Miss Posie Carrington had earned her suc-
cess. She began life handicapped by the family name
of "Boggs," in the small town known as Cranberry
Corners. At the age of eighteen she had acquired
the name of "Carrington" and a position in the
chorus of a metropolitan burlesque company.
Thence upward she had ascended by the legitimate and
delectable steps of "broiler," member of the famous
"Dickey-bird" octette, in the successful musical
comedy, "Fudge and Fellows," leader of the potato-
bug dance in "Fol-de-Rol," and at length to the part
of the maid "'Toinette" in "The King's Bath-Robe,"
which captured the critics and gave her her chance.
And when we come to consider Miss Carrington she
is in the heydey of flattery, fame and fizz; and that
astute manager, Herr Timothy Goldstein, has her
signature to iron-clad papers that she will star the
coming season in Dyde Rich's new play, "Paresis by
Promptly there came to Herr Timothy a capable
twentieth-century young character actor by the name
of Highsmith, who besought engagement as "Sol
Haytosser," the comic and chief male character part
in "Paresis by Gaslight."
"My boy," said Goldstein, "take the part if you
can get it. Miss Carrington won't listen to any of
my suggestions. She has turned down half a dozen
of the best imitators of the rural dub in the city.
She declares she won't set a foot on the stage un-
less 'Haytosser' is the best that can be raked up --
She was raised in a village, you know, and when a
Broadway orchid sticks a straw in his hair and tries
to call himself a clover blossom she's on, all right.
I asked her, in a sarcastic vein, if she thought Den-
man Thompson would make any kind of a show in the
part. 'Oh, no,' says she. 'I don't want him or
John Drew or Jim Corbett or any of these swell
actors that don't know a turnip from a turnstile. I
want the real article.' So, my boy, if you want to
play I 'Sol Haytosser' you will have to convince Miss
Carrington. Luck be with you."
Highsmith took the train the next day for Cran-
berry Corners. He remained in that forsaken and
inanimate village three days. He found the Boggs
family and corkscrewed their history unto the third
and fourth generation. He amassed the facts and the
local color of Cranberry Corners. The village had
not grown as rapidly as had Miss Carrington. The
actor estimated that it had suffered as few actual
changes since the departure of its solitary follower
of Thespis as had a stage upon which "four years
is supposed to have elapsed." He absorbed Cran-
berry Corners and returned to the city of chameleon
It was in the rathskeller that Highsmith made the
hit of his histrionic career. There is no need to
name the place; there is but one rathskeller where
you could hope to find Miss Posie Carrington after a
performance of "The King's Bath-Robe."
There was a jolly small party at one of the tables
that drew many eyes. Miss Carrington, petite, mar-
vellous, bubbling, electric, fame-drunken, shall be
named first. Herr Goldstein follows, sonorous, curly-
haired, heavy, a trifle anxious, as some bear that had
caught, somehow, a butterfly in his claws. Next,
a man condemned to a newspaper, sad, courted,
armed, analyzing for press agent's dross every sen-
tence that was poured over him, eating his a la New-
burg in the silence of greatness. To conclude, a
youth with parted hair, a name that is ochre to red
journals and gold on the back of a supper check.
These sat at a table while the musicians played, while
waiters moved in the mazy performance of their duties
with their backs toward all who desired their service,
and all was bizarre and merry because it was nine feet
below the level of the sidewalk.
At 11.45 a being entered the rathskeller. The
first violin perceptibly flatted a C that should have
been natural; the clarionet blew a bubble instead of a
grace note; Miss Carrington giggled and the youth
with parted hair swallowed an olive seed.
Exquisitely and irreproachably rural was the new
entry. A lank, disconcerted, hesitating young man
it was, flaxen-haired, gaping of mouth, awkward,
stricken to misery by the lights and company. His
clothing was butternut, with bright blue tie, showing
four inches of bony wrist and white-socked ankle.
He upset a chair, sat in another one, curled a foot
around a table leg and cringed at the approach of
"You may fetch me a glass of lager beer," he said,
in response to the discreet questioning of the
The eyes of the rathskeller were upon him. He was
as fresh as a collard and as ingenuous as a hay rake.
He let his eye rove about the place as one who re-
gards, big-eyed, hogs in the potato patch. His gaze
rested at length upon Miss Carrington. He rose and
went to her table with a lateral, shining smile and
a blush of pleased trepidation.
"How're ye, Miss Posie?" he said in accents not
to be doubted. "Don't ye remember me - Bill Sum-
mers - the Summerses that lived back of the black-
smith shop? I reckon I've growed up some since ye
left Cranberry Corners.
"'Liza Perry 'lowed I might see ye in the city
while I was here. You know 'Liza married Benny
Stanfield, and she says --"
"Ah, say! " interrupted Miss Carrington, brightly,
"Lize Perry is never married - what! Oh, the
freckles of her!"
"Married in June," grinned the gossip, "and livin'
in the old Tatum Place. Ham Riley perfessed reli-
gion; old Mrs. Blithers sold her place to Cap'n
Spooner; the youngest Waters girl run away with a
music teacher; the court-house burned up last March;
your uncle Wiley was elected constable; Matilda Hos-
kins died from runnin' a needle in her hand, and Tom
Beedle is courtin' Sallie Lathrop - they say he don't
miss a night but what he's settin' on their porch."
