Read CHAPTER ELEVEN of Watch Yourself Go By , free online book, by Al G Field, on

And I would learn to better show
My gratitude for favors had,
To see more of the good below
And less of what I think is bad.
To live not always in the day
To come, and count the joys to be,
But to remember, as I stray,
The past and what is brought to me.

Lured by that feeling which impels the criminal to visit the scene of his crime, Alfred began a pilgrimage to the little red school-house. Walking along the old pike the sound of a horse’s hoofs beating a tattoo on the road reached his ears. He recognized in the rider, Joe Thornton.

The white pacing mare which Thornton bestrode had one of those peculiar high-lifting gaits, that, from the sound of the hoofs on the roadbed, caused one to imagine that she was going at a very rapid gait, while in fact she was not doing much more than pounding the road. Uncle Joe said of her: “She’d pace all day in the shade of a tree.”

When opposite Alfred, Mr. Thornton slowed up and made numerous inquiries as to the minstrel show, expressing regret that he was not able to attend; he intended going, having received an invitation from one of the school directors. He requested Alfred to advise him of the next performance; he would be there sure.

Then, as if to make up for the few moments lost conversing with Alfred, he gave the mare the word and she pounded the pike more heavily than before. Alfred admired the big, handsome rider and the white mare; he longed to bestride her and kept his eyes on horse and rider as they traveled on before him.

Alfred noticed a black looking object fall to the dusty pike. At the distance it seemed a large sized shoe. Alfred kept his eyes on the object as he neared the spot where it lay. Bending over he discovered a very large, black book. Picking it up he saw bills, money, more money than the boy had ever held in his hands before. He trembled as he turned over bill after bill.

He had dreamed that he would be rich some day in the far future day dreams. His riches were always to come. They had come suddenly, unexpectedly. Mother would have a new cooking stove; Lin declared daily that the old stove would not bake on the bottom. Brother Joe would have toys and a sled, Sister Lizzie anything she wanted, Brother Will anything he needed, a melodeon for Lin. Sammy Steele would be paid with the same flourish with which Uncle Jack was paid. Harrison would be deposed, the minstrel troupe would go out, travel to distant parts and make money, more money than Alfred wanted; he would divide it with all his best friends, he would make all happy.

With these thoughts flying through his mind he walked on in the direction the rider had gone. Suddenly realizing that the money was not his he cast a glance ahead, expecting every moment to see the rider returning post haste to claim the treasure.

When he reached the lane leading off the pike to the Thornton house, he hesitated, opened the book again and looked at the money, turning over the neat layers of bills, fives in one section, tens in another, twenties in a third, legal looking papers in a fourth, tied about with a thin, red ribbon.

He thought of concealing the book. No, he would hasten home and conceal the money in the cow stable. He was opposite the gate of the yard in which stood the big Thornton house. Should he enter?

Alfred looked long and anxiously for the man on horseback; instead he noticed a proud looking, elderly lady walking about the flower beds. He nodded respectfully but the lady did not make a sign of recognition.

However, in quite a loud voice he inquired if Mr. Thornton were at home.

“Which Mr. Thornton? There are two Mr. Thorntons, Russell and Joseph.”

“Joseph Thornton,” answered Alfred, “is the gentleman I am looking for.”

Alfred felt his importance. From down the lane toward the barn there came the sound of horse’s hoofs clattering on the road. Alfred’s ears told him that it was the white pacer.

As the rider caught sight of Alfred he dismounted. Running toward the boy, his long beard flowing on either side of his neck, he began: “Mr. Hatfield, did you see .” Here Alfred held up the book to his view.

As he fairly bounded forward, he grasped the book in one hand and threw an arm around Alfred. He exclaimed: “Where the h ll did you find it? It’s a good thing for me that you came out the pike; if almost anybody else had found it I’d never have gotten it back, that is the money; I never could have traced that. The papers could have been traced. No one who loses money ever gets it back.”

As the man turned the book over in his hand he inquired: “Did you open it?” Then a little ashamed of the question continued: “Of course you had to open it, otherwise you wouldn’t have known to whom it belonged. Now see here Alfred, I want to do the right thing by you. I will call at your house tonight. I want to meet your mother; your father I am well acquainted with. Your Uncle Will has told me that he is too hard on you and you’re a dam nice boy and you ought to be treated right.”

