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Patty Fairfield by Carolyn Wells

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like her, though she is very different from you."

"What is she like?" asked Patty, much interested in this new and unexpected
comrade.

"Why, she is quiet, and very studious, and--but you'll see her yourself,
to-morrow, so I'll let you form your own opinion."

After dinner they had a short promenade on deck, but the wind was so
strong, that Patty was glad to return to the warm, light saloon, and they
sat down on one of the red velvet sofas. Cousin Tom didn't resume his book,
and Patty felt that he was politely trying to entertain her.

So with a desire to entertain him in return, she asked him to tell her
about the book he was writing.

This seemed to please him immensely, and he eagerly launched into a
description of its scope and plan.

As the subject was far above Patty's comprehension, she listened without
understanding it clearly at all, and after a half hour or so, the
continuous conversation, and the soothing motion of the boat caused the
little girl quite unintentionally to fall sound asleep.

Mr. Fleming kept on talking for some time after this, when suddenly it
occurred to him that his cousin sat very still, and peering round the
corner of the big blue velvet hat, he discovered that his audience was
quite oblivious to his learned discourse.

At first he looked a little annoyed, then he smiled compassionately, for
the tired child seemed to be very peacefully resting, and her pretty head
made a lovely picture against the red velvet sofa.

Mr. Fleming sent for the stewardess, and then awoke the little sleeper.

"Come, Patty," said he, gently tapping her on the shoulder, "it's bedtime,
little girl, and you must run away to your bunk."

Patty opened her eyes and stared about her.

"Oh, Cousin Tom," she said, as she remembered the circumstances under which
she had fallen asleep, "I'm _so_ sorry,--I didn't mean to go to sleep, and
I _was_ interested."

"That's all right, my small cousin," said Mr. Fleming, "and now go along
with the stewardess, and go to sleep and get a good night's rest." Patty
did as Cousin Tom directed, and never wakened until she heard the steamer
scraping against the dock early the next morning.

She rose and dressed quickly, and when the stewardess came for her, she was
quite ready to go to meet Cousin Tom, who awaited her in the cabin.

"I shall give you a roll and a cup of coffee," he said, as if half afraid
that Patty would want to order unheard-of dishes, "for they are expecting
us home to breakfast, and we have only fifteen minutes before our train
starts for Boston."

Patty drank her coffee and ate her roll with a relish, and declared herself
ready to start. A short ride in the cars brought them to Boston. They left
the train and entered the waiting-room, where Cousin Tom placed Patty in a
seat, and told her to stay there and not move while he attended to her
trunks.

Patty obediently sat still, and soon she saw Cousin Tom returning. But just
before he reached her, he met a man whom he evidently knew, and whom he
seemed overjoyed to meet. The two men talked earnestly together, and then
both turned and walked away.

Patty had seen instances of her cousin's absent-mindedness, even since he
had neglected to take her to dinner the night before, and she guessed at
once that he had forgotten her existence, and was going away with his
friend.

She had no intention of being deserted in this way, so she left the bags
and wraps which she was supposed to be guarding, and ran after him.

"Cousin Tom!" she cried as she caught up with him, "where are you going?"

"Bless my soul!" he exclaimed, staring at her, "I forgot you were with me.
What shall I do? Allow me to present Mr. Harding. Ted, this is my cousin,
Miss Patty Fairfield; I am supposed to be escorting her home, but if what
you tell me is so, I must go at once to see Varian. Wait, I have it, Patty;
I'll send you home by a messenger; you don't mind, do you?"

"No, indeed, Cousin Tom," said Patty; "send me any way you like."

So Mr. Fleming called a messenger-boy, and giving Patty, and all the wraps
and bags into his charge, he sent them to his mother's house. "Tell them I
met Harding, and had to go away with him on some very important business,"
he said to Patty. "I'll be home to-night,--good-bye."

And with a hasty hand-shake, he turned again to his friend and they walked
rapidly away.

"Come this way, miss," said the messenger, who was a tall youth, polite and
deferential, and who appeared not at all surprised at the order given him.
"I'll take you along all right."

He piloted Patty with great care and after riding for some distance on the
street cars, they arrived at Mrs. Fleming's house.

CHAPTER IX

THE FLEMINGS

The messenger-boy rang the door bell, and a white-capped maid opened the
door. When she saw the uniformed youth, she held out her hand for his book,
signed it and dismissed him.

Then turning to Patty, she said, "This way, miss," and ushered her into a
small reception room.

As Patty wrote to her father afterwards, she felt like a package sent from
a department store, and she looked down, almost expecting to find herself
wrapped in paper and tied with a string.

After she had waited about ten minutes, a tall young woman came quickly
down-stairs and passed along the hall. She had on a hat and jacket, and was
evidently going away in a great hurry.

As she went by the reception room, she caught sight of Patty through the
open door, and stopped in surprise.

"Good-morning," she said, in a quick, hurried way. "Did you wish to see
me?"

"I don't know," said Patty, uncertain whether this was a cousin or a
visitor at the house. "I am Patty Fairfield."

"Oh, yes, of course,--our cousin from the South. I'm so glad to see
you,"--she shook Patty's hand hastily,--"but I must ask you to excuse me
this morning, as I am just going to a meeting of the 'Current Events' Club,
and I am already five minutes late."

With an apologetic smile she hastened away, and Patty waited again.

Then she heard another step on the stairs, and another lady entered the
room. This time it was Aunt Hester. She was a delicate looking little woman
with silver hair, but Patty knew her at once from her resemblance to her
father, who was Mrs. Fleming's brother.

"My dear child," said her aunt, as she kissed Patty, affectionately, "we
are very glad to have you with us. But where is Tom?"

"He met a friend, Mr. Harding, and went away with him on very important
business. He said to tell you he would be home to-night, and he sent me
here by a messenger-boy."

"Very well; I am glad you reached here safely. Are you hungry? Have you
breakfasted?"

"I had coffee and rolls on the boat, but I _am_ hungry," said Patty,
frankly.

"Of course you are; well, you shall have something to eat. Let me look at
you. Yes, you do look a little like brother Fred. How old are you?"

"Fourteen," replied Patty.

"Ah, just the age of Ruth Fleming, who lives with us, and who will be
pleasant company for you. I hope you will be happy with us, my dear, and
you mustn't mind being left to yourself a bit, for we are very busy people.
Life is too short to be wasted in idleness."

"Yes," assented Patty, thinking that this aunt was indeed very different
from Aunt Isabel.

"And now," continued Mrs. Fleming, "I am going to send Molly to you, and
she will show you to your room, and afterwards give you some breakfast. I
must ask you to excuse me this morning, as I have to go to the
sewing-class. Ruth is at school, but we will all meet at luncheon which is
served promptly at one."

Mrs. Fleming went away, not hurriedly, but with a quick, decided step, and
in a few moments Molly, the maid appeared.

She was a merry-looking Irish girl, and her pleasant smile was such a
contrast to the preoccupied manners of the ladies, that Patty felt friendly
towards her at once.

"Come with me, Miss Fairfield," she said, and taking up Patty's
hand-luggage, she led the way to a room on the third floor. It was a
good-sized room, very neat and well-furnished, but with none of the luxury
and beauty of Patty's room at Villa Rosa.

There was a square dressing-table and exactly in the centre of it was a
square pincushion, with a glass toilet bottle on either side and behind it
a smaller glass bottle to match. The chairs were stiff and straight, and
there was a haircloth sofa with a small, square pillow at each end and one
in the middle.

In the centre of the room was a table with books on it, and writing
materials, and a drop-light hung over it from the chandelier above.

Though plain in its appointments, the room was light and airy and
exquisitely neat and well-kept.

Molly deftly unfastened Patty's bag and shawl-straps, and then said:

"Now, miss, I'll go below, and when you're ready, come down three flights
of stairs to the dining-room, and I'll give you some breakfast."

Patty thanked her, and when she had left the room, Patty sat down in the
small, straight-backed rocking-chair to "think herself out," as she
sometimes expressed it.

She felt a little homesick for the warm-hearted friends at Villa Rosa, and
yet she felt sure her Boston relatives were going to be very nice, if only
they could ever find time to talk to her.

She wondered if the ladies were always hurrying off to club-meetings, and
if Ruth were always studying. She would be glad when Cousin Tom came home,
for she was very sure she liked him.

She looked critically at her surroundings and decided that when her trunks
came, and she could put the pretty things that she owned all about, the
room would look much more cozy and attractive, and so, though her reception
had chilled her a little, she thought that perhaps she would have a good
time in Boston after all.

She jumped up and began to arrange such things as she had brought with her.

Her pretty silver brushes and trays looked somewhat out of place on the
prim dressing-table, but Patty thought them a decided improvement. Then she
unwrapped her mother's portrait, and placed it on the writing-table.

"It's a funny place, this, motherdy," she whispered to the picture, "and I
don't know whether we'll like it or not; but we'll be happy together, you
and I. And I think we'll like Aunt Hester, for she's papa's sister, you
know, so she must be nice."

Then Patty went down the three flights of stairs, as directed, in search of
Molly.

"It's funny," she said to herself, "to go down cellar to breakfast. But I'm
sure she said three flights," and sure enough, when she reached the
basement, Molly met her with a kindly smile, saying,

"Come this way, miss," and Patty found that the front basement was the
dining-room.

Its large windows were protected by iron railings, and the whole room had
an air of solemn dignity rather than cheerfulness, but Molly was so
pleasant and cordial that Patty felt cheerful at once.

The smiling Irish girl brought her some fruit, an omelet, hot rolls and
delicious coffee, and after she had finished her solitary meal, Patty felt
better able to cope with whatever might be awaiting her.

But apparently, nothing awaited her.

