HANDY CIRCUS FAMILY - HANDY CIRCUS TROUPE

Discussion in 'SUSAN LYNNE SCHWENGER, Past, Present, Future & NOW' started by Susan Lynne Schwenger, Nov 18, 2014.

  1. Susan Lynne Schwenger

    Susan Lynne Schwenger The Final Synthesis - isbn 978-0-9939480-0-8 Staff Member

    Messages:
    6,210
    "The Rise of the American Circus, 1716-1899"
    To both young and old, the circus remains an icon of American entertainment,
    a wholesome pastime untouched by the passing years.


    But the modern circus, with its three rings, ringmaster, animals, and acrobats,
    is the product of nearly three hundred years of evolution.


    This intriguing work chronicles the history of the American circus from its roots in England
    through its importation to America to the end of the nineteenth century.


    It introduces the early pioneers of the circus, addresses business concerns such as management
    and training, and discusses the development of the show itself, including the incorporation of menageries, the need for animal training and care, the addition of circus music, the use of the tent, and the unique attractions of side shows and "freaks." Personal stories of those who made their lives under the "big top" are woven throughout the narrative, adding an intimate perspective to one of America;s most enduring entertainments."


    "The Rise of the American Circus, 1716-1899"

    $_57.JPG

    TO ORDER THE BOOK:

    http://www.amazon.com/The-Rise-Amer...nkId=EPRMVRZYAV5WAXDI&creativeASIN=0786461594


    http://books.google.ca/books?id=VoyOa5mIlI8C&pg=PA45&lpg=PA45&dq=circus 1700's handy&source=bl&ots=dBi1XFtmnA&sig=3L60OQkfInbuQ-3tF84K-1EkkD0&hl=en&sa=X&ei=O7trVPLRFYmBygSUrILgAQ&ved=0CCAQ6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q=handy&f=false
     
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2014
  2. Susan Lynne Schwenger

    Susan Lynne Schwenger The Final Synthesis - isbn 978-0-9939480-0-8 Staff Member

    Messages:
    6,210
    THE MAGiC of THE CiRCUS - BENJAMIN HANDY

    - THE GREATEST HORSEMAN in THE WORLD

    - CATAWBA Indians

    - Chief Neil Huntley, Daughter Mary Huntley Grant


    (Widow of Grant)

    Benjamin Handy was baptized in St Mary, Hampton, Middlesex (just west of London) on 4 July 1766 to Anthony and Jane Handy;
    the earliest traces of him after that is in the 1780s as an ostler in Hughes equestrian company based in London.
    A later account of his circus work describes his early occupation as ostler.
    The same source suggests that in the late 1780s he opened a riding school in Bath.
    Certainly, his work with trick riding became his main pursuit in the early 1790s,
    and he was involved in circuses both as performer and owner throughout the 1790s.
    His first ventures as owner were in Bristol, and then at the Lyceum in London from 1794 on,
    where for some time at least his partner was the famous Philip Astley,
    who was the most significant figure in the early development of the circus in England
    (he had also begun as a horse-trainer).
    It seems from one play-bill that the circus performed as part of the celebration of the marriage of the Prince of Wales in April 1795.
    In the remaining years of the decade Handy's circuses were also to perform in Manchester, Bristol, Dublin and Liverpool.
    Handy's first wife, who performed with Handy in the late 1780s under the name “Signora Riccardini”, died in 1789.
    Also of great renown was their daughter Mary Ann (born ca. 1784), who performed from about the age of five under the stage name “The Child of Promise”,
    first in equestrian stunts, and then as a tight-rope dancer.
    Her name is prominent on most of the surviving Handy circus bills of the 1790s.
    However, she drowned in 1797 with other members of Handy's troupe traveling from Liverpool to Dublin on the ship Viceroy.


    Benjamin's second wife, Mary Huntley (Grant), The widow of Grant, Daughter of Chief Neil Huntley of The Catawba Tribe,
    seems also to have been an equestrian performer.1212
    We know her name as Mary Huntley from the baptism record of Jane Elizabeth Mary Anne Handy in 1799, daughter of Benjamin Handy & Mary Huntley.
    A number of broadsheets from the 1790s (including a Apr. 20, 1795 one)
    describing performance by Handy's circus at the Lyceum list a “Miss Huntley” among the principal performers.
    Mary and Benjamin lived as husband and wife from the mid-1790s,
    but were not legally married until 1818;
    he writes in his will that she “for several years previously to our marriage [she] lived and cohabited with me by and under the name of Mary Handy”;
    all the named children in the will are described as “natural” (that is, illegitimate).
    Given that her name in the will (and in the marriage record of 1818) is given as “Mary Grant”,
    information that she may have married one Francis Grant on 17 January 1788, at Saint Martin's Church, Birmingham,Warwick, England is NOT correct
    . On 7 June 1818, Benjamin and Mary were finally wed; she died in Feb. 1857
    .

    Benjamin Handy married Mary Huntley (Grant) in 1818.
    (in the marriage records - she is recorded as 'savage' )


    Children of Benjamin Handy - and, Mary Huntley-Grant
    - Daughter of Catawba Chief, Neil Huntley
    Jane elizabeth mary ann Handy-Rowland (wife of George) b Liverpool, UK b 27 Feb 1799
    Charles Handy b. 5 Aug 1801 St. Peters, Dublin, Ireland who married Mary Gibbons from Wales
    Henry Handy b. 5 Aug 1801 St. Peters, Dublin, Ireland


    THE MAGIC of THE CIRCUS
    (from Circus Life and Circus Celebrities) 1881
    by Thomas Frost
    Author of: The Old Showmen and The Old London Fairs, Lives of The Conjurers, etc.,
    PG 44 / 45


    Astley's Amphitheatre was destroyed by fire in
    1794, to the serious loss of the proprietor, who was
    not insured ; but such was his indomitable energy
    and enterprise that it was rebuilt in time to be
    opened on Easter Monday, in the following year.
    In the mean while, in order to keep his company



    And Circus Celebrities. 45

    and stud employed, lie had converted the Lyceum
    into a circus, in conjunction with a partner named
    Handy. **
    *
    The Royal Circus was far from prosperous. The
    load of debt upon it kept the lessees in a position
    of constant difficulty and embarrassment, and in
    1795 Mrs West levied an execution on the pre-
    mises. It was then opened by Jones and Cross,
    the latter a writer of spectacles and pantomimes for
    Covent Garden ; and in their hands it remained
    until it was destroyed by fire in 1805.

    Handy * was still Astley's partner in 1796, when
    the advertisements announce ' thirty-five new acts
    by Astley's and Handy's riders, and two surprising
    females,^ in addition to pony races, the perform-
    ances of a clever little pony, only thirty inches in
    height, a performance on two ropes, and a novel act
    by a performer named Carr, who stood on his head
    in the centre of a globe, and ascended thirty feet
    ^ turning round in a most surprising manner, like a
    boy's top.' Later advertisements of this year
    describe the Amphitheatre as ' under the patronage
    of the Duke of York,* and announce the special
    engagement of two Catawba Indians — both chiefs,
    of course, as American Indians and Arabs who ap-
    pear in the arena always are represented to be.
    These copper-coloured gentlemen gave their war



    46 Circus Life

    dance and tomahawk exercise, and performed feats
    of dexterity witli bows and arrows. The only
    mention of equestrianism at this time is, that
    ^various equestrian and other exercises' will be
    given ' by pupils of both the Astleys/

    Sadler's Wells gave this year ' various elegant
    and admired exercises on the tight-rope, by the
    inimitable Mr Richer and lia Belle Espagnole, par-
    ticularly Richer's astonishing leap over the two
    garters, with various feats of agility and comic
    accompaniment by Dubois/ This establishment
    and the Royalty gradually abandoned entertainments
    of this kind, and were at length converted into
    theatres; and the like change was effected at the
    Royal Circus, or rather at the building which rose
    upon the ruins made by the conflagration of 1805.

    Astley's was burned again in 1803, when Mrs
    Woodhams, the mother of Mrs Astley, perished in
    the flames. Astley was again a heavy suSerer, the
    insurance not covering more than a fourth of the
    damage ; but once more the building rose from its
    ruins, and it was again re-opened in 1804. Astley
    being occupied at the time with the construction of
    a circus in Paris, since known as Franconi's, the
    new Amphitheatre was leased by him to his son,
    John Astley, with whom William Davis soon became
    associated as a partner.



    And Circus Celebrities. 47

    In 1805, the Royal Circus having been destroyed
    by fire, Philip Astley leased the site of the Olympic
    Theatre from Lord Craven for a term of sixty-one
    years, at a yearly rental of one hundred pounds,
    with the stipulation that two thousand five hundred
    pounds should be expended in the erection of a
    theatre. It was an odd-shaped piece of ground,
    and required some contrivance to adapt it to the
    purpose ; but Astley, who was his own architect and
    surveyor, and indeed his own builder, for he is said
    to have employed the workmen he required without
    the intervention of a master, overcame all difficulties
    with his usual energy and fertility of resource.

    He bought the timbers of an old man-of-war,
    captured from the French, and with these built the
    framework of the theatre, a portion of which could,
    it was said, be seen at the rear of the boxes of the
    old Olympic Theatre before it was destroyed by
    fire. There was very little brickwork, the frame
    being covered externally with sheet iron, and
    internally with canvas. The arrangements of the
    auditorium were very similar to those of the
    provincial circuses of the present day ; there was a
    single tier of boxes, a pit running round the circle,
    and a gallery behind, separated from the pit by a
    grating, which caused the 'gods' to be likened to
    the wild beasts in Cross's menagerie, Exeter



    48 Circus Life

    Change. There was no orchestra, but a few
    musicians sat in a stage box on each side. The
    chandelier was a present from the king. The
    building was licensed for music, dancing, and
    equestrian performances, and called the Olympic
    Pavilion. It passed in 1812 into the possession of
    Elliston, who purchased it, with the remaining term
    of the lease, for two thousand eight hundred pounds
    and an annuity of twenty pounds contingent on the
    continuance of the license. The annuity soon ceased
    to be payable, for Elliston opened the theatre for
    burlettas and musical farces in 1813, and it was
    closed a few weeks afterwards by order of the Lord
    Chamberlain, on the ground that the license had
    been granted on the supposition that the theatre
    was to be used for the same kind of entertainment
    as had been given by Astley, and only during the
    same portion of the year.

    The Amphitheatre continued to be conducted in
    the same manner as it had been when in the hands
    of the proprietor, and brought before the public a
    succession of clever equestrians, tumblers, and rope-
    dancers. In a bill of 1807 we first meet with the
    name of Hengler, its then owner being a performer
    of some celebrity on the tight-rope. The travelling
    circuses which were springing into existence at this
    time, both in England and on the continent, furnished



    And Circus Celebrities. 49

    the lessees with a constant succession of artistes ;
    and the admirably trained horses fairly divided
    the attention of the public with the biped per-
    formers.

    Philip Astley was the best breaker and trainer of
    horses then living. He bought his horses in Smith-
    field, seldom giving more than five pounds for one,
    and selecting them for their docility, without regard
    to symmetry or colour. He seems to have been the
    first equestrian who taught horses to dance, the
    animals going through the figure, and stepping in
    time to the music. One of his horses, called Billy,
    would lift a kettle off a fire, and arrange the tea
    equipage for company, in a manner which elicited
    rounds of applause. He was a very playful animal,
    and would play with Astley and the grooms like a
    kitten. His owner was once induced to lend him
    for a week or two to Abraham Saunders, who had
    been brought up by Astley, and was at that time, as
    well as at many other times, involved in pecuni-
    ary diflSculties. While Billy was in the possession
    of Saunders, he was seized for debt, with the bor-
    rower's own stud, and sold before his owner could
    be communicated with. Two of Astley's company,
    happening shortly afterwards to be perambulating
    the streets of the metropolis, were surprised to see
    Billy harnessed to a cart. They could scarcely be-



    50 Circus Life

    lieve their eyes, but could doubt no longer when the
    animal, on receiving a signal to which he was ac-
    customed, pricked up his ears, and began to caper
    and curvet in a manner seldom seen out of the circle.
    His new owner was found in a pubhc-house, and
    was not unwilling to part with him, as Billy, 'though
    a main good-tempered creature,' as he told the
    equestrians, ' is so full o' all manner of tricks that
    we calls him the Mountebank/

    Saunders, at this time a prisoner for debt in the
    now demolished Fleet Prison, was well known as a
    showman and equestrian for three quarters of a cen-
    tury. Many who remember him as the proprietor
    of a travelling circus, visiting the fairs . throughout
    the south of England, are not aware that he once
    had a lease of the old Eoyalty Theatre, and that in
    1808 he opened, as a circus, the concert-rooms
    afterwards known as the Queen's Theatre, now the
    Prince of Wales's. After experiencing many vicis-
    situdes, he fell in his old age into poverty, owing
    to two heavy losses, namely, by the burning of the
    Royalty Theatre, and by the drowning of fifteen
    horses at sea, the vessel in which they were being
    transported being wrecked in a storm. In his latter
    years, he was the proprietor of a penny 'gaff' at
    Haggerstone, and, being prosecuted for keeping it,
    drove to Worship Street police-court in a box- on



    And Circus Celebrities. 5 1

    wheels, drawn by a Shetland pony, and presented
    himself before the magistrate in a garment made of
    a bearskin. He was then in his ninetieth year,
    and died two years afterwards, in a miserable lodg-
    ing in Mill Street, Lambeth Walk.

    There is a story told of Astley, by way of illus-
    tration of his ignorance of music, which, if true,
    would show that the Amphitheatre boasted an
    orchestra even in these early years of its existence.
    The nature of the story requires us to suppose that
    the orchestral performers were then engaged for the
    first time ; and, as we are told by Fitzball that the
    occasion was the rehearsal of a hippo- dramatic
    spectacle, it seems probable that there is some mis-
    take, and that the anecdote should be associated
    with Ducrow, instead of with his precursor, no per-
    formances of that kind having been given at the
    Amphitheatre in Astley's time. But Fitzball may
    have been in error as to the occasion. As the story
    goes, Astley, on some of the musicians suspending
    their performances, demanded the reason.

    ' It is a rest,^ returned the leader.

    * Let them go on, then,* said the equestrian. * I
    pay them to play, not to rest.'

    Presently a chromatic passage occurred.

    ' What do you call that ? ' demanded Astley.
    * Have you all got the stomach-ache ? '



    52 Circus Life

    ' It is a chromatic passage/ rejoined tlie leader,
    witli a smile.

    ' Rheumatic passage ? ' said Astley, not compre-
    hending the term. ^It is in your arm, I suppose;
    but I hope you'll get rid of it before you play with
    the people in front.''

    ' You misunderstand me, Mr Astley,' returned
    the leader. ' It is a chromatic passage ; all the in-
    struments have to run up the passage.'

    ' The devil they do ! ' exclaimed Astley. ' Then
    I hope they'll soon run back again, or the audience
    will think they are running away.'

    Hitherto the quadrupeds whose docility and in-
    telligence rendered them available for the entertain-
    ment of the public had been limited to the circle ;
    but in 1811 the example was set at Covent Garden
    of introducing horses, elephants, and camels on the
    stage. This was done in the grand cavalcade in
    Bluebeard, the first representation of which was
    attended with a singular accident, A trap gave
    way under the camel ridden by an actor named
    Gallot, who saved his own neck or limbs from dislo-
    cation or fracture, by throwing himself off as the
    animal sank down. He was unhurt, but the camel
    was so much injured by the fall that it died before
    it could be extricated. The elephant, though docile
    enough, could not be induced to go upon the stage



    And Circus Celebrities. 53

    until one of the ladies of the ballet, who had become
    familiar with the animal during the rehearsals, led
    it on by one of its ears. This went so well with the
    audience, that the young lady repeated the perform-
    ance at every representation of the spectacle.

    Philip Astley died in Paris, at the ripe age of
    seventy-two, in 1814, — the year in which the cele-
    brated Ducrow made his first appearance on the
    stage as Eloi, the dumb boy, in the Tlie Forest ofBondy.
    The Amphitheatre was conducted, after the death of
    its founder, by his son, John Astley, in conjunction
    with Davis ; but not without opposition. The Surrey
    had ceased to present equestrian performances under
    the management of Elliston ; but in 1815, on his
    lease expiring, it was taken by Dunn, Heywood, and
    Branscomb, who were encouraged by the success of
    Astley to convert it into a circus. The experiment
    was not, however, a successful one.

    In the following year, Vauxhall Gardens assumed
    the form and character by which they were known
    to the present generation; and the celebrated
    Madame Saqui was engaged for a tight- rope per-
    formance, in which she had long been famous in
    Paris. She was then in her thirty-second year, and
    even then far from prepossessing, her masculine,
    cast of countenance and development of muscle
    giving her the appearance of a little man, rather



    54 Ch'cus Life

    than of the attractive young women we are ac-
    customed to see on the corde elastique in this country. .
    Her performance created a great sensation, however,
    and she was re-engaged for the two following
    seasons. She mounted the rope at midnight, in a
    dress glistening with tinsel and spangles, and wear-
    ing a nodding plume of ostrich feathers on her
    head ; and became the centre of attraction for the
    thousands who congregated to behold her ascent
    from the gallery, under the brilliant illumination of
    the fireworks that rained their myriads of sparks
    around her.

    Andrew Ducrow, who now came into notice, was
    born in Southwark, in 1793, in which year his
    father, Peter Ducrow, who was a native of Bruges,
    appeared at Astley^s as the Flemish Hercules, in a
    performance of feats of strength. Andrew was as
    famous in his youthful days as a pantomimist as he
    subsequently became as an equestrian, and was the
    originator of the poses jolastiques, the performance
    in which he first attracted attention, and which was
    at that time a novel feature of circus entertain-
    ments, being a series of studies of classical statuary
    on the back of a horse. He appeared at the
    Amphitheatre during only one season, however,
    leaving England shortly afterwards, accompanied
    by several members of his family, to fulfil en-



    And Circus Celebrities. 55

    gagements on the continent. The first of these was
    with Blondin's Cirque Olympique, then in Holland.
    He had at this time only one horse ; but, as his
    gains increased with his fame, he was soon enabled
    to procure others, until he had as many as six.
    After performing at several of the principal towns
    in Belgium and France, he was engaged, with his
    family and stud, for Franconi^s Cirque, where he
    was the first to introduce the equestrian pageant
    termed an etitree. There he exhibited his double
    acts of Cupid and Zephyr, Eed Riding Hood, &c.,
    in which he was accompanied by his sister, a child
    of three or four years old, whose performances were
    at that time unequalled.

