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8. VII. THE LEADING LADY (continued)
"Who's she?" The leading lady sat up expectantly.
The expectant figure drooped. "Blonde? And Irish crochet collar with a black velvet bow on her chest?"
"Who? Pearlie? Naw. You mustn't get Pearlie mixed with the common or garden variety of stenos. Pearlie is fat, and she wears specs and she's got a double chin. Her hair is skimpy and she don't wear no rat. W'y no traveling man has ever tried to flirt with Pearlie yet. Pearlie's what you'd call a woman, all right. You wouldn't never make a mistake and think she'd escaped from the first row in the chorus."
The leading lady rose from the bed, reached out for her pocket-book, extracted a dime, and held it out to the bell-boy.
"Here. Will you ask her to come up here to me? Tell her I said please."
After he had gone she seated herself on the edge of the bed again, with a look in her eyes like that which you have seen in the eyes of a dog that is waiting for a door to be opened.
Fifteen minutes passed. The look in the eyes of the leading lady began to fade. Then a footstep sounded down the hall. The leading lady cocked her head to catch it, and smiled blissfully. It was a heavy, comfortable footstep, under which a board or two creaked. There came a big, sensible thump-thump-thump at the door, with stout knuckles. The leading lady flew to answer it. She flung the door wide and stood there, clutching her kimono at the throat and looking up into a red, good-natured face.
Pearlie Schultz looked down at the leading lady kindly and benignantly, as a mastiff might look at a terrier.
"Lonesome for a bosom to cry on?" asked she, and stepped into the room, walked to the west windows, and jerked down the shades with a zip-zip, shutting off the yellow glare. She came back to where the leading lady was standing and patted her on the cheek, lightly.
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