Out with his own circus, or, The success of a young Barnum

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Out with his own circus, or, The success of a young Barnum

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Out with his own circus, or, The success of a young Barnum
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Fame and fortune weekly : stories of boys who make money
A self-made man (J. Perkins Tracy)
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New York
Frank Tousey
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1 online resource (29 pages)


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Dime novels -- Periodicals ( lcsh )
Wealth ( lcsh )
Entrepreneurship -- Fiction ( lcsh )
Boys ( lcsh )
serial ( sobekcm )

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University of South Florida
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University of South Florida
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The University of South Florida Libraries believes that the Item is in the Public Domain under the laws of the United States, but a determination was not made as to its copyright status under the copyright laws of other countries. The Item may not be in the Public Domain under the laws of other countries.
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F18-00128 ( USFLDC DOI )
f18.128 ( USFLDC Handle )
031446692 ( ALEPH )
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. With a roar that shook the canvas top the jaguar sprang upon Mdle. Celestine, and instantly the applause of the speetators was changed to cries of horrified surprise. Tom quickly raised his rifle and fired point blank at the beast.


. Fame and Fortune Weekly STORIES OF BOYS WHO MAKE MONEY Weeklt1-Bt1Subsc ription12.fl() per year E11te1ed according to Act of Cong rus, i n t he y ear 1 9 08, in the ojJlce of the LibrarlaQ of C o ngre u Warhing ton, D. 0., b11 Frank 7 ousev, Pub lishe1, 2 4 U n i oi. Squar, t

OUT WITH HIS OWN CIRCUS. other vehicles that took part in the daily parade before the afternoon show when the season was on. The Great Oriental and Occidental Circus, although billed as the greatest aggregation of novelties on e!\'rth, was in reality a third-rate wagon show. Its route always took in the smaller towns and big vil lages that never saw the big three-ring modern circus, and its yearly reappearance was always looked forward to with just as much excitement and anticipation by the small boy and his larger prototype as was the case with the patrons of the bigger circuses. The present show had toured the country for five con secutive seasons under the proprietorship and personal man agement of William Sellus, an old circus man, who had grown gr,ay in the savdust business. He was preparing to inaugurate his sixth season, with an added array of attractions, acbording to the new bills in the printer's hands, when he suddenly dropped dead one morning from heart -disease, leaving his show, and everything eonnected therewith, in the hands of his widow. As soon as the news of his death was printed in the big theatrical weekly of New York City, several would-be circus proprietors began to lay wires looking to the purchase of the Sellus show from the widow. That lady, however, being much prostrated over her hus band's death, was not i.1n any shape to consider what she was going to do about the future of the show. All business matters were turned over to Tom Smedley, the smart young business manager and treasurer, who had been M1;. Sellus's right-hand man during the preceding season, after a previous experience of two years in the ex ecutive department of the circus. Tom was nineteen, an expert ticket seller, an accurate bookkeeper, honest and reliable as the day was long, cool and resourceful in emergencies, polite and considerate unde-r all circumstances, and a prime favorite with everybody con nected with the show from the "main squeeze," as the pro prietor was called, down to the humblest employee. From the moment that Mr. Sellus breathed his last Tom took charge of everything in the widow's interest. He supervised the funeral arrangements, and the widow leaned on his arm at the grave while all that was mortal of the showman was consigned to its last resting-place. Tom said as little as possible to Mrs. Sellus about circus matters until the tenting season was almost on, and it be came absolutely necessary to consult her about the immedi ate future of the show, which was now ready to take the road as soon as the performers reported for duty, which would be just as soon as the "call" was issued. Then, somewhat to Tom's surprise, she announced her intention of selling the show outright just as it stood. She had answered -0f two circus men who wanted to purchase, and they were coming on to look the property over and make her an offer. She asked Tom if he could give her an idea of what the show was worth, and he told her, naming a fair figure. "I don't suppose I'll get what it's worth," she told the boy. "No; these men will try to take every advantage of you," replied Tom. "I will look out for your interests, however, and see that you not cheated." "These men have written that they have the money to buy it out and out," said Sellus. "I am willing to take one-third less than your estimate of its value to get rid of it clean and clear for ready money. I want to leave this town and return to my people in the East." That was the way matters stood when Tom had his talk with the tiger trainer as recorded at the opening of this chapter. The price the widow was willing to accept in spot cash ;as, as Jack McMasters had remarked, "dirt cheap," and Tom, who knew just what profit the show was likely to earn that season, wished he had the money with which to buy it. He was confident that he could run the enterprise suc cessfull y and had been anticipating doing so in Mrs. Sellus' s interests up to the moment she had announced her positive intention of getting rid of it for good and all. He was much disappointed to find that the opportunity of running the show was abou,t to pass away from him just when it seemed to be within his grasp. When he parted from Jack McMasters he started for the of the widow with the intention of making her an offer of $1,000 cash down, which was the bulk of the money he had managed to save since he joined the show, and the balance in annual payments, secured by a mortgage on the property. He had little hope that she would accept such an offer in face of the cash that the two circu,s men professed to have at their fingers' ends. In fact his proposition looked so ridiculous the more he thought it over that when he reached Mrs. Sellus's home he did not ente r at the gate but kept on down the shady street toward the river. "She'd think I was crazy to make such an offer, and probably she d b e rig ht. I would need several thousand dollars to get th e outfit under way to Centerport, where o u: route begins, and wher e would I pick that I haven't any good angel to loan it to me. Jack meant well when he advjsed me to get hold of the show, but he knew mighty little about the financial end of a circus. Why, if Mrs. Sellus let me in on my own terms I couldn't take the ag gregation out of town. No, I'm out of it, and I might as well under stand that first as last." It was seldom that Tom was otherwise than bright and cheerful, but jus t now h e felt a bit down in the mouth. Whoever bought the show might keep him on the payroll or he might noL. Every showman prefers to instal his own friends in the business department, and though Tom' s familiarity with the Great Oriental and Occidental Circus was a good recom mendation, it did not follow that it would enable him to hold his job. It was a bad time for him to catch on with another circus, as their rosters were filled long before, still, if he failed with a circus he could probably secure a position with some theatrical company. At any rate he did not fear about his own future under any circumstances. CHAPTER II. TOM SAVES LITTLE EVA CHASE. As Tom was approaching a s e cluded part of the river bank his thoughts were interrupted in a sudden and start-


r OUT WITH-HIS OWN GIROUS. 8 ling way by a s hrill scream from the dir ection of the water. "Hello! What's that?" he exclaimed. "Someone in trouble?" Such was evidently the case from the s u ccessio n of screams that followed. Tom immediately ran toward the bank of the river. As soon as he got a clear view of the stream he saw an ove:rturned sai lboat floating along with the current, which was quite rapid, a li ttle gifl clinging desperately to the end of the boom, and a boy two years her senior swimming as hard as he could for the bank. Tom didn't stop to cons id er how the catastrophe had hap pened. He saw that the girl was in great peril of her li fe, and as the boy appeared to be a good swimmer he could not un derstand how he seemed to be deserting her. "What are you swimming ashore for, young fellow? Why don't you save that girl?" Th e boy made no a n swer, but reached for a rock and climbed up on it. "Don't you know that boat is drifting down to the rapids?" said Tom. "I can't help it," r ep lied the boy, sulki l "The gir 1 will dro.,!Vn." "What can I do?" "What can you do? You can swim back and save her." "No, I can't. I had all I could do to save myself." "You're a little cur .and coward," cr ied Tom, in a tone of angry disgust. "You c ould save her if you wanted to. You're a good swimme r. Stay where you are, then. I will save her if I can." Tom at once started down the bank to reach a point a little ahead of the boat. As soon as he accomplished his object he threw off his jack et, kicked off an d after shouting to the girl to hold on for her life, he dove into the river and struck out for the boat. The little gi rl tried to maintain her hold, but when Tom was half-way to her the boat hit one of the rocks in the stream a glancing blow and the shock disengaged the chi ld 's grip. She utt.ered a frightened scream and sank below the sur face. Tom aimed for, the spot where she went down, but she came up some little distance ahead, screamed, threw up her arms and sank again. Tom redoubled his efforts to reach her, for her life de pended on his being able to save her before she went under the third time. 'Her littl e brown head came up a yard away from him. He could see that she was still conscious from the feeble way in which she beat the surface of the water. Tom seized her as the water was closing over her face. He raised her head out of the water, and sustained her limp and exhausted body by one arm while with the other be struck out for the shore The rapid flow of the stream was carrying him and hi s burden faster down with it than he could make headway against it. To make matters worse the rapids were o nl y a shor t dis tance ahead. Once caught in that dangerous s tretch of nayigation he knew he would have a hard time in extricating himself and the littl e girl from the s harp rocks and whirlpools abound ing there. Tom was a good swimmer, but was at a great dis advantage because h e was only able to use one arm. He gid his best, however, and as h e swam ahead the little girl recovered h er senses full y and fixed her big round, hazel eyes on his face. She seemed to feel a confidence in the strong arrp. that encircled her and held h er up, for she did not struggle at all, which was fortunate for them both. It was a desperately hard swim he had, and it grew more difficult every moment as they neared the broken water below. Finally he managed to reach a bit of s lackwater near the bank and he took advantage of it to make a la s t vigorous effort to reach shore. In a few minutes his feet struck bottom, and catching the chi ld in his arms he staggered up on the bank Then nature asserted itself and he sank down utterly exhausted on the ground. Th.-e girl c lung to him as he lay there until he was able to sit u p, and then he disengaged h e r arms from about his neck. "How do you feel, littl e one?" he asked her "I feel wet and tired. You are awful good and brave to save me. P apa will pa y you a lot of mo:p.ey when you take me home." "Pay m'e No, I don't think he'll pay me anyt hing." "Yes, he will. My papa is rich." "I don't care how rich he is, I wouldn't take a cent for savi ng your life. "Why not?" she exclaimed, opening her round eyes in surprise. "Don't you want mon ey? Are you as rich as my papa?" "No, I'm not rich, and I wish I had a wad of money, but I wouldn't take a cent from him for saving your life." The lit.tle girl didn't seem to understand what Tom meant. His words were a puzzle to her. He wasn't rich, he wanted a lot of and yet he wouldn't take it from her father, who could easily afford to giYe him plenty "What is your name and where do you live?" asked Tom, as they sat on the bank while he recovered his strength. "Eva Chase. I live in a big house near where the boat up s et," she replied. "What is your name and where do you live?" she added "My name is Tom i:;lmedley, and I live up at foe circus buildings." "Do you belong to the circus?" "I do." "Do you act in the ring?" she asked, with fresh interest in her rescuer. "Oh, no. I'm business manager and treasurer." "What's that?" "I look after things and take charge of the money." "Do you sell tickets in the wagon ?" "No. I u sed to do that." "I lik e the circ u s," she said "So does my papa." "Well, I think we will go a long now. I'll take you to I


4 OUT WITH HIS OWN CIRCUS. your home right away We must walk fast. Who was that boy 1 saw swimming from the boat after she upset? Was h e with you in the craft?" es. That is Ralph Atkins. It was his boat and he took me for a sail." "He's a contemptible little coward, for he's a good swim mer and ought to have tri e d to you. It was his duty to do that, and he could ha1 e done it m u c h easier than me at that distance from the rapid s Ifs lucky for you I was near by at the time or you would hare been drowned." "I sha'n't speak to him any more. He ought to have saved me because papa put me in his care, and told him to be very careful of me. He promised that he would, but when the boat upset he didn t try to save me at all, but swam away without paying any attention to me, though I begged him to help me. When I saw him swim away I was awfully frightened, and I screamed as hard as I could "I heard you. y OU screamed :first when the boat went over, didn't you?" "Yes. I couldn't help it, for I thought I was going to be drowned." Tom started on a jog trot so as to warm the girl up a little and keep her from getting chilled from her damp garments. When he reached the place where he had left his jacket and shoes he put them on A short distance ahead he saw youn g Atkins looking at them and evidently waiting for them to come up. Torn and little Miss Chase turned off and took the river road. The boy, observing this, proceeded tQ. intercept them He appeared to be about fifteen years age, was well dressed, and his face wore a haughty, supercilious look, as though he thought a whole lot of himself, and looked down on the average run of humanity. "Hold on, there!" he shouted in a commanding way. Neither Tom nor Eva paid any attention to him. Their indiff e rence to his request made him angry. He hurried up and grabbed Torn by the sleeve of his jacket. "Where are you taking Eva Chase?" he demanded, au thoritafael'' "Home," replied Tom laconically, shaking off his grip. "I'll see her home myself," said Atkins, running around to the other side and taking Eva by the arm. ,,. She stopped and hung back. "I don't want anything more to do with you, Ralph At kins," she said, in a tone that showed she meant what she said. "Why not?" exclaimed Ralph in surprise. "Because you're a coward, and left me to drown. I would have been dead now if this boy hadn't saved me. I don't want you to come to my house any more I don't mean to speak to you any more. My father will be very angry with you when I tell him how you acted CHAPTER III. TO:r.1's GREAT LUCK. A short distance further on Tom saw through the trees the white wings of a handsome villa, and recognized it as the residence of a wealthJ retired banker of Fowlersville "Is that where you live, Miss Eva?" he asked her. "Yes," she replied. They hurried up to the gate and as they entered the grounds a little black-and-tan dog, which had been lying on the piazza with his nose in his paws, sprang up and came dashing down the gravel walk, barking shrilly He appeared to regard Tom with some displeasure while he frrsked about his mistress, springing up at her hands. "Now, Toby, do be quiet," she said to him. "Can't you see that I'm all wet?" Whether Toby recognized that fact or not, he didn't seem to care. The front door was open, and when they mounted the three wide steps to the piazza Eva pulled Tom toward it. "I guess I'd better leave you now, Miss Eva," said Tom, holding back. "No, no; you must see my papa," she insisted. "I can see him other time," replied the boy. "I'm wet and mussed up. It won't do for me to come in "You mu s t come in and have your clothes dried. You must. I wont let you go." Her insistent tones brought a fine-looking gentleman to the dQ.or. This was Eva's father, Curtis Chase. One glance at his little daughter's wet and bedraggled appearance and he uttered a cry of consternation. "Why, Eva, my darling, did you fall in the river?" he cried, grabbing her in his arms. "Yes, papa. The boat upset, and this boy, Tom Smed ley, saved me from being drowned." "Good heavens! My precious one. You must go right to bed and have something wan;n to drink right away." "Yes, papa; but don't let Tom go away. He saved my life and you must thank him." "Wait a moment, young man," said the banker. He rushed the little girl inside, nd Tom could hear him shouting for Miss Page, who was Eva's governess and companion. He was gone perhaps five minutes, and then he came back. "You are wet yourself, young man. You have been in the river, too, for Eva said you saved her life. Come right up to my room and take off your clothes. I'll have them dried at once in the laundry." "I don't think I ought to give you so much trouble, sir," protested Tom. "Trouble! Don't mention it. I'm under everlasting obligations to you for the service you have rendered my only child. Believe me, I will never forget what I owe you, and I shall certainly insist on making you a substantial return." He grabbed Tom's hand, shook it warmly, and fairly dragged him into the house, and up the front stairs into his own apartments. "Now disrobe. I'll let you have some of my clothes to put on while your ow,n are drying." Tom made no further objection, but p;roceeded to undress. "What is your name, and where do you live?" asked the banker while he was thus engaged, as he brought a suit of undergarments from one of his bureau drawers. Tom told him. "Are you connected with Sellus's circus?" "Yes, sir I'm treasurer and business manager."


OUT WITH HIS OWN CIRCUS. ''Indeed! Quite a responsible position for so yomtg a man as yourself." Tom admitted that it was, but said he had proved able to fill the bill. rrom put on the garments laid out for him by the retired banker, while Mr. Chase rang for a servant to remove the boy's damp clothes, and have them dried and pressed out in the laundry as soon as possible. :Mr. Chase then excused himsel.f a few minutes, as he was anxious to see how his daughter was getting on. "Now, Mr. Smedley," said the banker, when he returned, "how can I be of ervice to you? I want to do something for you to show my heartfelt appreciation of your gallant conduct in plunging into the river and saving my child's life." "I don't want you to do anything for me, sir. I am fully repaid by knowing that I saved your daughter." "You are too modest, my dear boy. Can't you think of some way that I c an help you along in. this world?''. "Well, sir, there is only one way you could help me, but I wouldn't think of suggesting such a thing." "Why not?" "It is too much of a favor." "It is impossible that you can ask any favor at all within the shadow of reason that I would not grant if it la y in my power," replied the banker earnestly "You can't fail to understand that you have placed me under the deepest of obligations to you. My child's life is of more importance to me than all my other earthly possessions combined Under those circumstances I shall not rest satisfied until I have done something for you in return." Tom's heart thrilled as he listened to the banker's words. Could he muster up the nerve to ask this grateful gentle man to finance him to the extent of purchasing the show and putting it on the road? It was a mighty delicate matter, and he naturally hesi tated. Mr. Chase saw that he had something to propose and yet from modest motives held back, so he encouraged him to speak out, assuring him that whatever project he had in view would meet with his earnest consideration. "The fact of the matter is, Mr. Chase, I am now face to face with the chance of my life, but unfortunately my hands are tied for lack of money." "What is this chance, if I may be permitted to inquire?" "I will tell you. I have the opportunity to buy out the Oriental and Occidental Circus and Menagerie at a com:.. parative bargain for cash." "Mrs. Sellus wants to sell out, then?" "She does. She's going to quit this town and go East to live near her people. I had some intention of making her a time offer on the show, but unfortunately there are two circus men in the field against me, and they have the cash to pay down. Money talks every time, as you no doubt know from experience, so there isn't the ghost of a chance for me as the case stands. I may also say that if either of these men buy out the circus it is quite likely that I may lose my position, as they will no doubt have a friend to put in my place." "How much money will it require to buy the circus as it stands?" Tom named the sum, which, though an undoubted bargain, was a pretty stiff figure as measured by dollars anJ cents. "It sounds large, sir, but it is really cheap for the prop erty and goodwill. According to all indications this will be a good year for tent shows. We ought to take in," here 1 Tom mentioned a large sum, "in admissions alone. Then our privileges have already been let for," Tom mentioned another sum in round numbers. "What do those privileges consist of?" asked Mr. Chase, clearly much interested. "The concert after the main show; the side show, consist ing of rnrious freaks, in a small top outside the big top ; the--" "I beg your pardon for interrupting you, but will you explain what you mean by smaJl. top and big top?" "Certainly, sir. Circus people always call the canvas covering or tent by the name of top." "Then a small top means a small tent, and a large top------" "Is the main tent where the show is given in one or more rings, according to the size and importance of the circus. It also covers the menagerie wagons, which are anchored behind a section of the seats." "I see," replied the banker. "Pray go on." "In addition to the concert and side show there is the candy, popcorn, peanut and lemonade privileges, usually rented to one man or firm, who has stands both inside the top and outside in the lot, and boys, as a rule, to go about hawking his wares among the spectators. The persons who run these privileges are called butchers." "Butchers! An odd name for such a trade," laughed :Mr. Chase. "Our profession is full of such curious titles. There i s the 'snack stang,' for instance, which is an improvised structure, on the lot and elsewhere, where our people can get a hasty bite after the show, and in the morning before enter ing the place where the day's show is to take place. You would probably call it a free-lunch counter. Circus dfr lect for a man is always 'guy,' and the proprietor of th show is always called the 'main guy,' or 'main squeeze.' A trunk is kb.own as a 'keester' and a valise is a 'turkey.' 'Lic1' signifies a hat, and a ticket is always called a 'fake.' A;-, elephant in circus language is never anything but a 'bull. The posters and lithographs sent out in advance are 'paper.' and the programmes and other literature are distinguishet : as 'soft stuff .' Side show orators are called 'spielers' arni 'blowers,' and the employee who has charge of the naphth u torches, which are 'beacons' in the circus world, is known u0 the 'chandelier man.' I could mention many other title equally to your ears, though perfectly unders.tandaK to the circus man, but I think those I have alluded to cove: the ground." "Let us get back to the subject. You have mentioned tLc receipts'in a general way, how about the expenses during t : season? "Our entire expense account last season, including wag e to performers and all employees, amounted in round nm:1bers to," and Tom mentioned. the amount. "The net proftt of last season was," here Tom stated a fat sum. "It ought to be considerably greater this season from the outlook. If I could borrow the purchase price of the show, togeth er with, say, $5,000 to take the outfit on to Centerpo rt, aEd


