Page:Sawdust & Spangles.djvu/31

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11
OLD-TIME WAGON SHOW

bloodshed was the rule rather than the exception. But the belligerent spirit of the pioneer yeomen was sometimes displayed in ludicrous ways. An instance of this character came near having a tragic ending. A party of young people halted before the elephant drove and amused themselves in teasing old Romeo. The ringleader in this reckless sport was a veritable young Amazon. For a time the patriarch of the drove, who had more good common sense than all his tormentors, stood the annoyance with dignified forbearance. But at last the big country girl succeeded in arousing his ire, and the huge elephant raised his trunk and gave her as dainty a slap, by way of warning, as was ever administered by a mother or school mistress to an unruly child. But the young woman would not take this hint that would have sent the most reckless animal-keeper of the show to a discreet retreat. Her pride was wounded before her companions. With her face flaming with anger, she leaped over the guard chain and made a vicious lunge at the shoulder of the elephant with the point of her gaudy parasol. Fortunately an attaché of the show leaped forward in time to save her. This was one of the most foolhardy displays of animal courage that I ever saw—and