“You ought not to have allowed it, Winnie,” Patty said, severely. “Why didn’t you tell me, if you couldn’t make Miss Thorpe stop it?”
“Miss Thorpe told me you wanted her to do it, ma’am. She said it was good exercise for the child, and,—you know her father does it,—and,—begging your pardon,—Miss Thorpe is even more skilful than Mr. Farnsworth.”
“Well,—it’s his baby!” defended Patty. “Oh, Winnie, suppose an accident did happen,—and Miss Thorpe hurt Fleurette in some dreadful way,—and—”
“And ran away, in sheer fright!” suggested Elise.
“No: she’d be more likely to run to the doctor’s. Our doctor lives near here. I’m going to telephone him—I’m ’most sure Azalea would do that.”
Doctor Marsh was not in, but his office boy said he had not had any call from Azalea by telephone or in person.
Patty was quite calm now. Her efficient self had risen to the emergency and she was quickly considering what was best to do.
“I’m going to telephone Bill,” she said, as if thinking aloud,—“but first, I’m going to call up the Gales, and see if Zaly could have taken Fleurette over there. You know Azalea is utterly lawless,—it’s impossible to imagine what she will do. Oh, Elise, you’ve no idea what we go through with that girl! She is a terror! And yet,—well, there is something about her I can’t help liking. For one thing, she’s so fond of Fleurette. If she has hurt her,—well, Azalea would just about kill herself!”
A telephone call to the Gales’ produced no information as to the whereabouts of Azalea or the baby. Betty replied that she hadn’t seen any one from Wistaria Porch that day, and was thinking of coming over to call.
“Don’t come just now,” said Patty, half-absently, and then she hung up the receiver without further words.
“Well, I think I’ll have to call up Bill,” she said, at last. “You see, he’s fearfully busy today, with a specially important matter, and he probably won’t be in his own office, anyway. And I hate to intrude on a directors’ meeting,—that is, if there’s no necessity. And yet,—it seems as if I must!”
“Oh, do,” cried Elise; “you really must, Patty! Why, Bill would reproach you if you didn’t.”
So Patty called Farnsworth’s office. Bill’s business consisted of varied interests. He was a consulting engineer, he was a mining expert, and he was still connected with government work. So, frequently, he could not be found in his office, though he usually left word where Patty could get in touch with him.
But in this instance it was not so. The confidential secretary gave Patty the address Farnsworth had left with him, but when she called that he had already gone from there.
With long-suffering patience, Patty called number after number, hoping to find Farnsworth at some of the likely places she could think of.
But number after number brought no results,—and Patty turned from the telephone in despair.