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The San Francisco call. (San Francisco [Calif.]) 1895-1913, September 20, 1913, Image 30

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Persistent link: http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn85066387/1913-09-20/ed-1/seq-30/

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The BIG BALLAD HIT
A Romance of Tin Alley
HELEN VAN CAMPEN
Illustrations by C.F. MILLERS
ra<g9Efcg*s|OLLlE YON LINDEN was on the road, starring in a musics
comedy advertised as "(lie New York success." It had run |
M I ■ °" Broadway ( hy the efforts of the You Linden and Nolai
M I B £ M'i-ir Company's whole staff of pluggers and boosters, tltrei
N&ui* specially enirajred press agents, all of Benny Yon Linden's news
paper friends, and a large amount of his money. There wen
well known Broadway favorites iii the east, the songs were bright
and new; Benny bad gamely put one of his own numbers into the show, al
though fearful that it would never achieve the fame possible from its use by th<
clamorous vaudevillians whom be had disappointed for Dollies sake.
Every Dlght, after counting up, the show's treasurer sent Benny a night-letter
giving the deficit, and every morning, Benny, at breakfast in the handsome
Riverside Drive apartment that be had fitted for Dollie. read the news and
swore.
Then he rode down to "The House of Sure-Lire Hits," and smiled coldly at
the jestful ones who asked how it felt to be an anuel f He had not expected to
make much out of the show, but leaving oat the fact that Dollie herself, while
winsome enough as a small single act. had not the voice or dash needed tor her
role, there Were others whose names ought to till seats, and the booking was all
in live cities.
He walked sourly into his office on a Monday morning, inquiring if there
were any telegrams? Nothing had been received at his home.
"Nota thing here" replied Bliss Murphy, bis stenographer.
"Otteer," said be, scowling, "(let Detroit on the wire, and call the Hotel
Henley. 1 want to speak to my wife."
Miss Murphy reported with a grave face that Mrs. Yon Linden was not at
the Benley, nor any of the other hotels which Miss Murphy's wisdom had
hidden her try. She had next spoken to the theater where the piece was to
open that night, and been told that The Merry Bachelors hud eaneelled the
week by wire, no one knew why, and Sunday's paper declared the show had
closed. Benny telegraphed Cleveland where presumably the company had dis
banded, and got DO satisfaction. By afternoon, be was obviously disturbed,
and remarked that the seven pianos, all iv action in as many piano-rooms where
eager vaudeville performers were trying songs from the firm's catalog, were
driving him crazy.
"She's on her way back home, a' course," suggested Sammy Martin, the head
P lugger.
"S'pose slit' ain't, though?'' demanded Benny excitedly. "S'pose she's done
gome dally thing — you know how little sense women have, Sam — like
jumping off a dock or taking poison, because the rotten old show's lost
me a piece of change — I '11 be a bug if I don't hear from that kid by
"If you think I better go hunt her, say so," said Sammy. "I
realize your feelin's, 'cause before me an' Clarice split, an' she went
into the movies, when she was playiif out of town, I could hardly
keep my mind on my plugging wonder-in' what she was bavin' for
dinner, an' if any fresh mugs was a' hangin' around the showshop
— eh >"
"I '11 brain the guy I catch monkeying after my wife," said
Benny agitatedly. "She's so cussed good-looking that they 're al
ways rubbering at her, too."
Sammy consoled his employ
er by observing that the men
would not pursue unless the
women encouraged them.
"Meanin' tiothin' personal,
a' course," he explained.
Two days wore away, and
Benny was still without a
message from Dollie. Sammy
suddenly bought two tickets
for Cleveland, anil employees
of The House of Sure-Fire
Hits informed visitors that
Benny had gone West on a
business trip, and the date of
his return was indefinite.
• • * *
THK pawning of till in her
jewel bos except tbe great
solitaire that was her engage
ment ring, had sufficed to pay
each member of the company
two weeks' salary instead of
the usual two weeks' notice,
ami Dollie had smilingly paid,
then said farewell and disap
peared. She told herself. "I
will never, never go back and
lace Benny until 1 'm a sue-
SEMI-MONTHLY MAGAZINE
She drearily gazed into his pictured face
cess — at something !"
She sat in a 50-cenl room in a Chicago hotel, after a frugal dinner in a lu
cent restaurant. She was still hungry, the room had no heat, and the gas j» i
was just large enough to show what a desolate refuge was hers. She had not
unpacked the trunk that occupied a corner, because she shrank from the contrast
of her pretty frocks against that dismal back-round, and only a smalt todct bag
was opened.
<«I 'Al a dub," said Dollie to the ineffectual gas jet. "He pot me out in a swell
• musical show, and be advertised me like a grand Opera tour, and he said on the
jump that he did wish 1 could get the idea that 1 had to go hack to the foots nut
lit' my mind, so we could have some peace, and I kept nagging - I made a joke
of Benny before his friends in New York, 1 was so punk and to think <>!
iv town after town, papering the house, and even at that we couldn't fill 'em,
and me to he told hy a light comedian that he would n't risk his personality with
a frost like my show any longer hut they're all paid, that's some comfort,
and until 1 can get it with money 1 'ye made myself, the jewelry will slay where
it is, for there's been enough id' Benny's wasted. Poor boy, it '11 be a relief to
him not to have any more wires about how much we need for salaries! '
What would Benny think when he received the incoherent letter she had
posted an hour ago? Would he set the Pinkertons after her, or realize that
her life would lie unbearable until she had shown a palpitant world, aud Benny,
that Dollie Yon Linden was not a
theatrical nonentity.' She had con
cluded her letter with:
"Everybody in the business thinks
you married a dead one, but they
will find out you didn't. 1 am all
right, so do not worry, darling
Benny; but when they see me on top
they won't be able to give you the
laugh any more, and when I think
of the money I feel like eliding it
all. lam perfectly calm as you see.
dearest boy, so have no fear at all,
as I have a plan oh. Benny, what
a terrible world this is where peo
ple must suffer so, anyway, good
live, and remember I am your lov
ing, miserable Dollie. I leave for
the Coast at once. D."
That lie about leaving - would fool
him. She must not give way to sen
timent, or useless repiuiugs, but cen -
ter her faculties on succeeding,
somewhere and somehow, lt would
be dangerous to seek an engagement
iv any Chicago cabaret, for Benny's
A fat flabby young man confronted her
firm liml a Western bra uc h oflice there, and liis plnggPra certainly visited
theaters and restaurants where his tongs were used. There was m> chance
of booking on tlie "big time without a spectacular act, and it required
time, money and a live press agent, it' she had the ability to arrange one.
•"•Tf/HAT D I tell him I had a plan I'm .'" she w ailed. "Oh. just think
of the perfect rummies that find a good manager, and he makes
the agents believe they're great, when they're really Swful 1 And 1 feel
that no matter what anyone -ay- IYe get talent I know 1 have I The
trouble i> Benny don't understand me no one doe-, and if they don't
how can a person get ahead.' I bet if I could have one plain talk with
.Mi-. Belasco. he'd put me in a production, for the truth is that 1 ought
to have BjMM into drama, bill of eom-e when your folks are all dancers
they train you for that so really m\ own parent- are to blame. Maybe
it M be better to ju-t go down to the Lake trout and let the chill wnler
close over me— I could leave letters for the Coroner and Benny, and pill
the big ring in the Parcel Poet, -o he M have it back. The papers would
play a story like that up swell."
She s;it in gloomy meditation. The room was sc. eoid that her ftngen
Sandowlma. heading a
siragglmg band of news
boys, was in pursuit

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