Calling a footman, Patty, who greatly enjoyed the joke of being waited upon to such an absurd degree, asked him pleasantly to bring her some beans. She chose her French carefully, designating what she wanted by the term haricots.
“Oui, Mademoiselle,” said the obsequious footman, hurrying away on his errand. He quickly returned, bearing a tin of French beans on a silver tray.
Patty burst into laughter, and so did the rest of them, though only Elise and Rosamond knew what the joke was about.
“Non, Non!” exclaimed Patty, between her peals of laughter; “beans, beans! oh, wait a minute, I’ll tell you, I’ll tell you; stop, let me think!”
After a moment’s hard thought, she triumphantly exclaimed, “Feve!”
“Oui, oui, oui,” exclaimed the footman, comprehendingly, and away he stalked once more. This time he returned with a large silver dish full of coffee beans, neither roasted nor ground.
These Patty accepted with many thanks. “I don’t believe,” she said, “that they have real bean-bag beans in this benighted country, and these will answer the purpose just as well.”
Then again summoning her best French to her aid, she asked the footman to procure for her some pieces of material—cloth or cotton—and she indicated the size with her finger, also asking him to bring a work-basket. Then with an exhausted air she sat back in her chair and waited.
“Patty, you do beat the Dutch!” said Elise; “you know he can’t find such things.”
“Can’t he?” said Patty complacently; “something tells me that that able footman will return with material for bean-bags.”
The boys were looking on with great amusement, though only half understanding what it was all about. They understood English, and nearly all of Patty’s French, but bean-bags was an unknown word to them.
True to Patty’s prophecy the clever footman returned, still grave and immovable of countenance, but bearing a well-filled work-basket, and a quantity of pieces of magnificent satin brocades which had been cut in six-inch squares—that being the size indicated by Patty.
Patty took them with a gracious air of satisfaction, and rewarded the footman with thanks in French and a smile in American.
“Now,” she went on calmly, “I shall be pleased to have the assistance of you two ladies, as I fancy these young men are not any more accustomed to sewing than to pulling taffy.”
But to her surprise Cecil declared himself an expert needleman, and proved it by stitching up a bean-bag, under Patty’s direction, in most praiseworthy fashion.
Each of the girls made one, too, and when they were filled with the coffee beans, and sewed up, Patty was again overcome by merriment at the regal appearance of their satin brocaded bean-bags.
Then into the long hall they went, but alas! the girls could not bring themselves to toss bean-bags in an apartment so filled with fragile objects of value.