en-fr  Laura Lee Hope. The Moving Picture Girls. Chapter 2. Medium
Laura Lee Hope Les filles font du cinéma Chapitre 2

Russ Dallwood présente ses excuses.

La porte d'entrée se referma avec un claquement sec — tellement bien refermée qu'Alice s'était follement ruée sur elle et avait tourné la clef dans la serrure. Puis elle prit place à côté de sa sœur et glissa un bras autour de sa taille.

— Il...il ne viendra plus, murmura Alice. — Je l'ai aperçu descendant les escaliers

— Qui...qui était-ce ? hésita Ruth. Elle était blanche comme un linge.

— Je ne sais pas, répondit Alice. — Je ne crois pas qu'il voulait entrer ici. Ce n'était... ce n'était qu'un accident. Mais la porte est fermée à clef maintenant. Peut-être que c'était un huissier... comme ces hommes horribles qui sont venus nous voir ces derniers temps. Les Dalwood sont peut-être à court d'argent, eux aussi.

— Je ne le pense pas, Alice. Russ se fait une bonne paie au cinéma. Oh, es-tu sûre que la porte est fermée à clef ?

— Affirmatif. Ne t'inquiète pas.

— Descendons l'escalier jusqu'à l'appartement de Mme Reilley. Elle a un téléphone, nous pourrons appeler la police, suggéra l'aînée dans un murmure rauque, ses yeux ne quittant pas la porte du vestibule qui avait été ouverte si cavalièrement.

— Tu es folle ! répliqua Alice. Il n'y a plus de danger maintenant. Cet homme est parti. Je te dis que je l'ai vu s'engouffrer dans l'escalier. Russ l'a renvoyé à ses affaires, c'est bon... peu importe de quelles affaires il s'agit.

— Oh, c'est terrible de vivre ainsi ! se lamenta Ruth. Avec... avec des bagarres qui se déroulent dans les couloirs. Si notre pauvre mère était encore de ce monde... — Elle ne serait pas le moins du monde effrayée, si j'en crois ce que tu m'en as dit. insista fermement Alice. Et moi non plus, je n'ai absolument pas peur. Mais, Russ est juste de l'autre côté du couloir, et ce n'est que l'autre jour que tu as dit à quel point il était fort et viril. As-tu oublié ?

— Non, répondit Ruth d'une petite voix, et le sang lui monta de nouveau aux joues.

— Alors ne sois pas stupide. Je ne vais pas descendre et demander à Mme Reilley d'appeler la police. Ça causerait de l'excitation en effet. Je ne crois pas que quelqu'un d'autre ait entendu l'agitation, et encore notre porte ne s'est ouverte que par accident.

— Oh, alors, peut-être que tout se passera bien, souscrit l'ainée qui, dans cette situation d'urgence, semblait s'appuyer sur sa petite sœur. Peut-être était-ce parce qu'Alice était très joyeuse, voire impulsive par moments, faisant fi du danger car elle ignorait exactement ce que c'était — ou ce que cela voulait dire. Cela dit, Ruth considérait qu'elle devait jouer le rôle de mère auprès de sa jeune sœur.

— Es-tu certaine que la porte est fermée ? demanda-t-elle encore.

— Certaine. Regarde, je vais mettre la chaîne, et même un policier ne pourrait pas entrer. Mais, vraiment, Ruth, je n'irai pas chez Mme Reilley si j'étais toi. Elle le dira à tout le monde, et je crois qu'on n'a pas besoin de ça. Tout est fini, et les gens d'en-bas ou d'en-haut semblent n'avoir rien entendu.

— Oh, je voudrais que papa rentre à la maison !

— Moi aussi, pour le coup. C'est plus prudent. Qu'a-t-il dit, demanda Alice, quand tu es descendue chez Mme Reilley pour lui parler au téléphone ? Car cette voisine avait appelé une des jeunes filles quand elle avait appris, au téléphone, que M. DeVere voulait les entretenir de sa bonne fortune.

— Il n'a pas eu le temps de dire grand chose, répondit Ruth. Il s'est juste éclipsé une minute ou deux de sa réunion pour dire qu'il avait un engagement très prometteur.

— Et il n'a pas dit quand il serait de retour ?

— Non, sauf que ce serait aussitôt que possible.

— Bon, je suppose qu'il sera là dès qu'il pourra. Voyons ce que nous pouvons faire pour le déjeuner. Nous allons peut-être devoir encore recourir au traiteur. Je veux que papa ait quelque chose de bon quand il rentrera à la maison avec ses bonnes nouvelles.

— Moi aussi, renchérit Ruth. J'ai bien peur que notre glacière ne contienne guère de rafraîchissements pour un banquet improvisé, et je ne vais certainement pas sortir après... après ce qui s'est passé. Du moins, pas tout de suite !

