Souls for Sale | Rupert Hughes | Published 1900 onward | Audio Book | English | 5/8

chapter 30 of souls for sale this is a librivox recording all librivox recordings are in the public domain for more information or to volunteer please visit Souls for sale by Rupert Hughes chapter 30 no word had come from the studio as to the result of MEMS tests pictures there was no telephone in the bungalow to ring a verbal message in or take one out mem could have gone to a drugstore and telephone from a pay station but she was afraid to hear her fate come rattling out of the little rubber Oracle she wanted to meet her destiny face to face and make a battle for it if the issue hung in doubt she simply had to have work now because she had her mother as well as herself to support she was still too new to realize that need is not a recommendation or a substitute for ability insofar as it has any bearing in the case being hard up is an argument for disability jobs are offered most promptly to those that already have them and those who have work to offer rarely seek those who are idle as mem hastened along a palm limed Avenue to her street car she was hailed by the man she had refused to dance with the handsome mr. Creighton from whose arms she had fought herself free in rage and terror the first evening of her arrival in Hollywood when he tried to make her dance another evidence of the distance she had traveled was the fact that she had danced with him often since and that when he invited her to step into his automobile she hailed him as a taxi angel and ordered him to rush her to her studio at top speed he had bought himself a new racer a long underslung craft of desperate mean I can't afford a car he confessed and it's all Bluff but when you're hunting a job it makes a great effect to roll up in your own roadster the impudence was contagious and mem calmly remarked I must get me a car what do you think is the best make the two non-capitalist blithely juggled thousand of dollars and hundreds of horsepower what effect do you want to effect said Creighton if you're going to play on gen news you'll want a shy and virginal Auto if you're going in for adventurous and heavies you'd better get a bus that's a bit sporty ma'am thought she was nobly conservative when she said I shouldn't like to be too conspicuous that's right the gaudy old days are over said Creighton the pioneers out here went in for plaids and gold brocade upholstery and everything outrageous then Jeannie Macpherson made a sensation by having her car painted plain black and now almost everybody is very sedate except Roscoe of course he is so big he has a jumbo car mem was a good enough actress to conceal from Creighton the fact that her interest in the mix of cars was a mere windshield to the cold Gale of anxiety playing on her nerves she was in a panic lest she should not be engaged at all her immediate problem was not the selection of an automobile but the assurance of food and raiment Creighton rolled her up to the studio gates and waved her good luck she faltered when she entered the casting office she almost fainted when Terry's assistant told her bluntly that there was nothing doing mr. Terry had so many hearts to break so many hopes to sicken with deferment that he avoided the ghoulish task when he could he had warned his assistant to save him from undergoing another of mems assaults upon his emotions when mem received this Curt faced her through the little window in the door between the waiting room in the outer office she blanched and fell back the room was full of anxious Souls each with its desperation there's that a hungry fat woman whose bulk had kept her employed when sylphs had had to wait next her was a gaunt creature who could play famine or a comic spinster with equal skill a brace of sparrows with yellowed curls that look like handfuls of pine shavings waited with their mother three beautiful young men with the eyes of dying deer perused their fingernails for lack of more literature an assortment of villains first and second murderers and more or less aristocratic extra folk stood about hoping against experience scattered among the Landy they would have passed for ordinary folk but grouped here they took on a curiously professional mommer's heir mem stared at them and a hot resentment thrilled her she would not accept a place in this mob of non entities she went back to the window and motioned to the assistant casting out director she pleaded for just a moment of mr. Terry's time the assistant said he was busy but he could not snub those eloquent eyes and that patient man mr. Terry with a Samaritan ISM that should win him through purgatory accepted the ordeal invited her in and braced himself for the familiar business of the Undertaker the old Sexton in the graveyard of art I don't think you realize how much this means to me mr. Terry men began my mother has unexpectedly arrived I've just got to support us both now and it is more important than ever that I find work poor Terry had heard this so often that it ought to abhorred him but he could never quite protect himself from these expressive passionate individuals who refused to become mere generalities he was like one of Saint Hoover's men doling out food about the world hunger was hunger no matter how frequent but he was unable to perform miracles and feed hungry thousands with a few loaves and fishes when his loaves and fishes gave out the baskets were empty and the rest of the sufferers must go vacant he said he was sorry and he was he would keep her in mind he would not forget something might turn up when mem failed to go the busy wretch was tormented into a slight impatience he stooped to self-defence you don't seem to get my angle of it mrs. Woodville I can only hand out what jobs there are to the people that fit them best you came in the other day and you were so ambitious and determined that you would or sell your honor for an opportunity I told you why I couldn't make the exchange now you come in and try to sell me your poverty that is even less marketable there's a big line of scared and hungry people always forming and falling away out there some of them are all veterans with children artists who have done fine things for us but we have to turn them away if an old lady was 16 starving babies asked me to let her play a young girl's part I couldn't give it to her could I now no but I'm not an old lady with 16 children mem persisted stupidly stubborn no but you don't suit the director and he's got the final say mr. rooks gave you a test he saw the result and says you haven't got comedy at least not in that part comedy is difficult it takes twice as much skill and experience as romantic drama you may have it but you didn't show it the test wasn't fair men protested I didn't have any help he just told me turn your head smile laugh wink flirt who could do anything worthwhile like that I know but it cost the company about $50 to make it it's the test everybody has to go through another girl went through the same ordeal and she made good she got the job I'm mighty sorry but the only job there was is gone mem struggled to her feet and turned to the door but the sight of that plank that coffin lid made her recoil she could not go out into the wilderness she could not go home to her mother and confess failure except despair her lips wavered childishly she found things in her throat to swallow her eyelashes were full of rain her diaphragm began to throb she cried beautifully honestly she was not artful about it or in some Cerre it was a gift she suffered with exquisite ease and grace she was one of those pretty things it is hard not to caress and whose whale there is a keen and compelling music Terry found himself more dangerously wooed by her grief then by her proffer of love her shoulders were pitifully round her hands groped for other hands to help her eyes seemed blurred and monstrous with woeful tears were more beautiful somehow than when she had tried to fill them with seduction his heart ached to draw her into his bosom kiss away her tears take her upon his lap and soothe her like a child one of those terrible children that Satan pretends to be when he is most insidious ma'am was a dangerous weeper this would be learned in time and turned to her great prophet and the blissful agony of the multitude she was not acting now she was reacting to the anguish of the bitter world its cruelty its bleakness the favorite isms of fate the willingness of Providence to let the Willing lie idle and the ambitious starve teary paced the floor promising them all sorts of wonderful futures he managed hardly to keep his hands from her by entrusting them to each other to hold clenched behind his back but his sympathy only fed ma'am self sympathy with new fuel at the screen door that opened on his office appeared mr. rooks the director who had rejected mem after the test he did not know who was crying but his emotional soul heard the call and he peered in through spectacles already misted mem saw him and ran to him imploring please oh please mr. rooks give me a chance mr. rooks had a priestly regard for his alters a work of art was a solemn and has chased a burnt offering to his God the public has the oblation of any other priest before any other deity it was just as sacred a duty to him to secure somehow laughter for the comic scenes as tears for the pathetic the public that shapeless invisi while ubiquity needed its mirth as well as is lamentations it required not only it's hecka tomes of human sacrifice but also beeves and Bullock's sheep and lambs doves and wrens and swallows rooks knew as well as Shakespeare knew that the pathos and the tragedy suffered if there were no attendant buffoonery no relief of tension no tightening and releasing of the springs of laughter if an actor could not command laughter he must not be entrusted with comic roles however serious his necessities rooks would have let his mother or his daughter die rather than give her a part she could not play only those who know little or nothing of the dramatic world or whose own hearts are so hard that they do not care whom they wound pretend that the world of mimic emotions is cold or cruel it is amazing how much of the theatrical or cinematical time is spent in easing the inevitable griefs of the veins appliance MEMS sobs so agitated rooks that he finally said you come and see the test yourself and then if you think you ought to have the part well you come and see for yourself he opened the door for her and let her out into the lot he called to a man smoking on a short flight of steps Heine have you that reel of mrs. Woodville's test I took the other day I guess so put it on will you sure going number two and now MIM who had seen so many faces flow by in the laboratory projection room and had been self free with comments and criticisms was to see her own soul unreeled she felt a sudden rush of regret for her harsh judgments on those poor creatures who had had to fight for their artistic lives with their features rooks escorted her into a small cell dimly lighted a screen at one end at the other a few seats against a wall perforated for the projection machines the operator in his room at the back snapped off the one lamp on the wall and then played a long stream of light upon the screen every portrait was a record of some mood of it was weird to see herself over there flat and colorless yet fantastically alive she was face to face with herself for the first time science had answered the prayer of Robert Burns all once empowered the gift II Gaius mem had studied her mirror and still photographs of herself but now she met the stranger that was herself as the world knew her she had never realized her features as they were nor her expressions she could look at her own profile she could coldly regard herself in laughter and in an effort at flirtation the miracle of miracles was that her very thought was photographed she could see her brain pulling out her muscles as one who stands behind the scenes at a puppet show sees the man aloft and the wires that depend from his fingers jerking at the jointed dolls she had to admit that her smile was artificial her lips drew back heavily and mirthlessly