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Louis de Rougemont

March 3, 2013

a photograph of Louis de Rougemont (1847-1921),
Swiss-born would-be explorer, author and latterly a music hall attraction, as he appeared at the London Hippodrome, July and August 1906
(photo: unknown, probably London, 1906)

‘There is something very pathetic in the appearance of Mr. Louis de Rougemont at the Hippodrome to prove (at the age of seventy) that his notorious stories about riding turtles were not fairy tales. Wrapped in a many-coloured blanket the ancient mariner stands on the edge of the Hippodrome arena and makes a speech. Then a real live turtle is thrown into the water, and the old man, throwing off his blanket, dive in after it. The turtle is evidently bent on defending Mr. De Rougemont’s proofs, for although he gets on its back it promptly escapes, and the thin old man flounders through the water in pursuit of his ungainly Pegasus. Once more he mounts and once more it turns adroitly on its back as if anxious to keep him beneath the water altogether. The whole thing is over in a flash, and as someone has put it, one is more than ever convinced that the turtle was primarily meant for soup.’
(J.M. Bulloch, The Sphere, London, 11 August 1906, p. 124c)

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