First Page Project Gutenberg Header Page 86 of 193 Next Page Last Page CHAPTER XVIII - Michael, Brother of Jerry


The grizzled ship's steward and the rough-coated Irish terrier quickly became conspicuous figures in the night life of the Barbary Coast of San Francisco. Daughtry elaborated on the counting trick by bringing Cocky along. Thus, when a waiter did not fetch the right number of glasses, Michael would remain quite still, until Cocky, at a privy signal from Steward, standing on one leg, with the free claw would clutch Michael's neck and apparently talk into Michael's ear. Whereupon Michael would look about the glasses on the table and begin his usual expostulation with the waiter.

But it was when Daughtry and Michael first sang "Roll me Down to Rio" together, that the ten-strike was made. It occurred in a sailors' dance- hall on Pacific Street, and all dancing stopped while the sailors clamoured for more of the singing dog. Nor did the place lose money, for no one left, and the crowd increased to standing room as Michael went through his repertoire of "God Save the King," "Sweet Bye and Bye," "Lead, Kindly Light," "Home, Sweet Home," and "Shenandoah."

It meant more than free beer to Daughtry, for, when he started to leave, the proprietor of the place thrust three silver dollars into his hand and begged him to come around with the dog next night.

"For that?" Daughtry demanded, looking at the money as if it were contemptible.

Hastily the proprietor added two more dollars, and Daughtry promised.

"Just the same, Killeny, my son," he told Michael as they went to bed, "I think you an' me are worth more than five dollars a turn. Why, the like of you has never been seen before. A real singing dog that can carry 'most any air with me, and that can carry half a dozen by himself. An' they say Caruso gets a thousand a night. Well, you ain't Caruso, but you're the dog-Caruso of the entire world. Son, I'm goin' to be your business manager. If we can't make a twenty-dollar gold-piece a night--say, son, we're goin' to move into better quarters. An' the old gent up at the Hotel de Bronx is goin' to move into an outside room. An' Kwaque's goin' to get a real outfit of clothes. Killeny, my boy, we're goin' to get so rich that if he can't snare a sucker we'll put up the cash ourselves 'n' buy a schooner for 'm, 'n' send him out a-treasure- huntin' on his own. We'll be the suckers, eh, just you an' me, an' love to."

* * * * *

The Barbary Coast of San Francisco, once the old-time sailor-town in the days when San Francisco was reckoned the toughest port of the Seven Seas, had evolved with the city until it depended for at least half of its earnings on the slumming parties that visited it and spent liberally. It was quite the custom, after dinner, for many of the better classes of society, especially when entertaining curious Easterners, to spend an hour or several in motoring from dance-hall to dance-hall and cheap cabaret to cheap cabaret. In short, the "Coast" was as much a sight-seeing place as was Chinatown and the Cliff House. Next Page

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