It was about ten o'clock, and as luncheon was announced for one, Patty
wondered what she was expected to do in the meantime.

She asked Molly where Miss Elizabeth Fleming was.

"Laws, miss," said Molly, rolling her eyes, "don't make no attempt for to
see her. She's writin' a novel, and she's up in her den on the fourth
floor. We don't even call her to her meals. If she wants to come, she
comes; and if she don't, I takes a few things up and sets 'em outside her
door."

"Oh," said Patty, with great interest, "can't you speak to people when
they're writing novels?"

"Indade, no, miss. It spiles the whole thing, and they has to begin all
over again if a word is spoken to them."

"I think that's wonderful," said Patty, much impressed, "and I'm just crazy
to see my Cousin Elizabeth. And Ruth, where is she?"

"Miss Ruth, she's at her school, miss, around on the next block. She'll be
home at one o'clock and then you'll see her. Now why don't ye go and lie
down and rest yerself?"

"But I'm not tired," said Patty, "I just want to get started; get to living
here, you know. Can't I go into the library and look at some of the books?"

"Yes, miss, sure, if there's nobody there. I'll shlip up an' peep."

Molly went softly up-stairs, and Patty followed on tiptoe. It seemed
strange to be so quiet, for at Villa Rosa everybody seemed to try to make
all the noise possible.

"You can go in," said Molly, after her peep, "nobody's there; but the
chairs is all settin' in rows, so I guess a club or somethin' is comin'.
But go in, miss, dear, an' amuse yerself."

So Patty went in the library, which was a large back room on the main
floor.

It has been said that a house without a library is like a body without a
soul, and surely the library was the soul of the Fleming home. It was a
beautiful room, built out behind the rest of the house, with a large
skylight of stained glass, and a wide bay window whose cushioned seats
looked very attractive.

Patty sat down and looked about her. The room was furnished with many
well-filled bookcases, several small desks and tables, and a number of
reading-chairs, whose broad arms held books and magazines.

Patty began at once to examine the titles of the books, and was delighted
to find a large case full of children's books, containing all her old
favorites, and many more that she had never read.

She selected "The Water Babies," which belonged to the latter class, and
curling herself up on the window-seat, was soon absorbed in the story.

A little later, she heard the street door open and shut, and then Cousin
Barbara whisked hurriedly into the library. She didn't see Patty at first,
but sat down at a desk at the other end of the room, and hastily sorted
over some papers.

"Ten-thirty to eleven-thirty, pigs," she murmured; "eleven-thirty to
twelve, write paper on Choctaw costumes; twelve to one, attend Bootblacks'
dinner. Ten-thirty! Why it's time for the pigs now."

"Will I interfere with the pigs if I stay here, Cousin Barbara?" said
Patty, curious to see the animals appear, but not wishing to intrude.

"What! are you there, Patty? Yes, you may stay if you like, but make no
noise or disturbance of any kind."

"I won't," said Patty, and then Miss Barbara proceeded to ignore her small
cousin's presence, and in her hurried way, prepared her books and papers,
and laid small slips of paper and pencils in various chairs, and
occasionally jotted down something in a small note-book which she took from
her pocket.

Soon several strange ladies were ushered into the room by Molly, and Patty
was much disappointed by the fact that they brought no pigs with them, and
was just hoping that they would arrive later, when the meeting was called
to order, and she learned that it was a committee from the Town Improvement
Association, to consider ways and means for the amelioration of the general
condition of the Common Pig.

Patty thought this was very funny, and wanted to laugh when the ladies
discussed it seriously and with great enthusiasm. Sometimes several talked
at once, and then Cousin Barbara rapped on her desk with a little hammer
and they began all over again.

At half-past eleven, they all went away, and Cousin Barbara whipped out her
packets of papers once more. Then she selected several books from the
shelves, and sat down to write. Presently she looked up, bewildered.

"Can I help you, Cousin Barbara?" said Patty, eager to be of assistance.

"No,--yes,--" said her cousin, absent-mindedly. "Yes--if you will please
hand me the encyclopedia--the one labeled cho--"

Patty easily found the desired volume and carried it to her cousin, who
said, "Thank you," and then scribbled away as fast as she could until the
clock struck twelve.

"Now," she said, thrusting her papers in her desk, "I must go to the
Bootblacks' Dinner," and hastily putting on her jacket and gloves,--she had
kept on her hat,--she flew out of the room, and almost instantly the street
door closed behind her.

Then Patty resumed her book and read until one o'clock, when a great gong
that could be heard all over the house announced luncheon.

Delighted at the thought of seeing the family at last, Patty skipped
down-stairs.

Aunt Hester was in the dining-room and greeted her niece cordially.

"Well, my dear," she said, "I hope you found something to amuse you this
morning. To-morrow, if you wish, you may go to school with Ruth. Ah, here
she comes now. Ruth, this is Patty Fairfield, my brother's child, from
Richmond."

"I am very glad to see you," said Patty pleasantly. "Cousin Tom told me you
were here, and I hope we shall be good friends."

"I hope so," said Ruth, a little awkwardly, for she was a trifle confused
by the graceful elegance of Patty's manner.

Ruth Fleming was a thin slip of a girl, with a very pale face, large gray
eyes, and light brown hair which was smoothly brushed back, and tightly
braided. She wore a gray dress and her whole effect was plain and
colorless.

Her face was pure and intellectual, but so calm and expressionless that
Patty wondered if she ever laughed aloud, and if she ever enjoyed herself
very much in any way.

Ruth took her place at the table without another word, and Patty sat down
beside her determined to make her say something, if she had to pinch her.

But just then Cousin Elizabeth came in, and Patty rose to greet her.

Miss Elizabeth Fleming was a large, handsome woman with black hair, and
snapping black eyes, and such a winning smile that Patty liked her at once.

"Well, Patty cousin, have you come at last?" she said. "I've been waiting
for you several years, and I'm very glad to see you." She gave Patty an
affectionate caress, and kept on talking as she seated herself at the
table. Patty afterwards discovered that Cousin Elizabeth always kept on
talking, no matter what happened, or who else was talking at the time.

"Yes," she said, "we've all wanted to see our Southern cousin, and now that
I have seen you, I think you are delightful. Mother, Geraldine has been the
hatefullest thing this morning; she just sat down on a blue satin sofa, and
she wouldn't move, nor she wouldn't say a word. I declare I've lost all
patience with her."

"Who is Geraldine?" said Patty, "is there any one else in the family?"

"Geraldine is the heroine of my new novel," said Cousin Elizabeth, "and she
is lovely, but so intractable. You wouldn't believe how sulky and stupid
she gets at times. Ah, Barbara," as her sister bustled into the room, and
dropped into a chair at the table, "how are the bootblacks?"

"Oh, they're lovely," said Barbara, "they ate all the dinner, and then
stole the forks. I rescued some of them, though--Elizabeth, can't you go to
see the Common Council this afternoon about that Statue Fund? I have a
Mothers' Meeting at two, and after that we rehearse the Greek pantomime,
and oh, mother, did you keep that Greek robe of mine, or did you give it
away?"

"I gave it to a peddler," said Mrs. Fleming; "it was full of moth holes,
and soiled besides. He gave me two saucepans for it."

"Never mind, sis," said Elizabeth, "you can borrow a Greek robe from Martha
Fowler; she has one, I know, and I'll stop there for it, as I return from
the Authors' Tea. Ruth, what have you on hand for this afternoon?"

"I practice until three, Cousin Elizabeth, then 'The Golden Branch' from
three till four, and after that my French lesson and the Physical Culture
class."

"H'm, well,--somebody ought to entertain Patty. Mother, what are your
plans?"

"I have to go out to Cambridge this afternoon to collect for the Dorcas Aid
Society. Patty can go with me if she likes, but I'm afraid she wouldn't
enjoy it very much."

"No, I'll take Patty with me," said Cousin Elizabeth, very decidedly.
"She'll like the Authors' Tea, I know, and if we have time, we'll look in
at the Library."

When luncheon was over, they all flew away on their respective errands, and
Cousin Elizabeth told Patty to put on her hat and coat, and meet her in the
reception-room in ten minutes.

CHAPTER X

PATTY'S PRANKS

Somehow the time passed quickly in Boston; in fact, the Fleming family
seemed fairly to push it along, they hurried so.

At any rate they wasted none of it, and after a few weeks, Patty fell into
the ways of the household, and hurried along with the rest.

Indeed she had to do so, or be left behind, for her cousins were like Time
and Tide, and waited for no man, or little girl either.

She went to school with Ruth, but found herself far behind the New England
girl in her studies, so she took her place in a lower class, and Ruth
kindly helped her with her lessons at home.

Patty did not know what to make of Ruth; she had never seen a girl like her
before. Of course Ruth was pleasant and amiable, but she was so very quiet,
seldom talked and almost never laughed.

Patty joked with her, and told her funny stories, but at most she received
only a faint smile in response, and sometimes a blank stare.

She wrote to her father: "Ruth is the queerest girl I ever saw, and I
believe she is all out of proportion. She studies so hard that she has
crowded all the fun out of herself. You know 'all work and no play makes
Jack a dull boy,' and I verily believe Ruth is the dullest girl in the
world."

But Ruth almost always won the prizes offered at school, and was accounted
the best of Miss Goodman's pupils.

Patty liked the school, and she liked Miss Goodman, the principal, but the
hours, from nine to one, seemed very long to her, and she would often get
restless and mischievous.

One day she thought she would clean her ink well. Ruth shared her desk, and
as the ink well was intended for the use of both, it was a good-sized one,
and chanced to be full of ink.

So Patty must need find something to hold the ink while she washed the
inkstand. Not having anything appropriate, she made a cornucopia of a sheet
of stiff writing-paper.

