Page:Abroad with Mark Twain and Eugene Field.djvu/242

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"Well," I said, "Gene, everybody to his groove. While Oscar does the highfalutin', you make people laugh. If you really want to make money you ought to go on the stage. There your gift of mimicry and imitation ought to get you big returns, for you could hold your own with Goodwin and Henry Dixey."

"I have been told that before," said Gene; "they drummed it into my head in Denver and in Chicago, but somehow or other I prefer the writing game to any other, even if it keeps one on a level with proletarians."

Though not mixing with Oscar Wilde's crowd. Gene heard a lot of gossip concerning the author of "Salome," and "Lady Windemere's Fan." Likewise some stories about Lady Wilde, Oscar's mother, a most eccentric woman, whose motto was said to be: "Only shopkeeper's are respectable."

"Why, in his own mother's house, Oscar started a 'Society for the Suppression of Virtue,'" vowed Gene.

Then there was the famous yarn about original sin that we heard right off the griddle. It ran this way:

Said a Famous Beauty, friend of the Prince of Wales, to Wilde:

"Is it not a fact that original sin began with Adam and came down direct to you, Oscar?"

Oscar, shielding his mouth with his hand, for he had bad teeth, responded: