Harry Bensley © wood engraving (ed. 40) image: 7 x 5 in. $100.00 (go to "Hi There" for purchase information)
One version of the story has rich English businessman Harry Bensley losing his fortune at cards and another version has him making a bet to settle an argument. In either case Harry's unusual adventure began in 1907 in the London Sporting Club with American tycoon, J. P. Morgan. To clear his debt or win the bet, Harry was required to walk around the world pushing a pram and wearing an iron mask to hide his identity, but his baggage could include only a change of underwear and one British pound, and his only means of income could be from the sale of promotional postcards and he was never to reveal his identity. The final challenge was that somewhere on the journey he was to find a wife without showing his face (Harry may have already been married). J. P. Morgan didn't become a tycoon by being stupid so he insisted that one of his employees accompany Harry on the entire journey to see that the conditions were met. The tour began in 1908 with stops in major cities of Britain. Harry didn't surface again until 1914 at the outbreak of WWI, claiming he had fulfilled his obligation (no one has been able to track down J.P. Morgan's "minder" to verify that). There is no indication that Harry actually left Britain and no record exists in any countries around the world of a man in an iron helmet, pushing a pram and peddling postcards who was hunting for a wife. Harry died in 1956 in a rooming house in Brighton, after serving in WWI then working at menial jobs.

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