Patty shook the wet curls out of her eyes as she smiled up at him. “I love it!” she exclaimed, but she could hardly make her voice heard for the roar of the sea and the storm.
Up and down the decks they walked, or rather tried to walk, now battling against the wind, and now being swept along in front of it, until almost exhausted, Patty dropped down on a coil of rope in a comparatively sheltered corner. The boys sat down beside her, and they watched the angry ocean. At times the great waves seemed as if they would engulf the pitching ship, but after each wave the steamer righted herself proudly and prepared to careen again on the next.
After a time Patty declared she’d had enough of it, and also expressed her opinion that oilskins were not such a positive protection against the wet as they were reputed to be.
So indoors they went, warm and glowing from their vigorous exercise, and their appetites sharpened by their rough battle with the weather.
Every day there seemed to be something new to do.
“I’ve been told,” said Patty, “that life on an ocean steamer is monotonous, but I can’t find any monotony. We’ve done something different every day, haven’t we, Elise?”
“Yes; and next will be the concert, and that will be best of all. What are you going to sing, Patty?”
“I don’t know. I don’t want to sing at all, but your mother said I’d better sing once, because they all insist on it so, and I do like to be accommodating.”
“I should think you did, Patty; you’re never anything but accommodating.”
“Oh, pooh! It’s no trouble to me to sing. I’d just as lief do it as not; only it seems foolish for me to sing when there are so many older people with better voices to do it.”
“Well, sing some simple little ballad, and I don’t believe but what the people will like it just as much as the arias and things sung by the more pretentious singers.”
So Patty followed Elise’s advice, and when the night of the concert came her name was on the programme for one song.
And, as Elise had thought, it pleased the audience quite as well as some of the more elaborate efforts.
Patty wore one of her pretty new dresses, a simple little frock of white chiffon cloth, with touches here and there of light blue velvet. Her only ornament was the necklace that Ma’amselle Labesse had given her, and in her curly golden hair was a single white rose.
Very sweet she looked as she stood on the platform to sing her little song. She had chosen “My Ain Countree” as being likely to please a popular audience, and also not difficult to sing.
Mr. Pauvret accompanied her on his violin, and so effective was his accompaniment and so sweet pretty Patty’s singing of the old song, that their performance proved to be the most attractive number on the programme. So prolonged was the applause and so persistent the cry of “Encore!” that Patty felt she really must respond with another song.