The Gishes Go A-Calling and Find the Triangle Girls At Home – By Joan Benson (Motion Picture Classic 1917)

The Gishes Go A-Calling and Find the Triangle Girls At Home

By Joan Benson

Motion Picture Classic Vol.4 (No. 2 – April 1917)

Drothy Gish chauffeur
Drothy Gish chauffeur

Dorothy Gish sat back patiently in the chauffeur seat of her car. She had been waiting thus for half an hour. It was a bright, beautiful day, and Dorothy’s soul longed for the exhilaration of the drive down the road. The reason for her delay was not far to seek.

Near the picturesque old summer – house sat a slim, golden haired figure. She was poring over the heavy volumes that lay on the table before her. Every now and again an expression of satisfaction swept over her piquant features, and she made a note on the tablet beside the book. In deep thought she raised her head and gazed at Dorothy with unseeing, dreamy eyes.

“For pity’s sake, Lillian how much longer do you expect me to wait? One would think that your life depended on writing that child composition, or theme, or whatever she calls it. Your disposition is entirely too mild, but mine isn’t, and I warn you – “

“All right Dorothy; I’ll come right this minute,” laughed Lillian. “You really are a dear to wait so long. Wait till I get my hat.” She disappeared into the house, and in less time than it takes to tell was beside her sister in the shining car.

Lillian Gish ca 1920 LA X

Dorothy, restored to good humor, put her foot on the starter, and they were off.

Clara Williams
Clara Williams

“Let’s go by and see Clara Williams’ rose-garden,” suggested Lillian, and Dorothy, not caring where they went, just so they rode, obediently headed towards the rose garden. They did not see anyone at the front of the house, so they got out of the care and went around the back. Unobserved, they came upon the intrepid Clara, attired in overalls and stout boots, with her glorious hair neatly plaited into a heavy braid that hung down her back. She was busy with shovel and rake, puttering around the roots of her beloved rose-bushes.

Clara Williams with a hoe

“Good morning, Miss Williams!” said Lillian, suddenly. Clara did not look up. She went on arranging dirt with elaborate carefulness. “Oh, good morning!” she replied absently, conscious only that she must answer. The girls shrieked and descended upon her. “Tell us about the roses, Clara,” they insisted, and Clara, finally realizing the she had company, waxed eloquent on the joys of rose-culture.

After a while Dorothy interrupted an argument between Lillian and the connoisseur of roses. Lillian was insisting that Clara plant “some of those lovely Sunset roses,” because they were her favorites, and Clara declared stoutly in favor of Marechal Niel.

“The long, white road is before us, sister,” said Dorothy, striking an attitude, and Lillian meekly followed her to the car. “Good luck to your roses Clara,” they called, and Lillian’s voice came to her, “Think over the Sunset roses. They are exquisite.” And the voices faced into the distance.

Louise Glaum Postcard
Louise Glaum Postcard

As they passed a particularly pretty home, Lillian caught a glimpse of black-and-white stripes on the lawn. “Hello Louise Glaum!” she greeted the glimpse, and Dorothy stopped the car.

Louise Glaum

Louise did not rise to speak to them. She was busily employed with her bull pup and a piece of steak just then. “Sit down please, and talk to me. I am terribly at a loss when I am not working. I can’t find anything to do,” she said, with her attention still centered on the recalcitrant pup. “You seem rather busy just now,” said Dorothy. Each of the girls appropriated a pillow and sank upon it.

Just then they heard the loud blowing of a horn, and the three looked up, to see Bessie Love grinning at them joyously from her car.

“Isn’t this a gorgeous day?” she inquired. “I don’t have to be at the studio until two o’clock, so I just ditched lessons and came for a spin. I adore it.”

Bessie Love
Bessie Love

“Come and listen to Louise’s new gown. It’d make your hair run cold,” called Dorothy. “I never heard a gown talk, Dorothy,” smiled Lillian.

“Thanks, but I can’t; I have only one stop this morning, and that’s to tell a funny story to Norma.”

“Tell us,” suggested Louise.

“Norma has to censor it first,” giggled Bessie.

“I’m not sure I ought to tell it.” The engine gave a little whir, and she was gone.

“Let’s go and hear it,” said Dorothy. “Come on Louise.”

Margaret Thompson
Margaret Thompson

“I don’t want to. I am reading a thrilling story,” said Louise, reveling in the sunshine of the grass. They were spinning down the street, when they heard a call and saw Margaret Thompson rolling on the lawn with her two pets. They stopped at the curb, and Margaret flung herself down on the green, with a dog in one hand and a cat in the other. After they had commented on the weather and Margaret had confined a secret to them, which I will not reveal because it was really a secret, they waited a minute, while Margaret gave them each a beautiful white rose. “It is lovely,” said Lillian, “but don’t you adore the Sunset roses?”

Madge Thompson en famille

“I will hear that funny story of Bessie’s,” stated Dorothy, with a determined shake of her head. Accordingly, she gave the car more gas and it leaped ahead at, I am forced to admit, at least forty miles an hour. A tall, black form stepped into the road before them, waving its arms wildly. Lillian gasped, “I knew you would do it!” and sank back into the cushions. Dorothy stopped and looked innocently and inquiringly at the man. “Exceeding the speed limit,” he said tersely.

