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Full text of "Wild beasts and their ways : reminiscences of Europe, Asia, Africa, and America"

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WILD BEASTS AND THEIE WAYS 



WILD BEASTS 

AND 

THEIE WAYS 

REMINISCENCES OF EUROPE, ASIA, AFRICA 
AND AMERICA 



BY 

Sm SAMUEL W. BAKEE 

F.R S., F.R.G.S., ETC. ETC. 




i: I also am a Tiger." Puss. 

ILontion 

MACMELLAX AXD CO. 

A X D X E W Y O II K 

1890 



SK 

31 



I HAVE THE HONOUR 

WITH GRACIOUS PERMISSION 

TO DEDICATE THIS BOOK TO 

Pfi Eogal p?u$tt0s tjje prince of Males 

WHO, AS A GREAT TRAVELLER AND TRUE SPORTSMAN 
HAS EVER TAKEN A KEEN INTEREST IN THE 

STUDY OF NATURAL HISTORY 

AND BY HIS OWN EXAMPLE HAS GIVEN 

AN IMPULSE TO THOSE MANLY PURSUITS 

WHICH ARE CHARACTERISTIC OF 

THE BRITISH PEOPLE 



1179573 



PEEFACE 

MANY years have passed since the love of sport and natural 
history influenced my early life; thank God, I cannot yet 
exclaim, " The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak," although 
increasing years have weighted the activity which in youth 
was the charm of a hunter's being. The only advantage which 
years possess is the long experience of the past, as theories 
which were uncertain have been proved by facts. 

When a title is worded " Wild beasts and their ways," it 
may be inferred that the " wild beasts " are to be killed, and 
that we must thoroughly understand their " ways " before we 
can undertake the killing ; this will involve a practical study 
of natural history in the most interesting form. 

It should be distinctly understood that a vast gulf separates 
the true sportsman from the merciless gunner. The former 
studies nature with keen enjoyment, and shoots his game with 
judgment and forbearance upon the principles of fair-play, 
sparing the lives of all females should the animals be harmless; 
he never seeks the vain glory of a heavy game-list. The 
gunner is the curse of the nineteenth century ; his one idea is 
to use his gun, his love is slaughter, indiscriminate and bound- 
less, to swell the long account which is his boast and pride. 
Such a man may be expert as a gunner, but he is not a sports- 
man, and he should be universally condemned. 

In the description of wild animals I shall confine myself to 



viii PREFACE 

those which I have experienced personally. I shall not pre- 
tend to attempt a comprehensive list of others which I have 
not seen. 

An ordinary book upon " Natural History " must necessarily 
be a compilation, in which facts, unproved, and theories upon 
a scientific basis, but originating in a museum, are the founda- 
tion for the literary superstructure. All such works are in- 
valuable to the hunter and practical naturalist, as, without 
them, he would be like a ship devoid of chart and compass. 

I venture to intrude my experiences upon the public, in the 
hope of producing undeniable evidence concerning the habits 
and characters of the beasts I have known, but, if I touch 
lightly upon others, I do not profess in such cases to appear as 
an authority. On the other hand, all that I describe may be 
depended upon, as the result of a long life's observation in 
many portions of the world, during which, although devoted 
since my boyhood to the rifle, I have never hunted without a 
keen sense of enjoyment in studying the habits of the animals 
pursued. 

In treating the wide subject comprised in the title, I shall 
commence the first chapter by a retrospect of the arms neces- 
sary for the destruction of wild animals, and exhibit the 
progress that has been developed since the commencement of 
my own experience nearly fifty years ago. 

SAM. W. BAKER 



CONTENTS 



CHAPTER I 

PAGE 

THE RIFLE OP A PAST HALF CENTURY 1 



CHAPTER II 
THE ELEPHANT (Elepkas) ... ... 17 

CHAPTER III 
THE ELEPHANT (continued) 44 

CHAPTER IV 
THE ELEPHANT (continued) 70 

CHAPTER V 

THE TIGER (Felis Tigris) . . . 87 

CHAPTER VI 

THE TIGER (continued) . . . . 104 



CONTENTS 



CHAPTER VII 

PAGE 

THE TIGER (continued) . 144 



CHAPTER VIII 
THE LEOPARD (Felis Pardus and Leopardus) . . .158 

CHAPTER IX 
THE LION (Fdis Leo) . . . . . .177 

CHAPTER X 
THE BEAR (Ursus) 196 

CHAPTER XI 
THE BEAR (continued) 231 

CHAPTER XII 
THE HIPPOPOTAMUS . . .... 241 

CHAPTER XIII 
THE CROCODILE (Crocodilits) 254 

CHAPTER XIV 
THE BUFFALO (Bitlxtltis) . 266 



CONTENTS xi 



CHAPTER XV 

PAGE 

THE AMERICAN BUFFALO (Bos Bison Americanus) . .283 



CHAPTER XVI 
THE RHINOCEROS .... ... 290 

CHAPTER XVII 
THE BOAR (Sus Scropha) . . . . . . .304 

CHAPTER XVIII 
THE HYJENA 323 

CHAPTER XIX 

THE GIRAFFE (Camelopardalis, L.) . . . .326 

CHAPTER XX 
THE ANTELOPE 329 

CHAPTER XXI 
AFRICAN ANTELOPES (A. Biibalis) 339 

CHAPTER XXII 
THE DEER (Ccrvidcc) . . . .353 



xii CONTENTS 



CHAPTER XXIII 

PAGE 

CERVID^E (continued) ... .... 375 



CHAPTER XXIV 
THE WAPITI (Cerrus Canaihnsis) . . . .377 

CHAPTER XXV 

THE SAMBCR (G. Aristotelis) . .... 408. 

CHAPTER XXVI 
THE SPOTTED DEER (G. Axis) : HOG-DEER (C. Porcinus) . 435 

CHAPTER XXVII 
CONCLUSION 443 



LIST OF ILLUSTEATIONS 

BY IT. DIXON 

THE MONARCH Frontispiece 

" I ALSO AM A TIGER." Puss . ... Vignette 

AFRICAN ELEPHANT. ..... To face page 19 

ASIATIC ELEPHANT . 44 

THE CIRCLE OF FIRE . 59 

BlSGAUM CHARGES THE DYING TlGER . . 85 

SLINKING AWAY FROM THE LINE OF BEATERS . 100 

A CHALLENGE TO THE LINE OF ELEPHANTS . ,, 122 

THE LEOPARD OR PANTHER ALWAYS WARY . ,, 158 

CHEETAH STALKING ANTELOPES . . . ,, 173 

"Civis AFRICANUS SUM". . . . . 177 

Bos CAFFRE AND LIONS . . . . . 182 

No ADMITTANCE 188 

WOUNDED BROWN BEAR ..... ,,196 

THE HIPPOPOTAMUS ..... ,,241 

ATTACK UPON WOUNDED HIPPOPOTAMUS . . 246 

BULL BUFFALOES THE FIGHT. ... 273 

AMERICAN BUFFALO THE TRUE BISON 283 



Xlv LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS 

INDIAN RHINOCEROS To face page 290 

THE BLACK RHINOCEROS (KEITLOA) . . 293 

FOLLOWING THE NOOSED RHINOCEROS . . 294 

A CHARGE FROM COVERT . 304 

THE GIRAFFE DETECTS AN ENEMY ... ., 326 

BLACK-BUCK THE START . . . . 331 

ANTILOPE BUBALIS (HARTEBEEST) . . . 339 

ANTILOPE SCRIPTA (HARNESSED ANTELOPE) . 346 

RED DEER OF EUROPE 353 

THE WAPITI BELLOWING A CHALLENGE . 377 

BRONZE CAST OF BOAR Page 455 



EEEATA 

Page 122, line 42, for "an expected charge" read "eyes well open for a 
charge." 

Page 123, lines 23, 24, for "perfect discipline" read "the result of such 
discipline." 

Page 195, lines 25, 26, read "six cutting (cheek) teeth, six incisors, and 
two canines in each jaw." 

Page 276, lines 27, 28, for "and I knocked over another " read " I assumed 
the offensive, and knocked over another. " 

Page 294, line 35, for " the longest one I have ever shot " read " the 
longest I have ever shot." 

Page 357, line 38, for " Prada " read " Prater." 

Page 378, lines 42, 43, for "although I was tolerably weather-proof" 
read "although tolerably weather-proof." 



CHAPTER I 

THE KIFLE OF A PAST HALF CENTURY 

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

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

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

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

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



2 WILD BEASTS AND THEIR WAYS CIIAP. 

match -rifle was immensely heavy, weighing, in many instances, 
10 Ibs., although the bullet was exceedingly small. 

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

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

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

The rifle was made by Gibbs of Bristol. The weight was 21 
Ibs., length of barrel 36 inches, weight of spherical belted bullet 

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

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

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

When I first visited Ceylon in 1845, there were several 
renowned sportsmen who counted their slain elephants by many 
hundreds, but there were no rifles. Ordinary smooth-bore shot- 
guns were the favourite weajxms, loaded invariably with a double 
charge of powder auil a hardened ball. In those days the usual 



i THE RIFLE OF A PAST HALF CENTURY 3 

calibre of a gun was No. 14 or 16. A No. 12 was extremely rare. 
The charge for No. 16 was 2f drams of fine grain powder, and 
3 drains for No. 12. Accordingly, the light guns, or "fowling- 
pieces," as they were termed, were severely tested by a charge of 
6 drams of the strongest powder with a hardened bullet ; never- 
theless I never heard of any failure. 

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

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

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

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

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

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



4 WILD BEASTS AND THEIR WAYS CIIAI-. 

expand the lead, thus immediately secured within the barrel. The 
expansion when tired drove the boxwood into the centre of the 
bullet, which of necessity took the rifling. 

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

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

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

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

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

The earliest in the field of progress was the old-established firm 
of Purdey and Co. Mr. 1'urdey, before the general introduction 
of breechloaders, brought out an Express rifle, No. 70 bore, with a 
mechanically fitting two-groove solid bullet. This small projectile 
was a well-pointed cone weighing exactly 200 grains, with a powder 



i THE RIFLE OF A PAST HALF CENTURY & 

charge of 110 grains, more than half the weight of the bullet. 
The extremely high velocity of this rifle expanded the pure soft 
lead upon impact with the skin and muscles of a red deer. At the 
same time there was no loss of substance in the metal, as the 
bullet, although much disfigured, remained intact, and continued 
its course of penetration, causing great havoc by its increased sur- 
face. Nothing has surpassed this rifle in velocity, although so 
many improvements have taken place since the introduction of 
breechloaders, but in the days of muzzle-loaders it was a satisfac- 
tion to myself that I was the first to commence the heavy charge 
of powder with the 3 ounce bullet and 16 drams, to be followed 
after many years by so high an authority as Mr. Purdey with a 
200 grain bullet and 110 grains of powder, thus verifying the 
principle of my earliest experience. 

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

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

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

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

There cannot be a better example than the advice upon this 



ft WILD BEASTS AND THEIR WAYS CRAP. 

subject given by the renowned General Wolfe (who was subsequently 
killed at the siege of Quebec) to the 20th Regiment, of which he 
was Colonel, when England was hourly expecting an invasion by 
the French : ..." There is no necessity for firing very fast ; 
... a cool well-levelled fire with the pieces carefully loaded is 
much more destructive than the quickest fire in confusion." At 
Canterbury, 17th December 1755. 

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

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

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

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

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

There are many things to be considered before an order should 
be positively given. What is the rifle wanted for? What is the 
personal strength of the purchaser 1 ? In what portion of the world 
is he going to shoot 1 Will he be on foot, or will he shoot from 
horseback or from an elephant? Will the game be dangerous, or 
will it IK* confined to deer, etc. ? 

Not only the weapon but the ammunition will depend upon a 
reply to these questions, and the purchaser should strongly resist 



i THE RIFLE OF A PAST HALF CENTURY 7 

the delusion that any one particular description will be perfect as 
a so-called general rifle. You may as well expect one kind of 
horse or one pattern of ship to combine all the requirements of 
locomotion as to suppose that one peculiar rifle will suit every 
variety of game or every condition of locality. 

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

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

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

Small-bore Charge of Large- Charge of For all Game 

Express. Powder. bores. Powder. such as 

577 6| drams 4 bore 14 drains^ ,-,, , 

500 5f 8 14 I Elephants. 

450 5 10 12 Rhinoceros. 

400 4 12 10 Buffaloes. 



360 
295 



Toys. 



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

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

For all animals above the size of a fallow deer and below that 
of a buffalo I prefer the '577 solid Express 648 grains solid 



8 WILD HEARTS AND THEIR WAYS CHAP. 

bullet, G drnms powtlcr, not GJ, as the charge of only 6 drams 
produces greater accuracy at long ranges. 

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

I should therefore limit my battery to one '577, one '400, and 
one Paradox No. 12, for ordinary game in India, as elephants and 
other of the larger animals require a special outfit. 

The Paradox, 1 invented by Colonel Fosberry and manufactured 
by Messrs. Holland and Holland of Bond Street, is a most useful 
weapon, as it combines the shot-gun with a rifle that is wonderfully 
accurate within a range of 100 yards. 

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

The No. 12 Paradox weighs 8] Ibs. and carries a bullet of 1 
ounce with 4^ drams of powder. Although the powder charge is 
not sufficient to produce a high express velocity, the penetration 
and shock are most formidable, as the bullet is of hardened metal, 
and it retains its figure even after striking a tough hide and bones. 
The advantage of such a gun is obvious, as it enables a charge of 
buck-shot to be carried in the left barrel, while the right is loaded 
with a heavy bullet that is an admirable bone-smasher ; it also 
supersedes the necessity of an extra gun for small game, as it shoots 
No. 6 shot with equal pattern to the best cylinder-bored gun. 

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

1 Since this was written Messrs. Holland have succeeded after lengthened 
experiments in producing a Paradox No. 8, which burns 10 drams of powder, 
and carries a very heavy bullet with extreme accuracy. This will be a new 
departure in weapons for heavy game. 



i THE RIFLE OF A PAST HALF CENTURY 9 

adapted for the work required, so as to command them in every 
conceivable position. 

