The butler and the maids were in the butler’s pantry at the rear of the hall, but while their voices could be plainly heard, Flossie noticed nothing which they said until the maid spoke of the baby.
“She ees well, the petite belle, but upon her cheek the, what ees eet the doctaire did say?”
“Sure, Marie, ‘tis a ould-fashioned rash, an’ manny’s the toime Oive seen ut on a babby’s face, an’ whoile the docthor makes a fuss about it, it’s just nothin’ at all, at all,” responded Bridget.
“I’m thinkin’ it don’t pay to let it go an’ not have the doctor see about it,” growled the butler in a deep bass voice.
“An’ ain’t they seein’ about it wid all their eyes, the ould docthor a-peekin’ at the swate little thing t’rough his goggles, an’ puttin’ a wee bit t’ermom’ter into her mouth what for I do’ ‘no’ unless ’tis ter foind out if it’s near toime fer her ter be a-talkin’.”
“He’s very ugly, le m’sieur doctaire; if he was fine to behold it would be well. And what said he of the child? That at home she could not remain? If they do away take her M’sieur Harry will weep his fine eyes out.”
“Oh, you little Frenchie!” exclaimed the butler with a jolly laugh, “you get things mixed. If it’s nothing but a rash, as Bridget says, she’ll stay here, but if it’s measles she’ll be hurried off up-stairs, and—”
“An’ be quarantained, Oim tould,” interrupted Bridget.
“Oh, Breejhay, what ees that?” cried the little French maid, and Flossie waited to hear no more.
Quarantined! Oh, what a big word, and what did it mean? Who was going to do that to dear Uncle Harry’s baby?
No one! She would not let them!
Quickly she gathered the wee mite in her arms, wrapped the warm little cloak around her, and walking softly to the door, slipped out, the baby nestled close in her arms.
Across the lawn she trudged, past the summer-house, and on to the little clump of trees and shrubs which the children called the grove.
In a little nook between the tall hedge and the shrubbery she sat down, and took the baby on her lap. Fortunately it had no idea of crying; she loved Flossie, and she cooed contentedly.
And now the shadows were long, and the light breeze, growing stronger, swept in little chilly gusts across the treetops, and searching lower, tossed the small shrubs as if trying to discover Flossie’s hiding-place.
She drew the baby’s cloak closer around it, and bending lower, kissed it, and whispered lovingly:
“You’re all safe with me, for I won’t let that old doctor quantine you. You’re Uncle Harry’s own baby, and I won’t let anybody hurt you.”
At the Barnet house all was excitement. Servants were rushing this way and that, searching for Flossie and the baby.