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THE HENDERSON GOLD LEAP THURSDAY, APKIL. 15, 1909.
fere is a circus romance red olent of the fresh sawdust of the ring, vibrant with the inces sant clamor of the band, pano ramic in is ever moving display of clowns, acrobats, horses and captive wild animals. You will read of Polly, the daughter of the circus, and of Bingo, on whose broad back she rode ; of the "leap of death" girl; of "Muwer Jim, " the boss canvas man, and Toby, the clown, who loved the circus orphan and cared for her like father and mother; of Deacon Strong, who hated a circus, and of Rev. John Douglas, who grew to love a cir cus girt. You will read of gos sip that threatened to divide a pastor and his flock, of Ruth and Naomi, of a show girl'3 re nunciation and of Polly'3 first and last ride on Barbarian, the circus horse. CnAPTEIl IV. mlTE blare of the circus band had hoon a sore temptation to Man dy Jones all afternoon and evening. Aaln and a sain It had dragged her from her work to the tody window, from which she could see the wonders so tantalizing!' near. Mandy was housekeeper for the Rev. John Douglas, but the unwashed sup per dishes did not trouble her as she watched the lumbering elephants, the restless Hons, t ho Ions necked giraffes and the striped zebras that came and went In the nearby circus lot. And yet, in spite of her own curiosity, she could not forgive her vagrant "worse half." Hasty, who had been lured from duty early in the day. She had once dubbed him nasty iu a spirit of deri sion, and the name had elunjz to him. J3INQ0 QALLOPED ON, AND The sarcasm seemed doubly appropri ate tonight, for he had been away Rlnce 10 that morning, and it was now past 9. The young pastor for a time had en Joyed Mandy's tirades against her hus band, but when she began calling shrilly out of the window to chance acquaintances for news of him he slip ped quietly into the next room to fin ish tomorrow's sermon. Maud renew ed her operations at the window with increased vigor when the pastor had gone. She was barely saved from pitching headforemost into the lot by the timely arrival of Deacon Strong's daughter, who managed with dlfliculty to connect the excited woman's feet with the floor. "Foh de I.or' sake!' Maudy gasped as she stood panting for breath and blinking at the pretty, young, apple faced Julia. "I was suah most goiv dat time." Then followed another out burst against the delinquent Hasty. lUit the deacon's daughter did not hear. Her eyes were already wander ing anxiously to the lights and the tin sel of the little world lnvond the win dow. Tlii; was not the first time today that Maudy had found herself talking to space. There had been a steady stream of callers at the parsonage since 11 that morning, but she had long ago confided to the pastor that she suspected their reasons. "Dey comes in here a-trackin up my floors." she said, "an a-askin why you don't stop de circus from a-show-in' nex to de church nu' deu a-cranin' dar necks out de winder till I can't get no housework done." "That's only human nature." Doug las had answered, with a laui-h. but Mandy had declared that she knew an other name for it and had mumbled something abut "hypocritters" as she seized her broom and begau to sweep imaginary tracks from in front of the door. Many times she had made up her mind to let the next caib?r know just what she thought of "hypocritters," but her determination was usually weakened by her still greater desire to excite increased wonder in the faces of her visitors. Divided between these two inclina tions, she gazed at Julia now. The 6hining eyes of the deacon's daughter conquered, and she launched forth into an eager description of how she had just seen a "wonde'ful striped ana mule" with a "pow'ful long uek walk right out of the tent" and how he had "come apart afore her very eyes" and two men had slipped "right out of his insides." Mandy was so carried away by her own eloquence and so busy showing Julia the sights beyond the .wiadcrw that she lta not hear Miss J 1 V niARSARpr pyoro Perkins, the thin iipped spinster, who 1 entered, followed by the Widow Wil- loughby, dragging her seven-year-oia son Willie by the hand. The women were protesting because their choir practice of "What Shall the Harvest lie?" had been interrupted by the unrequested accompaniment of the "hoochee coochee" from the nearby cir cus band. "It's scandalous!" Miss Perkins snap ped. "Scandalous! And somebody ought to stop it." She glanced about with an unmistakable air of grievance at the closed doors, feeling that the pastor was undoubtedly behind one of them when he ought to be out taking action against the things that her soul abominated. "Well. I'm sure I've done all that I could." piped the widow, with a meek, martyred air. She was always mar tyred. She considered it an appropri ate attitude for a widow, "lie can't blame me if the choir is out of key to morrow." "Mercy me!' interrupted the spinster "If there Isn't Julia Strong a -leaning right out of that window a-looklng at the circus, and her pa a deacon of the church, and this the house of the pas tor! It's shocking! I must go to her." "Ma, let me see, too," begged Willie as he tugged at his mother's skirts. Mrs. Willoughby hesitated. Miss Perkins was certainly taking a long while for her argument with Julia. The glow from the red powder outside the window was positively alarming. "Dear me!" she said. "I wonder il there can be a fire." And with this pretext for investigation she, too, joined the little group at the window. A few moments later, when Douglas entered for a fresh supply of paper, the backs of the company were to ward him. lie crossed to the study table without disturbing his visitors and smiled to himself at the eager way In which they were hanging out of the window. Douglas was a sturdy young man of SHE FELL TO THE GROUND. eight and twenty, frank and boyish in manner, confident and light hearted in spirit. He had seemed too young to the deacons when he was appointed to their church, and his keen enjoyment of outdoor games and other healthful sports robbed him of a certain dignity in their eyes. Some of the women of the congregation had been inclined to side with the deacons, for it hurt their vanity that the pastor found so many other interests when he might have been sitting in dark, stuffy rooms dis cussing theology with them, but Doug las had been either unconscious of or indifferent to their resentment and had gone on his way with a cheery nod and -au unconquerable conviction of right that had only left them flounder ing. He intended to quit the room now unnoticed, but was unfortunate enough to i,pset a chair as he turned from the table. This brought a chorus of exclamations from the women, who, chattering, rushed quickly toward him. "What do you think of my naughty boy, Willie''" simpered the widow. "He dragged me quite to the window." Douglas glanced amusedly first at the five foot six widow and then at the helpless red haired urchin by her side, but he made no comment beyond offering a chair to each of the women. "Our choir practice had to Ik? entire ly discontinued." declared Miss Per kins sourly as she accepted the prof fered chair, adjusted her skirts for a stay and glanced defiantly at the par son, who had dutifully seated himself near the table. "I am sure I have as true au ear as anybody." whimpered the widow, with an injured air. "Rut I defy any one to lead What Shall the Harvest Re?' to an accompaniment like that.'' She jerked her hand in the direction of the window. The band was again playing the "hoochee coochee." "Never mind about the choir prac tice," said Douglas, with a smile. "It Is soul, not skill, that our congregation needs in its music. As for that music out there, it is not without its compen sations. Why. the small boys would rather hear that band than the finest church organ in the world." "And the small boys would rather see the circus than to hear you preach, most likely." snapped Miss Perkins. It was -adding insult to injury for him to try to console her. "Of course they would, and so would I some or the grownups if thev'd onlv tell the truth about it." said Douglas, laughing. "Whatr exclaimed Miss Perkias. "Why not?" asked. Douglas. "I am sure I don't know what they do inside the tents, but the parade looked very promising." "The parade"' the two women ech oed in one breath. "Did you see th? ;pcu 1 parade?" "Yes, indeed," said Douglas enthusi astically. "But it didn't compare with the one I saw at the age of eight." He turned his head to one side and looked into space with a reminiscent smile. The widow's red haired boy crept close to him. "The Shetland ponies seemed as