“Suppose anything should happen that Ma’amselle never came back,” suggested Rosamond; “we could take possession of the place and live here forever.”
“I don’t think much of that plan,” declared Patty; “New York is good enough for me, as a permanent residence. But I do want to do somethink in keeping with the atmosphere of this place. If there’s a dungeon keep on the premises, I think I’ll throw you two girls into it, after having first bound you in chains.”
“You mean a donjon keep, Patty,” said Elise; “you’re so careless with your mediaeval diction.”
A noise in the hall, as of an arrival, startled the girls, and rising impulsively, they flew out to see what it was all about.
To their astonishment, they found the footmen holding open the great front doors, while three stalwart young men entered.
The middle one, who was partly supported by the other two, had his arm in a sling, and as he was undoubtedly a Frenchman, the girls were sure at once that he was no other than the worshipful Henri.
At sight of the three astonished girls the three young men looked equally amazed, and whipping off their caps, they made profound bows to the strangers.
It was a comical situation, for doubtless Henri had expected to see his aunt, and was instead confronted by three unmistakably American misses.
Of the six, quick-witted Patty grasped the situation first.
“You are Monsieur Henri Labesse, is it not so?” she said, advancing toward the broken-armed one.
In her haste and bewilderment, Patty spoke in English, forgetting that the young man might not understand her native tongue.
But he answered in English quite as good as her own, though with a decided French accent, “Yes, Mademoiselle, I am Henri Labesse. I make you my homage, These are my two friends, Cecil Villere and Philippe Baring.”
“We are glad to welcome you,” said Patty, in her pretty, frank way; “these are my friends, Mademoiselle Farrington and Mademoiselle Barstow. We are guests of your aunt.”
“Ah, my aunt!” said Henri, as the other boys acknowledged the introductions, “where is she? Did she not get my telegram?”
“She did, indeed,” returned Patty, smiling, “and she went flying off to Paris.”
“But my second telegram; I wired again, saying I would come here.”
“No, she did not get your second telegram,—only the first one announcing your accident.”
“And she has gone! oh how dreadful! but can we not stop her? Let us send post haste after her.”
“It’s no use,” said Elise; “she has been gone about ten minutes, and in her fast car she is now more than half way to the station.”
“Did you boys come in an automobile?” asked Patty.
“No,” replied Mr. Villere; “we came in a rickety old cab from the station, and it has gone back.”
Patty’s thoughts were flying rapidly. It seemed dreadful to let the old Ma’amselle go to Paris on a wild-goose chase, when if she could but be stopped, and brought back home, it would save the long and troublesome journey and be a delight to them all.