E-text prepared by Marilynda Fraser-Cunliffe, Cori Samuel, and the Project
Gutenberg Online Distributed Proofreading Team (http://www.pgdp.net/)
Note: Project Gutenberg also has an HTML version of this
file which includes the original illustration.
See 18699-h.htm or 18699-h.zip:
THE MOVING PICTURE GIRLS AT SEA
A Pictured Shipwreck That Became Real
LAURA LEE HOPE
Author of "The Moving Picture Girls," "The Moving Picture
Girls at Rocky Ranch," "The Outdoor Girls Series," "The
Bobbsey Twins Series," Etc.
[Illustration: RUSS BEGAN TAKING MANY VIEWS OF THE PITCHING, TOSSING
SCHOONER. - _Page 157._]
The World Syndicate Publishing Co.
Cleveland, O. New York, N. Y.
Copyright, 1915, by
Grosset & Dunlap
Printed in the United States of America
The Commercial Bookbinding Co. Cleveland, O.
I THE GREAT MARINE FILM 1
II JACK JEPSON 10
III SOMETHING OF A MYSTERY 21
IV THE SAILOR'S STORY 28
V THE MARY ELLEN 36
VI CAPTAIN BRISCO 45
VII JEPSON IS WORRIED 53
VIII HARD WORK 60
IX THE RISING TIDE 68
X TOO MUCH REALISM 76
XI A REVISED FILM 87
XII OVERHEARD 94
XIII "ALL ABOARD!" 104
XIV OVERBOARD 114
XV "SAIL HO!" 123
XVI THE ACCUSATION 133
XVII THE STORM 141
XVIII GRINDING AWAY 149
XIX DISABLED 158
XX IN THE VORTEX 165
XXI WRECKED 172
XXII "MUTINY!" 182
XXIII HELP AT LAST 188
XXIV A SIGNAL OF DISTRESS 200
XXV CLEAR SKIES 206
THE GREAT MARINE FILM
"Well, at last a breathing period, Ruth. Oh, I am surely tired!" and the
girl threw herself on the couch, without stopping to remove her light
jacket and hat. Her head sank wearily on a cushion.
"Oh, Alice! Be careful! Look out!" exclaimed the other occupant of the
pleasant little room, a room made habitable by the articles of tasteful
adornment in it, rather than by the location of the apartment, or the
place itself. There was a "homey" air about it.
"I'm too tired to look out, or even look in," was the answer, as the
younger girl closed her eyes. Truly she seemed much "fagged," and worn
"But, Alice, dear - your hat!"
"It doesn't matter, Ruth. Please let me rest. I thought we'd never get
"But it isn't your old hat, Alice, and - - "
"It's an old hat from now on!" broke in the younger girl, not opening
her eyes. "It's spoiled anyhow. Some of the water from that parlor
scene, where Mr. Bunn upset the globe of gold fish, splashed on it, and
the spots never will come out."
"Oh, Alice, is your hat spoiled?"
"It doesn't matter. Mr. Pertell is going to buy me a new one. He said it
was up to the company to do that, especially as I did so well in that
burning room scene the other day. There!" and the girl on the couch
raised her small fist and plumped it full on the crown of the chic
little toque she was wearing.
"Alice DeVere!" cried her sister, aghast.
"Ruth DeVere - Lady Clarissa - Se√±orita Alamondi! Whatever you like, only
let me - alone! I've posed and acted and otherwise contorted myself
before at least five thousand feet of film today, and I'm not going to
be disturbed now, just for the sake of a hat that is as good as paid for
anyhow, so 'please go 'way and let me sleep,'" and Alice murmured the
chorus of a once popular song.
Ruth sighed. Somehow, looking at her gentle and refined face, one
understood that a sigh, from her, was the only possible answer under the
circumstances. Not that the girl on the couch, with closed eyes, was
unrefined. But there was a wholesome air of good health about her that
caused one to think of a "jolly good fellow," rather than a girl who
needed to be helped on and off trolley cars.
"You _are_ tired," commented Ruth, after a pause. "Shall I make you a
cup of tea, dear? Or we could go over to Mrs. Dalton's, if you like. You
know she told us always to come in when we came from the theatre, and
"No, dear, thank you. It's awfully good of you to offer, but I don't
want you to trouble. I'll be all right in a few minutes. I just want to
"It was a tiresome day; wasn't it, dear?"
