Story of a Soak Who Went To the Bar Once Too Often.
It did not take place in the city of Washington, because no man in Washington leaves a lady alone while he goes out between the acts at theater—unless it be his wife, and, of course, that doesn’t count.
But it did occur, and the site of its occurrence is not west of the Alleghenies, where, according to some Eastern thinkers, all the peculiar occurrences occur.
The man in the case was perhaps 30, the girl 22, and the theater was one in which the melodrama has its home. The girl was pretty and there was that kind of a jaw hedging the lower part of her rosy cheeks that ought to have been a hint to the young man. The young man was a fair sample of the average chap who makes twelve to fifteen hundred a year.
Between them and the aisle sat a big man of 50 with his wife and two daughters, and the big man had a voice bigger than he was. When the curtain went down on the first act there was a slight scrap between the couple, which ended in the young man not going to between the first and second acts, because the wait was short, and he hadn’t time to argue. The girls’ cheeks were redder than before when the curtain went up, and the set of her jaw was firmer.
At the next fall of the curtain there was a sight scrap again, which ended this time in the young man dragging himself over four people and leaving the girl to sit alone until he was ready to come back to her.
Two minutes later the girl dragged herself after him, over the same four people, but she stopped in the aisle long enough to say something to the big man with the two daughters. Then she disappeared.
It was a long wait, and just as the curtain started up the young man hurried down the aisle, and was about to drag himself over four people when the big man called his attention to the vacancy which had occurred during his absence.
The young man’s jaw dropped, and he actually grew red in the face.
The big man handed him a ring with a bright little diamond glistening in it.
“She give me that and told me to give it to you,” he said, with a menace in his tone, as he looked over at his own girls, “and she said if you ever came to her house again or spoke to her her father would thrash you as you deserved.”
The young man was paralyzed.
“And I want to say,” added the big party,” that if the old man ain’t able to do it, he can call on me.”
Then he let the young man go, and the way he went was a caution to a flying machine.
It was a clear case of ships that pass in the night, but with just a little more interesting cargoes than usual.
The Cincinnati [OH] Enquirer 6 January 1897: p. 11
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