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my own departure, I despatched a covered van on two wheels, with bullock-cart, containing tent, rifles, a perch in front, on which the and stores of food and drink not driver and my native servant sat. to be found in the wilds, under the Inside there are two cross benches charge of a native cook. And here as seats, but for long night jourlet me explain that even for a very neys boards are laid over these short trip it is necessary to take a seats, with a mattress upon them, most voluminous assortment of forming, with plaids and rugs, a articles, for nothing can be reck- fairly comfortable bed. If we add oned on as supplied by the coun- nets slung on the roof to carry try beyond eggs and chickens, and small light articles, ample space possibly a sheep; and that, more- under the seats for portmanteau over, if delay happens through and luncheon-basket, and a supply illness or accident, communication of books and tobacco to while away is tedious and uncertain, and all the time, a transit-cart is by no necessaries in food, medicine, &c., means to be despised by the trawhich are not found in the original veller who is proof against a concartload of stores, may be regretted, siderable amount of jolting, and is but cannot be procured, or substi- prepared for an occasional breaktutes found. Two country bul- down or upset. Two of the famlocks drew the cart, and would ous trotting bullocks of Mysore cover about twenty miles a-day, so drew my conveyance, and covered that about a week would find on an average four miles an hour. them at my shooting ground. The They were changed every seven or battery which

was sent consist- eight miles, by giving due notice ed of a double-barrelled 12-bore to the native authorities, who rifle, carrying a 112-02. bullet and warn the villages along the road 6 drams of powder, a .450-express that bullocks will be wanted, and rifle, and a pair of shot-guns. This who are bound to supply the re. was by no means a perfect equip- quirements of travellers at a fixed ment, as a heavier rifle than a 12- tariff. bore has many advantages in big- My start was made late in the game shooting; but it was a very evening, and by one o'clock the fair one,and the question of calibres following day I had covered sixtyis still vexed and uncertain.

one miles.

Here we halted for a It was late in the year—too late couple of hours to let the men as many authorities think-(early cook their rice, and to take adin December) when I started. The vantage of a convenient travellers' jungle herbage would be grown so bungalow for a bath and some food. dense and high as to make stalking The quaint old Indian village difficult, but there was the advan- spread itself on the borders of a tage of cool weather for travelling, wide tank, surrounded by paddy and as the season had been wet fields and sugar-cane, and girt and windy, there was a greater about with the stout clay walls probability that the bison would and turrets which, in the old marhave sheltered themselves in ap- auding days, gave shelter to the proachable valleys, instead of bury. timid and unwarlike from the ing themselves in the distant re. threatening clouds of Mahratta cesses of the hills. My travel. spearmen. All the country showed ling carriage was what is called marks of the dire famine of 1879,

transit-cart-a sort of small in lands which still bore the traces


of previous cultivation,and deserted battle with the bison from afar, mud huts, whose remains were al- and I can only consign myself most indistinguishable in the brown again to my transit-cart, receiving soil ; but it was cheering to see much advice and information, and prosperity reasserting itself, and bequeathing the last delicious new acre by acre the old farms being novel that has arrived from Engbrought to yield their supply of land, which is a rare treat to the raggi, coolthi, and paddy.

hard-worked district official. Two However, my driver reports him- or three indifferent pairs of bul. self again ready for a start, and on locks in succession and a bad we travel without delay till nine the cross-road make the end of my following morning, when we find journey slow in the extreme. But ourselves 131 miles from the station. the road winds through scrub junAnother halt at a bungalow, and gle, and is overshadowed by wild again the welcome bath and tea dear jungle-trees, such as are not seen to the Anglo-Indian. The deputy- in the civilised cantonment. I collector is here on an official visit. watch the slowly-sinking sun lightTwo useful-looking horses are pick- ing up the near range of wooded eted in the compound; a weather- hills. I pass tank after tank, and beaten dog-cart and a bullock-cart mark the duck edging off to the repose, with their shafts in the air, distant side as they watch suspiin a corner.

The bullocks are con- ciously my cart rumbling along the tentedly chewing the cud in the road, while the whistling teal, less shade, a saddle is in the verandah, nervous, continues to paddle about two dignified peons and some na- among the mud near the water's tive servants hover about, and the edge. At last, when all is dark and deputy-collector himself, who has silent, about 8 P.M., I arrive at my ridden thirty miles since daybreak, destination. dashes out in shirt and Pyjamas,

Let me describe my halting-place, armed with a pen, and welcomes as I saw it by the earliest rays of the chance European visitor to his the next day's morning sun. A apartment, whose most noticeable travellers' bungalow, but, being on furniture is a large official desk, a an unfrequented road, a third-class gun-case, and a teapot with

