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Full text of "Thirteen years among the wild beasts of India: their haunts and habits from personal observations; with an account of the modes and capturing and taming elephants"

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^ublis^ers to t^£ |nbia #fii«. 







My dkar Colonel, 

At the time that I commenced the operations of elephant-catching in 
Mysore, and when the experiment was regarded by many with at least distrust, 
you, unconnected with me by any official ties, came forward to give me the most 
practical proof of your confidence in my ultimate success by placing the resources 
in men and elephants of the Mysore Palace at my disposal. And you did this with 
such zeal and heartiness, your interest in my operations was so earnest, and your 
pleasure in my success so cordial, that I venture to ask you to accept the dedication 
of tliis account of my work, and of my life and adventures in the jungles of Mysore 
and Bengal — an account the compilation of which you suggested, and in the making 
up of which I have been encouraged to persevere by the example I have had before 
me in your own writings. 

Believe me, 

My dear Colonel, 

Yours most sincerely, 







I Land in Madras — Appointment in Mysore — My First Tiger — Appointed to Super- 
intend an Experiment for the Capture of Wild Elephants in Mysore — Eesults — 
Similarly Appointed in Eastern Bengal — Tracts Visited — Capture Eighty-five 
Elephants — Eeturn to Mysore — Furlough to England — Kemarks. . . .1 



Description — Climate — Population — Eevenue — The Late Mahdrdjah — Character of 
People— Cultivation— Rivers— Chief Towns— Mysore Breed of Draught-Cattle— 
Seasons. ....••••>• 



Best Seasons for Sport — Movements of Game— Jungle-Fires — Forestry — Natural Classes 
of Jungle — Distribution of Wild Animals — List of Animals Found in Mysore — 
Remains of Antiquity — Ruined Villages in the Forests — Ancient Irrigation 
Works — A Desolated Valley. ....... 9 




The Village of Morlay — Advantages of Neighbourhood for Elephant-Catching — At- 
tractions to the Sportsman — The Villagers — Their Tenure of Lands — Experience 
in Hunting — Netting Game — Cruelty of the Morlayites to an Elephant — Their 
Houses — Food — Clothing — Temperance — Women — Infidelity amongst — Caste 
Rules on the Subject — Matrimony in Morlay — The Village Headman — Training 
the Murluyitea — My Trackers — Remarks on Native Shikiiries. . . .19 



Earthen Walls — Morlay HaU — HonhoUay River-View — Irrigation — Incursions of 
Wild Animals into Cultivation — The Ramasamoodrum Lake — Method of Taking 
Fish — Sluices — A Native Drowned — Means Used to Recover his Body — The 
Billiga-rungun Hills — Forest and Vegetation — A Deserted Village — Probable 
Reasons of Abandonment of Jungle Villages — A Noted Bull Bison — Shoot Him 
— Lake on the HiUs — Hamlets of Yelsariga and Poonjoor — Bommay Gouda — 
The Koombappan Goody Temple — Character of the God — Fate of the Last 
Priest — Ritual Observed — Young Married Women's Prayers — Religion of Natives 
— Propitiating Koombaj^jpah — The Holey Doings of a Holy Man. . . 32 



Distribution of the Asiatic Elephant — Habits of Wild Elephants — Numerical Extent 
of Herds — A Female always the Leader of a Herd — The Elephant-Fly — Elephant- 
Calves — Elephants Swimming — Rogue Elephants — The Mandla Elephant — 
Night Scene at the Ilonganoor Lake • — Depredations of Elephants less Serious 
tlian Usually Supposed — Height of Elephants — Measurement of Foot— African 
Elcpliants — Age Attained 1)y Elephants — Where do Elephants Die?' — Native 
Beliefs — Murrain amongst Elephants — Period of Gestation — "Must" Elephants 
— Female "Must" Elephants — Means of Telling Age of Elephants — Age at 
which Females Breed — Two Calves at a Birth — Height and Weight of Calves at 
Birth — The Female Elephant's Aflection for her Young — Size of Indian Ele- 
phants' Tusks — Consideration of the Uses of their Tusks to Elephants — Absence 
of Tusks in Ceylon Elephants — Muckmis — Guneshes — Female Elephants' Tushes 
— Paces and Speed of Elephants— Inability to Leap. . . . .48 




Method Adopted for Taking Herds — Constitution of a Kheddah Party — Sketch of 
Operations — The Catching of Single Elephants — Following Them during the 
Night — Pitfalls — Barbarity of this Method — Noosing — Judgment Regarding 
Recaptured Elephants in a Case before the High Court of Judicature, Calcutta. . 70 



Consideration of the Elephant's Intelligence — The Domestic Elephant's Temperament 
— Fallacies Regarding the Power of the Trunk — Orientals' Ideas of Perfection 
in Elephants — Their Breeds or Castes — Koomeriahs — Dwasalas — Meergas — 
Distinguishing Points — White Elephants — Special Value of Tuskers — Rule and 
Reason for Cutting Tusks — Economic Uses in Draught — As Beasts of Burden — 
Of Display — Riding - Elephants — Shikdr Elephants — Elephant - Marts — Export 
from Ceylon — Prices of Elephants — Past — Present — Probable Future of the 
Market — Requirements in Elephants and Means of Supply to the Bengal Govern- 
ment — The Dacca Kheddah Establishment — Bengal Licence System of Capturing 
Elephants — Means of Supply of Elephants to the Madras Government — Kheddahs 
in the Madras Presidency — The Burmah Market — Appendix on Breeding of 
Elephants. .......... 78 



Elephants' Attendants — Mismanagement of their Charges — Chief Ailments of Ele- 
phants — Kinds of Fodder — Grass — Branches — Under-fed Elephants — The Ele- 
phant Feeds Constantly in its Wild State — Allowance of Fodder to Government 
Elephants in Bengal and Madras — Remarks on the Above Scales — The Amount 
an Elephant will Eat. . . . . . , . .96 



Commence Elephant-Catching in Mysore — Plans at Morlay in 1873 — Failure of First 
Attempts — Change of Plans — Commencement of the Rains — Visit of a Herd — Its 
Movements — Surround the Herd of Fifty-four' Elephants — Exciting Night-Scenes 
— The SmaU Enclosure — Visitors to Camp — Drive the Herd into the Enclosure — 


Shoot a Troublesome Female — A White Calf — Conduct of Herd in Small Enclos- 
ure — Our Tame Elephants — Amusing Mishap — A Troublesome Tusker — "Jair- 
am" Vanquishes Him — Capture of a Wild Tusker in the Elephant Lines — Allot- 
ment of Nine of the New Elephants to Ilis Highness the Maharajah, and Ten to 
the Madras Commissariat Department — Sale of Twenty-five Elephants — Prolit 
of the Operations to Government — Results to Myself. .... 101 



Journey to Dacca — The Ganges— A Tiger on Board a River-Steamer — Appearance of 
Dacca — Manufactures of Muslin, Silver Jewellery, and Shell Bangles — The Ele- 
phant Depot or Peelkhdna — System of Elephant-Hunting — A Trip up a Tribu- 
tary of the Brdhmapootra — Camp — Peculiar Absence of Rock in the Gangetic 
Delta — Unsuccessful Search for Wild Buffaloes — Change my Ground — A Long 
Hunt and an Unsuccessful Finish — Better Luck' — Bag Four Buffaloes — Return 
to Dacca — Despatch Elephants to Chittagong — Kheddah Parties — Arrangements 
for Supplies whilst Elephant-Hunting in the Forest — Difficulties of the Coun- 
try — Provision Depot at Rungamuttea — Leave Chittagong for the Jungles — 
Cholera in Camp — Deserters — Their Punishment. . . . .122 




Enter the Hill-Tracts — Endurance of the Men — My Camp Arrangements — Order of 
March — First Night's Encampment — Precautions against Malaria — Second Day's 
March — Hillmen — Encampment — Elephants Collecting Fodder — Cookery in the 
Jungles — Third Day's March — A Difficult Climb — Quicksand — An Elephant Rolls 
Do^vll a Hillside — Charmed Ducks — A False Alarm — Reach the Chengree River 
— New Year's Eve — Jungles — Canes — Remarkable Creeper — Novel Fishing — 
Suddar Ali Surrounds a Herd of Elephants — Kookies — Their Cruelties — March to 
Jadoogapara — The Stockade — The Drive — Capture Thii-ty-seven Elephants — A 
Female Almost Takes Me in Rear. ....... 137 



OF CHITTAGONG — (contmued). 

A Ghostly Night Visitor— Securing the Wild Elephants— Rildhiipeary— A Vicioua 
Female Attacks Me— Dangerous Position— Narrow Escape— Return to Gdsban 
— Meet a Fellow-Country man — Jooma Etiquette — Liquor— We Dine at a Joonia 


Chiefs — News of Gool Budden's Success — March into the Myanee Valley — A Hill 
Village — Treat Some Patients — A Grand Chasm — Keach Bhowdlkali — Thirty- 
two Elephants Captured — A Man Killed — A Portion of the Herd Gives Trouble 
— We are Obliged to Let Them Go — An Elephant Pays Me a Midnight Visit 
— Attacks my Tent — The Guard Punished — Shoot the Elephant — Complete a 
Kheddah in Two Days and Capture Thirteen Elephants — Jungle - Products — 
Commence Eeturn-Marcli to Eungamuttea — Young Elephant liilled by a Tiger 
— I Shoot the Spoiler — Weight of a Tiger — Shoot a Troublesome Tusker — Lost 
in the Forest — Chorus of Elephants — A Hill-Dog — His Sagacity and Attachment 
— Eeach Eungamuttea — Sad Mishap — Three Elephants Drowned — Joomas Eating 
Elephants — March to Dacca — Statement of Casualties. . . . .153 



General Eemarks — Heavy Eifles — Opinions of Sir Samuel Baker and the Late Cap- 
tain James Forsyth upon Eifles — Heavy Game — Light Game — 4 and 8 Bore 
Eifles — Heavy Charges — Battery for Indian Sport — Express Eifles — Objections 
to the Express for Heavy Game — Shells — Camp-Arrangements — Malarial Fever — 
Probably Only Contracted at Night — Precaution against Malaria — Necessity 
for Sleeping Off the Ground — Camp-Fires — Temperance — Boiled and Distilled 
Water — Indian Servants. . . . . . , , .176 



Government Prohibition Eegarding Elephant-Shooting — The True King of Beasts — 
Peculiar Excitement of Elephant-Shooting — Danger of the Sport — The Wild 
Elephant's Mode of Attack — Structure of the Elephant's Head — The Brain — The 
Best Shots — Guns for Elephant-Shooting — Sir Samuel Baker's Opinion — Shoot- 
ing Elephants behind the Shoulder — The Former Method of Shooting with 
"Jinjalls" — The Elephant's Character as an Animal of Sport — Circumstances 
under wliich they usually Attack Man — How to Find the Tuskers in a Herd — 
The Alarm-Signal — Elephants' Eushes — Danger of Shouting at Elephants — A 
Courageous Female in the Chittagong Hills — Kills a Man — Charges my Eiding- 
Elephant — Floor Her — Another Charging Female in Kakenkot^ — Single Ele- 
phants — Their Habits — Elephants Lying Down — Their Skill in Eetreating — How 
to Follow Wounded Elephants — Danger of Shooting Eogue Elephants not Greater 
than Attacking Herds — Taking out Tusks — Dead Elephants — Native Ideas about 
their Flesh in Mysore — In Chittagong — Preparing Feet for Footstools. . .187 




Camp at Ponjoor— "Want of Rain— Move Camp— A Tiger in a Sh5laga's Hut— Sholaga 
Trackers — A Troublesome Cough — Find Elephants — Manoeuvre to get a Shot — 
Kill a Tusker — I Narrowly Escape an Inglorious End — Jungle -Trackers — My 
Youthful Tracker Gorrava — The Difierence between Hitting and Bagging — Perse- 
verance — The Kakankote Rogue — His Habits — Kills Two Travellers — Kakankote 
— The Cubbany River — Forest — Kurrabas — Their Habits, Food, Appearance, 
Dwellings — Garrow and Chittagong Wild Tribes' Dwellings — Kurrabas' Methods 
of Catching Wild Animals — The Flying Squirrel — Ethnology of the Kurrabas — 
Old Poojaree — Jungle Tribes' Fear of Elephants — I Reach Kakankote to Hunt the 
Rogue — News of Him — Track Him — Heavy Rain — Fire at the Rogue — Wild Ele- 
phants' Rushes — The RogueEscapes — Melancholy Reflections. . . • 201 



Second Expedition after the Rogue — He Kills a Kurraba — Wound Him — A Chase — 
Kill Him — How to Make Fire with Two Sticks — Roll the Rogue's Carcass Over — 
Cut off His Head — Place His Head on View by the Roadside — The Rogue's 
Impertinent Friend the Muckna — Take Him Down a Peg — My Best Tusker — 
An Exciting Hunt — Large Tusks — Wound Hmi — The Proverbial Stern-Chase — 
Encounter Him Again — Further Pursuit — Kill Him — Reflections — Shoot an 
Elephant in a Pit by Accident — A Sportmg Parson — The Garrow Hills — Narrow 
Escape from a Tusker — Sir Victor Brooke and Colonel Hamilton's Big Tusker — 
A Common Elephant - Shooting Story — Elephants' Powers of Getting Over 
Wounds. .......... 217 



Distribution in India — Appearance — Height — Size of Horns — Gregarious Nature — 
Food — Character — Habitat — Subject to Murrain — Indian Cattle Diseases — Bison- 
Calves — Sounds made by Bison — Flesh — The Bison and Mithun or Gayal of 
Bengal Compared — Never Brought Alive to England — My Opportunities of Ob- 
serving Bison — Probable Age Attained by Bison — Solitary Bulls— Their Disposi- 
tion — They Carry the Best Heads. ....... 243 




Enjoyable Character of the Sport — Sporting Knives — Heavy Rifles— Vitality and En- 
durance of Bison — How to Approach Bison — One of my First Attempts — My 
Ally H.— Camp at Yemmay Gudday— Floored with Fever — The Trackers find 
Bison— Wound a Bull— Follow Him Next Day— A Long Hunt— Brought to 
Bay — Kill Him — Fingers before Forks — Marrow - Bones —Honey — Bag another 
Large Bull — Capture Two Tiger-Cubs — Account of how P. and I Slew the Hanay- 
kerray Bulls — Another Old Bull — A Four Days' Hunt — Perseverance Rewarded 
—The Great Mother. . . . . . . . .253 



Different Sorts of Tigers — The Cattle-Lifter — Usefulness of Tigers — Small Value of 
Indian Cattle — The Game-Killer — The Man-Eater — Size and Weight of Tigers — 
A Tiger Killing and Eating Bears — Cannibal Tigers — Tigers and Wild Dogs — 
Tigers Killing ' Bison — Method of Seizing their Prey — Fight between Tiger 
and Buflalo — Hours of Feeding — Tigers Climbing Trees — Powers of Enduring 
Hunger and Thirst — Hunting- Ranges of Tigers — Breeding of Tigers — Methods of 
Hunting Tigers — Beating with Elephants — Driving with Beaters — Shooting over 
" Kills " or Water — Netting — Excuse for this Method — Poisoning and Trapping 
Tigers. . . ....... 266 



Remarks on Tiger-Shooting on Foot — Not necessarily Foolhardy Sport — Effect of 
the Tiger's Roar — The lyenpoor Man-Eater — Her Ravages — Kills a Man at Nag- 
wully — Another Victim — An Unsuccessful Christmas Day's Hunt — A Herds- 
man's Fate — A Priest Carried Off — The Man -Eater's Cub — Horrible Death of 
a Villager — An Unsuccessful Pursuit — Her Last Victim — An Affectionate Son-in- 
law — News of the Man-Eater — An Evening Watch — Her Appearance — Kill Her 
— The Villagers of Hebsoor — Terrified Agriculturists — The " Don " Tiger — His 
Habits and Peculiarities — Effigy of the Don — An Inland Cyclone — The Don's 
Gluttony — We Hunt Him — An After-Dinner Run — Wound Him — He Escapes for 
the Time — Continue the Chase next Day — HLs Death — Regrets — Boiling Do^\ti 
the Don's Fat. . . . . . . . . .293 




A Griffins' Exploit — A Netted Tigress — Our Narrow Escape — A Small Boy's Adven- 
ture with a Tiger — A Visitor Welcome at any Hour — News from Ponjoor — A 
Tigi-ess Resists Bommay Gouda's Researches — I Assist in Pursuing Investiga- 
tions — The Cause of Her Contumacy — Shoot Her on Foot — A Courageous Cub — 
Bommay Gouda's "Worthless Son — A Timid Ti^press— "Wound Her — A Marker 
Tree'd — Look for the Tigress on Foot — A Close Interview— ■\\^e Retire Gracefully 
— A Dead Tiger comes to Life and Escapes — A Night- Watch — Kill the Tigress — 
A Cautious Tigress — Moonlight Scene — Shoot the Would-be Destroyer — Jackals 
at a Carcass — The Tiger's Arrival — A Warm Reception — Search for the Wounded 
Tiger on Foot by Moonlight — Recover Him. . . . . • 314 



The Difference between the Panther, Leopard, and Cheeta or Hunting-Leopard — Dis- 
tinguishing Marks — The Black Leopard — Habits and Disposition of the Panther 
and Leopard — The Cheeta or Hunting-Leopard — Dr Jerdon and General Shak- 
spear's Descriptions — Antelope-Coursing with the Cheeta. . . . 327 



My First Introduction to the Panther — The Shravana Balagola Image — A Nocturnal 
Visitor — A Large Panther at Muddoor — "Unsuccessful Hunts after Him — Bag Him 
at Last — Two Panthers near Ramanhully — Their Stronghold — Drive Them — In a 
Bush \vith the Panthers — Shoot One — Hints about Posting Markers — The Torreas 
of Mysore — News of a Large Panther — His Haunts — Jaffer's Diplomacy — Hunt 
the Panther — An Obtrusive Boar — The Panther turns Rust}- — Wounds a Beater 
— Escapes to Another Stronghold — We Attack Him therein — Three more Men 
Clawed — The Panther Escapes — Shoot a Female Panther and Capture Her Cubs — 
Intractability of Panther-Cubs — A Pig-Hunt — A Night Raid into Camp by a 
Panther— She Carries off Old Rosie — Prompt Pursuit — Rosie's Escape — Shoot the 
Panther. .......... 333 



News of a Panther and Two Leopards— Shikarie Subba— A Friend's 111 Luck- 
Tlie MiderhuUy Garden — Arrange Plans for Driving the Pantlier and Leopards- 


The Holoya Caste— The Native Beer of Mysore — Invest in a Donkey — The Beat 
— Shoot the Leopards — The Panther's Cunning Ruse — A Sudden Eviction— Shoot 
the Panther — A Good Bag before Breakfast — Government Reward for Shooting 
Panthers and Leopards — Circumventing Cunning Panthers — Our Ears Deceive us 
— My Last Meeting with a Panther — His Strange Behaviour — ^The Interview Ter- 
minates Unsatisfactorily, ........ 352 



Description of— Habits and Disposition— She-Bears Carrying their Cubs — Wounded 
Bears Attacking Each Other — Food — Bears Drinking Henda — Eating Flesh — 
Danger of Meeting Bears — Modes of Hunting Bears — A Hard but Successful Day 
— Bag Four Bears — Jungle-Surgery — Bears at Sakrapatam — The lyenkerry Lake 
— Felonious Bears — Execute Two out of Five — Make a Further Example of Two 
More — Boxer and Rosie — Shoot a Bear before a Large Assembly — Native Belief 
Regarding Bears Carrying off Women — Killing Bears with Dogs and a Knife. . 365 



Jackal-Hunting with Fox-Hounds — Greyhounds — Fox and Hare Coursing — A Foot- 
Pack in Dacca — Dogs for Hunting Formidable Game — Sir Samuel Baker's Sport 
in Ceylon — Bull-Dogs for Hunting Bears, Bison, Buffaloes, &c. — Constitution of 
a Pack — Incidents in Large-Game Hunting with Dogs — My First Attempt — The 
Pack Seize a Bear — Another Bear-Hunt— Obliged to Shoot the Bear — Damage 
Sustained by the Pack — A Bison-Hunt — Bill Sykes — Motto for Seizers — The 
Dogs are almost Choked — The Pack Seize a Young Elephant — A Commemoration 
Dinncr^Bill Sykes Distinguishes Himself Single-Handed — Fight with a Panther 
— Objection to Spiked Collars for Hunting-Dogs. .... .378 






chumpa's roll ..... 








• a • • 


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a ( • • 


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[iant's brain 




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THE man-eater's VICTIM 

THE tiger's siesta 










I LANDED in Madras in 1864, and proceeded to a station in the Mysore 
country where I had friends. I was fresh from school and looked 
with delight upon tlie prospect of a coffee-planter's life, in which I had been 
promised a start by a friend, himself a planter. But coffee was in one of the 
vicissitudes with which that enterprise seems so frequently to be struggling 
— at least my friend's estate was — and before I had completed a voyage 
round the Cape he had been eaten out by the " borer " insect, or his pros- 
pects had shared the blight at that time affecting his trees' leaves — I for- 
get which. My hopes of a jungle-life seemed to be doomed ; my vision of 
wild elephants, tigers, and bison to be hopelessly dispelled ! However, in a 
month or two a friend who was engaged in prosecuting some surveys for 
Government took me with him, and in the next six months I learnt a little 
of the country and surveying, and a good deal about duck and antelope 
shooting. I then applied myself to the study of Canarese, the vernacular 
of Mysore, for a year, which I look back upon as perhaps the most judi- 



ciously spent twelve months of my existence ; and at tlie end of that time 
I obtained a Government appointment as Assistant Channel Superintendent, 

Twenty-eight miles from Mysore, the former capital and still the seat of 
the native Court, is the Commissariat station of Hoonsoor, my appointed 
headquarters. My work consisted in looking after about 150 miles of 
river-drawn irrigation channels, all of them works of antiquity. Whilst 
traversing the Hanagode jungles through which the major portion of these 
flowed, I had sufficient leisure to gratify my taste for sport ; in fact I had 
only to carry a rifle or gun with me on tlie channels to get frequent shots 
at spotted-deer, pig, and jungle-fowl, which small game quite contented me 
then. There was nothing large, except tigers ; but though I used to be in 
some pleasurable apprehension of meeting them, as their footmarks were 
numerous, I never saw any. At last a friend, the Commissariat officer at 
Hoonsoor, got up a beat with elephants and took me with liiin, and I had 
the proud satisfaction of shooting my first tiger ! Shall I ever forget how 
anxiously I watched Major M. as he rode an elephant up to the tiger, pros- 
trate in a bush, to see if he was really defunct ? How earnestly I adjured 
him from my tree, " not to shoot at him if he was dead ; " and how he, nat- 
urally incensed at this advice from a griffin, stopped his elephant to inform 
me that he was " not such a fool as to shoot at a dead tiger ! " 

In two years, at the end of 1868, 1 attained a fair position owing to the 
advancement of officers above me, and reached the top of the tree of our 
small department. The whole of the irrigation channels in the Mysore 
province, aggregating 716 miles, then came under my charge, and the city 
of Mysore became my headquarters. I had a large extent of country, 
including several iine jungles in addition to my old liaunts, to travel over 
in the prosecution of my work. I had a sufficient salary to afford a good 
battery, and the money necessary for getting good sport ; and I spent most 
of my leave and all my cash upon it. In 1873 an opportunity was 
afforded me of changing what had hitherto been my favourite recreation 
only — sport — into the business of my life. I had before this time shot ail 
the kinds of large game found in the ]\Iysore country, and had become 
familiar with jungle matters. I had been especially interested in noting 
the habits of wild elephants ; and upon my repeated representations, aided 
by the support of an official of high standing, a thorough sportsman, and 
able to form an accurate opinion on my proposals, the Mysore Govern- 
ment was induced to undertake the capture of some of the herds which 
roamed, useless and destructive, through various parts of the province, and 1 
was appointed to carry out the experiment. 

I succeeded, as I shall hereafter relate, in capturing a larg(> number of 


elephants, and in consequence was appointed to the temporary charge of the 
Bengal Elephant-Catching Establishment, in September 1875. I worked 
in Bengal for nine months, during which time I visited the Garrow and 
Chittagong hill tracts, wild and little-known regions. I returned to IMysore 
in June 187G, after capturing eighty-five elephants in Chittagong. 

But the famine which has recently devastated the south of India had 
then begun, and the scarcity of rain rendered elephant-catching impossible 
for a time, as fodder could not be procured for the support of any elephants 
that might have been captured; so myself and hunting establishment were 
employed in apportioning the border forests into grazing blocks for the starv- 
ing cattle that flocked thither for pasture. Few of their owners had ever 
seen jungle before, and were terrified by exaggerated tales of tigers, wild 
elephants, and evil spirits. Unless provision had been made by Government 
for their being accompanied by men accustomed to jungle-life, they would 
merely have crowded the borders of the forests, and never have reached the 
best grazing grounds. After organising arrangements for their convenience, 
by placing trackers and jungle-men in charge of different sections of the 
forests, I found it necessary to return to England (in April 1877) on fifteen 
months' furlough on medical certificate, after a continued residence of thii-teen 
years in India. 

The peculiar opportunities which have been afforded me during that 
period from following my natural inclinations, and by the nature of my 
duties, of encountering the wild animals of Southern India and Eastern 
Bengal, have induced me to believe that my experiences may be of some 
interest to the general public, and perhaps of some service to the cause of 
natural history. In presuming to relate them I am but dealing with 
matters which have constituted my daily occupation. All that I narrate is 
from personal observation; and whilst no one can be more alive than myself 
to the fact that, if the wielding of my pen is to be taken as a test of my 
ability with the tools of sport, it will lead to but a poor opinion of my 
accomplishments, I claim one merit for my jottings which I hope will 
cover their numerous faihngs — at least in the eyes of brother sportsmen — 
and that is, that they are all strictly true. Any one who has devoted him- 
self to Indian field-sports for some years as I have done must have been 
singularly unfortunate if he has not sufficient exciting facts noted in his 
journal to fill a book without the necessity of resorting to fiction or 

I have dealt at some length upon the habits when wild, the mode of 
capture and training, and the management and conduct in captivity, of the 
elephant. The popular interest felt in that animal is perhaps more general 


than that attaching to any other, whilst regarding none are there more fal- 
lacies and erroneous impressions. Few writers have been in a position to 
deal with the subject in all its branches. ]\Iany sportsmen have shot large 
numbers of elephants, but have given us little information about their 
nature, disposition, and habits — matters with which it was at once my duty 
as a public servant, and my delight as a sportsman, to acquaint myself. 

In the chapters on the other wild animals with which I have dealt I 
have separated my observations on their habits, and recitals of adventures 
with them, as I believe that arrangement will be a convenient one for all 
readers, whether lovers of natural history or of mere tales of adventure. I 
have endeavoured to select incidents in hunting the various animals illustra- 
tive of their dispositions and habits ; and thovigh in turning over the leaves 
of my journal the temptation to introduce more scenes of contest between 
rifle and wild beast has been considerable, I trust none will complain that 
my butcher's bill is too long ! 

I have given short accounts of the jungle -tribes with whom I have 
associated in pursuing their scarcely wilder fellow - inhabitants of the 
forests ; and as my recitals will be more intelligible when my readers have 
been introduced to the country in which most of tlie incidents chronicled 
have occurred, I shall venture to devote a short chapter to a sketch of the 
province of Mysore. The accompanying map indicates its position in the 
peninsula of India. 





















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TheThaiince of MYSOfiE w 
colanedy blue, cU*fv Ihf HUl 
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THE Mysore country is an elevated, undulating plateau of 27,004 square 
miles, lying between 13° 6'' and 15° 0' north latitude. Its length 
from north to south is 190 mUes, and its width from east to west 230. 

Mysore is bounded on the north by the Bombay Collectorate of Dharwar 
and the Madras Collectorate of BeUary ; on the east and south by other 
districts of the Madras Presidency ; and on the west by Coorg, a dependent 
province, and the Western Ghats. Its chief town, Bangalore, is situated in 
the same latitude as, and 200 miles due west of, Madras. Mysore is a 
native State in subsidiary alliance with the British Government. 

The general level of the country is from 2500 to 3000 feet above the 
sea, the lowest point being 1800 feet, and it descends steeply on all sides 
into the low country. High mountains, some 2500 feet above the ordinary 
level of the plateau, bound it on the west : these are called the Western 
Ghats, and extend from the extreme south of India, through Travancore, 
Malabar, Mysore, and Bombay, to Kandeish, or about 950 miles, at a mean 
distance of some 5 miles from the coast. They break the force of the mon- 
soon from the west ; and the deluges of rain common in the country between 
them and the coast are modified in Mysore into showers and temperate 

Bounding Mysore on the south are the NeUgherry Hills, attaining an 
elevation of 8700 feet. Ootacamund, the chief sanitarium of Southern 
India, is easUy accessible from Mysore. Its elevation is 7300 feet. 

In the south-east are the Billiga-Rungun hills, the highest point of 


which is about 5000 feet above sea-level. "Wild elephants are very aLuu- 
dant throiiiihout this raut^e and the forests at its foot. 

The country in the interior of the province is undulating and in many 
parts hilly. A peculiar feature in many localities are the gi'anite hills, 
often sheer rock, sometimes consisting of huge masses piled on each otlier, 
and forming caves wliere pantlicrs and hears are occasionally found. Soli- 
tary fortified hills, called droogs, are numerous : many of tliese are still 
crowned with the remains of old fortresses which were used in former days 
as strongholds by robber chieftams. 

The border mountains of Mysore are generally well wooded, but some of 
the highest summits are clear of forest, being grass downs with woods in the 
hollows, where moisture favours their growth. 

The climate of Mysore is temperate, the mean deduced from observations 
(in the shade) at Bangalore being 72°6'. The mean diurnal range is 15°6', 
the greatest recorded being 32° in one day in February. The greatest 
extremes recorded are 53° and 95°, in February and May respectively of 
1866. The average rainfall is about 40 inches, though in the western 
forest tracts and hills it is frequently from 80 to 100 inches. 

The last census, taken in 1871, gives the population at 5,055,412, 
of which 4,839,421 are Hindoos, 208,991 Mussulmans, and about 7000 
Europeans and half-castes. 

The revenue in 1875 was £1,100,000; of this one-fourth is paid as 
subsidy to the British. 

Mysore was acquired by the British in 1799, upon the death of Tippoo 
Sultan, at the siege of Seringapatam. The former dynasty was then restored 
by the British in the person of Krishna Eaj Wadeyar, then five years of 
age, who was installed as Eaj ah. The Government during his minority was 
ably conducted by the Brahmin Dewan (or Prime ]\Iinister) Poornaya, under 
the control of the Political Resident, Colonel Sir Barry Close. The troops 
were commanded by Colonel Arthur WeUesley (subsequently Duke of 

His Higlmess's liberality and kindly disposition made him a universal 
favourite with both Europeans and natives. But he fell into the hands of 
injudicious advisers, and in 1830 the disturbed state of tlie country rendered 
necessary the intervention of the paramount Power. Since that period the 
territories of his Highness have been governed by a Commission, which 
is under the direct orders of the Government of India. Before his death in 
1868 the Maharajah, in the absence of male heirs, adopted a successor who 
is to resume the government of the country M'hen he attains the period of 
majority — that is, the age of eighteen years — which will be about 1880. 


Under European tutelage lie is receiving a more liberal education than was 
within the reach of the late Maharajah. 

The Hindoo people of ]\lYsore are peaceful, orderly, and good-natured, 
but lacking in enterprise. The Brahmins are intelligent and ambitious ; they 
have always filled most of the posts in Government offices. The Mussul- 
mans have sunk into deep poverty, chiefly through their own laziness, since 
the overthrow of the Mussulman power in 1799. A few engage in mercan- 
tile and agTicultural pursuits ; many are enlisted in the Mysore Horse and 
the Sepoy corps ; they also find emplojTnent as elephant and camel attend- 
ants, and horse-keepers. The domestic servants of Europeans in Mysore are 
all ]\Iadrassees, as the Canarese people have never taken to indoor service. 

The country is well cultivated in many parts, the wisdom of former 
rulers ha^dng provided it with irrigation, both by channels drawn from the 
rivers passing through it, and from tanks or lakes formed by embankments 
thi'own across the valleys. These ancient works are constructed upon such 
scientific principles that little can be done by European engineers to 
improve them. The lakes store the surplus rain-water for the use of the 
land fuither down the valley, and the cultivation thus artificially watered 
is called "wet" in India, in contradistinction to "dry," or that dependent 
on rainfall alone. 

The chief rivers in Mysore are the Cauvery, Toongabhadra, Hemdvutty, 
Cubbany, and Lutchmenteert ; the latter three are tributaries of the 
Cauvery, joining it within the Mysore province. "Where it leaves the 
plateau for the low country of Madras the Cauvery forms fine falls of about 
200 feet in height. The falls of Gairsoppa in the north of Mysore are 
not so widely celebrated as they deserve to be. They are on the Sharavati 
river, and a portion of them have a sheer overfall of 960 feet. 

The chief towns in the Mysore province are Bangalore (3031 feet above 
sea-level) and Mysore (2525 feet). Seringapatam, the celebrated fortress, 
is situated on an island in the Cauvery, nine miles from Mysore. Erom 
Bangalore to Mvsore the distance is 88 miles. Bangalore is connected 
by rail with ]\Iadras, the distance being 216 miles; of this line 48 i miles 
only lie in ]\Iysore, and there is no other railway in the province. There is 
no water carriage, as the rivers are rocky and swift. Tlie roads, however, 
are excellent, and the Mysore breed of bullocks is celebrated for speed 
and endurance. Travelling is usually done by bullock-coach ; for long 
distances from four to five miles an hour, with bullocks posted every five 
miles, is a fair pace. Bullock-carts do all the heavy trade. A pair of 
bullocks will draw a load of 15 cwt., exclusive of the cart, twenty miles 
a-night for many consecutive nights. Post-bidlocks cost 3 annas (4|d.), and 



a baggage-cart and bullocks 1 1 anna, per mile. Pack-bullocks penetrate the 
remoter tracts with merchandise. It was in a great measure owing to the 
superiority of the j\Iysore bullocks tliat Hyder Ali and Tippoo Sultan 
maintained a lengtliened war \di\\ tlie British and IMaliarattas at the end 
of the last century. The best breed of bullocks is sedulously mamtained at 
the Government Puljlic Cattle Establishment at Hoonsoor, and extensive 
pastures are allotted for the grazing of the herds througliout the province, 
A certain number of first-class bulls are at times distributed to large 
villages for the free use of the aoiriculturists' herds. 

The seasons in JMysore are three — the cold, hot, and rainy — and are 
distributed as below : — 


Hot Season, 

( March. 
I April. 

( June. 

Eainy Season, J ^""'^^*; 

' \ beptember. 

I October. 

I November. 

^lornings and evenings cold and bracing ; days bright 
and sunny. 

Hot, and occasionally sultry, but the nights usually tem- 
pered by sea-breezes from the west. The hot weather 
in Mysore is by no means unbearable. Showers and 
heavy thunderstorms occur at intervals during April 
and May ; these prelude the south-west monsoon. 

The south-west monsoon commences in June ; heavy 
rains and showery and overcast weather prevail till 
September. In October the north-east monsoon com- 
mences, and thunderstorms and heavy downpours are 
common. In November the weather is oi'ten bright 
and cold, but rain falls now and again. 

From May to December are the chief cultivation and harvest mouths, 
though some crops, as sugar-cane, &c., which are irrigated, are grown the 
whole year round. 






IN the jungles the young grass commences to spring with the first 
showers in April, and by July has attained the height of a man. This 
is the case chiefly in hill tracts ; in the low-country jungles it is more 
backward, as there is less rain and it is grazed down by cattle. By "grass" 
in Indian jungles is meant the broad-bladed and long-leaved lemon-grass 
and other coarse kinds, which grow in large tufts ; also reeds in swampy 
ground, and small ground-creepers. This season is the time jpar excellence 
for stalking and shooting large game. The animals are intent on the new 
supply of fodder ; occasional rain makes tracking easy ; and after ]\Iay the 
sky is usually obscured by clouds and driving mist in the hills, and con- 
siderable exertion may be undergone without discomfort. 

From July to January the grass is so high and thick that game cannot 
be got at in it, and many places where good sport is obtainable earlier then 
become impenetrable. Driven out by the wet and discomfort, and tormented 
by myriads of flies, many animals leave the high and close cover at this 
time for the lighter shelter and choicer grazing to be had amongst the young 
and tender grass on the outskirts ; but they retreat readily to the grass 
jungles if disturbed. 

By January the grass has all seeded and become dry, and it is then 
fired by the jungle -people. The hitherto impenetrable jungles are now 
reduced to clear forests of trees, interspersed with separate evergreen 
thickets. Moving about in such forests is rendered easy, but warm, work, 
the heat rising from the blackened earth under a tropical sun being very 


trying where tlie forest is not dense. The jungle-people Lurn the grass to 
admit of their gathering certain fruits and jungle-products, especially the 
gall-nut, used in tanning. This burning insures a supply of sweet grass 
as soon as showers fall on the fertilising asli. 

During the montlis when the jungles are clear, the wanderings of the 
game are necessarily curtailed, not only by want of cover, but also of food 
and water. Tlie herds of elephants, bison, and deer collect in moist and 
deep valleys where the grass is green, and fires do not enter. The difficulty 
of finding these secluded j)laces however, is great, as they are in such heavy 
and moist jungles that the very few wild people's dwellings tliat do exist 
are seldom near them, and unless the sportsman is well equipped for a 
march into difficult country, away from supplies of all kinds, they are 
inaccessible. To any one ignorant of the extent of the wild animals' hot- 
weather retreats it seems almost magical, after experiencing the difiiculty 
of finding them during that season, to observe how they reappear on all 
sides with the first rains. 

It is a magnificent sight to see the jungles of a hill-range burning. 
Sometimes immense tracts are on fire at once, and at night give forth a 
lurid blaze which lights up the country for miles round. If the fire is 
near, the roaring noise is truly appalling, and impresses one with a sense 
of the dread power of the element. Huge billows of thick smoke, in which 
lighted grass and leaves are whirled forward, roll heavily and slowly along, 
whilst a sound as of incessant discharges of small-arms is caused by the 
bamboos and grass stalks exploding. The noise lulls and swells with 
every alternation in the breeze and in proportion to the thickness of the 
undergrowth. Long after the main confiagration has passed, isolated 
bamboo-clumps and dried trees are seen burning fiercely lilce pillars of 
flame, till they fall over with a sullen crash, and are quenched. Many 
trees smoulder for months. I knew one of enormous size, the roots of 
which, some of the girth of a bullock, or greater, burnt for three and a half 
years, the fire smouldering slowly underground in the roots long after the 
parent stem had fallen. 

During the day countless buzzards and fly-catchers hover over the 
smoke, preying on the bewildered insects which are escaping from it. The 
destruction of noxious vermin by the fires must be considerable ; but many 
animals and reptiles, as the land-tortoise and snakes, whose powers of s])eod 
do not enable them to escape by those means, survive by burying them- 
selves in holes or burrows amongst rocks. 

I have never seen jungle-fires advance at any groat rate, except in very 
dry and lung grass, unshaded by trees, auel under the iniluence of a strong 


M'iiid. Here Lurning leaves and liot aslies are cariied far ahead of the main 
fire, and a fresh blaze starts up at once where they fall. I do not think 
jungle-fires ever travel four miles in an liour. The devouring element licks 
up all before it in some places with wonderful rapidity, but it seldom pro- 
ceeds far without a check. Wild animals retreat before conflagrations ; but 
many, as for instance herds of elephants encumbered with young, could not 
always escape if the fires travelled at any great rate. I have never known 
any animals, except a few young sambur, too young to walk far, to be 
caught in the fire ; but jungle-people have been burnt on occasions. This 
has always occurred through their not heeding the danger, and staying to 
search for some near asylum, instead of at once starting for a known place 
of safety. Three men of a village near my camp in the Billiga-rungun 
hiUs, who were cutting bamboos, were burnt in this way, through not liking 
to leave their work further than the shelter of a ravine near, which proved 
insufficient to protect them from the wave of flame and smoke that passed 
over them. 

Elephants, bison, &c., do not retreat straight before a fire, but to one 
side or the other. The fires seldom form a long front, so this outflanking 
movement readily succeeds. At tlie first distant crackle, or smell of smoke, 
wild animals at once retire. Fires are much less dangerous than is sup- 
posed if anything like prompt means are taken to effect a retreat. The 
jungle-people secure their houses by cutting some of the grass round, and 
firing it early in the season, before it is very dry. This stops the onward 
rush of the larger fires later on. Fires burn much more fiercely during the 
day than at night, as there is usually more wind, and everything is dry and 
brittle ; whilst at night the heavy dews have a marked effect on the progress 
of the burning through making the grass damp ahead. The conflagrations 
are only fierce and general for one month, usually March ; they begin in 

A good deal is said in connection with forestry in India regarding the 
destructiveness of the annual fires to young trees, and attempts are con- 
stantly made, but rarely succeed, to exclude fires from reserved Government 
forests. It is, perhaps, doubtful whether they are so destructive as is 
believed, and whether the young plants of teak and other trees would 
flourish well if constantly choked and overshaded by undergrowth. At 
any rate there are splendid forests where, though fires have raged annually 
from time immemorial, the timber is as close as the ground can support it. 
The grass is not so high or thick under shade as in open ground, and as 
artificial teak nurseries are usually made in land from which the timber has 
been removed, and where, in consequence, grass grows apace, the fires are 


there more severe on tlie young plants than in their natural forests. There 
are always numerous young plants of timber-trees in every forest ■which 
can never live, as they grow more thickly than the ground can support when 
mature. The fittest survive ; and though fires may scorch and shrivel up 
their leaves, I have not observed that the saphngs which take root soon 
after the burning of one season are killed by the fires of the next, though 
many of those which are but a few months old when the fires commence are 
destroyed. I have been told by experienced jungle-men that timber-plants 
are burnt down for five or six consecutive years, the roots meanwhile thick- 
ening and strengthening underground, until they give birth to a plant suffi- 
ciently strong to withstand the effects of the momentary wave of flame. 

The Mysore jungles may be divided into three classes. First, vii'gin 
forests of heavy timber, usually found in the hill-ranges along the borders of 
the province. They are naturally finest in such places as are inaccessible for 
the removal of timber ; for from the more accessible parts the timber-supply 
of the country is drawn. The virgin forests are only inhabited by a few 
wild jungle-people. Secondly, the lighter belt of forest, usually about ten 
miles in width, intervening between the virgin forests and ci\dlisation. From 
this tract the villagers procure the small timber and bamboos they require 
for household purposes. They also graze their cattle in it, seldom entering 
the heavier forest except during the hot weather, when pastm'age elsewhere 
is very scarce, A few villages occur in this tract, but they are rather sta- 
tions for cattle-grazing than for cultivation, nor are they often of a permanent 
nature. Thirdly, scrub-jungle of low and thorny bushes, which occurs at 
intervals throughout the open cultivated country in the sterile tracts, on the 
deserted sites of villages, &c. From this small firewood and bushes for 
fencing are obtained, and in it the cattle and flocks of the villagers in the 
interior are grazed. 

In the heavy forests, elephants, bison, and sambur are the chief game. 
These animals come at certain seasons into the lighter belt. But the legiti- 
mate occupants of the latter are the tiger, panther, bear, spotted-deer, and 
wild hog. The wild dog ranges tlirough both heavy and light forests, and 
is terribly destructive to the deer tribe ; he is never found in open coun- 
try. In the scrub-jungle, particularly in those tracts near detached hills 
and low ranges, panthers, leopards, bears, ravine deer, wolves, and sometimes 
antelope, are found. Antelope and wolves, however, chiefly confine tliem- 
selves to large tracts of open uncultivated country, on the borders of wliich 
tlie ryots' crops furnish the former with superior grazing, and liis flocks are 
often pounced upon by the latter. 

The following game-list comprises all the animals found in IVfysore, 



except monkeys, squirrels, mungooses, ant-eaters, lemurs, flying-foxes, rats, 
and other small animals not objects of sport : — 



Of Naturalists. * 

In Canarese. 


Elephant .... 

Elephas indicus 


Very numerous in 
border forests. 

Bison or Gaur . . 

Gaveeus gaurus . . 

Karti, Kard-yem- 

Abundant through- 

may, Kdrd-kor- 

out the ranges 

na, Doddoo. 

frequented by ele- 


Felis tigris . . . 


Plentiful in suitable 

Panther .... 

Felis pardus . . . 

Dod-ibba .... 

Less common than 
the leopard. A 
black variety is 
sparingly found 
in Mysore. 

Leopard .... 

Felis leopardus . . 


Very common. 

Cheetah or Hunt- 

Felis jubata . . . 

Chircha, Sivungi . 

Exceedingly rare in 

ing Leopard. 

Mysore — almost 


Ursus labiatus . . 


Plentiful in certain 


Canis pallipes . . 


Not numerous. 

Striped Hyaena . . 

Hysena straita . . 

Kat-kirba . . . 


WUdDog. . . . 

Cuon rutilans . . 

Ken-naie, Kdrdnaie 


Sdmbur .... 

Rusa Aristotelis 

Kadavay .... 

Common in the for- 
est tracts. 

Spotted-Deer . , 

Axis maculatus . . 

Sdrga, Jati, Mikka 

Very common. 

Barking or Rib- 

Cervulus aureus 

Kard or Kondkurri, 


faced Deer, Mnnt- 


jac, Kakur, Jungle- 
Indian Antelope . 

Antilope bezoartica 

Hoolay-kara, Jinki 

Not numerous. 

Indian Gazelle or 

Gazella Bennettii . 

Simk-hoolay . . . 

Not common. 

Ravine Deer. 

Wild Hog . . . 

Sus indicus . . . 

Kdrd-hundi, Curry- 

Very numerous. 

Crocodile .... 

Crocodilus indicus . 

Mosalay .... 

Not numerous, and 
seldom over ten 
feet long. 


Canis aureus . . . 


Very numerous. 


Vulpes bengalensis 

Kemp-nurrie . . 

Not very numerous. 

Common Jungle- 
Leopard-Cat . . . 

FeUs chaus . . . 

Kard-bekkoo . . 

Very common. 

Felis bengalensis . 

Bottina-bekkoo . . 

Less common. 


Lutra nair . . . 

Neer-naie .... 


Porcupine . . , 

Hystrix leucura 

Mool-hundi . . . 


Mouse-Deer . . . 

Memimna indica . 

Koor-pundi . . . 



Lepus nigricollis . 



* Jerdoii's Mammals nf India, 


The following animals of Indian sport are not found in ]\Iysore 


Of Naturalists.* 

In Canarese. 


Eliinoceros . . . 
"W^il.l Bulliilo . . . 

Neelgai .... 

Il)c.\', or the Neil- 
£,'heiry Wild Goat 

Pvhinoceros indicns 
Bubulus ami . . 

Pnrtax pictns . , 

Heiuitragus hylo- 


Mayroo, Kiiixl-kiul- 

Kard-ardoo . . . 

) Not found in Soutli- 
\ ern India. 

/ Found in the Madras 
> Presidency on tlie 
K borders of Mysore. 

Birds. — Jungle-fowl, pea-fowl, and spnr-fowl are common in the woods ; 
bustard, floriken, red-legged partridge, quail, and rock-grouse in the open 
country ; and wild duck, teal, snipe, wild geese, flamingoes, pelicans, and 
cranes in the lakes and rice-fields. Doves of several varieties are common 
both in the woods and open country. 

Fish. — The rivers and artificial lakes in Mysore abound with excellent 
fish, l)ut I have never succeeded in getting much sport with the fly. They 
may be taken by spinning or ground fishing — the latter chiefly at night. 
Tliere is now in the museum at Bangalore the head and skin of a fish — a 
species of carp or mahsccr, and called Hlli, or silver-fish, in Canarese — 
caught by me in 1871 in the Lutchmenteert, which measured 60 inches in 
length and 38 in girth. The circumference inside the moutli when cauglit 
was 24 inches. I was unfortunately unable to weigh this fish, but I esti- 
mated it by rough tests at not less than 100 lb. I have seen much larger 
fish, without doubt upwards of 150 lb., caught by natives, chiefly by netting 
during the months when the rivers are low. At such times two or three 
villages of professional fishermen will combine to net a single large fish 
known to be a prisoner in a pool during the hot weather. The pool may 
be a hundred yards long and broad, and tlie water fifteen feet deep, with 
cavernous rocks capable of sheltering fish ; but by joining their nets, and 
di\ing and worldng for two or three days, they seldom fail to secure the 

The few crocodiles that are found in the IMysore rivers very rarely 
attack people ; and fishermen — who pay no heed to them — have told me 
that if they come upon a crocodile whilst following their employment, it will 
skulk at the bottom and not move though handled, apparently believing it 
escapes observation. Crocodiles are, like all wild creatures, very timid 
where not encouraged, as is sometimes done by superstitious natives. In- 

* Jcivlon's Mawmnls of India. 


credible though it may seem to readers "witli no knowledge of the saurians 
but that derived from stories of their boldness else^vhere, I may instance 
having seen several hcstas (tlie professional boatmen, divers, and fishermen 
of Mysore) dive time after time into water twelve feet deep, and bring to 
the surface by the tail a crocodile seven feet long which I had wounded. 
Tlie creature was not in any way crippled, but seemed overcome with fear. 
It offered no resistance till dragged near a rock where I stood with a rope, 
when it would turn and snap at the man pulling it, always sinking, how- 
ever, the moment this demonstration made him let go its tail. Different 
divers went down successively, one at a time, and brought it to the surface ; 
I at last killed it with a charge of shot. 

Whilst in pursuit of game in the ]\iysore forests I have often been struck 
with wonder at the remains of the dwellings and works of a bygone popu- 
lation which are to be found, now engulfed in jungle. The whole country 
bears traces of having once been better populated than at present, and many 
of the remains are of a character that speak of the industry and culture of 
its inhabitants. Some of the temples, monuments, and sculptures are as 
grand in conception as they are admirable in execution. The old irrigation 
works of the country, consisting of stone dams across the rivers, often many 
hundred yards in length, and composed of blocks far beyond any of the 
native appliances of the present day to deal with ; canals ; and reservoirs, or 
lakes ; mark the material prosperity of the country ages ago. Granite of 
excellent quality is found throughout the country, and the extensive use of 
this imperishable material in the old structures has preserved them intact 
to the present time. Wherever a village of importance existed remains of 
interest are to be seen. The sportsman wandering in the forest is often 
tempted to rest on his rifle, and muse sadly over the scenes of former life 
and industry, where the voices are now hushed, and wild Nature, deprived 
of her dominion for a few short years, again reigns supreme. The elephant 
rests at mid-day under the sacred peepul-tree, once in the centre of tlie 
village, where old and young met at evening, — the former to discuss village 
matters and rest after the fatigues of the day ; the latter to amuse them- 
selves, thoughtless of the future. Where are they now ? Broken images 
and disused querns lie around ; the wells are choked and dry ; bears and 
panthers find shelter in the very temples where offerings were presented 
to the village gods, and where festivals were held. But the people have 
passed away without other record than the jungle-overgrowTi ruins, which 
have defied time. And may not similar changes follow again ? Where the 
sportsman now tracks the elephant and tiger, cultivation may smile and 
happy voices be heard long after his own insignificant existence is more 


effectually forgotten than that of the people over whose traces he now 

Amongst scenes wliitlier my duty or jileasure led me, I always felt par- 
ticular interest in a portion of tlie Hoonsoor jungles %Yliich lies within the 
watershed of the Cubbany river. A chain of ancient channels liere forms a 
wonderful system of irrigation, but they liave caused the ruin of the land 
they once fertilised. 

Often as I sat and overlooked the unbroken stretch of jungle which liad 
swallowed up the country did I speculate on its former condition, and the 
causes that had led to the change. These seem evident. The whole tract 
must have been comparatively healthy at one time, as the remains of large 
towns testify to its former population ; it must then have been open country, 
as cities do not spring up in jungle - encumbered tracts in India. The 
people, however, sighed for water to increase the fertility of their land, 
dependent upon rainfall alone, and a remarkable physical feature placed an 
unlimited supply of the fertihsing element at their command. The valley 
which contains the channels runs nearly due west to east, and is about 
twenty miles long by five broad. From its upper or west end to its ter- 
mination on the Cubbany river to the east, there is a fall of probably 500 
feet. At the upper end, just over the watershed ridge and not more than 
50 feet below it, flows the Lutchmenteert river, a considerable stream in 
the rainy season, and never quite dry ; its course here is approximately from 
south to north, and it is within half a mile of the ridge. The former inhab- 
itants of the valley to the east had cut a channel through the ridge, and 
introduced Lutchmenteert water into the Cubbany vale. With water thus 
available on the top of the watershed, irrigation was practically unlimited, 
and channels were led contouring along each side of the valley at a high 
level for many miles. The drainage water of these was caught up again 
and again by tanks or artificial lakes thrown across tlie valley. 

These mighty works, though in ruins, still bear testimony to the former 
ability and industry of the inhabitants. But the fertilising element which 
now surrounded them became the means of their extinction. Land not cul- 
tivated must soon have been overgrown with rank jungle, nurtured by the 
moisture. The culturable area, too, must have been gradually reduced by 
about four-fifths, as irrigated land produces so much more valuable crops, 
and its cultivation is so much more arduous, that a small portion of what 
each man cultivated before as dry land would now suffice for his wants and 
engage all his labour. 

Thus, each community in the valley found itself gradually sluit in by 
jungle and rank herbage instead of the former open land. The wliole valley 


became permeated with moisture, and the exhalations from the ground caused 
malarial fevers which eventually depopulated it, and which at this day pre- 
vent its reoccupation. The sites of the chief towns are now only marked 
by overgrown and weather-beaten earth-work fortifications, or by stone 
temples of a solicHty that lias defied the ravages of time ; and all traces of 
many smaller villages have been lost. 

The largest of the towns in the valley was Eutnapoori-korte (the City of 
Eubies), and it is probably at least 150 years since the last inhabitants left 
it. There are some granite slabs engraved in old Canarese characters near a 
fine old temple which covers a large area, and these probably contain some 
account of the founding or history of the temple. The temple is composed 
of massive pillars and beams of sohd granite, many of which have fallen and 
lie strewn around. I learnt from the legends of the surrounding country 
that seven sisters formerly lived in Eutnapoori. These were the concubines 
of the rajah of the place, and each chose a site for the construction of a lake 
in the valley. These seven tanks, three of them now breached, are named 
after the sisters. The lowest of the seven was built by the youngest, and 
has the advantage of catching the surplus water from the others. It is still 
a splendid sheet of water, called Kurrigul, near the road from Mysore to 
Manantoddy in the Wynaad country. This road passes through the lower 
portion of the valley, running parallel with the Cubbany river ; and, as the 
country is more open and accessible here, several large villages and patches 
of cultivation which had never quite died out have been resuscitated, and 
are extendino;. 

For the upper portion of the valley, overgrown with dense unwholesome 
forest, notliing can be done at present. Population has long since moved 
elsewhere, and the tract is not yet required for producing food. A few 
hamlets spring up occasionally, as some small capitalist is tempted by the 
richness of the land, and the easy terms on which it is obtainable from Gov- 
ernment, to cultivate a portion. But the wretched ryots who undertake the 
work live in a miserable condition. They are soon affected with enlarged 
spleens, the invariable accompaniment of fevers induced by a bad chmate 
and bad water, and either give up, or decamp with the advances of money 
they ha,ve received. These spasmodic attempts at reclamation seldom 
last long. The capitalist finds the advantages of the soil are counter- 
balanced bj' the difficulty of the position. As long as it is sought to 
establish villages in the valley far below the level of the upper channels 
and their cultivation, so long must failure follow, as the imhealthiness of 
the locality is insurmountable. The only tiling possible would be to restore 
the chain of tauks in the valley, and to abandon the cultivation on the 



heights. The tanks could be filled once or twice a-year from the Liitch- 
menteert, and, the upper cultivation being abandoned, the sides of the vallej 
would not be pervaded with moisture. The breezes would be more healthy 
and the villages cultivating the land below the tanks would be above the 
level of the dampness, and some portion of the former salubrity of the place 
would be restored. As long as water is kept running at a high level anc 
drenching the soil, the bottom of tlie jungle-encumbered vaUey must be 
inimical to human life. 

The land below the high-level channels has, however, been largeh 
reclaimed during the past ten years. The cultivators live in Hoonsoor anc 
adjacent villages, not in the tract itself, only visiting it for the purpose o 
cultivation. The low grounds in the valley are given up to the grazing o 
the Commissariat cattle at Hoonsoor, and this is the best use, perhaps, thej 
can now be put to. These grazing grounds are essential in different places 
over the country, and there is usually enough cultivable land available 
without invading them. 





WHEN I commenced the work of elephant -catching I left Mysore for 
the neighbourhood of a village called Morlay, in the Chamraj -Nuggar 
talooh, in tlie south-eastern corner of Mysore, where I was forty-one miles 
from the city of Mysore, and within eight of the foot of the Billiga-rungun 
hills, where wild elephants abound. Morlay was an excellent place for my 
object, as the elephants had been in the immemorial habit of visiting the 
cultivation around it and adjacent villages at certain seasons, and of remain- 
ing at such times in the jungles close at hand for weeks together. Thus 
there was no necessity for following them into their hill fastnesses, where 
much hardship would have had to be undergone by all engaged in their 
pursuit. I lived in a civilised and accessible country, dotted about in 
which were plenty of villages from which labourers could be obtained when 
required. This relieved Government of the cost of keeping up a large 
permanent establishment. 

Morlay is a charming place.'"' The views of the Bilhga-rungun hills 
and the more distant NeHgheiTies, the splendid sheets of water close at 
hand and the stretches of green rice-fields which they nourish, the groves 
of date-trees and cocoanut-gardens fringing the borders of artificial lakes for 

* My home and headquarters in India are still there. During my ahsence in England a reduced 
establishment is maintained for the up-keep of the klieddahs. 


irrigation, are very beautiful. The juugle is so close at liand to the east 
that pea-fowl, jungle-fowl, and partridges can be heard sounding their cheery 
cries, the sportsman's pleasant reveille, before daybreak. Such a place as 
Morlay for sport surely never existed, at least for diversity of game. Within 
a radius of half a mile of my bungalow, elephants, tigers, panthers, bears, 
pig, and spotted-deer ; and a little beyond, bison, sambur, two kinds of ante- 
lope, and bustard, are to be found ; whilst good duck, pea-fowl, jungle-fowl, 
and snipe shooting are at my very doors. Any one acquainted with Indian 
shooting-grounds will know that such a variety of game is rarely found in 
one place. 

Morlay is not, however, a very healthy place, and my people and myself 
have all suti'ered severely from fever at various times. The least healthy 
months are from November to February, when the nights are cold, with 
occasional fogs, and the days hot ; and if the rains (from June to ISTovember) 
are excessive and continuous tlie dampness caused gives rise to fever and 

I had with me until lately at IMorlay an overseer named Jones. Lorn 
and bred in the country, he understood natives well, and talked Canarese, 
Hindoostani, Tamil, and Teloogoo fluently. He was, moreover, skilful and 
patient in managing the large bodies of ignorant villagers we employed 
on occasions, and his services were invaluable. He had a wife and two 
children, but one child soon succumbed to fever, as did also an old European 
pensioner and his wife whom I employed to preserve my sporting trophies. 
During our second year at Morlay we lost at the rate of two hundred i^tr 
milh per anmiin amongst servants, &c., which is, I believe, about five times 
the death-rate of the most unhealthy towns in England. 

We did better afterwards, however, and Morlay is such an advantageous 
and delightful place for my work, that I have stuck to it througli all vicissi- 
tudes; but Jones has lately had to leave it on account of his health, so I am 
now the last, as I was the first, European there. 

I knew Morlay for three years prior to the time of taking up my 
residence near it in September 1873. I had shot one or two pro- 
scrijjed solitary elephants in the neighbourhood, and had then noticed 
tlie advantages it presented for elephant-catching — at least I remembered 
them afterwards, when I was casting about for a suitable locality for a 

Morlay itself is a village, or rather two villages in one, those of Dod 
(large), and Chick (little), Morlay. The two are within a quarter of a mile 
of each other, and the families are all inter-allied. The people are Oopligas, 
or salt-makers, and the manufacture of earth-salt is the legitimate calling of 


their caste. The tribe is not numerous in IMysore, and is necessarily con- 
fined to those places where the earth from which salt is obtained is found. 
In former times they followed this pursuit ahnost exclusively; but more 
recently the impulse given to cultivation and other pursuits by the increased 
safety of property under good government, and the more equal distribution 
of products which has followed the opening up of the Mysore country by 
roads, have tended to break down the hard and fast line of hereditary 
employments of the different castes. Thus Oopligas, stone-cutters, and 
weavers, &c., have in many cases turned cultivators; whilst the Brinjarries or 
gipsies, whose occupation in former times was the carrying of grain and salt 
upon pack-buUocks into localities inaccessible by other means (combined 
with pillage and cattle-lifting), have taken to grazing the herds of the 
villagers during the hot weather in jungle localities, bringing firewood for 
sale into towns, and cultivation. 

The lands the Morlay villagers till are generally held by Brahmins, 
and the Oophgas are either their jeetagdrs (agricultural serfs) or ludragars 
(cultivators under agreement). The Brahmin proprietors live in villages in 
the more open country, and only visit their lands occasionally. The arrange- 
ment between proprietors and jeetagars, is one of the greatest antiquity, 
and is as follows : — 

A labourer may be in want of a loan — say a pound or two, a large sum 
to many millions in India — for his wedding expenses or other exigency. A 
land-holder accommodates him on his giving a bond and entering his ser- 
vice. It is generally understood that the principal wiU not be repaid, but 
the creditor obtains a legal right over the services of the debtor until it is. 
The debtor's position is analogous to that of an articled servant, except that 
no limit, but the payment of his debt, is placed on the connection. 

The debtor is required to do his master's bidding in all things, his 
services counting instead of interest on the debt; whilst the master is bound 
to feed him, and interest himself in all matters affecting his jeetagar. The 
established subsistence allowance to the jeetagar is forty seers (80 lb.) of 
rdgi (the staple grain of the country) per mensem, and four annas (sLxpence) 
in cash. The grain is ample for liis food, and the money for tobacco and 
betel. From time to time the jeetagar probably obtains small sums — or 
more commonly gTain — from his master, wliich are added to liis debt. If 
the jeetagar dies one of his sons must take his father's place until he can 
clear off his liabilities, even under the inheritor from the origmal creditor. 
This obligation is, I believe, strictly binding in the Mysore law courts. 

Jeeta-service is universal throughout Mysore, and is well suited to the 
conditions of the agricultural classes, both proprietors and servants. A home 


and sufficiency of food is assured to thousands who have no desire beyond ; 
v/hilst land-holders, who from their caste or position may be unable to work 
themselves, obtain a hold upon what would otherwise be a very unreliable 
class of servants. Jeetagars who have been many years in families are 
frequently treated more as sons than servants. On the occasion of mar- 
riages or other rejoicings they are not forgotten. Good masters not infre- 
quently free the jeetagars, should the latter desire it, after some years of 
approved service, without payment of the original debt. It is not uncommon 
for jeetagars to continue for genei'ations in the same family. It is a remark- 
able fact that their remuneration is exactly what it used to be as far back 
as can be traced, though the ordinary rates of labour in the country have 
advanced considerably of late years. May not tliis be regarded as an indica- 
tion of the favour with which this vassalage is regarded by the agricultural 
labourer ? 

The arrangement for wAra, or half-share cultivating, is as follows : — 

The owner of the land pays the Government assessment (the average 
rate in Mysore is about two shillings per acre for unirrigated fields and 
twelve shillings for irrigated land), gives half the manure required, furnishes 
the seed grain, and contributes half the expenses of reaping and threshing. 
The cultivator (waragar) uses his own plough and bullocks, gives his labour 
and half the manure, pays for the weedings of the crop (necessary in India), 
the mid-day meals of the reapers, and half the threshing expenses. The 
produce is then equally divided between owner and waragar. Should the 
owner not give half the manure, all the straw goes to the waragar. 

Living on the borders of the jungle amongst the game, the Morlayites 
have for generations applied themselves to hunting. They have no guns, 
only sj^ears and nets. They have strict caste rules on the subject, and 
maintain excellent discipline in their hunts. Each house has to supply a 
man with a net and spear when big game is followed, and a net and cudgel 
in hare -hunting. Their nets are of two kinds, — the first for tigers, bears, 
deer, &c. ; and the second for small game. They are both made of home- 
grown hemp (jute, Crotolarea juncea), and are manufactured by themselves. 
The large nets are made of rope as thick as a finger, and are forty feet long 
and twelve deep, with a mesh large enough to admit a man's head. The 
small-game nets are of twine, and are one liundrod and eiglity feet long and 
four deep, with a mesh to admit a small fist. 

With fifty to a hundred of these nets, large or small, a considerable 
extent of country can be enclosed. Whether deer or pig with large nets, 
or hares, mouse-deer, or porcupines with llie small nets, are lumted, the 
plan pursued is to sujjport the nets on upiiglil liglil pr^ps across the line of 


country which the game, when driven, is expected to take ; a man is posted 
in ambush here and there behind the line of nets, and the remainder drive 
the jungle. The animals generally gallop into the nets, their heads become 
entangled in the meshes, the net falls and envelopes them, and they are 
speared while struggling. Powerful animals, as sambur deer, large boars, 
&c., often tear through the nets, and tigers and bears occasionally bite the 
rope. When much hunted, beasts grow cunning, and frequently break 
back ; or when one knocks the net down the others make for the gap and 
escape at that point. 

With tigers, panthers, and bears, a different plan is pursued to that 
adopted for deer and pig. The Oopligas of ]\Iorlay had seldom molested 
dangerous animals before I hunted with them, but I showed them how the 
Torrea caste in Heggadevan-kort^ surround and kill tigers, &c., and we soon 
disposed of a good many. An animal is tracked to his lair ; a circle of nets 
is then formed round him at some distance, in perfect silence, during the 
heat of the day : and he is either shot when roused, or speared as he 
precipitates himself against the nets. I shall speak further of this sport 
in treating of the tiger. 

From their constant experience with game, the Oopligas soon became 
excellent assistants in elephant-catching. They had been accustomed from 
cliildhood to guard their fields against elephants at night, so did not fear 
them much, and if well led always behaved boldly. When the elephants 
were especially troublesome before I came to Morlay the men used to drive 
them with horns and tomtoms to the hills. As an instance of the pertina- 
city of elephants on occasions, they once drove an unusually troublesome 
herd (which we subsequently caught in June 1874) into the hills, and as 
it rained heavily that night, and there seemed to be no immediate fear of 
elephants, the field-watchers were withdrawn. In the morning they found 
some of the joivdrcc {Sorghum vulgarc, the Indian maize) fields had been 
destroyed by the same elephants, which were in their original position again 
in the jungle close at hand ! 

About thirty years ago there was one particular male elephant which caused 
the Morlayites much loss by constantly feeding in their rice-fields. One 
morning he was seen close to the village about daybreak, when such a hue 
and cry was raised that in his fright the elephant attempted to cross a strip 
of morass which bordered the rice-fields and lay in the most direct route to 
the jungle. The surface of the bog gave way when he was half-way over, 
and he sank through to his middle. His pursuers pelted him with stones 
and cudgels, till, it becoming evident he could not extricate himself, some of 
the boldest approached and threw bundles of straw upon him, and then fired 


tliem. The wretched beast was tenibly Lurnt on the back aud hiud-quarters, 
but not disabled ; and whilst the villagers were casting about for some means 
of doing him mortal injury, he worked himself through the bog to firmer 
ground further on, and finally, after having been several hours in liis un- 
pleasant position, made his escape, and lived for many years, branded like a 
felon, to follow his old courses. Though the ]\Iorlayites' conduct on this 
occasion was very cruel, it must be said for them that they were incessantly 
troubled by this and other elephants, and as they possessed no guns they 
could do nothing effectual towards killing this freebooter. 

Natives' ideas of cruelty are peculiar. They differ widely from ours. 
They think notliing of letting a domestic animal, with broken limbs or sores 
swarming with maggots, linger to death rather than raise a finger to put it 
out of its misery. They would consider taking its life under any circum- 
stances cruel. Humanity as understood by us is a feeling of which tliey 
have no conception. When orders are issued at certain seasons by Govern- 
ment for the destruction of starving and half-rabid pariah dogs, by wliicli 
Indian towns are infested — a merciful course to the animals themselves, and 
one necessary for the protection of the public — even educated Hindoos are 
seldom wanting to raise an outcry against the step. The same men would 
pass, without notice or pity, a donkey or cow by the roadside suffering from 
raw wounds at wliich crows were pecking (no uncommon sight in India), 
whilst the maddened animal made vain attempts to defend itself. I have 
never heard any native when with me shooting suggest such a thing as putting 
a wounded animal out of its pain. They have frequently said, " Why waste 
another bullet on it ? it will die." A Sholaga (hill- man) in my employ 
recently found a bison in an elephant pitfall; he had a gun, but rather than 
expend a shot on an animal that was useless to him, he left it there to 
starve to death : it did not die tUl the thirteenth day. When my men 
caught pea-fowl in snares they would puU out a feather, poke the stem 
through both eyelids, and fasten up the birds' eyes, to prevent them 
fluttering and spoiling their plumage, which " master would want." Xone 
of my men ever thought of sparing the youngest animal we might find in 
the jungle. If permitted to do so, they would consign fawn or leveret, whose 
helplessness might have been expected to excite even their compassion, to 
the game-bag without a regret, except at its size. 

The Oopligas' houses are mere huts with earthen walls and tliatched 
roofs, devoid of any aperture but the door. Before Meddah operations were 
begun they lived from hand to mouth a good deal, and during times of 
scarcity they ate, as they still do, many jungle-products, as the heart of the 
frond of date-palms, succulent roots which grow in immense quantities in 


the beds of some lakes after the water has receded, and several kinds of 
leaves. Their staple food, and that of all the lower classes in Mysore, is 
nigi {Cynosurus corocanus), a small grain about the size of No. 7 shot, and 
hardly distinguishable, except in being a little larger, from common turnip- 
seed. The price of this varies in good and bad seasons from 100 lb. down 
to 20 lb. per rupee. During the recent famine it has been 11. Two 
pounds are required by a man ^jcr diem. 

The grain is prepared for food by grinding it in the common double-stone 
hand-mill. One woman will grind five or six pounds per hour. The flour 
is boiled into a stiff pudding in an earthen pot, being stirred the while witli 
a stick, and is then made into balls. This is the chief food of all the 
labouring classes in Mysore and many parts of Southern India. Tlie poor 
cannot afford to eat rice, which is ordinarily three times the price of ragi ; 
but even if procurable, rice is not regarded with favour by those who have 
hard work to do. Some condiment is commonly used with it, generally a 
mixture of chillies, coriander, tamarind, garlic, onions, and salt. Meat, pulse, 
or greens are boiled with the condiments if procurable. 

Eagi is stored in subterranean granaries. They are usually situated on 
somewhat high ground, and in gravelly soil or decomposed rock. Their 
construction is simple. A circular liole about two feet in diameter is dug 
to three feet in depth, when a domed chamber of an oval shape is excavated, 
capable of containing from ten to twenty cart-loads of grain. Neither ma- 
sonry nor props are used. A little straw is laid on the floor, and against the 
walls of the chamber to a third of their height, when the grain is filled in. 
A slab is placed over the pit at the bottom of the sliort shaft that enters it, 
and the shaft is then filled in with earth. Eagi thus stored will keep for 
an indefinite number of years. It is safe from insects and rats, and is not 
easily accessible to thieves, as the pits are generally situated near the vil- 
lage — sometimes in the streets — and it takes some little time to dig to the 
grain. Moreover it is highly dangerous to enter a ragi-pit tiU twelve hours 
or more after it has been opened. The carbonic acid gas generated therein 
is instantaneously fatal, and though natives are well aware of this, accidents 
frequently happen through their descending the pits before they are well 
aired. Three brothers died in this way near Morlay in one pit in attempt- 
ing to rescue each other when overcome by the fumes of the gas. 

In former days, when villages were subject to pillage by Brinjarries and 
gang-robbers, grain-pits were often dug in the fields and ploughed over for 
concealment. It occasionally happened that through the death of the owner 
or other eventuality, the existence of certain pits was forgotten, and these 
arc not unfrequently found at the present day, many probably two or 


three Imndred years old. The graiu in them is generally perfectly sound. 
It would be thought that moisture would penetrate the pits ; hut from the 
nature of the soil, and the site chosen, this seldom appears to occur. Money 
and jewels are often hidden at the bottom of ragi-pits for safe keeping. 
A corps of men is said to have been attached to invading armies in Mysore 
in former days to search for ragi on the sites of villages temporarily left by 
their inhabitants. The searchers were provided with steel testing-rods, and 
from constant practice knew pretty well where to look for the hidden stores. 
They are said to have been guided chiefly by the smell of the tip of the 
rod on withdrawing it as to whether they had " struck ragi." 

Few of the Oopligas when I began work at ]\Iorlay had more than a 
piece of cloth to wrap round their loins, and a coarse blanket, or cumlly, as 
a protection against wet or cold. When hunting or working they wear 
absolutely nothing but tlie langoty, which is a string round the loins and a 
piece of cloth about a hand's-breadth fastened to it in front ; this is carried 
between the legs, and is tucked under the string again behind. It is an 
extremely practical attire, light and airy in appearance, as far as it can be 
seen, and one that does not hamper their activity. There are few large or 
weU-conditioned men amongst the Oopligas. Their endurance, however, in 
hunting or work is remarkable. They take two meals a-day — one about ten 
o'clock in the morning, the other at eight in the evening. Meat is a great 
treat to them, and I frequently shoot deer or pigs for them. They do not 
eat cow's flesh, nor even that of the bison, which they consider to be of the 
same holy caste, though they eat jackals, wild cats, field-rats, iguana lizards, 
&c. They never drink any intoxicating liquor. Though they live in a date- 
grove, from the trees in which " toddy " is daily drawn in large quantities 
fur sale elsewhere, and although from the pots tied to the trees they miglit 
drink on the sly at any time, not a single Oopliga ever, to my certain know- 
ledge, does so. It is not an hereditary usage, and they no more long for 
liquor than an Englishman does for blubber or train-oil. 

Their women are mostly very ugly. They only possess the charms 
attaching to budding youth for a few years, after which they sink at once 
into hideous frights. At about twenty-five their youth is gone, and they 
seem to betake themselves to fifty furthwith without any intermediate stage. 
They are of course married early, like all Hindoos, and often have children 
before they are fourteen years of age. They were at first so poor that they 
barely had enough rags to satisfy even their very moderate ideas of decency's 
requirements ; and I have often felt amused whilst commiserating some of 
the girls who, with a short cloth wound lightly round their loins, and reach- 
ing but to their knees, endeavouiod to pass muster as I rode through the 


village, or when they were collected at camp for grinding ragi, by holding 
their hands np to their chins and covering their bosoms with their elbows ! 
They were anxious for cloths, and I latterly insisted on the money they 
earned by grinding flour for our men being applied to their own gratifica- 
tion in this respect, and not to their husbands'. 

There is never any violent crime amongst these simple people. They 
live in family harmony, and any little differences are settled by village regu- 
lations. Infidelity amongst their women is common enough, but their rules 
and ideas on this subject are very moderate, and a husband who feels him- 
self aggrieved, instead of flying into a temper, addresses himself to the head- 
man, a ■puncliayd or council is convened, and the defendant is probably fined 
a few rupees. At the same time, a check is placed on husbands having 
recourse to too much litigation by fining them occasionally for having adul- 
terous wives ! 

If a w^omau does not like her husband, and any other man, married or 
otherwise, fancies her, she may go with him if he pays the husband Rs. 45, 
which is the fixed capitalised value of the marriage expenses. These trans- 
actions always have to be carried out through the headman, who has his 
regular fees. This purchasing of wives cannot be indulged in, however, to 
any great extent, as the devoted lovers can seldom raise enough money 
except by selling themselves into bondage, which has probably already been 
done to their full value. 

This looseness in the matrimonial rules may seem sufficiently shocking 
to English notions, but it must be considered that marriage in Morlay is 
purely an arrangement of convenience ; and though it is literally so with 
ourselves, a halo of religious feeling has come to surround this civil con- 
tract, and moral turpitude is connected with any breach of its provisions, 
of which natives of the lower classes understand nothing. Their rules suit 
themselves very well. If a woman's husband cannot support her, she may 
find some one else who can ; or if a man has a useless or termagant wife, 
he may get some one else who will manage better for him, though he is 
bound to continue the support of his first wife as long as she remains with 

The hereditary headman of the Morlay Oopligas is a young fellow called 
Lingah. He was one of the first to take employment under me, and has 
always since been a most faithful adherent. It is a great pity and a dis- 
advantage that the hereditary authority of headmen of villages and castes 
has been gradually undermined. The Mysore Government has, however, 
done much lately towards restoring their power, which is undoubtedly a 
wise measure and one in accordance with the feelings of the people. 


Paternal despotism seems to be the best method of government for the 

I shall never forget what an untutored lot my IMorlayites were when I 
first knew them, and they often laugh and joke at it now themselves. They 
needed an immense amount of training before they became efficient for 
work in which considerable discipline was necessary. One of their chief 
duties was to direct large numbers of men when we were driving elephants, 
and it was tlierefore necessary that they tliemselves should be smart, and 
learn to carry out orders promj)tly and exactly. Of such matters, or of 
the importance of time, they had not naturally the remotest idea. They 
considered to-morrow as good as to-day in all matters, and hom's of no con- 
sequence at all. The apathy and unreliableness of Hindoos are sufficiently 
trying to the naturally energetic Englishman. It can easily be imagined, 
then, that for some time my poor ignorant Morlayites truly exercised my 
soul. However, by degrees Jones, who drilled them, introduced quite mili- 
tary precision amongst them. When once their natural apathy was shaken 
we found them very teachable. They were made to stand in a line for mus- 
ter, instead of the mcb they naturally affected ; to make theu' salaams morning 
and evening on coming from and returning to the village; and to run on all 
occasions when sent on any short errand. The most difficult thing was to 
get them to carry a verbal message correctly, but by constantly calling 
them back and making them repeat what they were bid to say this was at 
last managed fairly. They soon began to pride themselves on belonging to 
the kheddah service, and it is now amusing to hear them abusing and order- 
ing their fellow-villagers at work or in sport ; they regard their untrained 
brethren as a very degenerate lot. 

Five of the best men were appointed as elephant-trackers, then* duty 
being to go to the jungles within a certain circuit of Morlay every morning 
to examine tracks of elephants or tigers, to find out their whereabouts, and 
generally to keep me informed of all jungle occurrences. In elephant or 
other hunting these scouts are my right-liand men. They have the most 
dangerous duties to perform, and I shall have occasion often to mention 
tliem further on. More plucky and reliable men I never had, and their 
knowledge of the habits of all animals is only equalled by their skill in 
following them, or anticipating what their line of conduct or of country 
wiU be. After our first capture of elephants I had a small silver elephant 
stamped for each to wear on a gi-een cap, and they are very proud of 
this badge of office. Their names are : Dodda Sidda, Koon Sidda, Mada, 
Murga, Mtistee. 

And here let me say a few words upon trackers. The skill df ceilaiu 


tribes of American Indians in following a trail is proverbial, bnt I engage 
to say it cannot excel that of jungle-people in India. Human eyesight is 
pretty much the same all the world over. It would be incorrect to repre- 
sent any class of ]3eople, as some writers have done, as able to follow a 
track over ground where there is no mark discernible to the untrained eye. 
It is not to be supposed that a print which is visible to an Indian would 
not be equally so to a European if pointed out to him. The skill of 
tracking lies in first observing, and reading, what an untrained eye would 
pass over, or be unable to interpret. 

I know nothing more interesting than to see really good trackers at 
work. There is a dash about men accustomed to hunt together, and who 
thoroughly understand the game they are after, which makes sport of what 
is often the rather tedious part of a chase. Jungle -people in India are 
under constant necessity to avoid formidable animals, as they have neither 
the means nor the stomach to oppose them. They thus become preternaturally 
quick in noting sights and sounds which do not attract the attention of 
ordinary persons. The slight ruffling of the surface which alone marks, in 
hard ground, where the tiger's paw has pressed ; the horns of a deer lying 
in the grass, matching so closely with twigs and undergrowth as to be 
undistinguishable from them by the inexperienced eye ; the bee, scarcely 
larger than a house-fly, entering a hole high in a tree overhead — a point of 
interest to men who spend much of their time in searching for its stores, — 
alike attract the quiet glance of the Kurraba and Sliolaga. 

In cases where actual footprints fail, trackers are guided in following 
an animal by broken twigs, displaced blades of grass, dew shaken from the 
leaves whilst others are covered by it, and other signs. They can also 
judge with wonderful correctness of the date of different trails. When an 
animal has been moving about in the same locality for hours, and many 
different impressions have been left, much skill is required to determine the 
latest. Some may have been exposed to the burning rays of the sun, others 
sheltered from it. In such case the latter, though possibly hours older 
than the former, looks fresher, and would mislead the inexpert. A tiger's 
track of late the night before and early next morning may easily be con- 
founded. The necessity of knowing which is wliich is evident. To follow 
the one would be to go through the many wanderings of his night's prowl 
in search of food ; the other leads to where he may be found concealed for 
the day. Other points than its actual appearance aid in forming a correct 
diagnosis of a track's date. I remember one morning several of my Morlay 
men and I started early to look up a particular tiger we were anxious to 
fall in with. We intended to cast about in the most likely places for his 


morning's tracks; could we find tliese we should lie able to discover his 
lair. It was cold, and the two trackers, Dodda Sidda and Murga, strode 
along in front of my riding elephant, their mouths muffled in their cloths 
after the sensible habit of all natives during the raw early hours. The 
path was dusty, and footprints were clearly visiljle. Presently the large 
square " pug " of the tiger we were in search of appeared, traversing the 
path before us. Some of the beaters who were following ran up in great 
excitement, and one asked the trackers if they had no eyes. Dodda Sidda 
removed his muffler for a moment as he still held on, to say, " Yelah, Korna, 
navu pattay-gararo ? Koombararo ? eely yeslit' hottinelli tiroogardootavo ? " 
"Buffalo" — native synonym for stupid — "are we trackers or potters? 
"When do the rats run about ? " The questioner fell back abashed. The 
Indian field-rat (the jerboa-rat, Gerhillus incUcus) issues from its burrows in 
great numbers during the night, but is always home again before daylight. 
The trackers had observed these creatures' tiny footprints overlying those 
of the tiger, and knew the latter had passed in the early part of the night. 

On another occasion a panther's footprint in soft soil was under dis- 
cussion. Some of the men contended it was of the evening before, others 
that it had been made about dawn. The minute threads of mould thrown 
up by a small earth-worm in the print made by the larger pad of the foot 
decided the date. That kind of worm only worked near the surface during 
the night. The print had 'been made the evening before. 

jSTative shikaries are often very plucky fellows, and even those who 
are not so, and who know anything about their work, will do many things 
from their acquaintance with wild animals that they know they may do 
without risk, but which to the uninitiated sportsman appear venturesome. 
Even timid jungle-men who would not approach a horse, it being an un- 
familiar quadruped, will lead the way after a vicious elephant or a wounded 
bison. They understand the habits of the latter, but from never seeing the 
former they do not know what to expect of it. 

Men who serve a judicious master and who know they will not be 
unnecessarily exposed gain great confidence, and behave with a courage 
which the sportsman cannot but feel complimentary to himself, as reflecting 
their reliance on his coolness and skill. It is only right that a sports- 
man should remember not to allow any of his men to do that at wliich he 
would himself hesitate. I laid down this golden rule for myself early 
in my sporting days, and it is a great pleasure to me to think that I have 
never had a man killed in encounters with wild animals. I have often 
restrained beaters when they would willingly have ventured on some too 
dangerous service, and if natives see such consideration exercised on thoir 


behalf they are never wanting when required to share danger with their 

I have sometimes heard sportsmen (elect) speak of their attendants 
getting " pale with fright," " blue wi'tli funk," " bolting up trees like lamp- 
lighters," &c. One cannot but comment mentally in many cases on the 
probable grounds their followers' had for changes of complexion and feats of 
agility. Natives who have never seen a sportsman before are often called 
upon to show game. It is natural that they sliould be doubtful of the 
qualifications of a stranger, and they show their good sense in taking steps 
for their safety until they see they can place confidence in their employer. 
Natives often have good reason to be cautious. Cases of beaters being 
killed by dangerous animals are unhappily not of infrequent occurrence. 
Some men in the excitement of sport will urge natives to do things which 
they would be sorry upon reflection to do themselves. A man safely 
posted in a tree is liable to forget, in his chagrin at want of determination 
on the part of the beaters, what his own feelings would be if, with only a 
rag round his loins and a stick in his hand, he were required to turn a tiger 
out of a thicket. If only for the sake of sport care is necessary, as the 
story of an accident will precede a sportsman with telegraphic rapidity, and 
he will find beaters very chary of risking their persons at his next camp. 





I "WAS SO busy for the first few months at Morlay that I had no time 
to build a house, so I lived in tents ; but during the hot weather of 
1874 I ran up a comfortable bungalow and outhouses for servants and 
Government stores. My bungalow consists of two rooms, each twenty by 
fourteen, and a batliing-room. The walls are of clay, smoothened and white- 
washed. The red gravelly soil common in many parts of Mysore is good 
material for wall-making. Many remains of earth-work forts which have 
been exposed to the vicissitudes of the weather for probably two or three 
hundred years, are to be seen throughout the country, built of this 
material only, without even a facing of stone, and though the walls are 
deeply indented and guttered by rain they waste but slowly. Earth for 
wall -making is first dug up and water is poured on it in the pit, after 
whicli it is tempered by men tram})ling it for some time. It is then built 
in layers lialf a yard high, and the required length of the wall; one day 
must be allowed for each layer to dry. Ordinary house-walls are one and 
a half foot thick at bottom, decreasing ui)wards. Wall-building is generally 
contracted for l)y the coolies at work, who take about eiglit|)ence for eacli 


six feet in length, the standard height being six feet. When dry, earthen 
walls are usually smoothened with a plaster of red earth mixed with sand. 
House -walls thus built are cheap, strong, and quickly run up; the only 
disadvantage connected with them is that white-ants are apt to work up 
through them into the roof of the house. This can, however, be easily 
prevented by a single course of brick-in-mortar upon the top of the wall. 

The roof of my bungalow consists of a single areca-nut tree, fifty feet 
long, as a ridge-pole, and bamboo rafters which rest upon the walls. Over 
these are bamboo mats to prevent the ends of the grass with which it is 
thatched hanging down inside, and a layer of one foot of rice-straw makes 
it quite water-tight. The floor is of concrete to keep out white-ants, and is 
covered with bamboo mats. 

" Morlay Hall," as I named this edifice, is situated about a quarter of 
a mile to the east of Morlay, on the site of a deserted village called 
Byadamooll, which is now only marked by irregular mounds and lines 
where the houses were, and by an old stone temple and some fine banian 
and peepul {Ficus rcligiosa) trees. The village ceased to exist fifty years 
ago. There are many such, thus deserted, of various degrees of antiquity, 
further in the jungles. I shall have occasion to speak of them further on, 
and to consider the probable causes which led to their abandonment. 

My bungalow faces eastwards, towards the Billiga-rungun hills, which 
are eight miles distant and extend for twenty miles in front of me. They 
attain an elevation of about 6000 feet, or 3500 feet above the general 
level of the country around Morlay. Between my house and the liills the 
jungle consists chiefly of bamboo clumps and moderate-sized trees, with 
thick covers (the favourite resort of tigers, wild hog, &c.) on the river-banks 
and in the damp hollows. A few low detached hills lie near the foot of the 
range, and afford cover to bears and panthers. Parallel with the hills runs 
the Honhollay, a river about thirty yards broad, which, though rarely dry, 
is only a considerable stream at intervals during the rainy season. It then 
sometimes rises twenty feet above its bed, but is seldom impassable for 
more than a day together. During the first freshes of the rainy season 
it brings down large quantities of wood and bamboos, and the water is 
discoloured by the charcoal and black ashes washed from the hills after the 
hot- weather conflagrations. The water is considered bad within the jungles 
at this time, and also in December and January ; but at all other times it 
is good. The reason of its being unwholesome in January and February is, 
that the hill streams have then shrunk almost to their lowest limits, and 
the leaves of the forest-trees which fall at the end of the year rot in large 
quantities in tlie water, and thus contaminate it by decaying vegetable 



matter ; and though perfectly clear, it is bitter to the taste, and if constantly 
drunk is injurious to health. Several large villages in the open country are 
dependent for drinking-water on the river after it leaves the jungle. The 
water here seems good at all seasons, probably from undergoing a filtering 
process over beds of sand, where it is not shaded by trees. 

The Honhollay rises in the Billiga-runguns, the parent branch being 
joined soon after its exit from the hills by two tributaries ; one from Poonjoor, 
near the southern end of the range — the other, a large stream called the 
Chickhollay, from the open country towards the Neilgherries. After emerg- 
ing from the Billiga-runguns through a gap about the centre of their western 
face, the river turns sharp north, and flows parallel with the range, and 
about four miles distant from it, through the Chamraj-Nuggar and Yellan- 
door talooks^'' and joins the Cauvery fifteen miles above the celebrated falls 
of Seevasamudrum. During its course its waters are drawn off by several 
small channels for purposes of irrigation. The first of these, the Hongle- 
waddy, is fed from an anient or stone dam, about twelve feet in height, 
made of large, rough blocks of granite, faced vdth a brick wall to prevent 
leakage : it is built across the stream from bank to bank. This raises the 
level of the water to a height sufficient to admit of its being drawn off by 
the channel, which runs for nine miles and feeds the Eamasamoodrum lake 
close to Mori ay. The anicut, channel, and lake or tank, are works of some 
antiquity. The anicut and channel are now overgrown with dense jungle. 
The channels further down the river are smaller, and the dams used for 
turning the water into them are mere temporary structures of stakes, bushes, 
&c., thrown up after the floods subside. 

There was formerly a good deal of cultivation under the Honglewaddy 
channel at several points between its source and the lake, but almost the 
whole of this has been gradually abandoned, owing to the depredations of 
elephants and tigers. Up to the time of my settling at Morlay it was no 
uncommon occurrence for a tiger to rush out and kill one or both the bul- 
locks in a plough, if the driver left them for a moment. With the destruc- 
tion of the tigers and reduction in the number of elephants, land is being 
gradually taken up again, and the cultivators can now follow their avoca- 
tions in peace. There is no necessity to watch the fields at night, except 
occasionally to drive away deer and wild hogs, which is lighter work than 
the keeping out of elephants used to be. 

The Eamasamoodrum tank at the end of the Honglewaddy channel is a 
beautiful sheet of water, nearly two miles in length and five hundred yards 
broad. It has, however, been silted up to a considerable extent by the 
• Divisions of tlic country corresponding roughly to counties in England. 


deposit brought into it for many years, and is not now capable of storing as 
much water as formerly. The two villages of ]\Iorlay are built near the edge 
of the water-spread, and my bungalow a quarter of a mile from it, on high 
and dry ground. The embankment of the lake has been raised at various 
periods to keep pace with the silting, and the bed is now several feet higher 
than the land irrigated on the lower side of the embankment. Through the 
embankment at ditferent points run four sluices for drawing off the water 
to the rice -land below, which aggregates 903 acres, and yields an annual 
revenue to Government of Es. 4688. These sluices have of late years 
fallen into partial disrepair ; and from this cause, and the silting up of the 
bed, the tank now usually runs dry during the hot weather. There are no 
fish of large size in it, but a great quantity of moderate-sized ones and small 
fry are caught every year. In January 1874, when the tank had not been 
dry for five years, and the fish had had time to grow, a large haul was made 
by the Morlayites. As the water contracted to a very narrow space I 
caused the tank to be guarded day and night to prevent any villagers, except 
those who assisted in elephant-catching, from taking fish in it ; and when 
the water was but two feet deep, and only a few acres in extent, a day was 
appointed for fishing it. Hundreds of men, women, and children were 
engaged with all sorts of devices, among which the cliief was a basket of the 
shape of a flower-pot, but without the bottom, about three feet in height, 
two in diameter at the lower end, and one at the top. These open cylin- 
ders were merely plumped down upon the bottom, the wider mouth down- 
wards, on chance, and if a fish were covered it flopped about inside, and 
was taken out through the top. As the pool was crowded the sport was 
exciting, and in a few hours many hundredweights were caught. The 
women and cliildren removed baskets upon baskets of small fry which, suf- 
focated by the disturbed mud, came to the top floating on their backs, when 
they were scooped up with sieves. 

Speaking of sluices for drawing off water from lakes, it is remarkable that 
no contrivance has been introduced in supersession of the somewhat rude 
plan of old days, which is still in use. This is as follows : A covered 
masonry culvert runs through the embankment ; at its inner end (that is, 
the end within the lake) two upright granite slabs are erected, so as to 
stand above the highest level of the water ; they are often twenty-five 
feet in height. At every six feet or so cross - slabs are placed between 
them. Through each of the cross - slabs a hole is drilled for guiding 
a vertical pole which passes through them, and attached to the lower 
end of which is a wooden plug. This plug fits into a vent in the horizon- 
tal covering-slab over the mouth of the culvert, and when raised or lowered 


opens or closes the culvert. To move tlie pole and attaclied plug a man 
stands on the cross - slaljs. This method answers well enough for small 
tanks, but in many of large size there is an additional vent in the vertical 
slab which closes the mouth of the culvert vertically, and in this a hori- 
zontal vent is drilled, to close which a flat stone is usually employed. 
This stone has to be placed against the hole by hand ; and to all large 
tanks tliere are attached one or more men, called Toobmullegies or 
sluice-divers, to whom free lands are granted as remuneration for attending 
to the distribution of the water. It would be very easy to have a vertical 
shutter, in the shape of a spade, with a long handle reaching to above the 
surface of the water, to close this dangerous horizontal vent. It is remark- 
able how seldom accidents happen to the divers, as they keep to the guiding 
granite pillars at either side, and place the stone in front of the vent with- 
out getting before it themselves ; but mishaps sometimes occur, and six 
years ago a diver was drowned by being sucked into the vent of one of the 
sluices of the Eamasamoodrum tank. There was a depth of nineteen feet of 
water above the sluice at the time. The danger of approaching a vent of 
one foot in diameter, through which the water was issuing under this pres- 
sure, may be imagined. In some way the unfortunate man was caught ; 
both his legs were drawn into the vent up to the thighs, and he sat, when 
drowned, with his body resting against the vertical slab. I was in charge 
of the tank at the time, but it was some days before I could attend to get- 
ting him out, as I thought the natives would manage it ; as they could not, 
I went to the spot myself Standing on the top of the sluice slabs, the 
corpse was twenty feet below ; only three or four men could get footing to 
pull at it together, and it defied all attempts at withdrawal. We tried for 
two days without effect. I at last had two hide-ropes secured by a diver 
round the corpse, and ordered a raft of plantain-stems to be made capable 
of floating ten people : this was stationed above the corpse, and sufficient 
people stood on it to sink it a foot, whilst the hide-ropes were secured to it. 
On the people getting off, the raft's floating power pulled up the body, not 
at all decomposed, thougli it had been eleven days under water : the man's 
never having been exposed to the air after death was probably the cause of 
this. His dark skin was bleached quite white. One of the legs was torn 
off at the hip-joint and carried through the sluice. 

The Billiga-rungun hills consist of three main parallel ranges running- 
due north and south, with various offshoots. The Can very river floAvs 
round their northern end, whilst they are separated from the Neilgherry hills 
at their southern extremity by a gap of about twenty miles of level country. 
They are about thirty miles in length from north to south, and ton in width; 


but only about ten miles of the central portion is densely covered with for- 
est, as towards the end the hills become lower and the jungle lighter. The 
Mysore territory includes the most western parallel ; the rest of the hills lie 
in the Coimbatore district of the ]\Iadras Presidency. A good road passes 
through a gorge towards their southern end, and descends by the Hassanoor 
Ghat into the Coimbatore district, which is about 1000 feet below the 
general level of the Mysore plateau. The hills are practically unknown 
to Europeans. A few Survey and Forest officers have been to some of the 
most prominent points, and in former days some officers of the Mysore Com- 
mission who were fond of sport occasionally visited them, but of late years 
hardly any one but myself has set foot in them. The only inhabitants are 
a few Sh51agas — a wild, uncivilised, but inoffensive race. They occupy iso- 
lated hamlets of five or six huts. 

The Mysore range is lower than the ranges further east. It is covered 
with comparatively small timber and bamboos, as there is no great depth 
of soil, and crags and rocks frown here and there amongst the jungle. 
Towards the northern end, in the YeUandoor talook, is a precipitous mass 
of granite, facing westwards, named the " Billikul " or " Billigiri " (white 
rock) ; and from this the whole range is geographically designated, though, 
as is common in India, the natives of the vicinity have names for each 
portion of the hills, and do not know the whole by any collective appella- 
tion. The range is, however, usually known to people at a distance as the 
Billigiri-runguns ; but this, I think, is not a correct term, and that Billiga- 
runga, the local name amongst the common people, is the right one. Billi 
means white in Canarese, and Izul, a rock or stone ; in Canarese BiUi-kul- 
runga becomes Billiga-runga by euphony. Giri is Sanskrit for mountain, 
and the union of a Canarese and Sanskrit word is unnatural. The hills 
are generally termed " Shwetadri " by Brahmins, which is admissible as 
pure Sanskrit, and means " white - mountain." Eunga is the name of 
a god. 

The interior ranges, as seen from Morlay, present a splendid panorama 
of woods and open grass downs. The hills are rounded and are all of about 
the same elevation. The woods are confined chiefly to the hollows where 
moisture favours their growth ; the open downs between them are covered 
mth dense lemon -grass, which attains a height of eighteen feet. Be- 
tween the Mysore range and the next range to the east lies a deep 
valley, along which the Honhollay stream flows southw^ards before its exit 
■westwards into open country. This deep, forest -encumbered valley is 
a tract of great interest ; and there are many places which I have pene- 
trated where, I believe, other European foot never trod. Wild swamps 


there are where the strangest forms of vegetation are seen, some found 
nowhere else in the liills. The whole neighboiu'hood ha.s a weird char- 
acter. Aged trees of Iiuge dimensions, whose ponderous arras are clad 
with grey moss and ferns far out to their points ; tough, gnarled, leafless 
creepers, as thick as a cliild's body, growing from one root, whither they 
mount the tall trees around, and thence spread like the arms of a cuttle- 
fish in every direction, curling round some trunks, clearing long spans in 
places, and often extending for tliree hundred yards without varying much 
in tliickness, — make some of tlie chief features of the woods in tliese deep 
valleys. Few flowers are found ; the whole is a damp, gloomy, hoary 
forest, sacred as it were to the first mysteries of natiu-e. Game — even 
elephants and bison — are seldom seen here ; the dense foliage overhead pre- 
vents grass growing beneath, so there is nothing for them to eat ; but they 
form safe retreats for animals in their neighbourhood when the jungles are 
burning during the hot weather. "When any animals escaped us in the 
first range, or the lower jungles of the open country, and reached this 
haven, which is known as " Mullay Kardoo," or the Eain Forest, we gen- 
erally had to abandon the chase, as it required a .well-organised expedition 
to penetrate the tract. 

Close to the moutli of the gorge by which the Honhollay river emerges 
into the lower jungles through the most westerly or Mysore range, is the site 
of an old and long-deserted village called Dodda Goudan Parliali, and from 
this I have named the gorge. The last inhabitants of this place apparently 
left about 1820, but it must have been practically deserted at least twenty 
years before tliat time. The divisions of the fields, broken nigi-grinding 
stones, and stone terraces built round the foot of the trunks of old tamarind 
and peepul trees, are still to be seen. It was once a populous village, in 
which iron-smelting was carried on. Tlie site of the ^dllage and the fields 
are still comparatively free of jungle ; but by August the gTass grows very 
liigh about them, and the place is then a favourite resort of game, especially 
bison, whilst in the low country. 

In addition to Dodda Goudan Parliah, there are the remains of other 
villages, apparently contemporary with it, in different parts of the lower 
jungles, but I liave tried in vain to obtain any very autlientic explana- 
tion of the causes of their abandonment. From the tales which some of 
tlie oldest Sholagas remember their fathers relating of the ransacking to 
which villages were frequently subjected in these parts during Ilydor and 
Tippoo's days, and the early days of the British (between 1780 and 1800), 
at the hands of Brinjdrries (gipsy grain-carriers), who, when conveying grain 
to the troops between Mysore and Coimbatore, passed through this country, 





I believe the hardships and robberies to which the people were subjected to 
have been the chief cause of their leaving their homes. Their granaries 
were sacked, their herds driven off, and their women abducted by these 
freebooters. Consecutive years of scarcity or sickness may also, in some 
cases, have tended to this result; but as all Indian villages have small begin- 
nings, if the site chosen proves unhealthy it is soon given up ; and conse- 
quently, when the remains of any village formerly of importance are found, 
it is more reasonable to look to other causes for its abandonment than 
unhealthiness, which should rather decrease (except epidemics) with the 
growth of the village, and the greater area from which the surrounding 
jungle is removed, than increase. Some villages have evidently been 
ruined through the action of their inliabitants, as those mentioned in Chap. 
III. ; but there are no such causes visible in the deserted villages at the 
foot of the BilLiga-runguns, and doubtless the ancestors of the Brinjarries, 
who now quietly graze cattle over theii" ruins, had a main share in bringing 
about their downfall. 

