166 RECOLLECTIONS OF A LION TAMER
all warnings and precautions, to risk his life, first in offering a piece of bread through the bars, and next, as his sleeping majesty took no notice of this affront, in attempting to pat the lion on the head. Then arose the king of beasts in his wrath, and, quick as lightning, the unhappy man's arm was seized upon, crunched and snapped off, with no more ado than a dog would make over a chicken bone. His piercing cries promptly brought the railway officials to the rescue, armed with pitchforks and iron bars; but, alas! it was already too late, the monster was licking his lips over the sanguinary morsel, while the unhappy victim of his own folly was withing in agonies, which mercifully soon ended in death. I gave a performance next evening for the benefit of the widow and children, during which I entered the den of the rebellious lion and publicly chastised him.
After several weeks' successful performances at Lyons I proposed to make a stay at Marseilles; and, in order to convey my living freight thither, chartered a train of forty trucks. Decidedly Lyons station brought me bad luck: it now witnessed a tussle with an elephant, who positively declined to enter the car destined for him ; no persuasions, no coaxings would induce him to budge— the more I pommelled him the more he resisted; finally we were obliged to resort to force. A strong rope was passed around his legs, at the other end of which was a gang of nearly a hundred men, who, dragging and tugging, only succeeded in embarking the unwilling passenger as the train gave the warning whistle for departure.
The white bear and the elephant were the cause of the first really serious danger I ever ran. In the midst of an exercise the white bear, irritated by some trifle, suddenly threw itself on the elephant, who, surprised by this unexpected and unmerited attack, set to work slowly and methodically to repel his assailant. Feeling myself the natural peacemaker, I threw myself between the combatants, with the result that I became the assailed