She turned up the point securely, poured the ink in, and folded down the
top, feeling sure that she could get the ink well ready before the ink
soaked through the paper.

Ruth saw this performance and a look of grave disapproval was on her face,
but as communication of any kind during school hours was strictly
forbidden, she made no sign.

Just as Patty had completed her dangerous little bundle, and held it in her
hand, looking at it admiringly, Miss Carter, the teacher, happened to
notice her.

Now as the strict discipline of the school prohibited anything which was
not directly an aid to education, Miss Carter felt it her duty to
confiscate the suspicious-looking package, that _might_ be candy, and that
certainly did not pertain to school work.

"Patty Fairfield," said she, in a commanding voice, "you are out of order.
You have there something apart from your school duties. Bring it to me at
once."

"But, Miss Carter,"--began Patty.

"Silence! not a word! hand me that parcel."

"Oh, Miss Carter, I can't! it's--"

"One word more, and you will be expelled from school. I require implicit
obedience. Bring me that parcel."

As there was really nothing else to do, Patty walked up to Miss Carter's
desk, gingerly carrying the package of ink.

She knew what would happen if Miss Carter took it, but she had tried to
explain, and as she was not allowed to do so, she couldn't help feeling
that the result would serve the teacher right for being so unreasonably
tyrannical. But she thought she would attempt one more warning, so she
said,

"You'll be sorry if you take it, Miss Carter."

Angry at what she considered an impertinent threat, Miss Carter grasped the
paper of ink with an indignant clutch, and a black flood streamed over her
hand and dress, and spurted out in various directions.

Some drops flew in her face, and on her immaculate white collar, while
others decorated her desk and papers with black blots.

The pupils, who had watched the scene with interest, though only Ruth knew
what was in the cornucopia, were horror-stricken at the calamity, and sat
breathlessly awaiting the explosion of Miss Carter's wrath.

But a drop of ink rolled down that lady's august nose, and involuntarily
she put up her hand to brush it away. This produced such an all-over smudge
on the ink-spotted face that the girls burst into uncontrollable laughter,
and the unfortunate teacher rushed out of the room.

Patty was not expelled from the school, for after hearing Ruth's grave and
carefully exact version of the case, Miss Goodman decided that though Patty
was blameworthy, yet Miss Carter had been too peremptory in her orders, and
so had brought the trouble upon herself.

Patty, who was fun-loving, but not malicious, went to Miss Carter
privately, and made her peace with the irate lady, but it was several days
before the ink stains entirely disappeared from the teacher's face; and as
for the blots on the desk and platform, I shouldn't be surprised if they
were there yet.

When Patty told about the ink episode at home, Aunt Hester was exceedingly
shocked, but Cousin Tom said, "Patty, you're a genius. What made you think
of wrapping up ink in paper?"

"There was nowhere else to put it, Cousin Tom."

"I suppose if you hadn't had any paper you would have dumped it into your
pocket, eh?"

"Tom," said his sister Barbara, "how careless you are in your diction.
'Dumped ink!' One can only dump a powdered or granulated substance. By the
way I've joined a new club. It's a Society for the Improvement of
Advertisers' English, and we work in such a novel and efficacious way.
To-day Miss White and I were appointed a committee to go through the shops
in a certain district, and call attention to any errors which we noticed on
signs or placards. Well, we went into a large dry goods house, and the
first thing that caught my eye was a sign 'Dotted Swisses, twenty-five
cents.' I sent for the advertising manager and he came. Then I said to him,
'Sir, this is a reliable house, and of course you advertise nothing that
you cannot supply. A Swiss is a native of Switzerland, and experience has
taught me that a Swiss is often an admirable servant, especially clever as
a cook. So if you can sell me a Swiss for twenty-five cents, I'll take one,
and I don't care whether he is dotted or not.' The man looked extremely
mortified and stammered something about meaning muslin goods sold by the
yard. 'Oh' said I, 'if you mean dotted Swiss muslins, why don't you say
so?' and Miss White and I stalked out of the shop."

"That club of yours is a good thing," said Mr. Fleming, meditatively, "I
hope you will banish the signs which announce 'Boots Blacked Inside,' and
those others which always rouse false hopes in the minds of people who have
lost their umbrellas, by promising 'Umbrellas recovered while you wait.'"

"Yes, we will, and we're going to do away with those atrocious doggerel
rhymes in the street cars and substitute real poetry. It will cost a great
deal to get it written, but we have funds, and the public taste must be
elevated." The work of such clubs as this, and constant endeavors towards
educational or literary attainment of one sort or another, engrossed the
attention of the whole Fleming family.

Amusement or recreation not of a literary nature was never indulged in.

So serious were they in their aims and purposes, that all fun was crowded
out, and to fun-loving Patty this was a sad state of affairs indeed.

As she wrote to her father, "the worst kind of misproportion is that which
leaves out all fun and jokes and laughing. And I'm going to play a joke on
the whole family, if I can think of a good one, just to stir them up for
once."

Then Patty tried her best to think of some hoax or trick that would be
harmless, and yet would startle all the Flemings out of their usual busy
routine.

As the first of April drew near, she did think of a plan, and she decided
that April Fool's Day gave her a legitimate excuse for teasing her
serious-minded relatives.

As a family, their habits were most methodical; meals were served exactly
at the appointed hours, and every one appeared in the dining-room as if by
magic, punctual to the minute. Breakfast was at eight, and Patty had often
heard Cousin Elizabeth say that she always woke on the stroke of seven.
None of the others woke earlier than that, as a rule, and rules in the
Fleming house had very rare exceptions.

So Patty decided to try a bold scheme, which was nothing less than to set
everybody's clock two hours ahead on the morning of the first of April, and
let the people waken to find they had apparently overslept.

She could not have managed this very well, except for the fact that Cousin
Tom had remarked a few days before that he had left his watch at a
jeweler's to be cleaned, and was carrying an old one which was very
unreliable.

So mischievous Patty woke very early on the morning of the first of April.
Indeed she had waked several times during the night, so anxious was she for
the success of her trick.

As soon as the dawn made it light enough for her to see her way
indistinctly round the house, she slipped on her dressing-gown, and crept
softly down-stairs.

It was just half-past five by the old grandfather's clock in the hall, and
Patty opened its glass door, and pushed the hands around until they stood
at half-past seven. Then she went to the dining-room and kitchen, and
changed those clocks to correspond.

The library clock was harder to manage, for it was a cuckoo-clock, and she
had to stand on a table to reach it.

But Patty was a determined little girl, and having set out to fool the
family she was not to be baffled by small obstacles. Then she went up to
the second floor and into her Aunt Hester's room. She felt a little bit
like a burglar when she saw the dear old lady peacefully asleep in her bed.

But it was only the work of a moment to change the time of the little clock
that ticked softly on the mantel, and then Patty slipped into the next
room. Cousin Elizabeth's watch lay on her dressing-table, and as it was a
little stem-winder just like Patty's own, it was easy to turn the tiny
hands two hours ahead.

Cousin Barbara's watch was under her pillow, but as the sound sleep of that
lady was proverbial, audacious Patty slipped her hand under her cousin's
head, took out the watch, changed the time, and replaced it, and Miss
Barbara Fleming slept on in blissful ignorance.

Patty was afraid that Cousin Tom would spoil the whole joke. But she knew
that he had no clock in his room, and only awoke when his mother knocked at
his door each morning. She hoped that in this case he wouldn't look at his
watch, or if he did, he would have no faith in the uncertain old
chronometer he was carrying at present, and anyway it wouldn't be believed
against the testimony of all the other timepieces in the house.

Last of all, she slipped up to the servants' room and changed the time of
their alarm clock.

Bridget, the cook, and Molly were sleeping, each in a narrow bed, and
Bridget was snoring loud enough to wake them both, but she didn't.

Then Patty hurried back to her own room and jumped into bed again to await
results.

Ruth had no clock or watch. She seemed to get up at the right time by
instinct, and Patty, after carefully thinking it all over, concluded she
had done her work very thoroughly.

And so she had,--and her trick was a great success. Of course the alarm
clock went off apparently two hours late. Bridget woke with a start, looked
at the clock, rubbed her eyes and looked again, and then she turned to
Molly.

"Arrah, Molly," she cried, "will yez luke at that now. The alarrum is jist
afther goin' off, an' it's eight o'clock! Whativer will happen to us?"

Molly jumped up in great excitement, and the two maids hastily dressed and
ran down-stairs. Of course it was really only six, but as the sun was now
shining brightly, they had no thought for astronomical calculations, and
besides, they were frightened nearly out of their wits. Such a thing had
never before happened in the well-regulated Fleming household.

As no one was astir, they went on down to the kitchen, corroborating the
time by the various clocks, but utterly unable so understand why the family
were still all asleep.

Patty heard them whispering as they went down, and choking with laughter,
she prepared to wait another hour for more fun,--and it came.

Elizabeth woke just at seven, and rising, glanced as usual at the watch on
the dressing-table.

"Nine o'clock!" she almost screamed, running to her sister's door.

"Barbara! what does this mean? It's nine o'clock! Are you asleep?"

Barbara _was_ asleep, but she awoke at her sister's call and drew her watch
from beneath the pillow.

"It is," she cried, "it's nine o'clock! What shall I do? There's a
rehearsal of the Historical Tableaux at ten, and I have to make three wigs
before I go."

"But even that isn't as important as my engagement," wailed Elizabeth, who
was splashing her face with water. "I have to be at the Authors' Club at
nine-thirty, to prepare the room for the reception at eleven, and nothing
can be done until I get there. And I must do several errands on my way
there. Oh, it _can't_ be nine o'clock. Perhaps my watch stopped at nine
last evening. No--it's going. Oh, how unfortunate I am. Mother, mother,"
she called.

