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Title: Patty in the City
Author: Wells, Carolyn
Language: English
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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 in the City


                                   BY
                             CAROLYN WELLS

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


                             [Illustration]


                            GROSSET & DUNLAP
                     PUBLISHERS           NEW YORK



                            COPYRIGHT, 1905,
                                   BY
                          DODD, MEAD & COMPANY

                         _All rights reserved_

                           PRINTED IN U.S.A.



                                  _To_
                          _Dorothy Esterbrook_



                                CONTENTS


                                 CHAPTER                PAGE
                 I PLANS                                   1
                II A LAST MEETING                         13
               III A NEW HOME                             25
                IV LORRAINE                               37
                 V A NEW SCHOOL                           49
                VI THE REASON WHY                         61
               VII SOME NEW FRIENDS                       73
              VIII A TEA-PARTY                            85
                IX HILDA                                  97
                 X GRIGS                                 109
                XI EXPERIENCES                           121
               XII A VISIT TO THE HOSPITAL               133
              XIII ELISE                                 144
               XIV THE CASINO                            156
                XV A PLEASANT SATURDAY                   168
               XVI A CAPABLE COOK                        180
              XVII LORRAINE’S ENDEAVOR                   192
             XVIII THE CIRCUS PARTY                      204
               XIX THEMES                                216
                XX TWO CONFIDENTIAL INTERVIEWS           228
               XXI THE CINDERELLA PARTY                  241
              XXII “IT”                                  252
             XXIII CHRISTMAS                             263



                           Patty in the City



                               CHAPTER I
                                 PLANS


It was the third week in September when the Fairfields left the seashore
and returned to their Vernondale home.

“Now, my child,” said Mr. Fairfield, as they sat on the veranda after
dinner, “I will unfold to you my plans for the coming winter, and you
may accept, or reject, or amend them as you please.”

“Proceed,” said Patty, settling herself comfortably in her wicker chair;
“I feel in an amiable mood this evening, and will probably agree to
anything you may suggest.”

“I’ve been thinking for some time,” went on her father, “that I don’t
want to spend the coming winter in Vernondale. I would much rather be in
New York.”

“Reason number one—Nan,” said Patty, checking it off on her forefinger
and smiling at her father.

“Yes,” he responded, with an answering smile, “she is reason number one,
but there are others.”

To readers who are unfamiliar with Patty’s earlier history we may say
right here that her mother had died when Patty was but three years old.
At present she lived with her father in their little home in Vernondale,
an establishment of which Patty greatly prided herself on her
management.

Recently Mr. Fairfield had become engaged to Miss Nan Allen, a young
lady who lived in Philadelphia, and who was a dear friend of Patty’s.

“You know,” Mr. Fairfield went on, “this Vernondale house was only an
experiment, and although it has proved successful in its own way, I want
to try another experiment of a winter in the city. As you so wisely
discern, it is partly for the sake of being nearer to Nan. The Allens
will spend part of the winter in New York, and, too, Philadelphia is
more easily accessible from there than from here. We shall not be
married until spring, and so your absolute monarchy will extend through
the winter, and you can then abdicate in favor of the new queen.”

“And I’ll be glad enough to do it,” cried Patty; “it isn’t abdication at
all; or if it is, I’m glad of it. I’m perfectly delighted that you’re
going to marry Nan, and though it does seem ridiculous to have one of my
own friends for a stepmother, yet she’s six years older than I am, and
if she wants to rule me with a rod of iron, she may.”

“I fancy there won’t be much stepmothering about it; I’m afraid you’ll
be two refractory children, and I’ll have to take care of you both.”

“I don’t know about that,” said Patty, laughing. “You’ve become so
absurdly young yourself of late that I think I shall have to take care
of you two. But tell me some more about your New York plans. Shall we
have a house of our own?”

“No; I think not—this winter. Although you are all that is admirable by
way of a housekeeper, I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s too much
responsibility for you; and of course, would be much more so in the
city. So I think we’ll take a suite of rooms in some nice apartment
hotel. This, you see, will make it more convenient for me in regard to
my business; for I’m quite ready to confess that I’m tired of enjoying a
commuter’s privileges. From our city home I could probably reach my
office in less than half an hour, while from here it takes me fully an
hour and a half, besides the discomforts of the railroad and ferry
trip.”

“That would be nice,” said Patty thoughtfully; “then we wouldn’t have to
have breakfast so early, and I wouldn’t have to wait for you so long at
night.”

“Another thing,” went on her father, “is your own education. I want you
to have a year or two at some good school in the city, and I do not want
you to go back and forth every day from here. And you ought to take
singing lessons, and there are lots of things you ought to learn. During
your rather migratory life of the past two years your education has
really been neglected, and it won’t do. You’re growing up, to be sure,
but you’re still a schoolgirl, and must remain one for a couple of years
more at least. When we take Nan into the family she can look after the
housekeeping, and so you will be free to attend to your studies; but
this winter, as I say, you must not have household cares to interfere.
And so a few rooms in some nice hotel will make a home for us that shall
be cosey and pleasant, and yet not fill your life with the cares and
duties of housekeeping.”

“All right, papa,” said Patty, “I think it will be lovely, and I’m ready
to go, right straight off. Of course I’m sorry to leave the Vernondale
girls, and they’ll be as mad as hops at me for going; but I do love the
city, and I think we’ll have a beautiful time. When shall we start?”

“Not to-night,” said Mr. Fairfield, smiling at his impetuous daughter;
“there are some trifling details to be settled first. You see, you’re a
country girl, my child, and deplorably ignorant of city ways. Has it
occurred to you that it would hardly do for you and me to live alone in
a city hotel? For I must necessarily be down at my office all day, and,
too, I shall probably make occasional trips to Philadelphia. At such
times you would be alone in our apartment, which is, of course, out of
the question. Have you anything to suggest?”

“I never thought of that. I thought we could live together there just
the same as we do here. You’re always away all day.”

“Yes, but here there are the three servants to look after you. And, too,
conventions are not quite the same in New York and Vernondale. I don’t
want a governess for you, for I want you to have the experiences of
school life.”

“I might have a maid,” said Patty, anxious to suggest something. “I
might take Pansy.”

“No,” said her father, “that isn’t the kind of person you require. The
third person in our home must be a lady who can look after you and
advise you, and occasionally go about with you.”

“Well then, marry Nan right away, and let her do all this.”

“That would do admirably, but there is one obstacle. I laid that plan
before Nan herself, and she positively refused to come and be one of us
before next spring.”

“Well, what _can_ we do?” asked Patty.

“Why, I think this the solution of the problem: Let us take Grandma
Elliott to spend the winter with us.”

“Just the thing!” exclaimed Patty, clapping her hands; “she’s the very
one! she loves to live in the city and she’s lived there so much she
knows all about it, and I’m sure she’d be glad to go.”

“Yes, she would be just the right one; she’s a very wise lady, and
although she’s perhaps sixty years old, she is as active and energetic
as many much younger women. She is quite conversant with the
proprieties, and would know even better than I just what you can and
can’t do. For you must know, Patty girl, that your life in New York will
be more restricted in many ways than it is here. There are certain rules
that must be observed, and while I want you to have a good time and a
happy time, yet you must realise that you are still only a schoolgirl,
and must conduct yourself as such.”

“Can’t I go to anything except school, papa?” asked Patty, looking a
little dismayed.

“Well, perhaps on nice afternoons I might take you for a walk around the
block,” said her father, laughing at her anxious face. “But suppose we
go over and see what Grandma Elliott has to say about it.”

“All right,” said Patty, “but you must protect me from Marian’s
ferocity. She’ll be as mad as a raging lion.”

When the question of the Fairfields’ permanent residence was under
discussion a year earlier, Grandma Elliott was perhaps the only one in
favour of their living in New York. The younger Mrs. Elliott, who was
Mr. Fairfield’s sister, had most decidedly been of the opinion that a
home in the small town of Vernondale was in every way better adapted to
Patty’s welfare.

Patty’s cousins had vociferously agreed to this, and the result was that
Mr. Fairfield had taken a house in Vernondale for a year. Patty had
proved a most satisfactory little housekeeper, for she had a real talent
for household management, but even Aunt Alice had at last come to agree
with Mr. Fairfield that the responsibilities were rather heavy for a
schoolgirl.

As Patty had anticipated, the Elliott children, and especially Marian,
received the news with expressions of emphatic disapproval.

“I _knew_ you’d do it!” wailed Marian, “but I think it’s perfectly
horrid, and I’ll never forgive you as long as I live! I don’t _want_ you
to go away from Vernondale, and you won’t like it a bit in New York, I
know you won’t. You can’t do anything at all; you can’t go out into the
street without a _chaperon_, and a maid, and two policemen! And whatever
will the Tea Club do without you?”

“I’ll have all the Tea Club come in to a meeting at my house,” said
Patty, anxious to pacify her cousin.

“We won’t come! we’ll none of us ever speak to you again! we’ll cross
your name off the books and forget that you ever existed!”

It was so seldom that the gentle Marian became excited over anything
that Patty felt really sorry, and tried her best to put the matter in
its most attractive light.

“Don’t talk like that, Marian,” she said; “papa has decided that we are
to go, and so there’s no use in discussing that part of it. Now the
thing to do is to find the bright side and look on that.”

This was Patty Fairfield’s philosophy in a nutshell. All her life she
had not only unquestioningly accepted the inevitable, but had
immediately found its bright side and ignored all others. This was
partly the cause and partly the effect of her bright sunshiny
disposition and her uniformly happy and contented frame of mind.

“Just think, Marian,” she went on, “you can come to see me and we can
have lots of fun. We’ll have all the girls come over while you’re there,
and it will be jolly to have a Tea Club meeting in a hotel.”

“Yes, that will be fun,” assented Marian, “but after the meeting we’ll
all have to come home and leave you there. I suppose I’m selfish, but I
don’t care! I don’t _want_ you to go away from Vernondale, Patty
Fairfield, and I think you’re a mean old thing to go!”

It seemed impossible to do anything with Marian in her present mood, so
Patty turned to Aunt Alice for sympathy.

“I feel quite as sorry to have you go as Marian does,” said Mrs.
Elliott, looking lovingly at her niece, “though I don’t express myself
in such violent language. But Brother Fred has been talking to me and he
has convinced me that it is a good plan in many ways. So I am going to
give you up bravely, and I think that after a while Marian will be able
to face the matter more calmly.”

“I don’t think it’s half bad,” broke in Frank Elliott; “of course we
shall miss Patty like the dickens, but I shall spend much of my time
visiting her in New York.”

“Do,” said Patty, delighted at this unlooked-for support; “come just as
often as you like and I’ll guarantee that you’ll have a good time.”

Then Mr. Fairfield proposed his plan of taking Grandma Elliott to spend
the winter with them in the city.

Grandma’s eyes beamed with delight as she listened, for the old lady was
urban in her tastes and had lived far the greater part of her life in
New York.

Aunt Alice and Uncle Charlie heartily approved of this arrangement.

“We shall miss you dreadfully,” said Mr. Elliott to his mother, “but we
shall let you go cheerfully, for I well know how much you will enjoy
it.”

But Marian set up another howl.

“It’s bad enough to have Patty go,” she said, “but to have Grandma go,
too, is terrible. I suppose you’ll take mother and little Gilbert, as
well.”

“Marian, you’re a goose!” said Patty, laughing. “If you don’t stop
talking like that, I’ll take _you_ along and keep you there all winter.”

“I don’t want to do that,” said Marian, “but I don’t want you to go
either. I know one thing, though—after you’ve been there a week you’ll
be so disgusted you’ll come trailing back again.”

“And after you’ve visited me for a week you’ll be so enchanted that you
won’t want to come trailing back,” said Patty, laughing at her cousin’s
woe-begone expression.

“When are you going?” asked Marian in a tone of final resignation.

“Very soon,” said Mr. Fairfield, “for I want to get this ignorant
daughter of mine into school as quickly as possible. Indeed, we shall go
as soon as Grandma Elliott is ready to accompany us.”

“You won’t have to wait long for me,” said Grandma; “I shall be all
ready by the time you have found your house.”



                               CHAPTER II
                             A LAST MEETING


Patty and her father looked at several apartments before they found one
which seemed satisfactory in every way. It was necessary that it should
be near the school Patty was to attend, and also conveniently located
with a view to Mr. Fairfield’s daily trips downtown.

Besides this, Mr. Fairfield was particular about the atmosphere of the
hotel. Some they looked into seemed to Patty like gorgeous glittering
palaces, with decorations so rich and ornate as to be almost barbaric.
These Mr. Fairfield came out of as rapidly as he went in, and more than
once Patty cast a longing backward glance at the marble floors and
gilded frescoes which her father seemed to scorn. On the other hand, Mr.
Fairfield was equally ill-pleased with a house which was unattractive in
appearance, or whose furnishings were not tasteful.

Patty almost began to think that her father was too fastidious, and
would never be able to find a place that would exactly suit him.

However, the moment they stepped inside of a certain apartment hotel
named The Wilberforce, Mr. Fairfield’s face showed an expression of
satisfaction, which immediately convinced Patty that they had struck the
right trail at last.

And so it proved, for after looking into several suites of rooms then
vacant, Mr. Fairfield told Patty that if she could feel contented to
take up her abode there, he thought he could.

Patty willingly agreed, for she, too, liked The Wilberforce from the
first.

The hotel faced Central Park, and though not among the largest in the
city, it was more attractively planned than any of the others they had
looked at.

The apartment they liked best was a corner one with windows looking
toward the east and south. The large corner room had a beautiful bay
window, and was so light and sunny that Patty declared it should be
their library.

“Library, sitting-room and general living-room,” said her father,
laughing; “you know, Puss, you can’t have as many rooms at your disposal
in the city as you have in Vernondale. But we’ll have all our books and
favourite belongings in this room, and I’m sure we can make it very
comfortable. Then this smaller room next will be a more formal reception
room for casual callers.”

There were four bedrooms, and Mr. Fairfield insisted that the two
sunniest and pleasantest ones should be assigned to Patty and Grandma
Elliott. The other two, whose windows opened on an airshaft instead of
on the street, were to be Mr. Fairfield’s bedroom and a guest-room.

The whole apartment was very prettily furnished in good taste, and
entirely without that lavish use of bright colours which so often
characterises a hotel.

The library was in green and the little reception-room in pale blue.

Patty’s own room was daintily done up in pink, and though perhaps not
just the colour she would have chosen, it was so fresh and pretty that
she expressed herself perfectly satisfied.

Of course, everything in the way of chairs and tables was amply
provided, but the Fairfields proposed to bring in a quantity of their
own furniture, rugs, pictures and books.

Having decided on the apartment, Mr. Fairfield drew a plan of it so that
when they returned home they might better decide what pieces of
furniture could be accommodated.

Patty flew around from room to room in great delight.

“I’m so used to changing my home,” she said, “that I really feel quite
at home in this apartment already. This library is going to be the
loveliest room in the world. You can have your desk there, and I can
have my little desk here, and we’ll have our big library table in the
middle, just as it is at home. Then we’ll have Grandma’s little
work-table by this window. This big fireplace is perfectly fascinating
and we can bring our brass andirons and fireset. They’re a lot prettier
than these old black iron things. And we can bring a book-case or two,
can’t we, papa?”

“You can bring whatever you like, Chicken; but I wouldn’t advise carting
in many of those heavy things at first, until we’re sure we like the
place well enough to stay all winter. It certainly looks attractive, and
it has been highly recommended to me, but after all it may prove to have
serious disadvantages. So at first we’ll just bring our desks, and some
books and pictures, and a few little trinkets to prettify the rooms, and
then later on, if we like it, we can run back to Vernondale for a few
more things.”

“Yes, that is best, papa,” said Patty; “you always do know what is best.
And now how soon do you suppose we can come in to stay?”

“I think we’ll move next Saturday. I can take a whole holiday that day,
and get you and Grandma safely established here.”

So eager was Patty to select and pack up the things she wanted to take
to the city that she could scarcely wait to get back to Vernondale. It
had been a tiresome day, but as soon as she reached home she quite
forgot her fatigue in the fun of making her selections. Her favourite
pictures were taken from the walls and stood in the hall ready to be
packed. All of her tea-things, a small selection of bric-a-bric, and a
large box of books were added. Then Patty packed her own trunk and her
father’s. Mr. Fairfield looked after the heavier matters, such as rugs
and chairs and the two desks and Grandma’s little work-table.

Altogether, it seemed like a regular moving, and Marian, who came over
in the midst of the excitement, sat down on the box of books and burst
into tears.

“Marian,” said Patty, almost crying herself, “if you don’t stop acting
like that I don’t know what I shall do. I’m rapidly growing homesicker
and homesicker, and now if you commence to weep all over the place I
shall just go to pieces entirely.”

“But you _want_ to go away,” wailed Marian, between her sobs, “you just
_want_ to go, and that’s the worst of it! If you _did_ cry you’d be
nothing but an old hypocrite!”

“I do want to go, but I’m sorry to leave Vernondale, too. Don’t you
suppose I’m fond of all you girls? Don’t you suppose I’ll miss you like
sixty? And don’t you suppose it’s a heap worse for me to go away from
you all than it is for you to have me go? Why, there’s lots of you to
cheer each other up, and there’s only one of me. But what’s the use of
acting like this, anyway? I’ve got to go, and I might as well go
laughing as crying. If _your_ father wanted you to go, you’d go, and _I_
wouldn’t do all I could to make it harder for you by crying from morning
to night.”

The logic of these remarks seemed to impress Marian, for she stopped
crying, and said: “I suppose I am a horrid old thing to act so, and I am
going to stop, at least until after you’re gone, and then I’m going to
cry all I want to.”

“Do,” said Patty, “have a real good time and cry all day, and every day,
if you like. But now come on and help me pack my photographs.”

Marian was as good as her word. She cried no more, and though her
demeanour was not exactly hilarious, she ceased wearing a reproachful
air, and went around helping Patty with a loving good-will.

The last few days before their departure Patty and Mr. Fairfield spent
at the Elliotts’ home.

The trunks and boxes had all been sent away, and Boxley Hall was shut up
and securely barred and fastened.

The servants had found other situations. Mancy was going to live at Miss
Daggett’s, though the good-natured coloured woman was not all sure of
her ability to stay with that sharp-tongued lady.

Pansy was to live with the Elliotts, and Mr. Fairfield had promised her
that if under his sister’s tuition she became a competent waitress she
should come the next year to live in the city house of the new Mrs.
Fairfield. Pansy was delighted at this prospect, for she had become
devotedly attached to the Fairfields, and, moreover, was a great admirer
of the lovely Miss Allen.

The day before Patty was to leave Vernondale the Tea Club had a farewell
meeting at Marian’s.

“You know, Patty,” said Elsie Morris, “that you’ll still have to be
president of the Club. We utterly refuse to let anyone else have that
position.”

“But that’s perfectly silly,” protested Patty; “it would be much more
sensible for me to be an honourable or honorary ex-president, and you
put in somebody else to rule the Club this winter.”

“Pooh,” said Ethel Holmes, “don’t flatter yourself you ruled this Club!”

“No,” said Patty, laughing, “or if I did rule them, they overruled me.
You’re a fractious lot, and it’s far from being an easy task to be your
president. However, as I want you to have somebody to keep you straight
during my absence, I’m going to propose my cousin Marian for the office
of president.”

This proposal was most favourably received, and Marian was unanimously
elected president of the Tea Club, until such time as Patty should
return to Vernondale. For the girls, one and all, refused to admit that
Patty was going away permanently. They chose to assume that she was
merely going to New York for the winter, and implicitly believed that
the summer months would see her again established at Boxley Hall.

“And very likely we _shall_ return,” said Patty. “Nobody can foretell
what my father is going to do, and nobody can stop him when he once
decides what he is going to do. I certainly never dreamed he was going
to marry Nan, until he told me so himself.”

“Aren’t you glad about it?” asked Helen Preston.

“Yes, indeed,” exclaimed Patty; “I’m as happy as can be about it. I just
love Nan, and it will be just like having a sister. I wish they’d get
married right away, only then I suppose we wouldn’t have Grandma Elliott
with us this winter, and I’d be sorry about that. Now remember, girls,
just as soon as we get settled at The Wilberforce you’re all to come in
some Saturday. Papa says not to come for tea, because it makes you so
late getting home, but to come for luncheon, and he’ll take us all to
the matinée afterward.”

There was a general chorus of glee at this, for the girls were well
acquainted with the kind and genial Mr. Fairfield, and his invitation
meant a delightful treat.

“I do think your father is lovely,” said Polly Stevens, “and I think
you’re going to have beautiful times in the city this winter. I really
quite envy you.”

“But I wish you weren’t going,” said Christine Converse; “I don’t see
how the Tea Club can get along at all without you.”

“But I shall often come out to the Tea Club meetings,” said Patty; “of
course I shall often come out to Marian’s to stay a day or two, and if
I’m here on Saturday I can come to the Club, and whenever you have an
evening entertainment I’ll come out for that.”

“I hadn’t thought of that,” said Marian, brightening a little; “and you
can come out to our house for Thanksgiving and Christmas, and New Year’s
Day, and all the holidays, can’t you?”

“Yes,” said Patty, smiling; “except the ones you come in to spend with
me.”

As this brighter outlook had greatly decreased Marian’s aspect of
hopeless gloom, the girls all began to wax more merry, and soon they
were all joking and laughing in true Tea Club style.

Each one had brought a parting gift for Patty and the presentations were
made with jesting speeches.

Elsie Morris brought a well-filled court-plaster case, for, as she
explained, Patty was sure to be knocked down and run over every day by
automobiles and trolley cars, and the healing strips would prove
beneficial.

Laura Russell brought her a tiny fern growing in a flower pot, in order
that she might have some green thing to remind her of the country.

“Oho,” said Ethel Holmes, “I’m going to give you a dozen green things to
remind you of the country,” and Ethel produced her gift, which was
nothing more nor less than a humorous sketch of the twelve girls of the
Tea Club. Ethel was clever at drawing, and the group was well
caricatured. Instead of drawing the faces, she had pasted in tiny
photographs of the girls’ features, and, moreover, had realistically
bedecked their hats with tiny feathers and microscopic bows of real
ribbon. Neckties and hair-ribbons were also pasted into place, until the
whole affair was a most comical representation of the Club members.

Patty was delighted and declared she would have this work of art framed
and conspicuously hung in her new home.



                              CHAPTER III
                               A NEW HOME


On Saturday morning the Fairfields and Grandma Elliott started for their
New York home. Uncle Charlie went to town on the same train, and the
rest of the Elliott family escorted the party to the station.

Marian had determined not to cry when Patty went away, but it required
such a desperate effort to carry out her resolution that she made a most
pathetic picture.

“Chirk up, sis,” said Frank; “the world isn’t coming to an end. I’ll be
a Patty to you.”

“And a Grandmother, too?” asked Marian, smiling in spite of herself.

“Yes, and an Uncle Fred. I’ll be a whole family tree to you if you’ll
only smile a little, and brace up. You look like a dying rubber plant.”

Marian did brighten up a little, and as the train rolled out of the
station the last Patty saw of her cousin was a positive, if not very
merry, smile of farewell.

Following the process of thought usual to those starting off on a
journey, Patty spent the first half of the trip to New York thinking
about those she had left behind; thinking of her pleasant Vernondale
home, her dear relatives, and the merry crowd of Tea Club girls. At
first it seemed to her that no new scenes or new friends could ever make
up for those she was leaving. But as she neared Jersey City and as she
crossed the long ferry her thoughts turned forward to her new home in
New York, and her anticipations began to seem bright and happy.

Uncle Charlie parted from them at the ferry, and soon Patty and her
large family, as she called it since the addition of Grandma Elliott,
were in a cab driving uptown to The Wilberforce.

Grandma Elliott was perhaps the most enthusiastic member of the party.
That good lady was very fond of New York city, and had the effect of a
patriot returning home after an enforced absence.

When at last she was ushered into the pretty apartment at The
Wilberforce, she was more delighted than ever.

“My dear Fred,” she exclaimed, “what beautiful rooms! So bright and
sunny, and such a delightful outlook across the park. I’m sure we shall
be very happy here.”

The rooms did look very attractive. The furniture sent from Vernondale
had been unpacked and put in place, and now it only remained for Patty
to arrange the smaller trifles that were to make the place distinctively
home-like.

To Patty’s surprise they found awaiting them a large box of
chrysanthemums addressed to Grandma, and a smaller box of carnations for
Patty. These had been sent as a greeting of welcome from Mr. Hepworth.

“How kind it was of him to send them,” said Patty, as she arranged the
flowers in tall glass vases; “we’ll keep these beautiful chrysanthemums
in the library and put the pink carnations in the reception-room. Now,
I’ll put these brass candlesticks on the mantel—and, papa, I wish you’d
wind that fussy French clock of yours, for I don’t dare touch it.”

“Indeed, you’d better not touch it, Miss Harum-scarum; that clock
insists on being treated with the utmost deference and respect. I’m
afraid you’d smash it at the first winding.”

“I dare say I should; I never can make a clock go. Now, Grandma, can’t I
help you with your unpacking?”

The three worked with right good-will, and by noon nearly everything was
in place. This was fortunate, for just as Patty flung herself down in an
easy chair to rest, and to survey the results of her labours, callers
were announced.

These were Aunt Isabel St. Clair and Ethelyn.

“For goodness’ sake!” exclaimed Patty, in dismay, “I don’t want to see
them—at least not just now.”

“You can’t very well help seeing them,” said Grandma, “so you may as
well look pleasant about it. You may show them up,” she added to the
servant who had brought the cards.

In a few moments Aunt Isabel and Ethelyn came bustling in.

“How do you do?” exclaimed Mrs. St. Clair, “how perfectly lovely to have
you here in town. And how delightful, Mrs. Elliott, that you can be here
to take care of our Patricia.”

Patty smiled at the name which no one ever called her except the St.
Clair family, and Aunt Isabel chattered on.

“You’re looking well, Fred, and what lovely rooms you have; I shall
spend a great deal of my time here, I’m sure. I shall always drop in to
luncheon when I’m in town for the day shopping.”

“So shall I,” said Ethelyn, “and I’m coming to stay a week at a time,
mayn’t I, Patty?”

“I’m not sure about that,” said Mr. Fairfield, smiling kindly, “for you
see Patty is going to be very busy this winter. She’s going to school,
and I want her to study hard; and she is to take music lessons, so that
really she will have little time to play.”

“Oh, are you going to school?” said Ethelyn, in a disappointed tone;
“I’m not going any more. Mamma wanted me to, but I said I wouldn’t. I’m
coming out this winter, and I’m going to have smashing good times. Don’t
go to school, Patricia.”

“Patty hasn’t anything to say about it,” said Patty’s father, smiling at
his daughter.

“I want to go, anyway,” said Patty; “I want to learn things, and,
besides, I think sixteen is too young for a girl to come out.”

“Much too young,” said Grandma Elliott, decidedly; “Patty is in my
charge this winter, and she is to be a schoolgirl and not a young lady
in society.”

Aunt Isabel sniffed a little, and looked at Mrs. Elliott through her
_lorgnon_. But the elder lady bore the scrutiny calmly, and only said,
“I hope Patty will be happy in spite of my restrictions.”

“Oh, of course she will; and I dare say you are quite right,” said Mrs.
St. Clair, quickly, for she had no wish to offend Mrs. Elliott. “What
school are you going to, my dear child?”

“I selected her school,” said Mr. Fairfield, “and I decided that the
Oliphant school would be best for her.”

“And a wise choice, too,” said Aunt Isabel; “that’s where I wanted
Ethelyn to go this year. The best people in New York patronise it.”

“But they’re awfully strict there,” said Ethelyn; “they make you study
every minute. The lessons are awful hard, and the rules are something
terrible.”

Patty began to look a little serious at this prospect, but Mr. Fairfield
said: “School management that isn’t strict is no management at all; but
if Patty gives this school a fair trial and finds she doesn’t like it,
we’ll try to find one that suits her better.”

Mr. Fairfield invited the guests to stay to luncheon and they willingly
accepted.

Patty was a little disappointed, for though fond of her aunt and cousin
in some ways, she would have preferred not to have them there the first
day.

The St. Clairs were very assertive people and seemed to pervade the
whole place. They fluttered about from room to room, examining
everything, and freely offering advice and criticism.

“I will help you select some new clothes, Patricia,” said her aunt; “for
I’m sure what you had in Vernondale will not be suitable for the city.”

Grandma Elliott looked dismayed. She was of such a gentle, refined
nature that she could not quite bring herself to refuse Mrs. St. Clair’s
offer, and yet as she glanced at the over-dressed Ethelyn she was very
sure that she did not wish Patty similarly attired.

But Mr. Fairfield came to her rescue. “Thank you, Isabel,” he said; “but
you see I’m still trying experiments with my daughter. And this winter I
have put her entirely in charge of Mrs. Elliott in every
particular—even including her millinery goods. But come, let us all go
down to luncheon, and we shall be greatly indebted to you if you will
assist us in ordering that.”

As Patty sometimes expressed it, her father had a happy faculty for
offending people without their knowing it; and he had changed the
subject so deftly that Mrs. St. Clair scarcely realised that her offer
had been refused.

As they went down in the elevator, and passed through many beautiful
rooms on their way to the dining-room, Ethelyn grew enthusiastic with
delight.

“Oh,” she whispered, as she squeezed Patty’s arm, “it must be just
gorgeous to live here! Such beautiful rooms, and such grand-looking
people, and servants all about. I should think you would always want to
sit in these parlours.”

“I don’t,” said Patty, laughing; “I wouldn’t know what to do sitting up
here in state. I think our own rooms much more pleasant and home-like.”

The dining-room, too, excited Ethelyn’s admiration. The soft thick
carpets, and daintily laid tables, each with its vase of flowers, seemed
suddenly to her far more desirable than the well-appointed dining-room
in her own home at Villa Rosa.

Ethelyn was of an envious disposition, and though she was indulged and
petted by her parents, she always wanted the belongings of someone else.
She determined right then and there to coax her father to close up Villa
Rosa and come to New York for the winter, though she had little hope
that he would do so.

Whatever might be Aunt Isabel’s taste in buying clothes, she certainly
knew very well how to order a luncheon, and as Mr. Fairfield put the
matter entirely in her hands, a most satisfactory repast was the result.

Patty enjoyed it all immensely, and as she looked around at the
pleasant-faced people at the other tables she came to the conclusion
that it was all very attractive, and that her home would be very happy.

She was glad that Aunt Isabel and Ethelyn were only temporary guests,
for Patty could not help noticing that Mrs. St. Clair, though polite and
correct, did not act quite like Grandma Elliott.

The elder lady, though equally sophisticated, had an air of reserve and
gentle dignity which seemed to Patty far more charming than Aunt
Isabel’s haughty self-assurance. Though Patty herself was inexperienced,
she knew by instinct that Aunt Isabel laughed just a little too loudly,
and expressed her opinions just a little too frankly, for a public
dining-room.

But Mrs. St. Clair had been very kind to Patty during her visit the
previous year, and, too, she had, as Patty was well aware, some very
lovable traits. So Patty’s sense of justice asserted itself, and she
reproached herself for having criticised her aunt unkindly, even in
thought.

As the St. Clairs were going to a matinée, they left immediately after
luncheon, and Patty drew a little sigh of relief after their departure.

“I like Aunt Isabel least of any of my aunts, papa,” she said.

“I don’t blame you much, my child; Isabel is kind-hearted, but she is a
worldly woman, and exceedingly superficial. Your Aunt Alice is worth a
dozen of her.”

“Yes,” said Patty, “and Aunt Grace is worth half-a-dozen, and Aunt
Hester is worth three or four, anyway.”

“But she is your aunt, Patty,” said Grandma Elliott, gently; “you must
remember that, and consequently you owe her respect and deference.”

“All right, Grandma; I’ll pay her all the respect and deference she
wants; but I do hate to have her bothering around when we want to get
settled to our housekeeping. But now they’ve gone, and I can have a good
long afternoon to straighten things out.”

