“Don’t praise me too much, papa, or I’ll grow conceited.”
“You’ll get praise from me, my lady, just when you deserve it, and at no other time. Now, skip along to bed, or you’ll have too great a proportion of late hours.”
With a good-night kiss Patty went singing upstairs, feeling sure that she was the happiest and most fortunate little girl in the world.
So impressed was she with her realisation of this fact that she announced it to Marian.
Marian looked at her curiously.
“You are fortunate in some ways,” she said; “but the real reason you’re always so happy, I think, is because of your happy disposition. A great many girls with no mother or brother or sister, who had all the care and responsibility of a big house, and whose father was away all day, would think they had a pretty miserable life. But that never seems to occur to you.”
“No,” said Patty contentedly; “and I don’t believe it ever will.”
The next morning Patty devoted all her energy to getting ready for the Tea Club. She declined Marian’s offers of help, saying:
“No, I really don’t need any help. If I can keep Pansy out of the conservatory, we three can accomplish all there is to be done; so you go and sit by the library fire, and toast your toes and read, or play with the cat, or do whatever you please. Remember, whenever you come here, you’re one of the family.”
So Marian went off by herself and played on the piano, and read, and had various kinds of good times, scrupulously keeping out of the way of her busy and preoccupied cousin.
“Now, Pansy,” said Patty, as she captured that culprit in the conservatory, and led her off to the kitchen, “I want you to try especially hard to-day to do just as I want you to, and to help me in every possible way.”
“Can I fix the flowers, Miss Patty?” said Pansy Potts, her eyes sparkling with delight.
“Where are there any flowers to fix? You’ve fussed over those in the conservatory until you’ve nearly worn them all out.”
“Oh, Miss Patty, they’re thriving beautifully. But I mean that big box of flowers that just came up from the flower man’s. He said Mr. Fairfield sent it.”
“Oh!” exclaimed Patty, “did papa really send me up flowers for the Tea Club? How perfectly lovely! I meant to order some myself, but I know his will be nicer.”
By this time Patty was diving into the big box and scattering tissue paper all about.
“They’re beautiful,” she exclaimed, “and what lots of them! Yes, Pansy, you may arrange them; you really do it better than I do. Keep all the pink ones for the dining-room, and put the others wherever you like. Now, Mancy,” she went on, “we’ll discuss what to eat.”
“Yas’m, and I s’pose it’ll be some ob dem highfalutin fandangoes ob yo’s, what nobody can’t eat.”
“You guessed right the very first time,” said Patty, smiling back at the good-natured old cook, whose bark was so much worse than her bite. “You see, Mancy, this is my own party, and so I can have just what I like at it. Not even papa can object to the things that I have for my own Tea Club.”