Europe (1857-1858)

Broadside, London 1857

Broadside: Regent Gallery, London 1857

Pastrana's European tour began during the summer of 1857. On July 1, several newspaper articles described a preview of her show attended by medical men and the press. Similarly, a month later, Lent invited the press to lunch "for the purpose of seeing Miss Julia Pastrana in a less restrained sphere of friendly intercourse than the public levees afford" (London Evening Standard. Issue 10293 [1857] 5). These appearances won over many in the audience:

The entertainment, so far as Mr. Lent's hospitality was concerned, was agreeable enough, and so far as Miss Julia Pastrana was concerned it was curious and remarkable enough for the most blasé sightseer. We give Mr. Lent credit for introducing this wonderful being to the world in a perfectly legitimate way. He has eschewed those Barnum dodges--we beg the reader's pardon, but we can find no other equally expressive word--which lead either to undue expectation and to disappointment, or to suspicion and neglect; and he has been content simply to invite the public to visit the extraordinary woman to whom he introduces them, without any clap-trap or exaggeration.

And truly Miss Julia Pastrana is a young lady whose acquaintance it is at least desirable that the ethnologist and physiologist should make. None but herself can be her parallel. No young lady in the United Kingdom can boast of such attractions, and indeed Miss Julia is in the whole world beyond compare. Seriously, the young woman is a remarkable curiosity--not so horridly repulsive as the imaginative artists of the posting-bill school have made her--but yet sufficiently abnormal to create a feeling of sorrow and sadness, which would be the more intense but that the young woman herself seems perfectly happy" ("Miss Julia Pastrana," London Evening Standard. Issue 10293 [1857] 5). 

Pastrana's performances in London ran through August 8, 1857 after which she performed in Liverpool and Newcastle for several months.

In November, she began to perform in Germany at Kroll's Establishment, one of the main venues for performance in Berlin. On November 5 in the King's Hall (Königsaale), Pastrana was the headlining actress in a burlesque play, Der Curirte Meier (sometimes spelled Der Curierte Meyer), written by E. Jacobson. After one performance, the police shut down the play, allowing Pastrana to sing and dance only in a smaller venue, the Cork Room. Pastrana performed there for six weeks before moving on to Vienna since the police in Hamburg would not allow her to perform there [Note: some have misidentified the location of Pastrana's banned play as Leipzig].

In Vienna, Pastrana began to perform with Circus Renz, a company run by German Ernst Renz. Their performances ran for more than 3 months in Vienna with Pastrana often featured prominently in newspaper advertisements. Pastrana danced and sang in Circus Renz, just as she had in her previous appearances. One account indicates that Renz heightened interest in her by delaying her appearance to the second day Circus Renz performed in Vienna. When she finally appeared, audience members found her "agreeable":

Hereafter, the 'guardian' of the hairy Julia made the Miss talk and sing in English and dance Scottish. The tone of the Miss is not too unharmonic, but her dance, especially concerning the movements of her small feet, is truly gracious. She danced a 'Scottish' just like Lydia Thompson, and when you drew a mental line from the brunette non-beauty to the blonde curlyhead of Miss Lydia, it offered a striking contrast. At the end, after the audience had become used to the interesting Mexican, she was lead around the colonnade and the balustrade for closer view and appraisal during which she conversed with the audience in a rather affable way, which caused an elderly Viennese gentleman to call out "She is a rather agreeable creature!" ("Kleine Wiener Chronik, from ViennaDie Presse [December 19, 1857] 1-2).

Although some articles have stated that Pastrana performed on a horse during this time, I have not found any documentation to support that assertion. Since one news story describes Zenora Pastrana on horseback, it may be that researchers confused the two women (see Berlin Börsenzeitung [March 22, 1874] 20].

Pastrana's life was one in which she must have interacted with other performers, for example those in Circus Renz. In addition, one newspaper article contains a story that Pastrana told about her friendship with a well known actress (identified elsewhere as Friederike Gossmann):

Your kind readers might not be angry with their loafer, when, instead of reporting about the latest fashions and most outstanding appearances of and in the Salons, since his last letter he again spent two hours with Ms. P., the ' ugliest of 700', as Nestroy [a famous actor of the time in Vienna] said. It is always the original, the most extravagant, which catches and attracts us, and Ms. P. is certainly a most unusual person, and, in her ugliness, a rather acceptable personalty, opposite of whom one forgets the monkey-likeness and the root-digging way. She was angry with me, that I was tactless enough mention to the public that she sent a bashful kiss to a fiery Hungarian, and I had to defend myself vigorously in order to soften the anger of the Mexican. In order to clarify any doubts about her having attachments to mens' vows or compliments by the stronger sex, Ms. P. told me with a laughing mouth - duty of politeness urges me to use this word for this lip monstrosity that capricious Mother Nature forced upon this often admired lady between her nose and her chin -, that lately she made the acquaintance of a "charming lady who is an artist and of a famous name". Ms. P. was delighted about this newly established friendship and assured me, she was even more delighted, because until now it was exactly the beautiful sex which turned away from her with horror and disgust, as in Richard III "half finished, partly sent into this world of breathing, so ugly that dogs bark when she limps past." When my Mexican friend assured me the charming lady freely and frankly kissed her on her beard-shadowed cheek, my curiosity was heightened to the maximum, and I asked Ms. P. to show me the portrait her friend gave her as memento. She obliged me and I saw - but I leave this to the sharp intellect of my readers, and only allow, that our art stores count this picture in its manyfold variations as one of their most-sold articles , one of which was the talk of the day for quite some time, because of its often-criticized signature. 

Ms. P. is bound by contract to appear only in Circus Renz during the winter, but is thinking of returning to Vienna in the summer and exhibit her esteemed personality to the public at a fitting locality. ("Briefe eines MüssiggangersFremden Blatt 12.7 [January 10, 1858] 3). 

Pastrana did perform with Circus Renz in Leipzig on May 2, 1858. After that, she performed with Circus Slezak in Warsaw according to a broadside. It seems that the rest of her career was spent performing in eastern Europe and Russia. Reseach into this period of her life is ongoing.