I put my handkerchief to my eyes and said: “Well, when the shock came, pa was all right, as handsome a man as you would often see. I think there must have been a pile driver on the train that struck him, and changed sides with him, knocking his stomach around on the back side of him, and placing his spinal column around in front of him, where his stomach was, and causing him to lose the sense of speech. Think of a middle-aged man going through life mixed up in that manner, having to sit down on his stomach, and having his backbone staring him in the face. How does he know when he takes food in his mouth that it can corkscrew around under his arm and eventually find his stomach? How a man can be ground and twisted, and mauled, and stamped on by a reckless locomotive with a crazy engineer and a drunken fireman, rolled over by box cars, and walked on by elephants, and still live, is beyond me. As he told me before he lost the power of speech, not to be too hard on the railroad company, though some railroads would be glad to pay him $20,000, and no questions asked, he begged me, as heir to his estate, to let you off for a paltry $10,000.”
Pa made up the darndest face, and groaned. The agent called another agent, and they whispered together, and finally the first one came to me and asked pa’s full name, and then the two of them got out a fountain pen, and they made out a check, and he said: “This is the first case in the history of railroad wrecking that the agent has not had the heart to try to beat the injured party down. This is certainly the most pitiful case that has ever been known, and if your father ever comes to his senses you can tell him he is welcome to the money.”
The agents shook hands with pa and I, and went away to their train, and pa winked at me, and a wrecking train came and we got on a special, and got to Pittsburg before breakfast, and pa is going to buy me a dog out of the money.
Gee, but there is all kinds of money in the circus business. Pa is going to wear his pants hind side before until we get out of Pittsburg.
The Bad Boy Causes Trouble
Between the Russian Cossacks and the Jap
Jugglers—A Jap Tight-Rope Walker Jiu-Jitsu’s Pa—The Animals Go on
a Strike—Pa Runs the Menagerie for a Day and Wins Their Gratitude.
I did not mean any harm when I told the Japanese jugglers that they ought to kick against having those Russian cavalrymen in the show, the fellows who ride horses standing up, in the wild-west department, ’cause I had listened to their Russian talk, and it seemed to me they were spies who were looking for a chance to do injury to the “poor little Japs.” I could see that I made the Japs mad the first thing, and then I told them that pa and all the managers of the show felt sorry for the little Japs, ’cause some day the big Russians would ride right over them, and kill them right in the ring. I said that everybody thought the Japs ought to resign from the show, for fear of a clash with the Russians, or else they ought to have some grown persons to act as chaperones.