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Newspaper Page Text
By Sigismund B. Tailer.
Nero had not been quite the same
for several weeks. Signor Blanco,
his trainer, had perceived nothing
amiss, because his eyes had lost their
fine keenness and his brain had
grown sodden and bewildered Nero
obeyed as quickly as ever, but when
he sprang, at the word of command,
upon his pedestal, there was a slight
quivering of his sides, a lashing of
Nero Retreated, Growling.
his tail, which would have told Blan
co a story once. But Blanco was
mad with drink and jealousy of his
young wife, Minetta.
Every trainer knows that the old
story of Daniel and the lions is true.
The lion fears a good man more than
anything in the world. But let the
trainer drink or give way to any base
impulse and his power is gone.
As for Majolica and Betty, they
were mere kittens of creatures, hard
ly larger than welltgrown Newfound
lands. And Parsifal, the tiger, was
old and toothless. Nero carried off
the honors in Blanco's menagerie,
and Nero was so magnificent a Nu
bian specimen that he would have
made any show respectable.
Minetta had noticed it. So had
Giuseppe. The girl hald told Giu
seppe, and the apprentice had warned
Blanco. Blanco had laughed and
sneered and cut Nero across the face
with his heavy training whip. Nero
retreated, growling and licking his
paws; he longed to sink their needle
like points into Blanco's white flesh.
The truth was that Blanco had
been beating his wife. Minetta was
only nineteen and they had been
married two years. Blanco was for
ty-five. He had found Minetta starv
ing on her arrival from Italy to many
Giuseppe, who came from her vil
lage, and to whom she had been
pledged ever since they were chil
dren. Minetta had missed Giuseppe, for
Blanco, having seen her photograph,
had cunningly contrived to send Giu
seppe astray. He trailed her for
three days until her money was ex
hausted. Then he made himself
known to her at her boarding house,
just as she was in the act of being
turned into the street.
"Giuseppe has another girl," he
told her. "I am Signor Blanco. No,
I do not know where Giuseppe is
now. Marry me and I will hang dia
monds round your neck."
Poor little Minetta, helpless and
hopeless, fell an easy victim to Blan
co. It must be admitted, though,
that he was deeply infatuated with
her girlish beauty. So they were
married and lived happily three
months. And then Giuseppe came
Blanco had taken advantage of the
raw youth's ignorance to have him
shanghaied aboard a Chesapeake
oysterman. He had thought the life
would kill him, instead of which he
had grown strong. He came back to
find Blanco married to Minetta.
"Pooh, that Js nothing!" Blanco