Part 3 out of 4
"Yip!--yip!" he cried sharply to the ring horse, riding straight
at the first ring which he took without difficulty, though the
hot flame on his cheeks made him shrink himself into a smaller
compass than had been the case with the paper rings.
The audience was applauding him wildly, for somehow this slender,
youthful figure appealed to them more strongly than had any other
performer in the show thus far. One after another Phil took the
flaming rings until he came to the last one which he approached
with more confidence than he had any of the others.
He hurled himself at it with less caution than before. As he
entered the hoop of fire his elbows caught it, and instantly the
lad felt the fire burning through his silk ring shirt.
Without an instant's hesitation the boy leaped up into the air,
clearing his horse by a full two feet.
The force of his throw sent the ring of fire soaring through the
air, as he had, with quick intuition, imagined that it would.
Phil threw a splendid backward somersault almost slipping off the
hips of the ring horse.
"Great!" exploded the owner.
The audience applauded wildly.
But the next instant Sully was not shouting approving words.
The burning ring had slipped neatly over his own head and before
he could throw it off, his clothes, as well, were on fire.
Throwing himself down in the sawdust the showman rolled and
rolled, uttering loud imprecations and threats, while audience
and performers fairly screamed with delight.
He was up in a flash, expecting to find Phil making a dash
"Stop him!" he bellowed.
Phil Forrest sat on the rump of the ring horse, grinning broadly
at the predicament of the owner of the Sully Hippodrome Circus.
A DASH FOR FREEDOM
"Well, you are a star rider, anyway," announced Sully, with
emphasis when he was once more leading Phil to the carriage to
take him back to the linen closet on board the private car.
But Sully was less violent, and there was a twinkle in his eyes
that Phil did not fail to catch.
"He's planning something," thought the boy, after being once more
locked in his compartment. "I shouldn't be surprised if I had
ridden a little too well today. But it's going to be the means
of getting me my freedom. Someone surely will see me and
That night Phil rode again, winning even greater applause than he
had done at the afternoon performance. But a closer watch was
kept over him, as Sully had imagined that the opportunities were
greater for escape than in broad daylight. Phil had reasoned it
out the same way, but he was in no hurry. He had done up his
money in a little bag which he hung about his neck each time
before going into the ring, so that it might not be stolen while
he was performing, for, it will be remembered that the lad had no
trunk in which to keep his valuables.
No chance to escape presented itself during the evening, however,
and the lad was forced to return to his imprisonment again after
the night performance.
"If you expect me to be in working order you should give me a
decent place to sleep," he told Sully, while they were sitting
at lunch in the private car that night.
Sully grinned and winked an eye.
"See anything green in my eye?"
"No. It's all red. I guess you see red most of the time."
"If you'll give me a promise, I'll let you sleep in a berth in
this car tonight."
"What promise?" asked Phil, though he knew pretty well what the
showman would demand.
"That you won't try to escape."
"I'll make no such promise."
"Then it's the linen closet for your."
"All right; I will sleep in the linen closet. I suppose you will
want me to ride again tomorrow?"
"Then don't forget the twenty-five dollars in advance."
"Say, that's more money than I'll pay for that act, good as it
is," protested the showman.
"Very well; then I will stay in the closet and you can cut your
bareback out. You do not have to pay it unless you want to."
Sully growled and handed out the money.
Phil put it in his pocket with a smile and half audible chuckle
that did not tend to make Sully feel any the less irritable.
"Perhaps it is a good thing that I am a prisoner if I have got to
stay with this outfit."
"Why?" snapped the showman.
"Because some of your light-fingered gentlemen would be dipping
into my pocket, when I wasn't looking, and take the money away
from me. That's the way you would get it back."
"That will be about all for you, boy," growled the showman.
"That is, unless you are willing to tell me what you are
The Circus Boy laughed lightly.
"I have nothing new to say to that question."
"You've done your part well. You must have got busy pretty quick
to have tipped off Sparling before we caught you."
"Tipped him off to what?" inquired Phil.
"Well, never mind what. You know and so do I."
After that the lad was sent to his closet to spend the night.
The next day was a repetition of the previous one, except that
Phil rode better than ever, if that were possible. But as he
was riding under the name of the performer who had been injured,
he could not make himself known.
Saturday came along, with the lad apparently as far from making
his escape as ever. But what he had hoped would come to pass had
done so in a measure. That is, the owner of the show had become
a little careless in watching the boy.
Instead of accompanying Phil into the ring, Sully satisfied
himself with standing by the entrance to the paddock, next to
This left Phil free to do pretty much as he chose, but he was
almost as closely confined as if he were in the owner's private
car, so far as getting away was concerned. But the boy's mind
was working actively.
As he sat on the back of the broad-backed ring horse that
afternoon, his eyes were looking over the tent questioningly.
"I believe I can do it," mused Phil. "If conditions are the same
tonight that they are this afternoon I am going to try it."
Just then the band struck up and the lad rose gracefully to his
feet ready to go through his act for the edification of the
Phil was making more money than ever before in his circus career,
and he now had only one act instead of several. But he cared
little for this. It was merely a means to an end.
At night he accompanied Sully to the lot as usual. Phil might
have appealed to a policeman, or to one of the many people
about him. It will be remembered, however, that he had given
his word that he would do nothing of the sort, and Phil Forrest
was not the boy to break his word after once having given it.
He proposed to get away by his own efforts or else wait until
rescued by the Sparling show.
As had been the case with the afternoon show Sully remained over
by the bandstand while Phil went through his act.
"I'll finish my performance," decided the lad. "I want to give
him his money's worth whether he deserves such treatment or not,
and then I'll make my try. I can do it, I believe."
Nothing of what was passing in the mind of the Circus Boy, of
course, was suspected by the owner of the show. Phil had just
rounded off his act by a backward somersault and the attendant
had slipped the bridle over the head of the ring horse
preparatory to leading the animal back to the paddock and
"You run along. I will ride him back," directed Phil innocently.
"Because I prefer to."
"Very well," answered the groom, turning away and walking slowly
toward the paddock, while Phil, who had in the meantime slipped
off to the ring, was quickly drawing on his slippers.
By this time Mr. Sully was looking at him, wondering why Phil did
not get out of the ring, for another act was coming on, the
performers for which already were moving down the concourse.
All at once the Circus Boy threw himself to the back of his
mount, landing astride.
Phil brought his riding whip down on the back of the surprised
animal with a force that sent the horse forward with a snort.
They bounded out of the ring. Instead, however, of turning
toward the paddock exit, Phil headed straight for the other end
of the tent. There an exit led into the menagerie tent, or where
that tent had been, for by this time it had been taken down and
carted away to the train. A canvas flap hung loosely over the
entrance, but it was not fastened down, as Phil well knew, being
left free so people could pass in and out at will.
It was the voice of Sully and might have been heard in every
part of the big top, though the people did not know what the
For the moment the circus attendants did not understand either.
They had not noticed Phil riding away in the wrong direction.
"Stop him, I say!"
An attendant discovered what was going on and started on a
run for Phil, who brought his whip down on the flanks of the
ring horse again and again, driving the animal straight at
the attendant. The result was that the fellow was bowled
over in a twinkling. The horse cleared the man at a bound.
At this the audience roared. They saw that something unusual was
taking place, though they did not understand what it all meant.
Half a dozen men ran toward Phil, while Sully himself was
charging down the concourse as fast as he could go, roaring out
his commands at the top of his powerful voice.
"Get a horse and follow him!" he shouted. "Run back and send one
of the men out around the tent to head him off! He's running
away with my best ring horse!"
Phil swept through the exit, bowling over two men who were
standing there on guard, and nearly running down a group of
boys who were standing just outside trying to get a glimpse
into the tent.
