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The San Francisco call. (San Francisco [Calif.]) 1895-1913, September 20, 1913, Image 31

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Persistent link: http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn85066387/1913-09-20/ed-1/seq-31/

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were benumbed nnd a sniffly cold was rapidly de
\ eloping. From her travelling bag she took a pho
tograph of Benny, and drearily gazed into his pic
tured face. She had brought it from her dressing
table at home, before the premiere of The Merry
Bachelor*. How excited and happy she was that
night, when Benny reported every seal tilled why
did he have to inform her later that his friends hail
been iii most of those seats, thus explaining the ap
plause which she had Supposed was the honest ap
proval id' the multitude. Xo, she could never go
home, lo fret constantly about her failure.
Others had lied from their sorrows, and she re
alized now that they bad not been able to bear them.
She would cosl Bennj
very little more if she
hurried to .Michigan
Avenue, waited until
there was no one in
sight, aud leaped into
the Lake. A -real sob
shook her, as she said
i remulously,
"I f you only knew !"
Lean in g on the
stained little table thai
bore an iee-waler pitch
er and a soiled menu of
a past dinner, she re
I tested with t rag ie mem,
"I f you only knew !"
Dully she said the
words over many times.
What an end to a young
life that had promised
much. He would think
she had not loved him.
whereas she was depart
ing only on his account,
den could not add luster to their name, at least she
would not make it the sport of the whole profes
sion. If he but knew- -"but knew, or "only"
knew.' The hist sounded neater. She reached for
a pencil, and on the back of the menu wrote.
She fell upon the piano stool and Benny viewed her with concern
"11' you imi knew."
She pondered, with heavy sighs, Soon the pencil
I raced lieueal Ii I he lirsl line,
''That I had grew
"To count you more than life.
"My one re-ret
"Is that we met
"For I could ne'er he your wife.''
'•Of course. I'm his wife all right, hut it's a
stronger number that way," she mused. "And rags
have been positively done to death, while weeping'
ballads are getting- the money— and Benny hasn't
a seller in his catalog except the waltzes. Well, I '11
go to the Lake as the clock chimes midnight and
leave this set of words for Benny, and with the ad
vertising my death will give it. If he tits a melody
to it he '11 have a big ballad hit. 1 '11 do some more
verses, ami use this for the chorus, and he '11 see that
I did the best I could for him!"
IT was eleven o'clock when she completed two
" verses that were as pathetic as the chorus. Her
hands were stiff from the chill air, she was snee/.inu
violently, and the small minor showed that her face
was very pale.
"ln one little hour I shall he dead," she said, shiv
ering. "But it's the only path — oh. if he hut
knew!"
She hurriedly packed her bag", locked it, and put
the key, with some others aud her ring*, into an en
velope previously addressed to Benny. On a sheet
of paper she w rote,
"Tell the Coroner I am in the Lake, near the An
nex. The world is too cruel. Farewell, all. Dollie
Yon Linden, late star in The Merry Bachelors,*'
Solemnly, with appropriate gestures, she de
claimed the words of the ballad. As she concluded
the final line of the chorus, there was an insistent
rapping on a door connecting her room with the
next, and a husky male voice exclaimed. "Say. lady,
can you spare a minute lo speak to a party on
suinpiu' important? Open the door into the hall!"
"I Ye waked him up and he's mad," thought Dol
lie. "Hut he can certainly stand it, considering that
I won't be here to disturb anyone tomorrow
night."
In silence, she listened. Her neighbor was ap
parently listening too. ln a moment he resumed in
a lower tone, "I ain't, a fresh guy, lady - - this is a
business matter, an' I ask you, will you open that
door an' lenmie say a few words.' You don't want
SEMI-MONTHLY MAGAZINE
to jjo coiiunittin' suicide when the world is bright an'
gay. There's hope, on the level there is."
"I can't and won't change tnj mind, and it' you've
got b gentleman's instincts, yon won't butt in on i
private matter 1" cried Dollie excitedly. "Can't a
person do anything in this town without being
harassed, I 'd like lo know .'"
There was the Bound of a door cautiously opened;
a stop in tho hall —she fan to look her door against
Invasion, but the knob had turned, and a fat, flabby
faced young man confronted her. Ho wore a grey
bathrobe over rod striped pajamas, the trousers
hanging below the robe. In one hand he held a
sheet of music paper, half covered with inky notes.
and in the other was a
fountain pen. On his
head was a green hat,
which he removed with
a sneeze that explained
his reason tor wearing'
it. Then he said kindly,
■• I been just as close to
the cushion as you are
tonight, little girl. Any
one has who's knocked
around - - yes. an' I WAS
ready to quit, too, when
I seen t hat would n't
spile no one bid me.
1 lad any oats I his e\ en
in. '('auso wo 'II tear
out an' -rah some ham
an' eggs an' Coffee J an'
while wo 're grazin' wo
can talk."
Had Dollie been loss
imaginative, -he might
ha v c successfully re
pulsed him, but I he in-
stant she heard his sug
gestion, she smelled ham and eggs, and thirsted for
the vivifying effects of coffee, and it was so pleasant
to picture a table spread with Pood in a warm res
taurant, and she was SO harrowed by her recent re
solve, and the expectation of meeting a curious po
liceman at tbe critical moment, and having to trudge
