It was August 23, 1915. The great singer Bettina Butterfield had just finished her concert at the Grande Theatre in Peoria IL and was now backstage in her dressing room.
Her maid walked over to her. She had a bouquet of red roses.
"Pardon me, ma'am. A young man just gave me these flowers to give to you. He wishes to see you."
She looked and the roses and sniffed them. "How old would you say he is?"
"He appears to be no older than 18, ma'am. He says his name is Louis Gold."
She nodded. "Show the dear boy in. Oh, and put the flowers in water."
"Yes, ma'am." She left.
The young man appeared. He respectfully took his hat off. "Hello, Miss Butterfield."
"Hello, darling. I believe your name is Louis Gold?"
"Yes, ma'am. I'm your biggest fan!"
She smiled. "Charmed! And thanks for the flowers."
"No problem, Miss Butterfield!"
The maid reappeared with the flowers in a glass flowerpot. She put it on the table.
"Bring my bath, please. And leave us for a while."
"Yes, Ma'am." She left.
"Sit down, Louis."
"Thank you, Miss Butterfield." He sat in a chair beside her.
"And please stop being so formal; call me Betty!"
"Ok, Miss—er, Betty!"
"That's better! What would you see is your favorite song of mine?"
"'Here Lies Love.' I wore out two records of it!"
"That's one of my favorites, too. You know, I believe I recognize you from the audience."
"I was in the front row. I paid a full dollar for that seat!"
"I'm happy to hear that!"
Her maid returned with a large tub of hot water. She placed it on the floor by Betty's feet.
"Thank you, Flora. You may leave us, now."
"Yes, ma'am." She left.
Betty took her shoes and stockings off and place her feet in the tub. She sighed happily.
"By the way, how did you like the gypsy song I did, where I was barefooted onstage?"
"Oh, that was one of my favorite numbers, on the show!"
"I've gotten in trouble for doing that number, in some cities—just because I'm showing off my little feet!"
"People can be so closed-minded!"
"Yes, they can! And speaking of which.."
A bottle of sherry and a few glasses were on the table. She opened the bottle and poured it into two of the glasses. She picked up one glass and presented the other to him. "Here, Louis."
"No, thank you, Betty. My parents have warned me against the evils of strong drink."
"Why, it's only sherry. It tastes like…liquid cherry ice cream!"
"Well, one little glass won't hurt me!" He took it from her.
"Down the hatch!"
She drank hers quickly, and so did he.
"You're right, it does taste like liquid ice cream! (HIC!)"
She laughed. "How about another?"
"Sure, why not!"
She repoured the sherry. This one she also drank quickly, and so did he.
"Hey, this stuff is pretty good!" He giggled.
"I'm helping you to grow up, Louis!"
"Yes, you are!"
She poured another round. This one she drank slowly, and so did he.
"And now, I have a special little favor to ask you, Louis."
"Consider it granted!"
"Why, I haven't even asked it, first! Could you rub my feet?"
This shocked him! "R-Rub your feet, Betty?"
"My maid usually does this, but I prefer it be done by a man."
"Yes, I would be honored!"
A towel was on the table. She put it in his lap, then rested her feet on it. He began massaging them.
"Ah, that is wonderful! You have nice hands, Louis."
"You have lovely feet, Betty!"
She smiled. "Why, thank you!"
He continued massaging her feet, and they drank the sherry.
"I've come to a decision," she finally said.
"Louis! I do believe you're drunk!"
"No, I'm not! (HIC!) Well, maybe a little!"
"You said you are my biggest fan. Is this true?"
"Absolutely! Why, I spent almost $10 on you today alone!"
"Wow! Now, consider this carefully: How would you like to go away with me?"
This shocked him! "Go away with you?"
"I need a man to help with my affairs. You can book locations for me, negotiate contracts, and rub my feet after concerts!"
"But I don't know about doing those things. Well, except for rubbing your feet!"
"You don't have to. I'll teach you how to do them, as we go along. How about it?"
"Gee, I'm just not sure. Can I think about it, for a couple days?"
"No, you can't. My train leaves at midnight, tonight, and I'm not sure when I'll perform here again. It's now, or never, Louis!"
He thought for a bit. "Can I tell my parents, first?"
"No! They will dissuade you from doing it! Here, maybe this will help you decide."
She poured more sherry in his glass. He drank it quickly.
"I'll do it!"
They both stood up and hugged and kissed.
"Can I leave a letter to my parents?"
"Go right ahead."
She gave him a slip of paper and a pen. He wrote:
"Dear Mom and Dad,
"I'm going away with Bettina Butterfield. She will take care of me. I'll try and send you money whenever I can. Please don't worry about me, she'll take care of me.
"Your son Louis."
"Dry off my feet, Louis," she said, after he wrote the letter.
He dried them, and she put them into slippers.
When she left on the train at midnight, he was there with her.