Page:Sawdust & Spangles.djvu/259

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221
SHOWS AND SHOWMEN

replied that if he did not immediately leave him he would receive the worst thrashing of his life—and Dan would have kept his word, to the letter, had not the fellow beat a quick retreat. I saw Rice but once after that time, but always regarded him as a prince of the circus ring.

At one time we started our show through Kentucky, where we did a splendid business. On this journey through the South our horses were all caught in a fire and so charred and burned that we had to shoot many of them. In Mississippi we were greatly troubled and delayed by the muddy roads. We were three days going a distance of only eighteen miles. At one point, where there was only one house, our tent was delayed on account of the deep mud, and we were forced to show without it, putting up the seats in the form of a circle, thus making a ring in which the performance was given. The people could see the perform-ance without paying, but nearly all of them had principle enough to pay. A few ruffians, however, began abusing the showmen, and a genuine fight ensued, which was a repetition of most of the others, and some of the toughs were badly hurt. Our men had all gone to the farmhouse to bed, and I was alone on the