Carolyn Wells

PATTY’S LIFE & ADVENTURES – 14 Novels in One Volume

(Children's Classics Series)
Patty at Home, Patty's Summer Days, Patty in Paris, Patty's Friends, Patty's Success, Patty's Motor Car, Patty's Butterfly Days, Patty's Social Season, Patty's Suitors, Patty's Fortune…
e-artnow, 2016
ISBN 978-80-268-6991-7

Table of Contents



Table of Contents
I. Her Father's Plan
II. Traveling North
III. New Friends
IV. Villa Rosa
V. A Minuet
VI. Purple and Fine Linen
VII. A Sleigh-Ride
VIII. An Absent-Minded Cousin
IX. The Flemings
X. Patty's Pranks
XI. The Book Party
XII. The Hurly-Burly
XIII. Home-Made Music
XIV. A Funny Family
XV. The Lawn-Party
XVI. Unbounded Hospitality
XVII. A Hurly-Burly Fire
XVIII. At Vernondale
XIX. A Picnic
XX. The Rescue
XXI. A Reading-Club
XXII. A Welcome Guest
To my little friend
M A R I O N   A M E S   T A G G A R T

Chapter I.
Her Father's Plan

Table of Contents

"How old are you, Patty?" asked her father, abruptly.

"Fourteen, papa,--why?"

"My conscience! what a great girl you're getting to be. Stand up and let me look at you."

Patty Fairfield, with two twists and a spring, brought herself to her feet, and stood awaiting her father's inspection.

He saw a slender, graceful girl, a Southern blonde of the purest type. Her pretty golden hair would gladly have hung in curly masses, but it was only allowed to have its own sweet will around her temples and at the end of a long thick braid. Her eyes were blue, deep and twinkly, and the rest of her face was as pretty and sweet as soft girlish contours and a perfect complexion could make it.

But best of all was the gentle expression and frank, good-natured smile which so often broke into mischievous dimples.

It did on this occasion, and Patty laughed merrily at her father's grave consideration of her.

"What is it, papa?" she asked. "Did you think I was still an infant, and were you going to buy me a new dolls' house? Or were you going to take me to the circus? I'm not a bit too old for the circus."

"Aren't you? Then I will take you, but what is on my mind at present is a much more serious matter. Sit down again, Puss, and I'll tell you all about it.

"You know for years I've looked forward to the time when you should grow up to be old enough to keep house for me. And I thought then we'd go back North and settle down among my people and your mother's relatives. I haven't been North since your mother died, but now I want to go, and I want you to spend the rest of your life there. In many ways it will be better for you than Virginia. You will have more advantages; your life will be broader and more varied. Now I can't be ready to leave here for good in less than a year; I want to sell out my lumber interests and settle up my business affairs.

"But I am continually receiving letters from your aunts,--you have lots of aunts, Patty,--and they are apparently all anxious that you shall visit them. So, if you consent, this is my plan. You've never traveled any, have you, Puss?"

"Never been out of Virginia in my life, papa."

"No? Well, you ought to see a little of how the rest of the world lives and moves. So I think I'll let you visit in the North for a year,--say three months with each of your four aunts,--and then next fall I'll be ready to join you, and we'll buy a house and you shall be mistress of it."

"A home of our own? Oh, papa, I'd like that lots!"

"Yes, so would I. As we have always lived in boarding-houses since your mother's death, you've had no opportunity to learn the details of housekeeping, and these four visits will show you four very distinct types of families."

"Why, are my aunts all so different, papa?"

"Indeed they are, and though I hope you can make yourself happy with each one, yet you will find life very different in the various homes."

"Tell me about them, papa," said Patty, contentedly settling herself back among the cushions of the couch, for she dearly loved a long talk with her father.

"Well, you will go first to the St. Clairs. You remember Uncle Robert, your mother's brother, who was here four or five years ago, don't you?"

"Indeed I do; he brought me a French doll nearly as big as I was then myself,--and a whole five-pound box of candy. He is a lovely man. But I've never seen Aunt Isabel or the children,--only their photographs."

"Your Aunt Isabel is,--but no,--I won't tell you anything about your relatives. You may discover their faults and virtues for yourself. Most of all, my child, you will need to cultivate your sense of proportion. Do you know what proportion means?"

"Oh, yes, papa, I studied 'ratio and proportion' in arithmetic."

"Not that kind," said her father, smiling; "I mean a proportion of human interests, of amusements or occupations. I wonder if you are too young to understand."

"No, I'm not too young to understand anything," said Patty, fairly blinking in her endeavor to look as wise as an owl.

"Well, then, listen while I put it this way. Suppose you were to make a cake, an ordinary sized cake, you know, how much yeast would you put in it?"

"Not any, papa," said Patty, laughing merrily. "I know enough housekeeping not to put yeast in a cake. I'd use baking-powder."

"Yes," said her father, quite undisturbed, "that is what I meant,--baking-powder. Now how much of it would you use?"

"Well, about two teaspoonfuls," said Patty, feeling very important and housewifely.

"Yes. Now suppose instead of two teaspoonfuls you put in two cupfuls."

"Why then I wouldn't have any cake at all! I reckon it would rise right up the chimney and run down on the roof outside."

"Well, that shows just what I mean. There'd be a too great proportion of baking-powder, wouldn't there?"

"Indeed there would," assented Patty, much interested in the conversation, but a little bewildered.

