During the summer of 1946, 20-year-old Elizabeth is doing what she has dreamed of since she was a little girl: working in the theater. Elizabeth is passionate about her work and determined to learn all she can at the summer theater company on the sea where she is an apprentice actress.
She's never felt so alive. And soon she finds another passion: Kurt Canitz, the dashing young director of the company, who is the first man Elizabeth's ever kissed who has really meant something to her. Then Elizabeth's perfect summer is profoundly shaken when Kurt turns out not to be the kind of man she thought he was.
Moving and romantic, this coming-of-age story was written during the 1940s. As revealed in an introduction by the author's granddaughter, Léna Roy, the protagonist, Elizabeth, is close to an autobiographical portrait of L'Engle herself as a young woman — "vibrant, vulnerable, and yearning for love and all that life has to offer".
A Macmillan Audio production.
Release date: April 29, 2008
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Print pages: 272
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The Joys of Love
Act I FRIDAY
THE SUMMER THEATRE was on a pier that jutted off from the boardwalk over the sand. Sometimes when there was a storm and the tide was unusually high the actors could hear the soft swish of water underneath the stage; and the assistant stage manager, one of whose duties was to sweep the stage, was always in a rage at the sand which blew up between the floorboards and through the canvas floorcloth so that ten minutes after he had swept there would be a soft white dust over everything.
On the warm summer nights after the curtain had come down on the evening's performance, the actors would hurry out of costume and makeup and stroll down the boardwalk, stopping for ice cream or Cokes, or drifting into town where there were restaurants and nightclubs. The apprentices, who served as ushers, would walk along in their bright summer evening clothes, and in the ice cream parlors would talk loudly of the evening's performance and of the problems of acting,so that everybody would know that they belonged to the theatre.
Sometimes, if Elizabeth had received a tip, she would go with the other apprentices; sometimes she would walk into town to a midnight movie with Ben Walton, the assistant stage manager, who was also an apprentice actor; but usually she stayed backstage, doing odd jobs for any of the professional actors who needed anything, waiting for a word or a gesture from Kurt Canitz.
Kurt Canitz was the director at the theatre, but occasionally he would take a role that appealed to him and then he would have Elizabeth cue him. When he grew tired of that, he would say, "I'm sick of working. Come and talk with me, Elizabeth." And then he would take her to the restaurant in his hotel, the Ambassador, and talk to her for hours about the theatre, about the productions he had directed on Broadway, about Elizabeth's own talent as an actress.
I have never lived before, Elizabeth thought. Until this summer I did not know what it was to be alive.
One Friday night in the beginning of August, Kurt, his face smeared with greasepaint and cold cream, said, "Elizabeth, I want to talk to you. Go wait for me on the old boardwalk."
The old boardwalk was about a hundred feet closer to the ocean than the regular boardwalk. It had long ago been washed away and consisted now of perhaps a dozen barnacled piles sticking haphazardly up out of the sand.
Elizabeth climbed onto one of the piles and sat facing theocean. She had on the full long yellow dirndl skirt and peasant blouse she had worn for ushering, and the sand had come in through her sandals and settled between her toes. The tide was coming in and small, precocious waves crept closer and closer to her. From farther down the beach came the sound of two recorders playing a duet, and the delicate notes of an old English madrigal floated up to her, so faint and so blown by the wind that the music seemed to be part of the night, one with the lapping of the small waves against the piles, the roar of the breakers muted in the quiet night, rather than a sound produced by two human beings blowing into wooden pipes. Behind her and up the boardwalk Elizabeth could still hear voices from the theatre, stragglers from the audience standing around on the boardwalk talking, members of the company coming out of the stage door and discussing plans for the evening.
Elizabeth raised her head as a voice called, "Elizabeth Jerrold, is that you?"
She tried to keep the disappointment that it wasn't Kurt out of her voice as she called back, "Hi, Ben, where are you off to?"
