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Morning Bulletin Monday, May 1, 1905

This article is titled: An Animal's Remorse

"Can a lion die from a broken heart?" Several of the most noted veterinary surgeons of Paris and Berlin have declared that Baltimore, one of the heaviest and largest lion of the 150 at the Bostock Hippodrome, Paris, is slowly but most surely passing away from grief and that it is past human aid. Baltimore on the 31st of July last, during a performance at Dreamland, New York's Colossal summer resort, savagely attacked its trainer captain Jack Bonavita), the man in whose care he had been ever since his capture in the jungle five years ago. Two thousand people saw the-unequal struggle; in which the wounds inflicted upon the trainer was so terrible that five surgeons in consultation despaired of saving the man's life at all. Baltimore completely lost control of himself, and lying across his victim body, had one of Bonavita's hands in his mouth, tearing off the fingers, when a keeper, named McFeild, pushed an immense bar into the cage and so infuriated the jungle kill" that he left his victim for a second and attempted to reach McField. In that second the proprietor, Mr Frank Bostock, bravely plunged into the arena, and which fighting off the lion by means of shooting blank cartridges into his face, at the same time lifted and carried Bonavita to the door, where willing hands were ready to receive his burden-whether dead or alive body none knew.

For many days the poor man lay in the hospital at the point of death. Dr Edward Lee, the renowned surgeon, who attended President,  McKinley after the shooting in the exposition grounds of Buffalo, was called in consultation, and to the work of the surgeons, Bonavita owes his life.  That portion of the hand chewed by the infuriated lion was amputated.  A month ago the animals were taken from America to Paris by Mr Bostock, and against the wishes of the doctors, Bonavita, with his arm in a sling, came along.  Despite his tied-up arm, the troupe of lions have been put into the exhibition arena every morning, and Bonavita had gone in with them and had half an hour's frolic so that none of the lions might forget him.

Of them all, Baltimore has appeared thoroughly depressed. He has refused his food, and whenever Bonavita spoke to him or looked in his direction the big lion, which is now wasting away, would slink into a corner as though anxious to express his sorrow and beg forgiveness. Bonavita has tried to stroke the animal's shaggy mane, at which Baltimore turns over on his back and tries to lick Bonavita's good hand. " Poor old Baltimore!" said Bonavita, the other evening, " I've forgiven him long ago, and as soon as Dr Lee gets here from home I'm going to have the whole hand taken off, and then Dr Lee and Dr Erhard and Brunier, who are caring for me here, are going to provide me with a mechanical hand, by which I shall be able to handle a whip or a revolver ns easily as possible."

Then going on to describe his encounter with Baltimore, Bonavita said: "I have had many encounters with Baltimore and I never feared him, though when he made the second, lunge and got past my bar that night I felt that my life was gone. Just what my feelings were at that time is hard to say.  I have had many wild Adventures, but that certainly was "the most exciting moment of my life.  What happened when Baltimore passed my bar and struck me to the floor of the cage I scarcely can recall. I remember the wild roar of the lions and the horrified screams of the spectators, which at that moment I mistook for applause. Then Baltimore closed his jaws and took a tight grip of my arm. I felt that if I wanted to live I must struggle to conquer the beast, who at that moment was on the point of devouring me. I tried to work the bar, which was unwieldy because of its great length. Before that night I always had used a shorter bar but after the encounter of the week before I thought that I would be safer and could manage Baltimore better with a long one. 

 

On that night I did something that in all my experience as a lion tamer I never had done before. I went into the cage without my revolver. I owe my life to the attendant.  When I had almost given up the struggle for life and was lying exhausted on the floor, expecting to be devoured at that moment, I saw the long, thin arm of Attendant McField reach through the bars of the cage, and heard him say, 'Here goes to save Captain Jack.' Then came the report of the blank cartridge pistol, which caused Baltimore to loosen his hold on me, and let the attendant slip in the bar which separated him from me. I remember Mr Bostock coming into the cage and picking me up.  Then I lost consciousness. Poor old Baltimore! I have tried to get him to eat, but he won't.  So the  vets say he is dying of a broken heart."

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