Part 1 out of 3
Produced by Charles Franks, Christopher Lund
and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team
To My Little Friend
MARION AMES TAGGART
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
HER FATHER'S PLAN
"How old are you, Patty?" asked her father, abruptly.
"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
"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
"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
"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
"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
"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
"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
"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
"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
"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
"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
"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
"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."
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
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
"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
"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
"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
"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
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
"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
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.
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
"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
"I am indeed, and I've come to carry you off to a lot of other admiring
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
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
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
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
"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
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
"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
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.
"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
"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
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
"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
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
"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
"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
"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,
"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
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
"Not the least in any way, as you'll soon find out if you stay with us,
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
"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
"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,
"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
But Reginald had eaten it, and no other cake on the plate would pacify the
"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."
"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
"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,
"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
"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
At this Florelle screamed louder than ever, and had to be taken away from
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
"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 matinee."
"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
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
"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
"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
"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
"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?"
"I didn't say you said, I said--you said,--"
"Children, stop quarreling," said Miss Morton, half laughing at the angry
combatants whose flushed faces showed signs of coming tears.
But Patty laughed outright. "What sillies you are," she said, "to squabble
so over nothing."
When school was over, it was time for luncheon, and after that Ethelyn told
Patty that it was the afternoon for dancing-class and they were all to go.
"You must wear your blue crape, Patricia." she said, "and make yourself
look as pretty as you can, and put on all your jewelry."
"But I haven't any jewelry," said Patty; "papa says little girls oughtn't
to wear any."
"No jewelry? Why, how funny. I have loads of it. Well, no matter, I'll lend
you some of mine; or we'll crib some out of mamma's jewel-case; I know
where she hides the key."
"Thank you, Ethelyn, but I wouldn't wear borrowed ornaments, and I don't
want to wear jewelry anyway. I'm not old enough."
"Oh, you are too! what silly, old-fashioned notions you have. And besides,
while you're with us, mamma said you must do whatever we want you to."
So Patty reluctantly allowed Ethelyn to clasp a necklace round her throat,
and slip several jingling bangles on her wrists.
"There!" said Ethelyn, adding an emerald brooch, which she had selected
from her mother's collection, "now you don't look like a pauper anyhow."
"But I don't feel comfortable, Ethelyn, and besides, suppose I should lose
"Oh, you won't lose them; and if you should, I don't believe mamma would
scold much. She'd like it better than if I let you go looking like a
nobody, and have the Mahoneys think our cousin was poor."
Ethelyn herself was resplendent in red silk trimmed with spangled lace. She
wore shining slippers with high French heels, and all the jewelry she could
cram on to her small person.
Florelle looked like a fairy in a short little white frock, all fine muslin
and lace, with ruffles and frills that stood out in every direction. The
overdressed little midget was delighted with her appearance, and pranced
around in front of the mirror admiring herself. Reginald too, considered
himself very fine in his black velvet suit, with a great white collar and
immense white silk tie.
Miss Morton accompanied the children, and the St. Clair carriage carried
them away to the dancing class. When they arrived, all was bustle and
excitement. About forty gaily dressed children were assembled in a large
hall, prettily decorated with flags and flowers.
Patty was fond of dancing, and danced very gracefully in her slow, Southern
way, but she was utterly unfamiliar with the mincing steps and elaborate
contortions attempted by the Elmbridge young people. However, she enjoyed
it all from its very novelty, and she was pleasantly impressed with some of
the boys and girls to whom she was introduced.
But she was amazed and almost angry at the way her cousin talked about her.
"Mabel," said Ethelyn, as she presented Patty to Mabel Miller, "this is my
cousin, Patricia Fairfield. She is from Richmond, Virginia, and is visiting
us for the winter. Her father is a millionaire, and he has lots of great
plantations of,--of magnolias."
"Oh, no, Ethelyn," began Patty.
"Well, sweet potatoes, then, or something," went on Ethelyn, nudging her
cousin to keep still. "You must excuse her dress, she couldn't get anything
very nice in Virginia so mamma has gone to New York to-day to buy her some
Patty raged inwardly at this slighting and unjust remark about her native
state, but she was a truly polite little girl and said nothing unkind in
"Do you like to dance?" said Mabel Miller to Patty later, as they took
places in a quadrille just forming.
