en-es  Laura Lee Hope. The Moving Picture Girls. Chapter 2.
Laura Lee Hope. The Moving Picture Girls. Chapter 2.

RUSS DALWOOD APOLOGIZES.

The portal was closed with a bang—so closed because Alice in a mad rush threw herself against it and turned the key in the lock. Then she gained a place by her sister's side, and slipped an arm about her waist.

"He—he won't come in," Alice whispered. "I saw him going down the stairs."

"Who—who was it?" faltered Ruth. She was very pale.

"I don't know," Alice made answer. "I don't believe he meant to come in here. It was—was just an accident. But the door is locked now. Maybe it was some collector—like those horrid men who have been to see us lately. The Dalwoods may be short of money, too."

"I don't think so, Alice. Russ makes good wages at the moving picture place. Oh, are you sure the door is locked?"

"Positive. Don't worry."

"Let's slip down the back stairs to Mrs. Reilley's flat. She has a telephone, and we can call the police," suggested the taller girl, in a hoarse whisper, her eyes never leaving the hall door that had been so unceremoniously thrust open.

"Silly!" returned Alice. "There's no danger now. That man has gone. I tell you I saw him hurrying down the stairs. Russ sent him about his business, all right—whatever his business was."

"Oh, it's terrible to live this way!" wailed Ruth. "With—with common fighting going on in the halls! If poor mother were alive now—" "She wouldn't be a bit afraid, if what you tell me of her is true!" insisted Alice, stoutly. "And I'm not a bit afraid, either. Why, Russ is just across the hall, and it was only the other day you were saying how strong and manly he was. Have you forgotten?"

"No," answered Ruth, in a low voice, and again the blush suffused her cheeks.

"Then don't be a silly. I'm not going down and ask Mrs. Reilley to 'phone for the police. That would cause excitement indeed. I don't believe anyone else heard the commotion, and that was only because our door flew open by accident."

"Oh, well, maybe it will be all right," assented the taller girl who, in this emergency, seemed to lean on her younger sister. Perhaps it was because Alice was so merry-hearted—even unthinking at times; despising danger because she did not know exactly what it was—or what it meant. Yet even now Ruth felt that she must play the part of mother to her younger sister.

"Are you sure that door is locked?" she asked again.

"Positive! See, I'll slip on the chain, and then it would tax even a policeman to get in. But, really, Ruth, I wouldn't go to Mrs. Reilley's if I were you. She'll tell everyone, and there doesn't seem to be any need. It's all over, and those below, or above us, seem to have heard nothing of it."

"Oh, I wish daddy would come home!"

"So do I, for that matter. That's sensible. What did he say," asked Alice, "when you went down to Mrs. Reilley's telephone to talk to him?" For that neighbor had summoned one of the girls when she learned, over the wire, that Mr. DeVere wished to speak with his daughters about his good fortune.

"He didn't have time to say much," replied Ruth. "He just stole a minute or two away from the conference to say that he had an engagement that was very promising."

"And didn't he say when he'd be home?"

"No, only that it would be as soon as possible."

"Well, I suppose he'll come as quickly as he can. Let's see what we can get up in the way of a lunch. We may have to resort to the delicatessen again. I do want father to have something nice when he comes home with his good news."

"So do I," agreed Ruth. "I'm afraid our ice box doesn't contain much in the way of refreshments for an impromptu banquet, though, and I positively won't go out after—after what happened. At least not right away!"

"Pooh, I'm not afraid!" laughed Alice, having recovered her spirits. "On the ice box—charge!" she cried gaily, waltzing about.

The girls found little enough to reward them, and it came, finally, to the necessity of making a raid on the nearest delicatessen shop if they were to "banquet" their father.

In fact since the DeVere family had come to make their home in the Fenmore Apartment House, on one of the West Sixtieth streets of New York City, there had been very little in the way of food luxuries, and not a great deal of the necessities.

Their life had held a little more of ease and comfort when they lived in a more fashionable quarter, but with the loss of their father's theatrical engagement, and the long period of waiting for another, their savings had been exhausted and they had had recourse to the pawn shop, in addition to letting as many bills as possible go unpaid until fortune smiled again.