At this insinuation Alfred fired up. “My father always treats me right, but I’ve been a pretty bad boy. He has his notions and I’ve got mine. He never hits a lick amiss. He never hurts me when he does whip me. It’s always a big laugh to me. He’s the kindest pap in Brownsville.”

“Oh, you did not understand me. I did not mean to say that your father whipped you. I heard that he did not give you credit for your your, that he he er hampered you in your your er .”

“Oh, I understand pap,” interrupted Alfred, “he’s all right, we get along all right.”

Then Mr. Thornton made inquiries as to where Alfred was going. When the boy informed him, he said: “That’s too far to walk; come on out to the stable, I’ll loan you a horse. You can ride him home and I will get him tonight.”

They walked toward the white mare. Alfred asked what kind of a saddler she was. “Good,” answered the man, “would you like to try her?”

“Why, yes, if it’s all the same to you.”

By this time Alfred was shortening the stirrup straps to the length of his limbs as measured by his arms. Alfred’s thinking gear was working faster than the white mare’s hoofs ever pounded the earth. As he was about to mount he said: “Mr. Thornton, I’ll bring this mare home. I don’t want to trouble you to call at our house.”

“Why? I want to see your parents and I want to reward you.”

Alfred, sitting on the horse’s back, leaned far over toward the man and detailed the sad results of his first venture in minstrelsy.

“Whatever you give me will be applied on the payment of my debts. If our folks know that you gave me money they’ll want to know what I did with it.”

The man grasped the situation, but informed Alfred the money in the book belonged to his mother. He had withdrawn it from the bank to pay a note. He would help Alfred out but must go to town before he could do so.

“From whom did you borrow money,” asked Mr. Thornton.

Alfred hesitated and said: “Well, there’s where I made another promise not to tell, but I’m going to tell you, I borrowed it from Sammy Steele.”

“Well, I’ll be damned if you ain’t a good one. Why, Sammy Steele is the tightest man in Brownsville. How did you come to go to him?”

Alfred explained all. Mr. Thornton insisted that he ride the white mare home, adding that he would get her that night. Alfred rode off, visiting not only the school-house but many old friends. He arrived home as it was growing dark.

Entering the house he found Mr. Thornton there; he had told the family all. He informed Alfred that he had left an order on Jake Walters, the town tailor, for a suit of clothes, the material to be selected by the bearer.

While the clothes were more than acceptable, Alfred was disappointed. He feared he would not be in a position to pay the Sammy Steele note, although he was bending every energy, even dunning Harrison for the fifty cents loaned him at their first meeting.

The next week’s issue of the Brownsville Clipper contained a lengthy article, as follows:

“One of Fayette County’s most prominent citizens lost a pocket-book containing a large amount of money and valuable papers. The book was lost on the old pike somewhere between the borough line and Thornton’s lane. Fortunately for the loser, one of the CLIPPER’S most trusted employes traveling on the pike, found the valuable book. The finder is one who has been trained under the vigilant eye of the editor of this valuable paper. Through the influence of the editor of this paper the money was returned to the owner in less than one hour after its loss was discovered. The finder was suitably rewarded and will soon be advanced to a more lucrative position on this paper.”

Harrison, in addition to his promised reforms in the editorial columns of the paper, introduced innovations in the advertising department. The Pittsburg Gazette was the only daily paper on the Clipper’s exchange list this fact compels the admission that Pittsburg was a little ahead of Brownsville in the newspaper field, boasting two papers at the time, the Gazette and Post. Both papers carried display advertisements of Hostetter’s Stomach Bitters and Dr. Jayne’s Liver Pills for grown people and vermifuge for children. Those were the only patent medicines that advertised at that time.

Harrison, in his illuminating way, wrote to the concerns soliciting advertising. Dr. Jayne’s representative wrote, requesting the weekly circulation of the Clipper and the localities wherein it was circulated.

Harrison answered giving advertising rates, with unlimited reading notices and concluded his letter by advising that “the Brownsville Clipper goes to Greene, Washington, Westmoreland and Bedford Counties; it goes to Pittsburg, Cumberland and Washington, and before I took hold of it the owner had all he could do to keep it from going to h ll.”