"To try again," her father continued, "suppose your frock was so covered by trimming that the material could scarcely be seen at all."

"Then," said Patty, who was rapidly learning her lesson, "then there'd be too great a proportion of trimming for the frock."

"Ah," said her father, "you begin to see my drift, do you? And if you had all tables in your house, and no chairs or bedsteads or bureaus, there'd be too great a proportion of tables, wouldn't there?"

"Yes; and I perceive," said Patty, slowly and with mock gravity, "that proportion means to have too many of one thing, when you'd better have a lot of others."

"No, you're all wrong! That is a lack of proportion. Proportion is to have exactly the right amount of each ingredient."

"Yes,--and what has all this to do with Aunt Isabel? Does she put too much baking-powder in her cake, or has she nothing but tables in her house?"

"Those, my dear, were only figures of speech. But if you're going to make a home for your old father next year, I want you to learn from observation what are the principal ingredients to put into it, and then learn to adjust the proportions."

"Papa, I believe I do know what you mean, but it's all out of proportion when you call yourself 'my old father,' for you're not old a bit. You're a beautiful young man, and I'm sure any one who didn't know us would take you for my brother."

"Come, come, Puss, you mustn't be so flattering, or I'll keep you here, and not let you go North at all; and I do believe you're just dying to go."

"I'd like it lots if you were going too. But to be away from you a whole year is no fun at all. Can't I wait until next fall and we'll go together?"

"No, Patsie; your aunts are urging me to let you visit them and I think the experiences will do you good. And beside, my plans for the next year are very uncertain. I may have to go to Bermuda to see about my plantation there,--and all things considered, I think you would be better off in the North. I shall miss you, of course, but a year soon slips away, you know, and it will fly very quickly for you, as you will be highly entertained with your new experiences."

Now, Patty Fairfield was a philosophic little girl, so when she found that her father's mind was made up she accepted the situation and offered no objections of any kind. And, indeed the new plan was not without its charm. Although she knew none of her aunts, she knew a great deal about them, and their Northern homes seemed attractive to her in many ways.

"What about school, papa?" she said, finally.

"That will be left to the judgment of each aunt in turn. I think Aunt Isabel has a governess for her children, and Aunt Hester will probably teach you herself. But you will learn enough, and if not, you can consider it a year's vacation, and I'll put you back in school when I am with you again."

"Well," said Patty, meditatively, "I think it will be very nice, and I'll like it, but I'll be awful lonesome for you," and with a spring she jumped into her father's arms.

"Yes, of course, my baby, we'll be homesick for each other, but we'll be brave, and when we feel very lonesome, we'll sit down and write each other nice long letters."

"Oh, that will be fun, I love letters; and here comes Clara, may I tell her about it?"

"Yes, and tell her she must come to see me once in a while, and cheer me after I lose my own little girl."

Clara Hayden was Patty's intimate friend and both the girls' hearts grew sad at the thought of parting.

"But," said Patty, who was determined to look on the bright side, "after a year, papa and I will have a house of our own, and then you can come and make us a long, long visit. And we can write letters, Clara, and you must tell me all about the girls, and about school and about the Magnolia Club."

"Yes, I will; and you write to me about all you do at your aunts' houses. Where do they live, Patty?"

"Well, I shall go first to Aunt Isabel's, and she lives in Elmbridge. That's in New Jersey, but it's quite near New York. Next I'm going to Aunt Hester's; she lives in Boston. Then I'm going to visit Aunt Grace. They live in Philadelphia, but I'll be with them in the summertime, and then they're at their country place somewhere on Long Island, wherever that may be. And the last one is Aunt Alice, and I forget the name of the town where she lives. Isn't it nice, Clara, to have so many aunts?"

"Yes, lovely! I suppose you'll go to New York often."

"I don't know; I think I'm afraid of New York. They say it's an awful dangerous place."

"Yes, it is. People get killed there all the time."

"Fiddlesticks! I don't believe they do. Well, I reckon I won't get killed. Uncle Robert will take better care of me than that."

Chapter II.
Traveling North

Table of Contents

As a result of many letters back and forth between Mr. Fairfield and the Northern aunts, Patty stood one morning on the platform of the railway station, all ready to depart for her new homes.

It was the first week in December, and the little girl shivered as she thought of the arctic cold to which she imagined herself going.

"Of course they'll meet me in a sleigh, won't they, papa?" she said.

"Perhaps so, but I doubt it," he replied. "They don't have such snowstorms in Jersey now as they used to when I was a boy. Last winter they had no sleighing at all. But here comes Miss Powers; let us go to greet her." Miss Powers was a sharp-faced lady who came marching along the platform with a firm step.

Patty was to travel in her care, not because she was an especially desirable traveling companion, but because she was the only acquaintance of the Fairfields who chanced to be going North at that time.

"Good-morning," she cried, "are you here already? I was certain you'd be late and miss the train. Not a very pleasant day, is it? I wish we had planned to go to-morrow instead. Why, Patty, you are wearing your best hat! You'll spoil it, I'm sure. Have you your trunk check? Give it to me, you'll certainly lose it else."

"Here it is, Miss Powers," said Mr. Fairfield, pleasantly, "and I dare say you will prove more responsible than my rattle-pated daughter."

He squeezed Patty's hand affectionately as he said this, and a great wave of homesickness came over the child's heart. She caught her father round the neck, and vainly trying to keep the tears back, she whispered,

"Oh, papa, dear, let me stay with you. I don't want to go to Aunt Isabel's,--I know she's horrid, and I just want you, you, you!"