"Yes," said Patty, "and I know these quadrilles, but I never saw fancy
dances like those you have here."
"Oh, they're the latest thing," replied Mabel. "Professor Dodson comes from
New York, and he teaches us the newest and swellest steps."
As that day was the last of the quarter the professor had arranged a little
exhibition of his best pupils, and a good-sized audience was gathered in
the galleries above the dancing floor to witness it.
But it was a surprise to all present when he announced that a friend whose
name he was not privileged to mention, had offered a prize to the child who
should dance most gracefully, either alone or with a partner.
"You can't get it, Ethelyn," said Reginald, "for you're as awkward as a
"I am not," snapped Ethelyn, "and you'd better not try for it, 'cause you'd
only make a spectacle of yourself."
"So would you," retorted Reginald, "and then we'd be a pair of spectacles."
Ethelyn said no more, for the dances were beginning.
Some of the pupils danced very prettily, others affectedly, and others
cleverly, but the dances were of a kicking, romping nature that required
much practice and skill to perform gracefully.
After all had taken part, Professor Dodson turned politely to Patty, and
invited her, if she would, to dance also.
"Oh, I couldn't, thank you," she answered "I don't know any of these
flings. I only know an old-fashioned minuet."
"Try that," urged Ethelyn, who delighted to have her cousin made
conspicuous, as that attracted attention towards herself.
The professor insisted upon it, so Patty obligingly consented, and saying,
"I couldn't dance with these things jingling," she gave Ethelyn the heavy
necklace and bangles.
Then she stepped out on the floor, and as the orchestra played the slow,
stately music of the minuet, Patty bowed and swayed like a veritable
old-time maiden. Graceful as a reed, she took the pretty steps, smiling and
curtseying, her fair little face calm and unflushed.
It was such a pretty dance and such a contrast to the acrobatic,
out-of-breath performances of the other dancers, that, without a dissenting
voice, the committee of judges awarded the prize to Miss Patricia
Patty was delighted, for she had no idea that her dancing was specially
meritorious and she accepted the gold medal with a few words of real
gratitude, thinking the while how pleased her father would be, when she
should write him all about it. On the way home she said to Ethelyn:
"But it doesn't seem right for me to have this prize, as I'm not a member
of the dancing class."
"Oh bother," said Ethelyn, "that doesn't matter; they're always giving out
prizes, and I'm awfully glad you got this one. People will think you're
something wonderful. And I'm sure they'd have given it to Belle Crandon if
you hadn't danced, and mamma will be tickled to death to think you got it
ahead of her."
PURPLE AND FINE LINEN
When Mrs. St. Clair's purchases were sent home from New York and spread out
on view, Patty could scarcely believe her own eyes.
Were all those fine clothes really meant for her?
The materials included silks, satins and velvets in bright colorings and
somewhat conspicuous patterns.
Some of the dresses were already made up, and these were befrilled and
beflounced, with lace and embroidery. As Patty had always worn delicate
shades of material, and her dresses had been very simply made, she couldn't
help protesting at all this bewildering array of finery. But her aunt said:
"Nonsense, child, you don't know what you're talking about. You are the
guest of the St. Clairs, and your appearance must do us credit. I am not
giving you these things, you know; your father wrote me to buy for you
whatever was necessary or desirable. I have a lot of new clothes for
Ethelyn, too, and I want you to look as well as she does. While you are
with us you must be suitably dressed, else I shall feel ashamed of your
Poor Patty began to wonder whether it was so very nice after all, to have
fine clothes if she could have no voice in their selection.
But she thought, what is the use of objecting? Aunt Isabel will do as she
pleases anyway, and while I'm staying with her, I ought to agree to what
Then two dressmakers came to stay a fortnight. Ethelyn and Patty were given
a holiday from lessons, the schoolroom was turned into a sewing-room, and
Miss Morton and Reginald betook themselves to the library.
Patty was rather sorry to miss her school hours, for the history lessons
had become interesting, but she soon found that Aunt Isabel's word was law.
