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The Memento
by [?]

You saw, too, amid the black-clothed, mainly masculine patrons of select vaudeville a hundred hands raised with the hope of staying the flight of the brilliant aerial token.

Forty weeks of the best circuits this act had brought Miss Rosalie Ray, for each of two years. She did other things during her twelve minutes–a song and dance, imitations of two or three actors who are but imitations of themselves, and a balancing feat with a step-ladder and feather-duster; but when the blossom-decked swing was let down from the flies, and Miss Rosalie sprang smiling into the seat, with the golden circlet conspicuous in the place whence it was soon to slide and become a soaring and coveted guerdon–then it was that the audience rose in its seat as a single man–or presumably so–and indorsed the specialty that made Miss Ray’s name a favorite in the booking-offices.

At the end of the two years Miss Ray suddenly announced to her dear friend, Miss D’Armande, that she was going to spend the summer at an antediluvian village on the north shore of Long Island, and that the stage would see her no more.

Seventeen minutes after Miss Lynnette D’Armande had expressed her wish to know the whereabouts of her old chum, there were sharp raps at her door.

Doubt not that it was Rosalie Ray. At the shrill command to enter she did so, with something of a tired flutter, and dropped a heavy hand-bag on the floor. Upon my word, it was Rosalie, in a loose, travel-stained automobileless coat, closely tied brown veil with yard-long, flying ends, gray walking-suit and tan oxfords with lavender overgaiters.

When she threw off her veil and hat, you saw a pretty enough face, now flushed and disturbed by some unusual emotion, and restless, large eyes with discontent marring their brightness. A heavy pile of dull auburn hair, hastily put up, was escaping in crinkly, waving strands and curling, small locks from the confining combs and pins.

The meeting of the two was not marked by the effusion vocal, gymnastical, osculatory and catechetical that distinguishes the greetings of their unprofessional sisters in society. There was a brief clinch, two simultaneous labial dabs and they stood on the same footing of the old days. Very much like the short salutations of soldiers or of travellers in foreign wilds are the welcomes between the strollers at the corners of their criss-cross roads.

“I’ve got the hall-room two flights up above yours,” said Rosalie, “but I came straight to see you before going up. I didn’t know you were here till they told me.”

“I’ve been in since the last of April,” said Lynnette. “And I’m going on the road with a ‘Fatal Inheritance’ company. We open next week in Elizabeth. I thought you’d quit the stage, Lee. Tell me about yourself.”

Rosalie settled herself with a skilful wriggle on the top of Miss D’Armande’s wardrobe trunk, and leaned her head against the papered wall. From long habit, thus can peripatetic leading ladies and their sisters make themselves as comfortable as though the deepest armchairs embraced them.

“I’m going to tell you, Lynn,” she said, with a strangely sardonic and yet carelessly resigned look on her youthful face. “And then to-morrow I’ll strike the old Broadway trail again, and wear some more paint off the chairs in the agents’ offices. If anybody had told me any time in the last three months up to four o’clock this afternoon that I’d ever listen to that ‘Leave-your-name-and-address’ rot of the booking bunch again, I’d have given ’em the real Mrs. Fiske laugh. Loan me a handkerchief, Lynn. Gee! but those Long Island trains are fierce. I’ve got enough soft-coal cinders on my face to go on and play Topsy without using the cork. And, speaking of corks– got anything to drink, Lynn?”

Miss D’Armande opened a door of the wash-stand and took out a bottle.

“There’s nearly a pint of Manhattan. There’s a cluster of carnations in the drinking glass, but–“