As he gained the outer air he heard the hoof beats of a running
horse bearing down on him from the left side of the big top.
The Circus Boy knew what that meant. They were after
OUTWITTING THE PURSUERS
"Oh, if only I had a faster horse!" Forrest breathed. "I am
afraid this old ring horse never will be able to get away
Phil was urging the animal with voice and whip, but it was
difficult to get the animal into a faster pace than his regular
ring gait--the gait that he had been following for many years.
This was scarcely faster than a man could trot.
Phil espied a pole wagon partially loaded, just ahead of him.
At sight of it a sudden idea occurred to him. He acted at once.
Riding close to the wagon the lad slipped off and, giving the
horse a sharp blow with the whip over one hip, Phil ducked under
The ring horse galloped on a few rods and then stopped.
"I guess it's time I was getting away from here," decided
the lad. "I'll be caught sure, if I do not hurry."
The lot was in an uproar. Men were running this way and that,
and above the din could be heard the voice of the owner, roaring
Phil, being still in his pink tights, was a conspicuous figure.
He knew that if a ray from a torch should chance to rest on him
for a moment, they would discover him at once.
Running in a crouching position the boy made for the further side
of the lot, where he hoped to get far enough away so that he
could straighten up and make better time.
He did finally reach a safe place, and climbing a board fence,
dropped on the other side and lay down to await developments.
These were not long coming. All at once he discovered half a
dozen men running directly toward him. Whether they had caught
sight of him or not, he did not know. He did know that it was
time to leave.
Phil left. Springing up, he fairly flew over the ground.
The men caught sight of him, as he realized when one of them
uttered a yell. But Phil was a faster runner than any of them
and in a few minutes, darting this way and that, and finally
doubling on his tracks in a wide circle, he succeeded in
"The question is, what am I going to do now?" he asked himself,
pausing abruptly. "In this rig I don't dare go into the town, or
they will nab me on some trumped up charge and then I shall be
worse off. Now I am free, even if I haven't got much on me in
the way of clothing. I might as well not have anything so far as
keeping warm is concerned." Phil shivered, for the night was
cool and a heavy dew falling.
"I know what I'll do. I'll slip back to the lot and perhaps I
shall be able to find something to put on. There's usually
plenty of coats lying about on the wagons."
Now that the uproar had ceased Phil crept back toward the circus
lot, lying down in the grass whenever he heard a sound near him
and peering into the darkness.
At the risk of being discovered he crawled up to a wagon, climbed
aboard and searched it diligently for clothes. He found none.
Keenly disappointed, Phil made his way to the pole wagon under
which he had taken refuge in his first effort at getting away.
This, he found, was loaded ready to be taken to the train.
At any moment, now, a team might be hitched to it.
"I guess I'll have to hurry!" muttered the lad. Phil's knowledge
of circus affairs stood him in good stead now.
To the boy's delight, he found a bundle in which were a coat and
a pair of overalls, rolled up and stowed under the driver's seat.
"Fine!" chuckled Phil. "It's a good deal like stealing, but I
have to have them and I'll send the fellow a new pair if ever I
get back to my own show. He'll be mad in the morning when he
goes to get his clothes. I wish I had a hat and pair of shoes.
But I guess I ought to be thankful for what I already have."
Saying this, Phil dropped from the wagon and quickly got into
the clothes. They were old and dirty, but he did not mind that.
They were clothes and they would cover his conspicuous ring
costume, which was the most important thing for him to consider
at the present moment.
"Now, I'll buy a ticket and get started for Corinto," he decided.
Phil reached under the neck of his shirt for his little bag
"Oh, pshaw! I've lost it. Let me see, did I put my money in
there before I entered the ring?"
For the life of him he was unable to say whether he had done so,
or whether his money was still in his clothes back in the
"Well, I shall never see that money again, I am thinking. If I
left it in my clothes it is gone by this time, and if I didn't it
is gone anyway," was his logical conclusion.
The first thing to be done now was to get off the lot, which
Phil did as quickly as possible. Clad in the soiled, well-worn
garments with his coat buttoned tightly about his neck, the lad
attracted no special attention. Getting well away from the
circus grounds, he halted to consider what his next move
"I guess I'll go over to the station and get some information,"
he decided. This he did, but the lights looked so bright in the
station that he did not consider it prudent to enter. So Phil
waited about until he saw one of the railroad switchmen coming in
from the yards.
"How far is it to Corinto, please?" he asked.
"Whew! So far as that?"
"Yes. Belong to the show?"
"Well, not exactly. I'm with them, but I can't say that I belong
to the outfit, and I'm glad I don't."
"Should think you would be glad," growled the switchman, who
evidently held the Sully combination in no high regard.
"Which way do the trains go for Corinto?"
"That way. That track runs right through without a break.
It's a single track road all the way."
"Going to hit the ties?"
"I'm likely to before I get there," laughed Phil, again thanking
his informant and starting away, for he saw some people
approaching whom he thought belonged to the show.
Leaning up against a freight car the lad considered what he had
better do. At first he was inclined to try to steal a ride on
the circus train, but after thinking the matter over he concluded
that this would be dangerous.
"If they catch me again they surely will handle me pretty
roughly, and they may throw me off the train. A few knocks more
or less might not make much difference, but I am not anxious to
be thrown from a rapidly moving circus train. I guess I'll walk.
Let me see, tomorrow will be Sunday, and it is fifty miles
to Corinto. I should be able to make the town by tomorrow
night sometime. Yes, I'll try it."
Having formed this resolve, Phil started manfully off for his
long walk to Corinto. He did not stop to consider that he would
be hungry before he got there.
He left the yards, for these were now full of employees busily
engaged in loading the cars. Off near the outskirts of the town
he turned back to the tracks.
For two hours he plodded along cheerfully, but by this time the
rough traveling over the ties so hurt his feet, clad as they were
in light slippers, that he could scarcely walk. Phil took off
the slippers and trotted about in the damp grass at the side of
the railroad track, until getting some relief, then started
An hour later the first of the circus trains thundered by him.
He could see the dim lights in the sleepers, and now and then
he made out the figure of a man stretched out under a cage on
a flat car.
"Anyway, I would rather be walking than locked up in that narrow
linen closet," decided the Circus Boy philosophically, once more
taking up his weary journey.
At sunrise Phil found that he was too tired to go much further
without taking a rest, so, as soon as he found a wooded place,
he climbed a fence and lay down in the shade of the trees, where
he quickly went to sleep.
The afternoon was well along when finally he awakened, sore and
stiff in every joint.
"If I should try to ride a bareback horse now I should fall
off for sure," he moaned, rubbing his lame spots vigorously.
"My, but I am hungry! I wonder how far I am from Corinto?"
A mile post a little further along told him that he had covered
just twenty miles of his journey. He still had thirty miles to
go--a long distance for one in his condition.
All during the rest of the day Phil was obliged to take
frequent rests. Whenever he came to a stream he would halt
and thrusting his feet into the cooling water, keep them there
for some time. This helped him considerably, for his feet
were swollen and feverish. The sun beating down on his head
made him dizzy and faint, which was made the more disturbing
because of his empty stomach.
He managed, just before sunset, to get a sandwich at a farmhouse,
though he was looked upon with suspicion by the housewife who
gave him the food. Phil offered to do something to pay for the
slender meal, but the woman refused and bade him be on his way.
"I don't blame her. I must be a tough looking customer," grinned
the boy, again climbing the fence and starting along the track.
He fought shy of villages during daylight, fearing that he might
be arrested for vagrancy and locked up. That would defeat
"I simply must get to Corinto and warn Mr. Sparling," he gritted.
