The “Box Office” Clique

There are ways of making money that lie so far out of the ordinary
channels as to warrant this chapter. Some of them are only strange
because they are new, as the telephone and the wood pulp were strange a
generation ago. Others, being decidedly odd in themselves, will
doubtless always be pursued only by a few, and considered by the many to
be curious ways of making a living.

Success is easy when once you succeed. This is the case with goods which
have achieved a name. Frequently the founder of the name is bankrupt,
retired or dead; but the goods continue to be manufactured and sold
under the original trade-mark. Countless thousands of dollars are paid
every year for shoes, hats, hardware, groceries, and innumerable other
articles, at rates above the average price when the goods are not a
farthing better. The deluded buyers are simply paying for a name.

Others have a mania for the collection of all kinds of bric-à-brac–old
coins and rare books are seized and hoarded as eagerly as if made of
gold. This mania is harmless in itself, and gives its possessors no
doubt much pleasure, but they are made the prey of Shylocks who carry on
a regular trade of manufacturing “old” articles.

So also with the “relic” craze. There are actually manufactories where
relics are made. Conscienceless persons take advantage of the curiosity
and piety of travelers to palm off all sorts of “relics” upon them at
preposterous prices.

Then there are the limitless imitations that are on the market. Some of
them, such as patent medicines, brands of groceries, oleomargarine,
etc., are imitations pure and simple; others are adulterations with more
or less of the genuine. So vast and profitable are these methods of
deception that the government has been compelled to interfere to protect
its citizens from fraud.

The box-office clique is only a less pernicious, but equally barefaced,
means of getting money. When a Bernhardt or an Irving is to perform, an
announcement is made that the box-office will be open at 9 o’clock on a
certain morning, as early as 10, or even 6, on the previous evening you
will see a solitary man wend his way to the theater and silently square
his back against the door. In time he is followed by another, and yet
another, so that by midnight perhaps a dozen or twenty of these
grim-faced men are lined against the wall. Not one of them has the
slightest idea of seeing the play. It is simply their way of earning a
living. For the next morning they will sell their places in line to the
highest bidders.

Of the “cure” faddists there number is legion. We do not mean the makers
of patent medicines, of which we have treated elsewhere, but the men who
profess to believe they have some unique and original way of ridding
mankind of evil. Thus we have the gold cure, the barefoot cure, the
mind cure, the faith cure, the cold water cure, and the hot water
cure–in fact the whole great family of ’pathies. Many of these curists
no doubt are sincere, but whether so or not, they have reaped large sums
of money.

Equally industrious is the “fake” news agency. There are agencies that
manufacture news to order. Papers, they reason, must have news. If there
is any subject concerning which the public is eager to read, and for any
reason the reporters cannot give the facts, the “fake” news agency is a
welcome resort. These bogus news agents are paid a certain amount a
“stick” for their false news.

Museum “freaks” too, are manufactured to order, and sometimes are made
beforehand in anticipation of a market.

“Treasure” enthusiasts are not quite as common now as formerly, and yet
the hot Klondike fever is but a “Kid’s Buried Treasure” under another
name, and on a mammoth scale. Of the 100 who attempt to get to Dawson
City, seventy-five will reach the place, fifty will earn a bare living
under all manner of hardships; twenty-five will make about the same as
if they had stayed at home; ten will bring back a $100 worth of dust;
three will do tolerably well, and one will get rich.

The “literary bureau” is a more ingenious means to make a living. A set
of bright young men advertise that for a “consideration” they will send
a sermon, lecture, address, or after-dinner speech, to any person who
may suddenly find himself called upon when unprepared.

Of the “watered” stock and other incorporated swindles, almost every
investor has purchased his experience at a dear rate. This is a method
of increasing one’s capital stock in a company without the contribution
of any new funds, and it is one of the most common of frauds.

These are but a few of the many curious and ingenious ways by which
people attempt to make a living. In many cases, especially the
last-named, there is no doubt that the promoters of these enterprises
often do get rich at the expense of the public.

