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Cinderella Jane   By: (1876-1920)

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[Illustration: CINDERELLA JANE]

Books by the Same Author





Author of "Bambi," "The Girl Who Lived In The Woods," Etc.


With Frontispiece in Colors

A. L. Burt Company Publishers New York Published by Arrangement with Doubleday, Page & Company

Copyright, 1917, by Doubleday, Page & Company

[Illustration: CINDERELLA JANE]


It was the Pageant of the Prophets which gave Jerry Paxton his first chance. There were several links in the primrose chain of fortune which led him from the first opportunity to the last. The first and most important may be said to have been Mrs. Abercrombie Brendon, who opened her house for a portrait exhibition. She had an eye for men as well as for art, so when handsome Jerry appeared, she annexed him. The second link was Jerry's sense of dramatic values, which made him play up to this somewhat elderly siren. The third was the gods, who had ever smiled on Jerry Paxton.

It was a season when all the society clubs and leagues were spending themselves and their money in lavish spectacles of all kinds. There were Balls of the Gods and Pagan Routs, Persian Ballets and Greek Friezes, personified by the very best people, and some of the second best.

Mrs. Abercrombie Brendon, who was socially elect, headed an eager and earnest group of ladies of her set, who desired to outdo all previous efforts in a mammoth affair, which would provide woollen underwear for the Belgians, or something equally practical and unpoetic. She happened to mention her dilemma to Jerry, as they sat at tea in Mrs. Brendon's drawing room a week or so after their first meeting.

"We can't seem to think of anything which has not been done," she complained. "We have people to be in the thing, people to produce it, people to come to see it, and all we need is "

"Brains," said Jerry daringly.

"Have you any?"

"I have a couple of lobes."

"Have you them with you?"

"There is at least one in good working order, and at your disposal," he laughed.

"Think of something new for us to do."

"If I supply the idea, will you make me director?"

"We'll make you prime minister, court chamberlain, anything you like!"

"Good. The thing will be called the 'Pageant of the Prophets.'"

"What prophets?"

"The old Biblical ones, but we'll draw on the entire Bible for our characters. We will build a palace throne room, Pontius Pilate's perhaps, or King Herod's, very gorgeous and beautiful. We can have groups, and friezes, and scenes; the costuming has infinite possibilities. We can have music and singing pilgrims. We can have dancing Salome, with her dripping head. Oh! it will be one magnificent spectacle!"

"You are a genius!" cried Mrs. Brendon.

"Granted. Then what?"

"We will have you do it all. You shall design the whole thing, and direct it. Draw your plans and submit your terms. You are elected right now."

"You are in earnest?"

"Never more so."

"Then accept my services as a poor return for your excellent tea."

"Nonsense. That is a pretty speech, but you have to earn your own living, don't you?"

"Alas, yes."

"Then there is no reason why you should donate time and brains for nothing. This is a business proposition. Will you take it?"

"With both hands and a grateful heart."

"You'll have to use both lobes of that boasted brain," she laughed. "What shall I be?"

"Herodias, beautiful wife of King Herod," said Jerry without hesitation. "We'll give you a costume that will dazzle 'em!"

"You shall paint me in it."


"This has certainly been a lucky day for me. I'll call the directors in the morning, Mr. Paxton... Continue reading book >>

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