When the girls reached their stateroom they suddenly realised that they were quite tired out after the excitements of the day, and were very glad to let Lisette brush their hair and assist them in preparing for bed. As Patty nestled snugly between the coarse linen sheets she felt a drowsy enjoyment of the gentle rolling motion of the steamer, and almost immediately fell into a sound, dreamless sleep.
The girls slept restfully all night, and were awakened in the morning by the entrance of Lisette, who was followed by the pleasant-faced and voluble French stewardess. The day was bright and sunshiny, and half a dozen times while she was dressing Patty stuck her head out of the porthole to gaze at the sparkling blue water. On these occasions Elise grasped her by the feet lest she should fall out. But as Patty’s substantial frame could not possibly have squeezed through the porthole, the precaution was unnecessary.
After breakfast the girls prepared for a delightful morning on deck. The breeze had freshened considerably, so Patty put on a long, warm ulster that enveloped her from throat to feet. A long blue veil tied her trim little hat in place, and when fully equipped she looked over the piles of literature to make a selection.
“Do you know,” she said to Elise, “I don’t believe I shall read much; I think I shall just sit and look at the water and dream.”
“All right,” said her practical friend; “but take a book with you, for if you don’t you’re sure to want one; while if you do, you probably won’t look at it.”
“Elise, you’re a genius. I’ll take the book, and also some of this candy. I’m glad Hilda gave me this bag; it’s most convenient.”
The bag in question was a large, plain affair of dark green cloth, with a black ribbon drawstring. It proved to be Patty’s constant companion, as it was roomy enough to hold gloves, veils, handkerchiefs, as well as pencil and paper, and anything else they might need through the day. It hung conveniently on the back of Patty’s deck chair, and became as famous as the bag of the lady in “Swiss Family Robinson.”
As Patty had anticipated, she did not do any reading that morning, but neither did she gaze at the ocean and dream. She discovered that life on an ocean steamer is apt to be full of incident and abounds in occupation.
No sooner had she and Elise arranged themselves in their chairs than along came two gay and laughing girls, who stopped to talk to them.
“We’re going to introduce ourselves,” said one of them. “I am Alicia Van Ness, and this is my little sister Doris. We’re from Chicago, and we like the looks of you girls, and we want to be chums. Though, of course, it’s up to you, and if you don’t like our looks you’ve only to say so and we’ll never trouble you again.”
“Speak out!” chimed in the other girl, who was quite as vivacious as her sister. “We’re not a bit stupid, and we can take the slightest hint. I can see you don’t quite approve of us”—and she looked shrewdly at Patty, who had unconsciously assumed an air of hauteur as she watched the frank-mannered Western girls—“but really and truly we’re awfully nice after you get acquainted with us.”