“Now listen to me,” said John Galbraith; “listen as hard as you can. Because when I’ve done talking, you will have to make up your mind. In the first place you wouldn’t be ‘safe,’ as you said, even in the chorus. A make-up isn’t a disguise. You will be rouged and powdered, your eyelashes blackened, your lips reddened and so on, not to make you look different, but to keep you looking the same under the strong lights. You’re not the sort of person to escape notice. That’s the reason I made up my mind to hire you before I knew you could dance. I saw you standing back there in the doorway. You’ve got the quality about you that makes people see you. That’s one of your assets.
“So, if you’re ashamed of being recognized in this business, you’d better get out of it altogether. On the other hand, it seems to me that if you’ve got to earn your living, it’s nobody’s business but your own how you do it. You’re the one who’ll go hungry if you don’t earn it, not these friends of yours. So, if it seems a legitimate way of earning a living to you, if you don’t feel disgraced or degraded by being in it, you’d better forget your friends and go ahead. You’ve made an excellent start; you’ve earned a legitimate promotion. It will mean that instead of getting twenty dollars a week when the show opens, you will get twenty-five. It’s a long time since I’ve given a person without experience a chance like that. I gave it to you because you seemed ambitious and intelligent—the sort who’d see me through. But if you aren’t ambitious, if the game doesn’t look worth playing to you, and you aren’t willing to play it for all it’s worth—why, good as you are, I don’t want you at all. So that’s your choice!”
His manner wasn’t quite so harsh as his words, but it convinced her that he meant every one of them right to the foot of the letter.
She couldn’t answer for a moment. She hadn’t guessed that the choice he was going to offer her would be between taking the little part he had given her and playing it for all it was worth, defiant of Rodney’s feelings and of the scandal of the Lake Shore Drive—and going back to her three-dollar room this afternoon, out of a job and without even a glimmering chance of finding another.
“Take your time,” he said. “I don’t want to be a brute about it, but look here! Try to see it my way for a minute. Here are my employers, the owners of this piece. They’re putting thousands of dollars into the production of it. They’ve hired me to make that production a success. Well, I don’t know about other games, but this game’s a battle. If we win, it will be because we put every bit of steam and every bit of confidence we’ve got into it and make it win. That goes for me, and for the principals, and right down through to the last girl in the chorus. Every night there’ll be a new audience out there that you will have to fight—shake up out of the grouch they get when they pay for their tickets; persuade to laugh and loosen up and come and play with you.