ELISE

“Well,” said Hilda, “I’m not sure that I ought to be president of the
Grigs, after all, for I have to confess that I couldn’t find anybody to
make fun for except our old cat. But if you could see her, I’m sure
you’d agree that she’s a worthy object. She’s so old that she’s both
blind and deaf; and she’s so melancholy that it’s enough to make you
weep to look at her. I amused her and played with her and tried to make
her think she was a kitten again; but it was no go, and I finally had to
resort to one of those patent catnip-balls. That worked like a charm,
and in a few moments she was rolling around in glee and cutting up all
sorts of antics. So you see what perseverance will accomplish.”

“Far be it from me,” said Patty, “to criticise the deeds of our worthy
president; and I suppose cats want some fun in their lives as well as
people.”

“They ought to have nine times as much,” said Hilda, “for they have nine
lives and we have only one.”

“I’ve nothing more to say,” said Patty; “our president has quite
justified herself, and her effort was nine times as meritorious as any
of ours.”

“Well, I think the whole thing is fun,” said Clementine, “and next week
I mean to do something startling. I think I’ll go and call on our
minister. He is the solemnest man I know and I’d just like to see if he
_could_ laugh. I’ll take ‘Alice In Wonderland,’ and read aloud to him,
and see if I can make him smile.”

“Lewis Carroll was a clergyman himself,” said Hilda; “so probably your
minister is familiar with his works.”

“Probably he isn’t,” returned Clementine; “you don’t know our minister.
I don’t believe he ever read anything more frivolous than ‘Foxe’s Book
of Martyrs’ or the ‘Lamentations of Jeremiah.’”

“Then do go,” said Flossy, “and I’ll go with you. It would take two of
us to make a man like that smile. But I’ve finished this scrap-book, and
my! but it’s a pretty one. Observe those yellow daffodils on the cover
and the lion under them. That’s a most humorous decoration, besides
being artistically beautiful.”

“Ridiculous!” exclaimed Editha, looking at the book Flossy held up so
proudly. “It’s enough to make a cat laugh!”

“Then I’ll send it home to Hilda’s cat,” said Flossy quickly; “it may
help to brighten one of her nine sad lives.”

By this time it was nearly noon, and though they had enjoyed the work,
the girls were nevertheless pleased when they saw a maid come in at the
door with a large tray which held seven cups of cocoa and piled-up
plates of sandwiches.

“Do you know that tray makes me laugh more than these scrap-books, with
all their side-splitting pictures,” said Clementine.

“Yes, it’s the merriest thing I’ve seen this morning,” said Adelaide;
“it really puts me in quite a good humour; I wouldn’t even be cross with
Editha just now.”

The Grigs did full justice to Mrs. Morse’s hospitality, and then that
lady herself came into the play-room.

She was most enthusiastic over the girls’ morning work and quite agreed
that they were true missionaries in their chosen field.

“And now,” she said, “I have an omnibus at the door and if you’ll all
bundle into it I’ll take you around to the hospital; for the matron
telephoned that we might come to-day between twelve and one o’clock. I
have been hunting up a lot of comic papers and humorous books to take
along; and I have some flowers, too, for there are some people who are
too ill to read, but who can be cheered by fresh blossoms.”

Patty looked admiringly at Mrs. Morse, who was a lady after her own
heart, and more than ever she felt reminded of Aunt Alice.

The girls gathered up their scrap-books and dolls and toys and found to
their delight that they had a large basketful.

Downstairs they went, donned their hats and coats and started for the
hospital.

The big roomy vehicle held the eight easily, and they laughed and
chattered in a fashion quite suited to their avowed character.

Mrs. Morse had explained the situation to Miss Bidwell, the hospital
matron, and that good lady was pleased to see the seven merry Grigs.

Cautioning them to be quiet while going through the halls, she led them
to the convalescent ward, where a score or more wan-faced children
looked at them wonderingly.

The girls had arranged their programme beforehand. Standing in the
middle of the room, where all the little patients could see her, Flossy
recited some funny poetry. Her happy, smiling face and her comical words
and gestures proved quite as amusing as the girls had hoped, and the
little sick children laughed aloud in glee.

Then Clementine sang some nonsense-songs, and after that Hilda told a
funny story. Hilda was a born mimic and her representation of the
different characters pleased the children greatly.

After this the girls went around separately to the various little cots,
and talked to the invalids personally. There were so many of the
children that in order not to neglect any, the interview was necessarily
short with each one. But there was time for a little merry conversation
with each, besides presenting the gifts they had brought.

Patty was particularly attracted by a little boy about eight years old,
who had broken his leg. The little fellow’s face was white and drawn
with suffering, and his sad eyes made him seem far older than he really
was. Instinctively, Patty made up her mind to bring all the pleasure and
merriment into that child’s life that she possibly could; and just
because he seemed to be the forlornest specimen of humanity present, she
resolved to make him her special charge. His name, he said, was Tommy
Skelling, and his leg had been broken in a trolley accident. But it was
a compound fracture, and caused the boy almost continuous pain and
suffering. It seemed especially pathetic even to try to make the little
chap laugh, but Patty felt sure that diversion would do him more good
than sympathy. So she told him the funniest story she knew, and picked
out the funniest scrap-book for him. She was rewarded by finding him
very appreciative, and succeeded in making him forget his pain for the
moment, and laugh heartily at her fun.

As the girls were taking leave Tommy confided to Patty his opinion of
the club.

