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ment when Minerva should illumine the ring “Yes; I'm Matilda Higgins. I look kind o' with her presence.
different in this rig, don't I ?” He had not to wait long. To the strains The electric light shone relentlessly on her of “See, the conquering hero comes!" the painted cheeks and the few wisps of black lions' cage entered, drawn by milk - white hair showing beneath her bat. horses. Once more Minerva was between the “Yes, you do-- at least - that is — well, I lions; but this time one happy beast was rest- thought you had yellow hair," stammered poor ing his head on her knees, and her mus- Elisba. “But I wanted to see you to tell you cular but shapely arm encircled his tawny how much I admire you for riding in the lions' neck.
cage. It — it's splendid of you, I think. I
should never dare to" She that perforce robs lions of their hearts May easily win a druggist's.
“Oh, that ain't anything,” cried tbe ama
zon, in tones scornful of her own prowess. Elisha could not conceal his agitation. “Why, the lions are as quiet as lambs, and I “Oh, do be careful! Do take care!" he heard only get into the cage after they've had a himself saying, loud enough to cause amuse- good square meal. Besides, if they did get ment to his neighbors, but he was unconscious mad, I'd shoot 'em. But they know me, an' of himself.
they kuow I ain't afraid. I don't know what The cavalcade went slowly around the ring 'tis to be afraid of anything." and passed out, amid the applause of the peo- “Oh dear, just think of that!" exclaimed ple, the rustling accompaniment of breaking Elisha, feebly. peanut shells, and the appreciative munching “ You can walk along with me to the place of pop-corn. Elisha slipped from his seat and where I'm stoppin'," the damsel went on. "I followed at a respectful distance. With tren- hate sleepin’in the tent. It's more genteel to bling fingers he pressed a piece of silver into have a place outside, an' I've always been used the willing hand of some functionary in uni- to genteel surroundin's. The Female Contorform, and took a modest position at the door tionist and the Mysterious Lady don't seem to of the tent into which the lions' cage had dis- mind, but it's the one thing I'm kind o' set appeared.
about. I do like to sleep in a house." “I-I wish to speak to-to Miss Minerva Elisha hurried along by her side with short, Montague,” he said in a nervous whisper, nervous steps. The top of his head was on a trying to assume tbe manner of a habitual level with her chin, and he was quite overhaunter of greenrooms.
powered by her physical and moral superi“Yes, sir; she'll be out directly. I'll tell ority. her you're waitin'," replied the official, depart- “Why did you want to see me, anyway?" ing with an alacrity which only bribery could Minerva demanded, after a silence, during have induced. In a few moments he returned. which Elisha had been trying to think of “Miss Higgins says she don't know who you some appropriate remark, be,” he announced; "but she says she'll be “Why-why-I admired you awfully this goin' outer that side entrance in five min- morning," he said, so incoherently that she utes, an' if you've any business with her, you bad to incline her ear to catch his words. can wait there."
“ I've been thinking about you all day. I “Thank you very much," said Elisha, polite- just couldn't keep away from you. That's ly, “but I don't know Miss Higgivs. It's Miss why I'm here." Montague I want to see-Miss Minerva Mon- “ Well, well, to think of that!" said Minerra, tague.”
evidently much flattered. “An’ That's your “Same person,” replied the man of many
name ?" buttons. Stage name, Minerva Montague. “My name's Elisha Jenkins, and I work in Real name, Matilda Higgins."
a drug-shop. I bave my evenings free,” he This was a trifle disillusionizing, but Elisha added, with some pride. reflected that her character and her physique “Then come and see me evenin's, after the certainly belonged to a Minerva, not a Matil- performance. I get through before half past da. He waited at the appointed tryst for a eight, an' I'd be real glad to see you. You long five minutes, until the flap of the tent ain't married, I s'pose ? You're real young. door was pushed aside and a large woman lookin'." stepped out, enveloped in a black "gossamer" “No, I ain't married," Elisha confessed, after water-proof (the kind that rolls up small), and a second's pause, during which the idea flaslied wearing a hat covered with bedraggled red into bis mind that he miglit plead guilty to a plumes.
wife and seven children, and then disappear "Well, if you ain't the little feller that forever. But when, after the acknowledg. threw me the rose !" cried a good - patured ment of his unattached condition, he left Miss voice. “I thought it was awful cute of you Higgins at the door of her sbabby little boardto think of doin' it."
ing-house, it was with the understandivg that “Are--are you Miss Minerva Montague ?” he was to call at half past eight the best asked Elisha, timidly approaching her and evening, and take ber--or be taken by herraising his bat.
for a walk.
