“I’ll help you,” she declared, and gave him her hand a second time.
STORM CLOUDS THREATEN
The next week Gusty Durgin made her debut as a picture actress. She had pestered Mr. Bane morn, noon, and night at the hotel until finally the leading man obtained Mr. Anscomb’s permission to work the buxom waitress into a picture.
“But nothin’ funny, Mr. Bane,” Gusty begged. “Land sakes! It’s the easiest thing in the world to get a laugh out of a fat woman fallin’ down a sand bank, or a fat man bein’ busted in the face with a custard pie. I don’t want folks to laugh at my fat. I want ’em to forget that I am fat.”
“Do you know, Miss Grayling,” said Bane, recounting this to Louise, “that is art. Gusty has the right idea. Many a floweret is born to blush unseen, the poet says. But can it be we have found in Gusty Durgin a screen artist in embryo?”
Louise was interested enough to go to the beach early to watch Gusty in a moving picture part.
“A real sad piece ’tis, too,” the waitress confided to Louise. “I got to make up like a mother—old, you know, and real wrinkled. And when my daughter (she’s Miss Noyes) is driv’ away from home by her father because she’s done wrong, I got to take on like kildee ’bout it. It’s awful touchin’. I jest cried about it ha’f the night when this Mr. Anscomb told me what I’d have to do in the picture.
“Land sakes! I can cry re’l tears with the best of ’em—you see if I can’t, Miss Grayling. You ought to be a movie actress yourself. It don’t seem just right that you ain’t.”
“But I fear I could not weep real tears,” Louise said.
“No. Mebbe not. That’s a gift, I guess,” Gusty agreed. “There! I got to go now. He’s callin’ me. The boss’s sister will have to wait on all the boarders for dinner to-day. An’ my! ain’t she sore! But if I’m a success in these pictures you can just believe the Cardhaven Inn won’t see me passin’ biscuits and clam chowder for long.”
In the midst of the rehearsal Louise saw a figure striding along the shore from the direction of Tapp Point, and her heart leaped. Already there seemed to be a change in the appearance of Lawford.
His sisters, who came frequently to see Louise at Cap’n Abe’s, had told her their brother, was actually working in one of his father’s factories. He had not even obtained a position in the office, but in the factory itself. He ran one of the taffy cutting machines, for one thing, and wore overalls!
“Poor Ford!” Cecile said, shaking her head. “He’s up against it. I’m going to save up part of my pocket money for him—if he’ll take it. I think daddy’s real mean, and I’ve told him so. And when Dot Johnson comes I’m not going to treat her nice at all.”
Lawford, however, did not look the part of the abused and disowned heir. He seemed brisker than Louise remembered his being before and his smile was as winning as ever.