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Perrysburg journal. (Perrysburg, Wood Co., O. [Ohio]) 186?-1965, September 18, 1919, Image 2

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Persistent link: https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn87076843/1919-09-18/ed-1/seq-2/

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A Story of Today
"Then your Ideas are of the
French?" He put It to her with an ob
ject Bhe could not divine, though she
answered as quickly.
"They are entirely English both In
my preferences and my friendships,"
wis her re?!y, nor could she have
told anyone why she put this affront
upon lil in.
"She's Kolng to make friends
enough out yonder In the Fall," said
Is-nid, whose quick ear caught the
(one of their conversation. "I shall
lal'o this lompany oer In September
If we piny to any money this side.
Mis-h Homney goes with me, and I
promise her a good time nny way.
America's the country for her talent.
You've too many played-out actors
over here. Most of them think them
selves beautiful, and that's why their
theatres close up."
He laughed a Mattering tribute to
his own cleverness, as much as to say
"My theatres neer close up." Count
Odin on his part smiled n little dryly
as though he might jet have some
thing to say to the proposed arrange
ment. "Are you looking forward to the
Journey, Miss Romney?" he asked Et
ta In n low voice.
"I am not thinking at all about It,"
she said very truthfuly.
"Then perhaps you are looking
backward," he suggested, but in such
a low tone that even Izard did not
hear him.
When Etta turned her startled eyes
upon him, he was already addressing
some commonplace remark to his
hostess, while Mr. Charles Izard
amused himself by diligently check
ing the total of the bill.
"I could keep a steam yacht on
what I pay for wine in this hotel," he
remarked Jovially, addressing himself
bo directly to the ladles that even his
good dame protested.
"My dear Charles," she exclaimed,
"you are not suggesting that I have
drunk It?"
"Well, I hope some one has," was
the affable retort. "Let's go and
moke. It's suffocating In here."
Etta had been greatly alarmed by
the Count's remark, though she was
Try far from believing that It could
tear the sinister Interpretation which
tor flrat alarm had put upon It. Thla
fear of discovery had dogged her
steps sine she quitted car home to
embark upon as wild an adventure as
young girl ever set her hand to; but
if discovery came, she reflected, It
weald not be at the bidding of a for
eigner whom she had seen for the flrat
time In her life but a few days ago.
Bach wisdom permitted her quickly to
recover ber composure, and aha plead
ed the lateness of the hour and her
ewn fatigue aa the best of reasons
Jor leaving the hotel.
"I am glad you were pleased," she
said to Izard, holding out her hand
directly they entered the hall. "Of
course it has all been very dreadful
to me and I'm Btlll In a dream about
It The newspapers will tell me the
truth to-morrow, I feel sure of It"
He shook her hand and held It
while he answered ber.
"Don't you go thinking too much
about the newspapers," he said, with
a splendid sense of his own Import
ance. "When Charles Izard says that
a play's got to go, It's going, my dear,
though the great William Shakespeare
himself got out of his grave to write
It down. You've done very well to
night and you'll do better when you
know your way about the stage. Go
home and sleep on that, and let the
critics spread themselves as much as
they please."
As before, when she had first come
to the hotel, Mrs. Izard defied the
warning glances thrown toward her
ay the man of business and repeated
ber honest praise of Etta's perform
ante "It's years since I heard such en
thusiasm In a theatre," she admitted;
"why, Charles was quite beside him
aelf. I do believe you made him cry,
auy dear."
The mere suggestion that the great
nan could shed tears under any cir
cumstances whatever appealed Irre
sistibly to Count Odin's sense of humor.
"Put that in the advertisement and
you shall have all the town at your
theatre. An Impressario's tears! They
should be gathered In cups of jasper
and of gold. But I Imagine that they
will be," he added gayly before wish
ing Etta a last good-night.
"We Khnll meet again," he said to
hor u little way apart. "I am the
true believer In the ncoldent of des
tiny. Lot us Hay au revolr rather than
good-nijiht." -
Etta looked him straight In the eyes
and uaiil, "Good-night."
Two Personalities.
Etta Romney was very early awake
epon the following morning; and not
for the first time since she had come
to London did her environment so
perplex her that some minutes passed
before she could recall the circum
stances which had brought her to that
square room and mado her a stranger
In a house of strangers.
Leaping up with a young girl's
agility, she drew the blind aside and
looked out upon deserted Bedford
Square,' as beautiful In that early
light of morning as Bedford Square
could ever be.
How still It all was! Not a foot
fall anywhere. No milk carts yet to
rattle by and suggest the busy day.
Nothing but a soft sunshine upon the
drawn blinds, a lonely patch of grass
beneath lonely trees, and great gaunt
houses side by side and so close to
gether that each appeared to be el
bowing its neighbor for room In which
to stand upright
Etta returned to her bed and
crouched upon it like a pretty wild
animal, half afraid of the day. A
whole troop of feari and hopes rushed
upon her excited biulu. What bad she
done? Of what madness had she not
been guilty? To day the newspapers
would tell her. If they told her father
also her father whom she believed
to be snug in distant Tuscany what
then, nnd with what consequences to
herself! A dreadful fear of this came
upon her when she thought of It She
hid her eyes from the light and could
hear her own heart beating beneath
the bed-clothes.
