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PinkMonkey Digital Library-Sister Carrie by Theodore Dreiser


Now, because Carrie was pretty, the gentlemen who made up the
advance illustrations of shows about to appear for the Sunday
papers selected Carrieís photo along with others to illustrate the
announcement. Because she was very pretty, they gave it
excellent space and drew scrolls about it. Carrie was delighted.
Still, the management did not seem to have seen anything of it. At
least, no more attention was paid to her than before. At the same
time there seemed very little in her part. It consisted of standing
around in all sorts of scenes, a silent little Quakeress. The author
of the skit had fancied that a great deal could be made of such a
part, given to the right actress, but now, since it had been doled
out to Carrie, he would as leave have had it cut out.

"Donít kick, old man," remarked the manager. "If it donít go the
first week we will cut it out."

Carrie had no warning of this halcyon intention. She practised her
part ruefully, feeling that she was effectually shelved. At the dress
rehearsal she was disconsolate.

"That isnít so bad," said the author, the manager noting the
curious effect which Carrieís blues had upon the part. "Tell her to
frown a little more when Sparks dances."

Carrie did not know it, but there was the least show of wrinkles
between her eyes and her mouth was puckered quaintly.

"Frown a little more, Miss Madenda," said the stage manager.

Carrie instantly brightened up, thinking he had meant it as a
rebuke.

"No; frown," he said. "Frown as you did before."

Carrie looked at him in astonishment.

"I mean it," he said. "Frown hard when Mr. Sparks dances. I want
to see how it looks."

It was easy enough to do. Carrie scowled. The effect was
something so quaint and droll it caught even the manager.

"That is good," he said. "If sheíll do that all through, I think it will
take."

Going over to Carrie, he said:

"Suppose you try frowning all through. Do it hard. Look mad. Itíll
make the part really funny."

On the opening night it looked to Carrie as if there were nothing
to her part, after all. The happy, sweltering audience did not seem
to see her in the first act. She frowned and frowned, but to no
effect. Eyes were riveted upon the more elaborate efforts of the
stars.

In the second act, the crowd, wearied by a dull conversation,
roved with its eyes about the stage and sighted her. There she was,
gray-suited, sweet-faced, de-

mure, but scowling. At first the general idea was that she was
temporarily irritated, that the look was genuine and not fun at all.
As she went on frowning, looking now at one principal and now
at the other, the audience began to smile. The portly gentlemen in
the front rows began to feel that she was a delicious little morsel.
It was the kind of frown they would have loved to force away
with kisses. All the gentlemen yearned toward her. She was
capital.

At last, the chief comedian, singing in the centre of the stage,
noticed a giggle where it was not expected. Then another and
another. When the place came for loud applause it was only
moderate. What could be the trouble? He realised that something
was up.

All at once, after an exit, he caught sight of Carrie. She was
frowning alone on the stage and the audience was giggling and
laughing.

"By George, I wonít stand that!" thought the thespian. "Iím not
going to have my work cut up by some one else. Either she quits
that when I do my turn or I quit."

"Why, thatís all right," said the manager, when the kick came.
"Thatís what sheís supposed to do. You neednít pay any attention
to that."
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PinkMonkey Digital Library-Sister Carrie by Theodore Dreiser



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