Other strange ways of making a living are the catching of butterflies or
canary birds at a penny apiece, and the sifting of ashes and collecting
of cinders. In London sand is sold on the street for scouring and as
gravel for birds. Then there is “the curiosity shop.” In Genoa, there
are marriage brokers who have a list of names of marriageable girls,
divided into different classes, with an account of the fortunes,
personal attraction, etc., of each. They charge two to three per cent.
commission on a contract. In Munich there are female bill posters, and
in Paris there are women who make a living by letting out chairs on the
street. Also, in the same city, men are hired to cry the rate of
exchange. Then there are the men who gather old clothes, and the street
sweepers. There are 6,000 rag gatherers in Paris. Then there are the
refuse cleaners, and the glass-eye makers, the latter furnishing you
with a crystal eyeball at rates from $10 to $20 when the physicians and
oculists charge $60 or $70 for similar services. Then there are postage
stamp gatherers and chair menders. In fact the ways of making a living
are legion. We formulate a few of the best of this class:

981. EXPERTS.–There are many kinds–accountant, color, handwriting,
etc. Any one who confines his life-work to a very small and special
field can command a large price for his services. Experts often receive
$10 a day.

982. DETECTIVES.–Besides the men in the employ of the United States and
local authorities, there are many who work in private agencies. The pay
depends upon the nature of the work and the wealth of the employers. In
celebrated cases where suspected parties had to be shadowed for months,
a detective has received as much as $5,000.

983. TRAVELING POETS.–Since the days of Wesley, the traveling preacher
has been a familiar figure, but who since the time of Homer has seen a
traveling poet? yet one called on the author the other day. His patrons
are chiefly obscure people who pay from $1 to $10 to have their history,
home, achievements, or virtues lauded in verse. It is hardly necessary
to say that the poems are not published, but kept as household treasures
for coming grandchildren.

984. OLD COINS.–Some have found a profitable source of revenue in the
hunting and hoarding of old coins. One numismatist recently sold a
dollar coin of 1804 for $5,000.

985. PURVEYOR OF PERSONALS.–A Russian named Romeitre started this
enterprise in a small way. Now we have press-clipping bureaus so large
as to employ seventy persons each. In some of these places from 5,000 to
7,000 papers are read every day, and the weekly clippings amount to more
than 100,000. There are now press-clipping bureaus in nearly all of our
large cities.

986. GOLD ON SEA BOTTOM.–Another class of men make money out of other
men’s misfortunes; that is, by stripping wrecks of their valuables.
Others secure the services of divers and search the bottom of the
ocean, where vessels containing treasures are supposed to have gone
down. A few years ago a company from England went with divers to a place
near Bermuda, where a vessel had been sunk a long time before, and
secured from the wreck the sum of $1,500,000.

987. RARE BOOKS.–The art of book collecting has been pursued with
profit by some persons. It requires no capital, if one simply confines
his efforts to book-stalls, though, if pursued on a large scale, money
is required for advertising and correspondence. Mr. Charles B. Foote, of
New York City, is a veteran bibliophile, and has made a specialty of
first editions. Recently he made three auction sales of his stores, and
realized more than $20,000, and his home is full of treasures.

988. OLD ITALIAN VIOLINS.–They sell at prices ranging from $500 to
$5,000, when you can buy them at all, which is seldom, for they are
mostly in the hands of wealthy collectors. Now we will let you into a
great secret. It is not the kind of wood or the form of the instrument
alone which produces the rare quality of sound, but it lies also in the
kind of varnish used. By experimenting with varnish, you can produce a
“Stradivarius,” which will sell for almost any amount you choose to ask.

989. MAGIC SILK.–It seems like the trick of the magician to speak of
turning cotton into silk, but it can actually be done, or at least
cotton can be made to resemble silk, so that discrimination between the
two fabrics is impossible. About fifty years ago, one Mercer, a French
chemist, showed that cotton when subjected to the action of concentrated
acid or alkalies, contracts and has a greater affinity for dyes, but it
has only just been discovered that “mercerization” gives also a
brilliant luster to the cotton. The cotton is stretched violently during
the operation, and when an energetic rubbing is added to the tension the
tissue receives a permanent luster. It thus replaces silk at a fraction
of its cost, and offers a splendid chance for financial enterprise.

990. THE GOLD CURE.–If the gold cure for which so much is claimed can
really take away the appetite for liquor, there is an immense field for
its exercise and room for the making of many fortunes in the cure of
America’s drunkards. In the United States alone an exceedingly moderate
estimate makes the number of this unfortunate class 1,600,000. At the
very modest calculation that only one-tenth of these can be induced to
try the cure, and if each case nets the proprietor of the institution
only $25–and the estimate should probably be doubled and even
trebled–there are $15,000,000 in it for the public benefactors who can
thus curb the evil of dram-drinking.

