Page:Sawdust & Spangles.djvu/199

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IX

TRAINING ANIMALS AND PERFORMERS

The awe inspired in the breast of the average countryman by the “daring act” of the lion-tamer is well founded. Long years of familiarity with this feature of the show business have not served to dampen my sense of admiration for the grit of a man who does not flinch to enter the cage of any fierce animal and prove man’s mastery over the brute creation. In justification of this sentiment I have only to point to the professional animal-trainers of long experience. If there is one of them who does not bear on his body the marks of his encounters with his savage pupils he is a rare exception to the rule. The whole fraternity is physically ragged and tattered—torn and mutilated by the teeth of beasts they have trained. I have never ceased to marvel that men will deliberately choose to follow the subjugation of animals as a profession, particularly when they have only to look upon the veterans in the business to behold a ghastly and dis-

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