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

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

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

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

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



10 WILD BEASTS AND THEIR WAYS CHAP. 

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

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

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

How are we to combine these qualities? If the projectile has 
great penetrating force it will pass completely through an animal, 
and the striking energy will be diminished, as the force that should 
have been expended upon the body is expending itself in propelling 
the bullet after it has passed through the body. This must be 
wrong, as it is self-evident that the striking energy or knock-down 
blow must depend upon the resistance which the body offers to the 
projectile. If the bullet remains within it, the striking energy, 
complete and entire, without any waste whatever, remains within 
the body struck. If, therefore, a bullet 'o77 of G48 grains pro- 
pelled by G drams of powder has at fifty yards a striking energy of 
.'?500 foot-pounds, that force is expended upon the object struck, 
provided it is stopped by the opposing body. 

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

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

I contend, on the eon t ran', that the bullet has committed 



I THE RIFLE OF A PAST HALF CENTURY 11 

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

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

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

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

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



12 WILD BEASTS AND THEIR WAYS CHAP. . 

remains intact, the striking energy being concentrated within the 
body. 

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

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

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

My opinion may be expressed in a few words. If you wish 
the bullet to expand, use soft lead, but keep the metal solid. If 
you wish for great penetration, use hard solid metal, either -j 1 ^ tin 
or T 1 T quicksilver. Even this will alter its form against the bones 
of a buffalo, but either of the above will go clean through a wapiti 
stag, and would kill another beyond it should the rifle be '577 
fired with 6 drams of powder. 

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

A. post-mortem inquiry in the latter case would be most satis- 
factory. If the bullet shall have struck fair upon the shoulder- 



.1 THE RIFLE OF A PAST HALF CENTURY 13 

joint, it will be observed that although it has retained its substance, 
the momentum has been conveyed to every fragment of crushed 
bone, which will have been driven forward through the lungs 
like a charge of buckshot, in addition to the havoc created by the 
large diameter of an expanded '577 bullet. Both shoulders will 
have been completely crushed, and the animal must of course be 
rendered absolutely helpless. This is a sine qua non in all shoot- 
ing. Do not wound, but kill outright ; and this you will generally 
do with a '577 solid bullet of pure lead, or with a Paradox bullet 
If ounce hard metal and 4^ drams of powder. This very large 
bullet is sufficiently formidable to require no expansion. 

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

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

India is a vast empire, and various portions, according to the 
conditions of localities, have peculiar customs for the conduct of 
wild sports. In dense jungles, where it would be impossible to 
see the game if on foot, there is no other way of obtaining a shot 
than by driving. The gunners are in such case placed at suit- 
able intervals upon platforms called mucharns, securely fitted 
between convenient forks among the branches of a tree, about 10 
or 12 feet above the ground. From this post of vantage the 
gunner can see without being seen, and, thoroughly protected from 



14 WILD BEASTS AND THEIR WAYS CHAP. 

all danger, lie may amuse himself by comparing the success of his 
shooting with the hollow Express or with the solid bullet at the 
animals that pass within his range, which means a limit of about 
50 yards. I contend that at the short distance named, a tiger 
should never escajx! from a solid bullet ; he often escapes from the 
hollow bullet for several reasons. 

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

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

ADVENTURE WITH A TIGER. 

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

"Mr. Cuthbert Fraser had a most miraculous escape from a tiger the 
other day at Amraoti. The lucky hero of this adventure is a District 
Superintendent of Police in licrur. lie is well remembered in Secundera- 



i THE RIFLE OF A PAST HALF CENTURY 15 

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



16 WILD 15EASTS AND THEIR WAYS CHAP, i 

the Express bullet unfortunately broke up. Probably, be thinks a 12-bore 
would have reached the brain.' 

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

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

The magazine rifle, which is destined to become the military 
arm of the future, can hardly merit a place among sporting rifles, 
as it must always possess the disadvantage of altering its balance 
as the ammunition is expended. The "Winchester Company have, 
I believe, produced a great improvement in a rifle of this kind, 
100, which carries a charge of 110 grains of powder; but even so 
small a bore must be unhandy if the rifle is arranged to contain a 
supply of cartridges. For my own use I am quite contented with 
one '577, a '400, and a No. 12 Paradox all solid bullets, but 
varying in hardness of metal according to the quality of game ; for 
the largest animals a pair of No. 8 rifles with hard bullets and 1 4 
drams of powder. 

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



CHAPTER II 

THE ELEPHANT (ELEPHAS) 

THIS animal has interested mankind more than any other, owing 
to the peculiar combination of immense proportions with extra- 
ordinary sagacity. The question has frequently been raised 
" Whether the elephant or the dog should be accepted as superior 
in intelligence 1 " My own experience would decide without hesi- 
tation The Dog is man's companion ; the Elephant is his slave. 

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

" "While thus Florinda spake, the dog who lay 
Before Rusilla's feet, eyeing him long 
And wistfully, had recognised at length, 
Changed as he was and in those sordid weeds, 
His royal master. And he rose and lick'd 
His withered hand, and earnestly looked up 
With eyes whose human meaning did not need 
The aid of speech ; and moan'd, as if at once 
To court and chide the long-withheld caress . . . 

Disputing, he withdrew. The watchful dog 

Followed his footsteps close. But he retired 

Into the thickest grove ; there yielding way 

To his o'erburthen'd nature, from all eyes 

Apart, he cast himself upon the ground, 

And threw his arms around the dog, and cried 

While tears stream'd down. Thou Theron, tliou hast known 

Thy poor lost master . . . Theron, only thou ! " 

Southey's Roderick, last of the Goths. 



18 WILD BEASTS AND THEIR WAYS CHAP. 

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

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

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

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

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

The well-known African elephant Jumbo that was sold to 
America by the Zoological Society of London, was brought up in 
confinement since its early existence, when it was about 4 feet 
G inches high. That elephant was carefully weighed and measured 
before it left England, with the result, of height at shoulder, 1 1 
feet; weight, six tons and a half. The girth of the fore-foot when 




' 



n THE ELEPHANT 19 

the pressure of the animal's weight was exerted, was exactly half 
the perpendicular height of the elephant. I have seen very much 
larger animals in Africa, but there is nothing in India to approach 
the size of Jumbo. 

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

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

The shape of the African variety is very peculiar, and differs 
in a remarkable manner from the Asiatic. The highest point is 
the shoulder, and the back is hollow ; in the Indian the back is 
convex, and the shoulder is considerably lower. The head of the 
African is quite unlike that of the Indian ; and the ears, which 
in the former are enormous, completely cover the shoulder when 
thrown back. The best direction for a vital shot at an African 
elephant is at the extremity of the ear when flapped against the 
side. A bullet thus placed will pass through the centre of the 
lungs. The Indian elephant has many more laniince in the teeth 
than the African, constituting a larger grinding surface, as the 



20 WILD BEASTS AND THEIR WAYS CIIAV. 

food is different. The African feeds upon foliage and the succulent 
roots of the mimosa and other trees, which it digs up with its 
]K)werful tusks ; the forests arc generally evergreen, and being full 
of sap, the bark is easier to masticate than the skeleton trees of 
India during the hottest season. Both the Indian and African 
varieties have only four teeth, composed of Iamina3 of intensely 
hard enamel, divided by a softer substance which prevents the 
surface from becoming smooth with age ; the two unequal materials 
retain their inequality in wear, therefore the rough grinding surface 
is maintained notwithstanding the work of many years. A gland 
at the posterior of the jaw supplies a tooth-forming matter, and 
the growth of fresh laminae is continuous throughout life ; the 
younger laminae form into line, and inarch forward until incor- 
porated and solidified in the tooth. 

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

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



ii THE ELEPHANT 21 

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

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

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

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



22 WILD 1SEASTS AND T1IKIR WAYS CIIAP. 

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

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

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

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



ii THE ELEPHANT 23 

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

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



24 WILD I5EASTS AND THEIIl WAYS CHAP. 

the second instance of bad behaviour. So utterly disgusted was 
the elephant with this tiny foreign substance that it endeavoured 
to cleanse its mouth from every grain of rice, as though polluted 
by the contact, and for several minutes it continued to insert its 
trunk and rake out each atom from its tongue and throat. 

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

A distinct rule for feeding elephants cannot be laid dow r n with- 
out exceptions rendered necessary by peculiarities of localities and 
the amount of hard work required from the animal. If the elephant 
is simply turned out to grass for a season, it will thrive upon such 
natural herbage as bamboos, the foliage of the banyan, peepul, and 
other varieties of the Ficus family ; but if it is expected to travel 
and perform good work, it is usual in the Commissariat department 
to allow each elephant seven and a half seers of flour, equal to 15 
Ibs. avoirdupois. In addition to this, 600 Ibs. of green fodder are 
given, and about 1 Ib. of ghee (buffalo butter), with salt and jaggery 
(native sugar). During a jungle expedition I have always doubled 
the allowance of flour to 30 Ibs. daily for each animal. This is 
made into large flat cakes like Scotch " scones," weighing 2 Ibs. 
each. The elephants are fed at about an hour before sunset, and 
then taken to drink water before actual night. Cleanliness is in- 
dispensable to the good health and condition of the elephant. It 
should bathe daily, and the entire body should be well scoured with 
a piece of brick or a soft quality of sandstone. This operation is 
much enjoyed, and the huge animal, obeying the command, lies 
down upon its side and accommodates its carcase to the scrubbing 
process by adapting its position to the requirements of the operator. 
It will frequently bury its head completely beneath the water, and 
merely protrude the extremity of its trunk to breathe above the 
surface. The coolie is most particular in scrubbing every portion 
of the animal, after which it will usually stand within the tank or 
river and shower volumes of water from its trunk over its back 
and Hanks. When well washed, it apj*>ars a thoroughly clean 
black ma*s, but in a few minutes it proceeds to destroy its personal 
beauty by throwing clouds of dust upon its back, which, adhering 
to the moisture occasioned by its recent bath, converts the late 
clean animal into a brown mound of earth. 



ii THE ELEPHANT 25 

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

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

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



26 WILD BEASTS AND THKIK WAYS CHAP. 

its head upon its trunk and outstretched fore legs, it slid and 
scrambled to the bottom, accompanied by an avalanche of earth 
and dust, thus forming a good track for the following herd. 

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

The first impression of a stranger when observing the conduct 
of a mahout or driver is sympathy for the animal, which is 
governed through the severe authority of the iron spike. This 
instrument is about twenty inches long, and resembles somewhat 
an old-fashioned boat-hook, being a sharp spike at the extremity 
beyond the keen-pointed hook ; it can thus be used either to drive 
the elephant forward by digging the point into its head, or to pull 
it back by hooking on to the tender base of the ears. These 
driving-hooks weigh from about 4 to 6 Ibs., and are formidable 
weapons ; some are exceedingly ancient, and have been preserved 
for a couple of centuries or more, such specimens being highly 
artistic, and first-rate examples of the blacksmith's work. 
Although we may commence our experience by pitying the 
animal that is subjected to such harsh treatment, we quickly 
discover that without the hook the elephant is like the donkey 
without the stick. The fact of his knowing that you possess th. 
power, or propeller, is sufficient to ensure comparative obedience 
but it would be impossible to direct the movements of an elephant 
by simple kindness without the power to inflict punishment. This 
fact alone will prove that the elephant docs not serve man through 
affection, but that it is compiled through fear. It is curious to 



ii THE ELEPHANT 27 

witness the absurd subjection of this mighty animal even by a 
child. I have frequently seen a small boy threaten a large 
elephant with a stick, and the animal has at once winced ; and, 
curling the trunk between the legs, it has closed its eyes and 
exhibited every symptom of extreme terror when struck repeatedly 
upon the trunk and face. The male is generally more uncertain 
than the female. It would at first sight appear that for shooting 
purposes the bull elephant would be preferred for its greater 
strength and courage. There can be no doubt that a pair of long 
tusks is an important protection, and not only forms a defence 
against the attack of a tiger or other animal, but is valuable for 
offensive purposes ; yet, notwithstanding this advantage, the 
female is generally preferred to the male, as being more docile and 
obedient. 

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

I have known male elephants which were remarkably docile 
throughout all seasons, but even these had to be specially regarded 
during the period of " must," as there was no means of foretelling 
a sudden and unexpected outbreak of temper. Many males are at 
all times fretful, and these expend their ill-nature in various ways ; 
if chained, they kick up the earth, and scatter the dust in all 



28 WILD BEASTS AND THEIR WAYS CHAP. 

directions ; they arc never quiet for one moment throughout the 
day, but continue to swing their heads to and fro, and prick for- 
ward their ears, exhibiting a restlessness of spirit that is a suffi- 
cient warning to any stranger. Such elephants should always 
be approached with caution, and never directly in front, but at 
the side. 

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

Discussions have frequently arisen concerning the maximum 
speed of an elephant ; this is difficult to decide exactly, as there 
can be no question that the animal in a wild state will exert a 
greater speed than can be obtained from it when domesticated. 
The African variety is decidedly faster than the Asiatic ; the legs 
being longer, the stride is in proportion ; and as the habits of the 
African lead it to wander over large tracts of open country instead 
of confining its rambles to secluded forests, this peculiarity would 
naturally render the animal more active, and tend to accelerate its 
movements. I consider that the African elephant is capable of a 
speed of fifteen miles an hour, which it could keep up for two or 
three hundred yards, after which it would travel at about ten miles 
an hour, and actually accomplish the distance within that period. 
The Asiatic elephant might likewise attain a speed of fifteen miles 
for perhaps a couple of hundred yards, but it would not travel far 
at a greater pace than eight miles an hour, and it would reduce 
that pace to six after the first five miles. 

The proof of an elephant's power of great speed for a short 
distance is seldom seen except in cases where the animal is infuri- 
ated, and gives chase to some unfortunate victim, who seldom 
escapes his fate by flight. For a short burst of fifty or one 
hundred yards an elephant might occasionally attain a pace exceed- 
ing fifteen miles an hour, as I have frequently, when among rough 
ground, experienced a difficulty in escaping when on horseback ; 
and in my young days, when a good runner, I have been almost 
caught when racing along a level plain as smooth as a lawn with a 
savage elephant in full pursuit. An active man upon good ground 
can run for a short distance at the rate of eighteen miles an hour ; 
this should clear him from the attack of most elephants ; but 
unfortunately the good ground is scarce, and the elephant is 



ii THE ELEPHANT 29 

generally discovered in a position peculiarly favourable to itself, 
where the roughness of the surface and the tangled herbage render 
it impossible for a man to run at full speed without falling. 

