Mona still seemed a trifle unconvinced.
“Patty,” she said, “you know I usually think what you do is all right,—but this,—well, this seems so very crazy.”
“Mona, my child,” said Patty, serenely, “I warned you that our ways might clash, and you said I might do exactly as I chose while at ‘Red Chimneys.’”
“So I did, Patty,—and so I do. I’ll go home now, and leave the rest of this performance to you. Come over soon, won’t you?”
“Yes,” said Patty, “I’ll be there for dinner. Good-bye, Mona.”
After Mona had gone, Patty turned to Susan.
“You know, Susan, this is to be a dead secret. Don’t ever tell anybody. And you must obey my orders implicitly. I’ll pay you something extra for your trouble.”
“Sure, it’s no trouble at all, Miss Patty. I’d do anything for ye, whativer. But you must be afther tellin’ me just what to do.”
“Of course I will. And, first of all, Susan, you must go home,—I mean, to your sister’s,—get your dinner there, and then come to ‘Red Chimneys’ about half-past seven and ask for me. They’ll bring you right up to my room, and I’ll dress you up as I think best. Then we’ll take you down to the drawing-room, and all you’ll have to do, Susan, is to sit there all the evening in a big easy chair. Can you knit, Susan?”
“Yes, Miss Patty.”
“Well, bring a piece of knitting work, not an old grey thing,—a piece of nice, fleecy white wool work. Have you any?”
“I’ve not, Miss, but I’ll get some white yarn from my sister, and start a shawl or a tippet.”
“Yes; do that. Then you just sit there, you know, and knit and glance around the room now and then, and smile benignly. Can you smile benignly, Susan?”
Susan tried, and after one or two lessons from Patty, was pronounced proficient in that art.
“Then, Susan, if there’s music, you must listen, and wag your head in appreciation, so! When we dance, you must look on with interest and again smile benignly. Not many of the young people will talk to you, except to be introduced at first, but if they do, answer them pleasantly, and use your brogue as little as possible. Do you understand, Susan?”
And as Susan possessed the quick wit and ready adaptability of her race, she did see; and as she adored her young mistress above any one on earth, she was only too willing to please her; and, too, the occasion had its charms for a good-hearted, hard-working Irishwoman.
She declared her willingness to obey Patty’s orders, promised to keep it all a profound secret, and then went away to her sister’s house until the appointed time.
A PERFECTLY GOOD CHAPERON
It was nearly six o’clock when Patty reached “Red Chimneys.” She carried a bandbox, and Miller, who followed her, carried a large suitcase, and various other parcels.