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back to Shawnee because she lost her membership in the tribe. Anyway she was happy to come with him to New Orleans and live.
My father died when 1 was very young and 1 was put into boarding school until 1 was fifteen. My mother died two years later and left me all alone. ... In those davs 1 was a real cute little thing—weighed about ninety pounds—and I decided to go to New York and try the theatrical business.
That's just what i did. I came to New York and met a man named Billy Amat and he taught me to sing and dance. I remember he used to switch me on my legs and say, "Move that right foot, Mabel It's still in church. It's gotta move, too,"
Well, Billy and I worked up an act together and we toured Europe. I had the pleasure on that tour of entertaining Queen Victoria and King Edward at Buckingham Palace. We did our Swanee River routine. I had on a white silk top, a pleated candy-stripe taffeta skirt down to my knees and ballet slippers, and they gave me a bracelet that said, "God be with us till we meet again/" but it got away from me.
Billy and I played the "Follies Brassiere" in Paris. We toured Cuba and Mexico. We even went to Hong Kong. Then we returned to the Palace Theatre for an audition and out of there booked the entire Keith Circuit. In the wintertime we played the bis: theatres in the North and in summer the small theatres upstate.
Now this Billy, he began to insist that I many him, and I— as he was much older than I—I told him that wasn't no part of our agreement. He could take all the money and pay me my salary, but wThat chance in life would I have with a man s© much older? I was eighteen at the time.
He began to resent any small attention anybody would pay me. Finally, in Oklahoma City, I went to the head chief of the Shawnees and asked for protection. After the chief had talked to Billy and saw Billy wouldn't talk sense, he took me out to the reservation and hid me for a couple of months til the whole thing blew over.