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Title: A story of the sawdust, Multum in parvo library, vol. 3, no. 25, January, 1896: The pathetic history of "Old Props'" darling
Author: Anonymous
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.

*** Start of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "A story of the sawdust, Multum in parvo library, vol. 3, no. 25, January, 1896: The pathetic history of "Old Props'" darling" ***

Transcriber’s Note:

Text enclosed by underscores is in italics (_italics_).

Additional Transcriber’s Notes are at the end.

       *       *       *       *       *



  The Pathetic History of “Old
  Props’” Darling.


  She met her Fate in New Zealand.--Ignorant,
  Who is there who can Blame


  Entered at Boston Post Office as second
  class matter. Published by A. B. Courtney,
  Room 45, 74 Milk Street, Boston.

  Vol. 3. JANUARY, 1896. Published Monthly. No. 25

  Subscription Price, 50 Cents Per Year.


Her mother was a slack-wire performer in the circus, and Patty was born
in that part of the dressing-room reserved for the feminine talent,
the privacy of which was a pleasant piece of fiction due to the strip
of canvas that “Old Props” stretched across the tent in the centre.
Immediately behind the “wall” the male performers struggled into pink
tights, smoked cigarettes and streaked the air with loud-mouthed oaths,
regardless of the proximity of the ladies, whose own language, to tell
the truth, was none too choice.

Patty came into the world somewhat unexpectedly. Her parent, the only
one she ever knew, had been seized with a sudden dizziness right in
the middle of her great balancing act and had fallen heavily in the
ring, from which she was tenderly carried to the ladies’ dressing-room,
where, two hours later, on a hastily improvised bed of elephant
trappings, camel coverings and spangled suits, snatched from the
property wardrobe, a little mite of humanity was ushered into the world
amid the roaring of the lions, the hoarse bleat of the hippopotamus,
and the savage trumpetings of the elephants in the menagerie adjoining.

From her birth Patty was a great favorite with Old Props, who, in the
absence of a legitimate father, constituted himself the male protector
of the petite girl baby, whose tiny fingers toyed carelessly with the
grizzled, brick-dusty beard of the gruff circus man whenever he took
her in his arms. For Patty was raised with the circus. When she was two
weeks old her mother resumed her “act” on the slack wire and from that
time until her death, which occurred when Patty was ten years old, the
little girl lived almost continuously in the atmosphere of the sawdust

[Illustration: “OLD PROPS.”]

Patty was a veritable daughter of the arena. At a very tender age
she had been taught to balance herself on the back of a horse, and
when her mother died her education in bareback riding had so far
progressed that she was billed as an infant prodigy, and was the source
of endless entertainment to the youngsters of every town visited by
the circus. Old Props was her guardian, a duty that he had willingly
assumed when Patty’s mother died, leaving her daughter to his care. It
must be confessed that Patty’s education in the polite arts was sadly
neglected. Her grammar was atrocious, and her knowledge of things
in general, not germane to the circus, was deplorably slim. But her
professional studies were pursued with so much earnestness and avidity
that before she was in her teens her daring riding produced a genuine
sensation, and the advent of “Mdle. Patti,” as she was known to the
public, was always the signal for a burst of applause, to which the
young equestrienne responded with one of her most bewitching smiles.

Although fully up to the latest slang phrases, Patty was by no
means vicious, and only reflected what she had imbibed, since as a
tiny toddler of three she had been lifted on the trick pony’s back
by careful Old Props and jogged around the track, her merry eyes
ablaze with delight, her baby voice echoing the Hi! Ya! Hi! Ya! of
the property boys who clustered around the ring. In spite of her
surroundings Patty’s mind was remarkably pure. The coarse jokes of the
men and the covert allusions of the women seemed to leave no taint in
their wake, while her naive expressions were a constant delight to
Old Props, who secretly exulted in the innocence of his protegee and
jealously guarded her from the insidious advances of those in whom the
baser passions were uppermost.

Patty was _sui generis_. Of the world beyond the circus she was totally
ignorant. If she had a passion it was for gay dresses and stunning
jewelry, while the “bravas,” elicited from an admiring audience, was
the sweetest music that her ears ever knew. At the age of seventeen
she was a strikingly beautiful girl, overflowing with animal spirits
and enjoying perfect health, a robust young goddess to whom all the
other sawdust subjects paid homage. Hers was a beauty that lacked soul,
however. Patty, poor girl, had never known the refining influences
of a home and the effect of her environment was potent to the close
observer. Love was something foreign to her nature; that is the love
born of a tender passion. For Old Props she possessed a strong sense of
gratitude and a sort of filial affection, but for the genuine article
she seemed to be incapable of its entertainment.