    Simultaneously with the rise of Ducrow, the
    well-known names of Clarke and Bradbury appear
    in circus records. When Barrymore, the lessee of the
    Coburg Theatre (now the Victoria), opened Astley's
    in the autumn of 1819 for a limited winter season,
    his company was joined by John Clarke, fresh from
    saw-dust triumphs at Liverpool, and Bradbury,
    who was the first representative on the equestrian
    stage of Dick Turpin, the renowned highwayman,
    whose famous ride to York had not then been re-
    lated by Ainsworth, but was preserved in the six-
    penny books, with folding coloured plates, which
    constituted the favourite reading of boys fifty years



    ^6 Ci7'acs Life

    ago. Clarke's little daughter, only five years of
    age, made her appearance on the tight- rope in the
    following year, when Madame Saqui re-appeared at
    Vauxhall, and was one of the principal attractions of
    that season.

    John Astley survived his father only a few years,
    dying in 1821, on the same day of the year, in the
    same house, and in the same room, as his more
    famous progenitor. After his death the Amphi-
    theatre was conducted for a few years by Davis
    alone; and by him hippo- dramatic spectacles, the
    production of which afterwards made Ducrow so
    famous, and which greatly extended the popularity
    of Astley' s; were first introduced there. Davis also
    signalized his management by the introduction of a
    camel on the stage for the first time in a circus, the
    occasion being the production of the romantic specta-
    cle oi Alexander the Great and Thalestris the Amazon.

    In the circle a constant variety of attractive, and
    often novel, feats of horsemanship and gymnastics
    continued to be presented. All through the season
    of 1821 the great attraction in the circle was the
    graceful riding of a young lady named Bannister —
    probably the daughter of the circus proprietor of
    that name, whose name we shall presently meet
    with, and who had, shortly before that time, fallen
    into difficulties. During the following season the



    And Circus Celebrities. ^y

    public were attracted by the novel and sensational
    performance of Jean Bellinck on the flying rope,
    stretched across the pit at an altitude of nearly a
    hundred feet, according to the bills, in which a little
    exaggeration was probably indulged. The great
    attraction of 1823 was Longuemare^S ascent of a
    rope from the stage to the gallery, amidst fireworks,
    which had been the sensation of the preceding sea-
    son at Vauxhall Gardens, where, at the same time,
    Kamo Samee, the renowned Indian juggler, made
    his first appearance in this country.



    58



    CHAPTER III.

    Ducrow at Covent Garden — Engagement at Astle/s — Double Acts
    in the cii'cle — Ducrow at Manchester — Rapid Act on Six Horses —
    ' Raphael's Dream ' — Miss Woolford — Cross's performing
    Elephant — O'Donnel's Antipodean Feats — First year of Ducrow
    and West — Henry Adams — Ducrow at Hull — The Wild Horse of
    the Ukraine — Ducrow at Sheffield — Travelling Cu-cuses — An
    Entree at Holloway's — Wild's Show— Constantine, the Posturer
    — Circus Horses — Tenting at Faii-s — The Mountebanks.

    When Elliston produced tlie spectacle of the Cata-
    ract of the Ganges at Drury Lane Theatre, in 1823,
    Bunn, who was then lessee of Covent Garden
    Theatre, was induced by its success to engage
    Ducrow, who made his first appearance at that
    theatre on Easter Monday, 1824, in the lyrical and
    spectacular drama of Cortez. Davis, fearing a rival
    in the famous equestrian, offered him an engage-
    ment at Astley's, where he soon became the chief
    attraction.

    The double act of Cupid and Zephyr, now repre-
    sented by himself and his wife, was received with
    as much applause as it had elicited at Franconi'sj



    Circus Celebrities. 59^

    and a perfect furore was created when he appeared
    on two bare-back horses, as an Indian hunter.
    Cline's rope- walking feats varied the programme of
    the circle in 1826, and in the following year Ducrow,
    having first given the performance with immense
    success at Manchester, introduced his great feat,
    then unparalleled, of riding six horses at the same
    time, in his rapid act as a Russian courier.

    Fresh novelties were produced in 1828, the most
    attractive being the equestrian act called ' RaphaeFs
    Dream,^ in which Ducrow reproduced, on horseback,
    the finest conceptions of the sculptors of ancient
    Greece, receiving immense applause at every exhibi-
    tion. Miss Woolford and George Cooke made their
    first appearance at Astley^s in this year, in a double
    performance on the tight-rope, in which the former
    artiste was for a long time without a rival. Apti-
    tude for this exhibition seems, as in other branches
    of circus business, to be hereditary; and a Miss
    Woolford may have been found as a tight-rope per-
    former in some circus or other any time within the
    last half- century. I remember seeing a tight-rope
    performer of this name in a httle show which at-
    tended the July fair at Croydon about thirty years
    ago.

    3>ucrow's stud was engaged this year for Vaux-
    hall Gardens, where the hippo-dramatic spectacle of



    6o Circus Life

    Tlie Battle of Waterloo was revived, and proved as
    attractive as it had been some years previously at
    Astley^s. The year 1828 is also memorable for the
    first introduction of an elephant into the arena, a
    colossal performing animal of that genus being
    brought, with its keeper, from Cross's menagerie,
    which many readers, even old residents in the me-
    tropolis, may require to be informed had its location
    on the site of what afterwards became Exeter
    Arcade, in the rear of the houses on the north side
    of the Strand, between Exeter Street and Catherine
    Street. The elephant was also led in the bridal pro-
    cession which constituted one of the displays of the
    quadrupedal resources of the establishment in the
    spectacular drama of Bluebeard.

    In travelling over the records of saw-dust per-
    formances, we are frequently remindeii of the saying
    of the wise monarch of Israel, that there is no new
    thing under the sun. The bills of Astley's, the ad-
    vertisements of the Eoyal Circus and the Olympic
    Pavilion, the traditions of travelling circuses, pre-
    sent us with the originals of almost every feat that
    the acrobats and posturers of the present day have
    ever attempted. Ducrow, it has been seen, was the
    originator of the poses 'plastiques, revived and made
    famous a quarter of a century ago by Madame Whar-
    ton and troupe, at the Walhalla, in Leicester Square,



    And Cimis Celebrities. 6i

    and subsequently by HaiTy Boleno, the clown, at
    the Alhambra. Another instance comes under no-
    tice in 1829, when a performer named O'Donnel
    exhibited at Astley's the antipodean feats performed
    a few years ago at the London Pavilion, and other
    music-halls, by Jean Bond. O^Donnel mounted a
    ladder, stood on his head on the top of one of the
    uprights, kicked away the other, with all its rungs,
    and in that position drank a glass of wine, and
    performed several tricks. The kicking away of
    the unfixed portion of the ladder invariably cre-
    ates a sensation among the spectators, but adds
    nothing to the difficulty or danger of the per-
    formance.

    '" On the lease of the Amphitheatre expiring in 1 830,
    the owner of the premises raised the rent so much
    that Davis relinquished the undertaking. Ducrow,
    who possessed much of the energy and enterprise by
    which Philip Astley had been distinguished, saw his
    opportunity at once, and, obtaining a partner in
    William West, took the lease on the terms which his
    less enterprising predecessor had shrunk from. He
    produced a gorgeous Eastern spectacle, and engaged
    Stickney and young Bridges for the circle. Stick-
    ney was an admirable equestrian, the first of the
    many famous riders who have learned their art on
    the other side of the Atlantic, where he had already



    6a Circus Life

    achieved a considerable reputation. Bridges was a
    rope-dancer, and gained great applause by turning
    a somersault on tlie rope, a feat whicb he appears to
    have been the first to perform. Later in the season,
    Henry Adams (the father of Charles Adams) made
    his appearance as a performer of rapid acts of equi-
    tation, the travelling circus which he had lately
    owned having passed into the possession of his late
    groom, John Milton.

    During the portion of this year when Astley's
    was closed, Ducrow and his company, bipeds and
    quadrupeds, performed for a short time at HulL
    Returning to the metropolis, he opened the Amphi-
    theatre for the season of 1831 with the spectacular
    drama of Mazeppa, the only enduring performance
    of the kind with which Astley's was for so many
    years associated. Most of them, elaborately as they
    were got up, — for Ducrow never spared expense, —
    and attractive as they proved at the time of their
    production, owed their popularity to recent military
    events ; but the fortunes of the daring youth immor-
    talized by the genius of Byron, and the headlong
    flight of the wild horse of the Ukraine, have proved
    an unfailing source of attraction, and made Mazeppa
    the trump-card of every hippo- dramatic manager
    who possesses or can borrow a white horse qualified
    to enact the part of the ' fiery, untamed steed ' upon



    And Circles Celebrities. 6^

    whose bare back tbe hero is borne into the steppes
    of the Don Cossack country.

    Adams and Stickney continued to attract in the
    circle, but Ducrow engaged in addition an acrobatic
    performer named Williams, who turned tourbillions
    at the height of twelve feet from the ground, and
    repeated them through hoops at the same height,
    over a tilted waggon, over eight horses, and,
    finally, over a troop of mounted cavalry. The
    famous performing elephant, Mdlle Jeck, also made
    its appearance during this season. When the
    Amphitheatre closed, Ducrow took his company and
    stud to SheflBeld, where he had had an immense
    structure of a temporary character erected for their
    performances. He ruined the prospect of a suc-
    cessful provincial season, however, by indulgence of
    his overbearing disposition, which manifested itself
    on all occasions, in and out of the arena. The
    Master Cutler and Town Council determined to
    patronize the circus officially, and appeared at the
    head of a cortege of between forty and fifty
    carriages, containing the principal manufacturers
    and their families. But, on the Master Cutler
    sending his card to Ducrow, in the anticipation of
    being personally received, Ducrow replied, through
    one of his subordinates, that he only waited upon
    crowned' heads, and not upon a set of dirty knife-



    64 Circus Life

    grinders. The astounded and indignant chief
    magistrate immediately ordered his coachman to
    turn about, and the entire cavalcade returned to the
    Town Hall, where a ball was improvised, instead of
    the intended visit to the circus. Thus Ducrow's
    prospects in the hardware borough were ruined by
    his own hasty temper and overbearing disposition.

    It is now time to say a few words about the travel-
    ling circuses that had been springing into existence
    during the preceding fifteen or sixteen years, and
    some of which have already been mentioned. The
    northern and midland counties were travelled at
    this time by Holloway^s, Milton's, ' "Wild's, and
    Bannister's ; the eastern, southern, and western by
    Saunders's, Cooke's, Samwell's, and Clarke's. We
    find HoUoway in possession of the circus at Shefiield
    after its vacation by Ducrow. Wallett, who first
    comes into observation about this time, was one of
    Holloway's clowns, and also did posturing, and
    played Simkin in saw- dust ballets. He states, in his
    autobiography, that they opened with a powerful com-
    pany and a numerous stud ; but it seems that there
    were not a dozen of the troupe, including grooms,
    who could ride, The first item in the programme for
    the opening night was an entree of twelve, five of
    whom were thrown off their horses before the round
    of the circle had been made, one of them having



    W^ ^



    And Circus Celebrities. 65



    three of his fingers broken. The horses do not
    appear to have been in fault, for they continued
    their progress as steadily as if nothing had hap-
    pened. WaUett accounts for this untoward incident
    by stating that the dismounted cavaliers were
    clowns and acrobats^ and that few members of those
    sections of the profession can ride ; but, considering
    that grooms could have been made available, a
    'powerful company' should have been able to
    mount twelve horses for an entrie without putting
    into the saddle men who could not ride.

    James Wild's show was a small concern, com-
    bining a drama, a la Richardson^ with the perform-
    ances of a tight-rope dancer and a fortune -telling
    pony. Wallett, who had made his first appearance
    before the public as a ' super ' at the theatre of his
    native town, Hull, when Ducrow was there, and
    had afterwards clowned on the outside of Charles
    Yeoman's Royal Pavilion at Gainsborough fair,
    joined Wild's show at Leeds, but soon transferred
    his talent to a rival establishment. Both shows
    were soon afterwards at Keighley fair, for which
    occasion Wild had engaged four acrobats from
    London, named Constantino, Heng, Morris, and
    Whitton. The popularity of Ducrow's representa-
    tions of Grecian statuary had induced Constantino
    to study them^ and having provided himself with



    L



    66 Circtts Life

    the requisite properties, he exhibited them very
    successfully in Wild's show.

    The proprietor of the rival establishment was in
    agony, for his loudest braying through a speaking-
    trumpet, and the wildest beating of his gong, did
    not avail to stop the rush to Wild's which left the
    front of his own show deserted. Wallett ruminated
    over the situation, and at night sought Constantino,
    and made overtures to him for the purchase of his
    tights and ' props/ The acrobat entertained them, —
    perhaps the bargain was very liberally wetted, —
    and Wallett became the triumphant possessor of the
    means of personating Ajax and Achilles, and all the
    gods and heroes of Homer's classic pages. Next
    day, the show in which he was engaged was crowded
    to see him 'do the Grecian statues,' while Wild's
    was deserted, Constantino dejected, and his em-
    ployer despairing.

    Bannister's circus travelled Scotland and the
    northern counties of England, and it is a noteworthy
    point in his history that David Roberts was engaged
    by its proprietor as scene painter when he added a
    stage and a company of pantomimists to the attrac-
    tions of the ring. This was in 1817, when the
    circus was located in Edinburgh, and the future R.A.
    had just completed his apprenticeship to a house-
    painter. Roberts says, in his diary, that he could



    And Circus Celebrities. 67

    never forget the tremor he felt, the faintness that
    came over him, when he ascended to the second
    floor of the house in Nicholson Street in which Ban-
    nister lodged, and, after much hesitation, mustered
    courage to ring the bell. Bannister received him
    very kindly, looked at his drawings, and engaged
    him to paint a set of wings for a palace. The
    canvas was brought, and laid down on the floor, and
    Roberts began to work there and then. At the
    close of the circus season, he was engaged at a
    salary of twenty-five shillings a week to travel with
    the company into England, paint all the scenery
    and properties that might be required, and make
    himself generally useful. Roberts says that he
    found that the last clause of the contract involved
    the necessity of taking small parts in pantomimes,
    which, he says, he rather over-did than under-did.
    His circus experiences were brief, however, for
    Bannister became bankrupt before long, and
    Roberts betook himself to house-painting again
    until he was engaged by Corri to paint scenery for
    the Pantheon, at Edinburgh, It may be remarked
    that he received no higher salary from Corri than
    from Bannister, and did not reach thirty shillings a
    week until he was engaged as scene-painter to the
    theatre «,t Glasgow.

    The tenting circuses of those days were on a



    68 Circus Life

    more limited scale than those of the present time,
    and were met with chiefly at fairs. They had seldom
    more than three or four horses, of which perhaps
    only two appeared in the circle. Their proprietors
    were not so regardless of colour as Philip Astley
    was, and favoured cream-coloured, pied, and spotted
    horses. While the acrobats performed ^ flips ' and
    hand springs, and the clown cracked his ' wheezes,'
    on the outside, while the proprietor beat his gong,
    or bawled through a speaking-trumpet his invita-
    tions to the spectators to ' walk up,' the horses stood
    in a row on the platform ; and when the proprietor
    shouted ' all in, to begin ! ' the animals were led or
    ridden down the steps in front, and taken round to
    the entrance at the side, whence they emerged on
    the conclusion of the performance, to ascend the
    steps, and resume their position on the platform.
    The performances were short, consisting of two or
    three acts of horsemanship, some tumbling, and a
    tight-rope performance ; but they were repeated
    from noon till near midnight as often as the seats
    could be filled.

    Even in the palmy days of fairs, the vicissitudes
    of showmen were a marked feature of their lives,
    owing, in part at least, to their dependence upon the
    weather for success, and the variability of the
    English climate. A wet fair was a serious matter



    And Circus Celebrities. 69



    for them, and the October fair at Croydon, one of
    the best in the south, seldom passed over without
    rain, which sometimes reduced the field to such a
    state of quagmire that hurdles had to be laid down
    upon the mud for the pleasure-seekers to walk upon.
    Saunders, as we have seen, was seldom out of difl&-
    culties ; and Clarke had not always even a tent, but
    pitched his ring in a field, or on a common, in the
    open air, after the manner of Philip Astley and his
    predecessors. Price and Sampson, in the early days
    of equestrian performances. He did not, however,
    make a collection — called in the slang of the pro-
    fession, ' doing a nob,^ — but made his gains by the
    sale, at a shilling each, of tickets for a kind of ' lucky-
    bag ' speculation among the spectators whom the
    performances attracted to the spot. Sometimes
    additional eclat would be given to the event by the
    announcement that a greasy pole would be climbed
    by competitors for the leg of mutton affixed to the
    top, or a piece of printed cotton would be ofiered as
    a prize for the winner in a race, for which only girls
    were allowed to enter. Then, while the equestrian
    of the company enacted the Drunken Hussar, or the
    Sailor's Return, or Billy Button's ride to Brentford,
    the acrobats would walk round with the tickets ; or
    the equestrian would condescend to do so, while the
    Polish Brothers tied themselves up in knots, or



    70 Circus Life

    wriggled between the rungs of a ladder, or Miss
    Clarke delighted the spectators by her graceful
    movements upon the tight-rope. The business
    concluded with the drawing for prizes, which were
    few in proportion to the blanks, and consisted of
    plated tea-pots and milk jugs, work-boxes, japanned
    tea-trays, silk handkerchiefs, &c. This kind of
    entertainment was given within the last forty years;
    but Clarke was then an old man, and with his death
    the race of the mountebanks, as they were popularly
    called, became extinct.

    The last section of a mock Act of Parliament
    published about this time gives a good idea of the
    clown's business five-and- thirty years ago, and
    affords the means of comparing the circus wit and
    humour of that period with the laughter- provocatives
    of the Merrymans of the present day. It runs as
    follows : —

    'And, he it further enacted, that when the scenes
    in the circus commence, the Merriman, Grotesque,
    or Clown shall not, after the first equestrian feat,
    exclaim, " Now Pll have a turn to myself," previous
    to his toppling like a coach- wheel round the ring ;
    nor shall he fall flat on his face, and then collecting
    some saw-dust in his hands drop it down from the
    level of his head, and say his nose bleeds ; nor shall
    he attempt to make the rope-dancer's balance-pole



    And Circus Celebrities. 71

    stand on its end by propping it up with the said
    saw-dust ; nor shall he, after chalking the perform-
    er's shoes, conclude by chalking his own nose, to
    prevent his foot from slipping when he treads on it ;
    nor shall he take long pieces of striped cloth for Mr
    Stickney to jump over, while his horse goes under ;
    previous to which he shall not pull the groom off the
    stool, who holds the other end of the same cloth,
    neither shall he find any difficulty in holding it at
    the proper level ; nor, after having held it higher
    and lower, shall he ask, " Will that do ? '* and, on
    being answered in the affirmative, he shall not jump
    down, and put his hands in his pockets, saying, " Fm
    glad of it ; " nor shall he pick up a small piece of
    straw, for fear he should fall over it, and afterwards
    balance the said straw on his chin as he runs about.
    Neither shall the Master of the Eing say to the
    Merriman, Grotesque, or Clown, when they are leav-
    ing the circus, "I never follow the fool, sir;" nor
    shall the fool reply, '' Then I do,' and walk out after
    him ; nor, moreover, shall the Clown say that '' the
    horses are as clever as the barber who shaved bald
    magpies at twopence a dozen ; " nor tell the groom
    in the red jacket and top boots, when he takes the
    said horses away, to " rub them well down with
    cabbage-puddings, for fear they should get the
    collywobbleums in their pandenoodles ; " such



    72 Circtis Life.

    speeches being manifestly very absurd and incom-
    prehensible.

