In the instant before her entrance was noticed, Rose made an effort to shake herself together so that she should be not too inadequate to the situation that awaited her.
She was, of course, immensely pleased over Olga’s little triumph.
(For it had been a triumph. Galbraith had persuaded Goldsmith and Block to buy the little Empire dress in maize and corn-flower; Rose had done her hair, and Olga had been allowed to sing, on the first encore, the refrain to All Alone, quite by herself. She’d gone up an octave on the end of it to a high A, which in its perfect clarity had sounded about a third higher and had brought down the house. Patricia had been furious, of course, but was at bottom too decent to show it much and had actually congratulated Olga when she came off. It looked as if she’d really got her foot on the ladder.)
Well, as I said, Rose was immensely pleased about it—for the girl, who certainly deserved a little good luck at last; for herself, whose judgment had been vindicated, and for the show, to the success of which the experiment had contributed. But she’d have been a good deal better pleased if Olga could have taken her success as simply her own, instead of being so adoringly grateful to Rose about it. Olga had been adoring her with a somewhat embarrassing intensity ever since the night she had locked her in her room and taught her to talk.
Rose had convicted herself here of a failure in human sympathy, and had done her best to correct it, without much avail. The stubborn fact was that, wishing Olga all the good fortune in the world, and being willing to take any amount of trouble to bring it about, she didn’t particularly like her. And she flinched involuntarily, from the girl’s more romantic and sentimental manifestations. This distaste had been heightened by the fact that along with Olga’s adoration had gone a sense of proprietorship, with its inevitable accompaniment of jealousy.
Olga bridled every time she found Rose chatting with another member of the chorus, and when, up in Milwaukee, Patricia had invited her, along with Anabel, to come up to her room for a little supper after rehearsal, Olga had been sulky and injured for the whole of the next day.
It was something deeper in Rose than a mere surface distaste that made all this—the caresses, as well as the sulky exactions—repellent to her. And to-night, with her mind full of Rodney—full of that strange hope that disguised itself as fear, the repulsion was stronger than ever. She made an effort to conquer it. It would be a shame to throw a wet blanket on the girl’s attempt to enjoy her triumph in her own way.
So Rose kissed her and told her how pleased she was, and good-humoredly forbore to disclaim, except as her wide smile did it for her, Olga’s extravagant protestations of undying love and gratitude. Rose injected common-sense considerations where she could. Olga had better get out of that frock before she ruined it with grease paint, and unless she at least began to dress pretty soon she’d find herself locked up for the night in the theater.