After this things progressed rapidly. Every him suddenly. “Here you've been keepin' evening the ill-matched couple started forth steady company with me for over a week, an' to some place of amusement, or spent an hour you 'ain't never said a word about our gettin' on some secluded bench in a public park. married. Yon don't seem like one o' those Matilda Higgins, or Minerva, as Elisha pre- sneakin'. deceivin' kind o' men that think erferrell to call her, carried ou most of the con- ery woman's as disrespectable as they be themversation, and sometimes ber startling aud selves. Au' I think it's time I knew your inpicturesque revelations concerning life at the tentions." circns caused the modest liairs of her escort to Elisha took a long breath. His hour bad stand on end with surprise and horror. Many come. He must prove himself a man of honor. of his childlike illusions were cruelly dispelled “No, Minerva, I ain't one of those kind of by the wisdom of Minerva.
men,” he said, grandly," au’ I'd like to see one He had not yet dared to speak to her of love, ot'em come near you. They wouldn't dare to, but neither did he dare to postpone the sub- not when I'm here." The heroism of his own ject much longer. If courting must be done, words inspired him. “Of course I want to he hoped that she would do it. She was to inarry yon, just whenever yon’re willing. I snpbe in town but one week more, and he thought, posed you understood that without my saying with mingled dread and hope, that their present indefinite relations must soon end. The “Well, I gness I did," Minerva confessed decisive moment came one evening when they coyly, taking her lover's hand fondly in liers. were sitting on a damp bench by the shores “Au’I've thought up such a beautiful plan for of an artificial pond.
our weddin'! You see, I never forget iny pro"'Lisha,” the lady said, "you know I can fession, even when I'm with you. I'm always never leave the circus. I just love my life tryin' to think np some novelty that will take there, an' the manager promises me niore work with the public, ani l've got an elegant idea an' a raise of salary later on. He tbinks I can this time, an' you're to be in it too. I won't do some snake-charmin' for him next season, tell you a word abont it till I've spoken to the besides the lion-tamin'—"
manager, but you're sure to be real pleased.” Elisha murmured his congratulations. She chuckled to herself, and Elisha felt liis "Look here, 'Lisha,” Minerva said, facing knees trembling with apprehension.
“Will—will I have to join the circus ?" he The Happy Pair will hold a Reception asked, timidly.
immediately after the Ceremony. · Well, I guess you'll better get free from sellin' fizzes right away,” liis fiancée an
Come and see nounced, (lecidedly. “I'm sure I can get you
LOVE AMONG THE LIONS ! somethin' to do, even if it's only goin'round
Bring the little ones to see with pop- corn and lemonade at first. Per
BEAUTY AND THE BEAST! baps later on you can help me with the snakes."
Admission, only.... A low groan escaped from poor Elisha.
" You dou't think you'd like to give up the Elisha collapsed utterly. “Oh, Minerva !" circus and settle down here quietly with me ?” he groaned, “I suppose I'm an awful coward, be asked, tentatively. “Some time I shall be but I don't feel as if I could go throngli with a real apothecary's clerk, putting op prescrip- this. The lions don't know me—they'll see tions-and then-then we should be very that I'm afraid --aud they'll eat pie,” he ended, happy," he ended, lamely.
feebly. “Me, the wife of an apothecary? Well, I “They'd be ashamed to eat such a chickenguess not!" cried the Queen of the Lious, livered thing as you!" the scornful lady relanghing aloud. “'Lisha Jenkins, yon do beat plied. * But there, 'Lisha, I don't want to be all. No. You're to travel round with us, and haril on you. I s'pose you cau't belp beina do any odd jobs that turn up; then later we'll coward; it's because you're so weak an' little.
