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Priority, being first or foremost. Apprehension, fear. Spontaneously, voluntarily, of Precipitate, throw headlong. one's own accord.
Evince, show. Abuse, foul, angry words.
Ascendancy, command. Unsuspicious, innocent-looking.,
CUNNING OF THE ELEPHANT (INDIA). DURING the siege of Bhurtpore, in the year 1805, when the British army, with its countless host of followers and attendants, and thousands of cattle, had been for a long time before the city, the approach of the warm season, and of the dry hot winds, caused the quantity of the water in the neighbourhood of the camps to begin to fail ; the ponds and tanks had dried up, and no more water was left than the immense wells of the country could furnish. The multitude of men and cattle that were unceasingly at the wells occasioned no little struggle for priority in procuring the supply, and the consequent confusion on the spot was frequently very considerable.
On one occasion two elephant drivers, each with his elephant, the one remarkably large and strong, and the other comparatively small and weak, were at the well together. The smaller animal bad been provided for by his master with a bucket of water for the occasion, which he carried at the end of his trunk; but the other one, being unprovided for with anything of the kind, either spontaneously, or by desire of his keeper, seized the bucket, and easily wrested it from his less powerful opponent. The latter was too sensible of his inferiority openly to resist the insult, though it was obvious that he felt it; but great squabbling and abuse ensued between the keepers.
At length, the weaker animal, watching the opportunity when the other was standing with his side to the well, retired backwards a few paces in a very quiet and unsuspicious manner, and then rushing forward with all his might, drove his head against the side of the other, and fairly pushed him into the well. It may easily be imagined that great inconvenience was immediately experienced, and serious apprehension quickly followed that the water in the well, on which the existence of so many seemed in a great measure to depend, would be spoiled by the unwieldly brute which was precipitated into it; and as the surface of the water was nearly twenty feet below the level of the ground, there did not appear to be any means that could be adopted to get the animal out by main force without the risk of injuring him. There were many feet of water below the elephant, who floated at ease on the surface; and experiencing considerable pleasure from his cool retreat, he evinced but little inclination to lend any assistance towards his rescue.
A vast number of fascines (bundles of wood) had been employed by the army in conducting the siege; and at length it occurred to the elephant-keeper that a sufficient number of these might be lowered into the well on which the animal might be raised to the top, if it could be made to lay them in regular succession under his feet. Permission having accordingly been obtained from the engineers to use the fascines, the keeper, by that extraordinary ascendancy which these men attain over their charge, joined with the intellectual resources of the animal itself, soon taught it how to proceed, and the elephant began quickly to place each fascine, as it was lowered, under him, in succession, until, in a short time, he was able to stand upon them.
By this time, however, the cunning brute, enjoying the coolness of his situation, after the heat and partial want of water to which he had been lately exposed, was unwilling to work any longer, and all the threats of his keeper could not induce him to move another fascine. The man then opposed cunning to cunning, and began to caress and praise the elephant, and what he could not do by threats, he was enabled to do by repeated promise of plenty of arrack, a spirituous beverage composed of rum, of which the elephant is very fond. Incited by this, the animal again set to work, raised himself considerably higher, until, after partial removal of the masonry round the well, he was enabled to step out. The rogue had been in the water about fourteen hours.
Emerging, coming out, appearing. To mouth, to scent.
Velocity, speed. Squatter, settler on hitherto un Trail, track. claimed land.
Elated, overjoyed. PUMA HUNTING (N. AMERICA). The hunters made their appearance just as the sun was emerging from the horizon. They were five in number, and fully equipped for the chase, being mounted on horses, which in some parts of Europe might appear sorry nags, but which in strength, speed, and bottom, are better fitted for pursuing a puma or a bear through the woods and morasses than any in that country. He and myself mounted his two best horses, whilst his sons rode others of inferior quality.
Few words were uttered by the party until we had reached the edge of the swamp, where it was agreed that all should disperse and seek for the fresh track of the puma, it being previously settled that the discoverer should blow his horn, and remain on the spot until the rest should join him. In less than an hour the sound of the horn was clearly heard, and sticking close to the squatter, off we went through the thick woods, guided only by the moon and the repeated call of the distant huntsman. · We soon reached the spot, and in a short time the rest of the party came up. The best dog was sent forward to attack the animal, and in a few minutes the whole pack were observed diligently tracking, and bearing in their course for the interior of the swamp. The rifles were immediately put in trim, and the party followed the dogs at separate distances, within sight of each other, determined to shoot at no other game than the puma.
