The American Circus

Isle of Wight Observer August 25 1860

A circus comes to town in 1860

By dint of puffing on an extensive scale, the public were led to believe that the equestrian troupe of Messrs Howes and Cushing, introduced into the Island during the past week, would be of surpassing excellence; and further, a fac simile of a Spanish procession to a bull fight was to parade the streets in order to enliven the natives. Well, the thing turned out as genuine a piece of “Yankee cram” as can well be conceived. As to the out-of-door pageant, it was calculated to elicit feelings of pity, rather than of pleasure, for bipeds and quadrupeds all appeared fairly “used up”; and the tawdry “properties” with which they were bedecked ought not to have been submitted to the vulgar gaze of daylight, while the semi-nudity of many of the females had anything but a pleasing effect. The horses, too, looked sadly in need of grooming; and, in a town like Ryde where there are such numerous good turn-outs that point of itself would have stamped the concern as poverty-stricken. The entertainment in the circus was of the most ordinary, not to say mean, kind; and may be classed amongst the failures. The veritable Mr Rarey also failed to redeem the affair, as there was no vicious animal to be obtained for him to illustrate his powers of taming; but we guess he would have had practise in another direction had he stopped for one more night, that is, in subduing the vox populi which was becoming rather loud from disappointment in the equestrian performances.

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