“He shoved me out—just shoved me out of the room.... It was that that made me turn to play-writing. Florance wrote his own plays sometimes, but it was only his acting and his face that saved them. And they were too American. He never did really well outside America except in one play, and that wasn’t his own. Now I was out after money. And I still am. I wanted to please the largest possible public. So I guessed there was nothing for it but the universal appeal. I never write a play that won’t appeal to England, Germany, France just as well as to America. America’s big, but it isn’t big enough for me.... Well, as I was saying, soon after that I got a one-act play produced at Hannibal, Missouri. And the same week there was a company at another theatre there playing the old man’s ‘Forty-Niners.’ And the next morning the theatrical critic’s article in the Hannibal Courier-Post was headed: ’Rival attractions. Archibald Florance’s “Forty-Niners” and new play by Seven Sachs.’ I cut that heading out and sent it to the old man in London, and I wrote under it, ‘See how far I’ve got in six months.’ When he came back he took me into his company again.... What price that, eh?”
Edward Henry could only nod his head. The customarily silent Seven Sachs had little by little subdued him to an admiration as mute as it was profound.
“Nearly five years after that I got a Christmas card from old Florance. It had the usual printed wishes—’Merriest possible Christmas and so on’—but, underneath that, Archibald had written in pencil, ‘You’ve still five years to go.’ That made me roll my sleeves up, as you may say. Well, a long time after that I was standing at the corner of Broadway and Forty-fourth Street, and looking at my own name in electric letters on the Criterion Theatre. First time I’d ever seen it in electric letters on Broadway. It was the first night of ‘Overheard.’ Florance was playing at the Hudson Theatre, which is a bit higher up Forty-fourth Street, and his name was in electric letters too, but further off Broadway than mine. I strolled up, just out of idle curiosity, and there the old man was standing in the porch of the theatre, all alone! ‘Hullo, Sachs,’ he said, ’I’m glad I’ve seen you. It’s saved me twenty-five cents.’ I asked how. He said, ’I was just going to send you a telegram of congratulations.’ He liked me, old Archibald did. He still does. But I hadn’t done with him. I went to stay with him at his house on Long Island in the spring. ‘Excuse me, Mr. Florance,’ I says to him. ’How many companies have you got on the road?’ He said, ’Oh! I haven’t got many now. Five, I think.’ ‘Well,’ I says, ’I’ve got six here in the United States, two in England, three in Austria, and one in Italy.’ He said, ’Have a cigar, Sachs; you’ve got the goods on me!’ He was living in that magnificent house all alone, with a whole regiment of servants!”