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- Patty in Paris - 20/31 -
Then they left the hotel, with its quaint old gateway and carefully kept gravel walks, and proceeded on their way to the Chateau.
It was necessary at the entrance to cross a bridge over the moat, and here Patty discovered the reason for feeding the carp.
To begin with, the carp themselves were exceedingly old, and had been swimming around in the same moat for hundreds of years.
"I'm not quite sure of the number of years," volunteered a Boston tourist, to any one who might listen, "but it's either hundreds or thousands. Anyway, the carp are dreadfully old."
"They don't look it," declared Patty, as she leaned over the railing of the bridge and watched the frisky fish darting around like mad.
An old woman sat nearby with a bushel basket full of French rolls, which she was willing to sell to the tourists at prices which increased as her stock of rolls decreased. Patty and Elise bought a quantity of the rolls and began the fun of throwing them to the fishes. It turned out to be even more fun than they had anticipated, for the moment a roll reached the water, scores of carp would make a mad dash for it, and a pitched battle ensued for possession of the bread. Sometimes the roll was torn to pieces in the fight, and sometimes a fortunate carp would secure it and swim away, followed by all the others in angry pursuit. Another roll flung in would, of course, divert their attention, and the squabble would begin all over again. The fun was largely in watching the individual peculiarities of the fishes. One sulky old thing disdained to fight, but if given a roll all to himself he would swim away with it, and sticking his head in a small corner of the stone parapet, would eat it greedily, while he kept off the other fishes by madly lashing his tail. Another brisk little fish didn't seem to care to eat the rolls at all, but mischievously tried to prevent the others from eating them, and played a general game of interference.
The actions of the fish were so ridiculous, and the sport so novel and exciting, that the girls would not leave until they had bought up all the rolls the old woman had and thrown them down to the comical carp.
The personal conductor of the tour affably waited until the moat performance was over, and then conducted his party inside the park to the Chateau.
Though only a toy affair compared with Versailles, Chantilly is one of the most beautiful of the historic Chateaus of France, and is in many respects a gem. The great paved Court of Honor shone white in the sunlight, and the noble statues and sculptures bore witness to the art and taste displayed in its construction.
MAKING A HOME.
The party was marshalled up on the peristyle, where they received, collectively, instructions in a loud voice to leave their sticks and umbrellas before entering the Chateau.
Patty and Elise agreed that the beauty and dignity of the situation was somewhat impaired by the personally conducted effect, but they thought that was compensated for by the funny side of it all. The tourists followed the conductor like a flock of sheep, one or another occasionally straying away for a time, and nearly all of them making notes in little note-books. Indeed, some of them were so intent on their notes that they merely gave glances at the beautiful things exhibited, and spent most of their time scribbling in their books and referring to their Baedekers.
The interior of the Chateau was delightful. As Patty had surmised, it was largely devoted to pictures and relics of the Conde family. She was greatly pleased to discover a gallery of battles which, though not large, illustrated the battles of the great prince who was called the Grand Conde. Although Patty was of a peaceful enough nature, she had a special liking for the glory and grandeur of paintings of battle scenes, and she tarried in this gallery as long as she could.
Both she and Elise adopted the Grand Conde as one of their favourites, and greatly admired the numerous portraits of him, with his handsome face and generally gorgeous effects.
In one of the halls of the Chateau post-cards were on sale, and Patty eagerly looked them over to make the selection she wanted.
But the Personal Conductor discovered that time was flying, and that if he let all of his charges delay over the post-cards, other sights must be omitted.
So he scurried them along through the various galleries and salons, pausing in the Library and the Chapel. The Chapel awed Patty, as the impressive burial places of kings always did, and especially was she interested in a Cippus, which was a receptacle for the hearts of several of the princes of Conde.
"It seems wonderful," she said to Elise, "to take out their hearts and put them all away together like that, but they had strange ways in the times of my friends, the Condes."
"I'm beginning to be very much interested in your friends, the Condes," replied Elise, "and I think, after all, I shall join your French history class this winter."
Then they proceeded to the beautiful park of Chantilly, which was laid out by the same landscape gardener who afterward designed the gardens of Versailles.
The park was enchanting, and the many buildings in it most interesting.
"There's one thing certain," said Patty, "I shall come here some day and camp out for the day in this park and wander around without being personally conducted."
"And I shall do myself the honour to accompany you," said Elise; "I'm sure I can persuade father to send us out here in the car some day and let us play around by ourselves."
All too soon the megaphone's voice called them to start on their homeward trip. Patty and Elise were among the first to take their seats in the great motor car, and as Patty was looking over her beloved post- cards, she suddenly discovered that she had no portrait of her friend, the Grand Prince.
But by good luck she saw a woman standing near, and suspended by a strap round her neck was a tray of post-cards.
Calling the woman to her, Patty made known her desire for a picture of the Grand Conde.
"Oui, oui," exclaimed the woman as she offered various portraits of other members of the Conde family.
"Non, non," cried Patty, shaking her head, vigorously, "le Grand Prince,-le Grand Conde!"
At length the woman discovered the proper card, and when Patty accepted it, and paid her for it, she burst into voluble thanks and begged her to buy more.
Remembering Elise's album, Patty bought another copy of the same picture for that, and then, thinking she would like to take one to Marian, she asked for a third copy.
This the woman did not have in stock, but anxious to please her pretty young patron, she flew over to another post-card vender, of which there seemed to be several near by, and demanded the required card from her. But a search through her stock proved unavailing, and both women, chatting volubly in French, tried to procure one from a third post-card seller.
Patty and Elise became much amused at the excitement they had created, and suddenly to their surprise one of the tourists expressed her desire also for a portrait of the Grand Conde.
Patty surmised at once that she had no particular reason for desiring it save an idea that if it was in such great demand it must be of a special value.
And then following the example of the first, several other tourists set up a clamour for the same picture, and the scene became one of great excitement. The post-card venders put their heads together, and still jabbering rapidly, produced all sorts of portraits which they endeavoured to foist upon the buyers as portraits of the Grand Prince. But the tourists were shrewd, and they knew what they wanted, though they had no idea why they wanted it.
The natural result of this situation was a rise in price of the desired picture. The original price of ten CENTIMES was doubled and then quadrupled, and finally the tourists began to bid for the picture until the affair became an auction.
Patty and Elise were convulsed with laughter at the absurdity of it all, and finally the motor man whizzed away, leaving the Frenchwomen chuckling over their marvelous sales, and carrying some excited tourists, who wondered why they had paid so much for ordinary post- cards.
Patty's recital of the affair at dinner that night greatly amused the Farringtons, and Mr. Farrington declared that the whole scene was typical of human nature.
"As you had cornered the market, Patty," he said, "why didn't you sell your Conde pictures at top prices, or else put them up at auction?"
"For the very good reason that I wanted them myself," replied Patty, "and if I had sold them, perhaps I never could get any more."
"Well, we, too, have achieved an important success to-day," went on Mr. Farrington; "we have secured a foothold in this somewhat uncertain city, and we shall soon have a roof over our heads that we can call our own, for a time, at least."
"Oh, you took the house, then," exclaimed Elise; "how jolly! and when are we going there to live?"
"As soon as it can be made habitable," said Mrs. Farrington; "they call it a furnished house, but it is not at all my idea of furnishing. It's about as well appointed as a summer cottage might be at home. The
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