    'Saving always, thai the divers ladies and gen-
    tlemen, young ladies and young gentlemen, maid-
    servants, apprentices, and little boys, who patronise
    the theatre, should see no reason why the above
    alterations should be made ; under which circum-
    stances, they had better remain as they are.'



    73



    CHAPTER IV.

    A few words about Menageries— George "Wombwell — The Liou
    Baitings at Warwick — Atkins's Lion and Tigress at Astle^s —
    A Bull-fight and a Zebra Hunt — Ducrow at the Pavilion — The
    Stud at Drury Lane— Letter from Wooler to EUiston— Ducrow
    and the Drury ' Supers ' — Zebras on the Stage — The first
    Arab Troupe— Contention between Ducrow and Clarkson Stan-
    field — Deaths of John Ducrow and Madame Ducrow — Miss
    Woolford.

    Circuses and menageries are now so frequently
    associated, and the inmates of the latter have at
    all times Been so frequently brought into connection
    with the former, that it becomes desirable, at this
    stage of the record, to say a few words about the
    zoological collections of former times. Without
    going back to the formation of the royal menagerie
    in the Tower of London in the thirteenth century, it
    may be stated that, when that appendage of regal
    state was abolished, most of the animals were pur^
    chased by an enterprising speculator named Cross,
    who located them at Exeter Change. The want of
    sufficient space there subsequently induced Cross to



    74 Circus Life

    remove the collection to the site afterwards known
    as the Surrey Gardens, where, under the more
    favourable conditions as to space, light, and air
    afforded by that locality, it long rivalled that of the
    Eoyal Zoological Society, which had, in the mean
    time, grown up on the -north side of Eegent's Bark.
    The travelling menageries probably grew, on a
    small scale, side by side, as it were, with the royal
    collection at the Tower, until they developed into
    such exhibitions as, half a century ago, travelled
    from fair to fair, in company with Richardson's and
    GyngelPs theatres, Cooke's and SamwelFs circuses,
    Algar's dancing booth, and the pig-faced lady.
    WombwelPs menagerie was formed about 1805, and
    Atkins's must have begun travelling soon after-
    wards. These two shows were for many years
    among the chief attractions of the great fairs, in
    the days when fairs were annual red-letter days in
    the calendar of the young, and even the upper
    classes of society did not deem it beneath their
    dignity to patronize the itinerant menagerie and the
    tenting circus.

    ' Wombwell's,' said the reporter of a London


    Handy * is Bemjamin Handy

    His will:
    Benjamin Handy made a will dated 28 March 1845 in Bath, Somerset. This is the last Will and Testament of me Benjamin Handy of the City of Bath Gentleman I issue
    and [21] bequeath unto my dear wife Mary Handy (late Mary Grant) who for several years previously to our marriage lived and cohabited with me by and under the name of Mary Handy a certain annuity a clear yearly sum of one hundred and twenty eight pounds and purchased by me of Walter Hilton Jessop of Cheltenham Attorney-at-law for the sum of one thousand six hundred pounds and which annuity is charged upon and issued out of a plote or parcel of ground in the parish of Cheltenham in the County of Gloucester situate in a certain place there called Church Meadow heretofore belonging to Mr Hooper surgeon and also out of and upon a certain messuage or tenement with the offices thereto belonging lately erected and built on the said plote or parcel of ground which is numbered 2 and forms part of a Crescent lately building or built in Church Meadow aforesaid which messuage is now or late was in the occupation of S..ouce Haydon and which ground and premises are owned[?] by the said Walter Hilton Jessop (of whom) I purchased the same to Mr William Parker late of No. 10 Bridge Road Lambeth in the County of Surry Riding Master deceased in and for securities the said annuity and which annuity is granted for and during the term of my own life the life of my said wife Mary Handy, (late Mary Grant) and the life of our daughter Louisa Handy and the lives and life of the survivors and survivor of them for and during the term of her natural life and now and after her decease I give and bequeath the same unto my daughter Louisa Handy and my daughter Jane Elizabeth Mary Ann Rowland11 Something is squeezed in line above the last name, and some illegible numbers in the right margin. of Kingston in the County of Surry, Innkeeper in equal shares and proportions for and during the life of my said daughter Louisa. I also bequeath unto my said dear wife Mary Handy the sum of one thousand pounds joint annuities standing in my name in the Books of the Governor and Company of the Bank of England and which said annuities are payable half yearly in the Months of January and July. I also give and bequeath unto my said dear wife Mary Handy all that my leasehold messuage or tenament and premises situate and being No. 1 in Alexander Buildings near the Turnpike Walcot near the City of Bath being the eighth house from the Eastern end of Alexander Buildings to the last house of the west end of the same buildings and which messuage and premises I lately purchased of Dr. Morgan of the City of Bath for and during her natural life and from and after her decease I give and bequeath one moiety of the said issues and profits thereof unto my daughter Henrietta hand absolutely for and during the remainder of the term of years now to come in the lease under which I hold the same premises and the remaining moiety of the sayd leasehold messuage or tenament and premises (from and after the death of my said dear wife) I give and bequeath unto her executors administrators or assigns upon trust to pay the rents issues and profits of the said remaines [?] moiety of the said leasehold messuage or tenament and premises as and when they shall respectively become due and payable unto my daughter Sophia harris (late Sophia Handy) now the wife of Alfred Harnes Harris of Seven Oakes in the County of Kent Gentleman or into the hands of such person or person as she shall by any note in writing under her hand but not by way of anticipation I appoint to receive the same to the intent that the same may be for the sole and unalienable use of my said daughter Sophia Harris and may not be subject to the debts [21v]
    control disposition or arrangements of her present husband and I declare and direct that the receipt and receipts of the said Sophia Harris or of such person or persons as she shall from time to time appoint to receive the same as aforesaid and her or their receipts only shall be good and sufficient discharges to the person or persons paying the same (or so much as in such receipt or receipts shall be expressed or acknowledged to be received and from and after the decease of my said daughter Sophia Harris upon trust for all and every the children or child of said daughter Sophia Harris by her present husband who shall live to attain the age of twenty one years equally to be divided between or among them on their attaining that age. If more than one absolutely as tenants in common and if there shall be only one such child in trust for such only child absolutely and upon trust during their respective minorities to apply the said rents issues and profits of the said worth of the said leasehold messuage or tenement and premises for the respective maintenance and education of such children or child until they respectively attain the age of twenty one years or respectively die but in case there shall be no child of the said sophia Harris by her present husband who shall live to attain the age of twenty one years then upon trust that the said last mentioned moiety of the said leasehold messuage or tenement and premises for all the residue of the said term of years then to come in the said lease under which I hold the same shall fall into and become part of my residuary estate and from and immediately after my decease give and bequeath unto my said wife Mary Handy her executors administrators or assigns [?] the sum of one thousand six hundred pounds stock in the three and a half percent reduced bank annuities now standing in the my name in the Books of the Governor and Company of the Bank of England upon the same and the life trusts to and for the sole and separate use and benefit of my said daughter Sophia Harris and her children as are hereinbefore mentioned expressed and declared of and concerning the bequest to her and them of the said moiety of my said leasehold messuage or tenement and premises No 1 Alexander Buildings aforesaid the same not to be subject to the debts control or arrangements of her present husband I also give and bequeath unto my said dear wife Mary Handy all my household furniture fixtures plate linen china boots wearing apparel Guns ?omes[?] and spirituous liquors watch chain and seals together with all the horses Carriages and harness which I may die possessed of and I also give and bequeath unto my said wife Mary Handy the sum of five thousand pounds stock in the three and a half per cent reduced bank annuities for her own absolute use and benefit to be transferred to her immediately after my decease I give and bequeath unto each of my two natural sons begotten by me on the body of the said Mary Handy previously to our marriage each of whom bear my name (that is to say Benjamin Thomas Handy and Henry Handy the sum of one thousand four hundred pounds stock in the three and a half percent reduced bank annuities now standing in my name in the Books of the Governor and Company of the Bank of England at the same to be transferred to them respectively immediately after my decease I also give and bequeath unto each of my two natural daughters begotten by me on the body of the said Mary prior to our intermarriage both of whom likewise bear [fol. 22r] my name (that is to say) the said Louisa Handy and the said Henrietta Handy the like sum of one thousand six hundred pounds stock in the three and a half percent reduced bank annuities now also standing in my name in the Books of the Governor and Company of the Bank of England the same to be transferred to them respectively immediately after my decease I give and bequeath unto my dear wife Mary Handy her executors administrators and assigns the like sum of one thousand six hundred pounds stock in the three and a half percent reduced bank annuities now also standing in my name in the Books of the Governor and Company of the Bank of England upon trust to pay the interest dividends and annual proceeds thereof as and when the same shall respectively become due and payable unto the proper hands of my natural daughter the said Jane Elizabeth Mary Anne Rowland the wife of the said George Rowland (late Jane Elizabeth Mary Ann Handy) or unto the hands of such person or persons as sh[oul]d by any note in writing under her hand shall from time to time but not by way of anticipation appoint to receive the same during her natural life to the intent that the same may be for the sole and unalienable use of my said natural daughter Jane Elizabeth Mary Ann Rowland and may not be subject to the debts control disposition or engagement of her present husband and I declare and direct that the receipt and receipts of the said Jane Elizabeth Mary Ann Rowland or of such person or person as she shall from time to time appoint to receive the same as aforesaid and her or their receipts only shall be good and sufficient discharges to the person or persons paying the same for so much as in such receipt or receipts shall be expressed or acknowledged to be received and from and after the decease of my said natural daughter Jane Elizabeth Mary Ann Rowland upon trust for all and every the children or child of my said natural daughter Jane Elizabeth Mary Ann Rowland by her present husband who shall live to attain the age of twenty one years equally to be divided between or amongst them on their attaining that age of more than one absolutely as tenants in common and if there shall be only one such child then in trust for that only one such child absolutely and upon trust during their respective minorities to apply the interest dividends and annual proceeds thereof for the respective maintenance and education of such children until they respectively attain the age of twenty one years or respectively die but in case there shall be no child of the said Jane Elizabeth Mary Ann Rowland by her present husband who shall live to attain the age of twenty one years then upon trust that the said trust stock or sum of one thousand six hundred pounds in the three and a half per cent reduced bank annuities shall fall into and become part of my residuary estate and my will and meaning is and I hereby declare that if any or other of them my said natural children namely the said Benjamin Thomas Handy Henry Handy Louisa Handy Sophia Harris Henrietta Handy and Jane Elizabeth Mary Ann Rowland shall happen to die before the legacies herein intended for them respectively shall become payable then I direct such lapses legacy or legacies shall fall into and become part of my residuary estate and as to for and concerning all the rest residue and remainder of my Estate and Effects whatsoever and wheresoever and of what nature kind or quality soever the same be (after [22v] payment of the said several legacies hereinbefore given and bequeathed and of all my just debts funeral and testamentary expenses and mourning for my said dear wife the said Benjamin Thomas Handy Henry Handy Louisa Handy Sophia Harris Henrietta Handy and Jane Elizabeth Mary Ann Rowland my said natural children) I give and bequeath the same and every part thereof unto my said dear wife for her own sole and separate use and benefit for ever and lastly I do hereby nominate constitute and appoint my said dear wife Mary Handy sole Executrix of this my will hereby revoking and making void all former and other will and wills by me at anytime heretofore made and do declare this only to be my last will and Testament in Witness whereof I the said Benjamin Handy have to this my last will and Testament contained in five sheets of paper to the four first sheets thereof set my hand and to the fifth sheet thereof my hand and seal this twenty third day of July the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and thirty nine B. Handy (??) signed sealed published and declared by the said Benjamin Handy the testator as and for his last will and Testament in the presence of us who in his presence and at his request and the presence of each other have set and subscribed our names as witnesses h[ereto on the day of the date above written (the words “wife of George Rowland” in the eleventh line form the bottom of the first sheet being previously interlined – Ino Robinson G. Hall, Mary [?] Street Piccadilly London – Philip Davis [?] same place and date

    This is a Codicil to my last will written within and dated the twenty third day of July one thousand eight hundred and thirty nine whereas in my said will I have bequeathed to Benjamin Thomas Handy and Henry Handy in my said will named the sum of one thousand four hundred pounds stock each Now I do hereby bequeath to them and each of them the sum of two hundred pounds like stock more in addition to the said bequeath of one thousand four hundred pounds stock each I direct the Executrix in the said will after my decease to ??? and invest in some respectable government or other office the sum of two hundred pounds to purchase an annuity upon and during the life of my natural son George Handy and I direct my executrix to pay the amount of the said annuity to the said George Handy half yearly during his life but such annuity is not to be mortgaged anticipated incumbered or charged by the said George Handy only to be paid to him or on his own receipt every half year. I give and bequeath to my old friend Joseph Southby fire work maker formerly of the Vauxhall Gardens but now of the Surrey Gardens the sum of two hundred pounds and in all other respects I ratify my said will In witness whereof I the said Benjamin Handy have to this Codicil set my hand this twenty fifth day of June one thousand eight hundred and forty two --- B. Handy – Signed published and declared by the said Testator Benjamin Handy as and for a Codicil to his last will and to be taken as part thereof in the presence of us --- H. G. Robinson Sol. Half Moon St. -- Wm Whiting his Clerk.

    In the Prerogative Court of Canterbury In the Goods of Mr. Benjamin Handy deceased.

    Appeared Personally Henry George Robinson of No. 6 Half Moon Street Piccadilly in the County of Middlesex Esquire and made oath that he is one of the subscribed witnesses to [fol. 23r]Codicil to the last will and Testament of Benjamin Handy late of the City of Bath Gentleman deceased now hereunto annexed bearing date the twenty fifth day of June one thousand eight hundred and forty two and he further made Oath that on the twenty fifth day of June aforesaid the said testator duly executed the said Codicil to his said will by signing his name at the foot and thereof in the presence of this deponent and of William Whiting the other subscribed witness thereto both of whom were present together at the same same time and thereupon this deponent and the said William Whiting attested and subscribed the said Codicil in the presence of the said testator – H.G. Robinson -- On the 26th day of May 1845 the said Henry George Robinson was duly sworn to the truth of this affidavit Before me – S. B. Burnaby ??? Fred: Geo: Cox. Not ??

    Proved at London with a Codicil 28th May 1845 before the Worshipful Sherrard Beaumont Burnaby22 A man of this unusual name, was the vicar of St. John at Hampstead from 1873 to 1900 (from “Find-a-Grave”), but this more likely the older one c.1771-1848, who seems to have been Doctor of Laws.. Doctor of Laws and Surrogate by the Oath of Mary Handy Widow the Relict the sole executrix to whom admon was granted being first sworn 3 July to administer (
    Transcript supplied by James Doelman, descendant).
    Children of Benjamin Handy and Mary Huntley (Grant)

    Charles & Henry Handy were twins, Charles was born first, and, they were born before 5 August 1801 in Peter St, Dublin, Ireland
    They were christened on 5 August 1801 in St Peter, Dublin, ireland They were twin sons of Benjamin Handy and Mary Huntley (Grant).
    daughter of Chief Neil Huntley of The Catawba Tribe (from The United States of America) or Turtle Island.
     
  3. Susan Lynne Schwenger

    Susan Lynne Schwenger The Final Synthesis - isbn 978-0-9939480-0-8 Staff Member

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    Benjamin Handy aka Ben Handy ~ The Greatest Horseman in The World or "The unparalleled vaulting horseman"
    aka Benjamin Handy Circus Troupe aka Handys Circus Troupe
    Parter of Astley aka Astley's Circus
    born -
    died - 1824
    His career was circa 1784 - 1824
    Ben Handy aka Benjamin Handy Circus troupe
    Benjamin aka Ben Handy
    c1784 * his career in the circus - died 1824
    billed as - "The Greatest Horseman in The World"
    or "The unparalleled vaulting horseman"
    equestrien, clown, manager
    part owner of Astley's

    1st wife was Signora Riccardini ~ equestrienne
    and, their child Mary Ann Handy aka The Wonderful Child of Promise
    who was born in 1784,
    who started into circus performing at the age of 40 months (3 years, 4 months) in 1788.

    His 2nd wife was Mary Huntley, a widow of Francis Grant
    and, connected to the group of Catauba Native American Indians,
    that Benjamin Handy had helped secure passage from The USA,
    to UK & Ireland to perform.

    Benjamin Handy was at Astey's on 27 jul 1795, and, The Benjamin Handy Group/ Troupe
    appeared at the new circus in Manchester from August to October 1795.

    After that, he took his group to Ireland, whence Ben Handy was hailed.

    He set up again at Limekiln Lane, Bristol in Feb 1796.

    By then he had added to his company / troupe, some Catauba Indians who displayed their native abilities.

    Handy remained in Bristol through March 1796,
    was in Manchester for summer of 1796,
    and, was again at Bristol in early 1797.
    His benefit bill of 25 March 1797 noted that he was Lining No. 2 Lower College St., Bristol.
    He and his troupe were engaged in June 1797 by The Elder Astley for performances in London.
    Benjamin Handy & William Davis, took over The Dubin Amphithreatre Royal,
    but at the end of 1797 there was a huge disaster.

    The wife of Wm. Davis and, their child, along with Handy's daughter Mary Anne Handy aka "The Wonderful Child of Promise"
    & 20 horses were among the losses suffered
    when the Viceroy Ship went down on a trip from Liverpool, UK to Dublin, Ireland.
    In 1804 Handy & Davis joined Crossman, Smith & Parker to form a new company in London, UK.
    They bought a half sum of the management of Ashley's Amphitheatre with John Ashley holding the other half.
    At some point Benjamin Handy retired.
    De Casto, in his Memoirs wrote...
    "Handy lives as an independent gentleman, and a Magistrate for The County of Somerset,
    very near the famed City of Bath.
    In the mid to late 1790's, Benjamin Handy lived with "mary handy" aka Mary Huntley aka Mary Huntley - Grant widow
    - connected to the Catauba Native American Tribe.

    Perhaps the following entry in the registers of St Paul, Covent Garden
    shows that the two of them, although having 3 children out of wedlock eventually married.
    Children of Benjamin Handy and Mary Huntley Grant were:

    ◦Jane Handy b. b 27 Feb 1799
    ◦Charles Handy b. 5 Aug 1801
    ◦Henry Handy b. 5 Aug 1801
    Charles & Henry Handy - were twins
    - Charles, was the elder twin

    charles handy - married Mary Gibbons (from Wales)

    The parents of Benjamin Handy
    were James Anthony & Jane Handy from Ireland
     
  4. Susan Lynne Schwenger

    Susan Lynne Schwenger The Final Synthesis - isbn 978-0-9939480-0-8 Staff Member

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    Stokes Croft circus

    trusted-contributor-8.
    Monday, September 15, 2008
    This is Bristol
    Could Stokes Croft have housed one of the first provincial circuses in the country?
    Gerry Brooke investigates


    382682.

