WITHthe big top in South America, life was in many ways different from circus life in the United States. Most of our journeys were by sea; on land we traveled always in a special train, but our trips were not long. We lived in hotels and pensions, and did not go to the lot until time for the performance. We held one parade in each town, on the opening day; after that, our band usually went out every afternoon in the red and gold band wagon and toured the principal streets. At home we played in all weathers; but on our South American journey, if the weather was bad, we did not show. We gave but two matinées a week, the principal one on Sunday. Our tent was smaller and had but one ring; each act worked alone, for South American audiences are not accustomed to watching more than one act at a time. Our programme was changed every day or so, according to the length of time we spent in a given town. This meant that each performer had to be prepared with two or more acts.
The ring was placed in the centre of the big top, surrounded by a high and wide curbing. Boxes with canvas partitions, seating six persons, encircled the ring. Behind them stood six rows of chairs. The ‘blues,’ the cheaper plank scats, rose against the side wall. In the larger towns we usually showed in a theatre. The theatres were convenient to our purpose, containing, as they did, a circus ring in themselves. It was only necessary to remove the flooring and set up our own ring in its accustomed place. The boxes were often movable and the seats were arranged to circle the ring. The ceilings also were so constructed that aerial acts of any kind could work under them without interfering with the decorations or the lighting system.
We made a congenial company, and thoroughly enjoyed our tour. Our work gave us time for sight-seeing, and we visited all the interesting places we could find. Americans and British came to our show in numbers and arranged many entertainments for us. We were able to learn from them much about the countries through which we passed, and they helped us to see places out of the ordinarily traveled tourist paths. Adventures of all kinds befell us and many times we were in actual danger. We were nearly four years making the tour, and played throughout all South America except Nicaragua and Colombia, which were in the throes of revolution; Paraguay, where financial depression prevailed; and the Guianas, to which lack of time forbade our going.
Our audiences were appreciative and kind. Little children were often sent to us with gifts of flowers, and one tiny Spanish maid gave me her most treasured possession, a doll, because she said that I was a most wonderful being. At first it was hard to get used to the slow, unruffled calmness of the spectators, but gradually we did so and learned truly to like them. The native as a rule thinks slowly, unless he is angry, and it takes him a long time to arrive at a conclusion. We grew impatient many times, especially while we were traveling.
I remember a time when our train came to a stop, apparently for no reason. After a while we walked toward the engine to find out what was the cause of the delay. All the crew were gathered around the engineer holding a conference. We had felt a bump farther back, and presently we learned that the engine had hit a cow. The train went on a short distance and then came to a stop. Nothing apparently was wrong with the engine, but a large mass of some kind had caught beneath it, which the engine seemed unable to surmount. We listened to the argument that raged about the situation, and one of us finally suggested crawling under the engine to see what the obstruction might be. None of the crew would go — they had not decided which one of them should do so. We might have spent the rest of the day there waiting for them to reach a decision, but one of our men got under the engine and when he came out we had to laugh at his disgusted expression. The great mass was a piece of the cow.
On the way to San José, Costa Rica, we were delayed by a landslide. We waited three days for a temporary track to be laid and then walked forward as far as we could and watched the operation. As fast as the track could be set another landslide wrecked it. We waited three days more, and decided to take a chance the next time the slide came to a temporary halt. We had the railroad crew lay the track, and then had an engine push us over, with another engine on the other side to pick us up. It was a hurry-up job and the crew did not want to attempt it, but we won our way.
Of course the train had to stand on the temporary track, not at all a secure resting place, until the other engine could be coupled on. The ground shook and the railroad men wailed that we should all be killed. And it is true that we heaved a sigh of relief when the second engine drew us off and we left the hillside to its quaking.
The railroad in Ecuador is a rough one; switchbacks are numerous and loose rock pelts the train from all sides. I sat looking pensively out of the window on one of our journeys there and saw a huge rock take the car step away right before my gaze.
Our most exciting experience on a railroad occurred in the southern part of Brazil. We were on our way to Santa Maria. At noon, with about five hours of our journey left, a strike went into effect. We did not know what all the agitation was about when the train stopped and the crew refused to take us any farther. After an argument, they consented to go on, and we arrived in the town where we were to play about dusk. At the station we were met by a howling mob, armed with guns, knives, and clubs. It was not quite the reception we expected. The leaders of the strike came and rescued us, and we were allowed to go to hotels and next day to put up the big top. But we had to wait for permission to open.