When Patty was eighteen the circus to which she was attached arranged
for a tour of the Australian continent, and at San Francisco the
“main guy” engaged a lot of fresh talent, some of the old-timers not
relishing the salt water voyage. Several of these new performers were
adepts in their particular lines, and one was especially so, as Old
Props had bitter cause to remember. The circus showed all through New
Zealand with remarkable financial success and Patty won unbounded
honors from the colonials, and was, besides, the life of the troupe.
It was at this period--perhaps the semi-tropical climate was partially
responsible for it--that Patty was the recipient of numerous proposals
for her hand, both from within and without the circus. But each new
suitor was received in much the same manner. A merry laugh spoiled
all their sentimental speeches; they were referred to the ringmaster;
she excused herself on the plea of practising a new jig-step for the
side-show, or with the utmost unconcern declined the offer and went on
feeding the monkeys in the menagerie as if nothing unusual had happened
to disturb her tranquility. On one occasion when Old Props was leading
her horse around the ring while the clown was working the risibilities
of the audience she received a most impassioned proposal from one of
the balloon holders who was assisting her in her “act” and near whom
the horse was halted just as the clown reached the climax of his joke.
The offer came during the yelling of the delighted colonials, the sharp
snapping of the ring-master’s whip and the eccentric tumbling of the
professional joker, but for all that it was a fervid appeal. Yet her
sole answer was a derisive laugh as she spurred on her horse with a
“Hi! ya,” and the next minute she was jumping, not into her suitor’s
arms, but through the paper balloon he held outstretched in his hand.

But Patty’s days of freedom were rapidly diminishing, and before the
troupe reached Melbourne Old Props made a discovery that rendered him
very uneasy. At San Francisco the management had engaged among others
a handsome dashing young Apollo of perhaps twenty-five, who was a
perfect prodigy in his way. He was considered the cleverest leaper, the
most skillful rider, and the best all-round man in the troupe, and to
crown all, he possessed a college education, having, it is said, been
graduated at Harvard. His specialty was riding four horses bareback,
and owing to his prowess and fine presence he was soon styled the
“Adonis of the arena.”

It was not until the circus had unloaded at Auckland, N. Z., and
had toured through the middle island that Patty seemed cognizant of
the young fellow’s varied attractions, but before long she began to
manifest in many ways her approval of his society, much to the dismay
of her guardian, who scented trouble from the outset. The young Adonis
of the ring was quick to discover the interest he had awakened, and
deliberately applied himself to the task of winning Patty’s affections.
By a hundred delicate attentions and insinuating ways, such as Patty,
poor child, had never known in her previous career, he paved his way
into her good graces and aroused in her that feeling which lies latent
in the soul of every maiden, but which few would have supposed Patty

It was to this heartless scamp that Patty unreservedly lost her heart.
To the warnings of Old Props, who, better versed in human nature,
penetrated her lover’s evil designs, the girl returned an indignant
protest, and for a time there was a coolness between the two that
grieved the old property man sorely. Those whom Patty had snubbed now
began to take a mean revenge by sneeringly alluding to her love affair
and hinting that all was not as it should be. Their remarks when made
in the hearing of Old Props drove him nearly frantic, and for several
weeks he was so ugly and crabbled that he was unbearable and even the
main guy was compelled to reprimand him for his surliness. As the
affair progressed Patty gradually lost all interest in her former
amusements, and even her little pet monkey in the menagerie was wholly
neglected. Instead of lingering before his cage to pet and caress
him as was her wont, she now hurried by to meet her lover, utterly
oblivious of the tiny outstretched paw or head cunningly askew waiting
for its accustomed caress. Poor “Mimi,” like Old Props, was forgotten.

That grizzled veteran knew too well how it would end. As the weeks
grew into months, and the foreign tour was drawing to a close, Old
Props, who watched Patty closer than any mother would her child, saw
with poignant regret how changed the girl had become. Seldom was heard
the old, mellow, ringing laugh that was wont to cheer his seared and
toughened heart, and the former jaunty step and vivacious air had
completely vanished. Yet to her guardian, who ached to receive her
confidence, Patty never vouchsafed a word.

It was at Wagga Wagga, in Australia, noted as the residence of the
once-famous Tichborne claimant, that Patty was taken ill, caused by
over-exertion in the ring, and a doctor who was called imperatively
forbade her proceeding any further. The circus was then on its way to
Sydney from Melbourne, overland, and as the vessel on which the return
journey was to be made was due to sail on a certain day the management
was compelled to leave Patty behind to follow on later. With the circus
went the contemptible wretch who was the cause of her undoing, and when
Old Props, who remained to take care of his darling, told poor Patty of
the fellow’s heartlessness, she gave a great gulp and then hid her face
on the old man’s breast and cried as she had never cried before. Her
whole pitiful story was unfolded in that bitter, heartbroken wail.