Miss Powers was shocked at this exhibition of emotion, and said with asperity:

"Come, come, it's too late to talk like that now. And a big girl like you ought to be ashamed to act so babyish."

But Mr. Fairfield kissed Patty tenderly and said: "Dear, we're going to be very brave, you know,--and besides, you're only going for a visit. All people go visiting at some time in their lives, and next December I'll be shaking the dust of Richmond off of my feet and coming after you, pell-mell." Patty smiled through her tears, and then the train came tooting along and they all climbed aboard.

As the train waited for ten minutes, Mr. Fairfield had ample time to find the seats engaged for the travelers, and to arrange their hand-luggage in the racks provided for it. Then he bade Miss Powers good-bye, and, turning to Patty, clasped her in his arms as he said:

"Pattykins, good-bye. The year will soon pass away, and then we'll have a jolly little home together. Be brave and gentle always, and as a parting gift I give you this little box which contains a talisman to help you bear any troubles or difficulties that may come to you."

As he spoke, he put into Patty's hand a small parcel sealed at each end with red sealing-wax.

"Don't open it now," he continued. "Keep it just as it is until you reach Aunt Isabel's. Then after you have gone to your room on the first night of your stay with her, open the box and see what is in it."

Then the warning whistle blew, and with a final embrace of his little daughter, Mr. Fairfield left the car.

The train started, and for a moment Patty saw her father waving his handkerchief, and then he was lost to her sight. She felt just like indulging in a good cry, but Miss Powers would have none of that.

The worthy spinster was already opening her bag and preparing to make herself comfortable for her journey.

"Now, Patty," she said, but not unkindly, "you've left your pa behind, and you're going away from him to stay a year. You've got to go, you can't help yourself, so you might just as well make the best of it, and be cheerful instead of miserable. So now that's settled, and you'd better get out your books and games or whatever you brought along to amuse yourself with."

Miss Powers had taken off her hat and gloves and arranged a small balsam pillow behind her head. She put on her glasses, and opened a book in which she at once became absorbed.

Patty, being thus left to her own devices, became much interested in the novelty of her surroundings. It was great fun to lean back against the high-cushioned seat and look out of the window at the trees and plantations and towns as they flew by. This kept her amused until noontime, when a waiter came through the car banging a gong.

Miss Powers shut her book with a snap, and announced that they would go to the dining-car for their lunch.

This was even more fun, for it seemed so queer to Patty to sit at a table and eat, while at the same time she was flying through the country at such break-neck speed.

"It's like the enchanted carpet, isn't it, Miss Powers?" she said, as they slid through a thick grove and then out into the sunshine again.

"What is? what carpet?" asked Miss Powers, looking down at the floor of the car.

"Oh, not a real carpet," said Patty, politely repressing a smile at the elder lady's ignorance of fairy-lore. "I mean, for us to go scooting along so fast is like the travelers on the magicians" carpet. Don't you know, the carpet would move of itself wherever he told it to."

"H'm," commented Miss Powers, "that would be a good kind of a carpet to have at housecleaning time, wouldn't it?"

This prosaic disposition of the magic carpet quite shocked Patty, but she adapted herself to the idea, and said, "Yes, indeed; you could just say, 'Carpet, get up and go out and hang yourself on the clothes-line, and then shake yourself well and come back again,'--oh, that would be convenient."

Miss Powers smiled in an absent-minded sort of way, and Patty chattered on, half to herself and half to her companion.

"But suppose the carpet should be naughty and refuse to go,--that wouldn't be so pleasant."

"Or suppose it should run away and never come back?"

This latter remark was made by a strange voice, and Patty looked up quickly to see the man who was seated opposite, smiling in a very friendly way.

He was an elderly gentleman with white hair and beard, and it seemed to Patty's vivid imagination that he looked like Noah, or some other of the ancient patriarchs.

"That would be a great joke on the housekeeper," Patty answered, feeling already well acquainted with the pleasant old gentleman, "and I suppose she would have to get a new carpet."

"Or have a hard-wood floor laid in her room," he responded.

"Or live on a bare floor," said Miss Powers. "I think it would be a very slack housekeeper who would let her carpets shake themselves, and she would probably be too lazy or too poor to replace the ones that ran away."

Mr. Noah, as Patty called the old man in her mind, laughed heartily at this, and during the rest of the luncheon hour proved himself a genial and entertaining companion.

The day passed quickly, and at bedtime Patty was quite tired enough to welcome the thought of tucking herself away in one of those queer-looking bunks that the porter was arranging.

"I'll sleep on the top shelf," she said, gleefully, "may I, Miss Powers?"

"I'll be very glad if you will, child,--I've no desire to climb up there. Ugh, I don't think I can sleep anywhere on this bobbety-bobble train."

Then the porter brought a small step-ladder, and this delighted Patty beyond measure.

"Ho!" said she, "now I'm 'Jack and the Beanstalk.' 'A-hitchet, a-hatchet, a-up I go'!" and with two jumps and a spring she landed in the upper berth.

"Now," she said to herself, "I know how Alice felt when she grew so large that she filled up the whole room. Let me see, what did she do? She put one arm out the window and one foot up the chimney. Well, I can't do that, and I don't see any little cakes to eat, as she did, that will make me grow smaller, so I s'pose I'll just have to scrounch around till I'm ready for bed, and then slide in. I'm sure I shan't sleep, it's all so noisy and exciting."