from her teeth her lips were prettier than she had supposed and her teeth were regular but her smile was a struggle her arch expression was clumsy her glance askance was labored and when she executed the mischievous wink her eyelid went down and up as delicately as a cellar door she shook her head and wasted a blush of shame on the dark she could not blame mr. rooks for rejecting her she told him so and he was grateful for that I've learned a lot she said I wish I could have another try I wish you could but the part is filled for this picture another time I'll remember but it's too late for this picture he heard her catch her breath and a quick stab and he was afraid that her prayers would be renewed he hastened to say let me show you the girl who got the part let's see what you think of her he called out oh honey put on that test of miss dainty sure came the hail from the man at the wheel and then the white beam shot forth the serial portrait of a successful rival this girl was pretty where ma'am was beautiful she was superficial and frivolous where mem was deep and important but she had the visco mica she was as sparkling as a shallow brook her eyes danced mocked flitted her lips twitched with contagious mockery mam hated her but smiled in spite of herself giggled and spider for wrath this girl had chosen the name of dainty to replace the misnomer her parents and her forebears had fastened on her she lived up to her name or down to it she looked pink even in the brown medium of the film she looked round and mellow even in the one dimension of the screen her soul danced back of her eyes and the hand she raised to peek through was like the LIF hand of AB accont in whose grasp life is a bunch of grapes spurting wine at the least pressure her very fingers were tendrils and her hair about her head was a vineyard wreath she had her sorrows perhaps enter woes it was probable that she was heartbroken because she had been denied a tragic mask and doomed to make people happy instead of profitably sad but whatever her private woes she shed gaiety the dark and ultraviolet rays were lost in the prism of her soul and she reflected only the narrow rainbow of good cheer I see why you took her mem side I don't wonder it's fine of you to say that said rooks and squeezed her hand in grateful compliment the kind leanness of this set the girl's regrets off again she went out into the sunlight convinced and beaten but being convinced of one's unworthiness and confessing one's defeat are not consolations only added sorrows before rooks could escape she was crying again she loathed herself for her weakness her poltroon Ariba for a disappointment she called herself names but sobbed the harder for herself contempt it chanced that the president of the company was returning to his office from a visit to one of the stages this was the man whose name was familiar about the world every film from his factory was labeled Vermont presents copyright by the Vermont company this is a Vermont picture the slogan of the company was this is a Vermont year when a picture succeeded the star the author the director the photographer the art director the continuity writer the distributors divided the praise the size of each slice depending on who awarded it when a picture failed the producer had a monopoly of the blame and the entire financial loss he was the commercial diamond the fiend of sordid mercantil ideals yet Bernard Shaw with his intuition masked as satire had said to him there was a hopeless difference between us mr. Behrman you are interested in art I am interested only in money as a matter of truth he was the most passionate of idealists compelled to keep the ship afloat like the captain of a ship he had all the final responsibility for the cargo the passengers and the shifts of wind and weather he must study the mystic barometer of public favor in disfavor and keep the prow forging ahead in calm and in head Gale he had to build the ship feed the crew the Stoker's and the pre-madonna passengers and keep them all from mutiny if the ship's sank they would all desert him and he would go down with it alone in the hard times he must sacrifice much of the cargo cut down the pay and the rations shortened sail otherwise the ship would founder yet none would thank him for taking the necessary measures to keep it alive the critics would blame him for many things but they would never forgive him for letting the ship sink success would be both his crime and his condemnation but failure would be no atonement like most business geniuses he was far more emotional sensitive responsive audacious than the bulk of his artists or his critics he could not pour out his emotions in song verse impersonation or gesture he must pour it out in capital he must dig the capital with grim toil and he must scatter like a spendthrift err with him and contrasted with him in billed manner and spirit was jacob frank vice-president the immediate master of the crew whose ideal was calm judgment a happy ship a smooth and economical voyage he was a gentle ruler with a twinkling eye when mr. burr moaned heard mem crying his heart hurt him he did not like scandal disorder confusion or grief on his lot he asked the distraught rooks what had happened rooks explained a bit of temperament she wants apart she can't play and she's all caught up oh that is too bad burr moaned groaned and his voice took on a mothering tone he went to mem and tried to console her he took her hands down from her contorted face and forced her to look at him seen through the Cascade of her tears she was strikingly attractive appealing he tested the public always by his own reactions he judged artists by their influence on him he felt that mem was somehow an artistic weeper his brain was alert to make use of ability wherever he found it don't you take it too hard he said you never know your luck in this world many an artists gets thrown out of one job into a much better one I knew a young singer and dancer who was fired because he was not good enough to come into New York with a cheap show two days later he was engaged for the biggest part in the most beautiful musical piece in years and ever since he has been a star if the first manager had not fired him the second would never have given him his chance if you had played that little village vamp you would maybe have played it so badly we should never have engaged you again but now you go home and wash the red out of your eyes and any day now we'll be sending for you to play a big part Sarah Bernhardt failed in her first play you know and you may be a second Sarah someday just you wait now that's all right MEMS eyes were filling with rainbows a bystander drew berman decide Claymore was a draw who had had a few successes before he established himself in the moving pictures as a director he believed in the eternal verities of dramatic expression and motive and he was skeptic of the rituals of the parvenu priests craft of the movies that girl has the tear he said to burr moaned that woman you've given me for my next picture is god-awful I've spent two days trying to make her cry she has the face of the doll and she's as tender as a billiard ball she's a confirmed optimist she couldn't even shake her shoulder blades as if she were crying let me take this kid and give her a real test she might have just what we want sure fine go to it said burr moaned and hastened two men with the good news that mr. Claymore the great mr. Claymore was going to give her a chance so man left the studio shot with the ankle wings of hope those tireless pinions that carry the actor lightly along such dreary miles of barren road as she hurried through the gate one of the studio cars drew out in the driver pause to offer her a lift he was taking home miss Calder an actress of much fame as an impersonator of women of various ages in the picture she was then engaged in she carried the character from young motherhood to ancient grandmother hood she was tired as a pack horse and small wonder she explained to mem that she had been called at 6:00 in the morning in order to be breakfasted and made up for a nine o'clock appearance on the stage the dressing of her hair and the filling of it with white metallic powder that would photograph as really gray was a long and wearisome process the preparation of her features was another she had given herself to wracking emotions a much physical toil since nine it was now six and she had not yet had time to remove her makeup mem stared at her in the Twilight she was as multicolored as a sunset patches of white blue yellow green and red gave her face a modelling in the monochrome of the negative that could not be imagined from her present barbarous appearance to complete the palette she had painted her eyelashes lavender to soften the flash of her keen irises when she got home she would take off laborious fresco and struggle with the removal of the powder from her hair because on the morrow she must go back for a day of retakes to the period of her young and rosy black-haired bride hood she would be lucky to be in bed by 10:00 in order to be up again at 6:00 she had given up a dinner party and to dance that night and had known no recreation for a month was not likely to know any for a fortnight longer for this toil she was paid as mom later learned $400 a week but it was not much compared with the ten thousand a week that Miriam your was known to have been paid MEMS ardor for a screen career was not to be blunted by any account of overwork artistic toil was what she craved and when the car stopped at her bungalow she ran to her mother rejoicing as if she brought home certain wealth instead of a gambling chance for grueling labor she paused at the door suddenly realising that her mother was not a woman of theatrical traditions but the devoted wife of a preacher who abominated the moving pictures all the better for never having seen one and whose horror of every fiend connected with them was the more unrestrained for never having met one of the fiends end of chapter 30 recording by Deana Beauvais chapter 31 of souls for sale this is a librivox recording all librivox recordings are in the public domain for more information or to volunteer please visit Souls for sale by Rupert Hughes chapter 31 mem entered the house dreading that she would find her mother as dismay phul as a stolen child flung in the corner of a wagon filled with gypsies she found her presiding over the house with a meek autocracy mrs. Steadman might not have been so daring if her daughter had been there to quell her presumptions she had stayed in her room until she heard the racket and caught the savour of dim getting then she slipped into the kitchen where Oliva and two other girls were bustling about she stared at them a moment and announced that she was going to do the cooking and the housework herself they tried to shoo her back to her room but she amazed them by her gentle obstinacy and her irresistible will you children need a mother more and most anything else she said and I'm going to be one to you I can't be an artist but I can raise a family by the time ma'am arrived the girls were calling her mother sundry young men who drifted in that evening were soon calling her mother in a week they were kissing her when they came in and kissing her when they left bringing to her the troubles that no one ever gets too old to want a mother's eye upon before the week was gone mrs. Steadman was going to parties to dances to Beach picnics she had begun her downfall by writing her husband a ghastly and elaborate lie when mem learned of this first result of her mother's association with the new world the girl felt that her father's opinion of its malign influence proved his insight but then daughters are apt to agree with their fathers in theory if not in practice mrs. Steadman however was mother first last and all the time she acted upon impulse and it was always an impulse of adaptation to circumstances as they rose and she always chose the role of protecting her own like a bird on a nest she spread her wings over her young and fought for them as best she could while she sheltered them from rain or wind or any threatening hand even though it might be