— Peuh, je n'ai pas peur ! s'esclaffa Alice, recouvrant ses esprits. — La glacière... je m'en occupe ! annonça-t-elle gaiement en valsant.

Les filles trouvèrent assez peu pour les satisfaire, et finalement, il fallut mener un raid dans la boutique du traiteur la plus proche pour faire « banqueter » leur père.

En fait, depuis que la famille DeVere était venue s'établir dans l'immeuble résidentiel Fenmore, dans la 60e rue ouest de New York, il y avait eu très peu de produits alimentaires de luxe, et pas beaucoup non plus de denrées de base..

Leur vie avait connu un peu plus d'aisance et de confort quand ils vivaient dans un quartier plus chic, mais avec la perte du contrat de leur père au théâtre puis la longue attente d'un nouveau, leurs économies avaient fondu et ils avaient eu recours au prêteur sur gages, tout en laissant le plus possible de factures impayées jusqu'à ce que la fortune leur sourie à nouveau.

Hosmer DeVere, qui était un homme d'âge moyen, plutôt corpulent et extrêmement gentil et cultivé, était le père des deux filles. Leur mère était morte depuis environ sept ans : un rhume attrapé en jouant sur une scène remplie de courants d'air qui s'était transformé en pneumonie dont elle ne s'était pas remise.

Ruth et Alice venaient d'une famille de la scène — du moins, du côté de leur père, car son propre père et son grand-père avaient, avant lui, eu une enviable renommée dans le monde du théâtre. Mme DeVere avait été une jeune fille pleine de vivacité — ou plutôt une jeune fille qui vivait dans une petite ville, où une représentation avait été donnée par la compagnie qui effectuait sa tournée « à la campagne ». M. DeVere, s'épanouissant alors en tant que premier rôle, appartenait à la troupe et il fit connaissance avec sa future épouse par l'intermédiaire du théâtre. Elle avait demandé une entrevue avec le directeur, à la recherche d'une opportunité de « monter sur les planches », et M. DeVere s'était beaucoup extasié sur elle.

Leur vie de couple fut beaucoup plus heureuse que ne l'est d'habitude une union entre comédiens, et sous la direction et l'instruction de son mari, Mme DeVere était devenue l'une des jeunes premières éminentes. Son mari et elle-même aimaient la vie de famille, et ils attendaient avec impatience le jour où ils pourraient se retirer et s'isoler du public avec leurs deux petites filles.

Mais on fait rarement fortune sur scène, moitié moins souvent qu'on l'imagine — et encore — et le temps de se retirer paraissait s'éloigner de plus en plus. Puis vint la maladie et la mort de Mme DeVere, et, pendant un temps, un homme au cœur brisé qui se retira du monde pour consacrer sa vie à ses filles.

Mais l'appel des planches se fit impératif, non pas tant par choix que par nécessité, car M. DeVere ne pouvait guère faire mieux que l'acteur : c'était, pour lui, le seul moyen de gagner sa vie. Il était donc retourné sur les « planches », remplissant avec satisfaction divers engagements tout en emmenant ses filles avec lui.

Plutôt étrange à dire, jusqu'à présent, bien que littéralement immergées dans les idylles romantiques et le travail acharné qu'exigent les feux de la rampe, ni Ruth ni Alice n'avaient manifesté le désir de monter sur scène. Ou, si elles en avaient eu l'idée, elles n'en avaient pas parlé. Et leur père était content.

M. DeVere était un brillant acteur de genre et il avait créé un certain nombre de pièces qui avaient rencontré la faveur du public. Il avait un penchant pour interpréter les comédies fantaisistes, plutôt que pour les drames romantiques, et, aujourd'hui encore, à Broadway, on se souvient de plusieurs de ses compositions de vieillards. Il avait joué dans Shakespeare, mais il n'avait rien de cet ardent désir, dont on crédite beaucoup d'acteurs, de jouer Hamlet. M. DeVere se contentait de jouer le vrai théâtre de la meilleure manière qu'il pût, de s'occuper de ses filles, et de se faire à l'idée que, avec le temps, il pourrait raisonnablement mettre de l'argent de côté et les voir faire un beau mariage.

Mais son projet de mettre ses activités de côté avait été sérieusement mis à mal à plusieurs reprises par manque d'engagements, de sorte que ses petites économies avaient fondu.

Puis survint une épouvantable année. On ferma de nombreux théâtres, et beaucoup d'acteurs « assiégèrent le Rialto » espérant plus que jamais signer un contrat. Monsieur DeVere était parmi eux, et il aurait même accepté un rôle dans un vaudeville pour parvenir à vivoter petitement.