mall as mice," he continued dreamily, "the elephants huge as mountains, the great calliope wafted my soul to the very skies, and I followed that parade right into the circus lot." "Did you seed inside de tent?" Wil lie asked eagerly. "I didn't haTe enough money for that," Douglas answered frankly. He turned to the small boy and pinched his ear. There was sad disappolnt- In the young pastor's arms was a irhitx , spangled burden of humanity. ment in the youngster's face, but lie brightened again when the parson con fessed that he "peeped." "A parson peeping!" cried the thin lipped Miss Perkins. "I was not a parson then," corrected Douglas good naturedly. ' "You were going to be." persisted the spinster. "I had to be a boy first in spite ot that fact." The sudden appearance of Hasty proved a diversion. He was looking very sheepish. "Hyar he is, Mars John; look at him!" said Mandy. "Hasty, where have you been all day?" demanded Douglas severely. Hasty fumbled with his hat and sparred for time. "Did yo say whar'a I been, sah?" "Dat's what he done ast yo'," Mandy prompted threateningly. "I bin 'ceived, Mars John," declare! Hasty solemnly. Mandy snorted in credulously. Douglas waited. "A gemmen in de circus done tol me dis mawnin' dat ef I carry watei fo' de el'phants he'll let me in de cir cus fo' nuffin', an' I make a 'greemenl wid him. Mars John, did yo' Qbbei seed an el'phant drink?" he asked, roiling his eyes. John shook his head. "Well, sah, he jes' put dat trunk a his'n into de pail jes' once an' swish water gone." Douglas laughed, and Mandy mut tered sullenly. "Well, sah," continued Hasty, "I tota water fo' dem el'phants all day long, an' when I cum roun' to see de circua de gemmen won't let me in. An' when I try to crawl under de tent dey pulls me out by de laigs an' beats me." He looked from one to the other, expect- ing sympathy. I "Sarves you right," was Mandy'a unfeeling reply. "If yo's so anxious to be a-totln' water, jes' yo' come along outside and tote some fo' Mandy." "I can't do no mo' carryin', Mandy," protested Hasty. "I's hnrted in mab arm. "What hurt yo'?" "Tiger." "A tiger?" exclaimed the women in unison. "Done chawed it mos' off," he de clared solemnly. "Deacon Elverson, he seed it, an' he says I's hurt bad." "Deacon Elverson!" cried the spin ster. "Was Deacon Elverson at the circus?" "He was in de lot, a-tryin' to look in, same as me," Hasty answered in nocently. "You'd better take Hasty into the 1 kitchen," said Douglas to Mandy, with a dry smile. "He s talking too much for a wounded man." Mandy disappeared with the dis graced Hasty, advising him, with fine scorn, "to get de tiger to chaw off his laigs, so's he wouldn't have to walk no mo'." The women gazed at each other with lips closed tightly. Elverson's be havior was beyond their power of ex pression. Miss Perkins turned to the pastor as though he were somehow to blame for the deacon's backsliding, but before she could find words to ar gue the point the timid little deacon appeared in the doorway, utterly un conscious of the hostile reception that Hasty had prepared for him. He glanced nervously from one set face to the other, then coughed behind his hat. "We're.all very much interested In the circus." said Douglas. "Can't you tell us about" it?" "I just went into the lot to look for my son." stammered the deacon. "I feared Peter had strayed." j "Why, deacon!" said Mrs. Willough by. "I just stopped by yoar house and saw Mrs. Elverson putting Peter 1 to bed." ! The deacon was saved tram farther ' embarrassment by an exclamation from Julia, who had stayed at the window. "Oh, look; something has happened r she cried. "There's a crowd. Thy are coming this way." Douglas crossed quickly to Julia's side and saw an excited mob collect ing before the entrance to the main j tent. He had time to dtswcr more before Mandy burst in at the door, panting with excitement and roll ing ner large, white rimmed eyeballs. "Mars John, a lfljtle circus girl done ran on: ner Hartley say heah?" "Of course,' outside. noss: she cried. "Dr. can dey bring her in said Douglas, Iran-ring There were horrified exclamations from the women, who were aghast at '''''' ' the idea of a circus rider in the par sonage. In their helpless indignation they turned upon the little deacon, feel ing intuitively that he was enjoying the drama. Elverson -was retreating