the divine hand what indeed is the whole duty of a mother whose daughter is uncontrollably unconventional or worse should the matron abandon her wayward child to goa ruin his way alone or should she go along with her hanging back as a break exerting a little restraint being present to lift her when she falls or comfort her in her shame or remorse MEMS mother was suddenly confronted with this problem her village child was at large in Los Angeles her chick was a duck already far out on the pond mrs. Stedman could not swim in that puddle but she could keep close to the water's edge she did not even cackle remonstrances or warnings she just waited and clucked and offered the eaves of her wings as a shelter and so the old village Parsons wife abruptly found herself or made herself a theatrical mama this sort of mother has been often presented but rarely without caricature almost never with understanding because she is apt to grow a little stage II and to forget her years and the solemnity expected of them because her daughter is pretty sure to be unmanageable she is dealt with more harshly than the more familiar mother who persuades her daughter to become a housewife and to marry a substantial husband instead of a romantic lover then the mother who keeps her daughter from suing an adulteress or a cruel husband for divorce then the mother who fears the gossip of the neighbors more than the smothered infamies of a hypocritical home then the mother who endures every drudgery skulduggery and shame and destroys her own birthright to deceive her children these others are familiar ancient mothers dwelling wretchedly in assorted martyrdom sometimes they are Saints of patience and their long Agony's are rewarded sometimes their devotion has a morbid almost an obscene and witch-like aspect but the theatrical mother must share the limelight of publicity with her public child she must seem to approve or connive in the real or a legend in discretions of her own child and she is liable to the accusation of being a procuress or a corrupt and odious shield sometimes indeed she is a grafter a bloodsucker a vendor of her child's future renting atop for wages and spending them on herself instead of investing them for the child's future but the movies did not invent wicked parents since time was children have been driven to the streets the minds the looms the movie mamas at least at worst did not drive their children into the dark to grimy toil and heartbroken obscurity but to sunlight beauty play Fame and infinite praise many a movie mother had been what mrs. Sneden had been mrs. Sneden would in time be as harshly criticized as the worst of the others her own daughter was the first to feel uneasy mom had expected her mother to be horrified by the new surroundings she had braced herself to defend the art life against prejudice she was disappointed of the support that criticism gives to break rules and to disobey and shock the elders are among the chief fascinations and consolations of having to endure youth but when the parents and the oldsters failed to make rules or to protest against infractions of the rules they make the young are robbed of something precious when the elders go farther and join the young in their rebellion against all dignities then indeed are the young outraged so mem was shocked because her mother was not mem could have grown eloquent in upholding the Bohemian standards of behavior she had superbly denounced the village hypocrisy zand pruder ease but when the villager accepted bohemia and reveled in its revels what was a daughter to do one thing was soon evident mrs. Sneden would not go back to calve early she would not urge mem she prepared to do in Rome as the Romans did mem could not imagine what a task it all was to her mother because she had never been a wife a Parsons wife in a small town Church she had not known the sickening monotony of a life devoted to avoiding life to couching even the terms of normal connubial rashers in pompous terms of religious exaltation she had not known how wearisome devoutness becomes when it is made a trade a merchandise a livelihood Sisseton had been a girl a wild young female with natural instincts and gaddy's and a natural impulse to kick over the restraints of the respectable she had fallen in love with a man whose passion was dogma and whose prime study was the whims of a mystic deity before whose vague edicts he prostrated himself she cared nothing for doctrines and hair-splitting interpretations of ancient texts but she gave herself up to the prison of the parsonage with bravery and good cheer she suppressed her wrath against the pious frauds and the cruel niggers who made her husband's life a treadmill of unrewarded ambitions she bore her children and did her best to coax them toward the ideals their father thundered about their unruly heads she might have been a nightingale or a Skylark but she consented to be caged and to trip a little song and forego her wings now however the cage was opened she had been decoyed into a garden where birds of rich plumage flung from branch to branch in a pride of wings and Rhapsody's of song she was too old to dart and Carol but she would not build the cage about herself and continued to mope the freedom the franchise of the sky the glory of Liberty that art gives its practitioners and their companions were hers and the drab little woman accepted a tiny quarter of this heaven as her very own at first a mother is only a gangplank for souls to cross from nowhere into this world once assured the mother can do less and less for the child if she can become the companion philosopher and friend that is much but it serves the child no good purpose for the mother to give up all interest in her own career and except in addition the best of a woman's life may well be that part of it which follows the departure of her last grown child from the home let the mother follow her flock out into the world but mrs. Stebbins emancipation was for mem to discover with amazement gradually for the moment she was too much absorbed in her mad hopes to consider her mother's belated debut into the full light of day the next morning found her at the studio The Times borrowing mascara and advice from Miss Calder who experimented with her skin as in a laboratory and delivered a scientific discourse on the epidermis and its preparation for the camera Claymore was waiting for ma'am when she came down the steps from the long gallery of the women's dressing rooms she was dogged smeared lined powdered roached mascara and generally kalsa mind for duty her heart was beating in alternate throbs of fear and frenzy her feet were at the brink of the Rubicon end of chapter 31 recording by Deanna Beauvais chapter 32 of souls for sale this is a librivox recording all librivox recordings are in the public domain for more information or to volunteer please visit soles for sale by rupert hues chapter xxxii the scene of her endeavor was to be a drawing room built and decorated for an unfinished picture whose company was now in the Mojave Desert practicing art on the edge of Death Valley claimed or had provided a cameraman a few men to handle the electric lights a property man and even a pair of musicians a violinist and the Treader of a wheezy little portable melodeon where the ceiling of the drawing-room should have been was a platform on which a number of downward-pointing spotlights were arrayed in the charge of a man called Mike from the scaffoldings above hung great dome lights the ash cans in the windows and doors other spotlights were ambushed each grouped with its attendant and where the fourth wall was removed tall iron frames held rows of cooper-hewitt tubes like harp strings and Sun arcs Winfield and clay go lights and other instruments of torture connected by cables to various switchboards the concentrated radiance burned out the eyes in time or brought on a painful temporary blindness to the newcomer there was an insanity about the extravagance of glare but the finished result reduced the flame to a Twilight and explained the necessity for each picture could be exposed for only the 16th of a second and in its tiny frame of hardly more than a square inch it must compress enough definition to cover when projected a screen thousands of times its size when ma'am walked on the great stage and followed Claymore into the little space allotted to her she noted the waiting crew of spectators and her heart faltered how could she give her soul to emotions in the presence of these strangers who would be like stripping herself and dancing stark before a band of peeping toms but needs must when ambition drives claimer marched her into the scene and asked her to stand while the cameraman made his setup for a long shot the electrician's trundled their batteries forward and turned them on her the cameramen advanced upon her with the tape measure and went back to squint at her through the finder he stared at her through a color filter of deep blue and discussed her hair and her eyes Claymore came forward carrying aroostook he had borrowed from somebody's forgotten makeup box and gave MEMS mouth a little extra length put a dot next the inner corner of each eye and taking a powder puff dusted her brow lightly where the perspiration of terror was beginning to shine then he gave her a little of what he called footwork go back to that door and come forward to this spot shake hands with her with your lover or well no let me see that's too simple let's get down to business you've uh oh well just for instance you've been betrayed and your child has died and you've been accused of murdering it and you're now being called before the judge in the jury do you get me you're coming into a courtroom under a charge of crime you feel your shame but you're innocent of the charge yet you're overwhelmed with guilt for your fall and the father of the child is was killed in the war say and you don't much care whether you live or die so you're in despair yet defiant that's a layer of emotion for you and I don't suppose you can get much of it over but just try to give the atmosphere of it now back to the door walk through it once claimed or was as much embarrassed as mem for his invention was not in its best working order so early in the morning he felt as silly as a man badgered by a peevish child to tell a story but his trite plot stirred mem amazingly he could not know how close his random shots had come home to her and flung her back from the forward-looking artist to the lauren fugitive who had stumbled into california laden with disgrace she was all a tremble and her eyes darted her fingers twitched claimer marveled at her instantaneous response to his suggestion there were born artists who shivered on the least breath of inspiration and suggestion his first impression of mem was that he had found a genius and he fought against the obstacles he encountered later with the zest of a man digging toward known gold in a kind of stupor mem obeyed his commands like the Train Confederate of a hypnotist she went to the door came in reluctant shame fast doomed she advanced slowly till she reached the edge of the rug he had indicated then halted and with the fierce effort hoisted her head in defiance and braved the lightning of the judge she heard claimer call to her that's fine now we'll take it she started back but was checked by the cameraman's wait please he ran forward and shouted directions on all sides four lights hit those spots show the ashcan on her bring up that Kleagle put a diffuser on that wind field what's the matter with the second spot your carbons are flickering Mike Mike trim those carbons on the second spot Pullum then the lights went out and there was a wait while Mike ran along the gallery parallel with tweezers in his gloved hands when Mike was ready the cameraman shouted hit him alright mr. Claymore mr. Clymer called music plays and mem found herself in a sea of blazing radiance tremulous with shimmer of music she went back to the door and nodded when claymores are you ready penetrated the myth realm from far away she heard him murmur camera action and she heard his voice reciting an improvised libretto for her pantomime you've come from