“I’m sure you’ll like them, Aunt Isabel. Aunt Alice’s friends are lovely. And then I’ll ask the mothers of the Tea Club girls, and my neighbour, Miss Daggett, but I don’t believe she’ll come.”
“Is that the rich Miss Daggett?” asked Aunt Isabel curiously; “the queer one?”
“I don’t know whether she’s rich or not,” said Patty. “I dare say she is, though, because she has lovely things; but she certainly can be called queer. I’m very fond of her, though; she’s awfully nice to me, and I like her in spite of her queerness.”
“But you’ll ask some young ladies, too, won’t you?” said Ethelyn. “I don’t care very much for queer old maids and middle-aged married ladies.”
“Oh, this isn’t for you, Ethel,” said Patty. “I’ll have a children’s party for you and Reginald some other day.”
“Children’s party, indeed,” said Ethelyn, turning up her haughty little nose. “You know very well, Patty, I haven’t considered myself a child for years.”
“Nor I,” said Reginald.
“Well, I consider myself one,” said Patty. “I’m not in a bit of hurry to be grown-up; but we’re going to have a lovely sailing party, Ethelyn, on Fourth of July, and I’m sure you’ll enjoy that.”
“Are any young men going?” said Ethelyn.
“There are a lot of boys going,” said Patty. “But the only young men will be my father and Uncle Charley and Mr. Hepworth.”
“Who is Mr. Hepworth?”
“He’s an artist friend of papa’s, who comes out quite often, and who always goes sailing with us when we have sailing parties.”
Aunt Alice was more than willing to help Patty with her project, and the result was a very pretty little afternoon tea at Boxley Hall.
“I’m so glad I brought my white crepe-de-chine,” said Aunt Isabel, as she dressed for the occasion.
“I’m glad, too,” said Patty; “for it’s a lovely gown and you look sweet in it.”
“I’ve brought a lot of pretty dresses, too,” said Ethelyn, “and I suppose I may as well put on one of the prettiest to-day, as there’s no use in wasting them on those children’s parties you’re talking about.”
“Do just as you like, Ethelyn,” said Patty, knowing that her cousin was always overdressed on all occasions, and therefore it made little difference what she wore.
And, sure enough, Ethelyn arrayed herself in a most resplendent gown which, though very beautiful, was made in a style more suited to a belle of several seasons than a young miss of sixteen.
Patty wore one of her pretty little white house dresses; and Aunt Alice, in a lovely gray gown, assisted her to receive the guests, and to introduce Mrs. St. Clair and her children.
Among the late arrivals was Miss Daggett. Her coming created a sensation, for, as was well known in Vernondale, she rarely attended social affairs of any sort. But, for some unknown reason, she chose to accept Patty’s invitation, and, garbed in an old-fashioned brown velvet, she was presented to Mrs. St. Clair.