Marlena met August at a circus show. Marlena was just a teenager when her parents took her to see a circus show. She was intrigued by the glamour of the circus shows and the animals. Marlena did not have a very happy home life--her parents were quite controlling and picked several men to call on Marlena as suitors. When a banker made several visits to the home, Marlena realized that her parents had picked this man to become her husband. Marlena wanted to choose a life of her own, so when her parents took her to the circus, she decided to run away with August and join the circus. He promised her a life of excitement on the travelling circus, so Marlena joined and never went back home.