“For me?” snorted the director, and took doubtfully enough the epistle Nan held out to him. But when he sighted the superscription he tore it open with an exclamation of impatient surprise.
“Now, what does Madam want?” he muttered, and those few words revealed to Nan Sherwood what she had suspected to be the fact about the director—that she was a very exacting task-mistress.
Miss Penny, nodding slily to Nan and Bess, slipped away to the stage on which the Gypsy camp was set, and around which several men in brigandish looking costumes were lounging.
“What’s this you young ladies want of me?” asked the director, rather puzzled, it seemed, after reading the note. “All she writes is to recommend Miss Sherwood to my attention and then includes a lot of instructions for to-morrow’s work.” He smiled sourly. “She is not explicit. Do you want work?”
“Oh, mercy me! no!” cried Nan.
“I should say not!” murmured Bess.
The director’s worried, querulous face showed relief. He listened attentively while Nan explained about the runaways. She likewise repeated the actress’ version of the discharging of the girls whom she had afterward identified as the two for whom Nan and Bess were in search.
“Yes, yes! I remember. And Madam was quite right in that instance,” grudgingly admitted the director. He drew a notebook from his pocket and fluttered the leaves. “Yes. Here are their names crossed off my list. ‘Lola Montague’ and ‘Marie Fortesque.’ I fancy,” said Mr. Gray, chuckling, “they expected to see those names on the bills.”
“But, oh, Mr. Gray!” cried Nan Sherwood, feeling in no mood for laughing at silly Sallie Morton and Celia Snubbins. “Don’t you know where they live—those two poor girls?”
“Why—no. They were extras and we get plenty of such people,” said the director, carelessly. “Now, the girl who sent them is as daring a girl as I ever saw. I’m sorry she’s hurt, or sick, or something, for although Jenny Albert has little ‘film charm,’ as we call it, she is useful—
“There!” suddenly broke off Mr. Gray. “You might try Jenny’s address. She sent those girls here. She probably knows where they live.”
He hastily wrote down the street and number on a card and handed it to Nan. “Sorry. That’s the best I can do for you, Miss Sherwood.”
He turned away, taking up his own particular worries again.
“And, goodness me, Nan!” sighed Bess, as they went out of the cluttered studio, back through the passage, and so into the courtyard and the street again. “Goodness me! I think we have the greatest lot of other people’s worries on our shoulders that I ever heard of. We seem to collect other folk’s troubles. How do we manage it?”
RUNAWAYS OF A DIFFERENT KIND
The chums, on leaving the moving picture studio, stopped to read more carefully the card Mr. Gray, the director, had given them. The street on which Jennie Albert lived was quite unknown to Nan and Bess and they did not know how to find it.