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seven feet wide and a chippie is a dress that women wore, knee length and very easy to disrobe.
One Saturday night whilst on one of the wild jaunts, we heard that one of the houses was stuck for a pianist. My friends encouraged me to go for the job, but my fear was so great that the only way I would go was if my friends would go with me. I felt sure it was a plot to kidnap me, since I had had a narrow escape when I was younger on Melpomene and Willow streets. So they finally agreed to take the other upstarts along and put them into a rear room where I could see them but their guests could not.
I was so frightened when I first touched the piano, the girls decided to let me go immediately. One of my friends spoke up, "Go ahead and show these people you can play." That encouraged me greatly and I pulled myself together and started playing with the confidence of being in my own circle. "That boy is marvelous"—this was the remarks of the inmates. Money was plentiful and they tipped me about $20, which I did not want to accept because I was not taught that way.
They wanted to give me the job of regular professor, but I could not see the idea. I was making about $15 legitimately, and furthermore I knew that if my folks were ever to find out I had even passed through the tenderloin, they would deal with me drastically. I asked what salary they would pay.
"One dollar a night is the regular salary," was the landlady's answer. I flatly refused.
Then my friends showed me how I had made $20 in tips in maybe an hour's playing. "You see, the $1 is a guarantee in case there happens to be some kind of a bad night, so you will be sure of some salary," the landlady explained. "But 1 will guarantee you $5 a night, if you don't make it in tips."
My friends coaxed me. I thought of all the incidents that might happen, maybe in the thousands. I decided I could tell my folks I had changed to the night watch in the cooperage and I would notify my boss I had taken ill. This plan would possibly make things safe all the way around. Anyhow, I