Ben dropped off the boardwalk and clambered up onto the pile next to Elizabeth. "Hey, the tide's coming in."
"I know it is."
He turned and tried to look at her face, which was only a pale shadow in the starlight. "Come on down the boardwalk to Lukie's and have a hamburger with me."
"I'll treat you," Ben said, still trying to read her expression.
"I can't." She put her head down on her knees.
"Waiting for Canitz?" There was a trace of anger in Ben's voice.
"Listen, Elizabeth," he said, "maybe I'm the last person to speak to you about this, but I've been around and I just want to tell you you're riding for a fall."
"Anything else you wanted to say?" Elizabeth asked him.
"Nope. Where do you suppose Jane and John Peter dug up those recorders? That melancholy stuff they're playing's bad for my mood. My gosh, the divine Sarah Courtmont stank tonight, didn't she? She blew her lines twice." Ben reached down the length of his immensely long, immensely thin legs, took off one of his shoes, and shook out the sand, almost losing his balance and toppling off the pile. "I don't know why that dame thinks she can act," he muttered as he managed to put the shoe back on without falling.
"I'm not a big fan of hers either, but most of the kids think she's magnificent," Elizabeth said, looking surreptitiously at the luminous hands of her watch. It was almost midnight.
"What a dump this is," Ben said. "What made you come here anyhow, Liz?"
"It was the only place I could get a scholarship."
"Scholarship, my eye," Ben snorted. "You're paying J. P. Price twenty bucks a week for room and board, aren't you?"
"Yes." Elizabeth looked at her watch again. Barely a minute had passed. And Kurt had not come.
"I swore I'd never be an apprentice," Ben said. "So J. P. Price offers me room and board in exchange for being assistant stagemanager and all I am is an apprentice who works harder, that's all. And we're so much better than the professional company and the stars--I mean you and me and Jane and John Peter--that's the worst of it. I've never seen such a bunch of secondstring hams in my life." He pulled off his other shoe. "There's more sand in my shoes than on the beach."
"What about Valborg Andersen?" Elizabeth asked, reaching out to steady Ben as he struggled to tie his shoelaces. "Don't you think she's good?"
"Now there's an actress," Ben admitted. "I am enjoying watching her rehearse, so I guess it's worth the rest of the summer just to see that, but I don't think she should be doing Macbeth . Her Lady Macbeth stinks."
Elizabeth scratched a mosquito bite on one of her long suntanned legs--her legs, though less skinny, were almost as long as Ben's--and looked at her watch again. Then she turned around and looked back across the boardwalk at the theatre. Now the last of the audience had dispersed and the building was dark, except for a light in J. P. Price's office. She couldn't see the back where the dressing rooms were. Perhaps Kurt was still talking to someone in one of them. "I guess Miss Andersen knows what she's doing," she told Ben.
"You're so wrong," Ben said. "It's just the great ones like Andersen who don't know what they're doing."
"Okay. You've been around and I haven't, so I can't argue with you," Elizabeth agreed, infuriated, "but you are lucky that you get to watch Miss Andersen rehearse. All the apprentices wish they could watch the professionals and the stars rehearse, but Mr. Price won't allow it." Elizabeth then laughed and said,"When I saw Price about coming here I told him I'd played Lady Macbeth at school and he told me he wasn't planning to produce Macbeth. I can hardly wait to see it on Monday."
"I bet you pray to that big picture of Valborg Andersen you have on your bureau," Ben said.
"If I'd lived a few thousand years ago when graven images were still permitted, I probably would," Elizabeth admitted.
From the direction of the theatre they heard a voice, too blown by the wind to identify, calling, "Hoo-oo, Liz Jerrold!"
Elizabeth twisted around on her pile, cupped her hands to her mouth, and called back, "Hoo-oo!"
"Telephone!" the voice said.