toward the door when he was sudden ly thrust aside by Douglas. in tne young pastor s arms was a white, spangled burden of humanity, her slender arm hung lifeless over his shoulder. The silk stocking was toi from one bruised ankle; her hair fell across her face, veiling It from the un friendly glances'of the women. Doug las passed out of sight up the stair way without looking to the right 01 left, followed by the doctor. Mandy reached the front door In time to push back a crowd -of intrud ers. She bd barely closed ' the dooi when it was thrust-open by Jim. "Where is she?" he demanded. "Go way fum here!" cried Mandy as her eyes unconsciously sought the stairs. Jim followed the direction of her glance and cleared the steps at a bound. Mandy pursued him. muttering angrily. Deacon Elverson, too, was about to follow when a grim remindei from Miss Perkins brought him around, and he made for the door instead. He started back on opening it, for stand ing on the threshold was a clown in his grotesque makeup.'-. His white clothes were partially concealed 1y a large traveling ulster held together by one button. In one hand he carried small leatner satchel, in the other a girl's sailor hat. A little tan coat was thrown across his arm. The giggles ol the boy hiding behind his mother's skirt were the only greetings received by the trembling old man in the door way. He glanced uncertainly from one un friendly face to the other, waiting fo a word of invitation to enter, but none came. "Excuse me," he said. "I - Just brought some of her little things. She'd better put on her coat when she goes ut. It's gettin kinder chilly.". He looked again into the blank faces. Still no one spoke. He stepped forward, trembling with anxiety. A sudden fear .clutched at . his heart, the muscles of -his face worked pitifully, the red painted lips began to quiver. "It ain't it ain't that, is it?" he fal tered, unable to utter the ,worcl that filled him with horror. Even Miss Perkins was momentarily touched by the anguish in the old man's voice, "1 guess you will find the person you are looking for. up stairs," . she answered tartly and flounced out of the house, j calling to Julia and the others to follow her and declaring that she would soon let folks know how the parson had brought a "circus ridin girl" into the parsonage. The painted clown stood alone, look ing from one wall to the other, then crossed the room and placed the1 alli gator satchel and the little coat and hat on the study table. He was care ful not to wrinkle the coat, for this was Polly's birthday gift. Jim and he had planned to have sandwiches and, soda pop on the top of the big Wagon when they offered their treasures to night. But now the wagons would soon be leaving, and where was, Pol ly? He turned to ask this question as Mandy came down the stairs. "Well, if dar ain't anudder one!" she cried. "Never mind, Mandy," said Douglas, who was just behind her, carrying a small water pitcher and searching for a bottle of brandy which had been placed in the medicine chest for emer gencies. "You can take these upstairs," he told her when he had filled the pitcher with water and found the liquor. Man dy looked threateningly at Toby, then reluctantly went on her way. Douglas turned to the old man pleas antly. His was the first greeting that Toby had received, and he at last found voice to ask whether. Polly was badly hurt. "The doctor hasn't told us yet," said Douglas kindly. "I'm her Uncle Toby not her reaj uncle," the old man explained, "but that's what she calls me. ,1 couldn't come out right away because I'm on in the concert. Could ,1 see? her now, please?" "Here's the doctor," said Douglas as Hartley came down the stairs, follow ed by Jim.. "Well, doctor, not bad, I hope?" - "Yes. rather bad." said tbe' doctor, adding quickly as he saw the suffering in Toby's face, "but don't be alarmed. She's going to get well." j ? "How long will it be before we can have her back before she can ride again?" asked Jim gruflly as he stood apart, twisting his brown, worn hat in his hands. 