On the Road - 2


At one time in Kansas, when they were extending the railroad out west, we showed in the tent city, and Fulton happened to meet a friend there, running a billiard hall. He surely dressed funny. He was wearing a suit of clothes made out of green billiard cloth. That was the only suit I have ever seen made of this material.

The circus boys were always a study to me. As soon as they are in a position that will justify it, they are taken with the diamond fever, and they are never satisfied until they get a diamond or two. In the spring of the year previous to starting out, they would sometimes arrive weeks ahead, the ones that were broke always arriving early. They were sure of a meal ticket, and it was probable their welcome had worn out where they had spent the winter. On their arrival it was never necessary to ask them how they were fixed. If any diamonds were on their persons - necktie, shirtbosom or fingers - they were all right, and had passed through the winter in good shape, but if no diamonds adorned them it was a dead sure thing they were flat broke; because if they had ten dollars they would have a diamond.

We had many strange experiences when we traveled by wagon. On long routes we would have to start early. We often had breakdowns, or some other accident. On Sunday we would have a long journey, sometimes as much as fifty miles. No provision was made for meals, and we had to eat the best we could on the road.

I remember one time when we were in Missouri, it was too late for regular meals. We stopped at a little old hotel and asked the proprietor if we could get some dinner. There were about ten or twelve of us, but he said, "No, I cannot take care of you." We pleaded as well as we could; we told him we were nice people and would be no trouble to take care of, that he would find us all right, etc. He listened to our talk, and in answer to our saying that we were all right, he replied that he had often heard of entertaining angels unawares, but he had never heard of any angels being with a circus. So we drove on, hoping to do better at the next place.

In traveling through the country we had many funny experiences. Often when we wished things for the table, such as eggs, butter, milk, etc., we would go to a house and plead for these things for the people to eat, and nine times out of ten it would be impossible to get them. But I never knew it to fail if we went to a house and asked for something for a sick monkey, he would surely get it, if they had it. That was one thing I never could understand.

I remember one day at Indianapolis, I was sitting behind the candy stand in the menagerie, when a lady came up with a child and asked if we had any drinking water. She was told that we had not. She remarked that the little boy could not drink lemonade. She was assured that he could drink what we had as there was not a particle of lemon in it. The circus boys did not waste lemons by making lemonade out of them.

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