“Well,” said Elise, who was matter-of-fact, “when people take passage on an ocean steamer they often expect to get a few miles away from land after they start.”
“Oh, Elise,” cried Patty, “have you no imagination? Of course it isn’t wonderful to consider the fact of our sailing out to sea, but the idea of dancing away over the blue water is poetic and therefore wonderful.”
“I’m glad you explained it to me, and I dare say the more the ship dances, the more wonderful it will be. And so let’s get these things straightened out before the dancing grows mad and hilarious.”
“All right,” said Patty good-naturedly; and she went to work with a will, stowing away things and tacking up things, until everything was snugly in place.
Mrs. Farrington’s maid accompanied the party, but both Elise and Patty, being energetic young Americans, had small use for her services. She was a help, though, in the matter of back buttons and hair ribbons, and she came now rapping at the stateroom door with a message from Mrs. Farrington that the girls were to dress for dinner. At the same moment the pretty bugle-call rang out that marked the half hour before dinner-time.
“Isn’t it fun,” cried Patty, “to have the dressing-bell a trumpet? Except at my own party the other night I’ve never been bugled to my meals. What shall we wear, Elise?”
“Not our prettiest dresses. We must save those for the concert, or whatever gaieties they may have. Put on that blue checked silk of yours, Patty; it’s the sweetest thing, and just right for dinner, and I’ll wear my light green one.”
With slight assistance from Lisette, the French maid, they were soon ready. Patty envied Lisette her fluency in the French tongue, for though all the officers on board and most of the passengers spoke English, Patty wished she could talk French more readily than she did. She found it good practice to talk to Lisette in her own language, as the mistakes she made did not embarrass her. Lisette, of course, was a great admirer of pretty Patty, and was only too glad to be of assistance to her linguistically or any other way.
Another bugle-call announced dinner, and, joining Mr. and Mrs. Farrington, the girls went down to the dining saloon. Their seats were at the captain’s table, and Patty thought she had never seen such a profusion of beautiful flowers as graced the board. The stewards had placed the flowers of all the passengers upon the tables, and, with the lights and ornate decorations of the Louis XVI. saloon, it was like fairyland. The walls and ceiling were elaborately decorated in dainty French fashion, and the table service was exceedingly attractive. Patty was much amused at the revolving chair which she had to learn how to get into, but after being twirled to her place she concluded it was a wise provision for a dining-room of such uncertain level.
Mrs. Farrington sat at the captain’s right hand, and next to her was her husband, then Elise, and then Patty. Patty at once began to wonder who would occupy the chair next beyond herself, and was exceedingly interested when the steward turned it around to accommodate a lady who was approaching.