“You’re the nicest one,” he said, “but,” pointing a skinny little finger
at Flossy, “she’s the prettiest. And she,” indicating Clementine in the
same way, “she’s the grandest; but she’s nice. You’re all nice, and I
hope you’ll come again soon, and I wish I could have one of those peanut
doll-babies.”

Luckily, there was an extra doll left, and it was given to Tommy, who
laughed outright at the grotesque toy.

“Well, that performance was certainly a screaming success,” said
Adelaide, as they were all in the omnibus going home.

“It was, indeed,” said Mrs. Morse, “and I think you girls are to be
congratulated on your good work.”

“Somehow, it just happened,” said Patty; “we began this society more
with the idea of having fun ourselves, and now the main object seems to
be to make fun for others.”

“I think we can do both,” said Flossy, “and next week I want you all to
come to my house, and not bring any work. We can make scrap-books and
things at some meetings, but next time we’re just going to play.”

“That’s all right,” said Hilda, suddenly assuming her presidential air.
“Of course we’re not going to work at every meeting. But remember,
through the week we’re to scatter all the fun we can, and liven up the
world in general. And I’ll try to find somebody besides a cat next
time.”

Mrs. Morse and Clementine went around with the girls, and left each one
at her home.

Patty went flying in to her own apartment in quest of Grandma.

“Oh,” she exclaimed, “we had a perfectly lovely meeting, and Mrs. Morse
is a dear! She took us to the hospital in an omnibus, and we made all
the little sick children laugh, and they enjoyed it ever so much, and so
did we. I wish papa would come home; I want to tell him all about it.”

“He isn’t coming home to-day,” said Grandma Elliott, smiling at the
excited appearance of her young charge; “you’ll have to wait until
Monday before you can tell him.”

“Oh,” cried Patty, “he’s gone to Philadelphia! to see Nan! How do you
know?”

“Yes,” said Grandma, “he has gone to Philadelphia, to stay over Sunday.
He telephoned up from the office this morning, and then he came up for a
few moments about noon. And he said for you and me to go out to
Vernondale this afternoon, and stay until Monday, too.”

“Oh, goody!” cried Patty, clapping her hands; “I’m just perfectly crazy
to see Marian, and all of them. Can’t we go right away, Grandma?”

“Well, we’ll go soon after luncheon. At any rate, we’ll get there by
dinner-time.”

“Oh, no, Grandma, let’s go earlier, so I’ll get there in time to go to
the Tea Club meeting. They’ll be so surprised to see me, and I can tell
them all about the Grigs. It will be such fun!”

“Very well, then; go and brush your hair and make yourself tidy, and
we’ll go right down to luncheon now. Then, if we’re spry, we can easily
reach Vernondale by half-past three or four o’clock.”

“That will be lovely,” cried Patty, as she danced away to her room;
“what a dear, good Grandma you are!”

They were spry, and were fortunate enough to catch a fast train, so that
by four o’clock they were at Aunt Alice’s.

Marian had gone to the Tea Club, which met that day at Elsie Morris’s,
and after waiting only for a few words with Aunt Alice and the little
children, Patty flew over to Elsie’s.

Such a hullabaloo as greeted her arrival! As Patty said afterwards, the
girls couldn’t have made more fuss over her if she had been Queen of the
Cannibal Islands.

“I’m _so_ glad you came,” said Ethel Holmes, for the dozenth time, as
she hovered around Patty; “now tell us every single thing you’ve done
since you’ve been in New York. Are the girls nice? How do you like your
school? Do you belong to a Tea Club? How do you like your hotel? Don’t
you miss us girls?”

“Do wait a minute, Ethel,” cried Patty, laughing, “before you go any
further. That is, if you want your questions answered. I guess I’ll
answer the last one first. Of course I miss you girls awfully. Not but
what the girls there are nice enough, but I want you, too. I wish you’d
all come and live in New York.”

Marian said very little, but sat and held Patty’s hand, as if afraid she
might run away. Marian was devotedly attached to her cousin, and missed
her more than anybody had any idea of, excepting Aunt Alice.

“But tell us about it all,” said Polly Stevens; “do you go to the
theatre every night?”

“Goodness, no!” exclaimed Patty; “of course not. I don’t go at all,
except when papa took me to a matinée once, and he says I may go two or
three more times during the winter. No, Ethel, we don’t have a Tea Club,
but we have a club called the Grigs.”

“What a crazy name!” exclaimed Elsie; “what does it mean?”

So Patty explained all about the Grigs, and their aims, and their work,
and play.

“I think it’s lovely,” said Polly Stevens, “and I do think you have
beautiful times. Just think of your all going to the hospital together
in an ambulance.”

“I didn’t say ambulance, Polly, I said omnibus,” said Patty, as the
girls went off into shrieks of laughter.

“Well, it’s all the same,” said Polly, quite unabashed; “you all went
together in some big vehicle, and I think that’s fun.”

“It was fun,” said Patty; “and it was lovely to see the poor little sick
children brighten up and laugh merrily, in spite of their pain and
illness.”

“I think, girls,” said Marian, “that it would be nice for the Tea Club
to make some scrap-books and dolls and things, and send them in to the
Grigs for them to take to the hospital.”

“Marian, you’re a darling,” said Patty, affectionately squeezing her
cousin’s hand; “it will be perfectly lovely if you only would, for we
can use any amount of those things, and you would be doing such a lot of
good to those poor little children.”

