He came across the deck with a staggering, uncertain motion, as if the ship were rolling and pitching about. His realistic acting made them all laugh, and when he dropped into a deck chair and, calling the steward, asked faintly for a cup of weak tea, Patty declared she believed she wouldn’t go to Paris after all.
“For I’m sure,” she said, “that I don’t want to go wabbling across a deck and looking as ill and woebegone as you do.”
Mr. Hepworth smiled at her. “You’ll have so many remedies and preventives given you,” he said, “and you’ll be so busy pitching them overboard that you won’t have time to be seasick. Really I don’t believe you’ll think of such a thing all the way over, let alone experiencing it.”
“You’re a great comfort,” said Patty heartily; “you always tell me the most comforting things. Now everybody else declares that after I’ve been at sea for a day I’ll be so ill that I won’t care whether I live or die.”
“Nonsense,” declared Mr. Hepworth; “don’t pay any attention to such croakings.”
“I agree with you,” said Elise. “I’ve made up my mind that I’m not going to be seasick, but I’m going to have a perfectly jolly time all the way across.”
“Of course you’ll have jolly times,” said Marian, who was in one of her doleful moods; “but think of us who are left behind! We won’t have any jolly time until you come back again.”
“Oh, I don’t know!” said Kenneth. “Of course I’m devoted to these two girls, but I’m not going to let it blight my young existence and crush my whole career, just because I have to live without them for six months.”
“But you don’t love Patty as I do,” said Marian with a sigh, as she gazed at her adored cousin.
“No, Marian, I don’t,” said Kenneth; “not as you do, for I assume that you love her as a first cousin. Now my affection for Patty is more on the order of a grandmother’s brother-in-law once removed. You can’t be too careful about the exact type of attachment you feel for a young lady, and I think that expresses my regard for Patty. Now toward Elise I feel more like a great niece’s uncle’s brother-in-law. There is a very subtle distinction between the two, but I know that both girls are acutely aware of the exact kind and degree of my regard for them.”
“I am, anyway,” said Patty; “and I must say, Ken, that it’s much easier to leave you, with that definite affection of yours, than it is to go away from Marian and leave her floundering in her deep and somewhat damp woe.”
Marian vouchsafed a sad sort of smile, and said it was all very well for them to make fun of her, but she couldn’t help missing Patty.
“Nobody can help missing Patty,” declared Mr. Hepworth; “and for my part, if I find that I miss her very much I shall go straight over to Paris and bring her back.”
“I hope you will,” cried Patty; “that is, I hope you’ll come over, and perhaps we can persuade you not to be in such a dreadful hurry to come back.”