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SAWDUST AND SPANGLES
escaped with whole skins. But speaking of hotels: In billing a town in which there were several hotels run by Irishmen our advance agent usually promised each hotel proprietor that his particular hotel should be patronized by the show. As a result of this I usually found myself in an extremely embarrassing position when the show arrived at the town. Of course I could not patronize all of the hotels, and, at the same time, it was necessary for us to keep the good will of the proprietors. I usually went around to all of the disappointed ones, gave them free tickets, praised their children, their wives; berated our advance agent and promised better things for next time. In the end I managed to make friends with them and left them with no bad tastes in their mouths. I have always found them a jovial and reasonable people. Of course the hotel that did secure our patronage always had something to look back upon. It was a day of hustling, of real business, that came only once or twice in a lifetime. In those days napkins were entirely unknown. At one place some of our showmen asked the waitress to bring them napkins, and she answered: "I am sorry, sirs, but the last show that was here ate them all up."