that all this colour
and gilding is only right under the blue and gold of the Italian sky.
In New York it would be a jarring note.”

Patty sighed unconsciously, for she began to realise there was a great
deal to know, of which she was entirely ignorant.

“Don’t take it too seriously, child,” said Mr. Leland, reading her
thought. “Remember I’ve spent twenty years learning these things, and
you’ve not even begun yet. I’m sure your natural instincts are fairly
true; all you need is instruction and experience. Have you seen St.
Peter’s?”

“Yes,” said Patty, “but I’ve only bowed to it. I haven’t shaken hands
with it yet. But I know one thing about it. Somebody told me. It’s
_baroque_.”

Mr. Leland smiled, and said, not at all unkindly:

“Whoever told you that was utterly ignorant of the real meaning of
_baroque_. In no sense does it apply to St. Peter’s. That church, my
dear child, if anybody asks you, is flubdubby.”

“Is what?” exclaimed Patty.

“Flubdubby in the extreme. I may say it’s pure flubdub. If you want
to impress any one with your knowledge of architecture, say that, and
you’ll hit the nail on the head.”

Patty was almost afraid her host was making fun of her, but his earnest
manner proved he was not.

“We won’t go into details, now,” he said, “but some day I’ll take you
there, and show you what I mean.”

Dinner was served then, and Patty went into a dining-room that made her
feel as if she had been transplanted to China itself. It was really a
remarkable room. The walls were hung with marvellous satin embroideries
that had belonged to the Empress Dowager of China; and the screens and
chairs were covered with the same exquisite handiwork. Bronzes and
pottery of rare values were everywhere, and all of the dinner service
was of porcelain, silver, and gold, that had once graced the tables in
royal palaces.

Patty was so enraptured, looking at the beautiful and curious
things, she had no appetite for the viands that were offered her by
soft-footed, swift-motioned Celestials.

“You are more susceptible to beauty and colour than any one I ever saw,
Miss Fairfield,” said her host, after he had covertly watched Patty’s
shining eyes.

“She is,” declared her father. “From a child she has loved pretty
things, and she has a perfect passion for bright colour.”

“But always with a good sense of colour values,” put in Nan, lest Mr.
Leland should think Patty a little barbarian.

“I’m sure of that,” he said, kindly; “and I shall hope, Miss Fairfield,
to have the pleasure of showing you some of the most beautiful things
in Rome, which are not shown, except to appreciative eyes.”

Patty’s appreciative eyes danced at this, for she knew Mr. Leland was
a man of influence, and could take her to many places where strangers
were not usually allowed.

After dinner a delightful evening was spent viewing the treasures
collected by their host on his many trips to Oriental countries, and
Patty became more and more awed at his extensive knowledge of the art
works of all ages and countries.

“I don’t see how you remember it all,” she said, looking at him
earnestly. “I should think you’d have to have a head as big as the
Coliseum, and,--you haven’t!”

“No one can have the ‘big head,’” said Mr. Leland, smiling, “when he
realises the great minds and great geniuses who have produced these
wonderful things.”

“No,” said Patty, “and I can’t even appreciate it. I can only wonder.”



CHAPTER VIII

PLAYING HOUSE


It was a merry party of four that started off next morning to visit the
Roman Forum.

In the spacious, open carriage Patty and Violet sat facing Lancaster
and Mr. Homer, and they drove slowly through the streets of Rome,
remarking their favourite points of interest on either side.

“First, let’s go and hug the Coliseum,” said Patty, so they went in
that direction.

“Want to go in?” asked Peter Homer, as they approached the entrance.

“No, not to-day,” said Patty. “I’ll just give it a good squeeze, so it
will know I haven’t forgotten it.”

Patty spread her arms toward the great structure, her blue eyes filled
with loving affection.

“I hope your somewhat dilapidated friend appreciates your devotion,”
remarked Peter, smiling at Patty’s fervour.

“It isn’t dilapidated!” she retorted. “It has only just reached
perfection.”

“The perfection of old age,” said Violet. “I love it, too, but I’m not
as idiotic about it as Patty. I see its defects.”

“I don’t,” insisted Patty, stoutly, “for it hasn’t any.”

“Good for you,” cried Lank. “That’s true loyalty, not to see the
imperfections of your friends, whether they have any or not. But here’s
the Forum, fairly running to meet us.”

“Oh, isn’t it great!” exclaimed Patty, as she looked eagerly at the
picturesque ruins standing out sharply against the blue Italian sky.

“What was the Forum for, in the first place?” asked Violet.

“In earliest times it was a market-place,” said Peter, “but later----”

“Oh,” broke in the irrepressible Patty, “then, I suppose, this little
Roman went to market, this little Roman staid home.”

“But no little Roman had roast beef,” said Lank. “At least, I suppose
they might have done so, but it doesn’t seem appropriate.”

“They had it, I’m sure,” said Violet, “but under a different name.
Didn’t they, Mr. Homer?”

“Probably. They seemed to have everything that was good to eat,--and
some things that weren’t.”

As the party intended to spend the whole morning in the Forum, they
dismissed their cab at the entrance.

“Now,” said Peter Homer, as they went down among the ruins, “we won’t
have any maps or guidebooks, we’ll just wander around and wonder.”

“But you know what all the ruins are, don’t you?” asked Patty.

“Oh, yes; I know the names of the temples and things. I’ll tell you
those as we come to them. This noble collection of pedestals was once
the Basilica Julia.”

“Let’s play house,” said Patty, promptly. “I’ll be Julia, and live
here. I’d love to be a Roman matron.”

“But the Julia in question wasn’t a Roman matron,” said Peter; “in
fact, this basilica was named in honour of Mr. Julius Cæsar.”

“Oh,” said Patty, “and they called him Julia as a pet name, I suppose.
How sweet of them!”

“We can play house just the same,” said Violet. “I’ll live in the
temple of Saturn; it’s roomy and well ventilated. What do you choose,
Mr. Homer?”

“I’ll live under the arch of Septimius Severus. It’s not so large, but
it’s roofed in case of rain.”

“The Temple of Vespasian, for mine,” said Lank. “It isn’t in very good
repair, but perhaps the landlord will fix it up; and anyway, I’ll be
near sister, if she wants me.”

And so these four ridiculous young people went to their chosen abodes.

Patty surveyed the wide expanse of her house with satisfaction, and
then taking a pack of postcards from her bag, proceeded to identify the
different monuments.

Soon Violet came flying over. “How do you do, Madame Julia?” she said.
“Is the Honorable Cæsar at home?”

“No,” said Patty, rising with great dignity, and bowing to her guest.
“He had to go to market,--to the Forum, I mean. It’s his day to make a
speech to the Senate or something.”

“I’ve brought my cards,” said Violet, dropping back into a modern
American mood. “Don’t you get the columns mixed up?”

“Yes, I do,” said Patty. “But I don’t care much. You can wonder better,
if you’re not sure of your facts.”

“Of course you can,” said Homer, who, with young Van Winkle, came just
then within hearing of the two girls. “Pardon my interruption, Madame
Julia, but I’ve brought a Roman Senator to call on you. Allow me to
present Augustus Van Winkleinus, from the ancient City of Philadelphia.”

“Ha,” said Patty, “methinks we have met aforetime. Art not Lankius the
Rotund?”

“I art not!” declared Lank, “I art but a stripling youth.”

“A good-natured one, forsooth,” said Patty, laughing.

“Good nature, but bad art,” said Violet. “Peterus Homerus, what is the
noble building next us, with its three columns left standing?”

“I know,” cried Patty, “it’s the Temple of Castor and Pollux.”

“Don’t call it that,” said Mr. Homer. “Just say the Temple of Castor.
It sounds better to trained ears.”

“All right, I will,” said Patty. “What was it for, anyway?”

“For various commercial uses. Indeed, it was a sort of an office
building at one time. It contained the testing-office for weights and
measures. But that doesn’t add to its interest. Just look at the blue
sky between those perfect columns, and let that be your only memory of
the Temple of Castor.”

“Isn’t it strange,” said Patty, reminiscently, “you said you wished you
could show me Italy in your own way, and here you are doing it!”

“Yes, and I’m glad I have the opportunity. How do you like my way?”

“I love it,” said Patty. “But all ways lead to Rome, so I suppose
that’s how you happened to get here just now.”

“I suppose so,” returned Homer. “But Senator Lancastrius Van Winkleius
and I came over to invite you Roman matrons to dine with us in my
Triumphal Arch. Will you come?”

“What have you to dine on?” asked Violet.

“Ah, that’s the triumph! You come and see. It isn’t correct to ask your
host such a question.”

So the four proceeded to the Arch of Severus, and there on some stones
they found a box of sandwiches and a small pile of fruit.

“Primitive service, but good food,” remarked Peter, and the girls
suddenly realised that they had a fine twentieth-century appetite.

“This is great,” declared Patty, as she sat on an old block of marble,
with a sandwich in one hand and a bunch of grapes in the other. “I
approve of your method of ‘seeing Italy,’ and I think a triumphal arch
the best place in the world to eat sandwiches.”

“And then you see,” said Peter, “it fixes this particular arch in your
mind; and when wiseacres speak of Septimius Severus, you can say to
yourself, ‘Ah, yes, his is the Arch of the Sandwiches.’”

“I shall never forget it,” said Violet, helping herself to some fruit.
“I feel a personal friendship for old Severus.”

“Incidentally,” went on Peter, “you may as well fasten in your memory
the facts that this arch was built about 200 A.D., in commemoration of
the victorious wars of our friend Severus. These not very beautiful
sculpturings represent his soldiers, but as art had begun to decline
when these figures were cut, you needn’t bother about them much.”

“I think they’re rather nice,” said Patty, examining the multitudinous
small figures in bas-relief, “but I’m glad I haven’t to learn all their
names, for there are so many more attractive sculptures.”

“There are indeed. But I want you to remember the arch as a whole. And
now that you’ve eaten every last crumb, step outside, and take a look
at the beautiful thing.”

The quartette lined up, facing the arch, and Peter pointed out its
special points of beauty and excellence.

“Where is there another arch, very similar to this?” he asked, at
length, and his three hearers tried to think.

“I know!” said Patty, her eyes shining, “it’s in Paris. Not the Arc
de Triomphe, that has only one front door,--but the other, the Arc du
Carrousel!”

“Right you are,” said Peter, approvingly. “The Arc du Carrousel was
modelled after this one. Remember that, when you have a remembering
fit.”

“But the Carrousel one has a flight of horses on top,” said Patty.

“Right again, my acute observer. However, Mr. Severus once had six fine
horses and a chariot on top of this one. Also a statue of himself and
his two sons. So, you see, it’s a bit of a ruin after all.”

“It is so,” said Violet. “So much so that, until now, I’ve liked the
Arch of Constantine better; but now that’s tottering on its pedestal.”

“Oh, that arch is all right,” declared Lank; “I’ll never go back on
Constantine’s Triumphal Bungalow.”

“There’s a well-known arch modelled after that, too,” said Peter.
“Where is it, my children?”

But none of the three could answer that, so Peter said:

“Well, you are a brilliant class! Why, the Marble Arch in London, of
course.”

“Pooh,” said Patty, “that’s no more like Constantine’s Arch than
chalk’s like cheese.”

“Nevertheless it was patterned from it.”

“Then they must have carried the pattern in their heads! Why, the
Marble Arch is all white and smug, and sharp edges,--and Constantine’s
is all lovely and brown and gummy.”

“Gummy?”

“Yes; sort of fuzzy and crumbly; not as if it had just been washed up
by a scrub-lady, like the Marble Arch.”

“Your language is not truly technical, but I’m glad you have a feeling
for arches,” said Peter, laughing at Patty’s scornful face.

“’Deed I have. Let’s go back and look at Constantine’s Arch, while we
have this one in mind.”

“Come on, let’s do that same,” said Lank. “And then we must be getting
back to our bereaved parents.”

“So we must,” said Patty. “I forgot all about going home. Well, good-by
old sandwich man, you put up a first-class arch, I think.”

“And my hotel chef put up first-class sandwiches, I think,” said Peter.

“They were so,” said Violet, enthusiastically. “I don’t know how you
happened to think we’d be hungry.”

“Oh, when people want bread they’re not satisfied with stones, not
even carved ones,” said Peter; and then they all trudged slowly up the
foot-path toward the entrance gate.

Patty kicked affectionately at the fragments of columns and bits of
carved marble that bordered the path.

“I wonder where that used to be,” she said, pausing before a broken
stone face, which showed only the mouth and chin.

“Right under somebody’s nose,” said Lank, with a grin, and Violet
reproved him for being so foolish.

“I like foolishness,” said Patty, smiling at the boy; “but I mean I
wonder where the whole statue was.”

“You may as well wonder about that as anything else,” said Peter. “I’m
wondering if we can find a cab that will leisurely convey us home.”

“By way of Constantine’s Arch,” reminded Patty.

They soon found a carriage and the four climbed in.

“Let’s be a club,” said Patty, who loved to organise things. “Then we
can go and see things regularly.”

“Not very regularly, the way we see them,” said Peter. “But I’ll join
your club. Shall we call it the Roamin’ Club?”

A howl of derision greeted this jest, and Lank added to the fun by
saying, “No, let’s just call it the Romers, and then we can Rome all
around.”

“Don’t be idiotic,” said Violet. “I propose the Wanderers’ Club, that’s
more sensible.”

“But there’s been a Wanderers’ Club,” objected Patty; “how about the
Wonderers’ Club, instead?”

“Capital,” said Peter. “Just the Wonderers, then we can wonder as much
as we like while we’re wandering.”

“Flo will have to belong to it,” said Patty. “She’s coming to-day.”

“Anybody can belong,” said Peter, “who is willing to wonder.”

“Shall we have regular meetings?” asked Violet.

“Oh, dear no,” said Patty, “we won’t have anything regular about it.
We’ll just meet when we feel like it, and go wondering about together.”

“The fun will be,” said Peter, “wondering when the next meeting will
take place.”

“And wondering where it will be,” added Patty.

They drove home slowly, here and there catching glimpses of wonderful
perspectives and splendid vistas, to which Peter Homer called their
attention in his casual, humorous way.

Patty said little, but leaning back in the rather bumpy old vehicle,
she revelled in the beauty all around her, and stored it away in her
memory for future years.

“We’ve had a perfect morning,” said Patty, as she joined her parents
at luncheon. “Peter Homer,--we all call each other by our first names
now,--is the loveliest man to go about with. He knows everything, but
he never flings information at you till you want it.”

“A fine trait,” observed her father. “I’m like that, myself.”

“Yes, you are, Daddy,” said Patty, with an affectionate glance. “But
even you don’t know the books full of wise stuff that he does. And he’s
so kind and funny.”

“He does seem to possess all the virtues,” said Nan; “and I’m glad he’s
here, Patty. You seem to have several pleasant friends.”

“Yes, the Van Winkles are all right. Our sort, you know. I’m glad to
see some Americans once more. This afternoon Flo will come, and she’s
far from American, I can tell you.”

A few hours later, Patty was lying down in her own room, resting after
her morning’s excursion, when she was roused by a tap at the door.

She jumped up and opened it, and there was the smiling face of Flo
Carrington.

“You dear thing,” she cried, bouncing into the room, and flinging both
arms round Patty, “I’m here.”

“So you are,” said Patty, “and I’m awfully glad to see you. Come in,
and sit down.”

“I’m jolly well glad to get here,” said Flo, as she threw herself
into an armchair. “The journey was horrible. Snippy almost turned back
several times.”

“Well, you’re here now, and it’s all right,” said Patty, soothingly.
“I’m so glad your mother let you come.”

“She didn’t want to; not a bit. But I teased her so, I gave her no
peace till she said yes. And why shouldn’t she? She’s been promising me
the trip for years. But she hated to have me leave her.”

“She’s satisfied to have you travel with Mrs. Snippy?”

“Oh, Snippy’s name is really Mrs. Postlethwaite. But that’s so long,
I call her Snippy for short. You must do so too, she’s used to it
from everybody. Yes, indeed, mumsie trusts me to her. Oh, Snippy is
governess, maid, courier, chaperon, Baedeker, and booking office, all
in one.”

“And are you comfortably fixed here?”

“My word, yes! We have rooms like valentines. Come, see them.”

Flo jumped up, and taking Patty by the arm led her to the rooms,
which were furnished in the same over-ornate style as the Fairfields’
apartment.

“Snippy, dear,” said Flo, “this is Patty, my very good friend.”

“Pleased to meet you, miss,” said Snippy, as she rose to curtsey.

She was a grim-looking old lady, one that might be characterised as
a ‘dragon,’ but she had a gleam of humour in her eye, which went to
Patty’s heart at once.

“You’ve been to Rome before?” said Patty, by way of making conversation.

“Yes, miss, I’ve been almost everywhere. It’s my bad luck never to be
let to rest long in my own country.”

“Oh, come now, Snippy,” said Flo; “you’re glad to be in Rome, you know
you are.”

“Not in this stuffy place, Miss Flo. Italian air is bad and close
enough, without stifling a body with velvet hangings pulled all about.
And thick carpets, snug from wall to wall. As well be shut up in a
jewel-case!”

“It is exactly like a jewel-case,” said Patty, laughing at the apt
illustration. “All the rooms in Rome are, I believe.”

“Well, I like it,” said Flo; “and I’m so glad to be with you, Patty.
I don’t mean to bother you, you know, but you’re glad I came, aren’t
you?”

“Of course I am,” said Patty, though conscious of a feeling that Flo
might sometimes be an insistent companion. But she was ashamed of this
thought as soon as it came, and said, cordially; “and I’ll take you to
lots of lovely places. We’ve a new club, ‘The Wonderers,’ and you’re to
be a member of that. And to-morrow I’m giving a small afternoon tea,
with you as guest of honour. It will have to be a very small tea, for I
only know half a dozen people in Rome. But Floyd Austin and Caddy Oram
are coming soon,--isn’t that fine?”

“Yes, I like both those boys. Oh, what fun we will have. I’m so glad I
came. Snippy says I have to keep up my practising every day, and study
my Italian. But I don’t want to,--I just want to have fun like you do.”

“It’s your mother’s orders, Miss Flo,” said Snippy, in a gruff voice of
great firmness; “and her orders I must see carried out.”

“You’ll see me carried out if you make me work so hard,” said Flo.
“Tell her so, Patty.”

“Can’t Miss Carrington have a holiday, occasionally?” asked Patty, in
her most wheedlesome way, but the stern Englishwoman shut her lips
together with a snap, and then opened them to say, “No, Miss Fairfield;
I have my orders.”

“Wow!” thought Patty, after she had returned to her own room, “I’m
glad I don’t have to travel with a duenna, or whatever they call those
snippy people.”



CHAPTER IX

A ROMAN TEA


Patty had decided to have her tea in the garden of the hotel, and a
good-sized portion had been set aside for her use.

Light tables and chairs nestled cosily among the great palms and
tropical plants, and growing flowers made masses of bloom here and
there.

The orchestra, just far enough away to be pleasant, had been engaged
to play at intervals, including some American airs with their other
selections. The collation had been carefully chosen, and after an
inspection of the place to see that everything was satisfactory, Patty
went to dress for the event.

“Do you remember Smarty’s party?” she said, pausing in Nan’s room.

“Whose?”

“Why, there’s a classic poem, something like this:

  “‘Smarty
    Had a party;
    Nobody came
    ’Ceptin’ Smarty!’

And my tea will be like that! The garden looks lovely, the cakes and
ices are dreams of beauty, and I mean to be a charming hostess; but,
alas, my guests are so few.”

“Who are coming? Every one you know in Rome, I suppose.”

“Yes, but that’s only Flo, and the Van Winkles, and Mr. Homer. Oh, yes,
I asked Mr. Leland, but I don’t know as he’ll come. And Violet asked
leave to bring Milly Mills, some girl she knows, whose mother is an
invalid, so Milly can’t go out much.”

“Well, you’ll have more guests than Smarty had,” said Nan, consolingly.
“And your father and I, and Mr. and Mrs. Valentine, will make a fine
background of elderly respectability.”

“Yes, you’re a fine old Dowager Duchess,” said Patty, smiling at pretty
Nan. “With your roseleaf skin and your turn-up nose. You look more like
a débutante.”

“How foolish you are,” said Nan, blushing and dimpling as she always
did at Patty’s chaffing compliments, which were, nevertheless, sincere.

Patty was getting into her frock, a soft Liberty silk of a lovely pale
green, when an impatient knock came at her door, and before she could
open it, Flo flung it open and fairly rushed in.

“Patty Fairfield,” she cried, “what do you think! That outrageous
Snippy says I can’t go to your tea, because I haven’t done my
practising! She says I can go later, but I must practise for an hour
first. And I won’t do it!”

“I should say not,” cried Patty, in a burst of righteous indignation.
“I never heard of anything so horrid. Of course you’ll coax her around
somehow.”

“Coax Snippy! You don’t know her! You see I went wondering with you all
this morning, and since luncheon I’ve been napping, and now I want to
get ready for the party.”

“And you must. Come, I’ll go with you and try to persuade old Snippy.”

“No, that won’t do any good. But here’s my plan. Once in a great while,
when I feel very dreadfully put out, I turn on her and scare the wits
out of her. Not often, or it would lose all effect,--but I’m going to
do it now. Do, if you like, come with me and see the fun.”

Patty felt a little ashamed at such strenuous measures, but she
followed Flo through the halls.

By the piano in Flo’s sitting-room stood Snippy, a majestic figure of
towering wrath and immovable determination.

“Good-afternoon, Miss Patty,” she said, not uncivilly, but coldly.
“Miss Flo will come to your tea a bit late, as she has her music to do.”

“I’m not going to practise to-day,” remarked Flo, carelessly.

“Yes, Miss Flo, you are. Not a step do you go from this room till your
hour is done.”

Then Flo turned to her governess and looked her straight in the eye.

“Snippy,” she said, in firm, even tones, “I am not going to practise
to-day, nor to-morrow, nor next day, and perhaps never again! Hush,
don’t you speak! I’m going to Patty’s tea, now, _now_, _NOW!_ Do you
hear?” Flo’s voice grew a little louder and she took a step toward
Snippy, and shook a warning forefinger at her. “You have your orders, I
know, but in this case you take orders from me, ME! I wish to dress at
once, and you will lay out my Dresden silk with the pink bows. Now you
_jump!_”

Perhaps it was the explosive way in which she pronounced the last
word, but at any rate Snippy jumped as if she had been shot, and with
a vanquished air went to the wardrobe for Flo’s dress. Patty, overcome
with amusement at the scene, slipped away, lest her presence prove
embarrassing to the conquered spirit.

But she needn’t have feared. Snippy’s nature had a touch of arrogance
and presumption because of her responsible position, and when Flo thus
asserted herself, the stern old lady felt the justice of it and met the
situation bravely.

