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The Brass Tacks of Adventure
''O-o-h ! '' the man said, bunging the
word up out of nothing so gradually that,
he hardly seemed to interrupt; "you
needn't bother I'll have to you
know - — go - have - appointment
important —" and (here his speech faded
tato nothing again, gradually, like a Phil
adelphia elevator, and he clawed at a
fussy broWB hat and strolled away.
"Who was that."' Jim asked, staring
"That —" Carrie's head was up; luil
there was never a quaver in her voice- -
"that's Mr. St. Clair. lie's working
With us. We're going out to dinner
that is, we were.
" You were/ And he sacked you.' Oh,
Lord! NOW I got to get you some cats. I
wonder " and he stood looking at her
in a comical, doubtful sort of way
"Can you stand the grub.' Want to
come down to my place."'
"Don . feel that you've got to take me
to dinner, .lini," the girl said. "I'm
used to it -to eat lag alone.
She did not mean it to sound hurt.
The fact was, she had her doubts about
,lim. She had supposed he would grow
up to lie a stocky, hard working village
boy, the kind who would certain.] sing in
the choir, whet her he had any voice or not,
And here he was, six feet high, in clothes
that needed pressing, but still smacked
of I .roadway, with the I'roadway swagger
in his gait and all Broadway's boldness
in his mouth. So she hesitated. But Jim
Hfthered in her arm and almost swung
Her oft' her feet as he went forging south
ward down the Avenue.
Ten minutes later they had gained mys
terious admission to a shabby basement
cafe economically tucked in behind an
"You in the chorus, ('arrie?" Jim
asked when they had found their places
at. a little disordered table.
"Mni-hm," she nodded. "No lines at
And then, as she rolled her gloves to
gether, she gave him a quick glance.
"How did you know 1 was on the
stage.'" she said. "J do hope I don't
"Not a bit. I saw you with that re
hearsal gang — See I
.lim stretched a point there, for she did
look it. Surely not the chorus girl out
right, the sweet-scented garden sort,
baited high-tlavoredly with plumes and
silk stockings and a complexion. Not at
all. But the transplanted, the hothouse
chorus girl, the tailor-made, the good
faced, the defiantly demure; plain-hatted,
plain booted, brown-gloved; a little jaun
ty, a little shabby, and so very pale
— and proud of it — pale like a washed
white board on the sea beach, pale with a
gallant weariness that goes to the heart,
that means trying loyally to keep straight,
and trying terribly, too, to keep nice. So
Carrie looked, and so .lim had sized her
lip when he saw her. And:
" I 'm glad of that," she said, looking
full at. him with her big, red-brown eyes.
"I'd hate to look like an actress, dim."
Her eyes matched her hair, and her
hair had darkened until it was the color
of old red mahogany, and there was a
great deal of if. Her face was still long
and clear-cut and strongly made; her suit
was blue serge — blue serge in that No
vember wind—-and the seams were worn
and shiny. Yet, the old clothes tilted;
and she had that same girlish look of l*>
ing alive all over, eager to be stirring.
.Tim was a draughtsman, he told her —
in an office — architectural work —plans,
elevations —that kind of thing, you
know. Carrie didn't know; but it disap
pointed her to have dim anything that
ended in "man," like " draughtsman."
Foi she had day-dreamed about him and
made him n hero, and now when he burst
up suddenly out of Seventh avenue, big
and gusty and hustling, very much in the
flesh, all that forgotten dream-stuff came
throbbing back to her.
"We've buried the rat already," she
dim, having had no dreams, could
hardly be expected to follow her.
THE SEMI-MONTHLY MAGAZINE SECTION
[Continued from Pugs /»
"Buried the rat. It wa§ a rat, you
know. Hon'l, you remember - the first
thing we did! St. Clair, I mean. He
isn't anybody, and he's out of it."
"Well, what in Mabel Hlav.es--"
dim gave il up, with a drop of his out
spread hands, and Carrie sailed eagerly
on, her lace kindling.
"And you wanted to play circus, do
you remember! And now, I I Do
you know, Jim, I'm afraid DOW I won't
make good on the stage ." '
Nowl" said Jim, losing his pu/./led
look at last. "I getcher there, Steve.
\'o, you won't make good on the stage.
Now I 'II tell you why."
He did not mean to be cruel; be had no
idea of breaking up her dream. That
was why it hurt, so terribly as he leaned
forward on the table and went swiftly on.
" You 're too little," he told her. " \'o
fault of yours, of course; but you arc.
May be you can play one kind of parts;
ingenues and such. But first you've got
to get your ehatiee to play 'em. Been at
the game long?"
"Three — this is my third season."
Carrie was taking it gamely.
"And you're still with the tootsie
toots. You iso, even a man's size woman
don't get many chances. I guess per
haps it takes a big girl to make an im
pression, any way. You've got to play
any game big. Make 'em notice you!
Oive 'em a shiver! That's what goes!
Four-flush may be, but sure do something
or other that just comes booming up big
an' hits 'em! '' -»
"Take that yourself, Jim! Perhaps
you need it! "
Her face was hot and lier eyes were
snapping with anger :is she flung it at
him. dim sat slowly back in his chair.
His steel-gray eyes narrowed and his
hands slid slowly into his trouser pockets.
'' You hit me hard,'' he said quietly.
''Left to the jaw. More of a jolt than
you —By Jove, I .see it! ''
His hand came down on the table with
the words, and the next instant he was
leaning over, a long yellow pencil in his
hand, clearing a partly unsoiled bit of
"See!" and down went half a-dozen
sweeping strokes. "A tower! Big!
That's what they want! Right over the
entrance • —-one big curve — Slam! Bang!
Fine! That stuff — those Spaniards —
say, they eat it! They love it! "
.Jim was shedding excitement around
him in jolts, as a battleship sheds shells.
Carrie leaned over, all eagerness, and
looked at the strange, swinging lines on
'' Yes,'' she said. '' What is it;f "
"A tower, Kid. For a big — well, T
can't tell you just what; it's as good as
a Government job, to go down at Ha —
— well, in one of the Spanish countries.
"Oh! Are you going — "
"I'm after the job. One big thing
like that, and you're made. The plans
go to Senor Whatchermacallim, and he
sails tomorrow; it's an all-night job and
1 'ye got to be going.
Jim stood ap and Carrie stood up with
him, tingling to her fingertips. Tow
er, Spaniards, government, tomorrow's
steamer — neither head nor tail to it.
Only it was all foreign, adventurous; and
.lim, who made it so, had insulted her.
"T)o you moan to leave me, loot*' >&*
asked, bet bead op again.
lit' turned witli a frown, one arm in liis
"Certainly not! Come ahead if you
Tier breast swelled as she took in
breath through her tight-drawn nostrils.
"1 don "t want to." she said, "if yon
talk to me like that."
They were quarreling like old friends
"Oh, I won't. Kid! " said Jim. "T in
Borry. I didn't mean anytliing. Come
So they scudded before the wind to
Seventh avenue and caught a car, a fiery
tempered car, biasing golden lights and
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