“I like Cousin Patty’s house,” announced Gilbert, sitting down in the middle of the floor. “I will stay here always. Where is the Pudgy kitty-cat?”
“I’ll get her for you, right away,” said Patty. “She is fatter than ever; but, first, let me make grandma comfortable.”
Taking Mrs. Elliott’s bonnet and wraps, Patty led the old lady to a large easy-chair, and announced that she must sit there for a few moments and rest, before she made a tour of inspection around the house.
Grandma Elliott had not been allowed in the new house while it was being arranged, lest she should take cold, and so to-day it burst upon her in all its glory. By this time Frank and Marian were investigating the conservatory, and little Edith was announcing that Cousin Patty had a “Crimson Gambler.”
“She means Crimson Rambler!” exclaimed Patty; “or, as Pansy calls it, ‘that bunchy rosebush.’”
Although the guests had been invited to a two-o’clock dinner, yet when the clock hands pointed to nearly three, the meal had not been announced.
There was so much to be talked about that the time did not drag, but Aunt Alice looked at Patty a little curiously.
Patty caught the glance, and excusing herself, went out into the kitchen.
“Mancy!” she exclaimed; “it’s almost three o’clock. Why don’t you have dinner?”
“Well, honey, yo’ took so much of my time mashin’ your old nuts dat my work got put behind. Dinner’ll come on after a while; it’s mos’ ready.”
Patty went back to the parlour, laughing.
“If anybody can hurry up Mancy,” she said, “they’re welcome to try it. I didn’t realise it was so late, and I’m awfully sorry; but I guess we’ll have dinner pretty soon, now.”
“Don’t be sorry we’re going to have it soon,” said Frank; “none of the rest of us are, I assure you.”
Although served about an hour late, the dinner was a great success. It had been carefully planned; Mancy’s cooking was beyond reproach, and Pansy Potts proved a neat-handed and quick-witted, if inexperienced, Phyllis.
Encouraged by the general excellence of the courses, as they succeeded one another, Patty began to hope that her gorgeous dessert would turn out all right after all.
Seated at the head of her own table, she made a charming little hostess, and many a glance of happy understanding passed between her and the gentleman who presided at the other end.
“I say, Patty, it’s right down jolly, you having a house of your own,” said Frank.
“Except that we miss you awfully over home,” added Uncle Charley.
“I don’t see how you can,” said Patty, smiling; “as I took breakfast there this morning, you haven’t yet gathered round your lonely board without me.”
“No, but we shall have to,” said Uncle Charley, “and it is that which is breaking my young heart.”
“Well, this is what’s breaking my young heart,” said Patty, as she watched Pansy Potts, who was just entering the room with a dish containing a most unattractive-looking failure.