Hosmer DeVere, who was a middle-aged, rather corpulent and exceedingly kind and cultured gentleman, was the father of the two girls. Their mother had been dead about seven years, a cold caught in playing on a draughty stage developing into pneumonia, from which she never rallied.

Ruth and Alice came of a theatrical family—at least, on their father's side—for his father and grandfather before him had enviable histrionic reputations. Mrs. DeVere had been a vivacious country maid—or, rather, a maid in a small town that was classed as being on the "country" circuit by the company playing it. Mr. DeVere, then blossoming into a leading man, was in the troupe, and became acquainted with his future wife through the medium of the theater. She had sought an interview with the manager, seeking a chance to "get on the boards," and Mr. DeVere admired her greatly.

Their married life was much happier than the usual theatrical union, and under the guidance and instruction of her husband Mrs. DeVere had become one of the leading juvenile players. Both her husband and herself were fond of home life, and they had looked forward to the day when they could retire and shut themselves away from the public with their two little daughters.

But fortunes are seldom made on the stage—not half as often as is imagined—and the time seemed farther and farther off. Then came Mrs. DeVere's illness and death, and for a time a broken-hearted man withdrew himself from the world to devote his life to his daughters.

But the call of the stage was imperative, not so much from choice as necessity, for Mr. DeVere could do little to advantage save act, and in this alone could he make a living. So he had returned to the "boards," filling various engagements with satisfaction, and taking his daughters about with him.

Rather strange to say, up to the present, though literally saturated with the romance and hard work of the footlights, neither Ruth nor Alice had shown any desire to go on the stage. Or, if they had it, they had not spoken of it. And their father was glad.

Mr. DeVere was a clever character actor, and had created a number of parts that had won favor. He inclined to whimsical comedy rôles, rather than to romantic drama, and several of his old men studies are remembered on Broadway to this day. He had acted in Shakespeare, but he had none of that burning desire, with which many actors are credited, to play Hamlet. Mr. DeVere was satisfied to play the legitimate in his best manner, to look after his daughters, and to trust that in time he might lay by enough for himself, and see them happily married.

But the laying-aside process had been seriously interrupted several times by lack of engagements, so that the little stock of savings dwindled away.

Then came a panicky year. Many theaters were closed, and more actors "walked the Rialto" looking for engagements than ever before. Mr. DeVere was among them, and he even accepted a part in a vaudeville sketch to eke out a scanty livelihood.

Good times came again, but did not last, and finally it looked to the actor as though he were doomed to become a "hack," or to linger along in some stock company. He was willing to do this, though, for the sake of the girls.

A rather longer period of inactivity than usual made a decided change in the DeVere fortunes, if one can call a struggle against poverty "fortunes." They had to leave their pleasant apartment and take one more humble. Some of their choice possessions, too, went to the sign of the three golden balls; but, with all this, it was hard work to set even their scanty table. And the bills!

Ruth wept in secret over them, being the house-keeper. And, of late, some of the tradesmen were not as patient and kind as they had been at first. Some even sent professional collectors, who used all their various wiles to humiliate their debtors.

But now a ray of light seemed to shine through the gloom, and a tentative promise from one theatrical manager had become a reality. Mr. DeVere had telephoned that the contract was signed, and that he would have a leading part at last, after many weeks of idleness.

"What is the play?" asked Alice of her sister, when they had decided on what they might safely get from the delicatessen store. "Did dad say?"

"Yes. It's 'A Matter of Friendship.' One of those new society dramas."

"Oh, I do hope he gets us tickets!"

"We will need some dresses before we can use tickets," sighed Ruth. "Positively I wouldn't go anywhere but in the gallery now."

"No, we wouldn't exactly shine in a box," agreed Alice.

"Hark!" cautioned her sister. "There's someone in the hall now. I heard a step——" There came a knock on the door, and in spite of themselves both girls started nervously.

"That isn't his rap!" whispered Alice.

"No. Ask who it is," suggested Ruth. Somehow, she looked again to the younger Alice now.

"Who—who is it?" faltered the latter. "Maybe it's one of those horrid collectors," she went on, in her sister's ear. "I wish I'd kept quiet."

But the voice that answered reassured them.

"Are you there, Miss DeVere? This is Russ Dalwood. I want to apologize for that row outside your door a few minutes ago. It was an accident. I'm sorry. May I come in?"

