Page by Page Books
Read Books Online, for Free
Oldport Days Thomas Wentworth Higginson

Madam Delia's Expectations

Page 2 of 12

Table Of Contents: Oldport Days

Previous Page

Next Page

Previous Chapter

Next Chapter

More Books

More by this Author

It grew warmer, so warm that the canvas walls of the tent seemed to grasp a certain armful of heat and keep it inexorably in; so warm that the out-of-door man was dozing as he leaned against the tent-stake, and only recovered himself at the sound of Madam Delia's penetrating voice, and again began to summon people in, though there was nobody within hearing. It was so warm that Mr. De Marsan, born Bangs, the wedded husband of Madam Delia, dozed as he walked up and down the sidewalk, and had hardly voice enough to testify, as an unconcerned spectator, to the value of the show. Only the unwearied zeal of the showwoman defied alike thermometer and neglect, She kept her eye on everything,--on Old Bill as he fed the monkeys within, on Monsieur Comstock as he hung the trapeze for the performance, on the little girls as they tried to peddle their songs, on the sleepy out-of-door man, and on the people who did not draw near. If she could, she would have played all the parts in her own small company, and would have put the inexhaustible nervous energies of her own New England nature (she was born at Meddibemps, State of Maine) into all. Apart from this potent stimulus, not a soul in the establishment, save little Gerty, possessed any energy whatever. Old Bill had unfortunately never learned total abstinence from the wild animals among which he had passed his life; Monsieur Comstock's brains had chiefly run into his arms and legs; and Mr. De Marsan, the nominal head of the establishment, was a peaceful Pennsylvanian, who was wont to move as slowly as if he were one of those processions that take a certain number of hours to pass a given point. This Madam Delia understood and expected; he was an innocent who was to be fed, clothed, and directed; but his languor was no excuse for the manifest feebleness of the out-of-door man. "That man don't know how to talk no more 'n nothin' at all," said Madam Delia reproachfully, to the large policeman who stood by her. "He never speaks up bold to nobody. Why don't he tell 'em what's inside the tent? I don't want him to say no more 'n the truth, but he might tell that. Tell 'em about Gerty, you nincum! Tell 'em about the snakes. Tell 'em what Comstock is. 'T ain't the real original Comstock" (this to the policeman), "it's only another that used to perform with him in Comstock Brothers. This one can't swaller, so we leave out the knives."

We have hundreds more books for your enjoyment. Read them all!

"Where's t' other?" said the sententious policeman, whose ears were always open for suspicious disappearances.

"Didn't you hear?" cried the incredulous lady. "Scattered! Gone! Went off one day with a box of snakes and two monkeys. Come, now, you must have heard. We had a sight of trouble pay-in' detectives."

"What for a looking fellow was he?" said the policeman.

"Dark complected," was the reply. "Black mustache. He understood his business, I tell you now. Swallered five or six knives to onst, and give good satisfaction to any audience. It was him that brought us Gerty and Anne,--that's the other little girl. I didn't know as they was his children, and didn't know as they was, but one day he said he got 'em from an old woman in New York, and that was all he knew."

Page 2 of 12 Previous Page   Next Page
Who's On Your Reading List?
Read Classic Books Online for Free at
Page by Page Books.TM
Oldport Days
Thomas Wentworth Higginson

Home | More Books | About Us | Copyright 2004