Work: A Story of Experience HTML version

III. Actress
FEELING that she had all the world before her where to choose, and that her next step
ought to take her up at least one round higher on the ladder she was climbing, Christie
decided not to try going out to service again. She knew very well that she would never
live with Irish mates, and could not expect to find another Hepsey. So she tried to get a
place as companion to an invalid, but failed to secure the only situation of the sort that
was offered her, because she mildly objected to waiting on a nervous cripple all day, and
reading aloud half the night. The old lady called har an "impertinent baggage," and
Christie retired in great disgust, resolving not to be a slave to anybody.
Things seldom turn out as we plan them, and after much waiting and hoping for other
work Christie at last accepted about the only employment which had not entered her
Among the boarders at Mrs. Flint's were an old lady and her pretty daughter, both
actresses at a respectable theatre. Not stars by any means, but good second-rate players,
doing their work creditably and earning an honest living. The mother had been kind to
Christie in offering advice, and sympathizing with her disappointments. The daughter, a
gay little lass, had taken Christie to the theatre several times, there to behold her in all the
gauzy glories that surround the nymphs of spectacular romance.
To Christie this was a great delight, for, though she had pored over her father's
Shakespeare till she knew many scenes by heart, she had never seen a play till Lucy led
her into what seemed an enchanted world. Her interest and admiration pleased the little
actress, and sundry lifts when she was hurried with her dresses made her grateful to
The girl's despondent face, as she came in day after day from her unsuccessful quest, told
its own story, though she uttered no complaint, and these friendly souls laid their heads
together, eager to help her in their own dramatic fashion.
"I've got it! I've got it! All hail to the queen!" was the cry that one day startled Christie as
she sat thinking anxiously, while sewing mock-pearls on a crown for Mrs. Black.
Looking up she saw Lucy just home from rehearsal, going through a series of
pantomimic evolutions suggestive of a warrior doing battle with incredible valor, and a
very limited knowledge of the noble art of self-defence.
"What have you got? Who is the queen?" she asked, laughing, as the breathless hero
lowered her umbrella, and laid her bonnet at Christie's feet.
"You are to be the Queen of the Amazons in our new spectacle, at half a dollar a night for
six or eight weeks, if the piece goes well."
"No!" cried Christie, with a gasp.