“All right, Puss,” said her father, “and I’m going out now, on some
errands, and if you tuck Grandma away for a little nap, which I’m quite
sure she needs, you can have an uninterrupted hour all to yourself.”

“Beautiful!” cried Patty; “then I can fix all my books just as I want
them, and arrange my tea table and bureau-drawers and everything. And
you’ll bring me home a box of candy, won’t you, so we can have a lovely
cosey time this evening?”

“In the bright lexicon of your youth, a cosey time seems to mean a box
of candy and a new book.”

“Yes,” said Patty; “I’m sure I don’t know anything cosier. Now run
along, and come back early, and don’t forget the candy.”

A little fatigued with the unusual exertions of the day, Mrs. Elliott
went to her room for her nap, and Patty prepared to enjoy herself in her
own way. She was tidy by nature, and really enjoyed what she called
straightening out. Deciding upon the best places for her belongings, and
then arranging them in those places, proved an absorbing occupation, and
she spent the whole afternoon thus happily at work.



                               CHAPTER IV
                                LORRAINE


Later in the afternoon Kenneth Harper called.

Patty and Grandma Elliott were both glad to see the boy, for though a
student at Columbia College, he had visited much at Vernondale, and they
were both well acquainted with him.

“It’s awfully jolly, your being in town this winter, Patty,” he said,
“and I expect I’ll bother you to death running down to see you. If I
come too often, Mrs. Elliott, you must just put me out without any
ceremony.”

“I’ll remember that,” said Grandma, smiling, “and if you appear more
than once a week, I shall give you a gentle hint.”

“A hint will be sufficient, ma’am; I’m not like the man who hung around
until they kicked him downstairs. He thought a while and then the
situation dawned upon him; ‘I know what they meant,’ he said; ‘they
meant they didn’t want me up there!’ Now I’m not like that; I can catch
on much more quickly.”

Patty and Grandma laughed heartily at Kenneth’s funny story, and then
the boy unwrapped a parcel which he had brought.

“You see,” he said, “I felt sure you people would want to do a little
light farming, so I brought you a plantation.”

As he spoke he removed the papers from a pretty window-box, which was
filled with several small plants.

“Oh, how nice!” cried Patty, clapping her hands; “I just wanted
something to take care of. You see I can’t have a dog or a cat or any
kind of an animal here, but I can have plants. One of the girls gave me
a little fern, but I think it is going to die. It’s drooping like a
weeping-willow now.”

“I rather think these will die soon,” said Kenneth, cheerfully, “but it
doesn’t matter; when they do, you can get some more to put in—of a
different kind. It’s nice to have a variety.”

“I think they look very thrifty,” said Grandma, “and I’m sure with good
care they’ll do nicely.”

“Perhaps they will, ma’am; that one in the end is an orange tree. It may
have oranges on by Christmas.”

“Yes, if anybody ties them on,” said Patty, laughing.

With Kenneth’s help they arranged the box in the bay-window, and Patty
named it “Ten-Acre Farm.” “For,” she said, “although it doesn’t really
measure quite ten acres, I like a large-sounding name; it gives you such
a feeling of roominess.”

“And that’s a great thing in New York,” said Kenneth; “somehow I always
feel cramped. My room is too small, there’s never any room in the street
cars, and even the sidewalks are crowded.”

“Well, you may come down and roam around my farm whenever you like,”
said Patty; “and now, don’t you think it would be nice, Grandma, if we
made a cup of tea? Just to see how the tea-things work, you know.”

Grandma thought it would be a very nice plan, and she rang for hot
water, while Patty hunted up the tea-caddy, and Kenneth filled the
alcohol lamp.

And so, when Mr. Fairfield returned with the promised box of candy, he
found a merry tea-party of three awaiting him.

“How do you do, Kenneth, my boy!” he said, cordially grasping young
Harper’s hand.

“I’m very well, Mr. Fairfield, and delighted to welcome you and yours as
fellow-citizens of our village. The last time I saw you, we were all
down at the seashore; do you remember?”

“Yes, and a jolly time we had down there; we must go again next summer.
Won’t you stay and dine with us, Kenneth?”

“No, thank you, sir; I can’t to-night, much as I should like to. I must
go home and dig up Greek roots all the evening.”

“You have a farm, too, then?” said Grandma, smiling.

“Yes, and one that’s rather hard to till. But I suppose, Patty, you’ll
be grubbing away at lessons next week.”

“Yes,” said Patty, “and I believe I’m not to lift my eyes from my book
from Monday morning till Friday night.”

“But Saturdays?” said Kenneth.

“Saturday afternoons, if we are at home, we’ll always be glad to see
you,” said Grandma.

“Thank you, ma’am; I’ll often run down, and, take my chances on finding
you in.”

“I like that young chap,” said Mr. Fairfield, after Kenneth had gone;
“and he seems so alone here in the city. I think we might be a little
kind to him, Grandma.”

“I think so, too,” agreed Mrs. Elliott, cordially; “he’s a thoroughly
nice boy, and I’ve always liked him.”

“He _is_ a nice boy,” said Patty, “and how much he looks like his aunt.
He always makes me think of Miss Daggett.”

The elders laughed at this, for Miss Daggett, who had been the
Fairfields’ next-door neighbour at Vernondale, was an elderly, erratic,
unamiable spinster, and her nephew was a frank young fellow, as
good-natured as he was good-looking.

When dinner-time came Grandma told Patty that she might wear her white
cashmere dress and white hair-ribbons.

This pleased Patty very much, for it was one of her favourite frocks,
and she always enjoyed wearing it. Though not over-fond of dress, Patty
had a great liking for pretty things, and was also very sensitive to
pleasant sights and sounds.

So the dinner-hour delighted her, for the dining-room was gaily lighted
and decorated, and musicians in a palm-screened balcony played soft
music.

Patty took her place at their table, and, being of an adaptable nature,
remarked that she felt already quite at home there.

“I don’t know,” said Mr. Fairfield; “it’s a little more like a hotel
than I had anticipated. Still, if we feel that we’re surrounded by too
many of our fellow-beings, we can have a private dining-room.”

“Oh, no, don’t do that,” said Patty; “I like it better this way.”

“I like it, too,” said Grandma Elliott; “don’t make a change yet, Fred;
let us try it for a while, at least.”

“Very well,” said Mr. Fairfield, “just as you ladies say. And, Grandma,
I think that lady at the next table must know you. She’s smiling at you
most amiably.”

Mrs. Elliott looked in the direction indicated.

“Why, she certainly does know me,” she said, bowing cordially to the
lady in question. “That is Mrs. Hamilton. She’s the daughter of my old
friend, Ellen Howard. And that’s her daughter sitting next her. If
they’re living here, Patty, you will probably find Lorraine Hamilton a
pleasant companion.”

“Lorraine,” said Patty; “what a pretty name. And she looks like a nice
girl, too.”

After dinner our party found Mrs. Hamilton and her daughter in the
parlour, and paused to talk to them there.

Mrs. Hamilton was glad to see Mrs. Elliott, who had been such a dear
friend of her mother’s, and while they talked to each other the two
girls sat down on a near-by sofa to become acquainted.

Lorraine Hamilton was a girl of about Patty’s own age, but while Patty
was rosy and healthy-looking, Lorraine was pale and delicate. She was
very graceful and pretty, with dark hair and large dark eyes. But she
seemed listless and indifferent, and Patty, who enjoyed everything
enthusiastically, wondered what could be the matter with her.

“Are you well?” Patty asked her, bluntly. One of Patty’s greatest faults
was her abrupt manner of questioning people. She did not mean to be
rude, but she was by nature so frank and straightforward that she often
spoke in that way without realising it.

“Yes,” said Lorraine, looking a little surprised, “I’m well, but I’m
never very strong.”

“I don’t believe you take exercise enough,” said Patty, still bluntly;
“you don’t look as if you did.”

“I don’t take any,” said Lorraine, candidly, “that is, not if I can help
it. I walk to school and back every day, but that’s only three blocks
each way, and I never go out anywhere else.”

“But why not?” asked Patty, in amazement.

“Because I don’t want to. I hate to go out of doors; I like to sit in
the house all the time, and read or write.”

“I like to read, too. But I like to run out of doors or walk or ride or
play tennis or skate or anything like that.”

“I don’t,” said Lorraine, shortly.

She spoke so curtly that Patty suddenly realised that perhaps she hadn’t
been very polite herself, and as she saw that Grandma Elliott and Mrs.
Hamilton were still deeply absorbed in their conversation, she felt that
she ought to try once more to entertain this queer girl.

“What do you like to read?” she asked, by way of starting a subject.

“Poetry,” said Lorraine, “all kinds of poetry. I’m going to be a poet
myself.”

“Oh, are you?” said Patty, a little awed by this confident announcement.

“Yes, I’ve sent some poems to the magazines already.”

“Have they been printed yet?”

“No, they weren’t even accepted. But that doesn’t discourage me; poets
never succeed at first.”

“No, I suppose not.” Patty wished to be agreeably encouraging, but she
knew very little about the experiences of young poets.

“Do you live in The Wilberforce?” she asked, thinking it better to get
away from the subject of poetry.

“Yes,” said Lorraine; “we’re on the third floor.”

“Why, so are we; how very nice. Will you come and see us?”

“Yes, indeed,” said Lorraine; “I’d like to ever so much. We’re very
lonely; my father is in the Navy, and is away on a three years’ cruise.
So mother and I are all alone.”

“I’m glad you’re here; Grandma and your mother can be company for each
other, and I’m sure you and I will be friends. Where do you go to
school?”

“To the Oliphant.”

“Why, that’s where I’m going; I start on Monday.”

“That’s nice; we can go together.” For the first time Lorraine seemed to
show some interest and animation, and Patty felt encouraged to believe
that there might be some fun in this queer girl after all.

“Tell me about the school,” she said.

“Well,” said Lorraine, “it’s quite a big school, with lots of pupils and
about a dozen teachers. Miss Oliphant is the principal, and she’s very
stern and strict. Miss Fenton is vice-principal, and she isn’t a bit
stern. In fact, she’s too easy-going; you can just wind her around your
finger. Then the French teacher is rather nice, and Miss Rand, the
English teacher, is lovely.”

“Tell me about the girls,” said Patty.

“Oh, there are all sorts; there are the grubbing girls that just study
and dig all the time, and the silly girls, who never study at all. Then
there is a set of snobbish girls, who stick up their noses at anybody
who isn’t a millionaire.”

“The girls don’t sound very nice, as you describe them,” said Patty.

“No, they’re not very nice; I don’t know a girl I really like in the
whole school.”

“That sounds cheerful,” said Patty, laughing; “I think I’ll enjoy a
school made up of girls like that. Do you suppose they’ll like me?”

“I don’t know,” said Lorraine, looking uninterested; “they don’t like
me.”

Patty felt like saying, “I shouldn’t think they would,” but she politely
refrained, and just then the elder ladies called them to go upstairs.

“Well,” said Patty, as she was alone with her family once more, “that
Hamilton girl is the queerest thing I ever saw. She didn’t have a good
word to say about anybody or anything, and she doesn’t seem to have a
joy in life. Such a lackadaisical, washed-out looking thing as she is!
I’m sorry for her.”

“Perhaps you can cheer her up, Patty girl,” said her father; “you have
joy and good-humour enough for two, I’m sure. Can’t you give her a
little?”

“It would be fun to try,” said Patty, smiling at the idea; “perhaps I
can transform her into a gay, jolly little flutter-budget.”

They all laughed at the notion of the pale Lorraine being gay or jolly,
but Patty was more in earnest than they thought, and she said: “I really
am going to try, for I think it’s my duty; and besides I can’t stand
seeing such a forlorn-looking thing around.”

“Do try, Patty,” said Grandma, gently, “and I hope you will succeed. You
will have ample opportunity, for I have invited Mrs. Hamilton to come
and see us, and to bring Lorraine.”

“All right, Grandma,” said Patty, cheerily, “I’ll do my best.”



                               CHAPTER V
                              A NEW SCHOOL


“I am so glad,” said Patty, as they sat at breakfast Monday morning,
“that Lorraine Hamilton goes to the Oliphant school. It’s so much nicer
to have somebody to go with than to go alone among a lot of strange
girls.”

“You’ll soon get acquainted,” said her father, “and you’ll probably grow
to love your school so much that you’ll be restless and impatient during
the hours you will have to spend at home.”

This was a great joke, for Patty’s aversion to school and lessons was
well known.

“Indeed I won’t,” she exclaimed; “I just hate school, and always shall.
Of course I want to learn things, but I’d rather sit at home and read
them myself, out of books.”

“It does seem too bad,” said her father, “that you can’t have your own
way in this matter; but you just can’t. Your cruel tyrant of a parent
ordains that you must go to school for a year at least; but if you study
hard and learn a lot during that year, perhaps next year he’ll let you
stay at home.”

“Well,” said Patty, resignedly, “I’ll go this year then, because I don’t
see as I can help myself; and I’ll just study and cram all the time, so
I won’t have to go next year.”

“I wish you were more studious, Patty,” said Grandma.

“I wish so, too, Grandma,” said Patty, “but I’m not, and never will be.
So you’ll have to take me just as I am, and make the best of me.”

The school was only three blocks away, and Patty and Lorraine started
off together. It was not a very cheerful walk, for Lorraine wore her
usual air of glum despondency, and Patty felt so far from gay herself
that she didn’t even try to cheer up her companion.

The school term had opened a week before, but Mr. Fairfield had arranged
with Miss Oliphant for Patty to go right to her classes immediately upon
her arrival.

Patty had never seen the school or the teachers, and Lorraine’s account
of them had not sounded at all attractive.

“Let me sit by you, Lorraine, mayn’t I?” Patty said, as they neared the
school.

“Yes, indeed,” said Lorraine; “I’ll be glad to have you. Nobody ever
wants to sit by me. Perhaps we can’t be together in all our classes, but
the opening exercises are held in the big assembly-room, and we can sit
together there.”

“All right,” said Patty, who somehow had an unaccountable feeling of
loneliness at thought of the strange school. She knew she was foolish,
and she tried hard to overcome it, yet she couldn’t help wishing herself
back in Vernondale.

The Oliphant school was a large and handsome building, well equipped
after the most modern fashion. Miss Oliphant herself received Patty, and
welcomed her politely, though without cordiality. Indeed, it would have
been difficult to imagine Miss Oliphant showing cordiality. She was a
most dignified and important-looking personage. She held her head very
high, and her cold grey eyes seemed to look right through Patty and read
her very thoughts. But if Miss Oliphant did observe Patty’s dejection,
she certainly made no effort to allay it.

“I am glad to see you,” she said, but her formal handshake and
conventional smile did not seem to corroborate her words. “You will take
your place with the rest in the assembly-room, and after the opening
exercises of the morning you will be assigned to your classes.”

This was followed by a gesture of dismissal, but Patty paused long
enough to ask: “May I sit next to Lorraine Hamilton?”

An expression of surprise passed over Miss Oliphant’s face, but she only
said, “Certainly, if you wish to,” and then Patty rejoined Lorraine in
the hall, and together they went to the assembly-room.

As it was already time for school to open, Patty had no opportunity to
be introduced to any of her fellow-pupils. She looked at them, however,
with a good deal of interest, and decided that notwithstanding
Lorraine’s opinion of them they looked like very nice girls. Two or
three in particular she picked out as looking interesting, and one
dark-eyed, merry-faced girl she felt sure would be especially friendly.
She even smiled pleasantly at this girl, but to her surprise her smile
was not cordially returned. The girl acknowledged it by a mere nod, and
looked away. Patty felt a little embarrassed, and concluded that city
girls were horrid, stuck-up things, and she longed for her merry
companions at the Vernondale school. Several times she found herself
gazing intently at one or another of the pupils, but invariably her look
was returned by a cold stare, or ignored entirely.

“I’m perfectly silly to think anything about it,” thought Patty to
herself; “it’s just their way of not recognising anybody until they’ve
been formally introduced. They’ll be all right after I’ve really met
them. I’ve never been foolishly sensitive before, and I’m not going to
begin now.”

So Patty bravely put out of her mind all thoughts of the girls’ apparent
attitude toward her, and turned her attention to her school duties. She
was glad to find that in most of her studies she was in the class with
Lorraine, and consequently was able to sit by her all through the
morning.

The Oliphant school was attended by both boarding pupils and day pupils,
and at noon a hot luncheon was served for all. After the morning lessons
were over the girls gathered in groups, chatting gaily while they
awaited the summons to the dining-room.

Patty supposed, of course, that at this time Lorraine would introduce
her to the girls, but she was disappointed. The two stood together
alone, and Lorraine made no suggestion of joining any of the others.
Neither did she exert herself to entertain Patty, but stood morose and
glum, looking out of a window.

Annoyed by what she chose to consider Lorraine’s rudeness, Patty
determined to make her own way, and walking across the room to where the
pleasant-faced girl was standing, she said:

“I’m a new pupil, and I feel very lonely; mayn’t I join this group and
begin to get acquainted? My name is Patty Fairfield.”

“Mine is Clementine Morse,” said the girl she addressed, “and this is
Maude Carleton, and this is Adelaide Hart.”

The girls nodded as their names were mentioned, but paid no further
attention to Patty. Maude and Adelaide began to talk to each other about
their own affairs, but Clementine good-naturedly opened a conversation
with Patty.

“You’re a day pupil, I suppose,” she said; “are you a friend of Lorraine
Hamilton?”

“Yes,” said Patty; “she’s the only girl I know here. She lives in the
same hotel I do, and we came together this morning. She’s in most of my
classes. You’re not, are you? At least I didn’t see you in the classroom
this morning.”

“No,” said Clementine, laughing; “I’m below you in everything. I’m only
one of the Gigs.”

“Gigs!” exclaimed Patty; “what in the world are they?”

“Why, you see,” explained Clementine, “the Oliphant school, like Gaul,
is divided into three parts. The girls are all either Prigs or Digs or
Gigs.”

“Tell me about them,” said Patty, much interested.

“Well, the Prigs are a lot of stuck-up girls who never do anything
wrong. They’re awfully goody-goody, and most fearfully correct in their
deportment. They’re on the Privileged Roll all the time. They don’t
study so very much, but they’re great on etiquette and manners. Then the
Digs are the girls who study like fury. They’re like Kipling’s
rhinoceros: they never had any manners, then, since, or henceforward,
but they’re most astonishing wise and learned. You can tell them by
their looks. They wear two wrinkles over their nose, and a pair of
glasses. Then the Gigs are my sort. We giggle all the time, never study
if we can help it, and are continually being punished for the fun we
have. Which do you think you’ll be?”

“I don’t know,” said Patty, smiling. “I hate to study, so I don’t
believe I can be a Dig; I’m sure I haven’t manners enough to be a Prig,
and, somehow, to-day I don’t feel jolly enough to be a Gig. Which is
Lorraine?”

“She isn’t any of them,” said Clementine; “I don’t believe anybody could
classify her.”

Just then luncheon was announced, and the girls all went to the
dining-room.

Patty sat next to Lorraine, and was disappointed to see that Clementine
was at another table. The dining-room was very pleasant, and the small
tables were daintily appointed. Eight girls sat at each table, and
though Lorraine introduced Patty to her table-mates, after a few
perfunctory sentences to her they began to chat together about matters
of which Patty knew nothing.

Poor Patty’s spirits sank lower and lower. The girls were not actually
rude to her; they merely seemed to take no interest in her, and had no
wish to become better acquainted.

This was decidedly a new experience for Patty. All her life she had been
liked by her companions. In Vernondale she had been the favourite of the
whole school; and even when she went to school in Boston, the girls
though less enthusiastic, had all been pleasant and kind.

She couldn’t understand it at all, but with her usual philosophic
acceptance of the inevitable, she concluded that it was the custom of
New York girls to treat strangers coolly, and she might as well get used
to it.

So, assuming a cheerfulness which she was far from feeling, she
addressed herself to Lorraine, and tried to keep up a conversation.

But that depressed piece of humanity was even more like a wet blanket
than usual, and Patty was forced to give it up in despair.

She looked around the dining-room and couldn’t help noticing that the
group at each table were chatting merrily, and that nowhere else did
there seem to be a stranger like herself.

After luncheon there were still fifteen or twenty minutes before class
time.

Again Patty determined to do her part toward bringing about a pleasanter
condition of affairs. Selecting another affable-looking girl, Patty
asked Lorraine to introduce her.

“Why, that’s Gertrude Lyons,” said Lorraine, in astonishment.

“I don’t care if it’s Gertrude Bears, or Gertrude Wild Tigers,” said
Patty, “I want you to introduce me. Will you?”

“Certainly,” said Lorraine, staring at Patty; “come on.”

In a half-apologetic way Lorraine presented Patty to Gertrude Lyons, and
in a wholly rude way Gertrude stared at them both.

“How do you do?” she said, coldly, to Patty. “Is this your first day
here?”

“Yes,” said Patty, determined to be friendly, in spite of Gertrude’s
repelling air; “and I think I shall like it after I get better
acquainted with you all. It seems a little strange at first.”

“Where do you live?” asked Gertrude, abruptly.

“At The Wilberforce, where Lorraine lives.”

“How long have you lived there?”

“Only two days,” said Patty, smiling, “but I’m already beginning to feel
quite at home there.”

“Where did you live before?”

“In Vernondale, New Jersey.”

“Oh,” said Gertrude, and then, as another girl came up to speak to her,
the two walked away without a further word to Patty.

This was a little too much. Patty’s face grew crimson, and she turned to
Lorraine with a look of angry surprise.

“I knew you wouldn’t like her,” said Lorraine in a dull, careless tone,
“but you insisted on being introduced. She’s one of the Prigs, and the
Priggiest one of them all. She won’t speak to a girl unless she lives on
Fifth Avenue and keeps forty-’leven servants.”

“Well, I think she’s just as rude as she can be,” said Patty; “she isn’t
half as nice as she looks.”

“Oh, she snubbed you because you owned up that you came from the
country. If you want the Prigs to like you, don’t tell them you came
from New Jersey.”

“New Jersey is just as good as New York,” said Patty, growing indignant;
“and the girls there are a great deal nicer, and have better manners
than the girls at this school. I think Clementine Morse is nice,
though,” she added, her sense of justice asserting itself.

“I don’t,” said Lorraine, calmly; “I don’t like any of them.”

With a heavy heart Patty went to her afternoon classes. The outlook was
not encouraging. School life was none too pleasant, at best; but school
life with a lot of hateful, disagreeable girls promised to be nothing
short of misery.

Patty drew a long breath when the lessons were over for the day, and
walked home with Lorraine in no more cheerful frame of mind than her
companion.



                               CHAPTER VI
                             THE REASON WHY


When Patty reached home she flung herself into the library like a small
whirlwind.

“It’s just awful, Grandma,” she exclaimed, throwing herself into a big
armchair with absolute despair written on her face. “It’s a horrid,
_horrid_ school, and I wish I didn’t have to go to it. The girls are
snippy and rude and disagreeable! They don’t like me and I don’t like
them; and won’t you help me to coax papa not to make me go there any
more? I’d rather have a governess, or anything!”

“Tell me all about it, dear,” said Grandma, as she quietly took Patty’s
hat and gloves away from the excited child.

“Why, they just snubbed me right and left; and Lorraine says it’s
because I came from the country! Did you ever hear such foolishness?”

“I certainly never did,” said Grandma, smiling in spite of the
seriousness of the occasion. “You are not a New York girl, but you are
not countrified enough to be a subject of ridicule. Weren’t any of the
girls nice to you?”

“Only one, and she wasn’t anything to brag of. Her name is Clementine
Morse, and she’s awfully pretty and sweet-looking, but I didn’t see much
of her. She was pleasant, but she seemed to be so more from a sense of
duty than because she really liked me.”

“I don’t understand it,” said Grandma; “_I_ think you’re a very nice
girl, and I don’t see why anyone should think otherwise.”

“Well, they do,” said Patty; “but never mind, I’m not going to think
anything more about it until papa comes home and then I’m going to ask
him not to make me go there any more.”

As Grandma Elliott was a wise old lady she refrained from further
questions and dropped the subject entirely. She proposed to Patty that
they should go out and do a little shopping, and get some fresh air and
exercise.

This proved a most successful diversion, and soon Patty was her own
merry, bright self again.

But when Mr. Fairfield came home at five o’clock Patty laid the case
before him in emphatic and graphic language.

“They’re different kinds of horrid,” she said in conclusion, “but
they’re _all_ horrid. Only a few of them were really rude, but they all
ignored me, and seemed to wish that I’d get off the earth.”

“How did you treat them?” asked her father, who was really puzzled at
the turn affairs had taken.

“Why, I did the best I knew how. I waited for them to be nice to me, and
then when they didn’t, I tried to be nice to them. But they wouldn’t let
me. Of course, papa, you know I know enough not to be forward, or push
myself in where I’m not wanted; but I just tried to get acquainted in a
nice way, and they wouldn’t have it at all.”

“I can’t see through it, Puss; it’s really most extraordinary. But I
can’t believe they don’t like you; a nice, pretty little girl like you
ought to make friends at first sight. And you always have done so.”

“I know it, papa; I never had anybody act like this before. Please say I
needn’t go any more.”

“Patty, my dear child, I can’t consent to take you away from the school
at once, though I am very, very sorry for you. The whole thing seems so
strange, and I can’t believe but that it will straighten itself out in a
day or two. Now I’ll tell you what we’ll do. If you’ll go to school the
remainder of this week and try your best to do your part toward bringing
about a better understanding, I’ll promise you that if you don’t succeed
by the end of the week you needn’t return next Monday. I know it will be
hard for you, but I think it only just to give the school a fair trial,
and I don’t want you to decide after only one day’s experiences.”

Patty looked disappointed, but she had a brave heart, and, too, she had
implicit confidence in her father’s judgment.

“All right, papa,” she said; “I’ll do it. I hate like fury to go back
there to-morrow. But I will. And I’ll do my part, too; I’ll try my very
best to make the girls like me, but if they don’t act differently by
Friday, I’ll give up the fight.”

“That’s my own brave girl; and truly, Patty, I believe it will be all
right in a day or two. It’s preposterous to think that a lot of
schoolgirls should unanimously agree to dislike you. I’m sure there is
some explanation. Either you exaggerate their natural hesitation toward
a comparative stranger, or else there is a serious misunderstanding
somewhere.”

“Then you don’t think it’s because I came from the country, papa?”

“Nonsense! you weren’t brought up in the back woods. Vernondale is too
near New York to be as countrified as all that. I don’t suppose you
talked bad grammar, or displayed uncouth table-manners.”

“No,” said Patty, smiling; “I tried to behave like a little lady; but
apparently I didn’t succeed.”

“Well, don’t think another thing about it,” said her father; “just go
right along every day this week; and if you don’t want to go—go because
_I_ want you to. Clinch your hands and grit your teeth, if necessary;
but march along each day like my brave little soldier, and somehow I
think we’ll conquer in the long run.”

Patty had inherited a good deal of the Fairfield pluck, and she caught
the spirit of her father’s advice.

“I’ll do it,” she said, determinedly; “I’ll try as hard as I can to win,
but I don’t see much hope.”

“Never mind the hope; just go ahead with your efforts and let the
results take care of themselves. And now let us go down and have an
especially nice dinner, to restore us after this heart-rending scene.”

When they entered the dining-room Patty was surprised to see Adelaide
Hart at one of the tables. Patty bowed cordially as she passed her, but
Adelaide returned it without enthusiasm.

Fortified by her talk with her father, Patty determined not to mind
this, and passed on with a heightened colour. She did not tell her
father about Adelaide, for she had resolved to fight her own battles
through the week.

The dinner was very pleasant. Mr. Fairfield was merry and entertaining,
Grandma was very sweet and comforting, and Patty began to feel as if
life were worth living, after all.

After dinner they joined the Hamiltons in the parlour, and Patty and
Lorraine talked over the events of the day.

“I thought you wouldn’t like the girls,” said Lorraine; “I don’t like
them either, and they don’t like me.”

“I saw Adelaide Hart in the dining-room to-night,” said Patty; “does she
live here?”

“Yes, they’re on the fourth floor. That was her father and mother at the
table with her, and her two sisters. They’re awfully disagreeable girls;
I don’t speak to them.”

Patty was more puzzled than ever. Adelaide Hart looked like a nice girl,
but she certainly had not treated Patty nicely, and Lorraine had
evidently noticed it.

The second day at school was much like the first. The girls made no
advances, and when Patty tried to be sociable, although not actually
rude, they did not encourage her, and made use of the slightest pretext
to get away from her. This left Patty entirely dependent on the society
of Lorraine, and so the two were constantly together.

The third day brought no change for the better, and Patty’s pride began
to assert itself. What the reason could be, she had no idea, but she was
certain now that the girls avoided her for some definite reason; and as
she was innocent of any intentional offence she deeply resented it. She
learned her lessons, went to the various classrooms and recited them,
and was generally commended by the teachers for her studiousness and
good deportment.

By Thursday she had come to the conclusion that there was no hope of
making friends with any of her schoolmates, and with this conviction she
practically gave up the struggle. To hide her defeat she unconsciously
assumed a more haughty air, and herself ignored the very girls who had
neglected her. On Thursday afternoon the whole school went for a walk in
Central Park, as was the custom on stated occasions. Clementine Morse
asked Patty to walk with her. This was a distinct advance, and Patty
would have welcomed it joyfully earlier in the week. But it came too
late, and though Patty really wanted to go with Clementine, her outraged
pride and growing resentment forced her to refuse and she answered
coldly: “Thank you, but I’m going to walk with Lorraine.”

Thursday night Mr. Fairfield asked Patty how the experiment was
succeeding. They had not discussed the matter much through the week, but
Mr. Fairfield had gathered a pretty accurate knowledge of the state of
affairs from Patty’s demeanour.

“There’s no hope,” said Patty; “at least, Clementine Morse did ask me to
walk with her to-day, but after her coolness all the week I wasn’t going
to do it.”

“Revenge is so sweet,” said Mr. Fairfield, looking at the ceiling, but
with a quizzical expression in his eyes; “I hope you thoroughly enjoyed
refusing her invitation.”

“Now, papa, you’re sarcastic,” said Patty; “but I just guess _you_
wouldn’t go walking with people who had snubbed you right and left for
four days!”

“It _is_ hard lines, my girl; and you must use your own judgment. But
don’t be a brave and plucky soldier all through the week, only to be
conquered by a mean little spirit of retaliation at last.”

Patty thought this over pretty thoroughly, as she always thought over
her father’s advice, and she went to school Friday morning resolved to
be magnanimous should any opportunity present itself.

Friday was the day for the gymnasium class. This was a novelty to Patty,
and she greatly enjoyed it, for she was fond of physical exercise.

Lorraine did not attend gymnasium, for, as she had said, she hated
exercise of any kind, and the class was not compulsory.

But Clementine was there, and as the girls stood or sat around, resting
after some calisthenics, she came over to Patty.

“You’re fond of this sort of thing, aren’t you?” she said, with such
frank good-humour that Patty responded at once.

“Yes, I love it; I love any kind of vigorous exercise. Rowing, or
swimming, or out-of-door games I like the best; but this is splendid
fun. I’ve never been in a gymnasium before.”

“Haven’t you? You take to it all so readily I thought you knew all about
it. You’ll like the club-swinging. We’ll have that next week.”

“I won’t be here next week.”

Patty said this involuntarily. She had not meant to announce it so
abruptly, but she spoke before she thought.

“Why not?” exclaimed Clementine, looking dismayed. “Don’t you like the
school?”

“No,” said Patty, feeling suddenly an irresistible desire to probe the
mystery. “No—I don’t. I suppose it’s my own fault, but if so, I don’t
know why. None of the girls like me, they will scarcely speak to me; and
I’m not accustomed to being treated that way.” Patty’s voice trembled a
little, and a suggestion of tears came into her blue eyes, but she stood
her ground bravely, for she was not whining, and she knew it; but she
felt that the time had come for an explanation.

“My goodness gracious!” exclaimed Clementine, “don’t you know why the
girls don’t chum with you?”

“No,” said Patty, her amazement and curiosity rising above all other
sentiments; “and if you know, I wish for pity’s sake you’d tell me.”

“Why,” said Clementine, “it’s only because you’re such an inseparable
chum of Lorraine Hamilton’s. The girls can’t bear her; she is so
disagreeable and doleful and generally unpleasant. We’ve tried our best;
she’s been here two years, you know, but we simply _can’t_ like her. And
so, when you came with her and seemed to be such a desperate friend of
hers, why of course we couldn’t take you up without taking her, too.
And, too, we thought that since you were so terribly intimate with her,
you probably weren’t any nicer than she is. But I soon came to the
conclusion that you weren’t a bit like her and I want awfully to be
friends with you, and so do lots of the other girls. But when I asked
you to walk with me yesterday, you said no, you’d rather walk with
Lorraine, and I felt myself decidedly out of it.”

“I’m sorry about that,” said Patty impulsively; “I was horrid, I know;
but, you see, I had felt so lonely and neglected all the week that
somehow yesterday I got my spunk up, and I just felt like hurting
somebody to make up for the way they had hurt me. I was awfully sorry
about it afterwards.”

“Oh, that’s all right,” said Clementine; “don’t think of it again. And
don’t leave the school, will you? Try it another week, anyhow; I’m sure
you’ll like it when you get started straight.”

“I think I shall,” said Patty; “anyway, I’ll try it one week more. I’m
not a baby, you know, but it _was_ horrid.”

“Yes, I know; but just you wait until next week and see.”



                              CHAPTER VII
                            SOME NEW FRIENDS


“Well, Patty,” said Mr. Fairfield, as they sat in their pleasant library
waiting for dinner-time; “the week is up, and I suppose you have shaken
the dust of the Oliphant school off of your feet for the last time.”

“That’s where you’re wrong, Mr. Man,” said Patty, smiling; “I’ve decided
to try it for another week.”

“That’s pretty good news. And what brought about this sudden change of
base?”

“Why, papa, the whole trouble in a nutshell is only—Lorraine Hamilton.”

“Why, you don’t mean she’s set the girls against you!”

“Not purposely; indeed, I don’t even suppose she knows it herself. But
the real reason the girls didn’t want to get acquainted with me was
because they thought that as I was always with Lorraine, and seemed so
intimate with her I must be just like her. And do you know, they can’t
abide Lorraine; and, papa, she _is_ trying.”

“Yes, she is. It’s a pity, but really I can’t blame anybody for not
liking that doleful little piece of femininity.”

“And it isn’t only her dolefulness, but she seems disagreeable by
nature. You know I told you I’d try to cheer her up, and I have; but,
gracious, you might as well try to amuse a weeping-willow. I never saw
such a girl!”

“It’s true,” said Grandma; “I’m so surprised and disappointed that Ellen
Howard’s grand-daughter should turn out like that. Mrs. Hamilton is
always cheerful and pleasant, but Lorraine isn’t one bit like her. At
first I was sorry for the girl, but now I feel indignant with her. I
know she could be different if she tried.”

“But seriously, Patty,” said Mr. Fairfield, “did the schoolgirls boycott
you because you were friendly with Lorraine?”

“Yes, exactly that, papa. You see, I was more than friendly. We were
inseparable—I was with her all the time. Of course the reason was that
I hadn’t anyone else to go with; but the girls didn’t understand that.
They thought I was——”

“Tarred with the same brush,” suggested Mr. Fairfield. “Well you’re not;
you’re a ray of sunshine compared to that murky thunder-cloud. And it’s
outrageous that you should be punished for her faults. How did you find
all this out?”

“Clementine Morse told me to-day; and she says if I’ll drop Lorraine,
the rest of the girls are more than willing to be chummy and nice. But,
papa, it doesn’t seem right to drop Lorraine like that, and I don’t know
what to do.”

“It is an awkward situation, I admit; but justice demands that your
welfare should be considered as well as hers. Now look at it squarely
and fairly. You’ve devoted this whole week to Lorraine, and apparently
it hasn’t done her one bit of good and it has done you harm. And
supposing you were to keep on in that way, what would be the result?”

“I don’t believe it would be a bit different,” said Patty, honestly.
“She’s been at the school two years before this, and Clementine says
that they’ve all tried to make her more jolly and sociable, but they
couldn’t do it, so they finally gave it up.”

“It’s an unusual case and a very unfortunate one,” said Mr. Fairfield
seriously. “But though Lorraine isn’t pleasant and companionable, there
is no reason why you should sacrifice yourself for her sake.”

“But what can I do? Lorraine is right here in the house and I have to
walk to school and back with her, and I don’t want to be mean to her.”

“Your own tact must manage that, Patty,” said Grandma, in her decided
way. Patty had often noticed that when Grandma Elliott gave advice, it
was good advice and very much to the point. So she listened with
interest as Grandma went on: “You needn’t cut Lorraine, or drop her
friendship entirely; but you can certainly be friends with the other
girls, even though she is not. When they invite you or give you an
opportunity to join their pleasures, give Lorraine a fair chance, too,
and if she isn’t capable of taking advantage of it, let her alone. You
have done your part and are no further responsible. Of course you
understand that this is not to be said in so many words, but I know your
sense of honour and justice and your kind heart will make it possible
for you to manage it tactfully and well.”

“That’s exactly right,” said Mr. Fairfield; “Grandma has expressed in
words just what I had in mind. Now go ahead, Chicken, do all you can for
Lorraine, but not to the extent of injuring your own standing among
those whom you have every reason to wish to please. And I think after a
week or two matters will adjust themselves, and you will fall naturally
into the right groove. You have had an unpleasant experience, but I
think it will come out right yet, and perhaps in the long run you may be
able to help Lorraine, after all.”

“You are the dearest people!” cried Patty, flinging one arm around her
father’s neck, while with the other hand she patted Grandma’s pretty
white hair; “any girl ought to be good and nice with such helpers and
advisers as you two. I’m sure it will all come out right, and I’m as
happy as a clam now. It’s been a horrid week, but we won’t think about
that any more and I know next week will be lovely.”

“That’s the way to talk,” said her father; “forget the unpleasant things
that happen and think only about the happy ones. I believe that remark,
or something similar, has been made before, but it’s just as true as if
it hadn’t been. And now, the affairs of state being, settled, I’d like
to have some dinner.”

As they went down in the elevator they met Lorraine and her mother.

“How nice you look,” said Patty, glancing at a pretty new frock the girl
was wearing.

“Oh, I think it’s horrid,” said Lorraine, fretfully; “it’s such an ugly
shade of blue and the sleeves are too big.”

“Now you see how it is, papa,” said Patty a few moments later as they
seated themselves at their own table; “you heard what Lorraine said
about her dress, and that’s just the way she always is. Nothing pleases
her.”

“Bad case of chronic discontent,” said Mr. Fairfield, “and, I fear,
incurable. I’m glad you are not like that.”

After dinner, as they often did, they paused for a few moments in the
attractive hotel library. In a few moments the Harts came in, and
Adelaide went directly up to Patty and said:

“Won’t you come and talk to us a little while? I want you to meet my
sisters.”

Patty was quite ready to meet this cordiality half-way, and mutual
introductions all around were the result.

Mr. Hart and Mr. Fairfield soon hit upon congenial topics for
conversation, and Mrs. Hart proved pleasantly entertaining to Grandma
Elliott.

This left the young people to themselves, and Patty found the three
girls merry and full of fun.

Adelaide was about Patty’s own age, Jeannette was younger, and Editha,
the oldest sister, who was eighteen, was no longer a schoolgirl. But she
was not out in society, and had teachers at home in French and music.

Patty admired Editha very much, she was so pretty and graceful and did
not put on young ladyfied airs.

Adelaide was not pretty, but she had bright eyes and a humorous smile,
and Patty soon discovered that to have fun was the principal end and aim
of her existence.

Jeannette seemed to be a nice child, and Patty suddenly realised that it
must be a jolly sort of thing to be one of three sisters.

“I quite envy you each other,” she said, “you must have such good times
together.”

“Yes, we do,” said Adelaide; “haven’t you any brothers or sisters?”

“No,” said Patty, “not either. And I have no mother; she died when I was
a baby. But I shall have, next spring,” she added, smiling, “for then my
father is going to marry a lady I’m very fond of. She won’t be a bit
like a mother, for she’s only six years older than I am, but she’ll be
just like a sister, and I shall be so glad to have her with us. But I
never get lonely; I have lots of things to amuse myself, and then
there’s always papa and Grandma.”

“How do you like the Oliphant school?” asked Editha.

“Pretty well,” said Patty, smiling; “at least I shall like it when I get
a little better acquainted. I’ve only been there a week yet.”

Adelaide said nothing about Lorraine, but somehow Patty felt sure that
Clementine had spoken a good word for her; and now as she had a chance
to justify herself to Adelaide, she was her own happy, merry little
self, and the four girls got on famously.

It was not long before Patty reached the conclusion that the Harts were
a thoroughly interesting family. Adelaide seemed really clever, and
Patty was amazed to hear her tell of a fountain which she had herself
constructed in the parlour of their apartment.

“Why, it was as easy as anything,” she said; “I just took a big bronze
vase—a flat one, you know, that papa got in Rome or Florence or
somewhere—and then I took an antique bronze lamp, Egyptian, I think it
is, and I turned the lamp upside down on top of the vase. And then I got
a piece of lead pipe, and of course we had to have a plumber to connect
it with the water-pipe. But the bathroom is just the other side of the
partition, and so that was easy. Then I put palms and plants and things
all around it and so it makes a lovely fountain. Would you like to see
it? Can’t you come up to our rooms now?”

“I’d like to ever so much,” said Patty, and after a word to Grandma the
four girls went off together.

The Harts’ apartment was very similar to the Fairfields’, but on the
floor above them. It was furnished with a queer jumble of tastes. The
main furniture, of course, was that which belonged to the hotel, but the
individual touches were eccentric and rather picturesque.

The fountain was really surprising, and Patty thought Adelaide’s
description had by no means done it justice. The classic-shaped bronzes
were exceedingly ornamental, the palms were tall and luxurious, and the
soft tinkle of the continually falling water made a delightful sound. In
the lower basin were several goldfish, and Patty could scarcely believe
that Adelaide had planned and executed the whole affair herself.

“Why, it was nothing to do,” said the modest architect; “I love to build
things. I’ve made shirt-waist boxes for all of us; I’ll make you one if
you want it.”

“Oh, thank you,” cried Patty, quite overcome by this delightful change
in Adelaide’s attitude toward her; “I suppose you’ll think me very
ignorant, but really I don’t know what a shirt-waist box is.”

“Oh, that’s just the name of them,” explained Editha; “you don’t have to
keep shirt-waists in them. They’re just big boxes, with covers like a
trunk, and Adelaide does make them beautifully. She covers them with a
kind of Chinese matting, and she even puts on brass corners and hinges.
Come into my room with me and I will show you one.”

They all followed Editha to her pretty bedroom, and Patty saw and
admired not only the shirt-waist box, but many of Editha’s other
treasures. Among them was a box of chocolates, and soon the girls were
nibbling away at the candy, and, as is usual in such circumstances,
growing very friendly and well acquainted.

But though the Hart girls were so pleasant to Patty, they were not so
amiable with one another. Editha patronised Adelaide and treated her as
if she were very young and ignorant. Adelaide resented this, but she in
turn domineered over Jeannette, and there were frequent sharp bickerings
back and forth which made Patty feel decidedly uncomfortable.

However, the Harts had a strong sense of humour, and more often than not
their squabbles ended with a joke and a merry peal of laughter.

It was all very novel and entertaining, and when Mrs. Hart returned to
the apartment Patty was surprised to learn that it was after nine
o’clock, and that Grandma had sent word for her to come home.

“Well,” she said, as she sat down in a little chair by her father’s
side, “I’ve made three friends, anyway. The Hart girls are awfully nice.
They seem to be rather snappy to each other, but they were lovely to me,
and I think I shall like them. They’re full of fun and jokes, and
Adelaide is the cleverest thing you ever saw. Why, papa, she has a whole
fountain right in their drawing-room.”

“And a terrace and a driveway?”

“No, not quite that, but I wouldn’t be surprised the next time I go to
find she has built one. She can build anything.”

“Well, I’m glad you’ve found somebody to play with, Puss, and I hope
they’ll be more satisfactory than the dismal Lorraine. By the way, what
became of her? Did she melt into thin air?”

“I don’t know, I’m sure; I didn’t see her at all after dinner.”

“I suppose she abdicated in favour of Adelaide. But don’t drop her all
at once, Puss. Hunt her up to-morrow and offer her a chance to have her
share of the fun, whether she takes it or not.”



                              CHAPTER VIII
                              A TEA-PARTY


On Saturday, when Patty saw the Harts in the dining-room, she asked them
to come to see her that afternoon. Jeannette was going out with her
mother, but the other two willingly accepted the invitation.

“I’ll ask Lorraine, too,” said Patty, “and we’ll make tea and have a
real cosey time.”

“The tea sounds cheerful,” said Adelaide, “but if you’re going to have
Lorraine, I’ll have to ask you to excuse me.”

“Oh, then of course I won’t ask her,” said Patty, quickly, for she did
not think it just to the others to insist upon Lorraine’s presence; “I
can have her some other time just as well. But Clementine Morse said she
would come and see me this afternoon.”

“That’s all right,” said Editha; “everybody likes Clementine.”

In a gay mood Patty prepared for her little tea-party. She easily
persuaded Grandma to send out for a box of marshmallows and a big bag of
chestnuts. “For,” she said, “that lovely wood fire is just the very
place to toast marshmallows and roast chestnuts. I know you’ll like
Clementine Morse, Grandma, she’s so sweet and pretty, and I know she’ll
like you—for the very same reasons.” Patty paused in her preparations
to bestow a butterfly kiss on Grandma’s forehead, and then went on
arranging her dainty tea-table.

“It’ll be almost like the Tea Club,” she said, as she piled up the sugar
lumps and cut thin slices of lemon. “I suppose they’re having a meeting
this afternoon, and Marian is being president. Do you know, Grandma,
sometimes I get a little homesick for the Tea Club.”

“I should think you would, my dear. The Vernondale girls are a nice set.
But perhaps you can get up a Tea Club here.”

“I’d like that,” said Patty, “but the girls are all so different here.
They seem divided, and in Vernondale we were all united, just like one
big family.”

The Harts came early. Editha brought a piece of exquisite fancy-work.
She was a dainty, fragile girl, like a piece of Dresden china, and Patty
looked at her in admiration as she deftly worked at the beautiful
embroidery.

“What clever girls you are,” said Patty; “I couldn’t do anything like
that, if I tried; and I couldn’t make the things Adelaide makes.”

“Probably you can do a lot of things that we can’t do,” said Editha, as
she threaded her needle.

“I can do lots of things,” said Patty, laughing, “but I can’t do
anything very well. I’m a Jack-of-all-trades. The only thing I really
understand is housekeeping; and here, of course, I’ve no opportunity for
that.”

“Housekeeping!” exclaimed Adelaide, “do you really know how to do that?
Wherever did you learn?”

“I used to keep house in my home in New Jersey,” said Patty, quite
ignoring the fact that Lorraine had warned her against mentioning her
country home.

But Adelaide apparently did not share Lorraine’s views on this subject.

“How lovely!” she cried. “Did you have a whole house of your own, where
you could drive tacks in the wall and do whatever you pleased?”

“Yes,” said Patty, “and I had entire charge of it. I always ordered
everything; and I can cook, too.”

“Then you’re cleverer than we are,” said Editha, with an air of
decision; “cooking is much more difficult than embroidering
centre-pieces or nailing boards together.”

“Speak for yourself,” cried Adelaide; “of course anybody can do
embroidery, but it isn’t so awful easy to nail boards together
properly!”

“Why do you do it then?” retorted her sister; “I’m sure nobody wants the
ridiculous things you make.”

“All right then,” said Adelaide, “give me back that book-rack I gave you
yesterday. I’ll be glad to have it for myself.”

“Injun giver!” cried Editha, looking at her sister, angrily at first and
then breaking into a laugh. “Take it, if you want it. I don’t care for
it.”

“Wild horses couldn’t get that thing away from her,” said Adelaide to
Patty; “she’s just crazy over it.”

“I am not!” cried Editha; “it’s nothing but useless rubbish.”

“All right, then I _will_ take it, and I’ll give it to Patty. And just
you wait till I ever make you anything again, Editha Hart!”

“I won’t have to wait long,” said Editha, smiling good-naturedly once
more; and then suddenly Adelaide laughed, too, and harmony was restored.

Soon Clementine Morse came.

“My brother brought me,” she explained, as she came in, “and he’s coming
for me again at five o’clock.”

Patty introduced her new friend to Grandma, and then Clementine greeted
the Hart girls gaily.

“Isn’t it lovely,” she exclaimed, “for you all to live in this same
house together! Where you can visit each other whenever you like,
without waiting for a brother to come and bring you or take you home.”

“We’d wait a long while for our brother,” said Adelaide, laughing, “and
so would Patty. You’re lucky to have a brother, Clem.”

“Yes, I know it; and Clifford is an awful nice boy, but just so sure as
I want him he wants to be going somewhere else. Still, he’s pretty good
to me. Oh, what lovely marshmallows! are you going to toast them on
hat-pins?”

“Good guesser!” cried Patty, “that’s exactly what we’re going to do, and
we’re going to do it right now. I’ll toast yours, Editha, and pop them
into your mouth, so you won’t get your fingers sticky.”

“No, thank you,” said Editha, rolling up her work; “half the fun is in
the toasting. Let’s all do it together.”

“We didn’t wear any hats,” said Adelaide, “so we haven’t any hat-pins
with us.”

“That’s one of the disadvantages of living in the same hotel, after
all,” said Clementine; “of course having no hat-pins, you can’t be in
the toasting party at all.”

But Grandma came to the rescue with some knitting-needles, and soon four
laughing girls with very red cheeks were sitting on the floor in front
of the fire, and the marshmallows were rapidly disappearing. The
chestnuts were voted to be nearly as much fun as the confections, and
the feast was at its height when the doorbell rang and Kenneth Harper
was announced.

“Oh, Ken!” cried Patty, scrambling to her feet, “I’m so glad to see you.
We’re having a roasting and toasting party, and it’s lucky you came
before it’s all eaten up.”

Kenneth shook hands with Patty, and then politely greeted Grandma
Elliott, who was always glad to welcome the boy.

Then he was presented to the girls, and in a few minutes the young
people were chattering like friendly and well-acquainted magpies.

Patty, quite in her element, hovered round the tea-table and made tea in
her usual successful fashion. Grandma produced a surprise in the shape
of dear little frosted cakes, and the healthy young appetites did full
justice to all these things.

“How is the farm growing, Patty?” inquired Kenneth; “I thought I’d come
down and mow the grass for you.”

“I wish you would,” said Patty. “It’s growing all over the place and
threatens to choke the tulip bulbs before they sprout. But oh, Ken, you
ought to see Adelaide’s palmery, or palmistry, or whatever it is. She
has an old Venetian fountain that plays all the time, and goldfish swim
in it, and the palms grow on its banks, and it’s perfectly lovely, and
she made it all herself.”

“I always told you that the city girls were clever,” said Kenneth,
smiling at Patty. “Still, a home-made fountain is really outside of my
experience.”

“It wasn’t difficult,” said Adelaide; “I have a mechanical turn of mind,
and the fountain was an easy matter. But what I’m puzzling over now is
how to build a suspension bridge across the library table. Our library
is so small and the table is so big and there are so many of us to sit
around it that you can’t cross the room at all. And so I thought a
suspension bridge would be both useful and ornamental.”

“I’m sure it would,” said Kenneth, “and as I expect to be a
bridge-builder some day, I might help you draw your plans now; it will
be good practise.”

“I wish you’d hurry up and get it built,” said Editha; “it will be
useful for a great many purposes. I would stand on it sometimes and
recite ‘I Stood on the Bridge at Midnight’; it would be so very
appropriate.”

“I hope you’ll do it at midnight, and then the rest of us needn’t hear
your recitation,” put in Adelaide.

Patty feared one of the sisterly squabbles, and hastened to interrupt
it. “I would come over and stand on your bridge and recite ‘How Horatius
Kept the Bridge.’”

“‘And I will stand at thy right hand and keep the bridge with thee,’”
said Kenneth in exaggerated dramatic tones.

“Well, a bridge seems to be a household necessity,” said Clementine. “I
don’t see how we’ve worried along without one as long as we have.”

In merry nonsense and chaff the time slipped away, and everyone was
surprised when Clifford Morse came for his sister, and said it was after
five o’clock. The boy was invited in, and Patty begged of him that
Clementine might stay a few moments longer.

Although Clifford Morse was only eighteen, he was a young giant. More
than six feet tall, he was broad-shouldered and strong-limbed. His
good-looking boyish face was framed in a thick close-cut crop of brown
hair, and his athletic carriage and bearing was marked by the usual
athlete’s grace.

The courteous respect he showed to Grandma Elliott, and his frank
pleasant manner toward the girls, proved him a well-born and well-bred
young American citizen, and, though meeting for the first time, he and
Kenneth Harper instinctively felt a mutual friendliness.

“This is right down jolly,” he exclaimed, as he took the cup of tea
Patty offered him. “I have attended affairs that were called afternoon
teas, but there must have been a mistake somewhere; they were oppressive
and awe-inspiring functions, but this is the real thing. Is it of
frequent occurrence, Miss Fairfield, or must I wait a long and weary
while before I may come again—to take my sister home?”

“You must ask Grandma,” said Patty, laughing; “she is the captain and
the cook and the crew of this _Nancy Bell_. I am only the midshipmite.”

Young Morse turned to Grandma Elliott with his merry smile. “May I hope
to come again,” he said, “if I promise to be very good and not drink up
all the tea?”

“You may come any Saturday afternoon when we are at home,” said Grandma,
smiling; “but it’s only fair to warn you that we’re very rarely home on
Saturdays.”

“I shall come,” said Clifford, “and I’ll come early, and I’ll make
myself so charming that you’ll quite forget all other engagements.”

“You may try it,” said Grandma, looking kindly at the merry boy.

The click of the key was heard in the front door and in a few moments
Mr. Fairfield joined the party.

Then there were more introductions and more jokes, and much laughter,
for Mr. Fairfield was a universal favourite with children and young
people, and had a talent for always saying and doing exactly the right
thing.

He was as courteous to the girls, including Patty, as though they had
been grown-up ladies, and he greeted the boys with a frank cordiality as
of man to man, which delighted their young souls.

Then Clementine declared she must go home, and, accompanied by Kenneth,
she and her brother took their departure.

Then Editha and Adelaide went away, and Patty sat down by her father’s
side to talk it all over.

“We had a beautiful time, papa,” she said, “and they’re a nice crowd.
But what do you think? The Hart girls said they wouldn’t come if I asked
Lorraine. So I didn’t ask her: and I’m glad of it, for she would have
spoiled the whole party. But it does seem too bad, doesn’t it?”

“Yes, it does, Puss, but you mustn’t take it too much to heart. You’re
not responsible for Lorraine’s unpopularity, and you mustn’t allow it to
spoil your good times. Whenever you can help her, or give her pleasure
in any way that she will accept graciously, I know you’ll do it.”

“Indeed I will, for I’m really going to try to make that girl happier.
But of course I can’t force the other girls to help me, though after I
know them better I may be able to coax them to.”

“You’re a good little girl, Patty, and you’re showing a kind and
generous spirit. Let the good work go on, and some day when you least
expect it I’ll help you out with it.”



                               CHAPTER IX
                                 HILDA


On Monday morning Patty started for her second week at the Oliphant
school without any misgivings as to her reception by the girls.

Although little had been said regarding Lorraine, and though Patty had
loyally refrained from disclaiming her as an intimate friend, yet
Clementine and Adelaide both understood matters better now, and were
quite ready to accept Patty on her own merits.

So it came about that she walked to school between Adelaide and
Lorraine, and though her two companions had little to say to each other,
Patty skilfully managed to be pleasant and sociable with both.

Of course the morning was entirely occupied with lessons, but at the
noon hour Adelaide appropriated Patty and carried her off to join a
group off girls who were merrily chatting together. Clementine was one
of them, and in a few moments Patty discovered that they were all Gigs,
and seemed proud of the appellation.

“It will be the most fun,” Flossy Fisher was saying; “I’ll manage the
Elephant—I can always wind her around my finger—and she won’t know
what it’s all about until she finds herself down cellar in front of the
mirror. You’ll come to it, won’t you, Patty?”

“What is it, and where, and when, and how, and why?” asked Patty,
laughing; “you see I’m a new girl, and a green one. But I suppose from
your mention of the elephant, you’re talking about a circus.”

“It will be a circus,” said Clementine, “but a little private one of our
own. The Elephant is our pet name for Miss Oliphant, and we Gigs are
always playing tricks on her. She pretends she doesn’t like it, but I
think she does, for often behind her frowning spectacles she hides a
smiling face.”

“Isn’t Clementine the cleverest thing!” exclaimed Adelaide; “she can
misquote from all the standard British and American authors. It’s a
great thing to be the bright and shining light of the Literature class.”

“But tell me more about this elephant performance,” said Patty; “why are
you going to put Miss Oliphant down cellar?”

“Sh! breathe it not aloud,” warned Clementine; “the Wild West must not
hear it. It isn’t until Hallowe’en, you know, and then——”

The announcement of luncheon interrupted this conversation, and the
girls started for the dining-room. Adelaide insisted that Patty should
sit at their table, but for two reasons Patty hesitated about this.

In the first place she did not quite want to desert Lorraine so
completely; and second, she was not yet sure that she wanted to proclaim
herself one of the Gigs. Still less did she want to be a Prig, and she
well knew she could never by the widest stretch of imagination be called
a Dig, so she concluded not to ally herself definitely with either of
these mystic orders until she had opportunity for further consideration.

So she firmly but good-naturedly declined to change her table for the
present, and took her usual place by the side of Lorraine.

“Well,” said Lorraine, pettishly, “you seem to have made a great many
new friends.”

“Yes,” said Patty, determined to be pleasant, “I have. I’m getting
better acquainted with the girls, and I think they’re a very nice lot.
You can’t judge much the first few days, you know. Clementine is a dear,
isn’t she?”

“I don’t see anything dear about her. I think she’s silly and stuck-up.”

“Why, Lorraine, how absurd! Clementine isn’t stuck-up at all.”

“Well, I think she is, and, anyway, I don’t like her.” After which
gracious speech Lorraine devoted herself to eating her luncheon, and was
so unresponsive to further attempts at conversation that Patty gave it
up, and turned to talk to the girl on the other side of her.

This was Hilda Henderson, an English girl, who had lived in America only
about two years. She was slender, yet with a suggestion of hardy
strength in her small bones and active muscles. She had a quick nervous
manner, and her head, which was daintily set on her shoulders, moved
with the alert motions of a bird. Not exactly pretty, but with dark
straight hair and dark eyes, she looked like a girl of fine traits and
strong character.

Patty had liked the appearance of this girl from the first, but had not
seemed to be able to make friends with her.

But fortified by the new conditions which were developing, she made
overtures with a little more confidence.

“You are a boarding pupil here, aren’t you?” said Patty. “Do you know
anything about the plans for a Hallowe’en party?”

“No,” said Hilda, “except that there’s going to be one. I fancy it will
be just like last year’s party.”

“Are they nice? What do you do at them?”

“Yes, they’re rather good fun. We bob for apples, and go downstairs
backward, and sail nut-shell boats, and all those things.”

Patty said nothing further about Miss Oliphant’s part in it, as she
thought perhaps it was a secret.

“You must have real good times living here,” she went on; “so many of
you girls all together.”

“Yes, it’s not so very horrid; though it’s very unlike an English
boarding school. American girls are so enthusiastic.”

“Yes, we are; but I like that, don’t you?”

“Oh, if one has anything to be excited over, it’s all very well; but you
waste such a lot of enthusiasm that, when anything comes along really
worth while, you have no words left to show your appreciation of it.”

“Oh, I have,” said Patty, laughing. “Or if I haven’t, I use the same
words over again. They don’t wear out, you know.”

“Yes, they do,” said Hilda, earnestly; “you say everything is perfectly
grand or gorgeous when it’s most commonplace. And then when you come
across something really grand or gorgeous what can you say?”

“Of course that’s all true; but that’s just a way we have. You like
America, don’t you?”

“Yes, rather well. But I never shall learn to rave over nothing the way
you all do.”

“How do you know I do? You scarcely know me at all yet.”

“You’re not as much so as the rest. And I think I shall like you. But I
don’t make friends easily, and often I don’t get on with the very ones I
most want to.”

“Oh, you’ll get on with me all right if you have the least mite of a
wish to. I make friends awfully easily. That is, I generally have,”
supplemented Patty, suddenly remembering her experiences of the past
week.

“I think I’d like to be friends with you,” said Hilda, with an air of
thoughtful caution, “but of course I can’t say yet.”

“Of course not!” said Patty, unable to resist poking a little fun at
this very practical girl; “I think you ought to know anybody four weeks
before you decide, and then take them on trial.”

“I think so, too,” said Hilda, heartily, taking Patty quite seriously,
though the speech had been meant entirely in jest. “You’re awfully
sensible, for an American.”

“Yes, I think I am,” said Patty, demurely.

After luncheon another triumph awaited Patty.

Gertrude Lyons and Maude Carleton came up to her, and each taking her by
one arm, walked her over to the bay-window, where they might talk
uninterruptedly.

“We want you to be in our set,” said Gertrude; “we have the nicest girls
in school in our set, and I know you’ll like it best of any.”

“And we have the best times,” put in Maude; “none of the sets can do the
things we do.”

Patty did not altogether like this sudden change of attitude on the part
of these girls. And, too, they seemed to her a little condescending in
their manner. She liked better Hilda Henderson’s proposition, which,
though less flattering, seemed to promise better results.

And she had not forgotten Gertrude’s real rudeness the week before.

“Thank you ever so much,” she said, “but I’m not sure that I want to
join your set. Last week you didn’t want me, and turn about is fair
play.” Patty’s pleasant smile, as she said this, robbed the words of all
harshness and made it impossible for the girls to feel offended.

“I suppose I _was_ hateful,” said Gertrude, “and I take it all back.
But, you see, everybody said you were Lorraine Hamilton’s chum and that
you were just like her. Now, you’re not a bit like her, and I don’t
believe you’re such a great chum of hers. Are you?”

“I don’t know how to answer that,” said Patty, smiling; “I’m a friend of
Lorraine’s, and always shall be, I hope; but I’m not such a chum of hers
that I can’t be friends with anybody else.”

“That’s what I said,” put in Maude; “and so there’s no reason why you
can’t belong to our set, even if Lorraine doesn’t.”

“Why do they call you the Prigs?” asked Patty.

Gertrude laughed. “They think the name teases us,” she said; “but it
doesn’t a bit. They call us Prigs because they think we’re stuck-up, and
so we are. We’re the richest girls in the school and we belong to the
best families. But that isn’t all; we have the best manners, and we’re
never rude or awkward, and we’re always perfect in deportment, so we’re
almost always on the Privileged Roll.”

“What’s the Privileged Roll?” asked Patty.

“Why, it’s a special Roll of Honour, and if your name’s on it you have a
lot of little extra favours and privileges that the others don’t have.
The Gigs, now, they never get on the Privileged Roll. They have a lot of
fun, but I think it’s silly and babyish.”

“And the Digs?” asked Patty. “Are they on the Privileged Roll?”

“Not often,” said Gertrude; “they get perfect in their lessons, of
course, but they’re so busy studying they are apt to forget their
manners. Hilda Henderson is a Dig, but she has good manners because
she’s English. English girls always do; they can’t seem to help it.”

“I like Hilda Henderson,” said Patty; “she seems to me an awfully nice
girl.”

“Yes, she’s nice enough,” said Maude, carelessly; “but she’s rather
heavy and not up to our ideas of fun.”

The class-bell rang just then and with a promise to think about joining
Gertrude’s set, Patty left them.

