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- Patty's Butterfly Days - 2/40 -
that comes off."
"Yes," chimed in Lora Sayre, "we can't get along without our Pitty-Pat. DO don't go away, Sunshine!"
"But suppose I want to go," said Patty, bravely trying to treat the subject lightly; "suppose I'm just crazy to go to that stunning big hotel up in the White Mountains, and have the time of my life!"
"Suppose the moon is made of green pumpkins!" scoffed Jack. "You don't want to go at all, and you know it! And then, think of the girls,--and boys,--you leave behind you! Your departure is a national calamity. We mourn our loss!"
"We do so!" agreed Beatrice. "Why, Patty, I'm going to have a house party next week, and we'll have lots of fun going on. Can't you wait over for that?"
"No, I can't," and Patty spoke a little shortly, for these gay plans made her long more than ever to stay at Spring Beach. "So don't let's talk any more about me. Tell me about the Pageant,-- will it be fine?"
"Oh, yes," said Jack, "the biggest thing ever. Sort of like a Durbar, you know, with elephants and--"
"No, it isn't going to be like that," said Lora. "They've given up that plan. It's going to be ever so much nicer than that! They're going to have--"
"Don't tell me!" cried Patty, laughing, as she clapped her hands over her ears. "I'd rather not hear about it! I suppose you'll be queen of it, whatever it is, Lora?"
"I'll have a chance at it, if you're not here! That's the only comfort about your going away. Somebody else can be the Belle of Spring Beach for a time."
The good-natured laughter in Lora's eyes took all sting from her words, and, indeed, it was an acknowledged fact that Pretty Patty was the belle of the little seashore colony.
"I'm awfully sorry about it," began Nan, but Patty stopped her at once.
"There's nothing to be sorry about, Madame Nan," she cried, gaily; "these provincial young people don't appreciate the advantages of travel. They'd rather stay here in one place than jog about the country, seeing all sorts of grand scenery and sights! Once I'm away from this place I shall forget all about its petty frolics and its foolish parties."
"Yes, you WILL!" exclaimed Jack, not at all impressed by Patty's statements, for he knew how untrue they were.
"And the Country Club summer dance!" said Beatrice, regretfully. "Patty, how can you be reconciled to missing that? It's the event of the season! A fancy dance, you know. A sort of Kirmess. Oh, DON'T go away!"
"Don't go away!" echoed Lora, and Jack broke into one of the improvised songs for which he was famous:
"Don't go away from us, Patty, Patty, We can't part with the likes of you! Stay, and be Queen of the Pageant, Patty, Patty, Patty, tender and true. Though you are not very pretty, Patty, Though you are liked by a very few; We will put up with you, Patty, Patty,-- Patty, Patty, stay with us, do!"
The rollicking voice and twinkling eyes, which were Jack's chief charms, made Patty laugh outright at his song. But, not to be outdone in fun, and also, to keep herself from growing serious, she sang back at him:
"I don't want to stay at this place, I don't like it any more! I am going to the mountains, Where I've never been before. I shall tramp the mountain pathways, I shall climb the mountain's peak; I don't want to stay in this place, So I'll go away next week!"
"All right for you!" declared Jack. "Go on, and joy go with you! But don't you send me any picture postcards of yourself lost in a perilous mountain fastness,--'cause I won't come and rescue you. So there!"
"What is a mountain fastness?" demanded Patty. "It sounds frisky."
"It isn't," replied Jack; "it's a deep gorge, with ice-covered walls and no way out; and as the darkness falls, dreadful growls are heard on all sides, and wild animals prowl--and prowl--and prow-ow-owl!"
Jack's voice grew deep and terrible, as he suggested the awful situation, but Patty laughed gaily as she said:
"Well, as long as they keep on prowling, they certainly can't harm me. It all sounds rather interesting. At any rate, the ice-covered walls sound cool. You must admit Spring Beach is a hot place."
"All places are hot in hot weather," observed Beatrice, sapiently; "when there's an ocean breeze, it's lovely and cool here."
"Yes," agreed Lora, "when there IS. But there 'most generally ISN'T. To-day, I'm sure the thermometer must be about two hundred."
"That's your heated imagination," said Jack. "It's really about eighty-four in the shade."
"Let's move around into the shade, then," said Patty. "This side of the veranda is getting sunny."
So the young people went round the corner of the house to a cooler spot, and Nan expressed her intention of going down to the train to meet Mr. Fairfield.
"You people," began Patty, after Nan had left them, "mustn't talk as you do about my going away, before my stepmother. You see, we're going because she wants to go, but it isn't polite to rub it in!"
"I know it," said Beatrice, "but I forgot it. But, I say, Patty, I think it's too bad for you to be trailed off there just to please her."
"Not at all, Bee. She has stayed here three months to please me, and turn about is fair play."
"It's Fairfield play, at any rate," put in Jack. "You're a trump, Patty, to take it so sweetly. I wish you didn't have to go, though."
"So say we all of us," declared Lora, but Patty ordered them, rather earnestly, to drop the subject and not refer to it again.
"You must write me all about the Pageant, girls," she went on.
"Can't I write too, though I'm not a girl?" asked Jack.
"No!" cried Patty, holding up her hands in pretended horror. "I couldn't receive a letter from a young man!"
"Oh, try it," said Jack, laughing. "I'll help you. You've no idea how easy it is! Have you never had a letter from a man?"
"From papa," said Patty, putting the tip of her finger in her mouth, and speaking babyishly.
"Papa, nothing! You get letters from those New York chaps, don't you, now?"
"Who New York chaps?" asked Patty, opening her eyes wide, with an over-innocent stare.
"Oh, that Harper kid and that Farrington cub and that Hepworth old gentleman!"
"What pretty pet names you call them! Yes, I get letters from them, but they're my lifelong friends."
"That's the position I'm applying for. Don't you need one more L. L. F.?" But Patty had turned to the girls, and they were counting up what few parties were to take place before Patty went away.
"I'd have a farewell party myself," said Patty, thoughtfully, "but there's so little time now, and Nan's pretty busy. I hate to bother her with it. You see, we leave next week,--Thursday."
"And our house party comes that very day!" said Beatrice, regretfully. "And Captain Sayre is coming. He's the most stunning man! He's our second cousin, and older than we are, but he's just grand, isn't he, Lora?"
"Yes; and he'd adore Patty. Oh, girlie, DON'T go!"
"I think I'll kidnap Patty," said Jack. "The day they start, I'll waylay the party as they board the train, and carry Patty off by force."
"You'd have to get out a force of militia," laughed Patty. "My father Fairfield is of a sharp-eyed disposition. You couldn't carry off his daughter under his nose."
"Strategy!" whispered Jack, in a deep, mysterious voice. "I could manage it, somehow, I'm sure."
"Well, it wouldn't do any good. He'd just come back after me, and we'd take the next train. But, oh, girls, I do wish I could stay here! I never had such a disappointment before. I've grown to love this place; and all you people; and my dear Camilla!" Patty's blue eyes filled with real tears, as she dropped her light and bantering manner, and spoke earnestly.
"It's a shame!" declared Jack, as he noted the drops trembling on
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