“I do understand, Phil, and I think you’re splendid! I want to keep on being your friend,—but I don’t want you to think—–”
“No, dear; I promise not to think that you are giving me undue encouragement,—for that is what you’re trying to say. And you mustn’t let my hopes or desires trouble you. Always treat me just exactly as you feel toward me, with gay comradeship, with true friendliness, or whatever is in your heart. But always remember that I am still loving you and waiting and hoping.”
Philip gave Patty one long look deep into her eyes, and then, with an entire change of manner, he said lightly, “Now, my lady fair, if you are rested, suppose we walk back to the house?”
“I am rested,” and Patty jumped up, “so you won’t have to do what I feared,—take me home in a wheelbarrow.”
Van Reypen looked at her quizzically.
“Do you remember,” he said, “the classic poem from which that quotation is taken?”
“It’s from Mother Goose, isn’t it?”
“Yes; but if you recollect, it was a bachelor gentleman who went to London. And when he returned he brought a wife home in a wheelbarrow. I’m not having quite that experience.”
“No,” said Patty, demurely, “but you haven’t any wheelbarrow.”
IN THE RUNABOUT
When they reached the house, Patty went straight up to Mr. Kenerley, and said in a low tone, “Jim, I want to ask a favour of you.”
“Anything at all, Patty Pink; anything, to the half of my kingdom!”
“Well, I want the little car, the runabout; and I want to go off for a little while, all by myself.”
“Patty! You amaze me! Does this mean a clandestine meeting with a rustic swain? Oh, my child, I thought you were well brought up!”
“Don’t tease me, Jim,” and Patty looked really serious. “If you must know, though, it’s because I want to get away from the rustic swains. I want a little time to myself. And if I stay here, the boys are all around; and if I go to my room, the girls won’t give me any peace, and, oh, Jim, do help me out!”
“Why, of course, you Blessed Infant. Trust all to your Uncle Jim! Come along with me.”
The two started down the walk toward the garage, and Adele called out, “Where are you going?”
“Going to elope,” Kenerley returned gaily over his shoulder, and they went on.
He took out the little car, which Patty could easily run herself, and putting her in, he jumped in beside her.
“I’ll go with you, past the porch,” he said, “and see you outside the gate.”
So they dashed by the group on the veranda, not heeding their chaff and once outside the grounds, Jim said, “Are you sure you want to go alone, Patty?”
“Yes, please, Jim. I want to think a little.”
“Oh, you girl! you needn’t tell me! some chap’s been making love to you!”