“The play’s the thing”
A business meeting of the Lady Hyacinths Shirt-Waist Club was in progress. The roll had been called. The twenty members were all present and the Secretary had read the minutes of the last meeting. These formalities had consumed only a few moments and the club was ready to fall upon its shirt waists. The sewing-machines were oiled and uncovered, the cutting-table was cleared, every Hyacinth had her box of sewing paraphernalia in her lap; and Miss Masters who had been half cajoled and half forced into the management of this branch of the St. Martha’s Settlement Mission was congratulating herself upon the ease and expedition with which her charges were learning to transact their affairs, when the President drew a pencil from her pompadour and rapped professionally on the table. In her daytime capacity of saleslady in a Grand Street shoe store she would have called “cash,” but as President of the Lady Hyacinths her speech was:
“If none of you goils ain’t got no more business to lay before the meetin’ a movement to adjoin is in order.”
“I move we adjoin an git to woik,” said Mamie Kidansky promptly. Only three buttonholes and the whalebones which would keep the collar well up behind the ears lay between her and the triumphant rearing of her shirt waist. Hence her zeal.
Susie Meyer was preparing to second the motion. As secretary she disapproved of much discussion. She was always threatening to resign her portfolio vowing, with some show of reason, “I never would ‘a’ joined your old Hyacinths Shirt-Waists if I’d a’ known I was goin’ to have to write down all the foolish talk you goils felt like givin’ up.”
It seemed therefore that the business meeting was closed, when a voice from the opposite side of the table broke in with:
“Say, Rosie, why can’t us goils give a play?”
“Ah Jennie, you make me tired,” protested the Secretary.
“An’ you’re out of order anyway,” was the President’s dictum.
“Where?” cried Jennie wildly, clutching her pompadour with one hand and the back of her belt with the other, “where, what’s the matter with me?”
“Go ‘way back an’ sit down,” was the Secretary’s advice, “Rosie meant you’re out of parliamentry order. We got a motion on the table an’ it’s too late for you to butt in on it. This meetin’ is goin’ to adjoin.”
But Jennie was the spokesman of a newly-born party and her supporters were not going to allow her to be silenced. Even those Lady Hyacinths who had not been admitted to earlier consultations took kindly to the suggestion when they heard it.
“I don’t care whether she’s out of order or not,” one ambitious Hyacinth declared, “I think it would be just too lovely for anything to have a play. They have ’em all the time over to Rivington Street an’ down to the Educational Alliance.”