The animals quieted down a little, and pa went into the big tent to consult the manager, and I thought it was a shame that the lions and hyenas and tigers couldn’t have any fun, so I went to the table where the meat was laid out ready to feed them, and cut a hole in each piece of meat and put in a double handful of horseradish, and just then the feeder came along and began to throw the meat in the cages. Gee, but those carnivorous animals are bad enough even if you give them nice boiled sirloin steak, and they fight enough over it, at any time, but when they began to chew and tear the meat, and get horseradish hot from the griddle, they didn’t do a thing. The audience thought the animals would kill everybody. The big lion got his meat down, but it didn’t set well, and he turned a somersault, and snarled, and pulled the bars of the cage, while the grizzly bear rolled up in a ball and rolled over in his cage till the men had to hold on to the wheels to keep the shebang from going over. The hyenas, who are always mad, went on a tear that could be heard in all the tents.
Pa and the managers came back into the menagerie tent with the animal keeper, who had been sent for, and they began to try to find out what ailed the animals, and the animal keeper asked what pa had been feeding them, and pa said he had given them their ground turnips.
“Turnips, indeed,” said the keeper, as he took up some of the turnip and tasted of it, and he handed a handful to pa. Pa tasted it, and pa had a hot box, and the managers tasted of it, and they said: “No wonder.” Then they asked pa where he got it, and pa said he sent me to order it, and then they all said: “That settles it.”
[Illustration: Pa Tasted of It.]
I thought I would go ’way and jump in the river, but pa said: “Hennery, come here, my angel,” and he spit on his hands and picked up a barrel stave. I went right up to pa, as innocent as could be, just as any dutiful son should, and right there before the animals and freaks pa—well, that’s the reason I am not sitting down very much these days. So long.
The Bad Boy and His Pa Inject
a Little Politics Into the Show—Rival
Bands of Atlanta Citizens Meet in the Circus Tent—A Bunch of Angry
Hornets Causes Much Bitter Feeling.
I expect that next year I shall be one of the managers of this show, ’cause they tell me I have got the greatest head of any boy that has ever traveled with the show.
We haven’t been having a very big business in the south, because the negroes haven’t money enough to patronize shows, and a lot of the white people are either too high-toned or else they are politicians and want a pass. The managers and heads of departments held a meeting to devise some way to get both classes interested, and everybody was asked to state their views. After they all got through talking pa asked