Something in Harrison’s letters appealed to the medicine men as advertisements were secured from both the concerns. In conformity with the custom of the times, part payment for advertising was to be taken in trade. Big boxes containing bottles of the stomach bitters, smaller boxes containing pills and vermifuge were received. Small quantities of both medicines were, with a great deal of persuasion, exchanged with country stores for farm products. After the first effort none of the bitters were offered for sale or trade insofar as the Clipper’s supply was concerned.

Like the farmer who endeavored to sell the tanner the murn hide, Harrison had found a market for the bitters at home. They contained about 60% alcohol, therefore it was a panacea for all ills that Harrison was afflicted with, and he had many. The bitters were a pill for every ill.

That was a hard winter. Sugar crackers, Scotch herring and cheese were Harrison’s principal food and a few of the liver pills were used, but the vermifuge stood on the shelves in the press room covered with dust. Mr. Hurd ordered Alfred to get rid of it even if he had to give it away; not to destroy it; if he could not sell it to give it to the subscribers to the paper with the compliments of the editor. Alfred covered his route with renewed vigor, a bundle of papers under his arm and both coat pockets filled with pills.

Alfred was personally acquainted with nearly every family in the town; he was familiar with the habits and health of all the boys.

Red haws, green apples, may apples, green chestnuts, in fact, everything that grows which boys devour more greedily before than after maturity, were plentiful in the country around Brownsville.

Alfred did a fine business for a time. The paper was published only weekly and Alfred was ordered by Mr. Hurd to dispense the medicine only when the paper was delivered. Alfred was doing so well that he intimated to Harrison that the paper should be semi-weekly, at least. Alfred was receiving a commission on all pills he sold.

Alfred looked over the medicine stock; about the only thing in stock was liver pills. There were large quantities of liver pills lying on the shelves. Alfred figured that the pills would do Johnny’s cow no harm and possibly might help her, as the cow was very sick.

Alfred did not wait until the paper was printed as the case was an urgent one. He made a special call, carrying nearly a pint of the liver pills in a paper collar box. (Harrison always wore paper collars and a dicky.)

Alfred assured Johnny that the pills were specially prepared for just such disorders as his cow was afflicted with. There was some question as to the number of pills that constituted a dose for a cow. As the printed directions gave no information on the matter, Alfred thought a teacupful of the pellets would be about right.

It required a great deal of hard labor on the part of both Alfred and the owner to compel the cow to swallow the pills. However, a goodly part of the cupful of pills was administered to her.

At first the cow appeared a great deal worse and her owner feared she would die. Squire Rowley, the best cow doctor in the neighborhood, was sent for. He administered blackberry tea and other astringents and the cow recovered.

When Lin heard that the boys were addressing Alfred as “Doctor,” usually prefixing the title with the word “Cow,” she said: “They needn’t try to plague Alfurd, caus’ it wus a durn good joke an’ besides it cured the cow and it wus about time Hurd’s paper done somethin’ good.”

Alfred had saved sufficient money to cancel the note of Sammy Steele. With a light step he ran up the stairs leading from the street into the large finishing room. Greeting all cheerily he inquired for the boss. Mr. Steele entered.

Looking curiously at Alfred, with a twinkle in his eye, the old tanner remarked dryly: “Hurd Mr. Hurd Mr. Hurd must be gettin’ mightily pushed when he starts his hands to peddling pills.”

Mr. Steele’s remark made the boy redden and he mumbled something about the pills being received in trade and had to be sold by somebody.

The tanner laughingly continued: “I expected to see Johnny McCan coming in with a murn hide. How many of Hurd’s pills constitute a dose for a cow?”

Cooney Brashear added to the jollity by suggesting that Alfred “give Sammy’s mewel a dose the next time he kicks you.” This reference to the “mewel” was only a reverberation of the town talk as Lin had predicted. In fact, the reference to the “mewel” kicking Alfred became, and is still, a by-word in the old town.

Mr. Steele, to the surprise of Alfred, refused to count the dollars and dimes he poured from the old leather purse on the desk. Instead the man bid the boy “keep the money until the note was due, then bring it here, not a day before nor a day after. If you think you are going to die, leave directions to pay the debt. The man who pays beforehand shows himself a weakling, he is afraid of himself, he is afraid he cannot hold the money. He usually spends his money before he earns it.”

