My Queen_ A Weekly Journal for Young Women. Issue 5, October 27, 1900 Marion Marlowe Entrapped; or, The Victim of Professional Jealousy
A WEEKLY JOURNAL FOR YOUNG WOMEN
No. 5. PRICE, FIVE CENTS.
MARION MARLOWE ENTRAPPED
THE VICTIM OF PROFESSIONAL JEALOUSY
BY GRACE SHIRLEY
PUBLISHED WEEKLY BY STREET & SMITH, 238 William Street, New York City.
Copyright, 1900, by Street & Smith. All rights reserved. Entered at New York Post-Office as Second-Class Matter.
Issued Weekly. By Subscription $2.50 per year. Entered as Second Class Matter at the N. Y. Post Office, by STREET & SMITH, 238 William St., N. Y.
Entered According to Act of Congress in the year 1900, in the Office of the Librarian of Congress, Washington, D. C.
No. 5. NEW YORK, October 27, 1900. Price Five Cents.
Marion Marlowe Entrapped;
THE VICTIM OF PROFESSIONAL JEALOUSY.
By GRACE SHIRLEY.
“ILA DE PARLOA.”
Howard Everett, musical critic for theNew York Star, was just entering the officeof his friend, Manager Graham, when hestopped and almost stared at the young ladywho was emerging. She was by far the mostbeautiful girl that Everett had ever seen, andthat was saying much, for the critic hadtraveled extensively. She was not over seventeen,a trifle above medium height, with abrilliant complexion, luxuriant chestnut hairand large gray eyes, that flashed like diamondsas she glanced at him carelessly.
Everett gave a long, low whistle to relievehis feelings, then threw open the door andrushed into the office.
“Who the mischief is she?” he blurted out,instantly.
Clayton Graham, manager of the TempleOpera Company, turned around from hisdesk and smiled good-naturedly.
“So she’s bewitched you, too, has she?” heasked, jovially. “Well, she’s the first womanI ever saw that could rattle the cold-blooded,cynical Howard Everett!”
“But, good Heavens, man, she’s a wonder!I never saw such a face. It is a combinationof strength, poetry, beauty; and, most wonderfulof all, goodness! Why, that girl isnot only worldly, but she is heavenly, too!Quick, hurry, old man, and tell me what youknow about her.”
“That won’t take me long,” said Graham,as he passed his friend a cigar. “Sit down,Everett, and have a smoke. Perhaps it willcalm your nerves a little.”
“Pshaw! I’m not as much rattled as Ilook,” said the critic, laughing, “but for oncein my life I am devoured by curiosity, as thenovelists say—I want to know where youdiscovered that American Beauty.”
“Well, you want to know too much,” wasGraham’s answer; “but, seeing it is you, Isuppose I’ll have to forgive you. But here’sher story, as much as I know of it—and that,as I said, is mighty little. She came herefrom the country about six months ago. Waspoor as poverty, and had not a friend in thecity. Well, one night Vandergrift—youknow him, the manager of the Fern Garden—heardher singing on the street in behalfof one of those preacher fellows. Hervoice was wonderful, and, of course, hestopped to listen. It was just before his openingand he needed a singer, inasmuch as mypresent prima donna, ‘Carlotta,’ was engagedto sing at the opening of the Olio, the rivalgarden just across the street from his place.Well, to make a long story short, he madeterms with this girl at once—offered her abig price for one night, thinking that theoffer would dazzle her so that she would feeltoo grateful and all that sort of thing to listento any future offers. Well, he billed herthat night as ‘Ila de Parloa,’ and her songwas great; she was the hit of the evening.The very next morning, what do you thinkshe did? Took her money and bolted, andVandergrift lost track of her entirely.”
“What, didn’t she go over to the Olio orto some other concert hall?”
“Nit! She just disappeared, leaving noaddress behind, after politely informing Vandergriftthat his place wasn’t respectable.”
“But didn’t she know that before she sangthere?” asked the critic, in amazement.
