"Instead of being bitter over his littleness, Tom seemed to glory in it, almost as if it were his own special blessing. He loved to strut out on the stage and show what he could do to an audience. ... Of course, Tom's childhood suffered from his full-time occupation as an adult. At five he learned to drink wine at meals, at seven to smoke cigars. ... He loved money and hoarded it. ... At the start of 1845, Barnum allowed the Strattons to become full partners in the Thumb adventure [and they became] 'absolutely deranged with such golden success.' ...
"By 1862, Barnum was watching his wealthy Bridgeport neighbor Charles Stratton (alias Tom Thumb) sail his yacht and drive his thoroughbreds and smoke his cigars. ... [Barnum soon added as an act] Mercy Lavinia Warren Bump who was a 21-year-old beauty from Middleborough, Massachusetts, and only 32 inches tall. ... Tom Thumb took one look at the museum's dainty addition and fell head over heels in love. ... [Sixteen years later] in 1878, Lavinia's sister Minnie died painfully while giving birth to a full-sized baby, not the miniature child she and her husband had expected. ... [After this and another friend's tragic death] Tom Thumb was never the same. ... [In 1883], Tom died suddenly of a stroke at the age of 46."
Philip B. Kunhardt, Jr., Philip B. Kunhardt III, Peter W. Kunhardt, P.T. Barnum, Knopf, Copyright 1995 by Philip B. Kunhardt, Jr., Philip B. Kunhardt III, Peter W. Kunhardt, pp. 48-275.