Helen Green.

The maison de Shine; more stories of the actors' boarding house online

. (page 12 of 15)
Online LibraryHelen GreenThe maison de Shine; more stories of the actors' boarding house → online text (page 12 of 15)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


" Yes, I love Paree, ' ' replied Black. * ' Go ra-
cin' much when you was there?"

"Every day we didn't have a matinee," said
she.

"If I ever get married," said he significantly,
" I 'm going back there on my wedding tour. Do
you get seasick much?"

It was as good as an offer of his hand and
heart, but Emma was coy, and again, her inter-
locutory decree had yet to be handed down by
a justice who declined to hurry with other per-
sons' divorces.



232 THE MAISON DE SHINE

"When was you to Parus last?" she inquired.

"Been over every year," said Black.

He had really never journeyed farther into
foreign lands than Chicago, but conversed so flu-
ently of European customs that he fooled
Emma.

She also had limited her travels to her native
country, but one must at times assume knowl-
edge.

"I don't see no bulls, pop," said little Minnie,
who was arrayed for this day in the befrilled
red silk dancing frock which she had worn in
the act of the Mangles Four when doing her imi-
tation of Genee.

"They're piroutin' 'round all right," said the
Property Man. "Don't let one of 'em ketch you.
Bulls are awful attracted by red."

Little Minnie chortled at the excellent jest.

"Mommer's bettin' our last week's board,"
she confided, "'cause pop says we might's well
be cleaned as the way we are."

"Teddy wants to wide a hossy!" exclaimed
Baby Theodore, "an' Teddy's firsty."

"If he goes agin' this track booze, he'll die
on you, sure," said Black. "Will you drink
water, kid?"

"Pop don't," replied Theodore frankly.

The racing gentlemen supplied their charges
with programs, penciled the jockeys' names



THE BOARDERS GO RACING 233

upon them, and furnished all information de-
sired.

"Gells, do take a flash!" said the landlady.
"Ain't that Bessie Banana, of the Boundin' Ba-
nanas, settin' over there in the big green Merry
WiddeH"

"Yes, it is. And the Bananas stole our fin-
ish," said Mrs. Mangle. "I wonder that she
has the effrontery to look at me and bow. The
two-faced cat!"

"Per'snally I got nothin' agin* her," said
Mrs. de Shine, "though I hearn that both her
an' Bill done a hull lot o' knockin' concernin*
the chuck served by me, which the same was bad
taste, seein' as they owe me this seckind."

"Oh! what's that?" Birdie de Gash arose,
pointing to a hurrying crowd.

"Pinchin' some poor dub fer bettin'," said
the Property Man. "Now you gals see how it
ain't no joke."

"His name will get in the papers and it'll be
a nasty muss, ' ' explained Black. ' ' They 're only
too glad to grab any one these times. It's a
shame and an outrage!"

"Will they take you fur just handin' summon
a piece o' money?"

"Sure!" said he. "In a minute."

Birdie whispered to Emma, and at the same
moment Mrs. Mangle drew little Minnie to her,



234 THE MA1SON DE SHINE

held private speech with her child, and the intel-
ligent Wonder nodded comprehensively.

"It may mean an engagement on the roof,
Minerva," she counseled, "and I rely upon you
to do your best."

Little Minnie whispered back:

"I'm hep, mommer. I ain't scared o' nothin'
that'll help the act."

' ' My noble, self-sacrificing babe ! ' ' Mrs. Man-
gle 's emotion was such that she dropped a tear
upon the curled head of little Minnie.

Black and his friends went to the ring in
search of tidings straight from the barn. They
were not making book until some sort of order
had been brought from the chaotic state in which
racing was at the moment. So every day was
a holiday for them, whether they wished it to
be one or not.

Black desired ardently to assist Emma to an
increase of money. Bob felt an equal interest
in the bepuffed Birdie. Miss Montagu had won
the admiration of Jack, who had sat up until
four of that morning earnestly conning the
"past performances" of the horses entered.

Mrs. de Shine was intent upon winning a
month's rent for the boarding-house. Every
one wanted money, and meant to get it, if they
could. The Property Man went to the ring with



TEE BOARDERS GO RACING 235

the others. Mr. Mangle and the buck dancer
followed.

