On the train, coming East, she had formed an acquaintance with Mr. Bixby and his wife, who were in the business. As their studio was not far from the Farnsworth home, Azalea had made plans with them to engage in the work.
She had carried out these plans, and had been over to the studios several times, taking parts in which they needed a substitute.
She had done so well and had shown such promise that Mr. Bixby urged her to become a regular actress in his company.
But Azalea was so uncertain as to how Patty and Bill would regard such a move on her part, that she had so far kept the matter to herself.
Then, when the star actress had met with an accident, and the management had concluded to offer Azalea her place, it was a great chance for the girl.
She had come over this morning to give it a trial, entirely at sea as to her subsequent attitude toward the Farnsworths.
She thought she would be guided by circumstances as to whether she would confide all to them, or whether she would continue her secrecy as to her movements.
Mrs. Bixby attended to her in the dressing-room. All of Miss Frawley’s costumes, it was found, could be altered to fit Azalea.
As one in a dream, the girl stood to be fitted, while seamstresses and modistes hovered about her.
Then she was informed that the work that day would be only rehearsing and the pictures would not actually be taken until her costumes were ready.
Submissively she did exactly as she was told, and so well did she act the parts assigned her, that Mr. Bixby expressed hearty approval.
Azalea was there nearly all day, and when at last she turned her face homeward, a great dismay seized her.
“What’s the matter, child?” asked kindly Mrs. Bixby, who was saying good-bye.
“Oh, I don’t know what to do!” Azalea was tempted to tell the director’s wife all her troubles.
But Mrs. Bixby was a busy lady, and she said, “Not now, dearie. You skittle home, and to-morrow maybe I can take a couple hours off to hear your tale of woe. You know you’ve already told me your swagger relatives would throw a fit if they knew what you were up to. Well, I guess it’s about fit time!”
Azalea disliked her style of speech, but Mrs. Bixby was kind hearted, and she had hoped to have her for a confidante. However, there was no chance then, for Mrs. Bixby hustled her off to the trolley-car, and Azalea went home to Wistaria Porch.
“STAR OF THE WEST”
All the way home Azalea wondered how she would be received.
Both Patty and Bill were somewhat suspicious of her and would naturally question her as to where she had been all day. She was tempted to tell them the whole truth and throw herself on their mercy, and but for one thing she would have done so. This was the fact that she had previously taken the baby, Fleurette, over to the studios and had used the child in the pictures.