6 OUT WI'rH HIS OWN CIRCUS. allow me a leeway against unforeseen expenses, at five per cent. interest, the whole to be s ecur e d by a fir s t mortgage on the entire property of the circus, including the buildings on our leased kit, I'd guarantee to be able to pay it back within two seasons." "You think that you are thoroughly capable of running a big wagon show:, Mr. Smedley?'; said the banker. "I am sure of it. I a m certain that if Mr s Sellu s cared to continue the business this season s he would have put me in charge of the show. As a matter of fact, I consider her resolution to s ell, especially at the low price she is willing to accept, as an evidence of poor business judgment. I tried to talk her out of it, as I believed it to be my duty to do, in her interest, but no argument I used had the least effect on her. She was resolved to get out of the business, and that was all there was to it." "You say there are two circu s men who are after the show?'? "Yes, sir." "Are they in town?" "I am expecting to see one or both of them at any hour." "You are of the opinion that the price Mrs. Sellus asb is a bargain?" "Yes, sir, it is." "Very well. You have shown me a way by which I can in a manner repay you for my child's life which, next to Heaven, I owe to you. As soon as your clothes are fit to put on I will go around with you to see Mrs. Sellus. If she is still of the same mind I will buy her out and then transfer the title to you." "Do you really mean that, Mr. Chase?" asked Tom, hardly believing the evidence of his ears. "I do." "Then you will do me the greatest favor I could askyou are laying the foundation of a fortune for me," said Tom, gratefully. "I am delighted to know it. I trust your anticipations will be fully realized." "I feel certain of it. You will, of course, have your law yer draw up the necessary mortgage papers so as to secure your loan?" "Nothing of the kind, Mr. Smedley.1 I am going to make you a present of the circus." "No, sir, I cannot accept it that way. It would not be fair, in my opinion, to take s uch a valuable present from you. But more p a rticularly I wis h to owe a s much of m y success in life to my own e ffort s as possible. I am con fident that I can pay for the show within thre e year s at the outside, though I believe I can dr:I it in two sea sons All I ask of you is to give me the chance to do that. I will an swer for the re s t. I am an orphan, dependent on my own efforts for succe ss. I am re s olved to be a self-made man, You would deprive me of that satisfaction by insi s ting on giving me the show. It is my purpose to earn it through your kindness and generosity." "Very well, Mr_ Smedley, it shall be as you say. I will loan you the n:{oney and take a five-year mortgage, which you will have the privilege of canceling at any time. I shall watch your progress to fame and fortune with the greatest.pleasure. I believe you have the grit and the abil ity that spells success and I respect your resolution to pay your own way ahead as independently as possible." They continued to converse on the subject until a servant brought Tom s garments upstairs thoroughly dry and pressed ready for him to put on. Before he and Mr. Chase left the house Tom was taken to Eva's room at her earnest request. She put her arm s around neck and kissed him, telling him how grateful she was to him for saving her life, where upon Tom returned the kiss and told her that he was aw fully glad to havy been of service to her. CHAPTER IV. TOM BUYS 'l'HE GREAT ORIENTAL AND OCCIDENTAL CIRCUS. Tom al\d Mr. Chase went straight to the residence of Mrs. Sellus and were admitted to the sitting-room where the widow of the circus man presently joined them. "Mrs. Sellus, this is Mr. Curtis Chase, formerly president of the Fowlersville National Bank." The lady bowed and Mr. Chase expressed the pleasure he felt at making her acquaintan9e. Tom then mentioned the object of their visit. He said that b e had come to buy the show, and that Mr. Chase was prepared to advance the purchase price for him and take a mortgage as security for the loan. Mrs. Sellus s eemed to be surprised and at the same time she looked pleased "I should be glad to have you take the property and make a success of it, Tom," she said. "If you. had that idea in your mind why didn't you mention it to me yesterday when you were here ?" "Becau s e I didn t see any chance of raising the price yes t_erday, Mrs. Sellus. In fact, it is only within the last two hours that circumstances put the opportunity in my band s Now I am in a position to talk business with you." "I am sorry that you didn't say something about it yes terday, or even this morning," she said. "What difference does that make as 1ong as I am ready now to buy the show?" asked the boy wonderingly. "Do you wish me to understand that you have changed your mind about selling?" "Oh, no,'' she answered. "But you see I received a call about an hour ago from one of the parties who wrote me about his intention of coming on here to look the property ove r with a view of buying it. His name is Ogden Skinner, and he and another man hav e just gone to the lot to inspect the property." "Tha t 's too bad," repli e d Tom) looking very much dis appoint ed. "Did you giv e him an option on it?" "No, I wouldn't do any busine s s with him without first consulting you." "Then I still have a chance to get the show?" said Tom, looking much relieved. "Yes; but it would hav e been ever so much better bad I known that you were interested in purchasing the property yourself. I think my late husband would have preferred Jou as his successor. I know he had every confidence in you." "I did my best while in his employ to deserve his good opinion, Mrs. Sellus." "I am sure you did, and if I had not made up my mind to dispose of the show I sllould certainly have you to run it for me." r I


OUT WITH HIS OWN CIRCUS. "So I told Mr. Chase at his house," said Tom. "Well, as matters now stand I cannot accept your offer until I have given Mr. Skinner an opportunity to make a bid. That is only fair to him, since he has come here :from New York for that purpose." "That's right, Mrs. Sellus. All I can ask of you i s to give me the cliance to offset his prop6sition with a better one, if I can afford to do it." "I am willing to give you the refusal 0 it on that con dition. I will tell him when he calls that I have another offer." "Thank you, Mrs. Sellus." Mr. Smedley makes you a better offer than this Mr. Skinner, I will stand by him," said Mr. Chase, as he and Tom arose to go. Mrs. Sellus bowed and her two visitors took their parture. "I will go over t.P the lot now," said Tom, "and see this Mr. Skinner and find out what he thinks of the show. I will call and see you later about this matter." The banker nodded and they separated. When Tom reached the winter quarters of the circus, he found Mr. Skinner and his friend looking over the wagons and other paraphernalia of the show, as well as sizing up the buildings, in company with...J;lrn superintendent of the grounds. Tom was introduced to him, and Mr. Skinner had a whole lot of questions to ask him about business matters connected with the show. In the course of their conversation the young business manager learned that Mr. Skinner was not prepared to put up more than a third of the cash on his bid. He proposed to give his notes secured by mortgage for the balance. Tom was glad to learn this, and he intimated that he did not think Mrs. Sellus would dispose of the show on those terms. "Why not?" demanded Skinner, sharply." "Because she wants all cash," replied Tom. "She'll never get it," he said, with the air of a man who spoke from convictiqn. "I shall make her a good offer. She had better take it, unless she has other people on the string, for the season is on top of us, and she'll either have to sell quick or send out the show at her own risk. You are booked to open at Centerport on the twentieth of next month, so every day counts now." "She has another prospective purchaser who is prepared to pay all cash." "Vlho is he?" asked Skinner quickly. "That is a question I am not at liberty to answer "Has he made an offer?" "Only in a general way." "He has not made a specific proposition in dollars and cents, then?" said Skinner, looking hard at Tom. "He has not; but in making your bid for this property you must bear in mind that the party in question may go you one better, in which case--" "I should be out of it, eh?" replied Skinner, with an un pleasant smile. "Has he gone over the ground already?" "He is familiar with all that is necessary for hin1 to know in order to arrive at a correct idea what the show is worth to him." "Hum! Just so," answered Mr. Skinner, looking thoughtful. The ciTcus man had nothing further to ay to Tom, but walked off and joined his friend, with whom he entered into a conversation, and they went over their notes together. Later on Ogden Skinner called on Mrs. Sellus and sub mitted his bid for the property, which was higher than he had originally intendea, as well as the terms on which he wished to purchase it. Mrs. Sellus told him that she could not entertain any terms other than cash in full for the show He tried to persuade her to reconsider her determina tion, going to the extent of raising the ante by several thou sand dollars, but met with no encouragement As he cou ld not pay even half cash, he left the town much disgruntled over his failure to secure the circus. Next morning the second applicant appeared, went over the property and made his offer on a cash basis. Mrs. Sellus said she would consider his piopositi?n and send him her answer to the hotel where he was stoppmg. Then she despatched a messenger for Tom On his arrival she told him abo'rtt the second offer she had received, which was a cash one. Tom offered her $5,000 advance on it. Thereupon she notified the circus man that his offer was declined. He called upon her and offered $10,000 i11ore than his original bid. She declined 4> accept it, saying that she had practically closed with another party on better terms. When Tom learned that she had refused a bid of $5,000 more than his own in his favor he raised his offer to that figure, that she might lose nothing through her inclination to benefit him, and the papers were signed transferring all her right and title in the show to him, receiving Mr. Chase's check in payment in full. Next day Tom gave Mr. Chase his note for three years for the money he had advanced, and signed a mortgage covering the whole of the circus property as security for. the payment of said note. A notice was then posted up in the main building on the lot to the effect that Tom Smedley was now sole proprietor and director of the Great Oriental and Occidental Circus and Menagerie, which would take the road within two weeks. CHAPTER V. MOLLY STARK. All through the winter a nun1ber of women had been busy on new uniforms and trappings for man, woman and beast There was rich plush and gold bullion galore in the little workshop on the second floor of the main building. 'The pretty spangles that were to glitter in the ring were sewed in place. The one elephant, which was a feature of the show, was provided with a new jacket of royal purple and gold; while the pair of camels were fitted out afresh for the parade. 'l'hese gorgeous :fittings are more or less expensive, but the circus management calculates that they must be renewed every year ..


8 OUT WITH HIS OW r CIRCUS Circus day, or the beginning of tenting season on the road, to the men who have a fortune invested, it will be seen, means the culmination of long and careful and systematic preparation. Of course in the case of a one-ring old-fashioned show of the Oriental and Occitlental {ype, the expense account and the advance preparations were very much reduced as com pared with the up-to-date three-ring modern circus, such as makes its bow in the Madison Square Garden, New York City, every spring Tom Smedley didn't have any too much time in which to complete his final preparations to take the road. 1 While the tour really began at Centerport, on the river, twenty miles away, on April 20th, an afternoon and evening performance was t9 be given at Fowlersville on Saturday, the 18th. This was according to Mr. Sellus's custom, and was some thing in the nature of a dress rehearsal, though it was always given without a hitch, and was really in no wise dif ferent froni of the subsequent performances. Tom, as soon as he became the actual head of the organ ization, sent out his "call" for the performers and other people engaged for the season to report on a certain date at Fowlersville. It was necessary for the professional;; to have a week in which to rehearse or perfect their new acts, and for the whole show tobe put together. On Saturday morning, April 4th, the advertising corps started in to bill Fo,rl e r sYille and the neighboring countu, and when they had finished, the big wagon, containing a week's supply of po s ters and lithographs, went on toward Centerport, with two small teams trailing on. behind. In the case of the Great Oriental and Occide ntal Circus two weeks' advance work ahead was considered sufficient to attract general attention to the coming show. \Yith larger shows, traveling by rail, and covering a far wider area of territory, thirty days is about the usuai time allowed for each day's exhibition .. Tom had the advantage of a nrticularly astute and experienced advertising man, who also filled the position of press agent. His name was Billings. He was particularly resourceful of schemes and plots, and h e left no stone unturned, or chance overlooked, to gain an advantage. Billboards, barns, fences, trees, and all other available space was bought up by this individual, either for cash or in return for tickets to the performance. While one big circus of nationai reputation has been known to use in a season upward of seventy kinds of posters, var ying in size from one to sixty sheets, and let loose on the public twelve publications, from a four-sheet to a twenty page courier, Tom's "paper" was much more modest in its proportions. What it lacked in variety was made up in brilliancy of colors and wording. One had only to read posters and advertising matter produced by the fertile brain of Billings to understand the weird and wonderful possibilities of the English language. Tom always maintained that Billings was better known in the profession than Shakespeare, although Shakespeare never did much for circuses. The advance matter that Billings sent abroad for the benefit of the Gi:eat Oriental and Occidental Circus was a wonder in itself. He was admittedly a corking press agent, and more than one big show had t r ied to entice him away from the late Mr. Sellus, but for reasons of his own Billings was true to his old boss, and he likewise assured Tom that as long as he was treated well he ne, er would secede Between the date that the first paper was posted in Fow lersville and the Saturday afternoon when the first perform ance was to be given in that town, Tom had his hands full of business. 'l'he chief ticket seller of the previous season, a post for merly filled by Tom himself, was advanced to the dignity 1 trea urer, and he was provided with an expert accountant to help him out. 'I'om found himself provided by the late circus proprietor with a fine array of circus talent. Among these was the star of the previous season, Miss Molly Si.ark, des cribed on the bills as Mademoiselle Celes tine, from the Cirque Imperiale, Paris, and elsewhere She was an accomplished and daring bareback rider, who did all kinds of s tunts in a line rarely attempted by women, who generally confine themselves to wide pads strapped on their horse's back. She was a handsome, graceful girl, of about seventeen years, who had been trained by her father. She and Tom had become uncommonly friendly during the previous season, and what Tom wouldn't do for her was hardl y worth mentioning. What s he would have been willing to do for Tom was a secret known only to herself. She and her fai.her, who was a widowet, were among the first arrivals at Fowlersville. They brought their own trained horses, three animals, with them, and 1.he first morning after their advent in town they had the animals out in the lot the main build ing putting them through a few paces. Molly h1,1d expected to see Tom at the station the after noon before to meet her, as she had written him >yhen she and her father were coming on, and she was greatly disap pointed, and perhaps a little piqued, to find that he did not s how up. But there was a reason, as s he oon found out. Not until she and her father reached the lot next morn ing about eleYen did either of them know that Tom Smed ley was the new "main squeeze" of the show. It was a great surprise to them, as they had supposed the circus was going out under the proprietorship of Mrs. Sellus, but with a general manager to rep1resent her. Molly was not sure whether she was pleased or not. Perhaps the real reason of this was that she saw in this ch::mge a gulf opening between her and the boy for whom she secretly felt something more than a warm friendship. As proprietor of the show '11om could hardly be expected to treat her in the same old intimate way as he had been accustomed to do. He was now her boss and she almost resented their al tered relationship. So when Tom, pleased to death at the chance of greeting her once more, seized a few minutes from his multitudinous duties t?_ cO:tp,.9_ out into the lot to tell her how glad he was