The train crew that brought us into the town had to answer for operating the train after the time announced for all traffic to stop. We had unwittingly become a bone of contention, and feeling against us ran high. The strikers took the attitude that if we were friendly to them we should have stayed out in the jungle until the strike was decided. A meeting, to be attended by everyone interested, was to take place in the plaza in the heart of the town. We put up the show and gave our parade and hoped to open that night. The town was filled with the strikers, some three thousand of them. Our boss was not a little worried at their anything but friendly attitude.
The meeting started late in the afternoon and was still in progress when we made ready for the show at night. There we were in the tents ready to give the show, and two blocks away in the plaza an embittered mob that might suddenly be filled with an appetite for destruction! We heard the sound of their excited voices as the meeting broke up.
They started as one man for the circus tents!
With our band playing, we stood waiting behind our canvas walls. There was a rush of many feet, and the mob had surrounded us. In our dressingroom tent, we tried to guess what the shouting might mean. We could not make out a single word. Then the leaders of the strike appeared at the door with a score or more friends and raised the shout: ‘Viva el circo!’
Our hearts went back to their proper places and we showed to an enthusiastic audience in a packed tent. One of the railroad officials had turned the tide for us by a most eloquent and earnest plea for mercy. Faced with the possible injury and destruction of the property of so many innocent Americans, he put aside all thoughts of the company’s part in the dispute, and pleaded solely for us.
After we had played seven days, the strike was still unsettled, and we left under armed guard for our next town. The morning our train pulled out, track walkers twice removed dynamite from the tracks as we were slowly moving away. The strikers resented the presence of the soldiers, who had been sent by the government at the request of the railroad officials to escort our train. Once or twice the train put on speed to escape bands of strikers along the road, as our boss did not want the guard to fire on them and they looked as if they meant us no good. Some months later we learned that the official who had so eloquently pleaded for us had been shot and killed in his private car by an employee whom he had suspended pending an investigation of some affair.
We were generally guarded by police armed with swords, guns, and knives. I do not suppose that we faced actual danger, but we did face unbounded curiosity. In Guayaquil, Ecuador, the fire department had to turn the hose on the crowd. They could not buy tickets fast enough, and were so afraid that they would not get into the tent that they stormed the ticket box.
Many of them did not want to see the show, but they did want to see us. A special squad of police had to be sent to guard the dressing room. Some of the Peeping Toms had slashed the side wall and we had mended it as best we could. The picked squad of police peeked through the slashes. Our boss sent for the comandante of police and he came with a new capitán for the chosen troop.
The new capitan was a short, important official, very conscious of the honor done him. The comandante ordered him to station his men every three feet around the tent. He did so. Then he took his huge sword and slashed a six-foot gash in the side wall, stuck in his head and shoulders, and announced that not only would he guard the outside, but he would look in often to see that we were not molested. So we draped kimonos around ourselves and dressed beneath them as best we could.
Our lot on one occasion happened to be not far from the fringe of the tropical jungle. We were packing up after the last performance when an excited and frightened Indian boy from the side show ran to the dressing room and told us that a large snake had just got away and the boss wanted us all to help recapture it before it got to the jungle.
I had not been in the side show and had no idea of the size of the snake, but I ran with the rest to help if I could. I started toward the nearest, lantern, which was being held by an Indian boy. He stood near a fence and beneath it I saw something wriggling. I made a grab and found out that it was the snake. I called to the boy to run for help and made a try at catching the tail of the creature, which was fast disappearing under the rail. The Indian boy dropped the lantern and fled, and I got hold of the tail. For several minutes I had a lot of snake on my hands. I could not let go. The reptile seemed a mile long; I kept pulling it through the fence and shouting for help. Those were frenzied moments, but they came to an end finally with the head of the wriggling thing held by one of my hands against the muddy ground, the tail by the other, and the rest of me sitting on its middle. At last I was able to look up.
Most of the show had arrived and were offering all kinds of advice. I caught sight of the owner and called out: —
‘Here, come and get your varmint! If anything else decides to leave the showr I shall not try to stop it. I might have been dragged into the jungle. This thing is a mile long.’
