“You can’t do it,” said Mr. Fairfield. “I have tried, too; and it seems to include everything that ever grew on the earth beneath, or in the waters under the earth.”
“Your guesses are not far out of the way,” said Patty composedly. “I will not attempt to deny that that complicated and exceedingly Frenchified salad is concocted from certain remainders that were set away in the refrigerator after yesterday’s dinner.”
“Who would have believed it?” exclaimed Frank, looking at his plate with mock awe and reverence.
“Materials count for very little in a salad,” said Marian, with a wise and didactic air. “Its whole success depends on the way it is put together.”
“Now, that’s a true compliment,” said Patty; “and it is mine, for I made this salad all myself.”
After dinner they adjourned to the library, and the girls fell to making plans for the Tea Club, which was to meet there next day.
“I do think,” said Marian, “it’s awfully mean of Helen Preston to insist on having a bazaar. They’re so old-fashioned and silly; and we could get up some novel entertainment that would make just as much money, and be a lot more fun besides.”
“I know it,” said Patty. “I just hate bazaars; with their everlasting Rebeccas at the Well, and flower-girls, and fish-ponds, and gipsy-tents. But, then, what could we have?”
“Why, there are two or three of those little acting shows that Elsie Morris told us about. I think they would be a great deal nicer.”
“What sort of acting shows are you talking about, my children; and what is it all to be?” asked Mr. Fairfield, who was always interested in Patty’s plans.
“Why, papa, it’s the Tea Club, you know; and we’re going to have an entertainment to make money for the Day Nursery—oh, you just ought to see those cunning little babies! And they haven’t room enough, or nurses enough, or anything. And you know the Tea Club never has done any good in the world; we’ve never done a thing but sit around and giggle; and so we thought, if we could make a hundred dollars, wouldn’t it be nice?”
“The hundred dollars would be very nice, indeed; but just how are you going to make it? What’s this about an acting play?”
“Oh, not a regular play,—just a sort of dialogue thing, you know; and we’d have it in Library Hall, and Aunt Alice and a lot of her friends would be patronesses.”
“It would seem to me,” said Frank, “that Miss Patty Fairfield, now being an old and experienced housekeeper, could qualify as a patroness herself.”
“No, thank you,” said Patty. “I’m housekeeper for my father, and in my father’s house, but to the great outside world I’m still a shy and bashful young miss.”
“You don’t look the part,” said Frank; “you ought to go around with your finger in your mouth.”
“Why didn’t you tell me sooner?” said Patty. “I shall begin to cultivate the habit at once.”