“Yes; they are my wedding presents.”
“Oh, tell me all about your wedding!”
“I didn’t have any. I mean, not a big reception and all that. We were married in haste,—so we could have a chance to repent at leisure,—if we want to.”
“And do you?” asked Azalea, with such a serious air that the other two laughed.
“I haven’t had leisure enough for that yet,” Bill declared.
“And I don’t know what leisure means,” Patty said. “I’m busy from morning till night. If we ever get any leisure,—either of us,—perhaps we’ll begin on that repentance performance.”
But Patty’s happy face, as she turned it toward her husband, left little doubt as to her state of satisfaction with her life. Though, as she said, she was always busy, it was by her own wish, and she would have been miserable if she had had nothing to do.
Azalea, as Bill expressed it later to Patty, was a whole show!
The girl was ignorant of manners and customs that were second nature to her hosts, and was even unacquainted with the uses of some of the table furniture.
But this they had expected, and both Patty and Bill were more than ready to ignore and excuse any lapses of etiquette.
However, they were not prepared for Azalea’s attitude, which was that of self-important bravado. Quite conscious of her shortcomings, the girl’s nature was such that she preferred to pretend familiarity with her strange surroundings and she assumed an air of what she considered elegance that was so funny that the others had difficulty to keep from laughing outright.
She was especially at great pains to extend her little finger when she raised a glass or cup, having evidently observed the practice among people she admired. This finally resulted in her dropping the glass and spilling water all over her dinner plate.
“Hang it all!” she cried; “ain’t that me! Just as I get right into the swing of your hifalutin ways, I go and upset the applecart! Pshaw! You’ll think I’m a country junk!”
“Not at all,” said Patty, kindly, “’twas an accident that might happen to anybody. Norah will bring you a fresh plate. Don’t think of it.”
“No, I won’t have a fresh plate. I’m going to keep this one, to serve me right for being so awkward.” And no amount of insistence would persuade the foolish girl to have her plate changed.
“Nonsense, Azalea!” Farnsworth remonstrated, “you can’t eat that chicken, floating around in a sea of potato and water! Don’t be a silly! Let Norah take it.”
“No, I won’t,” and a stubborn look came into the black eyes. But in the meantime, Norah had attempted to remove the plate,—carefully, not to spill the water.
Azalea made a clutch at it, and succeeded in overturning the whole thing,—and the food fell, partly in her lap and partly on the pretty tablecloth.
“Never mind,” said Patty, gaily. “Leave it all to Norah,—she’ll do a conjuring trick.”