“Dear miss Harcourt:
I cannot tell you what pleasure your letter gave me. It is so delightful to learn that a stranger is interested in my poor attempts at making music. And—may I say it?—the personal charm of your letter has thrilled my heart! Only a pure, sweet, young nature could write as you do. May I not see you? Or at least will you not send me your photograph? I know I have no right to ask this, but I would so love to meet one so sympathetic and appreciative of the great art which is the ideal of my life.
With many, many thanks for your welcome letter, I am,
Very sincerely yours, Christopher Cameron.”
“I knew he’d do it!” cried Patty. “I knew he’d fall for that flattery! Kit’s a perfect dear, but he is vain of his music, and I don’t blame him. He’s a wonderful violinist.”
“What are you going to do next, Patty?” asked Adele. “Answer that letter?”
“Sure!” returned Patty; “but I’m not running this thing alone. We must all help make up the letter. And, Adele, haven’t you some photograph that will be just right to send?”
As soon as they reached home they hunted over Adele’s collection of photographs, and finally found one that Patty declared just right.
It was a picture of one of Adele’s cousins, a girl of about sixteen, whose sweet young face wore an expression so soulful and languishing that it was almost comical.
“Hester hates that picture,” said Adele; “she never looks that way really,—like a sick calf,—but somehow the photographer managed to catch that expression.”
“She wouldn’t mind if she knew, would she?” said Patty.
“Oh, mercy, no! She’d think it the best joke in the world. She lives in California, so there’s little chance of Mr. Cameron ever seeing her. Now let’s write the letter.”
After much agony of composition and much gay fooling, the plotters produced this:
“Dear Mr. Christopher:
I must modify your more formal name a little,—for it seems now as if I almost knew you. I tremble with fear lest some one should discover that I write to you. But I cannot help writing. I am impelled by a feeling in my soul. I send my picture and I wish it were more beautiful. For I know you love only what is good and beautiful. We must not meet, that would be too dangerous. But will you not write me one more precious letter that I may keep it forever?
There had been much discussion over the signature. Adele preferred “Yours devotedly”; Daisy wanted “Yours adoringly”; but Patty stood out for the name alone, saying that it meant more that way.
And so the letter enclosing the picture was despatched to Kit, who received it duly.