The doctor patted the dog’s rough head, then stooped to examine Patricia’s work. “Not a bad job for an eleven-year-old, Pat.”
“I could do it better, only I had to make a strip from a piece I found in Aunt Julia’s scrap-bag,” Patricia explained.
“Patricia!” Miss Kirby exclaimed from the doorway, “your dress is only half buttoned, and your hair is—Patricia Kirby, have you gone and hunted up another dog!”
“It’s the same one, Aunt Julia. He has improved a lot, hasn’t he? If you’d seen how glad he was to see me! I suppose he’ll have to be sent back. Caesar likes him pretty well; he didn’t growl at him once when I introduced them to each other.”
“It’s a question whether sending back will do any good,” the doctor said. He was watching the two on the steps.
Patricia stroked the bandaged paw gently. “I can’t take him—I can’t go out of the yard, can I, Daddy?”
“Couldn’t you take him in the gig with you, Patrick?” Miss Kirby felt that she was playing a losing game.
“Going quite in the opposite direction.”
“Goes with me.” The doctor was still studying the two on the steps.
“If he stays one day we are doomed!” Miss Kirby declared.
“That only leaves you and Sarah, doesn’t it, Aunt Julia?” Patricia asked, cheerfully.
Miss Kirby was not without a sense of humor. “I am afraid Sarah is out of the question,” she said; “and if he waits for me to take him he will stay here—altogether.”
Patricia was quick to catch the longed-for concession in her aunt’s voice. Dropping Custard, she ran to hug Miss Kirby. “Oh, you darling! But, Daddy,” she turned anxiously, “oh, do you suppose Mr. Carr will mind very much?”
“I rather think he will be able to bear the disappointment,” the doctor answered.
THE GINGHAM APRON PARTY
Fortunately, the ground under the big apple tree was soft and springy, and Patricia was used to both low and lofty tumbling; so when she landed, a little surprised heap, in the tangled grass, she lay still just long enough for the small black dog, nosing anxiously about her, to get in one or two licks of her sunburnt, bewildered face; then she sat up.
“My, Custard, that was a stunner! I reckon if Daddy was here he’d say, ‘what a fall was there, my countrymen!’” Custard wagged agreeingly, and sniffed inquiringly at the strip of pink leg showing through the long jagged tear in one of his small mistress’s tan stockings.
Patricia scrambled to her feet and began taking stock. There was another tear in the short skirt of her blue gingham frock, and one in one of the sleeves.
“Goodness! What will Aunt Julia say!” Patricia said ruefully; then remembered suddenly what Aunt Julia had said, no longer ago than yesterday morning, after a similar catastrophe.