SA--AkU -J, J oJJMF
'& PORTIA'S SURPRISE VISIT
By Kate Munroe.
As the lights went down a hush of
expectancy settledovejr the audience
at lie theater. Mostbf- the faces
were alight with.anticipatiop, but the
old man and women in the back seats
of the first balcony looked very grave.
To -their sample minds there could
have been "nothing more degrading.
The stage was the acme of all that
was vilest in the world. They had
come up to town, without announcing
their intention, and were now await
ing the rising of the curtain upon the
first act of "The Merchant of Venice."
Portia does not appear at the be
ginning of that play. And before she
had come on the stage the old people
were staring in wonder at the mag
nificence of the setting. More than
that, in place of the immortality
which they had expected to find in
culcated, they found a story, so grip
ping, so pathetic, and -withal so true
that they were spellbound.
But when Portia appeared they
leaned forward with aTevival of their
old terror. Portia was Lucy! Miss
Margaret Lake, as she was billed. It
was true, then!
The old woman pressed her hus
band's hand again.
"Will, did you see?" she said in
He nodded. But the look on his
face was not so sombre and depressed
as his wife had expected. '
''Mary!" he exclaimed, turning
round in his seat, "do you know they
are applauding her! Lucy!"
There was almost an expression of
pride,-but there was also bewilder
ment. His Lucy! Their little girl!
How could this be she!
"Sh-sh!" said those about them
warningly, as the old couple whis
So the play -went on toward its dra
matic finale. And now William Mul
lins and his wife were following the
developments with bated breath. And
their life-long horror of the stage was
forgotten. And when the great trial
scene came on, and Shylock sharpen
ed his knife, and things looked bad
for his enemy, tears came into their
'Ole'll get him, Mary!" whispered
her husband. A
"ShrsbJ" rang out the angry whis
pers; and he subsided, into Jus, seatj
But I Guess We Don't Mind Now As
Much As We Did.
They were country people and they
"had never been to a theater before.
"Please God, it isn't true, Mary!"
'said the old man.
HIs wife pressed his handgently.
She Jmew how deeply he felt upon the
"it was, for those simple minds, a
'tragic situation. Their daughter Lucy
had left the farm three years before.
She had written home often, detail-
"ing the accounts of her life as a ste
nographer in a large business house.
And some meddlesome busybody had
told the old people, that she was ac-
"fciaDyi an. actressi
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