“Yes, I thought I remembered your writing to me about some such doings; and do you think you can enjoy a month with such visitors as that?”
“Oh, yes, papa, because they won’t upset my house; and, really, they’re the dearest people. Oh, I’m awfully fond of Bob and Bumble I And Nan Allen is lovely. Nobody can help liking her. She’s not so helter-skelter as the others, but down at the Hurly-Burly nobody could help losing their things. Why, I even grew careless myself.”
“Well, have your company, child, and I’ll do all I can to make it pleasant for you and for them.”
“I know you will, you dear old pearl of a father. Sometimes I think you enjoy my company as much as I do myself, but I suppose you don’t really. I suppose you entertain the young people and pretend to enjoy it just to make me happy.”
“I am happy, dear, in anything that makes you happy; though sixteen is not exactly an age contemporary with my own. But I enjoy having Hepworth down, and I like young Harper a great deal. Then, of course, I have my little friends, Mr. and Mrs. Elliott, to play with—so I am not entirely dependent on the kindergarten.”
The Barlow twins and Nan Allen were expected to arrive on Thursday afternoon at four o’clock, and everything at Boxley Hall was in readiness for the arrival of the guests.
“Not that it’s worth while to have everything in such spick-and-span order,” said Patty to herself, “for the Barlows won’t appreciate it, and what’s more they’ll turn everything inside out and upside down before they’ve been in the house an hour.”
But, notwithstanding her conviction, she made her preparations as carefully as if for the most fastidious visitors and viewed the result with great satisfaction after it was finished.
She went down in the carriage to meet the train, delighted at the thought of seeing again her Barlow cousins, of whom she was really very fond.
“I wish Aunt Grace and Uncle Ted were coming, too,” she said to herself; “but I suppose I couldn’t take care of so many people at once. It would be like running a hotel.”
The train had not arrived when they reached the station, so, telling the coachman to wait, Patty left the carriage and walked up and down the station platform.
“Hello, Patty, haven’t your cousins come yet?”
“Why, Kenneth, is that you? No, they haven’t come; I think the train must be late.”
“Yes, it is a little, but there it is now, just coming into sight around the curve. May I stay and meet them? Or would you rather fall on their necks alone?”
“Oh, stay, I’d be glad to have you; but you’ll have to walk back, there’s no room in the carriage for you.”
“Oh, that’s all right. I have my wheel, thank you.”
The train stopped, and a number of passengers alighted. But as the train went on and the small crowd dispersed, Patty remarked in a most exasperated tone: