The hippopotamus is like the lazy fat man that groans from force of habit, sits down as though it was the last act of his life and only gets up when the bell rings for meals, and he sweats blood for fear he will lose his meal ticket and starve to death.
The seals are the clean-cut Baptists of the show, who believe in immersion, and they have more brain than any animals in the show, because they live on a fish diet, though they have a pneumonia cough that makes you feel like sending for a doctor.
Gee, but last night when we thought spring had come and we could start on the road pretty soon, the snow fell about a foot deep, and it was so cold that all the animals howled all night, and shivered, and went on a regular strike. We had to put blankets on them, and no one of them seemed to be comfortable except the polar bears, the arctic foxes and the fat woman. The other owners of the show thought it was a good time to take the boa constrictor and pull an ulcerated tooth, ’cause he was sort of dumpish, so pa and I helped hold the snake, which is about twenty feet long.
Pa was up near the snake’s head, and when the man with the forceps got hold of the tooth and gave it a yank, the confounded snake come to and began to stand on his head and thrash around, and pa dropped his hold and started to climb the center pole, but he got caught in a gasoline torch, and they had to turn a hose on pa, and he was awful scared, ’cause he always did hate snakes, but they gave the snake chloroform and got him quiet, and pa came down, and they gave him a pair of baggy trousers belonging to the clown, to go to dinner in, and pa was a sight.
[Illustration: They Had to Turn the Hose on Pa.]
Pa Finds the Fat Lady a Burden—The Bad Boy Makes His First Public Appearance—He Talks Politics with the Midget—Pa Meets with Numerous Accidents.
May 1.—We had the darndest time getting packed up and started on the road. How in the name of heaven we ever got half the things on the cars is more than I know, but it seems as though the circus company had a man to look after everything, and he had men under him to look after his regular share of things, so when the cars were loaded, and the boss clapped his hands, and the engineer tooted his whistle, there wasn’t a tent stake or a rope, or a board seat, or anything left behind. Every man knew exactly where the things were that he was responsible for, so he could lay his hands on them in the dark, and he knew just what wagon his stuff was to go in.
Gee, but you talk about system, there is no business in the world that has a system like a show on the road. Every performer was in his or her section in the sleeper, and pa and I got an end section with the freaks, the fat woman across the aisle from us. That fat woman is going to make life a burden for pa, I can see that plain enough. She is engaged to the living skeleton, and he sleeps in the upper berth, over her, and he is jealous of pa, while the fat woman has got to depending on pa to do little things for her.