And thus the good influence and helpful work of the Grigs was widened in
a manner quite unexpected.

In order that Patty might get home in time for school on Monday morning,
she and Grandma were obliged to take a very early train from Vernondale.

So Marian and Frank went down with them to see them safely on the
half-past seven train, and Brownie, the dog, accompanied them.

As usual, Marian was loath to let Patty go, and clung to her until the
last minute.

Frank had already established Grandma in the train, and the conductor
was about to ring the bell when, at the last minute, Patty jumped on.

The train was almost starting, but the conductor assisted Patty, and she
seated herself beside Grandma, quite out of breath from her hasty
entrance.

“I just hated to leave Marian,” she said, “for she did seem so sorry to
have me go. But I promised to come back here to spend Thanksgiving, or
else to have her spend it with me in New York, and that seemed to help
matters a little.”

“You’d better have her plan to come to see you,” said Grandma, “for I
think your father expects that Nan will be in New York about that time.”

“All right,” said Patty; “I don’t care as long as Marian and I are
together. But for goodness’ sake, Grandma, will you look at that!”

Now “that” was nothing more nor less than Brownie, the dog, sitting in
the aisle, blinking at them and contentedly wagging his tail.

“How did he get there?” said Grandma, with a bewildered, helpless air.

“I don’t know,” said Patty, laughing, “but there he is, and now the
question is, what shall we do with him?”

Brownie seemed intelligently interested in this question, and continued
to wag his tail and blink at Patty with an expression on his funny old
dog face that was very like a wink.

“Marian will be worried to death,” said Grandma, with an air of
consternation.

“Of course she will,” assented Patty, cheerfully, “but that isn’t the
worst of it. The thing is, what are we to do with him now? You know they
don’t allow dogs on the train.”

“I never thought of that,” said Grandma, helplessly; “will he have to go
in the baggage-car?”

“There isn’t any baggage-car on this train. We’ll either have to throw
him out of the window or hide him.”

“All right; we’ll hide him,” and Grandma coaxed Brownie to jump up into
her lap. Then she pulled her travelling-cloak over him, until he was
entirely concealed from view.

But the inquisitive conductor insisted on knowing what had become of the
dog that followed these particular ladies on the train.

“He’s here,” exclaimed Grandma, throwing open her cloak and showing the
quivering animal.

“He must be put off,” said the conductor, sternly; “we do not want dogs
on the train.”

“All right,” said Patty, cheerfully; “neither do we. And the sooner you
put him off, and us with him, the better it will be all around. For you
see, Grandma,” she went on, “we’ve got to take Brownie back to
Vernondale. Marian will have four thousand fits if we don’t, and,
besides, we couldn’t possibly take him to The Wilberforce.”

Grandma said nothing; the emergency was too much for her to cope with,
and she was glad to depend on Patty’s advice.

So Patty said to the conductor: “Please put us off just as soon as you
can, for we have to take this dog back to Vernondale.”

But with the characteristic perversity of conductors, he said, “No stop,
Miss, until Elizabeth. You can get off there—all of you.”

This was nearly half way to New York City, but there was no other way
out of it, so, as Patty cheerfully remarked to Grandma, they might as
well make up their minds to get off at Elizabeth and take Brownie back
to Vernondale.

“Of course,” Patty went on, “I shall be late to school, and I’ll lose a
mark, and that’ll throw Clementine ahead of me in the count, for we have
been just even up to now; but I can’t help it; Marian’s dog must be
taken home, and that’s all there is about that.”

Although Grandma Elliott regretted the necessity of Patty’s losing a
mark, for she well knew how the child was striving for the grand prize,
yet she appreciated and admired the philosophy which made the best of
inevitable circumstances, and she agreed with Patty that there was
nothing else to do.

So at Elizabeth they got off of the train, and with some difficulty
persuaded Brownie to get off, too.

At this station it was necessary to cross under the elevated tracks to
take the train in the opposite direction. Brownie, being ignorant of the
imperative necessities of travel, objected to this, and it was only
after some coaxing that Patty persuaded him to accompany them.

Meantime there was consternation at the Vernondale end of the route.
After the seven-thirty train had left the station, Frank and Marian
suddenly realised that since they could see Brownie nowhere around he
must have gone on the train with Patty.

“What will they do?” queried Marian; “they can’t take him to New York,
and I know they won’t abandon him, so of course they’ll turn around and
bring him back on the next train.”

“Of course they will,” assented Frank; “but, let me see, the next train
back doesn’t leave Elizabeth until eight-ten; now, if I take the
seven-forty I can head them off, and they won’t have to come back.”

“That’s a great scheme,” said Marian; “go ahead! and I will wait here
until you come back.”

So Frank took the next train, but as it chanced to be behind time, he
reached Elizabeth just as the returning train was pulling out of the
station, with Patty on board.

Expecting some such complication, Patty stood on the platform, and waved
her hand to Frank, whom she saw on the incoming train.

“Brownie’s all right,” she cried, “but we’ll have to go back, now we’re
started.”

“Yes, I suppose so,” Frank called back, realising that his journey had
been for nought.

So Patty and Grandma and the dog whizzed into the Vernondale station and
alighted to find Marian tearful and almost in hysterics.

“I’m so glad to see you,” she said, “and I’m so glad to see Brownie, and
Frank has gone to Elizabeth, and Patty, won’t you be late to school, and
did you ever know such a performance?”