But Mrs. Fleming was already up, and came through the hall with a scared
face.

"Girls," she said, "it's after nine o'clock, and Tom has to go away on the
9:45 train. We have overslept ourselves."

"I should think we had," began Elizabeth, but Mrs. Fleming had already gone
to her son's room. "Tom, Tom," she called, as she knocked vigorously at the
door, "get up, it's after nine o'clock!"

"What!" came from Tom's room, accompanied by a sudden jump out onto the
floor.

Ruth had heard the commotion, and she and Patty each appeared at their
doors.

"What is it, Aunt Hester?" asked Ruth, roused at last, Patty was glad to
see, to some degree of animation.

"Why, Ruthy, it's nine o'clock! We have all overslept. Hurry down-stairs,
children, you'll be late to school."

Well, such a commotion as there was; everybody compared watches and clocks,
and exclaimed in wonderment and dismay. Tom said that his watch said it was
only half-past seven, but of course, as he had said it didn't keep perfect
time, it was not believed, when all the others said half-past nine.

After they were all down-stairs and seated at the breakfast table, Patty
remarked quietly,

"April Fool! It isn't half-past nine at all; it's only half-past seven. I
set all the clocks forward two hours."

"What!" said Cousin Elizabeth, looking as if she would annihilate her. "You
little witch! You dared to--" and then she felt such a relief to think she
would have ample time to keep her engagement after all, that the ridiculous
side of the affair struck her, and she began to laugh.

"Why, Patty Fairfield," said Barbara, and then she too laughed; and Cousin
Tom, when he found he could catch his train, thought it all the best joke
in the world.

Bridget and Molly enjoyed it the most of all, perhaps because, being Irish,
they had a greater sense of humor than the Bostonians, but all agreed that
Patty had played a very successful April Fool joke on them. All except
Ruth,--she didn't see any fun in it at all, so Patty gave her up as a
hopeless case.

CHAPTER XI

THE BOOK PARTY

One evening as they all sat in the pleasant library, Cousin Elizabeth
announced her intention of giving a party for Patty.

"I am afraid," she said, kindly, "that you find it dull with us. We are all
so busy with our club work and study, that we have really neglected your
entertainment. I am sorry for this, and I mean to give you more youthful
pleasures during the remainder of your stay with us."

Patty was delighted, for life at the Flemings _was_ a little bit humdrum
for her, though her aunt and cousins were very kind whenever they had time
to remember her existence.

They all fell in with Elizabeth's plan, and began to discuss what kind of a
party it should be.

Patty was secretly much amused at the contrast between plans for a party at
Villa Rosa, and in Boston. Nothing was said about decorations, and the
supper was not mentioned, except when Cousin Elizabeth said she would order
some cake and ice cream from a confectioner; and as to dresses, well,
_they_ seemed never to be even thought of by the Fleming ladies. Patty wore
the plainest of the clothes her Aunt Isabel had bought for her, but even
those were far finer than Ruth's.

Apparently the difference was not noticed, for no one paid the slightest
attention to what any one wore.

The Fleming ladies were always dressed neatly and inconspicuously, but
Patty concluded they must pick their dresses off of trees, for nothing was
ever said about dressmakers or purchase of materials.

So when the party was talked about, all discussion was concerning the
entertainment of the minds of the young guests.

Intellectual games were proposed, and even Ruth grew almost excited over
the scheme of a "Quotation Salad."

But Cousin Elizabeth said, "Games are not enough. I want something more
like a character party. Ah, I have it. Let us ask each guest to represent
some children's book, or some favorite character in juvenile literature."

"Just the thing," exclaimed Barbara; "Eddie can be 'Little Lord
Fauntleroy.'"

Eddie was a neighbor's child, who had long flaxen curls and who would make
a perfect counterpart of the pictures of Fauntleroy. The Flemings all
entered into the plan of the party with their usual enthusiasm, and found
time between their numerous engagements to prepare quite a programme of
entertainment.

A platform was put up in the library, with curtains to draw in front of it,
and as this was done very easily and quickly, Patty rightly judged it had
often been done before.

At last the time came, and everything was in readiness. The party was to
begin at seven, and promptly at that hour the boys and girls began to
arrive. Though seemingly so indifferent to every-day costumes, Cousin
Elizabeth had taken much interest in dressing Patty and Ruth for this
occasion, and Patty looked very sweet and pretty arrayed as Little Bo-Peep.
Cousin Tom had chosen this character for her, and had helped to design the
dress. It was, of course, the garb of a dainty little shepherdess, and it
had blue panniers over a quilted white satin petticoat, and a black velvet
bodice laced over a white chemisette.

Then Patty wore a broad brimmed hat trimmed with roses and fluttering
ribbons. High-heeled slippers with bright buckles and a crook tied with
blue ribbons added to the quaint effect, and the whole costume was very
becoming to pretty Patty.

Ruth looked equally well, though in a very different way.

She represented the Puritan Maiden, Priscilla; who, though not a juvenile
character was one of Ruth's favorite heroines, and the dress suited her so
well, that Cousin Elizabeth said she should wear it.

A straight, scant gown of Quaker gray silk, a soft white mull kerchief
folded across her breast, and a white muslin cap, transformed Ruth into a
demure little Puritan maid.

Her small, pale face and quiet eyes suited the character, and the modest
garb was very becoming.

Among the guests were represented, Red Ridinghood, Cinderella, Little Boy
Blue, Simple Simon, and many other well-known personages from Fairy Tales
or Mother Goose's Melodies.

Then there were characters from more recent books, such as Little Women,
Alice in Wonderland, Master Skylark and even Arabella and Araminta, who
were dressed exactly alike.

Historical characters were there too; the Princess in the Tower chatted
amiably with Joan of Arc, while Lady Jane Grey compared notes with
Pocahontas.

Some of the children wore such nondescript costumes that it was difficult
to guess whom they intended to represent.

After all had arrived the programme of entertainment was begun.

The motley crowd was seated in the library and soon the curtains in front
of the platform were drawn apart revealing a table on which was a large
gramophone.

Cousin Tom manipulated the instrument and the children heard orchestral
music, plantation songs, comic speeches, and finally the exhibition-day
exercises of a district school, which made them all laugh. After this,
several of the guests were called on to recite or to sing, and as they had
been notified beforehand, they were prepared for the occasion, and exerted
their best elocutionary and vocal efforts.

As her contribution to the entertainment, Patty sang several of Robert
Louis Stevenson's child-songs, which are set to such beautiful music, and
Ruth recited a portion of "The Courtship of Miles Standish."

Then the curtains were drawn, and soon after the lights in the room were
all turned out. Then the curtains flew open again disclosing a white sheet
brightly illuminated from behind.

Somebody read aloud the poem by Richard Barham about "The Knight and the
Lady," while a shadow pantomime representing the action of the ballad was
shown on the sheet.

It was very funny.

Cousin Elizabeth was the Lady Jane, who was "tall and slim," while the part
of Sir Thomas was wonderfully well acted by Cousin Tom, and when that
portly old gentleman, who it seems was a naturalist, went around
"unearthing his worms and his grubs," he looked very funny indeed.

And then when
"Close by the side
Of the bank he espied
An uncommon fine tadpole, remarkably fat;
He stooped, and he thought her his own, he had caught her,
Got hold of her tail, and to land almost brought her,
When, he plumped head and heels into fifteen feet water,"
and the shadow Sir Thomas ducked suddenly into the pond, and a very real
splashing was heard, the delighted audience fairly shouted with laughter.

And then when the funny old gardener appeared, bringing to the august Lady
Jane the news of Sir Thomas' fate, and when the jocund Captain McBride
tried to console the weeping lady,--but, no, I can't tell it all to you; to
see how funny it all was you will have to read the ballad in the "Ingoldsby
Legends" for yourself.

When that was over, sandwiches, ices and cakes were served and they seemed
to be as thoroughly enjoyed by the young people as were Aunt Isabel's
elaborate feasts, though by contrast it seemed to Patty a very slight
repast.

Next came the "Quotation Salad" which was Ruth's pride and delight.

Cousin Elizabeth passed around a great bowl, which seemed to be full of
leaves of crisp, green lettuce.

They were, however, made of tissue paper, and each leaf had attached to it
a strip of writing paper on which was written a quotation.

These were from well-known poems or historic speeches, or even from Mother
Goose's Melodies and other juvenile classics.

Each child drew out three leaves, and endeavored to remember or guess the
source of the quotations written thereon.

Then the roll was called, and all who could give their three answers
correctly were marked one hundred.

After this, the unguessed ones were read aloud, and whoever could answer
them received ten more on his or her score for each perfect answer.

To the child attaining the highest score, a prize of a Dictionary of
Quotations was to be awarded.

Patty's three questions were easy enough. One was "His cause is marching
on."

Another was "Twinkle, twinkle little bat," and the third was "Don't give up
the ship."

She could place all three, but when the more difficult ones were announced,
she found that she knew very little about general literature.

Ruth, however, could tell the author of nearly every one, and no one was
surprised when her score was declared the highest.

However, as she was the hostess, she declined to accept the prize, and it
was given to the guest whose score stood the next highest.

Other intellectual or literary games were played, and at eleven o'clock the
children were sent home, and Aunt Hester bade Ruth and Patty go to bed at
once, lest they should not feel like getting up at the usual hour the next
morning.

Patty heartily thanked Cousin Elizabeth for taking so much pains to make
the party a pleasant one, and ran away to bed, wondering if many little
girls had such clever relatives.

The spring flew by, and Patty could scarcely realize that she had been in
Boston nearly three months, when a letter came from Mrs. Barlow her
mother's sister, at whose house she was to visit next.

