God is so wistfully veiled from them by despair of their，
There was but one break in the dreary monotony, and that was when Lowell Hardy, Simsbury's highly artistic photographer, came in to leave an order for groceries. Lowell wore a soft hat with rakish brim, and affected low collars and flowing cravats, the artistic effect of these being heightened in his studio work by a purple velvet jacket. Even in Gashwiler's he stood out as an artist. Merton received his order, and noting that Gashwiler was beyond earshot bespoke his services for the following afternoon.
"Say, Lowell, be on the lot at two sharp to-morrow, will you? I want to shoot some Western stuff--some stills."
Merton thrilled as he used these highly technical phrases. He had not read his magazines for nothing.
Lowell Hardy considered, then consented. He believed that he, too, might some day be called to Hollywood after they had seen the sort of work he could turn out. He always finished his art studies of Merton with great care, and took pains to have the artist's signature entirely legible. "All right, Mert, I'll be there. I got some new patent paper I'll try out on these."
"On the lot at two sharp to shoot Western stuff," repeated Merton with relish.
"Right--o!" assented Lowell, and returned to more prosaic studio art.
The day wore itself to a glad end. The last exigent customer had gone, the curtains were up, the lights were out, and at five minutes past nine the released slave, meeting Tessie Kearns at her front door, escorted her with a high heart to the second show at the Bijou Palace. They debated staying out until after the wretched comedy had been run, but later agreed that they should see this, as Tessie keenly wished to know why people laughed at such things. The antics of the painfully cross-eyed man distressed them both, though the mental inferiors by whom they were surrounded laughed noisily. Merton wondered how any producer could bring himself to debase so great an art, and Tessie wondered if she hadn't, in a way, been aiming over the public's head with her scenarios. After all, you had to give the public what it wanted. She began to devise comedy elements for her next drama.
But The Hazards of Hortense came mercifully to soothe their annoyance. The slim little girl with a wistful smile underwent a rich variety of hazards, each threatening a terrible death. Through them all she came unscathed, leaving behind her a trail of infuriated scoundrels whom she had thwarted. She escaped from an underworld den in a Chicago slum just in the nick of time, cleverly concealing herself in the branches of the great eucalyptus tree that grew hard by, while her maddened pursuers scattered in their search for the prize. Again she was captured, this time to be conveyed by aeroplane, a helpless prisoner and subject to the most fiendish insults by Black Steve, to the frozen North. But in the far Alaskan wilds she eluded the fiends and drove swiftly over the frozen wastes with their only dog team. Having left her pursuers far behind, she decided to rest for the night in a deserted cabin along the way. Here a blizzard drove snow through the chinks between the logs, and a pack of fierce wolves besieged her. She tried to bar the door, but the bar was gone. At that moment she heard a call. Could it be Black Steve again? No, thank heaven! The door was pushed open and there stood Ralph Murdock, her fiance. There was a quick embrace and words of cheer from Ralph. They must go on.
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