For the next few days he worked all day and a good part of the night on things he thought he could sell, according to these notes. Then he began a campaign to peddle them. The Atlantic refused his drama articles, and he tried them elsewhere, with no success. The other things were equally a drug on the market. He saved postage by taking them to the editors’ offices himself, and calling for them in ten days or so. He always found them ready for him. He took a cheaper room, and got down to one square meal a day. Finally, an opportunity came for him to review some books for a literary supplement of a newspaper. Confident that his luck had changed, he proceeded to demolish three out of the four books assigned to him in the most scathing reviews, whereupon the editor paid him half price and dismissed him.
The week when things reached the lowest ebb he was summoned by a postal from an acquaintance, made during one of his night prowls, an old English cabman. When he arrived at the address indicated he found the old man sick in bed with rheumatism. He wanted Jarvis to drive his hansom for a week, on a percentage, until he could get about again. There was no choice. It was that or the park benches, so Jarvis accepted. Old Hicks fitted, or rather misfitted, him in a faded blue tailed coat and a topper, Jarvis looked like an Otto Gushing cartoon of Apollo in the attire, but he never once thought of that. He hitched up the bony old horse, mounted the box, with full instructions as to traffic rules, and headed for the avenue. He found the new trade amusing. He drove ladies on shopping tours, took nurses and their charges around the Park. He did not notice that his face and manners caused many a customer to stare in astonishment. When one woman said audibly to her companion, “Good heavens! what a handsome creature!” he never dreamed she referred to him.
It was the fourth day of his employment as a cabby when a summons came from the Frohman offices bidding him appear at the theatre at eleven o’clock on the following day. It was embarrassing. Old Hicks was entirely dependent on what Jarvis brought in at night, and they could neither of them afford to have the cab idle a full day. So he decided to stop at the theatre in the morning, and then deduct his time off duty. Promptly at eleven the cab arrived at the Empire Theatre and Jarvis descended from the box. He gave the boy a cent to hold his horse, although nothing except a bushel of oats could have urged the old bone-rack into motion. Up to the booth window he marched, and presented the letter. The boy inspected the old blue coat, the topper, and the worn gloves.
“Character costume,” he grinned: then he opened the letter, and his face changed.
“Excuse me, sir, I’ll see if Mr. Frohman will see you.”
He was out and back, almost at once, bowing and holding the door open.
“Right ahead, into the private office,” he said, importantly. A clerk took charge of our hero at the far door, announcing formally, “Mr. Jarvis Jocelyn, Mr. Frohman.”