Page:Sawdust & Spangles.djvu/79

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55
FREAKS AND FAKES

"and what is more, you and your whole shebang are frauds and humbugs." Then the lecturer took another tack, gave the countryman five dollars, and thought the incident closed; but it was not, for the fellow proceeded to spend his money on whisky and tell his friends of his discovery, with the result that the business at that point was ruined.

From the viewpoint of the showmen there are "fakers" and "fakirs." Under the former head we class the men who conceive and manufacture fakes of the kind already described. The fakirs are altogether of a different kind, being the camp-followers who hang on the heels of a circus for the purpose of swindling the public by every variety of device known to the "blackleg fraternity."

Frequently a number of illegitimate shows start out, and, before doing so, announce that faking privileges are to be leased. The leaders of the various gangs make the arrangements with the circus proprietors, depositing a sum of money in the ticket wagon with which to "square squeals," then the tribe of showmen and fakirs start out on their nefarious pilgrimages, the shows furnishing the transportation for the fakirs. One of the fakirs in connection with each show is selected as the