'Probably several months," said the doctor. "No bones are broken, but the ligaments of one ankle are torn, and I The pointed clmtn stood alone. she received a bad blow on the "head. It will be some time before she recov ers consciousness." .. "What are we goin' to do, Jim?' asked Toby helplessly. "You needn't wotry. WeTl tak good care of her here." said Douglas, seeing desperation written on their faces. " - "Here:" They looked at him in credulously. And this was -parson! "Where are her parents?" the doctor asked, looking at Jim and Toby.. "She ain't got no parents cept Toby an me." replied Jim. . "We've took care of her ever since she was a baby." "Oh, I seer said the doctor. "Wen, one of you'd better' stay here until she can be moved." "That's the trouble. We can't," said Toby, hanging his bead. "You see, sir. circus folks lis like soldiers. No mat ter what happens, the show has to go on, an' we got to be in our places." "Well, well, she'll be safe enough' here." said the doctor. "It is a fortu nate thing that Mr. Douglas can man age this. Our town hospital burned down a few months ago, and we're been rather puzzled as to what to do with such oases." He took his leave, with a cheery "Good night" and a promise to look in upon the little pa tient later, Jim shuffled awkwardly toward the pastor. "It's mighty pood of you to do this." he mumbled, "but she ain't goto to be no charity patient. Me an Toby Is goin' to look after her keep." "Her wants will be very few," Doug las answered kindly. "You needn't trouble much about that." "I mean it," said Jim savagely. He met Douglas' 'glance of surprise with a determined look, for he feared that his chance of being useful fo Polly might bo slipping out of his life. "You mustn't mind Jim," the clown pleaded at the pastor's eloow. Ton see, pain gets some folks different from others, an' it always kinder makes him savage." "Ob. that's all right." Douglas an swered quickly. His own life had been so lonely that he could ? under stand the selfish 'yearning' In the' Dig man's heart. "You must do what you think best about these things. Mandy and I will look after the rest." Jim hung his head, feeling somehow that the pastor had seen straight Into his heart and discovered his petty weakness. He was about to turn to ward the door when it was thrown open by Barker. "Where is she?" shouted the mana ger, looking from one to the other. "She can't come." said Jim in a low, steady voice, for he knew the storm of opposition with which Barker would meet the announcement. "Can't come?" shrieked Barker. "Of course she'll come. L, can't get along without-her. She's got to come." He looked at Jim, who remained silent and firm. "Why ain't she comin'?" he asked, feeling himself already defeat ed. "She's hurt bad," was Jim's laconic reply. "The devil she is!" said Barker, looking at Douglas for confirmation. "Is that right?" ?. "She won't be able to travel for some time," said Douglas. "Mr. Barker is our manager." Toby explained as he edged his way to the pastor's side. "Some time!" Barker looked at Douglas as though he were to blame for their misfortune. "Well, you just bet she will." he declared menacingly.' "See here. Barker, don't you talk to him like that' said Jim, facing the "No matter what happens, the show has to go on." manager. "He's darned square, "even If he is a parson." Barker turned away. He was not a bad hearted man, but he was irritated and upset at los ing the star feature of his bill. "Ain't this my dodgasted luck?" ho muttered to himself as his eye again traveled to the boss canvasman. "You get out of here, Jim," he shouted, "an' start them wagons. The show's got to go on. Poll or no Poll!" He turned with his hand on the doorknob and jerked out a grudging thanks to the pastor. "It's all fired good of you to take her in," he said, "but it's tough to lose her. Good night!" He banged the door and clat tered down the steps. Jim waited. He was trying to find words In which to tell his gratitude. None came, and he turned to go, with a short "Goodby." "Good night, Jim," said the pastor. He crossed the room and took the big fellow's hand. I "Mnch obliged," Jim answered gruff ly. It was his only polite phrase, and he had taught Polly to say it. Doug las waited until Jim had passed down the steps, then turned to Toby, who still lingered near the table, v "You'll tell her how it was me an' Jim had to leave her without sayin goodby. won't you, sir?" Toby pleaded. "Yes, indeed' Douglas promised. "IU jes' put this. little bit of money into her satchel." He picked up the little brown bag that was to have been Polly's birthday lift. "Me an' Jim will