"Okay," Elizabeth yelled, disappointed once again that it wasn't Kurt. She jumped off her pile, landing lightly in the wet sand. A wave licked at her sandals. "Now, who on earth would be telephoning me?" she asked Ben, and a vague feeling of unease spread over her. "If Kurt comes, tell him I'll be right back, will you please?" she added.
"Sorry, toots," Ben said, scrambling down from his pile. "The gaseous activity of my stomach will not be denied. I'm going down the boardwalk for some food."
Elizabeth crossed the sand to the boardwalk, pulled herself up, and stood, a tall slender shadow in the darkness, looking down at Ben.
"Give me a hand," Ben said plaintively. "You know I am not athletic."
Elizabeth extended a hand, which Ben clutched as he managed to clamber up beside her, panting. "It's the awful life Ilead, turning night into day, as my dear grandmother would say. Come down later to Lukie's and tell me who the call is from."
"Maybe," Elizabeth said, and turned and ran toward the theatre.
In the office Mr. Price was putting away some papers. "Call operator twenty-three," he told her, "and put out the lights and lock up when you're through."
"Okay, Mr. Price."
"And be in the box office at nine tomorrow morning, will you, Elizabeth?"
"I'll miss my classes--" Elizabeth started, then stopped. "Okay, Mr. Price."
"Good night, darling," Mr. Price said with automatic affection, and left.
Elizabeth picked up the telephone and asked for operator twenty-three.
"You have a call from Jordan, Virginia, Miss Jerrold," the operator told her, and Elizabeth's heart began to beat with apprehension. If the call was from Jordan, it meant that it must be from her aunt with whom she had lived since her father's death, and Aunt Harriet Jerrold would not call except for bad news. Elizabeth heard the telephone ringing and she could imagine it ringing in the dark, narrow hall of the house in Jordan. It's after midnight, she thought. Why on earth would Aunt Harriet be calling me at this time of night?
The phone kept ringing, and after a while the operator said, "There doesn't seem to be any answer, Miss Jerrold. I'vebeen trying to get you since eight o'clock this evening and either the line was busy or you couldn't be reached. Do you think I should try again in twenty minutes?"
"No," Elizabeth said, "it's too late now. I'd better call in the morning. Shall I ask for you?"
"I won't be on in the morning, but ask for operator nineteen and she'll take care of you."
"All right. Thanks." Elizabeth hung up and a sick feeling of apprehension settled in the pit of her stomach. She looked around the small office, starkly painted white. On the wall was a calendar, opened to the month of August, 1946, showing the schedule for the rest of the summer. Most summer-stock theatres did a play a week, and this theatre was no exception. There are four more plays to learn from, Elizabeth thought wistfully. Next to the calendar was the box office window.
Elizabeth reached up to the neat cubbyholes to touch one of the stacks of pink and blue and green tickets which she would be selling the next morning. Under the green money box was a large mimeographed seating plan of the theatre, and on this she would mark off all the tickets she sold. She rather enjoyed sitting on the high stool by the ticket window and chatting with the people who would be seeing the play that night or later on in the week; she had come to know several who returned each week, and tried to always give them the choicest seats. I love everything about this place, she thought. Ben can say anything he likes about it, but I've loved every minute of this summer so far.
"Liz!" a voice called. "Are you there?"
"I'm here," Elizabeth called back.
After a moment Jane Gardiner's slight figure appeared in the doorway. Ben had been in the theatre since he was a child, only taking a break for college at his father's insistence, but it was Jane, fresh out of drama school, who seemed to have the wisdom the rest of them lacked. Elizabeth always felt tall and clumsy beside her, though Jane said that Elizabeth was a Viking, and she herself the product of a decadent civilization.
"Ben told me you had a long distance call," Jane said, "so I thought I'd come over and make sure it wasn't bad news."
Elizabeth shook her head. "The operator said she had a call from Jordan for me and that she'd been trying to get me all evening. But when she rang just now, there wasn't any answer. It must have been Aunt Harriet. And Aunt Harriet never answers the phone after ten o'clock. If anybody called to tell her the house was on fire, it could just burn down if it depended on her answering the phone. I do hope she isn't ill or something."