“It seems not,” was the answer. “Shewas as green as grass. She thought she wasto sing in some Sunday-school concert orsomething of that sort, I fancy.”
Clayton Graham chuckled over what hethought was a good joke, but his face lookedsomewhat serious, in spite of his laughter.
“I made her sit in front and see my showbefore I talked to her,” he added, shrewdly,“and the little Puritan told me, gravely, thatshe quite approved of it, and was willing tosing for me a week on trial.”
“But where in the world has she been hidingsince that night at the Fern Garden?If her voice is so wonderful, I should certainlyknow if she had been singing.”
“Oh, she tells me that at just that time shedecided to be a nurse—went up to CharityHospital, on Blackwell’s Island, for a time,but the sights up there upset her so she hadto give it up and look for something different.”
“Good Heavens! The idea of that face beinghidden in a hospital ward!” cried Everettin horror. “Why, if her voice is halfas beautiful as her face, I’ll give her a columnand make Carlotta green with envy.”
“She’s that already,” said Graham, laughing.“You just ought to see her! Why, thatwoman would kill her, I believe, if shedared.”
“Strange how jealous these professionalsare,” said Everett, soberly, “and particularlyafter they get a bit old and their voices arenot quite up to the standard.”
“Well, Carlotta is unusually jealous,” saidGraham, with a little chuckle. “I suppose itis because she is suspicious of me. Thinks Imay get stuck on the new face, you understand,old fellow.”
“Carlotta should know the world by thistime, if any woman ever knew it,” said Everett,scowling. “Does she imagine you aregoing to dance attendance upon her forever?”
“If she does, she’ll be mistaken,” said Graham,decidedly, “and as for my new singer,Ila de Parloa, she had better not meddlewith her. The girl is as pure and unsophisticatedas she is beautiful, and, bad as I am,I admire virtue in a woman.”
“The most of us can,” said Everett, slowly;“but, by the way, what is the beautifulIla’s right name? ’Pon honor, Clayte, I’llnever tell it.”
“Her name is Marion Marlowe,” was themanager’s answer, “but, of course, for businesspurposes, we shall stick to ‘Ila.’”
A JEALOUS WOMAN.
The audience had dispersed and the auditoriumof the great Broadway Theatre wasenveloped in darkness, but Carlotta, theprima donna of the company, was still pacingback and forth in her disordered dressing-room.
She was a handsome woman, of the ripe,sensual type. Her eyes were wide and farapart, like a panther’s; her nose aquiline, andher lips red and voluptuous. As she walkedexcitedly back and forth she threw her gaudygarments aside, leaving only a trailing skirtof rich white silk and a bodice of lace fallinglow on her shoulders.
“What do you mean by it, anyway? AmI to be eclipsed entirely? Is Carlotta to beput in the background and sneered at by thepeople, while that little country girl is standingin the calcium?”
She turned as she spoke and faced a heavily-builtman, who sat on a trunk in one corner,gazing calmly at her frenzy.
“Answer me, Clayte Graham!” she almostscreamed. “What do you mean by showingso much preference to that country snip?”
The man shrugged his shoulders before heanswered. He was growing weary of hisprima donna’s anger.
“I believe I am the manager of this company,Miss Thompson,” he said, calmly,“and so long as I hold that position I shalltry to fill it, and one part of my duty is toselect my singers.”
“And why have you selected her, I shouldlike to know?” cried the woman. “She is asgreen as grass and her voice has never hadan hour of training.”
“City people like grass,” was his tantalizinganswer, “and as for training—her voicedon’t need it.”
“Oh, of course you’ll stick up for her! Iexpected it!” was the furious answer. “ButI’ll not put up with it! Do you hear me,Clayte Graham?”
Again the man shrugged his shoulders andsmiled at her calmly.
“What will you do about it, Miss Temper?”he asked, very coolly. “You certainlywill not be so foolish as to break your contract?”