It was a great day for Brownsville and the leading journal of the town, the Brownsville Clipper. Two circuses were headed for the town; Rosston, Springer & Henderson’s and Thayer & Noyse Great American Circus.

The agent of the first named show was first in, Andy Springer, “Old Rough Head.” The agent was aware of the coming opposition although he never mentioned it. His contract for advertising space in the Clipper had a clause to the effect that no other circus advertising or reading matter should appear in the columns of the great family paper prior to the date of the exhibition of the R. S. & H. aggregation.

Harrison made this “slick contract” as he termed it. He charged the circus man double the usual advertising rates, working the agent for unlimited free tickets. The genteel word “complimentary” had not become associated with show tickets as yet.

In making up the free list Harrison was as liberal to the families of the force as the school directors had been on the occasion of Alfred’s exhibition. The editor and owner’s family received sixteen free tickets; there were five in his family all told. The managing-editor, Harrison, and his family received fifteen free tickets. He distributed all of his tickets within two hours after they were counted out to him. (In those days the agent distributed the tickets, not by an order on the show as now.)

Harrison sought the circus agent at the hotel explaining that since he received the tickets he had consulted his family and they desired to go to the show twice, afternoon and night. The agent, knowing that there was opposition in sight, stood for the hold-up and Harrison celebrated most gloriously the next few days, with free tickets to the circus.

The foreman of the composing room was to have ten tickets. He was a poor man, Harrison advised, and had a lot of children. The circus wouldn’t lose anything as they would not pay to go nohow.

The pressman and his family were to receive ten free tickets. The devil, Alfred, was to receive six free tickets. He managed to get two that Harrison carelessly dropped while changing his clothes.

Scarcely had the first agent cleared the town before Charley Stowe, agent for Thayer & Noyse arrived, brisk, bright and beaming. Entering the Clipper office he found Alfred the only person in. Mr. Stowe was very gracious. He won the boy to his side ere he had conversed with him five minutes.

The agent was in a great hurry, he desired to get to Pittsburgh at once most agents are in a great hurry to get into a big city from a small town. Alfred informed the agent that he did not know where Harrison could be found. “Please sit down and look over our paper,” said Alfred, and he left to seek Harrison, who was diligently distributing circus tickets and judging from his condition, getting value received.

Alfred was almost overcome with the thought of two circuses coming to town. He imparted the information to everyone whom he met who was interested enough to listen. Another circus coming, bigger and better than the first one, was Alfred’s guarantee. He was prompted to this through the fact that the newly arrived agent had been courteous to him. Probably the twenty-five cents and two free tickets had something to do with Alfred’s leaning towards the second show.

Harrison was finally located at Bill Wyatt’s, a place he had not frequented in a long time as the slate bore figures that had been written on it about the date Harrison struck the town. Harrison had partially squared the score with circus tickets. Harrison was just able to walk with Alfred’s assistance. As they wobbled down wide Market Street Alfred imagined the man in a mood to be approached. He reminded Harrison of the half dollar long over due, and obligingly offered to take it out in circus tickets.

Harrison scorned the proposition. Straightening himself up he endeavored to push Alfred aside as he proudly exclaimed: “I don’t want you to take anything out in circus tickets. I’ll pay cash after the circus.”

It required all of Alfred’s powers to make Harrison understand that there was another circus agent in town, another circus coming. Harrison persisted in the belief that it was the same agent with whom he had done business.

Stowe meanwhile, as all intelligent agents do, had gone to headquarters. As Alfred, with his tow, entered the office, the owner of the paper turned on the managing editor, foreman of the composing room, etc., and let loose a tirade of abuse such as Alfred had never heard the like of before:

“You damned little shriveled up, whiskey soaked, tobacco smoked, copperhead. What in hell do you mean by making a contract like this for my paper? I’ll cram it down your jaundiced jaws, you whelp of hell, you!” And the rage of Hurd, who was a very large, fat man, caused his face to turn purple. “Pack up your things and git, or I’ll slap you into the bowels of the jail. I know enough about you and your record on that traitor sheet, (he referred to the opposition paper, the Genius of Liberty), to have you and all connected with it sent to Johnson’s Island. Git out of yere!” yelled Hurd.

