Page:The Intrusion of Jimmy.djvu/159

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143
MR. M'EACHERN INTERVENES

self. We've got a success now, my boy. Rehearsal after lunch. Don't be late." And he was off to beat up the rest of the company.

From that moment, Jimmy's troubles began. Charteris was a young man in whom a passion for the stage was ineradicably implanted. It mattered nothing to him during these days that the sun shone, that it was pleasant on the lake, and that Jimmy would have given five pounds a minute to be allowed to get Molly to himself for half-an-hour every afternoon. All he knew or cared about was that the local nobility and gentry were due to arrive at the castle within a week, and that, as yet, very few of the company even knew their lines. Having hustled Jimmy into the part of Captain Browne, he gave his energy free play. He conducted rehearsals with a vigor that occasionally almost welded the rabble he was coaching into something approaching coherency. He painted scenery, and left it about—wet, and people sat on it. He nailed up horseshoes for luck, and they fell on people. But nothing daunted him. He never rested.

"Mr. Charteris," said Lady Julia, rather frigidly, after one energetic rehearsal, "is indefatigable. He whirled me about!"

It was perhaps his greatest triumph, properly considered, that he had induced Lady Julia to take a part in his piece; but to the born organizer of amateur theatricals no miracle of this kind is impossible, and Charteris was one of the most inveterate