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TALES OF ADVENTURE.
ESCAPE FROM A TIGER (INDIA). A PARTY of Europeans, consisting of indigo planters, and some of the officers of a native regiment stationed in their neighbourhood, went into the jungles, for the purpose of shooting tigers. They had not proceeded far before they roused an immense tigress, which with the greatest intrepidity charged the line of elephants on which they were seated. At this instant a female elephant, which had been lately purchased and hitherto untried, turned suddenly round to fly from the field of battle, showing the greatest dread of the approaching foe.
It was in vain that the mahout exerted all his skill to make her face the tigress, which instantly sprang upon her back, and seizing the gentleman by the thigh, speedily brought him to the ground; then throwing him (quite stunned by the fall) over her shoulder, just in the same manner as a fox carries a goose, she started off into the jungle. Every rifle was pointed at her, but no one dared to fire, because of the position in which the captive lay. She went through the jungle grass much faster than the elephants could do, and they soon lost sight of the tigress and her prey; yet they were enabled to trace her by the blood in her track.
As a forlorn hope, they resolved still to follow on, to see if it were possible to save the remains of their friend from being devoured by the ferocious brute. As they proceeded, the traces grew fainter and fainter, until at length, bewildered in the heart of the jungle, they were about to give up the pursuit in dismay, when all at once they came most unexpectedly upon the objects of their pursuit, and beheld the tigress lying dead upon the long jungle grass, still griping the thigh of their associate in her tremendous jaws, whilst he, though still sensible, was unable, from loss of blood, to reply to the questions proposed. To extri. cate his leg was impossible, without first cutting off the head of the tigress, which was immediately done, and the jaws being severed, the fangs were drawn out of the wounds. As one of the party providentially happened to be a surgeon, the patient was properly attended to, and the party had the great happiness of returning with their friend, rescued from the most perilous situation, and with hopes of his recovery. He was taken to the nearest bungalowe, and, by the aid thus afforded, he was in a short time able to see his friends, and to explain how it was that the animal was thus found dead.
For some time after the beast had seized him, he had continued insensible, being stunned by the fall, as well as faint from the loss of blood and the excruciating pain which her fangs inflicted. When he came to himself, he discovered that he was lying on the back of the tigress, who was trotting along at a smart pace through the jungle, and every now and then his face and hands would receive the most violent scratches from the thorns and bushes through which she dragged him. He gave himself up as lost, considering that not the least glimpse of hope remained, and determined to lie quietly on her back, waiting the issue, when it struck his mind that he had a pair of pistols in his girdle with which he might yet destroy his captor. After several ineffectual attempts, from the weakness which the loss of blood had occasioned, he at length succeeded in drawing one from the belt, and directing it at the creature's head, he fireå. But the only effect it seemed to produce was, that, after giving him an angry shake, by which she made her fangs meet more closely in his flesh, her pace was quickened.
From the excruciating pain thus produced he fainted away, and remained totally unconscious of what was passing for some minutes, when, recovering a little, he determined to try the effect of another shot in a different place. So, getting the remaining pistol out of his girdle, he pointed the muzzle under the bladebone of the shoulder, in the direction of the heart, and once more fired, when the tigress fell dead in a moment, and neither howled nor struggled after she fell. Neither had he power to call out for aid, though he heard his friends approaching, and was fearful that they might pass the spot without discovering where he lay. He recovered from his wounds, and was living when I left India, although he was quite lame; the sinews of his thigh having been dreadfully lacerated by the fangs of the tigress.
Tiger Hunting in India.
Abandon, leave, desert.
A LION HUNT (AFRICA). One night a lion that had purloined a few sheep out of my kraal, came down and killed my riding horse, about a hundred yards from the door of my cabin. Knowing that the lion, when he does not carry off his prey, usually conceals himself in the vicinity, and is very apt to be dangerous by prowling about the place in search of more game, I resolved to have him destroyed or dislodged without delay. I therefore sent a messenger round, to invite all who were willing to assist in the enterprise, to repair to the place of rendezvous as speedily as possible. In an hour every man of the party appeared ready mounted and armed. We were also reinforced by about a dozen of the “Bastuard” or Mulatto Hottentots, who resided at that time upon our territory as tenants or herdsmen,—an active and enterprising, though rather an unsteady, race of men. Our friends the Tarkaboors, many of whom are excellent lion hunters, were all far too distant to assist us, our nearest neighbours residing at least twenty miles from the location. We were, therefore, on account of our own inexperience, obliged to make our Hottentots the leaders of the chase.
The first point was to track the lion to his covert. This was effected by a few of the Hottentots on foot. Commencing from the spot where the horse was killed, they followed the spoor, through grass, and gravel, and brushwood, with astonishing ease and dexterity, where an inexperienced eye could discern neither footprint nor mark of any kind,-until at length we fairly tracked
him into a large bosch, or straggling thicket of brushwood and evergreens, about a mile distant.
The next object was to drive him out of this retreat, in order to attack him in a close body, and with more safety and effect. The approved mode in such cases is to torment him with dogs till he abandons his covert, and stands at bay in the open plain. The whole band of hunters then march forward together, and fire deliberately one by one. If he does not speedily fall, but grows angry and turns upon his enemies, they must then stand close in a circle, and turn their horses rear outwards. The horses are held fast by the bridles, while the riflemen kneel to take a steady aim at the lion as he approaches. Sometimes he comes up to the very horses' heels, couching every now and then as if to measure the distance and strength of his enemies.
This is the moment to shoot him fairly in the forehead, or some other mortal part. If they continue to wound him ineffectually, till he waxes furious and desperate, or if the horses, startled by his terrific roar, grow frantic with terror, and burst loose, the business becomes rather serious, and may end in mischief; especially if all the party are not men of courage, coolness, and experience. The frontier Boors are, however, generally such excellent marksmen, and withal so cool and deliberate, that they seldom fail to shoot him dead as soon as they get within a fair distance.
In the present instance, we did not manage matters quite so deliberately. The Bastuards, after recounting to us all these and other sage laws of lion hunting, were themselves the first to depart from them. Finding that the few indifferent hounds which we had made little impression on the enemy, they divided then selves into two or three parties, and rode round the jungle, firing into the spot where the dogs were barking round him, but without effect.
At length, after some hours spent in thus beating about the bush, the Scottish blood of some of my countrymen began to get impatient; and three of them announced their determination to march in and beard the lion in his den, provided three of the Bastuards (who were superior marksmen) would support them, and follow up their fire, should the enemy venture to give battle. Accordingly in they went (in spite of the warnings of some more