“Yes, Miss Flo,” she said, “and shall I do your hair with bands or a
fringe?”

So the incident was closed, and never again referred to, and Flo
tranquilly did her practising every day thereafter.

“Isn’t she funny?” said Patty, as the two sat in the garden waiting for
the guests to come.

“Yes, indeed,” said Flo. “I just wanted you to see how she collapses
when I go at her in earnest. But she’s a dear old thing, and I put up
with her domineering usually, because it’s more peaceful to do so.”

Then Violet and Lancaster came, bringing Milly Mills. Patty greeted
the new girl cordially, and sat down beside her for a chat.

“We’re staying at a _pension_,” said Milly; “mother is not well enough
for the life in a hotel. I wish we might live here. You can do anything
you like, can’t you?”

“Why, yes, I suppose so,” said Patty, smiling. “But I never think of it
that way, for I always like anything I do.”

Milly opened her eyes wide.

“You do?” she said. “Well, I _never_ like anything I do.”

“What an awful way to live!” exclaimed Patty. “Do you dislike
everything on principle?”

“No, but most things are so horrid.”

“Rome isn’t.”

“Oh, yes, it is. It’s hot and dirty, and jammed full of stupid old
ruins.”

Milly looked so utterly disgusted that Patty felt like laughing, but
controlled the inclination.

“You come with us, some day,” she said. “Come with our Wonderers’ Club,
and we’ll show you ruins that are not stupid.”

“I’d love to go,” said Milly, “I like you because you’re so happy. I’m
never happy.”

“Then you’re a goose,” said Patty, gaily. “But I’ll engage to give you
a few happy hours, see if I don’t.”

“Well, she _is_ a terror,” thought Patty, as she turned away to greet
some others who were coming in. “I’ll have to study her out; so far,
she’s all fuss and fret, but she must have some good traits. How do you
do, Mr. Leland. This is awfully kind of you, to come to my little tea.
Won’t you sit here by Miss Mills?”

It was a mischievous impulse that made Patty put the distinguished Mr.
Leland to entertain fretful Milly, but to her surprise the two were
soon chatting pleasantly.

“I thought she must be some good,” said Patty to herself, with a
feeling of satisfaction at her own insight.

“Seeing a green whisk of femininity among the bosky glades, he quickly
made his way thither.”

When Patty heard this speech in a high-pitched monotone, she knew at
once who had come, and turning, with a glad smile, she held out both
hands to Floyd Austin.

“You dear boy,” she cried, “I’m so glad to see you!”

“You dear girl,” he responded, “I’m so glad you’re glad. My word! but
we’re gay and festive, aren’t we? Are you always so gorgeously social
as this?”

“No, this is a special occasion to get us all acquainted, and
afterward, we’re to be just plain, everyday chums.”

“I see; and who is the elderly youth talking to the pretty crosspatch?”

Patty fairly giggled at his quick and apt descriptions.

“Elderly youth is just the right term for Mr. Leland,” she said, “but
how _did_ you know that pretty Milly Mills is--well, not exactly of a
sunny disposition?”

“Oh, I can tell by the lines of her thumbs,” said Floyd, nonsensically.
“But, tell me, how does your own sunny disposition thrive in Rome? Dost
like the pictures?”

“I do like the pictures,” said Patty, with a little sigh, “if there
weren’t so many millions of ’em.”

“Yes, there are some few, but then you need see only one at a time.”

“But it’s the same theme over and over. I get so tired of Saint
Sebastian and his arrows, and Susannah, and that everlasting Thorn
Extractor.”

“He isn’t a picture.”

“No, it would be a pleasant change if he were.”

“It would be a pleasant change and a wise plan, too, if they set the
Thorn Extractors to picking the arrows out of Saint Sebastian.”

“Indeed it would! And if they’d tie old Susannah to a tree, she
wouldn’t look so silly as she usually does.”

“I fear your art instincts are frivolous. Come over here, Caddy, and
hear Young America talk art.”

Caddy Oram, who had come in with Floyd, but had paused to speak to Nan,
now came to greet Patty.

“Aren’t you properly awed by the art galleries?” he asked.

“I was, at first,” said Patty, truthfully, “but now, I’m so used to
being awed that it doesn’t bother me so much.”

“That’s the worst of it,” said Caddy, “one does get used to being awed
in Italy.”

“But that’s the best of it,” declared Patty; “if I kept on being as
awed as I was the first few days, I’d be having nervous prostration
now.”

“I say, here comes old Homer,” cried Floyd, as Peter came around a palm
and joined them.

Then there was more greeting and hand-shaking and the boys clapped
each other on the shoulder, and at last the young people all drifted
together, and Patty thought it a good time to propose that the
newcomers should join the club.

“It isn’t a regular club,” she explained, “because it has no
regulations. We call it the Wonderers.”

“I wonder why,” put in Austin.

“Then you can be a member,” returned Patty, promptly; “you’ve
qualified!”

“I’ll be a member too,” said Caddy Oram. “I’m the best wonderer you
ever saw. I can wonder at anything.”

“Well, you’re all members,” said Patty, “and you can go on the
wonder-wanders when you like and stay home when you like. Now to-morrow
morning the club is going to St. Peter’s, and if there’s time, we may
wander into the Vatican. To be sure St. Peter’s is flubdubby, but----”

“What!” interrupted Peter Homer, in amazement.

Patty dimpled roguishly.

“Yes,” she went on, “as architecture, the interior is pure flubdub.”

At this Homer went off in peals of laughter, and Mr. Leland, who was
conversing with Mr. Fairfield, overheard, and gave an appreciative nod
at Patty.

“You’re right,” Peter said, at last, “quite right! But how did you know
it?”

“Oh,” said Patty, laughing, “I’m a born architect.”

“You must be!” said Peter, still smiling, “‘flubdub’ indeed!”

“Now to proceed with our plans,” said Patty. “All who will go wondering
with us to-morrow morning, open your mouth wide and say ‘Ah!’ which is
our club motto.”

Loud “ahs!” came from every throat, and the trip was decided upon.

“I’m president of the club,” went on Patty, “and Mr. Homer is guide,
philosopher, and friend. The rest of you can be any officers you
choose. It’s nicer to elect ourselves than each other.”

“So it is,” agreed Floyd Austin, “I’ll be treasurer.”

“That’s an easy office,” observed Patty, “as we have no dues of any
sort. Mr. Homer just pays for everything, and then afterward we pay him
back.”

“Simple methods _are_ the best,” agreed Austin. “Still, I’ll be
treasurer, and then, if any money matters do happen, I can look after
them.”

“I shan’t seek any office,” said Cadwalader Oram. “I’ll let it seek me.
Probably one will hunt me up in a day or two.”

“I’m sure of it,” said Patty. “You’re more apt to find your right niche
that way.”

“You talk as if I were a statue. Perhaps I’ll find my niche waiting for
me in the Vatican.”

“Well, don’t be a Thorn Extractor,” said Patty, “or I won’t even look
you up in the catalogue. What will you be, Milly?”

“I’ll be another president,” said Milly, unexpectedly. “I can’t bear to
play second fiddle.”

“Good!” said Patty. “Let’s all us girls be presidents, and then the
boys can be all the other officials.”

So it was agreed that they should all meet next morning at nine o’clock
for a visit to St. Peter’s.

“Unless we start early,” said Patty, “we’ll never get there.”

“How bright of you to see that,” said Lancaster, admiringly; “and I
say, everybody must bring postcards.”

“I can’t; I’m saving mine,” said Floyd Austin.

“Saving them! What for?” asked Violet.

“To make a bed quilt,” he replied gravely; “they make a lovely one. You
tie them together at the corners you know, with bits of tiny ribbon.”

“What a goose you are,” said Patty, laughing; “you’re just foolish
enough for our club. Save your postcards then,--you can look over mine.”

“And mine,” said Flo. “I’ve a bigger pack even than Patty.”

“I’ve something better than postcards,” said Floyd, as he produced a
small, thin, red book. “Have any of you seen this?”

None of them had, so Floyd explained.

“It’s a little panorama sort of thing,” he said, as he exhibited its
pages, “with pictures of all the Roman places of interest. But the
beautiful part of it is the description of each sight. It is evidently
written by an Italian, whose linguistic lore is limited. You see on
each page is an English paragraph, and also the same information in
German, French and Italian. Listen, I’ll read you the note about the
Piazza of St. Peter’s. ‘This majestic place of elliptical form with the
vast front of the Cathedral and the imposing Cupola, masterpiece of
Michelangelo that it appears to elevate itself to the Heaven, forms
with the two round porticos in four rows of columns all what here is of
more sumptuous. For enjoying the most fine panorama it must go until
to the Cupola of St. Peter. By the summit of this monument the town
is extending under our eyes with all its remarkable buildings. Not so
far there is the Tiber. This historical river on dragging along slowly
its waters, divides the city into two unequal parts. In front, by a
side we see the Alban mountains, of Tivoli, of the Sabine, and by the
other, the sea that with its sweetness seems that our weakened eyes are
reposing for the view of so much beauties.’”

“Oh, I say, Floyd,” broke in Peter Homer, “are you reading that as it
is?”

“Yes, truly,” said Austin. “Isn’t it great! Just listen to this: ‘On
the right of the majestic place is elevated the Vatican that is a whole
of palaces containing all what can be of more rich in the world.’”

“It’s perfectly delicious,” said Patty, as soon as she could for
laughing. “I must have one of those books.”

“I’ll give each of the club members one,” said Floyd. “They’re
cheap little affairs, the postcard men sell them; but the pictures
are really good, and you never heard anything so funny as the
descriptions.”

“Indeed they are funny,” agreed Peter. “We’ll each carry a copy
wherever we go. Read us a little more.” But just then tea was served,
and the young people turned their attention to that interesting episode.

Floyd Austin sauntered over and took a seat beside Milly Mills.

“Delightful music, isn’t it?” he said, with intent of opening a
conversation, and as the orchestra was really a fine one, he expected
the girl to agree.

“I hate music while I’m eating,” was the surprising response, and Floyd
looked at the girl to see if she were jesting.

But Milly’s discontented face showed that her remark, however ill-timed
and ill-tempered, was sincerely meant. “Do you, now?” said good-natured
Floyd. “What a pity! You must be bothered to death here.”

“Oh, I don’t live here. I wish I did. I live in a most uninteresting
place. Isn’t Miss Fairfield lovely?”

“She certainly is,” said Floyd, looking at laughing Patty, as a
pleasant contrast to this pouting girl. “She’s so sunny and happy.”

“Yes; she must have everything she wants.”

“Do you know, I think she’d be sunny if she didn’t have everything she
wanted.”

“Well, then, it’s because she happens to be of that disposition,” and
Milly sighed, as if that settled the matter.

As Floyd didn’t consider it his place to lecture a comparative stranger
on the ethics of contentment, he changed the subject and talked of
lighter matters. And so infectious was his own merry disposition, that
he made Milly forget her discontent and smile so gaily that she was
really charming.



CHAPTER X

THE WONDERERS


It was simply pouring sunlight when the Wonderers set off next morning.

They started early, for as they all agreed, luncheon time in Rome comes
sooner than anywhere else.

They went in a large omnibus sort of affair which held them all.

Snippy accompanied them, for the simple reason that she wouldn’t remain
behind; but as she was a most amiable person, except when reprimanding
her young charge, nobody objected to her presence.

Milly Mills was the only unwelcome member of the party. It did seem
as if that girl was never in a good humour. If it looked cloudy, she
feared rain; if the sun shone, it hurt her eyes. The omnibus was too
jolty, too shut-in, too slow-going. Nothing pleased her and she pleased
nobody. But Patty felt sorry for the girl, for she really had no one
to take her about, so it was decided that she was to go with the
Wonderers whenever she chose. The young men politely tried to entertain
her, but she met their advances with a cold negligence, or a sharp
retort, and thus discouraged their well-meant efforts.

But the irrepressible gaiety of the others could not be seriously
impaired by one unhappy nature, so the fun and chatter went gaily on as
the old vehicle lumbered along.

“Of course,” said Lancaster, “if this chariot _should_ follow the
example of the One-hoss Shay, and go to pieces all at once, I suppose
we could walk the rest of the way.”

“The rest of the way to where?” asked his sister.

“Why, to wherever we’re going. Where _are_ we going, anyway?”

“We’re going to St. Peter’s,” said Patty, firmly. “I’m president, and
that’s my decree.”

“Presidents don’t make decrees,” said Flo; “you sound more like a Roman
Emperor. But I’d as lieve go to St. Peter’s as anywhere.”

“You’re a careless lot,” said Peter Homer, “now I’ll be the
director-in-chief of this expedition, and we’ll go first to the Church
of the Capuchins.”

“_What_ for?” said Milly Mills, so suddenly that Patty fairly jumped.

Milly had a queer little habit of saying “What for?” with a strong
emphasis on the “what,” and the aggressive way in which she fairly
exploded the words always annoyed Patty.

But Mr. Homer answered Milly very gently, and said:

“To see some mural decorations that I’m sure you will enjoy for their
oddity and strange effects.”

“I hate mural paintings,” said Milly, in a resigned tone, as if her
wishes made little difference, as indeed was the case.

“But these aren’t paintings.”

“Oh, stucco, I suppose. Well, that’s worse.”

“But these aren’t stucco,” said Peter, smiling in spite of himself at
Milly’s unreasonable crossness.

“No, they’re stuck on,” said Floyd Austin, and Peter added, “Yes, sort
of appliqué work.”

“What are they?” asked Patty, her interest aroused by the smile in
Peter’s eyes.

“Wait till you get there, and you’ll see.”

“If we ever _do_ get there, alive,” said Lank, as the stage rumbled
over a bit of bad road and swayed sideways.

“Is there danger?” cried Milly, in dismay.

“There’s always danger in Rome,” returned Peter.

“I say,” broke in Floyd, “do you remember, any of you, Rollo’s very
excellent rule about dangers?”

“No,” said Patty. “What was it?”

“I don’t remember myself. But when I was a little chap, I used to love
‘Rollo in Rome,’ and one of those page headings was just those words:
‘Rollo’s excellent rule about dangers.’ Now, if we only remembered it,
we could put it to use.”

“I know it,” said Milly, smiling for the first time that morning.

“You do! Good, the country is safe! Tell it to us.”

“Why, you know, that funny Mr. George was going about with Rollo, and
he told him not to go too near the edge of some place. So Rollo said,
‘You may go as near as you think safe, Mr. George, and I will keep back
an inch from where you go.’ ‘Very well,’ said Mr. George.”

“Right you are!” said Floyd, “that’s it! But I suppose it doesn’t
apply to this case exactly. However it’s splendid to remember if we’re
in the right sort of danger at any time. Don’t you just love Rollo,
anyway?”

“Yes, indeed,” said Milly, brightening, “and Mr. George too; he was so
indulgent. He always said ‘Very well,’ no matter what Rollo wanted to
do.”

“I’m not like that,” declared Peter Homer. “I expect you all to say
‘Very well,’ to whatever I want to do. So first we’ll go in here to the
Capuchin Church. Alight, everybody.”

Their lumbering vehicle stopped, and they all went into the old church.

Its unadorned and unattractive exterior made Patty wonder why they came
there, and the interior was not much more interesting.

Mr. Homer made his little band of Wonderers pause while a monk drew
aside a curtain and revealed Guido Reni’s famous painting of “St.
Michael and the Enemy.”

They all enjoyed the short description Mr. Homer gave them of this
picture, and then they went on through the small side chapels and
downstairs to see the decorated walls of which Peter had spoken.

When Patty saw what the decorations were composed of, she could
scarcely believe her eyes. Room after room they went through, and on
each wall and ceiling were elaborate and intricate patterns, worked out
in human bones.

The party was conducted by a Capuchin monk, who walked ahead and
pointed out the curious details.

The monk wore a long brown robe with a cowl, and a rope about his waist.

Patty thought he looked sad, and she said so to Mr. Homer.

“Monks always look sad,” he replied, “it’s part of their costume.”

As the monk could speak no English, he told them about the bones in
Italian, and Peter Homer translated for the benefit of the others.

“He says,” said Peter, “that all these decorations you see on walls
and ceilings are the bones of four thousand monks, who have in the
past belonged to this monastery. The designs are called mosaics, but,
properly, they are appliquéd patterns.”

The Wonderers gazed in real wonder at the strange effects. Just such
designs as would be used to adorn a painted or gilded salon were here
carried out in bones. Long arm or leg bones, radiating from a centre,
formed a conventional star; rosettes were made of rings of overlapping
shoulder-blades; and delicate traceries were woven of ribs and smaller
bones.

Or there would be a frieze of skulls, interspersed with geometrical
figures made with hundreds of finger joints, and collar-bones.

Here and there, in a niche, was a complete skeleton, in a mouldering
robe so old that it scarce hung together. Sometimes these skeleton
monks reclined in a recess lined with skulls and bones.

It was all most curious, and though somewhat gruesome, Patty was
fascinated at the strange sight.

“Ask him if he likes it,” she said to Peter, and when asked, he
answered at great length, and very earnestly.

“What does he say?” asked Patty, impatiently.

“He declares,” said Peter, “that to be used in this decorative way is
the greatest honour a Capuchin monk can have. To gain it, a monk must
have been in the monastery for twenty-five years, and he’s awfully
afraid he’ll die before he earns his right to be a fresco.”

“Ugh!” said Milly, with a shiver, “I hate it! Let’s go out into the
sunlight.”

So Milly and Violet, with one or two of the others, went on out of the
crypts, but Patty lingered to see a little more of the strange cemetery.

“I suppose the whole gentlemen are more honoured than the dissected
ones,” she said.

“Yes,” said Floyd, “and they seem all broken up about it!”

“Don’t jest,” said Patty. “I think it’s very impressive and
interesting. Oh, look at that lamp!”

A hanging lamp swung from the ceiling, and the bowl of it was made of
skulls surrounded by vertebræ, while the chain-like suspension was made
of many femurs, fastened end to end.

“I simply must have postcards of these,” said Flo, and they asked the
grave monk if they might buy them.

Apparently he had never heard of postcards, for Peter could not make
him understand. At last he offered them photographs, and they all
bought some. Afterward they did find some postcards, but it was at
an outside shop, and the monk, who never went outside his restricted
limits, knew nothing of them.

“That’s the most wonderful thing I’ve seen yet!” said Patty, as they
returned to their lumbering old carryall.

“I think it’s terrible,” said Milly; “don’t let’s talk about it!”

So out of deference to their somewhat difficult member, they dropped
the subject, but Patty never forgot the Capuchin monks who approve of
such a strange way of venerating their dead.

To St. Peter’s they went next. Mr. Homer hustled them all out of the
stage before they entered the Piazza, saying they must fasten a picture
of it in their memory.

“You can’t see the best view of the church if you’re close to it,”
he said. “Stand here,” and he paused before they entered the great
colonnaded circle.

And there he made them stand, for fully five minutes, without speaking,
while they photographed the scene on their mind.

“Isn’t he great?” whispered Patty to Flo, as they were released, and
allowed to go forward.

“Yes, indeed. I never saw anyone who knows so well how to make
sight-seeing instructive, without being a bore.”

“Inside the church,” said Peter, as they were about to enter, “you may
wander and wonder as you please. I’ve no word to say, for it’s too big
to talk about as a whole, and we haven’t time now to discuss its parts.
So look about you as you like, and crane your necks up at the dome, or
admire the frantic allegories on the walls, as you prefer.”

“I want to see St. Peter’s statue,” said Patty, “but I don’t want to
kiss his toe.”

“Here it is,” said Homer, leading her to the great bronze statue. As
they looked at it, many visitors approached, and kissed the bronze toe,
which, owing to the height of the pedestal is just about at the level
of a person’s head.

Invariably the devotee wiped off the toe with his handkerchief, before
setting his lips to the sacred shrine, and Patty was amazed to find, on
a closer inspection, that the great bronze toe was nearly all worn away.

“But it isn’t worn by the kisses,” said Patty; “it’s worn by the
handkerchiefs!”

“That’s true,” said Peter; “and it’s a good plan to use a handkerchief,
but I think it’s a better plan to omit the osculation entirely.”

“So do I,” agreed Patty, “but what a lot of people have dabbed at it to
wear away that solid bronze!”

“They have indeed. Now I’ll show you some of the other statues.”

They paused before several of the best sculptures, and Mr. Homer told
their history in a short, simple way. Patty enjoyed it all, and even
Milly seemed to be interested. The others staid to listen, or drifted
away and came wandering back, as the fancy took them.

Perhaps Snippy appreciated Mr. Homer’s talk more than any of the
others, for she was well versed in artistic lore, but she remained
quietly in the background, and let the young people chatter by
themselves. As they left the church, they found it had turned cloudy,
and the sky showed decided appearance of almost immediate rain.

“Just the thing!” cried Mr. Homer. “I’ve been waiting for a good
shower. Jump into the ’bus.”

They scrambled in, thinking they were about to return to the hotel, but
Peter told the driver to go to the Pantheon.

“Why, it’s going to rain,” said Patty.

“I know it; that’s why we’re going to the Pantheon. Its roof leaks.”

“What _are_ you talking about?”

“Just what I say. Have you been to the Pantheon?”

“No, not yet. Why?”

“Well, as you perhaps know, it’s open at the top. There’s a hole
twenty-six feet across, and as the Pantheon has no umbrella, it rains
in.”

Milly was laughing to herself at this conversation.

“What are you giggling at?” said Patty, a bit surprised to see Milly
amused.

“Why,” said Milly, “that’s exactly what Rollo did. As soon as it began
to rain he flew to the Pantheon to see it rain in!”

“I didn’t know that,” said Peter, smiling. “I fear I am sadly deficient
in my ‘Rollo,’ but it is really a good plan to fly to the Pantheon when
it rains, for it’s not always easy to get such an opportunity.”

After they reached the Pantheon, and were inside, Patty understood why
it was a desirable thing to do.

It was a sudden and very hard shower, and the strange effect of the
rain coming in at the open skylight was curious indeed.

The only opening in the Pantheon, save the entrance door, is the large
round hole at the top of its domed roof. This is open to the sky, and
sunlight and rain alike come in.

Many people stood round the edges of the circular church, but the
centre of the floor was wet with the driving rain. So swift were the
drops that they spattered up again as they struck the stone floor, and
it was like hundreds of tiny fountains. But save for the wet circle on
the floor, the place was dry and pleasant. They looked at the various
tombs and monuments, and then inscribed their names in the book which
is there for that purpose.

“It’s wonderful,” said Patty, gazing reverently around the great room
as they were leaving, “but I should think they would have a canopy of
some sort over that hole in the ceiling.”

“They did,” said Peter, “but the shutter, or whatever it was, is lost,
and has never been replaced.”

“Why not, I wonder,” said Patty.

“I wonder,” said Peter.