OUT WITH HIS OWN CIRCUS 9 lo sec her again after several months of separation, though they had corresponded with unfailing regularity up to the moment he became head of the show, she received him with a coolness that surprised and hurt him "What's the matter, Molly?" he said, with a look in his eyes that almost conquered her newly fo1111ecl resolution to be henceforth only his friend in a professional way. "I thought you would be glad to see me." "Why, 9 course I'm glaQ. to see you,tMr. Smedley," she replied with a light laugh which was clearly forced. "You have a strange way of showing it, then," he said in a troubled tone "Your last letter gave me no suspicion that-that-well, no matter. You scarce ly touched my hand when .I offered it to you, ancl now instead of Tom you call me Mr .. Smedley "I could not think of addressing you as Tom, now that you are the owner of this show," she replied almost coldly, though there was a wistful light in her eyes which belied the tone of her voice. "I suppose on the same principle I ought to call you Miss Stark," he answered 'The jump I have made from business manager to proprietor of the show hasn't changed my feelings toward you, at any rate, however it may have changed your attitude toward me. To me you are the same Molly, even if-if I have ceased to interest you. He gave her one longing look and turned away. stretched out one of hanc'ls toward him, and the familiar name of Tom was on her lips, when her father came up and greeted the new head of the show. Then, with a tear in her eye and a quiver to her lip, she walked her horse away. CHAPTER VI. OUT WITH HJS OWN CIRCUS. Fowlersville always turned out en masse to give the Great Oriental and Occidental Circus and Menagerie a grand send-off. TJiis season was no exception to the i'ule, and the way that the money flowed in at the window of the ticket wagon for both the afternoon and \Jl'Cning performances made Tom feel that things had begun to come his way.' ,\nd yet he wasn't thoroughly happy }[oily Stark was no longer the same Molly, and that fact almost broke him up. He hungered for the old free -andeasy intercourse, they two had enjoyed lhc past season, but a wall seemed to have grown up between them, and whe:n they met they exchanged merely a bow and perhaps few polite words After Saturday night's show all the paraphernalia of the circus was loaded on the respeciivc wagons, and then c1erything was in readiness for the start at midnight on Sunday. The gilded chariots were hidden under their time worn traveling canvas covers, and the lot presented the appear ance of an army subsistence train ready to depart for the front The performers, who had rested all Sunday at their boarding-houses, presented themselves at the lot about ten o'clock and were stowed away aboard the vans devoted to th8ir transportatiqn. The canvasmen and other employees got aboard the vans allotted to them, and last 0 all the drivers of the numerous vehicles mounted to their places, and the signal to start being given, the long train filed out of the lot and took the road for a season which would la st about seven months, winding up in the South, where the performers, and a ll workmen not actually needed for the return trip to winter quarters, would be dropped. Mr. Sellus always trave led with the show in a comfo rt able van, especially built for his own use, and this van was now, as a matter of course, appropriated by Tom Although Tom was now in a position to travel in comfort and style, to whfoh he had heretofore been a st ranger, and for which he had often envied the dead circus proprietor, he soon realized the truth of the old saying: "Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown." I:n other words, the risks and responsibilities he was face to face with woul d have made a bed of roses feel hard in deed. His van led the long procession on the road toward Cen terport, and while others slept he lay wide awake on his soft couch. The night was chilly and the sky overcast The latt er fact troubled him not a little, for if it rained hard next day it was bound to make a whole lot of differ ence in his receipts, though the show would hold forth any way, rain or shine. The rain would dim the glories of the pageant as it en tered Centerport early in the forenoon, but the parade would take place just the same, notwithstanding the incon venience it would entail upon the employees and per formers A circus always keeps its dates, be the circumstances what they may. But the prospect of rain was only one of the many anxi eties that the sense of proprietorship of a big enterprise brought to Tom. The honor and prospect of large pecuniary reward as the owner of a traveling show was overshadowed at this early stage of the game by the thousand-and-one perplexing problems that no one can understand except he who is up against them Tom remembered how he had grumbled at the hardships 0 travel in the days when his mind was comparatively care free. He now realized that physical troubles are as nothing compared with mental ones. Anxious as he was about the welfare of his new enterprise, one thing worried him more than all his othet troubles, and that was the break between himself and Stark. If it had been a bit of scrap between 1J1e,11 lie would have had hopes of being .able to patch the difficulty up in a day or two But the matter was far more serious than that. He was the owner of the show and she now his salaried employee The plane on which they used to meet on terms of equal ity had diverged, and it looked as if time woula. only serve to increase the distance between them They were friendly, it is true, but the intimacy he craved no longer exi sted Their changed circumstances prevented it to a large extent, but the girl1s attitude on the day 0 h er first appear-


10 OUT WITH HIS OWN CIRCUS. ance at the lot was really responsible for the completenes of it. Five hours of lumbering travel brought the circus train to a point on the road about a mile out s ide 0 the suburbs of Centerport and there it came to a re s t. Tom had fallen asleep about two o'clock, and he was still slee ping when the driver of his van signaled the driver behind him and reined in. The s ignal passed down the line, and each vehicle in turn drew up alongside of the hedge. There was no sign of rain in the sky now. The clouds had passed away with their threatened mois ture and a fine day'was in prospect, which was a good omen for Tom and his show. It was only a little after five, and the sun was not yet up. The drivers covered their animal s with blankets and then curled themselves up on their seat s for a brief rest. The elephant looking dingy and sleepy-eyed, stood with hanging trunk in his tracks as if the world h e ld no pleas ures for him at that moment. The other animals connected with the menagerie were closed up in their cage s probably asleep, or resting in their own way. All the life, animation and brightness of the circu s as the general public sees it, was wanting, but had it been a dark and rainy morning the s ight would have been a dreary one indeed. Thus an hour passed, morning broke and the sun peeped bright and rosy aboye the di stant landscape. Then the ringing note s of a small bugle wrought an instantaneous change. -'J.lhe drivers tumbled off the ir perches and started to feed, water and groom their horses. The workmen s vans disgorged their human freight, who first hurried to a neighboring rivulet to lave their faces, and then got busy with their variou s duties. The snack stand was soon er e cted, and the cook started to prepare a huge vessel of coffee over a portable coal-oil stove. While that was under way lre proceeded to provide several piles of sandwiches made with tongue, ham, chicken and hard-boiled eggs. The chariots were soon divested of their canvas coverings, anc1 began to glisten in the rays of the early morning s un. Th<1 road was presently littered w ith gaudy trappings, flags, and general d e corations for the parade M:en were hurrying to and fro, executing orders given in stentorian toues. A farmer, driving a load of truck to market, passed slowly down the line on the opposite side of the road, gazing with interest and awe upon the caravan which was to blossom out into a gorgeous show as soon as it took up its march into town. Some of the men performers now appeared and hurried to the rivulet to perform a hasty kind of toilet before pro ceeding to the snack stand for a bite. It was nearly seven o'clock when Tom emerged from his van and took a survey of the weather first of all. He noted with satisfaction that the day be a fine one, and he anticipated a large attendance at both afternoon and evening shows. He walked down the long line of horses, vans and chariots, and gave sundry instructions here and there a s he pro ceeded. On his way back he ordered his horse to be saddled, and while this was being done an employee brought a plate of sandwiches and a cup of steaming hot coffee to his van. After dispo s ing of the food he mounted his animal, with a diagram of the route to be followed by the parade, as out lined and sent back by the advance man, who proceeded the circus by a few days, and whose business it was to follow up and round out the work of Billing s th e press agent and advertising manager. This astute individual verified the list of advertising privileges, provided for the insertion of newspap e r adver tisements, and in fine attended to the multitudinous duties of a general advance man. Tom rode back along the line once more as far a s the the women performers. Apparently he was on a second tour of inspection, but in reality his obje ct was to catch a glimpse of Molly Stark, and, if poss ible, exchange a word or two with her. In this he was not successful, and after riding a bit further down the line, he turned and galloped off toward town. His purpo s e was to go over the route of the parade and familiarize him s elf with its conditions. It was possible that his foresight might suggest changes in the line of march. A street that might have been in good shape when the advance man went over it might now be turned up in some part for furthe ring municipal improvement; or perhaps the advance man did not appreciate that at a certain point the parade might double on itself. As Tom was to lead the parade in person it behooved him to make sur e in advance that everything would pass off without a hitch. In the present case he found no difficulties to be overcome, and he returned to the caravan to find everything in r e adines s for the s tart. After a final inspection, during which he rode up beside Molly Stark, who was attired in a spangled dress of fluffy material, reaching to h e r kn ees, and mounted on her black mare Nellie, and paus e d long e nough to press h e r shapely hand and say good-morning with hi s heart in his eyes, he gave the signal to start The gorgeously decorated band-wagQll, drawn by six ponies in shining harness and waving plumes, and carrying its load of gaudily dr e s sed musician s led off the line di rectly b e hind Tom hims e lf. Then followed a cavalcade of mounted Roman riders, jockeys, vestals, and acrobats. After them the one elephant in his purple and gold jacket, with a howdah fasten e d on his back, in which were s eated two of the female performers in Hindoo costume. Behind the elephant cam e the two camel s each led by a workman disguised as an Arab, and sandwiched between them an ostrich harnessed to a light gilt wagon driven by a young girl professional. After them several knights armed cap-a-pie, and then the cage containing the royal Bengal tiger Rajah, with his keeper and trainer, Jack McM:as ters, reclining negligently on his back. Then followed the three Roman chariot s that figured in ;


OUT WITH HIS OWN CIRCUS. 11 the final whirlwind act of the show, each driven by the man who appeared in the race. Succeeding them followed the cages of the menagerie, the whole winding up a steam calliope. The wagons containmg the tents, seats, and everything else connected with the material part of the show, had long before gone on to the lot, which on their arrival became a bee-hive of industry, for everything had to be ship-shape by the time the parade reached the field. The blaring music from the band-wagon, almost sur rounded by a cloud of small boys, who, gorged with happi ness, kept pace with it, announced the approach of the pro cession into town, and soon the streets along the line of march became densely crowded with young and old of both sexes, all eager to see the cavalcade that many of them had been dreaming about ever since the bills appeared on every available space in that neighborhood. The inevitable hay wagon was in the column, and nimble acrobats, attired in real farm-hand costume, tossed lightly on its soft burden. Many of the spectators imagined that the wagon had got mixed up in the show by accident and couldn't get free, which was the idea meant to be conveyed. The clown of the show accompanied the parade as an independent attraction in a dilapidated wagon behind a weird-looking horse. His countryman disguise was so perfect that his identity was not suspected. He was always in the way, impeding the smooth progress of the parade. He became involved in all kinds of plights, once narrowly escaping being run down by a big circus wagon, but emerged unscathed. Occasionally a policeman along the route threatened him, and once he was actually arrested; but when he explained who he was the crowd roared at the bluecoat's expense. And so the Great Oriental and Occidental Circus and Menagerie made its triumphant entry into Centerport, and the prospect that it would perform to overflowing business in the afternoon and evening could hardly be questioned. At any rate, Tom saw a heavy box full of greenbacks in the perspective, and his spirits rose as the procession passed along the streets and finally made its way to the lot, fol lowed by a considerable crowd whose time appeared to be their own. CHAPTER VIL A TERRIBLE MOMENT. Order came out of confusion 'at the lot when the parade broke up there. Everything was in readiness for the performances, seats and stands and rings and trapezes in place, and every man at his post. The cages were dragged into the menagerie addition to the big tent, the horses were led to their canvas stalls, the elephant being pressed into the duty of pushing the red and gilt vehicles into place. Down dropped the side wall, ropes were set, and the prep aration was complete. JI'he crowd that had followed the procession :filled the en closure in front. A barker proceeded to take immediate advantage of their presence by appearing on a platform in front of the side show tent and proclaiming with fluency and skill and ora torial effect the wonders of tlie exhibition within. A row of pictorial banners added weight to his discou rse. The side-show was run on sharing terms with Tom by_ this man, who provided the curiosities, consisting of a w il d man from Borneo, a human lamp, a Circassi.an beauty, a midget, a living skeleton, a fat woman, a gypsy fortune teller, and an expert knife thrower with his small curly headed boy assistant. The crowd listened in open mouth wonder to the barker's harangue, gazed at the pictures, especially the one repre senting the capture of the savage in the wilds of Borneo, and finally at one of the freaks called to the platform for a moment's survey. As an irresistible attraction the wild man's dinner a raw hunk of beef, impaled on a slender iron rod and bran dished aloft-was exhibited. The crowd hesitated no longer, but made a rush for the ticket booth, and was soon :filling the tent, at ;i. uniform admission fee of ten cents. During the first two seasons of the Great Oriental and Occidental Show Manager Sellus sent his people to a hotel for their regular meals, of which they had two-one about noon and the other at five, but there were too much delay and unsatisfactory provisions in this plfn and the circus felt their injurious effects. Accordingly the proprietor added the "cook tent" to h i s outfit the previous season, and fed his people on the lot. The advance man saw that all the needs of the commis s ary department were provided for, and so when the circus arrived at the lot in Centerport, meat, vegetables, water, and other requirements awaited the hands of the cook. Dinner was ready at noon, and the eating-tent was soon filled with the hungry performers, and such other employees as were not engaged at the time. There were two long tables-the performers sat around one, and the executive staff, and others above the grade o f workmen, occupied the other. Tom himself sat at the head of the seconu one. Outside, the advance guard of the public were hanging about the entrance to the big tent, or were being entertained in the side-show. About the time that dinner was over the first of the big crowd expected that sunshiny afternoon began to arrive, and from that time on up to the beginning of the perform ance at half-past one, the spectators appeared in gradually increasing throngs. The trolley cars running out of Centerport passed rig h t by the lot, and though the company pressed all its extra rolling stock into service, they were not sufficient to meet the emergency, so that hundreds were obliged to walk t o And they did it, too, without a kick, for the Great O r i ental and Occidental Circus was a popular instituti o n in Centerport. The vacant spaces in the lot began to fill up with ever y imaginable kind of a conveyance from the farms a n d sm all villages within a radius of fifteen miles about. These were left hitched to the long fence at one side until the show was over.


.,. OUT WITH HIS OWN CIRCUS. 'l'om had his hands full in front as the crowd began to lest the small boy, or his older relative, crawl under the gather fabric and gain free admission The ticket wagon was soon surrounded with a growing So watchful were these men, and so obdurate against crowd clamoring for the sale to begin; but although the pleading juvenile persuasion, that surreptitious entrance treasurer and his assistant were inside waiting for the signal was pretty effectually barred. to open up, Tom took his own time about giving it, notExactly at halfpast olile o'clock the band, from its elewithstanding the impatience of the mob. vated perch in the tent, started up the music for the "grand 'rhere was an advantage to the management by no undue entree" of all the performers on horseback; and the after hastc in distributing the tickets, and this was the harvest noon show was on. reaped by the side -show. The star act of the performance was Molly Stark's bareFinally Tom gave the signal to his treasurer, and the back riding, during which she dove through paper-covered moment the window of the wagon was opened the crowd hoops and turned somersaults over banners, besides execut pressed up closer, the two men inside facing a sea of uping various other hairraising feats on the back of Nellie, turned, distorted, perspiring faces, though the day was cool, her coal-black steed. whil e aloft the air was full of hands brandishing admission 'rhe people had seen her the previous season, but she had money a new act this time that aroused the audience to a fever-heat The jam around that wagon was s i mply great, and the of enthusiasm. crowd momentarily grew bigger. While she was in the ring Jack McMasters, who was to "We'll haYe a corking crowd to-day," muttered Tom to follow, had the cage containing his trained Bengal tiger himself. "It looks as if there won't be a seat to spare, and taken from its position in the menagerie and brought close that we'll have to turn many away for the evening show. to the performers' entrance I hope this is a specimen of the luck I'll be up against all He was all ready to put the beast through his paces before season. If it is there will be a fine balance in my favor at the admiring throng, and while awaiting his turn was talkthe end of the tour." ing to one of the trapeze artists a short distance away. The rates of admission--fifty cents for adults and halfRajah, the tiger, was not in .his best mood that afternoon. price for children from two years and a half to ten, those Something had gone wrong with him, and he was pacing under the former being admitted free-were conspicuously his cage in a sullen way, as if longing to be back in his posted. native wilds, where he would not be obliged to show his inWonderful and varied were the devices resorted to in telligence twice a day, but would have a holiday all year order to secure halfrate admission for children considerably round. over ten, and many parents insisted that robust kids of five 'rom Smedley was standing just outside the red curtains and six were entitled to free entrance. that veiled the entrance to the dressing-rooms, watching To the main entrance came the swarm of writt e n orders Molly go through her act for tickets issued by Billings, anCl. afterwards by the advance She was such a daring performer that he always felt neragent, to pay for advertising privileges vous when she was on. As a precautionary measure against imposition Tom sent The meJ! who held hoops and banners had instruca number of his employees out during the time of the pa tio'ns to w atch her af every stage of tlie act, and be ready r ade with lists of those places where lithos and bills should to catch her if they could in case she gave any indication of b e found posted up. taking a tumble If the circus advertisement had been removed, or hidden, An exhibition of marksmanship was to follow the peror disfigured, a note was made of the fact, and thus at the formance of McM:asters and his tiger. time of the opening of the doors Tom held in hi s hand a The sharpshooter was all ready, and had been watching complete list of those who were ancl who wer e not entitled Molly Stark from behind the curtain near where Tom stood. to r ecognition, and strict justice was dealt out to any Somebody, however, called him away and he stood hi s quent when he appeared with his order, much to his chagrin r ifle up against the side of the entrance and disappointment As .Molly successfully finished her act with a whirlwind At no stage of tlie proceedings was Tom asleep. dash around the ring the rifle slipped from the wall, fell He knew his business from the ground floor llp, and while outward and etruck against Tom's fog. he was polite in dealing with the public he was firm in re He stooped and picked it up sistincr unfair demands. Just then the girl spra ng lightly from the horse and be-. an hour before the performance was to begin the gan bowing to the spectators, who shook the tent with their bicr tent seemed to be crowded but many more tumultuous applause. seats in the enclosure. At that moment shouts of alarm were heard behind the Finally Tom reluctantly sent word to his treasurer to stop curtain. the sale, as all the seats were occupied. Tom turned to go behind, but as he did so he saw the There were a hundr_ed oi: more people around the wagon, striped form of the Bengal tiger creeping through the cur or making for it, when the window was closed, and they tain were turned away, to their great disappointment; but it For a moment his heart stood still, for he realized the couldn't be helped, there was no room for them in the big desperate exigency of the moment. tent. Rajah had in some way escaped from his cage, which Vigilant canvasmen picketed the s'tretches of cloth, alert stood a few yards away, and unless he was instantly headed


OUT WITH HIS OWN CIRCUS. 13 off from the audience, and recaptured, no one could say Of course the tiger act was omitted, and was cut out of what might not happen. I the evening performance as well, for Rajah, while not seriThe fate of the circus even hung in the balance, for if ously injured, was badly crippled for the time being, never the animal got among the crowd a terrible panic was certheless. tain to result with the most deplorable results, even if the The band, after playing through the excitement, stopped, beast did not kill or maim any one himself. and then the leader gave the music cue for the marksm anRajah paused an instant, while his sullen and baleful ship act, which consisted of all kinds of stunts 'lt sharpshooteyes glanced at the young proprietor of the show. \ ing, and finally the shooting of a small apple off a boy's Then, lashing the tanbark with his mighty tail, he glared head while the marksman stood with his back toward the straight at the ring and the lithe form of Molly Stark. lad and took aim with the aid of a small looking-glass. With a roar that shook the canvas top the tiger sprang The thrill that went through the audience at this ticklish upon "M'lle Celestine," and instantly the applause of the feat was increased by the band, which had been playing spectators was changed to cries of horrified surprise right along, stopping suddenly as the man started to take 'l'om quickly raised the rifle and fired point-blank at the aim at the apple. beast. A death-like hush fell upon the spectators, many of whom turned away their heads, while a goodl y part of the women folk caught their breath and turned pale. CHAP'J.'ER VIII. It seemed like an age, and you could have almost heard WHAT TOM SAID TO MOLLY AND WHAT SHE SAID TO HIM. a pin drop, before the marksman pulled the trigger. Molly realized her peril and that there seemeq to be no escape from a terrible death. Her terrified scream mingled with the sharp report of the rifle. The tiger was in the air when Tom fired, and the ball went as true as a die against the most vulnerable part of his shoulder -blade. With a screech and roar the animal fell short of his aim, striking the earth at the very feet of the terrified girl, and then rolling over and tearing up the earth and tanbark with his claws. Mc:M:asters was on him in a moment with the whip that the beast knew and feared. As the blows fell in a shower upon the tiger, and several performers rushed up with weapons to assist in the subjuga tion of the aninial, Tom dashed forward and caught the pale and tottering circus rider in his arms. He rushed her through the curtain and into the women's dressing-room, where he turned her over to the woman in charge of the place. Then he rushed back to the arena, for every moment counted now. The audience was in a state bordering on panic, which might even have already started but for the prompt action taken by the ring-master, clown and other attaches, who from different points of the ring assured the spectators that the danger was all over. Tom hastened to add his voice and assurance to the others, walking around the circle of seats and allaying the excitement. Several women had fainted, others were in hysterics, and still others on the verge of it, while children. were crying here and there. The vigorous efforts of Torn and his assistants succeeded in quieting the people who watched the quick subjugation o.f the tiger with bated breath. The animal was covered with a strong netting, provided for just such an emergency, which prevented him from doing any damage to either his trainer or the employees, and in that state he was dragged out by a horse and re turned to his cage, the strong door of which had got open in an inexplicable manner, and thus given the beast hi s liberty. There was a sharp report, and the appJe went spinning in fragments from the boy's head. So great was the people's relief at the successfu l result of the shooting ttat a tremendous burst of applause shook the canvas enclosure, and it was kept up while the man and his nervy young assistant bowed their way out of the While that act was going on, Molly was in a half hys terical condition in the women's dressing-room The shock she had sustained was too much for her strong nerves, and she had wilted like a rag. But one thing she knew-Tom Smedley had saved her life, and had carried her from the ring to the dressing room in his strong ar;ms. As soon as she partially recoYered her composure she asked t.o see him and he was sent for. Of course he came at' once, his heart in a fl.utter of de light at the thought that he had saved her life and thus secured a claim on her consideration, which he had feared was lost to him forever. She met him just outside the door of the dressing-room, and holding out her hand said: "I am very grateful to you, Mr. Smedley, for saving my life." "And I am more happy than you can think because I was in a position to save your life, Molly Won't you drop Mr. Smedley, except in public, and call me Tom, as you did in your letters, and last season with the sho_ w ? he asked earnestly. "Do you really wish me to?" she asked, 19oking down. "Do I ? If you knew all that I wish with reference to yourself you would not ask inc that question A warm blush over the girl's face and neck. "If you lmew how badly I have felt at your seeming coldness since that morning we met in the lot you would perhaps have a little pity ou me," he added. "I did not mean to-to--" she began, and then stopped. "Well, no matter. Let us begin over again, and be the same olcl friends we were. Will you?" "Y cs, if you want to," she answered. "I do want to," he replied eagerly "Don't you?" "Yes," she s aid, raising her eyes shyly to his face. "But can we?"


