- the signal to shorten the performance at a show. Whenever the master, who remains on the platform outside to take the money and regulate the performance, desires to refill the booth, he pokes his head inside and shouts, “Is JOHN ORDERLY there?” The actors instantly cut the piece short, the curtain falls, and the spectators are bundled out at the back, to make room for the fresh audience. According to tradition, JOHN ORDERLY was a noted showman, who taught this move to the no less noted Richardson. This is like the old story of the publican who used to call out to his waiter, “A pot of ale, Robert,” when he wished his customers to be served with the best; but “A pot of ale, Bob,” when they had been drinking long enough not to distinguish good stuff from the bad the latter order meant. One day after calling for Bob many times, he reluctantly, at the request of a visitor, tasted the ale, and found it was the best. Rushing out immediately afterwards, and calling for Bob with all his voice, he was answered by his wife, who said, “Why, Bob’s been out these three hours.”
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