Abroad with Mark Twain and Eugene Field/"Ambition Is a Jade that More Than One Man Can Ride"
"AMBITION IS A JADE THAT MORE THAN ONE MAN CAN RIDE"
We had been talking about changing one's luck at the Eccentric Club, London, and Mark said: "All is personal effort, there is no such thing as anything interfering for one's advantage or the opposite."
"Guess you are about right," said Stoker. "There was Loie Fuller, an indifferent soubrette before she became the goddess of beauty and chained Anatole France and the rest to her chariot. I remember meeting her one afternoon in the Strand, looking for a cable office. Only a few hours previous I had heard that poor Loie was on her uppers, her manager having cheated her, leaving her penniless in Berlin. And, worse luck, I didn't know a thing she could do in London, or even the provinces, just then. That, you can imagine, made me feel quite gawky."
"Well, you had a right to be a sob sister," interpolated Mark.
"She didn't give me the chance, not she," emphasized Bram, "for, grabbing me by the arm, with tears rolling down her cheeks, she whispered in a choked voice: "Father is dead. Father is dead! Lend me ten shillings to cable to New York, please." She added: 'Poor Father. But now I will succeed, I swear it, Father.'
"And two or three weeks later she created the serpentine dance, earning such blurbs as
'the chastest and most expressive of dancers, who restored to us the lost wonders of Greek mimicry.'"
"I hear she is about to open her own theatre in Paris now," announced the Standard critic.
"That's the stuff," said Mark. "Loie, like myself—both red-headed—knew that ambition is a horse that more than one can ride. I grabbed that idea 'way back in the seventies when Artemus Ward came down lecturing Virginia way. Art was a success and I liked the lordly nonchalance with which he spent two or three hundred dollars on a tear. I helped him spend plenty, I assure you, but when Art and the brown taste in my mouth had gone, I took stock.
"'Sam,' I said to myself, quite familiar-like, 'Sam, your mental adipose is as good as his, and in originality you can beat him dead.'
"After these encouraging remarks, I set to work making good," concluded Mark.