“Yes, father will send for her as soon as we decide. But you know, Mrs. Fairfield, I should keep house, as I always do, and Aunt Adelaide would only be with us in the cause of propriety.”
Nan smiled at the thought of Mona’s housekeeping, for “Red Chimneys” was so liberally provided with servants that Mona’s duties consisted mainly in mentioning her favourite dishes to the cook.
“Are you sure you could behave yourself, Patty?” asked her father, teasingly, “without either Nan or myself to keep you in order?”
“Oh, yes,” said Patty, drawing down the corners of her mouth demurely. “In fact, as I should be on my own responsibility, I’d have to be even more careful of my manners than I am at home.”
Mr. Fairfield sighed a little. “Well, Puss,” he said, “I really wanted you with us on our trip, but as you’d rather stay here, and as this way seems providentially opened for you, I can only say you may accept Mona’s invitation if you choose.”
“Then I do choose, you dear old Daddy!” cried Patty, making a rush for her father, and, seating herself on the arm of his chair, she patted his head, while she told him how glad she was of his consent. “For,” she said, “I made up my mind not to coax. If you didn’t agree readily, I was going to abide by your wishes, without a murmur.”
“Oh, what a goody-girl!” said Mr. Fairfield, laughing. “Now, you see, Virtue is its own reward.”
“And I’m so glad!” Mona declared, fervently. “Oh, Patty, we’ll have perfectly elegant times! I was so afraid you wouldn’t want to come to stay with me.”
“Oh, yes, I do,” said Patty, “but I warn you I’m a self-willed young person, and if I insist on having my own way, what are you going to do?”
“Let you have it,” said Mona, promptly. “Your way is always better than mine.”
“But suppose you two quarrel,” said Mr. Fairfield, “what can you do then? Patty will have nowhere to go.”
“Oh, we won’t quarrel,” said Mona, confidently. “Patty’s too sweet-tempered,—”
“And you’re too amiable,” supplemented Nan, who was fond of Mona in some ways, though not in others. But she, too, thought that Patty would have a good influence over the motherless girl, and she was honestly glad that Patty could stay at her beloved seashore for the rest of the summer.
So it was settled, and Mona went flying home to carry the glad news to her father, and to begin at once to arrange Patty’s rooms.
SUSAN TO THE RESCUE
The day that Mr. and Mrs. Fairfield were to start on their trip to the mountains came during what is known as “a hot spell.” It was one of those days when life seems almost unbearable,—when the slightest exertion seems impossible.
There was no breeze from the ocean, and the faint, languid land breeze that now and then gave an uncertain puff, was about as refreshing as a heat-wave from an opened furnace door.