He laughed and assured me that it was only a fourteen-foot python; I never verified it. By the time that both of us had been dug from the mud I had made up my mind that I would be careful about pursuing escaped snakes in the future.
In Quito, Ecuador, we had abundant opportunity to acquaint ourselves with the Indians. The place is full of them. We had to take down the ‘blues,’ as they would only sit on the ground. On one of their innumerable feast or gala days we met a group of some fifteen or twenty with huge, terrifying headdresses and queer masks and costumes. They were at the foot of a hill we had to climb to reach the lot. Some of them were dancing, but when we came in view they muttered among themselves and stood still. I had heard that they considered it bad luck to meet a foreigner during their ceremonial dances.
They stood in a half-circle looking at us, and somehow the tales we had heard of head-hunters in that country rose uneasily in our minds. The street was not well lighted, and we felt very much unprotected, eight or ten of us amid the score of Indians. Suddenly one of them let out a wild yell and applied a torch to the long, mysterious wands they all carried. The rest of them followed suit, and we raced up the hill as if a host of devils were after us. Glowing sparks, balls, and other fiery missiles came showering down about us, for it seemed that the Indians were supplied with Roman candles, skyrockets, and other fireworks. It was not, after all, an unfriendly attack. But being bombarded with fireworks in the dark at the foot of a steep hi!l by Indians of uncertain temper gave us an excuse to be a little startled.
In a town in the rugged little country of Uruguay we found the whole populace aroused by an incident that had occurred just before our arrival. Until the affair should be decided, business was at a standstill.
Early in the morning, an emaciated Indian, weary and ill, was found at the outskirts of the town with the mutilated body of his Indian wife. When he was able to tell what had happened to him he said that in the company of his wife and another Indian he had come down from the hills to trade with the townspeople. A severe storm arose; they lost their way, and wandered into a barren and desolate stretch of country. His male companion died; the surviving Indian and his wife were sick, weak, and hungry. Their only food was the scant green things growing among the rocks. By the time the storm had passed and he had found the road, she was very weak and ill. He carried her for miles and sat beside her at last, watching her die. Then he patiently took up her body and started on toward the town; he would not leave her. But he was a primitive Indian; he was hungry and weak and needed food, and when the craving for it became too strong he cut flesh from her body and ate it.
A storm of criticism and discussion arose when the incident became known. The police, after an investigation, decided that the Indian had done the best he knew how to do, and that he had a right to preserve his own life. To us it seemed that he differed greatly from the rest of the natives, for a peon has a horror of a dead body. Once we saw a woman apparently drop dead on her doorstep, and the passing crowd fled in terror. When one of us wanted to go to her aid, they would not allow him to do so. We did go to a drug store and have a doctor summoned, who pronounced her dead.
The native Indian seems to suffer from many fears. Once I became quite ill of a fever, and at night I wakened after a feverish doze and wanted some medicine. None of the hotel help would come near me and I started down the street for the drug store alone. On the way back I had to pass a dark, deserted lot. I heard voices and could see men — not very nice-looking men, either. I grew too weak to walk; there was nothing to cling to, and I could not ask those rough-looking men for aid, so when I could no longer walk I crawled. I heard them muttering and saw some of them cross themselves, and they went away. There were buildings at the end of the vacant lot and I could walk the rest of the way holding myself against the wall. Our boss told me that I was safe because I was on my knees; the Indians will not touch a kneeling woman.
Showing in the Andes was both exciting and picturesque. One night a cloud floated along and enveloped the dressing room and we had to feel our way through it into the big top to work. Quito, Ecuador, right on the equator, is cold and snowy and a place of lovely, rugged scenery. Cotopaxi, highest active volcano in the world, looms a solid white peak among a forest of others.
Its black rim and the red fire shooting from the crater are awesome. On the way across the Andes, from Chile to Argentina, we saw the beautiful statue of the Christ of the Andes.
Only one month in the year is it possible to show in a tent in Bolivia, on account of the extreme cold and snow. When we arrived in our first town in that country, Oruro, we were greeted by the cheerful news that people died there suddenly from the effects of the rarefied air. An opera troupe just closing its engagement had buried some of its number. A business man arrived from the United States the night before we came and was found dead in bed the next morning. And we were supposed to do acrobatic and gymnastic stunts!