It was their good fortune that the shower was but a short one, and when
they reached the street again the rain had stopped, and soon after the
sun shone once more.

“I’m glad we had that opportunity,” said Patty; “for it almost never
rains in Rome, and I shall always remember that circular shower.”

“Now,” said Flo, “mayn’t we go to a shop before we go home?”

“_What_ for?” said Milly.

“Trinkets,” replied Flo. “I’m making a memory chain.”

“A what?” said Patty, eagerly, for it sounded attractive.

“Why, you get a chain,” explained Flo, “a slender silver one, you know;
and then you get all sorts of little jigs to hang on it.”

“Jigs?”

“Yes; little carved ivory elephants and monkeys; little silver things
of all sorts, or bronze or wood, or anything. Come on into a shop and
I’ll show you. Mr. Homer, you must know the right kind of shop, don’t
you?”

“I think so,” he said; “but, Miss Mills, where did Rollo go, for this
purpose?”

“I don’t think he made a ‘memory chain,’” said Milly, pleased to be
consulted; “but the description of his shopping for a Roman sash is
very funny.”

Patty secretly wondered if Milly had ever read any other book beside
“Rollo,” but she realised that she didn’t yet know the girl, and indeed
she wasn’t easy to get acquainted with.

Peter took them to a fascinating little shop, where there were all
sorts of tiny wares, at prices not exorbitant; and the girls all bought
trinkets for memory chains.

“Don’t get too many at once,” said Flo to Patty. “You know you must
buy some in Florence or Venice, or wherever you go. Get something
appropriate to the city,--if you can.”

Patty bought a little silver cat, for she said she remembered seeing
cats all over the Forum and Coliseum; and especially in Trajan’s Forum.
Then she bought a tiny column, and a little model of the Arch of
Constantine, and several others.

The men didn’t seem to want memory chains, but they each bought a tiny
trinket to carry as a pocket-piece, as a memento of the Wonderers’
Club.



CHAPTER XI

ROMAN PUNCH


It was a very rainy day, so the excursion which the Wonderers had
planned had to be postponed.

And so they were gathered in the Fairfields’ pleasant sitting-room,
trying to make believe they didn’t care to go out.

In this attempt they all succeeded better than Milly, who was
distinctly and aggressively cross.

“Milly,” said Peter Homer, in his kind way, after one of her petulant
outbursts, “it’s raining, and I’m glad it is, and you’re going to be
glad too. You’re going to have such a good time this afternoon, that
you’ll go home saying you’re glad it rained so we couldn’t go driving
out the Appian Way.”

“I won’t do any such thing,” declared Milly. “How could I like it
better to sit cooped up in a stuffy old parlour than to go for a lovely
drive?”

“Wait and see, my child,” said Peter. “Now, my Wonder friends, I’ll
tell you my plan. Let’s start a paper, a nice little paper, and we’ll
all contribute.”

“And publish it every week?” cried Patty, who loved to write things.

“Yes, for one consecutive week, anyway. I’ll be editor-in-chief,
and you can all be department editors, and choose any department
you like. If I were to suggest, I’d say let Patty Fairfield be the
fashion editor, for she always wears such masterpieces of sartorial
architecture.”

They all laughed at Peter’s description of Patty’s pretty frocks, and
she said:

“Well, I’m glad you didn’t call my clothes flubdubby, anyhow. Yes, I’ll
write your fashion column. What will you write, Milly?”

“I don’t know yet, but I’ll write something. Shall we do it now?”

The girl’s face had brightened wonderfully. Peter had discovered that
she had secret leanings toward literature, and he felt sure that his
plan for the afternoon’s amusement would appeal to her.

“Yes, we’ll begin at once,” he said. “If Patty can provide paper and
pencils. You may each have a half hour, and then must turn in your
copy, finished or not.”

Patty found plenty of stationery, and went about, distributing it to
her guests.

“I can’t write a thing,” declared Flo, “but I’ll draw a picture. Is it
to be an illustrated paper?”

“It will be,” said Peter, “if illustrations are contributed.”

“I’ll do a Limerick,” said Caddy Oram. “I just love to do Limericks.”

“Let’s having missing line ones,” said Violet.

“All right, you do that kind then. Everybody can do just what he or she
likes.”

“We must have the paper uniform,” said Patty, “so we can bind it all
together afterward.”

“Yes,” said Lank Van Winkle, “then we’ll have typewritten copies made
for each of us.”

“If we want them!” put in Floyd. “I’m not sure this crowd can write a
volume worthy of undying fame.”

“Traitor! put him out!” cried Lank. “If he’s so weak-hearted, I’ll
write his contribution.”

“Weak-headed, you mean,” said Peter. “No, everyone must write his own.
Now, what shall we choose as a title for our paper?”

“Is it to be a humorous publication?” asked Floyd.

“Yes, indeed.”

“Then listen, lend me your ears, and prepare to receive my suggestion
with thunders of applause, for I am about to offer you the best, and
indeed, the only title for the journal.”

“Huh,” said Lank, “if it’s the only one, you deserve little credit for
thinking of it.”

“Wait till you hear it,” said Floyd, undismayed. “If you don’t applaud,
I’ll know you don’t appreciate true cleverness. I propose, ladies and
gentlemen, that we call our weekly paper, the _Roman Punch_.”

He was indeed greeted with applause, and every one agreed that his
suggestion was the very thing.

“Then you see,” he went on, “we can model it after the London _Punch_,
only it will be funnier.”

Then they all set to work, and as no pretensions to real literary
excellence were expected, they rapidly scribbled a lot of nonsense.

Floyd finished first, and began bothering the others.

“I’ll help you, Patty,” he said, sitting down beside her.

“No, don’t speak to me. The depth of my subject requires concentration
of thought. You go away.”

So Floyd wandered over to Flo’s side, and criticised her drawing.

“Ho! ho! if I couldn’t draw better than that! Here, let me take your
pencil.”

But Flo only gave him a terrible frown, and he backed away, cowering in
pretended terror.

But at last the half hour was up, and Peter announced that the
manuscripts must be handed in, whether finished or not.

“What luck!” cried Caddy Oram, who had been working diligently, “I’ve
just four lines of my Limerick done, so we can make a ‘missing line
contest’ of it.”

“Let’s call in father and Nan to hear the reading,” said Patty, “and
Flo, why don’t you invite Snippy, if she’d like to come?”

“Oh, she’ll adore to come,” said Flo, and ran in search of her
governess.

So the audience was increased by three, and then all sat in readiness
to hear the paper read.

Peter and Floyd had arranged the pages, and had added a sort of
introduction, and by unanimous invitation Peter was induced to read it.

So in his pleasant, deep voice he read:

“The _Roman Punch_. A journal written by members of the Wonderers’ Club
during their Roam in Rome.

“There may be further numbers and there may not. Subscription limited.

“The first selection is an exquisite poem by our popular poet, Mr.
Floyd Austin. You will notice the marvellous dexterity of his rhyming,
as well as the delicate beauty of his imagination. It is called:

“‘A RHYME OF A ROMAN

  “‘An old Roman, known to no man,
    Without friend and without foeman,
    Without title or cognomen,
      Is the subject of my pome.
    And the Roman, never homin’,
    Still is roamin’, still is roamin’,
    In the dawn or in the gloamin’,
      See him roam and roam and roam
      All about the streets of Rome.’”

This effusion received great applause, until the modest poet hid his
face in his hands, quite overcome at the ovation.

“There’s something so tragic about it that it makes me weep,” said Nan,
wiping her eyes with her handkerchief.

“It’s the noble numbers that affect you, my dear,” said her husband.
“Grandeur of thought is always impressive.”

Floyd’s contribution made a great hit, and then Peter went on to read
another.

“The next is a fine Limerick by Miss Violet Van Winkle. It throws light
on a hitherto mysterious subject, and it justifies what has often been
considered a cruel deed of a bloodthirsty emperor. I refer to the late
Mr. Nero, and his burning of his native town. The true facts of the
case are here set forth:

  “‘“Well, yes,” said Tiberius Nero,
    “I frankly admit I’m a hero.
       But it wasn’t for ire
       That I set Rome afire,--
     The weather was quite down to zero.”’”

There was a moment of silence, and then Floyd said, slowly, “Oh, I see!
He kindled the fire to warm himself!”

“Yes,” said Violet. “It was a cold winter that year.”

“’Twas a chilly day for Nero, when the mercury went to zero,” said
Caddy; “but I say, was Nero’s name Tiberius too?”

“No,” said Violet, unabashed, “but it needed that to fill up the line
nicely. And anyway, it may have been. Those old Romans had lots of
names besides the ones they used every day.”

“Of course they did,” said Patty. “And I’m sure he was Tiberius
Nero,--it sounds so natural that way.”

“Next we come to a picture,” went on Peter. “This gem of art is the
work of our talented wonderer, Miss Flo Carrington. I will hold it up
that you may see it, but as its merit can only be appreciated by a
closer inspection, we will pass it around the circle. It represents
Miss Fairfield hugging her very dear friend, the Coliseum.”

Flo’s picture was really clever. Though only a slight sketch, it showed
a very good caricatured likeness of Patty. Her arms, abnormally long,
were embracing the Coliseum, which, with a happy smile, was enjoying
the occasion.

Patty declared she should keep the picture and have it framed, and Mr.
Homer said she might do so, after he had photographic prints made of it
for them all.

“The next,” continued Peter, “is a poem by our talented member,
Miss Milly Mills. This is a most creditable composition, and quite
appropriate to our paper. I think, to do it full justice, it should be
read by its author. Miss Mills, won’t you read your verses yourself?”

Flattered by Peter’s kind words, Milly took the paper and read her own
lines aloud. It was a really good, humorous jingle, and as Milly read
it, each of the others felt surprise that she could do such clever work.

“A ROMAN COIN

  “There once was a queer Roman boy
   (Though equally queer he would deem us!)
     A nice child was he,
     Born 40 B.C.
   And named Regulus Romulus Remus.

  “His queer and ridiculous garb
   Was Roman from toga to sandal;
     He ate for his lunch
     Some cold Roman punch,
   By the light of a large Roman candle,

  “One day he had finished his meal,
   And went for a walk in the Forum;
     He made counter-marches
     Beneath the big arches,
   With banners and flags floating o’er em.

  “When he found, lying right in his path,
   A Roman coin called a denarius;
     Dated 40 B.C.
     He exclaimed, ‘Goodness me!
   That’s the year I was born! How hilarious!

  “‘I’m sure it will bring me good luck,
   This coin, with its date, B.C. 40.’
     And so he went roamin’
     About in the gloamin’,
   With his Roman nose held high and haughty.

  “But stay! There’s a flaw in this tale,--
   A coin of that date is peculiar!
     I don’t think you’ll see ’em
     In any museum,
   I just told about it to fool yer!”

“Why, Milly,” cried Patty in delight, “I think that’s fine! I’d no idea
you were such a poet.”

“That isn’t poetry,” said Milly; “it’s just jingle.”

“And mighty good jingle,” said Nan. “But why was the coin peculiar?
Didn’t they have coins in 40 B.C.?”

“Oh, Nan,” said Mr. Fairfield, “stop and think! How could a coin be
_dated_ 40 B.C.?”

“I don’t see why not. Doesn’t that mean forty years Before Christ?”

“Yes, but B.C. is only used since A.D. began.”

“Oh, of course! I see. They didn’t use B.C. until the time meant by
B.C. had gone by!”

“Exactly that,” said Mr. Fairfield. “But, Milly, that’s a first-class
little jingle, and I think you’re in a fair way to become a
verse-maker.”

Milly blushed with pleasure at the compliment, and her face lost
entirely its usual discontented expression.

“So that’s her ambition,” thought Patty to herself. “I’ll have a good
talk with her about it when I get a chance. Perhaps I can help her.”

It was the delight of Patty’s life to help anybody, and she felt sure
she could aid Milly, if only by sympathetic interest in her literary
products.

“Now,” went on Peter, “we’ll listen to some very wise wisdom from the
pen of our young American philosopher, Mr. Lancaster Van Winkle. He has
chosen to favour us with a collection of proverbs. I will read them,
for I know his natural modesty will make him too embarrassed to listen
to the sound of his own voice. The first gem of priceless wit is this:

“‘Rome is where the Art is.’”

At this punning, a general groan was heard from the audience.

“Cheer up,” said Peter, “worse is yet to come.”

“‘A Roman stone gathers no moss.’”

“I don’t see any sense to that,” remarked Flo.

“There isn’t any,” said Lank, amiably, “but it somehow sounded as if
there ought to be.”

“It _does_ sound so,” said Patty, encouragingly; “go on, Peter.”

“‘The Coliseum is the thief of time.’”

“That’s a good one! What next?”

“‘Where ignorance is bliss, ’tis folly to study guidebooks. One touch
of Baedeker makes the whole world kin. Tourists will happen in the best
regulated ruins. He who Romes and roams away, may live to Rome another
day.’”

“I think they’re great!” said Floyd. “I want a copy of those.”

“Thank you!” said Lank, with a bow to his admirer.

“Now,” said Peter, “we come to a column of fashion notes, by our
esteemed friend, Miss Fairfield, who is an authority on the subject. I
will read it to you.

“‘Fall fashions for Rome. This season cabmen will continue to wear the
tattered and disreputable costumes which they have (apparently) worn
for the last decade.

“‘Tourists will wear short skirts, and a look of inquiry. Roman
citizens have discarded togas and tunics, and now wear any old thing.
Their appearance is not so picturesque as formerly.

“‘Americans and Britishers visiting in Rome will wear Roman sashes a
great deal this fall, as they think it gives them a touch of local
colour. They will also wear memory chains.

“‘Visitors who have already been to Naples, are wearing pink coral
necklaces.

“‘There is little change in the fashions for statues. As a rule these
people seem not to care much for clothing, and what they wear is scanty
of material and shows little, if any, trimming. The statues are not
wearing hats this year, and their styles of hair-dressing, though
picturesque, are a bit untidy.’”

“Good for you, Patty!” cried her father. “That’s good fooling, my
child. You may turn out a blue-stocking yet.”

“I don’t think so,” said Patty, doubtfully; “I had pretty hard work to
grind that out. I’m glad you like it.”

“It’s very waggish,” said Snippy, in such a matter-of-fact tone that
the others had to laugh.

“Now that’s real praise, Mrs. Snippy,” said Peter Homer.

As Flo’s governess objected to her own name, and preferred the funny
title Flo had given her long ago, the other young people compromised
by prefixing a Mrs., which seemed, at least, a little more respectful.
They had all grown to like the strong-willed and dictatorial old lady,
and her approval of the fun of the _Roman Punch_ pleased them.

“Now,” said Peter, “we come to the last contribution. It is the work of
the distinguished Englishman, Cadwalader Oram, better known as Caddy.
Indeed, he’s so fond of afternoon tea, I might call him Tea-Caddy.
Well, as he hadn’t quite finished his immortal Limerick verse when the
bell rang, we’ll call it a missing-line contest, and we’ll all have a
try at it. Have you a prize, Patty, that can be given to the successful
one?”

“That’s the beauty of Rome,” said Patty. “You do nothing but collect
articles that are just right for prizes. I’ll have enough to last me
all the winter for card-parties and such things at home. Here, I’ll
give you this little model of the Temple of Saturn, in Parian marble.”

“Pooh, we’ve all got those already,” said Violet, “and anyway, they
break if you look at them.”

“You must give softer glances, then,” said Austin. “But, Patty,
something a little less ubiquitous would suit me better too.”

“Well, here’s a little silver statuette of St. Peter,” said Patty.
“How’s that?”

“A whole lot better! I’ll try hard to win that.”

“But I don’t understand the contest part,” said Patty; “what do we do?”

“Why, Caddy has written four lines of a Limerick,” explained Peter.
“I’ll read those,--you may jot them down if you like. Then, each tries
to write a fifth line, and whichever is judged the best gets the prize.”

“Who’s the judge?”

“Well, I’ll appoint Mrs. Fairfield and Mrs. Snippy to judge the
efforts. Now, listen; here are the first four lines:

  “‘There was a young tourist from home,
    Who Baedekered all over Rome.
      Said a lady, “My dear,
      Do you like the things here?”’

Now, you see you must each make a fifth line.”

“Oh, that’s easy,” said Milly, who was a born rhymer.

They all sat silently for a few moments, scribbling, or nibbling, at
their pencils.

“It’s harder than I thought,” confessed Patty. “I can’t think of a
thing that rhymes and makes sense both.”

At last the lines were done, and given over to the judges.

“We’ve decided,” said Nan, soon after. “But we’ll read first the ones
that did not win the prize. They’re all awfully good, I think. Here’s
Patty’s first; shall I read the four lines?”

“No, we all know those; just read the fifth.”

“Very well, this is it. ‘She said, _not_ when they say “write a pome!”’”

“That’s capital. Are the others better?”

“Some are,” said Nan, going on. “Here’s Floyd Austin’s; ‘She said,
“Well,--I have bought a pearl comb.”’”

“Oh, I think that’s good,” cried Patty, “I’d give that the prize. Go
on, Nan, this is fun.”

“This is Flo’s. ‘“Well,”’ she said, ‘“it surpasses Cape Nome.”’”

“That’s all right! Next!”

“Here’s Lancaster’s: ‘She said, “All except St. Peter’s Dome!”’”

“Whew! I suppose she tried to climb it,” said Caddy. “I did once!”

“This is a good one,” said Nan; “it’s Violet’s; it _almost_ took the
prize: ‘She said, “No, I like our Hippodrome!”’”

“Oh, that’s fine!” cried Patty, clapping her hands. “Why didn’t I think
of that? It was so hard to find a rhyme.”

“But here’s the prize one. It’s Milly’s. I think you’ll have to yield
her the palm for composition. I’ll read the whole this time.

  “‘There was a young tourist from home,
   Who Baedekered all over Rome.
     Said a lady, “My dear,
     Do you like the things here?”
   She looked up and answered, “Why, no’m.”’

You see, this fits into the spirit of the first part so well. You can
fairly see the young tourist bored to death, tired, hurried, flurried,
dazed, with sight-seeing, but bound to go on with it; why should she
like things here? Oh, Milly, yours is best.”

Most of them agreed with this, and though Flo and the two Van Winkles
secretly thought Milly’s line rather commonplace, they didn’t say so.

Then the pretty prize was bestowed on Milly, and her eyes shone with
pleasure and justifiable pride in her own success.

And when the party broke up she said to Mr. Homer:

“I’ve had a lovely time, and I’m _glad_ it rained, and we couldn’t go
driving.”

“That’s a good girl,” he responded, “and I’m jolly glad you took the
prize, and we’ll have that drive yet, too.”



CHAPTER XII

PATTY AND PETER


It was the day before the Fairfields were to leave Rome.

Patty and Peter Homer sat on one of the upper flights of the Spanish
Steps, waiting for Flo and Snippy, who were in a neighbouring shop.

The beginning of the sunset hour cast a warm, happy light, and Patty,
who was very sensitive to the peculiar charms of this most delightful
part of Rome, was gazing at the beautiful staircase that seemed to
ripple down from the Church of Trinita dei Monti to the fountain below.

Peter had called her attention before to the construction of these
steps, and she had learned to love the wonderful effect as they
separated and joined again, like a cascading river.

“Why is it that steps are so beautiful?” she said to Peter, who was
also enjoying the view.

“Not exactly because they are steps,” he replied. “A flight of stairs
is not necessarily beautiful. But when designed by a master mind, with
knowledge of architectural effect and symmetry, they can be made to
express a great deal. But don’t try too hard to understand, just look
at it all, and wonder.”

“I do. And I shall always remember this, my last afternoon in Rome,
sitting here in the sunset----”

“With me,” interrupted Peter.

“Yes, with you. I have to thank you for much of my pleasure in Rome.
Without what you have told me and taught me, I should not have known
anything about the real Rominess of Rome.”

“You don’t know much about it yet, nor do I. But we’ve seen a little of
it together, and I, too, shall always remember our good times here.”

“Very frivolous times. What a lot of fun we’ve had with our foolish
picnics and games.”

“Yes; but you know Italy of itself is not a humorous country. Whatever
fun one gets out of it, one must take to it.”

“I wonder you’re so fond of fun,” said Patty, musingly, “when you’re so
sentimental.”

“What! I? Sentimental? Never! I’m the most practical man in the world.”

“Oh, yes, you’re practical enough, but you’re sentimental, too.”

“And aren’t you?”

“I don’t know. No, I don’t think I am.”

“I don’t think you are, exactly, either. But I think you will be some
day. And as a beginning, couldn’t you cultivate a little sentiment
toward me?”

Patty looked around her,--at the gold and violet sunset sky above
them, the sparkling fountain plashing below them, the soft twilight
atmosphere about them, and the Roman monuments both near and far,--and
answered:

“If I ever could be sentimental, it would be here and now.”

“Nonsense!” cried Peter. “I don’t want you to be sentimental! Save that
for Venice. Child, don’t you know the difference between sentiment and
sentimentality?”

“No,” said Patty, in surprise, “is there any?”

“You’re hopeless! Doesn’t this exquisite moment, here and now, inspire
you with impulses of noble sentiment quite removed from mawkish
sentimentality?”

“I don’t know,” said honest Patty. “What sentiment ought I to feel?”

“Oh, I don’t want to suggest. Look in your own heart, and tell me if
there’s no pleasant thought there, for this especial moment,--and for
me?”

Patty shut her eyes tight, and pondered.

“Yes,” she said, triumphantly, “I know what you mean. I looked in my
heart, and it’s overflowing with a sentiment of gratitude for your
kindness to me.”

For once Patty saw Peter Homer look positively angry.

“You ought to be ashamed of yourself,” he exclaimed; “or, rather, I
ought to. I should know better than to expect a child like you to have
any real feelings.”

“I’m not a child!” said Patty, offended in her turn. “I’m over
eighteen, and I’ve lots of real feeling, but as you don’t seem to care
for it, I won’t waste it on you!”

Peter laughed at the indignant look on Patty’s pretty face, and
said, gaily: “You’ve plenty of time, little one. Your sentiments are
sprouting, and they’ll grow rapidly enough, once they’re started. Thank
Heaven, your sense of humour will keep them from growing too rank. Now,
soothe my wounded feelings by telling me you’ve a nice kind sentiment
of friendship sprouting in your heart for me.”

“Sprouting! Why, my friendship for you sprouted long ago. Now, it’s
grown to a big tree, and on every leaf is written a kindly thought of
you.”

“Ah, you _have_ imagination; and that’s closely akin to sentiment. Dear
little Patty, I wish I could teach you to see life as I’ve taught you
to see Rome.”

Patty looked up quickly, surprised at the note of earnestness in his
voice, and found Peter’s dark eyes looking steadily into her own.

“I wish you could,” she said, simply, as her own clear blue eyes
frankly returned his gaze.

