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GIRL'S SUICIDE IN A LIQN'S CAGE

TERRIBLE PARIS SCENE. Result of a Quarrel. One of the most horrible tragedies ever mown lias, been enacted in a lion's cage at iloiitmartic, in the Theatre Moncey. A /oung woman is alleged to have, with sui•idal intent, given herself up to be devoured by lions. Of course, the intention jf committing suicide cannot be proved, nit the circumstances of the tragedy, as elated by witnesses of the scene, all point lO this conclusion. A play of De Courella's, called "Papa' la Vertu," had been jfiven in the theatre for the last three »eeks( writes a Paris correspondent under late October 1), and in the third act two lonesses figure in the tableau. The lionises were supplied by M. Fezon's associate, who sent a young man, 21 years of ige, to watch them. With the two lion•&ses, named respectively Victoria and Jleo, there was also a lion named Mencik. They were all three 18 months old, .aid had been brought from Abyssinia. The young tamer who had them in ■harge was living with a young woman of .us own age, but as he was about to cv.ye for Fontainebleau for his military t vvice she felt the separation keenly, and he couple had some words over it. The young woman told him that it would all :id badly. She had free access to the licatre, as she was frequently of assistance in attending the lions. The tragedy is >xplaincd by her alleged intention to comnit suicide, but it is quite possible that, is she was constantly around the lions, the Tflare of the savage beasts may have .\orkcd like a fascination on her nervous U mperament, and, if suicide it was, it nay not have been altogether voluntary. Viler 11 o'clock at night, when the sixth ableau had just been concluded, the stage nanager happened to- pass through the •crridor where the cage of the lions stood. A DELIBERATE DEED. To his horror he saw the young woman ■lo?3 u.p to the cago, with her right arm, vliichshe had passed between the bai^, in he jaws of the lioness Victoria. He rush•d to her assistance, but, instead of with'raw ing her arnx, the young woman, lie ;lLges, deliberately pushed it further into lie cage, to give the lioness an opportuniyto devour it leisurely. Before her i'onld-be rescuer was able to pull her away r<;m the cage the lioness seized the young voman's shoulder, which seemed to be \ilhngly offered, and crushed the whole ipper part of the bust with her teeth. The yo\mg woman sank down dead on he sj)ot. An actor, who also came on the ■.cene at this instant, took a big bar of ron, with which he had great difficulty in preventing the other lions, excited by the aste of blood, from devouring the entire >ocly. M. Pezon's assistant, attracted by hi 1 roars of his lions and the calls for ie!p, hurried to the cage, and it took him ,01110 time before he was able to drag the .nulilated corpse away from the claws of lie beasts. The scene created terrible ex•itement among all the stage people, and Lhe audience, which scon became aware hat a tragedy had happened, was nearly In own into a panic. The curtain had to >c let down, and the manager, with some 'ifficulty, quieted the public. A doctor .vho was immediately called declared that '.he young woman must have been killed instantly. Tlic manager of the theatre says that he an only explain it as a deliberate attempt 0 commit suicide. The couple, he said, iad had words in the morning. The stage nanager and the actor who tried to rescue ' he young woman had both the impression ' hat she did not wish to be saved from ertain death, and that she was doing all he could to push herself into the jaws of lie lioness. On the other hand, the maniger i-ayri that great precautions had been iakcu against a possible accident. The •ago of the lions was placed high up on 1 platform, and it was necessary to go up three stop-, to approach the bars. The voun» woman, he explains, must have ;or.e up these three steps purposely, lash'd the lioness into a fury with the whip vhidi she held in her hand, and then •nis'icd herself in between the bars to lie devoured. So terrible has the impression )cei: at the theatre that the play "I'ap/i 'c Vertu" is taken off the boards, and Iho ions have been sent back to the menagerie. EYE-WITNESS'S STORY. M. Pezon's assistant is completely up--.et by this shocking affair. He said, with !ears in his eyes, when talking the tragedy over to-day: I have done with it all. \ftcr what has occurred I bid farewell to 'iie wild beasts. Another will take my place. Yet I had nothing to complain of, ■a I had become the associate of M. Pezon. I feel, however, that it will be impossible for me to forget the horrible vision of that unhappy young woman, with her head and arms in the cage being crunched by those savage animals. At Ihe moment when the tragedy occurred I was in an adjoining room giving Adolphc his pay, as he is going to join his regiment. Hearing shrieks, we both ran in, and you can guess my emotion when I «aw what was happening, and when Adolphc recognised his friend in the victim who was being torn by the wild beaets. "I do not know exactly how it began, but it is certain that the poor woman might have freed herself at first if sli^ had chosen, and it is this that makes me believe that she offered herself- of her own free will to the wild beasts. She was seen to carets the lion a few moments before Lhe drama occurred. At any rate, if I had not arrived on the scene in time she would have been completely devoured, as the lion had caught hold of her and would have drawn her into the cage. Look at this bar of the cage. It is twisted and .severed at the top. Well, if it had been quite separated from the^ cage the victim would have been drawn into it. The animals were even more excited by the cries of the spectators and by the blows which were raining on them. As for me, I went yesterday into a cage for the last time. I am going to sell my animals. It is not that I am more afraid to-day than I was yesterday, but I shall always have that horribly mutilated body before hiy eyes. I had to watch it f^** three-quarters of an hour before it wa removed to the mortuary depot. Rv ,11/ it was awful."

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GIRL'S SUICIDE IN A LIQN'S CAGE Wanganui Herald, Volume XXXXIV, Issue 12931, 23 November 1909

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