To be continued ...
unit 1
Laura Lee Hope.
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unit 2
The Moving Picture Girls.
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unit 3
Chapter 2.
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unit 4
RUSS DALWOOD APOLOGIZES.
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unit 7
"He—he won't come in," Alice whispered.
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unit 8
"I saw him going down the stairs."
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unit 9
"Who—who was it?"
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unit 10
faltered Ruth.
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unit 11
She was very pale.
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unit 12
"I don't know," Alice made answer.
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unit 13
"I don't believe he meant to come in here.
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unit 14
It was—was just an accident.
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unit 15
But the door is locked now.
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unit 17
The Dalwoods may be short of money, too."
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unit 18
"I don't think so, Alice.
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unit 19
Russ makes good wages at the moving picture place.
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unit 20
Oh, are you sure the door is locked?"
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unit 21
"Positive.
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unit 22
Don't worry."
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unit 23
"Let's slip down the back stairs to Mrs. Reilley's flat.
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unit 25
"Silly!"
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unit 26
returned Alice.
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unit 27
"There's no danger now.
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unit 28
That man has gone.
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unit 29
I tell you I saw him hurrying down the stairs.
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unit 30
unit 31
"Oh, it's terrible to live this way!"
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unit 32
wailed Ruth.
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unit 33
"With—with common fighting going on in the halls!
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unit 35
insisted Alice, stoutly.
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unit 36
"And I'm not a bit afraid, either.
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unit 38
Have you forgotten?"
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unit 40
"Then don't be a silly.
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unit 41
I'm not going down and ask Mrs. Reilley to 'phone for the police.
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unit 42
That would cause excitement indeed.
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unit 47
"Are you sure that door is locked?"
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unit 48
she asked again.
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unit 49
"Positive!
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unit 51
But, really, Ruth, I wouldn't go to Mrs. Reilley's if I were you.
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unit 52
She'll tell everyone, and there doesn't seem to be any need.
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unit 54
"Oh, I wish daddy would come home!"
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unit 55
"So do I, for that matter.
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unit 56
That's sensible.
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unit 59
"He didn't have time to say much," replied Ruth.
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unit 61
"And didn't he say when he'd be home?"
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unit 62
"No, only that it would be as soon as possible."
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unit 63
"Well, I suppose he'll come as quickly as he can.
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unit 64
Let's see what we can get up in the way of a lunch.
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unit 65
We may have to resort to the delicatessen again.
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unit 67
"So do I," agreed Ruth.
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unit 69
At least not right away!"
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unit 70
"Pooh, I'm not afraid!"
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unit 71
laughed Alice, having recovered her spirits.
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unit 72
"On the ice box—charge!"
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unit 73
she cried gaily, waltzing about.
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unit 90
Or, if they had it, they had not spoken of it.
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unit 91
And their father was glad.
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unit 97
Then came a panicky year.
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unit 101
He was willing to do this, though, for the sake of the girls.
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unit 103
They had to leave their pleasant apartment and take one more humble.
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unit 105
And the bills!
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unit 106
Ruth wept in secret over them, being the house-keeper.
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unit 111
"What is the play?"
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unit 113
"Did dad say?"
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unit 114
"Yes.
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unit 115
It's 'A Matter of Friendship.'
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unit 116
One of those new society dramas."
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unit 117
"Oh, I do hope he gets us tickets!"
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unit 118
"We will need some dresses before we can use tickets," sighed Ruth.
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unit 119
"Positively I wouldn't go anywhere but in the gallery now."
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unit 120
"No, we wouldn't exactly shine in a box," agreed Alice.
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unit 121
"Hark!"
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unit 122
cautioned her sister.
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unit 123
"There's someone in the hall now.
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unit 125
"That isn't his rap!"
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unit 126
whispered Alice.
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unit 127
"No.
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unit 128
Ask who it is," suggested Ruth.
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unit 129
Somehow, she looked again to the younger Alice now.
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unit 130
"Who—who is it?"
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unit 131
faltered the latter.
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unit 132
unit 133
"I wish I'd kept quiet."
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unit 134
But the voice that answered reassured them.
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unit 135
"Are you there, Miss DeVere?
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unit 136
This is Russ Dalwood.
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unit 137
I want to apologize for that row outside your door a few minutes ago.
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unit 138
It was an accident.
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unit 139
I'm sorry.
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unit 140
May I come in?"
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unit 141
To be continued ...
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Laura Lee Hope. The Moving Picture Girls. Chapter 2.