Little Minnie darted after them. As abruptly
Miss Montagu, Emma, Birdie, the landlady and
Mrs. Mangle got up and hastened to the lawn.

Each seemed anxious to quit the immediate
vicinity of her friends.

1 ' Where yuh gells bound fer ?' ' asked the land-
lady suspiciously.

Mrs. Mangle was straining her eyes after lit-
tle Minnie, behind whom Baby Theodore hus-
tled, his abbreviated legs finding her swift pace
too fast for comfort.

"I merely walked down to look around," said
Emma. "I'll see you in a little while."

"With vague and insufficient excuses they
parted.

What were the ladies of the Maison de Shine
about to do?

A wild scream attracted the Property Man,
rushing about in a vain endeavor to find 6 to 5
on a 4 to 5 shot. Then another sounded.

Black caught his arm.

"That's Emma!" he roared. "Come on,
Johnson! If any one's harmed a hair of that
dear head I'll have his life!"

"Gee! it won't hurt the hair none," soothed
the more experienced Property Man. " I 'm wit '
you. I dunno what kin be comin' off."



236 THE MAISON DE SHINE

1 ' Help ! help ! help ! Help ! help ! ' '

In the center of the ring little Minnie Mangle
stood. A bewildered policeman tugged at her
red skirt.

"He hit me," squalled Minnie, "fur makin'
a dollar bet ! Help ! help ! help ! I 'm little Min-
nie of the Mangles Four in vod'veel, an' I'm
bein' arrested."

"Aw, you ain't, neither," said the embar-
rassed cop. "I just told the brat to beat it out
o' here. G'wan, now, or I will pinch you ! This
ain't no place fur little gals. Somebody take her
out."

"Unhand my babe!"

Mrs. Mangle, her picture-hat awry upon her
artistically disheveled locks, flung herself at the
policeman.

Mr. Mangle dashed toward her.

Baby Theodore, seeing his parent entangled
with a surprised, blue-coated stranger, cunning-
ly prostrated his small form and violently
kicked the enemy upon a fat ankle. A wild scene
followed.

Mr. and Mrs. Mangle, the latter hysterically
shrieking that she would, if she must, be one of
the test-case martyrs, were finally brought to
the lawn by two policemen. Some uncertainty
prevailed as to whether little Minnie was under



THE BOARDERS GO RACING 237

arrest or not. The Mangles chose to consider
that she was.

On the way to the gate two other crowds
joined the one which trooped behind the snared
bettors. Mrs. de Shine and Miss Montagu, un-
der police escort, formed the fair magnet for
one. The Sisters de Gash, proudly marching
side by side, came in the next throng. All had,
by almost incredible effort, succeeded in proffer-
ing money to an unclassified bookmaker in the
person of the buck dancer, who noisily pro-
claimed the fact that he had accepted their bets.

A patrol wagon arrived after a wait, during
which people forgot the races and watched only
the vaudeville prisoners. Eeporters gathered
names, and the Property Man was bidden break
in doors at the boarding-house and seek out pho-
tographs of the victims for quick publication.

The Bounding Bananas, who had not thought
of this novel means of advertising, came to look
with the rest. Their chagrin was distressing.

"Tell Susy to git dinner, an' ef the house
can 't be tuck fur bail in Brooklyn, go fur Magis-
trate Corrigan," commanded the landlady.
"We'll git out by mornin', sure. Farewell all,
an' say how Maggie de Shine went to the hoodie-
hoodie waggin like Mary Queen o' Scots to her
finish!"

"Kemember, Mangles Four not Three,"



238 THE MAISON DE SHINE

hurriedly reminded Mr. Mangle, "an* ast the
reporters to git our names right, an' tell them
guys not to be kiddin', 'cause this here's a seri-
ous matter."

The Property Man, holding Baby Theodore
aloft, grinningly promised.

The patrol wagon was loaded with its talented
freight. The big automobiles moved out, in
close pursuit, with Black and his friends and
other boarders jammed into the seats.

"Say! Birdseed won in a walk, Emma!" he
bellowed. "Your five was on at three to one."