    IT has long been believed that Backfields, just off Stokes Croft, was the site of an early circus and now, at last, comes concrete confirmation.
    Knightstone Housing Association is at present creating a mix of homes/apartments and employment units on the site.
    But before Knightstone’s builders could start work, archaeologists from Bristol City Council moved in and started digging.
    What they discovered was thefirst firm, material evidence of an early 18th-century circus – one ofthe first equestrian schools in the city and possibly one of the first in the provinces.
    It consisted of circular stables around an open arena, or amphitheatre, thought to have been used for training riders.
    It was in 1758 that Thomas Johnston, the “Irish Tartar”, came to Bristol to show off his
    equestrian skills to the public on Durdham Down.
    Felix Farley’s Bristol Journal newspaper mentions another display a few years later by Thomas Price.
    The very first “circus” – in those days simply equestrian tricks with some theatrical elements – was established by Philip Astley in London in 1768.
    Astley, who arrived in Bristol in 1772 to perform on the Downs, is widely accepted as the originator of our modern circus.

    In the spring of 1788, trick riders again arrived in the city but this time, rather than the Downs, they utilised the yard at the back of The Angel pub, which stood
    between Redcliffe Street and St Thomas Street.
    Among the horsemen was ex-ostler Ben Handy, who, taking a liking to the West Country, decided to open a riding school in Bath.
    Then, in the spring of 1790, the Bristol Mercury announced that he would be erecting a covered wooden amphitheatre – rather like Astley’s in London – in a field adjoining the Full Moon pub in Stokes Croft.
    Handy’s entertainment there offered equestrian skills, dancing, tumbling, acrobatics plus a band – a real circus, in fact.
    This was such a success that he tried to raise 1,000 guineas to erect a permanent structure in Backfields.
    But instead, a new amphitheatre and riding school opened at Limekiln Lane, adjacent to the Hotwells and below Brandon Hill.
    Other “circuses” preferred playing to the public outdoors at St James’ Fair, or indoors at the Theatre Royal in King Street and at the Assembly Rooms in Prince Street.
    These “hippodramas” – from which we derive the word hippodrome – with Spanish and Arabian horses performing tricks, proved very popular.
    Andrew Ducrow, one of the greatest equestrians of his day, first came to Bristol in 1809.
    In 1832, and by then runninghis own company, he decided to build a proper “circus” on the Backfields site.
    The wooden walls and roof, although of a temporary nature, were founded on a brick base which could be reused in future years.
    It’s possible, of course, that some foundations from the 1790s were already there.
    Complete with gas lighting and gilt ornament, Ducrow’s National Olympic arena could hold up to 2,000 people.
    Located just outside the old city boundaries – and conveniently just beyond the reach of Bristol’s licensing authorities – Ducrow’s “circus” was well frequented by the working classes looking for some exciting entertainment.
    And when the centuries-old St James’ Fair was banned in 1838, after a murder by a strolling player, other venues came into their own and the Backfields site, adapted and changed over the years, was let out for a variety of entertainments.
    The 1850s saw a rise in the popularity of the tenting circus and a fall in the number of
    indoor events.
    Many of the troupes set up in Backfields, while the circus building itself was used as a
    riding school.
    But by 1856, the Wesleyans were proposing to build a school on the site, which suggests that it was becoming somewhat run down or out of use for much of the year.
    The fabulous Pablo Fanque troupe decided to perform at Backfields – albeit in a newly adapted, brilliantly lit “circus” – that Christmas, but the place then stood empty until the company’s return the following year.
    By 1860, the music halls were booming, with circuses restricted to performances over the Christmas season only.
    As they started looking for better sites elsewhere, it was boxing bouts and the like that kept Backfields on the entertainment circuit.
    Although equestrian acts came back briefly in 1871, the writing was on the wall. The following year’s entertainment was billed as a “Palace of Varieties and Music Hall, late circus”.
    These acts struggled on until 1877, but then we hear no more.
    St Paul’s historian Pete Bullard, who lives in nearby Grosvenor Road and has been researching the circus story, told Bristol Times: “The wooden building was taken over by the Salvation Army for temperance rallies in 1881, but destroyed in a fire some 14 years later. I suspect it was arson.
    “An old map, a ‘New Plan of Bristol, Clifton and the Hotwells’, which dates back to 1845, clearly shows the circus plus a mansion house (the old Maze nightclub but now luxury private apartments) and extensive formal gardens (the site of Mackies Bar).”
    The historian believes the two are linked: “A mansion house of that size at that time must have had stables for all of the horses and carriages, yet there aren’t any marked on the map.
    “As the circus had extensive stabling, I think the mansion house must have used those facilities.
    “It’s also possible that the stabling was used by the mail coaches and the Full Moon pub.”
    More recently, a printworks, now closed, was established on what was formerly Backfields Industrial Estate.
    The area is now being brought back to life with a new housing association development of part rent, part buy apartments andhouses plus some small employment units.
    But the foundations of the “circus” stables have been preserved and will remain intact under the new development.
    By a strange twist of fate, the circus training school Circomedia has established itself in the newly renovated St Paul’s church hardly a stone’s throw away from the original circus site.
    Knightstone Housing Association is looking for a new name for the housing development and would like to enlist BT readers’ help.
    Have you any family stories about the circus or stables, or any memories of working at
    the printworks?
    Can you think of a name for the housing which reflects the area’s history?
    Please send your memories or ideas to What Lies Beneath?, Knightstone Housing Association, FREEPOST, BS22 0BR, or email them at KHA@knightstone.co.uk with “What Lies Beneath?” in the subject line.
    The circus we know today – a mix of animal and human acts – was developed in this country by Philip Astley, a former sergeant major and an outstanding horse trainer.
    On leaving the army Astley decided to copy and improve the art of trick-riding which he had seen during his time in Europe.
    In 1768, he opened a “school” near Westminster Bridge, where he taught riding in the morning but performed amazing feats of horsemanship in the afternoon.
    The school had a 62ft circular arena that Astley called his circle, or circus – later known as “the ring”.
    Not only did this “ring” – later reduced in size – help riders keep their balance but it also allowed the audience to keep the acts in sight.
    After discovering that performing was much more lucrative than teaching Astley bought in some extra entertainment – acrobats, rope- dancers, jugglers and clowns – and so the circus was born.

    http://www.thisisbristol.co.uk/entertainment/story-11230978-detail/story.html
     
  5. Susan Lynne Schwenger

    Susan Lynne Schwenger The Final Synthesis - isbn 978-0-9939480-0-8 Staff Member

    Messages:
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  6. Susan Lynne Schwenger

    Susan Lynne Schwenger The Final Synthesis - isbn 978-0-9939480-0-8 Staff Member

    Messages:
    6,210
  7. Susan Lynne Schwenger

    Susan Lynne Schwenger The Final Synthesis - isbn 978-0-9939480-0-8 Staff Member

    Messages:
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    posters-large.
     
  8. Susan Lynne Schwenger

    Susan Lynne Schwenger The Final Synthesis - isbn 978-0-9939480-0-8 Staff Member

    Messages:
    6,210
    Frost’s Circus Life and Circus Celebrities
    Chapter One

    Chapter 1 Chapter 2 Chapter 3 Chapter 4 Chapter 5 Chapter 6
    Chapter 7 Chapter 8 Chapter 9 Chapter 10 Chapter 11 Chapter 12
    Chapter 13 Chapter 14 Chapter 15 Chapter 16 Chapter 17 Chapter 18
    Preface & Contents

    Thomas Frost, Circus Life and Circus Celebrities, London: Chatto and Windus, 1881.

    Chapter I.
    Beginnings of the Circus in England - Tumblers and Performing Horses of the Middle Ages - Jacob Hall, the Ropedancer - Francis Forcer and Sadler's Wells - Vauxhall Gardens - Price's Equestrian Performances at Johnson's Gardens-Sampson's Feats of Horsemanship - Philip Astley - His Open-air Performances near Halfpenny Hatch - The First Circus - Erection of the Amphitheatre in Westminster Road - First Performances there - Rival Establishment in Blackfriars Road - Hughes and Clementina.
    CONSIDERING the national love of everything in which the horse plays a part, and the lasting popularity of circus entertainments in modern times, it seems strange that the equine amphitheatre should have been unknown in England until the close of the last century. That the Romans, during their occupation of the southern portion of our island, introduced the sports of the arena, in which chariot-racing varied the combats of the gladiators, and the fierce encounters of wild beasts, is shown by the remains of the Amphitheatre at Dorchester, and by records of the existence of similar structures near St Alban's, and at Banbury and Caerleon. After the departure of the Romans, the amphitheatres which they had erected fell into disuse and decay; but at a later period they were appropriated to bull-baiting and bear-baiting, and the arena at Banbury was known as the bull-ring down to a comparatively recent period. An illumination of one of the Anglo-Saxon manuscripts in the Harleian collection shows one of these ancient amphitheatres, outside a town; there is a single musician in the arena, to whose music a man is dancing, while another performer exhibits a tame bear, which appears to be simulating sleep or death; the spectators are sitting or standing around, and one of them is applauding the performance in the modern manner, by clapping his hands.
    But from the Anglo-Saxon period to about the middle of the seventeenth century, the nearest approximation to circus performances was afforded by the 'glee-men,' and the exhibitors of bears that travestied a dance, and horses that beat a kettle-drum with their fore-feet. Some of the ‘glee-men' were tumblers and jugglers, and their feats are pourtrayed in several illuminated manuscripts of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. One of these illuminations, engraved in Strutt's Sports, shows a boy leaping through a hoop; another, in the Cottonian collection, represents a juggler throwing three balls and three knives alternately. What is technically called ‘the shower' is shown in another illumination of mediaeval juggling; and that there were female acrobats in those clays appears from a drawing in one of the Sloane collection of manuscripts, in which a girl is shown in the attitude of bending backward. One of the Arundel manuscripts, in the British Museum, shows a dancing bear; and other illuminations, of a later date, represent a horse on the tight-rope, and an ox standing on the back of a horse.
    Strutt quotes from the seventh volume of the Archoeologia, the following account of a rope-flying feat performed by a Spaniard in the reign of Edward VI. ‘There was a great rope, as great as the cable of a ship, stretched from the battlements of Paul's steeple, with a great anchor at one end, fastened a little before the Dean of Paul's house-gate; and when his Majesty approached near the same, there came a man, a stranger, being a native of Arragon, lying on the rope with his head forward, casting his arms and legs abroad, running on his breast on the rope from the battlement to the ground, as if it had been an arrow out of a bow, and stayed on the ground. Then he came to his Majesty, and kissed his foot; and so, after certain words to his Highness, he departed from him again, and went upwards upon the rope, till he came over the midst of the churchyard, where he, having a rope about him, played certain mysteries on the rope, as tumbling, and casting one leg from another. Then took he the rope, and tied it to the cable, and tied himself by the right leg a little space beneath the wrist of the foot, and hung by one leg a certain space, and after recovered himself again with the said rope, and unknit the knot, and came down again. Which stayed his Majesty, with all the train, a good space of time.'
    Holinshed mentions a similar feat which was performed in the following reign, and which, unhappily, resulted in the death of the performer. In the reign of Elizabeth, lived the famous Banks, whom Sir Walter Raleigh thought worthy of mention in his History of the World, saying that ‘if Banks had lived in older times, he would have shamed all the enchanters in the world; for whosoever was most famous among them could never master or instruct any beast as he did.' The animal associated with the performer so eulogized was a bay horse named Morocco, which was one of the marvels of the time. An old print represents the animal standing on his hind legs, with Banks directing his movements.
    Morocco seems to have been equally famous for his saltatory exercises and for his arithmetical calculations and his powers of memory. Moth, inLove's Labour Lost, puzzling Armado with arithmetical questions, says, 'The dancing horse will tell you,' an allusion which is explained by a line of one of Hall's satires -
    'Strange Morocco's dumb arithmetic.’
    Sir Kenelm Digby records that the animal 'would restore a glove to the due owner after the master had whispered the man's name in his ear; and would tell the just number of pence in any piece of silver coin newly showed him by his master.' De Melleray, in a note to his translation of the Golden Ass of Apuleius, says that he witnessed the performance of this animal in the Rue St Jacques, in Paris, to which city Banks proceeded in or before 1608; and he states that Morocco could not only tell the number of francs in a crown, but knew that the crown was depreciated at that time, and also the exact amount of the depreciation.
    The fame which Banks and his horse acquired in France, brought the former under the imputation of being a sorcerer, and he probably had a narrow escape of being burned at a stake in that character. Bishop Morton tells the story as follows:
    'Which bringeth into my remembrance a story which Banks told me at Frankfort, from his own experience in France among the Capuchins, by whom he was brought into suspicion of magic, because of the strange feats which his horse Morocco played (as I take it) at Orleans, where he, to redeem his credit, promised to manifest to the world, that his horse was nothing less than a devil. To this end be commanded his horse to seek out one in the press of the people who had a crucifix on his hat; which done, he bade him kneel down unto it, and not this only, but also to rise up again and to kiss it. And now, gentlemen (quoth he), I think my horse hath acquitted both me and himself; and so his adversaries rested satisfied; conceiving (as it might seem) that the devil had no power to come near the cross.'
    That Banks travelled with his learned horse from Paris to Orleans, and thence to Frankfort, is shown by this extract; but his further wanderings are unrecorded. It has been inferred, from the following lines of a burlesque poem by Jonson, that he suffered at last the fate he escaped at Orleans; but the grounds which the poet had for supposing such a dreadful end for the poor horse-charmer are unknown.

      • 'But 'mongst these Tiberts, who do you think there was?


      • Old Banks, the juggler, our Pythagoras,


      • Grave tutor to the learned horse; both which,


      • Being, beyond sea, burned for one witch,


    • Their spirits transmigrated to a cat.'
    These itinerant performers seem to have divided their time between town and country, as many of them do at the present day. Sir William Davenant, describing the street sights of the metropolis in his curious poem entitled The Long Vacation in London, says

      • 'Now, vaulter good, and dancing lass


      • On rope, and man that cries, Hey, pass!


      • And tumbler young that needs but stoop,


      • Lay head to heel to creep through hoop;


      • And man in chimney hid to dress


      • Puppet that acts our old Queen Bess;


      • And man, that while the puppets play,


      • Through nose expoundeth what they say;


      • And white oat-eater that does dwell


      • In stable small at sign of Bell,


      • That lifts up hoof to show the pranks Taught by magician styled Banks;


      • And ape led captive still in chain


      • Till he renounce the Pope and Spain;


      • All these on hoof now trudge from town


    • To cheat poor turnip-eating clown.'
    About the middle of the seventeenth century, some of these wandering performers began to locate themselves permanently in the metropolis. Jacob Hall, the rope-dancer, was scarcely less famous as an acrobat, being clever and alert in somersaults and flip-flaps, performing the former over naked rapiers and men's heads, and through hoops. He is mentioned by contemporary memoir writers as the first lover of Nell Gwynne, who appears, however, in a short time to have transferred her favours to Harte, the actor. In 1683, one Sadler opened the music-house at Islington which, from the circumstance of a mineral spring being discovered on the spot, became known by the name of Sadler's Wells, which it has retained to this day. It was not until after Sadler's death, however, that rope-dancing and acrobats' performances were added to the musical entertainments which, with the water, were the sole attraction of the place in its earliest days. The change was made by Francis Forcer, whose son was for several years the principal performer there. Forcer sold the establishment to Rosamond, the builder of Rosamond's Row, Clerkenwell, who contrived, by judicious management, to amass a considerable fortune.
    Of the nature of the amusements in Forcer's time we have a curious account in a communication made to the European Magazine by a gentleman who received it from Macklin, the actor, whom he met at Sadler's Wells towards the close of his life. 'Sir,' said the veteran comedian, 'I remember the time when the price of admission here was threepence, except a few places scuttled off at the sides of the stage at sixpence, and which were usually reserved for people of fashion, who occasionally came to see the fun. Here we smoked and drank porter and rum-and-water as much as we could pay for, and every man had his doxy that liked; and, although we had a mixture of very odd company, - for I believe it was a good deal the baiting-place of thieves and highwaymen, - there was little or no rioting.'
    During the period between Rosamond's management and the conversion of the place into a theatre for dramas of the kind for which the Adelphi and the Coburg became famous at a later day, the entertainments at Sadler's Wells consisted of pantomimes and musical interludes. In Forcer's time, according to the account said to have been given by Macklin, they consisted of 'hornpipes and ballad singing, with a kind of pantomime-ballet, and some lofty tumbling; and all done by daylight, with four or five exhibitions every day. The proprietors had always a fellow on the outside of the booth to calculate how many people were collected for a second exhibition; and when he thought there were enough, he came to the back of the upper seats, and cried out, "Is Hiram Fisteman here?" That was the cant word agreed upon between the parties to know the state of the people without: upon which they concluded the entertainment with a song, dismissed the audience, and prepared for a second representation.'
    Joseph Clark, the posturer, was one of the wonders of London during the reigns of James II. and William III., obtaining mention, even in the Transactions of the Philosophical Society, as having 'such an absolute command of all his muscles and joints that he could disjoint almost his whole body.' His exhibitions do not seem, however, to have been of a pleasing character, consisting chiefly in the imitation of every kind of human deformity. He could produce at will, and in a moment, without padding, the semblance of a Quasimodo or a Tichborne Claimant, his 'fair round belly, with good capon lined,' shift his temporary hump from one side to the other, project either hip, and twist his limbs into every conceivable complication. He could change his form so much as to defy a tailor to measure him, and imposed so completely on Molins, a famous surgeon of that time, as to be regarded by him as an incurable cripple. His portrait in Tempest's collection shows him shouldering his leg, an antic which is imitated by a monkey.
    There was a famous vaulter of this time, named William Stokes, who seems to have been the first to introduce horses in the performance; and in a book called the Vaulting Master, published at Oxford in 1652, boasts that he had reduced vaulting to a method. The book is illustrated by plates, representing different examples of his practice, in which he is shown vaulting over one or more horses, or leaping upon them; in one alighting in the saddle, and in another upon the bare back of a horse. It is singular that this last feat should not have been performed after Stokes's time, until Alfred Bradbury exhibited it a few years ago at the Amphitheatre in Holborn. It is improbable that Bradbury had seen the book, and his performance of the feat is, in that case, one more instance of the performance of an original act by more than one person at considerable intervals of time.
    May Fair, which has given its name to a locality now aristocratic, introduces us, in 1702 - the year in which the fearful riot occurred in which a constable was killed there - to Thomas Simpson, an equestrian vaulter, described in a bill of Husband's booth as 'the famous vaulting master of England.' A few years later a bill of the entertainments of Bartholomew Fair, preserved in Bagford's collection in the library of the British Museum, mentions tight-rope dancing and some performing dogs, which had had the honour of appearing before Queen Anne and 'most of the quality.' The vaulters, and posturers, and tight-rope performers of this period were not all the vagabonds they were in the eye of the law. Fawkes, a posturer and juggler of the first half of the eighteenth century, started, in conjunction with a partner named Pinchbeck, a show which was for many years one of the chief attractions of the London fairs, and appears to have realized a considerable fortune.
    The earliest notice of Vauxhall Gardens occurs in the Spectator of May 20th, 1712, in a paper written by Addison, when they had probably just been opened. They were then a fashionable promenade, the entertainments for which the place was afterwards famous not being introduced until at least a century later. In 1732 they were leased to Jonathan Tyers, whose name is preserved in two neighbouring streets, Tyers Street and Jonathan Street; and ten years later they were purchased by the same individual, and became as famous as Ranelagh Gardens for musical entertainments and masked balls. Admission was by season tickets only, and it is worthy of note that the inimitable Hogarth, from whose designs of the four parts of the day Hayman decorated the concert-room, furnished the design for the tickets, which were of silver. Tyers gave Hogarth a gold ticket of perpetual admission for six persons, or one coach; and the artist's widow bequeathed it to a relative. This unique relic of the departed glories of Vauxhall was last used in 1836, and is now in the possession of Mr Frederick Gye, who gave twenty pounds for it.
    Hogarth's picture of Southwark Fair introduces to us more than one of that generation of the strange race whose several varieties contribute so much to the amusement of the public. The slack-rope performer is Violante, of whom we read in Malcolm's Londinium Redivivus that, soon after the completion of the steeple [St Martin's in the Fields], an adventurous Italian, named Violante, descended from the arches, head foremost, on a rope stretched thence across St Martin's Lane to the Royal Mews; the princesses being present, and many eminent persons.' Hogarth shows another performer of this feat in the background of his picture, namely, Cadman, who was killed in 1740, in an attempt to descend from the summit of a church-steeple in Shrewsbury. The circumstances of this sad catastrophe are set forth in the epitaph on the unfortunate man's gravestone, which is as follows:

