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WOMEN'S HOUSEHOLD GIRLS
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Boone's Barnuard Circus
(Copyright by Th« Abbott * Briggs Company.)
(This story xsa.% begun fa The Month
ly .Magazine Section, Last Sunday.)
Synopsis of Part 1
Gllroy Boone of Griggsville, farmer
and lover of animals, amuses himself
by training two pigs to perform circus
tricks, much to the disgust of his wife,
Saphrony. He later adds a, collie,, a
bull terrier, two. kittens, a gander, two
tar heel roosters, four pigeons and a
green frog to his menagerie. He
teaches each one of the beasts to play
its part in a show, which he calls
"Boone's Barnyard Circus," and which
becomes the "wonder ana delight of his
neighbors. Sam Merrlngtcn, a local
promoter, attends a performance in
the . farmer's barn, and is convinced
that there is a fortune to be made on
the vaudeville stage out of Boone and
his beasts. He persuades Boone to let
him be his manager,. and goes to New
York to arrange for a production.
Adolph Zucher of the Metropolitan
Theater of Varieties is interested; but
he refuses to give the act a try out
until it can be proved that the beasts
will act subject to New York conditions.
Sam Merrington thereupon writes to
his son. Bill, in Griggsville, instruct
ing him to have Boone fix up a stage
in the barn, anc? give a test perform
ance before a large audience of all the
neighbors. There are to be footlights,
- torches and a drum corps to test the
nerves of the beasts; and Bill is to
wire him the result.
UNTIL Bill's response came, Sam
Merrington was on the tenter
hooks of hope and anxiety,
roaming the town with mer
curial emotions. The telegram sent
him flying to Zucher's office, with
shining face. The manager's mouth
widened into a grin at the laconic
"They certainly acted. Not a hitch.
All hell couldn't stop 'em.—Bill."
"Now, Mr. Merrington"—the man
ager's voice was crisp and business
like"you've shown good faith, and
I'm pretty well satisfied. I'll give
you a contract covering 13 weeks at
our New York theater and the other
houses in our circuit, at $250 per
week. You are to stage the act as
I direct, and I'm to have the right
to cancel the contract after the first
performance if the act shouldn't please
the audience. In addition to the
'props' which Boone already has,: we
shall require a realistic farm scene,
backdrop to be -painted, and that sort
of thing. ' It's got to be kept a 'rube'
act from start to finish, otherwise it'll
fall flat. Boone's old farm clothes
are just the thing, so you haven't any
costumes to buy. I guess $500 will
cover everything. I'm prepared to
close with you today, and make the
tryout' in about four weeks." . ,
Inside of Sam Merrington, all would
have been joy but for one thing in
that contract — $500. He hadn't
expected that. It dazed him for a
minute. Then out of the regions of*
memory a legend came to him"There
is a tide in the affairs of men, which
taken at its flood, leads on to for
tune." Sam allowed to himself that
this was his tide, and figured he could
raise that $500 some way: so he closed
the'deal with-Zucher, and returned to
Griggsville by the first train.
At best the : town always had looked
to him a stupid ; little place; and now
it appeared slower than ever. He. had
been bitten* by an ambition of con
siderable dimensions. Henceforth he
was to be a -citizen of a larger sphere,
where men did:big things with non
chalant ease,';. and gold was -heaped
ajong the highways.
Sam went straight • home and right
to the desk in the sitting room. From
the central drawer he took a mass of
mining stock certificates, some green,
some yellow, some sealed with large
gold seals and others with large red
ones. He must borrow that $500.
Old Israel Morgan,: chief lender- and
mortgagee off the ', county, would re
He dropped somewhat as he com
puted the probable utility as security,
in '.. Israel's eyes, of $90,000 worth of
Yukon Glory stock and $120,000 in
the Big Betsy. The latter he had
been given to understand was as rich <
inf copper as any property ever de
veloped by the Guggenheims. His
total holdings footed up about $600,
--000. He figured that old Israel would
lend him on the whole drawerful—
nothing a sou marque.
Sam sighed sadly. Then hope came.
Out of the tail of I his . eye, he ; looked
at a small drawer where he jealously
kept, alone by itself, his sole anchor
to windward In the treacherous sea
of human vicissitude and need.
It was a certificate for 20 shares,
bought on installments,-', in the Ever
green Cemetery association. It was
worth about $750. «.
