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- Patty in Paris - 31/31 -


are going away from Paris so soon."

"Well, I'm glad we're not going away," said Elise; "at any rate, not just yet. How much longer do you suppose we shall stay here, mother?"

"I don't know, my child; but I'm getting about ready to go home. What do you think, Patty?"

"Since you ask me, I must confess I should like to stay a while longer. But if you're going home, Mrs. Farrington, I feel pretty sure we shall all travel on the same boat."

CHAPTER XXI

A SURPRISE

But nothing more was said about going home, and the weeks slipped by until it was March.

Everything seemed to be winding itself up. Patty's music term was finished; Elise's drawing lessons were nearing their close for the season, and Mrs. Farrington, though she said nothing about going home, somehow seemed to be quietly getting ready.

Patty didn't exactly understand the attitude of her hostess. If she were going home soon, Patty wanted to know it; and one day she laughingly said so.

"I suppose," said Mrs. Farrington, looking at her quizzically, "it's not unnatural that you should want to know when you're going to see your native land again; but truly, Patty, I cannot tell you. I'll promise you this, though: to-morrow you'll know more about it than you do to-day."

Patty was mystified at this, for Mrs. Farrington's tone was even more enigmatical than her words.

"And wait a minute, girls," said Mrs. Farrington, as they were about to go to their rooms to dress for dinner; "put on your pretty new dresses to-night, will you?"

"Why, mother?" said Elise in astonishment; "those are company gowns, and there's no company here!"

"No, there's no company here, but put them on, as I tell you. I want to see how they look."

"I don't see what's the matter with mother," said Elise, as they went upstairs; "she's been restless and fidgety all day. And now the idea of telling us to put on those new frocks!"

"I just as lieve do it," said Patty; "they're awfully pretty ones, and I want to see how they look myself."

When the girls went downstairs they found Mrs. Farrington already in the drawing-room.

She herself wore a more elaborate toilette than usual, and there seemed to be an extra abundance of flowers and lights.

"What is the matter?" said Elise. "There's something about the atmosphere of this house that betokens a party; but I don't see any party. Is there any party, mother?"

"I don't see any, my child," said Mrs. Farrington, smiling.

"Where's father?" asked Elise.

"He's out," said her mother; "we're waiting for dinner until he comes."

Just then a ring was heard at the front door-bell.

"There's your father now," said Mrs. Farrington abruptly; "Patty, my dear, won't you run up to my bedroom and get me my vinaigrette?"

"Why, you have it on, Mrs. Farrington," said Patty, in surprise; "it's hanging from your chatelaine."

"Oh, yes, of course; so it is! But I mean my other one--my gold one. Oh, no; I don't want two vinaigrettes, do I? I mean, won't you run up and get me a handkerchief?"

"Why, mother!" exclaimed Elise, in surprise; "ring for Lisette, or at least let me go. Don't send Patty."

"No, I want Patty to go," said Mrs. Farrington decidedly. "Please go, my child, and get me a handkerchief from the drawer in my dressing-table. Get the one that is fourth from the top, in the second pile."

"Certainly," said Patty, and she ran upstairs, wondering what whim possessed her hostess to send her guest, though ever so willing, on her errand.

Patty had some little difficulty in finding the right handkerchief, in spite of the explicit directions, and when she again reached the drawingroom Mr. Farrington was there, and both he and his wife were smiling broadly. Elise, too, seemed overcome with merriment, and Patty paused in the doorway, saying: "What is the matter with you people? Please let me into the joke, too!"

"Do you want to know what is the matter?" asked Mrs. Farrington, as she took the handkerchief from Patty's hand. "Well, go and look behind those curtains, and see what's in the alcove."

"I suppose," said Patty, as she deliberately walked the length of the long drawing-room, "you've been buying the Venus of Milo, and it's just been sent home, and you've set it up here behind these curtains. Well, I shall be pleased to admire it, I'm sure!"

She drew the crimson curtains apart, and right before her, instead of a marble statue, stood her father and Nan!

Then such an exciting time as there was!

Patty threw her arms around them both at once, and everybody was laughing, and they all talked at the same time, and Patty understood at last why they had been directed to put on their new dresses.

"Can it be possible that this is my little girl!" exclaimed Mr. Fairfield, as he drew Patty down up on his knee, quite as he used to when she was really a little girl.

"Nonsense!" cried Nan; "you haven't changed a bit, Patty, except to grow about half an inch taller, and to be wearing a remarkably pretty dress."

"And you people haven't changed a bit, either," declared Patty; "and oh, I'm SO glad to see you!"

She flew back and forth from one of her parents to the other, pinching them, to make sure, as she said, that they were really there.

"And now tell me all about it," she said, looking at the others; "did you all know they were coming?"

"No," said Mrs. Farrington; "Mr. Farrington and I have known it for some weeks, but we didn't dare tell Elise, for she's such a chatterbox she never could have kept the secret, and we wanted so much to surprise you."

"Well, you HAVE surprised me," said Patty; "and it's the loveliest surprise I ever had. Oh, what fun it will be to take you benighted people around to see Paris."

So Elise declared it was a party after all, and the dinner was a very merry one, and the whole evening was spent in gay chatter about the winter just past, and making plans for the summer to come.

Patty didn't gather very definitely what these plans were, but she soon learned that Mr. and Mrs. Fairfield had come to Paris really to get her, and then they were going on to London; and where else, Patty neither knew nor cared.

The Farringtons were to return soon to America, and so the whole change of outlook was so sudden that Patty was bewildered.

"You look as if you didn't quite know yet what has happened," said Mr. Fairfield to Patty, as the whole party stood in the hall saying their good-nights.

"I don't, papa," said Patty; "but I'm very happy. I've had a delightful winter, and Mr. and Mrs. Farrington have been most beautifully kind, and Elise is just the dearest chum in the world; but you know, papa, home is where the heart is, and my heart belongs just to you and Nan, and so now I feel that I am home again at last."

"And we're mighty glad to have you, little girl, again in our heart and home. It was pretty lonesome without you all winter in New York. But now we're all three together again, and we'll help each other enjoy the good time that's coming."

"It seems too good to be true," said Patty, as she kissed her parents good-night, and ran away to all sorts of happy dreams.


Patty in Paris - 31/31

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