Brownie flew around like mad, and wagged his tail as if he quite
understood that he was the hero of the occasion, and then Patty and
Grandma took the next train to New York City, and Marian was careful
that Brownie should not accompany them this time.

And so that’s how it happened that Patty was late to school for the
first time, and that one mark put Clementine ahead of her in the monthly
report.

But, as Patty told her father, she couldn’t help the dog jumping on the
train, and Mr. Fairfield agreed that that was quite true.

When Patty finally did reach school that Monday morning she saw that a
new pupil had arrived.

This girl, as Patty first noticed her in the Literature Class, was
exceedingly pretty, with large dark eyes and curly dark hair, and a
general air of daring and self-assurance.

Somehow Patty felt that she didn’t quite approve of her, and yet at the
same time she felt fascinated and mysteriously attracted toward the
stranger.

It was not until the noon hour that she learned that the new girl’s name
was Elise Farrington.

None of the girls seemed inclined to talk to the newcomer, and Patty,
with a vivid realisation of her own feelings the first day of her
arrival at the Oliphant school, determined to do all she could toward
making the new arrival feel at home.

So, at noon-time she went to her and said: “They tell me you are Elise
Farrington, and that this is your first day at the Oliphant school. I
well remember my first day, and so I want to say to you that if I can do
anything for you, or introduce you to anybody that you’d care to know, I
shall be very glad to do so.”

Elise looked at Patty gratefully.

“You’re awfully good,” she said, “but truly there’s nobody I had any
especial desire to be introduced to, except you. So suppose you
introduce yourself.”

Patty laughed. “I’m Patty Fairfield,” she said; “but I’m not especially
desirable to know. Let me introduce you to some of the other girls.”

“No,” said Elise, “you’re the one I picked out in the classroom as the
only one I thought I should really like. Have you any especial chum?”

“Why, not exactly,” said Patty, smiling; “I’m chums with everybody. But
I’ll tell you what: you’re new to-day, and of course you feel a little
strange. Now it happens that the girl who usually sits next to me at
luncheon isn’t here, so you come and sit by me, and then you’ll get a
good start.”

Patty remembered how glad she would have been had someone talked to her
like that on the first day of her arrival at the school, and she put
Elise in Lorraine’s place, glad that she could so favour her.

During luncheon Patty entertained the new pupil with an account of her
funny experience with Brownie that morning, and she found in Elise an
appreciative listener to her recital.

At the same time, Patty could not quite make up her mind as to the
social status of the new girl.

Elise seemed to be of the wealthy and somewhat supercilious class
typified in the Oliphant school by Gertrude Lyons and Maude Carleton.

And yet Elise seemed far more simple and natural than those artificial
young women, and Patty concluded that in spite of the fact that she
belonged to one of New York’s best-known families she was
unostentatious, and in no sense “stuck-up.”

For with all her sophistication and general effect of affluence, Patty
seemed to see an undercurrent of dissatisfaction of some sort.

Not that Elise was sad, or low-spirited. Far from it, she was merry,
frivolous, and quite inclined to make fun of her fellow-pupils.

“Did you ever see anything so ridiculous as Gertrude Lyons?” she asked
of Patty. “She is so airy and conceited, and yet she’s nothing after
all.”

Although Patty did not especially like Gertrude, this challenge roused
her sense of justice, and she said: “Oh, Gertrude is all right; and I
don’t think it is nice to criticise strangers like that.”

“Gertrude’s no stranger to me,” said Elise; “I’ve known her all my life.
They live within a block of us, but we never have liked each other. I
like you a lot better.”

Although Patty was gratified by this frank appreciation of herself, she
didn’t quite understand Elise, for she seemed such a peculiar
combination of flattery and cynicism.

After luncheon was over Patty introduced her to the other Grigs. The
description of the society and its intents seemed to appeal especially
to Elise, and she exclaimed: “Oh, let me join it, let me be a Grig, and
we can meet in the Casino and have no end of fun.”

“What Casino?” asked Patty; “what do you mean?”

“Why,” explained Elise, “we have a private Casino of our own, you know.
It’s right next door to our house, and connects on every floor.”

“But what is it?” asked Clementine; “I don’t understand.”

“Why, it’s just another house; father bought it, you know, and then
fixed it up for us all to have all sorts of fun in. There’s a
tennis-court, and a squash-court, and a bowling alley, and all sorts of
sports and games. Oh, just come to see it, that’s all, and you’ll
understand better than I can tell you.”

“Of course we’ll come,” said Clementine, who was always the pioneer.
“When can we come?”

“Why, Thursday is my day,” said Elise; “you see there are five of us
children, and we each have the Casino on a given day, and may invite
whom we like. In the evenings, my father and mother invite their
friends.”

“I think it’s the loveliest scheme I ever heard of,” said Patty; “and
I’m sure we’d all love to come on Thursday. But as to making you a Grig,
I’m not so sure. Are you always merry?”

“Merry? I should say I am. Why the family say I never stop giggling. Oh,
goodness gracious! I’m merry enough; the trouble is to make me serious
when occasion really demands it. Why, I’m always at the very topnotch of
hilarity.”

“It seems to me,” said Hilda, falling into her presidential attitude,
“that we might let Elise be the eighth Grig, until Lorraine is ready to
join. And she certainly isn’t, yet.”

“She certainly is not,” said Patty, as she remembered Lorraine’s cross
greeting that morning, “and I think your idea is all right.”

