Patricia slipped hurriedly to her feet; but by this time Sarah had caught sight of something else. “Land sakes, Miss P’tricia! Ef yo’ isn’t gone an’ tuk Miss Julia’s punchbowl—what she don’t ’low no one but herse’f to tech!”
Patricia put an arm around Sarah’s waist, or rather, around as much of it as she could encompass. “Aunt Julia wasn’t in—and I wanted the very nicest bowl I could think of. It is so perfectly lovely to have a grandmother coming!”
There was a world of unconscious longing in Patricia’s voice; no one, not even Daddy, knew quite what the coming of her grandmother meant to the little motherless girl. And a grandmother she had not seen since babyhood. The coming weeks seemed to Patricia full of untold possibilities.
“It do look pretty,” Sarah admitted, as she went to smooth out the bed covers. “‘Pears like it was time yo’ was gettin’ your dress changed, honey. Yo’ best let me giv yo’ hair a brush; seems like yo’ never did get the kinks out.”
Patricia submitted with most unaccustomed patience to the finishing touches Sarah insisted on giving her toilet. “I reckon yo’ll do now, honey,” Sarah said at last.
“Only half an hour more and she’ll be here, Custard,” Patricia said to the dog, sniffing inquiringly at the tips of her best shoes; “Daddy’s to meet the five-thirty train.”
Patricia settled herself circumspectly in the hammock, smoothing out her crisp white skirts. “Oh, I do wonder what she’ll be like, really I haven’t even a photograph—grandmother doesn’t like being photographed—and I haven’t seen her since I was three years old. Custard, do you suppose she’ll have an ear trumpet, like the Barkers’ grandmother? It’s very embarrassing talking into an ear trumpet. I rather hope she’s short and—stoutish. I’ve been thinking over all the people I know, and it seems to me that the short, stout ones are mostly more good-natured than the other kinds.”
Custard wagged agreeingly; he was short, and not his worst enemy could accuse him of being thin. So far this coming of a grandmother did not appeal to Custard; never before had he been refused a share of the hammock; and those one or two preliminary nips he had taken at the toes of Patricia’s shiny shoes had been promptly squelched. To be talked to and confided in was all very well, but a game of tag in the meadow behind the house would have been a great deal more fun. Nor was Custard quite sure what a grandmother was; he hoped it was something good to eat.
Patricia had never known such a long half hour; she made one or two trips down to the gate, walking carefully on the edge of the grass, so as not to get her shoes dusty. It was very odd that Aunt Julia didn’t come home—Good, she was coming now.
“Isn’t the train late?” Patricia demanded, the moment her aunt was within earshot.
Miss Kirby smiled. “It isn’t due yet, Patricia, for five minutes.” She didn’t look in the least excited, going calmly up the garden path to the house.