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"Sakes o' goodness! To think of my granddaughter bein' the leading lady in 'The Lost Diamonds'-a playactress on a stage! Why when I was your age," always when Grandma talked of the old days, or when she was emotionally stirred, the Scotch brogue grew in her speech, "when I was a girl, it wad hae been a grievous sin to see a play. I mind. when I was a wee bit lassie m' mither had to gang past the front of a play: house. She wint scuttlin' past, wi' her head turned and her nose in the air—but I sneakit a bit look, for the ladies in pink tights lookit ower grand to me. Eh, but wasna' I sinfu' then? M' mither gie me a yank and a jerk, an m' fayther that nicht gie me a lesson wi' the strop. But I wouldna' be surprised if m' fayther wint to see for himsel' if it was a' sae sinfu' as m' mither said."

Janet laughed.

"But of course being a Mutual play, it's not as if it was real," added Grandma.

"It is presented in a real theater. anyway, Granny dear, and maybe oh, you'll just have to guess the news. It's just too wonderful to be true!" "M-m-m, you and Harvey hae moved the date a bit sooner."

Grandma broke more bread into her bowl, speaking as if this were the only possible thing which could be so wonderful.

"You dear old tease, there isn't any date, and—”

"Eh, weel, then, you're powerfu' “Eh, slow. Gin I was a lassie haen a fine lad like Harvey comin' one day after the other, it wad nae fau't o' mine if I didn'a lead him wi' oats to the halter!"

"But Grandma, I don't want to marry Harvey! Of course I think he's the best sort of a pal, and I like him more than any one else, but—. Well, today, when I was taking dic

tation, who should walk into the of fice, but―J. Reginald Forrest!"

"And who might he be that you have to gasp his name as if the milk was burning your tongue?"

"Why Grandma! But of course the stock company that comes to the you never go to the shows. He has Crown every three weeks. They tour this whole country. He's the lead and everybody's crazy about him. Well, Mr. Williams introduced me and told him about tonight. I was so fussed I didn't know what to say. And Grandma, he promised to come to the play!"

"Well it's to be hoped he pays his ticket that'll help some. But goodness help us if you take it that excited about everyone that comes."

"Just wait-you haven't heard the best news yet. He said he was looking for an ingenue for his company, some one to do young girl parts you know-and after he'd seen me act he'd maybe give it to me!"

Her Jenny-an actress! And Harvey? Ever since he had come to her for cookies and peppermints as his little brother Billy did now, she had hoped that someday she would see him settled happily with Jenny, for she loved them both as her own. And


"Ye wouldn'a take it, surely, Janet?" she asked anxiously.

"Wouldn't I! Mr. Forrest says there are just lots of opportunities for someone with a little experience to get into the movies. Then I could work up, and we wouldn't have to save or scrimp any more and-honestly, Granny dear, wouldn't it be wonderful?"

Wonderful! Tears came to Grandma's eyes, but she fought them back. Wonderful!

"Lassie," she pleaded, "you're thinkin' o' the fame an' the wealth, an' the fine clothes-but if you had

to gie love as the price, would ye no be payin' too dear for your whistle?"

Jenny laughed and patted her hand.

"It's all just an áir-castle anyway, Grandma, because very likely Mr. Forrest will not even want me in his company. So we won't worry yet, will we? 'Don't cross bridges till you come to them,' you know!"

Grandma smiled bravely. Her own disappointment must not spoil this night of triumph for Janet.

"Ah weel," she said, "it wouldna' do ony harm to pull the brake 'afore the front wheels gang over the precipice."

Grandma helped Jenny to collect all her things-costumes, make-up, personal properties-in a flutter of excitement to get her off in time for final instructions and last minute preparations.

"Now be ready by eight, and Harvey will call for you with his sleigh," and Jenny was off, half running through the heavy snow.

"I know you'll be just splendid!" called Grandma. She stood in the doorway, her eyes following the girl wistfully. "Eh, but she's a bonny lass! And Harvey's a fine lad! But what can a body do wi' this modern generation? Eh me!" And she lifted a corner of her apron to wipe her eyes.