RUSS DALWOOD APOLOGIZES.

The portal was closed with a bang—so closed because Alice in a mad rush threw herself against it and turned the key in the lock. Then she gained a place by her sister's side, and slipped an arm about her waist.

"He—he won't come in," Alice whispered. "I saw him going down the stairs."

"Who—who was it?" faltered Ruth. She was very pale.

"I don't know," Alice made answer. "I don't believe he meant to come in here. It was—was just an accident. But the door is locked now. Maybe it was some collector—like those horrid men who have been to see us lately. The Dalwoods may be short of money, too."

"I don't think so, Alice. Russ makes good wages at the moving picture place. Oh, are you sure the door is locked?"

"Positive. Don't worry."

"Let's slip down the back stairs to Mrs. Reilley's flat. She has a telephone, and we can call the police," suggested the taller girl, in a hoarse whisper, her eyes never leaving the hall door that had been so unceremoniously thrust open.

"Silly!" returned Alice. "There's no danger now. That man has gone. I tell you I saw him hurrying down the stairs. Russ sent him about his business, all right—whatever his business was."

"Oh, it's terrible to live this way!" wailed Ruth. "With—with common fighting going on in the halls! If poor mother were alive now—"

"She wouldn't be a bit afraid, if what you tell me of her is true!" insisted Alice, stoutly. "And I'm not a bit afraid, either. Why, Russ is just across the hall, and it was only the other day you were saying how strong and manly he was. Have you forgotten?"

"No," answered Ruth, in a low voice, and again the blush suffused her cheeks.

"Then don't be a silly. I'm not going down and ask Mrs. Reilley to 'phone for the police. That would cause excitement indeed. I don't believe anyone else heard the commotion, and that was only because our door flew open by accident."

"Oh, well, maybe it will be all right," assented the taller girl who, in this emergency, seemed to lean on her younger sister. Perhaps it was because Alice was so merry-hearted—even unthinking at times; despising danger because she did not know exactly what it was—or what it meant. Yet even now Ruth felt that she must play the part of mother to her younger sister.

"Are you sure that door is locked?" she asked again.

"Positive! See, I'll slip on the chain, and then it would tax even a policeman to get in. But, really, Ruth, I wouldn't go to Mrs. Reilley's if I were you. She'll tell everyone, and there doesn't seem to be any need. It's all over, and those below, or above us, seem to have heard nothing of it."

"Oh, I wish daddy would come home!"

"So do I, for that matter. That's sensible. What did he say," asked Alice, "when you went down to Mrs. Reilley's telephone to talk to him?" For that neighbor had summoned one of the girls when she learned, over the wire, that Mr. DeVere wished to speak with his daughters about his good fortune.

"He didn't have time to say much," replied Ruth. "He just stole a minute or two away from the conference to say that he had an engagement that was very promising."

"And didn't he say when he'd be home?"

"No, only that it would be as soon as possible."

"Well, I suppose he'll come as quickly as he can. Let's see what we can get up in the way of a lunch. We may have to resort to the delicatessen again. I do want father to have something nice when he comes home with his good news."

"So do I," agreed Ruth. "I'm afraid our ice box doesn't contain much in the way of refreshments for an impromptu banquet, though, and I positively won't go out after—after what happened. At least not right away!"

"Pooh, I'm not afraid!" laughed Alice, having recovered her spirits. "On the ice box—charge!" she cried gaily, waltzing about.

The girls found little enough to reward them, and it came, finally, to the necessity of making a raid on the nearest delicatessen shop if they were to "banquet" their father.

In fact since the DeVere family had come to make their home in the Fenmore Apartment House, on one of the West Sixtieth streets of New York City, there had been very little in the way of food luxuries, and not a great deal of the necessities.

Their life had held a little more of ease and comfort when they lived in a more fashionable quarter, but with the loss of their father's theatrical engagement, and the long period of waiting for another, their savings had been exhausted and they had had recourse to the pawn shop, in addition to letting as many bills as possible go unpaid until fortune smiled again.

