Page:Sawdust & Spangles.djvu/214

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182
SAWDUST AND SPANGLES

kind which have the confidence of trainers and performers?"

The answer is very simple: The man handling the animal and knowing well its character has been able to discern a radical change in its disposition. He declares that the brute is no longer to be trusted, and any wise and humane showman who receives this kind of a warning from a reliable and efficient trainer or performer will retire the brute in question to a cage and leave it there. On the other hand, some animals which have tasted blood, and even "killed their man," are continued in the service. Why? Because the trainer who goes in to chastise them believes that he has been able to beat the animal into a permanent state of penitence, humility and wholesome fear, and to effectually obliterate the sense of triumph in the mind of the creature.


A SINGLE-HAND FIGHT WITH FIVE LIONS

Occasionally a foolish and intermeddling spectator will endeavor to show his brilliancy by experimenting with the animals. More than once this tendency has well-nigh cost a performer his life. I recall one instance when a performer was doing an act in a cage containing five lions. He had just begun his work, and the lions had taken their positions.