For the benefit of those who are not acquainted with Patty Fairfield and her relatives, it may be well to say that Mrs. Elliott was Patty's Aunt Alice, at whose home Patty and her father were now visiting.
Of the other members of the Elliott family, Uncle Charley, grandma, Marian, and Frank were present, and these with Mr. Fairfield and Patty were debating a no less important subject than the location of Patty's future home.
" Even Patty's mallet was not able to check the burst of laughter caused by the horrible picture which Uncle Charley drew, but after it had subsided, he continued: "As to the wonderful masters and teachers in the city, far be it from me to deny their greatness and power.
Patty's home must be in Vernondale because we live here.
" "Oh, won't it be fun to have the Tea Club at Patty's house!"
"Who in the world are you?" For inside the arbour sat a strange-looking girl of about Patty's own age.
"I'm Pansy," she said, clasping her hands in front of her, and looking straight into Patty's face.
And now Patty's whole establishment, including Pudgy the cat, was made up.
" Patty's ambitions in the culinary line ran to the fanciful and elaborate confections which were pictured in the cook-books and in the household periodicals; especially did she incline toward marvellous desserts which called for spun sugar, and syllabubs, and rare sweetmeats, and patent freezing processes.
The tragic tone of Patty's awful avowal was too much for Marian, and she dropped into a kitchen chair and went off into peals of laughter.
Such a shout of exclamation as went up from the Tea Club girls when they saw Patty's table.
" "Stop your nonsense, girls," said Marian, who had noticed Patty's rising colour, "and take your places.
The cheers were given with a will, and Patty's equanimity being restored, she was her own merry self again, and they all laughed and chatted as only a lot of happy girls can.
Patty's part in the play was that of Diana, and her costume was to be a beautiful one of hunter's green cloth with russet leather leggings and a jaunty cap.
" But a careful verification of the figures proved that they were added right, and Patty's heart began to sink as she looked at the enormous sum-totals.
He declared it was most jaunty and becoming, and Mr. Hepworth said it was especially well adapted to Patty's style, and that he would like to paint her portrait in that garb.
" "I fairly jumped at the chance," said the young artist, smiling down into Patty's bright face.
Patty had a natural aptitude for domestic matters, and after some rough places were made smooth and some sharp corners rounded off, things went quite as smoothly as in many houses where the presiding genius numbered twice Patty's years.
Mrs. St. Clair, who was Patty's aunt only by marriage, was a very fashionable woman of a pretty, but somewhat artificial, type.
She liked young people, and had spared no pains to make Patty's visit to her a happy one.
" Ethelyn looked very pretty in a yachting suit of white serge, while Patty's sailor gown was of more prosaic blue flannel, trimmed with white braid.
Though Patty's manner took on a shade more of dignity in addressing the older man, it lost nothing in cordiality, and he responded with words of glad greeting.
Patty's absolute lack of self-consciousness and her ready friendliness made her popular at once.
" "Can you cultivate a talent, if you have only a taste to start with?" said Marian, with more seriousness than Patty's careless remark seemed to call for.
AUNT PATTY'S THANKSGIVING.