Huck calls the circus he encounters while in Arkansas "the splendidest sight that ever was" in Mark Twain's The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Pulling their raft to shore "well down the state," the King and the Duke decide to put on a show for the people in the little town. Luckily for Huck, a circus is in town, and from his reaction, it appears to be the first one he has ever witnessed. "It was a real bully circus," Huck claims, impressed with the men and women "dressed in clothes that cost millions of dollars" who stood upon the backs of the horses that ran "faster and faster."
Huck seems to be most impressed with a drunken man who "tried to get into the ring--said he wanted to ride; said he could ride as well as anybody that ever was." And, he did, too, to Huck's surprise. What Huck never realizes is that the drunk is actually a member of the circus and that the routine was part of the show. The "drunk" peels off one set of clothing after another--"altogether seventeen suits"--fooling even the ringmaster, who finally realizes it "was one of his own men!" Huck admits to feeling "sheepish enough to be took in so."
... there may be bullier circuses than what that one was, but I never struck them yet. Anyways, it was plenty good enough for me; and wherever I run across it, it can have all of my custom.