When they reached home, and Ma’amselle had warmly welcomed her nephew, there was great to-do over Patty’s daring journey.
“All’s well that ends well,” said Elise, “but you’ll catch it, Patty Fairfield, when mother hears of your performance. If I had been in Rosamond’s place you would have had to drive that car out over my dead body!”
“That’s why I didn’t take you, Elise,” said Patty, laughing; “I knew you’d raise a terrible row about my going, while Rosamond obeyed my orders like a meek little lamb.”
“You should at least have let me accompany you, Mademoiselle Fairfield,” said Philippe Baring; “I cannot drive an automobile, I regret to say, but I might have been a protection for you.”
Patty didn’t see any especial way in which Mr. Baring could have protected her, but she didn’t say so, and only thanked him prettily for his interest in her welfare.
Henry Labesse was enthusiastic in his admiration and praise of Patty, and declared that American girls were wonders.
Ma’amselle was so pleased to think she had been saved a useless trip to Paris, and to think that she should be able now to spend the evening with her young guests, and above all, to think that her beloved nephew was with her, that she hovered around like an excited butterfly from one to another.
Then she sent them all away to dress for dinner, which, though belated, was to be a merry feast.
And, indeed, it proved so.
Old Ma’amselle came down first, and stood in the grandest drawing-room to receive her honoured guests.
The three boys came next, in their immaculate evening dress, which Henri had managed to get into in spite of his sling.
Then came the girls, the three, as usual, walking side by side, with their arms about each other. They had carried out their plan of red, white and blue dresses, and made a pretty picture as they entered the drawing-room, and bowed in unison to their hostess.
The dinner was especially elaborate as to decorations, and confections that would please the young people, and the chef had done his very best to make his part of the occasion a worthy one.
Henri Labesse proved to be an exceedingly jolly young man, quite bubbling over with gay spirits and witty sallies He did not hesitate to joke with his aunt, who, notwithstanding her dignity, was never offended at her nephew’s bantering speeches.
The other two boys, though a trifle more formal than Henri, and perhaps a little bit shy, after the manner of very young Frenchmen, were willing to do their share, and as our three American girls were in the highest of spirits, the feast was a gay one, indeed.
Ma’amselle gazed around at her brood with such delight and satisfaction that she almost forgot to eat.
Over and over again she wanted it explained to her how Henri had broken his arm in his gymnasium class, how he had thought he would not be able to go to St. Germain, and so had telegraphed his aunt to come to him, and how, later, the doctor had patched him up so that he could go, and he had followed close upon the heels of a second telegram.