“Being desirous of making the acquaintance of the pretty girl on the
steps, the wayfarer sat down beside her,” declaimed the ridiculous
voice of Floyd Austin, as he appeared before them, and dropped down on
the step beside Patty.

“Why, Floyd,” she cried, “I didn’t see you coming. Where have you been?”

“Seeing Rome, and hoping I’d see you, which, by good luck I did. What
are you two babes in the wood doing here all alone?”

“Waiting for Flo and Snippy. They’re in that shop over there, buying
photographs.”

“Um,--yes. Don’t you care for photographs?”

“I’ve bought all I can carry, already. I shall have to use them for
wall paper, when I get home. It would take a Maine forest to frame them
all.”

“I saw a room papered with photographs once,” said Peter. “They were
divided by narrow mouldings, you know, but the pictures were pasted
right on the walls.”

“Wasn’t it horrid?” asked Patty.

“Awful. Photographs in great quantities are awful, anyhow. But, while
we’re on the subject, won’t you give me one of yourself? To hang on my
memory chain, you know.”

“I’d ask for one too,” put in Floyd, “but I’ve seven of you already,
Patty. Snapshots, but good ones.”

“I don’t see why he should have seven, and I none,” said Peter, in a
plaintive voice.

“I’ll give you one,” said Floyd, generously.

“No, thank you,--I don’t want it. But what I do want, Patty, is to take
a snapshot of you, right now, here on the Spanish Steps.”

“You’ve no camera,” said Patty.

“I can get one in a minute, in that photograph shop. They keep all
sorts, and I’ll just borrow one long enough to take you. May I?”

“Yes, if the light’s good enough. I don’t care,” said Patty,
indifferently.

Peter looked at her curiously, and then went off for the camera.

“Having achieved his heart’s desire, the young man tripped gaily away,”
said Floyd, mischievously smiling at Patty.

“Here comes Flo,” cried Patty, as Snippy and her charge appeared, laden
with long pasteboard rolls. “Now we can all be in the picture.”

“So we can!” said Floyd. “Homer will be _so_ pleased!”

Mr. Homer returned with his camera to find a group ready posed for him.

Floyd had arranged them, and Snippy sat on one step, with her arms
outspread in a classic attitude, while the two girls stood demurely
with clasped hands on either side, a step below. Floyd, above and
behind, held out one hand with beneficent gesture, and in the other was
a long pasteboard roll, which he used as a trumpet.

“It’s an allegorical group,” he announced, “of ‘Fame blessing a bunch
of Tourists.’”

Entering into the spirit of the thing, Peter focussed his camera,
and secured what afterward turned out to be a delightfully ludicrous
picture.

“Now,” said Peter, in the tone he used when he had no intention of
being contradicted, “I will take a picture of Patty alone.”

“All right,” said Flo, not caring, and she turned away to talk to Floyd
Austin.

“Lean lightly against the balustrade,” said Peter, as Patty stood
carelessly on the steps. She fell into the position he had suggested,
and against the background of innumerable steps, above, below, and on
either side, the girlish figure stood out in fair relief. The white
serge frock, with its graceful long coat opening over a soft white
blouse, was a becoming style to Patty, and suited well the scheme of
the picture. Her soft, white, felt hat, turned back from her ripply,
gold hair, and a filmy white Liberty scarf trailed from it, and
fluttered over her shoulder. She was the embodiment of quiet, graceful,
American girlhood, and the picturesque Roman surroundings accented her
charm.

Peter Homer held his breath as he adjusted the camera.

“Don’t move,” he begged; “it’s perfect.”

“I’ve no intention of moving,” said Patty, calmly; “take your time.”

It was one of the girl’s best traits that she was never self-conscious;
and so she was never embarrassed at posing for a picture. In fact, she
rather enjoyed it, as she was fond of photographs of all sorts.

“All over,” announced Peter Homer, as he snapped the camera for the
last time. “Now, if you people will wait till I take this machine back
to its home, I’ll invite you all to tea right here and now.”

“Goody!” cried Patty; “I’m starving, and they have the loveliest cakes
in this tearoom of all Rome.”

Snippy was graciously pleased to accept the invitation, and soon they
were gathered round a tea table, and Patty had all the cakes she
desired.

“When can we see the pictures?” asked Flo.

“As soon as I can get them developed. You may each have copies of
that stunning classic group you posed in, but the landscape of Miss
Fairfield is all for my little own self.”

“Can’t I have one?” asked Patty.

“No, madame. They are not for general circulation.”

“Pooh!” said Patty, “I don’t want a picture of myself, anyway. I’d
rather have one of you.”

“I’ll send you one,” said Peter, quietly.

“Not being members of the picture exchange, the other guests turned
their attention to tea and muffins,” said Floyd, in a resigned way, as
he appropriated more muffins, and begged Snippy to pour him another cup
of tea.

“It doesn’t seem possible,” said Flo, “that we’ve been here over a
month; does it, Patty?”

“No, indeed, seems more like a week. Oh, I know I shan’t like Florence
as well as Rome, and then, too, all you boys won’t be there. I do love
boys,” said Patty, contemplatively, as she broke a bit of frosting off
her cake and gazed at the two young men before her.

“Thank you, old lady,” said Floyd. “And do you class this stalwart
gentleman and myself among your beloved ‘boys’?”

“Oh, I don’t know. I suppose you _are_ too old to be called boys; but
anyway, you’re the ones I meant. You and Lank and Caddy. Why, I’m so
used to having you all bothering around, I’ll be awfully lonesome in
Florence, I know I shall.”

“You’ll have me,” said Flo. “I’m nice.”

“Yes, you are. And perhaps we’ll have more fun without the boys. ‘They
do tease so,’ as _Alice_ said about the elephants.”

Patty’s roguish smile contradicted her speech, and both men knew it.

“Don’t be so sure you won’t see us in Florence,” said Floyd. “My ticket
is most accommodating; isn’t yours, Homer?”

“No,” said Peter, shortly. “At least it doesn’t include Florence among
its coupons.”

“I’m sorry,” said Patty, gently. “I’d be glad to see you there. Are you
really coming, Floyd?”

“I don’t know yet. How long shall you be there?”

“About a fortnight, I think. Perhaps longer. It depends on how father
and Nan like it.”

“And you?”

“Yes, and I. But I’m so good-natured I always agree with them.”

“That’s a good one!” said Floyd, “when it’s well known that you’re the
dictator of the Fairfield Forum.”

“Only when I care,” said Patty, “and I don’t often care.”

“Well, I care that you’re going away,” said Floyd, “and I shall follow
you, if possible, as soon as I can.”



CHAPTER XIII

A NOBLE SOLDIER


The Fairfields were to leave Rome for Florence at ten o’clock in the
morning, and Flo and Snippy were to go with them. Patty’s regret at
leaving Rome was somewhat lessened by her father’s promise that they
should return there for a week or two after visiting Florence and
Venice.

“For you know, Father,” she said, “I really ought to come back here and
brush up my memories of Roman history, before going back home.”

“Yes,” agreed Mr. Fairfield, “particularly as your knowledge of Roman
history is confined to picnics in the Forum, lunches on the Palatine,
and tearooms on the Spanish Steps.”

“Well, I do know a few important facts about the Roman Emperors; and if
I get them mixed up, that’s because there were so many of the Emperors
and so few of me.”

“You’re a frivolous puss, Pattykins, but as you’re on a pleasure trip,
I don’t suppose you can take time for useful information.”

“But that’s just what I do get. Dusty, musty, fusty knowledge about the
inner workings of the Roman Empire isn’t a bit useful to a great, big
girl like me. And the varied bits of information that I pick up with
both hands as I go along will cheer and amuse me all my life.”

“I believe you’re right, you wise child. You know how to have a good
time, anyway, and I’m glad of it. Now, run along, and say your good-bys
to that flock of young people waiting for you.”

Patty was all ready to start on their journey, and her travelling
costume of blue Rajah silk that just matched her eyes was both
appropriate and becoming. Her straw hat was trimmed with blue roses,
which, though not of Nature’s tint, were most harmonious, and she wore
a long filmy blue veil, which was a characteristic article of her
attire.

“Why do you always have these uncertain things trailing around you,
Patty?” asked Floyd, as an end of the veil brushed against his cheek.

“Oh, they’re so comforting,” laughed Patty, as she disentangled her
scarf from his grasping fingers.

The Wonderers had gathered in the palm garden to say good-by to Patty.

Milly Mills was in tears, for Patty had been very kind to her, and the
strange, silent girl had learned to love her dearly.

“I wonder what we’ll do without our Patsy,” said Violet, as she
caressed Patty’s hand.

“Follow her up,” said Lank, promptly. “I’ve been trying to persuade
the governor to go on to Florence, and though he says no, he’s sort of
half-hearted about it. Perhaps you can coax him ’round, sister.”

“Perhaps I can,” said Violet, smiling hopefully. “I’ll try anyway. And
if not, we’ll meet in New York, won’t we, Patty?”

“Yes, indeed. We’re going to have a reunion there some day, and all the
Wonderers will walk on Broadway and Fifth Avenue, hunting for something
to wonder at.”

“And finding it, too!” said Lank. “We’ll show Europeans that little old
U. S. A. is O. K.”

“Sounds like a riddle,” said Caddy Oram. “But I’m going to the States
some day, and indeed we will have a reunion. If we can’t have the
whole eight at once, we’ll reune, a few at a time.”

“Do come,” said Patty, cordially; “all of you, whenever you can.”

Then they all exchanged addresses, and promised to write letters, and
send pictures, and meet whenever possible, and then the hotel omnibus
was at the door to take the travellers to the station.

“Come, Patty,” said her father, as she lingered for a last word
to Milly, “you’ll make us all miss the train if you spin out your
farewells any longer. Hop in, now.”

He helped Patty into the omnibus, jumped in himself, and then they
were off, leaving the young people and Mr. and Mrs. Van Winkle waving
handkerchiefs after them.

“Isn’t it funny?” said Flo, after they were settled in their chairs in
the train, and rolling toward Florence, “how, as soon as you leave one
place, your mind flies ahead to the place you’re going to?”

“Yes, it is,” agreed Patty. “Now, I just love Rome, and I love that
whole bunch of people we’ve left behind us, but I’m already wondering
what Florence will be like. What’s it like, Snippy?”

“Well, Miss Patty, it isn’t a bit like Rome, to begin with.”

“No; I suppose not. There are no ruins.”

“No, miss; but there are beautiful gardens, and pictures and statues
till you ’most wear your poor eyes out.”

“Yes, and break the back of your neck. Picture galleries are worse than
quinsy sore throat.”

“But that’s in front,” said Flo, laughing. “Pictures make you ache in
the back of your neck.”

“They make me ache all round,” declared Patty. “I love ’em, but they
wear me out.”

“Oh, Patty,” cried Flo, “look at the orchards with the trees tied
together! Isn’t it lovely?” Patty looked from the window at the thick
ropes of grapevines which festooned one tree to another in the orchards
past which their train was flying.

“Great!” she exclaimed, her eyes shining at the beautiful sight. “They
look like the Alpine travellers, who are roped together for safety.”

“Nonsense,” said practical Flo, “what’s the use of roping yourselves
together if you’re standing still? They’re not moving.”

“Well,” said Patty, “our train goes so fast that it makes them look as
if they were moving; so it’s well they’re tied together.”

“You’re a goose,” remarked Flo, as if that settled the matter. “I say,
Patty, isn’t this a funny car?”

“I suppose it is to you,” said Patty, looking around at the
drawing-room car they were in.

“It’s unusual in Italy, I’m sure, and I never saw one like it in
England; but it’s exactly like the parlour-cars we have in America.”

“Is it? Well, I like it a lot better, like this, where we’re all in one
room, and can see our fellow passengers, than to be shut up in those
little compartments and only see our own party.”

“Yes,” said Patty, doubtfully; “but the other way is more cosy. I’ve no
desire to see my fellow travellers, have you?”

“Yes; I like to look at them, and wonder what they’re like. For
instance, see those two young Italian men, over there. I’m sure they’re
nobles, counts probably. Aren’t they handsome?”

“Flo Carrington, you stop looking at handsome young Italians or I’ll
call Snippy’s attention to you.”

“Oh, they don’t know I’m looking at them.”

“Don’t they, indeed! Well, they do, and you must stop it.”

“I have stopped,” said Flo, looking out of the window. “But aren’t they
stunning?”

They were handsome young fellows, and had an air of dignity such as
might well befit an Italian noble. Flo and Patty demurely refrained
from glancing at them, save for a furtive glance now and then, but Flo
declared she must make a sketch of them. She undertook it, but the
train jolted too much to make drawing a pleasure, so she abandoned the
project. Soon the guard came through, asking for those who wished to
lunch in the dining-car, and tickets were given for seats at table.

“I perfectly love to eat on an Italian train, don’t you?” said Patty,
as they found their places for luncheon.

“Yes, I do,” said Flo, “except I don’t like the spaghetti and things
they love to eat.”

“Oh, I do. And I’m sure when I get home I can cook macaroni in true
Italian fashion, and delight all my friends.”

“It wouldn’t delight me, I hate it. But I love the fruit.” And well she
might, for the rich luscious fruits of Italy are surpassed nowhere on
the globe, and they are bestowed on travellers in unstinted quantities.

Mr. and Mrs. Fairfield sat at one of the tables arranged for two, while
Snippy and the two girls sat at a quartette table.

As there was thus a vacant seat, another passenger was assigned to it,
and to the surprise and secret glee of the girls it was one of the
young Italian men they had noticed in the other car.

Flo and Patty looked down at their plates in an effort not to smile
at each other, and Snippy glared at the young man as if he were an
intruder.

Presently he made a civil remark in Italian, and as Snippy was able to
talk fluently in that tongue, she answered him, politely, but rather
shortly.

“Doesn’t he speak English at all?” said Patty, with great interest.

“No,” said Snippy, sternly, “eat your luncheon and don’t look at him.”

“Good gracious!” said Patty, secure in the knowledge that the stranger
couldn’t understand her, “I don’t want to look at him. But I just
want to know if he’s a count. Do ask him, Snippy dear. Flo thinks he
is--and I think he isn’t.”

“Well, he isn’t, Miss Patty. He’s a soldier.”

“A soldier! How interesting. Can’t we talk to him a little, Snippy,
with you to translate, you know.”

Snippy hesitated. The young man was exceedingly polite and well-bred,
and had already asked if the young ladies spoke Italian. Even her
careful instincts could suggest no reason why they should not converse,
with herself as interpreter.

So, in very conventional language she introduced Signor Grimaldi to
her two young charges, and he bowed with the ease and grace of a
distinguished cavalier.

“Ask him where he’s going,” said Patty, who knew that Snippy would
frame the question less curtly.

A few words of Italian passed between them, and then Snippy informed
the waiting ears that the Signor was going to Florence.

“What hotel?” asked Flo, and the information was soon gained that he
was going to the same hotel that they were themselves.

“Heavenly!” said Patty, rolling her eyes, dramatically. “Tell him we’re
enchanted, and that we think he’s a lovely man, and that he looks as
if he had just stepped out of a comic opera, and that----”

“There, there, Miss Patty, how you do run on. I shall tell him none of
those things. He’s a very chivalrous gentleman, and I don’t want him to
think you a forward young person.”

“He can’t think anything about me, Snippy, except what you tell him. So
tell him I’m a lovely lady,--a duchess, disguised as an American.”

“He’d never take you for a duchess, Patty,” said Flo; “tell him I’m a
duchess, Snip, and that this other young woman is my maid.”

“I’ll tell him nothing; I’m ashamed of your foolishness, Miss Flo.” And
Snippy proceeded to eat her luncheon with such a dragon-like air that
the Italian soldier wondered what he had done to deserve reproof.

Presently he spoke again to Snippy, regarding the scenery, and to make
amends for her previous coolness she answered him affably. Then there
ensued an interested conversation, for Snippy was a cultivated and
well-informed woman, and the young man was courteous and entertaining.

Besides which, he was greatly attracted by the two pretty girls and
wished the duenna would bring them into the conversation.

“The young ladies,--have they visited Florence before?” he asked
finally, in Italian, and Snippy felt in honour bound to pass the
question on in English to eager Patty and Flo.

“We must answer prettily,” said Patty, with a demure face, though her
eyes were dancing, “or else Snippy won’t let us talk to him at all. Say
to the Signor, please, that we have never before been in Florence, and
does he think we’ll like it.”

Snippy sniffed a little, but translated the message to the Italian.

“The Signor says,” she translated again, “that he is sure you will like
Florence and Florence will like you.”

“Remark to him,” went on Patty, “that we thank him for his politeness,
and we’d like to know if the gentleman who was with him in the other
car is travelling with him, and what is his noble name.”

“The other gentleman is with him. His name is Signor Balotti, and he
too is a soldier.”

“Then,” put in Flo, “inquire of his soldiership why they are not
fighting.”

“He says,” resumed Snippy, “that they do not fight because there is
no convenient war. But he does not regret that, since it gives him
opportunity to meet three charming ladies.”

“Oh, Snippy-Snip,” said Patty, “are you sure you’re translating truly?
Didn’t he say one charming lady, and two ill-mannered girls.”

“If he didn’t, it’s only because he is himself too polite to say so,”
said Snippy, but there was a twinkle in her eye, and Patty could see
that she had quite decided in favour of the young man’s desirability as
an acquaintance.

They all rose from the tables then, and Snippy introduced the Italian
to Mr. Fairfield. Though not fluent in the language, Mr. Fairfield
could make himself understood, and while the ladies returned to the
drawing-room car, he remained behind for a smoke and a chat with the
young man.

When he returned, he electrified the two girls and Nan by telling them
that Signor Grimaldi was a very desirable acquaintance indeed, as was
also his chum, Signor Balotti. The men had arranged to meet them again
in Florence, and would doubtless be a decided acquisition to their
circle.

“I told you so!” said Patty. “I knew he was the salt of the earth as
soon as I looked at him.”

“Pooh, I told you so first,” said Flo. “But I wish he could talk
English. I don’t care much about knowing people I can’t talk to.”

“Nor I,” said Patty. “I hope we will find some Americans or English at
the hotel.”

They reached Florence about mid-afternoon, and drove directly to their
hotel, on the bank of the Arno.

“What a lovely river!” said Patty. “At least it’s clean. The Tiber is
so yellow, and so is the Thames. The Seine isn’t much better,--indeed
none of them can compare with our own Hudson.”

“But this whole place is beautiful,” said Flo, as they looked from
their cab on the trees and gardens of beautiful Florence.

The day was very warm, and there was a glare of sun everywhere, so
our travellers were glad to reach their hotel and go right to the
apartments awaiting them.

Flo and Patty had communicating rooms, and had soon exchanged their
travelling costumes for teagowns and were waiting for the tea which
they had ordered sent up.

They peeped out between the slats of their blinds, and saw the river
directly below them.

“Isn’t it picturesque?” said Patty. “I love it already. After an hour
or so, father says it will be cool and pleasant for a drive, so we’ll
see a little of the place this afternoon.”

“Lovely,” said Flo, “but here’s our tea, Patty, so come and drink it.”



CHAPTER XIV

CARLO AS GUIDE


The first night that Patty spent in Florence she awoke about midnight,
thinking she heard music.

“I must have been dreaming,” she said to herself, and then, again, she
heard lovely strains, as of some one singing outside her window.

She jumped up and ran to peep through the blinds. Sure enough a small
crowd of people stood in the white roadway that divided the hotel from
the river, and four men were singing beautiful music. The others were
passers-by, who had stopped to listen, and who stood about or sat on
the low parapet.

“I’m being serenaded!” thought Patty; “it must be by those two Italian
soldiers!”

Flinging on a kimono, she flew into the next room to wake Flo.

“Get up!” she cried, shaking the sleeping girl. “Get up! Signor
Vaselino, or whatever his name is, is serenading us!”

“What?” murmured sleepy Flo.

“Oh, get up, you slow thing! Get up first, and understand afterward.
Here’s your dressing-gown,--here are your slippers. Put your foot in!”

Jamming the worsted slippers on Flo’s bare feet, Patty gave her one
more shake and succeeded in fully wakening her.

They went to Flo’s window, and opening the blinds, stepped out on the
little balcony.

It was a perfect night. Although the first of October, it was warm and
balmy, and the great full moon cast a golden glow on the smooth water
of the Arno.

The four men who were singing wore picturesque Italian costumes, and
their broad-brimmed hats, turned up with feathers, gave the effect of a
comic opera chorus.

The bright moonlight made the shadows of the people clear and distinct
along the white road, and the river, with the buildings rising on its
other bank, was a perfect background.

“Isn’t it great!” whispered Patty, squeezing Flo’s arm. “Do you suppose
it’s our Italian friend that we met on the train?”

“No, you goose,” said Flo, laughing. “This isn’t a serenade especially
for us. They’re professional singers, and they’re serenading the whole
hotel. See the other people on their balconies.”

Sure enough every room in the hotel that had its own balcony showed its
occupants standing out there to enjoy the music. And windows that had
no balconies were thrown wide open, and faces appeared at each.

“Well,” said Patty, “this is a nice country, where the opera singers
give free concerts at midnight.”

“They’re not entirely free,” said Flo, who seemed to know more about
the matter than Patty. “Observe what now happens.”

The song came to an end, and after flourishing bows, the quartette
stood expectantly waiting. Soon something was thrown from a window,
and, as it fell in the road, one of the singers stooped for it, and
then they all bowed again.

It was a coin flung by one of the hotel guests, and it was quickly
followed by others, until the singers were all four scrambling on the
ground picking up the coppers and small silver bits that had rained
down upon them. Sometimes a coin was flung wide of the mark, and this
was picked up by the idle bystanders and usually given to one of the
singers.

Then they sang again, and this time Patty ran for her purse, to take
part in the recognition of the music. After this song, she and Flo
threw down coins too, and it was great fun to watch the musicians pick
them up. Probably from much practice they were very deft at this, and
as the hotel was a large one and well filled with people, they reaped a
fine harvest. At last, having doubtless noticed American voices among
their audience, they sang Yankee Doodle, though a very much Italianised
version of that classic composition. However, it struck a patriotic
chord, and from many of the hotel windows American voices joined in the
chorus. After this tribute to her native land, Patty flung down all her
small change, and finally the minstrels wandered away to serenade some
other hostelry.

“Wasn’t that fun?” said Patty, as she and Flo returned to their rooms.
“I think Italians must be very honest people, or the others would have
taken the money instead of the singers.”

“Perhaps they did,” said Flo, “or some of those others may have been
friends of the singers who picked up the money for them.”

“Well it’s a pretty trick,” said Patty, “much nicer than hand-organs, I
think.”

“Yes, or street pianos,” agreed Flo; “and now if you’ll kindly go back
where you belong, I’ll return to my own slumbers, and don’t wake me up
again to-night, if the United States Marine Band comes over to give a
concert.”