Hosmer DeVere, who was a middle-aged, rather corpulent and exceedingly kind and cultured gentleman, was the father of the two girls. Their mother had been dead about seven years, a cold caught in playing on a draughty stage developing into pneumonia, from which she never rallied.

Ruth and Alice came of a theatrical family—at least, on their father's side—for his father and grandfather before him had enviable histrionic reputations. Mrs. DeVere had been a vivacious country maid—or, rather, a maid in a small town that was classed as being on the "country" circuit by the company playing it. Mr. DeVere, then blossoming into a leading man, was in the troupe, and became acquainted with his future wife through the medium of the theater. She had sought an interview with the manager, seeking a chance to "get on the boards," and Mr. DeVere admired her greatly.

Their married life was much happier than the usual theatrical union, and under the guidance and instruction of her husband Mrs. DeVere had become one of the leading juvenile players. Both her husband and herself were fond of home life, and they had looked forward to the day when they could retire and shut themselves away from the public with their two little daughters.

But fortunes are seldom made on the stage—not half as often as is imagined—and the time seemed farther and farther off. Then came Mrs. DeVere's illness and death, and for a time a broken-hearted man withdrew himself from the world to devote his life to his daughters.

But the call of the stage was imperative, not so much from choice as necessity, for Mr. DeVere could do little to advantage save act, and in this alone could he make a living. So he had returned to the "boards," filling various engagements with satisfaction, and taking his daughters about with him.

Rather strange to say, up to the present, though literally saturated with the romance and hard work of the footlights, neither Ruth nor Alice had shown any desire to go on the stage. Or, if they had it, they had not spoken of it. And their father was glad.

Mr. DeVere was a clever character actor, and had created a number of parts that had won favor. He inclined to whimsical comedy rôles, rather than to romantic drama, and several of his old men studies are remembered on Broadway to this day. He had acted in Shakespeare, but he had none of that burning desire, with which many actors are credited, to play Hamlet. Mr. DeVere was satisfied to play the legitimate in his best manner, to look after his daughters, and to trust that in time he might lay by enough for himself, and see them happily married.

But the laying-aside process had been seriously interrupted several times by lack of engagements, so that the little stock of savings dwindled away.

Then came a panicky year. Many theaters were closed, and more actors "walked the Rialto" looking for engagements than ever before. Mr. DeVere was among them, and he even accepted a part in a vaudeville sketch to eke out a scanty livelihood.

Good times came again, but did not last, and finally it looked to the actor as though he were doomed to become a "hack," or to linger along in some stock company. He was willing to do this, though, for the sake of the girls.

A rather longer period of inactivity than usual made a decided change in the DeVere fortunes, if one can call a struggle against poverty "fortunes." They had to leave their pleasant apartment and take one more humble. Some of their choice possessions, too, went to the sign of the three golden balls; but, with all this, it was hard work to set even their scanty table. And the bills!

Ruth wept in secret over them, being the house-keeper. And, of late, some of the tradesmen were not as patient and kind as they had been at first. Some even sent professional collectors, who used all their various wiles to humiliate their debtors.

But now a ray of light seemed to shine through the gloom, and a tentative promise from one theatrical manager had become a reality. Mr. DeVere had telephoned that the contract was signed, and that he would have a leading part at last, after many weeks of idleness.

"What is the play?" asked Alice of her sister, when they had decided on what they might safely get from the delicatessen store. "Did dad say?"

"Yes. It's 'A Matter of Friendship.' One of those new society dramas."

"Oh, I do hope he gets us tickets!"

"We will need some dresses before we can use tickets," sighed Ruth. "Positively I wouldn't go anywhere but in the gallery now."

"No, we wouldn't exactly shine in a box," agreed Alice.

"Hark!" cautioned her sister. "There's someone in the hall now. I heard a step——"

There came a knock on the door, and in spite of themselves both girls started nervously.

"That isn't his rap!" whispered Alice.

"No. Ask who it is," suggested Ruth. Somehow, she looked again to the younger Alice now.

"Who—who is it?" faltered the latter. "Maybe it's one of those horrid collectors," she went on, in her sister's ear. "I wish I'd kept quiet."

But the voice that answered reassured them.

"Are you there, Miss DeVere? This is Russ Dalwood. I want to apologize for that row outside your door a few minutes ago. It was an accident. I'm sorry. May I come in?"

To be continued ...