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of the Chapel Royal," because it was made up of
the choir-boys of the queen's chapel. This com-
pany performed quite often at court before Eliza-
beth.

But it was quite different from the way the
Barnstormers give plays, because these choir-boys
were trained by the choirmaster, and their per-
formances were very serious affairs. Still, I im-
agine they had some good times, too. They
wouldn't have been kids if they hadn't. It must
have been fun acting at the queen's revels, and
having Elizabeth herself, maybe, come up and pat
you on the head when the show was over, and
tell you what a nice boy you were, and maybe
give you cakes and sweetmeats. But I guess she
didn't always do that, for the book tells about
one time when the Children of the Chapel Royal
acted before Elizabeth at Christmas, and some-
thing in the play was so displeasing to her that
she went into a fit of temper then and there. She
refused to let the play go on, and the poor kids
had to go home without any pat on the head, or
any cakes, or anything. It was several years be-



THE BARNSTORMERS 145

fore Elizabeth would have this company appear
before her again, but later the Children of the
Chapel Royal gave a play at court every Christ-
mas.

Like the companies of grown-up actors, the
children's companies made tours, giving their
plays in all the towns near London. They were
better received by the townspeople, because they
were kids I suppose. They gave their perform-
ances in the inn courtyards, like the other com-
panies, for there were no other places where plays
could be given. Sometimes, however, they were
invited to give a private performance at the house
of a great noble, and then the play would be given
in the big hall of the house.

In addition to the Children of the Chapel Royal
and Paul's Boys, there were several other chil-
dren's companies in Shakespeare's time. When
Queen Elizabeth visited Windsor Castle the choir-
boys of the chapel gave a play, but they didn't
make a business of doing it as some of the other
boys' choirs did.

Three of the boys' schools of London had dra-
matic companies, too. These were known as the



146 THE BARNSTORMERS

"Children of Westminster School," the "Children
of the Merchant Tailors' School/' and the "Chil-
dren of Eton."

Later, after Elizabeth's death, when King James
I came to the throne, a company known as the
"Children of the Queen's Revels" gave plays at
court. About the same time, or maybe a little
later, a company called "Beeston's Boys," from
a man named Bees ton who ran it, gave plays in
one of the regular London theatres.

These boys were picked up off the street, and
a few were kidnapped. They were all practically
owned by Bees ton, who was accused of treating
them pretty badly. The company was quite pop-
ular in London for a time, but finally went to
pieces because Beeston got into trouble with the
king over something that was said in one of the
plays.

Beeston's Boys were the last children's company
of any importance. In 1649, when King Charles
I was executed, and the Round Heads came into
power, the theatres were all closed, not to open
again until King Charles II came to the throne
in 1660. When the theatres did reopen, women



THE BARNSTORMERS 147

began to appear on the stage, and female parts
were no longer taken by boys.

It does make me feel different to know all this.
I don't think I shall mind playing Bianca at all
now. And somehow the Barnstormers mean a
great deal more to me. That was a big hunch I
had up in the barn loft that rainy Saturday after-
noon!

Sunday April 23.

"Bianca" is coming along well, even with all the
other things we are doing. Baseball takes a lot
of our time, and other things take it, too. When
the weather is nice you can do so many things
you can't do when it's bad. You just feel, some-
times, as though you must go fishing; and then
again you feel like you had to find out whether
the brown thrush that nested in the wild-rose
bush back in the pasture is there again this year;
and the bluebird in the old orchard has the same
branch in the same apple-tree. Saturdays just
go without your hardly knowing that they have
happened at all. You work in the garden, and
rake the leaves off the lawn in the morning, and



148 THE BARNSTORMERS

play baseball in the afternoon and Saturday is
gone!

Still, as I said, "Bianca" is coming along. Hal
is just great as the villain. He likes the part
better than that of Bernardo in our first play.
Euon is such a bloody old customer that it is
great sport to act the part. Hal growls and
rumbles through it like a real stage villain.

Of his two parts, John likes the witch better
than the hero. He is going to be good as old
Hilda, too. He gets his voice way up, so that it
sounds cracked and shrill, and when he laughs
he cackles in the most horrible way you could
imagine. He makes the cold chills fairly do a
cake-walk up and down your back-bone.

We find "Bianca" much easier than we found
"The Captive of Castile." Maybe it is because
this is not our first attempt, and that was. But
there are other reasons, too, chief of which is the
fact that the play is only about half as long.

