This had raised such a storm of dissension from both Nan and Patty that Mr. Fairfield so far amended his resolution as to propose a boarding-school instead.
But Patty was equally dismayed at the thought of either, and rebelled at the suggestion of going away from home. And as Nan quite coincided with Patty in her opinions on this matter, she was fighting bravely for their victory against Mr. Fairfield’s very determined opposition.
All her life Patty had deferred to her father’s advice, not only willingly, but gladly; but in the matter of school she had very strong prejudices. She had never enjoyed school life, and during her last year at Miss Oliphant’s she had worked so hard that she had almost succumbed to an attack of nervous prostration. But she had persevered in her hard work because of the understanding that it was to be her last year at school; and now to have college or even a boarding-school thrown at her head was enough to rouse even her gentle spirit.
For Patty was of gentle spirit, although upon occasion, especially when she felt that an injustice was being done, she could rouse herself to definite and impetuous action.
And as she now frankly told her father, she considered it unjust after she had thought that commencement marked the end of her school life, to have a college course sprung upon her unaware.
But Mr. Fairfield only laughed and told her that she was incapable of judging what was best for little girls, and that she would do wisely to obey orders without question.
But Patty had questioned, and her questions were reinforced by those of Nan, until Mr. Fairfield began to realise that it was doubtful if he could gain his point against their combined forces. And indeed a kind and indulgent father and husband is at a disadvantage when his opinion is opposed to that of his pretty, impulsive daughter and his charming, impulsive wife.
So, at this by no means the first serious discussion of the matter, Mr. Fairfield found himself weakening, and had already acknowledged to himself that he might as well prepare to yield gracefully.
“Go on, Nan,” cried Patty, “give us the benefit of your wise judgment”
“Why, I think,” said Nan, looking at her husband with an adorable smile, which seemed to assume that he would agree with her, “that a college education is advisable, even necessary, for a girl who expects to teach, or indeed, to follow any profession. But I’m quite sure we don’t look forward to that for Patty.”
“No,” said Mr. Fairfield; “I can’t seem to see Patty teaching a district school how to shoot; neither does my imagination picture her as a woman doctor or a lady lawyer. But to my mind there are occasions in the life of a private citizeness when a knowledge of classic lore is not only beneficial but decidedly ornamental.”
“Now, papa,” began Patty, “I’m not going to spend my life as a butterfly of fashion or a grasshopper of giddiness, and you know it; but all the same, I can’t think of a single occasion where I should be embarrassed at my ignorance of Sanscrit, or distressed at the fact that I was unacquainted personally with the statutes of limitation.”