Patty’s Fortune - Carolyn Wells - ebook

Patty’s Fortune ebook

Carolyn Wells

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Carolyn Wells (1862-1942) was an American author and poet. She wrote more than 170 books. During the first ten years of her career, she concentrated on poetry, humor, and children’s books. After 1910, she devoted herself to the mystery genre. This is one of the later books in the popular Patty Fairfield series of novels for young readers. In this volume, Patty and her chums hole up at a lavish hotel for a weeks-long reunion party. Then the story takes a dramatic turn when a beloved family member falls ill and seeks out Patty to discuss her future. The story of 20 years old Patty is relatable for most of the girls, especially in the third world countries despite the fact that the setting of the story is much Victorian Europe.

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Liczba stron: 264

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Contents

CHAPTER I

CHAPTER II

CHAPTER III

CHAPTER IV

CHAPTER V

CHAPTER VI

CHAPTER VII

CHAPTER VIII

CHAPTER IX

CHAPTER X

CHAPTER XI

CHAPTER XII

CHAPTER XIII

CHAPTER XIV

CHAPTER XV

CHAPTER XVI

CHAPTER XVII

CHAPTER XVIII

CHAPTER XIX

CHAPTER XX

CHAPTER I

AN INVITATION

“I think Labour Day is an awfully funny holiday,” remarked Patty. “It doesn’t seem to mean anything. It doesn’t commemorate anybody’s birth or death or heroism.”

“It’s like Bank Holiday in England,” said her father. “Merely to give the poor, tired business man a rest.”

“Well, you don’t specially need one, Daddy; you’ve recreated a lot this summer; and it’s done you good,–you’re looking fine.”

“Isn’t he?” said Nan, smiling at the finely tanned face of her husband.

The Fairfields were down at “The Pebbles,” their summer home at the seashore, and Patty, who had spent much of the season in New England, had come down for a fortnight with her parents. Labour Day was early this year and the warm September sun was more like that of midsummer.

The place was looking lovely, and Patty herself made a pretty picture, as she lounged in a big couch hammock on the wide veranda. She had on a white summer frock and a silk sweater of an exquisite shade of salmon pink. Her silk stockings were of the same shade, and her white pumps were immaculate.

Mr. Fairfield looked at the dainty feet, hanging over the edge of the hammock, and said, teasingly, “I’ve heard, Patty, that there are only two kinds of women: those who have small feet, and those who wear white shoes.”

Patty surveyed the feet in question. “You can’t start anything, Dad,” she said; “as a matter of fact, there’s only one kind of women today for they all wear white shoes. And my feets are small for my age. I wear fours and that’s not much for a great, big girl like me.”

“’Deed it isn’t, Patty,” said Nan; “your feet are very slender and pretty; and your white shoes are always white, which is not a universal condition, by any means.”

“You’re a great comfort, Nan,” and Patty smiled at her stepmother. “Dunno what I’d do without you, when the Governor tries to take a rise out of me.”

“Oh, I’ll buy your flowers, little girl,” and Nan smiled back, for there was great friendship and chumminess between these two. “Are you tired, Pats? You look–well,–interestingly pale.”

“Washed out, you mean,” and Patty grinned. “No, I’m not exactly tired, but I’ve been thinking–”

“Oh, then of course you’re exhausted! You oughtn’t to think, Patty!”

“Huh! But listen here. This is Monday, and between now and Saturday night I’ve got to go to fourteen different functions, of more or less grandeur and gaiety. Fourteen! And not one can I escape without making the other thirteen mad at me!”

“But, Patty,” said Mr. Fairfield, “that’s ridiculous. Of course, you can refuse such invitations as you choose.”

“Of course I can’t, Lord Chesterfield. I’ve got to show up at every blessed one,–or not at any. I’d like to cut the whole caboodle!”

“Why don’t you?” asked Nan. “Just retire into solitude, and I’ll say you’re suffering from–from–”

“Temporary mental aberration!” laughed Patty. “No, that wouldn’t suit me at all. Why, this afternoon, I’m going to a Garden Tea that I wouldn’t miss for a farm. There’s to be a new man there!”

“Well, just about the last thing you need on this earth is a new man!” declared her father. “You’ve a man for every day in the week now, with two thrown in for Sunday.”

Patty looked demure. “I can’t help it,” she said. “I’m that entertaining, you know. But this new man is a corker!”

“My child, what langwich, what langwich!”

“’Tisn’t mine. That the way he was described to me. So, of course, I want to see if he is any good. And, you won’t believe it, but his name is Chick Channing!”

“What!”

“Yes, it is. Chickering Channing, for long, Chick for short.”

“What was his mother thinking of?”

“Dunno. Prob’ly he was named for a rich uncle, and she couldn’t help the combination.”

“Who is he?”

“One of Mona’s Western friends. Arrives today for a week or so. Mona’s Tea is in his honour, though she was going to have it anyway.”