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

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

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



30 WILD IIEASTS AND THKIK WAYS CHAP. 

I once saw an elephant strike a large timber tree with its fore- 
head to shake down the fruit. This was a jteculiar example of 
the immense j)ower that can be exerted when required. We were 
waiting near the margin of the White Nile, about half an hour 
before sunset, expecting the arrival of water-buck, when a rumbling 
sound and a suppressed roar in the jungle were accompanied by 
the breaking of a branch, which denoted the approach of elephants. 
Presently they emerged from the forest in several directions, and 
one, which appeared to be the largest I had ever seen, advanced 
to within 1'20 yards of our ]x>sition without perceiving us, as we 
were concealed behind a bush upon some rising ground close to 
the river's bank. This elephant had enormous tusks, but as we 
had only small-bore rifles, I was contented to watch, without dis- 
turbing the magnificent animal before me. 

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

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

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

The memory of elephants must be peculiarly keen, as they 
remember the seasons for visiting certain districts where some par- 
ticular food is produced in attractive quantities. In the southern 
district of Ceylon, between Yalle river and the sea-coast, there are 
great numbers of the Bael tree, the fruit of which resembles a 
large cricket-ball. The shell is hard, and when ripe it becomes 



ir THE ELEPHANT 31 

brown, and can only bo broken by a sharp blow with some hard 
substance. The contents are highly aromatic, consisting of a 
brownish substance exceedingly sweet, and mixed with small seeds 
resembling those inside a pear. There is a strong flavour of 
medlar in this fruit, and it is much esteemed for medicinal pro- 
perties, especially in cases of diarrhoea. Although elephants refuse 
the Bael fruit unless quite ripe, they will invariably arrive in great 
numbers during the favourable season in the southern districts of 
Ceylon. The question arises, " How can an animal remember the 
month without an almanack 1 " 

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

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

There was a well-known elephant some years ago in the 
Balaghat district of the Central Provinces which became historical 
through the extraordinary malignity of its disposition. Having 
escaped from the fetters, it killed the mahout, and at once made 
off towards the forests. It is a curious example of nature that 
creatures (ferce natures) have a tendency to return to their original 
state of savagedom when the opportunity is offered. If an 



82 WILD HEASTS AND TIIKIU WAYS CHAP. 

elephant is seized with ;i panic when upon open ground, it will 
rush for the ncaro.st junglo, ]>rol).il)ly with the intention of con- 
cealment. The animal in question returned to its wild state 
directly it had escajwd from confinement, but the domestication of 
many years appears to have sharpened its intellect, and to have 
exaggerated its powers for mischief and cunning. It became the 
scourge, not only of the immediate neighbourhood, but of a con- 
siderable portion of a district which included an area' of a hundred 
miles in length by forty or fifty in width. 

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

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

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

This was at last effected by Colonel Bloomfield and a friend, 



it THE ELEPHANT 33 

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

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

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

The police of the district were ordered to obtain the necessary 

D 



34 WILD DEASTS AND THEIR WAYS CHAP. 

information, ami the malefactor was reported after a few days to 
have destroyed another village, where it remained, devouring the 
rice and grain in the absence of the panic-stricken villagers. 

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

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

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



ii THE ELEPHANT 35 

when obstreperous, by the tusks of Moota Quiche* applied 
behind. 

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

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

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

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

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

This arrangement was perfect, and after a few days' experience 
our line worked with the precision of well-drilled cavalry ; some- 
times, with extra elephants, I had as many as fifty in the field. 
The result of this discipline was that no tiger or leopard ever 



38 WILD KEASTS AND THEIR WAYS CHAP. 

escaped if once on foot ; although hunted in some instances for 
hours, the animal was invariably killed. A remarkable instance 
of this occurred at the large island of Bargh (,'hur, which includes 
several thousand acres, the greater portion being covered with 
enormous grass and dense thickets of tamarisk, which, in the hot 
season, is the cool and loved resort of tigers. There were also 
extensive jungles in swumpy portions of the island, so intermixed 
with reeds and marsh grass of twelve or fourteen feet high, that it 
was difficult to penetrate, even upon an elephant. 

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

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

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

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



ir THE ELEPHANT 37 

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

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

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

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

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

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

My signal, a loud whistle, having been given, the line of 
elephants advanced towards my position. The crashing of so 
many huge beasts through the dense crisp herbage sounded in the 
distance like a strong wind, varied now and then by the tearing 



38 WILD 15EASTS AND THEM WAYS CHAP. 

crunch as some opi>osing branches were torn down to- clear the 
way. 

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

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

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

Nearly all the elephants were now out, and only about half a 
dozen remained in the jungle, all still advancing in correct line, 
and perhaps a dozen yards remaining of dense reeds and creeps 
forming the acute angle at the extremity. They still came on. 
Two or three of the msxhoiits shouted, " The tiger's behind, we 
must go back and take a longer beat." Nothing remained now 
except six or seven yards of the sharp corner, and the elephants 
marched forward, when a tremendous roar suddenly startled them 
in .ill directions, and one of the largest tigers I have ever seen 
sprang forward directly towards Nielmonne, who, I am ashamed 
to say, spun round as though upon a pivot, and prevented me 



n THE ELEPHANT 39 

from taking a most splendid shot. The next instant the tiger 
had bounded back with several fierce roars, sending the line of 
elephants flying, and once more securing safety in the almost 
impervious jungle from which he had been driven. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Presently there was a commotion among the elephants, two or 
three shrill trumpets, then the kettle-drum, and for a moment I 
caught sight of a dim shadowy figure stealing through some high 
reeds upon the border which fringed the jungle. I immediately 



40 WILD BEASTS AND THEIR WAYS CHAP. 

fired, although the elephant was so unsteady that I could not be 
sure of the shot ; also the object was so indistinct, being concealed 
in the high reeds, that I should not have observed it upon any 
other occasion than our rigid search. Immediately afterwards, a 
shout from one of the mahouts upon a scouting elephant informed 
us that the tiger had crossed the path and had gone forward, 
having thus escaped from the beat ! 

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

There was nothing else to do but to pursue the same tactics, 
and we patiently continued to beat forward and backward, again 
and again, but without once sighting our lost game. It was half- 
past twelve, and the sun was burning hot, the sky being cloudless. 
The elephants once more emerged from the sultry jungle ; they 
were blowing spray with their trunks upon their flanks, from 
water sucked up from their stomachs ; and the mahouts were all 
down-hearted and in despair. " It's of no use," they said, " he's 
gone straight away, who can tell where 1 When you fired, perhaps 
you wounded him, or you missed him ; at any rate, he's frightened 
and gone clean off, we shall never see him again ; the elephants 
are all tired with the extreme heat, and we had better go to the 
river for a bath." 

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



ii THE ELEPHANT 41 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

" Back the elephant gently, but do not turn round," I whispered. 
Immediately Nielmonne' backed through the feathery tamarisk 



42 \VILI) HEASTS AND TIIKIR WAYS CHAP. 

without the slightest sound, and we found ourselves outside the 
jungle. We could breathe freely. 

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

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

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

There was no response to the loud report of 6 drams of powder 
from the 'f>77 rifle, no splash in the unbroken surface of the water. 
The tiger's head was still there, but in a different attitude, one- 
half below the surface, and only one cheek, and one large eye still 
glittering like an emerald, above. 

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

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



n THE ELEPHANT 43 

soon made fast to the tiger's neck, and Moota Outdid hauled it 
upon dry ground, where it was washed as well as possible, and well 
scrutinised for a bullet-hole. 

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



CHAPTER III 
THE ELEPHANT (continued) 

THE foregoing chapter is sufficient to explain the ferocity of the 
male elephant at certain seasons which periodically affect the 
nervous system. It would be easy to multiply examples of this 
cerebral excitement, but such repetitions are unnecessary. The 
fact remains that the sexes differ materially in character, and that 
for general purposes the female is preferred in a domesticated state, 
although the male tusker is far more powerful, and when thoroughly 
trustworthy is capable of self-defence against attack, and of energy 
in work that would render it superior to the gentler but inferior 
female. 1 

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

The handsomest elephant that I have ever seen in India belongs 
to the Rajah of Nandgaon, in the district bordering upon Reipore. 
I saw this splendid specimen among twenty others at the durbar 
of the Chief Commissioner of the Central Provinces in December 
1887, and it completely eclipsed all others both in size and per- 
fection of points. The word "points" is inappropriate when 
applied to the distinguishing features of an elephant, as anything 

1 The female differs from other quadrupeds in the position of her teats, 
which are situated upon the breast between the fore legs. She is in the habit 
of caressing her calf with her trunk during the operation of suckling. 



CHAP, in THE ELEPHANT 45 

approaching the angular would be considered a blemish. An 
Indian elephant to be perfect should be 9 feet 6 inches in perpen- 
dicular height at the shoulder. The head should be majestic in 
general character, as large as possible, especially broad across the 
forehead, and well rounded. The boss or prominence above the 
trunk should be solid and decided, mottled with flesh-coloured 
spots; these ought to continue upon the cheeks, and for about 
three feet down the trunk. This should be immensely massive ; 
and when the elephant stands at ease, the trunk ought to touch 
the ground when the tip is slightly curled. The skin of the face 
should be soft to the touch, and there must be no indentations or 
bony hollows, which are generally the sign of age. The ears 
should be large, the edges free from inequalities or rents, and 
above all they ought to be smooth, as though they had been care- 
fully ironed. When an elephant is old, the top of the ear curls, 
and this symptom increases with advancing years. The eyes 
should be large and clear, the favourite colour a bright hazel. The 
tusks ought to be as thick as possible, free from cracks, gracefully 
curved, very slightly to the right and left, and projecting not less 
than three feet from the lips. The body should be well rounded, 
without a sign of any rib. The shoulders must be massive with 
projecting muscular development ; the back very slightly arched, 
and not sloping too suddenly towards the tail, which should be 
set up tolerably high. This ought to be thick and long, the end 
well furnished with a double fringe of very long thick hairs or 
whalebone-looking bristles. The legs should be short in propor- 
tion to the height of the animal, but immensely thick, and the 
upper portion above the knee ought to exhibit enormous muscle. 
The knees should be well rounded, and the feet be exactly equal 
to half the perpendicular height of the elephant when measured in 
their circumference, the weight pressing upon them whilst standing. 

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

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

When ordered to kneel, it should obey instantly, and remain 
patiently upon the ground until permitted to rise from this uneasy 
posture. In reality the elephant does not actually kneel upon its 
fore knees, but only upon those of the hinder legs, while it pushes 
its fore legs forward and rests its tusks upon the ground. This 
is a most unnatural position, and is exceedingly irksome. Some 
elephants are very impatient, and they will rise suddenly without 



46 WILD BEASTS AND THEIR WAYS CHAP. 

orders while the ladder is placed against their side for mounting. 
Upon one occasion a badly-trained animal jumped up so suddenly 
that Lady Haker, who had already mounted, was thrown off on 
one side, while I, who was just on the top of the ladder, was 
thrown down violently upon the other. A badly-tutored elephant 
is exceedingly dangerous, as such vagaries are upon so large a scale 
that a fall is serious, especially should the ground be stony. 

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

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

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

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

Should the elephant be near a tiger, it will generally know the 
position of the enemy by its keen sense of smell. If the tiger 
should suddenly charge from some dense covert with the usual short 



in THE ELEPHANT 47 

but loud roars, the elephant ought to remain absolutely still to 
receive the onset, and to permit a steady aim from the person in 
the howdah. This is a very rare qualification, but most necessary 
in a good shikar elephant. Some tuskers will attack the tiger, 
which is nearly as bad a fault as running in the opposite direction ; 
but the generality, even if tolerably steady, will swing suddenly 
upon one side, and thus interrupt the steadiness of the aim. 

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

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

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

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

With proper care an elephant ought never to suffer, as the pad 
should be made to fit its figure specially. The usual method is to 
cover the back from the shoulders to the hips with a large quilted 
pad stuffed with cotton, about 2 inches thick. In my opinion, 
wool is preferable to cotton, and, instead of this coverlet being 



48 WILD BEASTS AND THEIR WAYS CHAP. 

compact, there should be an opening down the centre, to avoid all 
pressure uj>on the spine. A quilted pad stuffed with wool, 3 
inches thick, with an opening down the middle, would rest com- 
fortably upon the animal's back, and would entirely relieve the 
highly-arched backbone, which would thus be exposed to a free 
current of air, and would remain hard instead of becoming sodden 
through perspiration. Upon this soft layer the large pad is fixed. 
This is made of the strongest sacking, stuffed as tight as possible 
with dried reeds of a tough variety that is common in most tanks ; 
this is open in the centre and quite a foot thick at the sides, so 
that it fills up the hollow, and rests the weight upon the ribs at a 
safe distance from the spine. 

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

The howdah is the only accepted arrangement for sporting 
purposes, and much attention is necessary in its construction, as the 
greatest strength should be combined with lightness. There ought 
to be no doors, as they wenken the solidity of the whole. The 
weight of a good roomy howdah should not exceed two hundred- 
weight, or at the outside 230 pounds. It must be remembered 
that the howdah is not adapted for travelling, as there is a dis- 
agreeable swinging motion inseparable from its position upon the 



in THE ELEPHANT 49 

elephant's back which is not felt upon either the pad or the char- 
jarma. The howdah is simply for shooting, as you can fire in any 
direction, which is impossible from any other contrivance where 
the rider sits in a constrained position. 

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

It must be remembered that a howdah may be subjected to the 
most severe strain, especially should a tiger spring upon the head of 
an elephant, and the animal exert its prodigious strength to throw 
off its assailant. The irons for fastening the girths should there- 
fore be of the toughest quality, and, instead of actual girths, only 
thick ropes of cotton ought to be used. A girth secured with a 
buckle is most dangerous, as, should the buckle give way, an 
accident of the most alarming kind must assuredly occur. The 
howdah ought to be lashed upon the elephant by six folds of the 
strong cotton rope described, tightened most carefully before start- 
ing. It should be borne in mind that much personal attention is 
necessary during this operation, as the natives are most careless. 
Two or three men ought to sit in the howdah during the process 
of lacing, so as to press it down tightly upon the pad, otherwise it 
will become loose during the march, and probably lean over to one 

E 



50 WILD BEASTS AND THEIR WAYS CHAP. 

hide, which is uncomfortable to both man and beast. A large 
hide of the sambur deer, well cured and greased so as to be soft 
and pliable, should invariably protect the belly of the elephant, 
and tlu 1 flunks under the fore legs, from the friction of the girthing 
rope. The breastplate and crupper also require attention. These 
ought to be of the same quality of cotton rope as used for the 
girths, but that portion of the crupper which passes beneath the 
tail should pass through an iron tube bent specially to fit, like the 
letter V elongated, U. This is a great safeguard against galling, 
and I believe it was first suggested by Mr. G. P. Sanderson. 