There used to be a famous old solitary bull bison, well known to the 
Sh51agas as having frequented the vicinity of Dodda Goudan Parliah for 
twenty years. I had learned that he was generally to be seen in the cool 
hours of the morning and evening grazing in the short grass on the cut- 
skirts of the jungle, preparatory to retirmg into it for the day. One morn- 
ing I was going from a place called Koombar-goondy to fish in the deep 
pools of the HonhoUay, within the gorge, and was riding my small pad 
elephant Soondargowry, which did not bring my head to the level of the 
grass, then ten feet high, when, as I passed along, I saw through a gap in 
the gTass the head of a bison lying under a bamboo clump some sixty yards 
to my right. I pulled up to make sure. Yes ! there he was, a splendid 
old bull, chewing the cud peacefully, and not looking in our direction ! I 
knew instantly he must be tlie bull I had heard so much of, and which I 
had been singularly unsuccessful in falling in with before. My heavy rifles 
were at hand, so I jumped off the elephant, and with a tracker crept through 
the grass towards the bull. As we came to the clear ground under the 
bamboo clumps, he suddenly upreared his gigantic black form to our 
right ; he had caught a slant of our wind. He stood stern on ; and as I 
feared he might dash away, I took the best shot I could, and broke his 
right hip-joint. I was using an 8 -bore rifle and ten drams. At the shot 
the bull rushed amongst the bamboo clumps, his disabled leg swinging like 
a flan. Another tracker joined us, and we followed him without loss of 
time ; but he got into a narrow belt of grass and young bamboo a hundred 
yards away, and here we heard him breathing heavily. We kept to the shelter 


of trees wliilst making a near advance, when tlie Lull, hearing us, showed 
himself, and I stejjped out and faced him at thirty yards. He did not 
charge, however, though he snorted furiously, and I killed him with a shot 
in the neck as he turned. This was the work of two or three minutes from 
my first seeing him. He was an immense animal, eighteen hands at the 
shoulder, and very old. He had foot-and-mouth disease. 

The villagers of this tract in past times evidently made much use of 
the grazing grounds on the top of the hills during the dry weather, and have 
constructed a fine tank, called the Hannaykerray, on the summit. This 
holds water at all seasons. Tlie name signifies the tank on the brow, haii- 
nay meaning forehead in Canarese. 

At the foot of the Hannaykerray hills is a Sholaga hamlet called Yerl- 
sariga, or the " seven fields." Around it is a little cultivation, but it is 
chiefly a cattle-grazing station. It is eight miles from Morlay, and by 
keeping a Sholaga there in kheddah employ I always have early news of 
any elephants coming down the hills ; and when bison-shooting, or looking 
after elephants, I generally make it my headquarters. The Dodda Goudan 
Parliah gorge, being a broad and gradually ascending means of ingress to 
the hills, contains the main elephant and bison track between them and the 
low jungles. 

There is a hamlet called Poonjoor, on a tributary of the Honhollay, four 
miles to the south of Yerlsariga, along the foot of the hills. It is close to 
the Hassanoor Ghat road, just at the point where the road enters the pass 
through the hills towards Coimbatore. There is only one family at Poon- 
joor ; the headman, old Bommay Gouda, has ahvays been one of my greatest 
allies in sport, and I must honour him with some mention. 

Bommay Gouda is a man of about fifty-five years of age. He is of 
good caste, being a Shivachar or Lingayet, and lives by cultivation and 
breeding and selling cattle. Of all the cheery jungle-companions I know 
Bommay Gouda stands first. He has literally lived amongst wild animals 
all his life and possesses the most consummate knowledge of their habits, 
but the tiger and the elephant are his chief game. At a story by the camp- 
fire he is unrivalled, and he is still as tough as he is keen. I please him 
by telling him he is " my father " in sport, the filial position being founded 
on his having piloted me up to my first elephant, bison, and bears. One 
thing distresses him, which is that after he is gone there wiU be no one to 
keep up his name, as his eldest son is good for nothing at sport, no chip of 
the old block. I shall frequently have occasion to mention Bommay Gouda, 
as we have done many good days* sport together. 


From living in this unhealthy place for so many years, amongst the 
wild beasts of the forest, Bommay Gouda has come to be regarded with 
superstitious awe by the inhabitants of the open country. Few would dare 
to offend liim, as his powers of injuring them by supernatural means are 
never doubted. Neither he nor any of his family eat meat, but in his 
younger days he occasionally shot sambur and bison with his old match- 
lock, to barter their flesh for grain. He also used to make a good deal 
by shooting elephants and tigers. The reward for a tiger was Es. 30, and 
for an elephant Es. 70 ; but whilst the reward for the tiger has been 
increased to Es. 50, that for the elephant has been withdrawn, and 
protection substituted. 

Of late years there has been a police-guard stationed at Poonjoor, as a 
check to the numerous robberies on the Hiissanoor road, but owing to its 
unhealthiness the men have to be changed frequently. Bommay Gouda's 
family, from long usage to the place, enjoy fair health, but it is hurtful to new- 
comers. It is a favourite grazing station when drought in the open country 
obliges the ryots to send their cattle to the jungles. Sholagas and Brinjar- 
ries are mostly engaged to take charge of these herds. In the jungles 
around Poonjoor when there is plenty of rain, game of all descriptions, from 
elephants downwards, is abundant. At all times tigers are, or were before 
I thinned them, numerous, attracted by the herds of cattle ; but the same 
marauders visited Morlay (eleven miles distant through the jungles), and 
there they were laid low. 

Three miles from Morlay, situated in a beautiful glade on the banks of 
the Honhollay river, surrounded by fine trees and jungle, is Koombappan 
Goody, or the temple of Koombappah, the shrine whither the Morlayites 
and other adjacent villagers repair at certain times to pay their devotions. 
The temple is sixteen feet long, eight broad, and nine high ; it has a flat 
roof, and is composed throughout of large dressed slabs. It was built in 
old days, probably when an adjacent village, the site of which is now marked 
by ancient trees and stones, flourished. Worship has been kept up though 
the village has ceased to exist. Mondays and Fridays are the poojah or 
service days, when the priest attends. Only such people visit it as have 
some request to prefer, usually connected with their families, their crops, 
or their bodily ailments. They are not continually found about their 
church, as they do not consider it necessary either for their spiritual welfare 
or for the sake of respectability. 

Koombappah is regarded as an evil god who must be propitiated. The 
priest often told me he was " a very bad god indeed," and if his iwojah were 


not conducted properly, it would be a poor look-out for himself. I have 
often witnessed the doings at the shrine when, after a morning's work or 
sport in the jungles, I have been enjoying a cheroot after breakfasting under 
the trees near the temple. The proceedings are conducted as follows: — 

The priest, an ordinary ryot, turns up about mid-day after having his 
breakfast comfortably, usually attended by a few villagers who have 
requests to make. Company is desired by all, as the last incumbent, the 
present one's father, was carried off by a man-eating tiger on his way to 
conduct service, and a tigress which was killing when I arrived at Morlay 
kept the present divine in a lively state of trepidation. With him the cry 
of the " Church in danger " means more than it often does elsewhere. 

The first thing to be done by the Poojaree after opening the door of the 
temple with a crooked piece of iron in lieu of a key, and sweeping out 
the first of the two chambers into which it is internally divided, is to go 
down to the river with a brass vessel, and after performing his ablutions in 
the stream, to bring back water for sprinkling within tlie holy of holies, 
into which he alone may enter, and before which a cloth is kept suspended. 
He then places incense and a light in the inner chamber, and whilst giving 
ICoombappah time to contemplate tliese, the Poojaree adjourns to a shed 
near, where he commences cooking rice and vegetables. "Wliilst the pot is 
boiling the service is begun by his taking the plantains and cocoanuts, or 
handfuls of grain, brought by those present, and placing them before the 
god, mentioning tlie worshippers' requests at the same time. One promises 
to feed a dozen poor people before the temple if he is relieved from fever 
or other ailment ; another to give a small brass bull, the emblem of Shiva, 
if disease leaves his cattle ; and so on. The Poojaree the while tinkles a 
cracked bell in his left hand ; and as he is not very well up in the ritual 
and psalmody which are the fashion in more important Eeshwara temples, 
he confines himself pretty much to vociferating " Shivane Gooroo ; avana 
padave gatie " (Shiva is our teacher ; his feet are our salvation). The 
congregation respond in similar phrases. 

The rice being cooked by tliis time, is placed before the god, after wliicli 
it is distributed, and every one eats. The offerings of fruit are then retiu-ned 
to the offerers, together with a consecrated flower out of the temple ; the 
latter is put into their turbans. Of the fruit, some is occasionally given back 
by the people to the Poojaree, or they eat it themselves. The fear in which 
Koombappah's power of good and evil is held in the neighbourhood is very 

In these gatherings at the temple there is, as in most Hindoo religious 
ceremonies, none of the pcniteiitiul dejection and show of remorse which 


we sometimes see as accompaniments to our religious observances. No 
one comes to tbe temple with a long face, but each is dressed in bis or ber 
best, and witb a view to enjoying him or berself ; and tbey go away witb a 
confidence tbat tbeir wisbes will be granted pleasant to see. Sbould tbe 
result be unpropitious, tbey merely consider tbat sometliing lias been amiss 
in tbeir offerings, and are no more discouraged than better educated people 
at tbe failure of tbeir prayers. Wbilst service is going on every one cbatters 
away witbout restraint, and I was often amused by the scenes I witnessed. 
Sometimes young married women (tbey generally came in company for 
mutual countenance), would be rolling round and round tbe temple on tbe 
soft turf, to move Koombappab to give tliem children. As tbe trackers stood 
leaning on tbeir long spears, they carried on a running fire of chaff agamst 
the unfortunate girls, expressing themselves freely (and sometimes in terms 
which would certainly have aggravated an Engbsb female into giving them a 
bit of her mind) as to tbeir opinions of the revolvers' points, as, tightly en- 
veloped in their cloths, all dripping from a purificatory plunge in tbe river, 
these rolled over and over. 

There is no Government grant to this temple. The people support it 
amongst themselves, and all give tbe Poojaree a bundle of their crops at 
harvest, which, together with the established perquisites at the temple, is suffi- 
cient for his liveliliood. I have heard people exclaim in India against the 
Government's policy of maintaining grants-in-aid of what they are pleased to 
call heathenism. The extension of views gained by mixing much with many 
different people must teach any one who is not an unthinking Christian, that 
there is good in everything, and as much that is suitable to the intellectual 
status of the people in their religious institutions as in tbeir costume, food, 
and manner of life. Is the Government to do away with ancient endow- 
ments, and to interest itself with those who would force one or other of tbe 
numerous religious beliefs of a comparatively small portion of the human 
race upon two hundred and fifty millions ? Personally I have learned to 
respect the feelings and earnestness of the simple village communities 
around me. I can say tbat there is not a hypocrite in the country-side, 
nor one who decries tbe religion of his neighbour — rather a contrast in 
the latter respect to the jealous wranglers of various denominations wlio 
do their own causes injury by tbeir intolerance of each other in tbe same 

Good-natured and charitable, a pattern of amiability in his family rela- 
tions, and ever ready to help his needy relatives, the rustic Hindoo is a 
creature whom one cannot but like greatly, despite his constitutional men- 
dacity and other little peculiarities that clash witb English notions. 


When we were catching elephants or hunting tigers, Koombappah was 
always in request, and the promise of a sheep, or so many cocoanuts 
and plantains, would be made by the trackers to insure his co-operation. 
In the event of success, I had, of course, to stand expenses. The bargains 
were invariably made dependent on Ivoomljappah's performing his part first ; 
no one ever thought of trusting him beforehand ! Once I exjiended thirty 
rupees in having his premises whitewashed and repaired, upon the occasion 
of our catching our first elephants. All the villagers asked after Koom- 
bappah the moment they were mustered to drive the elephants on the eve 
of the eventful day, and when they were told of the munificent inducement 
which had been held out to him to insure them against accidents, they 
entered on their work with a confidence that conduced not a little to success. 
Poor fellows ! was I, merely because I did not myself believe in Koom- 
bappah, to leave tliem in fear because their god had not been propitiated ? 

On another occasion when elephants were near our enclosures at Koom- 
bappan Goody, I thought the ringing of the old cracked sheet-iron bell, and 
the noise and talking of the people, might disturb the herd, so I asked 
the Poojaree if he could not take Koombappah somewhere else for a time. 
He said that if I would lend some men to build a temporary shed further 
down the river, and give liim seven rupees (fourteen shillings) for incense 
and other expenditure, he would move Koombappah. This I gladly acceded 
to, and with much ceremony by the ryots, Koombappah was escorted to his 
new quarters. There was no image to represent liim ; he was supposed to 
move in the spirit. I sometime afterwards got access to the holy of holies, 
and found Koombappah was only represented by a circle and other figures 
on the floor-slabs. 

In talking of natives and their religion, I cannot refrain from narrating 
an amusing pious fraud which was practised on the credulous villagers near 
]\Iorlay by three sharp fellows from the Hyderabad country. The very 
simple means they employed were as follows : They arrived at Hurden- 
hully, a village near Morlay, and took up their abode in a toitc, or clump 
of trees. One was represented to be an ascetic on a pilgrimage from 
Kasi (Benares) to Ilumeshwaram, the holy cities of Northern and Soutliern 
India ; the other two were his attendants. The holy man soon attracted 
the attention of the people by the austerity of his religious observances. He 
had long, unkempt locks, a rag round his loins, and his body was plentifidly 
besmeared with cow-dung and ashes, after the manner of Indian devotees. 
He spent his time in sitting apart in a reverential attitude, nuittoring 
incantations and invocations, and appeared to be wholly wrapjied u]i in tlie 
contomphitiun of divine tilings. His companions attended to his few wants, 

A pro CIS FRAUD. 45 

and took Ciai'e to extol liis great piety, liis advanced religions state, and 
unworldly spirit, in the villages near. Hundreds of people soon began to visit 
the Gooroo (spiritual guide) and to pay their reverence to him. 

At last it began to be rumoured about that his long contemplation of 
sacred things had gained this holy man the Divine approval, that super- 
natural powers had been granted to him, and that he proposed a descent to 
Patarla (the regions existing under the earth, according to Hindoo mythology), 
and a return after seven days. This produced tremendous religious interest 
for many miles round. An abundant harvest was just over ; it was the dry 
weather and the peoj)le had nothing to do ; so thousands flocked to bow 
before the saint who, unmoved as ever, appeared to be in a rapture of con- 
templation. Charitable contributions of grain poured in from all sides, and 
after being offered to the still oblivious Gooroo, were cooked for the con- 
sumption of the attendant crowds. After a few days, moved by the spirit, 
he transferred the scene of his devotions to some open ground a mile dis- 
tant, and here, under the directions of his two companions, his newly-attached 
disciples commenced the excavation of a hole in the ground, about five feet 
deep and three in diameter, which was to be his starting-point for the lower 
regions. Over this was built a substantial earth-work shrine, with a small 
door at one side ; surmounting the wliole was the figure of a bull, the 
emblem of Shivite worship, in clay. At a distance of about twenty feet 
from this structure the two attendants erected a small hut of branches : 
this was carefully closed in with cloths, and during the few days when the 
shrine was being prepared, the man of ashes spent the whole of his time in 
it, fitting himself (it was supposed) by renewed diligence in prayer for his 
projected visit to the other world. 

The public excitement was kept up at all hours by incessant tom-toming 
and horn-blowing, and the charitable and well-to-do ryots who were present 
distributed food gratuitously to the daily-increasing crowds. At last the 
eventful day for the mystical disappearance arrived. The chief men amongst 
the multitude pressed round the shrine as the Gooroo approached it chant- 
ing a song of adoration, and implored his blessing. The devotee then entered 
the hole below the shrine, and it was securely closed and thenceforth sed- 
ulously watched day and night pending his resurrection, and in accordance 
with his parting instructions. 

During the intermediate time interest in his performance was kept alive 
by exciting news of his having been seen first at Bissalwadi, a hill five miles 
to the west ; shortly afterwards, in the jungle ten miles in an opposite direc- 
tion. In fact, his appearance and reappearance were as unsettling as that of 
Mr Toots at the church windows during the publishing of the banns of mar- 


riage between Walter and Lliss Dombey. AMiilst public speculation pointed 
to some particular direction as a probable one for his next manifestation, a 
messenger would suddenly arrive in camp with news regai'ding the ubiquitous 
one which set all calculation at defiance. The fact that he was wanderimx 
al)Out the country instead of being in raturla, does not appear to have 
struck any of his believers as a departure from his original undertaking ; it 
was possibly thought tliese Sittings were the performances of his disembodied 

At the expiration of the appointed seven days the expectant multitude 
was massed round the shrine, which at a given signal from the inside was 
opened, and the wonder-worker calmly stepped into the daylight, shaking 
the soil from his matted locks, and merely seeming a little dazed by the 
glare of day. He was received as a god, and seated on the figure of the 
bull. A blanket was spread at his sacred feet by his companions, who 
regarded this as a favourable opportunity for making the collection — an 
essential part of religious performances in the East as elsewhere. One eager 
worshipper after another now pressed forward to touch the holy feet with 
his forehead, and drop his coin on the rapidly - increasing pile on the 
blanket. Some gave as much as thirty or forty rupees ; and a sum of 
upwards of £200 was thus contributed. 

The holy man then made a progress from village to village, levying 
further contributions with a cupidity scarcely consistent with his unworldly 
character. He stated the object of his pilgrimage to be the collection of 
funds for constructing a well for travellers at one of the entrances to 
lidmeshwaram, and that the amount already subscribed was insufficient for 
the purpose. If any one declined to contribute, his holiness resorted to 
the effective practice known in India as " Dherna," which consists in the 
claimant's seating himself at the entrance of a house, and vowing neither 
to eat, drink, nor go away until his request is complied with. To avoid 
incurring the sin of allowing such a sacred character as our hero to suffer 
at his door, the persecuted tenant was generally impelled to purchase his 

The Gooroo and his two friends shortly proceeded on their pilgrimage. 
I should mention that the hole into which he had descended had been filled 
in immediately on his reappearance, in accordance with some superstitious 
representations made by his attendants, and some months elapsed before tlie 
sequel of the story transpired. It was during the following rainy season 
that some of the ryots of the neighbourhood noticed that the earth had sunk 
in an extraordinary manner about tlie scene of the wondrous achievement, 
and an examination of the place slioM'cd that the devotee and his companions 


had dug a small burrow or tunnel, merely sufficient to admit of a man's 
squeezing himself along it, between the shrine and the adjacent place cf liis 
retirement ; this had been done before tlie Gooroo's entombment, and tlie 
work had now collapsed. Through it the Gooroo had made his way after 
his descent, and had effected his escape after nightfall. He had then shown 
himself here and there, with wliat result has been seen, and had managed 
his reappearance by the same means. His dupes, whilst regretting their 
cash, displayed none of the vindictiveness which an Englishman would 
certainly have done at being so taken in, and jnuch amusement prevailed 
amongst them, particularly at the expense of those of their number who 
had contributed most liberally to the well at Eameshwarara. 







MY observations of tlie habits of wild elephants have been made chiefly 
at Morlay, near the Billiga-rungun hills, where I commenced elephant- 
catching in Mysore, and also in the Goondulpet and Kakankotc forests, 
where I had shot elephants previously, as well as in the Garrow and Chit- 
tagong hills in Bengal. 

The wild elephant abounds in most of the large forests of India, from the 
foot of the Himalayas to the extreme south, and throughout the peninsula 
to the east of the Bay of Bengal — viz., Chittagong, Burmah, and Siam ; it is 
also numerous in Ceylon. There is only one species of elephant throughout 
these tracts. 

In Mysore large numbers frequent the forests of the AVestern Gliilts 
which bound Mysore on the west and south, the ]>illiga-rungun hills in the 
south-east, and a few are found in portions of the Nugger Division in the 
extreme north. There being no heavy forests in the interior, olepliants do 
not, as a rule, occur far within tlie borders of the province, but are com- 


monly met witli in the belt of lighter jungle which intervenes between the 
virgin forest and cultivation. 

Herds of elephants usually consist of from thirty to fifty individuals, 
but much larger numbers, even one hundred, are by no means uncommon. 
When large herds are in localities where fodder is not very plentiful, they 
divide into parties of from ten to twenty ; these remain separate, though 
within two or three miles of each other. But they all take part in any 
common movement, such as a march into another tract of forest. The dif- 
ferent parties keep themselves informed at all times of each other's where- 
abouts, cliiefly by their fine sense of smell. I have observed that tame 
elephants can wind wild ones at a distance of three miles when the wind is 
favourable. Each herd of elephants is a family in which the animals are 
nearly allied to each other. Though the different herds do not intermix, 
escaped tame female elephants, or young males, appear to find no difficulty 
in obtaining admittance to herds. 

In a herd of elephants the females with their calves form the advanced- 
guard, whilst the tuskers follow leisurely behind ; though, if terrified and 
put to flight, the order is speedily reversed, the mothers with calves falling 
behind, as the unencumbered tuskers have no one to see to but themselves. 
I have never known a case of a tusker's undertaking to cover the retreat of 
a herd. A herd is invariable led by a female, never a male, and the females 
with young ones are at all times dangerous if intruded upon. The necessity 
for the convenience of the mothers of the herd regulating its movements is 
evident, as they must accommodate the length and time of their marches, 
and the localities in which they rest or feed at different hours, to the require- 
ments of their young ones ; consequently the guidance of a tusker would 
not suit them. 

Elephants make use of a great variety of sounds in communicating with 
each other, and in expressing tlieir wants and feelings. Some are uttered 
by the trunk, some by tlie throat. The conjunctures in which either means 
of expression is employed cannot be strictly classified, as fear, pleasure, want, 
and other emotions, are sometimes indicated by the trunk, sometimes by 
the throat. An elephant rushing upon an assailant trumpets shrilly with 
fury, but if enraged by wounds or other causes, and brooding by itself, it 
expresses its anger by a continued hoarse grumbling from the throat. Eear 
is similarly expressed in a shrill brassy trumpet, or by a roar from the 
lungs. Pleasure by a continued low squeaking through the trunk, or an 
almost inaudible purring sound from the throat. Want — as a calf call- 
ing its mother — is cliiefly expressed by the throat. A peculiar sound is 
made use of by elephants to express dislike or apprehension, and at the 



same time to intimidate, as when the cause of some alarm has not been 
clearly ascertained, and the animals wish to deter an intruder. It is pro- 
duced by rapping the end of the trunk smartly on the ground, a current of 
air, hitherto retained, being sharply emitted through the trunk, as from a 
valve, at the moment of impact. The sound made resembles that of a large 
sheet of tin rapidly doubled. It has been erroneously ascribed by some 
writers to the animals beating their sides with tlieir trunks. 

The ranges of wild elephants are very extensive, and are traversed with 
considerable regularity. In the dry months — that is, from January to April, 
when no rain falls — the herds seek the neighbourhood of considerable streams 
a,nd shady forests. About June, after the first showers, they emerge to roam 
and feed on the young grass. By July or August this grass in hill tracts 
becomes long and coarse, and probably bitter, as tame elephants do not 
relish it. The elephants then descend now and again to the lower jungles, 
where the grass is not so far advanced. They here visit salt-licks and eat 
the earth — strongly impregnated with natron or soda — in common with 
most wild animals : also a fruit which grows at certain seasons on a 
dwarfed tree in the low country. I have been unable to ascertain its 
botanical name with certainty. It is said by natives to produce intoxication 
in elephants, under tlie influence of which they break surrounding trees, 
&c. I have never seen any signs of this myself, but the notion is widely 
spread amongst jungle-people. 

Another reason for their leaving the hills during continued rain is the 
annoyance caused by the flies and mosquitoes which then become very 
troublesome. The elephant-fly is always less numerous in the low-country 
jungles. This truly formidable pest appears in the rains ; it lives mostly 
in long grass, and attacks bison and sambur as well as elephants. When 
the grass becomes very wet, these flies collect on any passing animals, and 
so great is the irritation they cause, that elephants and bison are always 
found about the outskirts of the jungle at this time. The elephant-fly is 
dark grey in colour, about the size of a small bee, and lias a most formidable 
proboscis ; it is very soft, and the slightest blow kills it. 

Whilst in the low-country jungles a few elephants, chiefly males, occa- 
sionally stray into cultivation ; the mothers with calves keep aloof from the 
vicinity of man's dwellings. About December, when the jungles become 
dry, and fodder is scarce, all the herds leave the low country, and are sel- 
dom seen out of the hills or heavy forests until the next rains. 

Wliilst in open country the herds move about a good deal during tlie 
day in cloudy, showery weather. On very stormy and inclement days they 
keep to bamboo cover wliich is close and warm. During breaks, wlien the 


sun shines for a few hours, they come out eagerly to warm their huge 
bodies. They are then fond of standing on the sheet rock so common in 
the Mysore country about hill-ranges. The young calves and staid mothers, 
in small groups, half dozing as they bask, form tranquil family pictures at 
such times. Elephants are partial to rocky places at all seasons. 

AVhilst marching from one tract of forest to another, elephants usually 
travel in strict Indian file. They seldom stay more than one or two days at 
the same halting-place, as the fodder becomes exhausted. They rest during 
the middle hours of the night, as well as during the day. Some lie down, 
and they usually dispose themselves in small distinct squads of animals 
which seem to have an affection for each other. (Tame elephants frequently 
display a particular liking for one or other of their fellov/s.) About three 
o'clock they rise to feed or march, and by ten o'clock in the day they are 
again collected, and rest till afternoon ; at eleven at night they again rest. 
In showery cool weather elephants are frequently on the move all day long. 

Elephants generally drink after sunrise and before sunset. They seldom 
bathe after the si^n is down, except in very warm weather. Whilst fording 
water on cold nights, tame elephants curl up their trunks and tails to keep 
them out of it ; and if taken at a late hour to be washed after their day's 
work, frequently show their dislike to the unseasonable bath. 

Though a few calves are born at other seasons, the largest number make 
their appearance about September, October, and November. In a herd of 
fifty-five captured in June 1874, in Mysore, there was only one calf under 
six months of age, whilst seven were from eight to nine months. Amongst 
the females captured, eight calved between September and November. In 
eighty-five elephants captured in Chittagong, in January 1876, the bulk of 
the calves were from one to three months of age. I observed in Mysore 
that the herds invariably left heavy jungle about October for more open and 
dry country, on account of the wet and discomfort to the calving females 
and their offspring. 

"When a calf is born the herd remains with the mother two days ; the 
calf is then capable of marching. Even at this tender age calves are no 
encumbrance to the herd's movements ; the youngest climb hills and cross 
rivers assisted by their dams. In swimming, very young calves are sup- 
ported by their mothers* trunks, and held in front of them. When they are a 
few months old they scramble on to their mothers' shoulders, helping them- 
selves by holding on with their legs, or they swim alone. Young calves 
sent across rivers in charge of our tame elephants often did this, though 
they could swim by themselves if necessary. 

Full-grown elephants swim perhaps better than any other land animals. 


A batch of seventy-nine that I despatched from Dacca to Barrackpur, near 
Calcutta, in November 1875, had the Ganges and several of its large tidal 
branches to cross. In the longest swim they were six hours without touch- 
ing the bottom ; after a rest on a sand-bank, they completed the swim in 
three more ; not one was lost. I have heard of more remarkable swims 
than tliis. 

Much misconception exists on the subject of rogue, or solitary elephants. 
The usually accepted belief that these elephants are turned out of the 
herds by their companions or rivals is not correct. ]\Iost of the so-called 
solitary elephants are the lords of some herds near. They leave their com- 
panions at times to roam by themselves, usually to visit cultivation or open 
country, whither less bold animals, and the females encumbered ^ith calves, 
liesitate to follow. Sometimes, again, they make the expedition merely for 
the sake of soUtude. They, however, keep more or less to the jungle where 
their herd is, and follow its movements. Single elephants are also very 
frequently young, not old, males — animals not yet able to assert a position 
for themselves in the herd, and debarred from much intimate association 
with it by stronger rivals. They wander by themselves on the outskirts of 
the herd, or two or tliree such are found together, so that solitary is rather a 
misleading appellation. A really solitary elephant is, in my experience, and 
according to native hunters, an animal rarely met with. I do not believe 
in any male elephant being driven from its herd. If unable to cope with 
some stronger rival, it has merely to keep on the outskirts and give way, 
and it avoids molestation. I have seen this constantly; and where elephants 
are really solitary I believe the life is quite of their own choosing. Young 
males are only biding theii' time until they are able to meet all comers in 
a herd. 

I once met with a remarkable instance of a young male elephant, about 
two years old, which had lived a solitary life for three or four months. Its 
mother had probably fallen into one of the numerous old elephant-pits on 
the Billiga-rungun hills, and the calf must have remained near after the herd 
left the vicinity. It subsequently took up its quarters in the low country, 
and though one herd visited the locality, the young one was refused admis- 
sion, and it remained in tlie same place after the herd left. I captured it 
soon afterwards. 

Single male elephants spend their nights, and sometimes days, in predatory 
excursions into rice and other fields in the innnediate vicinity of villages. 
They become disabused of many of the terrors which render ordinary ele- 
phants timid and needlessly cautious. These elephants are by no means 
always evilly disposed. A solitary elephant I knew intimately at ]\lorley 


was a most inoffensive animal, and, altliongli bold in liis wanderings, never 
injured any one. Some male elephants, however, as much wandering herd 
tuskers as really solitary animals, are dangerous when suddenly come upon, 
but rarely wantonly malicious. 

Of cases recorded of really vicious animals perhaps the most notable is 
that of the Mandla ^' elephant, an elephant supposed to have been mad, and 
which killed an immense number of persons about five years ago. It is said 
to have eaten portions of some of its victims, but it probably only held their 
limbs in its mouth whilst it tore them to pieces. The Mandla elephant was 
shot, after a short but bloody career, by two officers. 

I have only known one instance of two full-grown male elephants, un- 
connected with herds, constantly associating together. These were a tusker 
and muchna (or tuskless male), in the Kakankotd forests. They were insep- 
arable companions in their night wanderings, but always remained a mile 
or two apart during the day. I knew the pair well in 1870-72 ; in the 
latter year I shot the tusker, as he had become dangerous, and had been 
proscribed by Government for killing people. 

Natives who live in localities frequented by elephants become very bold 
in driving them away from their fields at night. I once saw a stirring scene 
at the Honganoor tank or lake at the foot of the Billiga-rungun hills. It 
was in November 1870, and the rice-crop was nearly ripe, when I encamped 
at Bellatta, on the border of the wide expanse (some 600 acres) of level 
rice-fields. The stream from the Billiga-runguns which feeds the Hon- 
ganoor lake emerges from a deep gorge ; a mile farther on is the lake ; be- 
tween the gorge and the lake the water is diverted by many small runnels 
over the rice-land. This lake is artificial, of very great antiquity and beauty, 
and when full is dotted with floating islands of white and rose-coloured 
lotus, and a sort of water-convolvulus. Teal, duck, pelicans, flamingoes, 
wild geese, and cranes and storks of several kinds, are to be seen there at 
certain seasons in numbers ; pheasant-tailed jacanas walk on the lotus- 
leaves, uttering their musical cry ; and snipe are plentiful from November 
to February in the short grass round the water-spread. ]\Iany birds build 
their nests in the fringe of green rushes round the small bays ; amongst 
these the beautiful blue coot with red wattles is numerous. 

At evening as I rode into camp the scene across the waving sea of 
ripening paddy was very beautiful. To the west the lake shone like silver 
in the level rays of the sun, just dipping behind the old tamarind-trees on 
its embankment. To the east the glorious hills, their dark woods and frown- 
ing cliffs seeming close at hand, were bathed in pmple. In the glistening 

* Near Jubbulpoii', Central Provinces. 


rice-fields, unbroken by fences, trees stood here and tliere, in wliicli nestled 
the watchers' platforms. The smoke of fires near each showed that the men 
were cookin^^ their evening meal ; and \vhen darkness came on, the lights 
dotted over the plain both at the foot of, and on the platforms up in, the 
trees, with the voices of the watchers, made the scene a cheerful one. 

I had just finished dinner, and was enjoying a smoke before the blazing 
camp-fire, which lit to their topmost branches a pair of magnificent tamarind- 
trees under which my tent was pitched, when I heard a distant shout of 
" anay " (elephants). At once lights began to flit over tlie plain, moving 
towards one point ; tom-toms were beaten, and rattles, made from split bam- 
boos, sounded. An elephant trumpeted shrilly, the men yelled in defiance, till 
the intruders retreated to the jungle. The cover bordering the cidtivatiou 
was so dense as to afford secure shelter to elephants close at hand even 
during the day. After some little time, when the tom-toming and noise had 
ceased, a similar commotion took place at another point ; again the Will-o'- 
the-wisp lights moved forward with a repetition of the shouting and trum- 
peting. Tlie villagers who were keeping up my camp-fire told me it was 
only on occasional nights that the elephants visited the cultivation. The 
watchers were evidently in for it now, and they became thoroughly alert at 
all points. 

Once the elephants came within 200 yards of my camp, and long after 
I went to bed I heard the shouting and rattling of the watchers. These men 
were Shdlagas from the liills ; they were hired annually for a month or two 
at a fixed payment in grain for watching their crops by the low-country 
cultivators, who are themselves less able to stand the exposure in a rice-flat, 
and less bold in interfering with the elephants. The watchers provide 
themselves with torches of light split bamboos in bundles about eight feet 
long and eight inches in diameter. These are lighted at one end when 
required, and make a famous blaze. Armed with them the men sally forth 
to the spot where the elephants are feeding. Some carry the torches, the 
others precede them, so as to have the light beliind them. The elephants 
can be seen in open ground at 100 yards, shoidd they wait to let the liglits 
get so close. Sometimes troublesome rogues get beyond caring for this, 
though the men are very bold and approach to within 40 or 50 yards. 
Natives have frequently told me of particular elephants letting tliem get to 
within a few yards, and then putting their trunks into their mouths, and, 
withdrawing water, squu'ting it at the lights ! I need hardly say the latter 
part of the statement is entirely imaginary ; the idea, doubtless, arises from 
the attitude elephants often assume when in uncertainty or perplexity, put- 
ting the trunk into the mouth, and holding the tip gently between the lijis. 


The large area of rice-fields within the bed of the Honganoor lake was 
assessed long ago at one-third the usual rates on account of the depredations 
of elephants. The actual damage caused to crops by wild elephants is much 
less than is popularly supposed. The chief evil of their presence is the bar 
they oppose to any advance in certain localities. Agricultural progress in 
India is always on a very small scale. One cultivator secures an acre or 
two of land, and opens it up in rough style, but as he possesses little capital 
to withstand a bad season, he generally abandons his land if his first crop be 
eaten up by elephants or other animals. Eeclamation in jungle -localities 
only succeeds where several ryots open land together. In Mysore every 
facility is given by Government in granting jungle-land free of rent for 
some years, and on a reduced rental for a further term ; but the country 
bordering jungle -tracts is seldom sufficiently populous to necessitate any 
extensive incursions upon the surrounding jungles. Wlien .the necessity 
arises elephants can be easily driven back. 

The usually received notions of the height which elephants attain are 
much in excess of fact. Out of some hundreds of tame and newly-caught 
elephants which I have seen in the South of India and in Bengal, also from 
Burmah and different parts of India, and of which I have carefully measured 
all the largest individuals, I have not seen one 10 feet in vertical height at 
the shoulder. The largest was an elephant in the Madras Commissariat stud 
at Hoonsoor, wliich measured 9 feet 10 inches. The next largest are two 
tuskers belongmg to his Highness the Maharajah of Mysore, each 9 feet 8 
inches, captured in Mysore some forty years ago, and still alive. 

Of females, the largest I have measured — two leggy animals in the stud 
at Dacca — were respectively 8 feet 5 inches and 8 feet 3 inches. As illus- 
trating how exceptional this height is in females, I may say that, out of 140 
elephants captured by me in kheddahs in Mysore and Bengal, in 1874 and 
1876, the tallest females were just 8 feet. The above are vertical measure- 
ments at tlie shoulder. 

In India elephants are often measured by throwing a tape over the 
shoulders, or even back, the ends being brought to the ground on each side, 
and haK the length taken as the animal's height.""* Even the same elephant 
varies with its condition when measured in this way. An 8 -feet elephant, 
in fair condition, gives a height of 8 feet 9 inches by this method. 

There is little doubt that there is not an elephant 1 feet at the shoulder 

in India. As bearing on this subject, I may quote the following from the 

English Cyclopccclia. The Mr Corse referred to therein was a gentleman 

evidently thoroughly conversant with elephants, probably in charge of the 

* This accounts for the 11 or 12 feet elephants we sometimes hear of. 


Government animals in Bengal. His paper on the elephant was read before 
the Eoyal Society in 1799. 

"During the war with Tippoo Sultan, of the 150 elephants imder the 
management of Captain Sandys, not one was 10 feet high, and only a few 
males 9-^- feet high. ]\Ir Corse was very particular in ascertaining the height 
of the elephants used at ]\Iadras, and with the army under Marquis Corn- 
wallis, wliere there were both Bengal and Ce}'lon elephants, and he was 
assured that those of Ceylon were neither higher nor superior to those of 

" The Madras elephants have been said to be from 17 to 20 feet high. 
Now let us see how dimensions shrink before the severity of measurement. 
Mr Corse hea^d from several gentlemen who had been at Dacca that the 
Nabob there had an elephant about 14 feet high. Mr Corse was desirous 
to measure him, especially as he had seen tlie elephant often at a former 
period, and then supposed him to be 12 feet high. He accordingly went 
to Dacca. At first he sent for the mahout or driver, wlio without liesita- 
tion assured him that the elephant was from 10 to 12 cubits — that is, from 
15 to 18 feet high. Mr Corse measured the elephant exactly, and was 
rather surprised to find that the animal did not exceed 10 feet in height." 

Twice round an elephant's foot is his height, within one or two inches ; 
more frequently it is exactly so. Persons unacquainted with elephants not 
imfrequently guess from ten to fifteen times round the foot as the height. 
As the diameter of a large male elephant's foot is 18 inches, ten circum- 
ferences would make his height 47 feet. 

The height of African elephants is greater than that of Asiatic elephants, 
both in the males and females. Sir Samuel Baker, in his Nile Tributaries 
of Ahijssinia, says both sexes average about one foot taller than the 
Asiatic elephant. 

The age to which the elephant lives is, as must ever be the case with 
denizens of the jungle, uncertain. The general opinion of experienced 
natives is that it attains 120 years in exceptional cases, but more generally 
to about 80 years. This view, however, is based on observations of 
elephants in captivity ; under the more favourable conditions of a natural 
life the elephant must attain a greater age than when confined. My own 
opinion is that the elephant attains at least to 150 years. 

One of the best instances I have seen from which to form conclusions 
is the case of a female elephant, Blieemruttee, belonging to his Higlniess 
the Mahari'ijah of ]\Iysore. This elephant was ca})tured in Cooi'g in 1805, 


and was then a calf of three years of age. She is still, at 7G, in 
good working condition, and does not present the appearance of a particu- 
larly aged elephant, which is always shown in the lean and rugged head, 
prominent bones, deeply-sunk temples, and general appearance of decay. 
Bheemruttee is, however, past her prime. 

In captivity she has lived under much less favouralile conditions than a 
wild elephant, in being exposed to heat, often underfed, and subjected to 
irregularities of all kinds. Amongst newly-caught elephants I have seen 
many females evidently older than Bheemruttee with young calves at heel. 
Mahouts believe that female elephants breed up to about 8 years of age. 

One of the most remarkable facts in connection with elephants is the 
extreme rarity of any remains of dead ones being found in the jungles. 
This circumstance is so marked as to have given rise to the notion amongst 
the Sholagas of the Billiga-rungun hills that elephants never die ; whilst the 
Kurrabas of Kakankote believe that there is a place, unseen by human eye, 
to which they retire to end their days. In my own wanderings for some 
years through elephant-jungles I have only seen the remains of one female 
(that we knew had died in calving), and one drowned elephant brought 
down by a mountain torrent. Not only have I never myself seen the 
remains of any elephant that had died a natural death, but I have never 
met any one amongst the jungle -tribes, or professional elephant-hunters, 
who had seen a carcass, except at a time when murrain visited the Chitta- 
gong and Kakankote forests. Bones w^ould not decay for some years, and 
teeth and tusks would survive for some time, yet not a single pair of ivories 
has ever, as far as I know, been found in the Mysore jungles during the 
time I have known them. In Chittagong, in January 1876, I found a 
]Dortion of a large tusk in a morass, much eaten by exposure ; it weighed 
3 3 lb. Another was found in Tipperah, almost fossilised, weighing 36 lb. ; 
there were no other remains in either case. 

The fact of remains of bison, deer, and other wild animals seldom being 
found is equally singular. Their bones would be sooner disposed of than 
those of elephants ; still it is strange that, except in cases of epidemics 
amongst these animals, they are hardly ever seen. Certain classes of wild 
animals may possibly retreat to quiet localities when they find their 
powers failing them, as places where alarms and necessity for flight are 
unlikely to overtake them. But this is not the case with such gregarious 
animals as elephants. It may be supposed that in thick forests vultures 
do not attract attention to their carcasses, and monsoon rains and jungle- 
fires soon dispose of them. Still one would think that some carcasses at 
least would be found, whereas they never are ; and though it is certain 


tlie animals do die, I know of no reasonable explanation of what becomes 
of them. 

The following interesting reference to the subject of dead elephants 
never being seen is made by Sir Emerson Tennent in his Wild, Elephant. 
I venture to quote it as showing the similarity of opinion of the natives of 
Ceylon and the wild tribes of Mysore : — 

" The natives generally assert that the body of a dead elephant is seldom 
or never to be discovered in the woods. And certain it is that frequenters 
of the forest with whom I have conversed, whether European or Singhalese, 
are consistent in their assurances that they have never found the remains 
of an elephant that had died a natural death. One chief, the Wanyyah of 
the Trincomalie district, told a friend of mine, that once after a severe 
murrain which had swept the province, he found the carcasses of elephants 
that had died of the disease. On the other hand, a European gentleman, 
who for thirty-six years, without intermission, had been living in the jungle, 
ascending to the summits of mountains in tlie prosecution of the trigon- 
ometrical survey, and penetrating valleys in tracing roads and opening 
means of communication — one, too, who has made the habits of the wild 
elephant a subject of constant observation and study — has often expressed 
to me his astonishment that, after seeing many thousands of living elephants 
in all possible situations, he had never yet found a single skeleton of a dead 
one, except of those which had fallen by the rifle. 

" The Singhalese have a superstition in relation to the close of life in 
the elephant : they believe that, on feeling the approach of dissolution, he 
repairs to a solitary valley, and there resigns himself to death. A native 
who accompanied Mr Cripps when hunting in the forests of Ananijapoora, 
intimated to him that he was then in the immediate vicinity of tlie spot 
* to wliicli the elephants come to die,' but that it was so mysteriously con- 
cealed that, although every one believed in its existence, no one had ever 
succeeded in penetrating to it. At tlie corral, which I have described at 
Kornegalle, in 1847, Dekigame, one of the Kandyan chiefs, assured me it 
was the universal belief of his countrymen that tlie elephants, when about 
to die, resorted to a valley in Saffragam, among the mountains to the east 
of Adam's Teak, which was reached by a narrow pass with walls of rock on 
either side, and that here, by the side of a lake of clear water, they took 
their last repose." 

This belief of a universal sepulchre is, however, quite untenable as 
regards IMysore, as there is no spot in its jungles that is not iienetrateil at 
times by the Sholagas or Kurraljas. Nor is the idea defensible on other 


There is an epidemic disease, corresponding to murrain in cattle, from 
which wild and tame elephants suffer at long intervals. It attacked the 
elephants in the Government stud at Dacca, in Bengal, about thirty years 
ago, and carried off nearly fifty per cent of a total of upwards of three 
hundred. It lasted, with varying virulence, for more than ten years. The 
animals in best condition suffered most ; only two, both in poor condition, 
are recorded as having recovered after seizure. The symptoms were, break- 
ings-out and gatherings on the throat and legs, spots on the tongue, and 
running from the eyes. With the cessation of the flow from the eyes the 
animals died, usually on the second day after attack. In 1862 a similar 
epidemic carried off large numbers of elephants in the Chittagong forests. 
A few years later the herds in the Kakaukote jungles in Mysore were 
attacked ; but the mortality was not great, and the disease soon left. On 
this occasion the fact of the elephants dying was well known to tlie 

The period of gestation in the elephant is said by experienced natives 
to vary as the calf is male or female, being twenty-two months in the case 
of the former, and eighteen in the latter. I cannot of my own observation 
afford conclusive proof that such is the case, thougli I believe there is some 
truth in the statement. I have known elephants to calve twenty months 
after capture, the young always being males when eighteen months were 
exceeded, and it was not known how long the mothers had been in calf 
before capture. The female elephant receives the male again about eight 
or ten months after calving. 

Male elephants of mature age are subject to periodical paroxysms, 
supposed to be of a sexual nature. They are said to be must, or mad, when 
under their influence. Fits of must differ in duration in different animals ; 
in some they last for a few weeks, in others for even four or five months. 
Elephants are not always violent or untractable under their influence, being 
frequently only drowsy and lethargic. The approach of the period of must is 
indicated by the commencement of a flow of oily matter from the small 
hole in the temple on each side of the head, which orifice is found in all 
elephants, male and female. The temples also swell. The elephant fre- 
quently acts somewhat strangely, and is dull and not so obedient as usual. 
In the advanced stages the oily exudation trickles freely down from the 
temples, which are then much swollen. 

On the first indications the elephant is strongly secured. If he becomes 
dangerous his food is thrown to him, and water supplied in a trough pushed 
within his reach. Fatal accidents are of common occurrence in cases of 
must elephants getting loose. They usually attack man or any of their own 


species near, and the society of a female does not appear always to appease 
them. I once saw one of our tuskers, which was then only under suspicion 
of an approaching fit, break away from the control of liis mahout as he was 
being ridden to water, and, despite severe punishment, attack and knock 
down a female at her picket near ; and, had his tusks not been cut, he 
would without doubt have killed her on the spot. He was at last driven 
off by spears thrown at his trunk and head, when he stalked across the 
open plain with his mahout on his neck, fury in his eye, master of all he 
surveyed, and e\ddently courting battle with any created Ijeing. The men 
had a difficult and dangerous task to secure him. His hind-legs were at 
last tied from behind the trunk of a tree near which he stood, and the 
mahout having drawn up a chain by a cord, and secured it round his neck, 
he was moored fore and aft. I shall never forget the mahout's fervent 
ejaculation of " Allah ! Allah ! " as he slipped over the elephant's tail when 
he was made fast. 

The flow of must occasionally, but very seldom, occurs in female 
elephants. I have seen it twicje in newly-caught females in the prime of 
life, and in very full condition. It never occurs, I believe, in tame female 

IMahouts can usually tell the age of elephants tolerably correctly. A 
young animal, though of full size, or a very old one, cannot be mistaken, but 
it requires much experience to estimate those of middle age. I have known 
even experienced men differ about the same animal to the extent of fifteen 
years. The general appearance of the animal suffices in some cases. A 
very old elephant is usually in poor condition, and the skin looks shiny and 
shrivelled. The head is lean and rugged, the skull appearing to have little 
but skin upon it ; the temples and eyes are sunken ; and the fore-legs, in- 
stead of bulging out above the knee with muscle, are almost of the same 
girth throughout. Instead of walking firmly and planting the feet flat, an 
aged elephant brings the feet to the ground somewhat in the manner of 
a plantigrade animal, touching with the heels first. But all the above 
symptoms may be present in a greater or less degree in debilitated, middle- 
aged animals, and are consequently not conclusive ; but the appearance of 
the elephant's ear will probably settle the question. The ear is relied upon 
in ageing elephants as the teeth are in a horse. In very young elephants 
— up to six or seven years — the top of the ear is not turned over (as in 
man); but with advancing years it laps over, in old t'lephants very much so, 
and the ear is ragged and torn along the lower edge. 

The elephant is full grown, l)ut not fully mature, at about twenty-five 
years of age. At this periixl it may be compared to a liuman being at 


eighteen ; and it is not in full vigour and strength till about thirty-five. 
Female elephants usually give birth to their first calf at sixteen years of 
age, sometimes at thirteen or fourteen, but are then palpably immature 
themselves. I have heard of what appears to be a well-authenticated case 
of a female elephant having two calves at a birth. Many wild female 
elephants are accomj^anied by two, sometimes three, calves of different ages. 

Elephants breed about once in two and a half years. Two calves 
are usually sucldng at the same time; and I have even seen the eldest 
of three, a young elephant five and a half feet high, and about five years 
old, that had to stoop to reach its mother, suck occasionally. I need hardly 
say that the young elephant sucks with its mouth, not its trunk. 

Calves usually stand exactly three feet high at the shoulder when born ; 
the trunk is then only ten inches long, and possesses little flexibility. The 
average weight of several calves I have weighed on the second day after 
birth has been 200 lb. They live entirely upon milk till six months old, 
when they eat a little tender grass ; their chief support, however, is still 
milk for some months. 

The elephant very rarely breeds in confinement, but tliis is owing to 
the segregation of the sexes, and also to the physical causes of insufficient 
food or hard work. It would not answer from an economic point of view 
to breed elephants in India, as, before they were of a useful age — fifteen 
years — they would have cost more than would suffice to capture a number 
of mature wild ones, ready for work. It is said that they are bred in a 
semi-wild state, and with little expense, in parts of Burmah and Siam. 
The females there are shackled and left at large in the forests during the 
non-working months, where wild males have access to them. But in Burmah 
fodder is plentiful, and the young stock cost nothing till taken up for sale. 

The female elephant evinces no peculiar attachment to her offspring. 
The statement of Knox, quoted by Sir Emerson Tennent, that " the shees 
are alike tender of any one's young ones as of their own" is incorrect. 
Much exclusiveness is shown by elephants in the detailed arrangements 
amongst themselves in a herd, and if the mothers and young ones be closely 
watched, it will be seen that the latter are very rarely allowed familiarities 
by other females, nor, indeed, do they seek them. I have seen many cases 
in the kheddahs where young elephants, after losing their mothers by death 
or other causes, have been refused assistance by the other females, and have 
been buffeted about as outcasts. I have only known one instance of a very 
gentle, motherly elephant in captivity allowing a motherless calf to suck 
along with her own young one. 

Sir Emerson Tennent mentions the belief that if a wild female elephant 


happen to be separated from her young for only two days, though giving 
suck, she never after recognises or acknowledges it. I apprehend that this 
idea arose from the fact that amongst newly-captured elephants, through the 
anxiety and exhaustion attending the mother's efforts to escape, her milk 
is invariably dried up for the time being. I have then seen elephants repel 
their calves, whose importunities annoyed them. But with the return of 
milk after a few days' rest and cooling food they have suckled them as 
before. In captivity the female is by no means jealous of her young being 
handled, and strangers may approach and fondle her caK immediately after 
its birth without incurring her resentment. 

It is exceedingly entertaining to note the gravity of young calves, and the 
way in which tliey keep close to their bulky mothers. The extreme gentle- 
ness of elephants, the care they take never to push against, or step upon, 
their attendants, doubtless arises from an instinctive feeling designed for tlie 
protection of their young, which a rough, though unintentional, push or blow 
with the legs of such huge animals would at once kill. Amongst all created 
creatures the elephant stands unrivalled in gentleness. The most intelligent 
horse cannot be depended upon not to tread on his master's toes, and if ter- 
rified makes no hesitation in dashing away, even should he upset any one in 
so doing. But elephants, even huge tuskers whose heads are high in the 
air, and whose keepers are mere pigmies beside them, are so cautious that 
accidents very seldom occur through carelessness on their part. In tlicj 
kheddahs, though elephants are excited by struggling, they never overlook 
the men on foot engaged in securing the captives ; and though there would 
seem to be great danger in being amidst the forest of huge legs and bulky 
bodies of the tame elephants, they evince such wonderful instinct in avoiding 
injuring the men that I have never seen an accident occur through them. 

When an alarm occurs in a herd the young ones immediately vanish 
under their mothers, and are then seldom seen again. A herd containing a 
large number of calves would be supposed under these circumstances by the 
uninitiated to consist entirely of full-grown elephants. I have only known 
two young elephants disabled in many rushes and crushes of large herds 
that I have witnessed. The mothers help their offspring up steep places 
with a push behind, and manage to get them through or over every difficulty 
with great ingenuity. 

The tusks of the Asiatic elephant are much smaller than those of the 
African. The largest tusks of any elephant that I have myself shot measured 
respectively 4 feet 11 inches and 5 feet in length, outside curve ; IGi inches 
in circumference at the gum ; and weighed 74^^ lb. the pair. An elephant 
with one enormous tusk, and one diseased and broken, was shot in the 



Billiga-riingiin hills in 18G3 by Sir Victor Brooke and Colonel Douglas 
Hamilton. An account from the pen of the former gentleman of their 
adventures with this elej)hant appears in Chap. XVII. ; and the following 
dimensions and weight of both tusks, from the same source, may be relied 
upon : — 

Eight Tusk. 

Total length, outside curve, .... 

Length of part outside socket or nasal 1 lones, outside curve, 
Length of part inside socket, outside curve, 
Greatest circumference, ..... 
Weight, ....... 

Left Tusk.* 

Total length, outside curve. 
Outside socket, do., 
Inside do. do.. 

Greatest circumference. 





















49 lb. 

Tusks are firmly embedded in sockets or cylinders of bone which run up 
to the forehead and end at a line drawn from eye to eye. Tusks, except 
those of very aged elephants, are only solid for a portion of their length ; 
the hollow is filled with a firm, bloody pulp. In young animals the tusks 
are only solid for a portion of their length even outside the gum, and are 
hollow throughout the embedded portion. With age the pulp cavity decreases 
in depth, till, in very old animals, it becomes almost obliterated. In the 
large tusk referred to above, the pulp hollow extends from the base through 
half the embedded portion (about 13 J inches). In a pair of tusks belong- 
ing to Colonel Douglas Hamilton it is 10 -|- inches in an embedded length of 
25. As a rule, tusks show barely one half of their total length outside the 
jaw of the living animal. The length within and without the nasal bones 
is generally exact, but the lip or gum hides a few inches of the projecting 
half. As the sockets or nasal bones of a large elephant are from 1 foot 6 
inches to 1 foot 9 inches in length, this admits of an elephant's having a 
tusk 3 1 feet long, of which only 1 1 foot (the gum hides about 4 inches) is 

* Sir Victor Brooke says : " The diseased (left) tusk is a very remarkable example from a patho- 
logical point of view. The pulp cavity is entirely obliterated, a mass of excessively dense nodular 
dentine being formed in its place. As far as I can judge, the tusk has been broken off short after 
attaining large dimensions, and in the rupture a deep longitudinal rent extended backwards into 
the pulp cavity, giving rise to diseased condition of the pulp. The stench from the tusk when ex- 
tracted was horriljle." 


visible. This rule holds pretty closely for all elephants until they become 
aged, when, if the tusks grow abnormally long, which is not always the 
case, the exposed portion becomes longer than the embedded, as the latter 
is limited to the length which the nasal bones attain — viz., about 1 f foot 
in the largest skulls. 

The points are usually cut from the tusks of tame elej)hants, and the ex- 
tremity is encircled with a brass or iron ring to prevent tlie tusk splitting, 
and for show. In cases where too much has been cut from the tusk and 
the hollow portion entered, dreadful mischief ensues. I have seen a tusker, 
one of whose tusks had rotted away from this cause, with the socket far into 
the head filled with maggots. Tusks if once lost are never renewed. 

Sir Emerson Tennent considers at some length the use for which tlie 
tusks of male elephants can be designed. He says : — 

" But here there arises a further and very curious inquiry as to the 
specific objects in the economy of the elephant to which its tusks are con- 
ducive. Placed as it is in Ceylon, in the midst of the most luxuriant pro- 
fusion of its favourite food, and witli no natural enemies against whom to 
protect itself, it is difficult to conjecture any probable utility which it can 
derive from such appendages. Their absence is unaccompanied by any 
inconvenience to the individuals in whom they are wanting ; and as regards 
the few who possess them, the only operations in which I am aware of their 
tusks being employed is to assist in ripping open the stems of the joggery 
palms and young palmirahs to extract the farinaceous core ; and in splitting 
up the juicy shaft of the plantain. 

" If the tusks were designed to be employed offensively, some alertness 
would naturally be exhibited in using them. So peaceable and harmless is 
the life of the elephant, that nature appears to have left it unprovided with 
any special weapon of offence ; and although in an emergency it may pusli 
or gore with its tusks, their almost vertical position, added to the difficulty 
of raising its head above the level of the slioulder, is inconsistent with tlie 
idea of their being designed for attack, since it is impossible for the animal 
to deliver an effectual blow, or to wield its tusks as the deer and the buflalo 
can wield their horns. 

" Among elephants, jealousy and other causes of irritation frequently 
occasion contentions between individuals of the same herd ; but on sucli 
occasions their general habit is to strike with their trunks, and to bear down 
their opponents with their heads. It is doubtless correct tluit an elej^hant, 
when prostrated by the force or fury of an antagonist of its own species, is 
often wounded by the downward pressure of the tusks, which in any other 
position it would be almost impossible to use offensively." 


Before treating on this question I must refer to Sir Emerson Tennent's 
work, The Wild Elephant, published originally iu 1859, and again in 1866. 
This is, I believe, the most recent work on the elephant, and has been ser- 
viceable in removing some of the grossest misapprehensions regarding it ; but 
it is full of the errors which are unavoidable when a man wiites on a subject 
with which he has no practical acquaintance, and musters information with- 
out having sufficient knowledge to enable him to choose the good and reject 
the evil. The book is wiitten in such a fascinating and earnest style that 
it is difficult to believe that the author is mostly romancing, and before I 
knew anything of elephants I revelled in his descriptions. But when on 
even short personal acquaintance with the noble animal I found that, amongst 
his numerous accomplishments, the power to take all four feet off the ground 
at the same moment was not one, I was obliged to conclude that the elephant 
in the case quoted by Sir Emerson as having cleared a barricade 15 feet 
high, only carrying away the top bar, could not have accomplished the feat ; 
and though Sir Emerson subsequently wrote to the person from whom he 
had the information, who wrote to the Cutchery Modliar of Kornegalle who 
had told him, who sent a native to measure the place again, who said he 
found the elephant had only made a clear jump of 9 feet, because he had 
climbed on to a white-ant's hill from which he sprang, I found myself unable 
to place further belief in the author. More extended acquaintance with 
elephants entirely dissipated my faith in the wild elephant of Sir Emerson 
Tennent's imagination and of my inexperienced days. Sir Emerson Ten- 
nent has, in many places in his work, substituted theory and fancy for fact. 

In the above matter of tusks he has indulged in pure theory. In his 
account of the two or three captures of elephants he witnessed (the largest 
number caught at one time being apparently nine), he does not mention any 
tuskers having been taken, though the artist in the illustrations to his work 
(which are excellent and lifelike pictures) has thrown in a tusker amongst 
the captives. Sir Emerson Tennent being confessedly no sportsman prob- 
ably never saw a wild tusker. In Ceylon tuskers are few and far between, and 
no one but a sj)ortsman who constantly followed elephants would be likely 
to fall in ^vith them. 

Far from tusks being useless appendages to elephants, and of little 
service for offence, they are amongst the most formidable of any weapons 
with which Nature has furnished her creatures, and none are used with 
more address. They are not placed almost vertically, as stated by Sir 
Emerson Tennent,"'' and they can be used at almost any angle. In a herd 
of elephants the tuskers maintain the height of discipline. Every individual 

* This will be seen in the illustrations of elephants. 


60 " MUCKNASr 

gives way before them, and in serious fights amongst themselves one or 
other is frequently killed outright. So great is the dread entertained by all 
elephants of a tusker, that our stanchest tame females shrank if any of the 
tame tuskers turned suddenly in their direction. Superiority in a herd 
appears to attach to the different tuskers in proportion to the size of their 
tusks ; no tusker thinks of serious rivalry with one of heavier calibre than 
himself In tlie kheddahs in Mysore we found the services of tuskers 
invaluable ; we had two, amongst others, that were taller and with longer 
tusks than any wild ones we captured, and their presence was always suffi- 
cient to awe the most obstreperous wild male whilst the men were securing 
it. Our tame elephants' tusks were cut and blunt, but we had steel glaives 
to slip on if necessary, \vith wliich they could have killed any elephant in a 
very short time. 

Tusks are not used to assist the elephant in procuring food. Small 
trees are overturned by pushing with the curled trunk, or feet if necessary ; 
and to get at the core of a palm-tree, or break up the plantain, the pressure 
of his feet alone is used. 

On the continent of India imichnas, or male elephants horn without 
tusks, are decidedly rare. The word muckna is derived from moohh, the 
mouth or face. Mucknas can hardly be distinguished from females at the 
lirst glance, but if they are full-grown animals their superior size shows 
their sex. Their tushes or prongs are generally a little longer and thicker 
than those of female elephants. It is a common belief that mucknas are 
larger as a rule than tuskers. This is not the case, but they are generally 
stouter and more vigorous animals. Their good development is sought to 
be accounted for by their being said to be allowed by their mothers to suck 
after young tuskers have been driven off, when their sharp little tusks hurt 
their mothers ; but this, though an ingenious explanation, is not a correct 
one, as the young tusker can suck without its tusks touching its mother, and 
I have always seen them suckled as long as the female calves are. 

A common belief that mucknas are usually vicious animals is also 
groundless. They are generally much ill-treated by the tuskers of the herd, 
upon whom they are powerless to retaliate, and I have seen one or two 
decidedly timid in consequence. A timid elephant is always less safe 
than one of better courage, but I have not found mucknas to ho. naturally 
ill-tempered. The absence of tusks appears to be a merely accidental cir- 
cumstance, as the want of beard or whiskers in a man. ]\Iucknas breed in 
the herds, and the peculiarity is not hereditary nor transmitted. This is a 
known fact, and is demonstrated by the occasional occurrence of tuskers, 
doubtless from tuskless sires, in Ceylon herds. 


In Ceylon a male elephant with tusks is a rara avis : Sir Samuel Baker 
says that not more than one in 300 is provided with them. Out of 140 
elephants, of which 5 1 were males, which I captured in Mysore and Bengal 
in 1874-76, only 5 were mucknas. 

It is difficult to imagine what can cause the vital difference of tusks 
and no tusks between the male elephant of continental India and Ceylon. 
The climate may be said to be the same, as also their food ; and I have not 
seen any theory advanced that seems at all well founded to account for their 
absence in the Ceylon elephant. There is a somewhat similar case in the 
common antelope {Antilope hezoartica) of Southern India's having inferior 
horns to those of Central India, an 18-inch black buck being a decided 
rarity in Mysore, and 14 inches being the average, whilst in other parts 
of India they attain to 26 or 27 inches. Sambur {Biisa Aristotdis) in the 
Chittagong and other forests to the east of the Bay of Bengal have inferior 
horns to those of the Neilgherries and other parts of India. 

Elephants occasionally lose one tusk, sometimes both, in accidents in 
the jungle, and some have only one tusk from birth. The latter are known 
as " Gundsh " (the name of the Hindoo god of wisdom) by Hindoos, and are 
reverenced by them if the tusk retained be the right-hand one. 

The tusks of the male elephant-calf show almost from birth. I believe 
that they are never renewed, and that the first tusks are permanent. In 
many works on the elephant it is stated that the first tusks are shed before 
the second year, but I believe this to be an error — one that has gained 
ground through so many writers deriving their information from a common 
source, I have made this a point of particular inquiry amongst experienced 
elephant -attendants, and have found them unanimous in dissenting from 
the idea of any such process of renewal. It is impossible that such an im- 
portant matter could have ( scaped their notice (natives are keen observers), 
and I apprehend that the error — as it undoubtedly is — has arisen through 
some savant's diagnosis of the elephant's dentition, based on analogy, or the 
confounding the teeth and the tusks, as the same word is used to denote 
either in several native languages. Jerdon has given his support to the 
statement as far as adopting it goes, but this is a case in which a deserv- 
edly trusted writer could hardly have had the information from his own 
observation. I have had many young elephants in my charge, and never 
noticed anything of the change alluded to. 

The Indian female elephant is always born with U(slics or short down- 
ward prongs in the upper jaw, rarely more than four inches in length out of 
the gum : these, wliilst present, are used for stripping bark off trees, &c.; but 
they are seldom retained long, being generally broken off early in life, and 


they do not appear to be at all necessary to the elephant. Female elephants 
use them amongst themselves in striking each other, raising their trunks in 
doing so, and bearing downwards with their tushes. These tuslies are never 
renewed. A young female which I had, in trying to overturn a tree, broke 
both her tushes one after the other. 

The only pace of the elephant is the walk, capable of being increased to 
a fast shuffle of about fifteen miles an hour for a very short distance. It 
can neither trot, canter, nor gallop. It does not move with the legs on the 
same side together, but nearly so. A very good runner might keep out of 
an elephant's way on a smooth piece of turf ; but in the ground in which 
they are generally met, any attempt to escape by flight, unless supplemented 
by concealment, would be unavailing. 

As before stated, an elephant cannot jump, and, though very clever in 
surmounting obstacles, can never have all four feet off the ground together. 
Whether it is the peculiar formation of the hind-legs, with knees instead of 
hocks, or the weight and bulk of the animal that incapacitates him, I cannot 
say, but he is physically incapable of making the smallest spring, either in 
vertical height or horizontal distance. Thus a trench seven feet wide is 
impassable to an elephant, though the step of a large one in full stride is 
about six and a half feet. 

The idea that wild elephants have decreased of late years is not uncom- 
mon in India. It appears to have arisen from the fact of orders having 
been issued of late years by the Supreme and Local Governments for their 
protection ; also from their undoubted decrease in Ceylon. But the case 
of that island is hardly analogous to that of the continent. In Ceylon 
elephants have always been made a peculiar object of pursuit by large 
numbers of sportsmen and paid native hunters, whilst their range is not 
without its limits. In continental India the actual numbers shot by Euro- 
pean sportsmen has always been very small, and it was only for a few years 
that natives were induced to turn their attention to killing them by a 
reward given for their destruction in the Madras Presidency. This was 
soon withdrawn, when the natives' interest in their pursuit ceased ; and the 
representations of humane officials having further led to the curtailment of 
the wasteful methods of trapping them practised by native hunters, the wild 
elephant now enjoys perfect immunity throughout the Western Glults, and 
those boundless jungles extending for hundreds of miles along the foot of 
the Himalayas into Burmah and Siam. The number annually caught by 
the Government establishments is comparatively very small ; and there is no 
doubt that all the forest ground that can be legitimately allowed to the 
wild elephant is as fully occupied at present as is desirable. I have ex- 


amined the elephant-catching records of the past forty-five years in Bengal, 
and the present rate of capture attests the fact that there is no diminution 
in the numbers now obtainable ; whilst in Southern India elephants have 
become so numerous of late years that the rifle wiU have to be again called 
into requisition to protect the ryots from their depredations, unless more 
systematic measures for their capture and utilisation than are at present in 
vogue be maintained. It cannot but be a matter of hearty congratulation 
to all interested in so fine and harmless an animal that there is no chance 
of the sad fate that is pursuing his African congener, and leading to his 
rapid extinction, affecting the Asiatic elepliant. 





THE following are the cliief methods adopted for the capture of wild 
elephants : — 

Drivins; into IJieddaTis or enclosures. 

Hunting with trained females. 


Noosing from trained elephants' backs. 

The kheddah plan is the only one adapted for the capture of whole 
herds, the others being for single elephants. It is the method in vogue by 
the Government hunting establishments in Bengal, and is conducted as 
follows : A hunting party is collected wliicli consists of 370 men, all 
accustomed and trained to the work. Their duties and scales of pay are 
shown in the following roll. They are under the immediate control of the 
jemadar, or native sergeant, who is responsible, under the European officer, 
for the collecting of the men and the whole operations of the party. In 
addition to their pay each man is allowed free rations at the rate of 2 lb. 
of rice per diem, and 2 lb. of salt fish, chillies, and salt, per mciisem. These 
provisions ordinarily cost about Es. 3 per head per mensem ; and the total 
cost of a party is Rs. 3800 (£380) px^r mensem. 

Attached to each elephant-hunting party there must be a number of 
tame elephants, or Icoonldes, to deal with the wild elephants when captured ; 
the number of which latter must depend upon the strenglh of the koonkie 



estabKshment, as it is useless to catch more than the tame ones can deal 
with efficiently. Not only have the wild ones to be led out of the jungles, 
and loosed from picket and taken to drink and bathe daily, but each 
requires an elephant's load of fodder, which the tame ones have to bring. 
Consequently two wild ones to each tame one is the maximum that can be 















Rate of 


pay per 




































To collect establishment and conduct operations. 

To Hillmen. 

To furnish reports, accounts, &c. 

To go in advance and ascertain the position and num- 
ber of herds, and to lead the i)arty in surrounding a 

To surround and guard the herd, construct enclosure, 
or kheddah, and drive the elephants in. 

To keep a check on the circle of coolies by going round 
at short intervals ; also to mount guard at the 
superintendent's camp. These men are furnished 
with guns. 

To bind the wild elephants when impounded in the 

These men are furnished with guns and take post at any 
point where the elephants show a determination to 
force the cordon of coolies. 

The hunting party proceeds to the forest at the commencement of the 
dry weather — usually in December — equipped for two or three months, 
and the scouts having found a herd (a large one is always sought, as there 
is no more trouble in catching it than a small one), the hunters are 
halted within a mile, when liaK of them file off to the right and half 
to the left. Along these diverging lines, which are to meet beyond the herd 
and enclose it, two men are left at every fifty yards or so as a guard. The 
surround when completed is often six or eight miles in circumference, as if 
the ground is favourable the men are posted more widely apart than two at 
fifty yards. It is a rule in elephant-catching that, this circle being once 
completed, the herd can only escape through great carelessness on the part 
of the guard. In a couple of hours the hunters run up a thin fence of split 
bamboos all round the ring, and make rough shelters of boughs for themselves. 
Their only duty then is to see that the elephants do not break out of the circle. 
The animals are seldom seen during the day : at night large fires are kept up, 
and if they approach, shouts and shots are used to drive them back. The 


bamboo fencing serves to show the jemadar and his assistants where the 
elephants have broken out should they escape, so that the particular men who 
are to blame can be detected. The surround is always made as extensive as 
possible, as with plenty of cover, fodder, and water inside, the elephants give 
less trouljle than if confined in a small space. The investment may have 
to be maintained for a week or so, sometimes much longer. The elephants 
give some little trouble for the first two nights, but after that time they 
seldom try to force the guards unless fodder becomes scarce inside. The 
guards are supplied with provisions, and cook their nasals at their posts. 

The construction of the kheddah, inside the large circle, is commenced 
as soon as the elephants are surrounded. For this work one of the two 
coolies is taken from each post from 8 a.m. till 4 p.m., as tlie elephants give 
little trouble during the day, and a single sentry suffices. The Hindoostanee 
word kheddah means the enclosure or pound intended for imprisoning the 
herd. Tliis is formed of stout uprights about twelve feet in height, arranged 
in a circle of from twenty to fifty yards in diameter, and strongly backed by 
sloping supports and binders behind. An entrance of four yards in width 
is left for the ingress of the herd. The enclosure is built on one of the 
elephants' chief runs, and in a spot where the thickness of the cover screens 
it from \dew. Elej)hants keep strictly to beaten tracks in traversing the 
jungles — a circumstance of great service in arranging plans for their capture. 
To guide the elephants to the gate, two lines of strong paUsades are run out 
from it on each side of the path by which they will approach. Tliese guiding 
wings diverge to perhaps fifty yards across at their commencement, which may 
be a hundred yards or so from the gate. When the herd is once T\dthin this 
funnel-shaped aj^proach, it is easily driven forward by tlie beaters closing in 
from behind. The gate is made very strong, and is studded with iron spikes 
on the inside. It is slung by rope-hinges to a cross-beam, and is dropped 
by the rope being cut as soon as the elephants have entered. Inside, round 
the foot of the palisade, a ditch is generally dug about four feet wide and 
deep, to deter the elephants from trying the stockade, or should they do so, 
to prevent their standing in a position to use their strength to advantage. 
Elephants rarely attempt to force the palisades ; they never do so in a body. 
Occasionally an enterprising animal will try his strength on them ; and 
strong though the stockade is, I have known a determmed tusker go through 
as if it had been made of corn-stalks. The men closed up at once on tliis 
occasion, and none of the others attempted to follow their leader — an instance 
of the elephants' lack of intelligence in certain matters. 

As soon as the kheddah is completed, probably in four or five days from 
the time of the surround, arrangements are made for drivmg the herd. For 


this purpose one man is taken from each picket of the original circle on the 
morning of the day when the drive is to take place, and a smaller interior 
circle is formed by commencing at the ends of the guiding wings of the 
kheddah and posting the men until the elephants are again surrounded. 
They are then driven forward towards the kheddah, and when near it the 
men close in from all sides with shouts and shots, and the elephants gen- 
erally enter the trap without hesitation. Should they suspect danger, how- 
ever, and refuse to proceed, or break back through the beaters, fatal accidents 
are not uncommon. 

After the elephants have been impounded in the kheddah, the tame 
elephants are admitted with their mahouts upon the neck of each, and a 
rope-tier seated behind. It is a remarkable circumstance that the wild ones 
very seldom attempt to dislodge the riders, though they might do so with 
ease. I never knew of a case (except one which happened to myself) of 
a rider being attacked by any of them. The duty of the tame elephants 
is to secure the wild ones by separating them one by one from their com- 
panions, when their hind-legs are tied together by the men, who slip to the 
ground for the purpose. A rope is then secured round each captive's 
neck and another to one hind-leg, and they are led out and picketed in 
the forest near, untH they have been sufficiently subjugated to be removed. 
Further details will be found in the account of capturing elephants in Mysore. 


The largest male elephants are seldom caught with the herd by the 
kheddah plan, from their habit of frequently absenting themselves from their 
companions, or making their escape out of the circle of men by their greater 
boldness. They are the most valuable animals, and are usually caught in 
the following manner, or some modification of it : — 

Four or five steady females, ridden by their mahouts, who partly 
conceal themselves with a dark -coloured blanket as they lie on their 
elephants' necks,^^' are taken to the jungle where the single male is 
known to be, and are allowed to graze as though they were wild ones, and 
to gradually approach the male if he does not himself take the initiative. 
Some wild males make off at once, probably scenting the men on the 
elephants' necks, but many do not appear to notice them. When the male 

* The term "decoy" is entirely misapplied to trained elephants used for catching wild ones, 
as they act at the command of their riders, and use no arts to divert the male's attention, as has 
been asserted. 


can be got to abandon Mmself without reserve to the society of the females, 
they keep in close attendance upon liim ; and as it is sometimes two days 
and nights before he can be secured, a party of spare mahouts follows on 
foot to relieve the riders every twelve hours. For this purpose the tame 
females are withdrawn one at a time, and the mahout is changed out of 
view of the wild one. The relieving party also generally has a spare elephant 
carrying the ropes and chains required when the elephant is secured. 

At night the wild male probably leaves the forest to visit the fields of 
the adjacent villages, whither he is closely escorted by his treacherous friends. 
If he enters a field to graze one female is posted at each corner, and by a 
signal gives notice to the others when he leaves it. This is to avoid the 
damage which the whole party's entering the corn would cause. 

Towards morning the elephant retires to the forest, and when he shows 
signs of gomg to sleep the tame ones close round him. Should he not 
appear to be very somnolently inclined, devices are used to keep him 
awake, such as moving off all the tame elephants, when he generally 
follows, so as to keep him without rest, and tire him until he shall resign 
himself to slumber without reserve. (Some elephants can be got to eat 
opium in sugar-cane, when, the mahouts say, they are soon reduced to help- 
lessness, but I have never had an opportunity of using it myself) The 
tame Delilahs, under the direction of their riders, close round their victim 
when he is really asleep, and two mahouts slip off with coils of rope and tie 
tlie slumbering Samson's hind-legs together very securely. Half an hour is 
frequently spent in doing this. The tame elephants then withdraw, and 
the men on foot perhaps slap the wild one behind and tell liim to be of 
good cheer. 

His terror on perceiving men so close to him may be imagined, and his 
rage and dismay at finding his legs bound together pass description. If he 
has been secured to a tree he uses every effort of which he is capable to 
snap his bonds. If his hind-legs have merely been fastened together he 
makes off as best he can, dragging them after him. The other elephants 
follow at a distance, and when he is completely exhausted they again 
approach, keeping out of reach of his tusks, as he will now use them, 
and the men fasten him to a convenient tree, and camp close at liand. In 
a day or two a cable is fixed on his neck, and witli one still on one hind- 
leg, he is led away to an appointed station to be trained. A large propor- 
tion of tlie fine elephants captured in this way die from the injuries tliey 
receive from the severe restraints necessary to control them during the first 
few days. 



A most barbarous method of catching wild elephants is by pitfalls dug 
in their paths, and into which they fall with a readiness which is remark- 
able in animals which are usually so cautious in all sorts of ground. The 
pits are generally arranged in some confined pass, at seasons when elephants 
are not in the neighbourhood, or under particular trees which they are in 
the habit of visitmg for their fruit or leaves. The standard native measure- 
ment for pits in Mysore is ten and a half feet long by seven and a half 
broad, and fifteen feet deep. This is a tight fit as to area for a large 
elephant, but is purposely made so to prevent male elephants using their 
tusks to dig down the sides. This they, however, generally manage to effect 
in a day or two if they are left to themselves. The depth of the pits being 
so great, it may be imagined that an immense majority of the elephants 
that make the descent have their limbs dislocated or broken, or receive 
permanent internal injury, even if they are not killed on the spot, as some- 
times happens. To prevent such mishaps as far as possible, a strong bar 
is fixed across the mouth of the pit in the centre, upon which the elephant's 
neck usually falls ; and though it bends or breaks with his weight, it tends 
to make him go down more level than he would otherwise do. It is seldom 
the hunters trouble themselves to put boughs in the bottom of the pit to 
break the force of the elephant's descent. In Mysore a perfect network of 
pitfalls used to be maintained by the Maharajah, the Forest Department, 
and a few by lessees, as also in Madras ; in these a large number of animals 
were taken annually. An immense proportion died from the effects of this 
violent mode of capture, and those that lived were only small ones, whose 
weight did not lead to such serious effects as in full-grown elephants. 

The Sholagas and Kurrabas used, when pits were in vogue in Mysore, 
to be intrusted with their supervision. If an elephant fell into one they 
were supposed to take the news to the station where the tame elephants 
were kept, near the jungles, and these would then be taken by their drivers 
to secure the animal. Between the delay made by the jungle-people and 
the laziness of the elephant-men, many elephants were starved to death in 
the pits, or so reduced as never to be got out of the jungle alive. Many 
other wild animals fell into the pits besides elephants. I have myself 
known of several bison, a pair of bears, and two paii's of tiger cubs falling 
into them. Deer constantly did so; and it was for the sake of their flesh, as 
much as for the trifle that they were paid, that the jungle-people used to 
attend to the jDits. In the hot weather when cattle were taken to graze in 


the forests tliey frequently fell in, and were of course left to their fate, as 
their legs or ribs were more often broken than not. The Commissariat and 
Forest Departments soon gave up the pit plan; but the Maharajah required a 
few elei:)hants annually, and even though ten or twenty were killed for every 
one that lived, it was his only method of procuring them. As the forests were 
full of herds, it did not matter from an economic point how many were killed. 
I have heard of four elephants falling into one pit together, and, strange to 
say, three survived on this occasion, probably from having the fourth as a 
cushion at the bottom : tliis one was trampled to death, and almost out of 
all shape. 

The pits were often arranged with great art by the hunters, an open one 
being perhaps left in view, in avoiding which an elephant would fall into a 
covered one alongside ; or several were dug in close proximity, into which 
others might fall when fleeing in terror at the bellow of fright which the 
first gave on finding the earth sinking under him. On one occasion I was 
riding through a strange part of the Billiga-rungun hills, when, coming to a 
felled tree, I turned my pony aside to go round it. One of the Shdlagas 
with me fortunately stopped me, just in time, by screaming " Koppoo ! kop- 
poo ! " (pit, pit) — and almost under my pony's nose I saw a hole through 
the covering caused by the falling of a deer into the pit. The tree had been 
felled with the object of making the elephants go round it, as I had done. 

Since the Maharajah's death the pit system in Mysore has happily been 
given up. The atrocious cruelties to which elephants were subjected by it 
are too horrible to think of. 


This is the most spirited and exciting, though by no means advanta- 
geous, manner of hunting the wild elephant. It is practised in parts of 
Bengal and Nepaul, but is unknown in Southern India. It is far from an 
economic method, as the wear and tear of the tame elephants engaged is 
very great, nor can full-sized wild ones be captured by it. I have never 
myself seen a hunt by this method, but I have had men in my employ who 
were adepts at it. It is conducted as follows : Three or four fast tame 
elephants are equipped with a rope each ; at one end is a noose, the other is 
girthed securely round their bodies ; on some the noose is to the near side, 
on tlie others to the off. Each elephant has three riders — the mahout on its 
neck to guide it ; the nooser kneeling on a small pad on its back, holding 
the open noose in his hands ; and a driver seated near the root of its tail, 
whose duty it is to hammer it unmercifully in the region of the os coccygis 


with a spiked mallet. This impels an elephant to much greater exertions 
than any use of the driver's goad will, though that inducement is by no 
means omitted. 

Thus equipped the elephants approach the wild ones. These at once 
make off, and the chase commences through or over everything, the men sav- 
ing themselves from being swept off, if the jungle is thick, as best they can. 
Where the ground is favourable two tame elephants endeavour to range up 
on opposite sides of a fleeing wild one, encouraged thereto by the unlimited 
use of the a posteriori argument of the mallet man. When the elephants 
are well up with the wild one the nooses are cast, and generally encircle its 
neck. If this is effected the tame elephants are checked, and other nooses 
are soon secured, but the choking of the wild one, or fatal accidents to the 
tame ones or their riders, by being pulled over or dragged into ravines, are 
not unusual accompaniments of this rough work. 

Hand-noosing is practised only in Ceylon, where a couple of hunters on 
foot manage with wonderful skill and activity to noose the hind-legs of an 
elephant when running away, and to secure the trailing ends of the rope to 
a tree as it passes. 

It has not unfrequently happened in Bengal, where numbers of ele- 
phants are kept by native land -owners, that animals have escaped and 
joined wild herds, and have been recaptured along with them in the Govern- 
ment kheddahs. The question of ownership of such elephants has often 
been raised. The following is a case on appeal, decided in the High Court 
of Judicature, Calcutta, in favour of the Government establishment that 
recaptured an escaped elephant : — 

Plaintiff, a zemindar, alleged that he had the female elephant in ques- 
tion in possession for six years, when she fled to the jungles. He made dili- 
gent search for her, and reported her loss at the nearest district police station. 
He heard a year later that she had been recaptured in the Sylliet District, 
in the Government kheddahs. His claim to the animal being rejected by 
the Superintendent of Kheddahs, he instituted a suit for her recovery in the 
Court of the Collector of Sylhet. The Collector gave judgment in favour 
of the Superintendent of Kheddahs on behalf of Government. Plaintiff 
thereupon appealed to the High Court of Judicature, Calcutta, but his appeal 
was dismissed on the grounds that such animals being originally ferce 
naturae, are no longer the property of man than while they continvie in his 
keeping. If at any time they regain their natural liberty his property 
ceases, unless they have animus revertandi, which is only to be known by 
their usual custom of returning — or unless instantly pursued by their owner, 
for during such pursuit his property remains. In this case pursuit had 
geased, and the animal had returned to its natural and independent state. 





THE opinion is generally held by those who have had the best oppor- 
tunities of observing the elephant, that tlie popular estimate of its 
intelligence is a greatly exaggerated one ; that, instead of being the excep- 
tionally wise animal it is believed to be, its sagacity is of a very mediocre 
description. Of the truth of this opinion no one who has lived amongst 
elephants can entertain any doubt. It is a significant fact that the natives 
of India never speak of the elephant as a peculiarly intelligent animal ; and 
it does not figure in tlieir ancient literature for its wisdom, as do the fox, 
the crow, and the monkey. 

The elephant's size and staid appearance, its gentleness, and tlie ease 
with which it performs various services with its trunk, have probably given 
rise to the exalted idea of its intellect amongst those not intimately 
acquainted with it. And its being but little known in Europe, M'hilst 
what is known of it justly makes it a general favourite, leads to tales of 
its intelligence being not only accepted without investigation, but welcomed 


with pleasure. Many of the stories about it are intended for the edification 
of little folks, and as such are well enough ; but in a sober inquiry into 
the mental capacity of the animal they must be duly examined. 

One of the strongest features in the domesticated elephant's character 
is its obedience. It may also be readily taught, as it has a large share of 
the ordinary cultivable intelligence common in a greater or less degree to all 
animals. But its reasoning faculties are undoubtedly far below those of 
the dog, and possibly of other animals ; and in matters beyond the range of 
its daily experience it evinces no special discernment. Whilst quick at 
comprehending anything sought to be taught to it, the elephant is decidedly 
wanting in originality. 

What an improbable story is that of the elephant and the tailor, wlierein 
the animal, on being pricked with a needle instead of being fed with sweet- 
meats as usual, is represented as having deliberately gone to a pond, filled 
its trunk with dirty water, and returned and squirted it over the tailor and 
his work ! This story accredits the elephant with appreciating the fact that 
dirty water thrown over his work would be the peculiar manner in which 
to annoy a tailor. Is such a feat of reason possible in any beast ? How 
has he acquired the knowledge of the incongruity of the two things — dirty 
water and clean linen ? He delights in water himself, and would therefore 
be unlikely to imagine it objectionable to another. 

An incident which I saw narrated in a book as having been observed 
by an of&cer in India is palpably disentitled to belief. It was to the effect 
that a gunner, whilst seated on one of the heavy guns in a column of 
artillery on the march, fell off, and would have been crushed under tlie 
wheel in another moment, when an elephant, in attendance on the guns, 
perceiving the man's danger, seized the wheel, lifted it over his prostrate 
body, and put it down on the other side of him ! How did the elephant 
know that a wheel going over the man would not be agreeable to him ? 
We comprehend it as it is a matter within the range of our experience ; 
but could the elephant imagine himself in the man's place, and therefore 
understand what his sufferings would be if crushed under the wheel ? 
Would a Newfoundland dog — certainly a more intelligent creature than 
an elephant — rescue a child from drowning if it had never been taught to 
bring objects to the bank ? And if totally untrained, and not even accom- 
panied by its master — in fact, quite uninfluenced, as the elephant in 
the story is represented to have been — is it possible to believe it capaWe 
of such an effort of intellect as to understand the danger of a person 
drowning, and the necessity for prompt assistance ? If the elephant were 
possessed of the amount of discernment with wliicli he is commonly credited, 


is it reasonable to suppose that he would continue to labour for man, instead 
of waving his keepers adieu and turning into the nearest jungle ? 

Let us consider whether the elephant displays more intelligence in its 
wild state than other animals. Though possessed of a proboscis which is 
capable of guarding it against such dangers, it readily falls into pits dug for 
catching it, and only covered with a few sticks and leaves. Its fellows 
make no effort to assist tlie fallen one, as they might easily do by kicking 
in the earth around the pit, but flee in terror. It commonly happens that 
a young elephant falls into a pit, near which the mother will remain until 
the hunters come, without doing anything to assist it, not even feeding it 
by throwing in a few branches. Tliis, I have no doubt, is more difticidt 
of belief to most- people than if they were told that tlie mother supplied 
it with grass, brought water in her trunk, or filled up the pit with fagots, 
and effected her young one's release. \Vhole herds of elephants are driven 
into ill-concealed enclosures which no other wild animals could be got to 
enter, and single ones are caught by their legs being tied together by men 
under cover of a couple of tame elephants. Elephants which happen to 
effect their escape are caught again without trouble ; even experience does 
not bring them wisdom. These facts are certainly against the conclusion 
that the elephant is an extraordinarily shrewd animal, much less one 
possessed of the power of abstract thought to the extent with which he 
is commonly credited. I do not think I traduce the elephant when I say 
it is, in many things, a stupid animal ; and I can assert witli confidence 
that all the stories I have heard of it, except those relating to feats of 
strength or docility performed under its keeper's direction, are beyond its 
intellectual power, and are mere pleasant fictions. 

It often happens that persons wlio do not understand elephants give 
them credit for performing actions which are suggested to them, and in 
wliich they are directed, by the mahout on their necks. There is no secret 
so close as that between a horse and his rider, or between an elephant and 
his mahout. One of the chief characteristics in the domestic elephant's 
temperament is, as before stated, its obedience, and it does many things at 
the slightest hint from its mahout, wliose directions are not perceived by an 
onlooker unacquainted with tlie craft of elepliant-guidance. This lias led 
to such mistakes as Sir Emerson Tenneiit makes "' in describing the conduct 
of tame elephants while engaged in capturing wild ones in Ceylon, when he 
says : " The tame ones displayed the most perfect conception of every move- 
ment, both of the object to be attained and the means to accomplish it. 
They saw intuitively a difllculty or a danger, ami addressed themselves un- 
* The Wihl Elephant, hy Sir .T. Emerson Tennont. 


hidden to remove it." Another writer on a captnre of elephants in Travan- 
core says : " It may be interesting to mention a trait of one of the trained 
elephants, which shows such a degree of intelligence and forethought that 
it deserves to be placed on record. While the animals were being driven 
towards the enclosure, one of the trained elej)hants, a large tusker, was ob- 
served to pick up stones from tlie ground with his trunk, and hand tliem up 
to his keeper on his neck. He did it in such a deliberate and matter-of- 
fiict manner, that it was plain he comprehended perfectly the reason for which 
stones were required." 

Such are the notions with which those with superficial acquaintance with 
elephants fly away. I have seen the cream of trained elephants at work in 
the catching-establishments in Mysore and Bengal ; I have managed them 
myself, under all circumstances ; and I can say that I have never seen one 
show any aptitude in dealing, undirected, with an unforeseen emergency. 
I have a young riding-elephant at present, Soondargowry, often my only 
shooting companion, which kneels, trumpets, hands up anything from the 
ground, raises her trunk to break a branch, or passes under one in silence, 
stops, backs, and does other things at understood hints as I sit on her pad ; 
but no uninitiated looker-on would perceive that any intimation of what 
is required passes between us. The driver's knees are placed behind an 
elephant's ears as he sits on it, and it is by means of a push, pressure, and 
other motions, that his wishes are communicated, as with the pressure of the 
leg with trained horses in a circus. As well might performing dogs which 
spell out replies to questions be credited with knowing what they are saying, 
as elephants with appreciating tlie objects to be gained by much which they 
do under the direction of the rider. 

So much for the intelligence of the elephant. Let us now consider its 
temperament in captivity. I think all who have had to deal with elephants 
will agree in saying that their good qualities cannot be exaggerated, and 
that their vices are few, and only occur in exceptional animals. The not 
uncommon idea that elephants are treacherous and retentive of an injury is 
a groundless one. Male elephants are subject to periodical fits of must,''^ of 
the approach of which, however, due warning is given, and during the con- 
tinuance of which care is necessary in dealing with them, as they are quite 
irresponsible for their actions. But at all other times the male elephant is 
generally perfectly safe, rarely suddenly changeable in temper. Female 
elephants are at all times the most perfect-tempered creatures in the world. 
Amongst some hundreds which I have known, only two have had any 
tricks. Of these, one would not allow herself to be ridden by a strange 

* This is treated of in Chapter VI. 


malioiit ; the otlier had a great aversion to any natives but her own two 
attendants approaching her. She was, however, perfectly friendly with 
Europeans, as I used to feed and pet her ; and wdien engaged at the khed- 
dahs in Llysore, she was frequently fed by the ladies present. 

The elephant's chief good qualities are obedience, gentleness, and patience. 
In none of these is he excelled by any domestic animal, and under circum- 
stances of the gTeatest discomfort, such as exposure to the sun, painful sur- 
gical operations, &c., he seldom evinces any irritation. He never refuses to 
do wiiat he is required, if he understands the nature of the demand, imless 
it be something of which he is afraid. The elephant is excessively timid, 
both in its wild and domestic state, and its fears are easily excited by any- 
tliing strange. But many have a good stock of courage, which only requires 
developing ; the conduct of some elephants used in tiger-hunting demon- 
strates tliis. 

Much misapprehension prevails regarding the uses and power of the 
elephant's trunk. Tliis organ is chiefly used by the animal to procure its 
food, and to convey it, and water, to its mouth ; also to warn it of danger 
by the senses of smell and touch. It is a delicate and sensitive organ, and 
never used for rough work. In any dangerous situation the elephant at 
once secures it by curling it up. The idea that he can use it for any pur- 
pose, from picking up a needle to dragging a piece of ordnance from a bog, 
is, like many others, founded entirely on imagination. An elephant might 
manage the former feat, though I doubt it ; the latter he would not attempt. 
Elephants engaged in such work as dragging timber invariably take the rope 
between their teeth ; they never attempt to pull a heavy weight with the 
trunk. In carrying a light log they hold it in the mouth as a dog does a 
stick, receiving some little assistance in balancing it from the trunk. Tusk- 
ers generally use their tusks for this and similar purposes, and are more 
valuable than females for work. An elephant is powerful enough to extri- 
cate a cannon from a difficult situation, but he does it by pushing with his 
head or feet, or in harness — never by lifting or drawing with his trunk. The 
story adverted to al)ove, of the elephant lifting the wheel over the prostrate 
gunner, is a physically impossil)le one. Elephants do not push with their 
foreheads, or the region ahove, the eyes, but with the base of the trunk, or 
snout, about one foot below the eyes. 

An elephant rarely uses its trunk for striking other elephants or man. 
Newly-caught ones seldom attempt even to seize any one coming within 
their reach with their trunks ; they curl them up and rush at the intruder. 
Should any accident hap]icn to an elephant's trunk to prevent it conveying 
water to its mouth, it drinks by wading into (h'o]) walor mid innncrsiiig Iho 


mouth in the maimer common to most quadrupeds. In drinking, only about, 
fifteen inches of the end of the trunk are filled with water at a time ; the 
trunk is then curled backwards so as to reach the mouth, and the water is 
blown into it. Wild elephants' trunks are occasionally cut by the sharp 
edges of sjDlit bamboos whilst feeding. One which I saw had more than 
a foot of the outer cuticle stripped off the trunk ; another, a healed gash 
penetrating to one of the nostrils of the trunk from the outside. 

The elephant is essentially a native's animal. Natives alone have fully 
studied his peculiarities and classified him into castes ; his capture, training, 
and keeping, are in native hands, as well as the trade ; and the native 
standard of merit regulates the market. 

Commercially elephants come under only two classes — the one of page- 
antry, the other of utility. Every native prince or nobleman of distinction 
in India keeps elephants to swell his retinue : Government and private per- 
sons, as timber contractors, &c., require them for work. 

The native requirements in an elephant differ essentially from ours. 
They prize the animal chiefly as an adjunct to court display and temple pro- 
cessions. Consequently perfection of form and carriage are paramount from 
their point of view. As we require it for economic purposes, strength, do- 
cility, and courage are first considerations with us. The most perfect shoot- 
ing elephant may be of small value to a native, whilst gaudy animals, with 
perhaps nothing but their looks to recommend them, are highly valued. 

The native standard of a good elephant does, however, comprise all 
essentials to excellence for any purpose ; and putting aside minor and 
whimsical requirements, consisting in certain lucky or unlucky marks, 
correctly distinguishes the most desirable animals. In fancy beasts, a too 
short or too long tail, a black mark on the tongue, or a less number of nails 
than eighteen (some elephants have but sixteen ; the usual number is five 
on each fore foot, and four on each hind), are defects sufficient to disqualify 
the best animals. 

Elephants are divided by natives into three castes or breeds, distin- 
guished by their physical conformation ; these are termed in Bengal 
Koomeriah, Dwdsala, and Meerga, which terms may be considered to signify 
thorough-bred, half-bred, and third-rates. The term Koomeriah signifies 
royal or princely. Meerga is probably a corruption of the Sanscrit mriga, 
a deer ; the light build and length of leg of this class of elephants suggest 
the comparison. Dwdsala in Persian means two things or originals, and in 
reference to the elephant, signifies the blending of the first and third castes 
into the intermediate one. 

Only animals possessing extreme divergence rank as Koomeriahs or 


Lleergas ; and the points of these breeds (if they may be so called) do not 
amount to permanent, or even hereditary, variation. Whole herds frequently 
consist of Dwasalas, but never of Koonieriahs or ]\Ieergas alone ; these I have 
found occur respectively in the proportion of from ton to fifteen per cent 
amongst ordinary elephants. 

The Koomeriah, or thorough-bred, takes the first place ; he alone can 
reach extreme excellence, but all the points required for perfection are very 
rarely found in one individual. He is amongst elephants what the thorough- 
Ijred is amongst horses, saving that his is natural, not cultivated, superiority. 
The points of the Koomeriah are : Barrel deep, and of great girth ; legs 
short (especially the liind ones) and colossal, tlie front pair convex on the 
front side from the development of muscle ; back straight and flat, but slop- 
ing from shoulder to tail, as an upstanding elephant must be high in front ; 
head and chest massive ; neck thick and short ; trunk broad at the base and 
proportionately heavy throughout ; bump between the eyes prominent ; 
cheeks full ; the eye full, bright, and kindly ; hind-quarters square and 
plump ; the skin rumpled, thick, inclining to folds at the root of the tail, 
and soft. If the face, base of trunk, and ears, be blotched with cream-col- 
oured markings, the animal's value is enhanced thereby. The tail must be 
long, but not touch the ground, and be well featliered. 

The illustration represents a first-class Koomeriah, and is from a photo- 
graph of an animal captured in the kheddahs in Chittagong wdiilst I was 
in charge. This elephant was prolmbly sixty years of age wdien captured. 
His height was 9 feet 2 inches (vertical) at the shoulder. He exhibited 
the magnanimous and urbane temperament common to these first-class 
animals, and was easily managed a few days after capture. He was 
designed for the Viceregal State howdah, being the finest elephant cap- 
tured in Bengal for many years ; but he died after I left Dacca — from what 
cause I have not learnt. 

The Dwasala class comprises all animals below this standard, but wliich 
do not present such marked imperfection as to cause them to rank as 
Meergas, or third-rates ; all ordinary elephants (about seventy per cent) are 

A pronounced Meerga is the opposite to the Koomeriali. He is leggy, 
lank, and weedy, witli an arched, sharp-ridged back, diflicult to load, and 
liable to galling ; his trunk is thin, fiabby, and pendulous; liis neck long 
and lean ; he falls olf behind ; and his liide is thin. His head is small, 
whicli is a bad point in any elephant ; his eye is piggish and restless. His 
whole appearance is unthrifty, and no feeding or care makes him look fat. 
The ]\Ieerga, liowever, has liis uses ; Irom his length of leg and lightness lie 



is generally speedy : tlie heavier Koomeriah is usually slow and stately in 
his paces. 

The illustration of a Meerga is from a pliotogi'aph of one captured in 
the same herd with the above-mentioned Koomeriah, and presents all the 
characteristic points of its class. 

The temper of Koomeriahs, both male and female, is generally as superior 
to that of the Meerga as their physical conformation. Though gentleness 
and submissiveness are characteristics of all elephants, the Koomeriah pos- 
sesses these qualities, and equanimity, urbanity, and courage in a high 
degree. The Meerga's ill-favoured look frequently bespeaks the nervousness 
and meanness of liis temperament. His want of courage, and, consequently, 
apprehensive nature, often lead to his being dangerous through his fears. 
He may strike at a stranger, or injure his own attendants when overcome 
with fear, whilst the Koomeriah, through his superior courage, is unmoved. 
As a nervous horse or cowardly dog is ever the first to kick or bite, so 
poor-couraged elephants are the animals which are least trustworthy. 

The elephant is said to be subject to albinism. I have never myself 
seen a really white one, nor have any of the experienced native liunters 
whom I have met. There is at present in his Highness the Maharajah of 
Mysore's stables a young tusker, captured twelve years ago, which is of a 
somewhat light colour, both as to his skin and hair, and his eyes are light 
blue. Amongst those I captured in Mysore, in 1874, was a calf of a very light 
shade, somewhat of a dirty cream colour ; ordinary calves are quite black. 
Regarding the white elephants of which we read as forming the most cher- 
ished possessions of the King of Ava, I am unable to give any information. 
I have never heard of any trustworthy European writer's having seen them. 