"He doesn't know the plans these people have to harm him. If it
were not for that I wouldn't try to go any further today.
I could get somebody to help me out for a day or so, until I
could write to Mr. Sparling."
Now and then he met a tramp or two, but none that he thought
looked any more disreputable than he himself did. He passed the
time of day pleasantly, with such, and continued on his way.
Late in the evening he once more lay down for a rest. But Phil
did not permit himself to sleep long. He feared he should not
be able to wake up until morning if he did, and then he never
would reach the show town in time to warn Mr. Sparling of the
At daylight he was still ten miles from his destination.
"I must make it. I shall make it!" he breathed, starting on a
run, having found a path at the side of the track.
However, he could not keep this up for long, and was soon obliged
to settle back into his former slow pace.
At last Phil came in sight of the church spires of a town.
"I believe that is Corinto," he said, shading his eyes and
peering off at the distant town. "At any rate I can't be far
from it now."
The knowledge was almost as good as a meal. Its effect on Phil
Forrest was magical. He forgot all about his tender feet and
empty stomach as he swung into a good strong pace.
All at once he halted and listened. The blare of the big horns
of a circus band reached his ears.
"The parade has started. I must hurry now. The Sully wretches
may do something to the parade," Phil cried, starting away on
a run. Nor did he slacken his pace until he had gotten well into
the town. Now he could hear two bands playing, and knew that the
rival parades were under way.
"Where is the circus lot--where is the parade," he asked a man as
he dashed by.
The man pointed off to the right and Phil took the next corner
with a rush. As he swung into that street he saw the banners
of the Sparling show fluttering in the breeze as the parade
moved majestically toward him. Taking to the street, for the
sidewalks were crowded, Phil ran with all speed. Mr. Sparling,
in his carriage at the head, saw him coming. At first he did
not recognize the lad; then all at once he discovered who the
Phil dashed up to the carriage. Mr. Sparling reached out a hand
and pulled him in.
"Phil!" he cried.
"Quick, get the tents guarded! Sully's gang are going to cut the
guy ropes. Look out for the parade too. I suspect they will try
to break it up!"
THE BATTLE OF THE ELEPHANTS
"Yes, hurry!" and Phil sank back, weak from lack of food and the
severe strain he had put upon himself.
Mr. Sparling grasped the meaning of the lad's words in a flash.
Snatching a whistle from his pocket he blew two short,
shrill blasts. A mounted man came riding up at a gallop.
"Go to the lot! Have the tents surrounded. Let no one through
who doesn't belong to the show. I trust you to look out for
our property. An attempt may be made to do us damage while we
are out on parade. Now, ride!"
The man did ride. He whirled his horse and set it at a run down
the line, headed toward the circus lot.
"I've got to get back there myself, Phil. Can you stand it to
stay in the carriage until it reaches the lot?"
"Yes, but I don't look fit. I--"
"Sit up and look wise. The people will think you are a clown and
they'll split their sides laughing. I'll talk with you later.
You must have had a rough time of it."
"I have had."
Mr. Sparling jumped out of the carriage, and, ordering a rider to
dismount, took the latter's horse, on which he, too, rode back to
the lot with all speed.
Phil pulled himself together. Half a block further on the
people, espying him, did laugh as Mr. Sparling had said
Phil grinned out of sheer sympathy.
"I must look funny riding in this fine carriage with four
white horses drawing me through the streets. I don't blame
them for laughing. If I had something to eat, now, I would
be all right. I am getting to have as much of an appetite as
Teddy Tucker has. I--"
Phil paused, listening intently.
"I hear another band and it is coming nearer," he exclaimed.
"That must be the Sully show. I forgot in my excitement, to ask
Mr. Sparling about them. I wonder where they are?"
The music of the rival band grew louder and louder, but strain
his eyes and ears as he would, Phil was unable to locate the
other show's line of parade.
"Where's that band?" he called up to the driver of his carriage.
"Off that side of the town, I guess," he answered, waving his
whip to the right of them.
"Well, I think they are pretty close to us and I don't like the
looks, or rather the sound of things."
At that moment Phil's carriage was drawn across an
intersecting street. He looked up the street quickly.
"There they are!" he cried.
Less than a quarter of a block up the street he saw the other
parade sweeping down upon them, bands playing, flags flying
and banners waving. Phil's quick, practiced eyes saw
something else too. The elephants were leading the rival
parade, with horsemen immediately at their rear, the band
still further back.
This being so unusual in a parade, the Circus Boy knew that there
must be some reason for the peculiar formation. The elephants
should have been further back in the line, the same as were those
of the Sparling show.
Phil divined the truth instantly.
"They're going to break up our parade!" he cried. "That's what
they are hoping to do. Drive on! I'm going to get out and run
back to tell the parade manager. They'll do us a lot of damage."
Phil leaped from the carriage and ran down the street, his coat
wide open showing his pink riding shirt beneath it.
"Where's the parade manager?" he cried.
"Gone to the lot. Boss sent him back."
Phil groaned. Something must be done and done quickly.
The rival parade must be nearing their street by this time.
A thought occurred to him. Phil dashed for the elephant herd.
"Sully's show is going to run into us at that corner there."
"They don't dare!"
"They do and they will. Swing your elephants out of line and
throw them across that intersecting street. I'll bet they won't
get by our bulls in a hurry."
"Great! Great, kid! I'd never thought of that."
"You'll have to hurry. The other fellows are almost here and
their elephants are leading the parade. Sully's just looking
The voice of the elephant trainer uttered a series of
shrill commands that sounded like so many explosions.
The elephants understood. They swung quickly out of
line and went lumbering down the street.
"Hey, there, that you, Phil?"
It was Teddy on old Emperor's back in the same frog costume that
he had worn for that purpose the first season with the show.
"Yes, what's left of me," answered Phil, running fast to keep up
with the swiftly moving elephants.
Just before reaching the intersecting street he managed to get
ahead of Kennedy and his charges.
"Hurry, hurry! They're right here," howled the Circus Boy.
The trainer, with prod and voice, urged the elephants into even
quicker action than before. Two minutes later they swung across
the street down which the rival parade was coming, and, at the
command of their keeper, the huge animals turned, facing the
other body of paraders.
"We're just in time! There they are!" cried Phil excitedly.
"I should say so. They were going to do what you said they
would, the scoundrels!"
"Can you hold them till our people get by, do you think?"
"Can I hold them? I can hold them till all the mill ponds in
Canada freeze up!" exploded the elephant trainer.
Phil walked forward to meet the Sully parade. The owner of that
show was well up toward the front of the line on horseback.
"You'll have to wait till our line gets by, sir," announced Phil,
with a suggestive grin. "We've got your little game blocked,
Sully fairly hurled the word at the disreputable looking
"Yes; you see I got away. Are you going to stop?"
"No, not for any outfit that James Sparling runs. Where is he?
Afraid to come out and show himself, eh? Sends a runaway kid out
to speak for him. Get out of the way, or I'll run you down!"
Phil's eyes snapped.
"You had better not try it, if you know what's good for you!"
"Move on! Break through their line!" commanded Sully.
Phil turned and waved his hand.
"They are going to try to break through, Mr. Kennedy," he called.
Kennedy uttered several quick commands. The Sully elephants
swung down toward him, their trunks raised high in the air.
The leader, a big tusker, uttered a shrill cry.
It was the elephants' battle cry, but Phil did not know it.
For the first time, thus far, the Sparling herd of elephants
began to show signs of excitement. Their trainer quieted them
somewhat with soothing words here, a sharp command there, and
occasionally a prod of the hook.
All at once the leading tusker of the Sully herd lunged straight
at old Emperor. In another instant nearly every elephant in each
herd had chosen an opponent and the battle was on in earnest.
