They said that looked reasonable, but they believed I knew more about it than anybody, but as we had to pack up the show and make the next town they wouldn’t lynch me till the next day. Pa got me to put cold cream on his stings, and then he said, “Hennery, you are the limit.”
The Show Does Poor Business
in the South—Pa Side Tracks a Circus
Car Filled with Creditors—A Performance Given “For the Poor,” Fills
the Treasury—A Wild West Man Buncoes the Show.
Gee, but this show has been up against it the last week. We haven’t made a paying stand anywhere. The show business is all right when you have to turn people away, or let them in on standing room. Then you can snap your fingers at fate, and drink foolish water out of four-dollar bottles of fizz that has the cork trained so it will pop out clear to the top of the tent, and make a noise that makes you think you own the earth, but when you strike the southern country where the white men have not sold their cotton and the negroes have not been paid for picking it, the audience looks like a political caucus in an off year, when there is nobody with money enough to stimulate the voters. When the audiences are small, and half the people in attendance get in on bill-sticker’s passes, and you can’t pay the help regularly, but have to stand them off with promises, you are liable to have a strike any minute. The people you owe for hotel bills, and horse feed, and supplies, follow you from one town to another, threatening to attach the ticket wagon and levy on the animals. It takes diplomacy and unadulterated gall to run a show.
We are playing now to get back into the northern states, but we have to leave an animal of some kind in the hands of a sheriff every day, which has been all right so far, ’cause we have steered the sheriffs on to elephants that have corns so they are no good except to eat, one zebra that was made up by a painter, who painted stripes on a white mule, and one lion that was so old he will never sell at forced sale for enough to pay for the beef tea the sheriff will have to feed him.