But when she finally straightened herself out on the coarse, cinder-sprinkled linen of the Pullman, the chink-a-chunk of the train changed to a lullaby, and in about two minutes Patty was sound asleep.

Chapter III.
New Friends

Table of Contents

It was about four o'clock the next afternoon when the train came puffing into the great train-shed in Jersey City.

It had passed through Elmbridge about an hour before, but being an express train, it made no stop at such small places.

So Mr. St. Clair had arranged to meet Patty at Jersey City and take her back home with him.

Patty recognized her uncle as soon as he entered the car, and ran to greet him.

"Howdy, Uncle Robert," she said, in her pretty southern way, "are you looking for me?"

"I am, if you're little Patty Fairfield. But you've grown so since I saw you that I think I shall have to ask for your credentials."

Patty laughed, and answered: "My credentials are that I remember the doll and the candy you brought me five years ago, and I just know you're my Uncle Robert."

"I am indeed, and I've come to carry you off to a lot of other admiring relatives."

Then Patty introduced Miss Powers, and after gathering up the various wraps and bags they all left the train. Miss Powers was to cross the ferry to New York, so Patty and Uncle Robert escorted her to the ferry-boat and bade her good-bye, with many thanks for her kind care of the little girl during the journey.

Then Uncle Robert said: "Now we'll go out to Elmbridge as quick as we can skip, but first we must pick up Ethelyn, whom I left in the waiting-room."

"Oh, is Ethelyn here?" cried Patty. "I am so glad, I'm just crazy to see her."

Apparently Ethelyn was crazy too, for she flew at her cousin as soon as she entered the door.

"You dear thing!" she exclaimed, "I'm so delighted to see you. Oh, how pretty you are! We'll be awfully good chums, won't we?"

"I'm sure we shall," replied Patty, who was just a wee bit frightened by this dashing young cousin.

Ethelyn was about Patty's age, but somewhat shorter and decidedly less slender. Her yellow hair was not long, indeed it was cut evenly round just above her shoulders, but it was crinkled and fluffed out until her head had the contour of a yellow pumpkin.

A huge black hat with a wide rolling brim was perched on top of the yellow mop, and ornamented with feathers and shining buckles.

Both the girls wore dark blue suits trimmed with fur, but Ethelyn's was resplendent with wide lace-trimmed collars, and she wore clattering bangles on her wrists, and a fancy little muff hung round her neck by a silver chain.

Her skirts were as short as Patty's, and she seemed like a little girl, and yet she had a wise, grown-up air, and she began to patronize her cousin at once.

"Your frock is nice," she said, "but it has no style to it. Well, I suppose you couldn't get much in the way of dressmakers where you lived, but Madame Marsala will soon turn you out all right. Mamma says she'll just enjoy ordering new clothes for you, and your papa told her to get whatever she chose. Oh, won't we have fun! We always go to New York for our things, and the shops are just lovely."

"Come, come, children," said Uncle Robert, who had been looking after Patty's trunks, "the train is made up, let us get aboard."

They went through one of a whole row of little gates in an iron fence, and Patty wondered at the numerous trains and the crowds of people moving swiftly towards them.

She wondered if everything at the North were conducted on such a wholesale and such a hurrying plan. They hurried along the platform and hurried into a car, then Uncle Robert put the two children into a seat together, while he sat behind them and devoted himself to his evening paper.

The girls chatted gaily and Patty learned much about the home she was going to, and began to think of it as a very beautiful and attractive place.

The train stopped at Elmbridge, and without waiting for her father, Ethelyn piloted Patty off the car.

"Here's our carriage," she said, as a handsome pair of horses with jingling chains came prancing up. A footman in livery handed the young ladies in, and Patty felt as if she had come among very grand people indeed.

While they waited for Mr. St. Clair, who was giving the checks to the baggage-master, Patty admired the pretty little station of rough gray stone, and the neatly kept grounds and paths all about it.

"Yes, they are pretty," assented Ethelyn, "but just wait till you see our grounds. We have the finest place in Elmbridge. In summer it's just lovely."

Then Mr. St. Clair came, and giving the coachman the order "Home," he seated himself opposite the two girls.

"Well, Patty, how do you like it, so far?" he asked, genially, of his niece.

"Oh, Uncle Robert, I think it's beautiful, but I hoped we'd have a sleigh-ride. I've never been in a sleigh."

"Bless you, child, we don't have much sleighing. However, perhaps we can scare up a sleigh-ride before the winter is over. We have a pretty fine sleigh, eh, Ethelyn?"

"Yes, indeed, we have a beautiful great big one, and I have a little cutter, all my own. I'll take you sleighing, Patty, if we get half a chance."

Soon they reached the St. Clair home and drove up the long winding avenue to the house.

Patty saw a brilliantly lighted mansion, and as they drew near it, she heard the most piercing shrieks and yells, as of a human being in desperate straits of some kind.

Patty wondered if she were about to enter a Bluebeard's castle, but deeming it polite to take no notice of the uproar, she tried to appear unheeding though the shrieks increased in violence as they came up to the house and the carriage stopped at the front door.

Chapter IV.
Villa Rosa

Table of Contents

"Here we are, chickens," said Uncle Robert, as the footman threw open the carriage door, "here's your new home, Patty, and you're very welcome to your Uncle Robert's house."

