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A WITLESS ALADDIN: THE GATE TO THE
In the course of his present stay in Chicago, Drouet paid some
slight attention to the secret order to which he belonged. During
his last trip he had received a new light on its importance.
"I tell you," said another drummer to him, "itís a great thing. Look
at Hazen-stab. He isnít so deuced clever. Of course heís got a
good house behind him, but that wonít do alone. I tell you itís his
degree. Heís a way-up Mason, and that goes a long way. Heís got
a secret sign that stands for something."
Drouet resolved then and there that he would take more interest in
such matters. So when he got back to Chicago he repaired to his
local lodge headquarters.
"I say, Drouet," said Mr. Harry Quincel, an individual who was
very prominent in this local branch of the Elks, "youíre the man
that can help us out."
It was after the business meeting and things were going socially
with a hum. Drouet was bobbing around chatting and joking with
a score of individuals whom he knew.
"What are you up to?" he inquired genially, turning a smiling face
upon his secret brother.
"Weíre trying to get up some theatricals for two weeks from to-
day, and we want to know if you donít know some young lady
who could take a part-itís an easy part."
"Sure," said Drouet, "what is it?" He did not trouble to remember
that he knew no one to whom he could appeal on this score. His
innate good-nature, however, dictated a favourable reply.
"Well, now, Iíll tell you what we are trying to do," went on Mr.
Quincel. "We are trying to get a new set of furniture for the lodge.
There isnít enough money in the treasury at the present time, and
we thought we would raise it by a little entertainment."
"Sure," interrupted Drouet, "thatís a good idea."
"Several of the boys around here have got talent. Thereís Harry
Burbeck, he does a fine black-face turn. Mac Lewis is all right at
heavy dramatics. Did you ever hear him recite ĎOver the Hillsí?"
"Well, I tell you, he does it fine."
"And you want me to get some woman to take a part?" questioned
Drouet, anxious to terminate the subject and get on to something
else. "What are you going to play?"
"íUnder the Gaslight,í" said Mr. Quincel, mentioning Augustin
Dalyís famous production, which had worn from a great public
success down to an amateur theat-
rical favourite, with many of the troublesome accessories cut out
and the dramatis personae reduced to the smallest possible
Drouet had seen this play some time in the past.
"Thatís it," he said; "thatís a fine play. It will go all right. You
ought to make a lot of money out of that."
"We think weíll do very well," Mr. Quincel replied. "Donít you
forget now," he concluded, Drouet showing signs of restlessness;
"some young woman to take the part of Laura."
"Sure, Iíll attend to it."
He moved away, forgetting almost all about it the moment Mr.
Quincel had ceased talking. He had not even thought to ask the
time or place.
Drouet was reminded of his promise a day or two later by the
receipt of a letter announcing that the first rehearsal was set for
the following Friday evening, and urging him to kindly forward
the young ladyís address at once, in order that the part might be
delivered to her.
"Now, who the deuce do I know?" asked the drummer
reflectively, scratching his rosy ear. "I donít know any one that
knows anything about amateur theatricals."