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- Patty's Suitors - 6/45 -
know; of course the rooms ought to be beautiful. It is a lovely place, and just the right setting for that darling of a Christine."
The whole merry crowd were assembled in the living-room, when the bride and groom arrived. A shout of welcome went up from the young people, and Christine was smothered in girlish embraces, while the men vigorously shook Mr. Hepworth's hand, or clapped him on the shoulder, in their masculine way of congratulation.
Christine looked very sweet and smiling, in a pretty travelling gown, but Patty carried her off at once and insisted that she get into a house gown.
"The idea," said Patty, "of a hostess in a high-collared frock and all her guests in evening dress!"
So Christine quickly changed to a little chiffon gown of pale green and Patty tucked a pink rose in her hair and some more in her belt.
"Now you look like a bride," said Patty, nodding approval at her, and leading her to a mirror; "look at that vision of beauty! Aren't you glad I made you change?"
"Yes, ma'am," said Christine, in mock humility; "it's much better so."
The evening was a merry one. They danced and they sang and they chatted and finally they had the delightful supper that Patty had ordered.
Christine, blushing prettily, took the head of the table, while Gilbert Hepworth, with a proud air of proprietorship, sat at the other end.
Patty, as guest of honour, sat at the right hand of her host.
"It has always been my aspiration," she said, with a beaming smile at Christine, "to have a married friend to visit. I warn you, Christine, I shall spend most of my time here. There's one little nook of a bedroom I claim as my own and I expect to occupy it very frequently. And, besides, I have to give you lessons in housekeeping. You're a great artist, I know, but you must learn to do lots of other things beside paint."
"I wish you would, Patty," and the little bride looked very much in earnest; "I truly want to keep house, but being an artist and a Southern girl both, I don't believe I'm very capable."
"You're a blessed dear, that's what YOU are"; and Patty turned to Hepworth, saying, "Isn't she?"
"Yes, indeed," he returned; "I've only just begun to realise the beautiful qualities in her nature. And it is to you, Patty, that I owe my happiness. I shall never forget what you did in order that Christine might come to New York."
"And now we are surprised at the result," said Patty, who never could be serious for long at a time. "Come on, people, you've had enough supper, let's have one more dance and then we must go home and leave these turtledoves to their own nest."
But the one dance proved to mean several, until at last Patty said, "This will never do! Christine is all tired out, and as the superintendent of this party I order you all to go home at once."
The others laughingly agreed, except Philip Van Reypen, who came near Patty and murmured, "You haven't danced with me once to-night, and you've been awful cruel to me lately, anyway. Now let us have one more dance in honour of the bride's home-coming."
"No," said Patty, firmly, "not another dance to-night."
"Just a part of one, then," begged Philip; but Patty was inexorable.
And so the merry crowd dispersed, Patty lingering a moment to give Christine a good-night kiss and wish her every blessing and happiness in her new home.
"And I have you to thank for it all, Patty dear," said Christine, her blue eyes looking lovingly into Patty's own.
"Nonsense, thank your own sweet self. You well deserve the happiness that has come to you. And now good-night, dear; I'll be over some time to-morrow."
The laughing group went away, and as it had been planned, Mona took Patty home in her car.
"I wish you'd go on home with me, Patsy," said Mona, as they rolled along toward Patty's house.
"Can't possibly do it. I've a thousand and one things to look after to-morrow morning."
"But it isn't late; really it's awfully early. And I'll send you home early to-morrow morning."
"No, I mustn't, really, Mona. I have to look after some things for the Happy Saturday Club, which it won't do to neglect. And I want to run over to Christine's to-morrow morning, too. I have some things to take to her."
"Do you know, Patty, I think they're an awfully humdrum couple."
"Who? The Hepworths? Oh, I don't think humdrum is the right word,-- they're just serious-minded."
"But Mr. Hepworth is so old and prosy, and Christine seems to me just a little nonentity."
"Now, Mona, that isn't fair. Just because you are a frivolous-headed butterfly of fashion, you oughtn't to disdain people who happen to have one or two ideas in their heads."
"Well, the only ideas they have are about pictures."
"Pictures are good ideas."
"Yes, good enough, of course. But there's no fun in them."
"That's the whole trouble with the Hepworths. They haven't any fun in them. Neither of them has a sense of humour. But that's good, too; for if one had and the other hadn't, they'd be miserable for life. But as it is they don't know what they miss."
"No, they don't. Patty, don't ever marry a man without a sense of humour."
"Trust your Aunt Patty for that. But I don't propose to marry anybody."
"Of course not; he'd propose to you."
"Funny Mona! Don't let your sense of humour run away with you. Well, this facetious 'he' that you conjured up in your imagination may propose all he likes; I sha'n't accept him,--at least not for many years. I mean to have a lot of fun before I get engaged. Can you imagine me settled down in a little apartment like Christine's, devoting myself to domestic duties?"
"No; but I can fancy you married to a millionaire with two or three country houses and yachts and all sorts of things."
"Good gracious, Mona. I don't aspire to all that! Just because YOU're a millionairess, yourself, you needn't think everybody else longs for untold wealth. After I get pretty well along in years,--I think I shall marry a college professor, or a great scientist. I do love brainy men."
"Well, there are no brainy men in our set."
"Oh, Mona, what a libel! Our boys,--somehow I never can think of them as men,--are quite brainy enough for their age. And at the present day, I'd rather have fun with Ken or Roger, just talking foolishness, than to discourse with this wise professor I'm talking about. But of course, I wouldn't marry Ken or Roger even if they wanted me to, which they don't."
"Oh, yes, they do, Patty; everybody wants to marry you."
"Don't be a goose, Mona; you know perfectly well that Roger is over head and ears in love with you. Of course, I'm mortally jealous, for he was my friend first, and you stole him away from me. But I'll forgive you if you'll let up on this foolish subject and talk about something interesting."
"I will, Patty, if you'll tell me one thing. Don't you like Mr. Van Reypen very much?"
"Phil Van Reypen? Of course I do! I adore him,--I worship the ground he walks on! I think he's the dearest, sweetest chap I ever knew!"
"Would you marry him?"
"Not on your life! Excuse my French, Mona, but you do make me tired! NOW will you be good? We're nearly home and I had a lot of things I wanted to ask you, and here you've been and went and gone and wasted all our time! Foolish girl! Here we are at my house, and I thank you, kind lady, for bringing me safely home. If you'll let your statuesque footman see me in at my own door, I'll promise to dream of you all night."
The girls exchanged affectionate good-nights, and Patty ran up the steps and Louise let her in.
"Nobody home?" asked Patty, noting the dim lights in the rooms.
"No, Miss Patty," answered Louise, "Mr. and Mrs. Fairfield are not in yet."
"Well, I'm not a bit sleepy, Louise, and I'm not going to bed now. I shall stay in the library for awhile,--perhaps until they come home."
Louise took Patty's wraps and went away, and Patty wandered around the library selecting a book to read. The girl was a light sleeper, and she often liked to read a while before retiring.
But after she had selected a book and arranged a cosy corner in a big easy-chair by a reading light, she still sat idle, with her book
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