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Proserpina was not, as they gossip, a tomboy raised by kangaroos; hers was a family of declining means from Northborough and she never gadded about in overalls. She was a model young lady, and earned her days at the nickelodeon by tying her preferred hand behind her back.

Once, sitting with her father in that cramped theater, she watched a reel about “Yellow Tom, the Chinaman practitioner of Chow Lin Kung Foo.” He was short, with strange eyes. He put his fist through six boards; and while the whole audience gasped, only Proserpina saw that he struck with his left hand.