"You're a great little patter, Sarah," he observed with one of his infrequent attempts at humour.
On still another day, while they idled between scenes, she talked to him about salaries and contracts, again with her important air of mothering him.
"After this picture," she told him, "Jeff was going to sew you up with a long-time contract, probably at a hundred and fifty per. But I've told him plain I won't stand for it. No five-year contract, and not any contract at that figure. Maybe three years at two hundred and fifty, I haven't decided yet. I'll wait and see--" she broke off to regard him with that old puzzling light far back in her eyes-- "wait and see how you get over in these two pieces."
"But I know you'll go big, and so does Jeff. We've caught you in the rushes enough to know that. And Jeff's a good fellow, but naturally he'll get you for as little as he can. He knows all about money even if he don't keep Yom Kippur. So I'm watching over you, son--I'm your manager, see? And I've told him so, plain. He knows he'll have to give you just what you're worth. Of course he's entitled to consideration for digging you up and developing you, but a three- year contract will pay him out for that. Trust mother."
"I do," he told her. "I'd be helpless without you. It kind of scares me to think of getting all that money. I won't know what to do with it."
"I will; you always listen to me, and you won't be camping on the lot any more. And don't shoot dice with these rough-necks on the lot." "I won't," he assured her. "I don't believe in gambling." He wondered about Sarah's own salary, and was surprised to learn that it was now double his own. It was surprising, because her acting seemed not so important to the piece as his. "It seems like a lot of money for what you have to do," he said.
"There," she smiled warmly, "didn't I always say you were a natural- born trouper? Well, it is a lot of money for me, but you see I've helped Jeff dope out both of these pieces. I'm not so bad at gags--I mean the kind of stuff he needs in these serious dramas. This big scene of yours, where you go off to the city and come back a wreck on Christmas night--that's mine. I doped it out after the piece was started--after I'd had a good look at the truck driver that plays opposite you."
Truck driver? It appeared that Miss Montague was actually applying this term to the New York society girl who in private life was burdened with an ailing family. He explained now that Mr. Baird had not considered her ideal for the part, but had chosen her out of kindness.