"I should say so, 'and then - some,' as Russ would say."
"You shouldn't quote Russ when he uses slang," was the older girl's
"Can't help it, Ruth. That just seemed to fit. But you can't feel so
very rested yourself. You had some heavy parts today."
"Oh, I don't mind. I really was in love with that role of Lady Clarissa.
I always did like English plays, anyhow."
"Well, we are getting more than our share of them this season. I wish
Mr. Pertell would swing to a good American drama again. Say, didn't we
have fun at Rocky Ranch?" and as she asked this some of the weariness
seemed to slip off Alice as a discarded garment is let fall. She sat up,
her eyes flashing with fun, and her cheeks that had been pale were now
suffused with a heightened color.
"Yes, we did have fun," assented Ruth. "But it was hard work,
too, - especially when that prairie fire came a little too close for
"That _was_ rather scary," assented Alice. "But it was outdoors, and
that was what I love. Oh, I can just smell that wonderful air yet!" and
she breathed in a long breath. A look of annoyance passed over her face,
and she made a gesture of disapproval, "wrinkling" her nose.
"They're having corned beef and cabbage again downstairs," she said,
pointing to the apartment below them.
"Well, they have a right to it," Ruth said, with a tolerant smile.
"Not when daddy hates it so," disagreed Alice. "Come on, let's make a
cup of tea. And is there any cheese?"
"Yes," the younger girl went on. "I'm going to make a Welsh rarebit.
Daddy just adores them, and the smell of the toast will take away the
odor of that cabbage. Is there any cheese?"
"I think so. But I thought you were tired."
"I was, but I guess thinking of the moving picture days at Rocky Ranch
acted as a tonic. I'm rested now. There!"
She tossed the hat, which she had so mistreated, on a chair, slipped off
her jacket and started for the kitchen.
"I _think_ there is some cheese," went on Ruth, following her younger
sister. "But don't make the rarebit as you did last time. It was so
tough that Russ said it would do very well to half sole his rubber
"That was because I put the milk in too suddenly. I won't do it that way
this time. Come on, we'll get up a nice little tea for daddy. He's sure
to be tired also. They had to film that big scene of the accusation over
three times before Mr. Pertell was satisfied."
"Is that so? I didn't know that, I was so busy with that English play.
Then father will be late."
"A little. He said he'd follow us in about an hour, though. So we'll
just about have it ready in time. Did Russ come out with you?"
"No," and though she uttered but this simple word the cheeks of Ruth
took on a more ruddy hue.
"I saw Pearl waiting for him," went on Alice. "But - - "
"You did?" cried Ruth, and then she added quickly: "Oh, I mean I suppose
he had to go with her to film that scene in Central Park, near the
"Don't get jealous now," teased Alice. "I said Pearl waited for him,
but, she is - still waiting, I guess."
"What do you mean?"
Ruth tried to appear indifferent, but it was not an unqualified success.
"I mean that Russ got one of the other camera men to take his place, and
go out with Miss Pennington," said Alice with a laugh as she began
cutting the bread in thin slices for toast.
"But Russ - "
"He went up town. He told me to tell you he thought he could get that
book you spoke of."
"Oh, I didn't want him to go to all _that_ trouble!" remonstrated Ruth,
looking at her sister, and then suddenly averting her gaze.
"Guess he doesn't call much _trouble_ where _you_ are concerned," said
Alice significantly, cutting up some chunks of cheese which she put in a
double boiler with some lumps of butter. "He said if you wanted a book
to give you some of the details of the country, where that English play
was supposed to take place, you were going to have it."
"It's awfully good of him," murmured Ruth. "I just casually mentioned
that I'd like to know something about the people of that section, and he
offered to get a book he had once heard of. But I didn't want him to
make such a fuss over it."
"La-la-la!" chanted Alice, about nothing in particular.
The girls busied themselves getting tea. The kettle was soon singing on
the gas stove, the crisp odor of toast had replaced the heavier one of
cabbage, and the rarebit was almost ready to serve, when a step was
heard out in the hall of the apartment house where the DeVere family had
their New York home.
"There's daddy!" exclaimed Alice.
"And just in time," added Ruth, as she poured the boiling water on the
tea, adding to the fragrant food perfumes that now filled the apartment.
The key clicked in the lock, the door opened, and a rather imposing
figure of a man entered, laying aside his hat and light overcoat, for
the Spring day was a bit chilly.