      • Let this small monument record the name


      • Of Cadman, and to future times proclaim


      • Here, by an attempt to fly from this high spire


      • Across the Sabrine stream, he did acquire


      • His fatal end. 'Twas not for want of skill


      • Or courage to perform the task, he fell:


      • No, no - a faulty cord, being drawn too tight


      • Hurried his soul on high to take her flight,


    • Which bid the body here beneath good night.'
    The earliest advertisement of Sadler's Wells which I have been able to find is one of 1739, which states that 'the usual diversions will begin this day at five o'clock in the evening, with a variety of rope-dancing, tumbling, singing, and several new entertainments of dancing, both serious and comic; concluding with the revived grotesque pantomime called Happy Despair, with additions and alterations.' An advertisement of the following year introduces Miss Rayner as a performer on the tight rope, who in 1748 appeared in conjunction with a younger sister. The acrobats of the latter period were Williams, Hough, and Rayner, the latter probably father or brother of the fair performers on the corde elastique.
    The New Wells, at the bottom of Leman Street, Goodman's Fields, were opened at this time, and introduced to the public a French rope-dancer named Dugee, who also tumbled, in conjunction with Williams, who had left the Islington place of entertainment, and another acrobat named Janno. Williams is announced in an advertisement of 1748 to vault over the heads of ten men. The admission here was by payment for a pint of wine or punch, which was the case also at Sadler's Wells at this time; but in an announcement of a benefit the charges for admission are stated at eighteen-pence and half-a-crown, with the addition that the night will be moonlight, and that wine may be obtained at two shillings per bottle.
    Twenty years later, we find announced at Sadler's Wells, 'feats of activity by Signor Nomora and Signora Rossi, and many curious and uncommon equilibres by Le Chevalier des Linges.' In 1771 the rope-dancers here were Ferzi (sometimes spelt Farci) and Garmon, who was, a few years later, a member of the first company formed by the celebrated Philip Astley for the Amphitheatre in the Westminster Road.
    The first equestrian performances ever seen in England, other than those of the itinerant exhibitors of performing horses, were given on the site of Dobney's Place, at the back of Penton Street, Islington. It was then a tea garden and bowling-green, to which one Johnson, who obtained a lease of the premises in 1767, added such performances as then attracted seekers after amusement to Sadler's Wells. One Price, concerning whose antecedents the strictest research has failed to discover any information, gave equestrian performances at this place in 1770, and soon had a rival in one Sampson, who performed similar feats in a field behind the Old Hats.
    About the same time, feats of horsemanship were exhibited in Lambeth, in a field near Halfpenny Hatch, which, it may be necessary to inform our readers, stood where a broad ditch, which then ran through the fields and market gardens now covered by the streets between Westminster Road and Blackfriars Road, was crossed by a swivel bridge. There was a narrow pathway through the fields and gardens, for the privilege of using which a halfpenny was paid to the owners at a cottage near the bridge. In one of these fields Philip Astley - a great name in circus annals - formed his first ring with a rope and some stakes, going round with his hat after each performance to collect the loose halfpence of the admiring spectators.
    This remarkable man was born in 1742, at Newcastle-under-Lyme, where his father carried on the business of a cabinet-maker. He received little or no education, and after working a few years with his father, enlisted in a cavalry regiment. His imposing appearance, being over six feet in height, with the proportions of a Hercules, and the voice of a Stentor, attracted attention to him; and his capture of a standard at the battle of Emsdorff made him one of the celebrities of his regiment. While serving in the army, he learned some feats of horsemanship from an itinerant equestrian named Johnson, perhaps the man under whose management Price introduced equestrian performances at Sadler's Wells, - and often exhibited them for the amusement of his comrades. On his discharge from the army, he was presented by General Elliot with a horse, and thereupon he bought another in Smithfield, and commenced those open-air performances in Lambeth which have already been noticed.
    After a time, he built a rude circus upon a piece of ground near Westminster Bridge which had been used as a timber-yard, being the site of the theatre which has been known by his name for nearly a century. Only the seats were roofed over, the ring in which he performed being open to the air. One of his horses, which he had taught to perform a variety of tricks, he soon began to exhibit, at an earlier period of each day, in a large room in Piccadilly, where the entertainment was eked out with conjuring and ombres Chinoises - a kind of shadow pantomime.
    One of the earliest advertisements of the Surrey side establishment sets forth that the entertainment consisted of 'horsemanship by Mr Astley, Mr Taylor, Signor Markutchy, Miss Vangable, and other transcendent performers,' - a minuet by two horses, 'in a most extraordinary manner,' - a comical musical interlude, called The Awkward Recruit, and an 'amazing exhibition of dancing dogs from France and Italy, and other genteel parts of the globe.'
    One of the advertisements of Astley's performances for 1772, one of the very few that can be found of that early date, is as follows:
    'Horsemanship and New Feats of Activity. This and every Evening at six, Mr and Mrs Astley, Mrs Griffiths, Costmethopila, and a young Gentleman, will exhibit several extraordinary feats on one, two, three, and four horses, at the foot of Westminster Bridge.
    ‘These feats of activity are in number upwards of fifty; to which is added the new French piece, the different characters by Mr Astley, Griffiths, Costmethopila, &c. Each will be dressed and mounted on droll horses.
    ‘Between the acts of horsemanship, a young gentleman will exhibit several pleasing heavy balances, particularly this night, with a young Lady nine years old, never performed before in Europe; after which Mr Astley will carry her on his head in a manner quite different from all others. Mrs Astley will likewise perform with two horses in the same manner as she did before their Majesties of England and France, being the only one of her sex that ever had that honour. The doors to be opened at five, and begin at six o'clock. A commodious gallery, 120 feet long, is fitted up in an elegant manner. Admittance there as usual.
    'N.B. Mr Astley will display the broad-sword, also ride on a single horse, with one foot on the saddle, the other on his head, and every other feat which can be exhibited by any other. With an addition of twenty extraordinary feats, such as riding on full speed, with his head on a common pint pot, at the rate of twelve miles an hour, &c.
    To specify the particulars of Mr Astley's performance would fill this side of the paper, therefore please to ask for a bill at the door, and see that the number of fifty feats are performed, Mr Astley having placed them in acts as the performance is exhibited. The amazing little Military Horse, which fires a pistol at the word of command, will this night exhibit upwards of twenty feats in a manner far superior to any other, and meets with the greatest applause.'
    An advertisement issued at the close of the season, in 1775, announces 'the last new feats of horsemanship, four persons on three horses, or a journey to Paris; also, the pynamida on full speed by Astley, Griffin, and Master Phillips.' This curious word is probably a misprint for ‘pyramids.'
    In this year, Richer, the famous harlequin, revived the ladder-dancing feat at Sadler's Wells, where he also joined in the acrobatic performances of Rayner, Garmon, and Huntley, the last being a new addition to the troupe. Other 'feats of activity' were performed by the Sigols, and Ferzi and, others exhibited their evolutions on the tight-rope. The same names appear in the advertisements of the following year, when rivals appeared in vaulting and tight-rope dancing at Marylebone Gardens.
    'As Mr Astley's celebrated new performances at Westminster Bridge draws near to a conclusion,' says one of the great equestrian's advertisements of 1776, 'it is humbly requested the present opportunity may not escape the notice of the ladies and gentlemen. Perhaps such another exhibition is not to be found in Europe. To the several entertainments of the riding-school is added, the Grand Temple of Minerva, acknowledged by all ranks of people to be extremely beautiful. The curtain of the Temple to ascend at five o'clock, and descend at six, at which time the grand display will be made in a capital manner, consisting of rope-vaulting on full swing, with many new pleasing additions of horsemanship, both serious and comic; various feats of activity and comic tumbling, the learned little horse, the Roman battle, le force d'Hercule, or the Egyptian pyramids, an entertainment never seen in England; with a variety of other performances extremely entertaining. The doors to be opened at five, and begin at six precisely. Admittance in the gallery 2s., the riding school 1s. A price by no means adequate to the evening's diversion.'
    Having saved some money out of the proceeds of these performances, Astley erected the Amphitheatre, which, in its early years, resembled the present circus in Holborn more than the building subsequently identified with the equestrian triumphs of Ducrow. Chinese shadows were still found attractive, it seems, for they constitute the first item in one of the programmes of 1780, in which year the Amphitheatre was opened. Then came feats of horsemanship by Griffin, Jones, and Miller, the clown to the ring being Burt. Tumbling - ‘acrobatics' had not been extracted from the Greek dictionary in those days - by Nevit, Porter, Dawson, and Garmon followed; and it is worthy of remark that none of the circus performers of the last century seem to have deemed it expedient to Italianize their names, or to assume fanciful appellations, such as the Olympian Brothers, or the Marvels of Peru. After the tumbling, the feat of riding two and three horses at the same time was exhibited, the performer modestly concealing his name, which was probably Philip Astley. Next came ‘slack-rope vaulting in full swing, in different attitudes,' tricks on chairs and ladders, a burlesque equestrian act by the clown, and, lastly, 'the amazing performance of men piled upon men, or the Egyptian pyramid.'
    About the same time that the Amphitheatre was opened, the Royal Circus, which afterwards became the Surrey Theatre, was erected in Blackfriar's Road by the elder, Dibdin and an equestrian named Hughes, who is described as a man of fine appearance and immense strength. The place being unlicensed, the lessees had to close it in the midst of success; but a license was obtained, and it was re-opened in March, 1783. Burlettas were here combined with equestrian performances, and for some time a spirited competition with Astley's was maintained. The advertisements of the Circus are as curious for their grammar and strange sprinkling of capitals as for their personal allusions. A few specimens culled from the newspapers of the period are subjoined:
    No. 1 - 'The celebrated Sobieska Clementina and Mr Hughes on Horseback will end on Monday next, the 4th of October; until then they will display the whole of their Performances, which are allowed, by those who know I best, to be the completest of the kind in Europe. Hughes humbly thanks the Nobility, &c., for the honour of their support, and also acquaints them his Antagonist has catched a bad cold so near to Westminster bridge, and for his recovery is gone to a warmer Climate, which is Bath in Somersetshire. He boasts, poor Fellow, no more of activity, and is now turned Conjuror, in the character of 'Sieur the Great.' Therefore Hughes is unrivalled, and will perform his surprising feats accordingly at his Horse Academy, until the above Day. The Doors to be opened at Four o'clock, and Mounts at half-past precisely. H. has a commodious Room, eighty feet long. N. B. Sobieska rides on one, two, and three horses, being the only one of her Sex that ever performed on one, two, and three.'
    No. 2. - 'Hughes has the honour to inform the Nobility, &c., that he has no intention of setting out every day to France for three following Seasons, his Ambition being fully satisfied by the applause he has received from Foreign Gentlemen who come over the Sea to See him. Clementina and Miss Huntly ride one, two, and three horses at full speed, and takes Leaps surprising. A little Lady, only Eight Years old, rides Two Horses at full gallop by herself, without the assistance of any one to hold her on. Enough to put any one in fits to see her. H. will engage to ride in Twenty Attitudes that never were before attempted; in particular, he will introduce his Horse of Knowledge, being the only wise animal in the Metropolis. A Sailor in full gallop to Portsmouth, without a bit of Bridle or Saddle. The Maccaroni Tailor riding to Paris for new Fashions. This being Mr Pottinger's night, he will speak a Prologue adapted to the noble art of Riding, and an Epilogue also suited to Extraordinary Leaps. Tickets (2s.) to be had of Mr Wheble, bookseller, Paternosterrow, and at H.'s Riding School. Mounts half-past four.'
    No. 3. - 'Hughes, with the celebrated Sobieska Clementina, the famous Miss Huntly, and an astonishing Young Gentleman (son of a Person of Quality), will exhibit at Blackfriars-road more Extraordinary things than ever yet witnessed, such as leaping over a Horse forty times without stopping between the springs - Leaps the Bar standing on the Saddle with his Back to the Horse's Tail, and, Vice-Versa, Rides at full speed with his right Foot on the Saddle, and his left Toe in his Mouth, two surprising Feet. Mrs Hughes takes A fly and fires a Pistol - rides at full speed standing on Pint Pots - mounts pot by pot, higher still, to the terror of all who see her. H. carries a lady at full speed over his head - surprising! The young gentleman will recite verses of his own making, and act Mark Antony, between the leaps. Clementina every night - a commodious room for the nobility.'
    The excitement of apparent danger was evidently as much an element of the popular interest in circus performances a century ago as at the present day.
    Colonel West, to whom the ground on which the circus was erected belonged, became a partner in the enterprise, and invested a large amount in it. On his death the concern became very much embarrassed, and struggled for several years with a load of debt. Hughes was succeeded as manager by Grimaldi, a Portuguese, the grandfather of the famous clown whom some of us remember at Covent Garden; and Grimaldi, in 1780, by Delpini, an Italian buffo singer, under whose management the novel spectacle of a stag-hunt was introduced in the arena.
    Sadler's Wells continued to give the usual entertainment, the advertisements of 1786 announcing 'a great variety of singing, dancing, tumbling, posturing, rope-dancing,' &c., by the usual very capital performers, and others, more particularly tumbling by Rayner, Tully, Huntley, Garmon, and Grainger, 'pleasing and surprising feats of strength and agility' by Richer and Baptiste, and their pupils, and tight-rope dancing by Richer, Baptiste, and Signora Mariana, varied during a portion of the season by the last named artiste's ‘new and extraordinary performance on the slack wire, particularly a curious display of two flags, and a pleasing trick with a hoop and three glasses of wine.'
    Astley's soon became a popular place of amusement for all classes. Horace Walpole, writing to Lord Stafford, says:
    ‘London, at this time of the year [September], is as nauseous a drug as any in an apothecary's shop. I could find nothing at all to do, and so went to Astley's, which, indeed, was much beyond my expectation. I do not wonder any longer that Darius was chosen King by the instructions he gave to his horse; nor that Caligula made his Consul. Astley can make his dance minuets and hornpipes. But I shall not have even Astley now: Her Majesty the Queen of France, who has as much taste as Caligula, has sent for the whole of the dramatis personoe to Paris.'
    Among the expedients to which Astley occasionally had recourse for the purpose of drawing a great concourse of people to the Surrey side of the Thames was a balloon ascent, an attraction frequently had recourse to in after times at Vauxhall, the Surrey Gardens, Cremorne, the Crystal Palace, and other places of popular resort. The balloon was despatched from St George's Fields on the 12th of March, 1784, 'in the presence,' says a writer in the Gentleman's Magazine, 'of a greater number of spectators than were, perhaps, ever assembled together on any occasion;' and he adds that, 'many of the spectators will have reason to remember it; for a more ample harvest for the pickpockets never was presented. Some noblemen and gentlemen lost their watches, and many their purses. The balloon, launched about half-past one in the afternoon, was found at Faversham.' This ascent took place within two months after that of the Montgolfiere balloon at Lyons, and was, therefore, probably the first ever attempted in this country; while, by a strange coincidence, the first aerostatic experiment ever made in Scotland was made on the same day that Astley's ascended, but about an hour later, from Heriot's Gardens, Edinburgh.
    Horace Walpole writes, in allusion to a subsequent balloon ascent, and the excitement which it created in the public mind,
    'I doubt it has put young Astley's nose out of joint, who went to Paris lately under their Queen's protection, and expected to be Prime Minister, though he only ventured his neck by dancing a minuet on three horses at full gallop, and really in that attitude has as much grace as the Apollo Belvedere.' The fame of the Astleys receives further illustration from a remark of Johnson's, that 'Whitfield never drew as much attention as a mountebank does: he did not draw attention by doing better than others, but by doing what was strange. Were Astley to preach a sermon standing on his head, or on a horse's back, he would collect a multitude to hear him; but no wise man would say he had made a better sermon for that.'
    The earliest displayed advertisement of Astley's which I have been able to discover, is as follows, which appeared in 1788:
    ASTLEY'S AMPHITHEATRE, WESTMINSTER BRIDGE.
    YOUNG ASTLEY'S,
    SURPRISING! EQUESTRIAN EXERCISES.
    In the intervals
    A NEW WAR ENTERTAINMENT,
    In which will be introduced a SINGLE COMBAT with the BROADSWORD between YOUNG ASTLEY, as a British Sailor, and Mr. J. TAYLOR, as a Savage Chief; after which a General Engagement between British Sailors and Savages. The Scenery, Machinery, Songs, Dances, and Dresses, adapted to the manners of the different Countries.
    TUMBLING
    By a most capital Group.
    A New Comic DANCE, CALLED
    THE GERMAN CHASSEURS,
    With New Music, Dresses, &c.
    A Musical ENTERTAINMENT, CALLED
    THE INVITATION.
    The Songs and Choruses, together with the
    Dresses, entirely new.
    A GRAND ENTRY OF HORSES.
    A MINUET DANCE By Two HORSES,
    And other extraordinary performances by the Horses.
    A New Comic Dance, called
    THE ETHIOPIAN FESTIVAL,
    In which will be introduced a New Pas de Trois, never performed in London, Composed by Mons. Vermigli, Eleve de l'Opera, and danced by him, Mr Marqui, and Mr J. Taylor, representing the whimsical Actions and Attitudes made use of by the Negroes. After which a Pas de Deux, composed by Mons. Ferrer, and danced by him and Mad. Fuzzi, in the character of an Indian Prince and Princess. The Music and Dresses entirely new.
    A New favourite Song, by MR JOHANNOT, Called
    Bow-wow-wow.
    HORSEMANSHIP.
    AND OTHER EXERCISES,
    By Master Crossman, Mr Jenkins, Mr Lonsdale, Mr J. Taylor, and Miss Vangabel; Clown, Mr Miller.
    The whole to conclude with a New Entertainment of Singing, Dancing, and Dumb-Shew to Speaking Music, called the
    MAGIC WORLD.
    In which will be introduced, behind a large transparent Painting, representing the enchanted World, a variety of Magical, Pantomimical, Farcical, Tragical, Comic Deceptions; together with a grand Procession of Caricature Figures, displaying a variety of whimsical Devices in a manner entirely New.
    Doors to be opened at half-past Five, and to begin precisely at half-past Six.
    BOXES 3s. - PIT 2s. - GALL. 1s. - SIDE GALL. 6d.
    I found this advertisement, and the following one, which was issued in the same year, but at a later period, in a collection of similar literary curiosities purchased at the sale of the effects of the late Mr Lacey, the well-known theatrical bookseller, of the Strand.
    THIS EVENING, will be presented at
    ASTLEY'S,
    An entire new pantomimic Dance, called
    THE HUMOURS OF GIL BLAS
    (A Parody)
    As performed with applause at the Theatres on the Boulevards, Paris.
    Gil Blas, Mr Jenkins - His Father, Mr Henley - Uncle, Mr Lonsdale - Servant, Mr Bell - Flash the Spaniard, Mr Ferrere - Mungo, his Servant, Master Collet - Doctor, Mr Fox - Maria (fat Cook), Mr Connell - Spanish Lady, Mrs Stevens - Gil Blas, Mother, Mrs Henley - Post Boy, Master Crossman - Captain of the Banditti, Mr Johannot - Lieutenant, - Mr Fox - Signal Man, Mr De Castro - Spy, Mr Millard - Captain of the Cavern, Mr Wallack.
    The Rest of the Banditti, by the Remainder of the Company. Dancers, Mons. Vermigli, Madame Ferrere, and Mademoiselle Meziere.
    To conclude with
    A SPANISH FAIR,
    In which will be introduced a multiplicity of Drolls, Shews, &c., with a surprising Real Gigantic Spanish Pig, measuring from head to tail 12 feet, and 12 hands high, weighing 12 cwt., which will be rode by a Monkey.
    HORSEMANSHIP
    By YOUNG ASTLEY, and other Capital
    Performers.
    A Musical Piece, called
    THE DIAMOND RING:
    Or, THE JEW OUTWITTED.
    Israel, Mr De Castro - Harry, Mr Millard Feignlove, Mr Fox - Maid, Mrs Wallack - Lucy Feignlove, Mrs Henley.
    TUMBLING
    By Mr Lonsdale, Mr Jenkins, Mr Bell, Master Creasman, Master Jenkinson, Master Collet, and others.
    A favourite Dance, composed by Mons. Vermigli,
    (Eleve de l'Opera) called
    THE SPORTS OF THE VILLAGE.
    A Musical Piece, called
    THE BLACK AND WITE MILLINERS.
    Tiffany, Mr Connell - Myrtle, Mr Wallack - Timewell, Mr Miller - Doctor Spruce, Mr Fox - Sprightly, Mr Johannot - Nancy, Mrs Wallack - Fanny, Mrs Wigley - Mrs Tiffany, Mrs Henley.
    The whole to conclude with a Pantomime, called
    THE MAGIC WORLD,
    In which will be introduced behind a large transparent Painting, representing the enchanted World, a variety of magical, pantomimical, farcical, tragical, comic Deceptions, together with a Grand Procession. of Caricature Figures, displaying a variety of whimsical Devices, with the Emblems of the Inhabitants of the Four Quarters of the Globe, in a Manner entirely New.
    To finish with
    THE GIBRALTAR CHARGER:
    Surrounded by a Chain of Fire.
    Equestrianism does not make a very important figure in the announcements of the Royal Circus at this period, which simply inform the public that 'the performances will commence with horsemanship by Mr Hughes and his unrivalled pupils.' The programme was chiefly musical, and concluded with a pantomime, in which Rayner, the acrobat, from Sadler's Wells, sustained the part of Harlequin. At the latter place of amusement, charges ranging from a shilling to three shillings and sixpence were now made for admission, and the performances, other than music and dancing, consisted of posturing by a boy called the Infant Hercules, and tight-rope dancing by Madame Romaine, another female artiste known as La Belle Espagnole, and two lads, one of whom was a son of Richer, the other known as the Little Devil. Grimaldi the Second, son of the manager of the Royal Circus, and father of the famous Joey Grimaldi, was clown at this establishment for many years, commencing, it is said, at the munificent salary of three shillings per week, which was gradually, raised until, in 1794, we find him receiving four pounds per week.
    I cannot better conclude this chapter than with the following strictures upon the places of amusement to which it chiefly relates, culled from a newspaper of 1788:
    ‘If the objections which are made to permitting the present existing theatres or places of public amusement to continue arises from a principle of morality, which indeed is the only plea of opposition which can be alleged, it is somewhat strange that the only exception should be made in favour of Sadler's Wells, at which alone, it is worthy of remark, a man may if he chooses get drunk. A pint of liquor is included in the price of admittance, but as much more may be had as any person chooses to call for. The heat of the place is a great inducement, and we believe many females have from that cause drank more than has let them depart in their sober senses, the consequences of which are obvious. This is not permitted at Astley's, the Circus, or the Royalty.'
    The last-mentioned place of amusement was a Variety Theatre, in Wells Street, Goodman's Fields, which had risen out of the New Wells, and gave entertainments similar to those of Sadler's Wells and the Royal Circus.
    http://www.circushistory.org/Frost/Frost1.htm
     
