“Well, they didn’t come on that train. I just knew they wouldn’t. They are the most aggravating people! Now, nobody knows whether they were on that train and didn’t know enough to get off, or whether they missed it at the New York end. What time is the next train?”
“I’m not sure,” said Kenneth; “let’s go in the station and find out.”
The next train was due at 4.30, but the expected guests did not arrive on that either.
“There’s no use in getting annoyed,” said Patty, laughing, “for it’s really nothing more nor less than I expected. The Barlows never catch the train they intend to take.”
“And Miss Allen? Is she the same kind of an ’Old Reliable’?”
“No, Nan is different; and I believe that, left to herself, she’d be on time, though probably not ahead of time. But I’ve never seen her except with the Barlows, and when she was down at the Hurly-Burly she was just about as uncertain as the rest of them.”
“Is the Hurly-Burly the Barlow homestead?”
“Well, it’s their summer home, and it’s really a lovely place. But its name just expresses it. I spent three months there last summer, and I had an awfully good time, but no one ever knew what was going to happen next or when it would come off. But everybody was so good-natured that they didn’t mind a bit. Well, I suppose we may as well drive back home. There’s no telling when these people will come. Very likely not until to-morrow.”
Just then a small messenger boy came up to Patty and handed her a telegram.
“Just as I thought!” exclaimed Patty. “They’ve done some crazy thing.”
Opening the yellow envelope, she read:
“Took wrong train. Carried through to Philadelphia. Back this evening. BOB.”
“Well, then, they can’t get here until that nine-o’clock train comes in,” said Kenneth, “so there’s no use in your waiting any longer now.”
“No, I suppose not,” said Patty; “I’m awfully disappointed. I wish they had come.”
An east-bound train had just come into the station, and Patty and Kenneth stood idly watching it, when suddenly Patty exclaimed:
“There they are now! Did you ever know such ridiculous people?”
A FAIR EXCHANGE
“We didn’t have to go to Philadelphia after all,” explained Bob, after greetings had been exchanged. “We found we could get off at New Brunswick and come back from there.”
“Why didn’t you find out that before telegraphing?” laughed Patty.
“Never once thought of it,” said Bob, “You know the Barlows are not noted for ingenuity.”
“Well, they’re noted for better things than that,” said Patty, as she affectionately squeezed Bumble’s plump arm.
“We wouldn’t have thought of it at all,” said honest Bob, “if it hadn’t been for Nan. She suggested it.”
“Well, I was sent along with instructions to look after you two rattle-pated youngsters,” said Nan, “and so I had to do something to live up to my privileges; and now, Bob, you look after the luggage, will you?”