“We’re awfully glad to burst,” said Frank; “and we hope your vision can stand it.”
“Oh, yes,” said Mr. Fairfield; “the sight of you is good for the eyes. And now I’ll tell you the plans for the afternoon.”
“What luck did you have with the carriages, papa?” asked impatient Patty.
“That’s what I’m about to tell you, my child, if you’ll give me half a chance. I secured four safe, and more or less commodious, vehicles.”
“Four!” exclaimed Marian. “We’ll be a regular parade.”
“Shall we have a band?” asked Nan.
“Of course,” said Kenneth; “and a fife-and-drum corps besides.”
“You won’t need that,” said Patty, “for there’ll be no ’Girl I Left Behind Me.’ We’re all going.”
“Of course we’re all going,” said Mr. Fair-field; “and as we shall have one extra seat, you can invite some girl who otherwise would be left behind.”
“If Frank doesn’t mind,” said Patty, with a mischievous glance at her cousin, “I’d like to ask Miss Kitty Nelson.”
They all laughed, for Frank’s admiration for the charming Kitty was an open secret.
Frank blushed a little, but he held his own and said:
“Are they all double carriages, Uncle Fred?”
“No, my boy; there are two traps and two victorias.”
“All right, then, I’ll take one of the traps and drive Miss Nelson.”
“Bravo, boy! if you don’t see what you want, ask for it. Miss Allen, will you trust yourself to me in the other trap?”
“With great pleasure, Mr. Fairfield,” replied Nan; “and please appreciate my amiability, for I think they’re most jolty and uncomfortable things to ride in.”
“I speak for a seat in one of the victorias,” said Aunt Alice; “and I think it wise to get my claim in quickly, as the bids are being made so rapidly.”
“I don’t care how I go,” said Patty, “or what I go in. I’m so amiable, a child can play with me to-day. I’ll go in a wheelbarrow, if necessary.”
“I had hoped to drive you over myself,” said Mr. Hepworth, who sat next to her, speaking in a low tone; “but I’ll push you in a wheelbarrow, if you prefer.”
“You go with me, Patty, in one of the traps, won’t you?” said Kenneth, who sat on the veranda railing at her other side.
Patty’s face took on a comical smile of amusement at these two requests, but she answered both at once by merrily saying:
“Then it all adjusts itself. Mr. and Mrs. Allen and Mr. and Mrs. Elliott shall have the most comfortable carriage, and Marian and Mr. Hepworth and Ken and I will go in the other.”
That seemed to be the, best possible arrangement, and about three o’clock the procession started.
Patty and Marian took the back seat of the open carriage, Mr. Hepworth and Kenneth Harper sat facing them.
As Marian had already become very much interested in her new fad of authorship, and as under Miss Fischer’s tuition she was rapidly developing into a real little blue-stocking, it is not strange that the conversation turned in that direction.