“Yes, indeed,” said Patty, pleasantly.
“And then a broad-leafed hat, with ribbons from the edge of the brim,
tied under my chin,–or, perhaps chiffon ties. Which would you have,
“Yes, indeed,” said Patty, in a voice of enthusiasm, but not looking up
from her book.
“Oh, Patty, you silly! Now, listen. Look at these plates, and pick out
the prettiest hat so I may get it for the garden-party.”
Lady Kitty spread out the sheets of millinery designs, and still
absorbed in her reading, Patty lifted her hand and, without looking,
pointed a finger at random till it rested on one of the pictured hats.
“That one! Why, Patty, you’re crazy! I couldn’t wear that pudgy little
turban,–I want a big sun-hat. Would you have a straw or lace?”
“Yes, indeed,” said Patty, turning a leaf and devouring the next page
of her book.
“Angel child! You think you’re teasing me, don’t you? But not so! I
love to see you so bent on literary pursuits! Indeed, I don’t think one
book at a time is enough for a great brain like yours,–you should have
two at once. You go on with yours, and I’ll read another to you.”
Picking up a book from a rustic couch near by, Lady Kitty began to
read aloud. Her reading was more dramatic than the text warranted, and
besides much elocutionary effect, she gesticulated vigorously, and
finally rose, and standing straight in front of Patty, kept on reading
and declaiming in ludicrous style.
The two were under a large marquee, on the lawn of Markleham Grange,
the country home of Lady Hamilton, and her father, Sir Otho. Patty was
comfortably tucked up among the cushions of a lengthy wicker chair,
and had elected to spend the morning reading a new story-book of the
very kind she liked best. So, partly because she didn’t want to be
disturbed, but more for the sake of mischievously teasing her friend,
Patty pretended to be oblivious to the hat subject.
But she could not long keep a straight face while Kitty waved her arms
and trilled her voice in ridiculous fashion, as she continued to read
aloud from the book. Then she would drop into a monotonous drawl, then
gallop ahead without emphasis or inflection, and sometimes she would
chant the words in dramatic recitative.
Of course, while this went on, Patty couldn’t read her own book, so
finding herself beaten at her own game of teasing, she closed the
volume, and said quietly:
“I wish you’d let me advise you about that new hat you’re thinking of
buying. You always selects such frights.” As Lady Hamilton’s hats were
renowned for their beauty and variety, this speech was taken at its
worth, and in a moment the two friends were earnestly discussing the
respective merits of chiffon, lace, and straw, as protection against
the rays of a garden-party sun.
It was the latter part of a lovely morning in the latter part of
a lovely August. Patty had drifted through the summer, making and
unmaking plans continuously in her efforts to secure the greatest good
to the greatest number of her family and friends. She had not joined
her parents in Switzerland, as she had thought to do, for invitations
to various English country-houses had seemed more attractive, and
after a round of such parties, Patty had come to Markleham Grange, for
the double purpose of having a few quiet weeks, and of being with her
adored friend, Lady Kitty.
The Grange was a typical country home, with all the appurtenances of
terraces, gardens, duck-ponds, woodlands, and hunting preserves.
In the great, rambling house guests came and went, and Patty greatly
enjoyed the personal freedom that prevailed.
Though occupations and amusements of all sorts were provided, no
social obligations were exacted until afternoon tea time. At five,
however, everybody assembled on the lawn, or, if rainy, in Sir
Otho’s billiard-room, and the host himself accepted the attention
and companionship of his guests. Dinner, too, was rather formal, and
there was always pleasant entertainment in the evening. But it seemed
to Patty that she liked the mornings best. She strolled, often all
by herself, through the woods and parks; she chatted with the old
gardener about the rare and beautiful flowers; she played with the pet
fawns, or idly drifted about the lake in a small rowboat. Sometimes she
met Sir Otho on her morning rambles, and for a time they would chat
together. The old gentleman had a decided liking for Patty, and though
he was an opinionated man, and dictatorial of speech, the girl’s innate
tactfulness kept her from rousing his contradictory spirit, and they
were most amiable friends. But, perhaps best of all, Patty liked the
mornings when boxes of new books arrived from London.
Selecting an interesting story, she would make a bee-line for her
favourite reading-place. This was a large tent-like affair, canopied,
but without sides, and furnished with wicker chairs, tables, and
lounges. Soft rugs covered the ground, and the view was across a small
lake, dotted with tiny, flowery islands, to glorious green woodlands
Here, Patty would read and dream until the all too short morning had
flown away, and a servant, or Lady Kitty herself, would come to summon
her to luncheon. And it was here that Lady Kitty came, with her sheets
of new hat designs, just up from London, when teasing Patty declined to
But having at last thrown herself into the discussion it proved to be
an animated one, and ended by Lady Kitty’s return to the house to send
an order for hats for both of them.
Patty remained in her lounging chair, but did not immediately resume
her book. Her thoughts flew back to Kitty’s ridiculous antics as she
read aloud to tease Patty. Then her gaze wandered out to the lake, and
she watched a flock of ducklings, who were enthusiastically paddling
along by the side of their more sedate mother. Such funny, blundering,
little balls of down they were, and when one of them nearly turned a
somersault in its efforts to swim gracefully, Patty laughed aloud at
“Do it again!” said a low but commanding voice at her side, and Patty
looked round to see a grave-looking young man seated on the arm of a
She had not heard him approach, and she stared at him with a pardonable
curiosity. He was garbed in white flannels, with a soft, white, silk
shirt and Windsor tie.
Though most correct in manner and bearing, he yet had an informal
effect, and his large dark eyes looked almost mournfully at Patty.
“I said, do it again!” he repeated, in a slightly aggrieved tone.
“Do what again?” said Patty, more astonished than offended.
“Make that funny noise,–something like a laugh; _was_ it a laugh?”
“Why, yes; one of my very best ones. Didn’t you like it?”
“I thought it was a chime of fairy bells,” was the reply, so fervently
given that Patty laughed again.
The young man solemnly bowed as if in acknowledgment of her kindness.
“Don’t take it so hard,” she said, smiling; “you’ll get over it; you’ll
be all right in a moment.”
“I’m all right now, thank you. I get used to things very quickly.
And,–by the way,–you don’t mind my talking to you? Without having
been properly introduced, I mean.”
“I do mind very much. I think you’re forward and unconventional, and I
hate both those traits.”
“You’re so direct! Now, a softer, subtler insinuation would have
pleased me better.”
“But I’m not trying to please you!”
“No? You really ought to study to please.” The young man arose and
looked at Patty with an air of calm, impersonal criticism. “It would
suit your personal appearance so well.”
“Indeed! What _is_ my personal appearance?”
“Ah, direct and curious, both! Well, your beauty is of the sort
described in most novels as ‘not a classic face, or even good-featured,
but with that indescribable charm’—-”
“Indeed! I’ve been told that my features were very good.”
“Ridiculous nonsense! Why, your eyes are too large for your face; your
hair is too heavy for your head; and, and, your hands are too little
“How rude you are!” said Patty, shaking with laughter, “but as I
brought it on myself, I suppose I oughtn’t to complain. Now, let’s drop
personalities and talk commonplaces.”
“Awfully mean of you–before I had my innings. However, I don’t care;
let’s. It’s a fine, well-aired morning, isn’t it?”
“Are you always so funny?” asked Patty, staring at the young man, like
a child pleased with a new toy.
“’Most always,” was the cheerful retort; “aren’t you?”
“Now you’re rude again, and I must ask you to go away. But tell me your
name before you go, so that I may avoid you in future.”
“What a good plan! My name, on the Grampian Hills, is Floyd Austin,
and, truly, I’m well worth knowing. This performance this morning is
just an escapade. Into each life some escapades must fall, you know.
And, by the way, if you’ll disentangle your eyes from my gaze just
for a minute, and look the other way, you’ll see the august Sir Otho
coming, with ‘bless you, my children’ written legibly in every line of
his shining morning face.”
Sir Otho came toward them with hearty greetings.
“Well, well, Patty,” he said; “so you already know our friend Austin?
That’s good, that’s good! But you must be afraid of him, for he’s one
of our coming poets. He’s already a celebrity, you know.”
“Are you a celebrity?” demanded Patty, turning to Floyd Austin.
“I am,” he said, gravely, “why?”
“Why are you one?”
“To pay a bet,” Austin replied, so promptly that his two hearers
“He’s crazy,” said Patty to Sir Otho; “I never heard such talk!”
“He’s a humorist, my dear child; you don’t know his language.”
