“Don’t talk of blame, Mr. Cameron, please,” said Patty’s soft voice; “you kindly brought us here to give us pleasure and you did so. The fact that this emergency has arisen is of no blame to anybody. The only one to be blamed is the one who cannot meet it bravely!”
MEETING IT BRAVELY
“You’re the most wonderful girl in the world!” exclaimed Cameron, in a burst of admiration at Patty’s speech.
But Kenneth looked steadily at Patty, with a thoughtful gaze.
“You’re keyed up,” he said to her, gently; “and if you take it like that, you’ll collapse.”
“Like what?” Patty snapped out the words, for her nerves were strung to a high tension.
“Doing the hysterical histrionic act,” and Kenneth smiled at the excited girl, not reprovingly, but with gentle sympathy. “Now take it standing, Patty,—face it squarely,—and you’ll be all right. We’re housed up here,—for how long, Cameron?”
“I—I don’t know,” said Kit, looking desperate.
“That only means you won’t tell,” declared his cousin. “Own up, Kit, how long did the doctor say?”
“Three or four weeks.”
“Oh!” Patty merely breathed the word, but it sounded like a wail of despair. Then she caught Kenneth’s eye, and his glance of steadfast courage nerved her anew.
“It’s all right,” she said, almost succeeding in keeping a quiver out of her voice. “We can have a real good time. People can send us all sorts of things, and,—I suppose we can’t write letters,—but we can telephone. Oh, that reminds me; may I telephone Mr. Van Reypen at once, that I can’t”—Patty blinked her eyes, and swallowed hard— “that I can’t be at my—at his party this evening?”
Mr. Cameron looked a picture of abject grief.
“Miss Fairfield,” he began, “if I could only tell you how sorry I am—”
“Please don’t,” said Patty, kindly; “I’ve accepted the situation now, and you won’t hear a single wail of woe from me. Pooh! what’s a theatre party more or less among me! And a few weeks’ rest will do us all good. We’ll pretend we’re at a rest cure or sanitarium, and go to bed early, and get up late, and all that.”
“Oh, of course we must all telephone to our homes,” said Marie; “and I must say, I think girls are selfish creatures! We’ve never given a thought to Mr. Harper’s business!”
“Don’t give it a thought,” said Kenneth, lightly. “I’ve given it one or two already, and I may give it another. That’s enough for any old business.”
“That sounds well, Ken,” said Patty, “but I know it’s going to make you a terrific lot of trouble. And Mr. Cameron, too! A civil engineer—”
“Can’t be uncivil, even in a case like this,” put in Kit; “or I’d say what I really feel about the whole business! It would be worse, of course, if one of our own people were ill; but to be tied up like this because of a servant is, to say the least, exasperating.”