"My dear Patty," her Aunt Grace wrote, "we are going to our country home on
Long Island about the first of June, and we want you to come to us as soon
as we get settled there. No,--not settled, we're never that, but as soon as
we get enough things straightened out to live with. Our country-place is
called 'The Hurly-Burly,' so you may prepare yourself to see a family that
lives up to that name. But there is plenty of amusement, if you are fond of
boating and bathing, and we will all welcome you with open arms and glad
hearts; and the sooner you come, the better we shall like it. Your cousins,
Bob and Bumble are very anxious to see you, and are making wonderful plans
for your entertainment. So come as soon as you can, and if you will let us
know at what hour to expect you, Uncle Theodore will meet you at the Grand
Central Station in New York, and bring you over to us at Long Island.

"Your loving Aunt,

"GRACE BARLOW."

"But I don't want you to go," said Ruth, when she heard the letter read;
"I'd like to have you stay here always."

Patty was surprised at this, for Ruth had always seemed so cold and
unresponsive, that it didn't seem as if she had any affection in her
nature.

The other members of the Fleming family echoed Ruth's sentiments, and
though Patty felt sure their expressions were honestly meant, yet she
thought, too, that as soon as she had gone, she would be forgotten in the
rush of their busy life.

One morning in early June as they sat at the breakfast-table, Patty
received a telegram, which said:

"Come at once before all are drowned. Grand Central five.

"HELEN BARLOW."

Although Patty didn't know it, Helen was the real name of her cousin who
was always called Bumble, and Patty, horror-stricken at the import of this
message, read it aloud, asking what it could mean.

The Fleming family were entirely unacquainted with the Barlows, and could
give no clue, but one and all were filled with consternation at the
peremptory summons.

Cousin Tom took the yellow paper and perused it carefully, then said:

"One thing is clear, at any rate, Patty, they expect you to be at the Grand
Central Station in New York to-day at five o'clock, and you shall be there,
for I'll take you myself."

So they all helped with the packing, and succeeded in getting one trunk
ready for Patty to take with her, promising to send her other belongings
after her a few days later.

With hurried good-byes and a promise of another visit to Boston at some
future time, Patty went away with Cousin Tom, and they took the train for
New York.

CHAPTER XII

THE HURLY-BURLY

Patty and Cousin Tom reached the Grand Central station in New York about
six o'clock, and leaving the train, went in search of any member of the
Barlow family who might be there to meet them.

They hadn't walked a dozen steps before they were confronted by three
broadly smiling faces.

These faces belonged to a tall, large man with his arms full of bundles,
and a boy and girl who seemed both to be about Patty's own age.

"You're Patty, I know it,--I know it!" cried the girl, and she flung her
arms round Patty's neck and kissed her heartily. "I am Bumble, and this is
Bob, my twin; oh, I'm so glad to get you."

By this time Bob was shaking Patty's hand vigorously, and Mr. Barlow was
trying to squeeze all of his bundles into one arm, that he might have a
hand free to offer his niece.

Then Patty introduced Cousin Tom, and the party all went into the
waiting-room together.

"But who sent me that telegram? and who is Helen?" inquired Patty, as she
walked along with one of her twin cousins clinging to either arm.

"Oh, that's me," said Bumble. "My real name's Helen, but nobody ever calls
me it."

"Because she's like a bumble-bee," explained Bob. "She's always tumbling
about and knocking into people, and she's so buzzy and fat."

"Yes," said Bumble, good-naturedly, "I am; I'd like to be slim and graceful
like you, but I'm not, so I just put up with myself and have all the fun I
can."

Mr. Barlow gave Mr. Fleming a cordial invitation to continue his journey
with Patty, and spend the night at "The Hurly-Burly," as his country-place
on Long Island was called, but Cousin Tom declined, saying he had business
in New York.

"But, Patty," he said, "your new-found relatives seem to be in no immediate
danger of drowning."

"No," said Patty, who was consumed with curiosity to know what the telegram
could have meant.

"Drowning!" exclaimed Mr. Barlow, "what are you talking about? The bathing
is very safe at our place; there's really no danger at all, unless one is
positively foolhardy."

"No," said Patty, "but my telegram said--"

"Oh, I know," broke in Bumble. "Papa left it to me to send you word to come
to-day, and I didn't get at it until it was too late to write, so I
telegraphed,--and I was so afraid you wouldn't get here before the kittens
were drowned, that I mentioned it to make you hurry up."

"Kittens!" exclaimed Patty, laughing, "you didn't say kittens."

"I know it, but the ten words gave out too soon. I just had room to get in
that we'd meet you at five o'clock. Oh, the kittens are such dears! Two
black ones and a white one and a spotted one--The white one is the
prettiest, but she's an idiot, poor thing."

Cousin Tom was relieved to learn that no human beings were in jeopardy of
their lives, but he secretly thought that Patty's new home was to be among
very erratic people.

He bade his small cousin good-bye with real regret, for he and Patty had
become firm friends during her Boston visit. After Mr. Fleming had left
them, Mr. Barlow picked up all his bundles and packages, and telling the
three children to follow him, he stalked away at a rapid pace.

Bob took Patty's satchel and Bumble took her umbrella, then they each
grasped her arm and marched her along after their father.

"You see," explained Bob, "dad walks so very fast that we have to scurry to
keep him in sight. So we'll boost you along,--it'll only be a minute."

And sure enough in a moment Mr. Barlow stopped at a street-car, and turned
around expecting to find the children at his elbow, and there they were. He
put them on the car, jumped on himself, and they all went over to the
ferry.

A ride across the East River on the ferry-boat, and then a short ride in
the cars brought them to the station of Sandy Cove.

Here Mr. Barlow expected his own carriage to be awaiting them, but no
carriage was in sight. As it was growing dusk, and their home was still two
miles distant, this was very annoying.

"I'll walk over home, and bring the carriage back for you," volunteered
Bob; "it must be that Dil has forgotten to come for us."

"No," said his father, "you needn't do that,--we'll all jog along together
and probably we'll meet Dil on the way."

"Dil is the man who takes care of our horse," said Bumble, as they walked
along. "That's short for Dilatory, and we call him that 'cause he's so
slow. In fact, we never know whether he's coming for us, or not."

And, apparently, this time Dilatory was not coming, for the travelers
walked all the way without meeting the carriage. As they walked up the
path, Patty was somewhat surprised to see that what Mr. Barlow called a
cottage was in reality a large house. Wide verandas ran all the way round
it on both the first and second stories, and magnificent trees waved their
branches around and over it.

"This is the Hurly-Burly, Patty," said her uncle, "and if anything isn't
quite in order, you must pardon it, for we're scarcely settled yet, and
haven't had time to get everything to rights; and your Aunt Grace had the
misfortune to sprain her ankle yesterday, so she can't attend to things as
she otherwise would. But whatever you want just you come straight and tell
your Uncle Teddy, and you shall have it, if it's a roc's egg."

Patty laughed, for she well knew what happened once when a roc's egg was
asked for.

Then they entered the main front door, and Patty found herself in a wide
hall that ran straight through the house with a door at either end.

There were large rooms on both sides of the hall, and following her uncle
into one of these rooms, which was the sitting-room or general living-room
of the family, Patty saw a remarkable sight. In a large armchair sat a
sweet-faced lady, with an ottoman in front of her, on which her bandaged
foot was resting on a pillow. She was reading a book, which she laid down
as she heard people approaching, and over her head she held an open
umbrella.

This was a wise precaution, for a drenching rain was pouring on the
umbrella, and water dripped steadily from the ends of its ribs.

"Why, Grace," exclaimed Mr. Barlow, "what are you doing? What has
happened?"

"The tank must have burst," returned his wife, placidly, "but fortunately I
had this umbrella by me, so I opened it, and as you see, I am scarcely wet
at all. Is this Patty? Come here, my dear. I am your Aunt Grace, your
mother's sister, and I am prepared to love my little niece very much."

Patty returned very willingly her aunt's loving caress, and the two nestled
together under the big umbrella, while Bob and Bumble laughed at the funny
picture they made.

Uncle Ted had hastily dropped all his bundles on the hall table, and had
run up-stairs to see what was the matter with the tank.

"I have a sprained ankle, Patty," said her aunt, by way of explanation of
her predicament, "and I can't move a step. So I keep a cane near me to
knock on the floor when I want anybody to fetch me things, but the cane got
mislaid somehow, so I had this umbrella in its place. And wasn't it
fortunate? For when the water began to drip down I just put up the umbrella
and protected myself perfectly. The only trouble was, I couldn't close it
to knock on the floor without getting myself drenched, so, as I had an
interesting book I just waited patiently for somebody to come. The servants
have gone on an excursion and Nan is away, too, so there was no one to
knock for except old Dilatory, and he wouldn't have heard me anyway. Now,
Bob, if you'll get another umbrella to hold over yourself while you move me
to dryer quarters I'll be truly grateful."

"Take mine," said Patty, running to fetch it, and then she held her open
umbrella over Bob while he wheeled his mother's chair across the hall and
into the music-room.

Bumble moved the ottoman at the same time, and though she meant to be very
careful, she bumped the wounded foot terribly when going over the
door-sills, but Mrs. Barlow pretended it didn't hurt her, and thanked the
children lovingly for their assistance. "Now, Bob," she said, "run and help
your father, I suppose he's up in the tank-room investigating the source of
that waterfall. Tell him he'd better send Dil for a plumber at once; and
Bumble, you go and see if cook has returned yet, for if not, I don't know
when we'll get any dinner. Patty, dear, take off your hat and jacket and
then come and sit here by me, and we'll have a little talk. You remind me
very much of your mother at your age. Do you remember her at all?"

