Page:Sawdust & Spangles.djvu/244

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SAWDUST AND SPANGLES

In 1873 there were no polar bears in America, and I thought it would be a good stroke of business to obtain some of these beautiful and imposing animals for my menagerie. Therefore I sent an expedition to the Arctic waters to capture a pair. My men finally succeeded in landing two enormous polars in New York. In the process of shifting them from the shipping-box one of these monsters made his escape, and started on a run down the middle of Fifth Avenue. His course was marked by general consternation. Children playing on the streets, seeing an immense white bear lumbering toward them at full speed, screamed and fled in every direction for shelter; horses, frightened at this unusual spectacle, became unmanageable and ran away; nurse-maids, wheeling their small charges, were stricken helpless with terror, and even the street dogs fled howling down the cross streets and into business houses. Everywhere disorder and terror reigned supreme; the streets became suddenly deserted, and one would have supposed that a plague had instantly depopulated the city. The police were called out from every adjacent station as soon as it became known that a white bear was loose in the streets of New York. The poor animal, unac-