your dark cell the light blinds you you begin to see the angry public the cruel judge you flinch you fall back they are going to sentence me to death they are hissing me because I love to well but my little baby they said I killed him they can't know how I loved him I felt his little hands on my cheek his lips at my breast how I suffered when his cheek grew cold Oh God I prayed for his life even though it meant eternal shame but he is gone my lover is dead what is this world to me wring your hands look up at the judge dry yourself up defy him that's it now let the tears come my baby I'm coming to you my baby she heard his voice wailing and trembling like the Vox Humana stop the village organist used to pull out for the sake of pathos it was maudlin unforgivably cheap and trashy yet it was the truth for her as for millions of other girls it was trite because it had broken so many hearts she felt a fool a guilty fool the music the lights the director's voice all howl was insanity but it swept her heart strings with the Olien thrill and they sang with a mad despair she vaguely knew that the camera crank had ceased to purr she heard the clop of the levers shutting off the lights the music was ended but her suffering went on she could not stop crying her head bent her taut body broke at the waist she was sobbing into a corner of her elbow and dropping to the floor when claymoore caught her and upheld her East her to a chair and stood patting her back idiotically and saying fine fine she looked up to see if he were mocking her and saw that his cheeks were straight with tears the cameraman was doleful as if he mourned and the property man was turning away to blow his nose men began the laughs the laugh of triumph yet she felt that she had cheated a little the director had stabbed an old wound by accident and unsealed an old fountain of Tears he had exhausted her dramatic experience of life already and he would find her imagination and schooled her mental and physical agility all to seek but he had touched her once she had responded once to the call and had given the strange authority of reality to a feigned adventure of her soul she's got it in her he mumbled to the cameraman and the camera man with eyes still murky grumbled the real thing now Claymore cast about for the next test you've got the gift of Tears he said now let's try a bit of drama let's exaggerate and trip the scenery and tear a passion to tatters for it's easy to tone you down when you overdo but it's hard to pep you up if you're flat he cudgelled his brain for an excuse for ranting towering rage he chose one of those scenes innumerably done in the moving pictures a sordid pattern common enough in real life through the ages but all too crowded in the movies infinitely multiplied and repeated until it became bore 'some to the frequenters of the films and nauseated the moralists gave them excuse for a general assault on the whole art in industry Claymore took up a heap of tarpaulin and piled it on a chair to represent a man found a screwdriver left on the scene by a carpenter and gave it to mem for a pistol then he outlined a scenario startling and bewildering to her and utterly uncongenial to her character and experience this tarpaulin is a terrible villain he has decoyed you from your home and tired of you he has put you on the street and made a drug fiend of you and now you have seen him with another girl and you plead with him not to desert you he laughs at you you turn on him like a tigress and when he goes on laughing you creep up on him with a false smile and suddenly shoot him with this pistol the novice stared at him like a dumb thing that had not understood a word she looked at the screwdriver it had no resemblance to a pistol and if it had suggested one she would have dropped it in horror she stared at the pile of yellow canvas and could get nothing human out of or into that I don't believe I quite understand she faltered suddenly reverted to childhood days when she was asked to read a page she had neglected to study claimed or missed the instant result of his first appeal to her imagination as he thought to her memory as she knew her eyes were a fogged mirror now and gave back neither light nor image he played the bit for her none of the spectators thought it funny or silly it was part of the familiar routine factory commonplace to see a fat bald-headed director striding about clutching his heart and sobbing mehmed hidden in her father's study once and watched him rehearse a sermon had seen him beat his desk for a pulpit raised his streaming eyes to the ceiling for heaven and repeat phrases in various intonations in search of the most effective stop she was not amused or disgusted by claimers antics she was simply baffled unable to feel why he did what he did she tried to remember his actions when he finished she took the screwdriver and repeated his gestures with neither accuracy nor spirit she merely gave a girl's poor imitation of a man's poor imitation of a poor girl's frenzy she shook her head and confessed failure before claimed were shook his head and scratched it and said patiently that's hardly it you didn't quite get the spirit you see your etc the couple often a the cameraman sat down the rest of the crew turned aside to gossip about more interesting topics they knew that they were in for a long wait end of chapter 32 recording by Deanna Beauvais chapter 33 of souls for sale this is a librivox recording all librivox recordings are in the public domain for more information or to volunteer please visit souls for sale by Rupert Hughes chapter 33 claim are wrestled with the girls flaccid soul he walked her through the scene again and again he sat on the chair and pretended to be the villain he laughed with very hollow mockery he played the part himself he said if you'll give it more voice you'll give it more spirit call me a beast with all your power you're a beast she faltered so feebly that claimer laughed and she had to join him he said to her look me in the eye and with all the venom and volume you've got snarl argh you Beast he roared it so full chested Liat men that she quailed before him then she nodded understanding and gave back the words it was like an oboe trying to echo a trombone she shook her head in discouragement he would not give her up fill your lungs and hurl your whole body into it she tried again and again but her voice was stringy stented Reedus he spoke bluntly in good old English you've got to get your guts into it she did not know that she had any and he had to explain that he really meant her diaphragm he asked her to scream at the top of her lungs she emitted a feeble squawk he shook his head he let out a shriek of his own that pierced the high rafters and seemed to rattle the glass roof she did a little better on a second try claymores patients was wonderful what are you most afraid of he said he don't know she giggled sillily what's your favorite nightmare she pondered well I I falling off a cliff is one of the most popular said Claymore I fell off a cliff Lunt said ma'am almost boastfully really and did you survive Claymore gasped then granted his own imbecility I know one actress who dreams that she is caught under a wrecked automobile and can't get out and is being crushed to death two claymores amazement the blank means for him was suddenly shot through with anguish the features nodded and whitened with streaks of red like a clenched fist once more he had thrust his hand into one of her experiences she felt the presence of Elwood Farnham II her almost forgotten first love and last the gasoline s of his death under a runaway automobile flashed back before her she felt a regurgitation of all the terrors that had churned in her heart in those hideous days and nights claimed our never dreaming what the random hit had evoked in her soul was happy at finding her responsive once more he called to the cameramen come on Johnny we'll take a close-up a big close-up be as quick as you can while mam hung back saying please no no I couldn't don't make me Claymore was hurrying the crew to seize this precious excitement before it died the crew closed in upon the camera with a mass of blazing lights Claymore pushed a chair close up to the lens the cameraman spread and shortened his tripod and got on his knees he made one of the crew sit in the chair while he sharpened the focus and perfected the lights he did not want to fatigue the priceless heights of agitation that he could see in mems wide eyes as she stood wavering before the sudden gust of emotion protesting and reluctant yet to Paul seed for flight men permitted Claymore to lead her to the chair and place her in a cowering position close your eyes to save them he said don't open them till I tell you then open them suddenly and see the automobile upon you it's on fire you can't move you struggle in vain I'll hold on to your hands to pinion you down when you see that you're crushed and cut give me the wildest cry you can scream already Johnny hit the Lights take the camera from my nod no my dear you're in the car the brake is broken it's dashing over a cliff it's turned over you were under it it's on fire when I say the word open your eyes and face death and die with one terrible shriek she felt through her clenched eyelids and on her shivering cheeks the flare and heat of the focused calcium's she felt his hands dragging her helpless wrists down till she was all huddled upon herself she seemed to feel in his taut and frenzied Grif the weight of the engine that had slain her lover then she heard the quick word now she opened her eyes and saw chaos of wrecked iron and steel about her terror knifed her and her whole body was rung with the mad howl of a fright she heard her voice go leaping into the high spaces her hands were free they went to her left side where her heart rocked like a fire Bell she opened her eyes and Wonder the lights were off the crew was staring at her with white faces the cameraman was breathing fast Claymore was mopping his blanched brow and saying who it was sewing adequate a word for the AH still shaking their little world that everybody laughed but sickish Lee claimed or brought forth his most valued word safe for rare occasions my god that was authentic and the other said the real thing a strange phrase for a perfection of imitation Claymore was encouraged again he had found another nugget in the rubble he would continue to work the mine if he had known mems life and the things she had experienced few but fearful he could have brought forth expressions of intense amorous possession of desperate surrender of groveling shame of mad grief of craven hypocrisy but he groped in ignorance and did not realize that her two successes had been due to memory rather than interpretation another failure trailed at heel of this other victory Claymore returned to his little drama of the street he tried to get energy in a gesture in a walk astride a quick whirl a flaunt of arms a fierce charge but mam have been schooled all her life to keep her hands down and to avoid flourish to take short steps and to keep her waist and hips stolid though the fashions of the day gave her short loose skirts no corsets free arms she might as well have been handcuffed and hobbled and fastened in iron stays for all the freedom she used Claymore made her run with longer and longer stride Bend and touched the floor fling her arms aloft take the steps of a Spanish dancer and a Spanish vixen but she was unbelievably inept I wish I had the courage and the kindness to give you a Belasco training he said you know he testified in court that when he trained mrs. Leslie Carter for her big warhorse roles he had to break her muscle-bound condition first he threw her downstairs throttled her beat her head against the wall and chased her about the room she told me herself that she learned the Declaration of Independence by heart and spent hours and hours repeating it as glibly as she could every time she missed an articulation she went back to the beginning and recited it all over again hundreds and hundreds of times that's how she learned to deliver great tirades with a breathless rush yet made every syllable distinct that's how she learned