A Pretty Picture Of Gratitude.
Te Aroha News, Volume V, Issue 228, 12 November 1887, Page 7
A Pretty Picture Of Gratitude.
X> you ever hear of Garrett's theatre party ? It is one of the most remarkable instances of hospitality and enthusiasm that I have ever known. It occurred last spring, when Edwin Booth visited Kansas City, in America. Garrett, as most know, is a jolly good fellow, and a man who has the most exalted ideas of the worth and value of personal friendship. He went out to Kansas City some years ago, lost every cent he possessed, and was in hard luck for nearly a year. Most of the people who had been fond of him during his prosperity deserted him when the reverse came, but there was a goodly number who stuck to him vigilantly. Luck was continually against him, but his friends gave him a hand wherever they could, for he was just as popular among them as before his slipup. There is a tremendous boom in land speculation in Kansas City now, and it was this that particularly interested the energies of Garrett. His speculations were nearly always right, but unfortunately he never had money enough to hold on to his bargains, and he kept going further and further un- ■ der, until hs was in a straight that was ! absolutely desperate. Finally, one day, he got an option on a properly of which he thought very highly and he made a list appeal to his friends for two hundred dollars, 'so that he could hold this option for forty-eight hours. They let him have the money. He twisted his deal around, held on to his property, re-sold it, bought it in again, got a foothold, and fought like a panther until he had got firmly on his feet. With ; n a month he had made sixty thousand dollars clear. Then the idea presented itself to him of giving his fiiends a party in commemoration of his retrieved fortunes He made out a list of the guests that he wished to invite, and the list numbered a hundred and twenty-seven names. He decided to give a theatreparty and a supper. Booth was going to play in Kanas city for the first time, the seats were three dollars apiece, and there was a line of men a hundred feet long waiting n ; ght and day at, the boxoffice. Garrett went to the foot of the line, and paid his way ahead, paying an average of ten dollars a man until he got up to the box-office, where he had first choice of seats when the house was opened. Then be bought a himdied and twenty-seven seats in the middle of the house. This little transaction alone cost him in the neighbourhood of twelve hundred dollars. Then he engaged a special train to run up to Fort Leavenworth and bring down the military guests whom he had invited. They were the officers of the posts and their wives. It happened that the hotel of that place tfas undergoing alterations at that time, and was in a state of chaos and confusion, but this did not baffle Garrett in the least. He had gangs of men aya v work night and day, threw the six princ.pal rooms of the first floor into one apartment, had decorators at work with flags, bunting and banneis, laid carpets for the occasion, bought furniture, and had a magnificent table built something in the shape of the letter ' S. It was said that the 'S ' was the only tribute that Garrett paid to a far-away sweetheart of his. Her name was Suaie, I belive. " Electric lights were introduced, chairs that had never been sat on were brought from a neighboring city, and every detail of the supper arranged in a fashion that would have delighted an epicure. The entire table was banked in hot-house flowers except where there was room for the plates, and, at the right hand of each gnest there was a little slot or slide in the table in which stood five wineglasses. These were filled with various kinds of wine during supper, and, as each emptied glass was removed, a magnificent rose was put in its place by the waiter. When the supper was over, the host pulled a lever at his end of the table, and the five roses which had replaced the five glasses at each plate were drawn together, and bound in a complete bouquet by a mechanical arrangement' of wires under the table. The monograms of theguests adorned their places at the table, and every lady was fairly ' inundated with flowers. Men and women were all in the most -elaborate evening attire, the ladies dressed low, of course, and the officers of the garrison were in full mililary dress. As they sat in the body of the theatre, it made as pretty a picture as I have ever seen. The smiling Garrett was tucked away craftily in one corner, thepictureofbenevolence and joy, beaming graciously on his friends. There 'was a place for Booth at the play, and I went behind to see if I could could not induce him to accept the invitation, but he was not well enough to go. The supper was a rattling good one from beginning to end. The guests were taken to their homes in dozens of carriages, coaches, and special trains, all under the supervision of Garretts agents, and, at 4 o'clock, the realestate speculator took a final bumper of champagne, and went home the happiest man in the world. His little blow-out had cost three thousand one hundred and twelve dollars by actual count. The following day the carpets were taken up, the table torn to pieces, the chairs sent back, the electriclight fixtures returned to the facto ries, the banners and bunting sent
back, and not the faintest trace remained of the dinner outside of the memories of the guests, except a beautiful souvenir of the occasion which was mailed to every one of Garretts one hundred and twenty-seven friends the following day. There was nothing of the snorting or hip-hip-hurrahing quality about ihe entertainment, and, despite all talk of the crudeness and lack of polish in the West, it was as amiable and easy a feast as I have ever seen outside of Paris.