  9. Susan Lynne Schwenger

    Susan Lynne Schwenger The Final Synthesis - isbn 978-0-9939480-0-8 Staff Member

    Messages:
    6,210
    CHAPTER 2
    handy or handy's or handys - partner of Astley - was Ben aka Benjamin Handy - 2nd wife Mary Huntley(The widow of Grant) - daughter of Catawba Chief Neil Huntley
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    Thomas Frost, Circus Life and Circus Celebrities, London: Chatto and Windus, 1881.
    http://www.circushistory.org/Frost/Frost2.htm
    Chapter II.
    Fortunes of the Royal Circus - Destruction of Astley's Amphitheatre by Fire - Its Reconstruction - Second Conflagration - Astley in Paris - Burning of the Royal Circus - Erection of the Olympic Pavilion - Hengler, the Rope-dancer - Astley's Horses - Dancing Horses - The Trick Horse, Billy - Abraham Saunders - John Astley and William Davis - Death of Philip Astley - Vauxhall Gardens - Andrew Ducrow - John Clarke - Barrymore's Season at Astley's - Hippo-dramatic Spectacles - The first Circus Camel.
    For nearly forty years after the opening of Astley's Amphitheatre, the performances did not differ, in any respect, from the usual entertainment of the smallest tenting company now travelling. The earliest bill of the collection in the library of the British Museum was issued in 1791, when the great attraction of the place appears to have been the somersault over twelve horses, called le grand saut du Trampolin, of James Lawrence, whose vaulting feats gained him the name (in the bills) of the Great Devil.
    In 1792, the entertainments comprised a considerable musical element, and concluded with a pantomime. One of the advertisements of this year announces the performances in the arena as follows:
    'Horsemanship, and exercises for the Light Dragoons - Ground and lofty tumbling - A grand entry of horses - Equestrian exercises, particularly the metamorphose of the sack - Wonderful equilibres on a single horse - Whimsical piece of horsemanship, called The Taylor riding to Brentford.'
    Sadler's Wells continued to vary its programme with tumbling and rope-dancing, and in 1792 gave 'a pleasing exhibition of strength and posturework, entirely new, called Le Tableau Chinois, by Signor Bologna and his children, in which will be displayed a variety of curious and striking manoeuvres. Tight-rope dancing by the Little Devil and Master Bologna, with the comic accompaniment of Signor Pietro Bologna.'
    From the Royal Circus announcements of the following year, I select the following two, as good illustrations of the kind of performances then given, and curious examples of circus bills eighty years ago:
    ROYAL CIRCUS.
    The Company at the Circus beg leave to acquaint the Nobility, Gentry, and Public, that young CROSSMAN will appear this present Evening, August 7, On HORSEBACK, and challenge all the Horsemen in Europe.
    FRICAPEE DANCING, VAULTING, TIGHT-ROPE
    > DANCING, PYRAMIDS, GROUND AND
    LOFTY TUMBLING, &C. &C. &C.
    The performance will commence with a Grand Entry of Horses, mounted by the Troop. Young CROSSMAN'S unparalleled Peasant Hornpipe, and Hag Dance, not to be equalled by any Horseman in this Kingdom.
    LE GRAND SAUT DE TRAMPOLINE by Mr PORTER, (Clown) who will jump over a garter 15 feet from the ground, and fire off two Pistols.
    THE MUSICAL CHILD, (only nine years of age) will go through his wonderful Performance. Mr SMITH will go through a variety of Performances on a Single Horse.
    THE HUMOURS OF THE SACK,
    OR, THE CLOWN DECEIVED BY A WOMAN.
    FRICASSEE DANCE,
    By Mr CROSSMAN and Mr PORTER.
    Mr INGHAM (from Dublin) will throw an innumerable Row of Flipflaps.
    Mr CROSSMAN will vault over the Horse backwards and forwards, with his Legs Tied, in a manner not to be equalled by any Performer in this Kingdom.
    GROUND AND LOFTY TUMBLING,
    by the whole Troop.
    The AFRICAN Will go through his astonishing Stage and Equestrian Performances.
    LA FORCE DE HERCULES:
    Or, The Ruins Of Troy.
    Mr PORTER will perform on a single Horse, in a ludicrous manner.
    Young CROSSMAN will leap from a single Horse over Two Garters, 12 feet high, and alight again on the Saddle, and Play the Violin in various Attitudes.
    THE TAYLOR'S DISASTER,
    Or, his Wonderful Journey to Brentford,
    By Mr PORTER.
    To conclude with a Real Fox and Stag Chase by twelve couple of Hounds, and two real FOXES, and a real STAG HUNT, as performed before their Majesties.
    Crossman, it will be seen, had transferred his services from Astley's to the rival establishment, where he must have been an acquisition of some importance. The Ducrow mentioned in the second bill, must have been the father of the celebrated equestrian of that name.
    CHANGE OF PERFORMANCES.
    THE WINDSOR HUNT.
    This and every Evening, until further Notice, at the
    ROYAL CIRCUS,
    In which will be introduced a Representation of
    THE DEER CARRIAGE AND STAG
    With Horsemen and Women coming out of Holyport Mead to see the Stag turned out; the Hunt will be then joined by Ten Male and Three Female Equestrians. The Stag will be Twice, and the Horsemen and Horsewomen Five Times, in FULL VIEW.
    AN ENTIRE NEW DANCE, CALLED
    THE CROATIAN MERCHANTS,
    Composed by Mons. Ferrere. Principal Dancers, Mons. Ferrere, Madame Ferrere, Mons. D'Egville, and Signora Fuzi, with Six Couple of Figurants. The Dresses and Decorations entirely New, by Mr RISLEBEN.
    YOUNG CROSSMAN
    Will appear this and every Evening on HORSEBACK, and challenge all the Horsemen in Europe.
    TIGHT-ROPE DANCING,
    By the celebrated SAXONI, from Rome.
    PYRAMIDS, GROUND and LOFTY TUMBLING, &c.
    The Grand Leaps over SEVEN HORSES.
    Also, through the Hoop on FIRE, fourteen feet high, by Mr PORTER and Mr DUCROW. The former will leap over more Horses than any Man in Europe.
    MR FRANKLIN'S inimitable Performances with
    THE CHILD OF PROMISE,
    In various attitudes. Playing on the violin, &c.,
    MR SMITH, MR INGHAM, MR PORTER, MR DUCROW, MR MEREDITH, MR ALLERS, MR JONES, MR BENGE, MR QUIN, MR FRANCIS, and
    THE FAMOUS AFRICAN,
    (Who is not to be equalled) will go through the TILTS and TOURNAMENTS, and MILITARY EXERCISES, as performed on HORSEBACK, in the FIELD and MANAGE. To which will be added,
    THE TAYLOR'S DISASTER!
    AND FOX HUNT.
    By the above Male and Female Equestrians.
    The performances at Sadler's Wells this year included 'a series of varied equilibres and posturework, called Le Tableau Chinois, by Signor Bologna and his children,' and 'a capital display of agility on the tight-rope by the inimitable Mr Richer, from Petersburgh; also the pleasing exertions of La Belle Espagnole.' There does not appear to have been many changes in the programme of this establishment, which in the following year presented 'a new and picturesque exhibition, called the Pastimes of Pekin, or Kien Quang's Family Tree; in which will be displayed, by a group of ten capital performers, under the direction of the Great Kien Quang, a variety of entertainments and active manoeuvres, a la Chinois, with banners, garlands, and umbrellas;' and 'the pleasing and varied exertions of Messrs Bologna and La Belle Espagnole.'
    Astley's Amphitheatre was destroyed by fire in 1794, to the serious loss of the proprietor, who was not insured; but such was his indomitable energy and enterprise that it was rebuilt in time to be opened on Easter Monday, in the following year. In the mean while, in order to keep his company and stud employed, he had converted the Lyceum into a circus, in conjunction with a partner named Handy.
    The Royal Circus was far from prosperous. The load of debt upon it kept the lessees in a position of constant difficulty and embarrassment, and in 1795 Mrs West levied an execution on the premises. It was then opened by Jones and Cross, the latter a writer of spectacles and pantomimes for Covent Garden; and in their hands it remained until it was destroyed by fire in 1805.
    Handy was still Astley's partner in 1796, when the advertisements announce 'thirty-five new acts by Astley's and Handy's riders, and two surprising females,’ in addition to pony races, the performances of a clever little pony, only thirty inches in height, a performance on two ropes, and a novel act by a performer named Carr, who stood on his head in the centre of a globe, and ascended thirty feet 'turning round in a most surprising manner, like a boy's top.' Later advertisements of this year describe the Amphitheatre as 'under the patronage of the Duke of York,' and announce the special engagement of two Catawba Indians - both chiefs, of course, as American Indians and Arabs who appear in the arena always are represented to be. These copper-coloured gentlemen gave their war dance and tomahawk exercise, and performed feats of dexterity with bows and arrows. The only mention of equestrianism at this time is, that 'various equestrian and other exercises' will be given 'by pupils of both the Astleys.'
    Sadler's Wells gave this year 'various elegant and admired exercises on the tight-rope, by the inimitable Mr Richer and La Belle Espagnole, particularly Richer's astonishing leap over the two garters, with various feats of agility and comic accompaniment by Dubois.' This establishment and the Royalty gradually abandoned entertainments of this kind, and were at length converted into theatres; and the like change was effected at the Royal Circus, or rather at the building which rose upon the ruins made by the conflagration of 1805.
    Astley's was burned again in 1803, when Mrs Woodhams, the mother of Mrs Astley, perished in the flames. Astley was again a heavy sufferer, the insurance not covering more than a fourth of the damage; but once more the building rose from its ruins, and it was again re-opened in 1804. Astley being occupied at the tune with the construction of a circus in Paris, since known as Franconi's, the new Amphitheatre was leased by him to his son, John Astley, with whom William Davis soon became associated as a partner.
    In 1805, the Royal Circus having been destroyed by fire, Philip Astley leased the site of the Olympic Theatre from Lord Craven for a term of sixty-one years, at a yearly rental of one hundred pounds, with the stipulation that two thousand five hundred pounds should be expended in the erection of a theatre. It was an odd-shaped piece of ground, and required some contrivance to adapt it to the purpose; but Astley, who was his own architect and surveyor, and indeed his own builder, for he is said to have employed the workmen ge required without the intervention of a master, overcame all difficulties with his usual energy and fertility of resource.
    He bought the timbers of an old man-of-war, captured from the French, and with these built the framework of the theatre, a portion of which could, it was said, be seen at the rear of the boxes of the old Olympic Theatre before it was destroyed by fire. There was very little brickwork, the frame being covered externally with sheet iron. and internally with canvas. The arrangements of the auditorium were very similar to those of the provincial circuses of the present day; there was a single tier of boxes, a pit running round the circle, and a gallery behind, separated from the pit by a grating, which caused the ‘gods' to be likened to the wild beasts in Cross's menagerie, Exeter Change. There was no orchestra, but a few musicians sat in a stage box on each side. The chandelier was a present from the king. The building was licensed for music, dancing, and equestrian performances, and called the Olympic.Pavilion. It passed in 1812 into the possession of Elliston, who purchased it, with the remaining term of the lease, for two thousand eight hundred pounds and an annuity of twenty pounds contingent on the continuance of the license. The annuity soon ceased to be payable, for Elliston opened the theatre for burlettas and musical farces in 1813, and it was closed a few weeks afterwards by order of the Lord Chamberlain, on the ground that the license had been granted on the supposition that the theatre was to be used for the same kind of entertainment as had been given by Astley, and only during the same portion of the year.
    The Amphitheatre continued to be conducted in the same manner as it had been when in the hands of the proprietor, and brought before the public a succession of clever equestrians, tumblers, and rope-dancers. In a bill of 1807 we first meet with the name of Hengler, its then owner being a performer of some celebrity on the tight-rope. The travelling circuses which were springing into existence at this time, both in England and on the continent, furnished the lessees with a constant succession of artistes; and the admirably trained horses fairly divided the attention of the public with the biped performers.
    Philip Astley was the best breaker and trainer of horses then living. He bought his horses in Smithfield, seldom giving more than five pounds for one, and selecting them for their docility, without regard to symmetry or colour. He seems to have been the first equestrian who taught horses to dance, the animals going through the figure, and stepping in time to the music. One of his horses, called Billy, would lift a kettle off a fire, and arrange the tea equipage for company, in a manner which elicited rounds of applause. He was a very playful animal, and would play with Astley and the grooms like a kitten. His owner was once induced to lend him for a week or two to Abraham Saunders, who had been brought up by Astley, and was at that time, as well as at many other times, involved in pecuniary difficulties. While Billy was in the possession of Saunders, he was seized for debt, with the borrower's own stud, and sold before his owner could be communicated with. Two of Astley's company, happening shortly afterwards to be perambulating the streets of the metropolis, were surprised to see Billy harnessed to a cart. They could scarcely believe their eyes, but could doubt no longer when the animal, on receiving a signal to which he was accustomed, pricked up his ears, and began to caper and curvet in a manner seldom seen out of the circle. His new owner was found in a public-house, and was not unwilling to part with him, as Billy, 'though a main good-tempered creature,' as he told the equestrians, ‘is so full o' all manner of tricks that we calls him the Mountebank.'
    Saunders, at this time a prisoner for debt in the now demolished Fleet Prison, was well known as a showman and equestrian for three quarters of a century. Many who remember him as the proprietor of a travelling circus, visiting the fairs throughout the south of England, are not aware that he once had a lease of the old Royalty Theatre, and that in 1808 he opened, as a circus, the concert-rooms afterwards known as the Queen's Theatre, now the Prince of Wales's. After experiencing many vicissitudes, he fell in his old age into poverty, owing to two heavy losses, namely, by the burning of the Royalty Theatre, and by the drowning of fifteen horses at sea, the vessel in which they were being transported being wrecked in a storm. In his latter years, he was the proprietor of a penny 'gaff' at Haggerstone, and, being prosecuted for keeping it, drove to Worship Street police-court in a box on wheels, drawn by a Shetland pony, and presented himself before the magistrate in a garment made of a bearskin. He was then in his ninetieth year, and died two years afterwards, in a miserable lodging in Mill Street, Lambeth Walk.
    There is a story told of Astley, by way of illustration of his ignorance of music, which, if true, would show that the Amphitheatre boasted an orchestra even in these early years of its existence. The nature of the story requires us to suppose that the orchestral performers were then engaged for the first time; and, as we are told by Fitzball that the occasion was the rehearsal of a hippo-dramatic spectacle, it seems probable that there is some mistake, and that the anecdote should be associated with Ducrow, instead of with his precursor, no performances of that kind having been given at the Amphitheatre in Astley's time. But Fitzball may have been in error as to the occasion. As the story goes, Astley, on some of the musicians suspending their performances, demanded the reason.
    'It is a rest,’ returned the leader.
    'Let them go on, then,' said the equestrian. ‘I pay them to play, not to rest.'
    Presently a chromatic passage occurred.
    'What do you call that?' demanded Astley. 'Have you all got the stomach-ache?'
    'It is a, chromatic passage,' rejoined the leader, with a smile.
    'Rheumatic passage?' said Astley, not comprehending the term. 'It is in your arm, I suppose; but I hope you'll get rid of it before you play with the people in front.'
    'You misunderstand me, Mr Astley,' returned the leader. 'It is a chromatic passage; all the instruments have to run up the passage.'
    ‘The devil they do!' exclaimed Astley. ‘Then I hope they'll soon run back again, or the audience will think they are running away.'
    Hitherto the quadrupeds whose docility and intelligence rendered them available for the entertainment of the public had been limited to the circle; but in 1811 the example was set at Covent Garden of introducing horses, elephants, and camels on the stage. This was done in the grand cavalcade inBluebeard, the first representation of which was attended with a singular accident. A trap gave way under the camel ridden by an actor named Gallot, who saved his own neck or limbs from dislocation or fracture, by throwing himself off as the animal sank down. He was unhurt, but the camel was so much injured by the fall that it died before it could be extricated. The elephant, though docile enough, could not be induced to go upon the stage until one of the ladies of the ballet, who had become familiar with the animal during the rehearsals, led it on by one of its ears. This went so well with the audience. that the young lady repeated the performance at every representation of the spectacle.
    Philip Astley died in Paris, at the ripe age of seventy-two, in 1814, - the year in which the celebrated Ducrow made his first appearance on the stage as Eloi, the dumb boy, in the The Forest of Bondy. The Amphitheatre was conducted, after the death of its founder, by his son, John Astley, in conjunction with Davis; but not without opposition. The Surrey had ceased to present equestrian performances under the management of Elliston; but in 1815, on his lease expiring, it was taken by Dunn, Heywood, and Branscomb, who were encouraged by the success of Astley to convert it into a circus. The experiment was not, however, a successful one.
    In the following year, Vauxhall Gardens assumed the form and character by which they were known to the present generation; and the celebrated Madame Saqui was engaged for a tight-rope performance, in which she had long been famous in Paris. She was then in her thirty-second year, and even then far from prepossessing, her masculine cast of countenance and development of muscle giving her the appearance of a little man, rather than of the attractive young women we are accustomed to see on the corde elastique in this country. Her performance created a great sensation, however, and she was re-engaged for the two following seasons. She mounted the rope at midnight, in a dress glistening with tinsel and spangles, and wearing a nodding plume of ostrich feathers on her head; and became the centre of attraction for the thousands who congregated to behold her ascent from the gallery, under the brilliant illumination of the fireworks that rained their myriads of sparks around her.
    Andrew Ducrow, who now came into notice, was born in Southwark, in 1793, in which year his father, Peter Ducrow who was a native of Bruges, appeared at Astley's as the Flemish Hercules, in a performance of feats, of strength. Andrew was as famous in his youthful days as a pantomimist as be subsequently became as an equestrian, and was the originator of the poses plastiques, the performance in which he first attracted attention, and which was at that time a novel feature of circus entertainments, being a series of studies of classical statuary on the back of a horse. He appeared at the Amphitheatre during only one season, however, leaving England shortly afterwards, accompanied by several members of his family, to fulfil engagements on the continent. The first of these was with Blondin's Cirque Olympique, then in Holland. He had at this time only one horse; but, as his gains increased with his fame, he was soon enabled to procure others, until he had as many as six. After performing at several of the principal towns in Belgium and France, he was engaged, with his family and stud, for Franconi's Cirque, where he was the first to introduce the equestrian pageant termed an entree. There he exhibited his double acts of Cupid and Zephyr, Red Riding Hood, &c., in which he was accompanied by his sister, a child of three or four years old, whose performances were at that time unequalled.
    Simultaneously with the rise of Ducrow, the well-known names of Clarke and Bradbury appear in circus records. When Barrymore, the lessee of the Coburg Theatre (now the Victoria), opened Astley's in the autumn of 1819 for a limited winter season, his company was joined by John Clarke, fresh from saw-dust triumphs at Liverpool, and Bradbury, who was the first representative on the equestrian stage of Dick Turpin, the renowned highwayman, whose famous ride to York had not then been related by Ainsworth, but was preserved in the sixpenny books, with folding coloured plates, which constituted the favourite reading of boys fifty years ago. Clarke's little daughter, only five years of age, made her appearance on the tight-rope in the following year, when Madame Saqui re-appeared at Vauxhall, and was one of the principal attractions of that season.
    John Astley survived his father only a few years, dying in 1821, on the same day of the year, in the same house, and in the same room, as his more famous progenitor. After his death the Amphitheatre was conducted for a few years by Davis alone; and by him hippo-dramatic spectacles, the production of which afterwards made Ducrow so famous, and which greatly extended the popularity of Astley's, were first introduced there. Davis also signalized his management by the introduction of a camel on the stage for the first time in a circus, the occasion being the production of the romantic spectacle of Alexander the Great and Thalestris the Amazon.
    In the circle a constant variety of attractive, and often novel, feats of horsemanship and gymnastics continued to be presented. All through the season of 1821 the great attraction in the circle was the graceful riding of a young lady named Bannister - probably the daughter of the circus proprietor of that name, whose name we shall presently meet with, and who had, shortly before that time, fallen into difficulties. During the following season the public were attracted by the novel and sensational performance of Jean Bellinck on the flying rope, stretched across the pit at an altitude of nearly a hundred feet, according to the bills, in which a little exaggeration was probably indulged. The great attraction of 1823 was Longuemare's ascent of a rope from the stage to the gallery, amidst fireworks, which had been the sensation of the preceding season at Vauxhall Gardens, where, at the same time, Ramo Samee, the renowned Indian juggler, made his first appearance in this country.
     
