The young people from Chicago seemed to wear well, and as she grew to know them better Patty liked them very much. The Van Ness girls, though breezy in their manner, were warm-hearted and good-natured, and their boy cousins were always ready for anything, and proved themselves capable of good comradeship.
The English girl, Florrie Nash, Patty could not quite understand. Florrie seemed to be willing to be friends, but there was a coldness and reserve about her nature that Patty could not seem to penetrate.
As she expressed it to Elise, “Florrie never seems herself quite certain whether she likes us or we like her.”
“Oh, it’s only her way,” said Elise; “she doesn’t know how to chum, that’s all.”
But Patty was not satisfied with this, and determined to investigate the matter.
“Come for a walk,” she said, tucking her arm through Florrie’s one morning. “Let’s walk around the deck fifty times all by ourselves. Don’t you want to?”
“Yes, if you like;” and Florrie walked along by Patty’s side, apparently willing enough, but without enthusiasm.
“Why do you put it that way?” asked Patty, smiling; “don’t you like to go yourself?”
“Yes, of course I do; but I always say that when people ask me to do anything. It’s habit, I suppose. All English people say it.”
“I suppose it is habit,” said Patty; “but it seems to me you’d have a whole lot better time if you felt more interest in things, or rather, if you expressed more interest. Now look at the Van Ness girls; they’re just bubbling over with enthusiasm.”
“The Van Ness girls are savages,” remarked Florrie, with an air of decision.
“Indeed they’re not!” cried Patty, who was always ready to stand up for her friends. “The trouble with you, Florrie, is that you’re narrow-minded; you think that unless people have your ways and your manners they are no good at all.”
“Not quite that,” returned Florrie, laughing. “Of course, we English have our prejudices, and other people call us narrow; but I think we shall always be so.”
“I suppose you will,” said Patty; “but anyway you would have more fun if you enjoyed yourself more.”
“It’s good of you, Patty, to care whether I enjoy myself or not.”
Florrie’s tone was so sincere and humble as she said this that Patty began to realise there was a good deal of character under Florrie’s indifferent manner.
“Of course I care. I have grown to like you, Florrie, in these few days, and I want to be good friends with you, if you’ll let me.”
“If you like,” said Florrie again, and Patty perceived that the phrase was merely a habit and did not mean the indifference it expressed.
“And I want you to visit me,” went on Florrie. “I’m travelling now to Paris with my aunt, who took me to the States for a trip. From Paris I shall soon go back to my country home in England, and I wish you would visit me there—you and Elise both. Oh, Patty, you have no idea how beautiful England is in the springtime. The may blooms thickly along the lanes, till they’re masses of pink fragrance; and the sky is the most wonderful blue, and the birds sing, and it is like nothing else in all the world.”