Patty in the City
Patty in the City
TWO LITTLE WOMEN SERIES,
THE MARJORIE SERIES, Etc.
GROSSET & DUNLAP
PUBLISHERS NEW YORK
DODD, MEAD & COMPANY
All rights reserved
PRINTED IN U.S.A.
|II||A Last Meeting||13|
|III||A New Home||25|
|V||A New School||49|
|VI||The Reason Why||61|
|VII||Some New Friends||73|
|XII||A Visit to the Hospital||133|
|XV||A Pleasant Saturday||168|
|XVI||A Capable Cook||180|
|XVIII||The Circus Party||204|
|XX||Two Confidential Interviews||228|
|XXI||The Cinderella Party||241|
Patty in the City
It was the third week in September whenthe Fairfields left the seashore and returnedto their Vernondale home.
“Now, my child,” said Mr. Fairfield, as theysat on the veranda after dinner, “I will unfoldto you my plans for the coming winter, and youmay accept, or reject, or amend them as youplease.”
“Proceed,” said Patty, settling herself comfortablyin her wicker chair; “I feel in anamiable mood this evening, and will probablyagree to anything you may suggest.”
“I’ve been thinking for some time,” went onher father, “that I don’t want to spend thecoming winter in Vernondale. I would muchrather be in New York.”
“Reason number one—Nan,” said Patty,checking it off on her forefinger and smiling ather father.
“Yes,” he responded, with an answeringsmile, “she is reason number one, but there areothers.”
To readers who are unfamiliar with Patty’searlier history we may say right here that hermother had died when Patty was but threeyears old. At present she lived with her fatherin their little home in Vernondale, an establishmentof which Patty greatly prided herselfon her management.
Recently Mr. Fairfield had become engagedto Miss Nan Allen, a young lady who lived inPhiladelphia, and who was a dear friend ofPatty’s.
“You know,” Mr. Fairfield went on, “thisVernondale house was only an experiment, andalthough it has proved successful in its ownway, I want to try another experiment of awinter in the city. As you so wisely discern,it is partly for the sake of being nearer to Nan.The Allens will spend part of the winter inNew York, and, too, Philadelphia is moreeasily accessible from there than from here. Weshall not be married until spring, and so yourabsolute monarchy will extend through thewinter, and you can then abdicate in favor ofthe new queen.”
“And I’ll be glad enough to do it,” criedPatty; “it isn’t abdication at all; or if it is,I’m glad of it. I’m perfectly delighted thatyou’re going to marry Nan, and though it doesseem ridiculous to have one of my own friendsfor a stepmother, yet she’s six years olderthan I am, and if she wants to rule me with arod of iron, she may.”
“I fancy there won’t be much stepmotheringabout it; I’m afraid you’ll be two refractorychildren, and I’ll have to take care of youboth.”
“I don’t know about that,” said Patty, laughing.“You’ve become so absurdly young yourselfof late that I think I shall have to takecare of you two. But tell me some more aboutyour New York plans. Shall we have a houseof our own?”
“No; I think not—this winter. Althoughyou are all that is admirable by way of a housekeeper,I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s toomuch responsibility for you; and of course,would be much more so in the city. So I thinkwe’ll take a suite of rooms in some nice apartmenthotel. This, you see, will make it moreconvenient for me in regard to my business; forI’m quite ready to confess that I’m tired ofenjoying a commuter’s privileges. From ourcity home I could probably reach my office inless than half an hour, while from here it takesme fully an hour and a half, besides the discomfortsof the railroad and ferry trip.”
“That would be nice,” said Patty thoughtfully;“then we wouldn’t have to have breakfastso early, and I wouldn’t have to wait foryou so long at night.”
“Another thing,” went on her father, “isyour own education. I want you to have a yearor two at some good school in the city, and Ido not want you to go back and forth every dayfrom here. And you ought to take singinglessons, and there are lots of things you oughtto learn. During your rather migratory life ofthe past two years your education has reallybeen neglected, and it won’t do. You’re growingup, to be sure, but you’re still a schoolgirl,and must remain one for a couple of years moreat least. When we take Nan into the familyshe can look after the housekeeping, and so youwill be free to attend to your studies; but thiswinter, as I say, you must not have householdcares to interfere. And so a few rooms insome nice hotel will make a home for usthat shall be cosey and pleasant, and yet not fillyour life with the cares and duties of housekeeping.”
“All right, papa,” said Patty, “I think itwill be lovely, and I’m ready to go, rightstraight off. Of course I’m sorry to leave theVernondale girls, and they’ll be as mad as hopsat me for going; but I do love the city, and Ithink we’ll have a beautiful time. When shallwe start?”