  10. Susan Lynne Schwenger

    Susan Lynne Schwenger The Final Synthesis - isbn 978-0-9939480-0-8 Staff Member

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    Chapter III. Ducrow at Covent Garden -Engagement at Astley's - Double Acts in the circle - Ducrow at Manchester - Rapid Act on Six Horses - 'Raphael's Dream' - Miss Woolford - Cross's performing Elephant - O'Donnel's Antipodean Feats - First year of Ducrow and West - Henry Adams - Ducrow at Hull - The Wild Horse of the Ukraine - Ducrow at Sheffield - Travelling Circuses - An Entree at Holloway's - Wild's Show - Constantine, the Posturer - Circus Horses - Tenting at Fairs - The Mountebanks. WHEN Elliston produced the spectacle of the Cataract of the Ganges at Drury Lane Theatre, in 1823, Bunn, who was then lessee of Covent Garden Theatre, was induced by its success to engage Ducrow, who made his first appearance at that theatre on Easter Monday, 1824, in the lyrical and spectacular drama of Cortez. Davis, fearing a rival in the famous equestrian, offered him an engagement at Astley's, where be soon became the chief attraction. The double act of Cupid and Zephyr, now represented by himself and his wife, was received with as much applause as it had elicited at Franconi's; and a perfect furore was created when be appeared on two bare-back horses, as an Indian hunter. Cline's rope-walking feats varied the programme of the circle in 1826, and in the following year Ducrow, having first given the performance with immense success at Manchester, introduced his great feat, then unparalleled, of riding six horses at the same time, in his rapid act as a Russian courier. Fresh novelties were produced in 1828, the most attractive being the equestrian act called 'Raphael's Dream,' in which Ducrow reproduced, on horseback, the finest conceptions of the sculptors of ancient Greece, receiving immense applause at every exhibition. Miss Woolford and George Cooke made their first appearance at Astley's in this year, in a double performance on the tight-rope, in which the former artiste was for a long time without a rival. Aptitude for this exhibition seems, as in other branches of circus business, to be hereditary; and a Miss Woolford may have been found as a tight-rope performer in some circus or other any time within the last half-century. I remember seeing a tight-rope performer of this name in a little show which attended the July fair at Croydon about thirty years ago. Ducrow's stud was engaged this year for Vauxhall Gardens, where the hippo-dramatic spectacle of The Battle of Waterloo was revived, and proved as attractive as it had been some years previously at Astley's. The year 1828 is also memorable for the first introduction of an elephant into the arena, a colossal performing animal of that genus being brought, with its keeper, from Cross's menagerie, which many readers, even old residents in the metropolis, may require to be informed had its location on the site of what afterwards became Exeter Arcade, in the rear of the houses on the north side of the Strand, between Exeter Street and Catherine Street. The elephant was also led in the bridal procession which constituted one of the displays of the quadrupedal resources of the establishment in the spectacular drama of Bluebeard. In travelling over the records of saw-dust performances, we are frequently reminded of the saying of the wise monarch of Israel, that there is no new thing under the sun. The bills of Astley's, the advertisements of the Royal Circus and the Olympic Pavilion, the traditions of travelling circuses, present us with the originals of almost every feat that the acrobats and posturers of the present day have ever attempted. Ducrow, it has been seen, was the originator of the poses plastiques, revived and made famous a quarter of a century ago by Madame Wharton and troupe, at the Walhalla, in Leicester Square, and subsequently by Harry Boleno, the clown, at the Alhambra. Another instance comes under notice in 1829, when a performer named O'Donnel exhibited at Astley's the antipodean feats performed a few years ago at the London Pavilion, and other music-halls, by Jean Bond. O'Donnel mounted a ladder, stood on his head on the top of one of the uprights, kicked away the other, with all its rungs, and in that position drank a glass of wine, and performed several tricks. The kicking away of the unfixed portion of the ladder invariably creates a sensation among the spectators, but adds nothing to the difficulty or danger of the performance. On the lease of the Amphitheatre expiring in 1830, the owner of the premises raised the rent so much that Davis relinquished the undertaking. Ducrow, who possessed much of the energy and enterprise by which Philip Astley had been distinguished, saw his opportunity at once, and, obtaining a partner in William West, took the lease on the terms which his less enterprising predecessor had shrunk from. He produced a gorgeous Eastern spectacle, and engaged Stickney and young Bridges for the circle. Stickney was an admirable equestrian, the first of the many famous riders who have learned their art on the other side of the Atlantic, where he had already achieved a considerable reputation. Bridges was a rope-dancer, and gained great applause by turning a somersault on the rope, a feat which he appears to have been the first to perform. Later in the season, Henry Adams (the father of Charles Adams) made his appearance as a performer of rapid acts of equitation, the travelling circus which he had lately owned having passed into the possession of his late groom, John Milton. During the portion of this year when Astley's was closed, Ducrow and his company, bipeds and quadrupeds, performed for a short time at Hull. Returning to the metropolis, he opened the Amphitheatre for the season of 1831 with the spectacular drama of Mazeppa, the only enduring performance of the kind with which Astley's was for so many years associated. Most of them, elaborately as they were got up, - for Ducrow never spared expense, - and attractive as they proved at the time of their production, owed their popularity to recent military events; but the fortunes of the daring youth immortalized by the genius of Byron, and the headlong flight of the wild horse of the Ukraine, have proved an unfailing source of attraction, and made Mazeppa the trump-card of every hippo-dramatic manager who possesses or can borrow a white horse qualified to enact the part of the 'fiery, untamed steed' upon whose bare back the hero is borne into the steppes of the Don Cossack country. Adams and Stickney continued to attract in the circle, but Ducrow engaged in addition an acrobatic performer named Williams, who turned tourbillions at the height of twelve feet from the ground, and repeated them through hoops at the same height, over a tilted waggon, over eight horses, and, finally, over a troop of mounted cavalry. The famous performing elephant, Mdlle Jeck, also made its appearance during this season. When the Amphitheatre closed, Ducrow took his company and stud to Sheffield, where he had had an immense structure of a temporary character erected for their performances. He ruined the prospect of a successful provincial season, however, by indulgence of his overbearing disposition, which manifested itself on all occasions, in and out of the arena. The Master Cutler and Town Council determined to patronize the circus officially, and appeared at the head of a cortege of between forty and fifty carriages, containing the principal manufacturers and their families. But, on the Master Cutler sending his card to Ducrow, in the anticipation of being personally received, Ducrow replied, through one of his subordinates, that he only waited upon crowned heads, and not upon a set of dirty knife grinders. The astounded and indignant chief magistrate immediately ordered his coachman to turn about, and the entire cavalcade returned to the Town Hall, where a ball was improvised, instead of the intended visit to the circus. Thus Ducrow's prospects in the hardware borough were ruined by his own hasty temper and overbearing disposition. It is now time to say a few words about the travelling circuses that had been springing into existence during the preceding fifteen or sixteen years, and some of which have already been mentioned. The northern and midland counties were travelled at this time by Holloway's, Milton's, Wild's, and Bannister's; the eastern, southern, and western by Saunders's, Cooke's, Samwell's, and Clarke's. We find Holloway in possession of the circus at Sheffield after its vacation by Ducrow. Wallett, who first comes into observation about this time, was one of Holloway's clowns, and also did posturing, and played Simkin in saw-dust ballets. He states, in his autobiography, that they opened with a powerful company and a numerous stud; but it seems that there were not a dozen of the troupe, including grooms, who could ride. The first item in the programme for the opening night was an entree of twelve, five of whom were thrown off their horses before the round of the circle had been made, one of them having three of his fingers broken. The horses do not appear to have been in fault, for they continued their progress as steadily as if nothing had happened. Wallett accounts for this untoward incident by stating that the dismounted cavaliers were clowns and acrobats, and that few members of those sections of the profession can ride; but, considering that grooms could have been made available, a 'powerful company' should have been able to mount twelve horses for an entree without putting into the saddle men who could not ride. James Wild's show was a small concern, combining a drama, a la Richardson, with the performances of a tight-rope dancer and a fortune-telling pony. Wallett, who had made his first appearance before the public as a 'super' at the theatre of his native town, Hull, when Ducrow was there, and had afterwards clowned on the outside of Charles Yeoman's Royal Pavilion at Gainsborough fair, joined Wild's show at Leeds, but soon transferred his talent to a rival establishment. Both shows were soon afterwards at Keighley fair, for which occasion Wild had engaged four acrobats from London, named Constantine, Heng, Morris, and Whitton. The popularity of Ducrow's representations of Grecian statuary had induced Constantine to study them, and having provided himself with the requisite properties, he exhibited them very successfully in Wild's show. The proprietor of the rival establishment was in agony, for his loudest braying through a speaking trumpet, and the wildest beating of his gong, did not avail to stop the rush to Wild's which left the front of his own show deserted. Wallett ruminated over the situation, and at night sought Constantine, and made overtures to him for the purchase of his tights and 'props.' The acrobat entertained them, perhaps the bargain was very liberally wetted, and Wallett became the triumphant possessor of the means of personating Ajax and Achilles, and all the gods and heroes of Homer's classic pages. Next day, the show in which he was engaged was crowded to see him 'do the Grecian statues,' while Wild's was deserted, Constantine dejected, and his employer despairing. Bannister's circus travelled Scotland and the northern counties of England, and it is a noteworthy point in his history that David Roberts was engaged by its proprietor as scene painter when he added a stage and a company of pantomimists to the attractions of the ring. This was in 1817, when the circus was located in Edinburgh, and the future R. A. had just completed his apprenticeship to a house-painter. Roberts says, in his diary, that he could never forget the tremor he felt, the faintness that came over him, when he ascended to the second floor of the house in Nicholson Street in which Banister lodged, and, after much hesitation, mustered courage to ring the bell. Bannister received him very kindly, looked at his drawings, and engaged him to paint a set of wings for a palace. The canvas was brought, and laid down on the floor, and Roberts began to work there and then. At the close of the circus season, he was engaged at a salary of twenty-five shillings a week to travel with the company into England, paint all the scenery and properties that might be required, and make himself generally useful. Roberts says that he found that the last clause of the contract involved the necessity of taking small parts in pantomimes, which, he says, he rather over-did than under-did. His circus experiences were brief, however, for Bannister became bankrupt before long, and Roberts betook himself to house-painting again until he was engaged by Corri to paint scenery for the Pantheon, at Edinburgh. It may be remarked that he received no higher salary from Corri than from Bannister, and did not reach thirty shillings a week until he was engaged as scene-painter to the theatre at Glasgow. The tenting circuses of those days were on a more limited scale than those of the present-time, and were met with chiefly at fairs. They had seldom more than three or four horses, of which perhaps only two appeared in the circle. Their proprietors were not so regardless of colour as Philip Astley was, and favoured cream-coloured, pied, and spotted horses. While the acrobats performed 'flips' and hand springs, and the clown cracked his 'wheezes,' on the outside, while the proprietor beat his gong, or bawled through a speaking-trumpet his invitations to the spectators to 'walk up,' the horses stood in a row on the platform and when the proprietor shouted 'all in, to begin!’ the animals were led or ridden down the steps in front, and taken round to the entrance at the side, whence they emerged on the conclusion of the performance, to ascend the steps, and resume their position on the platform. The performances were short, consisting of two or three acts of horsemanship, some tumbling, and a tight-rope performance; but they were repeated from noon till near midnight as often as the seats could be filled. Even in the palmy days of fairs, the vicissitudes of showmen were a marked feature of their lives, owing, in part at least, to their dependence upon the weather for success, and the variability of the English climate. A wet fair was a serious matter for them, and the October fair at Croydon, one of the best in the south, seldom passed over without rain, which sometimes reduced the field to such a state of quagmire that hurdles had to be laid down upon the mud for the pleasure-seekers to walk upon. Saunders, as we have seen, was seldom out of difficulties; and Clarke had not always even a tent, but pitched his ring in a field, or on a common, in the open air, after the manner of Philip Astley and his predecessors, Price and Sampson, in the early days of equestrian performances. He did not, however, make a collection - called in the slang of the profession, 'doing a nob,' - but made his gains by the sale, at a shilling each, of tickets for a kind of 'lucky-bag' speculation among the spectators whom the performances attracted to the spot. Sometimes additional eclat would be given to the event by the announcement that a greasy pole would be climbed by competitors for the leg of mutton affixed to the top, or a piece of printed cotton would be offered as a prize for the winner in a race, for which only girls were allowed to enter. Then, while the equestrian of the company enacted the Drunken Hussar, or the Sailor's Return, or Billy Button's ride to Brentford, the acrobats would walk round with the tickets; or the equestrian would condescend to do so, while the Polish Brothers tied themselves up in knots, or wriggled between the rungs of a ladder, or Miss Clarke delighted the spectators by her graceful movements upon the tight-rope. The business concluded with the drawing for prizes, which were few in proportion to the blanks, and consisted of plated tea-pots and milk jugs, work-boxes, japanned tea-trays, silk handkerchiefs, &c. This kind of entertainment was given within the last forty years; but Clarke was then an old man, and with his death the race of the mountebanks, as they were popularly called, became extinct. The last section of a mock Act of Parliament published about this time gives a good idea of the clown's business five-and-thirty years ago, and affords the means of comparing the circus wit and humour of that period with the laughter-provocatives of the Merrymans of the present day. It runs as follows: 'And be it further enacted, that when the scenes in the circus commence, the Merriman, Grotesque, or Clown shall not, after the first equestrian feat, exclaim, "Now I'll have a turn to myself," previous to his toppling like a coach-wheel round the ring; nor shall he fall flat on his face, and then collecting some saw-dust in his hands drop it down from the level of his head, and say his nose bleeds; nor shall he attempt to make the rope-dancer's balance-pole stand on its end by propping it up with the said saw-dust; nor shall he, after chalking the performer's shoes, conclude by chalking his own nose, to prevent his foot from slipping when he treads on it; nor shall he take long pieces of striped cloth for Mr Stickney to jump over, while his horse goes under; previous to which he shall not pull the groom off the stool, who holds the other end of the same cloth, neither shall he find any difficulty in holding it at the proper level; nor, after having held it higher and lower, shall he ask, "Will that do?" and, on being answered in the affirmative, he shall not jump down, and put his hands in his pockets, saying, "I'm glad of it;" nor shall he pick up a small piece of straw, for fear he should fall over it, and afterwards balance the said straw on his chin as he runs about. Neither shall the Master of the Ring say to the Merriman, Grotesque, or Clown, when they are leaving the circus, "I never follow the fool, sir;" nor shall the fool reply, "Then I do,' and walk out after him; nor, moreover, shall the Clown say that “the horses are as clever as the barber who shaved bald magpies at twopence a dozen;" nor tell the groom in the red jacket and top boots, when he takes the said horses away, to "rub them well down with cabbage-puddings, for fear they should get the collywobbleums in their pandenoodles;" such speeches being manifestly very absurd and incomprehensible. 'Saving always, that the divers ladies and gentlemen, young ladies and young gentlemen, maidservants, apprentices, and little boys, who patronise the theatre, should see no reason why the above alterations should be made; under which circumstances, they had better remain as they are.'