Patty was very ill for many weeks, during which time Old Props was her
sole and constant attendant. But the girl never rallied, and when her
baby was born, long after the circus was back in the States, she had
barely strength left to turn her head to gaze at the innocent mite. It
was a poor, weak, sick specimen, that lived for a few days only, and
then its light went quietly out with scarcely a perceptible struggle.
There were no tears in Patty’s eyes when her dead baby was lifted to
her face by the kind sister to receive a farewell kiss, but when Old
Props returned from the sad task of laying the little one away he was
alarmed at the ghastly change in Patty’s pinched, wasted features, and
realized that in a few days at the farthest she would rejoin her babe.

[Illustration: THE DEATH-BED.]

Poor, ignorant little Patty! Surely her sin will not be visited on her
head in the great hereafter, but rather on the one who deliberately
led her to ruin. She lies in the quiet little cemetery adjoining the
English church at Wagga Wagga, in the same grave with her baby, a plain
white stone erected by her heartbroken guardian marking the spot where
she is at rest. As for Old Props, he will never go out with the red
wagon again.

What He Thought.

“Sometimes,” sighed the man who is wedded to a woman with a mind of her
own, “I think my wife must take me for a pneumatic tire, the way she is
blowing me up all the time.”--Boston Transcript.

Thought She Was Safe.

Judge--Your age?

Lady--Thirty years.

Judge (incredulously)--You will have some difficulty in proving that.

Lady (excitedly)--You’ll find hard to prove the contrary, as the church
register which contained the entry of my name was burned in the year

His Tale of Woe.

The little boy was crying and his tears touched the heart of the
charitably inclined lady; he was so small and seemed to be in such

“Don’t cry, little boy,” she said, soothingly. “Dry your eyes and tell
me what the trouble is. Did some of the big boys hurt you?”

“No’m,” replied the waif, still sobbing.

“Are you sick or hungry?” she persisted.


“Did your father beat you for something?”

“No’m, but he will.”

“Oh, that’s the trouble, is it?”


“Well, it’s a shame,” she exclaimed, angrily. “Why will he beat you?”

“’Cause I lost ten cents.”

“Did he send you to buy something with it?”


“And you lost it on the way?”


“Oh, well, I guess we can fix that,” she said in her kindly way, as she
took a dime from her purse and handed it to the boy. “Now he won’t beat
you, will he?”


“What did he send you to buy with it?”


“Beer!” The good lady gasped at the thought.


“And how did you lose it?”

“Matchin’ pennies.”

Before she had sufficiently recovered to demand the return of her dime
the boy was gone.

He Knew the Place.

The man with his coat collar turned up and his hat pulled down over his
eyes, who was slouching alone in the shadow of the buildings, suddenly
beckoned to the man on the other side of the street.

“Here’s a graft, Bill,” he said when the other had crossed over.

“Wot is?” asked Bill, gruffly.

“This here house,” replied the first speaker. “It’s just like finding
things all fixed for you. Some bloomin’ idiot has gone away and left
his latchkey in the door.”

Bill took a long look at the house and then shook his head.

“You kin have it,” he said. “I don’t want nuthin’ to do with the game.”

“Wot’s the matter?”

“The feller wot lives here ain’t to be trusted. He’s a low-down, mean,
tricky cuss. He ain’t got no feelin’s at all.”

“D’ye know him?”

“No; but I was here onct before, an’ I’m onto his game. He left the key
just like that before, an’ I thought it was dead easy. I went up and
tried to turn it, an’ I thought I was bein’ electrocuted sure.”

Johnny’s Apt Illustration.

Teacher (to class in philosophy)--What are the properties of heat,

Willie--The properties of heat are to bake, cook, roast----

Teacher--Stop--next. What are the properties of heat?

Johnny--The properties of heat is that it expands bodies, while cold
contracts them.

Teacher--Very good. Can you give me an example?

Johnny--Yes, sir. In summer, when it is very hot, the day is long; in
winter, when it is cold, it gets to be very short.

Easy Enough.

Tramp--Yes’m, it’s hard to break away from all yer bad habits at once;
but I’ve given up some of ’em.

Lady--Which ones have you given up?

Tramp--Well, mum, I don’t get shaved on Sunday any more.

A Tempting Offer.

We will give either a $2.00 gold ring or a dozen silver spoons to any
person who sells a dollar’s worth of our standard goods. They are
needed in every household and we will send you the outfit when you send
us your name and address. After you have sold the goods, send us the
dollar and receive your gift. This is an honest offer for honest people
only. Address REX COMPANY, 1111 Arch St., PHILADELPHIA, PA.

Superfluous Hair.

Ladies who have superfluous hair will be happy to know that I have a
quick and sure remedy; doesn’t leave the slightest trace, nor injure
the skin. I will send (securely sealed) a $1.00 bottle Free to a few
ladies in each locality. Write to Mrs. J. DE VERE, P. O. Box 494,
Philadelphia, Pa.

       *       *       *       *       *

Transcriber’s Notes:

Punctuation has been made consistent.

Obvious typographical errors have been corrected.

*** End of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "A story of the sawdust, Multum in parvo library, vol. 3, no. 25, January, 1896: The pathetic history of "Old Props'" darling" ***

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