Chapter 12 Summary

Jacob flees to the menagerie to care for the animals. Clive shows up among the men working in the menagerie and tells everyone to stay clear of August, who is in a terrible mood because Uncle Al wants August to put Rosie the elephant in the show’s parade. Otis claims that the elephant will refuse to walk in the parade given her stubborn behavior up to this point. Later, August and Uncle Al show up. Jacob watches from a distance and sees them attempt to line Rosie up in the parade. Afterward, Rosie is put into the hippopotamus wagon and taken into town. The parade returns with a large crowd. In the menagerie, Rosie draws the attention of many spectators. She uses her trunk to entertain the crowd, and Jacob realizes that Rosie is not at all stupid. Uncle Al pulls August aside and tells him that now he wants Rosie in a full act under the big top.

Marlena is called to mount the elephant, and all the performers get ready to make their appearances. August yells into Rosie’s ear, and the elephant runs through the back end of the big top; Marlena lays flat to avoid being clipped by the poles holding up the tent. Once inside, Marlena stands on Rosie’s head and entertains the crowd, and August catches up to them and manages to prod Rosie into circling the ring. At the end of the performance, Rosie runs out of the ring, and Marlena grabs the tent pole to avoid being knocked to the ground. Left swinging, she dismounts, tucking her body in the air, and lands to applause and a shower of coins. But she is hurt and limps from the big top. Jacob rushes to her, and she collapses into him. August and Jacob take Marlena to Barbara’s tent so she can lie down. Marlena’s feet are hurt, and Jacob rushes to get ice from the cookhouse.

Meanwhile, Rosie has escaped the tents and is in a neighbor’s yard, eating cabbage. Jacob and a group of workers are sent to get her, and a worker named Greg finally lures her with a bucket of gin and ginger ale. With Rosie back in the menagerie, Jacob returns to Barbara’s tent, but Marlena has already been moved to her car to wait for the doctor. Outside, Jacob meets August, who claims that he is going to teach Rosie a lesson. Jacob is upset and goes back to his car. Walter says August will likely take out his rage on the elephant. Jacob hates August. Walter goes out and returns to relay the news that Marlena is suffering from bruised heels and will be out of the show for a couple weeks. Walter knows Jacob has romantic feelings for Marlena, and he tosses Jacob an eight-page pornographic comic to comfort him.