.. OUT WITH HIS OWN onwus. "Why not? What's to prevent us?" of the fact, and 'he was so happy that he :felt like whooping "We are on a different footing now than what we were things up. last season Then you were an employee like myself; now His face showed the ecstatic state of his feelings but y ou are my employer and I am your b d b d 0 1 .--every o Y ascn e it to the successful commencement of :1 Y m a ?usmess. se_nse," he "As the the tour, for the audience that afternoon was a record one, propnetor of show it 1s true that policy would prevent and another as big was confidently expected to :fill the me from show:mg you any special attention before the that evening others; but privately, between our two selves, we stand on the same footing as we did last season To me you are always Molly; shall I continue to be Tom to you?" "Yes "You have made me very happy ,once more. More happy than you can guess. I have found .it a more difficult and harassing matter to run this show than I dreamed of when I took it in hand. It is a constant source of anxiety to me, for there are a thousand and one things that call for my earnest attention all the time. Yet worrisome as these things are, they were as nothing compared to the distress I felt at the loss of your comradeship. A grateful man of :neans, ':hose little daughter's life I saved from drowning m the nver a short time ago, showed his appreciation of serv ice by buying this show from Mrs. Sellus for me, gmng me my own time to repay the purchase price. This i s the chance of my life, and I ought to make a fortune out of. it; bi:t if I had choose between a fortune and your friendship, Molly, I d throw everything to the winds for your sake There, now you have some idea of my feeling s t o ward you. Had that tiger killed you, as he probably would have done, but that Forrester providentially left-his rifle st-anding within my reach, I think I should have thrown up everything, walked down to the river and put an end to my life." "Oh, Tom, you do not mean that," she said, laying one o f her hands on his arm, while her breast heaved and her eyes glistened. "I do, Molly," he said solemnly. "I care more for you than anything in this world. Do you care a little for me in return?" "I ca r e for you with all my heart. Are you satisfied?" ''Satisfied! I was never more so in my life." He drew her behind one of the three Roman chariots used in the last act of the show that filled a part of the space between the two dressing rooms, and pressina her un resisting form in his arms kissed her lips till sh: hid her blushing and happy face on his shoulder. Then he let her go in time to run against h(>r father, who was looking for him, anxious to thank him for having saved his daughter's life "Don't mention it, old man," he said to Joe Stark who was still an equestrian of no mean ability, and did a with two rather me, for if Forrester hadn t left his nfle withm my reach:, no power on earth could have saved Molly from Rajah." The grateful father believed him, but gave him all the cr edit for his presence of mind and quickness, just the same CHAPTER IX. A HINT OF FOUL PLAY. D uring the rest of the show, which went off without a slip, Tom felt like a bird. MollyJoved him, and had given him undoubted evidence The side-show, too, had done a land-office business, and the evening was still to be heard :from. As soon as the show was over and the last of the crowd liad left the lot, supper was ready in the eating-tent, and all hands, with the exception of the workmen, who had al ready eaten, gathered around the tables and ate their even ing meal with a hearty appetite After supper the people had two hours for rest and recre ation, and they employed the time in various ways as suited their fancy. This, however, did not apply to the hard-worked people of the side-show, who were nearly always on duty from the time the crowd first hove red around in the morning until after the main performance was over at night. While the women performers were busy with fancy work or sewing, and the men were talking over the gossip of the ring, Jack McMasters called rom aside to say something to him that he considered of considerable importance. "I examined the door of Rajah's cage very carefully to try and discover how it was that the b east managed to force it open," said Jack. "Well, what did you :find out?" asked 'J'om. "I found that the lock had been tampered with." "Tampered with!" exclaimed Tom, in surprise. "Yes, tampered with," replied Jack. "You. ought to know that I am too careful with Rajah to leave anything to chance. I have never failed yet during a tour to examine ewry part of the cage at lea st once a day, and the door I inspect several times to make sure that the fastening is in its u sua l condition. Before the cage was moved from the menagerie enclosure I looked the lock over and saw that it was all right. How it could have come open of itself, or t hrough any effort on the part of the tiger, was a mystery to me. But before Rajah was returned to it I made an in vestigation, and the result of this inspection assured me that the door had been tampered with." 'Who could have tampered with it, and for what pur pose?" asked Tom, with a serious expression. "That is what puzzles me. It must have been done bv an expert under circumstances that would almost insure detection." "Ha,ve you made a searching inquiry among the people whose duties brought them within reaching distance of the cage?'" "I have. I've been looking into the matter ever since the affair occurred. I wanted to try and get some light on the thing before I reported the mysterious side of the case to you." "And you have found no clue to the person who, in your opinion, let the tiger out?" "Not the least bit of a clue." "If your suspicions are well founded, as I am bound to believe they are, this is a very serious matter. The circus has evidently an enemy, either on the outside or in the


OUT WITH HIS OWN CIRCUS. 15 per s on of one of the employees I will have t o look into the Mos t of them were congregated near the side-show, where matter very seriou s ly. the barker was r e ady to r e ceive them and, if possible, part I think the circum s tances warrant it, Tom I beg your them from their dimes. pardon Mr. Sm edley. Th e chandelier man was fixing the naphtha torches i n Never mind the mister when we' re together, Jack I their places, and the cool evening breeze from the di stant don't want you to put a handle to my name except before river caused them to flutter and glow in the a i r. oth e r s W e ar e old friends, and I hope will always remain Ins ide the "big top" the big circle of seats wer e as yet so. I hav e n t taken on a swelled head because I have risen barren of s p e ctators, but after the tent was lighted the Wife to the head of thi s show." of Dan O Conner the clown took possession of the ring. to "I'm glad to know that, Tom, for I like you a n d woul d rehear s e her act, which hadn t gone off that afternoon to her be g lad to remain o n the old footing with you." sati s faction, while er hus band acted as ring master "We ll, Jack, a s to this t i ger matter, I shall consider it One of a family of gymnasts was up in the dome of t h e a great favor if you will keep y o ur eyes and ear s open here canva s examining the fastenings of the trapeze ap p a r atus .after all the time. The rascal, whoever he is if an employee to make sure that it was all right for the evenin g's per-, of thi s show, may thus be detected. It was a da s tardly act formance. to l e t that b ea s t loose on the public, for that i s what it At l e ngth there came t h e shr ill n o tr::s o f a whistle, the pe r would have amounted to h ad not Molly Stark attracted his former s scampered to the d ressi ng r ooms, t h e u s h e r s a p eye a t the start-off. I am sorry I was compelled to shoot peared and soon afte r ward the evenin g audi e nce began p o ur the beast, but I had no other course. He is the most val ing into their seats uabl e animal with the show, and had I put him out of busi Out s ide the first p repara t i on s for the d epa r ture from n e s s for good it w1ould hav e don e away with your act for the town w e re under way. sea s on which would hav e been hard on you, though I would Th e cook and eating tents, b l acksm i th, barber a nd oth er h a v e tak e n care to make it all ri ght with y ou in some way." s mall t ents s pread about the lot dropped to t h e earth, w e r e You did the right thing Tom. It was a providential q ui c kl y fold e d up and s towed away on their wago n. cir c um s tance that Forrester l eft his rifl e where you got at it A s hort time after the p e rforma nce began the ropes a nd without the los s of a mom ent. s t a kes holding in pos i tion the marquee at the front e n t rance "It was a chance in a thou s and Clearly the Pow e r that and the menagerie exten s ion to the mai n tent were loosene d guide s all our action s in thi s world a rrang e d thing s s o and the doorkeeper moved back to the open fly in the big that Moll y was to b e s aved. H a d the g irl been kill e d -well, t ent, called the back door. w e won t talk about that. It didn' t happ e n and I am truly The cage s were closed, h o rses hitched, side wall s lowered thankful." and the veh icle s pa ssed out into the night, followed b y the "I can under s tand y our feelings, Tom You like the girl lumb e ring elephant in his night attire a whole lot I guess. At an y rate, it looked that way last In a s hort time nothing remained of the e ncampment sea s on, wh e n you wer e treasurer and bus iness manager." but the noi s y "bi g t op," glowing like a mammot h m u s h"I do like h e r, Tom. I don t mind admitting the,,fact ro o m and the side -show canvas, where the sma ll ba nd o f to you. I car e for h e r more than I do for my own life four mu s icians discour s ed rag time, whil e th8 ba rker s till Some day I inte nd to marr y her. That' s a secret, though, roared with tireless energy to attract the loit e r ers in the whi c h you mus t keep to yourself." vicinity who were watching the break in g up of the c ir c u s "Sure I ll nev e r whi s per a word about it. She's a fin e The work of str i pping the l a r ger te n t procee d e d during girl and an arti s t e to h e r fing e r tip s I've heard one of the performance. the big shows mad e her a fine offe r for this season after her As fa s t as a performer finished h i s act his applia nce was father closed with u s la s t rovembe r but that s he turned it d e ftly carried to a w a iting wagon, down, pre ferring to g o out with S e llu s a g ain." At last the show was o v er and the audience p ou re d into "Yes she wrot e m e about it at the time the offer was the main arteries of the town. made." The side s how orator rec e ived the outgoing thro n g wit h "Well, I'll keep my eyes skinn e d Tom. If I should dis r e n e w e d clamoring c over the man who fixe d that door s o Rajah c ould get out T o tak e thi s last advantage and let no chance of p rofit I'll make thing s s o hot for him tha t h e' ll think twice b e -escape, that t ent had been k ept open fore h e atte mpt s any mor e trick s lik e it," sa id J ack, with Th e freak s w e r e tire d and yawning with the mono t o n y a s hake of his head that meant no good for the ofl'e nd e1'. of it all, and eag e rly await e d the ir la s t call to the front "He des erves to b e handl e d without gloves. If h e is In the big top the "concert" was going on b e fore a sma ll found out I shall certainly have him arrested and put p r oportion of the spectators who had taken in the ma in through for the act," r e plied Tom. "A panic was narrowl y show. averted. You h."llow what such a thing as that would mean It didn' t amo unt t o a whole l ot, and ten cents covered the to the circu s." pric e of a s eat. ,"It would put the show in a bad hole." As the majority of the seats were unoccupi e d workme n "I should say that it would." were taking them to pieces while the concert went on. Tom and the tig e r trainer then separated, the young cir Tom' s privat e van carried a good-sized saf e in which the cus propri e tor g oing out in front money had already been locked up, and the driver, a trus te d Twilight hov ered about th e lot, and quite a crowd of the man, stood at the door with a loaded revolver in h i s coat early birds had arrived for the e v ening performance, which pocket until the boss of the show ap p eared to take posseswould not begin for more than an hour yet. sion.


16 OUT WITH HIS OWN CIRCUS. ==================================--=================================== The ticket wagon had long since disappeared from its position in front o:f the big tent and had taken its allotted position among the other wagons of the caravan. The snack stand was open down near the wagon train, and was the last thing to be loaded up when the moment o:f departure came. At length the. concert and s ide-show were both done, and the two tents, the big one and the small ditto, were taken down. The denuded center poles followed to the ground, and where a few hours before was a white encampment was now a dark, bare area, rutted with wheels, trodde n by many feet, and littered with peanut shells and sawdust Already the wagon train was in motion, with a red lamp at the rear of each vehicle to denote its position to the driver of the one beh ind, and the Great Oriental and Occidental Circus and Menagerie was on its way to its next day's stand, aft e r having made a goodly harvest of shekels at Centerport. CHAPTER X. everyt hing looked lovely up to a little after five o'clock, when the performers and executive staff were seated around the tables in the eating tent getting their s-pper. 'l'hen the assembly, Tom in particular, were thrown into a fit of consternation by the sudden appearance of a small boy, not connected with the show, rushing into the tent and exclaim in g : "Mister, a man is settin fire to the menagerie." "What do you mean?" cr i ed Tom, springing to his f eet At the same time J ack McMasters and Tay lor, the elephant keeper, started from their places at the table, and made a ru s h for the menagerie enclosure. Through the still afternoon air came the loud trumpeting of Nero, the elephan t showing that something was clearly wrong in that quarter. Tom pushed the sma ll youth who had brought the warn ing aside and followed at the heel s of the two men, while after him ru s hed all the men performers and attaches The very suspic ion of a fire in the circus carried conster nation with it. It might mean the destruction of the whole or greater HOW THE ELEPHANT SAVED THE CIRCUS part of the show, and that would be a terrible calamity to That night, during the long ride to Chestertown, Tom all hands, from the proprietor down. slept like a top. The elephant was making a terrible rumpus. His mind was comparatively at peace. He seemed to be in a violent rage over something. The show had begun with satisfactory prospects, but more There were no s igns of :fire as yet as the men rushed tothan that even, he had made up with Molly and extracted ward the menagerie from her a confession of her regard for him. W"Hen they finally dashed into the enclosure where the The h-qndred and one sma ller problems that always were anima l s were l ocated a startling scene met their eyes. befor e him were dwarfed into in s ignificance by those two1 On the ground lay the unconscious form of the workman important facts who had been left on watch in the place, with a stream of The only thing that worried him at all was whether he blood running down his face, while further on the elephant had a traitor in the camp. had another attache encircled around the waist with his l he had, no stone must be left unturned to bring the trunk and was swinging him back and forth in the air. rascal to light 'rhe man clutched a li ghted naphtha torch in bis fist, and He hoped that Jack McMasters had been mistaken in his his face was the picture of terror sur mise of crooked work, and that to accident alone was A pile of twigs and brushwood la y smoldering against due the escape of Rajah; but just the same he was not the side wall, and seemed on the point of bursting going to take any chances if he could h elp him self out into a blaze. The circus made its entry into C h estertown in the 8ame This small bonfire lay just within reach of the spot whern mann e r it had done at Centerport, and attracted jus t as Nero was chained to a stout post driven into the ground. much notice and excit ement 'rhe huge beast seemed to be debating whether or not The day was equally fine, and Tom was in high feather to dash the attache to the ground at his feet and crush him OYe r the prospects of a big at this town, too with one of his hug e legs He had seen Molly for a few minutes before the parade His little beady eyes lighted up and he stopped his noise started, and her shy and tender smile assured him that all at the appearance of Taylor, his keeper, followed by Mcserene in that quarter. Masters, Tom, and the others She was looking :fine and feeling very happy, for her 'l'he boy who bad given the alarm of fire brought up in dreams had been filled with visions of the hand some circus the rear of the procession. proprietor wl10rn she knew loved her with all his heart Taylor ordered Nero to drop his burden, and he did so Still she could not repress an occasional shudder as she obediently. thought of the narrow escape from death she had had from 'rhe keeper caught the man by the collar and yanked him Ifojah, but the unpleasant fact was softened by the lrnowl on his feet, stepping on the torch as he did so. euge that she had been saved by the boy of her heart, and l\IcMasters and another man ru shed at the smoldering i.hat circumstance made her feel more than ever in love pile of bru s hwood, kicked it away in a twinkling, and with him. ha stily trampled out every vestige of fire. Tom had made arrangements with the Fowlersville Bank "What in thunder does all this mean?" demanded Taylor to recei, e all moneys expressed te> it by him during the tour, of bis prisoner. "What did you have that torch in here and one of his earliest duties was to take a large part of the for? Were you trying to fire the sh ow?" previous clay's receipts to the express office in Chestertown The fellow regarded his questioner in sullen silence. and send it through to Fowlersville". Tom then took a hand in the matter There was a packed house at the afternoon show, and "Look here, my man, what is the meaning of this con-


