“You are kinder slim to look at,” he confessed at last, thoughtfully. “Are you bretty strong?”
The younger man silently held forth his right arm to the inspection of the other, who fingered the iron rigidity of muscle under the cloth with evident respect.
“God of Yacob!” the manager muttered in unconcealed surprise, “it is vonderful, and you such a slender young man to look at. I vos most afraidt you could not do mein vork, but it is all right. You vill eat mit us at the long table,” he waved his hand indefinitely toward the dining-room, “at 12:30, and then I valk mit you over py der Obera House, und show you vat der is to be done mit dot scenery und dem trunks. Mein Gott! it vos vonderful dot muscles vot you haf got—you vould make a great Davy Crockett ven I learns you de business, mein frient.”
The manager’s appreciation of his new acquisition was so clearly evident that Winston felt compelled to notice it.
“I am rejoiced you appear so well satisfied,” he said, rising to his feet.
“Satisfied! Mein Gott,” and the overjoyed Albrecht cordially clasped the hand of his new recruit. “It vos a great season of luck for me, mein frient. Dot Meess Norvell, she makes me mooch monies vile I shows her how to be an actress,—oh, it vos yoost beautiful to see her act,—und now you comes mit me also, und cares nottings for vot I bay you, und I can see you haf der actor genius. Mein Gott! it vos too goot to be true.”
Winston broke away gladly, and drifted back toward the cigar stand, where the mystified Tommy yet stood staring at him.
“Well, did you get it?” the latter questioned, grinning.
“Thomas,” returned the other loftily. “You can hand me out another cigar, and I will thank you not to be quite so familiar in the future. I am now general utility man with the ‘Heart of the World’ company, and consequently entitled to greater respect.”
OUT WITH A ROAD COMPANY
Miss Norvell failed to appear at the noon meal, though Winston met the other members of the company. He found them genial enough, even somewhat boisterous, with the single exception of Mr. Lane, who maintained a dignified and rather gloomy silence, such as became one of his recognized professional standing, after having favored the newcomer with a long, impertinent stare, apparently expressing disapproval. The manager was outwardly in most excellent humor, narrating several stories, at which all, excepting the reserved comedian, laughed quite heartily. At the conclusion of the repast, Albrecht condescended to purchase his new recruit a cigar, and then walked beside him toward the Opera House, where the necessary instructions in new duties promptly began. If Winston had previously imagined his earlier steps toward histrionic honors were destined to be easy ones, he was very soon undeceived under the guidance of the enthusiastic manager. It proved a strenuous afternoon, yet the young fellow had the right stuff in him to make good, that stubborn pride which never surrenders before difficulties; he shut his teeth, rolled up his shirt-sleeves, and went earnestly to work.