The snow came down on the big top so heavily that it broke one of the centre poles. But none of us noticed any difficulty in working, except a back-bending contortionist who contorted and could not straighten again. We took him out of the ring into the dressing room and unkinked him, and he did not try to twist himself so severely for a while.
If our acrobats did not find the atmosphere of Bolivia unpropitious, it seemed as though other members of the circus did. A beautiful white horse that belonged to the bareback riders died in La Paz of indigestion. One of our clowns lost his mind. He did not become violent, but suffered from delusions, principally the conviction that people were putting knock-out drops in his coffee. He had to sit alone in restaurants after two quarrels with show people who ate within reach of his coffee. Moreover, our boxing kangaroo curled up and died one day without any explanation.
In La Paz, natives who had a grudge against North Americans showered the parade with rocks. The horse I rode, when one of them hit his flank, developed a speed I never knew he possessed. Once a street car nudged him, very gently; he ran away, and it took two hours and a squad of police to get us back to the lot after he stopped.
The Indian women wear funny little round hats with brims, and petticoat after petticoat, reaching down to the ground. They cook strange little cakes in the markets, not distasteful except for the smoky flavor, for they are cooked over llama chips. The llamas are funny-looking creatures, with thick woolly hides, backs like goats, long necks like camels, and a terrible disposition. They kick and bite without excuse. Without them the natives could not live. Their wool is marketed, they bear burdens over rocks and hills where no horse could travel, and their chips furnish fuel. It is forbidden by law to export them.
All the way down the west coast we were disturbed by earthquakes. We grew so accustomed to them that we could distinguish their characteristics; we could almost tell how severe they were likely to prove by the particular kind of shaking they gave us. The common variety seems to shake with a sidewise motion; but those that cavort up and down are the kind that demolish cities. A matinée in Lima, Peru, was almost disorganized by an earthquake accompanied by subterranean rumbling. In Antofagasta, Chile, we were greeted by an earthquake followed by a tidal wave that damaged shipping and the waterfront. It occurred at about four in the morning and ruined a night’s sleep. Although it lasted only three minutes, it seemed as though the ground trembled for an hour.
In the history of every country are landmarks, hallowed often as places of sacrifice. The great granite rock, El Morro, rises in the air out of the rocky coast line, a veritable monument to the dead. One can picture the general who tied his coat across the eyes of his horse and rode it over the cliff to destruction in the scattered rocks at its base, washed by the sea. El Morro stands at the entrance to the harbor of Arica. Inland, and across a desert which took two hours to traverse by train, is Tacna. Bounded on the north by hills and on the south by a desert, Tacna obviously cannot exist apart from Arica, the seaport.
We were granted permission to play in the two famous disputed provinces, subject to certain restrictions and military orders. We lived in specified hotels and the way to the lot was always marked by soldiers. We were forbidden to pass beyond the business section of Tacna at any time. One morning, rising early to watch the sunrise, we saw troops, weary and dust-covered, marching into their barracks. Nearly all the audience was composed of soldiers; the town contains little else.
At Iquique, Chile, steamers cannot approach the shore because of the rocks and reefs, and in landing I found a fresh thrill to add to my growing collection. Some five of us in a small boat were being rowed from the ship to the mainland. A little more than halfway to the shore the boatmen stopped rowing and rested on their oars. The waves were high, and it seemed a decidedly unfavorable place to linger.
‘Why do you stop here?’ I asked.
‘Beneath us is a reef,’ said one of the oarsmen. ‘Right there,’ pointing ahead a few feet, ‘is a large arm of it. It is necessary to wait here for a wave to take us over — much water.’
I was so astonished that I just looked at him. Then along came ‘much water’ and over the reef we went. I secretly wondered if the boats could always depend on large and obliging waves just when they needed to reach shore.
In the United States, danger was an ever-constant presence; but in South America we seemed to skate continually on the thin edge of destruction. By the time we had reached São Paulo, Brazil, we had passed through nearly every experience possible for human beings to endure and still exist. Two of our number had died — one in Ecuador of yellow fever and one in Southern Brazil of heart disease. The rest of us will probably live to a ripe old age.
São Paulo, Brazil, is in the heart of the coffee country and one of the loveliest cities we saw in our whole journey. We had been playing there some six weeks when influenza broke out. The natives in the congested part of the town died like flies. All day long processions carrying the dead to the cemeteries filled the streets. The very poor died so rapidly and in such numbers that it was not possible to bury them that way. Yet in the heat of the tropics the dead must be cared for at once, especially during an epidemic. They went to the incinerator.