After school she walked home with Lorraine. Adelaide had been detained
and the two girls went home alone.

“I suppose you’ll be dreadfully thick with the Prigs, now that they’ve
taken you up,” said Lorraine.

“They haven’t taken me up yet,” replied Patty, a little shortly.

“Well, they’re beginning to hang around you, so I suppose they will take
you up soon.”

“They’ve already asked me to join their set, if that’s what you mean by
‘taking up.’”

“Well, then of course you’ll join it, and I suppose you’ll have no use
for me after that.”

“Now, look here, Lorraine, we might as well have this out now, once for
all. I’d like to be a friend of yours, but there are lots of times when
you make me feel as if you didn’t want me to be. And besides, I expect
to be friends with everybody. That’s the way I always have been; it’s my
nature. And if being friends with you is going to prevent my having
anything to do with anybody else in the whole school, why then I’m not
going to do it, that’s all.”

“I told you so,” said Lorraine, staring moodily before her; “I knew when
those Prigs took you up you’d drop me.”

“But I won’t drop you, Lorraine,” said Patty, exasperated by such
injustice. “And if you drop me, it’s your own fault. What is the matter
with you, anyway? Why don’t you like anybody?”

“Because nobody likes me, I suppose,” and Lorraine’s face wore such a
helpless, hopeless expression that Patty’s indignation calmed down a
little.

“I feel like shaking you,” she said, half angry, half laughing. “Now,
see here, why don’t you try a different tack? Just make up your mind
that you like everybody, and act so, and first thing you know they’ll
all like you.”

Patty expected an irritable retort of some kind, and was surprised when
Lorraine said, wistfully:

“Do you really think so, Patty?”

“Of course I do,” cried Patty, delighted to find Lorraine so responsive;
“just you try it, girlie, and see if I’m not a true prophet.”

“I’ll try,” said Lorraine, who seemed to be in a particularly gentle
mood, at least for the moment; “but I haven’t much hope of myself or
anybody else; I’m cross and ugly by nature, and I don’t suppose I’ll
ever be any different.”

“Oh, pshaw!” cried Patty; “yes, you will. Never mind what you are by
nature. Try art. Make believe you’re happy and jolly, like other people,
and suddenly you’ll discover that you are.”



                               CHAPTER X
                                 GRIGS


The more Patty saw of Hilda Henderson the better she liked her.

Hilda was not quite so scatter-brained as Clementine, yet she was far
more merry and companionable than Lorraine.

So it came about that Hilda and Patty were much together.

They often walked together when the school went for a promenade in the
Park, and Patty was surprised to find that there was a lot of fun in the
English girl, after all.

Then, too, they were congenial in their tastes. They liked the same
things, they read the same books, and they almost always agreed in their
opinions.

One day the girls were gathered in the gymnasium. It was recreation
hour, and the various groups of young people were chatting and laughing.

Patty sat in a window-seat, looking out at the steadily falling rain.

“It’s a funny thing,” she said, “but although a rainy day is supposed to
be depressing, it doesn’t affect me that way at all. I feel positively
hilarious, and I don’t care who knows it.”

“So do I,” said Hilda; “I’m as merry as a grig.”

“I know most of your English allusions,” said Patty, “but ‘grig’ is too
many for me. What is a grig, and why is it merry?”

“A grig,” said Hilda, “why, it’s a kind of cricket or grasshopper, I
think. I don’t know Natural History very well, but the habits of grigs
must be merry, because ‘as merry as a grig’ is the only thing anybody
ever heard about them.”

“Of course grasshoppers are merry,” said Clementine; “you can tell that
by the way they jump. But grig is a much nicer name than grasshopper; it
sounds more jumpy.”

“Girls!” said Patty, with an air of sudden importance, “I have a most
brilliant idea!”

“Your first?” inquired Adelaide, interestedly.

“No, indeed,” said Patty, “I often have them when I’m in your vicinity.
But this is really great. You know that foolishness about Prigs and Digs
and Gigs?”

“Yes,” said the girls in chorus.

“Well, there’s no sense to it; it doesn’t mean anything, really.”

“Do you happen to know, Miss Fairfield, that you’re attacking old and
time-honoured institutions of the Oliphant school?” asked Clementine in
mock indignation.

“So much the worse for the honourable Time,” rejoined Patty. “Now
listen; I think we can have a society, a real true society, I mean, that
will be a lot more fun than any of those ancient and honourable orders.”

“Grigs!” cried Hilda, with a sudden flash of understanding.

“Yes,” said Patty, “Grigs. You see, I never could make up my mind which
of those other three sets I’d belong to, because none of them seemed to
fit me. Now if we start a society of Grigs, a regular club, you know, we
can invite anybody we want in the school to join it.”

“What kind of a society will it be?” demanded Adelaide.

“What is the chief characteristic of a grig?” demanded Patty in return.

“Well, I never met one,” said Adelaide, “but Hilda says they have
nothing but merriment to distinguish them from other animals.”

“That’s enough,” said Patty. “All that the members of our society need
do is to be merry. Honest, girls, don’t you think it will be fun?”

“I do,” said Hilda, catching the spirit of the thing at once. “And we’ll
have officers and dues, and regular meetings, just like——”

“Just like Parliament,” put in Clementine, “and then, my British
subject, you’ll feel quite at home.”

“I used to belong to a club in Vernondale,” said Patty, “and we didn’t
do anything but just drink tea and have fun at our meetings. We were
merry as grigs, though we didn’t call ourselves by that name. But I
think that’s a jolly name for a society—especially a society that has
to be made up of Prigs and Gigs and Digs.”

“So do I,” said Hilda; “let’s organise right away.”

“Oh, we can’t,” said Patty, “we haven’t decided what girls to ask, or
anything.”

“Let’s organise first,” said Adelaide, “just we four, you know, and then
decide on the other members afterwards.”

“All right,” said Patty, “but the bell will ring in a minute and we
won’t have time now. Besides, we can’t do it in such a hurry. Now I’ll
tell you what; you girls come down to my house Saturday morning and then
we’ll do it all up properly.”

“That’s a jolly lark,” said Hilda; “I’ll be there.”

And the others agreed to come, too.

So on Saturday morning the Fairfields’ library was the scene of a most
animated club organisation.

“We ought to have some definite aim,” said Hilda, as they talked over
ways and means.

“We have,” said Patty decidedly; “I’ve been thinking this thing over,
and I really think that to be merry and to scatter merriment around the
world is a worthy enough aim for anybody.”

“How do you mean to scatter it?” asked Adelaide, with a look of utter
bewilderment at the idea.

“I don’t know yet, exactly,” said Patty; “that’s for the club to decide;
but I’m sure there are lots of ways. You know the charitable societies
scatter food and clothing, and there’s a Sunshine Society that scatters
help or aid or something, and I do believe that there are plenty of ways
to scatter merriment.”

“Do you mean to poor people?” asked Clementine.

“Not only to poor people,” said Patty; “it doesn’t make any difference
whether they’re poor or not; everybody likes to have some fun, or if
they don’t, they ought to.”

“It’s a great scheme,” exclaimed Hilda, her eyes shining, as she thought
of various possibilities. “For one thing we could collect comic papers
and take them to the hospitals.”

“Yes, that will be fine,” said Clementine, “for when most people send
reading matter to the hospitals they send dry old books and poky old
magazines that nobody can read. I know, because I have been to the
hospital sometimes to read to the children, and I’ve seen the literature
that was sent in. And of all forlorn stuff!”

“Yes, that’s the kind of thing I mean,” said Patty; “and we can go to
the hospitals ourselves sometimes and chirk up the patients and make
them laugh. Clementine could sing some of her funny songs. But that’s
only a part of it. We’ll have meetings, too, where we’ll just be merry
as grigs ourselves, and make fun for each other.”

“Well, I think the whole thing is lovely,” said Adelaide; “let’s
organise right straight off. Patty, of course you’ll be president.”

“Of course I won’t,” said Patty, quickly; “Hilda must be president,
because if it hadn’t been for her we would never have known what grigs
were, and so we couldn’t be them.”

Hilda demurred at accepting the honourable position, and Adelaide
frankly said she thought Patty better adapted for it, but Patty was firm
and insisted that the office should be Hilda’s.

“I’ll be secretary, if you like,” she said, “or anything else; but I
won’t be president.”

So Hilda was made president and Patty secretary of the noble society of
Grigs. Clementine was appointed vice-president and Adelaide treasurer.

The four officers wanted to enter upon their duties at once, and
Adelaide begged that they would decide upon what the dues should be, so
that she might collect them. Clementine asked Hilda to go home, in order
that she might be president during her absence; and Patty declared that
there was no use trying to keep the minutes of a society of Grigs, for
it would read like a nonsense-book.

But Hilda, who had some notions of taking charge of a meeting, called
the members to order and expressed her views.

“We don’t want to be bothered with much in the way of rules and
regulations,” she said; “but we must have some few laws if we’re going
to be a society at all. Now, first, how many members shall we have?”

“First,” said Patty, “where are you going to meet? do you think it will
be more fun just to have a school society and have our meetings there,
say in the gymnasium, or do you think it will be nicer to meet around at
each other’s houses?”

“Oh, around at the houses,” said Clementine. “Let’s meet Saturday
mornings, just like this. If we have it at school, we’ll have to ask a
lot of girls we don’t want, or else they’ll get mad.”

This argument was considered good, and meetings at the homes of the
members seemed to be the best plan.

“But not every week,” said Adelaide; “I couldn’t come so often. I have a
singing lesson every other Saturday morning.”

So it was agreed that the Grigs should meet once a fortnight during the
school term, and it was furthermore settled that eight members would be
enough for the present.

“For our rooms are awfully small,” said Hilda, “and it will be all I can
do to get eight in.”

“Our house is big enough,” said Clementine, “but I think eight is enough
to start with, until we see how the club goes. Now who shall the other
four be?”

“How would it do,” said Hilda, “for us each to select one?”

“Do they have to be girls in the school?” asked Adelaide; “because, if
not, I’ll ask Editha. She’s merry enough for anybody and she loves to do
things for hospital people.”

“Why, of course they don’t have to be schoolgirls,” said Hilda; “perhaps
it’s better to have some who aren’t, and then those who are and whom we
don’t ask won’t have so much reason to get mad about it.”

Although somewhat ambiguous, this speech was understood by the other
Grigs, and they all heartily agreed to it.

Then Clementine said she would ask Flossy Fisher. As Flossy was the
embodiment of merriment, they all thought her a most acceptable member.

“I shall ask Mary Sargent,” said Hilda. “You girls don’t know her very
well, and she seems quiet, but really there’s a lot of fun in her, and
you’ll find it out.”

“Oh, I think she’s jolly,” said Clementine; “anybody must be to draw
such funny pictures as she does. She got me giggling in class the other
day, and I came near being marked in deportment. It was an awful narrow
escape. Who are you going to ask, Patty?”

Patty looked at her three fellow-Grigs. “I’ve made up my mind,” she
said, and her eyes twinkled; “I shall ask Lorraine Hamilton.”

A chorus of groans greeted this announcement, and then Clementine said:
“That’s a good joke, Patty, and an awfully funny one; but, honest, who
do you _really_ mean to ask?”

“It isn’t a joke,” said Patty. “You girls each made your selection, and
nobody found any fault; now I think I ought to have the same privilege.”

“But we chose merry girls,” said Adelaide; “nobody could call Lorraine
as merry as a Grig! Oh, Patty, she’ll spoil the whole club.”

“But listen, girls; the club is to make other people merry as well as to
be merry ourselves, and don’t you think it would be a good thing if we
could make Lorraine merry?”

“Yes,” said Hilda; “but the people we’re going to cheer up are not
members of the club. I think the members ought to be really grigs and
not croaking ravens, like Lorraine.”

“If she’s a member, I won’t be,” said Adelaide, “and Editha won’t
either.”

“Then that settles it,” said Patty, cheerfully; “of course, Adelaide, I
wouldn’t do anything that would keep you out of the club. But look here,
girls: if Lorraine gets more pleasant and sunshiny after a while, will
you let her come in then?”

“If she gets to be as merry as a grig, of course she can come in,” said
Adelaide; “Lorraine is a nice enough girl, except that she’s so
disagreeable and always throws a wet blanket on everything. Why, we
couldn’t have any fun at all at the meetings, if she sat up there,
looking as cross as two sticks.”

“That’s so,” said Patty, with a sigh; “but never you mind, she’s going
to improve. She said she’d try to, and somehow the Grigs must help her.”

“And in the meantime you must choose somebody else, Patty.”

“No, I don’t want to; let’s just leave her place vacant for the present,
and if we want anyone else in, we can decide about it later.”

“All right,” said Hilda, “and really I wouldn’t be surprised if Lorraine
should improve. Why one day this week I saw her smile.”

“I saw it too!” exclaimed Clementine; “it was Tuesday, at noon hour. The
rest of the girls were almost in hysterics over something or other, and
I saw Lorraine break into a small timid little smile. Oh, she’ll be
merry as a Grig yet!”



                               CHAPTER XI
                              EXPERIENCES


As a society the Grigs prospered.

The next meeting was at Clementine’s, and was a very busy and merry one.
Patty had never been to Clementine’s home before, and she was delighted
with the large beautiful house, and also with Clementine’s mother, who
was a sweet-faced, pleasant-mannered lady, and who reminded her a little
bit of Aunt Alice.

After the members had all arrived, Clementine took them to a room on the
third floor which was her own especial domain.

“We always call it the play-room,” she said, “because it was my
play-room when I was a little child. Lately I’ve tried to have them call
it studio, or library, or even den; but somehow the old name sticks and
we always say—play-room.”

The room itself was most attractive, with books, and games, and toys in
abundance. In the middle of the room was a long low table, and the girls
gathered about this eager to begin the work they had planned to do. For
though only their second meeting, the Grigs had arranged during the week
many plans for the furtherance of the ends and aims of their club.

So Clementine had provided scissors and paste, pencils and sewing
materials, and soon the work was in progress.

Some made scrap-books, with muslin leaves, while others cut out
bright-coloured pictures to paste in these books.

These were intended for the children in a certain nearby hospital.

“Of course,” said Editha Hart, “these scrap-books are no novelty. Every
girl I’ve ever known has made muslin scrap-books for hospitals at some
time in her life. But these are different, because they’re filled with
really funny pictures.”

“Yes,” said Mary Sargent, “I’ve seen the scrap-books some girls make.
The pictures are usually advertising cards, or else stupid old
black-and-white things that couldn’t amuse anybody. These coloured
supplement pictures are certainly funny, if they aren’t the very best
type of high art.”

“If they make the children laugh, our work is accomplished,” said Patty.

“What we want to do,” said Clementine, “is to make two smiles grow where
one grew before.”

“Clementine is a walking Literature Class, isn’t she?” said Flossy
Fisher, admiringly; “we had something like that in the lesson yesterday.
But where are the peanuts? Did anyone bring any?”

“Yes, here’s a bagful,” said Adelaide; “hurry up and get them together,
while I make the pig-tails.”

Flossy’s task was the making of funny little Chinese dolls by stringing
peanuts together; while Adelaide braided coarse black thread into little
queues for them, and Hilda made fantastic costumes out of Japanese paper
napkins.

Editha was engaged in producing wonderful effects, with nothing but
sheets of cotton-wadding and a box of water-colour paints. She deftly
rolled, tied and draped the material into a comical doll, and then
cleverly painted features, hair, hands and dress trimmings, until the
whole was a work of art.

“Now, you know,” said Hilda, after all the girls had settled down to
work, “we’re to tell our experiences during the week, in the way of
helping along the gaiety of the nation. Patty Fairfield, what have you
done to make somebody else as merry as a Grig?”

“Well,” said Patty, apologetically, “I really haven’t had many
opportunities, though I tried hard to make some. The trouble is, my
family and most of my friends are merry, anyhow, and they don’t need any
chirking up. And of course I couldn’t go out into the highways and
hedges. But I had one experience which I think will count, and I’ll tell
you about it. I was going up in the elevator yesterday, and I stood next
to a lady, whom I know slightly. Her name is Miss Dennison and she lives
in The Wilberforce. She is a writer or something—anyway, she makes
speeches at women’s conventions or club meetings. Well, she never is
very merry-looking, but yesterday she looked cross enough to bite a
ten-penny nail into ten pennies. I was almost afraid to get into the
elevator for fear she’d snap my head off; and the elevator boy was
positively quaking in his boots.”

“I know that Miss Dennison,” said Adelaide; “she’s most awe-inspiring. I
think she’s a Woman’s Rights Suffragist, or whatever you call them.”

“Yes, that’s the one,” said Patty, “and yesterday, although she didn’t
say anything, I could see at a glance that she was in a terrible temper
about something. So it struck me all of a sudden that here was a chance
to scatter a little merriment her way, and see if she’d pick it up. So I
just said, ‘What are you laughing at, Miss Dennison?’ and then I began
to laugh.”

“I don’t see how you dared,” said Editha. “What did she say?”

“Why, at first she looked at me in amazement, and then, as I was
chuckling with laughter, somehow she had to smile, too. And really,
girls, when she smiles she looks almost pretty. Well, by that time we
had reached our floor, so we both got off and walked along the hall
together. ‘Laughing!’ she said, and she glared at me fearfully; ‘indeed
I’m not laughing! I’m angry enough to—to——’ and she was so angry she
couldn’t think what she was angry enough to do. The more excited she
got, the more I laughed, partly because I wanted to make her laugh, too,
and partly because she was so funny. When we reached her apartment she
was still blustering and informing me how angry she was, though I had no
idea what it was all about. Then she said: ‘Just come in here a minute
and I’ll show you—and see if you wouldn’t be angry, too!’ So she took
me into her room and there on the bed lay the most beautiful dress you
ever saw. It was black lace, with spangles all over it, and twists of
orange-coloured velvet here and there. ‘Look at that!’ she cried, ‘look
at that!’ So I looked at it and I laughed some more, and I said: ‘Why,
it’s a beautiful gown; I don’t see anything about that to make you so
angry.’ And then she said: ‘Oh, you don’t, don’t you? Well, just let me
tell you that my dressmaker has just sent it home; and I expected to
wear it this evening, when I’m to make an address at a meeting of the
Federation. And I can’t wear it!’ Girls, the tragickness of her face and
voice as she said that really made me stop laughing. I said: ‘Why not?’
in an awe-struck whisper. Then she explained that it didn’t fit; it was
too long in the waist and too short in the skirt, and too tight in the
neck, and too loose in the sleeves; maybe I haven’t the details just
right, but anyhow everything seemed to be the matter with it. So you see
it was a clear case for our society to deal with, and I set to work.
First I found out that she really couldn’t wear it, and that she had
just come home from the dressmaker’s, and the dressmaker had said that
it couldn’t be refitted for last evening, though it could be done later.
So I asked her what other gowns she had to wear, and she showed me heaps
of them. So then I just made fun of her; I don’t know myself how I dared
do it, but I really teased her. I told her that for a woman who was
interested in such great subjects as suffragists and things like that,
to care what dress she wore was perfectly ridiculous. And I told her
that any of those other gowns would do just as well, and she knew it.
And I told her that later she could have this new one fixed over and
address some other meeting in it. And I joked and giggled, until somehow
she really got into a good humour, and said she supposed her heliotrope
velvet would do just as well, after all. And when I came away she was
awfully nice and she thanked me and said I was a real Mark Tapley. And
now, my fellow-Grigs, I hate to confess my ignorance, but can any of you
tell me what is a Mark Tapley?”

Hilda Henderson stared at Patty in amazement.

“Do you really mean,” she said, “that you don’t know Mark Tapley? Why,
he’s one of Dickens’ characters.”

“Well, you see,” said Patty, “I never read but three of Dickens’ books,
and he wasn’t in those. What did he do?”

“Why, he’s a character in ‘Martin Chuzzlewit’; and he’s a man who was
always jolly under any circumstances. The more depressing the situation,
the jollier he grew. He said it was no credit to anybody to be jolly
when everything went right; the great feat was to be jolly when things
went wrong.”

“I like him,” said Patty, decidedly; “he was a true Grig; and I’d like
to know more of him. I’ll tell you what, girls, some time let’s read
about him aloud at one of our meetings.”

“Yes, we will,” agreed Hilda; “but I say, Patty, I think your
performance with Miss Dennison was fine. If you could make that
sour-visaged spinster laugh, you needn’t ever be afraid to tackle
anybody. Now, Flossy, you come next. What have you been up to this
week?”

“My experience isn’t as interesting as Patty’s,” said Flossy; “I tried
it on Grandpa. He lives with us, you know, and he has the gout.
Sometimes it’s worse than others, and this week he had an awful attack,
and, jiminy crickets, if he wasn’t cross! Now, generally when he gets
rampageous I just keep out of the way; but this time I thought I’d play
Grig. So I staid around, and when he burst forth in his angry tantrums I
just laughed and said some foolish, funny thing that had nothing to do
with the case. I read up the comic papers to get jokes to spring on him,
and once or twice I read him funny stories out of the magazines. It
didn’t always succeed, but lots of times I _did_ get him into a better
temper, and once he said I made him forget the pain entirely.”

“That’s a very nice experience, Flossy, and I think you were lovely,”
said Clementine, in her impulsive way; “I really believe our society is
going to do good in the world as well as other missionaries. Now I’ll
tell what I did. There’s nobody in our house that’s cross, except the
cook; and she is a terror. Why, positively, mamma doesn’t dare cross her
the least bit. She’s not only quick-tempered and has a habit of flying
into fearful rages, but she’s sullen and ill-natured right along. Well,
a few nights ago mamma was giving a dinner-party and she wanted awfully
to give Nora some directions how to do some things. But she knew Nora
wanted to do them another way, and she just didn’t dare tell her to
change.”

“I wouldn’t have such a cook as that!” exclaimed Adelaide, indignantly.

“Yes, you would,” said Clementine, “if she was perfect every other way.
Mamma puts up with her temper because she’s such a good servant. Well,
anyhow, I went down into the kitchen that morning and cracked a few
jokes with Nora, and she has the real Irish sense of humour, so I got
her laughing until she was for the time being in a good-natured, amiable
frame of mind. Then I ran upstairs and told mamma that if she went down
quick, before the effects wore off, I believed she could make Nora do
anything she wanted her to. And, sure enough, Nora was still smiling
when mamma went down, and she took the orders as meek as a lamb, and
mamma was so pleased.”

“You’re all right, Clementine,” said Editha; “but you see we’ve lived in
The Wilberforce and we don’t have any servants of our own, and of course
we can’t joke and giggle with the hotel servants. So Adelaide and I
thought we’d try it on Jeannette, because she certainly is a cross
child. And then somehow that seemed sort of mean, for quite often
Adelaide and I are cross, too. We don’t mean anything, but we just snip
each other, and the other snaps back, and it isn’t very nice. So all
three of us decided to jolly each other, and now whenever one of us says
anything cross, the other two begin to giggle, and first thing we know
we’re all laughing.”

“Good for you, girls!” cried Patty, clapping her hands; “I’ve always
said the Harts were the nicest girls I know, except that they were so
snippy toward each other. Goodness me! I believe this society is going
to make angels of us all. Now, Mary Sargent, it’s your turn. What’s your
thrilling tale?”

“It isn’t very thrilling,” said Mary, “but it’s the best I could do. You
see we live in an apartment hotel, too, and I haven’t anybody that needs
cheering up. But one day I noticed that the chambermaid was a most sad
and forlorn-looking individual. So when she comes into the rooms
mornings now I laugh and joke with her a little, and it seems to do her
good. She’s pleasanter in every way and even if she comes in glum she
always goes out smiling. She’s a Swede, or something like that, and I
can’t always understand what she says, but the other day I gave her a
calendar I had with funny pictures on it, and to-day she told me that
she looks over the whole twelve every morning and then when she thinks
of them through the day it makes her laugh.”

“That’s a rudimentary sense of humour,” said Clementine, laughing, “but
it seems to be a step in the right direction. Let the good work go on,
Mary; I thought you’d take it more seriously than the rest of us and
very likely you’ll accomplish the most.”

Mary Sargent was a shy girl and she blushed at Clementine’s praise, but
her eyes twinkled with humour, and Clementine said she was a dear and
the very merriest Grig of them all.



                              CHAPTER XII
                        A VISIT TO THE HOSPITAL


“Well,” said Hilda, “I’m not sure that I ought to be president of the
Grigs, after all, for I have to confess that I couldn’t find anybody to
make fun for except our old cat. But if you could see her, I’m sure
you’d agree that she’s a worthy object. She’s so old that she’s both
blind and deaf; and she’s so melancholy that it’s enough to make you
weep to look at her. I amused her and played with her and tried to make
her think she was a kitten again; but it was no go, and I finally had to
resort to one of those patent catnip-balls. That worked like a charm,
and in a few moments she was rolling around in glee and cutting up all
sorts of antics. So you see what perseverance will accomplish.”

“Far be it from me,” said Patty, “to criticise the deeds of our worthy
president; and I suppose cats want some fun in their lives as well as
people.”

“They ought to have nine times as much,” said Hilda, “for they have nine
lives and we have only one.”

“I’ve nothing more to say,” said Patty; “our president has quite
justified herself, and her effort was nine times as meritorious as any
of ours.”

“Well, I think the whole thing is fun,” said Clementine, “and next week
I mean to do something startling. I think I’ll go and call on our
minister. He is the solemnest man I know and I’d just like to see if he
_could_ laugh. I’ll take ‘Alice In Wonderland,’ and read aloud to him,
and see if I can make him smile.”

“Lewis Carroll was a clergyman himself,” said Hilda; “so probably your
minister is familiar with his works.”

“Probably he isn’t,” returned Clementine; “you don’t know our minister.
I don’t believe he ever read anything more frivolous than ‘Foxe’s Book
of Martyrs’ or the ‘Lamentations of Jeremiah.’”

“Then do go,” said Flossy, “and I’ll go with you. It would take two of
us to make a man like that smile. But I’ve finished this scrap-book, and
my! but it’s a pretty one. Observe those yellow daffodils on the cover
and the lion under them. That’s a most humorous decoration, besides
being artistically beautiful.”

“Ridiculous!” exclaimed Editha, looking at the book Flossy held up so
proudly. “It’s enough to make a cat laugh!”

“Then I’ll send it home to Hilda’s cat,” said Flossy quickly; “it may
help to brighten one of her nine sad lives.”

By this time it was nearly noon, and though they had enjoyed the work,
the girls were nevertheless pleased when they saw a maid come in at the
door with a large tray which held seven cups of cocoa and piled-up
plates of sandwiches.

“Do you know that tray makes me laugh more than these scrap-books, with
all their side-splitting pictures,” said Clementine.

“Yes, it’s the merriest thing I’ve seen this morning,” said Adelaide;
“it really puts me in quite a good humour; I wouldn’t even be cross with
Editha just now.”

The Grigs did full justice to Mrs. Morse’s hospitality, and then that
lady herself came into the play-room.

She was most enthusiastic over the girls’ morning work and quite agreed
that they were true missionaries in their chosen field.

“And now,” she said, “I have an omnibus at the door and if you’ll all
bundle into it I’ll take you around to the hospital; for the matron
telephoned that we might come to-day between twelve and one o’clock. I
have been hunting up a lot of comic papers and humorous books to take
along; and I have some flowers, too, for there are some people who are
too ill to read, but who can be cheered by fresh blossoms.”

Patty looked admiringly at Mrs. Morse, who was a lady after her own
heart, and more than ever she felt reminded of Aunt Alice.

The girls gathered up their scrap-books and dolls and toys and found to
their delight that they had a large basketful.

Downstairs they went, donned their hats and coats and started for the
hospital.

The big roomy vehicle held the eight easily, and they laughed and
chattered in a fashion quite suited to their avowed character.

Mrs. Morse had explained the situation to Miss Bidwell, the hospital
matron, and that good lady was pleased to see the seven merry Grigs.

Cautioning them to be quiet while going through the halls, she led them
to the convalescent ward, where a score or more wan-faced children
looked at them wonderingly.

The girls had arranged their programme beforehand. Standing in the
middle of the room, where all the little patients could see her, Flossy
recited some funny poetry. Her happy, smiling face and her comical words
and gestures proved quite as amusing as the girls had hoped, and the
little sick children laughed aloud in glee.

Then Clementine sang some nonsense-songs, and after that Hilda told a
funny story. Hilda was a born mimic and her representation of the
different characters pleased the children greatly.

After this the girls went around separately to the various little cots,
and talked to the invalids personally. There were so many of the
children that in order not to neglect any, the interview was necessarily
short with each one. But there was time for a little merry conversation
with each, besides presenting the gifts they had brought.

Patty was particularly attracted by a little boy about eight years old,
who had broken his leg. The little fellow’s face was white and drawn
with suffering, and his sad eyes made him seem far older than he really
was. Instinctively, Patty made up her mind to bring all the pleasure and
merriment into that child’s life that she possibly could; and just
because he seemed to be the forlornest specimen of humanity present, she
resolved to make him her special charge. His name, he said, was Tommy
Skelling, and his leg had been broken in a trolley accident. But it was
a compound fracture, and caused the boy almost continuous pain and
suffering. It seemed especially pathetic even to try to make the little
chap laugh, but Patty felt sure that diversion would do him more good
than sympathy. So she told him the funniest story she knew, and picked
out the funniest scrap-book for him. She was rewarded by finding him
very appreciative, and succeeded in making him forget his pain for the
moment, and laugh heartily at her fun.

As the girls were taking leave Tommy confided to Patty his opinion of
the club.

“You’re the nicest one,” he said, “but,” pointing a skinny little finger
at Flossy, “she’s the prettiest. And she,” indicating Clementine in the
same way, “she’s the grandest; but she’s nice. You’re all nice, and I
hope you’ll come again soon, and I wish I could have one of those peanut
doll-babies.”

Luckily, there was an extra doll left, and it was given to Tommy, who
laughed outright at the grotesque toy.

“Well, that performance was certainly a screaming success,” said
Adelaide, as they were all in the omnibus going home.

“It was, indeed,” said Mrs. Morse, “and I think you girls are to be
congratulated on your good work.”

“Somehow, it just happened,” said Patty; “we began this society more
with the idea of having fun ourselves, and now the main object seems to
be to make fun for others.”

“I think we can do both,” said Flossy, “and next week I want you all to
come to my house, and not bring any work. We can make scrap-books and
things at some meetings, but next time we’re just going to play.”

“That’s all right,” said Hilda, suddenly assuming her presidential air.
“Of course we’re not going to work at every meeting. But remember,
through the week we’re to scatter all the fun we can, and liven up the
world in general. And I’ll try to find somebody besides a cat next
time.”

Mrs. Morse and Clementine went around with the girls, and left each one
at her home.

Patty went flying in to her own apartment in quest of Grandma.

“Oh,” she exclaimed, “we had a perfectly lovely meeting, and Mrs. Morse
is a dear! She took us to the hospital in an omnibus, and we made all
the little sick children laugh, and they enjoyed it ever so much, and so
did we. I wish papa would come home; I want to tell him all about it.”

“He isn’t coming home to-day,” said Grandma Elliott, smiling at the
excited appearance of her young charge; “you’ll have to wait until
Monday before you can tell him.”

“Oh,” cried Patty, “he’s gone to Philadelphia! to see Nan! How do you
know?”

“Yes,” said Grandma, “he has gone to Philadelphia, to stay over Sunday.
He telephoned up from the office this morning, and then he came up for a
few moments about noon. And he said for you and me to go out to
Vernondale this afternoon, and stay until Monday, too.”

“Oh, goody!” cried Patty, clapping her hands; “I’m just perfectly crazy
to see Marian, and all of them. Can’t we go right away, Grandma?”

“Well, we’ll go soon after luncheon. At any rate, we’ll get there by
dinner-time.”

“Oh, no, Grandma, let’s go earlier, so I’ll get there in time to go to
the Tea Club meeting. They’ll be so surprised to see me, and I can tell
them all about the Grigs. It will be such fun!”

