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- Patty's Butterfly Days - 6/40 -
"Yes; just that, Susan. Could you do it?"
"Av coorse I cud do it, if you be wantin' me to; but wud I look good enough, Miss?"
"You'd look all right, after I dressed you; but, Susan, could you talk with less,--less accent?"
"Me brogue, is it, Miss? Faith, an' I fear I can't be after conquerin' that! It's born in me."
"Patty," said Mona, "I think your scheme is crazy,--perfectly CRAZY! But--if you really mean it, I'll tell you that I HAVE an Irish aunt,--at least, sort of Scotch-Irish,--and if we pass Susan off for her, the--the ACCENT won't matter."
"Just the thing!" cried Patty, gleefully. "I see my way clear now! It IS a crazy plan, Mona, I admit that,--but do you know of any better?"
"No; but, Patty, think a minute. Of course, the truth will leak out, and what will people say?"
"No, it won't leak out,--and, if it did, what harm? Susan is a nice, respectable woman, and as a member of my family is capable of chaperoning me in her own personality. But I choose this other game because it's more fun. I shall dress her up in,--in,--Susan, you couldn't wear a gown of Mrs. Fairfield's, could you?"
"The saints presarve us, Miss Patty, it wuddent go halfway round me!"
"No; so it wouldn't. Well, I'll find something. Oh, there's a gown in the attic that Mrs. Alien left here--she's Nan's mother, Mona,- -that will be just right. It's grey satin and silver lace. Oh, Susan, you'll look GREAT!"
Mona still seemed a trifle unconvinced.
"Patty," she said, "you know I usually think what you do is all right,--but this,--well, this seems so very crazy."
"Mona, my child," said Patty, serenely, "I warned you that our ways might clash, and you said I might do exactly as I chose while at 'Red Chimneys.'"
"So I did, Patty,--and so I do. I'll go home now, and leave the rest of this performance to you. Come over soon, won't you?"
"Yes," said Patty, "I'll be there for dinner. Good-bye, Mona."
After Mona had gone, Patty turned to Susan.
"You know, Susan, this is to be a dead secret. Don't ever tell anybody. And you must obey my orders implicitly. I'll pay you something extra for your trouble."
"Sure, it's no trouble at all, Miss Patty. I'd do anything for ye, whativer. But you must be afther tellin' me just what to do."
"Of course I will. And, first of all, Susan, you must go home,--I mean, to your sister's,--get your dinner there, and then come to 'Red Chimneys' about half-past seven and ask for me. They'll bring you right up to my room, and I'll dress you up as I think best. Then we'll take you down to the drawing-room, and all you'll have to do, Susan, is to sit there all the evening in a big easy chair. Can you knit, Susan?"
"Yes, Miss Patty."
"Well, bring a piece of knitting work, not an old grey thing,--a piece of nice, fleecy white wool work. Have you any?"
"I've not, Miss, but I'll get some white yarn from my sister, and start a shawl or a tippet."
"Yes; do that. Then you just sit there, you know, and knit and glance around the room now and then, and smile benignly. Can you smile benignly, Susan?"
Susan tried, and after one or two lessons from Patty, was pronounced proficient in that art.
"Then, Susan, if there's music, you must listen, and wag your head in appreciation, so! When we dance, you must look on with interest and again smile benignly. Not many of the young people will talk to you, except to be introduced at first, but if they do, answer them pleasantly, and use your brogue as little as possible. Do you understand, Susan?"
And as Susan possessed the quick wit and ready adaptability of her race, she did see; and as she adored her young mistress above any one on earth, she was only too willing to please her; and, too, the occasion had its charms for a good-hearted, hard-working Irishwoman.
She declared her willingness to obey Patty's orders, promised to keep it all a profound secret, and then went away to her sister's house until the appointed time.
A PERFECTLY GOOD CHAPERON
It was nearly six o'clock when Patty reached "Red Chimneys." She carried a bandbox, and Miller, who followed her, carried a large suitcase, and various other parcels.
Mona met them at the door, and, directing that the luggage be sent to Patty's rooms, she carried her visitor off to her own boudoir.
"Patty," she began, "I can't let you carry out that ridiculous scheme! I'm going to telephone to the young people not to come."
"Haven't telephoned yet, have you?" enquired Patty, carelessly, as she flung herself into an easy-chair, and made vigorous use of a large fan.
"No; I waited to tell you. But I'm going to begin now," and Mona lifted a telephone receiver from its hook.
"Oh, I wouldn't," said Patty, smiling at her hostess. "You see, I've set my heart on having this party, and I'd hate to have you upset it."
But, Patty, consider how--"
"Consider,--cow--consider! Well, my fair lady, I have considered, and I must request you to hang up that telephone, and trust all to me."
When Patty adopted this tone, playful but decided, Mona knew she could do nothing with her. So she hung up the receiver, but she still showed a troubled expression as she looked questioningly at pretty Patty.
But that provoking young person only smiled at her, and slowly waved her big fan.
"Awfully warm, even yet, isn't it?" she said. "What time is dinner, Mona? I've a lot to do before that party of yours comes off."
"I ordered dinner early, so we'd have time to dress afterward. Come, Patty, I'll show you your rooms."
The two girls rose, and standing in front of Mona, Patty began to smooth the lines from the other's brow, with her own finger tips.
"There there," she said; "don't worry. Trust all to Smarty-Patty! She'll do the trick. And just turn up the corners of your mouth a little, so!"
Patty poked her forefingers into Mona's cheeks till she made her smile, and then Mona gave up.
"All right, Patty," she said. "I said you should have your own way, and so you shall! Get Miller to chaperon us, if you want to,- -I won't say a word! Now, come on with me."
She led Patty across the hall to the suite of rooms prepared for her. Like everything else at "Red Chimneys," it was on a far grander scale than Patty's own home.
There was a boudoir, bedroom, dressing-room, and bath, all fitted up in the prettiest, daintiest manner.
The ivory-tinted walls showed panels of rose-coloured brocade, ornate with gilded decorations in Empire style. The marquetry furniture and bisque ornaments carried out the scheme, and though elaborate, the rooms were most attractive and comfortable.
Patty herself preferred simpler furnishings, but she knew that Mona didn't, and she exclaimed with delight at the beauty of appointments.
"It's out best suite," said Mona, complacently, "and I've had it fixed up freshly for you."
"It's charming," declared Patty, "and I know I shall be very happy here,--IF I can have my own way!" She smiled as she spoke, but she was in earnest, too, for Mona was dictatorial by nature, and Patty by no means proposed to be tyrannised over.
"You shall, Patty! All the time you are here, your word shall be law in this house, both over the servants and myself."
"Oh, I can manage the servants," cried Patty, gaily. "I'm rather good at that. Now, if I can only manage you!"
"You can! I'll prove so manageable and docile, you'll scarcely know me!"
So, having flown her colours, Patty wagged her head sagaciously as Mona went away. "I think, Miss Fairfield," she observed to her reflection in a gold-garlanded mirror, "that you're in for a
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