I'll get hold o’ Mr. Williams to-morrow, Never mind; I'll protect you." She gave him a an' talk to him. We'll be married Saturday loving slap on the back which almost knocked night, so you can be seein’about the license, him off the sofa. “I tell you I know those an' I'll 'tend to the rest o' the business. I'll lious, au' they're gentlemen, tbat's wbat they tell you all about it to-morrow night."
They wouldu't take advantage of your The next evening, when Elisha rang the bein' in their house on a matter of business. I boarding-house bell, Minerva rushed forward, thought you'd be real pleased to see your name and after greeting her lover with a resounding in such big letters, and as a society-leader too." salute, dragged him into the untidy little sit- “Oh, I am pleased at that,” replied Elisba, ting-room, and in a tone of great excitement with an effort, feeling that he had been unicommanded him to sit besiile ler.
gracious. “But you will see that the lions have “Mr. Williams is just wild over my plan," had a good dinner that night, won't you ?” she exclained. “He says it 'll be the biggest “Of course I will," she responded, heartily, drawiu' card we've had for years; au’ what's "an' I'll take you to see the lions to-morrow, more, lie's goin' to give me a good share o' the an' they'll be real pleasant if I tell 'em who profits-ilu' me's you, you know, or will be, you be. An' I've thought of somethin' that then-so churk up, old boy, ill' don't seem so ain't goin' to be put on the bills. You see, the alixious. Look at this! To-luorrow there'll public likes to have things done on a handbe three thousaud of 'em to distribute all over some scale, au' I don't want to have anything the city.” Minerva put a green poster into mean about my weddin', anyway. So I'm goin' Elisha's trembling bands. “ Tbat tells the to give people more'n their money's worthi, an' whole thing, and in elegant language too." throw in the Fat Lady an' the Livin' Skeleton."
Elisha's dazed eyes read the following an- “ Throw them in the lious' cage ?" asked the nouncement:
bewildered bridegroom, now proof against sur
prises. UNIQUE EVENT!
“ No, you stupid! Throw 'em in for ten MARRIAGE IN THE LIONS' DEN!!!
I thonghit 'twoula be kind o' nice to On Saturday Evening, May 271h,
bave the Fat Lady for my bridemaid-we've Directly after the Regular Performance, always been great friends, anybow-an' she
au' I will walk in together. But I guess she'll A WEDDING
better not get into the cage.' She'l be pretty will be celebrated in the
temptin' to the lions even after it lig dinner." LIONS' CAGE
Minerva laughed, and Elishit tried to echo In the Smaller Tent.
ber mirtlı, but failed dismally. MISS MINERVA MONTAGUE,
“And what is the Living Skeleton to do ?" The Celebrated Lion-Tamer,
be askell, meekly. has at last yielded to the shafis of Cupid,
“Well, I thonght it would be a kind of a and consented to wed
comfort for you to have some one to come in MR ELISUA JENKINS,
with, an' he's a real nice mani, thongli there one of the well-known
ain't much of him. But I think he il be a sort Svciety-Leaders of this City.
o'support for you. Of course you could have
one o' your friends for your best man, but the A prominent clergyman hias kindly volunteered
public wonldu't like that near as well. They'll his services.
be awful pleased to see the two treaks without payin' extra."
Elisha was beginning to enter into the spirit as lie heard the populace, mindful of coming of the occasion. “We might have the Wild events, cheer her londly. She wore a Men of Borneo for ushers," he answered; but white silk dress, made in honor of the occahis more modest briile thought that that would sion, and ber cheeks showed the bruslı of an be sensational.
artist, instead of the customary daubs of the "No. I want to keep the whole thing real amateur. simple," she said, firmly. “Of course we could Before the circus performance closed, Elisha turn in the whole side-show, but I think that was admitted into the smaller tent. The place would be sort o' vulgar an' cheap. I wonder was festively trimmed with green slırnbs and you don't feel the way I do, 'Lisha."
branches, and the lions might well imagine “Oh, I do, Minerva,” he said, fervently dis- themselves at home in their native jungle. claiming a desire for a melodramatic union. Elisha thankfully observed that they were “I tbink it will be beantiful, if only the lions both sound asleep in a corner of their cage. won't mind being disturbed at night.”
