Throckmorton presently faced the old lady who sat huddled in an armchair, her hands crooked over a cane, a ruffled cap above her silvery hair. He manfully voiced his request for the child's hand in marriage. The old lady seemed to mumble an assent. The happy lover looked about for his fiance when, to his stupefaction, the old lady arose briskly from her chair, threw off cap, silvery wig, gown of black, and stood revealed as the child herself, smiling roguishly up at him from beneath the sunbonnet. With a glad cry he would have seized her, when she stayed him with lifted hand. Once more she astounded him. Swiftly she threw off sunbonnet, blonde wig, print dress, and stood before him revealed as none other than the Gordon daughter.
Hubert Throckmorton had lost his wager. Slowly, as the light of recognition dawned in his widening eyes, he gathered the beautiful girl into his arms. "Now may I be your leading lady?" she asked.
"My leading lady, not only in my next picture, but for life," he replied.
There was a pretty little scene in which the wager was paid. Merton studied it. Twice again, that evening, he studied it. He was doubtful. It would seem queer to take a girl around the waist that way and kiss her so slowly. Maybe he could learn. And he knew he could already do that widening of the eyes. He could probably do it as well as Parmalee did.
Back in the Buckeye office, when the Montague girl had returned from her parting with Merton, Baird had said:
"Kid, you've brightened my whole day."
"He's a lot better than you said."
"You can't tell. You can't tell till you try him out. He might be good, and he might blow up right at the start."