And even the malicious Carry relented for a moment.
“You said you were going to the Zoological Gardens,” she said.
“Yes,” he answered, “I am. I have seen everything I want to see in London but that.”
“Because Gerty and I might walk across the Park with you, and show you the way.”
“I very much wish you would,” said he, “if you have nothing better to do.”
“I will see if papa does not want me,” said Miss White, calmly. She might just as well be walking in Regent’s Park as in this small garden.
Presently the three of them set out.
“I am glad of any excuse,” she said, with a smile, “for throwing aside that new part. It seems to me insufferably stupid. It is very hard that you should be expected to make a character look natural when the words you have to speak are such as no human being would use in any circumstance whatever.”
Oddly enough, he never heard her make even the slightest reference to her profession without experiencing a sharp twinge of annoyance. He did not stay to ask himself why this should be so. Ordinarily he simply made haste to change the subject.
“Then why should you take the part at all?” said he, bluntly.
“Once you have given yourself up to a particular calling—you must accept its little annoyances,” she said, frankly. “I cannot have everything my own way. I have been very fortunate in other respects. I never had to go through the drudgery of the provinces, though they say that is the best school possible for an actress. And I am sure the money and the care papa has spent on my training—you see, he had no son to send to college. I think he is far more anxious about my succeeding than I am myself.”
“But you have succeeded,” said Macleod. It was, indeed, the least he could say, with all his dislike of the subject.
“Oh, I do not call that success,” said she, simply. “That is merely pleasing people by showing them little scenes from their own drawing-rooms transferred to the stage. They like it because it is pretty and familiar. And people pretend to be very cynical at present—they like things with ‘no nonsense about them;’ and I suppose this son of comedy is the natural reaction from the rant of the melodrama. Still, if you happen to be ambitious—or perhaps it is mere vanity?—if you would like to try what is in you—”