OUT WITH HIS OWN 'C1RCUS. 17 duct on your part? Did you start that fire against the side wall?" 'l'he man made no answer. "It's easy to see that that is just what the rascal did do," said Taylor, in a savage tone. "Come here, my lad," said Tom, when he spied the boy who had rushed into the eating-tent with the istartling in telligence. "Tell us what you saw in this tent." "I was peeking through a slit in the canvas there," he said, pointing at the place where a huge gash had been made by a sharp knife, "and I seen that man creep up be hind that man there on the ground and hit him on the head with something he had in his hand. Then he took that thing," pointing at the torch, "from behind the tiger cage, lighted it and set fire to that pile of stuff that was against the canvas. I thought he was goin' to set fire to the circus, so I ran and told you about it." "You did the right thing, my boy,.and you'1!hall be re warded for your conduct," said Tom. "Well, what have you to say for yourself now?" he added, turning to the prisoner. othin'," answered the man doggedly. "That is equivalent to admitting your guilt," replied Tom sternly. "What was your reason for trying to destroy this show? You are one of my attaches, I believe?" While Tom was speaking the unconscious workman was borne from the tent to the outside of the cook tent, where he was brought to his senses by the liberal use of cold water. McMasters came over and grabbed the rascal, too. "I'm willing to swear that it was you who tampered with the door of the tiger's cage yesterday afternoon during the show. What have you got to say about it?" ''Don't know nothir1' about it,'' replied the fellow sulkily. "Look here, my man," said Tom, "you have been caught at a trick that will send you to the penitentiary for a num ber of years. What's your grievance, if you have one, or did somebody on the outside put you up to this?" "If you'll let me off I'll tell you," said the rascal finally. "I can't agree to compromise such a piece of rascality with you. It is altogether too serious a matter. I will say this much, however, that it may be to your advantage to make a full confession, particularly if it throws any light on a conspiracy to injure this show." "What's the use of me blowin' the gaff if I'm goin' to be punished anyway? I may as well be hung for a sheep as a lamb." "It is likel.Y to make considerable difference in the weight of your punishment. If it can be conclusively shown that you arc merely a tool of others, I am willing to be as easy with you as circumstances will permit." ''I ought to be let off altogether if I turn State's evi dence." "Then you admit that you are acting as the agent of some party in the background?" "I admit nothin',"' replied the fello"' doggedly. "Your words, however, infer as much. Well, since you won't open your mouth to any advantage I'll have to call an officer and have you taken to jail." Tom motioned to ,Tack, who went out in front and pres ently returned with one of the policemen detailed at the lot. "Officer," said Tom, "I give this man into custody on the charge of attempted incendiarism. If you will wait a few minutes I will send one of my people with you, also this lad, who is the chief witness against the prisoner." "All right, sir,'' replied the policeman. "You are under arrest, my man," he added, laying his hand on the rascal's arm. "Will you go quietly, or shall I put the irons on you?" "I'll go quietly," replied the fellow, in a sulky tone. "Go in and finish your supper, Jack," said Tom to Mc Masters, "and then take this boy with you to the station. Fetch him back and give him an admission to the show. Here, my lad, is a bill for you," and he handed the boy a $10 note, "and with it accept my thanks, and the thanks of everybody connected with the show for the timely warn ing you brought to us. Good-bye. That man who just went out will bring you back here after you have been to the police station, and will give you a ticket for the evening's performance." Thus speaking, Tom returned to the eating-tent to finish his supper. 'l'he women performers and attaches had waited in no little anxiety for news from the menagerie tent, and this was brought to them by the men on their return. Tom found the whole bunch discussing the trouble, and lauding the elephant Nero for having saved the show by seizing the would-be incendiary at the critical moment and making a prisoner of him. "That bull is worth his weight in gold, Mr. Smedley," said Jack, when Tom took his seat at the table again. "He certainly deserves a large gold medal as an evidence of our appreciation of his valuable services in nabbing that rascal,'' replied the young circus proprietor; "and I'm go ing to see that he gets one, suitably inscribed. He saved th& circus, and that boy did his share as well. Get his name and address, Jack. I mean to send him $100 in addition to the tenispot I handed him just now." "All right, sir,'' replied the tiger trainer, rising from his seat and leaving the tent. CHAPTER XI. TOM UP AGAINST BAD WEATHER CONDITIONS. By the time jack McM:asters returned with the lad who had given the warning about the fire in the menagerie tent, the ticket sellers were at work in their wagon and the crowd was filing into the big tent. J:.ack passed the boy inside and then went away to attend to some duty connected with the show. An hour later when the elephant entered the ring to go through his stunts with Taylor, his trainer, Tom walked out and a short address to the people, telling them that but for Nero there would have been no show that night. He explained how the elephant had prevented the in cendiary from carrying out his dastardly purpose, and was the savior of the show. Aiter that speech the people applauded everything that Nero did, twice over, and when the beast retired he received a first-class ovation. In the meantime Tom had sent for a notary to take down '.he statements of the persons who had been present in the menagerie tent at the time the smoldering bo_nfire was discovered against the canvas side wall of the tent. These statements were sent to the police to be used


18 OUT WITH HIS OWN CIRCUS. a gainst the incendiary, at the uamination before a magis t rate in t he morning, n s the circus would be many miles a way on its route bythat time. These with the boy's evidence, were easily sufficie n t t o ca use the j ud ge to hold the prisoner for trial u nder a stiff bail. The ba il was u nexpect ed ly furnished in cash by some man unk n own t o the Court, u11d the incendiary was allowed t o g o free. That p r actically close d the case, for the man, who gave his n ame as Ben Spiggott, did n9t appear when his trial cam e on, his bai l was forfeited, and a warrant was issued or hi s arrest, w h ich, however, was never serveC.. In the mea n t ime the Great Oriental and Occidental Cir cu s conti nued to fill its dates along its route, everywhere meeti ng with the most flattering reception As a consequence money poured into the treasury, and the pro s pect s indicate d t hat this would be the banner year o:f the show. To m wrote of t en to Mr. Curtis Chase, the retired banker o:f Fowl ersv ille, keep ing h im advised about the success he was meeting with on the road. Dur in g the three weeks the show had been out so :far Tom w as onl y u p against bad business once, and that was when a 'rai ns t orm set in after the parade in the town 0 Antioch And it rained hard, too. Onl y a corpora l's guard, as the saying is, attended the afternoo n 's performance on this occasion N othin g hardly will keep some enthusiasts away from their :favorite sport, and for that reason probably 200 spec tators bra ved the storm and sat through the somewha t dre ar y p e r formance given that afternoon in Antioch Wher e t h e stretches o:f canvas composing the big top were sewe d t ogether the water penetrated thro u gh, many o:f the people in the audience had to e l evate their umbrellas to esca pe a wetting rhe heavy laboring of the groaning tent under the blasts of win d added to the feeling of misery and melancholy. It was a doleful, drenching sight to see the horses wallow ing i n the r i ng, acrobats shivering and s l ipping, and O'Con n e r t h e clown, his rueful :face plastered over with his cils to1nary m ake -u p, trying to extort a lau gh from the be dragg l ed audience. Straw was over the place in an endeavor to ab s or b the moisture, but it availed little. T he circ u s people while awaiting their turn to go on g azed l o n gingly across the empty, sodden :fields where they coul d see ho u ses snug and tigbt, and g loom existed both Wit hin and without the tented :field. S c arcel y an ybody visited the side-show. 'rhe b a rker didn't consider it worth while to :face the storm even in a rubber coat, as there was nobody to spiel to, so the :fre ak s ha d nothing to do b u t gossip among them selves, and keep out o:f range 0 the raindrops. Think of the mournful and disheartening conditions the perform e r s faced in the dressing rooms on that beastly afternoon a n d even ing i n Antioch S can t as was the protection afforded by th.e swaying can vas s id e wa ll s and the drenching and leaking covering over head t h e journey to a n d :from the ring was a great deal their trunks wet in 1the feet and plentifully sprinkled with raindrops. The pretty costume s of the women were spotted, and the effect was very depressing. Molly Stark looked like a beautiful wreck wpen she en tered the women's dressing room after her act, which she had been opliged to curtail owing to the slippery state of the back of her horse. It would have been as much as her life was worth to haYe attempted her more daring stunts, and Tom had especially cautioned her to omit them. As bad as the afternoon show was, the night one was even worse for both performe r s and spectators. A brief l-etup in the dorm had enticed about 700 people to the lot, but they were no sooner s eated than the storm came on again with augmented force. A heroic effort was made to giYe the pe o p l e wh o had dared the ""eather conditions the worth o:f their money, but on the who l e the res ult was not successful. Tom fel t sorry for his performers, and for his workmen who had to pull the tents down and pack. up in the dre n ch j ng rain, and he also :felt sorry for the spectators as they left the night show and :faced the inclemency 0 the weather to get to their homes. 'l'hen followed a long and dreary night's travel in the rain over m u ddy roads that harassed horses anci drivers alike Fortunately the journey to Darien, the next show place on their route, was somewhat shorter than usual. The cavalcade went directly to the lot, and the tents were put up and the ring made under miry conditions and a stormy looking sky, though the rain itself had let up. The cook got busy and breakfast was served at eight o'clock. After that were made for the parade Once the tents are pitched no weather ca:o. be so unpropi tious as to thwart the parade. All circuses advertise it as "positive/' and the manage ment must keep :faith with the public or lose its confidence. Tom could not afford to call it off, though it was bound to prove a dreary l ine of march. He excused the women :from taking part in it, however, and much o:f the finery was kept under the shelter of the tents The men wore mackintoshes and rubber boots, a n d pro tecting canvas hid the gilt and glory of the chariots. As a matter o:f business the parade was necessary to con vince the people that the circus was actually on hand. To Tom's satisfaction the skies cleared a bit after dinner, and a good afternoon crowd assembled and paid for ad mission. Probably half at least of these would not have been on hand but for the parade, as unsatisfactory as it was. The circus also had a fairly full house at the evening per formance, and on the whole Tom fared very m u ch better at Darien than he had expected. CHAPTER XII. MORE FOUL PLAY. :worse. 1 Clear skies and sunshine greeted the circus at its next The riders, acrobats, gymnasts, and others returned to stopping place, a large town called Factoryville. i


OUT WITH HIS OWN CIRCUS. 19 The show reached the lot about five in the morni n g, and all the tents but the big top were up by the time the per formers turned out of their wagons "We're bound to show to the full capacity of the top at both performances to day," said Jack McMasters to Tom, when they met that morn i ng. "Factoryville has always supported the circus ever since Sellus put his show on the road." "That's right," nodded Tom, rubbing his hands together with satisfaction over the outlook ahead. ''You've had fine luck so far, Tom," went o n the tiger trainer, "with the exception of the Antioch date. We did uncommonly well yesterday at Darien considering the fierce outlook of the morning." "Yes, I have no kick coming On the w h ole, I expect to pull a big wad out this season "I'm glad to think that, Tom, for you're a mighty good fellow, and certa i nly deserve the success that seems to be coming your w:ay. At the start-off a good many of the people were a bit disgruntled at the idea of a you n g chap like y ou taking hold as the proprietor of the show. They were accustomed to graybeards of extended experience like Sell us.1 They thought you'd run the outfit into the ground before you got fairly started. They didn't believe yo u h ad the capital nor the experience to the show keep mov ing. They looked to see t h e circus go to pieces unde r the first bit of hard luck; but they've changed their m,_i nds since Tom laughed in a cheery way. "The show is n ot likely to get stranded unless we should meet with a run of phenomenal hard luck, which is hardly probable, as times are good, the country is prosperous, and the public can afford the price easily enough." "Well, I've good news for you this morning," said Jack. "What is it?" "Rajah is in good shape again, and I am prepared to re sume the act this afternoon "Glad to hear it, J a ck Have yo u notifie d the eq uestria n director of the fact?" "Not yet, but I will do so right away .'> As Tom walked away a rough looking fellow, whose face was plentifully covered with whiskers, slouched up to him. "Can I get a job with the show, boss?" he asked in a humble way. "A job with the show?" ejaculated Tom, looking the man over critically "I'm a canvasman, and I am familiar with horses "Then you've worked with a circus before?" The man nodded. "What's your name, and what show were you with?" in quired Tom, with some interest, for he had a vacancy in his ranks that he wished to fill. "My name is William Brown, and I was with Colonel Sands's circus last season." "Got any evidence of that fact about you?" The man shook his head "You'll have to take my word for it," he said. "Put me to work and I'll show the boss canvasman that I unde rstand my business." Tom looked the applicant over sharply again. It struck him that there was something familia r a bout him. / "Have you worked for this show any time within the last three years ?" "No, sir. I never worked for this circ u s at a n y t im e." "Well, I thought I'd seen you before, but I mus t b e mis taken. Come with me 'I'om introduced the applicant to his boss ca n vas man and left the matter of his employm.:mt to that perso n Later on Tom noticed William Brown o n picke t duty on the outside of the side walls of the main top wh i le the after noon show was go ing on. Factoryville did not disappoint T om with t he reception it accorded the show The people came in such n u mbers that qu i te a mob had to be turned away from both performances, esp eciall y the evening one. The bulk of these, however, was entertained b y the s id e show, so tha To m d i d not lose their coi n altogether. That night on the journey to Phal a n x, wh e r e the circu s was to show next day, an unusual series of accidents pened to the wago n train. Three vehicles broke down at different times. The thing abo u t the matter, wh i ch d elay ed the show for a n hour o r two, was t h 1 t the thre e ca sualties were of the same nature. In each case a wheel cam e off the fron t a x l e dumpi n g the d r iver i n to the r oad. After the third accident a c ritic al examinati o n wa s made of the wheels o f the entire train, and i n h a lf a d o zen more cases the nuts were found to have worked loose, and had not the discovery been made in t ime more breakdo wn s would have taken place. It was the opinion of the driv ers, as well as t h a t of the wheelwright and blacksmith tha t somebody had monkeye d with the screws while the w agon s stood in the lot a t Fac toryville No one con nected with the s ho w was s u specte d as hav ing had a hand in the matter, which was repo r te d t o Tom in the morning when he emerged from his va n. As the circus r eached the lot late that morning, breakf as t was hurried thr o ugh with and the preparation s for the pa rade rus h ed The cavalcade returned to the lot j ust in time to give the people a chance to eat their dinner and get r ea d y for the afternoon performance Whenever Tom could manage it he was always around back of the curtain when Molly was on in her act He was so much attached to the g irl that his a nxiet y for her safety was always uppermost in his m in d This season her act was more daring an d brilliant than ever. She took high hurdles with her trained coa l black s t eed in a way that commanded the admiration of the a udi e n c e. She scorned the wide pad used by most women rid e r s and did all her business on the rosined bare back of Nellie," standing in v-arious graceful positions Most skilled performers "stall," i s, i n the ex e cutio n of a particularly or difficult feat, t hey pretend to barely escape a serious fall, or make a n uns uccessful at tempt at accomplishment. It gives the audience an exaggerated i d ea of the extrem e peril or difficulty of the u nde r tak in g, a n d i n s ure s an out burst of app l ause when finally triumphan t l y done.


20 OUT WI'l'H HIS OWN CIRCUS. Molly could do this to perfection. Tom had seen her "stall" frequently, and every time he himself was deceived by the natural way she did it, and his heart would jump into his mouth When he started to 1sympathize with her over an alleged fall after she. left the ring she would laugh mischievously in his face and tell him it was only a fake tumble, and that he mustn't mind that. "But you make me desperately nervous, Molly," he re plied. "Some day you'll have a real fall, and if you are badly hurt think how broke up I'li be over it." i'"Would you really feel awfully bad?" she asked, pinch ing his cheek play fully, while the love-light !"hone in her eyes, for she could see that he was seriously in earnest and she dearly loved to tease him. "l'voulcl I? What did I tell you once about jumping into the river when you narrowly escaped from the tiger? You seem to be getting more daring every day, sweetheart, and I am almost afraid to come around and looi at you do your turn." "Then wh y come around, you silly boy?" "Simply because I can't stay away unless something de tains me agaim,t niy will." Molly laughed and after a swift glance around the space outside the dressing-rooms she leaned forward suddenly, gave him a kiss on his lips, and then fled into the room to change her costume. During the evening performance at Phalanx when Tom went "behind," he found the new man, William Brown, holding Molly's mare near the curtain in readiness to lead her on when the girl got her cue from the band. Molly was talking to Jack McMasters at one side with her back to her horse. There were several other performers in the space. Outsid e the music stopped and loud applause, announc ing the finish of the trapeze act ":hich preceded Molly's, shook the tent. In a moment or two the three performers-a man and two women-came running behind the curtain. The clown and the ring-master, who officiated with the girl, walked out and a few seconds later the band blared and 1Uolly darted throngh the curtain and made her bow to the assemblage. At the same time Brown brought his disengaged hand to "Nellie s" mouth and started to follow. One of the female gymnastil, who had stopped near the curtain to say something to the man who was going out to take down the apparatus on whiqh she and her companions had just been performing, suddenly sprang forward with a cry and seized Brown by the arm The horse, s lipping away from him, rushed after her mistress. "What did you give that horse?" demanded the woman gymnast. Her action and "ords attracted the surprised attention of Tom, Jack and the other performers near by. "N I didn't give her nothin'," replied Brown, in some confusion. "Yes, you did. I saw you," cried the woman. "Mr. Smedley I saw this man put something into N mouth." "What!" cried Tom, }eizing Brown by the arm as he I swung loose from the woman's grasp and started to make off. "Did you give that mare anything, you rascal?" "No, I didn't," replied Brown, doggedly. "I say he did," insisted the gymnast "Say, who are you? I've heard your voice before, my man. You can't get away before this thing is investigated." At that moment Jack sprang at the man. "I know who he is. He's Spiggott, the scoundrel who tried to fire the show at Chestertown," he exclaimed, grab bing the man's beard, which proved to be false, and tearing it off, leaving Spiggott's features exposed "Ha!" cried Tom. "There's foul play here "'!'hat's right, there is," said the woman gymnast, stoop ing and picking something out o.f the tanbark. She held up a small round pill, about the size 0 a large marble. / 1 "The rascal was trying to dose the mare," she said. "It's a lie snarled Spiggott, as the crowd gathered about him in a threatening way. "It's a blamed lie!" "Here's the proof," said the gymnast, holding up the pill. "Thank Heaven he .failed to give it to the horse," said Tom. "How can you tell but the fellow had two in hill hand and that the mare swallowed one of them ?1 said Jack. "Better stop the act, 1Tom," he said, forgetting to put the handle to the young proprietor's name in his excitement. "If Nellie got one of those pills in her you can't tell what may happen to Molly in those high hurdle jumps." "My heavens!" cried '1.1om, turnin.15 pale with appre hension. "Here, hold the villain, Jack, while I go outside." Tom rushed through the curtain to find Molly in the midst of her act, the band playing a loud, rapid air, the ring-master cracking his whip, and the clown following Molly and the horse with a comic burst o.f speed that set the spectators into a roar 0 laughter. As Tom left Jack to look after Spiggott the rascal made a dash to escape. Jack was after him in a moment with the others at his heels. The fellow was in for a terrible handling the moment the angry men got their hands on him, and he knew it. Seeing that Jack was bound to catch him, he stopped, drew a slungshot from his pocket and struck at the tiger trainer. The round end of the weapon caught Jack on the head and opened his scalp As he staggered back dazed and bleeding, like an animal in the shambles, Spiggott dashed through an opening of the tent and vanished into the darkness of the night. CHAP'I'ER XIII. ALMOST A TRAGEDY. I The hurdles were being placed in position for Molly's mare to clear as Tom dashed through the curtain. They were of varying sizes, the biggest one opposite the press box near the.. entrance to the ring. The band played louder and faster, the ring-master cracked his whip quicker, and the clown fell over himself, creating a big laugh. "Hoopla!" cried Molly, as she took the first hurdle standing on one foot. )


