Bobby and the Big Road  by Maud Lindsay

The Circus

O NE day it seemed as if everybody who lived in the country was going to town. At the first peep of day, they began to pass the little brown house. Such a rumbling of wagons and clatter of horses' hoofs, and calling of automobile horns Bobby had never heard before.

As soon as he had eaten his breakfast, he hurried out to watch the passers-by. And who do you think were the very first people he spied? The ox-wagon man, and his wife, and Johnny in the ox-wagon, with Towser following.

"Why, Johnny!" Bobby called in surprise. "Where are you going?"

"To see the circus parade," answered Johnny. "There's going to be an elephant, and a band and a drom-e—something. Aren't you going?"

"I don't know," said Bobby; but after Johnny had passed, he ran into the house to ask Mother and Father:

"Are we going to the circus parade? Johnny is going, and the ox-wagon man and his wife. There is going to be an elephant, and a band, and a drom-e—something."

Mother and Father looked at each other.

"How can I finish my apple-jelly that is all ready to be poured up into glasses, if I go to a circus parade?" asked Mother.

"And how shall I finish a picture in time for the morning's mail, as I have promised to do, if I go to a circus parade? And how can Bobby fill the wood-box, as I heard him say he was going to do the first thing this morning, if he goes to a circus parade?" asked Father.

Bobby's face grew very sober as he listened, but Father talked on.

"We can't go off to see circus parades or anything else and leave our work unfinished; but if we begin this very minute and do our very best, perhaps we'll get through in time to go."

So Mother hurried away to the kitchen and washed the jelly glasses and polished them until they shone, and began to strain the jelly, oh, so carefully, into them.

Father sat down at his table to finish the picture. He did not forget a single little turn or line that would make it prettier or better.

Bobby ran to the woodshed for an armful of wood, and then for another and another. He did not stop until the wood-box was filled to the top.

"Hurrah! My work is done," he called.

"Hurrah! My work is done," said Mother as she poured the last drop of jelly into the last jelly glass.

"Hip, hip, hurrah! My work is done," said Father, as he put the last touch to the picture. He wrapped it up all ready for the mail, and then hurried away to harness Greylocks to the buggy.

Everything was quiet on the Big Road when they drove out of their gate, and no travelers were to be seen anywhere.

"Oh, Father, do you suppose we'll be there in time?" asked Bobby when he noticed this.

Father shook the line over Greylocks' back. "If you want to see an elephant, and a band, and a dromedary, Greylocks," he said, "you will have to step lively."

Greylocks pricked up his ears, and hurried down the road as if he understood every word that Father said.

When they were nearly at the little town, they heard a burst of music.

"We are late," said Bobby; but no! they were just on time. Greylocks trotted into the street and the parade came in sight at the very same second.

The band, playing "Dixie," marched ahead. Next came an elephant with a long trunk, and then horses and riders in gay trappings, cages of wild animals, and chariots with drivers in splendid clothes.


Next came an elephant with a long trunk.

Bobby was pleased with everything, but he kept watching for the dromedary. There it was at last. It was a very queer creature with a hump on its back, but Bobby liked the elephant better.

A balloon man was walking about on the sidewalk in the midst of the crowd, selling balloons, and Bobby's father bought him a red one.

Presently they spied Florence in her car with a blue balloon; and on the way home they passed Johnny with a green one.

Bobby waved his hand to Johnny. "I did come," he called, "and oh, Johnny, wasn't the elephant grand?"

Bobby thought Greylocks was just as fine a horse as any that he saw in the circus parade.

"If it hadn't been for Greylocks, we'd have missed everything," he said. "Wouldn't we, Father?"