Page:Sawdust & Spangles.djvu/271

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233
SHOWS AND SHOWMEN

of our agents had reached this point in the program when he heard the negro calling to him. He immediately reined in his horse and looked back.

"Say, boss," called the old uncle, "what animal have de mos' preference fo' a colored man—a lion or a tiger?"

Whenever our advance wagons came upon a field in which the negroes were picking cotton the negroes would immediately be observed to edge toward the fence so that they could see the show go by. Then our men would advance on horseback and cry out lustily:

"Look out boys, de elephants am comin'; climb yore trees—dem elephants get you shore!" The cotton-pickers seldom needed a second warning, but, as one man, they would turn and make for the other end of the field as if they were possessed of demons. They were a very superstitious and impressionable race. The managers of our show had great difficulty in preventing the candy boys from filling the negroes up with ghost stories, hoodoo stories and the like, a course that tended to scare them away and reduce our receipts. One day a young fellow, an attaché of our show, went up to a group of plantation negroes and commenced to go through a series of outlandish