“A humorist?” said Patty, turning to Austin with simple inquiry on her
pretty face. “I thought you were a poet.”
Austin flashed an amused look at Sir Otho, and then looking at Patty,
he said, in a smooth, even voice:
“‘The force of Nature could no further go,–To make myself she joined
the other two.’”
“I do understand your language,” cried Patty, gaily, “that’s in
Bartlett,–and it says, ‘Under Mr. Milton’s Picture’!”
“Oh, my dear Patty,” said Sir Otho, “is your poetical knowledge bounded
“But, Sir Otho,” observed Floyd Austin, in his slow, quiet way,
“Bartlett is not such a bad boundary. His book is like a bird’s-eye
view of a city,–which is always a good thing, for one can then pick
out the churches and monuments so easily.”
“Yes, and one can miss the most interesting bits that lurk in narrow
streets and obscure corners.”
“True enough, and so we both have the best of the argument.”
Floyd Austin was a popular favourite, and one of the explanations of
his popularity lay in the fact that he rarely continued to disagree
with any one. The discomfiture of another, which is so pleasing to some
clever people, was positively painful to his sensitive nature, and so
easily adaptable were his own opinions, that he could adjust them to
suit those of another with no trouble at all. This made his character
somewhat indefinite, but added to the charm of his personality, and
his sunny good nature was a quick passport to the good will of a new
One of Austin’s minor interests was harmony of colour. He looked at
Patty as she stood leaning lightly against the back of the chair from
which she had risen at Sir Otho’s approach. She wore a long summer
cloak of a light tan-coloured silk, lined with another silk that was
pink, like a seashell.
Simply cut, the long full folds almost hid her white frock, and she
gathered the yielding material about her with a graceful gesture.
“How well you wear that cape, Miss Fairfield,” said Floyd, and then
turning to Sir Otho, he asked, “Doesn’t she?”
“Why, yes; I daresay,” said the older man, uncertainly. “Do you, Patty?”
“I don’t know,” said the girl, laughing. “I hope so, I’m sure, for it’s
one of my favourite wraps. Are you an artist, Mr. Austin, that you’re
“I’m an artist in most ways, yes,” he replied; “and I love colour
better than anything else in the world. Those two shades in your cloak,
now, are like—-”
“Like coffee and strawberry ice cream,” put in saucy Patty, and young
Austin agreed enthusiastically.
“Just that,” he cried, “and surely there’s no better combination.”
“I like lemon, myself,” began Sir Otho, and just then Lady Hamilton
came trailing her soft frills across the lawn toward the group.
“Floyd Austin! by all that’s wonderful!” she exclaimed, as she held out
both hands to the young man, and smiled a welcome.
“Yes, Lady Kitty,” he said, taking her hands, and smiling an acceptance
of her welcome, “and so glad to see you again.”
“Is Mr. Austin a long-lost brother?” asked Patty, “and if so, why have
I never heard of him before?”
“Yes, he’s a brother of all the world,” said Kitty; “the very dearest
boy ever. I believe he lives next door to us, but he’s never there, for
when he’s there he’s always here!”
“Oh, is he Irish?” said Patty, and Floyd Austin’s eyes twinkled at her
“He’s cosmopolitan,” said Sir Otho; “lives all over the world. But he’s
a dear vagabond, and as long as we can keep him here, we’re going to do
“Not long,” said Austin, shaking his head. “I’m just down for a
whiffling trip, and then off again to a summer clime.”
“Oh, you can change your plans,” said Lady Kitty, easily. “I’ve known
you to do it before. And I’m sure I can persuade you now, for I’ve Miss
Fairfield to help me coax you.”
“Oh, I’m no good at coaxing,” said saucy Patty, who was not yet quite
sure that she liked this rather audacious young man.
“But I’ll teach you how to coax prettily,” he said; “and then when you
learn, you can coax me to do anything, and I’ll allow myself to be
“Allow yourself indeed!” said Patty. “Probably you won’t be able to
“Probably not,” he responded, with his unfailing concurrence.
Afternoon tea was in progress, and as a light rain had set in, it was
being served in the billiard-room.
This large apartment was very attractive, for aside from the purpose
for which it was intended, it was admirably adapted for a cosy
lounging-place. A sort of extension with roof and sides of stained
glass was an ideal place for the tea-table and its many appurtenances,
and except for the footman, who brought in fresh supplies, Lady Kitty
and her guests waited upon themselves.
Though never a large group, a few neighbours usually dropped in at
tea-time, and as there were always some people staying in the house,
the hour was a social one.
Patty, looking very dainty in a pretty little house-dress of Dresden
silk, was having a very good time.
Flo Carrington, a young English girl, whom she had met only the day
before, came bustling in with exclamations of dismay.
“I’m nearly drowned!” she cried. “The pelting rain has ruined me frock,
and I’m starving for me tea. Do give me some, dear Lady Kitty.”
“You shall have it at once,” declared Patty, hovering around the tea
things; “cream or lemon?”
“Lemon, and two lumps. You pretty Patty-thing, I’m so glad to see
you again. I’ve only known you twenty-four hours, but already I feel
one-sided if you’re not by me. Sit down, and let’s indulge in pleasant
So with their teacups, the girls sat down, and being largely about
their two selves, the conversation was very pleasant indeed. But soon
they were interrupted, as Cadwalader Oram, a typical young Englishman,
“You two young women have monopolised each other long enough,” he
declared; “you must now endeavour to entertain me.”
“That’s easy,” said Patty, and turning to a near-by muffin-stand, she
took a plate of hot, buttered ones, and offered them to young Oram;
“have a muffin?”
“Indeed I will, they’re very entertaining. Have you ever noticed how
wonderful the Markleham muffins are? I get such nowhere else. Why is
that, I wonder?”
Lady Kitty, who was waiting by, answered this herself.
“Because at large and formal teas,” she said, “muffins are not served;
and if one’s friends drop in unexpectedly, muffins are rarely ready. It
is my aim in life to have just so many people to tea as will justify
muffins without prohibiting them.”
“At last I understand why the teas at this house are always
perfection,” said Oram, rising for a moment as Lady Kitty moved away.
A newcomer had arrived, and Patty, looking up, saw Floyd Austin’s grave
face in the doorway.
“Owing to the inclemency of the weather, the starving people gathered
in the billiard-room to partake of that nourishment which was to keep
them alive until the dinner hour.”
He said this in an impersonal, reading-aloud sort of voice, which
seemed to Patty extremely funny.
“He’s always doing that,” said Flo Carrington; “sometimes he’s
After greeting his hostess, Austin made his way toward the small group
clustered round Patty.
With much chat and banter, he was served with tea and muffins, and
so much attention was shown him that Patty concluded he must be a
“I fear we have rudely run into a cloudburst or something,” remarked
Cadwalader Oram, unsuccessfully trying to look through a window, whose
stained glass was further obscured by slipping raindrops.
“Sit down, Caddy,” said Flo; “you mar the harmony of this meeting when
you’re so restless.”
“Being thus admonished, young Oram crumpled himself gracefully into a
chair,” drawled Floyd Austin, as Oram did that very thing, and Patty’s
laughter rang out at the apt description.
“Do that again,” said Austin, looking gravely at Patty, but she only
smiled saucily at him, and looked over his head at another man who was
“Mayn’t I be invited to join this all-star group?” If the speaker’s
voice betokened a confidence in his own welcome, it was not misplaced,
for smiles of greeting were bestowed on him, and Flo Carrington moved
to make room for him between herself and Patty on the great settle.
“Striving to act as if a literary lion were an everyday occurrence, the
ladies beamed graciously upon him,” droned Austin; and so pat was his
allusion that they all laughed.
“This is Peter Homer, Miss Fairfield,” said Flo, and Austin added:
“Beyond all doubt, the most outrageously interesting man you have ever
“Just queer enough to be delightful,” put in Cadwalader Oram, and Mr.
Homer smiled benignly at the chaff flung at him.
“He isn’t queer at all,” declared Flo; “he’s a genius, and a thoroughly
“Both? Impossible!” exclaimed Floyd Austin.
“Not at all!” said Mr. Homer, himself. “I’m writing a book in twenty
volumes, Miss Fairfield,–that proves my genius. And I’ve left my work
to come and chum with my friends,–that proves my sense.”
“What is your book about?” asked Patty, a little uncertain how to talk
to this wise man. “Tell me about your work.”
“How can I talk to you of work,” said Mr. Homer, “when you don’t even
know what the word means? Have you ever done any work in your life?”
