Patty–Bride - Carolyn Wells - ebook

Patty–Bride ebook

Carolyn Wells



War comes to Patty Fairfield. Also she’s engaged. Patty’s fiancé, Big Bill Farnsworth, is a captain in the engineering service and is doing a lot of secret work for his government, in Washington. Patty is kept busy with Red Cross work for the War is on and even so important a thing as Patty’s engagement must take second place. „Patty Bride” is the 16th novel in the famous author Carolyn Wells series of Patty Fairfield for young readers, first published in 1918. It is one of 17 novels covering the life of this happy and cheerful American teenager of a century ago, as she matures and comes of age, and, in the meantime, living all kind of amazing adventures. Wells wrote a total of more than 170 books. At the beginning of her writing career she focused on poetry on children’s books. Later in her career she devoted herself to the mystery genre.

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Liczba stron: 264

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“I can’t stand it, Patty, I simply can’t stand it!”

“But you’ll have to, Phil, dear. I’m engaged to Little Billee, and some day I’m going to marry him. And that’s all there is about it.”

“Oh, no, Patty, that isn’t all about it. I’m not going to give you up so easily. You don’t know how I care for you. You’ve no idea what a determined chap I can be,–”

“Now, stop, Phil. You know you promised that we should be friends and nothing more. You promised not to ask for more than my friendship–didn’t you, now?”

“I did but that was only so you’d stay friendly with me, and I thought,–forgive the egotism,–I thought I could yet win your love. Patty, you don’t care such a lot for Farnsworth, do you, now?”

“Indeed I do, Phil. Why, do you suppose I’d be engaged to him if I didn’t love him more than anybody in all the world? Of course I wouldn’t!”

“I know you think so, Patty,” Phil’s handsome face was grave and kind, “but you may be mistaken.”

“I’m not mistaken, Philip, and unless you change your subject of conversation, I’ll have to ask you to go away. I should think you’d scorn to talk like that to a girl who’s engaged to another man!”

“I should think I would, too, Patty. But I can’t help it. Oh, my girl, my little love, I can’t give you up. I can’t tamely stand aside and make no effort to win you back! I’m not asking anything wrong, Patty, only don’t send me away; let me try once again for you,–”

“It’s too late, Phil,” and Patty looked a little frightened at his vehemence.

“It’s never too late, until you’re actually married to him. When will that be?”

“Oh, I don’t know. We’ve only been engaged a fortnight,–”

“And I only learned of it today,–”

“I know, I tried to get you on the telephone,–”

“Yes, I’ve been down in Washington for a week or more. But, Patty, dearest, think how surprised and stunned I was to hear of it. I came right over, to learn from you, yourself, if it could be true.”

“Yes, Philip, it is true, and I’m glad and happy about it. I’m sorry you’ve been disappointed, but–there are others–”

“Hush!” and Van Reypen fairly glared at her, “never imply that there’s any one else in the world for me! Oh, Patty, my little Patty, I can’t bear it.”

His great, dark eyes were full of despair, his face was drawn with sorrow, and Patty forgave him, even while she resented his attitude.

“You mustn’t, Philip,” she said, gently; “it isn’t right for you to talk to me like that. I feel disloyal, even to listen to it.”

“I don’t care!” Van Reypen burst out. “You’re mine! You promised Aunty Van you’d marry me! You promised!”

Philip grasped her hand in both his own, and gazed at her so wildly that Patty was tempted to run out of the room. But she realised the matter must be settled once for all, and she spoke with dignity.

“Philip,” she said, “I don’t think you’re quite fair to me,–or to Billee. Is it manly to talk like this to the girl who is promised to your friend?”

“No, it isn’t. You’re right, Patty.” Van Reypen dropped her hand and folding his arms, stood and looked at her. “But listen to me, girl. I shall not give up until you’re married to Farnsworth. If I can win you back from him, I’m going to do so. I shall do nothing wrong. But, dear, I’m so miserable,–so utterly heart-broken,–you won’t put me out of your life,–will you?”