“Oh, I know what you mean,” cried thewoman, more wildly. “I can’t sign anotherfor two years without your permission. Nomanager would dare engage me. Oh, yes, Iunderstand you.”
“Well, you’ll understand me better beforeI am done with you,” said the manager, emphatically,“for I’ll make Marion Marlowe afamous singer yet—so famous that peoplewill forget that they ever listened to a croakerlike Carlotta.”
“That’s it!” shrieked the woman, who hadnow grown livid. “That’s right, Clayte Graham.Heap your sneers and slurs upon me!I have made money for you for years in moreways than one—but now that my voice isfailing you throw me over.”
“You have brought it on yourself, Carlotta,with your fiendish jealousy,” said the man,more gently.
In an instant the woman was on her kneesbefore him, the tears streaming over herpainted face and her voice quivering withemotion.
“Oh, Clayte, Clayte, don’t you know it isbecause I love you! Don’t you know thatthere is nobody else in this world for me butyou, and yet you reproach and abuse me forbeing jealous!”
“Pshaw!” said the man, indifferently, as hemoved away from her. “You are in lovewith yourself far more than with me, Carlotta.You’d scratch the eyes out of my headthis minute if you dared to.”
The woman sprang to her feet and confrontedhim like a tigress.
“And you refuse to listen to my entreaties?”she asked, breathlessly. “Am I to understandthat in future you will do nothing toplease me?”
“I shall do nothing that interferes with mysuccess in business,” said the man, verysternly. “I would be a fool indeed to letmyself be influenced by a woman.”
The singer’s breath was coming in gaspsnow, and she clenched her hands together untilthey were bloodless and rigid.
“Why do you like this girl so much,Clayte?” she asked, tensely. “Is she so muchhandsomer than I, or does she sing so muchbetter?”
“The public think she is handsomer,” saidthe man, evasively, “and you have read whatthe critics say about her voice.”
“But you, Clayte, what do you think?” wasthe woman’s eager answer; “what is thereabout her that makes you prefer her?”
Clayton Graham turned and looked thewoman squarely in the eye.
“Her greatest charm is her modesty,” hesaid, slowly and clearly, “and she is attractiveto me because she is a virtuous woman.”
If he had struck her with a lash the wordscould not have cut more deeply. The womanshrank away from him, her breath comingshorter and faster.
“That is like you, Clayte—to ruin a womanand then insult her!” she hissed between herteeth. “But beware, Clayton Graham. Youhad better not go too far! Carlotta has bloodin her veins, real blood, that will avenge aninsult. You may yet live to feel the power ofa wronged and scorned woman.”
For answer the manager promptly turnedhis back upon her. The next moment she wasalone amid the mocking emblems of mirth.The last vestige of self-control vanished asshe fell upon the floor in a perfect frenzy ofpassion.
“Wait! Wait!” she muttered over and over,between her set teeth. “Just wait until Carlottahas gained her self-control, then lookout, Clayte Graham and Marion Marlowe,for, innocent though you are, I shall notspare you! I shall have my revenge! Aye,and it shall be a grand one! Leave a scornedwoman alone for plotting vengeance! I shallplay my cards most cleverly, but each playshall tell. They shall find me no weakling inthe game of love and jealousy!”
She staggered to her feet and began dressingrapidly. It was time that she was out ofthe dark, empty building. Suddenly a lighttap sounded on the dressing-room door.
The woman opened it and confronted abeautiful young girl. It was “Signorita Ilade Parloa,” according to the programme, butin private life, no other than Marion Marlowe.
CAUGHT IN A TRAP.
“Pardon me, mademoiselle, but are youill?” asked the beautiful girl, kindly. “Ithought I heard you weeping, and I couldnot resist speaking to you.”
She looked so sweet and innocent, standingthere in the dismal place, that for a momenta flush of shame dyed the black-heartedwoman’s features; then a thought of ClaytonGraham and the wrong he had done herflashed over her brain, and instantly the