Circuses by Sir, Harold Nicholson

Circuses by Sir, Harold Nicholson
         The author begins the essay by saying that in this harsh and angry world, people enjoy a visit to the circus.  He asks us the question whether the pleasure we derive from a reversion to childhood quite as simple
or as innocent as we like to believe.  Then he recollects his visit to the Bertram Mills Circus at Olympia and shares his experiences with the readers.
          The performance began with a procession of the performers while the bands played the triumphal march.  A woman in silver top hat and decorated with feather appeared on the stage.  She introduced a string of fine white horses.  Their necks arched tightly by bearing rains and their plums swung above and below.  The author felt that no horse should be so tightly laced.  When the woman finished her performance the author did not join in the applause.
          The band then struck up a Spanish tune and three sea-lions shambled into the ring accompanied by a gentleman dressed in marine Uniform.  The largest of the sea-lions refused to play the ball.  The gentleman gave him slices of fish and made him balance a ball for a few seconds.
          Then came a herd of elephants accompanied by a trainer dressed like a colonial Governor.  He induced the elephants to perform all manner of cumbrous evolutions.  Then an elephant stepped gingerly upon the chest of the trainer.  Then followed a comic interlude in which as Italian family produced a taxi which proceeded to disintegrate, to boil and to explode before the audience.
          And in the end came the “Fearless Trio de Tiaz’.  Their naked bodies glistened high up in the roof while they turned and twirled in the are – lights.  The author felt that they were the most skilled and beautiful trapeze artists that he had ever seen.
          The author did not enjoy watching animals perform. He now feels that it is fictitious, adventitious and unreal.  He admits that amusement is derived by the contrast between the real and unreal, but surely it is indeed alow sense of fun to see animals behaving like human beings.  For example when the author dressed in a crinoline and prancing with a parasol in its paw, he felt not pleasure but pain.
          He concludes that human beings in circuses can perform their acts of agility and daring but surely it is not good to rejoice when animals are forced to make fools of themselves in public.        

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