“Patty, you’re incorrigible!”
“Good gracious! what’s that? It must be something awfully nice, if I’m it.”
“Well, you are it,—and I don’t know what to do with you.”
“You mean, you don’t know what to do without me!”
“Same thing. But you’ll promise me this, won’t you? To think it over seriously and not decide at once.”
“Yes, I’ll promise that. How long do you want me to think it over, Ken?”
“The rest of your life, Patty.”
“Ken, if you say such clever things as that, I’m afraid I’ll fall in love with you!”
“Patty, darling,—don’t tease me like that! If I thought you meant it—–”
“But, anyway, Ken, if I take the rest of my life to think this thing over, I can’t give you an answer till my dying day! And that seems late——”
“Patty, stop talking like that! You’ll drive me crazy! Now listen, little girl, I’m going now. And you’re going to think over what I’ve said to you. And—try to think kindly,—won’t you?”
“I’ve never thought of you any way but kindly, Ken.”
“Well, think more than kindly, then,—think lovingly. Good-night, Patty.”
Kenneth held out his hand and Patty put her little hand slowly into it.
As she felt his strong, warm clasp, a mischievous impulse moved her to say, demurely: “I think it would be polite, Ken, if you kissed my hand, instead of squeezing it to pieces!”
Kenneth gave her one look, dropped a light kiss on the back of her little hand, and with a courteous bow left the room.
For a moment Patty stood where he had left her, then, as she heard the front door close, she looked curiously at the back of her hand, almost as if expecting to see a mark there.
“Dear old Ken,” she said, softly, to herself, and then she went upstairs.
Notwithstanding the experience of the evening, Patty slept dreamlessly all night, and was only awakened, when Jane came in the morning with her breakfast tray.
“Hello, Jane,” she said, sleepily, opening her eyes, “will you ask Mrs. Fairfield to come up here right away?”
“What is it, Patty?” said Nan, appearing a moment later; “are you ill? Jane said you wanted me right away.”
“No, I’m not ill,” and Patty gave her stepmother a quizzical glance. “Sit down, Nan, and brace yourself for a shock. In me you behold a charming young debutante who has received her first proposal from a most worthy young man.”
“Good gracious, Patty! Kenneth?”
“None other!” And Patty waved her hand dramatically.
“Naturally, I’m not overcome with amazement, as he spoke to Fred about it first. Kenneth always has good manners. Well, and what did you say, Patty?”
Patty eyed Nan, provokingly. “What do you think, Nancy?”