Before I got to New York I was so interested in the bench-shows that I made up my mind to go to one the first chance I got. Down on Sixth Avenue, near where that back door might be, I began to take things leisurely. I did not like to be in too much of a hurry. There was not anything in sight that looked like a back door. The nearest approach to it was a cigar store. So I went in and bought a cigar, not too expensive, but it cost enough to pay for any information I might get and leave the dealer a fair profit. Well, I did not like to be too abrupt, to make the man think me crazy, by asking him if that was the way to Daly's Theatre, so I started gradually to lead up to the subject, asking him first if that was the way to Castle Garden. When I got to the real question, and he said he would show me the way, I was astonished. He sent me through a long hallway, and I found myself in a back yard. Then I went through a long passageway and into a little room, and there before my eyes was a big St. Bernard dog lying on a bench. There was another door beyond and I went there, and was met by a big, fierce man with a fur cap on and coat off, who remarked, "Phwat do yez want?" I told him I wanted to see Mr. Daly. "Yez can't see Mr. Daly this time of night," he responded. I urged that I had an appointment with Mr. Daly, and gave him my card, which did not seem to impress him much. "Yez can't get in and yez can't shmoke here. Throw away that cigar. If yez want to see Mr. Daly, yez 'll have to be after going to the front door and buy a ticket, and then if yez have luck and he's around that way yez may see him." I was getting discouraged, but I had one resource left that had been of good service in similar emergencies. Firmly but kindly I told him my name was Mark Twain, and I awaited results. There was none. He was not fazed a bit. "Phwere's your order to see Mr. Daly?" he asked. I handed him the note, and he examined it intently. "My friend," I remarked, "you can read that better if you hold it the other side up." But he took no notice of the suggestion, and finally asked: "Where's Mr. Daly's name?" "There it is," I told him, "on the top of the page." "That's all right," he said, "that's where he always puts it; but I don't see the 'W' in his name," and he eyed me distrustfully. Finally, he asked, "Phwat do yez want to see Mr. Daly for?" "Business." "Business?" "Yes." It was my only hope. "Phwat kind--theatres?" that was too much. "No." "What kind of shows, then?" "Bench-shows." It was risky, but I was desperate." Bench--shows, is it--where?" The big man's face changed, and he began to look interested. "New Haven." "New Haven, it is? Ah, that's going to be a fine show. I'm glad to see you. Did you see a big dog in the other room?" "Yes." "How much do you think that dog weighs?" "One hundred and forty-five pounds." "Look at that, now! He's a good judge of dogs, and no mistake. He weighs all of one hundred and thirty-eight. Sit down and shmoke--go on and shmoke your cigar, I'll tell Mr. Daly you are here." In a few minutes I was on the stage shaking hands with Mr. Daly, and the big man standing around glowing with satisfaction. "Come around in front," said Mr. Daly, "and see the performance. I will put you into my own box." And as I moved away I heard my honest friend mutter, "Well, he desarves it."

THE DRESS OF CIVILIZED WOMAN

A large part of the daughter of civilization is her dress--as it should be. Some civilized women would lose half their charm without dress, and some would lose all of it. The daughter Of modern civilization dressed at her utmost best is a marvel of exquisite and beautiful art and expense. All the lands, all the climes, and all the arts are laid under tribute to furnish her forth. Her linen is from Belfast, her robe is from Paris, her lace is from Venice, or Spain, or France, her feathers are from the remote regions of Southern Africa, her furs from the remoter region of the iceberg and the aurora, her fan from Japan, her diamonds from Brazil, her bracelets from California, her pearls from Ceylon, her cameos from Rome.

Mark Twain's Speeches Page 26

Mark Twain

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