"No, Aunt Grace; I wish I could, but she died when I was only three, you
know. I have a beautiful picture of her."

"Have you? you must show it to me when your trunks come. You are like your
mother in form and feature, and I hope your disposition is like hers. She
was the loveliest woman I ever knew. So sweet and gentle, and so
unselfish."

"I think you look like her picture, Aunt Grace," said Patty, gazing
earnestly at her aunt.

"Oh, no, child; she was a hundred times more beautiful than I. And she was
so neat and dainty, and always did the right thing at the right time. I was
the harum-scarum of the family, and I'm sorry to say, my children seem to
have inherited my traits of character. They are so careless, forgetful and
unsystematic. But they're dear sweet children, and I hope, Patty, you will
learn to love your Barlow cousins."

"I don't need to learn, Aunt Grace, I love them already. Bob is such a
frank, pleasant boy, and Bumble is a dear; so witty and bright."

"Yes, they are intelligent; and if you will be patient with our
shortcomings, I think we will be very happy together. And our household, at
present, contains another member. Nan Allen, who is visiting here, is a
neighbor of ours in Philadelphia, and though several years older than you,
she is a most charming young woman, and I'm sure you will like her.
Gracious! how the water is pouring down in the sitting-room yet. I wish I
could get up on my feet. Run up-stairs, Patty, and find your Uncle Ted, and
ask him what is to be done about it?"

Although unacquainted with the house, Patty ran up-stairs, and through
various rooms, but without finding her uncle.

Anxious to do her aunt's bidding, she ran on up to the third story, and in
a large attic room she found her uncle standing before a large
old-fashioned bookcase, eagerly reading a volume which he held in his
hands.

"What about the water, Uncle Ted?" said Patty.

"Yes,--in a minute,--I'm going to attend to it. I'm so surprised to find
all these books here. We rented this cottage furnished, you know, and I
haven't been up here before. I'd no idea these books were here. Yes,--I'll
see about the water at once."

Patty went with her uncle to what he called the tank-room, and there Mr.
Barlow discovered that the leak was in a supply pipe which could easily be
shut off. This he did, and the downpour was immediately stopped, although
no water could be drawn through the house until the plumbers should come
and repair the pipes.

"Ted," said Mrs. Barlow, as her husband and Patty returned, "I don't
believe Hopalong will be home in time to cook dinner, so suppose we have a
pick-up supper? It's getting late, and Patty must be nearly starved after
her journey from Boston."

"All right," said Uncle Ted, cheerily; "is there anything in the house to
eat? Where's Bumble?"

"Go and hunt her up, please, and tell her I want her. And did you get the
cheese and fruit as I asked you to?"

"Yes, I bought out the whole market and carried it all home with me."

"Very well, then we won't starve. Now wheel me into the dining-room and
I'll see what we have on hand."

Just then Bob and Bumble appeared, each carrying two kittens, and these
four sprawling bits of animal life were deposited in Mrs. Barlow's lap,
while Patty was called upon to admire them.

"They are very cunning," said she, stroking them rather gingerly, for they
seemed very small and frail.

"Oh, you can't hurt them," said Bob; "see, pick 'em up this way," and he
grasped one by the back of its neck and held it sprawling in the air.

"No, hold one this way," said Bumble, cuddling a little ball of fur in the
palm of her hand. "But, mumsey, I'm awful hungry; aren't we going to have
any dinner? Where's Hopalong?"

"She's gone on the excursion, my dear. Poor thing, she works so hard I'm
glad for her to have a little outing."

"H'm, she gets one about twice a week," said Bob; "Hopalong's the cook,
Patty. We call her that 'cause she isn't very lively, and she just shuffles
about. But she's a good-natured old thing, and such a good cook--"

"Here, children, take this flock of cats," said Mrs. Barlow, "and we'll
soon have something to eat, cook or no cook."

Bumble gathered up the kittens, beginning with the white one. "This is the
idiot," she said, "but isn't it a pretty cat? You can see she's
half-witted, 'cause only one eye is open, and she has such a general air of
stupidity."

"She might turn out to be the smartest of the lot," said Patty.

"I wish I could keep her and see, but dad says they must all be drowned
to-morrow. I neglected the last kitten I had, and didn't feed her
regularly, so the poor thing died. Daddy, if you'll let me keep this one,
I'll never, _never_ forget to feed her--honest I won't. Please let me keep
just this one," and Bumble rubbed the furry ball on her father's cheek.

"Well, take them away now, and we'll see about it," said her father, and
Bumble danced off with the kittens feeling almost sure that she had gained
her point.

Then Bob and his father moved Mrs. Barlow with her chair and footstool out
to the dining-room.

"I don't know what there is, myself," she said, "but we'll forage in the
sideboard and pantry and see."

The foraging resulted in a pair of cold roasted ducks, plenty of plum-cake
and a cherry-pie.

"I'm sorry there isn't any bread," said Mrs. Barlow, apologetically; "I
told Hopalong to order it as she went by the baker's, but I fear she forgot
it."

"Never mind," said Bob, "I don't care much for bread, anyhow, do you,
Patty? Mother, here's a lot of cold potatoes. Can't you make a salad?"

"Yes, indeed," said Mrs. Barlow; so the children brought the ingredients,
and a fine salad was soon concocted.

While this was going on, Miss Allen came running in.

"Oh," she exclaimed, "I'm as hungry as a hunter. We've been out sailing,
and I've _such_ an appetite. Who is this pretty child?"

"This is Patty Fairfield," said Bumble, "my cousin, from the South."

"Oh, yes, of course, I knew you expected her to-day. How do you do, Patty?
I'm very glad to see you. I am Nan Allen, and I want you to like me better
than you do any of the Barlows. Do you hear?"

"Yes," said Patty, "but I'll wait until I see if you like me."

Miss Allen was a very pretty young lady, of about twenty, with sparkling
black eyes, and a lot of curly golden hair, which she wore massed high on
her head. She was extremely vivacious and Patty liked her at once.

Then Bumble set the silver basket on the table, and Nan brought a pile of
plates and everybody helped himself or herself to such viands as they
wished.

There was much laughter and gay talk, and Patty enjoyed the informal meal
immensely.

CHAPTER XIII

HOME-MADE MUSIC

"Why do you call this the music-room?" asked Patty; "there's no piano in
it, nor any musical instrument that I can see."

"That's just the reason why," replied Nan. "I christened the room myself,
and I called it the music-room because it hasn't anything musical in it. I
get so tired of seeing music-rooms filled with pianos and banjos and
mandolins and guitars. This is a refreshing change. And besides, when we
want music we can sing."

"Then won't you sing now?" said Patty. "I'd like to hear you."

"Why, of course we will; would you like to hear some of our original
songs?"

"Yes, indeed! Do you make songs yourself?"

"Oh, we always make our own songs. Home-made songs are ever so much better
than boughten ones. They fit better and wear longer. We don't make the
tunes, though; we just appropriate those. First we'll sing you 'The Song of
the House.'"

This was sung to the air of "The Kerry Dance," and the whole family joined
their voices with Nan's, and all sang with great spirit.

Come, oh, come to the Hurly-Burly,
Come and join in the jolly fun
That begins in the morning early,
And continues till day is done.

Sailing, swimming, walking, riding,--
On the land or on the sea;
At the Hurly-Burly biding,
We're as happy as we can be.

Oh, the jollity, oh, the gayety,
Just come down and see;

CHORUS:--Come, oh, come, etc.

Sometimes we take sandwiches of chick,
And go off on a merry pick-a-nick;
Sometimes we in hammocks idly swing,
At other times we only sit and si-i-ng--

CHORUS:--Come, oh, come, etc.

"That's beautiful," said Patty when they had finished the song. "I'll learn
the words, and then I can sing it with you."

"Indeed you must" said Nan, "and now I'll sing you the song of the Barlow
family; they won't sing it themselves, but when you learn it, you and I can
warble it together."

"Sing a song of Barlows,
A family full of fun;
A father and a mother,
A daughter and a son.

"When the door is open
Hear the family sing!
All the people passing by
Run like anything."

"It's a base libel," said Uncle Ted; "we sing beautifully, and except that
Bumble flats, and Bob has no ear, there isn't a flaw in our singing."

The evening passed merrily by, and when it was bedtime, Bumble showed Patty
to her room.

When Patty found that a large front room on the second floor had been
allotted to her, she expressed a fear lest she might be inconveniencing
some one else by taking one of the choice rooms of the house.

"Not a bit," said Bumble. "Nan has the tower-room, because she likes it
better, and the house is so big, there are plenty of rooms, anyway. Of
course, if a lot of company comes, we may ask you to give up this, and take
a smaller room, but you wouldn't mind that, would you?"

"No, indeed," said Patty. "I'll move out at any time." Then Bumble kissed
her cousin good-night and went away.

Patty's trunk had been placed in her room, and she found that some one had
kindly unfastened its straps and clasps, so she had only to unlock it. She
unpacked her clothes, and hung up her dresses in the wardrobe and cupboard,
and put things neatly away in the bureau-drawers.

She placed her mother's picture on a small table, and looking at it
critically, she concluded that it was like Aunt Grace, but much prettier.

After this, Patty looked round the great room with much interest. It seemed
to contain a perfect hodge-podge of furniture. There were three
dressing-bureaus, and a huge wash-stand with two bowls and pitchers on it.
There were several large easy chairs, and an old haircloth sofa; there were
small tables, and bookcases, and a cabinet filled with bric-a-brac,
but,--and Patty could scarcely believe her eyes,--there was no bed!

When this fact dawned upon her, she concluded that one of the bookcases or
bureaus must be a folding-bed.