Trumpetings, loud shrieks of rage and mighty coughs made the more
timid of the people flee to places of greater safety.
As the crash of the meeting elephants came, Phil ran back to the
street where his own parade was standing.
"Move on!" he shouted. "Follow your route without the elephants.
And you, bandmaster, keep your men playing. When you have gone
by, we will give the other show a chance to go on if there's
enough left of them to do so."
Realizing that Phil had given them sensible advice, the Sparling
show moved on with band playing and colors waving, but above the
uproar could be heard the thunder of the fighting elephants.
Two of the rival show's elephants had been tumbled into a ditch
by the roadside. Then Kennedy had a lively few minutes to keep
his own animals from following and putting an end to the enemies
they had tumbled over.
The tusks of the two big elephants, when they met, sounded like
the report of a pistol. Such sledge hammer blows as these two
monsters dealt each other made the spectators of the remarkable
All at once they saw something else that made them stare
On the back of Emperor, lying prone was stretched a
strange figure. From it they saw the head of a boy emerge.
Slowly the frog costume that he had worn, slipped from him
and dropped to the ground.
"Teddy!" shouted Phil. "He'll be killed!"
"W-o-w!" howled Teddy Tucker, who had been so frightened in the
beginning that he could not get down, and now he could not if
"Let go and jump off! I'll catch you!" shouted Phil.
"Mr. Kennedy, can't you get him off?"
But the trainer had his hands more than full keeping his charges
in line, for at all hazards they must not be allowed to get away
from him, as in their present excited state there was no telling
what harm they might do.
The Sparling people suddenly uttered a great shout. Emperor was
slowly forcing his antagonist backward, the Sully elephant
gradually giving ground before the mighty onslaught of
old Emperor. Seeing their leader weakening, the other elephants
also began retreating until the line was slowly forced back
against Sully's line of march. The owner was riding up and down
in a frightful rage, alternately urging his trainer to rally his
elephants, and hurling threats at Phil Forrest and the
organization he represented.
"Had we better not call our bulls off, Mr. Kennedy?"
shouted Phil. "Our parade has gone by this time."
"Yes, if I can. I don't know whether I can stop them now
"You get the others away. I'll try to take care of Emperor
and Jupiter. Emperor will give in shortly, after he knows
the other elephant is whipped."
"He won't give in till he kills him," answered Kennedy.
"Better look out. He's blind, crazy mad."
"I'm not afraid of him. Hang on now, Teddy. We will have you
out of your difficulty in a few minutes."
Teddy had been hanging on desperately, his eyes large
and staring. Every time the long trunk of Sully's big tusker was
raised in the air, Teddy thought it was being aimed at his head
and shrank closer to Emperor's back. But the tusker probably
never saw Teddy at all. He was too busy protecting himself from
old Emperor's vicious thrusts.
At last the tusker began to retreat in earnest. First he would
turn, running back a few rods; then he would whirl to give a
moment's battle to Emperor.
Emperor was following him doggedly.
Phil decided that it was time to act. He rushed up to Emperor's
head during one of these lulls and called commandingly.
Emperor, with a sweep of his trunk, hurled Phil Forrest to the
side of the street. But Phil, though shaken up a bit, was not
harmed in the least.
He was up and at his huge friend almost at once.
"Emperor! Emperor!" he shouted, getting nearer and nearer to the
head of the enraged beast.
Finally Phil stepped up boldly and threw both arms about
"Steady, steady, Emperor!" he commanded.
This time the elephant did not hurl Phil away. Instead, he
stopped hesitatingly, evidently not certain whether he
should plunge on after his enemy or obey the command of his
Phil tucked the trunk under his arm confidently.
"That's a good fellow! Come along now, and we'll have a whole
bag of peanuts when we get back to the lot."
The elephant coughed understandingly, it seemed. At least he
turned about, though with evident reluctance, and meekly followed
the Circus Boy, his trunk still tucked under the latter's arm.
The Sully elephants had been whipped and driven off, though none
had been very seriously injured. Some fences had been knocked
over and a number of people nearly frightened to death--but that
was all. Phil had saved the day for his employer's show and had
come out victorious.
The Circus Boy was in high glee as he led Emperor back toward
the lot, where the parade was drawing in by the time he
Teddy, on the big elephant's head, was waving his arms excitedly.
"We licked 'em! We licked 'em!" he howled, as he caught sight of
Mr. Sparling hurrying toward them.
MONKEYS IN THE AIR
As the result of that victory, the Sparling shows did a great
business in Corinto. The owner, considering that his rival had
been severely enough punished, made no further effort to have him
brought to justice, though Phil could hardly restrain him from
making Sully suffer for the indignities he had heaped on
Phil found his money that day when he removed his ring shirt.
The string that had fastened his money bag about his neck had
parted, letting the bag drop. This money he handed to
Mr. Sparling as rightfully belonging to him.
Of course the showman refused it, and wanted to make Phil a
present besides, for the great service he had rendered. As it
chanced, one of Mr. Sparling's own staff was attending the Sully
show when Phil made his escape, and much of the latter's
discomfort might have been prevented had he only been aware
of that fact.
Teddy assumed the full credit for the victory of old Emperor,
and no one took the trouble to argue the question with him.
Soon after these exciting incidents the Sparling shows left
Canada behind and crossed the Niagara River. It was with a
long drawn sigh of relief that they set eyes on the Stars and
After showing at the Falls, the outfit headed southwest.
The season was getting late, the cotton crop in the south was
going to market, and it was time for all well managed shows whose
route lay that way to get into Dixie Land. The Circus Boys, too,
were anxious to tour the sunny south again. This time they were
going to follow a route they had never been over before,
something that was still a matter of great interest to the boys.
Mr. Sparling upon learning that there was a traitor in his
camp who was supplying secret information to the Sully show as
to the route of the Sparling circus, had at once set a watch
for the offender. It was not long before the traitor was
caught red-handed. He was, of course, dismissed immediately,
despised by all who knew what he had been doing.
No more had been seen of the Sully Hippodrome Circus after the
meeting of the two organizations in Corinto, though that crowd
had been heard of occasionally as hovering on the flanks of the
"I don't care where they go," said Mr. Sparling, "so long as they
don't get in the same county with me. I am liable to lose my
temper if they get that near to me again, and then something will
happen for sure."
The Sparling show got into the real southland when it made
Memphis, Tennessee, on October first, a beautiful balmy southern
fall day. All season Phil had been keeping up his practice on
the trapeze bar, until he had become a really fine performer.
He had never performed in public, however, and hardly thought he
would have a chance to do so that season. He hoped not, if it
were to be at some other performer's expense, as had usually
been the case.
"When somebody gets hurt it's Phillip who takes his place," said
the lad to himself.
"Which means that you are always on the job," replied
Mr. Sparling who had chanced to overhear the remark. No serious
accidents had occurred in sometime, however, and it was hoped by
everyone that none would. Accidents, while they are accepted by
show people in the most matter-of-fact way, always cast a gloom
over the show. Even the loss of a horse will make the
sympathetic showman sad.
After a splendid business in Memphis the show ran into
Mississippi where it played a one day stand at Clarksdale, and
where the showmen experienced the liveliest time they had had
since they met the Sully organization in Canada.
The afternoon performance had just come to an end, and the people
were getting ready to leave their seats under the big top, when a
great commotion was heard under the menagerie top.
Most of the performers were in the dressing tent, changing their
dress for supper, but a roar from the audience, followed by
shouts of laughter, attracted their attention sharply, and as
soon as they could clothe themselves sufficiently, the performers
rushed out into the ring again.
Suddenly the people, upon looking toward the menagerie tent,
saw a troop of diminutive animals sweeping into the big top.
