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Title: Wild Beasts and Their Ways, Reminiscences of Europe, Asia, Africa and America — Volume 1
Author: Baker, Samuel White, Sir
Language: English
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Wild Beasts and their Ways

Reminiscences of Europe, Asia, Africa and America


by Sir Samuel W. Baker
F.R.S., F.R.G.S., etc., etc.
Volume 1



CHAPTER I

THE RIFLE OF A PAST HALF CENTURY

Forty years ago our troops were armed with a smooth-bore musket, and a
small force known as the "Rifle Brigade" was the exception to this rule.

The military rifle carried a spherical bullet, and, like all others of
the period, it necessitated the use of a mallet to strike the ball,
which, being a size larger than the bore, required the blow to force it
into the rifling of the barrel in order to catch the grooves.

Sporting rifles were of various sizes, but they were constructed upon a
principle generally accepted, that extreme accuracy could only be
obtained by burning a very small charge of powder.

The outfit required a small mallet made of hardwood faced with thick
buff leather, a powerful loading-rod, a powder-flask, a pouch to contain
greased linen or silk patches; another pouch for percussion caps; a
third pouch for bullets. In addition to this cumbersome arrangement, a
nipple-screw was carried, lest any stoppage might render necessary the
extraction of the nipple.

The charge of powder in ordinary use for a No. 16 bore (which carried an
ounce spherical ball) was 1 1/2 dram, and the sights were adjusted for a
maximum range of 200 yards. Although at this distance considerable
accuracy could be attained at the target upon a quiet day, it was
difficult to shoot with any precision at an unmeasured range owing to
the high trajectory of the bullet. Thus for sporting purposes it was
absolutely essential that the hunter should be a first-rate judge of
distance in order to adjust the sights as required by the occasion. It
was accordingly rare to meet with a good rifle-shot fifty years ago.
Rifle-shooting was not the amusement sought by Englishmen, although in
Switzerland and Germany it was the ordinary pastime. In those countries
the match-rifle was immensely heavy, weighing, in many instances, 16
lbs., although the bullet was exceedingly small.

The idea of non-recoil was paramount as necessary to ensure accuracy.

It will be at once perceived that the rifle was a most inferior weapon,
failing through a low velocity, high trajectory, and weakness of
penetration.

In 1840, I had already devoted much attention to this subject, and I
drew a plan for an experimental rifle to burn a charge of powder so
large that it appeared preposterous to the professional opinions of the
trade. I was convinced that accuracy could be combined with power, and
that no power could be obtained without a corresponding expenditure of
powder. Trajectory and force would depend upon velocity; the latter must
depend upon the volume of gas generated by explosion.

The rifle was made by Gibbs of Bristol. The weight was 21 lbs., length
of barrel 36 inches, weight of spherical belted bullet 3 ounces, of
conical bullet 4 ounces, charge of powder 16 drams. The twist was one
full turn in the length of barrel. The rifling was an exceedingly deep
and broad groove (two grooves), which reduced the difficulty of loading
to a minimum, as the projecting belt enabled the bullet to catch the
channel instantly, and to descend easily when wrapped in a greased silk
patch without the necessity of hammering. The charge of powder was
inserted by inverting the rifle and passing up the loading-rod with an
ounce measure screwed to the end; this method prevented the powder from
adhering to the sides of the barrel, and thus fouling the grooves.

An extraordinary success attended this rifle, which became my colossal
companion for many years in wild sports with dangerous game. It will be
observed that the powder charge was one-third the weight of the
projectile, and not only a tremendous crushing power, but an
extraordinary penetration was obtained, never equalled by any rifle that
I have since possessed.

This weapon was in advance of the age, as it foreshadowed the modern
Express, and the principle was thoroughly established to my own
satisfaction, that a sporting rifle to be effective at a long range must
burn a heavy charge of powder, but the weight of the weapon should be in
due proportion to the strain of the explosion.

When I first visited Ceylon in 1845, there were several renowned
sportsmen who counted their slain elephants by many hundreds, but there
were no rifles. Ordinary smooth-bore shot-guns were the favourite
weapons, loaded invariably with a double charge of powder and a hardened
ball. In those days the usual calibre of a gun was No. 14 or 16. A No.
12 was extremely rare. The charge for No. 16 was 2 3/4 drams of fine
grain powder, and drams for No. 12. Accordingly, the light guns, or
"fowling-pieces," as they were termed, were severely tested by a charge
of 6 drams of the strongest powder with a hardened bullet; nevertheless
I never heard of any failure.

At a short range the velocity and penetration of an ounce spherical
ball, with the heavy powder charge, were immense, but beyond 50 yards
the accuracy was imperfect.

I believe I was the first to introduce rifles into Ceylon, which were
then regarded by the highest authorities in the island as impractical
innovations, too difficult to sight, whereas an ordinary gun could be
used with ball more quickly in taking a snap-shot.

The rifles which I had provided were heavy, the 3 ounce already
mentioned, 21 lbs., and a long 2 ounce by Blisset, 16 lbs. The latter
was a polygroove, the powder charge only 1 1/2 dram when I originally
purchased it. It was wonderfully accurate at short ranges with the small
charge, which I quickly increased to 6 drams, thereby losing accuracy,
but multiplying velocity.

Twelve months' experience with elephants and buffaloes decided me to
order a battery of double-barrelled rifles, No. 10, two-grooved, with 6
drams of fine grain powder, and spherical-belted bullets. These were
most satisfactory, and they became the starting-point for future
experiments.

Shortly before the Crimean War, the musket was abolished, and about 1853
the British army was armed throughout with rifles. The difficulty of a
military rifle lay in the rapid fouling of the barrel, which
necessitated a bullet too small to expand sufficiently to fill the
grooves; this resulted in inaccuracy. Even if the bullet were properly
fitted, it became impossible to load when the barrel began to foul after
a few discharges.

At that time I submitted a plan to the authorities which simplified the
difficulty, and having left the pattern bullet at Woolwich, it quickly
appeared with a slight modification as the "Boxer bullet." My plan
designed a cone hollowed at the base. The bullet was a size smaller than
the bore, which enabled it to slide easily down the barrel when foul.
The hollow base fitted upon a cone of boxwood pointed at the insertion,
but broad at the base, which was larger than the diameter of the hollow
in the bullet. It may be easily understood that although this compound
bullet was smaller than the bore of the rifle, a blow with the ramrod
after loading would drive the conical bullet upon the larger diameter of
the boxwood cone, which, acting like a wedge, would expand the lead,
thus immediately secured within the barrel. The expansion when fired
drove the boxwood into the centre of the bullet, which of necessity took
the rifling.

The Boxer bullet superseded the boxwood plug by the use of a piece of
burnt clay, which was less expensive and equally serviceable.

Before breechloaders were invented, we were obliged to fit out a regular
battery of four double rifles for such dangerous game as elephants,
buffaloes, etc., as the delay in re-loading was most annoying and might
lead to fatal accidents.

In hot damp climates it became necessary to fire off and clean the
entire battery every evening, lest a miss-fire should be the consequence
upon the following morning from the condensation of moisture in the
nipple during night. This was not only great trouble and a wasteful
expenditure of ammunition, but the noise of so many loud reports just at
the hour when wild animals were on the move, alarmed the country.
Trustworthy gun-carriers are always difficult to procure, and it was by
no means uncommon that in moments of danger, when the spare rifles were
required, the gun-bearers had bolted from the scene, and the master was
deserted.

The introduction of breechloaders has made shooting a luxury, and has
obviated the necessity of a large battery of guns. For military purposes
the breechloader has manifold advantages--as the soldier can load while
lying down, and keep up a rapid fire from a secure cover. It was
remarked during the Crimean War that a large proportion of wounded men
were struck in the right arm, which would have been raised above the
head when loading the old-fashioned rifle, and was thus prominently
exposed.

It is not my intention to enter into the minutiae of military rifles,
but I cannot resist the satisfaction with which I regard the triumph of
the small-bore which I advocated through the columns of the Times in
1865, at a time when the idea was opposed by nearly all authorities as
impracticable, owing to the alleged great drawback of rapid fouling.
There can be no doubt that the charge of 70 grains with a small-bore
bullet, '303, will have a lower trajectory (higher velocity
(equivalent to long range)) than a heavier projectile, '450, with the
additional advantage of a minimum recoil.

The earliest in the field of progress was the old-established firm of
Purdey and Co. Mr. Purdey, before the general introduction of
breechloaders, brought out an Express rifle, No. 70 bore, with a
mechanically fitting two-groove solid bullet. This small projectile was
a well-pointed cone weighing exactly 200 grains, with a powder charge of
110 grains, more than half the weight of the bullet. The extremely high
velocity of this rifle expanded the pure soft lead upon impact with the
skin and muscles of a red deer. At the same time there was no loss of
substance in the metal, as the bullet, although much disfigured,
remained intact, and continued its course of penetration, causing great
havoc by its increased surface. Nothing has surpassed this rifle in
velocity, although so many improvements have taken place since the
introduction of breechloaders, but in the days of muzzle-loaders it was
a satisfaction to myself that I was the first to commence the heavy
charge of powder with the 3 ounce bullet and 16 drams, to be followed
after many years by so high an authority as Mr. Purdey with a 200 grain
bullet and 110 grains of powder, thus verifying the principle of my
earliest experience.

This principle is now universally accepted, and charges of powder are
used, as a rule, which forty years ago would have been regarded as
impossible.

The modern breechloader in the hands of a well-trained soldier should be
a most deadly weapon, nevertheless we do not find a greater percentage
of destruction among the numbers engaged than resulted from the old
Brown Bess. The reason is obvious: battles are now fought at long
ranges, whereas in the early portion of the century fire was seldom
opened at a greater distance than 200 yards, and the actual struggle
terminated at close quarters.

A long-range rifle in the excitement of a hot action has several
disadvantages. The sights may have been set for 600 or 800 yards when
the enemy was at a distance, but should that interval be decreased by an
approach at speed, the sights would require an immediate readjustment,
otherwise the bullets would fly overhead, and the nearer the enemy
advanced, the safer he would be. Troops require most careful training
with the new weapons entrusted to their care. Although a rapidity of
fire if well directed must have a terrible result, there can be no
question that it engenders a wild excitement, and that a vast amount of
ammunition is uselessly expended, which, if reserved by slower but
steady shooting, would be far more deadly.

Although the difficulty is great in preventing troops from independent
firing when their blood is up in the heat of combat, the paramount duty
of an officer should be to control all wildness, and to insist upon
volleys in sections of companies by word of command, the sights of the
rifles being carefully adjusted, and a steady aim being taken at the
knees of the enemy.

There cannot be a better example than the advice upon this subject given
by the renowned General Wolfe (who was subsequently killed at the siege of
Quebec) to the 20th Regiment, of which he was Colonel, when England was
hourly expecting an invasion by the French:--... "There is no necessity
for firing very fast; ... a cool well-levelled fire with the pieces
carefully loaded is much more destructive than the quickest fire in
confusion."--At Canterbury, 17th December 1755.

This instruction should be sternly impressed upon the minds of all
soldiers, as it is the text upon which all admonitory addresses should
be founded. It must not be forgotten that General Wolfe's advice was
given to men armed with the old muzzle-loading Brown Bess (musket),
which at that time was provided with a lock of flint and steel.
Notwithstanding the slowness of fire necessitated by this antiquated
weapon, the General cautioned his men by the assurance, "There is no
necessity for firing very fast," etc., etc.

The breechloader is valuable through the power which exists, especially
with repeating rifles, for pouring in an unremitting fire whenever the
opportunity may offer, but under ordinary circumstances the fire should
be reserved with the care suggested by the advice of General Wolfe.

Small-bores have become the fashion of the day, and for military
purposes they are decidedly the best, as a greater amount of ammunition
can be carried by the soldier, while at the same time the range and
trajectory of his weapon are improved. The new magazine rifle adopted by
the Government is only '303, but this exceedingly small diameter will
contain 70 grains of powder with a bullet of hard alloy weighing 216
grains.

For sporting purposes the small-bore has been universally adopted, but I
cannot help thinking that like many other fashions, it has been carried
beyond the rules of common sense.

When upon entering a gunmaker's shop the inexperienced purchaser is
perplexed by the array of rifles and guns, varying in their characters
almost as much as human beings, he should never listen to the advice of
the manufacturer until he has asked himself what he really requires.

There are many things to be considered before an order should be
positively given. What is the rifle wanted for? What is the personal
strength of the purchaser? In what portion of the world is he going to
shoot? Will he be on foot, or will he shoot from horseback or from an
elephant? Will the game be dangerous, or will it be confined to deer,
etc.?

Not only the weapon but the ammunition will depend upon a reply to these
questions, and the purchaser should strongly resist the delusion that
any one particular description will be perfect as a so-called general
rifle. You may as well expect one kind of horse or one pattern of ship
to combine all the requirements of locomotion as to suppose that a
particular rifle will suit every variety of game or condition of
locality.

In South Africa accuracy is necessary at extremely long ranges for the
open plains, where antelopes in vast herds are difficult of approach. In
Indian jungles the game is seldom seen beyond fifty or sixty yards. In
America the stalking among the mountains is similar to that of the
Scottish Highlands, but upon a larger scale. In Central Africa the
distances are as uncertain as the quality of the animals that may be
encountered.

Upon the level plains of India, where the blackbuck forms the main
object of pursuit, extreme accuracy and long range combined are
necessary, with a hollow Express bullet that will not pass through the
body. How is it possible that any one peculiar form of rifle can combine
all these requirements? Rifles must be specially adapted for the animals
against which they are to be directed. I have nothing to do with the
purse, but I confine my remarks to the weapons and the game, and I shall
avoid technical expressions.

The generally recognised small-bores, all of which are termed "Express"
from the large charge of powder, are as follow:--

Small-bore   Charge of       Large-   Charge of     For all Game
Express.     Powder.         bores.   Powder.       such as*

'577         6 1/2 drams     4 bore   14 drams      Elephants.
'500         5 1/2   "       8  "     14   "        Rhinoceros.
'450         5       "      10  "     12   "        Buffaloes.
'400         4       "      12  "     10   "
'360    Toys.
'295    Toys.

The two latter rifles, '360 and '295, are charming additions, and
although capable of killing deer are only to be recommended as
companions for a stroll but not to be classed as sporting rifles for
ordinary game. They are marvellously accurate, and afford great
satisfaction for shooting small animals and birds. The '360 may be used
for shooting black-buck, but I should not recommend it if the hunter
possesses a '400.

It would be impossible to offer advice that would suit all persons.  I
can therefore only give a person opinion according to my own experience.

For all animals above the size of a fallow deer and below that of a
buffalo I prefer the '577 solid Express--648 grains solid bullet,--6
drams powder not 6 1/2, as the charge of only 6 drams produces greater
accuracy at long ranges.

The weight of this rifle should be 11 1/2 lbs., or not exceeding 12 lbs.
For smaller game, from fallow deer downwards, I prefer the '400 Express
with a charge of from 85 grains to 4 drams of powder--solid bullet,
excepting the case of black-buck, where, on account of numerous villages
on the plains, it is necessary that the bullet should not pass through
the body. The important question of weight is much in favour of the
'400, as great power and velocity are obtained by a weapon of only 8 1/2
lbs.

I should therefore limit my battery to one '577, one '400, and one
Paradox No. 12, for ordinary game in India, as elephants and other of
the larger animals require special outfit. The Paradox*, invented by
Colonel Fosberry and manufactured by Messrs. Holland and Holland of Bond
Street, is a most useful weapon, as it combines the shot-gun with a
rifle that is wonderfully accurate within a range of 100 yards. (* Since
this was written Messrs. Holland have succeeded after lengthened
experiments in producing a Paradox No. 8, which burns 10 drams of
powder, and carries a very heavy bullet with extreme accuracy. This will
be a new departure in weapons for heavy game.)

It is a smooth-bore slightly choked, but severely rifled for only 1 1/2
inch in length from the muzzle. This gives the spin to the projectile
sufficient to ensure accuracy at the distance mentioned.

The No. 12 Paradox weighs 84 lbs. and carries a bullet of 1 3/4 ounce
with 4 1/2 drams of powder. Although the powder charge is not sufficient
to produce a high express velocity, the penetration and shock are most
formidable, as the bullet is of hardened metal, and it retains its
figure even after striking a tough hide and bones. The advantage of such
a gun is obvious, as it enables a charge of buck-shot to be carried in
the left barrel, while the right is loaded with a heavy bullet that is
an admirable bone-smasher; it also supersedes the necessity of an extra
gun for small game, as it shoots No. 6 shot with equal pattern to the
best cylinder-bored gun.

There are many persons who prefer a '500 or a '450 Express to the '577
or the '400. I have nothing to say against them, but I prefer those I
have named, as the '577 is the most fatal weapon that I have ever used,
and with 6 or 6 1/2 drams of powder it is quite equal to any animal in
creation, provided the shot is behind the shoulder. This provision
explains my reason for insisting that all animals from a buffalo upwards
should be placed in a separate category, as it is frequently impossible
to obtain a shoulder shot, therefore the rifles for exceedingly heavy
game must be specially adapted for the work required, so as to command
them in every conceivable position.

I have shot with every size of rifle from a half pounder explosive
shell, and I do not think any larger bore is actually necessary than a
No. 8, with a charge of 12 or 14 drams of powder. Such a rifle should
weigh 15 lbs., and the projectile would weigh 3 ounces of hardened
metal.

The rifles that I have enumerated would be always double, but should the
elephant-hunter desire anything more formidable, I should recommend a
single barrel of 36 inches in length of bore, weighing 22 lbs., and
sighted most accurately to 400 yards. Such a weapon could be used by a
powerful man from the shoulder at the close range of fifty yards, or it
could be fired at long ranges upon a pivot rest, which would enable the
elephant-hunter to kill at a great distance by the shoulder shot when
the animals were in deep marshes or on the opposite side of a river. I
have frequently seen elephants in such positions when it was impossible
to approach within reasonable range. A rifle of this description would
carry a half-pound shell with an exploding charge of half an ounce of
fine grain powder and the propelling charge would be 16 drams. I had a
rifle that carried a similar charge, but unfortunately it was too short,
and was only sighted for 100 yards. Such a weapon can hardly be classed
among sporting rifles, but it would be a useful adjunct to the battery
of a professional hunter in Africa.

There can be little doubt that a man should not be overweighted, but
that every person should be armed in proportion to his physical
strength. If he is too light for a very heavy rifle he must select a
smaller bore; if he is afraid of a No. 8 with 14 drams, he must be
content with a No. 12 and 10 drams, but although he may be successful
with the lighter weapon, he must not expect the performance will equal
that of the superior power.

It may therefore be concluded that for a man of ordinary strength, the
battery for the heaviest game should be a pair of double No. 8 rifles
weighing 14 or 15 lbs. to burn from 12 to 14 drams of powder, with a
hardened bullet of 3 ounces. Such a rifle will break the bones of any
animal from an elephant downwards, and would rake a buffalo from end to
end, which is a matter of great importance when the beast is charging.

Although the rifle is now thoroughly appreciated, and sportsmen of
experience have accepted the Express as embodying the correct principle
of high velocity, I differ with many persons of great authority in the
quality of projectiles, which require as much consideration as the
pattern of the gun.

The Express rifle is a term signifying velocity, and this is generally
accompanied by a hollow bullet which is intended to serve two purposes--
to lighten the bullet, and therefore to reduce the work of the powder,
and to secure an expansion and smash-up of the lead upon impact with the
animal. I contend that the smashing up of the bullet is a mistake,
excepting in certain cases such as I have already mentioned, where the
animal is small and harmless like the black-buck, which inhabits level
plains in the vicinity of population, and where the bullet would be
exceedingly dangerous should it pass through the antelope and ricochet
into some unlucky village.

As I have already advised the purchaser of a rifle to consider the
purpose for which he requires the weapon, in like manner I would suggest
that he should reflect upon the special purpose for which he requires
the bullet. He should ask himself the questions--"What is a bullet?"
and "What is the duty of a bullet?"

A bullet is generally supposed to be a projectile capable of retaining
its component parts in their integrity. The duty of the bullet is to
preserve its direct course; it should possess a power of great
penetration, should not be easily deflected, and together with
penetrating power it should produce a stunning effect by an overpowering
striking energy.

How are we to combine these qualities? If the projectile has great
penetrating force it will pass completely through an animal, and the
striking energy will be diminished, as the force that should have been
expended upon the body is expending itself in propelling the bullet
after it has passed through the body. This must be wrong, as it is
self-evident that the striking energy or knock-down blow must depend
upon the resistance which the body offers to the projectile. If the
bullet remains within it, the striking energy; complete and entire,
without any waste whatever, remains within the body struck. If,
therefore, a bullet '577 of 648 grains propelled by 6 drams of powder
has at fifty yards a striking energy of 3500 foot pounds, that force is
expended upon the object struck,--provided it is stopped by the
opposing body.

We should therefore endeavour to prevent the bullet from passing through
an animal, if it is necessary to concentrate the full power of the
projectile upon the resisting body.

This is one reason adduced in favour of the hollow Express bullet, which
smashes up into minute films of lead when it strikes the hard muscles of
an animal, owing to its extreme velocity, and the weakness of its parts
through the hollowness of its centre.

I contend, on the contrary, that the bullet has committed suicide by
destroying itself, although its fragments may have fatally torn and
injured the vital organs of the wounded animal. The bullet has ceased to
exist, as it is broken into fifty shreds; therefore it is dead, as it is
no longer a compact body,--in fact, it has disappeared, although the
actual striking energy of a very inferior bullet may have been expended
upon the animal.

If the animal is small and harmless, this should be the desired result.
If, on the other hand, the animal should be large and dangerous, there
cannot be a greater mistake than the hollow Express projectile.

I have frequently heard persons of great experience dilate with
satisfaction upon the good shots made with their little '450 hollow
Express exactly behind the shoulder of a tiger or some other animal. I
have also heard of their failures, which were to themselves sometimes
incomprehensible. A solid Express '577 NEVER fails if the direction is
accurate towards a vital part. The position of the animal does not
signify; if the hunter has a knowledge of comparative anatomy (which he
must have, to be a thoroughly successful shot) he can make positively
certain of his game at a short distance, as the solid bullet will crash
through muscle, bone, and every opposing obstacle to reach the fatal
organ. If the animal be a tiger, lion, bear, or leopard, the bullet
should have the power to penetrate, but it should not pass completely
through. If it should be a wapiti, or sambur stag, the bullet should
also remain within, retained in all cases under the skin upon the side
opposite to that of entrance. How is this to be managed by the same
rifle burning the same charge of powder with a solid bullet?

The penetration must be arranged by varying the material of the bullet.
A certain number of cartridges should be loaded with bullets of extreme
hardness, intended specially for large thick-skinned animals; other
bullets should be composed of softer metal, which would expand upon the
resisting muscles but would not pass completely through the skin upon
the opposite side. The cartridges would be coloured for distinction.

If the metal is pure lead, the bullet '577, with an initial velocity of
1650 feet per second, will assuredly assume the form of a button
mushroom immediately upon impact, and it will increase in diameter as it
meets with resistance upon its course until, when expended beneath the
elastic hide upon the opposite side, it will have become fully spread
like a mature mushroom, instead of the button shape that it had assumed
on entrance. I prefer pure lead for tigers, lions, sambur deer, wapiti,
and such large animals which are not thick-skinned, as the bullet alters
its form and nevertheless remains intact, the striking energy being
concentrated within the body.

The difference in the striking energy of a hollow bullet from that of a
solid projectile is enormous, owing to the inequality in weight. The
hollow bullet wounds mortally, but it does not always kill neatly. I
have seen very many instances where the '500 hollow Express with 5 drams
of powder has struck an animal well behind the shoulder, or sometimes
through the shoulder, and notwithstanding the fatal wound, the beast has
galloped off as though untouched, for at least a hundred yards, before
it fell suddenly, and died.

This is clumsy shooting. The solid bullet of pure lead would have killed
upon the spot, as the bullet would have retained its substance although
it altered its form, and the shock would have been more severe, The
hollow bullet exhibits a peculiar result in a post-mortem examination:
the lungs may be hopelessly torn and ragged, the liver and the heart may
be also damaged, all by the same projectile, because it has been
converted into small shot immediately upon impact. Frequently a minute
hole will be observed upon the entrance, and within an inch beneath the
skin a large aperture will be seen where an explosion appears to have
taken place by the breaking-up of the lead, all of which has splashed
into fragments scattering in every direction.

Common sense will suggest that although such a bullet will kill, it is
not the sort of weapon to stop a dangerous animal when in full charge.
Weak men generally prefer the hollow Express because the rifle is
lighter and handier than the more formidable weapon, and the recoil is
not so severe, owing to the lightness of the bullet.

My opinion may be expressed in a few words. If you wish the bullet to
expand, use soft lead, but keep the metal solid. If you wish for great
penetration, use hard solid metal, either 1/10 tin or 1/13 quicksilver.
Even this will alter its form against the bones of a buffalo, but either
of the above will go clean through a wapiti stag, and would kill another
beyond it should the rifle be '577 fired with 6 drams of powder.

The same rifle will not drive a soft leaden solid bullet through a male
tiger if struck directly through the shoulder; it will be found
flattened to a mushroom form beneath the skin upon the other side,
having performed its duty effectively, by killing the tiger upon the
spot, and retaining intact the metal of which it was composed.

A post-mortem inquiry in the latter case would be most satisfactory. If
the bullet shall have struck fair upon the shoulder-joint, it will be
observed that although it has retained its substance, the momentum has
been conveyed to every fragment of crushed bone, which will have been
driven forward through the lungs like a charge of buckshot, in addition
to the havoc created by the large diameter of an expanded '577 bullet.
Both shoulders will have been completely crushed, and the animal must of
course be rendered absolutely helpless. This is a sine qua non in all
shooting. Do not wound, but kill outright; and this you will generally
do with a '577 solid bullet of pure lead, or with a Paradox bullet 1 3/4
ounces hard metal and 4 1/2 drams of powder. This very large bullet is
sufficiently formidable to require no expansion.

Gunmakers will not advise the use of pure lead for bullets, as it is apt
to foul the barrel by its extreme softness, which leaves a coating of
the metal upon the surface of the rifling. For military purposes this
objection would hold good, but so few shots are fired at game during the
day, that no disadvantage could accrue, and the rifle would of course be
cleaned every evening.

The accidents which unfortunately so often happen to the hunters of
dangerous game may generally be traced to the defect in the rifles
employed. If a shooter wishes to amuse himself in Scotland among the
harmless red deer, let him try any experiments that may please him; but
if he is a man like so many who leave the shores of Great Britain for
the wild jungles of the East, or of Africa, let him at once abjure
hollow bullets if he seeks dangerous game. Upon this subject I press my
opinion, as I feel the immense responsibility of advice should any
calamity occur. It is only a few months since the lamented Mr. Ingram
was killed by an elephant in the Somali country, through using a '450
Express hollow bullet against an animal that should at least have been
attacked with a No. 10. I submit the question to any admirer of the
hollow Express. "If he is on foot, trusting only to his rifle for
protection, would he select a hollow Express, no matter whether '577,
'500, or '450; or would he prefer a solid bullet to withstand a
dangerous charge?"

India is a vast empire, and various portions, according to the
conditions of localities, have peculiar customs for the conduct of wild
sports. In dense jungles, where it would be impossible to see the game
if on foot, there is no other way of obtaining a shot except by driving.
The gunners are in such case placed at suitable intervals upon platforms
called mucharns, securely fitted between convenient forks among the
branches of a tree, about 10 or 12 feet above the ground. From this
point of vantage the gunner can see without being seen and, thoroughly
protected from all danger, he may amuse himself by comparing the success
of his shooting with the hollow Express or with the solid bullet at the
animals that pass within his range, which means a limit of about 50
yards. I contend that at the short distance named; a tiger should NEVER
escape from a solid bullet; he often escapes from the hollow bullet for
several reasons.

It must be remembered that animals are rarely seen distinctly in a thick
jungle, countless twigs and foliage intercept the bullet, and the view,
although patent to both open eyes, becomes misty and obscure when you
shut one eye and squint along the barrel. You then discover that
although you can see the dim shadow of your game, your bullet will have
to cut its way through at least twenty twigs before it can reach its
goal. A solid bullet may deflect slightly, but it will generally deliver
its message direct, unless the opposing objects are more formidable than
ordinary small branches. A hollow bullet from an Express rifle will fly
into fragments should it strike a twig the size of the little finger.
This is quite sufficient to condemn the hollow projectile without any
further argument.

While writing the above, I have received the Pioneer, 24th June 1888,
which gives the following account of an escape from a tiger a few weeks
ago by Mr. Cuthbert Fraser, and no better example could be offered to
prove the danger of a hollow bullet. It will be seen that a solid bullet
would have killed the tiger on the spot, as it would have penetrated to
the brain, instead of which it broke into the usual fragments when
striking the hard substance of the teeth, and merely destroyed one eye.
The bullet evidently splashed up without breaking the jaw, as the
wounded animal was not only capable of killing the orderly, but Mr.
Fraser "heard, in fact, the crunching of the man's bones." He says "that
he felt that he had the tiger dead when he fired, but the Express bullet
unfortunately broke up." He had fired the left-hand barrel into the
tiger's chest without the slightest result in checking the onset; had
that been a solid bullet it would have penetrated to the heart or lungs.

ADVENTURE WITH A TIGER.

The following experience of a sportsman in the Deccan is from the
Secunderabad paper of 14th June 1888:--

    "Mr. Cuthbert Fraser had a most miraculous escape from a
    tiger the other day at Amraoti. The lucky hero of this
    adventure is a District Superintendent of Police in Berar.
    He is well remembered in Secunderabad as Superintendent of
    the Cantonment Police before Mr. Crawford. A son of Colonel
    Hastings Fraser, one of the Frasers of Lovat, he has proved
    his possession of that nerve and courage which rises to the
    emergency of danger--on which qualities more than all else
    the British Empire in India has been built, and on which,
    after all is said, in the last resort, it must be still held
    to rest. To quote the graphic account of a correspondent,
    the escape was about as narrow as was ever had. Mr. Fraser
    was told by his orderly that the tiger was lying dead with
    his head on the root of a tree. The orderly having called
    him up, he went to the spot. Mr. Fraser then sent the
    orderly and another man with the second gun back, and knelt
    down to look. Just then the tiger roared and came at him
    from about eighteen feet off: he waited till the tiger was
    within five feet of him and fired. As the tiger did not
    drop, he fired his second shot hurriedly. The first shot had
    hit exactly in the centre of the face but just an inch too
    low. It knocked the tiger's right eye out and smashed all
    the teeth of that side of the jaw. The second shot struck
    the tiger in the chest, but too low. What happened then Mr.
    Fraser does not exactly know, but he next found himself
    lying in front of the tiger, one claw of the beast's right
    foot being hooked into his left leg, in this way trying to
    draw Mr. Fraser towards him; the other paw was on his right
    leg. Mr. Fraser's chin and coat were covered with foam from
    the beast's mouth. He tried hard to draw himself out of the
    tiger's clutches. Fortunately the beast was not able to see
    him, as Mr. Fraser was a little to one side on the animal's
    blind side and the tiger's head was up. Suddenly seeing Mr.
    Fraser's orderly bolting, he jumped up and went for the man,
    and catching him he killed him on the spot. Mr. Fraser had
    lost his hat, rifle, and all his cartridges, which had
    tumbled out of his pocket. He jumped up, however, and ran to
    the man who had his second gun, and to do so had to go
    within eight paces of the spot where the tiger was crouching
    over his orderly. He heard, in fact, the crunching of the
    man's bones and saw the tiger biting the back of the head.
    He now took the gun from his man. The latter said that he
    had fired both barrels into the tiger--one when he was
    crouching over Mr. Fraser, and the other when he was over
    the prostrate body of the orderly. The man had fired well
    and true, but just too far back, in his anxiety not to hit
    the man he would save, instead of the tiger. When afterwards
    asked if he was not afraid to hit the Sahib, 'I was very
    much afraid indeed,' he replied, 'but dil mazbut karke
    lagaya: I nerved myself for the occasion.' 'A good man and
    true!' a high officer writes, 'who after firing never moved
    an inch till Mr. Fraser came to him, although close to the
    tiger all the while. He is one of the Gawilghur Rajputs--a
    brave race, Ranjit Singh, a good name.' The man said he had
    no more cartridges left and so they both got a little
    farther from the tiger, as the orderly was evidently done
    for. Afterwards they found one more cartridge for the gun
    and tried to recover the body, but it was no use. The tiger
    was lying close, most of the buffaloes had bolted and the
    Kurkoos would not help. Mr. Fraser then sent six miles off
    for an elephant. But the animal did not arrive till dark, so
    Mr. Fraser went home in great grief about the poor orderly
    and at having to leave the body. His own wound was bleeding
    a great deal, it being a deep claw gash. Next day they got
    the body and the tiger dead, lying close to each other.
    Perhaps no narrower escape than Mr. Fraser's has ever been
    heard of. To the excellent shot which knocked the beast's
    eye out he undoubtedly owes his life. He says that he felt
    that he had the tiger dead when he fired, but the Express
    bullet unfortunately broke up. Probably, he thinks a 12-bore
    would have reached the brain."

I could produce numerous instances where failures have occurred, and I
know sportsmen of long experience who have given up the use of hollow
bullets except against such small game as black-buck and other antelopes
or deer.

So much for the Express hollow bullet, after which it is at the option
of all persons to please themselves; but personally I should decline the
company of any friend who wished to join me in the pursuit of dangerous
game if armed with such an inferior weapon. In another portion of this
volume I shall produce a striking instance of the result.

The magazine rifle, which is destined to become the military arm of the
future, can hardly merit a place among sporting rifles, as it must
always possess the disadvantage of altering its balance as the
ammunition is expended. The Winchester Company have, I believe, produced
a great improvement in a rifle of this kind, '400, which carries a
charge of 110 grains of powder; but even so small a bore must be unhandy
if the rifle is arranged to contain a supply of cartridges. For my own
use I am quite contented with one '577, a '400, and a No. 12 Paradox -
all solid bullets, but varying in hardness of metal according to the
quality of game; for the largest animals a pair of No. 8 rifles with
hard bullets and 14 drams of powder.

I can say nothing more concerning rifles for the practical use of
sportsmen, although a volume might be devoted to their history and
development. Shot guns are too well understood to merit a special
notice.



CHAPTER II

THE ELEPHANT (ELEPHAS)

This animal has interested mankind more than any other, owing to the
peculiar combination of immense proportions with extraordinary sagacity.
The question has frequently been raised "Whether the elephant or the dog
should be accepted as superior in intelligence?" My own experience would
decide without hesitation--The Dog is man's companion; the Elephant is
his slave.

We all know the attachment and fidelity of the dog, who appears to have
been created specially to become the friend of the human race. He
attaches himself equally to the poor man and the rich, and shares our
fortunes "for better, for worse," clinging with heroic loyalty to his
master when all other friends may have abandoned him. The power of
memory is wonderfully exhibited, considering the shortness of life which
Nature, by some mischance has accorded to man's best friend.

"While thus Florinda spake, the dog who lay Before Rusilla's feet,
eyeing him long And wistfully, had recognised at length, Changed as he
was and in those sordid weeds, His royal master. And he rose and lick'd
His withered hand, and earnestly looked up With eyes whose human meaning
did not need The aid of speech; and moan'd, as if at once To court and
chide the long-withheld caress... . . . . . . . Disputing, he withdrew.
The watchful dog Followed his footsteps close. But he retired Into the
thickest grove; there yielding way To his o'erburthen'd nature, from all
eyes Apart, he cast himself upon the ground, And threw his arms around
the dog, and cried While tears stream'd down. Thou Theron, thou hast
known Thy poor lost master... Theron, only thou!"--

Southey's "Roderick, last of the Goths."

In case of danger the dog will defend his master, guided by his own
unaided intelligence; he at once detects and attacks the enemy. In wild
sports he *shares the delight of hunting equally with his master, and
the two are inseparable allies. The day is over, and he lies down and
sleeps before the fire at his master's feet, and dreams of the dangers
and exploits; he is a member of his master's household.

The elephant is, in my opinion, overrated.  He can be educated to
perform certain acts, but he would never volunteer his services. There
is no elephant that I ever saw who would spontaneously interfere to save
his master from drowning or from attack. An enemy might assassinate you
at the feet of your favourite elephant, but he would never attempt to
interfere in your defence; he would probably run away, or remain
impassive, unless guided and instructed by his mahout. This is
incontestable; the elephant will do nothing useful unless he is
specially ordered to perform a certain work or movement.

While condemning this apathetic character, we must admit that in the
elephant the power of learning is extraordinary, and that it can be
educated to perform wonders; but such performances are only wonderful as
proving the necessary force of direction and guidance by a superior
power, to which the animal is amenable.

I have had very many years' experience with elephants, both Asiatic and
African, and in my opinion they are naturally timid. Although in a wild
state the males are more or less dangerous, especially in Africa, the
herd of elephants will generally retreat should they even wind an unseen
enemy. This timidity is increased by domestication, and it is difficult
to obtain an elephant sufficiently staunch to withstand the attack of
any wild animal. They will generally turn tail, and not only retreat
gracefully, but will run in a disgraceful panic, to the great danger of
their riders should the locality be forest.

The difference in species is distinct between the Asiatic and the
African. It is at all times difficult to give the measurement of a dead
animal, especially when so enormous, as the pressure of weight when
alive would reduce the height afforded by measurement when the body is
horizontal.

The well-known African elephant Jumbo that was sold to America by the
Zoological Society of London, was brought up in confinement since its
early existence, when it was about 4 feet 6 inches high. That elephant
was carefully weighed and measured before it left England, with the
result, of height at shoulder, 11 feet; weight, six tons and a half. The
girth of the fore-foot when the pressure of the animal's weight was
exerted, was exactly half the perpendicular height of the elephant. I
have seen very much larger animals in Africa, but there is nothing in
India to approach the size of Jumbo.

There is no reason why the African elephants should not be tamed and
made useful, but the difficulty lies in obtaining them in any great
numbers. The natives of Africa are peculiarly savage, and their
instincts of destruction prevent them from capturing and domesticating
any wild animals. During nine years' experience of Central Africa I
never saw a tamed creature of any kind, not even a bird, or a young
antelope in possession of a child. The tame elephant would be especially
valuable to an explorer, as it could march through streams too deep for
the passage of oxen, and in swimming rivers it would be proof against
the attacks of crocodiles. So few African elephants have been tamed in
proportion to those of Asia that it would be difficult to pronounce an
opinion upon their character when domesticated, but it is generally
believed by their trainers that the Indian species is more gentle and
amenable to discipline. The power of the African is far in excess of the
Asiatic. Nine feet at the highest portion of the back is a good height
for an Indian male, and eight feet for the female, although occasionally
they are considerably larger. There are hardly any elephants that
measure ten feet in a direct perpendicular, although the mahouts pretend
to fictitious heights by measuring with a tape or cord from the spine,
including the curve of the body.

As Jumbo was proved to have attained the height of eleven feet although
in captivity from infancy, it may be easily imagined that in a wild
state the African elephant will attain twelve feet, or even more. I have
myself seen many animals that would have exceeded this, although it
would be impossible to estimate their height with accuracy.

The shape of the African variety is very peculiar, and differs in a
remarkable manner from the Asiatic. The highest point is the shoulder,
and the back is hollow; in the Indian the back is convex, and the
shoulder is considerably lower. The head of the African is quite unlike
that of the Indian; and the ears, which in the former are enormous,
completely cover the shoulder when thrown back. The best direction for a
vital shot at an African elephant is at the extremity of the ear when
flapped against the side. A bullet thus placed will pass through the
centre of the lungs. The Indian elephant has many more laminae in the
teeth than the African, constituting a larger grinding surface, as the
food is different. The African feeds upon foliage and the succulent
roots of the mimosa and other trees, which it digs up with its powerful
tusks; the forests are generally evergreen, and being full of sap, the
bark is easier to masticate than the skeleton trees of India during the
hottest season. Both the Indian and African varieties have only four
teeth, composed of laminae of intensely hard enamel, divided by a softer
substance which prevents the surface from becoming smooth with age; the
two unequal materials retain their inequality in wear, therefore the
rough grinding surface is maintained notwithstanding the work of many
years. A gland at the posterior of the jaw supplies a tooth-forming
matter, and the growth of fresh laminae is continuous throughout life;
the younger laminae form into line, and march forward until incorporated
and solidified in the tooth.

It is impossible to define exactly the limit of old age, as there can be
little doubt that captivity shortens the duration of life to a great
degree. We can only form an opinion from the basis of growth when young.
As an elephant cannot be fully developed in the perfection of ivory
until the age of forty, I should accept that age in a wild animal as the
period of a starting-point in life, and I should imagine that the term
of existence would be about a hundred and fifty years.

The life of an elephant in captivity is exactly opposed to its natural
habits. A wild Indian elephant dreads the sun, and is seldom to be found
exposed in the open after dawn of day. It roams over the country in all
directions during night, and seeks the shelter of a forest about an hour
before the sun rises. It feeds heartily, but wastefully, tearing down
branches, half of which it leaves untouched; it strips the bark off
those trees which it selects as tasteful, but throws wilfully away a
considerable portion. Throughout the entire night the elephant is
feeding, and it is curious to observe how particular this animal is in
the choice of food. Most wild animals possess a certain amount of
botanical knowledge which guides them in their grazing; the only
exception is the camel, who would poison himself through sheer ignorance
and depraved appetite, but the elephant is most careful in its selection
of all that is suitable to its requirements. It is astonishing how few
of the forest trees are attractive to this animal. Some are tempting
from their foliage, others from their bark (vide the powerfully
astringent Catechu), some from the succulent roots, and several
varieties from the wood, which is eaten like the sugar-cane. There is
one kind of tree the wood of which alone is eaten after the rind has
been carefully stripped off.

The elephant, being in its wild state a nocturnal animal, must be able
to distinguish the various qualities of trees by the senses of smell and
touch, as in the darkness of a forest during night it would be
impossible to distinguish the leaves. There are few creatures who
possess so delicate a sense of smell; wild elephants will wind an enemy
at a distance of a thousand yards, or even more, should the breeze be
favourable. The nerves of the trunk are peculiarly sensitive, and
although the skin is thick, the smallest substance can be discovered,
and picked up by the tiny proboscis at the extremity.

A wound upon any portion of the trunk must occasion intense pain, and
the animal instinctively coils the lower portion beneath its chest when
attacked by a tiger. This delicacy of nerve renders the elephant
exceedingly timid after being wounded, and it is a common and
regrettable occurrence that an elephant which has been an excellent
shikar animal before it has been injured, becomes useless to face a
tiger after it has been badly clawed. I cannot understand the
carelessness of an owner who thus permits a good elephant to work
unprotected. In ancient days the elephants were armoured for warlike
purposes to protect them from spears and javelins, and nothing can be
easier than to arrange an elastic protective hood, which would
effectually safeguard the trunk and head from the attack of any animal.

I had an excellent hood arranged for a large tusker which was lent to me
by the Commissariat. The first layer of material was the soft but thick
buff leather of sambur deer. This entirely covered the head, and was
laced beneath the throat; at the same time it was secured by a broad
leather strap and buckle around the neck. A covering for about three
feet from the base of the trunk descended from the face and was also
secured by lacing. The lower portion of the trunk was left unprotected,
as the animal would immediately guard against danger by curling it up
when attacked. Upon this groundwork of buff leather I had plates of
thick and hard buffalo hide, tanned, overlapping like slates upon a
roof. This armour was proof against either teeth or claws, as neither
could hold upon the slippery and yielding hard surface of the leather
tiles; at the same time the elephant could move its trunk with ease. Two
circular apertures were cut out for the eyes, about six inches in
diameter.

An elephant, if well trained, would be sufficiently sagacious to
appreciate this protection should it find itself unharmed after a home
charge by a tiger or other dangerous beast; and such a quality of armour
would add immensely to its confidence and steadiness.

Although the elephant is of enormous strength it is more or less a
delicate animal, and is subject to a variety of ailments. A common
disease is a swelling in the throat, which in bad cases prevents it from
feeding. Another complaint resembles gout in the legs, which swell to a
distressing size, and give exquisite pain, especially when touched. This
attack is frequently occasioned by allowing elephants, after a long
march under a hot sun, to wade belly-deep in cool water in order to
graze upon the aquatic vegetation.

Few animals suffer more from the sun's rays than the elephant, whose
nature prompts it to seek the deepest shade. Its dark colour and immense
surface attract an amount of heat which becomes almost insupportable to
the unfortunate creature when forced to carry a heavy load during the
hot season in India. Even without a greater weight than its rider, the
elephant exhibits signs of distress when marching after 9 a.m. At such
times it is disagreeable, as the animal has a peculiar habit of sucking
water through the trunk from a supply contained within the stomach, and
this it syringes with great force between its fore legs, and against its
flanks to cool its sides with the ejected spray. The rider receives a
portion of the fluid in his face, and as the action is repeated every
five minutes, or less, the operation is annoying.

It is a curious peculiarity in the elephant that it is enabled to suck
up water at discretion simply by doubling the trunk far down the throat,
and the fluid thus procured has no disagreeable smell, although taken
direct from the creature's stomach. In every way the elephant is
superior to most animals in the freedom from any unpleasant odour. Its
skin is sweet, and the hand retains no smell whatever, although you may
have caressed the trunk or any other portion of the body. It is well
known that a horse is exceedingly strong in odour, and that nothing is
more objectionable than the close proximity of a stable, or even of a
large number of horses picqueted in the open,--I have frequently been
camped where fifty or sixty elephants were for several days in the same
position within a hundred yards of the tents, and still there was no
offensive scent.

The food of an elephant is always fresh and clean, and the digestive
functions are extremely rapid. The mastication is a rough system of
grinding, and the single stomach and exceedingly short intestines
simplify the process of assimilation. The rapidity of the food passage
necessitates a consumption of a large amount, and no less than six
hundred pounds of fodder is the proper daily allowance for an elephant.

There have been frequent discussions upon the important subject of
elephant-feeding. Mr. G. P. Sanderson, the superintendent of the keddah
department in Assam, has declared against the necessity of allowing a
ration of grain in addition to the usual fodder. This must naturally
depend upon the quality of the green food. If the locality abounds in
plantains, the stems of those plants are eagerly devoured, and every
portion except the outside rind is nourishing. Even then the waste is
excessive should the stems be heedlessly thrown down before the animal.
It will immediately proceed to strip long fibrous ribbons from the stem
by placing one foot upon the extremity, and then tearing off the
alternate layers like the skin of an onion. These it converts into
playthings, throwing them over its back and neck until it is dressed in
dangling necklaces, which by degrees, after serving as toys, are
ultimately devoured. The proper method of feeding an elephant with
plantains where an allowance of rice is added, is by splitting the
entire stem through the centre, and then cutting it into transverse
sections about two feet in length. As each layer is detached, it
resembles a delicately coloured trough, nearly white; this is doubled up
in the centre and it at once forms a hollow tube, similar to a very
thick drain tile. A handful of rice is placed within, and it is secured
by tying with a fibrous strip from the plantain stem. A large pile of
these neat packages is prepared for every elephant, and, when ready, the
mahout sits by the heap and hands the parcels one by one to the
ever-expectant trunk.

The delicacy of an elephant's palate is extraordinary, and the whims of
the creature are absurd in the selection or rejection of morsels which
it prefers or dislikes. I once saw a peculiar instance of this in an
elephant that belonged to the police at Dhubri on the Brahmaputra. This
animal had a large allowance of rice, therefore about three-quarters of
a pound were placed within each tube of plantain stem. A lady offered
the elephant, when being fed, a very small sweet biscuit, about an inch
and a half in diameter. This was accepted in the trunk, but almost
immediately rejected and thrown upon the ground. The mahout, fearing
that his elephant had behaved rudely in thus refusing a present from a
lady's hand, picked up the biscuit and inserted it in the next parcel of
rice and plantain stem. This was placed within the elephant's mouth. At
the first crunch the animal showed evident signs of disgust, and at once
spat out the whole of the contents. There lay a complete ruin of the
neat package, which had been burst by the power of the great jaws; but
among the scattered rice that had been ejected we perceived the biscuit
which had caused the second instance of bad behaviour. So utterly
disgusted was the elephant with this tiny foreign substance that it
endeavoured to cleanse its mouth from every grain of rice, as though
polluted by the contact, and for several minutes it continued to insert
its trunk and rake out each atom from its tongue and throat.

The adaptation of the trunk to many purposes is very interesting. I had
an elephant who would eat every particle of rice in a round bamboo
basket by sucking it up the trunk and then blowing it into its mouth.
The basket was close-grained and smooth inside, but although brimful at
the commencement of operations, it was emptied by the elephant as though
it had been cleansed with a dry sponge.

A distinct rule for feeding elephants cannot be laid down without
exceptions rendered necessary by peculiarities of localities and the
amount of hard work required from the animal. If the elephant is simply
turned out to grass for a season, it will thrive upon such natural
herbage as bamboos, the foliage of the banyan, peepul, and other
varieties of the Ficus family; but if it is expected to travel and
perform good work, it is usual in the Commissariat department to allow
each elephant seven and a half seers of flour, equal to 15 lbs.
avoirdupois. In addition to this, 600 lbs. of green fodder are given,
and about 1 lb. of ghee (buffalo butter), with salt and jaggery (native
sugar). During a jungle expedition I have always doubled the allowance
of flour to 30 lbs. daily for each animal. This is made into large flat
cakes like Scotch "scones," weighing 2 lbs. each. The elephants are fed
at about an hour before sunset, and then taken to drink water before
actual night. Cleanliness is indispensable to the good health and
condition of the elephant. It should bathe daily, and the entire body
should be well scoured with a piece of brick or a soft quality of
sandstone. This operation is much enjoyed, and the huge animal, obeying
the command, lies down upon its side and accommodates its carcase to the
scrubbing process by adapting its position to the requirements of the
operator. It will frequently bury its head completely beneath the water,
and merely protrude the extremity of its trunk to breathe above the
surface. The coolie is most particular in scrubbing every portion of the
animal, after which it will usually stand within the tank or river and
shower volumes of water from its trunk over its back and flanks. When
well washed, it appears a thoroughly clean black mass, but in a few
minutes it proceeds to destroy its personal beauty by throwing clouds of
dust upon its back, which, adhering to the moisture occasioned by its
recent bath, converts the late clean animal into a brown mound of earth.

There is no quadruped not absolutely amphibious that is so thoroughly at
home in the water as the elephant. In a wild state it will swim the
largest rivers, and it delights in morasses, where it rolls in the deep
mud like a pig or buffalo, and thus coats its hide with a covering of
slime, which protects it from the attacks of flies and the worry of
mosquitoes. When in a domestic state, the elephant is shy of trusting
itself upon unsound earth or quicksands, as it appears to have lost the
confidence resulting from an independent freedom among the jungles, and
marshy valleys teeming with aquatic vegetation. It will also refuse to
cross a bridge unless of solid masonry, and it is curious to observe the
extreme care with which it sounds the structure, either by striking with
the coiled extremity of the trunk or by experimenting with the pressure
of one foot, before it ventures to trust its whole weight upon the
suspected floor.

It is difficult to describe the limit of an elephant's swimming powers;
this must depend upon many circumstances, whether it is following the
stream or otherwise, but the animal can remain afloat for several hours
without undue fatigue. The displacement of an elephant's carcase is less
than the weight of water, although it swims so deeply immersed that it
would appear to float with difficulty. An elephant shot dead within the
water will float immediately, with a considerable portion of one flank
raised so high above the surface that several men could be supported, as
though upon a raft. The body of a hippopotamus will sink like a stone,
and will not reappear upon the surface for about two hours, until the
gas has to a certain degree distended the carcase: thus the hippopotamus
is of a denser and heavier material than the elephant, although it is an
aquatic animal.

When tame elephants cross a river they are conducted by their drivers,
who stand upon their backs, either balancing themselves without
assistance, or supported by holding a cord attached to the animal's
neck. It is very interesting to watch the passage of a large river by a
herd of these creatures, who to a stranger's eye would appear to be in
danger of drowning, although in reality they are merely gamboling in the
element which is their delight. I have seen them cross the Brahmaputra
when the channel was about a mile in width. Forty elephants scrambled
down the precipitous bank of alluvial deposit and river sand: this,
although about thirty-five feet high, crumbled at once beneath the
fore-foot of the leading elephant, and many tons detached from the
surface quickly formed a steep incline. Squatting upon its
hind-quarters, and tucking its hinder knees beneath its belly, while it
supported its head upon its trunk and outstretched fore legs, it slid
and scrambled to the bottom, accompanied by an avalanche of earth and
dust, thus forming a good track for the following herd.

It is surprising to see in how few minutes a large herd of elephants
descending a steep place will form a road. I have frequently seen them
break down an alluvial cliff in the manner described, where at first
sight I should have thought it impossible for an elephant to descend.
Once within the river the fun began in earnest. After a march in the hot
sun, it was delightful to bathe in the deep stream of the Brahmaputra,
and the mighty forms splashed and disported themselves, sometimes
totally submerged, with the drivers standing ankle-deep upon their
hidden backs, which gave them the appearance of walking upon the
surface. A tip of the trunk was always above water, and occasionally the
animal would protrude the entire head, but only to plunge once more
beneath the stream. In this way, swimming at great speed, and at the
same time playing along their voyage, the herd crossed the broad river,
and we saw their dusky forms glittering in the sunlight as they rose
wetted from their bath, and waded majestically along the shallows to
reach an island; from which they again started upon a similar journey to
cross another channel of the river.

The first impression of a stranger when observing the conduct of a
mahout or driver is sympathy for the animal, which is governed through
the severe authority of the iron spike. This instrument is about twenty
inches long, and resembles somewhat an old-fashioned boat-hook, being a
sharp spike at the extremity beyond the keen-pointed hook; it can thus
be used either to drive the elephant forward by digging the point into
its head, or to pull it back by hooking on to the tender base of the
ears. These driving-hooks weigh from about 4 to 6 lbs., and are
formidable weapons; some are exceedingly ancient, and have been
preserved for a couple of centuries or more, such specimens being highly
artistic, and first-rate examples of the blacksmith's work. Although we
may commence our experience by pitying the animal that is subjected to
such harsh treatment, we quickly discover that without the hook the
elephant is like the donkey without the stick. The fact of his knowing
that you possess the power, or propeller, is sufficient to ensure
comparative obedience, but it would be impossible to direct the
movements of an elephant by simple kindness without the power to inflict
punishment. This fact alone will prove that the elephant does not serve
man through affection, but that it is compelled through fear. It is
curious to witness the absurd subjection of this mighty animal even by a
child. I have frequently seen a small boy threaten a large elephant with
a stick, and the animal has at once winced; and, curling the trunk
between the legs, it has closed its eyes and exhibited every symptom of
extreme terror when struck repeatedly upon the trunk and face. The male
is generally more uncertain than the female. It would at first sight
appear that for shooting purposes the bull elephant would be preferred
for its greater strength and courage. There can be no doubt that a pair
of long tusks is an important protection, and not only forms a defence
against the attack of a tiger or other animal, but is valuable for
offensive purposes; yet, notwithstanding this advantage, the female is
generally preferred to the male, as being more docile and obedient.

The males differ in character, but they are mostly uncertain in temper
during a period varying from two to four months every year. At such
occurrences of disturbance the animal requires careful treatment, and
the chains which shackle the fore legs should be of undoubted quality.
Some elephants remain passive throughout the year, while others appear
to be thoroughly demented, and, although at other seasons harmless,
would, when "must," destroy their own attendant and wreak the direst
mischief. At such a crisis the mahout must always be held responsible
for accidents, as the animal, if properly watched and restrained, would
be incapable of active movements, and would of course be comparatively
harmless. Upon many occasions, through the neglect of the attendant, an
elephant has been left unchained, or perhaps secured with an old chain
that has been nearly worn through a link; the escape of the animal under
such circumstances has led to frightful casualties, usually commencing
with the destruction of the mahout, who may have attempted a recapture.
The approach of the "must" period is immediately perceived by a peculiar
exudation of an oily nature from a small duct upon either temple; this
somewhat resembles coal-tar in consistence, and it occupies an area of
about four inches square upon the surface of the skin. There is a
decided odour in this secretion somewhat similar to the same exudation
from the neck of the male camel.

I have known male elephants which were remarkably docile throughout all
seasons, but even these had to be specially regarded during the period
of "must," as there was no means of foretelling a sudden and unexpected
outbreak of temper. Many males are at all times fretful, and these
expend their ill-nature in various ways; if chained, they kick up the
earth, and scatter the dust in all directions; they are never quiet for
one moment throughout the day, but continue to swing their heads to and
fro, and prick forward their ears, exhibiting a restlessness of spirit
that is a sufficient warning to any stranger. Such elephants should
always be approached with caution, and never directly in front, but at
the side.

An elephant is frequently treacherous, and if the person should stand
unheedingly before it, a sudden slap with the trunk might be the
consequence. For the same reason, it would be dangerous to approach the
heels of such an animal, as a kick from an elephant is rather an
extensive movement, and it is extraordinary that so colossal a limb as
the hind leg can be projected with such velocity, equalling that of a
small pony.

Discussions have frequently arisen concerning the maximum speed of an
elephant; this is difficult to decide exactly, as there can be no
question that the animal in a wild state will exert a greater speed than
can be obtained from it when domesticated. The African variety is
decidedly faster than the Asiatic; the legs being longer, the stride is
in proportion; and as the habits of the African lead it to wander over
large tracts of open country instead of confining its rambles to
secluded forests, this peculiarity would naturally render the animal
more active, and tend to accelerate its movements. I consider that the
African elephant is capable of a speed of fifteen miles an hour, which
it could keep up for two or three hundred yards, after which it would
travel at about ten miles an hour, and actually accomplish the distance
within that period. The Asiatic elephant might likewise attain a speed
of fifteen miles for perhaps a couple

of hundred yards, but it would not travel far at a greater pace than
eight miles an hour, and it would reduce that pace to six after the
first five miles.

The proof of an elephant's power of great speed for a short distance is
seldom seen except in cases where the animal is infuriated, and gives
chase to some unfortunate victim, who seldom escapes his fate by flight.
For a short burst of fifty or one hundred yards an elephant might
occasionally attain a pace exceeding fifteen miles an hour, as I have
frequently, when among rough ground, experienced a difficulty in
escaping when on horseback; and in my young days, when a good runner, I
have been almost caught when racing along a level plain as smooth as a
lawn with a savage elephant in full pursuit. An active man upon good
ground can run for a short distance at the rate of eighteen miles an
hour; this should clear him from the attack of most elephants; but
unfortunately the good ground is scarce, and the elephant is generally
discovered in a position peculiarly favourable to itself, where the
roughness of the surface and the tangled herbage render it impossible
for a man to run at full speed without falling.

We have recently seen a distressing example in the death of the lamented
Mr. Ingram in Somaliland, who, although well mounted, was overtaken by
an infuriated wild elephant and killed. This was a female, and it
appears that Mr. Ingram, having followed her on horseback, had fired
repeatedly with a rifle only .450. The animal charged, and owing to the
impediments of the ground, which was covered with prickly aloes, the
horse could not escape, and Mr. Ingram was swept off the saddle and
impaled upon the elephant's tusks.

The African differs from the Asiatic in the formation of ivory, the
tusks of the former being both thicker and heavier; the females also
possess tusks, whereas those of the Asiatic variety have merely embryo
tusks, which do not project more than two or three inches beyond the
lips. I had a tusk of an African elephant that weighed 149 lbs. I have
seen in Khartoum a pair that weighed 300 lbs., and I saw a single tusk
of 172 lbs. In 1874 a tusk was sold at the ivory sale in London that
weighed 188 lbs. These specimens are exceptions to the general rule, as
the average weight in a full-grown African male would be about 140 lbs.
the pair, or 75 lbs. for one tusk and 65 lbs. for the fellow, which is
specially employed for digging.

The African variety is an industrious digger, as it feeds upon the
succulent roots of many trees, especially those of the mimosa family.
The right tusk is generally used in these operations more than the left;
accordingly it is lighter from continual wear, and it is known by the
Arabs as the "hadam" or servant. As the African elephant is a root-eater
it is far more destructive than the Asiatic. It is astonishing to
observe the waste of trees that are upturned by a large herd of these
animals, sometimes out of sheer wantonness, during their passage through
a forest. The dense tops of mimosas are a great attraction, and there
can be no doubt that elephants work collectively to dig out and to
overthrow the trees that would be too large for the strength of a single
animal. I have seen trees between two and three feet in diameter that
have been felled for the sake of the roots and tender heads; these have
shown unmistakable signs of an attack by several elephants, as the
ground has been ploughed by tusks of different sizes to tear up the long
straggling roots which were near the surface, and the deep marks of feet
around the centre of operations, of various diameters, have proved the
co-operation of members of the herd.