It was almost dark and Patty could distinguish only the outlines of a magnificent house, so large that it seemed like a palace.

They went up massive stone steps between great stone lions, to a wonderful veranda bright with electric lights, and lights streamed from every window and from the wide front doors which flew open as they reached them.

But though all this beauty and elegance impressed Patty like a dream of Fairyland, she paid little heed to it, for she was so shocked and disturbed by the shrieks from within, which were now distinctly audible as those of a child.

"Goodness me!" exclaimed Ethelyn, just as Patty could stand it no longer and was about to ask what it meant, "what can be the matter with Florelle this time? I hope you enjoy squealing, Patty, for you'll hear plenty of it in this house. Don't mind it; little sister has a fearful temper, and we have to let her squeal it out."

Patty was relieved to learn that it wasn't a case of intentional torture, and by this time she found herself in the great hall.

The grandeur of her surroundings fairly dazzled her, for Patty was an inexperienced little girl, and had lived simply, though very comfortably all her life. And so she looked with amazement on the walls frescoed in brilliant colors, the enormous gilt-framed mirrors, the tall palms and marble statues, the rich draperies and stained-glass windows.

If she had been older and more experienced she would have known that it was too gorgeous, the coloring too bright and garish, and the ornamentation over-showy. But to her childish eyes it all seemed wonderfully fine.

"Oh, Uncle Robert," she cried, "is this your home? How beautiful it is! I never saw such a lovely place in my life."

This speech pleased Mr. St. Clair beyond measure, for he dearly loved to have his beautiful home appreciated, and he beamed, and rubbed his hands together with a general air of satisfaction.

"Yes, yes," he said, "it is fine,--fine! There isn't another such place for miles around."

Then they went into the drawing-room and Patty was presented to her Aunt Isabel.

Mrs. St. Clair was a fair, large woman, with golden hair, elaborately frizzed, and kind blue eyes. She was fashionably dressed, and her silks rustled and her bugles tinkled as she came forward to meet her visitor.

"I am charmed to see you, Patty, my dear," she said, kissing her affectionately.

"And I am very glad to be here, Aunt Isabel," said Patty, and just then she was interrupted by the violent entrance of what seemed to be a small pink cyclone.

This was the eight year old Florelle, and without a doubt it was she who was responsible for the shrieks Patty had heard.

The child wore a short, beruffled dress of pink silk, a huge pink sash, and pink stockings and slippers. Her eyes were reddened with crying and her cheeks were tear-stained, and she ran to Patty, screaming:

"I will! I will! She's my cousin, and I'm going to see her now."

Then she threw her arms round Patty's waist, and smiled up into her face. She was a very pretty little girl when she smiled, and Patty couldn't help admiring her, though so far she had seemed like anything but a lovable character.

"Oh, Florelle," said her mother, mildly, "how naughty you are. I told you to go to bed like a goody girl, and you should see Cousin Patty in the morning."

"But I wanted to see her to-night. So I made nurse dress me, and I'm going to stay up to dinner."

"Let her stay, mamma," said Ethelyn. "If you don't, she'll yell again, and I'm tired of hearing her."

"Yes, you can stay, baby," said Mrs. St. Clair, "and now, Ethelyn, take Patty to her room, and get yourselves ready for dinner."

The two girls went off together, and Patty discovered that the rest of the house was as sumptuous as her first view of it.

The same brilliant coloring and florid ornamentation appeared everywhere, and when at last Ethelyn stopped before an open door, and said, "This is your room," Patty gave a little cry of delight, for she entered what seemed a veritable fairy bower.

The walls and ceiling were tinted pink and frescoed with garlands of roses and flying birds. There was a fascinating bay window with latticed panes, and a cozy window-seat with soft cushions. The brass bedstead had a lace coverlet over pink silk, and the toilet-table had frilled curtains and pink ribbons. There were silver-mounted brushes and bottles and knickknacks of all kinds. The little work-table was a gem, and there was a lovely writing-desk with silver appointments and pink blotting-paper. Then there was a cozy divan, with lots of fluffy pink pillows, and through a half-opened door, Patty could see a dear little dressing-room.

There were beautiful pictures on the walls, and costly vases and bric-a-brac all about, and it all showed such kind thought on the part of somebody, that Patty's heart was touched.

"Is it for me? Who did it all?" she asked, turning to Ethelyn with shining eyes.

"Oh, mamma did it; she loves to do such things. That is, she planned it, and the servants did the work. Here's my room right next. It's just like it, almost." So it was, or at least it had been, but it showed signs of carelessness and disorder. A lamp globe was broken, and there was a large hole burned in one of the pretty rugs. The toilet table, too, was in sad disarray, and some papers were sticking out of the closed desk.

"Don't look at it," said Ethelyn, apologetically, "I'm so careless. I broke that globe when I was swinging my dumb-bells, and I've done it so often that mamma declared she wouldn't get me another. And I upset the alcohol lamp on the rug. But I don't care; when we have a party it will all get spruced up; mamma has everything put in order then. Now we'll dress for dinner, Patty. What are you going to wear?"

"I don't know; I haven't many dresses. Aunt Isabel is going to buy me some, you know."

"Yes, I know. Let's see what you have."

Ethelyn was already kneeling before Patty's open trunk, and overhauling her belongings. "Oh, here's a blue crape," she cried, "you must look sweet in this. Put it on."

