After the fun of picking out the tea-things, it was hard to come down to the plainer claims of the kitchen, but Aunt Alice grew so interested in the selection of granite saucepans and patent coffee-mills that Patty, too, became enthusiastic.
“And we must get a rolling-pin,” she cried, “for I shall make pumpkin pies every day. Oh, and I want a farina-kettle and a colander, and a bain-marie, and a larding-needle, and a syllabub-churn.”
“Why, Patty, child!” exclaimed her father; “what are all those things for? Are you going to have a French chef?”
“No, papa, but I expect to do a great deal of fancy cooking myself.”
“Oh, you do! Well, then, buy all the contraptions that are necessary, but don’t omit the plain gridirons and frying-pans.”
Then Aunt Alice and Patty put their heads together in a most sensible fashion, and ordered a kitchen outfit that would have delighted the heart of any well-organised housekeeper. Not only kitchen utensils, but laundry fittings, and household furnishings generally; including patent labour-saving devices, and newly invented contrivances which were supposed to be of great aid to any housewife.
“If I can only live up to it all,” sighed Patty, as she looked at the enormous collection of iron, tin, wood, and granite.
“Or down to it,” said Marian.
“I did think,” said Patty, in a disgusted tone, “that we could get settled in the house in time to eat our Christmas dinner there, but it doesn’t look a bit like it. I was over there this afternoon, and such a hopeless-looking mess of papering and painting and plumbing I never saw in my life. I don’t believe it will ever be done!”
“I don’t either,” said Marian; “those men work as slow as mud-turtles.”
The conversation was taking place at the Elliotts’ dinner-table, and Uncle Charley looked up from his carving to say:
“It’s an ill wind that blows nobody good, and the slower the mud-turtles are, the longer we shall have our guests with us. For my part, I shall be very sorry to see pretty Patty go out of this house.”
Patty smiled gaily at her uncle, for they were great friends, and said:
“Then I shall expect you to visit me very often in my new home,—that is, if I ever get there.”
“I can’t see our way clear to a Christmas dinner in Boxley Hall,” said Mr. Fairfield; “but I think I can promise you, chick, that you can invite your revered uncle and his family to dine with you there on New Year’s day.”
There were general exclamations of delight at this from all except Patty, who looked a little bewildered.
“What’s the matter, Patsie?” said her uncle. “Don’t you want to entertain your admiring relatives?”
“Yes,” said Patty, “of course I do; but it scares me to death to think of it! How can I have a dinner party, when I don’t know anything about anything?”