It was a law often broken by her own children, but Patty was not of a
mutinous heart, and she amiably obeyed Mrs. St. Clair's commands. But she
had her own opinion of the household, and she did not hesitate to express
it plainly in her letters to her father.
"I begin to see," she wrote to him one day, "what you meant when you
explained to me about proportion. In this house, money, and fine clothes,
and making a great show, are out of all proportion to everything else. They
never think of reading books, or doing charity work, or anything but
showing off. And if a thing costs a lot, it's all right, but if it's simple
and not expensive, it's no good at all. I can tell you, Mr. Papa, that when
we have our home, we'll have less fuss and feathers, and more comfort and
common sense. And it isn't only that the things cost so much, but they're
always talking about it, and telling how expensive they are. Why, Uncle
Robert has told me half-a-dozen times how much his horses and carriages
cost, and now he says he's going to get an automobile, so I don't know what
he'll do with his horses. Ethelyn is very nice in some ways, but she is
affected and rude, and I don't like her as well as Clara Hayden, if she
_is_ my cousin. Reginald is a nice boy, but he's sort of pompous and
conceited, and thinks he's better than any one else in the world. Little
Florelle is a dear, but she cries so easily that I can't have much fun with
her. But there, now I've told you all the bads, I'll tell you some of the
goods. Miss Morton, the governess, is a lovely lady, and when Ethelyn is so
cross I can't stand her, I go to Miss Morton, and we have a walk or a drive
together, and have nice, pleasant talks. And then I am taking singing
lessons twice a week. Aunt Isabel says I have a pretty good voice, and I
love to sing, and Reginald takes me skating, and that is splendid. I don't
know how yet, but he says I am learning pretty well. Aunt Isabel gave an
afternoon tea for me, and next week we are going to have a big party, and I
think that will be nice. I like parties and dancing-school, only the girls
and boys all act so grown up. They are about my age and even younger, and
they act as if they were ladies and gentlemen. That isn't good proportion,
is it? But I am pretty happy, except that I am often homesick for you. Then
I look at your picture, and at the beautiful picture of dear mamma and it
helps some. And your letters help me too, so write just as often as you
can, won't you?
"From your loving daughter,
The party, as Patty had feared, was a very grown-up affair. For several
days beforehand the servants were getting the house ready for it, and all
was bustle and confusion.
The furniture and bric-a-brac were all removed from the hall and
drawing-room and library, and carried up to the third floor to be out of
the way. The portieres were taken down from the doorways, and on the day of
the party they were replaced by simulated curtains of smilax and flowering
As it was near the Christmas season, the decorations included evergreens,
holly and mistletoe, but besides these, quantities of roses and rare
flowers of all sorts were used. The florists came early and worked all day,
and they transformed the house into a fairy bower.
Patty was delighted with this, and walked through the luxurious rooms,
quite lost in admiration of their floral beauty.
Carpenters had enclosed the great veranda which was then hung with red
satin and decorated with ropes and wreaths of holly, and, like the rest of
the house, was fairly ablaze with electric lights.
The party was to be from eight to twelve, and when Patty went down stairs
at a little before eight, she found her uncle berating the musicians, who
were a little late in arriving.
"I want you to understand," Mr. St. Clair was saying, "that when _I_ send
for you, you are to come when I bid you. Don't tell me you couldn't help
it,--if there is danger of detention on the road, you should start earlier.
_I_ am accustomed to having _my_ orders obeyed, and all who are employed at
Villa Rosa must fully understand that. Go on with your music, and next
time, see to it that you arrive more promptly."
Uncle Robert strutted away with such a pompous air, that Patty was almost
afraid of him herself. But when he saw her, he beamed kindly, and said:
"Come here, my dear, and tell me what you think of all this."
"I think the house looks beautiful, uncle, just like Fairyland, with all
the flowers and lights. And I think you are very kind to give this party
"Well, well, child, we have to invite our friends occasionally, you know.
Have a good time, and I shall feel amply repaid for my outlay. Those
American Beauties are fine, aren't they?"
"Indeed they are," said Patty, sniffing at one that reached its rich
redness temptingly towards her.
"Oh, don't do that! You'll spoil them. Those roses cost six dollars a
dozen. But how fine you look in your new gew-gaws. Turn round, little one.