The dogs soon began to mouth, and suddenly quickened their pace. My companions concluded that the beast was on the ground; and putting our horses to a gentle gallop, we followed the curs, guided by their voices. The noise of the dogs increased; when all of a sudden their mode of barking became altered, and the squatter, urging me to push on, told me the beast was treed; by which he meant that it had got upon some low branch of a large tree to rest for a few moments, and that, should we not succeed in shooting him while thus situated, we might expect a long chase. As we approached we gradually
united into a body; but on seeing the dogs at the foot of a large tree, separated again, and galloped off to surround it.
Each hunter now moved with caution, holding his gun ready, and allowing the bridle to dangle on the neck of his horse, as it advanced slowly towards the dogs. A shot from one of the party was heard, on which the puma leaped to the ground and bounded off with such velocity as to show that he was very unwilling to stand our fire longer. The dogs set off in pursuit with the utmost eagerness, and with a deafening cry. The hunter who had fired came up, and said that his ball had hit the monster, and had probably broken one of his fore-legs near the shoulder, the only place at which he could aim. A slight trail of blood was discovered on the ground, but the curs proceeded at such a rate, that we merely noticed this and put spurs to our horses, which galloped on towards the centre of the swamp. One bayon (a part of the swamp in which the water accumulates) was crossed, then another still larger and more muddy, but the dogs were brushing forward, and as the horses began to pant at a furious rate, we judged it expedient to leave them and advance on foot. These determined hunters knew that the animal, being wounded, would shortly ascend another tree, where, in all probability, he would remain for a considerable time. We dismounted, took off the saddles and bridles, set the bells attached to the horses' necks at liberty to jingle, hoppled the animals (that is, fastened the bridle to one of their legs so that they might not stray far), and left them to shift for themselves.
After marching for a couple of hours, we again heard the dogs. Each of us pressed forward, elated at the thought of terminating the career of the puma; some of the dogs were heard whining, although the greater part barked vehemently. We felt assured that the animal was lying across a large branch close to the trunk of a cotton-wood tree. His broad breast lay towards us; his eyes were at one time bent on us, and again on the dogs, beneath and around him ; one of his fore-legs hung down loosely by his side, and he lay crouched with his ears lowered close to his head, as if he thought he might remain undiscovered. Three balls were fired at him at a given signal, on which he sprang a few feet from the branch, and tumbled headlong to the ground. Attacked on all sides by the enraged curs, the infuriated animal fought with desperate valor; but the squatter, advancing in front of the party, and almost in midst of the dogs, shot him immediately behind and under the left shoulder. He for a moment struggled in agony, and in another, lay dead.
Cable's length, 120 fathoms, or 720 feet.
FERNANDEZ. March the 22nd, 1684, we came in sight of the island, and the next day got in and anchored in a bay at the south end of the island, in twenty-five fathom water, not two cables' lengths from the shore. We presently got out our canoe, and went to shore to see for a Moskito Indian, whom we left here when we were chased hence by three Spanish ships, in the year 1681, a little before we went to Arrica; Captain Watlin being then our commander. This Indian lived here alone above two years; and although he was several times sought after by the Spaniards. who knew he was left on the island, yet they could never find him.
He was in the woods hunting for goats when Captain Watlin drew off his men, and the ship was under sail before he came back to shore. He had with him his gun and a knife, with a small horn of powder, and a few shot. The latter being spent, he contrived to make notches on his knife, and thus to saw the barrel of his gun into small pieces, wherewith be made harpoons, lances, hooks, and a long knife-heating the pieces first in the fire, which he struck with his gun-flint and a piece of the barrel of his gun, having learnt to do that among the English. The hot pieces of iron he would hammer out and bend as he pleased with stones, and saw them with his jagged knife, or grind them to an edge by long labor, and harden them to a good temper, as there was occasion. All this may seem strange to those who are not acquainted with the sagacity of the Indians;