Patty stepped out from the doorway and smiled at her visitor.
“All right, Elise,” she said, “you may. I’ll send out your dinner, and you can sleep here, too, if you like.”
“No, I’ll come in for my board and lodging, but all the rest of the time look for me here! I’m going to have some lavender frocks made,—dimities and organdies, and then I’ll be part of the picture.”
“Oh, do! I can’t wear lavender or purple,” Patty sighed.
“Nonsense! Of course you can. You only mean you’ve never tried. That bisque doll complexion of yours will stand any color. Let’s both get wisteria-coloured frocks, and—”
Elise’s plans were interrupted by the appearance of Farnsworth and two men who had arrived for the house party. These were our old friends, Philip Van Reypen and Chickering Channing.
Still a devoted admirer of pretty Patty, Van Reypen had become reconciled to his fate, and moreover had discovered his ability to take pleasure in the society of other charming young women.
Channing was the same old merry Chick, and he was exuberant in his praise of the beautiful home of the Farnsworths which he now saw for the first time.
“Great little old place!” he exclaimed, enthusiastically. “But why such an enormousness? Are you going to keep boarders?”
“Yes, if you’ll stay,” laughed Patty. “But, you see it was a bargain,—so we snapped it up.”
“The old story,” put in Bill. “Man built it,—went bankrupt,—had to sell at sacrifice. Along came we,—bought it,—everybody happy!”
“I am,” declared Elise; “this is the sort of place I’ve dreamed of. Beautiful nearby effects, and a long distance view beside. This porch for mine,—all the time I’m here.”
“But you haven’t seen the other places yet,” Patty demurred. “There’s a tea-porch—”
“Yes, of course.”
“Lead me to it!” and Elise jumped up, and made for the house.
Then they all strolled through the wide hall and out at the back door on to the tea-porch. This was furnished with white wicker tables and chairs, and indeed, was prepared for immediate use, for a maid was just bringing the cakes and crumpets as the party arrived.
“Goody!” cried Elise, “can we have tea now, Patty? I’m famished.”
“Yes, indeed,” and Patty took her place at the tea table with a matronly air, and began to pour for her guests.
“It’s just as pretty as the other porch,” Elise decided, looking critically at the festoons of wistaria, which was on three sides of the house. “But I’ll adopt the first one. Anybody looking for me will find me there—’most always.”
“We’re always looking for you,” said Channing, gallantly, as he took up his teacup, “and it is a comfort to know where to find you. Of late you’ve been inaccessible.”
“Not to you,” and Elise glanced coquettishly from under her eyelashes.