Page:Sawdust & Spangles.djvu/263
SHOWS AND SHOWMEN
Among the many men employed with the Barnum show was one large, handsome fellow who was superintendent of the equestrian department. As showmen are fond of having nicknames, some one called this man "Barnum." The poor fellow was wholly illiterate and tolerably fond of whisky, consequently the name was decidedly inappropriate, but, as a nickname will, it stuck to him hard and fast. One day, while Mr. Barnum was visiting the show, his namesake was lying asleep outside one of the horse tents on a pile of hay, and one of the hands, desiring to waken him, shouted at the top of his voice: "Barnum! Barnum!
He refused to do this, but I quickly proved to him that his contract with us, though calling for transportation for himself and horses, did not specify of what nature that transportation should be; I had a perfect right to send him by sailing vessel if I chose. His refusal to go of course canceled his contract, and I accordingly left him. The woman expressed her willingness to go to Wisconsin, but I knew she could not leave her sweetheart—and I was right. In less than half an hour they proposed a compromise, but I refused. Finally I agreed to take the woman to New York and pay her half salary until the season opened.