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- Patty's Suitors - 4/45 -


several times.

Then when they tired of this play, a few more dances followed before it was time to go home.

Some attendants came in and whisked away the snow hillocks and floor covering, leaving the ballroom once again in order for dancing.

"Makes me feel young again, to play those kiddy games," said Kenneth, as he was dancing with Patty.

"I like them," returned Patty; "I hate to think that my childhood is over, and I love games of any kind."

"Your childhood will never be over," returned Kenneth; "I think you are the incarnation of youth, and always will be."

"I'm not so much younger than you."

"Five years,--that's a long time at our age. By the way, when are the Hepworths coming home?"

"Next week; and we're planning the loveliest reception for them. You know their apartment is all ready, and we're going to have just a few people to supper there, the night they return."

"Shall I be one of the few?"

"Well, rather! The best man at the wedding must surely be at the home-coming. Doesn't it seem funny to think of Christine as mistress of her own home? She'll be perfectly lovely, I know. My goodness gracious! Ken, what time is it? I'm afraid I'm staying too late. I promised Nan I'd leave at half-past twelve."

"It's not much more than that. Can't you stay for another dance?"

"No, I can't possibly. I must run right away, or my motor car will turn into a pumpkin, and Louise into a white mouse. Take me to Mrs. Homer, please, and I will say good-night to her."

But as they crossed the room, they met Van Reypen coming toward them.

"Our dance, I think," he said, coolly, as he took Patty's hand.

The music had just started, and its beautiful rhythm was too tempting for Patty to resist.

"I'm just on my way home," she said, "but we'll go around the room once, and then I must go."

"Once indeed!" said Philip, gaily; "we won't stop until the music does."

"Yes, we will; I must go now," but somehow or other they circled the room several times. Patty loved dancing, and Philip was one of the best of partners.

But at last she laughingly protested that she really must go home, and they went together to say good-night to their hostess. And then Patty said good-night to Philip, and ran away to the dressing-room, where Louise was patiently waiting for her.

And soon, muffled up in her furs, they were rapidly spinning along toward home.

"I didn't keep you waiting very long, did I, Louise?" said Patty, kindly.

"No, Miss Patty, you're right on time. I expect you would have liked to stay longer."

"Yes, I should, but I promised Mrs. Fairfield not to."

When at last Patty reached her own little boudoir, she declared she was more tired than she had realised. So Louise took off her pretty frock, and Patty sat in her blue silk dressing gown while the maid brushed her hair. Then she brought her a cup of hot milk, and left her for the night.

Patty wasn't sleepy, and she dawdled around her room, now and then sipping the milk, and then looking over her engagements for the next day.

"Oh," she thought, suddenly, "I've left my fan at the party. I'm sorry, for it's my pet fan. Of course it will be safe there, but I think I'll telephone Marie to look it up and put it away."

Knowing that the Homers would not yet have retired, Patty picked up her telephone and called the number.

A masculine voice gave back a cheery "Hello!"

"Is this Mr. Homer?" said Patty.

"No, indeed. I'm Kit Cameron. Who are you, please?"

"Isn't this The Wimbledon apartment house?"

"It sure is."

"Isn't this 6483?"

"No, it's 6843. Please tell me who you are?"

A spirit of mischief entered into Patty. She knew this must be Marie Homer's cousin, who lived on the floor above the Homers, and who, Mrs. Homer had said, detested girls.

"But I have the wrong number," she said. "I didn't mean to call you."

"But since you did call me, you must tell me who you are."

"I'm a captive princess," said Patty, in rather a melancholy tone. "I'm imprisoned in the dungeon of a castle."

"How awful! May I get a squad of soldiers and come to your rescue, oh, fair lady?"

"Nay, nay, Sir Knight; and anyway you do not know that I am a fair lady."

"Your voice tells me that. Surely such musical tones could belong only to the most beautiful princess in the world."

"Oh, yes, I am THAT," and Patty laughed, roguishly; "but a well- behaved princess would not be talking to a strange man. So I must say good-bye."

"Oh, no, no! wait a minute; you haven't told me your name yet."

"And I don't intend to. You detest girls, anyway."

"Yes, I always have, but you see I never met a princess before."

"You haven't met me yet."

"But I shall! Don't make any mistake about that."

"How can you? I'm going to ring off now, and you have no way of tracing me."

"I can find out from Central."

"No, you can't."

"Why can't I?"

"Because I forbid you to do so."

"All right; then I can't find out that way, but I'll find out some other way. I'll go on a quest."

"Goodness, what is a quest?"

"Oh, it just means that I henceforth devote my whole life to finding you."

"But you can't find me, when you don't know my name."

"I'll make up a name for you. I'll call you Princess Poppycheek."

"How could you guess I'm a brunette?"

"I can tell it from your voice. You have snapping black eyes and dark curly hair, and the reddest of red cheeks."

"Exactly right!" exclaimed Patty, giggling to think how far this description was from her blonde pink-and-white type.

"I knew it was right!" exclaimed the voice, exultantly; "and I shall find you very soon."

"Then I shall await your coming with interest. You prefer brunettes, do you?"

"Well, as a matter of fact, I have always admired blondes more, but I'm quite willing to change my tastes for you. Do you sing?"

For answer, Patty sang softly into the telephone, the little song of "Beware, take care, she is fooling thee."

Although she did little more than hum it, Mr. Cameron was greatly impressed with her voice.

"By jove!" he exclaimed. "You CAN sing! Now, I can find you easily. There are not many voices like that in this wicked world."

"Do you sing yourself? But I don't want to know, I haven't the least interest in a stranger, and besides, I'm going to ring off now."

"Oh, wait a minute! I don't sing, but I do something better. Don't ring off, just listen a minute."

Patty listened, and in a moment she heard a violin played softly. It was played by a master hand, and she heard an exquisite rendition of the "Spring Song."

"Beautiful!" she exclaimed, as the last notes died away, and then


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