Sam , had ' never talked about his:
other investments, but this one he was
proud of. Every tinje he heard ; that
a hearse had gone through the Ever
green gates he put his thumbs in the
armholes of his vest, swelled up and
referred offhandedly >to "them ceme
tery shares of - mine." f Uusually done
by the living, and done brown, here
was one Instance where the ve,ry dead
themselves were working f for him.
. Some times he dwelt musingly with
some satisfaction on the fact that, if
he kept this cemetery certificate intact'
and unincumbered, his own demise
would increase the value of the shares.
As long as this certificate were his
and death continued prevalent in the
community, he was not quite bank
.With Zucher's offer of $250 a week,
Sam could see a later increase to at
least $1,000. v But in, the meantime
Israel Morgan. got the shares, the
Griggsville : National bank increased
the Merrington balance to $513.95 as a
result, and "Boone's Barnyard Circus,
presented under the direction of j Sam
- * uel ■ Ulysses Merrington" became a
As Merrington t came out of - the
f bank, the » village \ sprinkling cart :, was •■-.
? passing, flinging ,; its drench "of ; pond
water into;the dust of the street.
On the high seat of the cart, along
side of : Wally ; Mercer, who * had : the ~
"waterin' contract" / that year, Bill
Merrington* '-. lolled,! "gassing" ' with'
Wally. •-' - .' **.•■'""' \ .' ..*.,
: Sam hailed the: outfit and • beckoned
to Bill, who clambered down and
v came toward * his t father. -;V.;' / •
' Sam /put his hands "on i Bill's > shoul
der. "Bill, my boy," he said, "you're
/, certainly all Ito '■; the • good. Your pull
ing^/ off of i that test ~f performance,
Wednesday i night saved my life. _ Your
wire satisfied Zucher about /the v ani
mals acting. ;;I put the deal 'through
at $250 per. f '•■ Thirteen '-f, weeks; I Bill,/
thirteen J weeks! //* I've \ got the papers \
right here in my pocket, / and ■*have
raised the capital /for the -scenery,
—old Israel lent/ me $500 on those;
Evergreen." shares. ' * Now it's ;upi to us
to line up Gilroy, and/then-were off.
Anything the matter your old dad.
Bill, eh? f'-f* Ain't /so/slow/ as -■ some o*
these josies aroundy here give /him
credit*' for, is he?'
. Bill ; admitted * his father's : speed and'
general / cleverness^/and i they -^started
together; for the -Boone place, In a liv
"eryMrigf^/;^//^;//*-/*>./ •■" ' •-'•■''; ■;*'v.';"// :'
) They :found Boone ' m the;harness
. room of the south barn, secretly sew
ing some gold letters on a red plush
/ banner^};! If/he/ had had them Jail /on,
they would 'i have constituted,/ in % his \
eyes at least, a convincing bit of allit
erative advertising*"Attention All!
Animal Attraction! . All-Star Aggre
', gation! ■' Artful Antics "and Alluring
Acts!" ' ■ . *
Boone' shook hands ..with the -Mer
rington s, and went on with his sewing.
Sam. told him of the success. of his
negotiations.- outlined the glories of
the undertaking, and- finished Sby of
fering / Gilroy $25 a week, with ,his
, room j rent, railroad fare, and animal|
expenses paid. All he had to pay out
of the $25 was his own board. Boone -
accepted. - * • 'P^Pfpra
Twenty-eight days ""later, ,'a .freight
* car was switched the siding near the
■ Griggsville / station/// Sam Merrington*
'. /was waiting for it. with a roll of [white
cloth, a t hammer and a paper of tacks.
After 10 minutes of proud and serious
labor, he backed away from the car
and climbed to the top of the railroad
fence? | From ( this eminence he viewed!
the long sign which ran the full
length.of .the 1 car? and proclaimed to
-:- r . ■ - . ii - imifawiiiiimiri '
\ the world • that "Boone's Barnyard Cir
cus" was en route, and that, Samuel
f Ulysses Merrington, ; was f its /• lawful
• proprietor and* manager.,/. '
;.,r:;At 4 o'clock in the •< afternoon, three:
• farm wagons t came jolting /down the
long hill road which led to the station..
