“No! What an idiot I am! You see, Mrs. Parsons, I’m not really a ‘society man,’ and in these formal affairs, I’m a bit out of my element. Will you do me the honour to go to supper with me?”
Aunt Adelaide looked at the towering figure in its regal velvet robes.
“I oughtn’t to,” she said, with a little laugh, “but I can’t resist the temptation. So I will! The idea of my going with the king of the whole show!”
“Excepting Miss Fairfield, there’s no one I’d rather have,” said Big Bill, honestly, and so Father Neptune strode majestically to his seat at the head of the table, and at his right sat primly, fluttering Aunt Adelaide, instead of the witching sprite he had expected to place there.
Patty was really glad, for she didn’t wish to appear too exclusively with Farnsworth, and yet she was a little disappointed, too, for as the Spirit of the Sea, her place was by Father Neptune.
But Captain Sayre made himself very entertaining, and as Jack Pennington was on her other side, she soon forgot all about Little Billee, and gave herself up to the fun of the moment.
“I well remember your beautiful dancing,” said the captain. “Will you give me some waltzes?”
“I don’t give them plurally,” said Patty, smiling at him. “I’ll give you one, perhaps; a half one, anyway.”
“Not enough!” said Captain Sayre, decidedly. “I must have more than that, by fair means—or otherwise. Where is your card?”
“I haven’t any yet; won’t it be time enough to get one after supper?”
“Yes, if you let me see it before any one else. I find it’s a trick with the young men here to make dance engagements surreptitiously at the supper table.”
Patty glanced about, and saw more than one tasselled card appearing and disappearing from hand to hand.
A moment later, she heard a voice behind her chair. “Apple Blossom,” it whispered, “I’ve brought you a dance card. Say ’Thank you, Bill.’”
“Thank you, Father Neptune,” said Patty, flashing a smile at him, as she took the card, and turned back to the captain.
THE APPLE BLOSSOM DANCE
“Now I have a programme, Captain Sayre,” Patty said. “If you really want a part of a dance—”
“I don’t!” declared the captain, positively. “There are some ladies I’d dance half a dance with, but not with you.”
“Then I suppose I’ll have to give you a whole one,” Patty sighed, “and I know I won’t have enough to go ’round. You know it’s late, and there are only ten dances on the list.”
“And they’re half gone!” exclaimed Captain Sayre, as he looked at the card Patty had handed him.
“What!” she cried, looking at it herself.
Sure enough there was a very big black B. F. written against every other dance!
“Bill Farnsworth!” she exclaimed. “Well, if he hasn’t a nerve! He wants the earth!”