“No,” admitted Patty; “I’m too busy being idle to have any time for
work. My life is nothing but folly.”
“But folly and happiness are twins,” said he, looking kindly at the
girl, and when kindness shone in Peter Homer’s blue eyes he was indeed
“They are,” agreed Patty; “but pray how do you know what the word folly
“His folly is being wise,” broke in Cadwalader Oram.
“Good for you, Caddy!” exclaimed Floyd Austin. “If that didn’t have a
vaguely familiar ring about it, I should say you’d made an epigram.”
“Well, let’s say it all the same,” said Flo Carrington; “he may never
come any nearer to one.”
“I don’t want to,” returned Oram. “Stevenson says, ‘There’s nothing so
disenchanting as attainment,’ and that’s a delightful principle to
work on. I hope to goodness I shall always fail just as I’m about to
“What nonsense!” cried Patty. “Then if you ever ask a lovely girl to
marry you, you’ll be secretly hoping she’ll say ‘no!’”
“My word! but Americans are clever!” said Mr. Oram, bowing to her; “but
for the sake of my argument, I must even subscribe to that.”
“Oh, pshaw, Caddy!” said Mr. Homer, “don’t worry over it. You know
you’re a younger son, and very few girls would marry you anyway.”
“Very few would be enough,” observed Cadwalader, quickly and Floyd
Austin immediately chimed in:
“Having neatly vanquished his opponent, the younger son chuckled softly
Then as Lady Kitty came, and took Mr. Homer away, the little group
broke up and somehow Patty found herself talking to Floyd Austin.
“Say some more of those funny things,” she demanded; “I never heard any
one do that before.”
“The young man glanced furtively at his watch, and a spasm of pain
crossed his features as he realised he must say adieu to the fair
young girl before him.”
Austin said this in a whimsical, high-pitched tone, and Patty laughed
aloud in spite of herself.
“Thank you,” he said, earnestly, for his admiration of her musical
laugh was now a standing joke between them. “And by the way, there’s a
dance at Three Towers to-morrow night. I suppose you’ll go. Will you
give me all the odd-numbered dances? Just for luck, you know.”
“All the odd numbers! Why, I never heard of such greediness! I’ll give
you just one dance, and you may be thankful if you get all of it!”
“Somehow, I can’t feel alarmed, for I know you’ll change your mind a
dozen times before to-morrow night comes.”
“How well you read me! But truly, I can’t help it. I always fraction
up my dances, and they won’t come out even, and then I have to tear
up my programme, and then of course I can’t remember who’s who in the
“Who’s hoodooed in the ballroom, you mean. But after that programme’s
torn up, I may fare better than in the face of its accusing statistics.”
“Tell me something about Mr. Homer,” said Patty, as she looked at the
tall man who was the centre of an admiring group.
“Peter Homer? Well, he’s the rightest kind of a fellow, a great
scholar, and the best-looking man I ever saw,–outside my own mirror.”
“Do you think you’re pretty?” asked Patty, looking at him with an air
of innocent inquiry.
“Yes, indeed. Not as pretty as you are, of course, but still a beauty.
But Homer has the noble brow and lantern jaws that go to make up the
ideal of facial elegance. Isn’t his hair stunning?”
Mr. Homer’s hair was black and abundant. It was somewhat bushy and
of coarse texture, and was tossed over back, as if by the incessant
pushings of an impatient hand.
“You’ll like him,” Austin went on, “but you won’t understand or
appreciate him; you’re too young and ignorant.”
“Thank you,” said Patty.
“Not at all. Don’t mention it, no trouble, I assure you. But Homer’s a
“I’m specially good at puzzles.”
“Ah, but he isn’t of the ‘transposed, I am a fish,’ variety. You never
can solve Peter Homer, little girl.”
“I’ve no desire to,” said Patty, a little chagrined at his superior
tone. “He isn’t a prize puzzle, is he?”
“With the native quickness of the young American, she gracefully took
the wind out of the sails of the conversation,” piped Austin, as he
looked at her admiringly. Just then a footman brought a telegram to
“I brought it at once, ma’am,” he said, “if so there might be an
answer. The man will wait a bit.”
“Allow me,” said Austin, slitting the envelope for her; “and I’ll stand
in front of you while you read it, lest it may be of dire import, and
your emotion be exposed to the gaping crowd.”
Patty smiled at his nonsense, and read the telegram:
“Last call. No more postponements. We will come for you next
week, and all start for home September first. Be ready.
“Oh,” cried Patty in surprised dismay, as she grasped the sense of the
“Can I help?” said Austin, quite serious now, for he saw Patty was
“No. It’s nothing tragic. At least, not really so, but it seems so to
me. I have to go home, that’s all.”
“Home? to America?”
“Yes; and of course, I’m glad to go, in some ways, but I wanted to stay
over here a little longer. Through the autumn, anyway.”
“It’s a beastly pity. I don’t want you to go. Who says you must?”
“My father,” said Patty. “I’ve been promising to join him all summer,
but somehow I didn’t get off, and now he suddenly says we’re all to go
“Yes, father and Nan and me. Nan’s my dear little stepmother. She’s the
sweetest thing,–I just love her. I’m really crazy to see them both
again, but I don’t want to go back to New York quite yet. I’ll soon get
used to the idea, but coming just now, it’s a disappointment.”
“It is to me, I assure you. Why, we’re just beginning to be friends.”
“Yes, I shall always remember you pleasantly.”
Patty was really thinking of something else, and said this so
perfunctorily that Floyd Austin drawled out:
“Having made a polite speech, the young lady promptly forgot the very
presence of the gentleman who was addressing her.”
“Nonsense,” said Patty laughing; “there, I’ll put this rather
disturbing telegram away for the present, and devote my attention
entirely to you!”
“Heaven be praised!” murmured Austin, rolling his melancholy eyes
toward the ceiling. “But oughtn’t you to answer it? You know the
“Oh, yes; well, I’ll scribble a reply.”
Turning to a desk, Patty quickly wrote:
“All right. Come on. I’ll be ready.”
Then addressing it, and signing it, she gave it to Floyd, who went in
search of a footman.
After the tea guests had all gone, Patty went to Lady Kitty’s room to
tell her the news.
“Wake up,” said Patty, gently dropping a kiss on the closed eyes of her
friend, who was resting a bit before dinner.
“What for?” asked Kitty, not opening her eyes.
“What for, indeed! To see the last of your rapidly-disappearing friend
and partner. Eyes, gaze your last! Heart, breathe your fond farewells!”
The big blue eyes of Kitty Hamilton slowly unclosed themselves.
“Melodramatics, my dear!” she said; “what do they mean?”
“Read that!” said Patty, handing her the telegram.
Kitty read it twice, and then sat up, wide awake enough now.
“My little Pattypat,” she said, “you can’t go away home to America. I
won’t let you!”
“You can’t help yourself, Kitsie. If father has made up his mind,–and
it does sound so,–off we go.”
“They’re coming here next week,” went on Kitty, musing over the
telegram. “That part of it’s delightful. I’ll make it so pleasant for
them that they can’t tear themselves away.”
“You can’t do that, dear. But it will be fun to see them. Blessed old
Nan! I’ve missed her a lot this summer.”
“You fraud! I do believe you’re glad you’re going home, after all.”
“Well, in some ways, I am. You know I’m rather adaptable, and when
I get my sailing orders, I begin to face toward the sea. I hate to
leave you, and lots of other friends over here, but, I have friends in
America, too, you know. And, Kitty, Sir Otho promised he’d bring you
over there some time.”
“Well, perhaps he will. At any rate, don’t let this summons cloud your
bright young life for the moment. Lock it up in your desk, and put it
out of your mind for to-night, anyway. Now, run and dress for dinner.
What are you wearing?”
“Are there guests?”
“Yes, a few. Nobody very especial. Put on that speckled gauze thing.”
“Don’t you call my dotted chiffon by disrespectful names,” and Patty
ran, singing, away to her own room.
“Kitty, I’ve had a jounce,” said Patty, next day, as she sought her
friend and found her in the pleasant morning room that overlooked the
Lady Hamilton treated her young guest to a haughty, disdainful stare.
“If you will talk in barbaric jargon,” she said, “you can’t expected
civilised people to understand you.”
Patty had an open letter in her hand, and as she fell sideways into a
big easy-chair, she gave her hostess a dear little smile of apology.
“It is horrid, I know,” she said, contritely. “I don’t know why the
excessively correct and well-bred atmosphere of Markleham Grange should
bring out my worst American slang, but it does. I beg your pardon,
Kitty, and I’ll try to mend my ways.”
