170 RECOLLECTIONS OF A LION TAMER
was only awaiting his opportunity, the result proving that I was not mistaken.
This opportunity arrived one evening in October, when, the directors of the Zoological Gardens in Paris being present, I naturally was on my mettle, and wished to let them see of what I was capable. Sultan seemed to grasp the situation, and a repetition of the former scene took place. This time, however, I was prepared, and stood firm on my legs, not flinching under his onslaught. It was a veritable combat, but I was the stronger, and though armed with nothing but a whip, I succeeded in forcing him, outwardly tamed, to obey me.
Needless to say that from that day our relations continued somewhat strained, and at every performance I foresaw a fresh explosion. It required all my strength, all my determination, to cope with his animosity, which each day seemed to augment, and every time that I left him I was worn out in mind and body from the sustained efforts.
At length my hour struck, though not in the way I had anticipated. Suddenly I became aware that my right cheek had lost all feeling, my upper lip was drawn up, and my right eye glazed. The doctors were hastily summoned, and pronounced me to be paralysed ! The strain of my continued efforts had been too great, my machinery was worn out, and I, so active, so greedy of life and movement, was condemned to perpetual repose. Farewell in future to all emotions and ovations! farewell to all the pleasure daily received from the applause of the public!
No more should I appear among my animals, to lord it over them, as of old; in future I must be reduced to the rank of simple spectator, condemned to watch others perform feats taught them by me, and enact the role I had created for myself, and had filled with such signal success throughout so many years.