Ah, we have no reason to feel ashamed of our Southern maid to-night."
Patty was glad her uncle was pleased, for she herself felt rather
uncomfortable. Her dress, which was made with low neck and short sleeves,
was of red silk gauze, with multifold short skirts, accordion-plaited, and
edged with thick, full ruches. Great golden butterflies were embroidered at
intervals all over the dress, while ribbons and flowers were attached
wherever a place could be found for them.
Ethelyn had coaxed Patty to have her hair dressed high on her head, so
Elise had arranged a marvelous _coiffure_ which displayed jeweled pins and
combs of many sorts, and a necklace and bracelets rivaled them in glitter.
Red silk stockings, and red satin slippers with gilt butterflies on them
completed this gorgeous costume, and when Patty saw herself in the long
mirrors, she thought she looked like one of the paper fairies which she
used to hang on her Christmas trees.
When the party began, she stood beside her aunt and Ethelyn and received
the guests as they arrived.
About fifty boys and girls came, and to Patty they all seemed like
overdressed and artificial little puppets.
The girls put on grown-up airs, walked with mincing steps and giggled
behind their fans, while the boys were affected and absurdly formal.
Patty had thought there would be games or amusements of some youthful sort,
but dancing and promenading alternated throughout the evening.
However, she was fond of dancing, and as she was quickly becoming a general
favorite, her card was soon filled with the names of the nicest boys in the
It was all very pleasant for a short time, but soon Patty grew very tired
and secretly longed for supper to be announced.
At last this came to pass, and the children marched out to the dining-room
where another beautiful sight awaited them.
The caterers had been as skilful as the decorators, and the table was
filled with marvelous confections of rich foods.
Patty had never seen such wonderful things, and she almost thought the
pheasants were alive; and the big salmon looked as if it had just been
taken from the water. Then there were salads and croquettes, and funny
little paper dishes filled with strange, delicious mixtures, and after all
these, came creams and jellies and ices, and cakes and bonbons in all sorts
of odd shapes and colors.
Patty thought these things were too pretty to be eaten, but they were
quickly demolished by the young people, who were hearty, hungry boys and
girls, in spite of their affected manners.
After supper the dancing and promenading began again, and was kept up until
midnight, and Patty was a very tired little girl after she had said
good-night to all the guests and the last carriage had rolled away from
Ethelyn was tired too, and decidedly cross.
"I didn't have a very good time," she said; "that horrid old Gladys Mahoney
had a prettier dress than mine; and I broke my new fan, and my slippers are
so tight, they hurt me awfully." "Pooh, I know what makes you cross," said
Reginald, "just 'cause Bob Burton didn't dance with you as much as he did
with Mabel Miller."
"I'm not cross," retorted Ethelyn, "and I didn't want to dance with Bob
Burton. If I were you, I'd try to learn some manners; Lou Smith says you're
the rudest boy she ever saw."
"I don't care what Lou Smith says, little, freckle-faced thing! I don't see
why she was invited here, anyway."
"Stop quarreling, children," said Mrs. St. Clair, "and go to bed at once.
Patricia, I hope you enjoyed the party; I'm sure I tried to have it nice,
but everything seemed to go wrong, the salad wasn't fit to eat and the ice
cream was half melted."
"Why, Aunt Isabel," said Patty, "I think everything was lovely. I never saw
such a supper-table in my life, and the decorations were exquisite."
"Well, I didn't think so. It does seem a shame to pay out so much money,
and then not have things to your liking."
"Oh, the party was good enough," said Mr. St. Clair, "you're too fussy
about trifles, Isabel. Come, children, scurry off to bed, you'll get no
beauty sleep to-night, I fear."
Patty went to her room, and taking her mother's picture, sat down to talk
to it, as she did nearly every night.
"Motherdy," she said, "if you had lived to take care of me, I don't believe
you'd have liked the party we had to-night. The grown-upness of it was all
out of proportion for children, I think, and,--as usual in this house, the
expense was out of proportion to everything else. Why, Uncle Robert must
have spent a thousand dollars for it,--maybe more,--he'll probably tell us
to-morrow just how much everything cost. I liked some of the party,--the
supper was lovely, but,--well, I reckon I ate out of proportion too. You
see, little mother, it's very hard always to do just right. Now I'm going
to bed, and I'm so sleepy, I don't know as I'll wake up before to-morrow
She kissed the beautiful face, and putting the picture back where it
belonged, she hopped into bed and was soon fast asleep.