"Probably just wants to talk to you," Jane said.
"Not Aunt Harriet. It's bound to be something bad or she wouldn't call." Elizabeth frowned and tried to imagine what particular bad thing might be responsible for the call.
"Now, don't go brooding, Liz," Jane told her severely. "John Peter says you worry too much about things, and he's right."
Elizabeth sat down in Mr. Price's swivel chair. "Aunt Harriet hated having me come here this summer. She'd do anything in the world to get me back. She thinks, as I believe I have told you before, that the theatre is an invention of Satan."
"What gets me," Jane said, sitting on a corner of the desk and resting her delicate feet on the edge of the big tin wastepaperbasket, "is if she hates the theatre so, why did she let you come here in the first place? She gives you the twenty a week room and board, doesn't she?"
"I wouldn't be here otherwise." Elizabeth picked up a glass paperweight that had a snowman in it, and shook it to set up a cloud of snowflakes falling inside. She watched it intently. "Father didn't have a penny when he died. Teachers don't make much money, as you know, and Father didn't even teach in a university--he taught at a boys' school--and he didn't have any sense about money anyhow. Aunt Harriet took me because it was her Christian duty, and not because she wanted me. Please, Jane, if you ever see me doing anything because it's my Christian duty, stop me."
"You aren't apt to," Jane said. "You're too good a Christian."
Elizabeth smiled at her, then looked at the snow that was still falling, very gently now, inside the glass globe. "It was kind of a bet. Aunt Harriet doesn't make bets, of course, but that's what it was."
"What was the bet?" Jane asked, upsetting the wastepaper basket and spilling papers all over the floor. "Darn," she said, and got down on her hands and knees to clean up the mess. It always amazed Elizabeth that in positions that would make anybody else look awkward, Jane still managed to be graceful.
"She said that if I'd major in chemistry at Smith instead of dramatic arts, and if I graduated with honors, she'd let me go to a summer theatre." Elizabeth, too, was now down on her hands and knees, helping Jane cram papers back into the basket. "I guess she thought if I majored in chemistry I might forget about the theatre. Well, I didn't forget about the theatreand it was kind of a challenge, so I just managed to squeak through with honors, no magna or summa cum laude, just plain cum laude, but anyhow it was honors and she hadn't specified. She made a fuss and tried to get out of it but I'd already got my scholarship here so I threw a scene about her word being no good and how hard I'd worked and how little twenty dollars is to her and all that. I was really stinking, Jane. I feel terribly ashamed whenever I think about it. But I had to do it, and no matter how guilty I feel I know I'd do it again."
"Yes, I know," Jane said, sitting down on the floor and leaning back against the wall. "I've never seen anyone look more determined than you did last spring in Price's office."
That day in Mr. Price's office in New York, Elizabeth thought now, had been the turning point of her whole life. If it had not been for that day last spring, none of the summer--working in the theatre, getting to know Kurt, beginning a completely new life--would have been possible.
Even then she had been aware of it. Sitting in the anteroom of Mr. Price's office, she had thought, How strange to know that the whole course of my life can be changed today in this dingy office.
But it was true. It was so frighteningly true that her hands had felt cold with fear and her heart had beat so fast that for a moment she was afraid that she might faint in the hot stuffiness of the little room. Although it was an unseasonably hot April day, steam hissed in the radiator, and there was no window in the anteroom. Even the office door to the main hallway was closed.
Because she had not been able to sit still another moment, she went over to the receptionist. "My appointment with Mr. Price was at one o'clock and it's after two now," she said.
"Yeah?" The receptionist looked at her with a hot, annoyed face.
"I mean--he's still going to see me, isn't he?"
"You've got an appointment card, haven't you?"
"Okay, then, relax. Sit down. Though why you want to see him I don't know. I'm sure he doesn't want to see you."