"An' I bet ten a place for you at even money
on Morning Glory, Birdie!" called Bob. "He
was second by a nose ! ' '

"Then I win the rent on the two of 'em!"
screeched the landlady from the wagon ahead,
' * 'cause I bet on 'em both I ' '

"What the dickens did they do it for?" Black
demanded.

Gladsome yells from the vaudevillians rose to
the skies. The Property Man laughed.

"You tell him, kid," he urged.

The smallest member of the Mangles gravely
eyed those nearest him.

"Advertisin' makes thuccess," lisped Baby
Theodore. "Pop thays so."



MRS. TRIPPIT GETS BACK AT JOHNNY

"FuR mercy's sake, Mis' Trippit, what's hap-
pened?" asked Mrs. de Shine. The guests were
at dinner, and between the buck dancer and his
wife, who, once separated by the divorce courts,
had forgiven each other and married again, no
word had passed. This was such a departure
from the usual custom of the pair that the land-
lady was moved to comment upon the silence.

"Ast Mr. Trippit," said the buck dancer's
wife coldly. ' * I guess he kin tell. ' '

"If I done wrong by astin' a civil question,
the dear knows I regret it, ' ' said Mrs. de Shine
with hauteur. "It ain't my wish, as them what
is acquainted with me knows, to pry into fam'ly
matters."

Mr. Trippit cut his portion of steak viciously.
All the boarders looked at him expectantly.

"She's sore because I'm goin' on Broadway,
that's all," he remarked, with a laudable en-
deavor to appear quite at ease.

There was a hum of surprised comment from
the table in general. * * Broadway ! ' observed the



240 THE MAISON DE SHINE

Property Man. "Where do you get that staff
at!"

Johnny Trippit smiled. "It ain't no fairy
pipe, old pal," he remarked. "I'm engaged as
special feature with * The Artist 's Model. ' See ?
I do my dance an' play a part."

Mrs. Trippit sniffed scornfully. The landlady
leaned over her shoulder. "Are yuh goin' with
'em, my dear?" she queried.

"No," said Mrs. Trippit loudly, "I ain't.
John Trippit 's wife, what could have her own
act an' it'd be a knockout screech, too ain't
classy enough to be ast to play on Broadway.
But it's all right. It don't make no difference
to me."

' ' Aw, let up ! " growled her husband. * ' Seems
to me we argyed enough about this gag, ain't
we? You said onct you was satisfied."

* l Oh, I 'm satisfied. Don 't worry about that, ' '
said Mrs. Trippit bitingly. "G'wan an' suit
yourself. I wouldn't care if you went in forty
swell productions."

"There she goes," began Mr. Trippit, appeal-
ing to the other boarders. "Her an' me has all
this fuss once, an' now she starts it over ag'in.
Here a fine offer's made to git into the legit, an'
she's beefin' 'cause I take it. It ain't right."

"Is they a part in the show fur her?" de-
manded the landlady judicially.



MRS. TRIPPIT GETS BACK 241

Mr. Trippit maintained a sullen silence.

"No!" shouted his wife, so abruptly that
Maizie Montgomery, the singing soubrette,
dropped a pickled beet which she was in process
of conveying to her ruby lips.

"That ain't no way to do," said the landlady
in a tone of rebuke. "Ef any one knows the
show business, an' knows it root an' branch, that
pusson is me. I've seen teams split before, an'
no good come of it."

"I always did say that he was the whole act,"
said Henry Bender, of Twister and Bender, the
acrobats, who were playing a week in dear old
New York again.

His partner assisted Henry to another wafer-
like slice of roast beef before he replied. "I
don't see where you get that dope from," said
he. "Bertha Trippit 's a swell little dancer, but
he's all the time hoggin' the center. I knew
John when he was scrappin' around for a dollar.
It was her made him."

Opinion differed as to the relative profes-
sional value of the Dancing Trippits. Back of
the scenes of various vaudeville stages that eve-
ning the news that Johnny Trippit had been se-
cretly rehearsing his new part for three weeks,
and was now ready to plunge into musical com-
edy, was discussed exhaustively.

