Zip, The ‘What Is It?’ Plays Host
to All The Other Circus Freaks
The Armless Wonder Shows How Useful Are Feet, and Sword
Swallower Samples the Knives.
It's seldom that an ordinary person dines with an armless woman,
a sword swallower, a snake enchantress, a German giantess, a
tattooed man, and Indian chief, a living skeleton, a 600-pound
woman, two Lilliputians, a Somali warrior and the only "What Is
It?" in captivity.
Perhaps it's the infrequency of such meals that makes a guest
shudder when the snake charmer's nine-foot python sticks his
nose two or three feet out of the punch bowl he's nestling in
and tickles the guest behind the ear. It couldn't be one
cocktail and a stein of beer.
One naturally expects to see the sword-swallowing lady eat a
knife or a fork occasionally, so one is not surprised when she
does. But one does blink a bit when the armless wonder reaches
for the butter with her jeweled foot, or when the "littlest
full-grown woman in the world" (weight, 25 pounds) steps from
her high chair onto the table, picks of her skirts, hops over a
piece of celery and grabs a salt cellar that she has had her eye
Nor would all these things have been seen yesterday afternoon in
the Jungle Room of Healy's restaurant, Sixty-sixth street and
Columbus avenue, if Dexter Fellowes, press agent for Barnum &
Bailey's Greatest Show on Earth, now at Madison Square Garden,
hadn't decided that it was about time for Zip, Barnum's original
"What Is It?" to have a birthday party.
All the Freaks Were There.
In deciding that it was Zip's sixty-fifth birthday, Mr. Fellowes
didn't worry Zip a bit. Zip had just as soon be sixty-five as
any other age. And if he isn't, or wasn't, he probably will be
-- as was pointed out by Eddie Masher, the living skeleton,
whose advertised weight is thirty pounds.
Anyhow, Zip gave the party, and everybody got there -- even if
Cherry Davis, the fat woman, did break down a taxicab in front
of the Garden, and Fraulein Brunhilde, the giantess, did show
her temperament when the problem of transportation arose and a
heartless man suggested that she be taken to Healy's in a
giraffe cage -- which, as every one knows, has neck-holes in its
roof. But the trip from Madison Square Garden was made in a
When Mme. Maxine, the snake charmer, arrived at Healy's she said
to the coatroom boy:
"Would you mind checking my boa?"
"Oh, no, madame," the boy replied, reaching for it.
From what the particular boy did right after he touched the live
boa, it might be deduced that a good way to stop the hat boy
nuisance would be for every diner-out to wear a nine-foot python
around his or her neck.
And Everybody Tangoed.
After a boy had helped the living skeleton and a dozen porters
had helped the fat woman upstairs, and everybody, except Running
Jump, the Indian chief, had a cocktail, the dinner started.
Running Jump had two cocktails.
After that Running Jump had beer. Later he had more beer.
Finally he did a war dance. But that was after the giantess and
Midget Barnett had tangoed, and the living skeleton and the fat
woman had tangoed, and Mme. Maxine and Running Jump had tangoed,
and Senorita Marie, the armless woman, and Djamah Ali, the
Somali chief, had tangoed together too.
It was during this dancing that one learned how to keep cool,
though exercising. The object lesson was Andrew Sturtz, the
tattooed man. He had on a pair of trousers and a collar and tie.
For the rest he wore his tattoos.
After Maude Clifford, the sword swallower, had gobbled a couple
of forks and a knife, a reporter for The World asked her about
this diet. She said:
"I swallowed my first sword when sixteen. I was thin then. I am
well rounded now. I believe it makes me plump."
It might be mentioned that Princess Wee Wee, the littlest woman,
sipped her cocktail and drank her beer like everybody else.
Of course, Zip made several speeches. He said, in full:
"Hunh -- hum -- hah!"
Or something to that effect.