He was timidly inspecting them when the Live “Oh, they'll be all right if I take you to see ing Skeleton stepped forth from behind a sap'em first,” replied bis lady; "and now, 'Lisha ling which bad entirely concealed him, and Jenkins, you just stop worryin'!"
the bridegroom's nerves were in so tense a On Friday afternoon Minerva took her lover condition that he almost screamed aloud at into the side-show and introduced bim to the finding his best man so unexpectedly near Living Skeleton. “I thought 'twould be plea- bim. santer for you to meet before to-morrow," she Greetings having been exchanged, the two said, graciously, as she presented the two men. retired to a leafy alcove, where they were con
A skinny band was extended from the plat cealed from view but could obtain glimpses form where Mr. Adams, the thin man, was of what went on. Mr. Adams proved to be a exbibiting himself. Elisha murmured a few complete man of the world. He tried to amnse words of awkward tbanks for the favor Mr. and encourage the trembling bridegroom by Adams was to do for him the next day, but various matrimonial anecdotes, in the telling that gentleman seemed to feel so strongly that of which the recounter himself became so conthe favor was mutual that Elisha wondered vulsed with mirth as to suggest that the evenwhether side - show etiqnette demanded that ing's entertainment might includo the death tbe best man should receive a fee.
of the Only Living Skeleton. A group of visitors came up to examine the At last the cirens ended. Hodreds of peothin man's anatomy, while Miverva and her ple crowded in and grouped about the lions' fiancé stood in rather awkward silence before
cage. A flowery aisle was left free for the him. The young people made such outspoken bridal party (extra broad, Mr. Adamıs said, for comments on Mr. Adams's subentaneons dis- the bridemaid), and the band struck up the play that Elisha feared his feelings would be Wedding March. The Living Skeleton adburt. But the Skeleton proved himself fully vanced, towing the poor little bridegroom able to protect bis bones from insult. He held after him. Elisha's knees bumped together, out a mysterious object in a frame, for the and his staring eyes were fixed on the lions, inspection of a rosy - cheeked damsel, saying, wbo, for the first time, seemed to be taking confidently, “ There's a picture of the girl I'm notice of their surroundings. Out of the tail going to marry.” The unsuspecting maiden of his eye he saw Mr. Russell, his former emlooked at it and saw her own face reflected in ployer, and a group of old associates from the a small band-mirror. The mixture of dignity drug-shop. Hysterical laughs, eager whispers, and anger with which she banded it back to and tentative applause broke from the multithe Skeleton at once turned the general langlı tude. against herself, and Elisha saw with pleasure “Take a cough-lozenge, Elisha.” “Drink and admiration that Mr. Adains was equal to Tonickine for your nerves," his former companthe emergency.
ions called after him. The lions looked at their quivering visitor “It's the most sacrilegions thing I ever saw. with eyes that were curious but by no means Say, let's go out,” said another. hostile, and the dignified gentlemanliness of “Poor little chap! He looks frightened to
beir manner said plainly that any friend of death, an' I don't wonder," spoke out a goodMiss Minerva Montagne's was their friend. natured matron. Elisha looked at her with
Elisha and Minerva had agreed not to meet grateful eyes. on tbeir wedding-day until evening, so it was They reached the cage and pansed, facing already eight o'clock when he went to the cir- the audience. The mivister seemed to have cus-grounds and once more stood watching her arisen mysteriously out of the sawdust, and lead the procession around the ring.
stood waiting, book in band. Slowly up the ticed with a sigh of relief that the lions were aisle came the Queen of the Lions, her crown more lethargic than usual. Decidedly his replaced by a long white veil, her yellow wig lady had not forgotten to order that her beasts falling in luxuriant curls down her broad sbonld be given extra rations. A glow of pride shoulders. Behind her waddled the Fat Lady, and tenderness for Minerva's perfections (lrove carrying an enormons bung peonies. A out fear from Elisha's heart for the moment, fresh wave of mirth broke over the assembly,
but it was hashed in an instant when Minerva, sational. Her quick professional eye saw that taking her quaking lover's hand in hers, deft- he bad scored a success. ly opened the iron grating and entered, drag- “I - I'm awfully sorry, Minerva," Elisha ging the wretched bridegroom after her. The murmured, somewhat refreshed by a glass of door closed behind them with a click. Elisha wine, though still ashen-white from his recent was actually in the lions' den.