“Indeed I won’t, you ungrateful creature; I’ll just enjoy it all by
myself.”

So Patty went back to bed and slept until the sun shone high over the
Arno, in place of the moon.

The weeks in Florence passed rapidly, it seemed to the two girls. Each
day Patty grew to love the beautiful city more.

“It goes along so smoothly,” she said to Nan, one day. “In Rome we were
always flying around after some excitement, but Florence days just flow
by, all exactly alike.”

“Why, Patty, I think our days are varied a great deal,” replied Nan,
who was tying her veil, and was devoting most of her attention to that.

“No, they’re not. We always go to picture galleries in the morning.
And shopping or for a drive in the gardens in the afternoon, and then
dinner takes up most of the evening. But I like it; I’m not complaining
at all. And I’m learning heaps about pictures. I didn’t know I could
learn so much just by looking at them. Why, some of my favourites, I
almost feel as if I had painted myself.”

“It must be fine to have such a good opinion of yourself,” laughed Nan.
“Where are you going this morning?”

“Oh, Snippy’s laid aside with a headache, and as you and dad are going
off on an excursion, he said Flo and I might go out with Carlo.”

“Well, have a good time. We’ll be back by tea time, so be in the palm
room by five. Some people are coming.”

Nan ran away to go off on a day’s jaunt with her husband, and Flo and
Patty put on their hats to go for a drive with Carlo.

This very useful Italian citizen was a well-trained guide, who had been
recommended to Mr. Fairfield by an old friend. Carlo was experienced
in all styles of sight-seeing, and moreover was trusty and reliable in
every way. So Mr. Fairfield allowed Flo and Patty to go with him to
galleries and museums, and Carlo proved a most satisfactory cicerone
and chaperon. To-day the cab came to the door and Carlo assisted the
two girls into it.

“Where to, ladies?” he asked, as he stood at attention.

“Oh, I don’t know,” said Patty; “we’ve seen ’most everything. Where
shall we go, Flo?”

“To Dante’s House,” was the prompt reply. “We haven’t seen that.”

“All right,” said Patty; “to Dante’s House, Carlo.”

“Non, ladies, non,” was the unexpected reply. “To the great
galleries? yes. To the great monuments? yes. To the gardens? yes.
But to a house--a so plain, uncertain house--which in maybe Dante
was born,--maybe no,--no, we do not go to Dante’s house. It is a
foolishness.”

Patty laughed. She well knew Carlo’s dictatorial ways, and if he didn’t
think Dante’s House worth seeing, it probably wasn’t.

“I don’t care, Carlo,” she said, “go where you like. It’s a lovely
morning, and I’m so amiable I’d follow anybody’s advice. You don’t
care; do you, Flo?”

“Not a bit. Let’s leave it to Carlo.”

“Then, ladies, I take you once again to the Baptistery. I wish you to
look again at the bronze doors of Ghiberti.”

“Go ahead,” said Patty. “I know those doors by heart; I know what
Michael Angelo said about them, and I have both sepia and coloured
postcards of them. But go on, we can’t have too much of the bronze
doors.”

Carlo, though he spoke English, was not always quick enough to grasp
the whole of Patty’s raillery, but he saw she was willing to follow his
advice, so he took the seat beside the cabdriver, and they rumbled away.

When they reached the Baptistery, they stood in front of the great
doors, and listened patiently while Carlo repeated the meanings of
the designs. It was owing to these repeated descriptions of Carlo’s
that Patty was acquiring a really good appreciation of painting and
sculpture, and though she mildly chaffed the good-natured guide, she
listened thoughtfully to his lectures.

“You’re a fine guide, Carlo,” she said; “you told all that exactly as
you told it last time. I think you’re the best guide in all Florence.”

“Oh, no, lady,” said Carlo, with a gesture of deprecation. “Verra pore
guide. I simply do my best to serve the kind patrons who honour me. I
speak but only eight of the languages.”

“Only eight?” exclaimed Patty, in a teasing tone, for she well knew
this was mock modesty, and Carlo was really proud of his linguistic
acquirements.

“Yes; eight. It is but few.”

“Oh, well, it will do for us,” said Patty; “I only know one, myself.”

“That is enough for a lady,” said Carlo, so gallantly that Flo and
Patty laughed.

“You know a lot of languages, Carlo,” Patty said, “and better than
that, you can be tactful in all of them.”

“Ah, I am a Florentine,” said Carlo, bowing, with native pride in his
birth that he scorned to admit in his acquirements. “But, ladies,
here comes a so good opportunity. A bambino--a baby--is arriving for
baptism. We will go in and observe the ceremony.”

“We will, indeed,” said Patty. “I’ve always just missed it, before.
Come on, Flo.”

Inside the Baptistery they went and found a priest and a few officials
gathered around the font.

With great interest they watched the baptism of the tiny three-days’
old infant. The little one was carried by its father, and accompanied
by a nurse and an Italian lady, presumably an aunt or other relative.
The child was robed in a grand conglomeration of laces, ribbons,
jewelry, and swathed in voluminous outer wrappings.

After the short ceremonial was over, the girls lingered to look at
the mosaics in the choir, a study in which Patty was taking a great
interest.

As they stood there Patty heard a voice over her shoulder, addressing
her in Italian. She turned, and saw the Italian soldier, Signor
Grimaldi, accompanied by his friend Balotti.

They had not seen these men since the meeting on the train, and they
had wondered what had become of them.

“Oh, Signor, how do you do?” cried Patty, quite forgetting that he
couldn’t understand her.

But he understood the smile and gesture and shook hands cordially with
Patty and Flo, and then presented Signor Balotti.

This introduction was in Italian but the girls assumed its intent, and
smiled pleasantly at both men, though at a loss how to continue the
conversation.

“We can talk through Carlo,” said Patty, with a sudden inspiration.
“What’s the use of his eight languages if he can’t help us out in a
case like this? Carlo, these are two friends of ours, but they can’t
speak English, nor we Italian, so you must act as interpreter. See?”

“Yes, lady,” said Carlo, a little hesitatingly. “They are your before
acquaintances?”

“Oh, yes,” said Patty, laughing at his air of caution; “we met them
on the train coming from Rome. At least we met Mr. Grimaldi, and were
properly introduced. Ask him why he hasn’t been to see us.”

Reassured, Carlo talked to the young men, and translated back and forth
for the benefit of both sides. It seemed that the Italians had mistaken
the name of the hotel where the Fairfields were, and had not been able
to find them, they themselves being at a different one.

“But I spik a very small Angleesh,” volunteered Signor Balotti,
timidly, and the girls turned to him in delight.

“Oh, do you?” said Flo. “Then you can help us all out.”

So they chatted away, and as each only understood about a quarter of
what the other said, the conversation was mostly laughter and gestures.

At last with the help of Carlo the young men conveyed to the girls an
invitation to visit some certain of the Royal apartments in the Pitti
Palace, which are not usually shown to visitors.

The idea appealed to Carlo, who wanted his patrons to see all that they
could, but he hesitated about accepting the escort of these handsome
young strangers.

“Oh, yes, we’ll go,” cried Patty, after she learned of the invitation;
“don’t be a goose, Carlo, you’re worse than Snippy! I’ll take the
responsibility, and I’ll tell father all about it, and he’ll say,
‘Bless you, my children.’ Come on, Flo.”

Then turning to Signor Balotti, she smiled, and said:

“Si, signor, we will go avec pleasure.”

The polyglot sentence was not very intelligible, but the smile was, and
Carlo allowed himself to be persuaded to carry out the plan.

Their cab was dismissed, and a larger carriage called, which would hold
the four, and again Carlo climbed to the seat beside the driver, and
they were off.

Conversation was now difficult, but that made it only more interesting.

“Where do you live?” asked Patty, choosing a simple question as a
beginning.

This Signor Balotti understood, but his reply was entirely
unintelligible, and as Patty didn’t care where they lived, she gave it
up.

“The Boboli gardens are very beautiful,” volunteered Flo, willing to do
her share to break a silence that might become embarrassing.

“Boboli? No--not this hora,” said Balotti, with a regretful smile.

“Goodness!” said Flo, “he thinks I’m asking him to take us there, and
he says not at this hora. That’s hour, isn’t it, Patty?”

“Yes. She doesn’t mean we want to go there, but that it is
beautiful,--bella,--bellissimo! See?”

“Si,” responded Balotti, repeating, without understanding.

“So pretty, you know,” Patty floundered on; “so green and trees, and
flowers,--flora,--gracious, Flo, what is Italian for flowers, you ought
to know!”

“I don’t,” said Flo; “but, look this way!” and Flo sniffed vigorously
at an imaginary bouquet. Her dramatic instinct was so strong that
her meaning was quite evident, and one could almost imagine she had
beautiful flowers in her hands.

“Si, Si, Si!” exclaimed the gallant Balotti, and with an order in
Italian for the driver to stop, he sprang from the carriage and flew
over to a neighbouring flower stand. He returned with two huge nosegays
which he bestowed upon the girls, with a voluble flow of Italian
compliments.

“Oh, Patty,” said Flo, blushing with mortification, “he thinks we asked
him for flowers!”

“Si, si, _flowers!_” said Balotti, beaming with pleasure at having
gratified the wishes of the young ladies.

To Patty’s surprise Carlo took the flower episode calmly, and she
concluded that a gift of flowers in Italy must mean even less than in
America.

“Yes,” said Carlo, when she asked him this; “yes, the Signori mean to
present the compliments they cannot speak, by means of the so beautiful
bouquets.”

“Thank them very much,” said Patty, “they are most kind.”

But her own smiling bows of appreciation were quite as welcome to the
gallant Balotti as Carlo’s expressed thanks.

And now gloom settled on the handsome face of Signor Grimaldi.

“He wants that he too,” said Balotti.

This seemed obscure, at first, but the discontented expression helped
Patty’s quick wit, and she exclaimed, “Oh, Mr. Grimaldi wants to give
us flowers also?”

“Yes,” said Balotti, “or--or another.”

“Yes,” said Flo, assisting him, “or something else. Well, Patty, we
must accept another gift,--I see that clearly. What do you suggest that
we can take with propriety, and thus bring smiles to Grimaldi’s face as
well as Spaghetti’s, I mean Balotti’s?”

Patty looked about on either side.

“Postcards!” she exclaimed, as she saw a vendor with his tray.

“Just the thing!” cried Flo. “Tell him, Carlo, that the young ladies
would be overjoyed to receive the gift of half a dozen postcards each.”

Carlo translated this, and Signor Grimaldi’s face broke into wide
smiles as he sprang in his turn from the carriage.

“Tell him only a half dozen, Carlo,” warned Patty, for Grimaldi’s
enthusiasm betokened his buying the whole tray, and sending the man for
more.

But he obeyed Carlo’s strict orders, and returned, bringing Flo and
Patty each six of the most celebrated monuments of Florence.

The girls made charming protestations of gratitude and appreciation of
this courtesy, and the drive continued. The two Italians, pleased with
their own performances, seemed content to sit and beam pleasantly for
the remainder of the way, and soon they were at the portals of the
Pitti Palace.

As the young men had promised they were able to show them through some
magnificent Royal apartments, rarely shown to strangers, and where even
Carlo himself had never been before.

The sights were most interesting, and after a pleasant hour spent
there, they all drove back to the hotel. The Italian gentlemen took
leave, and through the interpretations of Carlo, Patty asked them to
return late in the afternoon and take tea with them, and this the young
men readily promised to do.



CHAPTER XV

GOOD-BY TO FLORENCE


Mr. Fairfield was not at all displeased to learn that the two girls
had gone to the Royal Palace with the Italian men, for he trusted to
Carlo’s notions of propriety, and was quite willing to abide by his
decisions. But Snippy was less agreeable about it, and declared that
hereafter she should go with Miss Flo wherever she went, headache or no
headache.

“Now don’t be stuffy, Snip,” said Flo, in reply. “In the first place I
don’t care tuppence for those two native gallants, for I can’t talk to
them, and when I do, they misunderstand me.”

But the two young Italians seemed much attracted by the whole Fairfield
party, and nearly every day after that they dropped in to tea, or
invited them to go on little excursions, or brought small gifts to Nan
and the girls.

By degrees, too, Patty and Flo picked up a few Italian phrases, and
after a time were able to make some slight attempts at conversation,
which greatly delighted the two men.

So really they added not a little to the pleasures of the Fairfields’
stay in Florence, and when the time came for them to leave the Italian
gentlemen were quite inconsolable.

As a parting favour they begged that the whole Fairfield party would
lunch with them on their last day in Florence. This invitation was
accepted, and a delightful excursion was arranged to the Cascine. Mr.
Fairfield stipulated for an early luncheon, as their train left for
Venice at four, and he did not wish to be hurried at the last moment.

“I hate to take an afternoon train, anyway,” he said to Nan. “I like to
start in the morning, and reach our destination in the afternoon. But
leaving Florence at four, we won’t reach Venice until ten or after.”

“Well, it doesn’t really matter,” said Nan, “and the girls are so
anxious to go to this fête of Signor Grimaldi’s.”

The proprietor of the hotel also reassured Mr. Fairfield.

“You are going to the Royal Danieli Hotel, in Venice,” he said, “and
have your rooms engaged. Well, they will meet you on your arrival,
not only with gondolas, but with motorboats and steam launches, and I
assure you, you will have not the least care or responsibility. Also,
the whole place will be as bright as day.”

So it was arranged, and the day before the party Flo and Patty packed
their trunks and had everything in readiness. Also, on the day before
the party, Nan received a telegram from a friend of hers, who was
passing through Venice, and who urged her to come on that day, in order
that they might meet.

Nan was greatly disappointed not to see her friend, but she positively
refused to let them all leave a day earlier, and thus deprive Flo and
Patty of their anticipated pleasure.

Patty insisted that they should do this, but Nan wouldn’t agree, and at
last Patty said:

“Well, I’ve an idea. You and father go on to Venice to-day, by the noon
train. Then we’ll stay here for the party to-morrow, and Snippy can
take us to Venice quite well afterward.”

This sounded plausible, but Mr. Fairfield said: “Here’s a better plan
still. Let Snippy and Nan go to Venice to-day, thus travelling by
daylight, and I’ll stay here with you two girls, and take you to Venice
after your luncheon party to-morrow. If any of us are to travel after
dark in an unknown country, I prefer to look after the trip.”

This was more sensible, as Snippy and Nan could easily catch the noon
train that day, and so give Nan an opportunity to see her friend.

Hotel arrangements were made by telegraph, and Mr. Fairfield put the
two ladies on the train, knowing his wife had a safe and pleasant
escort in the grim but capable Englishwoman.

“We ought to do something extra gay to-night, Daddy,” said Patty, “to
console you for Nan’s absence. It was awfully good of her to arrange it
all this way, rather than disappoint Flo and me.”

“Yes, I think it was,” agreed Mr. Fairfield, “and I shall expect you to
entertain me hilariously.”

“I think,” said Patty, “the most fun would be just to go for a drive,
and shop somewhere and eat ices off those funny little tables that
stand out on the sidewalk.”

“That is indeed a daring proposition,” said her father, smiling, “but
I’ll take you. Get your hats and wraps.”

Flo and Patty were soon ready, and away they went for a drive round
Florence by night.

“It isn’t as brilliant as Broadway,” said Patty, looking about at the
fairly-well lighted streets.

“It’s lighter than London at night, though,” said Flo.

“Yes, or London by day, either,” said Patty, who knew Flo never
resented good-natured chaff.

Then to Patty’s delight they stopped at a sidewalk café, and ate ices
and little cakes, while they enjoyed the novel scenes all about.

Often whole families would be gathered round the tables, and little
children would sit contentedly nibbling at buns or pastry.

“It’s lovely,” said Patty, with a little sigh, as she finished her ice;
“I wouldn’t live here for anything, but I do enjoy seeing it all.”

“So do I,” said Flo. “But I’m ’most sure I’ll like Venice better than
Florence. Shan’t you, Patty?”

“Yes, I expect so. I like Rome better, too; but still, Florence is a
lovely city. You ought to love it best, Flo, as it’s named after you.”

“Oh, it’s pretty enough, but I’ve always been just crazy to see Venice.”

The girls chatted away, and Mr. Fairfield smoked a cigar, and then said
they must go back to the hotel and to bed, as they had a busy day
ahead of them, with their party first, and the journey to Venice after.

“And I thank you, gracious ladies,” he added, “for giving me a most
pleasant evening.”

“Glad you enjoyed it,” said Patty; “I’ve had lots of fun, watching the
people and noticing their funny ways.”

On the way home they stopped at one or two shops that were still open,
and bought a few more of the delightful bits of bric-à-brac in which
Florence abounds.

“I’m simply overburdened now, with little boxes, and carved things, and
mosaics, and plaster casts, but I must have this head of Dante.”

“I’ve seven heads of Dante already, so I won’t get one,” said Flo.

“He must have been a hydra-headed monster,” said Patty; “I think it
fairly rains heads of Dante in Florence. But I’ve so many people at
home who’ll be glad to have one, that we’re sending a lot.”

       *       *       *       *       *

The next day was fair and beautiful for their little excursion. Their
two Italian hosts came for them in an imposing equipage, and they drove
out to the park, or Cascine, as it is called.

Patty had been here before, but she always enjoyed the lovely place,
and was glad to pay it a farewell visit. The conversation was rather
limited, but they were used to that now, and laughs and gestures often
made up what they could not express in words.

Mr. Fairfield liked the two young men, and endeavoured to make himself
entertaining, so far as his slight knowledge of Italian would allow.

The festival ended rather abruptly, as the travellers must run no risk
of losing their train, and the girls had to change their pretty, light
dresses for travelling garb.

“Why are you carrying your furnished handbag?” said Flo to Patty, as
they left the hotel. “We won’t be on the train over night.”

“No; but there isn’t room in my trunk for it, and, too, it’s convenient
to have brushes and things. We don’t reach Venice till after ten
o’clock, and I propose to take a nap in the evening hours. I’m awfully
tired now.”

“So am I. Those natives tired me out.”

“Well, we’ve seen the last of them now.”

“I don’t know. They talk of going to Venice.”

“Oh, I hope not. Mr. Homer and Floyd Austin are to meet us there, and
I don’t want those smiling popinjays bothering around.”

“No, I don’t, either.”

The train was a comfortable one, and the party were soon comfortably
settled in it.

Mr. Fairfield had not been able to secure an entire compartment for
themselves, and as they occupied but three seats, an elderly Italian
couple came in with them.

This left one vacant seat, into which the girls piled their wraps and
some magazines and also some candy and flowers, which their gallant
admirers had sent them as a parting souvenir.

They had previously asked the Italian dame, by smiles and signs, if
she cared to use this vacant seat, but as she kept on her queer little
bonnet, and cape, she signed that she had no use for it. Mr. Fairfield
put all their bags and hats in the upper racks and they settled down
for a long, but not unpleasant ride.

For a time the girls chatted, and then Patty looked over some magazines
and papers, while Flo crocheted lace, which was a favourite occupation
of hers. The elderly Italian gentleman was immersed in a newspaper, and
his amiable-looking wife nodded as she alternately dozed and wakened.

“I think,” said Mr. Fairfield, as he at last folded up his own paper,
“I think I can leave you two girls for half an hour while I go to the
smoking car. That kind-faced, motherly lady will do for chaperon, even
if you can’t talk much to each other.”

“Of course,” said Patty, “go ahead. There’s nothing to chaperon us
about, but I just adore that old lady’s looks. She has the air of
mothering the whole world.”

“That’s true,” said Mr. Fairfield, looking at the lady, whose eyes were
closed for the moment. “She’s one of the best types of Italian matron.
Well, then I’ll run away for a bit. The guard has punched our tickets,
so you won’t be bothered, and if any luggage official speaks to you,
refer him to me. They can always understand English.”

He went away, and Patty hoped her father would find some one in the
smoker with whom he could talk, and so while away the time.

The Italian lady looked up as Mr. Fairfield left the compartment, and
at his smiling gestures of adieu, and his nod toward the girls, she
quite understood that she was to lend them her chaperonage, and nodded
assent with a beaming face.

“Amerika,” she said, smiling kindly at Patty.

“Si, Signora,” said Patty, in her pretty, polite way. “Amerique?” she
asked, pointing to Flo.

“Non, non,” said the dame; “Engleesh signorina.”

“Si,” agreed Patty, and there the conversation stopped, much to Patty’s
regret, for she wanted to talk to her new-found friend.

“I shall study Italian before I come again,” she said to Flo; “it
isn’t necessary for travelling purposes,--I mean guards and hotel
clerks,--but it is if you want to converse with your fellow travellers.”

“Yes,” agreed Flo; “but it’s awfully hard to learn.”

In about an hour Mr. Fairfield returned, and then they all went to the
dining-car for dinner. The Italian couple went too, but they did not
sit at a table near the Fairfields.

“She’s lovely,” announced Patty. “I call her Signora Orsini, because I
feel sure she descended from that noble family.”

“In that case, it would be her husband who was of noble descent,”
suggested her father.

“Oh, yes, so it would. Well, it makes no difference. They’re Orsinis.
He’s as nice as she is, only he seems a very quiet man. They scarcely
talk at all.”

After dinner they returned to the compartment in the other car, and
found the Orsinis, as Patty called them, already there. The place
had been lighted up, and presented the appearance of a cosy little
sitting-room.

“These trains are most pleasantly arranged,” said Mr. Fairfield. “And
now I’ll leave you again for a short time, and have an after-dinner
smoke, then I’ll come back, and before we know it, the evening will fly
by, and we’ll be in Venice.”

“Stay as long as you like,” said Patty. “I feel as if I had lived with
Madame Orsini all my life, and I have a feeling she’s fond of me.”

“That’s the beauty of her not being able to understand you,” teased Mr.
Fairfield, with a twinkle in his eye.

“Oh, go along! If she _could_ talk to me, and understand me, she’d love
me so she’d want to adopt me.”

“She can’t have you!” cried Mr. Fairfield, in mock alarm. “Don’t come
to so much of an understanding as that!”

“No, I won’t. I’m not ready to leave you yet. Now, go, Daddy, and have
a calm, pleasant smoke with yourself.”

“Madame Orsini” bowed and smiled, and wagged her head protectingly at
the girls, as Mr. Fairfield went away.

“Now,” said Patty, “I just must see where we are at. I have a fine
railroad map of Italy, and I’m going to investigate it.”

She spread the map out before her and she and Flo traced their route.

“You see,” said Patty, “here’s Florence; we left that and followed this
mark to Pistoja; I remember we passed through there while we were at
dinner. It’s too dark now to see the names of the places, but Bologna
is the next stop, and from there we go straight along this line to
Venice. Oh, here we are at Bologna.”