    http://www.circushistory.org/Frost/Frost3.htm
    Chapter IV.
    A few words about Menageries - George Wombwell - The Lion Baitings at Warwick - Atkins's Lion and Tigress at Astley's - A Bull-fight and a Zebra Hunt -Ducrow at the Pavilion - The Stud at Drury Lane - Letter from Wooler to Elliston - Ducrow and the Drury ‘Supers' - Zebras on the Stage - The first Arab Troupe - Contention between Ducrow and Clarkson Stanfield - Deaths of John Ducrow and Madame Ducrow - Miss Woolford.
    CIRCUSES and menageries are now so frequently associated, and the inmates of the latter have at all times been so frequently brought into connection with the former, that it becomes desirable, at this stage of the record, to say a few words about the zoological collections of former times. Without going back to the formation of the royal menagerie in the Tower of London in the thirteenth century, it may be stated that, when that appendage of regal state was abolished, most of the animals were purchased by an enterprising speculator named Cross, who located them at Exeter Change. The want of sufficient space there subsequently induced Cross to remove the collection to the site afterwards known as the Surrey Gardens, where, under the more favourable conditions as to space, light, and air afforded by that locality, it long rivalled that of the Royal Zoological Society, which had, in the mean time, grown up on the north side of Regent's Park.
    The travelling menageries probably grew, on a small scale, side by side, as it were, with the royal collection at the Tower, until they developed into such exhibitions as, half a century ago, travelled from fair to fair, in company with Richardson's and Gyngell's theatres, Cooke's and Samwell's circuses, Algar's dancing booth, and the pig-faced lady. Wombwell's menagerie was formed about 1805, and Atkins's must have begun travelling soon afterwards. These two shows were for many years among the chief attractions of the great fairs, in the days when fairs were annual red-letter days in the calendar of the young, and even the upper classes of society did not deem it beneath their dignity to patronize the itinerant menagerie and the tenting circus.
    'Wombwell's,’ said the reporter of a London morning journal, about three years ago, by way of introducing a report of the sale of Fairgrieves's menagerie, 'had its great show traditions; for its founder was a showman of no ordinary enterprise and skill. He built up the menagerie, so to speak, and he made it by far the finest travelling collection of wild animals in the country. His heart was in his work, and he spared nothing that could help it forward. Tales of his enterprise are many. He never missed Bartlemy fair as long as it was held; once, however, he was very near doing so. His show was at Newcastle within a fortnight of Bartlemy's, and there were no railways. He had given up all intention of going to the fair, but, being in London buying specimens, he found that his rival - a man named Atkins - was advertising that his would be the only wild beast show at the fair.
    ‘Forthwith Wombwell posted down to Newcastle, struck his tent, and began to move southward. By dint of extraordinary exertions he reached London on the morning of the fair. But a terrible. loss was his. The one elephant in the collection - a fine brute - had so over-exerted itself on the journey that it died just as it arrived at the fair. Atkins thought to make capital of this, and placarded at once that he had "the only live elephant in the fair." Wombwell saw his chance, and had a huge canvas painted, bearing the words that within his show was to be seen "the only dead elephant in the fair." There never was a greater success; a live elephant was not a great rarity, but the chance of seeing a dead elephant came only once now and then. Atkins's was deserted; Wombwell's was crowded.'
    It is not easy to reconcile the keen rivalry between the two shows which this story is intended to illustrate with the fact that they never visited Croydon fair together, but always agreed to take that popular resort in their tours in alternate years. The story may be true, or it may be as apocryphal as that of the lion and dog fights with which the readers of another London morning journal were entertained three months previously, when the tragical incident of the death of the lion-tamer, Macarthy, had invested leonine matters with more than ordinary interest.
    'Did you ever hear of old Wallace's fight with the dogs?' an ex-lion-tamer was reported as having said to the gentleman by whom the conversation was communicated to the journal.
    'George Wombwell was at very low water, and not knowing how to get his head up again, he thought of a fight between an old lion he had sometimes called Wallace, sometimes Nero, and a dozen of mastiff dogs. Wallace was tame as a sheep - I knew him well - I wish all lions were like him. The prices of admission ranged from a guinea up to five guineas, and had the menagerie been three times as large it would have been full. It was a queer go, and no mistake! Sometimes the old lion would scratch a lump out of a dog, and sometimes the dogs would make as if they were going to worry the old lion, but neither side showed any serious fight; and at length the patience of the audience got exhausted and they went away in disgust. George's excuse was, "We can't make 'em fight, can we, if they won't?" There was no getting over this; and George cleared over two thousand pounds by the night's work.'
    In this account two different animals are confounded; the old lion, whose name was Nero, and a younger, but full-grown one, named Wallace. The blunder is strange and unaccountable in one who professes to have known the animals and their keeper, and renders it probable that he is altogether in error about the fight he describes. The newspapers and sporting magazines of the period - about fifty years ago - describe two lion-baitings, which took place in Wombwell's menagerie in the Old Factory Yard, at Warwick; and some vague report or dim recollection of them seems to have been in the mind of the 'ex-lion-king,' when he dictated the graphic narrative for the morning journal. The fights were said to have originated in a bet between two sporting gentlemen, and the dogs were not mastiffs, but bull-dogs. The first fight, the incidents of which were similar in character to those described by the 'ex-lion-king,' was between Nero and the dogs; and, this not being considered satisfactory, a second encounter was arranged, in which Wallace was substituted for the old lion, with very different results. Every dog that faced the lion was killed or disabled, the last that did so being carried about in the lion's mouth as a rat is by a terrier or a cat.
    I may add, that I have a perfect recollection of both the lions, having made their acquaintance at Croydon fair when a very small boy. I remember the excitement which was once created amongst the visitors to that fair by Wombwell's announcement that he had on exhibition that most wonderful animal, the 'bonassus,' being the first specimen which bad ever been brought to Europe. As no one had ever seen, heard, or read of such an animal before, the curious flocked in crowds to see the beast, which proved to be a very fine male specimen of the bison, or American buffalo. Under the name given to it by Wombwell, it found its way into the epilogue of the Westminster play as one of the wonders of the day. It was afterwards purchased by the Zoological Society; but it had been enfeebled by confinement and disease, and died soon after its removal to the Society's gardens in the Regent's Park. The Hudson's Bay Company supplied its place by presenting a young cow, which lived there for many years.
    Atkins had a very fine collection of the feline genus, and was famous for the production of hybrids between the lion and the tigress. The cubs so produced united some of the external characteristics of both parents, their colour being tawny, marked while they were young with dark stripes, such as may be observed in the fur of black kittens, the progeny of a tabby cat. These markings disappeared, however, as they do in the cat, as the lion-tigers attained maturity, at which time the males had the mane entirely deficient, or very little developed. I remember seeing a male puma and a leopardess in the same cage in this menagerie, but am unable to state whether the union was fruitful.
    Atkins's lion and tigress, with their playful cubs, were engaged by Ducrow and West as one of the attractions of the season of 1832, and were introduced to the frequenters of Astley's by their keeper, Winney. A zebra hunt was also exhibited in the circle, in which four zebras appeared; and with this novel spectacle was combined, on the occasion of Ducrow's benefit, a mimic representation of a Spanish bull-fight, in which the great equestrian enacted the part of the matador. When a similar exhibition was got up, many years afterwards, at the Alhambra, during the time when it was temporarily converted into a circus, a horse was trained to wear the horns and hide of an ox, and do duty for Toro; and, though I have not been able to verify the fact, this was probably the case at Astley's.
    It was during this season that Ducrow had the honour of performing before William IV., who ordered a temporary amphitheatre to be erected within the grounds of the Pavilion at Brighton, in order that he might witness the performances of this celebrated equestrian, which included several of his most admired feats of horsemanship.
    In the following year the bull-fight was repeated, and the zebras re-appeared in the spectacle of Aladdin. After the Amphitheatre was closed the stud appeared at Drury Lane, instead of going into the provinces; and this arrangement between Elliston and the lessees of Astley's was repeated in more than one season. Elliston's biographer relates that when the stud was engaged for Croly's Enchanted Courser, the horses and their grooms were at the stage door of Drury Lane Theatre, at the time fixed for the first rehearsal, but there was no one to direct the important share which they were to take in the performance. A note was sent to Ducrow, who replied that his agreement with Elliston only related to the horses. This was found to be correct, though undoubtedly an oversight on the part of Elliston, the Drury Lane manager, who had to make a second agreement with Ducrow for his personal services in superintending the training of the horses, and the general arrangement of the scenes in which they were to be introduced.
    The introduction of horses on the stage of Drury Lane was the subject of a letter to Elliston from Thomas Wooler, of Yellow Dwarf fame, from which the following passages are extracted, as bearing upon the long subsequent production of Richard III. at Astley's, while under the management of William Cooke.
    'What think you of mounting Shakespeare's heroes, as the bard himself would rejoice they should be? Why not allow the wand of Ducrow to aid the representation of his dramas, as well as the pencil of Stanfield? "Saddle White Surrey" in good earnest, and, as from The Surrey you once banished these animals, and have taken them up at Drury Lane, think of doing them justice. I fancy your giving up the circle in St George's Fields, and bringing your stable into a Theatre Royal, a little inconsistent; but no matter, it is done, and reminds me of a friend of mine, who swept away his poultry-yard from his suitable villa at Fulham, and yet kept cocks and hens in Fleet Street.
    'But to return; instead of niggardly furnishing Richard and Richmond with armies that do not muster the force of a serjeant's guard, give them an efficient force of horse and foot. Your two-legged actors would be in arms against this project, but disregard their jealousy, and remember that four to two are two to one in your favour. Richard should march to the field in the full panoply of all your cavalry, and not trudge like a poor pedlar, whom no one would dream of "interrupting in his expedition." He might impressively dismount in compliment to the ladies; and when in the field he cries, "My kingdom for a horse!" the audience might fairly deem such a price only a fair offer for the recovery of so noble an animal. The audience would wish Hotspur to manage his roan as well as his lady, and though amongst your spectators there might be perhaps a grey mare, yet she would be content that Hotspur should be the "better horse" for her night's amusement.'
    What Wallett says of the absence of a good seat on horseback from the list of the qualifications of clowns and acrobats is true of actors, and in a greater degree, in the sense, I mean, that is attached to riding by professional entertainers of the public. The number of actors who can ride at all is comparatively small; and among those who can, and who make a decent figure in Rotten Row, there are probably not two who would venture to gallop across a stage, and much less to take part in an equestrian combat or joust. Hence it is only in the arena of a circus that Richmond wins his crown as he did at Bosworth; and, though horses were again introduced on the stage of Drury Lane in the drama of Rebecca, they were not ridden by the actors whose names appeared in the bills. The horses belonged to a circus company, and were ridden by the practised equestrians accustomed to bestride them - 'doubles' of the Knight of Ivanhoe and Sir Brian Bois-Guilbert.
    When Bernard's hippo-dramatic spectacle of St George and the Dragon was produced at Drury Lane, under the superintendence of Ducrow, who had acquired great experience in the arrangement of equestrian cavalcades, pageants, and tableaux, there was a great deal of trouble with the supernumeraries, who were not accustomed to doing their business in the manner expected from them by so accomplished a pantomimist as the lessee of Astley's. While the scene was being rehearsed in which the people appear excitedly before the Egyptian king, with the news of the devastation and dismay caused by the dragon, the 'supers' exhausted Ducrow's not very large stock of patience, and, after making them go through their business two or three times, without any improvement, his temper burst out, in his characteristic manner.
    'Look here, you damned fools!' he exclaimed. 'You should rush up to the King, - that chap there - and say, "Old fellow, the dragon has come, and we are in a mess, and you must get us out of it." The King says, "Go to Brougham," and you all go off to Brougham; and he says, "What the devil do I know about the dragon? Go to your gods," and your gods is that lump of tow burning on that block of timber.'
    This strange address was accompanied by an exhibition of the pantomimic skill of which Ducrow possessed a greater degree than any man of his day, and which was intended to impress the subordinate actors and supernumeraries of the theatre with a correct idea of the manner in which their business should be performed.
    This was Ducrow's manner on all occasions. One morning, during the season of 1833, he was on the stage, in his dressing-gown and slippers, to witness the first rehearsal of a new feat by the German rope-walker, Cline. The rope was stretched from the stage to the gallery, and the performer was to ascend it, and return. Cline was a little nervous; perhaps the rope had been arranged more in accordance with Ducrow's ideas than with his own. Whatever the cause, he hesitated to ascend the rope, when Ducrow snatched the balancing-pole from his hands, and walked up the rope in his slippers, his dressing-gown flapping about his legs in the draught from the stage in a manner that caused his ascent to be watched with no small amount of anxiety, though he did not appear to feel the slightest trepidation himself.
    The special attractions in the circle during the season of 1834 were the Vintner family, who presented a novel performance on two and three ropes, with double and single ascensions, which had been much applauded the year before at Franconi's; and a troupe of Arab vaulters and acrobats, who seem to have been the first of their race who had visited Europe in that capacity. On the conclusion of the season at Astley's, the stud went again to Drury Lane, where Pocock's spectacle of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table was produced. The production of this piece was the occasion of an unfortunate contention between Ducrow and Clarkson Stanfield, who was then scene-painter to Drury Lane. The scenic artist had painted a beautiful view of Carlisle, which he wished to be seen by the spectators before their attention was diverted from it by the entry of Arthur and his knights. Ducrow crowded the stage with men and horses, and wished the curtain to rise upon this animated spectacle - knights caracoling, banners waving, trumpets blaring, people shouting their welcome. Bunn sided with Ducrow, and Stanfield retired from his post, mortified and offended.
    Queen Adelaide witnessed the performance of this spectacle, as she had that of the preceding season, and was so much gratified that she ordered a hundred pounds to be distributed among the company. Count D'Orsay was so pleased with it, that he presented Ducrow with a gold and ivory-mounted dirk, and a pair of pistols inlaid with gold, which had been worn by Lord Byron, and presented by him to the Count.
    Henry Adams was again a prominent member of Ducrow's company in 1835, when he appeared in the circle as the Mexican lasso-thrower, a part which he performed with great dexterity. In the following year, the Vintners and the Arabs were found a source of undiminished attraction, but were joined with Price, called the Bounding Ball, who exhibited the then unparalleled feat of throwing thirty somersaults.
    John Ducrow, brother of the renowned equestrian, who had been the principal clown of the Amphitheatre during the preceding ten years, died in 1834; and Andrew Ducrow's first wife, the companion of his early triumphs, died about two years afterwards. Widdicomb, who bad been ring-master of the establishment for many years, died the same year, at the age of sixty-seven. Ducrow subsequently married Miss Woolford, who had for several years been one of the leading attractions of his establishment, and various members of whose family helped to supply the travelling circuses with equestrians and tight-rope performers for a long period.

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