Eeal vice in any elephant is a tiling almost unknown. Natives attach 
less importance than we do to the temper of elephants ; all can be managed 
by some means, and the possession of an unruly animal, if of good figure, is 
sometimes regarded as rather desirable than otherwise. 

No male elephant can reach high merit without good tusks ; the 
longer and heavier they are the more is their possessor valued ; but they 
must be of good shape, curving upwards like the runners of a cradle, and 
diverging gracefully from each other. Tuskers are far more valuable for 
work than females, not only from their greater strength, but from the 
good use they make of their tusks in turning and carrying logs, &c. A 
tusker, if given the end of a rope to pull, puts it over one tusk, and 
holding the end between his teeth, can move a weight with this purchase 
which a female with only the hold with her teeth would ])e unable to man- 
age. Tusks usually require cutting once a-year : the elephant is made to 


lie down in water, and the portion to be removed is then sawn oflf. This 
gives hiin no pain, and is necessary to prevent elephants injuring eacli 
other, not as a precaution for the safety of their attendants. Tlie rule 
for cutting an elephant's tusk is as follows : Measure from the eye to the 
insertion of the tusk in tlie lip ; this length measured from the latter point 
along the tusk will give the spot where -it should be cut. In young animals 
a little more should be allowed, as the above measurement may approach 
too nearly the medullary pulp of the tusk. 

Elepliants are used by Government for the transport of troops, for pro- 
visioning outpost stations which are not connected by roads, &c. The pro- 
gressing development of roads and railways in India may be expected to 
do away with the necessity for the services of some in the most accessible 
localities, but it will always be necessary to keep a certain number in case 
of movements in rough and uncivilised countries. Elephants were indis- 
pensable in the Abyssinian, Looshai, and otlier petty wars and expeditions 
in recent years, and similar services may be required at any moment. 

The merely useful elephant, whose employment is to assist the move- 
ment of troops, to transport timber from the forests to river - banks, for 
shooting purposes, &c., is usually of the Dwdsala or Meerga class. Amongst 
these the tuskers cost much more than the females. For work males are 
more powerful ; their tusks enable them to perform a variety of services 
which the female renders less efficiently ; and for shooting their superior 
courage is indisputable. A male elephant bears about the same relation in 
appearance and power to the female as a domestic bull does to a cow. From 
females being more generally employed in shooting, being more readily 
procurable, males seldom have the opportunity of showing their natural 
superiority in courage and strength ; but where they are employed they are 
immeasurably superior. 

For drauglit, elephants are very valuable, as logs can be brought by their 
aid from localities where they would otherwise be inaccessible. The elephant's 
power is most advantageously employed where a great exertion is required for 
a short distance, through a limited space of time. "When elephants are 
harnessed, the dragging-rope is either attached to a collar round the neck 
or to a girth behind the shoulders. The latter plan is the better of the two, 
as it gives more bearing surface, and there is less liability to gall. To pull 
from the girth, the elephant's pad is first put on, to prevent the girth-rope 
from galling the back. The girth, a strong rope ninety feet in length, is then 
passed tightly several times round the elephant behind the shoulders, and a 
small breast-rope is attached to prevent it slii)ping backwards. The pulling 
rope or chain is then fastened to the girth, half-way up the elephant's side. 


Native attendants are very careless, and piilling-ropes are constantly break- 
ing, wliich makes elephants that have once been frightened in this way 
cautious about throwing themselves into the collar. But an elephant 
with confidence in his gear will make the most extraordinary exertions, 
leaning forward far beyond his centre of gravity, or kneeling and almost 
resting on his forehead, in his attempts to move the load. In dragging 
light timber a rope about three feet long is generally fastened round one 
end of a log. The elephant takes the rope in its teeth, and thus raising 
one end clear of the ground, half drags, half carries it away. An elephant 
can be harnessed to a cart in the same way as a horse. In Dacca two 
elephant-waggons were employed for carrying away the litter from the 

As a beast of burden the elephant can scarcely be considered satis- 
factory in all respects, chiefly from his liability to gall under such heavy 
weights as he is otherwise able to carry. This difiiculty can be avoided 
with great care, but it requires constant attention from more heedful and 
humane masters than ordinary elephant-attendants. Some of these do not 
attempt to prevent a sore back — rather the reverse — when elephants are on 
long and arduous service. A sore back once established, the elephant cannot 
be used for weeks, often months, and its attendants escape work, even the 
bringing its fodder. The best preventive has been found to l^e putting every 
one connected with the elephant on half-pay till the animal has recovered. 
An elephant well packed will carry an immense bulk and weight ; and 
in difficult country, especially hilly or swampy districts, their place cannot 
be taken by any other means of carriage. For transporting light guns 
in mountain warfare they are invaluable. An elephant's gear consists of 
a thick, soft-padded cloth, covering the whole of the back from the nape of 
the neck to the croup, and hanging half way down the animal's sides. Over 
this comes a saddle, which consists of two pads or flat bags of stout 
sacking, each six feet long, and two and a half broad. These are stuffed to 
one foot in thickness with dried grass or cocoanut fibre, and are attached by 
cross-pieces, so that one lies on each side of the elephant's backbone, which 
is thus protected from pressure. Upon the first pair of pads is another 
large single pad. On this the load is jDlaced. Thus all the weight should 
rest on the upper part of the animal's ribs, without touching the spine, 
as in a horse with a well-fitted saddle. 

HaK a ton is a good load for an elephant for continuous marching. 
In hilly country seven hundredweights is as much as he should carry. I have 
known a large female carry a pile of thirty bags of rice, weighing 8 2 lb. each, 
or one ton and two hundredweights, from one storeroom to another, three 















hundred yards distant, several times in a morning. Ly tlie Bengal Com- 
missariat code elephants are expected to carry 1640 lb., exclusive of 
attendants and chains, for which 300 lb. extra maybe added; but this 
is too great a weight for continued marching. The weight of one of his 
Excellency the Viceroy's silver State howdahs and trappings is a little over 
half a ton, as below : — 

Howdah, . . . . 

Gold cloth, . , 

Punkahs, &c., . . . 

Ropes and gear, . . . 

10 2 20 

Elephants are kept by natives of rank in India solely for the purposes 
of display, and in this sphere the animal is more at liome than in any other. 
The pompous pace of a procession suits his naturally sedate disposition, and 
the attentions lavished upon him please his vanity. Only male elephants 
are valued for this purpose, and tuskers are preferred to mucknas. Every 
inch of height adds immensely to an elejohant's value after nine feet at tlie 
shoulder has been passed, 1 have already said in tlie last chapter tliat ten 
feet at the shoulder is probably the extreme height of the Asiatic elephant. 
One or more elephants are attached to most temples of note in India, and 
take part in the religious processions connected Avith them. 

Government elephants are often used for riding by the European officers 
who have charge of the departments in which they are employed, and they are 
of much use in country where horses cannot be taken. Tliough an elephant 
is but a poor means of progression on a highroad, in jungly or hilly country 
he is most useful, as guides and gun-bearers are always in attendance in 
such places, and the elephant can move as quickly as the party would be 
able to proceed without him. A light elephant, trained for soivdri, or riding, 
if active and free, is a very pleasant mount. Half-grown ones are the best. 
As a rule, long-legged, lanky animals of the Meerga caste are the most 
active walkers. Calves are always quick movers. I have used them as 
small as thirteen hands at the shoulder, with a soft pad and stirrups, bestrid- 
ing them as a pony. They are wonderful little creatures for getting up or 
down any difficult place ; they give no trouble ; and will keo}) up with a 
man running at any pace before them. 

Elephants very rarely stuml)le ; should they even do so they never fall 
from that cause, as they can go down on one or both knees — an easy 
position for an elephant. I have sometimes, l)ut rarely, known them full 
ilat on their sides in slippery soil during wrt wealluT. 


Elephants can always be guided, except when frightened, by the slightest 
tap with a small stick on either side of the head, the pressure of tlie knee, 
or even by a word ; but if alarmed, they have to be controlled or urged for- 
ward by the driving-goad. An elephant is as much afraid of this implement 
as a horse is of the curb, and can be restrained by it as well. When under 
the influence of fear, of course the elephant may run away, as a horse does, 
regardless of punishment. It is a terrible thing to be bolted with in 
jungle by an elephant ; the rider is fortunate if he escapes with whole bones. 
I have felt on the one or two occasions on which it has happened to me as 
a man might if bestriding a runaway locomotive, and hooking the funnel 
with the crook of his walking-stick to hold it in ! 

It is very difficult to cure a confirmed bolter, as the habit has its origin 
in fear, and the animal is always liable to be startled by unexpected sounds 
or sights, chiefly the former. It is a rare trick, however, and I have only 
known two elephants subject to it. One was a fine baggage animal, but 
almost useless for jungle- work from this trick. I, however, cured her in 
the following way : I had a stout hoop of iron made, with sharp spikes on 
the inside to encircle one of her hind-legs. This was kept in its place 
round the leg by being suspended from the pad by a rope, and it fitted the 
leg loosely, so as not to inconvenience the elephant except when required to 
do so. To the ring was attached a chain fifteen feet long, at the other end 
of which was a pickaxe's head. This grappUng apparatus was slung to the 
pad by a small cord in a slip-knot, handy to the mahouf. If the elephant 
began to run, one pull freed it, and before tlie anchor had been dragged 
many yards it caught in roots or bushes, and brought the elephant up with 
such a twinge that she soon began to think twice before making off. 

Howdahs are not pleasant things to ride in, nor are they necessary except 
for State purposes and tiger-shooting. For ordinary riding a soft pad is much 
more pleasant ; upon it there is none of the swaying motion felt in a lofty 
howdah. A chdrjdma is frequently used ; this is merely a broad board 
with cushions upon it, and foot-boards attached on eacli side. It is made 
for four persons, two on each side, seated back to back, and has a rail at 
each end. 

Four miles an hour is a good pace for an elephant, but long-legged ones 
will swing along at five or upwards for a moderate distance, say ten miles. 
I have known thirty-nine miles done at a stretch at a moderate pace. Single 
wild elephants that have been wounded or much frightened will often travel 
as far as this in a few hours without a halt. 

The elephant's use in tiger-shooting is well known, and speaks volumes 
for the tractability of an animal naturally so timid and disinclined for such 


work. Female elepliants are more commonly used tlian males for tiger- 
shooting, being more easily procurable. But a well-trained male elephant 
is infinitely superior to any female, from his greater courage and strength. 
Unless they are well disciplined, however, there is danger of some male 
elephants attacking the tiger when they see him, which is a dangerous habit, 
as the occupants of the howdah may be shaken out during the animal's 
endeavours to crush the tiger. 

A case of this kind occurred at Dacca, in May 1876, whilst I was there. 

A lady and her husband, Mr and ]\Irs I , were at a tiger-hunt in a 

howdah on a female elephant, when a tigress charged across the open ground 
where they were stationed, not so much at the elephant as to get into a 
piece of cover behind it. The elephant rushed to meet the tigress, in tliis 

case more from excitement and terror than real courage. I fired and 

rolled the tigress over in front of the elephant, which kicked at iier. The 
tigress grasped one of the elephant's hind - legs with teeth and claws, and 

the elephant was pulled, or fell, down on to her. I was thrown out, his 

rifle going off in the shock of his fall, but fortunately without doing any 
harm. He helped ]\Irs I from the howdah, and they ran to the pro- 
tection of another elephant at some distance. The tigress was killed on the 
spot by the fall of the elephant upon her. In this case, had the elephant 

stood her ground, I would probably have killed the tigress before she 

got to close quarters. 

As elephants are not bred in captivity, the demand for them from the 
forest is unwavering. Kabul merchants are the chief agents for the supply 
of high-class animals. These energetic traders frequently attach themselves 
to Courts where liberal prices are given, and in their service penetrate the 
remote tracts of Burmali and Siam. Here they purchase tuskers for figures 
seldom exceeding £100 on tlie spot, and march them, perhaps occupying 
more than a year on the road, to India. Tlieir outlay is considerable in 
feeding them highly and in marching them slowly. I liave heard of a 
case where a tusker, which had cost the merchant niucli money and labour, 
died almost at the gate of tlie city of the r;ijah for whom he was designed ; 
wlio, when the merchant appeared with the elephant's trappings and tusks, 
bewailing his misfortune, ordered, with true Eastern nnniificence, that he 
should be paid the full value of the animal ! 

The chief marts for the supply of elepliants to India hitherto have been 
Ceylon, Burmah, Siam, and a few of the forests of continental India; but 
from several causes the number brought into the market is now smaller 
than formerly, and prices are rising accordingly. The following statistics 
have been obligingly furnished me by the Secretary to the Goverumeut of 



Ceylon, of elephants exported from the island during the years 1863-76. 
The sudden decrease in 1870 is due to the imposition in that year of an 
export duty of £20 per head, and lately the export has been entirely closed 
as a temporary measure, as it was feared that under the then existing rules 
for their capture and destruction, the practical extinction of elephants in 
the island might be expected at no distant date. 



Elephants Exported from Ceylon from 1863 to 1876. 


























The great annual fair held at S5nepoor, on the Ganges, is the chief 
mart in India for the sale of elephants. It is lield on the occasion of the 
gathering of some hundreds of thousands of pilgrims to worship at a noted 
shrine of Shiva, and bathe in the Ganges, at the full moon of the month of 
October — November. Thousands of liorses and hundreds of elephants are^ 
collected there, and for this point all dealers in elephants make. Such 
elephants as they do not then dispose of are taken about amongst rajahs 
and native princes. Traders in elephants are, as to character, pretty much 
on a par with dealers in horses all the world over. I once met a humorous 
old Kabid. merchant at Dacca. He and some fellow-dealers came to the 
pccWidna (elephant-stables) day after day, and importuned me to sell some 
of the newly-caught elephants from Chittagong. It is not uncommon to 
dispose of such as, from some cause, may be unfit for Government service ; 
but on this occasion all were required for filling up vacancies in the Com- 
missariat Department. There was one very old female, however, that I 
knew would never be fit for work, whilst being handsome, and in good con- 
dition, she might suit a native for show. I therefore olTered her to the 
dealers for 400 rupees (£40), a very low figure. AVe proceeded to her 
picket, where the head dealer, a patriarchal-looking old fellow, examined 
lier with attention for some time, and then turned away with a sigh. I 
asked him if the price was too high. " No," he said, " it is not that. The 
sight of the elephant makes me think of my poor old grandmother. She 
died when I was a lad. What an elephant that would have been for her ! " 

The price of elephants throughout India has increased enormously of 
late years. A considerable number were formerly purchased at Sonepoor 


and elsewhere by the Bengal Goveniment, but of late years prices have 
become almost prohibitory. In 1835 the price of elephants was £45 per 
head; in 1855 about £75; in 1874, twenty were purchased at Sonepoor 
for the Bengal Government at £132, 15s. each; in 1875, seventy were 
required at Sonepoor, for which £140 per head was sanctioned, but not one 
was procurable at that figure. £150 is now the lowest rate for wliich 
young animals, chiefly females, and not fully grown, can be obtained. The 
price of good females of the working class is at present from £200 to £300. 
The value of tuskers is very capricious ; it depends mainly upon tlie near- 
ness of approach of their points to those of the Koomeriah. The best 
are only found in the possession of those who can pay fancy prices, but all 
male elephants are in high demand for the retinues of rajahs and temple 
purposes. Scarcely any limit can be placed on the price of a really perfect 
Koomeriah; £2000 is not an unknown figure. Tuskers of any preten- 
sions at all command from £800 to £1500. Two newly-caught tuskers of 
no particular merit were sold out of the Dacca stud, in 1875, for £1600 
the pair. 

The elephants required for the service of Government in Bengal are 
mostly captured by the Government Kheddah (or elephant-catching) Estab- 
lishment, the headquarters of which are at Dacca, in Eastern Bengal. Tliis 
establishment is under a European officer, and contains a large number of 
trained elephants and native hunters, and yearly in December penetrates 
some of the forests of Assam, Chittagong, or other tracts, and captures 
elephants, which are marched to Dacca before the rains commence in May. 
Here they are trained for service, and about November are despatched to 
Barrackpoor, near Calcutta, whence they are allotted to different Commis- 
sariat stations. The average annual number of elephants captured by the 
Dacca Establishment during the seven years prior to 1875-76 was fifty-nine. 

The Superintendent of Kheddahs at Dacca is also empowered to grant 
licences to natives of capital to capture elephants upon certain terms, by 
which Government secures a further annual supply. These lessees work in 
forests where the Government kheddahs are not working, and the terms 
usually are that half of the elephants measuring over six feet, and below 
eight and a half feet, at the shoulder, are to be handed over as CJovernment 
rent ; whilst all below six feet, and over eight and a half feet in lieight, are 
the exclusive property of the lessee. Government is further at liberty to 
purchase any or all of the lessee's share of the elephants between six and 
eight and a half feet at £5 per foot of lieight at shoulder (for instance, £40 
for an eight-feet elephant), which is very much below the usual price of 
newly-caught elephants. 


This system is advantageous both to the Government and the lessee. 
Should the hunt be unsuccessful the former is not saddled with a money- 
payment, whilst any really valuable tuskers, over eight and a half feet higli, 
fall to his share. On the Government's part, the entire expenses of the 
kheddah are borne by the lessee, so no loss can be sustained. Should Gov- 
ernment give any assistance in tame elephants for securing the captives 
when impounded, ten per cent of the latter are taken as remuneration. 

The supply of elephants to Government must always be kept up by 
kheddahs and the licence system. The figure for which they are now cap- 
tured need probably never be exceeded. The outer market is not likely to 
become easier, as, though the demand will decrease to some extent as the 
less wealthy native notables, and a few Europeans who keep elephants for 
sport, must curtail their studs to the ability of their pockets, the supply has 
decreased in a disproportionate degree owing to restrictions in hunting. An 
elephant which costs Government £40 to capture would cost at least £150 
in the market. 

The Madras Government is entirely dependent for its supply of ele- 
phants on Burmah, as there is no Government catching-establishment in 
the Presidency, as in Bengal, and the immense number of elephants roaming 
the Madras forests is turned to no account. The elephants are shipped 
from Moulmein to Coconada in vessels specially chartered for the purpose. 
A batch of about 60, imported eight years ago, cost £176 eacli when 
landed. Prices have risen since. The Collector of Coimbatore, a district 
of Madras, commenced elephant-catching in 1874, upon the plan adopted in 
Mysore, and between 1874 and 1877 captured 76 elephants, but the cost 
has been so great (about £13,000), and so many have died, that the scheme 
has been a financial failure. The idea, however, is a move in the riglit 
direction. The experiment has necessarily cost proportionately more than 
further operations need cost. It is evidently inexpedient that a distant 
market should be trusted to, in which prices are rising fast, and must continue 
to rise, whilst the jungles of the Madras Presidency abound with elephants. 
A catching-establishment cannot be got into order in a day, nor by the 
isolated eftbrts of one officer. The Dacca establishment has been workino' 
in one form or other since the beginning of the century. If the Madras 
Government is convinced of the necessity of keeping up its present stud of 
elephants — a matter admitting of much consideration, now that good roads, 
railways, and the settled state of the country have modified the former 
military requirements — it would seem to be a matter deserving of con- 
sideration wliether the Commissariat requirements in elephants cannot be 
met from local sources. A fallacious idea that the Madras elephants are 


less hardy than those of Burmah has sprung out of the fact that many die 
before they are fit for service. But this is the case everywhere. Those 
imported from Burmah have been ah-eady seasoned, and consequently the 
mortality amongst them is lighter. 


The question has sometimes been raised wliether it is the male or female 
elephant which comes into season. I have heard the opinion advanced that 
it is the former ; but it is an erroneous one, probably founded on the fact 
of most male elephants in captivity having periodical paroxysms of must. 
Some male elephants never, or only at long intervals, have these fits ; in 
others they are of tolerably regular occurrence. They occur also in wild 
individuals, chiefly in the cold weather from November to February. The 
temples swell, and an oily matter exudes from them, as in tame elephants, 
but the wild elephant, I believe, shows no violence whilst under their influ- 
ence. The occurrence of must in tame elephants is connected with their 
condition, and rarely appears in animals much below par. It does not 
appear in animals under about thirty j'ears of age, though tuskers breed 
from the age of twenty. 

There is ample proof tliat it is not the male elephant that comes into 
season. In following single males with a view to capturing them with 
trained females, they may always be relied upon to make advances to the 
females, usually to some particular one, and tlie efforts of the mahouts are 
frequently necessary to keep her out of the male's reach. 

The period of heat is not marked by any particular signs in the female, 
which has probably helped to strengthen the erroneous opinion spoken of. 
In approaching a male elephant, a female desirous of his attentions utters 
certain sounds, and courts his society ; but only those conversant with 
elephants would notice this. It has frequently happened that the tame 
females of the kheddah parties have been found in calf after work in the 
jungles, where wild males have liad access to them, though no indications 
of their being prepared to receive the male were observed even by tlieir 

Jt has been a disputed point as to the manner in wliicli the connection 
between the two sexes takes place. Some have sujiposed that the female 
kneels or lies down to receive the male, but this is not the case. I liave 
myself, on four different occasions, witnessed the act — once, by two animals 
belonging to a wild herd in the jungles ; on the otliers, by animals wliich 


had just been caught, and which were at large within the kheddah en- 
closures. On each, the female elephant stood to receive the male in the 
manner common to all quadrupeds. The opposite opinion may have arisen 
from the fact that it is possible for a heavy male to bear down to her knees 
a female much smaller than himself. On none of these occasions did the 
male elephant exhibit signs of m\ist, which shows that it is not only wlien 
under its influence that male elephants court the society of the females. 





THE proper management of the elephants attached to the military and 
other departments in India is a subject of much importance, both 
financially and from a humane point of view. It is, however, unfortunately 
a matter but little understood by the European officers of the various 
departments, who are almost entirely dependent upon their elei)hants' 
native attendants for information on the subject. These men are rascals 
more often than not, and all are invariably grossly superstitious and igno- 
rant. Captain Forsyth, in his Higlilands of Central India, notes their mak- 
ing their elephants swallow pieces of tigers' liver to give them courage in 
hunting ; and the eyes of the owl, torn from the living bird, to enable them 
to see well in the dark ! 

It would be out of place in this book to offer any detailed suggestions 
for improving the management of elephants ; but a few general remarks on 
the subject may be of use to some who have the charge of them, but have 
not had opportunities of familiarising themselves with the requirements of 
the animals. Such should bear in mind that almost all elephants' attend- 
ants are guided in their conduct by two great juinciples — namely, to spare 
themselves as much work as possible, and to make as much as they can out 
of their elephants' allowance of rice or other grain. They also invariably 
make their charges' comfort and convenience subservient to their own, and 
tliough they arc rarely wantonly cruel, they subject tlieir animals to nnu'h 
passive inhumanity, which a little supervision from those over tliem luiglit 


prevent. Thus, on days wlien the elephant is not required for work, the 
mahout and grass-cutter will, if left to themselves, cook their morning meal, 
smoke, and pass the time until nearly mid-day, without even loosing their 
elephants, except to take them to water. They should be required to 
hobble them early, and turn the poor beasts out to graze and stretch their 
limbs till wanted ; but as this would give them the trouble of going in 
search of them if they strayed, they will not do it unless seen after. When 
there are fields near, one attendant can accompany the elex)hant to prevent 
it doing damage. 

Then, instead of cutting its fodder early, and taking the elephant out to 
bring in its load in the cool hours of morning or evening, the grass-cutter, 
who does not mind the hot sun himself, often takes it at mid-day, as that 
arrangement suits his hours of breakfasting, &c. Even the best mahouts, 
extraordinary though it may seem, seldom take the trouble of putting their 
elepliants under a tree at mid-day ; and if the unfortunate animal throws 
dust and litter upon its back, to shield itself in some measure from the sun, 
it is heartily abused for giving the attendants the trouble of cleaning it 
afterwards. Those in charge of the elephants and their attendants cannot 
do better than bear in mind what the natural requirements of the former 
are, and make the attendants' hours and habits conform to the elephants', 
instead of the reverse, as is too frequently the case. 

The most common ailment amongst elephants is yaarha'hd. It is of 
two kinds: one called dropsical yaarha'hd, in which the neck, chest, abdo- 
men, and sometimes the legs, swell "with accumulations of water beneath 
the skin; the other is wasting yaarlahd, in which the animal falls grad- 
ually away to mere skin and bone. Both kinds are exceedingly fatal if 
they become established. They are most common amongst newly-caught 
elephants — in fact, hardly any such escape the affection to some extent. 
I have never seen a wild elephant suffering from it. The disease is induced 
by the radical change of food and habits undergone by newly -caught 
elephants. Freedom from unnecessary restraint, liberty to graze at will, 
protection from all debilitating causes, such as exposure to the sun or 
inclement weather, are the best preventives and restoratives. Medicine is 
of little avail ; and, if the disease is once allowed to become serious, there 
is every probability of a fatal termination. 

Sore backs, from the chafing of gear, are exceedingly tedious to cure. 
The mistake usually made by mahouts is to allow the wounds to heal on 
the surface whilst mischief may be going on inside. A free use of the 
knife, great care in cleansing the wound, and the application of plenty of 
turpentine, strongly impregnated with camphor, are the best methods for 



insuring a speedy cure. The deep, burrowing holes usually present in sore 
backs should be well packed with tow steeped in the camphorated turpen- 
tine. This stuffing prevents the wounds closing up too quickly ; the growth 
of new flesh should be encouraged from tlie bottom, not at the surface of 
tlie sore. A cloth steeped in margosa''' oil should be tied over the wound, 
to prevent flies approaching it and irritating the elephant. 

Elephants occasionally become foot - sore from working in gravelly or 
stony soil. An elephant does not limp, but goes more slowly and tenderly 
when its feet become painful. Rest is the best cure. 

"N^Tien elephants require purgative medicine they eat a considerable 
quantity of earth, kicking it up with their toes, and conveying it to their 
mouths with their trunks. They usually eat from three to five pounds. 
This is resorted to when they are troubled by worms in the alimentary 
canal, and sometimes as much as 2 5 lb. weight of these parasites are passed 
by them. Certain soils, usually black and impregnated with a kind of 
natron, are preferred. Purging ensues in from twelve to twenty-four hours. 

The chief fodder of tame elephants should consist of various kinds of 
grasses, which in India grow to a considerable length and thickness. But 
where these cannot be procured — or too often owing to the laziness of the 
grass-cutters, w^ho find lopping branches easier work than cutting grass — 
elephants are almost entirely restricted to leaves and branches of trees. 
This is not a natural diet : wild elephants eat but sparingly of tree fodder. 
However, tame elephants become accustomed to it, and in many parts of 
the ]\Iadras Presidency hardly anytliing else is procurable. 

There is, perhaps, no animal less liable to sickness than the elephant 
if well fed. This point is of paramount importance, and without it good 
management in other matters is of no avail. It is common enousih to 
see elephants in poor condition, suffering from notliing but partial starva- 
tion, being treated with medicines and nostrums for debility, w^hilst their 
appetites are good, and they only require a sufficiency of fodder to effect a 
cure. It may truly be said that all ailments to which elephants are subject 
are directly or indirectly caused by insufficient feeding. Under-fed elephants 
become weak and unable to stand exposure ; they cannot perform their work, 
and are laid ojien to attack by even such remote maladies as sunstroke and 
sore back through poor condition. The elephant, in common with all wild 
animals, goes to no excess in any of its habits, and there is no reason, 
except bad feeding, why the rate of mortality should be so higli as it 
unhappily is amongst Government elephants in India. The actual work they 
have to perform is seldom arduous enough to affect elephants in health. 
* Prepared from the seed of the Tiecm tree, Mclia azadimda. 


The amount of fodder required by an elephant is much greater than is 
usually su^jposed. The Government allowance in Bengal and Madras for 
an elephant of full size is as follows : — 



Green fodder — viz., grasses, branches of trees, sugar-cane, &c., . . 400 

Or m lien of tlie above, dry fodder — viz., stalks of cut grain, &c., . 240 

Green fodder, ......... 250 

Or dry fodder, ........ 125 

But the amount of suitable green fodder which a full - grown elephant 
will consume in eighteen hours I have found, by numerous experiments, to 
be much greater than this — viz., between 600 and 700 lb. This is what a 
beast of average appetite will actually cat, excluding what it throws aside ; 
and I have seen a large tusker eat 800 lb., or 57 stone, in eighteen hours. 
I lately experimented with eight females with dliall grass (a grass with stalks 
from five to ten feet in length that grows in water, and of which elephants 
are fond) for eight consecutive days upon cleared masonry stands, where 
the waste w\as collected and weighed. Commencing at 6 p.m., they ate an 
average weight of 650 lb. by 12 a.m. next day out of 800 lb., given as 
follows : — 

At 6 P.M., ...... 560 

At 6 A.M., ...... 240 

800 lb. of the same grass stocked on an open grating lost by dryage — 

In the first 24 hours, ..... 40 

In the second 24 hours, . . . . 120 

So the total dryage in two days was 160 lb. This shows that the grass 
was not unduly wet. From 12 A.M. till 6 p.m. the above elephants were 
out bringing in fodder, and had pickings in the jungle. They also had 1 8 
lb. of grain per diem. 

8 lb. may be looked upon as the minimum weight of good fodder that 
should be placed before full-sized elephants per diem. This amount only 
allows a margin of 150 lb. for waste, so the fodder must be good, or 800 
lb. will not be sufficient. A good elephant-load of fodder weighs 800 lb. ; 
so as much as an elephant can bring in may be looked upon as necessary 
for his requirements. Smaller elephants will bring in quantities propor- 
tionately sufficient for their wants. I have never tried elephants exclusively 



with dry fodder, Lut it is evident that tlie amount allowed in the Com- 
missariat scales is quite insufficient. 

The elephants in Madras and Bengal differ in no respect. They are 
frequently imported to both Presidencies from Burmah, and wliilst those 
allotted to Bengal are allowed 400 lb. of fodder, similar animals in ^ladras 
are allowed 250 11). But were either of these scales adhered to, the 
elephants would die in a few weeks. It is difficult to conjecture how they 
were fixed originally, but it is probable that these were the amounts 
intended to be ixirchased over and above what the gi'ass- cutter could 
collect when free fodder was not obtainable in sufficient quantities. I 
found that in Bengal the present scale was in force prior to 1822. 

Since representing the inadequacy of the above allowances to Govern- 
ment in official correspondence on the subject, I have been informed that 
experiments have been made in the Bengal Commissariat Department, in 
continuation of my own, which have proved that an elephant will eat 750 
lb. of dry sugar-cane, which is more feeding fodder than grass, per diem, 
and that steps are being taken to remodel the fodder scale. 

The following scale of cost of keej) is for a female of full size in the 
Bengal and Madras Commissariat Departments respectively, per mensem : — 


1 mahout, ....... 

1 grass-cutter, ...... 

18 lb. unhnsked rice per diem, at 64 lb. per rupee, 
Allowance for medicines, salt, &c., .... 

Fodder allowance, at 2 annas per diem, 

Total Rs.,* . 


1 mahout, 

1 grass-cutter, ... 

25 lb, rice per diem, at 30 lb. per rupee, 

Salt, oil, and medicines, 

Fodder, average purchase per mensem, 

Total Rs.,* 










. 24 





. 25 



. 48 

The rupee is usually calculated at two sliilHiigs. 





IT was in September 1873 tliat I arrived at Cliamraj -Nuggar — a large 
village ten miles from the foot of the Billiga-rungun hills — commis- 
sioned to try and capture some of the herds of elephants which frequently 
left the hills and trespassed into the cultivated lauds adjoining. I knew 
nothing of elephant-catching at the time, nor had I any men at command 
who did ; but I knew where there were plenty of elephants, and I was well 
acquainted with their habits. Some of the Maharajah's mahouts who were 
amongst my following had been accustomed to catch single elephants with 
trained females, and in pitfalls, but they had never heard of any one at- 
tempting the capture of a whole herd. It was said that Hyder had made 
a trial, a century before, in the Kakankote jungles, but had failed, and had 
recorded his opinion that no one would ever succeed, and his curse upon 
any one that attempted to do so, on a stone still standing near the scene of 
his endeavours. Consequently all the true Mussulmans who were with me 
regarded the enterprise as hopeless — though they judiciously kept that 
opinion to themselves. 

It was owing to this general inexperience that the Chief Commissioner 


of Mysore had been reluctant to sanction the expenditure required for the 
attempt. The proposals originated entirely with me. I had been soliciting 
permission to make a trial for the past eight months, and it was only 
granted when the season for finding elephants in ground where it wouhl bo 
practicable to catch them — June to December — was far advanced. How- 
ever, when I did get permission, I commenced the work witli the hearty 
support of an officer of high influence in the province, a keen and experi- 
enced sportsman, and who warmly assisted my scheme. The Amildar, or 
head native official of the district, was an able and energetic person, and 
obtained for me the willing co-operation of the jjcople required for carrying 
out the works I decided upon. 

My first step at Chamraj- Nuggar was to send for my old sporting 
friends, the Morlayites, whom I questioned about the number of elephants 
in the jungles, their principal haunts and routes, and other particuhirs. 
I had not met these men for more than two years, when we used to hunt 
together ; and though they were not very clean, I could almost liave hugged 
them with pleasure at getting back to them and my old hunting-grounds ; 
whilst, as I had always behaved well to them, they were delighted, and 
prostrated themselves in a body, declaring I was their father and mother, 
and that they had been as children bereft since I left them ! I put them 
in good spirits by asking about such .little grievances as Indian villagers 
generally imagine they have, regarding their lands, taxes, and so forth, and 
promised them that the Amildar would pay particular attention to anytliing 
that they had to represent if they rendered effective assistance in elephant- 

Next day I moved camp to Morlay, and occupied the hours between 
sunrise and sunset in tramping the jungles and examining places that 
seemed likely to afford facilities for circumventing elephants. I knew the 
whole neighbourhood well, so was able to decide upon a certain ford, marked 
A on plan, on the Honhollay river, at which to make an attempt. Tlie 
river was here about twenty yards wide, but ordinarily with only a narrow 
and shallow stream flowing over its clean gravelly bed. In the rainy months 
lieavy but short-lived floods sometimes rose twenty feet in a few hours. 
Wild elepliants crossing from its east to its west bank used this and two 
other fords (tlie banks were not practicable excejit at these places), marked 
X, X on phin. They also retreated by the same routes. AYhen on the west 
side of the river it was their custom to seek shelter in covers D or E, and 
we calculated that by stopping tlie two fords (X, X) we could drive a lierd 
out of D or E across by ford A, which was indeed their favourite route. 

Upon these considerations I marked out a khcddah at A, on the east 



It — -«_ \ _ •"-« ".. 

JicnpU- paiSs, 

SmJe approaxmatefy: 
J inch ijo -H imles. 


bank of the river, consisting of a liorse-slioe-shaped piece of ground sur- 
rounded by a trench. The trench was about five hundred yards round, and 
the entrance to tlie enclosed space was by the ford. The elephants would 
enter by the heel of the shoe, as it were, and would have to go some two 
hundred yards before they came to the farthest point, the boundary 
trench. The trench was eight feet wide at top, six at bottom, and eight 
feet deep (this I subsequently found was a greater section than is necessary 
to confine wild elephants), and in a few days it was finished, except where 
rock was met and had to be blasted. There were eight hundred men at 
work, whose wages were about threepence each per diem. They removed 
about one cubic yard per man per diem. 

It was nearly a month before all was in readiness, as the removal of the 
rock was laborious work. The personal labour I spent on that enclosure, 
severe though it was, was not greater than the anxiety I had to endure. 
Some Job's comforters suggested that if one elephant fell into the trench 
the others' would make a bridge of him and hie them back to the hills ; 
others, that the gate which I had devised, for closing the entrance, and which 
was hauled up on a single rope, to be cut away in the joyful moment when 
the stern of the last elephant cleared it, would be carried away like chaff 
before the wind by their backward rush ! whilst a few did not hesitate to say 
that no elephants would aj)proach a place bearing traces of new earth-work 
and the recent presence of so many work-people. I lived under canvas at 
Morlay, three miles distant, as the jungle was too unhealthy to admit of my 
camping at the work, and I frequently got drenched by the heavy Septem- 
ber rains, which was not conducive to either comfort or health. I remained 
at the kheddah daily till late in the evening, and tlien rode to camp as fast 
as my ]3ony could carry me, unattended, though there was the notorious 
man-eating tigress of lyenpoor afoot, and many others of her race which I 
stood a chance of falling in with. They would not in all probability have 
interfered with me, but still it was exciting to my pony, who quite under- 
stood jungle-life, if not to myself. I was determined to make the scheme 
succeed if possible, not only from my love of adventure, and the necessity 
for executing what I had suggested to Government and undertaken to carry 
out, but from the desire to prove to several officials who considered the 
scheme to be the vision of a lunatic, that their croakings were rather the 
utterances of Bedlamites. Pleasantries appeared in the Bangalore papers 
regarding the probable effect the kheddah operations would have on the 
price of salt, which it was represented was being laid in by me in large 
quantities for application to the caudal appendages of any elephants I hap- 
pened to meet with ! 


At last all my plans were completed. Fortunately the elephants had 
been absent from the neighbourhood up to this time — there were three herds 
which commonly frequented it — but on the 5th of November tlie trackers 
came in early to say tliere were about thirty elepliants in cover D ! Im- 
mediately messengers started to all the villages near, where orders had been 
given to tlie people to hold themselves in readiness to help in the great 
Government elephant-catching scheme. Still it was twelve o'clock before 
they collected. I fumed and chafed at the delay, and I am afraid some of 
the last to arrive did not find me in the best of humours. However, shortly 
after twelve I started with about five hundred of them — far too many, as I 
afterwards found — and when we approached the temple I ordered one body 
to the left, to station themselves along the north-east bank of the river ; a 
second to the right, to cut the elephants off from communication with cover 
E; and a third, composed of the best men, chiefly ]\Iorlayites, to drive the 
elephants out of cover D. They were to begin to beat at the temple, and we 
hoped that the elephants would be kept straight for ford A by the guiding- 
lines of stops. I took my own station near the ford on tlie west side of 
the river, with the object of giving the elephants a final impetus forward 
as they approached it, and to guard the gate witli my rifles when they 
had entered. 

After tlie usual delay, inseparable from anything natives have to do, I 
heard the beat begin, half a mile distant, and presently five elephants 
approached the crossing of the river, but kept themselves concealed in 
the thick jungle between it and the Honglewaddy channel. I observed 
that they were looking back wistfully as if for their fellows, nor did the 
beaters follow them up as quickly as they should liave done. After 
some time the five went back, wliilst the shouts and shots of the beaters 
continued near the spot from which the elephants had been originally 
started. I did not like to leave my post at the ford ; but at last, as no news 
came, nor was there any sign of more elephants approaching, I stationed a 
man, in whom I thought I might repose confidence, at the gate, and went 
with my rifles to see what was the matter. I found that the main body of 
the elephants had not left cover D, chiefly on account of numbers of the men 
forming the guiding-line on the south having left their places, and so con- 
fused the elephants by joining the beaters, and shouting in all directions, that 
they did not know which way to flee. They had therefore ensconced them- 
selves in an extensive and almost impenetrable thicket of thorns, whilst tlie 
fiends in human shape who had spoilt all my plans were mobbing them in 
every direction, at a respectful distance, yelling at the top of their voices, 
and apparently quite oblivious of what the <jbject to be attained was. I 


gesticulated to tliem to clear the side towards which we wished to make the 
elephants break, shaking my fist at them in a fury. The villains redoubled 
their cries, beating their sticks with heavy thuds on the ground ; they 
thought I was angry at their not exerting themselves sufficiently ! Talking 
was useless ; a trombone could hardly have been heard in that din ; so arm- 
ing my gun-bearers with rattans, I sent them amongst the rascals, whom they 
quickly dispersed, and most of them bolted, and, happily, did not appear again. 

I now made the best re-disposition I could of the Morlayites, and we 
managed at last to start a number of the elephants on the right road. Some 
of the best men and I pursued them, determined to catch even a small 
number rather than fail altogether, and they were going fast and straight 
for the crossing, when, just as they reached it, we at their tails, a sudden 
shot in front saluted them. A momentary halt and crush ensued ; the 
leading elephants turned, tlie others followed, and back they came, heads 
down, tails twisted, going their best, and evidently oblivious of us and 
everything in their path. The river-bank was close at hand on our left, 
the channel on our right, whilst the herd almost filled the intervening 
siDace. I was maddened by the ill-luck and failure of our measures, and I 
determined if the elephants got back now it should be over my body ; so, 
shouting to the men not to give way, I fired at and floored one elephant in 
the front rank. The beaters with me behaved very pluckily, some even 
throwing the blankets which they carried rolled up on their backs into the 
elephants' faces before making off. The fall of the leading elephant acted 
as a momentary check on the others, but they were resolved to be back to 
the thick cover they had left ; so, swerving to their left, they bustled across 
the channel in mad haste, and with a prodigious amount of splashing, 
struggling, and roaring, gained the far side, and continued their flight, the 
wounded elephant amongst them. 

The fatal shot that had turned the elephants, in the moment when 
success was all but grasped, had been fired by my trusty friend at the 
gate, who must have become frightened at their rapid advance. But the 
exact circumstances of the case are involved in mystery, as, when I went to 
have a little conversation with him, I found he had left his gun against a 
tree and had bolted, and I have never seen his face from that day to this ! 

The Morlayites now lost their heads, as every one else appeared to do 
on that memorable occasion. They pursued the retreating elephants with 
shouts and brandishing of clubs, and as the huge beasts again shuffled across 
the Honglewaddy channel to regain the cover, some of the boldest actually 
struck at them from the bank with their long bamboos, the blows sounding 
loudly on their broad croups. The elephants might have turned and rent 


them many times during tlie hunt, but they seemed to have been deserted 
by the intelligence and sagacity with which they are popularly accredited in 
as great a d(3gree as the men were by common-sense, and to have no ideas 
beyond using their legs. 

It was now evening. I was drenched with perspiration, bruised, scratched, 
and hardly able to speak for hoarseness. I tlirew myself down on an 
elephant-pad under a tree, lighted a cheroot, and ajoplied myself to a review 
of tlie day's proceedings, as it was worse than useless to continue the hunt. 
This, then, was the result of my plans and pains. Things could not have 
looked more promising at the commencement of the action, yet in four hours 
the elephants had been terrified beyond hope of their returning to our side 
of the river for months, and my men demoralised by our failure. How- 
ever, in the midst of discouragement there was something to be thankful 
for. No one had been killed, as might wxU have happened, and the attempt 
had clearly demonstrated the impossibility of succeeding with such untrained, 
though willing material. This was something gained ; and as I conceived 
that greater eventual success might be evolved from our present failure, I 
did not feel greatly discouraged on a consideration of all the circumstances, 
I had had too many reverses in my sporting experience to be surprised at 
this one. The Morlayites had shown great pluck, and I believed if they were 
disciplined they would act more judiciously on another occasion. They also 
had seen how frightened the elephants were at tbem, and their confidence 
would rise in proportion. I had made the mistake of having too many men 
engaged. Elephants must, as the butcher says of beef-steaks in Martin 
Chiizzleioit, when Tom Pinch is trying to cram his purchases into his 
pocket, " be humoured, not drove." The collapse of my immediate hopes 
was certainly rather depressing, but reflecting that I probably felt it more 
at that moment than I should in a few hours, I mounted my elephant and 
rode home, followed by my chop-fallen heroes. 

I had a long and earnest consultatioii witli my right-hand men over the 
day's events round the camp-fire, when dinner and the soothing pipe com- 
bined to enable us to review them with some cahnness ; and long after I 
turned in I heard tlie trackers considering what we should do on the next 
occasion. Some of the IMorlayites were again quite confident, and were 
agreed that if such and such things had hapjjened that did not, and others 
had not that did, tlicy would have been keei)ing a joyful watch over im- 
pounded elephants at that moment, instead of looking wistfully towards tlie 
dark and distant hills in which they had doubtless already fV)uiul safe 
slielter. " Yes," said ]\I;irah, a cautious old hunter, " and if your aunts had 
liad musL:'vcliios they would have been your uncles ! " 


During the next few clays I hit upon a plan for the future which had 
the great advantage that few men would be required to execute it, and even 
undisciplined ones could hardly spoil it. This was to fortify cover D, so as 
to prevent the egress of elephants after they had once entered it, and to 
catcli them in it, instead of trusting to a drive in open country. 

The elephant season in the low conntry — June to December — was now 
over, and the herds had betaken themselves to the hills, but I commenced 
in January 1874 to put the cover in readiness, during the dry weather, for 
the coming rainy season. I employed a European overseer, Jones, to help 
me, and it was fortunate I had such assistance, as I was frequently pros- 
trated during the hot weather by attacks of ague and fever, the result of 
the exposure I had unavoidably been subjected to for the past few months. 
I found leisure to superintend the building of a rough bungalow instead of 
living in a tent, and I also amused myself by shooting a few of the tigers 
in the neighbourhood. Amongst these was the lyenpoor man-eater. 

It will be seen by reference to the sketch-plan that the Hongiewaddy 
channel approaches the river to within 3 yards at B. It then runs inland, 
owing to the levelness of the country, but again approaches to within 90 
yards of the river at C, near the temple. The space (cover D) bounded by 
the channel between B and C, and the river, is about 5 acres in extent, 
and consists of a jungle of large trees, forest creeping-plants, and several 
strong thickets. In this retreat it had been the immemorial habit of 
herds of elephants to take shelter at certain seasons, and to issue forth at 
nights into the adjacent cultivated country. The north bank of the river 
was so steep that they could not cross at any point between fords X, X ; 
whilst there were only five places where they could cross the channel on the 
west, as it was deep and had perpendicular banks. I, however, had the 
banks cut to a uniform vertical height of 10 feet, except at the crossings, 
to make sure of the elephants not getting out of the cover when once in. 
To barricade the channel crossings, each about 10 yards in width, cocoa- 
nut trees, which are exceedingly strong and light when dry, were kept in 
readiness ; and to prevent the elephants escaping by passing up or down 
the river (past B and C), the bed was spanned at those points by barriers 
composed of five rows of heavy chains. As soon as elephants entered the 
cover (of their own accord), it would only be necessary to connect the 
channel and river at B and C by cross trenches to make the surround 

All was in readiness by May. After a few showers the early rains set 
in in good earnest, and on May 5 th a large herd of elephants came down the 
hills into the low- country jungles. On the 19th five of them visited 


enclosure D during the night, and after feeding about returned to the herd, 
which was tliree miles distant. From this time till the 9th of June small 
parties visited the cover occasionally, but always returned to tlie head- 
quarters of the herd. This was very tantalising. "VVe were kept constantlv 
on the stretch ; and each morning, until the trackers returned to camp, the 
villagers of Morlay who were to help were detained at home so as to be 
mustered at a moment's notice if required, whilst a man was stationed on the 
wall of the Hurdenhully fort to fire a small cannon I had mounted there, as 
a signal to other villagers to collect at Morlay in case we wanted more men. 
Tools for digging the trenches at B and C, baskets for carrying earth, ropes 
for securmg the barricades, and provisions and cooking-pots for the multi- 
tude, were stored in the temple buildings. Special services were held daily 
by the Poojaree and trackers at tliat celebrated shrine, and tlie promises of 
gifts held out to Koombappah for success were sufficient to have moved 
the heart of even as stony a deity as himself. 

On the 9th of June I was at a hill some six miles west of ]\Iorlay look- 
ing after a bear. The trackers had brought in their usual morning report 
before I left my bungalow, to the effect that the elephants were still at the 
foot of the hills, five miles from cover D ; so, not expecting them to make a 
move during the day, I had sent the trackers back to their duty of surveil- 
lance, and with a number of men from Oomchwadd}' was busy in the pursuit 
of the said bear, a female with a cub. It was afternoon, and I was seated on 
the top of the rocky hill, wliich rose some five hundred feet frum the plain, 
amused by the cliase of the bear by my men along tlie hillside below. The 
bear had broken wide of me when she was roused from a thicket, and I had 
not had a shot ; but being encumbered by her cub, which was riding on its 
mother's shoulders after the manner of young bears, the old female could not 
get along so fast as to keep much ahead of my men, who terrified mother 
and cub so much by their hot pursuit that the cub fell off; and before it 
could follow its mother — being very young — a blanket was thrown over it 
and it was secured, whilst its mother held on for a cave close at liand, into 
which she fled. 

This scene was enacting when I heard the distant boom of my old can- 
non on the fort-wall of Hurdenhully. I waited to hear it repeated. Yes, 
another shot ! No mistake this time. There goes the third ! Hurrah ! 
That is the signal that the elephants are on our side of the river ! The 
smoke of a fire lighted on the highest ground near Morlay — the sign that I 
was required at camp — now attracted my attention and that of the men with 
me, so down the hill we went pell-mell, thinking no more of tlic bear ; and 
making the men fall in, I luounted my elephant and we started fur ^lorlav. 


We pcassed through Oomchwaddy and Hurdenhully, where the people were 
hastily collecting, and soon reached camp. 

Here the lately despondent but now rejoicing trackers met us with the 
gratifying intelligence that the whole herd had made an unexpected move 
after mid-day, and had marched straight to the river, which they had crossed 
after bathing and drinking, and were now revelling in the succulent rushes 
and grass growing along the channel. Anxious though we were to begin, we 
agreed that it was too late to do anything that day, as the herd must be 
already scattered for the night's grazing, whilst the ]3roper time to deal witli 
them was when they were collected during the day. 

I accordingly gave orders that no one should leave camp, but that all 
should be entertained " by Government," whose guests they were to consider 
themselves as having the inexpressible honour of being. Most of them 
were Oopligas and Torreas, both meat-eating castes (except as to beef) ; so I 
ordered my flock of sheep to be driven up immediately, and as I named the 
headmen who were to choose for their people, they made a dash amongst 
them and dragged out the sheep they preferred, amidst great amusement 
and comments upon their respective notions of mutton. These were speedily 
carried off and slaughtered, whilst another man of each group received cook- 
ing-pots, ragi-flour, curry-stuffs, and tobacco, at the stores, where Jones 

What a night of pleasant anticipations and merriment it was ! Every- 
body was happy, and we occasionally heard the trumpet of the elephants, 
fully three miles distant, as they fed and disported themselves about the 
river. I visited the various knots gathered round the fires dotted about 
the cleared plain before my bungalow, and said a few words to them about 
their conduct on the morrow. Agreeable fellows the rustics of Mysore are 
to entertain. They do not drink, and where the greatest dissipation is 
smoking or snuffing, there is no likeliliood of quarrels or too noisy mirth. 
In this respect my Ooj)ligas were a great contrast to the tame-elephant 
attendants, chiefly Mussulmans, with a spruikling of Pariahs, or low-caste 
Hindoos. When it was necessary to treat these for any special services, the 
only thing was to give them a few sheep and bottles of spirits — without 
which it would have been no treat — and to order them not to approach the 
camp till next morning. Tlieir revels seldom concluded without a fight, 
though when the effects of the Ihang they smoked, and their potations, 
passed away, they resumed the natural quiet demeanour of Asiatics. 

Every one was astir betimes on the eventful 10 th of June. I have 
caught a good many elephants since, and have witnessed many exciting 
scenes in the work, but I shall never forget the pleasurable anticipations 


I experienced on this occasion. Every contingency that could be foreseen 
had been carefully considered ; nothing had been left to chance. The 
men had had their respective posts allotted to them weeks beforehand, and 
we had even had a rehearsal, or review day, on which my tame elephants, 
under the direction of their mahouts, led by a ^lorlayite experienced in 
the ways of the wild ones, had represented a herd, whilst we took steps to 
meet their various moves. I had also practised the men in deer-hunts, 
&c., when I gave prizes in the shape of coloured handkerchiefs for turbans, 
as well as rupees, to those who distinguished themselves. I certainly felt 
that I now had a very different following to the undisciplined band that frus- 
trated the first attempt. I had imbued them with some notions of obedience in 
executing instructions, whatever they might be ; of working together ; and 
of silence. The difficulty of getting natives to do anything Mithout noise 
can only be fully understood by those who have had to deal with them. 
I considered it a triumph that I could march three hundred of them on 
an exciting expedition, without a whisper being heard. Despite all this I 
experienced a good deal of anxiety, now that the time for testing our arrange- 
ments had come ; but I daresay this added to the pleasure of the occasion, as 
had the result been beyond doubt, where would the excitement have been ? 

At 9 A.M. we started for the temple. Early in the morning I had been 
joined by Major G., Deputy Inspector-General of Police for ]\Iysore, and a 
keen sportsman, who happened to be encamped at Clu'iniraj-Xuggar, and to 
whom I had sent word overnight. As GaindcuUy, the elephant we were 
riding, swung along, followed by the long serpentine line of beaters in 
single file (the jungle-path being narrow), I felt proud of the comments my 
friend bestowed on my men, as he was in a position to appreciate the state 
to which they had been brought, having to drill and reduce natives to order 
for the ranks of the police. 

When we reached the temple, the trackers, who had preceded us, in- 
formed us that all the elephants were not in cover D ; some were scattered 
feeding on the upper side of the channel, and would have to be driven to 
join the main body. This was quietly effected by a handful of men, though 
a female with a young calf, an albino, gave us some trouble, threatening to 
charge. Had the men acted as of yore there would doubtless have been 
a scene, but by giving her time to retire safely with her charge we got 
her pounded into D with the others. Having ascertained that all the 
elephants were now in, all hands were engaged in barricading the cross- 
in<^s and cuttinfj the trenches between the channel and river at 1> and 
C. To render this latter work easy I had previously had the trenches dug 
and filled in again, a small drain covered with iiat stones being left at the 


bottom of each. "Water was now admitted to these from the channel, whilst 
the end near the river was kept closed, and as the water had a head of 
some ten feet, it speedily blew up the superincumbent earth and scoured out 
the trenches to the deptli and width required. It was past mid-day before 
we got all the elephants into the cover, and not a moment's rest did any of 
us get till 1 1 P.M. Captain C, of the Eevenue Survey, came over from his 
camp at Surgoor, and Major G. and he helped to superintend the people. At 
one point the supply of tools was insufficient, and Captain C. was superin- 
tending and encouraging a body of men who were digging with sharpened 
sticks, and even their bare fingers ! The elephants were very noisy in 
the cover, but did not show themselves. At every twenty yards three or 
four men were stationed to keep up large fires. These were reflected in 
the \vater of the channel and river, which increased their effect. We all 
had a most exaggerated idea of what the elephants might attempt, and the 
strength of our defences was in proportion, and greater than they need have 
been. I was kept on the move almost all night by alarms at different points, 
fortunately groundless ones. One tusker showed himself on the bank of the 
channel, but met with such a reception from firebrands and stones that he 
retreated in haste. The river was an advantage, as the elephants had easy 
access to water. The lurid glare of the fires, the gaunt figures of the lightly- 
clad watchers, their wild gesticulations on the bank with waving torches, 
the background of dense jungle resonant with the trumpeting of the giants 
of the forest, — formed a scene which words are feeble to depict, and that 
cannot fade from the memories of those who witnessed it. 

By 11 P.M. the defences were thoroughly secured, and I had leisure as 
I stood by a log -fire with nothing but my trousers on (my flannel shirt 
and coat were drenched with perspiration, and were being dried before the 
blaze), a piece of bread in one hand, and a bottle of claret and water in the 
other, to reflect on our complete success so far. That the elephants could 
not now escape was certain, unless indeed they carried some of our barri- 
cades, which were, however, so strong as to be almost beyond their power. 
The men differed as to their number. I had seen about twenty ; some de- 
clared there were fifty, but I could not believe this at the time. The num- 
ber, however, was fifty-four, as we subsequently found. I tried in vain to 
rest. The excitement of the scene was irresistible, so I betook myself to 
walking round the enclosure at intervals throughout the night, followed by 
a man carrying a basket of cheroots, which I distributed to the people. The 
rest of the time I lay upon my cot, which my servant had been thoughtful 
enough to bring from Morlay with his cooking paraphernalia, enjoying the 
wildness of the sounds and scenes around, and soothed by cheroots and 


coffee. When tlie elephants approached the place where I was the gnanls 
thrust long bamboos into the fires, which sent showers of sparks up to the 
tops of the trees overhead, and they also threw joints of a bamboo-like reed 
into the flames, where they exploded with a sound as loud as pistol-shots. 

The first crow of the jungle-cock was the most grateful sound I think 
I ever heard, as it showed our anxious vigil was dra'vving to a close. We 
knew that during the day the elephants would give us less trouble. My 
headmen now joined me from the points where they had been stationed 
during the night, and we set about considering the next step to be taken 
— viz., making a small enclosure or pound off cover D, into which to get 
the elephants confined. Of course this would take some time to carry 

If driven from the east we knew the animals would pass between the 
temple and channel, at the west end of the cover, with a \dew to crossing 
the river below the temple, and regaining their native hills, which, however, 
they were fated never to see again. I therefore laid out a pound (F) of 100 
yards in diameter, surrounded by a ditch 9 feet wide at top, 3 at bottom, 
and 9 feet deep. This was connected with the large cover by two guiding- 
trenches which converged to the gate. It was completed in four days by 
the personal exertions of the Amildar with a body of labourers, who worked 
with a will, as their crops had frequently suffered from the incursions of 
elephants, and they appreciated the idea of reducing their numbers. The last 
thing completed was the entrance- gate, which consisted of three transverse 
trunks of trees slung by chains between two trees that formed gate-posts. 
This barrier was hauled up and suspended on a single rope, so as to be 
cut away after the elephants had passed. The news of the intended drive 
attracted several visitors from Mysore. Tents were pitched in an open 
glade close to the river, and we soon had a pleasant party of several ladies, 
the cheery Deputy Commissioner of the district and his Assistant, two officers 
(Captains P. and B.) of her Majesty's 48th Eegiment, M. of the Forests, 
and Captain C. and Major G-., who liad remained from the first day. The 
evening before the drive all assembled within view of the point whore the 
elephants were in the habit of drinking at sunset, and were gratified witli an 
admirable view of thirty-five of the huge creatures disporting themselves 
timidly in the water. 

On the morning of the I7th, everything being in readiness for the drive, 
Captains P., B., and I proceeded with some picked hands to drive tlie lierd 
from its stronghold towards the pound. We succeeded in moving them 
through the thick parts of the cover with rockets, and soon got tliem near 
to its entrance. A screened platform liad been erected tnr tlic ladies at a 


point near the gate, where they could see the final drive into the enclosure 
from a place of safety. 

The elephants, however, when near the entrance, made a stand, and re- 
fused to proceed ; and finally, headed by a determined female, turned upon 
the beaters and threatened to break back down an open glade. P. and I 
intercepted them, and most of them hesitated ; but the leading female, the 
mother of the albino calf, which had been evilly disj)osed from the begin- 
ning, rushed down upon me, as I happened to be directly in her path, with 
shrill screams, followed by four or five others, which, however, advanced less 
boldly. AVhen within five yards I floored her with my 8 -bore Greener and 
1 drams ; but though the heavy ball liit the right spot between the eyes, 
the shot was not fatal, as the head was carried in a peculiar position, and 
the bullet passed under the brain. The elephant fell to the shot, almost 
upon me, when P. fired, and I gave her my second barrel, which in the 
smoke missed her head, but took effect in her chest, and must have pene- 
trated to the region of the heart, as a heavy jet of blood spouted forth when 
she rose. Probably one of the large arteries was cut by this shot. The 
poor beast moved off a few paces and halted, a stream of blood issuing in a 
parabolic curve from her chest, and making a loud gushing sound as a pool 
was formed in front of her. For some moments she swayed from side to 
side, and then fell over with a deep groan, to rise no more. This was a 
painful scene ; the elephant had only acted in defence of her young ; but 
shooting her was unavoidable, as our lives, as well as those of the beaters, 
were in jeopardy. 

The next scene partook of the ridiculous. The herd had dispersed and 
regained its original position. The little albino calf, seeing P., screamed 
wildly, and with ears extended and tail aloft chased him. He, wishing to 
save it, darted round the trees, but was near coming to grief, as he tripped 
and fell. The result might have been disastrous had I not given the 
pertinacious youngster a telling butt in the head with my 8-bore. His 
attention was next turned to a native, who took to his heels when he found 
that three smart blows with a club on the head had little effect. After 
some severe struggles, in which a few natives were floored, the calf was at 
last secured to a tree by a native's waistcloth and a jungle-creeper. 

While all this took place the beat became thoroughly disorganised. 
When the elephant had charged P. and me, our men had given way, and 
the herd regained its origiuial position at the extreme east end of the 
cover. After a short delay we beat it up again to the spot near the gate 
from which it had broken back. The elephants here formed a dense mob, 
and began moving round and round in a circle, hesitating to cross the newly- 



filled-in trench which had reached from the channel to the river, hut which 
was now refilled to allow them to pass on into the kheddah. At length they 
were forced to proceed Ijy the shots fired, and by firebrands carried tlirough 
the paths in the thicket. The bright eyes of the fair watchers near the gate 
were at length gratified by seeing one great elephant after another pass the 
Eubicon. After a short pause, owing to a stand being made by some of the 
most refractory, the last of the herd passed in with a rush, closely followed 
into the inner enclosure by a frantic beater waving a firebrand. P. and I 
came up third, in time to save any accident from the fall of the barrier. C, 
who was perched on a high branch of the gate-tree, cut the rope, and 
amidst the cheers of all, the valuable prize of fifty-three elephants was 
secured to the Mysore Government. 

I often think of the rapture of that moment ! How warmly we 
" Sahibs " shook hands ! How my trackers hugged my legs, and prostrated 
themselves to P. and B. An hour of such varied and high excitement as 
elephant-catching is surely worth a lifetime of uneventful routine in towns ! 
Sore disappointment had been undergone by myself and men. ]\Iany 
tedious days and nights had we laboured against discouraging incidents 
and hardships. r)Ut all was forgotten in the success of that moment. 
We lost no time, however, amidst our self-gratulations, in thoroughly secur- 
ing our prize. Guards were immediately posted round the kheddah, and 
my own tent pitched outside the gate ; but the elephants gave no further 
trouble. The jungle inside was dense, and they kept so quiet that, largo 
number though there was, we could scarcely see anytliing of them from tlie 
outside for some hours, until they began to move, when they soon tramjiled 
down much of the jungle. They never attempted to cross tlie trench. The 
most noisy animal of the herd was the little albino calf, whieli had broken 
its bonds during the second drive and made its way with tlie otliers into 
the kheddah, and wdiich continued to roar lustily for its mother, and in pain 
at the kicks which were freely administered to it by the other elephants 
when it endeavoured to push its way amongst them. If the writers who 
have stated that female elephants suckle and tend each other's calves indis- 
criminately were but subjected to half tlie pummelling tlie unfortunate 
orphan underwent the first day and niglit in the enclosure, they would 
have but a poor opinion of indiscriminate suckling, I imagine. 

On tlie day after the di'ive we commenced the work of securing the wild 
ones. Out of seventeen tame elei)hants belonging to the ]\Iah;ir;ijah and 
Commissariat Department which 1 had in camp, ten of the most steady and 
courageous males and females were told off for work in the i>nclosure, and 
the rest to bring fodder lor the captives. Water was supplied h) tlu'm 


through bamboos across the trench, emptying into an improvised trough. 
As none of the mahouts had seen elephants caught before, except single ones, 
they were rather nervous about entering with but ten among so many wild 
ones. P. rode one pad-elephant in advance, and I another, to encourage 
the men. The mid ones all mobbed together when we entered, and showed 
great interest in our elephants. After some little time we separated a few 
from the herd, and a mahout slipped off under cover of our tame elephants 
and secured a noose round a young tusker's hind-leg. The tame elephants 
then dragged and pushed him backwards nearly to the gate of the kheddah, 
where we secured him between two trees. We afterwards found, however, 
that it was much easier to hobble each elephant's hind-legs, and then to let 
it fatigue itself by dragging them after it for some time before we finally 
secured it, than to proceed as we did at first. 

In ten days, during which time the visitors remained, and we had 
a merry camp, we secured all the elephants. Calves were allowed to go 
loose with their mothers. The captives were led out of the enclosure by 
our elephants as fast as they were secured, across the river, and were 
picketed in the forest. Water-troughs were made for them of hollowed 
lengths of date-trees. These were pushed witliin their reach by a bamboo, 
and withdrawn with a rope to be again filled. Two men were appointed to 
each large elephant, and one to each small one. They made themselves 
shelters of boughs and mats just beyond the reach of their charges, and by 
constantly moving about them, singing to, and feeding them, many could 
handle their elephants in a few days. The elephants at first kicked or 
rushed at their captors (they very seldom struck with their trunks) ; but as 
soon as they found nothing was done to hurt them they gained confidence, 
and their natural timidity then made them submit without further resist- 
ance. There was a great variety of temperament observable amongst them. 
The small elephants, about a third grown (particularly females), gave the 
most trouble. The head jemadar ascribed it to their sex and time of life. 
" Wasn't it so with human beings ? " he said. " How troublesome women 
were compared to men, who were always quiet ! " He was a Mussulman, 
and had several ladies in his establishment, so, as I was an inexperienced 
bachelor, I did not presume to question his dictum. One young elephant 
lost the sole of one foot with three toes attached after it had become loos- 
ened from her violence in continually kicking up the ground, and died soon 
afterwards, A mahout and I mounted a full-grown female on the sixth 
day after she was removed from the enclosure, without the presence of a 
tame elephant, which shows how soon elephants may be subjugated by 
kind treatment. 


The ropes were changed from one leg to another every day, otherwise 
the wounds made by them would have been very serious. AVhilst this was 
being done it was necessary for a tame elephant to stand near the wild one, 
as it became alarmed on seeinir men on foot near. We were much troul)led 
by maggots in the wounds of tlie new elephants. In a few hours after thoy 
were dressed they would swarm again. The animals kicked up sand and 
blew it upon their sores to keep off the flies ; this sopped up the oil and 
dressings we applied, and tlie chafing of the ropes was much more severe 
when sand got under them. The mahouts used various substances, as lime, 
tobacco, the juice of certain plants, &c., to kill the maggots ; but they were 
unfortunately all agents of an irritating nature, and though fatal to the 
maggots, were far from conducive to the healing of the wounds. I have 
since found camphorated turpentine a valuable remedy. On the present 
occasion, with a bucket of margosa oil (called also ncmi oil, most offensive 
in smell, and deterrent to flies) at hand, and a moj) for applying it, the men 
managed in about a month to heal their elephants' wounds. 

During the tying-up process in the kheddah several amusing incidents 
occurred. Active fellows would constantly cross it on foot with ropes or 
other things that were required, and at first they were pertinaciously chased 
by the wild ones. The men made for the protection of the tame elephants, 
and it was considered creditable to do this with as little hurry as circum- 
stances would admit. The arena formed a centre of attraction to the on- 
lookers, as the tlieatre of a Spanish bull fight may do, and the men who showed 
the greatest coolness were loudly applauded. The elephants, however, soon 
gave up pursuing when they became accustomed to seeing people. Tlie 
wild ones did not attempt to interfere witli the men when they gained the 
shelter of the tame elephants. On one occasion a friend in the Forest 
Department, who was riding one of our elephants, was swept off, as well as 
the mahout, by an overhanging creeper, when their elephant was dragging 
a captive across the kheddah. Having but a confused idea of the points of 
the compass when they gained their legs, they rushed toward the nearest 
elephant for protection. It was a very fine animal, but unfortunatel}' a 
wild one, wliich they mistook for a friend ! The elephant was rather star- 
tled and did not take so prompt an advantage of their mistake as it niiglit 
have done. They meanwhile made some remarkably good time towards the 
gate of the enclosure, wliich they reached in safety. 

The largest tusker amongst the captives began to be troublesome a day 
or two after the herd was impounded. He would approacli our elephants 
as if to measure his strength witli tlieirs. A ])rod with a long spear in tlie 
head kept him off at first, but the novelty of that treatment wore away, so 


I told the riders of our tuskers to set their elephants at him if he gave 
more trouble. Amono'st them was one called Jairam, not taller than the 
wild elephant, and with the disadvantage of having blunt tusks ; but he 
was of a most warlike temperament amongst his own kind, though remark- 
ably gentle and good-tempered to his keepers and strangers. It had been 
necessary to restrain him hitherto from attacking the wild tusker, but I now 
gave his rider permission to gratify Jairam if the wild elephant required 
chastisement. Whilst we were at work that day in the kheddali I heard 
the clash of meeting tusks, and a tremendous scufHiDg behind me. I turned 
and beheld the valorous Jairam with the wild tusker's head jammed between 
his tusks, whilst he ran him rapidly backwards towards the trench, urged 
on by his delighted rider. The scuffling of even a pair of bullocks makes 
a considerable noise ; that created by struggling elephants may be imagined. 
The tusker having got his head into chancery could do nothing but run 
back to clear himself. He fortunately managed to do this when just on 
the brink of the trench, and made his escape, pursued round the enclosure 
for some minutes by the gallant Jairam, who, amidst the plaudits of all, 
added to the tusker's discomfiture by administering some nasty prods 
behind whenever he could catch him. I sent for some money and rewarded 
the mahout before the spectators, as his position had been a highly dangerous 
one during the tilting - match. ]\iahouts are always pleased when their 
elei^hants deserve commendation, and Jairam had a double allowance of 
grain and a large bundle of sugar-cane that evening as a mark of his 
master's approbation. The wild tusker was thoroughly cowed by this 
encounter ; and it was amusing to see the riders of the elephants told off 
to guard whilst the others were engaged in tying the captives, jockeying 
the late combatant round the enclosure when he did anything which 
afforded them an excuse for administering correction. 

One great piece of excitement was the capture of a single male elephant 
in the elephant-lines. Unfortunately I was the only spectator amongst our 
party. I was just getting up at dawn one morning when a mahout rushed 
into my tent saying, " Wild elephant, wild elephant !" and away he went 
again. The word he used for elephant might mean one or any number, 
and imagining a herd must have come, and was threatening interference 
with our captives, I ran down to the elephant - lines just as I was, in 
my flannel sleeping-suit. I found the men unshackling three of our 
best females, and seizing spare ropes, and they now told me that a single 
male elephant was amongst the new ones picketed across the river. I 
jumped on to Dowlutpeary behind the mahout. We only had girth-ropes 
on her, no pads, and not even dark-coloured blankets to cover ourselves. 

118 A CHASE. 

Crossing the river we saw some maliouts in a tree, who pointed to the 
jungle on the left, where we found the elephant, a fine tusker, but with 
the right-hand tusk missing. He was a young elephant, and would be a 
prize indeed. We all lay flat on our elephants' necks. Presently the tusker 
approached us, and my elephant's mahout turned Dowlutpeary round with 
her stern towards him, that he might be less likely to see us. He put his 
trunk along her back, almost to where I sat. I took the goad from the 
mahout, so as to job his trunk if he came too near me, but he seemed 
satisfied. Bheemruttee and Pounpeary, the other two elephants, now made 
advances to him under the direction of their mahouts, and he soon resigned 
himself unsuspiciously to our company. 

He now led us through the lines, inter\aewing several of the captured 
elephants, whose position he did not seem to be able to understand, and 
then retired to a shady tree, as the sun had risen. I signed to the hiding 
mahouts to get the other tame elephants quietly across the river, but to 
keep them out of sight ; and as soon as the elephant stood perfectly still, 
my mahout and Bheemruttee's slipped off, whilst Pounpeary's rider and I 
Jcept the three elepliants close against the wild one to prevent his seeing 
tlie men. They had been at work tying his liind-legs for a considerable 
time, when he attempted to move and found himself hobbled ! The critical 
knot had just been tied when he shifted his position ! He was on the 
alert in an instant. Our elephants sheered off with gi'eat celerity, as he 
might have prodded them with bis sharp tusk. The mahouts each threw 
a handful of dust into his face in derision before they retired, and now 
the fun began. Men came running from all directions with ropes, to the 
dismay of the tusker, who trumpeted shrilly and made off at an astonishing 
pace, scuffling along with his hind-legs, wliich were not very closely tied to 
each other, and which lie could use to some extent. He rushed awav through 
the low jungle, the whole of our ele])hants and men in hot pursuit. He 
was red with a peculiar earth with which he had been dusting himself, and 
formed a great contrast to the black tame elephants. Our tuskers were all 
slow (their pace might have been improved by an application of the Assam 
elephant-hunter's spiked mallet), and we did not gain on the elephant for 
nearly half a mile. The men on foot were running in a crowd alongside 
him to his intense terror. At last he turned into a thicket and halted, and 
Ave quickly surrounded him. Dowlutpeary and P)heemruttee again went in, 
and lie was secured and marched back between four elephants in triumph. 
I sold him subsequently (for (lovernment) for £175 ; had he had both 
tusks he would have brought douljle that sum. I gave the tluve mahouts 
who secured hiiii £5 each — a small fortune to them — the moment tlio 


elephant was made fast, and said a few complimentary words upon their 
activity. I have always found that, in rewarding natives for any service, 
the value of a present is greatly enhanced by its being given on the spot 
in presence of their fellows : and the Canarese proverb, " Thougli the hand 
be full of money, there should be sweet words in the mouth," should not 
be forgotten ; a few pleasant words go well with rupees. 

The captured herd consisted of sixteen male elephants of different 
sizes, of which three were large tuskers — the highest was 8 feet 5 inches 
at tlie shoulder — and three wMcknas, or tuskless males ; thirty females,'''' 
full or half grown ; and nine calves. Of the largest elephants nine were 
allotted, after careful selection, for the Maharajah's stud, ten to the Madras 
Commissariat Department, nine died, chiefly young ones, and twenty-five 
of the least valuable were sold by public auction at Chamraj -Nuggar three 
months after capture, when most of them were tame enough to be ridden 
away. These latter brought an average price of £83, 8s. each, or an 
aggregate of £2085 ; and the total realised for the fifty-four (deducting 
deaths) was £3754, which, after deducting £1556, the total expenditure 
from the commencement of operations in 1873, left a surplus to Govern- 
ment of £2199. The elephants drafted into the Maharajali's and Com- 
missariat establishments were the most valuable animals, but were only 
credited to the Kheddah Department (by the orders of the Chief Com- 
missioner) at the same price as the second and third rate animals sold for 
at auction — viz., £83, 8s. each. At least £100 per head more might have 
been added, when the surplus receipts would have been £4099. 

The Chief Commissioner complimented me on the performance of my 
task in an order on the subject as follows : " The success that has attended 
Mr Sanderson's skilful and energetic arrangements in this matter is in the 
highest degree creditable to that gentleman, and the Chief Commissioner 
cordially congratulates him thereon, and will have much pleasure in bringing 
his excellent services in organising and carrying the same out to the favour- 
able notice of the Government of India." The experiment having succeeded 
so well, the scheme was sanctioned for a further extended term, and the 
officiating Under-Secretary to the Government of India addressed the Chief 
Commissioner of Mysore as follows : " I am directed to state that his Ex- . 
ceUency the Viceroy and Governor-General in Coimcil is pleased to sanction 
the grant to Mr Sanderson of a bonus of £200, in acknowledgment of the 
skill and personal daring displayed by him." 

Not long after this, I was deputed to Bengal on temporary duty for ele 
phant-catching, leaving the work in Mysore in abeyance for some time, though 

* Tlii.s includes the female shot in the enclosure on the day of tlie drive. 


my trackers and best men were allowed lialf-pay until my return. An 
account of tlie expedition which I undertook after elephants into the wilds 
of tlie Cliittagong hill-tracts will be given in the next chapter. I have not 
caught elephants in Mysore since my return from Bengal in 1876, owing to 
the disastrous famine prevalent in Southern India, the cause of which, lack 
of rain, affected the fodder upon which we are dependent for maintaining 
newly-caught elephants. But everything is kept in readiness at Morlay for 
the continuation of operations as soon as affairs improve, and it will be 
strange if, -v^dth our extended experience, my Morlayites and I are not able 
to do even better than in 1874. The herds in IMysore are large and 
numerous. I calculate that there are at least 800 elephants in the jungles 
where catching operations can be carried on. 

A few remarks on the breaking of newly-caught elephants may not 
inaptly close this chapter. As soon as a wild elephant is secured, two keep- 
ers are appointed to it, who commence, one on each side, to fan it with 
long branches, keeping out of its reach. At first the elephant is furious 
from fear, and attempts to strike or kick them. They keep up a wild chant, 
addressing their charge by any extravagant title they can think of, such 
as " King of a thousand elephants," " Lord of tlie jungles on the summit of 
mighty hills," &c. The elephant is well fed from the beginning, and it is a 
remarkable circumstance that they eat from the first. They do not seem to be 
able to break through their habit of constantly feeding — a wild elephant gi-azes 
or browses almost incessantly — and if an elephant refuses its food it is 
generally something more serious than alarm that ails it. A not uncommon 
idea that elephants are starved into submission is quite unfounded. In a day 
or two the elephant pays little attention to the men — being engaged on the 
choice fodder with which it is supplied when they are at work at it. They 
gradually approach till they can clap its sides, its legs being secured for 
fear of a kick, which might kill them on tlie spot. The elephant soon 
learns to take sugar-cane, fruit, &c., from the hand, and allows them to be 
put into its mouth, which all elephants prefer to taking food in their trunks. 
I found a small allowance of rice for each elephant useful, as a pinch can be 
wrapped up in grass, with a little sugar, and the constant feeding with such 
morsels forms a. bond between the animal and its attendants. Girth-ropes 
are soon tied round its body, and under the tail as a crupper, and the men 
climb on to it by these. When an elephant once gives up striking at its 
attendants (which it generally does in a few days), it is very seldom that it 
subsequently docs anything intended to injure them, unless terrified by haste 
or excitement in their movements. Nor are there any elephants whicli can- 
not be easily subjugated, whatever their size or age. The largest elephants 


are frequently the most easily tamed, as tliey are less apprehensive than 
yonnger ones. 

The elephant should not be taught to kneel, nor be subjected to other 
unnecessary restraints, until well over the immediate effects of capture, say 
in four or five months. It may then be taken into the water, and the down- 
ward pressure of a pointed stick behind the shoulder near the spine will soon 
make it kneel to avoid the pain. 

Elephants are taught to trumpet by the extremity of their trunks being 
tightly grasped between the hands, when they are obliged to breathe through 
the mouth, in doijig whicli they make a loud sonorous sound. They are 
rewarded and made much of for this, and so learn to " speak," as it is 
termed, on an indication of what is required. In Dacca the Government 
elephants are particularly well trained, much more so than in the south of 
India. They are taught to collect their own fodder where it is plentiful, 
and to hand it up to the coolie on their backs, who packs it, — and many 
other useful services. 





I LEFT Mysore on September 1, 1875, for Bengal, and proceeded to Cal- 
cutta. Here I reported myself to the Commissary-General, and then 
left for Dacca, vid Goalundo. Goalundo, tlie terminal station of the East- 
ern Bengal railway, is on the Ganges, 158 miles north-east of Calcutta. 
From Goalundo river-steamers leave for Dacca, and stations in Assam, about 
twice a-week. 

The expectations 1 had formed of the beauty of the Ganges were woe- 
fully staggered. Instead of a clear rolling Hood, I beheld an extremely 
muddy tidal river. Though Goalundo is, I believe, 140 miles from the sea, 
the tides reach far above it, and keep the river brackish, and in a constant 
state of muddy agitation. The Ganges at Goalundo appeared to be about 
two miles wide, and as the day was stormy there was quite a high sea run- 
ning on its exposed surface. 

The trip to Dacca from Goalundo occupies two days; the boats anchor 
at sunset, as the navigation of the river is difficidt. In addition to carry- 
ing passengers, and a large number of coolies to the tea-cs(atos in Assam 
and elsewhere, each steamer tows two huge goods-Hats. Hides, juto, and 


tea are the chief cargoes from tlie interior to Goahmdo. The flats are 
lashed on each side of the steamer, and the trio hears a ridiculous resem- 
blance to a small hen with two large chickens under her M'ings. This 
arrangement of the flats is necessary, as in rounding corners, and steer- 
ing between sandbanks, they would get agi'ound if towed astern, and when 
going with the tide they would overrun the steamer when she slackened 
speed. The steamers are paddle-boats — I believe of 180 horse-power each. 
The current of the Ganges frequently runs at eight miles an hour, and none 
but powerful boats could make head against it. The machinery of the 
steamers is exposed, and seemed to be a never-ending source of wonder to 
the coolie emigrants on board. 

Continuous rain had flooded the country contiguous to the river, and 
boats were to be seen moving under full sail in wliat appeared to be verdant 
meadows — in reality rice-fields, where the crop showed above water. Large 
numbers of the Gangetic porpoise {Flatanista gangdica), a fish between six 
and seven feet long, disported themselves not far from the steamer. I tried 
several shots at them with my express, but though they appeared to roll 
in a deliberate manner, it was difficult to fire with accuracy, and quickly 
enouo'h, to kill them. I hit one or two crocodiles when we came within 
reach of them. 

The captain of the boat, who had spent many years afloat on the Ganges, 
told me of an instance of a tiger boarding his steamer when at anchor durinff 
the night. She was lying half a mile from shore, and towards morning some 
natives were engaged witli a boat in laying out an anchor astern to prevent 
her swinging round with the tide. When they pulled back, a rope was 
thrown to them by a man on deck, and they brought their boat in close to the 
steamer's rudder. The deck of the river-steamers is only three feet above 
the water, and the rudder projects several feet from the sternpost for power 
in steering. A tiger, about two-thirds grown, that must, whilst swimming 
the river, have mistaken the anchored boat for an island whereon to rest, 
had taken up its position on the rudder. It was too dark for the men to 
see it, and in its friglit at their coming so near, the creature sprang at the 
man in the bow of the boat, and from him at the lascar on board the 
steamer. It did them little injury, and took refuge somewhere on deck. 
The lascars awoke Captain H.; but as there were a great many coolies on 
board, and it was impossible to shoot without risk of killing somebody, he 
decided to wait till daylight. As soon as it was sufficiently light a search 
was instituted, and the tiger was found in the coal-bunker. He knocked 
over two or three inquisitive natives, ran along the deck, and jumped over- 
board in front of the paddle-wheel. As he did so Captain H. broke one of 

124 DACCA. 

his hind-legs with a hall. The wounded beast then clambered into the wheel, 
but just as Captain H. was about to finisli him he fell into the water, and 
was seen no more ; the rapid current carried him under, and out of reach 
in a few moments. Somewhat similar instances have been known of tigers 
getting into native boats. I imagine such must have happened much as in 
this case, througli the tigers seeking a rest during a long swim. 

The approach to Dacca by water is striking. Some of the Iniildings of 
Mohammedan type which line the river in the native part of the town 
appear to be of considerable antiquity. At the ends of the streets which 
debouch on to the river clusters of boats are anchored, and an active trade 
goes on in fish, vegetables, grass for cattle, &c., all brought from the villages 
up or down the river. In the stream are anchored two or three Govern- 
ment steamers, belonging to the European officials for use on their tours of 
duty. At the southern end of the town are the Europeans' residences. 
They stand in green compounds, well back from the river, which is here 
bordered by a wide esplanade, the usual lounge of the evening. Here is 
situated the palatial residence of the Nawiib Abdool Gunni, C.S.I., whose 
liberality and benevolence are widely known around Dacca. The Europeans 
in Dacca are beholden to him for warm support in all their amusements — 
hunting, racing, balls, music, croquet-parties, &c. 

Though Dacca is about a hundred miles from the sea, the country is so 
low-lying that the tides run up the river far above it. Its height above 
sea-level is only about ten feet.'" For this reason the Europeans' houses are 
generally two-storeyed, which is iniusual in India, and the upper one is mostly 
used, as the lower is frequently damp. Still Dacca is one of the most 
healthy stations in Bengal. This is somewhat strange, as the exhalations 
from the river about October and November cannot but be injurious to 
health. The stagnant water which has up to this time inundated the 
country adjacent to the river for a great distance above Dacca, finds its way 
into the main stream when it shrinks, and brings with it enormous quan- 
tities of decayed vegetable matter, floating islands of grass, drift-wood, &c. 
One day I saw a dead panther, floating so high out of the water that it was 
evident its decease had taken place some days before, pass my bungalow, 
I sent a boat after it, but the skin was useless, tlie hair coming olT when 
handled. The animal had perhaps been drowned, as it bore no marks of 
having been shot. The stench from the river was sometimes so great as to 
awaken me during the night, and as the weather was too hot to admit of 

* It was in the country lying between Dacca and the sea that the great cyclone wave occasioned 
.such terrible loss of life; on November 1, 1876. It is only its distance from the sea that renders 
Dacca safe from beinjj similarly overtaken. 


M'indows being closed it was ratlier distressing. When the river had run 
itself down to summer level it became almost stagnant, except for the flow of 
the tides. I well remember this from a dead pariah-dog making trips up 
and down with the flow and ebb for a day or two. Each time it passed 
there was a visible chanf>e for the worse. It looked lar^-er than when last 
seen, and floated more jauntily high out of the water ; nor was its colour 
improved by the loss of patches of hair. At last, after one or two unsuc- 
cessful attempts, I sent a bullet through it at a hundred and fifty yards, and 
put a stop to its ghastly trips. 

Dacca is a populous native city (70,000 inhabitants) and a large and 
faA^ourite civil station. A wing of a native regiment is quartered here. 
It v/as a place of great importance under the Moguls, but its former glory 
has in a great measure departed. Dacca used to be famous for its ship- 
building, and its fleet of eight hundred armed vessels, employed in guarding 
the southern coast against the ravages of Arracanese pirates. It was widely 
celebrated for its manufactures, amongst which muslin of incomparable fine- 
ness was one of the most noted. This is now difficult to procure. The best 
is only made to order, and costs about £1 per yard. A piece I had of twenty 
yards, and average width, weighed, if I remember rightly, six rupees (twelve 
shillings in silver). The native silver filigree work, in European designs, 
is superior to anything of its kind of English or Continental manufacture. 
A large trade is carried on in armlets for native women, cut from shells, 
brought by the native trading-boats to Dacca from the coast of Ceylon and 
other places. The cutting is effected with a huge semi-circular knife like a 
cheese-cutter, worked with both hands. A small circular-saw would do as 
much in an hour as twenty men in a day. 

Dacca is the headquarters of the Bengal Kheddah, or Elephant-Catching 
Establishment. Its situation on a branch of the Ganges from which large 
supplies of water-grasses, suitable for fodder, are obtainable, and within two 
hundred miles of the forests of Chittagong, Sylhet, and Cachar, which 
abound with wild elephants, is perhaps the best for the purpose in Bengal. 
The Peelkhana, or elephant depot, is situated just outside the town, and 
covers an area approaching one quarter-mile square. It consists of an 
intrenched quadrangular piece of ground in which the elephants' pickets are 
arranged in long rows. At each picket is a masonry flooring, with a post 
at the head and foot, to which the animals are secured. The flooring is 
necessary to prevent them kicking up the earth. Along one side of the 
quadrangle is a shed several hundred feet long, in which the elephants can 
be kept during the heat of tl^.e day. There is also a hospital for sick ele- 
phants ; houses for gear and stores ; a native doctor's room for treating the 


attendants ; a shelter for howdahs and ropes, &c. The depot is situated 
close to the river for convenience of bathing and watering the elephants, and 
also that fodder may be brought by boats. 

IMost of the elephants required for the service of the Bengal Government 
are furnished by the Dacca establishment. It is under a European officer, 
and a yearly exodus of all hands is made to hunt in the forest-tracts of 
Chittagong and Assam. The establishment contains fifty trained elephants 
or koonkics, — derived from the Hindoostan word kumuk, aid. These are all 
females. In addition to the permanent stud of koonkies, there is always a 
lai'ge number of new elephants undergoing training. When fit for service 
these are allotted to military stations as required. The hunting-party 
usually leaves Dacca about the beginning of December, and after working 
for three or four months (this season is selected as little rain falls), returns 
with the captured elephants about ]\Iay. The training of these occupies the 
establishment till November, when the animals are despatched to Commis- 
sariat stations, leaving the establishment free to hunt again. The annual 
captures in Dacca for seven years prior to 1875-76 averaged fifty-nine 
elephants. I found from old records that from 183G to 1839 inclusive, 
sixty-nine elephants were the annual average. 

In the chapter upon the method of capturing elephants, I have men- 
tioned the composition of a Bengal hunting-party. Tlie expense of main- 
taining the full number of men of which it consists tlie whole year round 
would be so great tliat only the jemadars and chief men are permanently 
employed, the coolies required being enlisted for two or three months annu- 
ally, as required. This system of hunting has been pursued by the Bengal 
Government, and probably by former native governments, so long, that the 
people required for kheddahs are easily collected at Chittagong and other 
centres. Though many die at times from the effects of these jungle-triiis, 
and some are killed almost every year by elephants, there are always plenty 
of volunteers for the work. 

The permanent Superintendent of the Dacca Kheddahs having obtained 
furlough to England, I accepted the acting appointment for eigliteen montlis, 
but I only held it for nine, as I was permitted to return to IMysore at the 
end of that period to continue klieddah operations there. And tliougli I was 
under orders to return to Dacca for the last three months of my olficiating 
term, to make another expedition into Chittagong in January 1877, the 
return of the permanent Superintendent before the expiration of his leave 
rendered my doing so unnecessary. 

I took charge of the despot from IVfajor C. in September, 1875. As 
we sat at a table under a shady tree in the ([uadraiigle, with a mil of the 


elepliants before us, they filed past, and all made their salutations. Those 
that had been caught but a few months were not all quite an fait at 
salaaming. Several baby elepliants accompanied their mammas ; others, a 
little older, were ridden by little boys, the mahouts' sons, who joined in the 
march past and seemed proud of their duty. There were 1 5 9 in all. 

As there was little to do before the hunting season — December — beyond 
my daily inspection of the Peelkhana, and tlie continued training of the 
elephants, I decided to make an expedition up one of the tributaries of the 
Ganges to a place called Berramtollie, about forty miles above Dacca, where 
I heard there were a few wild buffaloes. These animals are not found in 
Southern India, so I was anxious to add them to my game list, and also to 
see the localities from which fodder was drawn for the elephants, tlie amount 
of which arriving at the Peelkhana astonished me, after the difficulty experi- 
enced in the matter of fodder in Southern India. I therefore despatched 
twenty-five elepliants by land, to give them a little outing as well as myself, 
as it always does elephants good, and I followed by boat next day. There 
was a large choice of boats at the Dacca landing. My servant chose one 
about fifty feet long, having a comfortable cabin and a small room for 
boxes on deck. It only drew a foot and a half of water, and was propelled 
by eight rowers, with a steersman. The forward half of the deck was occu- 
pied by the rowers, the latter half by the cabin. Upon the roof of this 
the steersman sat, guiding the boat with a large oar lashed to the sternpost. 
In the forward-deck was a small square pit, which answered the purpose of 
a galley. 

I left Dacca at six o'clock in the morning. The boat was narrow and 
sailed well, but only before the wind, as it had no keel. We soon turned 
into a tributary that led to a place called Kasimpoor, and here we had to 
take down the large sail as the breeze was against us. The main stream 
was about seventy yards wide, with a considerable current. The flood-banks 
of the river were not less than a mile apart, and were lined with groves of 
trees, palms, and jungle, with villages and fishermen's huts appearing here 
and there. Between these banks was one unbroken sea of the richest green 
imaginable, composed of rice-fields and extensive patches of broad-leaved 
rushes, the elephants' fodder. But little open water was to be seen except 
the main stream. Wlien the river should run down in a couple of months, 
and confine itself within the main channel, the rice-crops now standing in 
three feet of water would be reaped. Throughout the day the boat was 
kept in dead water over the flooded land, and as it was not deep the men 
found poling more effective than rowing. I saw a number of boats loading 
with grass for the Peelkhana, and could now understand where the fodder 


cams from. This supply only lasts, liowever, from ]\Iay till November, or 
during the time of the inundations. When the water retires there is an 
end of the luxuriant growth. 

In the afternoon we turned into a smaller tributary, and after following 
it for some miles we reached camp under a splendid banian-tree, so wide- 
spreading that the twenty-five elephants and their attendants found plenty 
of room under it without encroaching upon my camp. As a rule, trees of 
tlie order Ficus are not so fine in Eastern Bengal as in the south of India. 
Tills may be occasioned by the presence of water within a few feet of the 
surface, wdiich prevents their roots striking sufficiently deep. This tree, 
however, was an exception amongst its fellows. In addition to the in- 
feriority in the size of the trees, the massive granite temples and other 
buildings common in Mysore and other parts of Southern India are 
•wanting in Eastern Bengal. There is an extraordinary absence of stone 
throughout the delta of the Ganges. There is not a single rock, not a 
pebble, not even a nodule of gravel, for a distance of four hundred miles 
from the sea. The most permanent building material is but indifferent 
brick ; hence, nothing can lay claim to the antiquity which makes many 
remains in Mysore and other provinces so deeply interesting. For anything 
there is to be seen to the contrary, this part of the country might have 
been brought under cultivation within the last ten years. 

After breakfast next day I took all the elephants, and went through a 
variety of grass and bush-jungle, occasional swamps, &c., in the hopes of 
finding buffaloes, but I felt very helpless through not having had any experi- 
ence in the sport. I saw a few hog-deer {Axis ■porcinui) an animal not found 
in Southern India, but no buffalo. At last we found some marks, and I 
tried to track a solitary bull, Init lost the trail in a mile. Oh for some 
of my IMysore Oopliga or Kurraba trackers ! The country was wet, and 
tracking comparatively easy, and I saw no jungle that buflaloes could not be 
followed into — even on foot ; but none of my men were adepts. At last 
wo met some charcoal-burners who seemed likely fellows, and who told us 
the buffaloes grazed in the rice-fields at night, but retreated to jungles near 
a place called Rampoor during the day. To Eampoor we started accord- 
ingly, and on the way picked up a native (the villagers here were not unlike 
the Mysore Kurrabas and Sholagas), and under his guidance the elephants 
tramped some miles of likely jungle, but without our seeing aiiytliing. 
Our guide, however, promised better things on the morrow, so we returned 
to camp. This kind of work is most beneficial to elephants, as they graze 
the whole of the time, finding a variety of fodder, and the exercise and 
change ])lease them. 


The return path to Berramtollie led through a sea of green rice-fields ; 
occasionally skirted oases in the shape of mounds and rounded hills, all 
closely studded with beautifully straight, tall trees, with large leaves much 
like the cinchona ; whilst several large sails moving steadily along up the 
nullahs intersecting the rice -fields had the appearance in the distance of 
immense white birds. When I got to camp I found an observant peon 
had marked a pea- fowl to roost in a tree not far away. It was a difficult 
light to shoot in, but I managed to bring it down with my rifle at sixty 
yards ; and as I had fowls enough for my own consumption, I made the 
peon a present of it, with an exhortation to continued vigilance in such 

Next day all the elephants started for Eampoor, and after breakfast I 
followed in my boat up a nullah, or natural canal, which was about twenty 
yards wide, four deep, and very prettily shaded with trees. The water was 
almost dead. We reached Eampoor in the afternoon, and I went out 
with my friend of yesterday to examine the country. We saw new tracks 
of buffalo, but nothing else. Next day we again went through plenty of 
promising jungle, but though my conductor was eager to show sport, he 
was not an adept at the only method to attain his object with certainty — 
steady tracking. I therefore returned to breakfast, cogitating upon what 
to do next, when, just as I had finished, a man came in with news of some 
buffaloes having grazed in his rice-fields during the night. I scarcely felt 
inclined to go out again on such information, as the day was hot, and the 
villagers apparently incapable of finding the animals, but when the man 
was brought forward I saw at once that he was the right person at last. 
There was no mistaking him. The experienced sportsman can tell the 
genuine hunter at a glance. Whatever their race or colour there is a free- 
masonry amongst sportsmen, and though I could not speak a word of my 
new friend's language, I could have shaken hands with him at once. His 
appearance might not have been prepossessing to some. He had a very 
rough matted head of hair, and a string and a rag round his loins. But 
he was qiiiet and composed in his manner, though he threw the timid 
glances of his class, so familiar to me, around him ; and his replies, through 
an interpreter, confirmed the confidence I felt in him. I at once ordered 
out five elephants, and gave my guide some tobacco, which delighted him. 
I regarded him as a brother come in the moment of my sore need. 

Sending the elephants to a point two miles down the nullah, I was 
rowed to the same place in my floating house. I had no tent, but lived 
in the cabin of my boat. Mounting Tara Eanee, I followed the new tracker 
and another man to their fields, where several buffaloes had grazed. There 



was a scarecrow in one corner, wliicli presented a rather ridiculous appear- 
ance, as the buffaloes had grazed the crop quite short, except under its 
outstretched arm and about its feet. It was thus left guarding, with 
an appearance of great solicitude, about fifty stalks ! The men carried the 
tracks from here in good style through jungle composed of bushes much 
like hazel, interspersed with fine trees ; beds of a peculiar broad-leaved 
plant ; and occasional swamps and long grass. The buffaloes — apparently 
eight or ten — had wallowed in a pool, and for some distance beyond the 
grass and bushes were whitewashed with mud from their brushing against 
them. When we had gone about three miles we found a pool only recently 
disturbed, and I dismounted, as from sundry signs similar to those I well 
knew in bison-shooting — such as the animals loitering and wandermsr, and 
more particularly (as the compass attached to my watch-chain informed me) 
from their having turned back towards the fields they had grazed, doubtless 
with the intention of visiting them again that night — I imagined they were 
not far ahead. 

We were entering some thick cover when up they jumped, close on our 
right, and crashed away. I did not catch sight of them, but ran along the 
path they made through the grass and bushes. One — the bull no doubt — 
kept lagging behind, and breaking away again and again just before me; but 
the undergrowth was very rank, and though I ran nearly a mile I never saw 
him. I waited for my followers, and we resorted to tracking again. The 
men kept the trail very well for two miles, when we came to a serious 
check, caused by the buffaloes having met some charcoal-burners, at sight 
of whom they had scattered in all directions ; and as the ground was not 
sufficiently soft to render the old bull's tracks very discernible from the 
others, whilst the locality had been recently much trampled, the finding the 
newest tracks, and picking out the bull's amongst them, occupied time. 
The men made many gestures signifying that the buffaloes must be far 
ahead, that we should not catch them up before sundown, and pointing 
to the position of the sun about seven in the morning, with much nodding 
and grunting in an assuring manner, by which I understood them to say 
we should make certain work of them in the morning. But I have so 
constantly found that when matters look least promising success is often 
close at hand, that T would not hear of giving in, and encouraged them to 
persevere by the well-understood pantomime of tapping the palm of the 
upturned left hand with the fingers of the right held in a suggestive manner 
together, as if passing coin into tlie said upturned hand. They grinned in 
an appreciative manner at this, and girt up tlieir loins afresh, and by making 
a long cast we hit off the trail again. I saw my only chance was to ride 


the elephant close behind the trackers, as I could not see to shoot on foot 
in the grass. We expected a long hunt before we came np with our game 
this time, if we did so at all that day. I was looking round, admiring the 
jungle, when crash, crash, went the jungle close ahead, as the bull started 
suddenly and lumbered off ! He had got our wind ! Another few yards 
and I should have viewed him ! I told the mahout to push on the elephant 
with all speed, the trackers leading at a run through tlie still bending 
bushes, when the wide-spreading, massive horns, and huge head of the bull 
appeared suddenly before me, staring at the elephant, and only thirty-five 
yards away ! He looked as cool as if he had just risen from his lair. I 
clutched the driver wildly by his shaven crown to stop the elephant, and 
got a fair shot at the bull's chest with my 8 -bore and twelve drams, 
but I could not see to put in the left for the smoke, and away the bull 
went. AVell, he can't go far with that ! and I heartily congratulated myself 
on getting so fine a specimen of a buffalo. I now dismounted, and we 
followed him. There was not much blood, but that often happens with 
thick-skinned animals. The internal bleeding would be the more severe, and 
I pressed on, with the trackers behind me now, as I thought our game might 
prove vicious if still on his legs when we came up with him. The blood, 
however, ceased shortly, and the trackers had to lead again. This was 
strange. The brute had also jumped a deep and somewhat wide grip — a 
last effort, no doubt. But no; he has gone on at a gallop on the other side! 
The end of the hunt was that we never saw the bull again, though we 
tracked him till dark. Had he been fairly hit with such a weapon as 
the 8 -bore he could not have gone far. The ball must have made a 
flesh-wound of little importance, hitting him to one side in the shoulder 
instead of in the chest ; and I daresay the old fellow is alive and well to this 
day, as I hope, seeing that I cannot have him ! 

We had a long tramp back to the boat through tlie dark and thick 
jungle. Apart from the loss of the bull, I felt it unfortunate that I should 
liave made such a dihut amongst my new people. I feared the trackers' 
confidence in my shooting would be shaken ; whilst the fifty hungry mahouts 
and grass-cutters in camp would hear of our ill -success with real grief, 
as they had been calculating upon steaks for supper. My gun -bearer, 
Jaffer, who had accompanied me from Mysore, had, I knew, recounted with 
his own additions his master's deeds in the shooting line there, and I 
felt that greater things had been expected of me. Well, it often happens 
that the sportsman gets animals to which he is but ill entitled, as far as hav- 
ing worked for them is concerned, and he must therefore set off these pieces 
of good luck against his unfortunate days. 


