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Polly of the Circus - Margaret Mayo

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Chapter I

The band of the "Great American Circus" was playing noisily.  The
performance was in full swing.

Beside a shabby trunk in the women's dressing tent sat a young,
wistful-faced girl, chin in hand, unheeding the chatter of the
women about her or the picturesque disarray of the surrounding
objects.  Her eyes had been so long accustomed to the glitter and
tinsel of circus fineries that she saw nothing unusual in a
picture that might have held a painter spellbound.

Circling the inside of the tent and forming a double line down
the centre were partially unpacked trunks belching forth impudent
masses of satins, laces, artificial hair, paper flowers, and
paste jewels.  The scent of moist earth mingled oddly with the
perfumed odours of the garments heaped on the grass.  Here and
there high circles of lights threw a strong, steady glare upon
the half-clad figure of a robust acrobat, or the thin, drooping
shoulders of a less stalwart sister.  Temporary ropes stretched
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