OUT WITH HIS CIRCUS 11. The .sp e ctator s gre w excite d as the girl took the second o n e a n d t h e n turne d a some r s ault, alighting as graceful as a syl p h o n the flank s of Nellie. "All e z All e z cri e d Molly, in French, meaning "Go! Go! The m a r e und e r s tood and in c reas e d her speed H er eyes w e re all ablaze with a n e w and strange light, and Molly 's, too flas hed with excitement of the mo m e nt. The mare barely clear e d the next to the highest hurdle, sen pj n g a showe r of mat e rial to the ring. H e r nost r il s exp a nd e d and she appeared to stagger as s h e struc k the s awdust The. fair rid e r did not notice that the re was anything the matte r with h e r horse. Tom h a d rus hed up to the edge of the ring j ust beyond t h e fin a l hurdl e It was impossibl e a s w e ll a s impolitic to interfere with the act at tha t thrilling moment, for Molly and the mare w e r e ap proachin g him at lightning like sp eed. The y oun g c ircu s man, not knowtng wheth e r there really was dan ge r in the air or not, watched the oncoming girl with tlijiglin g n e rv e s and a thumping heart. "Hoopl a !" crie d Molly, as the mare rose to the fina l an d hig hest hurdle Bu t .the hor s e didn t cle ar it by twq feet. The r e was a t e rrible cra s h. Down w ent h o rse a nd hurdl e in a confu s ed jumble, while Molly, with a thrillin g s c r eam, was pitch e d forward through the air, h e ad fir st, toward the edg e of the ring. W it h a cr y of con s t e rnation Tom s prang forward. The girl land e d in hi s a rm s lik e a s ton e from a catapult, and Tom 1vent o v er ba c kward, s triking his he a d on the edge o f the ring whe r e it was pack e d ha rd. The mu sic s topp e d s hort and the audi e n c e rose in terror and excite m e!Jt over the accid ent. The r i n g-mast e r and clown ran toward the spot where T o m la y s tun ned and motionle8s on the ground, with Molly cl aspe d tig htly, but unhurt, in hi s arm s Seve r a l attaches ran into the rin g to a s sist Nellie to her f eet from t h e wreck of the hurdle The ma r e R t agge r e d to and fro like a drunken man, thou g h s h e had not been injured by the fall, as the me n l ed her off thro u g h t h e c u r tain T h e ri:ug mas t e r r e l e ased the fair rider from Tom's em brace and aske d h e r if s h e was hurt. } M o ll y mad e no a nswer, but sank down bes ide her sense less lover an d claspin g hi s h ea d in h e r arms bur s t into hys terica l weepin g "Ge t some w a t e r and c hase som e body after s timulant s O'Oon ner," said t h e r in g -ma s t e r to the clown "Hurry, for it's M r Smed ley wh o i s hurt." A r epor t e r in t h e box jum pe d over into the ring with a flask of w hi s key in hi s hand, and tendered it to the ring mast e r H e i s d e ad sobbe d Moll y "Oh, do sometliing to save h im Please do," l o o k in g a ppealingly at the ring master throug h a veil of t e ar s "He's not d ea d Miss Stark. Let m e h o ld hi s head while I g ive h im a dose o f this s tuff." "No, no; nobody s h a ll hold him but m e It is my right H e is mi n e mi n e !" sobbe d the g irl. The ring master regarded her with aston i sh ment. Then he figured that the shock she had sufferE!d h ad up set h er mental poise and conseq u ently she did n o t kn o w what she was saying. "Better go into the dressing room and compose you rse lf till you 're called But the gir l wouldn't listen to him She amazed the ring master by kissing T om's l ips a gain and again, and calling him by endeariilg names "The girl is clean off her base," he muttered to the r e porter "She must iniagine that i t 's her father who caught and saved he1<" He put the flask to Toni s lips and poured some o f the whiskey down his throat. It had an immediate effect on the young circ u s ma n. He coughed, opened hi s eyes and met Moll y's pathe ti c and t e arfuf gaze "Molly he breath e d "are you safe?" "Yes, Tom, dear I'm all right. Are you much h urt?" she asked i n a tender tone. "I don't think so," r e plied Tom, sitting up a nd t h en getting on his fe e t He felt of his head, which was aching him quite a b i t and he looked dizzily around upon the s e a or excited face s turned in his direction Then he pulled hims 1I together and instinctively h e d i d what he kn e w ought to b e done-he caught Molly by the hand and led her toward the cent e r of the ring, a n d they both bowed as the audi e nce applaud e d them with a gust o that shook the tent Molly's act had come to an abrupt conclusion, but t h e spectators got more thrill s out of it than if the act had gone to its proper finish Tom and Molly r e tired and the n the show went on as i f nothing out of the way had tak e n place The young proprietor and the fair rid e r, whose life he had probably saved again, held an impromptu leve e between the dressing-rooms. Tom was praised and Moll y congratulated over her es cape. "I don't see how Nellie came to s trike that la s t hurdle so awkwardly,'' s aid olly. "The mare was doped," said Jack Mc Mas ters, whose head was tied up. "Doped!" excla i med the gir l in astonishment. "Yes. Sh e looked like a drunk e n loon when she was l ed from the r i ng." "I don t und e rstand," ga s ped Molly. "A ra s cal who worm e d himself into the show to try an d put thing s on the hog was c a u ght a t th e trick," s aid Jack. "He's the same scounar e l who was cau ght by N ero when h e was setting fire to th e m e nagerie top I can't under s tand why he's at larg e The jail i s the proper place for such chaps as he. H e s e e m s to hav e r e join e d the show in di s guise to g e t revenge, or to cont inue the crooked work h e set out to do b e fpr e w e c au ght him." Tom then e xp l ain e d the whol e thing to the g irl, and she was shown the pill that h a d been b y Spi g gott. the mare h a d taken both pill s s h e n e ver would have got to th e la s t hurdle," s aid Tom "You'd have been thrown problbly at the second one."


OU'l' WITH HIS OWN CIRCUS. "I'm so thankful that I escaped," she said. "And I owe my life again to you." "It ought to belong to me after that," he whispered in her ear. "It does," she answered softly, "forever and forever." Then she left him and entered the dressing-room. "What's the matter with your head, Jack?" asked Tom, who had noted with surprise that McMasters appeared to have received a wound of some kind. "That rascal tried to make his escape when you rushed into the ring," said Jack. "I heaMd him off when he pulled a slung-shot on me and gave me a clip that knocked me dizzy for some moments. In the confusion he made his escape." -"The dickens he did! That's bad. I expected to put him under lock and key," said Tom. "As long as he's at liberty we may expect to hear from him again in some way. All hands must be notified to be on the lookout for him. He's got it in for this show, and will try to do us an injury if he can find a loophole to get his work in. Between you and me, Jack, I'm satisfied that there is somebody behind him-somebody who has a strong grouch against this show." "Who could have anything against this show?" "That's what gets me. If you remember when we caught that rascal in his effort to set fire to the menagerie top he as good as admitted that somebody was behind him." "I recollect that you asked him if somebody on the out side hadn't put him up to trying to do the show, and he said he'd tell you if you let him clear off." "I wouldn't compromise a felony with him, so he closed up tight." "I can't imagine what enemy you can have," said Jack. "Nor I. If I had the least suspicion it might give me the clue I need." "If we can nab this fellow again we must put him through the third degree and see if we can make him con fess. He's a dangerous scamp. I am satisfied that it was he who let Rajah out of his cage, though how he managed the matter so deftly beats me." "He is certainly reckless of the consequences attending his acts. Molly, I fear, would have been either killed or crippled for life to-night if I hadn't beell on hand to catch her "It's most remarkable that this is second time you saved the girl's life," said Jack. "If she doesn't make you the best wife in the world one. of these days she will be the most ungrateful person that ever walked on two legs." "I'm willing to take my chances on that," smiled Tom. "By the way, you know that three of the wagons broke down last night along the route, and that others would have fol lowed if a close examination of the wheels of the rest of the vehicles hadn't been made." "So I heard this morning." "No one connected with the show was suspect\!d as being the author of the trick. I've no doubt you will easily guess after what happened this evening who was really at the bot tom of it." "You mean Spiggott?" "That's who I mean. We'll have to maintain a sharp watch after this or more trouble is likely to crop up when we least expect it." "That's right. It won't be healthy for the rascal if I get my hands on him, I can tell you that. I owe him some thing on my personal account for this cut I've got on my block. When I get through squaring that account with him I'm thinking there won't be much fight left in him." "He deserves all you may hand out to him. I don't know but I might be tempted to handle him pretty roughly myself," said Tom, thinking of Molly's narrow escape. "Well, I'll go arou:ud amqng the boys and tell them to be on the watch for the fellow. Anybody seen prowling around the wagons or the tents must be captured if possible and brought before you." "That's the idea. Eternal vigilance seems to be the price of our safety at this stage of the game." With those words Tom and Jack parted for the time being. CHAPTER XIV. A NIGHT ALARM. Miss Annie Russell, professiqnally known as "M'lle Eugenie," the aerial performer who. had deteeted Spiggott, alias William Brown, giving the bolus to the mare Nellie, received a $100 bill from Tom next morning when the show reached Huylerstown, for the service she had rendered the management; and, indirectly, Molly Stark. Spiggott's description was furnished to all the canvas mcn, drivers and other workmen attached to the show, and orders issued to keep a sharp lookout for him, or, in fact, for an ybody hanging around the lot whose actions might be thought in the slightest way suspicious. Nellie didn't go out with the parade in Huylerstown, but she was in first-class shape to go on in the afternoon per formance. Molly watched her work closely, -particularly when she took the hurdles, and the girl did not take as many chances as usual that day. Tom also took his stand within reach of the highest hur dle to be Teady to act in case anything happened. Nothing did happen, however. The mare cleared the last jump in her customary brilliant sty le, and the young circus man breathed easier. The show did big business at Huylerstown, as Tom ex pected, for it was Saturday, and that fact helpea things. The next da,y was Sunday, the circus man's day of rest and relaxation. Mr. Sellus had so planned the r?ute in advance that on no one night, except Saturday, was the journey so long that, everything favorable, there would be tardy arrival at the lot where the organization was to show. During the week the "jumps" averaged about twenty miles. Trips of thirty to forty rp.iles were reserved for Saturday night, and consequently the circus, barring a rest along roadside for breakfast for man and beast, was generally on the move up to Sunday noon, often later. After leaving Huylerstown the Great Oraental and Occi dental Circus reached Rushville, a railroad town of some size, at two o'clock Sunday afternoon. Only the menagerie and the eating and cook tents were pitched, as Tom did not believe in working the canvasmen



. 24 OUT WITH HIS OWN CIRCUS. came on, and then, as usual, he went around to watch Placing his ear to a big crack between two of the boards her. / he listened. The animal soared over the last hurdle like a bird on the wing and then the band stopped and "M'lle Celestine" was on the sawdust kissing her finger-tips to the excited and applauding spectators. She met 'l'om on the other side of the curtain as she passed through to the dressing-room. "Whom do you suppose I recognized in the audience, 'J'om ?" she said, placing her hand on his arm. "You've got me, Molly," he answered. "Who did you see in the audience that you knew?" "A circus man I was introduced to in New York during the winter." "Who was he? No circus man asked for the usual rec ognition of the profession at the door to my knowledge." "His name is Ogden Skinner." "Ogden Skinner!" ejac ulat ed Tom. "I met him at Fowlersville. He came there to buy this show from Mrs. Sellus, but he couldn't put up the price in cash. He wouldn't have got it anyway, for my backer was prepared to raise his ante if need be. Are you sure you wasn't mis taken? Might have been a man who looked like him." "I'm almost certain it was he.'' "I'll :find out. The doorkeeper probably knows him and passed him in without bringing the fact to my attention. I wonder what he's doing out here in Youngstown." When she went into the dressing-room Tom went out in front and made inquiries about Skinner of the doorkeeper and another member of his executive staff. The doorkeeper didn't know the circus man, and had not passed him in free. The assistant press agent, who traveled with the show, knew Skinner in a general way, but had not seen or passed him into the big tent. t "Molly must have been mistaken," thought Tom, and dismissed the matter from his mind. When the people came trooping 0Ut after the perform ance Tom was standing out in front. He was watching the people in a casual way when a man passed him who looked the very image of Ogden Skinner. "By Jove!" Tom muttered. "Ifthat isn't Skinner it's his double. He must have paid his way in." The young circus proprietor was a bit curious to learn if the man really was Skinner or not. With that idea he followed him down the street, intend ing fo address him. Skinner, or his dou.Ple, reached the corner of the circus lot and stopped. Tom was overtaking him fast when a man, dressed like a tramp, sudde:gly appeared from the doorway of a corner grocery and walked up to the presumed Skinner. There was something familia1 about the tramp to Tom's eye. "That's Spiggott for a dollar," thought. the young circus man. He saw the two men back up against a long billboard coYered with his own posters. He quickly vaulted the fence surrounding the lot and made his way up behind the line of billboards. The sound of the men's voices guided him to a spot right back of them. "If you're willin' to let me have $100 in advance, Mr. Skinner, I'll do the trick. But it's pretty risky," said the tramp. "It seems to me, Spiggott, that I have been doing little e lse than letting you have cash in advance for attempts to put the Great 0. & 0. oltt of business, not speaking about the $1,500 I sacrificed to get you out of jail in Chestertown, and you've made a rank failure of every. job," said Skinner, impatiently. "It wasn't my fault that the schemes failed," replied Spiggott, in answer to Skinner's remarks. "In the :first place, when I let the tiger out of his cage, which was done in an uncommonl-y slick way, the beast went for that circus rider instead of the audience, as we calculated on, and Smedley picked up a rifle that was handy and shot the beast before .he could do any damage. Then when I had everything fixed to set fire to the menagerie tent that blamed elephant did me up, cuss him In the third attempt I made to queer the show, one of them female trapezists caught me in the act of dosing the black mare that does the hurdles. However, I got one pill down her gullet, and that would have done the business for the gal's act for good, only Smedley comes to the front and saves her ag'in. Diel you ever hear of harder luck? Then the reason why the show didn't break down on the road to Factoryville that night was because the wheels didn't come off as quick as I :figured on." "This scheme that you propose to work for another hundred of my good money is just as liable to be a :fiasco as the others. I thought you could put the show on the bum so the boy owner would be glad to sell out cheap to me." "It may and it may not, but I can't afford to take it on under a plunks. It's worth every cent of that to take the risk whether it goes through or not." "That may be; but I don't care to sacrifice any more money for nothing. You do it su.ccess:fully and I'll pay you $200. If you fail you'll get nothing." "I ought to have a hundred anyway growled Spiggott. "I've got in to all kinds of trouble try in' to do your dirty work, and--" "You've been well paid for it," retorted Skinner. "What more do you want?" "I've been paid, yes, after a fashion. S'pose I'm nabbed bl any of the uircus people, where will I fetch up at?" "If you're arrested again I'll be on hand to bail you out "You'd better, or I might give you away I sha'n't go to State prison alone if I can help myself." "Look here, Spiggott, I don't want any threats." I "I ain't makin' no thr. eats, I'm only warnin' you, that's all. '1 "Well, I don't like the way you talk. However, I'll take another chance and give you the $100 you ask for When 4 do you to be :;ible to let the animals out of their cages?" "To-night, before the people are admitted to the tent. Bill Jones will be pn watch there; but I'll put him out of business like I did Bob Sawyer. Then I'll open all the cages, or most all of them, and the beasts will scatter in short order." "You do it and I'll pay you the second hundred dollars,


OUT WITH HIS OWN CIRCUS. 25 oth e rwi s e you'll only get the $100 I'm going to give you now." "All right, Mr. Skinner. I'll earn that $200, don't you fret." ""I trus t you will," said Skinner, dryly. "If you turn the trick you'll find me at the American House, where I Im stopping. If you fool me this time you may as well make yourself scarce, for I shall take a train for the East and throw up any further efforts to take a fall out of the show, for the present at least." Thus spe aking Skinner tt1rned on his heel and walked away, l e aving Spiggott to go his own way. Tom went to the eating-tent where he knew he would find his family of employees assembled at their evening meal. He walked inside and walked over to Jack McMasters. "I want to see you immediately after supper on a matter of the greatest importance, Jack," he said. "All right, Mr. Smedley," nodded Jack. Then Tom went to his seat and a waiter stepped up to serve him. CHAPTER XVI. CONCLUSION. "Jack," said Tom, when he met the tiger trainer after supper, "an attempt is going to be made about half past seven to set the animals in the menagerie free." Jack gasped and .looked at Tom in astonishment "Set ihe annnals free he ejaculated "Yes. I overheard the plot. That's why 1 was l ate at the ni. eal. "Who has an idea of doing such a risky thing as that? There is always a watchman in the tent." "There was a wat9hman there when Spiggott tried to set the place on fire, and he would have succeeded but for Nero." "But Spiggott being an employee at the time had the chance of coming on the watchman unawares. No outsider could do that." "Spiggott intends to repeat the trick tonight." "Do you mean to say that that rascal is hanging around the show?" "I do. I saw him a little while ago. He's disguised as a tramp." "And he's going to try and let the animals loose to night?" "'I' hat's his intention." "Well, if he does it I ll eat my head," said Jack, wagging his head in a determined way. "We must set a trap for him, and I leave that to your ingenuity." "Leave the rascal to me I'll guarantee it will be his last bit of crooked work for many a day to come. "You must fix matters so he'll be takeii in the act with witnesses to convict him before a court of justice. I'll sp. end a tholjlsand dollars or more to send him to State prison." "I'll see that he's caught redhanded." "Very well. I rely on you. Now, I've also discovered the person who has paid him to injure the show." "You ha.ve ?" "I have." "Who is he?" "A circus man named Ogden Skinner "The man who was at Fowlersville this spring trying to buy the show?" "The same man." "How did you find it out?" Tom explained how Molly Stark, who had been introduced to him during the winter, had seen him in the audience. "When she told me that," continued Tom, ''I' wondered why he had not made himself known to me, as f'how people usually do, for we are always glad to 'meet well-known pro fessional people and accord them the usual courtesies. I thought probably that the doorkeeper or Spicer had passed him in, and I asked them if they had done so. Neither, how ever, had done so, though Spicer knows Skinner by sight and reputation. Then I came to the conclusion that Molly had been deceived by a fancied resemblance. I was stand ing in front when the people came out, and I saw a man who looked to be the counterpart of Skinner in the crowd. My curiosity was aroused and I followed him, intending to make sure of his identity. Before I came up with him he was met by a trampish-looking person whom I partially recognized as Spiggott. They entered into (!Onversation at the corner of the lot below." Tom then told Jack how he had managed to get nea r them behind the billboards and listened undiscovered to their conversation, repeating the substance of their talk "A mighty lucky thing that you followed that rascal," said Tom. "There is no saying what Spiggott inight not have been able to accomplish, for he's a desperate villain. Well, you go on and attend to your business. I'll look after Spiggott, and if I don't give a good account of him you can fire me from the show." Tom nodded cheerfully and walked away He knew he could thoroughly depend on Jack from the ground floor up Jack was practically his right-hand man at the back of the show, although he was not publicly invested ;with any particular authority. McMasters knew just what to do in this emergency, and be went about the work in a way to insure success. Bill Jones, who was on the watch, was duly instructed to give Spiggott every chance to reach the cages by keeping himself well in the background Jack and four other hands secreted themselves at c o n venient places about the menagerie Then all became quiet in the tent. As the ticket wagon was opened for the sale of admis sion_ s a dark figure suddeniy slipped into the menagerie tent and !ooked cautiously around It was Spiggott. He seemed surprised not to see Jones, or' someb ody e lse, on watch. He made a hurried investigation of the tent, and be lieving that it haa been left momentarily unguarded, he proceeded to put his nefarious scheme into execution. The first thing he did was to rush for the tiger's cage. He drew the heavy bolt and tried to open the door about an inch or two.


