In His Steps eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 238 pages of information about In His Steps.
and sister, the scene was transferred to the interior of one of the slum tenements in the East Side of London.  Here the scene painter and carpenter had done their utmost to produce an exact copy of a famous court and alley well known to the poor creatures who make up a part of the outcast London humanity.  The rags, the crowding, the vileness, the broken furniture, the horrible animal existence forced upon creatures made in God’s image were so skilfully shown in this scene that more than one elegant woman in the theatre, seated like Rose Sterling in a sumptuous box surrounded with silk hangings and velvet covered railing, caught herself shrinking back a little as if contamination were possible from the nearness of this piece of scenery.  It was almost too realistic, and yet it had a horrible fascination for Felicia as she sat there alone, buried back in a cushioned seat and absorbed in thoughts that went far beyond the dialogue on the stage.

From the tenement scene the play shifted to the interior of a nobleman’s palace, and almost a sigh of relief went up all over the house at the sight of the accustomed luxury of the upper classes.  The contrast was startling.  It was brought about by a clever piece of staging that allowed only a few moments to elapse between the slum and the palace scene.  The dialogue went on, the actors came and went in their various roles, but upon Felicia the play made but one distinct impression.  In realty the scenes on the bridge and in the slums were only incidents in the story of the play, but Felicia found herself living those scenes over and over.  She had never philosophized about the causes of human misery, she was not old enough she had not the temperament that philosophizes.  But she felt intensely, and this was not the first time she had felt the contrast thrust into her feeling between the upper and the lower conditions of human life.  It had been growing upon her until it had made her what Rose called “queer,” and other people in her circle of wealthy acquaintances called very unusual.  It was simply the human problem in its extreme of riches and poverty, its refinement and its vileness, that was, in spite of her unconscious attempts to struggle against the facts, burning into her life the impression that would in the end either transform her into a woman of rare love and self-sacrifice for the world, or a miserable enigma to herself and all who knew her.

“Come, Felicia, aren’t you going home?” said Rose.  The play was over, the curtain down, and people were going noisily out, laughing and gossiping as if “The Shadows of London” were simply good diversion, as they were, put on the stage so effectively.

Felicia rose and went out with the rest quietly, and with the absorbed feeling that had actually left her in her seat oblivious of the play’s ending.  She was never absent-minded, but often thought herself into a condition that left her alone in the midst of a crowd.

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In His Steps from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.