“Well,” said Mr. Fairfield, judicially, “of course you must go to that Tea, and subjugate that young man. Then have him over here and I’ll size him up. If you want him, I’ll buy him for you.”

“Thank you, dear Father, but I have toys enough. Well, then, tonight is the Country Club Ball. And I do hate that, for there are so many uninteresting people at it, and you have to dance with most of them. And tomorrow there’s a poky old luncheon at Miss Gardiner’s. I don’t want to go to that. I wish I could elope!”

“Why don’t you, Patty?” said Nan, sympathetically; “cut it all, and run up to Adele’s, or some nice, quiet place.”

“Adele’s a quiet place! Not much! Even gayer than Spring Beach. And, anyway, it isn’t eloping if you go alone. I want to elope with a Romeo, or something exciting like that. Well! for goodness gracious sakes’ alive! Will you kindly look who’s coming up the walk!”

They followed the direction of Patty’s dancing blue eyes and saw a big man, very big and very smiling, walking up the gravel path, with a long, swinging stride.

“Little Billee!” Patty cried, jumping up and holding out both hands. “Wherever did you descend from?”

“Didn’t descend; came up. Up from the South, at break of day,–Barnegat, to be exact. How do you do, Mrs. Fairfield? How are you, sir?”

Farnsworth’s kindly, breezy manner, condoned his lack of conventional formality, and with an easy grace, he disposed his big bulk in a deep and roomy wicker porch chair.

“And how’s the Giddy Butterfly?” he said, turning to Patty. “Still making two smiles grow where one was before? Still breaking hearts and binding them up again?”

“Yes,” and she dimpled at him. “And I have a brand-new one to break this afternoon. Isn’t that fine?”

“Fine for the fortunate owner of the heart, yes. Any man worthy of the name would rather have his heart broken by Patty Fairfield than–than–to die in a better land!”

“Hobson’s choice,” said Mr. Fairfield, drily. “Are you here for a time, Farnsworth? Glad to have you stay with us.”

“Thank you, sir, but I’m on the wing. I expected to spend the holiday properly, fishing at Barnegat. But a hurry-up telegram calls me up to Maine, instanter. I just dropped off here over one train, to catch a glimpse of Little Sunshine, and make sure she’s behaving herself.”

“I’m a Angel,” declared Patty, with a heavenward gaze. “And, Bill, what do you think! I was just saying I wanted to elope. Now, here you are! Why don’t I elope with you?”

“If it must be some one, it might as well be me,” returned Farnsworth, gravely; “have you a rope ladder handy?”

“Always keep one on hand,” returned Patty, gaily. “When do we start?”

“Right away, now, if you’re going with me,” and Bill laughed as Patty sat up straight and tied her sweater sash and pretended to get ready to go.

“But this is the strange part,” he went on; “you all think I’m fooling, but I’m not! I do want to carry Patty off with me, on this very next train.”

“This is so sudden!” said Patty, still taking it as a joke.

“You keep still a minute, Milady, and let me explain to your elders and betters.” Patty pouted at this, but Bill went on. “You see, Mr. Fairfield, I’m involved in some big business transactions, which, not to go into details, have made it necessary for me to become the owner of a large hotel up in Maine,–in the lake region.”

“I thought all Maine was lakey,” put in Patty.

“Well, this is a smallish lake, not far from Poland Spring. And it’s a big hotel, and it’s to close tomorrow, and all the guests will leave then. And I’ve got to go up there and look after it.”

“How did you happen to acquire this white elephant?” asked Fred Fairfield, greatly interested.

“Had to take it for a debt. Man couldn’t pay,–lost his money in war stocks.–I’ll tell you all about it while Patty’s getting her bag packed.”

“What do you mean?” cried Nan, seeing Farnsworth’s apparent sincerity.

“Oh, Lord, I forgot I haven’t told you yet! Well, as I have to go up there for a week or two, and as the hotel is all in running order, and as all the guests are going off in a hurry, and the servants are still there, I thought it would be fun to have a sort of a house party up there–”

“Gorgeous!” cried Patty, clapping her hands, “Who’s going, Bill?”

“That’s the rub! I haven’t asked anybody yet, and I doubt if I can get many at this time of year.”

“Haven’t asked anybody! I thought you had planned this house party!”

“Well, you see, I just got the telegram last night, and it was on the train coming up here this morning that I planned it–so the plans aren’t–aren’t entirely completed as yet.”

“Oh, you fraud! You made it all up on the spur of the moment–”

“Yes’m, I did. But what a spur the moment is! Now, see here, it’s clear sailing. We can get the Kenerleys and they’ll be the chaperons. Now, all we have to do, is to corral a few guests. You and I are two. How about Mona Galbraith?”

“She’d go if she could,” said Patty, “but she’s having a party this afternoon. Chick Channing is over there.”

“Chick Channing! Is he really? Well! Well! I haven’t seen that boy for years. We must make them come. And Daisy? Is she there?”

“Yet, but don’t get too many girls–”

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