The train stopped and waited quite a time in the station. Patty and
Flo were greatly interested in looking from their windows at the
bustling crowd on the platform. It was brightly lighted, and travellers
were hurrying about, jostled now and then by vendors with trays or
push-carts.

“Stop that boy,” cried Patty, “let’s buy some grapes.”

They called the boy, who came to the train window and sold them great
bunches of delicious grapes, which Patty laid aside for an evening
repast.

“Why do they stay here so long?” asked Flo.

“I don’t know,” replied Patty, “unless they are taking on a load of
sausages. Isn’t this the place where they make Bologna sausages?”

“No, you goose, of course it isn’t.”

“Oh, I think it is,” and Patty turned questioningly to the Italian lady.

“Bologna? Sausages?” she said, with an inquiring smile.

“Bologna, si,” returned the dame, but “sausages” she could not
understand, so Patty gave it up.

At last the train started on again, and for a short time the trip was
uneventful. Then the Italian gentleman looked at his watch, spoke to
his wife, and rising, began to get his bags and coat from the rack.

“Why, they’re going to get out,” exclaimed Patty to Flo.

“So they are,” said Flo. “I don’t know why, but I somehow thought
they were going all the way through to Venice. Well, I shall always
remember the old lady’s pleasant face.”

The train was slowing down at a station, and the Italians shook hands
with the girls in farewell.

“Signor?” said the old lady, looking at Patty, with a doubtful
expression; “ritorno?”

“Oh, yes,” said Patty; “he’ll return. Si, si, signor ritorno soon.”

It was not entirely intelligible, but the train had stopped, and the
guard had flung the door open.

He announced some official information, which was as so much Greek
to the two girls, then, with a final nod of good-by, the old lady
clambered down the steps after her husband, and the guard slammed the
door again.

“Parma,” said Flo, reading the name on the station sign; “I suppose
they are going after violets, don’t you, Patty?”

“Yes, probably they’ll pick big bunches along the roadside. But, Flo,
we’ve lost our chaperon. It isn’t at all the thing for two correct
young ladies to be all alone in a railroad train at night.”

“Well, your father will be back in a few minutes.”

“Yes, of course he will. I’m not a bit afraid, but I know daddy won’t
like it. Still, it’s his own fault. We couldn’t help it, if our friend
_would_ get out to pick Parma violets.”

“’Course we couldn’t,” said Flo.



CHAPTER XVI

AN EXCITING ADVENTURE


Another half hour went by, and Patty, looking at her watch, said, “Why,
it’s after nine o’clock! We will now eat our grapes. I meant to offer
some to that dear old lady, but she preferred violets, so I had no
chance.”

The girls ate the grapes, and though they didn’t refer to it, each
secretly wished Mr. Fairfield would come back.

“It does seem queer,” said Patty at last, “for father to stay so long
away. But of course, he thinks the Orsinis are still with us, and if
they were, I wouldn’t give a thought to father’s long absence.”

“He’s probably fallen asleep,” said Flo.

“Of course he has! That’s just it! His dinner and his smoke made him
sleepy, and he dropped off before he knew it. Well, if he doesn’t wake
up before, he’ll have to come and get us when we get to Venice.”

“Maybe he’ll sleep right through.”

“Well, when we get to Venice, I’ll get out then, and hunt up the Royal
Danieli men, and they’ll find him.”

“How capable you Americans are! I don’t mind confessing that I’m a bit
scared.”

“Pshaw! what is there to be scared at? We’re as safe here as we can be.
Nothing can harm us. The guards would look after us if there were any
danger, but there isn’t any.”

“No, I suppose not,” Flo agreed, but she spoke hesitatingly.

As for Patty, she was not really alarmed, but she couldn’t helping
wishing her father would come back. It would be all well enough in
America or even in England; but alone on an Italian railway, where she
couldn’t make herself understood, and in a country where young ladies
are allowed little or no unconventionality, she had secret misgivings.
But it would never do to let Flo know she was troubled, so she said,
gaily:

“Well, if daddy can have a nice long nap, so can I. Come, let’s fold up
our coats for pillows and drop asleep ourselves.”

“Oh, no, Patty! It might be dangerous.”

“Pooh, it’s no more dangerous asleep than awake. I’m going to try it
anyhow.”

Patty made Flo comfortable first. She opened her dressing case, and
taking out the Cologne water, bathed Flo’s temples refreshingly. Then
she folded her coat, and tucked it beneath her head, and said quietly:

“You needn’t sleep, dear, if you don’t want to, but you’ll rest better
that way.”

Flo gave her a grateful smile and closed her eyes in order to rest them.

She was tired with the exertions of the day, and the long railway
journey, and Patty was not surprised when, after a very few moments,
she saw that Flo was, without doubt, fast asleep.

As for Patty Fairfield, she had no intention of going to sleep, and
couldn’t have done so, anyway. She felt the responsibility of the
situation, for Snippy had left Flo in Mr. Fairfield’s charge, and
in his absence loyal Patty felt herself his representative. She sat
upright, staring out of the window into the darkness or watching the
doorway, where she expected every moment to see her father enter.

Bereft of even Flo’s chatter, she grew more and more lonely, and only
as the hands of her watch neared ten o’clock did she begin to brighten
up, on the knowledge that they must now soon reach Venice.

“But these trains are always late,” she thought, “so I shan’t hope to
get there before half-past ten.”

And then the time dragged along slowly. Half-past ten came, and no sign
of her father.

She had drawn the window curtain, but she pushed it aside, hoping to
see the lights of Venice. Only a rushing darkness greeted her eyes. She
looked at Flo. It seemed a pity to wake her, and yet Patty felt she
couldn’t endure this loneliness and suspense much longer. She knew the
train should get in at ten, and surely a half hour was enough to allow
for the usual tardiness.

But on went the hands of her little watch, and as it neared eleven
Patty couldn’t stand it any longer.

“Flo,” she said, gently touching the sleeping girl, “Flo, dear.” Flo
moved uneasily, opened her eyes, closed them again, and was as sound
asleep as ever.

“Well, I’ll let her be,” thought Patty, unselfishly. “She couldn’t
help any, and I don’t know that there’s anything to be helped. I
suppose there’s nothing wrong. What could be? Father’s asleep in the
smoking-car, and Flo’s asleep here, so I may as well sit patiently till
we reach Venice, and then they’ll have to wake up, whether they want to
or not.”

A guard came through the corridor, and looked in at the compartment
door.

He said something in Italian, which Patty couldn’t understand. But she
showed him her watch, and said “Venice? stazione? when?”

She pointed to the hands, and partly comprehending, the guard took
out his own watch and indicated that they would reach the _stazione_
(station) at quarter to twelve.

“Train late?” said Patty, smiling, and still partly understanding, the
guard said, “Si, signorina,” bowed, and went away.

A little cheered at having had some one to speak to, even if for a most
unsatisfactory conversation, Patty sat down again to wait. Her heart
was quite light now, for it was nearly time to reach Venice, and then
all would be well. At half-past eleven she wakened Flo.

“Get up, girlie,” she cried. “We’re almost to Venice, and you must tidy
your hair and put your hat on.”

Flo sat up, wide awake all at once. “Where’s your father?” she said.

“He hasn’t come back,” said Patty, feeling somehow guilty under Flo’s
accusing glance, but determined to stand up for her father. “He must
have fallen asleep, just as you did. I tried twice to wake you, but you
slept like a log.”

“And you’ve been all alone? Oh, Patty, I’m so sorry! Do forgive me!”

“Not at all, you sleepy child. It’s all right, I see lights outside
already. Here, put on your hat.”

Flo rose and yawned, as she took her hat from Patty. They furbished up
their toilets a bit, and soon were all ready to leave the train. Patty
pushed the curtain up, and gazed out of the window.

“The lights are growing thicker now,” she said; “we’re almost in. I
should think the porter would wake father up by this time. Well, I’m
very sure nothing has happened to him.”

Patty’s decided statement gave Flo a clue that Patty _was_ secretly
afraid something _had_ happened to her father, and as Flo had had such
a fear all the time, she, too, stoutly denied it.

“Of course not! Nothing could happen to him. He’s just asleep, as I
was. I don’t see how you got me awake at all. Snippy has to throw cold
water in my face to do it.”

The train drew into the great station. There were many lights, but not
many people about, which was doubtless because of the lateness of the
hour.

The guard threw open the door of their compartment, and the two girls
got out. Patty thought the guard looked at them a little curiously, and
supposing he was desirous of a fee, she gave him some coins. He bowed,
and still hovered near them.

“Where is the smoking-car?” asked Patty, but the guard knew not the
strange word, and only shook his head.

“Flo,” said Patty, looking about, “we’d better stand right here. When
father gets out of his car, he’ll come here for us. But didn’t you
think Venice had water streets? These are ordinary roads. And I see
lots of omnibuses, but no gondolas.”

“I suppose the water streets are only in the main part of the city,”
said Flo. “It does seem to be solid land all around the station. I
can’t see any water anywhere.”

“Well, there must be some, somewhere. Flo, where _do_ you suppose
father is?”

“I don’t know, Patty, and,--and, I’m--awfully frightened.”

“Well, you just stop being frightened. I tell you everything is all
right,--or will be, in a minute.”

The crowd was moving along toward the entrance to the station, through
which all the incoming passengers must go, and Patty reluctantly said,
“We’d better go on into the station, Flo. We can’t stand here, and
father will surely find us there, if--if----”

Patty nearly broke down, for a sudden conviction had come to her that
something serious _must_ have happened to keep Mr. Fairfield from them
now. The two girls, with their light luggage still in their hands,
followed the crowd through the ticket gate.

“Biglietti,” said the ticket man.

“I haven’t any,” said Patty, and without waiting to hear the man’s
surprised protest, Patty pushed Flo ahead of her, and they went on into
the waiting-room of the station.

“Something has happened, Flo,” she said, “something awful,
perhaps,--but I can’t imagine what it is. Now, we’re alone, and
unprotected in a strange land, and it’s up to us to be brave and
sensible. I shall take the gondola or omnibus, or whatever goes to
the Royal Danieli Hotel, and go right straight there. Then we can get
somebody to look for father. But two young girls can do nothing, and
we’d only waste time.”

“You’re splendid, Patty,” said Flo, who was struggling hard to keep
from crying. “I’m no good at all, but I’ll do just as you say.”

They went on to the platform, where a dozen or more omnibuses stood
waiting, with their doors hospitably open. Names of hotels were in
gilded letters over the doors, but Patty could not see the one she
sought.

But at last she discovered an official, who seemed to be a sort
of station agent or train-despatcher, and he had such a kindly,
intelligent face that she addressed him:

“Do you speak English?” she said.

“Yes, miss, a little,” he replied, looking at her with a questioning
expression.

“Then please tell me where is the Royal Danieli Hotel?”

“It is in Venice, miss.”

“Oh, yes, of course, I know it is in Venice; but I mean where is its
omnibus? how can I get to it?”

“To get to it, you must go to Venice, ma’am.”

“But I am in Venice!”

“No, ma’am, you are in Milan.”

“What?” cried Patty, aghast at his words.

“This is Milan, ma’am.”

“Are you,--are you quite sure?” Even in her bewildered horror, Patty
realised the ludicrousness of this question.

“Perceive the signboard, ma’am.” The man pointed to large-lettered
sign, which unmistakably announced Milano.

“Flo,” said Patty, in a scared, little voice, “I don’t know what it
means, but it seems we are in Milan instead of in Venice.”

“Oh, Patty!” gasped Flo, as she clung desperately to Patty’s arm; “what
shall we do?”

“I don’t know,” said Patty, slowly; “it’s a pretty serious thing for
two girls to be alone in the middle of the night in a strange Italian
city.

“But I took the train for Venice,” said Patty to the man, and her tone
had in it a faint tinge of accusation, though of course the man was in
no way responsible.

“So, ma’am?” he replied, and in an instant Patty saw that he did not
believe her statements, and that he was covertly laughing at them.

“Come away, Flo,” she said, sternly, and marched the now weeping girl
into the station again.

“Listen, Flo,” said Patty, her face assuming a very grave look. “We are
in an awful predicament. Perhaps more awful than we know ourselves.
We are in Milan, there’s no doubt of that. That’s why we didn’t see
any water or gondolas. Where father is I’ve no idea. Of course there
was some mistake about the train. He may be gone on to Venice,--though
I don’t see how he could have done that without us,--or he may be in
some other city. At any rate, he’s quite as anxious about us as we
can possibly be about ourselves. Now, I don’t know what’s going to
happen to us, but I’m going to do the very best I can to prove that an
American girl can take care of herself in an emergency. We won’t speak
to that man out there again; he’s horrid, and he doesn’t believe what
we say. The ticket office is closed. There’s no one reliable around but
the drivers of those omnibuses. I shall appeal to them.”

“Why don’t you speak to some of the travellers?” asked Flo.

“Oh, you never can judge about them; and they’re mostly Italians
anyway. Have you any money?”

“No; only a little change. Snippy carries the purse.”

“Well, I’ve not very much, but I think I’ve enough. Now, come with me.
Stand by me, and don’t act one bit frightened. That’s all you can do to
help,--so _do it!_”

When Patty was face to face with a serious emergency, it always made
her curt of speech, and her stern manner made Flo recover herself
at once, so that it was two very dignified-looking young women who
approached the drivers who, whip in hand, stood lined up along the
platform.

Although they sometimes seemed eager to attract passengers, none of
them asked the girls to get into their vehicles, and Patty went along
until she came to one whose face she liked.

“Do you speak English?” she asked, as she looked at him coldly.

“Yes, madame.”

“Which is the largest and best hotel in Milan, near the station?”

The driver pointed to a large hotel just across the road, scarcely a
stone’s throw from the station itself.

“The Palace Hotel, madame,” he said respectfully.

“Where is its omnibus?”

“There, madame,” and he pointed to a well-appointed vehicle standing
near.

“Get in, Flo,” said Patty, briefly. “Thank you,” she added, turning to
bestow a coin on the man.

“To the hotel,” she then directed, as she got into the omnibus, and
seated herself beside Flo.

“Oh, Patty!” said Flo, trembling, as she grasped Patty’s hand. They
were all alone in the omnibus, and in two minutes it was entering the
driveway of the hotel.

“Be careful, now,” said Patty, still sternly. “We’re not out of the
woods yet,--and if you cry or look distressed you’ll spoil all I’m
trying to do, and I’ll not answer for the consequences. Now, brace up!”

Flo braced up, and as they alighted from the omnibus, Patty motioned
for the porter to bring the bags and wraps.

She went directly to the desk, where the night attendant was.

“You speak English, of course?” she said.

“Yes, mademoiselle.”

“We have had an accident,--a misfortune. My friend and myself must
stay here to-night. I wish to engage three communicating rooms, and I
wish also the services of a maid,--I prefer an elderly woman,--who will
remain with us through the night and will occupy the third room.”

“Yes, mademoiselle.” The man looked astonished, but Patty’s quiet
dignity, and Flo’s impassive English stolidity, gave them an air of
authority, which he was disinclined to ignore.

“Our large luggage was left on the train, owing to the--accident,” went
on Patty. “I will pay you fifty francs in advance and will settle the
rest of the bill to-morrow. For the present it is imperative that we go
to our rooms at once.”

“Yes, mademoiselle,” repeated the bewildered man. He was accustomed to
American guests, but this was a new type.

He rang a bell, he despatched one or two messengers, he called a
porter, and in a few moments Patty saw her bag and cloak carried by,
the elevator door thrown open, and a pleasant-faced matronly woman
coming toward them.

“This is Mrs. Ponderby, mademoiselle. She is one of our linen-keepers,
but she is English, and most trusty and capable, so I offer you her
services.”

Patty almost fell into the arms of the kind-looking woman, she was so
glad to see her, but she only shook hands and said, “I am glad to have
your services, Mrs. Ponderby,--come, let us go upstairs.”



CHAPTER XVII

THE OTHER SIDE OF THE STORY


When they were safely in their rooms, behind locked doors, Flo threw
herself into Mrs. Ponderby’s motherly arms and wept as hard as she
could, which was really pretty hard.

Patty stood by, looking at her. It had been a nerve strain for Patty,
and now the reaction was coming on. Her lip quivered, and she said: “It
isn’t fair of you, Flo, to take up all Mrs. Ponderby; I’m worse off
than you are, for I don’t know but what my father is killed in some
awful railroad smash-up.”

“He c-couldn’t be,” said Flo, sobbing still; “there c-couldn’t have
been a smash-up on that train, unless we had known ab-bout it!”

“Well, I don’t know where father is, anyhow; and he doesn’t know where
I am!”

Then Patty burst into real sobs, and the kind-hearted Englishwoman was
at her wits’ end to know what to do with these two strange midnight
visitors. But she rose nobly to the occasion.

“There, there, my lambs,” she said, soothingly, “you can tell me all
about it presently. But first let us get comfortable. Take off your
dusty travelling frocks, and--have you any dressing-gowns?”

“No,” said Patty; “only just our night things. I’ve only my furnished
toilet bag, and Flo hasn’t even that.”

“Never mind, dearie; we’ll improvise dressing jackets out of these big
bath towels. Now shall I ring the bell and order a bite of supper? A
sandwich now,--and a cup of coffee?”

“Not coffee,” said Flo, rousing herself a bit, “it keeps me awake.
Let’s have chocolate.”

“Yes,” said Patty; “hot chocolate and chicken sandwiches.”

“And t-tongue,” put in sobbing Flo.

“And jam,” said Patty, almost smiling, now.

“Yes, yes,--assorted sandwiches, and nice hot cocoa.”

Mrs. Ponderby rang the bell and gave the order, and by the time the
tray was brought, she had helped the girls to bathe their faces, and
had deftly pinned huge bath towels round their shoulders in a very
good imitation of dressing-sacques. And not until they were sipping
their second cups of cocoa, and had made way with a goodly number of
the little sandwiches, did she say, “Now tell me all about it.”

Patty told the whole story of their trip from Florence--and how her
father had left them to go to the smoking-car for half an hour, and
they had not seen him again.

“Do you suppose brigands attacked him?” asked Patty, her eyes wide open
with fear and wonder.

“No, dearie; not that. But it’s a strange story you tell, and I can
think of only one explanation. Rest here, and don’t think about it for
five minutes, till I return.”

Mrs. Ponderby hurried away, and was back again in less than five
minutes.

“It’s as I thought,” she said. “That train you took from Florence is
really in two sections. That is, half of its cars are for Venice,
and half for Milan. At Bologna, the train is divided and sent in two
directions. You see, Bologna is the southern point of a triangle. From
there, one travels northeast to Venice, or northwest to Milan. Those
two cities form the other two points of the triangle. So, when the
train was divided at Bologna, some cars, including the one your father
was in, went on to Venice; while other cars, including the one you were
in, branched off to Milan, and here you are.”

Patty cogitated on this.

“Then,” she said, “when father tried to return to our car, our car
wasn’t there.”

“Exactly; it had already been detached and sent to Milan.”

“Could father find this out?”

“Oh, yes; from the train guard. But he should have taken his seats in a
car for Venice in the first place.”

“We were put in our places by the man from the hotel in Florence,”
declared Patty, “so it wasn’t father’s fault at all.”

“Then you should all have changed cars at Bologna, and taken seats in a
Venice car.”

“Yes,” agreed Patty; “that’s where the mistake occurred. And all
because neither father nor I understand Italian. I daresay the guard
announced that,--he was shouting all sorts of directions,--but of
course, I didn’t understand him, and father didn’t either. And, too,
I daresay father was asleep. You know, we all thought we were going
directly through to Venice, so we spent the evening as pleasantly as
we could, never dreaming we had to change cars or anything.”

“Yes, that explains it all, Miss Fairfield, and you have proved
yourself a most sensible and capable young woman to manage as well as
you have done. An Italian city is no place for two girls alone.”

“I know it, Mrs. Ponderby. Don’t think I didn’t realise the seriousness
of it all. But I did the best I could. You know I am an American.”
Patty said this so proudly that the Englishwoman gave her a look of
admiration.

“True,” she said; “an English girl might not have been so brave.”

“No, I wasn’t,” confessed Flo; “I depended on Patty, for I knew she
could take care of things if anybody could.”

“But,” said Patty, suddenly; “think of father! When he tried to return
to us, and couldn’t find us, what _do_ you suppose he did!”

“He couldn’t do anything,” said Mrs. Ponderby, “except to find out that
you had gone on to Milan.”

“He couldn’t find that out,” said Patty, slowly, “unless he found
some one who could explain it to him in English. You see, it’s quite
complicated, with the divided train and all. And besides, father was
nearly frantic with worry about us.”

“Yes, he must have been,” said Mrs. Ponderby, gravely. “But he could do
nothing at all, except to go on to Venice. He’s there now, of course.
Shall you not telegraph him that you are safe?”

“Indeed I will!” cried Patty. “Bless you for suggesting it. I seem to
have lost my wits. Oh, Flo, what _will_ Snippy say when father gets
there without us?”

“She’ll be in an awful way,” said Flo. “And Nan will be ’most crazy.
Oh, Patty, they’re really having a worse time of it than we are, now.
Just think! They don’t know where we are, even!”

“Yes,” said Patty, thinking. “Father must know we came on to Milan.”

“No, he doesn’t; he may think we got off at some other station. You
know the train stopped three or four times. Or he may think we got off
at Bologna and staid there.”

“That’s so,” agreed Patty. “Well, he knows me well enough to know that
I’ll do the best I can; and I do believe, Flo, that he feels it a worse
responsibility to have lost you than me!”

“If he doesn’t, it won’t be Snip’s fault,” said Flo, grimly. “She’ll
give him a waxing, I’ll warrant.”

“It wasn’t father’s fault,” said Patty, staunchly. “That hotel man
ought to have told us to change cars at Bologna. Nice railroad
management! Well, I’ll telegraph at once, for he can’t very well
telegraph to us, when he doesn’t know where we are.” Mrs. Ponderby
brought blanks, and Patty wrote a long telegram:

  “We are nicely fixed at the Palace Hotel, with comfortable
  rooms, and a dear English duenna. Send Snippy for us as soon
  as possible, and we will gladly rejoin you.

                                            “Patty and Flo.”

Mrs. Ponderby bustled away to send the telegram, and then returned to
tuck her charges into bed.

“It’s lucky you know the hotel your people are staying at in Venice,”
she said; “and now go quietly to sleep, for you’ve done all you can.
But I doubt me if your poor father is sleeping much.”

“Or Snippy,” said Flo.

“Or Nan,” said Patty. “We’ve got to do the sleeping for all the family,
to-night, Flo; so let’s get about it.”

Knowing she had done all she could in the matter, and thoroughly worn
out with the journey and the after excitement, Patty turned on her
pillow, and was soon sound asleep.