how to charge about the stage like a lioness to be a great actress is no easy job you've got to work like a fiend or you'll get nowhere you've got to exercise your arms and legs and your voice and your soul if you will you've got a big future if you won't you'll slump along playing small parts till you lose your bloom of youth then you'll slip into character parts and go out like an old candle mem was beginning to wear down to understand the joys of a pleasant housewifely career the luxuries of obscurity but claimed or hated to give her up he made one more desperate effort to unleash her soul and her body from the shackles of respectability he set her to denouncing the tarpaulin villain again he made her poor out before that heap of wrinkles a story of shame and de prized devotion and degradation he put her against the wall and made her beat upon it and lament her turpitude he made her fling herself to the floor and pound it with her fists and laugh and mockery then he made her draw the screwdriver and fire five shots into her canvas betrayer her imagination flagged so dismal e in this scene that had decreed the screwdriver a stiletto and made her stab the man to death he laughed at the blow she dealt and forced her to slash and rip and drive the blade home until she fell down exhausted with the vain effort to be a murderous Claymore was as exhausted as she and he wasted no film on taking pictures of her failure let's go to lunch he said we've earned a bit of chow end of chapter 33 recording by Deanna Beauvais chapter 34 of souls for sale this is a librivox recording all librivox recordings are in the public domain for more information or to volunteer please visit soles for sale by rupert hues chapter xxxiv the upshot of this ordeal by fire was that ma'am was recognized as a star yet to be made if indeed her nebulous ambitions should ever be condensed into solid achievement claim or felt that she had a future he told her so but he told her that a period of hard labor lay between her in that paradise he compared the development of an artist with the slow human miracle that had rescued so much of California from the grim bleakness of the desert the desert that yields and rhe conquers retreats and returns great reaches of the fairest home realm of Los Angeles had once been barren sand irrigation and intensive farming had made a Pleasence of it and one could see everywhere the industry of the little pioneers pushing the wasteland back as if humanity were feeling its way like a shapeless amoeba or a groping vine putting its tentacles forth and fastening them wherever sustenance might be found claymore was one of those developers of talent who feel the passion for searching out gold where it lies building roads as it were to hidden hearts and giving them expression making a traffic and commerce of expression he found in men such a temptation her beauty was evident but empty face beauty was as cheap and useless as iron pyrites with the glister of gold and no other value the studio's were infested with pink pretties insipid and characterless doomed to hold up faces as faultless and as charmless as the petunias and morning glories that flaunt their calico in vain about country gardens and porches in mem he felt the or he did not know that it had gone through the smelting fires of tragedy but he felt that she was capable of tragedy and he wanted to instruct her in the mechanisms of transmitted grief as they left the stage he watched her out of the corner of his eye she did not really know how to walk though there was unconscious grace in her carriage what he wanted was conscious grace expert enough to mask its understanding the art that conceals art and knows its genius all the while the deft strong hand of the driver of a trotting horse who gets the ultimate speed from the racing machine without ever letting it break into a gallop or bolt into a mad run claimed or talked to member of herself and her body as frankly as a father confessor dye sexes a soul before a believers eyes she was thrilled with the almost morbid sensation of being the subject of such remorseless analysis she was like one of the victims of the new fashioned operations by local anesthesia who sits up and in a mood of hysterical fascination chats with the surgeon even while he slashes the skin open lays bare the nerves and arteries discloses the deep penetrate empal the director asked her if she would practice at home what he had told her and shown her on the stage and then someday let him give her another test she consented with delight and appointed the morrow as the nearest day there was she had only one sombre thought that she must go home again without a promise of work with neither income of money nor outgo of art to expect but Claymore asked her to wait while he spoke to mr. Behrman she loitered on the green lawn watching the made-up actors and the extra people and the others moving about their tasks someday they must gaze at her with respect and whisper that's miss Steadman the great star bye and bye mr. Behrman came out bare headed to see her he had a way of meeting candidates out of doors it was easier to remember an engagement and dash away then to pry the more tenacious ones out of his office chairs Berman shook mems hand warmly and said with as much enthusiasm as if he were the beneficiary of her hopes as of course he might be well mr. Claymore tells me you have much talent that's fine but he says your work is spotty immature you have little technique but that's alright everybody has to learn he has a small part in his picture and if you want to take it all right the part won't stand much money but you will get experience and that's what you want yes ma'am could have hugged him he was beautiful as the dawning Sun on the hills of night later she would come to hate him and fight him as a miser a penny squeezer a slave driver but so Christopher Columbus and Cortez were regarded after their brief moments of beauty as discoverers Berman was a believer in new faces he had found that the audiences would forgive immaturity of art rather than maturity a figure when it had to choose the part he offered mam was a role of girlish pathos with a wistful note and a few moments of village tragedy she would adorn the screen without being able to do much damage to the story at worst mem felt then in passing from director – director she was undergoing a series of spiritual marriages and divorces there was such intense emotional communions that it was far more than a mere acquaintance but before she left the lot that day she had signed her name to a long document which she pretended to read and understand about all she made of it was that she was to have a salary of $75 a week during the taking of the picture and that the company might exercise an option on her services thereafter if it shows mr. teary was delighted in a paternal fashion it was a sunbeam in his dark day when he could open the door to youth and hope mam went home elated and was greeted so royally that she forgot how diminished her hopes were from the immediate stardom she had imagined under claymores first frenzied the next day the star of the picture arrived on the set in a large hat when claimer told her that she was not to wear it during the scene she exclaimed that her hair was not dressed there was nothing to do but to send her to the COFF use this meant a delay of an hour the company and the throng of extras and the crew must lie idle at the cost of nearly a thousand wasted dollars to the picture it was with such unavoidable blunders that Berman's cup of grief was filled no system of efficiency could be installed to prevent the individual slip an alarm clock that failed to ring a telephone out of order a letter miss addressed and thousands of dollars of time and overhead went poof the company's disaster was MEMS good luck for claimer seeing her lurking in the background waiting for instructions called her over to him everything was set for a test and he dismissed the rest of the company for an early lunch while he sent mem through her paces again he had a canvas partition drawn round a corner of the scene and once more put ma'am at bay against a wall with a camera and a nest of light machines levelled at her she had spent the evening before at Mads spiritual gymnastics in the bungalow with her mother and leva as audience and critics claimed or found that her soul was wakening and her limbs throwing off their inertia he set her problems in mental arithmetic like a tutor coaching a backward pupil for an examination it was an exceedingly curious method of getting acquainted teacher and student became as much involved in each other's souls as Abelard and Heloise at their first sessions when the star came back with her hair appropriately laundered ironed and crimped the rest of the company gathered ma'am could see that claimer gave up his task with her reluctantly and that sent a shaft of sweet fire through her heart late in the afternoon Claymore offered her a lift home in his automobile it was quicker than the streetcar but it seemed far quicker than that they chattered volubly of art theories and practices they did not realize how long the car stood in front of her bungalow before mem got out or how long he waited after she got out talking talking before he bade her the final goodnight her mother realized it peering through the curtains and leva exclaimed good lord the minx has the director eating out of her hand already she'll get on she said this to men when the girl came skipping into the house and shocked her with a glimpse of how their high spiritual relations looked to the bystander Liva taunted her all evening and the next morning called after her as she set out to school aren't you going to take a big red apple to the teacher ma'am took him two of them in her crimson cheeks she had met none of that traditional demand for her honor as an admittance fee to the art Terry had refused her flat Berman had not invited her to love him and claimed or had talked nothing but art yet claimed or occasionally gave her a scene with an actor as a foil talk to her of the arts of embracing kissing fondling rebuking accepting denouncing battling but sometimes he seemed to take more than a professional interest in the demonstrations sometimes he drew her arms about himself and she felt that even if he did not clench her tight or hold her long he wanted to the cameramen the dawdling like crew and the props and Fripp's were chaperones but they were becoming as unimportant as the scenery sometimes she thought they were aware of something in the atmosphere perhaps she caught a glance shot from one to another or an eye turned away a little too indifferently but that only enhanced the excitement and on one occasion when Claymore tried to teach her bigness of wrath and compelled her to scream and strike at him there was such an undertone of affection in the pretense of hate that she felt fairly wrenched apart she met Tom Hobie on a lot one day he had been asked to come over and talk of a possible contract with the Vermont company he greeted men with the few civilian and she warmed at the pride of his recognition then she felt a little twinge of conscience an intuition that she had no right to be so glad to see mr. Hobie since now she belonged to mr. Claymore this was an amazing and slavish reversion to premium submissiveness for an emancipated woman but there was a tang of wild comfort in the feeling that she was owned and then she wondered if she did not owe the priority to mr. Hobie this was a complication it is the custom to regard such confused romances in the dramatic and other artistic realms was scorned as the flippant mores of try fleurs but they are of exactly the same sort as earnest as pathetic and as reluctantly entered into as the countless entanglements that doctors and churchmen encounter in their equally emotional relations with souls in turmoil of one sort or another literature used to be packed with the disastrous affairs of church men and their communicants but the silence has been profound of late except when a sensational explosion bursts into the newspapers and there has been little disclosure at any time of the secret chambers to