“Don’t be scared to death! I tell you there’s nothing to be afraid of! Brace up, I say!” Patty gave Elise’s arm such a pinch as to make her jump, and just then the cab stopped at the establishment of Boissier Freres.
It proved to be the right place this time, and the girls went in. Behind the counter stood a dapper young man, who waited on them obsequiously. But when he heard Patty’s request he said they did not have that essence in their regular stock and only made it when ordered.
“Then,” said Patty, at the end of her patience, “I’ll order some. Will you make it for me, please?”
“For that,” said the young man, “I must refer you to another department. You’ll have to go to see M. Poirier, who takes such orders.”
“And where shall I find him?” asked Patty.
The obliging young man began to write down an address. “It is some distance away,” he said, “and not a very accessible place to get to.”
Patty looked at Elise and laughed. “I give it up,” she said; “I thought I could do Marian’s errand, but it’s proving too much for me!”
She thanked the young man for the address and put it away in her purse, with but slight intention of ever using it. She bought a bottle of another sort of perfumery, and, saying good afternoon, left the shop.
But when she and Elise regained the sidewalk there was no cab in sight. They looked in every direction, but could see nothing of it.
“He can’t have gone away,” said Patty, “for I haven’t paid him.”
“But he has gone away,” said Elise; “and oh, Patty, I just remember! I left my purse on the seat!”
“Was there much in it?”
“Yes, a good deal. I haven’t done any shopping yet, you know.”
“Well, that explains it. He’s gone off with your purse, for he knew that very likely we didn’t have his number, and of course we can never find him again. Elise, don’t you dare to cry! We’re in an awful scrape now, but we’ll get out of it somehow if you’ll only be plucky about it! Don’t you fail me, and I’ll get out of it somehow!”
Patty’s admonitions were none too soon, for Elise was on the very verge of bursting into tears. But when Patty appealed to her for aid she tried hard to overcome her fears and be a help instead of a hindrance.
Patty considered the situation. “I hate to go back into that shop and ask that young man to call me a cab,” she said, “for he was so fawning and officious that I didn’t like his manner a bit. But there doesn’t seem to be anything else to do, for there’s no policeman in sight, and of course no telephone station, and of course it wouldn’t work if there was one, and there’s no other place about here that looks as if I dare go in, and so we must go back and ask that horrid man. Now brace up, Elise; put on your most haughty air and look as dignified as a duchess.”
[Illustration with caption: “’I just remember! I left my purse on the seat!’”]