       *       *       *       *       *

But far from sleep at that moment was Mr. Fairfield. The poor man was
passing through an awful experience. As Patty had surmised, he had
dropped asleep in the smoking-car, but he had dozed only for a few
moments, and, of course, had no thought other than that his two young
charges were in their cosy compartment, with the elderly and kind
Italian couple.

Then, soon after leaving Bologna, and all unsuspecting that the train
had been divided, he started to return to Patty and Flo, and found to
his amazement that that car with several others had been disconnected
at Bologna. Mr. Fairfield was stunned. He found an official who could
talk fairly good English, and laid the case before him. But there
was nothing to be done. Although a clever and resourceful man, Mr.
Fairfield felt that his hands were tied. He knew Patty was on the train
for Milan, but he could not guess at what station she would get off,
if indeed she had not left the train at Bologna.

For the moment his anxiety for the girls’ safety was lost in an
endeavour to think of some way to get into communication with them.
There was nothing to be gained by getting off the train himself, and
yet he hated to go on to Venice without them. But to return to Bologna
would be a wild-goose chase, and, too, there was no train back for
several hours. He felt sure that Patty would be brave and sensible, but
he could not imagine what course she would pursue, and he well knew
that real dangers beset the two lonely girls.

So he wrote telegrams which he put off to be sent at the next station.
He sent one to Bologna, to be called out in the station, on the chance
of Patty’s being there. He sent duplicates to Milan, and to every
intervening station at which the train stopped. He felt little hope
that any of these would really reach Patty, but he could think of no
other plan. Had he been sure she would go through to Milan, he would
have gone directly there himself, but so few and inconvenient were
the trains that this plan was dismissed. And, too, he must go on to
Venice, where Nan and Snippy were awaiting them.

An awful dread of Snippy’s reception of his news filled Mr. Fairfield
with consternation, but, as he thought, since his own daughter was
lost, as well as Snippy’s young charge, his own grief was as great as
hers. And try as he would to rely on Patty’s bravery, and capability in
an emergency, he shuddered to think of those two girls, carried swiftly
through the night, alone, unprotected, and wondering why he did not
return to them.

It was some comfort to realise that the kind old Italian pair were with
them. Had Mr. Fairfield known that they left the train at Parma, he
would have been racked with a worse anxiety. But he hoped that wherever
they all were, the quartette were together, and his faith in the kindly
old people was such that he felt sure they would look after the girls
some way.

So he arrived in Venice a sad, crushed man, and stepped into the
beautiful gondola sent to meet him by the Royal Danieli Hotel without a
glance at the canals, the bridges, the buildings, and the lights, that
are so fascinating to the newcomers to Venice.

With his head bowed in his hands he made the trip to the hotel, and
went in to find Nan and Snippy awaiting him in the reception room.

“Where are the girls?” cried Nan, gaily, as she greeted her husband,
little thinking of anything more serious than that they had paused
outside to look at the scene, or something like that.

“Have you our own rooms, all right?” said Mr. Fairfield, abruptly.

“Yes, Fred,” said Nan, wondering at his manner.

“Then let us go to them at once,” he said, and so grave was his face
that, without another word, Nan led the way, and the three went up the
magnificent ducal staircase, to their rooms on the next floor. Here, in
a few frank statements, Mr. Fairfield told his story. As he concluded,
Snippy’s eyes flashed fire, and she glared at him.

“You have lost Miss Flo!” she exclaimed. “I trusted her to your care!”

“Mrs. Postlethwaite,” said Mr. Fairfield, and the fact of his using her
name made Snippy pause to listen, “when my own daughter is also lost,
you cannot fairly say I betrayed a trust. I admit my culpability in the
matter, but I think in this very grave emergency we must all do what
we can to find the girls, and not give way to useless recrimination.”

“I think so, too,” said Nan, taking her husband’s hand, “and, Mrs.
Postlethwaite, while I sympathise with you regarding Flo, you must also
realise what we are suffering regarding Patty; and though you are Flo’s
guardian and governess,--yet Patty is our daughter.”

Snippy’s sense of justice came to her rescue, and she said, more
quietly:

“Forgive me, Mr. Fairfield; I was so shocked and upset at Miss Flo’s
disappearance, I quite overlooked Miss Patty. I won’t admit that you
are in a worse case than I, for I am responsible to Miss Flo’s mother,
while Miss Patty is your own child. But I appreciate the situation, and
we will work together to do all we can to get the children back as soon
as possible.”

“That’s the sensible Snippy that you are!” said Mr. Fairfield, as he
heartily clasped her hand; “but, alas! I cannot think of anything to
do. It doesn’t seem right to refer the case to the police, as I can’t
help thinking the girls are safe somewhere with the Italian lady and
gentleman, and if I know my Patty, she’ll telegraph me as soon as she
can. Thank Heaven she knows our Venice address. Hard as it is, I think
the only thing we can do now is to wait until morning.”

The others agreed to this, and so they all went to bed, though not to
sleep.



CHAPTER XVIII

VENICE AT LAST


Very early the next morning, Snippy, who had fallen into a light doze,
was awakened by a tapping at her door.

Hastily flinging on her dressing-gown, she opened the door to see Mr.
Fairfield standing there with a smiling face that betokened good news.
He waved a telegram at her, and exclaimed: “The girls are all right,
Snippy. We may congratulate each other!”

“Thank Heaven!” cried the delighted woman, and then her eyes eagerly
devoured the telegram Patty had sent.

“Bless her heart!” she said; “she’s a good girl, is Miss Patty, Mr.
Fairfield. And to think of those two dear children alone in Milan! How
soon can I start?”

Mr. Fairfield smiled at her ready acceptance of Patty’s suggestion, and
replied:

“You must get your breakfast first. The girls are all right now, you
know. I’ve telegraphed them that we’ve received their message and will
send for them. You can reach them by noon, I think, and have them back
here before sunset. I’ll go for them, if you prefer.”

But Snippy declared herself quite willing to go, so, after an early
breakfast, she set out for Milan.

Accustomed to travelling, she did not mind the journey at all, and
in her gladness at Flo’s safety, she was once again her own staid,
sensible self.

She reached the hotel duly, paid the bills the girls had incurred, gave
Mrs. Ponderby a generous gift from Mr. Fairfield, and many earnest
thanks from them all.

“It’s so nice that you can’t scold me, Snippy,” remarked Flo, after
they were in the train for Venice; “somehow, I think you’d like to
scold somebody, and you know that I wasn’t a bit to blame. You daren’t
scold Mr. Fairfield; Patty deserves only praise; so, poor thing, you’ve
nobody to berate, have you?”

“I blame myself, Miss Flo,” said Snippy, primly, “that I ever let you
out of my sight.”

“Oh, well, Snips, all’s well that ends well, and we’ll have a booful
time in Venice.”

Flo never took Snippy very seriously, so the two girls gave themselves
up to enjoyment of their journey, and looked forward eagerly to their
arrival in Venice at last.

Patty sprang from the train straight into her father’s arms, and the
welcoming kiss he gave her told her how glad he was to have her safely
beside him once more.

“And now,” said Nan, after they had all welcomed each other, “we’ve
just time for a leisurely water trip back to the hotel. This is our
gondola, the flowers are in honour of your arrival.”

Nan pointed to a graceful craft which was waiting for them. It was a
well-shaped, freshly-painted gondola, and its black sides and shining
metal made it quite distinct from the more dingy affairs all around.
Also, the gondolier wore a resplendent sash of bright colours, and his
handsome Italian face was good-natured and smiling.

“It’s ours,” said Nan, proudly; “I mean, while we’re here. I picked
it out yesterday, and it’s the finest gondola in all Venice, eh,
Donatello?”

The gondolier showed his white teeth in an assenting grin, though he
scarcely understood the question.

“It’s angelic!” declared Patty, as she stepped in. “And the lovely dry
carpet! I thought of course the bottom of a gondola was of a wet and
sloppy nature.”

“You goose!” cried Nan. “But sit down, Patty, and drink it all in.”

“What! the canal?” cried Patty, but she sat down and looked about her
with that awed thrill that the first sight of Venice brings to all good
Americans.

It was not far from the sunset hour, and the cabin of the gondola had
been removed, so they could see the gay scenes all about.

“It’s perfect!” said Patty, as she gazed delightedly at sea, and sky,
and buildings. “It’s all my fancy painted it, only I didn’t think it
would be a bit like this!”

“I did,” said Flo. “It’s exactly like the postcards of it, only bigger.”

“So it is,” said Nan; “I recognised that myself. And the more you see
of it, the more you’ll love it.”

Then they came to the Rialto Bridge, and Patty wanted to get out and
walk across it, but her father said there wasn’t time then, she must
wait till the next day. So she and Flo just sat still and drifted
calmly along, both feeling that the scene was too lovely even for
words of appreciation.

On they swept, round the great curves of the Grand Canal, and now and
then the gondolier sang out the name of a house or a church they were
passing.

“He’s worse than an elevated road conductor,” said Patty. “I can’t make
out a word he says; but then I don’t want to. I don’t care to-night
which church is which, and if the Borgias had lived in Browning’s
house, I should make no objection.”

“Well, here’s the Piazzetta,” said her father; “you must learn this, as
you’ll spend a lot of time here. It leads to the Piazza of St. Mark,
and is the meeting place of all Venice.”

“Then I suppose you’ll call St. Mark’s the meeting-house,” said Patty;
“it sounds provincial to me.”

“Don’t be disrespectful,” said her father; “before two days have
passed, you’ll be everlastingly making tracks for the Piazza.”

“Not I,” said Patty; “I expect to live in a gondola. Can’t I have one
all to myself, Father? Just for Flo and me, I mean. You and Nan will be
always wanting this one.”

“We’ll get another, if you like, girlie. But I won’t let you and Flo
go alone in it. Snippy and I are to accompany you always hereafter.
Why, first thing you knew you’d be back in Milan! But here we are at
our hotel.”

The gondola turned softly round into a side canal which led past the
steps of the Hotel Royal Danieli, and they all stepped out.

Patty soon learned the knack of gracefully balancing herself as she
disembarked, but Flo was nervously uncertain of her steps.

“I don’t like the wabbly things!” she exclaimed, as she almost slipped
upon the wet lower step of the hotel entrance.

“Oh,” said Nan, “you’ll get used to bobbling around in a day or two.
They’re really lots easier to get into than your London ’buses.”

“Indeed they are,” said Patty. “I love ’em. I’m going to try to have
water introduced into the New York streets. It’s the nicest sort of
road.”

Then they all went into the beautiful hotel, which used to be the
palace of a great Italian family.

The elaborate architecture and decorations, and many of the magnificent
pieces of furniture were still there, and the grand staircase, with
lights and palms and flowers, was an impressive sight.

“Well,” said Patty, “this makes ‘the grandeur that was Rome’ look like
three United States dimes!”

“Oh, Patty!” cried Nan, “how can you use slang in Venice?”

But the allusion was lost on Flo and Snippy, who knew little of
American jests.

Their rooms looked out on the Grand Canal, and there was a wide board
sidewalk between the hotel and the water.

This was crowded with people promenading up and down, both Italians and
foreigners.

“Well,” said Patty to Flo, through the open door of their adjoining
rooms. “Will you look at that! If it isn’t like the board walk at
Atlantic City!”

Flo had never seen Atlantic City, but she, too, was fascinated by the
brilliant pageant, and the two girls sat in the window, gazing out,
quite forgetting that they had been told to change their frocks for
dinner. Nan came in, trailing her pretty white draperies.

“Why, girls, haven’t you begun to dress?” she said. “You must hurry. We
want to dine and then go Venicing by moonlight.”

“Ooh, ee!” cried Patty; “I’ll be attired in two minutes. Hurry up,
Flo. Snippy will hook you, and Nan will help me, won’t you, ducky
stepmother o’ mine?”

“Yes, if you’ll fly ’round,” said Nan, laughing, as Patty shook down
her sunny tangle of curls, and then shook it up again, and twisted a
white ribbon through it.

“What shall I wear, Nan? Open my trunk and get out anything you like.”

“This light green thing, with silver lace on it, comes first,” said
Nan, diving into Patty’s trunk.

“All right, I’ll wear that. Do I want a hat?”

“No; your hair looks lovely. Here’s a white and silver scarf you can
take, to wear out after dinner.”

“All right, honey. Here, hook me up, please; where’s my priceless
string of Roman pearl beads?”

“Here they are, but I think your pink coral prettier.”

“Not a bit, you colour-blind infant. These pure white pearls, warranted
pure white wax, are the only thing to wear with this green and silver
symphony.”

“Yes, you’re right,” said Nan, as Patty, with toilette completed, stood
fair and sweet for inspection. “You always do wear just the right
things, Patty.”

“So do you,” was the affectionate reply, and arm in arm they went down
the great staircase.

The party all met in one of the drawing-rooms, and Mr. Fairfield
surveyed his pretty wife and daughter with the pride he always felt in
their charm and attractiveness.

Flo, too, looked dainty and well-dressed, and Snippy, in her black
satin, was a perfect model of an English duenna.

“Come on,” said Nan, to her husband, “let us go in to dinner.”

“Wait a moment,” said Mr. Fairfield, looking at his watch. “It isn’t
quite time.”

“Yes, it is, Daddy,” said Patty, who was darting about in her
excitement; now looking out of the window,--now admiring the
appointments indoors. “Lots of people have gone to the dining-room.”

“And here are lots more to go,” said her father, triumphantly, as three
smiling young men, resplendent in evening clothes, made a simultaneous
and sudden appearance.

“Why, you blessed boys!” cried Patty, as with outstretched hands and
shining eyes she greeted Peter Homer, Floyd Austin, and Caddy Oram.

“Rejoiced at being reunited to their long-lost friends, the young
men rolled their eyes in ecstasy,” said Austin, and as he nudged
the others, they all three struck an attitude and rolled their eyes
ridiculously toward the ceiling.

“Oh, I’m so _glad_ to see you!” exclaimed Patty; “how dear of you to
come while we’re here! Isn’t it, Flo?”

“Yes, awfully jolly,” said Flo, who was glad to see the boys, but could
not be so spontaneous of manner as Patty.

“Now we’ll go to dinner,” said Mr. Fairfield, and then it came out that
he had known the three young men were in Venice, and had invited them
to dinner that night as a surprise to Patty and Flo.

It was a merry dinner, indeed. Snippy and the elder Fairfields were so
glad to have the girls safely with them again that they were fairly
beaming with joy.

And as for the five young people, they were just bubbling over with the
merriment of youth and happiness.

“Have you had a good time all through Italy?” asked Peter Homer, of
Patty.

“Oh, yes, indeed it has been the pleasurablest pleasure trip I could
imagine. Everything has gone right,--except,” she paused suddenly, as
she remembered the episode of the night before. But she resolved not
to bring up the subject then, so she went on, saying, “except that of
course we were lonely in Florence without you three, and the other
Wonderers. But we can wonder through Venice together, and oh, won’t it
be lovely! I haven’t seen Venice at all yet, except just the row up
from the station.”

“Venice is Heaven and water,” said Peter Homer, and Austin droned out:

“Having made a pretty good epigram, he waited for the applause due him.”

“He’ll get it, too,” said Patty, softly clapping her hands. “Venice
_is_ Heaven and water. I’ve already noticed it, and should have said it
myself, if I’d thought of it.”

“Never mind,” said Floyd, consolingly; “you can say it to the next
bunch of people you meet, and then you’ll get some nice applause.”

As soon as dinner was over, Mr. Fairfield invited the whole party to
go for a moonlight row. He had engaged a barca, which is larger than a
gondola, and it held them all comfortably.

As they glided out into the Grand Canal, Patty fairly held her
breath at the marvel of the scene. The moon, not far from full, sent
silver-crested ripples along the surface of the water. The strange
and wonderful buildings loomed weirdly against the sky. On the bridges
and quays were sparkling lights and merry people; while ever and again
other silent, dark gondolas glided swiftly past their own craft.

“Oh,” said Patty,--“oh!” Realising the beauty of the whole effect, even
Floyd Austin refrained from making his nonsensical speeches, and all
sat silent and absorbed, as the gondoliers plashed their oars.

“Sing, Patty,” said Nan, at last.

“Yes, do,” said everybody, but Patty said:

“No, that would be out of the picture. Ask the gondoliers to sing.”

“No,” said Peter Homer, quietly. “You sing first, Patty, and then we’ll
have them sing a barcarole.”

“I’d do anything to hear them sing a barcarole. What is it? It sounds
like something to eat.”

“Patty!” cried Flo, “don’t talk of eating in this enchanted place!”

“Well, I won’t,” said Patty, good-naturedly. “What shall I sing?”

“Some pretty little sentimental thing,” suggested Floyd. “Soft and low,
you know.”

“I don’t know much sentimental music,” said Patty, “but I’ll sing
_Secrets_.”

So as the boat silently sped along the water, eluding other boats here
and there, guided by the skilful gondoliers, Patty’s sweet voice sang
softly, to a gentle, charming air:

“SECRETS

  “Away and away from the busy town,
   Soft on the sea the stars shine down;
     And nobody knows of the stars and the sea,
     But Mine and Me.

  “Away and away the wind breathes low,
   The branches are waving to and fro;
     And nobody knows of the wind in the tree,
     But Mine and Me.

  “Away and away in a far somewhere,
   The roses are red and sweet and fair;
     And nobody knows of a rose that may be,
     But Mine and Me.

  “Away and away on a blue lagoon,
   Shines softly,--softly,--the silvery moon;
     And nobody knows of the wavelets’ plea,
     But Mine and Me.”

The last strains rang out across the water, and as Patty’s voice
ceased, a whispered “Brava!” was heard from one of the gondoliers.

“Brava, indeed,” said Peter Homer. “Thank you, Patty, for a great
pleasure. Now, the gondoliers shall sing for you in return.”

They were easily induced to do so, and their Italian songs kept time to
the rippling dip of their trained touch of the oar.

“I’m in the seventh heaven,” murmured Patty, as a song came to an end.

“And water,” supplemented Caddy. “Don’t forget your new-found epigram.”

“But I’m not in the water,” rejoined Patty, laughing. “What is that
church? You may as well make up your minds to tell me every time, for
I’m not going to try to remember. I don’t think one ought to remember
anything in Venice, but just drift along and look and wonder.”

“That is the Santa Maria della Salute,” said her father.

“Indeed!” said Patty, saucily. “And why are the statues around its dome
all on bicycles?”

“They’re not! Patty, I’m ashamed of you!”

“Well, they look as if they are? Don’t they, Caddy?”

“Exactly. But they are bicycles only by moonlight; in broad daylight
they are quite different. I’ll bring you to-morrow, and show you.”

They rowed around in desultory fashion, enjoying the evening, now and
then waxing merry and talking nonsense, and again, growing pensive, as
the moonlight demanded.

At last they stopped at the Piazzetta, and Mr. Fairfield took the party
to the Piazza for ices.

“Oh,” cried Patty, as she saw the gay scene; banners flying, a band
playing, lights sparkling; people walking about, and sitting at small
tables; “oh, why didn’t we come here sooner! Moonlight and water pale
beside this fairyland! Oh,--ooh!”

Patty almost danced about in glee. She loved gay sound and sight, and
this was so novel and so brilliant it delighted her beyond measure.

“There, there, child,” said her father; “calm your transports. Remember
this is your first night in Venice. You must learn to get used to it.”

“I will,” said Patty, rapturously. “I’d love to. Just give me time!”

Peter Homer was watching her with an intense interest in her naïve
enjoyment.

“You are seeing Italy the way I want you to,” he said, as they all sat
down at the little tables.

“Is this your Venice?” asked Patty, glancing about at the crowds.

“Yes, it’s all my Venice. I mean the way we’re seeing it to-night. The
rapid impressions of the moonlight and water, followed by this gay and
lively scene, _is_ Venice. And to-morrow--many to-morrows, I shall show
you other sides of the city’s charm, until you can mingle all your
memories into a perfect picture of the whole.”

“You are so good to me,” said Patty; “I like to have you take such an
interest in my sight-seeing.”

“And I like to take it, but suppose you see if you can take an interest
in these ices and cakes that are approaching us.”

“I just guess I can!” said Patty. “I’m as hungry as if I were in New
York!”



CHAPTER XIX

PIGEONS AND POETRY


The days in Venice rippled by so happily that Patty couldn’t realise
how fast they were going. Their own party was usually joined by some or
all of the three young men, whose hotel was not far away.

Although it was in early November, the weather was only pleasantly
crisp, and during much of the day it was warm, with an Indian summer
haze in the air.

“What mood this morning, oh, Fair One with golden locks?” said Floyd
Austin, as he came into the hotel and found Patty idly sitting in the
reading-room.

“Aimless and amiable,” she replied, smiling at him.

“Ha! ’tis a mood that well befitteth mine own. Let’s go and feed the
pigeons.”

“All right, let’s. Flo’s having her hair washed, and Nan and father
have gone off somewhere, so I’m glad to have somebody to play with.”

“H’m--a doubtful compliment,--but I’ll forgive you. Get your hat.”

Patty flew for her hat and cloak, and paused to look in at Flo’s door.

“I’m going to the Piazza,” she said, “with Floyd, to feed the pigeons.
Come on over, when your hair is dry.”

“All right, I will,” said Flo, as intelligibly as she could through
masses of wet locks.

Patty ran on downstairs, and joined Floyd, and together they sauntered
along toward the Piazza.

“I can’t imagine being busy in Venice,” said Patty, looking at the
idlers of all castes that were everywhere about. “I don’t see how they
ever get anything done.”

“They don’t,” said Floyd; “nobody has anything to do,--or if he does,
he doesn’t do it. Let’s cross over here, and look in the shop windows.”

“Yes; I love to look in windows. And I want to get some silver things
for my memory chain. What shall I get?”

“Absurd question! Of course you must get a little silver
gondola,--there’s a beauty, see it? And a Lion of St. Mark; and a
pigeon,--oh, Venice has so many typical toys,--it’s too easy!”

“Yes, so it is. I had hard work to find anything in Florence, though.”

They went into several shops, one after another, and Patty bought
little trinkets to hang on her chain, and other souvenirs beside.

“What a very long tail the lion has,” she said, as she looked at some
bronze paper-weights that were models of the famous beast.

“Yes; it would make a lovely poem. ‘The Lion of St. Mark’s, with his
very long tail,’----Go on.”

“‘Wept a whole week ’cos he wasn’t a whale,’” said Patty, promptly; for
making verses was one of their favourite games; “go on, yourself.”

“‘For,’ he said, ‘here is water all over the place,----’”

“‘And I’m sure I could swim with exquisite grace.’”

“Good for you, Patty; you had the rhyming lines, that’s hardest. I’ll
take ’em next time.”

“All right; here you are! ‘A poor little pigeon was hungry one day----’”

“‘And he hoped Floyd and Patty would come by that way.’”

“‘As they were approaching, he spied them afar,----’”

“And he said, ‘What a fine-looking couple they are!’”

