“I expect my friend Elise Farrington to-morrow,” said Patty; “I’m sure you’ll like her, Azalea.”
“Will she like me?” said the girl, indifferently.
“If she doesn’t, it will be your own fault,” and Patty took advantage of the opportunity for a word of warning. “Elise is a person of strong likes and dislikes. If you try to be real nice and courteous she will certainly like you, and if you’re rude and blunt, I don’t believe she will. Do you care, Azalea, whether she does or not?”
“No,” said Azalea, calmly, and Patty gave a sigh of despair. What was the use of trying to help a girl who acted like that?
Farnsworth, too, shook his head, and glanced at Patty with a sympathetic smile, and then they talked together to the entire exclusion of Azalea, who was so wrapped in her own thoughts that she didn’t even notice them.
Not waiting for coffee, when the others went to the library, Azalea, with the briefest “good-night,” went up to her room, and again locked her door.
“What does ail her?” exclaimed Patty, as she and her husband sipped their coffee.
“I don’t know,—but I’m going to find out. Any letter from her father to-day?”
“No; I looked over her mail. Oh, it does seem awful, to look inquisitively at another’s letters!”
“It’s necessary, dear, in this case. There’s a big mystery about Azalea Thorpe, and we must solve it, or there’ll be trouble!”
“I wish you’d tell me all about it.”
“I will, soon. Trust me, darling, I’d rather not say what I suspect, until I’ve a little more reason for my suspicion. It’s too incredible! And yet,—it must be so!”
“All right, my True Love. I can wait. Now, listen, and I’ll tell you of the marvellous achievement of your daughter to-day!”
And Farnsworth listened with all his heart to the amazing tale of Fleurette’s intelligent observation of a red balloon.
The next day Elise came.
“Here I am!” she cried, as she stepped from the motor, and flew into Patty’s embrace. “Where’s your eccentric cousin I’ve heard about? But first, where’s my godchild? I’ve brought her the loveliest presents! Let me at her!”
“All right,” said Patty, laughing at her impatience, “come right along to the nursery before you take your hat off.”
The two went to the nursery, and Patty softly opened the door. But the room was empty.
“That’s funny,” Patty said, “Winnie always has baby here at this hour. She takes her morning nap about now. Where can they be?”
The bassinette was disordered, as if the child had been taken from it, and Patty looked at it in amazement. She ran around to several adjoining rooms, and returned, with a frightened face.
“Elise, there’s no sign of Baby or Winnie anywhere! What does it mean?”
“Goodness! I don’t know! Did the nurse go down to see her beau,—and take the baby with her?”