"I'll have one for twelve fifty to-morrow night," said Mrs. Montague, not too dismally. "I got to do a duchess at a reception, and I certainly hope my feet don't hurt me again."
"Cheer up, old dears! Pretty soon you can both pick your parts," chirped their daughter. "Jeff's going to give me a contract, and then you can loaf forever for all I care. Only I know you won't, and you know you won't. Both of you'd act for nothing if you couldn't do it for money. What's the use of pretending?"
"The chit may be right, she may be right," conceded Mr. Montague sadly.
Later, while the ladies were again in the kitchen, Mr. Montague, after suggesting, "Something in the nature of an after-dinner cordial," quaffed one for himself and followed it with the one he had poured out for a declining guest who still treasured the flavour of his one aperitif.
He then led the way to the small parlour where he placed in action on the phonograph a record said to contain the ravings of John McCullough in his last hours. He listened to this emotionally.
"That's the sort of technique," he said, "that the so--called silver screen has made but a memory." He lighted his pipe, and identified various framed photographs that enlivened the walls of the little room. Many of them were of himself at an earlier age.
"My dear mother-in-law," he said, pointing to another. "A sterling artist, and in her time an ornament of the speaking stage. I was on tour when her last days came. She idolized me, and passed away with my name on her lips. Her last request was that a photograph of me should be placed in her casket before it went to its final resting place."
He paused, his emotion threatening to overcome him. Presently he brushed a hand across his eyes and continued, "I discovered later that they had picked out the most wretched of all my photographs--an atrocious thing I had supposed was destroyed. Can you imagine it?"