"Why, that's my best party-frock, Ethelyn."

"Never mind; wear it to-night, and mamma'll get you some new party clothes."

So Patty put on the blue crape, and very becoming it was, though somewhat inappropriate for a quiet family dinner.

"We only have one maid between us," explained Ethelyn, calling from her own room into Patty's. "Elise will do your hair when you want her, but just now she's doing mine."

To Patty's surprise, when she saw Ethelyn again, she was arrayed in a light green silk dress, and her hair was puffed high on her head. Patty wore hers as usual, and felt as if her cousin had suddenly grown up away from her.

"Doesn't my hair look nice?" asked Ethelyn, as the girls went down-stairs together. "Mamma says I'm too young to have it done up this way yet, but I don't care what she says. I'm fifteen, and I think I'm old enough to do as I choose. To-morrow we'll make Elise do yours up and see how you look."

"But I'm only fourteen," protested Patty, "and I don't want to be grown up for years yet. Your hair looks lovely, but I like you better with it down, as it was this afternoon."

"Don't say so before mamma, or shell insist on my wearing it so."

When the girls entered the drawing-room, Mrs. St. Clair smiled amiably at her pretty niece, and bade her come to her side.

"My dear," she said, "you are a pretty little girl, and a sweet one, I've no doubt, but your name I do not like at all. I can't abide nicknames, so I'm going to call you by your full name. What is it, Martha?"

"Martha!" exclaimed Patty in surprise, "oh, no, Aunt Isabel, I was named for my great-grandmother. My name is Patricia."

"Oh, how lovely," cried Aunt Isabel, kissing her niece in the exuberance of her delight. "We will all call you Patricia. It is a beautiful name and suits you extremely well. You must stand very straight, and acquire dignified manners in order to live up to it."

This made merry Patty laugh, but she offered no objection to her aunt's decision, and promised to sign her name Patricia whenever she wrote it, and to make no further use of the despised nickname while staying at Villa Rosa. Ethelyn was pleased too, at the change.

"Oh," she said, "now your name is as pretty as mine and Florelle's, and we have the prettiest names in Elmbridge. Here comes Reginald, you haven't seen him yet."

Reginald St. Clair, a lad of thirteen, advanced without a trace of shyness and greeted his new cousin.

"So it is Patricia," he said, as he took her hand; "I heard them rechristening you. How do you do, Cousin Patricia?"

"Very well, I thank you," she replied, smiling, "and though I meet you the last of my new cousins, you are not the least," and she glanced up at him, for Reginald was a tall boy for his age, taller than either Ethelyn or Patty.

"Not the least in any way, as you'll soon find out if you stay with us, Cousin Patricia."

Patty almost laughed at this boastful assumption of importance, but seeing that the boy was in earnest, she humored him by saying:

"As the only son, I suppose you are the flower of the family."

Then dinner was announced, and the beautiful dining-room was a new pleasure to the little visitor. She was rapidly making the discovery that riches and luxury were very agreeable, and she viewed with delight the handsome table sparkling with fine glass and silver.

"Well, Patricia," said Uncle Robert, who had been warned against using the objectionable nickname, "how do you like Villa Rosa so far?"

"Oh, I think it is beautiful, Uncle Robert. Every room is handsomer than the last, and my own room I like best of all. You're awfully good, Aunt Isabel, to give me such a lovely room, and to spend so much thought and time arranging it for me."

"And money, too," said her aunt, smiling. "That rug in your room, Patricia, cost four hundred dollars."

"Did it really?" said Patty, with such a look of amazement, almost horror, that they all laughed.

You see, Patty had never been used to such expensive rugs, still less had she been accustomed to hearing the prices of things mentioned so freely.

"Oh, Aunt Isabel, I'd rather not have it then. Really, I'd much rather have a cheaper one. Suppose I should spoil it in some way."

"Nonsense, my dear, spoil it if you like, I'll buy you another," said Uncle Robert, grandly.

"Never mind rugs," interrupted Reginald. "I say, mother, aren't you going to give a party for Patricia?"

"Yes, I think so," answered his mother, "but I haven't decided yet what kind of an affair it shall be."

"Oh, have a smashing big party, and invite everybody."

"No, Reginald," said Ethelyn, "I hate those big parties, they're no fun at all. It isn't going to be a party anyway. It's going to be a tea. Didn't you say so, mamma? A tea is a much nicer way to introduce Patricia than a party."

"Ho, ho," laughed her brother, "a tea! why they're the most stupid things in the world. Nobody wants to come to a tea."

"They do so," retorted Ethelyn, "you don't know anything about society. Teas are ever so much stylisher than evening entertainments, aren't they, mamma?"

"Well, I don't know," said Mrs. St. Clair, doubtfully, "the Crandons gave a tea when their cousin visited them."

"Ho, the Crandons," sneered Ethelyn, "they're nobody at all; why, they've only got one horse."

"I know it," said her mother, "but they're awfully exclusive. They won't speak to hardly anybody."

"Then don't speak to them," said Mr. St. Clair. "I just guess we're as good as the Crandons any day in the week. I don't know as you'd better invite them, my dear."

"They wouldn't come if you did," said Reginald.

"They would so," snapped Ethelyn, "they'd jump at the chance."

"I bet they wouldn't!"

"I bet they would! You don't know everything in the world."

"Neither do you!"

