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"I am a leper!" he cried. "I may not touch Him! Unclean! Unclean!" "Draw nigh," the woman said, "and let His hand rest upon thee!"
Zia crouched upon his knees. new-born hand fell softly upon his shoulder and rested there. Through his body, through his blood, through every limb and fleshly atom of him, he felt it steal-new life, warming, thrilling, wakening in his veins new life! As he felt it, he knelt quaking with rapture even as he had stood the night before gazing at the light. The new-born hand lay still.
He did not know how long he knelt. He did not know that the woman leaned toward him, scarce drawing breath, her wondrous eyes resting upon him as if she waited for a sign. Even as she so gazed she beheld it, and spoke, whispering as in awed prayer:
"Go forth and cleanse thy flesh in running water," she said. "Go forth."
He moved, he rose, he stood uprightthe hunchback Zia who had never stood upright before! His body was straight, his limbs were strong. He looked upon his hands, and there was no blemish or spot to be seen!
"I am made whole!" he cried in ecstasy so wild that his boy's voice rang and echoed in the cave's hollowed roof. "I am made whole!"
"Go forth," she said softly. "Go forth and give praise."
He turned and went into the dawning day. He stood swaying, and heard himself sob forth a rapturous cry of prayer. His flesh was fresh and pure; he stood erect and tall. He was as others whom God had not cursed. The light! the light! He stretched forth his arms to the morning sky.
SOME shepherds roughly clothed in the skins of lambs and kids were climbing the hill toward the cave. They carried their crooks, and they talked eagerly as though in wonderment at some strange thing which had befallen them, looking up at the heavens, and one pointed with his crook.
"Surely it draws nearer, the star!" he said. "Look!"
As they passed a thicket where a brook flowed through the trees a fair boy came forth, cleansed, fresh, and radiant as if he had but just bathed in its clear waters. It was the boy Zia.
"Who is this one?" said the oldest shepherd. "How beautiful he is! How the light shines on him! He looks like a king's
By JOHN D. WILLIAMS
QUAINTLY romantic personality,
A possessed of almost hypnotic power
in influencing and often in entirely reshaping the lives of countless others, quietly went down with the Lusitania when Charles Frohman muttered, "Well, they 've got us," and, disdaining the physical aid he would never accept in life, let the waters of the Atlantic pass over him. In his habit of always looking on life not as a serious and actual process, but as so many dramatic or comic scenes often of such pictorial richness that they had better be on the stage than wasted broadcast, Frohman undoubtedly took his farewell of life fancying himself the principal actor in an enormously stunning last act.
He always loved to act, and there were few better actors than he. He could choke with emotion over nothing and shed tears at a second's notice. As a lad his father, himself a great lover of the theater and an amateur dabbler in it, once held up a new dime before his three sons, Charles, Daniel, and Gustave, offering it to the one who would most quickly invent dialogue that would lead to his weeping. Charles won the dime within a few minutes. Living was always a matter of acting with the youngest of the Frohmans. He was forever setting before himself the image of some goal worth attaining-famous stars under his management, his own theater in New York, though when the latter ambition first came to him Henry Miller and he were tramping the streets
of San Francisco, their play a failure and their next meal a dream. "You will be my star, Henry, and our names will be over a Broadway theater," he said, and Miller imitates well the glow with which the empty-pocketed Frohman instantly suited the action of a Broadway manager to his prophecy.
The Broadway theater was attained, and eventually seven others, and over them all the familiar line, "Charles Frohman presents." Then came three theaters in Boston, two in Chicago, three in London, and one in Paris-all operated simultaneously through the enterprise of one man, with from thirty to forty plays, representing an outlay of hundreds of thousands of dollars, ranging in quality from tragedy to musical comedy and giving work to regiments of actors and actresses. Like a general, he had a complete staff at his backa manager, a general stage-director for legitimate pieces, a general director for musical pieces, musical directors, carpenters, electricians, scene-painters, propertymasters; but to the end nothing became "O.K." until affixed to it was the memorandum with the blue-penciled initials "C. F." The man behind these initials until his death was only an inscription"Charles Frohman presents"-to the millions of playgoers whom it was his life's passion to entertain. Thousands there were in his own profession who had never set eyes on him. Those who saw him for the first time gazed in amazement on the
opposite of all they had expected. They saw a man barely over five feet, broad of back, and upon well-squared shoulders the head of an executive; in every posture, speech, and look revealing great dynamic power within, but, without, as soft of speech as a fine woman and as gentle of manner; in fact, loving gentleness in others above all human traits; healthfully ruddy in a countenance that at will could be an impenetrable mask, or, set aglow by smiling eyes, the lovable face of one whom famous men and superb women, though possessing talents that he had not, but could divine and develop, gloried to serve.
Play-producing was the artificial stimulation by which Frohman lived. Opening nights were cocktails to him. The night before an opening he got no sleep from anxiety, never knowing how the venture would turn out. Early in the morning of the day when the play was first to be done he would be up working his utmost upon a new venture: reading over manuscripts; keeping in touch with "the London playmarket" or "the Paris playmarket," as he always called them, by cablegram; feverishly busying himself upon some new enterprise that would eventually mean as much agony for him as that of the night to come; wearing himself out through the day, and at night get ting to the theater early, to sit obscurely behind the scenery in a dark corner of the stage suffering the pains of creation. This he went through for over six hundred nights; for Frohman gave that many plays to the theaters of America, England, and France.
