Vain Fortune eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 219 pages of information about Vain Fortune.

Rose was another; she might sink as he had sunk; she might never find the opportunity of realising her desire.  How well she would have played that part!  He knew what was in her.  And now!  What did his failure to write that play condemn him to?  Heaven only knows, he did not wish to think.  Strange, was it not strange?...  A man of genius—­many believed him a genius—­and yet he was incapable of earning his daily bread otherwise than by doing the work of a navvy.  Even that he could not do well, society had softened his muscles and effeminised his constitution.  Indeed, he did not know what life fate had willed him for.  He seemed to be out of place everywhere.  His best chance was to try to obtain a clerkship.  The editor of The Cosmopolitan might be able to do that for him; if he could not, far better it would be to leave a world in which he was out of place, and through no fault of his own—­that was the hard part of it.  Hard part!  Nonsense!  What does Fate know of our little rights and wrongs—­or care?  Her intentions are inscrutable; she watches us come and go, and gives no sign.  Prayers are vain.  The good man is punished, and the wicked is sent on his way rejoicing.

In such mournful thought, his clothes stained and torn, with all the traces of a week’s toil in the docks upon them, Hubert made his way round St. Paul’s and across Holborn.  As he was about to cross into Oxford Street, he heard some one accost him,—­

‘Oh, Mr. Price, is that you?’ It was Rose.  ’Where have you been all this time?’

She seemed so strange, so small, and so much alone in the great thoroughfare, that Hubert forgot all his own troubles in a sudden interest in this little mite.  ’Where have you been hiding yourself?...  It is lucky I met you.  Don’t you know that Ford has decided to revive Divorce?’

‘You don’t mean it!’

’Yes; Ford said that the last acts of The Gipsy were not satisfactorily worked out, and as there was something wrong with that Hamilton Brown’s piece, he has decided to revive Divorce.  He says it never was properly played ... he thinks he’ll make a hit in the husband’s part, and I daresay he will.  But I have been unfortunate again; I wanted the part of the adventuress.  I really could play it.  I don’t look it, I know ...  I have no weight, but I could play it for all that.  The public mightn’t see me in it at first, but in five minutes they would.’

‘And what part has he cast you for—­the young girl?’

’Of course; there’s no other part.  He says I look it; but what’s the good of looking it when you don’t feel it?  If he had cast me for Mrs. Barrington, I should have had just the five minutes in the second act that I have been waiting for so long, and I should have just wiped Miss Osborne out, acted her off the stage....  I know I should; you needn’t believe it if don’t like, but I know I should.’

Hubert wondered how any one could feel so sure of herself, and then he said, ’Yes, I think you could do just what you say....  How do you think Miss Osborne will play the part?’

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Vain Fortune from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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