His wife packed her theater trunk in their



242 THE MAISON DE SHINE

dressing-room on the Saturday night which
ended their career as a vaudeville attraction.
Hot tears dripped from her blue eyes upon
the chiffon frills of the orange gown which she
had worn for her opening song. From the lively
life of the varieties Mrs. Trippit must begin an
enforced retirement. Her husband endeavored
to cheer her by mention of the long, delightful
days of rest that were to be hers. "You kin go
an' see all the shows," he promised. "I think
you got a cinch. ' '

"I'd rather be working" she said gloomily.
"Do you s'pose, after playin' two shows a day
for five years, I can just sit down and do noth-
in'?"

Mr. Trippit said she was a most unreasonable
woman. On the opening night she went to the
theater with him. As he dressed with another
male member of the company she had to roam
around, standing in entrances until stage hands
or others crowded her out. She found a clear
space between a property mantel and a "set"
rock, used in the second act, and leaned against
the mantel forlornly.

"Look out!" shouted some one. She dodged
scenery until it became necessary to seek an-
other spot in which to stand. The chorus, in
spangled green, came hustling down the narrow
stairs from their dressing-rooms.



MRS. TRIPPIT GETS BACK 243

No one knew her, nor did they know Johnny
Trippit. The stage manager did.

"Who's this fellow Trippit that's down for
a dancing specialty?" asked a slim young man
in evening dress.

He was with the stage manager. Neither of
them noticed her. ' * Oh, he 's a hick who 's been
in vaudeville," answered the latter. "You can
see the hay on him yet, but he sure can dance.
A wonder, that's what. He's got it on all o'
them, and as soon as we tip him to get some
decent-looking clothes made, he'll do."

So they didn't approve of Johnny's wardrobe,
made by Fourteenth Street's smartest tailor?
Mrs. Trippit sighed. Then she looked at the
slim young man. There was about him a de-
cided air of class. His shirt buttons were black
pearls, and very small. Johnny wore large eye-
compelling studs of imitation pearl, and a ring
with a huge diamond of disreputable origin. He
had bought it cheaply from a man who preferred
not to say from whence it came, but he intimated
that had it been come by more honestly the price
might have been higher.

The slim man wore no diamond ring. Johnny
also sported another neat ring. It bore a large
black onyx shield, on which, in diamond
' ' chips, "was the letter " T. " The Trippits ad-
mired this ring greatly.



244 THE MAISON DE SHINE

Speculating upon the stranger's attire, Mrs.
Trippit began to ponder certain matters. Pos-
sibly Johnny's display of mineral wealth was
too profuse to accord with strict good taste.

"Will you not permit me to offer you a
chair?" asked the young man. "I can find one
at once."

Mrs. Trippit started when she realized that he
was addressing her. It was the first note of
friendliness which she had met there. Before
she could answer he disappeared, returning in
a moment with a chair.

"Please do," he said, smiling.

' ' Thank you ever so much, ' ' she returned po-
litely. The stage manager, after a brief ab-
sence, returned, and seeing her in the first en-
trance was about to inform Mrs. Trippit that
visitors, especially on a premiere, must not im-
pede the way of art.

"It's a friend of mine," remarked the young
man.

"Oh!" said the stage manager expressively.

Johnny was on but once in the first act, and
he was very nervous, so much so that when she
greeted him as he came off he passed by unheed-
ing. In the second act he had a song, with the
chorus and the Six Imperial Show Girls assist-
ing.

iWhen Johnny got the stage alone, his



MRS. TRIPPIT GETS BACK 245

"spesh" once begun, he forgot that a sated
Broadway audience watched. As the familiar
melody to which he danced his famous "wooden
shoe buck" reached her ears his wife's heart
leaped. She knew just at what instant they
would applaud, and whereas once she might
have glided on, snatched up her fluffy skirts, and
finished the act with him, to-night she must look
on, a mere spectator of his triumph.

There was a buzz of approbation and a furious
clapping. Those on the stage murmured praises.

"Didn't I tell you?" asked the stage manager
of the slim young man.

Johnny took his encores, trying to hide his
gratification. There were many vaudeville top-
liners in front. Every performer not working
that week had come to watch his debut.