“Oh, don’t take it too seriously,” laughed Lady Kitty, “and now, what
“Well, you may remember I had a telegram yesterday, from my adored
parent, telling me I was to start for home the first of September.”
“I remember it with startling distinctness.”
“Well, forget it, then, for it isn’t true. One of the clever operators
of your clever British telegraph company must have misread or
miswritten a word, for I have a letter here from my father, and it
seems he wrote _Rome_ instead of _home_.”
“Oh, Patty Fairfield! And aren’t you really going home at all? And are
you going to Rome? To Italy?”
“Yes, just that! Father and Nan have suddenly decided to spend the
autumn in Italy, a pleasure trip, you know, and go straight to Rome
first, and then go home later, about Christmas, they think.”
“Well, I don’t wonder you were,–what did you call it? Bumped?”
“No, I didn’t say that. I merely announced that I
was,–ahem,–surprised a bit.”
“Yes, very much pleased. I didn’t care a lot about Switzerland, but I’m
crazy to go to Rome and Venice and some few other Italian show-places.
Indeed it will be a pleasure trip for me.”
“Well, it’s lovely. I can’t leave now, of course, but father and I will
run down to see you later, wherever you are. I need a little southern
sun on my complexion.”
“Nothing could improve your complexion,” said Patty, kissing it, “but
it will be great to have you join us. I feel like a whirlpool. It’s
awful to have my outlook whipped about so often and so suddenly.”
“And to-morrow you may get a letter saying this is a mistake, and your
father is taking you to Kamschatka.”
“Indeed, it isn’t father who’s changeable! It’s that bright telegraph
operator, who can’t read a gentleman’s handwriting. Well, there’s no
harm done, and now I’ll run away and adjust my mind to my changed
Patty went out to her favourite seat under the awning, and gave herself
up to day dreams of the delightful trip in store for her.
She had always longed to go to Italy, but had not expected to do so
for many years yet. For some reason Mr. and Mrs. Fairfield had changed
their plans, but though the letter told of this, it told little else.
“No hanging back now,” her father had written; “no excuses of week-ends
or house-parties. Cancel all your engagements, if you’ve made any, and
be ready to leave Markleham Grange when we come for you next week.”
“He needn’t have been so explicit,” thought Patty, “for I’ve no desire
to put house-parties ahead of a trip to Italy. Why, I wouldn’t miss it
for anything! I wonder if we will go to Venice. I suppose I ought to
study up art and things,–I’m fearfully ignorant. But I couldn’t learn
much in a week. I guess I’ll wait, and learn it on its native heath.
Perhaps I won’t care much for the old statues and things, anyway. I
suppose they’re awfully ruined. Must look like a railroad accident.
Oh, that’s horrid of me! I ought to have more respect for such things.
Well, I’m going anyhow, and I’ll have the time of my life, I know I
Patty lived through that day absent-mindedly. Somehow, going to Italy
seemed a responsibility, and one not to be undertaken thoughtlessly.
She hinted this to Lady Hamilton, and Kitty laughed outright.
“My word!” she said; “don’t you think you’re going to do the Yankee
Tourist effect! Don’t you go pottering about the galleries with your
nose in a catalogue, and a Baedeker under your arm! A nice pleasure
trip that would be! You’re too ignorant to be an intelligent art lover,
and not ignorant enough to pose as one; just stumble around among the
pictures, and much of what is good will stick to your memory, and the
rest will brush off of itself.”
“You’re a comfort, Kitty,” said Patty; “I thought I ought to study up
Ruskin on the Tuscans and Etruscans, or whatever those art books are
“You’re too much of a goose, Patty, to study anything. But I expect
you’ll get a lot of fun out of Italy.”
“I rayther think I shall,” said Patty, with twinkling eyes; for, as she
well knew, she found fun wherever she looked for it.
That night they went to the dance at Three Towers. This was a
neighbouring country place, whose three noble towers ranked among the
oldest in England. Patty was enchanted with the grand old house, for
her delvings into architectural books through the summer had taught her
to appreciate historic mansions.
Patty almost held her breath as she entered the stately ballroom, with
its crystal chandeliers, like suspended frozen fountains, sparkling
with hundreds of wax candles. The floral decorations were elaborate,
but to Patty’s mind they almost detracted from the grandeur of the
massive beams and studded ceilings of the fine old hall. After greeting
the hostess, the Markleham party found themselves surrounded by friends
and acquaintances, and Patty learned that the dancing had already begun.
Sir Otho made his escape to some other room, where he might chat
undisturbed with some of his cronies, and Lady Kitty and Patty were
soon provided with programmes, and besieged for dances.
“Now you _have_ done it!” was Floyd Austin’s comment, as he presented
himself, and gazed in frank admiration at Patty’s pretty evening gown
of fluffy white tulle, decorated with silver tracery. “Is that the
frock of a hundred frills?”
“Aptly named, Floyd,” said Lady Kitty; “and a becoming costume for my
little girl, isn’t it?”
“Oh, fair,–madame, fair,” said Austin, teasingly.
“I’d rather be asked to dance than to have ambiguous compliments,”
said Patty, tapping her foot in time to the Viennese music of the
“Come, then,” said Austin, in a tone of patient resignation. “Shall I
humour her, Lady Kitty?”
Smiling assent was given, and the two joined the dancers on the
“How different from dancing in America,” said Patty, as they wound
slowly in and out among the circling throng.
“It’s different from anything, anywhere, any time,” said he.
“You’re too vague,” she sighed. “I never know whether you’re making fun
of me or not. Don’t I dance right?”
“Right? You dance like–like—-”
“Now I know you’re trying to think of a pretty allusion. Do get a good
“Yes, I will. You dance like,–why, very much like I do! We’re both
ripping good dancers.”
Patty laughed out at this. “It _is_ a compliment,” she said, “though
not just the sort I expected.”
“Girls expect so much now-a-days. There, the music’s stopped! Must I
take you back to Lady Kitty, or will you give me the next dance?”
“Take me back, please. But later on, if you care for another dance, you
may come back,–if you like.”
“I _do_ like. I think you were made for men to come back to. Ah, Lady
Hamilton, here is your fair charge. Not a frill missing of the original
hundred, which speaks well for my guardianship, as many of the ladies
are ruefully regarding tattered _chiffons_, so crowded is the dancing
“Will you trust yourself to me, then?” said another voice, and Patty
turned to see Peter Homer smiling at her.
“Yes, Mr. Homer,” she said, “as soon as I get my programme again. Mr.
Austin has it. Oh, here it is. Yes, you may have this one.”
And rosy with the fun of it all, Patty put her hand on Mr. Homer’s arm
and walked away.
But he led her away from the dancers to an adjoining room, where there
were fewer people, less light, and no music.
“Sit down here and talk to me,” he said, arranging a chair for her. “I
don’t care for dancing at all.”
“Well, upon my word!” said Patty. “But I do care for dancing.”
“Yes, I know you do. But just now you’re going to stay right here with
me; so you may as well accept it gracefully.”
“Why should I want to do that?” said Patty, who always rebelled at
coercion. “Everybody else is smiling and gay, while you look like
‘cloudy, with showers’!”
“Oh, no, I don’t,” said Mr. Homer, smiling; “and now what shall I talk
to you about?”
“Italy,” said Patty, promptly. “I’m going there soon. I don’t know a
thing about it, and I want to know it all. What’s it like?”
“Well, Italy is like a lovely Monday in the spring; when they’ve washed
the sky, and blued it, and hung it up in the sunshine to dry.”
“That’s pretty,” said Patty, approvingly. “And are there trees?”
“Yes; trees tied together with long ropes of grapevines. They look like
Alpine travellers roped together for safety.”
“What are they really tied for?”
“They’re not tied. The grapevines are festooned from one tree to
another in the orchards. Thus it is a vineyard and an orchard both.”
“It sounds lovely. Tell me more.”
“No; I would rather hear you talk. Tell me what you want most to find
“There’s plenty of that. Italy is a saturated solution of beauty. Which
kind do you want, art or Nature?”
“I know so little about art. A lady at luncheon to-day was surprised
because I don’t even know the names of the twelve ‘world-pictures.’”
“World-pictures! What are they? The scenes of Creation?”
“Why, a list of twelve of the greatest pictures in the world.”
“My word! there’s no fool like an art fool. But you’re too chameleonic
to go to Italy, anyway. It has some several hundred sides, and you’ll
absorb a bit of every one of them, and come back a mosaic, yourself. I
wish you could concentrate, but I suppose you’re too young.”
