Page:Sawdust & Spangles.djvu/268

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SAWDUST AND SPANGLES

coming show with being two or three times as large as it really was in fact. When a circus proved to be smaller than the popular estimate, it was said to have split or divided, one section going to some other "small" place. As these rumors were never contradicted by the showmen they spread rapidly and the circus became near kin to some fabulous, hydra-headed sea serpent—a creature which has a habit of taking on more heads and bristling manes every time it is seen. As a matter of fact it would have been exceedingly impracticable to have divided a show and, so far as my knowledge goes this was never done. Showmen did not deny these reports for the simple reason that they had no time to answer questions. Many inquiries had hardened them, and, if they ever relented in this particular it was only to fill their auditors' ears with bigger yarns because that course was the easiest way to get rid of the questioners. In explanation of this I may say that the questions which are "fired" at showmen in every town would go a long way toward filling a volume. Showmen in the early days had a habit of agreeing, without hesitation, to every story advanced by patrons. For example, I remember that, on coming into a certain town we selected our lot