alarm. That roar just tinished me." The two beasts looked curiously at the in. Ob, that's all right," replied bis amiable truders, and one of them opened his mouth in bride. “You won't mind it the next time." a yawu so immense that poor Elisha grasped She held out ber band to greet the first the stalwart arm by his side in a frenzy of ter- unknown friend who bad stepped up to con
But Minerva whispered to bin, encour- gratulate them. ayingly :
“What do you mean by the next time, “They won't touch you. Turn your back Minerva ?" Elisha asked, anxiously, before anon ’om, and show the people you ain't afraid. other well-wisher arrived. There's a pitchfork in the corner, an' I've got “Well, of course this is the real weddin' to a pistol, if anytbing goes wrong."
uis,” Minerva explained, cheerfulls, “but the Elisha felt that he was being marrierl at the public won't know that. We'll get op some point of the pitchfork. Cliuging to his bride, new features each time. Pr’aps next year we he turned and faced the minister, who stood can work iu some spakes-that wonld be nice, outside the cage. Subulued comments from the wouldn't it?" crowd continued.
He put his little haud in hers and tried to “I guess she thought he'd run away if he pod a brave assent. warn't locked in," whispered one.
“You see, 'Lisha dear," she went on, gently, “ He needu't be so awful scared," said an. this has been a grand success, au' we mustn't other. “I reckon they'd take ber first. He miss a chance of rakin' in the dollars. You ain't nothing but a wish-bone."
won't be frightened after you get used to it. The clergyman waited iu dignified silence I've about made up my mind that in every for the criticisms to cease; then lie opened new place we go to we must have a weddin' his book. The service began, but Elisha's
in the lions' cage." thonglits were on the beasts of prey behind bim. Between the bars be caught the eye of
MISSING VACANCIES. his best man, who encouraged him with a fur- A SHORT time since quite a discussion arose tive wink, and the bridemaid smiled fatly at among the officials of one of our prominent the world in general. With quavering voice Southern railroads as to ile reason of the be made his responses, but just as the binding many vexatious delays and troubles in the words had been pronounced, a protesting roar transmission of local freight. It was claimed sounded in his ear, and Elisha promptly faiuted. by some of the parties interested that it was
He wonlıl have fallen forward in au igno- caused almost entirely by the stupidity or inminions leap but for Miverva's supporting efficiency of the local agents, and as there was
She spoke a soothing word to the lion, some difference of opinion on this point, it who was expressing surprise, but no resent- was decided that the matter should be tested. ment, and the good-natured creature submis- To this end a tracer was prepared in due sively turned over and went to sleep.
and formal shape, calling for the whereabouts For a few blessed moments Elisha remained of “One Box Post-holes,” which it alleged was unconscious, and when he recovered himself missing from a prior shipment. This was sent he was being supported out of the cage by his out in the regular order of business, with nobetter — and stronger - half. The best man thing except its "internal nothingness” to and the bridenaid, arın in arm, followed the draw attention to its umusual character, and bridal couple down the aisle, their aspect do- passed agent after agent withont eliciting coning much to relieve the tension of the occasion. ment or information save the stereotyped en
A burst of applause broke from the crowd. dorsement, “Not here." The fainting of the bridegroom was a touch Some fifteen or eighteen local agents were of nature which made the marriage something actually passed in this way, wtil the tracer more than a cheap advertising show. But fell into the hands of a briglit young fellow poor Elisha felt that he was disgraced, brand- who was accustomed to looking into the busied forever as a coward. Still, he did not much pess passing through his bands, and who care, in bis overwhelming thankfulness that speedily came to the conclusion that the tracer the dreaded ceremony was over.
had gone far enonglı. At any rate the docuMr. and Mrs. Jenkins took up their posi- ment went speedily back to the general office tiou under an arbor of green, prepared to with the following endorsement: “ Box of receive congratulations, and the bridemaid Post-holes, as per enclosed, held at this station and best man formed a rival attraction cluse for local charges to amount of $250. Will at hand. The bride was radiant with the be forwarried on receipt of same.” Under this success of everything. Even Elisba's fit of endorsement was written: “N. B.-The price unconsciousness bad not been an undesirable of beer at this statiou is $2 50 per keg.” It is feature, though bordering on the dreaded sen- said that the charges weut forward.