Elizabeth sat down again. She felt miserable and young and more than snubbed. She looked at her feet because she was afraid that if she looked at the others waiting in the room she would find scorn in their faces.
"Don't let it get to you," the girl next to her said. "I've just been in an office where the receptionist was nice enough to say 'Thank you for coming in' after she told me the cast was all set. They're not all like the sourpuss here. Though with the second-rate theatre Price is running, I don't know why we're all hanging around here like a lot of trained seals waiting for him to throw us a fish."
The door to the hall opened and a young man entered. The moment he came in, a slight, pleasant smile on his face, Elizabeth saw that there was something different about him, that he was not like anybody else in the room. And then she realized what the difference was: he was the only one who was not nervous.
He walked over to the receptionist's desk and said, "Hi, Sadie, how's my duck today?" He had a slight accent.
The sour face was surprisingly pretty when it smiled. "Oh, dying of the heat, Mr. Canitz. Otherwise I guess I'll survive. You want to see Mr. Price?"
"If he's not too busy."
"Oh, he always has time to see you, Mr. Canitz. Go right in."
The young man smiled his pleasant smile at the room full of hot, nervous people, and opened the door to Mr. Price's office. Elizabeth looked in quickly and saw that it was very like the anteroom, except that it had a large open window and a brief, welcome gust of cool air blew in at her. Mr. Price was sitting at his desk talking to a young woman with blond hair, and he waved his hand genially at Mr. Canitz. "Oh, come in, Kurt. I want you to meet this young lady."
Then the door shut and heat settled back over the room.
"If I had any sense," the girl next to Elizabeth said, "I'd leave this hellhole and go home. And so would you."
"Home," Elizabeth found herself answering, "is the last place I'd go."
"Well, then, I guess you have a point in hanging around. Why don't they at least open the door into the hall?" She appealed to Sadie. "Couldn't you turn off the heat or something?"
"No, I can't," the receptionist snapped. "The radiator's broken. And I'm just as hot as you are. Hotter. If you don't like it here, why don't you leave? I tell you, he isn't going to hire anybody else. He's got the whole season set. You're wasting your time."
The girl turned back to Elizabeth. "That's the way people get ulcers. People with vile natures always get ulcers. If I stay here much longer, I'll get ulcers, too."
"But is it true?" Elizabeth asked.
"That he has the whole season set."
"Of course it isn't true. She only said it because she's in a vile mood. What's your name? I'm Jane Gardiner."
"I'm Elizabeth Jerrold."
"Listen, I don't mean to butt in," Jane said, "but don't be nervous. You're practically making the bench shake. After all, the world isn't going to end if Price doesn't give you a job. Nothing's that important."
"But it is," Elizabeth said. "For me it is."
The door to the office opened again and Kurt Canitz and the blond woman came out. Mr. Canitz had his arm protectively about her, and he ushered her gallantly to the door and said goodbye. Then he sat down and smiled at Sadie and looked slowly around the anteroom. His eyes rested on Jane, on Elizabeth, on a little man in a bowler hat. Sadie picked up a stack of cards and called out, "Gardiner."
Jane rose. "That's me. Well, this is only the fifteenth office I've been in today. What've I got to lose?"
Elizabeth watched her as she walked swiftly into the office, shutting the door firmly behind her. Yes, Jane was obviously a person who knew her way around theatrical offices. She had a certain nervous excitement, like every actor waiting to hear about a job, but it was controlled, made into an asset; it gave a shine to her brown eyes, a spring to her step. Elizabeth felt that Jane was dressed correctly, too. She wore a pleated navy blue skirt and a little red jacket. Her hair was very fair, a soft ashblond, and on her head she wore a small red beret. Elizabeth felt forlorn in the other girl's absence, and suddenly foolish. She herself wore a simple blue denim skirt and white blouse, and she felt that she belonged much more on a college campus than she did in a theatrical office on Forty-second Street in New York. If someone as desirable as Jane had been in fifteen offices that day and still did not have a job, then what was Elizabeth thinking of when she was letting everything in the world depend on whether or not Mr. J. P. Price took her into his summer theatre company?