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

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

If such a person puts his horse at a fence, the animal will not 
be thoroughly convinced that his rider wishes him to take it. 
There are more accidents occasioned by a " bad hand " than by 
any other cause. If this is the case with a horse well bitted, what 
must be the result should an elephant be guided by a mahout of 
uncertain temperament 1 The great trouble when travelling on an 



in THE ELEPHANT 51 

elephant is the difficulty in getting the mahout to obey an order 
immediately, and at the same time to convey that order to the 
animal without the slightest hesitation. Natives frequently hesi- 
tate before they determine the right from left. This is exasper- 
ating to the highest degree, and is destructive to the discipline of 
an elephant. There must be no uncertainty ; if there is the 
slightest vacillation, it will be felt instinctively in the muscles of 
the rider, and the animal, instead of obeying mechanically the 
requisite pressure of knee or foot, feels that the mahout does not 
exactly know what he is about. This will cause the elephant to 
swing his head, instead of keeping steady and obeying the order 
without delay. In the same manner, when tiger-shooting, the 
elephant will at once detect anything like tremor on the part of 
his mahout. Frequently a good elephant may be disgraced by the 
nervousness of his guide, nothing being so contagious as fear. 

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



f,2 WILD I1KAST8 AND TIIKIK WAYS CHAP. 

its natural intelligence, and volunteering all manner of gigantic 
performances in the hope that they would be appreciated by its 
rider, it would be unbearable ; the value of the animal consists in 
its capacity to learn, and in its passive demeanour, until directed 
by the mahout's commands. 

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

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

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

It is this uncertainty of character that lias rendered the 
elephant useless for military purposes in the field since the intro- 
duction of firearms. In olden times there can be no doubt that a 
grand array of elephantine cavalry, with towers containing archers 
on their backs, would have been an important factor when in line 



in THE ELEPHANT 53 

of battle ; but elephants are useless against firearms, and in our 
early battles with the great hordes brought against us by the 
princes of India, their elephants invariably turned tail, and added 
materially to the defeat of their army. 

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

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

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

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

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

I was mounted upon Lord Mayo near the centre of the line in 
the open glade. No sooner had the noise begun, than a violent 
panic seized this senseless brute, and without the slightest warning 
it rushed straight ahead lor the thick forest at a pace that would 



54 WILD BEASTS AND THEIR WAYS CHAP. 

nearly equal that of a luggage train. It was in vain that the 
mahout dug the iron spike into its head and alternately seized its 
cars by the unsparing hook, away it ran, regardless of all punishment 
or persuasion, until it reached the jungle, and with a crash we 
entered in full career ! 

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

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



in THE ELEPHANT 55 

the animal's trunk, and kept repeating the apparently cruel thrusts 
until at length it stopped. Several men now arrived with the 
coupling chains, which were at length with difficulty adjusted, and 
the elephant's fore legs were shackled together. It was curious to 
observe the dexterous manner in which it resisted this operation, 
and had it not been for the dread of the spear I much doubt 
whether it could have been accomplished. 

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

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

The scene was intensely ridiculous, and the whole village turned 
out to enjoy the fun of a runaway elephant with a dead ox bound- 
ing over the inequalities of the ground ; no doubt Lord Mayo 



56 WILD BEASTS AND THEIR WAYS CHAP 

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

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

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



in THE ELEPHANT 57 

scarcely full growth are valued ; in India all elephants irrespective 
of their age are valued, and- the older animals are as easily 
domesticated as the young. 

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

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

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

The day must arrive when ivory will be a production of the 
past, as it is impossible that the enormous demand can be supplied. 
I have already explained that the African savage never tames a 



B8 WILD BEASTS AND THEIR WAYS CHAP. 

wild animal, neither docs lie exhibit any sympathy or pity, his 
desire being, like the gunner of the nineteenth century, to exter- 
minate. It may be readily imagined that wholesale destruction is 
the result whenever some favourable opportunity delivers a large 
herd of elephants into the native hands. 

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

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

There is another terrible method of destroying elephants in 
Central Africa. During the dry season, when the withered herbage 
from 10 to 14 feet in height is most inflammable, a large herd of 
elephants may be found in the middle of such high grass that they 
can only be perceived should a person be looking down from some 
elevated point If they should be espied by some native hunter, 



HI THE ELEPHANT 59 

he would immediately give due notice to the neighbourhood, and 
in a short time the whole population would assemble for the hunt. 
This would be arranged by forming a circle of perhaps two miles in 
diameter, and simultaneously firing the grass so as to create a ring 
of flames around the centre. An elephant is naturally afraid of fire, 
and it has an instinctive horror of the crackling of flames when the 
grass has been ignited. As the circle of fire contracts in approach- 
ing the encirled herd, they at first attempt retreat until they become 
assured of their hopeless position ; they at length become desperate, 
being maddened by fear, and panic-stricken by the wild shouts of 
the thousands who have surrounded them. At length, half- 
suffocated by the dense smoke, and terrified by the close approach 
of the roaring flames, the unfortunate animals charge recklessly 
through the fire, burnt and blinded, to be ruthlessly speared by 
the bloodthirsty crowd awaiting this last stampede. Sometimes a 
hundred or more elephants are simultaneously destroyed in this 
wholesale slaughter. The flesh is then cut into long strips and 
dried, every portion of the animal being smoked upon frames of 
green wood, and the harvest of meat is divided among the villages 
which have contributed to the hunt. The tusks are also shared, 
a certain portion belonging by right to the various headmen and 
the chief. 

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

Many years ago in Ceylon I devoted particular attention to this 
subject, especially as it affects the character of elephants. Ho\v 
those creatures manage to communicate with each other it is im- 
possible to determine, but the fact remains that a very few days' 



CO WILD BEASTS AND THEIR WAYS CHAP. 

shooting will clear out an extensive district, although the area may 
comprise a variation of open prairie with a large amount of forest. 
I have frequently observed, in the jwrtion of Ceylon known as the 
Park country, the tracks of elephants in great numbers which have 
evidently been considerable herds that have joined together in a 
general retreat from ground which they considered 'insecure. In 
that district I have arrived at the proper season, when the grass 
after burning has grown to the height of about 2 feet, and it has 
literally been alive with elephants. In a week my late brother 
General Valentine Baker and myself shot thirty-two, and I sent a 
messenger to invite a friend to join us, in the expectation of extra- 
ordinary sport. Upon his arrival after five or six days, there was 
not an elephant in the country, excepting two or three old single 
bulls which always infested certain spots. 

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

It is supposed by the natives that when an elephant is mortally 
sick it conceals itself in the thickest and most secluded portion of 
the jungle, to die in solitude. Most animals have the same instinct, 
which induces them to seek the shelter of some spot remote from 
all disturbance ; and should we find their remains, it will be near 
water, where the thirst of disease has been assuaged at the last 
moment. 

The ox tribe are subject to violent epidemics, and I have not 
only found the bodies of buffaloes in great numl>ers upon occasions 
during some malignant murrain, but they have been scattered 
throughout the country in all directions, causing a frightful stench, 



in THE ELEPHANT 61 

and probably extending the infection. A few years ago there was 
an epidemic among the bisons in the lleipore district of India ; this 
spread into neighbouring districts over a large extent of country, 
and caused fearful ravages, but none of the deer tribe were attacked, 
the disease being confined specially to the genus Bos. There are 
interesting proofs of the specific poison of certain maladies which 
are limited in their action to a particular class of animal. We find 
the same in vegetable diseases, where a peculiar insect will attack 
a distinct family of plants, or where a special variety of fungoid 
growth exerts a similar baneful influence. 

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

I have seen the Arabs in the Soudan adopt a most torturing 
remedy when a camel has suffered from a fly-blown sore back. 



(52 WILD BEASTS AND THEIR WAYS CHAP. 

Upon one occasion I saw a camel kneeling uj>on the ground with 
a number of men around it, and I found that it was to undergo 
a surgical ojH'ration for a terrible wound ujM)ii its hump. This 
was a hole as large and deep as an ordinary breakfast-cup, which 
was alive with maggots. The operator had been preparing a 
quantity of glowing charcoal, which was at a red heat. This 
was contained in a piece of broken chatty, a portion of a water- 
jar, and it was dexterously emptied into the diseased cavity on 
the camel's back. 

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



in THE ELEPHANT 63 

Elephants are frequently troubled with internal worms. I 
witnessed a curious instance of the escape of such insects from the 
stomach through a hole caused by a bullet, nevertheless the animal 
appeared to be in good condition. 

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

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

As the dhurra is sown in parallel rows about 3 feet apart, and 
the ground was perfectly flat, there was no difficulty in approach- 
ing the direction whence the cracking of the dhurra could be dis- 
tinctly heard. The elephants appeared to be feeding towards us 
with considerable rapidity, and in a few minutes I heard the sound 
of crunching within 50 yards of me. I immediately ran along the 
clear passage between the tall steins, and presently saw a black 
form close to me as it advanced in the next alley to my own. I 
do not think I was more than four or five yards from it when it 
suddenly turned its head to the right, and I immediately took a 
shot behind the car. I had a white paper sight upon the muzzle 
of the large rifle (No. 10), which was plainly distinguished in the 



61 WILD BEASTS AND THEIR WAYS CHAP. 

bright moonlight, and the elephant fell stone dead without the 
slightest struggle. 

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

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

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

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

Forty-two days after this incident I had moved camp to a place 
called Geera, 22 miles distant. It was a wild uninhabited district 
at that time on the banks of the Settite river, with the most 
impervious jungle of hooked thorns, called by the Arabs " kittul." 
This tree does not grow higher than 25 feet, but it spreads 
to a very wide flat-topped head, the branches are thick, the wood 
immensely strong and hard, while the thorns resemble fi.sh-hooks 
minus the barb. This impenetrable asylum was the loved resort 
of elephants, and it was from this particular station that they made 
their nocturnal raids upon the cultivated district more than 20 
miles distant in a direct line. 

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



in THE ELEPHANT 65 

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

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

The dense compressed thorny mass of jungle offered such resist- 
ance that it was some time before it gave way before the united 
pressure of these immense animals. At length it yielded as the 
herd crashed through, but it then closed again upon us and made 

F 



6<J WILD BEASTS AND TIIKIU WAYS CIIAI-. 

following impossible. However, we felt sure that the elephant I 
had hit with the half-pound explosive shell would die, and after 
creeping through upon the tracks with the greatest difficulty for 
about l. r >0 yards, we found it lying dead ujnin its side. 

The whole morning was occupied in cutting up the flesh and 
making ft jwft-mortfm examination. We found the inside partially 
destroyed by the explosive shell, which had shattered the lungs, 
but there was an old wound still open where a bullet had entered 
the chest, and missing the heart and lungs in an oblique course, 
it had passed through the stomach, then through the cavity of the 
Ixxly Iwiieath the ribs and flank, and had penetrated the fleshy 
mass inside the thigh. In that great resisting cushion of strong 
muscles the bullet had expended its force, and found rest from its 
extraordinary course of penetiation. After some trouble, I not 
otdy traced its exact route, but I actually discovered the projectile 
embedded in a foul mass of green pits, which would evidently have 
been gradually absorbed without causing serious damage to the 
animal. To my surprise, it was my own Xo. 10 two-groove conical 
bullet, composed of 12 parts lead and 1 of quicksilver, which 
I had fired when this elephant had advanced towards me at night, 
forty-two days ago, and 22 miles, as far as I could ascertain, from 
the spot where I had now killed it. The superior size of this 
animal to the remainder of the herd had upon both occasions 
attracted my special attention, hence the fact of selection, but I 
was surprised that any animal should have recovered from such a 
raking shot. The cavity of the body abounded with hairy worms 
about 2 inches in length. These had escaped from the stomach 
through the two apertures made by the bullet ; and upon an 
examination of the contents, I found a great number of the same 
jvirasites crawling among the food, while others were attached to 
the mucous membrane of the paunch. This fact exhibits the 
recuperative power of an elephant in recovering from a severe 
internal injury. 

The natives of Central Africa have a peculiar method of de- 
stroying them, by dropping a sj>eries of enormous dagger from the 
branch of a tree. The blade of this instrument is about 2 feet in 
length, very sharp on both edges, and about 3 inches in width at 
the base. It is secured in a handle about IS inches lung, the top 
of which is knobU-d ; upon this extremity a mass of well-kneaded 
tenacious clay mixed with chopped straw is fixed, weighing 10 or 
12 !!., or even more. When a large herd of elephants is dis- 
covered in a convenient locality, the hunt is thus arranged : A 
number of men armed with these formidable drop-spears or 



in THE ELEPHANT 67 

daggers ascend all the largest and most shady trees throughout the 
neighbouring forest. In a great hunt there may be some hundred 
trees thus occupied. When all is arranged, the elephants are 
driven and forced into the forest, to which they naturally retreat 
as a place of refuge. It is their habit to congregate beneath large 
shady trees when thus disturbed, in complete ignorance of the fact 
that the assassins are already among the branches. When an 
elephant stands beneath a tree thus manned, the hunter drops his 
weighted spear-head so as to strike the back just behind the 
shoulder. The weight of the clay lump drives the sharp blade up 
to the hilt, as it descends from a height of 10 or 12 feet above 
the animal. Sometimes a considerable number may be beneath 
one tree, in which case several may be speared in a similar manner. 
This method of attack is specially fatal, as the elephants, in retreat- 
ing through the forest, brush the weighted handle of the spear- 
blade against the opposing branches ; these act as levers in cutting 
the inside of the animal by every movement of the weapon, and 
should this be well centred in the back there is no escape. 

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

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

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

Since I visited that country in 1861, the published account of 
those travels attracted several parties of the best class of ubiquitous 



08 WILD HKASTS AND Til KIR WAYS CHAP. 

Englishmen, and I regret to hear that all those mighty hunters who 
:iiv'>iii|>.iiiir'l me have since been killed in the desperate hand-to- 
liand encounters with wild elephants. Their life is a constant 
warfare with savage beasts, therefore it may be expected that the 
termination is a death uj)on their field of battle, invariably 
sword in hand. 

