As far as women are concerned, the particular type of actress, such as LAURA MURDOCH and ELFIE ST. CLAIR, appeals to him. He likes their good fellowship. He loves to be with a gay party at night in a cafe. He likes the rather looseness of living which does not quite reach the disreputable. Behind all this, however, is a certain high sense of honour. He detests and despises the average stage-door Johnny, and he loathes the type of man who seeks to take young girls out of theatrical companies for their ruin.
His women friends are as wise as himself. When they enter into an agreement with him there is no deception. In the first place he wants to like them; in the second place he wants them to like him; and finally, he wants to fix the amount of their living expenses at a definite figure, and have them stand by it. He wants them to understand that he reserves the right, at any time, to withdraw his support, or transfer it to some other woman, and he gives them the same privilege.
He is always ready to help anyone who is unfortunate, and he has always hoped that some of these girls whom he knew would finally come across the right man, marry and settle down; but he insists that such an arrangement can be possible only by the honest admission on the woman’s part of what she has done and been, and by the thorough understanding of all these things by the man involved. He is gruff in his manner, determined in his purposes, honest in his point of view. He is a brute, almost a savage, but he is a thoroughly good brute and a pretty decent savage.
At the time of the opening of this play, he and LAURA MURDOCK have been friends for two years. He knows exactly what she is and what she has been, and their relations are those of pals. She has finished her season in Denver, and he has come out there to accompany her home. He has always told her, whenever she felt it inconsistent with her happiness to continue her relations with him, it is her privilege to quit, and he has reserved the same condition.
JIM WESTON, between forty-five and fifty years of age, is the type of the semi-broken-down showman. In the evolution of the theatrical business in America, the old circus and minstrel men have gradually been pushed aside, while younger men, with more advanced methods, have taken their place. The character is best realized by the way it is drawn in the play.
ANNIE. The only particular attention that should be called to the character of the negress, ANNIE, who is the servant of LAURA, is the fact that she must not in any way represent the traditional smiling coloured girl or “mammy” of the South. She is the cunning, crafty, heartless, surly, sullen Northern negress, who, to the number of thousands, are servants of women of easy morals, and who infest a district of New York in which white and black people of the lower classes mingle indiscriminately, and which is one of the most criminal sections of the city. The actress who plays this part must keep in mind its innate and brutal selfishness.