We know the first and second scenes and are
learning the third. Since there are only six
scenes in the play, we can soon have it ready.
We are planning to give it May 6th.



THE BARNSTORMERS 149

Hal and I made a change in the Barnville the
other day that will give us more room for dress-
ing and an easier way to reach the second floor
than the way we have been going, which was by
a ladder up the hay chute. We cut a hole into
the carriage house from the rear of the stage and
put a ladder up to that. We moved the dressing-
rooms then from the old stalls, which had clay
floors and were still smelly, out to the carriage
house, which has a wooden floor and is much
nicer.

I mustn't forget to mention that the part of
Juan is to be played by Herbert Hilton. We
asked him yesterday. He is to become a real
Barnstormer at the initiation next Saturday.

We are planning a great time. We are going
to have a thing you call a ritual, which Hal says
is necessary in all secret societies, and then we
are going to have a second degree followed by a
spread.

The second degree is where you do the funny
stunts. Of course we are not going to hurt Her-
bert, but we intend to have some fun. Hal says
he has planned a goat, made out of a rocking-



150 THE BARNSTORMERS

chair and a fur rug, that ought to make a live goat
seem as tame as a pet canary.

Hal and John and I are going to write the
ritual, which is to be very solemn and awful,
some time this week. Hal got the idea from a
book about the Knights of the Golden Circle,
who used to have meetings in caves back during
the time of the Civil War.

Our high potentate is to be called Thespis, and
Shakespeare is to be the guide and friend of the
"candidate."

The initiation is to be held in the barn I mean
the Barnville but the spread will come off in
my room up at the house. We are going to have
ice-cream and cake and grape juice. Larry
wanted mince pie, but John said we would prob-
ably dream of our grandmothers' ghosts without
it, and he didn't care to have any other ghosts
brought on the scene, not to mention feeling like
you never wanted to get up the morning after.
So the mince pie is left out.



CHAPTER XII

Thursday, April 27

Hal and I have been working on our ritual
during all the spare moments we could get, and
this afternoon we finished it. We are quite proud
of our job. The ritual sounds fine and is writ-
ten in most beautiful language. But I mustn't
brag, because Hal did most of the writing.

We couldn't decide at first whether to write
the ritual in poetry or not, but we finally decided
it would sound better rhymed. Rhyming isn't
hard to do at all. Since trying it I quite have a
notion to be a poet instead of a dramatist. Only,
the newspapers say poetry is out of date, and all
dramatists are becoming millionaires, so I guess
I had better stick to the first ambition. When
you want to write poetry all you have to do is
to turn to the rhyming dictionary, which is found
in the back part of most regular dictionaries,
and start in. Of course, what you write won't
always sound like Tennyson or Longfellow, but



152 THE BARNSTORMERS

it will be quite as good as the poetry that is on
the inside of the town newspaper every Satur-
day.

Before we began to write, Hal and I planned
just what was to happen and about how long the
ritual was to be. There are four persons hi it
Shakespeare, who is the guide of the candidate;
Thespis, who is the chief high exalted ruler; and
two actors who give advice and counsel to the
candidate.

Before the ritual begins the candidate is to
be blindfolded. Then we are going to walk him
around in circles till he doesn't know where he
is. After that he is to be left for five minutes'
silent "meditation" which we think will get
him properly scared. About the time he is be-
ginning to think of making a break for home,
Shakespeare, his friend and guide, enters. He
knocks three times on the floor with his staff, and
then speaks:

" Greetings, my friend, but first, I'll give my name,
Which may, perhaps, be not unknown to fame;
For I am William Shakespeare, and your friend,



THE BARNSTORMERS 153

Who comes to lead you to your journey's end.
For I've been told a Barnstormer you'd be,
And this night all the mysteries would see.
Come let me guide you."

Then he takes the candidate's arm and they
walk around in a circle. After that Shakespeare
knocks three times on the floor with his staff.

Thespis, the chief high exalted ruler of the
Ancient Order of Barnstormers, is seated on a
throne. He is all draped up in a sheet and has
a long white beard. The two actors, each in a
black mask, stand on either side of him.

Thespis speaks:

"What ho! And who doth wish to enter here?
If he be worthy, bid him then good cheer."

Shakespeare says:

"I bring a would-be Thespian to your throne;
I found him waiting friendless and alone;
I brought him thither, and I beg to bring
Him in unto your feet, oh mighty King! "



154 THE BARNSTORMERS

Then Thespis, after a pause, speaks again.
John is to play Thespis, and we want him to do
the speeches in his best actor manner.

