Geese Pull Actor on the Thames

I found this story on Ludicrous Scene's blog here. The original source was The Illustrated Police News, June 23, 1877.

"On Saturday afternoon last week, Mr Felix Rogers, of Sanger’s Amphitheatre, sailed in a tub accompanied by four geese from Battersea to Westminster Bridge.


"The tub was two feet deep by two feet six inches in diameter, and it was balanced by heavy weights, four geese being harnessed in front.

"The actor was dressed in a naval captain’s attire, and sat on a seat fixed across the centre of the tub.

"The start took place at twenty minutes to two on the ebb tide, which was flowing strong enough to carry the tub steadily along, the geese appearing to do little or nothing towards drawing it, their heads being as often as not turned towards the occupant.

"It was a few minutes after three when the tub passed under a Westminster Bridge, and it was carried as far as a large timber wharf on the Surrey side before a landing could be effected.

"After some delay, Mr Rogers was got safely into a boat and rowed to the Westminster Bridge steps, where he landed."

This is all well and good, but the article doesn't tell us the most important point: WHY? Why is an actor sitting in a tub being pulled by geese? Did someone hire him to do it? If so, for what purpose? Or did he do it himself for a lark? Was this type of thing just a normal occurrence for Victorian London? "Oh, look, there goes Abraham, being pulled on a unicycle by an army of frogs, headed down Tottenham Court Road."

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