Showman (1937)

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SHOWMAN boys knew what to do when she finally folded up. They all headed for Central America, where there was the usual trouble going on, to hire out as soldiers wherever the gold pieces looked likelier. They'd all been fighting so long that it was impossible for them to settle down to anything else. I bet there are little Latin-looking girls and boys in Guatemala and San Salvador today whose names are Smith and Dykgraaf because their papas were hornswoggled into coming over to fight the Boer War for the delectation of the St. Louis World's Fair. But old General Cronje didn't go to Central Amer- ica. He and his wife went back to Holland at my ex- pense with $2500 of back-salary coming out of my pocket to boot, because I had stood back of Lewis' ar- rangement with him. I didn't grudge the money. The war had left the old fellow flat broke and, as the man who had kept the conquest of the Boers from being the push-over the English had thought it would be, he was naturally pretty uncomfortable in South Africa after the British victory. The humiliation of having to make a public spectacle of himself in order to raise some money had worked on him pretty hard, I'm afraid, particularly during the hardships of the south- ern tour. But I'm glad to remember that his stay at Coney Island was probably the most pleasant few months of his life. We built him a little cottage within the stadium, way over where celebrity-seekers couldn't bother him, and there he sat on the porch and smoked 248