Showman (1937)

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SHOWMAN unhandy as keeping the peace between a regiment of Hessians and a regiment of Continentals in 1784. He had to keep the two camps strictly separate, like men and women at a Quaker meeting. Otherwise, both par- ties would have loaded up with something more dam- aging than blanks and fought Bloemfontein all over again. It wasn't just a plain feud either. It was three- and four-cornered. Boers and British alike hated Lewis, who probably had failed to come through on some of his more glowing promises. And the British were in a constant state of exasperation because they had to endure the presence of Hendon, the renegade. They hadn't known he was to be part of the picture until they landed and encountered him working round the show in a business capacity as well as partaking in the fight-scenes. A nice, chummy party all round. On their arrival at Coney Island they were the sorriest-looking crew in Christendom. The generals came in Pullmans, but, as a measure of economy, Wall had shipped everybody else in a freight train. They were sleeping in hammocks slung across box-cars, fif- teen or twenty men to the car, chilly, starved, dirty, dismal—and fighting mad. For a few short hours the beauties of Coney Island snapped them out of their misery. We'd set up a real military encampment for them—cook-house, hospital, floored tents and the rest of it—and the sight of a whole ocean to bathe in and places where edible food could be obtained actually 244