Early in the morning we started, with three elephants following, to 
examine the rice-fields along the nullah. We found the track of two 
buffaloes quite close to the elephants' pickets, and after carrying them for 
two miles through undulating, grass-covered hills, and swampy bottoms, I 
saw a buffalo standing broadside on in a pool amongst long grass at the 
foot of a slope we were descending. I was riding a very fine elephant, 
Tara Eanee — Queen of the Stars — at the time. The buffalo had not seen 
us, so, telling the mahout to keep the elephant steady, I sent a ball througli 
its shoulders from the 8 -bore, which dropped it on the spot. Immediately 
there was a great rushing about in the grass, and the herd — of which the 
two we had followed were members — consisting of about a dozen individuals, 
came trotting towards us, all covered with wet mud that glistened in the early 
sun, with their noses poked stupidly in front of them, not seeing where the 
shot came from, and undecided whither to flee. They nearly ran over the 
trackers who had not seen the buffalo when I did for the long grass, and 
who had gone several yards in front of my elephant before I fired. On 
seeing the elephants the buffaloes broke into a wild gallop, passing us to 
right and left, and within a few yards' distance. I bowled over one with 
my second barrel before they got level with us, and seizing my double 
4-bore, I killed a third, and wounded a fourth behind us. I knew this one 
could not go far ; and when we had examined the fallen ones, the trackers 
and I followed and came upon it, a large cow, lying dead. It was unfortu- 
nate that only one of these — the first one fired at — was a bull, and he was 
but an insignificant one ; but the last-recovered cow had a splendid pair uf 
horns, which, though less massive, are longer, and have a finer sweep and 
greater symmetry, than any bull's I have seen. They measure 9 feet 1 inch 
from tip to tip, outside curve, and across forehead. 

The day was getting hot by this time and I returned to camp. On 
hearing of our success a number of men immediately started to cut up two 
of the buffaloes which had had their throats cut before they were dead, Avith- 
out which Mussulmans will not eat any animal's flesh. On their return, 
with elephants carrying the meat of the two huge creatures, the camp was 
shortly festooned with meat cut into long thin strips for drying in the 
sun. The surplus was to be taken to Dacca for the men's wives and little 
ones. I told off two men to preserve a quantity of meat for the mahouts 
who had been left at Dacca, and though it would only give them a taste 
each, Indian sporting dependants all like to have a .shaie in the products of 
their master's hunt. 

I spent two or three days in this neighbourhood, not so much for shooting 
as to see the country. I took the whole of the elephants out ft)r a few hours 


every day, marching in an extended line as if beating, but moving slowly 
so that they might feed. They were a very fine lot, and their men seemed 
willing and active fellows, and thongh I could not talk to them as they 
spoke Bengalee, we got along capitally by signs, and the aid of an inter- 
preter when necessary. The latter was a rather complicated way of con- 
versing, as I had to speak to Jaffer in Canarese (not his language more than 
my own), who translated into Hindoostunee to a Bengalee who understood 
Hindoostanee. This was similar to an Englishman's telling a German in 
French what he would communicate to an Italian who understood German ! 

After my return to Dacca I made an interesting trip into the Garrow 
hills in Assam, of which I shall give a short account further on. In 
November I despatched 79 elephants of previous years' capture to Bar- 
rackpoor, they being sufficiently trained for service ; and I then started 
80 elephants to Chittagong, 154 miles by land, to proceed by slow stages, 
with a view to commencing the catching- operations of the season. I fol- 
lowed by sea from Calcutta on December 13th, but I had previously to 
recall 30 of my 80 elephants to assist in driving the covers near Goal- 
undo, where his Eoyal Highness the Prince of "Wales and party intended to 
make their dihid in pig-sticking. Arrived at Chittagong, I found that the 
two jemadars whom I had sent a month beforehand to collect two khed- 
dah parties had made all preliminary arrangements, and it only remained 
for me to advance the men two months' pay, and to make arrangements 
for the provisions we should require when beyond the reach of civilisation. 

Chittagong is a district situated in the north-east corner of the Bay of 
Bengal. It is divided into two tracts, of widely differing character, — viz., 
the coast district (2700 square miles), weU cultivated and populated, and 
producing a large surplus stock of rice for exportation ; and the hill-tracts 
(6800 square miles), inhabited by but a few rude tribes, and clothed with 
dense jungle. From the latter tract immense supplies of wood for boat- 
building and household purposes are drawn by the inhabitants of the coast 
district, by way of the Kurnafooh'e river, which forms a highroad into the 
hiUs, as it is navigable almost to its source, as are also its tributaries. In 
these hills wild elephants abound, and the locality has been one of the chief 
hunting-grounds for the supply of these animals to Government for about a 
hundred years, and probably long before that to former native Governments. 
The professional elephant-catchers are all Chittagong men, and their skill 
in their profession is unrivalled. The hillmen never engage in the work. 

I had decided, upon the advice of the most experienced men, to work 
near the head- waters of the Chengree {vide, map) and Myanee rivers, but I 
found it most difficult to obtain any exact account of the distances and 


various obstacles to be encountered in so wild a country. Tlie head-men 
had all been there before, but no European, as the former Kheddah Superin- 
tendents seldom went beyond Eungamuttea, the most advanced civilised 
outpost in that direction. As to the maps available, the chief points and 
general lie of the country only had been settled by triangulation. Eegard- 
ing details it was stated, " Nearly all the hills in this district are covered 
with impenetrable jungle ; the subordinate streams and hill-features have 
therefore been sketched." 

I was determined to explore the country in person, as the chance of 
being first into a new field is one seldom to be had nowadays, and is cer- 
tainly not to be neglected ; and the inability to obtain any exact account of 
what was before us added considerably to the pleasure of the expedition 
from my point of view. All accounts agreed as to the Chengree and 
Myanee being accessible to small dug-out boats nearly to their sources, 
some two hundred miles from Chittagong following their courses ; and on 
this means of transit I arranged our provisioning. The boats, or canoes, 
used for conveying the rice, salt fish, &c., required for the people, were pro- 
cured in Chittagong, and carried about seven hundredweights each. They 
drew eight inches of water when loaded, and could be dragged over shal- 
lows and fallen trees conveniently. I engaged sixty, with three men to 
each, at 24 rupees each boat and crew^cr mensem, and free rations to the 
men. This flotilla proceeded up the Kurnafoolie to Piungamuttea, the 
frontier police station. I visited this place, making a pleasant trip in a 
small paddle-steamer obligingly placed at my disposal by the Commissioner 
of Chittagong, and arranged a depot there, and had it stocked with two 
months' provisions. I placed this under a European named Wilson, a clerk 
in my office. He remained at the Eungamuttea depot during our trij:) 
into the wilds beyond, and carried out the very arduous duty of keeping 
us duly provisioned, and maintaining communications, most satisfactorily. 
The amount of provisions required for the two kheddah parties and tame 
elephants' attendants was a little over seventeen hundredweights jpcr diem, 
so that tlie commissariat arrangements required no little attention and 

The two jemadars ditl not recommend that the hunting parties sliould 
proceed to their ground by the same course as the stores — the rivers — but 
proposed that we should march across the liills from Chittagong until we 
struck tlie Chengree, where one party might await the arrival of boats 
from Eungamuttea, and work in the valley of the Chengree, whilst the other 
crossed the watershed into the ]\Iyanee valley, to be similarly supplied by 
boats up the ]\Iyanee, Having ascertained that a place called Eiijamiika- 






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Blieeta — camp No. 2 on map — would be a convenient point from wliicli to 
make a start, it being the last civilised place in the coast district, I ordered 
the kheddah parties to be assembled there by the 27th December. 

I left Chittagong, a pleasant station notwithstanding all that is said of 
its unhealthiness, and its sociable little community of Government officials 
and tea-planters, on 26th December 1875, and reached Baboo Ghat by 
evening, doing the chief part of the journey in the small steamer before- 
mentioned, which took me up a tributary of the Kurnafoolie, not marked 
on map. Elephants met me at the furthest point the steamer, which only 
drew two feet, could reach, and took me, my servants, and effects, to camp. 
I found that cholera had unfortunately appeared amongst the attendants 
of our elephants. Sergeant Carter — the only European who accompanied 
me on this expedition, and who had marched with the elephants from 
Dacca, whilst I went by sea — reported that one man out of three attacked 
had died, and that one of the others was in a critical condition. This 
intelligence marred in no small degree the pleasure of our start, as I fore- 
saw that if cholera — which was showing itself here and there in the villages 
in the coast district — broke out in our j^arty, the whole undertaking might 
end in failure. I spoke to the native doctor attached to the establishment 
regarding due care in treating and segregating the suffering men, and ordered 
Sergeant Carter to march at three in the morning, so as to reach the next 
camp before the sun was hot, which was advisable for both men and 
elephants. I followed with my own camp at 6 a.m., and after marching 
through the level, highly -cultivated country that constitutes the coast 
district, we reached camp No. 2, seventeen miles, about 11 a.m. 

Eajamaka-Bheeta is a small village on the border of the immense 
jungle which extends without a break from Chittagong for hundreds of 
miles north and east through Tipperah and the Looshai country, and south 
through Arracan and Burmah. I found the two kheddah parties mustered 
here as agreed upon, each 370 strong. The rest of the day of arrival, and 
next day, I was occupied in superintending the taking of the names and 
places of residence of the coolies, for identification in case they deserted, 
which the jemadars informed me they frequently did. It was necessary 
to give them two months' pay in hand to leave with their families, and I 
learned it had become a practice with many, as no one but the jemadars 
had accompanied them into the jungles hitherto, to remain only until one 
capture of elephants had been effected, and then to desert. This was an 
easy method of making from fifteen to twenty rupees, as they were fed the 
while, and with luck some elephants might be caught almost at the outset. 
I had the men arranged in lines, and whilst inspecting them a crier pre- 


ceded me, proclaiming at the top of his voice, and occasionally beating a 
tom-tom to insure attention, the awful pains and penalties to which 
deserters would render themselves liable. This kept the men in check 
to a great extent, though wiien we had been out about fifteen days, ten 
bold spirits ran away. I determined my words should not be unfulfilled, 
and immediately promised ten active mahouts five rupees each if they 
succeeded in catching any of them. The runaways had a start of twelve 
hours, and were not likely to loiter by the way, but the pursuers followed 
without rest for a day and night, traversing the dense jungles with torches, 
and succeeded in catching eight of them just at the outskirts of the jungle. 
These they brought back pinioned, and with leading-ropes round their necks. 
I held an imposing torch-light court-martial upon them when they arrived. 
The jemadar strongly urged the advisability of hanging them there and 
then, and cast his eye about for a likely overhanging bough to wliich to 
suspend them "in a row" as he said. I believe they really thought I 
should act upon his recommendation ; but after much consideration I allowed 
mercy to prevail, and gave them a severe punishment instead of the capital 
one ! This much reduced the inclination to make off, and the few others 
who did decamp before the end of the expedition were brought from their 
distant homes by the police to Eungamuttea, where the political officer 
gave them two months' imprisonment with hard labour for stealing the 
Government provisions which tliey had taken wdth them, and which formed 
the only ground upon which they could be criminally convicted. Almost 
all the kheddah men were rascals of various degrees, as it was only this class 
who cared to take such dangerous and irregular emplo}Tnent ; and though 
I thought none the worse of them for their antecedents, as they did their 
duty manfully, strict discipline was necessary to prevent their evil pro- 
clivities from interfering with the success of our work. 






ON the 29th December I stood at the edge of the jungle at Eajamaka- 
Bheeta, whilst the men entered in single file, each salaaming and crying 
Allah ! Allah ! by way of invoking luck. The matchlock-men led the van, 
firing feux-de-joie with a few rounds I had given them from the magazine 
to celebrate the commencement of our enterprise. Each coolie carried a 
springy bamboo lath across his shoulder, with a basket at each end, through 
which the bamboo passed. These baskets contained fifteen days' provi- 
sions, as it was uncertain when we might meet the provision-boats com- 
ing up the Chengree ; and should we fall in with elephants on our way 
a halt would be necessary. Each man's rations weighed 33 lb., and as 
the head-men and matchlock-men made their gangs carry their rations as 
well as their own, and each had a few cooking-pots, the weights were over 
40 lb. per man. With tliis they marched for several days from morning 
tni night, in hilly country, often in the beds of streams, and through 
bamboo-cover and long grass, under a broiling sun. The men were gen- 
erally of miserable physiqiie according to our notions, but they had the 
patience and endurance of mules. On the third day of marching I saw 


several of them with raws on their shoulders, caused by the pressure of the 
bamboo ; still tliey kept on with wonderful pertinacity, partly induced by 
the promise of extra tobacco and the prospect of a speedy return to their 
homes if elephants were captured soon, but chiefly by the esprit de corjjs 
of the two parties, wliose liead jemadars, Gool Budden and Suddar Ali, 
each strove to outmarch the other, and to get to the hunting-grounds first. 
In this Suddar Ali, who was a younger man than Gool Budden, succeeded, 
as he left his party under a lieutenant, and with a few of liis men out- 
stripped the main body by doing nearly forty miles a-day. He was 
rewarded by finding a herd of elephants in the valley of the Chengree before 
we arrived ; and when the men came up on 2d January, after five days' 
marchin<z, lie at once surrounded it : whilst Gool Budden had to march over 
the Kalamoin range — a terrible job — into the Myanee valley, and did not 
find elephants till the Vth. 

When I started for these unexplored wilds I never expected to escape 
fever, and possibly a necessity for a speedy return to open country ; con- 
sequently I cannot speak too thankfully of the health our whole party 
enjoyed. We fortunately left cholera behind us ; and though towards the 
end of the two months a few of the men were down with d^^sentery, we 
only lost four during the trip, including one killed by an elephant. I had 
provided myself with every comfort and convenience, and amongst other 
things I had reason to congratulate myself on possessing before tlie trip 
was over was a tin of 100 lb. of ship's biscuits and a keg of salt Bengal 
humps and tongues. I had an ample supply of tin provisions, plenty of 
books, and comfortable camp-fittings. I also had tents and everything as 
comfortable as possible for my servants — Madrassees — who had accompanied 
me from Mysore, and who comprised a head -servant, a cook, a table- 
servant, and four Bengalee peons. My trusty henchman Jaffer — my fac- 
totum for many years — of course accompanied me, in charge of my shooting 
and fishing gear. I had a most energetic lieutenant in Sergeant Carter, 
who was blessed with the constitution of an elephant. He was the only 
European besides myself in the hunting party, Wilson remaining at tlie 
Ptunfamuttea depot after making one trip up the Chengree with the iirst 
instalment of provisions. No amount of work ever distressed Sergeant Carter ; 
and after the longest days he used to sit up with a very modest allowance 
of Commissariat rum and an ample supply of tobacco, far into tlie night. 
In fact, as far as I can say from personal observation, he may never have 
turned in at all, as I always left him sitting by the fire before his tent, 
and found liim there early in the morning when I got up for coffee ! 

llaviu"- seen the last man into the jungle on the morning of tlie 29tli, 


my tent was struck, the elephants loaded, and we marched at 7 a.m. I 
halted the column for a moment as we left the camping-ground to shoot 
some jungle-fowl (Gallus ferrtigineiis) which were pecking in the recently- 
reaped rice-fields. I determined that I must have blood on starting on 
such an expedition, so I hunted them into a thick bush from which an 
elephant dislodged them, and down came the two cocks in a cloud of 
feathers. This species does not occur in the south of India ; it is almost 
identical with the common red domestic fowl of Bengal villages, though 
somewhat smaller. 

Our order of march throughout was for me to lead the column of 
elephants on my riding -elephant — the coolies being always well ahead 
of us, as they usually started some hours before — and for the sergeant to 
be the last man of the column. Several elephants carried tents and 
supplies ; my servants and dogs were disposed upon others ; tlie native 
doctor surmounted his pills and instruments on the back of a third ; and 
three carried coops of fowls and ducks, which cackled loudly when they were 
bumped against trees and thickets. 

The first day we marched till 5.30 p.m., ten and a half hours, about 
twenty-five miles. In some places we followed the beds of shallow, 
gravelly streams, very shady and pleasant. The jungle was occasionally 
open forest, and the marks of sambur {Rusa Aristotclis) were exceedingly 
numerous ; but from 1 1 a.m. till we halted, our route was through one 
unbroken stretch of grass, the path leading over small round hills, the grass 
being everywhere upwards of ten feet in height. This was country which 
had been cleared and cultivated at intervals from time immemorial, relaps- 
ing for a few years into waste. In the distance, a long and regular line 
of blue hills, the Bhangamoora range, bounded tlie horizon before us. 
Our goal was beyond this, as no elephants were to be found in the grass- 
country which extended to the hills. The Chengree lay between the Bhan- 
gamoora range and the next, the Kalamoin. Our course all day was N.E. 

I was glad, on ascending a saddle about five o'clock, to see the advanced- 
guard encamped in a green valley where the grass was short, embosomed 
in hills, and just before me. The smoke of the fires already started was 
filling the valley with a soft blue haze, whilst a busy hum rose from the 
throng. I descended the hill, and found a good camping-place some two 
hundred yards from the men ; and as the baggage- elephants came up one 
by one with tents, &c., and deposited, their loads, they were shackled and 
turned loose on the sides of the hills for half an hour's gi-azing before being 
seciired for the night. They had fed throughout the day's march, and 
only required a little fodder to make them comfortable. 


My first care on reaching the ground was to start half-a-dozen men 
for firewood, whilst I took others with me carrying kettle, water - pots, 
wash-hand basin, saucepan, and all available vessels, to secure a supply 
of clear water for cooking and drinking for myself and servants before the 
small stream which ran through the valley should be disturbed by the thirsty 
elephants. This done, I sounded the assembly on my cornet for Sergeant 
Carter, who was not yet in sight, to let him know that the day's march w^as 
over, and he soon came up with the last elephants. 

The valley was very damp, and after dinner I had a fire kept up for 
half an hour in the tent ; and though I turned in amidst the smoke, it was 
better than a cold raw atmosphere. I believe that, with a small fire kept 
lip in or near the tent all night, and of course mosquito-curtains, and a cot 
at least three feet from the ground, a person may sleep in the most malari- 
ous swamps or jimgies with safety. As the miasma is carried up, or anni- 
hilated, in the warm atmosphere, I have frequently done so without ill effects. 
In unhealthy jungles I make it a rule to keep within the influence of the 
camp-fires after sunset, and in the mornings until the jungles are warmed 
by the sun, when possible. 

December 30, 1875. — To-day we marched from 7.30 a.m. to 3.30 P.M. 
The coolies got off at 4 a.m. The country was more difficult than yesterday, 
and we only did about sixteen miles. Here we caught up the coolies, and 
found such a good camping-ground that I ordered a halt. With so many 
men and elephants, for whom space, water, and fodder were necessary, it was 
not every place that offered facilities for camping. The country to-day was 
all grass and a little bamboo, but closer and steeper than yesterday. The 
few villagers we saw were Hill Arracanese and Chuckmas, and had strongly- 
marked Indo-Burmese features. I noticed a breed of fine white fowls and 
several geese in the two or three viQages we passed. All the houses were 
raised upon bamboo platforms about ten feet from the ground, a good pro- 
tection against malaria and dampness. 

Our encampment this evening was better situated than yesterday. ]\Iy 
tents and the sergeant's occupied a small hillock covered with short grass, 
rising in the centre of a narrow valley. The coolies were comfortably 
squatted on the level ground along the stream, where they erected grass 
huts as a protection against the soaking night dew. The view up to the 
closing of the valley, a vista of about half a mile, was uni(][ue. Several 
small rounded hillocks, like the one my tent occupied, rose from the level 
ground ; spurs ran out from the sides of the hills enclosing the valley, here 
only about three hundred yards wide ; and the stream wound a tortuous 
course around these and the hillocks. The sjiurs at their loM'cst points 


were covered with a rich green grass, whose silken tassels, two and a half 
feet in length, of a silvery or ashy grey, raised themselves on graceful stalks 
over the broad level of green leaves, themselves ten to twelve feet in height. 
Higher up the sides of the valley the tassel-grass was replaced by the grace- 
ful wild plantain, whose broad, emerald-green fronds, some drooping, some 
shooting up to a lieight of twenty feet, contrasted effectively with the dark- 
green feathery leaves of the bamboos. 

The elephants were scattered in all directions, gathering their night's 
fodder, pulling down branches, bearing over with a fore-foot and uprooting 
the succulent plantain, or reaping the long grass with their trunks with a 
swisliing sound. The attendant of each stood upon its broad back, laying 
the fodder evenly across as the patient and sagacious animal collected and 
handed it up. This was work which suited the elephants, who grazed at 
leisure, and only handed up of their abundance when adjured with more than 
usual earnestness to tidl (in elephant language, to " hand up "). Towards 
nightfall they came in, moving mounds of green, the mahout or grass-cutter 
perched upon the evenly-balanced load, singing blithely. My dogs were 
lying upon the tent - sacks, whilst I sat by the fire amusing myself by 
watching the preparations for dinner. The cook is busy near a small trench 
over the fire, in which two or three pots and saucepans are simmering in a 
row. A duck is roasting on a bamboo spit over a pan of charcoal, a sauce- 
pan-lid being ingeniously propped sideways underneath it to catch the gravy, 
whilst avoiding the fire, and basting goes on merrily. My interest in the 
operation is of a complacent nature, as I know the bird will shortly appear, 
as nicely browned, as correctly stuffed, and as neatly served, as it could be 
in headquarters. 

One or two chickens which have got out of the rough jungle-coop are 
going about " wee-weeing " mournfully as night closes in and thoughts of 
jackals affright them. They are not to be overlooked ! they are objects of 
tender solicitude, and will be wanted before many days, either for curry or 
" ishtew " (stew I). E'en now the cook's minions make insidious advances 
towards them, seize them, shrieking, and thrust them into the basket amongst 
their fellows, where they shortly settle down and are at peace. 

And now for dinner. What a blessing it is to have a good Madras 
cook in Bengal ! The roast duck forms one of the few cases in life where 
reality does not fall short of anticipation ; the curry could not be mistaken, 
even by an idiot, for the less spicy productions of the artistes of the leading 
Presidency ; and I am not required by my chef to contemplate any of the 
culinary audacities which Bengalee hnhhachees (as cooks are there called. 
Heaven help them !) designate as puddings. 


The evening is cliilly, and the mist gatliers heavily, so a seat close to 
the fire and a thick overcoat are both pleasant and necessary adjuncts to the 
post-prandial cheroot. The light from the hundreds of small cooking-fires 
in the valley produces a strange effect. Some of the elej^liants are picketed 
between me and the nearest blaze, and are thrown into strong, weird relief 
in the fog. The hum amongst the tired men is gradually decreasing, and 
before I turn in, the whole encampment, except that where stand the 
elephants, is comparatively quiet. 

Decciriber 31. — This day's march, tliough only thirteen miles, was a 
very trying one ; it, however, landed us at our goal, the Chengree stream. 
We started at 7.30 a.m. with a tremendous ascent of a spur of the blue hills 
I had noticed ahead at the commencement of our march, and found that the 
enchantment of the distant view vanislied on closer acquaintance. The liill- 
side was covered with long grass, which, when trodden down by the leading 
elephants, made a slippery foothold for the rest. As the huge beasts toiled 
up the almost vertical acclivity in a long straight line, zigzagging being im- 
possible, I thought what the effect would be should one slip and roll down ; 
recovery would have been impossible, and the whole line behind would have 
gone like nine-pins. 

The view from the top of this hill was uninteresting. Before us were 
higher hills, covered with nothing but long grass, with a few bamboos in the 
hollows ; behind us all the fine trees had been j'oamcd "' off the country. 

We now descended nearly as deep a valley on the far side as tlie one 
we had left, and then kept along the bed of a shallow stream. As we 
rounded a corner I saw the ground shake under the elephants before mine. 
This was a peculiar kind of quagmire occasionally met with, over which, 
tliough the surface bends, animals may often pass in safety ; but when it 
once gives way it is rapidly broken up in all directions. It is, fortunately, 
seldom deep enough to be dangerous. My mahout pushed my elephant on 
in the hope of getting over safely, as we were light, sliouting to the men 
beliind to take another line ; but the surface had been too much tried 
already, and wlien we were almost over, through the elephant went, sinking 
to her girths. An elephant never gets fiurried in situations where a horse 
would struggle and make matters worse ; and by resting a portion of her 
weight on her curled trunk upon tlie firmer surface in front, she managed, 
after much surging and rolling about, to get through it. 

In a mile more we caught up the coolies who had preceded us some 

* Jooming is the method of cullivation common to all jungle-tribes, and consists in cutting 
down and burning tlic timber, tlie ground being relin(iuislicd after the one or two crops have been 
obtained from it, the fertilising ellcct of the ash having worn out by thnt time. 


hours. About five lumdred were resting at the foot of a steep ascent, in 
which was a pass where they coukl only go in single file, and which took 
much time to get over. I saw we should be kept for hours if tliis were 
the only way up, but I felt assured that the opposite side of the spur, 
round wnich the nullah wound, must be at least as easy as this ; so leaving 
Sergeant Carter and half the following to get up by the first route, I took 
all the elephants and the rest of the men along the nullali and round the 
spur, where we put the elephants at the steep ascent, the unloaded ones 
taking the lead and breaking down the bamboos and long grass. After a 
tedious climb under a hot sun, we reached a level saddle on the top at 
twelve o'clock ; at the same time Sergeant Carter brought up the last of his 

The men now preceded us along the narrow saddle, whilst the elephants 
rested to cool and feed after their climb, and we followed in an hour. The 
saddle was exceedingly narrow, and obstructed with bamboos and the ever- 
lastmg grass, and a mishap occurred in the worst part, which, fortunately, 
was not as serious as it might have been. One elephant, Chumpa, was 
leading, mine being second at the time, when a large portion of earth over 
which she was passing suddenly gave way, and with a bellow of fright poor 
Chumpa slid down some yards, and then roUed over and over five distinct 
times down the steep grass liill, and just stopped short of a deep ravine at 
the bottom. It was a terrible sight to see an elephant, toes up, making 
such rolls. The mahout saved himself by jumping off when the earth 
slipped, and clinging to the grass. I sprang from my elephant instantly. 
As Chumpa made no sound when she got to the bottom I feared she must 
be killed. There was a great smashing of pots and pans during her roll, 
for she carried the native doctor's effects, amongst which were his live-stock, 
consisting of eight ducks. 

Looking down the long lane in the gxass I was relieved to see Chumpa 
getting on to her feet ; her gear was left half-way, the girth-ropes having 
broken. Her mahout, like many natives when suddenly confronted by 
danger or difiiculty, had quite lost his senses, and now commenced to beat 
his mouth, and cry that his elephant was dead, I gave him a box on the 
ear (Lord Lytton's Minute on the Fuller case had not been written then) 
that sent him flying down the slippery lane after his elephant, which he 
nearly reached before he pulled up. I followed, holding on by the grass, 
and we tried to soothe the poor beast after her fright. She did not seem 
hurt, and we got her on the path again with some trouble. I had often 
passed precipitous places on elephants with my legs dangling over vacuity. 
I made a mental note of this occurrence, and decided in future to turn the 


other way, so as to be able to jump on to terra firma, not into space with 
an elephant after me, in case of a roll. 

Poor Chumpa was not seriously hurt, and in a month was quite well 
again. Astonisliing to relate, four out of the doctor's eight ducks Avere 
found scathless ; a few dabs of blood and feathers amongst the fragments of 
pots and pans along the line of descent led to the conclusion that the others 
had been crushed, but no piece of them was ever found large enougli to 
enable any one to swear to theii' exact fate. 

A certain amount of obscurity also shrouded the last moments of the 
survivors of this mishap. Some days subsequently I heard Jaffer and certain 
mahouts confidentially advising the doctor to have nothing to do with such 
evidently uncanny ducks, saying tliat they would not eat them if they were 
theirs — not for any consideration. They suggested their being allowed to 
swim away down the Chengree, on the banks of which we were then en- 
camped, that not only might the danger that would assuredly attend eating 
them be avoided, but also such harm as would in all probability result from 
their continued presence in camp. Their representations seemed to have 
some effect on the doctor, and though he did not agree to release the ducks, 
he evidently had superstitious qualms about eating them. These would 
probably have given way when provisions became scarce, but before that 
time the ducks vanished in a mysterious manner. The doctor, who was 
exceedingly tall and lanky, beguiled a few hours of each morning by letting 
them out for a swim, he watching their aquatic gambols from the bank with 
tender solicitude. One morning whilst he was thus engaged a mahout came 
in haste to say his services were required in the elephant-lines at some dis- 
tance. The doctor accompanied him, as the case was represented to be 
urgent, leaving his ducks disporting themselves near a bend of the stream 
below camp. AVhen he returned from attending the case, which turned 
out to be much less serious than was represented, he proceeded to collect 
his ducks. He shortly, however, returned, looking very blank. They had 
vanished. He had sought tliem far and near, on the water and in tlie 
jungle, but no trace of them was to be seen. No one could teU him any- 
thing of them. Jaffer even asked him what he could expect of ducks that 
had survived a roll down a precipice on an elephant. They were evidently 
not subject to the ordinary conditions of their kind, and he advised the 
doctor to be thankful that they liad taken themselves off instead of any- 
thing untoward happening to anybody. Suspicions were afterwards souglit 
to be cast upon Jaffer and my special riding-ehqihant's attendants by the 
store-weighman, a friend of the doctor's, wlio declared that he saw tliem 
dining particularly well the night al'ter tla- ducks were lost, anil who stated 

AN ALARM. - 145 

his belief that duck formed part of their menu. Jaffer retorted that as he 
(the weighman) was a Brahmin he could not possibly know what cooked 
duck looked like, unless, indeed, he had had some hand in their disappear- 
ance, and had been thus unjustifiably varying his vegetarian diet ! At any 
rate, as to the circumstantial evidence against himself and messmates, the 
witness must have mistaken some curried pumpkin they were having for 
duck. Jaffer could scarcely, however, hear the subject mentioned without 
smirking, as if some savoury recollections stole over him ! 

At 2 P.M. we reached a place where the coolies were encamped ; but 
as it was said the elephants could, before dark, reach the Chengree river, 
towards which we were now descending, I ordered them to push on. After 
making some terrible descents, which no beast of burden but an elephant 
could have managed, and from the paths down which we were obliged care- 
fully to remove the pieces of wild-plantain stems strewn about by the leading- 
elephants, lest we should have an accident to which the slipping of an alder- 
man on a piece of orange-peel would have been a trifle, we got into a stream 
forming an easy roadway till we came to a fallen trunk of a tree about six 
feet from the ground, and which barred further passage. Its removal 
required the united strength of as many elephants as could get at it to- 
gether. In striding over it as it lay, my elephant made such a lurch that 
1 was thrown off the chdrjama (riding-pad) into the stream. 

After reaching the level ground at the bottom of the valley the jungle 
was much better, being fine heavy timber, clear of undergrowth and the 
abominable grass. Here a great uproar occurred in the rear of the column : 
elephants trumpeted, mahouts shouted, and the jungle crashed. Some one 
raised an alarm that a solitary tusker had attacked the females, but running- 
back with my heavy rifle I learnt that it was only a new elephant, captured 
two years before — and which we had brought with us, with two or three 
others, to learn kheddah work — which had taken fright at something she 
saw or heard, and, after communicating her excitement to the other ele- 
phants near, had bolted and thrown her mahout. A couple of elephants 
gave chase and she was soon brought back. We shortly reached the river, 
at which I was very glad, as this meant that our chief hardships of march- 
ing were at an end. It would be impossible to exaggerate the difficulties 
of the past three days' marches, or to overestimate the great usefulness of 
our elephants. Poor, good beasts ! their patience and docility under the 
annoying conditions of having to climb steep hills, and force their way 
through thickets under a hot sun, were admirable. 

The river Chengree at the point where we struck it, probably about 100 
miles above Eungamuttea, and perhaps 60 from its source, was only fifteen 



yards wide, and two feet deep. It was very muddy for a liill-streara. This 
was not the effect of rain, of which there had been none for some weeks, 
hut seemed an inseparable condition of all the streams here, as they flowed 
through alluvial soil void of rock. 

The Myanee, sister river to the Chengree, is a somewhat larger stream, 
and Hows between the KcUamoin and Dalamoin ranges. We eventually 
worked east to the Myanee, and floated all our baggage down it to Eunga- 
muttea on our return march. 

Ntv) Years Eve ! — There were no means of celebrating the occasion. I 
was too hungry and tired to wait even for a special dinner to be prepared ; 
so, consoling myself with morosely thinking that in sleeping tlie mystic 
hours away I should probably be more sensibly employed than many of my 
friends, I turned in and slept soundly till morning. 

January 1, 1876. — It was excessively cold this morning, and foggy till 
some time after sunrise. Gool Budden and Suddar Ali's parties passed our 
camp about 8 a.m., — Gool Budden's men to cross the Kalamoin range into 
the Myanee valley, Suddar Ali's to surround the elephants spoken of before, 
which were now about 28 miles further up the Chengree. I decided to 
remain where I was (camp No. 5 on map), and await Wilson's arrival witli 
the provision-boats up the Chengree, and then to act as circumstances might 

The jungle was very fine along the Chengree, being open forest of huge 
timber and giant creepers, with here and there patches of canes, the beauti- 
fully glossy, dark-green, serrated leaves of which, like giant ferns, shone in 
the morning sunlight. Nothing can be imagined more graceful or beau- 
tiful than a cane-bush (the ordinary cane of commerce). It often grows in 
extensive plots, but frequently in single plants, as a creeper running up trees, 
and crowning them with graceful plumes. The cane requires a moist, rich 
soil. There are several varieties : one makes the best walking-canes, another 
is used for basket-work, a third for the rattan of chair-bottoms, &c. Several 
of the men of our party were adepts at canework, and they made me many 
nice and useful articles of camp furniture. 

Of all prickly tilings in creation the cane is perhaps the foremost, very 
diiferent in its natural state to the smooth, but still pungent, implement of 
our school-days' recollection. It grows of all lengths, often above 200 feet ; 
and both stem, leaves, and tendrils are covered with horrible thorns. The 
leaves are several feet long, serrated, and very graceful. Its fruit hangs in 
clusters of about fifty berries, each being the size of a cherry, and of a briglit 
cream colour, witli a singular appearance of being carved from wood. Tliey 
are edible. Inside the skin is a sweet pulp surrounding the stone. The 


cane itself contains a large quantity of water throughout its length. I cut 
twenty-two feet off one of about three-quarters of an inch in diameter, and 
by simply blowing through it obtained half a tvnnblerful. The roots, and 
sprouts when just above ground, make a good vegetable. To prepare the 
cane for commerce, the rough peel, studded with thorns, is merely stripped 
off, and the cane is ready for use. 

One remarkable product of these jungles is a parasite creeper generally 
about as thick as a man's arm, and looking like a dried stick. It hangs 
from trees, its leaves and young shoots being up amongst the foliage. If 
slashed through in one place only there is no result ; but if another slash 
be given above, thus admitting air, a cupful or so of water gushes from 
the lower cut; the water seems quite drinkable. All along the river were 
a great many tracks of sambur ; fruits of dilferent kinds attracted the deer. 
I found the morning's track of a solitary elephant whilst rambling in the 
neighbourhood of camp. Jungle-fowl {Gallus ferritgineus) were plentiful, 
as well as the black khalege pheasant; also the beautiful peacock pheasant 
{Folijj)lcctTon chinquis). 

January 2. — Yesterday some of the mahouts, when out collecting fodder, 
discovered an old course of the river, in which was a pool of water full of 
fish. The pool was about 150 yards in length, 50 wide, and 6 feet deep. 
It evidently only had communication with the river during floods, and was 
isolated at other times ; shady trees overhung it, and it was a most perfect 
preserve, I saw large fish of tlie carp tribe sailing about in it, and some 
monsters like pike. I decided forthwith to have fish for dinner. 

A rod could not be used for the trees, nor could a fish have been played 
for the weeds, so I decided on another plan, which would furnish fun to the 
whole camp and fish for everybody. 

It may not be generally known that fishing is one of the many useful 
acquirements of the elephant. Such, however, is the case ; and without the 
aid of ours on this occasion, many a fine fish, which was shortly to be made 
as salt as was Lot's wife, might still be gliding about in that retired jungle- 

I had twenty-five elephants mustered without their gear, and all the 
spare men, who in great glee provided themselves with hastily-improvised 
bamboo spears, baskets, knives. &c., and we put the elephants in line at one 
end of the pool, two or three delighted attendants on the back of each. The 
elephants advanced down the pool in close order, enjoying the bath, and 
making the water surge as if a paddle-steamer was on it. Their feet stirred 
up the thick mud at the bottom, and I knew this would soon make the fish 
show themselves. 


When the elephants had traversed the pool twice, some large heads 
appeared for an instant on the surface, then vanished. " Give them another 
turn " I shouted to the men, and I shortly joined tlie line on my pad-elephant. 
Large fish now came to the surface in sad strait, unable to stand the stifling 
mud, and glided gloomily about with their nostrils above water. 

Now the fun l)egan in earnest. The elephants separated as their 
mahouts gave chase to particular fish, and generally very soon transferred 
them to their baskets after chojiping their heads off with their daos. Having 
a spear with a sharp blade nine inches long I bagged more than any one else, 
as I could strike the fish further off: they sometimes sank just as the men 
got witliin reach with their shorter blades. Their heads could be taken oil 
with one slice with the spear, when they invariably floated at once ; but if 
struck in the middle they sank, owing to the air-bladder being cut. A sort 
of cod-looking fish (one of the genus Silurns, I believe, scaleless, thin, deep, 
and silvery, with long feelers) which I cut in two behind the shouldei-s, 
closed its jaws upon the mahout's finger when he put it into its mouth to 
pick up the head portion, and hung on like a bull-dog for some seconds. 

In following fish that, though in distress, were sufficiently conscious of 
danger not to let us get very near, the elephants exhibited much sagacity, 
abstaining (of course at a hint from their mahouts) from blowing under water 
or making any splashing. They enjoyed themselves immensely. My men 
were very noisy over their share of the sport, and it was highly amusing to 
watch the chases by several elephants at once of any particularly fine fish that 
was in a bad way. The men stood up on their elephants, and often several 
darts were made at once at an unfortunate fish, which one would triumpli- 
antly hold aloft, impaled through and through. Several men fell off and 
were half-choked in the mud, wliicli, when dried, coated them over like 
whitewash. I believe, at least I liope, that had the sliade of old Izaak 
watched us he would have forgiven us under the circumstances. 

In getting into the pool at a new place where the water was deep and 
the bank straight my elephant entered carelessly. One elephant had just 
gone in before, but by kneeling and sliding in, whilst " Neelmony " steppeil 
boldly over. In putting down her fore-feet she nearly turned a summer- 
sault ; her liead went riglit to the bottom I think ; the maliout was under 
water, and I was up to my knees, witli the elephant's hind-quarters souic- 
where about the back of my liead ! 

The best fish I bagged was 7 lb. in weight ; the generality were under 
2 lb.; my total bag was 72 lb. I found that not one of the large i)ike- 
like fish that we had seen basking near the surface, and which the men 
called !jt(jd/, had been bagged. Tliey evidently escapetl by burying them- 







selves in the mud, and were not affected like the carp species. The dis- 
covery of this peculiarity caused my men much grief, and some who told 
me that those fish had " only one bone in them," and that " all the rest 
was meat," were quite depressed. I think they almost felt inclined to 
punch a small elephant coolie's head who provokingly showed, with Loth 
his outstretched arms, how long some were tiiat he had seen. 

On the 4th January news came from Suddar Ali of his having sur- 
rounded the ele];)hants he had gone after on the 1st. The provision-boats 
had not come up yet, so, as I was getting anxious, I despatched two men 
on a raft down the Chengree to meet them ; and leaving Sergeant Carter 
with the bulk of the elephants to bring on the supplies when they arrived, 
1 started on the 5th at 7 o'clock to join Suddar Ali, and marched with six 
elephants till 4 p.jl, about twenty-one miles, when we camped. The jungle 
for the most part of the way — our path skirted the Chengree — was fine 
open forest that had never been cut, except near a large Jooma settlement 
called Gasban, which we passed about 12 o'clock. The trees were so tall, 
and the shade so high and close, that nothing more than a skull-cap was 
necessary, the sun being unable to penetrate the dark forest. 

Soon after starting we heard a solitary elephant in the cover by tlie 
path-side ; he squeaked and trumpeted on winding our elephants, but did 
not show himself, having M'inded us also. 

In this part of the hills there were very few inhabitants ; Gtisban was 
the only settlement for many miles round. The people of the hills are 
all called Joomas by the dwellers in the plains ; but this is a term which 
merely signifies people who cultivate by jooming, or clearing forest-land 
for a year or two, and then abandoning it in favour of fresh land. The 
people were of several tribes — viz., settlers from Arracan, Chuckmas, Mugs, 
Tipperahs, and to the east the dreaded Kookies, or Looshais. Of these 
castes the Chuckmas appear to have more claims to be called aboriginal to 
the Chittagong hills than the others, though the Kookies (Looshais) are abo- 
riginal in the eastern portion. I "WTite under correction however, as I knew 
nothing of the languages and could not learn much from the people, of whom, 
moreover, we saw very few except at Gasban. 

The one thing alwut which there seemed no doubt at all was, that the 
Kookies terrified the rest out of their seven senses, or had done so till 
recently, by occasional raids to the westward, when they are represented to 
have put to the sword everybody but such women as they carried off into 
captivity. It resulted from this that large tracts had been abandoned from 
time to time by the Joomas, when the Kookies, who seem to be a fine, war- 
like race, were hard upon them. Within the last few years, however, the 


estaLlishment of Eungamuttea and Demagiri as frontier police posts, consti- 
tuting a guard between the troublesome Kookies and the tribes to the west, 
has given confidence to the latter, and the hill - tracts will probably be 
better populated soon. A European political officer and a police officer live 
at Eungamuttea, and another police officer at Demagu'i, and these maintain 
amicable relations with the Kookies. It is the Kookies' annual custom, I 
was informed, to have extensive raids of two, three, or four thousand men 
forming a single party. This raiding is done in the cold weather, from 
December till the early rains ; and their "outing " may be regarded as some- 
thing equivalent to them to the run to the lakes or seaside in summer 
amongst us. As they are an independent tribe they are merely requested 
to confine their pastimes within their own limits, and not to trespass on 
British territory as formerly. Infraction of this rule caused the Looshai 
campaign of 1870-71. It is said that the Kookies occasionally eat enemies 
slain in battle ; but the Joomas are so terrified at the A'cry mention of a 
Kookie that they perhaps exaggerate. 

The Kookies do not appear to be troubled with more feelings of humanity 
than savages generally, as Gool Budden told me that when elephant-catching 
some years back, further north, a party of his scouts met several Kookies 
at a ford, carrying off girls from a Tipperah village which they had attacked. 
To prevent their running away, five or six girls were strung together by a 
strip of cane passed through a hole pierced in their left hands. By this 
simple method one man could take care of a good many of them. The scouts 
had no guns, and the Kookies made off with tlieir unhappy captives. G;is- 
ban, the village I had passed on the Chengree, had been cut up by Kookies 
about 1852, but, being well within protected limits, was now flourishing 
again. Tlie houses were all of bamboo, and raised high from the ground. 

January 6. — Marched from 7 a.m. till 10 a.m., seven miles to Jadoog- 
apara, where, it is said, once on a time stood a large Jooma settlement, 
till one fine morning a sudden yell on all sides at daybreak announced the 
Kookies, and no one escaped to tell the tale ! I could not see a trace 
of tlie village ; but the structures of the hill - people are not of a very 
permanent order. I left my tent to be pitched on the river-bank antl 
started on foot to the place, two miles distant, where the elephants were 
surrounded. I was very much pleased and surprised at the amount of work 
Suddar All's men had done, and its business-like look. The khcddah, or 
stockade, into wliich the elephants were to be driven, was constructed of a 
circle of stout uprights 12 feet high, placed so close together that the hand 
could scarcely be introduced between them, and well backed with forked 
uprights and cross-beams, the whole being lashed together with strips of cane. 


The guiding-wings, of similar construction, had also been completed, and the 
finishing touches were just being put to the work ; the whole was concealed 
in thick jungle on an elephant-run, and the new wood- work was screened 
with cane-leaves. Everything was in readiness, and Suddar Ali said he 
would, if allowed, try and drive the elephants in at once. I left it entirely 
to him, as I had not seen elephants caught before by this plan, and knew 
nothing of it practically. Suddar Ali requested that I would take up a 
position near the entrance to the approach to the gate, and give the herd 
the final rush in, whilst he led the beaters. 

I stood behind a large tree at the end of the left guiding palisade, with 
a couple of heavy rifles, one loaded with blank cartridge, one with ball. In 
a couple of hours the elephants were driven, without much noise, to within 
a quarter of a mile of the trap, the stops on each side keeping them straight 
for the stockade when they bore too much in any direction. The beaters 
being now well together and the flanking lines closing in, the final driving 
commenced with a great shouting and popping of guns, and the terrified 
herd came on through the jungle, their rapid passage making a quicldy- 
increasing rushing sound, like the approach of a storm. 

I had reconnoitred the ground beforehand, and found that there was a 
stream flowing through clayey soil across the line of approach, 100 yards in 
advance of my post. The ground was level for several yards on each side 
of the stream, and the clay deep and holding. 

The sound of the elephants coming through the jungle beyond the stream 
was suddenly changed to a loud swishing noise as they rushed through some 
high reeds bordering it, and immediately after a loud squelching and splasli- 
ing ensued, with sounds as of the drawing of gigantic corks, as the terrified 
monsters struggled in mad haste to extract their legs from the deep mud. 

Gaining my side, they came on at a slapping pace through the thinner 
jungle, some carrying creepers which had been torn down from the trees on 
their heads, and all doing their best, with their ears thrown forward, and 
their tails straight out behind. One huge beast halted suddenly for a 
brief instant, almost touching the tree behind which I was standing, to 
listen. Ah ! those terrible sounds ! The kink which signifies demoralisa- 
tion pervaded his tail, and he " wildly urged on his mad career." I ran 
from behind the palisade, and with a " yoick to 'em " and a couple of blank 
charges under the last elephant's tails, I pursued them down the run. It 
was only fifty yards ; their panic was complete ; after a momentary crush at; 
the gateway the last huge stern passed in with a rush, and down came the 
gate ! Several active fellows drew heavy bars across, which effectually 
secured it against being driven outwards. 


I Letliought myself just at this moment of the cries of an elephant 
which I had heard behind the others, and, thinking some might have been 
left behind, I faced round. It was lucky I did so, as I found myself con- 
fronting a large female with two calves of different ages, which were coming 
down the drive not forty yards from us ! They were advancing hesitatingly, 
as a perfect Bedlam had been let loose about the stockade when the gate 
fell, everybody closing in to repel any attempt on the palisades. The big 
elephant was evidently doubting wliether to keep to the line her companions 
had taken, or to make off back into the jungle. 

The men at the gate escaped througli the palisades without delay, but 
as it was a squeeze tli rough I preferred taking my chance where I stood 
to being taken in rear when in the embarrassing position of getting under 
a low rail on all fours. I had my 8-l3ore rifle with twelve drams and 
hard bullets in each barrel, so thought myself capable of meeting her. The 
elephant now stopped and hesitated, though threatening an attack. She 
kicked up the dust with her fore-feet, and trumpeted shrilly, but at this 
moment some one poked her in the face with a long bamboo through the 
side palisades. She turned and went slowly and dejectedly away, and we 
saw no more of her. 

Inside the stockade the poor terrified beasts, thirty-seven in number, 
were crowding each other into the smallest possible circle, each trying to 
keep as far as possible from the lighted torches that had been thrust 
througli tlie palisades at short distances all round. Every stick of small 
jungle was quickly demolished in their struggles. As one was forced out 
of a good place in the circle by some stronger animal it rushed madly 
round the writhing mass, tail and ears cocked, trumpeting shrilly with fear, 
and again plunged headlong in. Each cUhutant was loudly cheered by the 
delighted coolies perched on the high stockade all round. 

One or two of the elephants soon began to get over their first panic, 
and some of them advanced to an examination of tlie trench and palisades. 
This was nuts for the men, whose delight was now crowned in the oppor- 
tunity of letting off blank charges literally against the heads of the huge 
beasts, from which the boldest recoiled as if shot. 




OF CHiTTAGONG — (continued.) 





HAVING seen all made safe, and fires lighted round the stockade, I 
returned to camp. It was intensely cold during the night, and 
towards morning the falling dew pattered so heavily from the broad-leaved 
trees around that I thought it was raining. I got up to look out, when I 
saw the grey form of an elephant of large size, but with poor tusks, standing 
silently in the foggy moonlight not more than thirty yards distant. He 
looked like a spectre waving its ghostly arm, as he pointed his trunk in the 
direction of the tame elephants and the tents by turns. I watched him 
for some time as he stood listening intently, till he moved noiselessly away 
in the direction of the tame elephants. He doubtless belonged to the 
captured herd, and was attracted to camp by the presence of the elephants 
with us. During the whole of the time we were out we were constantly 


visited by these roaming tuskers, of which more anon; and it was wonderful 
that they never meddled with the men who were sleeping under small huts 
of boughs, or even on the open ground, near their elejjhants. Some of the 
tame elephants were found to be in calf almost every year after their jungle- 
trips and tlie clandestiue visits of these stray males. 

Next day I went to the stockade, and in the afternoon Sergeant Carter 
arrived with six elephants carrying ropes and provisions, the boats ha^Tng 
come up the Chengree under Wilson to camp No. 5 the day I left. As 
there were still some hours of daylight the mahouts proposed to secure 
some of the captured elephants within the stockade, especially two or 
three that had given a good deal of trouble during the night. "We there- 
fore opened a gap in the stockade and took in the six elephants l^arebacked, 
with a rope-tier holding the binding-ropes seated behind each mahout. I 
rode the first elephant, a very fine and powerful female named Radhapeary. 
AU catching-elephants of good courage evince the greatest relish for the 
sport of securing their vild companions, and Eadhapeary quite trembled 
with eagerness as she stepped inside and faced the wild ones. She was an 
old hand at it, as well as at miU shikar, or noosing, in Assam. 

Our six elephants formed abreast before the gap untH it was securely 
closed again, when we advanced towards the wild ones. They formed up 
and showed much excitement at the sight of our elephants. A few came 
forward to interview us, and touched ours with their trunks. I was driving: 
Eadhapeary myself, sitting as mahout on her neck, with a rope-tier behind 
me. Some of the men had spears, but I had only the iron driving-goad in 
my hand. 

"\Ve pushed our elephants on with the intention of cutting off a few 
wild ones from the main body, and whilst doing this I got in advance of 
the others, and became separated from them. Some of the wUd elephants 
were rather impertinent, and each tame one was engaged in driving any 
back that opposed it, when I heard a shout of " Sahib ! Sahib ! " from the 
men perched on the stockade, and on turning saw a large wild female, an 
old, tall, and raw-boned beast, coming straight at me from behind with her 
trunk curled and her head up. She was on my near side, and in another 
instant was upon me, but not before I had slipped round on the olf side 
of my elephant's neck, and had driven the goad into her open mouth as she 
came down on my left thigh with her jaws. She fortunately bad only 
one tush, which was broken and blunt. She did not attem})t to seize me 
with her trunk, but to })ummel me. This is the females' invariable plan 
of punishing each other ; they put their chins on to the backs of their 
opponent, and bore and strike with their tushes. Cases have occurred in 


the klieddahs of maliouts being killed through timid tame elephants giving 
way under the pain and sinking down, when, if the driver has been thrown 
off, the wild ones have trampled him to death. This is, however, very 
uncommon, and few wild female elephants offer any resistance to the 
tame ones. Such a case as the attack upon me has never, as far as I can 
learn from mahouts who have seen hundreds of elephants caught, been 
known. It is an astonishing fact that the rider is hardly ever attacked. 
The mahouts use no concealment, going mounted into the stockade in their 
ordinary dress, and though their elephants may be surrounded by wild ones, 
any of which could by simply raising its trunk drag the men off, they are 
never molested. If it were otherwise, entering the stockade would be more 
dangerous work than it is. However, in my case the solitary exception I 
have known to the rule occurred. 

After boring for a second or two on my thigh, and upon Eiidhapeary's head, 
the elephant drew back, and I sat upright, thankful at escaping with a mere 
pummelling, when, almost before I became aware of her intention, the fiend 
came straight at me again. Over I went, only leaving my leg across the 
elephant's neck, and again I was severely bruised ; the driving-hook was 
jerked out of my hand, and had it not been fastened by a cord to the ele- 
phant's neck-rope I should have lost it. Again I recovered myself, when 
the elephant came at me once more, pummelled my leg soundly, and drew 
blood from Radhapeary's head. 

When I sat up my breeches and flannel shirt had been torn almost to 
rags, and I believed my left thigh was broken, as it might well have been by 
the weight of the elephant's jaws. I had hardly a moment's time for thought, 
however ; there was the determined beast but a few feet off, and I saw she 
was going to renew the attack. Her pertinacity was wonderful. I felt 
that I was doomed. I could not expect to escape many more such assaults. 
I should be unseated, when certain death awaited me as I was in the midst 
of the crowd of wild elephants. I felt perfectly cool, however, as long as I 
faced the danger and was engaged in defending myself I calculated the 
chances against myself without a shudder. Most persons who have been in 
similar dangerous positions doubtless have felt this calmness, and I believe 
that men are often spared the bitterness which we are wont to associate with 
violent deaths when they are overtaken whilst facing a danger which their 
minds are engaged in resisting. Dr Livingstone mentions the same feeling 
when he was in the jaws of a lion. Who can doubt the difference between 
death to a man in action, and to a helpless prisoner ? 

I clutched the goad again. Forward went the elephant's ears and she 
was already in- her stride, when a spear passed my head and stabbed her 


deeply in the temple, and in another instant Issaniuttee, one of our ele- 
phants, struck her with lier head like a battering-ram, full on the shoulder, 
and almost knocked her over. I was saved just in time. All our elephants 
had been engaged with some of the wild ones, and had not been able to 
help me, but Issamuttce's rider, a mere boy, called Choonoo, had got his 
elephant free and had arrived just at the critical moment. I should say that 
Radhcipeary had been occupied whilst all this went on in facing a young 
tusker who seemed inclined to try his tusks upon her, and had she not kept 
head on to him he doubtless w^ould have done so ; so she had been unable 
to pay attention to the attacking female, whom she could have overpowered 
in a moment had she been free to do so. Wild elephants are soon overawed 
by the pugilistic attainments of tame ones. The females in the herds have 
few contentions amongst themselves : when they do quarrel they chiefly pun- 
ish each other by biting off the ends of one another's tails. Consequently when 
they are set upon and pummelled scientifically they soon give in. Eadha- 
peary was a long, heavy, and powerful elephant, of the highest caste of 
koomerialis. Her courage was equal to her strength, and her science to both. 
She and another female actually killed outright a large muckna, or tuskless 
male, on one occasion, by the squeezing and heavy battering they gave him. 
The great point of science in a tame elephant in contending with others is 
to overreach them by holding the head high. This is equivalent to the P.R. 
movement of getting an opponent's head into chancery. If the wild ele- 
phant were allowed to have its head above the tame one's the mahout might 
be knocked off 

I was obliged to leave the inside of the stockade after this misadventure, 
as I felt sick and feared I might faint from the pain in my tliigh. I was 
not seriously hurt, but had a long cut and abrasion from the elephant's tusli 
from the hip nearly to the knee. The surface became rapidly extravasated, 
and I was stiff and lame immediately. Eadhapeary's mahout now took my 
place, and the troublesome elephant having been driven into a corner by the 
tame ones was soon secured. She never gave any more trouble, and when 
tamed was as quiet as the rest. Wlien she was tied up the mahouts begged 
leave to be allowed to thrash her well ! This was quite a native's idea. I 
respected the poor beast for her courageous defence, and forbade her being 

I had a bad night, as I could only lie on my right side, and in the 
morning was unable to walk. However, I had a mattress put on Ikadhii- 
peary's pad on to which I was hoisted, and was soon inside the kheddah 
again, thougli unable to take part in tlic catching. All our elephants had 
arrived by tliis time — fifty in number — and they made short work of the 


wild oues. Their liiud-legs were Lobbied and thick ropes put on their 
necks, when each was marched off by two tame elephants, one before and one 
behind, to our camp at Jadoogapara. 

It would take up too much space to relate our operations at Jadooga- 
para in detail, so I will pass on. 

On January 15 th we marched back to Gasban with the captured ele- 
phants, and here I met a countryman, P., the political officer stationed at 
Eungamuttea. The meeting of Livingstone and Stanley in Central Africa 
was a trifle — to us — to this " forgathring " in one of the uttermost corners 
of the earth ! I found P., who was a model frontier officer, squatted in a hut 
with the noble savages around him, trying to impress upon them some 
notions of Government dues, and taking a friendly pull at their liquor now 
and again. The Joomas hospitably invited me, through P., who had some 
knowledge of their language, to a drink of the beverage which had been 
provided for the assembled council. There was a pot of it holding several 
gallons and occupying an honourable position in the centre; across the 
mouth of the vessel was a thin slip of bamboo level with the liquor. From 
the slip of bamboo a small piece of stick depended about a quarter of an 
inch, and P. told me that Joonia etiquette required that the imbiber should 
lower the liquor by suction through a hollow reed till the dependent slip 
cleared the surface, wlien he was considered to have duly shown his appre- 
ciation of the brew. The liquor was prepared from fermented rice and 
fruits, and was very good, being something like cider. P. and I smoked and 
chatted till evening, when we looked at the new elephants, and then dined 
in P.'s up-stair hut. A clay hearth on the floor admitted of our iiaving a 
fire. I slept in my tent, where the thermometer stood at 32° next morn- 
ing, though the elevation was pi-obably under 100 feet above sea-level. 

Next day I accepted an invitation with P. to breakfast at the house of 
one of the Jooma chiefs. He gave us some good pork curry (we had seen 
the animal which furnished the wherewithal being pursued by Joomas with 
gleaming knives the evening before, who, as soon as they caught him, cut 
off his head almost before he had time to squeal), and a sort of pudding. 
We ate with our fingers off leaf-platters. I daresay any one at all fastid- 
ious might have had some qualms regarding the cleanliness of the cooks 
who prepared the repast, and I was amused at P.'s frequent apologies for 
his friends. However, I was not less of a juugle-wallali, accustomed to 
chumming with the noble savage, than himself, and felt quite at home. 
After breakfast I played some tunes on my cornet, and P. struck up on a 
tin whistle, which greatly pleased the Joomas. 

P. departed with his dug-out boats next day down the Chengree towards 


Eunsamuttea, and I started on the 20tli to cross the Kalamoin ranG;e to 
join Gool Budden. He had captured thirty-two elephants unassisted, but 
the rest of the herd had not been enclosed in the stockade, and were still 
at large within the circle of coolies. In eight hours' marching from Gasban 
with ten elephants, about sixteen miles, through bamboo and tree jungle, 
pretty clear and fairly level, we reached the top of the Kalamoin range. 
Here there was a small village, where I had a granary cleared out, and 
slept very comfortably. It was 10° warmer on the mountain-range than 
in the valleys, and the fog in the morning was all below us. Tlie ■vdew 
of the valleys fdled with the motionless white vapour, tlie hill-tops showing 
tlirough it like islands in a sea of milk, was very beautiful. 

I did a little doctoring before starting in the morning. A child of a 
few months old had been terribly burnt on the back, from the nape of the 
neck to the hips, through getting its little shirt on fire when left alone in 
a hut some days before. I melted HoUoway's ointment and ajiplied it, and 
gave the father a piece in a leaf to use again, as occasion requii^ed. I am 
afraid to say much in praise of the above useful compound, lest I should 
appear in advertisements in connection with the world-famed salve, and lay 
myself open to the suspicion amongst my readers of being in collusion with 
the great piller of the medical world. I may, however, say that in wild 
countries nothing is more convenient or effective for wounds of all kinds, 
from a cut finger to sore-back in an elephant. For a man suffering from 
phthisis I could only recommend a change to the warm plains out of the 
jungle, which of course he would not take, so I might have kept the advice 
to myself ; and I was obliged to decline altogether to treat a blind girl. Her 
father was anxious I should try, as he said she was " such a fine girl, other- 
wise he would not have troubled me ! " 

I walked down the oj)posite side of the range rifle in hand in advance 
of the elephants. I saw no signs of game except the prints of a tiger. The 
jungle was open bamboo and large timber. At the bottom of the slope 
flowed a shallow stream with a firm gravelly bottom, and we kept along 
this for some distance till it joined a larger stream, when I mounted my 
pad-elephant and led the way. The bed of the large stream formed the 
most easy road for passing through a high range which we had to cross 
before reaching the Myanee vale. 

Owing to the remarkable absence of rock in the Chittagong hills, in 
common with almost the whole of Eastern Bengal, whether hill or plain, 
the river had a very gentle flow, having cut its way down to so easy 
a gradient in the soft soil that further erosion had practically ceased. On 
each side the banks rose to about five hundred feet in height, and as nearly 


perpendicular as tlie nature of the earth admitted. Scarcely a beam of 
sunlight, except at mid-day, could penetrate the abyss, and the cold at 
this early hour was intense. Both sides of the gigantic cleft were clothed 
with wild plantains, the beautiful broad leaves of which, ten feet in lengtli 
and two wide, were of an almost transparent emerald green. Orchids of 
various kinds, especially a gorgeous yellow one like laburnum, but fuller; 
tree-ferns ; and across the ravine just above our heads, the overlacing of 
creepers — a peculiar feature in Eastern forests, — were wonderful to see. 
There were few birds, and the only signs of game were the tracks of the 
tiger I had seen the print of further back, and which had come by the 
gorge, and those of wild elephants that had used it some days previously. 
Gool Budden's party had cut some of the trunks of the trees lying across 
the stream which had impeded the elephants that carried their provisions. 

We marched for three hours along this stream. The men were ordered 
not to talk or sing to their elephants ; such sounds seemed impious intru- 
sions on the grand silence that prevailed. The murmur of the stream and 
the plashing of the line of elephants were the only sounds which broke it. 
I felt cold even with a thick overcoat and rug, and the unfortunate mahouts, 
who were lightly clad and not particularly appreciative of the beauties of 
nature, were doubtless glad when we left the grand cleft for the more open 
jungles warmed by the sun. By evening we reached Gool Budden's camp 
on the Myanee, at a place called Bhowalkali, after one of the most varied 
and pleasant marches I remember. 

The portion of the herd which he had caught, numbering tliirty-two 
animals, was a very good lot, containing few old or small ones. About 
twenty-five elephants (the remainder of the herd) which refused to enter 
the stockade with their fellows were still at large in the forest within the 
original surround. Gool Budden had been engaged in maldng another 
stockade at a fresh point ; this was now ready, and in it we hoped to 
impound them. The men had mismanaged the tying of the elephants 
already captured, and had caused the dislocation of one fine beast's hind- 
legs at the hock — or, more properly speaking, knee-joint, as an elephant 
has no hocks — and a similar accident to one hind-leg of another. This 
was through their being left in the enclosure with their legs tied to trees 
during the night instead of being removed from the stockade. Elephants 
are very mischievous, and sometimes display the trait observable in many 
other animals of ill-treating such of their fellows as are in distress, particu- 
larly if suffering from wounds or accidents. These two poor elephants had 
been butted by the others and knocked over, their hind-legs, which were 
braced close up to the trees, being wrenched out of joint by their fall. The 


sufferings of one wliich could not rise were too horrible to witness. The 
liunters, like all natives of India, had never thouglit of terminating its 
sufierings. Many natives would not hurt the meanest insect, as to do no 
killing is a portion of the creed of some castes of Hindoos ; but that it 
might be merciful to put an end to suffering in many cases they cannot, 
apart from their disinclination to take life, understand. The poor beast 
had given birth to a still-born calf, and had been in this terrible position 
for two days before I arrived. I immediately ended her sufferings with 
my rifle ; but the otlier one, which did not seem very bad, and of the exact 
nature of whose injuries, whether sprain or dislocation, I was not then 
certain, was kept tied up in an easy manner. She was a magnificent ani- 
mal — one of the finest we caught during our trip — and she marched about 
fifty miles on our return down the Myanee valley. The swelling at the hip 
abated a good deal, when I was able to see that it was really dislocated. 
The elephant had marched so pluckily, though dragging the leg, that the 
jemadar and I had had doubts of this hitherto. I ordered her release 
(though the jemadar offered £30 for her as a speculation of his own), together 
with a very old female which it was useless to take out of the jungles. 1 
believe that though the injured elephant will be permanently lame she may 
live for many years in her native haunts. Her liberty was a poor, but 
the only, return we could make for the injury to which she had so unfor- 
tunately been subjected. 

We tried for some days to drive the elephants still remaining at large 
into the kheddah but were thoroughly beaten. One man was trampled 
to death by an enraged female, from which I also had two narrow escapes, 
flooring her in each attack with my rifle ; and as tlie attempts became 
highly dangerous to the men, I ordered them to relinquisli the surround and 
take a few days' rest to recover from the fatigues of night-watching. Dur- 
ing the time we were here a most extraordinary adventure happened to 
me, in having my tent pulled about my ears during the night by a wild 
elephant. 1 fear some of my readers may think it almost past belief, 
and I have felt doubtful about relating it ; howe\'er, I will narrate what 

A large space had been cleared in tlie forest on the bank of the JMyanee 
for securing our new elephants, and for the convenience of our large camp. 
With the elephants from Uasban, which had been marched to our present 
camp, and our tame ones, we had over a hundred altogether. At the 
encampment (No. 10 on map) tlie Myanee flowed from north to south; 
our camp was on the west bank. The Myanee was joined at this place by 
a smaller stream from the north-west; my own and .ser\ants' tents, as well 


as tlie sergeant's and native doctor's, were pitched in the angle of junction, 
on the north side, and separated from tlie main camp by tlie smaller stream. 
Its banks, and those of the Myanee, were both very steep, excejDt at the 
point of junction, where wild elephants had made a path across. This was 
now obstructed by our tents. Two or three single wild elephants had 
been wandering about the neighbouring jungles since we came, attracted 
by the large gathering of their fellows. One or two occasionally found 
their way into the elephant-lines : we had, with our tame elephants, cauglit 
two large females and a young male that came amongst our captives in 
broad daylight. 

On the night of the 27th of January, I was awakened by the sud- 
den crash of an elephant just inside the cane-jungle on the river-bank, 
within twenty yards of my tent. I jumped up, turned up the kero- 
sine lantern that was burning on the table, and held up the tent-door. 
The light frightened the elephant and it made off; it had evidently come 
with the intention of crossing the stream by the accustomed path, and had 
been startled by the tents. Next night I was again awakened by an ele- 
phant — perhaps the same one — close at hand. I shouted at it as I lay 
in bed, but instead of making off I heard it step forward and seize my 
small batliing-tent, which was about twenty yards from mine, and a tearing 
and flapping sound followed as the brute tore it up. This was more than I 
could stand, so jumping out of bed, I seized my rifle and threw up the 
tent-door. I saw the white canvas being tossed up and down, but before I 
could make out the elephant against the dark jungle it dropped the tent and 
retired. It was just one o'clock. I thought the beast might return, so 
ordered two tame elephants to mount guard between my tent and the 
jungle till morning. 

Next day I found the small tent had been torn in two ; one half had 
tusk-holes through it, and the other bore the impression of a large muddy 
foot. As I thought it just possible that the elephant might take it into 
his head to visit my tent next night, I had the jungle cleared away for 
sixty yards beyond my tent, and told the men to picket two newly- caught 
elephants at the edge of the jungle : these we expected would give some 
notice of the approach of any other elephants. I also had Eadhapeary 
stationed close to my tent, and six men told off as a night-guard. ]\Iy 
tent was nearer to the jungle than any of the others. I usually sat by 
a lire, between my tent and the servants', after dinner, and to-night I heard 
an elephant, probably my visitor of the night before, squeaking in the jungle 
about a quarter of a mile away. The guard remarked it, so thinking 
nothing more about it I turned in. I made the grand mistake of having 


the guard and fire between mv tent and the next, instead of between nie 
and the jungle. 

I seemed to have slept for a long time when I was awakened by the cor- 
ner of the tent nearest the jungle, and just above my head, being gently 
shaken. The tent was single-poled, twelve feet square, and secured by 
numerous ropes all round. I thought of the rogue instantly, and was out 
of bed in a twinkling, not even waiting to untuck the mosquito-netting 
which I always use as a precaution against malaria as much as against 
troublesome insects ; I made a considerable rent in it in my haste. The 
faculty of becoming thoroughly awake, physically and mentally, at a 
moment's notice, is one acquired by persons accustomed, as dwellers in 
tents in Indian jungles frequently are, to occasions requiring its exercise ; 
and as I sleep lightly, the motion of the tent, though very slight, instantly 
aroused me. Now that I was on my feet, rifle in hand, my first impulse 
was to shout ; but imagining it might be some of the men outside who had 
touched the ropes, and that a hullabaloo inside would be rather ridiculous 
if that were the case, I hesitated. At this moment the tent shook again, 
very gently. I peeped through the door on the opposite side, where the 
guard was. The old story ! All still ; the fire reduced to a few smoulder- 
ing embers — the men lying in a row near it, like corpses in their winding- 
sheets, stark and still ! Puidhapeary was round the tent to my right, but 
I could not hear her moving. Just then the same gentle twang of the 
tent-rope in the corner over my bed shook the canvas, and I heard an 
elephant breathe. I now thought it must be Eudhapeary who had got 
loose, and in moving about was touching the ropes. I could hardly imagine 
that a wild elephant could be so near me, but I still hesitated to shout, 
believing that if it were a wild visitor I might only provoke an attack. 
However, as I heard notliing more for a minute or two, I called Eiidluipeary 
gently by name, and was just going to open the door and look out cautiously, 
when there was one ponderous step forward, a tremendous smash, cracking 
of ropes, and tearing of canvas, and the whole end of the tent was driven 
in upon my bed. I knew who it was now, and shouted at the brute at 
the top of my voice. I would have given him both barrels through the 
tent could I have seen how he was standing, but his tusks had only come 
through the upper fly, the inner one being pulled down by his foot placed 
iqjon the side-wall of the tent to which it was attached, so I could see 
nothing of him. I expected to see his tusks or head through the tent in 
another instant, and reserved my fire. I was under no apprehension for 
my own safety. The other door was at my back, and the steep river-bank 
just bej'ond, down which I could have jumped if necessary, and no c'loi»hant 


could have followed ; and with so many ropes I knew the tent could not 
be upset bodily. I only thought of making sure of the intruder by waiting- 
till I saw the outline of his head, when I would have given him both 
barrels of my heavy rifle, and left liim to enjoy tlie further demolition of 
the tent with what zest he might. What a novelty it would have been to 
bag an elephant inside one's tent at 1 a.m. ! 

After the first crash the elephant drew back. The small ropes in the 
eyelet-holes which laced the side-walls of the tent to the inner fly had all 
given way, and the side-walls on the sides nearest the elephant fell out- 
wards. The unexpected flood of light must have startled him, as whilst I 
looked for the reappearance of his head he was already making off, a fact 
of which I only became aware when I caught sight of his hind-legs vanish- 
ing from the cu'cle of light. I determined he should not depart witliout 
a souvenir of his visit, and, stooping, I fired through the open side of the 
tent after liim, but, as I afterwards found, without hitting him. 

By this time every one in the camp was up and piling wood on the 
fires, alarmed at the disturbance. The jemadar and some matchlock-men 
came from the elei^hant-lines with torches to see what had happened. We 
found that Kadhapeary had been lying down fast asleep, or she would have 
given some signal of the tusker's approach. His attack on the tent was 
not prompted by viciousness, but by the spirit of curiosity and mischievous- 
ness which are such strongly-marked characteristics of wild elephants, and 
which leads them to upset telegraph-posts, trample new road-embankments, 
pull up survey tracing-pegs, and to similar acts. I once heard a detachment 
of elephants playing wdth a long chain v;hich we had left over night in the 
jungles, evidently pleased with the clinking noise it made. The presence of 
so many elephants encouraged this one's daring approach, and seeing my 
tent he had ventured upon an examination of it. My speaking inside led 
to his attack upon it, 

I now took into consideration the case of the rascally guard, which 
ended in their getting a dozen as sound cuts each with a rattan as one of 
Gool Budden's lieutenants could administer. They belonged to his party 
of klieddah men, and he reviled them in Chittagong Billingsgate as tlie 
lasccir whacked away, saying they were pigs and sons of pigs, and guilty, 
like their fathers, mothers, and every one of their relatives, of every species 
of immorality, in addition to the immediate neglect of duty for which they 
were being chastised. We had some great scoundrels amongst our two 
kheddah parties, but the jemadars were stern disciplinarians and main- 
tained fair order. It was rather too bad that when every one had been 
working hard all day except these lazy scoundrels, who had nothing to 


do Lut prepare for iiiglit-work, tlicy should sleep wliile we were being 
pulled out of bed by wild elephants. One rascal had the audacity to tell 
me that he was watching most assiduously, but that " the elephant made 
such a rapid advance from the jungle, with one trumpet and three strides, 
that he had not even time to shout before the mischief was done ! " As 
I turned in again and rolled myself in the blankets (the thermometer stood 
at 42°), I felt a pleasing conviction that he and his brother rogues would 
not, at any rate, lie on their backs again that night, should they relinquish 
themselves any more to the seductions of repose. 

I hardly expected to see the elephant again ; but just as I was getting 
up at daylight one of the men ran in to say the brute was making his way 
towards us through the jungle close by. I ran out and could hear the 
crackling of branches near the two elephants whicli were picketed on the 
edge of the jungle, and in a few minutes the tusker stepped out near them, 
and looked towards us. Now was there a hurrying to and fro in camp ; 
the cook forsook the coffee he was preparing for me, and the Bengalee 
lascars their hookahs. The movement had a decided tendency towards 
the otlier side of the small river between us and tlie main encampment, 
and the native doctor's long and lank form was conspicuous in the van. 
The tusker was a fine elephant, nearly nine feet high, but with poor tusks 
for so tall an animal. He stood looking quietly towards us, and evinced 
no intention of meddling with us again. He was a dangerous brute to 
have about, however, so I walked towards him, rifle in hand. I expected 
him to come on, when, if I failed to stop him (I was using my double 
8-bore rifle, with twelve drams of the new No. 8 pebble-powder in eacli 
barrel), I had the river-bank on my right, to jump down which would have 
placed me in safety. When I was within forty yards the elephant turned 
suddenly to his right into the jungle. I had not time for a clear head-shot, 
so I gave him one barrel behind the shoulder, whilst the left took him too 
far back. The trackers followed him for about thirty miles, when they found 
him dead on the bank of the Myanee, and extracted his tusks. They did 
not return to camp for three days, owing to the difficulties of the country. 

On January 28th our provision-boats arrived from Eungamuttea, and 
the men said a herd of elephants had crossed the river tluj night before 
in view of the boats, and about fifteen miles below our camp. All hands 
were quite rested now, and in an hour's time Gool Budden's party had 
started, the men marching along the river -bank by the elephant -paths, 
whilst their provisions and tools were floated down on bamboo rafts. I 
followed next day, and the trackers having found the herd on a tributary 
stream to the IMyanee, the surround was commenced and completed without 


trouble. The stockade was then begun without delay, the coolies working 
all night in cutting the requisite poles and young trees for building it, and 
by afternoon of the 31st all was in readiness. The surround was not large, 
and the situation of the kheddah between two hills was a good one, so we 
managed to drive the elephants in at the first attempt. There were only 
thirteen, but seven of them were tuskers, three of these being very large. 
The two that form the subjects of illustrations of the koomeriah and meerga 
castes of elephants were among them, and were photographed for me by a 
friend when I reached Cliittagoncj. 

The kheddah had been made small to save time and we were now 
afraid that so many tuskers might force the stockade, so all hands were set 
to work to construct a second barrier in support of the first. This consisted, 
like the inner one, of uprights twelve feet high, about six inches in diameter, 
and supported by sloping props, the whole laced together with strips of 
cane. However, we might have saved ourselves this trouble, as the tuskers 
made no attempts upon the stockade. One female became troublesome 
after dark, and large fires were lighted all round, whilst men stood ready 
with lighted bamboo torches to repel her charges. She was certainly a most 
determined beast, and would have formed a fine subject for a Landseer or a 
Weir as she stalked round, occasionally standing with one foot poised in 
irresolution, as the points where she was seen to meditate an attack bristled 
with torches and sharp bamboos. Two or three times she strode across the 
narrow trench along the foot of the barricade, and thrust at it in a way that 
made it bend and shake for some distance on each side of the point of 
attack, but from the toughness and pliability of the structure it was never 
in danger. It was not until she had been severely burnt, and had also 
in turn injured one of the men by striking the torch he was holding into 
his face, that she desisted. I lodged three ounces of No. 4 shot in her 
cranium, fired at about a yard's distance, during her charges at the barrier. 
I sat on the stockade under shelter of an overhanging bough, watching the 
elephants until far into the night. The scene was a very wild one. The 
huge beasts impounded in so small an enclosure, the crackling and blazing 
fires all roimd, lighting up the trees to their topmost branches, and the 
ready shouts and challenges with which any of their movements were met 
by the watchful hunters, formed so exciting a scene that sleep was out of 
the question. The largest tusker kept the other males in a state of great 
disquiet. When he made the round of the kheddah at a slow, majestic 
pace, the commotion amongst his juniors was tremendous ; and though keep- 
ing out of his way, they made vicious prods at the ones smaller than them- 
selves. He, however, behaved most magnanimously, only punishing the 


next largest to himself if he fell in his way, but never going after him in a 
malicious manner. Had he done so he could certainly have killed him in 
such a confined enclosure. One of the tuskers was liurled against the barri- 
cade by a larger animal ; the guards applied their lighted bamboos to the un- 
fortunate beast while down in the trench as a hint to him not to do it again ! 

We secured these elephants without mishap, though some of our 
females showed great reluctance to working amongst so many tuskers. Tlie 
men took care to cause no uproar in the enclosure, as, had the large tusker 
moved about rapidly, the others might have overwhelmed men and elephants 
in their endeavours to keep out of his way. When he was tied up lie made 
tremendous though silent struggles to free himself, using every muscle of 
his siant frame in the endeavour to break his bonds. He continued to do 
so for several hours without intermission, when he desisted, and never after- 
wards renewed the struggle. This is invariably the case with the best- 
couraged elephants. If their first attempts fail they submit with dignity, 
wliilst small animals hardly worth the catching will frequently fight for 
days, and injure themselves by useless struggling against the inevitable. 

Having now captured eighty-five elephants, the marching of which out 
of the jungles would be a sufficiently arduous task, I ordered every one 
to collect on the Myanee where the stream near which we had caught the 
last elephants joined it, and here we formed a large camp (Xo. 12). The 
wild elephants were arranged in rows amongst the trees, two men being 
appointed to each to supply them with fodder and water, and to doctor their 
wounds. The spare men were employed in cutting fodder, wliich the tame 
elephants, as also the boats and rafts, brought to the encampment. The 
weather was delightfully bracing, with intense cold at nights. 

I now had leisure to shoot, fish, and roam about the jungles. The forest 
along the river was particularly fine, and free from grass and troublesome 
undergrowth. It was evident from the marks on the trees that the river 
overflowed its banks to a considerable depth during the monsoon rains. The 
reason of this is that the dry-weather channel is very tortuous, so the 
floods take a straight course, cutting off the angles round which the stream 
now meandered. The spits of land subject to these inundations were over- 
laid with rich alluvial soil, in which one of the plants (tdra), on which we 
fed tlic elc])liants, grew in great abundance. It is, I believe, a species of 
wild arrowroot. It has a succulent, triangular stalk, as thick as tln-ee fingers; 
the leaves are broad, and upwards of a foot in length. IMany plants were 
ten feet in lieight. This fodder was easy to cut and convenient to stow 
on tlie elephants' backs, and was greatly relished by them. I ha\'e not seen 
it out of Bengal. 


A remarkable product of the jungles was a sort of monster apple. It 
grew in great abundance on a handsome tree, like the horse-chestnut, but 
larger. Each tree had several hundred fruit on it, and at least one out of 
every hundred trees in the forest was of this kind, in full bearing. The 
fruit was green, with red and yellow tints on the ripest side, juicy, but very 
fibrous and sour. I observed that all wild animals ate it, so I ordered the 
cook to make a tart, though the minion expressed his fears that it might not 
be " good for master's body ! " It required plenty of stewing, and a large 
amount of sugar, but was excellent from its fine acid flavour, and I had it 
almost daily. 

It was astonishing that no one was ever injured by the falling of these 
large apples. They were tolerably securely attached, but still many did fall, 
and as the average weight was a pound and a half, they might have killed 
any one on whose head they had alighted. On one occasion an elephant 
shook a creeper that ran to the top of one of these trees, and brought a 
shower of fruit down, which made all who were near run for their lives, 
whilst a few came with heavy thuds upon the back of the author of the 

I found nothing to shoot but sdmbur-deer and jungle-fowl {Gallus fcr- 
rugineus), squirrels of two kinds, and the black tailless hoolook monkey of 
the gibbon family {Hoolook hylolates). On the 8th February I started Ser- 
geant Carter in advance on our return-march to civilisation, with sixty- two 
of the new elephants in charge of twenty-two tame ones, whilst I remained 
until the 13th, keeping the more troublesome and powerful animals to form 
my batch. The route to Eungamuttea was down the Myanee valley, as the 
river was low and formed an easy means of egress from the hills, whilst the 
country was too steep and jungly for a direct line. In some places we 
marched in the forest along the bank ; but owing to cane-thickets and deep 
ravines which joined the Myanee, we usually found it more advantageous to 
keep to the river-bed. We were about a hundred and thirty miles from 
Eungamuttea, following the course of the river. It was not more than 
eighteen inches deep for the first few days' marches, with a firm gravelly 
bottom, and as the day grew warm when the sun was high it was a pleasure 
to the elephants, tame and wild, to be tramping in it.*"* 

We must have presented a wild and picturesque scene as we filed down 
the stream. The largest elephants were secured between two or three tame 
ones. Some tame elephants had several half-grown wild ones fastened to 
them, which they kept under strict discipline, pummelling and kicking them 

* The camps marked on the map are those I occupied in common with the elephants. They 
also made several additional halts. 


if tliey attempted to walk in advance. On each tame elephant's pad its 
attendants had stowed their cooking utensils, spare ropes, and such small 
articles of cane-work (footstools, baskets, &c.) as they had made in their 
spare hours, and were taking to Chittagong to sell. Each had a long spear 
in his hand with which to keep the wild ones in order, if necessary. The 
small calves marched loose alongside their mothers. Behind the elephants 
came a fleet of our provision - boats carrying the rations. "We usually 
marched from about 7 a.m. till 12, perhaps ten miles daily, wlien a halt 
was made ; the elephants were secured in the forest on the bank of the river ; 
and the people cooked their breakfasts. I always sent a boat "svitli my tent 
and servants in advance of the elephants ; they could reach the intended 
camping - gi'ound by 10 A.M., so every tiling was ready for me when we 

But I am anticipating, as two incidents occurred at camp No. 12 after 
Sergeant Carter left which may be worth mentioning. One was a tiger 
killing a young elephant, and my shooting the spoiler ; the other, the shoot- 
ing of a wild elephant in our elephant-lines. 

The day after Sergeant Carter marched, two men returned with a note 
from him to say that a tiger had killed and partly eaten one of the young 
elephants of his batch close to his tent during the night ; that he had ordered 
the carcass to be left undisturbed, and had proceeded on his march. Never 
having seen such a case before, I mounted an ele^^hant and proceeded to the 

The young elephant, a calf about four and a half feet high at the 
shoulder, and weighing probably six hundred pounds, had been standing 
just within the jungle off tlie encampment when seized, and was within 
twenty yards of the other elephants and of the sergeant's tent. Its hind- 
legs only were hobbled, as, being very quiet, it had been allowed almost since 
its capture, a fortnight before, to roam about the camp tlius secured. The 
tiger had seized it by the throat as a bullock is seized ; there were no other 
marks on any part of the body, and it had only been dragged a few yards. 
A large quantity of flesh had been eaten off both hind-quarters. As I did 
not know at what hour the tiger miglit return to his kill, and as sitting up 
all night in the jungles — the thermometer had been at 38° that morning — 
was not to be thought of, 1 returned to camp (it was now 4 P.M.), intending 
to try and find the tiger in tlie morning. 

Next day I went to the carcass witli a single pad-elephant and some 
men, whom I left at a distance whilst I took the elephant to the kill to 
reconnoitre. The jungle was continuous open forest, except on the river- 
bank, where there Nvas a dense patcli of thorny cane-thicket. I liad calcii- 


lated tliat I should probably find the tiger in this place after his meal. The 
carcass had been dragged about ten yards, and more of it had been eaten. I 
had scarcely remarked this when the mahout pointed quietly to the tiger 
lying down about fifteen yards to our left near the carcass. He was blinking 
at us in a good-humoured way, evidently happy after his meal, and thinking 
our elephant but one of the numbers he constantly saw in these uninhabited 
forests. He had a prominent ridge of hair on his neck, and a fine ruff 
round his face. I lost no time in putting an express bullet into his brain. 
He was a powerful, big, and old brute, measuring exactly nine feet in length, 
and weighing 349 J lb. As there were no inhabitants in that part of the 
hills, I suppose lying down close to his prey, even in the open forest, was 
this tiger's custom. As to his killing the elephant, there were no cattle 
anywhere in the hills, and all the tigers there were purely game-killers ; and 
as by lurking on the outskirts of herds of elephants a stray calf doubtless 
occasionally fell in their way, I daresay this was not the first time this 
tiger had supped off young elephant. I have heard of what appears to be 
a well-authenticated case in Assam, of a tame elephant of full size, when 
hobbled and turned loose in a river-bed to graze, being attacked by a tiger, 
and severely bitten and mauled before its cries attracted the keepers, who 
were at a distance. In this case large pieces of flesh were torn from the 
elephant's thighs, and the tiger's object was evidently to make a meal of it, 
as it perceived it was in difficulties, being hobbled. 

The shooting of the tusker in the elej)hant-lines occurred as follows : 
Wliilst the elephants were at Gasban the mahouts had attempted to tie a 
tusker one night, as he visited the new elephants frequently, only disappear- 
ing with the dawn. He had followed us from Jadoogapara, and was in all 
probability the elephant I saw on looking out of the tent during the night 
of the 6 th January. The mahouts had failed to secure him, and had 
thoroughly alarmed him, and though they subsequently tried various plans, 
he had grown too wary to be caught. When the elephants marched 
to Bhowalkali he followed, and remained with us there, accompanying us to 
camp No. 1 2. He had become so accustomed to the sight of men by this 
time that he rarely left the elephant-lines, and did not molest the people 
who moved about. We might have caught him had we tried hard, but 
three of our females would have been required to march with him, whereas 
they could take charge of six wild females, which were better adapted for 
our purpose than one tusker ; consequently he was not interfered with. But 
he now began to be troublesome, chasing the tame elephants when they went 
for fodder, and on more than one occasion nearly causing accidents amongst 
the men. One afternoon I was casting some rifle-shells when a mahout 


came to say the elephant was iu the lines, and was internipting work ; so I 
loaded one of the shells — a copper-bottle — with detonating powder, and 
went after him. I found him stalking about amongst the new elephants, 
and the men hiding ; so, getting witliin four yards of his tail, I whistled. 
As he turned I fired the shell into his temple and dropped liim dead. 

On the 13th of February my detachment of elephants marched from 
camp No. 12. On the I7th we found two dead elephants, both young ones, 
of Sergeant Carter's detachment, in the river-bed. The ]\Iyanee was deeper 
at this part than it had been higher up, and the exposure and fatigue of 
marching through water almost covering them had been too much for the 
youngsters. They were lying on a spit of sand, loathsome masses of mag- 
gots. They had ched on the 10th; and as the wash caused by the elephants 
passing sent wavelets over the spit, the maggots floated off in tens of thou- 
sands, and the still water all along the banks was soon filled with them. As 
we camped two hundred yards below, on the same side of the river as the 
carcasses, the men could scarcely get water for some time without maggots 
in it. 

On the 19 th the morning was overcast and it thundered, whilst a fresh 
came down the river, showing it had been raining in the parts we had 
recently left. The river was too deep for marching, so I ordered a halt for 
that day, and in the afternoon, after a heavy shower, took my rifles and 
went in search of game. There were marks of bison {Gavwus gaurus) and 
Scimbur, but I was unfortunate enough to see nothing larger than jungle-fowl 
and monkeys, until coming home we heard a single elephant feeding in 
thick cover. However, we could not get a sight of him. On ascending a 
piece of rising ground, from which we could see over a portion of the forest, 
and whence we expected to be able to make out the direction of the camp, 
we found ourselves altogether at a loss. There was no prominent landmark 
— nothing but level forest. The sun had been lieavily obscured the whole 
day. I had no compass with me, and my three gun-bearers held diametri- 
cally opposed opinions as to the direction of the cardinal points. Here was 
a pretty fix. The gloomy and dripping forest was fast becoming dark ; 
there were no paths ; wild elephants were numerous ; and we could not 
even agree upon the direction we ought to take ! 

I remembered at this time a piece of advice Sir Samuel Baker gives in 
his Eijlc and ILmnd in Ceylon — namely, to make one's self as comfortable as 
possilfle when thus lost, and to wait till some one comes in search, instead of 
straying further and increasing the diilicultics ; so we set to Avork to make 
a fire. But this was not an easy matter. Everything was dripi)ing wot, 
except a letter I had in my pocket — a letter from a lady, which was only 


sacrificed under the exigency of our rigorous circumstances — and we had 
great difficulty in getting any more substantial materials in the dark. At 
last the men collected a sufficiency of the dry inner bark of a tree, and 
the chewed fibres of wood from elephants' dung, and by shooting a piece of 
rag out of my rifle into my pocket-handkerchief hung on a branch, we got 
a light. A cheerful blaze soon sprang up, and I fired a couple of shots. 
In a few seconds a perfect chorus of elephants' cries, about two miles dis- 
tant, broke the stillness, as the mahouts in camp made their animals "speak" 
(as they term it) in answer to our signal. There was every description of 
note from the stentorian lungs of the huge animals, from tlie shrill trum- 
pet to the sustained tremulous growl. We could even distinguish tlie 
voices of several individuals — Tara Eanee, Mohungowry, Issamuttee, &c. 
Whilst waiting for the relieving party, sitting round the cheerful blaze, and 
congratulating ourselves in having succeeded in starting it, a sudden puff of 
gunpowder in its midst made us all jump up. On examining into the 
cause, I found that an 8-bore cartridge loaded witli ten drams had fallen 
from my pocket in the darkness before we kindled the fire, and had now 
gone off on the ground, but the bullet remained on the spot, whilst the 
cartridge - case was only moved a few inches. I judge from this that a 
cartridge going off in a sportsman's pocket would do him no harm beyond 
setting his coat on fire. An elephant and men with torches soon arrived, 
and we reached home safely. 

A faithful dog that I had picked up at Jadoogapara accompanied the 
party, and showed great delight at finding me. He was a hill-dog belong- 
ing to the Joomas, and had strayed from a party of them who came to see 
the elephants. He was of a bright rufous colour, with a bushy tail curling 
over his back, and had a sharp, intelligent face. He was about a year old. 
The first time I saw him was one day playing with two fox-terrier puppies 
and my bull-bitch Lady, which accompanied me on my trip, and I could 
not but admire the amiability he displayed when I threw tent-pegs at him to 
drive him away; so I finally made friends with him. Though he had been 
brought up entirely amongst natives he would have nothing to do with any 
of my men thenceforth, and always remained close to my tent. At the 
same time he never came in unless specially invited, nor pushed himself 
forward in any way. He never fought with the others for food, but would 
sit patiently by and take without greediness whatever was left or given to 
him. His sagacity and attachment to me were extraordinary. On one 
occasion, intending to shoot by the way, I had started in a boat in advance 
of the elephants down the Myanee, having sent " Jooma," as I called the 
dog, to be tied up where he could not see me start. He was let loose when 


the otlip.r boats and elephants started half an hour later, and not finding 
me, he plunged into the river instead of going in a boat as usual, evaded all 
attempts to stop him, and swam down stream, running along the banks 
where they admitted of it. We were floating quietly down with tlie 
stream, looking for game, when a distant yapping attracted our attention, 
and I saw a small object, from which the voice proceeded, coming down the 
river. This w\as Jooma's head as he swam. "We waited for him, to his 
great delight ; he had followed us for eight miles. I subsequently took him 
round by Chittagong and Calcutta to Dacca, and thence to Mysore, "where 
he is now happy with my other dogs, a thousand miles from the land of 
his birth. 

I reached Eungamuttea on the 2 4th February. The elephants had been 
marched by land latterly, as the river was deep. The only incident that 
occurred worthy of note was the drowning of one of our new elephants, 
and two of our best tame females, near Eungamuttea. We had left the 
Myanee above its junction with the Kurnafoolie, and were marching by 
land, but owing to the lie of the country we had to cross the Kurnafoolie 
occasionally. It was very deep, and the elephants had to swim. One 
morning whilst crossing where it was about eighty yards wide and thirty 
feet deep, in a gorge through a saddle in the hills, a tusker, wdiich was 
secured between two tame ones — one in advance of, and one behind him — 
sank hke a stone, probably from being seized with cramp from the coldness 
of the water, and dragged the two females with him. Their mahouts tried 
in vain to slash the ropes through : they had barely time to save themselves 
by swimming. Anything more sudden or unexpected I never witnessed. 
One elephant appeared again for a brief moment — at least about two feet 
of her trunk did : she waved us a last farewell, when all was still, save 
the air-bub]jles which continued to rise for some time from the calm, deep 
pool. Every one who witnessed it was shocked. The drivers of the ele- 
phants yet to cross hesitated ; we could not but believe the unfortunate 
beasts would come up again. Their mahouts sat down and cried like 
children over the loss of the faithful beasts they had tended for years. 

Elephants are such excellent swimmers that I cannot understand how 
it was that tlie two tame ones were unable to gain the shore, which was 
only thirty yards distant, by towing the drowning wild one. When they 
floated we found that tliey were in no way entangled ; and it was not 
owing to snags catching tlie ropes, nor to any under-current, tliat they were 
drawn down. One of the tame ones — Gcraldine — was a great favourite of 
mine, and she and the other were worth £300 each. The tusker was 
worth XGOO, so the money loss to Government was considerable. 


Next morning I went in a boat to examine the bodies. The news of 
the occnrrence had spread, and I found about two hundred Joomas from 
villages near assembled on the banks of the river, with a flotilla of dug-out 
canoes and rafts. They had baskets and knives of every description, and 
were awaiting the arrival of some one in authority to give them permission 
to take the elephants' flesh, which they eat. They were like vultures 
watching a carcass until it is sufficiently decomposed to allow of a com- 
mencement being made. In the centre of the pool floated three leaden- 
coloured objects. These were our poor elephants. Their buoyancy was 
such that three men could stand on each without submeroing them. The 
Joomas towed tliem ashore, and cut off their fore-feet for me, for making 
into footstools in remembrance of them ; and I then gave tliem permission to 
fall to, which they did with such a will that by next morning at the same 
hour not a vestige of the elephants remained. The ]3oats and rafts had 
been laden with flesh, and even the bones had been broken into pieces and 
carried off to boil into soup (elephants' bones are solid and have no marrow). 
It was well the bodies could be turned to account instead of beincr left to 
pollute the air and water, as would have been the case in most parts of 
India, where natives will not eat elephants' flesh. 

Arrived at Eungamuttea, my chief labours w^ere over. Tlie trip had 
been very successful, and we had concluded our operations very expedi- 
tiously. Mahouts and grass-cutters came from Chittagong or volunteered 
from amongst the kheddah men, and every new elephant was entered in 
a roll and brought on to the strength of the Commissariat Department. 
They were then divided into lots of twenties under jemadars, and the whole 
number, with the tame ones, proceeded by gentle marches vid Chittagong 
to Dacca, a distance of 200 miles, under the supervision of the sergeant. 
Only two died on the way ; the rest reached Dacca on 5 th May. All 
the Europeans in the station assembled to see the cavalcade of about 
a hundred and thirty elephants arrive. Some calves had been born, but 
they had all died. Most of the new elephants carried their mahouts and 
their baggage. All but a few of the quietest were still attached to the 
tame ones, lest they should take fright and cause accidents. Arrived in 
the Peelkhana, or elephant-stables, a picket was allotted to each, and their 
systematic training was commenced. They would be fit to march to the 
military station of Barrackpore, near Calcutta, at the end of the year, whence 
they would be allotted to the different military stations, and applied to light 
work in about two years. 

I left Dacca for Mysore in June "76, but I have recently heard of these 
elephants from the Commissariat Department. Sixteen died in the first year. 


which is not a high rate of mortality fur newly-cauglit elephants, and others 
would probahly die before they were fit for active service. This shows how 
great a number of elephants is required annually to keep up the strength 
of the Commissariat Department even in one Presidency. The full strength 
of the elephant establishment in the Lower Commissariat Circle of Bengal 
is nominally 1000, and the annexed table shows the number which died 
in one year, and may be taken as a fair annual average. Many entered 
in the table, particularly in the Barrackpore, Dacca, and Assam colunms, 
are newly-captured animals, and a considerable proportion of these are niillc 

I had expected to work the khoddalis in Bengal at the commencement 
of 1877, but circumstances arose which prevented it. Such operations as 
were conducted were but partially successful, owing to cholera breaking 
out amongst the kheddah men, and to the ravages of the great storm-wave 
which caused such terrible loss of life in Chittagong and the tracts along 
the north-east portion of the Bay of Bengal in November 187G. These 
causes rendered it difficult to collect men for the work, or to obtain fodder, 
and only thii'ty-six elephants were caught. 





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Internal diseases. 




Destroyed, .... 



Falling into traps, 


Diseases of the stomach, . 
In giving birth to calves, . 

Fever, .... 
Injuries received. 
Congestion of the brain, . 
Apoplexy, .... 

CoUc, .... 
Vomiting, .... 
Inflammation of the lungs, ) 
bowels, &c., . . . ( 






HE reader wlio has done me tlie honour to follow me thus far, -will be 
JL aware that my recitals have been confined hitherto cliiefly to sketches 
of jungle-life in the parts of India I have had experience of, and to the 
natural history, capturing, and training of elephants. 

Before passing to other animals, and the more purely sporting portion 
of my narration, I propose to offer a few remarks upon rifles, and on the 
medical portion of camp-management. I can look back to having lost so 
many animals when a beginner — animals toiled after without grudge, and 
the loss of which, through the ineflectiveness of my rifles for tlie work 
in hand, cost me pangs at the time which only the young sportsman can 
understand ; and I have suffered so much from the malarial fevers that are 
the most dreaded enemy the sportsman has to contend against in campaigns 
into the localities where large game is to be found, — that I liope my experi- 
ences may save some from similar disappointments of the chase, and from 
the shiverings of ague and burnings of fever that I have endured, and 
which may be averted with knowledge and care. 

There is perhaps no subject upon which more frequent discussions arise 
amongst sportsmen than that of the best rifles for game. The matter really 
admits of no great latitude of opinion, nor is it men who have li;ul iiiiuh 
experience that diri'cr. The conllicting vicM'S are held by those who speak 


more from theory or a limited experience than extensive practical know- 
ledge. There are two well-known sportsmen, amongst others, whom every 
one will admit to be thoroughly Cj[nalified to speak on the sul)ject, — namely, 
the late Captain James Forsyth, Bengal Staff Corps, author of the Sjwrt- 
ing Rifle and its Projectiles (which I strongly recommend to any young 
sportsman who has not read it) ; and Sir Samuel Baker, whose experience 
■with large game is unrivalled. Both advocate the use of the heaviest rifle 
the sportsman can manage upon all sorts of game. Yet it is not unusual 
to hear men express a decided opinion to the contrary, generally conveyed 
in the formula, "A 12 -bore is big enough for anything." Sir Samuel Baker 
says that such should rather say, " I cannot carry a heavy gun," or, " I 
cannot shoot with one," than speak against them on principle. 

AU the world over animals are divisible into but two classes considered 
as objects for the rifle, and for each class a distinct rifle is required. The 
first consists of such ponderous beasts as the elephant, rhinoceros, buffalo, 
and bison, whose hides are tough and whose bones are massive. The 
second comprises tigers, bears, and all descriptions of deer and smaller 
animals ; these may be termed the soft-bodied class. For the former a ball 
of immense smashing power is necessary, otherwise it may be arrested by 
powerful bones and muscles before it can do sufficient damage ; for the 
second class, whose bodies do not offer a quarter the resistance of those of 
the larger quadrupeds, a different kind of effect — that of the express or 
explosive bullet — is the most advantageous, because it can be produced by a 
rifle of a more manageable description than one required to effect as great 
results with a solid bullet. 