She tried to open them, but the bureau-drawers and the bookcase-shelves
proved themselves to be really what they seemed; then she looked for a bed
concealed in an alcove or an anteroom, but the curtains hid only windows
and the doors opened into ordinary closets.

Patty even looked in the fireplace and up the chimney, but she was
gradually forced to the conclusion that there was no bed at her disposal,
and that she must either report this fact to some member of the family or
sit up all night.

As it was now late she hesitated to trouble anybody about the matter, and
thought she would rather manage without a bed.

She did think of asking Bumble to let her share her room, but she didn't
know where her cousin's room was, and too, there might be only a single bed
in it. So Patty decided to try the old sofa.

As she had no pillow or bed-clothing, she rolled up a dress to put under
her head and pinned two skirts together for a coverlet.

But the old haircloth scratched her bare feet, and poor Patty soon jumped
up and sought another resting-place.

She cuddled up in a big armchair which was soft and warm, and there she
soon fell asleep. But later, she awoke, so stiff from her cramped position,
that she could scarcely move. So then she lay down on the floor and slept
there the rest of the night.

Next morning she dressed herself and went down-stairs at about eight
o'clock, but nobody was in sight, so Patty went out on the veranda and
watched the waves as they came rolling and tumbling up on the beach.

Then, with a view to exploring her new home, she walked round the house.

This brought her to the kitchen, and through the window she saw a fat old
black woman raking rigorously at the range.

"Dis yer stove 'll make me lose my 'ligion," Patty heard her murmur, and
she felt sure she was listening to old Hopalong. "Good-morning, Hopalong,"
she cried.

"'Mawnin', missy; an' who be you?"

"I'm Patty Fairfield, and I'm Mrs. Barlow's niece, and I've come to stay
all summer."

"Dat's good. I see you'se a nice, pretty-behaved little lady. Any ob de
fam'ly 'round yit?"

"No, I haven't seen anybody."

"Well, yere comes Massa Ted; now I mus' jes' be spry 'bout gettin' my co'n
brade done."

Hopalong shuffled away, and Patty turned to see Uncle Ted coming towards
her.

"Hello, Patty-girl," he cried, "you're up be times."

"Yes," said Patty, "and so are you. Oh, Uncle Teddy, isn't the sea
gorgeous? I do love it so, and I'm so glad I'm here!"

"That's good, little one; I'm glad you're glad. And now come to breakfast."

Aunt Grace had been carried down-stairs by her husband and son, and was
already in her place at the table.

She called Patty to her and kissed her affectionately, and asked her if she
slept well. Patty hesitated a moment, then breaking into a merry laugh, she
said:

"Why, Auntie Grace, I _didn't_ sleep very well, for I hadn't any bed."

"What?" exclaimed her aunt, in horror, "why, Patty, I ordered a little
brass bed sent from Philadelphia purposely for you, and it arrived
yesterday morning. I told Dil to put it up in your room, and I told Eunice
to see that it was properly made. But I confess I did forget to ask if my
orders had been carried out, and,--I suppose they weren't. You poor child!
How did you manage? Why didn't you tell us?"

"Well, I didn't notice it until quite late," said Patty. "I was so busy
putting my clothes and things away, that I never thought of anything else
at the time. And, anyway, I didn't mind for one night."

Just then Bumble came in, and when she heard about Patty's experience she
looked astounded. "Why," said she, "I took Patty to her room myself, and I
never noticed that there was no bed there!"

"You're a rattle-pated goosey," said her father: "but never mind, Patty,
you shall have two beds to-night to make up for it,--I'll promise you that"

"Don't believe him," cried Nan, gayly, as she ran into the dining-room. "I
don't know what Uncle Ted is saying to you,--but he won't do it. He never
kept a promise in his life!"

"'Oh, promise me,'" began Uncle Ted, and then they all joined in and sang:

"Oh, promise me that some day you and I
Will take a piece of huckleberry pie,
Some deviled eggs and strawberry ice cream,
And have a picnic down by yonder stream.
And then we'll wander through the fields afar,
And take a ride upon a trolley car;
But we'll come home again in time for tea,--
Oh, promise me--oh, promise me-e-e--"

The last refrain rang out with a prolonged wail that seemed to Patty the
funniest thing she had ever heard, and she fairly shouted with laughter.

"Oh, dear, you are the funniest family," she exclaimed; "I think I shall
stay here six months instead of three."

CHAPTER XIV

A FUNNY FAMILY

Patty was right when she called the Barlows a funny family, for their
spirits were irrepressible, and each day, from morning till night was
filled with jokes and absurdities accompanied or followed by gales of
laughter.

But they were heedless, forgetful people, and the whole household showed an
utter lack of systematic management.

Nothing was ever to be found in its place; meals were served at any hour
when old Hopalong got them ready. Sometimes the market orders were
neglected and there was almost nothing to eat, and then again there was
such an overstock that much had to be wasted. The children were allowed to
do exactly as they chose, and were never reproved; but if their own
mischief led them into misfortune, or their pranks turned out disastrously,
they were expected to stand the consequences bravely, and look for little
or no sympathy from their elders.

Patty had not been at the Hurly-Burly many days before she discovered that
its proportion of order and regularity was entirely too small. To be sure,
in the Fleming family it had been too large; but she thought there must be
a happy medium, a state of things whereby one could expect the ordinary
events of daily life to come in due course, without, however, living as if
by clockwork. You see Patty was becoming a very wise little girl, for she
was profiting by her varied experiences, and trying to learn the best way
to take care of her father's house and make it a real home for him.
Sometimes she felt this responsibility very greatly, and longed for some
motherly, housewifely friend to talk with about it.

But Aunt Grace, though loving and affectionate, was no help in such
matters.

"Nonsense, child," she would say, "don't worry about your housekeeping;
why, the house will keep itself, if you let it alone. And you're too young
to be bothered with a weight of domestic care, anyway. Now run off and play
with Bob and Bumble. Go for a row or a drive and let the breeze blow all
such worries out of your little noddle."

So Patty ran away and played with her cousins, and they did have jolly good
times.

There were so many nice things to do; fishing sailing, bathing, boating,
driving, golf, tennis, and all sorts of outdoor amusements were at their
disposal.

The Barlow twins, Nan Allen and Patty made a gay quartette, and if they
desired a larger party, there were plenty of neighbors ready to join in
their fun.

One warm afternoon, Patty and Bumble sat in a hammock swung under the
trees, while Bob sprawled on the grass near them.

"Girls," said he, "come on, let's go for a swim. The Smiths and the
Enfields just went down towards the bath-houses, and there'll be a jolly
crowd in the water."

"All right, let's go," replied his sister. "Where's Nan?"

"She's in the house somewhere," said Patty. "I'll go find her."

Patty ran into the house and looked in at the music-room door, as a
beginning of her search, but there she saw such a startling sight that she
stood spellbound, unable to go any further.

At the writing-desk sat a person whose head was entirely bald. Not a spear
of hair was anywhere visible on the bare, pinky-white scalp, and the round
head was smooth and shiny as a billiard-ball.

Then the head turned round and faced Patty, with rolling eyes and a weird
grimace. But Patty looked so astounded and frightened that the face broke
into a reassuring smile, and Nan's voice said:

"Why, Patty, don't be scared; it's only I. Didn't you know I wore a wig?
There it is, on that chair."

And sure enough, there was Nan's mop of frizzed, flaxen hair hanging on a
chair-back.

"But," said Patty, coming nearer, and still unable quite to comprehend it
all, "why don't you have any hair yourself?"

"Well, you see," said Nan, as she sealed and addressed the letter she had
been writing, "I had typhoid fever just before I left home, and my hair
came out so, that I had to have it all shaved off. So now I am wearing a
wig until it grows again. But it is so warm to-day, I took my wig off for a
few moments to rest my head."

Patty examined the wig with great interest.

"I think it's wonderful," she said, "is it just like your own hair was?"

"No, indeed, I wanted a change. My own hair is very dark, almost black, and
perfectly straight. So I bought this Flaxie Frizzle wig for a change. It's
becoming, don't you think so? I have a red wig too,--of short, curly auburn
hair. Sometimes I wear that."

Patty watched Nan curiously, as she put the wig on, securing it to her head
by invisible springs.

"I never saw anybody with a wig before," she said, "and it surprises me so;
but I came to ask you to go swimming with us."

"Can't do it," said Nan; "I have two more letters to write, and then I'm
going driving with the Perrys. They're to call for me at four o'clock, and
it's after three now. You'll have to go without me this time."

"All right," said Patty, backing out of the room, for her eyes were still
fixed on the wonderful wig.

Then she rejoined her cousins, and they all ran to the bath-houses.

They had a fine bath, and were about ready to come out of the water when
Nan appeared.

She was dressed in a fresh white pique suit, with blue ribbons at her
throat and belt, and was looking very pretty but decidedly disappointed.

She walked out to the end of the narrow wooden pier, and the swimmers came
up to talk to her.

Patty didn't swim very well as yet, but she was learning, and Uncle Ted and
Bob said she was getting along finely.

"I thought you were going out with the Perrys," cried Bumble.

"I was,--" said Nan, "but they didn't come. I've been dressed and waiting
for them half an hour, then I looked again at the note they sent me, and I
made a mistake; it's to-morrow they asked me to go. So I came down here,
and I wish I was in the water with you."

"Come on in," said Bob.

"Too much trouble to get into my bathing-suit."

"Don't do it," said Bumble; "we're coming out now, anyway. But the water is
fine, to-day, isn't it, Patty?"

"Glorious!" gurgled Patty, as she floundered about in her frantic endeavors
to swim. Suddenly, Nan snatched off her wig, and dropped it down on the
dock.

