Van Bibber and Others eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 158 pages of information about Van Bibber and Others.
third place, and another girl who was more interested in the audience and less in the play took her position.  When Miss Carroll was not on the stage she used to sit on the carpeted steps of the throne, which were not in use after the opening scene, and read novels by the Duchess, or knit on a pair of blue woollen wristlets, which she kept wrapped up in a towel and gave to the wardrobe woman to hold when she went on.  One night there was a quicker call than usual, owing to Ada Howard’s failing to get her usual encore for her waltz song, and Brady hurried them.  The wardrobe woman was not in sight, so Agnes handed her novel and her knitting to M’Gee and said:  “Will you hold these for me until I come off?” She looked at him for the first time as she handed him the things, and he felt, as he had felt several times before, that her beauty was of a distinctly disturbing quality.  There was something so shy about her face when she was not on the stage, and something so kindly, that he stood holding the pieces of blue wool, still warm from her hands, without moving from the position he had held when she gave them to him.  When she came off he gave them back to her and touched the visor of his cap as she thanked him.  One of the other beautiful amazons laughed and whispered, “Agnes has a mash on the fire laddie,” which made the retiring Mr. M’Gee turn very red.  He did not dare to look and see what effect it had on Miss Carroll.  But the next evening he took off his hat to her, and she said “Good-evening,” quite boldly.  After that he watched her a great deal.  He thought he did it in such a way that she did not see him, but that was only because he was a man; for the other women noticed it at once, and made humorous comments on it when they were in the dressing-rooms.

Old man Sanders, who had been in the chorus of different comic-opera companies since he was twenty years old, and who was something of a pessimist, used to take great pleasure in abusing the other members of the company to Andy M’Gee, and in telling anecdotes concerning them which were extremely detrimental to their characters.  He could not find anything good to say of any of them, and M’Gee began to believe that the stage was a very terrible place indeed.  He was more sorry for this, and he could not at first understand why, until he discovered that he was very much interested in Miss Agnes Carroll, and her character was to him a thing of great and poignant importance.  He often wished to ask old Sanders about her, but he was afraid to do so, partly because he thought he ought to take it for granted that she was a good girl, and partly because he was afraid Sanders would tell him she was not.  But one night as she passed them, as proud and haughty looking as ever, old Sanders grunted scornfully, and M’Gee felt that he was growing very red.

“Now, there is a girl,” said the old man, “who ought to be out of this business.  She’s too good for it, and she’ll never get on in it.  Not that she couldn’t keep straight and get on, but because she is too little interested in it, and shows no heart in the little she has to do.  She can sing a little bit, but she can’t do the steps.”

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Van Bibber and Others from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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