Page:Sawdust & Spangles.djvu/77

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53
FREAKS AND FAKES

My royalties were very large, and I was naturally expected to do something handsome by the people who had contributed to this success; consequently I gave a dinner to the "freaks," and that banquet table presented a scene probably unrivaled in history. I only wish I were able to give anything approaching an adequate description of that festal board. At the head of the table was the towering figure of an eight-foot giant, while at the other extremity of the board sat a thirty-six-inch dwarf. The jests which were bandied between the banqueters are worthy a place in a history of wit. A single instance, however, will give an idea of the peculiar terms with which these people enlivened the occasion. As the "Armless Man" helped himself to potatoes, the "Bearded Lady" opposite him called out, "Hands off!" and the whole company shouted with laughter.

The famous "Australian Children," who made several fortunes for their exhibitors, came from Circleville, Ohio, and were the children of a mulatto. Occasionally the showman met with distressing but amusing experiences resulting from the identification of his freaks on the part of the public.