“What?” said Vuyning.
“Not alone,” said Miss Allison, dropping a tear upon her salad. “What do you think?”
“Betty!” exclaimed Vuyning, “what do you mean?
“I’ll go too,” said Miss Allison, forcibly. Vuyning filled her glass with Apollinaris.
“Here’s to Rowdy the Dude!” he gave—a toast mysterious.
“Don’t know him,” said Miss Allison; “but if he’s your friend, Jimmy—here goes!”
Miss Lynnette D’Armande turned her back on Broadway. This was but tit for tat, because Broadway had often done the same thing to Miss D’Armande. Still, the “tats” seemed to have it, for the ex-leading lady of the “Reaping the Whirlwind” company had everything to ask of Broadway, while there was no vice-versa.
So Miss Lynnette D’Armande turned the back of her chair to her window that overlooked Broadway, and sat down to stitch in time the lisle-thread heel of a black silk stocking. The tumult and glitter of the roaring Broadway beneath her window had no charm for her; what she greatly desired was the stifling air of a dressing-room on that fairyland street and the roar of an audience gathered in that capricious quarter. In the meantime, those stockings must not be neglected. Silk does wear out so, but—after all, isn’t it just the only goods there is?
The Hotel Thalia looks on Broadway as Marathon looks on the sea. It stands like a gloomy cliff above the whirlpool where the tides of two great thoroughfares clash. Here the player-bands gather at the end of their wanderings, to loosen the buskin and dust the sock. Thick in the streets around it are booking-offices, theatres, agents, schools, and the lobster-palaces to which those thorny paths lead.
Wandering through the eccentric halls of the dim and fusty Thalia, you seem to have found yourself in some great ark or caravan about to sail, or fly, or roll away on wheels. About the house lingers a sense of unrest, of expectation, of transientness, even of anxiety and apprehension. The halls are a labyrinth. Without a guide, you wander like a lost soul in a Sam Loyd puzzle.
Turning any corner, a dressing-sack or a cul-de-sac may bring you up short. You meet alarming tragedians stalking in bath-robes in search of rumored bathrooms. From hundreds of rooms come the buzz of talk, scraps of new and old songs, and the ready laughter of the convened players.
Summer has come; their companies have disbanded, and they take their rest in their favorite caravansary, while they besiege the managers for engagements for the coming season.
At this hour of the afternoon the day’s work of tramping the rounds of the agents’ offices is over. Past you, as you ramble distractedly through the mossy halls, flit audible visions of houris, with veiled, starry eyes, flying tag-ends of things and a swish of silk, bequeathing to the dull hallways an odor of gaiety and a memory of frangipanni. Serious young comedians, with versatile Adam’s apples, gather in doorways and talk of Booth. Far-reaching from somewhere comes the smell of ham and red cabbage, and the crash of dishes on the American plan.