Now one of Patty’s strongest traits of character was her dislike of giving pain to another. Philip could have put forth no more powerful argument than an avowal of his disappointment. Against her better judgment, even against her own wish, she smiled kindly on him.

“I don’t want to put you out of my life, Phil, but I can’t let you talk to me like this,–”

“I won’t, Patty. Just let me see you once in a while, let me keep on loving you, and then, if you really love Bill better than you do me, I’ll see it,–I’ll know it, and I’ll give you up.”

“All right, then, but you must promise not to tell me you care for me.”

Van Reypen gave a short, hard laugh. “Not tell you! When I don’t tell you, I won’t be breathing! Why, Patty, I can’t any more help telling you, than I can help loving you. But I promise not to make your life a burden,–or myself a nuisance. Trust me, dear. I don’t mean to steal you away from Bill,–unless you want to be stolen.”

“I don’t!” and Patty’s smile and blush showed plainly where her heart had been given.

Phil winced, but he said, blithely, “Very good, my lady. There’s no use being too down-hearted about it all. Give me my chance,–that’s all I ask.”

“But, Phil, the time for your “chance’ as you call it, is past. I’m engaged to Little Billee;–to me that’s as sacred, as unbreakable a promise, as my marriage vows will be.”

“Oh, no, it isn’t! Lots of people break off an engagement.”

Philip’s lightness annoyed Patty, and her mood changed.

“Well, then,” she said, “if you can so bewitch me that I want to break my engagement to Bill Farnsworth, I’ll do it, but you’ve about as much chance as–as nothing at all!”

“I’ll make a chance! Oh, Patty, don’t forget you said that! Don’t forget you said if I can win you away from him, I may do so! Listen, dear. I’m not over conceited, or vain, but I do think that you don’t quite know your own mind, and you’re a little bit dazzled by Bill’s big masterfulness and you don’t realise that perhaps there are other things worth while.”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about, but I’ll stick to my word. And I’ll add that I know you never can cut Bill out, because I love him too much. So, there now!”

“Maybe I can’t, maybe you’re right, but I’ll have a go at it, all the same.”

“Of course, you know, I’ll tell him of this conversation.”

“Of course you may. There’s nothing underhanded about my determination. If I can win you from him, it’ll be done fairly, and in that case, Bill’s own sense of justice would make him willing to give you up.”

“Little Billee give me up! Willingly? Nevaire!„

“He would, Patty, if you told him yourself that you loved me more.”

“Oh, that! But I’ve no expectation of ever doing that.”

“Who can say? You’re a fickle little thing, you know–”

“Indeed I’m not!”

“Yes, you are, and always have been. You’re fond of Bill just now, because he’s been doing the caveman act, carrying you off from the Blaney party, and such things, but you’ll soon tire of him,–”

“Stop, Philip! I won’t listen to such talk.”

Patty put her hands over her ears and pouted. It was nearing twilight of an afternoon in late January, and the two were in the library of the Fairfield home. Patty had become engaged to Farnsworth while on a visit to Adele Kenerley, and had but lately returned from there.

This was her first interview with Philip since her engagement, and she had dreaded it, for she knew Phil’s stubborn and persistent nature would not tamely submit to an end of his hopes. Patty had firmly resolved that if Philip insisted on telling her of his love for her, she would refuse to see him at all; but her gentle heart could not let her summarily dismiss him. She temporised, not because she cared for him, or had the least thought of disloyalty to Farnsworth, but because she couldn’t bear to hurt him by forbidding him to come to her home.

She tried to change the subject. She was sitting in the corner of a huge davenport, and her little house dress of pink Georgette was very becoming. She rather hoped that Farnsworth would come in while Phil was there, but it was uncertain whether he could arrive before dinner or not until evening.

“I won’t listen,” she repeated; “if you’ll talk about something else, nod your head, and I’ll stay; but if not, shake your head, and I’ll run off to my own room.”

Van Reypen nodded his head, and Patty took her hands away from her ears.

“All right,” she said, smiling; “if you’ll be just a casual friend, go ahead and be it. But I don’t want to hear any more absurd talk about people’s breaking their engagements.”

