Patty had sent Winnie off, feeling that she must hold Fleurette in her arms for some time, in order to realise that she was safe from the whirling winds of that awful cyclone!
When Bill appeared, Patty began at once, and launched forth a full description of the picture play, and of Azalea’s and Fleurette’s parts in it.
Farnsworth sat looking at her, his blue eyes full of a contented admiration. To this simple-minded, big-hearted man, his wife and child represented the whole world. All he had, all he owned, he valued only for the pleasure it might mean to them.
“Darling,” he said, as she finished the tale, “what do you think about it all?”
“Mona’s been talking to you!” Patty cried, with sudden intuition.
“What! How do you know? You clair-voyant!”
“Of course I know,” and Patty wagged a wise head at him. “First, because you’re not sufficiently surprised,—she told you all about it! And second, because you’re not furious at Azalea! Mona has talked you around to her way of thinking,—which is, that Azalea is a genius,—and that—”
“That Fleurette is another! Think of being on the screen at the tender age of six months!”
“You’re a wretch! you’re a monster! you’re a—a—dromedary!”
Patty was feeling decidedly better about the whole matter. Having sat for nearly an hour, holding and fondling her idolised child, she realised that whatever Fleurette had gone through, she was safe now,—and that whatever was to be done to Azalea by way of punishment, was more Bill’s affair than hers.
“You don’t care two cents for your wonder-child! Your own little buttercup,—your daffy-downdilly baby!” she cried, in pretended reproof, and then Farnsworth took Fleurette and tossed her about until she squealed with glee.
“Oh, I guess we’ll keep her,” he said, as he handed her back to her mother’s arms. “She’s the paragon baby of the whole world, even if I don’t appreciate her.”
“Oh, you do! you do!” exclaimed Patty, remorseful now at having teased him. “And now, Sweet William, what’s your idea of a right and proper punishment for Cousin Azalea?”
“That’s a matter for some thought,” he responded, mindful of Mona’s words. “Look here, Patty, quite aside from Fleurette’s connection with this case,—what’s your opinion of Zaly as a ‘movie’ star?”
“She’s great, dear,—she really is. And—if she weren’t our relative—”
“Our relative, I should advise her to go in for the thing seriously; but,—I may be over-conservative,—even snobbish, but I do hate to have our cousin’s portrait all over the fences and ashbarrels, and in all the Sunday papers, and—”
“I don’t mind that publicity so much as I do the possible effects on Azalea’s life. I don’t know that the career of a ‘movie’ star is as full of dangerous pitfalls as the theatrical line, but—I hate to see Azalea subjected to them,—for her own sake.”