The delayed message arrived while they were at dinner, and Henri twisted it up, and lighting it at a candle flame, burned it, saying it was a bad spirit which had worked them ill, but which should trouble them no more.
Then Ma’amselle wanted to hear again all about Patty’s wonderful ride, the difficulties she had encountered, the nerve strain she had experienced, and the help and comfort Rosamond had been to her.
“And,” concluded Patty as she wound up her recital, “I don’t want any one to tell Mrs. Farrington about it, because I want to tell her myself.”
Elise smiled, for she well knew that Patty’s wheedlesome ways would persuade Mrs. Farrington to look leniently on the episode, although it had, indeed, been a desperately dangerous piece of business.
But Ma’amselle Labesse asserted that after she had said what she had to say to Mrs. Farrington, she knew that Patty would not be reprimanded by her, but rather be deemed worthy of the Cross of the Legion of Honour.
Patty smiled at them all, in reality caring little, even if she were reprimanded. She knew she had done a daring thing, but she had kept her head, and had come through it safely, and having won, she felt it was her right to laugh.
“Are all American girls so brave and fearless?” inquired Mr. Villere.
“I think most of them are,” said Patty, “but you must understand I was not recklessly daring. I have had many lessons in motoring, and I’m a fairly expert driver. Of course, everybody is liable to accidents, and I took my chances on them, but not on my driving.”
“You took chances on losing your head,” remarked Rosamond.
“So did Marie Antoinette,” returned Patty saucily, “but you see I fared better than she did.”
A NEW YEAR FETE
The next morning was the day of the New Year. As usual, every one did as he or she chose during the morning hours, but luncheon time brought them all together again.
The three boys had been out of doors all the morning, and seemed glad to return again to the society of the American strangers.
The girls had been happy enough by themselves, and though they liked the French boys well enough, had privately agreed that they were not half as nice as American boys.
But half a dozen young people, if good-natured and enthusiastic, are bound to have a merry time together, and as the six grew better acquainted their national differences wore away somewhat.
Ma’amselle announced that the fete of the day would be an early evening party, followed by a supper.
She had invited the neighbouring gentry, both young and old, as was her custom on Jour de l’an, and, as she explained, she was making it “more of an elaborateness” this year by asking her guests to come in fancy costumes.
This delighted the girls, for they all loved dressing up, but they had no notion where their fancy costumes were to come from.