Page:Sawdust & Spangles.djvu/248

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out a pitched battle with these desperadoes. Mahanoy City was one of the worst of these towns, and on my last visit there nothing but the sound "horse sense" of one of our trained animals saved the show from a conflict the result of which might have been deplorable. I had wired my agent, weeks before, to drop this town from the list, but he had written back that, under favorable circumstances, we were sure of taking about $10,000 there, and therefore, in accordance with my instructions, the town had been billed.

We had a fair afternoon's business, and at night, judging from the appearance of the house, we ought to have had at least $5,000 in the treasury. But, as usual in that town, the toughs had simply forced their way in without paying, and, as a consequence, only about $800 had been taken. On the outside were several hundred hoodlums clamoring for a fight, and I am bound to say that "Old Put," our boss canvasman, and his faithful followers were anxious for the same means of satisfaction, and only refrained from an outbreak because they knew that instant dismissal from my employ would follow any attempt on their part to take the initiative in any trouble.

At last, however, a fight did come off, and a