The Pig Faced Woman

pig faced ladyThis is a gem from my book on Fairs, circuses & music Halls:

“Lord” George Sanger, in particular, tells in Seventy Years a showman strange tales of fraud. At the Hyde Park Exhibition of 1851 Madame Stevens, the “pig faced lady” was a fine brown bear whose face had been clean shaven. Over her paws were white gloves with “nice plump white arms above them” – again because of the razor.

She sat, in poke-bonnet, shawl and long fashionable frock, at a table underneath was a boy to prod her with a stick whenever the showman asked, “I believe that is correct, miss?” Following each grunt he would explain, “As you see, ladies and gentleman, the young lady understands what is said perfectly, thought the peculiar formation of her jaws has deprived her of the power of uttering human speech in return.”

In this way a lengthy conversation was carried on until the climax :”You are inclined, I suppose, as other ladies, to be led by some gentleman into the holy bonds of matrimony?” Here the hidden boy prodded so vigorously that the wretched bear uttered sounds of anger, thus giving the showman his cue for, “What, no? ?well, well, don’t be cross because I asked you,” and go round with the hat.

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