I have generally found men who do not use or understand heavy-game 
rifles make one or other of the following remarks on examining them : 
" What a weight ! who could carry that ? " or, " It must kick fearfully ! " 
It will be understood that, as regards the first objection, such pieces are 
only taken in hand by the sportsman when actually firing at game, and 
are at other times carried by his attendants. I may also say that the 
weight seems very much less under the exciting circumstances in which 
such pieces are generally used than when they are handled in cold blood. 
As regards the kicking, their weight being proportionate to the charge of 
powder used, they recoil little more than an ordinary 12-bore. 

It is sometimes argued that hundreds of large animals have been bagged 
with 12 or 14 bore rifles, or even smaller weapons. True : but how many 
more have escaped or have been consigned to die lingering deaths, that would 
have been secured with heavier metal ? A 1 4 or 1 6 bore, with 4 drams 
of powder, is sufficient to kill even an elephant if a fair shot can be had 



at his brain. But suppose the elepliant to be rushing through a tangled 
break or long grass, when only a hurried and indistinct shot can be had at 
him, the smaller gun would be useless unless its ball reached his brain, 
whilst the heavy projectile v/ould floor or stun, even if it did not kill him. 
A rifle for heavy game shoidd be capable of meeting these contingencies — 
not be adapted only for picked shots and bright moments. 

A few years ago 12-bore rifles (1^-oz. ball) were more generally used 
perhaps than any others for general shooting, but the introduction of the 
express has led to their very general supersession for sport with the lighter 
class of game. I think all experienced sportsmen are agreed that 12-bores 
are too insignificant for use upon the heavy class, and that they form a 
half-and-half weapon, neither one thing nor the other — wanting the accuracy, 
handiness, and killing power of the express, and the smashing effect of a 
large bore — and are weapons which we may well dispense with in the present 
day. Some sportsmen — not very keen ones — ^like a 12-bore on the ground 
that it gives them, within the compass of one weapon, a better chance with 
both classes of game than a large-bore or an express ; that is, they seek to 
adapt one piece to widely different uses. As well might a man hope to 
find combined in the same horse the speed of a Derby winner and the 
power of a Suffolk Punch ! The only description of shooting for which a 
12-bore is still useful is at beasts of the lighter class wliich may happen to 
be seen but indistinctly through masses of twigs or other obstructions. The 
express bullet is not always to be depended upon for covert-shooting. Its 
conical form leads to its being easily deflected from its course. I have 
frequently found no further traces of an express bullet after a shot fired 
through thick cover, where a spherical ball would certainly have reached 
its mark. But shooting through thick places, even in an Indian jungle, 
is decidedly exceptional. 

Sir Samuel Baker recommends the use of a four-ounce (No. 4) ball for 
very heavy game. That even this ball, projected by 12 drams of powder, 
will frequently fail to floor an elephant, or to put a bison or buffalo licn's de 
combat at once, I have proved ; yet men who have never used them ^vill 
argue against such heavy weapons as unnecessary. 

I at first killed several elephants with a No. 12 spherical-ball rille, with 
hard bullets and G drams of powder, but I found it insufficient for many 
occasions. I then had a single-barrelled C. F. No. 4-bore rifie, weighing 10^ 
lb., and firing 10 drams, made to order by Lang & Sons, Cockspur Street. 
A cartridge of this single-barrel, however, missed iiiv on one occasion and 
nearly brought me to grief, so I gave it up and had a No. 4 double smooth- 
bore, C. r., weighing 19^ lb., built by AV. W. Greener. This I have used 



ever since. I ordinarily fire 12 drams of powder with it. This is as far 
as man can go with powder and lead, if I except Sir Samuel Baker's half- 
pound shell-rifle, the " Baby ; " and though the above gun has failed me 
once, as I will hereafter relate, it usually effectually settles any difference 
with an elephant. 

I have another favourite weapon, a No. 8 double rifle, firing 12 drams, 
and weighing 1 7 lb., also by W. W. Greener. As may be imagined it has 
enormous penetration, and is very accurate. I have stopped and killed 
charging elephants with it, but I prefer the 4-bore for certain occasions 
in elephant-shooting. The illustration shows the relative and actual sizes 
of balls of the different calibres above mentioned. Gauge means the 
number of spherical lead balls to the pound. 

No. 4. 
(Foixr oz.) 

No. 8. No. 12. 

(Twooz.) (One and a half oz.) 

•500. -450. 



-Eley's No. 4 cartridges do not take a bullet of much over 2>\ oz. A breech-loading 4-bore, 
therefore, can-ies a bullet only a little larger than a muzzle-loading No. 5. 

Heavy-game rifles are, of course, only taken in hand when the game 
is met ; the sportsman could not carry them far himself. Any man of 
medium strength will find himself capable of handling a 17 to 20-lb. rifle, 
and of firing 12 drams with spherical ball, under the excitement of ele- 
phant-shooting. As regards recoil, it is not serious with such weighty 
guns. A friend of mine, the weU-known " Smooth-bore " of Madras, once 
fired at a tusker with my No. 8 double rifle and 1 2 drams. I usually keep 
the left barrel of heavy pieces on half-cock, as the jar to the left lock in 
firing the right barrel is very great. " Smooth-bore " did not think of this, 
and we afterwards found that the left barrel had also had its fling at the 
tusker. My friend had fired 24 drams and a pair of 2-oz. buUets almost 
simultaneously, but said he did not feel any severe recoil ! 

All rifles for elephants and heavy game should be double-barrelled, as 
they have to be made as heavy if single to withstand the recoil, and the 
danger of a miss-fire is a fatal objection to single-barrelled weapons. It 
is evidently useless to have a light large-bore, as the recoil of such a weapon 


precludes the use of a charge of powder proportionate to the weight of the 
balL A recent writer on Indian sport speaks of "a powerful 6-bore (25 oz.) 
rifle, burning 4 drams," About three times this charge would be more 
nearly what such a rifle would require. A big ball before a light charge of 
powder is as useless as a heavy sword in the hands of a weak man. 

Were I asked my opinion as to a battery to be taken out to India I 
should recommend a '450 express'"' as the sportsman's own weapon — the 
one to be always in his hands, whether tiger-shooting in the jungle or 
antelope-stalking in the plains ; and a heavy rifle of No. 8 gauge, to burn 
up to 12 drams of powder, and weighing between 16 and 17 lb., for any- 
thing larger than tigers. Of course if the sportsman can afford a pair of the 
latter weapons so much the better. If he intend to shoot elephants — and 
the day may come when elephant-shooting will be allowed again in India — 
he should have a still larger double rifle or smooth-bore. I should recom- 
mend a No. 4. I have, for my own part, become so thoroughly impressed, 
after giving them a fair trial, of the indispensability of heavy rifles for large 
game, that I disposed of a pair of pet 12 -bores I had, and "^-ith which I had 
killed many big beasts, in favour of a double 4, a double 8, and a double 
express. Without something of the cannon kind, game of the ponderous 
class cannot be brought to fighting quarters Avith even a moderate degi-ee of 
safety or effect. The sportsman will have to follow the ignominious plan 
of popping at them from safe places, or, however boldly he may encounter 
them, he will find small weapons entail constant disappointment. With 
really heaAy metal he feels that confidence and power to overcome the 
hugest beasts which constitute the chief elements of pleasure in following 
and facing them. 

I am decidedly opposed to the use upon buffalo, bison, and such ani- 
mals, of the express rifle of either '500 or -450 bore (equivalent to 38 and 
50 .spherical gauge). The express is essentially a rifle for soft-bodied animals, 
and is not adapted for use on those with thick hides and massive bones. 
Though bison have not unfrequently been kiUed with the express, a return 
of the beasts wounded and lost for each one bagged would, as far as the expe- 
rience of my friends and myself goes, be a terrible document. Sir Samuel 

* Messrs Lang & Sons, 22 Cockspur Street, are now building for me a '450 express, to burn 
5J standard drams. The advantages whicli will be secured by this unprecedentedly large charge 
will be ajiparent to those who understand that most admirable weapon the express. About 4^ 
drams is tlie largest charge that has been used hitherto in the '450. Towdi-r-measures supplied 
by various gunmakers differ considerably, and often bear about the same proportion to the stan- 
dard measure as the reputed quart docs to the imperial. It is advisable, therefore, to have a 
guarantee from gunmakers a.s to the actual amount of powder which their cartridges are cajmble of 

SHELLS. 181 

Baker says : " A hollow bullet fired from an express rifle will double up a 
deer ; but it will be certain to expand upon the hard skin of elephants, rhino- 
ceros, hippopotami, buffalo, &c., in which case it will lose all power of 
penetration. ■ When a hollow bullet strikes a large bone, it absolutely dis- 
appears into minute particles of lead, and of course it becomes worthless." 

Two sportsmen, Captains E. and P., perhaps the best shots in Southern 
India, if the Bangalore rifle-meeting performances are a test, who have shot 
in the Billiga-rungun hiUs with me, have, after ample experience, denounced 
the use of the express on bison. On one occasion P. fired six times at a 
bull with a '500 express and hollow bullets: the sixth shot, which was in 
the head, killed it ; but the others, which were all accurately placed behind 
the shoulder, beyond sickening the beast failed through want of penetration. 
E. fired eleven shots amongst bison with both solid and hollow hardened 
bullets, with unsatisfactory results : one bull that was dropped, and again 
floored whilst struggling on to his legs, and left for dead whilst E. pursued 
the herd, got up, and was never seen again. If a solid hardened bullet 
be used with an express, the principle of the weapon, and the cause of its 
immense efficiency on soft-bodied animals, are lost, and the rifle becomes 
merely a hard-hitting small-bore. No one will dispute the sporting truism 
that " a good big 'un is better than a good little 'un ; " and both theory and 
practice sufficiently show that a hard-hitting large-bore, before wliich the 
largest bones are as those of chickens, is the proper weapon for heavy game. 

My experience of shells has been too limited to allow of my saying 
much on the subject. Wliat I have seen of them has led me to discard 
them myself as unnecessary, but I do not wish to condemn them. I have 
found Forsyth's swedged shells fairly effective in a 12-bore rifle; but Mr W. 
W. Greener advised me against having them for an 8 -bore he was making for 
me, on the ground of their not possessing sufficient stability for a large-bore 
and heavy charge. He recommended a steel-core bottle-shell in preference. 
I tried three Forsyth's shells, which I made and loaded carefully myself, 
with the above rifle (No. 8) and 6 drams of powder, at a target forty yards 
distant. Two of these flew into two pieces each ; these pieces struck three 
feet apart, and effectually frightened me from trying any more experiments. 
I think that with the express — which acts like an explosive bullet — for the 
lighter class of game, and with heavy solid splierical bullets (the only reliable 
bone-smashers) for the heavier class, sportsmen will find themselves able to 
do without shell-rifles of a calibre between the two. 

Supposing the young sportsman to have provided himself with an 
efficient battery, I will now proceed to make a suggestion or two for his 


It will be unnecessary for me to enter into details about equipage. 
Excellent liints on the subject of tents and kit may be found in many 
books on Indian sport, and in others devoted entirely to the sul)ject. The 
great principle to be borne in mind in making arrangements for jungle-lifo 
is, that the sportsman should make himself and followers as comfortable as 
possible. Any amount of hard work may be done by all during the day if 
they have dry clothes and a comfortable dinner and bed at the end of it. 
Eoughing it when there is no necessity — and there seldom is nowadays in 
India — is a mistake which only the inexperienced fall into. There is rarely 
any reason why a sj^ortsman should sleep without slieets, drink out of a tin pot, 
or dine off a box, though these are merely discomforts. In matters actually 
affecting the health of the party in jungle localities, it is suicidal not to 
know what are the precautions to be observed, or to neglect them. 

Malarial fever is the great obstacle with which the sportsman in Indian 
jungles has to contend ; but, though it is a dread reality, it is at the same 
time made more of a bugbear to the inexperienced than it need be. Mias- 
matic air, from its heaviness, lies and travels close to the ground, and it is 
probably not active during the day when the jungles are warmed by the 
sun. Cold and dampness are its great auxiliaries. It appears to be taken 
into the system by inhalation, and it is supposed the poison also exists in 
water contaminated by decaying vegetable matter. As evening closes in there 
is a raw feeling in the air in the jungles which the sportsman must perceive 
is inimical to health. Some jungle-tribes build their houses on platforms 
ten feet high, knowing by experience the advantage to health in being thus 
elevated. But as a moving camp cannot take this precaution, the miasma 
about the sleepers must be destroyed or dissipated. This is to be done by 
keeping up fires to windward. The pestilential exhalations are thus carried 
up in the current of lighter air, or are consumed. Small tents of thick 
material should be used for master and servants, as they are warmer tliau 
large ones. At night the jungle-people in each camp, or some of the sports- 
man's own men, should keep up a fire as close as possible to the tents, and 
so placed that the warm air from it may blow over them. Wliilst within its 
influence it is impossible that malaria can touch the sleepers. Let the sports- 
man but go out of the circle of the fires during the night, and he will feel 
how cold and raw the air is compared to that within their genial influence. 

Every one must sleep well off the ground. Tiie sportsman's cot should 
be at least three feet high — raised by forked uprights if necessary — and he 
should sleep within mosquito-curtains.''^ For his servants, if nothing else 

* In some parts of India the nifjhts are so sultry, even in the forests, that this would hardly 
be possible. It is doubtful, however, if miasma is abroad iu such a temperature. 


is available the tent-sacks should be stuffed with straw or dry grass ; these 
will raise the men above the dampness of the ground. Servants are exces- 
sively careless, and unless the sportsman see after them himself they will 
take no precautions on their own account. All rank vegetation close at 
hand should be cleared away, by burning if possible, and the camp should 
be situated on as high and dry ground as can be found, but must not be 
exposed to high winds. 

The sportsman should invariably change his clothes and boots if wet 
from rain or perspkation the moment he comes in ; not go out earher, nor 
remain out later in the evening, than necessary ; and have his meals as 
regularly as possible. It is a good plan to take something, if only a few 
biscuits, with one, as in the heat of the chase one may lose the men who 
carry the luncheon-basket. Temperance in the use of liquor is of course 
absolutely necessary. Everything that tends to debilitate the system renders 
it liable to the effects of malaria. The sportsman whilst undergoing unusual 
exposure and hard work can ill afford to be careless in any respect. One 
frequently feels so well with the pleasant exercise and excitement of a 
jungle-trip that there is a tendency to excess or heedlessness. 

I always have the water for my own and servants' cooking and drinking 
boiled and cooled before using. I have been almost exclusively a water- 
drinker for years, and beheve that no one need be afraid of any water if 
this precaution — or better still, distillation — be adopted. A small still 
is easily carried about, and the water of any puddle can then be used. 
The plan of putting brandy into water to Idll the deleterious matter is 
admitted to be perfectly useless. If out early or late, a cheroot is an 
excellent precaution against breathing the miasma which is prevalent at 
those hours, or a torch of dried bamboos carried in the hand will effectually 
dispel the cold air. Exposure to dew must be particularly avoided. 

Some sportsmen take two or three gTains of quinine daily whilst in 
feverish localities. It may do good and can do no harm, but it can be 
of little avail without every precaution in other respects. I was amused 
on one occasion by two friends who came to my camp for bison-shooting. 
They were imbued with a wholesome dread of fever, and had brought with 
them a large bottle of medicine, in the averting powers of which they placed 
much reliance, and with which they frequently refreshed themselves. They 
went to the top of the Billiga-rungun hills, and in the heat of the chase 
after bison stayed out in the jungle two nights, sleeping in impro\ased 
shelters hardly sufficient to keep off the dew, without a fire, and on the 
ground ! I had been unable to accompany them ; but when they returned 
and told me of their doings, and of the constancy with which they had 


applied themselves to their medicine, I assured them that all the quinine 
mixture in the world would not counteract exposure such as they had 
undergone. They returned to their station in a great fright, and had 
hardly got there before they had such severe fever as almost sent them 
both to England. It is thus that fever often comes to be made the spectre 
it is to the inexperienced. One gets it through reckless carelessness, and 
speaks of the deadliness of the jungles he visited, whilst he might have 
lived in them in safety for a month with proper care. I presume malarial 
fevers are similar in most parts of India, and that the following observa- 
tions, though made particularly with regard to Mysore, will apply equally 
elsewhere : — 

Fever in Mysore is of two kinds : that prevailing at certain seasons in 
open country, where there are no jungles within many miles, and which 
seems due entirely to the sudden variations of temperature attendant on the 
changes of season ; and the more noxious kind, similar, but more severe, in 
its symptoms, contracted in jungle localities, and apparently the result of 
miasma or poison arising from decaying vegetable matter. These fevers are 
very seldom fatal to Europeans, except the latter in aggravated cases ; but 
they are most difiicult to shake off, recurring at varying stated periods, often 
for many years. They debilitate the system, and may bring into prominence 
any other weak point the patient has. 

Amongst natives, on the other hand, malarial fevers are exceedingly 
fatal. Far more succumb to them every year than to cholera and small-pox 
put together. As fever, however, is insidious in its working, and is nut 
infectious, it causes little alarm, and comparatively little is heard of it. It 
appears to be owing to the greater natural strength of the European consti- 
tution that Englishmen withstand, or throw it off, where natives succumb. 
Nursing in the stages where the patient is inclined, through prostration, 
to do nothing but die quietly, also puts to right tliose wlio, if left as the 
native frequently is witliout suitable nourishment and attention, would faro 
little better than he does. 

Fever is most prevalent about the commencement and end of the rainy 
season. Tlie alternations in temperature are then considerable, and the 
winds in the open country are chilly. In the jungles, the decaying vegeta- 
tion is stirred up by light rains which are insuflicieut to wash it away. The 
jungles are most healtliy during the hot weather, when the undergrowth lias 
been burnt. This burning is the grand destroyer of all malaria, and the 
sportsman may tramp tlie tlien begrimed forests in perfect safety. 

Fever generally sliows itself in a week or ten days after the ]HM'son has 
been suljjected to the influence that has caused it. It begins with lassitude 


headache, loss of appetite, and pains in the liinLs. Severe shivering fits 
follow, generally accompanied by vomiting. After a few hours of this, 
more or less, a hot fit, equally intense, commences, at the end of which the 
patient probably perspires freely (if steps have been taken to induce this 
great desideratum in fever treatment). The attack is then over for the 
time. It may recur the next, second, or third day. I have had perhaps 
as much experience of fever as any one, before I understood how to avoid 
it, and may briefly illustrate its course in my own case. Ten years ago 
I had my first attack. I was prostrated, with intervals of delirium, for a 
week, and had to take two months' leave of absence for change of air. For 
about three years fits occurred at gradually lengthening intervals, and of 
decreasing severity. They were induced by much exposure to the sun or 
night air, over-fatigue, or irregularity of any kind. I subsequently con- 
tracted fresh attacks, but these did not take such hold upon me as the first. 
One may become to some extent acclimatised to fever, as one never can to 
exposure to the sun. 

Though I think I might almost set up as a medical practitioner if I 
only had fever cases to deal with, as my experience in treating myself and 
followers has been of an extensive character, I will not lengthen my 
remarks by going into that subject. Should a sportsman unfortunately 
contract fever, he will find admirable directions, in small compass, for 
self-treatment, in the medical portion of a small work entitled the Euro- 
'pean in India. 

I may add one suggestion which, if I remember rightly, is not contained 
in the book referred to, that the vapour-bath, made with a vessel of boiling 
water placed under a chair, upon which the patient sits, the whole being 
enveloped in a thick blanket, will be found a valuable addition to the other 
treatment, and soon steams the chills of fever out of the sufferer's bones. 

A word for Indian servants, than whom there probably are not better 
in the world for camp-life. How delighted one's " boys " are when " going 
shooting " is the word ! They are cheerful and willing under great discom- 
forts, and with few appliances make their master as comfortable in the 
jungles as in headquarters. The manner in which a good camp -servant will 
serve up dinner, from soup to pudding, is astonishing. His cooking-range 
is but a shallow trench in the ground, in which is the fire, and over which 
the earthen pots simmer, the whole sheltered perhaps from a howling storm 
by a tree or a few mats. The sportsman soon finds that, if only from 
motives of convenience, it is necessary to look to his servants' welfare. 
Englishmen in India are, as a rule, very kind to their servants, who become 
warmly attached to good masters' interests ; but for want of forethought 


young sportsmen's followers are sometimes subjected to discomforts which 
do not arise from want of humanity, but of knowledge. For my own part, 
having resided so much amongst natives — often not seeing a European for 
months together — I feel that sport would not yield me one-half the plea- 
sure it does if my people did not enjoy it with me, and feel interested in 
their master's success. It would be unpleasant to think tliat they disliked 
my trips into the jungles, and probably with reason, if tliey were to be 
exposed to danger of fever. A rig-out of warm clothes and a blanket at 
intervals, with a small travelling allowance to compensate for the extra 
expense they are put to for their food, keep servants healthy and contented. 
If the marches are long, the sportsman's means of transport — usually carts 
in Southern India — should be increased for the servants' convenience. 
Long foot-marches on cold nights or hot days soon knock up domestics 
accustomed to life in comfortable quarters. 





AS of late years the shooting of elephants, except dangerous ones, has 
been prohibited throughout India and Ceylon, I have felt doubtful 
about writing on the subject. But it is certain that in a few years the 
interdiction will have to be relaxed, as elephants are being preserved 
without corresponding measures being taken for their reduction by capture. 
Information on the subject may then be of some interest, so I propose to 
add my quota to what has already been written regarding this grandest of 
all field-sports. 

Who that has seen the wild elephant roaming his native jungles can 
deny that he is the King of Beasts ? Sir Samuel Baker says, " The king of 
beasts is generally acknowledged to be the lion ; but no one who has seen 
a wild elephant can doubt for a moment that the title belongs to him in his 
own right. Lord of all created animals in might and sagacity, the elephant 


roams through his native forests. He browses upou the lofty branches, 
upturns young trees from sheer malice, and from plain to forest he stalks 
majestically at break of day ' monarch of all he surveys.' " 

Wliat possible claim can the lion, or in India tlie tiger, lay to the royal 
title ? Is the elephant not as infinitely their superior in every good quality 
of mind as he is in physical strength. Let them enter the lists against 
him ; at one spurn from the foot of their suzerain, behold the claimants 
flying througli the air with half the bones in their bodies broken ! 

It is difficult to define the exact elements which make elephant-shooting 
the supremely exciting sport it is ; but its danger, and the necessity for the 
exercise of the sportsman's personal qualities of perseverance, endurance, and 
nerve, are prominent ones. The best trackers can only bring their master 
up to the game, when everything depends on himself The size of the 
noble beast which is the object of pursuit ; the fine line of country through 
which the chase always leads ; and the fair stand-up nature of the encoimter 
when the game is met, — all tend to elevate elephant -shooting above all 
sports wdth the rifle. 

Let us compare it with the much-vaunted pursuit of the tiger. In 
Southern India at least, the latter sport is chiefly conducted from trees, 
towards which the beaters drive the tiger. After disposing and instructing 
his men, the best sportsman can do no more: he is entirely at their mercy; 
and even if he bags the tiger, it is only a piece of straight shooting at 
a large mark that he can pride himself upon. Any one who possesses 
influence and can obtain plenty of beaters may make a much longer score 
than better men not similarly circumstanced, though without possessing other 
personal qualifications than that of a cranium thick enough to stand the 
power of an Indian sun whilst perched in a tree at mid-day. Tiger-shooting 
is no criterion of a sportsman's attainments. Many men have bagged their 
fifty tigers who never succeeded in stalking an old stag sambur. Then, if 
the game is not bagged, there is nothing to compensate the sportsman for 
his ill-luck and exposure. His only solace is in abusing his beaters ; his 
very night's rest is embittered by the thouglit that if it had not been for 
" that rascal " who did something or other that he should not have done, he 
would have had another tiger — hollow glory — to add to his account. 

What a different picture does elephant-shooting present ! The sports- 
man's knowledge of woodcraft and of the habits of liis game are constantly 
in requisition ; the skill of his wild jungle-trackers is a never- wearying 
matter for admiration ; the beauty and diversity of the scenery tln-ough 
which he passes, by lake, hill, and stream ; the constant excitement kept 
alive by the fresher and fresher signs of the noble game ahead, — make it 


a sport ■worthy beyond all others of the true sportsman. Even if unsuc- 
cessful, the pleasures which have attended the day's pursuit surely compen- 
sate to a great extent for an empty bag. As the elephant-hunter bares his 
brow to the cool evening breeze on the hills in which the hunt has prob- 
ably terminated, he finds pleasure in reflecting that he has done everything 
possible to insure success, and that, though he may not have attained it, he 
has done more — he has deserved it. 

On the authority of the greatest of ancient or modern Nimrods, Sir 
Samuel Baker, elephant-shooting may be pronounced to be the most dan- 
gerous of all sports if fairly followed for a length of time. Many elephants 
may be killed without the sportsman's being in any peril ; but if an infu- 
riated beast does attack, his charge is one of supreme danger. This danger, 
however, has this charm, that though so great unless steadily and skilfully 
met, it is within the sportsman's power, by coolness and good shooting, to 
end it and the assailant's career instantly by one well-planted ball. In 
other sports the danger, though less in one way, is greater in others. Thus 
a leopard hardly bigger than a tom-cat may jump out of a bush and claw 
the best sportsman ; and though it may not do him mortal hurt, the most 
skilful may be unable, through the unfair nature of the attack, to avoid 
undergoing the indignity. 

The wild elephant's attack is one of the noblest sights of the chase. A 
grander animated object than a wild elephant in full charge can hardly be 
imagined. The cocked ears and broad forehead present an immense front- 
age ; the head is held high, with the trunk curled between the tusks to be 
uncoiled in the moment of attack ; the massive fore-legs come down with 
the force and regularity of ponderous machinery ; and the whole figure is 
rapidly foreshortened, and appears to double in size with each advancing 
stride. The trunk being curled and unable to emit any sound, the attack is 
made in silence, after the usual premonitory shriek, which adds to its im- 
pressiveness. A tiger's charge is an undignified display of arms, legs, and 
spluttering ; the bison rushes blunderingly upon his foe ; the bear's attack 
is despicable ; but the wild elephant's onslaught is as dignified as it seems 
overwhelming — and a large tusker's charge, where he has had sufficient 
distance to get into full swing, can only be compared to the steady and 
rapid advance of an engine on a line of rail. With all this the sportsman 
who understands his game knows that there is a natural timidity in the 
elephant which often plays him tricks at the last moment. It is not difficult 
to turn or stop him with heavy metal, and if knocked down, he never, I 
believe, renews the attack. 

Before the sportsman can hope to succeed in elephant-shooting he must 


have a thorough knowledge of the structure of the head, and of the position 
of the animal's brain. To gain this he should examine a skull sawn ver- 
tically into halves, and, if possible, compare it with a li^dng elephant's 
head ; tliese steps will fix the prominent internal and external points iu 
his mind. 

Internally (fig. 1), it will he seen that the cranium consists of light 
cellular bone of very open construction. The walls between the cells are 
as thin as note-paper. The cells differ in size : the largest has a capacity 
of about two wine-glasses. There are no powerful bones, except one knob 
in front ; a walking-stick may almost be driven through an elephant's skull 
from the sides. The only vital portion of the head is the brain ; this lies 
low and far back. In a very large male elephant, say nine and a half feet 
at shoulder, its extreme length horizontally is twelve inches, and vertically 
six inches. Its shape is somewhat oval. 

It will be evident, on an examination of the skull, that if the brain be 
missed by a shot no harm will be done to the animal, as there are no 
other vital organs, such as large blood-vessels, &c., situated in the head. 
It thus happens that, in head-shots, if the elephant is not dropped on 
the spot he is very rarely bagged at all. A shot that goes through his 
skull into his neck without touching his brain may kill him, but it will 
take time. I have never recovered any elephant that has left the spot 
with a head-shot. The blood-trail for a few yards is generally very thick, 
but it often ceases as suddenly as it is at first copious. Elephants are some- 
times floored by the concussion of a shot, if the ball passes very close to 
the brain ; large balls frequently effect this. No time should be lost in 
finishing a floored elephant, or he will certainly make his escape. ]\Iany 
cases have occurred of elephants which have been regarded as dead suddenly 
recovering themselves and making off 

The three chief shots at the elephant's brain are : the front (or forehead) 
shot ; the side (or temple) shot ; and the rear (or behind the ear) shot. The 
illustrations of heads in different positions will assist to explain them. 

Should the sportsman and the elephant be standing on tolerably level 
ground, and the elephant be facing the sportsman with its head in its natural 
position, a shut in the centre of the forehead towards the top of the bump 
at the base of the trunk, and about three inches higher than a line drawn 
between the eyes, will be instantly fatal. (Fig. 2.) 

Should the sportsman be to one side of the elephant, at right angles to 
it, a shot directly into the ear-hole, in a line to pass through the opposite 
ear, or anywhere within the blank space indicated in fig. 2, will be instantly 
fatal. To obtain tlic indicated space, draw linos from the top and butt of 


the ear to the eye ; join the top and butt of ear by a vertical line as a base 
to the triangle. Of the triangle thus formed, about one-third of the area 
from the base is fatal. A shot nearer the apex will pass in front of the 
brain, if delivered at right angles with the elephant's course. 

The shot behind the ear is in the hollow just over the large bump or 
swelling at the junction of the jaw and neck. It must be taken at about 
an angle of 45° with the elephant's course, from behind. When an elephant 
changes his position from any of those indicated above, the lines to the 
brain are of course altered. Thus an elephant charging with his head held 
high will have to be aimed at, from in front, a foot or so lower than when 
at rest as in fig. 2 ; and if taken at a half-face for the temple-shot, instead 
of at a right angle, the ball must enter nearer the apex of the triangle indi- 
cated in fig. 2 than for a right-angled side-shot. 

The shot requiring most accurate calculation is the shot to kill a charg- 
ing elephant from in front. Figs. 3, 4, show the position in which the head 
is usually carried in attacking ; it is only lowered when the object of offence 
is within a few yards. To reach the brain the bullet must pass through 
about three feet of curled trunk, flesh, and bone ; and sometimes the most 
powerful rifles, even a 4-bore and 12 drams, will not effect this. It is 
thus occasionally impossible to kill an elephant if the head be held very 
high, but very heavy rifles will generally either stop or floor him, or at least 
give him such a shock that he is glad to take himself off. I have known 
a female elephant to be killed by a shot through the roof of the mouth, 
that being the line to the brain from lower ground, when the head is lield 
very high, and the elephant is coming down-hill. It is a fortunate circum- 
stance, however, that elephants do not always hold their heads in this all 
but impracticable position. 

I have never seen an elephant elevate its trunk in charging as it is com- 
monly represented to do. It is always so careful of that organ that, if it 
imagines there is any danger, it keeps it coiled up. The trunk, if upraised, 
would obstruct the animal's sight to a great extent, and no useful purpose 
would be met by the position. It would be more reasonable to suppose it 
outstretched towards the object of attack ; but it is never, in my experience, 
carried otherwise than tightly coiled. 

There can be no two opinions amongst those who have had experience 
in elephant-shooting as to the description of guns required in the sport. A 
very small bore, with sufficient penetration to reach the brain, will kill an 
elephant as efficiently as one of gi^eater calibre, if its ball be lodged in the 
vital spot. Elephants have been bagged with 12 and 16 smooth-bores and 
3 drams, and with the -500 and -450 (spherical gauges Nos. 38 and 50) 


expresses, with solid hardened Liillets. But these have been picked sliots. 
As the sportsman cannot always hope for such, light guns should not be 
trusted in. It is not uncommon, however, to hear those who have made 
lucky shots, or have heard of their being made, decry heavy weapons as 
unnecessary burthens. The young sportsman, however, will do well to turn 
to the opinions of those really capable of advising on the subject. Sir 
Samuel Baker, after a life's experience with elephants and other hea-vy 
game, recommends " a single-barrel rifle to carry a half-pound projectile, or 
a four-ounce, according to strength of hunter." I have adopted a modifi- 
cation of the latter — viz., a double-barrelled 4-bore, which is no heavier 
than a single would have to be made to carry the charge of powder ; it is 
smooth-bored. This affords the extra safety and execution insured by a 
double-barrel ; and as it is only used at close quarters, a smooth-bore is 
sufficiently accurate, and offers a great advantage over the rifle in reduction 
of friction in the projectile. 

If it is astonishing with what light weapons elephants may sometimes 
be kiUed, the shocks they withstand on occasions are equally surprising. I 
have fired a No. 4 spherical ball, driven by 12 drams of the strongest 
powder, through elephants' heads on three occasions without even staggermg 
them. The narrowest escape I ever had in elephant-shooting was through 
failing to even stop an elephant with my No. 4. 

Sir Samuel Baker, in his Rifle and Hound, gives an instance of an ele- 
phant's taking four shots with a 4-bore and about an ounce of powder, Miiilst 
making repeated charges, before being bagged. ]\Iy humble experience has 
satisfied me that even the biggest baUs and largest charges of powder that 
can be employed are not always effectual in stopping a charging elephant ; 
and until an effective explosive shell is invented for the purpose, it appears 
that such contingencies as the above must be expected to occur now and 
then. An elephant may be lolled by the temple-sliot witli even a 1 4-bore 
smooth-bore and 3 drams, but there is as much difference in the power re- 
quired to kill by a picked shot, and to stop a charging elephant, as tliere is 
to move a locomotive at rest, and to arrest it when at full speed. ]\Ien wlio 
can " do anything " with a 10 or 12 bore (occasionally heard of) are to be 
envied ; but ordinary mortals will do well to equip tliemselves against heavy 
game with weapons to compensate as far as possible for their inferior attain- 
ments. In my humble opinion, tlie largest possible guns that can be used 
should be used upon all kinds of big game. 

Indian elephants are seldom sliot behind tlie slioulder, and though 
I have killed them tluis with my 4-bore, I tliink it a pity to do so. It 
would be cruel to fire at them there witli smaller bores. When an elephant 

JIN/ALLS. 193 

can be approached to within a few yards, and dropped on the spot, it is 
hardly sportsmanlike to take a long shot, and risk wounding the animal 

The guns called jinjalls with which elephants were shot by natives in 
former days, are simply small cannon, fired from a tripod-stand. Two which 
I have weigh 45 lb. each, and carry a round bullet of nearly half a pound. 
The charge used was about half a pound of powder ; native powder is not 
very strong, however. The guns are of native iron, the admirable softness 
of which alone prevented their bursting. A hunting-party consisted of four 
men — two to carry the gun slung on a pole, one the stands, and the fourth 
— the captain — to track, lay the gun, and to fire it. When the elephants 
were standing listlessly in thick cover at mid-day the gun was placed on 
the stands at about three feet from the ground, and directed anywhere on an 
elephant's carcass. It was fired with a touch-match, which gave the hunters 
two or three seconds to get away. It was usually fired within thirty yards' 
distance. The match being applied, every one ran for their lives, as the 
gun, being overcharged for its weight, always flew back several yards, and 
broken limbs were not unusually the result of faihng to get clear. Elephants 
seldom escaped when wounded, and active hunters are said to have bagged 
five or six occasionally in a day. As a reward of £7 per head was paid for 
them by the Madras Government, this was a lucrative employment. There 
is no doubt that if this slaughter had not been prohibited years ago, the 
number of elephants would have been very much diminished at this day, 
and a continuation of it might soon have brought about their practical 
extinction in parts of Southern India. 

The elephant's character as an animal of sport has been variously repre- 
sented. Sir Samuel Baker considers it savage, wary, and revengeful ; Sir 
Emerson Tennent, the reverse. Both these views are, I think, extreme, 
and I apprehend that the truth lies between them. Though the elephant 
has little in his nature that can be called savage or revengeful, unless he 
is maddened by wounds or ill-treatment, he is certainly neither imbecile nor 
incapable, as Sir Emerson Tennent would have us beheve, when he says, 
" So unaccustomed are they to act as assailants, and so awkward and inex- 
pert in using their strength, that they rarely or ever succeed in kiUing 
a pursuer who falls into their power." Sir Emerson Tennent was not a 
sportsman, and apparently, from his writings, never in his Life encountered 
elephants when roused to anger, which must be taken into consideration 
in accepting his view of the matter. 

In their wild state, if a single elephant, or a herd, discover the approach 
of man at a distance (by their sense of smeU), they almost invariably move 



off ; but sliould a man suddenly appear -witliin a few yards of them, he will 
be charged perhaps oftener by elephants than by any other animals. But in 
this case the elephant's position is analogous to that of a timid man, who, 
with a stick in his hand, is suddenly confronted by a cobra. He woidd 
naturally strike at it in self-defence, though he might be glad to let it pass 
if it crossed his path at some distance. 

The elephant's whole character is pervaded by extreme timidity, and to 
this, ratlier than to deliberate daring, must be ascribed much of the charging 
when a herd is suddenly encountered. I consider it decidedly exceptional 
for any elephant, in a position where it has time for reflection and the option 
of retreat, to attack a man. Solitary elephants, which have occasionally 
made themselves troublesome by killing passers-by on main roads, have 
invariably been animals that have become accustomed to man, through their 
habit of frequenting fields and the neighbourhood of villages, and which, 
through being constantly molested by watchers, have become morose and 
dangerous. There have been notable instances of these elephants becom- 
ing both suspicious and revengeful, as stated by Sir Samuel Baker. In 
usually retreating before man, the wild elephant shows no inferiority in 
courage to other jungle animals, as they all retire from his intrusion. In 
jungles where elephants are not harassed, they are eminently unsuspicious 
and inoffensive. 

My own modest experience in elephant-shooting rests upon only about 
twenty elephants bagged. I lost several others when I first commenced, 
however, and I have had a good deal to do with troublesome animals, 
whilst driving them into the kheddahs, so that I have seen more of ele- 
phants under excitement than merely on the occasions when I have shot 
them. I may also say that most I have bagged have been picked ones, 
some of them proscribed as notoriously troublesome and dangerous animals, 
or they have been determined beasts met with in the herds whilst engaged 
in the capture of their fellows. I cannot understand any person's wilfully 
shooting female elephants, except as in Ceylon, where their numbers at one 
time had to be thinned, as they were becoming too numerous. Females, 
no doubt, give as good sport as males — in fact, they are always the first 
to charge ; but they carry no trophies, and the sportsman with any romance 
in his nature will let them pass if only in consideration to their sex. 

The art of approaching elephants successfully, and of picking out the par- 
ticular animal wanted amongst a large body, requires practice. When a large 
herd is grazing in detachments, as a large herd always docs, each separate 
group has to be examined for the tuskers, and the sportsman is likely to be 
winded, and the alarm given, before the search is successful, unless he knows 


his work. In a small herd the difficulties are less, but as a rule the tuskers 
are not so fine as those with larger herds. 

When feeding, elephants will usually be found tx) be heading steadily in 
a certain direction ; the rear-guard should then be examined for the tuskers, 
as they seldom go in front. The most ordinary precaution will enable the 
sportsman and his gun-bearers to move about within a few yards of them, 
if in cover, as long as they keep the wind, which is the one thing needful to 
observe in stalking elephants. It is seldom that they cannot be approached 
to within ten yards for a shot. Wlien herd elephants are at rest, they 
dispose themselves in scattered squads in close contiguity. There is then 
nothing to distract their attention as they doze, and they are more liable to 
observe danger than when engaged in feeding. On the least alarm they 
close up, and if their fears seem well founded they make off, and the best 
tuskers, which are probably near (but are seldom found amongst the females), 
may escape without being seen. It is consequently often advisable to use 
patience and to remain at a distance tiU the herd is again at graze — say after 
three o'clock in the afternoon — rather than approach elephants in cover 
during the day. I have never seen a tusker undertake to cover the retreat 
of a herd ; they take a line of their own invariably when danger threatens. 

The alarm of the presence of man is usually communicated by the ele- 
phant that discovers it by a peculiar short, shrill trumpet, well understood 
by the others, and which the sportsman will soon learn to distinguish 
amongst aU the other sounds made by elephants. All stand perfectly still 
at this signal for some minutes, when, if they make up their minds that the 
alarm is well founded, they close up and move rapidly off. At other times, 
if the elephant that perceives danger discovers that it is very near, it moves 
off quickly without a sound. The alarm is at once taken by all the others, 
and a beginner in elephant-shooting may find that the whole herd has been 
gone some time before he is aware that he has even been discovered. If 
attacked, the stampede of a herd is overwhelming : whilst running, some of 
the elephants often trumpet shrilly in alarm and anger; and if hard pressed, 
females with young calves will turn upon their pursuers without hesitation. 

It occasionally happens that elephants mistai^e the quarter from which 
danger comes, and during their rush to escape, the sportsman may be placed 
in great danger. When a herd stampedes it is impossible to teU for a 
moment, amongst the crashing of bamboos and tearing down of creepers from 
high trees, which way they are making, if they are hidden in dense cover. 
The best thing to do on all occasions is to stand still against a tree or bam- 
boo-clump ; to run is to risk being tripped up, and perhaps to be left sprawl- 
ing in the elephants' path, or to provoke a chase if they are close behind. 


Elephants are poor sighted, and so mtent on making o£f when thoroiighl}' 
startled, that I have been almost brushed against witliout being discovered. 
The rapidly advancing line of huge heads and cocked ears, bobbing spasmod- 
ically up and down as the elephants come rusldng on, levelling everything 
before them, is a trying sight at first, requiring some nerve, and the reflection 
that they are escaping, not charging, to stand. If circumstances ever occur 
to make a run unavoidable, the pursued sportsman should always take 
down-hill, and choose the steepest places at hand, as elephants fear to trust 
themselves on a rapid descent at any great pace ; up-liill, or on the level, a 
man would be immediately overtaken in rough ground. 

When a shot is fired at a herd unaccustomed to firearms, the whole fre- 
quently mass togetlier and stand huddled in a heap, shrinking at each shot 
till the smoke and smell alarm them. There is no doubt that, in such cases, 
they believe the noise to be thunder close at hand ; the firing of heavy 
charges may easily be mistaken for the almost simultaneous flash and crash 
often heard in storms during the early rains. It is undoubtedly from the 
same belief that tigers not unfrequently return to eat at a carcass shortly 
after a shot has been fired at them by the ambushed native shikarie. Un- 
less they believed the noise to be something else than firearms, it is evident 
they would not come back again. 

When a herd of elephants makes off, they go at a great pace for a short 
distance, but do not maintain it long before they settle into a fast walk, 
which they often keep up for ten or fifteen miles, if they have a wounded 
elephant and no young calves amongst them. The sportsman should r\iu 
after them at once, as an ordinary runner can generally keep near them for 
two or three hundred yards, if the ground be fair. 

When elephants are close at hand, standing in indecision, no one shouhl 
shout to turn them. A charge by one or more of them is almost sure to be 
made if they are suddenly startled in this particular manner. I have seen, 
and myself experienced, several instances of the danger of tins. In Chittagoug, 
whilst driving elephants into a stockade on one occasion, they api)roacliod 
the guiding-line of beaters too closely, when a man who was behind a small 
bush shouted at them within thirty yards. A female at once charged him; 
the man fell, and with the pressure of her foot on his chest she split him 
open, killing him on the spot. This elephant had a very young calf, from 
solicitude for which she became a perfect fury. I was lanio at the time 
from the effect of a pummelling I liad had a few days previously from a 
Avild elephant, so was riding a tame one during the beat. The beaters on 
foot could not approach the ehiphanls for fear of this particular female, 
so I rode towards her, when she cliargcd my elephant. I iivrd my express 


ritle pistol-fashion in her face, as she came on the oft- side and I was astride 
on the pad and could not turn. This shot sent her off, bnt on further press- 
ing she again came on, tliis time from the front, when I rolled her over with 
the No. 8 and 12 drams in the forehead. This shot was too high, however, 
and she got up and made off, and eventually made good her escape. 

In my early days at elephants I was once following four in the Kaken- 
kote jungles through a swamp of grass twelve feet high ; I thought one was 
a tusker I was in search of. I kept within twenty yards of their tails in 
the lane they made, till at last, seeing they were all females, I thought to 
have some fun with them, as I had always seen elephants run away on the 
few occasions I had disturbed them, and I rashly gave a loud shout. They 
turned and curled their trunks up, but did not retreat. I saw I had caught 
a Tartar ; however, I gave another shout, throwing my sun-hat towards them 
at the same time. At this moment one hidden in the grass to my left 
front uttered a piercing scream, and rushed down upon myself and gun- 
bearers. She could not see us, nor we her, till she burst out ten feet in 
front of me into the path. I had just time to give her my Lang 4-bore and 
1 drams in her face, without any particular aim. This fortunately dropped 
her ; but she got up as quickly as she went down, and, to my relief, turned 
and made off with the others. This elephant charged solely on the provoca- 
tion of a shout. 

The most interesting branch of elephant - shooting is the pursuit of 
single male elephants — either those which are quite solitary, or herd-tuskei'S 
when wandering apart from their companions. The latter usually join their 
herds by eight or nine o'clock in the morning, and great expedition must be 
used to overtake them before that time, as the noise they make whilst feed- 
ing guards the sportsman against stumbling on them unawares, and a close 
and favourable shot can usually be obtained. Purely solitary elephants 
cease feeding by ten o'clock ; they then generally stand listlessly in some 
thick cover, usually bamboo, or under a tree in high grass ; or they lie down 
in such places and rest. When lying down they snore, but not loudly; the 
sound coming through the long trunk has a metallic sound. They occa- 
sionally raise the ear that is uppermost and let it fall with a loud slap on 
the neck ; this sound is quite distinct from the flapping of the ears when 
the beast is standing up, and is well known to elephant-trackers. 

The habit of lying down to rest is much more common amongst ele- 
phants, wild and tame, than I have found people even with some acquaint- 
ance with them suppose. All wild beasts lie down during the day, and not 
unfrequently at night, and it is not easy to guess how the notion arose that 
elephants do so less than others. All tame elephants, except a few timid 


individuals that are nervous about the stray cattle, pariah-dogs, and jackals 
that often prowl round their pickets, lie down to sleep. The idea prevailed 
in old days that elephants had no joints and could not lie down. A good 
estimate of the calibre of a wild tusker may generally be arrived at by the 
impression of his tusk in soft soil. One that will admit five fingers in the 
groove is well worth following ; his tusks will be over 6 lb. the pair. 

In single-elephant shooting, a very remarkable circumstance, wliicli the 
sportsman should be aware of as occurring in their retreat, is, that all noise 
often ceases after the first headlong rush of a hundred yards or so, and the 
novice may suppose the elephant has stopped, whereas he has merely sub- 
sided into a quick, noiseless walk, and though a person be close at hand, the 
brushing of the boughs against the beast's tough sides will scarcely be heard. 
I have lost more than one elephant through advancing cautiously when I 
thought the wounded beast had stopped, whilst he was rapidly putting him- 
self beyond the reach of pursuit. The noiselessness with which a whole 
herd also makes off on occasions when it suspects danger and seeks to 
avoid observation, is equally astonishing, 

A plan I always pursue in following wounded elephants if they cannot 
be overtaken in the first burst, and have to be followed far, is to send two 
jungle-men ahead on the track, and to follow with my gun-bearers a hundred 
yards behind. Tliis is the safest plan for tlie trackers, as they can creep 
silently on and see or hear the elephant before he perceives them. An 
advance can then be made with a knowledge of the position of the enemy; 
but for all to approach together in the first place is likely to give the elephant 
w^arning, and he may do damage before his proximity is suspected. In all 
encounters with wild beasts it is more than half the battle to strike the first 
blow. I have seen all but the most plucky trackers scatter and flee before 
an unexpected attack by a wounded wild animal ; the effect is that of a sur- 
prise, and the success is with the side that effects it. A Sholaga was killed 
on the Billiga-rungun hills some years ago when out with two sportsmen ; 
an ambushed tusker (wounded) suddenly rushed out, the trackers fell, and 
one was trampled to death on the spot. Had they been sent forward to 
make their own observations this would not have happened. 

As to there being any greater danger in shooting rogue elephants than 
herd-tuskers, as is usually supposed, I have much doubt. In the first 
place, in single-elephant shooting the having only one animal to deal M^itli 
is an immense advantage. There is little danger of being run over by acci- 
dent, as in a mob ; and it will be found that, in charging, single elephants, 
though perhaps more liable to attack in the first place, are not more deter- 
mined than members of herds, A female with a young calf is infinitely 


more likely to attack a man, and to do so persistently, than nine-tenths of 
male elephants. If some solitary animal, which has been accustomed to 
lord it over field-watchers and helpless travellers, is met, the unexpected 
novelty of a battery opening upon him is lilvely to disconcert him, and, like 
all bullies, he is demoralised by a reverse. A man-eating tiger is not more 
dangerous to hunt than any other ; and in my experience, and from all I 
have heard, rogue elephants, when the tables are turned on them, are not 
more determined than others. 

When a tusker has been secured, his tusks may either be hacked out, or 
left for about ten days, when they can be drawn out without much trouble. 
If the tusks are to be cut out, the flesh along the nasal bones up to the eye 
must be removed and the tusk-cases split with a hatchet, but the tusks are 
usually somewhat blemished in the process. The best pair of tusks I ever 
bagged were 4 feet 11 inches and 5 feet respectively in length (when 
taken out), 16-| inches in circumference at the gums, and weighed 74| lb. 
the pair. 

A dead elephant is soon a disgusting spectacle. The carcass swells to 
an enormous size, the legs on the side which is uppermost becoming stiff, 
and projecting horizontally by its distension. Many hundreds of vultures 
collect on the neighbouring trees, or fight for a seat upon the carcass, 
awaiting the time when they shall be able to make a commencement. This 
is not for at least six days, when the carcass bursts, and collapses with 
rottenness. By this time it is crawling with millions of maggots, and has 
become whitewashed with the droppings of the filthy but useful birds. 
The spot resounds with the buzzing of innumerable flies, and the stench is 
so great as to be easily perceivable at half a mile to leeward. Wild hogs 
not unfrequently feed upon the carcass, as I have seen by their tracks ; 
and I think it is not unKkely, as stated by natives, that tigers do so 

Wlien the vultures are able to commence, the carcass is reduced to a 
pile of bones and a heap of undigested, masticated grass (the contents of 
the stomach), in a few hours. Large though the amount of flesh is, it is 
soon disposed of by the hundreds of ravenous birds, whose croaking, hissing, 
and flapping, as they feed and fight, may be heard for a considerable distance. 
If the stench is overpowering before the carcass is devoured, it is almost 
worse when the birds have left. The whole neighbourhood is pervaded 
with the most pungent odour of guano, and the site of the recent disgusting 
feast is trampled into a puddle by their feet. 

In Mysore even the lowest classes of natives, who have no objection to 
carrion, will not eat the flesh of the elephant. They imagine it to be very 


heating, and believe tliat many of the vultures which feed on it die. In 
cutting up an elephant they think it necessary to oil their hands and arms, 
believing the blood wiU cause serious skin affections. It was not till my 
men had seen me at work up to my elbows, and unoiled, that they would 
dispense with the precaution. In Chittagong the hill-people were glad to 
get elephants' flesh, and always carried away every morsel of those tliat died 
during our hunting operations. One, wliicli I had had covered Avith earth, 
as it died inside one of the kheddahs, and would have interfered with our 
work, was exhumed after we left and eaten by the Joomas. 

Elephants' feet make unique footstools ; the fore-feet being round, are 
better adapted for this purpose than the hind, which are oval. The feet 
should be cut off a few inches below the knee, and the bones and flesh 
must be taken out. This is hard work, and strong knives are necessary. 
It facilitates the operation to slit the foot down behind, and sew the cut up 
afterwards ; but this is not absolutely necessary, and is better avoided if 
possible. The feet should, when cleaned, be well rubbed inside and out 
with arsenical soap, and folded away for convenience of packing. Tliey 
will keep in this state till the sportsman's return to headquarters, when they 
must be softened by many hours' soaking in warm water ; they are then 
to be rubbed again with arsenical soap. After this they should be placed 
in the sun, filled with sand, and all loss by shrinldng prevented by fre- 
quent ramming. Wlien thoroughly hard and dry the sand must be removed 
and the feet stuffed with coir. The nails should be scraped till quite white, 
and the sldn should be covered with a coating of lamp-black. Both skin 
and nails should then be varnished, and the top of the foot covered with 
panther's skin, or with velvet or other material, secured round the edge by 
large-headed brass or silver nails, and a velvet band. Small feet make 
good cheroot-boxes for the table with a mahogany tray inside, partitioned 
off for different sizes, and a mahogany or silver lid, surmounted by a small 
silver elephant to lift it off by. They can also be made up into tobacco- 
boxes, ink-stands, small boxes for a lady's table, &c. 





IT was in July 1870 that I had obtained ten days' leave of absence, which 
it was my intention to devote to a bear and bison shooting expedition at 
Poonjoor. I had already sent on my tents and servants from Mysore, and 
on the day before my leave commenced I managed to be at Atticulpoor, on 
the extreme limit of my district, so as to commence shooting without loss 
of time. I spent the day in casting bullets and making other preparations, 
and in viewing with pleasant anticipation the Billiga-rungun hills, stretching 
before me in a grand blue line. The day was delightfully cool and cloudy, 
and the highest peaks were often hidden in the mists. With my glass I 
could see a mass of rocks away on the left, twenty miles distant, where I 
had captured a pair of tiger-cubs two months before ; also the valley where 
I had shot my first bison, and other places endeared to me by similar 

Having taken some coffee and biscuits early next morning, I jumped 
into my trap with my guns, which the horsekeeper held whilst I drove, 


and started to Poonjoor. Tlie road was very rough, often merely a track, 
but I had a fiery Pegu pony and a liglit and not valuable dog-cart, so we 
lost no time by the way. I saw large numbers of pea-fowl and jungle-fowl, 
and a few jackals, but no large game. At Poonjoor I found my old sport- 
ing companion, Bommay Gouda, awaiting me. I could have hugged the old 
fellow ; how I envied him for living always in the jungles ! My tents were 
ready pitched, and breakfast on the table, so it did not take long to make 
a start in search of bison. Bommay Gouda could hold out no very bright 
prosj)ects of sport, as he said there had been a deficiency of rain, and the 
bison and bears were in the hills, where it was impossible to get at them 
without a well-organised expedition. 

We walked about, up hill and down dale, for many hours without seeing 
anything, and returned in the evening rather disheartened. During our 
ramble we saw the prints of a stag sambur that had been pursued by a 
tiger ; this had occurred some days before, after a night's rain. The tiger 
had evidently faded in the chase. Every bound of both animals was twelve 
or fifteen feet. There were numerous tracks of elephants, but they were 
forbidden game. 

It was evidently useless remaining at Poonjoor, as game was scarce, so 
by Bommay Gouda's advice I made arrangements to march next morning to 
Yerlsariga, a Sholaga hamlet five miles along the foot of the hills. At 
daybreak Bommay Gouda led the way to our new ground, through fine 
forest, in which we crossed picturesque streams ; these, though shallow, were 
clear and rapid, and formed frequent small cascades. My shooting-tent and 
camp-equipments were carried by men, and I selected a spot to pitch my 
habitation under a tree close to the Sholagas' huts. These dwellings are 
very snug and neat : they are only about five feet high inside, and seven 
feet in length and breadth ; the door is three feet high and two wide. 

The Sholagas turned out of a couple of houses for my servants, who 
made themselves very comfortable. I may here mention that two years 
after this time a tiger was shot in one of these two huts by Bommay 
Gouda. The animal made its appearance near the village in the miildle 
of the day, whereupon many of the Sholagas fled into their huts, the others 
into the jungle near. The tiger showed no intention of molesting the 
people, and composed liimself under a cart which two ]\Iussulm;ins had 
driven to Yerlsariga to load with bamboos. As he seemed inclined to re- 
main there for an indefinite time, one of the Sholagas ran to Poonjoor for 
]3ommay Gouda, wlio had an old matchlock. When Bommay Gouda arrived 
lie took a deliberate shot at the tiger, but missed, and the animal betook 
himself into one of the huts, which was open and untenanted. A Sholaga 


very boldly shut the door with a long bamboo, and by making a hole 
through the wattle - and - dab wall Bommay Gouda got another shot and 
killed this strangely-behaved tiger. There is no doubt that it was suffering 
from some disease or hallucination which rendered it oblivious to what 
was going on. It was described as being apparently stupefied. I have 
known somewhat similar cases of wild animals being found in an uncon- 
scious and incapable state in the jungles. 

Bommay Gouda had with him a good Sholaga tracker and his son by the 
time I had pointed out the camping-ground, and we set out. The Sh51aga 
reported bison as scarce, bears more so (owing to want of rain), but ele- 
phants, he said, were numerous, and gave them trouble in guarding their 
little plots of cultivation from their nocturnal visits. There seemed to be 
little hope of sport except with elephants ; and as they were evidently very 
destructive, I determined to put in force the clause of the prohibition against 
shooting them, which provides for cases where they are a burden to the 
cultivators, and I gave the word " Forward ! " to the delighted Bommay 
Gouda. He had been an elephant- hunter in days gone by, and was 
thoroughly imbued with the peculiar enthusiasm of the sport. He always 
said, " Anay hycirU, dhord hydrU" (elephant-shooting is the sport for gentle- 
men). So tremble, ye elephants, wherever ye are, for men are on your 
tracks whose eyes would not miss the print of the tiniest deer. 

The Sholaga and his son, a lad of fourteen, led the way towards a dense 
belt of jungle three miles distant, w^here they said the elephants were 
generally to be found. I rode a pony until we got within a mile of the 
place ; we then advanced cautiously. Presently, in crossing a sandy 
nullah, the trackers pointed to the tracks of what appeared to me to be 
about half-a-dozen elephants, but they explained that there were between 
forty and fifty, and that the prints had been made early that morning. 
In tracking, nothing is more difficult to a novice than to estimate with even 
approximate accuracy the number of individuals in a herd of elephants. 
Sometimes they travel in single file (when marching any distance), and the 
uninitiated might be excused for believing that but a single elephant had 
passed, where fifty would be nearer the number ; and, on the other hand, a 
small herd wiU, by feeding for some time within a small area, often leave 
signs which lead the inexperienced to suppose that a much larger number 
has been there. Experienced trackers can tell pretty accurately at a glance 
how many animals the herd contains. 

I always fortify myself with breakfast or luncheon before going into 
action — one does not know when one may have an opportunity of getting 
anything again that day; so whilst I was laying in some cold fowl and 


bread-and-butter, the trackers took their snacks of ragi-bread. This viand is 
not more seductive to the taste, nor pleasant to the eye, than an old shoe- 
sole, but it is the common travelling food of the M'orking classes in Mysore, 
when they have not time to prepare a regular meal. 

Bommay Gouda, who had the ordering of the attack, now sent on the 
two Sholagas, wliilst he, myself, and Jaffer, who carried my second rille, 
followed. The men with the tiffin-basket and pony were left behind, with 
orders to join us when they heard shots. "We had only gone a short dis- 
tance when a faint trumpet away to our left attracted our attention. The 
elephants were in the cover where the Sholagas expected to find them, so we 
hurried on with less caution, as they were at some distance. I found it 
necessary to send the old Sh5laga tracker back to join the men with the 
pony, as he began to be troubled by a cough, which I knew from consider- 
able experience of natives would break out at the most inopportune moment. 
I found out subsequently, in other hunts, that the old fellow was always 
similarly afflicted when we got near formidable game ! He confided to 
me, after we had been longer acquainted, that he was not so active as he 
once was, and that he mistrusted his powers of escaping from an elephant 
by flight ; and as his duty was really over when he brought me and my 
gun-bearers up to game, I gave him standing permission to fall back before 
fighting commenced, which proved a panacea for his malady. 

The elephants were in a thick piece of jungle tlirough which a sandy 
nullah wound its way ; it was about fifteen yards wide, quite dry, with high 
banks. Hiding ourselves on the side from whicli we approached, we heard 
the elephants feeding in the thick jungle on the opposite bank. The branches 
of trees were bent down now and again, or an occasional trunk was raised 
to reach the tender leaves, but as it was nearly mid-day the elephants were 
quite hidden from view. Occasionally a squeak of pleasure from the young 
ones, or deep gTumblings from the big ones, were heard. I had never been 
near wild elephants before, and I felt the pleasurable excitement that attends 
a young sportsman's first encounter with new and formidable game. 

We sat in cover for some time, hoping the elepliants would make a 
move, but they seemed inclined to rest in their cool retreat, and showed no 
signs of emerging from it for some time. At last I could no longer restrain 
my wish to see an elephant in his wild haunts, so wliispering to JaiTor to 
keep near with my second rifle I got quietly into the nullah, and walking 
noiselessly over the soft sand, brought my head to the level of the opposite 
bank. I peered through the buslies ; it was much easier to see under than 
through them, and my eyes were immediately greeted with tlie sight of the 
legs and feet of several elephants. One was within eight yards of me. 


Drawing myself up behind a small tree, I stood on the bank with my rifle 
ready. I could just distinguish the head of the owner of the nearest pair 
of colossal understandings. Suddenly it struck me that the elephant was 
watching me, as its head was turned in my direction, and I expected to hear 
a shriek and a rush forward. I kept my rifle to my shoulder, intending to 
fire both barrels, and if I failed in flooring it, to jump down into the nullah, 
and with the second rifle stand on the opposite bank. However, as I waited, 
my heart thumping against my ribs, the huge head swung lazily to one side 
and back again, showing the half-closed, dozing eye. The elephant was a 
female. As my intention was to get a tusker I left her in peace, and getting 
quietly down, delighted with my first close peep at wild elephants, I re- 
gained the other bank, intending now to wait till the herd should move into 
better ground. Jaffer, though a plucky fellow, had, like his master, never 
seen elephants till now, and was not sorry to be relieved of his duty of 
standing in the nullah with the second rifle, as he was afraid some of the 
herd might come up it and take us in rear. 

We sat down and held a long consultation, when presently it struck us 
that the elephants were very quiet, and when Bommay Gouda and I recon- 
noitred their late position we found that they had moved off. It is 
remarkable how quietly a herd of elephants will slip away, and how little 
trace they leave of the passage of their huge bodies. These must have 
obtained a slant of our wind ; but as this herd ''^ was constantly in the 
habit of visiting cultivation, near to the habitations of man, it did not 
go far. 

We followed immediately, and shortly entered thinner jungle, inter- 
spersed with large trees, where we came up with the elephants marching 
sedately along, a few of the young ones wandering to right and left as food 
tempted them. It was now about three o'clock in the afternoon and near 
their feeding-time. They looked so different from tame elephants : instead 
of being black, as the latter are from frequent washing, they were reddish, 
owing to the dust with which they had covered their bodies. I scanned 
them eagerly for a male elephant in vain, till the gleam of a pair of tusks 
through a bush caught the quick eye of the lad Gorrava, and presently out 
stalked a tusker ! He was not a large elephant, and by any but a young 
hunter might have been passed unmolested, but his tusks settled him as my 

It was very difficult to approach this particular elephant, as the herd 
was now scattered to browse, and whilst avoiding one we were liable to be 

* I captured these elephants in June 1874, as related in Chapter X., within a mile of the 
place where I encouutered them on tliis occasion. 


seen or winded by anotlier. However, at last we got to the banks of tlie 
ravine to which the elephant had by this time made his way. "We were 
here nearly discovered by a small female which came from behind us, and 
was apparently intending to cross the nullah near us ; she luckily, however, 
tiunied off, or we should have been seen or winded, and the whole herd 
would have been alarmed. Following the main body, in which was the 
tusker, along the bank of the nullah, we reached a large tree with an open 
space in front. The nullah bounded the space on the opposite side, and on 
the right and left ; in fact, we and the elephants were on a tongue of land 
surrounded by the nullah, excepting in tlie direction from which we had 
come. Alx)ut thirty elepliants were collected here, and amongst them was 
the tusker. There were four or five other smaller tuskers, but none worth 
shooting. They sauntered about unsuspicious of danger, caressing each other 
affectionately, and enjoying their fancied security. At last they made a 
move to cross the nullah ahead, where a steep path about five yards wide 
led down into it and up the other side. I saw that this was the place to 
cut off the tusker, but the difficulty lay in preventing stray elephants taking 
our wind and giving the alarm. As the herd jostled each other in the nar- 
row passage I was delighted to see the tusker loiter behind, and he entered 
the pass amongst the last. I now ran quickly across the open space, al)out 
fifty yards in width, and entered the path at the heels of the rear-guard. 
Nothing could be seen but seven huge sterns in a line as their owners 
walked down the incline to cross the nullah. I was within ten feet of their 
tails, but quite lost to all sense of danger in the excitement of the moment. 
I had read and re-read Sir S. Baker's delightful tales of elephant-shooting in 
Ceylon, till I fancied the sport was much easier, much less dangerous, than 
I subsequently found it to be. 

I kept my eye on the tusker who was in the middle of tlie line, and was 
wondering how I was to get a shot at his brain, when, as luck would have 
it, some vegetable attraction overhead tempted him, and he raised his head 
to reach it with his trunk. I had beforehand fixed the fatal spot in my 
mind's eye, and catching sight of his temple I fired. For a moment I 
could see notliing for the smoke, but heard a tremendous commotion amongst 
the elephants that were in company with the tusker. Stepping a little aside, 
I saw their huge heads all turning towards me, their ears outspread, and 
their trunks curled up in terrified astonishment. Being a novice in the sport, 
I felt for the moment that I was in real danger. Juifer was at the top of 
the pass instead of being at my heels, for which I afterwards gave him a 
severe lecture. I stood my ground however, determined if any of them 
charged to fire at the foremost and to run to Jaffer for the second rifle ; that 


failing, the case would have been rather bad. However, charging was far 
from their thoughts ; right about, quick march, was more to their fancy ; 
and with shrieks and trumpets away they went, some to the right, some to 
the left, joined by the whole herd in one headlong race up or down the 
nullah. But my tusker remained stone dead upon his knees ! The 
triumph of such a success, attained unassisted and in my first inexperienced 
attempt, quite transported me. Oh that one could retain the freshness of 
one's first conquests in subsequent enterprises ! Of what account were toil, 
expenditure of all my spare cash, danger undergone, and past ill-luck, in 
that blissful moment ? My game had been outwitted by careful stalking 
and a due admixture of caution and adventuring of our persons. The whole 
herd was now in flight. I had succeeded beyond my wildest hopes ! 

My bullet had reached the tusker's brain, and in sinking down he must 
have been supported by the bodies and legs of the elephants between which 
he was wedged in ; thus he still remained on his knees though quite dead. 
He retained his kneeling position for some minutes, when by the gradual 
subsidence of his carcass he heeled over, and fell heavily on to his side. I 
narrowly escaped being crushed between him and the bank as he sank, just 
springing out of the way in time. It would have been a fine thing indeed 
if, after bagging my first elephant, I had fallen a victim to the collapse of 
his carcass ! 

As a rule, jungle-tribes only know the country thoroughly well in the 
immediate vicinity of their dwellings, but within this limit every path, pool, 
salt-lick, and favourite cover, is familiar to them. They can thus usually 
tell where an animal will be found at any hour. Hence it is most desirable 
to have them with a party whilst hunting in their respective localities, as 
they are often able to save time by leaving the trail and leading the sports- 
man by a more direct route to the place where the animals he is in quest 
of are. It was for this reason that Bommay Gouda had brought the old 
Sh5laga and his son along with us. The son had a pleasant and intelligent 
face for a Shdlaga — they are generally hideously ugly — and I took a fancy 
to him at once. Young though he was he tracked the elephants skilfully, 
and behaved boldly. And now, eight years later, Gorrava is one of my 
favourite jungle-men, and is employed in the kheddahs. We are confreres 
against the bears, bison, &c., and many a good day's work have we done 
" since first we met." Gorrava is tall, lithe, and active, with the lightest 
step, the quickest eye, and the best judgment of the many good trackers I 
know. That confidence between a sportsman and his hunters, so essential 
to good and enjoyable shooting, has long been established between us. I 
have perfect trust in Gorrava's ability to work out any trail, whilst he knows 


that I never fire at random, and thereby render futile tlie care he has taken 
to bring me up to game. 

Much judgment, only to be acquired by experience, is necessary for 
success in large-game shooting. When an animal is suddenly pointed out 
to the young sportsman his first idea is that it will vanish in another 
moment, and his impulse is to fire at any part of it visible. Thus, though 
most jungle-shots are within fifty yards, and it is not difficult to hit an 
animal at that distance, some sportsmen are as often unlucky as successful 
in eventually getting it ; for there is a great difference between Mtting and 
hanging. Unless the ball of even the most powerful rifle be well placed 
behind the slioulder, or in the head or neck, a stricken beast will frequently 
travel for miles ; and through the intervention of night, or a heavy shower 
that obliterates its tracks, it may be lost. It is more sportsmanlike even to 
let a doubtful opportunity pass than to make a hurried and uncertain shot, 
which too often but leads to wounding and losing game. Moreover, nothinti 
discourages a really good tracker more than having random shots fired at 
animals which he has been at the trouble of following for miles, and which 
one moment's coolness would have brought to bag. Much more of the dif- 
ference between successful and unsuccessful sportsmen with large game is 
due to knowledge of such points, and to self-control, than to their respec- 
tive attainments as marksmen. Glaringly imcertain chances should never be 
taken. Useless firing disturbs the jungle, and an occasional success is a poor 
recompense for frequent disappointment. Men who constantly blame their 
" bad luck " may be fairly regarded with suspicion. Tilings fall out unfor- 
tunately at times, but as a set-off, equally bright moments are not uncom- 
mon. Such a thing as constant bad luck to the persevering and thoughtful 
sportsman — even though a tyro — I need hardly say there cannot be. 

One of the most useful lessons of the s^jortsman's pursuits is to teach 
him the value of perseverance. The successful hunter must always be a 
determined one. All such can count in their experiences many triumphant 
chases, made so by persistence when all hope had apparently vanished. 
Another half-hour's pursuit has frequently changed what without it would 
have been a blank day into a red - letter one. Such successes are those 
which are most highly valued. "What satisfaction would there be in catch- 
ing a fox in a mile ? or in hearing a young lady say " yes " the first time 
one asked her ? 

The next elephants I went after were four solitary animals, on different 
occasions, of which I bagged two and lost two. They were all individuals 
which were destructive to villagers' crops, and which I obtained permission 
to shoot wherever and whenever I met them. 1 then sallied forth after 


tlie Kakankotu rogue, a really dangerous animal, which had taken possession 
of about eight miles of the main road between Mysore and the Wynaad 
country. He at first did nothing more than alarm travellers by frequently 
a]Dpearing on the road. But after some time he took to chasing persons, 
and at last killed two men within a few days. This was reported by the 
Amildar, or native official in charge of that part of the country ; and I was 
soon at Kakankote, intent on slaying the brute. 

Whilst en route to the rogue's neighbourhood I met some travellers, one 
of whom was cut and bruised about the head and face. It appeared he had 
fallen into a gravel-pit by the roadside upon a false alarm being raised 
that the rogue was coming ! At the entrance to the jungle I found two 
native policemen had been stationed to warn travellers to proceed only in 
parties, and men were sent with them to beat tom-toms and sound horns 
till they were safely through. I dismounted from my pony and marched 
with my carts from this outpost to Kakankote — eight miles — which we 
reached without seeing the rogue. 

Kakankote is a small hamlet of half-a-dozen huts, forty-nine miles from 
Mysore, on the road to Wynaad. It has a traveller's bungalow used by 
occasional sportsmen. The Cubbany river runs close past Kakankote, and 
for sixteen miles the main road skirts its north bank through the heavy 
forest. Thus animals which come from the interior forests lying to the north, 
to drink at the river, are obliged to cross the main road ; and in the height of 
the hot weather (March, April, and May), when the pools in the forests are 
dried up, whole herds of elephants resort to the river to bathe and drink, 
usually from five in the afternoon till eight in the morning. 

The jungle around Kakankote consists of teak and other heavy timber 
and bamboos. It is inhabited by a few scattered Kurrabas, a wild race, but 
first-rate assistants to the sportsman in quest of large game. These wild 
men of the woods care little for money ; if suppKed with rice, arrack (native 
spirit), and tobacco, while in the sportsman's camp, they are quite content ; 
and a cumUey (blanket), as a reward for special services, may be added at 
the end of the trip. A more wretched set of human beings than Kurrabas 
it would be difficult to imagine. Their unvarying dress in all weathers is 
a small piece of dirty cloth round the loins, though the extremes of heat 
and cold in the jungles at different seasons are great ; and during the mon- 
soon months the rain is almost incessant. They cultivate small patches of 
grain, just sufficient for their bare necessities. The labour entailed by their 
method of cultivation is very great. The jungle has first to be cleared and 
burnt, and the ground dug up by hand ; the crop must then be guarded day 
and night from elephants and other animals. It not unfrequently happens 


that single male elepliants refuse to be driven from these clearings by the 
firebrands and other methods adopted for friglitening them. In such cases 
very little grain is left for the unfortunate proprietor. Of more importance 
to the Kurrabas than their grain-crop are several descriptions of edible 
roots and v\dld honey. Of the former they have eight kinds ; two of these 
are very good, being not unlike sweet potatoes. 

The men are usually of poor physique, the women squalid and ugly to 
an astonishing degree, and the children frequently sickly, and subject to 
great mortality. It is pitiful to see many of the latter, witli thin legs, 
glazed skins, and distended stomachs, the outward signs of diseased spleens 
— tlie result of malarial fevers and bad water. 

I believe the one fact of the dwellings of jungle-people in Southern 
India — at least the Kurrabas and Sholagas in Mysore — being built on the 
ground, is sufficient to account for their miserable condition. The miasma 
which causes jungle-fevers is said to be heavy and to hang close above the 
surface, for which reason it is unsafe to sleep on, or close to, the ground in 
malarious localities. The Kurrabas and Sholagas do not understand this ; 
and their children, from their short stature, live more in the unhealthy 
stratum of air than adults. This may partly account for the greater pro- 
portion of sickness among them. In the G arrow and Chittagong hills in 
the north-east and east of Bengal the jungle-tribes live in large and well- 
constructed houses raised eight or ten feet from the ground on bamboo su])- 
ports. In front of each is a verandah or platform for the children to play 
on, and in which their parents sit when idle ; the whole is reached by a 
ladder, and is of such simple construction that any jungle-man can build 
himself a house in two or three days, with no other tool but his axe. Thus 
the people sleep well above the reach of malaria, and are kept dry and com- 
fortable in all weathers, instead of grovelling on the damp ground, as do the 
Kurrabas and Sholagas. 

A probable reason of the Kurrabas and Sh51agas living in such plight 
as they do may be that in former times they were liable to disturbance by 
every one who entered the forests, and not being numerous or warlike, they 
avoided annoyance by flight. Consequently the custom of such liglit 
structures, which might have to be abandoned at a moment's notice, lias 
become established, and that being the case, none of them now think of 
making any change. The Kurrabas have no weapons for killing wild ani- 
mals, but they take a few deer in pitfalls dug near their plots of cultiva- 
tion. They are skilful at catching the lungoor monkey (Presh/tis 2^>'iamus), 
the flying-squirrel {Ptcrom.ys petaurista), and the Malabar S(|uirrel (Sciui'us 
malaharicus). They use a net for the purpose, of stout twine made from 


the fibre of certain barks, not unlike a butterfly-net in shape, but mucli 
longer in the bag, and without a handle or hoop at the mouth. This net, 
held open by twigs, is placed upon a thick branch, and is fastened to it by 
a cord about six feet long, which passes through the meshes round the 
mouth, in place of a rigid ring. Thus, when a squirrel or monkey runs 
along the limb of the tree it enters the net, which at the least disturbance 
falls from the branch, when the throttle-string effectually closes the mouth, 
and the Kurrabas climb up and secure the prize. They show great skill in 
anticipating the line the animal will take when driven, as they must set 
the net in a distant tree and drive the prey towards it. They have another 
plan with the flying-squirrel when they do not want to take it alive. Tins 
beautiful creature is about three feet and three-quarters in length, of which 
the tail is one-half. It is nocturnal in its habits, usually living in holes 
in trees during the day, at a considerable height from the ground. The 
Kurrabas strike the trees with their axes ; this starts the squirrel, and if 
further alarmed it launches itself out towards the next tree, spreading the 
membrane which extends from the fore to the hind feet along its sides, and 
which enables it to take these flights. It does not flap this parachute or 
wings, but merely sails in a downward direction. It can cover distances 
of fifty yards or more, starting from the top of one tree and reaching the 
trunk of the next close to the ground. It then runs up the trunk and 
repeats the flight. It cannot change the direction of its flight after it has 
once launched itself ; and the Kurrabas take advantage of this peculiarity 
by posting one of their number behind the trunk of a tree to which they 
force the squirrel to fly, and who, as it alights, generally manages to kill it 
with his axe-handle. It is a very gentle and timorous creature. It is 
called " flying-cat " by the Kurrabas ; and when sitting in the fork of 
a tree, the parachute membrane being then closed and invisible, it is more 
like a grey cat, both in size and colour, than one of the squirrel family. 
When launched off for a flight it is about twenty inches in length (ex- 
cluding its tail), and twenty-four in breadth, across its extended mem- 

I cannot state exactly to what era or race the Kurrabas may be sup- 
posed to belong, but I imagine they are a purely aboriginal people. The 
theory sometimes advanced that such wild people are the descendants of 
persons who have been obliged to flee to the jungles in comparatively 
recent troublous times, can hardly, t think, be substantiated in their case. 
Probably in all but the very earliest ages the jungles of India have had 
inhabitants, and the Kurrabas may be as ancient as any. They have pecu- 
liar but not unpleasing features. Their hair is frequently curly, somewhat 


like the wool of a negro : this is an essential point of difference between 
thera and the Hindoo people of the open country. Still the Kurrabas have 
no separate language, but talk Canarese with a peculiar intonation. They 
worship jungle -spirits, elephants, tigers, certain trees, &c. A peculiar dif- 
ference between them and the wild tribe of the Billiga-rungun hills — the 
Shulagas — is, that the Kurrabas eat the flesli of the bison, whilst a Sholaga 
will not even touch the dead animal. Eating the flesh of the cow being 
abhorrent to the Hindoos, it would appear that the Ivurral)as belong to the 
earliest races of Soutliern India, distinct from the Aryan or Dravidian 
people who overspread the country from the north, and probably brought 
the observance with them. 

I always collected a number of these poor aborigines in my camp on 
my shooting expeditions, and though all of them were not engaged in track- 
ing, I had the pleasure of their society when the day's work was ovci-. 
Tliere was rice, curry-stuff, tobacco, and a tot of grog at night for each, of 
which they much approved. Amongst the Kurrabas at Kakankote was one 
old man, tlieir Poqjdree,''"' or hereditary priest and head-man. This a.ncient 
of the woods held the rather e.^traordinary but convenient idea in a tracker, 
that, in virtue of his sacred office, he could not be killed by a wild elephant, 
and he would lead the way after a wounded or evilly-disposed one where 
the other Kurrabas were reluctant to go. I did not attempt to pervert 
liim from his convictions, but always took care to support him witli my 
heavy rifles, to prevent his being convinced of the fallacy of his views, 
and trampled into a pancake, at the same moment. It is a remarkable fact 
that jungle-people are ordinarily more afraid of wild elephants than of any 
other animals. I have known many who had little fear of tigers, bears, or 
bison, and yet dreaded being called on to track elephants. This is from no 
superstitious fear, but probably has its origin in the size and formidable 
appearance of, and the noise made by, elephants when roaming at large in 
their native wilds. 

The Kakankote rogue was well known to the Kurrabas by hi.s large size 
and dark colour, and the upward curve of his short tusks. He had also lost 
more than half his tail whilst fighting — a common mutilation amongst 
elephants. The day I arrived at Kakankote to hunt him I despatched two 
parties of Kurrabas to ascertain his wherealjouts. In the evening th(\v 
returned ; the Toojaree's party had found recent marks at a pool, and hail 
followed them till sundown. The rogue was then within half a mile of tlu' 
same pool, and feeding towards it with the evident intenliiui o^ drinking 

* Tim illiistnitioii is a rcpi-ixhirtiou of a ]>i'ncil skelcli in;ulc mi llic spol !iy a I'rii lul, and is w 
iiiobI faithful puitrait of okl rooj.ircc. 


there again during the night ; so ever} thing was got ready fur following liiin 
on tlie morrow. 

Next morning I had just risen, an hour before daylight, when news 
of him was brought in by two Kurrabas, who had left him standing in 
their clearing close to the main road, feeding on the rtigi crop which they 
had been guarding. They had started at 4 a.m., and after making a cir- 
cuit to pass the elephant, had come five miles through jungle infested by 
wild animals, with ordy a torch of dry bamboo, to give me the information. 
As soon as it was daylight we set off down the main road for the Kurrabas' 
clearing, where we found that not only the rogue, but another elephant also, 
known by the Kurrabas to be a inuckna, or tuskless male, and a frequent 
companion of the rogue's, had grazed about for some hours. They had left 
at daylight, crossing the road into the forest to the north of it. 

My battery consisted of three breech-loading rifles — viz., a single C.F. 
spherical-ball No. 4-bore, by Lang & Sons ; a double C.F. No, 1 2 Forsyth's 
spherical-ball rifle, by W. W. Greener ; and a double 16 -bore rifle, by Purdey. 
The two Kurrabas were to track, and Jaffer and another man carried my 
spare rifles. 

About nine o'clock we got up to the elephants. They had by that time 
located themselves in thick cover for the day. It would have been difficult 
for us to move about in such stuff; and escape by flight, if attacked in it, would 
have been impossible. After some recent experience I had had with an 
elephant in a somewhat similar place, I thought it unadvisable to follow the 
pair into their stronghold, so we sat down to wait till they should quit it 
of their own accord. It began to rain heavily, and the noise made by the 
downpour on the broad leaves of the teak-trees was so great that we could 
not hear the elephants breaking branches, though they were close at hand. 
We sheltered ourselves from the pouring storm as well as we could, cower- 
ing at the foot of a large tree, and keeping a look-out lest the elephants 
should come in our direction. 

The rain continued without intermission for six hours. The sandwiches 
I had brought with me for breakfast were reduced to pulp. I was wet to the 
skin, and it was no easy matter to keep even the cartridges dry, I was amused 
at the Kurrabas' attempts to keep themselves somewhat less moist than they 
would otherwise have been. They tacked three or four broad teak-leaves 
together with thorns, so as to form a rude hat ; this kept a portion of the 
heavy droppings from the trees from their shoulders as they crouched on 
the ground, hugging themselves in their shivering arms. 

At last the rain ceased, and wiping the rifles as dry as possible we pro- 
ceeded to look for the elephants' marks. They had fed close to us for some 


time during the rain, but had moved off two hours ago. Tlieir marks were 
all but obliterated, and the tracking was slow iu consequence. The bamboos 
showered drops of water upon us as we brushed against them, and the low- 
lying places had been converted into a succession of pools by the recent 
deluge. After proceeding about a mile we heard the pair feeding in a 
hollow amongst thick bamboo-cover, which, however, hid them from view. 
They were moving slowly forwards, breaking a branch now and again, but 
heading steadily towards the clearing they had left in the morning. The regu- 
lar, slow, crunching sound made by their grinders as they chewed the tough 
wood and leaves, was the only interruption, except the occasional crash of a 
bough, to the stillness of the dark and gloomy afternoon in the deep forest. 
The cover they were in was too thick to be entered with any degree of safety; 
w^hilst the tusker's notoriety — though in reality he w^as no more dangerous 
before a sportsman's rifle than any other elephant — made us observe extra 
caution. We followed the slowly advancing pair, keeping parallel with them 
outside the cover in the open tree-forest. At last they came near the edge, and 
I saw their heads indistinctly amongst the bamboo-fronds. Ordering Jaffer 
and Bettay Gouda (the other gun-bearer) and the Kurrabas to keep.behind a 
thick bamboo-clump, I took my 4-bore rifle and crept forward for ten yards 
— which brought me to within thirty of the elephants. The muckna first 
passed slowly along, keeping inside the cover, and then the tusker. The 
latter gave me but an indistinct shot, which I, however, thought it advisable 
to take, as evening was drawling on apace ; so I fired from a rest on a white- 
ants' hill behind which I knelt. The ground was wet and slippery, and I 
made a scramble in gaining my feet, which rather delayed me in getting 
back to the bamboo-clump for my second rifle. I glanced over my shoulder 
as I reached its shelter. Horrors ! both elephants were close behind me, 
their heads bobbing spasmodically with the pace at which they w^ere shuf- 
fling along ; they were actually coming through the heavy curtain of smoke 
which hung in the damp air like a fog behind me ! I thought we were 
doomed, at least to a race for our lives — and a race against an elephant is 
one which admits of no doubt as to the winner ; but almost in the same 
instant it flashed across me that the elephants could not possibly have seen 
me and commenced a simultaneous chase so instantaneously. No — it was 
clear they were running away ; so collaring Jatler and Bettay Gouda, and 
pressing them close against the bamboo -clump to prevent their moving, I 
waited in breathless anxiety. The two Kurrabas had looked out and 
seen the elephants coming ; and without more ado — thinking we wore 
discovered — they now started olf before the monsters, almost under their 
trunks, doubling like hares, without even looking behind them. The ele- 


pliants passed the bamboo-chimp like a pair of runaway locomotives, and 
thence went off at full speed in different directions, not heeding the Kurra- 
bas, and utterly scared by the suddenness of our attack. 

"What an instantaneous transformation of scene in that dark and silent 
jungle had the drawing of a trigger effected ! The change from placidly 
browsing elephants to madly fleeing ones, from hiding Kurrabas to men 
going for dear life, was as ludicrous as it was sudden ; and when the run- 
aways came back after their unnecessary display of agility, we all had a 
quiet laugh over the occurrence. Bettay said that for his j)art he considered 
it was in consideration of some good deeds that he must have done in his 
former life,''^ that he had been favoured to witness so goodly a sight. 

As often happens in shooting big game of all kinds, especially elephants, 
which are generally attacked at very close quarters, these two animals had 
set off instantly on the terrible alarm, without waiting to ascertain the nature 
of the danger, or whence it came. They had even rushed through the cloud 
of smoke in their headlong flioht. The intentions of ^vild animals are often 
misinterpreted by the inexperienced, and a precipitate flight of this kind in 
the direction of the sportsman may be construed into a determined charge. 

The rogue had a very moderate pair of tusks, as I found some months 
afterwards when I killed him ; but of course they appeared to us to be 
splendid specimens now we had lost him ! I had aimed too high, as I was 
then but imperfectly acquainted with the structure of an elephant's head, and 
the ball had passed above the brain. There was a thick blood-trail, in two 
distinct lines, showing that the bullet had gone through the elephant's 
cranium ; but it did not continue far, as is usually the case with wounded 

I think I never in my life felt so disappointed. I had left Mysore in 
the hope of speedily returning in the proud roh of the successful rogue- 
slayer. Myself and men had been drenched to the skin, and starved all 
day, in persevering in the chase — circumstances which, though cheerfully 
overlooked during the excitement of the hunt, now forced themselves unpleas- 
antly upon our attention. I suddenly recollected how hurtful a thorough 
drenching is in a malarious locality, and how extremely likely to be followed 
by an attack of jungle-fever. To add to our discomfiture we were miles 
from home, to reach which our powers of walking and wading would be 
severely tried. Life had suddenly become a blank ! I should never smile 
again ! 

How astonishing are the changes of mood induced by surroundings ! 
Seated by the camp-fire a few hours later, after a bath, a good dinner, and 

* Tlie Hindoo idea of a former state of existence. 


a drop of hot whisky-and- water to correct the effects of the day's ducking ; 
with a Trichiiiopoly cheroot under way, my companions of the day and 
other Kurrabas of weight in jungle matters around me, and the cheerful 
blaze lighting up the forest overhead ; I took a much more hopeful view of 
existence than I had so recently done, and believed it was possible I might 
yet be happy. The men had had their meal (it is advisable in jungle- 
trips to leave some of the companions of the men who accompany their 
master at home to cook ; otherwise, after a hard day, they may be too tired 
to do it for themselves, and may fall asleep without eating anything) ; per- 
mission to smoke had been accorded to all (natives are too respectful to 
smoke before their superiors without invitation) ; and even the reticent 
Kurrabas had found their tongues, and were now discussing the chances of 
finding the elephant on the morrow. More can be learned of the simple 
nature and ideas of jungle-tribes, and of their feelings and customs, as also 
of the habits of their fellow-inhabitants of the forest, the wild beasts, by 
the camp-fire than at any other time. Often has some passing allusion 
attracted my attention to matters which direct inquiry would never have 
elicited. Investigation amongst jungle-men must be carried on in a desul- 
tory way, and at fitting times. Any prolonged mental effort soon fatigues 
their untutored minds. A Kurraba is as quickly tired by a steady course 
of questions as the most brilliant conversationalist would be if set to push 
liis way through the jungles in which the Kurraba travels from morning till 
night without fatigue. 

The next day we followed the tusker's track for many hours, but he had 
travelled rapidly, and evidently without being seriously affected by the shot. 
As I have already stated in the preceding chapter, elephants are rarely re- 
covered when merely wounded by a head-shot. If they are not killed on 
the spot the sportsman may usually spare himself the trouljle of following 
them, as in one night they travel a distance which will take him two days 
to cover. 

But happily " hope springs eternal in the human breast," and I left 
Kakankotd comforting myself with the prospect of another hunt and better 
luck shortly. The Kurrabas promised to let me know when they next 
heard of the rogue. He was now off into Coorg, and was not likely to show 
himself again in his old haunts for some time. 




rogue's impertinent friend THE MUCKNA — TAKE HIM DOWN A PEG — MY BEST 

FIVE months after the incidents related in the last chapter I again fonnd 
myself at Kakankote on a second campaign against the rogue. He 
had temporarily deserted the neighbourhood, as anticipated by the Kurrabas, 
after the rough usage he had been subjected to, but had now returned, evi- 
dently not improved in temper, and had marked his arrival by killing a 
Kurraba, a relative of one of the trackers I had with me on our late expe- 
dition. The Kurraba was surprised when digging roots in the jungle, but 
would probably not have been caught had he been alone. Two youthful 
aborigines were with him, and it was after putting them up a tree, and in 
attempting to follow, that he was pulled down and torn limb from limb by 
the elephant. The Kurrabas who found the body said that the elephant 
had held the unfortunate man down with one fore-foot, whilst with his trunk 
he tore legs and arms from their sockets, and jerked them to some distance. 
Under ordinary circumstances an elephant has no chance of catching a Kur- 
raba ; they dodge in the underwood like rabbits, and are out of sight in a 

It was on Cliristmas Day, 1872, that I started with the Kurrabas for a 


pool in the jungles near Kakankote, where they said we should he pretty- 
sure of finding the rogue's tracks, as most other water-supplies were very 
low, wliilst at this one he could both drink and enjoy a pleasant mud-bath. 
The morning was cold, with a raw fog. Our party consisted of six Kurra- 
bas, my two gun-bearers, and myself. Four Kurrabas were to track, and 
the other two to bring the pony and luncheon-basket at some distance behind 
us after we took up the trail. I left instructions for half-a-dozen men to 
follow us later in the day with knives, axes, ropes, &c., and to wait at a cer- 
tain place in the jungle, to be sent for in case we should bag the elephant. 
Our path lay for a mile and a half along the main road. The miserable 
Kurrabas preceded us, taking long j)ulls at the cheroots I had given them. 
They kept the smoke in their mouths for some time, and then expelled it 
slowly through their nostrils, so as to lose none of its flavour. Even along 
tlie main road they moved with the quiet apprehensive air natural to all 

We soon turned off into the forest. The cheroots were extinguished and 
stuck behind their possessors' ears for future use, and wlien we reached the 
pool the night's tracks were carefully examined. The rogue had drunk 
there about three o'clock in the morning. In the vicinity of the pool was 
a large patch of bulrushes and grass ten feet liigh. He had entered this, 
and it was some time before the Kurrabas could carry the tracks through 
to the other side. The difficulty of tracking in this high grass was very 
great. It was not only dry and withered, and trodden into lanes by old 
elephant-paths in all directions, but the elephant had passed through it 
some hours before, and the fog and dew had since settled on all the paths 
alike, and obliterated the indications of their respective dates. Elephants 
have a great fancy for keeping to each other's old tracks, and when 
all are dry alike, or alike covered with dew, the wits of the best trackers 
are tried to keep up the track at a sufficient pace to reach the game in 
moderate time. There is great pleasure in watching the working out of a 
difficult trail. The man who sends out to have elephants found for him, and 
tlien goes and shoots them, loses, in my opinion, much of the real pleasure 
of this grandest of all sports. 

After leaving the long grass the trail led through easier country. 
The elephant had pushed along at a good pace. Our great object was 
to reach him before 10 a.m. Up to that time Ave might expect to find 
him feeding in open forest, but later in the day he would be sure to be 
in the thickest places, where the difficulty and danger of attacking him 
would be increased. 

We carried the track through open forest, bamboo - covert, and long 

A CHECK. 219 

grass till 1 2 a.:\i., wlien we came regularly to fault, as tlie thickets we were 
now in had been much trampled a month before by herd-elephants, and the 
rogue had wandered from one path to another in a most puzzling way. I 
have much too great an opinion of the Kurrabas to suppose they would not 
have worked out the trail sooner or later ; but at this moment the rogue 
relieved us of all further trouble as to tracking, by trumpeting, or rather 
squeaking, in some high grass about two hundred yards back on the track 
we had just come ! This illustrates the necessity of sportsmen and their 
followers observing the greatest caution, and never speaking or moving 
without circumspection, after entering tlie jungles. One cannot tell where 
any animal may or may not be. Here was a case : the elephant had 
wandered about, and had finally lain down close to his tracks, but in thick 
cover. His original track led past where he now was, and we had all passed 
him within a few feet unknown to him and to ourselves. Had my party 
been advancing incautiously, thinking that as the trackers were ahead the 
elephant must be so also, where should we have been had he suddenly burst 
into our midst ? Such an attack is sure to demoralise one's men, and some 
accident would have been pretty nearly certain to occur in the confusion. 
Fortunately the wind was all right, and we had passed him without being 
either seen or heard. The sound he now made was merely a squeak of 
caprice as he got on to his legs after his mid-day snooze. 

"When the rogue trumpeted my men were greatly excited. Here we were 
face to face with the man-slayer ! They could hardly speak, but I knew 
this was not from fear ; often when more of a novice I have felt the same. 
It is excessive excitement, with, of course, a certain amount of apprehension. 
This all vanishes when the game is actually at the end of one's rifle, and I 
saw it was the same with Bettay and Birram, my gun-bearers, when we 
subsequently got up to the elephant. I gave them a minute or two to get 
cool, told them to stick close to me, and to mind not to clink the guns 
together, and then ordered the Kurrabas to advance. 

Old Poojaree, who was always ready for dangerous work, now took 
the lead. We pushed through dangerously thick stuff, where I expected to 
hear the elephant's war-trumpet every moment, and to have him burst out 
on us ; but fortunately we had the wind, and the unconscious monster stood 
unaware of the fact that enemies were at hand. 

We were within ten yards of him before we could make him out, and 
he then only appeared as a dark mass in the young bamboo and grass 
in which he was standing. There was fortunately a good breeze blowing, 
which made siifficient noise amongst the branches to cover our approach ; 
but it was impossible to get near enough, even with this advantage, for the 


head-shot in such thick stiifr. I therefore decided to give him the 4-bore 
behind the shoulder, if I could only make out how he was standing ; hut 
there was a difficulty about this, as even his feet were hidden in the under- 
growth, so that though we stooped and looked along the ground we could 
get no clue to his position. As luck w^ould have it, however, he at this 
moment raised his trunk to reach a bough overhead. I saw his temple, and 
seized my 12-bore, intending to reserve the 4-oz. in case the first shot did 
not kill him ; but before I could draw a sight on him his head was again 
hidden. Fearing that if I delayed any longer a slant of wind might dis- 
cover us, I took the 4-oz. and fired at where I now knew his shoulder M'as. 
The report and smoke from 10 drams in such thick cover were tremen- 
dous. The elephant remained montionless for an instant after receiving 
the shot, when, with a wild scream and tremendous crash away he went, 
fortunately not in our direction, as there was nothing thick enough to 
shelter us, and we might have been run over by accident. As soon as I 
could reload the 4-ljore we raced after him. The grass and bushes on both 
sides of his track were covered with blood, and my hands, face, and gun 
became sticky with it as we ran on through the grass. We had only gone 
about two hundred yards when the Kurrabas stopped short, and with the one 
"word " dnay " (elephant), vanished. There was the elephant sure enougli, 
standing about twenty-five yards from us in an open space amongst grass 
up to his shoulders, and facing us. The 4-bore had taken him about half- 
way up the left shoulder, and his lungs must have been damaged, as blood 
"vvas gushing from his mouth ; tliis accounted for the state of the grass and 
bushes we had passed through. He must have stopped through being 
choked by the bleeding, and hearing us running behind him, had faced round 
to receive us. As the Kurrabas vanished he came a few steps forward with 
a grunt, and again stopped. 

He certainly was a sight to give a novice in elephant- shooting a " turn." 
I'Jlood was gushing from liis mouth, covering his chest, fore-legs, and trunk. 
His twinkling eye showed he meant mischief; his head was held liigh ; 
his trunk curled between his tusks ; and one foot was planted boldly in 
advance, ready for a forward movement. I and my gun-bearers were still 
within the cover and concealed ; so, taking inmiediate advantage of his halt 
for a steady shot, I aimed between his eyes, and dropped him dead with the 
4-bore. We found this bullet afterwards in liis neck, it having gone through 
the brain and about fifteen inches of nmscle behind. 

Our delight at this speedy and fortunate termination to our hunt may 
be imagined. I jumped on to the fallen monster's side, which was six feet 
from tlie ground as he lay. We had ccrlainly overthrown him by some 


Ijoldness ; we liad brouglit the pursuit to a speedy conclusion by pushing up 
to him even in a disadvantageous and dangerous position. 

The two Kurrabas with the pony and hmcheon-basket now came up; and 
the party with knives and ropes, who had heard the shots, were not far be- 
hind them. Whilst my men were cutting off the feet I had some tiffin and 
a cheroot; and the Kurrabas also applied themselves to their half-finished 
weeds of the morning, discussing with great relish the events of the day's 
sport. One of tlie Kurrabas made a light for us with two dry sticks in a 
few minutes. The process is as follows : A notch is cut in a stick as 
thick as one's little finger ; this is laid on the ground and held down with 
the toes, the notched side being uppermost. The end of a stick about fifteen 
inches long, and as thick as an ordinary lead-pencil, held vertically, is now 
inserted in the notch, the end being first rudely sharpened. This is made 
to revolve rapidly between the hands, under considerable downward pres- 
sure. The sticks soon commence to smoke at the point of contact, and a 
Ijrown charred powder is worked out at the notch. In about a minute the 
friction kindles a spark in tlie powder, which is then taken up, placed in a 
piece of rag with a handful of dry grass or leaves, and blown into a blaze. 

When I had finished tiffin we set to work to roll the elephant over, as 
I wanted to see the shoulder-shot, which was underneath. This we effected 
by working at one leg at a time with ropes and props. After a couple of 
hours of indescribable labour we rolled the huge mass over. On examining 
his head I found the marks of my unsuccessful shot of some months previ- 
ous. This was a good Christmas-day's work ; and though I had no roast- 
beef, and no plum-pudding, what did that matter ? had I not enjoyed the 
noblest sport to be had in the world ? Tigers and so on are all very well, 
but give me a rogue-elephant for real sport. 

We went back to the carcass next day, and after immense labour suc- 
ceeded in severing the head from the body. A path was cleared from 
the main road for a bullock-cart, and we levered the head into it, and 
brought it in triumph to Kakankote. I had it put down by the roadside 
for two days, during which time it was on view to the passers-by, after 
which some Holoyas (low-caste Hindoos) were set to work to cut off the 
flesh. I had the skull preserved complete, and the feet prepared for sub- 
sequent conversion into footstools. The rogue was a large elephant, but 
with poor tusks, only three feet eleven inches in length each when taken 
out, ten inches in circumference at the gum, and weighing 22 1 lb. the pair. 
They were much curved upwards, which was one of the peculiarities by 
which he was known. Two-thirds of his tail were gone ; the sore at the 
end of the remaining portion was alive with maggots; and as his tail at 


this point was as thick as a man's calf, the agony which the poor Lnile 
must have endured was enougli to account for his savageness. 

As I had sliot the rogue on the second day after my arrival, and T 
intended staying eight days more, I now turned my attention to searcliing 
for otlier single elephants. There were no lierds in the jungle at that time 
of the year ; the herds leave the vicinity of Kakankote about October, 
and betake themselves to the lighter jungle bordering on the heavy forests. 
Here the grass is not so overgrown, and is consequently more palatable, 
and tlie cover is not so thick as to distress the calves, which are chiefly 
born towards the end of the year. 

