“That was Patricia Lavine,” said Nancy; “Mollie Merton said she saw her just a few days ago.”
“O dear!” said Dorothy, “and it’s not nice to say that when Patricia has just come back here to live, but truly she wasn’t pleasant.”
“I don’t wonder you said, ‘O dear,’ for wherever she was, she made somebody uncomfortable,” Nancy said, which was indeed true.
Patricia was not wholly at fault. She dearly loved anything that was showy, and her mother, who was a very ignorant woman, was quite as fond of display.
She had never taught her little daughter to be kind or courteous, but instead had laughed at her pert ways, and thought them amusing.
Patricia hastened along the avenue as fast as her little steeple heels would permit, and when she saw Flossie and Reginald, she rushed toward them, assuring them that she never had been so glad to see any one before.
Neither Flossie nor Reginald could say that they were quite as pleased, but Patricia did not wait for them to speak.
“We’ve been living in N’ York,” she said, “but we’re going to live here now, an’ we’ve got a el’gant house right next the schoolhouse. Ma says it’s one of the finest houses in Merrivale, an’ I guess—”
“If it’s next to the schoolhouse it’s the one where our cook’s brother lives,” remarked Reginald. “He lives on the first floor, and the man that drives the water-cart lives just over him.”
Patricia was annoyed. She had wished them to think that the entire house had been engaged for her own small family. Her cheeks were flushed, but she made the best of the situation, and at once commenced to tell of the beauties of the flat.
“We lived in a great big hotel in N’ York,” she said, “but ma says this flat is handsomer than the one what we had at the hotel. Ma says I can give a party this winter, if I want to. Of course I’ll invite all my N’ York friends, but I shall only ask the girls here that have been nice to me, and I don’t think I shall ask any boys at all.”
She cast a withering glance at Reginald, who whistled softly. Then he made a naughty reply.
“P’r’aps the boys wouldn’t come if you asked them,” he said.
“Oh, Reginald!” said Flossie.
“Well, she said a mean thing ’bout not inviting boys, else I wouldn’t have said it. I wouldn’t speak like that to you or Dorothy, or any of the nice girls I know.”
“There were nice boys in N’ York,” snapped Patricia. “I didn’t see a boy while I was there who wasn’t very nice.”
WHAT FLOSSIE DID
In the great hall, at the Barnet house, the butler stood puzzling over the letters which the postman had left.
He dared not meddle with them, but he paused for a moment to study them as they lay upon his salver, while he wondered if the handwriting upon either envelope were in the least familiar.