“Very well, then; go and brush your hair and make yourself tidy, and
we’ll go right down to luncheon now. Then, if we’re spry, we can easily
reach Vernondale by half-past three or four o’clock.”

“That will be lovely,” cried Patty, as she danced away to her room;
“what a dear, good Grandma you are!”

They were spry, and were fortunate enough to catch a fast train, so that
by four o’clock they were at Aunt Alice’s.

Marian had gone to the Tea Club, which met that day at Elsie Morris’s,
and after waiting only for a few words with Aunt Alice and the little
children, Patty flew over to Elsie’s.

Such a hullabaloo as greeted her arrival! As Patty said afterwards, the
girls couldn’t have made more fuss over her if she had been Queen of the
Cannibal Islands.

“I’m _so_ glad you came,” said Ethel Holmes, for the dozenth time, as
she hovered around Patty; “now tell us every single thing you’ve done
since you’ve been in New York. Are the girls nice? How do you like your
school? Do you belong to a Tea Club? How do you like your hotel? Don’t
you miss us girls?”

“Do wait a minute, Ethel,” cried Patty, laughing, “before you go any
further. That is, if you want your questions answered. I guess I’ll
answer the last one first. Of course I miss you girls awfully. Not but
what the girls there are nice enough, but I want you, too. I wish you’d
all come and live in New York.”

Marian said very little, but sat and held Patty’s hand, as if afraid she
might run away. Marian was devotedly attached to her cousin, and missed
her more than anybody had any idea of, excepting Aunt Alice.

“But tell us about it all,” said Polly Stevens; “do you go to the
theatre every night?”

“Goodness, no!” exclaimed Patty; “of course not. I don’t go at all,
except when papa took me to a matinée once, and he says I may go two or
three more times during the winter. No, Ethel, we don’t have a Tea Club,
but we have a club called the Grigs.”

“What a crazy name!” exclaimed Elsie; “what does it mean?”

So Patty explained all about the Grigs, and their aims, and their work,
and play.

“I think it’s lovely,” said Polly Stevens, “and I do think you have
beautiful times. Just think of your all going to the hospital together
in an ambulance.”

“I didn’t say ambulance, Polly, I said omnibus,” said Patty, as the
girls went off into shrieks of laughter.

“Well, it’s all the same,” said Polly, quite unabashed; “you all went
together in some big vehicle, and I think that’s fun.”

“It was fun,” said Patty; “and it was lovely to see the poor little sick
children brighten up and laugh merrily, in spite of their pain and
illness.”

“I think, girls,” said Marian, “that it would be nice for the Tea Club
to make some scrap-books and dolls and things, and send them in to the
Grigs for them to take to the hospital.”

“Marian, you’re a darling,” said Patty, affectionately squeezing her
cousin’s hand; “it will be perfectly lovely if you only would, for we
can use any amount of those things, and you would be doing such a lot of
good to those poor little children.”

And thus the good influence and helpful work of the Grigs was widened in
a manner quite unexpected.



                              CHAPTER XIII
                                 ELISE


In order that Patty might get home in time for school on Monday morning,
she and Grandma were obliged to take a very early train from Vernondale.

So Marian and Frank went down with them to see them safely on the
half-past seven train, and Brownie, the dog, accompanied them.

As usual, Marian was loath to let Patty go, and clung to her until the
last minute.

Frank had already established Grandma in the train, and the conductor
was about to ring the bell when, at the last minute, Patty jumped on.

The train was almost starting, but the conductor assisted Patty, and she
seated herself beside Grandma, quite out of breath from her hasty
entrance.

“I just hated to leave Marian,” she said, “for she did seem so sorry to
have me go. But I promised to come back here to spend Thanksgiving, or
else to have her spend it with me in New York, and that seemed to help
matters a little.”

“You’d better have her plan to come to see you,” said Grandma, “for I
think your father expects that Nan will be in New York about that time.”

“All right,” said Patty; “I don’t care as long as Marian and I are
together. But for goodness’ sake, Grandma, will you look at that!”

Now “that” was nothing more nor less than Brownie, the dog, sitting in
the aisle, blinking at them and contentedly wagging his tail.

“How did he get there?” said Grandma, with a bewildered, helpless air.

“I don’t know,” said Patty, laughing, “but there he is, and now the
question is, what shall we do with him?”

Brownie seemed intelligently interested in this question, and continued
to wag his tail and blink at Patty with an expression on his funny old
dog face that was very like a wink.

“Marian will be worried to death,” said Grandma, with an air of
consternation.

“Of course she will,” assented Patty, cheerfully, “but that isn’t the
worst of it. The thing is, what are we to do with him now? You know they
don’t allow dogs on the train.”

“I never thought of that,” said Grandma, helplessly; “will he have to go
in the baggage-car?”

“There isn’t any baggage-car on this train. We’ll either have to throw
him out of the window or hide him.”

“All right; we’ll hide him,” and Grandma coaxed Brownie to jump up into
her lap. Then she pulled her travelling-cloak over him, until he was
entirely concealed from view.

But the inquisitive conductor insisted on knowing what had become of the
dog that followed these particular ladies on the train.

“He’s here,” exclaimed Grandma, throwing open her cloak and showing the
quivering animal.

“He must be put off,” said the conductor, sternly; “we do not want dogs
on the train.”

“All right,” said Patty, cheerfully; “neither do we. And the sooner you
put him off, and us with him, the better it will be all around. For you
see, Grandma,” she went on, “we’ve got to take Brownie back to
Vernondale. Marian will have four thousand fits if we don’t, and,
besides, we couldn’t possibly take him to The Wilberforce.”

Grandma said nothing; the emergency was too much for her to cope with,
and she was glad to depend on Patty’s advice.

So Patty said to the conductor: “Please put us off just as soon as you
can, for we have to take this dog back to Vernondale.”

But with the characteristic perversity of conductors, he said, “No stop,
Miss, until Elizabeth. You can get off there—all of you.”

This was nearly half way to New York City, but there was no other way
out of it, so, as Patty cheerfully remarked to Grandma, they might as
well make up their minds to get off at Elizabeth and take Brownie back
to Vernondale.

“Of course,” Patty went on, “I shall be late to school, and I’ll lose a
mark, and that’ll throw Clementine ahead of me in the count, for we have
been just even up to now; but I can’t help it; Marian’s dog must be
taken home, and that’s all there is about that.”

Although Grandma Elliott regretted the necessity of Patty’s losing a
mark, for she well knew how the child was striving for the grand prize,
yet she appreciated and admired the philosophy which made the best of
inevitable circumstances, and she agreed with Patty that there was
nothing else to do.

So at Elizabeth they got off of the train, and with some difficulty
persuaded Brownie to get off, too.

At this station it was necessary to cross under the elevated tracks to
take the train in the opposite direction. Brownie, being ignorant of the
imperative necessities of travel, objected to this, and it was only
after some coaxing that Patty persuaded him to accompany them.

Meantime there was consternation at the Vernondale end of the route.
After the seven-thirty train had left the station, Frank and Marian
suddenly realised that since they could see Brownie nowhere around he
must have gone on the train with Patty.

“What will they do?” queried Marian; “they can’t take him to New York,
and I know they won’t abandon him, so of course they’ll turn around and
bring him back on the next train.”

“Of course they will,” assented Frank; “but, let me see, the next train
back doesn’t leave Elizabeth until eight-ten; now, if I take the
seven-forty I can head them off, and they won’t have to come back.”

“That’s a great scheme,” said Marian; “go ahead! and I will wait here
until you come back.”

So Frank took the next train, but as it chanced to be behind time, he
reached Elizabeth just as the returning train was pulling out of the
station, with Patty on board.

Expecting some such complication, Patty stood on the platform, and waved
her hand to Frank, whom she saw on the incoming train.

“Brownie’s all right,” she cried, “but we’ll have to go back, now we’re
started.”

“Yes, I suppose so,” Frank called back, realising that his journey had
been for nought.

So Patty and Grandma and the dog whizzed into the Vernondale station and
alighted to find Marian tearful and almost in hysterics.

“I’m so glad to see you,” she said, “and I’m so glad to see Brownie, and
Frank has gone to Elizabeth, and Patty, won’t you be late to school, and
did you ever know such a performance?”

Brownie flew around like mad, and wagged his tail as if he quite
understood that he was the hero of the occasion, and then Patty and
Grandma took the next train to New York City, and Marian was careful
that Brownie should not accompany them this time.

And so that’s how it happened that Patty was late to school for the
first time, and that one mark put Clementine ahead of her in the monthly
report.

But, as Patty told her father, she couldn’t help the dog jumping on the
train, and Mr. Fairfield agreed that that was quite true.

When Patty finally did reach school that Monday morning she saw that a
new pupil had arrived.

This girl, as Patty first noticed her in the Literature Class, was
exceedingly pretty, with large dark eyes and curly dark hair, and a
general air of daring and self-assurance.

Somehow Patty felt that she didn’t quite approve of her, and yet at the
same time she felt fascinated and mysteriously attracted toward the
stranger.

It was not until the noon hour that she learned that the new girl’s name
was Elise Farrington.

None of the girls seemed inclined to talk to the newcomer, and Patty,
with a vivid realisation of her own feelings the first day of her
arrival at the Oliphant school, determined to do all she could toward
making the new arrival feel at home.

So, at noon-time she went to her and said: “They tell me you are Elise
Farrington, and that this is your first day at the Oliphant school. I
well remember my first day, and so I want to say to you that if I can do
anything for you, or introduce you to anybody that you’d care to know, I
shall be very glad to do so.”

Elise looked at Patty gratefully.

“You’re awfully good,” she said, “but truly there’s nobody I had any
especial desire to be introduced to, except you. So suppose you
introduce yourself.”

Patty laughed. “I’m Patty Fairfield,” she said; “but I’m not especially
desirable to know. Let me introduce you to some of the other girls.”

“No,” said Elise, “you’re the one I picked out in the classroom as the
only one I thought I should really like. Have you any especial chum?”

“Why, not exactly,” said Patty, smiling; “I’m chums with everybody. But
I’ll tell you what: you’re new to-day, and of course you feel a little
strange. Now it happens that the girl who usually sits next to me at
luncheon isn’t here, so you come and sit by me, and then you’ll get a
good start.”

Patty remembered how glad she would have been had someone talked to her
like that on the first day of her arrival at the school, and she put
Elise in Lorraine’s place, glad that she could so favour her.

During luncheon Patty entertained the new pupil with an account of her
funny experience with Brownie that morning, and she found in Elise an
appreciative listener to her recital.

At the same time, Patty could not quite make up her mind as to the
social status of the new girl.

Elise seemed to be of the wealthy and somewhat supercilious class
typified in the Oliphant school by Gertrude Lyons and Maude Carleton.

And yet Elise seemed far more simple and natural than those artificial
young women, and Patty concluded that in spite of the fact that she
belonged to one of New York’s best-known families she was
unostentatious, and in no sense “stuck-up.”

For with all her sophistication and general effect of affluence, Patty
seemed to see an undercurrent of dissatisfaction of some sort.

Not that Elise was sad, or low-spirited. Far from it, she was merry,
frivolous, and quite inclined to make fun of her fellow-pupils.

“Did you ever see anything so ridiculous as Gertrude Lyons?” she asked
of Patty. “She is so airy and conceited, and yet she’s nothing after
all.”

Although Patty did not especially like Gertrude, this challenge roused
her sense of justice, and she said: “Oh, Gertrude is all right; and I
don’t think it is nice to criticise strangers like that.”

“Gertrude’s no stranger to me,” said Elise; “I’ve known her all my life.
They live within a block of us, but we never have liked each other. I
like you a lot better.”

Although Patty was gratified by this frank appreciation of herself, she
didn’t quite understand Elise, for she seemed such a peculiar
combination of flattery and cynicism.

After luncheon was over Patty introduced her to the other Grigs. The
description of the society and its intents seemed to appeal especially
to Elise, and she exclaimed: “Oh, let me join it, let me be a Grig, and
we can meet in the Casino and have no end of fun.”

“What Casino?” asked Patty; “what do you mean?”

“Why,” explained Elise, “we have a private Casino of our own, you know.
It’s right next door to our house, and connects on every floor.”

“But what is it?” asked Clementine; “I don’t understand.”

“Why, it’s just another house; father bought it, you know, and then
fixed it up for us all to have all sorts of fun in. There’s a
tennis-court, and a squash-court, and a bowling alley, and all sorts of
sports and games. Oh, just come to see it, that’s all, and you’ll
understand better than I can tell you.”

“Of course we’ll come,” said Clementine, who was always the pioneer.
“When can we come?”

“Why, Thursday is my day,” said Elise; “you see there are five of us
children, and we each have the Casino on a given day, and may invite
whom we like. In the evenings, my father and mother invite their
friends.”

“I think it’s the loveliest scheme I ever heard of,” said Patty; “and
I’m sure we’d all love to come on Thursday. But as to making you a Grig,
I’m not so sure. Are you always merry?”

“Merry? I should say I am. Why the family say I never stop giggling. Oh,
goodness gracious! I’m merry enough; the trouble is to make me serious
when occasion really demands it. Why, I’m always at the very topnotch of
hilarity.”

“It seems to me,” said Hilda, falling into her presidential attitude,
“that we might let Elise be the eighth Grig, until Lorraine is ready to
join. And she certainly isn’t, yet.”

“She certainly is not,” said Patty, as she remembered Lorraine’s cross
greeting that morning, “and I think your idea is all right.”



                              CHAPTER XIV
                               THE CASINO


On the whole, Elise wore rather well. Although belonging to the
millionaire classes of the city, she was simple and unaffected, and
never referred to her wealth by word or implication. From the first she
was devoted to Patty, and in spite of her many peculiarities Patty
thoroughly liked her. Clementine considered her cranky and Adelaide
thought her too much inclined to dictate. But Elise was entirely
indifferent to their opinions, and independently followed her own sweet
will. If she wanted things done a certain way, she said so, and somehow
they were done that way. If the other girls objected, she quietly
ignored their objections and proceeded serenely on her course. The
result of this was that the others regarded her with mingled
dissatisfaction and admiration, neither of which at all affected Elise.

She made one exception of Patty. She was always willing to defer to
Patty’s wishes, or change her plans in accordance with Patty’s ideas.

Still, as Elise was so good-natured, generous and entertaining, the
girls really liked her, and she proved to be a real acquisition to the
society of Grigs.

On Thursday afternoon she invited them all to go home with her and play
in the Casino.

The girls went directly from school, and a short walk brought them to
Elise’s home.

The Farrington house was really a mansion, and by far the most
magnificent and imposing dwelling that Patty had ever been in. The eight
girls ran up the steps and the door was opened by a footman in livery.
The great hall seemed to Patty like a glimpse into fairyland. Its
massive staircase wound around in a bewildering way, and beautiful palms
and statues stood all about. The light fell softly through stained-glass
windows, and to Patty’s beauty-loving soul it all seemed a perfect
Elysium of form and colour.

She almost held her breath as she looked, but Elise seemed to take it as
a matter of course, and said, “Come on into the library, girls, and
leave your books and things.”

The library was another revelation of art and beauty, and Patty wondered
if the other girls were as much impressed as herself by Elise’s home. It
was not only that unlimited wealth had been used in the building and
furnishing, but somebody’s exquisite and educated taste had directed the
expenditure; and it was this that appealed so strongly to Patty, though
she did not herself understand it.

There was another occupant of the library, whom Elise presented as her
brother Roger. He was a boy of about nineteen, with dark hair and eyes,
like his sister’s, and a kind, frank face. He greeted the girls
pleasantly, without a trace of awkwardness, but after a few casual
remarks he turned aside from the laughing group and stared moodily out
of the window.

“Poor old Roger,” said Elise to Patty, in a low voice, “he’s in a most
awful fit of the blues. Do go and say a few cheering words to him,
there’s a good Grig.”

Always ready to cast a ray of sunshine into anybody’s life, Patty went
toward the disconsolate-looking boy.

“How can you look so sad?” she said, “with a whole room full of merry
Grigs?”

“Because I’m not a Grig, I suppose,” said Roger. He spoke politely
enough, but seemed not at all anxious to pursue the conversation. But
Patty was not so easily daunted.

“Of course, you can’t be a member of our society,” she said, “but
couldn’t you be just a little bit griggy on your own account?”

“My own account doesn’t call for grigginess just at present.”

“Why not?”

“Oh, I have troubles of my own.”

“All the more reason for being merry. How do you expect to get the
better of your troubles if you don’t have fun with them?”

Roger looked at her with a little more interest.

“The trouble that’s bothering me hasn’t come yet,” he said; “it’s only
an anticipation now.”

“Then perhaps it never will come, and you might as well be merry and
take your chances.”

“No, it’s bound to come, and there’s nothing merry about it; it’s just
horrid!”

“Won’t you tell me what it is?” said Patty, gently, seeing that the boy
was very much in earnest.

“Would you really like to know?”

“Yes, indeed; perhaps I could help you.”

Roger smiled. “No,” he said, “you can’t help me; nobody can help me.
It’s only this; I’ve got to have my arm broken.”

“What?” exclaimed Patty, looking at the stalwart youth in amazement.
“Who’s going to break it?”

“I don’t know whether to go to the circus, and let a lion break it, or
whether to fall out of an automobile,” and Roger smiled quizzically at
Patty’s bewildered face.

“Oh, you’re only fooling,” she said, with a look of relief; “I thought
you were in earnest.”

“And so I am,” said Roger, more seriously. “This is the truth: I broke
my arm playing football, a year ago, and when it was set it didn’t knit
right, or it wasn’t set right, or something, and now I can’t bend my
elbow at all.” Roger raised his right arm and showed that he was unable
to bend it at the elbow-joint. “It’s awfully inconvenient and awkward,
as you see; and the only remedy is to have it broken and set over again,
and so that’s the proposition I’m up against.”

“And a mighty hard one, too,” said Patty with a sudden rush of genuine
sympathy. “Are you going to the hospital?”

“Yes; mother wants it done at home—thinks I could be more comfortable,
and all that. But I’d rather go to the hospital; it’s more satisfactory
in every way. But it will be a long siege. Now, Miss Grig, do you see
anything particularly merry in the outlook?”

“Will the breaking part hurt?” asked Patty.

“No, I shall probably be unconscious during the smash. But what I dread
is lying still for several weeks bound up in splints. And I can’t play
in the game this season.”

“You couldn’t, anyway, if you didn’t have it broken, could you?”

“No, of course not.”

“And you never can play football again if you don’t have it broken and
reset?”

“No.”

“Well, then, the outlook is decidedly merry. The idea of your objecting
to the inconveniences of three or four weeks, when it means a lifetime
of comfort and convenience afterwards.”

“Whew! I never looked at it in just that light before, but I more than
half believe you’re right.”

“Of course I’m right,” said Patty, stoutly. “You’ve got to look at
things in their true proportion. And the proportion of a few weeks in
the hospital against a good arm for the rest of your life is very small,
I can tell you. Especially as you will have the best possible skill and
care, and every comfort and luxury that can be procured. Suppose you
were poor, and had to go to some free hospital, and have inexperienced
doctors practising on you! Why, you might have to have your arm broken
and set a dozen times before they got it right.”

“Well, there is something in that, and I begin to believe my case is
merrier than it might be. At any rate, Miss Grig, you’ve cheered me up a
lot, and I’m duly grateful. I leave home to-morrow for the merry, merry
hospital, so I can only hope that when next we meet I can raise my arm
and shake hands with you a little more gracefully than this.”

Roger put out his stiff arm with an awkward gesture, but with such a
pleasant smile that Patty shook hands heartily and said: “I hope you
will; and until then promise me that you’ll be as merry as a Grig would
be under similar circumstances.”

“I’ll promise to try,” said Roger, and then Elise carried the girls all
off to the Casino.

Though not so elaborately furnished as the Farrington home, the Casino
was perfect in its own way. On the first floor, which they entered by a
door from the main hall of the Farrington house, was a large tennis
court, and in the apartment next to that a squash court. It seemed
strange to see these courts in-doors, but Elise told the girls that
after they had tried them, she felt sure they would like them quite as
well as out-of-door courts.

“At any rate,” she said, “they are the best possible substitute.”

On the floor above was a long bowling alley, a billiard-room and a
bewildering succession of other rooms, some fitted up with paraphernalia
of which Patty did not even know the use.

But she was greatly impressed with the kindness of a father who would
fit out such a wonderful place of delightful recreation for his
children.

“It isn’t only for us,” said Elise, as Patty expressed her thoughts
aloud; “father and mother use it to entertain their friends in the
evenings. There is a card-room and a smoking-room, and up at the top a
big ball-room. But of course we children just use these lower floor
rooms for our games and things. Now, shall we have the meeting first, I
mean the regular society meeting, or play games first and meet
afterwards?”

“Let’s play first,” said Patty, “because we mightn’t have time for
both.”

This was unanimously agreed to and soon the Grigs were quite living up
to their name, as they played various games.

Patty, Elise, Hilda and Editha played tennis at first and afterwards
played basketball, while the others took the tennis court.

After an hour or more of this vigorous exercise they were quite ready to
sit down and rest, and Elise said, “Now we will all go and sit in the
hall and have our meeting.”

This hall was a large square apartment on the second floor. There was an
immense open fireplace, where great logs were cheerfully blazing; and on
either side were quaint, old-fashioned settles, large and roomy, and on
these the girls ranged themselves.

“This is the nicest society,” said Clementine, “because we don’t have to
do anything at any particular time. Now here we are holding a meeting on
Thursday, when Saturday is our regular day. But I don’t see any reason
why we shouldn’t meet any day that happens to suit us.”

“I think so, too,” said Hilda; “we haven’t any rules and we don’t want
any. Has anybody any plans for next week?”

“I have a plan,” said Elise, “though I’m not sure we can arrange it for
next week. But some day I think it would be nice for us to collect a lot
of small children who don’t have much fun in their lives, and bring them
here for a morning or an afternoon in the Casino and just let them romp
and play all they like.”

“That’s a beautiful plan, Elise,” said Patty, her eyes shining; “and
you’re a dear to think of it. Is your mother willing?”

“Yes,” said Elise; “she wasn’t awfully anxious to let me do it at first,
but I coaxed her to and father was willing, so he helped me coax.”

Just here Roger appeared, carrying a large box of candy.

“Hope I don’t intrude,” he said, in his graceful, boyish way; “and I
won’t stay a minute. But I thought that perhaps even merry Grigs could
at times descend to prosaic chocolates.”

“I should say we could!” exclaimed Clementine; “really I don’t know
anything merrier than a box of candy.”

“You’re a perfect duck, Roger, to bring it,” said Elise; “but you must
run away now, for we can’t have boys at Grig meetings. There’s nothing
merry about a boy.”

“All the more reason then,” said Roger, “why I should stay and be
merryfied.”

“No, you can’t,” said his sister, “so go away now and please send mother
here. She said she’d come and meet the girls, so tell her now’s her
chance.”

With comical expressions of unwillingness, Roger went away and in a few
moments Mrs. Farrington came.

She was an ultra-fashionable lady and reminded Patty a little of Aunt
Isabel St. Clair. But though elaborately dressed, her gown was in far
better taste than Aunt Isabel’s gorgeous raiment, and though her manner
was a little conventional, her voice was low and sweet and her smile was
charming.

She did not talk to the girls individually, but greeted them as a whole,
and welcomed them prettily as friends of her daughter.

Then she presented each one with a beautiful little pin made of green
enamel in the design of a cricket.

“It is a real English cricket, or grig,” she said, “and I instructed the
jeweller to make it a merry one.”

Her orders had been carried out, for the little green grigs were jolly
looking affairs, with tiny eyes of yellow topaz that fairly seemed to
wink and blink with fun. The girls were delighted and all agreed that
Mrs. Farrington had conferred the highest possible honour on the society
of Grigs.



                               CHAPTER XV
                          A PLEASANT SATURDAY


At half-past five Mrs. Farrington sent the girls home in her carriage.
The four who lived farthest were sent first and this left the two Hart
girls and Patty to wait for the second trip.

They had returned to the Farrington house and were waiting in the
library. Roger was there, and also two of Elise’s younger sisters. Patty
was glad to see more of the Farrington family and chatted pleasantly
with the little girls. But before she went away Roger found an
opportunity to speak to her again.

“I say, you know,” he began, “I don’t know just how to express it, but I
want to thank you for the way you talked to me. It wasn’t so much what
you said, but that brave, plucky kind of talk does brace a fellow up
wonderfully and I’m no end obliged to you.”

“You’re more than welcome, I’m sure,” said Patty, smiling; “but I didn’t
say anything worth while. I wish I could really help you, but if you’ll
just look on the bright side, you know you can help yourself a whole
lot.”

“You help other poor little boys in hospitals,” said Roger; “you go to
see Tommy Skelling.”

“Well, I can’t go to see you,” said Patty, laughing; “but I’ll tell you
what I will do; I’ll make a scrap-book for you, or a peanut doll,
whichever you’d rather have.”

“I think I’ll take the scrap-book,” said Roger, with the air of one
making an important decision. “You see I might be tempted to eat up the
peanut doll.”

“That’s so; well, I’ll promise to make you a nice little scrap-book and
send it to you next week. And I hope you’ll get along all right, and,
honestly, I think you will.”

“I think so, too,” said Roger, cheerfully; and then the carriage
returned and Patty went home.

That evening she told her father all about the Farringtons.

“It was so funny, papa,” she said, “to be visiting in one of those grand
millionaire houses. Why, it’s like those that are pictured in the
magazines, you know. And I thought that those people were always
ostentatious and purse-proud and generally snippy to us poorer classes.
But the Farringtons aren’t that way a bit. They’re refined and gentle
and awfully kind. They have some queer ways, and somehow they seem a
little discontented—not entirely happy, you know—but very pleasant and
sweet to us girls. But aren’t Elise’s parents good to her to give her
all that pleasure? The Casino, I mean.”

“The Casino is truly a splendid thing,” said Mr. Fairfield, “but do you
think it necessarily shows that Mr. and Mrs. Farrington are more fond of
their children than other people are?”

Patty thought a while, quite seriously; then she said: “I believe I see
what you mean. You mean that Mr. Farrington is fond of his children,
just as other fathers are; but that he happens to have money enough to
give them bigger things. Because I know, Papa Fairfield, that if you had
millions of dollars, you’d be plenty fond enough of me to give me a
dozen Casinos, wouldn’t you?”

“Two dozen, if you wanted them, Puss, and if I could afford them. Yes,
that’s what I mean, Patty, and it’s the old question of proportion. From
what I know in a general way of Mr. Farrington and from what you tell me
of their home life, I believe they have a good sense of proportion and
are consequently people who are pleasant to know. But, my child, you
must look out for your own sense of proportion. Remember Elise is a rich
girl and lives in luxury, but you are not; and while we are in fairly
comfortable circumstances, I want you to realise the difference and not
feel envious of her, or discontented because you can’t live as she
does.”

“Indeed I don’t, papa; I’m not quite such a goose as that, as you ought
to know by this time. But I do like to visit there and I enjoy the
lovely house and the beautiful pictures and things.”

“That’s all right, Patty girl, if you like Elise, too. But I don’t want
you to cultivate anybody just for the sake of their beautiful home and
pleasant entertainment.”

“I do like Elise, papa, very much; she’s a peculiar girl and I don’t
think I quite understand her yet. But there’s a good deal to her and the
more I see of her, the better I like her. She has invited me to lunch
there on Saturday, and afterwards go to a matinée with her. The French
governess will take us, and Mrs. Farrington told Elise she might ask me.
May I go, papa?”

“Why, yes, child, I don’t see any reason why you shouldn’t. I want you
to have all the good times that it’s right for a little girl to have.
What is the matinée?”

“I forget the name of it, but it’s one of those ‘Humpty Dumpty’ sort of
shows, with fairies and wonderful scenes. Elise says it was brought over
from London, and it’s something like what they call a Christmas
pantomime over there.”

“That’s all right, Chicken; you may go, and I hope you’ll have a
beautiful time. And then some day you must invite Elise here to luncheon
and I’ll take you both to a show.”

“Oh, papa, that will be lovely! How good you are to me. I haven’t seen
Mr. Farrington yet, but I’m sure he isn’t a quarter as handsome as you
are, if he is twice as rich.”

“He’s probably a hundred times as rich,” said Mr. Fairfield, laughing,
“and twice as handsome.”

“I don’t believe a word of it,” said Patty, smiling at her father, “and
Nan wouldn’t, either.”

“I don’t believe she would. Between you two flatterers I run a fair
chance of being completely spoiled.”

“When shall I see Nan?” asked Patty; “isn’t she coming to New York this
winter?”

“Yes, after the holidays she and Mrs. Allen are coming to town for a
month or so.”

“Lovely! where will they be? At The Wilberforce?”

“No, they will stay at a hotel farther uptown, where Mrs. Allen’s sister
lives.”

“I’ll be awfully glad to see Nan again; and the girls will all like her,
too, I’m sure. Papa, do you know, I think I have a very lovely lot of
friends, counting you, and Nan, and Grandma, and all the Grigs.”

“And Kenneth?”

“Oh, yes; if you count boys, Kenneth and Clifford Morse and now Roger
Farrington. He’s an awfully nice boy, papa.”

“Yes, I think so, Puss, from what you told me about him; and I’m sorry
for the poor chap. You must make a first-class scrap-book for him,
Patty; make it real interesting, you know; with pictures that a boy
would like and really funny jokes and little stories. And some evening
when Hepworth is up here we’ll get him to make some funny sketches for
it and design a cover.”

“Gay!” cried Patty, “that’s the very thing! Mr. Hepworth’s comic
sketches are too funny for anything. And, papa, he’s another good
friend, isn’t he? I forgot him. Don’t you think I’m particularly blessed
in my friends, papa?”

“I think you are a blessed little girl and have a happy and contented
disposition. And you’ll find out in the long run that that is better
than wealth or high social position.”

On Saturday Patty went to Elise’s for luncheon. The Farrington carriage
came for her and a maid was sent to accompany her.

Although without a shade of envy in her mind, Patty thoroughly enjoyed
the ride in the luxurious carriage, with a smart and imposing coachman
and footman and the trim little French maid beside her.

“I’m afraid,” she thought to herself, “that I have a love of luxury; but
papa says if I’m not envious it won’t do any harm; and I’m sure I’m
not.”

When they reached the Farringtons’ Elise took Patty at once to her own
room. Patty was not surprised to find that this was the prettiest
bedroom she had ever seen, and she fairly revelled in the beautiful
furnishings and decorations.

“Oh, this room is all right,” said Elise, carelessly; “but if you want
to see a really remarkable room, just step out here.”

As she spoke, Elise opened the door out to what Patty supposed was a
sort of balcony or enclosed veranda at the back of the house. But it was
not exactly that; it was, as Elise expressed it, “a glass room.” It was
an extension of the house, and the sides and roof were entirely of
glass. A clever arrangement of Japanese screens adjusted the light as
desired.

“You see,” explained Elise, “I’m a sort of sun-worshipper. I never can
get sunlight enough in the city, so I planned this room all myself and
father had it built for me. There is an extension of the house below it
and they only had to put up a sort of frame or skeleton room, and then
enclose it with glass. So here, you see, I have plenty of light and I
just revel in it. I call it my studio, because I paint a little; but I
sit here more to read, or to chum with my friends, or just to loaf and
do nothing.”

“I love sunlight, too,” exclaimed Patty, “and I think this room is
wonderful. I used to have a pretty little enclosed balcony, at my aunt’s
in Vernondale; but of course it wasn’t like this.”

The furniture in Elise’s studio was almost entirely of gilded
wicker-work, and gilt-framed mirrors added to the general glittering
effect. On the whole, Patty thought she preferred her balcony at Aunt
Alice’s, but this room was very novel and interesting and far better
adapted for winter weather.

“Of course there’s no way to heat it,” said Elise, “for I wasn’t going
to have the glass walls spoiled with old pipes and radiators. But the
sun usually warms it sufficiently, or I can leave the doors open from my
bedroom.”

“How do you like the Oliphant?” asked Patty as the girls settled down
for an intimate chat.