“I’m not so dreadfully young, and–I am not bred so dull but I can
“Well, learn right, then. Don’t let them teach you to rave over
Botticelli’s ‘Spring,’–go and look at ‘David’ instead.”
“Mightn’t that be merely a difference of individual taste?”
Mr. Homer frowned. “Yes, it might be,” he said; “have you an individual
About to be offended, Patty thought better of it, and smiled.
“What a dear disposition you have,” said Homer, in a tone full of
contrition. “I have a brutal way of speaking, I know, and I am so
sorry. But I wish I could show you Italy as you should see it.”
“Everybody seems to want to show me Italy as I should see it,” observed
“Yes, and you’ll get a fine jumble of it! Italy is half glory and half
glamour, and you’ll be so rolled up in the mists of glamour that you
can’t see the glory clearly.”
“I hope I shall,” exclaimed Patty. “I want the glamour. I want to see
the Coliseum by moonlight. I don’t care how hackneyed it is!”
“You oughtn’t to see it by moonlight. You ought to see it at midday,
in the strong, clear sunlight; and all alone, listen to its vibrant
silence that tells you of itself.”
“Oh,” said Patty, thrilled by the intense note in his voice. “I didn’t
know you had so much imagination.”
“That isn’t imagination, it’s reality. The real past speaks to you; not
a foolish emotional reproduction that you have conjured up yourself.”
“The curfew tolls the knell of our next dance,” chanted Floyd Austin,
coming toward them. “I thought I never should find you, Miss Fairfield.
May I have you, please?”
“Mr. Homer is telling me about the Coliseum,” said Patty, making no
move to go.
“Quite right, quite right. If any one has anything to say, he may as
well say it about the Coliseum. But that is liable to stand for some
time yet, and this witching hour is fleeting. So, cub, oh, cub with
be,–the bood is beabig.”
Patty rose, laughing.
“I suppose I must go,” she said, as Mr. Homer bowed courteously, and
murmured a few words of regret at her departure.
“Another victim?” said Austin, quizzically. “Now, how can a will o’ the
wisp like you attract a wise and solemn old owl like Homer?”
“He attracted me,” said Patty, simply.
“Oh, that explains it. But then, you also attract people who do not
attract you; myself, for instance.”
“Why, I think you’re quite pleasant,” said saucy Patty, looking at him
with an air of patronising indifference.
“You’d better think so, or I won’t be pleasant!”
“Oh, yes, you will; you’re always pleasant.”
“As Rollo’s uncle said to him, ‘It’s a pleasure to go about with such a
pleasant and sensible boy as you.’”
“But I didn’t say sensible.”
“Thank Heaven for that! Now never mind remembering what Homer told you
about the Coliseum, but remember what I tell you. Be sure to see it by
moonlight first. The night I first saw it, the moon was gibbous—-”
“What does gibbous mean?”
“I haven’t the slightest idea. But, anyway, the moon was awful gibbous,
and the moonlight was misty, like spray, you know,–and it flooded the
Coliseum, and ran over onto the dome of St. Peter’s—-”
“What nonsense are you talking? You can’t see St. Peter’s from the
Coliseum, can you? Have you ever been to Rome?”
“Now that you mention it, I don’t believe I have! But what’s the use of
imagination, if you can’t see things you’ve never seen?”
“You are too ridiculous!” declared Patty, laughing, and then nodding
him a dismissal, as Cadwalader Oram claimed her for a dance.
“How she is made for happiness,” said Austin, as he dropped into a
chair beside Lady Kitty, and together they watched Patty dance away.
“She is,” agreed Kitty, who was a life-long friend of Floyd Austin,
and greatly liked the young man; “yet she’s not nearly so much of a
butterfly as she seems.”
“I’m sure of that,–though I’ve only seen her butterflyish side. If
Meredith hadn’t already used the phrase, ‘a dainty rogue in porcelain,’
I should coin it to describe Miss Fairfield. Don’t tell me she has an
aim in life.”
“Not quite that; but I think sometimes she wishes she had one.”
“You mean, she thinks she ought to wish she had one.”
“Yes, that is a truer statement of the case,” agreed Kitty.
Mr. and Mrs. Fairfield arrived duly at Markleham Grange, and in
response to urgent invitation consented to stay there for a few days
before taking Patty away with them.
But the last evening had come and the party that gathered on the
terrace after dinner showed that subdued air that last evenings usually
The party was not a small one, for there had been guests at dinner, and
several of the young people from the neighbouring country-houses had
come over later, to say good-by to Patty.
“I’m so sorry to have you go,” said Flo Carrington, as she possessed
herself of Patty’s hand and caressed it.
“I’m sorry to go,” replied Patty; “somehow it seems as if I were always
saying good-by to somebody. I’ve visited so much this summer, and every
visit means a regretful parting.”
“At the heartrending pathos of Miss Fairfield’s tones, everybody burst
into tears,” declaimed Floyd Austin, burying his face in a voluminous
handkerchief. But so burlesque was his woe that everybody burst into
“You may stay here if you choose, instead of going with us, Patty,”
said her father. “I didn’t realise it would be such a wrench for you
and your friends.”
“No, thank you,” said Patty, decidedly. “The longer I stay, the more
painful would be the wrench,–and I’ve no notion of losing my Italian
“That’s the right way to look at it,” said Austin, approvingly, “and
cheer up, the fatal blow is yet to fall. I, too, am going to Italy in a
few weeks, and I’ll meet you on any Rialto you say.”
“Are you really?” exclaimed Patty, pleased at the prospect. “Won’t that
be gay, father? And Lady Hamilton and her father are going later too.
We can have a reunion. Won’t you come, Flo?”
“I wish I could,” said the girl, and Mr. Fairfield said heartily:
“I shall be more than glad to welcome any of Patty’s friends, wherever
we meet them. When are you starting, Mr. Austin?”
“I’m not sure yet, Mr. Fairfield. Perhaps in two or three weeks. Keep
me posted as to your whereabouts, and I’ll find you somehow.”
“Do. We are going direct to Rome, and shall stay there for a time
before we begin a series of other cities.”
“Are you going to Milan?” asked Cadwalader Oram.
“Yes, later,” said Mr. Fairfield, and Patty said, “Why?”
“Because I want you to be sure to see the man with his skin hanging
over his arm.”
“Yes, truly. It’s a great statue,–in the Cathedral, you know. The
gentleman was flayed,–he was one of the noble family of martyrs,–and
it was his whim to have his statue taken, with his whole skin flung
gracefully over one arm. It’s a most impressive sight.”
“I should think so!” said Patty. “I’ll jot that down in my book. I’m
making a list of things to see that are not in the guidebooks.”
“Well, you won’t find that in a guidebook. But be sure not to miss it.”
“We won’t,” said Mr. Fairfield, “it sounds extremely interesting.”
“I’m going to coax mother to let me go,” said Flo Carrington. “She’s
always promised me an Italian trip, and Snippy could take me as well as
“Who’s Snippy?” asked Patty.
“My governess. She’s been with us for years, and she’s awfully capable
and well-travelled, and languaged, and all that. If she will take me,
and mother lets me go, may I see you sometimes?”
“You may, indeed,” said Mr. Fairfield, answering for his daughter.
“Come right along, Miss Carrington, and we’ll be of service to you in
any way we can.”
“Oh, thank you,” said Flo, her dark eyes dancing at the thought of such
a pleasure trip. “I’ll try to wheedle mumsie into it, and I’ll let you
know, Patty, if I succeed. I’ll write you in London.”
“I wish my mumsie would let me go,” put in Caddy Oram, in such
plaintive tones that they all laughed. “But she can’t spare her pet boy
at present, so I can only wish you all sorts of happy experiences, Miss
The young man rose to go, and soon there was a general departure of
most of the guests. Floyd Austin and Peter Homer tarried after the
others had gone, and Lady Hamilton proposed that they all go indoors,
for the evening air was growing chill. Then to the dining-room for a
bit of a farewell supper, and Patty, as guest of honour, was queen of
the merry feast.
“I am very sorry to lose my little Miss Yankee Doodle,” said Sir Otho.
“Of all the American girls I’ve ever met,–and I’ve never met any
other,–she’s the most like an English girl.”
“I’m sorry not to return the compliment,” said Patty, “but you’re
not the least bit like an American. Though you’re quite the nicest
Englishman I know.”
A groan from Mr. Homer and a wail from Floyd Austin greeted this speech.
