“Aunt Alice will tell you something about something,” said her father; “and I’ll tell you the rest about the rest.”
“Oh, I know it will be all right,” said Patty, quickly regaining confidence, as she looked at her father. “If papa says the house will be ready, I know it will be, and if he says we’ll have a dinner party on New Year’s day, I know we will; and so I now invite you all, and I expect you all to accept; and I hope Aunt Alice will come early.”
“I shall come the night before,” said Marian, “so as to be sure to be there in time.”
“I’m not sure that any of us will be there the night before,” said Mr. Fairfield, laughing. “I’ve guaranteed the house for the dinner, but I didn’t say we would be living there at the time.”
“That’s a good idea,” said Aunt Alice; “let Patty entertain her first company there, and then come back here for the reaction.”
“Well, we’ll see,” said Patty; “but I’d like to go there the first day of January, and stay there.”
By some unknown methods, Mr. Fairfield managed to stir up the mud-turtle workmen to greater activity, and the work went rapidly on. The wall-papers seemed to get themselves into place, and the floors took on a beautiful polish; bustling men came out from the city and put up window-shades, and curtains, and draperies; and, under Mr. Fairfield’s supervision, laid rugs and hung pictures.
The ladies of the Elliott household organised themselves into a most active sewing-society.
Grandma, Aunt Alice, Marian, and Patty hemmed tablecloths and napkins with great diligence, and even little Edith was allowed to help with the kitchen towels.
Everybody was so kind that Patty began to feel weighed down with gratitude. The girls of the Tea Club made the tea-cloth that they had proposed, and they also brought offerings of pin-cushions, and doilies and centre-pieces, until Patty’s room began to look like a booth at a fancy bazaar.
One Saturday morning, as the sewing-circle was hard at work, little Gilbert came in carrying a paper bag, which evidently contained something valuable.
“It’s for you, Patty,” he said. “I brought it for you, to help keep house; and its name is Pudgy.”
Depositing the bag in his cousin’s lap, little Gilbert knelt beside her. “You needn’t open it,” he cried; “it will open itself!”
And, sure enough, the mouth of the bag untwisted, and a little grey head came poking out.
“A kitten!” exclaimed Patty; “a Maltese kitten. Why, that’s just the very thing I wanted! Where did you get it, Gilbert, dear?”
“From the milkman,” said Gilbert proudly. “We always get kitties from him, and I telled him to pick out a nice pretty one for you. Do you like it?”
“I love it,” said Patty, cuddling the little bunch of grey fur; “and Pudgy is just the right name for it. It’s the fattest little cat I ever saw.”
“Yes,” said Gilbert gravely; “don’t let it get thin, will you?”