The Easiest Way

Arthur Hornblow

The Easiest Way, by Eugene Walter and Arthur

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Title: The Easiest Way A Story of Metropolitan Life
Author: Eugene Walter and Arthur Hornblow

Release Date: April 16, 2007 [eBook #21116]
Language: English
Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1
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A Story of Metropolitan Life
Illustrations by Archie Gunn and Joseph Byron

[Illustration: PICKING UP A HAT, LAURA LOOKED AT HERSELF IN THE MIRROR. Frontispiece. Page 251.]

W. Dillingham Company Publishers New York Copyright, 1911, by G. W. Dillingham Company

The Easiest Way.

In presenting this story of a déclassée who attempts to redeem her scarlet past by a disinterested, honest attachment only to meet with dire, miserable failure, the authors wish to make it plain that their heroine and her associates are in no way to be identified with the dramatic profession. Laura Murdock represents the type of woman of easy virtue who is sometimes seen behind the footlights and helps to give the theatre a bad name. Although destitute of the slightest histrionic talent, she styles herself an "actress" in order to better conceal her true vocation. As a class, the earnest, hardworking men and women who devote their lives to the dramatic art are entitled to the highest regard and respect. No profession counts in its ranks more virtuous women, more honorable men than the artists who give lustre to the American stage. If such women as Laura Murdock succeed in gaining a foothold on the boards it must be looked upon merely as an unfortunate accident. The better element in the theatre shuns them and their theatrical aspirations are not encouraged by reputable managers.

Picking up a hat, Laura looked at herself in the mirror Frontispiece 251
"I've bought a house for you on Riverside Drive" 86
She began to sew a rip in her skirt 162
She sank down on her knees beside him 273
Laura commenced to pack the trunk 307
John stood looking at her in silence 337
She crouched down motionless on the trunk 344

The hour was late and the theatres were emptying. The crowds, coming from every direction at once, were soon a confused, bewildered mass of elbowing humanity. In the proximity of Broadway and Forty-second Street, a mob of smartly-dressed people pushed unceremoniously this way and that. They swept the sidewalks like a resistless torrent, recklessly attempting to force a path across the carriage blocked road, darting in and out under restive horses' heads, barely rescued by stalwart traffic policemen from the murderous wheels of onrushing automobiles. They scrambled into taxicabs, trains and trolleys, all impelled by a furious, yet not unreasonable, desire to reach home with the least possible delay. These were the wise ones. Others lingered, struggling feebly in the whirling vortex. Not yet surfeited with the evening's amusement, they now craved recherché gastronomical joys. With appetites keen for the succulent, if always indigestible, dainties of after-theatre suppers, they sought the hospitable portals of Gotham's splendidly appointed lobster palaces which, scattered in amazing profusion along the Great White Way, their pretentious facades flamboyantly ablaze with light, seemed so many oases of luxurious comfort set down in the nocturnal desert of closed shops.
"Move on there!" thundered an irate policeman. "What the h--ll are you blocking the way for? I've half a mind to lock you fellows up!"
This to two grasping jehus, who, while quarrelling over a prospective fare, had so well succeeded in interlocking their respective wheels that a quarter-of-a-mile-long block resulted instantly. The officer, exasperated beyond endurance, was apoplectic in the face from the too sudden strain upon his temper. Starting angrily forward he seemed as if about to carry out his threat, and the effect of this was magic. The offending cabbies quickly disentangled themselves, and once more the long string of vehicles began to move. Women screamed shrilly, as with their escorts they dodged the horses' hoofs, the trolleys clanged their gongs, electric-signs blinked their pictorial designs, noisy boys yelled hoarsely "final extras!" The din was nerve racking. One had to shout to be heard, yet no one seemed to object. Everybody was happy. New York was merely enjoying itself.
The rush was at its height, when two young men, perhaps weary of being buffeted by the throngs that still pushed up Broadway, turned
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