This section is from the "Studio Light Incorporating The Aristo Eagle - The Artura Bulletin 1911" book, by Aristo Motto. Also see Amazon: Studio Light Incorporating The Aristo Eagle - The Artura Bulletin 1911.
I was sitting in the operating room having my usual chat with Barcon after he had given me his order, when the subject of demonstrators came up.
Barcon needed a demonstrator to straighten him out on some minor troubles he was having and I casually mentioned the fact that Surelook Roams was about due to make the town and asked him if he had ever met him.
"No, don't know that I ever have, Hotson; what kind of a fellow is he?"
"Well, if you had ever met him I know you would never forget him."
"I have been on the road for the last eleven years selling photographic goods and have met all kinds of salesmen and demonstrators, but none to equal Roams when it comes right down to the fine points of getting at the bottom of things."
"It seems like fortune telling or mind reading to me, but it's like reading out of your A, B, C book to him. Just seems to see the things other people think are too common to notice, I guess, and he enjoys it too. Give him a hard one and he goes right after it and eats it up."
"I really believe Roams would miss three square meals to get at the bottom of a man's plate or paper troubles."
"I have not met him for about three months now. Saw him last over at Vicksport where he had been sent to find the trouble with some Seed plates, but it wasn't the plates at all. Roams looked at the negatives and told the photographer what was wrong with his plate holders and then proved it, and he didn't get any farther than the reception room either."
"Well I'd like to see him, Hotson, if he is so blame smart as all that; what kind of a fellow is he, anyway?"
"Well, say, Barcon, he's one of the most likable fellows you ever met. Just a slim, keen looking fellow with a smooth face, sort of youngish looking, you know, but not young either. Don't impress you as being fresh or smarty at all, but just sharp. Quiet appearing, but when he talks he says something and when you tell him your troubles it's just like putting shavings on a smouldering fire; things begin to pop."
"B r r r r r - Hello! - there goes your buzzer, you must have a customer."
"No, I'll be jiggered if it isn't Roams. Talk about the Devil - how are you anyway?"
"Hello, Hotson. Haven't seen you since that day over at Vicksport."
"Mr. Barcon, this is Mr. Roams.
We were just talking about you, Surelook."
Roams shook hands and glanced around the room.
"I hope I am not intruding, Mr. Barcon, but I see you have finished with your sitting and Hotson has his order book in his pocket and I never knew him to put his order book away until he had his order."
"Yes, Mr. Roams, I have finished with Hotson, but what makes you think I have had a sitting this morning?"
"Well, I would say that from all appearances you had made a couple of bust negatives of a tall nervous lady who wore glasses, and the last one was a profile."
Barcon looked at me and then at Roams and asked:
"How do you know all this, Mr. Roams?"
"I know you made the negatives this morning because you have drawn that opaque shade to cut out the sunlight that is now striking the corner of your skylight and I could tell they were bust negatives of a lady because the back of the posing chair would never be adjusted that way for a man.
"It is evident she was tall because the head rest is quite high and she must have been nervous or you would not have used a head rest at all.
"Now the general arrangement of camera, chair and background would indicate the last negative was a profile and the position of the dark screen used to overcome reflections is proof that she wore glasses. The rest is easy. A rack full of holders and two of them reversed, and I venture to say if Hotson had not been here you would have made more negatives of the lady."
"Well, you are just the Demonstrator I have been looking for, Roams. I want you to read my past and tell me what has taken the snap out of my negatives this last six months or so. Made a 14 x 17 group the other day and it seemed all right, but my small plates are not up to snuff". Must be a change in the plates, for the 14 x 17 Seeds were old and they were best."
"No, I think you are wrong, Mr. Barcon. I would say you kept your large lens in the closet there, properly capped, while the one on the camera has gathered some moisture and a little dust with the change in temperature of your operating room during the winter and it needs cleaning.
"Let's take it off and have a look at it. Yes, that's it all right. Just clean it up and I will be back after lunch and we will try it out."
"Ready to go, Hotson? Good morning, Mr. Barcon."
Genuinely Good Artura. From An Artura Iris Print By George Graham Holloway Terre Haute, Indiana.