Before he had finished his meal Henshaw and his so-called Governor brought their trays to the adjoining table. Merton studied with new interest the director who would some day be telling people that he had been the first to observe the aptitude of this new star--had, in fact, given him a lot of footage and close-ups and medium shots and "dramatics" in The Blight of Broadway when he was a mere extra-- before he had made himself known to the public in Jeff Baird's first worth-while piece.
He was strongly moved, now, to bring himself to Henshaw's notice when he heard the latter say, "It's a regular Harold Parmalee part, good light comedy, plenty of heart interest, and that corking fight on the cliff."
He wanted to tell Henshaw that he himself was already engaged to do a Harold Parmalee part, and had been told, not two hours ago, that he would by most people be taken for Parmalee's twin brother. He restrained this impulse, however, as Henshaw went on to talk of the piece in hand.
It proved to be Robinson Crusoe, which he had already discussed. Or, rather, not Robinson Crusoe any longer. Not even Robinson Crusoe, Junior. It was to have been called Island Passion, he learned, but this title had been amended to Island Love.
"They're getting fed up on that word 'passion,'" Henshaw was saying, "and anyhow, 'love' seems to go better with 'island,' don't you think, Governor? 'Desert Passion' was all right--there's something strong and intense about a desert. But 'island' is different."
And it appeared that Island Love, though having begun as Robinson Crusoe, would contain few of the outstanding features of that tale. Instead of Crusoe's wrecked sailing-ship, there was a wrecked steam yacht, a very expensive yacht stocked with all modern luxuries, nor would there be a native Friday and his supposed sister with the tattooed shoulder, but a wealthy young New Yorker and his valet who would be good for comedy on a desert island, and a beautiful girl, and a scoundrel who would in the last reel be thrown over the cliffs.
Henshaw was vivacious about the effects he would get. "I've been wondering, Governor," he continued, "if we're going to kill off the heavy, whether we shouldn't plant it early that besides wanting this girl who's on the island, he's the same scoundrel that wronged the young sister of the lead that owns the yacht. See what I mean?-it would give more conflict."
"But here--" The Governor frowned and spoke after a moment's pause. "Your young New Yorker is rich, isn't he? Fine old family, and all that, how could he have a sister that would get wronged? You couldn't do it. If he's got a wronged sister, he'd have to be a workingman or a sailor or something. And she couldn't be a New York society girl; she'd have to be working some place, in a store or office--don't you see? How could you have a swell young New Yorker with a wronged sister? Real society girls never get wronged unless their father loses his money, and then it's never anything serious enough to kill a heavy for. No--that's out." "Wait, I have it." Henshaw beamed with a new inspiration. "You just said a sailor could have his sister wronged, so why not have one on the yacht, a good strong type, you know, and his little sister was wronged by the heavy, and he'd never known who it was, because the little girl wouldn't tell him, even on her death-bed, but he found the chap's photograph in her trunk, and on the yacht he sees that it was this same heavy--and there you are. Revenge--see what I mean? He fights with the heavy on the cliff, after showing him the little sister's picture, and pushes him over to death on the rocks below--get it? And the lead doesn't have to kill him. How about that?" Henshaw regarded his companion with pleasant anticipation.