Page:Sawdust & Spangles.djvu/154

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126
SAWDUST AND SPANGLES

In the course of the same season I made a discovery which proved to be a valuable drawing card. I owned some young elephants which I had lent to a showman on the Bowery. On going to see them one day I noticed a man holding his finger in the mouth of one of the smaller ones. I placed my finger in the mouth of another and found that the creatures seemed to derive pleasure from the action of sucking. Immediately I sent out for an ordinary infant's nursing bottle. The young elephant drained the bottle as if to the manner born. It was passed from one to another of the infant class. Finally they fought in the most indescribably comical manner for possession of the bottle.

A SKILLFUL APPEAL TO PUBLIC SYMPATHY

Then I fitted a large glass jar, holding a gallon, with rubber tubes, so that all could use it at the same time. Invariably they would empty this bottle before loosening their hold on the nipples. They had doubtless been taken from their mother when too young, or perhaps she had been killed at the time the young were captured. So effectively did they appeal to public interest and sentiment that by dint of skillful advertising the celebrated "sucking baby elephants" made quite a for-