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- Patty in Paris - 8/31 -


"But you're not keeping your promise," said Kenneth, detaining her.

"What promise?"

"You said you'd wear the locket on Saturdays, and to-day is Saturday."

Patty was a little embarrassed. She knew if she went back to the group with the trinket hanging round her neck, every one would know at once that Kenneth had given it to her, and they would surmise far more than the simple, truth. And she was especially conscious that Mr. Hepworth would notice it, and would think it meant all Kenneth had wanted it to mean, which was far more than she had accepted it as meaning.

Kenneth saw her hesitation and stood watching her.

"Wear it, dear," he said quietly; "an old friend like myself has a perfect right to give you a little keepsake." Then Patty had an inspiration. She clasped the little chain about her neck and then tucked the locket down inside her collar so that it was entirely out of sight.

"You little witch!" cried Kenneth as she raised her laughing eyes to his; "but at any rate you're wearing it, and that's all I asked of you."

"Yes," said Patty; and, as gaily and unaffectedly as a child, she grasped Kenneth's hand and ran down the long deck to join the others.

Although determined to ignore the episode, Patty's cheeks bore a heightened colour and she let poor Kenneth severely alone, devoting her attention to the others.

But it was nearly time: for the last farewell to be said, and indeed some of the party had said good-bye and left the steamer.

And then again Patty was carried off for a little confidential talk at the other end of the deck, and this time it was by her father.

He seemed to have many final bits of advice to give her regarding the minutiae of her journey, her money matters, her relation toward the Farringtons, and her correct demeanour in many ways.

"I'm not at all afraid to trust you out of my sight, Patty, girl," he said, "for I have absolute faith in your common sense and your good judgment. I know you won't do anything wrong or unladylike, but I want to warn you, my little girl, not to get mixed up in any romantic adventures. You're altogether too young for that sort of thing, and I warn you I sha'n't allow you to be engaged to anybody for years and years to come." Patty laughed merrily at this. "Indeed, papa," she said, "nothing is further from my mind than any such performance as you suggest, and I haven't the slightest desire to think of being engaged until I'm at least as old as Nan. And anyway, I don't believe anybody would like me well enough to want to be engaged to me. Oh--that is-- unless it might be Kenneth."

And then Patty told her father the whole story of Kenneth and the locket.

"You did just right, Patty," said her father. "Kenneth is a nice boy, but he is altogether too young, and you are, too, to attach any sentimental significance to his gift. Wear the locket if you want to, or when you want to, but let it be understood that it means nothing more than the merest friendly keepsake."

"Yes, that's just what I think," said Patty, with an air of satisfaction at this prosaic settlement of the subject. "Oh, papa, you're the only one I'm going to miss very much, you and Nan; but especially you."

"I know it, my girl; we have been a great deal to each other all these years, and of course we shall miss each other. But the time will soon pass away, and since we have to part we must be brave about it, and we must not spoil the happiness of it by the sorrow of it."

"Dear papa," said Patty, squeezing his hand, "you are always so wise and good. That's just the point; we must not spoil the happiness by the sorrow, though that is what Marian is always trying to do. Poor Marian, she's such a pathetic creature; I wish she would cheer up."

"I think she will, Patty. Nan and I are going to take her home with us and keep her for a fortnight or more, and we'll make her so gay that she'll forget you're gone."

"Good for you, papa; that's lovely! You do think of the nicest things for people!"

"Well, now, chickabiddy, I suppose I'll have to leave you. Keep up a good heart and a spirit of cheerfulness. Stick to your sense of proportion and your sense of humor. Remember that the time will soon pass, and pass happily, too; and then you'll come sailing back to this very dock, and I'll be here waiting for you."

They rejoined the group and then the farewells began in earnest. Patty was embraced and kissed by all the girls, until Nan declared there would be nothing left for her to say good-bye to. The men shook hands and expressed hearty good wishes, and with one last kiss from her father Patty was left alone with the Farringtons.