which the physicians pass apart to admits him the stage and the painters world have had too much attention and too little sympathy and shortly the moving picture was to be assailed by a tornado of national disgust and wrath an eruption of hot ashes and lava from a deep resentment stored up unknown against the magic development of the new art into Titanic power but no one foresaw the accident that was to turn a commonplace carousel into a cataclysm for the present had no greater anxiety than the peculiarly masked flirtation with her director and the battles with little artistic problems as they arose her life had regularity again she got up of morning's with the task before her she had hours of waiting for every minute of acting but she was one of the company and she could study the work of others her textbooks were the faces of the actors and actresses the directions of the directors the mere learning of the language was an occupation in itself she felt puffed up when visitors were brought upon the stage and permitted to see pictures taken it was surprising how fascinating the thing was to the outsiders kings and queens princesses and princes foreign in native generals ambassadors opera singers plutocrats painters gathered humbly in the backgrounds of the scenes and marveled at the business of drama and photography the morbid blue lights and the surprising calm and graciousness of the process they had evidently expected noise and wrangling in tempestuous temperament one day when a little scene was being filmed in which she was the only actress the rest of the company being excused for a change of costume a visitor from overseas was brought upon the set a great French general the publicity man whose lust for space never slept suggested that the general might like to be photographed on the scene he laughed and came forward with a boyish eagerness he displayed at once a terror he had not revealed under bombardment on one side of him stood the director on the other men thrilled and thrilling the still cameraman took several pictures and the incident was ended it seemed the general kissed men's hand and left her almost a swoon with pride the publicity man gave her one of the pictures and she set it up on her mantle as a trophy of her glory whether the general really said it or really meant it only the publicity man knew but when the picture appeared in newspapers supplements about the world it was stated in each of the captions that the great warrior had said remember Stetten is the prettiest girl in America more amazing yet mem first learned of this astounding tribute from her astounded father soon after she began to feel a pride in her art and to take home to her mother little compliment she had heard and to feel that she was launched at last upon the illimitable sea of the greatest as the newest of arts and the most superb of all livelihoods the storm broke upon the moving picture world an actor involved in a dull revel of a sort infinitely frequent since mankind first encountered alcohol was present at the death of an actress the first versions of the disaster were so horribly garbled that the nation was shaken with horror all the simmering resentment against the evil elements and ugly excesses of the fifth largest industry in the world boiled over in a scalding denunciation of the entire motion picture populace for a week or two the nation rose in one mob to lynch an entire craft and all its folk editors politicians reformers preachers club women all of those who make a career of denunciation and take a pride in what they detest drew up a blanket indictment against thousands of the sordid souls and condemned them to infamy dr. Stetten had been one of the loyal Lowther's of the moving pictures and he surprised himself in the jeremiad he lodged at his little congregation back in Calvary a newspaper man happened to be present the rain that morning denying him his usual worship on the Golf Links and he published a column of dr. Steadman's remarks the proud father sent a clipping to his wife and daughter never dreaming that the moving pictures were furnishing them their bread and butter boots and Beatitudes they cowered before the blast and understood the emotions of Adam and Eve after they had eaten of the tree of knowledge and heard the voice in the garden they debated the hateful problem of confessing the truth but could not bring themselves yet awhile to the disclosure of their fraud and then a letter came from the man they loved and dreaded as mrs. Stedman finger opened the envelope in the awkwardness of guilt two pictures fell to the floor they were in the brown rotogravure of the sunday supplements they were alike except in size one was from the New York Times and one from the Chicago Tribune both presented men standing at the side of the french general both stated that he had called this promising member of the burm own company the prettiest girl in America mem and her mother gathered themselves together as if they had been dazed by a rip of lightning from the blue and waited for the Thunderbolt to smash the world about them they read the letter together it began without any dear wife or dear daughter it began the enclosed clippings were sent to me by members of my congregation who were sojourning one in New York and one in Chicago it is hard for me to doubt the witness of my eyes but it is almost harder to believe that the wife of my bosom and the daughter reared in the shelter of our home could have fallen so low so suddenly before I write more I want to hear the truth from both of you if you can and will tell it end of chapter 34 recording by Deanna Beauvais chapter 35 of souls for sale this is a librivox recording all librivox recordings are in the public domain for more information or to volunteer please visit Souls for sale by Rupert Hughes chapter 35 the Reverend dr. Steadman was something more than a father to his daughter something more than a husband to his wife he was also the high priest of their religion the daughter had fled from his face after her sin and had found a new paradise a new priestcraft a new religion beyond the desert she had come to believe in an artist God loving beauty and emotion and inspiring his true believers to proclaim his glories through the development and celebration of the gifts and grace he had bestowed she thought that he required of her hymns of passionate worship instead of the quenching of her spirit the distortion of her graces the burial of her genius the mosaic 10 commandments contain know thou shalt not commit dramaturgy she felt a consecration a call to act to interpret humanity to humanity what her father had deemed temptations and degradation she now considered inspirations and triumphs and yet she could not feel quite sure of herself high as she might rate her career she had come at it by stealth and had been led to it by a dark path of Lies and have concealed shame the overseeing heaven and the pit of hell yawning for unwary feet still terrified her her mother had a different excuse she had come hither to protect her daughter and redeem her from calamity her deception had been a form of protection what if she had deceived her husband it was all for his comfort and she had never sought her own if one may die for another sake why may 1 not lie in an alien behalf besides mrs. Stedman had grown up with her husband and had seen his tempers goad him to too many mistakes she was merely angry at him now for a burst of wrath while mem cowered before him as an inspired prophet mrs. Stedman was all for retorting to his letter with another of defiant rebuke but mem advised delay she was not quite sure of herself or her art torments of doubt conflicting remorses profound bewilderment are no more familiar to religious zealots than two artists in every field and ma'am could not orient herself in her new world but she would not give up her career that much was certain she had drained the family savings already for her mother's overland journey and her own she must earn enough to pay back the draft somehow and here was her one chance $15 a week was all that her veteran father earned she could support him and the whole only better then he had any hope of doing she was the true breadwinner now and she must not quarrel with her bread she had a warm desire to take her father's poor old grape all under her wing to give him rest from his long toil and repose in the New Eden almost to mother him and nourish him even as Lots daughters had nourished their father but she could imagine the horror with which dr. Stedman would be thunderstruck at the hint that he should step down from the fiery chariot of his pulpit and bask in the shadow of a motion picture actress the letter that suggested such a thing would be as fatal as one of the infernal machines that people were sending through the mails to shatter the recipient yet she could never give up her career and go back to the grave of Calvary it was too wonderful to play a scene on the set to revel in a moment of dramatic power throw out a tragic gesture look a mute appeal then next day to sit in the black projection room and hear the small group of witnesses murmur at her sorrow and praise her graces this precious harvest of her toil was too dear to relinquish she had just dropped her sickle into the edge of the golden wheat and she must go on on the evening of the arrival of dr. Stone's letter two callers dropped in claymore and whole be the subject of all moving picture talk was still the Arbuckle case a cause celeb that monopolized the headlines of the newspapers for weeks especially in Los Angeles where two hostile camps were formed and the enemies of the free film took new heart and determined to chain and tame the beast once for all well into the world because it must needs be that offenses come but woe unto him by whom the offence cometh since man had covered the ground there had been hilarious groups and drinking bouts of more or less gaiety they had been called festivals bak ik revels or disgusting to Boches according as a poet or a preacher described them after the prohibition law became law in the United States the enormous amount of liquor still consumed the appalling tidal waves of crime had been matter for jokes or sermons or hot debates the same arguments proving opposite contentions for both sides on a certain day when there were probably 10,000 similar guzzling coteries a certain moving picture comedian of Falstaff Ian girth and vast popularity entertained in his hotel rooms at San Francisco a number of men and women one of the women fell ill and died a few days later and another woman told a story so garbled at the start that the nation shuddered with the pain and the ugliness of it the story was soon contradicted in almost every particular by the prime witness herself and by all the other confused and confusing witnesses but the tide of national wrath could not be recalled an ambitious District Attorney resolved that the comedian should be tried for murder in the first degree to juries and a judge declined to go so far with him but the pulpit and the editorial columns the legislative halls and forums and the very street corners roared with the demand for somebody's destruction all this was pitiful hateful lamentable everything bewildering and depressing but it was also very common in human history the same avalanches had been started by a whisper and had engulfed all races religions political parties raining families churches lodges charities whatnot just as now the entire motion picture world was smothered in a welter of abuse and condemnation with all the logic of a mob reveling in a chance to realize its mob lust it was assumed or pretended that there was something specifically of the moving pictures in the affair at San Francisco drunkards bootleggers and respectable millions who smuggled liquor into their homes without scruple expressed horror at a motion picture actor for having liquor in his possession the cry for censorship arose with renewed fury and there was no stopping the superstition that all human wickedness was somehow due to this new devil by a coincidence while this one motion picture clown was drawing all the Lightning's of the sky upon all