On the whole, Elise wore rather well. Although belonging to the
millionaire classes of the city, she was simple and unaffected, and
never referred to her wealth by word or implication. From the first she
was devoted to Patty, and in spite of her many peculiarities Patty
thoroughly liked her. Clementine considered her cranky and Adelaide
thought her too much inclined to dictate. But Elise was entirely
indifferent to their opinions, and independently followed her own sweet
will. If she wanted things done a certain way, she said so, and somehow
they were done that way. If the other girls objected, she quietly
ignored their objections and proceeded serenely on her course. The
result of this was that the others regarded her with mingled
dissatisfaction and admiration, neither of which at all affected Elise.

She made one exception of Patty. She was always willing to defer to
Patty’s wishes, or change her plans in accordance with Patty’s ideas.

Still, as Elise was so good-natured, generous and entertaining, the
girls really liked her, and she proved to be a real acquisition to the
society of Grigs.

On Thursday afternoon she invited them all to go home with her and play
in the Casino.

The girls went directly from school, and a short walk brought them to
Elise’s home.

The Farrington house was really a mansion, and by far the most
magnificent and imposing dwelling that Patty had ever been in. The eight
girls ran up the steps and the door was opened by a footman in livery.
The great hall seemed to Patty like a glimpse into fairyland. Its
massive staircase wound around in a bewildering way, and beautiful palms
and statues stood all about. The light fell softly through stained-glass
windows, and to Patty’s beauty-loving soul it all seemed a perfect
Elysium of form and colour.

She almost held her breath as she looked, but Elise seemed to take it as
a matter of course, and said, “Come on into the library, girls, and
leave your books and things.”

The library was another revelation of art and beauty, and Patty wondered
if the other girls were as much impressed as herself by Elise’s home. It
was not only that unlimited wealth had been used in the building and
furnishing, but somebody’s exquisite and educated taste had directed the
expenditure; and it was this that appealed so strongly to Patty, though
she did not herself understand it.

There was another occupant of the library, whom Elise presented as her
brother Roger. He was a boy of about nineteen, with dark hair and eyes,
like his sister’s, and a kind, frank face. He greeted the girls
pleasantly, without a trace of awkwardness, but after a few casual
remarks he turned aside from the laughing group and stared moodily out
of the window.

“Poor old Roger,” said Elise to Patty, in a low voice, “he’s in a most
awful fit of the blues. Do go and say a few cheering words to him,
there’s a good Grig.”

Always ready to cast a ray of sunshine into anybody’s life, Patty went
toward the disconsolate-looking boy.

“How can you look so sad?” she said, “with a whole room full of merry
Grigs?”

“Because I’m not a Grig, I suppose,” said Roger. He spoke politely
enough, but seemed not at all anxious to pursue the conversation. But
Patty was not so easily daunted.

“Of course, you can’t be a member of our society,” she said, “but
couldn’t you be just a little bit griggy on your own account?”

“My own account doesn’t call for grigginess just at present.”

“Why not?”

“Oh, I have troubles of my own.”

“All the more reason for being merry. How do you expect to get the
better of your troubles if you don’t have fun with them?”

Roger looked at her with a little more interest.

“The trouble that’s bothering me hasn’t come yet,” he said; “it’s only
an anticipation now.”

“Then perhaps it never will come, and you might as well be merry and
take your chances.”

“No, it’s bound to come, and there’s nothing merry about it; it’s just
horrid!”

“Won’t you tell me what it is?” said Patty, gently, seeing that the boy
was very much in earnest.

“Would you really like to know?”

“Yes, indeed; perhaps I could help you.”

Roger smiled. “No,” he said, “you can’t help me; nobody can help me.
It’s only this; I’ve got to have my arm broken.”

“What?” exclaimed Patty, looking at the stalwart youth in amazement.
“Who’s going to break it?”

“I don’t know whether to go to the circus, and let a lion break it, or
whether to fall out of an automobile,” and Roger smiled quizzically at
Patty’s bewildered face.

“Oh, you’re only fooling,” she said, with a look of relief; “I thought
you were in earnest.”

“And so I am,” said Roger, more seriously. “This is the truth: I broke
my arm playing football, a year ago, and when it was set it didn’t knit
right, or it wasn’t set right, or something, and now I can’t bend my
elbow at all.” Roger raised his right arm and showed that he was unable
to bend it at the elbow-joint. “It’s awfully inconvenient and awkward,
as you see; and the only remedy is to have it broken and set over again,
and so that’s the proposition I’m up against.”

“And a mighty hard one, too,” said Patty with a sudden rush of genuine
sympathy. “Are you going to the hospital?”

“Yes; mother wants it done at home—thinks I could be more comfortable,
and all that. But I’d rather go to the hospital; it’s more satisfactory
in every way. But it will be a long siege. Now, Miss Grig, do you see
anything particularly merry in the outlook?”

“Will the breaking part hurt?” asked Patty.

“No, I shall probably be unconscious during the smash. But what I dread
is lying still for several weeks bound up in splints. And I can’t play
in the game this season.”

“You couldn’t, anyway, if you didn’t have it broken, could you?”

“No, of course not.”

“And you never can play football again if you don’t have it broken and
reset?”

“No.”

“Well, then, the outlook is decidedly merry. The idea of your objecting
to the inconveniences of three or four weeks, when it means a lifetime
of comfort and convenience afterwards.”

“Whew! I never looked at it in just that light before, but I more than
half believe you’re right.”

