II guests arrive
III Betty gale
IV A new relative
V that awful Azalea
VI table manners
VII mysterious callers
IX vanity fair
XI the sampler
XII azalea’s chance
XIII “Star of the west”
XIV at the picture play
XV some records
XVI azalea’s story
XVII Philip’s request
XVIII Philip’s Brownie
PATTY AND AZALEA
“Oh, Little Billee! Come quick, for goodness’ sake! The baby’s choking!”
Patty was in the sun parlour, her arms full of a fluttering bundle of lace and linen, and her blue eyes wide with dismay at her small daughter’s facial contortions.
“Only with laughter,” Bill reassured her after a quick glance at the restless infant. “Give her to me.”
The baby nestled comfortably in his big, powerful arms, and Patty sat back in her chair and watched them both.
“What a pleasure,” she said, complacently, “to be wife and mother to two such fine specimens of humanity! She grows more and more like you every day, Little Billee.”
“Well, if this yellow fuzz of a head and this pinky peach of a face is like anybody in the world except Patty Farnsworth, I’ll give up! Why, she’s the image of you,—except when she makes these grotesque grimaces,—like a Chinese Joss.”
“Stop it! You shan’t call my baby names! She’s a booful-poofle! She’s a hunny-bunny! She’s her mudder’s pressus girly-wirly,—so she wuz!”
“Oh, Patty, that I should live to hear you talk such lingo! I thought you were going to be sensible.”
“How can anybody be sensible with a baby like that! Isn’t she the very wonderfullest ever! Oh, Billee, look at her angel smile!”
“Angel smile? More like a mountebank’s grin! But I’m sure she means well. And I’ll agree she is the most wonderful thing in the world.”
Bill tossed the child up and down, and chuckled at her evident appreciation of his efforts for her amusement.
“Be careful of my baby, if you please,” and Patty eyed the performance dubiously. “Suppose you drop my child?”
“I hardly think I shall, ma’am. And, incidentally, I suppose she is my child?”
“No; a girl baby is always her mudder’s own—only just her very own mudder’s own. Give her to me! Let me has my baby,—my ownty-donty baby!”
Farnsworth obediently handed Patty her property, and put another pillow behind her as she sat in the low willow chair. Then he seated himself near, and adoringly watched his two treasures.
It was mid-April and the Farnsworths had been married more than a year. On their return from France, they had looked about for a home, and had at last found a fortunate chance to buy at a bargain a beautiful place up in Westchester County. It was near enough to New York for a quick trip and yet it was almost country.