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- Patty in Paris - 6/31 -
North. Over these snow peaks scrambled white polar bears in most realistic fashion, and in one corner an Esquimau hut was built.
The ceiling represented a clear blue sky, and the floor the blue water of the open polar sea.
By a clever arrangement of electric lights through colored shades a fair representation of the Aurora Borealis was made to appear at intervals.
The library, which was back of the drawing-room, had been transformed into an aquarium. All round the walls, waves of blue-green gauze simulated water, in which papier-mache fish were gliding and swimming. The illusion was heightened by other fishes, which, being suspended from the ceiling by invisible threads, seemed to be swimming through the air.
Altogether the effect, if not entirely realistic, was picturesque and amusing, and coral reefs and rocky cliffs covered with seaweed gave aquatic impressions, even if not entirely logical.
But Nan's pride was what she chose to call the Upper Deck. This was a room on the second floor, a large front room, which had been made to represent the upper deck of a handsome yacht. Sail-cloth draped and held up by poles formed the roof and sides, and a realistic railing surrounded it. A dozen or more steamer chairs stood in line, strewn with rugs, pillows and paper-backed novels. Coils of rope, lanterns, life- preservers, and other paraphernalia added to the realism of the scene, and at one side a carefully constructed window opened into the steward's cabin. The steward himself, white-duck-suited and white-capped, was prepared to serve light refreshments exactly after the fashion of a correct yachting party.
When the guests began to arrive and were dressed in various costumes, each representing some type or phase of water pleasures, the scene took on a gay and festive air.
Patty's kelpie costume was a great success, and the girl never looked prettier than as she stood receiving her guests in the pretty green silk gown, trailing with seaweed and shimmering with silver dust. Her curly golden hair was wreathed with soft green water-grasses, and her rosy cheeks and dancing eyes made her look like a mischievous water sprite.
Nan's own costume was that of a fish-wife, and though very different from Patty's, it had all the picturesqueness of the quaint costume of the Breton fisher-folk. A basket slung over her shoulder held realistic- looking fishes, and Nan looked quite as if she might have stepped out of the frame of a picture in the French Academy.
Mr. Fairfield, not without some difficulty, had been induced to represent Neptune. False flowing white hair and beard, a shining crown and trident, and a voluminous sea-green robe made him a gorgeous sight.
The three stood near the North Pole to receive their guests, and formality was almost lost sight of in the hilarity caused by the procession of picturesque costumes.
There were pirates of fierce and bloodthirsty mien; there were jolly Jack Tars and natty ship officers; there were water babies, mermaids, fishermen, and many dainty yachting costumes. Then there were queer and grotesque figures, such as a frog, a lobster, and a huge crab.
Altogether the motley procession presented a most interesting appearance, and Patty was glad when the guests had all arrived and she could leave her post and mingle with the crowd.
It was not long before a group of Patty's most intimate friends had gathered on the Upper Deck to chat. Patty herself had been snugly tucked into a deck chair by Kenneth, who insisted on showing her just how the proceeding should be accomplished.
"Nothing shows your ignorance, my child, on board ship," he was saying, "like not knowing how to manage your steamer rug and pillow."
"But," said Patty, "I shall then have on a suitable gown that will stand rough usage; but I beg of you, Ken, stop tucking that rug around my delicate kelpie decorations.
"Oh," said Kenneth, "you're a kelpie, then! Strange I didn't recognise you at once, but I so rarely meet kelpies in the best society. Now I'm Captain Kidd."
"Are you?" cried Elise gaily; "now I had an idea you were Admiral Farragut; but then one so rarely meets Captain Kidd in the best society."
"That's so," said Kenneth; "and think how long it will be, girls, before you have the pleasure of meeting this particular Captain Kidd in any society. I tell you, I envy you. You're going to have the time of your life in Paris, and I wish to goodness I could go along with you."
"Oh, do, Kenneth," cried Patty; "we'd have just the best time ever! Can't you give up college and put in a lot of study over there?"
"No, indeed, I can't; I'm only just wishing I could. There's no harm in wishing, you know. But if you'll stay until next summer, perhaps I'll come over and see you during vacation, and then we can all come home together."
