Page:Sawdust & Spangles.djvu/120

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been validated.
94
SAWDUST AND SPANGLES

forty rods away by the rapidly spreading line of our own back fire.

Just as we were wondering if our next breath would be flame or air, the leaders of the white chariot horses leaped into the air like rockets. Instantly the whole six stallions became absolutely crazed with fear and made a plunge directly for the oncoming storm of fire and smoke. On toward the furnace of fire they ran, the driver tugging with might and main on the reins.

"Jump!" yelled the boss. And jump the driver did. He was not a second too soon, for an instant later the white charioteers had disappeared under the great red and black barrel that was rolling upon us. Then came a moment which was a dizzy blank to most of us, I guess. The fearful strain of the long race, the moments of awful suspense after the charred ground had been reached—it was enough to have dethroned the reason of every man and woman in the charmed circle! Small wonder that a few fainted dead away and the rest of us were stunned into momentary confusion.

But we had scarcely recovered the use of our faculties when the wag of the circus broke the long strain of the flight and escape by the remark: "I reckon there's been more genuine