CIRCUS MEMOIRS
 Old Time Circus Men - 2

 

I wish to mention here our experience in shipping stock. On leaving San Francisco we had very strong iron-bound boxes built for our horses, strong enough to lower into the hold of the vessel, and each horse was kept in his box until we arrived in Australia. Afterward, instead of carrying these large separate boxes, we built stalls on board the vessel; later we only lashed poles between them, and finally, coming from Buenos Ayres to New York, we only covered the ballast in the hold with dirt and turned the stock loose down there, just the same as if they were in pasture, and they all came out without a scratch.


One day when we were sailing along quietly, every one taking his ease, a darkey came running up from the hold saying: "Master, is it all right; those varmints running loose down there?" They couldn't understand what he meant, but come to find out, one of the tigers had gotten out. The darkey had turned pretty nearly white, he was so frightened. After landing in America, James Reiley, the printer in New York, since dead, offered to sell Bailey what was then called the "Howe's London Show", but an agreement was made whereby they consolidated that show with the few wagons, horses and traps that we had left from our South American season, and they started out upon a very successful season. I did not go with them that season. Friends of Bailey saw an opportunity for a greater consolidation, and they consolidated Barnum's shows with these shows, which venture proved a great success. Fortunately, an event occurred that only happens once in a lifetime - the birth of a baby elephant, which was a great feature. Previous to this, Bailey had told me that if he ever got hold of Barnum's name there would never be a tent made large enough to hold the people, and when he did his words were made true.


He was the most untiring man I ever knew, and as honest as the day was long. I often thought he would retire, and his health at one time did compel him to do so for one season, but he became restless and soon decided to go back into the business again. He often told me he would never try to retire again, but would die in the harness, which he did at too early an age.


I cannot make a better comparison than to say that anything Bailey put out in the way of wardrobes was of silks and satins, while other men used turkey red and calico. He engaged the best men that the country offered at the heads of every department. He bought Jumbo, and while Jumbo was a great elephant and a great card, he was made so by accident, which shows how some men are fortunate. It was only the excitement worked up in England when they were taking him from the country which made him such a famous animal. After they brought him to this country Bailey, of course, took advantage of the incident and made the most of it. It is a pity that such a man died so young. He had just finished a beautiful home, on forty acres, at Mount Vernon, New York, and had everything the heart could desire.


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