“Why, Azalea,” she exclaimed, “what is the matter? You look like a tragedy queen!”
For Azalea, annoyed at the intrusion, stood, hands clenched, and eyes scowling, and she said angrily, “I don’t think people ought to come into other people’s rooms, uninvited! I don’t call that good manners!”
“You’re not supposed to know what good manners are,” said Elise, giving her a condescending look. “And even if you think you do,—don’t try to teach me!”
“Oh, Elise,” said Patty, reproachfully, “don’t talk like that! It reflects on you even more than on Zaly.”
“Oh, yes, stand up for her,—every one has gone mad over our ‘heroine’! I call it disgraceful to be mixed up with that movie concern, and let me tell you, Azalea Thorpe, if you think Mr. Van Reypen is going to overlook or forget that, you’re greatly mistaken! You know, Patty,—our Western friend here, is already aspiring toward Philip—”
“Hush, Elise,” Patty returned, “better stop before you make a goose of yourself! Phil is aspiring to Azalea’s favour, is the truer way to put it!”
“Oh, no, I can’t believe that,” laughed Elise, “Phil has too much self-respect!”
At breakfast next morning Azalea’s place was vacant.
“I didn’t disturb her,” said Patty, “for I want her to sleep late, if she can. She is such an active young person, she gets tired,—though she rarely admits it.”
And then Janet came in. “Mrs. Farnsworth,” she said, “Miss Thorpe is not in her room. Perhaps she has gone for one of her early morning walks. But on her dressing-table I found these two notes.”
The maid handed Patty one of the letters and gave the other to Van Reypen. Both were addressed in Azalea’s handwriting and the two who took them felt a sudden foreboding as to the contents.
Nor were their fears ill-founded. With an exclamation of dismay, Patty handed hers over to Farnsworth, who read it quickly, and looked at his wife with a serious face.
“Poor little Azalea,” he said, “what can it all mean?”
For the note read:
I’m a wicked girl, and I can’t impose on you any longer. I am going away. Don’t try to find me,—just forget me. I love you all,—but I have no right to be among good people.
“What’s in yours, Phil?” Farnsworth asked, and Van Reypen handed it to him without a word.
MY DEAR MR. VAN REYPEN:
I can’t go away without leaving a word for you. But it is only to say, please forget the girl who calls herself
Then the notes were shown to the other two guests, Elise and Channing, for the departure of Azalea could not be kept secret, and of course they must immediately put forth every possible effort to find her.