sang the children, and then once more the red curtain hid the tiny stage.
“On second thoughts, I guess play-acting is rather a fine thing if it’s well done,” Aunt Matilda said, “an’ I guess my Arabella did ’bout as well as any of ’em. I shouldn’t wonder if she could be a great actress if she chose. Not that I’d want her to be one; no indeed, but it’s pleasant to think that she could.”
“Oh, certainly,” said Uncle Harry. “It would be most delightful if we could be sure that, at ten minutes’ notice, Arabella could become the world’s greatest actress; that by gently beckoning to him, the most obdurate theatrical manager would bow abjectly before her.”
“Well, I guess so,” the prim little woman said, not quite understanding his meaning, but thinking the speech, as a whole, rather grand.
The little entertainment had been a success, and Aunt Charlotte received very warm congratulations for the fine work which her little pupils had done.
As they strolled homeward, the guests talked of the numbers which had most delighted them.
Uncle Harry, wag that he was, had found Aunt Matilda quite as amusing as the music, the pretty dance which Nancy had contributed, or the fairy dialogue. He was expecting every moment that his young wife would gently upbraid him for his raillery, and he had not long to wait. As they turned in at their own gateway, she looked up at him.
“Harry,” she said, “you have a merry heart, and I would not for the world have you more quiet, but sometimes you carry your jokes too far. Dear, will you tell me why you did not mention that strange woman’s name? You introduced her as Arabella’s aunt.”
“My dear, that’s who she said she was; she didn’t tell me her name, so how could I tell you?”
“But you did not tell her my name; you introduced me as your wife.”
“Well, surely you are my wife; as she omitted to state what her name was, I wouldn’t tell her yours. Simply evening things up, that’s all.”
“What an idea!” she said, but she could not help laughing at his little joke.
THE RETURN OF PATRICIA
Of course they talked and talked of their entertainment, of their fine audience, of the applause, and the delight of their friends.
They were on their way to school one morning, Nina, Jeanette, and their cousin, Lola Blessington.
“Nancy Ferris danced just beautifully,” said Lola, “I wonder where she learned.”
“I don’t know,” Jeanette said, sullenly.
She had envied the applause which Nancy’s graceful dancing had evoked.
“Why, Jeanette,” exclaimed Nina, “you do know that Nancy learned to dance in New York.”
“Well, I don’t know who taught her, and that’s probably what Lola meant,” Jeanette retorted sharply.