(Jimmy was dramatic critic on one of the evening papers, as well as a bit of a playwright. He was a slim, cool, smiling, highly sophisticated young man, who renounced all privileges as an interpreter of life in favor of remaining an unbiased observer of it. He never bothered to speculate about what you ought to do;—he waited to see what you did. He knew, more or less, everybody in the world,—in all sorts of worlds. He was, for instance, a great friend of Violet Williamson’s and Bella Forrester’s and was, at the same time, on terms of avuncular confidence with Dotty Blott of the Globe chorus. And he was exactly the same man to the three of them. He fitted admirably in with their new circle.)
Well, in the light of the miraculous transformation that lay before her Rose could listen undaunted to the tough philosophizings her husband and Barry Lake delighted in as well as to the mordant merciless realities with which Doctor Randolph and Jimmy Wallace confirmed them. She wasn’t indifferent to it all. She listened with all her might.
If there was anything in prenatal influence, that baby of hers was going to be intelligent!
So far as externals went, her life, that spring, was immensely simplified. The social demands on her, which had been so insistent all winter, stopped almost automatically. The only exception was the Junior League show in Easter week, for which she put in quite a lot of work. She was to have danced in it.
This is an annual entertainment by which Chicago sets great store. All the smartest and best-looking of the younger set take part in it, in costumes that would do credit to Mr. Ziegfeld, and as much of Chicago as is willing and able to pay five dollars a seat for the privilege is welcome to come and look. Delirious weeks are spent in rehearsal, under a first-class professional director, audience and performers have an equally good time, and Charity, as residuary legatee, profits by thousands.
Rose dropped in at a rehearsal one day at the end of a solid two hours of committee work, found it unexpectedly amusing, and made a point thereafter of attending when she could. Her interest was heightened if not wholly actuated by some things Jimmy Wallace had been telling her lately about how such things were done on the real stage.
He had written a musical comedy once, lived through the production of it, and had spent a hard-earned two-weeks vacation trouping with it on the road, so he could speak with authority. It was a wonderful Odyssey when you could get him to tell it, and as she made a good audience she got the whole thing—what everybody was like, from the director down, how the principals dug themselves in and fought to the last trench for every line and bit of business in their parts, and sapped and mined ahead to get, here or there, a bit more;—how insanely hard the chorus worked....