be sendin" her more soon." "You're going to miss her, I'm afraid," Douglas said, feeling an ir resistible desire to gain the old man's confidence. "Lord bless you, yes, sir!" Toby an swered, turning upon him eagerly. "Me an Jim has been father an moth er an' jes' about everything to that little one. She wasn't much" bigger'n a handful of peanuts when we begun a-worryin' about her." "Well, Mandy will do the worrying now," Douglas laughed. "She's been dying for a chance to mother some body all along. Why, she even tried it on me." "I noticed as how some of those church people seemed to look kinder queer at me," said Toby, "an I been a-wonderin If mebbe tbey might feel the same about her." "Oh, they're all right." Douglas as sured him. "They'll be her friends in no time." "She's fit for 'era, sir," Toby plead ed. -'She's good, clean Into the mid dle of her heart" . Tm sure of It," Doogtas answered. ' ITe heard now gotte church folk feels towards us circus people, sir, an I jes wanted you to know that there - ain't finer families or better mothers or fathers or grandfathers or grandmothers anywhere than among us. Why, that girl's mother rode the horses afore her, an her mother afore that, an her grandmother an grand- j father afore that, an there ain't no- t body what a caredroore for their fixA name an their children's good name an her people has. You see sir, cir cus folks is all like that They's jes' like one big family. They tends to their business an' takes good care of theirselves. They has to or -they couldn't do their work. It's 'cause I'm lcavin' her with you that I'm sayin' all this," the old man apologized. : "I'm glad you told me, Toby, Doug las answered kindly. "Pre never known much about circus folks." "I guess I'd better be goin'," Toby faltered as hie eyes roved hungrily to ward the stairway. "I'll send you our route an mebbe you'll be lettin us know how she is." "Indeed, I tvill." Douglas assured him heartily. . "You might tell her well write ever day or so," he added. "111 tell her," Douglas promised ear nestly. "Good-nightr The old man hesitat ed, unwilling to go, hut unable to find farther pretext for staying. . "Good night, Toby." Douglas' ex tended his hand toward the bent figure that was about to shuffle past him. The withered hand of the white faced clown rested In the strong grasp of the pastor, and his pale little eyes sought the face of the stalwart man before him. A numb desolation was 'growing in his heart. The object for which he had gone on day by day was being left behind, and he must stumble forth into the night alone. "It's hard to leave her," he mum bled, "but the show has got to go on." The door shut out the bent, old fig ure. Douglas stood for some time where Toby had left him, still think ing of his prophetic words. His rev erie was broken by the sounds of the departing wagons, the low muttered curses of the drivers, the shrieTting and roaring of the animals, as the cir cus train moved up the distant hill. "The show has got to go on," he re peated as-he crossed to his study table and seated himself for work in the dim light of the old fashioned lamp. He put out one hand to draw the sheets of his Interrupted sermon to ward him, but instead it fell upon a small sailor hat. He twisted the hat absently in his fingers, not yet realiz ing the new order of things that was coming into his life. Mandy tiptoed softly down the stairs. 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She turned at the threshold and . shook her head rather sadly as she saw the imprint of the day's cares on the young pastor's face. "Yo mus' be pow'ful tired," she said. f "No, no; not at all. Good night, Mandy." She closed the door behind her, and Douglas was alone. He gazed absent ly at the pages of his unfiished ser mon as he tapped his idle pen on the desk. "The show has got to go on," he repeated, and far up the hillside with the slow moving wagons Jim and Toby looked with unseeing eyes Into the dim, starlit distance and echoed the thought, "The show has got to go on." TO BE CON'TIXCED NEXT' WEEK Home Oflice STRONGEST lo To To 0 This p The Iron oi anvoMvn ominf 1 JOS. G. CROWN, P. D. GOLD, President. Vice-Pres. and Gen. Mfrr. C. T. GOLD, Secretary and Superintendent of Ajrenciej. wr juir rii' FLEDGE R. W. Jones Corn P. 0. B. 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