"Well, how did you make her hush up about it?"
"Told her I'd kill her if she said a single word," said Gerty, undauntedly. "I showed her Pa De Marsan's old dirk-knife and told her I'd stick it into her if she didn't hush. She was just such a 'fraid-cat she believed me. She might have known I didn't mean nothin'. Now she can have 'em and be a lady. She was always tallkin' about bein' a lady, and that put it into my head."
"What did she want to be a lady for?" asked Madam Delia, indignantly.
"Said she wanted to have a parlor and dress tight. I don't want to be one of her old ladies. I want to stay with you, Delia, and learn the clog-dance." And she threw her arms round the show-woman's neck and cried herself to sleep.
Never did the energetic proprietress of a Museum and Variety Combination feel a greater exultation than did Madam Delia that night. The child's offence was all forgotten in the delight of the discovery to which it led. If there had been expectations of social glories to accrue to the house of De Marsan through Gerty's social promotion, they melted away; and the more substantial delight of still having someone to love and to be proud of,--some object of tenderness warmer than snakes and within nearer reach than a Chinese giant,--this came in its stead. The show, too, was in a manner on its feet again. De Marsan said that he would rather have Gerty than a hundred-dollar bill. Madam Delia looked forward and saw herself sinking into the vale of years without a sigh,--reaching a period when a serpent fifteen feet long would cease to charm, or she to charm it,--and still having a source of pride and prosperity in this triumphant girl.
The tent was in its glory on the day of Gerty's return; to be sure, nothing in particular had been washed except the face of Old Bill, but that alone was a marvel compared with which all "Election Day" was feeble, and when you add a paper collar, words can say no more. Monsieur Comstock also had that "ten times barbered" look which Shakespeare ascribes to Mark Antony, and which has belonged to that hero's successors in the histrionic profession ever since. His chin was unnaturally smooth, his mustache obtrusively perfumed, and nothing but the unchanged dirtiness of his hands still linked him, like Antaeus, with the earth. De Marsan had intended some personal preparation, but had been, as usual, in no hurry, and the appointed moment found him, as usual, in his shirt-sleeves. Madam Delia, however, wore a new breastpin and gave Gerty another. And the great new attraction, the Chinese giant, had put on a black broadcloth coat across his bony shoulders, in her honor, and made a vigorous effort to sit up straight, and appear at his ease when off duty. He habitually stooped a good deal in private life, as if there were no object in being eight feet high, except before spectators.
Anne, the placid and imperturbable, was promoted to take the place that Gerty had rejected, in the gentle home of the good sisters. The secret of her birth, whatever it was, never came to light but, she took kindly, as Madam Delia had predicted,to "living genteel," and grew up into a well-behaved mediocrity, unregretful of the show-tent. Yet probably no one reared within the smell of sawdust ever quite outgrew all taste for "the profession," and Anne, even when promoted to good society, never missed seeing a performance when her wandering friends came by. If I told you under what name Gerty became a star in the low-comedy line, after her marriage, you would all recognize it; and if you had seen her in "Queen Pippin" or the "Shooting-Star" pantomime, you would wish to see her again. Her first child was named after Madam Delia, and proved to be a placid little thing, demure enough to have been born in a Quaker family, and exhibiting no contortions or gymnastics but those common to its years. And you may be sure that the retired show-woman found in the duties of brevet-grand-mother a glory that quite surpassed her expectations.
Near my summer home there is a little cove or landing by the bay, where nothing larger than a boat can ever anchor. I sit above it now, upon the steep bank, knee-deep in buttercups, and amid grass so lush and green that it seems to ripple and flow instead of waving. Below lies a tiny beach, strewn with a few bits of drift-wood and some purple shells, and so sheltered by projecting walls that its wavelets plash but lightly. A little farther out the sea breaks more roughly over submerged rocks, and the waves lift themselves, before breaking, in an indescribable way, as if each gave a glimpse through a translucent window, beyond which all ocean's depths might be clearly seen, could one but hit the proper angle of vision. On the right side of my retreat a high wall limits the view, while close upon the left the crumbling parapet of Fort Greene stands out into the foreground, its verdant scarp so relieved against the blue water that each inward-bound schooner seems to sail into a cave of grass. In the middle distance is a white lighthouse, and beyond lie the round tower of old Fort Louis and the soft low hills of Conanicut.
Source of this article：http://nyhps.medkent.com/news/853e998153.html
Copyright statement: The content of this article was voluntarily contributed by internet users, and the views expressed in this article only represent the author themselves. This website only provides information storage space services and does not hold any ownership or legal responsibility. If you find any suspected plagiarism, infringement, or illegal content on this website, please send an email to report it. Once verified, this website will be immediately deleted.