Page:Sawdust & Spangles.djvu/36

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16
SAWDUST AND SPANGLES

leaving the performers, the band and ring horses, as is the custom, to follow in the rear. We had about twenty horses and ponies of great value, and of invaluable use in the show. One morning, just at daylight, the men who had charge of these horses were attacked by a gang of horse thieves, and the entire lot was taken from them. Our men were left wounded and bound with cords, lying by the wayside. Meanwhile, the tents and other paraphernalia were already in the village, awaiting the arrival of the horses. The time for the show to begin came, but still no horses appeared, and the crowds, assembled to see the performing animals, were growing impatient.

While we were in this embarrassing predicament, a citizen came riding up in hot haste, stating that he had seen and released some men who had said their horses had been stolen and who begged him to come into town and report the loss to the managers. When this news was received, it was immediately communicated to the expectant, impatient audience; but being naturally suspicious of all mankind, and especially of circus men, they thought it was a "sell" and a "Yankee trick"; but when once they were made to believe the true facts of the case they rose as one man and