Before and After Taking – By E. M. ROBBINS
Motion Picture Classic (Jan-Aug 1919)
“You see, Miss Gish, the magazine editor wants us to tell him what you and your sister do when you are not working.” Thus spoke the hireling in the press department to the “Little Disturber.”
“That’s easy for you,” said Miss Dorothy, “just tell him we go to bed and try to rest up for the next day.”
“But he wouldn’t believe that; he’d think we were giving him press stuff. You know the public thinks you only work about one day a month.”
“Well, I love that. I work just as hard as any other girl who makes her own living, and when Saturday noon comes around I’m right there at the window for my little pay check and I don’t get time and a half for overtime, either.”
“But dont you do something at home—cooking, or feeding the chickens, or something like that?”
“Not for a minute. I’ve all I want to do without trying to cook. Besides that, I’m a poor cook. We have a hired girl, or I mean a maid, who does the cooking, and we can’t keep chickens. Come again.”
“But you know how to do those things, don’t you ?”
“You just bet I do. I’ve done them.”
“Well, that’s good enough. We’ll write the story and take some pictures and send ’em out anyway, and show the people who don’t believe you do anything that you are pretty busy.” “But how’ll you get the pictures?”
“Like all the rest of ’em get the pictures. You’ll put on the dust cap and apron and do some housework. If the maid gets mad about it we’ll tell her it’s for publicity, and she knows that’s the last word.”
So we went out to the Gishes and telephoned for the photographer-man, who is surprisingly on the job every time any one is doing something that would look well in print. The day was Sunday. “The Hope Chest” had been finished the afternoon before. Miss Lillian didn’t have to go to work until 2.30, so everything started off right.
“First we’ll take you cooking,” said the P. A. “What do I cook?” asked the girls.
“Potatoes and roast beef, something to make you work harder.”
And so we have a perfectly good photograph of Lillian basting the roast (all reports to the contrary, she knows how to baste them, too), and Dorothy peeling the potatoes. The maid had already peeled enough for dinner, so Dorothy decided that she’d Hooverize and just scrape the skin off the one she is holding. But here is proof positive that the Sisters Gish, who dwell within the star deeps, are earthly human beings who know the kitchen mechanism just like other girls.
“Is that enough?” they asked, when the camera-man had said “still” for the last time.
“For a start. What else do you have for dinner?”
“Why,” said Dorothy, “I don’t know what we’ll have. That’s up to mother and the girl.”
“Let’s look in the ice-box,” said Lillian. And the camera-man caught ’em again in a pose that looks just as if they were going to do the cooking themselves.
“Where do we go from here?” asks Dorothy.
“I’ve only ten more minutes,’’ remarks Lillian.
The afternoon was progressing wonderfully. It was time to take Dorothy doing some sweeping.
Lillian said, “I must go now. Is the car outside?” It was not outside. Lillian sat down on the step and called out, “Oh, mother, I’m hungry. I want something before I go to the studio.”
“What do you want?” Dorothy settled the question by immediately announcing:
“Bread and jam.”
And without even realizing that they were doing so, the Sisters Gish had given the photo-man the chance he was looking for.
“Here’s where we get the real home atmosphere,” came a murmur from under the focusing cloth.
“Oh, gee !” cried Dorothy ; “you’re not going to take this, are you ?”
“Oh, there’s the car!” cried Lillian. “I’ll be late if I dont go now.”
So Lillian sped back to work, and ‘Dorothy finished her bread and jam in silence.
“What next?” she said.
“Well, you can sweep out the diningroom. That will tell the world that you are industrious. Where’s the broom?”
“We dont use a broom in the diningroom. Some salesman was here last month, and now mamma has a brand new vacuum-cleaner.”
“Can you use it?”
“Yes, but I dont like to. I tried it for an hour just for fun, but it’s really work.”
“Fine ; let’s go !” And here’s Dorothy with the V. C. — and an awfully tired expression. She says the expression is not muscular, but purely mental. But it looks real, anyway.
“Is that all?”
“Yes, thank you.”
And Dorothy started upstairs to take off her towel dust-cap that she had used for costume. Just half-way up the stairs, however, she stopped to wipe new blown dust from the bannister, and, without her knowing it, the shutter opened and closed again. And thus did the younger Gish sister close her day of housework.
“Good-by !” she called, from the head of the stairs.
“Good-by !” we answered.
“Oh—and be sure to tell them that we ‘love the great outdoors.’ ”
By E. M. ROBBINS