A low mud-built cottage, broken spout. This genial admin- containing only two rooms, but istrator places himself and his dis- with the spacious Indian verandah, trict at my disposal: tells me of and with several tumble-down outtwo tigers within eight miles, houses for servants. No furniture which he has hitherto failed to but a table, a couple of rude chairs account for, expatiates on the an- and a charpoy, and these, I believe, telope country twelve miles off, to had been lately sent in anticipation which he will personally conduct of my visit. But the situation, me, throws in wild statements of lovely. On a sloping grassy meaúnnumbered duck and snipe among dow, at the foot of low rolling hills which I may disport myself, if I covered with forest, which grows will only remain with him for a down to the back railing of the time, and shows all the hospitality enclosure; a pootpath leads from which, once the characteristic of the bungalow to the village, a Anglo-Indians, is now, alas! be- quarter of a mile distant, from which coming a thing of the past. Time come the varied sounds of Indian presses, however, I scent the great life, and the melodious wash of the




great river on whose bank the vil- cess in a stalk, for, as he got near lage stands.

A swampy range of his game, and thought that every green paddy-fields, and the native moment might bring him face to herdsman driving his lean cattle to face with the mighty bull, off came graze in the forest, complete the the handkerchief and blanket, and picture.

were tightly twisted round his In the morning after my arrival waist. His real vocation was colI held a levee of the village autho- lecting honey in the forest, in which rities, who came to pay their re- he roamed in search of bees' nests spects, and to learn the pleasure of for days at a time. He had come the Sahib, who was recommended in twenty miles on foot during the by the distant authority of their previous night to meet me and get sovereign. The Amildar, an aris- a job at his loved shikar, and there tocratic-looking Mussulman in a red he stood, silent and ready for anturban-a descendant of Tippoo, other long and possibly arduous the Tiger Prince of Mysore, and, as day. such, a participator in a small way The accounts of the presence of of the pension still given by his bison were conflicting, so it was English conquerors; the Kotwal settled that Afsul should go to and Shaykdar, two Hindoos, whose consult some of the forest peons, object seemed to be to get as much and hear where the freshest tracks money in backshish as they de- had been seen, and that we should cently could; Abdul Rahman, the not take the field till mid-day. It forest ranger, who arranges for the need hardly be said that the intermarking and felling of the valuable vening hours lagged somewhat trees in the State forest, which on their course; but a prolonged yield no small slice of the yearly breakfast and a stroll passed the revenue of the native government. time, and noon came at last, and Last, and most important of all, with it Afsul, his face wearing an Afsul, the shikarri. Never shall I expression of quiet satisfaction as forget him. Brave, keen, untiring, he announced that he could take deeply skilled in woodcraft, I am me to bison at once. proud to number him among the We started without delay-myvalued friends whom I made in self, Afsul, and a forest peon. I India. I always acted confidently carried the .450 express for any under his directions; he showed casual shooting, while Afsul me much sport, and I never found shouldered my 12-bore until the him wrong or at a loss. A little time of real action should arrive. bow-legged, wiry Mussulman, with We are all naturally gregarious broad deep chest, and long sinewy animals, but I must say that there arms, a keen aquiline face, and is to me an untold charm in a solithin pointed beard. He certainly tary sporting excursion, when I did not sacrifice much to appear- am alone in the vast wood—alone ance in his toilet, which only at least as far as thought or conconsisted of a very dirty waist- versation are concerned, for the cloth, an old ragged grey blanket means of communication with the over his shoulders, and a red cotton shikarri are limited to the simplest handkerchief twisted round his subjects, and he is to me more like head. When I knew him better, a highly trained pointer, who at this red handkerchief was a sure my direction finds the game and barometer of the probability of suc; brings me up to it, leaving the rest


to me, and not asking to intrude breathless expectation behind. No on me in any way beyond his own sound in the forest, but the distant particular function. It is a selfish hoot of the langur, and the mournfeeling in a way, no doubt, to feel ful sigh of the breeze through the that you and you alone are enjoy- foliage overhead. At last, after ing the woodland charm, and are much devious wandering, Afsul to profit by the chances of the chase, suddenly stops, and, taking up a but I plead guilty to it most com- morsel of broken leaf from the pletely, and enjoy my loneliness as ground, calls the forest peon into an unmixed delight.

consultation. We followed a beaten track for I wait amxiously for the verdict, a mile, and then plunged into the which is solemnly given in a whisjungle, passing under magnificent per, that several bison have been teak-trees with their enormous there within a few hours. We leaves, then through vast clumps of know that they cannot be distant, bamboo and sandal-wood, and other, and we clear for action. I take the to me unknown forest plants. Nor 12-bore and see that the cartridges was animal life wanting. Two are all right, while the peon takes spotted deer dashed

the the lighter rifle. On we go, no glade in front of us. The large longer in desultory wandering, but handsome Malabar squirrel flashed following step by step the footsteps his golden coat in the branches of the herd. Every jungle-sign is over our head, and quaint birds of examined with redoubled care ; no gorgeous plumage flitted across our longer we walk unheeding from path. A mile and a half of jungle- thicket to thicket, but a searching walking, and we came to a stream eye peers round every corner bewhose muddy banks showed that fore we debouch from the shelter the mighty elephant had often of each gigantic tree. The unshod there quenched his thirst; and, foot of the native falls noiselessly oh joy! among the massive foot- as a feather on the ground, while I prints Afsul pointed to a sharply- struggle vainly to pass over the cut print, more like that of a large débris of dried bamboo and withdeer than anything else, and whis- ered teak leaves without waking pered “ Koolga" (bison).

the echoes at every pace.

From We scrambled through the stream time to time, when I make a louder and up the slippery bank on the crackle then usual, Afsul darts a other side, and there track after look of remonstrance his track crossing each other in differ- shoulder. I perspire profusely, in ent directions, some fresh, some old, bracing every muscle in the atshowed that bison had been recently tempt to emulate the snakelike haunting that part of the forest. movement of my guide, but cerThen the real business of the track- tainly with only moderate success. er began. Slowly pacing along, cri- I could not have believed before tically examining every track, now that one man could make so much stooping to pick up a bruised leaf noise. How I wished thatpressed into the soil by the weighty tread, now turning to look at a “ The light harebell would raise its

head blade of the lofty grass or a twig of

Elastic 'neath my airy tread.” the jungle undergrowth, which had been bent or broken from its orig. How long did this last ? I beinal direction, while I followed in lieve not more than half an hour,




but in the time I lived weeks of penetrable bulwark of solid bone. anxiety and self-reproach.

No better chance offers, so drawSuddenly—what was that? Has ing a long breath, I fire where I anybody fired a pistol ahead of us ? fancy his throat may be. Heavens ! No, it must be a bison crashing what a stampede followed the shot. through a giant bamboo. Afsul The crash as of a squadron of puts back his hand and presses me cavalry, the clatter of hoofs, the down, till he can be certain of the rending of tree and bush filled direction. A gleam of combat the air. We dashed forward. I shoots over his face. Off come could see some huge backs plunghis red head-gear and his blanket, ing through the distant jungle, and are twisted tightly round his and where the old bull loins, his muscular shoulders show- nothing. ing in gleaming bronze in the How I abused myself mentally afternoon sun. Then slowly, very as a duffer; how, as I mopped slowly, he steals forward. The my streaming brow, I felt that anxieties of the past are tears would better become me than nothing to the trepidation of the perspiration, need not be told. present. Again and again the Still, a gleam of hope shone on crackling of bamboos—now like me. Afsul was questing about a pistol-shot, now like a crack of on the track that the bison had the great waggon-whip of South followed, and I saw him pounce Africa. We worm our way along, on a broken leaf, with the comfollowing the moving herd, through forting word “blood.” There it muddy watercourse, through ruth- was, unmistakably, a tiny drop less thorns, and over the most in- of fresh blood, so tiny that none exorable of rocks. Twenty min- but the hawk eye of the forest utes at least of mortal agony, when man could have distinguished it. Afsul, quivering with excitement, Then began a weary but exciting turns and says, " Maro, maro!pursuit, which lasted till the sun (shoot, shoot !)

was dropping over the lowest trees I try to pull myself together, of the forest. Here a gout of and stare into what appears a vast gore seemed to promise that a confused mass of foliage. Afsul's severe wound had been inflicted. patience is getting exhausted, and Then for a long distance nothing he points madly in a particular guided us but a fresh hoof-print, direction. I struggle to follow a broken stem, or a jungle leaf his eagle glance, and at last see stained with the tell-tale red spot. a huge head glaring at me about Once or twice we heard a movefifty yards off, -the grey forehead ment ahead.

Nor was

our path of a bull, the slaty eye, and the an easy one — for the most part broad muzzle thrown forward in through elephant-grass nine or ten the true fashion of the noble bison. feet high, whose sturdy stems and Nothing to be seen of the body broad leaves were no contemptible -nothing but a thickly inter- obstacle. The wonder of was twined mass of jungle herbage that a herd of seven or eight huge and branches. I knew enough animals should have passed before of bison shooting theoretically to us, through grass, bush, and foliknow that it is hopeless to fire age, and hardly left a trace beat the head, where the vital parts hind,-few traces, at least, that are protected by an almost im- could be detected by any eye not

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