“Well, we’ll fix it up this way, Patty, girl; we’ll just pay off all these bills and start fresh. The extra expense we’ll charge to experience account—experience is an awfully high-priced commodity, you know—and next month, while we won’t exactly scrimp ourselves, we’ll keep our eye on the accounts and watch them as they progress. As I’ve told you before, my darling, I don’t expect you to become perfect, or even proficient, in these things all at once. You will need years of experience before the time can come when your domestic machinery will run without a flaw, if, indeed, it ever does. Now, never think of these January bills again. They are things of the past. Go and get your play-book, and let me hear you speak your piece.”
A SUCCESSFUL PLAY
Mr. Hepworth came again to visit Boxley Hall, and while there heard about the play, and became so interested in the preparations that he offered to paint some scenery for it.
Patty jumped for joy at this, for the scenery had been their greatest stumbling-block.
And so the Saturday morning before the performance the renowned New York artist, Mr. Egerton Hepworth, walked over to Library Hall, escorted by a dozen merry young people of both sexes.
As a scenic artist Mr. Hepworth proved a great success and a rapid workman beside, for by mid-afternoon he had completed the one scene that was necessary—a view of Mount Olympus as supposed to be at the present date.
Though the actual work was sketchily done, yet the general effect was that of a beautiful Grecian grove with marble temple and steps, and surrounding trees and flowers, the whole of which seemed to be a sort of an island set in a sea of blue sky and fleecy clouds.
At least, that is the way Elsie Morris declared it looked, and though Mr. Hepworth confessed that that was not the idea he had intended to convey, yet if they were satisfied, he was. The young people declared themselves more than satisfied, and urged Mr. Hepworth so heartily to attend the performance—offering him the choicest seats in the house and as many as he wanted—that he finally consented to come if he could persuade his friends at Boxley Hall to put him up for the night. Patty demurely promised to try her best to coax her father to agree to this arrangement, and though she said she had little hope of succeeding, Mr. Hepworth seemed willing to take his chances.
At last the great day arrived, and Patty rose early that morning, for there were many last things to be attended to; and being a capable little manager, it somehow devolved on Patty to see that all the loose ends were gathered up and all the minor matters looked after.
Kenneth Harper had been down twice to rehearsals, and had already become a favourite with the Vernondale young people. Indeed, the cheery, willing, capable young man couldn’t help getting himself liked wherever he went. He stayed with his aunt, Miss Daggett, when in Vernondale, which greatly delighted the heart of the old lady.