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another fired off the gun as directed. The moment after, the doctor staggered and fell to the ground, exclaiming: “I am a dead man!” Several persons hastened to his assistance, and, a surgeon being sent for, the unfortunate performer was removed at once to his own residence. Naturally, a great sensation was excited among the spectators, although few were aware of the full extent of the injury done. It appears that the slight piece of wood used in ramming down the charge, had broken in the barrel, and that a piece of it had traversed Dr. Epstein's body, inflicting a painful, though not very dangerous wound.
Everybody remembers the furore which was created in this country by the first troupe of Japanese acrobats and jugglers which came here. The history of this troupe, of which little “All Right” was the bright particular star, was a rather doleful one. In October, 1866, two Americans, then residing in Yokohama, Japan, entered into an agreement with several Japanese acrobats and jugglers to give performances in the United States and Great Britain. By the laws and customs of Japan no native is allowed to leave the country without the permission of the Tycoon. The two Americans obtained authority to take the company and receive their services for one year from October 20, 1866. The penalty imposed upon the jugglers by the Tycoon for noncompliance with the terms of this agreement was death-provided he could catch them. Twelve performers were selected. The principal ones were Fookee-matz, who acted as leader; String-kee-chee, Ling-keechee, and Ring-kee-chee, his son of nine years; with Zooshee-kee, Chee-shau-kee, La-as-kee, Chee-zah-chau, Ainoo-schee, Foo-choo-chee, and I-as-kee as assistants. They were of one family, and servants of the house of Yoo-kuchu, a Japanese prince. No sooner had they arrived in this country than they got entangled in all sorts of lawsuits and other troubles, which kept them in constant dis
FALLING FROM A TRAPEZE.
tress, and their great desire was to go back to Japan. But between the prospect of death, at the order of the Tycoon, and their overwhelming home-sickness, they found it difficult to decide what course to take; and, though remaining in the country, they became the prey to gloomy feelings, until finally one of them committed hari-kari-running himself through with a sword. The acrobatic feats of these people were very extraordinary.
A western acrobat performed the astonishing feat, two or three years ago, of riding a circus horse from the bottom to the top of the circular stairs leading to the dome on the Court House at Chicago. The dome is one hundred feet from the landing. The stairs are winding, and not more than four feet wide, and the banisters not more than three feet high. The daring performance attracted a large crowd.
A gymnast who fell from a trapeze, in New Orleans, gave the following account of his sensations : “ Amid the sea of faces before me I looked for a familiar one, but in vain, and, turning, I stepped back to the rope by which we ascended to the trapeze, and going up, hand over hand, was soon seated in my swinging perch. As I looked down I caught sight of a face in one of the boxes that at once attracted my attention. It was that of a beautiful girl, with sweet blue eyes, and golden hair falling unconfined over her shoulders in heavy waving masses.
Her beautiful eyes, turned toward me, expressed only terror at the seening danger of the performer, and for the moment I longed to assure her of my perfect safety, but my brother was by my side, and we began our performance. In the pauses for breath, I could see that sweet face, now pale as death, and the blue eyes staring wide open with fear, and I dreaded the effect of our finish, which-being the drop act-gives the uninitiated the impression that both performers are about to be dashed headlong to the stage.
A FRIGHTFUL MOMENT.
Having completed the double performance, I ascended to the upper bar, and, casting off the connect, we began our combination feats. While hanging by my feet in the upper trapeze, my brother being suspended from my hands (the lower bar being drawn back by a super.), I felt a slight shock, and the rope began slowly to slip past my foot. My heart gave a great jump, and then seemed to stop, as I realized our awful situation. The seizing which held the rope had parted, the rope was gliding round the bar, and in another moment we should be lying senseless on the stage. I shouted under' to the terrified "super.,' who instantly swung the bar back to its place, and I dropped my brother on it as the last strand snapped, and I plunged downward. I saw the lower bar darting toward me, as it seemed, and I made a desperate grasp at it, for it was my last chance. I missed it! Down through the air I fell, striking heavily on the stage. The blow rendered me senseless, and my collar-bone was broken. I was hurried behind the scenes, and soon came to my senses. My first thought was that I must go back and go through my performance at once, and I actually made a dash for the stage —but I was restrained, and it was many weeks before I was able to perform again.”
Accidents to So-called “Lion Tamers."-An Amateur Tamer torn to
Pieces.-A Lion attacks its Keeper in Wisconsin.-Narrow Escape of an English Keeper.-Almost a Tragedy at Barnum’s.—A Lion Tamer's Story.—The Killing of Lucas, the Paris Lion Tamer.- What it Costs to get up a Menagerie.—The Headless Rooster.—The Gorilla which had a Tail.-How the Happy Family is kept Happy.-A Dog that wouldn't be Put on Exhibition.
The valorous “lion-tamers” (as they are called), who enter the cages of wild beasts and cuff them about in a style startling to the unsophisticated mind, do not always come off entirely unharmed from their little amusements.
An amateur lion-tamer was killed a short time since, at Ballein, in Belgium. The regular lion-tamer of the show was ill, and the director proposed to exhibit in place of him. He entered the cage, and succeeded for a time in making the lions go through their performance; but when it came to the close, which consists of giving the animals raw meat, the director lost courage, and instead of keeping a firm eye on the animals, he trembled and made for the door of the cage. This sealed his doom. A large lioness pounced upon him, and in a few minutes the rash, unfortunate man was torn to pieces.
An animal performer in Madison, Wisconsin, had on one occasion nearly completed his usual performance in the lion's cage, and was in the act of firing off his pistol as the finale, when one of the lionesses sprang furiously at him, and tore the flesh in shreds from his arms and legs. The unfortunate man's bones snapped under the terrible violence, and all the spectators were stricken with fear,
expecting to see him killed outright. The employées of the menagerie, however, quickly realized the peril of the situation, and made a furious attack on the lioness with spears and lances. They succeeded, with some difficulty, in beating her off, and in rescuing their comrade, who was immediately placed under treatment, and his wounds dressed. The crowd of spectators were thrown into great confusion during the affair, and many, fearing for their lives, fled from the scene, but fortunately none were injured.
At Bradford, England, last Summer, a fair was being held, among whose attractions was a menagerie of wild beasts, which included a Barbary lioness and a good-sized male puma. At intervals these animals were put through a performance by one of the keepers, named Joseph Pearce. While the latter was in the cage with the animals on Friday evening, the lioness suddenly seized him by the arm, threw him down on the floor of the cage, and held him by the throat in its grip. The spectators became greatly alarmed, and while some, in the hope of rendering assistance, began to tear out the boards near the cages, others began to retreat by the passages. In a moment of the greatest apprehension, the puma fortunately struck the lioness a blow with its paw, and thus diverted from its keeper, the brute turned savagely upon the puma, and the pair engaged in a fierce fight. The keeper, apparently little injured, immediately regained his control over the beasts, and persisted in finishing the performance.
A similar scene took place at Barnum's old museum, in New York, during a performance of a drama callled “The Christian Martyrs.” In the fourth act, Sebastian (represented by the keeper of the animals at Barnum's) is cast into a cave full of “wild animals.” The keeper had been in the den but a few moments, when he noticed an unusual glare in the eyes of the leopard. He had forgotten