But Mr. Price was Elizabeth's only hope after her twenty letters of inquiry to summer-stock companies. Many of the managers had sent back form letters that offered her opportunities to apprentice--but at a two- or three-hundred-dollar tuition fee. Mr. Price had simply sent her a card telling her to be at his office at one o'clock, April 14, and he would see her then.
Elizabeth looked around at the dingy anteroom; the buffcolored walls were cracked and some of the cracks were partially covered with signed photographs of actors and actresses of whom she had never heard. There were no familiar names like Judith Anderson, Katharine Cornell, Eva Le Gallienne, Ethel Barrymore. The air smelled like stale cigar smoke from the little man in the bowler hat who sat stolidly on a folding chair and surrounded himself with a cloud of heavy fumes.
Elizabeth noticed Kurt Canitz was writing busily in a small notebook. He looked up and stared directly at her for several seconds, then scribbled something else in the notebook, tore off the page and gave it to Sadie with a radiant smile, and left.Elizabeth wondered what his connection with the theatre was. Was he an actor, a director, perhaps a producer? Certainly he was connected with Mr. Price's summer company.
Again the door of the office opened and Jane came out. She grinned at Elizabeth.
"Did you get a job?" Elizabeth asked eagerly.
"Well, not exactly the job I went in for, but at this point it'll do. I'm going as an apprentice, which I swore after last summer I'd never do again, but this time at least it's a scholarship."
"Oh, I'm so glad!" Elizabeth exclaimed. "That's wonderful!"
"Thanks," Jane said. "Good luck to you, too."
Sadie was looking at her cards. "Jerrold," she called.
Elizabeth stood up.
Jane took her hand. "Good luck," she said again. "Good luck, really. I hope I'll see you there."
"Thanks," Elizabeth answered, and went into the office.
"Well, what can I do for you?" Mr. Price asked, looking Elizabeth up and down until she flinched.
"You can give me a job," Elizabeth said, and was surprised at how calm her voice sounded.
"And what kind of a job are you looking for, my dear?"
"A job in your summer theatre. As an actress." Elizabeth felt that her voice sounded flat and colorless; anxiety had wiped out its usual resonance.
"And what experience have you had? What parts have you played?"
Elizabeth ignored the first part of his question. "I've playedLady Macbeth and Ophelia and I've played Hilda Wangel in The Master Builder and Sudermann's Magda, and the Sphinx in Cocteau's The Infernal Machine."
"A bit on the heavy side, wouldn't you say?" Mr. Price asked her. "And aren't you rather young for Lady Macbeth or Magda? How about something more--recent--and perhaps a little gayer?"
"Well--I've played Blanche in Streetcar--oh, I know that's not very gay, but it's recent--and--and--I've done some Chekhov one-acts. They're not very recent but they're gay--"
"And where did you get all this magnificent experience?" Mr. Price asked her. "Why, after all this, have I never heard of you?"
"At college," Elizabeth said, looking down at her feet.
"My dear young lady." Mr. Price sounded half bored, half amused. "Perhaps you do not realize, but I am running a professional theatre. I am sure you were very charming and very highly acclaimed at college, but I am really not contemplating producing Macbeth or Magda or even The Infernal Machine. So what do I have to offer you?"
"All I want," Elizabeth said desperately, "is--anything."
"Maids, walk-ons, working in the box office. Anything."
"I take a certain number of apprentices," Mr. Price said. "They take classes from the company actors. We use the star system. We do a new play every week and the company professionals rehearse all week in bit parts. Then the star arrives on Sunday. The stars have one rehearsal with the company before the show. Although one or two of them will direct the playsthey are starring in, and those actors will be there longer. If I can, I use the apprentices in at least one walk-on part during the summer. The fee is three hundred dollars."