"Hello, Daddy!" called Alice, putting up her face to be kissed, as she
came in from the kitchen with a plate of delicately browned toast.
"You're just in time. And it's such a _lovely_ rarebit!"
"That's good, my dear."
"Oh, Father, how hoarse you are!" cried Ruth. "Is your throat bad
"Well, this harbor dampness isn't just the best medicine for it. But I
shall spray it, and it will be better."
He sank somewhat wearily into a chair as he spoke, and Ruth glided over
"Daddy," she said, "you look worried. Has anything happened? Is anything
wrong at the moving picture studio?"
"No, nothing wrong, but - "
It was evident that something out of the usual had occurred. Even
light-hearted Alice sensed it.
"What is it?" she asked.
"Oh, nothing so much," her father said in weary tones. "I suppose I
shouldn't make such a fuss over it. But Mr. Pertell has finally decided
to film the great marine drama, and that means we shall have to go out
on the water, more or less. And with my sore throat that isn't just the
best thing in the world for me."
"A marine drama!" cried Alice. "Oh, I shall just love _that_!"
A look of worry still clouded Mr. DeVere's face.
"Father, there is something else," insisted Ruth. "You haven't told us
all about this sea film."
"No, I - I haven't," he said. "And, to tell the truth, I'd rather we
weren't going to be in that marine drama."
Hosmer DeVere's words and manner alike were alarming to his daughters.
Seldom had they seen him so moved, especially over such a seemingly
simple matter as the announcement of a new moving picture drama. He and
the girls, in common with the other members of the Comet Film Company,
had to portray many different scenes in the course of a season's work,
and though some of it was distasteful, it was seldom objected to by
anyone, unless perhaps by Pepper Sneed, the "grouch," or perhaps by Mr.
Wellington Bunn, an actor of the old school, who could not reconcile
himself to the silent drama.
"Why, Daddy, what is the matter?" asked Alice. "I think it will be
perfectly fine to have a little trip out to sea, especially now that
Summer is coming on."
"But not if the damp salty air is going to irritate his throat,"
"Oh, it isn't so much that," Mr. DeVere said, "but you girls evidently
don't know that the big scene in this drama is a shipwreck, and what
follows. I am to be 'cast' in that, and so are you."
"Well, what of it?" asked Alice. "It won't be a _real_ shipwreck; will
"Real? Of course not!" exclaimed Ruth. "The idea!"
"I certainly hope it won't be real," Mr. DeVere said, "But - Oh, well, I
suppose I may as well admit the truth. You'll probably call me fussy and
all that, and laugh at the superstition of an old actor. But you know we
have our traditions, though I am free to confess that I have lost many
of them since entering on this moving picture work. But I had a dream
about this same shipwreck, and that was before I knew we were to be in
it, for I might mention that Mr. Pertell has included you girls in the
drama, and has prominent parts selected for you."
"Oh, I'm glad!" cried Alice enthusiastically.
"I'm not," her father said, and he did not smile. "As I said I had a
dream about this drama before I knew we were to have parts in it. And in
that dream I saw - - "
"Oh, Daddy! Now don't tell a depressing dream before tea!" begged Alice,
slipping her arms about his neck, and imprinting a kiss on a spot,
which, if it were not already bald, was fast becoming so. "Wait until
after supper - the rarebit will spoil if we don't eat it at once. Wait,
"All right, I will," he assented with a sigh. "Perhaps I may have a less
gloomy view of it after a cup of tea."
And while the little family party is gathered about the table, I shall
take just a moment to tell my new readers something about the previous
books of this series.
Ruth and Alice DeVere were moving picture girls, which you have probably
guessed already. That is, they were actresses for the silent film dramas
that make so much for enjoyment nowadays. Mr. DeVere was also an actor
in the same company. He had been a semi-tragedian of the "old school,"
but his voice had failed, because of a throat ailment, and he could no
longer declaim his lines over the footlights. He was in distress until
it was suggested to him that he take up moving picture work.
This suggestion came from young Russ Dalwood, who, with his widowed
mother and little brother, lived across the hall from the DeVere family,
in the Fenmore Apartment on one of the West Sixty streets of New York.
Russ had invented a new attachment for a moving picture camera, and he
himself was a camera operator of ability.
At first Mr. DeVere had refused to consider moving picture work, but he
finally consented, and even allowed his daughters to take their parts in
the silent drama. In the initial book of the series, "The Moving Picture
Girls," I related their first experiences.