“Never mind,” said Austin, cheerfully, “our own English lassies like
“And mayn’t we count on your admiration, Mrs. Fairfield?” said Peter
Homer. “I trust all American ladies are not so exclusive in their
favours as Miss Patricia.”
“You may indeed,” said Nan, smiling; “and let me advise you not to
take Patty’s words too literally. I’m beginning to think that since
she escaped my restraining influences she has developed coquettish
tendencies. I’d not be surprised to learn that she admires both you
young men extremely.”
“Good for you, Nan!” cried Patty. “I do! I think they’re great! and I’m
not a coquette at all. I’d like to be, but I don’t know how.”
“Don’t bother to learn,” said Peter Homer. “It will come naturally
after a while.”
“’Deed I won’t bother to learn,” returned Patty. “I’ve too much to
learn now. I want to learn Italian perfectly, before I start for Italy
next week, and I want to learn all about art and architecture, and
everything like that, before I go, too.”
“Take the same advice for those things,” said Austin; “don’t bother to
learn them, and they’ll come naturally after a while.”
“I agree to that,” said Lady Hamilton. “Patty will learn more of art
and architecture by being thus suddenly pushed into it than she could
learn from a hundred text-books or tutors.”
“Right!” agreed Sir Otho, heartily. “But don’t try too hard to learn,
little girl; just enjoy. These are your years for enjoying. When
you’re my age you’ll have time to learn.”
“That’s a new theory,” said Mr. Fairfield, smiling, “but I rather think
it’s a sound one.”
“I think so, too,” said Nan. “I know lots of people who have just
spoiled a perfectly good trip through Italy, because they learned so
hard they had no time to enjoy.”
“One should go through Italy,” said Mr. Homer, “with a mind like a
sieve. Let it alone, and worthless trifles will sift through, and the
big, important things will remain.”
“All this is very comforting,” said Patty, with a relieved sigh; “I had
expected to cram as if for an examination, all next week. Now, I shan’t
even open a book.”
“Having supplied Miss Fairfield with all necessary advice and
information, the two scholarly and erudite gentlemen rose to take their
leave,” drawled Austin, as he rose from his chair and beckoned to Mr.
Homer to do the same.
Peter Homer made his adieus, and then, saying good-by to Patty, he
“I wish I were to show you my Italy, but perhaps it’s just as well
for you to discover your own. Still, I must warn you not to let the
glamour gather too thickly. Brush it off once in a while, and look at
the real thing.”
“I’ll remember,” promised Patty. “But we’ll see you again, sooner or
“Oh, yes; I’ll be in Italy before Christmas, and everybody in Italy
runs against everybody else, somewhere. Good-by.”
“Good-by,” said Patty, with a kindly politeness, and turned to say the
same to Austin Floyd.
“Be sure to go to the Aquarium in Naples,” he reminded her, for the
fourteenth time. “The polyps are so pleasantly disgusting, and that
fat red starfish is a love. Don’t disgrace your country,–remember
you’re _Murrican_. I shall miss you,–oh, my heart will be as an empty
colander! My dolour will be as of one without hope! I shall be as a
mullein stalk–but, ’tis better so! Good-by!”
Austin’s melodramatic tone was so absurd that the final good-bys were
said amid much laughter, but Patty was conscious of a sincere regret
at leaving the gay merriment of Markleham Grange, and its pleasant
Next morning the three Fairfields started for London.
Sir Otho and Lady Kitty partly promised to join them later in Italy,
but the matter was not fully decided.
Flo Carrington, too, had sent over an early note, excitedly saying
that she was not yet sure she could go, but the outlook was extremely
Late in the afternoon they reached London, and as they left the train
and found themselves in the ponderous bustle of the railway station,
going through the usual distracting hunt for their luggage, Patty’s
love for the great city came back to her, and she remarked to Nan that
she greatly preferred city to country at any time.
“You _are_ a chameleon, Patty,” said Nan, laughing. “I always said you
were. Wherever you are, you immediately claim that it’s the best place
in the world.”
“And a happy disposition, that is,” broke in Mr. Fairfield. “Though I’m
ready to admit that this sitting on one’s trunk, to prevent another
citizen from attaching it, is not my idea of luxurious ease.”
However, as always finally happens, a porter performed a great magic,
and the party, in cab, drove off to the Savoy. Once again in one of
its pleasantest apartments, the dust of travel removed, and tea served,
it seemed like getting back home once more.
Mr. Fairfield, having pronounced against a restaurant dinner, had a
delightful meal sent up to their own cosy drawing-room, and the three
greatly enjoyed their family reunion.
“You people are the best,” declared Patty, as she lingered
appreciatively over her somewhat scanty portion of ice cream. “By the
way,” she interrupted herself, “I know why in London they always say
‘ice,’ instead of ‘ice cream.’ It’s because they never serve enough
of it to justify the longer title, though it’s of the same materials
and quite as good as the American variety. Well, as I was saying, you
two are the best people I know. I’ve had quite enough of friends, and
acquaintances, and hostesses, and staying guests, and all that; I’m
glad to be back with my relatives.”
“I’d think more of that, Patty,” said Nan, smiling, “if I weren’t sure
that you’d take the first chance that offered to go straying off again.”
“Isn’t she awful, Daddy?” said Patty, placidly. “She doesn’t know a
compliment when she sees one. Well, let’s have these empty plates
removed, and get out our maps and plans. I’m crazy to see where we’re
“We shan’t have a cast-iron itinerary,” said Mr. Fairfield, as he
produced a bundle of maps and time-tables and memoranda. “We’ll leave
next Wednesday for Paris, stay there a day or two, if you girls want
to shop a little, then when we’re ready, we’ll take the Rome express,
right through. After we’re well settled in Rome, and have seen more or
less of its sights, we’ll plan what to do next. In a general way, I may
say that we’ll go from Rome up to the other principal cities, and back
to Rome again. We may decide to spend the whole winter there, but, for
my part, I’d be best pleased, that is, if it suits you two, to eat my
Christmas dinner in New York City, U. S. A.”
“Me too!” cried Patty, her thoughts suddenly rolling in a homesick wave
toward her native land.
“Me too!” cried Nan, enthusiastically, but Mr. Fairfield only smiled,
“We won’t decide that now; we’ll have a fine Italian trip, and it shall
be shorter or longer, as suits our pleasure.”
“Dear old Daddy,” said Patty, “you have the most gumption of anybody
I know. I’m so glad I picked out a wise father, as well as such a
“I wish you had inherited either trait,” said Mr. Fairfield, with a
mock sigh, and Patty answered him only by a saucy glance.
The few days that intervened between their arrival in London and their
departure for Paris were busy ones for Nan and Patty. There was some
shopping to be done, but this was hurried through that they might have
more time to pay farewell visits to some of their favourite haunts.
“But you must get some dresses, Patty,” said Nan, as Patty, declared
her intention of spending a day in the picture galleries; “you can’t
wear garden-party muslin, and chiffon evening gowns on Italian
“Italians don’t have railroads, my ignorant little stepmother; they
have railways,–or, more likely they call them by some absurd,
unpronounceable name of their own. Well, as I was saying, I’ll get
dresses in Paris, but if we’re really going home from Italy, straight
to New York, and not coming back here again, there are some ‘loved
spots that my infancy knew’ in London, to which I simply _must_ repair
“All right, girlie; you’ve only four days left in London, so spend them
as you like.”
So Patty wandered about as she chose; spending an afternoon in
Westminster Abbey, and a morning in the British Museum, and often
enjoying a drive in the parks. There were few people whom they knew in
London, as most of them were still in their country-places, but the
weather was cool and pleasant, and Patty declared she was glad not to
be bothered with social engagements.
At last the day came when they must leave for Paris. Trunks were
strapped and despatched. Boxes containing various purchases they had
made were shipped directly home to New York, and with real tears in her
eyes, Patty stood looking out of the hotel window down on the noisy,
“Cheer up,” said Nan, observing her, “we’ll come back here some day, if
not this year.”
“I never thought of that!” exclaimed Patty, as the smiles broke over
her face; “why, of course we shall! What a comfort you are, Nan. Why, I
shouldn’t wonder if we came over every summer, mayn’t we?”
“Every other summer, perhaps,” said Nan, a little absently, for she
was attending to some last matters.
“Come, Patty,” said her father, “the cab’s here. Wave a weeping
farewell to your London joys, and turn a smiling face to fresh fields
and pastures new.”