James Bruce, the renowned African traveller of the last eentury, 
was the first to describe the Agaghcers of Abyssinia, and nothing 
could be more graphic than his description both of the people and 
the countries they inhabit, through which I have followed in 
Ilruce's almost forgotten footsteps, with the advantage of possess- 
ing his interesting book as my guide wheresoever I went in 1H61. 
Since that journey, the deplorable interference of England in 
Egypt which resulted in the abandonment of the Soudan and the 
sacrifice of fJencral Gordon at Khartoum has completely severed 
the link of communication that we had happily established, which 
had laid the foundations for future civilisation. The splendid 
Bword-huntera of the Hamran Arabs, who were our friends in 
former days, have been converted into enemies by the meddling 
of the British Government with affairs which they could not 
understand. It is painful to look back to the past, when Lady 
ISaker and myself, absolutely devoid of all escort, passed more 
than twelve months in exploring the wildest portions of the 
Soudan, attended only by one Egyptian servant, assisted by some 
Arab lx>ys whom we picked up in the desert among the Arab 
trilies. In those days the name of England was respected, although 
not fairly understood. There was a vague impression in the Arab 
mind that it was the largest country upon earth ; that its Govern- 
ment W;LS the emblem of perfection ; that the military power of 
the country was overwhelming (having conquered India) ; and that 
the English people always spoke the truth, and never forsook their 
friends in the moment of distress. There was also an idea that 
England was the only European Power which regarded the Mussul- 
mans with a friendly eye, and that, were it not for British protec- 
tion, the Russians would eat the Sultan and overthrow the 
mosques, to trample upon the Mohammedan power in Con- 
stantinople. England was therefore regarded as the friend and 
the ally of the Mohammedans; it was known that we had together 
fought against the Russians, and it was believed that we wore 
always ready to fight in the same cause when called upon by the 
Sultan. All British merchandise was looked upon as the ne jihis 
ultra of purity and integrity; there could be no doubt of the 
quality of goods, provided that they were of English manufacture. 



in THE ELEPHANT 69 

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

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



CHAPTER IV 
THK ELEPHANT (continued) 

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

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

Few persons are aware of the extreme quickness with which 
an elephant can kick, and the great height that can be reached by 
this mischievous use of the hind foot. I have frequently seen an 
elephant kiek as sharp as a small pony, and the effect of a blow 
from so ponderous a mass propelled with extreme velocity may l>e 
imagined. This is a peculiar action, as the elephant is devoid of 
hocks and it uses the knees of the hind legs in a similar manner 



CHAP, iv THE ELEPHANT 71 

to those of a human being, therefore a backward kick would 
seem unnatural ; but the elephant can kick both backwards and 
forwards with equal dexterity, and this constitutes a special means 
of defence against an enemy, which seldom escapes when exposed to 
such a game between the fore and hind feet of the infuriated animal. 

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

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

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



72 WILD BEASTS AND THEIR WAYS CHAP. 

male with valuable tunics, it is singled out and separated from the 
herd. The leading hunter follows the retreating elephant, accom- 
jNinifd by his companions in single h'le. After a close hunt, keep- 
ing within 10 yards of the game, a sudden halt becomes necessary 
as the elephant turns quickly round and faces its pursuers. 

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

In the meantime, two hunters follow the elephant at full 
gallop; one seizes his companion's reins and secures the horse, 
while the rider springs to the ground with the same agility as a 
trained circus-rider, and with one dexterous blow of his Hashing 
sword he divides the back sinew of the elephant's hind leg about 
1C inches above the heel. The sword cuts to the bone. The 
elephant that was thundering forward at a headlong sj>eed suddenly 
halts ; the foot dislocates when the great weight of the animal 
pre-sses upon it deprived of the supporting sinew. That one cut 
of the sharp blade disables an animal which appeared invincible. 

As the elephant moves both legs upon the same side simultane- 
ously, the disabling of one leg entirely cripples all progress, and 
the creature becomes absolutely helpless. The hunter, having 
delivered his fatal stroke, springs nimbly upon one side to watch 
the effect, and then without difficulty he slashes the hack sinew 
of the remaining leg, with the result that the animal bleeds to 
death. This is a cruel method, but it requires the utmost dexterity 



iv THE ELEPHANT 73 

and daring on the part of the hunters, most of whom eventually 
fall victims to their gallantry. 

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

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



74 WILD 1IEASTS AND THEIR WAYS CHAP. 

upon the loose sand, that the active hunters were completely dis- 
tanced, although they exerted themselves to the utmost in their 
attempts to overtake him. 

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

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

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

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

We lost only last year one of the most daring and excellent men, 



iv THE ELEPHANT 75 

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

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

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

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

All hunters of dangerous animals should accustom themselves 
to the use of large rifles, and never handle anything smaller than a 
577, weighing 12 Ibs., with a solid 650 grain hard bullet, and at 
the least G drams of powder. I impress this upon all who chal- 
lenge the dangers of the chase in tropical climates. JSTo person ot 
average strength will feel the weight of a 12 Ib. rifle when accus- 
tomed to its use. Although this is too small as a rule for heavy 
game, it is a powerful weapon when the bullet is hardened by a 
tough mixture of antimony or quicksilver. A shoulder shot from 
such a rifle will kill any animal less than an elephant, and the 
front shot, or temple, or behind the ear, will kill any Asiatic 
elephant. 

I would not recommend so small a bore for heavy thick-skinned 
game, but the '577 rifle is a good protector, and you need not fear 
any animal in your rambles through the forest when thus armed, 



70 WILD BEASTS AND THEIR WAYS CHAP. 

whereas the, -450 and even the '500 would be of little use against 
a charging buffalo. 

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

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

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

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

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

I must repeat that although gun makers object to the use of 
pure lead for rifle bullets, upon the pica that lead will form a 



iv THE ELEPHANT 77 

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

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

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

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

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



7S WILD BEASTS AND THEIR WAYS CHAP. 

rap was only adjusted previous to loading, as a necessary precaution. 
This half-|M>und shell was proj>cllcd by a charge of 1G drams of 
coarse-grained jxnvdcr. 

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

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

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

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



iv THE ELEPHANT 79 

When we consider the peculiar power that an elephant possesses 
for swimming long distances, and for supporting long inarches 
under an enormous weight, we are tempted to condemn the apathy 
even of European settlers in Africa, who have hitherto ignored the 
capabilities of this useful creature. The chief difficulty of African 
commerce is the lack of transport. The elephant is admirably 
adapted by his natural habits for travelling through a wild country 
devoid of roads. He can wade through unbridged streams, or swim 
the deepest rivers (without a load), and he is equally at home either 
on land or water. His carrying power for continued service would 
be from 12 to 14 cwts. ; thus a single elephant would convey about 
1300 Ibs. of ivory in addition to the weight of the pad. The value 
of one load would be about 500. At the present moment such 
an amount of ivory would employ twenty-six carriers ; but as these 
are generally slaves who can be sold at the termination of the 
journey, they might be more profitable than the legitimate transport 
by an elephant. 

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

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



80 WILD DEASTS AND TJ1KIR WAYS CHAP. 

a-ssured me that the elephant was dependable ; I accordingly 
accepted him, and he wan ordered to carry the howdah throughout 
the expedition. 

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

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

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

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



rv THE ELEPHANT 81 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Presently I heard a rustle in the jungle, and I observed the legs 
f a sambur deer, which, having neared the edge, now halted to 
listen to the beaters before venturing to break from the dense 



82 WILD HKASTS AND THKIIt WAYS CHAP. 

covert. The Ix-aters drew nearer, and a large doe sambur, instead 
of rushing quickly forward, walked slowly into the open, and stood 
within 10 yards of me upon the glade. She waited there for 
8cver.il minutes, and then, as if some suspicion had suddenly 
crossed her mind, gave two or three convulsive bounds and dashed 
back to the same covert from which she had approached. 

It struck me that the sambur had got the wind of an enemy, 
otherwise she would not have rushed back in such sudden haste; 
she could not have scented me, as I was 10 or 12 feet above the 
ground, and the breeze was aslant. . . . Then, if a tiger were in 
the jungle, why should she dash back into the same covert 1 

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

The beaters and shikaris now arrived, and having explained the 
incident, we examined the ground for tracks, and quickly found the 
claw-marks, which were deeply indented in the parched surface of 
fine sward. We followed these tracks cautiously into the jungle. 



iv THE ELEPHANT 83 

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

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

We had not been long in our respective positions when a shot 
from the direction taken by the elephant, followed instantly by a 
short roar, proved that the tiger had been discovered, and that he 
was still alive. My female elephant Demoiselle, upon hearing the 
sound, trembled beneath me with intense excitement, while the 
other female would have bolted had she not been sharply reminded 
by the heavy driving-hook. Several shots were now tired in 
succession, and after vainly endeavouring to discover the where- 
abouts of the tiger, I sent Demoiselle to obtain ihc news while we 



84 WILD BEASTS AND THEIR WAYS CHAP. 

kept guard over the ravine. No tiger having appeared, I stationed 
natives in trees to watch the nullah while we ascended the hill on 
foot, directing our course through the forest to the place from 
whence the shots had been fired. We had hardly advanced 80 
yards before we found l>oth the elephants on the top of the steep 
shoulder of the hill, where several of our men were upon the 
boughs of surrounding trees. Bisgaum was in a state of wild 
excitement, and Kerim Bux explained that it was impossible to 
shoot from his back, as he could not be kept quiet. Where was 
the tiger 1 that was the question. "Close to us, Sahib !" was the 
reply ; but on foot we could see nothing, owing to high withered 
grass and bush. I clambered upon the back of the refractory 
Bisgaum, momentarily expecting him to bolt away like a locomotive 
engine, and from that elevated position I was supposed to see the 
tiger, which was lying in the bottom of the ravine about 100 yards 
distant. There were so many small bushes and tufts of yellow 
grass that I could not distinguish the form for some minutes ; at 
length my eyes caught the object. I had been looking for orange 
and black stripes, therefore I had not noticed black and white, the 
belly being uppermost, as the animal was lying upon its back, 
evidently dying. 

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

Suddenly the elephant halted when about 15 yards from the 
object, which had never moved. I have seen wild savages frenzied 



I! !.-<.; A VM CllAUilKS Till: DYING TIGhK. 




iv THE ELEPHANT 85 

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

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

This was a grand scene, and I began to think there was some 
real pluck in Bisgaum after all, although there was a total want 
of discipline ; but just as I felt inclined to applaud, the victorious 
elephant was seized with a sudden panic, and turning tail, he 
rushed along the bottom of the watercourse at the rate of 20 
miles an hour, and disappeared in the thorny jungle below at a 
desperate pace that threatened immediate destruction to his 
staunch mahout. Leaving my men to arrange a litter with poles 
and cross-bars to carry the tiger home, I followed the course of 
Bisgaum upon Demoiselle, expecting every minute to see the body 
of his mahout stretched upon the ground. At length, after about 
half a mile passed in anxiety, we discovered Bisgaum and his 
mahout both safe upon an open plain ; the latter torn and bleed- 
ing from countless scratches while rushing through the thorny 
jungle. 

On the following day the elephant's leg was much swollen, 
although the wounds appeared to be very slight. It is probable 
that a portion of the broken tooth remained in the flesh, as the 
leg festered, and became so bad that the elephant could not travel 
for nearly a fortnight afterwards. The mahouts are very obstinate, 



86 WILD BEASTS AND THKIll WAYS CHAP, iv 

and insist upon native medicines, tlieir famous lotion being a 
decoction of Mhowa blossoms, which in my opinion aggravated the 
inflammation of tlio wound. 

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

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



CHAPTER V 

THE TIGER (FELIS TIGRIS) 

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

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

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

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

A well-grown tigress may weigh an average of 240 Ibs. live 
weight. A very fine tiger will weigh 440 Ibs., but if very fat, the 
same tiger would weigh 500 Ibs. I have no doubt there may be tigers 
that exceed this by 50 Ibs., but I speak according to my experience. 
The length of a tiger will depend upon the system of measure- 
ment. I always carry a tape with me, and I measure them before 
they are skinned, by laying the animal upon the ground in a straight 
line, and not allowing it to be stretched by pulling at the head or 
tail, but taking it naturally as it lies, measuring from nose to tip 
of tail. I have found that a tijrer of 9 feet 8 inches is about 2 



88 WILD BEASTS AND TIIKIR WAYS CIIAI-. 

inches above the average. The same tiger may be stretched to 
measure 10 feet. 

No person who examines skins only can form any idea of the 
true proportions of a tiger. The hide, when stripped from a tiger 
of 9 feet 7 inches, weighs 45 Ibs. if the animul is bulky. The 
head, skinned, weighs 25 Ibs. These weights are taken from an 
animal which weighed 437 Ibs. exclusive of the lost blood, which 
was quite a gallon, estimated at 10 Ibs. This would have brought 
the weight to 447 Ibs. The hide of this tiger, which measured 
9 feet 7 inches when upon the animal, was 1 1 feet 4 inches in 
length when cured. I have measured many tigers, and the skins 
arc always stretched to a ridiculous length during the process of 
curing ; these would utterly mislead any naturalist who had not 
practical experience of the live animal. 

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

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



v THE TIGER 89 

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

When a tiger is driven before beaters it seldom or never looks 
upwards, but merely regards the surface as it advances ; but when 
approaching a "kill" (the term applied to the animal which has 
been killed) the tiger is exceedingly cautious, and surveys every- 



DO WILD BEASTS AND Til Kill WAYS CHAP. 

thing connected with the locality before it ventures to recommence 
the feast. Even then, when assured of safety, it seldom eats the 
carcase where it lies, but seizing it by the throat, it drags the prey 
some 15 or 20 yards from the spot before it indulges in the meal. 
I have already described that the first meal consists of the buttocks 
and hind-quarters ; the second visit is devoted to the fore-quarters, 
after which but little remains for the vultures and jackals. 