At first the people did not recognize them.
"They're monkeys!" shouted someone. "They're going to give us a
"No. The beasts have gotten out of their cage,"
He was right. A careless attendant had hooked the padlock of the
monkey cage in the staple, but had not locked it. An observant
simian had noticed this, but did not make use of his knowledge
until the keeper had gone away.
Peering out to make sure that no one was looking, the monkey
reached out its hand and deftly slipped the padlock from
The rest was easy. A bound against the cage door left the way
open, and the hundred monkeys in the cage, big and little were
not slow to take advantage of the opportunity thus offered.
Chattering wildly, they poured from the wagon like a
small cataract. A moment later the attendants discovered them
and gave chase. At about the same time the monkeys discovered
that something was going on under the big top. Being curious
little beasts, they concluded to investigate. Then, too, the
attendants were pressing pretty close to them, so the whole herd
bolted into the circus tent with a shouting crowd of circus men
The yells of the audience, added to those of the attendants, sent
the nimble little fellows scurrying up ropes, center and quarter
poles, all the time keeping up their merry chatter, for freedom
was a thing they had not enjoyed since they had been captured in
their jungle homes.
Some of the ring men tried to shake the monkeys down from the
poles, just as they would shake an apple tree to get the fruit.
But the little fellows were not thus easily dislodged.
The attempt served only to send them higher up. They seemed
to be everywhere over the heads of the people.
Finally, having thoroughly investigated the top of the tent,
several of the larger simians decided to take a closer look at
the audience. At the moment the audience did not know of this
plan, or they might have taken measures to protect themselves.
The first intimation they had of the plans of the mischievous
monkeys, was when a woman uttered a piercing shriek, startling
everyone in the tent.
"What is it?" shouted someone.
"Oh, my hat! My hat!" she cried after discovering what had
happened to her.
The eyes of the audience wandered from her up to where a monkey
was dangling by its tail far above their heads. The animal had
in its hands a flower-covered hat, so large that when the monkey
tried to put it on, it almost entirely concealed his body.
So suddenly had the hat been torn from the head of the owner
that hatpins were broken short off while the little thief
"shinned" a rope with his prize.
Failing to make the hat fit, Mr. Monkey began pulling the flowers
out; then picking them to pieces, he showered the particles down
over the heads of the audience.
This was great sport for the monkey, but no fun at all for the
owner of the hat. The woman hurried from her seat, red-faced
and humiliated. Phil Forrest had chanced to be a witness to
the act. He stepped forward as she descended to the concourse
and touched his hat.
"Was the hat a valuable one, madam?" he asked.
"I am sorry. If you will come with me to the office of the
manager I am quite sure he will make good your loss."
"Do you belong to the circus, sir?"
The woman gladly accompanied him to Mr. Sparling, and there was
made happy by having the price of her ruined hat handed over to
her without a word of objection.
In the meantime trouble had been multiplying at a very rapid rate
under the big top. Everyone was shouting, attendants were
yelling orders to each other, and now Mr. Sparling, hurrying in,
added his voice to the din.
Hats in all parts of the tent seemed to fly toward the roof
almost magically, to come tumbling down a few minutes later
Once the monkeys got a tall silk hat. This they used for an
aerial football, tossing it to each other as they leaped from
rope to rope at their dizzy height.
One monkey was discovered peering down at a certain point in
the audience with an almost fascinated gaze. Something down
there attracted him. Cautiously the little fellow let himself
down a rope to the side wall, then, unnoticed by the people,
crept down through the aisle. Slowly one black little hand
reached up and jerked from the head of an old gentleman a pair
of gold spectacles.
The man uttered a yell as he felt the spectacles being torn from
him, and made a frantic effort to save them. But the glasses, in
the hands of the monkey, were already halfway up the aisle and a
moment more the monkey was twisting the bows into hard knots and
hurling pieces of glass at the spectators.
"Catch them! Catch them!" shouted Mr. Sparling.
"How, how?" answered a showman.
"I'll go up and get them," spoke up Teddy Tucker. Teddy simply
could not keep out of trouble. He was sure to be in the thick of
it whenever a disturbance was abroad.
"That's a good plan. How are you going to do it?"
"I'll show you. I'll shake 'em down if you will catch them when
they reach the ring."
"Yes, but be careful that you don't fall."
"Don't you worry about me!"
Teddy untied a rope from a quarter pole, straightened it out
and throwing off his coat and hat, began going up the rope hand
over hand. The monkeys peered down curiously from their perches,
chattering and discussing the little figure that was on its way
up to join them.
Teddy reached the platform of the trapeze performers. From there
he climbed a short rope that led to a smaller trapeze bar higher
up, thence to the aerial bars, where the whole bunch of monkeys
were sitting, scolding loudly.
"Shoo!" said Teddy. "Get out of here! Better get a net and
catch them down there," shouted Teddy, standing up on the bars
without apparent thought of his own danger.
"Look out that we don't have to catch you!" called
Mr. Sparling warningly.
Teddy picked his way gingerly across the bars shooing the monkeys
ahead of him, now holding to a guide rope so that he might not by
any chance slip through and drop to the ring forty feet below
him, and all the while waving his free hand to frighten
A few of them leaped to a rope some eight or ten feet away, down
which they went to the ring and up another set of ropes before
the show people below could catch them.
While Teddy was thus engaged, the whole troop of monkeys swung
back on the under side of the aerial bars beneath his feet.
"Shoo! Shoo!" he shouted. "You rascals, I'll fix you when I get
hold of you, and don't you forget that for a minute."
He turned, cautiously making his way back, when the lively,
mischievous little fellows shinned up the rope by which he had
let himself down to the serial bars.
"I'll drive you all over the top of this tent, but I'll get you,"
Down below the audience was shouting and jeering. The people
refused to leave the tent so long as such an exhibition was
going on. No one paid the least attention to the "grand concert"
that was in progress at one end of the big top, so interested
were all in the Circus Boy's giddy chase.
"I'm afraid he will fall and kill himself," groaned Mr. Sparling.
"You can't hurt Teddy," laughed Phil. "He can go almost anywhere
that a monkey could climb. But he'll never get them." Phil was
laughing with the others, for the sight was really a funny one.
"Oh, look what they've done!" exclaimed one of the performers.
"They've pulled up the rope," said Mr. Sparling hopelessly.
"Now he certainly is in a fix," laughed Phil.
The monkeys, after shinning the rope, had mischievously hauled it
up after them, acting with almost human intelligence. One of
them carried the free end of it off to one side and dropped it
over a guy rope. This left Tucker high and dry on the aerial
bars with no means at hand to enable him to get back to earth.
The audience caught the significance of it and howled lustily.
"Now, I should like to know how you are going to get down?"
shouted Mr. Sparling.
Teddy looked about him questioningly, and off at the grinning
monkeys, that perched on rope and trapeze, appeared to be
enjoying his discomfiture to the full.
"I--I guess I'll have to do the world's record high dive!"
he called down. There seemed no other way out of it.
TEDDY TAXES A DROP
"Throw him a rope!" shouted someone.
"Yes, give him a rope," urged Mr. Sparling.
"No one can throw a rope that high," answered Phil. "I think the
first thing to be done is to get the monkeys and I have a plan by
which to accomplish it."
"What's your plan?"
"Have their cage brought in. We should have thought of
"That's a good idea," nodded Mr. Sparling. "I always have said
you had more head than any of the others of this outfit, not
excepting myself. Get the monkey cage in here."
While this was being done Phil hurried out into the menagerie
tent, where, at a snack stand, he filled his pockets with peanuts
and candy; then strolled back, awaiting the arrival of the cage.
