“No, not much. Nan says for me not to get a lot of clothes, for it’s better to buy them over there; and papa says I can buy all I want, only of course I can’t be as extravagant as you are.”
“Oh, pshaw, I’m not extravagant! I don’t care much about spending money, only of course I like to have some nice things. And I do love to buy pictures and books. But we’ll have an awful lot of fun together. I think it’s fun just to be with you, Patty. And the idea of having you all to myself for a whole winter, without Hilda, or Lorraine, or anybody claiming a part of you, is the best of it all. I do love you a lot, Patty, more than you realise, I think.”
“You’ve set your affections on a worthless object, then; and I warn you that before the winter is over you’re likely to discover that for yourself. You always did overestimate me, Elise.”
“Indeed I didn’t; but as you well know, from that first day at the Oliphant school, when you were so kind to me, I’ve never liked anybody half as much as I do you.”
“You’re extremely flattering,” said Patty, as she kissed her friend, “and I only hope this winter won’t prove a disillusion.”
“I’m not at all afraid,” returned Elise gaily; “and oh, Patty, won’t we have a jolly time on board the steamer! It’s a long trip, you know, and we must take books to read and games to play, for as there’ll probably be mostly French people on board, we can’t converse very much.”
“You can,” said Patty, laughing, “but I’m afraid no one can understand my beautiful but somewhat peculiar accent.”
Marian came over to spend a few days with Patty before her departure. She was frankly envious of Patty’s good fortune, but more than that, she was so desperately doleful at the thought of Patty’s going away that she was anything but a cheerful visitor.
Although sorry for her cousin, Patty couldn’t help laughing at the dejected picture that Marian continually presented. She followed Patty around the house wherever she went, or she would sit and look at her with her chin held in her hands, and the big tears rolling down her cheeks.
“Marian, you are a goose,” said Patty, exasperated by this performance. “When I left Vernondale you cried and carried on just this way, but somehow you seemed to live through it. And now that I live in New York you don’t see me so very often anyhow, so why should you be so disconsolate about my going away?”
“Because you’re going so far, and you’ll probably be drowned—those French steamers are ever so much more dangerous than the English lines— and somehow I just feel as if you’d never come back.”
“Well, the best thing you can do then is to change your feelings. I’ll be back before you hardly realise that I’m gone; and I’ll bring you the loveliest presents you ever saw.”
This was a happy suggestion of Patty’s, for Marian’s tears ceased to flow and she brightened up at once.