The winter slipped away, and as Patty was a little girl who always looked
on the bright side of things, she really had very good times at Ville Rosa.
She became a favorite with the Elmbridge boys and girls, and her unfailing
good nature kept her from quarreling with her cousins though she was often
sorely tried by them.
Lessons were a very uncertain quantity. Sometimes there would be none at
all for a week or two weeks, and then perhaps school would keep regularly
for a few days, only to be followed by another interruption.
Patty found it only too easy to fall into these careless ways, and if she
had stayed all her life at Villa Rosa, I fear she would have become
indolent and selfish, for the rule of the whole household seemed to be
"Pleasure before Duty," and when that rule is followed it often happens
that the duties are not done at all.
In January, to Patty's great delight, there came a heavy snowstorm.
It made fine sleighing, for the roads were in just the right condition and
as the weather was clear and cold there was good prospect of many days'
Uncle Robert, always ready to give the young people a good time, instigated
a sleighing parade, in which all the society people of Elmbridge were
invited to join.
It was to be a grand affair. Every sleigh was to be decorated in beautiful
or unique fashion, and there was great rivalry among the families of
Elmbridge as to whose sleigh should present the finest spectacle.
"Papa," said Ethelyn, "I shall drive Patricia in my little cutter, of
course, and I want you to fix it up, somehow, so that it will beat
everybody else all hollow."
"Ethelyn," said her mother, "if you don't stop using those slang phrases,
you shan't go in the parade at all. Now promise to talk like a lady, and
I'll see to it that your sleigh outshines all the rest."
"All right," said Ethelyn, "I'll promise. Now, how shall we decorate it?"
"Never mind," said her mother, "I wouldn't trust you with the secret. You'd
tell everybody before the parade, and give them a chance to imitate it. But
just wait and see. You and Patricia shall drive the most beautiful turnout
in the whole line."
That day Mrs. St. Clair made a hurried trip to New York and came home with
many mysterious packages, and other larger packages came by express. Mr.
St. Clair came home early from his business and spent much of his time in
the barn, and the preparations grew so exciting that both Patty and Ethelyn
were on tiptoe with curiosity and anticipation. The parade was to start the
next afternoon at two o'clock. Soon after luncheon, Mrs. St. Clair sent the
girls to their rooms to dress for the great event.
Ethelyn gave a little scream of delight, as she saw new garments spread out
on her bed, and Patty ran on to her own room to find similar ones there.
Each girl had a long coat of fine white broadcloth, made with a double
cape-collar, and trimmed all round with white fur. A broad-brimmed white
felt hat, with white ostrich plumes and a fleecy white feather boa, white
gloves, and a white muff were there too; and even white shoes and white
cloth leggings, so that when the cousins were dressed, there was not a
touch of color about them, save their rosy faces and golden hair, and they
looked like veritable snow-queens.
They danced down-stairs to find Cupid awaiting them with a brand-new
Cupid was Ethelyn's pony, and he was pure white, every bit of him, and it
was this fact that had suggested the whole scheme to Mr. St. Clair.
The new sleigh was pure white too, trimmed here and there with silver.
Cupid's harness was all white and silver, and waving white plumes and
silver bells were in various places about the sleigh and horse.
There were big white fur robes, and when Mr. St. Clair tucked the girls in,
and Ethelyn took the white reins and white whip, it certainly seemed as if
no sleigh load could be prettier.
And none was. Everybody agreed that the white sleigh was the pride of the
parade. Patty secretly wondered why her aunt was satisfied without more
gaudy coloring; as she wrote to her father afterwards, she had half
expected to see a red sleigh with blue and yellow robes. "But," she said,
"I suppose it was because Cupid happened to be white, and I'm glad he was,
for it was all just lovely."
Mr. and Mrs. St. Clair and Florelle went in the parade also, but they
contented themselves with the family sleigh, which of course was both
handsome and elaborate. They had spent all their energies on the girls'
appearance and they were very proud of the result.
