Page:Sawdust & Spangles.djvu/153

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125
PARADES AND BAND WAGONS

deerlets—"hell benders," as they were commonly called. One of the opposition shows was making a great feature of a pair of hippopotami, or river horses, from the Nile. I had made arrangements to receive, at stated intervals, regular numbers of "hell benders," and I would wire my agents ahead, "Another living hell bender arrived to-day." This he would advertise with great gusto, getting out special bills and keeping up the excitement.

One day, while one of my agents, who happened to be back with the show, was sitting in my office, a bill to the amount of six dollars was presented for "One dozen hell benders." Seeing this he inquired what it meant.

"Don't you see?" said I. "'One dozen hell benders, six dollars.'"

"Do you mean to say," my agent exclaimed, "that I have been advertising fifty-cent hell benders?"

"You have," I laughingly replied.

"Well," said he, "if that doesn't beat the deuce! These fifty-cent hell benders have knocked $10,000 worth of hippos higher than a kite!" It certainly was a fact that our fifty-cent articles had been so judiciously advertised as to create more excitement than the costly "hippos" of the opposition.