Harrison pulled away from Alfred and in the effort fell partially over a settee as he sputtered out: “I’m a gemptman, what-smatter with Hanner.” He intended to use the cant phrase, “That’s what’s the matter with Hannah.”

Hurd shook a purplish looking bit of paper in Harrison’s face: “What do you mean, you shrimp, by entering into a contract to the effect that no other circus can use my paper?”

Harrison attempted to look indignant but he was a bad actor, he could only look drunk. On this occasion he could not dissemble. His effort to do so only made him appear more drunken.

“I’m a man of h-honor I’ll stan’ by anythin’ I do.” Here Harrison fell down, full length on the settee, muttering and shaking his fist at Hurd.

“Get him out of this house!” was Hurd’s order to Alfred.

Alfred pulled and pushed Harrison to the bottom of the stairs leading up to his room. Harrison fell on all fours and began a slow ascent of the stairs, Alfred pushing him as he had seen deck hands shove refractory cattle when loading them on a boat.

He returned to the room. Hurd was very crusty. He hinted that Alfred should not have permitted the first circus agent to induce Harrison to sign the shut-out contract.

Stowe, the circus agent, further endeared himself to Alfred when he informed Mr. Hurd that Alfred should not be blamed.

Alfred, in the brief interview between the second agent and himself, had informed him as to the contract made by the first agent, the price charged for advertising, the free tickets extorted and other information that was valuable.

The agent was very diplomatic. He began by calming Hurd: “Now, Mr. Hurd, I know the value of your paper to us, I know you to be a man of honor, and I would not offend you by even insinuating that you could find a way to carry our advertising and reading matter as I know you would not violate the contract made with the other concern, although it is evident that contract was obtained by fraud. There is only one way around this;” here the circus agent placed his hand on the shoulder of the big editor, “we will have to get out an extra edition, their advertising and reading matter to go in the regular edition, mine in the extra.”

The editor beamed on the agent, the beam expressing more strongly than any words: “You’re a daisy but, but,” stammered Hurd, “we haven’t got matter enough for our regular edition. I’ve been working all morning; Harrison’s been drunk all week an’ ”

“Never mind,” interrupted the agent, “don’t you worry, let me do the work and the worrying also. Where can we get a little something to clear the cobwebs out of our tonsils?” And they left the office arm in arm, but not until the circus agent had asked Alfred if he knew where all the office force could be found. Alfred answered “No, sir.” And he was truthful; as he was not certain whether he was on the stairs, on the landing, at the top of the stairs or had rolled back to the bottom.

When the agent ordered Alfred to get the office force together and inform them that they would have to work all night but would be paid double time, Alfred ran upstairs, as was his custom, four steps at each bound. Harrison was not on the stairs nor at the top landing. Running into the press room, Alfred found Harrison sitting in the coal box, sleeping soundly.

After vain efforts to arouse him, Alfred hastened to the residence of Bill Smith who had once worked on the paper. Cal Wyatt had also served some time setting type, and Baggy Allison was notified to repair to the office instanter.

All were on hand when the circus man returned. Cal Wyatt, advised Alfred to fill Harrison’s mouth with salt, that it was a never failing remedy. It did bring Harrison partly around, just enough to make him a pest, in the way of all with both person and talk. He slobbered over copy and case, hiccoughed, cursed Alfred for trying to doctor him; informing Alfred that he wanted no “dam cow doctor to fool with him.”

Stowe, the circus agent, laughed until his sides ached. He was informed by the others that Alfred was a great minstrel and he volunteered to find him a place with some first class minstrel organization the coming winter. Stowe played the banjo and carried the instrument with him. All the local minstrel band were introduced to him. He played and sang with them and within twenty-four hours he owned the town, including the printing office.

The type-setters did not have to wait for copy; Stowe had quantities. The printers were not compelled to decipher the peculiarities of anyone’s handwriting; Stowe’s copy was printed and punctuated.

Such copy had never been worked from in the office before. Of course all the agent’s copy treated of Thayer & Noyse Great Circus.

Harrison got to himself finally. He could make himself very agreeable when he so desired.

Hurd insisted that there should be other matter written up. In this Stowe acquiesced. He scribbled off political, local and other matter at a rapid rate, nor did he stop there. He gave the contract to Isaac Vance of the Marshall House to feed all people and stock with the circus. There were no stable tents in those days nor did anyone stop on the lot. Canvassmen, hostlers and actors all in the hotels. Vance got a big contract; Stowe secured a half column advertisement for the paper, as he did from several others.

