Patty's Pleasure Trip
Patty’s Pleasure Trip
TWO LITTLE WOMEN SERIES,
THE MARJORIE SERIES, Etc.
GROSSET & DUNLAP
PUBLISHERS NEW YORK
Copyright, 1909, by
DODD, MEAD AND COMPANY
Published, September, 1909
Printed in U.S.A.
|I||Fun at the Grange||9|
|II||A Summons Home||23|
|III||A Pleasure Trip Offered||37|
|IV||A Farewell Party||51|
|V||Days in Paris||67|
|VI||The Grandeur That Was Rome||83|
|VII||American Friends and Others||97|
|IX||A Roman Tea||130|
|XII||Patty and Peter||179|
|XIII||A Noble Soldier||190|
|XIV||Carlo as Guide||204|
|XV||Good-by To Florence||220|
|XVI||An Exciting Adventure||235|
|XVII||The Other Side of the Story||250|
|XVIII||Venice at Last||263|
|XIX||Pigeons and Poetry||279|
“YES, indeed,” said Patty, pleasantly.
“And then a broad-leafed hat, with ribbons from the edge of the brim,tied under my chin,—or, perhaps chiffon ties. Which would you have,Patty?”
“Yes, indeed,” said Patty, in a voice of enthusiasm, but not looking upfrom her book.
“Oh, Patty, you silly! Now, listen. Look at these plates, and pick outthe prettiest hat so I may get it for the garden-party.”
Lady Kitty spread out the sheets of millinery designs, and stillabsorbed in her reading, Patty lifted her hand and, without looking,pointed a finger at random till it rested on one of the pictured hats.
“That one! Why, Patty, you’re crazy! I couldn’t wear that pudgy littleturban,—I want10 a big sun-hat. Would you have a straw or lace?”
“Yes, indeed,” said Patty, turning a leaf and devouring the next pageof her book.
“Angel child! You think you’re teasing me, don’t you? But not so! Ilove to see you so bent on literary pursuits! Indeed, I don’t think onebook at a time is enough for a great brain like yours,—you should havetwo at once. You go on with yours, and I’ll read another to you.”
Picking up a book from a rustic couch near by, Lady Kitty began toread aloud. Her reading was more dramatic than the text warranted, andbesides much elocutionary effect, she gesticulated vigorously, andfinally rose, and standing straight in front of Patty, kept on readingand declaiming in ludicrous style.
The two were under a large marquee, on the lawn of Markleham Grange,the country home of Lady Hamilton, and her father, Sir Otho. Patty wascomfortably tucked up among the cushions of a lengthy wicker chair,and had elected to spend the morning reading a new story-book of thevery kind she liked best. So, partly because she didn’t want to bedisturbed, but more for the sake of mischievously teasing11 her friend,Patty pretended to be oblivious to the hat subject.
But she could not long keep a straight face while Kitty waved her armsand trilled her voice in ridiculous fashion, as she continued to readaloud from the book. Then she would drop into a monotonous drawl, thengallop ahead without emphasis or inflection, and sometimes she wouldchant the words in dramatic recitative.
Of course, while this went on, Patty couldn’t read her own book, sofinding herself beaten at her own game of teasing, she closed thevolume, and said quietly:
“I wish you’d let me advise you about that new hat you’re thinking ofbuying. You always selects such frights.” As Lady Hamilton’s hats wererenowned for their beauty and variety, this speech was taken at itsworth, and in a moment the two friends were earnestly discussing therespective merits of chiffon, lace, and straw, as protection againstthe rays of a garden-party sun.
It was the latter part of a lovely morning in the latter part ofa lovely August. Patty had drifted through the summer, making andunmaking plans continuously in her efforts to12 secure the greatest goodto the greatest number of her family and friends. She had not joinedher parents in Switzerland, as she had thought to do, for invitationsto various English country-houses had seemed more attractive, andafter a round of such parties, Patty had come to Markleham Grange, forthe double purpose of having a few quiet weeks, and of being with heradored friend, Lady Kitty.
The Grange was a typical country home, with all the appurtenances ofterraces, gardens, duck-ponds, woodlands, and hunting preserves.
In the great, rambling house guests came and went, and Patty greatlyenjoyed the personal freedom that prevailed.
Though occupations and amusements of all sorts were provided, nosocial obligations were exacted until afternoon tea time. At five,however, everybody assembled on the lawn, or, if rainy, in SirOtho’s billiard-room, and the host himself accepted the attentionand companionship of his guests. Dinner, too, was rather formal, andthere was always pleasant entertainment in the evening. But it seemedto Patty that she liked the mornings best. She strolled, often allby herself, through the woods and parks; she chatted with the oldgardener13 about the rare and beautiful flowers; she played with the petfawns, or idly drifted about the lake in a small rowboat. Sometimes shemet Sir Otho on her morning rambles, and for a time they would chattogether. The old gentleman had a decided liking for Patty, and thoughhe was an opinionated man, and dictatorial of speech, the girl’s innatetactfulness kept her from rousing his contradictory spirit, and theywere most amiable friends. But, perhaps best of all, Patty liked themornings when boxes of new books arrived from London.
Selecting an interesting story, she would make a bee-line for herfavourite reading-place. This was a large tent-like affair, canopied,but without sides, and furnished with wicker chairs, tables, andlounges. Soft rugs covered the ground, and the view was across a smalllake, dotted with tiny, flowery islands, to glorious green woodlandsbeyond.
