“Don’t be too sure, my child. Self-confidence is a good thing in its place, but self-assurance is a quality not nearly so attractive. I think, Patty, girl,” and here Mr. Fairfield put his arm around his daughter and looked very kindly into her eyes; “I think every New Year’s day I shall give you a bit of good advice by way of correcting whatever seems to me, at the time, to be your besetting sin.”
Patty smiled back at her father with loving confidence.
“But if you only reform me at the rate of one sin per year, it will be a long while before I become a good girl,” she said.
“You’re a good girl, now,” said her father, patting her head. “You’re really a very good girl for your age, and if I correct your faults at the rate of one a year, I don’t think I can keep up with the performance for very many years. But, seriously, Pattikins, what I want to speak to you about now is your apparent inclination toward a certain kind of filigree elaborateness, which is out of proportion to our simple mode of living. I have noticed that you have a decided admiration for appointments and services that are only appropriate in houses run on a really magnificent scale; where the corps of servants includes a butler and other trained functionaries. Now, you know, my child, that with your present retinue you cannot achieve startling effects in the way of household glories. Am I making myself clear?”
“Well, you’re not so awfully clear; but I gather that you thought that ridiculous pudding I tried to make was out of proportion to Pansy Potts as waitress.”
“You have grasped my meaning wonderfully well,” said her father; “but it was not only the pudding I had in mind, but several ambitious attempts at an over-display of grandeur and elegance.”
“Well, but, papa, I like to have things nice.”
“Yes, but be careful not to have them more nice than wise. However, there is no necessity for dwelling on this subject. I see you understand what I mean; and I know, now that I have called your attention to it, your own sense of proportion will guide you right, if you remember to follow its dictates.”
“But do you imagine,” said Patty roguishly, “that such a mild scolding as that is going to do a hardened reprobate like me any good?”
“Yes,” said her father decidedly, “I think it will.”
“So do I,” said Patty.
Next morning at breakfast Patty could scarcely eat, so enthusiastic was she over the delightful sensation of breakfasting alone with her father in their own dining-room.
Very carefully she poured his coffee for him, and very carefully Pansy Potts carried the cup to its destination.
“I didn’t ask Marian to stay last night,” slid Patty, “because I wanted our first night and our first breakfast all alone by ourselves.”
“You’re a sentimental little puss,” said her father.
“Yes, I think I am,” said Patty. “Do you mind?”