The foreign women established relief stations throughout the poor districts and did what they could to relieve the sufferers. The North American women established a soup kitchen and distributed soup, milk, and groceries among them. Many wealthy families donated the supplies. North American business men gave some of their time each day assisting, and the women in relays kept the kitchen running all through the epidemic. The government closed every place where the public could gather, and we lost fortytwo possible show days. I worked in the soup kitchen, and many of us helped the doctors, too. At night the death cart creaked along the quiet streets picking up the dead of the very poor and taking them to the incinerator. Many of the street lights were extinguished; there was no one to care for them. The shadows of the doorways held bodies waiting for the cart.
We were tired at the close of the day, weary of the despair in the pinched faces we saw. We had no way of knowing when the show would reopen. Everything was at a standstill. We tried to find things to cheer us up, things to laugh at. The only incident I recall that brought a smile to my lips is this.
One night, after the closing of the kitchen, some of the women, I myself among them, were being taken home in a car belonging to one of the doctors. The doctor stopped his car close to where I lived to let someone out, and I said that I would also leave the car there, as I had only a short half-block to go. Just then the death cart passed the car and stopped in the middle of the block. We all watched the driver and his helper as they picked up a couple of bodies lying on the sidewalk. The cart was nearly full and the last body they picked up completed the load. It was the body of a Negro woman perhaps thirty years of age, and naked. It lay on the top of the load as the cart slowly moved away. Under the street light at the intersection the driver and his helper suddenly leaped from the cart, shouting. They ran up the street and out of sight. Then the last body, that of the Negro woman, rose and sat up. We could plainly see the whites of her eyes as she rolled them from side to side. She looked at the bodies on which she was lying and let out a healthy shriek; then she leaped from the cart, looking like anything at all except a corpse, and an instant later fled by, going at a clip that did credit to her fright. Her eyes bulged almost from their sockets and her arms were outstretched. She screamed until her breath gave out and she vanished in the shadows far down the street.
The overstrained nerves of us all found a vent in hearty laughter.
I worked every day until the kitchen closed and never had a sign of the disease, although I was exposed to it all the time. As a matter of fact, not a single member of the circus troupe came down with it.
Gradually the epidemic diminished, and we took the train for Rio de Janeiro. Business was normal in the city and we were glad of it. We practised daily and soon were ready to open. In a month we had forgotten the horrors of the flu, and life found its accustomed pace again.
After the epidemic in Brazil, we thought that we had encountered every odd and perilous experience that the southern continent had to offer. But we found that we were mistaken. The crowning episode of all remained to complete the tour.
Of course we knew why, from the Isthmus to the Cape and back again, the store fronts are protected by steel curtains, well oiled. They shed bullets. In the province of Pernambuco we ran right into a revolution in full swing. Not a little spluttering revolution, but a very active and genuine one.
We had played in a theatre for two days to very good business in a sleepy town on the seacoast. It was a hot day, and a number of us were watching the band as they climbed into the red and gold band wagon for the late afternoon parade. The driver started the team, the band struck up a lively march, and the parade swung off. As the wagon reached the first intersection, we heard the sound of running feet and a scattered volley of shots. We saw the driver bend low and whip up the team and the band boys get under their seats. All but the drummer, who climbed inside the bass drum. Around the corner they raced and back to the stable beside the theatre.
Then we could see nothing more, and the deserted street was still. People who a few moments before had been going in and out of the stores had vanished completely. The steel curtains of the store fronts came down with a bang like the report of a cannon and presented a solid front of metal. Silence everywhere.
Through the suddenly quiet street we went to our hotels. We even took dinner without any interruption. We thought that perhaps the trouble would not amount to much, and at our usual time we gathered to make ready for the show that night. Nevertheless only one or two of the cafés were open, and these welcomed their patrons through small doors in the steel curtains protecting the entrances. In the foyer of the theatre was a cigar store. A steel curtain was drawn also over the theatre entrance, and here too admission was only by a small door in the sheet of metal. Quite a few people had gathered at the ticket booth inside the cigar store. A few cars drew up to the curb and a crowd began to enter through the small door. Several people stood on the sidewalk, talking. Without any warning, a party of revolutionists swept around the corner on foot, their first appearance since the scattered volley of the afternoon. They opened fire on the crowd in front of the theatre. There was a rush for the small door; some of that crowd never reached it, but lay still on the walk. Some got into their cars and sped away. Those who could entered the foyer, and the door was closed tightly after them. The shooting persisted steadily for a while up and down the street, but in about an hour it died away. Some scattered shots were audible in the outskirts of the town.