"That would be fine," said Elise, "and we're just as likely to stay until summer as not. But then, on the other hand, we're just as likely to come home as soon as we get there. You never can tell what those absurd parents of mine are going to do."
Meantime a strange-looking figure was walking across the Upper Deck toward the group that surrounded Patty. It was impossible not to recognise the character, which was meant to be a representation of Noah. But it was the well-known Noah of the children's Noah's ark, and the straight-up-and-down, tightly fitting brown garment, with yellow buttons down the front, was exactly like the patriarch as shown in the wooden toys. A flat, broad-brimmed hat sat squarely on his head, and as he held his arms straight down at his side, and as his cheeks bore little round daubs of red paint, Mr. Hepworth was exactly like a gigantic specimen of the nursery Noah.
He came across the deck with a staggering, uncertain motion, as if the ship were rolling and pitching about. His realistic acting made them all laugh, and when he dropped into a deck chair and, calling the steward, asked faintly for a cup of weak tea, Patty declared she believed she wouldn't go to Paris after all.
"For I'm sure," she said, "that I don't want to go wabbling across a deck and looking as ill and woebegone as you do."
Mr. Hepworth smiled at her. "You'll have so many remedies and preventives given you," he said, "and you'll be so busy pitching them overboard that you won't have time to be seasick. Really I don't believe you'll think of such a thing all the way over, let alone experiencing it."
"You're a great comfort," said Patty heartily; "you always tell me the most comforting things. Now everybody else declares that after I've been at sea for a day I'll be so ill that I won't care whether I live or die."
"Nonsense," declared Mr. Hepworth; "don't pay any attention to such croakings."
"I agree with you," said Elise. "I've made up my mind that I'm not going to be seasick, but I'm going to have a perfectly jolly time all the way across."
"Of course you'll have jolly times," said Marian, who was in one of her doleful moods; "but think of us who are left behind! We won't have any jolly time until you come back again."
"Oh, I don't know!" said Kenneth. "Of course I'm devoted to these two girls, but I'm not going to let it blight my young existence and crush my whole career, just because I have to live without them for six months."
"But you don't love Patty as I do," said Marian with a sigh, as she gazed at her adored cousin.
"No, Marian, I don't," said Kenneth; "not as YOU do, for I assume that you love her as a first cousin. Now my affection for Patty is more on the order of a grandmother's brother-in-law once removed. You can't be too careful about the exact type of attachment you feel for a young lady, and I think that expresses my regard for Patty. Now toward Elise I feel more like a great niece's uncle's brother-in-law. There is a very subtle distinction between the two, but I know that both girls are acutely aware of the exact kind and degree of my regard for them."
"I am, anyway," said Patty; "and I must say, Ken, that it's much easier to leave you, with that definite affection of yours, than it is to go away from Marian and leave her floundering in her deep and somewhat damp woe."
Marian vouchsafed a sad sort of smile, and said it was all very well for them to make fun of her, but she couldn't help missing Patty.
"Nobody can help missing Patty," declared Mr. Hepworth; "and for my part, if I find that I miss her very much I shall go straight over to Paris and bring her back."
"I hope you will," cried Patty; "that is, I hope you'll come over, and perhaps we can persuade you not to be in such a dreadful hurry to come back."
"I had expected to run over in the early spring, anyway," said Mr. Hepworth carelessly, as if it were a matter of no moment; "I want to do certain French sketches that I've had my mind on for some time."
"Well, if you do come," said Elise cordially, "come right to our house and I know we can put you up. The Farringtons are erratic, but always hospitable; and I hereby invite this whole crowd to visit us in Paris, either jointly or severally, whenever the spirit moves you."
"If I find a spirit that can move me over to Paris, I shall come often," declared Kenneth; "but I'm afraid I'm too substantially built to be wafted across the ocean in the clutches of any spirit."
Just then the notes of a bugle sounded clear and sweet from below.
"That's the ship's bugler," declared Mr. Hepworth, "and that's the bugle call for supper. Shall we go down and refresh ourselves?"
"Yes, indeed," cried Patty, jumping from her nest of steamer rugs; "I'm as hungry as a hawk."
But it somehow happened that all of the gay young crowd left the Upper Deck to go to the supper room before Patty and Mr. Hepworth started. He
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