“How much do I owe you?” asked Dorothy, with a resigned air. The man rubbed his chin reflectively. “Three dollars,” he said finally. Dorothy opened her bag and thrust some bills into his hand.

“Here’s six,” she said; “don’t stop me when I come back.” The car shot by the amazed constable and disappeared.

Norma Talmadge
Norma Talmadge

They stopped in front of the Talmadge home, where the lovely Norma had returned a bride. She had finished her first picture at the head of her own company, and her husband had brought her home for a rest before returning to East to resume her work. Inside they found Bessie perched on the arm of Norma’s chair, and Norma was smiling up at her. Both Lillian and Dorothy knew that they were too late for the story. Norma turned her luminous eyes upon them. Norma’s eyes always seem to have laughter lurking in the depths of them somewhere, and the two girls felt that she was “awfully glad to see them,” even before she told them so.

Bessie Love and Norma Talmadge

After the girls had asked a dozen questions about Norma’s romance, and her work and her first picture, and had been assured that she really missed them, Bessie said musingly, to no one in particular, “I wonder, if I go East on a picture, if I will return a bride – “

The girls interrupted her with gales of laughter.

“You’re too young to think of it,” said Lillian with a twinkle in her blue eyes. “Just the same, I’ll race you and win,” said Bessie, daring them.

“You won’t race me,” said Lillian. “This same Dorothy Gish has been arrested once already this morning, and you don’t inveigle me into any more races,” she said it positively.

“Oh, come on,” Bessie and Dorothy insisted, dragging her up. “Norma and I will race you and Dorothy.” Norma’s big eyes were mournful all of a sudden. “I am dying to go,” she confessed, “but I have a scenario to read and a million costumes to plan.” Her smile suddenly flashed out at them. “I know; you came back here, and I’ll have a plate of fudge to the winner.” She looked so winsome and adorable as she said it that the girls, thus urged, went off at once.

“She should have suggested paying your fine,” called Dorothy, as they started. “I’ve paid mine.”

“We’ll race to the Dalton bungalow,” said Bessie, starting her car, and, with a shout, they were off.

Lillian Gish - with Hupmobile car
Lillian Gish – with Hupmobile car (Dorothy and Lillian Gish by Lillian Gish)

It was almost neck-and-neck for the first half mile – Bessie, hatless, her hair blowing wildly about her face, grimly leaning over her wheel – Dorothy, throwing laughing remarks to Lillian, who was wondering why she had allowed herself to be persuaded, and murmuring, “I hope they remember to put Sunset roses on my grave.”

They passed the constable. He grinned at Dorothy and allowed her to pass unmolested, but he stopped in front of Bessie’s car, with a “Young woman, are you aware that you are breaking the law?”

pictureplay magazine Dorothy Gish driving her car
pictureplay magazine Dorothy Gish driving her car

Bessie gave one despairing glance at Dorothy’s car, racing away into the distance, and said recklessly: “If you don’t get out of my way, I’ll run over the law.” She started the engine revolving rapidly, and the astonished constable stepped back mechanically. With a rush she had passed him, and the car swayed dangerously down the road.

Dorothy’s car was drawn up in front of Dorothy Dalton’s home when Bessie dashed up. “You had that constable trained,” she expostulated. Lillian said consolingly, “Never mind, Love; I’ll make Dorothy divide her fudge with you.”

Dorothy Dalton
Dorothy Dalton

They found Dorothy Dalton on her knees beside a mysterious patch of green. She looked up as she sensed their approach and gave them one of her smiles that rivals a brand used by Fairbanks.

“Hello!” she said, in a most pleased voice, and the three began talking at once. “We had the grandest race!” “I was arrested!” “What under the sun is that growing?”

Dorothy tried to answer all at once. “Oh, tell me about it. This, my dear Lillian,” she said, dimpling up at the little figure, “is the dark secret of my life – ”

Dorothy Dalton's secret

“The green secret,” interrupted Dorothy Gish. The other Dorothy ignored the interruption. “I am about to confess. Look into the wire netting. Look into the runway. What do you see?”

“Leghorns,” “Chickens,” “Pullets,” unhesitatingly came three replies.

“They are white Orpingtons,” said Dorothy grandly. “And they are mine. This, my dear girls, is chicken feed. They must have green. You see, this variety of chicken – “

“Help!” the girls laughed. “Who would have thought it of you? You frivolous, dancing flirt, you! To be domesticated enough to keep chickens! We just left Norma. She is making some fudge –“

Dorothy rose and flung the green indiscriminately to the hens. “I’ll be with you in a minute,” she called from the steps; “I need just my hat and coat.”

When they arrived at Norma’s they found her stirring a pot of brown liquid industriously.

“Norma!” exclaimed Lillian, descending upon her. “Don’t stir it – it will turn to sugar.”

“Too late!” cried Norma. “It’s done!”

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Gish Hupmobile Detail
Lillian Gish – Hupmobile – Detail

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