“It does sound attractive,” said Nan. “Tell us more about it. Are you going to write books or stories?”
“Books,” said Marian calmly.
“Lovely!” cried Patty. “Do two at once, won’t you? So you can dedicate one to Nan and one to me at the same time; I won’t share my dedication with anybody.”
“You can laugh all you like,” said Marian; “I don’t mind a speck, for I’m sure I can do it; I’ve been talking to Miss Fischer, she’s written lots of books, you know, and stories, too, and she says it’s awfully easy if you have a taste for it.”
“Of course it is,” said Patty; “that’s just what I told you. If you have a taste—good taste, you know—and plenty of will-power and stamps, you can write anything you want to; and I believe you’ll do it. Go in and win, Marian! You can put me in your book, if you want to.”
“Willpower isn’t everything, Patty,” said Nan, whose face had assumed a curious and somewhat wistful look; “at least, it may be in literature, but it won’t do all I want it to.”
“What do you want, girlie?” said Patty. “I never knew you had an ungratified ambition gnawing at your heart-strings.”
“Well, I have; I want to be a singer.”
“You do sing beautifully,” said Marian. “I’ve heard you.”
“Yes, but I mean a great singer.”
“On the stage?” inquired Patty.
“Yes, or in concerts; I don’t care where, but I mean to sing wonderfully; to sing as I feel I could sing, if I had the opportunity.”
“You mean a musical education and foreign study and all those things?” said Patty.
“Yes,” said Nan.
“But after all that you might fail,” said Marian, remembering her own experiences.
“Yes, I might, and probably I should. It’s only a dream, you know, but we were talking about ambitions, and that’s mine.”
“And can’t you accomplish it?”
“I don’t see how I can; my parents are very much opposed to it. They hate anything like a public career, and they think I sing quite well enough now without further instructions.”
“I think so, too,” said Patty. “I’d rather hear you sing those quaint little songs of yours than to hear the most elaborate trills and frills that any prima donna ever accomplished.”
“Your opinion is worth a great deal to me, Patty, as a friend, but technically, I can’t value it so highly.”
“Of course, I don’t know much about music,” said Patty, quite unabashed; “but papa thinks so too. He said your voice is the sweetest voice he ever heard.”
“Did he?” said Nan.
“What is your ambition, Patty?” said Marian, after a moment’s pause. “Nan and I have expressed ourselves so frankly you might tell us yours.”