“Well, she isn’t your aunt,” snapped Arabella, and now they had reached the little candy store, and Patricia, grasping Arabella’s hand, walked boldly in.
Arabella was greatly impressed, and when Patricia asked her which kind she would like to have, she managed to just whisper that any kind would do.
At Arabella’s home Aunt Matilda reigned supreme, and it was said that no one, not even Mr. Corryville, dared spend any money, unless Aunt Matilda approved, but that might not be true.
Arabella thought it very grand that Patricia had enough money to buy whatever she wished, and her surprise increased when she chose a half-pound of two different kinds, ordering the clerk to put them in separate papers.
“You can have that bundle, and I’ll have this,” said Patricia, as they left the store, “and now we’ll go over to my house, it’s that one next to the school.”
Arabella looked toward the house at which Patricia pointed. It did not look at all like the homes of her other friends. Patricia rang the bell, and they heard the lock slip, then they commenced to mount the stairs. The building was four stories high, and Patricia lived on the top floor.
“We like the top floor because it’s so airy,” she said.
Arabella said nothing, but when they were seated cosily in the corners of an old sofa, each with her package of candy, Arabella was glad that she had come.
A few moments later Patricia’s mother entered. She was showily dressed, and her many pieces of jewelry made Arabella stare. She did not know that those glittering rings and bangles were worth very little money.
“Now, Patricia, you know I don’t like to have you buy so much candy,” whined Mrs. Lavine.
“I haven’t much candy,” replied Patricia, “that Arabella’s got belongs to her.”
Arabella looked quickly at Patricia. Was not that a sort of fib? Patricia had not said that Arabella had bought her package of candy, but she had certainly intended her mother to think so.
Mrs. Lavine took a book from the table, and sat down by the window to read.
Soon Patricia became restless.
“Let’s go out again,” she said, and in a few moments they were running down the stairs, and out into the street.
“I’ve got a little more money, and we’ll have some ice cream,” said Patricia.
Arabella wondered where she got her money, but dared not ask her, and while she was thinking about it Patricia spoke.
“I asked you over to my house because I think I’d like you for my best friend,” she said, “and because I’ve got something to tell you.”
Arabella stared at her through her glasses, but she said nothing.
“You’re sort of old-fashioned,” Patricia continued, “but I guess we can play together nicely, and you needn’t be provoked at what I said, for we’re going to have a secret the very first thing, and I’ll tell it to you when we’re having our ice cream.”