Page:Sawdust & Spangles.djvu/262

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224
SAWDUST AND SPANGLES

them remain idle until the opening in the following spring. To this all agreed save two, our principal riders, a woman and a man. These positively refused to make any compromise. The woman snapped her fingers in my face and said: "No, I was engaged for a year and you will have to pay me my salary just the same. You are able to do it, and do it you shall." The man took precisely the same stand, and as they were not only our star riders, but also the best equestrians in America, I was at a loss to know what to do.

I took a little time for deliberation, and learned that both malcontents were very much in love with each other. This immediately helped me to determine what course to pursue. I first sent for the woman and told her to get ready at once to go to my farm in Wisconsin, where I intended to build a ring around a tree, to furnish her with a ringmaster, and to allow her to earn her salary by giving two performances daily to the birds and squirrels. She claimed that her contract did not call for such performances, but a reference to the contract proved that she was to ride in any part of America I might designate. Then I sent for the man and told him that he and his horses must take the next steamer for New York City.