“Oh, Floyd, how vain you are!”

“Speak for yourself! You don’t seem to object to your own share of the
pigeon’s opinion.”

“Of course I don’t. Come on; after that compliment from the pigeon, we
must give him a whole heap of corn.”

“How will you know which pigeon’s the one?”

“Oh, I can tell by the expression in his eye. Get some corn, please; a
lot of it.”

As they neared the east end of the Piazza, they had to step carefully,
lest they tread on the hundreds of pigeons which crowded their feet,
eager for corn.

Floyd bought the corn from the vendors near by, and handed a parcel to
Patty.

“Now I see why they call these cornucopias,” she said, taking the paper
horn that held the yellow kernels. “I suppose this shaped twist of
paper was first used to hold corn for St. Mark’s pigeons.”

“Of course it was. Somebody had a corner in corn, and so he had to
invent cornucopias to hold it all.”

“What nonsense you _do_ talk,” said Patty, giggling at his foolishness.
“There, that’s the pigeon who has been watching and waiting for us.”

She pointed to a very large, fat bird, who stood with a pompous air, a
little aloof from the rest. His neck and breast shone in the sunlight,
and the iridescent gleams shimmered with every graceful movement.

“He’s proud,” said Patty, “and won’t deign to coax for corn, like the
others.”

“He’s stuffed, you mean! I don’t believe he could eat another grain
unless it was pushed down his throat for him. The last three letters of
his name should be pronounced silent.”

“P-i-g. Oh! he isn’t any such thing! He’s simply more polite than the
rest. Watch him eat.”

Patty threw some corn to him, and the pigeon ate it with a quiet
dignity, but they soon realised that any more might give him a fit of
apoplexy, so they fed it all to the others.

It was great fun to watch the pigeons, and especially to watch the
little children feed them. Babies of two or three years would timidly
throw a grain of corn, and then run squealing away from the commotion
it produced.

“Let’s go and see something,” said Patty, when their corn was all gone
and she had grown tired of sitting still.

“All right, but don’t go far. Shall it be the Cathedral or the Doge’s
Palace?”

“The Palace. I want to go into those horrible dungeons once more before
I leave Venice.”

So they loitered slowly through the rooms of the Palace, and then
crossed the Bridge of Sighs.

“I always smile when I cross this bridge,” said Patty, “because the
poor old bridge has had so many weeping people cross it, that I’m sure
it’s glad of the change.”

“Of course it is. We ought to stand here and grin for a week, to make
up for the groans and wails with which these poor old walls must be
saturated. But I say, Patty, here’s a small party of tourists with a
guide. Let’s join them to go through the dungeons.”

As visitors were not allowed in the prisons without being officially
conducted, this was a good plan, and once again Patty made the tour of
the dark, dismal holes, where prisoners were confined, tortured, and
put to death.

“Ugh!” said Floyd, as they at last came out into the sunlight again,
“how can you want to see those horrors, when you can look at this
instead!”

They stood on the sidewalk in front of the Palace--and saw, spread out
before them, the blue water, sparkling with gold ripples; the blue sky,
flecked with soft, white clouds; and all the beautiful vista of Venice.

“I don’t know,” said Patty, thoughtfully. “I didn’t enjoy it as a
spectacle, but I wanted a memory of those prison cells, as well as of
the beautiful things. Oh, here comes Flo,--isn’t she the beautiful
thing, with her raving locks all freshly washed and ironed!”

Flo came smiling toward them, followed by the inevitable Snippy, who,
having had her lesson, never let her young mistress stir without her.
But nobody minded, for Snippy was an agreeable, if not very merry
companion, and, too, she had a kind habit of effacing herself from the
conversation, when the young people wanted to chatter nonsense.

The last evening of their stay in Venice, Mr. Fairfield gave a
water-party. They had made a number of pleasant acquaintances, and
these, in addition to their own immediate party, made about two score.

Several gondolas had been engaged, and these the gondoliers, with rival
pride, had decorated gaily.

Lanterns swung from the cabins, and flowers and gay streamers gave the
craft a festal air. The gondoliers, too, wore brilliant garb, and as
the fleet floated away from the hotel, it was a picturesque sight.

Patty wore a fluffy, light blue dress, and a long, light blue cloak,
lined with white silk, which enveloped her from head to foot. It had an
ermine collar, for the evenings were growing chill; and a dainty blue
toque, edged with ermine, sat saucily on Patty’s gold curls.

“You look a picture!” said Peter Homer, as he handed her into a gondola.

“An old master?” asked Patty, smiling gaily at him.

“No, indeed. Rather like one of your new American masters, who draw
such fascinating girls.”

“Thank you for a subtle compliment,” said Patty, comfortably arranging
herself on the red-cushioned seat. “You may sit beside me for that.”

“Thank you. My effort was not in vain, then. Virtue, like Venice, is
its own reward.”

The fleet started and made a delightful pre-arranged trip along the
Grand Canal, and through many of the most picturesque smaller canals.
Their gondolas kept together as much as possible, and gay chat was
tossed across from one to another. Returning, they stopped at the
Piazza, and sat for a time, or strolled about, listening to the music
of the band. Then all walked the short distance to the Royal Danieli,
and gathered in one of the smaller ballrooms, which Mr. Fairfield had
engaged.

Some musicians played, and a delightful dance ensued. Patty always
enjoyed dancing, and treated quite impartially the many would-be
partners who begged to be favoured.

“Isn’t she a wonder?” said Caddy Oram to Peter Homer, as Patty waltzed
by with Floyd.

“The most sunshiny girl I have ever seen,” said Peter, gazing at
graceful Patty, who smiled back at him over Floyd’s shoulder.

The dance ended all too soon, and then the guests were ushered to the
dining-room, where a supper was spread on small tables.

“It would be a lovely party,” said Patty, “if it weren’t to celebrate
our last evening in Venice. That makes me sad.”

“It makes me heart-broken,” said Floyd; “Venice without you is as dust
and ashes. My soul is as a crushed cauliflower! Alack-a-day, and wae’s
me!”

“Come along with us,” said Patty, ignoring his show of grief. “The
Venetians will let you off, I’m sure.”

“That may be, madame. But I’ve affairs of more importance than trailing
an American girl all over the map of Europe.”

“I’d like to follow the trail,” said Peter Homer, “but I’ve been
summoned back to London, and ‘England expects.’”

“I wish I could take you all home with me,” said Patty,
enthusiastically; “you’re a lovely bunch of boys, and you’d grace any
country.”

“Thank ye, ma’am,” said Floyd, as they all bowed politely.

And when they took leave, the three declared that they would be on hand
next morning to conduct the Fairfield party to the railway station.

True to their word, they appeared in ample time to escort the
travellers.

Several gondolas were required, and it somehow happened that Peter
Homer and Patty, with one or two trunks, occupied one of them alone.

“This is as it should be,” he said, in a tone of satisfaction. “I’m
glad to be with you as you see the last of Venice. But I hope we shall
meet here again sometime.”

“I hope so,” said Patty, carelessly. “I suppose I shall come
again,--everybody does,--but will you be here then?”

“Yes, if you call me. I’ll have to be here to guide your impressions in
the right channels.”

“Canals, you mean,” said Patty, laughing at his serious face.

“Very well, canals. You are an apt pupil. Tell me, now, what is Venice
like this morning?”

Patty looked around at the glowing scene. The autumn sunshine, the
crisp, fine air, the beauty of form and colour everywhere. Then she
said:

“Liquid sunlight, streaming down, as if strained through a golden
sieve.”

“Rubbish!” cried Floyd, as, in another gondola, he drifted alongside.
“Where’d you get that padded plush sentiment, Patty?”

“Isn’t it poetic?” she said, turning to Peter, with a look of mock
anxiety.

“No,” he replied, “it’s forced and ridiculous, and you know it.”

“Yes, so I do,” said Patty, her face dimpling into smiles. “But you
always make me feel as if I ought to feel that way about Venice.”

“Oh, well, you’re so foolishly young, yet. But you’ll get over it.
Meantime, will you accept a tiny souvenir of the Grand Canal?”

Peter offered her a little gold gondola, of such exquisite workmanship
that Patty gave a cry of delight.

“It’s lovely!” she said. “Far too pretty for my ‘memory chain.’ I shall
hang it on my watchguard.”

She fastened it to the slender chain that held her watch, and smiled
her thanks at Peter.

“I shall always think of you when I see it,” she said; “and sometimes
when I don’t.”

“I shall often think of you,” he responded, “and shall look forward to
meeting you again sometime, somewhere.”

“Oh, come to New York,” cried Patty; “you are coming, aren’t you? And
we’ll have an Italian Days Reunion. Will you come, Floyd? And Flo?”

The other gondola had drifted near again, and all were gaily promising
to meet again in New York, when the quay of the railway station was
reached, and everybody scrambled out.

Then, in the general flurry of looking after luggage, and getting seats
in the train, there was no opportunity for further talk, but Peter
said, earnestly:

“May I write to you, Patty? And will you answer my letters?”

“Oh, indeed I will! I’d love to hear from you, and of course I’ll write
back.”

She gave him her card, and then after general farewells, intermingled
with much nonsense and laughter, the Fairfield family, with Flo and
Snippy, started for Rome.



CHAPTER XX

HOMEWARD BOUND


“I AM glad to be in Rome again,” said Flo, as they once more sat at tea
in the winter-garden of the hotel.

  “Rome again, Rome again,
   From a foreign shore,”

sang Patty; “but it doesn’t seem like Rome with none of the other
Wonderers here.”

“And soon you’re going, too;--oh, Patty, how I shall miss you!”

“I’ll miss you, too, Flo dear. We’ve had good times together, haven’t
we?”

“Yes, indeed; I’ll tell Lady Kitty all about it when I go back. I wish
she could have been here with us.”

“Yes, I hoped to have her; but I find she’s a most uncertain personage.
‘But what’s the use of repining? to-morrow the sun may be shining!’”

“That’s just you, all over, Patty! I believe whoever composed that
classic couplet must have known you. Do you never repine?”

“To tell you the awful truth, Flo, I don’t quite know what that word
means! Re-pine, I daresay, is to pine again. But you see I don’t know
how to pine the first time.”

“Oh, Patty, you’re a silly. But I can tell you Mr. Peter Homer is going
to do some pining after you.”

“Really! Oh, Flo, how you embarrass me. I don’t know where to hide my
blushing face.”

Saucy Patty was not embarrassed a bit, and Flo well knew it. But Flo
had felt ever so tiny a tinge of jealousy at the evident interest Mr.
Homer took in Patty, and she couldn’t resist speaking of it.

“Don’t you care, Patty, if he ‘pines’ for you?”

“I can’t conscientiously say that I do,” remarked Patty, with a
judicial air. “He’s free to pine if he enjoys it, I’m sure.”

“Don’t you care for him, specially, Patty?” went on Flo, determined to
learn Patty’s sentiment toward him.

“’Deed I don’t! I like him a lot; he’s one of the kindest and cleverest
men I know. But as to ‘liking him specially,’ as you call it, I truly
don’t.”

“Do you like any one specially?” persisted Flo.

“For goodness’ gracious’ sake, Flo! What is the matter with you? If you
mean am I in love with anybody, I certainly am not, and don’t expect to
be for several hundred years yet! So there, now!”

“You’re a funny girl, Patty. I expect to be married before I’m twenty.”

“Well, I don’t! And I don’t want to. I may get married sometime in
the distant future, if I find anybody I can ‘pine’ for. But I’m only
eighteen now, and I can’t be bothering with such matters.”

“You’ll be nineteen next spring.”

“So I will! Well, come ’round then, and I’ll talk to you about it. Have
some tea?”

Flo and Patty had grown to be devoted friends, and both were really
sorry that their parting was so near. A week’s stay in Rome, and then
the Fairfields would leave for Naples, and so home, by way of the
Mediterranean, while Flo and Snippy would return at once to England.

The few days in Rome were devoted to farewell glimpses of favourite
spots.

Patty, with Flo and Snippy, roamed round the Forum, and gazed at the
Coliseum, and re-visited many of the churches.

One evening Mr. Leland took them all to dinner in a delightful
restaurant that overlooked the Palatine.

“I don’t feel that I know my Palatine at all,” said Patty, regretfully.

“Don’t try to,” said Mr. Leland, kindly. “Nobody really knows the
Palatine, except the great scholars. When in the Palatine, just
flounder about, and get the whole as a general picture of ruined glory.
That’s all you can do.”

“Yes,” agreed Patty. “I have a mixed-up memory of Livia’s house, and
Augustus’s house, and the rest, and it doesn’t really matter much who’s
who in the Palatine, does it?”

“Not a bit,” said Mr. Leland; “but you can get a fair idea of the whole
from this balcony.”

He took Patty out on a balcony of the restaurant, used in summer as an
open-air eating-place and showed her the general view of the Palatine
Hill. The others followed and listened with interest, while Mr. Leland
pointed out the various ruins.

“It’s splendid,” said Nan, who was really more of a student of these
things than Patty. “I shall always remember this view. It makes me feel
nearer to ancient Rome than any other.”

“I don’t want you to get too near to ancient Rome,” said Mr.
Fairfield, laughing, as he led her back indoors. “I want to keep you in
the twentieth century for some time yet.”

The last day in Rome, Patty was quite pensive,--for her. She went and
sat on the Spanish Steps, she bought another large photograph of the
Coliseum, and some more models of the Forum, which last, however, were
broken to bits long before she reached home.

“I don’t see why they don’t make the silly things stronger,” she said
as, on reaching the hotel, she found two of the models in fragments.

“Because they’re ruins,” said Nan, consolingly. “Those old columns are
nearly all in ruins, so it’s fitting the little models should follow in
their ways.”

“Pshaw!” said Patty, flinging away the bits she had been trying to
piece together. “There’s no use getting any more of those; they smash
if you look at them.”

“Don’t look at them then,” said Nan, sweetly.

“I’ll try to get some cast-iron ones,--that’s the only kind of
cast that won’t break,” said Patty, as she contented herself with
photographs instead.

It was a lovely, sunshiny, autumn day when the Fairfields started for
Naples.

“Our party grows smaller every time we move,” said Patty to Flo. “Now
we are dropping you and Snippy, but I suppose father and Nan and I will
stick together till we reach New York.”

“You’ll have to,” said practical Flo, “unless you leave one at Naples
or Gibraltar.”

“I wish you were going to Naples with us.”

“I wish so too, Patty; but mother has written us to come home, and we
really must go. But it has been a lovely pleasure trip with you, and
I’m sure we’ll meet again.”

“Of course we shall. You surely must come to New York. Snippy can bring
you, can’t she?”

“Yes, indeed; Snippy could take me to the North Pole, if we decided to
go.”

“Well, see that she brings you to New York first. And now good-by, Flo,
dearie. Write to me soon and often. Good-by, Snippy.”

“Good-by, Miss Patty.”

And then everybody said good-by to everybody else, and the travellers
took the train, and Patty waved to Flo from the window, and called
good-by again, and then they started, and the Fairfields were once more
by themselves.

“You’ll be dull, Patsy,” said her father, “with only your own relatives
to entertain you.”

“What a libel, Daddy! Was I ever dull?”

“No, but there must be a first time for everything.”

“Well, it won’t be while I’ve you and my vivacious stepmother for
travelling companions.”

And truly it didn’t seem so. Nan and Patty fell to chattering, until
Mr. Fairfield had difficulty in getting in a word edgewise. At last
he took refuge in a newspaper, and finally fell asleep, while the
loquacious two chattered on. They had not been much together while
Patty had the younger girls about, and as they were really very good
chums, they had much to talk over.

It seemed but a short trip, and before they knew it they were in Naples.

“I know I shall hate this place,” said Patty, in tones of firm
conviction. “It’s the dirtiest and beggariest town in all Italy.”

But as they started in an open cab for their hotel, Patty changed her
mind.

“I don’t see any dirt,” she said. “They must have swept lately. And not
a beggar has begged yet.”

The driver pointed out the places of interest as they went along, and
Patty’s admiration steadily increased.

“I love Naples!” she said, finally. “Whoever jumped on it was all
wrong.”

“People don’t jump on things in Italy,” said her father, reprovingly.

“No, they’re too lazy to jump,” agreed Patty. “What hotel are we going
to, Father?”

“To the Palace Hotel,--up on the Cliffs.”

“They’re all palace hotels in Italy, aren’t they? Is that it, ’way up
in the sky? How ever did it perch itself up on that high place?”

“Spread its wings and flew up there,” said her father.

“I think it went up there to get a good view of the bay,” said Nan.

“The Bay of Naples!” cried Patty, standing up in the cab to look behind
her. “I’ve seen it on postcards, and it’s almost as blue, really. Oh,
people! Isn’t it great!”

“Sit down, Patty, you’ll break your neck.”

“Not in this gently moving chaise. Oh, we’re climbing this great hill.
See how the road winds, and how the cliffs----”

“Beetle,” said Nan.

“Yes, that’s just it! These are beetling crags. I never realised what
that meant before. And see this strange thing! It must be the ruins of
an old dungeon. See how it juts and slopes straight up the mountain. A
castle, ruined by an earthquake, probably. What is it, driver?”

“A landslide, madame.”

“Oh,” said Patty, in disgust, “I thought it was a ruined building.”

Arrived at the top of the really high hill, they alighted at the
entrance to the hotel. And a peculiar entrance it was. First they
walked through a long, straight marble-lined corridor that had been cut
horizontally into the cliff. From this a vertical elevator-shaft was
cut straight up to the hotel itself, many feet above. The ride up in
the elevator seemed interminable, but at last they stepped out into a
beautiful glass-enclosed parlour, from which Naples could be seen below
them in every direction.

“Oh! oh!” exclaimed Patty, running from the view of the bay to that of
Vesuvius, and then to the city view.

“I never saw such a fascinating place! Stay over another steamer,
Daddy; don’t let’s go home yet.”

“We’ll settle that question later. Now, let’s go and find our rooms,
Puss, and then you can come back here. The views will probably keep an
hour or so.”

They followed an attendant through long corridors and labyrinthine
ways, and came at last to their rooms, which looked out upon the
beautiful bay, with Capri smiling sunnily across the blue, and Vesuvius
standing calmly on the other side. Patty, in ecstasies of delight,
could scarcely wait to unpack her things, and danced into Nan’s room,
exclaiming anew at the beauties of the hotel, the city, and Italy in
general.

“You goose!” said Nan. “One would think you’d never seen anything at
all before. Do you like it better than Venice, or Rome?”

“No,--not better,” said Patty, slowly, “but you see I didn’t expect to
like it at all, and so it’s such a surprise.”

“Well, run and put on a fresh frock for tea, and then you can
rhapsodise, while I refresh myself with tea-cakes.”

“I’m hungry too,” said Patty, “but then I always am.” She flew away
to dress, and soon the family sat in the glass-protected tea-room,
enjoying strange little Neapolitan cakes, that all declared the best in
the world.

After tea, Mr. Fairfield said they would have time for a short drive
before dinner. Patty was delighted at this prospect, and skipped away
for her hat and cloak. The rickety old cab made her laugh, but as they
drove along she saw none better, so decided that they were a style
peculiar to Naples.

They visited no museums or palaces, as Mr. Fairfield said it was but a
preliminary drive, and they must return for dinner.

So back they went soon, climbing the high hill slowly, though it seemed
to Patty not nearly so high nor so steep as the first time they drove
up. The long trip up in the elevator was unpleasant to Nan, who feared
an accident; but Patty said, “Nonsense! it’s just like the subway up on
end; and no danger of meeting another train.”

Dinner was rather a pretentious function in the hotel, so our party
donned evening dress, and came down at eight o’clock, to find the
gorgeous and brilliantly lighted dining-room well-filled. Lovely
strains of music came from an orchestra behind a screen of palms, and
the viands were of the best.

“It _is_ a lovely place,” said Nan; “I quite agree with you, Patty, and
I’m surprised at it all, too.”

After dinner they strolled about in the various attractive rooms, and
Patty thought she’d never tire of the beautiful view of Naples by
night, that was spread out below them. The street lights looked like
long strings of jewels, and the brightly lighted houses added to the
splendour of the scene. On the other side was the bay, misty now, and
pierced here and there with the shipping lights.

Long after they had gone to their rooms Patty sat at her window,
enthralled with the strange beauty, so different from all else she had
seen that it seemed like an enchanted land.

After several days of sight-seeing in and around Naples, which had
included trips to Vesuvius and to Amalfi, Mr. Fairfield called a
council of war to decide upon further plans.

“I’ve passage engaged, as you know,” he said, “for December first.
This will get us home about the middle of the month, and give us a
little time to get our breath before the Christmas holidays. But if
you two girls prefer, we can change our tickets and stay here till the
fifteenth.”

“That wouldn’t get us home by Christmas Day,” said Patty, thoughtfully.

“No, we’d be on the Atlantic on Christmas. But we must take one steamer
or the other.”

“Well, I’ll leave it to Nan,” said Patty; “but personally, I’d hate to
spend Christmas on an ocean liner! It doesn’t seem patriotic.”

“I agree to all that,” said Nan. “I love Naples, but I’d rather go
next week, and so be home in time to look after a little Christmas
celebration of some sort, than to stay here longer.”

“All right, then,” said Mr. Fairfield. “My inclinations are to go on
the first. So we’ll consider it settled, and put in all the fun we can
these few days that are left.”

So the three spent the rest of the time in seeing Naples thoroughly.
They visited the Aquarium, and the Royal Palace, and the National
Museum. They visited Capri, and they drove out to Posilipo, and
Camaldoli; and every day they grew more fond of the beautiful environs
that surrounded Naples. But their thoughts began to turn to home and
Christmas, and reunion of friends, and delightful as their pleasure
trip had been, it was with a satisfied feeling in their hearts that
they at last went aboard the great steamer that was to land them in New
York.

“Good-by, beautiful Italy,” said Patty, waving her handkerchief as they
steamed away. “I’ll come back some time,--but I think not very soon.
I’m a bit homesick for my ain countree.”



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Transcriber’s Note:

Punctuation has been standardised. Spelling and hyphenation have been
retained as used in the orginal publication except as follows:

  Page 59
    she greatly perferred city _changed to_
    she greatly preferred city

  Page 64
    with ancipations of a pleasant _changed to_
    with anticipations of a pleasant

  Page 74
    You’re aways right _changed to_
    You’re always right

  Page 149
    that it! But _changed to_
    that’s it! But

  Page 150
    band of wonderers pause _changed to_
    band of Wonderers pause

  Page 164
    to be a humourous publication _changed to_
    to be a humorous publication

  Page 206
    more about the matter than Paty _changed to_
    more about the matter than Patty

  Page 215
    Then turning to Signor Bolotti _changed to_
    Then turning to Signor Balotti

  Page 237
    no more dangerous asleep then awake _changed to_
    no more dangerous asleep than awake





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Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.



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