The extra appeared, at first glance, as fat as the regular edition. When Baggy Allison tired, Stowe worked the press. He rolled, folded and fed until the extra edition was off the press and ready for distribution.

Among his printed matter was a quarter sheet, with the portraits of Thayer and Noyse, and a small amount of reading matter printed on one side only. He dug up a can of red ink from some unexplored recess where it had lain since the presidential campaign of 1860. He had three or four funny mule cuts. He wrote a funny line or two, made a rude cut resembling Hurd, informing the public that Hurd would ride the trick mule circus day. This bill was printed without the knowledge of Hurd. It was folded in the extra and thus distributed.

This fact makes valid Alfred’s claim of another honor for Brownsville, namely: that the Brownsville Clipper was the first paper in this country to issue a colored supplement. Of course the word “supplement” was not in a newspaper’s vocabulary at that time.

Another merit this supplement possessed, it was really humorous, and the humor was apparent, even to the people of that day, and that is more than the colored supplements of today can lay claim to.

Charley Stowe was not only the prime mover in all that pertained to the issuance of the extra but he hired a horse and buggy and a boy to assist Alfred in its distribution.

Brownsville was advertised as it had never been before. Charley Stowe following a precedent established by the first agent that ever traveled ahead of a show, promised many persons to return to Brownsville the day of the show. And, unlike the first agent and almost all agents in all times since, he kept his promise and came back.

It was a great day for Brownsville, it was a great day for Thayer and Noyse, it was a great day for Alfred. Charley Stowe had another faculty, shy in most agents, memory. He remembered the editor and the office force, particularly the latter. He gave Alfred his first sight of the inner sanctórum of the show world, namely, the dressing rooms. He introduced him to big, good-natured Dr. Thayer, to natty little Charley Noyse, to the elder Stickney and his talented son Bob, to J. M. Kelly, the long distance single somersault leaper, to little Jimmy Reynolds, the clown, to Mrs. Thayer and her charming daughter. It was the unfolding of the scenes of another world to the lad. His recollection of that day is as of a night of enchantment.

The circus had a very sick horse, a beautifully marked mare, sorrel and snow white with glass eyes, as they are termed. The beautiful creature was housed in the stable of the Marshall House. The animal was evidently one of value to the circus folk as many of them visited the stable; all seemed anxious as to the mare’s recovery. After the afternoon performance, Dr. Thayer, his wife and daughter were in the stable administering to the sick horse. The circus man was completing arrangements to have the tavern keeper care for the mare and send her on to the show, if she were able to travel by the time the company reached Uniontown.

Isaac Vance assured the circus people that everything possible would be done for the mare, and turning to Alfred, laying both hands on the boy’s shoulders, facing him toward Mr. Thayer, said: “And here’s the lad who will take your mare to Uniontown. He can ride any horse or mule you have. You should have this boy with your show, he is an actor right. Our people swear by him, he can beat anything you have in the nigger minstrel line.”

Then Alfred, with a freshness born of ignorance, said: “Yes, Mr. Thayer, you have a fine circus but your minstrels ain’t much, not as good as those with Van Amberg’s Menagerie, and everybody says so.”

Mr. Thayer and his wife both seemed greatly amused at the frankness of the boy. The showman quizzed Alfred as to what he could do in the concert. Alfred, as all other “rube” amateurs have done and always will do, wanted to engage to give the entire concert. Thayer had more patience then than Alfred has now as he listened to the boastful assumptions of the boy.

Finally he said: “If you will get a letter from your father granting me permission to employ you, I will give you the opportunity of your life, but do not come to me without the permission of your parents, as our show does not employ minors. It’s against the law.”

It was further arranged that Alfred should take the Lilly mare to Uniontown the day the show exhibited there. Mrs. Thayer led Alfred to one side and, pressing two dollars into his hand, charged him to visit the sick horse several times daily, and no matter if those in charge asserted that they had given her sufficient water, Alfred was to offer the animal drink. She so charged the stable man, stuttering Hughey Boggs.

