main the paper published mere gossip, oddities about storms,
She overpowered Ashmead and drove him to the director. He went most unwillingly; but once there, was true to her, and begged off the engagement eagerly. The director refused this plump. Then Ashmead, still true to his commission, offered him (most reluctantly) a considerable sum down to annul the contract, and backed this with a quiet hint that she would certainly fall ill if refused. The director knew by experience what this meant, and how easily these ladies can command the human body to death's door _pro re nata,_ and how readily a doctor's certificate can be had to say or swear that the great creature cannot sing or act without peril to life, though really both these arts are grand medicines, and far less likely to injure the _bona fide_ sick than are the certifying doctor's draughts and drugs. The director knew all this; but he was furious at the disappointment threatened him. "No," said he; "this is always the way; a poor devil of a manager is never to have a success. It is treacherous, it is ungrateful: I'll close. You tell her if she is determined to cut all our throats and kick her own good fortune down, she can; but, by ----, I'll make her smart for it! Mind, now; she closes the theater and pays the expenses, if she plays me false."
"Let her die and be ----, and then I'll believe her. She is the healthiest woman in Germany. I'll go and take steps to have her arrested if she offers to leave the town."
Ashmead reported the manager's threats, and the Klosking received them as a lioness the barking of a cur. She drew herself swiftly up, and her great eye gleamed imperial disdain at all his menaces but one.
"He will not really close the theater," said she, loftily; but uneasiness lurked in her manner.
"He will," said Ashmead. "He is desperate: and you know it _is_ hard to go on losing and losing, and then the moment luck turns to be done out of it, in spite of a written bargain. I've been a manager myself."
"So many poor people!" said Ina, with a sigh; and her defiant head sunk a little.
"Oh, bother _them!"_ said Ashmead, craftily. "Let 'em starve."
"God forbid!" said Ina. Then she sighed again, and her queenly head sunk lower. Then she faltered out, "I have the will to break faith and ruin poor people, but I have not the courage."