“Righto! What shall we talk about?”

“About Bill.”

This might have proved a dangerous subject, but clever Philip would not allow it to be. He was honest and earnest in his love for Patty. He really believed that she had said yes to Farnsworth on the spur of the moment, and that further thought would make her willing to reconsider her decision. Moreover, he was quite willing his rival should know of his own intentions, and he had only feelings of good fellowship for him. Philip had a sportsman’s nature, and his idea was to let the best man win. He did not attach quite so much importance to the fact of the engagement as most people do, and he truly hoped yet to win Patty’s affection and make her both willing and anxious to dismiss Bill in his favour.

Patty had not given him any encouragement for these hopes. In fact, she was so truly in love with Farnsworth, that it never occurred to her that she could ever care less for him, or have any room in her heart for any other man. But she couldn’t seem to say this bluntly to Philip. She found it easier to let matters drift, and now, as he began to speak in praise of Farnsworth, she listened eagerly and assented and agreed to all Philip said.

“Yes, he is splendid,” she acquiesced. “I didn’t know there was such a noble nature in the world. You see, I’ve learned a lot about him since we’ve been engaged.”

“Oh, of course. Yes, old Bill is a corker for bigness in every way. I’m banking on his big nature and his broad outlook, to understand my case.”

“Now, now, you’re not to talk of “your case’! You promised not to.”

“With thee conversing, I forget all–promises!” misquoted Philip.

“Well, you mustn’t, or I’ll send you packing! Thank goodness, here comes Nan; now will you behave yourself?”

Mrs. Fairfield came in from out-of-doors, and drew near the blazing log fire.

“Well, children, what are you discussing so seriously?” she began; “Philip, my friend, if you please, will you push that bell and let us have lights and some tea. I’ve been to three committee meetings and I’m just about exhausted. Where’s Billee-boy, Patty?”

“I’m afraid he won’t be here until after dinner. He said it was unlikely he could come before.”

“Well, try to bear it, Patty. Can’t Philip beguile you for a time?”

“Yes, he’s a great little old beguiler, Phil is!” and Patty smiled at her guest.

“Of course I am,” declared Van Reypen. “I can beguile the birds off the trees,–but not Miss Patricia Fairfield, when she is waiting for her big Little Billee. Howsumever, I’ll do my best. Do I gather that I’m asked to dinner in place of the absentee?”

“You are not!” replied Patty, promptly, but Nan said, “Why, yes, Phil, stay. I’ll entertain you, if Patty won’t.”

“Thank you, Ma’am. That would suit me all right.”

“And how about your aviation training? When do you begin that?”

“It’s uncertain. I did expect to start for Wilmington next week, but matters are delayed by a screw loose in some of the red tape, and it may be a couple of weeks before I start.”

“What? I didn’t know you thought of going,” put in Patty, surprised.

“Yes, I’ve settled the preliminaries and I’m waiting further orders.”

“Going to Wilmington? Why, we won’t see you any more, then.”

“You don’t seem terribly upset over that! But, you will see me, I’m afraid. Wilmington is not so very far off, and the course is neither long nor strenuous. Why, it only takes about four months in all.”

“And then will you really fly? Up in the air, in big machines?”

“Such is my firm belief, Mademoiselle.”

“And will you fall and break your neck? They say they all do.”

“I’ll not promise to do that, unless you insist upon it. And it isn’t done as much as formerly, I believe.”

“Why are you two sparring so?” asked Nan, laughingly. “Aren’t you good friends, at the moment?”

“As good as anybody can be, when the lady he admires has been and went and gone and engaged herself to somebody else,” and Philip frowned darkly.

“Oho, so that’s it! Well, our young friend here is certainly engaged to her big Western suitor. Now, shall I look out for a sweet little girl for you?”

“No, thank you, Ma’am, it’s a case of Patty or nobody, where I’m concerned. But the game’s never out till it’s played out. Patty and Farnsworth may one or both of them yet change their minds.”

“You wouldn’t think so, if you saw them together,” laughed Nan. “They’re just about the most engagedest pair you ever saw!”

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