Well I rigger she's a curiosity for the curious,"" says Hachaliah Bailey to his sea captain brother, explaining why he has imported the first pachyderm to land in America. And Hachaliah is fight as rain. ""Hold yet hosses! An elyphunt is coming to town!"" read the posters he sends ahead on tour, and by the time Old Bet becomes a heroine by putting out a Vermont fire with her trunk, Hachaliah ""wouldn't sell the critter for a fortune. No wonder. For Old Bet had made him a very rich man [and] more than that, she was the best animal friend a body ever had."" Before this is over, Hach has hired young Phineas T. Barnum to help him with the critter and has begun to eye a giraffe and some monkeys fresh-come from Africa. (Cross doesn't say so even in her appended note, but Hach wasn't the Bailey of later B&B fame.) Cross hams up the telling with suitable old-timey diction, and of course Margot Tomes' droll little figures put on a good sideshow. A mild but agreeable curiosity.