991. THE TELEPHONE NEWSPAPER.–Here is an idea for newspaper men: In
Budapest, Hungary, there is a telephone newspaper, the first and only
one in the world. The main office is in telephone communication with the
Reichstadt (corresponding to our Congress), and it often happens that
important speeches are known to the public while the speaker is still
addressing the house; the latest reports from stock exchanges as well as
political news are heard before any paper has printed them, a short
summary of all important items is given at noon and again in the
evening; subscribers are entertained with music and literary articles in
the evenings, the latter being often spoken into the telephone by the
original authors. The cost is only two cents a day, and the company are
said to be making money even at that figure.

992. RACE AND STOCK TIPPERS.–In addition to the regular brokers who
supply tips to their customers, there is now a set of professional
tippers who profess to have “inside information,” and make it a business
to give tips to anybody who will pay for them. They receive in some
cases a fixed sum from their patrons, and in other cases they take a
liberal percentage of the profits.

993. PROMOTERS.–This is a new vocation. The promoter “promotes”
anything and everything that will pay. If you want to accomplish
anything from the launching of a railroad enterprise to the selling of a
penny patent, you pay the “promoter” a certain sum to do the work. He
buys influence, lobbies legislators, controls newspapers and hypnotizes
the public generally. Not all promoters come as high as Mr. Ernest
Tooley, whose own price can be imagined when he claims to have paid
$250,000 to English peers for their influence; yet we learn that the
American Tin Plate Company gave the promoters of the Trust $10,000,000
in stock for their work.

There are some positions in which enormous salaries are paid. They are,
of course, places where great responsibilities are incurred. Strange as
it may seem, however, occupations where thousands of human lives are
imperiled are not compensated at so high a rate as those where great
finances are at stake. Here are a few of the golden plums:

994. ELECTRICAL EXPERTS.–The use of electricity has so increased in the
last few years, and so many new uses have been found for it, that there
are to-day nearly fifty different departments of human labor where it is
employed, and naturally these have differentiated as many kinds of
electricians. A young man in a New York establishment says “I am in
receipt of a salary of $4,000 as superintendent of the dynamo building,
and recently I had an offer of $7,000 to go with a new company out

995. THE CONFIDENTIAL MAN.–Another man in New York began his career in
a store at wages of only $7 a week. He is now the firm’s confidential
man, who decides on all important purchases, and receives a salary of
$8,000 a year.

996. THE ADVERTISING AGENT.–The advertising agency is from a financial
standpoint the most important department in the make-up of a paper or
periodical. On one of our most popular magazines there is to-day a young
man hardly over thirty years of age who has advanced through the various
grades of work until he is now superintendent of the advertising
department, receiving a remuneration of $7,000 a year.

997. GREAT DAILY EDITORS.–Editors of leading departments in our great
dailies receive from $2,000 upward. Managing editors and
editors-in-chief receive many times that sum. One man in the New York
_Sun_ office has for his services a salary of $15,000, and besides this
does outside literary work to the amount of $5,000 yearly.

998. MEDICAL SPECIALISTS.–There is still “room at the top” of the
medical world. The largest harvests are reaped by those who devote
themselves to particular parts of the human framework, and at last are
able to set up as “consulting physicians.” One doctor, whose apartments
are crowded daily, informed the author of this work that he was treating
eleven hundred and fifty patients. The celebrated Dr. Loomis for some
time before his death made $50,000 a year.

999. LEGAL COUNSELORS.–What is true of medicine is equally so of the
law. Specialists in such branches as real estate, legacies, insurance,
etc., are in receipt of immense revenue. Celebrated bar-pleaders also
have grown rich. The names of Rufus and Joseph Choate, of Wm. Evarts
and Ben. Butler, are examples of men who have received single fees of
$10,000. One young lawyer says: “I began seven years ago and during this
period my earnings, with their investments, amount to $200,000.” Legal
talent is also liberally paid for by the great corporations, all of
which employ at a regular salary one or more attorneys.

1,000. CORPORATION PRESIDENTS.–Presidents of banks receive from $5,000
to $50,000; of insurance companies, there are at least three which pay
their presidents $50,000; of railroad presidents, one receives $100,000,
three receive $50,000, eight receives $20,000, and twelve $10,000.

* * * * *

In other occupations, deep-water divers are paid at the rate of $10 an
hour and fractions thereof; circus managers, $5,000 a year; and the
buying man of great mercantile firms about the same. Bank cashiers get
from $4,000 to $7,000; custom house officers from $3,000 to $7,000;
judges of city courts (New York), $6,000; lecturers from $10 to $200 per
night; preachers, from $20,000 in John Hall’s pulpit to a pitiful $300
in some country town; school principals from $1,500 to $3,000. Among
exceptional salaries may be mentioned that of a steamboat manager of the
Vanderbilt lines on the Mississippi, who once received $60,000 a year;
also the engineer of a large manufactory, who is paid $25,000. “Is not
that high?” inquired a visitor at the works. “He is cheap for us,” was
the reply, illustrating the truth that talent and skill are everywhere
and always in demand. The concern could not afford to lose him to rival
firms who wanted his services, and so found it cheaper to retain him
even at that high figure.


We subjoin a table showing the average salary or wages in one hundred of
the leading occupations. In most cases the figures have been compiled
from government reports, but where no reports could be obtained an
estimate has been made by taking the average receipts from certain
districts. In the latter instances, of course, the table cannot be
considered perfectly reliable; this is especially the case with the
professions of the lawyer, the doctor, and the clergyman. Still, as the
sections of the country taken may be considered as fairly representative
of the whole, the figures will probably be found not far amiss.

Some persons will be surprised to learn the average lawyer and physician
receive respectively only $1,210 and $1,053, but they should bear in
mind that while the pay in these professions is sometimes as high as
$25,000 and even $50,000 a year, a great number of beginners and
unsuccessful men are toiling–or not toiling–for a mere pittance. Were
it not for the ten per cent. of very successful men in these professions
who are making fortunes, the average receipts would be even smaller by
two or three hundred dollars than they appear in the table.

Other cases where the figures may not have as much value as could be
desired are under the headings which really comprise a group of
occupations instead of a single one, as that of the journalist and the
electrician; yet others where the general name is that of a genus
comprising many species, as that of the engineer; and still others where
there is a great difference in the value of the work performed, as in
the case of teachers and factory operatives. Again, in business
ventures, such as those of storekeepers, bankers, brokers, and others,
many have actually lost money, and this reduces immensely the average,
while among the so-called working classes, days of idleness, willing or
enforced, operate in the same way.

Yet, on the whole, if any one consults the table as a general guide to
the pecuniary rewards of the various trades and professions, he will
find that they have been placed in their relative financial standing. In
the occupations named, employees are generally meant, employers and
independent workers being printed in capitals.


Engravers (wood), $1,684
SHOWMEN, 1,605
Electricians, 1,560
Designers (textile), 1,383
Decorators (china and stone ware), 1,248
LAWYERS, 1,210
Architects, 1,206
Teachers (all kinds of schools), 1,153

Engineers (all kinds), 1,092
Draughtsmen, 1,090
Furniture-Workers, 1,087
Dyers, 1,040
Furriers, 1,036
Engravers (metals), 1,014
Actors, 989
Journalists, 979
CLERGYMEN (house-rents not
included), 963
Painters (house), 936
Gunsmiths, 930
Masons, bricklayers and plasterers, 919
Plumbers, 919
Electrotypers, 911
Hatters, 910
Musicians, 899
Miners, 892
Bookbinders, 884
Goldbeaters, 858
Watchmakers, 832
Door, sash, and blind-makers, 780
Glass-workers, 778
Boot and shoemakers, 773
Blacksmiths, 750
Carpenters, 750
FARMERS (including living), 749
Conductors and motormen, 728

Telegraphers, 720
Cooks, 720
Typewriters, 690
Cigarmakers, 676
Coopers, 675
Printers, 660
Millwrights, 650
Harness-makers, 648
Soapmakers, 646
Upholsterers, 642
Quarrymen, 635
Sawyers, 630
Tailors, 626
Locksmiths, 624
Machinists, 624
Press-feeders, 624
Firemen, 624
Sailmakers, 623
Coachmen, 620
Barbers, 619
Clerks, 608
Cutlers, 598
Moulders, 595
Boiler-makers, 584
Cabinet-makers, 572
Tinsmiths, 571
Carriage-makers, 572
Draymen, 520
Butchers, 517
Soldiers, 514
Agents, 496

Millers, 495
Waiters, 494
Lumbermen and raftsmen, 482
Brewers, 480
Tanners, 468
Farm laborers (besides board), 456
Factory operatives, 450
Weavers, 450
Peddlers, 440
Bartenders, 425
Gardeners, 390
Laborers, 390
Sailors, 375
Confectioners, 347
Stevedores, 336
Nurses (besides board), 285
Hostlers (besides board), 180
Servants (besides board), 162


* * * * *


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Collins, Wilkie.
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By Charles F. Rideal. Fully illustrated by Harry Parkes. Third and
Revised Edition. Twenty-five Cents.