Elizabeth shook her head. When she spoke her voice trembled. "I--borrowed the money to come to New York to see you today. I--I--"
"And I suppose if I didn't give you a job you'll jump off the Empire State Building? Or into the Hudson River? Or perhaps the East River would suit you better."
"That's not funny," Elizabeth said with a sudden flare of anger. "Would you really laugh if you were responsible for someone's death?"
"If you did anything so foolish as to kill yourself, I wouldn't be responsible. You would." Mr. Price's voice was calm and reasonable.
"As it happens," Elizabeth said, anger still directing her words, "I agree with you. And I do not approve of suicide under any conditions. However, a weaker character in my circumstances might."
Mr. Price smiled. "Are your circumstances so very particular ?"
"To me they are. You never know what people's circumstances are."
"Perhaps I can guess some of yours. You go to a good college and major in drama. Your family has a thoroughly adequate income."
"Wrong," Elizabeth said. "I go to a good college but I major in chemistry and I am on scholarship and I have no parents. I was president of the Dramatic Association and took some theatrecourses in Theatre Workshop at school. I graduate later this spring."
"I stand corrected."
Elizabeth looked at him, tried to smile, and said, "And now, since you haven't a job to offer me, I'll say goodbye and go throw myself under a Fifth Avenue bus."
The door to the office opened and Sadie thrust her head in. "Say, Mr. Price, I almost forgot. Mr. Canitz left me a note to give you."
Mr. Price read the note and handed it to Elizabeth. Kurt Canitz had written, "Give the tall girl with glasses a scholarship. I have a hunch about her."
Mr. Price looked at Elizabeth. "You are tall--rather tall for an actress, incidentally--and you wear glasses, so I assume Kurt means you. By the way, how does it happen that you don't take off your glasses for an interview?"
"I forgot," Elizabeth said. "I don't always wear them, but I really can't see well without them. I never wear them onstage, of course."
"I suppose I'll have to answer to Kurt if I don't at least have you read for me. All right. Read for me."
"If you like me, will you give me a scholarship?" Elizabeth asked.
"I'm known for--shall we kindly call it being shrewd?--about money, but as far as the theatre is concerned I also have a conscience," Mr. Price said. "I collect as many three-hundred-dollar tuitions from the apprentices as I can. If a girl can afford it, why shouldn't I take it? However, if I think a kid has possibilities, and they can't afford the tuition, I give them a scholarshipfor the summer and I work her--or him, as the case may be--like a dog. There are usually two scholarships for young men and two for women. I have both my men set and one of my women. You might possibly fit the other scholarship. The apprentices and most of the resident company live at a cottage a few blocks from the theatre. Of course the scholarship apprentices pay twenty dollars a week for room and board. Could you manage that?"
"I'll have to," Elizabeth said.
"I have a feeling that you are a hard worker," Mr. Price told her. "Also, believe it or not, I have a healthy regard for Kurt Canitz's hunches--and also for his dollars, which help finance the theatre. More of a respect for his hunches and his dollars than I have for his acting, I might add, though I could pick a worse director. Okay, now read something for me." He picked up a dog-eared copy of The Voice of the Turtle. "This is pretty much a classic in its own way," he said. "Maybe you won't feel too much above it."
Elizabeth stood up. "Mr. Price, I know you're laughing at me, and I know you have a perfect right to. Maybe the parts I've played are silly. I didn't do them because I expected to repeat my college triumphs on Broadway, but because they're parts anyone who really cares about being an actress ought to study, and because it was my one real opportunity to work on them--until I'm an established actress and can really do them if I want to. I have learned a lot from them that I can apply to anything I do."
"Pretty sure of yourself, aren't you?" Mr. Price asked.
"No. But I have to talk as though I were."
Mr. Price sighed. "Darling Miss Jerrold--it is Jerrold, isn't it?--there are so many like you. So many who believe in themselves as p
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