“It was neatly done,” was Warrington’s comment. He was not angry now at all. In fact, the girl interested him tremendously. “I am rather curious to learn how you went about it.”
“You are not angry?”
This seemed to satisfy her.
“Well, first I learned where you were in the habit of dining. All day long a messenger has been following you. A telephone brought me to the restaurant. The rest you know. It was simple.”
“Very simple,” laconically.
“You listened and believed. I have been watching you. You believed everything I have told you. You have even been calculating how this scene might go in a play. Have I convinced you that I have the ability to act?”
Warrington folded the letter and balanced it on his palm.
“You have fooled me completely; that ought to be sufficient recommendation.”
“Thank you.” But her eyes were eager with anxiety.
“Miss Challoner, I apologize for this letter. I do more than that. I promise not to leave this house till you agree to call at the theater at ten to-morrow morning.” He was smiling, and Warrington had a pleasant smile. He had an idea besides. “Good fortune put it into my head to follow you here. I see it all now, quite plainly. I am in a peculiar difficulty, and I honestly believe that you can help me out of it. How long would it take you to learn a leading part? In fact, the principal part?”
“Have you had any experience?”
“A short season out west in a stock company.”
“And I love work.”
“Do not build any great hopes,” he warned, “for your chance depends upon the whim of another woman. But you have my word and my good offices that something shall be put in your way. You will come at ten?” drawing on his gloves.
“I believe that we both have been wise to-night; though it is true that a man dislikes being a fool and having it made manifest.”
“And how about the woman scorned?” with an enchanting smile.
“It is kismet,” he acknowledged.
Warrington laid down his pen, brushed his smarting eyes, lighted his pipe, and tilted back his chair. With his hands clasped behind his head, he fell into a waking dream, that familiar pastime of the creative mind. It was half after nine, and he had been writing steadily since seven. The scenario was done; the villain had lighted his last cigarette, the hero had put his arms protectingly around the heroine, and the irascible rich uncle had been brought to terms. All this, of course, figuratively speaking; for no one ever knew what the plot of that particular play was, insomuch as Warrington never submitted the scenario to his manager, an act which caused almost a serious rupture between them. But to-night his puppets were moving hither and thither across the stage, pulsing with life; they were making entrances and exits; developing this climax and that; with wit and satire, humor and pathos. It was all very real to the dreamer.