Hilda and Lorraine felt this especially, and they were so absurdly gay that it was quite clear to Patty that their gaiety was assumed. But she was grateful to them for it, for, as she had previously confided to Nan, she didn’t want a weepy, teary crowd to bid her good-bye; she wanted to go away amid laughter and smiles.
As the brief hour before sailing passed, more and more people came to see them off, and Patty began to think that everybody she ever knew would be there.
Many of the friends brought gifts, and many had already sent fruit or flowers, both to the Farringtons and to Patty. Down in the dining-saloon a whole table was occupied with the gifts to their party, and more than a fair proportion of these belonged to Patty. She was quite bewildered, for sailing away from her native land was a new experience to her, and it had never occurred to her that it would include this elaborate profusion of farewell gifts.
There was a great basket of red roses from Winthrop Warner, and Bertha had sent a box of candy. Roger had sent candy, too, and Kenneth had sent a beautiful basket of fruit that seemed to include every known variety. Nor were the gifts only from Patty’s intimate friends. She was surprised to learn how many of her acquaintances and relatives and casual friends had sent a token of good wishes for her voyage. The truth is that Patty was a general favourite and made friends with all whom she met.
Mr. Hepworth had once told her that she was a Dispenser of Happiness. If so, she was now reaping the reward, for her friends had surely showered happiness upon her.
And besides the table full of gifts there were many letters and telegrams in the ship’s little post-office. These delighted Patty, too, and she laid the budget aside to enjoy after the trip had fairly begun.
Among the last to arrive was Mr. Hepworth. He brought no fruit or flowers, but he was followed by a messenger boy fairly staggering under the weight of his burden.
“I knew, Patty,” he said, “that you’d have all the flowers and fruit and sweets you could possibly want, so I’ve brought you a different kind of gift.”
“There seems to be plenty of it,” said Patty as she looked at the small boy. His arms were full of papers and magazines, which, as they afterward discovered, included every newspaper, magazine, and weekly periodical published in New York.
“You know,” said Mr. Hepworth, “you can’t get current reading matter after you start, and a good deal of this stuff you won’t find in Paris, either; though you can get American publications there more easily than you can in London. But read what you want, Patty, and pitch the rest overboard.”
The boy was directed to carry his load to Patty’s stateroom and deposit it there. Patty thanked Mr. Hepworth for his thoughtful gift, and said she would read every word of it and probably carry a great deal of it ashore with her.