"We shall be able to capture our monkeys much more easily if the
audience will please leave the tent," announced Mr. Sparling.
"The show is over. There will be nothing more to see."
The spectators thought differently. There was considerable to be
seen yet. No one made a move to leave, and the manager gave up
trying to make them, not caring to attempt driving the people out
The cage finally was drawn up between the two rings.
This instantly attracted the attention of the little beasts.
Phil stood off from the cage a few feet.
"Now everybody keep away, so the monkeys can see me,"
he directed. Phil then began chirping in a peculiar way, giving
a very good imitation of the monkey call for food. At the same
time he began slowly tossing candy and peanuts into the cage.
There was instant commotion aloft. Such a chattering and
scurrying occurred up there as to cause the spectators to gaze in
open-mouthed wonder. But still Phil kept up his weird chirping,
continuing to toss peanuts and candy into the cage.
"As I live, they are coming down," breathed Mr. Sparling in
amazement, "never saw anything like it in my life!"
"I always told you that boy should have been a menagerie man
instead of a ring performer," nodded Mr. Kennedy, the
"He is everything at the same time," answered Mr. Sparling.
"It is a question as to whether or not he does one thing better
than another. There they come. Everybody stand back. I hope
the people keep quiet until he gets through there. I am afraid
the monkeys never will go back into the cage, though."
There was no hesitancy on the part of the monkeys. They began
leaping from rope to rope, swinging by their tails to facilitate
their descent, until finally the whole troop leaped to the top of
the cage and swung themselves down the bars to the ground.
Phil lowered his voice to a low, insistent chirp. One monkey
leaped into the cage, the others following as fast as they could
stretch up their hands and grab the tail board of the wagon.
Instantly they began scrambling for the nuts and candies that lay
strewn over the floor.
The last one was inside. Phil sprang to the rear of the cage
and slammed the door shut, throwing the padlock in place and
"There are your old monkeys," he cried, turning to Mr. Sparling
with flushed, triumphant face.
The audience broke out into a roar, shouting, howling and
stamping on the seats at the same time.
"Now, you may go," shouted Mr. Sparling to the audience.
"Phil, you are a wonder. I take off my hat to you," and the
showman, suiting the action to the word, made a sweeping bow
to the little Circus Boy.
Still the audience remained.
"Well, why don't you go?"
"What about the kid up there near the top of the house?"
questioned a voice in the audience.
"That's so. I had forgotten all about him," admitted the owner
of the show.
"Oh, never mind me. I'm only a human being," jeered Tucker, from
his perch far up near the top of the tent. This brought a roar
of laughter from everybody.
"We shall have to try to cast a rope up to him."
"You can't do it," answered Phil firmly. Nevertheless the effort
was made, Teddy watching the attempts with lazy interest.
"No, we shan't be able to reach him that way," agreed Mr.
"Hey down there," called Teddy.
"Well, what is it? Got something to suggest?"
"Maybe--maybe if you'd throw some peanuts and candy in my cage I
might come down."
This brought a howl of laughter.
"I don't see how we are going to make it," said Mr. Sparling,
shaking his head hopelessly.
"I'll tell you how we can do it," said Phil.
"Yes; I was waiting for you to make a suggestion. I thought it
funny if you didn't have some plan in that young head of yours.
What is it?"
"What's the matter with the balloon?"
"Hurrah! That's the very thing."
The balloon was a new act in the Sparling show that season.
A huge balloon had been rigged, but in place of the usual basket,
was a broad platform. Onto this, as the closing act of the show,
a woman rode a horse, then the balloon was allowed to rise slowly
to the very dome of the big tent, carrying the rider and horse
The act was a decided novelty, and was almost as great a hit as
had been the somersaulting automobile of a season before.
The balloon stood swaying easily at its anchorage.
"Give a hand here, men. Let the bag up and the boy can get on
the platform, after which you can pull him down."
"That won't do," spoke up Phil. "He can't reach the platform.
Someone will have to go up and toss him a rope. He can make the
rope fast and slide down it."
"I guess you are right, at that. Who will go up?"
"I will," answered the Circus Boy. "Give me that coil of rope."
Taking his place on the platform the lad rose slowly toward the
top of the tent as the men paid out the anchor rope.
"Halt!" shouted Phil when he found himself directly opposite
"Think you can catch it, Teddy?"
"Well, here goes."
The rope shot over Teddy's head, landing in his outstretched arm.
"Be sure you make it good and fast before you try to shin down
it," warned Phil.
"I'll take care of that. Don't you worry. You might toss me a
peanut while I'm getting ready. I'll go in my cage quicker."
Phil laughingly threw a handful toward his companion, three or
four of which Teddy caught, some in his mouth and some in his
free hand, to the great amusement of the spectators.
"They ought to pay an admission for that," grinned Phil.
"For seeing the animals perform. You are the funniest animal
in the show at the present minute."
"Well, I like that! How about yourself?" peered Teddy with
"I guess I must be next as an attraction," laughed the boy.
"I guess, yes."
"Haul away," called Phil to the men below him, and they started
to pull the balloon down toward the ground again.
"Get a net under Tucker there," directed Mr. Sparling.
"I'm not going to dive. What do you think?" retorted Teddy.
"There is no telling what you may or may not do," answered
the showman. "It is the unexpected that always happens
Phil nodded his approval of the statement.
In the meantime Teddy had made fast the end of the rope to the
aerial bar, and grasping the rope firmly in his hands, began
letting himself down hand under hand.
"Better twist your legs about the rope," called Phil.
"No. It isn't neces--"
Just then Teddy uttered a howl. The rope, which he had not
properly secured, suddenly slipped from the bar overhead.
Teddy dropped like a shot.
THE CIRCUS ON AN ISLAND
Teddy landed in the net with a smack that made the
"Are you hurt," cried Mr. Sparling, running forward.
Teddy got up, rubbing his shins gingerly, working his head from
side to side to make sure that his neck was properly in place.
"N-n-no, I guess not. I'll bet that net got a clump that it
won't forget in a hurry, though. Folks, the show is all over.
You may go home now," added Teddy, turning to the audience and
waving his hand to them.
The seats began to rattle as the people, realizing that there was
nothing more to be seen, finally decided to start for home.
"It is lucky, young man, that I had that net under you,"
announced Mr. Sparling.
"Lucky for me, but a sad blow to the net," answered Teddy
humorously, whereat Mr. Sparling shook his head hopelessly.
The tent was beginning to darken and the showman glanced
"What's the outlook?" he asked as Mr. Kennedy passed.
"Just a shower, I guess."
The owner strode to the side wall and peered out under the tent,
then crawled out for a survey of the skies.
"We are in for a lively storm," he declared. "It may not break
until late tonight, and I hardly think it will before then.
Please tell the director to cut short all the acts tonight.
I want every stick and stitch off the lot no later than eleven
"Shall we cut out the Grand Entry?"
"Yes, by all means. If possible I should like to make the next
town before the storm breaks, as it's liable to be a long,
"I don't care. I've got a rubber coat and a pair of rubber boots
with a hole in one of them," spoke up Teddy.
"And, Teddy Tucker," added the owner, turning to the Circus Boy.
"If you mix things up tonight, and delay us a minute anywhere,
I'll fire you. Understand?"
Teddy shook his head.
"You don't? Well, I'll see if I can make it plainer then."
"Why, Mr. Sparling, you wouldn't discharge me, now, would you?
Don't you know this show couldn't get along without me?"
The showman gazed sternly at Teddy for a moment, then his face
broke out in a broad smile.
"I guess you're right at that, my boy."
The cook tent came down without delay that afternoon, and on
account of the darkness the gasoline lamps had to be lighted
a full two hours earlier than usual.
