From San Francisco To Japan - At The Exposition
( Originally Published 1915 )
The crowd from the overland train and numerous passengers from the locals were rushing through the passage ways to the ferryboat Oak-land, while the wagon way was lined with vehicles between the two streaming lines of people.
Winfield was ahead, when he heard a shot behind, and turned in time to see Stanwood reel and fall, while the mass around him struggled back and desperately tried to avoid a hatless man who brandished a revolver. In another instant a woman shrieked, and the man with the swinging revolver fired into the air.
There was a confusion of voices, and a stentorian voice cried out: "Seize that man!"
Winfield was terrified, as were all about him, but the sight of Stanwood, and the possibility of that first shot, flashed upon him in an instant. The vehicles stopped at the catastrophe, as the man held that portion of the passage way. With-out stopping to consider the consequences, and possibly spurred by the commanding voice, Win-field leaped forward, and with one spring, was on the back of the man.
His impetus was so great that the momentum carried the man forward so that he fell with his face to the floor, with the boy's arms tightly grasped around the neck, while the forward plunge was sufficient to cause the hand to relax its grasp on the revolver, and it slid forward to the face of Stanwood.
The latter, who had been thrown back, at the time of the first shot, was merely stunned by the impact of his head against one of the stanchions, and was now slowly. rising, when the huge revolver came toward him.
Before he could compose himself for action two men, one of them a guard, sprang forward, and drew Winfield from the man, and then commenced a terrific struggle. It did not require any ex-planation, after seeing the face of the man, to as-sure those about them that he was a maniac.
It required the assistance of several more to overcome him, but he was finally secured and hurried away, while Stanwood, dazed, still held in his hand the dangerous, large-calibre revolver which came into his possession under such peculiar circumstances.
Many of those on board crowded around the boys, to hear the details. Stanwood said:
"I was walking alongside of the man, and before we reached the slip,which goes down to the boat, I noticed that he was looking around wildly. I paid no particular attention to it, though his face had an awfully peculiar look. Suddenly he reached to his side and drew the revolver, and then, in swinging it around he hit me. That was the last I knew until I saw the revolver slide along the floor and saw Winfield on top of him."
"That was a lucky escape, my boy," said one of those in the party. "Ii learned, just before the boat left the slip, that he is an escaped lunatic, and very dangerous."
"I was very much frightened," said Winfield, "because, when I heard the shot, and saw you fall, I thought he must have hit you. That was the reason I jumped on him.'
"That was the only sensible thing to do," responded the man. "In the absence of a weapon he controlled the situation, and it was fortunate that he was thrown from his feet and lost it."
This was the boys' introduction to San Francisco. The reporters interviewed them promptly, and by the next morning they were among the celebrities "visiting the Panama Fair."
As soon as they could disentangle themselves from the admiring crowd, they boarded a trolley and took the first trip along Market Street. Near Van Ness Street they found a suitable room, and, after bargaining for it, sat down to digest a map of the city.
Recalling their former experience in Pittsburg, and the advice which had been given about committing a map to memory, they made a diligent study of the shape of the city, its principal streets, the bay, and its islands, the location of the Golden Gate, the Fair Grounds, and how to reach them. After tiring of this, they sauntered out and soon reached Market Street, ever keeping in mind the various streets which branched out from this great artery.
The day was given up to sight-seeing and the picture shows. "This is the first time we've visited the movies since we left Pittsburg and it is jolly fun after the hard time of the past four weeks," said Stanwood.
"But tomorrow we must look out for business," said Winfield. " We have accumulated a nice little stock of money, and should hold on to that as long as possible."
Stanwood assented to this proposition, and the next morning very early the "ads." were consulted, and before seven o'clock they were out on independent searches for jobs.
Everybody was busy with the exposition which had opened some weeks previously. Numerous places were found, but applicants were far more numerous. Everything pointed to the exposition as the place to get work; at least this was the conclusion which each formed of the situation and after a weary day's tramp they retired with the determination to visit the show next day.
They boarded a car in the morning which had an exposition sign, and within twenty-five minutes were at the entrance, after passing numerous side shows, which offered attractions of various kinds. None of these diverted them, however. They were intent on getting a view of the great interior.
Once within, they saw one point of interest after the other, entirely forgetting, for the time being, the real object of the visit ; but a sign, " Intelligent Boy Wanted Immediately," attracted Winfield's attention, and he read it aloud with a smile, as he tugged at Stanwood's sleeve.,
"That must mean me," he said.
"I wonder what they want an intelligent boy for in such a place as that?" responded Stan-wood as he glanced at the building, and noticed that it contained flaring announcements of "Remarkable Snakes from every Clime," "The Animals of the Universe," "The Wonders from the Panama Jungles," and like inscriptions.
