History Of Madame Tussaud's
( Originally Published 1920 )
H. M. Stanley sits to Joseph Tussaud—The story of his life—How he found Livingstone—A mysterious veiled lady—The Prince Imperial.
IN 1873 the nation was saddened by the death at Ilala of Dr. Livingstone, the great missionary-explorer, who, some time before, had disappeared in the trackless wastes of Central Africa while preaching the gospel to savages and making surveys of the great continent. The name of Livingstone will always be bracketed with that of H. M. Stanley, who, as the emissary of the New York Herald, "discovered" him.
When my father wrote to Stanley asking for a sitting, he replied that he was too heavily engaged at the time writing his book How I Found Livingstone, and he proposed that the artist should call and make a study of him at his desk. This he did, with the happy result that he produced a very striking portrait.
The story of Stanley's life is a romance in itself.
Born of poor parents at Denbigh, in Wales, about 184o, he at first bore the name of John Rowlands. When about fifteen years of age he worked his way as a cabin boy to New Orleans, where he was employed by a merchant, name Stanley, whose name he assumed.
He served in the Confederate Army, contributed to several journals, and in the year 1 867 began his connection with the New York Herald. As its special correspondent he accompanied Lord Napier's Abyssinian Expedition, and the first news of the fall of Magdala was conveyed to this country by his paper. He next went to Spain for the Herald, and he was in Madrid in October, 1869, when he received the peremptory telegram "Come to Paris on important business." He immediately complied, and there received from Mr. Bennett, junior, the laconic instruction and valediction, "Find Livingstone! Good-night, and God be with you."
In January, 1871, Stanley reached Zanzibar, and two months later marched into the heart of Africa.
It was on the 10th of November that he "found" Livingstone at Ujiji. Well, indeed, as Stanley him-self admitted, was he repaid for all the dangers he encountered on his journey when he grasped the hand of the grey-haired old missionary—aged by climate and exposure—whose whereabouts he had been sent to discover.
We placed in the Exhibition portrait models not only of Stanley, attired in a facsimile of the explorer's suit worn by him on the occasion of the historic meeting, but also one of Dr. Livingstone himself. Probably many more persons have gazed upon the figure of Livingstone in the Exhibition than ever paid a pilgrimage to see his final resting-place in Westminster Abbey.
Together with the model of Stanley was placed a figure of his boy, Kalulu, concerning whom the explorer wrote a book in 1873 (My Kalulu).
The death of Napoleon III in the January of this year was associated with one of the most impressive tableaux in the long history of Madame Tussaud's. The Emperor was represented as lying in state, and I find myself still wondering as to the identity of a tall, stately lady, dressed in black and wearing a thick veil, who came to the Exhibition on several occasions, bringing a bunch of violets which she placed on the steps of the catafalque, after having obtained a vase containing water in which to put the flowers.
The son of the Emperor Louis Napoleon, the Prince Imperial, who was killed in the Zulu War, was made the subject of an equestrian memorial at Madame Tussaud's some years later. The tableau closely con-formed with authentic details of the Prince's attempt to mount his horse and escape from the Zulu hordes, who pierced him with many assegais.
It had been suggested in the House of Commons that an effigy to his memory should be erected in the Abbey, in view of the fact that the young Bonaparte died in one of England's wars while serving under English officers. A reference in Punch to this proposal suggested that a much more suitable repository for a memorial would be Madame Tussaud's along with the other memorials. of the Bonaparte period on view there.