Page:The Intrusion of Jimmy.djvu/160

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organizers in the country. There had been some talk—late at night, in the billiard-room—of his being about to write in a comic footman role for Sir Thomas; but it had fallen through, not, it was felt, because Charteris could not have hypnotized his host into undertaking the part, but rather because Sir Thomas was histrionically unfit.

Mainly as a result of the producer's energy, Jimmy found himself one of a crowd, and disliked the sensation. He had not experienced much difficulty in mastering the scenes in which he appeared; but unfortunately those who appeared with him had. It occurred to Jimmy daily, after he had finished "running through the lines" with a series of agitated amateurs, male and female, that for all practical purposes he might just as well have gone to Japan. In this confused welter of rehearsers, his opportunities of talking with Molly were infinitesimal. And, worse, she did not appear to mind. She was cheerful and apparently quite content to be engulfed in a crowd. Probably, he thought with some melancholy, if she met his eye and noted in it a distracted gleam, she put it down to the cause that made other eyes in the company gleam distractedly during this week.

Jimmy began to take a thoroughly jaundiced view of amateur theatricals, and of these amateur theatricals in particular. He felt that in the electric flame department of the infernal regions there should be a special gridiron, reserved exclusively for the man who invented these performances, so diametrically