Aunt Adelaide rose with alacrity, and willingly started off with the young artist, who gave not another glance in Patty’s direction.
“H’m,” said Patty to herself, as the pair walked away. “H’m! I rather like that young man! He has some go to him.” She laughed aloud at her own involuntary joke, and stood, watching Aunt Adelaide’s mincing steps, as she tripped along the garden path.
As Patty stood thus, she did not see or hear a large and stalwart young man come up on the veranda, and, smiling roguishly, steal up behind her. But in a moment, she felt herself clasped in two strong arms, and a hearty kiss resounded on her pink cheek.
BIG BILL FARNSWORTH
“How are you?” exclaimed a voice as hearty as the kiss, and Patty, with a wild spring, jumped from the encircling arms, and turned to face a towering giant, who, she knew at once, must be Mr. Farnsworth.
“How dare you!” she cried, stamping her foot, and flashing furious glances, while her dimpled cheeks burned scarlet.
“Whoopee! Wowly-wow-wow! I thought you were Mona! Oh, can you ever forgive me? But, no, of course you can’t! So pronounce my doom! Shall I dash myself into the roaring billows and seek a watery grave? Oh, no, no! I see by your haughty glare that is all too mild a punishment! Then, have me tarred and feathered, and drawn and quartered and ridden on a rail! Send for the torturers! Send for the Inquisitioners! But, remember this! I didn’t know I was kissing a stranger. I thought I was kissing my cousin Mona. If I had known,—oh, my dear lady,—if I had known,—I should have kissed you twice!”
This astonishing announcement was doubtless induced by the fact that Patty had been unable to resist his wheedlesome voice and frank, ingenuous manner, and she had indulged in one of her most dimpled smiles.
With her face still flushed by the unexpected caress, and her golden curls still rumpled from the baby’s mischievous little fingers, Patty looked like a harum-scarum schoolgirl.
“Be careful,” she warned, shaking a finger at him. “I was just about to forgive you because of your mistake in identity, but if you make me really angry, I’ll never forgive you.”
“Come back, and all will be forgiven,” said the young man, mock-dramatically, as he held out his arms for a repetition of the scene.
“This is your punishment,” said Patty, gaily, paying no attention to his fooling. “You are not to tell of this episode! I know you’ll want to, for it is a good joke, but I should be unmercifully teased. And as you owe me something for—for putting me in a false position——”
“Delightful position!” murmured the young man.
“You owe me something,” went on Patty, severely, “and I claim your promise not to tell any one,—not even Mona,—what you did.”