Two Proposals can be found in






TWO PROPOSALS

by Ray Cummings

POPPY BLAKE sat up in bed, on the morning after the show's chilly opening, and read what the heartless, senseless and diabolical critics had to say about "The Idol's Eye." The show was a frost. Anybody could have foretold it, even before the final curtain. And if any lingering doubt remained with the most optimistic, all they had to do was read these morning papers.

Poppy made an entrancing picture, sitting there in bed. She was very small and slight, with very large, dark eyes and long, wavy hair, coal- black, and tumbled now in a mass over her white shoulders and the lacy nightgown. But Poppy was not interested in her appearance. She was wrathful at the critics, and despairing at the future that opened up before her. For if "The Idol's Eye" were a flivver, Poppy was destined to go broke. It was obvious. Another show was unlikely to start so late in the season; and even if it did, her finances could never stand the strain of another period of no-pay rehearsals.

Poppy was alone in her apartment that morning; Vivian was away—her show was trying itself on the dogs upstate. Poppy read everything that every newspaper had to say about "The Idol's Eye"; then she climbed out of bed, and in neglige and slippers began disconsolately preparing breakfast.

Poppy's mind was on men during that lonely meal. When a girl as attractive as anything that. Broadway can produce is about to go broke, naturally she thinks of men. But even in this channel Poppy's thoughts were not optimistic. She knew Broadway like an opened and well-read book; and any girl who knows Broadway knows that it is the last place in the world where you are at all likely to get something for nothing.

There was Allen Dickson, for instance. Dickson represented a type of which there were more than a dozen on Poppy's list. There would be no dearth of money in that direction; but Poppy, after four years on Broadway, was still clinging firm to the belief that what Dickson offered was bad business, and the girl always got the worst of it in the end.

And then there was George Rance. Poppy had finished her breakfast; she lighted a cigarette thoughtfully. George Rance. The only difference between him and Dickson and the rest was that George evidently hesitated over making his proposition so blatant. He had, in fact, done nothing except treat Poppy l...

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