Mrs. Farrington laughed at this. “Of course it’s clean, child,” she said; “it’s only on land that we are under the tyranny of dust and dirt. But as for tumbling around the deck, that may come later. Don’t imagine the sea is never rougher than it is to-night.”
“I hope it will be rougher,” said Patty. “I don’t want a fearful storm, but I would like a little pitching and tossing.”
“You’ll probably get it,” said Mr. Farrington. “And now, my cherished ones, let us take a look in at the library and drawing-room, and then let us seek our staterooms.”
So the parry adjourned to the brilliantly lighted saloon, where many of the passengers had congregated to spend the after-dinner hour. It was a beautiful apartment, even more gorgeous and elaborate than the dining-room, and furnished with inviting-looking easy-chairs, sofas, and divans of puffy upholstery. Gilt-framed tables were scattered about for the benefit of the card-players, and attractively appointed writing-desks made Patty suddenly realise that she wanted to write letters home at once. But remembering that they could not possibly be mailed for ten days to come, she decided to defer them at least until the morrow.
Well-filled bookcases attracted the girls’ attention, and notwithstanding the large amount of reading matter they had of their own, they were glad to see some well-known favourites behind the glass doors.
Patty was surprised when Mr. Farrington proposed that they should all go to the dining-room for a bit of supper before retiring. It seemed to her but a short time since they had dined; and yet she realised the suggestion was not entirely unwelcome.
“Is it imperative that we shall eat more meals on sea than on land?” she inquired, as they took their places at the table.
“Not imperative, perhaps,” the captain answered her, smiling, “but unless you seem to appreciate my cook’s efforts to please you I shall have to pitch him overboard; and it is not easy to find another chef in mid-ocean.”
“Then,” said Patty gaily, “I shall certainly do all I can to save the poor man from a dreadful fate. And it does not seem to me that I shall have any difficulty in keeping my part of the bargain.” As Patty spoke she was nibbling away with great satisfaction at a caviare sandwich and bestowing a pleased glance on a glass of orange sherbet which the steward had just brought to her.
The captain was a large and important-looking personage, with the black moustache and imperiale of the true Frenchman. His manner was expansive and very cordial; and as he had known the Farringtons for many years he was quite ready to welcome Patty for their sake as well as her own. Indeed, he had taken an immediate liking to the pretty American girl, and as French captains are prone to make favourites among their passengers, Patty was immediately assigned in his chivalrous heart to such a position.
He bade her a pleasant good-night as she left the dining-room, and was delighted with her naive expressions of admiration and appreciation of his beautiful ship.