“She’s selfish, Patty,” said her father; “and selfishness is just about the worst fault in the catalogue. A selfish person cannot be happy. You probably learned something to that effect from your early copybooks, but it is none the less true.”
“I know it, papa, and I do think that selfish ness is the worst fault there is; and though I fight against it, do you know I sometimes think that living here alone with you, and having my own way in everything, is making me rather a selfish individual myself.”
“I don’t think you need worry about that,” said a hearty voice, and Kenneth Harper appeared at the veranda steps. “Pardon me, I wasn’t eavesdropping, but I couldn’t help overhearing your last remark, and I think it my duty to set your mind at rest on that score. Selfishness is not your besetting sin, Miss Patty Fairfield, and I can’t allow you to libel yourself.”
“I quite agree with you, Ken,” said Mr. Fairfield. “My small daughter may not be absolutely perfect, but selfishness is not one of her faults. At least, that’s the conclusion I’ve come to, after observing her pretty carefully through her long and checkered career.”
“Well, if I’m not selfish, I will certainly become vain if so many compliments are heaped upon me,” said Patty, laughing; “and I’m sure I value very highly the opinions of two such wise men.”
“Oh, say a man and a boy,” said young Harper modestly.
“All right, I will,” said Patty, “but I’m not sure which is which. Sometimes I think papa more of a boy than you are, Ken.”
“Now you’ve succeeded in complimenting us both at once,” said Mr. Fairfield, “which proves you clever as well as unselfish.”
“Well, never mind me for the present,” said Patty; “I want to talk about some other people, and they are some more of my cousins.”
“A commodity with which you seem to be well supplied,” said Kenneth.
“Indeed I am; I have a large stock yet in reserve, and I think, papa, that I’ll ask Bob and Bumble to visit me for a few weeks.”
“Do,” said Mr. Fairfield, “if you would enjoy having them, but not otherwise. You’ve just been through a siege of entertaining cousins, and I think you deserve a vacation.”
“Oh, but these are so different,” said Patty. “Bob and Bumble are nothing like the St. Clairs. They enjoy everything, and they’re always happy.”
“I like their name,” said Kenneth. “Bumble isn’t exactly romantic, but it sounds awfully jolly.”
“She is jolly,” said Patty, “and so is Bob. They’re twins, about sixteen, and they’re just brimming over with fun and mischief. Bumble’s real name is Helen, but I guess no one ever called her that. Helen seems to mean a fair, tall girl, slender and graceful, and rather willowy; and Bumble is just the opposite of that: she’s round and solid, and always tumbling down; at least she used to be, but she may have outgrown that habit now. Anyway, she’s a dear.”