Then with dramatic gestures, she wrung her hands, waved them above her
head, and cried out in agonized tones:

"I am desperate! No longer can I bear this sad and weary life. I
_will_ end it!" Apparently in the last stages of despair, she strode to the
end of the dock, and threw herself headlong into the water.

Patty was aghast, but Bob and Bumble were accustomed to Nan's mad tricks,
and they shouted with laughter.

In a moment the bald head reappeared above the water, for Nan could dive
and swim wonderfully well.

"I'm afraid my dress will get wet," she said, "but when I saw you all
having such fun, I just couldn't help jumping in."

"Crazy Nan," said Bumble, "you've spoiled your clean dress, and you can't
swim with your shoes on, anyway, can you?"

"Not very well," said Nan, regretfully, "and they're my best shoes, too.
But I don't care; I'll get a bath and have some fun."

Later on, the four young people, much refreshed and exhilarated, assembled
in the music-room to wait for dinner.

Aunt Grace, whose sprained ankle was getting better, and who could now limp
around with the aid of a crutch, was there too.

"Geranium Blossom! but I'm hungry," exclaimed Bob. "Mumsey, do you s'pose
we're going to have any dinner to-night?"

"I think so, my boy," returned Mrs. Barlow, placidly, "but go and get a
biscuit if you'd like one."

"I'll tell you what," said Nan, "let's have tea while we wait. There'll be
plenty of time, for Eunice has just begun to lay the table for dinner."

"All right," said Bumble. "Patty, if you'll get the hot water, I'll cut up
a lemon."

"But there aren't any lemons," said her mother. "I looked for one to-day,
and they're all out."

"There aren't any biscuits, either," said Bob, coming back from a fruitless
quest; "the box is empty."

"And there doesn't seem to be any sugar," said Nan, peering into the
sugar-bowl on the tea-table.

"Well, I'll tell you what," said Bumble, "let's pretend to have tea. You
know some people say, if you think you have anything, you have it."

"All right," said Patty, who dearly loved to pretend, "I'll make the tea."

So she pretended to measure out some tea from the caddy, and put it in the
teapot. Then she poured imaginary water from the teakettle upon it, and
covered the teapot tightly with the cosey. After allowing it a little time
to "draw" she pretended to pour it into cups, in which Bumble had already
placed imaginary sugar-lumps and bits of lemon.

Bob offered his services as waiter, and passed the cups to his mother and
Nan, and also to imaginary guests, who, he pretended, were sitting on the
chairs and sofa.

"This tea is delicious," said Aunt Grace, stirring in her empty cup, and
sipping from her empty spoon.

"Yes," said Patty, "it is real Russian tea, Do have some more, won't you?"

"Indeed, I will," said Aunt Grace, and Patty poured her another empty
cupful.

"Pass the biscuit, Bumble," said Bob, and his sister carried around the
empty biscuit-jar, while the guests helped themselves to nothing.

Uncle Ted came in in the midst of the tea joke, and drank several cups of
air, until Patty finally peeped into the teapot, and said, "You'll all have
to stop, for there isn't any tea left."

Bob carried the cups back to the tea-table, and all declared they had had a
very nice tea-party.

"But why don't you have a tea-party, girls?" said Uncle Ted, "a real one, I
mean. Invite all the neighbors and have a nice spread. I'll decorate a bit
with Japanese lanterns, and we'll make it a general festivity."

"Oh, lovely!" cried Bumble, "if mamma is well enough to stand the
excitement."

"Aunt Grace needn't have any of the trouble," said Nan. "I'll order things,
and help get the house ready. We girls will do all the work, and Aunt Grace
can just be an invited guest."

"Let's make it a lawn-party," said Bob, "and we'll have supper served in a
tent."

"Let me see," said Uncle Ted, "to-day is Monday. There's no use waiting too
long, and the moon is nearly at its full now. Suppose we have the party on
Thursday; can you all be ready by that time?"

"Oh, yes," said Nan, "there's nothing much to do. Let's write the
invitations to-night."

So during dinner, which was finally announced, they completed their plans
for a garden-party from five o'clock to ten Thursday evening; and after
dinner Nan wrote the invitations, and Patty addressed them, while the rest
discussed and decided who should be invited to the party.

CHAPTER XV

THE LAWN-PARTY

The next day Patty announced her willingness to do anything she could to
assist in the preparations for the lawn-party; and Aunt Grace kissed her
fondly, and said she was a dear little helper, and they would be only too
glad to make use of her services.

But the day passed by and nothing was done. Everybody went for a swim in
the morning, and in the afternoon Nan went driving, and Patty and the twins
were invited to a neighbor's to play tennis. Then in the evening they all
went for a moonlight sail.

After they returned, Patty ventured to remind her procrastinating relatives
that there was very little time left in which to prepare for the various
entertainments they had suggested.

"Jumping grasshoppers!" exclaimed Bob whose expletives were often of his
own invention, "I meant to set old Dil at work to-day, clearing a place for
a tent. Dad, we must go over to the city to-morrow, and get a tent, and
some lanterns and flags. We want to make the place look gay and festive."

"Yes, we'll go," said his father, heartily, "and the girls can go with us,
if they like."

"We _do_ like," cried Bumble, "and after we buy the things, won't you take
us to the Zoo, to see the baby hippopotamus?"

"But," said Patty, "I think we ought to stay at home and help Aunt Grace."

"No, no," said her aunt, "there's nothing much to do; I'll get somebody in
to help Hopalong make cakes and jellies, and we can leave the house
decorations until Thursday."

"Yes, that will be best," said Nan, "for to-morrow I'm going over to
Montauk Point for the day, but I'll help all day Thursday."

"We'll all work with more enthusiasm when the day of the party comes," said
Aunt Grace, "and now run along to bed, all of you."

Next day the family rose late, and breakfast was much later, so that it was
noon before they started for New York.

Then Bob proposed that they go to the Zoo first, and do the shopping
afterwards. This they did, and the result was, that, as the animals were so
interesting, after they had seen them all it was too late to go to the
shops.

"Whew! I'd no idea it was so late," said Uncle Ted, looking at his watch;
"but never mind. We'll go home now, and I'll telegraph early in the
morning, and the tent and lanterns can be sent over at once, and we can
easily get them put up in time."

When they reached home they found Aunt Grace entertaining some friends who
had come to spend the day. They were delightful people, and Aunt Grace had
found them so absorbing that she had entirely forgotten to send for an
assistant to prepare dainties for the party.

But nobody seemed to mind, and Patty concluded it was not her place to
comment on the way things were going, at least, not to the Hurly-Burly
people themselves.

But when she wrote that night to her father, she said:

"I'm glad you didn't describe my aunts to me, but let me discover their
traits for myself. For, really, I never would have believed a family
_could_ act like the Barlows. They are out of proportion _every_ way, but,
after all, I can't help loving them, for they are such dear, kind people,
and they _mean_ to do right, only they never do anything."

But as the next day was Thursday, and some things _had_ to be done,
everybody began to hustle and bustle and fly around generally.

Uncle Ted sent to New York by a special messenger for a tent, and a lot of
lanterns and gay bunting, and succeeded in getting them soon after noon.
Then he and Bob and old Dil put the tent up, and hung the lanterns along
the veranda and among the trees.

Nan drove all around the country trying to find a cook to assist Hopalong,
but as none was to be found, Aunt Grace had to go down to the kitchen and
make some of the cakes herself.

Nan and Bumble made sandwiches and squeezed lemons, and somehow the time
slipped away until it was four o'clock, and the house was not yet decorated
and the ice cream hadn't arrived from New York. "Nan, you and Patty fix the
flowers, and I'll take the trap and fly down to the station and see if the
ice cream isn't there," said Bumble, who was very warm and tired, but who
kindly offered to do the most unpleasant errand.

"All right," said Nan, and Bumble drove off in a hurry. That morning the
girls had gathered a quantity of wild flowers and vines for decorations,
and Bumble said she had put them in water, but nobody knew where. So they
hunted in every place they could think of, but to no avail. Bob helped them
and they searched the kitchen, the cellar, and even the barn, but no
flowers could they find. So, as it was nearly five o'clock they gave it up
and ran up-stairs to dress for the party.

And then Patty discovered that the bath tub was filled with the missing
flowers. At risk of being caught by the guests in their every-day attire,
Nan and Patty flew down-stairs and hastily arranged the flowers as well as
they could, and then returned to make their toilettes.

It was now after five, but fortunately no guests had yet arrived.

"Nobody will come before half-past five, anyway," said Nan, as they hastily
scrambled into their frocks.

"They may," replied Patty, "there comes somebody now; oh, it's Bumble."

Bumble came in, panting and breathless.

"I had to bring the ice cream home with me," she said; "there was no one
else to bring it from the station. Wasn't it lucky I went over?"

"Yes, indeed," said Patty, "and now, Bumble dear, rest yourself a little.
Nan and I will receive the guests. Aunt Grace is still in the kitchen."

"Yes," said Bumble, "but the table isn't set yet. We ought to get out the
plates and things. Eunice is frosting cakes, and she can't do it."

"Well, I can do it now," said Patty. "I'm all ready, if you'll just tie my
sash. Nobody is here yet, so I may have a few minutes at least."

But when Patty reached the dining-room the scene was appalling. In the
hurry, nobody had found time to clear away the luncheon dishes, and the
extension table must be made longer and really there was an hour's work
there for somebody.

Patty called Bob to help her, as everybody else was so busy, and the
good-natured boy left what he was doing and came to his cousin's
assistance.

It was six o'clock before everything was in readiness and the family
gathered on the veranda to rest themselves and await their guests.

"Seems to me they're getting pretty fashionable," said Bob; "it's an hour
after the time set, and nobody's here yet."

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