"I got you," said the girl, "and you'll get him to-morrow morning. I told him to be over with his stills. And he'll be serious all the time, make no mistake there. He's no wise guy. And one thing, Jeff, he's as innocent as a cup--custard, so you'll have to keep that bunch of Buckeye roughnecks from riding him. I can tell you that much. Once they started kidding him, it would be all off."
"And, besides--" She hesitated briefly. "Somehow I don't want him kidded. I'm pretty hard-boiled, but he sort of made me feel like a fifty-year-old mother watching her only boy go out into the rough world. See?"
"I'll watch out for that," said Baird.
Merton Gill awoke to the comforting realization that he was between sheets instead of blankets, and that this morning he need not obscurely leave his room by means of a window. As he dressed, however, certain misgivings, to which he had been immune the day before, gnawed into his optimism. He was sober now. The sheer intoxication of food after fasting, of friendly concern after so long a period when no one had spoken him kindly or otherwise, had evaporated. He felt the depression following success.
He had been rescued from death by starvation, but had anything more than this come about? Had he not fed upon the charity of a strange girl, taking her money without seeing ways to discharge the debt? How could he ever discharge it? Probably before this she had begun to think of him as a cheat. She had asked him to come to the lot, but had been vague as to the purpose. Probably his ordeal of struggle and sacrifice was not yet over. At any rate, he must find a job that would let him pay back the borrowed twenty-five dollars.
He would meet her as she had requested, assure her of his honest intentions, and then seek for work. He would try all the emporiums in Hollywood. They were numerous and some one of them would need the services of an experienced assistant. This plan of endeavour crystallized as he made his way to the Holden lot. He had brought his package of stills, but only because the girl had insisted on seeing them.
The Countess made nothing of letting him in. She had missed him, she said, for what seemed like months, and was glad to hear that he now had something definite in view, because the picture game was mighty uncertain and it was only the lucky few nowadays that could see something definite. He did not confide to her that the definite something now within his view would demand his presence at some distance from her friendly self.
He approached the entrance to Stage Five with head bent in calculation, and not until he heard her voice did he glance up to observe that the Montague girl was dancing from pleasure, it would seem, at merely beholding him. She seized both his hands in her strong grasp and revolved him at the centre of a circle she danced. Then she held him off while her eyes took in the details of his restoration.