“Maybe they have,” replied Migwan mysteriously; “wait and see!”
Her joy was short-lived, however, for the play came back even more promptly than the stories had. Undaunted, she sent it out again and again. The reasons given for rejection would have been amusing if Migwan had not felt so disappointed. One said there was insufficient plot; one said the plot was too complicated; one said it was too long for a one-reel, and the next said it was too short even for a split-reel. Two places kept the return postage she had enclosed and sent the manuscript back collect. Scenario writing became a rather expensive amusement, instead of a bringer of fortune. In spite of all this, she kept on writing scenarios, for the fascination of the game had her in its grip, and she would never be satisfied until she succeeded. Lessons were thrust into the background of her mind by the throng of “scene-plots,” “leaders,” “bust-scenes,” “inserts,” “synopses,” etc., that flashed through her head continually.
To write steadily night after night, after the lessons had been gotten out of the way, was a great tax on her young strength. Nyoda was inflexible about her stopping typewriting at nine o’clock, but she went home and wrote by hand until midnight. Nyoda was over at the house one afternoon when Migwan was settling down to get her lessons, and saw her take a dose from a phial.
“What are you taking medicine for?” she asked.
“Oh, this is just something to tone me up,” replied Migwan.
“What is it?” insisted Nyoda.
“It’s strychnine,” said Migwan.
“Strychnine!” said Nyoda in a horrified voice. “Who taught you to take strychnine as a stimulant?”
“Mabel Collins did,” answered Migwan. “She said she always took it when she had a dance on for every night in the week and couldn’t keep up any other way, and it made her feel fine.” Mabel Collins belonged to what the class called the “fast bunch.”
“I’ll have a talk with Mabel Collins,” said Nyoda with a resolute gleam in her eye. “And, remember, no more of this ‘tonic’ for you. I knew girls in college who took strychnine to keep themselves going through examinations or other occasions of great physical strain, and they have suffered for it ever since. If you are doing so much that you can’t ‘keep up’ any other way than by taking powerful medicines, it is time you ‘kept down.’ Fresh air and regular sleep are all the tonic you need. You stay away from that typewriter for a whole week and go to bed at nine o’clock every night. I’m coming down to tuck you in. Now remember!” And with this solemn warning Nyoda left her.
SAHWAH MAKES A BASKET.