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   Chapter 13 DANCES AND DREAMS

Hour of Enchantment / A Mystery Story for Girls By Roy J. Snell Characters: 4222

Updated: 2017-12-01 00:02


"Jeanne, what can you be doing?"

Florence stared at her eccentric little friend in surprise.

"But can you not see?" Jeanne did not pause for an instant. "I am doing a gypsy dance, practicing for my so very wonderful moving picture. We begin rehearsals to-morrow, and must I not be prepared?"

"Yes, but-"

Florence could say no more. The whole affair was too fantastic for words. Here was Jeanne in the sumptuous apartment of Lorena LeMar. She was clothed in a filmy thing of nile-green that floated around her as clouds float about a mountain peak. She was as radiant, too, as any mountain peak at dawn. She was doing one of her gypsy dances, one of those exotic, fairy-like dances that, now dreamy, now wild as a bird in flight, drug one's very senses.

"But Jeanne!" she exclaimed, when at last the little French girl threw herself upon a low couch. "Your moving picture is to be one of those simple, human affairs, a story of the Cumberlands. You are to be Zola, an innocent little mountain child."

"Ah, yes!" Jeanne sat up. Vibrant, alive to the very tips of her toes, she shook her finger at Florence. "There is the trouble! No contrast, none at all. And what is a movie, what can any dramatic thing be, without contrast?

"Our Zola," she hurried on, "is not so simple as you think.

"You remember she is rescued from a car-load of soft coal, very black, and she is scrubbed up?"

"Yes." Florence smiled.

"Well!" Jeanne struck a dramatic pose. "When she is washed up she is introduced to the president of the railroad. He thinks she is a-how would you say it?-a 'wow'!

"So! He takes her home. He has a son and a daughter about her own age. This daughter dresses her up in this." She touched the filmy gown.

"They are in a place like this." She glanced about the apartment. "Only grander, much grander; you know: high ceilings, marble pillars, ancestral portraits, butler, and all that." She threw her arms wide.

"When they have dressed our Zola of the box car up, she does like this."

Once again she went drifting like a butterfly across the room and again alighted upo

n her downy perch.

"And then," she cried exultantly, "they know she is a wow!"

"But, Jeanne," Florence objected, "where could a little mountain girl learn that dance?"

"Gypsies, traveling gypsies. They go everywhere.

"And," she went on, "when Zola does that dance, they want to keep her-just the way you'd like to keep a beautiful wild bird who flies into your window.

"They do keep her, too, for a few days. But the little wild thing longs for her mountain home. So, one starry night, she folds up the gorgeous pink nightie they have given her, puts on her old calico dress and steals away, back to her home on the side of Big Black Mountain.

"See!" she exclaimed. "Contrast! Is it not wonderful?" Once again, like some strange tropical bird, she drifted across the room.

"But Jeanne!" Again the skeptic protested. "Is all this in the scenario?"

"Not yet. I am putting it in to-morrow."

"Putting it in?" Florence was aghast.

"Yes, yes. And why not? Why must one be a star, a movie queen, if she is not to have her own way?"

"And Lorena LeMar is gone?"

"Yes. She 'phoned me this morning, only a few words. She was off on the yacht. I must move in this very day. To-morrow we must rehearse. And voila! Here we are!"

"And you do not know where you can reach her in case-"

"In case what?"

"In case they detect that you are an impostor."

"Oh, no, my friend, not an impostor!" Jeanne held up her hands in horror. "Only a twin star."

"Or in case you fail."

"Fail? But how could I? The movie is already-how shall I say it?-a flop.

"And I-I shall make it a grand success. I, Petite Jeanne, who has never failed. Nevair! I have willed that this so beautiful picture shall be a success!"

"Well," Florence's voice was deep and low, "here's wishing you success.

"To-morrow-" She spoke again after some moments of silence. "To-morrow will tell the story. If you can carry it off to-morrow you are on your way."

"Ah, yes!" Jeanne was drooping a little now. She was like a butterfly who has ridden the sunbeams long and far. "Ah, yes. To-morrow we shall know."

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