I knew that James wasn’t honest with Melanie. One night he is drunk and tells her the truth. He is nothing but a criminal, and the night before they left Melanie’s village, he had stolen the money from the mill. So he is a wanted man. The following day James is gone and has only left a few lines, telling her he has to go. Melanie is left there alone and has to face the high hotel bill, which she can’t pay because she doesn’t have any money. James even stole her one-hundred dollars. The only person she can think of calling is Gladys, the actress, and Melanie thinks that James might be with her. Yet, Gladys hasn’t seen him, but she is good to come to her rescue. She and her fiancé come to find her in the hotel, pay the bill, and they send a telegram to her family.
Melanie’s father and brother-in-law come the following day, and Melanie feels mortified. Her father is nice to her, but Ralph doesn’t conceal his scorn. Back at home Melanie is afraid of her mother’s reaction, but Syrie is upset but she welcomes her with open arms. It is not the same for Olive, who doesn’t mince words and and is vile to her sister. Melanie knows she has brought shame to her family. The sheriff comes to question her about the robbery, but Melanie doesn’t know anything; he is not very nice to Melanie, but fortunately, she manages to keep her dignity. Poor Melanie is not very happy. Another one who treats her horribly is Paul Clyde, who calls on her drunk, and attacks her viciously. Thankfully, her mother comes and kicks him out of the house. I can understand that they young man feels humiliated, but no woman deserves to be treated like that however badly she has behaved.
Melanie is so unhappy, and in her village she is burdened by her reputation. She knows that she can’t aspire to much. So she longs to go back to New York and gets some freedom. So she remembers the plays she and James went to see and realises she wants to be an actress. Since she doesn’t have money, she sells the dresses James bought her, and then she books a room in a hotel for women. She is determined to try her luck. When she tells her mother, Syrie is upset and angry. Later when they tell the doctor, he reacts as badly as his wife, but now Syrie has thought things over, and even though she doesn’t approve of her daughter’s decision, she agrees that there is no hope for much else for her daughter in the village, so in her way she gives her the thumbs up.
In New York things are not so easy as she thought. Melanie gets disappointment after disappointment, and her money is running out. Then a couple of months later she overhears a conversation between two actresses about Orbach’s looking for blond actresses to do silent parts but they know that unless you have contacts, it is impossible to get a part. Melanie uses her resourcefulness, and since this is the play where Gladys is, she goes to the agency and mentions her name. A few days later she gets a letter, summoning her for an audition, and she gets the part.
She gets to see Gladys again, but unlike the last time Gladys is cold towards her and even irritated that she is there in the first place. I don’t know what is wrong with Gladys. I have the hunch that Gladys has always known where James was. What is the real relationship between Gladys and James? She told Melanie that she only knew him through a friend, but I think there is more there than meets the eye. Melanie is still too naive, and Broadway is too grandiose for her naivete. At least, she has made friends with one of the other actresses, Mercedes, who I think might be good for her.
The night of her debut she is so nervous that she is sick minutes before going on stage. Then when she does her walking part seamlessly, she is ecstatic, and she knows that this is her destiny, and nobody will make her give up this dream.