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The Rathskeller And The Rose
by [?]

Miss Posie Carrington had earned her success. She began life handicapped by the family name of “Boggs,” in the small town known as Cranberry Corners. At the age of eighteen she had acquired the name of “Carrington” and a position in the chorus of a metropolitan burlesque company. Thence upward she had ascended by the legitimate and delectable steps of “broiler,” member of the famous “Dickey-bird” octette, in the successful musical comedy, “Fudge and Fellows,” leader of the potato-bug dance in “Fol-de-Rol,” and at length to the part of the maid “‘Toinette” in “The King’s Bath-Robe,” which captured the critics and gave her her chance. And when we come to consider Miss Carrington she is in the heydey of flattery, fame and fizz; and that astute manager, Herr Timothy Goldstein, has her signature to iron-clad papers that she will star the coming season in Dyde Rich’s new play, “Paresis by Gaslight.”

Promptly there came to Herr Timothy a capable twentieth-century young character actor by the name of Highsmith, who besought engagement as “Sol Haytosser,” the comic and chief male character part in “Paresis by Gaslight.”

“My boy,” said Goldstein, “take the part if you can get it. Miss Carrington won’t listen to any of my suggestions. She has turned down half a dozen of the best imitators of the rural dub in the city. She declares she won’t set a foot on the stage unless ‘Haytosser’ is the best that can be raked up. She was raised in a village, you know, and when a Broadway orchid sticks a straw in his hair and tries to call himself a clover blossom she’s on, all right. I asked her, in a sarcastic vein, if she thought Denman Thompson would make any kind of a show in the part. ‘Oh, no,’ says she. ‘I don’t want him or John Drew or Jim Corbett or any of these swell actors that don’t know a turnip from a turnstile. I want the real article.’ So, my boy, if you want to play ‘Sol Haytosser’ you will have to convince Miss Carrington. Luck be with you.”

Highsmith took the train the next day for Cranberry Corners. He remained in that forsaken and inanimate village three days. He found the Boggs family and corkscrewed their history unto the third and fourth generation. He amassed the facts and the local color of Cranberry Corners. The village had not grown as rapidly as had Miss Carrington. The actor estimated that it had suffered as few actual changes since the departure of its solitary follower of Thespis as had a stage upon which “four years is supposed to have elapsed.” He absorbed Cranberry Corners and returned to the city of chameleon changes.

It was in the rathskeller that Highsmith made the hit of his histrionic career. There is no need to name the place; there is but one rathskeller where you could hope to find Miss Posie Carrington after a performance of “The King’s Bath-Robe.”

There was a jolly small party at one of the tables that drew many eyes. Miss Carrington, petite, marvellous, bubbling, electric, fame-drunken, shall be named first. Herr Goldstein follows, sonorous, curly-haired, heavy, a trifle anxious, as some bear that had caught, somehow, a butterfly in his claws. Next, a man condemned to a newspaper, sad, courted, armed, analyzing for press agent’s dross every sentence that was poured over him, eating his a la Newburg in the silence of greatness. To conclude, a youth with parted hair, a name that is ochre to red journals and gold on the back of a supper check. These sat at a table while the musicians played, while waiters moved in the mazy performance of their duties with their backs toward all who desired their service, and all was bizarre and merry because it was nine feet below the level of the sidewalk.