I once saw an elephant strike a large timber tree with its forehead to
shake down the fruit. This was a peculiar example of the immense power
that can be exerted when required. We were waiting near the margin of
the White Nile, about half an hour before sunset, expecting the arrival
of waterbuck, when a rumbling sound and a suppressed roar in the jungle
were accompanied by the breaking of a branch, which denoted the approach
of elephants. Presently they emerged from the forest in several
directions, and one, which appeared to be the largest I had ever seen,
advanced to within 120 yards of our position without perceiving us, as
we were concealed behind a bush upon some rising ground close to the
river's bank. This elephant had enormous tusks, but as we had only
small-bore rifles, I was contented to watch, without disturbing the
magnificent animal before me.

There was a very large and lofty tree quite three feet in diameter; upon
the upper branches grew the much-loved fruit, similar in appearance to
good-sized dates, and equally sweet and aromatic (Balanites Egyptiaca).
Elephants will travel great distances to arrive at a forest where such
fruit is produced in quantity, and they appear to know the season when
the crop will be thoroughly ripe. Upon this occasion, the elephant,
having picked up the single fruits which lay scattered upon the ground,
presently looked up, and being satisfied with the appearance of the
higher boughs, he determined to shake down a plentiful supply. Retiring
for a few feet, he deliberately rammed his forehead against the stem,
with such force as to shake the tree from top to bottom, causing a most
successful shower of the coveted fruit, which he immediately commenced
to eat.

Commander R. N. J. Baker was my companion, and we agreed that any person
who might have taken refuge in the branches of that large tree must have
held on exceedingly tight to have avoided a fall, so severe was the
concussion.

When it is considered that a large bull elephant weighs between six and
seven tons, which weight is set in movement by the muscular exertion of
the animal, there is at once an explanation of the force against a tree,
which, although large, would hardly exceed that weight.

The memory of elephants must be peculiarly keen, as they remember the
seasons for visiting certain districts where some particular food is
produced in attractive quantities. In the southern district of Ceylon,
between Yalle river and the sea-coast, there are great numbers of the
Bael tree, the fruit of which resembles a large cricket-ball. The shell
is hard, and when ripe it becomes brown, and can only be broken by a
sharp blow with some hard substance. The contents are highly aromatic,
consisting of a brownish substance exceedingly sweet, and mixed with
small seeds resembling those inside a pear. There is a strong flavour of
medlar in this fruit, and it is much esteemed for medicinal properties,
especially in cases of diarrhoea. Although elephants refuse the Bael
fruit unless quite ripe, they will invariably arrive in great numbers
during the favourable season in the southern districts of Ceylon. The
question arises, "How can an animal remember the month without an
almanack?"

There is no doubt that animals possess in many instances a far greater
degree of reason than is generally admitted, with which the exercise of
memory is so closely allied that it is difficult to separate or define
the attributes. An elephant will remember those who have shown kindness,
perhaps for a longer period than it will others who may have offended.
After seven months' absence in England, an elephant that I had from the
Commissariat on my previous visit to India recognised me at once upon my
return. I had been in the habit of feeding this animal with sugar-canes
and other choice food almost daily during several months' companionship
in the jungle; this was not forgotten, and "cupboard love" was harboured
in its memory with the expectation that the feeding would be repeated.

In the same manner, but perhaps in a lesser degree, the elephant will
remember those whom it dislikes, and during the season of "must" it
would be exceedingly dangerous for such persons to venture within reach
of the animal's trunk. Stories are numerous concerning the animosity of
elephants against their mahouts or other attendants who have cruelly
treated them; but, on the other hand, the animals frequently exhibit a
wild ferocity towards those who have been innocent of harshness. As
characters vary among human beings, and some persons when intoxicated
become suddenly brutal, although when sober they have been mild in
reputation, so also we find conflicting natures among elephants, and the
insane excitement of the "must" period varies in intensity in different
animals.

There was a well-known elephant some years ago in the Balaghat district
of the Central Provinces which became historical through the
extraordinary malignity of its disposition. Having escaped from the
fetters, it killed the mahout, and at once made off towards the forests.
It is a curious example of nature that creatures (ferae naturae) have a
tendency to return to their original state of savagedom when the
opportunity is offered. If an elephant is seized with a panic when upon
open ground, it will rush for the nearest jungle, probably with the
intention of concealment. The animal in question returned to its wild
state directly it had escaped from confinement, but the domestication of
many years appears to have sharpened its intellect, and to have
exaggerated its powers for mischief and cunning. It became the scourge,
not only of the immediate neighbourhood, but of a considerable portion
of a district which included an area of a hundred miles in length by
forty or fifty in width.

No village was safe from the attack of this infuriated beast. It would
travel great distances, and appear at unexpected intervals, suddenly
presenting itself to the horrified villagers, who fled in all
directions, leaving their homes and their supplies of grain to be
demolished by the omnipotent intruder, who tore down their dwellings,
ransacked their stores of corn, and killed any unfortunate person who
came within its reach.

There was a cruel love of homicide in this animal that has rarely been
recorded. Not only would it attack villages in pursuit of forage, but it
was particularly addicted to the destruction of the lofty
watching-places in the fields, occupied nightly by the villagers to
scare wild animals from their crops. These watch-houses are generally
constructed upon strong poles secured by cross-pieces, on the top of
which, about sixteen feet from the ground, is a small hut upon a
platform. This is thatched to protect the occupant from the heavy dew or
rain. From such elevated posts the watchers yell and scream throughout
the night to frighten the wild beasts. To attack and tear down such
posts was the delight of this bloodthirsty elephant. Instead of being
scared by the shouts of the inmates, it was attracted by their cries,
and, unseen in the dark, it was upon them almost before they were aware
of its presence. The strong posts upon which the constructions had been
raised offered no resistance to the attack, and the miserable watchers
found themselves hurled to the ground together with the ruins of their
upturned shelter. In another moment they were either caught and stamped
to death, or chased through the darkness by the pursuing elephant, and
when captured they were torn limb from limb, as the brute exhibited a
cruel satisfaction in placing one foot upon the victim, and then tearing
with its trunk an arm, a leg, or the head from the mangled body.

In this manner the elephant killed upwards of twenty people throughout
the district, and it became absolutely necessary, if possible, to
destroy it.

This was at last effected by Colonel Bloomfield and a friend, who
determined at all hazards to hunt it down by following through the
jungles, guided by the reports of the natives, who were on the lookout
in all directions. The animal showed peculiar cunning, as it never
remained in the same place, but travelled a considerable distance
immediately after the committal of some atrocity, and concealed itself
within the jungles until prompted to another raid in some new direction.
I am indebted to Colonel Bloomfield for an interesting description of
the manner in which, after many days of great fatigue and patience, he
at length succeeded, with the assistance of native trackers, in
discovering this formidable opponent, asleep within a dense mass of
thorns and grass in the heart of an extensive jungle. The elephant awoke
before they could distinctly see its form, owing to the extreme
thickness of the covert, but the fight commenced. There was a
considerable difference between the attack upon defenceless villagers,
who fled before it in hopeless panic, and a stand-up fight with two
experienced European shikaris armed with the best rifles; the terror of
the district quickly showed its appreciation of discretion, and, badly
wounded, it retreated through the forest, well followed by the
determined hunters. Again and again it was overtaken, and a shot was
taken whenever the dense jungle afforded an opportunity. At length,
maddened by pursuit and wounds, it turned to charge, thereby exposing
itself in an open place, and both bullets crashed into its brain, the
shot from Colonel Bloomfield's rifle passing completely through its
head.

It would be impossible to determine whether such an elephant could have
been subdued and re-domesticated had its capture been effected. There
are many cases on record where a "must" elephant has committed grievous
depredations, after killing those who were its ordinary attendants, but
when re-captured, the temporary excitement has passed away, and the
animal has become as harmless as it was before the period of insanity.
Mr. G. P. Sanderson, the superintendent of the Government keddahs in
Assam, gives a vivid description of an elephant that escaped after
killing its mahout and several villagers in the neighbourhood. This
animal, like Colonel Bloomfield's elephant, already described, became
the terror of the district, and destroyed many villagers, until it was
decided by the authorities to attempt its destruction.

Mr. Sanderson was of opinion that it was too valuable to be heedlessly
sacrificed; he therefore determined to capture it alive, if possible,
through the aid of certain clever elephants belonging to the keddah
establishment.

The police of the district were ordered to obtain the necessary
information, and the malefactor was reported after a few days to have
destroyed another village, where it remained, devouring the rice and
grain in the absence of the panic-stricken villagers.

No time was lost in repairing to the spot with three highly-trained
elephants, two of which were females; the third was a well-known
fighting male, a tusker named Moota Gutche, who was usually employed to
dominate the obstreperous wild elephants when refractory in the keddah
enclosures. The necessary ropes and chains were prepared, and the small
but experienced party started, Mr. Sanderson being armed only with a
long spear, and riding on the pad, well girthed upon the back of Moota
Gutche.

A short hour's march brought them in sight of a ruined village on a
level plain, which skirted a dense forest. When within a quarter of a
mile, a large male elephant was discovered restlessly walking to and fro
as though keeping guard over the ruins he had made. This was the culprit
taken in the act.

Leaving the two females in the rear, with instructions to follow upon a
given signal, Mr. Sanderson on Moota Gutche advanced slowly to the
encounter. The rogue elephant did not appear to notice them until within
about 200 yards; it then suddenly halted, and turning round, it faced
them as though in astonishment at being disturbed. This attitude did not
last very long, as Moota Gutche still advanced until within ninety or a
hundred paces. The elephants now faced each other, and Moota Gutche
began to lower his head when he observed his antagonist backing a few
paces, which he well knew was the customary preparation for a charge.
"Reculez pour mieux sauter" was well exemplified when in another moment
the vagrant elephant dashed forward at great speed to the attack,
trumpeting and screaming with mad fury. In the meantime Moota Gutche
coolly advanced at a moderate pace. The shock of the encounter was
tremendous. The spear flew out of the rider's hands with the collision,
but Moota Gutche was a trained fighter, and having lowered his head,
which had for the moment exposed his mahout, he quickly caught his
opponent under the throat with its neck between his tusks, and then
bearing upwards, he forced the head of his adversary high in the air;
now driving forwards with all his strength, he hurled the other
backwards, and with a dexterous twist he threw it upon its side and
pinned it to the ground. In an instant Mr. Sanderson slipped off and
secured the hind legs with a strong rope. The two females quickly
arrived, and within a few minutes the late terror of the neighbourhood
was helplessly fettered, and was led captive between the females towards
the camp from which it had escaped, assisted, when obstreperous, by the
tusks of Moota Gutche applied behind.

This elephant completely recovered from its temporary madness, and
became a useful animal, affording a striking example of the passing
insanity of the male passion, and the power of careful management in
subduing a brute of such stupendous force.

After this incident Moota Gutche, with about forty of the keddah
elephants, was kindly lent to me by Mr. Sanderson during a shooting
excursion of twenty-five days upon the "churs" or islands of the
Brahmaputra river south of Dhubri. In India the tiger is so commonly
associated with the elephant that in describing one it is impossible to
avoid a connection with the other.

Moota Gutche was a peculiar character, not altogether amiable, but it
was as well to have him upon your own side. During the trip my friend
Sanderson was ill with fever, and could not accompany me. I was
therefore at the disadvantage of being the only gun in a long line of
elephants, which would on ordinary occasions have been manned by at
least four guns. At first I imagined that my trip would be a failure, as
I knew a mere nothing of the language, and the elephants and their
mahouts were alike strangers to me, but I soon discovered that their
excellent training as keddah servants constantly employed in the capture
of wild elephants under their indefatigable superintendent, Mr.
Sanderson, rendered them capable almost instinctively of understanding
all my ways, and we became excellent friends, both man and beast.

I arranged my long line of elephants according to their paces and
dispositions, and each day they preserved the same positions, so that
every mahout knew his place, and the elephants were accustomed to the
animals upon the right and left. In the centre were the slowest, and
upon either flank were the fastest elephants, while two exceedingly
speedy animals, with intelligent mahouts, invariably acted as scouts,
generally a quarter of a mile ahead on either flank.

My own elephant was accompanied on one side by Moota Gutche, on the
other by a rough but dependable character whose name I have forgotten. I
kept these always with me, as they were useful in the event of a tiger
that would not bolt from the dense wild-rose thickets, in which case our
three elephants could push him out.

This arrangement was perfect, and after a few days' experience our line
worked with the precision of well-drilled cavalry; sometimes, with extra
elephants, I had as many as fifty in the field. The result of this
discipline was that no tiger or leopard ever escaped if once on foot;
although hunted in some instances for hours, the animal was invariably
killed. A remarkable instance of this occurred at the large island of
Bargh Chur, which includes several thousand acres, the greater portion
being covered with enormous grass and dense thickets of tamarisk, which,
in the hot season, is the cool and loved resort of tigers. There were
also extensive jungles in swampy portions of the island, so intermixed
with reeds and marsh grass of twelve or fourteen feet high, that it was
difficult to penetrate, even upon an elephant.

I was out at the usual early hour, shortly after sunrise, the shikaris
having returned to camp with the news that none of the bullocks tied up
for baits during the preceding night had been killed; it therefore
remained to try our fortune by simply beating the high grass jungle in
line, on speculation, and in the same manner to drive the occasional
dense coverts of feathery tamarisk.

We had proceeded with a line of about five-and-thirty elephants, well
extended ten yards apart, and in this manner we had advanced about a
mile, when our attention was attracted by a native calling to us from a
large ant-hill which enabled him to be distinguished above the grass. We
immediately rode towards him, and were informed that a tiger had killed
his cow the night before, and had dragged the body into jungle so dense
that he had been afraid to follow. This was good news; we therefore took
the man upon an elephant as our guide towards the reported spot.

The elephants continued to advance in line, occasionally disturbing wild
pigs and hog deer, which existed in great numbers, but could hardly have
been shot even had I wished, as the grass was so thick and long that the
animals could not be seen; there were only signs of their disturbance by
the sudden rush and the waving of the grass just in front of the
advancing elephants, who were thus kept in continual excitement.

In about twenty minutes we emerged from the high grass upon a great
extent of highly cultivated land, where the sandy loam had been reduced
to the fine surface of a well-kept garden. Bordering upon this open
country was an extensive jungle composed of trees averaging about a foot
in diameter, but completely wedged together among impenetrable reeds
fully eighteen feet in length, and nearly an inch in thickness, in
addition to a network of various tough creepers, resulting from a rich
soil that was a morass during the rainy season. Although the reeds
appeared tolerably dry, they would not burn, as there were signs among
some half-scorched places where attempts had been recently made to fire
the jungle.

Our guide soon pointed to the spot where his cow had been dragged by the
tiger into this formidable covert. There was no mistake about the marks,
and the immense tracks in the soft ground proved the size and sex of the
destroyer.

Nobody questioned the fact of the tiger being at home, and the only
question was "how to beat him out." The jungle was quite a mile in
length without a break in its terrible density; it was about half a mile
in width, bounded upon one side by the cleared level ground in
cultivation, and on the other by the high grass jungle we had left, but
this had been partially scorched along the edge in the attempts to burn.

A good look-out would have spied any animal at a hundred and fifty yards
had it attempted to leave the jungle.

As the country was a dead level, it was difficult to forecast the
retreat of a tiger when driven from such a thicket, and it was a serious
question whether it would be possible to dislodge him.

Whenever you commence a drive, the first consideration should be, "If
the animal is there, where did it come from?"---as it will in all
probability attempt to retreat to that same locality. There was no
possibility of guessing the truth in such a country of dense grass, and
with numerous islands of the same character throughout this portion of
the Brahmaputra, but there was one advantage in the fact that one side
was secure, as the tiger would never break covert upon the cultivated
land; there remained the opposite side, which would require strict
watching, as he would probably endeavour to slink away through the high
grass to some distant and favourite retreat.

I therefore determined to take my stand at the end of the thick jungle
which we had passed upon arrival, at the corner where it joined the
parched grass that had been fire-scorched, and near the spot where the
cow had been dragged in. I accordingly sent the elephants round to
commence the drive about two hundred yards distant, entering from the
cultivated side and driving towards me, as I concluded the tiger in such
massive jungle would not be far from the dead body. At the same time, I
sent two scouting elephants to occupy positions outside the jungle on
the high grass side, within sight of myself; I being posted on my
elephant at the corner, so that I commanded two views---the end, and the
grass side.

My signal, a loud whistle, having been given, the line of elephants
advanced towards my position. The crashing of so many huge beasts
through the dense crisp herbage sounded in the distance like a strong
wind, varied now and then by the tearing crunch as some opposing
branches were torn down to clear the way.

I was mounted upon a female elephant, a good creature named Nielmonne,
who was reputed to be staunch, but as the line of beaters approached
nearer, and the varied sounds increased in intensity, she became very
nervous and restless, starting should a small deer dart out of the
jungle, and evidently expecting momentarily the appearance of the enemy.
There are very few elephants that will remain unmoved when awaiting the
advance of a line of beaters, whether they may be of their own species
or human beings. On this occasion the rushing sound of the yielding
jungle, which was so thick as to test the elephants' powers in clearing
a passage through it, was presently varied by a sharp trumpet, then by a
low growl, followed by that peculiar noise emitted by elephants when
excited, resembling blows upon a tambourine or kettle-drum. This is a
sound that invariably is heard whenever an elephant detects the fresh
scent of a tiger; and Nielmonne, instead of standing quiet, became
doubly excited, as she evidently understood that the dreaded game was on
foot, and advancing before the line.

As I was posted at the sharp angle of the corner, I presently observed
several elephants emerge upon my left and right, as the line advanced
with wonderful regularity, and so close were the animals together that
it was most unlikely any tiger could have broken back.

My servant Michael was behind me in the howdah. He was a quiet man, who
thoroughly understood his work, and seldom spoke without being first
addressed. On this occasion he broke through the rule. "Nothing in this
beat, sahib," he exclaimed . . . . "Hold your tongue, Michael, till the
cover's beaten out. Haven't I often told you that you can't tell what's
in the jungle until the last corner is gone through?"

Nearly all the elephants were now out, and only about half a dozen
remained in the jungle, all still advancing in correct line, and perhaps
a dozen yards remaining of dense reeds and creepers forming the acute
angle at the extremity. They still came on. Two or three of the mahouts
shouted, "The tiger's behind, we must go back and take a longer beat."
Nothing remained now except six or seven yards of the sharp corner, and
the elephants marched forward, when a tremendous roar suddenly startled
them in all directions, and one of the largest tigers I have ever seen
sprang forward directly towards Nielmonne, who, I am ashamed to say,
spun round as though upon a pivot, and prevented me from taking a most
splendid shot. The next instant the tiger had bounded back with several
fierce roars, sending the line of elephants flying, and once more
securing safety in the almost impervious jungle from which he had been
driven.

This was a most successful drive, but a terrible failure, owing entirely
to the nervousness of my elephant. I never saw a worse jungle, and now
that the tiger had been moved, it would be doubly awkward to deal with
him, as he would either turn vicious and spring upon an elephant
unawares from so dense a covert, or slink from place to place as the
line advanced, but would never again face the open.

I looked at my watch; it was exactly half-past eight. The mahouts
suggested that we should not disturb him, but give him time to sleep,
and then beat for him in the afternoon. I did not believe in sleep after
he had been so rudely aroused by a long line of elephants, but I clearly
perceived that the mahouts did not enjoy the fun of beating in such
dreadful jungle, and this they presently confessed, and expressed a wish
to have me in the centre of the line, as there was no gun with the
elephants should the tiger attack.

I knew that I should be useless, as it would be impossible to see a foot
ahead in such dense bush, but to give them confidence I put my elephant
in line, and sent forward several scouting elephants to form a line
along a narrow footpath which cut the jungle at right angles about a
quarter of a mile distant.

Once more the line advanced, the elephants marching shoulder to
shoulder, and thus bearing down everything before them, as I determined
to take the jungle backwards and forwards in this close order lest the
wary tiger might crouch, and escape by lying close.

Several times the elephants sounded, and we knew that he must be close
at hand, but it was absolutely impossible to see anything beyond the
thick reedy mass, through which the line of elephants bored as through a
solid obstacle.

Three times with the greatest patience we worked the jungle in this
searching manner, when on the third advance I left the line, finding the
impossibility of seeing anything, and took up my position outside the
jungle on the cultivated land, exactly where the footpath was occupied
by the scout elephants at intervals, which intersected the line of
advance.

Presently there was a commotion among the elephants, two or three shrill
trumpets, then the kettle-drum, and for a moment I caught sight of a dim
shadowy figure stealing through some high reeds upon the border which
fringed the jungle. I immediately fired, although the elephant was so
unsteady that I could not be sure of the shot; also the object was so
indistinct, being concealed in the high reeds, that I should not have
observed it upon any other occasion than our rigid search. Immediately
afterwards, a shout from one of the mahouts upon a scouting elephant
informed us that the tiger had crossed the path and had gone forward,
having thus escaped from the beat!

Here was fresh work cut out! Up to this moment we had managed to keep
him within an area of a quarter of a mile in length, by half a mile in
width; he had now got into new ground, and was in about a three-quarter
mile length of the same unbeaten jungle.

There was nothing else to do but to pursue the same tactics, and we
patiently continued to beat forward and backward, again and again, but
without once sighting our lost game. It was half-past twelve, and the
sun was burning hot, the sky being cloudless. The elephants once more
emerged from the sultry jungle; they were blowing spray with their
trunks upon their flanks, from water sucked up from their stomachs; and
the mahouts were all down-hearted and in despair. "It's of no use," they
said, "he's gone straight away, who can tell where? When you fired,
perhaps you wounded him, or you missed him; at any rate, he's frightened
and gone clean off, we shall never see him again; the elephants are all
tired with the extreme heat, and we had better go to the river for a
bath."

I held a council of war, with the elephants in a circle around me. It is
of no use to oppose men when they are disgusted, you must always start a
new idea. I agreed with my men, but I suggested that as we were all hot,
and the elephants fatigued, the tiger must be in much the same state, as
we had kept him on the run since eight o'clock in the morning, I having
actually timed the hour "half-past eight" when he charged out of the
last corner. "Now," said I, "do you remember that yesterday evening I
killed a buck near some water in a narrow depression in the middle of
tamarisk jungle? I believe that is only a continuation of this horrible
thicket, and if the tiger is nearly played out, he would naturally make
for the water and the cool tamarisk. You form in line in the jungle
here, and give me a quarter of an hour's start, while I go ahead and
take up my position by that piece of water. You then come on, and if the
tiger is in the jungle, he will come forward towards the water, where I
shall meet him; if he's not there, we shall anyhow be on our direct
route, and close to our camp by the river."

This was immediately accepted, and leaving the elephants to form line, I
hurried forward on Nielmonne, keeping in the grass outside the edge of
the long jungle.

I had advanced about three-quarters of a mile, when the character of the
jungle changed to tamarisk, and I felt certain that I was near the spot
of yesterday. I accordingly ordered the mahout to turn into the thick
feathery foliage to the left, in search of the remembered water. There
was a slight descent to a long but narrow hollow about 50 or 60 yards
wide; this was filled with clear water for an unknown length.

I was just about to make a remark, when, instead of speaking, I gently
grasped the mahout by the head as I leaned over the howdah, and by this
signal stopped the elephant.

There was a lovely sight, which cheered my heart with that inexpressible
feeling of delight which is the reward for patience and hard work. About
120 yards distant on my left, the head and neck of a large tiger, clean
and beautiful, reposed above the surface, while the body was cooling,
concealed from view. Here was our friend enjoying his quiet bath, while
we had been pounding away up and down the jungles which he had left.

The mahout, although an excellent man, was much excited. "Fire at him,"
he whispered.

"It is too far to make certain," I replied in the same undertone.

"Your rifle will not miss him; fire, or you will lose him. He will see
us to a certainty and be off. If so, we shall never see him again,"
continued Fazil, the mahout.

"Hold your tongue," I whispered. "He can't see us, the sun is at our
back, and is shining in his eyes --- see how green they are."

At this moment of suspense the tiger quietly rose from his bath, and sat
up on end like a dog. I never saw such a sight. His head was beautiful,
and the eyes shone like two green electric lights, as the sun's rays
reflected from them, but his huge body was dripping with muddy water, as
he had been reclining upon the alluvial bottom.

"Now's the time," whispered the over-eager mahout. "You can kill him to
a certainty. Fire, or he'll be gone in another moment."

"Keep quiet, you fool, and don't move till I tell you." For quite a
minute the tiger sat up in the same position; at last, as though
satisfied that he was in safety and seclusion, he once more lay down
with only the head and neck exposed above the surface.

"Back the elephant gently, but do not turn round," I whispered.
Immediately Nielmonne backed through the feathery tamarisk without the
slightest sound, and we found ourselves outside the jungle. We could
breathe freely.

"Go on now, quite gently, till I press your head; then turn to the
right, descending through the tamarisk, till I again touch your puggery"
(turban).

I counted the elephant's paces as she moved softly parallel with the
jungle, until I felt sure of my distance. A slight pressure upon the
mahout's head, and Nielmonne turned to the right. The waving plumes of
the dark-green tamarisk divided as we gently moved forward, and in
another moment we stopped. There was the tiger in the same position,
exactly facing me, but now about 75 paces distant.

"Keep the elephant quite steady," I whispered; and, sitting down upon
the howdah seat, I took a rest with the rifle upon the front bar of the
gun-rack. A piece of tamarisk kept waving in the wind just in front of
the rifle, beyond my reach. The mahout leaned forward and gently bent it
down. Now, all was clear. The tiger's eyes were like green glass. The
elephant for a moment stood like stone. I touched the trigger.

There was no response to the loud report of 6 drams of powder from the
'577 rifle, no splash in the unbroken surface of the water. The tiger's
head was still there, but in a different attitude, one-half below the
surface, and only one cheek, and one large eye still glittering like an
emerald, above.

"Run in quick,"---and the order was instantly obeyed, as Nielmonne
splashed through the pool towards the silent body of the tiger. There
was not a movement of a muscle. I whistled loud, then looked at my
watch---on the stroke of 1 P.M. From 8.30 till that hour we had worked
up that tiger, and although there was no stirring incident connected
with him, I felt very satisfied with the result.

In a short time the elephants arrived, having heard the shot, followed
by my well-known whistle. Moota Gutche was the first to approach; and
upon observing the large bright eye of the tiger above water, he
concluded that it was still alive; he accordingly made a desperate
charge, and taking the body on his tusks, he sent it flying some yards
ahead; not content with this display of triumph, he followed it up, and
gave it a football-kick that lifted it clean out of the water. This
would have quickly ended in a war-dance upon the prostrate body, that
would have crushed it and destroyed the skin, had not the mahout, with
the iron driving-hook, bestowed some warning taps upon the crown of
Moota Gutche's head that recalled him to a calmer frame of mind. A rope
was soon made fast to the tiger's neck, and Moota Gutche hauled it upon
dry ground, where it was washed as well as possible, and well
scrutinized for a bullet-hole.

There was no hole whatever in that tiger. The bullet having entered the
nostril, broken the neck, and run along the body, the animal
consequently had never moved. The first shot, when obscured in thick
jungle, had probably deflected from the interposing reeds---at all
events it missed. This tiger, when laid out straight, but without being
pulled to increase its length, measured exactly 9 feet 8 inches from
nose to tail.



CHAPTER III

THE ELEPHANT (continued)

The foregoing chapter is sufficient to explain the ferocity of the male
elephant at certain seasons which periodically affect the nervous
system. It would be easy to multiply examples of this cerebral
excitement, but such repetitions are unnecessary. The fact remains that
the sexes differ materially in character, and that for general purposes
the female is preferred in a domesticated state, although the male
tusker is far more powerful, and when thoroughly trustworthy is capable
of self-defence against attack, and of energy in work that would render
it superior to the gentler but inferior female.  (The female differs
from other quadrupeds in the position of her teats, which are situated
upon the breast between the fore legs. She is in the habit of caressing
her calf with her trunk during the operation of suckling.)

It may be inferred that a grand specimen of a male elephant is of rare
occurrence. A creature that combines perfection of form with a firm but
amiable disposition, and is free from the timidity which unfortunately
distinguishes the race, may be quite invaluable to any resident in
India. The actual monetary value of an elephant must of necessity be
impossible to decide, as it must depend upon the requirements of the
purchaser and the depth of his pocket. Elephants differ in price as much
as horses, and the princes of India exhibit profuse liberality in paying
large sums for animals that approach their standard of perfection.

The handsomest elephant that I have ever seen in India belongs to the
Rajah of Nandgaon, in the district bordering upon Reipore. I saw this
splendid specimen among twenty others at the Durbar of the Chief
Commissioner of the Central Provinces in December 1887, and it
completely eclipsed all others both in size and perfection of points.
The word "points" is inappropriate when applied to the distinguishing
features of an elephant, as anything approaching the angular would be
considered a blemish. An Indian elephant to be perfect should be 9 feet
6 inches in perpendicular height at the shoulder. The head should be
majestic in general character, as large as possible,--especially broad
across the forehead, and well rounded. The boss or prominence above the
trunk should be solid and decided, mottled with flesh-coloured spots;
these ought to continue upon the cheeks, and for about three feet down
the trunk. This should be immensely massive; and when the elephant
stands at ease, the trunk ought to touch the ground when the tip is
slightly curled. The skin of the face should be soft to the touch, and
there must be no indentations or bony hollows, which are generally the
sign of age. The ears should be large, the edges free from inequalities
or rents, and above all they ought to be smooth, as though they had been
carefully ironed. When an elephant is old, the top of the ear curls, and
this symptom increases with advancing years. The eyes should be large
and clear, the favourite colour a bright hazel. The tusks ought to be as
thick as possible, free from cracks, gracefully curved, very slightly to
the right and left, and projecting not less than three feet from the
lips. The body should be well rounded, without a sign of any rib. The
shoulders must be massive with projecting muscular development; the back
very slightly arched, and not sloping too suddenly towards the tail,
which should be set up tolerably high. This ought to be thick and long,
the end well furnished with a double fringe of very long thick hairs or
whalebone-looking bristles. The legs should be short in proportion to
the height of the animal, but immensely thick, and the upper- portion
above the knee ought to exhibit enormous muscle. The knees should be
well rounded, and the feet be exactly equal to half the perpendicular
height of the elephant when measured in their circumference, the weight
pressing upon them whilst standing.

The skin generally ought to be soft and pliable, by no means tight or
strained, but lying easily upon the limbs and body.

An elephant which possesses this physical development should be equal in
the various points of character that are necessary to a highly-trained
animal.

When ordered to kneel, it should obey instantly, and remain patiently
upon the ground until permitted to rise from this uneasy posture. In
reality the elephant does not actually kneel upon its fore knees, but
only upon those of the hinder legs, while it pushes its fore legs
forward and rests its tusks upon the ground. This is a most unnatural
position, and is exceedingly irksome. Some elephants are very impatient,
and they will rise suddenly without orders while the ladder is placed
against their side for mounting. Upon one occasion a badly-trained
animal jumped up so suddenly that Lady Baker, who had already mounted,
was thrown off on one side, while I, who was just on the top of the
ladder, was thrown down violently upon the other. A badly-tutored
elephant is exceedingly dangerous, as such vagaries are upon so large a
scale that a fall is serious, especially should the ground be stony.

A calm and placid nature free from all timidity is essential. Elephants
are apt to take sudden fright at peculiar sounds and sights. In
travelling through a jungle path it is impossible to foretell what
animals may be encountered on the route. Some elephants will turn
suddenly round and bolt, upon the unexpected crash of a wild animal
startled in the forest. The scent or, still worse, the roar of a bear
within 50 yards of the road will scare some elephants to an extent that
will make them most difficult of control. The danger may be imagined
should an elephant absolutely run away with his rider in a dense forest;
if the unfortunate person should be in a howdah he would probably be
swept off and killed by the intervening branches, or torn to shreds by
the tangled thorns, many of which are armed with steel-like hooks.

It is impossible to train all elephants alike, and very few can be
rendered thoroughly trustworthy; the character must be born in them if
they are to approach perfection.

Our present perfect example should be quite impassive, and should take
no apparent notice of anything, but obey his mahout with the regularity
of a machine. No noise should disturb the nerves, no sight terrify, no
attack for one moment shake the courage; even the crackling of fire
should be unheeded, although the sound of high grass blazing and
exploding before the advancing line of fire tries the nerves of
elephants more than any other danger.

An elephant should march with an easy swinging pace at the rate of 5
miles an hour, or even 6 miles within that time upon a good flat road.
As a rule, the females have an easier pace than the large males. When
the order to stop is given, instead of hesitating, the elephant should
instantly obey, remaining rigidly still without swinging the head or
flapping the ears, which is its inveterate and annoying habit. The
well-trained animal should then move backward or forward, either one or
several paces, at a sign from the mahout, and then at once become as
rigid as a rock.

Should the elephant be near a tiger, it will generally know the position
of the enemy by its keen sense of smell. If the tiger should suddenly
charge from some dense covert with the usual short but loud roars, the
elephant ought to remain absolutely still to receive the onset, and to
permit a steady aim from the person in the howdah. This is a very rare
qualification, but most necessary in a good shikar elephant. Some
tuskers will attack the tiger, which is nearly as bad a fault as running
in the opposite direction; but the generality, even if tolerably steady,
will swing suddenly upon one side, and thus interrupt the steadiness of
aim.

The elephant should never exercise its own will, but ought to wait in
all cases for the instructions of the mahout, and then obey immediately.

Such an animal, combining the proportions and the qualities I have
described, might be worth in India about / 1500 to any Indian Rajah, but
there may be some great native sportsmen who would give double that
amount for such an example of perfection, which would combine the beauty
required for a state elephant, with the high character of a shikar
animal.

Native princes and rajahs take a great pride in the trappings of their
state elephants, which is exhibited whenever any pageant demands an
extraordinary display. I have seen cloths of silk so closely embroidered
with heavy gold as to be of enormous value, and so great a weight that
two men could barely lift them. Such cloths may have been handed down
from several generations, as they are seldom used excepting in the state
ceremonies which occur at distant intervals. A high caste male elephant
in its gold trappings, with head-piece and forehead lap equally
embroidered, and large silver bells suspended from its tusks, is a
magnificent object during the display attending a durbar. At such an
occasion there may be a hundred elephants all in their finery, each
differing from the other both in size and in the colours of their
surroundings.

The outfit for an elephant depends upon the work required. The first
consideration is the protection of the back. Although the skin appears
as though it could resist all friction, it is astonishing how quickly a
sore becomes established, and how difficult this is to heal. The mahouts
are exceedingly careless, and require much supervision; the only method
to ensure attention is to hold them responsible and to deduct so many
rupees from their pay should the backs of their animals be unsound.

With proper care an elephant ought never to suffer, as the pad should be
made to fit its figure specially. The usual method is to cover the back
from the shoulders to the hips with a large quilted pad stuffed with
cotton, about 2 1/2 inches thick. In my opinion, wool is preferable to
cotton, and, instead of this coverlet being compact, there should be
an opening down the centre, to avoid all pressure upon the spine. A
quilted pad stuffed with wool, 3 inches thick, with an opening down the
middle, would rest comfortably upon the animal's back, and would
entirely relieve the highly-arched backbone, which would thus be exposed
to a free current of air, and would remain hard instead of becoming
sodden through perspiration. Upon this soft layer the large pad is
fixed. This is made of the strongest sacking, stuffed as tight as
possible with dried reeds of a tough variety that is common in most
tanks; this is open in the centre and quite a foot thick at the sides,
so that it fills up the hollow, and rests the weight upon the ribs at a
safe distance from the spine.

There are various contrivances in the shape of saddles. The ordinary
form for travelling is the char-jarma; this is an oblong frame,
exceedingly strong, which is lashed upon the pad secured by girths. It
is stuffed with cotton, and neatly covered with native cloth. A stuffed
back passes down the centre like a sofa, and two people on either side
sit dos-a-dos, as though in an Irish car. Iron rails protect the ends,
and swing foot-boards support the feet. This is, in my opinion, the most
comfortable way of riding, but some care is necessary in proportioning
the weights to ensure a tolerable equilibrium, otherwise, should the
route be up and down steep nullahs, the char-jarma will shift upon one
side, and become most disagreeable to those who find themselves on the
lower level. Natives prefer a well-stuffed pad, as they are accustomed
to sit with their legs doubled up in a manner that would be highly
uncomfortable to Europeans. Such pads are frequently covered with
scarlet cloth and gold embroidery, while the elephant is dressed in a
silk and gold cloth reaching to its knees. The face and head are painted
in various colours and devices, exhibiting great taste and skill on the
part of the designer. It is curious to observe the dexterity with which
an otherwise ignorant mahout will decorate the head of his animal by
drawing most elaborate curves and patterns, that would tax the ability
of a professional artist among Europeans.

The howdah is the only accepted arrangement for sporting purposes, and
much attention is necessary in its construction, as the greatest
strength should be combined with lightness. There ought to be no doors,
as they weaken the solidity of the whole. The weight of a good roomy
howdah should not exceed two hundredweight, or at the outside 230
pounds. It must be remembered that the howdah is not adapted for
travelling, as there is a disagreeable swinging motion inseparable from
its position upon the elephant's back which is not felt upon either the
pad or the char-jarma. The howdah is simply for shooting, as you can
fire in any direction, which is impossible from any other contrivance
where the rider sits in a constrained position.

A good howdah should be made of exceedingly strong and tough wood for
the framework, dovetailed, and screwed together, the joints being
specially secured by long corner straps of the best iron. The frame
ought to be panelled with galvanised wire of the strongest description,
the mesh being one-half inch. The top rail, of a hard wood, should be
strengthened all around the howdah by the addition of a male bamboo 1
1/2 inch in diameter, securely lashed with raw hide, so as to bind the
structure firmly together, and to afford a good grip for the hand. As
the howdah is divided into two compartments, the front being for the
shooter, and the back part for his servant, the division should be
arranged to give increased strength to the construction by the firmness
of the cross pieces, which ought to bind the sides together in forming
the middle seat; the back support of which should be a padded shield of
thick leather, about 15 inches in diameter, secured by a broad strap of
the same material to buckles upon the sides. This will give a yielding
support to the back of the occupant when sitting. The seat should lift
up, and be fitted as a locker to contain anything required; and a
well-stuffed leather cushion is indispensable. The gun-rack should be
carefully arranged to contain two guns upon the left, and one upon the
right of the sitter. These must be well and softly padded, to prevent
friction. The floor should be covered either with thick cork or
cork-matting to prevent the feet from slipping.

It must be remembered that a howdah may be subjected to the most severe
strain, especially should a tiger spring upon the head of an elephant,
and the animal exert its prodigious strength to throw off its assailant.
The irons for fastening the girths should therefore be of the toughest
quality, and, instead of actual girths, only thick ropes of cotton ought
to be used. A girth secured with a buckle is most dangerous, as, should
the buckle give way, an accident of the most alarming kind must
assuredly occur. The howdah ought to be lashed upon the elephant by six
folds of the strong cotton rope described, tightened most carefully
before starting. It should be borne in mind that much personal attention
is necessary during this operation, as the natives are most careless.
Two or three men ought to sit in the howdah during the process of
lacing, so as to press it down tightly upon the pad, otherwise it will
become loose during the march, and probably lean over to one side, which
is uncomfortable to both man and beast. A large hide of the sambur deer,
well cured and greased so as to be soft and pliable, should, invariably
protect the belly of the elephant, and the flanks under the fore legs,
from the friction of the girthing rope. The breastplate and crupper also
require attention. These ought to be of the same quality of cotton rope
as used for the girths, but that portion of the crupper which passes
beneath the tail should pass through an iron tube bent specially to fit,
like the letter V elongated, U. This is a great safeguard against
galling, and I believe it was first suggested by Mr. G. P. Sanderson.

A fine male elephant, well accoutred with his howdah thoroughly secured,
and a good mahout, is a splendid mount, and the rider has the
satisfaction of feeling that his animal is well up to his weight. I do
not know a more agreeable sensation than the start in the early morning
upon a thoroughly dependable elephant, with all the belongings in
first-rate order, and a mahout who takes a real interest in his work; a
thorough harmony exists between men and beast, the rifles are in their
places, and you feel prepared for anything that may happen during the
hazardous adventures of the day.

But how much depends upon that mahout! It is impossible for an ordinary
bystander to comprehend the secret signs which are mutually understood
by the elephant and his guide, the gentle pressure of one toe, or the
compression of one knee, or the delicate touch of a heel, or the almost
imperceptible swaying of the body to one side; the elephant detects
every movement, howsoever slight, and it is thus mysteriously guided by
its intelligence; the mighty beast obeys the unseen helm of thought,
just as a huge ship yields by apparent instinct to the insignificant
appendage which directs her course, the rudder. All good riders know the
mystery of a "good hand" upon a horse; this is a thing that is
understood, but cannot be described except by a negative. There are
persons who can sit a horse gracefully and well, but who have not the
instinctive gift of hand. The horse is aware of this almost as soon as
the rider has been seated in the saddle. In that case, whether the horse
be first-class or not, there will be no comfort for the animal, and no
ease for the rider.

If such a person puts his horse at a fence, the animal will not be
thoroughly convinced that his rider wishes him to take it. There are
more accidents occasioned by a "bad hand" than by any other cause. If
this is the case with a horse well bitted, what must be the result
should an elephant be guided by a mahout of uncertain temperament? The
great trouble when travelling on an elephant is the difficulty in
getting the mahout to obey an order immediately, and at the same time to
convey that order to the animal without the slightest hesitation.
Natives frequently hesitate before they determine the right from left.
This is exasperating to the highest degree, and is destructive to the
discipline of an elephant. There must be no uncertainty; if there is the
slightest vacillation, it will be felt instinctively in the muscles of
the rider, and the animal, instead of obeying mechanically the requisite
pressure of knee or foot, feels that the mahout does not exactly know
what he is about. This will cause the elephant to swing his head,
instead of keeping steady and obeying the order without delay. In the
same manner, when tiger-shooting, the elephant will at once detect
anything like tremor on the part of his mahout. Frequently a good
elephant may be disgraced by the nervousness of his guide, nothing being
so contagious as fear.

Although I may be an exception in the non-admiration of the elephant's
sagacity to the degree in which it is usually accepted, there is no one
who more admires or is so foolishly fond of elephants. I have killed
some hundreds in my early life, but I have learnt to regret the past,
and 1 nothing would now induce me to shoot an elephant unless it were
either a notorious malefactor, or in self-defence. There is, however, a
peculiar contradiction in the character of elephants that tends to
increase the interest in the animal. If they were all the same, there
would be a monotony; but this is never the case, either among animals or
human beings, although they may belong to one family. The elephant, on
the other hand, stands so entirely apart from all other animals, and its
performances appear so extraordinary owing to the enormous effect which
its great strength produces instantaneously, that its peculiarities
interest mankind more than any smaller animal. Yet, when we consider the
actual aptitude for learning, or the natural habits of the creature, we
are obliged to confess that in proportion to its size the elephant is a
mere fool in comparison with the intelligence of many insects. If the
elephant could form a home like the bee, and store up fodder for a
barren season; if it could build a nest of comfort like a bird, to
shelter itself from inclement weather; if it could dam up a river like
the beaver, to store water for the annual drought; if it could only,
like the ordinary squirrel or field mouse, make a store for a season of
scarcity, how marvellous we should think this creature, simply because
it is so huge! It actually does nothing remarkable, unless specially
instructed; but it is this inertia that renders it so valuable to man.
If the elephant were to be continually exerting its natural
intelligence, and volunteering all manner of gigantic performances in
the hope that they would be appreciated by its rider, it would be
unbearable; the value of the animal consists in its capacity to learn,
and in its passive demeanour, until directed by the mahout's commands.

Nothing can positively determine the character of any elephant; every
animal, I believe, varies more or less in courage according to its state
of health, which must influence the nervous system. The most courageous
man may, if weakened by sickness, be disgusted with himself by starting
at an unexpected sound, although upon ordinary occasions he would not be
affected. Animals cannot describe their feelings, and they may sometimes
feel "out of sorts" without being actually ill, but the nervous system
may be unstrung.

I once saw a ridiculous example of sudden panic in an otherwise most
dependable elephant. This was a large male belonging to the Government,
which had been lent to me for a few months, and was thoroughly staunch
when opposed to a charging tiger; in fact, I believe that Moolah Bux was
afraid of nothing, and he was the best shikar elephant I have ever
ridden. One day we were driving a rocky hill for a tiger that was
supposed to be concealed somewhere among the high grass and broken
boulders, and, as the line of beaters was advancing, I backed the
elephant into some thick jungle, which commanded an open but narrow
glade at the foot of the low hill. Only the face of the elephant was
exposed, and as this was grayish brown, something similar to the colour
of the leafless bushes, we were hardly noticeable to anything that might
break covert.

The elephant thoroughly understood the work in hand; and as the loud
yells and shouts of the beaters became nearer, Moolah Bux pricked his
ears and kept a vigilant look-out. Suddenly a hare emerged about 100
yards distant; without observing our well-concealed position it raced at
full speed directly towards us, and in a few seconds it ran almost
between the elephant's legs as it made for the protection of the jungle.
The mighty Moolah Bux fairly bolted with a sudden terror as this
harmless and tiny creature dashed beneath him, and although he recovered
himself after 5 or 6 yards, nevertheless for the moment the monster was
scared almost by a mouse.

It is this uncertainty of character that has rendered the elephant
useless for military purposes in the field since the introduction of
fire-arms. In olden times there can be no doubt that a grand array of
elephantine cavalry, with towers containing archers on their backs,
would have been an important factor when in line of battle; but
elephants are useless against fire-arms, and in our early battles with
the great hordes brought against us by the princes of India, their
elephants invariably turned tail, and added materially to the defeat of
their army.

Only a short time ago, at Munich, a serious accident was occasioned by a
display of ten or twelve elephants during some provincial fete, when
they took fright at the figure of a dragon vomiting fire, and a general
stampede was the consequence, resulting in serious injuries to fifteen
or sixteen persons.

I once had an elephant who ought to have killed me upon several
occasions through sheer panic, which induced him to run away like a
railway locomotive rushing through a forest. This was the tusker Lord
Mayo, who, although a good-tempered harmless creature, appeared to be
utterly devoid of nerves, and would take fright at anything to which it
was unaccustomed. The sound of the beaters when yelling and shouting in
driving jungle was quite sufficient to start this animal off in a
senseless panic, not always for a short distance, as on one occasion it
ran at full speed for upwards of a mile through a dense forest, in spite
of the driving-hook of the mahout, which had been applied with a maximum
severity.

It is curious to observe how all the education of an elephant appears to
vanish when once the animal takes fright and bolts for the nearest
jungle. That seems to be the one idea which is an instinct of original
nature, to retreat into the concealment of a forest.

I was on one occasion mounted upon Lord Mayo in the Balagh district when
the beaters were not dependable. A tiger had killed a bullock at the
foot of a wooded hill bordered by an open plain. As the beaters had
misbehaved upon several occasions by breaking their line, I determined
to take command of the beat in person. I therefore formed the line in
the open, with every man equidistant, there being about a hundred and
twenty villagers. I had placed my shikari with a rifle in a convenient
position about 200 yards in advance, upon a mucharn or platform that had
been constructed for myself.

Having after some trouble arranged the beaters in a proper line, I gave
the order for an advance. In an instant the shouts arose, and three or
four tom-toms added to the din.

I was mounted upon Lord Mayo near the centre of the line in the open
glade. No sooner had the noise begun, than a violent panic seized this
senseless brute, and without the slightest warning it rushed straight
ahead for the thick forest at a pace that would nearly equal that of a
luggage train. It was in vain that the mahout dug the iron spike into
its head and alternately seized its ears by the unsparing hook, away it
ran, regardless of all punishment or persuasion, until it reached the
jungle, and with a crash we entered in full career!

Fortunately there was no howdah, only a pad well secured by thick ropes.
To clutch these tightly, and to dodge the opposing branches by ducking
the head, now swinging to the right, then doubling down upon the left to
allow the bending trees to sweep across the pad, then flinging oneself
nearly over the flank to escape a bough that threatened instant
extermination; all these gymnastics were performed and repeated in a few
seconds only, as the panic-stricken brute ploughed its way, regardless
of all obstructions, which threatened every instant to sweep us off its
back. The active mahout of my other elephant, knowing the character of
Lord Mayo, had luckily accompanied us with a spear, and although at the
time I was unaware of his presence, he was exerting himself to the
utmost in a vain endeavour to overtake our runaway elephant. At first I
imagined that the great pace would soon be slackened, and that a couple
of hundred yards would exhaust the animal's wind, especially as the
ground was slightly rising. Instead of this, it was going like a
steam-engine, and if there had been the usual amount of thorny creepers
we should have been torn to pieces.

" Keep him straight for the hill," I shouted, as I saw we were
approaching an inclination. "Don't let him turn to right or left, keep
his head straight for the steep ground;" and the mahout, who had been
yelling for assistance, and had lost both his turban and skull-cap, did
all that he could by tunnelling into the brute's head with his
formidable hook to direct it straight up the hill. I never knew an
elephant go at such a pace over rocky ground. Young trees were smashed
down, some branches torn, others bent forward, which swung backwards
with dangerous force, and yet on we tore without a sign of diminishing
speed. How I longed for an anchor to have brought up our runaway ship
head to wind! We had the coupling chains upon the pad, and my
interpreter, Modar Bux, at length succeeded in releasing these, and in
throwing them down for any person following to make use of. After a run
of quite half a mile, we fortunately arrived at a really steep portion
of the hill, where the rocks were sufficiently large to present a
difficulty to any runaway. The mahout who had been following our course,
breathless and with bleeding feet, here overtook us. Placing himself in
advance of the elephant, who seemed determined to continue its flight
among the rocks, he dug the spear deep into the animal's trunk, and kept
repeating the apparently cruel thrusts until at length it stopped.
Several men now arrived with the coupling chains, which were at length
with difficulty adjusted, and the elephant's fore legs were shackled
together. It was curious to observe the dexterous manner in which it
resisted this operation, and had it not been for the dread of the spear
I much doubt whether it could have been accomplished.

This was the first time that I had experienced a runaway elephant, but I
soon found that both my steeds were equally untrustworthy. A few weeks
after this event we had completed the morning's march and found the camp
already prepared for our arrival, at a place called Kassli, which is a
central depot for railway sleepers as they are received from the native
contractors. These were carefully piled in squares of about twenty each,
and covered a considerable area of ground at intervals. A large ox had
died that morning, and as it was within 50 yards of the tent it was
necessary to remove it; the vultures were already crowded in the
surrounding trees waiting for its decomposition. As usual, none of the
natives would defile themselves by touching the dead body. I accordingly
gave orders that one of the elephants should drag it about a mile down
wind away from the camp. Lord Mayo was brought to the spot, and the
sweeper, being of a low caste, attached a very thick rope to the hind
legs of the ox; the other end being made fast to the elephant's pad in
such a manner as to form traces. The elephant did not exhibit the
slightest interest in the proceeding, and everything was completed, the
body of the ox being about 6 or 7 yards behind.

No sooner did Lord Mayo move forward in obedience to the mahout's
command, and feel the tug of the weight attached, than he started off in
a panic at a tremendous pace, dragging the body through the lanes
between the piles of sleepers, upsetting them, and sending them flying
in all directions, as the dead ox caught against the corners; and,
helter-skelter, he made for the nearest jungle about 300 yards distant.
Fortunately some wood-cutters were there, who yelled and screamed to
turn him back; but although this had the effect of driving him from the
forest, he now started over the plain down hill, dragging the heavy ox
behind as though it had been a rabbit, and going at such a pace that
none of the natives could overtake him, although by this time at least
twenty men were in full pursuit.

The scene was intensely ridiculous, and the whole village turned out to
enjoy the fun of a runaway elephant with a dead ox bounding over the
inequalities of the ground; no doubt Lord Mayo imagined that he was
being hunted by the carcase which so persistently followed him wherever
he went. There was no danger to the driver, as the elephant was kept
away from the forest. The ground became exceedingly rough and full of
holes from the soakage during the rainy season. This peculiar soil is
much disliked by elephants, as the surface is most treacherous, and
cavernous hollows caused by subterranean water action render it unsafe
for the support of such heavy animals. The resistance of the dead ox,
which constantly jammed in the abrupt depressions, began to tell upon
the speed, and in a short time the elephant was headed, and surrounded
by a mob of villagers. I was determined that he should now be compelled
to drag the carcase quietly in order to accustom him to the burden; we
therefore attached the coupling chains to his fore legs, and drove him
gently, turning him occasionally to enable him to inspect the carcase
that had smitten him with panic. In about twenty minutes he became
callous, and regarded the dead body with indifference.

Although an elephant is capable of great speed, it cannot jump, neither
can it lift all four legs off the ground at the same time; this
peculiarity renders it impossible to cross any ditch with hard
perpendicular sides that will not crumble or yield to pressure, if such
a ditch should be wider than the limit of the animal's extreme pace. If
the limit of a pace should be 6 feet, a 7-foot ditch would effectually
stop an elephant.

Although the strength of an elephant is prodigious whenever it is fully
exerted, it is seldom that the animal can be induced to exhibit the
maximum force which it possesses. A rush of a herd of elephants, with a
determined will against the enclosure of palisades used for their
capture would probably break through the barrier, but they do not appear
to know their strength, or to act together. This want of cohesion is a
sufficient proof that in a wild state they are not so sagacious as they
have been considered. I do not describe the kraal or keddah, which is so
well known by frequent descriptions as the most ancient and practical
method of capturing wild elephants; but although in Ceylon the kraal has
been used from time immemorial, the Singhalese are certainly behind the
age as compared with the great keddah establishments of India. In the
latter country there is a ditch inside the palisaded enclosure, which
prevents the elephants from exerting their force against the structure;
in Ceylon this precaution is neglected, and the elephants have
frequently effected a breach in the palisade. In Ceylon all the old
elephants captured within the kraal or keddah are considered worthless,
and only those of scarcely full growth are valued; in India, all
elephants irrespective of their age are valued, and the older animals
are as easily domesticated as the young.

The keddah establishment at Dacca is the largest in India, and during
the last season, under the superintendence of Mr. G. P. Sanderson, 404
elephants were captured in the Garo Hills, 132 being taken in one drive.
It is difficult to believe that any district can continue to produce
upon this wholesale scale, and it is probable that after a few years
elephants will become scarce in the locality. Nevertheless there is a
vast tract of forest extending into Burmah, and the migratory habits of
the elephant at certain seasons may continue the supply, especially if
certain fruits or foliage attract them to the locality.

This migratory instinct is beyond our powers of explanation in the case
of either birds, beasts, or fishes. How they communicate, in order to
organise the general departure, must remain a mystery. It is well known
that in England, previous to the departure of the swallows, they may be
seen sitting in great numbers upon the telegraph wires as though
discussing the projected journey; in a few days after, there is not a
swallow to be seen.

I once, and only once, had an opportunity of seeing elephants that were
either migrating, or had just arrived from a migration. This was between
3 degrees and 4 degrees N. latitude in Africa, between Obbo and Farajok.
We were marching through an uninhabited country for about 30 miles, and
in the midst of beautiful park-like scenery we came upon the magnificent
sight of vast herds of elephants. These were scattered about the country
in parties varying in numbers from ten to a hundred, while single bulls
dotted the landscape with their majestic forms in all directions. In
some places there were herds of twenty or thirty entirely composed of
large tuskers; in other spots were parties of females with young ones
interspersed, of varying growths, and this grand display of elephantine
life continued for at least 2 miles in length as we rode parallel with
the groups at about a quarter of a mile distant. It would have been
impossible to guess the number, as there was no regularity in their
arrangement, neither could I form any idea of the breadth of the area
that was occupied. I have often looked back upon that extraordinary
scene, and it occurred to me forcibly in after years, when I had 3200
elephants' tusks in one station of Central Africa, which must have
represented 1600 animals slain for their fatal ivory.

The day must arrive when ivory will be a production of the past, as it
is impossible that the enormous demand can be supplied. I have already
explained that the African savage never tames a wild animal, neither
does he exhibit any sympathy or pity, his desire being, like the gunner
of the nineteenth century, to exterminate. It may be readily imagined
that wholesale destruction is the result whenever some favourable
opportunity delivers a large herd of elephants into the native hands.

There are various methods employed for trapping, or otherwise
destroying. Pitfalls are the most common, as they are simple, and
generally fatal. Elephants are thirsty creatures, and when in large
herds they make considerable roads in their passage towards a river.
They are nearly always to be found upon the same track when nightly
approaching the usual spot for drinking or for a bath. It is therefore a
simple affair to intercept their route by a series of deep pitfalls dug
exactly in the line of their advance. These holes vary in shape; the
circular are, I believe, the most effective, as the elephant falls head
downwards, but I have seen them made of different shapes and proportions
according to the individual opinions of the trappers.

It is exceedingly dangerous, when approaching a river, to march in
advance of a party without first sending forward a few natives to
examine the route in front. The pits are usually about 12 or 14 feet in
depth. These are covered over with light wood, and crossed with slight
branches or reeds, upon which is laid some long dry grass; this is
covered lightly with soil, upon which some elephant's dung is scattered,
as though the animal had dropped it during the action of walking. A
little broken grass is carelessly distributed upon the surface, and the
illusion is complete. The night arrives, and the unsuspecting elephants,
having travelled many miles of thirsty wilderness, hurry down the
incline towards the welcome river. Crash goes a leading elephant into a
well-concealed pitfall! To the right and left the frightened members of
the herd rush at the unlooked-for accident, but there are many other
pitfalls cunningly arranged to meet this sudden panic, and several more
casualties may arise, which add to the captures on the following
morning, when the trappers arrive to examine the position of their pits.
The elephants are then attacked with spears while in their helpless
position, until they at length succumb through loss of blood.

There is another terrible method of destroying elephants in Central
Africa. During the dry season, when the withered herbage from 10 to 14
feet in height is most inflammable, a large herd of elephants may be
found in the middle of such high grass that they can only be perceived
should a person be looking down from some elevated point. If they should
be espied by some native hunter, he would immediately give due notice to
the neighbourhood, and in a short time the whole population would
assemble for the hunt. This would be arranged by forming a circle of
perhaps 2 miles in diameter, and simultaneously firing the grass so as
to create a ring of flames around the centre. An elephant is naturally
afraid of fire, and it has an instinctive horror of the crackling of
flames when the grass has been ignited. As the circle of fire contracts
in approaching the encircled herd, they at first attempt retreat until
they become assured of their hopeless position; they at length become
desperate, being maddened by fear, and panic-stricken by the wild shouts
of the thousands who have surrounded them. At length, half-suffocated by
the dense smoke, and terrified by the close approach of the roaring
flames, the unfortunate animals charge recklessly through the fire,
burnt and blinded, to be ruthlessly speared by the bloodthirsty crowd
awaiting this last stampede. Sometimes a hundred or more elephants are
simultaneously destroyed in this wholesale slaughter. The flesh is then
cut into long strips and dried, every portion of the animal being smoked
upon frames of green wood, and the harvest of meat is divided among the
villages which have contributed to the hunt. The tusks are also shared,
a certain portion belonging by right to the various headmen and the
chief.

When man determines to commence war with the animal kingdom the result
must be disastrous to the beasts, if the human destroyers are in
sufficient numbers to ensure success. Although fire-arms may not be
employed, the human intelligence must always overpower the brute
creation, but man must exist in numerical superiority if the wild beasts
are to be fairly vanquished by a forced retreat from the locality. From
my own observation I have concluded that wild animals of all kinds will
withstand the dangers of traps, pitfalls, fire, and the usual methods
for their destruction employed by savages, but they will be rapidly
cleared out of an extensive district by the use of fire-arms. There is a
peculiar effect in the report of guns which appears to excite the
apprehension of danger in the minds of all animals. This is an
extraordinary instance of the general intelligence of wild creatures, as
they must be accustomed to the reports of thunder since the day of their
birth. Nevertheless they draw a special distinction between the loud
peal of thunder and the comparatively innocent explosion of a fire-arm.

Many years ago in Ceylon I devoted particular attention to this subject,
especially as it affects the character of elephants. How those creatures
manage to communicate with each other it is impossible to determine, but
the fact remains that a very few days' shooting will clear out an
extensive district, although the area may comprise a variation of open
prairie with a large amount of forest. I have frequently observed, in
the portion of Ceylon known as the Park country, the tracks of elephants
in great numbers which have evidently been considerable herds that have
joined together in a general retreat from ground which they considered
insecure. In that district I have arrived at the proper season, when the
grass after burning has grown to the height of about 2 feet, and it has
literally been alive with elephants. In a week my late brother General
Valentine Baker and myself shot thirty-two, and I sent a messenger to
invite a friend to join us, in the expectation of extraordinary sport.
Upon his arrival after five or six days, there was not an elephant in
the country, excepting two or three old single bulls which always
infested certain spots.

The reports of so many heavy rifles, which of necessity were fired every
evening at dusk in the days of muzzle-loaders, for the sake of cleaning,
must have widely alarmed the country, but independently of this special
cause there can be no doubt that after a few days' heavy shooting, the
elephants will combine in some mysterious manner and disappear from an
extensive district. In many ways these creatures are perplexing to the
student of natural history. It would occur to most people that in
countries where elephants abound we should frequently meet with those
that are sick, or so aged that they cannot accompany the herd. Although
for very many years I have hunted both in Asia and Africa I have never
seen a sick elephant in a wild state, neither have I ever come across an
example of imbecility through age. It is rarely we discover a dead
elephant that has not met with a violent death, and only once in my life
have I by accident found the remains of a tusker with the large tusks
intact. This animal had been killed in a fight, as there were
unmistakable signs of a fearful struggle, the ground being trodden
deeply in all directions.