The muckna, the late rogue's friend, was the only single elephant now 
in the jungles, and as the Kurrabas said he was always ready to chase them 
if they met him, I thought it well to give him a lesson. I did not wish 
to kill him, as he had no trophies, but merely to impress upon him the 
fact that man was sometimes a dangerous creature to meddle with. The 
day after shooting the rogue we followed the muckna, and the two lead- 
ing trackers, who were fifty yards in advance of myself and gun-bearers, 
nearly stumbled on him lying down in some long grass. The elephant 
gained his feet in a moment, and with a tremendous crackling of bamboos 
emerged into the open forest about sixty yards from us, head erect, ears 
cocked, and squeaking continuously as he looked about for the disturbers 
of his rest. I was just about to give him a shot through the head, but 
above the brain so as not to Idll him, when one of the trackers who had 
found his way out of the long grass ran to the bamboo-clump behind wliich 
my men were sheltering. I was standing in the open to the left of the 
clump in grass up to my shoulders. The muckna lieard or saw the move- 
ment in our direction, and at once came towards us. When within forty 
yards I gave him the 4-bore high in the forehead. This staggered him, and 
with ears pressed closely to his neck, and tail lowered, he made off in a 
manner more hasty than dignified. We all shouted derisively at the col- 
lapsed and retreating combatant, and I daresay the lesson made him a M^iser 
elephant. I have seen him recently in the same jungles, and liaving heard 
nothing more to his disadvantage, hope he has become a reformed character. 

There were no other single elephants at this time in the jungle on the 
Kakankote side of the Cubbany. The Kurrabas, however^ said tliat they 
had heard that there was one in the Baigoor forest on the other side of the 
river, but that tliey knew no particulars about liim, as other Kurrabas lived 
there, whose duty it would be to afford us information. As this seemed to 
be the only otlier beast we were likely to meet witli, I dosjiatclied four 
Kurriibas witli two days' provisions to see what they couhl h'arn of him, 


aiul applied myself to fisliing and deer-sliooting till their return. On the 
second evening two of them returned to say that they had found the single 
elephant's tracks ; that he was an immense beast, as shown by his footprints ; 
and that the other two Kurrabas were following him with several Kurrabas 
of the locality. It is always necessary for trackers to see an elephant if 
trophies are the sportsman's object, as the animal may turn out to be a 
muckna, or tuskless male. 

Next day, not expecting news till evening, I was wandering in the 
forest, accompanied by three or four Kurrabas, when we came on the fresh 
trail of an elephant. It had evidently been made during the night, but by 
what elephant we could not conjecture. There was no single elephant but 
the muckna left in the Kakankote jungles now that the rogue was shot, and 
it was incredible that the former could have remained about the place after 
the treatment he had received so lately. Whilst we were discussing the 
matter in low whispers, beyond which the voice should never be raised in 
the jungles— there is nothing to gain and everything to lose by audible 
talking — we heard a light rustling sound approaching. In an instant we 
were all under cover of some close young bamboo -coppice, as it was as 
likely to be the elephant as anything else, when who should appear but 
our party of Kurrabas from the other side of the river, following the trail 
eagerly, all with their eyes upon the ground, and dripping from crossing 
the river. As they came close to where we were hidden I made a sudden 
movement among the bamboos. If a nod is as good as a wink to a blind 
horse, a rustle is as effective as any greater demonstration to a Kurraba, 
and there was an instantaneous, though quiet, scatter amongst them. A 
whistle brought them together, when they said that this was the elephant 
from the Baigoor forest ; that they had followed him for the two preceding 
days without seeing him, as he was restless and kept constantly on the 
move ; that he had crossed the river during the night ; and they added the 
gratifying intelligence that he had very large tusks, the prints of which 
they had seen where he had lain down in soft soil. They had also brought 
me the diameter of his footprint (the fore-foot) on a slip of bamboo, which, 
on applying to a steel tape which I always carry in my pocket for measur- 
ing game, I found to be exactly eighteen inches. As twice the circum- 
ference of an elephant's fore-foot is his height at the shoulder, this gave 
nine feet five inches, which is very tall even for a male elephant; and when 
I shot him I found he was nine feet seven inches. Sometimes the foot 
measurement is an inch or two out, but very rarely, and the difference on 
this occasion probably arose from mis-measurement of the footprint. 

The Kurrabas were all very keen in the pursuit, and I encouraged them 


by saying it was clear the elephant had come to where 1 was to meet his 
death. They all assented with nods and grunts to this predestinarian view, 
and added in Canarese that it was evidently his " hancaj hurr6" or the 
" writing on his forehead " (his fate). 

AVe pushed ra])idly along as the trail was comparatively fresh. At 
places where the elepliant had stopped to feed — in moving from one part of 
the country to another elephants generally march pretty steadily, merely 
grazing by the way — the Kurrabas immediately spread to find where he 
liad gone on again. This was much more expeditious than following each 
footstep, as it may be necessary to do with only one or two trackers. A 
low note, in imitation of the Indian wood-owl, a sound which would alarm 
no animal that heard it, immediately announced the fact when a tracker 
hit off the track, and we were seldom delayed from the direct line for more 
than a minute or two. I was relieved at the commencement of the hunt 
of the rifle I ordinarily carried by one of the Kurrabas, and I now took off 
my coat, as the day was warm even in the shady forest, and we were fre- 
quently running. The elephant had several hours' start of us, and was 
heading towards the Coorg jungles, where he would be beyond our reach. 
Between 7 and 1 o'clock a.m. we must have gone twelve miles ; and 
this exertion, despite the interest of the chase, was beginning to tell upon 
me. There was a stream some little distance ahead, and we entertained 
high hopes that the elephant might rest near it during the day. 

As we pushed quickly along like a pack of hounds down the finel}'- 
wooded and gentle slope, at the foot of which the stream ran, we found the 
elephant had begun to loiter and feed about, and finally, on the bank of the 
stream, he had devoted at least two hours to demolishing a bamboo-clump, 
the leaves and twigs of which form a principal part of the elephant's food. 
The appearance of a bamboo-cover after a herd of elephants has fed in it is 
remarkable. Eoughly speaking, there are two kinds or varieties of bamboos. 
One description — the small bamboo — grows to about thirty feet in height, and 
usually in small clumps, each bamboo about an inch and a half in diameter. 
The large kind — the giant bamboo — grows in clumps sometimes twenty paces 
in circumference, the individual stems in which are occasionally seven inches 
in diameter. This bamboo is hollow, the wood being luilf an inch thick. 
The elephants pull the bamboos down with their trunks;, and holding the 
stem under foot, strip off the young shoots and foliage. The stems are split 
open by the pressure of their feet. The crackling and crashing noise made 
by elephants feeding amongst bamboos is very great ; and they reduce the 
clumps to such disarray, bending them at about ten feet from the ground, 
but not detaching them, that it is dillicult to move througli the cover :ifler 


tliem. The bamboos are left lying at every conceivable angle from the 
different clumps, interlaced across the spaces between, and twisted into every 

When we reached the almost dry bed of the stream we observed a 
ncIIy tree {Phyllanthus cmblica) overhanging the bed on the far side, under 
which the elephant had stood for some time, picking up the acid fruit, of 
which elephants and other herbivorous animals are fond. He had remained 
here until an hour before. He would not be likely to travel fast, even if 
he kept moving, during the heat of the day. So, much encouraged, and 
refreshed by a hasty drink of water, we scrambled up the bank in liis tracks, 
at a place where no one who has not seen what a wild elephant can do 
would imagine it could ascend, and then spread to find which direction he 
had taken. He had wandered about a good deal, and his tracks were con- 
fused. At this moment, from in front of us, and about a hundred and fifty 
yards distant, came the pleasant sound to the ears of weary trackers of a 
breaking bamboo ! The elephant was not alarmed ; this we knew by the 
character of the sound ; and as we all collected again, I held up a handful 
of powdered dry leaves to see how the wind blew. Such as there was was 
favourable, and taking my gun-bearers, Jaffer and Birram, and two of the 
best Kurrabas, we went towards the elephant. The other trackers climbed 
trees to be out of harm's way. All wild animals are liable to return by the 
path they have come, if suddenly alarmed, and it is by no means safe for 
followers to remain on the track when a wounded beast is on foot. 

When we were about forty yards from the elephant the Kurrabas sud- 
denly pointed him out; they whispered eagerly, " Bhoopa ! komhu nordu !" 
(what a monster ! look at his tusks I) He was certainly a magnificent beast. 
He stood with his hind- quarters against a tree, toying listlessly with a 
bamboo, and looked even larger than he really was, from standing on rising 
ground. I almost trembled with eagerness when I saw the prize ! His 
tusks were twice as large as any I had ever seen before. I dreaded losing 
him. His head was in full view, but the distance was rather too great for a 
certain shot at the brain. What if I lost him as I had done the rogue some 
months before ! 

I dared not contemplate such a thing, so taking aim at him behind the 
shoulder, about half-way up the body, I fired the 4-bore, loaded with 10 
drams of powder and a hardened lead-and-quicksilver bidlet. This shot 
took him about a foot too far back, as I afterwards found. With a shrill 
scream of pain away the elephant went over the rising ground. We ran to 
the top, hoping to hear him fall, but he was soon out of hearing. The other 
men joined us, and we explained wdiat had occurred ; then dividing the track- 



ers into two parties, four of wliora were to go in advance, and the rest to 
come with me behind, we began with care, and at a much slower pace 
than we had brought the hunt to this point, the really dangerous work of 
following the wounded tusker. AVe did not think it possible he could go far. 

We followed him, however, for three miles, and I shall never forget the 
terrible dread we had of losing him. There was but little blood, and I felt 
afraid to look at my men; for was I not conscious that I deserved reproachful 
looks ? I ought to have got nearer to the elephant and made sure work of 
him on the spot, instead of behaving like a novice. However, I could not 
believe that he would escape in the long-run with that leaden pill in him. 
There was a fallen tree in the path about four and a haK feet in girth, and 
some two miles from where I shot him ; he had got over this considerable 
obstacle, when we thought if he had been very bad he would have gone 
round it. My men exclaimed "Ayyo! ayyo!" (alas ! alas !) at this evidence 
of his strength. 

After going for about three miles, our hopes sinking with every step, 
we came up with the leading trackers, who were halted in consultation at a 
spot where the elephant had at last fallen or lain down. This revived our 
spirits considerably ; we felt certain our quarry could not now escape, and 
from lamenting my men changed their tune entirely, and began to praise a 
god — Mastee — who was reverenced as the presiding spirit of these jungles, 
and to whom they had been promising cocoa-nuts, and latterly even a sheep, 
for his assistance. 

We had hardly renewed the hunt when a breaking bamboo was heard 
ahead, and one of the leading trackers ran back to say that the elephant 
was just before them, but that the jungle was close and difficult to shoot in, 
and that the others would send back word when he got into better ground. 
Before long the signal was given, and I, Jaffer, and Birram, went forward 
with the best Kurraba — a curly-pated young fellow called Bussava. We 
were soon only forty yards behind the elephant, which was walking slowly 
along through open forest, interspersed with a few bamboo-clumps. The 
grass was a little too long, being up to our necks, and rather dry and noisy, 
so we kept our distance, hoping for a chance of closing in better ground. 
The elephant seemed almost exhausted, as I observed he panted heavily. I 
felt a pang at the suffering which the cruelty of giving him a body-shot was 
occasioning, and I resolved never to shoot another elephant except in the 
head. To steal up to within ten paces, and drop an elephant dead before 
he is aware of danger, is the poetry of the sport ; to kill him by body-sliots 
the prose. The latter is certainly more dangerous, as following and again 
encountering wounded elephants is likely to lead to a fight ; but the cruelty 


of subjecting so grand and harmless a creature to unnecessary pain must 
make every sportsman shun it. 

The elephant at last stopped, and in another moment was swinging 
round, the picture of rage. He had got our wind, and I have no doubt 
would have charged back in another moment, but as he showed his full 
broadside I fired at his shoulder, as he was too unsteady to afford me a 
certain head-shot. There must have been something the matter with my 
4-bore, for it kicked most unmercifully, and nearly sent me on my back ; 
but it did more for the elephant, as it knocked him completely over like a 
rabbit. This shot, I subsequently found, struck him high in the shoulder. 

The elephant quickly regained his feet, whilst I endeavoured in haste 
to withdraw the exploded cartridge of the 4-bore, which was a single barrel. 
The heavy charge of powder had so expanded it that I was unable to 
extract it, whilst the elejjhant made across to our right. Seizing my 
1 2 - bore Greener rifle, which was loaded with 6 drams and hardened 
bullets, I ran to get a side-shot, but was rather startled by the elephant's 
suddenly j^ulling up and facing almost directly towards me. I took two 
rapid shots right and left at his temple, but failed to floor him. He only 
recoiled at each shot, but still stood his ground. I do not believe he was 
looking for us, but that he was utterly stunned and stupefied by the heavy 
blows he was receiving. I took my last spare rifle (16-bore Purdey) and 
fired a third unsuccessful shot. I now only had one loaded barrel, and I 
reserved it, as I expected every moment that the elephant would discover 
us. We were behind a tree, and I determined if he charged to let him get 
to within a couple of yards of the muzzle before firing, when by a general 
bolt we might have escaped in the confusion. I admired the conduct of my 
second gun-bearer, Birram, a young and promising pupil in the gun-bearing 
line, who, though quite new to this style of work, was on his knees at my 
feet behind the tree, trying with his teeth to extract the 4-bore cartridge, 
paying all his attention to his duty, and not even looking at the elephant. 
At last he got the cartridge out, and I rammed in another, at the moment 
that the tusker started off again at a swinging pace. In hurrying after 
him I fell over a log in the grass, and as I was running as fast as I could, 
and carrying a 16J-lb. rifle, I got a heavy fall. For the moment I felt 
quite stunned, and imagined half the bones in my body must be broken. 
As I lay sprawling I thought how I should fare if the elephant turned upon 
me ! I could not after this carry my own rifle, and had some difficulty in 
hobbling along at the pace the trackers went. 

The elephant had changed his course from the line he had been steering 
before the second encounter, and was now heading back again towards 


Kiikankote. The hunt had heen north hitlierto ; it was now to the soutli- 
east. Kdkankote was six miles distant. I drew the Kurral)as' attention to 
this, and said that the tusker evidently knew we should have to convey his 
tusks and head to the bungalow presently, and that we should never be 
able to manage it if lie was so disobliging as to die far off. This sally 
pleased these simple aborigines, who have tlie imperturbable good-humour 
and easily-excited risible faculties of wild tribes generally. 

We were astonislied at the distance the elephant still went — about four 
miles. He had also kept up the pace, as we saw by his footprints. Tlie 
recent encounter seemed to have acted as a refresher to his flagging ener- 
gies. However, we felt certain of him ; and this part of a hunt, when the 
result is no longer doubtful, and whilst excitement and anticipation are still 
at their height, is the quintessence of a sportsman's enjoyment. 

We at last came to the stream on the banks of which we had encoun- 
tered the elephant about three hours before, and at nearly the same spot. 
He had crossed it after drinking at a pool under the bank, which I knew 
would soon affect him seriously, with his body-wound ; but still lie had 
ascended the bank where it was very steep, and up which I found consider- 
able difficulty in following, as my right leg and left shoulder were painful 
with my fall. But this was the gallant beast's last effort. The Kurrabas 
had foretold the probability of our finding him near the stream, as he would 
have to ascend rising ground if he still held on on the other side. Llore- 
over, indications had not been wanting in the last few hundred yards that 
his bolt was nearly shot. 

The leading trackers shortly found him close ahead, and came back to 
say that he appeared quite done. Bussava, my two gun-bearers, and I again 
advanced. Tlie elephant was standing near a salt-lick to which elephants, 
bison, and game of all kinds, were in the habit of resorting to eat the earth, 
which is impregnated with soda. He was facing a perpendicular bank into 
which he had driven his tusks, and now stood leaning upon them in his 
weariness. Poor beast ! I crept up to within fifteen yards, and killed 
him with the 4-bore through his brain. He rolled heavily over, and (uir 
hunt was ended. 

After the momentary exultation was past, 1 tliuught ivgretfuHv of the 
noble life which I had sacrificed to afford the pleasure of a few hours' mad 
excitement. The beast to whom nature had given so noble a life ; which 
had roamed these grand solitudes for probably not less than a liuiulivd years ; 
that may have visited the spot on which it now died half a century before 
AVaterloo was fought, and which but for me might have lived for half a cen- 
tury more, — lay bleeding and still quivering l)ofore me, deprived of its hannless 


existence to gratify the passion for sport of a youth hardly out of his teens. 
Nor had it had a fair chance. I had not faced it boldly and killed it in open 
light. It had not even seen its enemies, nor had a chance of retaliation. 
Trackers from whom escape was as impossible as from blood-hounds had been 
urged in pursuit ; the most powerful weapons which science could place in 
the hands of a sportsman, against which any other animal of creation would 
have gone down at once, had been used for its destruction. Could I con- 
gratulate myself greatly on my achievement ? The forest around was inde- 
scribably grand. No sounds but those of Nature fell on the ear. The trees 
were of immense proportions, and to their huge stems and branches numbers 
of ferns and orchids of different kinds clung. Their trunks were moss- 
grown and weather-beaten. The undergrowth consisted of ferns up to our 
shoulders. Truly an elephant has a noble nature, and one may almost 
believe he delights in the wild places he inhabits as much for their beauty 
as for the safety they afford. He wanders from stream to hill-top, rubs his 
tough hide against the mighty forest giants, and lives without fear, except of 
man, his only enemy. What a bloodthirsty creature the self- constituted lord 
of creation is ! Thougli impressed with the wild beauty of the creations of 
Nature around him, how his heart jumps at the sound of the game which he 
has doomed to destruction ! and with Nature only as a witness, how he fear- 
lessly raises his impious hand against her creatures ! 

Despite these and similar somewhat sad reflections, which must come 
upon all sportsmen at times, I cannot look back upon this hunt but as one 
of the most interesting and exciting I ever had. Its length, the alternations 
of hope and misgiving as to the result, the final success, and the trophies I 
won, make it stand first in my memory. 

This was the largest elejohant, and possessed of the best tusks, of any I 
have ever shot. The following are his measurements : — 

Ft. 111. 

Vertical height at shoulder, 
Length from tip of trunk to tip of tail 
Each showing ovit of gum, 

When taken out < ,^^f ' 
( leit, 

Circumference at gum, 

Weight \ ff' '^J \ 

° ( k'tt, 37 ) 











74i lb, 


Of course I was very liberal to the Kurrabas and others on this occa- 
sion. To give an idea of the expense of such a trip, I add a List of what I 
disbursed amongst them. The rupee is counted at two shillings : — 


Present to nine Kurrabas, . 
Cumbleys (blankets) to do., 
Present to my gun-bearers, 
Holoj^as for cleaning the skull, 
Warm clothes for servants, 
Two carts to Kdkankote, 
Tobacco, arrack, and rice, . 
Sundries, say 









Total, . . 150 (£15) 

One remarkable incident that happened to me in the Kdkankote j^^igles 
on another occasion was the accidental shooting of an elephant in a pit. I 
was following a herd at the time, and had sent two Kurrabas ahead on the 
trail, when one of tliem came running back, gesticulating frantically, and 
said an elephant had fallen into a pit, and was just getting out. Away he 
went again, I trying in vain to understand from him what had occurred, 
until he pointed ahead into the long grass and said, " There, there ! shoot 
him, shoot him ! " Not knowing what to make of this, except that there was 
an elephant somewhere in the grass, I ran on, and almost fell into an old 
disused pitfall, which now contained an elephant. His head was a little 
above the level of the ground. As I stepped quickly back he threw his 
fore-feet on to the bank, and tried to reach me with his tusks. The whole 
occurrence was so sudden and unexpected, and his rush so startling, that I 
instinctively pidled the trigger of my 4-bore rifle from my hip as I stepped 
back ; there was no time to bring it to my shoulder. The shot went through 
the base of his right tusk and buried itself deej)ly in his neck. He fell 
backwards, but recovering himself, he commenced dashing his head with 
great violence against the sides of the pit in his stupefaction. I therefore 
took a light gun from Jaffer and killed him. The shot from the 4-bore was 
a mortal one, and sparing him was merely prolonging his agony. 

The elepliant's getting into the pit had ajiparently occurred as follows : 
The herd had passed about two hours before. The pit was one of a number 
of old disused ones, scattered througliout the jungles, and was not now even 
covered in for elephant-catching. It had not been used for many years, 
and the overhanging lemon-grass half hid it from view. The tusker, not 
perceiving it, perhaps when gambolling with his companions, had fallen in. 
Tlie herd had immediately fled in alarm, as elephants always do ; and when 
tlie Kurrabas came upon the elepliant trying to clamber out they thought 
he was on the point of succeeding, and by their excitement led me to the 
hasty action wliicli resulted in his death. He would have worke<l down 


the bank of the pit with his tusks, aud made his escape in a few hours, as 
it was only seven feet deep, but had I laiown how he was circumstanced of 
course I wouki not have fired at him. It was a strange combination of acci- 
dents, the elephant's falling into the pit to begin witb, and his meeting his 
death at my hands in such an untoward manner. I could but agree with 
Jaffer's view of the case, that it was his kismut, or fate. 

We had a fine example upon this occasion of the effects of fear — the 
power of the senses over the physical faculties. One Kurraba, who was 
much afraid of elephants, peered into the pit with a nervous air which 
amused my gun-bearers, and Bettay, who was standing near, gave him 
a sudden push into it and on to the dead elephant. The Kurraba's fear 
knew no bounds. He rushed at the most diflicult side of the pit, attempted 
to scramble up, fell back when he was just at the top, tried again, falling 
down upon the elephant as before, and in his desperation I believe would 
not have succeeded in the next five minutes, when one instant's coolness 
would have released him. He screamed as if he were possessed, and when 
some one hauled him out he ran away for fifty yards before stopping. Tliis 
little incident, from its suddenness and ridiculousness, caused much amuse- 
ment, and the Kurraba was made the butt of a good many pleasantries for 
the rest of the day. 

I once encountered a rather unexpected fellow-sportsman in the hunting- 
field. My tent w^as pitched at Poonjoor, in the middle of a fine open plain, 
on the bank of the HonhoUay river. As I rode into camp on my arrival I 
observed three small tents, lilvc gipsies' wigwams, half hidden amongst the 
dense and rank undergrowth on the edge of the jungle bordering the plain. 
On inquiry I was informed that these more picturesque than convenient 
tenements belonged to a clergyman and two half-caste police inspectors who 
were chaperoning his reverence on a shooting expedition. They were from 
the Madras district of Coimbatore, which runs close to Poonjoor. Poonjoor 
was an unfrequented spot, and I was surprised that any one should have 
found their way there but myself ; nor was my astonishment lessened when 
I learnt that the reverend gentleman and his assistants had shot an elephant 
the day before, and were now gone forth to bring in his tusks ! This was 
more than a sporting layman could bear with equanimity, particularly as 
elephant-shooting was prohibited in Mysore, and we who lived in the country 
were obhged to content ourselves with very little of it. I therefore felt this 
poaching and clerical outrage quite a personal grievance. 

As I was enjoying the beauty of the scenery around camp half an hour 
before sunset, and forming hopes of the morrow's sport, watching the chang- 
ing light on the cliffs before me, and upon the smooth and rounded grass- 


liills of the higher ranges of the Billiga-runguns, my tranquillity was disturbed 
by seeing his reverence with his coat off, dragging an elephant's ear in one 
hand, whilst he carried three feet of its trunk over his shoulder, across the 
plain towards his tents ! This was maddening ! I felt that I met him at 
a serious disadvantage, and I am afraid I approached his lowly tenement in 
a wrong spirit ; it had to be such an extremely humble one, as I had nothing 
to set off against liis tusker ! 

However, I found him as pleasant a companion as he was a keen sports- 
man. He was chaplain to the Madras Eailway Company, his duty being 
to visit the various employees at stations along the line where there were 
no facilities for public worship. ]\Iy wicked feelings regarding the elephant 
vanished in his genial society ; and when I learnt some time afterwards of 
the disasters which followed his trip — of his having got severe jungle-fever, 
the effects of the damp encampment he had chosen at Poonjoor ; and that, 
when on a trip to the Neilgherries to dispel its effects, he had got married, 
and had been obliged to sell off his battery, — I felt none of the delight 
which I am afraid I might have experienced at Poonjoor could I have con- 
templated his future reduced condition. 

The narrowest escape I ever had in elephant-shooting happened more 
than a thousand miles from the scene of the above adventures. It occurred 
in the Garrow hills, wliilst I was in temporary charge of the Elephant 
Kheddah Establishment in Bengal in 1875-76. Before relating it I will 
venture to give a short account of these hills, as they are practically a terra 
incognita, even to Europeans in India, not a hundred of whom have ever 
visited them. The duty which led me into the hills was a prospecting 
expedition for the elephant-catching establishment. I had with me nine 
elephants for travelling. The large number in the stud at Dacca enabled 
me to select good ones, with which I was able to move comfortably and fast. 

The Garrow hills are situated on the north-eastern frontier of Bengal, 
and are bounded by Nepaul on the north, and Assam on the east. They 
are some 4000 square miles in extent, or four times the area of the NeU- 
ghemes. They have only been subject to British rule since 18G8 ; prior 
to this tlicy were independent and unexplored territory. The lawlessness 
of the Garrows, who made raids into the low country of Bengal from time 
to time, eventually necessitated their being placed under supervision. For 
tliis purpose an armed police force entered the hills in 1868, and established 
the present small hill-station of 'I'ura. Tlie hills are now under the Chief 
Commissioner of Assam, A deputy commissioner, police oflicer, and surgeon 
reside at Tura, which boasts of three wooden bungalows, a rough-and-ready 
style i»f jiiil for peccant Garrows, and a cunipact block of ]uilicc huts. It 


has water " laid on " from the hills above, and neatly-cut walks and rides 
through the woods near. 

Until 1870 this distant abode of the British Lion was defended by a 
stockade, the pahsades bristling with sharp fire-hardened bamboos, whilst 
the neighbourhood was pleasantly jianjied. The uninitiated may imagine 
that this panjicing is some ornamental arrangement of the grounds, so I 
must explain that panjics are not a device for the attraction, but for the 
discouragement, of visitors. They consist of bamboo spikes driven into the 
ground, almost level with the surface, the earth being scraped away round 
each so as to form a cup. Hundreds of these are laid in every direction ; 
grass, falling leaves, &c., soon hide them ; and if trodden upon they inflict 
fearful wounds. A place strongly pa7ijied is quite safe against night attack 
or general assault, and can only be approached by a person knowing the 
locality, or after the jjanjies shall have been disposed of in detail. 

The Garrow people are not tall, but are well built, and both men and 
women have open, good-natured countenances. They are warhke and con- 
stantly at variance amongst themselves, feuds between different villages 
being kept up for many years. They have a passion for human heads, and 
are in the habit of decapitating their enemies. When a village has possessed 
itself of the head of a member of another, there is no peace between the two 
communities until the loss has been adjusted by a head from the original 
offenders. Open fighting is not resorted to so much as stealth. For this 
reason Garrows seldom venture abroad but in well-armed parties. They 
believe that a decapitated person cannot be at peace in the next world until 
they have got another head for him from amongst his murderers. Con- 
sequently a sacred obligation rests upon his friends to procure him one. It 
may be soon, or not for years, but it must be got in the end. When a long 
interval of time intervenes, they are accustomed to say that their friend in 
the next world will have a " very long neck ! " Much has been done by 
the British Government since taking over the hills to put a stop to this 
practice, and it is now only in vogue in villages distant from Tura, and 
which are still little influenced by British power. I learnt from Captain 
Williamson, the Deputy Commissioner at Tura, that if the skulls collected by 
contending villagers be destroyed, the feud must, by the Garrows' usages, 
cease, and that he had had an immense number burnt at Tura in presence 
of the parties interested, though there was no doubt they were but a small 
portion of the heads still in the possession of the Garrows. 

For dress the men wear a strip of cloth round their loins, and the women 
merely a band of cloth about a foot in width and just long enough to meet 
round the hips, where it is knotted by the upper corners on the right-hand 


side. This perilous species of petticoat is occasionally weiylited by the 
punctilious with four or five rows of beads along the lower hem. The 
women are well made, and one or two of the younger ones I saw were 
decidedly pretty. They wear large bunches of brass rings, 3^ inches in 
diameter, in their ears ; this gives a stiff carriage to the head. One beauty, 
who permitted me to count her ornaments, had thirty-two rings in each 
ear. I weighed some spare ones ; they were sixteeen to the pound. The 
lobes of their ears were distended in consequence, though the weight is 
partly sustained by a string across the head. The holes through their ears 
are frequently large enough to admit of three fingers being inserted together, 
and one fair one had the lobe of one ear torn through ; this, strange to say, 
is considered a point of beauty amongst them. "What tortures will not the 
softer sex all the world over inflict upon themselves in gratification of their 
vanity ! Agonies from which strong men would recoil are nothing to them. 

The jungles in the Garrow hills differ widely in character from any- 
thing to be seen in the south of India. There is a scarcity of heavy timber, 
owing to immemorial jooiii or clhaya cultivation (the felling of heavy forest 
and sowing for one or two seasons); consequently, in the absence of shade, 
grass fifteen to twenty feet high, creepers, canes, and undergrowth of all 
kinds, flourish apace. There is a large amount of bamboo in the hills, but 
it is of an inferior kind. There are few places where anything like stalking 
can be done ; consequently, thougli game is plentiful, it is not a desirable 
lumting- ground. The game comprises wild elephants, a few rhinoceros, 
buffalo in the lower valleys, bison, bears, samljur, barking-deer, two kinds 
of pheasants, jungle-fowl {G alius ferriigincus ; the common grey jungle-fowl 
of Southern India — Gallus sonncratii — is here unknown) ; the hullook, or 
tailless black monkey (and at least two other species) ; and a few minor 

The hills are well suited for elephant - catching ; the herds are large, 
numerous, and undisturbed, and the supply of water and fodder unlimited. 
There would be some little difficulty about labour at first, as the low-country 
people fear entering the hills, evil spirits and fevers being supposed to be 
somewliat prevalent. I therefore decided on this occasion not to commence 
kheddahs in this locality, but it will probably be one of the most important 
elephant-fields for the supply of the Bengal Commissariat hereafter. 

Having made all the inquiries I desired, I commenced my return-march 
to the plains of Bengal. This was in October 1875. During the fii-st day's 
inarch I passed two large herds of elephants ; one probably contained eighty 
individuals. Next morning I was walkin<i; in advance of the baL'-j;a<j:e-elo- 
pluuits when we heard elephants feeding in a valley to our right. The 


jungle was tolerably feasible here, so I determined to have a look at tliem 
to form an idea of their general stamp, and what fodder they were most 
intent upon, and other particulars. My gun-bearer, Jaffer, who had accom- 
panied me to Bengal from Mysore, and an experienced mahont to examine 
the elephants, accompanied me, with a heavy rifle in case of accidents. The 
herd consisted of about fifty individuals, and after examining them for nearly 
an hour at close quarters, merely keeping the wind, we turned to rejoin the 
pad-elephant on the path. 

Just then a shrill trumpeting and crashing of bamboos about two hun- 
dred yards to our left broke the stillness, and from the noise we knew it 
was a tusker-fight. "\Ye ran towards the place where the sounds of combat 
were increasing every moment : a deep ravine at last only separated us 
from the combatants, and we could see the tops of the bamboos bowing as 
the monsters bore each other backwards and forwards with a crashing noise 
in their tremendous struggles. As we ran along the bank of the nullah 
to find a crossing, one elephant uttered a deep roar of pain, and crossed 
the nullah some forty yards in advance of us, to our side. Here he com- 
menced to destroy a bamboo-clump (the bamboos in these hills have a very 
large hollow, and are weak and comparatively worthless) in sheer fury, 
grumbling deeply the while with rage and pain. Blood was streaming from 
a deep stab in his left side, high up. He was a very large elephant, with 
long and fairly thick tusks, and with much white about the forehead ; the 
left tusk was some inches shorter than the right. 

The opponent of this Goliath must have been a monster indeed to 
have worsted him. An elephant-fight, if the combatants are well matched, 
frequently lasts for a day or more, a round being fought every now and 
then. The beaten elephant retreats temporarily, followed leisurely by the 
other, until by mutual consent they meet again. The more powerful ele- 
phant occasionally keeps his foe in view till he perhaps kills him ; other- 
wise, the beaten elephant betakes himself off for good on finding he has the 
worst of it. Tails are frequently bitten off in these encounters. This muti- 
lation is common amongst rogue-elephants, and amongst the females in a herd; 
in the latter case it is generally the result of rivalry amongst themselves. 

The wounded tusker was evidently the temporarily-beaten combatant 
of the occasion, and I have seldom seen such a picture of power and 
rage as he presented, mowing the bamboos down with trunk and tusks, 
and bearing the thickest part over with his fore-feet. Suddenly his whole 
demeanour changed. He backed from the clump and stood like a statue. 
Not a sound broke the sudden stillness for an instant. His antacronist was 
silent, wherever he was. Now the tip of his trunk came slowly round in our 


direction, and I saw tliat we were discovered to bis fine sense of smell. We 
had been standing silently behind a thin bamboo-clump, watching him, and 
when I first saw that he had winded us, I imagined he might take himself 
off. But his frenzy quite overcame all fear for the moment ; forward went 
his ears and up went his tail, in a way which no one who has once seen the 
signal in a wild elephant can mistake tlie significance of, and in tlie same 
instant lie wheeled round with astonishing quickness, getting at once into 
full speed, and bore straight down upon us. The bamboos by which we 
were partly hidden were useless as cover, and would have prevented a clear 
shot, so I stepped out into open ground the instant the elephant commenced 
his charge. I gave a shout in the hope of stopping him, wliicli failed. I 
had my No. 4 double smooth-bore loaded with 10 drams in hand. 

I fired when the elephant was about nine paces distant, aiming into his 
curled trunk about one foot below the fatal bump between the eyes, as his 
head was held very high, and this allowance had to be made for its eleva- 
tion. I felt confident of the shot, but made a grand mistake in not giving 
liim both barrels ; it was useless to reserve the left as I did at such close 
quarters, and I deserved more than what followed for doing so. The smoke 
from the 10 drams obscured the elephant, and I stooped quickly to see 
where he lay. Good heavens ! he had not been even checked, and was 
upon me ! There was no time to step right or left. His tusks came 
through the smoke (his head being now held low) like the cow-catchers 
of a locomotive, and I had just time to fall ilat to avoid being hurled along 
in front of liim. I fell a little to the right; the next instant down came 
his ponderous fore-foot within a few inches of my left thigh, and I should 
have been trodden on had I not been quick enough, when I saw the fore-foot 
coming, to draw my leg from tlie sprawling position in which I fell. As 
the elephant rushed over me he shrieked shrilly, wliich showed his trunk 
was uncoiled ; and his head also being held low instead of in charging posi- 
tion, I inferred rightly that he was in full flight. Had he stopped I should 
have been caught, but the heavy bullet had taken all the fighting out of 
him. Jaffer had been disposed of by a recoiling bamboo, and was now lying 
almost in the elephant's line ; fortunately, however, the brute held on. I 
was covered with blood from the wound inflicted by his late antagonist in 
his left side ; even my hair was matted together when the blood became 
(by. The mahout had jum])ed into the deep and precipitous nullah to our 
left at the commencement of hostilities. 

How it was that I did not bag the elejihant I cannot tell. Probably I 
M'ent a trifle high, but even then the shock should have stopped him. He was, 
1 believe, unable to pull up, being on a gentle incline and at full speed, though 


douLtless all liostile intentions were knocked out of liim by the severe visi- 
tation upon his knowledge-box. Had I done anything but what I did at 
the critical moment there is no doubt I should have been caught. I felt as 
collected through it all as possible. The deadly coolness which sportsmen 
often experience is in proportion in its intensity to the increase of danger and 
necessity for nerve. 

Jaffer and I picked ourselves up and pursued the retreating tusker. He 
was now going slowly and wearily, and we were up with liim in two hun- 
dred yards from the scene of our discomfiture, but in such thick cover that 
it would have been folly to have closed with him there ; so, as we had the 
wind, we kept about thirty yards behind him. Unfortunately the barnboo- 
cover was extensive, and in about a quarter of a mile he joined the herd 
without once emerging into the open, as we had hoped he would, and afford 
us another chance. The herd had only gone about two hundred yards at 
tlie shot, and were feeding again ; and as I feared that following the tusker 
would only bring us into collision with other elephants, we abandoned the 
chase and returned to the pad-ele]3hant. Had I only had my Mysore Sho- 
lasfa or Kurraba trackers with me w» should no doubt have recovered the 

In Chapter VI. I have referred to the very large tusk of an elephant 
shot in the Billiga-rungun hills by Sir Victor Brooke and Colonel Douglas 
Hamilton, some years before I first shot there. For the following interesting 
account of their adventures with this elephant I am indebted to the pen of 
Sir Victor. The tusk referred to is, I believe, the largest on record for an 
Indian elephant. 

"In July 1863, Colonel Douglas Hamilton and I were shooting on the 
Hassanoor hills. Southern India. We had had excellent sport, but until the 
date of the death of the big tusker, had not come across any elephants. 
Upon the morning of that day, in the jungles to the east of the Hassanoor 
bungalow, we had tracked up a fine tusker, which, partly from over-anxiety, 
and partly, I must confess, from the effect on my nervous system of the 
presence of the first wild bull- elephant I had ever seen, I had failed to bag. 
About mid-day I was lying on my bed chewing the cud of vexation, and 
inwardly vowing terrible vengeance on the next tusker I might meet, when 
two natives came in to report a herd of elephants in a valley some three or 
four miles to the north of our camp. To prepare ourselves was the work of 
a few seconds. As we arrived on the ridge overlooking the valley where the 
elephants were, we heard the crackling of bamboos, and occasionally caught 
sight of the back of an elephant as it crossed a break amongst the confused 
mass of tree -tops upon which we were gazing. Presently one of the 


elephants trumpeted loudly, which attracted tlie attention of some people 
herding cattle on the opposite side of the valley, who, seeing us, and divin- 
ing our intentions, yelled out, " dnay ! dnay ! " (elephants) at the top of 
their voices, in the hopes no doubt of receiving a reward for their untimely 
information. The effect of these discordant human cries was mafiical; 
every matted clump seemed to heave and shake and vomit forth an ele- 
phant. With marvellous silence and quickness the huge beasts marshalled 
themselves together, and by the time they appeared on the more open 
ground in the centre of the valley, a miglity cavalcade was formed whicli, 
once seen, can never be forgotten. There were about eighty elephants in 
the herd. Towards the head of the procession was a noble bull, with a pair 
of tusks such as are rarely seen nowadays in India. Following him in 
direct line came a medley of elephants of lower degree — bulls, cows, and 
calves of every size, some of the latter frolicking with comic glee, and 
bundling in amongst the legs of their elders with the utmost confidence. 
It was truly a splendid sight, and I really believe that while it lasted 
neither Colonel Hamilton nor I entertained any feeling but that of intense 
admiration and wonder. At length the great stream was, we believed, over, 
and we were commencing to arrange our mode of attack, when that hove in 
sight which called forth an ejaculation of astonishment from each one of 
us. Striding thoughtfully along in the rear of the herd, many of the mem- 
bers of which were, doubtless, his cliildren, and his children's cliildren, came 
a mighty bull, the like of which neither my companion, after many years of 
jungle experience, nor the two natives who were with us, had ever seen 
before. But it was not merely the stature of the noble beast which aston- 
ished us, for that, though great, could not be considered unrivalled. It was 
the sight of his enormous tusk, which projected like a long gleam of liglit 
into the grass through which he was slowly wending his way, that held us 
riveted to the spot. With almost a solemn expression of countenance 
Colonel Hamilton turned to me and said, ' There's the largest tusker in 
India, old boy ; and come what may you must get him, and take his tusk 
to Ireland with you.' It w^as in vain I expostulated with my dear old 
friend, recalling my morning's mishap, and reminding him that in jungle- 
laws it stands written — ' Shot turn and turn about at elepliants.' It was of 
no avail. * You must bag that tusker,' was all the answer I could get. 

" It took us but a short time to run down the slope, and to find the track 
which swept like a broad avenue along the bed of the valley. Cautiously 
we followed it up, and after about a quarter of a mile came upon the ele- 
phants. They were standing in perfect silence around tlie bordi'rs of a 
small glade, in tlie middle of which stood the great tusker, ipiite alone, 


and broadside on. He was about fifty yards from us, and therefore out of 
all elephant-shooting range, but the difficulty was to shorten the distance. 
To approach direct was impossible, owing to the absolute want of cover, so 
after some deliberation we decided on working to the right, and endeavouring 
to creep up behind a solitary tree which stood about twenty yards behind the 
elephant. When within ten yards of this tree we found, to our annoyance, 
a watchful old cow, who was not further than fifteen yards from us, and to 
our right, and had decided suspicions of our proximity. To attempt to gain 
another foot would have been to run the risk of disturbing the elej^hants. 
Seeing this, and knowing the improbability of our ever getting the bull out- 
side the herd again, Colonel Hamilton recommended me to creep a little 
to the left so as to get the shot behind his ear, and to try the effect of 
my big Purdey rifle, while he kept his eye on the old cow in case her 
curiosity should induce her to become unpleasant. I should mention that we 
now, for the first time, perceived that the old bull had only one perfect tusk, 
the left one being a mere stump, projecting but a little beyond the upper 
lip. I accordingly followed Colonel Hamilton's suggestion. At the shot 
the old bull, with a shrill trumpet of pain and rage, swung round on his 
hind-legs as on a pivot, receiving my second barrel, and two from Colonel 
Hamilton. This staggered the old fellow dreadfully, and as he stood facing 
us Colonel Hamilton ran up within twelve yards of him with a very large 
single-bore rifle, and placed a bullet between his eyes. Had tlie rifle been 
as good as it was big I believe this would have ended the fray; but though 
its shock produced a severe momentary effect, the bullet had, as we after- 
wards ascertained, only penetrated three or four inches into the cancellous 
tissue of the frontal bones. After swaying backwards and forwards for a 
moment or two, during which I gave him both barrels of my second rifle, 
the grand old beast seemed to rally all his forces, and rolling up his trunk, 
and sticking his tail in the air, rushed off trumpeting and whistling like 
a steam-engine. Colonel Hamilton followed and fired two more hurried 
shots, while I remained behind to load the empty rifles. This completed, 
I joined my friend, whom I found standing in despair at the edge of a 
small ravine overgrown with tangled underwood, into which the tusker 
had disappeared. For some little time I found it difficult to persuade 
Colonel Hamilton to continue the chase. Long experience had taught him 
how rarely elephants when once alarmed are met with a second time the 
same day. At length, however, finding that I was determined to follow 
the tracks of the noble beast until I lost them, even should it involve sleep- 
ing upon them, my gallant old friend gave way and entered eagerly into a 
pursuit whicli at the time he considered almost, if not absolutely, useless. 


It would be tedious, even were it possible, to describe all the details of tlie 
long stern-chase which followed. After emerging from the thorny ravine 
into which the elephant had disappeared, the tracks led over a series of 
extensive open grassy glades, crossed the IMysore-Hassanoor road beyond 
the seventh milestone, and then followed the deep sandy bed of a dry river 
for a considerable distance. At length, when about nine weary miles had 
been left behind us, we began to remark signs of the elephant having relaxed 
a little in liis direct onward flight His tracks commenced to zigzag back- 
wards and forwards in an undecided manner, and finally led down a steep 
grassy slope into a densely-matted thorny jungle, bordering a small stream 
at its foot. I was the first to arrive at the edge of the thicket, and without 
waiting for my companions, who were out of sight, followed the tracks cau- 
tiously into it. I soon found that it was almost impossible to track the ele- 
phant any further. The entire thicket was traversed by a perfect labyrintli 
of elephant-paths, and on each path were the more or less recent footprints 
of elephants. Giving up the idea of tracking for the moment, I was on 
the point of commencing a further exploration of the thicket, when a low 
hiss attracted my attention, and looking round I saw the native who had 
accompanied us beckoning to me and gesticulating in the most frantic 
manner. Upon going to him he pointed eagerly in front of him, and 
following the direction of his finger my eyes alighted, not upon the elephant 
as I had expected, but upon Colonel Hamilton, who from behind the trunk 
of a small tree was gazing intently towards the little stream which ran not 
more than thirty yards from where he was standing. "With the gi-eatest 
care I stole up to his side. ' There he is in front of you, standing in the 
stream ; you had better take him at once or he will be off again,' were the 
welcome words which greeted my ears. At the same moment my eyes were 
gratified by the indistinct outline of the miglity bull, who, already suspicious 
of danger, was standing perfectly motionless in the middle of the stream, 
which was so narrow that the branches of the low bamboos on its banks 
nearly met across it. The distance — twenty-seven yards — was too great for 
certainty, but there was no choice, as even if the elephant had been utterly 
unaware of our vicinity, the tangled, thorny nature of the dense jungle sur- 
rounding him would have rendered it impossible to have approached nearer 
without discovery. As it was, the perfect immobility of all save his eye, 
and every now and again the quickly-altered position of his tattered ears, 
showed undeniably that the chances of iUght and battle were being weiglied 
in the massive head, and that there was no time to lose. Covering tlie orifice 
of the ear with as much care as if the shot liad boon at an egg at a hundred 
yards, I fired. A heavy crash and the sudden expulsion of the stream fioni 


its bed ten or twelve feet into the air followed the report, and I have a 
dim recollection of my old friend hugging me the next moment in his 
delight while he exclaimed, * Splendid, old boy ! he's dead ; and the biggest 
tusker ever killed in India ! ' But our work was not yet over. With one 
or two tremendous lurches from side to side the old bull regained his feet, 
but only to be again felled by my second barrel, and this time to rise no 
more. The shades of evening were closing in fast, and a long journey 
lay between us and home, so we had but a few moments to admire 
one of the grandest trophies it has ever fallen to the lot of a sportsman 
to secure." 

There is a common elephant-shooting story which one frequently hears 
in India, of sportsmen having been overtaken by infuriated elephants which 
have endeavoured, but failed, to pin them to the ground, a tusk entering 
the earth on each side of them, whilst they have escaped without injury. 
I have never heard any one say the occurrence had happened to himself, 
but men have been named — generally Major somebody — as having under- 
gone the agony. Why unfortunate majors should always be selected as the 
victims is not easy to understand. I think the popular idea of a major is a 
man arrived at an age when a rubber and a cheroot, or a game at billiards, 
is more congenial diversion than foot-racing with wounded elephants, and 
of a figure which would not fit easily between a pair of tusks. Were a 
slim sub-lieutenant substituted as the hero, the story would be robbed of a 
certain amount of its improbability. Then why the victim should be robed 
in a jacket of spotless white — as sometimes the more daring versions 
affirm — it is difficult to conjecture. It is certainly not a suitable colour 
for jungle-shooting, though it answers well in the story, as it shows plainly 
to the horrified listener the blood which has trickled from the wounded 
monster's forehead on to the unhappy major's back ! 

My readers may rest assured that no major who was ever prodded at 
by an elephant lived to become a lieutenant-colonel. It is almost a physi- 
cal impossibility that a man could be got between the tusks, on the ground, 
without the elephant's kneeling or treading on him ; and as the elephant 
uses its ponderous fore -feet in addition to its tusks in disposing of an 
enemy, nor major nor otlier man would be likely to escape a deliberate 
attempt at scotching him. 

The manner in which vn\.i\. animals, especially herbivorous ones, recover 
from severe wounds, which in India always become fly-blown in a few 
hours, is worthy of remark. Some flies deposit their young alive as very 
small maggots. I have known many people doubt this fact. Indeed I 
myself could scarcely believe it at first, but I found the fact was well 



known amongst natives, and I have often observed maggots produced in 
this manner. The parent fly deposits as many young maggots as woukl 
cover a shirt-button. When first produced the young are about a six- 
teenth of an ineli in length, but they grow with wonderful rapidity. 

When an animal's wound is fly-blown it constantly rubs the part against 
trees, and an elephant blows mud or dust upon it. Carnivorous animals 
excepted, very few, I believe, die of putrefaction of their wounds, though 
I have known bison and elephants have unhealed wounds for upwards; 
of a year. It is marvellous how they manage to keep them clean. I 
have seen a mass of maggots as large as an egg which had fallen from 
an elephant's wound where he had rubbed against a tree. 





THE Indian bison (Gavccns gcmrus), or the Gaur, is undoubtedly the finest 
species of the genus Bos in the world. It differs in appearance from 
the American bison, commonly called Buffalo {Bison americaniis), in being- 
larger, in having no shaggy hair on the neck and shoulders, and in other 
essential particulars of form ; whilst it lives entirely in dense forests, espe- 
cially those of hill-tracts, instead of on open prairies like the American bison. 

The bison is distributed throughout India and the countries immediately 
to the east of the Bay of Bengal wherever the conditions necessary to its 
existence — viz., heavy forests of large extent, and hilly country — are 
found. It prefers high elevations, from 2000 to 5000 feet, but is found 
also in the low country. I have shot bison within three miles of the coast 
in Chittagong, at an elevation of under 100 feet. The bison is not found 
in Ceylon, but is stated by Jerdon'"" to have existed there sixty years ago, 
and to have become extinct. It would be interesting to know to what 
cause this is to be attributed, if true, — as the wild elephant, the bison's 
almost invariable contemporary, still flourishes in the island. 

The prevailing colour of the bison is a dark coffee-brown amongst the 
cows, which deepens to black in mature and old bulls. The legs from the 
knees downwards, as also the forehead, are of a dirty white colour, whilst 
inside the thighs and fore-arms the hair is of a bright chestnut. The head is 

* Til*' accuracy of this statement seems doubtful. 


somewhat short and square for the size of the animal, particuhirly in tlie 
bulls. The eye is a peculiar feature, the pupil being a pale slaty blue and 
very large, which gives a solemn appearance to the animal when at rest. 
The ears are broad, and are like those of the deer tribe rather than the 
Bovidcc. The neck is short, heavy, and immensely powerful. 

The bison has no hump above the level of tlie dorsal ridge, but there is 
an exuberance of flesh in tlie bulls immediately over the shoulders. The 
dorsal ridge runs with a slight rise backwards to about the middle of the 
back, and there ends abruptly with a drop of nearly five inches in large 
animals. The quarters are plump and the tail somewhat short. 

The largest bulls stand eighteen hands (six feet) at the shoulder, and 
according to EUiot, as quoted by Jerdon, even sLx feet one and a half inch. 
I have never myself shot them above eighteen hands fair vertical measure- 
ment. The animal when standing certainly does not look its height. The 
hide of old bulls is frequently almost devoid of hair on the quarters, and 
after a sharp hunt gives out an oily sweat. In this peculiarity the bison 
differs from domestic cattle, which never sweat under any exertion. 

The cow is considerably lighter in make and colour than the bull, and 
is more active. The horns are more slender and upright, with more inward 
curvature, and the frontal ridge is scarcely perceptible. In young animals 
the horns are smooth and polished ; in old bulls they are rugged and in- 
dented at the base, and massive and worn at the points. 

In old bulls the vertical form of the cows' and younger bulls' horns is 
replaced by a much more horizontal growtli. The largest bull that I have 
shot had horns which measured as follows : — 

Ft. In. 

From tip to tip, round the outer edcje and across the forehead, . . G 2 

Across the sweep, . . . . , . . 3:j 

Circumference of horn at base, well clear of forehead, . . .0 li) 

Between tips, . . . . . . . . 1L» 

Horns are seldom found larger than the above in all their dimensions. 

The bison's appearance is a strange admixture of that of the genera 7?(*.s' 
and Ihihalus. In Canarese, and, in some localities, in Ilindoostanee, the bison 
is called the jungle-buffalo. The old bulls with almost hairless hides, and 
both sexes as to their wliite foreheads and stockings, and the peculiar habit 
of holding their noses almost horizontally when staring at any strange ol)ject, 
closely resemble the bullUlo, Tlieir legs, too, are short, and their carcasses 
are heavy, which further assists the likeness. I found some dilliculty in 
getting my Mussulnnin shikaries to eat bison at first, though tlieir tln-oats 
were duly cut, as they regarded them as buffaloes, which many J\Iussulni:ins 


in Soiitliern India do not eat ; but I did not find tliis prejudice regarding 
buffaloes existing in Bengal. 

Bison seldom form herds of more than thirty or forty individuals ; the 
general number is about twelve. I have, however, seen a collection which, 
I believe, contained not less than one hundred. It was at the commence- 
ment of the early rains whilst pasture was still limited, and this gathering 
was very temporary. One bull holds undisputed sway in each herd, the 
other males being younger animals incapable of disputing his authority. On 
the leading bull's strength declining with age he is ousted by more youthful 
rivals, and thenceforward invariaUy, I believe, leads a solitary life, unless he 
is able to force himself for a season into a herd whose chief is in worse case 
than himself. I have never found a really aged bull with a herd. 

I will first treat of the habits of herd-bison, and then of the solitary 
bulls ; the latter are noble beasts, and well entitled to a special notice. 

Herd-bison are shy and retiring in their habits, and retreat at once if 
intruded upon by man. They avoid the vicinity of his dwellings, and never 
visit patches of cultivation in the jungle, as do wild elephants, deer, and 
wild hog. The bison is thus an animal which would soon become extinct 
before the advance of civilisation were the latter rapid, or were the jungles 
wliich he roams limited in extent ; but his exemption from serious diminu- 
tion, except in isolated positions, is secured by the existence of the con- 
tinuous jungles of the Western Ghats and other forest-ranges. 

Bison, though found in the low-country jungles, are very partial to high 
and well- wooded tracts, and their activity in hilly ground is astonishing. A 
herd scrambles up a steep hillside almost with the facility of a troop of 
deer, or thunders down a slope into the thicker cover of the valley, when 
alarmed, at a rapid trot or free gallop. 

The food of the bison — as of the wild elephant — consists chiefly of 
grasses, and only in a secondary degree of bamboo leaves and twigs, the 
thick and succulent tuberous shoots of the bamboo which appear during the 
rains, and of the bark of some trees, particularly one known in Canarese as 
" Nelly " {Phyllanthus emllica). Bison feed till about nine in the morning, 
or later in cloudy and rainy v/eather ; they then rest, lying down in bamboo- 
cover or light forest until the afternoon, when they rise to graze and drink ; 
they also invariably lie down for some hours during the night. 

Although certainly quick in detecting an intruder, bison can scarcely be 
considered naturally wary animals, as they seldom encounter alarms in their 
native haunts. Unsophisticated herds will frequently allow several shots to 
be fired at them before making off, and even then probably will not go far. 
But if subjected to frequent disturbance they quickly become as shy as deer, 


and if alarmed Ijy the approacli of man tliey retreat without loss of time. In 
localities exposed to frequent intrusion they are found only in small herds, 
and when startled retreat rapidly, and usually put a considerable distance 
between themselves and the apprehended danger before stopping. 

I have never known a case of herd-bison attacking man, except such 
individuals as were wounded, and, being pursued, found themselves unable 
to escape. Even these more often die without resistance than otherwise. 
The character of ferocity sometimes given to bison by sportsmen is entirely 
foreign to tlieir character, and can only have arisen in the hunters' own 
fears which liavc led them to mistake for an attack what is really the 
bewildered rusii of a herd misled by fright into the very danger they aim at 

TJie habits of bison and wild elephants are very similar in many points. 
Their requirements in food and cover being almost identical, the same 
causes influence the movements of both. They are frequently found feeding 
together ; each are inoffensive and tolerant of the close proximity of the 
otlier. The remarks upon the habits of wild elephants in Chapter VI. may 
be applied with a few modifications to the bison. 

Both seek the deep and ever-verdant valleys, watered by perennial 
streams during the hot months, or from January to IMay, where tliey are 
safe from the jungle-fires which sweep the drier localities. "With the early 
rains of April and May a plentiful crop of succulent young grass springs from 
beneath the black ashes, and the bison and elephants then roam forth to feed 
and enjoy their emancipation from the thraldom of the season of scarcity. 
About September the grass in hill-ranges has become so coarse, and the 
annoyance from insects during continued rain so great, that the herds move 
into more open country, and especially into forest-tracts at the foot of hill- 
ranges where suitable cover exists. Here the grass is seldom more than 
two or three feet high, whilst it is as many yards high on the hills, and 
there are comparatively few insect-pests. The herds have here to be con- 
tent with somewhat light cover , they usually lie up in bamboo-thickets, 
and if seriously alarmed retreat at once to the hills. 

Almost the only divergence in the habits of bison and wild elephants 
occurs here. Wliilst the former timidly confine themselves to the forest, 
the elephants roam iu herds or singly far out into open and partly-populated 

When in the low country the bison frequently visit the spots known as 
salt-licks, wlicre a peculiar kind of earth is found, usually of a greasy con- 
sistency when wet, and of a dull-grey colour, of wliicli all wild animals eat 
considerable quantities at intervals, mure communly iu the wet weather. 


Natives assert that tigers, and the Felidce generally, eat this earth. I have 
never myself seen traces of their doing so, though I think it probable, as 
my dogs would frequently eat it. I do not know of any of these salt-licks 
existing at a great elevation in hill-ranges ; they appear to be found chiefly, 
if not entirely, in the low-country jungles, below 3000 feet. 

It is whilst in the low country that bison sometimes suffer from cattle 
diseases through feeding in jungles used by infected domestic cattle. These 
epidemics are exceedingly fatal. The three most dreaded are called in 
Canarese : Dod-roga — The great sickness; Kei-hy-rdga — Foot-and-mouth 
disease ; Chejppay-rdga — Shoulder-blade disease. The following are the 
symptoms of each : — 

Dod-r6ga. — The beast coughs once, the ears immediately droop, it 
stands listless, and will not graze. The coat becomes staring, violent purg- 
ing commences, the evacuations being mixed with bloody mucus ; there is 
nmch running at the nose and mouth, and the beast drinks to excess. Flies 
deposit their eggs about the mouth, eyes, and ears. It becomes rapidly 
weak and staggers. In from two to four days death generally ensues : 
some may live for a week. No effectual remedy is known. Of beasts 
attacked not more than about ten per cent recover ; those in best con- 
dition are the chief sufferers ; old and poor cattle occasionally survive an 
attack. Beasts that have once been attacked are said never to have the 
disease again. It is highly infectious. Calves drinking infected beasts' 
milk die. The stench from infected cattle is intolerable. The lowest 
castes of Hindoos (Holoyas and Madigas), and also wild hogs, eat the flesh 
of the dead cattle, without any ill effects ; but tigers will not touch it, or 
even, it is said, kill beasts suffering from the disease. Infected herds are 
frequently driven into jungles where tigers are known to be, as it is super- 
stitiously believed by the natives that if the tiger can be got to kill a beast 
the disease will leave the rest. It is probable that the disease is on the 
wane when the tiger recommences killing amongst them. The tiger, doubt- 
less, discriminates between infected herds and those not infected by the 
stench of the former. 

This disease prevailed among the bison in the Billiga-rungun hills in 
1867, and the Sholagas estimate that it killed two-thirds of them. I saw 
many of their remains when I first shot in the hills in 1869. Just as I 
was leaving India — in April 1877 — it again broke out amongst them, 
and I have no doubt has decimated them. It was introduced, on the 
latter occasion, by the famine-stricken cattle driven to the jungles for 
pasture when there was none elsewhere. 

Kci-hy-rdga. — In this disease the mouth of the infected animal becomes 


sore, frothy, and suppurates, auci thus renders grazing difficult. The beast 
is observed to limp and lick its feet, which are found to swarm with mag- 
gots — the hoof having suppurated and become loose. Frequently the hoofs 
drop oft'. It is generally severe for a month. It is much less fatal than 
dod-r6(ja ; like that disease it is most destructive amongst young animals in 
good condition. Perhaps twenty-five per cent of beasts attacked die. There 
is no known remedy, but a collar of pieces of wood is occasionally put on to 
prevent the beast licking its feet. Infected cattle are also kept standing 
in puddles as a preventive against maggots. I have shot bison suffering 
from this disease. 

Cheppay-rdga is confined to beasts under three years of age, especially 
calves, and is invariably fatal. Beasts quite well one day will be found to 
have a shoidder or hind-quarter swelled and puffy in the morning. The 
affected part feels spongy to the touch, and the beast limj)s. The stomacli 
also swells. Death follows within six or eight hours. The flesh of the 
dead animal looks black and inflamed. 

The bulk of cow-bison calve in September, a few in April and IMay. 
The bison-calf when very young resembles the calf of the domestic cow, 
the colour being a reddish bro^vn, and the future white of the forehead 
and legs showing but indistinctly as a leaden tinge. The cow-bison 
separates from the herd when her calf is born, and keeps it in one place 
for about four days, feeding near it till it is strong enough to accompany 
the herd, which remains in the locality, and which she then rejoins with 
her offspring. The habits of bison and elephants differ in this respect : the 
female elephant does not separate from the herd ; the latter remains with 
her for about two days after her calf is born. 

The bison utters three distinct sounds. The first is hardly like any 
uttered by the Bovidce, and closely resembles a common sound made by 
elephants. It is used by bison to call each other at a distance, and can 
be heard for about a mile in favourable ground. It may be described as 
a sonorous bellow. Tlie second is a low " moo," indicative of apprehension 
or curiosity. I heard this from several cow-bison once when they dis- 
covered two Sholagas and myself creeping on hands and knees towards 
them in grass about three feet high ; tliey probably supposed us to be 
tigers, as they stood tlieir ground for half an hour, within forty yards, till 
I got a chance at, and killed, the bull. Tlie tliird sound is tlie loud wliis- 
tling snort of alarm with which they dash olf when frightened. I have also 
heard a bison, held by bull-dogs, roar like a common bull. 

The flesh of the bison is somewhat coarse, but is well flavoured. Steaks 
cut IVom along the dorsal ridge behind the shoulders are the best. They 


should be cut tliick and grilled when fresh from the animal, witli a plenti- 
ful dusting of black pepper, which process makes them tender. If the 
animal is allowed to get cold, or the steaks are cut thin, or are over-cooked, 
they will be as tough as leather. I have eaten steaks from the oldest 
bulls, cut out and cooked almost before they had given the last quiver, and 
found them excellent. The marrow-bones are those above the knees and 
above the hocks ; the shin and shank bones are almost solid. 

In Mysore, except the two lowest castes, Holoyas and Miidigas, who 
eat any dead cattle, and the Kurrabas of Kakenkote, no IRndoos will eat 
the flesh of the bison ; this is because it is, in their opinion, the same as 
their sacred cow. As Mussulmans require the throat to be cut before 
it is dead, it is seldom bison-beef appears in their meimt, as few people 
care to approach a dying bison whilst any doubts remain regarding its 

The bison has never been domesticated in Southern India, though I 
believe it could be under the same circumstances under which it, or its 
very near relative the (jayal or mithun {Gavceus frontalis), is kept in 
captivity in the countries to the east of the Brahmapootra, Assam, Tip- 
perali, Chittagong hills, &c. But it is certain that it could never be kept 
out of its natural wilds, and its domestication would not thus be of much 
practical value. A strain might possibly be obtained by crossing it with 
domestic cattle, and by toning down the first result with a further infu- 
sion of domestic blood, animals might be produced which would live in the 
plains, and the bison's enormous strength would be a gain in its progeny. 
But to a people like the ordinary natives of India such considerations or 
experiments are of no interest. 

No bison-calf has ever, I believe, reached England alive ; and though 
they have been kept for a year or so in India, they have not survived much 
longer away from their natural wilds. The domesticated individuals which 
I saw in the Cluttagong hill-tracts were in their native forests ; they merely 
returned to the villages at nightfall, where they were fed with a little salt, 
the only tie between them and their owners. They were not secured or 
housed, but lay about on the village green, and at dawn they were off again 
to the jungles. Any that were required for milking were detained a few 
minutes, and then followed their companions. They had no attendants in 
the jungles. The hillmen informed me that they kept them chiefly for the 
sake of killing one occasionally for meat at feasts. These animals were 
thus feral to all intents and purposes, except in their having no dread of 
man. They seBmed very peaceful in disposition. I was assured by the 
hillmen that they would not live more than a few months in the plains of 


Bengal. Under similar conditions there is no doubt the Lison would liN'e, 
and probably breed with domestic cattle, upon his own forest ground in 
Southern India. 

I believe the distinction between the bison and the gayal was made by 
Cuvier, or Blyth ; and Dr Jerdon has quoted them. The difference is, how- 
ever, exceedingly slight, and from the sportsman or general observer's point 
of view the two animals are to all intents and purposes identical. Were it 
not that I should be setting my opinion against that of the above-named 
eminent naturaUsts, I should say the animals are the same, and that the 
distinction has been founded on a comparison of the \\'ild individuals in 
the one locality, and the domesticated and impure race in the other. The 
name gayal is merely the local native name in Bengal. 

When in the hill-tracts of Chittagong I saw numbers of domesticated 
(jayal, and examined them closely. Jerdon says of this animal : " The 
fjayal or mithun (Gavceics frontalis) is found in the hilly tracts to the east 
of the Burrampooter, and at the head of the valley of Assam, the Mishnee 
hdls and their vicmity, probably extending north and east into the borders 
of China. It is domesticated extensively and easily, and has bred with the 
common Indian cattle. It is a heavy, clumsy-looking animal compared 
with the bison, the wild animal similarly coloured and with white legs. It 
browses more than the bison, and, unlike that, it has a small but distinct 
dewlap. The domesticated race extends south as far as Tipperah and the 
Chittagong hills, and northwards has been seen grazing in company with 
the yak, close to the snows. It is better adapted for rocky and precipitous 
ground than the bison." 

The points which Jerdon here notes seem slight divergencies on which 
to found a distinction between two animals, when it is seen that the follow- 
ing essential points exist in both : the dorsal ridge ending abruptly in the 
middle of the back ; the peculiar light-blue full pupO. of the eye ; the 
unmixed brown colour of the hide, with chestnut inside the thighs and on 
the abdomen ; the white forehead and legs ; similar horns. 

In the alleged points of dil'lerence there seem to be none that may not 
])e the direct result of the bison's (or gayaVs) domestication. Heaviness and 
clumsiness of appearance might follow partial curtailment of the wanderings 
of tlie wild animal, whilst its browsing more than the bison of Southern 
India might be caused by local differences in pasture. I cannot imagine 
any animal better adapted for rocky and precipitous country than the bison ; 
but if the domestic gayal is so, that, too, may be a peculiarity arising from 
tlie nature of the country. The chief point of diflerence seems to be 
in llie gayaVs having, it is said, a small dewlap which is wanting in the 


bisuii. This may have happened to be a peculiarity in certain specimens, 
and probably caused by crossing with domestic cattle ; but, even if pecu- 
liar to the whole species in the north-east of Hindoostan, it is not a more 
essential difference than that of male elephants in Ceylon being almost all 
tuskless, though identical with the elephants of continental India, amongst 
whom a tuskless male is a rarity. I venture to think that, unless the 
comparison is made between a wild gayal and a wild bison, and some 
distinction is then established, the very slight difierence, if any, that exists 
between them may be put down to partial domestication alone. 

I was determined to see a wild gaijal for myself when in the Chittagong 
hills, and I was fortunate enough to shoot an old solitary bull, a very good 
specimen. Tlie pursuit of this animal occupied me four days ; the dry- 
ness of the ground, and the inexpertness of the trackers, made the hunt a 
difficidt one. I can state that there was not one single point of difference 
in appearance or size between it and the bison of Southern India, except 
that the horns were somewhat smaller than what would have been looked 
for in a bull of its age in Southern India. 

I have enjoyed the best opportunities of observing bison in Mysore 
when mounted on an elephant. As bison and elephants constantly feed 
together, the presence of an elephant causes them no alarm, nor do they 
observe the rider if he use ordinary precautions to conceal himself. Whilst 
some of the herd are lying down peacefully chewing the cud, or affectionately 
licking each other's ears and cheeks, others are grazing, or browsing on 
the young shoots of bamboo. The characteristic placidity of their disposi- 
tion is here seen to advantage ; and I have often wished for a pencil, and 
the ability to use it, rather than the murderous rifle, that I might carry 
away with me a representation of these scenes. I have often left the poor 
beasts undisturbed. 
^ I should think it probable, judging from the cases of two or three 
Brahminee bulls I have known of, which had entire liberty, the choice 
of fields to graze in, and no work under the yoke, that bison may live to 
about fifty years of age. 


Unlike solitary elephants, individuals amongst which are frequently 
young males biding their time till they are able to appropriate a herd, soli- 
tary bison are always, as far as my experience goes, old bulls, and invariably 
scarred with healed cicatrices showing the fights they have been engaged in 
in their declining davs. 


The morose and savage disposition frequently ascribed to these solitary 
animals is rather a traducement of them ; and though jungle-people are 
occasionally killed by them, these mishaps arise rather through the circum- 
stances under which the solitary bison is often met, than from any change 
of disposition ascribable to his banishment from the circle of his companions. 
In a herd of bison some individuals are generally standing up, and perceive 
tlie approach of an intruder ; but with a solitary bull it not unfrequently 
happens that, whilst lying in long grass which hides him, a jungle-man in 
search of honey or roots approaches his lair unawares. The bison perhaps 
imagines that it is a sambur or other animal moving through the grass, and 
does not rise till the man is nearly upon him, when he jumps up with a 
suddenness of which such a huge beast would hardly be thought capable, and 
seeing an intruder almost within horn's reach, rushes at him to dash him 
from his path. I have not known any instance of an unwounded solitary 
bison attacking man excejit under the above circumstances. A gentleman 
was killed on the Pulney hills in 1874, but this was through incautiously 
following a wounded bison into thick cover. In the above case the beast 
went on at once after killing his victim in his rush. Only in one case 
that I know of has a wounded bison turned and gored his victim. I do 
not even think the solitary bull is more dangerous when wounded and 
followed up than a member of a herd. I have seen both die without resist- 
ance, and both gave some trouble. 

The solitary bull invariably carries the best head, and is a more noble 
ol)ject of pursuit tlian herd animals. After having shot a good many bison 
I have latterly given up firing at herds altogetlier, in favour of old bulls. 
In a herd it is always diflicult to secure the leader, unless he is a very pro- 
minent animal, and even then there are always so many wary cows that the 
herd may be off before there is time to pick out the bull. It is only the 
novice who cares to shoot herd - bison ; any one who has killed a fair 
number must have the instincts of a butcher to continue the useless 
slaughter of these fine beasts. The solitary bull is the noblest of his 
race, and his pursuit can never, I imagine, pall on the most successful 





AFTEE elephant-shooting there is, perhaps, no sport with the rifle to 
be compared to bison - stalking. Whether herds or solitary bulls 
are the object of pursuit, the chase leads through the finest country, gener- 
ally the forests of deep valleys at high elevations. It affords ample scope 
for the exercise of woodcraft and sportsman - like qualities, and gives a 
great amount of healthful exercise and excitement. An early start must be 
made to find the animals before they lie down for the day, so the sportsman 
enjoys the varied pleasures of a mountain view at early morning, when the 
air is cool and invigorating. This starting at break of day is not very 
safe work, perhaps, as far as malarial fever is concerned ; but what recks the 
young sportsman of that ? The pursuit is vested with peculiar interest for 
him ; he hopes to get a head which sliall tln'ow the trophies of his friends 
into the shade ; and a pleasurable smack of danger adds to his anticipa- 
tions as he thinks of the stories he has heard of bison-cliarging ! Then, 
too, he hopes to have better luck than to get fever. Didn't Brown and 
Eobinson of his regiment shoot at Bandipoor for ten days, wliicli every one 
tells him is a " safe " place for fever, but neither of them had a touch ? 

The trackers must be first-rate for good bison-stalking ; and until the 
game is ascertained to be near, it is a good plan to allow two to go on a 


hundred yards ahead, whilst another follows leading ISTimrod and his gim- 
bearers. In this way less caution is necessary in advancing, and the sports- 
man may amuse himself by looking about him instead of having to give 
heed to every step, an exercise which becomes irksome if continued for many 
miles. Several men carrying luncheon-basket, &c., who are not required for 
lighting purposes, can then be included in the following, but for all to 
advance together is likely to spoil sport. I have a most excellent pony which 
has saved me many miles of walking after bison before I had elephants. 
An elephant is, of course, the best animal to have with one, as in addition 
to riding it, spoils can be brought home from places where they would 
otherwise be inaccessible. 

A good set of common wooden-handled butchers' knives is indispen- 
sable. The ordinary so-called shikar knife is generally useless for cutting 
up and skinning a large animal. It is too thick for the purpose, and too 
short in the blade, and in cutting deep it becomes a case of forcing a thick 
wedge in where a thin one is sufficient. Shikar knives are seldom made of 
sufficiently soft steel to be sharpened readily. They may do for stabbing ; 
but for such purposes as cutting branches, or flaying a beast, there is nothing 
equal to the butcher's knife, about a foot long in the blade, and two inches 
wide, and under an eighth of an inch thick. It may be taken for granted 
that butchers use the style of knife best suited for their work, and it 
certainly diffiirs widely from the common shikar knife. A sportsman may 
be fairly judged from his knives ; if he cannot take the field without be- 
girding himself with a young hanger he may be safely set down as a tyro. 
For defensive purposes a knife is very seldom required, as either from his 
position or the suddenness of an attack a man can rarely use it on an 
animal, whilst nineteen out of twenty sportsmen might hamper themselves 
with one all their lives and never have occasion to draw it. All liut 
beginners soon discard such articles, and let their followers carry more 
(effective implements. The labour entailed in even cutting ofl' a bison's 
head without proper knives is very great. 

Heavy rifles arc aljsolutely necessary for good work on bison. I prefer 
No. 8 with 12 drams of powder. I have only lost one bison I ever hit 
with mine of this calibre. Many bison have been killed with a 12-bore and 
4 drams ; but an immense proportion of those fired at with such rifles have 
been wounded and lost, many to die a lingering death. The vitality and 
endurance of wounded bison are at times quite startling. I \ised a 12-lK)re 
spherical-ball ride and drams with hard bullets for some time, but I lost 
niany bison, and never succeeded in llooring them as can be done with an 
8-bore. Even when wounded with the latter 1 have known bison Iiold on 


for long distances and take many shots. When one or more in a herd are 
wounded, and the herd makes off, it is very difficult to follow the wounded 
animals if the herd scatters, unless there is a strong blood-trail — wliich there 
seldom is with bison wounded with small -bores, as their thick hide closes 
over the wound. With an 8 -bore a decided effect is soon produced, and the 
wounded beast will probably be found lagging behind before he has gone 
far. The chagrin and disappointment of the young sportsman who has 
worked for hours to get a shot at bison, and then sees them go off when 
wounded with small-bores, as little damaged apparently as if he had l)een 
using a pea-shooter at them, may be imagined. To give an idea of how a 
wounded bison will hold out sometimes I will relate a single instance, out 
of many similar ones I have seen. I wounded a solitary bull with my 
12-bore spherical-ball rifle and 6 drams, hitting him rather too far back 
behind the shoulder, one evening. Next morning we found a large quantity 
of coagulated blood where he had lain down during the night, and we put 
him up in thick cover a mile further on. We thought he would not go far, 
seeing how much blood he was losing, and how soon he had lain down after 
being wounded ; but we followed at a rapid pace from 8 a.m. till 2 p.m., 
when I gave in, and the trackers kept on till dusk, without catching him 
up, and we never saw him again. On this occasion the wound bled freely, 
and I think I am within the mark when I say I saw more than a gallon of 
blood from first to last on his trail. 

When the bison are ascertained to be near, the sportsman should ad- 
vance with one or two good trackers and one gun-bearer only. The herd 
may be found grazing unsuspectingly, if the advance has been carefully 
managed, or a huge head and horns suddenly come into view, staring with 
a pair of startled eyes at the intruders, and the next moment a loud snort 
alarms the herd and they dash away. In any case, whether a shot has been 
fired or not, the sportsman should run after bison without delay. Per- 
haps only one animal has seen the danger, and the others often go but a 
few yards before they pull up in hesitation. Bison have a formidable 
appearance when thus roused, but they are not dangerous in reality. They 
do not travel as fast as they appear to do from the noise they make, and 
several shots may almost always be obtained by a good runner. 

An old solitary bull is always to me such a treasure that I take great 
pains after it, and with such keen trackers as Gorrava and Bommay Gouda 
it is seldom one escapes ; for a long time I have not lost one that we have 
been after, I will commence the two or three incidents I shall relate in 
bison-shooting with an account of one of my first attempts. 

In May 1870, when the young grass was springing after the early rains, 

256 MY ALLY H. 

I got ten days' leave of absence, and paid my first \-isit to the bungalow 
on the Billiga-rungim hills. I little thought how pleasantly the lines were 
to fall to me hereafter, and that I should be engaged in work which now 
constantly takes me to the locahty, and all over the hills. There was a 
country-born European living in a room in the bungalow in those days, in 
charge of an experimental Government Cinchona Plantation, and he proved 
himself very obliging. He (H.) was a young fellow with the constitution 
of a bison, and he seemed to enjoy life, though his pay was but lis. 40 
a-mouth, and he lived miles from everywhere. He shot a deer or two occa- 
sionally with a dangerous old blunderbuss he possessed — regarding wliicli 
we entered into an early arrangement that it was never to be fired when I 
was near — and thus he was able to obtain a little meat. He procured fowls 
and milk from the low-country villages. 

As there appeared to be no bison close to the bungalow, according to 
tlie accounts of the Sholagas whom H. collected for me, I decided by their 
advice to take my tent and servants to a place called Yemmay Gudday 
(bison-swamp), and I asked H. to come with me. We started early, the 
Sholagas carrying my things, whilst H. packed his effects in a blanket 
and shouldered them himself. This I thought a good trait, as liis class 
are usually above doing much for themselves. 

We arrived at Yemmay Gudday — a low-lying valley embosomed in liills 
— and found a good site fur the tent. This was hardly pitched when I had 
a severe attack of ague and fever, from recent exposure to the sun in tlie 
low country, and could not go out that day. I had a pan of burning char- 
coal placed under my bed (though it was then mid-day, and the tent very 
warm), all my spare blankets and clothes piled upon me, and drank scalding 
tea. Still my teeth chattered as if I had been in my night-shirt on a cold 
winter's night. I could not sleep, and in the morning, though the fever 
liad left me, I was too weak to attempt walking, so sent H. out with the 
Sh5lagas to find what bison there were near. 

In the afternoon a Sholaga brought word that they had found a lierd 
within two miles of camp. This was too much for me, so I was helped 
upon my pony, which a man led, and away I went. We were soon met by 
H. and a tracker who said the bison were in a small cover only a hundred 
yards away. I dismounted and took the 12-bore spherical-ball rille which 
I used in those days, loaded with G drams of powder. I quite forgot my 
weakness for the moment. 

We were near the cover when with a sudden stampede the herd, of 
about twelve, rushed out in single file (liaving winded us), and made up a 
slope on my left, thirty yards distant. 


The leading animals were all cows or young bulls ; two fine black bulls, 
a perfect pair, brougbt up the rear. I waited to see if there were any better 
ones to come, but as there were not I gave the last a ball through his ribs, 
but rather too far back ; and with a second shot, broke his off hind-leg 
at the hock-joint, in which I afterwards found the ball sticking, though 
fired with such a large charge of powder. He kept on, and I sank down 
too tired to give chase, my ears singing through weakness and the heavy 
discharge of the rifle. The trackers followed the bull for about a mile, 
when they rejoined us, and we returned to camp. As he was on three legs 
we felt certain of finding him in the morning, even if the body-shot did not 
kill him before that time. 

Next morning I felt comparatively well again ; I had slept soundly all 
night, and felt strong enough to walk some distance. It is astonishing 
how quicldy the feeling of languor induced by fever and ag^ie frequently 
leaves one. 

We took up the bull's tracks from where the Sholagas had left them 
last evening. Further on he had left the herd and lain down by himself — a 
good sign. We followed fast till we got to a suspicious patch of long grass, in 
a dip, and one of the trackers climbed a few feet up a small tree to see into 
it ; at least he ivalJced up the tree with his hands and feet, as natives do not 
climb as we do. I have often astonished jungle-men by swarming up 'trees 
which, owing to their being thick and smooth, and offering no foot-hold, 
they could not themselves climb. One of my elephant-hunting Kurrabas 
once said, " We have often thought what was to become of Budhi (the In- 
carnation of Wisdom — myself !) if an elephant chased us ; but we see it is 
we who will have to look out for ourselves, not our lord ! " 

The tracker immediately signed that the bull was lying down in the 
grass, and at tliis moment he jumped to his feet a few yards off. I could 
only see the tips of his horns, and he could not make us out. No one 
stirred, or he would doubtless have charged, being so close, and in a few 
seconds he turned and made off. It was fortunate he did not charge the 
sapling the tracker was on ; had he done so, the latter would have been shot 
out of it like an arrow from a bow. 

The bull now took to some elephant-paths, but the grass was short, so 
we could follow without wasting time in precautions. In going down a 
hillside one tracker stepped aside and thrust his arm into a hole in a tree, 
from which, amidst a swarm of small bees, he drew several pieces of honey- 
comb in layers ; these he broke up and we all ate some, and left the rest on 
our track for the men who were following with ropes, &c. At last we 
caught up the bull in a fine open wood ; he was about sixty yards away. 


and was making off when I gave him both barrels of my 12-bore. On 
receiving these he changed his mind at once ; the poor beast was driven to 
the last extremity of pain and rage ; he evidently felt that further flight 
could avail him nothing, and back he came towards us to ■within twenty- 
five yards, snorting with fear and pain. I was behind a tree which forked 
near the ground, through which he could see me but coidd not get at me ; 
so I reloaded my discharged rifle, without using my spare one, whilst the 
bull stood where he was. I then gave him both barrels in the chest and 
dropped him to his knees, but he rose again apparently quite bewildered. 
Before I could fire he turned and got into a swampy place from which 
he could not extricate himself on three legs, so I walked close up behind 
him and brained him between the horns. This bull had come about six 
miles on three legs. 

There was a nice stream flowing through the dark wood, and as the 
luncheon-basket was brought up, with a towel and a dry flannel-shirt, I soon 
made myself comfortable. I invited H. to have some luncheon, which he 
consented to after some pressing. He took his plate to some distance, and 
I noticed he soon discarded his knife and fork in favour of his fiuQ-ers ; he- 
said he preferred " fisting it." Natives of all degrees in India use their 
fingers alone in eating, and most poor Europeans and half-castes follow the 
custom of the countrj'-. 

We cut out some steaks and tlie marrow-bones and returned to camp. 
At night we roasted the bones in tlie camp-fire, and mixing red pepper and 
salt with the marrow, scooped it out with bamboo-spoons, and ate it with 
some toast I had reserved for such an occasion. I managed half a bone 
with some difficulty, as the marrow was exceedingly rich, but H. not only 
ate the other half, but had both the other bones ! I could not have be- 
lieved it possible had I not seen something similar in Shdlagas eating a cup- 
ful of honey without being sick. 

I was struck by the simplicity of H.'s camping arrangements at night. 
In lieu of a tent he stretched his blanket over a horizontal stick on two 
forked uprights, one end of wliich gipsy arrangement he plugged np with 
thorny bushes, perhaps to prevent tigers dragging him out ! whilst his 
legs and boots sticking from the other formed a prominent feature after he 
retired. I offered him a corner in my tent, but he preferred his own 
tenement. Poor fellow, he was very contented witli his style of life, and 
I think he enjoyed the trip M-itli me ; I gave him a bottle of beer every 
night, and other things whicli he never got in his solitary life. 

I bagged one other splendid old bull during this trip, a solitary animal, 
and as large a one as I have ever shot. I liave since tried, without success, 




to outdo this feat of my griffinage. The measurement of his horns are given 
in the preceding chapter. The Sholagas and I also found two fine young 
tiger-cubs amongst some rocks whilst looking for bears, and as we ascer- 
tained that their mother was away hunting for something for supper, I got 
down into the cave where they were and collared them, with the assistance 
of a bull-terrier — old Boxer. I handed them up to H, and the Sholagas, 
who wrapped them up in cumhlies (blankets) and made off with them. We 
cast many furtive glances behind as we fled ; I had had little experience 
then ; I ought to have left the cubs and watched for the mother's return. 

From this time till I was settled at Morlay in 1873, 1 went after bison 
whenever I had a chance. Since I commenced elephant-catching, and have 
now innumerable opportunities for sj)ort, I have confined myself entirely to 
old solitary bulls. 

I once had a memorable bison-hunt with a friend, Captain P., of H.M.'s 
48th Eegiment. "VVe jotted down the following account of it at the time : — 


"Four o'clock, sir," said our faithful henchman J., as he entered our 
shooting-tent, followed by our servants with hot chocolate and toast. We 
jumped out of our beds, and after doing justice to the light refreshment, 
lit our cheroots, mounted the pad-elephant, and started with our followers, 
who had been marshalled ready in front of the tent by the invaluable J. 
It was no ordinary shooting expedition upon which we were bound. We 
had heard of a pair of bull-bison that had been seen the day before by 
our jungle-people near a swamp in the Billiga-rungun hills, at the foot of 
which we were encamped : and as wild elephants are numerous in the 
hills, frequenting the same ground as the bison, we anticipated little 
difficulty in approaching them with an elephant. 

Our preparations for the day were on a scale worthy of the occasion. 
In addition to a couple of the best hiUmen as trackers, several others fol- 
lowed us with hatchets, ropes, and skinning-knives in case of our hunt prov- 
ing successful, whilst a luncheon-basket of fair dimensions led the van. No- 
thing could be more enjoyable than the ride through the jungles in tlie early 
morning. Not a breath stirred the towering bamboo-clumps beneath which 
our path lay, and whose feathery branches were reproduced in fantastic 
shadows by the bright moonlight on the ground beneath, now yellow with 
their fallen and withered leaves. Pea-fowl uttered their discordant cry whilst 
yet securely perched in the high trees ; and sambur and spotted-deer, with 


a warning bark, dashed away into the thickets as we passed. The first grey 
tinge of approacliing day was just overspreading the eastern sky as we com- 
menced the ascent of the hills by an elepliant-path ; an hour and a half of 
climbing brouglit us to the entrance of a valley between the upper ranges, 
where we were to commence shooting ; and at this point a commanding rock 
invited us to rest for a few moments and enjoy the beauty of the scene. 
What words can do justice to it ? Nature in her most charming moods 
surrounded us on every side. Above us, heavy masses of grey mist rested 
calmly on the summits of the higher hills, now green and beautiful after the 
early rains. From below our feet thin wreaths of vapour curled slowly up- 
wards from the dark ravines through which we had ascended, and vanished 
in air at our feet like ghosts at cock-crow. Every tree and grass-plateau 
\vore its brightest tints ; whilst the sound of rills awakening from the slum- 
ber of the hot months came mysteriously from the gloomy abysses around 
us, and added music to the other delights of the moment. The delicious 
freshness of the air reminded us of the Xeilglierries, which coidd be seen 
stretching away to the south ; but the hearts of both of us beat higher in 
the anticipation of hunting the mighty mountain-bull than they had lately 
done under the less exciting pleasure of deer- stalking, even in Ooty's 
heavenly clime, which now seemed a tame sport to that we were to en- 
gage in. 

Tlie best hours of the morning were, liowevcr, advancing apace, so we 
arranged for our men to follow the elephant's track in half an hour, and 
started with the elephant and the two trackers only for the swamp where 
we expected to find traces of the bison. Nor were we disappointed ; the 
trackers soon pointed to the night's tracks of both bulls, and after going 
round the swamp found where they had moved off together up the valley. 
In following the trail we came upon two or three lots of sambur which 
allowed the elephant to approach within twenty yards witliout showing any 
fear, as long as the men were concealed in the grass, but the instant they 
were seen the deer vanished. After going for about four miles through the 
most lovely bamboo-jungle and teak-forest, under huge trees whose giant 
trunks and lim])S were covered with ferns — through gloomy marshes wliere 
the trees were plastered with black mud by the rubbings of herds of ele- 
phants — crossing and recrossing the picturesque stream that flowed and fell 
in occasional cascades down the valley, — we at length emerged into an open 
glade and beheld the mighty pair we were in searcli of, quietly browsing on 
the tender shoots of the bamboos on the opposite side, about a hundred yards 
away. We now left the trackers in the cover, and headed the elephant 
across the glade, as if to pass into the jungle to the left of the bulls, keep- 

JP:S bull. 261 

ing the wind well in our favour. Our elephant was a young pad female 
(Soondargowry), only six and a half feet high (scarcely higher than the bulls), 
but steady under fire, and plucky ; we had no mahout, managing her our- 
selves, and we used no concealment beyond having dark-coloured shooting- 
coats. Our guns deserve some mention : these were a couple of double- 
barrelled C.F. breech-loaders for spherical ball by W. W. Greener — one a 
No. 4, the other a No. 8 bore, weighing 19|- and 17 lb. respectively, and 
firing 12 drams each. 

When within sixty yards the bison observed us, but evinced no alarm 
till we got nearer, when they seemed to notice something strange, and both 
came forward a few steps. We were now only thirty-five yards away, the 
bulls being on our right face, and as they were beginning to get fidgety, we 
turned the elephant partly round to bring them on to om- near side for 
easier shooting. This movement was taken by one bull as the signal for 
decamping, and away he went, though P., to whom he had been assigned for 
slaughter, called a halt from him with the 8 -bore ; this, however, only 
hastened his retreat, the ball entering too high and far back, as the shot 
was a difficult one from P.'s position. Almost simultaneously with the 
crash of P.'s rifle the 4-bore opened upon the other bull, raking him from 
stem to stern, and dropping him on the spot. 

The first bull had, after a desperate flounder, disappeared into the bam- 
boos. Our stanch little elephant, who had never had such heavy firing off 
her back before, stood well through it all, and walked up to the fallen bull 
with perfect nonchalance. We jumped off, hobbled her, and leaving her to 
be brought on by our men, started with the trackers after the wounded bull. 
Blood was plentiful, and we had not gone more than half a mile when we 
sighted him entering some thick bamboo-cover ahead. We had to use some 
caution in following him into this, as it was just the place for him to pull 
up in ; but he held on through it, and we lost a good deal of ground. In 
the forest on the far side we made the pace hot again : a short distance 
ahead was another bamboo-cover ; and before we had got far into it, cau- 
tiously as before, the trackers pointed to the bull lying down. His head 
and shoulders were hidden by a bamboo-clump, but his huge dorsal ridge 
and heaving flanks could be seen pretty clearly. P. sent another 8 -bore 
through him as far forward as he could, in acknowledgment of which the 
bull jumped up with unexpected agility and plunged off through the cover. 
We followed him fast now, as the noise he made insured us against stum- 
bling upon him unexpectedly ; but the two trackers outstripped us far, and 
in their eagerness not to lose sight of the bull, kept up with him into the 
open forest on the far side. When we emerged from the cover a fine piece 


of diversion was going on : the bull, unaljle to escape, and seeing bis pur- 
suers, had turned upon the trackers, and, snorting and plunging in a way 
which we thought would land liim on his bead at every bound, was lumber- 
ing after them througli the forest about a hundred yards off. The men did 
not even take to trees, which they would have done if hard pressed, but the 
bull was much used up by his wounds, and had no chance of catching them. 
This only lasted for a minute or so, when the bull came to a stand under 
a tree about sixty yards from us, looking very bad. It would have been 
easy enough to drop him now, but as the place was a good one for a pitched 
battle, we advanced towards him, keeping several paces apart, so that only 
one of us could be charged, whilst the other would have a flanking-shot. 
Taken in front, and by a cross-fire between such weapons as we had, there 
was not much probability of the bull making good his charge. 

The poor beast, sweating with the pain of his wounds and his run, 
snorted as we approached. We walked up to about thirty yards, when 
we thought it was the bull's turn to make a move ; but just as we expected 
him to come on he turned to the left, and P. killed him with the neck-shot. 
Little blame to the poor beast for not courting battle ; he was too badly 
wounded to think of anything after his unsuccessful chase of the trackers 
but to lie down and die peaceably ; had he been less sick he would doubt- 
less have given us some work. 

The trackers were now despatched for the elephant and luncheon-basket, 
and whilst we smoked the pipe of peace, the men cut off both bulls' heads 
for stuffing, got out the marrow-bones, and with all hands laden with meat, 
we set off in the cool of the afternoon for the pass by which we had 
ascended in the morning, and commenced the descent just as the sun was 
setting. On the way down P. made a pretty shot with his express at a 
sambur, about two hundred yards away across a ravine. Though the stag 
dashed into the nearest cover, the " phut " of the bullet came back clear 
and sharp — that " dull, soft thud " which the " Old Forest Panger " so truly 
says is " as grateful to the sportsman's ear as the voice of her he loves." 
Bah ! the sensations of a young lady on receiving her first proposal can be 
notliing to it ! The place where the stag disappeared was difficult to get 
to, and we had no time to spare. As he had been fairly hit with the 
express, we felt sure he would not go far (this proved to be the case, as 
lie was found dead by our people just inside tlie wood in the morning), so 
we puslicd on down the pass, and reached camp soon ai'ter dark. The well- 
lighted tent and neatly-laid dinner- table, with glasses filled with pretty 
scarlet and wliite jungle-flowers, looked vastly comfortable after our day's 
Liauip ; and alLer a good dinner, assisted by the coolest and brightest of 


claret cup, the cLay's enjoyments ended with the post- prandial cheroots, and 
we turned in with feelings of charity for all men. 

P. and I commenced the hunt of another old Lull at the foot of the 
Billiga-runguns on the last day of his leave, but I had to finish the chase 
alone. We found his tracks in a gorge in the early morning, and after two 
hours' tracking we got near him, but he winded us and made off without 
giving us a chance. After waiting for an hour to let him settle, we tracked 
him for some miles further, when he again winded us. He was lying in a 
ravine, and we heard him crash away. This was bad, as it was likely he 
would now go far after being twice disturbed, as single bulls are often very 
cunning and go long distances before halting. However, there was nothing 
for it but perseverance, and though the day was warm we followed till late 
in the afternoon. Here P. mounted the elephant, whilst I thought I would 
just look through a small bamboo-cover near, where it was possible the bull 
might have stopped. Hurrah ! he had lain down in it, and though he had 
gone on again, it was evident he was not suspicious, as he had loitered, so 
Gorrava and I pushed along in pursuit. At last Gorrava pointed in breath- 
less haste to the bull walking leisurely through tree-jungle before us. What 
an exciting moment it was after our long hunt ! I sank down for a 
moment to rest, as I was breathless and shaking with the haste we had 
made. The bull was eighty yards away, and his huge stern seemed to 
fill the space between the trees as he stalked along. We were meditating 
a closer advance when he winded us, and with a startled toss of his head 
he set off at a heavy troi, and though I ran my best after him for a long 
way, Gorrava carrying my rifle, he distanced us, and we had to stop. 

However, I was not dissatisfied with the failure, and when I reflected 
on the joys which the possession of this redoubtable beast would bring, I 
felt equal to any exertion in compassing his downfall. We had done our 
utmost, and I had refrained from a risky shot, which was in itself a satis- 
faction. As he had not been fired at he probably would not go up the 
hills, and we determined to have him before long. Gorrava swore, touch- 
ing the ground as his witness, that if I would persevere he would never let 
the bull escape, even if it " dug a hole and buried itself." 

Next day I could not continue the chase as I had to accompany P. to 
Chamraj-Nugger. I was heartily sorry to part with so good a companion 
and sportsman. His last words to me were to " follow up the bull ; " and 
the day after, I returned in the evening to my camp at Yerlsariga. Gorrava 
had all the information about the bull's recent movements cut and dry : 
he had followed him the second day and had found him lying down, and on 


the third day liad carried on his tracks from his lair of the second day till 
they were very fresh, when he left them for fear of disturbing the bull. As 
long as he did not go up the liills we were sure of him. 

Next morning — the fourth day — we took up yesterday's track. Eain, 
that had since fallen, made it difficult at first, till we got on to the tracks 
made after the rain, when it was easy work. Since morning the bull had 
been making his way steadily, though grazing and loitering along, to a cover 
called Kul Bhavi Podaga, a place where we had finished many a good hunt 
of bear and bison before. "WHien we reached it at mid-day, Gorrava, Jaffer, 
and I entered alone ; the walking was quiet, there being no undergrowth 
amongst the bamboo-clumps, and we peered anxiously about as we stooped 
and crept along to catch sight of the bull if lying down. There was a fine 
wind in our favour, which was a godsend, as the breezes in valleys amongst 
hiUs are often very uncertain. 

Tlie bull was not to be seen, however. Gorrava follawed his every step 
till we could see the open through the bamboo-clumps on the far side. 
We seemed to be doomed to disappointment ; what could have become of 
him ? Suddenly Gorrava pointed to him almost at our feet, diinking at a 
pool under the high overhanging bank of a ravine on which we stood, and 
which wound a tortuous course through the cover. The bull had first come 
to the point where we now were, but being unable to descend here he had 
got down elsewhere, and was now drinking below us ! He had only been 
a few minutes before us ; our advance was so silent that at ten feet distance 
he did not hear us. This was indeed poetical justice. "What a tramp he 
had led us ! — at least forty miles in all, though within a radius of ten. 

A bamboo-clump liid his vitals and I had to fire at him too far back. 
Away he dashed at the shot, the bamboos obstructing my second barrel, 
out of the ravine and round through the cover. However, I knew that 
with that in him (an 8 -bore ball and 12 drams), he was a dead buU, and 
we followed in great glee. The moments in which the result of the chase 
becomes no longer doubtful, amply reward the sportsman for his willing 
toil, and are the happiest of his life. 

The bull was olf for a well-known bamboo-cover, but not a thick or 
troublesome one ; he was far from the foot of the glorious hills — his home 
for who knows how many years, and which he was never to see again ! 
How little did he think when he left them, to escape the long grass and tlie 
myriads of flies, that he was never to return ! It was an evil hour for liini 
when the eye of Gorrava fell upon his tracks ! Tlie spare, men having come 
up, we pushed along witli only a small interval between us and them, and 
as soon as we got to the cover wliicli the bull had headed fur we found liini 


lying down, and I gave him a shot with the 4-bore — which Gorrava always 
called the "Mahd Tdyce" (the Great IMother) — through his ribs. This maternal 
whisper brought him to his feet very quickly, and he came blundering out 
just as the luncheon-basket party put in an appearance ! He " went for " 
them instantly. Some got up the nearest trees, but the Sholaga intrusted 
with the basket carefully deposited it before he made off! I gave the bull 
another shot and pursued him, when I suddenly met him almost face to 
face, coming back after he had lost the basket-carrier. I knew he had not 
seen me, and I stood quietly aside against a bamboo-clump, and as he passed 
I saluted him in the ribs. He now subsided into a walk, and I followed. 
He presently faced round and I gave him the 4-bore at thirty yards into the 
point of his shoulder. This even did not drop him, and he went on again, 
dead lame. "When he faced round I walked up to within twenty yards, 
under shelter of a friendly tree, and as he stood shaking his head thi'eaten- 
ingly I brained him. 

He was a gallant beast. He had given us a splendid run, the various 
incidents and excitement of which it is impossible to convey any just idea 
of. At the end he afforded a good example of what a bison can stand in 
the way of powder and lead : he had had five body-shots — two with the 
4-bore and three with the 8 — and then had to be brained. The body- shots 
were none of them very well placed. This difficulty in always getting at 
the right spots is the cliief reason why heavy metal shoidd be used on heavy 
game, otherwise the poor beasts may be caused much unnecessary suffering. 
This bull was a very old fellow, and much scored and battered by fighting. 





THE late Capt. James Forsyth in his delightful book TIlc Iligldands of 
Central India, in which a most interesting account of tigers and tiger- 
shooting is given, has divided tigers into three classes, according to their 
habits — viz., those which habitually prey upon cattle ; those which live 
upon game alone ; and the few dreaded individuals of their race that 
frequently prey upon human beings. 

This classification correctly defines the ways of life of different tigers. 
I have had extended opportunities of acquainting myself with their every- 
day habits, as, in addition to constantly following them for sport's sake, I 
was tiger-slayer to the Mysore Government for some time, and have had 
around me tlie most experienced natives, to hunt out and follow up tigers 
that were destructive to cattle or dangerous to human beings. The i'ol- 
lowing descriptions of tlieir habits are therefore founded upon somewhat 
intimate experience of them. 

Tlie cattle-killing tiger frequents jungles close to villages, and seizes a 
victim amongst the cattle when driven thither to graze, or picks up stray 
animals about the villages at night. In India cattle are carefully herded 
into the vilhigcs before nightfall, so the cattle-lifter usually has to secure 


his victim in broad daylight. The ranges of these tigers where not disturbed 
are generally confined to a few villages ; but if they have been hunted and 
are shy, they extend their visiting circle considerably. The tigers in the 
vicinity of my camp at Moiiay (the hunting of which will be described 
further on) had a range of about twenty miles in length by ten in breadth. 
To this tract there were eight tigers originally, all solitary except a tigress 
and her nearly full-grown cub. 

The largest tigers are found amongst habitual cattle-killers. When a 
tiger becomes old and fat he usually settles down in some locality where 
beef and water are plentiful, and here he lives on amicable terms with the 
villagers, Idlling a cow or bullock about once in four or five days. Some 
tigers contract the habit, through being interfered with, of killing more than 
one animal in each attack. I have seen three, four, and five cattle on the 
ground together after attacks by single tigers, and on one occasion fourteen 
killed by one tiger, in a herd overtaken by a storm ; many of the cattle 
were benumbed and unable to escape. Cow-herds in the habit of meeting 
tigers often behave very boldly when their charge is attacked. Where three 
or four men are together they seldom think of leaving a tiger in undisturbed 
possession of his prey. 