"If he be worthy, let him then into
The presence of the royal, chosen few."

Shakespeare brings in the candidate. They
walk about in a circle again. The First Actor
stops them. He says:

"What ho, and who is this? The password,
stand!"

Shakespeare says:

'" Barnstormers' Barnville!'" (This is the pass-
word, and is given in a whisper.) "One who'd
join your band."

FIRST ACTOR. Before he is admitted to our King,
He first must know one sacred, secret thing:
The password, which in whispers must be spoke:
"Barnstormers' Barnville," and it is no joke!
Pass on your way, take care not to forget:
"Barnstormers' Barnville"; friend, I'm glad we've
met.



THE BARNSTORMERS 155

Shakespeare says:

" Come now, my friend, we must be on our way,
And reach the end of this, our noble play."

They walk around in a circle again. The Sec-
ond Actor hails them:

"What ho! Friends, travellers, 't is the King ye

seek?
SHAKESPEARE. Even so; we go in spirit mild

and meek.

SECOND ACTOR. Before the throne you are al-
lowed to reach,

I have three things I unto you must teach.

First, know the actor 's art's a noble thing;

Second, that Thespis, who is here our King,

In Greece first introduced the actor's art

In which each man must play his little part.

Third, that here each man must be loyal and true.

And always strive his very best to do."

Once more they pass on. This time they come
up to Thespis. The candidate has his blindfold
taken off and is made to bow before the throne.
Then Thespis speaks:



156 THE BARNSTORMERS

"Greetings, traveller, greetings, loyal friend;
At last you now have reached your journey's end.
A Barnstormer you are, or soon will be,
When you have had the second high degree."

Then the candidate is blindfolded again and the
fun starts.

We do not know yet just what we will do in the
second degree, but it is to be funny and harmless.
Hal is quite sure that his patent goat will be an
improvement over anything else that ever existed,
live goats included. He first intended to use only
one rocker, but he uses two in the improved model.
The part where you ride is covered with a fur
rug so it will feel nice and woolly.

We have not yet decided on the other stunts.

Friday, April 28.

Another week gone! I am glad to-morrow is
Saturday.

"Bianca" is coming along fine, so we have de-
cided to give it a week from to-morrow night.
That means we will have to hustle, but I am sure
we can have the play ready. Most of the work



THE BARNSTORMERS 157

will fall to Hal and me, for John, being in high
school, has all sorts of things to take up his time,
and Larry is so busy with baseball that the
Barnstormers hardly count. We will have Her-
bert to help us, and, since he is a new member,
we intend to make him do a little more than his
share. That may not sound very nice, but I think
it is quite right that he should earn his member-
ship in the Barnstormers. Herbert has been to
rehearsals this week and has done very well with
the part of Juan. He is a nice little kid, and we
all like him.

We are going to tell about "Bianca" in to-
morrow's Gimlet. I helped write the stuff and
also helped Hal set up the paper to-day. We
have written the "copy" for the bills and pro-
gramme, but those are not set up yet.

Herbert's first appearance on any stage is good
advertising dope, and we are going to use it to
the limit. The fact is announced in the bills and
on the programme, and will be announced from
the stage the night of the show.

The scenery for "Bianca" is 'most all ready,
except the garden scene and the witch's cavern.



158 THE BARNSTORMERS

Hal and I are going to make a balustrade out of
pasteboard colored with crayons to use in the
garden scene. We wanted some steps and a plat-
form at the back of the stage, but I am afraid we
can't have them. Anyway, the leaves are all out
on the trees now, and we can have lots of green
branches to bank hi the back of the stage. The
garden scene will be easy compared with that
witch's cavern. There is supposed to be a sort
of entrance to a cave at one side of the stage.
In this stands the caldron where old Hilda mixes
her magic potions. How we are to make that
cave is beyond me. Hal thinks we can make a
frame out of edging strips and cover it with some
roofing paper we found in the barn. But that
would take a lot of time, and I don't think the
result would look much like a cave. But we will
find a way we always do.

Sunday, April 30.

The initiation last night was a great success.
I told Herbert before the thing started that he
needn't be afraid, because we were not go-
ing to hurt him. I thought it was best. You



THE BARNSTORMERS 159

never know about little kids. Herbert is only
twelve.

The ritual went off pretty well, even if we did
have to read our parts, not having had time to
learn them. Hal was Shakespeare; John was
Thespis; Larry was the First Actor, and I was
the second one.