"Hush, children," said Mrs. St. Clair, mildly, "your Cousin Patricia will think you very rude and unmannerly if you quarrel so. Florelle is the only one who is behaving nicely, aren't you, darling?"

Florelle beamed at this, and looked like a little cherub, until Reginald slyly took a cake from her plate.

"Oh-h-h!" screamed Florelle, bursting into tears, "he took my cakie, he did,--give it to me!" and she began pounding her brother with her small fists.

But Reginald had eaten it, and no other cake on the plate would pacify the angry child.

"No, no," she cried, "I want that same one--it had a green nut on it,--and I wa-a-ant it!"

"But brother can't give it to you, baby, he's eaten it," said her father, vainly trying to console her with other dainties.

But Florelle continued to scream, and Mrs. St Clair was obliged to summon the nurse and have her taken up-stairs.

"Well, that's a relief," said Ethelyn, as the struggling child was carried away. "I told you you'd hear her yell pretty often, Patricia."

Patty felt rather embarrassed, and didn't know what to say; she was beginning to think Villa Rosa had some thorns as well as roses.

After dinner, as they sat round the great fireplace in the library, Mrs. St. Clair announced:

"I have made up my mind. I will give a tea for Patricia in order that she may be properly introduced to the Elmbridge people,--the best of them,--and then later, we will have a large party for her."

This pleased everybody and amiability was restored, and all fell to making plans for the future pleasures of their guest.

When Patty went to her room that night, she was so tired out with the excitements of the day, that she was glad to go to rest.

But first of all she opened the little box that her father had given her at parting. Was it possible that she had left her father only the day before? Already it seemed like weeks.

With eager fingers she broke the seals and tore off the paper wrappings, and found to her great delight an ivory miniature of her mother.

She had seen the picture often; it had been one of her father's chief treasures, and she prized it the more highly as she thought what a sacrifice it must have been for him to give it up, even to his child.

It was in a Florentine gold frame, and Patty placed it in the centre of her dressing-table, and then sat down and gazed earnestly at it.

She saw a sweet, girlish face, which was very like her own, though she didn't recognize the resemblance.

"Dear mother," she said softly, "I will try to be just such a little girl as you would have wished me to be if you had lived to love me."

Chapter V.
A Minuet

Table of Contents

"Mamma," said Ethelyn, the next morning at breakfast, "I'm going to take a holiday from lessons to-day, because Patricia has just come, and she doesn't want to begin to study right away."

"Indeed, miss, you'll do nothing of the sort," replied her mother; "you had a holiday yesterday because Patricia was coming; and one the day before, on account of Mabel Miller's tea; and you had holiday all last week because of the Fancy Bazaar. When do you expect to learn anything?"

"Well, I don't care," said Ethelyn, tossing her head, "I'm going to stay with Patricia to-day, anyhow; if she goes to the schoolroom, I will, and if she don't, I won't."

"Oh, I'll go to school with you, Ethelyn," said Patty, anxious to please both her aunt and cousin if possible.

But Mrs. St. Clair said, "No, indeed, Patricia, you don't want to begin lessons yet. Why, you're scarcely rested from your journey. I am going to New York to-day to buy you some new dresses, and if you're not too tired, you may go with me and help select them."

"Well, I just guess Patricia won't go to New York, unless I go too," cried Ethelyn in great excitement. "Do you think I'll stay at home and grub in the schoolroom while she's having a good time in the city? Not much, my Mary Anne!"

"Ethelyn!" said her mother, reprovingly, "how many times must I tell you not to use slang? It is vulgar and unladylike, and quite out of keeping with your social position."

"I don't care; it's expressive if it isn't stylish."

"Don't say stylish, either. That isn't genteel at all. Say 'correct.'"

"Oh, 'correct.' Well, mother, I guess it must be correct to use slang, 'cause Gladys Mahoney does, and she's a hummer on style."

"And I've no doubt her mother reproves her for it, just as I do you. Now go to the schoolroom, it is nearly ten o'clock."

"I won't go unless Patricia comes too. If she's going to New York with you, I'm going."

"Ethelyn," said Mrs. St. Clair, sternly, "do as I bid you. Go to the schoolroom at once, and study your lessons diligently."

"No, I won't," replied Ethelyn, stubbornly, "I won't stir a step unless Patty comes too."

"But I'm going to take Patricia to New York."

"Then I'm going to New York," said Ethelyn, with an air of settling the question, and then she began drumming on the table with her fingers.

"I want to go to New York with you, mamma," said Florelle; "I want to buy a new dolly."

"No, baby," said her mother, "you can't go this time. You stay at home like a good girlie, and I'll bring you a beautiful new doll."

"But I want to go! I will go!" and Florelle began to cry.

"Stop that crying," said her father, "stop it at once, and when I come home I'll bring you a big box of candy."

"No, I don't want candy,--I want to go to New York,--I want to go--I do-o-o," she wound up with a prolonged wail.

"Good gracious, Florelle," said Reginald, "do stop that fearful yowling. If you don't, as soon as I go down town I'll send a bear back here to eat you up."

At this Florelle screamed louder than ever, and had to be taken away from the table.

Patty felt quite helpless in the midst of this commotion. She had been accustomed to obey willingly her father's lightest wish, and Ethelyn's impertinence amazed her. As for little Florelle, she thought the child was quite old enough to be reasoned with, and taught not to cry so violently over every trifle.

