They kidded him into thinking that he had incubated a Whale.
When he had chewed up a Gross of Pencils and taken enough Tea to float the Imperator, the great Work was complete and ready to be launched with a loud Splash.
He began to inquire the Name of some prominent Theatre Blokie who was a keen Student of the Classics and a Person of super-refined Taste.
The man he sought had moved into the Poor House, so he compromised by expressing his typewritten Masterpiece to a Ringmaster whose name he had seen on the Three Sheets. It was marked, “Valuable Package.”
In a few months the hirelings of the Company and the Driver of the Wagon became well acquainted with the Large Envelope containing the only Hope of the present decadent Period.
Every time the Work came back to him with a brief printed Suggestion that any Male Adult not physically disabled could make $1.75 a day with a Shovel, the Author would appear at the Afternoon Club with another scathing arraignment of certain Commercial Aspects of the Modern Stage.
He saw that it was over their Heads.
It was too darned Dainty for a Flat-Head who spelt Art with a lower-case “a.”
Yet it was so drenched and saturated and surcharged with Merit that he resolved to have it done by Local Amateurs rather than see it lost to the World.
The Music was written by Genius No. 2, working in a Piano Store. He had been writing Great Music for years.
Whenever he heard anything catchy, he went home and wrote it.
He was very Temperamental. That is, he got soused on about three, and, while snooted, would deride Victor Herbert, thus proving that he was Brilliant, though Erratic.
He had a trunkful of Tunes that were too scholarly for the Ikeys who publish Popular Trash.
He fitted them on to the Libretto written by the Litry Guy.
When the two got together to run over the Book and Score, they were sure enthusiastic.
The Author said the Lines were the best he had ever heard, and the Composer said the Numbers were all Gems.
When the Home Talent bunch pulled the whole Affair before a mob of Personal Friends and a subsidized City Editor, it was a Night of Triumph for all concerned.
The trained and trusty Liars who, in every Community, wear Evening Clothes and stand around at Receptions, all crowded up to the Author and gave him the Cordial Mitt and boosted something scandalous.
He didn’t know that all of them Knocked after they got around the Dutch Lunch.
He went home, sobbing with Joy. That night he nominated himself for the Hall of Fame and put it to a Vote, and there was not one Dissenting Voice.
Every deluded Boob who can bat up Fungoes in his own Back Yard thinks he is qualified to break into a Major League and line out Two-Baggers.
There was no holding the inspired Librettist and the talented young Composer.
They knew that the eager Public in 48 States was waiting for the Best Thing since “Robin Hood.”
The Author went up to the City and found a Manager who had a Desk and a lot of Courage and a varied experience in risking other people’s Coin.
After the two Geniuses had mortgaged their Homes, the Impresario was enabled to get some Scenery built and rally a large Drove of Artists–most of them carrying Hand Bags.
During Rehearsals the brutal Stage Manager wanted to cut the Gizzard out of the Book and omit most of the sentimental Arias, but Mr. Words and Mr. Music emitted such shrieks of protest against the threatened Sacrilege that he allowed all the select home-made Guff to remain in the Script.
He thought it would serve them right.
When they gave the first Real Performance in a Dog Town on a drizzly evening in November, there was no Social Eclat to fill the sails.
The House was mostly Paper and therefore very Missouri.
Also a full delegation from the Coffin-Trimmers’ Union with Cracked Ice in their Laps.