“Of course I’m right,” said Patty, stoutly. “You’ve got to look at
things in their true proportion. And the proportion of a few weeks in
the hospital against a good arm for the rest of your life is very small,
I can tell you. Especially as you will have the best possible skill and
care, and every comfort and luxury that can be procured. Suppose you
were poor, and had to go to some free hospital, and have inexperienced
doctors practising on you! Why, you might have to have your arm broken
and set a dozen times before they got it right.”

“Well, there is something in that, and I begin to believe my case is
merrier than it might be. At any rate, Miss Grig, you’ve cheered me up a
lot, and I’m duly grateful. I leave home to-morrow for the merry, merry
hospital, so I can only hope that when next we meet I can raise my arm
and shake hands with you a little more gracefully than this.”

Roger put out his stiff arm with an awkward gesture, but with such a
pleasant smile that Patty shook hands heartily and said: “I hope you
will; and until then promise me that you’ll be as merry as a Grig would
be under similar circumstances.”

“I’ll promise to try,” said Roger, and then Elise carried the girls all
off to the Casino.

Though not so elaborately furnished as the Farrington home, the Casino
was perfect in its own way. On the first floor, which they entered by a
door from the main hall of the Farrington house, was a large tennis
court, and in the apartment next to that a squash court. It seemed
strange to see these courts in-doors, but Elise told the girls that
after they had tried them, she felt sure they would like them quite as
well as out-of-door courts.

“At any rate,” she said, “they are the best possible substitute.”

On the floor above was a long bowling alley, a billiard-room and a
bewildering succession of other rooms, some fitted up with paraphernalia
of which Patty did not even know the use.

But she was greatly impressed with the kindness of a father who would
fit out such a wonderful place of delightful recreation for his
children.

“It isn’t only for us,” said Elise, as Patty expressed her thoughts
aloud; “father and mother use it to entertain their friends in the
evenings. There is a card-room and a smoking-room, and up at the top a
big ball-room. But of course we children just use these lower floor
rooms for our games and things. Now, shall we have the meeting first, I
mean the regular society meeting, or play games first and meet
afterwards?”

“Let’s play first,” said Patty, “because we mightn’t have time for
both.”

This was unanimously agreed to and soon the Grigs were quite living up
to their name, as they played various games.

Patty, Elise, Hilda and Editha played tennis at first and afterwards
played basketball, while the others took the tennis court.

After an hour or more of this vigorous exercise they were quite ready to
sit down and rest, and Elise said, “Now we will all go and sit in the
hall and have our meeting.”

This hall was a large square apartment on the second floor. There was an
immense open fireplace, where great logs were cheerfully blazing; and on
either side were quaint, old-fashioned settles, large and roomy, and on
these the girls ranged themselves.

“This is the nicest society,” said Clementine, “because we don’t have to
do anything at any particular time. Now here we are holding a meeting on
Thursday, when Saturday is our regular day. But I don’t see any reason
why we shouldn’t meet any day that happens to suit us.”

“I think so, too,” said Hilda; “we haven’t any rules and we don’t want
any. Has anybody any plans for next week?”

“I have a plan,” said Elise, “though I’m not sure we can arrange it for
next week. But some day I think it would be nice for us to collect a lot
of small children who don’t have much fun in their lives, and bring them
here for a morning or an afternoon in the Casino and just let them romp
and play all they like.”

“That’s a beautiful plan, Elise,” said Patty, her eyes shining; “and
you’re a dear to think of it. Is your mother willing?”

“Yes,” said Elise; “she wasn’t awfully anxious to let me do it at first,
but I coaxed her to and father was willing, so he helped me coax.”

Just here Roger appeared, carrying a large box of candy.

“Hope I don’t intrude,” he said, in his graceful, boyish way; “and I
won’t stay a minute. But I thought that perhaps even merry Grigs could
at times descend to prosaic chocolates.”

“I should say we could!” exclaimed Clementine; “really I don’t know
anything merrier than a box of candy.”

“You’re a perfect duck, Roger, to bring it,” said Elise; “but you must
run away now, for we can’t have boys at Grig meetings. There’s nothing
merry about a boy.”

“All the more reason then,” said Roger, “why I should stay and be
merryfied.”

“No, you can’t,” said his sister, “so go away now and please send mother
here. She said she’d come and meet the girls, so tell her now’s her
chance.”

With comical expressions of unwillingness, Roger went away and in a few
moments Mrs. Farrington came.

She was an ultra-fashionable lady and reminded Patty a little of Aunt
Isabel St. Clair. But though elaborately dressed, her gown was in far
better taste than Aunt Isabel’s gorgeous raiment, and though her manner
was a little conventional, her voice was low and sweet and her smile was
charming.

She did not talk to the girls individually, but greeted them as a whole,
and welcomed them prettily as friends of her daughter.

Then she presented each one with a beautiful little pin made of green
enamel in the design of a cricket.

“It is a real English cricket, or grig,” she said, “and I instructed the
jeweller to make it a merry one.”

Her orders had been carried out, for the little green grigs were jolly
looking affairs, with tiny eyes of yellow topaz that fairly seemed to
wink and blink with fun. The girls were delighted and all agreed that
Mrs. Farrington had conferred the highest possible honour on the society
of Grigs.

At half-past five Mrs. Farrington sent the girls home in her carriage.
The four who lived farthest were sent first and this left the two Hart
girls and Patty to wait for the second trip.