But she realized it was not her place to criticise her cousins' behavior, so she did the best she could to pour oil on the troubled waters.

"Aunt Isabel," she said, "if you don't mind, I'll stay at home and study with Ethelyn."

"Well, do as you like, child," said her aunt, carelessly; "of course I can select your clothes just as well without you, and I'll take you both to New York some Saturday. But you needn't study unless you choose, you know."

"Well, I'll stay with Ethelyn, anyway," said Patty, tucking her arm through her cousin's as they went off to the schoolroom.

"What a mean old thing you are," said Ethelyn crossly. "You might just as well have said you'd go to New York, and then I would have gone too, and we could have had a lovely time shopping, and lunching at Delmonico's, and perhaps going to a matinée."

"But your mother said you couldn't go," said Patty, in surprise.

"Oh, that's nothing. I would have gone all the same, and now you've spoiled it all and we've got to drudge over our books. Here's the schoolroom. Miss Morton, this is my cousin, Patricia Fairfield. She is to begin lessons to-day."

While Ethelyn was talking, the girls had mounted to the third floor of the great house, and entered the large and attractive-looking schoolroom.

Miss Morton was a sweet-faced young woman, who greeted Ethelyn pleasantly and then turned cordially to the stranger.

"We are glad to have you with us," she said; "you may sit here at this desk, and presently I will ask you some questions about your studies."

Reginald was already in his place and was studying away for dear life. He was naturally a studious boy, and he was anxious to prepare himself to enter a certain school the next year.

But Ethelyn had no taste for study, and she flounced herself into her chair and unwillingly took up her books.

"Now, Ethelyn," said Miss Morton, "you must learn that history lesson to-day. You've dawdled over it so long, that it has become a real bug bear to you. But I'm sure if you determine to conquer it, you can easily do so. Just try it."

"Ho," called out Reginald, teasingly, "can't learn a history lesson! I couldn't wait for you, so I went on ahead. I'm 'way over to the 'Founding of the German Empire.' Where are you in history, Patricia?"

"I've only studied United States History," she replied, a little ashamed of her small attainments, "but I've been through that twice."

"Well," said Miss Morton, kindly, "it's better to know one thing thoroughly than to have smatterings of a great many. If you are familiar with United States History, you will enjoy lessons in the history of other countries for a change."

"I'm sure I shall," said Patty, "and my father told me to study whatever you thought best for me. But I don't like to study very much. I'd rather read story books."

Miss Morton examined Patty in arithmetic, geography, and some other branches, and decided that as her attainments in knowledge were about equal to those of her cousins, they might all have the same lessons each day.

Patty afterwards discovered that Reginald learned these lessons, and Ethelyn did not. But she simply skipped them and went on to the next, apparently making the same progress as her brother.

Patty had become absorbed in her history lesson, which was very interesting, when Ethelyn began to chatter.

"Miss Morton," she said, "we are going to have a party for my cousin."

"Are you? That will be very nice, but don't let us discuss it now, for I want you to put your whole attention on that history lesson."

"I will,--but, Miss Morton, it's going to be a very grand party. Everybody in Elmbridge will be invited. I mean," she added, tossing her head, "everybody that is anybody."

"Everybody is somebody," said Reginald, without looking up from his book, "and I wish you'd keep still, Ethelyn."

"Well, you know what I mean; everybody that's rich and important, and fit for us to know."

"Why," said Patty, looking at her cousin in surprise, "aren't people fit for you to know unless they're rich?"

"No," said Ethelyn, "I wouldn't associate with people unless they were rich, and neither would you, Patricia."

"Yes, I would," said Patty, stoutly, "if they were good and wise and refined, and they often are."

"Well, you can't associate with them while you're living with us, anyhow; we only go with the swells."

"Ethelyn," said Miss Morton, gently, "that isn't the right way to talk. I think--"

"Oh, never mind what you think," said Ethelyn, rudely, "you know the last time you preached to me, I nearly made mamma discharge you, and I'll do it for sure if you try it again."

Miss Morton bit her lip and said nothing, for she was a poor girl and had no wish to lose her lucrative position in the St. Clair household, though her ideas were widely at variance with those of her employers. But Patty's sense of justice was roused.

"Oh, Ethelyn," she said, "how can you speak to your teacher so? You ought to be ashamed of yourself."

"Oh, Miss Morton don't mind, do you?" said Ethelyn, who was really only careless, and had no wish to be unkind, "and it's true. I will have her sent away if she preaches at us, 'cause I hate it; but she won't preach any more, will you, Morty?" and Ethelyn smiled at her governess in a wheedlesome way.

"Go on with your lessons," said Miss Morton, in a quiet tone, though she was with difficulty repressing a desire to tell her pupil what she thought of her.

"Yes, do," growled Reginald; "how can a fellow study when you're chattering away with your shrill voice?"

"I haven't got a shrill voice," retorted Ethelyn, "have I, Patricia? Mamma says a soft, low voice is very stylish,--correct, I mean, and I'm sure mine is low and soft."

Ethelyn said this in such an affected whisper that Patty had to smile.

But Reginald said:

"Pooh, of course you have when you put on airs like that, but naturally your voice is a cross between a locomotive whistle and scratching on a slate."

"It isn't!"

"It is!"

"Well, yours isn't a bit better, anyway."

"I didn't say it was, did I?"

"I didn't say you did say so, did I?"

"I didn't say you said I said so, did I?"