the motion picture people the churches were contributing to the criminal courts an extraordinary number of cases a Protestant minister in Alabama was on trial for beating a Catholic priest to death another preacher was being found guilty of drowning his wife in a lake another of flogging his own child to death for unsatisfactory prayers a white robed faith healer was indicted for manslaughter on account of a pious laying on of hands so violent that an elderly patient died in an agony of broken bones the next most spacious murder case of the day was charged against a man whose father was a minister and whose wife was the daughter of a bishop yet nobody dreamed of a sailing religion as an incentive to murder no one warned the young to avoid churches or suggested a censorship of sermons it struck nobody as ludicrous or contemptible to blame a 20 year old art for Evil's that had flourished during 10,000 years of recorded wickedness the public was in a lynching mode and would not be denied a whole art was being tarred and feathered and tortured in every cruel and fantastic manner bankers withdrew money from companies with pictures half-finished audiences fell away in the picture houses everywhere the motion picture Goliath already weakened with the malnutrition of hard times staggered under a shower of stones from the slings of myriad David's while they lasted those were dramatic days for the bright children of the moving pictures they felt like gypsies riding caroling through a summer landscape and suddenly assailed by farmers with pitchforks and abuse the newcomer remember Stenton was especially aghast the delectable Mountain she had assayed to climb was abruptly fenced off as a peak of hell end of chapter 35 recording by Diana Beauvais chapter 36 of souls for sale this is a librivox recording all librivox recordings are in the public domain for more information or to volunteer please visit Souls for sale by Rupert Hughes chapter 36 dr. Stetten had constantly besought from his pulpit forgiveness for his flocks willful sins of omission and Commission he had cried to heaven that his people were miserable sinners incessantly backsliding into every wickedness yet it was somehow different when a motion picture player growled as claimed or did now while we are rotten rotten er than any outsider knows and we're only getting what was coming to us claim or was always the apologist what he loved he distrusted his wife had left him on that account he had felt compelled to correct her faults and lovingly chastise her he had been a director in the theatre and it had gone about shamefaced on account of the misbehavior of so many of its people the alleged low standards of the successes the lack of appreciation for Shakespeare the absence of a true sense of art in all Americans the mysterious genius for art in all foreigners as soon as he had been decoyed into the motion picture field the theatre borrowed enchantment from distance it was as Noble as antiquity and now all his wailings were against the trash the motion picture trade turned out and its base commercialism compared with the lofty accomplishments of the theatre he was a priest at an altar but he always praised the Elder Gods so now he growled the motion pictures have been riding for a fall it's all due to a sudden rush of money to the head Cowboys were yanked off the ranch and sent loco with the effort to spend a thousand dollars a week brainless village girls and artist models were plunged into enormous publicity and dazzled with fortunes for making a few faces every day at a camera they acted like drunken Grand Dukes before every jewellers window they give parties that were nothing but riots the vampire was developed as a special attraction the press agents magnified the wickedness of their clients divorces were considered good advertising there are sots and dope fiends among us an immorality enough to sink a ship Tom Hobie was of another character what he loved he adored fought for would not criticize or permit to be criticized hold on a minute Claymore he broke in is there any part of the country where booze parties are unknown the dope fiends aren't all in Hollywood every other town has about the same quota east and west and north and south in Europe Asia Africa it's the same I tell you the average morality is just as high in Hollywood or Culver City as anywhere else in the world we're a bunch of hard workers and the women work as hard as the men they're respected and given every opportunity for wealth and fame and freedom the public has been fed on a lot of crazy stories a few producers have kept up the idea a lot of bad women are at large in the movies but most of them were bad before they came in and they'd have been a lot worse if they had stayed at home the moving picture did more to keep girls and boys off the street then all the prayer meetings ever held they drove the saloon out of business more than any other power the screen is the biggest educational and moral force ever discovered and it hasn't got a fault that is all its own I tell you it's a cowardly shame to throw dirt on it I hold my head just a little higher than ever and I am shouting just a little louder than before that I'm a movie man mem looked on Tom Hobie with new eyes she had never thought of him as a fiery Patriot in his art his hot zeal was vastly becoming him and cast into the shade the revering affection she had gained for Claymore the inspirer and encourage ur of her personal skill her art was bigger than herself and she was thrilled with almost reverence for Hobie to the surprise of everyone the most ardent defender of the movies was the least expected of all in such a gallery mrs. Stedman the minister's wife her demure shy soul kept her quiet for a long while but finally she struck out with all the wrath of the patient and the long-suffering she was indeed now a Hollywood mother she was the mother of all the movies and she laughed forth in an abrupt frenzy like an enraged kitten well I think it's a crying shame for everybody to begin picking on such lovely people who worked so hard and have such good hearts and do so much to make the world brighter and if you make it brighter you make it better you children mustn't take it so much to heart this is a lynching country and every once and so often they've got to have a victim no matter where they find him when I was a girl the people that wanted to free the slaves were treated worse than what movie people are and when our church was young the other churches used to treat us terribly the things they said about our early preachers and did to them jail and whipping posts and abuse could gracious you'd never believe it look what they did to Admiral Dewey one day the nation's pet hero and then next a yellow dog they gave him a house for a gift and when he put it in his wife's name just to make sure of it for her the people rose and treated him worse than they treated Gotoh and all he had done was to be nice to his wife from her of all people came even a word of compassion for the object of the nation's wrath and that poor young man who got into all the trouble he couldn't have meant to do any harm he was just a big overgrown boy and he made too much money too soon and he drank too much all the terrible sufferings people go through who can't help drinking too much when they find what they've done there was a deacon in our church a good man as ever was but now and then he'd go mad for liquor and he never knew what he might do once after a long period of being perfectly nice he tasted the communion wine and left the church and went mad crazy with whiskey and Hotere how he wept and prayed even my husband was sorry for him Christ was sorry for everybody even for the people that crucified him and the young man so big and fat and funny all the world laughed at him and paid fortunes to see him act and now people are after him like wolves and nobody says a good word for him even if he had done what they said he did how brokenhearted he would be now it seems to me that most of the people who have for his life are making themselves crueler than what they say he was nobody seems to know just how that poor girl came to her death but supposed the worst that said was true it's not half as bad as thousands of cases that have gone on in this country why in our peaceful little town there was a terrible thing happened I hardly died speak of it but there was a pretty young girl a wild thing but awful pretty and some young fellows got a lot of liquor and she was alone with them and after terrible goings-on why she died the next day and that happened right in our hometown of Calvary long before moving pictures were even thought of and not a line was published in a single newspaper not a sermon was preached against it and nobody ever dreamed of prosecuting one of the five young men who really killed that poor foolish young girl two of the men were members of my husband's church they were terribly sorry and repentant it seemed the right thing to hush it up and not talk about it I guess there isn't a town in the world that hasn't had things like that happen a preacher's wife gets to know the most pitiful things if all the preachers and doctors and mothers and fathers would tell all they knew oh dear what revelations and so I say why should everybody act like this young man was the first one that ever did anything terrible why should they say it had anything to do with the business he was in why should they persecute the dear good nice people in the moving pictures I think it's just frightful and if I was in the movies I just wouldn't stand it mem throbbed with love of her mother for her ardor but she bent her head realizing her own secret claymores stared at the flaming little matron with gleaming eyes of approval level amer squirmed ashamed of her own acquiescence in the storm of abuse but Tom Hobie rolls from his chair and going to mrs. Stedman bent down and kissed her on the hair and wrung her little hand and kissed it and in that tribute he wooed mem more compellingly than in any other possible wise mrs. Stedman clung to Tom Hall B's big hand and patted it then rose and left the room when mem would have followed she was sent back then mrs. Stedman in a fine frenzy went to her table and wrote her husband and answer to his letter dear husband I am ashamed of you for writing such a mean little note yes I am proud to say that my daughter is an actress and is doing fine work if you are not proud of her it is because you don't know enough to be you will someday you'll see she is working hard and earning lots of money and I'm going to stay with her as long as she needs me I guess you can get along without me awhile if you can't come on out and see for yourself how wrong you are I hope your next letter will be an apology mem would send her love if she knew I was writing your loving wife when this tiny bomb exploded in dr. Stanton's parsonage it produced an astounding effect the old devil fighter was not afraid of all the legions of hell he could even face his riches pew holder without flinching he could oppose his bishop or a whole assembly of fellow ministers but he was afraid of that little life of his she alone could scold him with impunity and by the mere withdrawal of her approval cast a cloud across his heaven he was in an abject perplexity now mrs. Stedman was as much afraid of men as her husband was of her she dared not tell mem that she had written the letter until after it was mailed beyond retrieving then she confessed and mem startled her by a sudden collapse into bitter grief I have come between you and Papa I have disgraced the family and lied to him and dragged you away from him and set you against him I have taken you away from the other children and broken up our beautiful home and I wish I were dead mrs. Stedman poured out lies with spendthrift seal in the effort to comfort her and restore her pride your father needs a vacation and your sister Gladys is taking better care of the house than I did but MEMS grief was irredeemable yet there was a benefit even in this her heart was so a brim with tears that in a scene next day when claimer wanted her to weep he had only to call for tears and they gushed in