PERSONS OF THE DRAMA
Mr. PENNE. . . . . . An Author
Miss LORE. . . . . . An Amanuensis
SCENE--Workroom of Mr. Penne's popular novel factory.
MR. PENNE--Good morning, Miss Lore. Glad to see you so prompt. We should
finish that June installment for the Epoch to-day. Leverett is crowding
me for it. Are you quite ready? We will resume where we left off
yesterday. (Dictates.) "Kate, with a sigh, rose from his knees, and----"
Miss LORE--Excuse me; you mean "rose from her knees," instead of "his,"
MR. PENNE--Er--no--"his," if you please. It is the love scene in the
garden. (Dictates.) "Rose from his knees where, blushing with youth's
bewitching coyness, she had rested for a moment after Cortland had
declared his love. The hour was one of supreme and tender joy. When
Kate--scene that Cortland never--"
Miss LORE--Excuse me; but wouldn't it be more grammatical to say "when
Kate SAW," instead of "seen"?
MR. PENNE--The context will explain. (DICTATES.) "When Kate--scene that
Cortland never forgot--came tripping across the lawn it seemed to him
the fairest sight that earth had ever offered to his gaze."
MR. PENNE (dictates)--"Kate had abandoned herself to the joy of her
new-found love so completely, that no shadow of her former grief was
cast upon it. Cortland, with his arm firmly entwined about her waist,
knew nothing of her sighs--"
MISS LORE--Goodness! If he couldn't tell her size with his arm around--
MR. PENNE (frowning)--"Of her sighs and tears of the previous night."
MR.PENNE (dictates)--"To Cortland the chief charm of this girl was her
look of innocence and unworldiness. Never had nun--"
MISS LORE--How about changing that to "never had any?"
MR. PENNE (emphatically)--"Never had nun in cloistered cell a face more
sweet and pure."
MR. PENNE (dictates)--"But now Kate must hasten back to the house lest
her absence be discovered. After a fond farewell she turned and sped
lightly away. Cortland's gaze followed her. He watched her rise--"
MISS LORE--Excuse me, Mr. Penne; but how could he watch her eyes while
her back was turned toward him?
MR. PENNE (with extreme politeness)--Possibly you would gather my
meaning more intelligently if you would wait for the conclusion of the
sentence. (Dictates.) "Watched her rise as gracefully as a fawn as she
mounted the eastern terrace."
Mr. PENNE (dictates)--"And yet Cortland's position was so far above that
of this rustic maiden that he dreaded to consider the social upheaval
that would ensue should he marry her. In no uncertain tones the
traditional voices of his caste and world cried out loudly to him to let
her go. What should follow----"
MISS LORE (looking up with a start)--I'm sure I can't say, Mr. Penne.
Unless (with a giggle) you would want to add "Gallegher."
Mr.PENNE (coldly)--Pardon me. I was not seeking to impose upon you the
task of a collaborator. Kindly consider the question a part of the text.
Mr. PENNE (dictates)--"On one side was love and Kate; on the other side
his heritage of social position and family pride. Would love win? Love,
that the poets tell us will last forever! (Perceives that Miss Lore
looks fatigued, and looks at his watch.) That's a good long stretch.
Perhaps we'd better knock off a bit."
(Miss Lore does not reply.)
Mr. PENNE--I said, Miss Lore, we've been at it quite a long time--
wouldn't you like to knock off for a while?
MISS LORE--Oh! Were you addressing me before? I put what you said down.
I thought it belonged in the story. It seemed to fit in all right. Oh,
no; I'm not tired.
MR. PENNE--Very well, then, we will continue. (Dictates.) "In spite of
these qualms and doubts, Cortland was a happy man. That night at the
club he silently toasted Kate's bright eyes in a bumper of the rarest
vintage. Afterward he set out for a stroll with, as Kate on----"
MISS LORE--Excuse me, Mr. Penne, for venturing a suggestion; but don't
you think you might state that in a less coarse manner?
MR. PENNE (astounded)--Wh-wh--I'm afraid I fail to understand you.
MISS LORE--His condition. Why not say he was "full" or "intoxicated"? It
would sound much more elegant than the way you express it.
MR. PENNE (still darkly wandering)--Will you kindly point out, Miss
Lore, where I have intimated that Cortland was "full," if you prefer
MISS LORE (calmly consulting her stenographic notes)--It is right here,
word for word. (Reads.) "Afterward he set out for a stroll with a skate
MR. PENNE (with peculiar emphasis)--Ah! And now will you kindly take
down the expurgated phrase? (Dictates.) "Afterward he set out for a
stroll with, as Kate on one occasion had fancifully told him, her spirit
leaning upon his arm."
Mr. PENNE (dictates)--Chapter thirty-four. Heading--"What Kate Found in
the Garden." "That fragrant summer morning brought gracious tasks to
all. The bees were at the honeysuckle blossoms on the porch. Kate,
singing a little song, was training the riotous branches of her favorite
woodbine. The sun, himself, had rows----"
MISS LORE--Shall I say "had risen"?
MR. PENNE (very slowly and with desperate deliberation)--"The--sun--
MR. PENNE(dictates)--"The earliest trolley, scattering the birds from
its pathway like some marauding cat, brought Cortland over from Oldport.
He had forgotten his fair--"
MISS LORE--Hm! Wonder how he got the conductor to----
Mr. PENNE (very loudly)--"Forgotten his fair and roseate visions of the
night in the practical light of the sober morn."
MR. PENNE (dictates)--"He greeted her with his usual smile and manner.
'See the waves,' he cried, pointing to the heaving waters of the sea,
'ever wooing and returning to the rockbound shore.'" "'Ready to break,'
Kate said, with----"
MISS LORE--My! One evening he has his arm around her, and the next
morning he's ready to break her head! Just like a man!
MR. PENNE (with suspicious calmness)--There are times, Miss Lore, when a
man becomes so far exasperated that even a woman--But suppose we finish
the sentence. (Dictates.) "'Ready to break,' Kate said, with the
thrilling look of a soul-awakened woman, 'into foam and spray,
destroying themselves upon the shore they love so well."
MR. PENNE (dictates)--"Cortland, in Kate's presence heard faintly the
voice of caution. Thirty years had not cooled his ardor. It was in his
power to bestow great gifts upon this girl. He still retained the
beliefs that he had at twenty." (To Miss Lore, wearily) I think that
will be enough for the present.
MISS LORE (wisely)--Well, if he had the twenty that he believed he had,
it might buy her a rather nice one.
MR. PENNE (faintly)--The last sentence was my own. We will discontinue
for the day, Miss Lore.
MISS LORE--Shall I come again to-morrow?
MR. PENNE (helpless under the spell)--If you will be so good.
(Exit Miss Lore.)