Page:Sawdust & Spangles.djvu/65

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41
FREAKS AND FAKES

animal was as good a specimen of the genuine white elephant as could be procured, while the Philadelphia elephant, pretty as a picture and superbly snow white in color, was supposed to be a lively "fake."

While on exhibition, this "Light of Asia" was almost entirely covered with a black velvet-spangled cloth, and the trunk had been manipulated in such a way that visitors could touch it, and as no coloring matter came off on their hands I presume that part of the body had in some way been "sized" or enameled.

HOW THE "LIGHT OF ASIA" EMBARRASSED THE LECTURER

During the performance the white elephant would be introduced and stripped of its velvet trappings on the elevated stage between the two rings, while a learned "professor" descanted eloquently on opposition in general and the genuineness of this white elephant in particular. So well was this part of the program carried out that popular opinion was at least equally divided regarding the genuineness of the competing white elephants. Long afterward the "lecturer" told me that this white elephant, having learned to recognize and like