Reginald, who was of an ingenious turn of mind, had contrived an affair
which was supposed to look like a Roman chariot, and which was, therefore,
a bit incongruous on runners.
It was very fancy, being almost entirely covered with gilt paper, and it
had two wheels and no back. It jolted fearfully, and Reginald was
occasionally thrown out. However, he stuck to it pluckily, until his
machine was a total wreck, when he abandoned it, and jumped into his
father's sleigh for the rest of the parade.
Patty enjoyed it all hugely. It was such a novel experience to fly along,
through the crisp cold air, and over the shining snow roads; and Ethelyn
was in such jubilant good-humor, that the whole affair marked a red letter
day in the winter calendar.
The "White Flyer" was the talk of the town for weeks after, and Mr. St.
Clair never tired of telling any one who would listen, how much it all
cost, and how difficult it was to get the white sleigh and harness on such
Patty grew very tired of this pompous boasting, and, notwithstanding her
enjoyment of the luxury at Villa Rosa, she was not altogether sorry when
the time drew near for her to go away to Boston to make her next visit.
She was to leave the St. Clairs about the first of March, and spend the
next three months with her father's sister, Mrs. Fleming.
As Uncle Robert was her mother's brother, the two families were entirely
unacquainted, and the St. Clairs could tell Patty nothing about the new
home to which she was going.
"But," said her Aunt Isabel, "I feel sure you won't like them as well as
you like us. Are they rich, Patricia?"
"I don't know," answered Patty; "papa never said anything about that. He
said that they are a very literary family."
"Humph," said Aunt Isabel, "then I guess they haven't very much money;
literary people never do have. Poor child, I suppose they'll turn you into
a regular little blue-stocking."
Patty didn't relish this idea, for at Villa Rosa she had fallen into the
habit of neglecting her lessons, and already study was losing its charm for
her. But she was fond of reading, and she felt sure she would enjoy an
atmosphere of books.
On the 14th of February, Aunt Isabel gave a party for the young people,
which was a farewell party for Patty, though it was also a festival in
honor of St. Valentine's Day.
As usual, the girls had new dresses, and they represented Mrs. St. Clair's
idea of valentines.
Ethelyn's was of blue, and Patty's of pink silk, and they were trimmed with
innumerable lace flutings and garlands of flowers. They were further
decorated with gilt hearts pierced by darts, and with skilfully made
artificial doves which perched on the shoulders of the wearers.
The party was a very pretty one, as Aunt Isabel's parties always were.
The rooms were decorated with roses and pink ribbons, and gilt hearts and
darts, and feathered doves and wax cupids. At supper the ices and cakes
were heart-shaped, and after the children had returned to the drawing-room
St. Valentine himself appeared.
As Patty suspected, it was Uncle Robert dressed up to represent the old
Saint, with flowing white hair and beard and a gilt paper halo. He wore a
long white robe with red hearts dotted all over it, and carried a gilt bow
He carried also a pack or pouch full of valentines which he distributed to
Of course they were very handsome affairs, and in each was hidden some
dainty trifle, handkerchief, fan or bonbons.
Besides those at the party, Patty received numerous other valentines, some
of which came by mail, and others in the good old-fashioned way, under the
Many of these were from the Elmbridge young people, while several from
Richmond included a beauty from her father, and a pretty one from Clara
Although the cousins had varying tastes, they had become very good friends,
and both felt sad when the day came for Patty to leave Villa Rosa.
Indeed, the whole family felt sad, for Patty was a very lovable little
girl, and had endeared herself to them all. Uncle Robert was to take her to
New York and put her on the boat, where Mr. Tom Fleming would meet her and
take her to his mother's house in Boston.
Aunt Isabel said she, too, would go to New York with Patty, and of course
Ethelyn announced her intention of going.
Then Florelle set up such a howl to go, that Patty begged her aunt to take
her, and the child went.
Reginald declined to be left out of such a family affair, so Patty was
amply escorted to her destination.
They went on board the _Priscilla_, a beautiful boat of the Fall River
Line, and Mr. St. Clair soon found Mr. Fleming, who had agreed to meet him
at a certain spot.