Capt. Forsyth estimates the value of cattle killed by tigers in the Central 
Provinces at from £5 to £10 apiece; and that a tiger will kill from sLxty 
to seventy such animals, or between £325 and £650 worth per annum. 
These figures seem excessively high. The value of nine-tenths of Indian 
village-cattle is certainly under £1 each. I never found difficulty in getting 
old cattle for baits for four shillings per head. I have the returns of 
domestic animals killed in Mysore for the past five years at hand, but they 
are of little assistance in estimating the total value of the animals destroyed, 
as goats, sheep, donkeys, &c. (mostly killed by panthers and leopards, and 
a few by wolves), are included with cattle. 

The individual value of these animals may be set down at an average 
of Es. 7 (fourteen shilliugs), as goats, sheep, and donkeys are worth only a 
few shillings. Allowing each tiger even seventy horned cattle per annum 
at £1 each, the loss would amount to £70 per tiger, which I imagine is 
nearer the mark than £650. 

It may be thought that even this loss is sufficiently serious to warrant 
the advocating of a war of extermination against tigers, but the tiger might, 
in turn, justly present his little account for services rendered in keeping 
down wild animals which destroy crops. His agency in this respect goes far, 
in the opinion of many sportsmen of experience, towards counterbalancing 
the bill against him for beef. It is pig and deer — not the tiger and panther 


— that attack the sources of subsistence ; and tliese are only to be kept in 
cbeck by the animals appointed to prey upon them. "Were the tiger and 
panther gone they would soon gain the upper hand. Many cases have 
come under my notice where the tiger has proved himself the ryot's friend 
in a particular manner, in addition to his general serWces. I was once 
talking with an old ryot about some new cultivation he had pushed ahead 
of the other ryots' holdings into the jungle, and asking after its welfare. He 
said, " As soon as the crop was above ground some village-cattle that had 
broken from their pen strayed into it at night, but a tiger killed a bullock 
there belonging to the headman, worth at least Es. 20 (£2), so the others 
took better care of their cattle. I could not have watched my field or gone 
to the expense of putting up a hedge the first year. The other ryots' 
holdings were all in a block, so a few hedges and watchmen sufficed for 
them, but I had to trust to the tigers. I put up scarecrows for deer and 
pig, but that did not keep them out long. However, the tiger and a panther 
killed two or tliree pigs, and they gave up visiting my field. I got a 
moderate crop, and am going to clear more ground this hot weather, and 
next year will be able to fence it." When it is considered that it is of such 
units that the vast total of Indian tillage is made up, the importance of the 
question of keeping destructive animals in check must be recognised. In 
many cases I have known of tigers pouncing upon a sow with young pigs 
and demolishing the whole family ; and the sportsman will have occasional 
instances of their vigilance in finding his wounded game retrieved during 
the night by a tiger or panther. 

It may be urged that were the tigers disposed of, the pig and deer could 
be left for the ryots ; but this is mere theory, all practical sportsmen being- 
agreed that deer and pig could never be kept within bounds excci)t by the 
Fclidcc. In thick, thorny, and continuous jungles they cannot be got at, and 
they would multiply unrestrictedly, and force upon the ryots the arduous 
work of watching their fields at night in unhealtliy localities where the tiger 
and panther now keep the game in check. Cultivation would recede in 
many parts of the country were there no tigers. The balance of nature 
cannot be interfered with with impunity, and a general crusade against 
hawks, wild cats, et hoc f/enus oime, might be preached with as much reason 
on the ground of their abducting stray cliickens, though keeping down 
destructive vermin at other times, as against the tiger for appropriating an 
occasional bullock. Of course all tigers are fair game to the sportsman ; 
they can never be unduly reduced by shooting. The most destructive cattle- 
killers — the animals that it is desirable to get rid of — are those whicli, from 
being most easily met witli, are sure to fall first ; but for people who have 


only considered one side of the question to urge tlie pursuing of every tiger 
that can be heard of with poison, traps, and the incentive of higli rewards to 
native shikaries, is advocating a measure which would lead to a deplorable 
state of things for the ryots. 

As to the individual value of the cattle killed by the tiger, it is to be 
remembered that, it being against a Hindoo's tenets to take the life of the 
sacred cow, there is always about every village a large number of old, 
scraggy, and useless animals of no value to any one, in ridding the country 
of which the tiger does good to the commimity. When a ryot's bullock 
gets beyond ploughing, and his cow past milking, there is no sale for them, 
as they are as useless to every one else as to himself; so tliey are added 
to the other half-dozen or so of halt and blind in his fold, and sent with 
the two or three hundred of their kind ow^ned by the village to the 
jungles to graze. A ryot is always careful of liis really good cattle, taking 
them with him to his fields when working, and tying them there upon the 
divisions between the fields where there is good grass. The sight of the 
hordes of half-starved and mangy animals returning to Indian villages in 
the evening is a familiar one to residents in the country. These wretched 
beasts generate tlie cattle diseases from which few Indian villages are ever 
quite free, and their room is to be preferred to their company. Fortunately 
nature assists the tigers in effecting a clearance amongst these every year. 
At the time of the early rains the enfeebled animals eat ravenously of the 
young grass which then springs up, become distended, and die in a few 

The tiger is no unmitigated evil in the land. His pursuit affords excite- 
ment and recreation to many a hard- worked official whose life, except for an 
occasional day in the jungles, would be one of uninterrupted toil. Many 
officers see for themselves matters affecting the districts of which they have 
charge when visiting out-of-the-way localities for sport, which they would 
never learn otherwise. It is a pity to see the tiger proscribed and hunted to 
death by every unsportsmanlike method that can be devised, in response to 
popular outcries — chiefly in England — without foundation in fact, about his 
destructiveness. Trace out and slay every man-eater by all means possible, 
and at any expense ; but ordinary tigers are exceedingly inoffensive, and 
have their uses. ]\Iay the day be far distant when the tiger shall become 
practically extinct ! 



The game-killer confines himself entii-ely to thick forests, chiefly in 
hill-tracts, where he keeps to the feeding-grounds and hot-weather resorts 
of game ; and though the sportsman has little cause to bless him, the woidd- 
be protectors of the ryots shoidd rather give him their countenance than 
thirst for his blood, as he is most beneficial in keeping down the herds of 
deer and pig that would otherwise destroy much crop. The game-killer 
shuns the haunts of man, and wanders much in the cool forests at all hours. 
On one occasion in the Kakenkotd jungles I was following a deer-run one 
gloomy evening after a wet afternoon, when a slight movement behind 
attracted my attention, and I turned just in time to see some animal dis- 
appear silently into the jungle. I had not time for a shot. On examina- 
tion we found a tiger's pugs in the moist earth where, crouched behind a 
bamboo-clump, he had been patiently watching for deer, and had cunningly 
allowed the tracker and myself to pass within a few yards of him before 
attempting a retreat. 

Captain Forsyth states that the game-killer is usually a lighter and 
more active beast than the cattle-killer. This is, doubtless, the rule, as he 
has to travel farther for his food — but there are exceptions. One of the 
largest tigers I have killed was a pure game-killer. I shot him upon the 
carcass of a young elephant he had seized and partially eaten in the Chitta- 
gong hills, as described in Chapter XIII. I recently saw the carcass of a 
cow-bison killed and partly eaten by a tiger in the Billiga-rungun hills. 
This was the work of a powerful tiger, though a game-killer, as the bison 
was a full - grown animal, and a terrible struggle had ensued upon its 


This truly terrible scourge to the timid and unarmed inhabitants of 
an Indian village is now happily becoming very rare ; man-eaters of a bad 
type are seldom heard of, or if heard of, rarely survive long. Before there 
were so many European sportsmen as there now are in the country a man- 
eater frequently caused the temporary abandonment of whole tracts ; and tlie 
sites of small hamlets abandoned by the terrified inhabitants, and which 
have never been reoccupied, are not uncommonly met Mith by the sports- 
man in the jungles. The terror ins])ired l)y a man-eater throughout the dis- 
tj-ict ranged by him is extreme. The hel])less people are defenceless against 


his attacks. Their occupations of cattle-grazing or wood-cutting take them 
into the jungles, where they feel that they go with their lives in their hands. 
A rustling leaf, or a squirrel or bird moving in the undergrowth, sets their 
hearts beating with a dread sense of danger. The only security they feel is 
in numbers. Though the bloodthirsty monster is perhaps reposing with the 
remains of his last victim miles away, the terror he inspires is always pres- 
ent to every one throughout his domain. The rapidity and uncertainty of 
a man-eater's movements form the chief elements of tlie dread he causes. 
His name is in every one's mouth ; his daring, ferocity, and appalling ap- 
pearance are represented with true Eastern exaggeration ; and until some 
European sportsman, perhaps after days or weeks of pursuit, lays him low, 
thousands live in fear day and night. Bold man-eaters have been known to 
enter a village and carry off a victim from the first open hut. Having lived 
in a tract so circumstanced until I shot the fiend that possessed it, and 
having myself felt something of the grim dread that had taken hold of the 
country-side, where ordinary rambling about the jungles, and even sitting 
outside the tent after dark except with a large fire, or moving from the en- 
campment without an escort, were unsafe, I could realise the feelings of 
relief and thankfulness so earnestly expressed by the poor ryots when I shot 
the Jezebel that had held sway over them so long. 

The man-eater is often an old tiger (more frequently a tigress), or an 
animal that, through having been wounded or otherwise hurt, has been un- 
able to procure its usual food, and takes to this means of subsistence. It 
is invariably an ex-cattle-killer that, from constant intercourse with man, 
has become divested of its natural dread of our race, and interference with 
whose kills has caused collisions between itself and cow-herds which have 
finally led to its preying upon the hitherto dreaded man when other food 
fails. The man-eater is as cowardly as it is cunning, fleeing before an 
armed man, between whom and a possible victim it discriminates with 
wonderful sagacity. The slightest sound of any one in pursuit of it, even 
the whisper of a single sportsman with one or two trackers in its haunts, 
starts it at once ; it will then probably travel for miles, though even whilst 
fleeing it may pounce upon some unwary victim, as I have seen an ordinary 
tiger seize a bullock when itself the object of hot pursuit. This combi- 
nation of cowardice and audacity constitutes the difficulty there always is in 
bringing a man-eater to bag. 

Though the belief that some tigers confine themselves entirely to human 
flesh is undoubtedly erroneous, a man is so much more easily overcome than 
any other animal that man-eaters frequently seize cow-herds in preference 
to the cattle they are in charge of. It is this which has led to the belief 


that, after Laving once tasted human flesh the tiger prefers it to any other. 
The reason wliy tigresses sliould be more frequent offenders than their lords 
is difficult to conjecture. Perhaps it is that when their cubs are young they 
are often put to great straits to obtain food for them, or urged to acts of 
boldness in their defence ; or the fact that tigresses are as a rule more 
vicious, sly, and enterprising, as also more ferocious when pushed to extrem- 
ities than tigers, may partly account for it. This may seem an ungallant 
representation by a sportsman., (and who is more tender-hearted, more ready 
to overlook the sex's failings than the true sportsman?) but it is the truth. 

How the belief arose that man-eaters are usually mangy animals it is 
difficult to understand. I do not remember to have read of a single instance 
of any sportsman finding this to be the case. Were tigers apt to lose their 
hair, or to become lean in old age, a foundation for the belief might exist ; 
though to say that this was the result of eating human flesh would be erro- 
neous. But old animals merely become lighter in colour, the black stripes 
narrowing and becoming further apart, and very slightly mixed with grey 
hairs, whilst the yellow turns to a paler hue tlian in youth. As far as my 
own experience goes I have never seen a mangy or lean tiger. 

Man-eaters are exceedingly rare in Mysore and the surrounding teni- 
tories. In the past fifteen years there has only been one of great note — the 
Benkipoor tiger. This tiger flourished some twelve years ago, and caused 
great loss of life in the country about Benkipoor in the Nugger Division of 
Mysore. A large reward was offered by Government for his destruction, 
but in the number of tigers shot and brought forward as the man-eater there 
was a difficulty of identification. And though it is believed that he was at 
last shot by a native shikarie, as all killing ceased from the time that a 
male tiger with one fore-foot injured was brought in, it was not known at 
the time that the real Simon Pure had been slain, and the enhanced reward 
was never paid. 

Regarding the size of tigers, once a much-disputed point, all careful 
observers are, I believe, agreed in accepting Dr Jerdon's view {Mammals of 
India) as thorouglily correct. He says : " The average size of a full-grown 
male tiger is from 9 to 9| feet,* but I fancy that there is very little doubt 
that, occasionally, iv^QX^ are killed 10 feet in length, and perhaps a few inches 
over til at ; but tlic stories of tigers 11 feet and 12 feet in length, so often 
heard and r(;peated, certainly require confirmation, and I have not myself 
seen an authentic account of a tiger that measured more than 10 feet and 
2 or 3 inches." I know two noted Bengal sportsmen who can each count 
the tigers slain by them by hundreds, whose opinions entirely corroborate 

From Huso to lip of t;iil. 


Jerdon. My own experience can only produce a tiger of 9 feet 6 inches, 
and a tigress of 8 feet 4 inches, as my largest. 

It is not to be denied that tigers exceeding 10, 11, and even 12 feet 
in length are sometimes spoken of and have even been described. But it 
has invariably happened, in my experience, that whenever the narrator of 
such stories has been brought to book, he has been unable to appeal to any 
authority more satisfactory than his own memory, or the memory of liis 
friends. Now, on such a point the memory is by no means an infallible 
guide. When a man has assured me that the length of a tiger — a length 
greatly in excess of the ordinary size — is indelibly impressed upon his 
memory, I have never failed to express my regret that it was not, at the 
time, indelibly impressed upon his note-book. A sportsman cannot be 
too careful in this particular. Perfect exactness in his description of the 
slaughtered animal is an aim he should always keep in view. For this pur- 
pose the memory is not a safe witness. It may be laid down as an axiom 
that the note-book carried by the sportsman is the only safe evidence ; and 
that all other — whatever be its nature — must be disregarded. 

I have only weighed one tiger, a very bulky, well-fed male. He weighed, 
by two different scales, 349|- lb., or 25 stone all but half a pound. I 
should have imagined this was about the extreme weight of any tiger, but 
I have seen heavier recorded. 

It is difficult to ascertain the probable age to which tigers live. A large 
male that I shot, and which was said to have been perfectly well known 
about Morlay for twenty years, showed no signs of great age : his teeth 
were good, and he seemed in the prime of vigour and strength ; his coat 
was, however, getting liglit-coloured. As cats not unfrequently live to 
upwards of twenty years, the tiger's span of life is probably longer than 
is usually supposed. A tiger has lived in the Eegent's Park Zoological 
Society's gardens for ten years, but this is of course not a satisfactory test. 
The natives have an idea that the age of tigers and panthers can be told by 
the number of lobes of the liver, being one lobe for each year of age; but this 
theory is not, I believe, accepted by anatomists. It is true, however, and is a 
peculiar fact, that the number of lobes does vary considerably in different 
animals, and is greatest where other indications of age exist. I have shot 
tigers and panthers with from nine to fifteen lobes. If this has nothing to 
do with their age, it would at least be interesting if anatomists could give 
some reason to account for it. 

A strange example of a tiger's departing from the usual food of the 
FelidcB, is that of a large male near Poonjoor some years ago, that is said to 
have killed and eaten several bears. The account of his doings in the Poon- 



joor jungles was given me by old Bommay Gouda, wliom I have already 
mentioned as having lived all his life amongst tigers, bears, and elephants 
and as an authority wliose interesting accounts of the habits and pecvdiari- 
ties of the occupants of the jungles could l)e relied on. It appears that this 
tiger killed several bears at diflurent times whilst feeding, coming from be- 
liind and seizing them by the nape of the neck, and bearing them down (no 
pun intended), after a struggle, by his weight and strength. Towards corrob- 
orating this account some Sh51agas at the other end of the hills, twenty miles 
away, and who knew nothing of wliat Bommay Gouda had told me, gave 
me a similar account ; adding that a bear had been thus killed and partially 
eaten in a clearing where they were watching their crops early one morning. 
This was doubtless the same tiger. My Morlay trackers also told me that 
some years ago they surrounded a bear and her three-parts grown cub with 
nets in a date-gTOve close to wliich my bungalow now stands at Morlay. 
The bears broke through the nets, the big she being severely speared in 
doing so, and both got clear away to a ravine a mile distant. Next morning 
they were found together, dead, and the large bear partially eaten by a tiger 
whose marks were all around. Whether she had died of her wounds or had 
been killed by the tiger the men had not taken sufficient notice at the time 
to be able to tell me, but the cub had been killed. This was also probably 
the work of the same tiger. The carcass of a bear which I once shot at 
Yerlsariga, and wliich was dragged to some distance from the tents after 
being skinned, was partially eaten by a leopard that night, which shows 
that the Fdidce do not always confine themselves to cattle and game. 

One of the strangest things I ever heard of in connection witli tigers 
is an instance of three tigers devouring a fourth. This was also told me 
by Bommay Gouda and two Sholagas who were with him at tlie time of 
the occurrence. For my own part I believe the story. It was tliat a male 
tiger killed a buffalo late one evening ; the carcass was found partially 
eaten next day ; and the following, or second morning, when some low- 
caste men, under Bommay Gouda's guidance, went to take whatever miglit 
be left, they found the head and shoulders of a large tiger, and some bones 
of the buffalo. Tlie ground around bore traces of a savage fight, and it was 
found that a party of three tigers had disturbed tlie original slayer of the 
buffalo at supper, and the struggle which ensued for possession ended in 
his death. There was probably then only a little meat remaining, which 
the victorious party finished, and forthwith set to at their defunct relative 
(a beef-sausage !). These tigers' blood being up, and their appetites excited, 
not appeased, with the remains of the buflalo, and the dead tiger lying 
ready to hand, perhaps somewhat mangled, their eating him can be imagined 


as a not wholly improbable contingency, and is different from their having 
killed him with the intention of making a meal of him. I observe that 
]\Ir Walter Elliot, quoted by Dr Jerdon, says : " Another instance was 
related in a letter by a celebrated sportsman in Khandeish, who, having 
killed a tigress on his return to his tents, sent a pad-elephant to bring it 
home. The messenger returned, reporting that on his arrival he found her 
alive. They went out next morning to the spot, and discovered that she 
had been dragged into a ravine by another tiger and half the carcass 

It is universally believed by natives that the tiger is occasionally killed 
by packs of wild dogs {Oiion rutilans). These animals are not numerous ; 
their operations are of a character so destructive and harassing to game that 
no tract could support them in any considerable number. Their ranges 
extend over immense areas of country, whilst they seldom hunt in one 
neighbourhood for more than a few days, and that at considerable intervals, 
as the deer become so scared that they flee the locality. The wild dog is 
between a wolf and jackal in size, of a uniform deep rusty colour above, 
paler below, and with a blackish brush. They run both by sight and scent, 
and their perseverance and endurance are so great that they rarely fail ot 
kill any animal on whose track they start. From what I have seen of their 
style of hunting, and of their power of tearing and lacerating, I think there 
can be no doubt of their ability to kill a tiger. I can caU to mind two 
examples of their powers. One morning two dogs chased a spotted hind 
past my tent. One of them halted at sight of the encampment ; the other, 
which was within springing distance, made two snatches at the exhausted 
creature's abdomen, and then drew off. The bites were inflicted with light- 
ning speed : the deer went but a few paces when she fell with her entrails 
protruding. On another occasion I heard the yapping of jungle-dogs, and a 
noble spotted stag came racing down an open glade, his branching antlers 
laid along his back, and three wild dogs at liis flanks. They had only time 
to make a snap or two each when we interfered. The stag went but a few 
yards and feU, and was speared by one of my men. In the moment's biting 
it had been emasculated, and about four pounds of flesh torn from the inner 
part of its thighs. 

Similar injury might easily be inflicted on a tiger. I have seen more 
than one flee from a pack of curs — a very mangy one gallantly holding on 
to the royal beast's tail on one occasion — and it is probable a tiger would 
turn from wild dogs. The latter's habit of hunting almost exclusively 
during the day would be in their favour in an encounter with a tiger. Their 
tactics are not to attack in front ; they never expose themselves to the 


horns or hoofs of powerful deer. They would bite a tiger, should he run 
from them, in parts that might speedily cause his death. A Sholaga told 
me that he once saw a tiger confronted by wild dogs, sitting on his haunches 
against a bamboo-clump. The dogs, ten or twelve in number, were making 
no active demonstrations, but walked close to him, in a most impertinent 
and unconcerned manner. The Sholaga having no personal interest — a 
native's first consideration in all matters — in the result of the meeting, left 
the rivals. It is possible that in such a case, if the tiger maintained his 
position, the dogs would ^vithdraw, as they could do nothing against him in 
a front attack. Causes of hostility may occasionally arise between the tiger 
and wild dogs through attempted interference with each other's prey. Other- 
wise it is not clear wdiy the dogs should molest the tiger. 

Bison are occasionally killed by tigers. A tiger's method of attacking 
a solitary bull-bison has been described to me by jungle-men as consisting 
in showing himself in the grass and leading the bison to charge, avoiding 
each rush of the bull, following him on the instant, and striking him behind 
wdth the intention of emasculating him. The largest and oldest-looking 
solitary bison I ever shot had a half-healed mark of a tiger's stroke on the 
outside of his thigh, a long raking wound of about eighteen inches, wliich 
could scarcely have been got in any other way. 

I once saw the carcass of an old bullock which we had tied for a tiger, 
and which was killed by a small leopard somewhat in this way. The 
bullock had been beyond its strength, so it had seized it by the nose, 
and held on like a bull-dog till the bullock had fallen, when the leopard 
had bitten the inside of the hind-legs and torn the stomach, and thus killed 
the bullock without touching the throat. Wild dogs seize deer in tliis way, 
so it is possible that the tiger adopts the same plan with bison, whose 
strength is so much greater than his own. The largest tiger would, of 
course, have no clmnce in fair fight with a bull-bison. The latter's brawny 
throat, with its hide two inches thick, would afford him a diflieult hold even 
could he attain it, and no wrench could dislocate the bison's powerful neck, 
whilst the tiger would be crushed out of all recognition if once caught 
between the ground and his antagonist's massive forehead or fore - legs. 
As I have already mentioned, however, a tiger occasionally succeeds in 
killing cow-bison. A case occurred near Morlay where a tigress and her 
two nearly full-grown cuIjs attacked a cow-l)ison that had become separated 
from the herd. One of the cubs was killed before the bison was overcome, 
and was found by my men next morning. A few years ago a tiger and a 
bull of t]i(j Annut MahiU Government breed of cattle at the Commissariat 
d(!i»ot at Iloonsoor, near Mysore, had a desperate struggle in the jungles. 


The bull eventually beat off his antagonist, but was left in a woeful condi- 
tion, and died in a few hours. 

I have never witnessed a tiger actually seize its prey, but it has been 
described to me by men who have seen the occurrence scores of times 
within a few yards' distance whilst tending cattle. The general method is 
for the tiger to slink up under cover of bushes or long grass, ahead of the 
cattle in the direction they are feeding, and to make a rush at the first cow 
or bullock that comes within five or six yards. The tiger does not spiring 
upon his prey in the manner usually represented. Clutching the bullock's 
fore - quarters with his paws, one being generally over the shoulder, he 
seizes the throat in his jaws from underneath, and turns it upwards and 
over, sometimes springing to the far side in doing so, to throw the bullock 
over, and give the wrench which dislocates its neck. This is frequently 
done so quickly that the tiger, if timid, is in retreat again almost before the 
herdsman can turn round. Bold animals often kill several head, unsophis- 
ticated cattle occasionally standing and staring at the tiger in stupid 
astonishment ; but herds that are accustomed to these raids only enter 
the jungle with extreme unwillingness, and frequently stampede back to 
the village at even the rustle of a bird in a thicket. 

Captain Forsyth says : " The tiger's usual way is to seize with the teeth 
by the ncqje of the neck, and at the same time use the paws to hold the 
victim and give a purchase for the wrench that dislocates the neck." 
Captain Baldwin, in his Large and Small Game of Bengal, says : " He 
launches himself upon his victim, and seizing it by the back of the neck 
(not the throat), brings it to the ground, and then gives that fatal wrench 
or twist which dislocates the neck. I have examined the carcasses of many 
scores of bullocks killed by tigers, and have, in the great majority of cases, 
found the neck broken, and the deep holes at the back of the neck caused 
by the tiger's fangs." Also : " A tiger, as I have before stated, almost inva- 
riably seizes his prey by the back of the neck ; leopards and panthers not 
unfrequently by the throat." 

Now, with due respect for Captains Forsyth and Baldwin's opinions on 
sporting matters, I beg to differ with theni entirely on this point. The 
tiger does occasionally seize by the nape of the neck, in the case of having 
to deal with very powerful cattle, but I am convinced this is not his usual 
method. Out of some hundreds of kills that I have seen, there were only 
two animals seized in this way. One was a boar, which had eventually 
beaten off a tigress, though we found him dead several days after, with 
deep fang-wounds at the back of his head ; and the other was a huge tame 
bull-buffalo, that might well have defied any tiger but such an one as he sue- 


cumbed to. Tlie bull was attacked wlien lying down, and had evidently lieen 
seized by the nape of the neck. His immense strength had enabled him to 
rise, the tiger probably at first maintaining his hold. The antagonists had 
then separated and closed several times. Tlie ground was torn up, and 
the fallen leaves were red with blood from the buffalo ; branches eight feet 
from the ground were splashed with blood blown from his nostrils, or thrown 
up in his efforts to rid himself of the tiger. He had at last, after a gallant 
fight, stumbled into a trench, used for convej-ing water to the gardens 
wherein the struggle took place, and had been there killed by his fero- 
cious assailant. 

It is evident that in the case of beasts with horns a tiger would find 
them considerably in his way in seizing by the back of the neck. ^lore- 
over, the beast would be borne to the ground, where killing it would be a 
longer affair than by dislocating its neck in the manner described. Dislo- 
cation could not be effected on the ground as well as by turning the throat 
upwards, when the inertia of the beast's carcass before it is overthrown 
presents a sufficient purchase to effect the dislocation. That the tiger does 
not seize by the nape of the neck is also apparent from the fact that the 
gape of the largest is insufficient to take in the neck of big cattle so as to 
bring the fangs to the lower part of the throat where the fatal marks are 
always found. I imagine Captain Baldwin must be alone in his experience 
of finding wounds at the back of the neck. 

Cattle are seized by tigers when gi-azing in the jungles at any hour 
of the day, but more frequently after three o'clock in the afternoon. 
Should the tiger fail in his attempt to seize, he pursues the animal or 
others of the herd, striking savagely at their hind-legs to hamstring or upset 
them ; or he gallops round through the bushes, and attacks again from the 
side or front. The tiger's powers of springing seem inconsiderable. I 
observed that tigers always forded, never jumped, an irrigation channel not 
more than eighteen feet wide, that flowed through the jungles near ^Morlay, 
and which they frequently crossed during their night's prowls. I have 
frequently measured the bounds of tigers that have pursued deer, and have 
found fifteen feet to be about the utmost they usually spring. I have seen 
it surmised, upon a consideration of the respective size and power of a tiger 
and of a cat, that the tiger can cover a hundred feet at a bound. "Were 
a flea or grasshopper adopted as the basis of calculation, a much more 
startling result might be obtained. The popular belief that a tiger slinks 
away should he fail in his attack is erroneous, as also the belief that he can 
kill his prey by a stroke of the paw. I have never seen anything to sup- 
port this belief, nor is it held by natives. Of none of the sportsmen or 


natives of whom we read as coming under tigers' hands has it ever, as far 
as I know, been recorded that limbs were broken or death caused by a 
stroke of the paw only. I have known several cattle escape from tigers, 
severely lacerated, where, had a heavy blow accompanied the strokes of the 
paws, bones must have been broken. 

There appears to be no foundation for the venerable belief in tigers 
sucking the blood of their victims. The jugular vein is never, as far as I 
have observed, injured. It is by fracturing the vertebrae, not by blood- 
letting, that the tiger's prey is deprived of life. I have known several 
cases of cattle getting away from tigers after having been seized by them, 
but escaping the fatal wrench, from the interference of the cow-herds. All 
but one died of lock-jaw, or from inflammation of the wounds in the throat, 
but there was no bleeding. The tiger frequently retains its hold on its 
victim's throat for some time, but probably only till assured that life is 
extinct. The physical difficulty of producing a vacuum sufficient to cause 
a flow of blood, whilst the tiger's mouth is opened so widely as to grasp a 
bullock's throat, would be considerable. A little after sunset, or sooner if 
the jungles are quiet, the tiger returns and drags the carcass to some retired 
spot where he commences his meal. In eating the tiger invariably com- 
mences at the hind-quarters. The exact spot where the first mouthful will 
be taken can be told with certainty. The flesh of one or both thighs, and 
sometimes the flanks, or about 70 lb. of meat, is eaten the first night. 
Tigers seldom lie up far from their " hilll' if the cover be thick and quiet ; 
tliey eat whenever inclined either by day or night till the carcass is finished ; 
this is usually on the third day, but it, of course, depends upon the size 
of the animal killed. After or during a meal the tiger drinks largely, 
often walking belly-deep into the water. One morning before it was quite 
light three of my trackers were going to see about some elephants near 
Morlay, when they heard a tiger on the opposite bank coming towards the 
river they were going to cross. They got up a tree and saw the tiger 
march into the water and immerse his head to the eyes, blowing and splut- 
tering as if to wash his jaws. Having lapped as much water as he required, 
he crossed to underneath the tree up which the men had climbed, and sat 
down at the foot. They had only cudgels and their cumUics (black 
blankets) with them. These they threw down altogether upon the un- 
suspecting tiger, which, to their amusement, dashed off into the jungle with 
a " wough," in a great state of fright. This was the " Don," a tiger to be 
mentioned further on, and on which my men were always playing practical 

After a pretty lengthy experience of tigers, and finding that all I had 


seen had dragged, not carried, their kills, I was disposed to douLt the truth 
of their ever lifting a full-grown bullock clear off the ground ; but I sub- 
sequently saw where this feat had been performed on two occasions by two 
separate tigers. One of these, an immensely powerful beast, had taken up 
a bullock weighing probably 400 lb., and carried it through a very dense 
thicket for about three hundred yards. The other, a small tigress, carried 
an old bullock some distance through open jungle. These tigers' object in 
doing this was not apparent, except that their kills had been constantly 
meddled with, and they may possiljly have had some idea of leaving no 
traces behind them, though it is doubtful if their intelligence were equal to 
such a flight as this. In both of the above cases the drag of one hind-leg 
of the bullock was observable here and there. 

Tigers frequently astonish those most conversant with their ordinary 
habits by some erratic conduct, and it is unsafe to condemn as untrue almost 
anything that may be related of their doings (as long as it is nothing of 
which they are physically incapable) merely because it is unusual or unpre- 
cedented. An account given by two sportsmen a few years ago of a tigress 
climbing a tree in a wood on the Neilgherry hills was much criticised, and 
even laughed at, by many who had scarcely perhaps ever seen a tiger out of 
a menagerie, or at least had never happened to see one up a tree. Tigers are 
not physically incapable of climbing, and though their doing so is decidedly 
unusual, there is no reason why they should not occasionally use their 
powers. I have never seen a tiger in a tree myself, but their claw-marks 
are constantly to be found where they amuse themselves by springing and 
clutching the soft bark, sometimes at thirteen feet from the ground. The 
natives believe that this is done to sharpen their claws, or as a means 
of relieving irritation in the claws caused by putrid flcsli ; and the marks 
may sometimes be made by juvenile tigers at play. There is one kind of 
tree called in Canarese " muttaga " (the bastard teak, Buttea frondosa), the 
bark of which is very soft, and the sap, which it gives forth at the slightest 
wound, of a blood-red colour. The tiger is particularly fond of clawing this 
tree, and the imaginative natives ascribe this to his supposed delight at the 
sight of what he believes to be blood ! 

The tiger's powers of enduring hunger and thirst are very great. Tn 
January 1870, a tiger, tigress, and panther wore surrounded with nets by 
some villagers in a valley near which a friend and myself were encamped. 
We shot the panther on the iirst day, but the enclosed thicket was so dense 
that we could not get the tigers to show, and we liad no elephants. On the 
fifth day, however, wu wounded them both. After this, as nothing would 
make them break cover, we were obliged to send to IMysoro for elephants, 


and we killed them, still full of vigour, on tlie tenth day. The weather 
was hot, the circle in which they were enclosed was only seventy yards in 
diameter, and the heat of the fires kept up day and night all round was 
considerable. Still they existed without a drop of water for ten days, 
suffering from wounds half the time. A tiger can go much longer than 
this without food without serious inconvenience. 

The hunting-ranges of tigers are extensive, and are traversed with great 
expedition. A tiger that I was after on one occasion travelled from Has- 
sanoor to Morlay, about twenty-three miles, within ten hours ; this was 
his own pace, as he did not know we were following him. Tigers are not 
often met with in the jungles when not the object of pursuit. During 
some years of wandering in tigerish locahties I have only come upon them 
accidentally about half-a-dozen times. 

Tigresses do not breed at anv fixed season. I have taken cubs in 
March, May, and October. I have twice taken four cubs at a litter, but 
this is an unusual number — two, occasionally three, being more common ; 
and male and female cubs apj^ear to be in about equal proportions. How 
it is that amongst mature animals tigresses predominate so markedly, I am 
unable to say. The tigress probably does not breed oftener than once in 
two years. I have seen as many as three cubs about four months old with 
a tigress, but never more than two well-grown ones. The natives say that 
the tigress feeds her cubs when very young with gobbets of half-digested 
flesh, which she disgorges on her return from hunting. This is probable, as 
carrpng meat to any distance would be an unnatural proceeding, and the 
half-digested flesh is probably better adapted to the requirements of young- 
cubs. When even six weeks old the cubs move from place to place with 
their mother, but are left at home whilst she hunts. They are led to the 
feast, if near, when she kills. Even at this tender age they are very cun- 
ning, and immediately take a line of their own if intruded upon during their 
mother's absence. Two cubs, born near Morlay in November 1875, first 
began to hunt for themselves in the following June, when seven months 
old. They still, however, remained with the tigress. I returned from 
Bengal at this time, and took much interest in noting their progress. They 
had considerable difficulty at this age in kilhng even old cattle single- 
handed, and they scratched them greatly in their attempts. Nor did they 
attack loose cattle — only such as we picketed for them. On one occasion 
there were evident marks of the mother having sat by whilst the one cub 
that was then with her killed a bullock. I shot both these young tigers 
upon their return to feed on animals they had killed : one, the female, on 
July 29, when she measured 6 feet 3 inches, and weighed 118 lb. ; the other. 


the male, on November 25; lie measured 6 feet 1 1 inches, but I was unable 
to weigh him. 

Tiger - cubs are very handsome little beasts, and exceedingly good- 
tempered ; but it is essential that they should be taken very young, before 
they have any knowledge of jungle-life, or fear of man, or tliey cannot lie 
tamed. A month is tlie outside age for taking them. They show much 
attachment to their master, following him everywhere, lying under his chau", 
and sniffing loudly with pleasure when noticed. As soon as meat is given, 
even to the youngest cubs, they turn up their noses at milk, and will take 
nothing but meat afterwards. Tlie idea that uncooked flesh makes them 
savage is, I have satisfied myself, groundless. Cubs will only get on well 
on raw meat, and as long as they have enough of it, are the best-tempered 
little animals in the world. When four months old they become formidable 
in appearance and power, but they may safely be kept loose much longer. 
A pair which I gave to his Highness the young IMaharajah of Mysore were 
kept loose until eight months old, and used to play with each other or their 
keepers, and with a tame bear, very prettily. My experience of tame tigers 
is that they are neither treacherous nor likely to show any sudden savage- 
ness if well fed. I had one of considerable size that used to be loose in my 
room at night, and though I pillowed and thumped it when it would show 
its affection for me by jumping on to the bed as soon as I was asleep, it 
never showed any resentment. I sold a pair of cubs eight months old, as 
I was ordered to Bengal and could not keep them, for £100. 

Having now given some notes on the nature and habits of the tiger, T 
shall endeavour to describe the usual methods of hunting hiui. 


The pursuit of the tiger with a line of elephants is perhaps the most 
common method, the sportsman either shooting from the howdah, or from a 
]:)ost selected ahead, towards which the tiger is driven. This plan is chiefly 
adopted in Bengal in places where the grass is long, and where men on foot 
would be useless. 

Beaters are employed instead of eleplianis in otlier parts of India, where 
the jungle admits of men getting througli in line, and is perhaps too thorny 
or close at about the height of the howdah for shooting from an elephant. 

In some parts of India, particularly in Mysore, tigers are surrounded 
with nets and shot from outside, or from the backs of elephants, or even on 
foot, inside. 

'^ OF THE 







"Watching for their return to a " hill" or at pools where they are known 
to drink, is the method chiefly practised by native shikaries. 

Poison, spring-guns, pitfalls, and traps are also brought into play, gen- 
erally where a man-eater is concerned. 

I have had very little experience of beating in line with a large number 
of elephants ; this method is hardly applicable to Southern India, where 
there are few savannahs of long grass as in Bengal, and where elephants 
are not so easily obtained. 

In shooting either with elephants or beaters, it is essential that the 
sportsman or some of his men should know the ground well, and the tiger's 
usual paths to and from the cover to be driven, and the adjacent covers. A 
tiger scarcely ever moves through very thick cover, preferring paths and com- 
paratively open passages amongst the bushes ; and in driving along a ravine 
he almost invariably comes along the bank, very seldom down the bed. It 
is often of great assistance to have " dummies " of natives' clothes, hung 
here and there on conspicuous bushes, to guide the tiger, but these should 
be placed so that he may see them from some little distance and not come 
upon them suddenly, as in that case he may become alarmed and break 
away. In driving a ravine, a straight reach, and the point therein where 
the jungle is narrowest, should be selected by the sportsman for his post. 
In bends, or where the ravine is tortuous, the tiger is likely to cut across a 
corner. No beat should be begun too near a tiger for fear of alarming him, 
and causing him to pass the sportsman too quickly for a good shot. Some 
tigers show almost as soon as the first shout of the beaters is heard, others 
will not leave the cover till the last moment. It is a good rule never to 
be off guard until the last man has left the cover, as should the tiger whilst 
coming along have detected the sportsman, he may lie close, and let the 
beaters come very near before he breaks. Tigers and other animals display 
great intelligence in detecting the quarter from which real danger is to be 
apprehended, and will break back through a line of shouting beaters to 
avoid the silent sportsman they may have detected ahead. 

I had particular facilities for enjoying the sport of tiger-shooting on 
foot, or from trees, at Morlay. My men were thoroughly up to the habits 
of the game, and we knew every inch of the covers. There is little danger 
in this sport if the tiger is not turned back by being fired at from in front. 
When alongside or past the sportsman he generally dashes ahead if wounded, 
but if fired at the instant he shows himself he may turn back. Beaters 
should be ordered to mass together as soon as a shot is fired, and to leave the 
cover in a body. I used an old bugle for signals, a blast from which meant 
danger. If it was not sounded when a shot was fired my men knew all 


was safe ahead, and came on w^tli undiminislied confidence. Beaters cannot 
be expected to drive out a piece of jungle boldly where there is a possibility 
of a wounded tiger being stumbled upon. I have been fortunate enough 
never to have had a single accident in tiger-shooting, though I am sure men 
would have been injured on some occasions had our arrangements not been 

I generally managed to keep up communication with the men leading 
the beat by signals, and often found it of great advantage. I liad a man 
posted at some distance from me in a tree, or open space, who could see the 
advancing beaters and myself. By a wave of a handkerchief, red or white, 
by the head of the beaters, which was telegraphed to me by the sentinel, I 
knew if the tiger had been found, had broken back, or was coming along ; 
and when I have sometimes had to stop a beat I have been able to do so 
by a signal without losing time. It is very inconvenient to be unable to 
communicate with beaters without shouting, or sending some one down one's 
tree with a message. 

All this training was excellent practice, moreover, for the Morlay people 
for the more important work of elephant-catcliing, in which signals with 
fires or flags upon hill -tops at a distance of some miles were sometimes 
used. Of course it is but few sportsmen who have opportunities for hunt- 
ing tigers in this systematic way, but perhaps some of the above hints may 
be found apjjlicable on most occasions. 

There is perhaps no method of shooting tigers so seldom successful as 
watching for their return to feed on animals they have killed. Almost 
every sportsman lias tried it again and again, and solemnly vowed upon 
each occasion that it should be his last, generally only to be found at his 
post on the next tempting opportunity. For my own part I confess to a 
great liking for the silent and solitary watch ; and as tliis description of 
shooting requires the exercise of the sportsman's utmost vigilance and 
patience, I have never felt any qualms as to its legitimacy. In a shady 
creen mechdn'^ in some fine tree, watching at the cool of evening — that 
always bewitching hour in the Indian day, — wlien jungle-sounds alone break 
the stillness, and birds and animals, seldom seen at other times, steal forth, 
and can be watched at leisure — wliilst intense excitement is kept alive by 
the possibility of the tiger's appearance at any moment, — I have often 
wondered how any one can consider being perclied upon a tree under a 
blazing sun whilst a tiger is being driven towards liiui sport, and use 
the term poaching in reference to this. How many men have killed their 
forty or fifty tigers who have never succeeded in bagging one by watching, — 

* A screened plulfonn. 


the fair outwitting of the subtle beast ou his own ground ! Give him who 
prefers the horn-and-tomtom system his diabolical appliances, his calorific 
post ; but the solitary watch in the hushed evening hours for the lover of 
nature, for him who can feel the true romance and poetry of solitude in the 

It was not until I had made many unsuccessful attempts to shoot tigers 
by watcliing — never even seeing one — and had cheerfully put down my 
want of success on each occasion to sheer bad luck, that I began to con- 
sider in the ample hours I had aloft for reflection, w^hether there might 
not be some mistakes in the arrangements we made for their reception 
to account for tigers never putting in an appearance, especially as any 
carcass that was not watched was always revisited. I then saw some of 
the errors we made, and since rectifying them have been fairly successful. 
I will therefore venture upon some hints which may perhaps be of service 
to others. 

The reasons why tigers fail to show again at their kills are, either that 
they have been disturbed in their mid-day retreat whilst the platform was 
being put up, or have winded or heard the sportsman upon returning to 
feed. As the tiger kills his prey with the intention of eating it, so he will 
surely return unless disturbed. To avoid alarming him, the best plan is to 
tie up a bullock (a natural kill will seldom do as well) in some quiet 
locality two or three hundred yards from any place where he can remain 
during the day, and where the line he will take in returning to the place is 
well defined. This is necessary, as the sportsman can thus have his plat- 
form prepared without fear of the tiger's being within hearing, and post himself 
so that his scent (it should be remembered that the prevailing breezes often 
change at sunset) may not be blown towards the tiger on his return. These 
essential points being seen to, it only remains to have the mechdn com- 
fortably prepared, and for the sportsman to keep absolutely quiet, and take 
up his post sufficiently early. The mechdn should be about six feet long 
and three broad, with its length towards the kill, a hole about six inches 
square being left amongst the leafy branches with which it is to be screened, 
to see and shoot from. A mattress, pillows, rug, and water-bottle should 
not be forgotten, as without comfort much of the pleasure of the sport is 
lost. A book should be taken to read till dusk. I never hesitated to 
smoke whilst upon the watch ; it can do no harm, as if the tiger is in a 
position to wind the smoke he will most certainly smell the smoker, and 
tobacco will then add no extra terrors to his flight. I need hardly say that 
the sportsman must make no audible movement, and can oidy remain per- 
fectly still if lying down ; in sitting up the feet go asleep, and it then 


becomes impossible to avoid moving. The leaves for screening the platform 
should be of a kind that will not dry soon, nor rustle if touched. Some 
kinds shrivel up in a couple of hours, and crackle with the slightest move- 
ment. No one should be allowed on the platform with the sportsman ; a 
native is absolutely certain to cough at the critical moment. The platform 
should be placed about fifteen or twenty feet high, when possible, to lessen 
the chances of the tiger's scenting the sportsman. A tiger rarely looks \\\i 
unless his attention is attracted by some sound ; but there is great danger 
of his winding the sportsman. There is no objection on the score of safety 
in having it lower, as tigers never attempt an escalade when suddenly 
startled. The cases in which they have injured sportsmen in trees have 
occurred when their ire has been roused by being driven about by beaters. 

As soon as the jungles are quiet the tiger may be expected, and the 
sportsman should seldom watch for him beyond half-past eight in the even- 
ing, as if he intend to come lie will have put in an appearance before that 
time. Nor should he take up his post later than four o'clock, as a tiger 
often comes long before sundown. A tigress for which I was watching on 
one occasion returned to her kill at three in the afternoon of a very hot day. 
I expected her early and had taken up my post at two o'clock. On this 
occasion the position was a difficult one, as there was no choice between a 
bush too close to the " kill ". and a tree too far away. I was obliged to 
take the former, and laying some poles across the bush I had an elephant's 
pad placed on them, and green boughs arranged round as a screen. I was 
only seven feet from the ground, and on a very unstable arrangement. I 
had been watching about an hour, when suddenly, without other notice ot 
her approach, there was the cautious but firm tread — that sound which 
there is no mistaking, and which once heard cannot be forgotten — of the 
tigress in the dead leaves under me ! She had, unfortunately, approached 
from behind, and taking advantage of my bush as a last point of observation, 
had entered it ! I was within three feet of her ! I need not say she 
detected me in an instant, but drew back so stealthily that I did not hear 
lier leave, and I remained in the pleasant position of imagining her within 
arm's-length for a quarter of an hour. At last the excitement overpowered 
my physical control, and I could not help moving, and looking I found she 
was gone. I left, so as not to risk friglitening her furtlicr, and she returned 
after dark and dragged the bullock away. 

Mosquitoes never give much trouble in fine weather up till half-past 
eight at night. Three or four days before full moon, and about two days 
after, is the best time for watching. Nothing can lie done in dark nights. 
The kill may be dragged a few yards to allbrd a better shot if necessary. 


Tigers do not mind this at all ; but it should be left within easy sight of the 
place where it was left, so that wiien the tiger returns he can see it imme- 
diately as it lies. The idea that touching or interfering with a kill will 
prevent the tiger's devouring more of it is quite unfounded. Carcasses are 
constantly pulled about by vultures and jackals during the tiger's absence. 
Let any one move a carcass a few yards — one that is not watched ; it will 
be seen that the tiger returns to it without hesitation. 

In tying a live bullock for a tiger, the rope should be put round the 
base of his horns or one fore-leg. I have had to secure some bullocks with 
a chain when I wanted the carcass left on the spot, to prevent tigers that had 
acquired the habit from biting the rope, which they will do if they want to 
drag their prey to cover, and cannot break the tie. 


In some parts of Mysore the villagers are accustomed to surround tigers 
with nets, and then to shoot or spear them. This is the only method 
(except watching) by which they can be brought to bag where the cover is 
too continuous to be easily driven. It may seem unsportsmanlike to shoot 
a tiger through a net, but as far as danger goes there is perhaps as much as 
in shooting him from a tree. 

The method of enclosing the tiger within the nets is as follows : The 
nets used are made of J -inch rope with a 9 -inch mesh, and are 40 feet long 
by 1 2 deep. When a tiger is known to be in any particular cover, perhaps 
a densely- wooded ravine, a path is cleared across some distance from where 
he lies, and a line of nets is set up 8 or 10 feet high, the extra depth 
lying on the ground ; the nets are extended into the open on both sides. A 
hundred or a hundred and fifty Torreas or Oopligas, the only castes who 
take part in this sport, are usually engaged. 

Men armed with spears conceal themselves behind the row of nets at 
different points, and a flanking line is posted on each side of the cover to 
prevent the tiger breaking out sideways. A few climb commanding trees 
to give notice of his movements, whilst tlie main body of beaters com- 
mence at the head of the ravine and drive him towards the nets, ^^nder 
these circumstances tigers and panthers act very differently. Panthers 
frequently rush ahead and precipitate themselves into the nets, when they 
are speared on the spot, or effect their escape. But a tiger, however mucli 
he miy be alarmed at the noise behind, keeps a careful look-out ahead. His 
passage onwards is signalled by the men in the trees, and when he appears 


near the nets the spearmen show themselves ; he then generally draws back, 
and as care is always taken to enclose a particularly thick piece of jungle 
within the nets, he conceals himself. The beaters close in from behind in 
a compact line, carrying spare nets. Should the tiger try to break back he 
is received with shouts, which generally drive him back. Ha\ang reduced 
the area to about a hundred yards in diameter, the nets are quickly run up 
all round. The main ropes (which pass through the bottom and top meshes 
all along the nets) are fastened to convenient trees ; the nets are supported 
at the height of ten feet by forked poles inside and out, inclining towards 
each other, and secured together at the top ; logs of trees and hea\'y stones 
are laid upon the foot all round, and pegs are driven in to prevent the logs 
being moved. The extra depth of two feet or so of nets is brought up 
round the logs, and wattled above with cross sticks, thus making the net 
double for about two feet from the ground. In this way a barrier of great 
strength is formed ; it cannot be easily pulled down by the tiger, and is too 
pliable to afford him an effective blow. It is a strange fact that tigers 
never attempt to jump over the nets, as they might easily do ; panthers 
occasionally do so. At night fires are lit all round, and spearmen drive 
the tiger back if he shows himself. A whole day is often taken up in 
rendering the enclosure secure. 

Preparations for killing him are now commenced. Fifteen or twenty 
picked spearmen enter the enclosure with a few men provided with long- 
handled choppers ; the duty of the latter is to clear a path fifteen feet in 
width across the enclosure, thus dividing it into two parts, the spearmen acting 
as a guard the while. The object of the path is that the tiger may be shot 
when driven across it. This going inside an enclosure with a tiger that has 
been excited perhaps for two or three days, and has failed in all his attempts 
to escape, would appear, to those wdio do not know the true nature of the 
animal, to be inviting certain death ; but the men keep well together, and a 
tiger has never been known to charge home amongst them. His position 
seems to have the effect of cowing him. After he has been wounded the 
men seldom venture within the nets. 

If, after being fired at, the tiger keeps in the thick cover, and every 
means fail to stir him, and elephants are not at hand, the looking him up is 
a service of sufficient danger. The tiger may be dead, but he is perhaps 
only badly wounded ; in such cases the only thing is for the sportsman to go 
in with a strong body of men with spears (these would, of course, be of little 
use in meeting a charge, but the having some weapon in hand gives confi- 
dence), when the tiger can be shot as lie lies, or in charging, or retreating, 
I have on several occasions hunted up tigers in this way, and I must say 


I never yet saw one really charge home into a body of men. Fifteen 
or twenty men used to such work, and who will stand and not be intimi- 
dated, as many of the Oopligas and Torreas of Mysore will do, are, I am 
sure, quite safe. I do not believe that any tiger — man-eater, wounded, 
or tigress with cubs, — dares to charge home into a determined and close 
party of men. 

Tiger-netting is generally carried out for the amusement of European 
officers by the headmen of villages, but the natives will occasionally, if a 
tiger becomes troublesome, hunt him in this way themselves. In such cases, 
as they seldom have firearms to shoot him, nets are set up in the cleared 
path across the enclosure, and arranged so as to colla]3se to his charge, and 
envelop the tiger when he is driven across. A dozen bold fellows station 
themselves behind a screen of bushes, and the rest go inside and drive the 
tiger towards them, when he is generally speared as he struggles in the 
nets. Tiie spears used have blades a foot long and three inches broad, with 
bamboo handles six feet in length, and can be driven through a tiger. A 
few seconds thus suffice to make an end of him. Should he get free at the 
moment the men rush upon him one or two are often knocked over, but the 
nets generally hold him. 

Strychnine is occasionally used for destroying tigers. As I have before 
said, I was for some time employed by orders of Government! in killing 
the tigers in parts of Mysore ; and though I only poisoned three — the 
others that I killed being by legitimate methods — I turned my attention at 
the time to experiments with poisons. 

There is no difficulty in making a tiger take a dosa I tried strychnine 
on several occasions until I found out the best way to apply it. The first 
time I gave four grains to a large tiger. He ate about half the quantity of 
meat he would otherwise have done, the poison affecting him before he com- 
pleted his meal, and he then vomited and drank at a pool near, rolling at 
every few yards, evidently in great agony. This tiger was severely affected 
for some days, and my men brought me news of him, groaning and roaring 
in different parts of the jungle. I was too busy with elephant-catching at 
the time to look after him, and he recovered. In the second case I used 
nine grains ; a tiger, tigres.i, and large cub fed off the carcass, but the 
tigress alone took the poisoned portion. She threw up a good deal of flesh 
(and covered it over with dry leaves), and rolled about a good deal. Further 
on she threw up the strychnine upon some fine clean sand in the bed of a 
ravine, and the saliva sinking into the sand the grains of strychnine were 
left almost intact upon the surface. This tigress then went for miles with- 
out showing any further symptoms of being affected. In the third case I 



put nine grains into a bullock, after looking for the tiger tliat had killed it 
during the day. We had disturbed him, so he did not return that night. 
Next morning the bullock had swelled to an enormous size and the wound 
was dripping a gelatinous matter. I put a couple of men to watch during 
the day to keep off the vultures, and by evening fully a quart of fluid had 
dripped and coagulated below. The tiger returned at night and ate half 
the bullock, and finislied it the next night, so he could not have felt thf 
poison ; and I believe, from this and similar experiments, that strychnine is 
worked off' from dead flesh in a few hours. 

I subsequently hit upon a fatal method of applying poison. I do not 
intend to divulge the secret, as district officers with strongly- developed utili- 
tarian views would be enabled to poison off" all the tigers in their ranges by 
this means, which, judging from the operations in a smgle district in Madras, 
some who do not pause to consider the useful features of the tiger's presence 
might not hesitate to do. The success I attained in my first, and I hope 
last, experiment, as far as tigers are concerned, was painfidly complete. 
Two old bullocks that were yoked together were killed by a tiger close to my 
camp. The original slayer was joined at dinner by two tigresses, and the 
three ate the whole of one bullock, leaving the other untouched. In the 
morning I had the remaining carcass guarded from the vultures, and late 
in the afternoon I appUed the poison in the way I had devised. Next 
morning we found the three tigers had dragged the bullock into some rocks 
and bushes about a hundred and fifty yards distant, with bare country all 
round, and no water in the rocks. Not knowing that they were dead, I 
sent to CajDtain C. of the Revenue Survey, who was in camp at a village 
four miles distant, and with another friend, wlio was staying with me, set 
out with five elephants about 1 1 We posted ourselves in trees across 
tlie line we expected the tigers to take, and sent the elephants with tlie 
trackers on them to beat them out of the rocks. 

Trom my tree I could see the elepliants clambering about tlie rocks, 
and the men keeping a sharp look-out ; presently 1 heard a shout that one 
tiger was dead, and soon afterwards anotlier. Tlie mahout of an elepliaiit 
that was in advance now found the tliird. Slu-icks of laughter and much 
merriment fcjllowed an inspection of the " bodies," and a tracker came run- 
ning for us. I confess I had never expected sucli slaughter. 1 was not 
certain, having only seen tigers aflected before, that my new plan would 
succeed, and I felt like a murderer when I viewed the unfortunate victim.s. 
My men took a very different and exceedingly cheerl'ul a iew of tlie case, 
exclaiming deliglitedly, " Oli, tin's is good ! here have our master and mc 
been risking our tln-oats " (clutching their necks wi(li ;ii)pro]mate gesture, and 


giving the dislocating twist that they considered we had been placing 
ourselves in peril of) " in poking about after tigers for months, when one 
dose of this capital ' medicine ' would have done. This is the thing for the 
future." And when the tigers were padded they preceded the elephants, 
singing anything but a dirge. My own feelings as we followed the cortdgc 
may be imagined, nor did my companions spare me. 

I should say that the male tiger had commenced to eat first, and the 
poison must have been almost instantly fatal, as he lay within four yards of 
the carcass. He had not struggled at all ; he must have felt the poison, 
turned away, and dropped dead. One tigress was on her back thirty yards 
distant, the other near her ; the latter had struggled slightly. As a proof 
of the almost instantaneous effect of the poison in this instance not more 
than half-a-dozen pounds of flesh had been eaten. Upon being moved, a 
quantity of blood ran from the nostrils of all three tigers. 

Traps are not now often used for tigers : a few used to be caught alive 
in ordinary mouse-trap-shaped cages in the time of the late Maharajah of 
Mysore ; and there was, when I was last there, one of these cages, mounted 
upon wheels, decaying in the Hoonsoor jungles. The bait used was a goat, 
partitioned off by iron bars at the far end of the cage, as a native is loath to 
give even a sprat to a whale if he can catch him without. How tigers 
can ever have been such simpletons as to enter these structures is incom- 
prehensible. I once saw a novel kind of trap in a hill where a tiger liad 
been recently caught by propping up a flat slab, as in an ordinary brick- 
trap for birds, over a recess between two rocks, and baiting with a goat. 
Tigers are occasionally caught in pitfalls. One fell into a sambin--pit that 
some Sholagas on the Billiga-rungun hills had dug near their cultivation 
whilst I was there shooting on one occasion, but though severely staked it 
got out : the pit was only four feet deep, but narrow at the bottom, and the 
tiger had had a long task to free himself. Old Bommay Gouda used to kill 
a good many tigers in his younger days by dead-fall traps, made of bamboos 
and loaded with stones ; the natives construct these very ingeniously. I once 
had a huge iron spring-trap like the ordinary scissors rat-trap. It was 
originally made by a sporting district officer for catching panthers, which did 
a good deal of damage amongst the game in his domain, but was found to 
be too slow for them, as they sprang away in time to avoid the jaws. It 
was twelve feet long, with two springs that required a man of ten stone 
weight standing on each to put down. The bait-plate was eighteen inches 
square, the jaws about three feet long, and closing at a foot and a half 
above the plate. I am convinced no tiger would ever have got out of it 
if he could only have been got in, unless he had left his leg behind ; but 


thougli it was sprung by a famous tiger — the " Don," to be mentioned fur- 
ther on — we never got hold of him, I used to set it by cutting a recess in 
a thorny bush, and tying a goat inside, with the trap, covered with a few 
twigs or grass, at the entrance ; the ends were thrust into adjoining bushes. 
How the Don found the snare out the first time we could never tell, but 
he forced his way tlirough the bush from behind and took away our goat. 
He did this again at a second place. The third time we fenced the goat in, 
except on the side of the trap, with such horrible thorns that even the 
Don could not get through them. This time he sprang the trap, and 
must liave jumped back at the same instant : he then secured tlie goat. 
We tried the trap at different places ; but lie took the goats away, springing 
the trap each time, and then carrying them off at his leisure, so frequently, 
that we had to bring back our inglorious trap after the loss of a small flock 
of goats, and I never tried it again. This showed astonishing intelligence in 
this tiger — a point in which the animal is entitled to rank high in the brute 
creation. The shrewdness displayed by them on occasions — shrewdness 
removed from mere instinct — is very marked. The most unsophisticated 
tigers, after being hunted unsuccessfully once or twice, become so alive to 
danger from any source that it is most difficult to circumvent them. 




DOWN THE don's FAT. 

TIGER-SHOOTING on foot is very generally condemned, but as in most 
matters of choice tliere is something to be said for, as well as against, 
it. It is never followed systematically by any man, but circumstances 
occasionally arise when it must be resorted to, or sport be sacrificed. At 
this point some men abandon their quarry, some stick to it. Those without 
experience of their game do well to pause; but one who knows the beast he 
has to deal with, may kill many dangerous animals on foot without accident 
or even serious adventure. Almost every accident that occurs is directly 
traceable to ignorance or carelessness. The sportsman is a tyro, and over- 
venturesome ; or due precautions are not observed when a wounded beast is 
on foot, and some one, moving about where he does not think the animal 
can possibly be, is seized. 

Tiger-shooting on foot can never, of course, be safe sport ; but a sports- 
man is not supposed to look for absolute safety on all occasions, any more 
than does a soldier. Eisks must be run, but if properly conducted danger- 
ous game-shooting on foot is not the mad amusement usually supposed. 
Speaking for myself, I have been fortunate enough to kill several tigers and 


pantliers, and a large niinibur of bears and other formidable beasts, on foot, 
so I will venture to state what I think are the chief precautions to be 

It makes all the difference in the world whether the animal to be attacked 
is wounded or not. The sportsman occasionally comes upon a tiger when 
after other game, or one is driven from a cover without being much bullied. 
There is no danger to speak of in firing first shots at a hundred such beasts. 
But if a tiger has been much harassed and irritated, and imagines himself 
unable to escape — or wounded, and is followed up wdiilst pain and exhaus- 
tion liave forced him to stop — he proves a very different beast to the retiring 
animal he ordinarily is, though he is always an abject coward if firmly 
faced. It is true that in shooting with elephants tigers frequently get on 
board some of them ; but a tiger fears man more than any other being, and 
though he will charge pluckily enough to all appearances, he always shirks 
the last ten feet if boldly received. In netting tigers I have seen this so 
constantly that I am quite sure a few determined men, keeping together, 
are quite safe from any tiger in open ground. 

WJiether a tiger should be attacked on foot or left alone depends 
greatly on tlie nature of the jungle in which he is found. In the grass 
plains and thick undergrowth of such parts of Bengal as I have seen, 
tigers can only be shot from the elevation of elephants' backs ; but in 
many parts of Southern India the jungle is clear inside, and the ground 
is broken, so that rocks and ravines may afford advantageous positions. 
The tiger can also be shot even without such aids when he can be seen 
at some distance. 

None but the utterly ignorant would think of following a wounded 
tiger into long grass or close cover, whcie it has every advantage, and the 
sportsman may be seized before he has time to use his rifle. As well 
might one follow it on a dark night. In such cover the tiger rarely makes 
any demonstration from a distance, seeking to avoid observation, but when 
almost stumbled upon he attacks like lightning. In doing this he is sel- 
dom seeking to make a reprisal, and only acts in self-defence wlien he 
thinks himself discovered. 

One of the most powerful elements in the tiger's attack is liis voice if 
the attack be commenced very near. The startling, cougliing roar is almost 
])aralysing to the coolest in sucli cases. But if the tiger has to come on 
from any distance he rarely does more than grunt, and the sportsman's 
attention is concentrated on the beast liimself, and his demonstrations pass 
unnoticed. The power of the tiger's voice at close quaiters may be under- 
stood by any one who has an opportunity of seeing a newly-caged tiger. It 


is almost impossible to watcli a charge against the bars, if standing within a 
yard or so of them, without tlinching ; but if seen at twenty yards' distance 
it is nothing. 

If a moment's time be given for preparation, a tiger's charge loses 
much of its power. In following any dangerous game the excitement felt 
wlien the beast is known to be near, but not visible, amounts to positive 
nervousness. A quail rising at his feet startles the man who the next 
moment faces an elephant or tiger with sang froid. As soon as the game 
is seen, nervousness gives place to the most perfect coolness, and if a 
tiger's charge can be anticipated it loses most of its danger. 

I never myself hesitate to follow wounded animals on foot if the 
ground be favourable. In such cases the chief precautions to be observed 
are: to trust no place as not holding the tiger till it has been ascer- 
tained not to do so ; never carelessly to approach thick cover from which 
a beast may make a sudden attack ; and, if possible, to have men who will 
all stand firm. Under no temptation should the sportsman's last shot be 
fired at a retreating beast. 

I will now recall, with the aid of my hunting-journal, some scenes in 
tiger-shooting, and will endeavour to select occurrences illustrative of the 
nature and peculiarities of the animal. Amongst them I will relate one or 
two incidents in tiger-shooting on foot, to show how I consider the sport 
may be managed when occasion demands. 

When I pitched camp at Morlay in September 1873, to commence the 
elephant kheddahs, the country-side was in a state of considerable alarm 
from the attacks of a man-eating tigress. This tigress's fits of man-eating 
seemed to be intermittent, as after lolling three or four persons some months 
before, she had not been heard of till about the time of my arrival at Mor- 
lay, when she killed two boys attending goats. I anticipated some trouble 
from her in our kheddah work, as it would be unsafe for one or two men to 
go alone through the jungles ; but whether it was from the disturbance 
caused by seven or eight hundred work-people, or other reasons, we heard 
nothing of her for some time. 

On November 30th, when the work-people had dispersed, news was 
brought in that a man, returning to the village of Nagwully (about six miles 
from Morlay) with cattle, had been carried off the evening before. From 
an account of the place where the mishap had occurred I knew it was use- 
less to look for the tigress after the lapse of eighteen hours, as she would 
have retired to impracticable jungle. I urged the people to bring news of 
further losses at the earli-est possible moment. 

On December 19th another man was carried off close to the village of 


lyenpoor, five miles from Morlay, but I did not hear of this till two days 

On Christmas-day I thought I would look up the jungles in the lyen- 
poor direction, so took an elephant and some trackers in hopes of learning 
something of the tigress's habits. The unfortunate man's wife, with her three 
small children, were brought to me as I entered the village. The woman, 
with the strange apathy of a Hindoo, related what she knew of her hus- 
band's death without a tear. I gave her some money, as she would have 
to expend a small sum in accordance with caste usage to rid her of the 
devil by which she was supposed to be attended on account of her husband's 
having been killed by a tiger, before she would be admitted into her caste's 
villages ; and then, accompanied by the headman and others, went to the 
scene of the last disaster. A solitary tamarind -tree grew on some rocks 
close to the village ; there was no jungle within three hundred yards, only 
a few bushes in the crevices of the rocks ; close by was the broad cattle- 
track into the village. The unfortunate man had been following the cattle 
home in the evening, and must have stopped to knock down some tama- 
rinds with liis stick, which, with his black blanket and a skin skull-cap, still 
lay where he was seized. The tigress had been hidden in the rocks, and in 
one bound seized him, dragged him to the edge of a small plateau of rock, 
from which she jumped down into a field below, and there killed him. The 
place was still marked by a pool of dried blood. She had then dragged her 
victim half a mile, to a spot where we still found his leg-bones. 

After walking about for two hours with the trackers, in the hopes of 
seeing recent marks of the tigress, but without success, the village cattle 
were sent for and herded into the jungles in the hope of attracting her if 
near. The poor beasts were, however, so frightened by the constant attacks 
of tigers, that we could scarcely get them to face the jungle, and a partridge 
rising suddenly was too much for their nerves, and sent them, tails up, to 
the village before they had been out half an hour. After some time tliey 
were got back. About 1 p.m., as they were feeding near a cover in a hollow 
encircled on three sides by low hills covered with bamboo, and a very pretty 
spot for a tiger, a wild scurry took place as a large tiger rushed amongst 
the foremost of them. Strange to say they all escaped, two only being 
slightly wounded ; a few plucky buffaloes were in advance, and inter- 
fered considerably with the tiger's attack, as these animals never hesitate 
to do. 

Up to this time I had been walking, rifle in hand, amongst the cattle, 
but the heat was considerable, and at this unlucky moment I was some 
little distance behind getting a drink, or I might have had a shot. As the 


herdsmen were not certain that the tiger had not secured something in his 
rush, we went in force to look through the cover. We only found foot- 
prints, however, and knew they were not those of the man-eater, but of a 
large male who was a well-known cattle-killer about the place. We shortly 
heard a spotted-deer bark over the saddle of the hill to our left ; the tiger 
had moved off in that direction upon his discomfiture.. We saw nothing 
more of him that day, or of the man-eater, and I returned to camp by 
moonlight. It was so cold that I was glad of an overcoat. A good camp 
Christmas dinner was awaiting me ; and had I only been lucky enough to 
bag the man-eater, I should have been able to enter this amongst my red- 
letter days. 

After this nothing was heard of the tigress for a week, when the trackers 
and I were going to look after some wild elephants, and at the ford in tlie 
river below the Koombappan temple found a tiger's pugs that were immedi- 
ately pronounced to be hers. I sent back two men on my riding-elephant 
to warn the people of Morlay that the tigress was in our jungles, as her 
usual hunting-grounds were to the east of the river, and the people on our 
side were liable to be off their guard. We tried to follow her, but she had 
crossed open dry country, in which tracking was impossible, and we had to 
give her up. During the day I made arrangements for hunting her syste- 
matically next day should she still be in our jungles. 

Whilst at dinner that evening, I heard voices and saw torches hurriedly 
approaching my tent, and could distinguish the words " naie, " and " nurri " 
("dog" and "jackal") pronounced excitedly. The Canarese people fre- 
quently speak of a tiger by these names, partly in assumed contempt, 
partly from superstitious fear. The word " Jiooli " (tiger) is not often used 
amongst jungle -men, in the same way that, from dread, natives usually 
refer to cholera by the general terms of roga or jdrdya (sickness). The 
people were from Hurdenhully, a village a mile and a half away, and had 
come to tell me that their cattle had galloped back in confusion into the 
village at dusk, without their herdsman. Only one man had been with 
them that day, as there was some festival in the village. We suspected he 
had fallen a victim to the tigress, but it was useless to attempt a search 
that night. The cattle had been two or three miles into the jungles, and 
we had no indications where to look for the unfortunate herdsman, who was, 
moreover, probably now half devoured. So ordering some rice for the men, 
I sent them to Morlay to tell the trackers, and to sleep there and return 
with tliem in the morning. 

At dawn we started on the back-trail of the cattle from Hurdenhully 
till we found the point where they had begun to gallop, just below the em- 


bankment of a small channel drawn from the river near Atticulpoor, and 
su^Dplying tlie Hurdenhully tank with water. The ground was hard and 
much trodden by cattle, and we looked for some time for the tigress's tracks 
in vain, till the distant caw of a crow attracted us to the place where we 
found the man's remains ; only the soles of his feet, the palms of his hands, 
his head, and a few bones were left. We lost no time in taking up the 
tigress's track, and used every endeavour to run her down, as we had over 
a hundred men ready at camp to beat her out coidd we but mark her into 
some practicable cover ; but though she had eaten so much she had recrossed 
the river as usual, and had gone into the jungles towards the hills, where 
there was no chance of finding her. 

About a week after this the priest of a small temple ten miles due west 
from Morlay, and in comparatively open country where a tiger had not been 
heard of for years, was jogging along on his riding-bullock one morning, to 
sweep out and garnish tlie small jungle-temple in which he officiated, and 
to present to " Yennay Hollay Koombappah " the offerings of the simple 
villagers whose faith was placed in that deity. Suddenly a tigress with 
her cub stepped into tlie path. Tlie terrified bullock kicked off his rider 
and galloped back to the village, whilst the tigress — for it was the dreaded 
lyenpoor man-eater, far out of her ordinary haunts — seized the hapless 
2)oojdrce (priest), and carried him off to the bed of a deep ravine near. 

Upon hearing next day of this, my men and I thought it must be some 
other tiger, as this fiend had managed with such cunning that we did not 
then know that she had a cub ; and it was not till we found this out sub- 
sequently that we traced this death to her also. Up to this time she must 
have left her cub in the thick jungles along the hills, making her rapid 
hunting forays alone, as the cub had never been with her before ; and this 
accounted for her invariably crossing the river and making for the liills 
after a raid. The absence of the tigress from the vicinity of ]\Iorlay 
during September and October was probably caused partly by her keeping 
out of the way when this cub was very young. 

The next death was of a horrible description. Several villagers of 
liamasamoodrum were grazing their cattle in a swampy hollow in the jungle 
near the temple, when the tigress pounced upon one man who was separated 
fi'om the others. She in some way missed her aim at his throat, seized the 
shoulder, and then, either in jerking him, or by a blow, threw him up on 
to a thicket several feet from the ground. Here the woumled and bleeding 
wretch was caught by thorny creepers; whilst the tigress, as generally liaj)- 
pcns when any contretemj^s takes place, reliii([ui.shed the attack and made 
off. The other men and the cattle hud lied at the first ahn'!ii. The village 


was some distance away, and tliere was not time before nightfall for a party 
to search for the man, whose being still alive was not known. 

Next morning the lacerated wretch was found. In his mangled state 
he had been unable to release himself; he was moaning and hanging almost 
head downwards amongst the creepers ; and he died soon after he was 
taken down. 

Before long the tigress visited my camp, but fortunately without doing 
any mischief. Close to my tent (my bungalow was not built then) was a 
large banian-tree : every night a fire was kindled near it, and here I sat 
and discussed plans for work or sport with my men. One morning when 
the trackers came to wake me early, they found the man-eater's tracks lead- 
ing down a path close to the banian-tree in question. As we thought she 
might still be on our side of the river, I accompanied the men to examine 
its vicinity, and to ascertain if she had recrossed it towards the hills ; if 
not, we intended to hunt the different covers on its banks during the day. 

Upon reaching the river we walked down the sandy bed overshadowed 
by drooping liongay (the Indian beech, Pongamia glabra) trees. The scene 
at early morning was very pleasant. Gaudy kingfishers fluttered and 
poised over the pools and shallow runs of clear water into which the river 
— a considerable stream in the rains — had now shrunk. At a bend we 
came upon a troop of lungoor monkeys {Presbytis priamiis) feeding upon 
some fallen fruit ; these ran nimbly across the sand to the sanctuary of the 
large trees when we appeared. In one stretch a spotted stag and several 
graceful hinds were drinking at the cool stream, perchance admiring their 
shapely forms in nature's mirror ; but for the nonce they passed unheeded. 
The soothing cooing of doves, the scream of the toucan, the cheery and 
game cry of the jungle-cock {Gallus sonneratii) perched aloft, whilst his 
ladies ruffled themselves in the sand below, combined to make one of 
those tranquil phases of beauty in nature which are such a contrast to 
the wildness and grandeur of other scenes. 

The trackers moved quickly and silently along. We passed two or three 
pugs, but these elicited no notice, except one into which Dod Sidda drove 
the butt-end of his spear without a word ; this was the night's track of the 
tigress to our side of the river. We had nearly got to the temple, below 
which it was not likely she would have crossed, and were in hopes of not 
finding her out -going trail, when a single track across an unblemished 
stretch of sand caused an exclamation of disappointment, and one glance 
showed it to be the unmistakable small oval pug of the man-eater. We 
felt our chances of finding her that day were very small, but there was 
nothing like trying ; so sending for an elephant to come to the temple and 


there await my return, we cast ahead towards the hills, and again hit off 
the trail. After several hours' work, finding tracks now and then in the 
sandy beds of ravines, but all leading to a country wliere the cover was 
continuous, we were obliged to give it up as useless, as we could neither 
keep tlie trail nor have done anything towards driving such extensive 
cover had we even found where the tigress lay hidden. We were forced 
reluctantly to return, consoling ourselves with the hope of finding her in 
more favourable country soon, and vo^ving to leave no stone unturned till 
we bagged her. It had become quite a point of honour with the trackers ; 
we had never been played such successful tricks before by any animal, and 
they said the tigress was " throwing dirt into their mouths." 

We got back to the temple late in the afternoon ; here I found the 
elephant and several of my people, and a man with a note from Captain C, 
of the Kevenue Survey, who was in camp a few miles from Morlay. I 
started the messenger back with a reply, and though we were pretty certain 
the man-eater was miles away, it was a nervous job for him to get through 
the jungle tiU he reached open country on the far side. He left us, already 
casting furtive glances around him, to the great amusement of my men 
(who had not the job to do themselves !). Before he had got far, one of 
them, wlio was a bit of a humorist, called him back. The man came, 
when the wag, assuming a concerned air, said : " You know, keep a good look- 
out ahead of you — never mind the rear ; if a tiger seizes a man from behind, 
what could any of us do ? but, you know, you can see Mr if she is coming for 
you from in front, and you might try a run for it. Good-bye! Koombappali 
be with you ! Dont delay ; it's rather late as it is ! " The poor villager 
grinned painfully at the joke, which the rest enjoyed immensely ; but I saw 
he was in such a fright — and reflected that, with the uncertainty of her class, 
the tigress might as likely be near as far away — that I sent half-a-dozen men 
(the joker amongst them) to see him safely into the cultivated country on 
the other side. 

Shortly after this, work took me to Goondulpet, twenty-five miles from 
Morlay, on the Neilgherry road, and I returned on the 14th January 1874. 
As I rode into camp about mid-day the trackers were waiting for me, and 
informed me that they had heard the " deatli-cry " raised at a small vilhige 
called Bussavanpoor below the Bamasamoodrum lake, and some two miles 
from Morlay, that morning ; and that on inquiry they found a woman had 
been carried off by the man-eater out of tlie village during the night, but 
that they had not followed the tracks, as I was not with them. ]]ussavan- 
poor was a small hamlet situated in the middle of open rice-fields, then 
bare as the crop had been cut. There was no jungle to cover the man- 


eater's advance, and a tiger had never hitherto been heard of near the 
village. This attack was therefore the more unlocked for and terrifying 
to the villagers. 

Immediately breakfast was over and an elephant ready I started and 
soon reached Bussavanpoor. The attack had been most daring. At one 
end of the single street of the village stood a shady tree, round the base 
of which a raised terrace of stones and earth had been built as a public 
seat ; within ten yards of this tree the houses began. From the marks 
we saw that the tigress had crouched upon this raised terrace, from which 
she commanded a view of the street. The nearest house on one side was 
occupied by an old woman, the one opposite by her married daughter. 
The old woman, it appeared, sometimes slept in her own house, sometimes 
at her daughter's. The night before she had been going to her daugh- 
ter's, and as she crossed the street, only a few feet wide, the tigress with 
one silent bound seized and carried her off. No one heard any noise, and 
the poor old creature was not missed till morning. 

When I arrived the son - in - law came forward, and with the other 
villagers gave an account of the mishap. The son-in-law's grief was really 
painful to witness ; and when he told me how all his efforts to find any trace 
of his mother-in-law had been unsuccessful, he gave way to the most poig- 
nant outbursts. Now, knowing pretty well how little store is placed upon 
an old woman in India, I could not but regard this display of feeling by the 
fat young son-in-law as rather strange. A mother-in-law is not usually so 
highly esteemed (amongst natives) that her loss is deemed an irreparable 
calamity ; and when I further noted that the afflicted youth could only give 
a shaky account of his exertions in looking for the body, I thought some- 
thing was wrong, and had him taken along with us. 

The tigress had gone towards the river ; and though cattle and people 
had been over the fields, and it was now afternoon, the sun hot, and a strong 
wind blowing clouds of dust about, the trackers carried on the trail very 
cleverly, and pointed out that several footmarks had followed it before us, 
for which the prostrated son-in-law found some difficulty in accounting. 
After passing through a field of standing rice in which tlie broad trail was 
very distinct, and where in the soft mud we got a fair impression of the 
tigress's pugs, and through some bushes where strips of the woman's blue 
cotton cloth were hanging, we came to a cocoa-nut garden near the river, 
and here, amongst some aloe-bushes, we missed the drag. There w^as a 
place which looked as if the tigress had lain down, probably to eat, as there 
were marks of blood ; but there were no remains, and her trail continued 
across the river, whither we followed. 


The trackers soon thouglit sometliing was amiss, as no trace of tlie body's 
being dragged could be found. One of them remarked that the tigress 
would hardly eat the whole at once ; whilst, had she carried off the remainder 
in her jaws, she must have laid it down at the pool in the sandy bed where 
she had drunk. There was no trace of her having done this. We 
returned to the aloe-bushes. After examining these for some time, one of 
the men looked inside a tliicket, and with an exclamation turned upon the 
son-in-law, and giving him a sound box on the ear asked him " what he 
meant by it." " It " was that the villagers had followed the track with 
horns and tomtoms (as we subsequently learned) in the morning, and had 
burnt the remains to avoid police inquiry, the dejected son-in-law acting 
chief mourner. The ashes of a fire which the tracker now pointed to inside 
the thicket sufficiently explained the affair. 

The woman was of good caste. Had her death been reported, the remains 
would have been handled by out-castes, and have formed the subject of a 
sort of inquest by the police at Chamraj -Nuggar ; to avoid this, the relatives 
had burnt the remainder of the body as soon as found. What could be 
done when the foolish villagers either brought us news too late, or acted in 
this way ? We sent the now truly smitten son-in-law back to the village, 
bewailing his mother-in-law more sincerely probably than before ; and finding 
that the tigress had gone east we returned to Morlay, it being useless to 
follow lier in that direction. 

This death caused great consternation. The villagers concluded that 
they would now not be safe in their houses at night, and some of tlie out- 
lying hamlets would have been temporarily abandoned had the tigress lived 
mucli longer. But this was to be her last victim ; thougli our chances of 
killing her seemed still as remote as ever, a few more hours were to end 
her bloody career. 

Next day, the 15tli January, I determined upon a more organised plan 
of hunting her. I arranged tliat Eommay Gouda and three trackers should 
go to lyenpobr, at one end of her usual range, whilst I remained at IMorlay. 
In case of any one being killed near lyenjwor the men were to let me 
know immediately ; and I sup])lied tliem with strychnine, and a gun charged 
with powder, as a safeguard in their jungle wanderings. The four men 
started early in the afternoon. About an hour afterwards one of them 
came running back, pouring with perspiration and covered witli dust. I 
feared some accident had happened until lie found breath to say tliat the 
party had met the tigress, and tliat she was then in lv;irraypoor Cuddah, a 
small hill two miles from camp. Tliis hill rose to a heiglit of about two 
bundled feet out of a level cultivated plain. On three sides it was almost 


bare granite, a few bushes and boulders being the only cover, and the 
country was open all round it. On the east face there was a little more 
cover, and the main jungle was distant five hundred yards, but between it 
and the hill was open ground, so that the tigress was in an isolated 

I ordered a pad-elephant at once, whilst I thought over the best plan 
for hunting her. Such a chance as getting her into a detached hill could 
hardly be hoped for again, and the present situation offered a fine oppor- 
tunity of extinguishing her. The only plans were to drive her out, or to 
watch for her return to the carcass. The first I saw would not do, as 
all the JMorlay men, — the only ones amongst the villagers who would have 
l)een useful for this service — the others were too terrified, — were at their 
fields, and time would be lost in collecting them; and though this might 
possibly have been effected, and the tigress have been driven out, as there 
was no doubt she would flee readily from a hunting-party, it would be 
impossible for one rifle to command the entire east side of the hill, at any 
point of which she might break. I therefore decided to watch for her 
return to the carcass, and hastily securing a bottle of water and some 
bread, and an overcoat in case of night-watching, I started. 

On the way the tracker told me how the party had met the tigress. 
They were going across open fields and saw an object moving over the bare 
ground which they could not at first make out, but presently discovered to 
1)0 a tiger on the far side of, and partly hidden by, a bullock, whicli it was 
lialf dragging, half carrying towards the hill. They immediately divined it 
to be the man-eater, and ran shouting towards her, obliging her to drop the 
bullock at the foot of the liill, up which she sullenly trotted. One tracker 
then hastened to camp ; the others remained to prevent her returning to 
the bullock before I arrived. 

I need here hardly say, except for the information of those who have 
had no experience of man-eating tigers, that they never refuse a bullock 
or other prey, if such offers, and that when opposed by man they give way 
at once. Their tactics in attacking man may be described in one word — 
surprise ; and if discovered in their attempt they generally abandon it. 
The most confirmed man-eaters never lose the innate fear with which all 
inferior animals regard human beings, and unless they can stalk and catch 
an unwary cow-herd or wood-cutter in their own fashion they are not to be 
dreaded. Wlien the tables are turned on them they flee as readily as other 

Wlien we got near tlie hill we left the elephant and joined the track- 
ers. The only cover near the carcass was a large rock, but the wind was 


MTong for watching from that quarter. About seventy yards away in the 
plain was one solitary bush, not sufficiently large to hide a man ; there 
was neither tree nor other cover within a couple of hundred yards. Tlie 
situation certainly presented difficulties, and it was not easy to decide 
what to do. At last I hit upon a plan, and sent the men to bring leafy 
branches and creepers ; when these came we walked past the bush in a 
body, and the branches were thrown on to make it larger ; at the same time 
Bommay Gouda and I hid behind it, the others going on in full view from 
the hill. By this manoeuvre, should the tigress be watcliing, she would not 
perceive that we had concealed ourselves. 

We sat till evening. The sinkimr sun threw a strong li^ht from behind 
us upon the granite hill, whilst in the distance the Billiga-rnnguns were 
bathed in purple light, deepening to blue in the gorges. The smoke of 
evening fires began to ascend from the small hamlet of Hebsoor away to 
our left, and a thick white cloud of dust moving slowly along the river- 
bank towards the village marked the return homewards of the village herds. 
There would only be sufficient light to shoot at so long a range as seventy 
yards for half an hour or more, and I was beginning to fear the tigress 
might not return during daylight. The afternoon had been hot, and I had 
drunk all the water in the bottle, whilst patient Bommay Gouda, who being 
of good caste could not drink from my bottle, had sat with his bare back 
exposed to the grilling sun, watching without a movement. At this time 
of the year — January — the change in temperature in Mysore, and, in fact, 
the whole of India, between day and night, is very considerable, sometimes 
upwards of thirty degrees, and as the sun neared the horizon the evening 
quickly became chilly ; but this disturbed Bommay Gouda no more than the 
heat in his imperturbable watch. A couple of hares appeared from some- 
where and gambolled in the space between us and the hill ; and a peacock 
perched himself upon a rock, and with his spreading fan of purple and gold 
opened to the full, turned slowly round and round, courting the admiration 
of a group of hens wlio pecked about, more intent upon their evening meal 
than the admiration of their vain swain. Satisfaction witli liimself, however, 
rendered him oblivious to the want of homage in his harem. 

We had been whispering quietly, as we were out of earsliot of the cover, 
and Bommay Gouda had just said, after a glance at the sinking sun, tliat it 
was the time, par cxcelleyice, for a tiger's return to its prey, when a peahen 
which had been hidden amongst boulders on the hillside to our right, rose 
with a startling clamour. This signal, as well known as inimistakable, 
made us glance through the leafy screen, and tliere we saw tlie man-eater, a 
handsome but small tigress, lier colour doublv rich in the lisiht of tlie sink- 


ing sun, walk from beliiud a rock across the side of the hill, here a hare 
sheet of blue granite, and come downwards towards the carcass. She halted 
now and again to look far out into the plain behind us. Was the beast 
dreaded by thousands, hunted by us so long, and which we had never even 
seen before, the guilty midnight murderess, really before us ? Could nothing 
but some untoward failure now avert her fate ? 

I followed her with my rifle so eagerly that Bommay Gouda whispered 
to me to let her get to the carcass before I fired. When she reached the bul- 
lock she stooped, and at the same instant I fired at her shoulder, broadside 
on, with my express. Bommay Gouda could contain himself no longer, and 
jumped up before I could stop him ; I did so also, but could see no tigress ! 
It was extraordinary, certainly ; we looked up the hillside, but she was not 
there. Was she really a devil as all believed, and had she vanished in air ? 
Just then up went a tail on the far side of the bullock in a convulsive 
quiver ; she had fallen exactly behind the carcass. I ran along the hill- 
side to intercept her should she gain her feet ; but it was all right ; she 
was only opening her mouth in spasmodic gasps, and I settled her. The 
trackers came up in great glee ; they had seen the tigress come over the 
summit of the hill and enter the rocks on our side half an hour before 
we saw her : they were in a large tamarind-tree away in the plain. On 
examining her we found that she was in milk, which was the first intima- 
tion we had that she had a cub ; she was in the prime of life and condition, 
and had no lameness or apparent injury to account for her having taken to 

I may here say that we never killed her cub. It was heard calling to 
its mother for several nights around lyenpoor, but we could not find it in 
the daytime, and it must have died of starvation, as had it lived we should 
certainly have encountered it. 

We soon had the tigress padded (after the trackers had beaten her with 
their slippers and abused her in dreadful terms) ; and as our way to Morlay 
lay through Hebsoor, a messenger started off in advance with the news ; and 
before we had gone far we were met by almost the whole community of 
Hebsoor, with torches and tomtoms, and begged to parade the tigress thi-ough 
the village. The women and children were delighted, though half terrified, 
at the sight of her. They had never seen a tiger before, there being no 
Zoological Gardens handy in India except those of Nature, and the creature 
was only known as a fearful beast which had eaten papa or mamma or 
sons or daughters. Soondargowry, the elephant, was fed with cakes, 
balls of sugar and rice, and plantains by the pleased housewives, and 
seemed to enjoy herself, though at first the torches and shouts made her 



rather nervous, especially as tliis was the first tiger she had carried ; slie 
had been a wild animal herself not long before. 

On the way to Morlay beyond Hebsoor we entered an extensive stretch 
of rice-fields, then dry and the crops cut, but yet on the gi'ound, below the 
Eamasanioodrum lake. Ordinarily ilres were kept up at the threshing- 
floors, and much merriment went on all night ; but tlie dread of the tigress 
latterly had been so great that all was quiet and apparently deserted. Not 
a fire was to be seen nor a voice heard. Dotted about the plain were large 
trees which we knew sheltered the anxious watchers of the threshing-floors 
lielow. We had brought torches and men from Hebsoor, and after much 
calling that the tigress had been shot, voices were at last heard from dif- 
ferent trees, lights began to appear, and watchers came from all directions, 
some shouting to us from the distance to let them come up and see the 
" dog." We humoured them and they were delighted, all remarking what 
a huge tiger it was ! (was there ever a small tiger to the native mind ?) 

I was struck at the quick return of everything to its old groove after 
this. Instead of small bodies of people hurrying fearfully homewards early 
in the afternoon, and not a villager visible after five o'clock, as had lately 
been the case, odd villagers now used the path past camp after dusk, and 
the rice-fields were again the scene of work and harvest merry-making. 
Tliere was little doubt from the place where the tigress was found that 
she was the man-eater, though we could not be positive of this, as there 
were several tigers about. I was relieved, therefore, as time progressed, by 
finding that all killing ceased. It will be years, however, before the recol- 
lection of the lyenpoor tigress is lost in that part of the country ; and her 
name will be preserved in legend, with exaggerated accounts of her doings 
and the manner of her death, long after all fact regarding her has been lost. 

Contemporary with this tigress there lived in our jungles, amongst others 
of his race, a male tiger of the largest size. He had been locally known 
as the " Donnay " tiger for many (it was said upwards of twenty) years. 
Donnay in Canarese means a cudgel, and is applied to persons rough or 
rude ; this tiger had gained the sohriqnct from his innncnse size and 
imposing appearance. ]>ut as far as human beings were concerned he was 
tlic most harmless and good-natured boast imaginal)le ; he never hurt the 
smallest cow-l)oy, and was really rather liked than otherwise by the villagers. 
He was, however, a glutton at beef; he required his steaks both regularly 
and of good quality, and from long experience had become a most accom- 
plished hunter of cattle. There was no avoiding liim ; lie understood the 
habits and ways of the animal man perfectly, and })r()bably knew all tlu' 
cow-l)oys personally. If the ciiKlc were not sei/.cil out at graze, it was 


only because the Don was waiting for them near the vilhage, and would 
seize one on their return in the evening ; but as he had a large circle of 
villages where he was upon visiting terms, he never degenerated into an 
oppressor to any community in particular. The only mishap to his friends 
the Morlayites that ever happened through him was once when he knocked 
over one of them whilst netting hares in a small ravine within a few 
hundi-ed yards of the village ; in this place the Don had ensconced himself 
with some designs in connection with his main object in life, beef, and the 
villagers unwittingly surrounded him with their nets and went inside to 
beat. In escaping he had to " over " one man to clear the way, but it was 
universally agreed that it was a pure accident ; and though the man died 
soon afterwards, the Don lost nothing in public esteem by the mischance. 

From a long course of immunity from misadventure to himself the Don 
had come to be regarded as enjoying the especial protection of Koombappa 
of the temple, the great jungle-spirit ; and it was universally believed that 
when that deity went the rounds of his jungles the Don was chosen by him 
as his steed. The villagers had even made an effigy of the Don, respectably 
got up in wood and paint, and looking truly formidable, with a seat on the 
back, and on wheels, which they dragged round the temple and down to the 
river in solemn procession on feast-days. Though the Morlayites always 
entered with delight upon any hunts I organised, hardly any of them 
believed the Don would ever be shot, and it thus became a point of 
importance with me to slay this notable rival. Accordingly, as soon as I 
got through the work of putting everytliing in train for elephant-catching, 
I turned my attention during the hot months of 1874 to circumventing him. 

It would fill pages to relate our unsuccessful days, the number of times 
he escaped us in almost miraculous ways, and the devices which I planned 
against him. He ate quite a small herd of cattle picketed for him, but no 
return for the outlay was to be had but bootless drives and unsuccessful 
night-watchings. Never had a tiger so many lives, never did one retain his 
skin more cleverly. The Don bore no malice withal, and after a day's 
hunting we would find his huge square pugs next morning close to camp ! 
He was not going to quarrel about trifles, and had probably taken a bullock 
during the night to relieve us of apprehension on that score. 

On one occasion he did a most extraordinary thing, which was, however, 
quite on a par with his general uncertainty and originality. A cow was in 
the habit of straying into the fields at night, so her owner secured her by a 
yoke to an old bullock when sent to graze. Instead, however, of the cow's 
becoming reformed, the ancient bullock was corrupted through his close 
association with so loose a character; and one evening, instead of returning 


to his peaceful pen, allowed himself to he led into a field of avaray, a kind 
of bean (Bolichos laUiib), of the sweet-smelling flower of which cattle are 
very fond, close to my bungalow. Wliilst feeding here the Don chanced 
upon the pair, killed the cow, and ate more than liaK of her, whilst the 
wretched bullock remained secured by the yoke, a terrified spectator of the 
scene. The bullock and half-eaten cow were found in this position in the 
morning. "Wliy the Don left the bullock untouched it is impossible to con- 
jecture, except that he was very lean ; he generally slew and spared not. 
As it happened he supped off this bullock not very long afterwards, when 
he had not the option of anything more choice. 

At last the Don's day came. In May 1874 we had a severe storm ; the 
rain came down in sheets with a biting wind, the cold was extreme, and there 
was no break for twenty-four hours. The effects of this storm, occurring as 
it did in the height of the hot weather, were most disastrous over the whole 
of the south-eastern portion of Mysore and the adjoining IMadras district of 
Coimbatoor. Thousands of cattle died from exposure. Out of a drove 
containmg some liundreds sent from the plains up the Billiga-runguns for 
the hot-weather grazing I was informed that the sole survivors were three 
cows. The whole country round Morlay stank for a fortnight with the 
rotting carcasses — the Holayas^'' vultures, pariah-dogs, and jackals, being 
unable to dispose of so many animals. I was told that pea-fowl and other 
birds were picked up dead in some places in the jungle. 

However, it is an ill wind that blows no one good. At Atticulpoor, five 
miles from Morlay, some Brinjdrries t had an encampment and a large 
number of cattle. The latter were caught in the jungle in the storm, and 
in a few hours were so benumbed that they could scarcely move. AVhilst 
returning in this plight to the encampment the Don appeared on the scene. 
This put a little life into them and they made the best of their way home- 
wards, the Don bowling over all that he could catch. He hunted the main 
body into the village after killing fourteen ; many were dispersed in the 
jungle and perished from cold during the night. I saw the carcasses of 
those killed next day, and l)clieve others were overtaken in the bed of a 
stream, and carried away by the water. 

The Don was now set up with beef for some days ; he was not likely to 
leave the neighbourhood soon, and as the ground was saturated and tracking 
would be easy for some time, I decided with my Morlay men to give him a 
grand dusting, even tliougli we should fail to bag him. On this point even 
1 had latterly become quite sceptical, 

* Outcast-s who cat carcasses of animals Uial have died or been killed l>y wild beast.s. 
t Nomadic cattle-graziers, and carriers of grain and salt into remote localities. 

HUNT THE ''DON." 309 

The slaughter of the cattle had taken place on the 6th May ; the 
weather was not settled till the 8tli ; and on the 9th, having made careful 
arrangements in the interval, I commenced with the only five elephants I 
happened to have and a hundred picked men. 

The trackers soon ascertained that the Don was lying in a cool green 
cover on the river, just above an old stone dam which raised the water to a 
sufficient level to be drawn off by the channel that fed the Eamasamoodrum 
lake. Into this cover the tiger had dragged three carcasses, and had been 
there since the 7th. The only place I could find to command his line of 
escape was a point on the opposite side of the river, where the bank was 
some four or five feet high. His retreat would be across the river to that 
side, and I commanded the bed for a hundred yards up and down ; the 
stream was about thirty yards wide, and the water some two feet deep. I 
did not mount a tree, as I could see better on foot. 

After the lapse of a quarter of an hour the beat commenced. It was a 
slow and quiet one, most of the men merely acting as stops outside, whilst 
the trackers crept in till they found the half-eaten carcasses ; the Don was 
lying near them, but retired from the men's intrusion, which information 
they shouted to me. The cover was a narrow strip and the men worked 
him along, following his pugs nearly to the end of it. I now saw him slip 
noiselessly into the water under the shelter of an overhanging bush about 
one hundred and twenty yards from me down stream. He stood for a moment, 
his back almost level with the water, pricking his rounded ears and looking 
wistfully at the opposite bank. I thought I might not see him again, and 
fearing to lose even this opportunity I fired. We found afterwards that 
this shot just grazed his back. He sprang up the bank with a growl, but 
came face to face with an elephant, upon which he turned and sprang with 
a short roar far out into the river, and in two or three bounds was up the 
bank on my side. 

The cover which he had gained was a corresponding slip to the one he 
had left, and ended at the stone dam some four hundred yards further down. 
I now lost no time in running to the dam to try and head him, as his line 
would be still down stream. I hoped I had succeeded in this ; but when the 
beaters and elephants had crossed, and beat out the cover, we found he had 
passed before I got there. We now feared he would travel far. The next 
cover of importance was a mile away inland, in a ravine between which and 
ourselves lay a difficult stretch of hard country covered with scrub-jungle, 
where tracking would be no easy work. The day was hot, however, and we 
knew the tiger was gorged, so we determined to keep to his track. Leaving 
the elephants and beaters at the dam, the trackers and I started. 


After following tlie trail across burnt open country for some little way, 
it turned suddenly sharp down towards the river again, some distance below 
the dam. The tiger had sujiped the night before without calculating on being 
called upon to run for a mile on a hot day across open country, and \A'ith a 
trifle of a hundred pounds or so of beef inside him he apparently did not feel 
equal to the exertion. That intemperate dinner, the fatal determination to 
try the small covers along the river, cost the Don his life. Each step that 
we followed towards the cool river assured us that he was putting himself 
into our power, and our hoj)es rose high. The river below the dam flowed 
rapidly over gravel and rocks ; crossing here the Don had entered a thick 
patch of cover on the opposite bank, about two acres in extent, between the 
river and the Houglewaddy channel. 

I at once took up my post in a small tree on the upper side of the 
cliannel with one tracker, as the men said that he would not keep between 
the channel and river to the next small cover, but would cross the channel, 
travel under cover of a thin strip of bushes on its upper bank, and recross it 
into cover further down. Almost at the first shout of the beaters the tiger 
trotted out and crossed the channel exactly as the trackers had predicted ; 
but as soon as he came to the open ground near my tree he broke into a 
fast gallop, coming straight under me. He was an immensely heavy tiger, 
short on the legs, but long in the body and thick set, and as he ran his fore- 
arras looked bowed out to deformity by the great development of muscle. 
He breatlied heavily as he galloped — a husky chuckle, I fancied, at the way 
in which he thought he was outdoing us. Had he but looked up and seen 
the eager eyes and grim rifle following him ! As he came under me I gave 
him the express down into his neck (this shot hit to the riglit of the verte- 
brae), and the left took him in the right thigh, downwards ; but neither we 
afterwards found got well into him, though both were severe wounds. He 
rolled over and over with horrible growls, going heels over head with the 
sudden check to his impetus ; but picking himself up, he got into cover before 
I could turn in my awkward position. ^Ye felt, however, that his fate was 
sealed, and great was our jubilation. 

The trackers and beaters having now collected we made a grand redis- 
tribution of forces. Men were immediately started off in couples to all the 
important points far and near, with instructions to climb commanding trees 
and to mark the tiger down when we moved him. Having given them time 
to reacli tlieir posts, the trackers and I, on elephants, followed the tiger's 
blood-trail to tlie end of the bushes, about two hundred yards, where there was 
a dense and thorny thicket twenty yards in diameter. Having ascertained 
that tlie tiger had not crossed the channel, we knew he must be in this. 


The only stanch elephant was old Bheemnittee, which I was riding. I 
had no howdah, but was mounted on her pad. I had my heavy 8 -bore and 
express, and tucking my legs under the ropes, her mahout and I pushed her 
into the thick thorns. Tliis was certainly a very unsafe way of looking up 
a wounded tiger, but there was no help for it. None of the other elephants 
could be got in ; they were Commissariat animals, and were more accus- 
tomed to carrying tents and baggage than to this kind of thing. They 
were now engaged in skirmishing with Tinker, a white terrier I had, a very 
good dog at finding game ; but whenever he appeared on the scene, anxi- 
ous to do something, he was received with such rapping of trunks, grum- 
blings, trumpetings, and short charges, that he was driven almost wild. The 
elephants evidently connected the whole disturbance and sense of danger 
with his presence, and kept a sharp look-out on him in consequence. After 
being subjected to small showers of earth and pebbles kicked at him witli 
unerring aim, and other demonstrations, the unhappy dog was reduced to 
such a state that he went and sat in the same bush with the tiger ! 

