It was scarcely a matter of training the monkeys. Rather was it the training of the men who operated the concealed mechanisms that made the monkeys perform. To this Harris Collins was devoting his effort.
"There isn't any reason why you fellows can't make them play a real tune. It's up to you, just according to how you pull the wires. Come on. It's worth going in for. Let's try something you all know. And remember, the regular orchestra will always help you out. Now, what do you all know? Something simple, and something the audience'll know, too?"
He became absorbed in trying out the idea, and even borrowed a circus rider whose act was to play the violin while standing on the back of a galloping horse and to throw somersaults on such precarious platform while still playing the violin. This man he got merely to play simple airs in slow time, so that the assistants could keep the time and the air and pull the wires accordingly.
"Of course, if you make a howling mistake," Collins told them, "that's when you all pull the wires like mad and poke the leader and whirl him around. That always brings down the house. They think he's got a real musical ear and is mad at his orchestra for the discord."
In the midst of the work, Johnny and Michael came along.
"That guy says he wouldn't take him for a gift," Johnny reported to his employer.
"All right, all right, put him back in the kennels," Collins ordered hurriedly.--"Now, you fellows, all ready! 'Home, Sweet Home!' Go to it, Fisher! Now keep the time the rest of you! . . . That's it. With a full orchestra you're making motions like the tune.--Faster, you, Simmons. You drag behind all the time."
And the accident happened. Johnny, instead of immediately obeying the order and taking Michael back to the kennels, lingered in the hope of seeing the orchestra leader whirled chattering around on his stool. The violinist, within a yard of where Michael sat squatted on his haunches, played the notes of "Home, Sweet Home" with loud slow exactitude and emphasis.