26 OUT WITH HIS OWN CIRCUS. Jack, however, had wired it so that it could not be was promised immunity from his latest crime if he would opened. testify against Skinner. Spiggott looked disappointed, but without losing much He was caught by the bait, and on his evidence Skinn e r time h e started for the big black bear's cage. was himself held for trial at the next term of the court. As he laid his hand on the bolt he was suddenly nabbed Spiggott's testimony was taken down in writing and he from b e hind by Jack. swore to its truth. "So we've caught you at last, have we, Spiggott ?" said Then he expected to be allowed to go free. the tiger trainer. But that was where he was fooled. Spiggott made a spring to escape, but the effort was fruit-As soon as the public prosecutor moved for his discharge less. from custody and the judge nodded his acquiescence, an of. He found himself surrounded by a crowd of circus hands. :ficer, sent on from Chestertown, walked up to Spiggott as "Tbe game is up with you, you rascal," said Jack. "Tie he was leaving the courtroom and arrested him on the old his arms, boys." charge of incendiarism, for which he jumped his bail. In a few moments he was quite helpless. He was taken to Chestertown, tried, convicted and sent "Fetch him along," said McMasters, leading the way to the State prison for twenty years. into the space between the dressing-rooms. Sk.inner was also convicted of conspiracy n nd got ten W was sent around to Tom, and he presently ap years. d In the meantime the Great Oriental and Occidental Cirpeare "We caught him in the act of freeing Old Grizzly," cus and 'Menagerie continued on its route, and no more acci said Jack, "after he had first drawn the bolt on Rajah's dents happened that season, which proved to be a phenomcage." enally successful one. In fact, Tom was able that season to repay over one-half "What have you got to say for yourself, Spiggott ?" de-of his indebtedness to Mr. Chase. mantled Tom. The show finished up at New Orleans, where the performSpiggott had nothing to say. ers and most of the workrr;ien were let go, and then the "You've got a whole lot to answer for, my man, and I'll paraphernalia and the menagerie were returned by easy see to it that you sha'n't get off so easily this trip as you stages to Fowlersville, where they went into winter quarters d\d at Chestertown. Are you willing to blow on the man as usual. who employed you to do this dirty work?" Tom spent a part of the winter visiting the Stark home, Spiggott refused to open his mouth. where he was received as Molly's future husband. "Very well. Hold your jaw if you prefer to, but I know Molly, of course, went out with the show next season, and the man anyway. It is Ogden Skinner Jack Mc-Masters went, too, with Rajah, who had been taught "How do you know that?" asked Spiggott, in sulky sur -some new tricks. prise. That season was also a good one, and Tom nearly cleared "No matter how I know it, but I do. I know a whole lot off the mortgage on the show-in fact, there was not much more than yo.u think about you and Skinner. Don't im-left for him to liquidate. agine I've been asleep since you've been plotting against us At the close of the third season he and Molly were mar in the dark. There are more ways than one of running ried in the big top before the whole crowd of employees, on the guilty to the end of their tether. You've reached yours the Sunday following the closing of the sho\V. this time." They got a fine send-off. "I'll blow the whole game if you give me a chance," said Jack proposed the health of the bride, and the tent reSpiggott eagerly sounded with the enthusiasm of the response. "I know the whole game already. I know you're responTom expressed his thanks in well-put words, and his wife sible for all the accidents we've so narrowly escaped. I blushed prettily in her happiness, while a smile of approval know that Skinner bailed you out at Chestertown, and then and contentment rested on her father's face forfeited the money. I know that he paid you $100 at the And thus we leave them and the Great Oriental and Occi corner of the lot less than two hours ago, to let the animals dental Show to that happiness and prosperity they so richly in the menagerie loose just as the public was admitted to deserved the tent, and you were to get another $100 if the scheme went through successfully Skinner is at the American House waiting for you to turn up, but he'll be disappointed. Jack, fetch the officer, and we'll get rid of this rascal." Ten minutes later Spiggott was on his way to the police station. Tom and Jack remained behind in Youngstown that nif;ht in order to appear against the rascal. Ogd en Skinner was arrested that night at the American House and locked up, charged with conspiracy to ruin the circus so he could buy it in At the examination in the police court next morning Spiggott was held for trial. After a consultation with the public prose'cuj;or, Spiggott THE END. Read "PLAYING FOR MONEY; OR, THE BOY TRADER OF WALL STREE'I'," which will be the next number (144) of "Fame and Fortune Weekly." SPECIAL NOTICE: All back numbers of this weekly are always in print. If you cannot obtain them from any newsdealer, sen d the price in money or postage stamps by mail to FRANK TOUSEY, PUBLISHER, 24 UNION SQUARE, NEW YORK, and you will the copies you order by return mail.


FAM:E ASD FORTUNE WEEKLY. 27 Fame and Fortune Weekly NEW YORK, JUNE 26, 1908. Terms to Subscribers. Single Cople.s ............................................. One Copy Three Month.s ........... ................... One Copy Six Months .................................... One Cop.r One Year ................................ ..... Postage Free. How To SEND MONEY. .05 Cents .6,s $1.25 2.50 At our risk send P. 0. Money Order, Check, or Registered Letter; re mittances in any other way are at your risk. We accept Postage Stamps the same as cash. When sending silver wrap the coin in a separate piece of paper to avoid cutting the envelope. Wi-ite your name and address plainly. Address lette1s to Tousey, Publisher, 2.c Union Sq., New York. GOOD STORIES. The largest library in the world, which is the Bibliotheque Nationale, at Paris, contains three million volumes. The next largest library is in the British Museum, where reposing on musty shelves are two million books. The Imperial library at St. Petersburg contains a million and a half volumes. The New York City library is the largest in the United States and contains 'One million fourteen thousand books. The Harvard library is the largest college library in America, containing nine hundred and ten thousand volumes. According to reports, work at Thebes has brought to light the ruins of what is thought to be the palace of King Cadmus, the legendary founder of the city. Some pieces of sculpture, forming probably the pediment of the palace door, have been Colorless vases and five large amphorre, intended for holding oil and wine, as well as wall pictures, some merely drawings and some in colors, were among the finds. Besides bricks, pearl necklaces, gold, lead blocks and other objects more than 3,000 years old are reported. Most people at some time or other have used the expression "went like the wind,'' wishing to convey the idea of extraor dinary velocity. Coming down to actual figures, however, the wind is not such a speedy traveler after all. The month of March more than any other in the year has a windy record, so the figures supplied by the local Weather Bureau station for the month will do to illustrate the fallacy of the expression. From the first to the thirty-first the wind move ment as registered at the top of the Federal Building, Boston, was 8,336 miles, or an average of 278 miles a day for thirty days. Here is an average of only 11% miles an hour, a speed which even a slow moving freight steamer approaches. In a single day Geronimo, when in his prime, ran forty miles on foot, rode 500 miles on one stretch, as fast as he could change horses, and so completely wore out the column which finally captured him that three sets of officers were needed to finii;h the chase, and not more than one-third of the troopers who started were at the finish. Wrinkled and crafty and cruel is his swarthy face to-day, but the fire of his infernal energy has died and he is no more than a relic of the Geronimo of whom Gen. Miles said after their first meeting: "He rode into our camp and dismounted, a prisoner. He was one of the brightest, most resolute, determined men I ever met, with the sharpest, clearest dark eye. Every movement showed power and energy." The origin of gloves is very ancient. Some authorities as sert that they were known in Bible times, from references made to "shoes" which were thought to be identical with gloves. The first clear account of gloves comes, however, from Xenophon. 'fhis writer speaks of the Persians gloves on their hands to protect them from the cold. Homer de scribes Laertes working in his garden with gloves upon his hands to protect them from the thorns, and Varro mentions this apparel as being worn by the :ij.omans. Glovei;; have 'been tokens of splemn and important things from the ninth century. They were adopted as a rite of the church, and later the trans ferring of lands or titles was always attended with the presen tation of gloves. In the eleventh century the method of chal lenging to single combat by throwtng down a glove was insti tuted, and this custom still remains in some countries. Gloves were not worn by women unql after the Reformation. A lady who was perfectly well, but fancied she was suffering from fever called on an old and experienced physician to con sult him. She described her symptoms at some length, and he listend patiently. At last he said : "I thinlr I understand your case, madam. Sit perfectly still a few moments, and let me look at you." (=ihe complied and be eyed her attentively for nearly a minute, glancing at his watch once or twice in the meantime. "There is nothing the matter with you, madame," he said. "You haven't the slightest indicat. ion of fever. Your heart beat is perfectly normal." "Why, how do you know, doctor?" she asked in surprise. "You didn't feel of my pulse." "I didn't need to," he answered. "I counted the vibrations of the ostrich-feather on your hat." And he bowed her out. JOKES AND JESTS. "You are cheerful as a tombstone this morning?" "Naturally." "Why naturally?" "I am buried in thought." Jones-Who is the really perfect man, I should like to know? Brown-The man your wife was going to marry if she hadn't married you. "I have come, madam, to take your gas meter out." "I'm glad to hear it, for it's done nothing since it's been. here but take me in!" "It was a personally conducted tour." "How are they?" "All to the good. Post-cards were brought to us at every town. Often we didn't have to leave the train." Tody-Jennie tells me young Woodby proposed to her last night. Vfola-1 don't think I know him. Is he well off? Tody-He certainly is. She refused him. "I he .ar that Jones' four daughters are married." "ls that so? I suppose he's glad he's got them off his hands." "Not exactly. He now bas to keep the four husbands on their feet." "I don't think she' ll ever marry him," said Mrs. Henpeck. "She quarrels with him so and is so domineering that--" "She is?" interrupted Henpeck. ''I'll bet they've been secretly married alrea!ly!" The teacher in the Da.rktown school was hearing the class in geography. "What is knd"i'fn as the Great Divide?" she asked. "Cuttin' a big watermelon!" answered little 'Rastus with a grin that showed all his ivories. A member of the school board of a certain Pennsylvania town relates the sad case of a young woman who failed to pass her examination for appointment as teacher in the public school of that place. The mother of the disappointed young woman was asked by a friend whether the daughter had suc ceeded in running the gantlet Of the examiners. "No," was the reply in mournful tone, "Jinny didn't pass at all. Maybe you won't believe, sir, but them examiners asked the poor girl about things that happened years and years before she was born."


28 FAME AND FORTUNE WEEKLY. THE PURSUIT By Alex. Armstrong. I passed the best part of my life in America, and have met with many but the one I am about to relate is the most vivid in my memory, as no doubt you will believe, when I have related it. Out on the broad prairie. There was nothing to disturb our sense of blissful solitude, except the great circle of emigrant wagons drawn up for the night, to give us the feeling of companionship without unpleasant proximity. The whole scene around us breatbed of peace, yet, with love's quick insight, I saw that there was a cloud over the spirit of one dearer to me than all else. "What is it, Mary?" I asked. "Something troubles you. Is it that you begin to doubt the wisdom of your father's move to a wild Western home? Not that? Then do you regret my imprudence in deciding to seek my fortune also at.his side?" "Harry, I do feel unaccountably depressed this evening. My mind keeps dwelling on John Barton's oath. You remember he swore that he would follow and snatch me from you before we had crossed the Rocky Mountains. I shall not fe!!l easy till we have crossed them in safety. You need not tell me that Barton is not here; but I feel frightened all the same." I did not wonder at my dear one's horror of John Barton's oath. I, too, had often thought, with a vague uneasiness, of the livid, vengeful countenance and hissing voice, full of hate and revenge, of Mary's rejected lover, as he stood confronting us on our departure from ou.r native town, and swore a solemn oath that she should never reach her destinaU.on, nor ever become my wife. He received no word of reply, only a blow from rr;iy clenched hand that laid him prostrate on the road. Two months had passed since then. More silently than was our wont, we entered the camp and proceeded toward Mary's wagon home, but, to our surprise, it was not in its usual position. We found the missing wagon standing outside the circle. The driver, a sulky, sullen fellow, I had never liked, stood close by it, in earnest conversation with a dark, heavily bearded man, who had joined the train a few days before. Both men hastily withdrew on our approach, but not until I had demanded of the driver an explanation of the changed position of the wagon, and received a mumbling reply, to the effect that it would be more sheltered from the cool night winds. "The horses were unharnessed before I knew it," said Mr. Scott, my dear one's father. A soft good-night to Mary, a lingering pressure of the hand, and then, making my way to my 1 own wagon, I crept in, and lay down to sleep at the side of my trusty dog, Rover. I was aroused by a violent shake from a hand grasping my shoulder. The hand belonged to Mary's father. "Harry! Harry! Rouse up!-rouse up!" "Mary!" I gasped, for there was something in the wild looks of the man before me that caused me to fear something had happened to my sweetheart. ''Mary! Ay! She has been abducted. But come! We will talk as we saddle the horses!" I tarried only long enough to snatch 'up my cap and pistols, and then hurried after my friend. "I was awakened," he said, "by feeling something cast over my head. I was bound hand and foot. There were two menI knew their voices-one was our driver's, and, Harry, the other was John Barton's. I saw him, too. He was the 'man who joined the train a few days ago. That heavy beard was a disguise. Tliey left me 1ying there helpless, and crept to the other end of the wagon, where the partition hid them from my sight; but, oh, Harry, I heard Mary's half-stifled shriek! I heard them lift her to the ground, and heard the horses moving away cautiously in the darkness. And I lay there till the trainmaster came to rouse me up. They have taken our best wagon horses, but though they have hours the start, we'll overhaul them!" "Thank Heaven!" I exclaimed, "that we have two such good horses, and such a trusty dog!" Five minutes more and we g31lloped away from the' camp. On and on we galloped, and Rover galloped on before. Through the hot sultry day we sped on until, just as the sun was sinking, our faithful guide halted, and for the first time that day barked, and came rushing toward us, and laid at our feet a woman's (Mary's) glove. I snatched up the precious token, and pressing it to my lips, felt a paper rustle inside. In a second I held a little penciled note in my trembling hand. It read: "Father-Harry-Joh)i Barton has not forgotten his oath. I know you will follow closely, so I keep up my courage. I write this hidden behind the horses, which are lying down exhausted, while Barton and our treacherous driver are digging a hole to get water for them. I shall place this in my glove, feeling sure that Rover will find it. Have no fear for me. If there is need, my poniard will defend me; but you will find me before that." Looking up, we saw that Rover and our poor foam-flecked horses had found the hole dug by the fugitives. It must have cost them at least three hours' hard work, without implements as they were, and that was so much clear gain for us-a gain of time, and a gain of water, without which our own sturdy animals could not have pushed on much longer. We allowed them to crop the short grass for half an hour. Scarce was the half hour passed when we were thundering over the prairies again. Suddenly, as we entered upon a long, narrow gulch, closed in by overhanging rocks on either side, Rover came to an abrupt halt, and, crouching low, beat the ground furiously with his great bushy tail. As quickly we drew rein-so quickly indeed, that the sud den halt brought my companion's weary horse to his haunches, and then making a fruitless effort to recover himself, the poor animal rolled over on his side, and lay there, panting and helpless, while his master, with difficulty, succeeded in freeing himself from the stirrups. And still faithful Rover crouched on the ground, his eyes flashing, but not a sound did he utter; and so, knowing the dog as I did, my heart leaped at the knowledge that he had at last "run his prey to earth." With a whispered caution to Mr. Scott to follow softly on foot, and to keep Rover ba'.ck, I rode quietly on, keeping a sharp watch for the group I felt sure were very near at hand. Suddenly, out of the midst of the deep silence of the night, sounded the voice I loved so dearly, raised, not in fear, but in stern warning and menace. The ground was soft, and my gallant Fleetfoot's hoofs fell noiselessly on the turf; and so it was, that turning a sharp corner, I came at once upon a group totally unaware of my approach-Mary standing erect and unflinching, John Barton recoiling before her upraised poniard. "Villain!-scoundrel!" I shouted. "Defend yourself!" My finger was on the trigger of my pistol, but he was quicker than I, and, even as I spoke, a bullet whistled through my cap. The sound of Barton's pistol seemed to rouse my horse to sudden fury. He made one leap to Barton's side, and then, rearing, struck at him with his forelegs. There was a fierce, half-stifled oath, a dull, crushing sound, and John Barton lay prone on the ground, dead. I leaped to the ground and clasped my beloved one in my arms, safe and uninjured. So full of thankfulness was my heart that I did not regret our treacherous driver h ad escaped unharmed, as I supposed.