torrents and from this enhanced responsiveness and the aggravated sympathy it aroused in his heart came the great peril that teary had warned the girl against the peril not of having to sell herself but of giving herself away just for the graciousness of the deed end of chapter 36 recording by Deanna Bobe chapter 37 of souls for sale this is a librivox recording all librivox recordings are in the public domain for more information or to volunteer please visit Souls for sale by Rupert Hughes chapter 37 all this while the boy teri dak had been troubling mems conscience she had induced the mother to give up her safe and sane career as a washerwoman and undertake the peculiar offices of mother to a prodigy but the prodigy had not yet found his chance to prove himself the producers did not seem to be so eager to engage the boy as mam had expected as soon as she was installed as an actress she ventured one day to ask mr. Terry to see the child he consented to make an appointment mrs. dak laundered her son as carefully as if he were a week's wash she starched and ironed him and rendered him generally unnatural she was in a panic of anxiety but the boy's reaction to this was one of stodgy reserve Terry kept a number of famous candidates waiting while he meant to proceed the tiny petitioner the child must have found something lacking in this effusive courtesy or some offense in its manifest condescension for he refused even to shake hands and retreat it into his mother's bosom like a Frightened Rabbit the more the mother scolded the more the boy froze the casting director was patient but plainly not encouraged he gave up at length and asked his assistant mr. Dobbs to place in the files a picture of the boy with a record of his age size color and the ominous words no experience mem and mrs. dak left the office disheartened mrs. dak was too downcast to scold her punished she could only ask the boy why he had misbehaved she might as well have asked why his hair was the tint it was or his features so shaped he had simply not been in the humour and he had not yet been trained to coerce his moods to respond to the call that night mrs. dak came to see mem to say that she would have to go back to Palm Springs and her drudgery she was afraid to attempt a washer woman's metier in Los Angeles though there was neat enough for artists in her line she suffered tub fright in a strange land the boy felt guilty he had suffered keenly when his mother broke down at home and wept he suffered now when his beloved mem appealed to him frantically oh honey why were you so mean to the gentleman who wanted to be nice to you I don't know said the artist in embryo something inside of me just wouldn't behave I wanted it to but I couldn't make it ma'am understood this language she had once tried to smile and wink and laugh before a director and had found her muscles led Terry's failure had not been an intentional insolence but a kind of mental lock jaw even the salesman cannot be at his cunningest with every customer and shoes jewels plans and creeds are is hard to sell as souls when the ecstasy is wanting well mrs dak was trying to persuade ma'am not to blame herself for the fiasco urging that Palm Springs was a nice place and washing a good enough trade claimer dropped in to call mem and her mother and mrs. dak were in memfs bedroom when leave a brought word that men had a caller mrs. stack said that she would be saying goodbye when she put out her hand like a hook for the child who was usually within reach he did not afix himself to it when she and ma'am looked about for him they found him in the front room perched on claimers lap and making violent love child love to the captivated tyrant the boy's big fawn eyes were lustrous with affection the little fingers were wrapping and unwrapping their tendrils about claymores hand the women stood back and watched the two unnoticed tarry startled Claymore by saying why do you Scrooge up your eyebrows that away do I gasped Claymore yep you do lookee this is how you go as claymore flung back his head and laughed at the revelation of an unsuspected habit of mean he caught sight of mem in the embrasure of the Doren demanded do i Scrooge up my eyebrows the little rat says I do I hadn't noticed it but you do said ma'am Terry was hilarious with pride and Claymore who distrusted everything he loved was a glutton for humiliation he had chosen a profession in which it is frequent public and expensive I wish I had this child on the lot he said we're getting close to a big scene in this next picture where a child is ill and delirious the boy we had in mind has just had two front teeth knocked out in a fight at school that won't look pretty in the picture Claymore director liked love to discover new talent dig up gold quartz and chunks and refine them he looked down at the up looking boy would you like to act for me yep you bet would you do what I asked you to you bet his mother said he's an awful good little tyke never cries or never cries Claymore gasped except when he's mad oh well he'll cry for me I guess if I ask him to won't you old man you bet you come over tomorrow and see the casting director I'll tell him to bring the boy to me for a test does he know anything about makeup mem shook her head and answered with professional calm I'll make him up myself tomorrow morning early and now there was rapture in the household of DAC the widow was retrieved from the washtub at the desert sedge the son was rescued from the dull lethargy of a sagebrush future a scepter was put in his hand and he would be raised aloft to such glory and such Empire as no infant monarch had ever known if he succeeded millions of men and women in every land would gaze up at his living moving portrait and pay him the homage that greets childhood when it is beautiful in the sunlight terry dak was about to be struck off in innumerable portraits and shower upon a grateful world at the age of five he would commence his business career with a salary of two or three thousand dollars a year it was dazzling yet some people called it a dull age in a dull world and looked back to medieval France for romantic happenings and many exceedingly good people would hold up their hands in horror at such cruel treatment of a child turning from the hideous revelations of immemorial precocious depravity from the ghastly records of the children's courts founded by Saint Ben Lindsay from the loathsome spectacles of the streets and alleys of ancient and modern times where children were flung like garbage good people would revile the movies as a degradation of children the police and the lawmakers would regard the studios with the jealous eye if young mr. Jack failed to receive at least four hours of schooling on any day if he were permitted to work more than four hours on any day the guilty director and everybody concerned would be liable to heavy fines and imprisonment but the DAX did not realize into what odium they were descending they felt that they were being lifted up out of despair into a cloud realm of bliss mrs. decks gratitude was so dire that it put clay more to flight he went away raging he had called to pay court to the fascinating miss Denton and he had adopted a child and a mother who's silly enthusiasm drenched him like a capsized tub of warm suds mrs. DAC scurried away to her bleak lodgings to unpack her bundles Palm Springs might pine for its lost laundress but the world would be the happier for its newfound lamb Terry was forever getting to sleep that night he was telling his mother what palaces he would buy her what silks he would dress her in she should ride in to solid gold Ford's at once with the policeman for a driver the next morning the DAX were at MEMS door before she was up they sat on the steps watching the red face sunrise yawning from his bed on the mountains they saw the newsboy on his bicycle fling the morning paper on the dewy grass and Terry decided to buy himself a gold bicycle his mother tried in vain to hush his prattle finally the rattlesnake were of an alarm clock within shook the bungalow from its repose and they made their presence known after breakfast mem made up her own face first in order to get it out of the way and also as a model for mrs. DAC to copy Terry's hands clutched at the various pigments with all the premium instinct of a savage desire for paint he repeated the names of the various layers of grease and color as a most delightful lesson when mem was ready to begin on his face he held it up like a little balloon for adornment leva had taken over the automobile of the housemate who had gone back east to the Middle West she drove the DAX and mem to the studio the streets were full of actors and actresses and automobiles of every sort most of them made up their faces at home and some of them put on their costumes there the town had the appearance of a carnivals morning-after and strangers found the site astonishing but to the established populace it was nothing but the daily exodus to the factories of the working classes in their overalls and caps the makeup boxes the toilers carried were merely their toolkits the iron grills at the studio entrance were wide open and a throng poured in automobiles were parked along the curbs and famous artists extra folk cameramen executives cabinet makers electricians chemists scene painters decorators Cowboys Chinese Arabians cooks waitresses a small City full flocked to the numberless tests that combined to build a snow of pictures claymore was waiting for his protege and carried him off to his set where he put him through an ordeal he was too young and too eager to regard as anything but the pastime Claymore pretended it was the boys magnetism was instant with everyone everyone smiled at the sight of him he put a live coal in every heart to warm its cockles the cameraman smiled and joked as he turned the crank Terry dak had that which certain poems dramas paintings statues orations an irresistible fascination his wheedling pout might be known for a mere trick cynics might resent his big eyes his babyish prettiness and rebel against his tears but they would find their eyes moist their lips quivering their hands aching to caress him or spank him he could not be ignored mr. Behrman on an early round of inspection stopped to watch the tests being made to ask who the child was and to mumble to claim or signed him up he paused also to shake hands with the young tyrant to toss him in the air and hug him tight with the heartache he dared not confess and so Terry's fortune was made or at least it was assigned to him to get it would not be so easy to earn as it seemed he would not realize himself what intellect he was developing what intuitional processes he was perfecting in the laboratory of his soul he was sent home that day with the promise of a verdict on the morrow he left the studio with bitter regret and annoying terror his fierce imagination dramatized the deferment as exile his mother took the contagion of fear from him and they were in an anguish until mem returned that evening with the glad news that the test film had been rushed through the laboratory and had evoked vast enthusiasm in the projection room it was always a problem whether the charm would photograph in Terry's case the picture was beyond the reality his skin had an incandescent his emotions were graphic upon his features the next day was Terry's first birthday as an artist mem anounced herself as his true mother and clay more said than I am his father they looked at each other with a kind of fright they were already linked in a wedlock of art and a child was born of the union of their souls and this had terrifying implications end of chapter 37 recording by Deanna Bobe

Michael Martin

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  1. Souls for Sale | Rupert Hughes | Published 1900 onward | Audio Book | English | 5/8

    30: [00:00:00] – Chapter XXX

    31: [00:26:02] – Chapter XXXI

    32: [00:36:27] – Chapter XXXII

    33: [00:48:49] – Chapter XXXIII

    34: [00:58:33] – Chapter XXXIV

    35: [01:17:10] – Chapter XXXV

    36: [01:26:47] – Chapter XXXVI

    37: [01:40:10] – Chapter XXXVII

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