As the steamer sailed away there was much waving of handkerchiefs and flags, and the friends on shore were kept in sight just as long as possible.

But when they could no longer be distinguished, Patty said: "Come on, Elise; let's do something to occupy our minds, or I feel sure I shall cry like a baby in spite of my noble and brave resolutions."

"All right," said Elise, "I'm with you. Let's go down and put things to rights in our stateroom."

So down they went on their errand. The girls were to share the same stateroom, and as it was large and conveniently arranged, they were glad to be together. But as they entered the door they nearly fell over in astonishment, for sitting on the sofa, with his paws extended in welcome, was a very large, very white, and very fleecy "Teddy Bear." In one paw he held a card on which was written:

Oh Patty dear, Oh Elise dear, We don't want you to go away; But if you will, Keep with you still This merry little stowaway.

CHAPTER VI

THE OLD MA'AMSELLE

The girls laughed heartily over the Teddy Bear, and agreed that it was a delightful companion for their trip. Elise set him up on the little shelf above the washstand, and he gazed down upon them like a fat and good-natured patron saint. Patty named him Yankee Doodle, and gave him an American flag to hold; but Elise, not wishing to seem to slight the French nation, gave him a silken tri-colour of France to hold in his other paw. Apparently unprejudiced in his sympathies, Yankee Doodle held both flags, and continued to wear his jolly and complacent grin.

It was great fun for the girls to arrange their stateroom. As they expected to occupy it for the next ten days, they proceeded to make it as homelike as possible. They both had so many cabin bags and wall pockets and basket catchalls which had been parting gifts that it was difficult to find wall space for them all. Patty was to occupy the lower berth and Elise the wide and comfortable sofa. For they concluded they could chatter better if on a level. This left the upper berth as a broad shelf for books and magazines, boxes of candy, and all the odds and ends of their belongings.

"Isn't it perfectly wonderful," said Patty, "to think we are already miles away from land, and dancing away over this blue water!"

As Patty was standing on the sofa, with her head stuck out through the porthole, Elise could not hear a word of this speech; so unless the fishes were interested it was entirely lost. But this mattered little to Patty, and soon she pulled her head in and made the same remark over again.

"Well," said Elise, who was matter-of-fact, "when people take passage on an ocean steamer they often expect to get a few miles away from land after they start."

"Oh, Elise," cried Patty, "have you no imagination? Of course it isn't wonderful to consider the FACT of our sailing out to sea, but the IDEA of dancing away over the blue water is poetic and therefore wonderful."

"I'm glad you explained it to me, and I dare say the more the ship dances, the more wonderful it will be. And so let's get these things straightened out before the dancing grows mad and hilarious."

"All right," said Patty good-naturedly; and she went to work with a will, stowing away things and tacking up things, until everything was snugly in place.

Mrs. Farrington's maid accompanied the party, but both Elise and Patty, being energetic young Americans, had small use for her services. She was a help, though, in the matter of back buttons and hair ribbons, and she came now rapping at the stateroom door with a message from Mrs. Farrington that the girls were to dress for dinner. At the same moment the pretty bugle-call rang out that marked the half hour before dinner- time.

"Isn't it fun," cried Patty, "to have the dressing-bell a trumpet? Except at my own party the other night I've never been bugled to my meals. What shall we wear, Elise?"

"Not our prettiest dresses. We must save those for the concert, or whatever gaieties they may have. Put on that blue checked silk of yours, Patty; it's the sweetest thing, and just right for dinner, and I'll wear my light green one."

With slight assistance from Lisette, the French maid, they were soon ready. Patty envied Lisette her fluency in the French tongue, for though all the officers on board and most of the passengers spoke English, Patty wished she could talk French more readily than she did. She found it good practice to talk to Lisette in her own language, as the mistakes she made did not embarrass her. Lisette, of course, was a great admirer of pretty Patty, and was only too glad to be of assistance to her linguistically or any other way.

Another bugle-call announced dinner, and, joining Mr. and Mrs.


Patty in Paris - 8/31

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