They had returned to the Farrington house and were waiting in the
library. Roger was there, and also two of Elise’s younger sisters. Patty
was glad to see more of the Farrington family and chatted pleasantly
with the little girls. But before she went away Roger found an
opportunity to speak to her again.

“I say, you know,” he began, “I don’t know just how to express it, but I
want to thank you for the way you talked to me. It wasn’t so much what
you said, but that brave, plucky kind of talk does brace a fellow up
wonderfully and I’m no end obliged to you.”

“You’re more than welcome, I’m sure,” said Patty, smiling; “but I didn’t
say anything worth while. I wish I could really help you, but if you’ll
just look on the bright side, you know you can help yourself a whole
lot.”

“You help other poor little boys in hospitals,” said Roger; “you go to
see Tommy Skelling.”

“Well, I can’t go to see you,” said Patty, laughing; “but I’ll tell you
what I will do; I’ll make a scrap-book for you, or a peanut doll,
whichever you’d rather have.”

“I think I’ll take the scrap-book,” said Roger, with the air of one
making an important decision. “You see I might be tempted to eat up the
peanut doll.”

“That’s so; well, I’ll promise to make you a nice little scrap-book and
send it to you next week. And I hope you’ll get along all right, and,
honestly, I think you will.”

“I think so, too,” said Roger, cheerfully; and then the carriage
returned and Patty went home.

That evening she told her father all about the Farringtons.

“It was so funny, papa,” she said, “to be visiting in one of those grand
millionaire houses. Why, it’s like those that are pictured in the
magazines, you know. And I thought that those people were always
ostentatious and purse-proud and generally snippy to us poorer classes.
But the Farringtons aren’t that way a bit. They’re refined and gentle
and awfully kind. They have some queer ways, and somehow they seem a
little discontented—not entirely happy, you know—but very pleasant and
sweet to us girls. But aren’t Elise’s parents good to her to give her
all that pleasure? The Casino, I mean.”

“The Casino is truly a splendid thing,” said Mr. Fairfield, “but do you
think it necessarily shows that Mr. and Mrs. Farrington are more fond of
their children than other people are?”

Patty thought a while, quite seriously; then she said: “I believe I see
what you mean. You mean that Mr. Farrington is fond of his children,
just as other fathers are; but that he happens to have money enough to
give them bigger things. Because I know, Papa Fairfield, that if you had
millions of dollars, you’d be plenty fond enough of me to give me a
dozen Casinos, wouldn’t you?”

“Two dozen, if you wanted them, Puss, and if I could afford them. Yes,
that’s what I mean, Patty, and it’s the old question of proportion. From
what I know in a general way of Mr. Farrington and from what you tell me
of their home life, I believe they have a good sense of proportion and
are consequently people who are pleasant to know. But, my child, you
must look out for your own sense of proportion. Remember Elise is a rich
girl and lives in luxury, but you are not; and while we are in fairly
comfortable circumstances, I want you to realise the difference and not
feel envious of her, or discontented because you can’t live as she
does.”

“Indeed I don’t, papa; I’m not quite such a goose as that, as you ought
to know by this time. But I do like to visit there and I enjoy the
lovely house and the beautiful pictures and things.”

“That’s all right, Patty girl, if you like Elise, too. But I don’t want
you to cultivate anybody just for the sake of their beautiful home and
pleasant entertainment.”

“I do like Elise, papa, very much; she’s a peculiar girl and I don’t
think I quite understand her yet. But there’s a good deal to her and the
more I see of her, the better I like her. She has invited me to lunch
there on Saturday, and afterwards go to a matinée with her. The French
governess will take us, and Mrs. Farrington told Elise she might ask me.
May I go, papa?”

“Why, yes, child, I don’t see any reason why you shouldn’t. I want you
to have all the good times that it’s right for a little girl to have.
What is the matinée?”

“I forget the name of it, but it’s one of those ‘Humpty Dumpty’ sort of
shows, with fairies and wonderful scenes. Elise says it was brought over
from London, and it’s something like what they call a Christmas
pantomime over there.”

“That’s all right, Chicken; you may go, and I hope you’ll have a
beautiful time. And then some day you must invite Elise here to luncheon
and I’ll take you both to a show.”

“Oh, papa, that will be lovely! How good you are to me. I haven’t seen
Mr. Farrington yet, but I’m sure he isn’t a quarter as handsome as you
are, if he is twice as rich.”

“He’s probably a hundred times as rich,” said Mr. Fairfield, laughing,
“and twice as handsome.”

“I don’t believe a word of it,” said Patty, smiling at her father, “and
Nan wouldn’t, either.”

“I don’t believe she would. Between you two flatterers I run a fair
chance of being completely spoiled.”

“When shall I see Nan?” asked Patty; “isn’t she coming to New York this
winter?”

“Yes, after the holidays she and Mrs. Allen are coming to town for a
month or so.”

“Lovely! where will they be? At The Wilberforce?”

“No, they will stay at a hotel farther uptown, where Mrs. Allen’s sister
lives.”

“I’ll be awfully glad to see Nan again; and the girls will all like her,
too, I’m sure. Papa, do you know, I think I have a very lovely lot of
friends, counting you, and Nan, and Grandma, and all the Grigs.”

“And Kenneth?”

“Oh, yes; if you count boys, Kenneth and Clifford Morse and now Roger
Farrington. He’s an awfully nice boy, papa.”