By eight, when a jingle of bells outside announced Harvey, Grandma had been waiting ten minutes fully dressed in bonnet, shawl, and overshoes.

Harvey stamped the snow from his boots and came eagerly to stretch his hands to the fire.

"Jolly cold since it cleared!" His big, hearty voice filled the room and in Grandma's cheek a wrinkle deepened—a dimple grown old.

"Eh, but it's recht grand to hae a mon aboot! The women do a' vera' weel in their way, but I canna' get ower m' fondness for the laddies!"

She had a piece of cake already cut, and insisted that he stop long enough to eat it.

Harvey grinned at her flattery, a lopsided grin robbed of its full development by a hunk of cake in one cheek.

Grandma added slyly, "They're sich puir, helpless critters, it does gie a body a might o' pleasure takin' care of 'em.”

"Now, Granny!" Harvey shook his finger at her. "Say-want to see something? Sure Jenny's gone?"

Grandma nodded her answer to both questions, while Harvey unfastened his storm coat and took from his vest pocket a tiny gray velvet box. As he snapped it open his fingers shook. His whole face beamed with sheer happiness. He blushed scarlet.


"For her birthday. A surprise. you think she'd like a man about to take care of?"

Grandma touched the diamond, beautiful in its slender platinum setting. Joy and hope surged again into her heart. Could Jenny refuse him now? Surely not

"Laddie, dear, I'm sae glad-sae unco happy!"

She patted his arm and tried to say more, but could only smile at him through tears.

Then hastily wiping her eyes"Ould folk do be sich silly ould fools! But laddie-dinna' wait till her birthday! I canna' tell you why, but gie it her tonight, Harvey lad, will you?"

Grandma's white face was so eager, so wistful, that Harvey smiled reassuringly and promised. She was trembling when he lifted her into the sleigh, and bright pink spots burned

on her cheeks. How would it all end?

"Harvey, lad," ventured Grandma presently, "how should you like to be married to a-a movie actress?" Harvey laughed.

suits me about right. But why-oh!" he said suddenly, "has Jenny a notion she'll be an actress now?"

"Oh, no," protested Grandma hastily, "I was just wondering." Maryville's only theater was spe

"I should say not! I guess Jenny cially decorated this evening with the

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bunting left over from the Fourth of July celebration, but it had been snowed on during the day, so that now it hung limp, and the stars were lavender and the stripes ran zigzag. This, however did not detract from the effect for Grandma.

She had been in the theater only a few times before, so now she noticed the building with fresh interest. The new management had repainted it, she observed. The walls were now a brilliant red, with gold pillars and filigree work like the superstructure of a wedding cake. And at intervals there were remarkably life-like murals-painted right on the walls indeed of deer standing in pools among the mountains. And the curtain had a pretty boating scene, she thought, though she wondered about the notices of Petersons' Horseshoeing Establishment and Sim's Hay Grain and General Merchandise which appeared on the land


Harvey led her to the box at the right of the stage-close enough so that she would not miss a word, even if she were a bit hard of hearing, which of course she wasn't, though people had a habit of speak ing softer these days than they did when she was young. There Harvey left her, for he was to help behind the scenes in the shifting of wings and drops.

"I sure am sorry you canna' see Jenny act frae the front," said Grandma. "I'm afraid you'll miss half the effect. But I'll tell you all aboot it," she promised.

When she was alone, she watched the people coming in, and nodded proudly to acquaintances. She felt that they must all be envying her. But of course they couldn't all have granddaughters as talented as Jenny to be in plays.

Should she take off her hat? She thought it best to do so, and patted

down her hair. Then she noticed that most of the ladies in the audience were keeping theirs on, so she hastily replaced hers, hoping that none had noticed her departure from what was done. Perhaps if they did see, they would only think she wanted to smooth her hair.