"The wall-eyed thing!" exclaimed Miss Carring-
ton, with asperity. "Why, Tom Beedle once -- say,
you folks, excuse me a while -- this is an old friend
of mine -- Mr. -- what was it? Yes, Mr. Summers
-- Mr. Goldstein, Mr. Ricketts, Mr. -- Oh, what's
yours? 'Johnny''ll do -- come on over here and
tell me some more."
She swept him to an isolated table in a corner.
Herr Goldstein shrugged his fat shoulders and beck-
oned to the waiter. The newspaper man brightened
a little and mentioned absinthe. The youth with
parted hair was plunged into melancholy. The
guests of the rathskeller laughed, clinked glasses and
enjoyed the comedy that Posie Carrington was treat-
ing them to after her regular performance. A few
cynical ones whispered "press agent"' and smiled
Posie Carrington laid her dimpled and desirable
chin upon her hands, and forgot her audience -- a
faculty that had won her laurels for her.
"I don't seem to recollect any Bill Summers," she
said, thoughtfully gazing straight into the innocent
blue eyes of the rustic young man. "But I know the
Summerses, all right. I guess there ain't many
changes in the old town. You see any of my folks
And then Highsmith played his trump. The part
of "Sol Haytosser" called for pathos as well as
comedy. Miss Carrington should see that he could
do that as well.
"Miss Posie," said "Bill Summers,"" I was up to
your folkeses house jist two or three days ago. No,
there ain't many changes to speak of. The lilac bush
by the kitchen window is over a foot higher, and the
elm in the front yard died and had to be cut down.
And yet it don't seem the same place that it used
"How's ma?" asked Miss Carrington.
"She was settin' by the front door, crocheting a
lamp-mat when I saw her last," said "Bill." "She's
older'n she was, Miss Posie. But everything in the
house looked jest the same. Your ma asked me to set
down. 'Don't touch that willow rocker, William,"
says she. 'It ain't been moved since Posie left; and
that's the apron she was hemmin', layin' over the arm
of it, jist as she flung it. I'm in hopes,' she goes on,
that Posie'll finish runnin' out that hem some day.'"
Miss Carrington beckoned peremptorily to a
"A pint of extra dry," she ordered, briefly; "and
give the check to Goldstein."
"The sun was shinin' in the door," went on the
chronicler from Cranberry, "and your ma was settin'
right in it. I asked her if she hadn't better move
back a little. 'William,' says she, 'when I get sot
down and lookin' down the road, I can't bear to move.
Never a day,' says she, 'but what I set here every
minute that I can spare and watch over them palin's
for Posie. She went away down that road in the
night, for we seen her little shoe tracks in the dust,
and somethin' tells me she'll come back that way ag'in
when she's weary of the world and begins to think
about her old mother."
"When I was comin' away," concluded "Bill,"
"I pulled this off'n the bush by the front steps. I
thought maybe I might see you in the city, and I
knowed you'd like somethin' from the old home."
He took from his coat pocket a rose - a drooping,
yellow, velvet, odorous rose, that hung its bead in
the foul atmosphere of that tainted rathskeller like
a virgin bowing before the hot breath of the lions in
a Roman arena.
Miss Carrington's penetrating but musical laugh
rose above the orcbestra's rendering of "Bluebells."
"Oh, say!" she cried, with glee, "ain't those poky
places the limit? I just know that two hours at
Cranberry Corners would give me the horrors now.
Well, I'm awful glad to have seen you, Mr. Summers.
Guess I'll bustle around to the hotel now and get
my beauty sleep."
She thrust the yellow rose into the bosom of her
wonderful, dainty, silken garments, stood up and
nodded imperiously at Herr Goldstein.
Her three companions and "Bill Summers" at-
tended her to her cab. When her flounces and
streamers were all safely tucked inside she dazzled
them with au revoirs from her shining eyes and teeth.
"Come around to the hotel and see me, Bill, before
you leave the city," she called as the glittering cab
Highsmith, still in his make-up, went with Herr
Goldstein to a cafe booth.
"Bright idea, eh? " asked the smiling actor.
"Ought to land 'Sol Haytosser ' for me, don't you
think? The little lady never once tumbled."
"I didn't bear your conversation," said Goldstein,
but your make-up and acting was 0. K. Here's to
your success. You'd better call on Miss Carrington
early to-morrow and strike her for the part. I don't
see how she can keep from being satisfied with your
exhibition of ability."
At 11.45 A. M. on the next day Highsmith, hand-
some, dressed in the latest mode, confident, with a
fuchsia in his button-bole, sent up his card to Miss
Carrington in her select apartment hotel.
He was shown up and received by the actress's
"I am sorree," said Mlle. Hortense, "but I am to
say this to all. It is with great regret. Mees Car-
rington have cancelled all engagements on the stage
and have returned to live in that how you call that
town? Cranberry Cornaire!"