They were.; laden/ with crated / beasts;
and '. fowl • and the 1 garish paraphernalia
.;, of f the £ show which: had been// hand
wrought and painted, bit by bit, in
the south barn of the Boone farm. The
work had been done partly under the
direction •of Sam "« Merrington, who had ]
also/been to 1 New York again and con
- tracted for the scenery and f special
/properties required by Zucher— in
vestment which had /taken/ up ; the
greater part of ' his small c capital. f / V
f>" Gilroy himself /was lin charge of the
little caravan, and he had provided for
the animals' various tins and troughs,
/and/ suitable food and /drink / for the
'■ journey. He superintended the trans
fer of the whole outfit from the wagons ■
to the car, and finally sat in the midst
,ofl it on the pedestal of the somer-
I saulting frog, refusing^ resolutely ? the
comforts of the caboose ! which tailed
the freight train. :/ s // / : "
■ "I; ain't goin'.? to let 'em i out' of my
sight I'm going to sleep ■■ right/here'
with 'em," he - said, referring /to ;the
animals; "fer there'll be a lot o*
shuckln' and jouncln', an' I don't want
none of 'em standin' on their heads till
I tell 'em to. An' they've got to have
their fodder reg'lar. I'll stay amongst
'em an' tend to it myself. There ain't
never nobody'll do your job like you'll
do it yourself." '
,And in due time the train pulled out
a select company of Griggsvillians—
friends and neighbors of Sam and Gil
roy—waving their, handkerchiefs in
parting- and invocation of t the 1 show's
I good tQrty^^B^BPPWp^ -. -'
; XJ Merrington did not travel with Gil
roy in the freight car; accompanied
buhls' son. Bill, he went by the sleeper;";
as became a manager, and spent the
i following day in New York, while
awaiting g the arrival of the show, in
assembling the scenery and special
stage setting which had been prepared
to his order, and telephoning the
freight station now and then to in
quire if I the local freight from the
•r. .. . ' . ■:'■-- •... : •■ ..".- '
north,was in. At last he got word that
the / train was ;■ in the yard, . and i had
little trouble in finding the bannered
car. : £ ,"; '■//.' / ;f/"- /- /;; '/;;-':.';;
; The ,- trip ; had 5 been \ made without ) in
cident and \ln safety; I the " animals * had
stood v it /-well;/ ; but / Gilroy; himself
seemed i somewhat / perturbed * and /ap
prehensive. /• Sam 5/ attributed / this /to
the / severity; and //excitement fof I the
journey, f and argued to himself /that
it would /wear: off when Gilroy got his
feet on/ the ground and had [accustomed
his eyes to the "sights of the town, and
his ears to the "noise of it.
But somewhere between /the Central
freight \ yard and I the stage door of the
Metropolitan; Theater of Varieties ; Gil
roy/; Boone 3 lost ia f roll of bills; some
clever * had" been} In the \ pocket
his linsey-woolsey pants! Thoughts of
Saphrony stung his soul like nettles.
From/the moment he discovered his
loss he/ talked -about nothing else; and
Sam noticed that his hands /trembled
visibly aS /he /unstrapped the / animal
room of the theater. ( v '
',"•; The arrival in New/ York /had. been
too late in the day to admit of an
afternoon performance; so it was ar
ranged /with Zucher that : the tryout
should occur that same evening.
/ The Merringtons—Sam :•;. and Bill
consulted between themselves and
agreed that Gilroy should not be sub
jected " to/the' additional strain of seek
ing a boarding ; place | before the per
formance. So they took him to a res
taurant and tried Ito feed him; but he
left 'his steak untouched, and gulped
laboriously at -'-his coffee as if his
throat were" dammed fu p. They /sought
to cheer him with humorous quips
about the joys of the show business;
but there was no laugh in Gilroy. The
thoughts of ?Saphrony. the unwonted
and looming f city,. and the; terrors of
the] impending- performance, hung over
him like a black cloud, and drenched;
his very being with a chilling mist of
. *At last,;with: visible effort., he spoke,
twiddling Ihis! spoon in the coffee cup
and staring blankly at the table cloth.
His voice was higher than usual; but
not so soft: "Sam, this thing ain't
what it's cracked : up to "be.V- It's got
:me sort o' sick inside—-I ain't myself.
If I go on with it, I've got ;to be fa
vored." :■:'- ;"-. '"-. f;--f;lffff^'f [\ .."--'-.
--ffjf: Sam and Bill swapped apprehensive
f glances.if Sam essayed "'■ the;finding ( out:
' "What's on your mind, Gilroy?"