Eight-thirty came, but the curtain did not rise. The audience grew impatient and applauded. Grandma clapped too. Nothing happened for a long time, though there was clapping occasionally in which Grandma joined. She would not be negligent in showing honor to the actors. But she wondered what dreadful thing could have happened to delay the performance. She was just on the point of going behind the scenes to find out when the orchestra crawled from under the stage and took its place in the pit. She had hoped that the wonderful pipe organ would be played, for she had heard that it could be made to sing like a person, to ring like a bell, and to whistle when a train was shown on the screen. But perhaps it was out of order this evening.

Finally, after a prolonged torrent of applause, the curtain jerked up— three quarters of an hour late. Grandma forgot J. Reginald Forrest, and sat spellbound all through the act. She wept a little when Janet's cruel stepmother turned her out and accused her of having stolen the diamonds, and she felt very indignant at the craven villain who had the jewels all the time. At the end she clapped with the rest, until the audience had enjoyed three curtain calls and she was troubled for fear Janet would not have time to change her costume before the next act if she had to bow much more.

Near the end of the second act a man entered the box and sat beside her. Grandma scarcely noticed him, for the heroine was now in desperate

straits, being hungry and shabby and friendless, though the hero was vain. ly seeking her. Grandma gave little gasps, and applauded earnestly at the end.

"Isn't she wonderful? Isn't she that grand?" Grandma exclaimed to the man as the curtain fell.

"M-m. Not bad for a beginner. Know the young lady?"

"Know her? Why she's my granddaughter!"

Grandma beamed.


"Of course her voice her voice carry," he continued, pursing his lips, "and her gestures are artificial as the deuce, but with coaching she might do minor parts and get by with an audience like this."

"I don't understand what you what you mean," said Grandma with just a hint of coldness in her voice. How unappreciative he was!

Now that the lights were up for intermission, she took a good look at this strange person. He seemed a man of thirty-five or forty, tall, but slouching in his chair so that his head rested against the back. His features were striking, even handsome on first glance, but as Grandma looked closer she noticed that his expression was cynical, and his eyes, bloodshot and puffy, were constantly shifting. As he glanced at this little old lady, a contemptuous smile, supremely egotistical, flickered over his lips. His clothing, too youthful in cut and color, was redolent with the perfume-oh, contrast!-of violets.

Throughout the entire third act he made witty comments, until Grandma was so out of patience with him that she almost lost the effect of the final reconciliation and vindication in the hero's arms. She had advised Jenny that it would be best not to kiss him really, but just to give a pretense so that the town people would have nothing to gossip about,

and Harvey would have no reason to be jealous. But now, just at the important moment, the unpleasant man attracted her attention with a useless remark and she did not see whether Jenny followed her advice or not.

"If you are her grandmother," he was saying, "Perhaps you'll give her this for me. Thank you." He put into her hand a little square of white paper, then added, as he was leaving the box, "The youngster has talent.

Grandma looked at the paper in astonishment. What could this man want with her Jenny? When the lights were turned on and people began the stir of leaving, and finding coats, and waking up the children and dressing them for the cold outside, Grandma examined the paper. Printed on it was Reginald Forrest in fancy letters, and on the back was scrawled: "You'll do. If you want the job come to the hotel tomorrow at three."

After reading it, Grandma was ashamed. It really wasn't any of her business, and she had been as wicked as their mail-man who always read the post cards on his way down the


And still-now that she had read it-how would it be to tear it up immediately and say nothing about it? "I'll dae it!"

But just then Jenny and Harvey came for her, and she slipped it into her bag. All the way home she thought of it, and her decision wavered.

"Wi' a livin' lie like that on m' conscience, could I be partakin' of the sacrament every Sunday wi' a pure heart?" But could a lie be called a lie, if a body merely said nothing? And anyway wouldn't the happiness of her "twa bairnies" be worth a wee bit sin?

"Eh, but-" she told herself, "it was the Deil himsel' in the council in Heaven was for forcin' us all in

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