Henry Cross was a plump man who wore rimless spectacles, a chesterfield and a walrus mustache. He was also mighty adventurous. Born in upper New York State in 1837, he twice ran away with circuses, and at 16 made his way to Paris, where he learned animal painting from Rosa Bonheur. On his return, he went west with a circus, painting the animals and developing an interest in Indian life. Later he decorated circus wagons for P. T. Barnum, finally decided his life was too tame and set forth in search of savages.


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