After the night show Alfred called at the stable. The mare seemed very sick. He offered her water which she refused; he felt of her ears, they were cold; he stroked her satin-like coat; she opened her eyes and appeared almost human to Alfred as he petted her.

Arriving at home he went to his mother’s room and gave her a detailed account of the day’s doings, not forgetting the sick horse or the arrangements made by Mr. Vance for him to deliver the mare to the show folk in Uniontown.

Alfred had been careful not to reveal any of that part of the conversation touching on the offer of the big showman to employ him providing he could obtain the father’s written consent. Somehow the mother’s fears were aroused, she felt that there was more behind the delivery of the mare than was revealed and she strongly objected to the arrangement.

The mother communicated her fears to Lin and that worthy was quite ingenious in quizzing the boy. She questioned Alfred as to his intentions. “I tole yer mother ye wouldn’t run off with thet olé show while yer pap wus away from hum. Mary sed ‘They moût coax ye off.’ Did they coax ye? Did they offer to gin ye a job?” And she looked at Alfred very hard and earnestly.

Alfred had been revolving in his mind a plan that included having Daniel Livingstone forge a letter signing Alfred’s father’s name to it, granting the boy permission to join the show. Alfred felt very guilty and hung his head when Lin’s questions grew pointed.

Alfred was giving the sick show horse all the attention promised and even more. The second day following the mare died. Notwithstanding, all seemed to sympathize with Alfred, who had become greatly attached to the beautiful horse, it was apparent that all were greatly relieved that Alfred had been released from the agreement to deliver the mare to the circus folk.

Alfred wrote Mrs. Thayer a long letter, giving the particulars concerning the death of her pet, to which he received a prompt reply, ending with a standing invitation to visit them at any time, either while they were traveling or at their home.

The boy was very proud of this letter and read it to all his friends. Lin, in commenting on the death of the mare quoted Scripture, after her own interpretation: “The Lord gins us an’ the Lord takes hosses es well es peepul. Uv cos ye kin buy hosses ef ye got money but ye can’t buy peepul. Ef ye’d run off with a show an’ dide, w , ye ”

Here Lin stuck. She could not find words to complete the sentence; but after a moment’s pause, she continued: “The’d not miss ye es much es the’ will thet hoss. Bet we’d miss ye every time we sot up to a meal.”

In the vernacular of the show profession of today, Rosston, Springer & Henderson took up the stand and did not appear in Brownsville. They were advertised to play in Pittsburg.

Mr. Hurd sent Alfred to Pittsburg to collect the newspaper advertising bill. Harrison was having his troubles with those to whom he had sold tickets. The holders of tickets held Harrison personally responsible for the non-appearance of the circus. Since the day Frank McKernan had pummelled Harrison, various and divers persons had been threatening him with similar treatment. Harrison staved off hostilities by promising to have the tickets redeemed when Alfred collected the paper’s indebtedness from the circus.

The circus had no band wagon. The musicians were mounted on horses. This was all there was of the parade. Alfred has since learned that this feature was introduced into the circus as an expediency. G. G. Grady, an impecunious circus proprietor, found his colossal aggregation without a band wagon and no funds to purchase one. He hit upon the idea of mounting his band on horses. The innovation was heralded as a feature and to this day circuses advertise the mounted band as a novelty of the “highway, holiday parade.”

John Robinson’s circus boasted a steam calliope, which dispensed “biled music.” Grady, not strong enough financially to annex a calliope, altered an old animal cage that resembled the exterior of a calliope. He installed a very large and loud hand organ inside the imitation calliope wagon, with a stovepipe poking out of the top, plenty of damp straw inside, a man to feed and burn it. In a stove inside, the volumes of smoke issuing from the stovepipe, a strong man turning the hand organ, the greatly improved steam calliope was calculated to astonish the public. If the music were not so vociferous as that his rival’s instrument sent forth, it must be admitted that Grady’s was more tuneful and therefore less objectionable.

Grady’s steam piano came to an untimely end almost before its career began. The man inside the calliope, the fireman, was too industrious. He filled the stove with damp straw, poured kerosene oil over it and applied a match. The parade was in the midst of the public square, in Canton, Ohio. Thousands had congregated to witness it. The whole interior of the calliope was ablaze, smoke issuing from every crack and crevice. The show people grasping the situation, broke open the back door. The damp straw, the old stove, the two men and the hand organ were dragged from the smoking wagon. Grady’s attempt to rival John Robinson was the joke of the circus world.

