Last night I went to a vaudeville theatre! I had heard about craze, and knew there were several in the area of the Boston Common. When Daniel asked me to join him for a night of entertainment at the B.F. Keith's Theater my eyebrows jumped.
“Vaudeville?” I’d heard they featured a lot of burlesque, and was definitely not a place for proper young ladies. Bawdy dance shows in venues of dubious reputation were not at all something I would agree to. The awkwardness between us hadn’t lessened much since his arrival, and with this suggestion, I wondered if I’d ever known Lord Gold at all.
“Oh, perhaps in the beginning,” Daniel responded quickly, “but the routines have changed over the years, and I’ve met the owner of the one I have in mind. His name is B. F. Keith and he personally reassured me that his shows are suitable for ladies and even, during certain matinees, children.” After a pause, he added, “Your father has given his blessing, if you’ll agree to accompany me.”
My mind raced. Not about the vaudeville show and what I might see and hear that could damage my innocence, but the fact that Daniel and I would be alone. Over the last few days, I had successfully arranged for every situation between us to be in the company of others. Louisa was especially quick to comply.
Anxiety flashed behind his eyes before he erased it with a smile. “Any sign of salaciousness and I assure you we will exit the building with haste.”
What does one wear to an event where one may suddenly have to flee?
“All right,” I said. I had no option but to put Daniel at ease. I was his fiancée. I couldn’t very well say no.
We arrived at the theatre by carriage just as the sun was going down. It was situated across from the Boston Common on Tremont Street, and in warmer weather it would’ve made for a nice stroll.
The huge sign on the front of the rather impressive brick and stone building announced the performers for the evening. The top act, the one in the boldest lettering, was “Eddie Foy and The Seven Little Foys’”.
“It’s a song and dance act performed by a man and his seven children,”
Daniel explained. “I’ve heard they're quite clever with witty humor and deft choreography.”
Other acts on the marquee included the duo of Clarke and Bergman, and yiddish singer Belle Baker, and, according to Daniel there could be circus acts like jugglers and contortionists.
The theatre itself was quite fabulous. The foyer was very grand with a high ceiling chandeliers and very plush carpeting and beautiful wall covering. Extraordinary paintings hung on the wall and I noticed the signature of the famous Italian artist, V. Tojetti on one of them. A grand staircase to the right led up to the main seating area. As we climbed Daniel nodded to a large sign at the top that made me smile: No smoking, whistling, foot stamping, spitting on the floor or crunching of peanuts anywhere in the building. All foul language was also strictly prohibited.
Daniel had tickets for a boxed seat to the right of the stage. The atmosphere wasn’t bawdy at all, and I felt like royalty sitting high above everyone else in velvet seats with high backs and armrests. It was in this moment that I realized that Daniel was a type of royalty. Though we in America don’t put much stock into titles, my father had made it clear to me that being a Baron or Baroness was a significant matter in England.
When I married Daniel I would become a “Lady”. Oh how my friends from college would laugh and tease me if I ever tried to wear that handle around them.
When I married Daniel. Oh, why did I feel so afraid?
It was if Daniel could read my thoughts, though now that I think of it, I’m sure my torment was written all over my face.
He leaned in and spoke softly. “Ginger, love, have you changed your mind?”
“What do you mean?”
“About us. About getting married. To me.”
My heart beat thickly and my mouth went dry. Had I? Did I really want to marry Daniel Gold?
He reached for my hand. “It’s okay if you have. I understand. We barely know each other and I’ve been away a long time. Perhaps you’ve met another?”
“No!” The word came with such force, I shocked myself. “I want to marry you,” I said. And I realized it was true. The very fact that Daniel was willing to give me a way out, even to the detriment of his family who would suffer without my father’s money, only assured me that he was the kind of man I wanted. The kind of man I loved.
“I’m sorry I’ve not been able to express it to you,” I added, feeling that I indeed owed Daniel an explanation. “I’m ashamed to admit it, but I feel rather shy.”
Daniel smiled. “It’s one thing to get to know a bloke, and another entirely to agree to marry him. If you’d feel better, we can postpone our nuptials to a later date.”
I’d had that very thought myself not so long ago, but now the thought of not getting married the first week of August felt unbearable.
“I want to marry you this summer.” I leaned over and kissed Daniel softly on the cheek. “I do.”
Daniel’s lips split into a big smile. “Splendid! You don’t know how happy I am to hear you say that.”
Before we could say more, or worse, embarrass ourselves in public due to our sudden desire to express our affection, the lights dimmed and the curtain rose.
The Foy children certainly were enjoyable, especially the antics of six-year-old Irving. Daniel's reporting was correct: their talent at dancing and singing was to be admired, especially for ones so young. Watching them made me imagine the children Daniel and I would have someday. A clan of little Golds.
I could imagine having them so long as I didn't think of what had to happen to make them. I could feel myself blushing, even in the darkness of the theater. I could hear my father say, “Don't put the cart before the horse, Ginger.” In that moment I set my mind to enjoying the courtship and nothing else. I would put those worries on my calendar to deal with when the time drew closer.
Those Foy children really were adorable.