“All ready, Father,” said Patty, cheerily, and in a few moments they
At Victoria station they took the train for Dover, and Patty looked
from the window as long as it was possible to get glimpses of the great
city they were leaving.
To many people the crossing of the English Channel is not a pleasing
experience. Nan frankly confessed that she did not care for it at all;
but Patty and her father, being blessed with entire freedom from any
physical discomfort in the matter, went aboard the Channel steamer with
anticipations of a pleasant trip across. The ideal time to sail away
from the Dover cliffs is mid-afternoon, when the sunlight dazzles on
the white chalk formations, and the green grass and blue water and the
pink tints on the rocks all form a beautiful panorama of the brightest
Patty and her father having done all they could to make Nan as
comfortable as possible, they left her at her own request in charge of
a kind-mannered stewardess, and returned to the upper deck. Here, in
two steamer chairs they sat, and watched England disappear.
As they went on, the intrusive spray dashed up on the deck, and finally
onto the travellers themselves.
Patty laughed in glee, for her travelling cloak was of staunch
material, and she thought the dashing drops great fun. But as the spray
flew higher, the deckmaster brought tarpaulins to wrap about them, and
thus protected, the two seafarers enjoyed the rough crossing.
“Isn’t it gay!” cried Patty, as a cloud of drops splashed full in her
face, making her curly hair curl tighter about her brow.
“Fine!” answered Mr. Fairfield, but he had to scream to make himself
heard above the racket of the sea.
As they neared shore, they went below to tidy up for the landing, and
found Nan, radiantly smiling, as she awaited them.
“I’m all right now,” she announced, “but I shouldn’t have been, if I’d
been pitching and tossing about in the upper air as you have. Goodness!
but you’re a sight! Both of you. Can you get wrung out in time to
land, do you think?” But in a short time Mr. Fairfield and Patty were
transformed into dry and correct-looking citizens, and no sign remained
of their watery escapade, save the damp curls that clustered around
The Fairfields spent a few delightful days in Paris. They staid at a
large and pleasant hotel, and their rooms looked out upon the Place
Vendôme, which was one of Patty’s favourite spots in the French capital.
“I own that column,” she remarked to her father, as they looked out the
window at the great shaft with its spiral decorations.
“Indeed!” said Mr. Fairfield; “given to you by the French people, as a
token of regard and esteem?”
“Not exactly that,” said Patty. “I own it by right of adoption, or
rather, appropriation. All the things I specially like, and that are
too big to carry home, I own that way.”
“A fine plan,” commented her father. “And it has the advantage of being
a cheap one too. But you must remember this Vendôme column especially,
for you’ll see its twin in Rome.”
“Another,–just like it?”
“Not just like it, but similar. The one in Rome is Trajan’s Column, and
is of marble. But this one, of masonry, covered with plates of bronze,
was constructed in imitation of the Roman one. This, however, is nearly
twice as high.”
“Oh, pooh, then I shan’t care for such a little sawed-off thing at all.”
“Wait till you see it,” said her father, laughing. “I think you’ll find
“And is Trajan on top of it, as Napoleon is on this?”
“Trajan was, at first. But he has been replaced by a statue of St.
“I’m glad I’m going to see it,” said Patty, contentedly. “I love
“That’s right, child. Learn to know columns and arches and steps, and
you’re fairly started on the road to architecture.”
“Steps!” cried Patty, in surprise, “are steps ever beautiful?”
“Yes, indeed. Don’t you remember I called your attention to them many
times in London. Those of the church of St. Martin’s-in-the-Field, for
“Oh, yes, I remember those–I must look up this matter of steps.”
“I’ll show you plenty in Italy. I’m not going to overburden you, Patty,
with instructive lore, but you must acquire a general knowledge of what
“Yes, I want to. I don’t want to talk like the people who say, ‘I don’t
know a thing about art, but I know what I like.’”
“If you ever express that sentiment, I’ll disown you. Some people
invariably like the wrong things.”
“Oh, I know how to find out what’s worth while. You just pick out a
most stupid and uninteresting little picture or statue, and then you
look in your Baedeker and he tells you it’s the gem of the collection.”
“You’re hopeless!” declared her father. “I wash my hands of you, and
you can do your sightseeing in your own way.”
But he well knew she was only jesting, and many a pleasant hour they
spent among the art treasures in Paris, while Patty unconsciously
absorbed a foundation of true principles of worth and beauty.
The statue of the Venus of Milo was her greatest delight. She never
tired of standing in front of it to gaze up into the beautiful face.
“Isn’t it strange,” she said to her father, one day, “that the
expression of that face should be so exquisite, so,–so,–well, so
perfectly lovely that I can’t stop looking at it; and yet, all the
photographs of it are so different. The photographs all make her have
a supercilious, ill-natured air, while the real statue is anything but
“I agree with you,” said Nan. “I’ve often noticed it. And the plaster
casts, or the bronzes, are not a bit like the original.”
“Of course,” said Mr. Fairfield, “the plaster or bronze of reduced size
can’t be expected to be exact portraits, but surely a photograph should
give the expression of the original face. For, doubtless, the lady
stands still when she has her picture taken.”
“But the pictures _aren’t_ like her,” insisted Patty. “I’ve bought
seventeen different photographs of her, including post-cards, and
they’re not the leastest mite like that dear face.”
“Seventeen!” exclaimed Mr. Fairfield; “are you going to set up a shop
in New York?”
“No, indeed, but I’ve been trying to get a satisfactory picture, and I
On their way home Patty asked to stop at a picture shop so she might
prove her assertions.
“I’m afraid to go in,” said Mr. Fairfield, as she paused at a small
shop on the Rue de Rivoli, “you’ll buy seventeen more, and expect me to
pay for them!”
“No, I won’t. Come on in; I know the dealer and he’ll show us his
The proprietor of the shop was a funny little old Frenchman, who spoke
little English. He recognized Patty, and, shaking his head, said
“_Non_, no ones that are new.”
“He means he hasn’t any new photographs of the Venus, since I was here
yesterday,” explained Patty, laughing. “But, now, Father, look at these
and I’ll show you what I mean.”
Together, they looked at a number of photographs of the celebrated
statue, and suddenly Nan exclaimed; “You’re right, Patty! and I know
why. It’s because all these photographs are taken from too high a
level. We look at the face of the Venus from below, it was made to
be looked at that way. But all these photographs have been taken by
cameras raised to the level of the statue’s head, or above it, and that
foreshortens her face the wrong way. Why, look, in this one you see all
the top of her head. Looking at the real statue, you see only the hair
above her brow. I can’t explain it exactly, but that’s what makes her
expression so different.”
“It _is_, Nan,” cried Patty, “it makes her upper lip curl, and her nose
“Patty, Patty!” said her father, “don’t use such expressions. But I
believe you’re right, Nan, a photograph taken from the same height as
our eyes, would give a far different view of the face.”
“Yes, indeed,” said Patty. “Oh, I wish they’d let me take one.”
“They won’t,” said Mr. Fairfield, “so you’ll just have to engrave her
on your memory.”
Though they were convinced that their theory was right, they couldn’t
persuade the old Frenchman to agree with them. He admitted that the
pictures were unlike the expression of the original face, but he
shrugged his shoulders and said:
“Many photographs,–many postcards,–but only one _orichinal!_” And the
rapt look in his eyes showed that he, like Patty, preferred his memory
of the marble to any possible reproduction of it.
The last day they spent in Paris, Nan declared she was going to buy
“We’ll do plenty of sightseeing in Italy,” she said, “but there’s
nothing there to buy, except heads of Dante and models of the Roman
“And beads,” said Patty. “I’m going to get pecks of beads. Everybody
expects you to bring them home a string or two.”
“All right,” said Nan, “but I mean gorgeous raiment. Paris is the only
place for that. So, to-day, I buy me some wide-reaching hats, and
frippery teagowns and other gewgaws. Want to go, Patsy?”
“’Deed, I do. I adore to buy feathers and frills.”
“You’re two vain butterflies,” said Mr. Fairfield, “but if you’ll
excuse me from going with you on this excursion, I’ll agree to pay the
bills you send home.”
This was a highly satisfactory arrangement, and the two ladies started
out for a round of the shops.
Patty had such good taste, and Nan such good judgment, that they bought
only the most desirable things, and a fine collection they made.
“It’s really economy to buy these, Patty,” said Nan, holding up some
embroidered waists as sheer and fine as a handkerchief, “for they’re
about half the price they cost at home; and as these styles are ahead
of ours, they’ll be all right for next summer.”
