|WELL, all day him and the king was hard at it, rigging up a stage and a curtain and a row of candles for footlights; and that night the house was jam full of men in no time. When the place couldn’t hold no more, the duke he quit tending door and went around the back way and come on to the stage and stood up before the curtain and made a little speech, and praised up this tragedy, and said it was the most thrillingest one that ever was; and so he went on a-bragging about the tragedy, and about Edmund Kean the Elder, which was to play the main principal part in it; and at last when he’d got everybody’s expectations up high enough, he rolled up the curtain, and the next minute the king come a-prancing out on all fours, naked; and he was painted all over, ring-streaked-and- striped, all sorts of colors, as splendid as a rainbow. And—but never mind the rest of his outfit; it was just wild, but it was awful funny. The people most killed themselves laughing; and when the king got done capering and capered off behind the scenes, they roared and clapped and stormed and haw-hawed till he come back and done it over again, and after that they made him do it another time. Well, it would make a cow laugh to see the shines that old idiot cut.||The duke and the king worked hard all day, setting up a stage and curtain and row of candles for footlights. That night, the house was jammed full of men in no time at all. When the place couldn’t hold any more men, the duke quit selling tickets at the door and went around the back and up on stage. He stood before the curtain and made a little speech, praising this tragedy and saying it was the most thrilling play there ever was. He went on and on about the tragedy and about Edmund Kean the Elder, who was going to play the main character. At last, when he’d built up everyone’s expectations high enough, he rolled up the curtain. The next minute the king came prancing out on all fours, naked. He was painted in rings and stripes all over in all sorts of colors and looked as splendid as a rainbow. And… well, never mind the rest of his outfit—it was just as wild, but it was really funny. The people nearly died laughing. And when the king finished pracing around and capered off stage, they roared and clapped and raged and guffawed until he came back and did it all over again. And they made him do it another time after that. Honestly, it would have made a cow laugh to see the things that old idiot was doing on stage.|
|Then the duke he lets the curtain down, and bows to the people, and says the great tragedy will be performed only two nights more, on accounts of pressing London engagements, where the seats is all sold already for it in Drury Lane; and then he makes them another bow, and says if he has succeeded in pleasing them and instructing them, he will be deeply obleeged if they will mention it to their friends and get them to come and see it.||
Then the duke let the curtain down again and bowed to the people, saying
that the great tragedy will be performed only two more nights because they
had to go perform in London, where they’d already sold seats for it on
street in London which housed the Drury Lane Theatre, one of the oldest and most famous theaters in England.Drury Lane . Then he gave another bow and said that if he succeeded in pleasing them and instructing them, then he’d be just as deeply obliged if they could tell their friends and get them to come and see it too.
|Twenty people sings out:||Twenty people yelled out:|
|“What, is it over? Is that ALL?”||“What? Is it over? Is that ALL?”|
|The duke says yes. Then there was a fine time. Everybody sings out, “Sold!” and rose up mad, and was a-going for that stage and them tragedians. But a big, fine looking man jumps up on a bench and shouts:||The duke answered yes. Then all hell broke loose. Everyone yelled out, “Cheated!” and got up angrily, headed for the stage and those tragedians. But a big, handsome looking man jumped up on a bench and shouted:|
|“Hold on! Just a word, gentlemen.” They stopped to listen. “We are sold—mighty badly sold. But we don’t want to be the laughing stock of this whole town, I reckon, and never hear the last of this thing as long as we live. NO. What we want is to go out of here quiet, and talk this show up, and sell the REST of the town! Then we’ll all be in the same boat. Ain’t that sensible?” ("You bet it is!—the jedge is right!” everybody sings out.) “All right, then—not a word about any sell. Go along home, and advise everybody to come and see the tragedy.”||“Hold on! Just a word, gentlemen.” Everyone stopped and listened. “We’ve been cheated, and cheated badly. But we don’t want to be the laughing stock of this entire town, do we? I bet we’d never hear the last of this as long we live. NO. What we want is to leave here quietly and talk this show up. We make sure the REST of the town comes to see it. Then we’ll all be in the same boat and equally cheated. Isn’t that sensible?” (“You be it is! The judge is right!” everyone shouted.) “All right—not a word about being cheated. Go home, and tell everyone you know to come and see the tragedy.”|
|Next day you couldn’t hear nothing around that town but how splendid that show was. House was jammed again that night, and we sold this crowd the same way. When me and the king and the duke got home to the raft we all had a supper; and by and by, about midnight, they made Jim and me back her out and float her down the middle of the river, and fetch her in and hide her about two mile below town.||The next day, the only thing the townspeople were talking about was how great that show was. The house was jammed again that night, and we cheated this crowd the same way. When the king, the duke, and I got home to the raft we all had supper. Around midnight, they made Jim and me back the raft out and float it down the middle of the river. After we’d floated about two miles downstream, we hid the raft.|
|The third night the house was crammed again—and they warn’t new-comers this time, but people that was at the show the other two nights. I stood by the duke at the door, and I see that every man that went in had his pockets bulging, or something muffled up under his coat—and I see it warn’t no perfumery, neither, not by a long sight. I smelt sickly eggs by the barrel, and rotten cabbages, and such things; and if I know the signs of a dead cat being around, and I bet I do, there was sixty-four of them went in. I shoved in there for a minute, but it was too various for me; I couldn’t stand it. Well, when the place couldn’t hold no more people the duke he give a fellow a quarter and told him to tend door for him a minute, and then he started around for the stage door, I after him; but the minute we turned the corner and was in the dark he says:||The house was crammed again on the third night—and there weren’t any newcomers in the audience this time. Instead, the house was filled with people who’d been at the show the previous two nights. I stood by the duke at the door, and I saw that everyman who went in had bulges in his pockets or something stuffed up under his coat—and it wasn’t perfume or anything nice. I smelled rotten eggs and cabbages and stuff, and if I knew the signs of a dead cat—and I do—then there were sixty-four of them in the house that night. I shoved my way inside for a minute, but it was too risky for me—I couldn’t stand it. When the place couldn’t hold any more peole, the duke gave a guy a quarter and told him to take his post selling tickets at the door. Then he started for the stage door, and I went after him. The minute we turned the corner and were in the dark, he said:|
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