Then Patty was introduced to her Cousin Tom, who was a tall young man of
about thirty-five, with a pointed beard, and dark, pleasant eyes.
"So this is my little Southern cousin," he said, cordially, as he took her
Then he chatted affably with the whole party until the warning gong
announced that they must go ashore.
Ethelyn was heart-broken at the thought of parting, and flinging her arms
round Patty's neck, burst into tears.
This was enough for Florelle, who promptly followed suit, and set up one of
her very best howls.
With a good-bye kiss to his niece, Uncle Robert picked up the screaming
child and marshaled his family off of the boat, and Patty was left alone
with her new-found cousin.
AN ABSENT-MINDED COUSIN
"Now, Patty," said Cousin Tom, as they walked along the saloon, "I am going
to hand you over to the stewardess, who will show you your stateroom. Go
with her, and she will look after you. I think you would better leave off
that heavy coat, as it is too chilly outside to permit of going on deck,
and the atmosphere within is quite warm. Ah, here she is. Stewardess, this
is Miss Fairfield and here is her stateroom key. See to it that she is made
As Mr. Fleming supplemented his request with a pecuniary argument, the
stewardess made Patty her especial charge, and assiduously looked after her
"And, Patty," said her cousin, as she turned away, "when you are ready,
come back and you will find me right here. See, just by this staircase.
Lock your door and bring the key with you."
Patty felt as if she had suddenly grown several years younger, for Cousin
Tom talked to her as to a little child. "It's more like Wonderland than
ever," she said to herself. "Only instead of growing big or little, I grow
old or young. At Aunt Isabel's I was considered a young lady but Cousin Tom
seems to think I'm a small child."
The stewardess, who was a good-natured old colored woman, took Patty to her
stateroom, and then helped her to unpack her traveling-bag, and arrange her
belongings for the night.
As Aunt Isabel had bought her clothes, of course Patty was absurdly
When she took off her blue velvet coat with its ermine collar, her blue
silk, lace-trimmed dress looked far more suitable for a grand reception
than for traveling.
"Laws, missy," said the voluble stewardess, "how handsome you is!"
Patty thought this a reference to her dress, but the remark was meant for
the child herself, whose flower-like face looked out from a most becoming
big hat of plaited blue velvet, and her golden hair fell in a loosely tied
bunch of long thick curls.
When Patty returned to her Cousin Tom, she found him sitting just where he
said he would be, but so deeply absorbed in a book that he didn't see or
hear her approach.
Not wishing to disturb his reading, she sat down in the large chair next to
him and waited.
She didn't mind this at all, for it was very interesting to watch the
people passing up and down, and the saloon itself was beautiful to look at.
Patty sat for a long while, but Cousin Tom never moved, except to turn the
pages of his book. She did not like to speak to him, as she feared he would
think it necessary to lay aside his book and entertain her; she had no wish
to trouble him, and beside, she was quite capable of entertaining herself.
So after she had sat still for a long while, she decided to walk about the
cabin a bit, always keeping in sight of Cousin Tom, if he should raise his
eyes. But he didn't, and Patty strayed farther and farther away from him,
until she had explored all the available parts of the boat.
She was much interested in all she saw, and many admiring eyes followed the
pretty, graceful child as she walked about.
When she reached the dining-room she looked in, and the sight of the
passengers sitting at well-filled tables made her feel very hungry, and she
wondered if Cousin Tom would finish his book in time to give her any
dinner. Somehow she felt sure he never would look up until he _had_
finished the book.
She went back and sat down again beside him with a little sigh. But he
didn't hear the little sigh, and kept on reading.
Patty looked at him curiously. There was little hope of his finishing the
book, for he was only about half-way through it, and he read very slowly,
turning the pages at long intervals. She could see his eyes move eagerly
along the printed lines, as if delighted with what he found there.
She waited a while longer, and then said to herself, "I don't care, I'm
going to speak to him. I've waited a million hours, and the dinner will be
all eaten up."
She didn't speak, but she rose and stood by his side, and then with a
sudden impulse she laid her hand with outspread fingers upon the page he
Cousin Tom jumped as if a firecracker had exploded in his vicinity, and he
looked at Patty with a dazed expression.