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

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




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

A man-eating tiger requires peculiar caution, not only lest it 
should observe the presence of the hunter, but he must remember 
that if upon the ground he himself becomes a bait for tiiis exceed- 



v THE TIGER 91 

ingly stealthy animal, which can approach without the slightest 
noise, and attack without giving any notice of its presence. A 
curious example of this danger was given a few years ago in the 
Nagpur district. A tigress had killed so many people that a large 
reward was offered for her destruction ; she had killed and dragged 
away a native, but being disturbed, she had left the body without 
eating any portion. The shikaris considered that she would prob- 
ably return to her prey during the night, if left undisturbed upon 
the spot where she had forsaken it. There were no trees, nor any 
timber that was suitable for the construction of a mucharn; it was 
accordingly resolved that four deep holes should be dug, forming 
the corners of a square, the body lying in the centre. Each hole 
was to be occupied by a shikari with his matchlock. The watchers 
took their positions. Nothing came ; until at length the moon 
went down, and the night was dark. The men were afraid to get 
out of their hiding-places to walk home through the jungles that 
were infested by the man-eater ; they remained in their holes, and 
some of them fell asleep. 

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

Many incredible stories have been told concerning the power of 
a tiger in carrying away his prey, and I have heard it positively 
stated by persons who should have known better, that a tiger can 
carry off a native cow simply through the strength of the jaws 
and neck. This is ridiculous, as the height of the cow exceeds 
that of the tiger, therefore a portion of the body must drag upon 
the ground. The cattle of India are exceedingly small, and are 
generally lean, the weight of an ordinary cow would hardly exceed 
350 or 400 Ibs. ; as an average male tiger weighs about the same, 
it can of course drag its own weight by lifting the body partially 
in its mouth, and thus relieving the friction upon the ground. In 
this manner it is astonishing to see the strength exerted in 
pulling and lifting a dead bullock over projecting roots of trees, 
rocky torrent beds, and obstructions that would appear to be 



92 WILD HKASTS AND Til Kill WAYS CHAP. 

insurmountable ; but it is absurd to suppose that a tiger can actu- 
ally lift and carry a full-grown cow or bullock in its jaws without 
leaving a trace of the drag upon the surface. 

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

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



v THE TIGER 93 

the clawing; the fatal wound was the bite, which through the 
back and chest penetrated to the lungs. 

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

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

The tiger is by no means fond of extreme heat ; it is found in 
northern China, Manchuria, and the Corea, where the winters are 
severe. In those climates during winter the skin is very beautiful, 
consisting of thick fur instead of hair, and the tail is comparatively 
bushy. Well-preserved skins of that variety are worth 20 apiece 
and are prized as rarities. In the hot season of India the tiger is 
by no means happy : it is a thirsty animal, and being nocturnal, it 
quickly becomes fatigued by the sun's heat, and the burning surface 
of the soil if obliged to retreat before a line of beaters. The pads 
of the feet are scorched by treading upon heated sandy or stony 
ground, and the animal is easily managed in a beat by those who 
are thoroughly experienced in its habits, although during the winter 
season, when water is abundant in all the numerous nullahs and 
pools, there is no animal more difficult to discover than the tiger. 
It may be easily imagined that the dense green foliage of Indian 
jungles renders all objects difficult to perceive distinctly, and the 



04 WILD BEASTS AND THEIR WAYS CHAP. 

strii>ed skin of a tiger harmonises in a peculiar manner with dry 
sticks, yellowish tufts of grass, and the remains of burnt stumps, 
which are so frequently the family of colours that form the sur- 
roundings of the animal. In this covert the tiger with an almost 
noiseless tread can approach or retreat, and be actually within a 
few yards of man without being seen. Although a ferocious beast, 
it is most sensitive to danger, and the slightest noise will induce 
it to alter the direction of its course when driven before a line of 
beaters. Its jxnver of scent is excellent, therefore it is always 
advisable if jxissible to arrange that the beaters shall advance down 
wind. If they do, the tiger may be generally managed so adroitly 
that it will le driven in the required direction ; but if the beaters 
are travelling up the wind, the tiger must necessarily follow the 
same course, and it will probably obtain the scent of the guns that 
are in positions to intercept it, in which case it will assuredly dash 
back through the line of beaters, and escape from the beat. 

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

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

Should the tiger be killed, another will occupy its place a few 
months later, and this will assuredly assume the same habits as 
its predecessor; it will frequent the same haunts, lay up in the 
same spots, and drink at the same places ; although it may have 



v THE TIGER 95 

never associated with or even seen the tiger which formerly occupied 
the same locality. 

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

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

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



9G WILD BEASTS AND THEIR WAYS CHAP. 

A newly-arrived party, having heard that some native cow has 
been carried oil' within a week, will make a reconnaissance of the 
unrounding country upon their elephants, and will examine every 
watercourse for tracks. We will suppose that after some hours of 
diligent search the long-wished-for pugs or footmarks have been 
discovered. Now the science of the chase must be exhibited, and 
the habits of the tiger carefully considered. The first considera- 
tion will be the drinking-place. If the middle of the dry season, 
say the beginning of May, the heat will be intense, and the hot 
wind will feel as though it had passed over a heated brick-kiln. 
The water will have entirely disappeared, unless a river shall be 
I>erinanent in the neighbourhood. It will be necessary to procure 
two or perhaps three buffaloes to tie up iu various positions not 
far from water, as baits for the tiger during the hours of night, 
when it will be wandering forth from its secure retreat and search- 
ing for its expected prey. The buffaloes should be at least twelve 
months old ; I prefer them when eighteen months, as they are 
then heavy animals and would afford two hearty meals, each suffi- 
cient to gorge the tiger to an extent that, after drinking, would 
render it lazy and inclined to sleep. Great care should be taken 
in the selection of these buffaloes. The natives will assuredly 
offer their skinny and unhealthy animals; but a tiger, unless 
nearly starved, will frequently refuse to attack a miserable skeleton, 
and like ourselves it prefers a fat and appetising attraction. It 
must be distinctly remembered that after the tiger has devoured 
the hind-quarters of the animal it has killed, it requires a deep 
draught of water; it is therefore necessary that the buffalo as 
bait should be tied up somewhere within a couple of hundred yards 
of a drinking-place, as the least distance ; otherwise, instead of 
lying down somewhere near the remains of its prey, it must 
wander to a great distance to drink. The stomach, being full of 
flesh, will naturally become distended with water, and the gorged 
tiger will not be in the humour to undertake a return journey of 
perhaps a mile to watch over the remains of its kill ; it will there- 
fore lie down in some thick covert near the spot by the nullah 
where it recently drank, instead of returning to repose in the 
neighbourhood of its recent victim. This will throw out the 
calculations of the shikari, who would expect that the tiger will 
be lying somewhere near the spot where it dragged the buffalo. 
The beat will under such false conditions be arranged to include 
an area in which the tiger is supposed to be asleep after its great 
meal, but in reality it may be a mile or two away in some un- 
known direction near the water. Great precaution is necessary in 



v THE TIGER 97 

making all preliminary arrangements. It is a common custom of 
native shikaris to tie up a buffalo where four paths meet, as the 
tiger would be walking along one of these during the night, and it 
could not help seeing the alluring bait. I do not admire this 
plan, as, although the probability is that the buffalo will be killed, 
there is every likelihood of disturbance after the event, when 
natives would be passing along the various routes. The slightest 
noise would alarm the tiger, and instead of remaining quietly near 
the carcase, it would slink away and be no more seen. 

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

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

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

If the buffalo is tied with a rope around the neck, a tiger Avill 
frequently refuse to molest it, as it fears a trap. I have seen 
occasions when the tiger has walked round and round the buffalo, 
as exhibited by the tracks upon the surface, but it has been afraid 

H 



93 WILD BEASTS AND THEIR WAYS CHAP. 

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

During the hot season it will be advisable to defer the drive 
till about 10 A.M., at which time the tiger will be asleep. The 
mucharns or watching-places in various trees should have been 
previously constructed before the buffaloes were tied up in their 
different positions, to be ready should the tiger kill one of the baits, 
and thus to avoid noise during the construction. This is a matter 
of very great importance which is frequently neglected by the 
native shikari, who postpones the building of mucharns until the 
tiger shall have killed a buffalo. In that case the noise of axes 
employed in chopping the wood necessary for building the platforms 
is almost sure to alarm the tiger, who will escape unseen, and the 
beat will take place in vain. 

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

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



v THE TIGER 99 

a gust of wind, is the proper platform to ensure a successful 
shot. 

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

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

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

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

A few really clever shikaris should be able (with few exceptions 
to the rule) to drive the tiger to any required position, so as to 
bring it within shot of any particular mucharn. This may be 
effected without extraordinary difficulty. The drive should be 
arranged to include three parts of a circle. If there are three guns, 
their positions would depend upon the quality and conditions of the 
ground, leaving intervals of only 80 or 100 yards at farthest be- 
tween the three mucharns. From either flank, commencing only 
50 yards from each mucharn, a native should be posted in a tree, 



100 WILD BEASTS AND TIIKIR WAYS CHAP. 

mid this system of watchers should be continued until they meet 
the extreme ends of the right and left flanks of the beating line. 
It will be seen that by this method there is a chain of communica- 
tion established throughout the line, both flanks being in touch 
with the right and left mucharns by watchers in the trees only 50 
yards apart. The tiger, if within the beat, will be completely 
encircled, as it will have the guns in front, the line of beaters in a 
semicircle behind, and a chain of watchers in trees from 30 to 50 
yards apart from either side of the line to within sight of the 
mucharns. If the jungle should be tolerably open, the tiger cannot 
move without being seen by somebody. It now has to be driven 
before the beaters, and it should be induced to select a particular 
direction that will bring it within distance of one particular 
mucharn. 

Each man who may be perched in the trees, which form a chain 
from the right and left extremities of the line, will be provided 
with several pieces of exceedingly dry and brittle sticks ; he will 
hold these in readiness for use whenever he may observe the tiger. 
If he sees that the animal wishes to pass through the line, and 
thereby escape from the beat, he simply breaks a small stick in 
half; the sound of a snap is quite sufficient to divert the tiger 
from its course ; it will generally stop and listen for a few moments, 
and then being alarmed by the unusual sound, it will again move 
forward, this time in the required direction, towards the guns. In 
this manner the animal is gradually guided by the unseen watchers 
in the trees, and is kept under due control, without any suspicion 
upon its part that it is being conducted to the fatal spot within 30 
or 40 yards of the deadly aim of an experienced rifle. This lead- 
ing of the tiger requires considerable skill, as much discretion is 
necessary in breaking the stick at the proper moment, or increasing 
the noise should it be deemed expedient. As a rule, the slightest 
sound is sufficient to attract the attention of a driven tiger, as the 
animal is well aware that the shouts of a line of beaters are in- 
tended to scare it from the neighbourhood ; it is accordingly in 
high excitement, and it advances like a sly fox slowly and 
cautiously, occasionally stopping, and turning its head to listen to 
the cries of the approaching enemy. Any loud and sudden noise 
would induce it to turn and charge back towards the rear, in which 
case it is almost certain to escape from the beat. 

Some tigers are' more clever than others, and having escaped 
uj)on more than one occasion, they will repeat the dodge that has 
hitherto succeeded. It is a common trick, should the jungle be 
dense and the ground much broken, for the tiger to crouch when 



v THE TIGER 101 

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

The tigress remains with her young until they are nearly full- 
grown, and she is very assiduous in teaching her cubs to kill their 
prey while they are extremely young. I have seen an instance of 



102 WILD BEASTS AND THEIR WAYS CHAP. 

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

The tigress is generally in advance of the male during a drive, 
should there be two together ; this should not be forgotten, and a 
sharp look-out should be directed upon the place from whence the 
tigress shall have emerged, as the shot must be taken at the rear- 
most animal, who would otherwise disappear immediately, and 
break back at the sound of the explosion. In all cases it is 
incumbent upon the watcher to study attentively every feature of 
the ground directly that he enters upon his post, so that he may 
be prepared for every eventuality ; he should thoroughly examine 
his surroundings, noting every little open space, every portion of 
dense bush, and form his opinion of the spot that would probably 
be the place of exit when the tiger should be driven to the margin 
of the covert. Tigers are frequently missed, or only slightly 
wounded, through utter carelessness in keeping a vigilant look-out. 
The watcher may have omitted to scan the details of the locality, 
and when unprepared for the interview, the tiger suddenly appears 
before him. Startled at the unexpected apparition, he fires too 
quickly, and with one bound the tiger vanishes from view, leaving 
the shooter in a state of misery at his miss, that may be imagined. 
Nearly all the fatalities in tiger shooting are caused by careless 
shooting, which necessitates the following up a blood-track ; it is 
therefore imperative that extreme care and coolness be observed in 
taking a steady aim at a vital portion of the body, that will ensure 
the death of the animal at latest within a few minutes. If the 
shot is fired at right angles with the flank, exactly through the 



v THE TIGER 103 

centre of the blade-bone, the tiger will fall dead, as the heart will 
be shattered, and both shoulders will be broken. ' A shot close 
behind the shoulder will pass through the centre of the lungs, and 
death will be certain in about two minutes, but the animal will be 
able to inflict fatal injuries upon any person it may encounter 
during the first minute, before internal bleeding shall have produced 
complete suffocation. If the hunter is confident in the extreme 
accuracy of his rifle, a shot in the centre of the forehead rather 
above a line drawn across the eyes will ensure instant death. This 
is a splendid shot when the hunter sits upon an elevation and the 
tiger is approaching him ; in that position he must be careful to 
aim rather high, as, should the bullet miss the forehead, it will 
then strike the spine at the junction of the neck ; or if too high, 
it will break the spine between the shoulders ; at any rate, the 
chances are all in favour of the rifle, whereas, should the aim be 
too low, the bullet might penetrate through the nose, and bury 
itself within the ground, merely wounding the animal instead of 
killing. Should the hunter be on foot, he must on the contrary 
aim low, exactly at the centre of the nose ; if he is only one inch 
too high, the tiger may escape, as the bullet may pass over the 
head and back ; but if the aim is low and the nose should be 
missed, the bullet will either break the neck, or regularly rake the 
animal by tearing its course through the chest and destroying the 
vitals in its passage along the body. In that case the '577 solid 
bullet of 650 grains and 6 drams of powder will produce an 
astonishing effect, and will completely paralyse the attack of any 
lion or tiger, thus establishing a thorough confidence in the heart 
of its proprietor. 