It is supposed by the natives that when an elephant is mortally sick it
conceals itself in the thickest and most secluded portion of the jungle,
to die in solitude. Most animals have the same instinct, which induces
them to seek the shelter of some spot remote from all disturbance; and
should we find their remains, it will be near water, where the thirst of
disease has been assuaged at the last moment. The ox tribe are subject
to violent epidemics, and I have not only found the bodies of buffaloes
in great numbers upon occasions during some malignant murrain, but they
have been scattered throughout the country in all directions, causing a
frightful stench, and probably extending the infection. A few years ago
there was an epidemic among the bisons in the Reipore district of India;
this spread into neighbouring districts over a large extent of country,
and caused fearful ravages, but none of the deer tribe were attacked,
the disease being confined specially to the genus Bos. There are
interesting proofs of the specific poison of certain maladies which are
limited in their action to a particular class of animal. We find the
same in vegetable diseases, where a peculiar insect will attack a
distinct family of plants, or where a special variety of fungoid growth
exerts a similar baneful influence.

Wounded elephants have a marvellous power of recovery when in their wild
state, although they have no gift of surgical knowledge, their simple
system being confined to plastering their wounds with mud, or blowing
dust upon the surface. Dust and mud comprise the entire pharmacopoeia of
the elephant, and this is applied upon the most trivial as well as upon
the most serious occasion. If an elephant has a very slight sore back,
it will quickly point out the tender part by blowing dust with its
trunk upon the spot which it cannot reach. Should the mahout have
seriously punished the crown with the cruel driving-hook, the elephant
applies dust at the earliest opportunity. I have seen them, when in a
tank, plaster up a bullet-wound with mud taken from the bottom. This
application is beneficial in protecting the wound from the attack of
flies. The effect of these disgusting insects is quite shocking when an
unfortunate animal becomes fly-blown, and is literally consumed by
maggots. An elephant possesses a wonderful superiority over all other
animals in the trunk, which can either reach the desired spot directly,
or can blow dust upon it when required. All shepherds in England
appreciate the difficulty when their sheep are attacked by flies, but
they can be relieved by the human hand; a wild animal, on the contrary,
has no alleviation, and it must eventually succumb to its misery. There
is a peculiar fly in most tropical climates, but more especially in
Ceylon, which lays live maggots, instead of eggs that require some time
to hatch. These are the most dreadful pests, as the lively young maggots
exhibit a horrible activity in commencing their work the instant they
see the light; they burrow almost immediately into the flesh, and grow
to a large size within twenty-four hours, occasioning the most loathsome
sores. The best cure for any wound thus attacked, and swarming with live
maggots, is a teaspoonful of calomel applied and rubbed into the deep
sore.

I have seen the Arabs in the Soudan adopt a most torturing remedy when a
camel has suffered from a fly-blown sore back. Upon one occasion I saw a
camel kneeling upon the ground with a number of men around it, and I
found that it was to undergo a surgical operation for a terrible wound
upon its hump. This was a hole as large and deep as an ordinary
breakfast-cup, which was alive with maggots. The operator had been
preparing a quantity of glowing charcoal, which was at a red heat. This
was contained in a piece of broken chatty, a portion of a water jar, and
it was dexterously emptied into the diseased cavity on the camel's back.

The poor creature sprang to its feet, and screaming with agony, dashed
at full gallop across the desert in a frantic state, with the fire
scorching its flesh, and doubtless making it uncomfortable for the
maggots. Fire is the Arabs' vade mecum; the actual cautery is deeply
respected, and is supposed to be infallible. If internal inflammation
should attack the patient, the surface is scored with a red-hot iron.
Should guinea-worm be suspected, there is no other course to pursue than
to burn the suffering limb in a series of spots with a red-hot iron
ramrod. The worm will shortly make its appearance at one of these
apertures after some slight inflammation and suppuration. This fearful
complaint is termed Frendeet in the Soudan, and it is absorbed into the
system generally by drinking foul water. At the commencement of the
rainy season, when the ground has been parched by the long drought of
summer, the surface-water drains into the hollows and forms muddy pools.
The natives shun such water, as it is almost certain to contain the eggs
of the guinea-worm. These in some mysterious manner are hatched within
the body if swallowed in the act of drinking, and whether they develop
in the stomach or in the intestines, it is difficult to determine, but
the result is the same. The patient complains of rheumatic pains in one
limb; this increases until the leg or arm swells to a frightful extent,
accompanied by severe inflammation and great torment. The Arab
practitioner declares that the worm is at work, and is seeking for a
means of escape from the body. He accordingly burns half a dozen holes
with a red-hot iron or ramrod. In a few days the head of the guinea-worm
appears; it is immediately captured by a finely-split reed, and by
degrees is wound like a cotton thread by turning the reed every day.
This requires delicate manipulation, otherwise the worm might break, and
a portion remain in the flesh, which would increase the inflammation. An
average guinea-worm would be about three feet in length. Animals do not
appear to suffer from this complaint, although they are subject to the
attacks of great varieties of parasites. Elephants are frequently
troubled with internal worms. I witnessed a curious instance of the
escape of such insects from the stomach through a hole caused by a
bullet, nevertheless the animal appeared to be in good condition.

It was a fine moonlight night on the borders of Abyssinia that I sat up
to watch the native crops, which were a great attraction to the wild
elephants, although there was no heavy jungle nearer than 20 miles. It
was the custom of these animals to start after sunset, and to arrive at
about ten o'clock in the vast dhurra fields of the Arabs, who, being
without fire-arms, could only scare them by shouts and flaming torches.
The elephants did not care much for this kind of disturbance, and they
merely changed their position from one portion of the cultivated land to
another more distant, and caused serious destruction to the crop
(Sorghum vulgare), which was then nearly ripe. The land was rich, and
the dhurra grew 10 or 12 feet high, with stems as thick as sugar-cane,
while the large heads of corn contained several thousand grains the size
of a split-pea. This was most tempting food for elephants, and they
travelled nightly the distance named to graze upon the crops, and then
retreated before sunrise to their distant jungles.

I do not enjoy night shooting, but there was no other way of assisting
the natives, therefore I found myself watching, in the silent hours of
night, in the middle of a perfect sea of cultivation, unbroken for many
miles. There is generally a calm during the night, and there was so
perfect a stillness that it was almost painful, the chirp of an insect
sounding as loud as though it were a bird. At length there was a distant
sound like wind, or the rush of a stream over a rocky bed. This might
have been a sudden gust, but the sharp crackling of brittle dhurra stems
distinctly warned us that elephants had invaded the field, and that they
were already at their work of destruction.

As the dhurra is sown in parallel rows about 3 feet apart, and the
ground was perfectly flat, there was no difficulty in approaching the
direction whence the cracking of the dhurra could be distinctly heard.
The elephants appeared to be feeding towards us with considerable
rapidity, and in a few minutes I heard the sound of crunching within 50
yards of me. I immediately ran along the clear passage between the tall
stems, and presently saw a black form close to me as it advanced in the
next alley to my own. I do not think I was more than 4 or 5 yards from
it when it suddenly turned its head to the right, and I immediately took
a shot behind the ear. I had a white paper sight upon the muzzle of the
large rifle (No. 10), which was plainly distinguished in the bright
moonlight, and the elephant fell stone dead without the slightest
struggle.

After some delay from the dispersion of my men who carried spare guns, I
re-loaded, and followed in the direction which the herd had taken.

Although upon the "qui vive," they had not retreated far, as they were
unaccustomed to guns, and they were determined to enjoy their supper
after the long march of 20 miles to the attractive dhurra fields. I came
up with them about three-quarters of a mile from the first shot; here
there was the limit of cultivation, and all was wild prairie land; they
had retreated by the way they had arrived, with the intention, no doubt,
of returning again to the dhurra when the disturbing cause should have
disappeared. I could see the herd distinctly as they stood in a compact
body numbering some ten or twelve animals. The only chance was to run
straight at them in order to get as near as possible before they should
start, as I expected they would, in panic. Accordingly I ran forward,
when, to my surprise, two elephants rushed towards me, and I was obliged
to fire right and left. One fell to the ground for a moment, but
recovered; the other made no sign, except by whirling round and joining
the herd in full retreat.

That night I used a double-barrel muzzle-loader (No. 10), with conical
bullet made of 12 parts lead, 1 part quicksilver, 7 drams of powder.

Some days later we heard native reports concerning an elephant that had
been seen badly wounded, and very lame.

Forty-two days after this incident I had moved camp to a place called
Geera, 22 miles distant. It was a wild uninhabited district at that time
on the banks of the Settite river, with the most impervious jungle of
hooked thorns, called by the Arabs "kittul." This tree does not grow
higher than twenty-five feet, but it spreads to a very wide flat-topped
head, the branches are thick, the wood immensely strong and hard, while
the thorns resemble fish-hooks minus the barb. This impenetrable asylum
was the loved resort of elephants, and it was from this particular
station that they made their nocturnal raids upon the cultivated
district more than 20 miles distant in a direct line.

We slept out that night upon the sandy bed of a small stream, which at
that season of great heat had evaporated. Upon waking on the following
morning we found the blankets wet through with the heavy dew, and the
pillows soaking. Having arranged the camp, I left Lady Baker to give the
necessary orders, while I took my rifles and a few good men for a
reconnaissance of the neighbourhood.

The river ran through cliffs of rose-coloured limestone; this soon
changed to white; and we proceeded down stream examining the sandy
portions of the bed for tracks of game that might have passed during the
preceding night. After about a mile we came upon tracks of elephants,
which had apparently come down to drink at our side of the river, and
had then returned, I felt sure, to the thorny asylum named Tuleet.

There was no other course to pursue but to follow on the tracks; this we
did until we arrived at the formidable covert to which I have alluded.
It was impossible to enter this except at certain places where wild
animals had formed a narrow lane, and in one of these by-ways we
presently found ourselves, sometimes creeping, sometimes walking, but
generally adhering firmly every minute to some irrepressible branch of
hooked thorns, which gave us a pressing invitation to "wait a bit." In
a short time we found evident signs that the elephants were near at
hand. The natives thrust their naked feet into the fresh dung to see if
it was still warm. This was at length the case, and we advanced with
extra care. The jungle became so thick that it was almost impossible to
proceed. I wore a thick flaxen shirt which would not tear. This had
short sleeves, as I was accustomed to bare arms from a few inches above
the elbow. Not only my shirt, but the tough skin of my arms was every
now and then hooked up fast by these dreadful thorns, and at last it
appeared impossible to proceed. Just at that moment there was a sudden
rush, a shrill trumpet, and the jungle crashed around us in magnificent
style to those who enjoy such excitement, and a herd of elephants dashed
through the dense thicket and consolidated themselves into a mighty
block as they endeavoured to force down the tough thorny mass ahead of
them. This was a grand opportunity to run in, but a phalanx of opposing
rumps like the sterns of Dutch vessels in a crowd rendered it impossible
to shoot, or to pass ahead of the perplexed animals. A female elephant
suddenly wheeled round, and charged straight into us; fortunately I
killed her with a forehead shot exactly below the boss or projection
above the trunk. I now took a spare rifle, the half-pounder, and fired
into the flank of the largest elephant in the herd, just behind the last
rib, the shot striking obliquely, thus aimed to reach the lungs, as I
could not see any of the fore portion of the body.

The dense compressed thorny mass of jungle offered such resistance that
it was some time before it gave way before the united pressure of these
immense animals. At length it yielded as the herd crashed through, but
it then closed again upon us and made following impossible. However, we
felt sure that the elephant I had hit with the half-pound explosive
shell would die, and after creeping through upon the tracks with the
greatest difficulty for about 150 yards, we found it lying dead upon its
side.

The whole morning was occupied in cutting up the flesh and making a
post-mortem examination. We found the inside partially destroyed by the
explosive shell, which had shattered the lungs, but there was an old
wound still open where a bullet had entered the chest, and missing the
heart and lungs in an oblique course, it had passed through the stomach,
then through the cavity of the body beneath the ribs and flank, and had
penetrated the fleshy mass inside the thigh. In that great resisting
cushion of strong muscles the bullet had expended its force, and found
rest from its extraordinary course of penetration. After some trouble, I
not only traced its exact route, but I actually discovered the
projectile embedded in a foul mass of green pus, which would evidently
have been gradually absorbed without causing serious damage to the
animal. To my surprise, it was my own No. 10 two-groove conical bullet,
composed of twelve parts lead and one of quicksilver, which I had fired
when this elephant had advanced towards me at night, forty-two days ago,
and 22 miles, as far as I could ascertain, from the spot where I had now
killed it. The superior size of this animal to the remainder of the herd
had upon both occasions attracted my special attention, hence the fact
of selection, but I was surprised that any animal should have recovered
from such a raking shot. The cavity of the body abounded with hairy
worms about 2 inches in length. These had escaped from the stomach
through the two apertures made by the bullet; and upon an examination of
the contents, I found a great number of the same parasites crawling
among the food, while others were attached to the mucous membrane of the
paunch. This fact exhibits the recuperative power of an elephant in
recovering from a severe internal injury.

The natives of Central Africa have a peculiar method of destroying them,
by dropping a species of enormous dagger from the branch of a tree. The
blade of this instrument is about 2 feet in length, very sharp on both
edges, and about 3 inches in width at the base. It is secured in a
handle about 18 inches long, the top of which is knobbed; upon this
extremity a mass of well-kneaded tenacious clay mixed with chopped straw
is fixed, weighing 10 or 12 lbs., or even more. When a large herd of
elephants is discovered in a convenient locality, the hunt is thus
arranged:--A number of men armed with these formidable drop-spears or
daggers ascend all the largest and most shady trees throughout the
neighbouring forest. In a great hunt there may be some hundred trees
thus occupied. When all is arranged, the elephants are driven and forced
into the forest, to which they naturally retreat as a place of refuge.
It is their habit to congregate beneath large shady trees when thus
disturbed, in complete ignorance of the fact that the assassins are
already among the branches. When an elephant stands beneath a tree thus
manned, the hunter drops his weighted spearhead so as to strike the back
just behind the shoulder. The weight of the clay lump drives the sharp
blade up to the hilt, as it descends from a height of 10 or 12 feet
above the animal. Sometimes a considerable number may be beneath one
tree, in which case several may be speared in a similar manner. This
method of attack is specially fatal, as the elephants, in retreating
through the forest, brush the weighted handle of the spear-blade against
the opposing branches; these act as levers in cutting the inside of the
animal by every movement of the weapon, and should this be well centred
in the back there is no escape.

There is no animal that is more persistently pursued than the elephant,
as it affords food in wholesale supply to the Africans, who consume the
flesh, while the hide is valuable for shields; the fat when boiled down
is highly esteemed by the natives, and the ivory is of extreme value. No
portion of the animal is wasted in Africa, although in Ceylon the
elephant is considered worthless, and is allowed to rot uselessly upon
the ground where it fell to die.

The professional hunters that are employed by European traders shoot the
elephant with enormous guns, or rifles, which are generally rested upon
a forked stick driven into the ground. In this manner they approach to
about 50 yards' distance, and fire, if possible simultaneously, two
shots behind the shoulder. If these shots are well placed, the elephant,
if female, will fall at once, but if a large male, it will generally run
for perhaps 100 or more yards until it is forced to halt, when it
quickly falls, and dies from suffocation, if the lungs are pierced.

The grandest of all hunters are the Hamran Arabs, upon the Settite
river, on the borders of Abyssinia, who have no other weapon but the
heavy two-edged sword. I gave an intimate account of these wonderful
Nimrods many years ago in the _Nile Tributaries of Abyssinia_, but it is
impossible to treat upon the elephant without some reference to these
extraordinary people.

Since I visited that country in 1861, the published account of those
travels attracted several parties of the best class of ubiquitous
Englishmen, and I regret to hear that all those mighty hunters who
accompanied me have since been killed in the desperate hand-to-hand
encounters with wild elephants. Their life is a constant warfare with
savage beasts, therefore it may be expected that the termination is a
death upon their field of battle, invariably sword in hand.

James Bruce, the renowned African traveller of the last century, was the
first to describe the Agagheers of Abyssinia, and nothing could be more
graphic than his description both of the people and the countries they
inhabit, through which I have followed in Bruce's almost forgotten
footsteps, with the advantage of possessing his interesting book as my
guide wheresoever I went in 1861. Since that journey, the deplorable
interference of England in Egypt which resulted in the abandonment of
the Soudan and the sacrifice of General Gordon at Khartoum has
completely severed the link of communication that we had happily
established established, which had laid the foundations for future
civilisation. The splendid sword-hunters of the Hamran Arabs, who were
our friends in former days, have been converted into enemies by the
meddling of the British Government with affairs which they could not
understand. It is painful to look back to the past, when Lady Baker and
myself, absolutely devoid of all escort, passed more than twelve months
in exploring the wildest portions of the Soudan, attended only by one
Egyptian servant, assisted by some Arab boys which we picked up in the
desert among the Arab tribes. In those days the name of England was
respected, although not fairly understood. There was a vague impression
in the Arab mind that it was the largest country upon earth; that its
Government was the emblem of perfection; that the military power of the
country was overwhelming (having conquered India); and that the English
people always spoke the truth, and never forsook their friends in the
moment of distress. There was also an idea that England was the only
European Power which regarded the Mussulmans with a friendly eye, and
that, were it not for British protection, the Russians would eat the
Sultan and overthrow the mosques, to trample upon the Mahommedan power
in Constantinople. England was therefore regarded as the friend and the
ally of the Mahommedans; it was known that we had together fought
against the Russians, and it was believed that we were always ready to
fight in the same cause when called upon by the Sultan. All British
merchandise was looked upon as the ne plus ultra of purity and
integrity; there could be no doubt of the quality of goods, provided
that they were of English manufacture.

An Englishman cannot show his face among those people at the present
day. The myth has been exploded. The golden image has been scratched,
and the potter's clay beneath has been revealed. This is a terrible
result of clumsy management. We have failed in every way. Broken faith
has dissipated our character for sincerity, and our military operations
have failed to attain their object, resulting in retreat upon every
side, to be followed up even to the seashores of the Red Sea by an enemy
that is within range of our gun-vessels at Souakim. This is a
distressing change to those who have received much kindness and passed
most agreeable days among the Arab tribes of the Soudan deserts, and I
look back with intense regret to the errors we have committed, by which
the entire confidence has been destroyed which formerly was associated
with the English name. The countries which we opened by many years of
hard work and patient toil throughout the Soudan, even through the
extreme course of the White Nile to its birthplace in the equatorial
regions, have been abandoned by the despotic order of the British
Government, influenced by panic instead of policy; telegraphic lines
which had been established in the hitherto barbarous countries of
Kordofan, Darfur, the Blue Nile territories of Senaar, and throughout
the wildest deserts of Nubia to Khartoum have all been abandoned to the
rebels, who under proper management should have become England's
friends.

This has been our civilising influence (?), by which we have broken down
the work of half a century, and produced the most complete anarchy where
five-and-twenty years ago a lady could travel in security. England
entered Egypt in arms to _re-establish the authority of the Khedive!_ We
have dislocated his Empire, and forsaken the Soudan.



CHAPTER IV

The experience of modern practice has hardly decided the vexed question
"whether the African species is more difficult to train than the gentle
elephant of Asia." In a wild state there can be no doubt that the
African is altogether a different animal both in appearance and in
habits; it is vastly superior in size, and although of enormous bulk, it
is more active and possesses greater speed than the Asiatic variety. Not
only is the marked difference in shape a distinguishing peculiarity,--the
hollow back, the receding front, the great size of the ears,--but the
skin is rougher, and more decided in the bark-like appearance of its
texture.

The period of gestation is considered to be the same as the Asiatic
elephant, about twenty-two months, but this must be merely conjecture,
as there has hitherto been no actual proof. My own experience induces me
to believe that the African elephant is more savage, and although it may
be tamed and rendered docile, it is not so dependable as the Asiatic.
Only last year I saw an African female in a menagerie who had killed her
keeper, and was known to be most treacherous. Her attendant informed me
that she was particularly fond of change, and would welcome a new keeper
with evident signs of satisfaction, but after three or four days she
would tire of his society and would assuredly attempt to injure him,
either by backing and squeezing him against the wall, or by kicking
should he be within reach of her hind legs.

Few persons are aware of the extreme quickness with which an elephant
can kick, and the great height that can be reached by this mischievous
use of the hind foot. I have frequently seen an elephant kick as sharp
as a small pony, and the effect of a blow from so ponderous a mass
propelled with extreme velocity may be imagined. This is a peculiar
action, as the elephant is devoid of hocks, and it uses the knees of the
hind legs in a similar manner to those of a human being, therefore a
backward kick would seem unnatural; but the elephant can kick both
backwards and forwards with equal dexterity, and this constitutes a
special means of defence against an enemy, which seldom escapes when
exposed to such a game between the fore and hind feet of the infuriated
animal.

Although it is generally believed that an elephant moves the legs upon
each side simultaneously, like the camel, it does not actually touch the
ground with each foot upon the same side at exactly the same moment, but
the fore foot touches the surface first, rapidly followed by the hind,
and in both cases the heel is the first portion of the foot that reaches
its destination. The effect may be seen in the feet of an elephant after
some months' continual marching upon hard ground: the heels are worn
thin and are quite polished, as though they had been worn down by the
friction of sand-paper,-in fact, they are in the same condition as the
heels of an old boot.

The Indian native princes do not admire the African elephant, as it
combines many points which are objectionable to their peculiar ideas of
elephantine proportions. According to their views, the hollow back of an
African elephant would amount to a deformity. The first time that I ever
saw a large male of that variety I was of the same opinion. I was
hunting with the Hamran Arabs in a wild and uninhabited portion of
Abyssinia, along the banks of the Settite river, which is the main
stream of the Atbara, the chief affluent of the Nile.

As before stated, I have already published an account of these wonderful
hunters in the Nile Tributaries of Abyssinia, and it is sufficient to
describe them as the most fearless and active followers of the chase,
armed with no other weapon than the long, straight, two-edged Arab
sword, with which they attack all animals, from the elephant and
rhinoceros to the lion and buffalo. The sword is sharpened to the finest
degree, and the blade is protected for about six inches above the
cross-hilt with thick string, bound tightly round so as to afford a grip
for the right hand, while the left grips the hilt in the usual manner.
This converts the ordinary blade into a two-handed sword, a blow from
which will sever a naked man into two halves if delivered at the waist.
It may be imagined that a quick cut from such a formidable weapon will
at once divide the hamstring of any animal. The usual method of
attacking the elephant is as follows:-Three, or at the most four mounted
hunters sally forth in quest of game. When the fresh tracks of elephants
are discovered they are steadily followed up until the herd, or perhaps
the single animal, is found. If a large male with valuable tusks, it is
singled out and separated from the herd. The leading hunter follows the
retreating elephant, accompanied by his companions in single file. After
a close hunt, keeping within 10 yards of the game, a sudden halt becomes
necessary, as the elephant turns quickly round and faces its pursuers.

The greatest coolness is required, as the animal, now thoroughly roused,
is prepared to charge. The hunters separate to right and left, leaving
the leader to face the elephant. After a few moments, during which the
hunter insults the animal by shouting uncomplimentary remarks concerning
the antecedents of its mother, and various personal allusions to
imaginary members of the family, the elephant commences to back a
half-dozen paces as a preliminary to a desperate onset. This is the
well-known sign of the coming charge. A sharp shrill trumpet! and, with
its enormous ears thrown forward, the great bull elephant rushes towards
the apparently doomed horse. As quick as lightning the horse is turned,
and a race commences along a course terribly in favour of the elephant,
where deep ruts, thick tangled bush, and the branches of opposing trees
obstruct both horse and rider. Everything now depends upon the
sure-footedness of the horse and the cool dexterity of the rider. For
the first 100 yards an elephant will follow at 20 miles an hour, which
keeps the horse flying at top speed before it. The rider, even in this
moment of great danger, looks behind him, and adapts his horse's pace so
narrowly to that of his pursuer that the elephant's attention is wholly
absorbed by the hope of overtaking the unhappy victim.

In the meantime, two hunters follow the elephant at full gallop; one
seizes his companion's reins and secures the horse, while the rider
springs to the ground with the same agility as a trained circus-rider,
and with one dexterous blow of his flashing sword he divides the back
sinew of the elephant's hind leg about 16 inches above the heel. The
sword cuts to the bone. The elephant that was thundering forward at a
headlong speed suddenly halts; the foot dislocates when the great weight
of the animal presses upon it deprived of the supporting sinew. That one
cut of the sharp blade, disables an animal which appeared invincible.

As the elephant moves both legs upon the same side simultaneously, the
disabling of one leg entirely cripples all progress, and the creature
becomes absolutely helpless. The hunter, having delivered his fatal
stroke, springs nimbly upon one side to watch the effect, and then
without difficulty he slashes the back sinew of the remaining leg, with
the result that the animal bleeds to death. This is a cruel method, but
it requires the utmost dexterity and daring on the part of the hunters,
most of whom eventually fall victims to their gallantry.

I was accompanied by these splendid sword-hunters of the Hamran Arabs in
1861 during my exploration of the Nile tributaries of Abyssinia; and
upon the first occasion that I was introduced to an African male
elephant, the animal was standing at the point of a long sandbank which
had during high water formed the bed of the river, where a sudden bend
had hollowed out the inner side of the curve and thrown up a vast mass
of sand upon the opposite shore. This bank was a succession of terraces,
each about 4 feet high, formed at intervals during the changes in the
level of the retreating stream. The elephant was standing partly in the
water drinking, and quite 100 yards from the forest upon the bank. The
huge dark mass upon the glaring surface of white sand stood out in bold
relief and exhibited to perfection the form and proportions of the
animal; but it was so unlike the Indian elephant of my long experience
that I imagined some accident must have caused a deformity of the back,
which was deeply hollowed, instead of being convex like the Asiatic
species. I whispered this to my hunters, who did not seem to understand
the remark; and they immediately dismounted, exclaiming that the loose
sand was too deep for their horses, and they preferred to be on foot.

It was difficult to approach this elephant, as there was no cover
whatever upon the large area of barren sand; the only method was to keep
close to the level of the water below the terraces, as the head of the
animal was partially turned away from us whilst drinking. I had a very
ponderous single rifle weighing 22 lbs., which carried a conical shell
of half a pound, with a charge of 16 drams of powder. The sand was so
deep that any active movement would have been impossible with the load
of so heavy a weapon; I therefore determined to take a shoulder shot
should I be able to arrive unperceived within 50 yards. Stooping as low
as possible, and occasionally lying down as the ever-swinging head moved
towards us, we at length arrived at the spot which I had determined upon
for the fatal shot. Just at that moment the elephant perceived us, but
before he had made up his mind, I fired behind the shoulder, and as the
smoke cleared, I distinctly saw the bullet-hole, with blood flowing from
the wound. I think the elephant would have charged, but without a
moment's hesitation my gallant Hamrans rushed towards him sword in hand
in the hope of slashing his hamstring before he could reach the forest.
This unexpected and determined onset decided the elephant to retreat,
which he accomplished at such a pace, owing to the large surface of his
feet upon the loose sand, that the active hunters were completely
distanced, although they exerted themselves to the utmost in their
attempts to overtake him.

The wound through the shoulder was fatal, and the elephant fell dead in
thick thorny jungle, to which it had hurried as a secure retreat. This
was a very large animal, but as I did not actually measure it, any guess
at the real height would be misleading. As before noted, the measurement
of the African elephant Jumbo, when sold by the Zoological Society of
London, was 11 feet in height of shoulder, and 6 tons 10 cwts. nett when
weighed before shipment at the docks. That animal might be accepted as a
fair specimen, although it would be by no means unusual to see wild
elephants which greatly exceed this size.

The peculiar shape of head renders a front shot almost impossible, and
the danger of hunting the African elephant is greatly enhanced by this
formation of the skull, which protects the brain and offers no defined
point for aim.

I have never succeeded in killing a male African elephant by the
forehead shot, although it is certainly fatal to the Asiatic variety if
placed rather low, in the exact centre of the boss or projection above
the trunk. Should an African elephant charge, there is no hope of
killing the animal by a direct shot, and the only chance of safety for
the hunter is the possession of good nerves and a powerful
double-barrelled rifle, No. 8 or No. 4, with 14 drams of powder and a
well-hardened bullet. The right-hand barrel will generally stop a
charging elephant if the bullet is well placed very low, almost in the
base of the trunk. Should this shot succeed in turning the animal, the
left-hand barrel would be ready for a shot in the exact centre of the
shoulder; after which, time must be allowed for the elephant to fall
from internal haemorrhage.

There is no more fatal policy in hunting dangerous game than a contempt
of the animal, exhibited by a selection of weapons of inferior calibre.
Gunmakers in London of no practical experience, but who can only trust
to the descriptions of those who have travelled in wild countries,
cannot possibly be trusted as advisers. Common sense should be the
guide, and surely it requires no extraordinary intelligence to
understand that a big animal requires a big bullet, and that a big
bullet requires a corresponding charge of powder, which necessitates a
heavy rifle. If the hunter is not a Hercules, he cannot wield his club;
but do not permit him to imagine that he can deliver the same knock-down
blow with a lighter weapon, simply because he cannot use the heavier.

We lost only last year one of the most daring and excellent men, who was
an excellent representative of the type which is embraced in the proud
word "Englishman"--Mr. Ingram--who was killed by a wild female
elephant in Somali-land, simply because he attacked the animal with a
'450 rifle. Although he was mounted, the horse would not face some
prickly aloes which surrounded it, and the elephant, badly but not
really seriously wounded, was maddened by the attack, and, charging
home, swept the unfortunate rider from his saddle and spitted him with
her tusks.

This year (1889) we have to lament the death of another fine specimen of
our countrymen, the Hon. Guy Dawnay, who has been killed by a wild
buffalo in East Africa. The exact particulars will never be ascertained,
but it appears that he was following through thick jungle a wounded
buffalo, which suddenly turned and was not stopped by the rifle.

I cannot conceive anything more dangerous than the attack of such
animals with an inferior weapon. Nothing is more common than the
accounts of partially experienced beginners, who declare that the '450
bore is big enough for anything, because they have happened to kill a
buffalo or rhinoceros by a shoulder shot with such an inferior rifle. If
the animal had been facing them, it would have produced no effect
whatever, except to intensify the charge by maddening the already
infuriated animal.

This is the real danger in the possession of what is called a " handy
small-bore," when in wild countries abounding in dangerous game. You are
almost certain to select for your daily companion the lightest and
handiest rifle, in the same manner that you may use some favourite
walking-stick which you instinctively select from the stand that is
filled with a variety.

All hunters of dangerous animals should accustom themselves to the use
of large rifles, and never handle anything smaller than a '577, weighing
12 lbs., with a solid 650 grain hard bullet, and at the least 6 drams of
powder. I impress this upon all who challenge the dangers of the chase
in tropical climates. No person of average strength will feel the weight
of a 12 lb. rifle when accustomed to its use. Although this is too small
as a rule for heavy game, it is a powerful weapon when the bullet is
hardened by a tough mixture of antimony or quicksilver. A shoulder shot
from such a rifle will kill any animal less than an elephant, and the
front shot, or temple, or behind the ear, will kill any Asiatic
elephant.

I would not recommend so small a bore for heavy thick-skinned game, but
the '577 rifle is a good protector, and you need not fear any animal in
your rambles through the forest when thus armed, whereas the '450 and
even the '500 would be of little use against a charging buffalo.

At the same time it must be distinctly understood that so light a
projectile as 650 grains will not break the bone of an elephant's leg,
neither will it penetrate the skull of a rhinoceros unless just behind
the ear. This is sufficient to establish the inferiority of small-bores.

I have seen in a life's experience the extraordinary vagaries of rifle
bullets, and for close ranges of 20 yards there is nothing, in my
opinion, superior to the old spherical hardened bullet with a heavy
charge of powder. The friction is minimised, the velocity is accordingly
increased, and the hard round bullet neither deflects nor alters its
form, but it cuts through intervening branches and goes direct to its
aim, breaking bones and keeping a straight course through the animal.
This means death.

At the same time it must be remembered that a '577 rifle may be enabled
to perform wonders by adapting the material of the bullet to the purpose
specially desired. No soft-skinned animal should be shot with a hardened
bullet, and no hard-skinned animal should be shot with a soft bullet.

You naturally wish to kill your animal neatly--to double it up upon the
spot. This you will seldom or never accomplish with a very hard bullet
and a heavy charge of powder, as the high velocity will drive the hard
projectile so immediately through the animal that it receives no
striking energy, and is accordingly unaware of a fatal wound that it may
have received, simply because it has not sustained a shock upon the
impact of a bullet which has passed completely through its body.

To kill a thin-skinned animal neatly, such as a tiger, lion, large deer,
etc. etc., the bullet should be pure lead, unmixed with any other metal.
This will flatten to a certain degree immediately upon impact, and it
will continue to expand as it meets with resistance in passing through
the tough muscles of a large animal, until it assumes the shape of a
fully developed mushroom, which, after an immense amount of damage in
its transit, owing to its large diameter, will remain fixed beneath the
skin upon the side opposite to its place of entry. This bestows the
entire striking energy of the projectile, and the animal succumbs to the
tremendous shock, which it would not have felt had the bullet passed
through, carrying on its striking energy until stopped by some other
object beyond.

I must repeat that although gunmakers object to the use of pure lead for
rifle bullets, upon the plea that lead will form a coating upon the
inner surface of the barrel, and that more accurate results will be
obtained in target practice by the use of hardened metal, the argument
does not apply to sporting practice. You seldom fire more than half a
dozen shots from each barrel during the day, and the rifle is well
cleaned each evening upon your return to camp. The accuracy with a pure
leaden bullet is quite sufficient for the comparatively short ranges
necessitated by game-shooting. The arguments of leading the barrel,
etc., cannot be supported, and the result is decidedly in favour of pure
lead for all soft-skinned animals.

The elephant requires not only a special rifle, but the strongest
ammunition that can be used without injury to the shooter by recoil. It
is impossible to advocate any particular size of rifle, as it must
depend upon the strength of the possessor. As a rule I do not approve of
shells, as they are comparatively useless if of medium calibre, and can
be only effective when sufficiently large to contain a destructive
bursting charge. I have tried several varieties of shells with
unsatisfactory results, excepting the half-pounder, which contained a
burst bursting charge of 8 drams of the finest grained powder.

This pattern was my own invention, as I found by experience that the
general defect of shells was the too immediate explosion upon impact.
This would cause extensive damage to the surface, but would fail in
penetration.

Picrate of potash was at one time supposed to combine an enormous
explosive power with perfect safety in carriage, as the detonating
shells were proof against the blow of a hammer, and would only explode
upon impact through the extreme velocity of their discharge from a
rifle-barrel. These were useless against an elephant, as they had no
power of penetration, and the shell destroyed itself by bursting upon
the hard skin. I tried these shells against trees, but although the bark
would be shattered over an extensive area, upon every occasion the
projectile failed to penetrate the wood, as it had ceased to exist upon
explosion on the surface.

My half-pound shell was exceedingly simple. A cast-iron bottle, similar
in shape to a German seltzer-water, formed the core, around which the
lead was cast. The neck of the iron bottle projected through the pointed
cone of the projectile, and formed a nipple to receive the
percussion-cap. In external appearance the shell was lead, the iron
bottle being concealed within. Half an ounce of the finest grained
powder was inserted through the nipple by means of a small funnel; this
formed the bursting charge. The cap was only adjusted previous to
loading, as a necessary precaution. This half-pound shell was propelled
by a charge of 16 drams of coarse-grained powder.

I never fired this rifle without killing the animal, but the weapon
could not be claimed as a pleasant companion, the recoil being terrific.
The arrangement of the cap upon a broad-mouthed nipple prevented the
instantaneous explosion that would have taken place with a picrate of
potash shell. A fraction of a second was required to explode the cap
upon impact, and for the cap to ignite the bursting charge; this allowed
sufficient time for the shell to penetrate to the centre of an elephant
before the complete ignition had taken place. The destruction occasioned
by the half-ounce of powder confined within the body of an elephant may
be imagined.

I tried this shell at the forehead of a hippopotamus, which was an
admirable test of penetration before bursting. It went through the
brain, knocked out the back of the skull, and exploded within the neck,
completely destroying the vertebrae of the spine, which were reduced to
pulp, and perforating a tunnel blackened with gunpowder several feet in
length, along which I could pass my arm to the shoulder. The terminus of
the tunnel contained small fragments of lead and iron, pieces of which
were found throughout the course of the explosion.

The improvements in modern rifles will, within the next half-century, be
utterly destructive to the African elephant, which is unprotected by
laws in the absence of all government. For many ages these animals have
contended with savage man in unremitting warfare, but the lance and
arrow have been powerless to exterminate, and the natural sagacity of
the elephant has been sufficient to preserve it from wholesale slaughter
among pitfalls and other snares. The heavy breechloading rifle in the
hands of experienced hunters is a weapon which nothing can withstand,
and the elephants will be driven far away into the wilderness of an
interior where they will be secure from the improved fire-arms of our
modern civilisation.

It is much to be regretted that no system has been organised in Africa
for capturing and training the wild elephants, instead of harrying them
to destruction. In a country where beasts of burden are unknown, as in
equatorial Africa, it appears incredible that the power and the
intelligence of the elephant have been completely ignored. The ancient
coins of Carthage exhibit the African elephant, which in those remote
days was utilised by the Carthaginians; but a native of Africa, if of
the Negro type, will never tame an animal, he only destroys.

When we consider the peculiar power that an elephant possesses for
swimming long distances, and for supporting long marches under an
enormous weight, we are tempted to condemn the apathy even of European
settlers in Africa, who have hitherto ignored the capabilities of this
useful creature. The chief difficulty of African commerce is the lack of
transport. The elephant is admirably adapted by his natural habits for
travelling through a wild country devoid of roads. He can wade through
unbridged streams, or swim the deepest rivers (without a load), and he
is equally at home either on land or water. His carrying power for
continued service would be from 12 to 14 cwts.; thus a single elephant
would convey about 1300 lbs. of ivory in addition to the weight of the
pad. The value of one load would be about 5oo pounds. At the present
moment such an amount of ivory would employ twenty-six carriers; but as
these are generally slaves which can be sold at the termination of the
journey, they might be more profitable than the legitimate transport by
an elephant.

Although the male elephant will carry a far greater load than the
female, through its superior size and strength, it would be dangerous to
manage upon a long journey should it take place during the period, of
"must." I have heard the suggestion that an elephant should be
castrated, as the operation would affect the temper of the animal and
relieve it from the irritation of the "must" period; but such an
operation would be impossible, as the elephant is peculiarly formed,
and, unlike other animals, it has neither scrotum nor testicles
externally. These are situated within the body, and could not be reached
by surgery.

It is well known that the entire males of many domestic animals are
naturally savage. The horse, bull, boar, and the park-fed stag are all
uncertain in their tempers and may be pronounced unsafe; but the male
elephant, although dangerous to a stranger and treacherous to his
attendants, combines an extraordinary degree of cowardice with his
natural ferocity. A few months ago I witnessed a curious example of this
combination in the elephant's character. A magnificent specimen had been
lent to me by the Commissariat Department at Jubbulpur; this was a high
caste bull elephant named Bisgaum that was well known as bad-tempered,
but was supposed to be courageous. He had somewhat tarnished his
reputation during the last season by turning tail upon a tiger that
rushed out of dense bush and killed a coolie within a few yards of his
trunk; but this momentary panic was excused, and the blame was thrown
upon the mahout. The man was dismissed, and a first-rate Punjaubi driver
was appointed in his stead. This man assured me that the elephant was
dependable; I accordingly accepted him, and he was ordered to carry the
howdah throughout the expedition.

In a very short experience we discovered the necessity of giving Bisgaum
a wide berth, as he would fling out his trunk with extreme quickness to
strike a person within his reach, and he would kick out sharply with his
hind leg whenever a native ventured to approach his rear. He took a
fancy to me, as I fed him daily with sugar-canes, jaggery, and native
chupatties (cakes), which quickly established an understanding between
us; but I always took the precaution of standing by his side instead of
in his front, and of resting my left hand upon his tusk while I fed him
with the right. Every morning at daylight he was brought to the tent
with Demoiselle (the female elephant), and they both received from my
own hands the choice bits which gained their confidence.

My suspicions were first aroused by his peculiar behaviour upon an
occasion when we had killed two tigers; these were young animals, and
although large, there was no difficulty in arranging them upon the pad,
upon which they were secured by ropes, when the elephant kneeling down
was carefully loaded. Hardly had Bisgaum risen to his feet, when,
conscious of the character of the animals upon his back, and, I suppose,
not quite certain that life was actually extinct, he trumpeted a shrill
scream, and shook his immense carcase like a wet dog that has just
landed from the water. This effect was so violent that one tiger was
thrown some yards to the right, while the other fell to the ground on
the left, and without a moment's warning, the elephant charged the
lifeless body, sent it flying by a kick with his fore foot, and
immediately proceeded to dance a war-dance, kicking with his hind legs
to so great a height that he could have reached a tall man's hat. A
vigorous application of the driving-hook by the mahout, who was a
powerful man, at length changed the scene, and the elephant at once
desisted from his attack upon the dead tiger, and rushed madly upon one
side, where he stood nervously looking at the enemy as though he
expected it would show signs of life.

This did not look promising for an encounter with a live tiger, as it
would have been absolutely impossible to shoot from that elephant's
back.

A short time after this occurrence, when upon my usual reconnaissance
through the jungles in the neighbourhood of the camp, I came upon the
fresh tracks of a large tiger close to the banks of the Bearmi river,
and I gave the necessary instructions that a buffalo should be tied up
as a bait that same evening.

Early on the following morning the news was brought by the shikaris that
the buffalo had been killed, and dragged into a neighbouring ravine. As
the river was close by, there could be no doubt that the tiger would
have drunk water after feasting on the carcase, and would be lying
asleep somewhere in the immediate neighbourhood.

The mucharns (platforms in trees) had already been prepared in positions
where the tiger was expected to pass when driven, as he would make for
the forest-covered hills which rose within half a mile of the river.

The spot was within twenty minutes of the camp; the elephants were both
ready, with simple pads, as the howdah was ill-adapted for a forest; and
we quickly started.

Three mucharns had been prepared; these were about 100 yards apart in a
direct line which guarded a narrow glade between the jungle upon the
river's bank and the main body of the forest at the foot of a range of
red-sandstone hills; these were covered to the summit with trees already
leafless from the drought.

The mucharn which fell to my share was that upon the right flank when
facing the beat; this was in the open glade opposite a projecting corner
of the jungle. On the left, about 70 yards distant, was a narrow strip
of bush connected with the jungle, about 4 yards wide, which terminated
in a copse about 30 yards in diameter; beyond this was open glade for
about 40 yards width until it bounded the main forest at the foot of the
hill-range.

We took our places, and I was assured by the shikaris that the tiger
would probably break covert exactly in my front.

It is most uncomfortable for a European to remain squatted in a mucharn
for any length of time; the limbs become stiffened, and the cramped
position renders good shooting anything but certain. I have a simple
wooden turnstool, which enables me to shoot in any required direction;
this is most comfortable.

I had adjusted my stool upon a thick mat to prevent it from slipping,
and having settled myself firmly, I began to examine the position to
form an opinion concerning the most likely spot for the tiger to emerge
from the jungle.

The beat had commenced, and the shouts and yells, of a long line of 150
men were gradually becoming more distinct. Several peacocks ran across
the open glade: these birds are always the forerunners of other animals,
as they are the first to retreat.

Presently I heard a rustle in the jungle, and I observed the legs of a
sambur deer, which, having neared the edge, now halted to listen to the
beaters before venturing to break from the dense covert. The beaters
drew nearer, and a large doe sambur, instead of rushing quickly forward,
walked slowly into the open, and stood within 10 yards of me upon the
glade. She waited there for several minutes, and then, as if some
suspicion had suddenly crossed her mind, gave two or three convulsive
bounds and dashed back to the same covert from which she had approached.

It struck me that the sambur had got the wind of an enemy, otherwise she
would not have rushed back in such sudden haste; she could not have
scented me, as I was 10 or 12 feet above the ground, and the breeze was
aslant . . . . Then, if a tiger were in the jungle, why should she dash
back into the same covert ?

I was reflecting upon these subjects, and looking out sharp towards my
left and front, when I gently turned upon my stool to the right; there
was the tiger himself! who had already broken from the jungle about 75
yards from my position. He was slowly jogging along as though just
disturbed (possibly by the sambur), keeping close to the narrow belt of
bushes already described. There was a foot-path from the open glade
which pierced the belt; I therefore waited until he should cross this
favourable spot. I fired with the '577 rifle just as he was passing
across the dusty track. I saw the dust fly from the ground upon the
other side as the hardened bullet passed like lightning through his
flank, but I felt that I was a little too far behind his shoulder, as
his response to the shot was a bound at full gallop forwards into the
small clump of jungle that projected into the grassy open. My turnstool
was handy, and I quickly turned to the right, waiting with the left-hand
barrel ready for his reappearance upon the grass-land in the interval
between the main jungle and the narrow patch. There was no time to lose,
for the tiger appeared in a few seconds, dashing out of the jungle, and
flying over the open at tremendous speed. This was about 110 yards
distant; aiming about 18 inches in his front, I fired. A short but
spasmodic roar and a sudden convulsive twist of his body showed plainly
that he was well hit, but with unabated speed he gained the main forest
which was not more than 40 yards distant. If that had been a soft leaden
bullet he would have rolled over to the shot, but I had seen the dust
start from the ground when I fired, and I knew that the hard bullet had
passed through without delivering the shock required.

The beaters and shikaris now arrived, and having explained the incident,
we examined the ground for tracks, and quickly found the claw-marks
which were deeply indented in the parched surface of fine sward. We
followed these tracks cautiously into the jungle. Our party consisted of
Colonel Lugard, the Hon. D. Leigh, myself, and two experienced shikaris.
Tiger-shooting is always an engrossing sport, but the lively excitement
is increased when you follow a wounded tiger upon foot. We now slowly
advanced upon the track, which faintly showed the sharp claws where the
tiger had alighted in every bound. The jungle was fairly open, as the
surface was stony, and the trees for want of moisture in a rocky soil
had lost their leaves; we could thus see a considerable distance upon
all sides. In this manner we advanced about 100 yards without finding a
trace of blood, and I could see that some of my people doubted the fact
of the tiger being wounded. I felt certain that he was mortally hit, and
I explained to my men that the hard bullet would make so clean a hole
through his body that he would not bleed externally until his inside
should be nearly full of blood. Suddenly a man cried "koon" (blood),
and he held up a large dried leaf of the teak-tree upon which was a
considerable red splash: almost immediately after this we not only came
upon a continuous line of blood, but we halted at a place where the
animal had lain down; this was a pool of blood, proving that the tiger
would not be far distant.

I now sent for the elephants, as I would not permit the shikaris to
advance farther upon foot. The big tusker Bisgaum arrived, and giving my
Paradox gun to my trustworthy shikari Kerim Bux, he mounted the pad of
that excitable beast to carry out my orders, "to follow the blood until
he should find the tiger, after which he was to return to us." We were
now on the top of a small hill within an extensive forest range, and
directly in front the ground suddenly dipped, forming a V-shaped dell,
which in the wet season was the bed of a considerable torrent. It struck
me that if the tiger were still alive he would steal away along the
bottom of the rocky watercourse; therefore, before the elephant should
advance, and perhaps disturb him, we should take up a position on the
right to protect the nullah or torrent-bed; this plan was accordingly
carried out.

We had not been long in our respective positions when a shot from the
direction taken by the elephant, followed instantly by a short roar,
proved that the tiger had been discovered, and that he was still alive.
My female elephant Demoiselle, upon hearing the sound, trembled beneath
me with intense excitement, while the other female would have bolted had
she not been sharply reminded by the heavy driving-hook. Several shots
were now fired in succession, and after vainly endeavouring to discover
the whereabouts of the tiger, I sent Demoiselle to obtain the news while
we kept guard over the ravine. No tiger having appeared, I stationed
natives in trees to watch the nullah while we ascended the hill on foot,
directing our course through the forest to the place from whence the
shots had been fired. We had hardly advanced 80 yards before we found
both the elephants on the top of the steep shoulder of the hill, where
several of our men were upon the boughs of surrounding trees. Bisgaum
was in a state of wild excitement, and Kerim Bux explained that it was
impossible to shoot from his back, as he could not be kept quiet. Where
was the tiger? That was the question. "Close to us, Sahib!" was the
reply; but on foot we could see nothing, owing to high withered grass
and bush. I clambered upon the back of the refractory Bisgaum,
momentarily expecting him to bolt away like a locomotive engine, and
from that elevated position I was supposed to see the tiger, which was
lying in the bottom of the ravine about 100 yards distant. There were so
many small bushes and tufts of yellow grass that I could not distinguish
the form for some minutes; at length my eyes caught the object. I had
been looking for orange and black stripes, therefore I had not noticed
black and white, the belly being uppermost, as the animal was lying upon
its back, evidently dying.

The side of the rocky hill was so steep and slippery that the elephants
could not descend; I therefore changed my steed and mounted Demoiselle,
from the back of which I fired several shots at the tiger until life
appeared to be extinct. The ground was so unfavourable that I would not
permit any native to approach near enough to prove that the animal was
quite dead. I therefore instructed Bisgaum's mahout to make a detour to
the right until he could descend with his elephant into the flat bottom
of the watercourse, he was then to advance cautiously until near enough
to see whether the tiger breathed. At the same time I rode Demoiselle
carefully as near as we could safely descend among the rocks to a
distance of about 40 yards; it was so steep that the elephant was
impossible to turn. From this point of vantage I soon perceived
Bisgaum's bulky form advancing up the dry torrent-bed. The rocks were a
perfectly flat red sandstone, which in many places resembled artificial
pavement; this was throughout the district a peculiar geological
feature, the surface of the stone being covered with ripple-marks, and
upon this easy path Bisgaum now approached the body of the tiger, which
lay apparently dead exactly in his front.

Suddenly the elephant halted when about 15 yards from the object, which
had never moved. I have seen wild savages frenzied by the exciting
war-dance, but I never witnessed such an instance of hysterical fury as
that exhibited by Bisgaum. It is impossible to describe the elephantine
antics of this frantic animal; he kicked right and left with his hind
legs alternately, with the rapidity of a horse; trumpeting and
screaming, he threw his trunk in the air, twisting it about, and shaking
his immense head, until, having lashed himself into sufficient rage, he
made a desperate charge at the supposed defunct enemy, with the
intention of treating the body in a similar manner to that a few days
previous. But the tiger was not quite dead and although he could not
move to get away, he seized with teeth and claws the hind leg of the
maddened elephant, who had clumsily overrun him in the high excitement,
instead of kicking the body with a fore foot as he advanced.

The scene was now most interesting. We were close spectators looking
down upon the exhibition as though upon an arena. I never saw such fury
in an elephant; the air was full of stones and dust, as he kicked with
such force that the tiger for the moment was lost to view in the
tremendous struggle, and being kicked away from his hold, with one of
his long fangs broken short off to the gum, he lay helpless before his
huge antagonist, who, turning quickly round, drove his long tusks
between the tiger's shoulders, and crushed the last spark of life from
his tenacious adversary.

This was a grand scene, and I began to think there was some real pluck
in Bisgaum after all, although there was a total want of discipline; but
just as I felt inclined to applaud, the victorious elephant was seized
with a sudden panic, and turning tail, he rushed along the bottom of the
watercourse at the rate of 20 miles an hour, and disappeared in the
thorny jungle below at a desperate pace that threatened immediate
destruction to his staunch mahout. Leaving my men to arrange a litter
with poles and cross-bars to carry the tiger home, I followed the course
of Bisgaum upon Demoiselle, expecting every minute to see the body of
his mahout stretched upon the ground.

At length, after about half a mile passed in anxiety, we discovered
Bisgaum and his mahout both safe upon an open plain; the latter torn and
bleeding from countless scratches while rushing through the thorny
jungle.

On the following day the elephant's leg was much swollen, although the
wounds appeared to be very slight. It is probable that a portion of the
broken tooth remained in the flesh, as the leg festered, and became so
bad that the elephant could not travel for nearly a fortnight
afterwards. The mahouts are very obstinate, and insist upon native
medicines, their famous lotion being a decoction of Mhowa blossoms,
which in my opinion aggravated the inflammation of the wound.

I returned Bisgaum to the Commissariat stables at Jubbulpur directly
that he could march, as he was too uncontrollable for sporting purposes.
Had any person been upon his back during his stampede he would have been
swept off by the branches and killed; the mahout, sitting low upon his
neck, could accommodate his body to avoid the boughs.

The use of the elephant in India is so closely associated with
tiger-shooting that I shall commence the next chapter with the tiger.



CHAPTER V

THE TIGER

THERE is no animal that has exercised the imagination of mankind to the
same degree as the tiger. It has been the personification of ferocity
and unsparing cruelty.

In Indian life the tiger is so closely associated with the elephant (as
the latter is used in pursuit) that I select this animal in sequence to
the former, from which in the ideas of sporting Indians it is almost
inseparable.

It is necessary to commence the description of the tiger with its birth.
The female rarely produces more than three, and generally only two.
These arrive at maturity in about two years.

There is a considerable difference in the size of the male and female. I
have both measured and weighed tigers, and I have found a great
difference in their proportions, such as may be seen not only in many
varieties of animals, but also in human beings; it is therefore
difficult to decide upon the actual average tiger, as they vary in
separate localities, according to the quantity of wild animals in the
jungles which constitute their food. If the tiger has been born in
jungles abounding with wild pigs and other animals, he will have been
well fed since the day of his birth, therefore he will be a
well-developed animal.

A well-grown tigress may weigh an average of 240 lbs. live weight. A
very fine tiger will weigh 440 lbs., but if very fat, the same tiger
would weigh 500 lbs. I have no doubt there may be tigers that exceed
this by 50 lbs., but I speak according to my experience.

The length of a tiger will depend upon the system of measurement. I
always carry a tape with me, and I measure them before they are skinned,
by laying the animal upon the ground in a straight line, and not
allowing it to be stretched by pulling at the head or tail, but taking
it naturally as it lies, measuring from nose to tip of tail. I have
found that a tiger of 9 feet 8 inches is about 2 inches above the
average. The same tiger may be stretched to measure 10 feet.

No person who examines skins only can form any idea of the true
proportions of a tiger. The hide, when stripped from a tiger of 9 feet 7
inches, weighs 45 lbs. if the animal is bulky. The head, skinned, weighs
25 lbs. These weights are taken from an animal which weighed 437 lbs.
exclusive of the lost blood, which was quite a gallon, estimated at 10
lbs. This would have brought the weight to 447 lbs. The hide of this
tiger, which measured 9 feet 7 inches when upon the animal, was 11 feet
4 inches in length when cured. I have measured many tigers, and the
skins are always stretched to a ridiculous length during the process of
curing; these would utterly mislead any naturalist who had not practical
experience of the live animal.

The tiger of zoological gardens is a long lithe creature with little
flesh, and, from the lack of exercise, the muscles are badly developed.
Such a specimen affords a poor example of the grand animal in its native
jungles, whose muscles are almost ponderous in their development from
the continual exertion in nightly rambles over long distances, and in
mortal struggles when wrestling with its prey. A well-fed tiger is by no
means a slim figure, but on the contrary it is exceedingly bulky, broad
in the shoulders, back, and loins, with an extraordinary girth of limbs,
especially in the fore-arm and wrist. The muscles are tough and hard,
and there are two peculiar bones unattached to the skeleton frame; these
are situated in the flesh of either shoulder, apparently to afford extra
cohesion of the parts, resulting in additional strength when striking a
blow or wrestling with a heavy animal.

There is a great difference in the habits of tigers; some exist upon the
game of the jungles, others prey specially upon the flocks and herds
belonging to the villagers; the latter are generally exceedingly heavy
and fat. A few are designated "man-eaters"; these are sometimes
naturally ferocious, and having attacked a human being, they may have
devoured the body and thus have acquired a taste for human flesh; or
they may have been wounded upon more than one occasion and have learnt
to regard man as a natural enemy; but more frequently the man-eater is a
wary old tiger, or more probably a tigress, that, having haunted the
neighbourhood of villages and carried off some unfortunate woman when
gathering firewood or the wild products of the jungles, has discovered
that it is far easier to kill a native than to hunt for the scarce
jungle game; the animal therefore adopts the pursuit of man, and seldom
attempts to molest the natives' cattle.

A professed man-eater is the most wary of animals, and is very difficult
to kill, not because it is superior in strength, but through its extreme
caution and cunning, which renders its discovery a work of long labour
and patient search. An average native does not form a very hearty meal.
If a woman, she will have more flesh than a man about the buttocks,
which is the portion both in animals and human beings which the tiger
first devours. The maneater will seize an unsuspecting person by the
neck, and will then drag the body to some retreat in which it can devour
its prey in undisturbed security. Having consumed the hind-quarters,
thighs, and the more fleshy portions, it will probably leave the body,
and will never return again to the carcase, but will seek a fresh
victim, perhaps at some miles' distance, in the neighbourhood of another
village. Their cautious habits render it almost impossible to destroy a
cunning man-eater, as it avoids all means of detection. In this
peculiarity the ordinary man-eating tiger differs from all others, as
the cattle-killer is almost certain to return on the following night to
the body which it only partially devoured after the first attack. If the
hunter has the taste and patience for night shooting, he will construct
a hiding-place within 10 yards of the dead body. This should be arranged
before noon, in order that no noise should disturb the vicinity towards
evening, when the tiger may be expected to return. A tree is not a
favourable stand for night shooting, as the foliage overhead darkens the
sight of the rifle. Three poles of about 5 inches diameter and 12 feet
in length should be sunk as a triangle, the thickest ends placed 2 feet
in the ground. The poles should be 4 feet apart, and when firmly
inserted will represent a scaffolding 10 feet high. Bars and diagonal
pieces must be firmly lashed to prevent the structure from swaying.
Within a foot of the top three strong cross-bars will be lashed, to
support a corduroy arrangement of perfectly straight level bars, quite
close together to form a platform. A thickly folded rug will carpet the
rough surface, upon which the watcher will sit upon a low turnstool that
will enable him to rest in comfort, and turn without noise in any
required direction. A bamboo or other straight stick will be secured as
a rail around the platform, upon which some branches may be so arranged
as to form a screen that will conceal the watcher from the view of an
approaching tiger. This arrangement is called a "mucharn."

When a tiger is driven before beaters it seldom or never looks upwards,
but merely regards the surface as it advances; but when approaching a
"kill" (the term applied to the animal which has been killed) the tiger
is exceedingly cautious, and surveys everything connected with the
locality before it ventures to recommence the feast. Even then, when
assured of safety, it seldom eats the carcase where it lies, but seizing
it by the throat, it drags the prey some 15 or 20 yards from the spot
before it indulges in the meal. I have already described that the first
meal consists of the buttocks and hindquarters; the second visit is
devoted to the forequarters, after which but little remains for the
vultures and jackals.

It is essential that the night watcher should be raised about 10 feet
above the ground, otherwise the tiger would probably obtain his scent.

Night shooting is not attractive to myself, and I very seldom have
indulged in such wearisome shikar. There is no particular satisfaction
in sitting for hours in a cramped position, with mosquitoes stinging you
from all directions, while your eyes are straining through the darkness,
transforming every shadow into the expected game. Even should it appear,
unless the moon is bright you will scarcely define the animal. I have
heard well-authenticated accounts of persons who have patiently watched
until they fell asleep from sheer weariness, and when they awoke, the
dead bullock was no longer there, the tiger having dragged it away
without disturbing the tired watcher. There are several methods of
rendering the muzzle-sights of the rifle visible in partial darkness. A
simple and effective arrangement is by a piece of thick white paper.
This should be cut into a point and fastened upon the barrel with a
piece of beeswax or shoemaker's wax, in addition to being tied with
strong waxed packthread.

If a bright starlight night and there is no foliage above the rifle, the
white paper will be distinctly seen, especially if the light is behind
the shoulder. A piece of lime made into thick paste, and stuck upon the
muzzle-sight, is frequently used by native hunters; but if it is at
hand, there is nothing so effective as luminous paint; this can be
purchased in stoppered bottles and will last for years. A small supply
would be always useful in an outfit.

A man-eating tiger requires peculiar caution, not only lest it should
observe the presence of the hunter, but he must remember that if upon
the ground he himself becomes a bait for this exceedingly stealthy
animal, which can approach without the slightest noise, and attack
without giving any notice of its presence. A curious example of this
danger was given a few years ago in the Nagpur district. A tigress had
killed so many people that a large reward was offered for her
destruction; she had killed and dragged away a native, but being
disturbed, she had left the body without eating any portion. The
shikaris considered that she would probably return to her prey during
the night, if left undisturbed upon the spot where she had forsaken it.
There were no trees, nor any timber that was suitable for the
construction of a mucharn; it was accordingly resolved that four deep
holes should be dug, forming the corners of a square, the body lying in
the centre. Each hole was to be occupied by a shikari with his
matchlock. The watchers took their positions. Nothing came; until at
length the moon went down, and the night was dark. The men were afraid
to get out of their hiding-places to walk home through the jungles that
were infested by the man-eater; they remained in their holes, and some
of them fell asleep.

