Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 21.djvu/731

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

when he was connected with a circus, by acquiring an extraordinary power over horses, which he taught every trick known to the profession, and some which have hardly been exactly paralleled. From this he went on to taming wild beasts; and, soon after he had started business as part proprietor of a menagerie, he had labored eight months in training a royal tiger, and had taught a spotted hyena to pick up his gloves. He was never seen with a whip in his hand; but he crossed his arms, and gave his animals the word of command to leap on and off his shoulders; and he considered his method infinitely superior to that of the tamers who go through their business chiefly by the terrorism of a heavy whip and a revolver. Their beasts obey them, but, he said, "they are not tamed as mine were, and, when one of them rebels, you can judge the tragic result from the tragical end of Lucas." One day, Martin told his wife that he anticipated trouble with his lion Cobourg, who was then in a dangerous state of excitement. She begged him to put off the performance, but he said: "No; for, if I should do it once, I should have to do it every time the animals have caprices." The next night his forebodings were fulfilled. Instead of performing his part properly, Cobourg crouched low and dug his talons into the stage, and his eyes flared. Martin had no weapon at command except a dagger in his belt—"I have said, never a whip." Instead of obeying orders, the lion leaped at Martin, and a combat occurred, in the course of which the lion took Martin up in his mouth and shook him in the air. Martin struck the animal over the nose for a second time, and then, feeling his strength exhausted, gave himself up for lost, and turned his back to the beast, so that at the next spring it might attack the back of his neck, and so "make an end of the business. . . . But two seconds passed, two seconds that seemed to me an eternity. I turned around; the lion's mood had changed. He looked at the audience, he looked at me. I gave him the sign to go. He went away as if nothing had happened." It was fourteen weeks before Martin could perform again, but then the lion worked well as usual, and continued to do so for four years without any more caprices. In taming one of his tigers, Martin began by taking the brute's attention off the door of the cage, and then, armed with a dagger, went rapidly into the cage and stood looking at the tiger, which for some minutes lay motionless, staring at him. Then, feeling a shiver, and knowing that if the tiger saw it all would be over with him, he went swiftly out. At the end of a fortnight he went again into the cage, and this time staid there half an hour. A third time he paid the tiger a visit of three quarters of an hour. "The fourth time the tiger, trembling at first, lay down before the pygmy who braved it." To tame a hyena, Martin wrapped his legs and arms with cords, and protected his head with handkerchiefs, and then, walking into the cage, went straight to the animal and offered it his fore-arm. The hyena bit it, and the tamer, looking steadily in its eyes, stood motionless. The next day he repeated the experiment, substituting a leg for an arm; "and all the time Martin's black pupils were flashing into the gray eye of the hyena. The beast gave up, cringed, and smelled the feet of the master." Martin tamed his subjects by his personal influence alone; and Charles Nodier once said of him: "At the head of an army Martin might have been a Bonaparte. Chance has made a man of genius a director of a menagerie."


A Merovingian (Frank) Grave-Yard.—M. Georges Lecocq has described some articles which he has recovered from a cemetery of the Merovingian period at Caulaincourt, France. He opened 186 graves, and found in them 156 coffins of wood, 30 cf stone, and 464 articles of glass, iron, bronze, ivory, coins, beads, flints, etc. The graves were generally well aligned and directed from east to west. The stone coffins were made, some from a single block, more from two or three blocks, and were wider at the head than at the foot. The covers were flat or tectiform, and always composed of two or three slabs. These sarcophagi all contained wooden coffins. In most of the burials a stone was placed over the breast. The race of men whose burial place this was, do not appear to have been essentially different from the present race. One skull, which particularly attracted attention, had a hole in it exactly like what