CHAPTER VI 

THE TIGER (continued) 

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

It is a curious and inexplicable fact that certain animals and 
varieties of birds exhibit a peculiar shyness of human beings, 
although they are exjK)sed to the same conditions as others which 
are more bold. We see that in every portion of the world the 
curlew is difficult to approach, although it is rarely or never pur- 
sued by the natives of the neighbourhood ; thus we find the same 



CHAP, vi THE TIGER 105 

species of bird exhibiting a special character whether it has been 
exposed to attack, or if unmolested in wild swamps where the hand 
of man has never been raised against it. 

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

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

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

A few months ago, from the date at which I am now writing. 
a native came to my camp with the intelligence that a large tiger 



108 WILD BEASTS AND THEIR WAYS CHAP. 

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

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

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

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

The sequel proved that the man was correct, as the buffaloes 



vr THE TIGER 107 

were untouched on the following day, and the tiger had disappeared 
from the locality. 

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

In the grassy islands of the Brahmaputra there were a vast 
number of tigers some twelve or fourteen years ago, but their 
number has been reduced through the development of the country 
by the various lines of steamers which have improved the naviga- 
tion of the river. Formerly a multitude of small islands of alluvial 
deposit thrown up by the impetuous current created an archipelago 
for 60 or 70 miles of the river's course south of Dhubri, in the 
direction of Mymensing ; these varied in size from a few hundred 
yards to a couple of miles in length, and being covered with high 
grass and tamarisk, they formed a secluded retreat for tigers and 
other game at the foot of the Garo Hills. The river makes a 
sudden bend, sweeping near the base of this forest-covered range, 
from which the wild animals at certain seasons were attracted to 
the island pasturage and dense covert, especially when the forests 
had been cleaned by annual firing, and neither food nor place of 
refuge could be found. 

As these numerous islands abounded with wild pigs, hog-deer, 
and other varieties of game, they were most attractive to tigers, 
and these animals were tolerably secure from molestation, as it 
was impossible to shoot or even to discover them in grass 10 feet 
high without a line of elephants. The improvement introduced by 
steam navigation gave an increased impulse to cultivation, as the 
productions of the country could be transported at a cheap rate to 
Calcutta by the large barges termed flats, which are fastened upon 
either side of the river steamers. These are 270 feet in length, 
and of great beam. The steamers are from 270 to 300 feet from 
stem to stern, and are furnished with hurricane decks capable of 
stowing a large cargo, although the draught of water is limited 
owing to the numerous sandbanks that interrupt the channel. The 
peculiar conditions of the Brahmaputra, which render it necessary 
that these large vessels should be of very shallow draught, entail 
the necessity of a rudder 17 feet in length to afford a sufficient 
resistance for steering when running down the stream. The shock 
when striking upon a sandbank is sufficient to bury the stem 
without straining the vessel, as the flat bottom remains fixed upon 
the soft soil for a few moments, during which the force of the 
stream upon so large a surface brings the steamer broadside on to 



108 WILD BEASTS AND THEIR WAYS CHAP. 

the obstruction and releases the stem. It is then an affair of an 
hour or more to get her off the bank by laying out kedge anchors, 
and heaving upon the hawsers with the steam winches. 

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

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

The decks of these large flats were only 3 feet above the 
water, and the tiger, when alarmed by a shout from the helmsman, 
made a leap from the rudder to the deck of the nearest vessel. In 
an instant all was confusion, the terrified natives fled in all direc- 
tions before the tiger, which, having knocked over two men during 
its panic-stricken onset, bounded off the flat and sought security 
upon the deck of the steamer alongside. Scared by its new 
position and by the shouts of the people, it rushed into the first 
hole it could discover ; this was the open door of the immense 
paddle-box, and the captain rushed to the spot and immediately 
closed the entrance, thereby boxing the tiger most completely. 

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



vi THE TIGER 109 

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

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

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

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

The Rajah of Moochtagacha, Soochikhan (or Suchi Khan), had 
started from Mymensing with thirty-five elephants, and he kindly 



110 WILD BEASTS AND THEIR WAYS CHAP. 

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

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

A favourite shikar animal had been badly bitten by a tiger a 
few* days before my arrival, and it was feared that she might 
become shy upon the next encounter. Although the elephant is 
enormous in weight and strength, the upper portion of the trunk 
is much exposed, as it is the favourite .pot fur the tiger's attack, 



vi THE TIGER 111 

where it can fix its teeth and claws, holding on with great tenacity. 
A wound on the trunk is most painful, and when an elephant is 
actually pulled down by a tiger, it is the pain to which the animal 
yields in falling upon the knees, more than the actual weight and 
strength of the tiger, that produces the effect. A tiger, when stand- 
ing upon its hind legs, would be able to reach about 8 feet without 
the effort of a spring ; it may be readily imagined that a female 
elephant unprotected by tusks must certainly be injured should a 
tiger rush determinedly to the attack ; nevertheless the female is 
generally preferred to the male for steadiness and docility. When 
a really trustworthy male elephant is obtainable, well grown, of 
large size, easy action, and in perfect training, it is simply invalu- 
able, and there is no pleasure equal to such a mount ; the sensation 
upon such an animal is too delightful, and you long for the oppor- 
tunity to exhibit the power and prowess of your elephant, as the 
feeling of being invincible is intensely agreeable. The only 
sensation that can approach it is the fact of being mounted upon a 
most perfect hunter, that you can absolutely depend upon when 
following the hounds in England ; an animal well up to a couple 
of stones more than your own weight, who never bores upon your 
hand, but keeps straight, and never makes a mistake ; even that 
only faintly approaches the pleasure of a good day upon such an 
elephant as I have described. 

Mahouts will always lie concerning the reputation of the 
animal in their charge, and I had been assured that the great male 
belonging to the Ranee of Bijni was the ideal character I coveted ; 
but I discovered that his temper was so well known that the 
Rajah positively declined to expose his line of elephants to an 
attack, which he assured me would take place if the animal 
became excited ; in which event some valuable elephant would 
suffer, as the long tusks of the Bijni elephant had not been blunted, 
or shortened by the saw. This splendid animal was accordingly 
condemned to the ignominious duty of conveying food to the camp, 
for the other elephants upon their return from their daily work. 
The neighbourhood of the Brahmaputra is rich in plantain groves, 
and for a trifling consideration the natives allow those trees which 
have already produced their crop to be cut down. A full-length 
stem will weigh about 80 Ibs., therefore an elephant is quickly 
loaded, as the animal for the short distance to camp will carry 18 
cwts. or more. The operation of loading a pad elephant with 
either boughs or plantain stems is very curious. Two men are 
necessary ; one upon the ground hands the boughs, etc., to the 
man upon the animal's back, who lays the thin or extreme end of 



112 WILD BEASTS AND THEIR WAYS CHAP. 

the branch across the pail, leaving the thick or heavy end out- 
wards, lie places one foot upon this to keep it from slipping off 
until he has placed the next bough across it upon the opposite 
side, arranged in a similar manner. In this way he continues to 
load the elephant, each time holding down with his foot a separate 
bough, until he has secured it by the weight of another, placed in 
the same position opposite. This plan enables him to build up a 
load like a small haystack, which is then secured by ropes, and 
almost hides the animal that carries it. My mighty beast was 
condemned to this useful but degrading employment, instead of 
being honoured by a place in the line of shikari's elephants, and 
we started into the valleys among the Garo Hills, led by a native 
who declared that he would introduce us to rhinoceros and 
buffaloes. 

We started at 6 A.M., and marched about 14 miles, extending 
into line whenever we entered a broad valley of high grass, and 
slowly thrashing our way through it. In many of the swampy 
flats among the hills the reedy grass was quite 14 or 15 feet in 
height and as thick as the forefinger ; so dense was this herbage, 
that when the elephants were in line you could only see the animals 
upon the immediate left and right, the others being completely 
hidden. It struck me that this system of beating was rather 
absurd, as there were no stops in the front, neither scouts on the 
flanks, therefore any animals that might be disturbed by the 
advance in line had every chance of escape without being observed. 
The grass was a vivid green, and occasionally a rush in front 
showed that some large animal had moved, but nothing could be 
seen. This was a wrong system of beating. I was second in the 
line of six guns, the Rajah Suchi Khan upon my left ; we pre- 
sently skirted the toot of a range of low forest-covered hills, and 
after a rush in the high reeds I observed a couple of sambur deer, 
including a stag, trotting up the hill through the open lorest, all 
of which had been recently cleared by fire. A right and left 
shot from Suchi Khan produced no effect, but the incident proved 
that the system of beating was entirely wrong, as the game when 
disturbed could evidently steal away and escape unseen. Our 
right flank had now halted at about 400 yards' distance as a pivot, 
upon which the line was supposed to turn in order to beat out 
the swamp that was surrounded upon all sides by hills and 
jungles. Suddenly a shot was heard about 200 yards distant, then 
another, succeeded by several in slow .succession in the same 
locality. I felt sure this was a buffalo, and, as the line halted 
for a few minutes, I counted every shot fired until I reached the 



vi THE TIGER 113 

number twenty-one. Before this independent firing was completed 
we continued our advance, wheeling round our extreme right, and 
driving the entire morass, moving game, but seeing absolutely 
nothing. Although the jungles had been burnt, the valley grass 
was a bright green, as the bottom formed a swamp ; even at this 
season (April) the ground was splashy beneath the heavy weight 
of our advancing line. Having drawn a blank since we heard the 
shots, we now assembled at the spot, where we found a bull 
buffalo lying dead surrounded by the elephants and four guns. 
These had enjoyed the fusillade of twenty-one shots before they 
could extinguish the old bull, who had gallantly turned to bay 
instead of seeking safety in retreat. It was a glorious example of 
the inferiority of hollow Express bullets against thick-skinned 
animals. The buffalo was riddled, and many of the shots were in 
the right place, one of which behind the shoulder would have been 
certain death with a solid 650 grains hard bullet, from a -577 
rifle with 6 drams of powder. The buffalo, finding himself sur- 
rounded by elephants, had simply stood upon the defensive, with- 
out himself attacking, but only facing about to confront his 
numerous enemies. 

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

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

In driving the grassy islands of the Brahmaputra some persons 
are contented with the chance of moving tigers by simply forming 
a line of a quarter of a mile in length with forty elephants, with- 
out any previous arrangement or preparation. This is wrong. 

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

There should be a small herd of at least twenty head of cattle 
under the special charge of four shikaris, and five or six of these 
poor beasts should be tied up at a distance of a mile apart every 

I 



114 WILD BEASTS AND THEIR WAYS CHAP. 

evening as bait for tigers. At daylight every morning the native 
shikaris should visit their rcsj)ective baits, and send a runner into 
camp with the message should one or more have been killed. The 
elephants being ready, no delay would occur, and the beat would 
take place immediately. In that manner the tiger is certain to be 
found, as it will be lying somewhere near the body of its prey. 

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

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

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

I must give every credit to the Rajah Suchi Khan for this 
virtue, and for the j>crseverance he and his friends exhibited in 
working for so many hours in the burning sun of April to so little 
purpose. There was very little game upon the islands near Dhubri 
beyond a few hog-deer and wild pigs, and it appeared mere waste 
of time to wander in a long line of beating elephants from sunrise 
till the afternoon with scarcely a hope of tigers. However, upon 



vi THE TIGER 115 

the second day, when our patience was almost exhausted, we met 
a native who declared that a tiger had killed one of his cows only 
two days before. Taking him as a guide, he led us about two 
miles, and in a slight hollow among some green tamarisk we were, 
after a long search, introduced to a few scattered bones, all that 
remained of the native cow which had been recently killed, and 
the skeleton dislocated by jackals and wild pigs. Unless the tiger 
had been disturbed there was every chance of its being somewhere 
in the neighbourhood ; we therefore determined to beat every yard 
of the island most carefully, although it extended several miles in 
length, and was about one mile in maximum width. 

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

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

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

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

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



116 WILD BEASTS AND THEIR WAYS CHAP. 

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

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

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

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

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



vi THE TIGER 117 

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

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

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

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



118 WILD BEASTS AND THEIR WAYS CHAP. 

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

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

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

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

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



vi THE TIGER 119 

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

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

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



120 WILD BEASTS AND THEIR WAYS CHAP. 

Buffering from fever, and he himself evidently had the poison of 
malaria in his system. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The line of elephants arrived, and no one was aware that 
another leopard had been moved. I pointed out the small clump 
of grass, and ordered an elephant to walk through it. In an instant 



vi THE TIGER 121 

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

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

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

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

The advance continued slowly and steadily. Presently I saw 
the tamarisk's feathery tops moving gently about 15 paces 
ahead of the line ; the elephants again trumpeted and evinced 
great excitement ; this continued at intervals until we at length 



122 WILD BEASTS AND THEIR WAYS CHAP. 

emerged from the tamarisk upon 11 flat space, where the tall gross 
had Iwcn burnt while yet unripe, and although killed by the fire 
and rendered transparent, it was a mass of black and yellow that 
would match woll with a tiger's colour. We now extended the 
line in more open order, to occupy the entire space of about 200 
yards front ; Sanderson kept his position in the centre of the line, 
while I took my stand in an open space about 150 yards in advance, 
where an animal would of necessity cross should it be driven for- 
ward by the beat. 

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

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

I was in hopes that he would break across the open which I 
commanded, but there was no sign of movement in the high grass. 
The line of elephants again advanced slowly and cautiously; 
suddenly at a signal they halted, and I observed Sanderson, whose 
elephant was a few yards in advance of the line, halt, and, stand- 
ing up, take a deliberate aim in the grass in front. He fired ; a 
tremendous roar was the response, and the tiger, bounding forward, 
appeared as though he would assuredly cross my path. Instead of 
this, after a rush of about 50 or 60 yards I saw the tall grass 
only gently moving, as the animal had reduced its pace to the 
usual stealthy walk. The grass ceased moving in a spot within 
30 paces, and exactly opposite my position. I marked a bush 
upon which were a few green shoots that had sprouted since the 
fire had scorched the grass. I was certain that the tiger had 
halted exactly boneath that mark. My mahout drove the elephant 
slowly and carefully forward, and I was standing ready for the 
expected shot, keeping my eyes well open for an expected charge ; 
Sanderson was closing in mton the same point from his position. 



vi THE TIGER 123 

Presently, when within a few feet of the green bush, I distinguished 
a portion of the tiger, but I could not determine whether it was 
the shoulder or the hind-quarter. Driving the elephant steadily 
forward, with the rifle to my shoulder, I at length obtained a 
complete view. The tiger was lying dead ! 

