Page:My Life and Loves.djvu/275

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239
HARD TIMES AND NEW LOVES.

"This old one-hoss shay of a town", he cried, "should wear grave-clothes."

"What's the matter?" I asked. "Matter!" he repeated scornfully, "I don't believe there's a place in the hull God d—d town big enough to show our double-crown Bills! Not one: not a place. And I meant to spend ten thousand dollars here in advertising the great Hatherly Minstrels, the best show on earth: they'll be here for a hull fortnight and by God, you won't take my money: you don't want money in this dead and alive hole!"

The fellow amused me: he was so convinced and outspoken that I took to him. As luck would have it I had been at the University till late that day and had not gone to the Gregory's for dinner: I was healthily hungry: I asked Mr. Dingwall whether he had dined?

"No, Sir", was his reply, "Can one dine in this place?"

"I guess so", I replied, "if you'll do me the honor of being my guest, I'll take you to a good porterhouse steak at least" and I took him across to the Eldridge House, a short distance away, leaving a young friend, Will Thomson, a doctor's son whom I knew, in my place.

I gave Dingwall the best dinner I could and drew him out: he was, indeed, "a live wire" as he phrased it and suddenly inspired by his optimism the idea came to me that if he would deposit the ten thousand dollars he had talked of, I could put up hoardings on all the vacant lots in Massachusetts Street and make a good thing ont of exhibiting the bills of the various travelling shows that visited Lawrence. It wasn't the first time I had been asked to help advertise this or that entertainment. I put forward my idea timidly, yet Dingwall took it up at once: "if you can find good security, or a good surety", he said, "I'll

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