When daylight broke, three of the shikaris issued from their positions,
but the fourth had disappeared; his hole was empty! A few yards distant,
his matchlock was discovered lying upon the ground, and upon the dusty
surface were the tracks of the tiger, and the sweeping trace where the
body had been dragged as the man-eater carried it along. Upon following
up the track, the remains of the unlucky shikari were discovered, a
considerable portion having been devoured; but the tigress had
disappeared. This cunning brute had won the game, and she was not killed
until twelve months afterwards, although many persons devoted themselves
to her pursuit.

Many incredible stories have been told concerning the power of a tiger
in CARRYING away his prey, and I have heard it positively stated by
persons who should have known better, that a tiger can carry off a
native cow simply through the strength of the jaws and neck. This is
ridiculous, as the height of the cow exceeds that of the tiger,
therefore a portion of the body must drag upon the ground. The cattle of
India are exceedingly small, and are generally lean, the weight of an
ordinary cow would hardly exceed 350 or 400 lbs.; as an average male
tiger weighs about the same, it can of course drag its own weight by
lifting the body partially in its mouth, and thus relieving the friction
upon the ground. In this manner it is astonishing to see the strength
exerted in pulling and lifting a dead bullock over projecting roots of
trees, rocky torrent-beds, and obstructions that would appear to be
insurmountable; but it is absurd to suppose that a tiger can actually
lift and carry a full-grown cow or bullock in its jaws without leaving a
trace of the drag upon the surface.

Many persons when in pursuit of tigers are accustomed to tie up a small
buffalo of four or six months old for bait; the natives will naturally
supply the poorest specimen of their herds, unless it is specially
selected; therefore it may be quite possible for a large male tiger to
carry so small an animal without allowing any portion of the body
(excepting the legs) to drag upon the ground. As a rule, the tiger will
not attempt to carry, but it will lift and pull simultaneously if the
body is heavy.

The attack of a large tiger is terrific, and the effect may be well
imagined of an animal of such vast muscular proportions, weighing
between 400 and 500 lbs., springing with great velocity, and exerting
its momentum at the instant that it seizes a bullock by the neck. It is
supposed by the natives that the tiger, when well fastened upon the
crest, by fixing its teeth in the back of the neck at the first onset,
continues its spring so as to pass over the animal attacked. This
wrenches the neck suddenly round, and as the animal struggles, the
dislocation is easily effected. The tiger then changes the hold to
underneath the throat, and drags the body to some convenient retreat,
where the meal may be commenced in security. With very few exceptions
the tiger breaks the neck of every animal it kills. Some persons have
imagined that this is done by a blow of the paw, but this is an error.
The tiger does not usually strike (like the lion), but it merely seizes
with its claws, and uses them to clutch firm hold, and to lacerate its
victim. I have seen several examples of the tiger's attack upon man, and
in no instance has the individual suffered from the shock of any blow;
the tiger has seized, and driven deeply its claws into the flesh, and
with this tremendous purchase it has held the victim, precisely as the
hands of a man would clutch a prisoner; at the same time it has taken a
firm hold with its teeth, and either killed its victim by a crunch of
the jaws, or broken the shoulder-blade. In attacking man the tiger
generally claws the head, and at the same moment it fixes its teeth upon
the shoulder. An Indian is generally slight, and shallow in the chest,
therefore the wide-spread jaws can include both chest and back when
seized in the tiger's mouth. I have seen men who were thus attacked, and
each claw has cut down to the skull, leaving clean incisions from the
brow across the forehead and over the scalp, terminating at the back of
the neck. These cuts were as neatly drawn across the skull as though
done by a sharp pruning-knife; but the wounded men recovered from the
clawing; the fatal wound was the bite, which through the back and chest
penetrated to the lungs.

It is surprising that so few casualties occur when we consider the risks
that are run by unprotected natives wandering at all seasons through the
jungles, or occupied in their daily pursuits, exposed to the attacks of
wild animals. The truth is that the tiger seldom attacks to actually
kill, unless it is driven, or wounded in a hunt. It will frequently
charge with a short roar if suddenly disturbed, but it does not intend
to charge home, and a shout from a native will be sufficient to turn it
aside; it will then dash forward and disappear, probably as glad to lose
sight of the man as he is at his escape from danger. Of course there are
many exceptions when naturally savage tigers, without being man-eaters,
attack and destroy unoffending natives without the slightest
provocation; upon such occasions they leave the body uneaten, neither do
they return to it again.

Although the tiger belongs to the genus Felis, it differs from the cat
in its peculiar fondness for water. In the hot season the animal is
easily discovered, as it invariably haunts the banks of rivers, when all
the brooks are dry and the tanks have disappeared through evaporation.
The tiger loves to wallow in shallow water, and to roll upon the dry
sand after a muddy bath; it will swim large rivers, and in the
Brahmaputra, where reedy and grassy islands interrupt the channel in a
bed of several miles' width, the tigers travel over considerable
distances during the night, swimming from island to island, and
returning to the mainland if no prey is to be found during the night's
ramble.

The tiger is by no means fond of extreme heat; it is found in northern
China, Manchuria, and the Corea, where the winters are severe. In those
climates during winter the skin is very beautiful, consisting of thick
fur instead of hair, and the tail is comparatively bushy. Well-preserved
skins of that variety are worth 20 pounds apiece and are prized as
rarities. In the hot season of India the tiger is by no means happy: it
is a thirsty animal, and being nocturnal, it quickly becomes fatigued by
the sun's heat, and the burning surface of the soil if obliged to
retreat before a line of beaters. The pads of the feet are scorched by
treading upon heated sandy or stony ground, and the animal is easily
managed in a beat by those who are thoroughly experienced in its habits,
although during the winter season, when water is abundant in all the
numerous nullahs and pools, there is no animal more difficult to
discover than the tiger. It may be easily imagined that the dense green
foliage of Indian jungles renders all objects difficult to perceive
distinctly, but the striped skin of a tiger harmonizes in a peculiar
manner with dry sticks, yellowish tufts of grass, and the remains of
burnt stumps, which are so frequently the family of colours that form
the surroundings of the animal. In this covert the tiger with an almost
noiseless tread can approach or retreat, and be actually within a few
yards of man without being seen. Although a ferocious beast, it is most
sensitive to danger, and the slightest noise will induce it to alter the
direction of its course when driven before a line of beaters. Its power
of scent is excellent, therefore it is always advisable if possible to
arrange that the beaters shall advance down wind. If they do, the tiger
may be generally managed so adroitly that it will be driven in the
required direction; but if the beaters are travelling up the wind, the
tiger must necessarily follow the same course, and it will probably
obtain the scent of the guns that are in positions to intercept it, in
which case it will assuredly dash back through the line of beaters, and
escape from the beat.

In the hot season very few trees retain their leaves, and the jungles
that were impervious screens during the cooler months become absolutely
naked; an animal can then be discerned at 100 yards' distance. The
surface of the ground is then covered with dried and withered leaves,
which have become so crisp from the extreme heat that they crackle when
trod upon like broken glass. It will be readily understood that any form
of shooting excepting driving is quite impossible under these
conditions, as no person could approach any animal on foot owing to the
noise occasioned by treading upon the withered leaves.

The habits of the tiger being thoroughly understood, it becomes
necessary under all circumstances to employ the village shikari. This
man is generally more or less ignorant and obstinate, but he is sure to
know his own locality and the peculiar customs of the local tiger. It is
one of the mysterious characteristics of this animal that it invariably
selects particular spots in which it will lay up; to these secure
retreats it will retire; therefore, should a fresh track be discovered
upon the sandy bed of a nullah or upon a dusty footpath in the jungles,
it may be safely inferred that the tiger is lying in one or other of its
accustomed haunts. The village shikari will quickly determine from what
direction the tiger has arrived; he will then suggest the probable route
that the animal will take whenever it may be disturbed.

Should the tiger be killed, another will occupy its place a few months
later, and this will assuredly assume the same habits as its
predecessor; it will frequent the same haunts, lay up in the same spots,
and drink at the same places; although it may have never associated with
or even seen the tiger which formerly occupied the same locality.

I have already described the keen power of scent possessed by this wary
animal, which necessitates extreme caution, and the placing of the guns
in positions elevated about 10 feet above the ground. It is seldom of
any use to drive jungles upon speculation, although it not unfrequently
happens, where tigers are plentiful, that when driving for deer the
grander game unexpectedly appears, and presents itself suddenly before
the astonished hunter. The recognised system of tiger-hunting by driving
is as follows. We will say that the party of three may have arrived at a
village, after having received intimation that a native cow had been
carried off within the last few days. The first operation is to send
natives in all directions to look for tracks, and to discover the place
where the animal last drank.

At least two elephants should accompany the party, even though the thick
jungle country may be ill adapted for shooting from these useful
creatures. One of these should be, if possible, a really dependable
animal, that would advance steadily and quietly up to a wounded tiger.
The great danger of this branch of sport arrives when a tiger may have
been wounded, and it has to be tracked up on foot, and eventually beaten
out of the dense thorny cover of its retreat. A staunch elephant is then
indispensable, and the real excitement commences when the beaters are
sent for safety up the adjoining trees, and the hunter, absolutely
certain that the dangerous game, although invisible, is close before
him, advances calmly to the attack, knowing that the tiger will be ready
to spring upon the elephant the moment that they shall be vis-a-vis.

In the absence of any elephant, the pursuit of a wounded tiger by
following up the blood-track on foot is a work of extreme danger. The
native shikaris generally exhibit considerable hardihood, and, confident
in their activity, they ascend trees from which they have a clear view
in front for some 30 or 40 yards. They descend if the coast is clear,
cautiously advance, and then again they mount upon the branches of some
favourable tree and scan the ground before them. In this manner they
continue to approach until they at length discern the wounded animal. If
the hunter is clever at climbing, he may then take a steady shot from a
good elevation; but if not, he must take his chance, and knowing the
exact position of the tiger, he must endeavour to make certain of its
sudden death by placing a bullet either in the brain or the back of the
neck.

A newly arrived party, having heard that some native cow has been
carried off within a week, will make a reconnaissance of the surrounding
country upon their elephants, and will examine every watercourse for
tracks. We will suppose that after some hours of diligent search the
long-wished-for pugs or footmarks have been discovered. Now the science
of the chase must be exhibited, and the habits of the tiger carefully
considered. The first consideration will be the drinking-place. If the
middle of the dry season, say the beginning of May, the heat will be
intense, and the hot wind will feel as though it had passed over a
heated brick-kiln. The water will have entirely disappeared, unless a
river shall be permanent in the neighbourhood. It will be necessary to
procure two or perhaps three buffaloes to tie up in various positions
not far from water, as baits for the tiger during the hours of night,
when it will be wandering forth from its secure retreat and searching
for its expected prey. The buffaloes should be at least twelve months
old; I prefer them when eighteen months, as they are then heavy animals
and would afford two hearty meals, each sufficient to gorge the tiger to
an extent that, after drinking, would render it lazy and inclined to
sleep. Great care should be taken in the selection of these buffaloes.
The natives will assuredly offer their skinny and unhealthy animals: but
a tiger, unless nearly starved, will frequently refuse to attack a
miserable skeleton, and like ourselves it prefers a fat and appetising
attraction. It must be distinctly remembered that after the tiger has
devoured the hind-quarters of the animal it has killed, it requires a
deep draught of water; it is therefore necessary that the buffalo as
bait should be tied up somewhere within a couple of hundred yards of a
drinking-place, as the least distance; otherwise, instead of lying down
somewhere near the remains of its prey, it must wander to a great
distance to drink. The stomach, being full of flesh, will naturally
become distended with water, and the gorged tiger will not be in the
humour to undertake a return journey of perhaps a mile to watch over the
remains of its kill; it will therefore lie down in some thick covert
near the spot by the nullah where it recently drank, instead of
returning to repose in the neighbourhood of its recent victim. This will
throw out the calculations of the shikari, who would expect that the
tiger will be lying somewhere near the spot where it dragged the
buffalo. The beat will under such false conditions be arranged to
include an area in which the tiger is supposed to be asleep after its
great meal, but in reality it may be a mile or two away in some unknown
direction near the water. Great precaution is necessary in making all
preliminary arrangements. It is a common custom of native shikaris to
tie up a buffalo where four paths meet, as the tiger would be walking
along one of these during the night, and it could not help seeing the
alluring bait. I do not admire this plan, as, although the probability
is that the buffalo will be killed, there is every likelihood of
disturbance after the event, when natives would be passing along the
various routes. The slightest noise would alarm the tiger, and instead
of remaining quietly near the carcase, it would slink away and be no
more seen.

Natives are very inquisitive, and should the tiger have killed the bait,
and dragged the buffalo away to some deep nullah, the shikari and his
companion are often tempted to creep along the trace until they perhaps
see the tiger in the act of devouring the hind-quarters. This is quite
contrary to the rules of hunting, as the tiger is almost certain to
detect their presence if they are so near, in which case it is sure to
retreat to some undisturbed locality beyond the area of the beat.

There is constant disappointment in driving for tigers owing to the
stupidity or exaggerated zeal of the shikari; and if the hunter is
thoroughly experienced, it is far better that he should conduct the
operations personally.

Success depends upon many little details which may appear trivial, but
are nevertheless important. When a buffalo is tied up for bait, it must
be secured by the fetlock of a fore foot, and care must be taken that
the rope is sufficiently strong to prevent the buffalo from breaking
away; at the same time it must not be strong enough to prevent the tiger
from breaking it when the animal is killed, and the carcase is to be
dragged to the nearest nullah (or ravine). If the rope is too powerful,
the tiger cannot dispose of the body; it will therefore eat the
hind-quarters where it lies, and at once retreat to water, instead of
concealing the prey and lying down in the vicinity. In such a case the
remains of the body will be exposed to the gaze of vultures and jackals,
who will pick the bones clean in a few hours, and destroy all chance of
the tiger's return. When the dead body is concealed beneath dense bushes
in a deep ravine, the vultures cannot discover it, as they hunt by
sight, and the tiger has no anxiety respecting the security of its
capture; it will therefore sleep in peace within a short distance, until
awakened by the shouts of a line of beaters.

If the buffalo is tied with a rope around the neck, a tiger will
frequently refuse to molest it, as it fears a trap. I have seen
occasions when the tiger has walked round and round the buffalo, as
exhibited by the tracks upon the surface, but it has been afraid to make
its spring, being apprehensive of some hidden danger. I have also seen a
dead vulture lying close to the body of a buffalo, evidently killed by a
blow from the tiger's paw when trespassing upon the feast. It is a good
arrangement to secure both fetlocks of a buffalo with a piece of strong
cord about a foot or 16 inches apart, independently of the weaker cord
which ties the animal to either a stake or tree. Should the buffalo
break away during the night, it cannot wander far, as the bushes will
quickly anchor the rope which confines the fore legs; the tiger would
then assuredly attack the straying animal and kill it within the
jungles. In such a case the drive should take place without delay, as
the dead buffalo will certainly be hidden in the nearest convenient
spot, and the tiger will be somewhere in the neighbourhood.

During the hot season it will be advisable to defer the drive till about
IO A.M., at which time the tiger will be asleep. The mucharns or
watching-places in various trees should have been previously constructed
before the buffaloes were tied up in their different positions, to be
ready should the tiger kill one of the baits, and thus to avoid noise
during the construction. This is a matter of very great importance which
is frequently neglected by the native shikari, who postpones the
building of mucharns until the tiger shall have killed a buffalo. In
that case the noise of axes employed in chopping the wood necessary for
building the platforms is almost sure to alarm the tiger, who will
escape unseen, and the beat will take place in vain.

I never allow mucharns to be built by wood felled in the immediate
neighbourhood, but I have it prepared in camp, and transported by
coolies to the localities when required. By this method the greatest
silence may be observed, which is absolutely necessary to ensure a
successful drive.

In order to prepare these platforms, they should be laid upon the
ground, three long thick pieces to form a triangle, and cross-bars in
proportionate lengths. If the latter are straight and strong, from
sixteen to twenty will be necessary to complete a strong mucharn. It is
impossible to devote too much attention to the construction of these
watching-places. The natives are so light, and they are so comfortable
when squatting for hours in a position that would cramp a European, that
it is dangerous to accept the shikari's declaration when he reports that
everything is properly arranged. Upon many occasions tigers are missed
because the shooter is so completely cramped that he cannot turn when
the animal suddenly appears in view. A large, firm, and roomy mucharn
fixed upon the boughs of a tree that will not wave before a gust of
wind, is the proper platform to ensure a successful shot.

I have frequently been perched in a mere heron's nest, formed of light
wood arranged upon most fragile boughs; this wretched contrivance has
swayed before the wind to an extent that would have rendered accurate
aim impossible; fortunately upon such occasions I have never obtained a
shot.

Although driving may read as an unexciting sport, it is quite the
contrary if the hunter takes sufficient interest in the operations to
attend to every detail personally. When all is in readiness after the
tiger has killed a buffalo, there is much art required in the conduct of
the drive. Natives vary in different districts; some are clever and
intelligent, and take an immense interest in the sport, especially if
they are confident in the generosity of their employer. In other
districts there may be abundant game, but the natives are cowardly, and
nothing will persuade them to keep an unbroken line, upon the perfection
of which the success of the drive depends.

As a rule, there is no great danger in the steady advance of a line of
men, provided they are at close intervals of 5 or 8 yards apart, and
that they keep this line intact. It is a common trick, when the beaters
are nervous, to open out the line in gaps, and the men resolve
themselves into parties of ten or twenty, advancing in knots, at the
same time howling and shouting their loudest to keep up the appearance
of a perfect line. In such cases the tiger is certain to break back
through one of the inviting gaps, and the drive is wasted.

To drive successfully, the beaters must not only keep a rigid line, but
they must thoroughly understand the habits of the animal, and the
positions of the posted guns. If the drive is thoroughly well organised,
there should be eight or ten men who are experienced in the sport; these
should take the management of the beat, and being distributed at
intervals along the line, they should direct the operations.

A few really clever shikaris should be able (with few exceptions to the
rule) to drive the tiger to any required position, so as to bring it
within shot of any particular mucharn. This may be effected without
extraordinary difficulty. The drive should be arranged to include three
parts of a circle. If there are three guns, their positions would depend
upon the quality and conditions of the ground, leaving intervals of only
80 or 100 yards at farthest between the three mucharns. From either
flank, commencing only 50 yards from each mucharn, a native should be
posted in a tree, and this system of watchers should be continued until
they meet the extreme ends of the right and left flanks of the beating
line. It will be seen that by this method there is a chain of
communication established throughout the line, both flanks being in
touch with the right and left mucharns by watchers in the trees only 50
yards apart. The tiger, if within the beat, will be completely
encircled, as it will have the guns in front, the line of beaters in a
semicircle behind, and a chain of watchers in trees from 30 to 50 yards
apart from either side of the line to within sight of the mucharns. If
the jungle should be tolerably open, the tiger cannot move without being
seen by somebody. It now has to be driven before the beaters, and it
should be induced to select a particular direction that will bring it
within distance of one particular mucharn.

Each man who may be perched in the trees, which form a chain from the
right and left extremities of the line, will be provided with several
pieces of exceedingly dry and brittle sticks; he will hold these in
readiness for use whenever he may observe the tiger. If he sees that the
animal wishes to pass through the line, and thereby escape from the
beat, he simply breaks a small stick in half; the sound of a snap is
quite sufficient to divert the tiger from its course; it will generally
stop and listen for a few moments, and then being alarmed by the unusual
sound, it will again move forward, this time in the required direction,
towards the guns. In this manner the animal is gradually guided by the
unseen watchers in the trees, and is kept under due control, without any
suspicion upon its part that it is being conducted to the fatal spot
within 30 or 40 yards of the deadly aim of an experienced rifle. This
leading of the tiger requires considerable skill, as much discretion is
necessary in breaking the stick at the proper moment, or increasing the
noise should it be deemed expedient.

As a rule, the slightest sound is sufficient to attract the attention of
a driven tiger, as the animal is well aware that the shouts of a line of
beaters are intended to scare it from the neighbourhood; it is
accordingly in high excitement, and it advances like a sly fox slowly
and cautiously, occasionally stopping, and turning its head to listen to
the cries of the approaching enemy. Any loud and sudden noise would
induce it to turn and charge back towards the rear, in which case it is
almost certain to escape from the beat.

Some tigers are more clever than others, and having escaped upon more
than one occasion, they will repeat the dodge that has hitherto
succeeded. It is a common trick, should the jungle be dense and the
ground much broken, for the tiger to crouch when it hears the beaters in
the distance, instead of going forward in the direction of the guns.
This is a dangerous stratagem, as the wary animal will lie quietly
listening to the approaching line, and having waited until the beaters
are within a few yards of its unexpected lair, it will charge back
suddenly with a terrific roar, and dash at great speed through the
affrighted men, perhaps seizing some unfortunate who may be directly in
its path. I have known tigers that have been hunted many times, but who
have always escaped by this peculiar dodge, and such animals are
exceedingly difficult to kill. In such cases I am of opinion that no
shouts or yells should be permitted, but that the line should advance,
simply beating the stems of trees with their sticks; at the same time
six or eight natives with their matchlocks should be placed at intervals
along the line to fire at the tiger should it attempt to break through
the rear. This may sometimes, but rarely, succeed in turning it, and
compelling it to move in the required direction. It is a curious fact
that "breaking back" is a movement general to all animals, which have an
instinctive presentiment of danger in the front, if alarmed by the sound
of beaters from behind. If once they determine upon a stampede to the
rear, nothing will stop them, but they will rush to destruction and face
any opposition rather than move forward before the line. The tiger in
such cases is extremely dangerous, although when retreating in an
ordinary manner before the beaters it would seldom attack a human being,
but, on the contrary it would endeavour to avoid him. It is frequently
the custom of tigers to remain together in a family the male, female,
and a couple of half or three parts grown young ones. We cannot
positively determine whether the male always remains with his family
under such circumstances, or whether he merely visits them periodically;
I am inclined to the latter opinion, as I think the female may be
attractive during her season, which induces the male to prolong his
visit, although at other periods he may be leading an independent life.
Good fortune specially attends some favoured sportsmen who have
experienced the intensity of happiness when a complete family of tigers
has marched past their position in a drive, and they have bagged every
individual member. This luck has never waited upon me, but I have seen
three out of the four secured, the big and wary male, having modestly
remained behind, escaping by breaking back through the line of beaters.

The tigress remains with her young until they are nearly full-grown, and
she is very assiduous in teaching her cubs to kill their prey while they
are extremely young. I have seen an instance of such schooling when two
buffaloes were tied up about a quarter of a mile apart; one was killed,
and although these two baits were mere calves, it had evidently been
mangled about the neck and throat in the endeavour to break the neck.
This had at length been effected by the tigress, as proved by the larger
marks of teeth, while the wounds of smaller teeth and claws in the
throat and back of neck showed that the cub had been worrying the
buffalo fruitlessly, until the mother had interfered to complete the
kill. The other buffalo calf had been attacked, and severely lacerated
about the nape of the neck and throat, but it was still alive, and was
standing up at the post to which it had been tied. This proved that the
cub had been practising upon both these unlucky animals, and that the
tigress had only interfered to instruct her pupil upon the last
occasion. A dead vulture was lying near the buffalo carcase; this had
been killed, probably, by the cub; the fact showed that the buffalo had
been attacked that morning during daylight, and not during the preceding
night, when the vultures would have been at roost.

The tigress is generally in advance of the male during a drive, should
there be two together; this should not be forgotten, and a sharp
look-out should be directed upon the place from whence the tigress shall
have emerged, as the shot must be taken at the rearmost animal, who
would otherwise disappear immediately, and break back at the sound of
the explosion. In all cases it is incumbent upon the watcher to study
attentively every feature of the ground directly that he enters upon his
post, so that he may be prepared for every eventuality; he should
thoroughly examine his surroundings, noting every little open space,
every portion of dense bush, and form his opinion of the spot that would
probably be the place of exit when the tiger should be driven to the
margin of the covert. Tigers are frequently missed, or only slightly
wounded, through utter carelessness in keeping a vigilant look-out. The
watcher may have omitted to scan the details of the locality, and when
unprepared for the interview, the tiger suddenly appears before him.
Startled at the unexpected apparition, he fires too quickly, and with
one bound the tiger vanishes from view, leaving the shooter in a state
of misery at his miss, that may be imagined. Nearly all the fatalities
in tiger-shooting are caused by careless shooting, which necessitates
the following up a blood-track; it is therefore imperative that extreme
care and coolness be observed in taking a steady aim at a vital portion
of the body, that will ensure the death of the animal at latest within a
few minutes. If the shot is fired at right angles with the flank,
exactly through the centre of the blade-bone, the tiger will fall dead,
as the heart will be shattered, and both shoulders will be broken. A
shot close behind the shoulder will pass through the centre of the
lungs, and death will be certain in about two minutes, but the animal
will be able to inflict fatal injuries upon any person it may encounter
during the first minute, before internal bleeding shall have produced
complete suffocation. If the hunter is confident in the extreme accuracy
of his rifle, a shot in the centre of the forehead rather above a line
drawn across the eyes will ensure instant death. This is a splendid shot
when the hunter sits upon an elevation and the tiger is approaching him;
in that position he must be careful to aim rather high, as, should the
bullet miss the forehead, it will then strike the spine at the junction
of the neck; or if too high, it will break the spine between the
shoulders; at any rate, the chances are all in favour of the rifle,
whereas, should the aim be too low, the bullet might penetrate through
the nose, and bury itself within the ground, merely wounding the animal
instead of killing. Should the hunter be on foot, he must on the
contrary aim low, exactly at the centre of the nose; if he is only one
inch too high, the tiger may escape, as the bullet may pass over the
head and back; but if the aim is low and the nose should be missed, the
bullet will either break the neck, or regularly rake the animal by
tearing its course through the chest and destroying the vitals in its
passage along the body. In that case the .577 solid bullet of 650 grains
and 6 drams of powder will produce an astonishing effect, and will
completely paralyse the attack of any lion or tiger, thus establishing a
thorough confidence in the heart of its proprietor.



CHAPTER VI

THE TIGER (continued)

There is no more delightful study than Natural History in its practical
form, where the wild beasts and their ways are actually presented to the
observer in their native lands, and he can examine their habits in their
daily haunts, and watch their characters in their wild state instead of
the cramped limits of zoological collections. At the same time we must
confess that the animals of a menagerie afford admirable opportunities
for photography, and are most instructive for a rudimentary preparation
before we venture upon the distant jungles where they are to be found in
their undisturbed seclusion. It is commonly supposed that wild animals
that have never been attacked by fire-arms are not afraid of man, and
that deer, antelopes, and various species which are extremely timid may
be easily approached by human beings, as the creatures have no fear of
molestation. My experience does not support this theory. Nearly all
animals have some natural enemy, which keeps them on the alert, and
renders them suspicious of all strange objects and sounds that would
denote the approach of danger. The beasts of prey are the terror of the
weaker species, which cannot even assuage their thirst in the hottest
season without halting upon the margin of the stream and scrutinising
the country right and left before they dare stoop their heads to drink.
Even then the herd will not drink together, but a portion will act as
watchers, to give notice of an enemy should it be discerned while their
comrades slake their thirst.

It is a curious and inexplicable fact that certain animals and varieties
of birds exhibit a peculiar shyness of human beings, although they are
exposed to the same conditions as others which are more bold. We see
that in every portion of the world the curlew is difficult to approach,
although it is rarely or never pursued by the natives of the
neighbourhood; thus we find the same species of bird exhibiting a
special character whether it has been exposed to attack, or if
unmolested in wild swamps where the hand of man has never been raised
against it.

The golden plover is another remarkable example, as the bird is wild in
every country that it inhabits, even where the report of fire-arms never
has been heard. The wagtails, on the contrary, are tame and confiding
throughout all places, whether civilised or savage. The swallows are the
companions of the human race, nesting beneath their eaves, and sharing
the shelter of their roofs in every clime. Why this difference exists in
creatures subjected to the same conditions is a puzzle that we cannot
explain. In like manner we may observe the difference in animals, many
of which are by nature extremely timid, while others of the same genus
are more bold. The beasts of prey vary in an extraordinary degree
according to their species, which are in some way influenced by
circumstances. Tigers and lions are naturally shy, and hesitate to
expose themselves unnecessarily to danger; both these animals will
either crouch in dense covert and allow the passer-by to continue his
course, or slink away unobserved, if they consider that their presence
is undetected. Nevertheless these animals differ in varying localities,
and it is impossible to describe the habits of one particular species in
general terms, as much depends upon the peculiarities of a district
which may exercise an effect in influencing character. The tigers that
inhabit high grass jungle are more dangerous than those which are found
in forests. The reason is obvious; the former cannot be seen, neither
can they see, until the stranger is almost upon them; they have
accordingly no time for consideration, but they act upon the first
impulse, which is either to attack in self-defence or to bound off in an
opposite direction. If the same tiger were in a forest it would either
see the approach or it would hear the sound of danger, and being
forewarned, it would have time to listen and to decide upon a course of
retreat; it would probably slink away without being seen.

Although the usual bait for a tiger is a young buffalo, there is no
animal that is held in greater respect by this ferocious beast than an
old bull of that species.

It is by no means an uncommon occurrence that should a tiger have the
audacity to attack a buffalo belonging to a herd, the friends of the
victim will immediately rush to its assistance, and the attacking party
is knocked over and completely discomfited, being only too glad to
effect a retreat.

A few months ago, from the date at which I am now writing, a native came
to my camp with the intelligence that a large tiger had suddenly sprung
from a densely wooded nullah and seized a cow that was grazing within a
few yards of him. The man shouted in the hope of scaring the tiger, when
two buffaloes who were near the spot and were spectators of the event at
once charged the tiger at full speed, knocked it over by their onset,
and followed it as it sprang for safety into the thick bush, thus saving
the cow from certain destruction. The cow, badly lacerated about the
throat, ran towards its native village, followed by its owner. I lost no
time in arriving at the spot, about two miles from camp, and there I
found the recent tracks precisely tallying with the description I had
received. We organised a drive on the following morning, but the
crestfallen tiger had taken the notice to quit, and had retreated from
the neighbourhood.

An example of this kind is sufficient to exhibit the cautious character
of the tiger. My shikari, a man of long experience, differed in opinion
with the native who had witnessed the attack. This man declared that the
tiger must be lying in a dense thicket covering a deep hollow of about
10 acres, to which it had retreated when charged by the two buffaloes;
he advised that we should lose no time, but organise a drive at once, as
the tiger, having been frightened by the buffaloes, would probably
depart from the locality during the night.

My shikari argued against this suggestion. He was of opinion that the
tiger might not be lying in the hollow, as there was much broken ground
and jungle in the immediate neighbourhood, including many dense and deep
nullahs that might have formed a retreat: if the tiger should happen to
be within one of those places, it would be outside the drive, and would
be frightened away by the noise of the beaters should we drive the
hollow, and it would escape unseen. If, on the other hand, the tiger
should be lying in any spot within a radius of half a mile, it would be
very hungry, as proved by its attack upon the cow during broad daylight,
and it would assuredly kill one or both of the baits, and remain with
its prey, if we should tie up two young buffaloes that night; we should
then be certain to have it within the drive on the following morning.

This was sound reasoning, and according to rule; but the native argued
that the tiger, having been knocked over and pounded by the buffaloes,
would be so cowed that it would decline to attack the young buffaloes
that might be secured to trees as baits; it would, on the contrary,
avoid anything in the shape of a buffalo, and if we neglected to drive
the jungle at once, we should find a blank upon the following morning.

The sequel proved that the man was correct, as the buffaloes were
untouched on the following day, and the tiger had disappeared from the
locality.

The tiger, although hungry, was sufficiently disturbed by its defeat to
abstain from any further attack; although the baits were only twelve
months old, it was too shy to encounter anything in the shape of a
buffalo.

In the grassy islands of the Brahmaputra there were a vast number of
tigers some twelve or fourteen years ago, but their number has been
reduced through the development of the country by the various lines of
steamers which have improved the navigation of the river. Formerly a
multitude of small islands of alluvial deposit thrown up by the
impetuous current created an archipelago for 60 or 70 miles of the
river's course south of Dhubri, in the direction of Mymensing; these
varied in size from a few hundred yards to a couple of miles in length,
and being covered with high grass and tamarisk, they formed a secluded
retreat for tigers and other game at the foot of the Garo Hills. The
river makes a sudden bend, sweeping near the base of this forest-covered
range, from which the wild animals at certain seasons were attracted to
the island pasturage and dense covert, especially when the forests had
been cleaned by annual firing, and neither food nor place of refuge
could be found. As these numerous islands abounded with wild pigs,
hog-deer, and other varieties of game, they were most attractive to
tigers, and these animals were tolerably secure from molestation, as it
was impossible to shoot or even to discover them in grass 10 feet high
without a line of elephants. The improvement introduced by steam
navigation gave an increased impulse to cultivation, as the productions
of the country could be transported at a cheap rate to Calcutta by the
large barges termed flats, which are fastened upon either side of the
river steamers. These are 270 feet in length, and of great beam. The
steamers are from 270 to 300 feet from stem to stern, and are furnished
with hurricane decks capable of stowing a large cargo, although the
draught of water is limited owing to the numerous sandbanks that
interrupt the channel. The peculiar conditions of the Brahmaputra, which
render it necessary that these large vessels should be of very shallow
draught, entail the necessity of a rudder 17 feet in length to afford a
sufficient resistance for steering when running down the stream. The
shock when striking upon a sandbank is sufficient to bury the stem
without straining the vessel, as the flat bottom remains fixed upon the
soft soil for a few moments, during which the force of the stream upon
so large a surface brings the steamer broadside on to the obstruction
and releases the stem. It is then an affair of an hour or more to get
her off the bank by laying out kedge anchors, and heaving upon the
hawsers with the steam winches.

The Brahmaputra is an extraordinary river, as it acknowledges no
permanent channel, but is constantly indulging in vagaries during the
season of flood; at such times it carries away extensive islands and
deposits them elsewhere. Sometimes it overflows its banks and cuts an
entirely new channel at a sudden bend, conveying the soil to another
spot, and throwing up an important island where formerly the vessels
navigated in deep water. This peculiar character of the stream renders
the navigation extremely difficult, as the bed is continually changing
and the captains of the steamers require a long experience.

During inundations the islands are frequently drowned out, and the wild
animals are forced to swim for the nearest shore. Upon such occasions
tigers have been frequently seen swimming for their lives, and they have
been killed in the water by following them in boats. The captain of the
steamer in which I travelled told me of a curious incident during a
great inundation, which had covered deeply all the islands and
transported many into new positions. Upon waking at daylight, the man
who took the helm was astonished to see a large tiger sitting in a
crouching attitude upon the rudder, which, as already explained, was 17
feet in length. A heavily-laden flat or barge was lashed upon either
side, and the sterns of these vessels projected beyond the deck of the
steamer, right and left.

The decks of these large flats were only feet above the water, and the
tiger, when alarmed by a shout from the helmsman, made a leap from the
rudder to the deck of the nearest vessel. In an instant all was
confusion, the terrified natives fled in all directions before the
tiger, which, having knocked over two men during its panic-stricken
onset, bounded off the flat and sought security upon the deck of the
steamer alongside. Scared by its new position and by the shouts of the
people, it rushed into the first hole it could discover; this was the
open door of the immense paddle-box, and the captain rushed to the spot
and immediately closed the entrance, thereby boxing the tiger most
completely.

There was only one gun on board, belonging to the captain: the door
being well secured, there was no danger, and an ornamental air-hole in
the paddle-box enabled him to obtain a good view of the tiger, who was
sitting upon one of the floats. A shot through the head settled the
exciting incident; and the men who were knocked over being more
frightened than hurt, the affair was wound up satisfactorily to all
parties except the tiger.

The progress of science in the improvement of steam navigation has had a
wonderful effect throughout the world during the past half century, and
it is interesting to watch the development resulting from the increased
facilities of steam traffic upon the Brahmaputra. Although a residence
upon the islands is accompanied by extreme risk during the period of
inundations, there are many villages established where formerly the
tigers held undisturbed possession; and the rich alluvial soil is made
to produce abundance, including large quantities of jute, which is
transported by the steamers to Calcutta. The danger of an unexpected
rise in the river is always provided for, and every village possesses
two or more large boats, which are carefully protected from the sun by a
roof of mats or thatch, to be in readiness for any sudden emergency.

When the natives first established themselves upon the islands and along
the dangerous banks of the Brahmaputra, they suffered greatly from the
depredations of the numerous tigers, and in self-defence they organised
a system by which each village paid a subscription towards the
employment of professional shikaris. These men soon reduced the numbers
of the common enemy, by setting clever traps, with bows and arrows, the
latter having a broad barbed head, precisely resembling the broad arrow
that is well known as the Government mark throughout Great Britain. The
destruction of tigers was so great in a few years that the
Lieut.-Governor of Bengal found it necessary to reduce the reward from
fifty rupees to twenty-five, and tiger-skins were periodically sold by
auction at the Dhubri Kutcherry at from eight annas to one rupee each.

In this manner the development of agricultural industry brought into
value the fertile soil, which had hitherto been neglected, and the wild
beasts were the first to suffer, and eventually to disappear from the
scene; precisely as indolent savage races must vanish before the
inevitable advance of civilisation. and their neglected countries will
be absorbed in the progressive extension of colonial enterprise.

I believe there are very few tigers to be found at the present time in
the islands or "churs" of the Brahmaputra, and although I never had the
good fortune to know the country when it was described to me as
"crawling" with these animals, I look back with some pleasure to my
visit in 1885, when through the kindness of Mr. G. P. Sanderson, the
superintendent of the keddahs, I was supplied with the necessary
elephants.

The Rajah of Moochtagacha, Soochikhan (or Suchi Khan), had started from
Mymensing with thirty-five elephants, and he kindly invited me to join
him for a few days before I should meet Mr. Sanderson at Rohumari, about
38 miles below Dhubri, on the Brahmaputra. I had a scratch pack of
twelve elephants, including some that had been sent forward from the
keddahs, and others kindly lent by the Ranee of Bijni. These raised our
number into a formidable line, excepting one huge male with long tusks
belonging to the Bijni Ranee, who was too savage to be trusted with
other elephants in company. This brute, as is not uncommon, combined
great ferocity with extreme nervousness. He had just destroyed the
howdah, which was smashed to atoms, as the animal had taken fright at
the crackling of flames when some one had ignited a patch of long grass
in the immediate neighbourhood. This had established an immediate panic,
and the elephant bolted at full speed, destroying the howdah utterly
beneath the branches of a tree; fortunately there was no occupant, or he
would certainly have been killed. The sound of fire is most trying to
the nerves of elephants, but a good shooting animal should be trained
especially to bear with it; otherwise it is exceedingly dangerous.

The Rajah's elephants were his peculiar enjoyment, and there was the
same difference in their general appearance, when compared with the
keddah elephants, as would be seen in a well-kept stable of hunters and
a team of ordinary farm horses. At the same time it must be remembered
that Suchi Khan's elephants did no work, but were kept solely for his
amusement, while the keddah animals had been working hard in the Garo
Hills for many months upon inferior food, engaged with their experienced
superintendent Mr. Sanderson in catching wild elephants. Nevertheless
there was a notable superiority in the Rajah's shikari animals, as they
had been carefully trained to the sport of tiger-hunting; they marched
with so easy a motion that a person could stand upright in the howdah,
rifle in hand, without the necessity of holding the rail. They appeared
to glide instead of swaying as they moved, and in that respect alone
they exhibited immense superiority, the difficulty of shooting with a
rifle from the back of an elephant in motion being extreme. Several of
these elephants were so well trained that they showed no alarm when a
tiger was on foot, at which time an elephant generally exhibits a
tendency to nervousness, and cannot be kept motionless by his mahout.

A favourite shikar animal had been badly bitten by a tiger a few days
before my arrival, and it was feared that she might become shy upon the
next encounter. Although the elephant is enormous in weight and
strength, the upper portion of the trunk is much exposed, as it is the
favourite spot for the tiger's attack, where it can fix its teeth and
claws, holding on with great tenacity. A wound on the trunk is most
painful, and when an elephant is actually pulled down by a tiger, it is
the pain to which the animal yields in falling upon the knees, more than
the actual weight and strength of the tiger that produce the effect. A
tiger, when standing upon its hind legs, would be able to reach about 8
feet without the effort of a spring; it may be readily imagined that a
female elephant unprotected by tusks must certainly be injured should a
tiger rush determinedly to the attack; nevertheless the female is
generally preferred to the male for steadiness and docility. When a
really trustworthy male elephant is obtainable, well grown, of large
size, easy action, and in perfect training, it is simply invaluable, and
there is no pleasure equal to such a mount; the sensation upon such an
animal is too delightful, and you long for the opportunity to exhibit
the power and prowess of your elephant, as the feeling of being
invincible is intensely agreeable. The only sensation that can approach
it is the fact of being mounted upon a most perfect hunter, that you can
absolutely depend upon when following the hounds in England; an animal
well up to a couple of stones more than your own weight, who never bores
upon your hand, but keeps straight, and never makes a mistake; even that
only faintly approaches the pleasure of a good day upon such an elephant
as I have described.

Mahouts will always lie concerning the reputation of the animal in their
charge, and I had been assured that the great male belonging to the
Ranee of Bijni was the ideal character I coveted; but I discovered that
his temper was so well known that the Rajah positively declined to
expose his line of elephants to an attack, which he assured me would
take place if the animal became excited; in which event some valuable
elephant would suffer, as the long tusks of the Bijni elephant had not
been blunted, or shortened by the saw. This splendid animal was
accordingly condemned to the ignominious duty of conveying food to the
camp, for the other elephants upon their return from their daily work.
The neighbourhood of the Brahmaputra is rich in plantain groves, and for
a trifling consideration the natives allow those trees which have
already produced their crop to be cut down. A full-length stem will
weigh about 80 lbs., therefore an elephant is quickly loaded, as the
animal for the short distance to camp will carry 18 cwts. or more. The
operation of loading a pad elephant with either boughs or plantain stems
is very curious. Two men are necessary; one upon the ground hands the
boughs, etc., to the man upon the animal's back, who lays the thin or
extreme end of the branch across the pad, leaving the thick or heavy end
outwards. He places one foot upon this to keep it from slipping off
until he has placed the next bough across it upon the opposite side,
arranged in a similar manner. In this way he continues to load the
elephant, each time holding down with his foot a separate bough, until
he has secured it by the weight of another, placed in the same position
opposite. This plan enables him to build up a load like a small
haystack, which is then secured by ropes, and almost hides the animal
that carries it. My mighty beast was condemned to this useful but
degrading employment, instead of being honoured by a place in the line
of shikari's elephants, and we started into the valleys among the Garo
Hills, led by a native who declared that he would introduce us to
rhinoceros and buffaloes.

We started at 6 A.M., and marched about 14 miles, extending into line
whenever we entered a broad valley of high grass, and slowly thrashing
our way through it. In many of the swampy flats among the hills the
reedy grass was quite 14 or 15 feet in height and as thick as the
forefinger; so dense was this herbage, that when the elephants were in
line you could only see the animals upon the immediate left and right,
the others being completely hidden. It struck me that this system of
beating was rather absurd, as there were no stops in the front, neither
scouts on the flanks, therefore any animals that might be disturbed by
the advance in line had every chance of escape without being observed.
The grass was a vivid green, and occasionally a rush in front showed
that some large animal had moved, but nothing could be seen. This was a
wrong system of beating. I was second in the line of six guns, the Rajah
Suchi Khan upon my left; we presently skirted the foot of a range of low
forest-covered hills, and after a rush in the high reeds I observed a
couple of sambur deer, including a stag, trotting up the hill through
the open forest, all of which had been recently cleared by fire. A right
and left shot from Suchi Khan produced no effect, but the incident
proved that the system of beating was entirely wrong, as the game when
disturbed could evidently steal away and escape unseen. Our right flank
had now halted at about 400 yards' distance as a pivot, upon which the
line was supposed to turn in order to beat out the swamp that was
surrounded upon all sides by hills and jungles. Suddenly a shot was
heard about 200 yards distant, then another, succeeded by several in
slow succession in the same locality. I felt sure this was a buffalo,
and, as the line halted for a few minutes, I counted every shot fired
until I reached the number twenty-one. Before this independent firing
was completed we continued our advance, wheeling round our extreme
right, and driving the entire morass, moving game, but seeing absolutely
nothing. Although the jungles had been burnt, the valley grass was a
bright green, as the bottom formed a swamp; even at this season (April)
the ground was splashy beneath the heavy weight of our advancing line.
Having drawn a blank since we heard the shots, we now assembled at the
spot, where we found a bull buffalo lying dead surrounded by the
elephants and four guns. These had enjoyed the fusillade of twenty-one
shots before they could extinguish the old bull, who had gallantly
turned to bay instead of seeking safety in retreat. It was a glorious
example of the inferiority of hollow Express bullets against
thick-skinned animals. The buffalo was riddled, and many of the shots
were in the right place, one of which behind the shoulder would have
been certain death with a solid 650 grains hard bullet, from a .577
rifle with 6 drams of powder. The buffalo, finding himself surrounded by
elephants, had simply stood upon the defensive, without himself
attacking, but only facing about to confront his numerous enemies.

We were a very long way from camp; we therefore retraced our course, and
having avoided some dense swamps that were too soft for the elephants,
we sought harder ground, shooting several hog-deer on our way, and
arriving in camp after sundown, having been working for twelve hours, to
very little purpose, considering our powerful equipments.

Although we had covered a very large area during the day's work, we had
seen no tracks of rhinoceros, and so few of buffaloes that we determined
to abandon such uninteresting and unprofitable ground; accordingly we
devoted the following day to the churs or islands of the river, where we
should expect no heavy game, but we might come across a tiger.

In driving the grassy islands of the Brahmaputra some persons are
contented with the chance of moving tigers by simply forming a line of a
quarter of a mile in length with forty elephants, without any previous
arrangement or preparation. This is wrong.

To shoot these numerous islands much caution is required, and unless
tigers are exceedingly plentiful, the whole day may be fruitlessly
expended in marching and counter-marching under a burning sun, with a
long line of elephants, to little purpose.

There should be a small herd of at least twenty head of cattle under the
special charge of four shikaris, and five or six of these poor beasts
should be tied up at a distance of a mile apart every evening as bait
for tigers. At daylight every morning the native shikaris should visit
their respective baits, and send a runner into camp with the message
should one or more have been killed. The elephants being ready, no delay
would occur, and the beat would take place immediately. In that manner
the tiger is certain to be found, as it will be lying somewhere near the
body of its prey.

There is a necessity for great precaution, lest a tiger when disturbed
should steal away and escape unobserved from the dense covert of high
grass. To effect his destruction, at least two scouting elephants should
be thrown forward a quarter of a mile ahead from either flank of the
advancing line; and, according to the conditions of the locality, two or
more elephants with intelligent mahouts should be sent forward to take
up positions ahead of the line at the terminus of the beat. These men
should be provided with small red flags as signals should the tiger show
itself; the waving of flags together with a shout will head the tiger,
and drive it back towards the advancing line of elephants; at the same
time the signal will be understood that a tiger is afoot, and the
mahouts will be on the alert.

When a tiger is headed in this manner it will generally crouch, and
endeavour to remain concealed until the elephants are close upon it.
Upon such occasions it will probably spring upon the first disturber
with a short harsh roar, and unless stopped or turned by a shot, it will
possibly break through the line and escape to the rear, as many of the
elephants will be scared and allow the enemy to pass.

Should this occur, it will be necessary to counter-march, and to reverse
the position by sending some active elephants rapidly upon either flank
to take up certain points of observation about 500 yards distant,
according to the conditions of the ground. This forms the principal
excitement of tiger-shooting in high grass, as the sport may last for
hours, especially if there are only two or three guns in a long line of
elephants. If there is no heavy forest at hand, but only grass jungle,
no tiger should be allowed to escape if the management is good, and the
patience of the hunters equal to the occasion.

I must give every credit to the Rajah Suchi Khan for this virtue, and
for the perseverance he and his friends exhibited in working for so many
hours in the burning sun of April to so little purpose. There was very
little game upon the islands near Dhubri beyond a few hog-deer and wild
pigs, and it appeared mere waste of time to wander in a long line of
beating elephants from sunrise till the afternoon with scarcely a hope
of tigers. However, upon the second day, when our patience was almost
exhausted, we met a native who declared that a tiger had killed one of
his cows only two days before. Taking him as a guide, he led us about
two miles, and in a slight hollow among some green tamarisk we were,
after a long search, introduced to a few scattered bones, all that
remained of the native cow which had been recently killed, and the
skeleton dislocated by jackals and wild pigs. Unless the tiger had been
disturbed there was every chance of its being somewhere in the
neighbourhood; we therefore determined to beat every yard of the island
most carefully, although it extended several miles in length, and was
about one mile in maximum width.

The line was formed, but no scouts were thrown forward, nor were any
precautions taken; it was simply marching and counter-marching at
hazard. Hours passed away and nothing was moved to break the monotony of
the day but an occasional pig, whose mad rush for the moment disturbed
the elephants.

It was 2 P.M.: hot work for ladies--my wife was in the howdah behind me.
I confess that I am not fond of the fair sex when shooting, as I think
they are out of place, but I had taken Lady Baker upon this occasion at
her special request, as she hoped to see a tiger. We were passing
through some dense green tamarisk, growing as close and thick as
possible, in a hollow depression, which during the wet season formed a
swamp, when presently the elephants began to exhibit a peculiar
restlessness, cocking their ears, raising their trunks, and then
emitting every kind of sound, from a shrill trumpet to the peculiar low
growl like the base note of an organ, broken suddenly by the sharp
stroke upon a kettle-drum, which is generally the signal of danger or
alarm. This sound is produced by striking the ground with the extremity
of the trunk curled up.

I felt sure that a tiger was in this dense covert. The question was how
to turn him out.

The tamarisk was about 20 feet high, but the stems were only as thick as
a man's arm; these grew as close together as corn in a field of wheat;
the feathery foliage of green was dark through extreme density, forming
an opaque mass that would have concealed a hundred tigers without any
apparent chance of their discovery.

Although this depression was only about 6 feet below the general level
of the island, it formed a strong contrast in being green, while the
grass in the higher level was a bright yellow. The bottom had been
swampy, which explained the vigorous vegetation; and although this lower
level was not wider than 80 or 90 yards, it was quite a quarter of a
mile in length.

Neither the mahouts nor their animals appeared to enjoy the fun of
beating out this piece of dense covert, as they were well aware that the
tiger was "at home." As it was absolutely necessary to form and keep a
perfect line, the elephants being shoulder to shoulder, I begged the
Rajah and his friends to ride towards the terminus of the tamarisk
bottom, placing a gun at the extreme end and upon either side; while I
should accompany the beaters to keep a correct line, and to drive the
covert towards them. I felt sure that by this arrangement the tiger
could not escape without being seen.

This was well carried out; they took their places, and after some delay
I managed to collect about forty elephants into a straight line, not
more than 4 or 6 feet from each other. The word was given for the
advance, and the effect was splendid. The crash through the yielding
mass was overpowering; the dark plumes of the tamarisk bowed down before
the irresistible phalanx of elephants; the crackling of the broken stems
was like the sound of fire rushing through a cane-brake, and this was
enlivened by sudden nervous squeals, loud trumpets, sharp blows of
kettle-drums, deep roars, and all the numerous sounds which elephants
produce when in a state of high nervous excitement. I felt sure that at
times the tiger was only a few feet in our advance, and that it was
slinking away before the line.

The elephants increased in excitement; sometimes two or three twisted
suddenly round, and broke the line. A halt was ordered, and although it
was impossible to see beyond the animal on the immediate right and left,
the order was given to dress into an exact line, and then to advance.

In this manner, with continual halts to re-form, we continued our
uncertain but irresistible advance. Suddenly we emerged upon a swampy
piece of grass interspersed with clumps of tamarisk; here there was
intense excitement among the elephants, several turned tail and bolted
in an opposite direction; when the cause was quickly discovered, by a
large tiger passing exactly in front of me not 20 yards distant, and
showing himself most distinctly, giving me a lovely chance.

The elephant we rode was a female named Sutchnimia, and she had been
introduced to my notice as infallible, her character as usual being well
supported by her mahout; but no sooner did this heroic beast descry the
tiger, than she twisted herself into every possible contortion, throwing
herself about in the most aimless attitudes, with a vigour that
threatened the safety of the howdah and severely taxed the strength of
the girth-ropes.

The tiger (a fine male) suddenly stopped, and turned three-parts round,
apparently amazed at the gesticulations of the elephant; and there the
beast stood, exposing the shoulder to a most certain shot if the
elephant would have kept decently quiet for only two seconds. The fact
of the tiger having halted, and remaining in view within 20 yards, only
aggravated the terror of Sutchnimia, and she commenced shaking her
colossal body like a dog that has just emerged from water. It was as
much as we could do to hold on with both hands to the howdah rails; my
watch was smashed, the cartridges in my belt were bent and doubled up
against the pressure of the front rail and rendered useless, while the
mahout was punching the head of his refractory animal with the iron
spike, and the tiger was staring with astonishment at the display upon
our side.

This picture of helplessness did not last long; the tiger disappeared in
the dense covert, and left me to vent my stock of rage upon the
panic-stricken elephant. Twice I had endeavoured to raise my rifle, and
I had been thrown violently against the howdah rail, which had
fortunately withstood the shock. The tiger had broken back, therefore it
was necessary to repeat the beat. I was of opinion that it would be
advisable to take the elephants out of the tamarisk jungle, and to march
them along the open ground, so as to re-enter exactly in the same place
and in the same order as before. There could be no doubt that the tiger
would hold to the thick covert until fairly driven out, and it would
probably break upon the second beat where the guns were protecting the
end and both sides of the hollow.

The elephants were this time intensely excited, as they knew as well as
we did that the game was actually before them. I ordered them to keep
within a yard of each other, to make it impossible for the tiger to
slink back by penetrating the line. Several times as we advanced in this
close order the animal was evidently within a few feet of us, as certain
elephants endeavoured to turn back, while others desired to dash forward
upon the unseen danger, which all keenly smelt. At last, when several
elephants trumpeted and made a sudden rush, a shot was fired from the
gun upon the left flank, stationed upon the open ground slightly above
the hollow. The line halted for an explanation, and it appeared that the
Rajah had fired, as the tiger for an instant showed itself upon the edge
of the tamarisk jungle.

We now continued the advance; the tiger had not spoken to the shot,
therefore we considered that it was without effect, and I felt sure that
in such compact order we should either trample upon it or push it out at
the extremity of the covert.

At length, having carefully beaten out the tamarisk, which had now been
almost destroyed by the tread of so close a line of elephants, we
emerged at the extreme end of the hollow, where, instead of tamarisk, a
dense patch of withered reeds much higher than an elephant were mingled
in a confused growth, occupying an area of hardly 10 yards square. I
felt sure that the tiger must have crouched for concealment in this
spot.

Suchi Khan had brought his elephant upon the left, another gun was on
the right, and a third in the centre at the extreme end, while I was in
the bottom with the line of elephants. Begging the outside guns to be
careful, and to reserve their fire until the tiger should bolt into the
open, I ordered the elephants to form three parts of a circle, to touch
each other shoulder to shoulder, and slowly to advance through the
tangled reeds. This was well done, when suddenly the second elephant
upon my left fell forward, and for the moment disappeared; the tiger had
made a sudden spring, and seizing the elephant by the upper portion of
the trunk, had pulled it down upon its knees. The elephant recovered
itself, and was quickly brought into the position from which for a few
seconds it had departed. The tiger was invisible in the dense yellow
herbage.

Very slowly the line pressed forward, almost completing a circle, but
just leaving an aperture a few yards in width to permit an escape. The
elephant's front was streaming with blood, and the others were intensely
excited, although apparently rendered somewhat confident by pressing
against each other towards the concealed enemy.

Presently a mahout about two yards upon my right beckoned to me, and
pointed downward with his driving-hook. I immediately backed my elephant
out of the crowd, and took up a position alongside his animal. He
pointed at some object which I could not distinguish in the tangled
mixture of reeds, half-burnt herbage, and young green grass that had
grown through; at length something moved, and I at once made out the
head and shoulders of a tiger crouching as though ready for a spring. In
another moment it would have tried Sutchnimia's nerves by fixing its
teeth upon her trunk; but this time she stood well, being encouraged by
the supporting elephants, and I placed a .577 bullet between the tiger's
shoulders; this settled the morning's sport without further excitement.

The tiger was dragged out. It was a fine male, and we discovered that
Suchi Khan's shot had struck it in the belly; the wound, not being
fatal, had rendered it more vicious.

It has already been remarked that a really staunch and tractable
elephant is rarely met with. This renders tiger-shooting exceedingly
uncertain, as it is impossible to shoot correctly with a rifle when an
animal is flinging itself about to an extent that renders it necessary
to hold fast by the howdah rail. I generally take an ordinary No. 12 gun
as an adjunct. If the grass is very high and dense, the tiger will
seldom be farther than 20 yards distant, and a smooth-bore breechloader
with a spherical ball will shoot sufficiently well to hit the palm of
your hand. This accuracy may be obtained to 30 or 40 yards provided that
the bullet is sufficiently large to enter the chamber, but a size too
large for the muzzle. It will accordingly squeeze its way through
without the slightest windage, and will shoot with great precision, with
a charge of 4 1/2 drams of powder and a ball of pure soft lead. A No. 12
is exceedingly powerful, and if 7 lbs. in weight, it can be fired with
one hand like a pistol. This is an immense advantage, as the shooter can
hold tight by the howdah rail with his left hand, while he uses his gun
with the right. I always load the right barrel with ball, and the left
with the same charge of powder (4 1/2 drams), but with either 16 S.S.G.
or 1 1/2 ounce of A.A. or B.B. shot. For leopards there is nothing so
certain as S.S.G. at 20 or 30 yards; and for hog-deer and other sorts of
small game the smaller shot is preferable, but always with the same full
charge of powder.

A smooth-bore gun is much easier to use than a rifle from a howdah, as
it is unnecessary to squint along the sight, but the shot is taken at
once with the rapidity usual in ordinary shooting at flying objects.
Care must be taken, when firing only with one hand, that the wrist
should be turned to the left, so that the hammers of the gun are lying
over in that direction instead of being erect. In that position the
elbow is raised upon the right, and the recoil of the gun will not throw
it up towards the shooter's face, which might happen should the gun be
held with the hammers uppermost; it is also much easier to hold a gun
with one hand in the attitude described. Should a tiger spring upon an
elephant, it would be exceedingly difficult to defend the animal unless
by shooting with one hand, as the struggles of the elephant would render
it impossible to stand.

I had a practical example of this shortly after the departure of Suchi
Khan, when I pushed on to Rohumari and met Mr. G. P. Sanderson, April 1,
1885. He had brought with him the entire force of elephants from the
Garo Hills, the season for capturing wild elephants having just expired.
Many of his men were suffering from fever, and he himself evidently had
the poison of malaria in his system.

A bullock had been tied up the preceding evening within three-quarters
of a mile from our camp, and on the morning of April 1 this was reported
to have been killed. We accordingly sallied out, and in a few minutes we
found the remains, above which the vultures were soaring in large
numbers. The high grass had been partially burnt, and large patches
remained at irregular distances where the fire had not penetrated, or
where the herbage had been too green to ignite; however, all was as dry
as tinder at this season, and having formed the elephants in line, I
took up a position with my elephant about 300 yards ahead.

The elephants came on in excellent formation, as Mr. Sanderson was
himself with them in command; presently I saw a long tail thrown up from
among the yellow grass, and quickly after I distinguished a leopard
moving rapidly along in my direction. For a few minutes I lost sight of
it, but I felt sure it had not turned to the right or left, and, as a
clump of more than ordinary thick grass stood before me, I concluded
that the animal had probably sought concealment in such impervious
covert.

When the elephants at length approached, I begged that half a dozen
might just march through the patch within a few yards of my position. I
was riding an elephant called Rosamond, which was certainly an
improvement upon my former mount.

Hardly had the line entered the patch of grass when, with a short angry
roar, a leopard sprang forward, and passed me at full speed within 25
yards; and immediately turned a somersault like a rabbit, with a charge
of 16 S.S.G. from the No. 12 fired into its shoulder.

This was very rapidly accomplished, as our camp was within view,
certainly not more than a mile distant.

We placed the leopard upon a pad elephant, and sent it home; while we
once more extended the line, and as usual I took up a position some
hundred yards in advance, in a spot that was tolerably clear from the
high grass.

Almost the same circumstance was repeated.  I saw another leopard
advancing before the line, and pushing my elephant forward to a point
that I considered would intercept it, I distinctly saw it enter a
tangled mass of herbage, hardly large enough to shelter a calf; there it
disappeared from view.

The line of elephants arrived, and no one was aware that another leopard
had been moved. I pointed out the small clump of grass, and ordered an
elephant to walk through it. In an instant a leopard bolted, and
immediately rolled over like its comrade; but as I had to wait until it
had cleared the line of elephants before I fired, it was about 35 yards
distant, and although it fell to the shot, it partially recovered, and
limped slowly forward with one broken leg, being terribly wounded in
other places. It only went about 40 paces, and then lay down to die. One
of the mahouts dismounted from his elephant, and struck it with an axe
upon the head. This leopard was immediately despatched to camp, and we
proceeded to beat fresh ground, as no tiger had been here, but evidently
the two leopards had killed the bullock on the preceding night, and
nothing more remained.

Rosamond had stood very steadily, but she was terribly rough to ride,
and the howdah swung about like a boat in a choppy sea.

A couple of hours were passed in marching through every place that
seemed likely to invite a tiger, but we moved nothing except a great
number of wild pigs; a few of these I shot for the Garo natives who
accompanied us. At length we observed in the distance the waving, green,
feathery appearance of tamarisk, and as the sun was intensely hot, we
considered that a tiger would assuredly select such cool shade in
preference to the glaring yellow of withered grass. At all times during
the hot season a dense bed of young tamarisk is a certain find for a
tiger, should such an animal exist in the neighbourhood. The density of
the foliage keeps the ground cool, as the sun's rays never penetrate.
The tiger, being a nocturnal animal, dislikes extreme heat, therefore it
invariably seeks the densest shade, and is especially fond during the
hottest weather of lying upon ground that has previously been wet, and
is still slightly damp; it is in such places that the tamarisk grows
most luxuriantly.

We were now marching through a long strip of this character which had at
one time formed a channel; on either side the tamarisk strip was
enormously high, and dense grass. Suddenly an elephant sounded the
kettle-drum note; this was quickly followed by several others, and a
rush in the tamarisk frightened the line, as several animals had
evidently broken back. We could see nothing but the waving of the bush
as the creatures dashed madly past. These were no doubt large pigs, but
I felt certain from the general demeanour of the elephants that some
more important game was not far distant.

The advance continued slowly and steadily.  Presently I saw the
tamarisk's feathery tops moving gently about fifteen paces ahead of the
line; the elephants again trumpeted and evinced great excitement; this
continued at intervals until we at length emerged from the tamarisk upon
a flat space, where the tall grass had been burnt while yet unripe, and
although killed by the fire and rendered transparent, it was a mass of
black and yellow that would match well with a tiger's colour. We now
extended the line in more open order, to occupy the entire space of
about 200 yards front; Sanderson kept his position in the centre of the
line, while I took my stand in an open space about 150 yards in advance,
where an animal would of necessity cross should it be driven forward by
the beat.

The line advanced in good order.  The elephants were much disturbed, and
they evidently scented danger.

They had not marched more than 50 or 60 yards before a tremendous
succession of roars scattered them for a few moments, as a large tiger
charged along the line, making splendid bounds, and showing his entire
length, as he made demonstrations of attack upon several elephants in
quick rotation. It was a magnificent sight to see this grand animal, in
the fullest strength and vigour, defy the line of advancing monsters,
every one of which quailed before the energy of his attack and the
threatening power of his awe-inspiring roars. The sharp cracks of two
shots from Sanderson, whose elephant was thus challenged by the tiger,
hardly interrupted the stirring scene; but, as the enemy rushed down the
line, receiving the fire from Sanderson's howdah, he did not appear to
acknowledge the affront, and having effected his purpose of paralysing
the advance, he suddenly disappeared from view.

I was in hopes that he would break across the open which I commanded,
but there was no sign of movement in the high grass. The line of
elephants again advanced slowly and cautiously; suddenly at a signal
they halted, and I observed Sanderson, whose elephant was a few yards in
advance of the line, halt, and, standing up, take a deliberate aim in
the grass in front. He fired; a tremendous roar was the response, and
the tiger, bounding forward, appeared as though he would assuredly cross
my path. Instead of this, after a rush of about 50 or 60 yards I saw the
tall grass only gently moving, as the animal had reduced its pace to the
usual stealthy walk. The grass ceased moving in a spot within 30 paces,
and exactly opposite my position. I marked a bush upon which were a few
green shoots that had sprouted since the fire had scorched the grass. I
was certain that the tiger had halted exactly beneath that mark. My
mahout drove the elephant slowly and carefully forward, and I was
standing ready for the expected shot, keeping my eyes well open for an
expected charge; Sanderson was closing in upon the same point from his
position. Presently, when within a few feet of the green bush, I
distinguished a portion of the tiger, but I could not determine whether
it was the shoulder or the hind-quarter. Driving the elephant steadily
forward, with the rifle to my shoulder, I at length obtained a complete
view. The tiger was lying dead!

Sanderson's last shot had hit it exactly behind the shoulder; but the
first right and left had missed when the tiger charged down the line,
exemplifying the difficulty of shooting accurately with an elephant
moving in high excitement.

We now loaded an elephant with this grand beast and started it off to
camp, where Lady Baker had already received two leopards. We had done
pretty well for the 1st April, but after this last shot our luck for the
day was ended.

This day unfortunately deprived me of my companion, as the fever which
had been dormant developed itself in Sanderson and completely prostrated
him. He had a peculiar objection to quinine, therefore in default of
remedies, which were all at hand, he remained a great sufferer during
three successive weeks, and I was left alone with the long line of
elephants to complete the driving of the innumerable churs below the
village of Rohumari. I must pay Mr. Sanderson the well-merited
compliment of praising his staff of mahouts, who were, with their
well-trained animals, placed at my disposal; these men exhibited the
result of such perfect discipline and organization, that, although a
perfect stranger to them, I had not the slightest difficulty; on the
contrary, they worked with me for twenty days as though I had been their
old master for as many years. No better proof could be adduced of the
excellent management of Mr. Sanderson's department.

The sport on 1st April had raised my expectations, but I quickly
discovered that it was an exceptional day, and that the rule would be
disappointing. A little experience introduced me to the various
characters of the elephants which composed our pack, and I amused myself
by arranging them according to their qualifications, the heavier and
slower animals in the centre, and the more active at either end of the
line. Each elephant was to retain invariably the same position every
day, as the mahouts and their beasts would be more likely to act
harmoniously if always associated together in the beat. The fast
elephants, being at the extreme ends, would be able to turn quickly upon
the centre whenever necessary. Four elephants were told off as scouts;
these were the most active, with intelligent mahouts. The men appeared
to take an intense interest in the sport, and in the regularity of the
arrangements, as they were equally aware with myself of the necessity
for strict order and discipline, where only one solitary gun represented
the offensive capacity of the line.

The ordinary method of tiger-shooting with a long line of elephants
comprises five or six guns placed at intervals. I dislike this style of
sport, as it engenders wild and inaccurate firing. Every person wishes
to secure a chance, therefore no opportunity is lost, and wherever the
grass is seen to move, a bullet is directed at the spot. If only one gun
is present, extreme caution and good management are necessary to ensure
the death of a tiger, and the result of twenty-five days' shooting on
the churs of the Brahmaputra was highly satisfactory, as during that
period eight tigers and three leopards _only_ were moved, and every one
was bagged; thus nothing whatever escaped.

I always make a point of allowing the Government reward as a bonus,
without any deductions for buffalo baits or beaters, and this amount I
divide among the shikaris and mahouts according to my estimation of
their merits; this gives them an additional interest in the proceedings.
We were now thoroughly organised, and, if the tigers had been in the
numbers that existed some years ago, we should have made a more than
ordinary bag. The difficulty of managing so long a line of elephants
with a tiger on foot, and only one gun, was shortly made apparent.

One of our baits had been killed, and the body had been dragged into
about twelve acres of wild rose. This bush produces a blossom rather
larger than the common dog-rose of English hedges, and equally lovely.
Although it is armed with a certain amount of thorns, it is not to be
compared with the British variety as a formidable barrier, but, as it
delights in swamp hollows, it grows into the densest foliage, about 18
feet high, and forms an impenetrable screen of tangled and matted
vegetation. No human being could force his way through a network of wild
rose, therefore it forms a desirable retreat for all wild animals, who
can penetrate beneath it, and enjoy the protection of cool shade, and
undisturbed seclusion.

In an open grass country it may be readily imagined that tigers would be
certain to resort to such inviting covert, where they would be secure
from all intrusion, and to which cavernous density they could drag and
conceal their prey.

Upon arrival about three miles from camp at this isolated patch of rose
jungle, I felt sure that the tiger must be within. There was a similar
but rather smaller area of wild rose about 3/4 mile distant, and it was
highly probable that should the tiger be disturbed, it might slink away,
break covert at the extreme end, and make off across the open grassland
to the neighbouring shelter. I therefore posted myself outside the
jungle in a kind of bay, where I considered the tiger would emerge from
his secure hiding-place before he should risk a gallop across the open.

I threw out scouts as usual, and I sent the line of elephants round, to
drive the jungle towards me from the opposite extremity.

A certain time elapsed, and at length I perceived the approach, in
splendid line, each elephant as nearly as possible equidistant from its
neighbour.

They marched forward in regular array until within a couple of hundred
yards of my position; then suddenly I heard a trumpet, trunks were
thrown up in the air, the line wavered, and a succession of well-known
sounds showed that a tiger was before them. The mahouts steadied their
animals, brought them again into a correct line, and the advance
continued.

I was riding a large male elephant named Thompson; this was a fine
animal with formidable tusks, but he was most unsteady. Already he was
swaying to and fro with high excitement, as he knew full well by the
trumpets and sounds of the other elephants that a tiger was not far
distant.

Presently I saw the jungle shake, and a hog-deer dashed out within a few
yards of me; the elephant whisked suddenly round; this prepared me for a
display of his nervousness. Again the rose bushes moved, and I
distinctly observed a yellowish body stealing beneath the tangled mass;
it was quickly lost to sight. The line of beating elephants was coming
slowly forward, crashing their way through the bush, and occasionally
giving a shrill scream, when again I saw the bushes move; without
further introduction a very large tigress gave two or three roars, and
rushed out of the jungle exactly opposite my position, straight at my
elephant. Before I had time to raise my rifle, the elephant spun round
as though upon a pivot, and ran off for a few paces, making it
impossible for me to fire. The tiger, probably alarmed, turned back into
the secure fortress of wild rose.

We now knew that the tiger was positively between the line of elephants
and myself. I felt sure that it would not show again at the same place;
I therefore selected a favourable spot about 100 yards to my left upon
some slightly rising ground, and the elephants wheeled and beat directly
towards me.

Nothing moved except pigs, which all broke back at a wild rush between
the elephants' legs, two of which had slight cuts from the tusks of
boars, which had made a spiteful dig at the opposing legs whilst
passing.

At length the line arrived within 20 yards from the margin of the thick
jungle; here a regular rush took place; several hog-deer dashed back,
but at the same time a tiger bounded forward, and galloped across the
open grass-land in the direction of the neighbouring wild-rose covert.
The scouts holloaed, waved their puggarees, and then rode after the
tiger as hard as they could press their active elephants.

My steed Thompson had behaved disgracefully, as he had again twisted
suddenly round, and was so unsteady that although the tigress was not 10
yards from me I had not the power of firing; I accordingly relinquished
my favourite rifle '577, which I secured in the rack, and took in
exchange my handy No. 12 smooth-bore, which only weighed 7 lbs. With
that light weapon I knew I could take a quick flying shot; the
right-hand barrel was loaded with a spherical ball, and the left with 1
3/4 ounce S.S.G shot and 4 1/2 drams of powder. To load a cartridge case
(Kynoch's brass) with this charge, and a very thick felt wad, it is
necessary to fix the wad above the shot with thick gum, otherwise it
will not contain the extra quantity.

Upwards of an hour was passed in driving the second covert, but although
we moved the tiger several times, it was impossible to obtain a shot, as
the cunning brute, discovering our intentions, was determined not to
break into the open near the elephant. At length, finding the
impossibility of dislodging it, I put myself in the centre of the line,
and left the end of the covert unguarded, so as to invite the tiger to
make a dash through the interval to regain the former jungle.

As we marched along, driving in a compact line I presently observed the
jungle move about 30 yards before me, and I immediately fired into the
spot, not in the expectation of hitting an unseen animal, but I
concluded that the shot would assist in driving it from the covert. This
was successful, as shortly afterwards we heard the shouts of the mahouts
on the scouting elephants, who reported that the tiger had gone away at
great speed across the intervening ground towards the original retreat.

We hurried forward, and upon reaching the wild-rose jungle we re-formed
the line, and made use of every possible manoeuvre for at least an hour
without obtaining a view of the tiger. The elephants appeared confident
that their enemy was there, and my men began to think that the shot I
had fired into the bush might have wounded it, and that it was probably
lying dead beneath some tangled foliage. By this time, through continual
advancing and counter-marching, the jungle was completely trodden into
confused masses of concentrated briars, which might have concealed a
buffalo.

I did not share their opinion, but I concluded that the tiger was
crouching, and that it would allow the elephants to pass close to its
lair without the slightest movement. I accordingly ordered them to close
up shoulder to shoulder, and to take narrow beats backwards and forwards
to include every inch of ground. This movement was carefully worked out,
and in less than fifteen minutes a sudden roar terrified the elephants,
and the tiger charged desperately through the line! There was no longer
any doubt about its existence, and we quickly reformed, and beat back in
exactly the same close order. Twice the charge was repeated, and each
time the line was broken; one elephant received a trifling scratch, and
the tiger had learned that a direct charge would enable it to escape.

With only one gun it appeared to be a mere lottery, but the excitement
was delightful, as there was no doubt concerning the tiger being alive,
and very little doubt that it would continue its present tactics of
crouching close-hidden in the dense thicket, and springing back through
the line of elephants as they advanced. I now changed my position in the
line, and taking with me two experienced elephants. I placed one on my
right, the other on my left; we then advanced as slowly as it was
possible for the elephants to move, every mahout having strict orders to
keep a bright look-out, and to halt should he see the slightest movement
in the bush before him. No animals were left in the jungle except the
tiger, therefore any movement would be a certain sign of its presence.

We had been advancing at the rate of about half a mile an hour, the
elephants almost "marking time" when in about the centre of the jungle
one of the mahouts raised his arm as a signal and halted his elephant.
The whole line halted immediately.

I rode towards the spot; the line opened, and the mahout explained that
he distinctly saw the bushes move exactly in his front, not more than
three or four paces in advance. He declared that just for one moment he
had distinguished something yellow, and the tiger was in his opinion,
even then, crouching exactly before us. Telling him to fall back, my two
dependable elephants took their places upon the right and left. My
mahout advised me not to advance, but to fire a shot into the supposed
position, which he declared would either kill the tiger or drive it
forward. I never like to fire at hazard, but I was of opinion that it
might provoke a charge, as I did not think that anything would induce
the tiger to move forward after the numerous successful attempts in
breaking back. I accordingly aimed with the No.12 smooth-bore carefully
in the direction pointed out by the mahout, and fired. The effect was
magnificent; at the same instant a loud roar was accompanied by the
determined spring of the tiger from its dense lair. My elephant twisted
round so suddenly to the left, that had I been unprepared I should have
fallen heavily against the rail. Instead of this, my left hand clutched
instinctively the left rail of the howdah, and holding the gun with my
right, I fired it into the tiger's mouth within 2 feet of the muzzle,
just as it would have seized the mahout's right leg. A sack of sand
could not have fallen more suddenly or heavily. The charge of S.S.G. had
gone into the open jaws.

The remnant of that skull is now in my possession. The lower jaw
absolutely disappeared, being reduced to pulp. All the teeth were cut
away from the upper jaw, together with a portion of the bone, and
several shot had gone through the back of the throat and palate into the
brain. This was a striking example of the utility of a handy smooth-bore
in a howdah for close quarters. If I had had my favourite '577 rifle
weighing 12 lbs., I could not have used it with one hand effectively,
but the 7 lb. smooth-bore was as handy as a pistol. The wind-up of the
hunt was very satisfactory to my men, all of whom had worked with much
intelligence and skill.

There were so many wild pigs throughout the churs below Rohumari that
the tigers declined to kill our baits, as they could easily procure
their much-loved food. Every night our animals were tied up in various
directions, but we found them on the following morning utterly
disregarded. This neglect on the part of the tigers imposed the
necessity of marching in line haphazard for many hours consecutively
through all the most likely places to contain a tiger. Many of the
islands were at this dry season separated from each other by sandy
channels where the contracted stream was only a few inches deep; it was
therefore a certain proof, should tigers exist upon the islands, if
tracks were discovered on the sand. During the night it was the custom
of these animals to wander in all directions, and it was astonishing
upon some occasions to see the great distances that the tiger had
covered, and the numerous churs that it had visited, either in a search
for prey, or more probably for a companion of its own species.

If there were no tracks in the channel-beds, it might be safely inferred
that there were no tigers in the neighbourhood. Nevertheless I continued
daily to beat every acre of ground, and we seldom returned till about 4
p.m., having invariably started shortly after daybreak.

It would be natural to suppose that the elephants would have become
accustomed to the scent of tigers, from their daily occupation, and that
their nerves would have been more or less hardened; but this was not the
case; on the contrary, some became more restless, and evinced extreme
anxiety when a pig or hog-deer suddenly rushed from almost beneath their
feet. This timidity led to a serious accident, which narrowly escaped a
fatal termination.

We had been fruitlessly beating immense tracts of withered grass about
10 feet high, in which were numerous pigs, but no trace of tigers, and
at about noon we met some natives who were herding cattle and buffaloes.
The presence of this large herd appeared to forbid the chance of finding
any tigers in their vicinity, and upon questioning the herdsmen they at
once declared that no such animals existed in the immediate
neighbourhood; at the same time they advised us to try fresh ground upon
a large island about two miles distant up the stream.

We crossed several channels, after scrambling with the usual difficulty
down the cliffs, quite 35 feet high, of crumbling alluvial soil, and at
length we reached the desired spot, where a quantity of tamarisk filled
a slight hollow which led from the river's bed up a steep incline. By
this route we ascended, and formed the elephants into line upon our
left. The hollow in which my elephant remained ran parallel with the
line of march, and about 5 feet below. Just as the elephants moved
forward, my servant, who was behind me in the howdah, exclaimed, "Tiger,
master, tiger!" and pointed to the left in the high grass a few yards in
front of the line of elephants.

I could see nothing; neither could my man, but he explained that for an
instant only he had caught sight of along furry tail which he was sure
belonged to either a tiger or a leopard. I could always depend upon
Michael, therefore I at once halted the line, with the intention of
pushing my elephant ahead until I should discover some tolerably clear
space among the high grass, in which I could wait for the advance of the
beating line.

At about a quarter of a mile distant there was a spot where the grass
had been fired while only half-ripened, and although the bottom was
burnt, the stems were only scorched, and of that mingled colour, black
and yellow, which matches so closely with the striped hide of a tiger.
There was no better position to be found; I therefore halted, and gave
the preconcerted signal for a forward movement.

The line of elephants advanced. I was riding the large tusker Thompson,
who became much agitated as a succession of wild pigs rushed forward
upon several occasions, and one lot took to water, swimming across a
channel upon my left. Presently a slow movement disturbed the half-burnt
herbage, and I could make out with difficulty some form creeping
silently forward about 40 yards from my position. It halted, no doubt
having perceived the elephant. It moved again, and once more halted. I
now made out that it was a tiger; but although I could distinguish
yellow and black stripes, I could not possibly determine any head or
tail, therefore I could only speculate upon its actual attitude. It
struck me that it would probably be facing me, but crouching low. The
elephants were now about 150 yards distant, approaching in a crescent,
as the high grass was not more than the same distance in width.

I determined to take the shot, as I felt sure that the .577 rifle would
cripple the beast, and that we should find it when severely wounded;
otherwise it might disappear and give us several hours' hard labour to
discover. Taking a very steady aim low down in the indistinct mass, I
fired.

The effect was instantaneous; a succession of wild roars was accompanied
by a tremendous struggle in the high grass, and I could occasionally see
the tiger rolling over and over in desperate contortions, while a cloud
of black dust from the recent fire rose as from a furnace. This
continued for about twelve or fifteen seconds, during which my elephant
had whisked round several times and been severely punished by the
driver's hook, when suddenly, from the cloud of dust, a tiger came
rushing at great speed, making a most determined charge at the nervous
Thompson. Away went my elephant as hard as he could go, tearing along
through the grass as though a locomotive engine had left the rails, and
no power would stop him until we had run at least 120 yards. During this
run, with the tiger in pursuit for a certain distance, I fully expected
to see it clinging to the crupper; however, by the time we turned the
elephant it had retreated to the high grass covert.

I felt sure this was the wounded tiger, although Michael declared that
it was a fresh animal, and that two had been together.

I now pushed the elephant into the middle of the grass, and holloaed to
the line to advance in a half-circle, as I was convinced that the tiger
was somewhere between me and the approaching elephants.

They came on tolerably well, although a few were rather scared. At
length they halted about 70 yards from me, and, as I knew that the tiger
was not far off, I ordered the left wing (on my right) to close in, so
as to come round me, by which movement the tiger would be forced to
within a close shot.

Before the line had time to advance, there was a sudden roar, and a
tiger sprang from the grass, and seized a large muckna (tuskless male)
by the trunk, pulling it down upon its knees so instantaneously that the
mahout was thrown to the ground.

As quick as lightning the tiger relinquished its hold upon the elephant
and seized the unfortunate mahout.

I never witnessed such a hopeless panic. The whole line of elephants
broke up in complete disorder. The large elephant Hogg, who had been
seized, was scaring riderless at mad speed over the plain; a number of
others had bolted in all directions, and during this time a continual
succession of horrible roars and angry growls told that the tiger was
tearing the man to pieces. A cloud of dust marked the spot within 70
paces of my position. It was like a dreadful nightmare; my elephant
seemed turned to stone. In vain I seized the mahout by the back of the
neck and nearly dislocated his spine in the endeavour to compel him to
move forward; he dug his pointed hook frantically into Thompson's head,
but the animal was as rigid as a block of granite. This lasted quite
fifteen seconds; it appeared as many minutes. Suddenly my servant
shouted "Look out, master, another tiger come; two tigers, master, not
one!" I looked in the direction pointed, and I at once saw a tiger
crouching as though preparing for a charge, about 40 yards distant: the
animal was upon my right, and the elephant had not observed it.

I fired exactly below the nose, and the tiger simply rolled upon its
side stone-dead, the bullet having completely raked it. Leaving the body
where it lay, my elephant now responded to the driver's hook, and
advanced steadily towards the spot where we had seen the cloud of dust
which denoted the attack upon the mahout. Fully expecting to see the
tiger upon the man's body, I was standing ready in the howdah prepared
for a careful shot. We arrived at the place. This was cleared of grass
by the recent struggle, but instead of finding the man's body, we merely
discovered his waist-cloth lying upon the ground a few yards distant.
About 15 yards from this bloody witness we saw the unfortunate mahout
lying apparently lifeless in the grass.

We immediately carried him to the river and bathed him in cool water. He
had been seized by the shoulder, and was terribly torn and clawed about
the head and neck, but fortunately there were no deep wounds about the
cavity of the chest. We bandaged him up by tearing a turban into long
strips, and having made a good surgical job, I had him laid upon a pad
elephant and sent straight into camp. We then loaded an elephant with
the tiger, which we proved to be the same and only animal (a tigress)
which had charged the elephant after my first shot. The bullet had
struck the thigh bone, causing a compound fracture, and that accounted
for the escape of Thompson without being boarded from the rear, as she
could not spring so great a height upon only three legs. The furious
beast had then attacked the elephant named Hogg, which, falling upon its
knees, had thrown the unready driver. We subsequently discovered that he
had a boil upon his right foot, which had prevented him from using the
rope stirrup; this accounted for the fall from his usually secure seat.

The tigress, having mauled her victim and left him for dead, was
prepared for an onset upon Thompson had I not settled her with the .577
bullet in the chest.

On arrival at the camp the man was well cared for, and on the following
morning we forwarded him by boat to the hospital at Dhubri in charge of
the keddah doctor. It was satisfactory to learn that after a few months
he recovered from his wounds, and exhibited his complete cure by
absconding from the hospital unknown to the authorities, without
returning thanks for the attention he had received.

This incident was an unfortunate example of the panic that can be
established among elephants. It is a common saying that the elephant
depends upon the mahout; this is the rule for ordinary work, but
although a staunch elephant might exhibit nervousness with a timid
mahout, no driver, however determined, can induce a timid animal to face
a tiger, or to stand its onset. Thompson had behaved so badly that I
determined to give him one more chance, and to change him for another
elephant should he repeat his nervousness.

A few days after this occurrence, the natives reported a tiger to be in
a thicket of wild rose. We had changed camp to a place called Kikripani,
about eight miles from Rohumari, and I immediately took the elephants to
the wild-rose jungle, which was about two miles distant.

The usual arrangements were made, and I took up a position upon Thompson
in a narrow opening of fine grass which cut at right angles through the
wild-rose thicket. As the elephants approached in close order, I was
certain, from the peculiar sounds emitted, that a tiger or some
unbeloved animal was before them, and upon the advance of the line to
within 30 yards of the open ground a rustling in the bush announced the
presence of some animal which could not much longer remain concealed.
Suddenly a large panther bounded across the open, and I took a snap
shot, which struck it through the body a few inches behind the shoulder.
It rolled over to the shot, but immediately disappeared in the thick
jungle a few paces opposite.

I called the line of elephants, and we lost no time in beating the
neighbouring bush in the closest order, as I fully expected the panther
would be crouching beneath the tangled mass of foliage.

In a short time the elephants sounded, and without more ado the panther
forsook its cover and dashed straight at Thompson, seizing this large
elephant by the shoulder joint, and hanging on like a bull-dog with
teeth and claws. Away went Thompson through the tangled rose-bushes,
tearing along like a locomotive! It was impossible to fire, as the
panther was concealed beneath the projecting pad below the howdah, and I
could not see it. In this manner we travelled at railway pace for about
100 yards, when I imagine the friction of the thick bush through which
we rushed must have been too much for the resistance of the attacking
party, and the panther lost its hold; in another instant it disappeared
in the dense jungle.

I now changed my elephant, and rode a steady female (Nielmonne), and the
line having re-formed, we advanced slowly through the bush. We had not
gone 50 yards before the elephants scented the panther, and knowing the
stealthy habits of the animal I formed a complete circle around the
spot, and closed in until we at length espied the spotted hide beneath
the bush. A charge of buckshot killed it without a struggle.

According to my own experience, there can be no comparison in the sport
of hunting up a tiger upon a good elephant in open country, and the more
general plan of driving forest with guns placed in position before a
line of beaters. By the former method the hunter is always in action,
and in the constant hope of meeting with his game, while the latter
method requires much patience, and too frequently results in
disappointment. Nevertheless, to kill tigers, every method must be
adopted according to the conditions of different localities.

Under all circumstances, if possible, a dependable elephant should be
present, as many unforeseen cases may arrive when the hunter would be
helpless in the absence of such an animal; but, as we have already seen,
the danger is extreme should the elephant be untrustworthy, as a runaway
beast may be an amusement upon open grass-land, but fatal to the rider
in thick forest.

The only really dependable elephant that I have ever ridden was a tusker
belonging to the Commissariat at Jubbulpur in 1880; this fine male was
named Moolah Bux. He was rather savage, but he became my great friend
through the intervention of sugar-canes and the sweet medium of jaggery
(native sugar) and chupatties, with which I fed him personally whenever
he was brought before me for the day's work; I also gave him some
bonne-bouche upon dismounting at the return to camp.

Although Moolah Bux was the best elephant I have myself experienced, he
was not absolutely perfect, as he would not remain without any movement
when a tiger charged directly face to face; upon such occasions he would
stand manfully to meet the enemy, but he would swing his huge head in a
pugnacious spirit preparatory to receiving the tiger upon his tusks.

The first time that I witnessed the high character of this elephant was
connected with a regrettable incident which caused the death of one man
and the mutilation of two others, who would probably have been killed
had not Moolah Bux been present. The description of this day's
experience will explain the necessity of a staunch shikar elephant when
tiger-shooting, as the position may be one that would render it
impossible to approach on foot when a wounded and furious tiger is in
dense jungle, perhaps with some unfortunate beater in its clutches.

I was shooting in the Central Provinces, accompanied by my lamented
friend the late Mr. Berry, who was at that time Assistant-Commissioner
at Jubbulpur.

We were shooting in the neighbourhood of Moorwarra, keeping a line as
nearly as possible parallel with the railway, limiting our distance to
20 miles in order to obtain supplies. This arrangement enabled us to
receive 30 lbs. of ice daily from Allahabad, as a coolie was despatched
from the station immediately upon arrival of the train, the address of
our camp being daily communicated to the stationmaster. It was the hot
season in the end of April, when a good supply of ice is beyond price;
the soda-water was supplied from Jubbulpur, and with good tents, kuskos
tatties, and cool drinks, the heat was bearable. It was this heat that
had brought the tigers within range, as all water-springs and brooks
were dried up, the tanks had evaporated, and the only water procurable
was limited to the deep holes in the bends of streams that were of
considerable importance in the cooler seasons of the year. The native
headmen had received orders from the Deputy-Commissioner to send
immediate information should any tigers be reported in their respective
districts; they had also received special instructions to tie up
buffaloes for bait should the tracks of tigers be discovered. The latter
order was a mistake, as the buffaloes should not have been tied up until
our arrival at the locality; upon several occasions the animals were
killed and eaten some days before we were able to arrive upon the scene.

This was proved to be the case upon our arrival at Bijore, about nine
miles from the town of Moorwarra, where the zealous official had
exhibited too eager a spirit for our sport. Two buffaloes had been tied
up about half a mile apart, near the dry bed of a river, where in an
abrupt bend the current had scooped out a deep hole in which a little
water still remained. Both buffaloes had been killed, and upon our
arrival early in the morning nothing could be discovered except a few
scattered bones and the parched and withered portions of tough hide.

There were tracks of tigers upon the sand near the drinking-place, also
marks of cheetul and wild pigs, therefore we determined to drive the
neighbouring jungle without delay.

The neighbourhood was lovely, a succession of jungles and open
grass-glades, all of which had been burnt clean, and exceedingly fine
grass, beautifully green, was just appearing upon the dark brown surface
scorched by the recent fire.

There were great numbers of the ornamental mhowa trees, which from their
massive growth resembled somewhat the horse-chestnut trees of England.
These had dropped their luscious wax-like blossoms, which from their
intense sweetness form a strong attraction to bears and other animals of
the forests; they also form a valuable harvest for the natives, who not
only eat them, but by fermentation and distillation they produce a
potent spirit, which is the favourite intoxicating liquor of the
country.

If game had been plentiful this would have been a charming
hunting-ground, but, like most portions of the Central Provinces, the
animals have been thinned by native pot-hunters to an extent that will
entail extermination, unless the game shall be specially protected by
the Government. When the dry season is far advanced, the animal can only
procure drinking water at certain pools in obscure places among the
hills; these are well known to the native sportsman, although concealed
from the European. On moonlight nights a patient watch is kept by the
vigilant Indian hunter, who squats upon a mucharn among the boughs
within 10 yards of the water-hole, and from this point of vantage he
shoots every animal in succession, as the thirst--driven beasts are
forced to the fatal post.

Nothing is more disappointing than a country which is in appearance an
attractive locality for wild animals, but in reality devoid of game. I
make a point of declining all belief in the statements of natives until
I have thoroughly examined the ground, and made a special search for
tracks in the dry beds of streams and around the drinking-places. Even
should footprints be discovered in such spots, they must be carefully
investigated, as the same animals visit the water-hole nightly, and in
the absence of rain, the tracks remain, and become numerous from
repetition; thus an inexperienced person may be deceived into the belief
that game is plentiful, when, in fact, the country contains merely a few
individuals of a species. It must also be remembered that during the dry
season both deer, nilgyhe, and many other animals travel long distances
in search of water, and return before daylight to their secluded places
of retreat.

This was the position of Bijore at the period of our visit; the most
lovely jungles contained very little game. Although our baits had been
devoured some days ago, I could not help thinking that the tiger might
still be lurking in the locality, as it had been undisturbed, and there
was little or no water in the neighbourhood excepting one or two
drinking places in the beds of nullahs.

We had 164 beaters, therefore we could command an extensive line, as the
jungles, having been recently burnt, were perfectly open, and an animal
could have been seen at a distance of 100 yards.

Having made all the necessary arrangements, the beat commenced. It was
extraordinary that such attractive ground contained so little game. The
surface was a delicate green from the young shoots of new grass, and
notwithstanding the enticing food there were no creatures to consume the
pasturage.

Hours passed away in intense heat and disappointment; the most likely
jungles were beaten with extreme care, but nothing was disturbed beyond
an occasional peacock or a scared hare. The heat was intense, and the
people having worked from 6 a.m. began to exhibit signs of weariness, as
nothing is so tiring as bad luck. Although the country was extremely
pretty it was very monotonous, as each jungle was similar in appearance,
and I had no idea how far we were from camp; to my surprise, I was
informed that we had been working almost in a circle, and that our tents
were not more than a mile and a half distant in a direct line. We came
to the conclusion that we should beat our way towards home, carefully
driving every jungle in that direction.

During the last drive I had distinctly heard the bark of a sambur deer
about half a mile in my rear, which would be between me and the
direction we were about to take. It is seldom that a sambur barks in
broad daylight unless disturbed by either a tiger or leopard; I was
accordingly in hope that the sound might be the signal of alarm, and
that we might find the tiger between us and the neighbouring village by
our camp, where a small stream might have tempted it to drink.

Having taken our positions-Mr. Berry amidst a few trees which formed a
clump in a narrow glade outside, and myself around the corner of a
jungle--the beat commenced. I was in the howdah upon Moolah Bux, and
from my elevated position I could look across the sharp corner of the
jungle and see a portion of the narrow glade commanded by my companion
Berry; upon my side there was a large open space perfectly clear for
about 200 yards, therefore the jungle was well guarded upon two sides,
as the drive would terminate at the corner.

In a short time the usual monotony of the beater's cries was exchanged
for a series of exciting shouts, which showed that game of some kind was
on foot. We had lost so much hope, that the presence of a tiger was
considered too remote to restrict our shooting to such noble game, and
it had been agreed to lose no chance, but to fire at any animal that
should afford a shot. Presently, after a sudden roar of animated voices,
I saw ten or twelve wild pigs emerge from the jungle and trot across the
glade which Berry commanded. A double shot from his rifle instantly
responded.

The line of beaters was closing up. This was a curious contrast to the
dull routine which had been the character of the drives throughout the
day; there was game afoot, and the jungle being open, it could be seen,
therefore immense enthusiasm was exhibited by the natives. Another burst
of excited voices proclaimed a discovery of other animals, and a herd of
eight or ten spotted deer (cheetul) broke covert close to my elephant
and dashed full speed across the open glade. They were all does and
young bucks without antlers, therefore I reserved my fire. We could not
now complain of want of sport, as all the animals appeared to be
concentrated in this jungle; another sudden yelling of the beaters was
quickly followed by a rush of at least twenty pigs across Berry's glade,
and once again his rifle spoke with both barrels in quick succession. I
was in hope that the sambur stag that I had heard bark in this direction
might be still within the drive, but the beaters were closing up, and
the greater portion of the line had already emerged upon either side of
the acute angle.

I now perceived Berry advancing towards me, he having left his place of
concealment in the clump of trees. "Did you see him?" he exclaimed,
as he approached within hearing distance. "See what?" I replied;
"have you wounded a boar?" "A boar! No; I did not fire at a boar, but
at a tiger, the biggest that I ever saw in my experience! He passed
close by me, within 20 yards, at the same time that the herd of pigs
broke covert; and I fired right and left, and missed him with both
barrels; confound it."

This was a most important announcement, and I immediately dismounted
from my elephant to examine the spot where the tiger had so recently
appeared. It must indeed have been very close to Berry, as I had not
seen the beast, my line of view being limited by the intervening jungle
to the portion of the glade across which the pigs had rushed.

I now measured the distance from Berry's position to the tracks of the
tiger, which we discovered after some few minutes' search. This was
under 20 yards. The question now most important remained-Was the tiger
wounded? A minute investigation of the ground showed the mark of a
bullet, but we could find no other. This looked as though it must have
struck the tiger, but Berry was very confident that such was not the
case, as he declared the tiger did not alter his pace when fired at,
but, on the contrary, he walked majestically across the narrow glade
with his head turned in the opposite direction from Berry's position. He
was of opinion that the tiger had not been disturbed by the close report
of the rifle, as the noise of 164 beaters shouting at the maximum power
of their voices was so great that the extra sound of the rifle bore only
a small proportion.

We looked in vain for blood-tracks, and having come to the conclusion
that Berry had fired too high in a moment of excitement, we now made the
most careful arrangements for driving the jungle into which the tiger
had so recently retreated.

This formed a contrast to all others that we had beaten during the
morning's work, as it had not been burnt. The fire had stopped at a
native footpath, and instead of the bare ground, absolutely devoid of
grass or dead leaves, the withered herbage as yellow as bright straw
stood 3 feet high, and formed a splendid cover for animals of all kinds.
I felt certain that the tiger would not leave so dense a covert without
an absolute necessity; at the same time it was necessary to make a
reconnaissance of the jungle before we could determine upon our
operations.

Mounting my elephant Moolah Bux, I begged Berry to take Demoiselle, and
accompanied by a couple of good men we left the long line of beaters
stationed in order of advance along the glade, with instructions to
march directly that we should send them the necessary orders. I begged
them upon this occasion not to shout, but merely to tap the trees with
their sticks as their line came forward.

We proceeded about a quarter of a mile ahead, and then turned into the
jungle on our left. Continuing for at least 300 yards, we arrived at
some open ground much broken by shallow nullahs, which formed natural
drains in a slight depression of grassy land between very low hills of
jungle, through which we had recently passed. There was a small nullah
issuing from the forest, in which I placed my elephant, and I begged my
friend Berry to ride Demoiselle to a similar place about 200 yards upon
my right. I concluded that should the tiger be between us and the line
of beaters, he would in all probability steal along one or the other of
these nullahs before he could cross the open ground. We now sent back
one of the natives with orders for the line of beaters to advance. Mr.
Berry left upon Demoiselle to take up his position, while I pushed
Moolah Bux well into the jungle in the centre of the small nullah, which
commanded a clear view of about 20 yards around.

In a short time we heard the clacking sound of many sticks, the beaters
having obeyed the injunction, and keeping profound silence with their
voices.

There were no animals in this jungle, probably they had been frightened
by the great noise of the beaters when shouting in the recent drive; at
any rate, the beat was barren, and having waited fruitlessly until I
could see the men approaching within a few yards of my position, I
ordered the elephant to turn round, with the intention of proceeding
another quarter of a mile in advance, and thus continuing to beat the
jungle in sections until it should be thoroughly driven out.

I had hardly turned the elephant, when we were startled by tremendous
roars of a tiger, continued in quick succession within 50 yards of the
position that I occupied. I never heard either before or since such a
volume of sound proceeding from a single animal; there was a horrible
significance in the grating and angry voice that betokened the extreme
fury of attack. Not an instant was lost! The mahout was an excellent
man, as cool as a cucumber, and never over-excited. He obeyed the order
to advance straight towards the spot, in which the angry roars still
continued without intermission.

Moolah Bux was a thoroughly dependable elephant, but although moving
forward with a majestic and determined step, it was in vain that I
endeavoured to hurry the mahout; both man and beast appeared to
understand their business thoroughly, but to my ideas the pace was
woefully slow if assistance was required in danger.

The ground was slightly rising, and the jungle thick with saplings about
20 feet in height, and as thick as a man's leg; these formed an
undergrowth among the larger forest trees.

Moolah Bux crashed with ponderous weight through the resisting mass,
bearing down all obstacles before him as he steadily made his way
through the intervening growth. The roars had now ceased. There were no
leaves upon the trees at this advanced season, and one could see the
natives among the branches in all directions as they were perched for
safety in the tree-tops, to which they had climbed like monkeys at the
terrible sounds of danger. "Where is the tiger?" we shouted to the first
man we could distinguish in this safe retreat only a few yards distant.
"Here, here!" replied the man, pointing immediately beneath him. Almost
at the same instant, with a loud roar, the tiger, which had been lying
ready for attack, sprang forward directly for Moolah Bux.

There were so many trees intervening that I could not fire, and the
elephant, instead of halting, moved forward, meeting the tiger in its
spring. With a swing of his huge head Moolah Bux broke down several tall
saplings, which crashed towards the infuriated tiger and checked the
onset; whether the animal was touched by the elephant's tusks I could
not determine, but it appeared to be within striking distance when the
trees were broken across its path. Discomfited for the moment, the tiger
bounded in retreat, and Moolah Bux stood suddenly like a rock, without
the slightest movement. This gave me a splendid opportunity, and the
'577 bullet rolled the enemy over like a rabbit. Almost at the same
instant, having performed a somersault, the tiger disappeared, and fell
struggling among the high grass and bushes about 15 paces distant.

I now urged Moolah Bux carefully forward until I could plainly see the
tiger's shoulders, and a second shot through the exact centre of the
blade-bone terminated its existence.

The elephant had behaved beautifully, and I have frequently looked back
to that attack in thick forest, and been thankful that I was not mounted
upon such animals as I have since that time had the misfortune to
possess. Moolah Bux now approached the dead body, and at the command of
the mahout he pulled out by the roots all the small undergrowth of
saplings and dried herbage to clear a space around his late antagonist.
In doing this his trunk several times touched the skin of the tiger,
which he appeared to regard with supreme indifference.

I gave two loud whistles with my fingers as a signal that all was over,
and we were still occupied in clearing away the smaller growth of
jungle, when a native approached as though very drunk, reeling to and
fro, and at length falling to the ground close to the elephant's heels;
the man was covered with blood, and he had evidently fainted. I had an
excellent Madras servant named Thomas, who was behind me in the howdah,
and he lost no time in descending from the elephant and in pouring water
over the unfortunate coolie, from a jar which I handed from beneath the
seat. In a few moments the man showed signs of life, and the beaters
began to collect around the spot. Two men were approaching supporting a
limp and half-collapsed figure between them, completely deluged with
blood; this was a second victim of the tiger's attack. Both men were now
laid upon the ground, and water poured over their faces and chests; but
during this humane operation another party was observed, carrying in
their arms the body of a third person, which was hardly to be recognised
through the mass of blood coagulated and mixed with dead leaves and
sand, as the tiger had dragged and torn its victim along the ground with
remorseless fury. This was a sad calamity. There could be little doubt
that when we heard the roars of the infuriated beast it was attacking
the line of beaters, and knocking them over right and left before they
had time to ascend the trees. The village was only a mile distant, and
we immediately sent for three charpoys (native bed-steads) as stretchers
to convey the wounded men. Demoiselle arrived with Mr. Berry, who came
into my howdah, while the tiger was with some difficulty secured upon
the pad of that exceedingly docile elephant. In this form we entered the
village as a melancholy procession;, the news having spread, all the
women turned out to meet us, weeping and wailing in loud distress, and
the scene was so touching that I began to reflect that tiger-shooting
might be fun to some, but death to others, who, poor fellows, had to
advance unarmed through dangerous jungle.

The reason for this savage attack was soon discovered. As a rule, there
is little danger to a line of beaters provided the tiger is unwounded,
and no person should ever place his men in the position to drive a
jungle when a wounded tiger is in retreat. In such a case, if no
elephants are present, it would be necessary to obtain the assistance of
buffaloes; a herd of these animals driven through the jungle would
quickly dislodge a tiger. We now skinned our late enemy, while a
messenger was started towards Moorwarra, 9 or 10 miles distant, to
prepare the authorities for the reception of our wounded men in
hospital.

The skin having been taken off, we discovered a small hole close to the
root of the tail, which had not been observed. Upon a close examination
with the finger, I found minute fragments of lead, resembling very small
shot flattened upon an anvil. The hole was not deeper than 1 1/4 inch in
the hard muscle of the rump, and the only effect of Berry's '577 hollow
Express was to produce this trumpery wound, which had enraged the animal
without creating any serious injury. It is necessary to explain that the
bullet of this rifle was more than usually light and hollow; but the
want of penetrating power of the hollow projectile, and the dangerous
results, were terribly demonstrated, notwithstanding the large charge of
6 drams of powder.

A comparison of the effect of my '577 with the same charge of 6 drams,
but with a solid bullet of ordinary pure lead weighing 648 grains, was
very instructive. The first shot, when the tiger was bounding in retreat
after it had charged the elephant, had struck the right flank, and as
the animal was moving obliquely, the bullet had passed through the
lungs, then, breaking the shoulder-bone, it was found in its integrity
just beneath the skin of the shoulder upon the side opposite to that of
entry; it was very much flattened upon one side, as it had traversed an
oblique course throughout, and had torn the inside of the animal in a
dreadful manner. The second shot, fired simply to extinguish the dying
tiger, passed through both shoulders, but was found under the skin upon
the opposite side, flattened exactly like a mushroom, into a diameter of
about 1 1/2 inch at the head, leaving about half an inch of the base
uninjured which represented the stalk. This was a large tiger, and
remarkably thick and heavy, with strong and hard muscles, nevertheless
the penetration of the soft leaden bullet was precisely correct for that
quality of game. If the '577 bullet had been made of an admixture of tin
or other alloy to produce extreme hardness, it would have passed through
the body of the tiger with a high velocity, but the animal would have
escaped the striking energy, which would not have been expended upon the
resisting surface. It is the striking energy, the knocking-down power of
a projectile, that is so necessary when hunting dangerous game. I cannot
help repetition in enforcing this principle: there is a minimum amount
of striking energy in a light hollow projectile, and a maximum amount in
a solid heavy projectile; keep the latter within the animal to ensure
the effect of the blow; this will be effected by a bullet made of pure
lead without admixture with other metal, to flatten upon impact, and by
the expansion of surface it will create a terrific wound; at the same
time it will have sufficient momentum from its great weight to push
forward, and to overcome the resistance of opposing bones and muscles. A
very large tiger may weigh 450 lbs.; a '577 bullet of 650 grains,
propelled by 6 drams of powder, has a striking energy of 3520
foot-pounds. This may be only theoretical measurement, but the
approximate superiority of 3500 lbs. against the tiger's weight, 450
lbs., would be sufficient to ensure the stoppage of a charge, or the
collapse of the animal in any position, provided that the bullet should
be retained within the body, and thus bestow the whole force of the
striking energy.

We did all that could be done for our wounded men. The strength of caste
prejudices was so potent that, although in pangs of thirst from pain and
general shock to the system, they would accept nothing from our hands. I
made a mixture of milk with soda-water, brandy, and laudanum, but they
refused to swallow it, and the only course, after washing their wounds
and bandaging, was to leave them to the treatment of their own people.

One man was severely bitten through the chest and back, the fangs of the
tiger having penetrated the lungs; he was also clawed in a terrible
manner about the head and face, where the paws of the animal had first
made fast their hold. This man died in a few hours. The others were
bitten through the shoulder and upper portion of the arm, both in the
same manner, and the sharp claws had cut through the scalp from the
forehead across the head to the back of the neck, inflicting clean
wounds to the bone, as though produced by a pruning-knife. They were
conveyed in litters to the hospital in Moorwarra, where they remained
for nearly a month, at the expiration of which they recovered. The
seizure by the claws was effected without the shock of a blow.

This serious accident was entirely due to a hollow bullet: if a solid
bullet had struck a tiger in the same place it would have carried away a
portion of the spine, and the animal would have been paralysed upon the
spot.

In the absence of a dependable elephant we should have been helpless,
and the tiger might have wounded or killed many others.



CHAPTER VII

THE TIGER (CONTINUED)

The day after the accident described, we were sitting beneath the shade
of a mango grove at about 4 P.M. when a native arrived at the camp with
news that a tiger had just killed a valuable cow which gave him a large
supply of milk, and the body was lying about 2 miles distant. The tragic
incident of the previous day had established a panic in the village, and
the natives were not in the humour to turn out as beaters. I quite
shared their feeling, as I did not wish to expose the poor people after
the loss they had sustained; it was too late for a beat, therefore I
determined to take the two elephants and make a simple reconnaissance,
that might be of use upon the following day.

It was 4.30 P.M. by the time we started, as the two elephants had taken
some time to prepare. The native was tolerably correct in his estimate
of distance, and after passing through a long succession of glades and
wooded hills, broken by deep nullahs, we arrived at the place, where
soaring vultures marked the spot, and the remains of a fine white cow
were discovered, that had been killed upon the open ground and dragged
into the dense jungle. Leaving Demoiselle in the open, and taking Berry
into my howdah upon Moolah Bux, we carefully searched the jungle until
sunset, but finding nothing, we were obliged to return to camp, having
made ourselves thoroughly acquainted with the conditions of the
locality. On the following morning at daylight I took only twenty men,
who had recovered from their panic, and with the two elephants and a
very plucky policeman we made our way to the place where the body of the
cow was lying on the previous evening. It was gone. Leaving all the men
outside the jungle, we followed on Moolah Bux, tracking along the course
where the tiger had dragged the carcase, and keeping a sharp look-out in
all directions. After a course of about 150 yards we arrived at a spot
where the tiger had evidently rested: here it had devoured the larger
portion, and nothing but the head remained. It was impossible to decide
whether jackals or hyenas had made away with the remnants, or whether
the tiger had carried them off to some secure hiding-place, but it was
highly probable that the animal was not far distant.

The jungle was not more than 5 or 6 acres, and it was surrounded by
grass; we therefore determined to arrange scouts around, while we should
thoroughly but slowly examine the covert upon the two elephants.

There was nothing in the drive.

The slope upon which the jungle was situated drained towards an
exceedingly deep and broad nullah; this formed the main channel, into
which numerous smaller nullahs converged from the surrounding
inclination. The general character of the country was withered grass
upon numerous slopes, the tops of which were covered with low jungle. At
the lower portion of the deep nullah there was a small but important
pool of water, as it was the only drinking-place within a distance of 2
miles. As usual, there was a sandbank around this deep pool, which,
being in the bend of the nullah, had been swept out of the opposing bank
and deposited near, the drinking-hole. Upon this sandy surface we found
several tracks of tigers, and we arrived at the conclusion that a tiger
and tigress had been together, and that I had killed the male on the
occasion of the accident; the female would therefore be the animal of
which we were in search.

The nullah was about 20 yards across and 30 feet in depth; the banks
were in most places perpendicular, and the bottom was rough with stones,
intermingled with bushes, most of which had lost their foliage. It was
quite possible that, after drinking the tigress might have lain down to
sleep among the bushes, where the hollowed bank afforded a cool shade;
but I did not like to send men into the dangerous bottom, and the banks
were so steep that the elephants could not possibly descend.

About 400 paces distant, a large tree grew from the right bank, and the
branches overhung the nullah; I therefore suggested to Berry that he
should take up a position in the boughs, and that we would beat towards
him by pelting the bottom of the ravine with stones; should the tigress
break back, I could stop her from the howdah, and should she move
forward, she must pass directly beneath the tree upon which Berry would
be seated. This plan was carried out, but the plucky policeman insisted
upon descending into the nullah and walking up the bottom, while the
natives upon either side bombarded the banks with stones.

There was absolutely nothing alive in that inviting nullah. I had walked
Moolah Bux slowly along, looking down from the margin of the ravine, and
upon arrival at Berry's perch I took him up behind me in the rear
compartment of the howdah. I felt almost sure that, although we had
drawn a blank up to the present time, the tigress would be lying
somewhere among the numerous deep but narrow nullahs which drained into
the main channel that we had just examined. We therefore determined to
leave all the men seated upon a knoll on the highest ground, while we
should try the various nullahs upon Moolah Bux; as he could walk slowly
along the margin so close to the edge that we should be able to look
down into the bottom of each ravine, and in the parched state of
vegetation nothing could escape our view.

The natives were well satisfied with this arrangement, and they took
their seats upon a grassy hill, which afforded a position from which
they could watch our movements.

Moolah Bux commenced his stately march, walking so close to the hard
edge of the deep nullahs that I was rather anxious lest the bank should
suddenly give way. The instinct of an elephant is extraordinary in the
selection of firm ground. Although it appeared dangerous to me, Moolah
Bux was perfectly satisfied that the ground would bear his weight, and
he continued his risky march, both up and down a number of those
monotonous ravines which scored the slopes in all directions, but
without success.

The sun was like fire, and it was difficult to grasp the barrel of the
rifle. It was past noon, and we had been working unceasingly since 6
a.m. The bottoms of the ravines were filled some feet in depth with dry
leaves, which had fallen from the trees (now naked) which fringed the
banks, therefore we could have seen a cat had she been lying either in
the nullah or upon the barren sides. "There is no tigress here," said
Berry; "this is one of those sly brutes, that kills and eats, but does
not remain near her kill; she is probably a couple of miles away while
we are looking for her in these coverless nullahs."

These words were hardly uttered, when we suddenly heard a rushing sound
like a strong wind, which seemed to disturb the dried leaves in the deep
bottom somewhere in our front. At first I could hardly understand the
cause, but in a few seconds a large tigress sprang up the bank, and
appeared about 20 paces in our front. Without a moment's hesitation she
uttered several short roars, and upon the beautifully clean ground she
bounded forward in full charge straight for Moolah Bux. I never saw a
more grand but unprovoked attack.

The elephant was startled by the unexpected apparition, and I could not
fire, as he swung his mighty head upon one side, but almost immediately
he received the tigress upon his long tusks, and with a swing to the
right he sent her flying into the deep nullah from which she had just
emerged.

Although the trees and shrubs were utterly devoid of leaves, there was
unfortunately a large and dense evergreen bush exactly opposite, called
karoonda; the tigress sprang up the bank, and disappeared behind this
opaque screen before we had time to fire.

The mahout, who was a splendid fellow, perceived this in an instant, and
driving his elephant a few paces forward, he turned his head to the
right, giving me a beautiful clear sight of the tigress, bounding at
full speed about 80 paces distant along the clean surface of parched
herbage, up a slight incline.

I heard the crack of Berry's rifle close to my ear, but no effect was
produced. The tigress was going directly away from us, and Moolah Bux
stood as firm as a rock, without the least vibration. As I touched the
trigger, the tigress performed a most perfect somersault, and lay
extended on the bare soil with her head turned towards us, and her tail
stretched in a straight line exactly in the opposite direction. A great
cheer from our men, who had witnessed the flying shot from their
position on the knoll, was highly satisfactory.

We now turned back, and at length discovered a spot where the elephant
could descend and cross the deep nullah. We then measured the
distance--82 yards, as nearly as we could step it. My .577 solid bullet
of pure lead had struck the tigress in the back of the neck; it had
reduced to pulp several of the vertebrae, and entering the brain, it had
divided itself into two portions by cutting its substance upon the hard
bones of the broken skull, which was literally smashed to pieces.

I found a sharp-pointed jagged piece of lead, representing about
one-third of the bullet, protruding through the right eye-ball; the
remaining two-thirds I discovered in the bones of the face by the back
teeth, where it was fixed in a misshapen but compact mass among
splinters of broken jaw.

Berry's bullet had also struck the tigress, but precisely in the same
place, close to the root of the tail, where he had wounded the tiger a
short time before. Upon arrival at the camp we skinned the animal, and
took special pains to prove the effect of the unfortunate hollow bullet.
This was conclusive, and a serious warning.

The penetration was only an inch in depth. We washed the flesh in cold
water, and searched most carefully throughout the lacerated wound, which
occupied a very small area of about 1 inch. In this we found two pieces
of the copper plug which stopped the hole in front of the bullet,
together with a number of very minute fragments or flakes of lead; these
proved that the extremely hollow projectile had broken up, and was
rendered abortive almost immediately upon impact.

The danger of such a bullet was manifest; it was almost as hollow as a
hat, and almost as harmless as a hat would be, if thrown at a charging
tiger.

This was an interesting exception to the rule that is generally
accepted, that a tiger will not attack if left undisturbed. If any
person had been walking along the margin of that nullah, he would have
been seized and destroyed without doubt by that ferocious beast. There
was a case in point last year (1888) in the Reipore district, when Mr.
Lawes, the son of the missionary of that name, was killed by a tigress,
which was the first to attack. This animal was reported by the natives
to be in a certain nullah within a short distance of the camp. The young
man, who was quite inexperienced, took a gun, and with a few natives
proceeded to the spot on foot. Looking over the edge of the nullah in
the hope of finding the tiger lying down, he was suddenly startled by an
unexpected attack; a tigress bounded up the steep bank and seized Mr.
Lawes before he had time to fire. The animal did not continue the
attack, but merely shook him for a few moments, and then retreated to
her lair; he was so grievously wounded that he died on the following
day, after his arrival in a litter at Reipore.

Many people imagine that a tiger attacks man with the intention of
eating him, as a natural prey; this is a great mistake. The greater
number of accidents are occasioned by tigers which have no idea of
making a meal of their victims; they may attack from various reasons.
Self-defence is probably their natural instinct; the tiger may imagine
that the person intends some injury, and it springs to the attack; or it
may be lying half asleep, and when suddenly disturbed it flies at the
intruder without any particular intention of destroying him, but merely
as a natural result of being startled from its rest. When, driven by a
line of beaters, the tiger breaks back, it may be readily understood
that it will attack the first individual that obstructs its retreat, but
in no case will the tiger eat the man, unless it is a professional
man-eater.

The cunning combined with audacity of some man-eaters is extraordinary.

A few years ago there was a well-known tiger in the Mandla district
which took possession of the road, and actually stopped the traffic.
This was not the generally accepted specimen of a man-eater, old and
mangy, but an exceedingly powerful beast of unexampled ferocity and
audacity. It was a merciless highwayman, which infested a well-known
portion of the road, and levied toll upon the drivers of the native
carts, not by an attack upon their bullocks, but by seizing the driver
himself, and carrying him off to be devoured in the neighbouring jungle.
It had killed a number of people, and nothing would induce a native to
venture upon that fatal road with a single cart; it had therefore become
the custom to travel in company with several carts together, as numbers
were supposed to afford additional security. This proved to be a vain
expectation, as the tiger was in no way perplexed by the arrangement; it
bounded from the jungle where it had lain in waiting, and having allowed
the train of carts to pass in single file, it seized the driver of the
hindmost, and as usual carried the man away, in spite of the cries of
the affrighted companions.

Upon several occasions this terrible attack had been enacted, and the
traffic was entirely stopped. A large reward was offered by the
Government, but without effect; the man-eater never could be found by
any of the shikaris.

At length the Superintendent of Police, Mr. Duff, who unfortunately had
lost one arm by a gun accident, determined to make an effort at its
destruction, and he adroitly arranged a plan that would be a fatal trap,
and catch the tiger in its own snare. He obtained two covered carts,
each drawn as usual by two bullocks. The leading cart was fitted in
front and behind with strong bars of lashed bamboo, which formed an
impervious cage; in this the driver was seated, while Mr. Duff himself
sat with his face towards the rear, prepared to fire through the bars
should the tiger, according to its custom, attack the driver of the
rearmost cart. This would have been an exciting moment for the driver,
but Mr. Duff had carefully prepared a dummy, dressed exactly to
personate the usual native carter; the bullocks, being well trained,
would follow closely in the rear of the leading cart, from which a
splendid shot would be obtained should the tiger venture upon an attack.

All went well; the road was desolate, bordered by jungle upon one side,
and wild grass-land upon the other. They had now reached the locality
where the dreaded danger lay, and slowly the carts moved along the road
in their usual apathetic manner. This must have been an exciting moment,
and Mr. Duff was no doubt thoroughly on the lookout. Suddenly there was
a roar; a large tiger bounded from the jungle, and with extraordinary
quickness seized the dummy driver from his seat upon the rearmost cart,
and dragged the unresisting victim towards the jungle!

Nothing could have been better planned, but one chance had been
forgotten, which was necessary to success. No sooner had the tiger
roared, and bounded upon the cart, than the affrighted bullocks,
terrified by the dreadful sound, at once stampeded off the road, and
went full gallop across country, followed by Mr. Duff's bullocks in the
wildest panic. It was impossible to fire, and after a few seconds of
desperate chariot race, both carts capsized among the numerous small
nullahs of the broken ground, where bullocks and vehicles lay in
superlative confusion; the victorious man-eater was left to enjoy rather
a dry meal of a straw-stuffed carter, instead of a juicy native which he
had expected.

This was a disappointment to all parties concerned, except the dummy
driver, who was of course unmoved by the failure of the arrangement.

The story is thoroughly authenticated, and has been told to me by the
Commissioner of the district exactly as I have described it. The tiger
was subsequently killed by a native shikari, when watching from a tree
over a tied buffalo.

Although the tiger as a "man-eater" is a terrible scourge, and
frequently inflicts incredible loss upon the population of a district,
there are tigers in existence which would never attack a human being,
although they exist upon the cattle of the villages, and have every
opportunity of seizing women and children in their immediate
neighbourhood. About nine years ago there was a well-known animal of
this character at a place called Bhundra in the Jubbulpur district,
which was supposed to have killed upwards of 500 of the natives' cattle.
This was a peculiarly large tiger, but so harmless to man that he was
regarded merely in the light of a cattle-lifter, and neither woman nor
child dreaded its appearance. The natives assured me that during
fourteen years it had been the common object of pursuit, both by
officers, civilians, and by their own shikaris, but as the tiger was
possessed by the devil it was quite impossible to destroy it. This
possession by an evil spirit is a common belief, and in this instance
the people spoke of it as a matter of course that admitted of no
argument; they assured me that the tiger was frequently met by the
natives, and that it invariably passed them in a friendly manner without
the slightest demonstration of hostility, but that it took away a cow or
bullock in the most regular manner every fourth day. It varied its
attentions, and having killed a few head of cattle belonging to one
village, it would change the locality for a week or two, and, take toll
from those within a radius of four or five miles, always returning to
the same haunts, and occupying or laying up in the same jungle. The
great peculiarity of this particular tiger consisted in the extreme
contempt for fire-arms: it exposed itself almost without exception when
driven by a line of beaters, and when shot at it simply escaped, only to
reappear upon the following day. I was informed that everybody that had
gone after it had obtained a shot, but bullets were of no use against a
devil, therefore it was always missed.

I was 30 miles distant when I heard of this tiger, and I immediately
directed our course towards Bhundra. It was a pretty and interesting
place, where the presence of rich hematite iron ore has from time
immemorial induced a settlement of smelters. There are jungle-covered
low hills upon which large trees are growing, yet all such important
mounds are composed of refuse from furnaces, which were worked some
hundred years ago.

We arrived there early in May during the hottest season, and the clear
stream below the village, rushing over a rocky bed, was a sufficient
attraction to entice the animals from a great distance. This would
account for the permanent residence of tigers.

The headman was a Thakur, a person of importance, and, as our camp had
been sent forward on the previous day, we found everything in readiness
upon our arrival; the Thakur and his people were in attendance.

After the usual salutations, I inquired concerning the celebrated tiger:
" How long was it since it had been heard of?"

The Thakur placidly inquired of our attendant, and I was informed that
three days had elapsed since it killed the last cow; it would therefore
in all probability kill another animal to-morrow. There was no
excitement visible, but the natives spoke of the tiger as coolly and as
unconcernedly as though it had been the postman.

My shikari was present, and I ordered him to tie up a good large
buffalo, in prime condition, as the tiger was in the habit of selecting
the best cattle for attack. After some delay, an excellent buffalo was
brought for inspection, about sixteen months old, in fine condition, and
there was little doubt that the tiger would attack, as the period had
arrived when they might expect a kill.

The Thakur knew the exact position for the buffalo as bait, and he
coolly assured me that the tiger would certainly kill, and that on the
following day I should as certainly get a shot, but that the bullet
would either fall from the hide, or in some way miss the object. He
declared that upon several occasions he had himself obtained a shot,
like everybody else, but it was useless, therefore he had long since
ceased to take the trouble. This was rather interesting, and added to
the excitement.

At daybreak on the following morning my eager shikari with several
natives arrived, with news that the buffalo was killed and dragged into
a dry bed of a rocky nullah within the jungle; and from the high bank
they had seen the tiger devouring the hind-quarters. This was
satisfactory, although I was afraid that the tiger might have been
disturbed by the inquisitiveness of the people; however, they laughed at
the suggestion, and the beaters being ready, we sallied out to make a
drive for a hopeless beast that was possessed by the devil.

The natives had been accustomed for so many years to act as beaters for
this well-known animal that they had not the slightest nervousness; they
knew the ground thoroughly, and the old mucharns, which had been vainly
occupied so often, had simply been strengthened, but were ready in their
original positions.

We had a large force of men, and several shikaris of long experience in
the locality; it was accordingly a wise course to remain silent, as the
people would have been confused by unnecessary orders.

Having left the line of men in position, we were taken about a mile in
advance. I had given my shikari a double-barrelled gun, and I ordered
him to take his stand as instructed by the natives; he accordingly
disappeared, I knew not where. We entered the jungle, and presently
descended the face of a small hill; then crossing a nullah, I was
introduced to my mucharn; this was arranged upon a large tree which grew
exactly upon the margin, and commanded not only the deep nullah beneath,
but two other smaller nullahs which it met at right angles only a few
paces distant. This looked well, as the tiger would probably slink along
these secluded watercourses, in which case I should obtain a splendid
shot. I climbed from the back of my steady elephant into the lofty
perch; the people and animals left me to watch, squatted in a most
uncomfortable position, as at that time I had not invented my charming
turnstool.

At least an hour passed before I even heard the beaters. At length,
amidst the cooing of countless doves, I detected the distant thud, thud
of a tom-tom, and then the confused sound of many excited voices.

A few peacocks ran across the nullah; then a small jungle-sheep made the
dead leaves rattle as it dashed wildly past; and almost immediately I
heard a quick double shot about 200 yards upon my left.

I knew this must be my shikari, Sheik Jhan, and I felt sure that he had
missed, as the two shots were in such rapid succession. If the first had
struck the object, the second would not have been fired so quickly; if
the first had missed, the exceeding quickness of the second shot would
suggest confusion.

After waiting at least ten minutes without a sound of any animal, I
whistled for the elephant, and descending from my post, I rode towards
the position of Sheik Jhan.

A crowd of beaters were assembled, some of whom were engaged in
searching for the bullets which he had fired, both of which had missed
the tiger when within 12 yards' distance, although marching slowly over
the sands and rocks in the bed of a large river; the natives were
digging with pointed sticks into a grassy mound of sand.

Sheik Jhan described that an immense tiger had quietly passed close to
him, but that no doubt it had a devil, as neither bullet had taken the
least effect.

This was the customary termination; therefore no other course was left
than to return to camp, the result having verified the prediction of the
natives.

We now steered direct for the carcase of the buffalo, about 1 1/4 mile
distant. Upon our arrival in the rocky bed of a dry river, where the
smell of the tiger was extremely strong, we found the remains of the
buffalo, a small portion of which had been eaten; I was assured by those
who knew the habits of this tiger that it would return during the night,
and that upon the following morning we should certainly obtain another
shot.

I amused myself during the day by visiting the various smelting
furnaces, all of which were upon a small scale, although numerous, and
the method pursued was the same which I have found invariable among
savage people. This consists in strong bellows worked by hand, the
draught being sustained by continual relief of blowers, while the
furnaces are constructed of clay, in the centre of which a small hole
contains about a bushel of finely broken ore. Some powdered limestone
was used as a flux, and the produce of a hard day's work, with five or
six men employed, was about 15 lbs. of iron of the finest quality. This
was never actually in a fluid molten state, but it was reduced when at
white heat to a soft spongy mass resembling half-melted wax; it was then
alternately hammered and again subjected to a white heat, until it
arrived at the required degree of purity. The fuel was charcoal prepared
from some special wood.

In the evening I pondered over the failure of Sheik Jhan, who declared
that the tiger had taken him by surprise, as it had appeared while the
beaters were so far distant that he could only just distinguish their
voices. I came to the conclusion that this was the reason which
explained the general escape of this wary animal, as it moved forward
directly that the line of beaters entered the jungle, instead of
advancing in the usual manner almost at the end of the beat. The sudden
apparition of the tiger before it was expected would probably startle
the gunner, who by firing in a hurry would in many instances entail a
miss. Having well considered the matter, I determined to make myself
more comfortable on the morrow, by padding the mucharn with the quilted
pad of the riding elephant, and by sitting astride a tightly bound
bundle of mats.

I would not allow any person to visit the carcase on the following
morning, as I accepted the natives' assurance that the tiger would
return to its kill; I gave orders that all beaters were to be in
readiness, and we were to start together.

The morning arrived, and we started with a large force of nearly 200
men.

Upon approaching the spot where the carcase of the buffalo was left, I
dismounted, and with only one man, I carefully inspected the position.
The body had been dragged away. That was sufficient evidence, and I
would not risk a disturbance of the jungle by advancing farther upon the
tracks.

In order to maintain the most perfect silence, the beaters were kept at
a considerable distance, and the line was to be formed only when a
messenger should be sent back to say that the guns were already in
position.

The native shikaris now assured me in the most positive manner that the
tiger would certainly advance along the nullah, and would pass
immediately beneath the tree upon which my mucharn of yesterday was
placed.

Upon arrival at the tree I arranged the quilted pad and bundle of rugs
in the mucharn, and having instructed my men to clear away a few
overhanging creepers that in some places intercepted the line of sight
along the nullah, I took my place, having carefully screened myself by
intertwining a few green boughs to the height of 2 feet around my
hiding-place.

I was comparatively in luxury upon the quilted mattress, and I waited
with exemplary patience for the commencement of the beat in solitary
quiet. A long time elapsed, as our messenger had to return about a mile
before the line should receive orders to advance.

In the meanwhile I studied the ground minutely. I could see for 50 yards
along the nullah, also there was a clear view where it joined the other
approaches by which the tiger was expected. Exactly in front, on the
other side the nullah beneath me, the jungle rose in a tolerably steep
inclination upon a slope which continued for several hundred yards. If
the tiger were to quit the nullah by which it would approach upon my
left, it would probably cross over this hill to ensure a short cut,
instead of continuing along the bottom of the nullah; this is frequently
the habit of a tiger.

It was difficult to decide whether the beat had commenced, owing to the
ceaseless cooing of the numerous doves, but presently a peacock flew
into the tree upon my right, and almost immediately two peahens ran over
the dead leaves, which made an exciting rustle in the quiet nullah. I
felt sure that the beaters were advancing, as the peafowl were
disturbed; I therefore kept in readiness, with rifle at full cock, as I
felt sure that should the tiger exhibit himself, he would be far in
advance of the approaching drive.

My ears were almost pricked with the strain of expectation, and I
shortly heard the unmistakable beat of the native tom-tom.

Hardly had the sound impressed itself upon the ear, when a dull but
heavy tread upon the brittle leaves which strewed the surface arrested
my attention. This was repeated in so slow but regular a manner, that I
felt sure it denoted the stealthy step of a tiger. I looked along the
different nullahs, but could see nothing. The sound ceased for at least
a minute, when once more the tread upon dead leaves decided me that the
animal was somewhere not far distant. At this moment I raised my eyes
from the nullahs in which he was expected, and I saw, through the
intervening leafless mass of bushes upon the opposing slope, a dim
outline of an enormous tiger, so indistinct that the figure resembled
the fading appearance of a dissolving view. Slowly and stealthily the
shadowy form advanced along the face of the slope, exactly crossing my
line of sight. This was the "possessed of the devil" that had escaped
during so many years, and I could not help thinking that, many persons
would risk the shot in its present position, when the bullet must cut
through a hundred twigs before it could reach the mark, and thus would
probably be deflected. The tiger was now about 40 yards distant, and
although the bushes were all leafless, there was one exception, which
lay in the direct path the tiger was taking, a little upon my right;
this was a very dense and large green bush called karoonda. Exactly to
the right, upon the edge of this opaque screen, there was an open space
about 9 or 10 feet wide, where a large rotten tree had been blown down;
and should the tiger continue its present course it would pass the
karoonda bush and cross over the clear opening. I resolved to wait;
therefore, resting my left elbow upon my knee, I covered the shoulder of
the unconscious tiger, and followed it with the .577 rifle carefully,
resolved to exorcise the devil that had for so long protected it.

The shouts of the beaters were now heard distinctly, and the loud
tom-tom sounded cheerfully as the line approached. Several times the
tiger stopped, and turned its head to listen; then it disappeared from
view behind the dense screen of the karoonda bush.

I lowered the rifle, to rest my arm for a moment. So long a time
elapsed, that I was afraid the tiger had turned straight up the hill in
a direct line with the bush, and thus lost to sight; I had almost come
to this sad conclusion, when a magnificent head projected from the dark
green bush into the bright light of the open space. For quite 15 seconds
the animal thus stood with only the head exposed to view, turned
half-way round to listen. I felt quite sure that I could have put a
bullet through its brain; but I waited. Presently it emerged, a splendid
form, and walked slowly across the open space. At the same moment as I
touched the trigger, the tiger reared to its full height upon its hind
legs, and with a roar that could have been heard at a couple of miles'
distance it seized a small tree within its jaws, and then fell
backwards; it gave one roll down the slope, and lay motionless. The
devil was cast out.

I never saw such enthusiastic rejoicing as was occasioned by the death
of this notorious tiger. The news ran like fire through the neighbouring
villages before we had completed the packing of the animal upon
Demoiselle. I had no means of weighing this tiger, but it was the
heaviest I have ever seen, and although we had four poles beneath its
body and a great number of willing men at the extremities, we had great
difficulty in loading Demoiselle. By the time we had completed the
operation we had a large crowd in attendance, all of whom followed the
elephant upon the march towards our camp bearing the body of the tiger,
which had been the scourge of their herds during so many years.

At least 300 women and children assembled to satisfy themselves that
their enemy was really dead. The women kissed his feet and wiped their
eyes with the tip of his tail; for what purpose could not be explained.

As this animal had lived in luxury, it was immensely fat, and we filled
numerous chatties with this much-loved grease, to be used as ointment
for rheumatic complaints. Unfortunately at that time I had no weighing
machine, therefore it was impossible to judge the weight with accuracy,
but we computed that the fat alone amounted to 70 lbs. avoirdupois. The
tiger was certainly upwards of 500 lbs.

I found the '577 bullet of pure lead had entered exactly at the shoulder
joint, which it had smashed to atoms, carrying splinters of bone through
the lungs; passing through the ribs upon the opposite side, it had
smashed the left shoulder, and was fixed beneath the skin, expanded like
a mushroom.

There was no danger to any person employed in this hunt, but I have
described it as an apt example of a cunning tiger, which escaped so many
attempts upon its life that it was regarded as "uncanny."

My servant Thomas was quite delighted, as he had offered to bet that,
"devil or no devil, his master's rifle would kill him, if he got a
shot."

It has been generally admitted that the great variety of this species
renders a classification almost impossible. Different countries adopt
special names for the varieties which inhabit the localities; the
leopard may be termed a panther, or cheetah, or wild cat, or even a
jaguar, but it remains a leopard, differing in size, colour, and form of
spots, but nevertheless a leopard. I shall therefore accept that name as
including every variety. Although the genus Felis embraces in its
nomenclature all the various representatives, from the lion (_Felis
Leo_) to the ordinary domestic cat, the two principal examples of the
race, the lion and tiger, are totally distinct from all others in their
natural characters. The leopard is far more daring; at the same time it
is infinitely more cautious, and difficult to discover.

No lion or tiger can ascend a tree unless the branches spring from
within 4 or 5 feet of the ground; even then it would be contrary to the
habits of the animal to attempt an ascent, although it might be possible
under such favourable circumstances. A leopard will spring up a
smooth-barked tree with the agility of a monkey; and there is a small
species which almost lives among the branches (F. Macroscelis), from
which it leaps upon its prey when passing unconsciously beneath.

An examination of the skins of leopards from various portions of the
globe exhibits a striking difference in colouring and quality of fur. We
find the snow leopard, which inhabits the Himalayahs and other lofty
mountain ranges, with a fur of great value, deep and exceedingly close,
while the spots are not determined as distinct black, but are shaded off
by gray. This species is generally found at altitudes of from 8000 to
10,000 feet, or even higher. In Manchuria and the Corea there is a
species which is unknown in India; this is a large animal, with a
peculiarly rich and deep fur when killed during winter; the black spots
are exceedingly large, and are formed in rings. A skin in my possession
measures 7 ft. 9 in. in length; the tail is full, and the fur long; this
is unusually beautiful, and it must have inhabited some lofty altitude
where the temperature was generally moderate.

In Africa the leopards have almost invariably solid black spots, very
close together upon the back, and becoming less crowded towards the
belly and flanks. In Ceylon there are two distinct varieties-the large
panther, generally about 7 ft. 6 in. in length, and a smaller leopard,
which inhabits the mountains; in that island of misnomers they are both
included in the name cheetah.

In India there are several varieties, and the largest is generally
distinguished as a panther. There is no animal more commonly distributed
in the world than the leopard, and no tropical country is free from this
universal pest, unless an island formation has excluded its unwelcome
presence.

It is difficult to determine the limit in the gradation of size at which
this animal merges from the leopard into the wild cat. The varieties of
cats are so numerous that I do not pretend to describe them; some are of
sufficient importance to be classed among the smaller leopards, while
others are no larger than the ordinary domestic cat. These vary through
every shade of feline colouring, from spots to stripes, or to a fulvous
brown similar to the tawny coat of a lioness; but, notwithstanding the
difference in shades and spots, in cats and in the true leopard or
panther the character is the same. They are all cunning, ferocious, and
destructive, and I believe that far more cattle and goats are killed by
leopards throughout the Indian Empire than by the usually accredited
malefactor, the tiger.

The largest and most beautifully marked of the leopards is the jaguar of
South America. This is the size of a small tigress, and is more heavily
framed than any of the leopards; the head is especially large, and the
animal might almost be termed a spotted tiger. The rings are peculiarly
marked, and waved instead of being circular.

The cheetah or hunting leopard is a distinct species, and although
classed among the leopards, it is altogether different, both in habits
and appearance; the claws, although rather long, are not retractile,
neither are they curved to the same extent as all others of the genus
Felis, but they resemble somewhat the toe-nails of the dog. I shall
accordingly separate this animal from the ordinary class of leopards,
and give it a separate existence as an object of natural history.

The panther or larger variety of leopard is about 7 ft. 6 in. in length,
and has been known to approach closely upon 8 feet, but this would be an
unusual size. This animal is exceedingly powerful, with massive neck and
strongly developed legs. The weight of a fine specimen would be from
about 160 lbs. to 170 lbs. Although heavy, there is no animal more
active, except the monkey, and even those wide-awake creatures are
sometimes caught, by the ever-watchful panther. Stories are told of
accidents that have occurred when the hunter has been pulled out of his
tree, from which imaginary security he was watching for his expected
game. It is impossible to deny such facts, although they are fortunately
rare exceptions to the general rule; but there can be no doubt that a
panther or leopard would attack upon many occasions when a tiger would
prefer to slink away.

The habits of the leopard are invariably the same, it prowls stealthily
about sunset and throughout the night in search of prey. It seizes by
the throat and clings with tenacious claws to the animal's neck, until
it succeeds either in breaking the spine, or in strangling its victim,
should the bone resist its strength. When the animal is dead, the
leopard never attacks the hind-quarters first, according to the custom
of the tiger, but it tears the belly open, and drags out all the
viscera, making its first meal upon the heart, lungs, liver, and the
inside generally. It then retreats to some neighbouring hiding-place,
and, if undisturbed, it will return to its prey a little after sundown
on the following day.

It is far more difficult to circumvent a leopard than a tiger; the
latter seldom or never looks upwards to the trees, therefore it does not
perceive the hidden danger when the hunter is watching from his elevated
post; but the leopard approaches its kill in the most wary and cautious
manner, crouching occasionally, and examining every yard of the ground
before it, at the same time scanning the overhanging boughs, which it so
frequently seeks as a place of refuge. Upon many occasions, when the
disappointed watcher imagines that the leopard has forsaken its kill,
and that his patience will be unrewarded, the animal may be closely
scanning him from the dense bush, under cover of which it was
noiselessly approaching. In such a case the leopard would retreat as
silently as it had advanced, and the watcher would return home from a
fruitless vigil, under the impression that the leopard had never been
within a mile of his position. One of the cleverest birds in creation is
the ordinary crow of all tropical countries, which lives well by the
exercise of its wits; nothing escapes the observation of this bird, and
it is the first to discover the body of any animal that may have been
killed. Should one or more of these birds be perched in the trees after
sunset, near the carcase of an animal, and should it utter a "caw," when
at that late hour it should have gone to roost, you may be assured that
it has espied an approaching leopard, although it may be invisible to
your own sight. The watcher should be careful not to move, but to
redouble his vigilance in keeping a bright look-out, as the leopard will
be equally upon its guard should it hear the cry of the warning crow.

There is very little sport afforded by this stealthy animal, and it is
almost useless to organize a special hunt, as it is impossible to form
any correct opinion respecting its locality after it has killed an
animal. It may either be asleep in some distant ravine, or among the
giant branches of some old tree, or beneath the rocks in some adjacent
hill, or retired within a cave, but it has no special character or
custom that would guide the hunter in arranging a beat according to the
usual rules in the case of tigers. The leopard is merely a nuisance, and
as such it should be treated as vermin, and exterminated if possible.

There are various forms of traps adopted by the natives in different
countries; the most certain is the old-fashioned fall, similar upon a
large scale to the common fall mouse-traps. These should be permanent
fixtures in various portions of the jungles, and they should be baited
whenever the tracks of a leopard may be discovered in the neighbourhood.
The trap is formed by an oblong 10 feet by 3 of very strong and straight
palisades, sunk 2 feet deep in the ground, and well pounded in with
stones. These should be 5 feet high, with a fall door at one end. The
top should be closely secured with heavy cross-pieces of parallel logs,
well weighted with big stones.

The rear of this trap should be partitioned with bamboo cross-bars to
form a cage, in which either a goat or a village dog should be tied as a
living bait. Leopards are particularly fond of dogs, and the advantage
of such a bait during the night consists in the certainty that the dog,
finding itself alone in a strange place, will howl or bark, and thereby
attract the leopard. The partition must be made of sufficient strength
to protect the animal from attack. In Africa the natives form a trap by
supporting the fallen trunk of a large tree in such a manner that it
falls upon the leopard as it passes beneath to reach the bait. This is
very effective in crushing the animal, but it is exceedingly dangerous,
like all other African traps, as it would kill any person or other
creature that should attempt to pass. Newera Ellia, the mountain
sanatorium of Ceylon, was always well furnished with leopard-traps upon
the permanent system, and the leopards, which were at one time a scourge
of the neighbourhood, were considerably reduced. In 1846 I introduced
English breeds of cattle and sheep, and started an agricultural
settlement at that delightful mountain refuge from tropical heat; but
the leopard became our greatest enemy, and although the cattle were well
housed at night, and carefully watched when at pasture during the day,
our losses were severe. I observed a peculiarity in the attacks by
leopards; they seldom appeared upon a bright summer day, but during the
rainy season, when the wind was howling across the plain, and driving
the cold mist and rain, the cattle were off their guard, and generally
turned their tails to the chilly blast. It was invariably during such
weather that the leopards attacked. The watchman was probably wrapped in
his blanket, wet, and shivering beneath a tree, instead of remaining on
the alert, and this auspicious moment was selected by the leopard for a
successful stalk upon the unsuspecting herd. I have frequently lost both
cows and sheep, that were attacked and killed in broad daylight, and the
leopards were generally of sufficient strength to break the neck of a
full-grown beast. It should be remembered that the native cattle are
much smaller than those of Europe, and I do not think it would be
possible for a leopard to dislocate the neck of any English cow. An
example occurred when unfortunately a valuable Ayrshire cow was
attacked, and the leopard completely failed in the usual dexterous
wrench, but the throat was so mangled that the cow died within a few
days, although the leopard was driven away by the watchman almost
immediately upon its onset.

The wounds from the claws of a leopard are exceedingly dangerous, as the
animal is in the habit of feeding upon carcases some days after they
have been killed; the flesh is at that time in an incipient stage of
decomposition, and the claws, which are used to hold the flesh while it
is torn by the teeth and jaws, become tainted and poisoned sufficiently
to ensure gangrene by inoculation. The claws of all carnivora are five
upon each of the fore feet, including the useful dew-claw, which is used
as a thumb, and thoroughly secures the morsel while the animal is
pulling and tearing away the muscles from the bones.

A wound from either a tiger or a leopard should be thoroughly syringed
with cold water mixed with 1/35th part of carbolic acid, and this
syringing process should be continued three times a day whenever the
wound is dressed. Nothing should be done but to wrap the wound with
linen rag soaked in the same solution, and keep it continually wetted.

The daring of a leopard during night is extraordinary. I have frequently
during wet weather discovered in the early morning a regular beaten
track in the soft earth, where a leopard has been prowling round and
round a cattle-shed containing a herd of animals, vainly seeking for an
entrance.

At one time my own blacksmith had a nocturnal adventure with a leopard
which afforded a striking example of audacity. A native cow had a calf;
this being her first-born, the mother was exceedingly vicious, and it
was unsafe for a stranger to approach her, especially as her horns were
unusually long, and pointed. The cattle-shed was scarped out of the
hillside, and was within a few feet of the blacksmith's house. The roof
was thatched. During the night, a leopard, which smelt the presence of
the cow and calf, mounted the roof of the shed and proceeded to force an
entrance by scratching through the thatch. The cow at the same time had
detected the presence of the leopard, and, ever mindful of her calf, she
stood ready to receive the intruder, with her sharp horns prepared for
its appearance. It is supposed that upon the leopard's descent it was at
once pinned to the ground, before it had time to make its spring.

The noise of a tremendous struggle aroused the blacksmith, who, with a
lantern in his hand, opened the cattle-shed door and discovered the cow
in a frantic state of rage, butting and tossing some large object to and
fro, which evidently had lost all power of resistance. This was the
leopard in the last gasp, having been run through the body by the ready
horns of the courageous mother, whose little calf was nestled in a
corner, unmindful of the maternal struggle.

No sooner had the blacksmith appeared upon the scene, than the character
of the conflict changed, and the cow, regarding him in the light of a
fresh enemy, left the crumpled body of her antagonist and charged
straight at her proprietor, who dropped his lantern and flew to the arms
of his wife, whom he had left in bed. After some delay, during which the
courage of all parties was restored, excepting that of the crippled
leopard, the cow was appeased, and a shot from a pistol through the head
of the enemy closed the episode.

Every resident in India is aware of the depredations committed by this
pestilent class of the carnivora. Lions and tigers may be dangerous in
the jungles in every country which they inhabit, but they never invade
the actual premises; it is exactly there where the leopard is to be
feared. Nothing is too small or too large for its attack; from a fowl
upon the roost to a cow in the pasturage, all that belongs to the
domestic stock is fair game for the wily leopard.

The cautious approach of this animal is so wary that a dog is pinned by
the neck and carried off before it is aware of the presence of its
enemy. Upon one occasion in Africa we were bivouacked for the night on
the banks of the Settite river, and no sound disturbed the repose of the
camp. Suddenly a leopard bounded into the centre, where the Arabs were
sleeping around the embers of a splendid fire, and seizing one of the
dogs, it sprang into the darkness, carrying its captive with it. The
remaining dogs rushed off in pursuit, together with all the Arabs with
swords and shields, and the leopard dropped its prize about 150 yards
from our enclosure. The unfortunate dog had been surprised in its sleep,
and it died in a few hours from the injuries sustained, the neck and
throat being terribly lacerated. It would have been natural to suppose
that the dogs would have given an alarm on the approach of the wild
animal, but the noiseless tread of the leopard, as usual, was unheard,
even in the extreme stillness of a calm night. The sudden attack of a
leopard is generally so unexpected that a dog has no time for
self-defence, and being invariably seized by the neck, it is at once
rendered helpless, and cannot utter a warning shriek before it is
carried off. I was walking with a very powerful bull terrier at Newera
Ellia in Ceylon, when the dog, who was running through the jungle within
a few yards of me, suddenly disappeared without a cry, and was never
heard of again; this same dog would have made a good defence had it
confronted the leopard face to face.

On another occasion a dog named Matchless, a cross between foxhound and
pointer, was seized by a leopard in open day when, together with a pack
of hounds, walking through a jungle-path at Dimbola, not far from Newera
Ellia. The leopard sprang suddenly from a tree, and, seizing the dog,
immediately ascended, and took refuge among the boughs with the hound
suspended in its mouth. The entire pack bayed the audacious enemy; it
then dropped the dog and jumped from tree to tree, followed beneath by
the excited hounds. At length the leopard reached a large tree, which
was sufficiently isolated to prevent it from springing to any adjoining
branches. In this position it was surrounded, and became the central
object, where it remained snarling at the infuriated pack. The party of
hunters now commenced a bombardment with stones, and a lucky hit induced
the leopard to either jump or fall into the middle of the hounds. There
was an exceedingly large dog named Pirate, a cross between mastiff and
bloodhound; he immediately seized the leopard, and a general fight
ensued, the whole pack supporting Pirate in his attack. Captain E.
Palliser, late 7th Hussars, quickly thrust his hunting-knife under the
shoulder, and in a few minutes the hounds were worrying a dead leopard.

Some few years ago the hounds belonging to the late Mr. Downall hunted a
leopard at Newera Ellia, and a tremendous struggle ensued. There were
several very powerful and large seizers among the pack, and the enemy
was overmatched, but although the big dogs had the mastery of the
animal, they could not actually kill it outright. General J. Wilkinson
was on the spot, and he thrust his hunting-knife into the fatal spot;
but he was a little to slow in withdrawing the blade; the dying leopard
made a quick blow with its fore paw, and inflicted a serious wound upon
his hand, lacerating the muscles of the thumb to a degree that rendered
surgical treatment necessary for several weeks. When using the
hunting-knife, extreme dexterity is to be observed in delivering the
stab, and instantaneously recovering the weapon. There is no object to
be gained by keeping the knife within the wound, and there is
considerable danger of injury to the hand. If the knife is used by an
expert it will never be held with the point downwards like a dagger, but
the handle will be grasped for a direct thrust, as though the weapon
were a sword. In this position the knife is always well under command,
and it can be instantly withdrawn and the thrust repeated upon a
favourable opportunity.

I had a very savage and powerful dog many years ago which was a cross of
Manilla bloodhound with some big bitch at the Cape of Good Hope. This
animal weighed upwards of 130 lbs., and became a well-known character in
the pack, which I kept for seven years in Ceylon. Although I never
actually witnessed a duel between this dog and a leopard, such an event
frequently took place. It was the custom of Smut to decline all control,
and when the hounds were secured in couples to prevent them from
following the scent of a leopard, should recent tracks be visible in the
jungle, this determined dog would erect the bristles on his back, emit
low growls when summoned back, and would disappear to hunt up,
single-handed, the scent of the dreaded enemy. Upon these occasions Smut
would be unheard of during the remainder of the day, and he would return
to kennel in the evening, proudly trotting along, covered with blood and
wounds, but always so fierce that he refused all aid and medical
attendance; he was merely ready for his dinner. He had of course tackled
his adversary, and indulged his propensity for a stand-up fight, with
results which we never could discover; probably the leopard had been
glad to retire honourably from the uncertain conflict. This grand dog
was ultimately killed in a fight with an immense boar, and his name will
reappear in connection with the sambur deer, misnamed the "elk,"
throughout Ceylon.

It is most discouraging to lose good dogs through the stealthy attacks
of leopards, and in looking back to the list of casualties among the
pack when I kept hounds in Ceylon it is distressing to see the number
which were taken by these unsparing animals. If a hound is lost in the
jungle, it will certainly sit down and howl, thereby exhibiting
considerable intelligence, as it is, in fact, crying for assistance; but
such a cry will attract the ever-wary leopard, who will probably
approach by leaping from tree to tree, and pounce upon the unfortunate
dog before it is aware of the impending danger. The hound that would
have offered a stout resistance if boldly attacked face to face, has no
more chance than an Irish landlord when shot at by an assassin secreted
behind a wall by the roadside.

This noiseless approach may be imagined from an incident which occurred
to me in Abyssinia, when watching a pool by moonlight, in a deep bend of
the river Royan during the dry season; all streams had evaporated,
excepting an occasional deep hole in a sudden curve of the exhausted
bed. Hours had been passed, but nothing larger than antelopes had
appeared. We were sitting beneath a very large tree completely denuded
of leaves, and the moon was shining brightly, producing a sharp outline
of every bough. Suddenly my wife pulled my sleeve and directed my
attention to a large animal crouched upon the branches exactly above us.
I might have taken a splendid shot, but I at first imagined it to be a
dog-faced baboon (Cynocephalus) that had been asleep upon the tree. I
stood erect to obtain a clearer view, and at once the object sprang to
the ground within a few feet of us and bounded into the jungle. This was
a leopard, which had probably reached the tree by means of some
neighbouring branch, and so noiselessly that we had not discovered its
presence. The animal had evidently winded us, and determined to
reconnoitre our position.

In every country the natives are unanimous in declaring that the leopard
is more dangerous than the lion or tiger, and I quite agree in their
theory that when any dangerous animal is met with, the traveller should
endeavour to avoid its direct gaze. It is an error to suppose that the
steady look from the human eye will affect an animal by a superior
power, and thereby exert a subduing influence; on the contrary, I
believe that the mere fact of this concentration of a fixed stare upon
the responding eyes of a savage animal will increase its rage and incite
attack. If an animal sees you, and it imagines that it is itself
unobserved, it will frequently pass by, or otherwise retreat, as it
believes that it is unseen, and therefore it has no immediate dread; but
if it is convinced that you mean mischief, by staring it out of
countenance, it will in all probability take the initiative and
forestall the anticipated attack.

A leopard will frequently attack if it is certain that your eyes have
met, and it is always advisable, if you are unarmed, to pretend to
disregard it, at the same time that you keep an acute look-out lest it
should approach you from behind. Wherever I have been in Africa, the
natives have declared that they had no fear of a lion, provided that
they were not hunting, as it would certainly not attack them unprovoked;
but that a leopard was never to be trusted, especially should it feel
that it was discovered. I remember an occasion when the dry grass had
been fired, and a native boy, accompanied by his grown-up brother, was
busily employed with others in igniting the yellow reeds on the opposite
bank of a small stream, which had checked the advance of the approaching
flames. Being thirsty and hot, the boy stooped down to drink, and he was
immediately seized by a leopard, which sprang from the high grass. His
brother, with admirable aim, hurled his spear at the leopard while the
boy was in its jaws; the point separated the vertebrae of the neck, and
the fierce brute fell stone dead. The boy was carried to my hut, but
there was no chance of recovery, as the fangs had torn open his chest
and injured the lungs; these were exposed to view through the cavity
between his ribs. He died during the night. The muscular strength of the
jaws and neck is very marked in all the carnivora, and the skull when
cleaned is most disappointing, and insignificant if compared with the
size of a living head. This is especially the case with leopards, and it
is difficult to believe that so small a pair of jaws can inflict a
deadly wound almost immediately.

I have already remarked upon the wide difference in the size of
leopards, showing that the largest, which are sometimes known as
panthers, are almost equal to a small tigress. Some of this class
possess extraordinary power, in carrying a heavy weight within their
jaws. At a place called Soonbarro, in the Jubbulpur district, we were
camped upon a large open space entirely devoid of bush. The ground was
free from grass, and dusty, therefore the surface would expose every
track. Three full-grown sheep were tied to the cook's tent, well secured
to a strong peg. In the morning only two remained, but the large tracks
of a leopard or panther were deeply printed in the dust, and the sheep
had been carried off bodily, as a big dog would carry a hare. The jungle
at the base of a range of hills, almost perpendicular and full of caves,
was the great resort of leopards, bears, and jackals; the sheep had been
actually carried quite half a mile without leaving a trace upon the
ground to show that it had been partially dragged, or that the leopard
had stopped to rest. This was an admirable proof of a great carrying
power, as nothing could have moved upon that dusty surface without
leaving a well-printed trace.

Although the cubs of leopards are charming playthings, and exhibit much
intelligence and apparent affection, it is a great mistake to adopt such
companions, whose hereditary instincts are certain to become developed
in full-grown life and lead to grave disaster. The common domestic cat
is somewhat uncertain with her claws, and most people must have observed
that should they be themselves spared the infliction of a feline
scratch, the seats and backs of morocco chairs are well marked by the
sharp talons, which cannot refrain from exercising their power upon any
substance that tempts the operation. I remember a leopard in Khartoum
that was considered tame; this beast broke its chain, and instead of
enjoying its liberty in a peaceful manner, it at once fastened upon the
throat of a much-prized cow, and would have killed the animal had it not
been itself beaten to death with clubs by a number of stout slaves of
the establishment. All such creatures are untrustworthy, and they should
be avoided as domestic pets. The only class of leopard that should
become the companion of man is the most interesting of the species: this
is the hunting leopard (Felis jubata). I have never met a person who has
shot one of this species in a wild state, and such an animal is rarely
met with in the jungle. Most people are under the impression that the
hunting leopard with non-retractile claws is incapable of climbing a
tree; I was myself of this opinion until I actually witnessed the act,
and the animal ran up a tree with apparent ease, ascending to the top.

The Felis jubata is totally different in shape from all other leopards.
Instead of being low and long, with short but massive legs, it stands
extremely high; the neck is long, the head small, the eyes large and
piercing; the legs are long, and the body light. The tail is extremely
long, and thick; this appears to assist it when turning sharply at full
speed. The black spots upon the skin are very numerous, and are simply
small dots of extreme black, without a resemblance of rings. It is
generally admitted that the hunting leopard is the fastest animal in the
world, as it can overtake upon open ground the well-known black-buck,
which surpasses in speed the highest bred English greyhound. I have
never had experience of this animal in a wild state; those I have known
were as gentle as dogs. It is a common mistake to suppose that they
invariably approach their game by a stealthy stalk, followed by a few
tremendous bounds, only to slink back if disgraced by defeat. I have
seen them run a long course in the open, exactly like a greyhound,
although the pace and action have resembled the long swinging gallop of
a monkey. The nature of this beautiful creature is entirely opposed to
the cat-like crouching tactics of the ordinary leopard: its large and
prominent eyes embrace a wide field of view; the length of neck and
legs, combined with the erect attitude of the head, denotes the
character of the animal, as it includes a vast distance in its gaze,
showing that it seeks its game upon a wide expanse of plain, instead of
surprising the prey by an unexpected and treacherous attack. This is the
only species that is a useful companion to man when engaged in field
sports; and the native princes of India have from time immemorial been
accustomed to train the Felis jubata for hunting deer and antelopes,
precisely as European nations have adopted the greyhound for the
coursing of hares.

The Guikwar of Baroda possesses first-class hunting leopards, and I had
an opportunity of witnessing many good hunts when enjoying his
hospitality at Dubka in 1880. The whole of that country is rich alluvial
soil, which produces vast agricultural wealth. The fields are divided by
exceedingly thin live fences formed by a species of Euphorbia; the
country being flat, it affords the perfection of ground for riding,
therefore such sport as pig-sticking or coursing may be enjoyed to the
fullest extent. During our visit the Guikwar had most kindly arranged
every kind and style of sport, including a pack of hounds, half a dozen
well-trained cheetahs (hunting leopards), and a posse of hawks and
falcons with their numerous attendants. The position of Dubka was
supposed to be most favourable for a hunting centre, about 18 miles from
the capital Baroda. There was a large palace for the Guikwar, and a
convenient bungalow for his friends, situated about 30 yards from the
cliff, which, 100 feet above the stream, commanded an imposing view of
the river; this flowed beneath, about 3/4 mile in width during
floodtime, but was now reduced to 300 or 400 yards in the dry season. A
few miles from the bungalow there was a magnificent country for the
cheetahs, as the ground, having been subject to inundations, was now
perfectly dry, and exposed a large plain, like an open race-course, upon
which the young grass was about 2 inches high. In the neighbourhood of
this plain there were a few low hills covered with sparse jungle, and
for several miles around, the flat surface was more or less overgrown
with bush, interspersed with patches of cultivation.

On the first day's journey we travelled along a dusty road, which had
never been metalled, for the reason that no stone existed in the
neighbourhood; the wheels of the carriages sank deeply in the sandy
loam, and the saddle was a far more enjoyable seat than a struggling
wheeled conveyance. The falconers enlivened the journey by several
flights at herons and cranes, which were very numerous in the marshes
that bordered occasional lakes or jheels. We had the opportunity of
observing the sagacity of a peregrine falcon, which, immediately upon
being unmasked, rose straight in the air, instead of following the heron
on its direct course. At first I imagined that it did not see the bird,
which flew very high, and kept above the lake. Presently the falcon took
a totally opposite direction, soaring to an altitude that reduced it to
a mere speck. By this time the heron had cleared the large expanse of
water, and was at a great height, perpendicular with the dry land
beneath. The falcon made a sudden swoop, and with the velocity of a
meteor it shot downwards upon an oblique course towards the unlucky
heron. This bird had evidently been watching the impending danger, and
it attempted to evade the attack by rising rapidly in the air, in order
to destroy the advantage which a higher altitude had conferred upon the
enemy. It was too slow: the falcon shot like an arrow to the mark, and
struck the heron with such force that for the moment both birds, hanging
together, fell for about 100 feet, as though hit by a rifle bullet.
After the first blow, the large wings of the heron expanded, and checked
the rapid fall; the falcon was fixed upon its back, holding the neck in
its sharp beak, while it clung to the body with its claws. In this
position the two birds slowly descended towards the ground, twirling
round and round in their descent from a height of about 1000 feet.

In the meantime the falconers had been galloping at full speed around
the lake, towards the spot upon which they had expected the birds to
fall. The falcon was very savage, and it continued to tear the neck of
the heron even when captured by the men. This was a cruel exhibition, as
the head falconer, having taken possession of the birds, brought them to
be admired, the heron being still alive, while the peregrine was tearing
at its bleeding neck. He appeared surprised that I insisted upon its
being killed, and he at once replaced the hood upon the falcon and
prepared for another flight. He explained the reason for the peculiar
behaviour of the falcon in taking a different direction from its game;
it was afraid of the water beneath, into which both birds must have
fallen had the heron been struck before it had cleared the surface; it
had therefore attained a high altitude in a different direction, from
which it could swoop obliquely when the lake no longer lay beneath them.
This man was a high authority, and he assured me that many well-trained
falcons would decline to strike a bird when flying across water, as they
thoroughly understood the danger.

We had several good flights, in one of which a large crane succumbed
after a very severe struggle, which seemed to test the utmost strength
of the peregrine, but in every case the attack was delivered from a
superior altitude, which left no chance of escape to the bird beneath;
the result depended upon the power of the falcon to continue its hold
during the struggles of the heavier and more powerful bird.

On the day following our arrival at Dubka, we devoted ourselves to
hunting the black-buck with cheetah. In this sport, all persons,
excepting the keepers of the animals, are simply spectators, and no
interference is permitted. Each cheetah occupies a peculiar cage, which
forms the body of a cart, drawn by two bullocks. When game is expected,
the cheetah is taken from the cage, and occupies the outside seat upon
the top, together with the keeper. The animal is blinded by a hood,
similar to that worn by the falcon, and it sits upright like a dog, with
the master's arm around it, waiting to be released from the hood, which
it fully understands is the signal that game is sighted.

There were plenty of black-buck, and we were not long in finding a herd,
in which were several good old buck, as black as night. Nothing could be
more favourable than the character of the ground, for the natural habits
of the cheetah. The surface was quite flat and firm, being a succession
of glades more or less open, surrounded by scattered bush. A cheetah was
now taken from its cage, and it at once leapt to the top, and sat with
its master, who had released it from the hood. After an advance of about
200 yards, the wheels making no noise upon the level surface, we espied
the herd of about twenty antelopes, and the cart at once halted until
they had slowly moved from view. Again the cart moved forward for 70 or
80 paces, and two bucks were seen trotting away to the left, as they had
caught a glimpse of the approaching cart. In an instant the cheetah was
loosed; for a moment it hesitated, and then bounded forward, although
the two bucks had disappeared. We now observed that the cheetah not only
slackened its pace, but it crept cautiously forward, as though looking
for the lost game.

We followed quietly upon horseback, and in a few seconds we saw the two
bucks about 120 yards distant, standing with their attention fixed upon
us. At the same instant the cheetah dashed forward with an extraordinary
rush; the two bucks, at the sight of their dreaded enemy, bounded away
at their usual speed, with the cheetah following, until all animals were
lost to view among the scattered bushes.

We galloped forward in the direction they had taken, and in less than
300 yards we arrived at the spot where the cheetah had pinned the buck;
this was lying upon its back without a struggle, while the firm jaws of
the pursuer gripped its throat.

The cheetah did not attempt to shake or tear the prey, but simply
retained its hold, thus strangling the victim, which had ceased all
resistance.

The keeper now arranged the hood upon the cheetah's head, thus masking
the eyes, which were gleaming with wild excitement, but it in no way
relaxed its grip. Taking a strong cord, the keeper now passed it several
times around the neck of the buck, while it was still held in the jaws
of the cheetah, and drawing the cord tight, he carefully cut the throat
close to the teeth of the tenacious animal. As the blood spurted from
the wound, it was caught in a large but shallow wooden bowl or ladle,
furnished with a handle. When this was nearly full, the mask was taken
off the cheetah, and upon seeing the spoon full of blood it relaxed its
grasp and immediately began to lap the blood from its well-known ladle.
When the meal was finished, the mask or hood was replaced, and the
cheetah was once more confined within its cage, as it would not run
again during that day.

The wooden ladle is, to the cheetah, an attraction corresponding to the
"lure" of a falcon; the latter is an arrangement of feathers to imitate
a bird. The ladle is known by the cheetah to be always connected with
blood, which it receives as a reward after a successful hunt; therefore,
when loose, and perhaps disobedient to a call, it will generally be
recovered by exhibiting the much-loved spoon, to which it returns, like
a horse to a sieve of oats.

We now uncarted a fresh cheetah, and were not kept long waiting before
we came upon a lot of antelopes, most of which were females and young
bucks. At length, after careful stalking by driving the bullock-cart in
an opposite direction to the herd, and then slightly turning to the
left, in the endeavour to decrease our distance, we saw a fine buck
standing alone within 100 yards, as we had not been observed while
advancing through the scattered bush.

The cheetah lost not a moment, but springing lightly to the ground, it
was at full speed, and within 50 yards before the unwary buck perceived
it. Taken by surprise, instead of bounding off in mad retreat, this
gallant little buck lowered its sharp-pointed horns and stood on the
defence against the onset of its fierce antagonist. This was a pretty
but a pitiable sight, as I knew that the odds were terribly against the
buck; but in another instant the actual encounter took place, and I was
surprised to see how well the plucky buck conducted the defence. It
actually charged the advancing cheetah, and stopped its rush. The
cheetah held back, and again the buck rushed in; but as we advanced, the
poor little beast was evidently frightened at the people, and it turned
to run. The moment that the cheetah saw its opportunity, it sprang
forward; we saw the blow of the paw, delivered as quick as lightning
upon the right haunch, and the gallant little buck was on its back, with
its throat hopelessly throttled in the cheetah's jaws.

We were sorry for this termination, as I should like to have witnessed
the result, had we not disturbed the fight by our presence. The keepers
did not regard the affair in the same light, as they declared the
cheetah might have been injured severely by the horns, but that
eventually it would have killed the black-buck.

In a couple of days we had killed a number of these beautiful animals,
but I became tired of the sport, as the affair was invariably over in a
couple of minutes. One thing was certain, the cheetahs were first-rate,
and there was none of the skulking and slinking back, which I had read
of as characteristic of the hunting leopard.

This style of hunting must naturally depend upon the condition of the
ground. We had hunted the localities that were in favour of the cheetah,
when scattered bush admitted of a tolerably close approach; but after a
couple of days we had scared the black-buck to such a degree that they
entirely forsook the sparse covert, and took to the bare open plain,
where it was simply impossible to approach them unobserved. This
intensified the pleasure, as hitherto the cheetahs had triumphed in
almost every hunt.

I accordingly suggested that we should confine our party to three
mounted persons and three carts, with of course the same number of
cheetahs, and endeavour to obtain some real coursing upon the open
plain.

We started. There was hardly a bush upon the wide expanse of level
ground, as smooth as a billiard table; only two or three trees occupied
this large area, and they were unhealthy specimens, which looked as
though periodical inundations had disagreed with them. We arrived upon
this great natural race-course, and the binoculars were at once in
request to scan the distant surface in search of the desired game. In a
short time, as we advanced leisurely, constantly halting to take an
observation, we discovered a considerable herd of about thirty or forty
antelopes, among which there were two bucks perfectly black; these were
feeding upon the short young grass in the very centre of the open
ground. The question arose, "How in the world shall we get near them?"
It was determined that our three horses should as much as possible
conceal themselves on the right side of the three carts, and that they
should attempt the approach by moving in a circle, getting nearer and
nearer to the herd, as the black-buck family might become less shy, and
more accustomed to the appearance of the carts. This plan was cleverly
carried out by the drivers, and in about twenty minutes we had, by
circling and alternately advancing direct, got to within 300 yards'
distance. The herd was all together, as several times they had stopped
feeding to gaze at our party, after which they had trotted off a little
distance, and then closed up, as though for mutual protection, which
gave confidence. We again halted, to try the effect upon the herd. They
merely looked up, and for the moment ceased feeding, but almost
immediately one of the bucks made an unprovoked attack upon the other,
apparently with the intention of driving it away from the females.
Instead of retreating from the insult, the affronted buck at once
returned to the encounter, and a tremendous fight was the immediate
result, the two combatants charging each other like rams, and boring,
first one, then the other backward, with the greatest fury. During this
duel the herd of females stood entranced, as admiring spectators of the
struggle.

Not so our drivers, who, instead of their hitherto wary tactics, now
prodded their bullocks with the sharp-pointed sticks, and drove at full
trot straight towards the combatants. In this manner we gained a
position within half a minute that we should perhaps never have obtained
had the bucks remained in peaceful tempers; the females perceived the
danger of our approach, and they started off, leaping in their usual
manner many feet in the air perpendicularly at every bound, leaving the
two stupid males in the ecstasy of a mortal struggle.

We reached a position within about 120 yards before the two fools
observed us. They at once left off fighting, and having regarded us in
astonishment for half a second, one dashed off to the left, and the
other to the right, across the open plain devoid of bush, or ruts, or
any obstacle to the highest speed.

At that same moment a cheetah that had been held in readiness leapt
airily to the ground, and the chase commenced after the right-hand buck,
which had a start of about 110 yards. The keeper simply begged us not to
follow until he should give the word.

It was a magnificent sight to see the extraordinary speed of both the
pursued and the pursuer. The buck flew like a bird along the level
surface, followed by the cheetah, who was laying out at full stretch,
with its long, thick tail brandishing in the air. They had run about 200
yards, when the keeper gave the word, and away we went as hard as the
horses could go over this first-class ground, where no danger of a fall
seemed possible. I never saw anything to equal the speed of the buck and
cheetah; we were literally nowhere, although we were going as hard as
horse-flesh could carry us, but we had a glorious view.

The cheetah was gaining in the course, literally flying along the
ground, while the buck was exerting every muscle for life or death in
its last race. Presently, after a course of about a quarter of a mile,
the buck doubled like a hare, and the cheetah lost ground as it shot
ahead, instead of turning quickly, being only about 30 yards in the rear
of the buck. Recovering itself, it turned on extra steam, and the race
appeared to recommence with increased speed. The cheetah was determined
to win, and at this moment the buck made another double, in the hope of
shaking off its terrible pursuer; but this time the cheetah ran
cunningly, and was aware of the former game; it turned as sharp as the
buck; gathering itself together for a final effort, it shot forward like
an arrow, picked up the distance that remained between them, and in a
cloud of dust for one moment we could distinguish two forms. The next
instant the buck was on its back, and the cheetah's fangs were fixed
like an iron vice upon its throat.

The course run was about 600 yards, and it was worth a special voyage to
India only to see that hunt. The cheetah was panting to an extent that
made it difficult to retain its hold. There were a few drops of blood
issuing from a prick through the skin of the right haunch, where the
cheetah's nails had inflicted a trifling wound when it delivered the
usual telling blow of the fore paw, that felled the buck to the ground
when going at full speed; beyond this there was no blood, until the
keeper cut the throat in the customary manner, and the cheetah, much
exhausted, was led to its cage. This was a very exceptional hunt, and a
friend who was present declared he had never seen anything to equal it,
although he had been all his life in India.

We had several courses, but nothing equalled this exciting hunt. On one
occasion the cheetah was slipped at too great a distance, the herd being
at least 350 yards ahead. The animal, after a vain effort, was well
aware of the impossibility; it accordingly ran up a solitary tree with
the agility of a monkey.

From this height the cheetah surveyed the retreating herd of antelopes,
and refused to descend when summoned. It was necessary for the attendant
to mount the tree, but the difficulty was increased by the cheetah
making unamiable faces as the man approached his perch. The wooden ladle
was now produced as a lure, and after some hesitation the animal
followed the man as he descended; the hood was adjusted over the eyes,
and the cheetah was replaced within its cage.

From the description given of the various classes of leopards, the
destruction committed by these animals may be easily imagined;
fortunately they do not breed like our domestic cats, but they seldom
have more than two, or at the most three cubs at a birth. I have always
been of opinion that the Government should cease to offer a reward for
the destruction of tigers (50 rupees), but that an increased reward
should be given for the death of every leopard (25 rupees). The tigers
will be always killed by Europeans who do not require the inducement of
a bonus, and the sum of 25 rupees would incite the natives to trap and
destroy a common pest and scourge (the leopard), which seldom or never
affords the hunter a chance of sport.

The cheetah (Felis jubata) should be exempted from this decree, as it
seldom attacks domestic animals, but confines its attention to the
beasts of the plains and forests.



CHAPTER IX

THE LION (FELIS LEO)

I have left this grand example of the genus Felis to conclude the
species, as the tiger is so closely associated with the elephant that I
was forced to accord it a place in direct sequence.

In the early days of the world's history the lion occupied a very
extensive area; it was common in Mesopotamia, and in Syria, in Persia,
and throughout the whole of India. It is now confined to a limited
number in Guzerat, and a few in Persia. Beyond these localities it has
ceased to exist in Asia. There can be little doubt that, unless
specially protected, it will become extinct in Asia within the next
hundred years.

Africa is the only portion of the globe where the lion remains lord of
the forest, as the king of beasts. The question has frequently been
discussed, "Why should the lion have vanished from the scene where in
ancient days he reigned in all his glory?" The answer is simple, the
lions have been exterminated.

There is a nobility in the character of a lion which differs entirely
from the slinking habits of tigers, leopards, and the feline race in
general. Although the lion is fond of dense retreats, he exposes himself
in many ways, which the tiger seldom or never does, unless compelled by
a line of beaters. This exposure, or carelessness of concealment,
renders his destruction comparatively easy.

On the other hand, the lioness brings forth a numerous family, generally
five or six at a birth, which should keep up the number of the race; in
spite of this prolific nature, the lion having from time immemorial been
an attraction to the mighty hunter, man has proved too much for him.

The Indian species is considerably smaller than the African variety, and
the mane is seldom so dark in colour, or so shaggy. tiger, as the
animals differ in form and muscular development. I have never weighed a
lion, but I feel convinced that a fine specimen would be heavier than an
equally well selected example of a tiger, as the former is immensely
massive, especially about the chest and shoulders. The head and neck are
larger, although, when boiled and cleaned, the skull does not exceed in
size that of an ordinary tiger. It may be safely stated that a lion
which measures 9 ft. 8 inches in length would weigh heavier than a tiger
of the same dimensions. I have already described that the tiger when
springing to the attack does not strike a crushing blow, but merely
seizes with its claws. A lion, on the contrary, strikes with terrible
strength, at the same time that it fixes its claws upon its victim. The
force of this blow is terrific, and many a man has been killed outright
as though struck with a sledge-hammer. An instance of this fatal onset
deprived me of a most intelligent and excellent German, with whom I was
associated during a hunting season in the Soudan.

Florian was a Bavarian who came to Khartoum in the service of the
Austrian Mission, employed as a mason. This man had a natural aptitude
for mechanical contrivances, and quickly abandoning the Jesuit Mission,
after the completion of the extensive convent at the junction of the two
Niles, he and a carpenter of the same nation formed a partnership of
hunters and traders, establishing themselves at Sofi on the frontier of
Abyssinia. They built a couple of circular huts of neatly squared
stones, and not only shot hippopotami in the Atbara river, but
manufactured extremely good whips from their skins. These were very
superior in finish to the ordinary "courbatch" of the Arabs, and they
met with a ready sale. Florian excelled as a carpenter, although a mason
by profession; he made exquisite camel saddles for the Arab sheiks;
these (moghaloufa) were cut from the heart of a tough wood which never
warped (Rhamnus Lotus), and were highly prized by the experienced Arabs
of the desert. The rainy season was industriously employed in such
useful manufactures, and when the dry months arrived, these two
excellent men started upon hunting expeditions, and combined business
with pleasure.

Although Florian was clever with both head and hands, he was a bad shot;
his guns were of a common and dangerous description, one of which burst,
and blew his left thumb and forefinger off. After his recovery from this
accident he still excelled in work, but he was exceedingly clumsy with
his weapons, which were always going off by accident. Upon several
occasions these unintentional explosions took place so close to my own
head that I suggested it would be safer should he adopt solitary rambles
instead of shooting in company.

One night he killed an elephant while watching by moonlight at a
drinking-place. On the following morning he sent a trustworthy Tokroori
native with an axe to cut out the tusks. The man presently returned with
the news that a large lion had eaten a portion of the elephant, and was
lying asleep close by, beneath a tree.

Florian immediately gave his man a single-barrelled rifle, and taking a
double smooth-bore himself, the two proceeded together towards the spot.
Upon arrival at the place where the body of the elephant was lying, the
lion was immediately discovered beneath a leafless bush, where it had
been seen by the Tokroori. The animal appeared to be thoroughly gorged
with elephant's flesh, and, half asleep in the hot sun, it took very
little notice of the two men, but remained crouched upon the bare
ground, neither grass nor leaves at that dry season existing to form a
cover for retreat.

Florian advanced boldly to within about 20 yards, the lion merely
regarding him with sleepy astonishment, until he took aim and fired. He
missed! The lion instantly assumed an attitude ready for a spring.
Florian aimed between the eyes, and again fired. He missed again! The
response was immediate: the lion gave a roar, and bounded forward; with
a terrific blow upon the head it felled the unfortunate Florian to the
ground, and seized him by the neck. Almost at the same moment the
faithful Tokroori rushed forward to assist his master, and, afraid to
fire lest he should hit him by mistake during the confusion of the
struggle, he actually pushed the muzzle of the rifle into the lion's ear
and pulled the trigger. The lion fell dead upon the lifeless body of
Florian.

Dr. Ori, an Italian in the service of the Egyptian Dr. Ori, an Italian
in the service of the Egyptian Government, was at that time purchasing
wild animals of the Hamran Arab sword-hunters, and was in camp within a
half-hour's march. The Tokroori brought the tragic news, and a party
started for the fatal spot. Dr. Ori subsequently described to me the
effect of the lion's blow. The skull, which had received its full force,
was completely shattered, as if it had been a cocoa-nut struck with a
hammer, and several of the lion's claws had penetrated through the bone,
as though they had been driven like a nail.

If that had been the attack of a tiger, the skull would not have been
injured, although the scalp would have been badly lacerated, and death
would have been occasioned by the grip of the jaws upon the neck, not by
the blow.

Another instance of the great force of a lion's blow was witnessed by my
late friend, Monsieur Lafargue, whom I knew when he was a resident of
Berber in the Soudan. This French gentleman was agent to Halim Pasha,
the uncle of His Highness Ismail the Ex-Khedive. Halim Pasha was a man
of great energy, and he was the first personage in the history of Egypt
who sent a steamer from Cairo to ascend the cataracts of the Nile and
reach Khartoum. This was accomplished after extreme difficulty in
experimenting upon the course of nearly 1600 miles of river, the
navigation of which was then unknown to others beyond the native owners
of small vessels. Halim Pasha was the first to attempt the commercial
development of the White Nile, and Monsieur Lafargue was an admirable
representative of his august employer. The steamer arrived safely at
Khartoum, and was engaged in the trade of the Blue Nile to Fazocle, and
through the White Nile to the unknown, as in those days Khartoum was the
southern boundary of Egypt.

Monsieur Lafargue was a charming man, highly educated, with a mind of a
peculiar character, that enabled him to lead a happy life in the remote
wilderness of the Soudan. It was difficult to understand, when
conversing with him in his beautiful house at Berber, or sitting
together in his garden on the extreme margin of the Nile, while the
desert sands upon the east side of the wall showed the limit of
civilisation and fertility, how any man of culture could endure to pass
his entire existence in such a narrow boundary--the Nile, the fruitful
source, upon one side, and the desert 200 yards beyond; sterile, only
because the water could not reach its surface.

He had his books, all the monthly periodicals from Europe, and his
newspapers; he also had his private affairs, his agency, which occupied
his time; in addition, he had a wife, an Abyssinian lady of great
beauty, and of gentle sympathetic disposition. To her husband she was as
the moon is to the traveller upon an otherwise dark night. Her story was
too romantic and sad to be lightly introduced, but her husband had given
up his country, and his family in France, after having made his fortune
in the Soudan, entirely upon her account. He described her to me as the
"gazelle of the desert, that was contented and happy in its native
sands, but would die in the atmosphere of conventional civilisation."

Monsieur Lafargue held a deservedly high position among all classes in
the Soudan. He had discovered that no legitimate commerce was possible
with the savages of the White Nile; he had therefore advised his
employer to that effect, and he had resigned all hope of effecting the
original object of his expedition. He was therefore carrying on a
business with the native merchants, from whom he purchased gum-arabic
from Kordofan, ivory from the White Nile, hides from the Arabs
generally, cotton, and cereals, all of which, as opportunity offered, he
either sent down the river or across the Korosko desert to Egypt proper.

We were talking about lions, and he told me the following account of
what he witnessed as he was returning from the White Nile upon the
steamer, then en route towards Khartoum.