“Oh, I like it all right; I think the school is as good as any and Miss
Oliphant seems very nice, though really I haven’t seen much of her. I
like the girls fairly well, but the Grigs seem to be the nicest ones of
the whole school.”

“Oh, you think that because you know them better than the others. Isn’t
Hilda a dear?”

“Yes, I suppose so; but somehow, I don’t get on with her quite as well
as with the others. I always seem to rub her the wrong way, though I
never mean to.”

“That’s because you both want to rule,” said Patty, laughing; “has it
never struck you, Elise, that you’re very fond of having things your own
way?”

“Yes,” returned Elise, tranquilly, “I know quite well what you mean.
It’s my nature to boss others.”

“Yes, that’s just it; and it’s Hilda’s nature, too.”

“And it’s your nature, too.”

“Yes, I think it is. But I don’t care so much about it as you two girls,
and I’m more willing to give in.”

“You’re better natured—that’s the truth. And that’s one reason why I
like you best of all the schoolgirls. And I hope you like me; do you?”

“Of course I do, or I shouldn’t be here now.”

“I don’t believe you would. But there are some girls, and you must
excuse my saying this, who just like me, or pretend to like me, because
I’m one of ‘the rich Farringtons.’ I know that sounds horrid, but I
think you understand. It’s so ridiculous that the mere accident of
having more money than some other people should make people think us
desirable acquaintances.”

“I think I understand what you mean,” said Patty, smiling at Elise’s
earnestness, “but don’t you bother about me. I like you because I think
you’re the kind of a girl I like; and I don’t care a speck more for you
because your father’s a millionaire. But, to be truly honest, aside from
your own charming self, I do like to see all these lovely things you
have in your home; and I like to play in your Casino and I like to ride
in your carriage.”

“So do I,” said Elise; “I enjoy it all. But if it were all taken away
from me to-morrow, I wouldn’t mind so very much. Do you know, I’ve
always thought I should rather enjoy it if I had to earn my own living.”

“Well, you are a queer girl, and I hope you won’t be able to realise
your wish very soon; for, if you’ll excuse my saying it, I don’t believe
you _could_ earn your own living.”

“I don’t know whether I could or not; but it would be so exciting to
try.”

“Well, it’s an excitement that you ought to be thankful not to have at
present.”

Then the girls went down to luncheon, and after that to the matinée. The
time passed like a happy dream, and when Patty was again set down at her
own home, she felt more than ever glad that she had such delightful
friends. She spent the evening giving her father and Grandma a detailed
account of her experiences, and succeeded in making them almost as
enthusiastic as herself.



                              CHAPTER XVI
                             A CAPABLE COOK


The next Saturday morning the Grigs met at Hilda’s, and after the merry
meeting was over Clementine begged Patty to stop in at her house for a
few moments on her way home.

“I’d ask you to stay to luncheon,” said Clementine, as they went through
the hall, “but mamma is giving a luncheon party to-day, and I can’t have
anything to eat myself until after her guests have gone.”

“Oh, I must go home anyway,” said Patty; “Grandma is expecting me.”

“See how pretty the table looks,” said Clementine, as the girls passed
by the open door of the dining-room.

“Beautiful!” exclaimed Patty, as she paused to look at the daintily
appointed table, with its shining glass and silver, its decorations and
pretty name cards. “Your mother knows just how to arrange a table,
doesn’t she? How many are coming?”

“Eight; that is, there will be eight with mamma. Of course I never go to
the table when she has formal company. I can have something to eat in
the butler’s pantry, or I can wait until the luncheon is over and then
go in the dining-room. Yes, the table will look lovely after the flowers
are on and all the last touches.”

The two girls went on up to the play-room and were soon engrossed in
lively chat about their own affairs.

Suddenly Mrs. Morse appeared in the door-way.

“Oh, Clementine,” she exclaimed, with an air of the greatest
consternation, “I don’t know _what_ I am to do! Cook has scalded her
hands fearfully; she upset a kettle of boiling water and the burns were
so bad I had to send her straight to the hospital. She’s just gone and
it’s after half-past twelve now and all those people coming to luncheon
at half-past one. Nothing is cooked, nothing is ready and I’m at my
wits’ end.”

“Can’t Jane cook?”

“No, she’s only a waitress; and besides, I need her in the dining-room.
I can’t think of anything but for you to run right down to Pacetti’s and
ask them to send me a capable, first-class cook at once. I’d telephone,
but I’m afraid they’d send some inexperienced person, so I think it
better for you to go. Make them understand the necessity for haste; but,
dear me, they’re so slow, anyway, that I doubt if a cook would reach
here before half-past one. And there is so much to be done. I never was
in such an unfortunate situation!”

Mrs. Morse looked the picture of despair, and indeed it was not
surprising that she should. But while she had been talking to
Clementine, Patty had been doing some quick thinking.

“Mrs. Morse,” she said, “if you will trust me, I will cook your luncheon
for you. I can do it perfectly well and I will engage to have everything
ready at half-past one, if I can go right to work.”

“My dear child, you’re crazy. Everything is all prepared to be cooked,
but it is by no means a plain every-day meal. There are quail to be
broiled, lobster Newburg to be prepared, salad dressing, soup, coffee,
and no end of things to be looked after, besides a most elaborate
dessert from the confectioner’s which has to be properly arranged. So
you see, though I appreciate your kind offer of help, it is outside the
possibilities.”

Patty’s eyes danced as she heard this list of the fancy dishes in which
her soul delighted.

“Please let me do it, Mrs. Morse,” she begged; “I know how to do
everything you’ve mentioned, and with Clementine to help me I’ll send up
the dishes exactly as they should be.”

“But I don’t know a thing about cooking,” exclaimed Clementine, in
dismay.

“I don’t want you to help me cook; I’ll do that. I just want you to help
me beat eggs or chop parsley or things like that. You must promise to
obey my orders strictly and quickly; then there’ll be no trouble of any
kind. Truly, Mrs. Morse, I can do it and do it right.”

Patty’s air of assurance convinced Mrs. Morse, and though it seemed
absurd, the poor lady was so anxious to believe in this apparent miracle
that she consented.

“Why, Patty,” she said, “if you really _can_ do it, it would be a
perfect godsend to me to have you.”

“Indeed I can,” said Patty, who was already turning up the sleeves of
her shirt-waist by way of preparation. “Just give me a big apron and
wait one minute while I telephone to Grandma not to expect me home to
luncheon, and then show me the way to the kitchen.”

When they reached the kitchen Patty was delighted to see how beautifully
everything was prepared for cooking. The quail were already on the
broiler, the bread cut for toast, the ingredients for the salad dressing
measured. The dishes were piled in order and the cooking utensils laid
ready to hand.

“Why, it will be no trouble at all!” she exclaimed; “your cook must be a
genius to have everything so systematically prepared.”

“Are you quite sure you know how?” said Mrs. Morse, once more, looking
doubtfully at the uncooked viands.

“Oh, yes, indeed!” exclaimed Patty, blithely; “it’s twice as easy as I
thought it was going to be. But I must have full sway, and no
interference of any sort. Now you run along, good lady, and put on your
pretty gown, and don’t give another thought to your food. But please
send the waitress to me, as we must understand each other.”

Mrs. Morse looked at Patty with a sort of awe, as if she had suddenly
discovered a genius in one whom she had hitherto thought of as a mere
child. Then she went away to dress, feeling that somehow things would
come out all right.

Patty was in her element. Not only because she dearly loved to cook and
thoroughly understood the concoction of fancy dishes, but more because
she was so delighted to have an opportunity to help Mrs. Morse.
Clementine’s mother was one of her ideal women, and Patty admired her
exceedingly. Moreover, she had been very kind to Patty and the grateful
girl was happy in the thought of being a real help to her good friend.

When Jane came to the kitchen Patty explained the situation to her and
in a few clear straightforward orders made it impossible that any
mistake should occur between the cooking and the serving. Patty
unconsciously assumed an air of dignity, which struck Clementine as
intensely comical, but which impressed Jane as the demeanour of a
genius.

“Now,” said Patty, when Jane had returned to the dining-room, “I’ll give
you fair warning, Clementine, that I shall be pretty cross while I’m
doing this cooking. You know crossness is the prerogative of a cook. So
don’t mind me, but just help all you can by keeping quiet and doing as I
tell you. I’m sorry to seem dictatorial and horrid, but really it’s the
only way to make your mother’s luncheon a success.”

And then Patty became entirely absorbed in her work. She took a rapid
survey of everything, summarized what she had to do, looked up some
forgotten points in a recipe book and moved around so deftly and capably
that Clementine just sat and stared at her.

She put the _bouillon_ on to heat, also a great kettle of lard; she
moulded the croquettes and put the French peas on the stove.

“Now,” she said to Clementine, “have you an ice crusher?”

“I don’t know, I’m sure,” said Clementine, helplessly; “what is it
like?”

Patty laughed; “I’ll find it,” she said, and after a short search she
did. Then she set Clementine to crushing ice for the oysters, a task
which that young woman accomplished successfully and with great pride in
her own achievement.

“All right,” said Patty, with an abstracted air; “now toast these rounds
of bread, while you can have the fire; and then put them in the oven to
keep hot.”

This performance was not so successful, for when Clementine showed her
plate of toast it was a collection of burnt crisps and underdone, spongy
bread.

“For goodness’ sake!” exclaimed Patty, “can’t you toast better than
that? They won’t do at all. Cut some more bread and hurry up about it!”

“You said you’d be cross,” murmured Clementine, as she cut more bread;
“but you didn’t say you’d snap my head off like a raging tiger.”

Both girls laughed, but Patty toasted the bread herself, as she wasn’t
willing to take any more chances in that direction.

But the real excitement began when the luncheon hour actually arrived.

Though not exactly nervous, Patty’s mind was strung to a certain tension
which can only be appreciated by those who know the sensations of an
_amateur_ cook preparing a formal meal.

Precisely at half-past one Patty placed on the dumb-waiter eight plates
of grape-fruit, the appearance of which caused Clementine to clasp her
hands in speechless admiration. Each golden hemisphere nestled in a bed
of clear, cracked ice, and was marvellously decorated with crimson
cherries and glossy, green orange leaves.

After this the various courses followed one another in what seemed to
the girls maddeningly rapid succession.

Clementine soon discovered that she could do only the simplest things,
but her quick wit enabled her to help in other ways, by getting the
dishes ready and handing Patty such things as she wanted.

It was a thrilling hour, but Patty’s spirits rose as one course after
another turned out the very acme of perfection. The croquettes were the
loveliest golden brown, the quail broiled to a turn, the lobster hot in
its paper cases and the salad a dream of cold, crisp beauty. At last
they reached the dessert. This was a complicated affair with various
adjuncts in the way of sauces and whipped cream. The main part was
frozen and was packed in a large tub of ice and salt. Clementine
volunteered to get this out, and as Patty was busy, she let her do it.

But alas, the inexperienced girl opened the pudding-mould before taking
it from the freezer, the salt water rushed in, and in a moment the
delicious confection was totally uneatable.

Patty grasped the situation, Clementine fully expected she would be
cross, now if ever; but, as Patty afterward explained, the occasion was
too critical for that.

“The dessert is spoiled!” she said, in an awe-stricken whisper. “We must
make another!”

“What out of?” asked Clementine, in the same hushed tone.

“I don’t know; what have you in the house?”

“Bread!” exclaimed Clementine, with a sudden inspiration from the loaf
on the table.

“Ridiculous! there must be something else! Have you any stale cake?”

“I don’t know. Yes, wait a minute, there’s plenty of fruit-cake; but
it’s locked up in one of the pantry cupboards.”

“Where’s the key? Quick!”

“Why, I don’t know; I suppose it’s in mamma’s desk.”

“Run and get it!” and Patty fairly glared at Clementine. “Fly! and don’t
be gone more than half a minute!”

Poor Clementine, bewildered by the awful emergency which she had herself
brought about, flew for the key, and luckily found it at once.

She returned with a huge fruit-cake, and in a second Patty’s anxious
face broke into smiles.

“The country is safe!” she cried, dancing round the kitchen; “Fate
cannot harm us now, nor salt water either.”

“I don’t believe mamma will like just fruit-cake for dessert,” said
Clementine, dubiously.

“Huh!” said Patty, tossing her head in the air; “watch the magician! But
first, have you any rather large-sized wine-glasses? Tall, you know,
with slender stems.”

“Yes,” said Clementine, already disappearing in quest of them.

When she returned Patty had eight discs of cake, which she had cut from
slices, and placing one in each glass, she put on each a spoonful of the
sauce that had been intended for the unfortunate frozen pudding. This
she topped with a shapely mound of whipped cream, on which she daintily
placed candied cherries.

The desserts were ready in ample time, and after sending up the coffee
Patty drew a long sigh of relief.

Then the two hungry girls sat down in the kitchen to eat their own
luncheon, for which there was an ample supply of the good things left,
and to talk over the exciting experience.

“You’re a wonder, Patty,” said Clementine; “I had no idea you could do
things like that.”

“Oh, I’ve been a housekeeper in my day, you know,” said Patty; “and it
was only after lots of failures that I learned to do those things
right.”

Later on, Mrs. Morse undertook to express her gratitude to the little
girl who had rescued her from so much trouble and mortification. But the
good lady’s delight was too great for words, and she promised that the
time would yet come when she would reward Patty in some appropriate way.

“I don’t want any reward,” said Patty, looking lovingly at her friend,
“except to know that I helped you when nobody else could.”

“You certainly did that,” said Mrs. Morse.



                              CHAPTER XVII
                          LORRAINE’S ENDEAVOUR


Patty’s sunny disposition and invariable good humour exerted a
beneficial influence on Lorraine, though the effects were slow and
gradual. But the girl herself was trying to be more optimistic in her
general attitude toward life, and to a degree she was succeeding.

But one afternoon she came up to Patty’s apartment to sit with her for a
while, and the expression of her face was quite as dark and gloomy as of
yore.

Patty noticed this at once, but did not remark it; instead, she began
chatting in a merry vein, hoping by this means to cheer up her dismal
caller. But it was of no avail, for Lorraine evidently had a trouble of
some sort on her mind.

At last she exclaimed, in a stormy way, “I just _hate_ Elise
Farrington!”

“Oho,” thought Patty to herself, “so that’s the trouble, is it?”

But aloud she only said: “Why do you hate her? She doesn’t hate you.”

“Yes she does. She just snubs me right and left, and she doesn’t invite
me to her Casino, or anything.”

“Now look here, Lorraine, you are unjust and unfair. Elise doesn’t snub
you, or if she does, it’s because you don’t give her a chance to be nice
to you. You’re my friend, but Elise is my friend, too, and I want fair
play all around. I’ve seen you with Elise Farrington, and you snub her
worse than she does you; and I don’t wonder she doesn’t invite you to
see her!”

Patty didn’t often scold Lorraine as hard as this, but her sense of
justice was aroused, and she determined to give it full play for once.

Lorraine began to cry, but Patty knew they were not tears of repentance,
so she went on:

“It’s perfectly silly, Lorraine, the way you act. Here you might just as
well belong to the Grigs, and have lots of good times; but just because
you _prefer_ to consider yourself snubbed at every tack and turn, when
nobody means anything of the sort at all, of course you can’t belong to
a club whose only object is to be merry and gay.”

“I don’t want to belong to your old Grigs! I think they’re silly, and I
hate ’em all!”

“You _do_ want to belong, and you _don’t_ think they’re silly! Now look
here, Lorraine, I’m just about at the end of my patience. I’ve done
everything I could for you, to make you more like the other girls, and
though you’re nicer in some ways than you used to be, yet you’re so
foolishly sensitive that you make yourself a lot of trouble that I can’t
help. I don’t mind telling you, now that we’re on the subject, that the
girls are all ready to take you in as a member of the Grigs, if you’ll
be nice and pleasant. But we don’t want any disagreeable members, or any
members who insist on thinking themselves snubbed when nobody had any
such intention.”

Lorraine stopped crying and looked at Patty with a peculiar expression.

“Do you really mean,” she said, “that you’d take me into the Grigs if I
were not so bad-tempered?”

“Well, since you choose to put it that way, that’s just about what I do
mean,” said Patty, politely ignoring the fact that Lorraine had declared
she didn’t want to be a Grig.

“Well, then I _will_ be better-natured, and stop being so hateful to the
girls. Just make me a Grig and I’ll show you.”

“No, Lorraine, that won’t do; you’ve got to prove yourself first. Now,
I’ll tell you what—you be real nice to Elise and make her like you, or
rather, _let_ her like you, and then there’ll be no trouble about
getting you into the society.”

“All right,” said Lorraine, hopefully, “but what can I do? Elise won’t
speak to me now.”

“Oh, pshaw! yes, she will. I’ll guarantee that she’ll meet you half-way.
Now here’s a plan; you must do something like this. Get your mother to
let you invite Elise to come to see you some afternoon, and then invite
the Harts and me, too, and have a real jolly afternoon. They’ll all
come, and then if you’re nice and pleasant, as you know perfectly well
how to be, the girls can’t help liking you. Oh, Lorraine, you’re _such_
a goose! It’s a great deal easier to go through the world happy and
smiling than to mope along, glum and cross-grained.”

“It is for you, Patty, because you’re born happy, and you can’t help
staying so. But I’m different.”

“Well then un-different yourself as soon as you can. It’s silly—that’s
what it is—it’s worse than silly—it’s _wicked_ not to be happy and
gay. I’ve fooled with you long enough, and now I’m going to _make_ you
behave yourself! Laugh now, laugh at once!”

Patty’s gaiety was infectious, and Lorraine laughed because she couldn’t
help it. Then they fell to making plans for the little afternoon party,
and Lorraine’s spirits rose until there was nothing to choose between
the merriment of the two girls.

“And I’ll tell you what,” said Patty; “we’re making a scrap-book for
Roger Farrington; he’s in the hospital, you know. And if you will have
some funny pictures or stories ready to put in it, you needn’t worry any
further about Elise’s liking you. She’s the most grateful girl for
little things I ever saw.”

“Oh, I can do that,” said Lorraine; “I’d love to.”

Before Lorraine invited the girls to visit her, Patty had talked with
each one and made them promise to accept the invitation, and do all that
they could to help along the good cause, which, as she explained, was a
truly Griggish one.

So the four girls went to Lorraine’s one afternoon, all in a merry mood.
The little party was a great success, for Lorraine at her best was a
charming hostess, and her mother was very kind and hospitable.

Each girl brought some contribution for Roger’s scrap-book, and Patty
was secretly delighted when she found that Lorraine’s donation was quite
the jolliest of all.

Lorraine was clever with her pencil, and with her needle, and she had
designed some funny little football players by cutting pictures of
football celebrities from the papers. These she had dressed up in bits
of real material, had made the footballs of real leather, and made tiny
silk flags in college colours.

Elise was delighted beyond all measure at the clever little figures, and
when Lorraine, a little bashfully, offered a poem she had written to go
with them, the girls all declared she was a genius. It was a humorous
poem, with a football refrain, and Elise said that she was sure Roger
would commit it to memory, and quote it on every possible occasion.

Happily the girls went to work, cutting and pasting, drawing and
sketching, writing and sewing, on the various pages until the scrap-book
became a marvellous work of art.

Patty asked them to leave one or two pages blank for Mr. Hepworth’s
funny sketches, and promised too, that he would decorate the cover.

A few days later, Mr. Hepworth spent the evening with the Fairfields,
and willingly agreed to add his share to the book.

He filled a couple of pages with drawings funny enough to make a whole
hospital laugh, and then adorned the cover with a conventional design of
football players and Grigs, surrounding a patient-looking patient in a
hospital cot.

While Mr. Hepworth was sketching, Patty related with glee how much
Lorraine had helped with the book, and how really amiable and pleasant
the girl had begun to be. As Mr. Hepworth was a frequent visitor at the
Fairfields’, he knew a good deal about Lorraine, and was much
interested.

“If Lorraine is really trying to live The Merry Life,” said Mr.
Fairfield, “she ought to be aided and encouraged in every possible way.
Now, I’ll tell you what I’ll do, Patty. Next Saturday afternoon I’ll
take you and Lorraine to the circus. We’ll take Grandma along, because
the circus is one of her favourite forms of amusement, and we’ll take
Hepworth, as a reward for this truly beautiful art work he’s
accomplishing this evening. Now, we’ll invite one more favourite friend
and you may select anyone you like.”

“Oh, papa, let’s ask Kenneth. He’s working awfully hard just now, and
he’d enjoy the fun so much.”

“Yes,” said Mr. Hepworth, cordially, as he looked up from his drawing,
“ask young Harper—he’s always an addition to any party.”

“I’m delighted to go,” said Grandma. “I’ve thought about it ever since
they put up the big posters. I certainly do enjoy a circus.”

“Your tastes are certainly frisky, Grandma,” said Mr. Fairfield. “Now,
for a lady of your dignified appearance an oratorio or a nice lecture on
psychology would seem more fitting.”

“When you invite me to those, I may go also,” said Grandma, gaily; “but
next Saturday afternoon I consider myself engaged for the circus. You’ll
have a box, I suppose.”

“Yes,” said Mr. Fairfield, “we’ll have anything that’ll add to your
pleasure; not omitting pop-corn and pink lemonade, if they’re to be
had.”

“Oh, papa!” cried Patty, “this kind of a circus doesn’t have those
things. You’re thinking of a country circus. The circus in Madison
Square Garden isn’t like that.”

“Well, at any rate,” said Mr. Hepworth, “I hope it has all the
traditional features in the way of clowns, and freaks, and acrobats, and
other trained animals.”

“Yes, they have all of those,” said Grandma, eagerly, “for I saw them on
the posters.”

They all laughed at this, and declared it was more fun to take Grandma
to the circus than to take a child.

Both Lorraine and Kenneth accepted the invitation with pleasure, and
Kenneth volunteered to make Lorraine his especial charge, and if the fun
of the circus flagged, to amuse her with some ready-made fun of his own.

Saturday was a beautiful, bright day, and Mr. Fairfield promised to come
home to luncheon, in order that they might all start together, in ample
time for the performance.

About eleven o’clock a card was brought up to Patty by the hall boy.

“Miss Rachel Daggett,” she read in dismayed tones. “Grandma! she has
come to stay a few days! She said she would, you know, the last time we
were in Vernondale, and now she’s here. Oh, I wish she had chosen any
other day! She wouldn’t let me set the time, but said she would come
whenever the mood struck her.”

“Well, my dear, you can’t help it. Send word for her to come up, and
make the best of it.”

“But, Grandma, what about the circus? She won’t go with us—I can’t
imagine Miss Daggett at a circus—and somebody will have to stay home
with her. I’d just as lief stay myself as to have you or papa stay, and
of course we can’t leave her alone.”

“Perhaps she’ll want to lie down and rest after her journey,” suggested
Grandma.

“Not she! Miss Daggett _never_ lies down to rest. I can’t imagine it!
No, I think we’ll have to give up the whole trip. Perhaps papa can
exchange the box for some other date.”

By this time the visitor was at the door, and Patty and Grandma greeted
her pleasantly.

Miss Daggett had been their next-door neighbour in Vernondale, and Patty
was really fond of the queer old lady, but she only wished she had
chosen some other day to visit them, or had at least let them know
beforehand.

“I told you I’d come when the mood took me,” said Miss Daggett, as she
removed her antiquated bonnet.

All of Miss Daggett’s apparel was what Patty called ancient and
honourable. Her gown and cloak were of the richest material, but made in
fashions of many years ago. Although a woman of wealth, Miss Daggett was
subject to whims, one of which was to wear out the dresses she had
before buying any new ones. As this whim had followed another whim of
lavish extravagance, the dresses in question were of rich velvets and
brocades which did not wear out rapidly. The result was that Miss
Daggett went about, looking as if she had stepped out of an old picture.

Patty was quite accustomed to her old-fashioned garb, but suddenly
realised that in the hotel dining-room it would be rather conspicuous.

But this thought didn’t bother her much, for she knew it was something
she couldn’t help, and Miss Daggett had the dignified air of a thorough
gentlewoman, notwithstanding her erratic costume.

“I’ve come to stay three days,” she announced in the abrupt way peculiar
to her; “I shall go home Tuesday morning at eleven o’clock. Let me look
at you, Patty. Why, I declare, you look just as you always did. I was
afraid I’d find you tricked out in all sorts of gew-gaws and disporting
yourself like a grown-up young lady.”

“Oh no, I’m still a little girl, Miss Daggett,” said Patty, “and I’m
just as fond of fun and frolic as ever.”



                             CHAPTER XVIII
                            THE CIRCUS PARTY


Patty made that last remark by way of introducing the subject of the
circus, for her only hope was that by some miraculous whim Miss Daggett
would consent to go with them. Their party numbered only six, and Patty
knew that the box would hold eight, so there was room enough if Miss
Daggett would go. But as Patty looked at her guest’s stern, angular
face, she didn’t see anything that led her to feel very hopeful.

“We had expected, Miss Daggett,” she said, “to go to the circus this
afternoon. Would you care to go with us?”

“To the circus! for the land’s sake, no! I’m surprised that you would
think of going, or that your father would let you go. The circus,
indeed!”

“Why, Miss Daggett,” said Patty, laughing, in spite of her
disappointment, at Miss Daggett’s shocked expression, “papa’s going to
take us, and Grandma is going, too—that is, we were—but of course, if
you don’t care to go——”

“Care to go? of course I don’t care to go! All their elephants and wild
tigers couldn’t drag me there. And of course I expect you to stay at
home with me. You can go to the circus any time you choose, if you _do_
choose, though I think it a shocking thing to do; but Rachel Daggett
doesn’t visit in the city very often, and when she does she expects to
have proper respect paid to her.”

Patty’s spirits sank. She had hoped that even if Miss Daggett wouldn’t
go herself, she would insist that the rest of the party should keep
their engagement.

“We had invited a few other friends to go,” she said, feeling that Miss
Daggett’s attitude justified her in this further statement.

“You did, hey? Well, I suppose you can telephone to them that you’re not
going. Of course, if I’m an unwelcome guest——”

“Oh no, Miss Daggett, not that; of course you’re not unwelcome.”

“Well, then, act as if you were glad to see me, and don’t be
everlastingly whining because you can’t go to your old circus.”

Although rudely put, Patty knew in her own heart the principle of Miss
Daggett’s speech was that of true hospitality, and she decided to act
upon it. Moreover, she felt sure that when her father came home he would
fix matters somehow. How, she didn’t know, but she knew it would be all
right.

When Mr. Fairfield arrived he greeted the unexpected guest in his own
cordial, pleasant way.

“You’re just in time,” he said, grasping the situation at once; “we’re
all going to the circus this afternoon, and we’ll be delighted to have
you accompany us. We have two extra seats, so there’s plenty of room.”

“Your daughter has already given me the same invitation,” said Miss
Daggett, “and as I said to her, I repeat to you: nothing would induce me
to go to a circus. I think it entirely undignified and improper, and I
am surprised that you should suggest such a thing.”

“Oh, come now, Miss Daggett, you can’t mean that. Circuses are all
right, especially the one in Madison Square Garden. Why, they have the
finest acrobats and trapeze performers in the world; and a score of
trained elephants. Then there is the lovely lady who whizzes through
space in an automobile, and flies around a great circular track upside
down.”

“What!” exclaimed Miss Daggett, interested in spite of herself.

“Yes, and two men who ride down hill on bicycles, and at the end jump
off into the air, still riding, and jump on again, passing each other as
they go.”

“I’d like to see that,” said Miss Daggett, thrilled by Mr. Fairfield’s
description, “if it was in a private house; but I wouldn’t go to the
circus to see it!”

“Have you never been to a circus?” inquired Mr. Fairfield.

“That’s neither here nor there,” said Miss Daggett, drawing herself up
stiffly, and leaving the question unanswered.

“Well, I’m sorry you won’t go,” said Mr. Fairfield, urbanely, “for in
that case the party must be given up. And your nephew, Kenneth, will be
so disappointed.”

This was diplomacy on Mr. Fairfield’s part, for he well knew how Miss
Daggett idolised young Harper, and he hoped, as a last resort, that this
argument might move her.

“Kenneth!” almost shrieked the old lady, “is _he_ going? _You_ didn’t
tell me _he_ was going;” and she glared reprovingly at Patty.

“I told you we had invited some friends,” said Patty, “and he is among
them.”

“Kenneth going!” again exclaimed Miss Daggett; “why then, _of course_
I’ll go. All their elephants and wild tigers couldn’t keep me at home if
Kenneth is going. Come, let us have luncheon, so we can all be ready in
time, and not keep Kenneth waiting. Dear boy, when will he be here?”

“He’s coming at quarter of two,” said Patty, “and then we’re all going
down together. Mr. Hepworth is going, and my friend Lorraine Hamilton.”

But Miss Daggett seemed to care little who the other guests were, since
her nephew was to be of the party. Patty was quite accustomed to the old
lady’s eccentricities, and, moreover, she was so delighted that the
circus party was safe after all, that she humoured Miss Daggett in every
possible way. She talked to her about Kenneth, and told her of the lad’s
good progress in college; and adroitly referred to the fact that they
had all thought his steady application to study deserved a reward in the
diversions of the circus.

Miss Daggett quite agreed to this, and now that the fact of their going
was established, she admitted that she herself was anxious to see the
wonders of which Mr. Fairfield had spoken.

During luncheon-time Patty was summoned to the telephone.

To her surprise the speaker proved to be none other than Roger
Farrington.

He said he had been discharged from the hospital the night before, and
was again at home, although his arm was still in a sling. He wanted to
know if he might come down that afternoon and thank Patty in person for
the scrap-book, and for the merry messages she had sent to him by Elise.

Patty did some quick thinking. Then she said:

“Why, you see, Roger, we’re all going to the circus this afternoon; but
we have an extra seat, and if you’ll go with us, we’ll be awfully glad
to have you.”

“Go!” exclaimed Roger, “I should rather say I would!”

“Well, if you go,” said Patty, imbued with a sudden spirit of mischief,
“you must consider yourself the special escort of a friend who is
visiting me. Her name is Miss Daggett, and I want her to have a real
good time.”

“Trust me,” said Roger; “I’ll give her the time of her life. May I call
for her? Are we all to go together?”

“Yes,” said Patty, “papa has engaged an omnibus, and we’re going to
leave here at quarter before two. Be sure to be on time.”

“Oh, I’ll be there; give my regards to Miss Daggett, and expect me
soon.”

Patty said good-bye, and then returned to the table, where she told them
all what she had done. Mr. Fairfield expressed pleasure at having
another in their party, and said that Roger certainly ought to have some
fun after his weary stay in the hospital.

“And I asked him to be your especial escort, Miss Daggett,” said Patty,
a little uncertain as to how the lady would take this announcement.

“Now, that’s downright nice of you,” said Miss Daggett, beaming with
pleasure in a most unexpected way. But all her ways were unexpected, and
Patty wondered what Roger would think of her friend.

When Kenneth Harper came he was surprised to find his aunt there, and
still more surprised to learn that she was going with them to the
circus. Miss Daggett was delighted to see him, and Kenneth was also glad
to see her, for between this aunt and nephew there existed a great deal
of affection, and Miss Daggett was always less blunt and a little more
docile when Kenneth was around.

Shortly before the time appointed Roger appeared. Owing to the fact that
his arm was in a sling, it was with some difficulty that he carried two
parcels and managed his hat.

“You come like the Greeks bearing gifts,” said Kenneth, as he hastened
to relieve Roger of his burdens.

“Those are for Miss Daggett,” said Roger, “the lady I am to escort to
the circus.”

Kenneth tried not to show his amazement, and Patty cast a roguish glance
at Roger as she presented him to Miss Daggett.

Roger confessed afterwards that at that moment anyone could easily have
knocked him down with a feather; for without thinking much about it, he
had assumed that Patty’s friend was a girl of her own age, and he had
gallantly brought her some candy and some violets.

But Miss Daggett herself proved quite equal to the situation. Without a
trace of self-consciousness or embarrassment, she accepted the parcels
from Roger in the most gracious way, and began to untie them with all
the ingenuous delight of a young girl.