The show at the evening performance was pushed forward with a
rush, while many anxious eyes were upon the skies, for it was
believed that the heaviest rainstorm in years was about to fall.
By dint of much hard work, together with a great deal of shouting
and racket, the tents were off the field by the time indicated by
Mr. Sparling, and loaded. A quick start was made. Long before
morning the little border town of Tarbert, their next stand,
Mr. Sparling had all hands out at once.
"Get to the lot and pitch your tents. Everything has got to be
up before daylight," he ordered. "You'll have something to eat
just as soon as you get the cook tent in place."
That was inducement enough to make the men work with a will,
and they did. The menagerie and circus tents had been laced
together, lying flat on the ground, when the storm broke.
"That will keep the lot dry, but hustle it! Get the canvas up
before it is so soaked you can't raise it," commanded the owner.
By daylight the tents were in place, though men had to be
stationed constantly at the guy ropes to loosen them as they
strained tight from the moisture they absorbed.
The rain seemed to be coming down in sheets. Fortunately the lot
chosen for pitching the tents was on a strip of ground higher
than anything about it, so the footing remained fairly solid.
But it was a cheerless outlook. The performers, with their
rubber boots on, came splashing through a sea of mud and water
on their way to the cook tent that morning, Phil and Teddy with
"Looks like rain, doesn't it," greeted Teddy, as he espied
Mr. Sparling plodding about with a keen eye to the safety of
"I wish the outlook for business today were as good," was the
When the hour for starting the parade arrived, the water over the
flats about them was so deep and the mud so soft that it was
decided to abandon the parade for that day.
"I almost wish we hadn't unloaded," said the owner. "It looks
to me as if we might be tied up here for sometime."
"Yes," agreed Phil. "The next question is how are the people
going to get here to see the show?"
"I was thinking of that myself. The answer is easy, though."
"They won't come."
"Why? Are they drowned out?"
"No; the town is high enough so they will not suffer much of any
damage, except as the water gets into their cellars. No; they
are all right. I wish we were as much so, but there'll be no use
in giving a show this afternoon."
"Wait a minute," spoke up Phil, raising one hand while he
"Of course, you have an idea. It wouldn't be you if you hadn't.
But I am afraid that, this time, you will fall short of
"No, not if you will let me carry out a little plan."
"What is it?"
"When I came over I noticed a strip of ground just a few rods to
the north of the lot, and running right into it, that was higher
than the flats. It was a sort of ridge and fairly level on top."
"I didn't see that."
"I did. It was showing above the water a few inches and looked
like hard ground. If you don't mind getting wet I'll take you
over and point it out."
The showman agreed, though as yet he did not understand what
Phil's plan was.
Phil led the way to the north side of the lot, then turning
sharply to the left after getting his bearings, walked
confidently out into the water followed by Mr. Sparling.
The ground felt firm beneath their feet. As a matter of fact it
was a stratum of rock running out from the nearby mountains.
"Boy, you've struck a way for us to get out when time comes for
us to do so. That mud on the flats will be so soft, for several
days, that the wheels would sink in up to the hubs. The stock
would get mired now, were they to try to go through."
"But not here."
"No; I rather think that's so. What's your plan?"
"We have plenty of wagons that are not in use--take for instance
the pole wagons. Why not send our wagons over to the village
and bring the people here? I am sure they will enjoy that,"
"Splendid," glowed the showman. "But I'm afraid the horses never
would be able to pull them over."
"I said I was afraid they would not be able to."
"I had considered that, sir."
"Oh, you had?"
"Of course, I might have known you had. Well, what is it?"
"I have an even better scheme, and it will be great advertising--
one that few people in town will be able to resist."
"Yes? I am listening."
"Well, in the first place, have the long pole wagons fixed up to
bring the people over. We can use our ring platforms to make a
bottom for the passengers to sit on."
"Yes, that will be easy."
"Then, take some side wall poles, stand them up along the sides
of the wagon and build a roof with canvas. That will keep the
inside of the wagon as dry as a barn."
"A splendid idea. But how are you going to get the folks over
here after you have done that?"
"Wait, I am coming to that. What do you say to hitching the
elephants to the wagons and hauling the people back and forth?
Nothing like that has ever been done, has it?"
Mr. Sparling tossed up his hat regardless of the fact that the
rain was beating down on his head and running down his neck.
"Nothing ever been done to compare with it, since P. T. Barnum
ploughed up his farm with Jumbo. By the great Dan Rice, that's
a scheme!" shouted Mr. Sparling enthusiastically.
"But you will have to hurry if you are going to put the plan into
operation," urged Phil.
"What would you suggest, Phil?"
"I would suggest that you send men into town on horseback, right
away, having them call at every house, at the post office, the
hotel and every other place they can think of, telling the people
what we propose to do. Teddy and I will take horses and go out
with the rest, if you say so. The rain won't hurt us, and
besides, it will be great fun. What do you say, sir?"
Mr. Sparling hesitated for one brief second.
"Come on!" he shouted as with hat in hand he splashed toward the
lot followed a short distance behind by Phil.
The arrangements suggested by the Circus Boy were quickly made,
and a company of horsemen rode over to the village to tell the
people how they might see the show without getting wet.
While this was being done the pole wagons were being rigged
for the purpose, and the elephants were provided with harness
strong enough to stand the strain of the heavy loads they would
have to draw.
The wagons were to be driven along the village streets at one
o'clock, the circus to begin at half-past two. That would give
the show people plenty of time to prepare for the performance.
The suggestion met with great enthusiasm. Few people had ever
had the privilege of riding behind an elephant team, and they
gladly welcomed the opportunity.
At Phil's further suggestion a separate wagon had been prepared
for the colored people. When all was ready the elephants were
first driven across the ridge without their wagons, to show the
animals that the footing was safe. Then they were hooked to the
covered pole wagons and the work of transporting the village to
the lot was begun.
The show grounds were on an island, now, entirely surrounded
by water. Some of the clowns had rigged up fishing outfits
and sat on the bank in the rain trying to catch fish, though
there probably was not a fish within a mile of them, according
to Phil's idea.
"That's good work for a fool," gloated Teddy.
"It takes a wise man to be a fool, young man," was the
"Perhaps you don't know that the river has overflowed a few miles
above here, and that this place is full of fish?"
"No; I don't know anything of the sort. The only water I see
coming is from right overhead. Maybe there's fish swimming
around up there; I don't know. Never caught any up
After a time the clowns tired of their sport and went back to
their dressing tent to prepare for the afternoon performance, the
only performance that would be given that day, as it would not be
safe to try to transport the people across the water in the dark.
And, besides, the owner of the show hoped to be able to get his
show aboard the cars before night.
In the big top a slender rope had been stretched across the
blue seats from the arena back to the sidewall. This was the
"color line." On one side of it sat the colored people, on the
other the white people.
After all were seated, however, the line was taken down and
colored and white people sat elbow to elbow. All were perfectly
satisfied, for the color line had been drawn. The rest did
The show people entered into the spirit of the unusual exhibition
with the keenest zest, and the Sparling show had never given a
better entertainment than it did that afternoon. The clowns,
even though they had not been successful as fishermen, where
wholly so when they entered the ring. Teddy and his donkey,
which he had named January, after the manner of most clowns who
own these animals, set the whole tent roaring, while Shivers and
his "shadow" made a hit from the moment they entered.
"I've got the greatest bunch of people to be found in
this country," confided Mr. Sparling proudly to the surgeon.
"Especially those two boys, eh?"
"Yes. They can't be beaten. Neither can a lot of the others."
A fair-sized house had been brought over to see the show, and
after the performance was ended they were taken back to their
homes in the pole wagons, as they had been brought over.
