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Page 78 text:
PWM The Shadow of Art
EDIl'OR'S NOTE: liach 'rear The Panther holds a poetry and short-story contest for the purpose of encouraging
the youthful talent in our school. Competent judges are appointed, and they select the winners, who are each awarded
a copy of The Panther, The following poem and short-story have the distinction of winning the contest for l9Z7.
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The performance was over, The usual applause followed the drop of the curtain. In fact, the enthusi-
astic clapping kept up until the audience was exhausted by its efforts. As the deafening applause was
hushed, there was a general stir and the murmur of voices raised in praise of the play and the actors.
The blazing lights winked at one another as much as to say, "This sort of thing happens every night,"
and then watched the ladies reluctantly don their hats, fasten their coats about them, and slowly draw
on their gloves. Meanwhile the gentlemen waited patiently, for they, too, were reluctant to leave the
theatre. The few hours of relief from reality were over. The little company that had gathered to forget
their own interests and cares and to be led into a world of romance were now waking to the realities
But how about the World of romance? lt was just behind the curtain. And there the actors in the
romance were pausing for a moment to enjoy the generous applause of their audience and to consult each
other on the achievements and shortcomings of the performance. In friendly conversation they were gath-
ered together. But there was one among them who did not feel the same exultation and satisfaction. He
had dropped his mask of gayety, which had fit so uncomfortably during the performance. Now, in a
dejected manner he hurried from the stage.
But what was the reason for this gloom? Why was Dennis Page, the star of the play, the most
popular actor of his day, so depressed? Why did he turn a deaf ear to the ovation of the crowd? His
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Page Sixty Eight
Page 77 text:
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Page 79 text:
INT. I .XXI
sf. -as PANTHER 5
fellow actors had never seen him do this before. Surely this was not the Dennis Page they knew. They
were more puzzled because of his seeming gayety during the play and the brilliancy of his performance.
And one among them ventured to voice the common feeling.
"YVhat makes Page so gloomy? He looks as if he had been visited by a regiment of ghosts. But,
not so an hour ago. He was as alert as ever. My, didn't the audience applaud his skill. And his clever-
ness is more than amusing. Not one of us. or anyone, for that matter, could have made that group out
there beyond the footlights feel the horror of death as he did. Didn't you notice how they gasped when
he walked over to Michael, touched him, and then wiped the death sweat on his coat? That was clevemess
There was a murmur of acquiescence and a sigh from those who cherished ambitions not yet realized.
But quickly the praise of Page was taken up by the other actors, and his cleverness was the envy of the
Apart from the rest, collecting the stage properties, was Robert, the youngest of the actors, and the
apprentice of the company, listening to all that was said of his ideal. Not a word escaped his ear, but
he did not offer to take part in the conversation, though his heart was full of honest admiration. Perhaps
it was the consciousness of his youth and inexperience'that made him retire from any such talk, or perhaps
his silence meant that he idolized the great actor more than the rest.
But the evening's work was over, and before long the actors tiled out the little side door, a tired
company. However, the theatre was not yet deserted, for in a recess of the wall, protected from the fitful
gusts of wind that whipped around the theatre, stood a tall. distinguished figure, bundled in a great. worn
fur coat. His first impulse was to escape the notice of the actors, but on discovery he immediately stepped
out and, when questioned, explained that he was waiting for someone whom he must have missed. And,
deeming this sufficient information, he slipped out of sight, leaving the actors bewildered by the strange be-
havior of this singular individual. There seemed to be a general alarm, and then someone remembered
seeing the same eccentric old man every evening sitting on the first row of the theatre and listening to every
word of the play with an uncanny interest. And then another told that he had frequently seen Page walk-
ing with this fellow after each performance. It was indeed a puzzling circumstance and each seemed to
find his own solution and to uphold it against the objection of his fellows.
Robert, mystilied by the strange occurrence, and alarmed by its relation to Page, hurried after the dark
figure. Thoughts that filled him with fear for the safety of Page rushed through his excited mind as he
hurried down the street in his pursuit. For blocks he followed the queer old man, each block leading him
nearer the neighborhood in which Page lived, until the two were at the very door of his apartment. Robert.
feeling more and more like a hero as the man's actions became more threatening, hid outside the door.
which the man had boldly entered. Hearing no sounds within, he stilled his fear. Page had not yet come
home, and there was still time for warning. And so he waited. But the time dragged on, and still Page
did not make his appearance. The thoughts of the boy outside were on the man who had led him
into this strange predicament.
But after a long wait he heard the footfall that he had grown to recognize as that of the great actor.
Trembling at his own audacity, he came into view and accosted the man, breathlessly telling the whole
alarming tale with a noble sincerity that touched the heart of Page, despite all it had suffered that night.
Then the actor spoke with those mellow tones that had won for him so much fame.
"Robert, lad, let me tell you who that man is. He is Herman Brumer, thc greatest actor of his time.
retired after many years of service to the stage. He is an artist.
"One month ago I noticed his presence in my audience. He seemed to be silently jeering and pitying
me, alternately. I was disconcerted and, too, I felt the magnetism of his personality all through the per-
formance. The next evening I felt his presence again and his attitude was the same. He seemed to be
haunting me, only his manner began to have more of pity in it. The next evening he was there again in
the same seat. I finally became distracted and inquired at the box office, and learned, then, who this strange
man was who had reserved that seat every night. I also found that he gave word that if I inquired about
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Page Sixty Nine
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