“Let me help you,” said Mr. Fairfield, as he cut the strings of the
boxes.

The violets were a huge bunch from the shop of a fashionable florist,
and the generous-sized box of confections were of the very best
procurable.

Miss Daggett was so frankly delighted that Roger, too, rose to his part,
and declared that she must wear the violets that afternoon. Although
their appearance on the rich, old-fashioned mantilla was decidedly
incongruous, yet Miss Daggett’s dignity was such that it quite saved the
effect from being ridiculous. Roger immediately took a fancy to the
queer old lady, and determined to give Patty a little mild teasing by
devoting himself to her “friend” all the afternoon. But Patty wasn’t
teased a bit; she was greatly pleased—indeed, only less so than Miss
Daggett herself.

Kenneth had promised to make Lorraine his especial care, and as Mr.
Fairfield had Grandma Elliott in his charge, Mr. Hepworth fell to
Patty’s share. For the first time Patty realised what an entertaining
man the artist could be. That afternoon he seemed as merry as a boy, and
told droll tales, or made facetious comments on the performance, until
Patty was convulsed with laughter. No less gay were Roger Farrington and
his companion. Being innately courteous and gentlemanly, he deemed it
his duty to entertain Miss Daggett to the very best of his ability; and
spurred on by the joke of the whole affair, he exerted himself
especially to be amusing. Amid so many novel experiences Miss Daggett
seemed to forget her usual carping style of conversation, and grew
amiable and even gay.

Kenneth, too, was doing his part well. He had promised to keep Lorraine
in a light-hearted mood, and he had no trouble in doing so. For the girl
met him half-way, having herself determined that she would follow
Patty’s oft-repeated advice. Grandma was in her element, and Mr.
Fairfield was elated that his little party had turned out so successful.

“Do you know,” said Mr. Hepworth, “that you are a veritable Dispenser of
Happiness?”

“What do you mean?” asked Patty, with her frank smile.

“Why, I mean that you’re not only happy yourself, but you give happiness
to all who are near you. Consciously, I mean; you purposely arranged
that Lorraine should have a good time, and,” here his eyes twinkled,
“you made a somewhat similar plan for Miss Daggett. You asked both those
boys from a real desire to give them pleasure. Mrs. Elliott is enjoying
every moment of her good time, and—I’m happy, too.”

“It’s nice of you to be so complimentary,” said Patty, “but it isn’t
fair for me to take it all to myself. It’s papa’s party, and you’d think
me anything but a general benefactor if you knew how cross I was when
Miss Daggett came in unexpectedly this morning.”

“And aside from your intentional dispensing of happiness,” went on
Hepworth, ignoring her confession of ill-temper, “your unconscious
influence is that of pure joy. You radiate happiness, and no one can be
near you without feeling its influence. I did not intend, Patty, to say
this quite so baldly, but it is not meant as idle compliment or
flattery, only as an honest recognition of your charm.”

Patty accepted what Mr. Hepworth said quite simply, and looked at him
with clear, unembarrassed eyes.

“Thank you, Mr. Hepworth,” she said; “I know you would not say those
things unless you meant them. I’m truly glad that you think my
influence, be it ever so small, is toward happiness. For I am always
happy; somehow I can’t help it, and I want the whole world to be so,
too.”

“It is that dear wish in your heart that makes you what you are,” said
Mr. Hepworth, and then, with what seemed to be a sudden effort, he
stopped their serious conversation and exclaimed: “_Will_ you look at
that clown. Isn’t he quite the funniest one you ever saw?”

Patty laughed at the ridiculous fellow, and then the wonders of the
aerial bicyclists, and the even more marvellous _autobolide_, claimed
their attention.

But long after she had forgotten the amusing scenes of the circus Patty
remembered what Mr. Hepworth had said.



                              CHAPTER XIX
                                 THEMES


On Friday afternoons the girls of the Oliphant school were required to
read original papers which they had written through the week, and which
were technically known as “Themes.”

These Themes were Patty’s special delight. Her more prosaic lessons she
learned from a sense of duty, and also because of her ambition to
achieve the prize which was to be given at Christmas to the pupil with
the best general average of marks.

Patty knew she stood high on the list, but Clementine, Adelaide, Hilda,
and even Lorraine were also far above most of the other pupils.

The rivalry was a good-natured and generous one. Elise stood no chance
for the prize, as she had entered school a fortnight later than the
others. Her sympathies were entirely with Patty, and she strongly hoped
that she would win the prize.

The markings of the Themes counted for a great deal, and the uniform
excellence of Patty’s essays kept her average up in spite of her
occasional low marks in mathematics, a study which she detested.

It was no trouble for Patty to write imaginative compositions. Her
fertile fancy and her sense of humour provided ample material, and her
natural gift of expression made it easy for her to write excellent
Themes.

One Wednesday afternoon in November she sat down to write her paper for
Friday.

“Give me a subject, Grandma,” she said gaily; “I want to get my Theme
done in a jiffy to-day.”

Grandma Elliott looked at the pretty girl who sat at her desk with her
pen held above her paper. Patty’s sunshiny face, in its frame of curling
gold hair, was an ideal vision of youth and happiness.

“Why don’t you write on the ‘Spirit of Happiness?’” said Grandma, “and
then you can put yourself right into your work.”

“I’ll do it!” cried Patty; “I _am_ happy, and I might as well tell it to
the world at large.”

She dashed into her subject, and scribbled rapidly for some time.

“There!” she said, as she finished the last page, “I do believe,
Grandma, that’s the best Theme I’ve written; and if you want to read it,
you may. I’m much obliged to you for suggesting the subject.”

Grandma read the merry little composition, and quite agreed that it was
among the best of Patty’s efforts at literature.

“Now that’s off my mind, for this week,” she said; “I do like to get it
done, and then I can frisk about with a clear conscience. Now I’m going
to run up to Adelaide’s for a minute, and see what she’s doing.”

Patty ran upstairs to the next floor of The Wilberforce, and rang the
bell of the Harts’ apartment.

She found Adelaide also busy at work on her Theme.

“Oh, then I won’t disturb you,” said Patty; “I’ll go away until you get
the old thing done, and then you come down and see me.”

“I’ll never get it done,” said Adelaide, disconsolately; “I can’t dash
things off in a minute like you do; I have to grub over them, and then
they’re no good. I wish you’d stay and help me.”

“All right, I will. I won’t help you enough to make it wrong, you know;
suppose I just give you a subject, and a sort of an outline of the
points, and then you write it all yourself.”

“Do,” cried Adelaide, eagerly; “what a comfort you are, Patty!”

Easily Patty detailed the foundation of a theme, and then while Adelaide
was writing, she left her to herself and went in search of the rest of
the family. She made a new bonnet for Jeannette’s doll, and listened to
Editha’s new song. Then she helped Mrs. Hart arrange some flowers which
had just arrived, and by that time Adelaide’s work was finished, and the
two girls went off by themselves for a cosey chat.

“What do you think I heard to-day?” began Adelaide; “Flossy Fisher told
me this afternoon when we were in the coat-room, getting our wraps, and
I couldn’t tell you on the way home from school because Lorraine was
with us. But it’s the most surprising thing I ever heard.”

“Well, what is it? Don’t keep me in suspense any longer.”

“Why, it’s just this: Flossy Fisher overheard Miss Oliphant say——”

“Oh, if Flossy was eavesdropping I don’t want to hear what she heard.”

“No, she wasn’t eavesdropping; honest, she wasn’t, Patty. But she was
just passing through the hall, and she couldn’t help hearing Miss
Oliphant say it to Miss Fenton. Miss Oliphant had just come out of her
private study, where she had been making up the averages. And she said
to Miss Fenton that you and Lorraine were exactly even.”

“What? _Lorraine!_”

“Yes; I told you it was surprising. But you know Lorraine hasn’t missed
a day, and she generally has her lessons perfect. She’s like me; her
greatest trouble is with her Themes. But even they have been pretty good
lately, and so, you see, her average has crawled up. So I wanted to tell
you as soon as I could, because you must work harder and get ahead of
Lorraine, somehow. Of course we all want you to have the prize, but
unless you’re careful Lorraine will get it.”

“I _would_ like to get the general prize,” said Patty, “but I’d like for
Lorraine to get it, too. If we’re just even, perhaps Miss Oliphant will
divide it between us.”

“She can’t; it’s always a book; a great big gilt-edged affair, of poems,
or something like that.”

“It isn’t the book I care for, it’s the honor. Papa would be so pleased
if I won the general prize, and so would Grandma, and so would all my
friends—and so would I.”

“So would we all of us; and you _must_ win it. You can do it easily
enough, now that you know you have to spur up a little to get ahead of
Lorraine. And of course it isn’t likely that you two will stay just
even. If you don’t get ahead of Lorraine, she’ll probably get ahead of
you. Only your marks happen to be even just now.”

“I hope they stay even till Christmas, for though I want the prize, I
don’t want to take it away from Lorraine.”

“Don’t be silly; you’re not taking it away from her any more than you
are from the rest of us.”

“I suppose not; but it seems so, when our marks are just even.”

After Patty went home she thought the matter over seriously. It seemed
to her that she had so much happiness in her life, and Lorraine had so
little, that Lorraine ought to have the prize for that reason. “If I
miss a lesson or two,” thought Patty, “that will throw her marks ahead,
for I’m sure she won’t miss any. But even then, I’m afraid I’ll get
ahead of her on my Themes. I wonder if it would be right for me to lose
some marks on purpose that she may get the prize. I don’t know, I’m
sure. And I hate to ask papa anything like this, for it sounds so silly,
and so as if I thought myself ‘noble,’ like _Sentimental Tommy_. I do
hate to pose as a martyr. And anyway it isn’t that sort of a spirit at
all. It’s only just a fair question of proportion. I have so much to
make me happy, and Lorraine has so little, that she really ought to have
the prize. She’s trying awfully hard to be cheery and pleasant, and to
get the general prize would help her along a lot. So I think it’s right
for me to manage to have her get it, if I can do it without actual
deceit.”

The more Patty thought it over, the more she felt herself justified in
purposely losing the prize. It seemed to be a question entirely between
Lorraine and herself. She reasoned that if she didn’t win the prize, it
must necessarily go to Lorraine, and though she felt sorry to give up
her hope of it, yet she knew she would be more truly pleased for
Lorraine to have it. Of course she would never tell anybody the truth of
the matter, for that would look like a parade of her unselfishness, and
Patty was honestly single-minded in her intent.

But as she thought it over further, she realised that it would take a
continuous and systematic missing of lessons to be sure of reducing her
average sufficiently. This was not a pleasant outlook, and a shorter way
to the same end immediately suggested itself.

If she were marked a total failure on her Theme, just for once, it would
set back her record farther than many missed lessons. Now, obviously the
only way to get a total failure for a Theme was not to have any. For
without undue egotism, Patty knew well that her Themes were better than
the other girls’, and of course were marked accordingly. Purposely to
write a poor Theme would be silly, and so the only thing to do would be
to have no Theme. To accomplish this, it would be necessary to stay away
from school some Friday. For to be there without a Theme would be
unprecedented and inexplicable. And, too, an absence of a whole day
would mean no marks for the day in any lesson, and thus the end desired
would surely be attained.

As Patty’s Theme on the “Spirit of Happiness” was beyond all doubt the
best one she had ever written, she concluded that that Friday was the
day to put her plan in operation.

So on Thursday evening she casually asked her father if she might not
stay at home from school the next day.

“Why, are you ill, child?” said Mr. Fairfield, in sudden alarm at this
most unusual request.

“No, papa, I’m perfectly well; but I just want you, as a special favour,
to let me stay home to-morrow. And another part of the favour is that
neither you nor Grandma shall ask why.”

“Why, of course, my dear, if you really want to stay home to-morrow you
may. And I promise you that Grandma and myself will never seek to fathom
the deep and dark mystery of it all.”

“Good for you, papa, you’re a trump! Perhaps some time I’ll tell you all
about it, and perhaps I won’t.”

So on Friday Patty stayed at home.

She busied herself with numberless little occupations, but somehow her
plan, now that it was in operation, did not seem quite so attractive as
it had done before. She wondered whether, after all, it wasn’t quixotic
and ridiculous. But anyway, the deed was done now, and she must abide by
it. Patty never cried over spilt milk, and having committed herself to
her course, she dismissed all doubts from her mind. To strengthen her
purpose she took her Theme from her desk and read it over. It _was_
good; and without a doubt she would have been marked very high for it.
Her spirits rose as she realised that even though Lorraine’s Theme might
not be marked as high, yet whatever its marking, Lorraine would stand
that much ahead in her average.

Grandma, though mystified at Patty’s remaining at home, said nothing
whatever on the subject, and the morning passed pleasantly away. Grandma
asked Patty if she would like to go out with her after luncheon and do a
little shopping, and Patty readily acquiesced.

After they were seated at the luncheon table Patty looked across the
room to where the Hamiltons usually sat, and there, to her amazement,
sat Mrs. Hamilton and Lorraine.

Patty’s face showed such a bewildered expression that Grandma turned to
follow her glance; “Why,” she exclaimed, “Lorraine has also stayed home
from school to-day. Did you know she was going to?”

“I certainly did _not_,” said Patty emphatically, and then the funny
side of the situation struck her and she began to laugh.

At the same time, Lorraine caught sight of Patty, and she, too, looked
utterly blank with consternation and dismay, and then she, too, laughed.

After luncheon Patty took possession of Lorraine and carried her up to
her own room.

“What in the world are you doing at home to-day?” she demanded.

“First, what are _you_ doing at home to-day?” responded Lorraine.

Had it not been for Lorraine’s peculiar expression, and quizzical looks,
Patty might have thought she had stayed at home for reasons in no way
connected with the general prize. But the girl’s embarrassment and
flustered air made Patty wonder if they weren’t both actuated by the
same motive.

“Look here, Lorraine Hamilton,” she said, going straight to the point;
“did you hear what Flossy Fisher overheard Miss Oliphant say?”

“Why, what do you mean?” asked Lorraine, temporising.

“You know very well what I mean. _Did_ you?”

“Why, Flossy told me that she heard Miss Oliphant say that you and I
were even in our markings. But what of that?”

“And you stayed home to-day,” said Patty, grabbing Lorraine by the
shoulders, and looking her straight in the eyes, “you stayed home to-day
so that I might get ahead of you!”

Lorraine’s eyes opened wider. A sudden thought had struck her.

“If you suspect that,” she said, “it’s just because you’re doing the
same thing yourself! Otherwise you never would have thought of it. Patty
Fairfield, _you_ stayed home to-day so that _I_ might get ahead of you!”

The two girls read confession in each other’s eyes, and then they
dropped into two chairs and laughed and laughed.

Grandma Elliott, in the next room, heard the shrieks of hilarity, and
concluded that some girlish secret was the reason of Patty’s unusual
absence from school.

“The idea!” exclaimed Lorraine, as the beauty of Patty’s sacrifice
dawned upon her; “how _could_ you do such a thing?”

“The idea!” cried Patty, touched by her sudden realisation of Lorraine’s
loyalty to herself, “how could _you_ do such a thing?”



                               CHAPTER XX
                      TWO CONFIDENTIAL INTERVIEWS


When the two girls realised that they had done identically the same
thing, and each had chosen precisely the same way to advance the other’s
interests, it will be hard to say which was more pleased. Patty was
deeply touched at this proof of Lorraine’s devotion, for she had no idea
the girl was so fond of her, and, too, she had not thought Lorraine
capable of this particular way of showing affection.

Lorraine, on the other hand, was almost overcome at the thought of the
merry, popular Patty caring enough for her to want her to win the prize.

The result was that a strong and real friendship was cemented between
the two girls, and Lorraine’s new realisation of what a friendship with
Patty stood for went far toward helping her to acquire an habitual
good-humour. Indeed, so glad and gay did Lorraine become over the whole
affair, that Patty privately concluded she was quite merry enough for a
Grig, and determined to have her made a member of the club as soon as
possible.

Of course the girls never told of this episode, for each hesitated to
exploit her own share in the matter, and the story could not be told by
halves.

And so the teachers and the schoolgirls were not able to discover why
the two star pupils remained away from school, and so lost their marks
for one whole day.

But the fact that Patty and Lorraine had frustrated each other’s plan
left their average of marks still even. Although they might fluctuate a
little from day to day, yet the two always knew their lessons, and
though Patty’s Themes were usually marked higher than Lorraine’s, that
was offset by Lorraine’s greater proficiency in mathematics.

Christmas drew nearer, and somehow the girls became aware that Lorraine
and Patty were evenly matched for the general prize, and that each was
anxious for the other to win it. Not that they told this in so many
words, but their fellow-pupils discovered it, and the excitement about
it was considerable.

Patty was a favourite in the school, but Lorraine, by the improved
disposition she was now showing, had also won many friends.

She had become a member of the Grigs. Elise had by no means been
dismissed to make room for her, but had been put in as a ninth member.
The other Grigs were all most friendly to her, and honestly tried to
show their appreciation of the new Lorraine. Some of them even went so
far as to hope that she would win the prize, and that for the very same
reason that influenced Patty.

So, sympathy with the two girls was pretty fairly divided, though had it
come to a vote, probably the majority would have been in Patty’s favour.

As it came nearer to Christmas the race was most exciting. It seemed now
that the two girls aimed only to keep even. It might have been
coincidence, but if Lorraine missed in one lesson, Patty was pretty sure
to miss in another; and if Patty’s Theme was a little less excellent
than usual, somehow Lorraine’s mathematics fell off a trifle.

But Patty had inherited what her father sometimes called the Fairfield
stubbornness. Not content with an even record, she determined that
Lorraine’s average should finally be found ahead of hers.

So, a few days before the final summing up she went to Miss Oliphant’s
study and asked for a private interview.

The girls rarely saw the principal of the school in a personal way, as
her intercourse with them was confined almost entirely to addresses from
the platform.

Patty was a little daunted when she found herself in the austere
presence of Miss Oliphant, for she realised only too well that the
request she was about to make was, to say the least, unconventional.

“Good-afternoon, Miss Fairfield,” said Miss Oliphant, not unkindly, but
in an impersonal tone that did not invite confidential conversation.
“What can I do for you?”

“Why, you see, Miss Oliphant,” said Patty, a little uncertain how to
begin, “Lorraine Hamilton and I have just the same number of marks on
our record. So, as one of us must take the general prize, I just wanted
to ask you if you couldn’t arrange it so that Lorraine will get it. I
don’t mean to do anything wrong or unfair,” she added, hastily, as Miss
Oliphant’s expression of amazement seemed to rebuke her. “I only mean
that if there should be any doubt in marking any of our lessons, that
the benefit of the doubt might be given to Lorraine.”

“Do I understand,” said Miss Oliphant, severely, “that you wish Miss
Hamilton to be marked higher than she deserves?”

Patty thought this remark a little unjust, in consequence of which her
indignation was aroused, and she spoke decidedly, though very
courteously.

“No, Miss Oliphant, I do not mean that; but I know that sometimes it is
difficult for a teacher to feel quite certain of the exact mark for a
lesson or a Theme; and in such cases I would be glad if Lorraine might
have all that can conscientiously be given to her.”

“And yourself?”

“Oh, Miss Oliphant,” said Patty, quite forgetting her awe of the stern
principal in her eagerness, “I know that what I’m saying sounds
ridiculous; but you _do_ know—you must know—what I mean! Can’t you
somehow fix it that Lorraine shall have a little higher average than I,
without committing a State’s Prison offence?”

Miss Oliphant unbent in spite of herself.

“Why do you want to do this, my child?” she asked, more gently than she
had spoken before.

“Why because—because—I hardly know how to explain it, Miss Oliphant;
but you know Lorraine doesn’t have the best times in the world. And she
isn’t very popular with the girls—at least she didn’t use to be; she’s
getting more so now—and it will make her so happy to win the general
prize. I’m sure you understand, Miss Oliphant, that I don’t mean to have
her marked wrongfully. But just a little favouring would throw the
balance over to her side.”

Somehow Miss Oliphant seemed more amused than the occasion called for.
Patty had been prepared to find her irate, indignant, or even scornful.
But positively there was a smile in her eyes which Patty had never seen
there before, and which surprised her.

However, Miss Oliphant did not explain her attitude, and only said to
Patty: “You are right, Miss Fairfield; there _are_ occasions where it is
difficult to decide upon the exact marking for a lesson. I’m willing to
assure you that in such cases Miss Hamilton’s record shall be treated
with all the leniency possible, and your own with a stricter severity.”

“Oh, thank you, Miss Oliphant,” said Patty, impulsively grasping the
principal’s hand in both her own. “That is just what I want, and you
have expressed it exactly right. Thank you very much. And of
course—this is a confidential conversation?”

“Inviolably so,” answered Miss Oliphant, and again the amused look came
into her eyes.

Patty left the room, feeling that at last she had conquered. If Miss
Oliphant did as she had promised—and Patty felt sure she
would—Lorraine’s record must stand the highest, and no one could ever
guess that Patty had done anything toward bringing it about.

A day or two later Miss Oliphant received a visit from Lorraine.

Partly from the embarrassed attitude of her caller, and partly because
Miss Oliphant’s experience had taught her to put two and two together
rather successfully, she intuitively felt that Lorraine had come on an
errand similar to Patty’s.

And this was the truth. But as Lorraine was of a less ingenuous nature
than Patty, and had not as good reasons for confidence in the sympathy
of her fellow-beings, she was much more embarrassed than Patty had been,
and found it more difficult to make her requests known.

“Miss Oliphant,” she said, “you know Patty Fairfield and I are very
close in competition for the general prize; and I do hope she will get
it. She deserves it far more than I do.”

“Why?” said Miss Oliphant, with sudden directness.

“Because—because—oh, I don’t know,” stammered poor Lorraine; “because
she’s so splendid and so clever, and she always knows her lessons, and
she writes such beautiful Themes, and—and I love her so!”

“Then I gather,” said Miss Oliphant, “that you wish the general prize to
be awarded to Miss Fairfield because of your affection for her, and not
because she has justly won it.”

“Oh no, Miss Oliphant, not that,” said Lorraine, in genuine distress at
her inability to make herself understood. “But don’t you see, we’re even
now, and if you could just give me a few less marks, and Patty a few
more, it would be all right, and I don’t think that would be injustice,
and then she’d have the prize.”

Miss Oliphant looked decidedly amused now. The smile in her eyes even
showed itself a little on her rarely-smiling lips.

“Your sentiments toward your friend do you great credit, Miss Hamilton,”
she said, “but I cannot say that I entirely approve of the means you
propose to use. Do you think it right to mark pupils incorrectly?”

“Oh no, not as a general thing, Miss Oliphant. But I thought you
wouldn’t mind just a little scanting of my record. No one need ever
know.”

“I can’t promise exactly what you ask, Miss Hamilton; but I’m willing to
say that in so far as it can be done within the most liberal
interpretation of justice, it shall be.”

“Thank you, Miss Oliphant; good-afternoon,” and Lorraine slid away from
the awe-inspiring presence, feeling as if she were being carried off
wounded after a battle. But she couldn’t help thinking that it had been
a victorious battle, for Miss Oliphant’s evident amusement seemed to
imply an acquiescence in the plan.

The last day of the school term was nearly a week before Christmas. The
closing exercises were of a somewhat elaborate nature and were held in
the large assembly-room. The parents of the pupils were invited, and the
audience was a large one.

Patty had told her father that she did not expect the general prize, but
was confident that Lorraine would get it. Mr. Fairfield had teased her
for her lack of ambition in not winning it herself, but Patty had only
smiled, and said she had never professed to be a prize scholar, as her
talents lay in other directions.

Lorraine had told her mother that she had no expectation of taking the
general prize, but strongly believed that Patty Fairfield would win it;
and Mrs. Hamilton had responded that if Lorraine couldn’t have it, she
certainly hoped it would be given to Patty.

Grandma Elliott and Mrs. Hamilton attended the exercises at the school,
and were almost as excited as the girls themselves over the question of
the prize.

After the programme, which was not a long one, the prizes were awarded.

Various small honorariums were given for distinctive studies, and, as
everybody had expected, Patty received the one for Themes, and Lorraine
for Mathematics.

But the interest reached its height when Miss Oliphant took from the
table a large and elaborately bound volume of poems, which, she
announced, was the general prize, to be awarded to the pupil who had the
highest general average of marks in all departments.

“It gives me pleasure,” she said, in her dignified way, “to bestow this
upon Miss Hilda Henderson.”

As Patty told her father afterwards, for a moment you could have heard a
pin drop, and then most of the schoolgirls, especially the Grigs, broke
into an irrepressible, though stifled, giggle.

“Miss Henderson,” Miss Oliphant went on, “has by far the highest record,
and has had for the past few weeks. The next highest records are held by
Miss Fairfield and Miss Hamilton, but they are many points below that of
Miss Henderson’s, though all show good work.”

As Miss Oliphant made these remarks she looked straight at Lorraine and
Patty, and though her grave dignity was literally unsmiling, yet that
same amused look was in her eyes, and both girls understood that their
solicitude for each other’s success had been entirely unnecessary.

At Miss Oliphant’s further disclosures the Grigs became more and more
impressed with the humorous side of the affair, and laughed until it was
necessary to call them to order.

“Were you ever so surprised in all your life?” cried Clementine, as they
all met in the coat-room. “Hilda, you sly-boots, I believe you knew you
were ahead all the time.”

“Honestly, I didn’t,” avowed Hilda; “I had no idea where my record
stood. Flossy said Patty and Lorraine were at the top, so I supposed
they were.”

“I see it all,” said Patty; “Flossy overheard that Lorraine and I were
even, and we just took it for granted that we were the highest. Nobody
said we were. So much for being conceited.”

Patty and Lorraine never intended to tell each other of their interviews
with Miss Oliphant. But owing to the quizzical look on the principal’s
face when she made her remarks from the platform, the girls suspected
each other.

“Had you said a word to Miss Oliphant about this affair?” said Patty to
Lorraine, as they walked home.

“Had you?” retorted Lorraine.

“Come on, now,” said Patty, “own up; what did you ask her to do?”

“Will you confess if I do?”

“Yes; now that it’s all over, we may as well tell all there is to tell.”

So the girls told each other of their interviews, and compared notes
regarding Miss Oliphant’s attitude on those memorable occasions.

“And to think,” exclaimed Patty, “she knew Hilda was ’way ahead of us
all the time, and never told us! I don’t wonder she was amused.”

“Well,” said Lorraine, “I’m glad there was one thing in the world that
_could_ amuse her. I never saw her come so near smiling before.”

“Nor I,” said Patty.



                              CHAPTER XXI
                          THE CINDERELLA PARTY


On Christmas Eve Clementine was to give a party. It was to be of the
kind known as a “Cinderella party,” that is, the guests were to depart
exactly at twelve o’clock.

With the exception of the hops at the seashore hotel, Patty had never
been to a regular evening party, and she looked forward to the event
with great delight.

Ruth Fleming had come down from Boston to spend Christmas week with
Patty, so of course she, too, was invited to the party.

Ruth’s visit had come about in this way: Patty had thought she would ask
Marian to visit her on Christmas, but Aunt Alice had insisted that the
Fairfields and Grandma Elliott should spend Christmas with them in
Vernondale. Then Patty thought of asking Ethelyn St. Clair, but
concluded that after all it would be nicer to have Ruth.

“For,” said Patty, to her father, “Ethelyn has lots of good times, while
Ruth leads an awfully hum-drum life. To be sure, she’s a hum-drum girl,
the very hum-drummiest one I ever saw. But that’s all the more reason to
chirk her up, and when I get her here I’ll make her have fun, whether
she wants to or not. Besides, I had Ethelyn and Bumble Barlow both to
visit me last summer, and I’ve never had Ruth.”

So Ruth came, and arrived only the day before Christmas. She reached The
Wilberforce in the morning, and Patty was surprised to see how little
change a year had made in the Boston girl. She was just the same mild,
placid, unemotional child that she had been when Patty saw her last. Her
peculiarly Puritan effect was still evident in her face, her manner and
her dress. She wore a plain little frock of a dull brown, with a jacket
and hat that were inconspicuously old-fashioned.

In her quiet way she seemed truly glad to see Patty again, and Patty,
knowing Ruth’s natural shyness, did all in her power to make her visitor
feel at ease.

In this Grandma Elliott helped, for that dear old lady had a knack of
rendering people comfortable; and, too, her heart immediately went out
to the shy New England girl.

“There’s to be a party to-night,” said Patty, whose mind was full of
this all-important subject; “it’s at my friend Clementine Morse’s; and
we’re both going, you and I. It’s a Cinderella party, and papa’s going
to take us and come for us again at twelve o’clock. Won’t it be fun?”

“But I can’t go to a party,” exclaimed Ruth, in dismay; “I haven’t any
party frock to wear.”

“Oh pshaw, yes you have; your best dress is good enough, whatever it is.
Where is it? Let’s unpack your things and look at it.”

But Patty was obliged to confess that Ruth had spoken truly. The girl’s
best dress was a blue cashmere, neat and well made, and trimmed with
silk to match, but Patty knew that among the light and pretty evening
dresses of the other girls it would look altogether out of place.

“It isn’t just right, Ruth,” she said frankly; “but we must fix you up
somehow. Do you suppose you could wear one of my frocks? I’ve lots of
’em, though of course most of them are not as pretty as the one I’m
going to wear myself to-night.”

“Oh, Patty, of course I couldn’t wear your dress. It wouldn’t fit me at
all; and besides I don’t care to go to the party, truly I don’t. Please
let me stay at home with Mrs. Elliott, and you go without me. I’ll be a
great deal happier—honestly I will.”

Patty looked at her guest with a comical smile.

“Ruth,” she said, “I invited you down here to have a good time; and
you’ve got to have it, whether you want it or not. So don’t tell me what
you’d rather do, but just make up your mind that you’ll do as I say.”

Patty knew Ruth well enough to feel sure that this was the right way to
talk to her. Once at the party, she thought Ruth would enjoy herself if
she could only overcome her shyness; and Patty had already planned
several ways to assist in this.

But first of all, the question of apparel must be settled. Patty had her
own ideas on the subject, and after a conversation over the telephone
with her father, who was down at his office, Patty announced to Grandma
and Ruth that they would all go on a shopping expedition that very
morning.

On the way, Patty informed Ruth that they were to buy her a new party
frock, and that it was to be a Christmas gift from Patty and her father.

Ruth protested, but Patty paid no heed whatever to her remonstrances,
and when the bewildering array of pretty dresses was exhibited Ruth
showed almost as much delighted excitement in the selection as Patty
herself.

After much discussion and trying on and consultation with Grandma, they
at last decided on a simple but very dainty frock of light blue Liberty
silk. It had a lace yoke, and was trimmed here and there with bunches of
tiny flowers of a slightly darker blue. The effect exactly suited Ruth’s
fair hair and grey eyes, and as the excitement of the occasion lent
colour to her usually pale cheeks, Patty declared she was a perfect
picture in that dress, and there was no use looking any further.

So it was ordered sent home at once, and then the shoppers selected
gloves, slippers, hair-ribbons, and all the delightful little
accessories of the costume.

Grandma Elliott added an exquisite fan as her Christmas gift to Ruth,
and then the trio went home.

After luncheon Patty decreed that Ruth should take a nap, in order to be
bright and fresh for the evening; and as Ruth had found it was quite
useless to try to combat Patty’s will, she obediently went to her room.

Patty herself was so full of excitement she could not have slept if she
had tried. She unpacked Ruth’s things when they were sent home, and laid
them out in order for the evening. She flew up to discuss matters with
Lorraine, and then paid a flying visit to the Harts. She telephoned to
Clementine and to Elise, and finally settled down to chat with Grandma
about the coming festivity.

At last dinner was over, and it was time to dress for the great
occasion.

Patty’s own frock was all of white; a distracting affair of embroidered
muslin and fluffy lace ruffles.

But far more than her own finery, Patty enjoyed dressing Ruth up in her
new clothes.

“You look a perfect dream in that blue,” cried Patty as she finished
hooking up Ruth’s dress, and whirled her around for inspection.