"Johnny!" exclaimed his wife sharply, as he
started for his dressing-room. A statuesque
creature in a pink gown, wondrously molded to
her curves, had laid a hand upon his sleeve.
Mrs. Trippit saw the little cloud of powder left
upon the black of his coat.

"You were splendid!" said the pink lady en-
thusiastically. "Fine for you! Mr. Brooks
wants you to come to the supper afterward.
[Will you for me?"

"You bet I will!" he replied, with unre-
strained fervor.



246 THE MAISON DE SHINE

Mrs. Trippit shrank back so that he might not
see her, grinding her pretty little teeth. "The
pig ! ' ' she hissed. ' * Pig ! pig ! pig ! ' '

She hated all of them, and Johnny Trippit 's
pink admirer more than any one.

Mrs. de Shine was helping the slavey impart
flea powder to Fido, the poodle, as Mrs. Trippit
entered the hall of the boarding-house.

1 1 Hearings ! What 's wrong ? ' cried the land-
lady shrilly.

Mrs. Trippit flung herself, a sobbing heap of
furs and silks and picture-hat, upon the stairs.
Burrowing her face in the prickly carpet, she
wept out her woe.

"Susy, git some booze this instant!" com-
manded Mrs. de Shine authoritatively. "The
blame show's been a frost, or he crabbed the
hull thing. Now yuh see ef I ain't right. It'd
be jest like John Trippit to ruing the hull af-
fair."

The amiable Susy dashed into the landlady's
boudoir. "Gimme a swig, too," said her em-
ployer. "The sight of pore Berther takin' on
so has jest upset me dretful."

Gently they raised Mrs. Trippit. "An' was
he a frost, my dear?" queried the landlady.
"Take the licker; it'll do yuh a world o' good."



MRS. TR1PPIT GETS BACK 247

' ' Frost ! ' ' wailed the sufferer. < ' The lobster
was a hit!"

Susy nodded to her mistress. The latter re-
turned a glance which said plainly that some-
thing was very, very wrong.

Having gulped down the invigorating whisky,
Mrs. Trippit righted her hat, settled her skirts,
and sat comfortably upon the first step of the
stairs. Mrs. de Shine and Susy gathered about
her.

"He was the big scream of the piece," she be-
gan slowly. "Tuck six bows. An' he's won
out the leadin' woman, too! Oh! it's great to
be on Broadway and forget your own wife, Mis '
de Shine!"

"What'd he do!" The listeners spoke to-
gether.

She told of the pink person, and how Johnny
had ignored her.

' ' Berther, ef yuh let him git away with them
plays yuh ain't the womin I think you are,"
advised Mrs. de Shine. "Them uptown hussies
has turned his head, that's all. An' he never
was strong on hoss sense."

"That's true, an' no mistake," said Mrs.
Trippit dejectedly.

"Yer place," continued Mrs. de Shine, "is
by his side at their bum old supper. But don 't
yuh care. Wait '11 1 git out my dimings an' slap



248 THE MAISON DE SHINE

on my pompadour, an' us gells will jest go up
to Churchill's an' have a supper of our own."

"I feel too mean to go anywhere," sobbed
Mrs. Trippit. She could not be persuaded to
join the expedition, so the three ladies made tea,
and over it, with a plate of sandwiches flanked
by a pie, they spoke of the dangers of musical
comedy, and of Johnny. Out of the drear recol-
lections of the night Mrs. Trippit was enabled
to pluck forth one pleasant incident, in which
the slim young man figured.

"Yuh should have copped him out," declared
the landlady, "an* I guess yuh could quick
enough, with yer face an ' figger. Them Broad-
way dames ain't got nothin' on yuh at no time,
my dear."

The last boarder had clumped up the creaking
stairway when Johnny Trippit got out of a cab
at the door of the Maison de Shine. He stag-
gered as he set a course for the steps, but that
he still retained somewhat of discretion was evi-
denced when he searched carefully in all his
pockets, bringing forth at last a lady's long
white glove, which he dropped into a soot-crust-
ed bank of snow with a low chuckle.