Here, Patty would read and dream until the all too short morning hadflown away, and a servant, or Lady Kitty herself, would come to summonher to luncheon. And it was here that Lady Kitty came, with her sheetsof new hat designs, just up from London, when teasing Patty declined tobe interested.
But having at last thrown herself into the discussion it proved to bean animated one, and ended by Lady Kitty’s return to the house to sendan order for hats for both of them.
Patty remained in her lounging chair, but did not immediately resumeher book. Her thoughts flew back to Kitty’s ridiculous antics as sheread aloud to tease Patty. Then her gaze wandered out to the lake, andshe watched a flock of ducklings, who were enthusiastically paddlingalong by the side of their more sedate mother. Such funny, blundering,little balls of down they were, and when one of them nearly turned asomersault in its efforts to swim gracefully, Patty laughed aloud athim.
“Do it again!” said a low but commanding voice at her side, and Pattylooked round to see a grave-looking young man seated on the arm of achair.
She had not heard him approach, and she stared at him with a pardonablecuriosity. He was garbed in white flannels, with a soft, white, silkshirt and Windsor tie.
Though most correct in manner and bearing, he yet had an informaleffect, and his large dark eyes looked almost mournfully at Patty.
“I said, do it again!” he repeated, in a slightly aggrieved tone.
“Do what again?” said Patty, more astonished than offended.
“Make that funny noise,—something like a laugh; was it a laugh?”
“Why, yes; one of my very best ones. Didn’t you like it?”
“I thought it was a chime of fairy bells,” was the reply, so ferventlygiven that Patty laughed again.
The young man solemnly bowed as if in acknowledgment of her kindness.
“Don’t take it so hard,” she said, smiling; “you’ll get over it; you’llbe all right in a moment.”
“I’m all right now, thank you. I get used to things very quickly.And,—by the way,—you don’t mind my talking to you? Without havingbeen properly introduced, I mean.”
“I do mind very much. I think you’re forward and unconventional, and Ihate both those traits.”
“You’re so direct! Now, a softer, subtler insinuation would havepleased me better.”
“But I’m not trying to please you!”
“No? You really ought to study to please.”16 The young man arose andlooked at Patty with an air of calm, impersonal criticism. “It wouldsuit your personal appearance so well.”
“Indeed! What is my personal appearance?”
“Ah, direct and curious, both! Well, your beauty is of the sortdescribed in most novels as ‘not a classic face, or even good-featured,but with that indescribable charm’——”
“Indeed! I’ve been told that my features were very good.”
“Ridiculous nonsense! Why, your eyes are too large for your face; yourhair is too heavy for your head; and, and, your hands are too littlefor anything!”
“How rude you are!” said Patty, shaking with laughter, “but as Ibrought it on myself, I suppose I oughtn’t to complain. Now, let’s droppersonalities and talk commonplaces.”
“Awfully mean of you—before I had my innings. However, I don’t care;let’s. It’s a fine, well-aired morning, isn’t it?”
“Are you always so funny?” asked Patty, staring at the young man, likea child pleased with a new toy.
“’Most always,” was the cheerful retort; “aren’t you?”
“Now you’re rude again, and I must ask you to go away. But tell me yourname before you go, so that I may avoid you in future.”
“What a good plan! My name, on the Grampian Hills, is Floyd Austin,and, truly, I’m well worth knowing. This performance this morning isjust an escapade. Into each life some escapades must fall, you know.And, by the way, if you’ll disentangle your eyes from my gaze justfor a minute, and look the other way, you’ll see the august Sir Othocoming, with ‘bless you, my children’ written legibly in every line ofhis shining morning face.”
Sir Otho came toward them with hearty greetings.
“Well, well, Patty,” he said; “so you already know our friend Austin?That’s good, that’s good! But you must be afraid of him, for he’s oneof our coming poets. He’s already a celebrity, you know.”
“Are you a celebrity?” demanded Patty, turning to Floyd Austin.
“I am,” he said, gravely, “why?”
“Why are you one?”
“To pay a bet,” Austin replied, so promptly that his two hearerslaughed.
“He’s crazy,” said Patty to Sir Otho; “I never heard such talk!”
“He’s a humorist, my dear child; you don’t know his language.”
“A humorist?” said Patty, turning to Austin with simple inquiry on herpretty face. “I thought you were a poet.”
Austin flashed an amused look at Sir Otho, and then looking at Patty,he said, in a smooth, even voice:
“‘The force of Nature could no further go,—To make myself she joinedthe other two.’”
“I do understand your language,” cried Patty, gaily, “that’s inBartlett,—and it says, ‘Under Mr. Milton’s Picture’!”
“Oh, my dear Patty,” said Sir Otho, “is your poetical knowledge boundedby Bartlett?”
“But, Sir Otho,” observed Floyd Austin, in his slow, quiet way,“Bartlett is not such a bad boundary. His book is like a bird’s-eyeview of a city,—which is always a good thing, for one can then pickout the churches and monuments so easily.”
“Yes, and one can miss the most interesting bits that lurk in narrowstreets and obscure corners.”
“True enough, and so we both have the best of the argument.”
Floyd Austin was a popular favourite, and one of the explanations ofhis popularity lay in the fact that he rarely continued to disagreewith any one. The discomfiture of another, which is so pleasing to someclever people, was positively painful to his sensitive nature, and soeasily adaptable were his own opinions, that he could adjust them tosuit those of another with no trouble at all. This made his charactersomewhat indefinite, but added to the charm of his personality, andhis sunny good nature was a quick passport to the good