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gedian, and was announcing In sepul
-V'Hark, ye, I have explored; the
only house in sight has four rooms
and eight children. There is but one
whole ham in the settlement."
'"There's two now," observed Miss
Gloriana Montmofenci, leading lady,
"No train south, perhaps, for days.
Why .did we cross the country in the
hopes of getting to the city by a short
cut?" demanded the tragedian, dis
mally..' "Because the constable was after
our precious, traps," replied a portly
boy-faced companion, fussy and 'im
portant acting and evidently the man
ager. One by one RoberCpicked out the
various members of a dramatic com
pany, and he soon knew their his
tory. "It's horrid!" he heard a tall, -willowy,
affected lady observe, whom he;
'later knew to be "the old woman" of
the company. "Whatare we ever go-;
ing to do -here to-eat and sleep?"
"Zounds i but the prospect is a
bleak one," replied the manager
, bluntly. "Cold, little one?"
"Little one" was a sweet, patient-,
faced girl, who seemed ever shadow
ed by the lofty superiority of the lead
ing lady. Her winsome.ways attract-j
ed Robert She did not'look as though
used to the rigors of the checkered
career common to her older compan
ions. Robert was interested in studying
. the que'er group of humanity for
some time. He" pretty -well compre-'
bended their forlorn, stranded situa
tion, and felt.sincerely sorry for them.
Then a. sleigh came plowing through5
the drifts, and he was driven to
It was. strange how things came1
about, but it seemed that in can-
vassihg the district for food and a
harborageMr. Harold Montague.-the'
tragedian, applied at Hampton Hall.'
IUJ an lesyeuLB ivm iicsuaiu wu uus-.
pjtaf. Especially did he have a sneak
ing fondness for actors. To the delight-of
the stranded troupe the. doors
of the' great comfortable hall were
thrown open to them, baggage, and
all, and that night the snowstorm so
increased that it looked as though
they were, banked in for a' week tp
As said, Uncle Gilbert was in one
of his dark moods. He kept pretty
close to Tiis own apartments. Myra,,
however, was delighted to hustle
aboutand make her "children of tap
soul" guests happy. She came to Tier
lover -the next morning with eyes
dancing, and her pretty face all aflush
with eager excitement.
"Oh, Robert!" sb.e cried, "I have
such a brilliant-Idea listen;"
"All day long,'' -declared Robert
with ardor, ''with those, pretty lips of
yours, so close -:to' my 'Willing ear.
Zounds! as our tragedian friend, ob
serves," he added'splendid!"
Whatever was "splenclJ," it was
kept a closely guarded secret from
Uncle Gilbert until the next evening.
Then, wondering what, capricious
fancy Myra was exploiting how, he
was led to the roomy -billiarfl room
of the hall. v
It was all ablaze with light. At one
end vas a stage. Before it was a
string .orchestra, of our pieces. A
neatly written program was furnish
ed Uncle Gilbert. It read: "First pro
duction of the great drama of 'A Mod
ern Lear,' by Gilbert Tresham, Esq.,"
and the cast, with real actors, fol
lowed. . If ever there was a man suffused, in
a glow of perfect happiness, it was
the astonished and delighted author.
The actors, in. warm-hearted grati
tude for their royal, entertainment,
did their best. On short .notice they
had learned their parts. Montague
was in his element, Miss Montmor
enci crushingly grand, and the "little
one," Gladys Mercer, with a sweet,
hnodest but" striking part, played the
same so pauieuuaiiy max even uie
author was melted to tears. . - :
"Who could help feel and act those