I lived a block from the theatre and I wanted to go to the hotel, as it was decided that we should not attempt to give a performance. Many of our number, who had put up at a distance, decided not to risk attempting to reach their hotels. They made temporary beds in the dressing rooms and prepared to spend the night there. I started out with several others for the hotel on the next corner. The old stage doorman assured us that we should not be harmed because we were foreigners, but he cautioned us not to run. He said that if we ran we might be fired on, for then the revolutionists could not see that we were not natives.
With this advice ringing in our ears, we set out. The street was lined with trees and not well lighted. We had gone about half the distance when a man behind one of the trees fired as we passed it at someone in the shadows across the way. I forgot all about not running, and made the rest of the distance in zero flat. I did not stop until I was safely inside the hotel.
All entrances were being barricaded, and the proprietor told us that most of the garrison had joined the revolutionists. The revolt was against the governor, who took his loyal troops to the palace; the barracks and the town were in the hands of the rebels. A woman, against all warning, tried to cross the tiny park in front of the hotel, stopped a couple of bullets, and lay still. We made up our minds to stay inside.
Under the roof we found a lookout post which the proprietor used, and from that point of vantage we watched the streets below. He pointed out the palace to us, and it was from there that the steady sound of firing came. When the tone of the firing changed he said that it was because the governor had given his men steel-nosed bullets; they can penetrate an adobe wall. None of us slept that night. About two in the morning we heard the bursting of shells from a gunboat that had been rushed to the scene. We were not over four blocks from the barracks, and the gunners were trying to find its range. The shells fell near, some of them too near for comfort, but none close enough to work us harm.
Through the dawn of the third morning, when provisions were running low in the hotel, we heard the tramp of marching feet. We rushed to the lookout and waited for the newest development. We heard the proprietor give a cry of joy. Across the street in front of the little park he pointed, and we saw files of little brown soldiers, eyes on the ground, covered with gray dust, and weary. So dusty were they that I thought they were rebels, for they carried no flag. They looked like toy soldiers from our perch under the eaves — little brown toys, gray with dust. With their coming the governor ordered the people to resume business, and some obeyed. The days were tranquil enough, but the nights were still noisy with shooting. After a day or two, we reopened the circus, but business was indifferent and we soon arranged to take up our disorganized route.
But the whole northern part of Brazil seemed in imminent danger of rising in revolt, and we thought that the time had come to return to the United States.
It was one thing to reach a decision, but quite another to be on our way. However our route was mapped out, its path lay through cities and towns that had joined the revolt. We appealed to the government. The officials were only too glad to get us out of the country and made all haste to ask an ocean liner to put into a port town for us. We faced an all-day journey to reach the appointed port. In automobiles we were carried to the railroad station — past the death cart and its gruesome burden again, past bodies lying in the gutters, past soldiers standing guard. Our driver tried to set a record for speed. We protested. He told us that we were fortunate to find a driver at all. We were, yet it was hard to determine the greater danger — the stray bullets or the lurching car. Even the station had a room full of dead awaiting their trip to the incinerator.
On the train at last, we were guarded again by troops — grim ones this time, with rifles ready for action. All day we rolled through sacked towns, groups of penniless and wandering peons, bands of marauders, and marching rebels. The firing, sometimes distant, sometimes close — our ears were full of it, our heads rang with it. It seemed years since we had stood ready for the show behind the big top, in peace and quiet.
Toward the end of our journey, in the cool of the early evening, we sighted the little port town. How welcome was our first glimpse of the liner lying at her dock with the British flag at her masthead! She looked so large and graceful and strong! On the high seas we relaxed. The sound of the incessant firing died in the distance; the scuff of marching feet and the racket of shells grew still. We rested happily and compared experiences with each other to the amusement of the ship’s crew. The liner was to touch at Para, Brazil, to take on a cargo of nuts. There we played in the large theatre while the ship was loading. Then we started for the North.