on and nerve herself lo the guilty deed all over
again. With a shudder she said weakly, "Never!
You leave this loom or I 'II scream!"
'I' 11E visitor sal down, fell for a match, and lit a
* cigarette. With the match, he produced two one
dollar bills, observing cheerily, "Here's tbe two case,
an' I '11 split with you, kiddo. An' on my half we '11
feed tonight, an' you'll be on deck with breakfast
money m the morning."
Dollie gave a hysterical' sob. He smoked calmly,
gazing at the music he held. Dollie wept, her arms
Sprawled on the table, crushing' her hat, careless of
her looks. No matter how she looked, when she
would n't be here tonior
ro w ! Why did this
calm. I'at creature have
to annoy her with re
minders of ha m and
eg g -.' Alas, happy
thousands would devour
her share! Should she
eat a last portion, and
thus gain strength for
the tramp to the lake?
With a long, piteous
sigh she looked at the
young man, who g:ave
her a friendly wave of
his free hand, and in a
"If you but knew —
tra-la-la
"That I had grew
la-la-la
"To count you more
— tban li ife!
"M v one regret —
tra-la-la
"Is thai we met — la-la-la
"When I could not —bb ee your wi—ife!"
"My song!" said Dollie, astonished. "But 1 only
wrote it tonight ! And that music is wonderful, it 's
so haunting. You must have suffered, like me."
"If I had a piano up here I'd have the verse as
well as the chorus done." said he. "I did n't ketch
all the words, you spoke 'em so fast. The appeal in
that would be a knockout, and then there's the
chance for a swell lot of parodies later. I'm a niol
ody. writer myself, an' I lost my partner, Jimmy
Delmonico, through tlx 1 both of us drinkin', an' bein'
despondent, an' I could n't get an inspiration, 'till I
heard you talkm' to yourself. Are you vvillin' to can
this Lake notion, an' we'll work the song out .in'
sell it .'"
"Honest, do you think we could put it over.'"
"The market's ripe for a new type! Here's the
first of the year due, when every publisher's s'posed
to have his new songs rendy, an' two-thirds of 'em
are goin' lo keep on plugghV their old stuff, because
their staff writers are wrote out, an' yet a Stranger
can't horn in no way —- thai 's all the nut them bone
heads got, you know. An' look at the advertisiu'
we can get up ourselves — the beautiful despairin'
young girl about to throw herself iv the drink to es
cape the worldly old millionaire that's houmlin' her.
r, et il .' An' then this scene, only we 'II make it that
I heard you singiu' it as you were leapni' off—l
jumped in alter you. an' as I looked into your eye
lids melody came into bein'."
My gracious, every paper in the country'd eat
up the story !" cried Dollie.
"Sure! 1 bet thai number would sell a million
copies."
"YY/ WK simply got to find a piano, BO the lyric
vv doesn't gei OUf of your head, and you \1 best
stop talking and just keep on going over it. .Maybe
Ihe clerk at the desk know- one we can find." said
Dollie, her cheeks Hushed, and her dark eyes glow
ing. "Oh, isn't Providence grand! 1 was going to
send tbe words to a party he's in the music trade
-and now instead I'll gel the dough with il and
show him and every one else they've got another
guess as to my ability!"
"Slick here while I gallop in an' fix up. A pal
of mine's the piano player in a Utile drum out on
Collage Grove Avenue; not a classy place, but we
can use ihe instrument, an' he's so full of cigarettes
he won't even notice what I 'in playin'."
The musician disappeared, and Dollie, with a gay
laugh, tore into bits the letter to the public at large,
and retrieved her ring and keys. Wiih renewed /.est
in life, she carefully powdered over the tear slaiiis.
and ran a stick of rouge lightly across her lips. A
low whistle summoned her, and she found her escorl,
splendid in a brown suit striped with black, a light
overcoat on his arm, and his green velours hat on
Ihe back of his head. His patent leather shoes were
cracked, bill very shiny, and his red tie was not in
its youth, but his sloutness was mil as noticeable as
when he was in his bathrobe. Dollie put on the sa
bles Benny had given her. and they reached the street
as a church clock tolled midnight. In complete ac
cord, they hastily supped in a small lunchroom, both
Writing busily, and I hen singing' I he result.
"Hilly Austin made a mint of money out of Dead
Daps of Yore, an' Cavalieri'a usin' a heart ballad —
that proves what can be done," said the composer,
absently devouring an
egg." Did you ever
think about drivin' a
zebra ? I seen where the
Secretary of Agricul
ture's advert ism' two,
broke lo harness, for
sale. They had 'em for
experiments, 1 s'pose.
Now, then, if they could
be drove from Chicago
to New York, with signs
on the carriage pluggin'
our song', there'd be let
ters from Mayors to be
got, an' you could drive,
an' say you was a suf
fragette, an' goin' right
on to Washington after
— pass that sugar, will
you—-an' 1 know an
animal man that'd tame
'em in a week! I tell
you, the possibilities are
sumpiif enormous.''
"We Ye B*ol the
"Oh, you good-looking kid!'' cried someone as the
pluggers hurled their flowers
chance ol our lives,'' said Dollie, awed. "I could
wear a mask, though of course, that 's been done?"
"Not done like we'd do it," he answered. "I'd
trail along in an automobile, an' every so often I
could rescue you from some sort of danger, an' those
hick papers would fall for it hard."
"Oh, it 's glorious, and thank heaven I met you!
But there's one thing—l feel I ought to tell you
first, and -well. I'm a married woman, you see,
and he's the dearest hoy,
5
(Continued an I'iujc 13)

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