just tell Sullivan I'll be at your place tomorrow night."
tell 'im." Pit-too. "But I ain't sayin' Johnny'll like it, Fox. Nough
said?" said Nuf Ced.
Sullivan wasn't in Boston that Thursday was that he was the featured attraction
at the Nantasket Beach show. Why should he defend his title against Jake
Kilrain when he could make a king's ransom walking through exhibitions?
the choicest seats for Flossie and Casey, himself and Phoebe, his niece. Truth
to tell, Phoebe didn't look much like a chaperon. While she couldn't have been
much older than Flossie, an aura of maturity hung on her no less than the men
did. Many of those in the dining room seemed to know Drinkwater's niece as well
as they knew Drinkwater. And he was a much recognized man. The Trolley King,
everyone called him.
Flossie kept her
eyes on Drinkwater, though not, perhaps, quite as much as Phoebe kept hers on
Casey. And how raggedy Flossie felt beside Phoebe. Flossie was in her very best
Sunday gingham, but it looked absolutely shabby compared with Phoebe's
magnificent brown foulard gown, with white polka dots and a parasol to match.
No wonder the men stared at her so. No wonder Casey did. Flossie was relieved
when they could finally get over to the pavilion to see the show.
And what a
performance it was! Though Flossie had believed that nothing could possibly
compare to the Gettysburg Cyclorama, this surely was entertainment unrivaled.
Here was the bill:
and Hamlet, blackface singers. Then the solemn dramatic recitations of Amos P.
Lawrence, followed by John Mahoney, who performed a "laughable
trapeze," adroitly mixing humor and danger. Jessie Allyne came next, a
brief novelty act. She let her magnificent hair down and down and down, until
the golden tresses lay in great coiled rings at her feet. "I seen something
like that in a sideshow once," Casey said, "but the lady in question
wasn't nearly so grand." This was followed by the Authentic Monkey
Orchestra, then Fairfax and Siegfried, human statues extraordinaire, and the
ever-popular Willie Arnold, New England's favorite jig dancer.
Then it was time
for the fisticuffs. First, before John L. came on, Patsey Kerrigan and George
LaBlanche fought under the old ring rules, which the announcer explained meant
"anything but biting." Sullivan himself would have none of that. It was
odd about John L. As utterly crude as he was—almost barbaric in his personal
habits—he preferred gloves and the new Marquis of Queensberry rules, with
scoring by timed rounds. Still, even the fashionable Nantasket crowd showed
atavistic fascination as Kerrigan and LaBlanche clawed one another.
across to Casey. "Look about," he said. "Look at your Miss Cleary
and my, uh, niece. Look all around, and you'll espy that much of the applause
here comes from the dainty gloved hands." Casey nodded. "You see,
Timothy, if women can favor a raw free-for-all as we've just seen, think how
many of the lovelies would be attracted to a fine, clean sporting event like
baseball"—Drinkwater lifted a finger—"particularly if it were played in
a better part of town."