168 RECOLLECTIONS OF A LION TAMER
sulked in a corner and refused. When I cracked my whip at him he growled, and the more I urged him the louder he growled, showing his teeth and beating the air with his heavy tail.
To withdraw from the cage and leave him master of the field would have been to acknowledge myself beaten, and that would not have been in keeping with my character. I determined to conquer him, and, in this determination, I advanced a step forward. Now it happened that I was then suffering from rheumatism, particularly in my knee, and as I stepped a sudden shoot of pain caused the knee to bend, and me to fall to the ground !
Instantly I knew that I was lost. In a moment Sultan was upon me, one heavy paw resting on my head, while with the other he tore, gashed, clawed my quivering flesh.
On all sides resounded cries, shrieks from terrified women, frantic calls for help from men. I, and I alone, uttered no sound, I knew the necessity for calm and the danger of the slightest false move. Seizing the raging animal by the skin of the throat, I twisted it with all my force, in hopes of strangling him. By degrees his frantic movements began to cease, and his powerful muscles to relax. Suddenly he turned his head ; something behind was taking his attention off me. What was happening was this : two of my men had succeeded in entering the cage, and, with red-hot irons, were attacking his flanks. Profiting by the momentary respite, I managed to raise myself to a sitting posture, and I shortly found myself upright again; once on my feet I felt that I was safe, and would resume my position as master. Summoning all my resolution, I advanced on the rebel, and peremptorily ordered him to his den. I compelled him, though sullenly, to obey me, and would next have proceeded to chastise him with an unsparing hand, but I yielded to the clamour of the public and allowed my rescuers to lead me from the cage. The only concession I obtained was