' "Waal, my clothes for one thing. I
ain't goin' to git up afore all them : city
f people rigged out in these 'ere ol' togs;
ftit ain't becomihVin a man 'at owns two
farms, an' ain'tbeholdinVto no one for
a cent. Pride ain't fnever bothered
Gilroy Boone much; but it's- gittin' at
:.'im • now. : I "wish't I'd brought* some
other things with me. ; I couldn't never
look myself in the face agin if fl got
up/there/ in these chore duds. It's
the animals makin' a !show;o'/ them
selves, not Gilroy Boone. They ain't
got no feelin's; I hey. I've got to git
out o' here an' find faf black suit an'
a shirt an' collar. There ought to be
some place ; right 'round here some'r's."
; f "But, ; Gilroy"—Sam's lower Jaw
swung ? loosely, betokening /a */ sinking
heart—"Zucher wouldn't stand for it.
The/whole/show's; a farm show—the
thing is staged that wayand for the
farmer,, to /come \on «in Sunday/clothes
would kill it dead. If you're bound to
dress up, we might;as"; well quit right
here. Now,/ Gilroy, you've got to :be
sensible—got to be game—and put it
through the -way/we agreed./ The con
tract says barnyard—Boone's Barn
yard ■ Circus —and barnyard i it's j got" to
be. or else it ain't going to/be any
thing." - f r ,* *,*-/*.
fp Boone sighed a sigh of defeat and
submission^ "'-, "..';.-"/•'. .'-'-/.
"Waal, if that's the way It is. why I
suppose/ that's /the/ way; it is; but I'll
.tell, ye bright now. ain't responsible if
my, feelin's git. the best o' me. / I ain't
'■ myself—rthat's * all f there is". about 'it-—-I
ain't myself. f Seems; like as if % the; in
side /of; my head; was bumpln'f again
the sides of it an' trying to git out." //
;'-/;' Two hours \ later, at * 8:45 /p. > m., wo
uniformed r: stageboys, with theY non
chalance '•> peculiar to their class, /slid
new cards announcing "Boone's Barn
yard/Circus"; in the frames on either
side of the proscenium arch /in the
Metropolitan Theater, of Varieties, and
the orchestra struck /up "Turkey in
the] Straw." ";; ; ',, '•'.'■ -..' - " . f/ff-
, Adolph Zucher sat in a box, with two
other managers/^bf-,*,allied/ theaters,
critically scrutinizing the/scene dis
played by the quick lift of the cur
tain. - '.'"•"■ ;/f V/:-"-^---:'-"
ii The f back drop showed a " low lying
farm house, with w fields of /^sheafed
wheat stretching./ into the - distance.
There/was? also a hint !; of timber) land,
and a winding stream which broad-/
ened into a limpid pond skirted by
-plaintive willows. /Thef.foreground
was given over to a .typical barn
yard scene, graphic in detail and red*
olent with . rural atmosphere./ |pw"pi
There was \at real rail \ fence with . a
pair of bars, a reaper and horse rait*,
a profusion' of smaller farm tools scat
tered about, and fa stack of glinting
yellow/ straw. The:setting at the left
of the scene consisted of the gable end
of fan unpainted f barn, • windowless;
but with a good;sized door, heavily
hinged, and fastened f with ;an old
fashioned wooden . latch.;
: The scene . represented ■-. Sam . Mer
rington's ■ managerial capital, and [, it
looked good to Zucher and his friends;
but Sam and his son, Bill, who stood
anxiously > together, in the wings, were
too^much excited to tellswhether it
looked good or not. v Their eyes were
fixedfon f the; door' of the barn, * which
they knew • was due to open at -the
next bar of 'Turkey in the Straw."
■ And open it did, revealing Gilroy
Boone clad• in ; his s proper "chore duds"
and blinking in the spotlight.
His;facial makeup was florid to 'the
point of luridness. No. paint was there
—just a 'blood/red blush of shame,
which crowded his large ears and
flamed up into the vast and . gray
fringed baldness above.
ffFor a second or two he -: stood, un
certain; undetermined, awkwardly
fingering the stock of * his; leather
lashed whip," his frightened eyes rov
ing over the dim and unwonted crowd
of people in front of the footlights;
then* he swallowed hard and dryly, his
Adam's : apple r visibly sliding up ; and
down in his parched throat, and loped
slowly ; and unsteadily into the pic
tured barnyard.; Colonel, the collie,
followed, tossing and catching his red
baton s at the head ;of the * whole pro
cession . of animal's with their garish
trappings and % wagons— four fin
hand of pigeons, the green frog on
the dais, the yoked pigs, the tar
heel /; roosters, Bunker, the bulldog,
with the white kitten mogging be
tween his parenthetical legs, * and the
waddling gander, George ; the Third,
bringing up . the rear with a ; pink
sandwich board blazoning - the circus
sign. ;i *
They circled the stage twice,* Gilroy
pivoting in the center, the orchestra
playing. Then the , procession halted;
the audience \: applauded ?;; zestfully;
Zucher's mouth twitched itself: into an
approving; smile,' and * Sam and >" Bill
took an audible breath in the wings.