\ FAME AND FORTUNE WEEKLY. 29 But when Mary's father joined us he told a different tale. "The fellow was in such a hurry to escape you," said he, "that he nearly rode over me before he saw me at all; then he tired a hasty shot, and I returned the compliment, and saw his left arm drop helpless at his side. So he has a broken arm as payment for his rascality." We dug a grave in the lonely valley, and laid therein the erring man whose evil passions had wrought his doom. After three days of moderate riding we rejoined our com rades of the emigrant train, amidst cheers and expressions of delight. AN ANfiEL OF MERCY fiAVE W ARNINU About twelve years ago Mrs. George Sherman, living with her husband a farm in western Kansas, was left with her little boy, four or five years of age, and a half-breed Indian, known as Jack, while her husband paid a business visit to Ellsworth, thirty-five miles away. Jack had been with the family two years, and though at times morose and sulky, he had always proved faithful. Sherman visited Ellsworth to get a farge sum of money sent on from the East by a brother, for whom he was to invest it. The subject had, of course, been talked over between him and his wife, but neither of them had the least idea that Jack suspected the nattire of the errand. Mrs. Sherman could use firearms and ride horseback, and was a brave-hearted, self-reliant woman. She had a navy revolver for her protection, though, as a matter of fact, she would have smiled at the idea of any danger coming to her. The country was clear of lawless character.s, two or three savage dogs were at hand 'to take care of strangers, and Jack could be depended on with his carbine in case of necessity. Sherman went a'Yay on horseback. It would take him the best part of a day to reach Ellsworth, as he had to make a stop en route. He would be detained there a day, and would reach home, leaving as he did on Monday morning, on Wednesday morning. This was based on the calculation that he would leave Ellsworth on Tuesday night and ride all night. It was in the latter part of June, with beautiful weather and good roads. Nothing out of the usual routine occurred until Tuesday night. That is, Mrs. Sherman observed nothing to rouse her suspicions, although she afterward recalled several strange incidents. For instance, 'the husband had not been gone an hour when one of the dogs howled in the most dismal manner, and when the half-breed sought to quiet it the animal showed his teeth and seemed revengeful. It was remembered, too, that Jack appeared independent and defiant, and when the wife gave him orders he took his own time about obeying them. He slept in the stables, and one of the dogs generally kept near him; but when night came on the first da.y both canines were determined to sleep in the farm house, and both were admitted. It was the same on the next night. On Monday night the brutes seemed to hear some one walk ing about outside, but Mrs. Sherman gave the matter little thought, believing the noise to have been occasioned by a loos e horse. On Tuesday night she went to bed at nine o'clock, having seen that everything was secure, and she had scarcely dozed off before she began dreaming. The dream began with the arrival of a letter from the East that the money was coming. It was in the evening, and husband and wife talked the matter over as they sat near an open window. This was just what did occur in reality, but in her dream Mrs. Sherman saw the half-breed crouched down under the window outside to listen. She saw him creep away in the darkness, and realized that he was in possession of the secret. She dreamed that' her husband rode away to Ellsworth, just as he had, done, and that after he had gon e a vic ious-looking half-breed, with a scar on his left che e k, t'a m c to the stable s in the night and had a long talk J::!' l : ::l : c c:i: :1d r:ct wl:at the y said, but their looks and actions indicated evil. By and by they left the stables, and she saw that Jack had his carbine and the other a re volver. They went down the road toward Ellsworth, about two miles, and halted at a ford. This was a lonesome spot, being in a dip, with wild plum trees growing thickly on each side of the road. Then the dream changed, and she saw her husband come riding up. She knew that the men were hiding to waylay him, and she tried to motion or shout to warn him. Her voice would not ccune, and sbe hadn't the strength to lift her hand. As her husband crossed the creek the two men sprang out and fired at him, and she saw him fall to the ground and the frightened horse dash away. The scream she uttered banished sleep in an instant, and as she found herself wide awake one of the dogs uttered a long-drawn howl. It was only three-quarters of an hour since the woman had got into bed. The dream had been so vivid, and the impres sion so strong, that .she at once dressed herself, determined to investigate at least the point from which it started. Leav ing her child asleep in bed, and 'taking the revolver in hand, she softly left the house and proceeded to the stables. She reached them to hear the low voices of men in conversation and as she put her eye o a crevice saw that Jack had companion. They were cleaning and loading their firearms by the light of a cand le, and the stranger was marked on the cheek as the woman had dreamed. It was well that she had the heart of a brave man. Had she betrayed herself by any act of womanly weakness, her death would have followed. She retreated as as she had come, and when again in the house she tried to think what should be done. If her husband left Ellsworth at, say, seven o'clock, he would be home by two in the morning-by three at the latest. She need not make any new move for two three hours yet. Fortunately for the woman, the little boy was in robust health, and a sound sleeper She equipped herself for a night walk, and then turned out the light and sat in the darkness. Both dogs came and lay at her feet, but at intervals were nervous and unllasy. Their wonderful powers of scent must have warned them that some stranger was about the place. At midnight Mrs. Sherman attached a rope to the collar of either dog and passed out of the house, lo cking the door behind her. She walked down the road about a mile and then made a detour acr. oss the prairie, and struck the creek half a mile below the ford. The water was waist high, and very cold, but she was soon across. She struck the highway half a mile from the ford, and walked on, but had not gone above a mile when she encoun tered her husband. In a few minutes he was in possession of her story, and he was not long deciding on a plan of action. His wife mounted the horse and he led it, until they ap proached the creek. He then left her, called td the dogs, and went forward to uncover the would-be assassins. The dogs were furious for the hunt, and they had not been gone from his side five minutes before they found and fiercely attacked the half-breed. Three or four shots were fired, and then came calls for help. Sherman advanced, to find Jack on the ground, badly wound ed, and one of the dogs guarding him. The strange man had taken to flight, liotly pursued by the oth\lr dog. This dog did not return for two hours, and then his chops were red with blood, but it was never definitely known whether his vic tim escaped or was pulled down. The sudden attack of the dogs the men in hiding, and a shot meant for one of the brutes struck Jack in the chest. Knowing that he had only a short time to live, he confessed that the pair had planned to waylay and rob Sher man, and had they been successful in this they would have afterward carried the woman away with them. He died in the thicket within half an hour, having been told how it came about that the plot was discovered, and saying, in answer to the explanations: "Surely there must be a God, and He sent an angel to give warning."


I These Everything I .! COMPLETE SET IS A REGULAR ENOYOLOPEDIA! Books Tell You Each book consists of s.ixty-four pages, printed on good paper,_in clear type and neatly bound in attractive, illustrated cover. jloat of the books are also profusely illustrated, and all ?f the treated UIJ.On are explained in such a simple manner that an,.1' lftild. can thoroug'hly understand them. Look over the hst as classified and see if you want to know anything about the subjeclll m entioned. THESE BOOKS ARE FOR SALE BY ALL NEWSDEALERS OR WILL BE SENT BY MAIL TO ANY ADDRESS FROM THIS OFFICE ON RECEIPT OF PRICE, TEN CENTS EACH, OR ANY THREE BOOKS FOR tilENTS. POSTAGE STAMPS TAKEN THE SAME AS MONEY. Address FRANK TOUSEY, Publisher, 24 Union Square, N.Y. MESMERISM. No. 81. HOW TO MESMERIZE.-Containing the most ap p roved methods of mesmerism ; also bow to cure all kinds of d iseases by animal magnetism, or, magnetic healing. By Prof. Leo B u g o Koch, A. C.. S., author of "How to Hypnotize," etc. PALMISTRY. N o 82. HOW TO DO PALMISTRY.-Containing the most approved methods of reading the lines on the hand, together with a full explanation of their meaning. Also explaining phrenology, and the key for telling character by the bumps on the head. B7 Leo Hugo Koch, A. C. S. Fully illustrated. HYPNOTISM. N o 83. HOW TO BYPNOTIZE.-Containing valuable and in etructive information regarding the science of hypnotiJ!l!l. Also explaining the most approved methods which are employed by the leading hypnotists of the world. By Leo Hugo K!)Ch, A.C.S. SPORTING. No. 21. BOW TO HUNT AND FISH.-The most complete hunting and fishing guide ever published. It contains full in atructions about gu.ns, hunting dogs, traps, trapping and fishing, together with descriptions of game and fish. No. 26. HOW TO ROW, SAIL AND BUILD A BOAT.-Fully illustrated. Every boy should know how to row and sail a boat. Full instructions are given in this little book, together with inatructions on swimming and riding, companion sports to boating. No. 47. HOW TO BREAK, RIDE AND DRIVE A HORSE.-A. complete treatise on the horse. Describing the most useful horses f o r business, the best horses for the rtlad; also valuable for diaea ses pectlliar to the horse. No. 48. HOW '.l.'O BUILD AND SAIL lanations of t'he gene r a l principles of sleight-of-hand applicable t.o card tricks; of card tricks with ordinary cards, and not requiring 'lleltht-of-hand; of tricks involving sleight-of-hand, or the use of 191Cially prepared cards. B;u, Professo r Haffner. Illustrated. ...: .:Jiii No. 72. HOW TO DO SIXTY TRICKS WITH CARDS.-Em bracmg all of the latest and most deceptive card tricks. with il lustrations. By A. Anderson. No. 77. HOW TO DO FORTY Tl:tICKS WITH CARDS. deceptive Card Tricks as by leading conjurors and mag1c1ans. Arranged for home amusement. Fully illustrated. MAGIC. No. 2. BOW TO DO TRICKS.-'.Dhe great book t>f magic and card tricks, containing full instruction on all the leading card tricks of the also most popular magical illusions as performed by oui: lea?ing r:1:ag1cians ; every boy should obtain a copy of this book, as 1t will both amuse and instruct. .. 22. HO!\' TO DO SECOND SIGHT.-Beller's second sight exphu,ned b_v: his former assistant, Fred Hunt, Jr. Explaining how the secret dialogues were carried on between the '.magician and the boy on the stage; also giving all the codes and signals. The only authentic explanation of second sight. No. 43. HOW TO BECOME A MAGICIAN.-Containing the ?f magical illusions ever placed before the public.. Also tricks with cards. incantations, etc. No. 68. HOW TO DO CHEMICAL TRICKS.-Containing over one hundred highly amusing and instructive tricks with chemicals. By A. Anderson. Handsomely illustrated. No. 69. HOW TO DO SLEIGHT OF HAND.-Containing over of the latest and best tricks used by magicians. Also oontain mg the secret of second sight. Fully illustrated. By A. Anderson. No .. 70. HOW '.'0 MAKE MAGIC TOYS.-Containing full directions for makmg Magic Toys and devices of many kinds. By A. Anderson. Fully illustrated. No. 73 .. HOW: TO DO TRICKS WITH NUMBERS.-Showing many curious tricks with figures and the magic of numbers By A. Anderson. Fully illustrated. No. 7_5. HO"f TO A CONJUROR. Containing tricks with Dommos, Dice, Cups and Balls, Hats etc. Embracini thirty-six illustrations. By A. Anderson. No. 78. TO DO THE _BLACK ART.-Containing a com. plete descr1pt1on of the mysteries of Magic and Sleight of Hand, together wit'h many wonderful experiments. By A. Anderson. Illustrated. MECHANICAL. No. 29. BOW TO BECOME AN INVENTOR.-Every boy !'now how This book explains them all, examples_ m electricity, hydraulics, magnetism, optics, pneumatics, mechanics, etc. The most instructive book published. No. 5':). HOW TO AN ENGINEER.-Containing full mstructions how to proceed m order to become a locomotive engineer; also directions for building a model locomotive together with a full description of everything an engineer should know. No. 57. HOW TO MAKE MUS{CAL 'INSTRUMENTS.-Full directions how to a B;S-njo, Vio1in, Zither, lEolian :as,rp, Xyl

'E!====================-=======;::::::========================== THE STAGE. No. 41. THJl.l ,BOYS OF NljJW YORK ENV MEN'S JOKE BOOK.-Contammg a great variety of the latest jokes used by the most famous end men. No amateur minstrels is complete without t h is wonderful little book. No. 42. THE BOYS OF NEW YORK STUMP SPEAKER ontai!1ing a varied of tltump speeches, Negro, I;iutch and Irish. Also end mens Jokes. Just the thing for home amuse ment and amateur shows. No. 45. THE BOYS OF NEW YORK MINSTREL GUIDE I.AND JOKE B LOVJ)1-;A. C?mplete guide t o love courtship and ma'.riage, g1vmg seI)sible advice, rules and etiq uette to be observe

...Latest -..,. __ Jssues-.. WIDE AWAKE WEEKLY COLORED COVERS CONTAINING. STORIES oF Boy FIREMEN 32 PAGES PRICE 5 CENTS 106 Young Wide .j\wake's Race with Death; or, Battling with the Elements. 107 Young Wide Awake's Courage; or, The Capture 'of the "Norwich Six." 108 Young Wide Awake's Little Pard; or, The Boy Hero of the Flames. 109 Young Wide Awake's Fiery Duel; or, Teaching the Nep-tunes a Lesson. I 110 Young Wide Awake and the Old Vet; or, Working Shoulder to Shoulder. "THE LIBERTY 111 Young Wide A wake's Dangerous Deal; or, The Only Chance ,fmi Life. 112 Young Wide Awake and the Factory Boys; or, The Feat that Made Him Famous. 113 Young Wide A wake's Secret Enemies; or, The Plot to Destroy a City. 114 Young Wide Awake's Sudden Fear; or The Fireman's Trick that Won the Day. 115 Young Wide Awake and the Wreckers; or, Saving the Government Mail. BOYS OF '76" COLORED COVERS CONTAINING REVOLUTIONARY STORIES PAGES PRICE 5 CENTS 381 The Liberty Boys' Gold Chest; or, The Old Tory's Secret., 387 The Liberty Boys and De Kalb; or, Dick Slater's t.ast 382 The Liberty Boys Helping Harden; or, Spy Against Spy. Bullet. 383 The Liberty Boys at Cherry Valley; or, Battling with 388 The Liberty Boys' Seven Battles; or, Fighting in the B t Forest. 389 'l'he Liberty Boys and the Press Gang; or, The Raid on 384 The Liberty Boys on Picket Duty; or, Facmg the Worst of Fraunces' Tavern. Dangers. 390 The Liberty Boys at the Death Line; or, Saving the Pris-385 The Liberty Boys and the Queen's Rangers; or, Raiding the oners of Logtown Raiders. 391 The Liberty Boys in Prison; or, The Escape from the Old 386 The Liberty Boys at Savannah; or, Attacked on All Sides. Sugar House. SECRET SERVICE COLORED COVERS OLD AND YoUNG KING BRADY, DETECTIVES 32 PAGES PRICE 5 CENTS 483 The 'Bradys' Lost Link; or, The Case that Was Never Finished. 484 The Bradys and the "Prince of Pittsburg"; or, A Mystery of the Blast Furnace. 485 The Bradys and the Silver Seal; or, The Strangest of All Clews. 486-The Bradys Tracking "Joe the Ferret"; or, The Worst Crook in the World. 487 The Bradys and the Chinese Secret Society; or, After the Band of Five. 488 The Bradys and Mr. Midnight; or, The Mystery of the House of Mirrors. 489 The Bradys After the 'Frisco "Dips"; or, The Sharpest Crooks in the West. 490 The Bradys and the Yellow Boy; or; The Mystery of a Night Hawk Cab 491 The Bradys and the Queen of Pell Street; or, The Hidden Hut in Chinatown. 492 The Bradys' Gold Vault Clew; or, Who Killed Treasurer Black? For sale by all newsdealers, or will be sent to any address on receipt of price, 5 cents per copy, in money or postage stamps, by FRANK TOUSEY, Publisher, 24 Union Square, N. Y IF YOU WANT ANY BACK NUMBERS of our Weeklies and cannot procure them from newsdealers, they can be obtained from this office direct. Cut out and fill in the following Order Blank and send it to us with the price of the weeklies you want and we will send them to you by return mail. POSTAGE STAMPS TAKEN THE SAME AS MONEY. FRANK TOUSEY, Publisher, 24 Union Squa te, New York. ....... 190 SmEn closed find ...... cents for which please send me : ... copies of WORK AND WIN, Nos ...................................... WIDE Aw AKE WEEKLY, NOS ... : ................................. '' '' WILD WEEKLY, Nos ................................. .................. .. .' .. .. u THE LIBERTY BOYS OF '76, Nos ...... ........................... .-. ........ .... .:' '' PLUCK AND LUCK, Nos ............................................................. SECRET SERVICE, Nos ............................................ .. FAME AND FORTUNE WEEKLY, Nos ........................................ : ... Ten-Cent Hand Books, Nos ........... ................. .. Name ................... ; ....... Street and No ........ ......... Town ........ State ......


Fame and Fortune Weekly STORIES OF BOYS WHO MAKE MONEY By A SELF-MADE MAN \ COLORED COVERS PRICE 5 Cts. ISSUED EVERY FRIDAY 32 PAGES This Weekly contains klteresting stori es of smart boys, who win f a me and fortune by their ability to take .:. advantage of passing opportunities. Some .of these stories are founded on true incidents in the lives of our most successful self-made men, and show how a boy of pluck, perseverance and brains can become fam ous and wealthy. ALREADY PUBLISHED. 59 The Road to Success; or, The Career of a Fortunate Boy. 60 Chasing l'olnters; or, 'l'he Luckiest Boy in Wall' Street. 61 Rising in the World; or1 From Factory Boy to Manager. 62 l'rom Dark to Dawn; or, Poor Boy's Chance. 63 Out f o r Himself; o r Paving His Way to F o t tune. 64 Diamond Cut Diamond; or, The Boy Brokers of Wall Street. 6 5 A Start in Life; or, A Bright U oys Ambitio n. 66 Out for a l\llllion: or, The Young i\lodas of Wall Street. 67 Every Inch a Boy; or, Doing His Level Best. G8 l\loney to Burn; or, The Shrewdest H oy in Wall Stree t 69 An Eye to Business; or, The Boy \\"ho \\"as Not Asleep. 70 Tipped by the Ticker; or, An Ambitious :r:o y In Wall Street. 71 On to Success; or, The Boy 'Yho Got Ah ea d. 72 A Bid for a Fortune; or. A Country Hoy in Wall Street. 73 Bound to Rise: or, l


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