All was not smooth sailing. Though Mr. Frank Pertell, manager of the
Comet Film Company, was a most agreeable man, the other members of the
theatrical company were like those of any other organization - some were
liked, and some were not. Among the former, at least from the standpoint
of Ruth and Alice, was Russ; Paul Ardite, who played juvenile leads; Pop
Snooks, the property man and one who did all the odd tasks; and Carl
Switzer, a round-faced German, who was funny without knowing it.
But neither Ruth nor Alice cared much for Laura Dixon and Pearl
Pennington, two former vaudeville actresses who thought they were
conferring a favor on the cameras to pose for moving pictures. Mr. Bunn,
an actor of the kind styled "Hams", was in like case.
Mr. Bunn was always bemoaning the fact that he had left the "legitimate"
drama with a chance of playing "Hamlet", to take up moving picture
work. But he might have been glad - especially on paydays - for he had
made more out of camera work than he could have done on the regular
Pepper Sneed was never satisfied. He was of a gloomy nature, and always
looking for trouble. Sometimes he found it, and for a time he was happy
in saying "I told you so." But more often he proved a dismal failure as
a predicter of calamities.
This was the company, with others whom you will meet from time to time,
in whose fortunes Ruth and Alice DeVere had cast their lots.
After the girls' first introduction to the camera they went to Oak Farm
where a series of pictures were taken, and, incidentally, a mystery was
cleared up. Getting snowbound was another experience for our friends,
but they forgot the cruelties of Winter in the happy days under the
palms. And they had only recently come back from Rocky Ranch, where a
number of Western dramas had been filmed, when the little scene of our
opening chapter took place.
Those of you who have read the previous books of this series do not need
to be told much about moving pictures. And even those who select this
volume as their first venture in becoming acquainted with our heroines
must well know how the film pictures look from the front of the screen.
To the uninitiated I might say that in making picture plays a company,
somewhat like a regular theatrical organization, is gotten together. The
play is decided upon, but instead of the acts taking place before an
audience they are enacted before a camera and a man who acts as
director, or manager.
Some of the action takes place out of doors, amid the surroundings of
nature, but most interior scenes are "filmed," or taken, in the studio,
under the brilliant glare of electric lights. The pictures are taken in
succession on a narrow strip of celluloid film, of the same nature as
those in any camera. The strips are of a standard length of one thousand
feet, though some plays may "split," and take only half a "reel" while
others will fill several.
When the film has been exposed, it is developed in a dark tank, and from
that one "master" film, any number of "positives" can be made for use in
the projecting machines. Doubtless you know that the same machine which
takes the pictures does not show them on the screen.
But enough of this detail.
"Was the rarebit good?" asked Alice, smiling up into her father's face,
as the supper progressed.
"You may give me some more, which is the best answer in the world, my
dear," he replied, smiling.
"Be careful!" Ruth warned him. "You may have dreams, Daddy!"
A shadow seemed to pass over the face of the old actor. He had been
jokingly gay during the meal, but now there seemed to be a sense of
"Might as well tell us, and have it over with," suggested Ruth. "We
don't believe in dreams, anyhow. Do we Alice?"
"Not a bit, and I've named the corners of my bed ever so many times,"
and she laughed at that old sweethearts' superstition.
"Well, my dream was very vivid," Mr. DeVere said. "I don't usually
believe in omens, but this one impressed me. I dreamed we were all at
sea, on a vessel in a storm, and, somehow, we became separated. I saw
you girls going down with the ship, while I was taken up on a life
"Well, what of it, Daddy?" asked Alice. "I've often had unpleasant
dreams myself. Probably you ate something you ought not to have taken.
I'm rather sorry, now, I made this rarebit."
"Oh, not at all! It was excellent!" he exclaimed. "I would perhaps,
have thought nothing of my dream had not Mr. Pertell, a short time ago,
told me something of his plans for the future. He spoke of a great
marine drama he had in prospect, and we are to have prominent parts in
it. But I was startled when he told me that one scene - the great one, in
fact - was to be a shipwreck. He has engaged an old vessel for this
purpose, and he is going to sink it with all on board."
"All on board!" cried Ruth. "You don't mean - - "
"Well, that's how it will appear in the camera, anyhow. You girls are to
be well in front, and your swimming abilities will be very necessary,
for you will have to go into the water."
"I hope it is warm," murmured Alice.
