Confederates passed through the crowd laden with bottles of medicine for sale, while he cried up its vitalizing force, efficacious effluvium, and low, low price.
"All sold out, Doctor!"
"Bless you, my friends!"
The little troupe disbanded within a few months, and Brinkley never sang or danced for the rest of his career. Though he learned some important lessons, which he would later apply on the world stage, he was a faux scientist of the twentieth century, not a clown of the nineteenth. Working for Dr. Burke, his next step, at least put him in the right coat. But like his early role model, Abraham Lincoln, his ambition was a little engine that knew no rest, and in 1908 Brinkley moved on again, heading north this time toward the big city.
Excerpted from Charlatan by Pope Brock Copyright © 2008 by Pope Brock. Excerpted by permission of Crown, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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