"Maybe they want some one to teach the animals," answered Winfield. "It doesn't seem to be the most inviting job, but I think I'll take it, unless you want it very badly."
Stanwood laughed, as he retorted: "Oh, no; don't mind my feelings. I think I'll try the camels, yonder." And as he said this a keeper, with one of the animals, hove in sight.
"Well, here goes," said Winfield, and darting across the open roadway, accosted the man at the entrance, while Stanwood approached cautiously, so as to avoid the appearance of being an applicant.
"You look like a pretty likely fellow," the man said, as Winfield inquired about the position.
"What kind of work have you to do?" inquired Winfield.
"How are you on the talk?" asked the man. "What do you mean?" queried Winfield.
"Do you think you could make a good `spiel'?" Winfield laughed, as he saw the drift of the inquiry. "Well, I suppose I could do anything if the pay is big enough," he ventured.
The man eyed him keenly for a moment, before replying, and then replied: "I think you are the fellow we want. I rather like that answer. Come inside."
Winfield stepped in, and followed the man between the rows of exhibits, until a little cove was reached, where a small man in a disguise was just about to put the finishing touch on a weird costume, by arranging the curls of a hair-fringed turban.
"I think this young man will suit us," he remarked.
The small individual glanced at the boy, and said: "This is nice clean work; hours reasonable, and pay good. I suppose you have a good education, and a desire to learn. Any one fond of natural history can make a mark in this business."
Winfield edged around, and felt a little uncomfortable, as he responded, somewhat hesitatingly: "But, maybe, I wouldn't suit, andó" he again hesitated, because he almost forgot himself, as he was about to tell the man that the employment could not be for a period exceeding two weeks.
"Are you good on committing things to memory?" he asked.
"Oh, yes," answered Winfield. "I learn things very quickly."
"I thought so. All right then; how would ten dollars a week suit you, and a place to sleep thrown in?" said the man, as rapidly as he could speak the words.
Winfield was taken off his feet, but he had acquired enough self control not to appear unduly agitated, as he answered : "That will be satisfactory to me. When shall I commence?"
"Right now," answered the man; "if that will suit you."
"Yes; I can go ahead now, but T have a friend here, about my own age, and I must tell him," said Winfield.
The latter rushed out, and glanced all around, but Stanwood was nowhere in sight. He walked back and forth, and cast his eyes along the stretches of paths that led from the main walk. Then he reflected that Stanwood would surely come back to the Menagerie, and he returned to inform the man that his friend had temporarily disappeared.
"Does your friend want a jobs" asked Mr. Dion, for that was the name which the doorman had given the owner of the aggregation.
"Yes," he answered.
"Then tell him to go over to Section 42, and see Mr. Gabriel, and tell him I sent him."
Winfield was quick to thank Mr. Dion, and said: "If you will excuse me for a moment I will tell him."
But still Stanwood was nowhere in evidence, and Winfield then inquired for Section 42. An Exposition policeman informed him. "Two streets to the west," he said. "You will find the Oriental display there."
As Winfield trotted along, with his eyes on the watch for the second street, be heard his name called, and glanced about, while he plainly heard Stanwood laughing. A pair of camels, led by a turbaned guard, marched by, and Winfield stopped for a moment.
Stanwood again called him, and finally looking up Winfield saw him percbed on top of the rear camel. He beckoned to Winfield, and the latter followed after the quickly-moving animals, and as they reached the gateway at Section 42, Stanwood slipped down and ran over to Winfield.
"I have a dandy job," lie said. "I am going to have that camel. He's a young one and tame. The other fellows are ugly, but they said I could handle this one. I have a job for you too, if you want it."
"But I have a job too," said Winfield. "I was just coming to tell you that Mr. Gabriel wanted a boy."
"Mr. Gabriel? Why that's the man that has just hired me," said Stanwood.
"Yes, Mr. Dion, over at the snake show told me about it; but what do you think I am going to get?" said Winfield, with a little show of pride.
"Dollar a day?" answered Stanwood.
"Better than that; ten dollars a week, and a place to sleep. How is that?"
Stanwood reflected a while. "Well, I don't know about my place here. I am to have one-fifth of all I collect."
"Collect?" queried Winfield. "Collect on what?"
"Collect on the camel; of course. See that basket up there? Well, I'm going into the caravan business.. That's what the fellow said. I am going to carry passengers, just as they do on the great deserts in Asia and Africa."
"Caravan nothing!" said Winfield. "A camel doesn't make a caravan. But what do you expect to charge?"
"Fifty cents a person, and we carry four. The fellow said the trip would take only a half hour." "But I've got to hurry back," said Winfield. "Hold on; yon haven't told me yet what you are going to do," said Stanwood.
"I haven't time just now, but I'm going to teach people natural history," said Winfield, laughing.
