This she felt quite sure the Farnsworths would not forgive.
Azalea would not have done it, if it had occurred to her at first how the parents would resent such use of their child. But Mr. Bixby had needed a very young baby in a certain picture and Azalea, anxious to please, had offered to bring Fleurette over. She was herself so devoted to the little one and so careful of her, she felt no fear of any harm coming to her. Nor did it, for the infant was good and tractable, and did all that was required of her without any trouble. However, little was required except for her to coo and gurgle in one scene, and to lie quietly asleep in another.
But there was one more short scene where Azalea had to rescue the baby from a burning house. To be sure the flames were artificial and there was no danger from the fire, but the baby was thrown from an upper window, and caught by Azalea, who stood down on the ground.
So accustomed was Fleurette to being tossed about, and so familiar to her was the frolicking with Azalea that she made no objections and was a most delightful addition to the picture.
But something happened to the film, and the director was most anxious to take the scene over again.
Azalea, however, positively refused to take Fleurette again to the studio. She knew how she would be censured, should it be found out, and now Nurse Winnie and the two Farnsworths, as well as Elise, were all watching for anything mysterious that Azalea might do.
She felt almost as if she were living over a slumbering volcano, that might at any moment blow her up. For Elise, she felt sure, would not keep the sampler incident to herself, and if Farnsworth heard of it he would be newly angry at that deception.
So Azalea’s delight at her success with the moving-picture company was very much tempered with dismay at her position in the Farnsworth household.
She was almost tempted to run away from them altogether and shift for herself.
Indeed, she practically decided, as she rode in the trolley-car, that if they were hard on her when she reached home, she would run away. Of a wayward disposition and without really good early training, Azalea thought only of herself, and selfishly desired her own advancement without thought or regard for other people.
But, to her pleased surprise, when she entered the gate she heard gay voices on the verandah, and knew that guests were there,—and several of them.
Unwilling to meet them in her street clothes, she slipped around to the back entrance and went in at the servants’ door.
“I don’t want to appear until I can dress,” she explained to the cook, and went upstairs by a back way.
Half an hour later, a very different looking Azalea went down the front staircase and out onto the porch.
She wore a becoming dress of flowered organdie, with knots of bright velvet, and her pretty hair was carefully arranged.