“A collection of characteristic sketches drawn with much humor and
crisply described.”–_Scotsman._


Fully Illustrated. By Charles F. Rideal. One Dollar.


Characteristic Types, with Brief Prefatory Sketches of Illustrious
Preachers. By Carlos Martyn.


By Charles Clark Munn. A story of country life in New England. A
remarkably attractive book written in a remarkably attractive
manner. With frontispiece. Cloth, 12mo, 200 pages. One Dollar.


By N. P. Runyan. The contradictory title adopted by Mr. Runyan
piques curiosity, which, upon investigation, will be abundantly
rewarded. Incidents without number succeed one another in rapid and
romantic succession, making the reader hold his breath and pant in
sympathy with the recital. Cloth, $1.25.


A Book of Readings and Recitations for the Home, School and
Platform. Selected and arranged, together with a chapter on Reading
and Speaking, by Charles F. Rideal, Fellow of the Royal Society of
Literature, and formerly a member of the Council of the Lecturers’
Institute of Great Britain.


Three Hundred Outlines of Sermons by Three Hundred Distinguished
Clergymen on Various Themes. With index. By Carlos Martyn.


Full of Southern life and character, and readable from cover to
cover. By Belle Kearney. With 11 full-page illustrations and
frontispiece. Cloth, 12mo, 270 pages. One Dollar.


A realistic novel of to-day. By Emile A. Palier. Portrays a number
of Sinners and a few Saints in the modern social order. Certain
passages hold the reader spellbound. There are several heroes and
heroines, all true to life after their respective kind. Cloth,
12mo. One Dollar.


By Stanley Edwards Johnson. In the guise of a novel, the author
gives a fanciful account of a cure for bad temper. There are no
dull pages in this book. Cloth, Fifty Cents. Japanese paper,
Twenty-five Cents.


By Mary De Mankowski. This is a graphic, thrilling description of
the personal experiences of a patriotic Pole, condemned to Siberia
for loving his country “not wisely but too well.” The book explains
the existing hatred of the Russian government and gives the reasons
therefore. Cloth. $1.25.


By Sam A. Hamilton. An exciting story of Florida, in which the
characteristics and the effects of “Judge Lynch’s” rule are
exploited. A thrilling love story runs through the novel, with
which the vengeance of the mob comes into collision. Cloth, 12mo.
One Dollar.


from “Pickwick” and “Master Humphrey’s Clock.” Selected by Charles
F. Rideal and edited with an introduction by Charles Kent, Author
of “The Humor and Pathos of Charles Dickens.” Fourth Edition. With
a new and original drawing, by George Cruikshank, Jr., of Mr.
Samuel Weller. Cloth. One Dollar.

This book has met with remarkable success. The original drawing of
Sam Weller, by George Cruikshank, Jr. (a nephew of the original
Cruikshank), is alone worth the money, for the reason that it shows
a mastery of fine work and detail, in pen and ink not possessed by
any other artist of the time. It is a unique and acceptable
addition to Dickensiana and every lover and admirer of Charles
Dickens should possess a copy.


Giving Days when “At Home” of the Upper Classes. Compiled and
edited by Charles F. Rideal. To which is added a chapter on the
Etiquette of Calls and Calling. By Lady Constance Howard. Each


Twelve of Them. Brief, pithy characterizations by Charles F.
Rideal. Fully illustrated.


Eighteen of Them. By Charles F. Rideal. Fully illustrated.


Designed by Lady Constance Howard and Mr. Charles F. Rideal.
Containing Seven-day Tear-off Sheets and Cover, in convenient form
either for laying flat on the desk, or suspending from rack, etc.,
a Complete Calendar for the Year, Postal Information, Chief Events,
Lessons for Sundays, Quotations from well-known Authors, and Spaces
for Memoranda, Appointments, etc. Indispensable for every one who
writes, makes notes, etc. Twenty-five Cents.

“This useful addition to the writing table is nicely got

“Is very well arranged, with suitable quotations and memoranda for
every day in the year. It may be kept on the table or suspended
against the wall or bookshelf, whichever may be most convenient,
and in either position it is handy, and takes up but a small amount
of space.”–_Queen._