Stanwood saw the humor of the situation, but he was too intent to learn the particulars of Win-field's work, and when the latter informed him that he would have an hour of liberty between one and two o'clock, he agreed to be at the Menagerie at that time to talk over their new enterprises.
Winfield went back as quickly as possible, and found Mr. Dion on an elevated stand, proclaiming the virtues, the merits and the wonders of the great show he represented. He smiled inwardly, as he figured himself in that role, but he had nerve and determination, and, after all, he had a feeling that the position might be a valuable one to him.
One of the assistants, under the advice of Mr. Dion, took Winfield around to the various exhibits, and explained them, in order to give him some idea of the main feature of the show. Then, an hour or so afterwards, when the proprietor was relieved, he took Winfield into the cove, and began the first series of instructions.
He wrote down the lurid descriptions of the snakes and quadrupeds, until quite a formidable story was provided. "Now, my boy, just learn that, and put in the day on it, and see how well you can recite it in the morning. Some of the names may come pretty hard, but they are easy when you once pronounce them right."
To commit to memory was really easy work for Winfield. He was diligent in his task, and would have been ready for a hearing that evening, but wisely waited until the next morning.
At one o'clock Stanwood came over, and after telling the door-keeper his mission, was ushered in, while. Winfield was engaged in the task of committing the speech to memory.
Stanwood could not repress his mirth, as he pictured Winfield in a fanciful costume, and learnedly telling the audience the wonders of the animal creation.
But Winfield was not a bit abashed, and retorted by picturing Stanwood as an Arab towing a stupid camel.
"I had an object in view when I undertook my present job," said Stanwood.
"What was that?"
"Why, we ought to understand camel language, as we may have use for them some day in our travels," replied Stanwood.
It may be said that while he spoke this jestingly, the knowledge he was thus to gain was of the greatest service after they left India, as will be described hereafter.
But this was only the first day of their work. It was all fun for them in the early part of their experience, but the succeeding days were not so jolly.
As Stanwood was leaving, after the hour's stay, Winfield requested him to wait until he consulted Mr. Dion about the sleeping quarters, and he was gratified to learn that there was ample space in the little room for both. This affair having been settled, Stanwood started for the first journey in his new field.
The Arab in charge of the animals, who was his instructor, did not have a very abundant sup-ply of English words and Stanwood had to take a great many things for granted, because it soon became tiresome to ask him to repeat things over and over, so he determined to trust to luck for many of the instructions.
Camels, when once trained, are noted for their intelligence and the promptness with which they execute commands. This is true if they are well-bred animals, for there is just as much difference in camels as in other animals, when it comes to quality.
A good camel is a source of joy to travelers who journey through camel-land, but there is nothing meaner or more vicious than an ill-bred animal. Generally the camels brought to this country are gentle and inoffensive, and it seems that those belonging to the caravan at the fair were well trained.
" 'Oo ma-ke knee-ly down, say ollogooloo," said Nashir, in explaining the language to Stan-wood.
In a few moments he comprehended that that was the word to use if he wanted the animal to kneel. "And if I wanted him to get up, what must I say?" asked Stanwood, and he indicated the act of kneeling for the trainer's better understanding.
"Say Aw-bee, aw-bee, quick like," he answered.
That was all very well, and he was getting along in good shape. The words for starting up, as nearly as could be pronounced, were Rarera, with a special roll to the first r, and to quicken the speed this word must be used, followed by the ejaculation Hu, the latter being pronounced with considerable vehemence.
For fully two hours Stanwood hauled the beast about with the Arabian pronunciations, and some-times the animal would look around in surprise, but on the whole he made a creditable showing for the first trials. There was no attempt to put the animal into service that day, as a carrier of visitors around the grounds, but it was understood that the first trip should be made in the morning.
At six o'clock Stanwood hurried over to the menagerie, in the hope that Winfield would be on the rostrum, but in this he was disappointed. He found the natural history student, in their room, and Mr. Dion was giving him the finishing touches for the next day, when it was planned that Winfield would take the stand at ten o'clock.
When the proprietor left, the boys made their way out, and soon found a satisfactory restaurant, patronized by a motley assortment of human specimens, of all types and peculiarities, so that, al-though the boys were accustomed to seeing al-most every nationality in their home city, they really had to marvel at the varieties to be found in that little place.
There were the fez of the Turk, the cap of the Armenian, the boolah of the Arab, and the silk head covering of the East Indian, which is merely a scarf, quickly wound around the head to form a picturesque covering.
They were interested in the loose and baggy trousers of the Caucasian "fellers," which looked like Zouave uniforms, and in the tall, fur head-gears of the Cossacks, which reminded them of the striking hats worn by the dashing bandmasters on parade.