“Not to-night,” said Mr. Fairfield, smilingat his impetuous daughter; “there are sometrifling details to be settled first. You see,you’re a country girl, my child, and deplorablyignorant of city ways. Has it occurred to youthat it would hardly do for you and me to livealone in a city hotel? For I must necessarilybe down at my office all day, and, too, I shallprobably make occasional trips to Philadelphia.At such times you would be alonein our apartment, which is, of course, outof the question. Have you anything to suggest?”
“I never thought of that. I thought wecould live together there just the same as we dohere. You’re always away all day.”
“Yes, but here there are the three servantsto look after you. And, too, conventions arenot quite the same in New York and Vernondale.I don’t want a governess for you, for Iwant you to have the experiences of schoollife.”
“I might have a maid,” said Patty, anxiousto suggest something. “I might take Pansy.”
“No,” said her father, “that isn’t the kind ofperson you require. The third person in ourhome must be a lady who can look after you andadvise you, and occasionally go about withyou.”
“Well then, marry Nan right away, and lether do all this.”
“That would do admirably, but there is oneobstacle. I laid that plan before Nan herself,and she positively refused to come and be oneof us before next spring.”
“Well, what can we do?” asked Patty.
“Why, I think this the solution of theproblem: Let us take Grandma Elliott tospend the winter with us.”
“Just the thing!” exclaimed Patty, clappingher hands; “she’s the very one! she loves tolive in the city and she’s lived there so muchshe knows all about it, and I’m sure she’d beglad to go.”
“Yes, she would be just the right one; she’sa very wise lady, and although she’s perhapssixty years old, she is as active and energeticas many much younger women. She is quiteconversant with the proprieties, and wouldknow even better than I just what you can andcan’t do. For you must know, Patty girl, thatyour life in New York will be more restrictedin many ways than it is here. There are certainrules that must be observed, and while Iwant you to have a good time and a happytime, yet you must realise that you are stillonly a schoolgirl, and must conduct yourselfas such.”
“Can’t I go to anything except school,papa?” asked Patty, looking a little dismayed.
“Well, perhaps on nice afternoons I mighttake you for a walk around the block,” said herfather, laughing at her anxious face. “Butsuppose we go over and see what GrandmaElliott has to say about it.”
“All right,” said Patty, “but you must protectme from Marian’s ferocity. She’ll be asmad as a raging lion.”
When the question of the Fairfields’ permanentresidence was under discussion a yearearlier, Grandma Elliott was perhaps the onlyone in favour of their living in New York. Theyounger Mrs. Elliott, who was Mr. Fairfield’ssister, had most decidedly been of the opinionthat a home in the small town of Vernondalewas in every way better adapted to Patty’swelfare.
Patty’s cousins had vociferously agreed tothis, and the result was that Mr. Fairfield hadtaken a house in Vernondale for a year. Pattyhad proved a most satisfactory little housekeeper,for she had a real talent for householdmanagement, but even Aunt Alice had at lastcome to agree with Mr. Fairfield that the responsibilitieswere rather heavy for a schoolgirl.
As Patty had anticipated, the Elliott children,and especially Marian, received the news withexpressions of emphatic disapproval.
“I knew you’d do it!” wailed Marian, “butI think it’s perfectly horrid, and I’ll never forgiveyou as long as I live! I don’t want youto go away from Vernondale, and you won’tlike it a bit in New York, I know you won’t.You can’t do anything at all; you can’t go outinto the street without a chaperon, and a maid,and two policemen! And whatever will theTea Club do without you?”
“I’ll have all the Tea Club come in to a meetingat my house,” said Patty, anxious to pacifyher cousin.
“We won’t come! we’ll none of us ever speakto you again! we’ll cross your name off thebooks and forget that you ever existed!”
It was so seldom that the gentle Marian becameexcited over anything that Patty feltreally sorry, and tried her best to put the matterin its most attractive light.
“Don’t talk like that, Marian,” she said;“papa has decided that we are to go, and sothere’s no use in discussing that part of it.Now the thing to do is to find the bright sideand look on that.”
This was Patty Fairfield’s philosophy in a nutshell.All her life she had not only unquestioninglyaccepted the inevitable, but hadimmediately found its bright side and ignoredall others. This was partly the cause andpartly the effect of her bright sunshiny dispositionand her uniformly happy and contentedframe of mind.
“Just think, Marian,” she went on, “you cancome to see me and we can have lots of fun.We’ll have all the girls come over while you’rethere, and it will be jolly to have a Tea Clubmeeting in a hotel.”
“Yes, that will be fun,” assented