Toward the end, just before nature's curtain fell upon him for the last time, these pitiless tests were becoming too much for him. Hysterical actresses who only half knew their lines, actors who forgot entire speeches, mechanicians whose carelessness ruined scenes, and the thousand and one horrors possible to a first night in New York, began to tell so much on him that he would send for me and say, "Let's go to some restaurant," and I would lead him to a café, place before him an enormous sweet drink of some sort,
preferably a large orangeade, and leave him there until the end of the play. Then we would meet again, and I would always tell him the best of even a bad night in order that he might sleep, and because I knew it was always his superstition that belief in success makes success. He called it "a kind of wireless from mouth to mouth"; that if you believed success and talked success, success embraced you and gave you that energy which is success. That was a good part of the mystic that was Frohman. He acted toward the various phases of life and toward people the rôles that he thought necessary for making life and people react toward him as he wished them to do.
So it would have been surprising if at the end he had not been the first to see a fine drama in his position. Suddenly the world became his audience, and he even fashioned himself an exit line such as an actor might utter leaving the stage for the last time. "They 've got us" meant the Germans, whom he had always hated heartily, but at whose hands he died not in bitterness, but as the protagonist in a great tragedy. In the face of death-a word he would never utter in life or allow to be spoken when he could silence it-he dramatized himself and his last big scene as deliberately and as objectively as if it were the tragic closing act of any one of the many plays he had directed for the stage at home and abroad.
"In the grill of the were guests, they used to shove Barrie and me away from the table, those German officers, claiming it was theirs," he once told me. "It often happened to us, and when it did, Barrie would only smile, but it made me hate them." So that the Germans were the natural villains of the scene at the end, the expected villains, for, with that delightfully romantic egotism which lifted him from poverty to the chief control of the theater in America, Frohman in all seriousness said before sailing:
"They know I hate them, and the Kaiser himself knows that I hate him; so they will all be only too glad to torpedo me at sea if they can." But when his
Reasonably enough, these final words of the marooned Peter Pan were in Frohman's mind when his own end came. For it was the thought of seeing and chumming about with Barrie that always made Frohman nervously eager to sail for England every spring. Theirs was an extraordinary friendship, lasting for sixteen years, and with but one difference between them during all that time.
"We had only one quarrel," says Barrie, speaking of Frohman, "but it lasted all the sixteen years I knew him. He wanted me to be a playwright; I wanted to be a novelist. All those years I fought him on that. He always won, but not because of his doggedness; only because he was so lovable that one had to do as he wanted. He also threatened, if I stopped, to reproduce the old plays and print my name in large electric letters over the entrance to the theater."
Frohman was not a man for books; he would never touch them unless he was assured that they contained plays. In that case he would attack a book with the avidity of a gormand. He did not need all the fingers of one of his remarkable hands-hands of a woman, which he never clenched, but held composed at his side as if they were always serving as a model for an artist-to number the books that he really knew. Once some newspaper asked him the name of his favorite book, and he instantly replied, "Roland Strong's 'Best Restaurants in Paris.'" But he knew "Huckleberry Finn" thoroughly, “Alice in Wonderland" fairly well, and all of Bret Harte's that he had put upon the stage in play form. He was fond of drawing upon "Alice in Wonderland" for scenes, notions for stage groupings. To him it was a kind of treasury of all that was possibly fantastic for the theater, a book that could be drawn on endlessly. One of the last stage episodes that he devised was taken entirely from it. Later, when the whole book was dramatized by another manager for the New York stage, and the actress for whom Frohman had devised his own little scene complained bitterly because he had not kept the stage rights of the book
exclusively for her, his merriment over the idea was so enormous that he simply telegraphed back:
"Yes, it is very careless of me, and, do you know, there is another book the rights of which I cannot control for the stage, and it's called the Bible."
Two or three close men friends, thousands of mummers, and many thousand manuscripts were the boundaries of Frohman's life. He was like a man who went through the world always looking on life through the proscenium-arch of a theater. Invariably he thought and spoke of people, happenings, and every aspect of life in terms of the theater. Once the droning din of many voices in a theater between the acts, the sound never rightly reproduced on the stage, the murmuring of a mob, gripped Frohman's attention.
"Listen to that sound!" he said. "Would n't it be fine if you could get that on the stage? If a phonographic record could be made of that, why have stage mobs?"
Likely enough there was a bag of peanuts in his lap, or, what he craved even oftener, a bag of chestnuts. These he would methodically munch during the play, until the incessant crackling of the shells got so thoroughly on the nerves of the people seated in the box behind him. that there would be protests. He would not notice the protests, and would never take his eyes from the stage or his fingers from the bag of chestnuts; but now he would wait until there was an outburst of laughter or applause sufficiently loud to drown out the sound of more chestnuts quietly cracked and stealthily eaten.
Like Dr. Johnson, he loved a good talk, and like Johnson, too, wherever Frohman. sat and whatever the group, there was the head of the table. But his talk was always of plays or of men and deeds of a dramatic quality; always of the concrete, never of the abstract. He weighed a play by the idea in it, and he never produced a play, however arbitrary in story or characters, as, for example, "Peter Pan,"without being able to name the elements of success he thought it possessed.