The two hungry girls did full justice to it, and then Patty said:
“Now, Marian, you’re a duck, and you mean well, I know; but this is my house and my tea-party, and now you must clear out and leave me to fix it up pretty in my own way.”
“All right,” said Marian, “I rescued you once, now this time I’ll leave you to your fate; but I’ll give you fair warning that those Tea Club girls would rather have a few nice little things like we had at lunch, than all those ridiculous contraptions that you’ve got out there half baked.”
“Oh me, oh me!” sighed Patty, in mock despair. “Nobody appreciates me; nobody realises or cares for my one great talent. I believe I’ll go and drown myself.”
“Do,” said Marian, “drown yourself in that tub of wine-jelly, for it will never stiffen. I can tell that by looking at it.”
“Bye, bye,” said Patty, pushing Marian out of the dining-room, “run along now, and take a little nap like a good little girl. Cousin Patty must set the table all nice for the pretty ladies.”
“Goose!” was the only comment Marian vouchsafed as she walked away.
Then Patty, with the assistance of Pansy Potts, proceeded to lay the table. Elaborate decoration was her keynote and she kept well in tune. Along the centre of the table over the damask cloth, she spread a rich lace “runner” and over this, crossed bands of wide, pink, satin ribbon ran the entire diagonal length of the table. In the centre was a large cut-glass bowl of pink roses, and at each corner slender vases of a single rose in each. Also single roses with long stems and leaves were laid at intervals on the cloth. Asparagus fern was lavishly used, and pink-shaded candles in silver candlesticks adorned the table. Small silver dishes of almonds, olives, and confectionery were dotted about, and finger-bowls with plates were set out on the side-table.
Certainly it was all very beautiful, and Patty surveyed it with feelings of absolute satisfaction.
“We will have tea at five o’clock, Pansy,” she said, “and just before that, you light the candles and fill the glasses and see that everything is ready.”
“Yes, Miss Patty,” said Pansy, who adored her young mistress, and who was especially quick in learning to do exactly what was expected of her.
The afternoon was slipping away, and Patty suddenly discovered that she had only time to get dressed before the girls would arrive.
So she announced to Mancy that she must finish up such things as were not finished, and without waiting to hear the old woman’s remarks of disapproval, Patty ran up to her room.
There she found that Marian had kindly laid out her dress and ribbons for her, and was ready to help do her hair.
“You’re a good old thing, Marian,” she said, as she dropped into a chair in front of her toilet mirror, “I’m as tired as a bicycle wheel, and besides, I do love to have somebody do my hair. Sometimes Pansy does it, but to-day she’s too busy.”