She was not Etta now, but knew
herself by another name, the name of
Evelyn, which in this mood of repent
ance became her better, she thought
True, she had been Etta when she
appeared before the people last night,
the wild mad Etta, given to feverish
dreams in her old Derbyshire home
and trying to realize them here amid
the garish scenes of London's drama
tic life. But arrayed In the white
garb of momentary penitence, she
was Evelyn, the good nun's pupil; the
docile gentle Evelyn awaiting the re
demption of her father's promise that
the gates of the world should not be
shut forever upon her youth, but
should open some day to the gal
leries of a young girl's pleasure. It
was the Etta in her which made her
Impatient and unable to await the ap
pointed time; the Etta which broke
out in this mad escapade, ever trem
bling upon the brink of discovery and
fearful In Its possibilities of reproach
and remorse. But the Evelyn reckon
ed up the consequences and .was
afraid of them.
Etta sat up In her bed once more
when she heard the newBboy In the
square. The papers! Was It possible
that they would telf the public all
about last night's performance; that
her name would figure In them; that
she would be praised or blamed ac
cording to the critics' Judgment? The
thought made her heart beat She
had been warned by that great man,
Mr. Charles Izard, not to ujy too
much attention to what 'ut papers
said; but how could she help doing
so? A woman 1b rarely as vain as a
man, but in curiosity she far sur
passes htm. Etta was Just dying of
curiosity to read what the critics said
about her when old Mrs. Wegg, her
landlady, appeared with her morning
tea; and this good dame she implored
to bring up the newspapers at once.
"I can't wait a minute, Mrs. Wegg,"
she said, for, of course, the old lady
knew that she was a "theatrical." "Do
please send Emma up at once it's ab
solute torture."
The excellent Mrs. Wegg waddled
from the room leaving Etta to intoler
able moments of suspense. When the
newspapers came, a very bundle which
she had ordered yesterday, she grab
bed them at hazard, and catching up
one of the morning halfpenny papers
immediately read the disastrous head
line. .".Poor -Play -at the Carlton.? 8o
it was 'failure after all, then!' Her
'iart heat wlldjy; 'she hardly had the.
rournge to proceed.
1'he Old Story of Haddon Hall Again
The Star Which Did Not Fall To
Etta read now without taking her
eyea from the paper. The notice
would be described by Mr. Isard later
In the day as a "streaky one" layers
of praise and layers of blame follow
ing one another as a rare tribute to
the discretion .of the .writer,-' who had
beeij far from sure if the play wonld
he a success or a failure. rn.ejiorUng
InnKiiage, the 'gentleman had "hedged"
at every line, but his praise of Etta
Romney was unstinted.
"Here," he said, "is one of the moat
nntural actresses recently discover
ed upon the English stage. Miss Rom
ney has sincerity, u charming pres
ence, a feeling for this old woild com
edy which it Is Impossible to over
praise. We undertake to say that ex
perience will make of her a great ac
tress. Bhe has flashed upon our hori
zon as one or two others have done to
Instantly win the. favor of the public
and the praise of the 'critic."
Etta put the paper aside and took
up a notice in a very 'different strain.'
This was .from the stately pages of
"The Thunderer;' Herein you had a
dissertation upon Haddon Hall, the
Elizabethan Drama, the Comedle
Francalse, the weather, and the trage
dies of Aeschylus. The wrlter.,thougbt
the play a good specimen of its kind
Ho, too, admitted that In Miss Etta
Romney there was the making of a
great actress;
"But she is not English," ho pro
tested, "we refuse to believe it An
artiste who can recreateitbe atmos
phere of n mediaeval age and win a
verdict of conviction has not learnt
her art In Jermyn Street. We look
for the biographer to help us. Has
the Porte St. Martin nothing to say
to this story? Has Paris no share In
it? We await the answer with some
expectation. Here Is a comedy of
which the Third Act should be mem
orable. But whoever designed the
scene in the chapel is capable do tout
So to the end did this amiable ap
preciation applaud the player and
tolerate the play for her sake. Etta
understood that It must mean much to
her; but sho was too feverishly Im
patient to dwell upon It, and she
turned to the "Daily Shuffler" wish
lng that she had eyes to read all the
papers at once. The "Dally Si .fler"
w.ib very cruel:
"Miss Etta Romney," it said, "Is
worthy of better things. As n whole,
the performance was beneath con
tempt At the same time, we are not
unprepared to hear that an Ignorant
public Is ready to patronize It."
Had Etta known that the author of
this screed wsb a youth of eighteen,
who bad asked for two stalls and been
allotted but one, she might have been
less crestfallen than Bhe was when
her fingers discovered this considera
ble thorn upon her roBe-bUBh. But
she knew little of the drama and less
than nothing of Its criticism; and
there were tears in her eyes when
she put the papers down.
"How cruol," ulio snltl, "how could
people write of otheia like that!" She
did not believe tli.it she could have
the heart to nail more, nnd might not
havo done t-o had not little Dnlcle
Holmes Hung tiFiself Into the room
at that wy moment nnd positively
screamed an expieselon of her rap
ture. TO 111' CONTINUED
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