In Mrs. Elliott’s library at Vernondale a great discussion was going on. It was an evening in early December, and the room was bright with firelight and electric light, and merry with the laughter and talk of people who were trying to decide a great and momentous question.
For the benefit of those who are not acquainted with Patty Fairfield and her relatives, it may be well to say that Mrs. Elliott was Patty’s Aunt Alice, at whose home Patty and her father were now visiting. Of the other members of the Elliott family, Uncle Charley, grandma, Marian, and Frank were present, and these with Mr. Fairfield and Patty were debating a no less important subject than the location of Patty’s future home.
“You know, papa,” said Patty, “you said that if I wanted to live in Vernondale you’d buy a house here, and I do want to live here,—at least, I am almost sure I do.”
“Oh, Patty,” said Marian, “why aren’t you quite sure? You’re president of the club, and the girls are all so fond of you, and you’re getting along so well in school. I don’t see where else you could want to live.”
“I know,” said Frank. “Patty wants to live in New York. Her soul yearns for the gay and giddy throng, and the halls of dazzling lights. ’Ah, Patricia, beware! the rapids are below you!’ as it says in that thrilling tale in the Third Reader.”
“I think papa would rather live in New York,” said Patty, looking very undecided.
“I’ll tell you what we’ll do,” exclaimed Frank, “let’s debate the question. A regular, honest debate, I mean, and we’ll have all the arguments for and against clearly stated and ably discussed. Uncle Fred shall be the judge, and his decision must be final.”
“No,” said Mr. Fairfield, “we’ll have the debate, but Patty must be the judge. She is the one most interested, and I am ready to give her a home wherever she wants it; in Greenland’s icy mountains, or India’s coral strand, if she chooses.”
“You certainly are a disinterested member,” said Uncle Charley, laughing, “but that won’t do in debate. Here, I’ll organise this thing, and for the present we won’t consider either Greenland or India. The question, as I understand it, is between Vernondale and New York. Now, to bring this mighty matter properly before the house, I will put it in the form of a resolution, thus:
“Resolved, That Miss Patty Fairfield shall take up her permanent abode in New York City.”
Patty gave a little cry of dismay, and Marian exclaimed, “Oh, father, that isn’t fair!”
“Of course it’s fair,” said Mr. Elliott, with a twinkle in his eye. “It doesn’t really mean she’s going, but it’s the only way to find out what she is going to do. Now, Fred shall be captain on the affirmative side, and I will take the negative. We will each choose our colleagues. Fred, you may begin.”