Gilroy made an ' angular and waver
ing bow, and only those nearest ob
served * that the bow .tape' into a
totter, from- which, however, Gilroy
successfully, recovered himself. While
the" stage attendants brought in and
ranged *in a f semicircle the pedestals
and i other ■' paraphernalia of the per
formance, Gilroy'began to remove the
yokes and harnesses from the animals.
Itf was; the sorest;labor of his life.
He y fumbled; nervously at * the straps,
his face growing f redder and redder,
his i breath ; coming in strained gasps.
When the .last strap was finally
loosened and the animals were in their
places, he straightened in his s boots
and tried to begin the program of ma
neuver. ' The animals were/awaiting
his commands, eager to proceed; but it
was now clear to every one that some
thing / had gone j wrong, with / Gilroy.
The trepidation and shame r which had
smitten /the old man's soul, - swung
rapidly; to their climax. His ; red face
went ' white/ -.1 He turned ; toward Root
and /Short, feebly flicking his • whip
lash. He tried to speak a command;
but died away in an inarticulate
groan. He tried again;- but he suc
ceeded only in blowing a few foaming
bubbles ' out ; from the corners of" his
mouth. -'•.'. '.-,-;.
/■/;/ Bill Merrington punched his father
in the ribs and whispered awesomely:
"It's his blamed teeth—they've dropped
f and are choking, him."/
//"And'Sam/cracked a/bigger and more
terrible whisper over toward? Gilroy:
"Fix 'em—you old fool—fix 'em!"
Gilroy looked helplessly, with; his
rolling eyes, toward' the source of l the
two/whispers, and started weakly in
that direction; / but * his unsteady feet
tangled, and he lurched .forward,
/sprawling/ prone/ on the low stack lof
j yellow straw, the audience venting its
/feelings in a patter of tittering, which
soon became a roar of j universal/ and
derisive ■ laughter.
' t Now, under such circumstances of
histrionic discomfiture, there is; but
one 2 known / prescription /and / relief
:music, a repetition "of.", the * last/ piece.
So/: following the compelling logic of
theatric c precedent, ;! the orchestra
/struck blithely -" into f- "Turkey /in "^ the
f Straw";?ahd/ in the pause: before } the
curtain / went 1 down, it was seen that
the; uncertainty < and 5 l*xcitement ' had
simultaneous, independent. and intelli
; gent animation—the animals were per
"forming! / / Root jumped> over Snort;-.
Snort; jumped over Root; a tar heel
/rooster;lowered: his head ;and: flew up
and hit his brother a clip on the comb
with / his * left spur; the ; green frog
was /observed! to; somersault up stage,
and the white . gander waltzed awk
wardly a/circle, and waddled/Into;
the wings; while the bald head of
the fallen Gilroy-.Boone: gleamed over
I the stack fof yellow straw, likes a full
moon on the edge of the hor'- .
On the second dayf following Sam
jMerrington wakened '-.' at " noon :': in J; his
own /four/poster; bed. in Griggsville/
His eyes opened /with some reluctance,
as if they would like best to stay -shut.
Sam put his hand up to his face /and
felt hisfbeard. It was;more or less
/stubble, suggesting the necessity of a
shave. As 'he - oozed slowly and re
flectively toward the barber ; shop,
Mercer ; hailed Sam from the top
of the sprinkling cart.
"Waal, Sam,".Wally ; inquired,: "didn't
fthe animals act in :New? York? / I see
you're'back"aready." - ;/ J
Sam's eyes wandered from Israel
'Morgan's; house to the:Griggsville Na
tional bank,*, and then to the 'distant
gates of/fthe/ /Evergreen cemetery
showing white in the noonday sun;
"Yes." Sam answered, mournfully,
"the animals acted, but Gilroy didn't!"