The dry season was at its height; all the high grass and other herbage
along the river's banks had been burnt by the natives, and the surface
of the earth was black and bare. The steamer was going easily down
stream, saving her fuel, and as they floated along, with the paddles
revolving slowly, a lion was observed upon the dark and lately blackened
bank. The vessel was at once stopped, and a trustworthy Tokroori hunter
of Lafargue's volunteered to shoot the lion. The man was confident;
accordingly he was put ashore, armed only with a single-barrelled rifle.

From the poop-deck of the steamer the whole affair was distinctly
visible. They saw the bold Tokroori advance unconcernedly towards the
lion, which, although standing when first observed, now immediately
crouched. The Tokroori advanced until he was only a few yards distant:
he then halted, and fired. With a loud roar the lion flew to the attack,
and with a terrific blow it struck the hunter upon the shoulder. The
effect was awful; the man was dashed violently upon the ground, and the
lion fell across his body; after a few gasps it rolled over and died.
The Tokroori never moved.

The steamer was now run alongside the bank, and Monsieur Lafargue, with
a number of men, quickly went ashore. Both the Tokroori and the lion
were quite dead. The bullet had struck the animal in the chest, and had
passed through the heart. The Tokroori's arm was hanging from the hip!
It had not only been completely dislocated at the shoulder by the blow,
but it had been torn or struck downwards with such extreme force that
the flesh had been entirely stripped off the ribs and the side; the arm
at the extremity of this ruin was dangling upon the ground, hanging only
to the hip by the flesh attached. The Tokroori had been killed on the
spot by the shock to the system. This was a remarkable example of force.
On the other hand, although the lion frequently uses this dreadful power
of striking when in full charge, there are many cases when the animal
seizes simply with teeth and claws, like a tiger or others of the race.
(A tiger possesses the power to deliver a tremendous blow, but it
seldom exercises this force.)

I am of opinion that the act of striking would depend upon the position
of the animal or person attacked. There can be no doubt that a lion
could fell an ordinary bullock by a blow upon the neck, should it attack
from one side, but it would be extremely unlikely that it would strike
any horned animal upon the head, as it would risk serious damage to the
paw. We have seen that the cheetah strikes the haunch of a black-buck
when coursing at full speed, and it is highly probable that the lion
would exert its prodigious strength in the same manner, to stun the
hind-quarters by the stroke, and, by throwing the animal upon one side,
to expose the throat to the grip of the powerful jaws. All beasts of
prey occasionally meet with dangerous antagonists, and should the first
spring fail, the lion may find an adversary worthy of its fangs in a
staunch old African buffalo, in which case the battle would be worth a
journey to be witnessed. I once discovered the dislocated skeleton of a
buffalo almost intermingled with the broken bones of a lion, the skull
of which was lying near, while the skull of the buffalo, devoid of the
nasal bones, was lying within a few feet distant, gnawed by jackals and
hyenas. The ground had been deeply trampled, showing the desperate
character of the recent struggle, which had terminated in the death of
both combatants. It is highly probable that two lions had simultaneously
attacked the buffalo, who had succumbed after having vanquished one
assailant. This is a very common practice among lions, to hunt in
company. Mr. Oswell in South Africa had a peculiar example of this when
in a day's hunting his friend Major Vardon had wounded a bull buffalo,
which had retreated within the forest. The two hunters carefully
followed the blood-track, but after a short advance they were startled
by a succession of loud roars, which betokened lions close at hand.

There could be little doubt that the wounded buffalo had been attacked;
therefore, with proper precaution, they warily approached the spot,
until the exciting scene presented itself suddenly on the other side of
a large fallen tree, which happily concealed the approach of the two
companions.

Three lions were engaged in a life-and-death combat with the gallant old
bull, who made a desperate defence, first knocking over one of his
enemies, then boring another to the ground, and exhibiting a strength
which appeared sufficient to defeat the combination. Suddenly the
buffalo fell dead; this was the result of the original wound, as the
rifle bullet had passed through the lungs.

The lions were not aware of this, and a quarrel among themselves
commenced after their imagined victory. One huge beast reared to half
its full height and placed its fore paws upon the body of the prostrate
buffalo, while at the head and the hindquarters an angry lion clutched
the dead body in its spreading paws, and growled at the possessor of the
centre. This formed a grand picture within only a few yards' distance,
but a couple of shots from either rifle stretched two lions rolling upon
the ground, and the third, terrified at the unexpected reports, bounded
into the thick covert and disappeared.

A very good sportsman named Johann Schmidt, a Bavarian who died in my
service when in Africa, killed two lions in the act of attacking a
giraffe. I saw the skeletons of these animals in the bed of the river
Royan a few days after the incident. At that dry season of the year the
Royan was devoid of water, except at certain bends where the current had
scooped out a deep hole beneath the bank. Johann Schmidt was a poor man,
who could not afford the luxury of first-rate rifles; he therefore did
his best with most inferior arms, one of which was a light
double-barrelled smooth-bore muzzle-loader No. 16. This was a French
gun, for which he had given 50 francs at Cairo. By some chance, this
common little weapon shot remarkably well with ball and 3 drams of
powder. It became his favourite companion. He was strolling one day
along the bank of the Royan in Abyssinia, looking carefully down its
sandy bed, when he came near to a water-hole in the long intervals, and
he suddenly heard the peculiar sounds of a great encounter. The dust was
flying high in the air, and as he approached the spot, within the yellow
surface of the river's bed, he saw a cloud of sand, in the centre of
which was the large body and long neck of a bull giraffe struggling
against the attack of two lions. One of these was fastened upon its
throat, while the other was mounted upon its hind-quarters, where it was
holding on with teeth and claws. Johann concealed himself behind a large
tree which grew upon the bank; this abrupt margin was about 20 feet
above the river's bed, and not 50 yards from the scene of a hopeless
conflict.

The giraffe had no chance; and after a sharp struggle before the eyes of
the well-concealed spectator, it was pulled down, and both lions
commenced to growl over their contested prey. The position upon a
perpendicular bank being thoroughly secure, Johann took a steady shot,
and rolled one lion over, close to the dying giraffe; the other looked
round for a moment, and sprang up the bank upon the opposite side of the
river, but this, being perpendicular, was too high to permit of a direct
retreat; a bullet from the remaining barrel struck it through the back,
and paralysed the hind-quarters. The animal fell backwards upon the
sandy surface of the river, and rolled over helplessly, as the hind legs
had lost all power. This gave Johann time to reload, and, seeing that
the lion was completely at his mercy, he descended into the river's bed
and put a bullet through its head.

The giraffe was still alive, therefore another ball was necessary to
complete its despatch; and Johann remained in triumph, having bagged two
lions and a giraffe with a gun worth only 50 francs.

I have heard so many tales of lions which have carried away oxen from a
kraal, that I have endeavoured to unravel what appears to be a
mysterious impossibility. An experienced friend of mine was present
when, during the night, a lion bounded over the fence of thorns which
formed a protection to the camp, and seizing a full-grown bullock, it
jumped the fence, carrying the victim with it.

In the confusion of a night attack the scare is stupendous, and no
person would be able to declare that he actually saw the lion jump the
fence with the bullock in its grip. It might appear to do this, but the
ox would struggle violently, and in this struggle it would most probably
burst through the fence, and subsequently be dragged away by the lion,
in a similar manner to the custom already described of tigers. It is
quite a mistake to suppose that a lion can carry a full-grown ox; it
will partially lift the fore-quarters, and drag the carcase along the
ground.

Upon one occasion I was strolling through the forest on the margin of
the Settite river in Abyssinia, and I suddenly met a large bull buffalo
which was exactly facing me, having probably obtained my wind
beforehand. It was not more than 20 yards distant, and it threw up its
wicked head with the nose pointed directly at me, in the well-known
fashion which makes a shot at the forehead utterly impossible. Knowing
that my double-barrelled No. 10 with 7 drams of powder would have
sufficient penetration, I aimed exactly at the nostril, then fully
dilated by the excitement of the animal, and fired. The shot was
instantly fatal, as the hard bullet of quicksilver and lead not only
passed through the brain, having entered at the nose, but it penetrated
far into the neck and cavity of the chest. This was a very large beast,
and knowing that the dense covert of nabbuk (Rhamnus Lotus) close by was
a great resort of lions, I determined to leave the carcase for the night
in the spot where it was then lying.

On the following morning I revisited the place with two of my excellent
Tokrooris; we found many fresh footprints of lions in the sandy soil,
and a broad trace about 4 feet wide, where the body had been dragged
away. This had apparently been effected by more than one lion, as the
footprints varied in size.

There was a vast mass of dense green nabbuk growing parallel with the
banks of the river. This was an opaque screen of thorny foliage,
covering an area of about 200 yards in width, but extending for a great
distance. The nabbuk tree bears a small apple the size of a nutmeg,
rather sweet, and pleasant to the taste; but the tangled mass, when
growing upon the sandy loam near water, is absolutely impenetrable to a
human being. Into this secure retreat the lions had crept, forming dark
tunnels about 3 1/2 or 4 feet high, for some unknown distance.

The trace of the dragged buffalo led direct to the entrance of one of
these obscure tunnels, and there could be no doubt that the carcase was
within, and the lions not far distant. I have frequently looked back to
absurdities that have been scathelessly committed; among these on more
than one occasion I have foolishly ventured upon the exploration of a
lion's retreat. With two of my Tokrooris following with spare rifles
(all muzzle-loaders) I crept upon hands and knees into the dark tunnel,
upon the trace of the dragged buffalo. A light double-barrelled '577 was
my companion.

After a few yards the tunnel became much narrowed, and was hardly more
than 3 feet 6 inches in height. The bush (evergreen) was so dense that
it was very dark, and I could not see any tracks of lions upon the
ground over which I crept; cautiously, advancing, with both barrels upon
full cock. About 70 yards had been passed in this manner when I
distinctly smelt the heavy odour of raw flesh and offal. I looked behind
me, and my two men were keeping well together. There could be no doubt
that the carcase of the buffalo was not far off, and it was highly
probable that the lions would be in forcible possession. We crept
forward with extreme caution. The faint and disagreeable smell
increased, and was almost insupportable. I presently heard the cracking
of a bone, and there could be no doubt that the lions were close at
hand. I once more looked round to see if my men were coming on; they
were both close up. We crept noiselessly forward for a few yards, and
suddenly a dark object appeared to block the tunnel; in another moment I
distinguished the grand head and dark mane of a noble lion on the other
side of a mass which proved to be the remains of the bull buffalo;
another head, of a lioness, arose upon the right, and at the same
instant, with a tremendous roar, the scene changed before I had time to
fire. We were alone with the remains of the buffalo, and I believe three
lions had decamped, never to be seen again in the obscurity of the dense
green nabbuk. We were actually in possession, having driven the lions
from their prey, simply by our cautious advance, without a shot.

It required some time and trouble to cut off the head of that bull
buffalo in the narrow limits of the lion's den, but it hangs upon my
walls now as a trophy that might be won from a lion, but never could
have been wrested in the same manner from a tiger.

Upon another occasion I crept in a similar manner into one of their
dark tunnels, and shot the lion within a distance of four paces, but I
never recovered the body, as the animal bounded into the dense thorny
substance, which it was impossible for any human being to penetrate.
The Hamran Arabs persuaded me to discontinue this kind of exploration,
and my Tokrooris having taken the same view of the performance, I gave
up the practice, as I did not succeed in actually bagging a lion by the
attempt.

In the locality which I have mentioned, the lions, although numerous,
were never regarded as dangerous unless attacked; there was an abundance
of game, therefore the carnivora were plentifully supplied, and a large
area of country being entirely uninhabited, the lions were unaccustomed
to the sight of human beings, and held them in respect. During the night
we took the precaution to light extensive bonfires within our camp,
which was well protected by a circular fence of impenetrable thorns, but
we were never threatened by wild animals except upon one occasion.

I was strolling in search of food, with a particular two-grooved single
rifle No. 14 which was extremely accurate. Having shot a nellut (A.
Strepsiceros), the animal was fixed upon a camel and immediately
forwarded to camp, towards which I advanced by a circuitous direction in
the expectation of finding other game. The country was perfectly flat in
the vicinity of the river, and although much covered with dense bush, it
was interspersed with numerous small glades, covered with parched
herbage 2 or 3 feet in height. A few Tokrooris accompanied me with spare
rifles (all muzzle-loaders, as the breech action had not been introduced
in those days), and I was leading the way, occasionally breaking through
the intervening bush, with as little noise as possible.

Suddenly, as I was only half emerged from a line of dark green nabbuk, I
was surprised by a short roar close to me, and I immediately saw the
shoulders and the hinder portion of a lion, the head being concealed by
the bush, from which I had not completely emerged. I could have touched
it by stretching out my rifle, but personally I was quite unobserved.
There was not a moment to lose, and I fired through the centre of the
shoulder. With a short roar the lion disappeared; there was a rushing
sound in the bushes, and almost immediately another lion occupied the
exact position that had been quitted by the lioness. They must have been
lying down together when startled by our appearance, or rather by the
noise of our approach. This was a splendid chance, but I was unloaded; I
stretched my right arm behind me, expecting to receive a spare rifle
from my faithful Tokrooris, but they had retreated from the scene, and I
remained within 6 feet of a lion's flank with an unloaded rifle and no
companion. The lion's head and neck were quite concealed by the dense
green bush, and I had no other course to pursue than to reload my rifle.
The first tap that I gave the bullet when ramming it home, scared the
lion, and with a loud roar it sprang forward and disappeared. My
recreant followers now returned, and having administered a few kicks, I
took a double-barrelled rifle and we commenced a strict search for the
wounded animal. Directed by a low moan, we found her within a few yards,
dying; it was a lioness, but there was no trace of her companion, which
had been so lately within my reach.

The spare camel was now brought up, and with great difficulty my three
Tokrooris, the Hamran Arab, and myself succeeded in placing the lioness
across the saddle, having first opened and cleaned the body to reduce
the weight.

Blood trickled from the carcase, and dropped upon the ground, thus
forming a trace throughout the route until we reached the camp. The
lioness was 9 feet 1 inch in length, and, when skinned, the body was
dragged to a considerable distance and left for the hyenas.

The fires were blazing after sunset; the horses of my Hamran hunters,
and my own, were picqueted within the centre of our enclosure, near the
tent, and we were about to retire for the night, when a deep guttural
sigh was heard close to the high and impervious fence of kittur thorns.
This had been carefully constructed, as life was most uncertain within
that questionable district, where the Arab hunting parties invariably
killed all natives of the crafty Base tribe whenever met, and they
incurred a similar retaliation. The fence was made of entire trees cut
off near the roots, and then dragged by the stems into line, with their
wide-spreading heads of sharp hooked thorns forming the outside surface;
these were locked together by their hooks, entangled, and nothing could
possibly have broken through, except an elephant or rhinoceros.

Prowling around this excellent protection was a lion, who was pronounced
by my hunters to be the mate of the lioness which I had killed; it was
declared that the disconsolate husband had followed the course of his
wife's body, denoted by the drops of blood that had dripped upon the
ground when carried by the camel towards the camp. My people were of
opinion that the lion was determined upon vengeance, and that he would
assuredly bound over our fence, although he could not absolutely break
through it.

The night was always interesting upon the banks of the Settite river, as
vast numbers of wild animals were astir half an hour after sunset, which
either came down to drink, or to wander in search of green pasturage,
that was only to be found in places from which the water had retreated.
The lions were accordingly on the alert, and the threatening sound of
their deep voices was to be heard in every direction, until approaching
daylight drove them to their thickets.

There is nothing so beautiful, or enjoyable to my ears, as the roar of a
lion upon a still night, when everything is calm, and no sound disturbs
the solitude except the awe-inspiring notes, like the rumble of distant
thunder, as they die away into the deepest bass. The first few notes
somewhat resemble the bellow of a bull; these are repeated in slow
succession four or five times, after which the voice is sunk into a
lower key, and a number of quick short roars are at length followed by
rapid coughing notes, so deep and powerful that they seem to vibrate
through the earth.

Our nocturnal visitor did not indulge in the usual solo, but he
continued throughout the night to patrol the circuit of the camp,
occasionally betraying his presence by a guttural roar, or by the well-
known deep sigh which exhibited the capacity of his lungs. We could not
see to shoot, owing to the darkness outside the fence, and the
brightness of our fire within the camp; this my men industriously
replenished with wood, and occasionally hurled fire-brands in the
direction of the intruder.

At length we went to sleep, leaving the natives to keep watch; they
declared that nothing would induce them to close their eyes, as the lion
would assuredly carry off one of the party before the morning. To their
great discontent, I refused to disturb the night by firing a gun, as I
had determined to hunt up the lion on the following day at sunrise.

Upon waking early, we discovered the deep footprints upon the sandy
soil, which had marked a well-beaten path around our impenetrable fence,
showing that the lion had been patrolling steadily throughout the night.
This fact led me to suppose that I should most probably find him
somewhere within a very short distance of the camp. I started with some
of my best men, and instead of a light single-barrel I carried my '577
rifle.

The position of our camp was exceedingly favourable for game, as the
river made a circuitous bend, which had in ages past thrown up a mass of
alluvial soil of several hundred acres, all of which was now covered
with a succession of dense patches of nabbuk jungle, interspersed with
forest trees and numerous small glades of fine dwarf grass, which formed
a sward. I felt certain that our visitor of the last night must be
somewhere in this neighbourhood, and I determined to devote the entire
day to a rigorous search; in this my men were unanimous, as they
objected to passing another night in sleepless excitement and anxiety.

Luck was against us. I had numerous opportunities during the day of
shooting other animals, but I was devoted entirely to the lion, which we
could not find.

I was scratched with countless thorns, as we broke through the thickest
bushes, peering beneath their dark shade, and searching every acre of
the ground in vain. In spite of the great heat, we worked from early
morning until half an hour before sunset without resting from our work;
all to no purpose; there were tracks of lions in all directions, but the
animal itself was invisible. It was time to turn towards home, and I led
the way through low bush and sandy glades not larger than an ordinary
room, all of which were so much alike that it was difficult to decide
whether we had examined them before, during the day's hard march. In
several places we discovered our own footprints, and thus cheerlessly we
sauntered homewards, tired, and somewhat disgusted at the failure.

We were within half a mile of the camp, and I was pushing my way through
some dwarf green nabbuk about 5 feet high, when, upon breaking into a
small open glade, a large lion with a dark shaggy mane started to its
feet from the spot where it had been lying, probably half asleep. I
instantly fired, before it had time to bound into the thick jungle, and
with tremendous roars it rolled over beneath the dense nabbuk bushes,
where at this late hour the shade was almost dark. As quick as possible
I fired a second shot, as it was rolling over and over, with
extraordinary struggles, and it disappeared in the almost impervious
bush, dragging its hind legs in such a manner that I felt sure the spine
was broken by the bullet. It was so dark that we could not discern the
figure of the animal beneath the thorns, although it was only a few feet
distant. Having reloaded, I hardly knew what course to pursue; we had no
means of driving the lion from the bush, I therefore examined the
ground, and we discovered that the nabbuk into which it had retreated
was simply an isolated clump, surrounded by narrow glades of sandy turf.
From this asylum I felt sure it could not move, and although it would
have been more heroic to have crept into the dark cover and have given
it a quietus, or more probably to have received it myself, we came to
the wise conclusion that if the lion could not move, it would be there
on the following morning, when we should have daylight in our favour.

We returned to camp, and the night passed without disturbance. Directly
after sunrise we returned to the spot, and we found the lion still
alive, although completely paralysed in the hinder portions. A shot in
the centre of the forehead terminated the affair, and the joint efforts
of ten men succeeded after great exertion in sliding the carcase upon
three inclined poles from the ground to the saddle, while the camel was
kneeling in a slight hollow, which the people had scraped away for the
purpose.

I had no means of weighing this animal, but it was immensely massive,
and would according to my estimation have exceeded 500 lbs.

The accounts published respecting the character of lions differ to such
a degree that incidents which are considered natural in one portion of
Africa may be regarded as incredible in other districts; there can be
little doubt that the character of the animal is influenced by the
conditions of its surroundings, which renders it extremely difficult to
write a comprehensive account, that will embrace the entire family of
lions throughout the world. Roualeyn Gordon Cumming gave a terrible
description of a night attack upon his camp, when a lion bounded over
the thorn fence, and seizing a sleeping servant from beneath his blanket
close to the camp fire, carried him off into the surrounding darkness,
and deliberately devoured every portion, excepting one leg, which was
found on the following morning, bitten off at the knee-joint. This was
the more extraordinary, as another man was at the same time asleep under
the blanket with the unfortunate victim; this courageous fellow snatched
a heavy firebrand from the pile, and beat the lion on the head in the
endeavour to save his friend. Instead of relinquishing its prey, the
lion dragged the man only a short distance, and commenced its meal so
immediately that the cracking of bones could be heard throughout the
night.

In southern Africa a night attack by lions upon the oxen belonging to
the waggons is by no means uncommon, in books published concerning
expeditions to that country, but in nine years' experience of camp life
in Africa, both equatorial and to 14 degrees north of the equator, I
have never even heard of any actual depredation committed by lions upon
a camp or upon a night's bivouac; the nearest approach was the
threatening nocturnal visit already described, where no actual damage
was inflicted.

There is an instinct natural to all animals which gives them due warning
whether man approaches them with hostile intent, and there can be no
doubt that every wild animal possesses this discriminating power, and
would be influenced according to circumstances. My own experience has
led me to an opinion that the lion is not so dangerous as the tiger,
although, if wounded and followed up, there cannot be a more formidable
antagonist.

Upon several occasions I have seen lions close to me when I have had no
opportunity of shooting, and they have invariably passed on without the
slightest signs of angry feeling. I was riding along a very desolate
path, and a lioness, followed by five nearly full-grown young ones,
walked quietly from the jungle, and they crossed within a few yards of
my horse's head, apparently without fear or evil disposition. I well
remember, at the close of a long march we halted beneath a large tree,
which I considered would form an agreeable shade for our tent. I gave my
rifle to a servant, who deposited it against the tree, preparatory to my
dismounting, when a lioness emerged from the bushes, and walked
unconcernedly through our party, within only a few feet of the startled
horses. She disappeared without having condescended to increase her
pace.

Upon another occasion I had fired the grass, which had left a perfectly
clean surface after the blaze. The night was bright moonlight, and I was
standing in front of the tent door, when a large, maned lion and a
lioness crossed the open space within 10 or 12 yards of my position, and
stood for a few moments regarding the white tent; they passed slowly
forward, but had disappeared before I had time to return with a rifle.

I once saw a wounded lion decline a challenge from a single hunter. It
is possible that a tiger might have behaved in the same manner, but it
would be dangerous to allow the opportunity. I had taken a stroll in the
hope of obtaining a shot at large antelopes, to procure flesh for camp,
and I was attended by only one Arab, a Hamran hunter armed with his
customary sword and shield. Having a peculiar confidence in the accuracy
of a two-grooved single rifle of small bore, I took no other, and we
walked cautiously through the jungle, expecting to meet some animal that
would supply the necessary food. We had not walked half a mile when we
emerged upon a narrow glade about 80 yards in length, surrounded by
thick bush. At one end of this secluded and shady spot an immense lion
was lying asleep upon the ground, about 70 yards distant, on the verge
of the dense nabbuk.

He rose majestically as we disturbed him by our noise in breaking
through the bushes, and before he had time to arrange his ideas, I
fired, hitting him through the shoulder. With the usual roars he rolled
several times in apparent convulsive struggles, until half hidden
beneath the dense jungle; there he remained.

If I had had a double rifle I could have repeated the shot, but in those
days of muzzle-loaders I had to reload a single rifle, and as usual,
when in a hurry, the bullet stuck in the barrel and I could not drive it
home.

In this perplexity, to my astonishment my Arab hunter advanced towards
the wounded lion, with his drawn sword grasped firmly in his right hand,
while his left held his projected shield, and thus unsupported and
alone, this determined fellow marched slowly forward until within a few
yards of the lion, which, instead of rushing to attack, crept like a
coward into impenetrable thorns, and was seen no more. The Arab
subsequently explained that he had acted in this manner, hoping that the
lion would have crouched preparatory to a spring; he would then have
halted, and the delay would have given me time to load.

I have before remarked upon the extreme danger of despising an
adversary, and although I do not consider the lion to be so formidable
or ferocious as the tiger, that is no reason for despising an animal
which has always been respected from remote antiquity to the present
day. It is impossible to be too careful when in pursuit of dangerous
game. My friend Colonel Knox of the Scots Fusilier Guards, an
experienced and fearless sportsman, very nearly lost his life in an
encounter with a lioness, although under the circumstances he could
hardly be blamed for want of due precaution. He had shot the animal,
which was lying stretched out, as though dead. Being alone, he returned
to camp to procure the necessary people, and together with these he went
to the spot where he found the lioness in the same position. Naturally
he considered that it was dead, but upon approaching the prostrate body
he was instantly attacked, knocked down, and seized by the back; he
would assuredly have been killed had he not been assisted by his
followers. Although he killed the lioness, he was seriously mauled, and
was laid up for a considerable period in consequence.

It would be easy to produce cases where lions have caused terrible
fatalities, and others where they have failed to support their
reputation for nobility and valour; but as I have already observed,
there is no absolute certainty or undeviating rule in the behaviour of
any animal. The natives of Central Africa, who are first-rate sportsmen,
have no fear of the lion when undisturbed by hunters, but they hold him
in the highest respect when he becomes the object of the chase. I have
known a lion which, when stopped by the nets in one of the great African
hunts, knocked over five men, all of whom were seriously wounded, and,
although it was impaled by spears, it succeeded in evading a crowd of
its pursuers.

Stories of lions are endless, and were they compiled, a most interesting
work might result, but my object in producing a few anecdotes, mostly of
my own personal experience, is to elucidate the character of the animals
by various examples, which prove the impossibility of laying down any
fixed or invariable rule.

There can be no doubt that the mode of hunting generally adopted in
Central Africa is far more dangerous than the careful contrivances of
India, where the tiger, as fully described, is hunted either upon
elephants or by posting the guns in secure positions. Even in
Rajpootana, where hunting is frequently conducted upon foot, the ground
is specially favourable among deep and precipitous ravines, where abrupt
rocks and perpendicular banks afford protection to the hunter.

In Central Africa the climate and fodder are so detrimental to horses
that the explorer quickly discovers the utility of his own legs, and no
experience is so conducive to steady and accurate shooting as the
knowledge of an impossibility to escape by speed. We are all creatures
of habit, and are more or less the slaves of custom; this is proved AD
ABSURDUM by the peculiar feeling when a man who is accustomed to shoot
tigers from the secure and lofty position in a tree, finds himself
compelled to seek the animal upon foot. In Africa, also in Ceylon, the
hunter is so much in the habit of standing upon his own legs that he
ceases to fear the attack of any creature, feeling certain of the
accuracy of his rifle; but this same individual would begin to feel
unnaturally exposed if, after a continuous experience in secure mucharns
and mounted upon elephants, he should be suddenly called upon to seek a
wounded tiger or lion upon foot. I have never followed lions except on
foot. They are killed by the Hamran Arabs on horseback; fairly hunted by
two or three of these splendid fellows, and cut down by a stroke across
the spine with the heavy broadsword.

The lion is never specially sought for by the natives of Central Africa,
but should he be met with in their ordinary hunting expeditions, he
takes his chance like all other animals, and is attacked either with
arrows or the spear.

Many of the natives are exceedingly courageous, and will advance to the
attack upon a lion with spear and shield, or even without the latter
safeguard, as they are confident in the support of their companions in
case of an emergency. I remember upon one occasion I had wounded a
lioness by a shot in the chest from a very accurate but extremely
ineffective rifle, which, although _'577_, carried a small charge of 2
1/2 drams of powder. The animal took refuge in a patch of high grass
only a few yards square. Invisible in this retreat, my three hardy
natives offered to go in and throw their spears at her, provided I would
be ready to support them should she charge into the open when they had
failed. This proceeding would have been a reflection upon our superior
weapons, and I declined the proposal, as too dangerous to the men. I
sent the natives to the summit of a white ant-hill about 7 feet high;
from this they espied the animal lying in the yellow grass, but so
indistinct that it was impossible to determine her exact position. I
accordingly instructed the men to keep a sharp look-out, and to throw
their spears should the lioness charge, as I would provoke an attack by
firing a shot at hazard into the long grass. Placing Lieut. Baker, R.
N., upon my right, with instructions to enfilade the expected attack, I
advanced to within 20 yards of the grass, and fired into the spot she
was supposed to occupy. The effect was instantaneous. At the report of
the rifle the lioness uttered a loud roar and charged directly upon
myself, the most prominent antagonist. I fired the left-hand barrel at
her chest, but this miserable weapon had no penetration (it was the
first and last that I ever possessed with a hollow bullet); the natives
hurled their spears, but missed the flying mark; Lieut. Baker fired
right and left with a No. 70 small-bore, which hit, but without effect.
Everybody turned and ran at their best speed, as the lioness in hot
pursuit was within a few feet of us. A native servant of Lieut. Baker
passed me with his master's spare gun in his hand. To snatch this from
the man, and to turn round and face the still roaring pursuer, was the
work of an instant, and I fired into her chest a No. 12 spherical ball
with 4 1/2 drams of powder from an ordinary smooth-bore. To my delight,
this rolled her over and checked her onset; but she immediately sprang
back to her asylum of yellow grass. We were now reduced to our original
position, but I knew the wound would be quickly fatal.

The natives recovered their spears, while we all reloaded, and presently
one of our people from the summit of the ant-hill excitedly pointed to
an object in the high grass; within a distance of about eight yards I
distinguished the back of the head and neck of the lioness. She was
looking in the opposite direction; this gave me a fatal opportunity, and
a shot in the nape of the neck settled the affair, after a
well-contested struggle.

It was impossible to carry this animal, we therefore skinned it, and
upon opening the stomach we found the sections of a fawn antelope; these
when placed in position showed the entire animal, which she must have
eaten a few hours previously. This was so fresh that my natives
immediately made a fire and roasted the meat, which they ate with great
enjoyment as a feast of victory. (We measured this lioness carefully
with a piece of string; she was 9 feet 6 inches from nose to tip of
tail.)

I shall say no more concerning lions, but I shall always admire the calm
dignity of appearance, the massive strength, the quiet determination of
expression, and the NOLI ME TANGERE decision, that represent the
character of the nation which has selected this noble animal for its
emblem.

I do not venture upon the extensive variety of smaller species of the
genus Felis; but there is one in India which I have only observed upon
two occasions; this is the colour of a puma, rather long in the leg,
with pointed tufts of black hair at the tips of the ears, giving it the
appearance of a lynx. I have a skin in my possession which I shot in the
Central Provinces of India in 1888. The whole of the genus Felis, from
the lion to the ordinary cat, have the same number of teeth-six cutting
teeth, six front teeth, and two incisors in either jaw. The tongues are
invariably rough, and in the lion and the tiger they are prickly to such
a degree that flesh could be licked clean off the bone without the
preliminary and impatient process of tearing by the teeth.

The often-questioned thorn in the extreme end of a lion's tail is by no
means a fallacy; this is a distinct termination in a sharp horny point,
which, although only a quarter of an inch or less in length, is most
decided. I do not consider that there is any special use for this
termination, any more than there would be for the tuft of black hair
which forms the extremity, and which conceals the thorny substance.



CHAPTER X

THE BEAR (URSUS)

This is one of the oldest animals in history, and it has survived the
attacks of man far more successfully than the more noble beast the lion.
This survival may probably result from the secluded habits of the bear,
which cannot be classed among the destroyers, such as the carnivora,
although it is dangerous when hunted, and not unfrequently it attacks
man without any provocation.

The nature of most animals may be judged by the formation of their
teeth; those of the bear declare its omnivorous propensities--

In the upper jaw 12 molars, 2 canine, 6 incisors.

In the lower jaw 14 molars, 2 canine, 6 incisors.

There are so many varieties of the bear that it is impossible exactly to
define the food of the species. We see the polar bear (Ursus maritimus),
which, living upon seals and fish, differs from all others; the grizzly
bear (Ursus ferox) of Western America, which will eat flesh when it can
obtain it, but is a feeder upon roots and berries. Nearly all bears are
inclined to vegetable food and insects, accepting flesh when they find
the freshly killed body of an animal, but not seeking live creatures to
kill and eat. The sloth bear of India is an exception to this rule, as
it refuses flesh, and lives simply upon fruits, berries, leaves of
certain trees, roots, and insects of all kinds, the favourite bonne
bouche being the nest of white ants (Termites), for which it will dig a
large hole in the hardest soil to a depth of 2 or 3 feet. The molars of
bears have a close resemblance to those of a human being, exhibiting a
grinding surface for the mastication of all manner of substances. The
nose is used as a snout, for turning over stones which lie upon the
surface, in search of insects, slugs, worms, and other creatures, as
nothing comes amiss to the appetite of a bear.

The claws of the fore paws are three or four inches in length, and are
useful implements for digging. It is astonishing to see the result upon
soil that would require a pick-axe to excavate a hole. Upon the hard
sides of such pits as those made in search of white ants, the claw-marks
are deeply imprinted, showing the labour that has been expended for a
most trifling prize, as the nest when found would only yield a few
mouthfuls. I have never appreciated the name of "sloth bear" given to
Ursus labiatus, as it is a creature that works hard for its food
throughout the year, and being an inhabitant of the tropics, it never
hybernates. This species is very active, and although it refuses flesh,
it is one of the most mischievous of its kind, as it will frequently
attack man without the slightest reason, but from sheer pugnacity. A
full-grown male weighs from 280 to 300 lbs. The skin is exceedingly
thick and heavy. The hair is long and coarse, with a bunch upon its back
of at least 7 inches in length, but there is a total absence of fur,
therefore the hide has no commercial value. The chest is marked by a
peculiar pattern in whitish brown, resembling a horse-shoe, which is the
mark for aim when the animal rears upon its hind legs to attack. There
are five claws upon the fore feet, and the same number upon the hinder
paws. Although these are not retractile, neither are they so curved or
sharp as those of the genus Felis; they inflict terrible wounds upon a
human being, and when the head of a man has been in a bear's grip it has
generally been completely scalped. I have heard of more than one
instance where the scalp has been torn from the back of the neck and
pulled over the eyes, as though it had been a wig.

The Ursus labiatus seldom produces more than two or three at a birth,
and the young cub is extremely ugly, but immensely powerful in limbs and
claws. I have seen a very young animal which held on to the inside of
its basket when inverted, and although shaken with great force, nothing
would dislodge its tenacious clutch; this specimen was about six weeks
old.

Although many varieties of bears are tree-climbers, there are others
which are contented with the ground, and which could not ascend a tree
even should they be tempted by its fruit. The grizzly bear (Ursus ferox)
belongs to this class, and his enormous weight would at any time
necessitate especial care when experimenting upon the strength of
boughs. I do not believe that any person has actually weighed a grizzly,
but an approximate idea may be obtained through a comparison with the
polar bear (Ursus maritimus), which is somewhat equal in size, probably
superior. When I was in California, experienced informants assured me
that no true grizzly bear was to be found east of the Pacific slope, and
that Lord Coke was the only Britisher who had ever killed a real grizzly
in California. There are numerous bears of three if not four varieties
in the Rocky Mountains, and these are frequently termed grizzlies, as a
misnomer; but the true grizzly is far superior in size, although similar
in habits, and his weight varies from 1200 to 1400 lbs.

Mr. Lamont, in his interesting work Yachting in the Arctic Seas, gives
the most accurate account of all Arctic animals that he killed, and
having the advantage of his own yacht, he was able to weigh the various
beasts, and thus afford the most valuable information in detail. This is
his account of a polar bear (Ursus maritimus) which he himself killed :-

"He was so large and heavy that we had to fix the ice-anchor, and drag
him up with block and tackle, as if he had been a walrus. This was an
enormous old male bear, and measured upwards of 8 feet in length, almost
as much in circumference, and 4 1/2 feet at the shoulder; his fore paws
were 34 inches in circumference, and had very long, sharp, and powerful
nails; his hair was beautifully thick, long, and white, and hung several
inches over his feet. He was in very high condition, and produced nearly
400 lbs. of fat; his skin weighed upwards of 100 lbs., and the entire
carcase of the animal cannot have been less than 1600 lbs."

This weight is equivalent to a large-sized English cart-horse. I have
seen one of the skins procured by Mr. Lamont, and I can readily
appreciate his account of the weight. I have also seen a skin of a
grizzly bear killed at Alaska by Sir Thomas Hesketh; this was cured by
Mr. Rowland Ward, who showed it to me at his establishment, 160
Piccadilly, and it was very little inferior to the skin of the polar
bear. I quite believe the accounts I have received in California are
correct, and that the grizzly may sometimes exceed 1400 lbs. in weight.
There is a considerable difference in size between the male and female,
the former being superior. Like all other animals, the mother is
particularly attached to her young, and when in company with them she is
more than ordinarily ferocious, as she appears to suspect every stranger
of some hostile intentions towards her offspring.

The increase of population in many countries has resulted in the
destruction of all animals that were considered dangerous to man; thus
the wolf and the bear have both disappeared from Great Britain, and they
have become scarce in France.

Thirty-five years ago, I was in a wild portion of the Pyrenees, in the
hope of finding bears at the first snows of winter, when by extreme bad
luck a fall took place so suddenly and severe that a pass was blocked,
which prevented my arrival at a narrow valley, between the lofty
mountains named Tram-Saig. I had been assured that the bears would
hybernate at the commencement of winter, and that they could only be
found at the season when the first snow-fall would expose their tracks.

On the following day I managed to get through the pass, and to my
intense disgust, upon arrival, I found that I was a day too late, as the
Maire, who was a great chasseur, had killed two bears, a mother and
half-grown young one, on the preceding day, thus verifying the
information I had received.

I saw the freshly killed skins pegged out to dry, and a few days later I
ate a portion of the paws in an excellent stew when dining with the
Prefect of Bagneres-de-Bigorre, to whom they were forwarded as an
esteemed present.

The larger bear-skin gave me the impression that the original owner must
have been the size of a heifer twelve or fifteen months old. This was
the ordinary brown bear of Europe, which still exists in Transylvania,
Hungary, Italy, and especially in Turkey. The same bear inhabits Asia
Minor, and both these varieties hybernate at the commencement of winter.
In the extensive forests and mountains about Sabanja, beyond the Gulf of
Ismid, I have seen the wild fruit trees severely injured by the brown
bears, which ascend in search of cherries, plums, apples, walnuts, and
sweet chestnuts. The heavy animal knows full well that the extremity of
the boughs will not support its weight, it therefore stands erect upon a
strong limb and tears down the smaller fruit-laden branches within its
reach. Although bears are numerous throughout the forests, there is only
one season when they can be successfully hunted; this is in late autumn,
when the fruits are closing their maturity, and the apples and nuts are
falling to the ground. The bears then descend from the mountain heights,
and may be found late in the evening or before sunrise in the
neighbourhood of such food.

Asia Minor and Syria possess two distinct varieties of bears, although
the countries are closely connected, and these animals are not
inhabitants of the same district. The Syrian bear is smaller than the
ordinary brown bear, and would hardly exceed 300 lbs. in weight. The fur
is a mixed and disagreeable colour, a dusky gray of somewhat rusty
appearance, but blanched in portions as though by age. This species is
to be found at the present day upon Mount Horeb, and the natives assured
me that, when the grapes are ripe, it is necessary to protect them by
watchers armed with guns, to scare the bears during night.

Wild animals which hybernate have a peculiar instinct for selecting
hiding-places, which can seldom be discovered; in these they lie, free
from all intrusion.

The fruits of late autumn fatten the bear to a maximum condition, and
when the harvest is over, and the ground is covered with a dense sheet
of snow, it retires to some well-known cave, high among the mountains,
in such undisturbed seclusion that it is seldom visited by the foot of
man. Within a cave, nestled in ferns or withered leaves and grass, the
fatted bruin curls itself to sleep throughout the winter months, and the
warmth necessary to its existence is supplied by its own fat, which,
being rich in carbon, supports vitality at the expense of exhaustion of
supply.

If the fat bear could see itself previous to hybernation in November,
and again be introduced to its own photograph upon awakening from its
sleep in March, it would be prepared to swear against its own identity.
It arises from its winter's nap in wretched condition, having lived
entirely upon capital instead of income. Young shoots, and leaves of
spring, wild tubers which it scratches from the ground, detected by its
keen sense of smell, together with snails, beetles, worms, and
everything that creeps upon the earth, now form the bill of fare, until
the summer brings forth the welcome fruits that reproduce the condition
which the bear had lost through hybernation.

It is impossible to unravel many of the mysteries of Nature, and the
cause which prompts the instinct of a winter's sleep will always remain
doubtful. I should myself attribute hybernation to the necessity of
repose at a period when food was impossible to procure. The body can
exist for an incredible length of time, provided that it is capable of
undisturbed rest, which appears in a certain degree to take the place of
extraneous nutriment. It is well known that every exertion of the
muscles is a loss of power, the force of the body being represented by
heat. To lift a weight or to move a limb requires a certain expenditure
of heat, which means force; this loss of heat and power is recuperated
by food; thus in the absence of provisions for the necessary supply,
there would be no loss of heat if there is no exertion. Sleep is the
resource, as the body is not only at rest, but the brain is also
tranquil; there is accordingly a minimum of exhaustion. Human beings
have been known to live without food of any kind (excepting water) for a
period of forty days, and have then resumed their ordinary course,
simply confining themselves to moderate diet for the first few days
after their long abstinence. In a time of starvation in Africa I have
frequently composed myself to sleep in the absence of my daily food, and
I have awoke without any disagreeable craving for a meal. Continued
sleep will to a certain extent render the body independent of other
nutriment, and I should imagine that the custom of hybernation has been
induced by necessity. At a season when the fruits of the earth are
exhausted, the ground frozen to a degree that would render scratching
for roots impossible, an animal that was dependent upon such productions
for its existence must either starve or sleep. The sleep is in itself a
first stage of the process of starvation. The creature that can sleep
through an existence of four months without food, and lose the whole of
its fat during that interval of inaction, has already lost all that
supported life during the period of total abstinence--the fat, or
carbon. If it were to begin another turn of sleep in its exhausted
state, it would be unable to support its existence.

I therefore regard hybernation as the result of the highest physical
condition, the animal being thoroughly fat; the food ceases, and the
beast, knowing this fact, lays itself down to sleep, and exists upon its
own fat, which gradually disappears during the interval of starvation.
The bear wakes up in spring with a ragged ill-conditioned skin, instead
of the glossy fur with which it nestled into rest; and it finds its coat
a few sizes too large, until an industrious search for food shall have
restored its figure to its original rotund proportions.

The proof of this necessity for repose during a period of enforced
abstinence will be observed in the independence of tropical bears, which
do not hybernate, for the best of all reasons, "that there is no
winter," therefore they can procure their usual food throughout every
season without difficulty or interruption.

The animals of America are all exaggerated specimens of the species, and
the grizzly bear, if standing by the side of the ordinary brown bear of
Northern Europe, would hardly exhibit any striking difference except in
superior size and a slight roughness of colour. I have heard the
question frequently discussed when in the Big Horn range of the Rocky
Mountains in Wyoming; some of the professional hunters term all bears
grizzlies, while others deny the existence of the true grizzly except
upon the Pacific slope.

There is no doubt that all the American bears will eat flesh whenever
they can obtain it, although they do not pursue animals as objects for
food. The usual custom in bear-shooting is to kill a black-tail deer and
to leave the body untouched. If this course is pursued throughout the
day, three or four deer may have been shot in various localities, and
these will lie as baits for the bears.

At daybreak on the following morning the hunter visits his baits, and he
will probably find that the bears have been extremely busy during the
night in scratching a hole somewhat like a shallow grave or trench, in
which they have rolled the carcase; they have then covered it with earth
and grass, and in many cases the bears may be discovered either in the
act of working, or having completed their labour, they may be lying down
asleep half gorged with flesh, and resting upon their own handiwork. In
this position it is not difficult to obtain a shot.

When I was in the Big Horn range in 1881 several shooting parties had
preceded me on the two previous seasons, and the bears had been worried
to such an extent that they were extremely cautious and wary. There was
a small party of professional skin hunters who were camped within a mile
of my position, consisting of two partners, Big Bill and Bob Stewart.
The latter went by the name of Little Bob, in contrast to his enormous
companion. Bob was of Scotch extraction; he was about 5 feet 5 inches in
height, very slight, and as active as a cat. In his knowledge of every
living creature upon the mountains he was perfect; from the smallest
insect to the largest beast he was an infallible authority. Bob was a
trapper and hunter; he followed the different branches of these pursuits
according to the seasons; at one time he would be trapping beavers and
red foxes, at another he would be shooting deer for the value of their
hides. This cruel and wasteful practice I shall speak of in another
portion of this work.

His only weapon was a single-barrelled Sharp's .450 rifle, and he
possessed the most lovely mare, beautifully trained for shooting, and
not exceeding 14 1/2 hands in height. Little Bob, on his little mare,
would have formed a picture. On one occasion I had returned to camp a
little after 5.30 P.M., and as the sun sank low, the deep shadows of the
hills darkened our side of the narrow glen, and by 6 o'clock we were
reduced to a dim twilight. Presently, in this uninhabited region, a
figure halted within 15 paces of our tent, which was evidently Bob
Stewart, mounted upon some peculiar animal of enormous bulk, but with a
very lovely high-bred-looking head. This was Bob's pretty mare, loaded,
and most carefully packed with the trophies of his day's sport, as a
solitary hunter, quite alone and unaided since 8 A.M. His pony carried
the skins of three bears and four black-tail deer, which he had shot,
skinned, and packed upon his sturdy little companion.

The bears consisted of a mother and two half-grown young ones of the
choice variety known as "silver-tipped." He had come across the family
by chance while riding through the forest, and having shot the mother
through the shoulder, she fell struggling between her cubs; these
pugnacious brutes immediately commenced fighting, and a couple of shots
from the rapid breechloading Sharp rifle settled their ill-timed
quarrel.

Bob was the most dexterous skinner I ever saw; he would take off a skin
from a deer or bear as naturally as most persons would take off their
clothes; and the fact of a man, unassisted, flaying seven animals, and
arranging them neatly upon the Mexican saddle, would have been a
tolerable amount of labour without the difficulty of first finding and
then successfully shooting them.

The hide of the largest bear would weigh fully 50 lbs., those of the
smaller 25 lbs. each = 100 lbs. The four black-tail deer would weigh
fully 50 lbs. Therefore the mare was carrying 150 lbs. of hides, in
addition to Bob Stewart, who weighed about 9 stone, making a total of
about 276 lbs., irrespective of his rifle and ammunition.

It was a strange country; the elevation of our camp was about 10,000
feet above the sea-level, although we were in a deep and narrow glen,
close to a very small stream of beautifully clear water. Upon either
side the valley, the hills rose about 1400 feet; at that season
(September) the summits were in some places capped with snow. The sides
of the hills, sloping towards the glen, were either covered with forests
of spruce firs, or broken into patches of prairie grass and sage bush,
the latter about as high as the strongest heather, and equally tough and
tiresome.

The so-called camp was upon an extremely limited scale; a little
sleeping tent only 7 feet by 7, and 5 feet 8 inches in the highest
portion; this had no walls, but was simply an incline from the
ridge-pole to the ground; it was a single cloth, without lining of any
kind, and bitterly cold at night. This was rough work for a lady,
especially as our people had no idea of making things comfortable, or of
volunteering any service. If ordered to come, they came; to go, they
went; to do this or that, they did it; but there was no attempt upon
their part to do more than was absolutely required of them. Shooting in
the Big Horn range is generally conducted upon this uncomfortable plan.
It is most difficult to obtain either men or animals; but, although
useless fellows for any assistance in camp, they were excellent for
looking after the horses and mules, all of which require strict
attention.

We had only four men, all told--my hunter Jem Bourne, the cook Henry (a
German), Texas Bill, who was a splendid young fellow, and Gaylord.

Although I have travelled for very many years through some of the
roughest portions of the world, I have always had a considerable
following, and I confess to disliking so small a party. Including my
wife, we were only six persons, and it was impossible to consume the
flesh of the animals killed. I cannot shoot to waste; therefore upon
many occasions I declined to take the shots, and thus lost numerous
opportunities of collecting splendid heads; this destroyed much of the
pleasure which I had anticipated. There were no Indians, as they are
confined to their reservations; therefore it was almost criminal to
destroy wantonly a number of splendid beasts, which would rot upon the
ground and be absolutely wasted. Several parties of Englishmen had not
been so merciful; therefore the Americans had no scruples, and commenced
an onslaught, general and indiscriminate, shooting all animals, without
distinction of age or sex, merely for the value of the skins; the
carcases of magnificent fat deer were left to putrefy, or to become the
food of the over-satiated bears, which themselves fell victims in their
turn.

This was the slaughter in which Bob Stewart and Big Bill were engaged in
partnership. They never shot in company, but each started upon his
independent course at 8 or 9 o'clock A.M., after having employed
themselves since daylight in pegging out the skins to dry, that had been
shot on the previous day. The most valuable of the deer-skins was the
black-tail, which realised, at a price per lb., 11s. This hide is used
for making a very superior quality of glove, much prized in California.

I strolled over to the camp of the two partners one morning, as I was on
the way to shoot, and I found them engaged in arranging their vast
masses of skins, all of which were neatly folded up, perfectly dry,
without any other preparation than exposure to the keen dry air of this
high altitude.

Upon my inquiry of Big Bill respecting his operations on the previous
day, he replied that he "guessed he had been occupied in running away
from the biggest grizzly bear that ever was cubbed."

Big Bill was a Swede by parentage, born in the States. By trade he was a
carpenter, but he had of late years taken to skin-hunting. He was an
enormous fellow, about 6 feet 3 or 4, with huge shoulders and long
muscular arms and hands. There was no harm in Bill; he was a first-rate
shot with his .450 Sharp rifle, which appeared to be the weapon in
general favour; but he had met with an adventure during the previous
year which made him rather suspicious of strangers.

Somewhere, not far from his present camp, a mounted stranger dropped in
late one evening. The man was riding a good horse, but was quite alone;
so also was Big Bill. The camp of the skin-hunter was then the same in
appearance as when I saw him and his partner Bob Stewart--simplicity
itself; a long spruce pole was lashed at either end to two spruce firs;
against this, leaning at an angle of about 45 degrees, were sixty or
seventy straight poles laid close together, and upon these were arranged
spruce boughs to form a thatch. This lean-to provided a tolerable
shelter within the forest, when the wind was sufficiently considerate to
blow at the back against the thatch, instead of direct towards the open
face. The ground in the acute angle was strewed with branches of spruce,
and a large fire was kept burning during night, exactly in front, the
whole arrangement exhibiting the principle of a Dutch oven.

In such a camp, Big Bill received the stranger with the hospitality of
the wilderness, and they laid themselves down to rest in the close
companionship of newly-made friends.

The morning broke, and as Big Bill rubbed his eyes with mute
astonishment, he could not see his friend. He rose from his
sleeping-place, and went outside in the cold morning air; he could not
see his horses. A horrible suspicion seized upon him; he searched the
immediate neighbourhood; the animals had vanished, both horses and mules
were gone, together with the unknown stranger, to whom he had given food
and shelter for the night.

Fortunately there was a particular horse which Big Bill for special
reasons kept separate from the rest; this animal was picqueted by itself
among the spruce firs at some little distance, and had been unobserved
by the departed stranger. To saddle the horse, and to follow in pursuit
at the highest speed upon the trail of the horse-stealer, was the work
of only a few minutes. The track was plain enough in the morning dew,
where ten or a dozen mules and horses had brushed through the low
prairie grass. Big Bill went at a gallop, and he knew that he must
quickly overtake them; his only doubt lay in the suspicion that there
might be confederates, and that a strong party might have joined
together to secure the prize, instead of the solitary stranger being in
charge. However, at all hazards he pushed on at best speed in chase; at
the same time, the horse-stealer, thoroughly experienced in his
profession, was driving his ill-gotten herd before him at a gentle trot,
thoroughly convinced that it would be impossible to be overtaken, as the
owner had been left (as he supposed) without a horse.

At length, after a pursuit of some hours, upon attaining the summit of a
broad eminence, Big Bill's eyes were gladdened by the sight of some
distant objects moving upon the horizon, and he at once redoubled his
speed.

The stranger, innocent of suspicion, trotted leisurely forward,
whistling, and driving his newly acquired animals with professional
composure, without condescending to look back, as he felt certain of
security, having left his hospitable friend of the preceding night with
nothing better than his own legs for locomotion.

In the meantime, Big Bill was coming up at a gallop; he was boiling with
indignation at the treacherous conduct of his uninvited guest; and being
fully alive to the manners and customs of the West, he placed his Sharp
rifle upon full-cock to be in readiness for an explanation.

A few minutes sufficed to shorten the distance to 100 yards, when the
astonished horse-stealer was surprised by the sound of hoofs upon the
stony soil, and, turning round, he was almost immediately confronted
with the threatening figure of Big Bill. The dialogue which ensued has
not been historically described; there was none of the bombast that
generally preceded the combats of Grecian heroes; but it appears that
the horse-stealer's right hand instinctively grasped the handle of his
revolver, not unseen by the vigilant eyes of Big Bill, who with
praiseworthy decision sent a bullet through his adversary's chest from
the already prepared Sharp .450; leaving the lifeless body where it
fell, he not only recovered all his stolen animals, but also possessed
himself of the horse and saddle which only recently belonged to the
prairie horse-stealer without a name.

The gigantic Swede returned to his solitary camp, well satisfied with
his morning's work, as he had gained instead of losing, and he had saved
the State of Wyoming the expense and trouble of hanging a man for a
crime which is supposed to deserve no mercy, that of "horse-stealing."

Of course this instance of determination and extreme vigilance gained
for Big Bill the admiration of the extremely limited number of people
who would be called "the public" in the outlying portions of Wyoming;
but although contented with himself, Big Bill was always suspicious of a
solitary stranger, as he had an undefined idea that some relative of the
defunct horse-dealer might draw a trigger upon him unawares. It was this
redoubtable Big Bill who now confided to me that he had been running
away from some monster grizzly bear only on the preceding day. He
pointed out the spot, as nearly as possible, from where we stood during
his narrative. "There," he said, "do you see that low rocky cliff on the
tip top of the hill just above us? That was the place just beneath, on
that little terrace-like projection with a few spruce firs upon it.
There's a steep but not a difficult way down by the side of that cliff,
and when young Edmund and I got down upon that terrace, there were a lot
of big rocks lying about, and all of a sudden one of 'em stood up on end
within 10 yards of me, and sat up regularly smiling at me, with the most
innocent and amiable expression of countenance I ever saw. That was the
biggest grizzly bear I ever came across; he was as big as the biggest
bull I ever saw in the ranche, and there he was, sitting up on end like
a dog, and almost laughing. There was no laugh in me, I can tell you; I
just lost no time, but turned round, and hooked it; and I don't think I
ever ran so fast in all my life."

"But why did you not shoot him?" I exclaimed with astonishment. "Shoot
him? Oh yes, that's very likely, when he wasn't farther than 10 yards
off, and I should have had such a poor start, and no place to run to!
No, I knew better than that, with a single-barrel Sharp .450. If I had
had your double-barrel .577, with a big solid bullet, and 6 drams of
powder, I shouldn't have run away; but I go hunting for skins with my
little Sharp, and I don't want a grizzly to go hunting for my skin; not
if I know it. I've left him for you, and d'ye see, if you go up there
this morning, there's some snow about, and you'll likely come across his
tracks. If you do, you'll be astonished, I can tell you."

Ten minutes after this discourse, I was on my way up the mountain side
in the hope of meeting this extraordinary bear.

Upon arrival at the summit, there was a splendid view of the main range
of the Rocky Mountains, about 70 miles distant, across a desolate region
some 4000 feet below the point upon which we stood. There was a little
snow, but only in patches on the mountain top, and, when near the
terrace upon which Big Bill had had his interview with the bear, we
certainly discovered an enormous track, the largest that I have ever
seen.

We attempted to follow this for some hours, but to no purpose; on
several occasions I could have taken deadly shots at black-tail deer and
wapiti, but I determined to reserve my bullet for the big game, the
object of our pursuit. The day passed away in failure. The next day was
equally disappointing; from morning to sunset I fagged over the summits
and the spruce fir sides of the mountains, without a trace of the big
bear. We passed the old traces that we had seen the previous day upon
the snow, but they were still more indistinct, and there was nothing
fresh. I was determined, if possible, to find this bear, therefore I
devoted a third day to the pursuit, discarding all other game. On the
third morning I started with Texas Bill and Jem Bourne, all mounted, and
we rode by a circuitous route to the summit of the hill above the valley
of our camp. The snow had melted in most places, leaving only small
half-thawed patches. We had so thoroughly explored the entire hillside
for a distance of several miles during the last two days, that I
arranged a beat on the other side of the mountain, upon the northern
slope, facing the far-distant Rocky Mountains.

There were no spruce forests upon this side, but the long incline was
merely a sheet of rough prairie grass about 18 inches high, intersected
by deep ravines, filled with dwarf cotton-wood trees, resembling the
silver-barked black poplar. These trees grew about 25 feet high, and as
thick as a man's arm, but so close together that it was difficult to
force a way through on horseback.

There were many isolated patches of this covert in various places upon
the face of this northern slope, all of which were likely to harbour
bears or other game. My eye caught instinctively a long dark ravine
which cut the mountain from top to base, extending several miles; this
was intersected about a mile and a half from the summit by a smaller
ravine, also springing from the drainage of the highest ridge, and at
the point of junction the two formed a letter Y, the tail continuing,
widened by the increased flow of water. There was at this season a very
slight stream about an inch in depth, which resulted from the melting of
the small amount of snow upon the heights.

There could not be a more likely place for bears, and I instructed my
two men to ride to the bottom of the ravine, and to force their horses
through the thornless thicket, making no other noise, but occasionally
to tap the stems of trees with the handles of their whips.

I dismounted, and my well-trained horse followed close behind me down
the steep hillside, exactly on the border of the ravine. This was not
more than 80 yards across; thus I could command both sides should a bear
break covert, when disturbed by my two beaters; there could not have
been a more favourable locality.

My men were thoroughly experienced, and the noise made by the horses in
struggling over stones and in rustling through the cotton-wood trees was
quite sufficient to disturb any animals that might have been there;
accordingly they seldom tapped the tree-stems.

Black-tail deer were very plentiful; these were about the size of an
ordinary fallow-deer, and they were extremely fat and delicious venison;
but their horns were still in velvet, and would not be clean until
October. I could have shot several of these animals; but I was full of
good resolutions to resist all temptation, and to restrict my shooting
to the long-sought bear.

We had followed the course of the ravine for about a mile, when I
suddenly heard a tremendous rush among the cotton trees beneath me on
the right, followed by excited shouts--"Look out! look out! A bear! a
bear!"

I halted immediately, and in a few seconds three splendid wapiti stags
broke covert about 100 yards before me, and at full gallop passed across
the open ground by which I was descending. My good resolutions crowded
upon me as I instinctively aimed at the stag with the finest head, and I
resisted the temptation nobly until they were nearly out of sight,
passing down a hollow on my left about 150 yards distant. Somehow or
other I pulled the trigger; a cloud of dust suddenly arose from the spot
where the three stags had disappeared, and I felt sure that the wapiti
was down.

At the sound of the shot my men struggled up the steep ascent and joined
me. "Why did you shout 'A bear! a bear!'?" I asked.--"It was a bear,
wasn't it? I saw a great brown rump for a moment, and I thought it was
the bear."--"No bear at all," I answered, "and I have been fool enough
to shoot at a wapiti. . . . I think you will find it just in the hollow
beneath the ridge."

The men rode to the spot, and sure enough a magnificent stag was lying
dead, shot through the shoulder. A wapiti stag weighs about 900 lbs.
when fat in August and September. The fat upon the brisket of this
animal was 5 inches thick, and that upon the rump and loins was nearly 3
inches. We cut this off in one complete piece, and when cold, within
half an hour it stood up like a cuirass. This was one of the finest that
I ever saw, and we took the trouble to cut up all the choicest joints,
and concealed them in the branches of a species of yew that was growing
upon the edge of the ravine. The delay from my folly in taking this shot
exceeded an hour, but the head of the stag was a handsome specimen, and
we placed it upon a large boulder of rock, to be sent for upon a future
occasion.

We again recommenced our search, comforting ourselves with the
reflection that "if the bear was in the ravine, the report of the shot
would not affect it; and if it was not in the ravine, it would not
matter."

As we continued the descent of the mountain slope, the ravine grew
wider, and it was now quite 100 yards across; this would increase the
probability of finding game, as there was a larger area of covert at the
bottom. I was walking carefully in front of my horse, when, without any
alarm given by my men from the bottom of the ravine, my attention was
attracted by a rushing sound in the dense cotton trees, and I observed
several that were in the thickest part shaking in an extraordinary
manner, as though an elephant or a rhinoceros was rubbing itself against
the stems.