And indeed a transformation had been wrought.

Patty had curled Ruth’s straight blonde hair, and had tied it with two
big blue bows, made of ribbon about twice as wide as Ruth had ever worn
before. The new frock was most becoming, and Ruth saw her own self in
the mirror with an amazed surprise. She had never thought of possessing
the slightest claim to beauty, but she was obliged to admit that on this
occasion she had certainly achieved it.

The truth was that Ruth’s perfect complexion and classic features needed
an appropriate setting, and this Patty had provided, with a most
pleasing result.

Patty herself was delighted with her success. She exhibited Ruth to Mr.
Fairfield quite as if she were a doll which she had dressed up for her
own benefit. Even Mr. Fairfield was surprised at the change in the
demure maiden, and congratulated both girls on their charming
appearance.

Then away they went to the party.

Patty gave Ruth orders to the effect that she must, for at least that
one evening, make her demeanour correspond to her appearance.

“If you’re quiet as a mouse, and silent as a mummy, you won’t have any
fun at all,” she declared; “you must talk and laugh and make yourself
jolly, and forget that you’re as shy and bashful as you can be.”

“Don’t scare the poor child out of her wits,” said Mr. Fairfield,
laughing at Patty’s vehemence; “you’ll make her more embarrassed than
ever.”

“Oh, no, I won’t,” said Patty; “Ruth’s all right if you scold her hard
enough beforehand.”

Although Patty’s method might not answer for some dispositions, it was
successful in Ruth’s case.

Partly because of Patty’s instructions, and partly because the
consciousness of her attractive appearance gave her confidence, Ruth
seemed entirely to lay aside her shyness and fear of strangers.

She was demure—as she couldn’t help being—but her painful
self-consciousness almost disappeared, and she was bright, happy and
responsive.

The young people liked her at once, and, aided by their warmhearted
welcome, Ruth responded heartily, and chatted easily and gaily with them
all.

It must be admitted that this state of affairs had been largely brought
about by Patty’s thoughtfulness. She had spoken to most of the girls,
and had asked them to be especially cordial to Ruth and to try their
best to put the stranger at her ease. The girls had not only done this,
but had given their brothers hints in the matter, and as a consequence
Ruth did not lack partners for the dances or the games.

But notwithstanding her plans and her hopes, Patty was amazed to see how
far Ruth exceeded all her anticipations. The girl was positively a
belle. The admiration and attention she received was such a novel
experience that it had the effect of exhilarating her. She smiled and
dimpled, her eyes danced with enjoyment. Never forward, or unduly
hilarious, she charmed everyone by her demure gaiety.

No one was more delighted than Patty at her friend’s success, and she
said to Kenneth:

“I’m so glad Ruth is having such a good time; and yet I’m so surprised,
for I never saw her so gay and sparkling before.”

“I’m surprised, too,” said Kenneth, “for from what you told me about
her, I imagined her a prim little Puritan maiden.”

“I didn’t intend to misrepresent her,” said Patty; “but it must be the
influence of New York City that has changed her; she never was like that
in Boston.”

“I think it’s your influence,” said Kenneth, “for you always make
everybody happy that you have anything to do with.”

“Oh, pshaw; I didn’t do anything for her except to help her pick out
that pretty blue frock and give her a good scolding on the way over
here.”

“She doesn’t act as though she had been scolded.”

“That’s the result of the scolding. I ordered her to be gay and glad,
and she knew she had to obey me. That’s the way to manage a girl like
Ruth.”

Ruth’s successful _debut_ in no way detracted from Patty’s popularity.
She was always the centre of a merry group, and the boys flocked around
her like bees around a blossom. She had more invitations to dance than
she could possibly accept, and she enjoyed it all to the fullest extent
of her fun-loving nature.

“I thought I’d never get a chance to speak to you,” said Roger
Farrington, as he led her away for a dance, “you always have such a
crowd around you.”

“Well, you can be part of the crowd,” returned Patty, saucily.

“I don’t want to be part; I want to be the whole crowd.”

“You must have a large opinion of yourself, if you fancy yourself a
whole crowd.”

“Well, I never see you anywhere. When you come to see Elise I’m not at
home, and when she goes to see you she won’t take me with her. Mayn’t I
come by myself some day?”

“Miss Daggett isn’t visiting me now,” said Patty, roguishly.

“Well, Miss Fleming is,” said Roger, teasing in return.

“Sure enough, and I do want to make it pleasant for her. We’re all going
to Vernondale for Christmas, but I’d be glad to have you call some
afternoon next week. Ruth will stay until after New Year’s Day.”

“I’ll be delighted to come,” said Roger, “and I’ll bring you some plants
for your farm.”

They whirled away in the dance, and as Roger was a particularly good
dancer, Patty enjoyed it immensely. Dancing was a favourite pastime with
her, but she rarely had an opportunity to enjoy it, as Mr. Fairfield did
not approve of dancing parties for schoolgirls; so as Patty did not
attend a dancing class, her dances were limited to the impromptu ones
the girls sometimes had in the gymnasium of the Oliphant school.



                              CHAPTER XXII
                                  “IT”


After several dances Mrs. Morse proposed that the young people should
play a game of some sort.

Nobody seemed to know of any particular game to play, until Ruth
volunteered to explain to them a new game that had recently made its
appearance in Boston.

The game was called “It,” and was great fun, Ruth said, if the players
would agree to keep their temper.

All present willingly agreed to do this.

“It’s really only difficult for one,” explained Ruth; “the one who does
the guessing must be guaranteed to possess a temper that is positively
incapable of being ruffled under any provocation.”

Although entirely unfamiliar with the details of Ruth’s game, it
suddenly occurred to Patty that here was an excellent chance to test the
quality of Lorraine’s reform in the matter of amiability. So she said:

“If you want someone good-natured to do your guessing, I propose
Lorraine Hamilton.”

Lorraine looked up suddenly, caught Patty’s glance, and determined that
she would prove herself worthy of the confidence Patty had shown in her.

“I’ll do it,” she said, “and I’ll agree not to lose my temper, whatever
your game may be.”

“You’ll be tempted to,” said Ruth; “I warn you that ‘It’ is a most
exasperating and provoking game.”

“I’ll risk it,” said Lorraine; “what must I do first?”

“First, you must leave the room while I explain the game to the others,”
said Ruth; “go out in the hall, please, entirely out of hearing, and
don’t come back until we send for you.”

“Very well,” said Lorraine, gaily; “when you want me you’ll find me
sitting on the stairs, with my fingers in my ears.”

“Now,” said Ruth, after Lorraine had gone, “we must all sit round in a
sort of an oblong circle.”

“An ‘oblong circle’ is easily managed,” said Clifford Morse, as he began
to arrange chairs around the walls of the long parlour. The other boys
helped him, and soon the whole party were sitting in a continuous ring
around the room.

“The game,” went on Ruth, “is to have Lorraine guess, by asking
questions, an object which we’ve all agreed upon. That part of the game
is something like ‘Twenty Questions,’ but the difference is, that
instead of taking a single object we each of us have in mind our
_right-hand neighbour_. For instance, Patty’s right-hand neighbour, as
we sit, is Kenneth Harper, but his right-hand neighbour is Adelaide
Hart. So you see, we must each answer Lorraine’s questions truthfully,
but in regard to the person who sits at our right-hand; and the answers
will seem to her contradictory and confusing.”

Patty was quick-witted enough to see at once that these conflicting
answers would seem like ridiculing Lorraine’s intelligence, and would
certainly be provoking enough to make anyone angry. It was a severe
test, but she privately determined that if Lorraine showed signs of
irritation, she would explain the game at once, and not allow it to be
played to a finish.

When everybody thoroughly understood the directions, Clifford went out,
and escorted Lorraine back to the parlour.

Then Clifford resumed his seat, and Lorraine was left sitting on a piano
stool in the middle of the room, so that she might twirl about and face
each one in turn.

“We have all agreed upon an object,” said Ruth, “which we want you to
guess. You may question us each in turn, and you may ask any questions
you choose; if your questions can be answered by yes or no, we’re
obliged to answer them, but if not, we may do as we choose about it. Now
suppose you begin with me, and then go right around toward the right.”

“Wait a moment, Lorraine,” said Patty; “before you start remember this:
everything we tell you will be the exact truth, although it may not seem
so.”

“Very well,” said Lorraine, “I’ll begin with Ruth. Does It belong to the
animal, vegetable, or mineral kingdom?”

“Animal,” answered Ruth.

“How large is It?” asked Lorraine of Gertrude Lyons, who sat next to
Ruth.

“Which way?” said Gertrude, laughing.

“Well, how long is It?”

“About two yards,” replied Gertrude, mentally measuring the tall boy who
sat on her right.

“What colour is It?” asked Lorraine next.

“Green,” responded Dick Martin, with a side-long glance at the frock of
the girl next to him.

“Is It all green?”

“No,” said the girl in green, “it is mostly black.” This of course was
true, as her right-hand neighbour was a boy in black clothes.

Lorraine began to look puzzled. “It seems queer,” she said, “that one of
you should say it is all green, and another that it is mostly black. But
I suppose one of you must be colour-blind.”

They all laughed at this, and Lorraine went on: “Where did It come
from?”

Lorraine asked this question of a boy who sat next to Margaret Lane, who
was from Philadelphia.

“From Philadelphia,” he replied.

“Is It Margaret Lane?” asked Lorraine of Margaret herself.

“No,” she replied, laughing.

“Is It anything belonging to Margaret Lane?”

“No.”

“Has It any connection whatever with Margaret Lane?”

“None that I know of.”

“To whom does It belong?”

Lorraine asked this question of a girl who sat next to a young cadet
from West Point, so she replied: “To the United States.”

“Is It in stripes?”

“Yes,” replied the cadet, after glancing at the striped dress of the
girl next to him.

“Then It’s the flag!” exclaimed Lorraine, triumphantly.

But they all told her she had guessed wrong, and she good-naturedly went
on with her queries.

“Has It anything to do with the army?”

“Nothing, except that It carries arms,” said the waggish boy whom she
asked.

“Is It a person?”

“Yes.”

“Is the person in this room?”

“Yes.”

“Is It a boy or girl?”

“A boy.”

“What colour hair has It?”

“Flaxen,” was the answer, as the boy she asked was seated next to a
yellow-haired girl.

But Lorraine, having been told it was a boy, looked around the room for
a flaxen-haired boy. There was only one present, so she announced
triumphantly: “Then It is Ed Fisher!”

Again they told her she was wrong, and the burst of laughter at her
bewilderment would have greatly offended Lorraine had it not been for
her determination to keep her temper.

“I’m glad you told me that you’re all telling the truth,” she said, “for
I’m sure your stories don’t agree. You said it was a boy, and had flaxen
hair, and Ed Fisher is the only one here with yellow hair.”

“Go on with your questions,” said Patty.

“All right,” said Lorraine, beginning where she had left off; “what
colour eyes has It?”

“Black.”

“Oh, then of course it isn’t Ed Fisher! Now, Patty, I’ve come to you. Is
It good-looking?”

Kenneth sat on Patty’s right-hand, and with a mischievous twinkle in her
eyes Patty replied, “Oh, not very.”

They all laughed at this, and Lorraine, passing on to Kenneth, said; “Do
_you_ think It is good-looking?”

Here was a chance to tease Patty in return, for Adelaide sat on
Kenneth’s right hand, and the boy said: “Oh, _very_ beautiful! Quite the
best-looking person I know.”

Then they all laughed again, and Lorraine grew more and more bewildered.
“Is It good-natured?” she asked of Adelaide.

Editha sat next to her sister, and so Adelaide said: “No; It is often as
cross as a bear.”

“Then,” said Lorraine to Editha, “is It myself?”

“No, indeed,” replied Editha, “but It is one of your dearest friends.”

Clementine sat next, and Lorraine asked her: “Does It go to the Oliphant
school?”

“No, indeed!” said Clementine, for Roger Farrington was her right-hand
neighbour; “It wouldn’t be allowed there!”

“_Why_ wouldn’t It be allowed to go to the Oliphant school,” demanded
Lorraine of Roger.

“Why, It _does_ go there,” said Roger, glancing at Mary Sargent.

“Does It, Mary?” went on Lorraine.

“No,” said Mary, positively; “I’m sorry to contradict Roger, but, as
Clementine says, Miss Oliphant wouldn’t let It come to our school.”

“Which am I to believe?” said Lorraine then, to Clifford Morse; “you
tell me, Clifford, does It go to our school?”

“Yes,” said Clifford, earnestly, “It certainly does!”

“Well,” said Lorraine in despair, “I’ll have to give this thing up. I
believe you’re speaking the truth, but there seems to be a whole lot of
truths. However, I’ll try once more. Is It a boy or a girl?”

“It’s a girl,” declared Hilda.

“What colour dress does It wear, Flossy?”

“Black,” said Flossy, thinking of the boy next to her.

“Of course you’re speaking the truth,” said Lorraine, with a comical
smile, “but there isn’t a girl in the room with a black dress on. What’s
her dress trimmed with, Ed?”

The boy looked at Maude Carleton, who sat next to him. Then he said:
“It’s dress is trimmed with a sort of feathery, fluffery, white, lacy
ruching.”

“Why, that’s the trimming on Maude’s dress,” declaimed Lorraine, “but
her dress isn’t black. Maude, _is_ It _you_?”

“No,” said Maude, positively.

“I give it up,” said Lorraine; “I promised to keep my temper, and I
have; I promised to believe you all told me the truth, and I do; but I
didn’t promise to guess your old It, and I can’t do it; I give It up.”

“You’re a trump, Lorraine,” cried Patty; “anybody else would have been
as mad as hops long before this. Now we’ll tell you.”

So they explained the game to Lorraine, and she realised how they _had_
each told her the truth, although it didn’t seem so at the time. She was
glad she had kept good-natured about it, though it had been more of an
effort than anyone had realised.

Then other games were played, which were less of a tax on the young
people’s ingenuity, and after that supper was served.

Mrs. Morse well knew how to provide for young people, and she was quite
prepared for the demands of their healthy appetites. Sandwiches and
salad disappeared as if by magic; jellies, ices and cake followed, and
were thoroughly enjoyed by all.

Patty and Ruth, with Lorraine, Hilda and the Hart girls, sat in a little
group at one end of the dining-room; while the boys went on foraging
expeditions, and returned laden with all sorts of good things.

“It’s almost Christmas,” said Clifford Morse; “what are you going to do
to-morrow, Patty?”

“We’re all going to Vernondale for a couple of days,” said Patty, “and
when we come back I want you all to come and see Ruth some afternoon.”

“I’m going to Vernondale, too,” said Kenneth; “my aunt has invited me to
spend the day; in fact to stay as long as I choose. So if I may, I’ll go
on the _Fairfield Special_ to-morrow morning.”

“You may, if you’ll be good,” said Patty, “but Grandma doesn’t like bad
boys, and Ruth is afraid of them.”

“I’ll be so good,” said Kenneth, “that Mrs. Elliott won’t know me; and
I’ll promise not to scare Ruth once.”

Then the clock struck twelve, and the Cinderella party was over.
Everybody started for hats and wraps, and Patty found her father
awaiting her.

“Well, Chickens,” said Mr. Fairfield, as he bundled the two tired girls
into the carriage, “did you have a good time?”

“Lovely!” exclaimed Patty; “I’d like to go to a party every night.”

“So would I,” said Ruth.



                             CHAPTER XXIII
                               CHRISTMAS


Christmas day was fair and cold. As Patty said at breakfast, it was in
all respects a typical Christmas, except that there was no snow on the
ground, and that she hadn’t heard any bells, nor had any presents as
yet.

But after breakfast the last condition was decidedly changed. Gifts
began to pour in, and what with untying the parcels the messengers
brought, and the other parcels, which had arrived before, but had been
kept until now unopened, Patty and Ruth were as busy as bees.

All the girls had sent Christmas remembrances. There was a book from
Clementine, and a carved bookrack from Elise. Hilda sent Patty an
old-fashioned brass candlestick, and Lorraine, a most complicated
sofa-pillow, which she had embroidered herself. Adelaide gave her a
little gilt picture-frame, and the other schoolgirls sent many trinkets
and trifles.

Nor were the boys negligent of Patty’s pleasure.

Roger sent a great box of holly and flowers, and Clifford Morse sent a
large box of candy.

Other boys sent various Christmas cards, and greetings, and many of them
remembered Ruth as well as Patty.

The New England girl was quite bewildered by the excitement of the
morning, for they were to take the eleven-thirty train for Vernondale,
and there was scarcely time to look at all the gifts before they
started.

Patty tore open the parcels rapidly, one after another, exclaimed with
delight at their contents, and finally scrabbled all the wrapping-paper
into a big heap, and declared it was time to dress for their journey.

The Fairfields themselves were to take their gifts for each other to
Vernondale, for in the evening there was to be a family Christmas tree
at Aunt Alice’s.

Patty had of course prepared gifts for all the Elliott family, as also
had Grandma Elliott and Mr. Fairfield. These parcels, with some that
were added by Ruth, filled two large suit-cases, and then there were
left several bundles to be carried by hand.

When the party left The Wilberforce, with all this _impedimenta_, Patty
said they looked as if they had been dispossessed.

At the ferry they met Kenneth, who was going to Vernondale on the same
train. The boy, too, was laden with Christmas luggage, and merry
greetings were exchanged.

“I’ve a gift here for each of you girls,” said Kenneth, “but I can’t
find it now among all this trash. Mayn’t I come over to Mrs. Elliott’s
this afternoon and bring them?”

“Not this afternoon,” said Patty, “because all the Tea Club girls are
coming to see me then, and we wouldn’t have a boy around for anything.
But come over this evening, when we have the Christmas tree; and ask
Miss Daggett to come, too.”

“Thank you, I’ll ask her with pleasure; I’m afraid she won’t come, she
goes out so little, but I hope she will. However, even if she won’t I’ll
run over for a few moments, anyway.”

“Mr. Hepworth is coming this evening,” went on Patty, “and he’s going to
bring my portrait for a Christmas present to me. He’s been painting it,
you know, and it’s finished. I’ve never seen it at all, not even in the
beginning; but papa says it’s a very good likeness. I’m crazy to see
it.”

“Why!” exclaimed Kenneth, “my Christmas gift for you is a portrait of
yourself, also; and I’ll wager anything you like that it looks more like
you than the one Hepworth has done.”

“A portrait of me!” exclaimed Patty, “why, _you_ can’t paint.”

“I didn’t say I painted it, and it isn’t exactly painted anyway; but
it’s a portrait of you, and it looks more like you than anything
Hepworth could possibly do.”

“Then it must be a photograph! but why should you give me a photograph
of myself? Is it in a frame?”

“Yes, a pretty little Florentine frame.”

“Then the gift is really the frame; but I don’t see why you put _my_
photograph in it; and anyway I didn’t know you had a picture of me.
Pray, where did you get it?”

“I’ll show it to Ruth,” said Kenneth, “if you’ll promise not to look;
for I don’t want you to see it until after you’ve expressed your opinion
of Mr. Hepworth’s portrait.”

Kenneth unwrapped a parcel, and taking care not to let Patty see, Ruth
looked at the contents.

“Oh,” she said, “I don’t think that looks like Patty!”

“Do you think it’s prettier than she is?” asked Kenneth, smiling.

“No,” replied Ruth, smiling, too; “I don’t think it’s half as pretty as
Patty.”

“Well,” said Kenneth, “I don’t like to differ with you, but do you know,
I think Patty will say that it looks exactly like her, and that it
doesn’t flatter her a bit.”

“I believe she will,” said Ruth, and then they both laughed.

“You needn’t think I’m curious,” said Patty; “I can easily wait until
evening to see a picture of myself. I shall take it out of the frame
anyway, and put some other picture in.”

                 *        *        *        *        *

When they reached Vernondale Kenneth went directly to his aunt’s and the
others went to Mrs. Elliott’s.

The whole family rushed to the door to meet them, and there was a
general hubbub of Christmas greetings.

The packages and bundles were whisked away by Frank into the parlour,
whose doors were kept carefully closed until the time should come for
the Christmas tree.

Marian took possession of Patty and held her by the hand as if afraid
she would run away. “Oh, Patty,” she kept saying, “I’m _so_ glad to see
you again. _Do_ stay a long time, won’t you?”

Ruth was by no means neglected, for the Elliotts were a large-hearted
family, and dearly enjoyed giving pleasure to the stranger within their
gates.

About half an hour after their arrival Mr. Fairfield looked at his
watch, and declared that it was time for him to go down to the station
to meet the Philadelphia train.

“Oh, is Nan coming?” exclaimed Patty, for this was a surprise to her.

“Well, I’ll just go down to the station in case she _should_ come,” said
Mr. Fairfield, smiling.

“Oh, Aunt Alice,” cried Patty, “it was lovely of you to ask Nan! Now
we’ll have the whole family together.”

Mr. Fairfield soon returned, bringing Nan, who looked more pretty and
charming than ever, with a sprig of holly tucked among her furs.

Patty flew at her and welcomed her warmly, for she dearly loved Nan and
had not seen her since the autumn.

“When are you coming to New York?” cried Patty, “and when—oh, _when_
are you coming to live with us?”

“Mother and I are going to New York soon after the holidays,” said Nan,
“but I don’t think I shall go to live with the Fairfields until about
Easter time.”

                 *        *        *        *        *

Then such a merry Christmas dinner as they had! Everybody talked and
laughed so much they almost forgot to eat the array of good things Aunt
Alice had provided.

“Do you remember our last family party?” asked Patty. “It was at Boxley
Hall, last New Year’s Day, and I sat at the head of the table.”

“Yes,” said Aunt Alice, “and a very graceful and capable little hostess
you were.”

“And next Christmas,” said Mr. Fairfield, “the Fairfields will again
entertain the Elliotts, and Mrs. Fairfield will preside at her own
table.”

Nan blushed and smiled, and seconded the invitation very prettily.

After dinner Marian carried Ruth and Patty off to her own room to await
the coming of the Tea Club girls. Marian and Ruth seemed to like each
other at once, and when the other girls arrived they were also quite
ready to make friends with the Boston visitor.

The Tea Club girls all brought little gifts to Patty, who had also
prepared small Christmas remembrances for them.

The Tea Club had always been noted for its merry times, but to-day they
fairly outdid themselves. Patty told them they were as merry as Grigs,
and assured them that higher commendation was impossible.

Later, Nan joined the group, and as she was well known to the girls from
her visit of the summer before, they were all delighted to see her
again.

At six o’clock the Tea Club girls regretfully went home, all promising
to call on Patty again early the next morning.

Then came the evening fun. Frank declared that there was not room for
another parcel in the parlour. He said that the budget Nan brought was
the last straw, and that when Mr. Hepworth and Kenneth arrived he hoped
they’d have consideration enough not to bring any bundles.

But his hopes were in vain, for not only did the two come well laden,
but Miss Daggett accompanied her nephew, and she, too, had her hands
full.

However, room was made somehow, and at last Frank threw open the parlour
doors and invited them all to come in.

Although the tree, with its decorations and candles, was ostensibly for
the little children, Edith and Gilbert, yet everybody shared in the
enjoyment of it.

And everybody had so many presents that they scarcely had time to look
at the others’ gifts.

Mr. Fairfield gave Patty a dear little watch, and Nan gave her a
chatelaine pin to wear with it. Marian gave her a ring, Ruth a book, and
everybody present gave her some pretty token.

Kenneth announced that his gift for Patty was a portrait of herself, but
he was not willing to exhibit it until after Mr. Hepworth’s portrait had
been shown, for he felt sure his was the better likeness.

Mr. Hepworth looked a little surprised at this, but good-naturedly said
he was quite willing to have his work criticised, and he unveiled a
portrait which stood on an easel.

It was a beautiful picture of Patty, and though perhaps a trifle
idealised, it was truly a portrait of the girl’s nature, and showed a
face beaming with happiness, yet with earnest eyes that betokened the
dawning of a sweet and true woman-hood.

Everybody was delighted with it. There could be no adverse criticism on
such a beautiful piece of work.

While the others were exclaiming over its merits Patty expressed her
thanks a little shyly to Mr. Hepworth.

“Thank you,” she said, “for thinking that I look like that. I wish _I_
might think so, and I hope I may some day possess all that the picture
seems to attribute to me.”

“You do, already,” said Mr. Hepworth.

Then Kenneth announced that he would now show his portrait of Patty.

“I don’t care,” he said, “for the opinion of anybody except Patty
herself. Indeed, when the rest of you look at it I’m quite prepared to
hear you say it doesn’t resemble her in the least. But I’m sure that
Patty will say it is a perfect likeness.”

With a flourish the boy threw off the wrapping-papers and handed Patty a
flat box. Patty took from the box a gilt Florentine frame, and holding
it so that the others could see only the back, she gazed at the picture
it contained and said:

“You are right, Kenneth, it is a perfect likeness! and I must confess it
is a more exact portrait of me than Mr. Hepworth’s, though his is far
more beautiful.”

Then Patty turned the frame around and showed that it contained no
portrait at all, but a mirror!

How everybody laughed at Kenneth’s joke, and Mr. Hepworth picked up the
mirror, and, looking in it, said: “Well, if you think _that_ looks like
Miss Fairfield! why, my picture of her is a _much_ better likeness!”

“I said nobody would agree with me, except Patty,” replied Kenneth, “and
I’m more than willing to admit the merits of your picture.”

The rest of the evening was spent in merry games and fun, and even the
little children were allowed to sit up until the close of the
festivities.

Miss Daggett enjoyed herself thoroughly, and so did Ruth. As for the
Elliotts and Fairfields, it is not necessary to say that they had a good
time.

“I suppose you care more for Mr. Hepworth’s gift than you do for mine,”
said Kenneth, as he and Patty stood looking at the portrait later in the
evening.

“I don’t know,” said Patty.

“Of course, his is of far greater value in every way,” went on Kenneth;
“so if you did care more for mine, it would be because you cared more
for me. Do you?”

“I don’t know,” said Patty.

                 *        *        *        *        *

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                 *        *        *        *        *

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    SALLY FOUND OUT
    A GIRL CALLED TED
    TED AND TONY, TWO GIRLS OF TODAY
    CLEO’S MISTY RAINBOW
    CLEO’S CONQUEST
    BARBARA HALE
    BARBARA HALE’S MYSTERY FRIEND
    NANCY BRANDON
    NANCY BRANDON’S MYSTERY
    CONNIE LORING
    CONNIE LORING’S GYPSY FRIEND
    JOAN: JUST GIRL
    JOAN’S GARDEN OF ADVENTURE
    GLORIA: A GIRL AND HER DAD
    GLORIA AT BOARDING SCHOOL

                GROSSET & DUNLAP, _Publishers_, NEW YORK

                 *        *        *        *        *

                   AMY BELL MARLOWE’S BOOKS FOR GIRLS

                  Charming, Fresh and Original Stories

Illustrated. Wrappers Printed in Colors with individual design for each
                                 story

Miss Marlowe’s books for girls are somewhat of the type of Miss Alcott
and also Mrs. Meade; but all are thoroughly up-to-date and wholly
American in scene and action. Good, clean absorbing tales that all girls
thoroughly enjoy.

    THE OLDEST OF FOUR; Or, Natalie’s Way Out.

    A sweet story of the struggles of a live girl to keep a family
    from want.

    THE GIRLS AT HILLCREST FARM; Or, The Secret of the Rocks.

    Relating the trials of two girls who take boarders on an old
    farm.

    A LITTLE MISS NOBODY; Or, With the Girls of Pinewood Hall.

    Tells of a school girl who was literally a nobody until she
    solved the mystery of her identity.

    THE GIRL FROM SUNSET RANCH; Or, Alone in a Great City.

    A ranch girl comes to New York to meet relatives she has never
    seen. Her adventures make unusually good reading.

    WYN’S CAMPING DAYS; Or, The Outing of the GO-AHEAD CLUB.

    A tale of happy days on the water and under canvas, with a touch
    of mystery and considerable excitement.

    FRANCES OF THE RANGES; Or, The Old Ranchman’s Treasure.

    A vivid picture of life on the great cattle ranges of the West.

    THE GIRLS OF RIVERCLIFF SCHOOL; Or, Beth Baldwin’s Resolve.

    This is one of the most entertaining stories centering about a
    girl’s school that has ever been written.

    WHEN ORIOLE CAME TO HARBOR LIGHT.

    The story of a young girl, cast up by the sea, and rescued by an
    old lighthouse keeper.

    WHEN ORIOLE TRAVELED WESTWARD.

    Oriole visits the family of a rich ranchman and enjoys herself
    immensely.

    WHEN ORIOLE WENT TO BOARDING SCHOOL.

    How this brave girl bears up under the most trying experiences,
    makes a very interesting story.

                GROSSET & DUNLAP, _Publishers_, NEW YORK

                 *        *        *        *        *

                         THE BLYTHE GIRLS BOOKS

                           By LAURA LEE HOPE

                   Author of The Outdoor Girls Series

                      Illustrated by Thelma Gooch

The Blythe Girls, three in number, were left alone in New York City.
Helen, who went in for art and music, kept the little flat uptown, while
Margy, just out of business school, obtained a position as secretary and
Rose, plain-spoken and business like, took what she called a “job” in a
department store. The experiences of these girls make fascinating
reading—life in the great metropolis is thrilling and full of strange
adventures and surprises.

    THE BLYTHE GIRLS: HELEN, MARGY AND ROSE
    THE BLYTHE GIRLS: MARGY’S QUEER INHERITANCE
    THE BLYTHE GIRLS: ROSE’S GREAT PROBLEM
    THE BLYTHE GIRLS: HELEN’S STRANGE BOARDER
    THE BLYTHE GIRLS: THREE ON A VACATION
    THE BLYTHE GIRLS: MARGY’S SECRET MISSION
    THE BLYTHE GIRLS: ROSE’S ODD DISCOVERY
    THE BLYTHE GIRLS: THE DISAPPEARANCE OF HELEN
    THE BLYTHE GIRLS: SNOWBOUND IN CAMP
    THE BLYTHE GIRLS: MARGY’S MYSTERIOUS VISITOR
    THE BLYTHE GIRLS: ROSE’S HIDDEN TALENT

                GROSSET & DUNLAP, _Publishers_, NEW YORK

                 *        *        *        *        *

                   FOR HER MAJESTY—THE GIRL OF TODAY

                        THE POLLY BREWSTER BOOKS

                        By Lillian Elizabeth Roy

Polly and Eleanor have many interesting adventures on their travels
which take them to all corners of the globe.

    POLLY OF PEBBLY PIT
    POLLY AND ELEANOR
    POLLY IN NEW YORK
    POLLY AND HER FRIENDS ABROAD
    POLLY’S BUSINESS VENTURE
    POLLY’S SOUTHERN CRUISE
    POLLY IN SOUTH AMERICA
    POLLY IN THE SOUTH-WEST
    POLLY IN ALASKA
    POLLY IN THE ORIENT
    POLLY IN EGYPT
    POLLY’S NEW FRIEND
    POLLY AND CAROLA
    POLLY AND CAROLA AT RAVENSWOOD

                 *        *        *        *        *

                         THE GIRL SCOUTS BOOKS

                        By Lillian Elizabeth Roy

The fun of living in the woods, of learning woodcraft, of canoe trips,
of venturing in the wilderness.

    GIRL SCOUTS AT DANDELION CAMP
    GIRL SCOUTS IN THE ADIRONDACKS
    GIRL SCOUTS IN THE ROCKIES
    GIRL SCOUTS IN ARIZONA AND NEW MEXICO
    GIRL SCOUTS IN THE REDWOODS
    GIRL SCOUTS IN THE MAGIC CITY
    GIRL SCOUTS IN GLACIER PARK

                GROSSET & DUNLAP, _Publishers_, NEW YORK

                 *        *        *        *        *

Transcriber’s Notes:

Archaic spellings and hyphenation have been retained. Punctuation and
obvious typesetting errors have been corrected without note.

                 *        *        *        *        *

[End of _Patty in the City_, by Carolyn Wells]





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