ANNIE. [In a happy voice.] Yassum, yassum.
LAURA. [Who is arranging her hair.] Doll me up, Annie.
ANNIE. Yuh goin’ out, Miss Laura?
LAURA. Yes. I’m going to Rector’s to make a hit, and to hell with the rest!
At this moment the hurdy-gurdy in the street, presumably immediately under her window, begins to play the tune of “Bon-Bon Buddie, My Chocolate Drop.” There is something in this ragtime melody which is particularly and peculiarly suggestive of the low life, the criminality and prostitution that constitute the night excitement of that section of New York City known as the Tenderloin. The tune,—its association,—is like spreading before LAURA’S eyes a panorama of the inevitable depravity that awaits her. She is torn from every ideal that she so weakly endeavoured to grasp, and is thrown into the mire and slime at the very moment when her emancipation seems to be assured. The woman, with her flashy dress in one arm and her equally exaggerated type of picture hat in the other, is nearly prostrated by the tune and the realization of the future as it is terrifically conveyed to her. The negress, in the happiness of serving LAURA in her questionable career, picks up the melody and hums it as she unpacks the finery that has been put away in the trunk.
LAURA. [With infinite grief, resignation, and hopelessness.] O God—O my God. [She turns and totters toward the bedroom. The hurdy-gurdy continues, with the negress accompanying it.
A SLOW CURTAIN.