Wlien we were within about ten yards of the wounded brute he charged 
from the front with a loud coughing roar. Bheemruttee did not budge an 
inch. In another step he would have been visible, and would have had both 
barrels, but his heart failed and he drew back, growling threateningly. The 
cover was so matted at four or five feet from the ground that he could not 
have sprung upon the elephant, but might have seized her legs, though 
Bheemruttee would doubtless have given him a warm reception. I coidd 
not see him as he charged, though he came within five yards. 

We pushed on step by step. When a tiger once gives way he seldom 
makes a home charge afterwards, and in this instance he did not face us 
again, but jumped into the channel and got into a small cover between it 
and the river. 

Crossing the channel with the elephants, I took up my post in a tree 
nearly at the end of the cover. There was only one thicket behind me, 
and then open jungle ; the jungle he was in was about two acres in extent. 
The elephants beat up to me, but the tiger could not be found. I fancied I 
had heard a slight movement in the solitary thicket behind me during the 
beat, and a low whistle from one of the stops in a tree in the open beyond 
now attracted my attention. I called up Bheemruttee and was just get- 
ting on to her, when with the usual short roars out the tiger came, and back 
through amongst the elephants. One of the trackers, who was on foot along- 
side an elephant, threw his cudgel at the tiger as he passed and got some 
blood on it, at which he was much pleased. I was in an awkward i)Osition, 
but wounded him slightly with one barrel. I had climbed the tree from 

312 THE '"DON'S" DEATH. 

the elephant's back ; had I gone to it on foot I should have had to do so 
within a few feet of the tiger, which shows the danger of moving about 
when a wounded animal is near. 

We hunted him about for a couple of hours more, but though I posted 
myself ahead whilst Bheemruttee drove towards me, and went in on her 
once or twice, I had not the luck to get another shot at him. Strange to 
say he would not fight despite all this badgering, but kept moving about 
with only Bheemruttee following liim. It grew late, and we had to leave 
the sulky monster at nightfall, growling in a thicket into which we durst 
not put an elephant as there was a high bank in the centre on which he 
was lying, and from which he might have jumped upon us. 

Next morning I was joined by a first-rate sportsman, who had unfortu- 
nately missed the fun of this day, and we went to the cover together. We 
found the tiger had left it, and it was not till the trackers had been engaged 
for three hours on the trail, across hard stony ground, that we reached a 
ravine which he had entered. It was not known whether he had remained 
here or passed out, so we got up trees and the elephants and trackers on 
them went in. A low growl was soon heard, but the men were di\'ided in 
opinion as to whether it was one of the elephants or the tiger that had 
uttered it. They, however, at last ascertained that the tiger was lying in a 
very dense patch of grass and thorny shrubs, and Bheemruttee was sent 
for me. When I pushed in, the wounded monster, too sick to move, 
growled again, and I settled him with the 8-bore. I was obliged to lie in 
an awkward position on the pad to get this shot, and forgetting to hold the 
heavy rifle as tightly as I should have done, it recoiled and drove the 
hammer deep into my nose, so that I was soon almost as bloody as the 
tiger, I had 12 drams of powder in the cartridge, which had been loaded 
for bison-shooting. One elephant standing near with several spare men on 
the pad moved a step forward at the shot, and the rearmost man went a 
back summersault, clutching at the ropes, and landing upon his feet, rather 
astonished, at the elephant's tail. Slie, thinking this was the tiger at last, 
made off with her cargo at her best pace for some distance, to the genei-al 

Thus ended this famous tiger. We really regarded the fallen \w\-o 
with pity. One tracker said emphatically, as he leant on his long spear 
and looked reproachfully at his fellows, " He never hurt any of vs." He 
had died as he lived, managing cleverly to the last, and he perished with 
clean hands ; not the life of one of his old friends could be laid to his 
charge. We had lived on such intimate terms with him that I, for one, 
now that the chase in which we had followed him with such ferocious 


persistency was over, would not have been sorry had he been alive and 
unhurt again. What would our jungles be without the Don ? 

On the way to Atticulpoor, where we were going to meet Captains S. 
and D., Dowlutpeary, the elephant who had the honour of carrying the 
fallen hero, behaved very badly. My friend and I were on the pad with the 
tiger, when a gust of wind carried away his sun-hat ; this alarmed her in her 
already excited state, and away she stampeded despite the mahout's efforts 
to stop her. We hung on to the tiger, but all nearly came off together. 
We arrived at Atticulpoor in a very lop - sided condition through her 
vagaries, the pad .and the tiger having slipped to one side, whilst we sat 
perched on the other to maintain some sort of equilibrium. 

We cut off the Don's head, leaving a good neck, and next day managed 
to stuff" it pretty fairly, using arsenical soap and filling it with coir, and 
paying it constant attention until set and dry. We were astonished at his 
fatness, and we set to work to boil him down. We got two large pots, and 
extemporised a fireplace under a banian-tree ; here we grilled the pieces of 
fat in one pot, running off the pure grease into the other, in which it got a 
final boiling. If boiled until so hot that a droj) of water flies from the 
surface as from molten lead any fat will keep good for months. 

Two rolls of fat like those from the inside of a hog were the pieces de 
resistance ; the rest was cut from his inside and flanks, and the out-turn of 
the boil was twenty-four ordinary quart beer-bottles, or fonr imperial gallons 
of pure grease : the natives believe it possesses wonderful medicinal virtues 
in rheumatism and cattle diseases. From six to nine bottles is a fair yield 
for a tiger ; but, as my men said, the Don's fat was " the fat of a thousand 
kine." Huge tiger though he was, he only measured 9 feet from tip of 
nose to tip of tail ; but his muscular development was enormous. 




A griffin's exploit— a netted tigress — OUR NARROW ESCAPE — A SMALL BOY's 

AMONGST many incidents connected with tiger- shooting which I 
remember, one happened to a friend and myself in the days oi 
our griflfinage, when we had a very narrow escape from a wounded tigress. 
This tigress had been netted in the method abeady described, and we had 
fired at her as she bounded across tlie line cleared througli the enclosure ; 
and as after this neither fireworks nor showers of sticks and stones moved 
her, we determined to go inside and look her up. We had no elephants, 
so went in on foot. We, however, designed some method in our madness, 
and arranged to have a net carried on upriglits by men with us, and a good 
display of spear-points tln-ougli it, whilst the jungle was to be cleared for 
our advance by long-handled choppers used under and through tlie net. If 
the tigress charged, the spears were to do what they could towards keeping 
her off, whilst we were to receive her with our ritles, and doubted not our 
ability to extinguish her ! 

The service of going inside was, however, quite at a discount amongst 
the men ; they were now giving way and asking each other reproachingly 
" why they didn't go in," wliilsL only three headmen expressed themselves 


ready to accompany us ; these were actively engaged in abusing their fol- 
lowers. We should have taken warning from the reluctance to enter 
exhibited by men who had, before the tigress was fired at, gone in without 
hesitation ; but thinking they only wanted an example, we selected a point 
of entry where there was a clear space between the nets and the jungle 
inside of about six feet in width, and entered, followed by three gun-bearers 
and our volunteers. 

In front of us was a thick hedge of bushes, four and a half feet high ; 
this had been thrown up by the spearmen the evening before as a defence 
whilst waiting for nets to complete the circle ; beyond the hedge was dense 
jungle. I believe other Torreas would have followed, as they were by no 
means wanting in pluck, but at this moment one of the three spearmen 
thrust his spear into the hedge to make a gap. The tigress was lying 
behind it and sprang up with a short roar, rearing on her hind-legs. The 
upper half of her body only was visible ; she held her paws high, and I felt 
she towered over me, as I was in advance. In another instant we should 
probably have been struck down, when we both fired into her chest. She 
glared at us for a brief instant, in which she might certainly have seized 
either of us, as I was pulling wildly at the trigger of the already discharged 
barrel, this being my first experience of a tiger at very close quarters, and 
M. for some reason had not followed up his shot. She at last sank slowly 
out of sight, much to our relief I have no doubt. She must have been 
witliin a few feet of us when we entered, and was probably regarding our 
calves with much interest through the hedge. 

After she disappeared we effected an orderly retreat. She was now 
seen from outside lying dead, so having fired two more shots into her to 
make sure, we again went in and brought her out. She had only moved 
ten feet from where we shot her. One bullet had entered the centre of her 
chest and had come out alongside her spine ; the other had gone through her 
right shoulder. She was not more than two feet from the muzzles of our 
guns when w^e fired, and her chest was singed. We can only account for 
her not springing upon us by supposing either that the shot near the spine 
crij)pled her, or that her astonishment overcame all other feelings when, 
instead of encountering the " mild Hindoo " of the country, she received 
such a warm reception from two " Sahibs." Truly a good angel watches 
over griffins. 

A small boy near Morlay had a narrow escape from a cattle-killing 
tiger on one occasion. He was a youngster, eight years of age, the son of 
one of my men, and whilst tending sheep had formed his little black 
blanket into a bag, and swung it, filled with reeds, on his back. Whilst 


stooping amongst the bushes collecting more reed, a tiger, taking him for 
a sheep (when hard pressed a tiger does not despise mutton), seized hira 
from behind, or rather seized the bag. The boy fell over ; and the astonished 
tiger, not knowing what to make of the bag of grass in its embrace, bolted 
forthwith. The boy is now in my employ : his fatlier died of jungle-fever 
in one of our excursions after elephants. Little " Koombappah " still bears a 
long scar where the tiger clawed him. This incident illustrates what I have 
already said about tigers being easily disconcerted when seizing their prey 
by any unlooked-for contrdemj)s. 

One night I was awakened by talking outside my bungalow at Morlay, 
and rousing myself to listen I found it was Bommay Gouda from Poonjoor, 
who was telling my men in excited whispers something about a tiger. I 
jumped up and welcomed the old boy, whose information was always to be 
relied on, and learned that a tiger had killed two cows near Poonjoor that 
afternoon ; that he went to see the carcasses with two Sholajjas, but the tiuer 
would not let them come near the place ; that he then took several other 
men, but the tiger charged out determinedly, and entirely refused them 
admittance. So he had come to tell me, as such a bold animal could not, 
he thought, but give good sport. 

Bommay Gouda had been unable to get any one to come with him to 
ilorlay, thirteen miles along a jungle-road, so he had set out by himself, 
and arrived at midnight. Next to his anxiety that the tiger should be 
proceeded against, the old fellow was particular in requesting that some 
fittinjT chastisement should be inflicted on his eldest son for refusing to 
come with him. I knew the youtli in question as an unworthy descendant 
of so sporting an old sire. How often had he tried to extract rupees from 
me by making himself very busy when anytliing was shot anil all the 
danger over ! I promised to have him accommodated with a little whole- 
some discipline. 

The moon was bright; the trackers were sent for from the village, and, 
though it was midnight, were soon in camp, and started at once with 
Bommay Gouda. I followed at daylight. 

The place where tlie cattle had been killed was a piece of high ground 
dotted with small thickets and overlooking a bamboo-cover on lower ground, 
some two hundred yards distant, through wliich a ravine ran. I saw that 
if tlie tiger was in the cover below it would not be likely to leave it after 
the, sun got high, as the country was bare for some distance all round ; so 
wo decided to wait till the day got hot before making a commencement. 

Bommay Gouda iuid the trackers were of opinion that we had only to 
follow the trail and the tiger would dispute an advance and could be shot. 


I thought it was probably a tigress with cubs, as it had been so bold in 
facing man ; though Bommay Gouda, on whom its determined resistance to 
intrusion had made a considerable impression, declared it was a huge male, 
and showed by holding his arms to represent capacity that its head must be 
about the size of a schoolroom globe ! 

We spent the interval till noon in a cool old temple overgrown by a 
peepul-tree (Ficus religiosa), whose roots had displaced, but firmly embraced 
and upheld, many of the huge old slabs of which it was constructed. It 
had long been abandoned, and Bommay Gouda said bears used it as a retreat 
in continued rains. 

At twelve o'clock we went to the thicket on the high ground where the 
tiger had been last seen. We found it quite untenanted. One cow had 
been eaten, the contents of its stomach and its leg-bones being all that 
remained ; and the other had been dragged down the gentle slope covered 
with short grass, towards the bamboo-cover. We followed the track in a 
body, and soon got to the ravine in which we were pretty sure the tiger 
was lying. The bamboos were in clumps, and there was plenty of room 
to walk together amongst them ; we could see well on all sides, and entered 
with due caution. We had no apprehension of a tiger's attacking so many 
men (there were nine of us), who all had confidence in each other, and would 
stand firm. 

When we got to the small sandy ravine, in which a little water was 
flowing, Koon Sidda whispered " Cubs," and I saw a fine young cub running 
up the opposite bank from the carcass of the cow, which lay partially eaten 
in the water. The little glutton was feeding at noonday ! At the same 
moment his mother, who we subsequently found had been lying under a 
bamboo-clump, came gTowling threateningly towards us from the direction 
the cub had taken. She stopped in the bamboo-cover where we could only 
see her indistinctly. 

Had I only succeeded in wounding her now by firing an indecisive shot 
we might have lost her altogether, and as I knew she would not leave the 
cover with her cub at that hour unless much frightened, we moved along 
the bank of the ravine, down stream, to find a better place to cross. 

The tigress, however, kept parallel with us, but hidden, just hinting now 
and then that we were to leave the place. We soon found a crossing and 
advanced towards the ravine bank, at which she growled more loudly. I 
looked at my men ; their faces beamed with pleasurable excitement, whilst 
they whispered objurgations and disparaging remarks concerning the "jackal." 
I felt proud of them. 

When we reached the bank the tigress came forward almost to the edge 


of tlie opposite cover, about twenty-five yards away. I could see her cliest 
pretty fairly, so I gave her a barrel of my 8 -bore. This shot struck to one 
side of the centre, smashed her shoulder, and came out behind it, as she was 
not standing so much end on as I thought when I fired. It did not get 
well into the cavity of the chest. 

As I stepped back to be clear of the smoke the tigress made a blind 
purposeless rush into the ravine. She was hidden by the bank we were on, 
and took off down the bed under overhanging bushes, and then came up 
our bank, about one hundred yards away, and lay down under a small tree, 
where there was a slight depression in the ground, the grass in which wa.s 
tln-ee feet high. We heard her groan and went cautiously towards the spot ; 
but when about thirty yards away I noticed that all was still, and that her 
heavy breathing ceased. I suspected she was still quite able to do damage, 
so we agreed to wait for an hour, and moved to a shady tree ten yards 
further back. At this moment Dod Sidda saw her peering at us through 
the grass. She had crept to the edge, and was watching us intently with 
her head between her paws. I knelt, and with a steady shot with the 
express brained her. 

AVe then went up and found the first shot had smashed ]ier riglit 
slioulder, entering at the chest, and raking her down the ribs. She would 
have died in a few hours. As it was, had she charged on three legs I 
tliink I could have settled her ; but we did the correct thing in retii'ing to 
wait and watch her. 

The cub had cleared out at the commencement of the action and we 
could not find him any^vhere. AVe saw by the marks that there was only 
one, and we arranged to catch him on the morrow. AVe sent to Morlay for 
men and several hare-nets, with which we surrounded the tliickct near the 
remains of the cow next day, where we knew he must be. AVe went in 
after him with sticks, when the little beast came straight at me, roaring and 
striking with his paws in a most determined way. His powers of oilence 
were not very great, but he had all the will. I whacked him soundly about 
the head with a thick rattan, but he followed up his charge manfully ; he 
was clumsy, however, and fell over, and I got him down, and he was soon 
secured. He was about the size of a clumber-spaniel, and weighed 40 lb. 
A stretcher was made, on which on a soft bed of leaves he was conveyed to 
iMoilay. He was too old (about two and a half months) ever to beconu^ 
tame, and I sold him at six months for lis. 500 (£50). Out of this sum 1 
miiiiitaincd an alms institution for tlie old men and women and very young 
chihh'en of Morlay lor some months, as grain was very dear at that time, 
giving them a lit lie rice, cin'ry-sturfs, and bjliacoo daily. 


When we shot the tigress I gave old Bommay GouJa the Government 
reward, Es. 5 ; and whilst paying the men I presented his son, who had, 
as usual, made himself conspicuous after the tigress was shot, with one rupee 
— a great disappointment and disgrace to him, as he was of good caste, and 
even his own servants, the Sholagas, got more. 

On another occasion the Morlay people were beating a tigress up to me, 
and had got her to the edge of a thick cover. She then had to cross open 
ground for seventy yards to the next patch. I was posted in an old tree 
between the two covers, somewhat nearer the latter. The tigress was a 
terribly timid creature, and I heard much fun going on with her inside as 
slie skulked about. The men, in threes and fours, were creeping through 
the cover, which was j)retty open underneath, with spears, cudgels, or fire- 
brands in their hands, and had hemmed her in by forming a semicircle, with 
its extremities resting on the open ground at the edge of the cover. A cat 
pursued by a pack of dogs could not have exhibited more fear than the 

At one time I lieard Dod Sidda call to his mates that he could see 
something red, but did not know whether it was the tigress or an ant-hill. 
Three or four of them crept nearer to investigate, when the ol^ject got up 
and slunk away. " Wlio's to the east there ? look out ! stop her ! " they 
shouted. " Just let us have her by the whiskers in this corner, and we'll 
hold her till ' Doray ' (our master) comes and shoots her," replied ]\Iada 
and other choice spirits guarding in that direction. The men understood this 
particular tigress's disposition so well, and the security numbers and coolness 
give, that they were doing what even I thought rather rash, thongh I had 
every confidence in their astuteness in jungle matters. 

At last the tigress slyly showed her head in my direction, and looked 
at the open space before her. For some time I only saw the tips of her ears ; 
she then came forward a few yards, but instead of advancing she crept 
along the edge of the jungle to outflank the men, and to escape back into the 
cover from which she had been driven. There was no one to stop her and 
turn her in my direction, so waiting till she was clear of the men I fired. I 
confess to having nearly missed her, as the ball, instead of taking her in the 
shoulder, hit her under the left eye, crossed through the nasal bones, and 
blew out her right eye, also smashing the articulation of the jaws in her 
right cheek, making a mummy of her face without killing her. She would 
have been unable to bite any of us, as we subsequently found, had she got 
hold of anybody. I missed her with my left as she rushed back into 

All had massed together and now came to me, except a few who climbed 


trees inside the cover to keep watch. These men said the tigress had not 
gone far back, and was near the place where she entered. 

We retired to talk the matter over, and to give her time. After the 
lapse of half an hour one of the men shouted from a tree inside that the 
tigress was about fifteen yards from him, but he could not see her for the 
denseness of the thicket ; that she had breathed hard for some time, sobbing 
occasionally, and at last, after three gasps, had become perfectly still, and 
he thought she was dead, as she had made no sound for a quarter of an 
hour. Upon this we approached in a body, and I sent Tinker in, but he 
returned without showing any excitement, as we thought he would have 
done had the tigress moved. This was very extraordinary, as she was really 
alive at the time. 

One maniac — a new hand from Hurdenhully, w^ho wanted to distinguish 
himself — now said he would go in if permitted. My men ironically begged 
him to do so, offering him the choice of their cudgels, and asking him to 
leave his address and any messages he had for his relatives. Also to say 
who would pay them for burying decently what was left of him. One 
offered to perform the offices of cremation for him, as firewood would cost 
nothing, if he would give him a legacy of his blanket, and hand it over 
now. After much bantering he was shoved away from the council circle. 

We knew the cover well inside. It was a capital place to look up a 
tiger. There was no thick undergrowth, and we could see for several yards 
on all sides, whilst the stems of young saplings and thick leafless creepers 
would make it impossible for any large animal to make a sudden or straight 
rush. We had often been through it in search of spotted-deer and pig. 

The five best trackers and I decided to go in. We knew where the 
tigress was lying, from our informant in the tree, and of course made all 
our arrangements on the expectation of finding her alive, though it appeared 
probable she was dead. I carried my 8 -bore myself, and Jaffer my express. 
If she were still alive and charged, I felt sure of being able to almost lit- 
erally blow her froui the muzzle, as I need not fire in such cover till she 
was witliin a yard, if she ventured so near. If a man can keep cool, a less 
difficult matter when he knows what to expect than if surprised, it is of 
course almost impossible to miss a large animal at such close quarters. 

We approached the tigress's position with every care, but when we got 
to about ten yards from where we know she lay we found that an inecpiality 
in the ground hid her from us. We could not go nearer than we then 
were without risk of being attacked suddenly ; so I told one of the men to 
throw a stone into the dejiression. 

As souu as it fell we heard the crackling of a stick, and the tigress rose 


slo^yly, and looked at us over the low bank. Her sound eye was conspicu- 
ously bright from the absence of the other, which left a hideous blank, and 
both sides of her face were covered with blood. We did not know till now 
that my shot had taken her in that quarter. No one moved or spoke, and 
without doing anything more the tigress sank down in a few seconds as 
before. She had not even grinned at us ; she only regarded us steadfastly. 
She could not have been quite dazed by her wound or she would not have 
paid any attention to the fall of the stone ; but though conscious, she appa- 
rently did not know exactly what she was about. 

I kept her covered with my rifle as she looked at us, in expectation of 
a charge. I did not fire, as there were sufficient twigs and creepers in the 
way to render the glancing of tlie bullet possible ; whilst to have enveloped 
ourselves in the smoke of one barrel with the tigress so close might have 
been dangerous. Had I let her get to close quarters I could then have given 
her both almost against her chest. 

Upon her disappearance we backed quietly out, the object of our recon- 
naissance having been attained. A hearty laugh was raised when we were 
safely outside at the ridiculousness of the whole position — the tigress's lugu- 
brious appearance, her not coming at us as we had expected every instant, 
and at the tracker " tree'd " close to her. Mada pantomimed the expression 
of her face for the amusement of the rest of tlie men, screwing up one 
eye in hideous contortions. Some inquired of the marker in the tree what 
he would like for supper ! 

It was improbable that the tigress would leave the cover, or die, at least 
for some time, of her wounds. Had she been shot in the body, only time 
would have been required ; but in most cases with head-shots, if an animal is 
not killed on the spot it improves rather than grows worse with time. I may 
instance the case of a friend, a noted Madras sportsman, who floored a large 
tiger some months subsequently from the very tree in which I had wounded 
this tigress. The tiger dropped as if brained, and did not move a muscle 
for some time. I was in the tree witli my friend, and we remained in 
our places for a little, the beaters also keeping their distance by order, 
as we neither wished to spoil the tiger's skin by an unnecessary shot, 
nor risk approaching him until there could be no doubt that he was dead. 
Suddenly, without the slightest warning, and after he had lain stunned 
for at least four minutes, the brute raised his head, regained his legs for 
a brief moment, and fell forward into the thicket before we could raise our 
rifles. Leaving my friend (who had a wife and several small children!) in 
the tree, I got down, and with my men surrounded the cover with nets, and 
then sent in some small dogs to rouse the tiger. Out the brute came as if 



nothing was the matter with liira, dashed through the nets, was missed 
by both of us owing to intervening bushes, and made good his escape. So 
much for head-sliots, which sliould generally be avoided, except at close 

In the present instance we might have gone in again from the other 
side, and perhaps have shot our tigress as she lay ; Ijut there was a safer, 
though less expeditious, way of bringing her to bag, and as we never courted 
danger unnecessarily we changed our plans. I sent to Morlay for all the 
tiger-nets, and by evening the cover was securely surrounded by men and 
fires ; the circle was about a hundred yards in diameter. Our first care on 
the completion of the circle had been to go in force and cut a" path up to 
the tree where the tracker was, from an opposite direction to our former 
advance, and we released him without seeing the tigress. 

AVe spent a night of merriment at the surround. I ordered four sheep 
from camp, which the hunters decapitated at the spot where it was decided 
to enter the enclosed space on the morrow, and after sprinkling the nets and 
ground witli blood, they mounted the heads on spears and carried them three 
times round the circle with torches, horns, and tomtoms. Some particular 
plant also had to be hunted up in the dark, to be worshipped in accordance 
with the observances on such occasions, at the proposed point of entrance. 
The sheep were then divided, and between feasting and story-telling the 
time passed agreeably. One man did a feat which amused everybody. It 
constituted a good example of the cleverness of natives at this class of per- 
formance, of which sword -swallowing, splitting cocoa-nuts on their bare 
pates, &c., are instances. He took a piece of stout twine about four feet 
long, and introducing one end, by the aid of a stick, into one of liis nos- 
trils, he brought it into his mouth through the hole of communication near 
the palate, and then drew the end out of his mouth. There was no decep- 
tion. I tested the genuineness of the feat by observing a mark on tlio 
string outside the mouth, and by merely pidling the end brought it down the 
nostril, and vice versd. To this string tlie performer tied a weighty stone, 
and carried it about ! 

The tigress only showed herself once, about five in the morning, l)ut 
upon a blazing firebrand alighting on her already damaged head she with- 
drew promptly. I had got old Bheemruttee from Cham raj -Nuggar over- 
night, and under lier protection I now entered the surround and climbed a 
tree, past which Bheemruttee soon drove the tigress, still perfectly active, 
and I killed her. 

On this occasion it will be seen tliat we went into a favourable cover 
only, and kept well out of the immediate reach of tlie tigress ; and tliough 


there seemed every chance of her being dead, we formed our plans on the 
supposition of finding her still in the flesh, and allowed no one to go in but 
experienced hands. 

I remember an impressive scene by moonlight when watching for a 
tigress, and I might have seen a bullock seized on this occasion had I not 
hurried matters at the critical moment. A tigress had killed a cow towards 
daybreak not far from Morlay, and having no time to eat it had dragged 
the carcass into a thicket, going herself two miles away to lie up for the 
day. As there was no chance of getting a shot at her when eating in 
the thicket, I had a live bullock tied to a stump in a perfectly open space 
a few yards from the carcass, and a comfortable mechdn prepared in a tree 
near. This was one of the favourable occasions which should be chosen 
for watching. We had tracked the tigress to a distance, so that our pre- 
parations could not alarm her ; whilst, not having eaten any of the carcass, 
she was certain to return early in the night. 

I commenced to watch at 5 p.m. Daylight had given way about seven 
o'clock to a brilliant moon that rendered everything almost as distinct as in 
the day, when I heard the distant, low, grating voice of the tigress as she 
came up from the cool river-covers where she had spent the hours of a hot 
Indian day. 

The first intimation I had of her close approach was an uneasy move- 
ment of the bullock, which had been quietly eating some grass with which 
we had provided him to make his last moments as happy as possible. I 
had expected his immediate seizure on the tigress's arrival, and with a view 
to keeping as still as possible till the noise of the scufiie commenced, I was 
lying at full length on the elephant-pad, where I had made myself comfort- 
able with a pillow. A hole six inches square had been left in the leafy 
screen, just above my head, through which to fire. 

On hearing the bullock start I raised myseK slowly and saw the tigress 
sitting on her haunches within six feet of the bullock, eyeing him. He 
was secured to a low stump with only three feet of rope, the remainder 
being wound round his horns ; the tigress was facing me about three feet 
beyond the stump, the unhappy bullock being at the length of his short 
tether with the stump between him and the tigress. There was a quiet 
bloodthirstiness in the scene which was very impressive, and made me re- 
member, even in the excitement of the moment, the many evidences I had 
seen of similar scenes of unwitnessed midnight bloodshed. 

The tigress knew that the bullock could not escape her, but her air was 
not one of gloating over her victim, but of some suspicion regarding the rope 
round his horns. I was only ten feet from the ground, and thirty from the 


ti,2;resg. So intense was the stillness tlint the slightest movement on my 
part would have heen heard. 

Neither the tigress nor bullock moved for full three minutes, when the 
former stood up, satisfied with her investigation, and stepped towards the 
bullock. Her jaws were within a foot of his throat ; there was going to be 
no spring or rush, and in another moment he would have been seized ; when 
a wish to save the poor helpless beast that had been my only companion 
during the still watch impelled me, and I drew myself quickly up and put 
the express to my shoulder, pushing the barrels through the screen, which I 
had not done hitherto for fear of the moonlight's glinting on them. 

At the slight sound I made the tigress drew herself up instantly, stand- 
ing close to the bullock, and looked straight at my meclidn ; in a moment 
she would have been off, when I fired at her shoulder and rolled her over. 
I stood up and gave her another shot over the screen as she was gasping 
convulsively ; this settled her. 

Till now the bullock had remained perfectly quiet, but at the shots he 
commenced to dash madly round and round the stump, roaring with fright, 
and jumping over the tigress as he passed. My trackers were anxiously 
waiting at some distance, and on my giving the well-known signal, three 
barks in imitation of the spotted-deer, they came running up. By this time 
I had got down the tree and was examining the tigress, and as my bungalow 
was only lialf a mile away some more of my people soon hastened up with 
Soondargowry, the pad-elephant. This young lady was very amusing in 
all her ways : she walked up to the tigress and sniffed it, and then with a 
growl, as much as to say, " A tigress to-night, eh ! is that all ? " knelt down 
to receive her burden, and marched off sturdily with it to camp. 

On another occasion when watching for a tiger by moonlight I was enter- 
tained until his arrival by the proceedings of three jackals. Two arrived 
before sunset, and their elaborate care in approaching the carcass of the 
bullock the tiger had killed, though it lay in open ground, and they might 
have known the tiger could not be secreted in very close proximity, was 
liighly amusing. When close to it they would suddenly scamper off, appa- 
rently with the object of drawing some movement from the tiger if it wore 
anywhere near. Having at last plucked up courage to begin, one li'll to 
voraciously, tugging away at the skin and making a great noise, whilst the 
other watched assiduously, never essaying to taste the tempting fiesh. 
l*resently the sentry raised every hair on its body and tail, lowered its head 
into the attitude of a dog in vomiting, tucked in its tail, and made a tpiick 
sliii filing movement forward, ludicrously like an aggressive turkey. llere 
conies the tiger, thought I ; but presently 1 descried the cause in the sliapo 


of a tliird jackal. The jealous sentry — the first-comers were evidently a 
pair — would not permit its approach, and the new-comer at last lay down 
with an assumed air of unconcern to await its turn. 

The jackal had been tugging away at the dead bullock for about half 
an hour, the sentry not having had its turn yet, when both started away 
from the carcass and looked fixedly in a direction almost under my tree. 
They then commenced to make a peculiar sniffing noise, and changed places 
restlessly, running first a few paces to one side, then to the other, but 
never taking their eyes off the object that had attracted them. I knew 
tliey had viewed the tiger. I had never seen a tiger's reception by jackals 
before ; but their demeanour was so marked that I felt certain to what to 
attribute it. It was a moment of intense excitement, as I could not turn 
to look in the direction from which I felt sure the tiger was approaching. 
Presently the jackals^ after changing their note to a sort of sharp twittering, 
evidently intended to conciliate their lord and master, retired to some little 
distance, and I shortly heard the quiet, measured footfall of the tiger almost 
below me. I had the wind in my favour. Presently the striped head and 
shoulders came into sight, and after one or two pauses their owner marched 
to the tail of the bullock, and stood looking in the direction of the jackals. 
He exposed his full broadside towards me, and looked very large in the 
moonlight. I knew if he lay down he would offer a more difficult mark, 
so I lost no time in firing. With a loud "wough, wough," the stricken brute 
galloped heavily away, but I felt sure I heard him fall when about sixty 
yards distant. I listened — there was a low groan. Again the sound was 
repeated — the peculiar sobbing groan of a dying animal. 

I waited for twenty minutes and then signalled to the trackers, who were 
in a tree at some distance, in a direction in which we previously knew their 
presence would not interfere with the tiger's approach. I had been amused 
by their answering some spotted-deer which began to bark soon after my 
shot, and not far from me, and which they mistook for my signal. The five 
naked and odoriferous, but simple and attached fellows, were soon saie 
with me in the tree. "We agreed to wait for half an hour and then to look 
the tiger up. We considered that there was no necessity to wait till morn- 
ing, as the moonlight was very bright, and there were only a few trees 
dotted about in the otherwise open ground, and we were sure of one point 
— namely, that if the tiger had any strength remaining he would have used 
it ere this to put as great a distance as possible between himself and us. We 
decided only to look as far as the spot where I was of opinion he had fallen. 
If he were not there we would defer further search till morning. 

On getting down the tree we found the trail was very distinct. The 


grass was about eighteen inches high, quite dry, and almost white, as 
it had seeded and withered. Tlie bent blades, upon wliich the moonlight 
glinted brightly, showed a glistening path where the tiger had passed. 
Wlien we had got to about the spot where I supposed the tiger to be, one 
tracker pointed silently to a dark object lying where the silvery path ended 
abruptly, and beyond which the grass stood undisturbed. "It looks lilce a 
log," whispered one. "A log with stripes and a tail, then," said the quicker- 
sighted Murga. It was the tiger, quite dead. 





THEKE are three animals of the geuus Fdis which in India usually pass 
incorrectly as to two of them, under the common denomination of 
cheeta. These are the panther {Fclis pardus), the leopard {Felis Icopardus), 
and the cheeta or hunting-leopard {Fells juhata). Of the handsome sjDotted 
.skins that grace many Indian bungalows, and which are generally referred 
to as cheeta-skins, at least ninety-nine out of every hundred are those of 
the panther or of the leopard. 

The accompanying illustration shows the characteristics of the first and 
the third named animals, the panther and cheeta. The distinction between 
the panther and the second, or leopard, is practically small, and lies chiefly 
in the inferior size of the leopard. The markings, habits, and general appear- 
ance (except size) of the two animals are almost identical. But neither can 
be confounded with the cheeta, even by the most casual observer. It will 
be seen that, irrespective of the ditference of the physical conformation of 
the panther and cheeta, the spots of the panther (and also of the leopard) 
are grouped in rosettes, enclosing a portion of the ground colour ; whereas 
those of the cheeta are solid, and are separate from each other. 

Between the panther and leopard the distinction is, as above stated, 
less marked, and is chiefly interesting to zoologists and critical sportsmen. 
The general observer may be pardoned for confounding the two. All 
interested in the question in India are aware of the prolonged controversy 
that has been carried on upon the subject, but most are now, I think 


agreed in accepting Dr Jerdon's view, based upon the most reliable evidence 
— namely, that the panther and leopard are mere varieties of the same 
species. Though they differ greatly in size, the former attaining, in excep- 
tional cases, almost to the dimensions of a small tigress, whilst the latter is 
i'requently, when fuU-gi'own, under fifty pounds in weight — in fact, not larger 
tlum our large bull-dogs — there is not more radical difference between the 
two animals than exists between horses and ponies, or large dogs and little 
ones. Their habits and haunts are almost identical, such divergences as 
occur being due mamly to the relative powers of the two animals. Thus, 
whilst the panther seizes cattle as well as the smaller domestic animals, and 
large deer, the leopard is content with goats, dogs, and even fowls ; and in 
the forest it preys upon pea-fowl, hares, and such small game. Much of 
the confusion that has arisen regarding panthers and leopards has undoubt- 
edly been caused by the fact that adult animals are found, varying in size 
as much as do the dray-horse and the child's pony, or the mastiff and toy- 
terrier. As there are also various shades of colour amongst them, the 
question has puzzled many who have not had opportunities of examining 
numerous specimens of both animals. The following distinctions, compiled 
chiefly from Dr Jerdon's Mammals, will, I trust, assist the inexperienced 
sportsman to a correct classification of such animals of the two varieties as 
he may shoot. 

The panther {Felis pardus) varies in size from six to eight feet from 
nose to tip of tail. Ground colour generally pale fulvous yellow, or rufous 
fawn, with dark spots grouped in rosettes, except on the spine and towards 
the extremities, where they are distinct black marks. Fur short and close. 
The ground colour is lighter in old than in young animals. 

The leopard {Fclis leopardus) varies greatly in size, but probably 
never exceeds six feet in length from nose to tip of tail. Some individuals 
are little larger than a large tiger-cat. The leopard is stouter in propor- 
tion to its size than the panther, and the skull is rounder. The spots arc 
more crowded, and the fur is longer and looser than in the panther. 

A variety of the leopard perfectly black all over, in which the spots 
show but indistinctly as still darker marks, is not altogether uncommon in 
Mysore and other parts of India, and is less rare in certain localities in the 
Malay peninsula and Java. In Mysore it is never found out of forest-tracts. 
In its habit of confining itself entirely to heavy forests it differs somewhat 
from the common leopard. I have never seen the animal in its wild state, 
but I have .seen two nearly full-grown ones in ea}»tivity, and more than one 
skin. I'he two I saw are now alive in England, and are ap])arently cul)S 
of one litter. This circumstance would seem to militate against the view 

'^ ':^-:z's''y~:7?Nr''' "."r'' "■-.:■ ;--'*^-v-^-"'^*i*;;*?-3;f*^?^r-- 


held by some naturalists and sportsmen that Llack leopards are only hisi 
natnro: ; and the fact that they never occur amongst ordinary leopards in 
tlie open-country localities of Mysore also seems to point to the conclusion 
that the black leopard is quite distinct. On the other hand, there is said 
to be no anatomical distinction between the two animals, and testimony 
exists to show that amongst ordinary leopards, from heavy forest tracts at 
least, melanoid individuals do occur. The following information on this 
point has been obligingly given me by the director of the Zoological 
Society's Menagerie at Amsterdam : " In regard to the black leopards from 
Java my experience leads me to suppose them to be merely a variety of 
the Fclis Icopardus from Java. We have had two young ones from a black 
female ; one was black, the other of the ordinary colour. This female took 
the male in liberty, so there is no proof as to what the father was. The 
black leopards from Java have all sorts of shades, from jet-black to light 
brown." It would appear from this, and other evidence, that Avhilst the 
black leopard is entirely confined, at least in India, to heavy forest tracts, 
it does not there refuse to inter-breed with the ordinary leopard. 

Both panthers and leopards are exceedingly common in Mysore. I 
will proceed to describe their habits as I have observed them. 

The panther takes rank after the tiger among the beasts of prey of 
India. Though his powers of offence are inferior to those of his larger 
relative, he frequently proves himself a more dangerous animal for the 
sportsman to encounter, as less provocation suffices to rouse him, and he is 
exceedingly courageous in his retaliation. The panther does not systemati- 
cally frequent heavy forests. His favourite resorts are the light belt of 
jungle on the borders of, or intersecting, cultivated lands, and, even more 
fi'cquently, the rocky hills, or droogs, formed of large masses of rock piled in 
wild confusion upon each other, and forming endless caverns from which 
he cannot be dislodged. The leopard is also found in these places, though 
his more favourite habitat is forest country. The isolated hills mentioned 
are a peculiar feature of Southern and portions of Central India, and rise 
abruptly from the level plains, being often entirely free of brushwood and 
trees. From their strongholds in these panthers and leopards watch the 
surrounding country towards sunset, and descend with astonishing celerity 
and stealth, under cover of the rocks, to cut off any straggling animal among 
the herds or flocks on their return to the villa2;e at nitihtfall. 

From their habit of lurking in the vicinity of the habitations of man, 
to prey upon cattle, ponies, donkeys, sheep, goats, and dogs, the panther and 
leopard are frequently brought into collision with Indian villagers ; and a 
panther or leopard being mobbed in a garden, or field of sugar-cane or 


standintf corn, from -which he will charge several times and bite and claw- 
half-a-dozen people before he is despatched or makes his escape, is no un- 
common occurrence in India. At night panthers and leopards frequently 
find their -vs-ay into goat-folds or calf-pens, climbing over -walls or the roofs 
of native huts in their burglarious inroads, and carrying off their prey -v\ith 
great boldness and agility. They appear to have a peculiar penchant lor 
dogs ; and I have kno-wn many villages in parts of ]\Iysore -where panthers 
and leopards were numerous, in which not a dog was to be found, or per- 
chance but one or two, which would be pointed out by their owners as 
" very lucky " ones, they ha-ving escaped, sometimes from the very clutches 
of their unceasing foe, whilst their companions had successively fallen 
victims to his stealthy attacks. 

I have never known a case of a panther or leopard taking to man-eating 
in Mysore, though many such instances are recorded from other parts of 
India. Further information regarding the habits and disposition of these 
animals will be gleaned from a perusal of the next chapter, which I propose 
to devote to recitals of adventures in hunting panthers and leopards. 

The cheeta or hunting - leopard is, as I have already sho-wn in the 
game-list of Mysore (Chapter III.), almost unknown in the province. During 
thirteen years I have only seen two skins, both shot by native shikaries. 
I liave never seen tlie animal in its wild state myself. I shall therefore 
only give a short description of it, which I transcribe from Dr Jerdon's 
Mammals, and from an article that appeared in The Field of September 7, 
1867, on the Felidce of India, from the competent pen of Major-General 
H. Shakspear. 

Dr Jerdon's description is : " Bright rufous fawn with numerous black 
spots, not in rosettes ; a black streak from the corner of each eye down the 
face ; tail with black spots and the tip black ; ears short and round ; tail 
long, much compressed towards the end ; hair of belly long and shaggy, and 
with a consideralile mane ; pupils circular ; points of the claws always 
visible ; the figure slender, small in the loins like a greyhound ; limbs long. 
Lengtli, head and body, about 4| feet; tail, 2^ ; height, 2| to 2| feet. 

" The hunting-leopard is found throughout Central and part of Southern 
India, and in the north-west from Khandesh, through Sind and Eajput;ina 
to the Punjaub." 

Major-General Shakspear says : " The cheeta or hunting-leopard has the 
foot and toe-nail of the dog, without any more retractile power, and is there- 
fore canine. Though his height is e(|ual to the pantlier's, he does not weigli 
mucli more than half as nnich as that animal. He is as truly made for 
speed as the greyhound — indeed ho must be for a short distance much 


faster, since he can give tlie antelope a start of a liiindred yards and catch 
him in another two hundred ; and the antelope is the fastest known animal 
in the world, the greyhound having no chance of running him down on the 
hard soil which he usually roams over. The great depth of chest, long 
forearm, hocks nearly down to the ground, light sinewy limbs, prominent 
elbow-joints, and very light waist, all denote his vast speed. 

" The cheeta is tamed and taught to hunt antelope. For this sport he 
is never caught until he has come to his full strength, for if caught young 
lie never acquires the speed and power necessary to course and kill the 
anteloi:)e. Hunting-leopards used to be kept a good deal by wealthy 
natives for the sport they show, and sometimes by European gentlemen. 
They become very tractable and tame, though, being kept for coursing only, 
and not as pets, they are not allowed to run loose. They are not more 
formidable than a large dog, and I never heard of their attacking man." 

Jerdon says : " I had a young one brought to me at Saugor, only a 
very few days old. I brought it up with some greyhound pups, and they 
soon became excellent friends. Even when nearly full grown it would 
play with the dogs (who did not over-relish its bounding at them), and was 
always sportive and frolicsome. It got much attached to me, at once 
recognising its name (Billy), and it would follow me on horseback like a 
dog, every now and then sitting down for a few seconds, and then racing 
on after me. It was very fond of being noticed, and used to purr just like 
a cat. It used to climb on any high object — the stump of a tree, a stack 
of hay — and from this elevated perch watch all round for some moving- 
object. As it grew up it took first to attacking some sheep I had in the 
compound, but I cured it of this by a few sound horse-whippings ; then it 
would attack donkeys, and get well kicked by them ; and when not half- 
grown it flew one day at a tame full-grown nil-ghai, and mauled its legs 
very severely before it could be called off. I had some chikaras {Gazclla 
.Bennetii) caught, and let loose before it to train it. The young cheeta 
almost always caught them easily, but it wanted address to pull them down, 
and did not hold them. Occasionally, if the antelope got too far away, it 
would give up the chase ; but if I then slipped a greyhound, it would at 
once follow the dog and join the chase." 

Eegarding the mode of coursing antelope with the cheeta, Dr Jerdon 
quotes as follows from Buchanan Hamilton : " On a hunting-party the 
cheeta is Carried on a cart, hooded, and when the game is raised the hood is 
taken off. The cheeta leaps down, sometimes on the opposite side to its prey, 
and pursues the antelope. If the latter are near the cart the cheeta springs 
forward with a surpassing velocity, perhaps exceeding that which any other 


quadruped possesses. This great velocity is often continued for three or 
four hundred yards. If witliin this distance the cheeta does not seize his 
prey he stops, but apparently more from anger than from fatigue, for his 
attitude is fierce ; and he has been known immediately afterwards to pursue 
with equal rapidity another antelope that liap})ened to be passing. JSome- 
times, but rarely, the cheeta endeavours to approach the game by stealtii, 
and goes round a rock or hill until he can come upon it by surprise." 

Mr Vigne (quoted by Jerdon) says : " It requires strong epithets to give 
an idea of the creature's speed. When slipped from the cart he first walks 
towards the antelope with his tail straightened and slightly raised, the 
hackle on his shoulder erect, his head depressed, and his eyes intently 
hxed upon the poor animal, who does not yet perceive him. As the 
antelope moves he does the same, first trotting, then cantering after him ; 
and when the prey starts off, the cheeta makes a rush, to which (at least 
I thought so) the speed of a race-horse was for the moment much inferior. 
When we consider that no English greyhound ever yet, I believe, fairly ran 
into a doe antelope, which is faster than the buck, some idea may be formed 
of the strides and velocity of an animal who usually closes with her imme- 

Jerdon adds : " I have often seen the cheeta, when unhooded at some 
distance from the antelope, crouch along tlie ground and choose any 
inequality of surface to enable it to get within proper distance of the 
antelope. The cheeta, after felling tlie antelope, seizes it by the throat, 
and when the keeper comes up he cuts its throat, and collects some of the 
blood in the wooden ladle from which it is always fed. This is offered to 
the cheeta, who drops his hold, and laps it up eagerly, during which the 
hood is cleverly slipped on again. Shikaries always assert that if taken 
as cubs tliey are useless for training, till they have been taught by their 
parents to pull down their prey. Tliis ojiiuion is corrol)orated, in part at 
least, by my experiences witli the tame one mentioned above." 







THE pantlier was the first wild animal of the dangerous order that I met 
witli after my arrival in India. I had been hut a few months in the 
country when I accompanied a friend to a place called Shravana Balagola, 
forty miles N.N.W. from Seringapatam, where he v;-as desirous of photo- 
graphing some ancient monuments of the almost extinct (as to Mysore) 
sect of Jains. Shravana Balagola is a small town of about one hundred 
and fifty houses, and is situated, together with a very fine tank or reservoir 
about four hundred feet square and forty deep, between two remarkable 
hills, each formed of a mass of granite covered more or less with enormous 
boulders that have been riven and piled up in the most singular positions 
by some violent convulsion, and which form large caves and dens that 
shelter panthers and leopards, to the damage of the neighbouring flocks. 
These hills are characteristic specimens of the piles of rock that abound 
in the Mysore territory. Upon one of the hills there is a huge image of a 
naked human figure in granite. It is upwards of sixty feet high, and about 
twenty-five feet across the shoulders. From the thighs upwards it is in 
full relief; downwards it is attached to the rock behind. It is evident 


that a lofty, towering rock lias been cut awa}', leaving the figure ; and it 
appears that the whole summit of the hill has been levelled, Ly incalculable 
labour, to form the plateau on which the image and its surrounding wall 
and sacred buildings stand. The face of the rock at the feet of the fitrure 
is cut away, so that the image appears to stand upon a lutus-flower. On 
both sides, near the feet, the rock is hewn to resemble white-ant hills, with 
sacred serpents emerging from their galleries. Though the image is certainly 
one, probably two, thousand years old (the ancient inscriptions on the rock 
at its feet cannot be deciphered with certainty at the present day), its surface 
has undergone no change, and it appears as if just fresh from the hands of 
the sculptor. Tlie face has the serene expression generally seen in Buddhist 
statues ; the hair is curled in short spiral ringlets all over the head ; while 
the thick lips and long ears give the impression of an Egyptian pattern for 
the statue. Could a model of this stupendous testimony to the state of 
art and culture of long-forgotten ages be erected in England it would dwarf 
Cleopatra's Needle into insignificance, and would truly astonish the natives 
around the Thames Embankment. 

We arrived at Shravana Balagijla about midnight, ha^■iug been piloted 
across many miles of wild open country by successive village tallidrics, or 
watchmen. The village was wrapt in slumber as we rode through its silent 
main street. We dismounted and left our ponies here, in charge of their 
grooms, and proceeded with the coolies and guides, who carried our beddhig 
and provisions, to the building in the centre of the north side of the tank, 
and wliich is seen in the illustration (from a photograph taken by my friend) 
facing the beholder. This building, it will be observed, is open on the side 
facing the tank ; it is composed of hewn granite, and the roof is supported 
by massive granite pillars. Here we intended to sleep till morning. 

The whole scene was bathed in a flood of soft light from a full moon, 
and the contrast between the bold and frowning masses of granite, and the 
quiet slumbering sheet of water between them, was effective and engag- 
ing. As I walked along behind our party, lingering to enjoy the scene 
alone, I was startled by a low jarring sound in tlie rocks just above me. 
It was repeated five or six times in succession, beginning low and swelling 
into a harsh grating noise, somewhat like that caused by a pump tliat will 
not draw, but much louder. It reverberated across the silent tank, and was 
re-echoed from the opi)Osite hill. I knew it must lie caused by some wild 
animal of the dangerous order, and on joining my friend he told me tliat 
tlie guides said there M'cre several i)anthers frequenting the caves in the 
hill. This was exciting news to me, and gave a double interest to the 
locality. How I longed to be able to converse in Canarese that I might 


question the guides about the animals ! During the time we were preparing 
a cup of tea the panthers frequently grunted out their peculiar harsh cry, 
wliich half delighted, half frightened me ; and I remember that before I 
followed my friend's example of falHng asleep on a mattress on the floor, I 
frequently glanced at the small open doorway which led through the side of 
the building, and which appeared to me to be peculiarly adapted to admitting 
the pantliers to the reservoir, to slake their thirst thereat in case they felt 
so inclined. I hardly thought, however, that they really used this means 
of reaching the water, or I certainly should not have fallen asleep. 

I had not been unconscious long when I was awakened by a low growl 
- from my dog " Spot," which slept at my feet on the mattress. I raised 
myself instantly. Horrors ! there was a panther within a few feet of my 
toes, its head and shoulders clearly outlined against the sheet of silvery 
water outside the open building ! I should say that the floor of the build- 
ino- was divided into two levels, one half beino- raised some three feet above 
the other, like a stage. The door through which the panther had found 
ingress opened on to the lower level, and coming through this with the 
intention of drinking, ignorant of the presence of two sleepers on the raised 
portion, the animal had smelt us, or the dog, and when I started up was 
standing on its hind-legs and peering at us ! Had I not awoke it would 
doubtless have carried off the dog. But this was not to be Spot's fate at 
that time, though he fell a victim to a leopard two or three years later, 
having been carried off from the verandah of a house in Hoonsoor. 

The panther withdrew almost before I had time to shout. ]\Iy friend 
took all this very coolly when I aroused him, and beyond anathematising 
the panther and turning over, paid no heed to the occurrence. I naturally 
conjured up visions of being pounced upon when asleep, exaggerating, like 
all novices, the danger connected with unwounded wild animals, and my 
further slumbers were not of the most tranquil description. Next morning, 
whilst my friend busied himself about his photography, I took my gun, and 
with several natives clambered over the rocks, expecting, I do believe, to 
fall in with the panthers ! I was informed that they not uufrequently 
basked upon the rocks for an hour or two in the early morning sunshine, 
but of course it was not likely such wary animals would be surprised by a 
party such as I headed. I have since shot panthers and leopards by mark- 
ing them from below when basking, and then stalking them alone ; but it 
requires intimate knowledge of the locahty, and of the animal, to make a 
successful advance upon such watchful creatures. 

In the evening I watched with two natives over the entrance of one of 
the panther's caves, hoping they might show themselves ; but though we 


lieard them growling and snarling at each other within, night fell without 
their emerging, and we made the Lest of our way down. 

I made many subsequent fruitless attempts to bring panthers and leop- 
ards to bag in rocky hills of this description, but it was not till I had killed even 
more than one tiger that I succeeded in outwitting my first panther. This 
animal cost me much labour and perseverance, but was a sjilendid specimen, 
and an ample reward for my past ill-luck. He was a male of the largest 
size I have ever myself seen (seven feet two inches from nose to tip of tail), 
and had lived for many years in an isolated droog, or hill, about three miles 
to the south-east of the travellers' bungalow at IMuddoor, on the road from 
Bangalore to ]\Iysore. The country thereabouts is quite open and free from 
jungle. Whilst staying at Muddoor I had at different times made attempts 
upon his life, but he was exceedingly cunning, whilst I was very ignorant, 
which combination did not result in affording me the close interview I 
sighed for. However, I speedily gained some knowledge from my failures, 
and the day of course came round when perseverance was crowned by success. 
Two days before this, on a blazing hot afternoon, I had climbed the hill 
with a native shikarie of the locality, and having secured a kid, which will 
always bleat in a manner most seductive to panthers and leopards, in the 
path down which the panther generally came, as reported by the villagers, 
we watched from the shelter of a rock near. About sunset I heard a 
slight noise behind us. I turned, expecting to find myself face to face 
with the panther, but there was only a large monkey with his family, 
sitting on a rock watching us. We knew at once that the panther must be 
on the other side of the hill, and that the monkeys had come here to avoid 
him, as panthers and leopards prey upon them. We therefore descendeil, 
and returned to Muddoor. In Southern India it is always dark by G.45 
P.M., so that tliere is not much time for watching after sunset, unless there 
is a brilliant moon. 

The next afternoon we again went after the panther, ascending the hill 
as before in the blazing sun, to gain our posts before he should be stirring, 
and tied another kid in a likely spot. Its bleating must have been heard 
all over the hill ; but unfortunately a heavy thunderstorm succeeded the 
sultry day, and we were driven to Muddoor amidst the pelting rain. 1 have 
observed that few wild animals venture forth during the terrilic crashes of 
thunder and the lurid lightnings of Indian storms, so we deemed it useless 
to watch during the strife of the elements. 

The Fates seemed in favour of tlie panther. Next day, however, I 
returned to the hill. It was still early in the afternoon, so 1 determined 
tu lake a stroll round its base. Several villaiivrs wcit with nic, whc>n one 


suddenly pointed upwards to the pantlier lying under an overhanging rock, 
on the shady side of a cluster of rocks, and surveying us, and the country 
below, from his comfortable and secure position. He looked very fierce and 
beautiful through my field-glasses ; but thinking I should have more leisure 
to admire him after I had shot him, if peradventure such good fortune was 
to attend my efforts, I walked on with the men as if we had not observed 
him — a point on which many animals are very sagacious — and when out 
of sight we held a considtation as to what we should do. It was decided 
that two of the men should drive some donkeys, which happened to be pro- 
ceeding along the village path laden with salt, past the panther's position in 
full view, whilst I and the native shikarie stalked him from above. 

Would that I had gone by myself, as the fellow spoilt the first act of the 
sport. I had nearly reached the point from which I expected to get a shot 
at the coveted animal when the shikarie clinked my spare gun against a 
rock he was climbing. I ran hastily forward, but only caught a glimpse of 
the panther as he jumped down amongst the boulders below. Presently I 
heard the spare men beneath hallooing amongst the lower rocks. I ran 
forward as best I could over the uneven ground till I came near them, 
when I found that, seeing the panther get off the rock, they had run forward 
to the cave for which they knew he would make, and they had now got 
on to a large rock and were hallooing and waving their cloths to keep him 
out of his retreat. The panther had come up, but fearing to enter the cave, 
was sitting behind a rock at some distance. I could not see him from 
where I stood, though the men were able to do so. I had been told that 
he had another cave on the top of the hill, to get to which I knew he must 
come directly past where I was standing, so I took up my position above a 
wide, smooth, sloping surface of rock, across which he must pass ; and I 
knew that being thus above him I should at least keep him back, as if I 
failed to kill him with my first shots, when wounded he would be more 
likely to roll down the rock than to come at me. 

I now called to the men to frighten him away, if possible towards me ; 
but not an inch would he move. He evidently considered me the dangerous 
person, partly perhaps from my not making a noise like the others, as also 
from deliberately standing in his path. Getting tired at last of waiting, but 
still against my better judgment, I agreed to the request of the men on the 
rock to join them and shoot the panther from their position. No sooner 
had I left the way clear and commenced to descend, than up the panther 
got, and made towards where I had been. The men screamed, " He's going ! 
he's going ! " I heard he was, though he was partly hidden by a few bushes 
that grew near tlie spot. I turned and endeavoured to regain my position, 



but I was no match for the panther at cliniLing. As I scrambled forward I 
saw the yellow-and-black-spotted hide of the brute through the fruige of 
bushes as he ghded easily upwards, about eight gun-lengths distant. I 
could not see him distinctly enougli to make sure of a vital part, and I was 
I'uUy imbued with the popular idea — which I have since, however, come to 
regard as resting upon rather doubtful foundation, as I have seen as many 
beasts charge up hill as down — of the danger of firing at a formidable beast 
on higher ground tlian one's self. However, there are cases where cautious 
calculations weigh little ; and after my various disappointments with this 
animal, I had no intention of letting him escape me if possible. I therefore 
promptly fired both barrels of the rather inadequate weapon I was armed 
with — a 1 4-smootli-bore — into his ribs. There was a deep growl, a moment- 
ary silence, and then the panther rolled down the smooth rock on the far 
side of the bushes, whilst I seized my spare gun from my attendant, and we 
endeavoured to reach a more safe position. The wounded beast was, how- 
ever, beyond doing mischief, and after a few struggles he died at the foot of 
the shelving rock where he lay. Both bullets had passed completely through 
him close behind the shoulders. 

Need I dilate upon tlie delight of a young sportsman at sucli an issue 
•to his hunt? The men shared my pleasure, and plumed themselves with 
just cause upon their action in intercepting tlie panther's retreat into his 
cave. Had they not done this I should probably never have had a shot at 
him. It was doubtless well for us that this beast was killed outright, as he 
was an old male, and would not have been likely to stand on ceremony after 
being maltreated. Amongst such boulders and chasms as those around iis, 
an attack might have been fatal from falls from the rocks without the assist- 
ance of teeth or claws. Some of the men ran to their village for a couple of 
l)ullock-yokes for carrying the panther, and quickly returned accompanied 
by almost the whole community, male and female, young and old. The 
panther was quickly raised aloft by half-a-dozen willing fellows, and carried 
to Muddoor. We were rather long on the way through having to parade 
the beast through several villages on the line of march. The panllier luul 
been, with otliers of his race, on ratlier more intimate calling terms at 
tliese places than tlie owners of stock liad hitherto relished ; but they 
welcomed him heartily under tlie circumstances of his present visit, and the 
bearers collected a few pence for the obligation of carrying him to the chief 
inhahitants' doors. 

The next panther I killed was one of two which some villagers informed 
nu! hud been long settled in a strip of bush-jungle and thickets bordering 
the Tippoor channel, one of the irrigaliou works drawn fnnn the Cauvery 


river, and of which I then had charge. These panthers were represented to 
have killed most of the dogs in the villages for some distance round, and to 
be very destructive among the ryots' sheep, goats, and light cattle. It was 
the height of the hot weather, and I had not had any shooting to speak of 
for some time, so I was delighted at this chance of breaking the monotony 
of everyday work. I sent two trusty shikaries with the villagers to bring 
more certain news of the panthers' retreats, and their account being favour- 
able I asked the ryots to collect a hundred men next day, and promised 
to ride over to their village, Eamanhidly, that evening after dinner, so as 
to be ready to commence early next morning. 

At 8 P.M. I started for my tent near the village. In front four coolies 
carried my cot and bedding on their heads. After them came my cook and 
" boy " — a youth of about fifty — and a couple of coohes carrying the cook- 
ing utensils. In front of me two shikaries bore my rifle and smooth-bore, 
their polished barrels glancing brightly in the moonlight. Then myself on 
pony-back. Behind, a horse-keeper and two dog-boys leading my dogs. 
Another man with my shot-gun brought up the rear. We travelled by 
the footpaths across fields till we came in sight of my tent, pitched under a 
fine banian-tree, and here I found the hundred men ordered duly collected. 
Wlien I rode up they blew a loud blast on a horn, and whilst the cook was 
getting coffee ready I sat outside and talked with their headmen about to- 
morrow's arrangements. Most of the beaters had rusty spears — heirlooms 
of a time when this part of the country was better wooded, and their fore- 
fathers used them in killing wild pigs — and these, long unused, they now 
busied themselves in cleaning. They had also got together a good number 
of nets, which they were overhauling and patching by the firelight. 

By 6 A.M. next morning the beaters had eaten their morsels of ragi- 
bread, and we were on our way to the cover. We found the night's tracks 
of the panthers near it, and the fresh skulls and remains of two dogs wliich, 
despite the scarcity of those animals in the villages near, they had managed 
to surprise during their nocturnal prowlings. The cover was a strip of 
bush-jungle about half a mile long, and nowhere more than a quarter wide. 
It was bordered on one side by the Tippoor channel and open rice-fields, 
then bare and dry ; and on the other three the country was open. The 
cover was not very dense, as most of the bushes had lost their leaves under 
the influence of the hot winds and scorching sun of March, and the 
panthers' only strongholds were a few evergreen thickets which afforded 
cool lying during the hot hours of the day. At one place, about the middle, 
the cover narrowed very much. As we were not certain in which half the 
panthers tlien were, we set up a line of nets across the narrow part, whilst, 


in the absence of trees or other vantage-ground, I sat in a thick bush some 
little distance behind the nets. I was fenced in on three sides so as to 
be invisible, whilst the fourth was only screened breast-high as I knelt, to 
permit of my shooting. The bushes in front of me were cleared so that I 
might see the panthers as they crossed the open space. The line of nets 
was intended to check them if going fast, and thus afford me a better shot. 

Having sent the beaters to commence with the less likely half of tlie 
cover, I took up my position with my three guns and a trustworthy man 
who knew the locality well. We scarcely expected to find the panthers in 
this beat, as their chief strongholds were in the other portion ; but it is 
often necessary to beat out the thinnest parts of a cover first, as if the 
animals sought happen to be in them they may be scared away by the 
noise required for beating the thicker portions before the thinner, whereas 
if in the dense cover they will not leave it for the slight disturbance 
necessary to drive the more open parts. Our conjectures were correct ; the 
first drive proved blank. We were now certain of the panthers being in 
the other half of the cover, and the men began the drive with a will. The 
excitement of waiting for such brutes as panthers, seated on the ground, 
must be experienced to be understood. They usually come so quietly as 
scarcely to be heard, whilst there is a certain amount of danger in the 
sportsman's position that makes it interesting. He is kept almost painfully 
on the alert from the beginning to the end of the beat. 

On tliis occasion the beaters had not been at work very long when I 
heard them calling, " There they go ! there they go ! look out, sir, they're 
coming towards you ! " The panthers had been thoroughly frightened, and 
as the cover was thin, they had given up their usual sneaking dodges, and 
now came galloping along like two large dogs. I could not see them, but 
presently we heard them as they made their way rapidly through the buslios 
towards the narrow waist of the cover where we were ensconced. It unfor- 
tunately liappened, however, that the beaters were some distance behind, so 
the panthers decided to take breath, and instead of crossing the open space 
in front of me, they bounded from behind our position into the very thicket 
in which we sat hidden ! I was somewliat of a novice at tliis time, and I 
must say I was startled by the suddenness of tlie occurrence. The two 
beasts panted and growled from the combined effects of their run and llioir 
ire at being tlius rudely roused, and sat themselves down in tlie middle of 
the thicket witliin a couple of yards of us, behind ! I of course thought 
they would attack us, and the fact of having my back to them added a great 
deal to the unpleasantness of the position. It was fortunate we were 
screened in, as had the panthers come thus suddenly to close quarters they 


would assuredly have made an attack, from their own fears. As it was, 
winding us, but being merely aware of the close proximity of danger 
without seeing the cause, they sprang away towards the nets, which they 
could not see from the bush. With the retreat of the enemy I was myself 
again, and seeing that my chance of a shot from our stronghold was gone, 
I scrambled out and ran after them. I had not gone a dozen yards when 
I saw one panther hesitating at the nets. I instantly gave it right and left, 
and seized my second gun from my companion, who had fortunately followed 
in my steps. The panther had its head towards the nets, which it instantly 
charged and knocked down ; and the other panther went over the gap like 
a flash of lightning, not giving me time for a shot. I then brained the first 
panther, and the beaters coming up it was taken under shade, and we pro- 
ceeded to redispose ourselves for beating up the escaped animal, which was 
the male, and much the larger of the two. 

I had unfortunately, however, neglected to post men at a distance to 
observe if he left the cover. This should never be neglected, and the young 
sportsman will find a little time spent in posting markers before a beat is 
commenced is rarely time lost. When an animal gets past the guns, or is 
temporarily lost sight of, immediate information as to the line he has taken, 
and a prompt chase, often lead to his being found ; whereas if there be no 
markers to direct the hunt, insurmountable difficulties, in loss of time or 
perplexities of tracking, may be met with. In this instance we had made 
too sure of our game. We had not expected them to leave the cover. After 
beating twice through it without finding the escaped panther we therefore 
had nothing to guide us in our further search for him. The ground was dry 
and hard, and tracking impossible ; and it was equally likely that he might 
have betaken himself to some jungle-covered islands in the Cauvery, about 
a mile away, or to some light jungle and broken ravines beyond, or even to 
some dense patches of sugar-cane nearer at hand. We did what we could. 
We searched the nearest likely places ; but the day was hot, and I was 
soon tired, and we had to give up the chase. The panther must have 
crossed a wide expanse of open ground in leaving the cover whichever 
direction he took, and had two or three men been posted on the chance of 
such a contingency, there is no doubt we should have killed him in a very 
short time after his companion. However, wisdom can only be gained by 

This panther never returned, as far as we knew, to the cover. He must 
have finally retired to some rocky clroogs on the other side of the Cauvery, 
from which, indeed, the pair was known to have come originally. The 
ryots were on the look-out for some days, but nothing more was seen of 


him ; and tlie last time I visited this locality the jungle had been almost 
destroyed by woodcutters, and it will probably never again harbour a 
panther. Such changes may be very satisfactory from a utilitarian point 
of view, but the sportsman cannot look upon the transformation of spots 
where he once followed his favourite pursuits without a feeling of regret. 
The supplanting of natural and animal attractions by corn-fields and cattle- 
pens robs localities of all their romance. 

The men who had assisted me in hunting these panthers were of the 
Torrea caste, the professional hunters of Mysore. The gradual decrease of 
game attendant upon the spread — or it may be more correct to say 
resumption — of cultivation in tracts that were laid waste in the time of 
Hyder and Tippoo, has of late years debarred the Torreas in great mea- 
sure from following their former pursuits. Pig and deer have decreased 
or disappeared in many places where they were formerly numerous, and 
nothing larger than hares or pea-fowl now remain to the Torreas. These 
remarks apply to the outlying coverts in the province only, as the great 
belt of forest that almost encompasses Mysore is probably, owing to forest 
regulations and other causes, now as full of game as it ever was. Much of 
the old spirit and traditions survives among the Torreas, even among those 
almost cut off from opportunities of the chase ; and in such hunts as the 
one with the panther, they are proud of being called upon to show that 
their craft is not entirely lost. I always took pleasure in encouraging 
this feeling among those of the tribe with whom I became acquainted. 

The praise I had bestowed upon the villagers of Eamanhully was 
wafted to a community of Torreas at Chuttra, a village three miles on the 
other side of my camp near Eamanhully : and one morning four naiks, or 
ti'iljal chiefs, came to say that a large male panther was in the habit of 
staying in some covers near their village during the hot-weather months 
each year ; that he was there then, and miglit be easily made to " cat the 
bullets " of so redoubtable a sportsman as myself ! 

I determined to survey the surrounding country well, and take my 
measures with deliberation, before connnencing upon this panther ; so I 
appointed an early hour next morning to uwvt my new friends at their 
village. I found them awaiting me, and we made a tour of examination 
through the neighbourhood. It was a mucli less feasible place for hunting a 
panther than the scene of our late lumt. Several square miles were covercel 
with low jungle, with heavier patches here and there in numerous small 
ravines ; these drained into one main ravine, capable of carrying oil' their 
accumulated discharge in the rainy season. At one ]H)int of this main 
ravine there v/as a dense cover of some ten acres in extent, composed of 


matted tliickets of creepers and a peculiar evergreen biisli, the foliage of 
which bent to, and touched, the ground on all sides, making a thick screen 
that prevented a view into the interior without parting it with the band. 
These bushes are favourite retreats of panthers, pig, &c. The Torreas said 
the panther in question almost invariably lived in this cover, but that if 
disturbed he would betake himself to a place called Kul Bhavi, or the stone 
well, where there were a few similar thickets. This was a cover in one of 
the tributary ravines, about three-quarters of a mile from the large cover. 
Should he be dislodged from this, he would either, they said, make back 
to the big cover, or endeavour to reach a small rocky hill a mile further on, 
where he had a cave. He ordinarily only used the latter as a den on occa- 
sions during the wet months, when mosquitoes are very troublesome in 
close green tliickets. We found his tracks, those of a very large male, 
almost like a small tigress, in the sandy bed of the main ravine which ran 
tlirough the cover. Down it we crept silently in Indian file, that I might 
gain an idea of the nature and extent of the panther's haunts. 

We decided to try and drive him out of the main thicket towards the 
Kul Bhavi, or smaller one. I was to be stationed at the point where he would 
most lilvcly emerge from the large cover ; and such nets as we had were to 
be stretched across his line of escape, some distance out in the open ground 
beyond where I stood. We hoped that if he got past me this obstacle would 
delay him, and afford me the chance of a second shot. The prominent points 
for a mile round were to be occupied by markers, to avoid the chance of our 
losing a second panther by the want of foresight that had cost us our last. 
I saw, however, that to drive so large a cover effectively, a greater number of 
men was required than the Torreas of Cliuttra, so I proposed to them to 
invite the villagers of Eamanliully to join them. There is much jealousy 
among the various Torrea communities, who have the country apportioned 
into hunting-tracts for each village, and I had some difficulty in getting 
tliem to fall into my views with cordiality. But the eloquence of Jaffer — 
who explained to them that the Eamanliully Torreas, being strangers to the 
ground, would only be required as stops, and for duties of quite a secondary 
nature, and would have little of the honour and few of the rupees to be 
obtained in the event of the death of the pauther — at last prevailed, and two 
of the headmen proceeded to Painianhully to give their kinsmen an invitation 
for the hunt. Jaffer declared himself ready to go with them ; and I have 
no doubt he represented to the private ear of the Eamanliully people that 
they were the men to show his " Sahib " sport, as they had already done, 
and that the assistance of the Chutfera Torreas was merely called in as a 
matter of etiquette, the cover lying in their boundaries. Jaffer plumed 

344 THE MEET. 

himself greatly, and not without cause, on his skill in getting opposing 
factions among the sporting villagers with whom we became acquainted to 
coalesce in his master's interests ; and he was at the same time a great 
favourite amongst them for his never-failing vivacity and pleasant com- 

An early day for the hunt having been appointed, the combined 
forces of Eamanhully and Chuttra collected the evening before near the 
latter village, but they encamped outside it. It is a gi'eat point to get 
beaters, if intended to work early, away from their houses, to obviate the 
difficulty always experienced in collecting them early. As there was a fair 
road from my camp to Chuttra I drove over in my across-country pony- 
trap at sunrise. The various markers were at once despatched in couples 
to take up their allotted stations, whilst the beaters w^aited until the sun 
was well up, to allow the panther time to return to his stronghold in case 
he had been to a distance for his night's prowl. Before commencing, the 
nets were set up some distance from the cover in the open, and I took 
post on the edge of the thicket where a path entered it, and by which 
we expected the panther to appear. The hunters ascertained that he had 
entered the cover before daybreak, and some one said a large boar, of which 
there were a few about, had also retired to it for the day ; but I paid little 
heed to this latter piece of news at the time, in the all-absorbing attention 
regarding the particular beast we were after. I was, however, speedily to 
be reminded of the boar's presence. 

The beat commenced, and I soon heard a heavy animal making its way 
stealthily but rapidly towards me. I thought of nothing but the panther, 
when I was suddenly confronted by the boar, a huge grey old fellow, 
who pulled up almost at the muzzle of my rifle as I levelled it at him. 
I had no time for hesitation. I was directly in his path, and only a few 
yards distant. I should probably have been cut down in another instant 
in the style in which a boar can do this to any one opposing him, so 
I fired at his long narrow forehead and dropped him dead. Some men 
who were stationed not far off ran up and dragged the boar out of the way, 
and one of them was sent to inform the beaters, who had ceased driving at 
the firing. Tliis occurrence was unfortunate, as the disturbance ahead nnist 
have alarmed the panther, for a beater shortly came to say he was in a 
tliicket but would not move. Tlie messenger assured me that I coukl 
shoot liim as he lay without more ado, and that the headmen wore anxious 
for me to come at once. The chance was a tempting one, but still it was 
decidedly against my better judgment that I left my i)ost and went to tlie 
place, where the headman of lUmanhully, with only a spear in his hand, 


volunteered to show me the brute. He parted the screen of green leaves of 
a thicket a little way in advance and peered in. I could see nothing, 
anxiously though I strained my eyes. My companion begged me to accom- 
pany him nearer, and we crept into the thicket in a stooping posture, till 
I caught sight of the panther lying among some roots and dry briers. I 
delayed for a moment to enable me to see exactly how he lay, as it was 
desirable to put him liors de conibat at the first shot ; but the checkered 
sunlight and quivering shadows of the boughs matched so closely with 
his spotted hide that this was no easy matter. Just as I was going to 
fire he sprang up with a loud " wough, wough," and after a short rush in 
our direction, to intimidate us, suddenly changed his course, and was out of 
sight before I could pull trigger. 

I now more than ever regretted having left my original post, and made 
the best of my way back to it. Here I found the nets lying in disorder on 
the ground, but the panther had, a marker informed me, retreated to the cover 
after struggling a few minutes in the toils. We now decided that I should 
take post a short distance to the right, considering it unlikely that the brute 
would again break cover at the same place ; and the drive began again. In 
a very few minutes I was startled by screams and shouts, and then all was 
still. I feared some accident had occurred, and one of the men was brought 
to me rather severely bitten in the upper part of his left arm. It appeared 
that he had been separated from his companions, and that the panther had 
sprung upon him as he was entering a thicket and had inflicted the injury. 
Other men being near, the brute left him. I handed him over to the care 
of one of my peons, who had had some instruction as a dresser in the Mysore 
hospital ; and having instructed the men, who were really plucky fellows 
and nothing daunted by this mishap, but rather inspired w^itli a determina- 
tion to have the panther killed, to keep in compact parties and to carry 
lighted bundles of dry date-fronds in their hands, the beat recommenced. 

A shout behind me now caused me to run towards the line of nets, 
which I saw falling in all directions, and I found that the panther, with 
the peculiar crassness often exhibited by wild beasts, had made his way out 
of the cover at the same place as before, had knocked down the nets in his 
rush, and was now well on his way towards the Kul Bhavi ravine ! 

We were soon all together, and after seeing the wounded man's arm 
washed and bound up, and having despatched him in my trap to Mysore, 
twelve miles distant, we proceeded to the ravine where the markers in- 
formed us the panther had taken shelter. They were able to tell to within 
a few yards where he lay, so surrounding the place with the nets in a circle 
of about a hundred yards diameter, we threw stones and lighted sticks in, 


but could liot get him to move. Something desperate was evidently required. 
We were all much excited, and when I proposed to go at him there was no 
hesitation on the part of the plucky Torreas. A large number accom- 
panied me, all armed with boar-spears, which were, however, too long and 
top-heavy to be used effectively, except for a deliberate thrust. We formed 
lip inside the circle in a wedge-shaped mass, I taking the apex or most 
advanced point with my rifle, and the spearmen guarding both flanks. 
We advanced slowly, throwing stones and firebrands to the place wliere we 
knew the brute was hiding. He was lying, as we subsequently found, in 
a shallow fissure covered with briers, where none of these missiles reached 
liim, and he probably could not see us distinctly or he would not, I am 
convinced, have attacked so formidable a party. "VAHien we were close upon 
liim, all of us wound up to the highest pitch of excitement, out he came 
with the usual grunting roars of an attacking member of the Fdidcc, passed 
me like a flash of lightning, and struck down the man the third to my left. 
Almost before he fell the panther had sprung from him on to a second and 
a third of the line, growling and cuffing riglit and left, and then away he 
went behind us, into the jungle-overhung ravine. His movements were so 
rapid, and I was so hampered by the people grouped about, that I liad not 
a chance of firing. The men had failed, from the length of then- spears, and 
the short hold which they were obliged to take of them, to make tliem of 
any service in keeping him off. 

Tliis was vastly well. Four men liors de combat, and not a shot fired on 
our side. It was fortunate that the panther had been so flurried that lie 
had no time to do more mischief. None of the men were even bitten. 
One was clawed on his chest, one on his abdomen, and tlie other over his 
shoulder. I do not look upon this undertaking as one we ought to have 
failed in had the men had better spears. There is no reason why a few deter- 
mined men should not make short work of an animal not much bitrizer than 
a mastiff, even though it possess the cat's agility. I know of one case of 
a panther having been killed by a few natives with bill-hooks. He was 
lying in a garden and attacked one of them who approached him unawares. 
The others rushed in and finished him at once. In November 1873 a 
ryot near Morlay killed a tiger, upwards of two-thirds grown, that attacked 
him when similarly stinnbled upon. The lirute held him by the left arm 
until the man killed him with his cutty, or heavy chopper. I saw both the 
d(!ad tiger and the wounded man immediately after the occurrence, and the 
l)lucky fellow had the good fortune to recover from his wound.s, severe 
though they were. 

We could now do nuthing but wait till the markers observed where the 


panther stopped ; but he had been so thoroughly ahirmed that he forsook 
both the covers and the rocks, passed our most distant markers, and made 
his way towards an extensive tract of scrub -jungle, where pursuit was 
useless. The day was hot and we were all half dead with thirst, whilst 
there was no water nearer than Chuttra, so we were obliged to content our- 
selves with the thought that we had done all that we could to make an end 
of him, and to return to the village. The slain boar proved a source of 
some consolation to the men. I should have liked to have kept his skin 
for a saddle, but one of the old Torreas represented in such touching terms 
that the crackling was the hoiine, houclic, that, rather than lessen their enjoy- 
ment, I let them take him away entire. I fancy, however, that they must 
have found the integument of this old stager offer something more than a 
" coy resistance." 

This, happily, was the only occasion but one on which I have had men 
injured whilst shooting. The other was a similar case, two Morlayites 
having been bitten and clawed, though not very severely, by a large male 
panther which we were badgering in his stronghold, and which I shot whilst 
coming at myself The Torrea whom I sent into Mysore was sufficiently 
recovered to return to his village in ten days, and I think he did not regTet 
the occurrence on the whole, as I always gave Jiim the much- valued rupee 
when we met afterwards. The scratches of the other three men were 
trifling. I never bagged this panther. He appeared to take offence at 
our usage of him, and though he returned now and again he never stayed 
long enough to admit of our organising a second hunt for him. I killed 
a female panther, however, and captured her two cubs, very probably his 
wife and offspring, eight days after our adventure w^ith the old gentleman 
himself I had returned from a morning inspection of a channel when 
news came that a panther, smaller than the last, and accompanied by cubs, 
was in the cover ; also that the Chuttra headmen were collecting such of 
their followers as they could, in view to my returning with the messengers. 
I swallowed a hasty breakfast and drove to the place. Only about twenty 
men had been collected. I had very little faith in the efforts of so small a 
party in so extensive a thicket, though, as very often happens, this hastily- 
improvised drive was more successful than our more elaborate arrangements 
had been. 

By the advice of the men, and accompanied by one of them, I took 
up my post inside the large cover on the edge of a narrow glade or path 
that ran through it, and at a particular spot at which they assured me the 
panther would cross. Hunters with thorough local knowledge can fre- 
quently tell to within a yard where beasts will pass, even in what appears 


to a stranger to be an ill-defined jungle, where it might be supposed there 
could be little preference of route. But wild animals generally keep to 
certain lines very closely, to tracks well chosen in the first place, as being 
in the most direct line to other strongholds, or to particular points where 
they must cross ravines. 

]\Iy attendant and I stole to our post with the utmost caution, moving 
slowly and heeding every step lest a crackling twig or rustling leaf should 
betray us. We knew the panther must be lying very close to where we 
were, that being the most secure part of the cover. We stood on the 
ground near a wild-date tree, and in a few moments the beaters began to 
make noises at some distance. I had cautioned them not to begin too close, 
as a suddenly -awakened animal often dashes away too fast to give the 
sportsman a good chance. 

The patch of jungle was small in extent, but dark as night, and though 
the beaters made every conceivable noise as they approached, the panther 
did not show itself, and I was beginning to fear it had slipped away in some 
other direction, when a slight movement, but without any sound, caught 
my eye to the right. Turning my head quietly I saw the panther's head 
and shoulders just past a bush. I felt instantly I had her ! She was only 
five yards off, and her quickest movement could scarcely save her one shot 
at least. She had not caught sight of me as she was looking to see if the 
coast were clear, so I brought up my rifle quickly. She caught the move- 
ment and turned full on me, crouching with lightning speed. At the 
same instant a bullet through her lungs knocked her out of time alto- 
gether. With a convulsive spring backwards and sideways she disappeared 
in the thicket. There was dead silence among the beaters at the shot and 
growl that followed, and I heard the panther gasping and choking with 
blood a few yards inside the thicket. The gasps became fainter and slower, 
and then all was still. I made my companion climb a tree to mark, wliilst 
I retired and joined the beaters. 

We decided, after a little consideration, to go, after the lapse of half an 
hour, in a strong body to the place where she had disappeared. When we 
did so we caught sight of her dark-spotted sldn, and we speedily dragged its 
defunct wearer forth. She was a large panther for a female (6 feet 8 
inches), and the men were delighted to think that so few of them had ellected 
more than five times their numbers did before. 

We sent the pantlier to camp, and with my two bull-terriers, Boxer ami 
Kosie, proceeded to hunt up her two cubs. These little spit-fires wore 
speedily seized by the dogs, and we succeeded in cai)turing them before 
they were much hurt. They were somewliat larger than cats, but proved 


themselves such graceless and intractable little beasts that I sent them, 
after keeping them for a few weeks, to the public gardens in Bangalore, 
where they are, I believe, to this day. I have never been able to make 
pets of panther or leopard cubs. They seem almost untamable, and are 
certainly never to be trusted as young tigers may be. The latter become as 
faithful and reliable as dogs, and I have never found any difficulty in keep- 
ing them till they attained formidable dimensions. They appear to have 
more of the dog than of the cat in their disposition. 

The beaters now said there were some wild pigs in a ravine two miles 
away, and if I would wait for a few minutes they would run to the village 
for their nets, and would hunt them under my auspices. Arrived at the 
ravine, I sat on the side of a hill under a tree whence I had a good view 
of the sport. Presently three pigs tore along the opposite side of the valley 
before the pursuing beaters, but coming to the nets, which they winded, 
they turned down-hill, crossed the ravine, and came rattling up close on my 
left. Then such a shout arose among the beaters ! Their expectations of 
pork, as far as these rested on the netting process, were gone. I was their 
last hope of meat for supper. They called out, " Sir, sir ! " (in Canarese, of 
course,) in every tone of voice, from the exhorting and imploring to the 
despairing. This quite put me off" my shooting. Had they kept quiet I 
think I was good for one, if not two, of the pigs at the distance at which 
they passed me, but their desperate, still hopeful shouts, tickled me so that 
I missed with both barrels. What delight had been theirs had a pig rolled 
over ! I comforted them, however, by telling them not to mind the pigs, 
as they had behaved like men in the panther beat, and should have three 
sheep in lieu of the escaped pigs. 

I have already spoken of the boldness panthers and leopards display in 
entering villages at niglit in quest of dogs, goats, &c. They not unfrequently 
venture into the sportsman's encampment on similar enterprises, and their 
inroads are generally so well-timed that the chances are in favour of their 
carrying off the object that has attracted them. I once, however, frustrated 
a panther in the following manner : Captain R and I were doing a little 
shooting together in the Hoonsoor jungles, and were encamped near the 
village of Hullada Copple, which we were told was infested by a panther 
that had carried off all the dogs, and was troubling the ryots greatly by its 
boldness. The jungles were too extensive to attempt beating for it with 
any prospect of success, and, in fact, we gave it little consideration, being 
more intent on a search for a tiger. On the niglit of our arrival we sug- 
gested to our servants to be doubly cautious in keeping the camp-fires 
burning, and after our post - prandial cheroots, were soon sound asleep. 


]>efore turning in I took care that my only dogs, Boxer and Eosie, should 
be chained close by in a small tent in which two servants slept, near to 
our own. 

I happened to be partly awake about midnight when I heard a sudden 
rush past my bed-head outside the canvas wall of the tent, a momentary 
scuffle in the small tent, and then the despairing yells of one of the dogs as 
it was being carried off towards the jungle. I sprang out of bed and daslied 
out, wholly unarmed, just in time to see the white form of old Eosie in the 
jaws of some marauder. With a shout I gave chase, hoping to force the 
animal — I did not know at the moment what it was — to drop its prey. 
E., startled by my cries, and missing me, feared I had been carried off by a 
tiger, and being an old campaigner, proceeded to pull on his trousers pre- 
paratory to heading a relieving force ! 

The panther gained the jungle, closely followed by me. The worrying 
sound here gave place to chokmg sobs from the bitch. I thought she lunl 
been dropped, and ran in to pick her up ; her white form was just visible 
among the bushes by the dim starlight. Just as I stooped I became aware 
that the panther was lying on its back hugging the bitch, which was upper- 
most, in its paws. Feeling my position to be an awkward one, I hurrienl 
back to camp, which was by this time in an uproar. To seize the rillc 
that Jaffer held ready, and call for a torch, was, as our novelists say, the 
work of a moment ; but to find a torch under the circumstances was another 
matter, and the only light forthcoming was an inch of tallow candle. 
Jaffer, shading this with his cloth, accompanied me back to tlie scene of 
action ; but the Fates were against us, for before I could get a shot we found 
ourselves in the position popularly ascribed to an ancient patriarch — the 
candle having gone out ! The panther growled in unpleasant proximity, 
when E., with a blazing bush, lit by some one in camp, advanced to our 
assistance, and the panther, seeing the approaching numbers, made its 
exodus. "With rifles on full-cock we hunted about — I being all this time 
in my night-shirt — but could find neither bitch nor pantlier. Eeturning to 
camp we saw, to our great surprise and joy, the old bitch sitting under the 
table, licking her wounds. I picked her up in my arms where she shivered 
and growled by turns at the recollection of what slie had gone through. 
Her collar liad saved her from serious injury. 

The panther, possibly feeling sheepish after its night's disa]>p()iutnient, 
turned its attention next day to mutton. As we were sitting at breakfast a 
villager ran in to say that one of his flock had been seized and dragged into 
a ])iecc of jungle by the panther. The cover being too extensive to be 
driven with beaters, we tossed up for places for watching. E. won, and took 


up a convenient position over the last victim, in expectation of the 
panther's return to his mutton. I procured a kid, whose bleating panthers 
always find difficulty in resisting, and tied it up in another part of the 
jungle. I watched from behind a bush near, seated on the ground, and 
had hardly settled myself comfortably when the sharp chirruping of a 
squirrel in the cover w^arned me that the panther was moving. In another 
moment the kid's cries were stifled in its grasp, but a right and left 
from me sent it off, badly wounded, before it had time to do the kid any 
injury, No elephants being available, we waited for half an hour before 
following it up on foot. After creeping along its bloody tracks for about two 
hundred yards, I observed it raise its head from a patch of rushes ahead, 
glance at us, and crouch again. We had picked up a piece of bone two 
inches long on its trail, and knew by this that one of its legs was broken. 
We now slipped the dogs who quickly brought the crippled enemy to bay, 
and I shot it. 

No wonder Eosie had escaped. The panther w^as an old female ; her 
fangs were worn down to mere stumps, and were almost useless ; and she 
was emaciated and weak from hunoer. She measured 6 feet 3i inches in 
length, and 2 feet 2 inches high at the shoulder. Fleshy protuberances, the 
size of pigeons' eggs, had grown under her tongue and on the insides of her 
mouth, and must have interfered with her feeding. Surely the last days of 
the large carnivora must be some expiation of all their past evil deeds, when, 
unable to catch deer, pig, &c., they die by inches, or are prompted to deeds 
of daring with regard to domestic animals which sooner or later bring them 
to grief. 





ONE of my most fortunate days with panthers and leopards occurred in 
May 1872, when I had the hick to hag three hefore hreakfast. I 
happened to be stationed at the time at a place called Nursipoor, in a part 
of Mysore where, as there were no jungles near, there was very little 
game, so I had no better amusement for my spare hours than shooting the 
few antelope that were to be found, and crocodiles in the Hemavati river. 
I was therefore gratified at the intelligence brought to me one morning by 
a man named Subba, a local shikarie, that he had heard that some panthers 
had been long established near a village called Maderhully, tliirty miles 
from Nursipoor, and he proposed that we should take an early opportunity 
of looking them up. Native report is not always reliable however, so I 
sent Jaffer with Subba to make more careful inquiries. Tliey returned in a 
few days with a satisfactory report ; but as my duties did not admit of my 
beating up tlie pantliers' quarters just at that time, I sent Subba to live at 
Miiderliully till I could take a lioliday, and to learn all he could the wliile 
about the panthers' goings and comings. Subba was one of tlie few natives 
one meets with who have the English love of roving, and unconcern for 
liome ties. To tlie ordinary Hindoo, house and family are all in all. 
Even when in-essed by such exigency as starvation he prefers to die in 


his own village rather than go to a distance to obtain relief. I have met 
some natives, however, of sporting tastes, who would roll np their blanket, 
tie up their simple cooking utensils, and start upon any service, perhaps 
to be absent for a month or more, at a moment's notice, merely asking 
that something should be sent to their wives, a point which the Hindoo never 
forgets. Subba was one of these rovers, and in consequence was looked 
upon as somewhat of a vagabond by his stay-at-home neiglibours. As a 
tracker he had the great recommendation of being a taciturn man, never 
speaking till he was sure, and never substituting imagination for facts. 

It so happened that before I went to Maderhully I made a more distant 
excursion after certain bears with a friend, and whilst four fell to my rifle 
he shot none. I was moved with compassion at his disappointment, and sent 
him to Maderhully after my preserved panthers, which Subba had been 
reporting for some time were to him as " the dogs of his own house " — i.e., 
that he was as certain of being able to lay hands on them. I ordered him 
to show my friend every attention, as some consolation for his ill luck with 
the bears ; but the same cause which had led to want of success in the one 
case — viz., lack of knowledge of his game — again operated in his panther- 
hunt ; and though Subba and the beaters did their best, my friend rendered 
their efforts futile by leaving the place where he had been posted for one he 
himself deemed better, and by committing other blunders, and he finally 
crowned the whole by missing the panthers when he did get a chance at 
them ! He tried again the following day ; but Subba made no apology 
when relating the circumstances to me afterwards for having, witli the 
villagers, purposely misled the " Doray " (gentleman), as, though they knew 
well where the panthers were on the second day, they feared they might only 
be frightened away, not secured ; and it is not unnatural that men, whose 
hopes of reward rest on the death of the animals they may have spent 
much time in watching and marking, should not like to see them lost, and 
with them their hoped-for guerdon, by an unskilful sportsman. 

The panthers — or two leopards and one panther, as they turned out to 
be — lived in a large, partly abandoned, and jungle-overgrown garden beneath 
the embankment of a lake or tank, the water of which had formerlv been 
used for irrigating it. The proximity of this stronghold to Maderhully and 
other villages, in the environs of which dogs, goats, and stray cattle might 
frequently be pounced upon, rendered it a suitable retreat for the panther 
and leopards, and here they had lived unmolested for a long time, as none 
of the villagers had firearms. Having allowed them a few days to reco^^er 
from any alarm they might feel at the late hunt, I appointed the 25th of 
May as an auspicious day for further operations against tliem ; and as it 



is always desirable for the sportsman to learn all he possibly can of the 
locality where he intends to shoot, I sent my tents to IMdderlmlly and 
arrived there myself on the morning of the 24th. After a cup of coffee I 
proceeded with Subba and his chief auxiliaries amongst the villagers to 
inspect the ground. 

The garden was about a mile long and a quarter of a mile broad. The 
middle part, throughout its entire length, was thinly planted with cocoa-nut 
and plantain trees ; whilst, from the state of decay into which it had fallen, 
the hedges had become overgrown patches of aloe-bushes, creepers, and thorny 
thickets. The length of the garden lay north and south. The best covers 
for the panthers and leopards were respectively the northern half of the east 
boundary hedge, and the southern half of the west one. Subba said that the 
leopards were generally to be found in the former, and the panther in the 
latter place ; and we therefore decided that on the morrow the men should 
begin to beat the east hedge from the north corner, and that I should 
be stationed at a point about half-way down it, where a thin fringe of bushes 
ran across the garden and formed a line of communication between the 
thickets on each side. Of this connecting fringe we knew any animal 
retiring before the beaters would take advantage, to cross the otherwise open 
ground to the thickets in the south-west corner. There were no covers out- 
side, and disconnected with, the garden itself, except one small patcli of 
dense aloe-bushes, about a hundred yards away from the south boundary 
hedge. Having noted the places where markers should be stationed, and 
having pointed out their posts to the men with us, to be occupied by them 
next day, I returned to camp to breakfast. In the afternoon sixty stout 
fellows — all Holoyas, or low-caste Hindoos — were enrolled as beaters, and 
each had a gun-wad given him as a voucher, as after a beat many who only 
help latterly, or not at all, will appear at the time of paying, and either the 
sportsman is put to double expense, or the amount is divided amongst so 
many as to make no one much the better. With tickets, the black sheep 
have no opportunity of obtaining money under false pretences. 

The Holoya caste is one of tlie few amongst Hindoos to which the use 
of intoxicants is permitted ; and every afternoon those Holoyas M'ho have 
leisure, and who are lucky enough to have tlie necessary coppers, betake 
themselves to the nearest beer-shop. This is a cleanly-swept spot under 
a shady tree, and is screened from the gaze of passers-by with plaited 
cocoa-nut leaves. It is always situated at a little distance from the village, 
in deference to the prejudices of the more numerous abstaining inhabitants. 
The liquor supplied in the booth is the fermented sap of the wild date-tree 
{Phccnix sylvcstris), largely diluted with water. It stands in large froth- 


covered earthen jars, eacli containing several gallons, and is served out into 
the customers' own drinking- vessels, usually gourds or lengths of the giant- 
bamboo, at about a farthing a quart. Hencla, as this liquor is called, is to 
the low-caste Hindoo what beer is to us ; and it appears to be a wholesome 
beverage if not abused. It is not higlily intoxicating when used fresh, as is 
customarily done ; whilst it contains a large amount of nutritious saccharine 
matter. The contract for the sale of this product throughout Mysore is 
leased out by Government, and brings in a large revenue. The consumption 
of spirits (arrack) is comparatively triiling, and is chiefly confined to large 
towns. Many of the drinkers of hcnda never taste spirits, which are more 
difficult to procure, and almost prohibitory in price. The supply of hcnda 
to the people is effected by petty contractors who rent one or more of the 
numerous groves of the wild date that are scattered throughout the country. 
The trees require no attention or culture. The sap is drawn from them by 
an incision made just below the leafy crown of their otherwise bare stems, 
and the earthen vessels into which it drains are emptied daily into skin-bags 
borne by donkeys or ponies (the sacred bovine tribe is never used for this 
somewhat discreditable work), and is despatched direct to the places where 
it is consumed. 

I had just made arrangements with my Holoya beaters when I saw a 
string of donkeys and ponies laden with the wobbling bullock-skins of fer- 
mented liquor dear to their hearts, and I immediately despatched Subba to 
purchase a load as a present for them. He returned shortly, accompanied by 
the contractor, and driving a donkey whose hocks rubbed painfully against 
each other, and whose hind - legs had the appearance of almost crossing 
each other as it walked, from its being systematically overloaded, and hav- 
ing been used when too young. Such is the condition of most of the hendcc 
contractors' cattle. Subba had arranged for the transfer of the load for 
a small sum, and he represented that he had further negotiated the purchase 
of the donkey for one rupee and three-quarters (three and sixpence) if 
approved, and advised its being taken as a bait for the panthers. I agreed to 
this, as it was advisable to give the animals a feed overnight to make them 
less inclined for exertion on the morrow. It may seem cruel to tie up a 
living animal as a lure for the carnivora, but this is often a necessary mea- 
sure towards compassing their destruction, and by the sacrifice of one the 
salvation of many scores may be effected. So the donkey and its load were 
driven off by the delighted Holoyas to a shady tree at a distance, and when 
relieved of its burden, the wretched creature was led away to the garden to 
be tied up as a last repast for the leopards and panther. As I sat outside 
my tent after dinner that evening, I could not help pitying the poor donkey 


left to its fate. Tlie night was starlit and quiet. Fireflies glancing near 
the border of the lake, and in and out amongst the dark foliage of the 
garden, were the only signs of life in tliat direction, Lut I knew that a 
dark deed was being done, or would be dune there before morning. 

As soon as it was light the men collected at the tent. I sent Subba 
and two others to see what had become of the donkey, and as we were 
starting we saw them running excitedly towards us. They had seen \\w 
two leopards enter the thicket in the north-east corner where the donkey 
had been tied. They had killed and dragged it some distance, and had 
eaten more tlian half of it. The beaters formed line near this spot, wliilst 
I took tlie markers with me and saw each one safely up his tree in difierent 
parts of the boundary-hedges, and in the middle of the garden. They were 
cautioned on no account to come down, nor shout to us whatever they saw, 
but merely to keep their eyes open, and be able to let us know when we 
wanted information. Knowing how cunning panthers often are, I thought 
it possible that, if hotly pressed in the garden, one or other of them might 
betake itself to the detached clump of aloe-bushes which I have already men- 
tioned as being situated a hundred yards beyond the south boundary -hedge. 
"There was a large tree growing in the centre of the clump, so I ordered an 
old fellow to climb into it on the remote chance of his being useful there. 
The men were so disposed in the trees along each boundary hedge that it 
was impossible for any animal once afoot to hide itself where it would not 
be under the silent observation of one or other of them. 

I mounted my tree in the narrow belt of jungle that, as aforesaid, 
crossed the garden and linked the two chief thickets together, whilst a 
man was posted in the open ground outside the garden wlio could see me 
and also the advancing beaters. I arranged a code of signals witli him 
for guiding the beaters. Accidents or failure frequently ensue in di-iving 
dangerous uame from want of communication with the beaters. Either a 
wounded animal turns back and meets the advancing men, who imagine it 
has been killed or has gone forward, and continue the beat ; or if they talce 
the precautionary measure of leaving the cover upon hearing sliots, when 
the beast may in reality have been missed, or have gone forward. Ids mate 
or others of his kind in tlic drive may take the opportunity of slipping back 
and escaping. 

I sat alone. I liave too often I'ound that an attendant moves or coughs 
at tlie critical moment to desire company. T occupied myself until the 
beat began l)y settling myself comlbrtably. ]\Iy seat was a bhmket rolled 
round a thick bough. With my knife and a saw-blade I 1o]>]k(1 uH sm Ii 
suridiiiidiiig twigs as obstructiul the \'w\\. I I'astened niy spare gun to a 


branch with my handkerchief, ready to hand, and planted my large pewter 
tankard, full of cold clear w^ater, in a fork above me. It was refreshing 
even to look np throngh its glass bottom and the limpid fluid, the sports- 
man's safest tipple. One is sometimes kept a long time in a tree if the 
beaters experience difficnlty with the game, and this in a hot Indian May 
day is unpleasant without water. The tree I was in was shady and com- 
fortable, but the heat in the air makes the sportsman thirsty. Underneath 
me was a dry sandy water-course, with a narrow border of bushes on each 
side. The crisp leaves of deciduous trees lay thickly in its bed, and I 
knew that even the stealthy tread of a leopard upon them would not be 
unheard by me, even before it came in sight. My view extended for about 
fifty yards up the bed of the water-course. 

The distant yells of the beaters soon warned me that the sport had 
commenced. Some little time passed when I saw my signalman raise both 
arms, a sign from the beaters that the two leopards were afoot. I was 
expecting their speedy appearance when an extra storm of yells, and an 
interchange of abuse amongst the men, followed by a sudden silence, told 
me that the leopards had broken back, I only hoped without accident. The 
men ran back to head them, and they recommenced at the original place and 
beat up merrily. Presently I heard a rustling in the dry leaves, and saw 
one leopard sneaking down the sandy ravine. It came on very cau- 
tiously and hesitatingly, and I amused myself by watching it. Though full 
grown it was a small animal (few if any leopards exceed five and a half feet 
in length), and I felt rather ashamed of being in a tree to shoot such a 
creature. I would have met it on foot with pleasure. It looked as if half 
inclined to turn back, but each yell of the men appeared to call to its mind 
some act of spoliation for which it feared retribution, and to make it dread 
a return more than an advance. On it came, and when directly under me 
I dropped it