He slips in through the stage-door, always singing;
Still singing, he slips out, without a word
To stage-door man, or any of the others.
All through his act, wagging upon each hand
A grotesque manikin, he laughs and sings,
Sings with a far-off ventriloquial voice
Through fixed and smiling lips. Sometimes, not often,
He barely moves his mouth, for a ghostly word.
You see his throat fill, or his nostrils quiver.
But then, staring ahead with stretched white eyes,
And never stirring, he throws his voice way off,
Faintly under the stage, or in the wings,
Creeping nearer, or fading to a whisper.
And since he always sings and never talks,
And flits by nervously, swinging his cane, Rumors are thick about him through the circuit.
Some say he hates the women, and loves men:
That once, out West, he tried to kiss a man,
Was badly hurt, then almost killed himself.
Others maintain a woman jilted him.
But the one story they tell everywhere
Is how, at his father's funeral, he threw his voice
Suddenly into the coffin; and all the mourners
Jumped from their seats and ran, and women fainted,
And the preacher stopped the service, white as wax.
Zudora said a friend of hers had seen him
Mooning alone at "Carmen." And at the end
He cried like a baby: what do you think of that.