The sadism depicted in Ruby: the Pride of the Ring turns Bloom's thoughts to an act that he has personally witnessed in a circus show: "Cruelty behind it all. Doped animals. Trapeze at Hengler's. Had to look the other way. Mob gaping. Break your neck and we'll break our sides. Families of them. Bone them young so they metempsychosis." Most of this is straightforward, but the last sentence is highly mysterious and textually problematic.

John Hunt 2022

1892 program for "Hengler's Grand Cirque." Source:

1890 lithograph of trapeze artists made by the Calvert Lithographing Company. Source: Wikimedia Commons.

Carte de visite portrait of two child trapeze artists, ca. 1860s-70s. Source:

Another ca. 1890 lithograph of trapeze artists, these male. Source: