It was a bright and transparent cold morning in Gloversville, N.Y., November, 1919, and passing out of the Kingsborough Hotel we set off to have a look at the town. And if we must be honest, we were in passable good humour. To tell the truth, as Gloversville began its daily tasks in that clear lusty air and in a white dazzling sunshine, we believed, simpleton that we were, that we were on the road toward making our fortune. Now, we will have to be brief in explanation of the reason why we felt so, for it is a matter not easy to discuss with the requisite delicacy. Shortly, we were on the road—“trouping,” they call it in the odd and glorious world of the theatre—with a little play in which we were partially incriminated, on a try-out voyage of one-night stands. The night before, the company had played Johnstown (a few miles from Gloversville), and if we do have to say it, the good-natured citizens of that admirable town had given them an enthusiastic reception. So friendly indeed had been our houses on the road and so genially did the company manager smile upon us that any secret doubts and qualms we had entertained were now set at rest. Lo! had not the company manager himself condescended to share a two-room suite with us in the Kingsborough Hotel that night? And we, a novice in this large and exhilarating tract of life, thought to ourself that this was the ultimate honour that could be conferred upon a lowly co-author. Yes, we said to ourself, as we beamed upon the excellent town of Gloversville, admiring the Carnegie Library and the shops and the numerous motor cars and the bright shop windows and munching some very fine doughnuts we had seen in a bakery. Yes, we repeated, this is the beginning of fame and fortune. Ah! Pete Corcoran may scoff, but that was a bright and golden morning, and we would not have missed it. We did not know then the prompt and painful end destined for that innocent piece when it reached the Alba Via Maxima. All we knew was that Saratoga and Newburgh and Johnstown had taken us to their bosoms.
At this moment, and our thoughts running thus, we happened to pass by the window of a very alluring haberdasher’s shop. In that window we saw displayed a number of very brilliant neckties, all rich and glowing with bright diagonal stripes. The early sunlight fell upon them and they were brave to behold. And we said to ourself that it would be a proper thing for one who was connected with the triumphal onward march of a play that was knocking them cold on the one-night circuit to flourish a little and show some sign of worldly vanity. (We were still young, that November, and our mind was still subject to some harmless frailties.) We entered the shop and bought that tie, the very same one that struck Pete Corcoran with a palsy when he saw it the other day. We put it in our pocket and walked back to the hotel.