I ran forward towards the spot, and within 15 paces of me I saw a wapiti
stag caught by the horns; these were completely entangled among the
stems of the thickly growing trees, and the splendid beast was taken
prisoner. I could only see occasionally a portion of the horns, and
then, as it struggled to escape, I caught sight for a moment of a head
and neck sufficient to prove that it was a very splendid beast, with
beautiful spreading antlers. The animal was almost within my grasp, and
I could have shot it with a pistol; but my good resolutions stood firm.
I refused the shot, as we had meat of the finest quality that would keep
for a week, and to kill another wapiti would be mere waste of life. In a
couple of minutes occupied with this human reflection, yet sorely
tempted to take the shot, the stag broke loose, and I heard it crashing
full speed down the ravine, and my men shouting loudly that I should
"look out!"

Hardly two minutes elapsed before I saw, at about 300 yards' distance,
the most magnificent stag that I have ever seen. This splendid beast
issued from the ravine, and exhibited a pair of antlers that, large as
the animal was, appeared quite disproportioned to its size. They
resembled the wintry appearance of a large branch from an oak tree, and
this was the prize which I could not distinctly see when entangled in
the cotton-wood, within my grasp. This noble stag descended the mountain
side at full speed, and I watched it with longing eyes until it was
completely out of sight, fully determined that I would never indulge in
good resolutions again, that humanity was humbug, philanthropy puerile,
and that the rule of success depended upon the principle "Never lose an
opportunity."

I was fairly disgusted with myself, and calling my men, I described to
them the magnificence of my lost stag. Instead of consolation they said,
"Well, if you're come all this way to shoot, and you won't shoot, I
don't quite see the use of your coming." That was all I received as a
reward for having spared an animal's life which I did not wish to
sacrifice wantonly.

"All right; go back and drive the covert to the end; you may depend upon
it I'll take the next shot, whatever it may be." The men rode down the
steep sides of the ravine, and we recommenced our beat.

Nothing moved for some time, and I mounted my horse as we were
approaching the junction of the smaller ravine on my left, which formed
the letter Y. I was about 100 yards ahead of my two men, and I descended
into the stony depression, crossed the little stream, and ascended the
opposite side with some little difficulty, as it was extremely steep,
and, together with my 12 lb. rifle, cartridges, and a 26 lb. Mexican
saddle, I rode about 18 stone. We reached the top, from which I could
look down into the larger ravine on my right, and the lesser on my left,
but a number of large rocks, 3 or 4 feet in height, and others of
smaller size, made it difficult for my horse to thread his way. Just at
this moment I heard the report of a revolver and shouts in high
excitement--"The bear! the bear!" Before I had time to dismount in the
awkward position among the rocks, I saw a large bear within two yards of
me, as he had run at full speed up the steep bank from the bottom of the
ravine without having observed me, owing to the rocks; he therefore
passed close to my horse upon the other side, only separated from us by
the large rock between. In an instant the bear, having seen the horse,
turned to the left, and dashed down hill into the smaller ravine which I
had just crossed. I jumped off my horse, and ran along the edge, ready
to take a shot the moment that I could obtain a clear view of the bear,
which I could see indistinctly as it ran along the bottom of the
channel, in which was the trickling stream. As I followed, always
keeping the animal within view, I felt certain that it would presently
forsake this narrow gully, and would cut across the open to regain the
large ravine from which it had been dislodged. I therefore raised the
150 yards sight as I ran along the edge, to be in readiness should it
try the open. The bear kept me running at my best to keep it in sight,
and I was just beginning to think it advisable to fire through the
intervening bushes, when, as I had expected, it suddenly turned to the
left, ran up the bank with extreme activity, and appeared upon the steep
open grass-land, with the intention of cutting across to the larger
hiding-place. This was a splendid chance, as the dark colour of the bear
looked well upon the yellow grass. I made a most satisfactory shot with
the .577 at 150 yards, the bullet passing through the kidneys, and the
bear rolled over and over the whole way down the steep grassy hill,
until stopped by the thick bushes, which alone prevented it from rolling
into the streamlet at the bottom.

My two men came galloping up, and shortly dismounted, and we all
descended to the place where the bear was lying, almost dead. In fact,
it died while we were standing over it.

"Well done; that was a fine shot, and we've got the grizzly bear at
last," exclaimed Jem Bourne. "THE bear? This is not the bear that Big
Bill ran from," I replied; "impossible, this is a silver-tip, and not a
true grizzly." The argument that ensued over the carcase of that bear
was quite enough to make me an unbeliever in the ordinary accounts of
native hunters. I calculated that the body weighed about 600 lbs., as my
two men were 6 feet high, and exceedingly powerful, and our united
efforts could not move the bear one inch from the spot where it had
fallen; it may have exceeded that weight, as it was full of fat, and in
the finest condition. We skinned it, and had some trouble to induce the
horse to permit the hide to be lashed upon its back. Although a fine
bear, Big Bill on our return would not acknowledge that it could be
compared with the monster which he had seen with such "a smiling
countenance." I was quite of his opinion, as the tracks which I saw in
the snow were very much larger than the paws of the bear that I have
described.

The foot of a bear leaves a print very similar to that of a human being
who happens to be flatfooted, but the breadth is larger in proportion to
that of a man. It is a curious fact, that a shot through the kidneys of
any creature occasions almost instantaneous death, and the animal falls
immediately, as though shot through the neck; this proves the terrible
shock to the system, as the body is smitten with a total paralysis.

The opinions of professional hunters differ in such an extraordinary
manner upon the question of bears, that it would be impossible for a
mere visitor to arrive at a satisfactory decision. It is admitted by all
that the grizzly bear is the monarch; next to him in size is the
cinnamon bear, named from the colour of its fur; No. 3 is the
silver-tipped; and No. 4 is the black bear.

The question to be decided remains: "Is the cinnamon bear the grizzly,
with some local difference in colour?" My people called the
silver-tipped bears "grizzlies," which was an evident absurdity; but, as
they were men experienced in the Big Horn range, it was difficult to
disbelieve their evidence concerning the occasional presence of a true
grizzly. I found, whilst riding through an extensive forest of spruce
fir, an enormous skull of a bear, the largest that I have ever seen,
except that of the grizzly, compared with which all others were mere
babies; what could this have been, unless a true specimen of that
variety?

There can be little doubt that bears of different kinds intermingle
occasionally by cross breeds, and many are met with which do not exactly
correspond with the colouring which distinguishes the varieties already
mentioned; but in my opinion those distinct varieties actually exist,
and any departure occasioned by cross breeding is simply an accident.
Eighteen months before my visit to the Big Horn range, the present Lord
Lonsdale, together with a large party, was hunting upon the same ground,
and at that time the country, being new to British sportsmen, was
undisturbed. The bears were so numerous and unsophisticated that the
party bagged thirty-two, and game of all kinds indigenous to the
locality was in the superlative. It is astonishing that any game remains
after the persistent attacks of gunners, especially in such countries,
where open plains expose the animals to the sight of man. In the Big
Horn range, at high altitudes of from 8000 to 12,000 feet, the open
grass prairie-ground predominates. There are plateaux and hill-tops;
deep canyons or clefts, from 1500 to 2000 feet sheer, like sudden rifts
in the earth's surface; long secluded valleys, with forest-covered
bottoms extending for many miles, and slopes of every conceivable
gradient descending to a lower level of frightfully broken ground,
joining the foot of the main range of Rocky Mountains at a distance of
from 70 to 90 miles. There are also isolated patches of cotton-wood upon
the sides of slopes, which afford excellent covert for deer and bears.

The actual width from margin to margin of the high land does not exceed
26 miles, although the length may be 100. It may readily be imagined
that a month's shooting upon this area would be sufficient to scare the
animals from the neighbourhood, more especially as the hunters are
invariably on horseback, and traverse great distances each day.

When I was there we very seldom found bears upon the open, as they
retired to the obscurity of the forests before break of day. Bob Stewart
assured me that two seasons ago it was impossible to ride out in the
early morning without seeing bears, but he counted up a long reckoning
of seventy-two killed since the visit of Lord Lonsdale's party. This
must have sensibly diminished the stock, and have afforded considerable
experience to the survivors. Nevertheless upon several occasions bears
exhibited themselves during broad daylight without being sought for.

We were tired of nothing but venison in every shape, and although the
German cook, "little Henry," was a good fellow, he could not manage to
change the menu without other provisions in the larder. I accordingly
devoted myself one afternoon to shooting "sage-hens"; this is a species
of grouse about the size of a domestic fowl, and, when young, there is
nothing better. The old birds are not only tough, but they taste too
strongly of sage, from subsisting upon the buds and young shoots of the
wild plant. They were very numerous in certain localities, having much
the same habits as the black game of North Britain, therefore we knew at
once where to seek them.

Our camp was within a few feet of the little stream, just within the
forest at the bottom of the valley; the dense mass of spruce firs
extended for 8 or 10 miles along the slopes, only broken at intervals by
gaps a few hundred yards wide, which divided the forest from top to
base, and formed admirable places for ascending to the great plateau on
the summit. This plateau extended for several miles, and was nearly
level, the surface being liberally strewed with stones about 2 feet in
length, but exceedingly flat, as though prepared for roofing slates;
these had been turned over incessantly by the bears, in search for what
Bob Stewart called "bugs"--the general and comprehensive American name
for every insect.

We found a number of sage-hens upon this plateau, and I picked out the
young ones with my rabbit rifle, as they ran upon the sage-covered
ground. Texas Bill was soon loaded with game, and discarding the old
birds that had been killed by mistake, we descended the grass-covered
gap between the forests, and returned direct to camp. Little Henry had
now a change of materials for our dinner.

It was nearly dusk, and I went into the small tent to have a hot bath
after the day's work. I was just drying myself, after the operation of
washing, when I heard an excited voice shout "Bears! bears!" It was
useless for me to ask questions through the canvas, therefore I hurried
on my clothes and ran out.

Texas Bill was gone. It appeared that two large bears had been seen as
they came along the glen, and turned up the open slope, by which we had
descended after shooting the sage-hens. My best horse had not been
unsaddled, as the evening was chilly; therefore Texas Bill had
immediately jumped into the saddle, and was off in full pursuit.

"What rifle did he take?" I inquired of little Henry. "He didn't take
any rifle, but he's got his six-shooter, which is much better in his
hands, as he knows it," was the reply.

There was very little light remaining, and with the long start which the
bears obtained, I could not think that Bill would have the slightest
chance of overhauling them before they reached the forest; this they
would assuredly attempt, the instant they saw themselves pursued. If
Bill could only get them upon the open plateau on the summit, he might
be able to manage them, but with a gallop up a steep hill to commence
with, in the late dusk of evening, the odds were decidedly against him.

It became dark, and we expected Bill's return every minute. Jem Bourne,
my head man, who was always a grumbler, and exceedingly jealous, began
to ventilate his feelings. "A pretty fool he's made of himself to go
galloping after bears in a dark night, and nothing but a six-shooter!
. . . A nice thing for our best horse to break his legs over those big
rocks that nobody can see at night. . . . Well, he'll have to sleep out,
and he'll find it pretty cold before the morning, I know. . . . What
business he's got to take that horse without permission, beats me
hollow!"

This sort of muttered growling was disturbed by two shots in quick
succession, far up, above the summit of the forest. There could be no
doubt that Bill had overhauled the bears.

By this time it was quite dark, and we drew our own conclusions from the
two pistol shots, the unanimous decision being that Bill had fired in
the hope of turning the bears when entering the forest; but what chance
had he in the dark, and single-handed?

I did not take much interest in such a hopeless chase, but I was anxious
about the horse, as the country was so rough that it would be most
difficult to pick a way through holes and rocks, to say nothing of
fallen trees, which, even during daylight, required consideration.

We piled immense pine-logs upon the fire, in addition to bundles of
spruce branches; these made a blaze 20 feet high, and would form a
beacon as a guide in the dark night.

I had taken the time by my watch when we heard the two shots upon the
mountain top; twenty minutes had passed, and my lips were almost numbed
by whistling with my fingers as a signal that could be heard during a
calm night at a great distance. Suddenly this signal appeared to be
answered by a shot, from a totally different direction from the first
that we had heard; then, quickly, another shot; followed in irregular
succession, until we had counted six. "His six-shooter's empty now, but
he's got plenty of cartridges in his belt," exclaimed little Henry, the
cook.

What was the object of these shots? He could not have followed the bears
that distance in the dark, as his position was quite a mile from the
spot where he had first fired; and he was now, as nearly as we could
imagine, above a rocky cliff which bordered a grassy gap that would
enable him to descend into our valley; he would then find his way
parallel with the stream direct to our camp.

My men wished to fire some shots in response, but I declined to permit
this disturbance of the neighbourhood, as it would have effectually
driven all animals from the locality; we merely piled logs upon the
fire, which could be seen from the heights at a great distance, and we
waited in anxious expectation.

Nearly an hour passed away without any further sign. Bill could not have
fired those six shots in succession to attract our attention, as it
would have been a needless waste of ammunition: if he had expected a
response to a signal, he would have fired a single shot, to be followed
by another some minutes later. We now considered that he might have
severely wounded the bear by the first two shots that we had heard, and
that he had followed the beast up in some extraordinary manner, and at
length discovered it.

We were about to give up all hope of his return, and knowing that he, as
a smoker, was never without a supply of matches, we expected to see the
glare of a distant fire, by which he would sit up throughout the night,
when presently we heard the sound of whistling, and the clatter of a
horse's feet among the stones of the brook, within 150 yards of our
position.

In a couple of minutes Texas Bill appeared, leading the horse, which was
covered with dry foam. In one hand he held a large bloody mass; this was
the liver of a bear!

"Well done, Bill!" we all exclaimed, except the sulky Jem Bourne, who
only muttered, "A pretty state you've brought that horse to; why, I
shouldn't have known him."

The story was now told by the modest Bill, who did not imagine that he
had done anything to excite admiration. This was his account of the hunt
in the dark: "Well, you see, when the two bears were going up the open
slope, down which you and I came, after shooting the sage-hens, all I
could do was to gallop after them, to keep them from getting into the
forest; when of course they would have been gone for ever. One of them
did make a rush, and passed across me before I could stop him, and I
didn't mind this, as I couldn't have managed two. I got in front of the
other, and cracked my whip at him, and at last I got him well in the
open on the big plateau, where we shot the sage-hens. He got savage now,
and was determined to push by me and gain the forest; but I rode right
at him, and seeing that I couldn't stop him, I fired my six-shooter to
turn him, just as he made a dash at the horse. He made another rush at
the horse, and I turned him with another shot, within a couple of paces'
distance. This made him take off in a new direction, and he tried to
cross the big plateau, intending, no doubt, to get to the forest a
couple of miles away on the pointed hill. It was so dark that I could
hardly see him, and my only chance was to ride round him, and work him
till he should stand quiet enough to let me take a steady shot.

"He went on, sometimes here, sometimes there, and at last he changed his
mind, and seeing that he couldn't get away from the horse across the
open, he turned, and made for the 10 mile forest. It was as much as I
could do to drive him, by shouting and cracking my whip whenever I
headed him; if I had only once let him get out of sight, I should never
have seen him again. The ground is full of stones, as you know, which
bothered the horse in turning quickly; but we went on, sometimes full
gallop straight away, at other times dancing round and round, until at
last the old bear got regularly tuckered-out, and he was so done he
could hardly move. There he was, with his tongue hanging out of his
mouth, standing, panting and blowing, and my horse wasn't much better, I
can tell you. Well, I was drawn up as close to him as though I was going
to strike him, and he was so completely done there wasn't any fight in
him; my horse's flanks were heaving in such a way that I could hardly
load the two chambers that I had fired. I was determined to have all my
six shots ready before I began to fire, and it was just lucky that I
did, for I'm blessed if I could kill him. There he stood, regularly
exhausted-like, and he took shot after shot, and never seemed to notice,
or to care for anything. At last I almost touched him, when I fired my
sixth cartridge between his shoulders, and he dropped stone dead. That's
all that happened, and I thought you wouldn't believe me if I came back
without a proof; so I cut him open, and took out his liver to show you;
and here it is."

Although this fine fellow thought nothing of his achievement, I
considered it to be the most extraordinary feat of horsemanship that I
had ever heard of, combined with wonderful determination. In the
darkness of night, without a moon, to hunt single-handed, and to kill, a
full-grown bear with a revolver, was in my experience an unprecedented
triumph in shikar.

Early on the following morning I sent for the bear's skin. It proved to
be a large silver-tipped, and a close examination exhibited the
difficulties of the encounter during darkness.

Eight shots had been fired from the commencement, to the termination by
the last fatal bullet; but, although Texas Bill was an excellent shot
with his revolver, he had missed seven times, and the eighth was the
only bullet that struck the bear. This had entered between the shoulders
vertically, proving the correctness of his description, as he must have
shot directly downwards. The bullet had passed through the centre of the
heart, and had escaped near the brisket, having penetrated completely
through this formidable animal.

Upon my return to England I immediately purchased a similar revolver of
Messrs. Colt and Co.---the long frontier pistol, .450 bullet.

Although bears were scarce, we occasionally met them unexpectedly. As a
rule, I took Jem Bourne and Texas Bill out shooting, the man Gaylord had
to look after the twelve or thirteen animals, and little Henry, the
German cook, was left in camp to assist my wife. Upon one of these
rather dull days the camp was enlivened by the visit of three large
bears. These creatures emerged from the neighbouring jungle, and
commenced a search for food within 50 yards of the camp, only separated
by a narrow streamlet of 10 feet in width. For about twenty minutes they
were busily engaged in working up the ground like pigs, in search of
roots or worms; in this manner they amused themselves harmlessly, until
they suddenly observed that they were watched, after which they
retreated to the forest.

My acquaintance Bob Stewart assured me that the bears had become so shy,
that the only way to succeed was to "jump a bear." This term was
explained as follows: you were to ride through forest, until you came
across the fresh track of a bear; you were then to follow it up on foot,
until you should arrive at the secluded spot where the bear slept during
the daytime, in the recesses of the forest. It would of course jump out
of its bed when disturbed, and this was termed "jumping a bear." Of
course you incurred the chance of the animal's attack, when thus
suddenly intruded upon at close quarters.

I agreed to start with Bob upon such an excursion; but I found that this
kind of sport was more adapted for his light weight than my own, and
that his moccasins were far superior to my boots, for running along the
stems of fallen spruce trees at all kinds of angles, and for jumping
from one prostrate trunk to another, in a squirrel-like fashion, more in
harmony with a man of 9 stone than one of 15. We started together, Bob
mounted upon his little mare, while I rode my best horse, "Buckskin,"
who was trained, like many of these useful animals, to stand alone, and
graze, without moving away from his position for hours; should it be
necessary to dismount, and leave him. The horses thus tutored are
invaluable for shooting purposes, as it is frequently necessary to stalk
an animal on foot; in which case, the bridle is simply arranged by
drawing the reins over the head, and throwing them in his front, to fall
upon the ground before his fore-feet. When thus managed, the horse will
feed, but he will never move away from his position, and he will wait
for hours for the return of his master.

We rode about four miles without seeing a living creature, except a
badger. This animal squatted upon seeing the horses, and lay close to
the ground like a hare in form, until we actually halted within 10 feet
of its position. Bob immediately suggested that we should kill it, and
secure its skin (his one idea appeared to be a longing to divest
everything of its hide); but I would not halt, as the day was to be
devoted to bears. We at length arrived at a portion of the forest where
the young spruce had grown up from a space that had formerly been burnt;
about 50 acres were densely covered with bright green foliage, forming a
pleasing contrast to the sombre hue of the older forest. This was
considered by my guide to be a likely retreat for bears; it was as thick
as possible for trees to grow.

We accordingly dismounted, threw the reins over our horses' heads, and,
taking the right direction of the wind, we entered the main forest,
which was connected with the younger growth. It was easy to distinguish
tracks, as the earth was covered with old half-rotten pine needles,
which formed a soft surface, that would receive a deep impression.
Nearly all the old trees were more or less barked by the horns of
wapiti, showing that immense numbers must visit these woods at the
season when the horns are nearly hard, and require rubbing, to clean
them from the velvet. We had not strolled more than half a mile through
the dark wood when Bob suddenly halted, and, like Robinson Crusoe, he
appeared startled by the signs of a footstep deeply imprinted in the
soil. It was uncommonly like a large and peculiarly broad human foot,
but there was no doubt it was a most recent track of a bear, and the
direction taken would lead towards the dense young spruce that we had
already seen. We followed the track, until we at length arrived at the
bright green thicket, in which we felt sure the bear must be lying down.

This was an exceedingly awkward place, and Bob assured me that if he
were alone, he should decline to enter such a forest, as it was
impossible to see a yard ahead, and a bear might spring upon you before
you knew that it was near. As I had a double-barrelled powerful rifle, I
of course went first, followed by Bob close behind. As noiselessly as
possible, we pushed through the elastic branches, and very slowly
followed the track, which was now more difficult to distinguish, owing
to the close proximity of the young trees that overshadowed the surface
of the ground.

In this manner we had advanced about a quarter of a mile, when a sudden
rush was made exactly in my front, the young trees were roughly shaken,
and I jumped forward immediately, to meet or to follow the animal,
before I could determine what it really was. Something between a short
roar and a grunt proclaimed it to be a bear, and I pushed on as fast as
I could through the opposing branches; I could neither see nor hear
anything.

Bob Stewart now joined me. "That's no good," he exclaimed, "you
shouldn't run forward when you hear the rush of a bear, but jump on one
side, as I did. Supposing that bear had come straight at you; why, he'd
a been on the top of you before you could have got your rifle up. True,
you've got a double-barrel, but that's not my way of shooting bears,
although that's the way to JUMP A BEAR, which you've seen now, and you
may jump a good many before you get a shot in this kind of stuff."

I could not induce Bob to take any further trouble in pursuit, as he
assured me that it would be to no purpose: the bear when thus disturbed
would go straight away, and might not halt for several miles.

This was a disappointment; we therefore sought our horses, which we
found quietly grazing in the place that we expected. Remounting, we rode
slowly through the great mass of spruce firs, which I had named the "10
mile forest."

There was very little underwood beyond a few young spruce here and
there, and we could see from 80 to 100 yards in every direction.
Presently we came across an enormous skull, which Bob immediately
examined, and handed it to me, suggesting that I should preserve it as a
specimen. He declared this to be the skull of a true grizzly; but some
of the teeth were missing, and as I seldom collect anything that I have
not myself shot or taken a part in shooting, I declined the head,
although it was double the size of anything I had experienced.

The forest was peculiarly dark, and the earth was so soft from the
decaying pine needles, that our horses made no noise, unless when
occasionally their hoofs struck against the brittle branches of a fallen
tree. We were thus riding, always keeping a bright look-out, when Bob
(who was leading) suddenly sprang from his mare, and as quick as
lightning fired at a black-tail buck, that was standing about 80 yards
upon our right. His shot had no effect; the deer, which had not before
observed us, started at the shot, and stood again, without moving more
than three or four yards. Bob had reloaded his Sharp like magic, and he
fired another shot, hitting it through the neck, as it was gazing
directly towards us; it fell dead, without moving a foot.

We rode up to the buck; it was in beautiful condition, but the horns
were in velvet, and were useless. I now watched with admiration the
wonderful dexterity with which Bob, as a professional skin-hunter,
divested this buck of its hide. It appeared to me that I could hardly
take off my own clothes (if I were to commence with my greatcoat)
quicker than he ripped off the skin from this beautiful beast. With very
little delay, the hide was neatly folded up, and secured to the Mexican
saddle by the long leathern thongs, which form portions of that
excellent invention.

Bob remounted his mare, with the skin strapped behind the cantle, like a
military valise; and we continued on our way. "That was a quick shot,
Bob."--"Yes, 2 1/2 dollars, or 2 dollars at least I'll get for that
skin; you see there's no game that pays us like the black-tail, and I
never let one go if I can help it; they're easy to shoot, easy to skin,
easy to dry, and easy to sell at a good price, and more than that,
they're handy to pack upon a mule."

That little incident having passed, we again relapsed into silence, and
rode slowly forward, with a wide-awake look-out on every side.

We had ridden about a mile, when the fresh tracks of bears that had
crossed our route caused a sudden halt, and we immediately dismounted to
examine them. They were of average size, and there could be no doubt,
from the short stride of each pace, that they were retiring leisurely,
after a night's ramble, to the beds in which they usually laid up. We
led our horses to a small glade of good grass that was not far distant,
and left them in the usual manner.

We now commenced tracking, which was simple enough, as the heavy
footprints were distinct, and the bears had been travelling tolerably
straight towards home. At length, after nearly a mile of this easy work,
we arrived at a portion of the forest where some hurricane must in
former years have levelled several hundred acres. The trees were lying
about in confused heaps, piled in many places one upon the other, in the
greatest confusion. None of them were absolutely rotten, but the
branches were exceedingly brittle, and, if broken, they snapped like a
pistol shot, making a noiseless advance most difficult. Through this
chaos of fallen timber the young spruce had grown with extreme vigour,
and I never experienced greater difficulty in making my way than in this
tangled and obdurate mass of long trunks of gnarled trees, and branches
lying at every angle, intergrown with the green boughs of younger
spruce.

Bob Stewart wore moccasins, and being exceedingly light and active, he
ran up each sloping treestem for 40 or 50 feet, then dropped nimbly to
another fallen trunk below, bobbed under a mass of heavy timber, like
masts in a shipbuilder's yard, supported as they had chanced to fall,
and then dived underneath all sorts of obstructions. He was followed
admiringly, but slowly, by myself, not provided with moccasins, but in
high riding boots. If I had been a squirrel, I might perhaps have beaten
Bob, but after several hundred yards of this horrible entanglement,
which might have been peopled by all the bears in Wyoming, we arrived at
a small grassy swamp in the bottom of a hollow, just beneath a great
mass of perpendicular rock, about 70 or 80 feet in height. In the centre
of this hollow was a pool of water, about 8 feet by 6. This had been
disturbed so recently by some large animal, that the mud was still
curling in dusky rings, showing that the bath had only just been
vacated. We halted, and examined this attentively. The edges of the
little pool were wet with the drip from the bear's shaggy coat, as it
had left the water.

Bob whispered to me, "Look sharp, there are bears here, more than one I
think, and if they've heard us, they'll be somewhere alongside this rock
I reckon, or maybe up above." We crept along, and beneath the fallen
timber; but it was so dark, owing to the great number of young spruce
which had pushed their way upwards, that a dozen bear might have moved
without our seeing one.

We now arrived at a small open space, about 20 feet square; this was a
delightful change from the darkness and obstructions: The ground in this
spot was a deep mass of pine needles, and in this soft material there
were three or four round depressions, quite smooth, and about 18 inches
deep; these were the beds of bears, where in undisturbed solitude they
were in the habit of sleeping after their nocturnal rambles.

I was of opinion that we had disturbed our game, as several times we had
accidentally broken a dead branch, with a loud report, when clambering
through the abominable route. However, we crept forward round the base
of the rock, and arrived in the darkest and thickest place that we had
hitherto experienced.

At this moment we heard a sharp report, as a dead branch snapped
immediately in our front. For an instant I saw a large black shadow
apparently walking along the trunk of a fallen pine. I could not see the
sight of my rifle in the deep gloom, but I fired, and was answered by a
short growl and a momentary crash among the branches.

We ran forward with difficulty, but no bear was to be seen. We searched
everywhere, but in vain. I came to the conclusion that the game was
hardly worth the candle.

Through several hours we worked hard, but did not find another bear; and
it was past five o'clock when we arrived at our camp, after a long day's
work, in which we had certainly "jumped" two bears, but had not
succeeded in bagging one.

Texas Bill came to hold my horse upon our arrival; he was looking rather
shy, and ill-at-ease. "What's the matter, Bill? anything gone wrong?" I
asked.

"Well," he replied, "I hope you won't blame me, as I don't think it
right, but you know where you killed a wapiti a couple of days ago, and
we found the next morning that the bears had been and buried it; and you
said we'd better leave the place quiet for a day, and then you'd go
early in the morning, and perhaps find the bears upon the spot? Well,
after you were gone with Bob this morning, Jem Bourne proposed that we
should go and have a look at the place, and sure enough when we got
there we found a great big bear fast asleep, lying on the top of the
buried wapiti, and her two half-grown cubs asleep with her. So Jem had
your Martini-Henry with him, and he killed the mother stone dead,
through the shoulder. Up gets one of the young ones, and hits his
brother (or sister) such a whack in the eye with his paw that it just
made me laugh, and then he cuffs him again over the head, just as though
it was his fault that the mother was knocked over. Jem had reloaded, so
he put a bullet through this young fellow; and then putting in another
cartridge, he floored the third, and they were all dead in less than a
minute. It's a fine rifle is that Martini-Henry, but I think you'll be
displeased, as we had no business to go nigh the place; it ain't my
fault, and I wouldn't have done it myself, you may be sure."

This was a glorious triumph for the jealous Jem Bourne, who was highly
offended at my having adopted the advice, and sought the assistance of
Bob Stewart, to "jump a bear." We had returned as failures, and he had
killed three bears with my rifle, within my sanctuary, which I had
specially arranged for a visit upon the following day. He declared "that
nobody should stop him from killing bears, as his right was just as good
as mine." This poaching upon my preserves was rather too much for my
patience, therefore without any discussion or angry words I gave him a
note to carry 42 miles' distance on the following morning to a friend of
mine at the second ranche. "What horse shall I ride ?" asked the fellow
sullenly. "The white mule," I replied. "When am I to come back ?"--"Not
till I send for you," was the answer; and Jem Bourne ceased to be a
member of our party.

This was an excellent example, as many of these people are exceedingly
independent, and although he received high wages (120 dollars monthly,
in addition to his food, and a horse to ride), he considered that he was
quite the equal of his employer. Although my other men received only
half these wages, they were more useful, and after this dismissal we
were far more comfortable.

It was a strange study of the Far West in these outlandish and utterly
uninhabited districts. When looking down from the summit of the
mountains, facing north, we were positively certain that for more than
100 miles in a direct line there was not a human habitation, and the
nearest point of embryo civilisation was the Government Park on the
Yellowstone river, at least 150 miles distant. In our rear we were 80
miles from the abandoned station of Powder River, with only two ranches
in the interval. It may be readily imagined that the laws of civilised
communities were difficult to administer in such a wilderness.

The nearest railway station was "Rock Creek," about 240 miles, upon the
Union Pacific, from whence we had originally started; that point is
about 7000 feet above the sea-level. A curious contrivance, slung upon
leather straps instead of springs, represents a coach, which, drawn by
four horses, plies to Fort Fetterman, 90 miles distant. During this
prairie journey the horses are only changed twice.

There are no dwellings to be seen throughout the undulating mass of wild
grass; this possesses extraordinary properties for fattening cattle, and
wild animals; but after a weary drive along a track worn by wheels and
other traffic, and occasionally well defined by empty tins that had
contained preserved provisions, a small speck is seen upon the horizon,
which is declared to be the station for spare horses.

Upon arrival at this cheerless abode we entered a small log-house,
containing two rooms and a kitchen; but the cooking was conducted in the
public room, an apartment about 13 feet square, with a useful kind of
stove in one corner. The man who represented the establishment had of
course observed the coach in the far distance, therefore he was not
startled by the arrival of our party, which consisted of the Hon.
Charles Ellis, Lady Baker, and myself. He had already begun to fry bacon
in a huge frying-pan upon the little stove, and he had opened some large
tins of preserved vegetables, in addition to another containing some
kind of animal hardly to be distinguished. He had been successful that
morning, having killed an antelope; therefore we had quite an
entertainment in this log-hut, so far away from the great world.

The table was spread with a very dirty cloth, and our small party was
immediately augmented by the arrival of the coachman (our driver), the
man who looked after the horses, an outside passenger of questionable
respectability, and our host, who had just cooked the bacon. It was an
unexceptional fashion throughout the country to reduce all clothing to a
minimum. Coats were unknown during the summer months (this was the
middle of August); waistcoats were despised; and the costume of the
period consisted of a flannel shirt, and a pair of trousers sustained by
a belt in lieu of braces. Attached to this belt was the omnipresent
six-shooter in its holster. I was the only person who possessed, or at
all events exhibited, a coat; and I felt that peculiar and unhappy
sensation of being over-dressed, which I feared might be mistaken for
pride by our unsophisticated companions.

We were not a cheery party; on the contrary, everybody appeared to be so
determined not to say the wrong thing, that they remained silent; the
dullness of the meal was only broken at long intervals by such carefully
expressed sentiments as "I'll trouble you to pass the salt, if you
please," or "Will you kindly hand the bacon ?"

There was no vulgarity in this, and we were afterwards informed that
these rough people, who, as a rule, season their conversation with the
pepper of profanity, are painfully sensitive to the presence of a lady,
before whom they are upon their P's and Q's of propriety; and, should an
improper expression escape their lips in an unguarded moment, they would
be in a state of deep depression from the keenest remorse, which might
perhaps cause a sense of unhappiness for at least five minutes. They
most sensibly refrained altogether from conversation in a lady's
presence, to avoid the possibility of a "slip of the tongue."

If they could have left their perfume behind, together with the
profanity, our table would have been sweeter; but the flannel shirts
were seldom washed, to prevent shrinking, just as their owners seldom
spoke, to avoid swearing; an overpowering smell of horses was emitted by
the driver, and of stables by the ostler, while the proprietor exhaled
the mixed but indescribable odours combined from his various duties,
such as cooking, cleaning up, sleeping in his clothes, and never washing
them.

The meal over, we again started. This stage was interesting, as we left
the treeless expanse of prairie, and drove over highland through
picturesque forests of spruce firs among rocks and canyons. About 20
miles of this scenery was passed; then we descended a long slope, and
once more emerged upon the dreary, treeless prospect.

At the end of 35 miles another speck was seen, which eventually turned
out to be a station similar to that at which we had halted in the
morning. There were two pretty-looking and clean girls here; they had
come to assist their brother, who "ran" the house. It was curious to
observe the little evidences of civilisation which the presence of these
girls had introduced. At first sight, among a rude community, I should
have had strong misgivings concerning the security of young girls
without a mother; but, on the contrary, I was assured that no man would
ever presume to insult a respectable woman, and the girls were safer
here than they would be at New York. It was a doughtful anomaly in a
society which otherwise was exceedingly brutal, that a good woman
possessed a civilising power which gained the respect of her rough
surroundings, and, by an unpretentious charm, softened both speech and
morals.

It was to be regretted that this benign influence could not have been
extended to the vermin. When the lamp was extinguished, the bed was
alive. I always marvelled at the phrase, "he took up his bed and
walked," but if the bugs had been unanimous, they could have walked off
with the bed without a miracle. Sleeping was impossible. I relighted the
paraffin lamp, a retreat was evidently sounded, and the enemy retired.
Presently an explosion took place--the lamp had gone wrong, and burst,
fortunately without setting the place on fire. An advance was sounded,
and the enemy came on, determined upon victory.

I never slept in one of those prairie stations again, but we preferred a
camp sheet and good blankets on the sage-bush, with the sky for a
ceiling.

On arrival at Fort Fetterman, 90 miles from Rock Creek station, the
coach drew up at a loghouse of greater pretensions than those upon the
prairie. I had letters of introduction from General McDowell (who was
Commander-in-Chief of the Pacific Coast) to Colonel Gentry, who
commanded Fort Fetterman, and Major Powell of the same station.

Not wishing to drive up to the door of his private house, we alighted at
the log-hut which represented the inn. The room was horridly dirty, the
floor was sanded, and there was a peculiar smell of bad drink, and an
expression of depravity about the establishment.

The host was a tall man, attired as usual in a flannel shirt and
trousers, with a belt and revolver. He had evidently observed an
expression of disgust upon our faces, as he exclaimed, "Well, I guess we
ain't fixed up for ladies; and p'r'aps it's as well that you came to-day
instead of last night, if you ain't fond of shooting affairs. You were
just looking at that table and thinking the tablecover was a bit dirty,
weren't you? Well, last night Dick and Bill got to words over their
cards, and before Dick could get out his six-shooter, young Bill was too
quick and resolute, and he put two bullets through him just across this
table, and he fell over it on his face, and never spoke a word. It's a
good job too that Dick's got it at last."

This little incident was quite in harmony with the appearance of the
den. I knew that letters had been previously forwarded from San
Francisco to the Commandant, therefore I strolled towards his quarters,
to leave my card and letter of introduction.

Fort Fetterman is not a fort, but merely an open station, with a
frontier guard of one company of troops. I met Colonel Gentry, who was,
very kindly, on his way towards the inn to meet us on arrival. Upon my
inquiring respecting the fatal quarrel across the table, he informed me
that he had held an inquest, and buried the man that morning.

The deceased was a notorious character, and he would assuredly have shot
his younger antagonist, had he not been the quicker of the two in
drawing his pistol.

This was a satisfactory termination to a dispute concerning cards, and
there was a total absence of any false sentiment upon the part of the
commonsense authority.

We were most hospitably entertained by Major and Mrs. Powell, to whose
kind care we were committed by Colonel Gentry, who, being a bachelor,
had no accommodation for ladies. It was very delightful, in the centre
of a prairie wilderness, to meet with ladies, and to hear the rich
contralto voice of Miss Powell, their daughter of eighteen, who promised
to be a singer much above the average.

On the following morning we started for Powder River, 92 miles from Fort
Fetterman; there was no public conveyance, as Powder River station had
been abandoned since the Indians had been driven back, and confined to
their reservation lands. We were bound by invitation to the cattle
ranche of Mr. R. Frewen and his brother Mr. Moreton Frewen; these
gentlemen had an establishment at Powder River, although their house was
22 miles distant upon the other side, in the centre of their ranche.
They had very kindly sent a four-wheeled open carriage for us; one of
those conveyances that are generally known as American waggons, with
enormously high wheels of cobweb-like transparency. Jem Bourne had been
sent as our conductor, having been engaged as my head man.

There was nothing but prairie throughout this uninteresting journey,
enlivened now and then by a few antelopes.

Castle Frewen, as the superior log building was facetiously called by
the Americans, was 212 miles from Rock Creek station, and we were well
pleased upon arrival to accept their thoroughly appreciated hospitality.
Their house had an upper floor, and a staircase rising from a hall, the
walls of which were boarded, but were ornamented with heads and horns of
a variety of wild animals; these were in excellent harmony with the
style of the surroundings. Here we had the additional advantage of a
kind and most charming hostess in Mrs. Moreton Frewen, in whose society
it seemed impossible to believe that we were so remote from what the
world calls civilisation. There was a private telephone, 22 miles in
length, to the station at Powder River, and the springing of the alarm
every quarter of an hour throughout the day was a sufficient proof of
the attention necessary to conduct the affairs successfully at that
distance from the place of business.

Our kind friends afforded us every possible assistance for the
arrangements that were necessary, and we regarded with admiration the
energy and perseverance they exhibited in working with their own hands,
and in KNOWING HOW TO USE THEIR OWN HANDS, in the absence of such
assistance as would be considered necessary in civilised countries.

There were about 8000 head of cattle upon the Frewens' ranche, all of
which were in excellent condition. It was beyond my province to enter
upon the question of successful ranching, but the Americans confided to
me that the prairie grass, instead of benefiting by the pasturing of
cattle, became exhausted, and that weeds usurped the place of the grass,
which disappeared; therefore it would follow that a given area, that
would support 10,000 head of cattle at the present time, would in a few
years only support half that number. It might therefore be inferred that
the process of deterioration would ultimately result in the loss of
pasturage, and the necessary diminution in the herds.

From the Frewens' ranche, a ride of 25 miles along the course of the
Powder river brought us to the last verge of civilisation; the utmost
limit of the cattle ranches was owned by very nice young people, Mr. and
Mrs. Peters, Americans, and Mr. Alston, an English partner.

We had been hospitably received by these charming young settlers, whose
rough log-house was in the last stage of completion, and I fear we must
have caused them great personal inconvenience.

On the following morning we started for the wilds of the Big Horn, and
crossing the Powder river, we at once commenced the steep ascent, for a
steady pull of 4000 feet above the dell in which the house was situated.
We left them, with the promise to pay them a few days' visit on our
return.

It was then that we quickly discovered the peculiarities of our four
attendants, whom I had expected to be examples of stern hardihood, that
would represent the fabled reputation of the backwoodsman.

Although they were fine fellows in a certain way, they astonished me by
their luxurious habits. In a country that abounded with game, I should
have expected to exist upon the produce of the rifle, as I had done so
frequently during many years' experience of rough life. A barrel of
biscuits, a few pounds of bacon, and a good supply of coffee would have
been sufficient for a crowned head who was fond of shooting, especially
in a country where every kind of animal was fat. My men did not view
this picture of happiness in the same light; they required coffee,
sugar, an immense supply of bacon, an oven for baking bread, flour,
baking-powder, preserved apples (dried), ditto peaches, ditto
blackberries, together with the necessaries of pepper, salt, etc.

It was always my custom to drink a pint of cafe au lait and to eat some
toast and butter at about 6 A.M. before starting for our day's work;
after this I never thought of food throughout the day, until my return
in the evening, which was generally at five or six o'clock.

My people were never ready in the morning, but were invariably squatted
in front of the frying-pan, frizzling bacon, when I was prepared to
start. Jem Bourne was a chronic grumbler because we hunted far away from
camp, instead of returning at mid-day to luncheon. Excellent fresh bread
was baked daily, and I insisted upon the people supplying themselves
with sufficient food packed upon their saddles, if they were not hardy
enough for a day's work after a good breakfast.

I observed that my friends Big Bill and Bob Stewart were also provided
with a large supply of bacon, although they left the fattest animals
rotting in the forest, simply because they hunted for the hides.

In the same manner I remarked the extreme fastidiousness of these
otherwise hardy people in rejecting food which we should have considered
delicious. I have seen them repeatedly throw away the sage-hens that I
have shot; these were birds which we prized. On one occasion, as we were
travelling when moving camp, I shot a jackass rabbit from the saddle,
with my .577 rifle. It gave me considerable trouble to dismount and open
this animal, which would have gained a prize for fat; having cleaned it
most carefully, I stuffed the inside with grass, and attached it to the
saddle. We never had an opportunity of eating this splendid specimen; on
inquiring, the cook had thrown it away, "because at this season jackass
rabbits fed upon sage shoots, and the flesh tasted of sage!

As we shall return to the Big Horn range when treating upon the habits
of wapiti and other animals, I shall now refer to the Indian bears, and
commence with the most spiteful of the species, Ursus labiatus.



CHAPTER XI

THE BEAR (continued)

The outline that I have already given of Ursus labiatus is sufficient to
condemn its character; there are more accidents to natives of India and
Ceylon from the attacks of this species than from any other animal; at
the same time it is not carnivorous, therefore no excuse can be brought
forward in extenuation. I have already observed that this variety of the
bear family does not hybernate; it has a peculiar knack of concealment,
as it is seldom met during the daytime, although perhaps very numerous
in a certain locality. In places abounding with rocky hills, deep
ravines, and thick bush, it may be readily imagined that bears obtain
the requisite shelter without difficulty; but I have frequently visited
their haunts, where no perceptible means of secreting themselves
existed, nevertheless each night afforded fresh evidences of their
industry in digging pits, when searching for white ants, within 150
yards of our camp. In these places we seldom found a bear, although
driving the jungles daily with nearly two hundred beaters. This
experience would denote that the bears travel long distances at night,
to visit some favourite resort which produces the necessary food. The
stomachs of all wild animals when shot should be immediately examined,
as the contents will be a guide to the locality which they inhabit. I
have killed elephants in Africa at least 50 miles distant from any
cultivation, but their stomachs were filled with dhurra (Sorghum
vulgare), thus proving that they had wandered great distances in search
of a much-loved food that could not be obtained in their native forests.
In the same manner all wild animals will travel extraordinary distances
to obtain either water or food in countries where they are liable to be
pursued. When the watchers who protect the crops are in sufficient force
to drive the nocturnal intruders away with guns, the same animals will
probably not reappear upon the following night, but they will visit some
well-known spot in an opposite direction, and reappear forty-eight hours
later upon the forbidden ground.

The elephants in that portion of Abyssinia which is traversed by the
various affluents of the Nile, being much harassed by the sword-hunters
of the Hamran Arabs, never drink in the same locality upon two nights
consecutively; they drink in the Settite river perhaps on Monday, march
30 miles in retreat, and on the following night they will have wandered
another 30 miles to the river Gash, in a totally opposite direction.
They will then possibly return to the Settite, and after drinking, they
will take a new departure, and march to the river Royan or to the Bahr
Salaam.

A bear is a rapid traveller, and although sluggish in appearance when
confined, it is extremely active; therefore outward signs of digging,
although evidence of nocturnal visits, cannot be accepted as proofs of
the bear's proximity.

I believe that leopards may be frequently crouching among the branches
of trees, and remain unseen, while a person, unconscious of their
presence, may pass beneath; but although the sloth bear is most active
in ascending a tree, it would be difficult for it to remain unobserved,
owing to its superior size and remarkable black colour. A very large old
tree with a considerable cavernlike hole at the bottom should always be
carefully examined, as bears are particularly fond of these impromptu
dwellings. I knew a man who was thus surprised whilst cutting wood from
a large tree, unconscious of the fact that a bear was concealed within
the hollow trunk. The blows of the axe disturbed the occupant, which
immediately bolted from the hollow, and seized the wood-cutter by the
thigh. Fortunately the man had his axe, with which he at once belaboured
the bear upon the head until it relinquished its hold. I saw the scars
of the wound inflicted by the canine teeth; these were about 6 inches in
length, extending from inside the thigh to the knee-joint. The man
declared that if his axe had been heavier he could have killed the bear,
but it happened to be exceedingly light, and had very little effect.

My shikari Kerim Bux, who was a very powerful man, had a serious
encounter with a bear, which seized his master, and immediately turned
upon him when he rushed unarmed to his assistance; the bear seized him
by the leg, but in the wrestling match which ensued, Kerim came off
victor, although badly bitten, as he threw the bear over a precipice,
upon the edge of which the struggle had taken place. This man was head
constable in the police, and bore a very high reputation.

The Ursus labiatus being one of the most vicious animals, I have seen it
upon two occasions attack an elephant, one of which was quite
unprovoked.

We had been driving jungle for sambur deer in the Balaghat district, and
instead of posting myself upon a mucharn, or occupying any fixed
position, I remained upon my elephant Hurri Ram. This was a tusker that
had been lent to me by the Government upon two occasions, and he was so
good-tempered, and active in making his way over bad ground in steep
forests, that I determined to try him as a shooting elephant. I took my
stand upon the open grass-land, which was beautifully undulating, and
would have made a handsome park. Standing behind a bush we were
partially concealed, and I waited in expectation that some animals might
break covert in my direction. Presently I saw a dark object running
through the low bushes upon the margin of the sal forest on my right,
and a large bear emerged about 100 yards from my position. It stood upon
the open for a few seconds, evidently taking a close scrutiny of the
surroundings, prior to a run across the country, where no chance would
be afforded for concealment. It suddenly espied the elephant, and,
apparently without a moment's hesitation, it charged from the great
distance of 100 yards at full speed directly upon the nervous Hurri Ram.
I had not long to wait, but just as I pulled the trigger, when the bear
was within 10 yards, the elephant whisked round and bolted down hill
across the open, towards the portion of the jungle that was about 250
yards upon my left. Nothing would stop the runaway brute, but
fortunately I had stationed a police constable at the very spot for
which the elephant was making, and he, seeing the state of affairs, ran
forward, shouting at the top of his voice and flourishing his rifle;
this had the effect of turning the runaway, just as it was about to
enter the forest, where we should in all probability have been smashed.

The bear had in the meantime gone across country, and although we hunted
it for more than a mile, we never saw it again. This was a purely
unprovoked attack, and it would have been interesting to have seen the
result had the elephant not bolted. I imagine that the bear would have
seized it by the leg, and afterwards would have attempted a retreat.

Upon another occasion, at a place called Soondah in the same district, I
was upon Hurri Ram; I had been working through the high grass in the
first-class reserves throughout the day, having killed a splendid stag
sambur, when we were attracted by the peculiar short roar or moan made
by a tigress calling either for her cub or for some male companion. This
was in the sal forest, within a quarter of a mile of our position. It
was a dangerous attempt, upon such an untrustworthy elephant as Hurri
Ram, to look for a tiger in a thick sal jungle, as that species of tree
grows in long straight trunks exceedingly close together, to an extent
that would make it impossible for a large elephant to continue a direct
course. Should the animal run away, the result would probably be fatal
to the rider. We again heard the cry of the tiger repeated; this decided
me to make the trial, and we entered the forest, carefully advancing,
and scanning every direction.

The sal tree produces one of the most valuable woods in India for
building purposes, and for railway sleepers. The bark is black, which
gives the forest a sombre appearance, and the trees grow perfectly
straight, generally to a height of 30 or 40 feet, before they divide
into branches; it may be readily imagined that an elephant would find a
difficulty in threading its way through the narrow passages formed by
these mast-like growths. In addition to this difficulty, there were
numerous clumps of the tough male bamboo, which nothing will break, and
which is terribly dangerous should a runaway elephant attempt to
penetrate it, as the hard wiry branches would lacerate a rider in a
frightful manner. There were numerous ravines in this forest, and we
kept along the margin, slowly and cautiously, peering at the same time
into the depths, in the expectation of seeing the wandering tiger.

It was very perplexing; sometimes we heard the cry of the tiger in one
direction, and upon reaching the spot, we heard it at a different place.
I was determined not to give it up, and we worked for at least two
hours, until we had thoroughly examined every ravine, and all the
smaller nullahs that would have been likely hiding-places. "Past five
o'clock," I exclaimed, upon looking at my watch. It was time to turn
homewards, as it would be dark at six, and should we be benighted in the
forest we should not find our way, neither would it be possible to ride
an elephant, owing to the thick bamboo. We accordingly gave up our
search for the tiger, and steered in a new direction towards the camp.

We had advanced for about half an hour through the gloomy forest, and
were within about 3/4 of a mile in a direct line of the tents, when I
observed a peculiarly dark shadow upon my right, about 35 yards distant,
close to a dense mass of feathery bamboos. I stopped the elephant for an
instant, and at the same moment the black mass moved away towards the
thick cover of the foliage.

Guessing the position of the shoulder, I took a quick shot with the
Paradox gun; the elephant, most fortunately, not having observed the
animal.

The effect was most extraordinary; I never heard such a noise; there
was a combination of roars and howls, as though a dozen tigers and lions
were engaged in a Salvation Army chorus. Away went Hurri Ram, rendering
it impossible for me to fire, as a large bear came straight at us,
charging from the deep gloom of a bamboo clump, and growling, as it ran
with the speed of a dog, direct at the elephant.

I thought we must be knocked to pieces; two or three smaller trees
fortunately gave way before the terrified rush of Hurri Ram, but the
power of the driving-hook was gone; although the mahout alternately
drove the spike deep into his skull and hooked the sharp crook into the
tender base of the ears, the elephant crashed along, threatening us with
destruction, as he swept through bamboos, and appeared determined to run
for miles.

I had been accustomed to feed this animal daily with all kinds of nice
delicacies beloved by elephants, and at such times I always spoke to him
in a peculiar phraseology. Although I was in the worst possible humour,
and considerably anxious regarding our safety, when rushing through
forest at 15 miles an hour, I addressed Hurri Ram in most endearing
terms-"Poor old fellow, poor old Hurri Ram, where are the sugar-canes?
where are the chupatties, poor old boy?" etc. etc. I believe
thoroughly that the well-known tones of my voice restored his confidence
far more than the torture of the driving-hook, and after a race of about
150 yards he stopped. "Now turn him round, give him the point sharp, and
drive him straight for the bear." The mahout obeyed the order, and we
soon approached the spot, where the roars and howls still continued. My
men were up the trees; the shikari had thrown a mighty spear upon the
ground, and had gone up the branches like a squirrel, as he did not see
the fun of meeting the bear's charge.

Before we had time to examine the actual condition of affairs, the big
bear suddenly dashed out again straight at the elephant, and once more
in a disgraceful panic he took to flight, without the possibility, on my
part, of taking a shot, when the bear thus daringly exposed itself.
Again I had to comfort Hurri Ram, and by degrees we stopped his mad
career, and once more returned to the scene of his discomfiture. There
was a slight depression in an open hollow, where high grass in swampy
ground intervened between two sections of the forest. As we advanced,
the elephant being severely punished by the driving-hook and scolded by
the mahout, the bear suddenly uprose from the high grass, and standing
upon its hind legs, it faced us at about 40 yards' distance, affording a
magnificent chance for a deadly shot. Away went Hurri Ram again,
whisking round before I had a moment to fire; and after two successive
chances of this kind, the bear escaped into the opposite jungle, and we
searched for it in vain.

We now returned, and with some difficulty drove Hurri Ram to the scene
of conflict. There was a bear lying dead. The howls and roars had
ceased, and a few yards to the left of the dead bear was a large black
mass: this was another bear, in the last gasp. Both had been knocked
over by only one bullet from the Paradox.

Although I had only seen one bear, and that most indistinctly, it
appeared that the bullet, being intensely hard, and propelled by 4 1/2
drams of powder, had gone completely through the shoulder of the
original bear, and then struck an unseen companion, who must have been
some yards distant upon lower ground beyond. The bullet had broken the
shoulder of this unlucky friend, and was sticking in its lungs, having
carried a bundle of coarse black hair from bear No. 1 and deposited it
upon its course in bear No. 2.

Although these were full-grown bears, there can be little doubt that the
bear that had so determinedly attacked the elephant was the mother,
infuriated by the roars and howls of her dying offspring. The
penetration of the Paradox bullet was highly satisfactory, but I was
terribly disgusted with Hurri Ram, whose misconduct had caused the loss
of bear No. 3, which would most certainly have been included in the list
of killed had I had the chance of only one second's quiet.

My men were not in the least ashamed when they descended from the trees,
as they considered that the better part of valour was discretion. The
large spear had been manufactured expressly for this kind of emergency,
by a celebrated native cutler, Bhoput of Nagpur. It is always advisable
that some powerful and plucky shikari should carry such a weapon for
approaching any wounded animal, as accidents generally occur from
carelessness, when the animal is supposed to be lying helpless, at the
point of death. Such a spear should be 2 feet long, with a blade 3
inches wide, and extremely sharp. There should be a short cross-bar
about 22 inches from the point, to prevent the spear from running
completely through an animal, which could then writhe up the handle, and
attack. The socket should be large and long, to admit a very thick male
bamboo, as the mistake is too frequently made that the spear is strong,
but the handle is too weak. It is very important that a trustworthy
attendant should be thus armed, as a dying animal can then be approached
with comparative impunity.

The risks that are run in following wounded animals are far greater than
the prime attack. Should an animal charge without being wounded, it may
generally be turned by a steady shot, if not absolutely killed; but when
badly hurt, the onset of a beast is spasmodic, and nothing but death
will paralyse the spring. I could mention numerous cases where
lamentable disasters have occurred simply through thoughtlessness on the
part of the hunter, who has been sacrificed in consequence of his
neglect. One of the saddest catastrophes was the death of the late Lord
Edward St. Maur, son of the Duke of Somerset, who died from the effects
of amputation necessitated by the mangled state of his knee from the
attack of a bear some years ago in India. This unfortunate young
sportsman was shooting alone, and having wounded a bear, he followed up
the animal for about a mile. When discovered it immediately charged him,
and although again seriously wounded by his shot, the bear seized him by
the knee, pulled him to the ground, and in the struggle that ensued he
was seriously mauled. The bear was driven away by his attendants, and he
was conveyed to camp. There was no blame in this instance attached to
himself, or to any other person. In a most courageous manner he defended
himself against the bear with his hunting-knife, and the body of the
animal was recovered after some days by his shikari; but this promising
young nobleman was cut off in the early days of his career, and was
probably sacrificed through a want of surgical experience on the part of
the native operator. I remember an instance of carelessness, which might
have had a disastrous result, many years ago, when I was hunting in
Ceylon. My brother, the late General Valentine Baker, was riding with me
through the jungles in the district called "The Park." I had been caught
by a rogue elephant a few days before, and my right thigh was so damaged
that I could only walk a few yards with difficulty. Suddenly the man who
walked before my horse ran back, and shouted "Wallahah, Wallahah"
(Bears, Bears), and we caught sight of some large black object rushing
through the jungle, close to our horses' heads. Valentine Baker jumped
nimbly off, and I heard a shot almost immediately; my wounded leg was
perfectly numbed, and I had no feeling in my foot; therefore, as it
touched the ground without sensation, I fell over on my back. Gathering
myself together, I managed to run in chase, and I shortly found myself
close to the retreating heels of two bears that were trotting through
the dense underwood. One of these brutes, feeling that it was pursued,
turned quickly round, and immediately jumped upon the muzzle of my gun,
which I fired into its stomach and rolled it over. I now heard my
brother shouting my name at only a few yards' distance; running towards
him, as I feared some accident, I found a large bear half lying and half
sitting upon the ground, growling and biting at the hard-wood
loading-rod which V. Baker had thrust into a bullet wound behind its
shoulder; he seemed surprised that the bear would not die at once. This
was exceedingly dangerous, as the animal might have recovered sufficient
strength to have directed an attack at an unguarded moment. Having a
heavy hunting-knife of 3 lbs. weight, I gave it a blow across the skull,
which cleft it to the brain and terminated its struggles. This was
exactly the occasion upon which an accident might have occurred, and
when a spear would have been of use.

I cannot understand why persons who reside in India neglect the
assistance of dogs for the various kinds of hunting. Bull terriers would
be invaluable for tracking up a wounded tiger or bear, and the latter
might be hunted by such dogs even without being wounded. At any rate,
well-trained dogs would be of immense assistance, but I have never seen
them used. During the cool season of Central and Northern India the
climate is most favourable, and the dogs could work during the hottest
hours of the day without undue fatigue. Mr. Sanderson set the example
some years ago, and had some interesting hunts; he describes the Ursus
labiatus as rendered powerless, in spite of its great strength and
activity, as one bull terrier invariably seized it by the nose; this is
the most sensitive part, and easy to hold, as it is long, and connected
with a projecting upper lip, which is almost prehensile in this variety.
His experience proved that three dogs were sufficient to hold any bear,
as the claws, although dangerous to the tender skin of a man, were too
blunt to tear the tough but yielding hide of the dog.

There are two other varieties of bears in the continent of India, the
black (Ursus Thibetanus) and the brown, both of which are confined to
Cashmere and the Himalayah range. I have had no personal experience of
these animals, therefore I do not presume to offer myself as an
authority; but from the accounts I have received from those who have
hunted them successfully, they are much the same in their habits as the
average of their species.

The dangerous character of bears, in like manner with all other animals,
was accredited at a time when breechloaders and high velocities were
unknown, but with a '577 rifle and 6 drams of powder, or a No. 12
spherical and 7 drams of powder, I cannot conceive the possibility of
escape for any bear or other creature below the standard of a buffalo,
if the hunter is a cool and steady shot. The conditions of this theory
will include a solid bullet, not a hollow projectile dignified by the
term "Express."

I will conclude this notice of the bear with an example of the failure
of the hollow bullet, '577 Express, fired by a native gentleman, Zahur
al Islam, when shooting with me in the reserves of Singrampur in the
Central Provinces last winter.

We were driving for any kind of animals that the jungle might produce,
and, being on foot, we constructed the usual little hiding-place by
cutting half through a sapling about 3 feet from the root, and bearing
down upon the young tree so as to form a horizontal rail in front of our
seat; a similar cut at the back of another sapling about 3 inches thick,
facing the stem already laid, and that was also pressed down to
interlace with the branches of the prostrate tree. This makes a screen
which can be rendered still more opaque by the addition of a few green
boughs.

The grass was parched to a bright straw colour, and was about 4 feet
high. As the beaters approached, a bear rushed forward and passed within
15 paces of Zahur. He fired; the bear emitted a short growl and passed
on.

I assisted in tracking this animal by the blood upon the grass. Zahur
described the shot he had taken as oblique; as the bear had passed him,
therefore the bullet must have struck either the hindquarters full, or
the thigh.

We found a teak tree about 14 inches in diameter covered with small
pieces of flesh resembling sausage-meat, for a height of 6 feet from the
ground. The yellow grass at the foot of this tree was covered with
blood, and many minute fragments of flesh adhered to the leaves.
Searching the place carefully, we picked up two pieces of bone covered
with blood; these were very thick and strong, the larger fragment being
2 1/2 inches in length and 1 inch in width, evidently pieces belonging
to the upper portion of the thigh.

After tracking the wounded bear for about 200 yards through the high
grass and jungle, we came to a tolerably deep nullah, where we expected
to find the animal lying down. Instead of this, we discovered another
large piece of fractured thigh bone, which proved that the hollow
Express bullet, although '577, had broken up upon striking the bone,
instead of penetrating throughout the body. The muscles of the thigh and
the bone had been shattered to atoms, and the flesh so completely
exploded that it had flown in all directions, dispersed in the smallest
fragments; nevertheless this bear had gone right away, and was never
more seen, although we expended more than an hour in its search, both
with men and elephants.

There could not be a more cruel example of the effect of a hollow
projectile when striking a bone. If that had been a solid bullet, it
would have raked the animal fore and aft, and would have rolled it over
on the spot.





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