But it was nearly time: for the last farewell to be said, and indeed some of the party had said good-bye and left the steamer.
And then again Patty was carried off for a little confidential talk at the other end of the deck, and this time it was by her father.
He seemed to have many final bits of advice to give her regarding the minutiae of her journey, her money matters, her relation toward the Farringtons, and her correct demeanour in many ways.
“I’m not at all afraid to trust you out of my sight, Patty, girl,” he said, “for I have absolute faith in your common sense and your good judgment. I know you won’t do anything wrong or unladylike, but I want to warn you, my little girl, not to get mixed up in any romantic adventures. You’re altogether too young for that sort of thing, and I warn you I sha’n’t allow you to be engaged to anybody for years and years to come.” Patty laughed merrily at this. “Indeed, papa,” she said, “nothing is further from my mind than any such performance as you suggest, and I haven’t the slightest desire to think of being engaged until I’m at least as old as Nan. And anyway, I don’t believe anybody would like me well enough to want to be engaged to me. Oh—that is— unless it might be Kenneth.”
And then Patty told her father the whole story of Kenneth and the locket.
“You did just right, Patty,” said her father. “Kenneth is a nice boy, but he is altogether too young, and you are, too, to attach any sentimental significance to his gift. Wear the locket if you want to, or when you want to, but let it be understood that it means nothing more than the merest friendly keepsake.”
“Yes, that’s just what I think,” said Patty, with an air of satisfaction at this prosaic settlement of the subject. “Oh, papa, you’re the only one I’m going to miss very much, you and Nan; but especially you.”
“I know it, my girl; we have been a great deal to each other all these years, and of course we shall miss each other. But the time will soon pass away, and since we have to part we must be brave about it, and we must not spoil the happiness of it by the sorrow of it.”
“Dear papa,” said Patty, squeezing his hand, “you are always so wise and good. That’s just the point; we must not spoil the happiness by the sorrow, though that is what Marian is always trying to do. Poor Marian, she’s such a pathetic creature; I wish she would cheer up.”
“I think she will, Patty. Nan and I are going to take her home with us and keep her for a fortnight or more, and we’ll make her so gay that she’ll forget you’re gone.”
“Good for you, papa; that’s lovely! You do think of the nicest things for people!”
“Well, now, chickabiddy, I suppose I’ll have to leave you. Keep up a good heart and a spirit of cheerfulness. Stick to your sense of proportion and your sense of humor. Remember that the time will soon pass, and pass happily, too; and then you’ll come sailing back to this very dock, and I’ll be here waiting for you.”