Page:Sawdust & Spangles.djvu/237

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203
ADVENTURES

go through the performance. These rough countrymen would certainly have kept their word had we not complied with their wishes, and it would have fared very badly with us. However, the sick man went through his part as well as he could, and received the full approbation of the audience.

From this town we proceeded to a large Indian encampment. There we obtained permits from John Ross, Chief of the Cherokee Nation, and erected our tents. The government had just made an Indian payment to this tribe, all the money being in twenty-dollar gold pieces. Neither the circus treasurer nor any one in the community could change these coins for money of smaller denomination, and we were almost in despair. Meantime some of the Indians climbed into a tree, seated themselves comfortably in the branches, and prepared to witness the entire performance free of charge. This exasperated me, and, seizing an ax, I commenced hewing at the tree. Instantly I found myself the center of an incipient riot, as there was a law in the Territory forbidding a white person to cut down a tree. John Ross, however, quickly came to my rescue and saved my scalp by an adroit appeal to his people.