"Bless my soul!" he said, "why, little one, I forgot all about you. Will
you forgive me? Have you been here long? I was reading, you see, and I
didn't hear you come."
"I've been here an hour, Cousin Tom," said Patty, demurely.
"An hour? No! Is it possible? You poor child, why didn't you tell me?"
"Oh, I didn't mind," said Patty, "and you seemed to be all wrapped up in
"Yes, I was,--I was. But I'll try to make amends. Come, let's go and have
Taking Patty's hand, Cousin Tom strode along the saloon, and down the
stairs, and Patty almost had to run to keep up with his long steps.
"Now," said he, as they seated themselves at a table and an obsequious
waiter began to put ice and then water into their glasses. "Now, what would
you like to eat?"
"Oh, anything at all," said Patty, gaily, "I'm hungry enough to eat,--I
don't know what."
"Yes, yes, of course you are,--poor child,--so sorry I forgot you,--quite
inexcusable of me."
Mr. Fleming was looking over the bill of fare as he talked, and then he
looked doubtfully at Patty, as if uncertain what he ought to order for her.
"What would you like for your dinner, child? Now don't say you don't care,
or that you'll leave it to me, for little girls always say that, and I
declare I don't know what you ought to have."
"All right," said Patty, who was quite equal to the occasion. "Let's have
some lobster mayonnaise, and some mushrooms under glass, and little tiny
clams, and tutti-frutti and a Dewey Punch."
Cousin Tom stared at her in amazement.
"What are you talking about?" he exclaimed; "you'd be dead if you ate all
those things. Are they on the bill of fare? What is a 'Dewey Punch'?"
"Oh, I don't die so easily as that. Ethelyn and I used to eat worse mixes
than that, whenever we lunched at the New York restaurants, A Dewey Punch
is a lovely kind of ice cream with strawberry jam or something poured all
over it. I don't see it on the list; perhaps they don't have it. Never
mind, we'll take meringue glace."
"Indeed we won't. I've changed my mind and I'll order this dinner myself.
You shall have some soup, a broiled chicken, some vegetables and a plain
ice cream. There, how do you like that?"
Cousin Tom didn't speak crossly at all, but very decidedly, and there was a
pleasant twinkle in his eye that took away all idea of censure, so Patty
"I think it will be very nice and I really don't care what we have, only
you told me to suggest something, so I did."
"Certainly, that's all right, but your suggestions were suicidal. Are you
familiar with Bacon?"
Oh, thought Patty, he's going to order the breakfast over night, and I hate
"Yes," she said, "but I don't like it at all."
"You don't? What a perverted taste. But Boston will soon change that. We
have a Bacon club, which you shall join. It is a most delightful club, and
you will like it, I'm sure. I fancy that in a few weeks I shall see you
devouring Bacon with intense enjoyment."
Indeed I won't, thought Patty. She was about to say that her Uncle Robert
belonged to a Terrapin Club, but refrained, thinking it might be impolite
to imply disparagement to the more lowly bacon.
So she changed the subject, and said:
"Please, Cousin Tom, tell me something of your family. It's so queer to go
to see people and not know anything about them beforehand. But so far, my
relatives have been very nice."
"Oh, the Flemings are a wonderful family," said Cousin Tom, gaily, "we are
all going to do something great, but somehow we haven't hit it off yet."
"Cousin Elizabeth is an author, isn't she?" inquired Patty, a little
timidly, for she had never seen a real, live author.
"Yes," said Mr. Fleming, "Elizabeth is an author, that is, she writes
novels when she isn't doing anything else; Barbara is a club woman, but she
writes too, more or less."
"And what do you do? Are you literary?"
"Yes, I'm writing a book, myself. It's a treatise on The Will, and I
flatter myself I have some novel theories; and then there's Ruth, you
"Ruth, who is she?"
"Oh, she's our cousin, who lives with us. Not your cousin, you know. She is
father's brother's child, and her people live in the country; so, as she
has a fine mind, she lives with us in order to have the advantage of a
"How old is she?" asked Patty.
"Fourteen or fifteen, I think. She'll be company for you; I think you'll