Page:Sawdust & Spangles.djvu/251

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SHOWS AND SHOWMEN

and under any circumstances. Besides being a natural fighter he was a natural orator. He had a sonorous, penetrating voice, his enunciation was clear and distinct, and he knew the secret of flattering and delighting his auditors. Dan had many competitors for the patronage of the river towns, the most prominent of whom were two veteran showmen who owned a floating palace. The "Palace" was simply a large boat fitted up as an opera house with the most elegant appointments. It would seat several hundred people and was provided with a complete stage and elaborate sets of scenery. This was towed by a tug called the "James Raymond," on which all the performers roomed and took their meals. They had, besides, a steamer called the "Banjo," on which they gave a minstrel performance.

DAN RICE'S ONE-HORSE SHOW

Dan had formerly been "featured" as one of their attractions; but, some trouble arising, he had left them and started in business on his own account. He experienced the usual ups and downs of a showman's life, finally "went broke," and was at last cleaned out to what he boldly announced as "Dan Rice's One-Horse Show." With this little affair he courageously