American banjo player from the 1909 novel The Silent Battle by Mrs. C. N. Williamson. "Hope Newcome" is not his real name, "I merely chose it because it meant something to me, for a sort of mission that brought me to England, and I shall drop it when that mission's done."
He's travelled to England, and playing masked on Brighton Beach.
He could hardly have looked her in the face to-night if she could have guessed how, when he had read that she was in Brighton, he had hastily answered an advertisement in a dramatic paper requiring a banjo-player and singer of American "plantation" melodies, for a negro minstrel party to open, at an early date, at a cheap music-hall in that seaside town. He could play the banjo well, and a very good one which he had had since his college days was still in his possession; that is, grim necessity had not yet obliged him to pawn it.
He had got the engagement, as the manager was in a hurry and ready to take almost anybody. And he had been delighted with the chance, though he would have to black his face with burnt cork every night, associate with cads and bounders, and receive in exchange for his services the sum of one pound a week.
As a matter of fact, the pound was forthcoming for one week, and no more. Business was bad, and the manager disappeared before treasury day of the second week, leaving the five members of the troupe to do as best they could.
What Hope Newcome did was to stay and help his landlady take care of her sick daughter. When his funds failed he put on a mask, which Mrs. Purdy made at his request, and went out into the street or down by the sea with his banjo, earning not only money enough to pay his way, but to provide some little delicacies for the invalid, which otherwise she would have had to do without.