“Yes, I think so, Puss, from what you told me about him; and I’m sorry
for the poor chap. You must make a first-class scrap-book for him,
Patty; make it real interesting, you know; with pictures that a boy
would like and really funny jokes and little stories. And some evening
when Hepworth is up here we’ll get him to make some funny sketches for
it and design a cover.”

“Gay!” cried Patty, “that’s the very thing! Mr. Hepworth’s comic
sketches are too funny for anything. And, papa, he’s another good
friend, isn’t he? I forgot him. Don’t you think I’m particularly blessed
in my friends, papa?”

“I think you are a blessed little girl and have a happy and contented
disposition. And you’ll find out in the long run that that is better
than wealth or high social position.”

On Saturday Patty went to Elise’s for luncheon. The Farrington carriage
came for her and a maid was sent to accompany her.

Although without a shade of envy in her mind, Patty thoroughly enjoyed
the ride in the luxurious carriage, with a smart and imposing coachman
and footman and the trim little French maid beside her.

“I’m afraid,” she thought to herself, “that I have a love of luxury; but
papa says if I’m not envious it won’t do any harm; and I’m sure I’m
not.”

When they reached the Farringtons’ Elise took Patty at once to her own
room. Patty was not surprised to find that this was the prettiest
bedroom she had ever seen, and she fairly revelled in the beautiful
furnishings and decorations.

“Oh, this room is all right,” said Elise, carelessly; “but if you want
to see a really remarkable room, just step out here.”

As she spoke, Elise opened the door out to what Patty supposed was a
sort of balcony or enclosed veranda at the back of the house. But it was
not exactly that; it was, as Elise expressed it, “a glass room.” It was
an extension of the house, and the sides and roof were entirely of
glass. A clever arrangement of Japanese screens adjusted the light as
desired.

“You see,” explained Elise, “I’m a sort of sun-worshipper. I never can
get sunlight enough in the city, so I planned this room all myself and
father had it built for me. There is an extension of the house below it
and they only had to put up a sort of frame or skeleton room, and then
enclose it with glass. So here, you see, I have plenty of light and I
just revel in it. I call it my studio, because I paint a little; but I
sit here more to read, or to chum with my friends, or just to loaf and
do nothing.”

“I love sunlight, too,” exclaimed Patty, “and I think this room is
wonderful. I used to have a pretty little enclosed balcony, at my aunt’s
in Vernondale; but of course it wasn’t like this.”

The furniture in Elise’s studio was almost entirely of gilded
wicker-work, and gilt-framed mirrors added to the general glittering
effect. On the whole, Patty thought she preferred her balcony at Aunt
Alice’s, but this room was very novel and interesting and far better
adapted for winter weather.

“Of course there’s no way to heat it,” said Elise, “for I wasn’t going
to have the glass walls spoiled with old pipes and radiators. But the
sun usually warms it sufficiently, or I can leave the doors open from my
bedroom.”

“How do you like the Oliphant?” asked Patty as the girls settled down
for an intimate chat.

“Oh, I like it all right; I think the school is as good as any and Miss
Oliphant seems very nice, though really I haven’t seen much of her. I
like the girls fairly well, but the Grigs seem to be the nicest ones of
the whole school.”

“Oh, you think that because you know them better than the others. Isn’t
Hilda a dear?”

“Yes, I suppose so; but somehow, I don’t get on with her quite as well
as with the others. I always seem to rub her the wrong way, though I
never mean to.”

“That’s because you both want to rule,” said Patty, laughing; “has it
never struck you, Elise, that you’re very fond of having things your own
way?”

“Yes,” returned Elise, tranquilly, “I know quite well what you mean.
It’s my nature to boss others.”

“Yes, that’s just it; and it’s Hilda’s nature, too.”

“And it’s your nature, too.”

“Yes, I think it is. But I don’t care so much about it as you two girls,
and I’m more willing to give in.”

“You’re better natured—that’s the truth. And that’s one reason why I
like you best of all the schoolgirls. And I hope you like me; do you?”

“Of course I do, or I shouldn’t be here now.”

“I don’t believe you would. But there are some girls, and you must
excuse my saying this, who just like me, or pretend to like me, because
I’m one of ‘the rich Farringtons.’ I know that sounds horrid, but I
think you understand. It’s so ridiculous that the mere accident of
having more money than some other people should make people think us
desirable acquaintances.”

“I think I understand what you mean,” said Patty, smiling at Elise’s
earnestness, “but don’t you bother about me. I like you because I think
you’re the kind of a girl I like; and I don’t care a speck more for you
because your father’s a millionaire. But, to be truly honest, aside from
your own charming self, I do like to see all these lovely things you
have in your home; and I like to play in your Casino and I like to ride
in your carriage.”

“So do I,” said Elise; “I enjoy it all. But if it were all taken away
from me to-morrow, I wouldn’t mind so very much. Do you know, I’ve
always thought I should rather enjoy it if I had to earn my own living.”

“Well, you are a queer girl, and I hope you won’t be able to realise
your wish very soon; for, if you’ll excuse my saying it, I don’t believe
you _could_ earn your own living.”

“I don’t know whether I could or not; but it would be so exciting to
try.”

“Well, it’s an excitement that you ought to be thankful not to have at
present.”

Then the girls went down to luncheon, and after that to the matinée. The
time passed like a happy dream, and when Patty was again set down at her
own home, she felt more than ever glad that she had such delightful
friends. She spent the evening giving her father and Grandma a detailed
account of her experiences, and succeeded in making them almost as
enthusiastic as herself.