Nan did this; but she appreciated deeply the fact that the actress refrained from asking her any personal questions. After what Linda Riggs had said at the jewelry counter, Nan shrank from telling her name or where she lived to anybody who had heard her enemy.
She parted from the moving picture director with great friendliness, however. As the latter kissed Nan she slipped a tiny engraved card into the girl’s hand.
“Some time, when you have nothing better to do, my dear, come to see me,” she said. It was not until Nan was by herself again that she learned from the card that she had been the guest of a very famous actress of the legitimate stage who had, as well, become notable as a maker of moving pictures.
The girl’s heart was too sore at first, when she met her friends as agreed in an entirely different part of the great store, to say anything about her adventure. But that night, when she and Bess were alone, Nan showed her chum the famous actress’ card, and told her how the moving picture director was likewise on the lookout for the two runaway girls.
“Splendid!” cried Bess. “Keep on and we’ll have half the people in Chicago watching out for Sallie and Celia. But Nan! You do have the most marvelous way of meeting the most interesting people. Think of it! Knowing that very famous actress. How did you do it, Nan?”
“Oh! something happened that caused us to speak,” Nan said lightly. But she winced at the thought of the unhappy nature of that incident. She was glad that Bess Harley was too sleepy to probe any deeper into the matter.
HOW THEY LOOKED ON THE SCREEN
Nan did not forget Inez, the flower-girl, nor the fact that the runaways—Sallie Morton and Celia Snubbins—might still be traced through Mother Beasley’s cheap lodging house.
Both Walter and Grace Mason had been interested, as well as amused, in the chum’s account of their first adventure in Chicago. The brother and sister who lived so far away from the squalor of Mother Beasley’s and who knew nothing of the toil and shifts of the flower-seller’s existence, were deeply moved by the recital of what Nan and Bess had observed.
“That poor little thing!” Grace said. “On the street in all weathers to sell posies—and for a drunken woman. Isn’t it awful? Something should be done about it. I’ll tell father.”
“And he’d report the case to the Society,” said her brother, promptly. “Father believes all charity should be done through organizations. ‘Organized effort’ is his hobby,” added Walter, ruefully. “He says I lack proper appreciation of its value.”
“But if he told the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children about Inez, they would take her and put her in some institution,” objected Nan.
“And put a uniform on her like a prisoner,” cried Bess. “And make her obey rules like—like us boarding school girls. Oh, dear!”