Alfred had quite a little difficulty in collecting the printing bill, which was grudgingly paid him.

The circus people tore up Harrison’s order for payment for the tickets given. The treasurer said something about the paper being a “wolf.”

When Alfred returned Harrison endeavored to spread the impression by insinuations that he had collected for the tickets and not made returns to him as yet. He was cornered, it was his only way to square himself with those who were pressing him for a settlement. Although Alfred knew full well that Harrison did not intend to injure him, the reports became so annoying and the insinuations so galling that Alfred took Harrison to account.

Harrison flew into a rage and threw a small shovel at Alfred. Things got lively for Harrison in a moment. No telling where it would have ended had not the entire Hurd family rushed into the room and separated the combatants. Harrison was much the worse for the encounter. To drown his grief he started the rounds but Jim Bench, the town watchman, locked him up. When he sobered up he shook the dust of Brownsville from his feet forever more.

Years afterward Alfred met Harrison in a far western city, leading the same life.

The mother entreated Alfred to forever give up the idea of becoming a newspaper man. She had cherished the hope that the boy would yet turn to the study of medicine. Old Doctor Playford, Bob’s father, informed Alfred’s uncle that if the boy were so inclined he would take him into his office and see what there was in him.

The Doctor had three good horses, his son Bob had a large pack of hounds. Alfred’s duties did not keep him in the office very steadily. He was on horseback a greater part of the time, by day delivering medicine, by night fox or coon hunting.

It was a part of Alfred’s work to compound medicines in the small laboratory in the doctor’s residence. A copy of materia-medica and a Latin dictionary were the only guides to the beginner of a medical career in those days. There were no prescriptions sent to the drug store, every doctor filled his own prescriptions. Alfred became very quick at compounding prescriptions.

A dose of medicine was prepared for Mr. Hare. This particular dose of medicine did not have the effect the doctor desired, or rather, it had more effect than the doctor or Hare desired.

The old doctor was a very resolute man, fiery and game, nearly everyone feared him. Bob, his son, was one of the few who dared brave the old doctor’s wrath. The young doctor espoused Alfred’s cause when his father charged Alfred with carelessness. Bob swore that old Hare was a notorious liar and that it was not the medicine that made him so sick.

The old doctor was very practical, therefore a successful practitioner. Alfred protested that he had prepared the medicine for Hare as per the formula furnished him. Some time after the above argument Alfred was summoned to the doctor’s room. Holding in one hand a glass of water, the doctor handed Alfred a lump of darkish color, ordering the boy to swallow it. Alfred mechanically swallowed the lump, the doctor handing him the water to take the taste out of his mouth.

As Alfred drank, the doctor, with a humorous glance, ordered him to hang around until he could determine the effects of the medicine. “It’s the same dose you fixed for Hare. I’ll see whether Hare lied or not.”

Alfred had a keen sense of the ridiculous. He had swallowed the pill ere he realized what he was doing and knew full well he would be dreadfully ill, yet he laughed immoderately.

“Ef Hare suffered more than Alfurd, he sure wus sick,” was Lin’s comment. “No, Alfurd wus not sacked by the olé doctur, he jus naturally did not like doctorin’.”

Mr. Todd replied: “I dunno nuthin’ ’bout it, only what I’ve heard. They do say thet since Alfred nearly pizened Mr. Hare, most of Doctor Playford’s patients has gone to Doctor Jackson. Folks is jus naturally afeared to doctor with Playford since they found out Alfred mixes the medicine. John McCune’s two children, olé Lige Custer an’ Dave Phillips wus all took sick jus like olé Hare an’ nobody but Alfred ever mixed the medicine they took. You know it takes a man thet’s hed practus to mix medicines an’ Alfred ain’t hed no chance to learn.”

Lin contended that Alfred hed plenty of practice. “He mixed paint in his Pap’s shop an’ he mixed ink in the printin’ offis an’ Lord, he could certinly mix a few squills an’ a little castor île an’ sich, that’s all Playford ever gives. Alfurd cud a kep on doctorin’ ef he’d wanted to, but the olé doctor sed when he took him thet he would see what wus in him, an’ I s’pose he did.”