She not only thought quickly, but she determined to act quickly.
“Can either of you boys drive an automobile?” she demanded of the two uninjured guests.
With voluble lamentations the two confessed their inability in that direction.
“Elise,” cried Patty, turning upon her a look, which Elise well knew demanded implicit obedience, “you stay right here and play you’re the hostess of this Chateau, and see that you do it properly. Rosamond, you come with me!”
Without a further glance at the astonished young men, without a word to the pompous butler who was hovering in the background, Patty grasped Rosamond by the arm and pulled her away with her.
A MOTOR RIDE
Bareheaded, and still dragging the astonished Rosamond, Patty rushed outdoors, into the gathering dusk, and down toward the stables.
Confronting an astonished groom, she asked him in forcible, if not entirely correct French, whether there was an assistant chauffeur, or any groom who could run a motor car.
She was informed that there was not, that Ma’amselle’s chauffeur himself and the groom who had accompanied him were the only ones in the establishment who knew anything about automobiles. If Mademoiselle desired a coach, now?
But Mademoiselle did not desire a coach, and, moreover, Mademoiselle seemed to know perfectly well what she did desire.
Beckoning to the groom, who followed her, she went straight to the garage where the automobiles were kept. There was a touring car there, almost the same as the one she had driven that afternoon, and Patty looked at it uncertainly.
There was also a small runabout, but that was of a different make, of which she knew nothing.
“Get in,” she said briefly to the groom, and she pointed to the tonneau.
Accustomed to implicit obedience, the groom got in, hatless as he was, and folding his arms stiffly, sat up as straight as if it were a most usual experience.
“Hop up in front, Rosamond,” went on Patty, “and don’t try to stop me, for I’m going to do exactly this; I’m going to the station and catch Ma’amselle before she gets on that seven o’clock train. There isn’t one-half second to spare; we can’t even get our hats, and if we should stop to talk it over with anybody, there’d be no use in going at all. Now hush up, Rosamond, don’t say a word to me, I’ve all I can do to manage this thing!”
As Rosamond hadn’t said a word, Patty need not have insisted on her silence. But Patty was so excited that it made her quick of speech and a little uncertain of temper.
She started slowly out of the garage, trying to remember exactly the instructions she had so often received about starting. They went safely out into the park road, and along toward the porter’s lodge. Patty’s heart beat fast as she wondered uncertainly whether the porter would open the gate for her or not, but she carried off matters with a high hand, and ordered in the name of Ma’amselle Labesse that the gate be opened, and it was. Through it they went, and out on to the high road. Patty put on a higher speed, and they flew along like mad.