“Right you are,” said Patty, gaily; “and what we don’t want ourselves
will be lovely for Christmas presents. And, oh, Nan, do look at these
lace parasols! I’m going to get one for Marian; she’ll be wild over it.”
“No, don’t, Patty; they are exquisite, and would be just the thing for
an English garden party. But Marian would never have an opportunity to
carry that fluff of lace and chiffon and pink roses.”
“I s’pose not,” said Patty, regretfully. “It would look startling to
take to the Tea Cub meetings at Vernondale, and she couldn’t carry it
to New York! Well, I’ll leave it, then, and get her a mackintosh or
something sensible, instead.”
“No, don’t go to the other extreme,” said Nan, laughing, “get her a
hat, if you like, or a feather boa, but get something that the girl can
“Sensible little stepmother,” said Patty, good-naturedly; “You’re
always right, and I’m proud to be your friend and partner.”
So the buying went merrily on. Sometimes Patty advised Nan against a
combination of colours that didn’t quite harmonise, or a decoration
that wasn’t exactly suitable, and Nan gladly deferred to the younger
“One more farewell glimpse of my Venus, and then I’ll go home,” said
Patty, as the afternoon shadows began to lengthen; and telling the
cabman to take them to the Louvre, the two went in for a last sight of
“_Isn’t_ she beautiful!” said Patty, for the fiftieth time. “I _know_
there’ll be nothing in all Italy to compare with her.”
“You can’t know that till you’ve been there,” said practical Nan, and
then she had to drag Patty away, and they went back to the hotel. Their
purchases were there awaiting them, so quick are the ways of the Paris
shops, and they found Mr. Fairfield in the middle of their sitting room
completely surrounded by parcels of all shapes and sizes.
“Snowed under!” he declared, as they came in.
Then he good-naturedly helped to untie the bundles, and pack most of
them in trunks to be sent directly to America.
“We want to take whatever luggage we need with us,” he said, “but don’t
take anything we don’t need. Excess luggage is expensive in Italy,
but it’s worth the extra expense if we want it for our convenience or
So each had a good-sized individual trunk, and another trunk held some
evening gowns for Nan and Patty, not to be opened except when social
occasions required. Still another trunk held indispensable odds and
ends that belonged to all of them, and Mr. Fairfield said that was
enough to look after.
“You’re lovely people to travel with,” said Patty, thoughtfully. “When
I came over here with the Farringtons, they had forty-’leven trunks,
and they never could find what they wanted without going through the
“Much better to get along with a few,” said her father, “and then you
can find things more easily.”
Mr. Fairfield was a systematic and methodical man, and had always
instilled these traits into both Patty and Nan. So they were always
ready at traintime or a little before, and thus were saved the many
annoyances that follow in the train of delay and procrastination.
The next afternoon they started for Rome. Mr. Fairfield chose to go by
the “Rome Express” a rapid and well-appointed train. Patty was greatly
interested in the strange appointments of the cars. The Fairfields had
two compartments; the larger, double one for the use of Patty and Nan,
the other for Mr. Fairfield. But at first they all sat together in the
double compartment, which was arranged like a state-room, and not at
all like American sleeping-cars. They would be on the train two nights
and one day, and Mr. Fairfield chose this plan because it enabled them
to see the Alps by daylight.
“It’s just like being in our own house, isn’t it?” said Patty, as they
settled their belongings into place. And indeed it was. Shut away from
the other passengers in their cosy little room, they were as secluded
as if at home. The comfortable seats and convenient little tables,
racks and shelves, made room for all their impedimenta, and Patty
declared it was lots nicer than American parlour cars, where everybody
was in the same room.
“Though, of course, you can take a drawing-room,” said Nan.
“Yes, if you’re a millionaire,” said Patty. “But this is fixed so
everybody can be by themselves.”
“Would you rather have your dinner served in here?” asked her father.
“No; I’d rather go to the dining-car. I want to see more of my
fellow-travellers. There may be brigands on board. I always think of
Italy as peopled with brigands.”
“What are they like?” asked Nan, idly.
“Oh, they have big cowboy hats, and red silk sashes, and awful black
beards, and they carry cutlasses.”
“Those are pirates,” suggested her father.
“Oh, yes, so they are. Well, my brigands carry revolvers.”
“Oh, no,” said Nan, laughing; “not revolvers; you might as well give
them tomahawks. Brigands in Italy carry stilettos, of course.”
“Stilettos!” cried Patty, in amazement. “They’re what you use in
“Well, you _are_ an ignorant young person,” declared Mr. Fairfield. “An
Italian stiletto is a small dagger or poniard.”
“Poniard! that’s it!” exclaimed Patty. “No well-conducted brigand would
carry anything but a poniard. Do you suppose there are many on the
“I don’t know, I’m sure. But we’ll go to dinner now, and if there are
any we’ll scrape acquaintance with them.”
So to the dining-car they went, and Patty cast discreet but curious
glances in at the doors of the other compartments as she passed them.
She saw no brigands, and among the passengers were not many Italians.
They all seemed to be people of their own stamp, probably travelling on
the same kind of a trip.
The dining-car was comfortable and well-lighted. The tables on one side
held four people, and on the other side, each was arranged for two. The
Fairfields sat at a quartette table, and as no one occupied the fourth
seat, they were pleasantly by themselves again.
It was Patty’s first introduction to Italian cookery, and she was much
interested in the strange dishes.
The spaghetti, though very good, was served in such large quantities
that she was amazed.
“Does anyone ever eat a whole portion?” she said.
But she noticed that many of the diners did do so, and indeed she made
large inroads on her own share.
“It’s fine!” she said. “I did not know it could be so good.”
“On its native heath, spaghetti is quite different from an American
arrangement of it,” said her father. “I’m glad you like it, for you’ll
have very few meals without it all the time you’re in Italy.” The
other viands were good, too, and the variety of cheeses and fruits was
“How different from an English or French meal,” said Patty, as they
finished. “Isn’t it interesting, the different things that different
countries eat. Do you suppose that’s what makes them the sort of people
“Your question is a little ambiguous,” laughed her father, “but it
doesn’t always seem logical. For instance, you’d scarcely think this
innocent spaghetti would produce a race of ferocious brigands, such as
you’re expecting to meet. By the way do you see any?”
“Not one,” said Patty, as she glanced round the car. “I’m fearfully
“Don’t give up hope yet. Perhaps they’re lying in ambush somewhere, and
they’ll hold up the train in the night.”
After the long dinner, there was not much evening left, so our
travellers soon concluded they were ready for their rest.
“Don’t be afraid,” said Mr. Fairfield, as he left the two ladies, to
go to his own sleeping berth. “I don’t believe there’s a bad-tempered
brigand on the train.”
“I don’t either,” said Patty, “so I shan’t lie awake in shivering
Soon she and Nan were sleeping quietly in the funny, narrow beds that
were so like shelves, and the next thing Patty knew was a knocking at
the door of the compartment.
She was awake in an instant and shook the sleeping Nan.
“Wake up,” she whispered, “there’s a brigand knocking at the door.”
“Nonsense!” said Nan, rubbing her eyes, “what do you mean?” The knock
was repeated and Nan jumped up.
“What shall we do?” she said. “Perhaps we’d better not answer at all.”
But the knocks became more peremptory, and throwing on a kimono, Nan
went to the door, and without opening it, said, “Who’s there?”
“Open the door,” said a commanding voice.
“It _is_ a brigand!” said Patty, hopping about on one foot. “Where are
your jewels, Nan?”
“Your father has them. Don’t be silly, Patty; of course it isn’t a
brigand, but who can it be? Perhaps Fred is ill.”
As the knocking continued, and as the voice kept on demanding that the
door be opened, Nan opened it cautiously and saw before her a big
burly man in an official uniform.
“Sorry to disturb you, ma’am,” he said, “but have you any luggage in
“No,” said Nan, “only hand luggage.”
“How many trunks in the luggage-car?” he went on, and Nan told him.
“Anything dutiable in them?”
“Why, I don’t know. What is dutiable?”
“Spirits or tobacco, ma’am.”
“Why, no! Of course we haven’t any of those things in our trunks.”
“Thank you. Good night, madam. Sorry to trouble you.”
The big man went away, and Patty tumbled back to bed, murmuring:
“Huh, to be waked up and bothered, and then not see a brigand after
all! I do think the customs men might at least wear red silk sashes.
They’d be so much more picturesque. What a queer time for him to come
to see about the trunks.”
“I believe they always come when we cross the border,” said Nan,
“Good-night,” said Patty.