"Oh, it will be Summer before we get to the shipwreck part," went on Mr.
DeVere. "But what worries me is my dream in connection with the drama. I
almost told Mr. Pertell we would have nothing to do with it."
"Oh, Father! You can't do that!" exclaimed Ruth. She, as housekeeper,
knew how much money was required in these days of the high cost of
living. Though Mr. DeVere and his daughters received fair salaries,
there were many expenses to be met, and if they refused present
engagements they might not find it so easy to get others.
"Oh, of course I didn't actually turn it down," said the old actor, "but
it gave me quite a turn, I must say. I haven't gotten over it yet,
seeing you girls disappear under the waves."
"Don't think of it, Daddy!" urged Alice. "Have some of this apple slump.
Mrs. Dalwood sent it in."
"Your idea is that a man's mind is in his stomach, isn't it, daughter,"
laughed her father. "Well, I will have some of the dessert. Oh, but I
almost forgot, you will have to go down an hour earlier in the morning
to the studio."
"Why?" Ruth wanted to know.
"A heavy day's work on, and Mr. Pertell wants to sketch out the
preliminary scenes of the marine drama. We are actually going to sea, I
believe, and he has engaged some old sailors, or at least one so far, to
give it a proper nautical flavor. It's only for tomorrow that we have to
go earlier than usual."
Mr. DeVere seemed more like himself after he had told his daughters of
his vision. It did not so depress him now, and the rest of the meal
passed off in a much more jolly manner.
In the evening Russ Dalwood came in from across the hall, and they
played bridge whist, of which Mr. DeVere was fond.
"Fancy daddy, Russ," laughed Alice, "wanting us to give up a chance to
go to sea just because he dreamed of a shipwreck!"
"Oh, I didn't actually want you to give it up," her father remonstrated.
"Perhaps I was foolish even to mention it. But I can't forget it - I
can't!" and he seemed to look through the walls of the room on some
distant and fateful scene.
"Well, I must be getting back," Russ said. "You've won the rubber, as
usual, Mr. DeVere. Lots to do tomorrow, and I have a new assistant to
break in, so I'll say good-night."
There were busy times for all next day, in the studio of the moving
picture concern. In the big room brilliant with electric lights as well
as from the illumination that came through a sky-glass, there were
several scenes from different dramas being filmed at the same time.
When Ruth and Alice DeVere entered with their father, Mr. Pertell, the
manager of the Comet company, was engaged off to one side, evidently
instructing a man in what he must do before the camera. The man was a
sailor, and it needed but a glance to show that he was a real one, and
not "made up" for the occasion.
"You see," said Mr. Pertell, "you come into the shipping office, and
pretend to hand over the papers. But you slip the clerk the wrong ones,
and while he is examining them you reach over behind him and take the
documents you want."
"Avast there! Belay!" came the hoarse voice of the sailor. "I do that
there, do I?"
"Steal the papers?"
"Well, it isn't _stealing_, exactly. It's only - - "
"Stealin' is what I call it, and it can't be called by another name to
my way of thinkin'. It won't do, sir, it won't do! Jack Jepson got into
trouble once, but he isn't goin' to do it again. No sir! That stealin'
won't do for Jack Jepson. You've got to get someone else to sign them
articles for you. No stealin' for Jack Jepson!" and the figure of the
old sailor turned and, with a rolling gait, he started across the big
SOMETHING OF A MYSTERY
"Look out there!"
"Where you going?"
"Hold him back, somebody! Look out, you'll spoil that scene! Don't cross
in front of the camera!"
Half a dozen frantic voices were calling to the sailor who, with dogged
persistence, kept on, shaking his grizzled and gray head, and muttering
over and over again:
"It won't do for Jack Jepson! No sir! It won't do. I had one experience
with trouble and I don't want any more. No sir!"
Evidently utterly unused to a moving picture studio, the old man kept on
his way. He was headed directly toward a camera that was "filming" an
elaborate ball room scene.
If any figure came between the scene and the camera with the pictures it
was imprinting on the sensitive celluloid film (at the rate of sixteen
per second) part of the elaborate work would have to be done over
again. And as one of the characters in the little play was a celebrated
dancer, whose time was paid for at an almost unbelieveable sum per hour,
it would mean a heavy expense.
"Stop him!" cried Mr. Pertell. "Come back here!"
"Halt! Vamoose! Turn about!" Paul Ardite called to the worked-up