' ' Wunnerf ul woman ! " he said, holding to the
knob for support. * ' Wunnerf ul ! ' ' And it need



MRS. TRIPPIT GETS BACK 249

not be inferred that it was of Mrs. Trippit that
he muttered.

There was a chill silence as he stumbled up-
ward, once inside the house. The door of his
room was locked. Mrs. Trippit, who had been
weeping into a writing-desk, admitted him. Her
hair was not in curl-papers, as usual. She had
decided that as Mr. Trippit and herself were
no longer so closely associated as of yore, it
were undignified to appear before him in such
a frank state of undress. Therefore, her brown
hair was waved, and coiled at the top of her
head.

"What do you want?" she inquired harshly.

"Wanner go t 'sleep," said Johnny sociably.
"Wha's madder?"

Not a word of her, or how she had arrived
home ! Although aware of the absolute futility
of wasting speech upon a vineleaf-crowned hus-
band, she raised her voice and conversed with
such strength and fluency that even if Johnny
disregarded it, the Omaha Comedy Four, near
by, could hear every word, and that consoled
a bit.

The tale of Johnny's misconduct was carried
hither and thither throughout the establishment
before breakfast next morning. The slavey
eagerly prattled of Mrs. Trippits lonely home-
coming, and the subsequent arrival of Johnny



250 THE MAISON DE SHINE

in a shocking condition. The pair treated each
other with distant courtesy. Mrs. Trippit was
pale and cold, while Johnny wore an air of pre-
tended gaiety as he tried to eat.

Although it had seemed, with the crowded
house and the cordial welcome, that "The Art-
ist's Model" was a success, the newspapers
gave it scant consideration. The dancing of
Johnny Trippit was commended, but the learned
gentlemen who wrote of the production re-
marked that one bright spot was not sufficient to
carry a show. Mrs. Trippit had watched her
Johnny snatch at the papers when Susy brought
them, by request, to his couch, but she refrained
from displaying the slightest interest in the cri-
tiques.

"Gee! They roast it!" he groaned.

' ' Well, it 's nothin 'tome!" she retorted. ' ' I
don't care. Tell your troubles to your lady
friend. ' '

The Trippits clashed again. Johnny had been
pondering as to what he might safely say to es-
tablish himself on a friendly footing once more.
1 1 When I seen that you 'd went home I got sore, ' '
said he, "and that's why I went to supper with
the backer and that mob. Honest, dearie, it
was."

Mrs. Trippit laughed contemptuously. "In-
deed?" she responded. "You wasn't frettin'



MRS. TEIPPIT GETS BACK 251

much over me when that minx was pawin' at
your arm!"

He subsided. His worst surmises were cor-
rect, for she had apparently seen the glorious
vision which had appealed so irresistibly to him.
"You're talkin' foolish!" he exclaimed boldly.

Mrs. Trippit arose, walked over to where he
sat, upon their hotel trunk, and slapped his face
with violence. "Take that, you lyin' beast!"
she shouted, and burst into tears of pique and
wretchedness.

If she would but let the matter rest at chastis-
ing him thus, he felt he was escaping easily, and
Mr. Trippit could not strike a lady had he de-
sired to do so. "All right, sweetie," said he
peaceably. "Just as you say."

"Don't call me no pet names !" threatened his
wife. ' ' Keep them for your Broadway actresses.
I don't want to hear 'em!"

Mrs. de Shine declined to notice Johnny at
all. She eyed him coldly, treating Ms wife,
meanwhile, with exaggerated politeness. Dur-
ing the day the angel, the manager and the sev-
enteen men whose names were upon the program
as co-authors and composers of the musical
comedy, foregathered and made plans toward
the bolstering up of it. It was too long, and it
dragged at intervals.

Some bright new "business" was needed and



252 THE MAISON DE SHINE

the cutting out of two songs must follow. They
were sure it could be whacked into shape for a
long run. There was an all-night rehearsal
after the regular performance Tuesday night.
Mrs. Trippit sat in a box with the slim young
man, to look on, when the audience had filed out.


1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 12 14 15

Online LibraryHelen GreenThe maison de Shine; more stories of the actors' boarding house → online text (page 12 of 15)