We all had trouble to keep from laughing. It
seemed so funny to be going through all that sol-
emn stuff. None of us really meant to laugh-
not even Larry, though he made us all do it once.
Larry would laugh at his own funeral. The laugh
happened when Larry started to read the part of
the First Actor. He began it singsong style, which
is just his natural way of reading. When he came
to the part about the password

"The password, which in whispers must be spoke:
' Barnstormers' Barnville,' and it is no joke."

he added a "he-haw" of his own. We all
laughed even Herbert. We had been wanting
to laugh before, because the whole ritual sounded
sort of silly. It wasn't nearly as solemn as Hal
and I thought it would be. I guess we all should



160 THE BARNSTORMERS

be glad Larry tacked on that "he-haw," because
it is hard on you to hold in a laugh that wants
to come out, and that gave us an excuse.

John, although he laughed, too, said it was very
unfortunate that the laugh was made necessary,
because the dignity of the occasion whatever
that is was quite spoiled.

John read the part of Thespis very well. He
sat behind a table with two candles on it, and he
was all draped up in a sheet and had a long beard
made out of cotton-wool. He looked quite ter-
rible, and I think he scared Herbert a little when
the blindfold was taken off and Herbert saw John
in all his glory.

The second degree was great sport. HaPs goat
lived up to its full reputation and was much bet-
ter than a live one, being quite as funny and less
trouble to handle. We put the candidate on the
goat and started it to rock, with the result that
Herbert thought he was going to be thrown into
the air or tossed against the side of the barn.
The two rockers, out of which the goat is made,
are put together in such a way that you rock
over in one direction so far, get a terrible jolt,



THE BARNSTORMERS 161

and start back in the other direction. When you
are sitting astraddle of the thing and it is started
in motion, you get a very funny feeling. We had
all tried it before Herbert did, so we knew just
how it felt. Herbert couldn't help laughing in
fact, we all just yelled. I don't think he was really
scared, because he is a plucky little kid and you
can't scare him very easily.

The "baptismal well" was the other part of
the initiation. I invented that, and I think it
was a first-rate idea. We put a tub full of water
at the bottom of the old hay chute. When the
time came to use the "well" we let a bucket down
on a rope and brought it up full of water, all of
which we let Herbert, who was still blindfolded,
hear us do. We talked about the old well that
had been under the barn since the barn was built,
and Hal told about having fished snakes and toads
and rats out of it. When we brought up the
bucket we each took a drink out of it or rather
pretended to take a drink and then offered some
to Herbert. John said the snake flavor was very
strong he thought rattlers must live in the well,
since the water tasted like rattlesnake oil smelled.



162 THE BARNSTORMERS

Larry said he could get die taste of dead rats,
and he thought there must be more rats tKa
rattkrs in the well I said I thought there were
mmtmt tfflMJSj, because I could tsijgt^ a nice flavor
just Eke a, cellar that had been shut up for a
Ingjg Him* Hal had a bottle of some terribly
stinky stuff he got at the drug-store, and while
we were **ifcg he opened this nrMifr Herbert's



"Smell the lovely smell!" said John. "That
surety is ripe witei down in that wdL No won-
der it has a flavor!"

Then we offered Herbert a glass of it which
really came out of a pitrhfr of drinking water
instead of the bucket. Of course he wouldn't
take it we knew he wouldn't.

"FI1 tefl you what," said Hal, "there's only
one tl"iig to do with h^ <**" he won't drink it.
WeH put a rope under his arms and kt him
down into the wefl itself."

"Fine!" said Larry, and we all agreed.

Then Herbert said he would drink the water
2 we only wouldn't put him in the well But we



THE BARNSTORMERS 163

"Down he goes!" said Hal. "It's too good
a chance to find out what's really down there.
Maybe he can bring us up a live rattler or so
and some choice rats to roast for the feast,"

Herbert kicked and fought, though I think he
knew it was all a joke, while we tied a rope
under his arms and got ready to let him down
the chute. I went below so that I could tell the
others when to pull up on the rope. We had
taken off Herbert's shoes and stockings, and we
only intended to let his feet touch the water and
then pull him back.

Everything went all right until I gave the sig-
nal to pull back. Herbert really was scared when
his toes touched that cold water in the tub. He
kicked and squirmed around so that the rope got
away from the boys up above, and down he came
in the tub of water. For a wonder he landed
standing up which was a good thing, since he
only got wet to his knees. Everybody laughed,
including Herbert, and we hauled him up and
wiped his feet and legs on an old sack, and helped
him put on his shoes and stockings.