"I'll tell you what you ought to do," said Teddy confidentially,
just before the show closed.
"Well, what is it?" questioned Mr. Sparling.
"You ought to leave those folks here."
"Leave them here?"
"Why, they couldn't get back, and they would have to go to the
evening performance again. You'd get 'em going and coming then.
Do you see?"
The showman tipped back his head, laughing long and loud.
"Yes; I see."
"Then why not do it?"
"Young man, this show doesn't do things that way. We do business
on the square, or we don't do it at all. I admire your zeal, but
not your plan."
"Yes," agreed Phil, who stood near; "I sometimes think
Teddy Tucker's moral code does need bolstering up a bit."
"What's that?" questioned Teddy. "What's a moral code?"
"I'll explain it to you some other time when we are not so busy,"
"Nor so wet," added Mr. Sparling. "You see, we want to come to
this town to show again some other time."
"I don't," responded Teddy promptly. "I've had all I want of it
for the rest of my natural life. I can get all the fun I want
out of performing on dry ground, instead of the edge of a lake
that you are expecting every minute to tumble into."
DISASTER BEFALLS THE FAT LADY
"Help, help! Oh, help!"
"Coming," shouted Teddy Tucker, leaping from the platform of the
sleeping car where he had been lounging in the morning sun.
The Fattest Woman on Earth was midway down the steep railroad
embankment with the treacherous cinders slowly giving way beneath
her feet, threatening every second to hurl her to the bottom of
the embankment and into the muddy waters of a swollen stream that
had topped its banks as the result of the storm that had
disturbed the circus so much.
The Sparling shows did not succeed in getting fully away from
the island until the middle of the day following the events
This made it necessary to skip the next stand, so the show ran
past that place, intent on making St. Charles, Louisiana,
sometime that night.
The train had been flagged on account of a washout some distance
ahead, and while it was lying on the main track many of the show
people took the opportunity to drop off and gather flowers out in
the fields near the tracks.
The Fat Woman was one of these. She had found it a comparatively
easy thing to slide down the bank further up the tracks, after
finding a spot where she could do so without danger of going
right on into the creek below.
But the return journey was a different matter. She had succeeded
in making her way halfway up the bank when, finding herself
slipping backward she uttered her appeal for help.
"Stick your heels in and hold to it. I'll be there in a minute,"
shouted Teddy, doing an imitation of shooting the chutes down the
embankment, digging in his own heels just in time to save himself
from a ducking in the stream.
"There goes that Tucker boy, headed for more trouble," nodded
a clown. "Watch him if you want to see some fun. Fat Marie is
in trouble already, and she's going to get into more in about
Teddy picked himself up, and, running up behind the Fat Woman,
braced his hands against her ample waist and began to push.
"Start your feet! Start your feet! Make motions as if you were
walking!" shouted Teddy.
Marie did not move.
"Oh, help!" she murmured. "Help, help!"
"Go on. Go on! Do you think I can stay in this position all
day, holding up your five hundred pounds? My feet are slipping
back already. I'm treading water faster'n a race horse can run
right this minute."
"I guess he's started something for himself all right," jeered
the clown. "Told you so. Hey, there goes the whistle!
The train will be starting. We'd better be making for
All hands sought a more suitable climbing place, hurried up the
railroad embankment and ran for the train. A crowd gathered on
the rear platform, where they jeered at Tucker and his burden.
"Come--come down here and help us out," howled Teddy.
"You--you're a nice bunch, to run away when a lady is in trouble!
Come down here, I say."
Just then the train started.
Phil, at that moment, was up forward in Mr. Sparling's car, else
he would have tried to stop the train; or, failing to do that,
he would have gone to his companion's assistance.
By this time Teddy had turned and was bracing his back against
the Fat Woman, his heels digging into the shifting cinders in a
desperate attempt to prevent the woman's slipping further down.
"You'll have to do something. I'm no Samson. I can't hold the
world on my back all the time, though I can support a piece of it
part of the time. Do something!"
"I--I can't," wailed the Fat Woman. "There goes the train, too.
We'll be left."
"No, we won't."
"Yes, we shall."
"No; we won't be left, 'cause--'cause we're left already. Wow!
I'm going! Save yourself!"
The cinders slipped from under Teddy's feet, and, with the heavy
burden bearing down upon him, he was unable to get sufficient
foothold to save himself.
The result was that Teddy sat down suddenly. Fat Marie sat
down on him, and Teddy's yell might have been heard a long
distance away. Those on the tail end of the circus train saw the
collapse, then lost sight of the couple as the train rolled
around a bend in the road.
Down the bank slid the Fat Woman, using Tucker as a toboggan,
with the boy yelling lustily. Faster and faster did they slide.
Suddenly they landed in the muddy stream with a mighty splash,
Teddy still on the bottom of the heap. When she found herself in
the water Marie struggled to get out, and Teddy quickly scrambled
up, mouth, eyes and ears so full of water that he could neither
see, hear nor speak for a moment. He was blowing like a porpoise
and trying to swim out, but the swift current was tumbling him
along so rapidly that he found himself unable to reach the bank
only a few feet away.
Marie, screaming for help, floated down rapidly with the current.
When finally Teddy succeeded in getting his eyes open he
discovered that she had lodged against a tree across the stream,
where her cries grew louder and more insistent than ever.
Teddy was swept against her with a bump. He frantically grabbed
for a limb of the fallen tree. As he did so his legs were drawn
under it, so that it required all his strength to pull himself up
to the tree trunk.
He sat there rubbing the water out of his eyes and
"Quick, get me out of here or I'll drown!" moaned the Fat Woman.
"Drown, if you want to. I've got my own troubles just
this minute. What did you ever get me into this mix-up for?
That's what I get for trying to be a good thing--"
Marie's screams waxed louder.
"All right. If you'll only stop that yelling I'll get you on dry
land somehow. Can't you pull yourself up nearer the bank?"
"No. My dress is caught on something."
Teddy peered over, and, locating the place where she was caught,
tried to free her. The lad was unable to do so with one hand,
so, in a thoughtless moment, he brought both hands to the task.
He lost his balance and plunged into the torrent head first, his
body disappearing under the log. Teddy shot to the surface on
the other side, flat on his back.
The Circus Boy did not shout this time. He was too angry to
do so. He turned over and struck out for the bank which he
was fortunate enough to reach. Quickly clambering up, Teddy
sat down to repeat his process of rubbing the water out of
"Are you going to let me lie here and drown?" cried the
"It looks that way, doesn't it, eh?"
Teddy got up and hurried to her just the same. Throwing off
his wet coat he set to work with a will to get Marie out.
The water was shallow and she managed to help herself
somewhat, therefore after great effort Teddy succeeded in
towing her to land. The woman was a sight and Teddy a
close second in this respect.
"I'm drowned," she moaned as he dragged her out on the bank,
letting her drop sharply.
"You only think you are. I suppose you know what we've got to
do now, don't you?"
"We've got to walk to the next stand."
"How--how far is it?"
"Maybe a hundred miles."
As a matter of fact they were within five miles of St. Charles,
where the Sparling show was billed to exhibit that afternoon
"I'm afraid they'll miss you in the parade today, but what do you
think will happen if we don't reach the show in time for the
performance this afternoon?"
"I--I don't know."
"I do. We'll get fined good and proper."
"It--it's all your fault, Teddy Tucker."
Teddy surveyed her wearily.
"If you'd held me up I shouldn't have fallen in and--and--"
"Drowned," growled Teddy.
"And if you hadn't sat on me I shouldn't have fallen in, and
there you are. Now, get up and we'll find a place to climb up
the bank. We can't stay here all day and starve to death.
Come on, now."