P. T. Barnum and General Tom Thumb Tour Europe

They passed through a long corridor to a broad flight of marble steps, which led to the picture gallery, and there the Queen and Prince Albert, the Duchess of Kent, the Duke of Wellington, and others were awaiting their arrival.

They were standing at the further end of the room when the doors were thrown open, and the General walked in, looking like a wax doll gifted with the power of locomotion. Surprise and pleasure were depicted on the countenances of the royal circle at beholding this remarkable specimen of humanity so much smaller than they had evidently expected to find him.

The General advanced with a firm step, and, as he came within hailing distance, made a very graceful bow, and exclaimed, "Good evening, ladies and gentlemen."

Barnum took young Stratton on a tour of Europe making him an international celebrity. Stratton appeared twice before Queen Victoria. He also met the three-year-old Prince of Wales, who would become King Edward VII. The tour was a huge success, with crowds mobbing him wherever he went; it made vast amounts of money for both Barnum and Stratton's family.

During 1844-45, Barnum toured with Tom Thumb in Europe and met Queen Victoria, who was amused and saddened by the little man, and the event was a publicity coup. It opened the door to visits from royalty across Europe including the Czar of Russia and let him acquire dozens of attractions, including automatons and other mechanical marvels. He tried to buy the birth home of William Shakespeare and almost got away with it. Barnum was having the time of his life, and for all of the three years abroad with Thumb, except for a few months when his serious, nervous, and straitlaced wife joined him, he had piles of spending money, food and drink, and lived a carefree existence.