It was so late by that time that we had to give



i6 4 THE BARNSTORMERS

up the rest of the initiation and go up to the
house to have our spread.

We did have the mince pie, after all. Larry
got Aunt Pepy, their nigger cook, to make him
one, and he brought it over done up in a news-
paper. It was ever so good and I didn't dream
about my great-grandmother's ghost, or any other
ghost, afterward.



CHAPTER XIII

Wednesday, May 3.

I am pasting in last Saturday's Gimlet, which
has in it the announcement of our play. We
are not going to have any trouble getting a
crowd this time. Looks as though we would have
more of a crowd than we could take care of. We
are going to have a matinee Saturday after-
noon. No more two-cent rates, though. The
price will be five cents straight. A lot of kids
from school are coming, and teacher, and some of
the little youngsters in the neighborhood. It isn't
easy to give two shows in one day, but regular
actors often do it, and I guess we can.

Well, here's the The Gimlet:
165



i66



THE BARNSTORMERS



THE GIMLET



April 29.



Vol. II, No. 10.



THE BARNSTORMERS

IN

BIANCA

A TRAGEDY BY LOUISA ALCOTT

BARNVILLE THEATER

Matinee and night,

MAY 6
Admission, 5 cents



BIANCA

THE GIMLET wishes to call
the attention of its readers to
the performance of "Bianca"
by the famous Barnstormer's
Dramatic Club. Theater-go-
ers will remember the great
success of "The Captive of
Castile" a month ago. "Bi-
anca" is a shorter play, but
very thrilling. The same ex-
cellent cast as presented the
company's first effort, "The
Captive of Castile," will be
seen in " Bianca " ; and in ad-
dition, Mr. Herbert Hilton
will make his first appearance



on any stage in the part of
Juan, Bianca's page.

The play tells the story of
woman's love and constancy
and man's perfidity. The
villain meets a tragic end,
which he well deserves.

The cast is as follows:

Adelbert, betrothed to Bianca,
Mr. John Jameson.
Huon, his rival,

Mr. Harold Jameson.

Juan, Bianca's page,

Mr. Herbert Hilton.
Bianca, a Spanish lady,

Mr. Robert Archer.

Hilda, a witch,

Mr. John Jameson.



THE BARNSTORMERS



167



THE GIMLET



April 29 Page 2



Vol. II, No. 10



BIANCA
(Cont.from page i.)

The settings for this produc-
tion will be very elaborate.
The Barnstormers have built
entirely new scenery, includ-
ing a handsome interior, a
garden scene, and a witch's
cavern, where wierd lighting
effects will inspire the audi-
ences with breathless awe.

Seats for this elaborate pro-
duction of a great play are
now on sale.



EAST-END DEFEATS
WEST-END

The East-End base ball
team defeated the West-End
team on Thursday afternoon.
The score was five to three.
Donovan knocked a home run
for the East-End in the sixth.



BUY YOUR

ATHLETIC SUPPLIES

AT HANLON'S

DRUG STORE

ADVERTISE IN THE
GIMLET



THE GIMLET

Vol. II, No. 10.

Published weekly at the Gim-
let Press, 246 East 2d St.

Subscription, 2 cts per copy,
5 cts per month, 50 cts per yr.

Harold Jameson, printer and
publisher^

Editor in chief, Harold Jame-
son.

Subscription manager, Harold
Jameson.

Sporting Editor, Harold Jame-
son.

Newsboy, Harold Jameson.

DUST FROM THE
GIMLET

All the world's a stage, so
why not a barn for a theater?

Subscribers come, subscrib-
ers go, but we go on forever.

Six slim, slick, sleek sap-
lings arent in it when the
Barnstormers' barnstorming
batallion beautifully barn-
storm beautiful "Bianca."

LOCALS

The grass on the court-house
lawn was cut for the first time
this year on Wednesday.

Mr. Herbert Hilton has been
taken into the Barnstormers'
Dramatic Club.

SEE BIANCA



i68 THE BARNSTORMERS

Hal and I think our article about the Barn-
stormers is quite a good one. We have been
saving clippings about real theatrical companies,
and we read those all over before we began to
write. We borrowed big words from some of
the clippings, but we looked all of them up first
in the dictionary so we wouldn't use any of them
wrong.

The programmes and bills are also printed. I
am pasting them in, too.



THE BARNSTORMERS

PRESENT

BIANCA

A TRAGEDY, BY LOUISA ALCOTT

Barnville Theater
May Sixth


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