Des temps meilleurs revinrent mais ne durèrent pas, et finalement il sembla devenir un acteur condamné à jouer des rôles minables ou à traîner dans une quelconque troupe à demeure. Cependant, il était prêt à le faire, pour le bien de ses filles.

Une période d'inactivité plus longue que d'habitude amena un changement décisif dans la destinée des DeVere, si l'on peut appeler « destinée » la lutte contre la pauvreté. Ils durent quitter leur agréable appartement pour prendre quelque chose de plus modeste. Certains de leurs beaux objets finirent au mont-de piété, mais malgré cela, c'était compliqué de garnir leur modeste table. Et les factures !

Elles faisaient pleurer Ruth en cachette, c'est elle qui gérait le ménage. Et dernièrement, certains des commerçants se montrèrent moins patients et aimables que par le passé. Certains leur avaient même envoyé des chasseurs de dettes qui utilisaient mille ruses pour humilier les débiteurs.

Mais maintenant un rai de lumière semblait briller à travers l'obscurité, et la vague promesse d'un directeur de théâtre était devenue réalité. M. DeVere avait téléphoné pour annoncer que le contrat était signé, et qu'il aurait enfin un rôle important, après plusieurs semaines d'inactivité.

— Quel est le nom de la pièce ? demanda Alice à sa sœur, après avoir décidé de ce qu'elles seraient en mesure d'obtenir du traiteur. Papa l'a-t-il dit ?

— Oui. C'est « Une histoire d'amitié ». Un de ces nouveaux drames de la société.

— Oh, j'espère qu'il pourra nous avoir des billets !

— Il va falloir d'abord penser aux nouvelles robes avant de penser aux billets, soupira Ruth. — Je suis absolument certaine que je ne voudrais pas aller ailleurs qu'au poulailler en ce moment.

— En effet, on ne nous verra pas dans une loge, appuya Alice.

— Écoute ! alerta sa sœur. il y a quelqu'un dans le corridor en ce moment. J'ai entendu un pas... On frappa à la porte et, malgré elles, les deux filles, les nerfs à vif, sursautèrent.

— Il ne frappe pas comme ça ! chuchota Alice.

— Non. Demande qui c'est, suggéra Ruth. Elle regarda une nouvelle fois la jeune Alice d'une manière bizarre.

— Qui... qui est-ce ? hésita cette dernière. Peut-être que c'est un de ces horribles chasseurs de dettes, continua-t-elle à l'oreille de sa sœur. — J'aurais mieux fait de me taire.

Mais la voix qui répondit les rassura.

— Vous êtes là, Mlle DeVere ? C'est Russ Dalwood. Je voudrais m'excuser pour cette dispute devant votre porte il y a quelques minutes. C'était un accident. Je suis désolé. Puis-je entrer ?

À suivre...
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 6
Then she gained a place by her sister's side, and slipped an arm about her waist.
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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 16
Maybe it was some collector—like those horrid men who have been to see us lately.
2 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months, 1 week ago
unit 17
The Dalwoods may be short of money, too."
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months, 1 week ago
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
Russ sent him about his business, all right—whatever his business was."
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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 39
"No," answered Ruth, in a low voice, and again the blush suffused her cheeks.
2 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months, 1 week ago
unit 40
"Then don't be a silly.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months, 1 week ago
unit 41
I'm not going down and ask Mrs. Reilley to 'phone for the police.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months, 1 week ago
unit 42
That would cause excitement indeed.
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unit 46
Yet even now Ruth felt that she must play the part of mother to her younger sister.
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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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See, I'll slip on the chain, and then it would tax even a policeman to get in.
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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 53
It's all over, and those below, or above us, seem to have heard nothing of it."
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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.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months, 1 week ago
unit 57
What did he say," asked Alice, "when you went down to Mrs. Reilley's telephone to talk to him?"
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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?"
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months, 1 week ago
unit 62
"No, only that it would be as soon as possible."
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months, 1 week ago
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.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months, 1 week ago
unit 65
We may have to resort to the delicatessen again.
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unit 66
I do want father to have something nice when he comes home with his good news."
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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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"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 107
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!"
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
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."
3 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
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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faltered the latter.
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unit 132
"Maybe it's one of those horrid collectors," she went on, in her sister's ear.
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unit 133
"I wish I'd kept quiet."
2 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 134
But the voice that answered reassured them.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 135
"Are you there, Miss DeVere?
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unit 136
This is Russ Dalwood.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 137
I want to apologize for that row outside your door a few minutes ago.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 138
It was an accident.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 139
I'm sorry.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 140
May I come in?"
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unit 141
To be continued ...
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Oplusse • 13960  commented on  unit 16  5 months, 1 week ago
Oplusse • 13960  translated  unit 3  5 months, 1 week ago

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 ...