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

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

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

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



124 WILD BEASTS AND THEIR WAYS CHAP. 

necessity for strict order and discipline, where only one solitary 
gun represented the offensive capacity of the line. 

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

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

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

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

Upon arrival about three miles from camp at this isolated 
patch of rose jungle, I felt sure that the tiger must be within. 
There was a similar but rather smaller area of wild rose about f 
mile distant, and it was highly probable that should the tiger be 
disturbed, it might slink away, break covert at the extreme end, 



vi THE TIGER 125 

and make off across the open grass-land to the neighbouring 
shelter. I therefore posted myself outside the jungle in a kind of 
bay, where I considered the tiger would emerge from his secure 
hiding-place before he should risk a gallop across the open. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



126 WILD BEASTS AND THEIR WAYS CHAP. 

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

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

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

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

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



vi THE TIGER 127 

confused masses of concentrated briars, which might have con- 
cealed a buffalo. 

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

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

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

I rode towards the spot; the line opened, and the mahout 
explained that he distinctly saw the bushes move exactly in his 
front, not more than three or four paces in advance. He declared 
that just for one moment he had distinguished something yellow, 
and the tiger was in his opinion, even then, crouching exactly 
before us. Telling him to fall back, my two dependable elephants 
took their places upon the right and left. My mahout advised me 
not to advance, but to fire a shot into the supposed position, 
which he declared would either kill the tiger or drive it forward. 
I never like to fire at hazard, but I was of opinion that it might 
provoke a charge, as I did not think that anything would induce 
the tiger to move forward after the numerous successful attempts 



123 WILD BEASTS AND THEIR WAYS CHAP. 

in breaking back. I accordingly aimed with the No. 12 smooth- 
bore carefully in the direction pointed out by the mahout, and 

fired The effect was magnificent ; at the same instant a loud 

roar was accompanied by the determined spring of the tiger from 
its dense lair. My elephant twisted round so suddenly to the left, 
that had I been unprepared I should have fallen heavily against 
the rail. Instead of this, my left hand clutched instinctively the 
left rail of the howdah, and holding the gun with my right, I fired 
it into the tiger's mouth within 2 feet of the muzzle, just as it 
would have seized the mahout's right leg. A sack of sand could 
not have fallen more suddenly or heavily. The charge of S.S.G. 
had gone into the open jaws. 

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

There were so many wild pigs throughout the churs below 
Rohumari that the tigers declined to kill our baits, as they could 
easily procure their much-loved food. Every night our animals 
were tied up in various directions, but we found them on the 
following morning utterly disregarded. This neglect on the part 
of the tigers imposed the necessity of marching iu line hap- 
hazard for many hours consecutively through all the most likely 
places to contain a tiger. Many of the islands were at this dry 
season separated from each other by sandy channels where the 
contracted stream was only a few inches deep ; it was therefore a 
certain proof, should tigers exist upon the islands, if tracks were 
discovered on the sand. During the night it was the custom of 
these animals to wander in all directions, and it was astonishing 
upon some occasions to see the great distances that the tiger had 
covered, and the numerous churs that it had visited, either in a 
search for prey, or more probably for a companion of its own 
species. If there were no tracks in the channel-beds, it might be 
safely inferred that there were no tigers in the neighbourhood. 
Nevertheless I continued daily to beat every acre of ground, 
and we seldom returned till alxmt 4 P.M., having invariably started 
shortly after daybreak. 



vi THE TIGER 129 

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

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

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

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

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

The line of elephants advanced. I was riding the large tusker 

K 



130 WILD BEASTS AND THEIR WAYS CHAP. 

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

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

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

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

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

They came on tolerably well, although a few were rather scared. 
At length they halted about 70 yards from me, and, as I knew 



vi THE TIGER 131 

that the tiger was not far off, I ordered the left wing (on my 
right) to close in, so as to come round me, by which movement 
the tiger would be forced to within a close shot. 

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

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

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

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

We immediately carried him to the river and bathed him in 
cool water. He had been seized by the shoulder, and was terribly 
torn and clawed about the head and neck, but fortunately there 
were no deep wounds about the cavity of the chest. We bandaged 



132 WILD BEASTS AND THEIR WAYS CHAI-. 

him up by tearing a turban into lung strips, und having made a 
good surgical job, I had him laid upon a pad elephant and sent 
straight into camp. We then loaded an elephant with the tiger, 
which we proved to be the same and only animal (a tigress) which 
had charged the elephant after my first shot. The bullet had 
struck the thigh bone, causing a compound fracture, and that 
accounted for the escape of Thompson without being boarded from 
the rear, as she could not spring so great a height upon only three 
legs. The furious beast had then attacked the elephant named 
Hogg, which, falling upon its knees, had thrown the unready 
driver. We subsequently discovered that he had a boil upon his 
right foot, which had prevented him from using the rope stirrup ; 
this accounted for the fall from his usually secure seat. 

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

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

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

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

The usual arrangements were made, and I took up a position 
upon Thompson in a narrow opening of fine grass which cut at 
right angles through the wild-rose thicket. As the elephants 
approached in close order, I was certain, from the peculiar sounds 
emitted, that a tiger or some uubeloved animal was before them, 
and upon the advance of the line to within 30 yards of the open 



vi THE TIGER 133 

ground a rustling in the bush announced the presence of some 
animal which could not much longer remain concealed. Suddenly 
a large panther bounded across the open, and I took a snap-shot, 
which struck it through the body a few inches behind the shoulder. 
It rolled over to the shot, but immediately disappeared in the 
thick jungle a few paces opposite. 

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

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

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

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

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



134 WILD BEASTS AND THEIR WAYS CHAP. 

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

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

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

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

We were shooting in the neighbourhood of Moorwarra, keeping 
a line as nearly as possible parallel with the railway, limiting our 
distance to 20 miles in order to obtain supplies. This arrange- 
ment enabled us to receive 30 Ibs. of ice daily from Allahabad, as 
a coolie was despatched from the station immediately upon arrival 
of the train, the address of our camp being daily communicated to 
the stationmaster. It was the hot season in the end of April, 
when a good supply of ice is beyond price ; the soda-water was 
supplied from Jubbulpur, and with good tents, kuskos tatties, and 
cool drinks, the heat was bearable. It was this heat that had 
brought the tigers within range, as all water-springs and brooks 
were dried up, the tanks had evaporated, and the only water 
procurable was limited to the deep holes in the bends of streams 
that were of considerable importance in the cooler seasons of the 
year. The native headmen had received orders from the Deputy- 
Commissioner to send immediate information should any tigers 
be reported in their respective districts ; they had also received 



VI THE TIGER 135 

special instructions to tie up buffaloes for bait should the tracks 
of tigers be discovered. The latter order was a mistake, as the 
buffaloes should not have been tied up until our arrival at the 
locality ; upon several occasions the animals were killed and eaten 
some days before we were able to arrive upon the scene. 

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

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

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

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

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

Nothing is more disappointing than a country which is in 



136 WILD UKASTS AND THEIR WAYS CHAP. 

appearance an attractive locality for wild animals, but in reality 
devoid of game. I make a point of declining all belief in the 
statements of natives until I have thoroughly examined the 
ground, and made a special search for tracks in the dry beds of 
streams and around the drinking-places. Even should footprints 
be discovered in such spots, they must be carefully investigated, as 
the same animals visit the water-hole nightly, and in the absence 
of rain, the tracks remain, and become numerous from repetition ; 
thus an inexperienced person may be deceived into the belief that 
game is plentiful, when, in fact, the country contains merely a few 
individuals of a species. It must also be remembered that during 
the dry season both deer, nilgyhe, and many other animals travel 
long distances in search of water, and return before daylight to 
their secluded places of retreat. 

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

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

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

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

During the last drive I had distinctly heard the bark of a 
sambur deer about half a mile in my rear, which would be 



vi THE TIGER 137 

between me and the direction we were about to take. It is 
seldom that a sambur barks in broad daylight unless disturbed by 
either a tiger or leopard; I was accordingly in hope that the 
sound might be the signal of alarm, and that we might find the 
tiger between us and the neighbouring village by our camp, 
where a small stream might have tempted it to drink. 

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

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

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

I now perceived Berry advancing towards me, he having left 
his place of concealment in the clump of trees. " Did you see 



138 WILD BEASTS AND THEIR WAYS CHAP. 

him?" lie exclaimed, as he approached within hearing distance. 
" See what ? " I replied ; " have you wounded a boar ? " "A 
lx>ar ! No ; I did not fire at a boar, but at a tiger, the biggest 
that I ever saw in my experience ! He passed close by me, 
within 20 yards, at the same time that the herd of pigs broke 
covert ; and I fired right and left, and missed him with both 
barrels; confound it." 

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

I now measured the distance from Berry's position to the 
tracks of the tiger, which we discovered after some few minutes' 
search. This was under 20 yards. The question now most 
important remained Was the tiger wounded 1 A minute investi- 
gation of the ground showed the mark of a bullet, but we could 
find no other. This looked as though it must have struck the 
tiger, but Berry was very confident that such was not the case, as 
he declared the tiger did not alter his pace when fired at, but, on 
the contrary, walked majestically across the narrow glade with 
his head turned in the opposite direction from Berry's position. 
He was of opinion that the tiger had not been disturbed by the 
close report of the rifle, as the noise of 164 beaters shouting at 
the maximum power of their voices was so great that the extra 
sound of the rifle bore only a small proportion. 

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

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

Mounting my elephant Moolah Bux, I begged Berry to take 
Demoiselle, and accompanied by a couple of good men we left the 
long line of beaters stationed in order of advance along the glade, 



vi THE TIGER 139 

with instructions to march directly that we should send them the 
necessary orders. I begged them upon this occasion not to shout, 
but merely to tap the trees with their sticks as their line came 
forward. 

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

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

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

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

Moolah Bux was a thoroughly dependable elephant, but 
although moving forward with a majestic and determined step, 



140 WILD BEASTS AND THEIR WAYS CITAP. 

it was in vain that I endeavoured to hurry the mahout; both 
man and boast appeared to understand their business thoroughly, 
but to my ideas the pace was woefully Blow if assistance was 
required in danger. 

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

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

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

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

The elephant had behaved beautifully, and I have frequently 
looked back to that attack in thick forest, and been thankful that 
I was not mounted upon such animals as I have since that time 
had the misfortune to possess. Moolah Bux now approached the 
dead body, and at the command of the mahout he pulled out by 
the roots all the small undergrowth of saplings and dried herbage 



vi THE TIGER 141 

to clear a space around his late antagonist. In doing this his 
trunk several times touched the skin of the tiger, which he 
appeared to regard with supreme indifference. 

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

The reason for this savage attack was soon discovered. As a 
rule, there is little danger to a line of beaters provided the tiger 
is unwounded, and no person should ever place his men in the 
position to drive a jungle when a wounded tiger is in retreat. In 
such a case, if no elephants are present, it would be necessary to 
obtain the assistance of buffaloes ; a herd of these animals driven 



142 WILD BEASTS AND THEIR WAYS CHAP. 

through the jungle would quickly dislodge a tiger. We now 
skinned our lute enemy, while a messenger was started towards 
Moorwarra, 9 or 10 miles distant, to prepare the authorities for 
the reception of our wounded men in hospital. 

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

A comparison of the effect of my '577 with the same charge 
of 6 drams, but with a solid bullet of ordinary pure lead weighing 
048 grains, was very instructive. The first shot, when the tiger 
was bounding in retreat after it had charged the elephant, had 
struck the right flank, and as the animal was moving obliquely, 
the bullet had passed through the lungs, then, breaking the 
shoulder-bone, it was found in its integrity just beneath the skin 
of the shoulder upon the side opposite to that of entry ; it was 
very much flattened upon one side, as it had traversed an oblique 
course throughout, and had torn the inside of the animal in a 
dreadful manner. The second shot, fired simply to extinguish the 
dying tiger, passed through both shoulders, but was found under 
the skin upon the opposite side, flattened exactly like a mushroom, 
into a diameter of about 1| inch at the head, leaving about half 
an inch of the base uninjured which represented the stalk. This 
was a large tiger, and remarkably thick and heavy, with strong 
and hard muscles, nevertheless the penetration of the soft leaden 
bullet was precisely correct for that quality of game. If the '577 
bullet had been made of an admixture of tin or other alloy 
Jo produce extreme hardness, it would have passed through the 
body of the tiger with a high velocity, but the animal would 
have escaped the striking energy, which would not have been ex- 
pended upon the resisting surface. It is the striking energy, the 
knocking-down power of a projectile, that is so necessary when 
hunting dangerous game. I cannot help repetition in enforcing 
this principle : there is a minimum amount of striking energy in a 
light hollow projectile, and a maximum amount in a solid heavy 



vi THE TIGER 143 

projectile ; keep the latter within the auirnal to ensure the effect 
of the blow ; this will be effected by a bullet made of pure lead 
without admixture with other metal, to flatten upon impact, and 
by the expansion of surface it will create a terrific wound ; at the 
same time it will have sufficient momentum from its great weight 
to push forward, and to overcome the resistance of opposing bones 
and muscles. A very large tiger may weigh 450 Ibs. ; a '577 
bullet of 650 grains, propelled by G drams of powder, has a strik- 
ing energy of 3520 foot-pounds. This may be only theoretical 
measurement, but the approximate superiority of 3500 Ibs. against 
the tiger's weight, 450 Ibs., would be sufficient to ensure the 
stoppage of a charge, or the collapse of the animal in any position, 
provided that the bullet should be retained within the body, and 
thus bestow the whole force of the striking energy. 

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

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

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

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



CHAPTER VII 
TIIE TIGKR (continued) 

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

It was 4.30 P.M. by the time we started, as the two elephants 
had taken some time to prepare. The native was tolerably correct 
in his estimate of distance, and after passing through a long suc- 
cession of glades and wooded hills, broken by deep nullahs, we 
arrived at the place, where soaring vultures marked the spot, and 
the remains of a fine white cow were discovered, that had been killed 
upon the open ground and dragged into the dense jungle. Leaving 
Demoiselle in the open, and taking Berry into my howdah upon 
Moolah Bux, we carefully searched the jungle until sunset, but 
finding nothing, we were obliged to return to camp, having made 
ourselves thoroughly acquainted with the conditions of the locality. 
On the following morning at daylight I took only twenty men, who 
had recovered from their panic, and with the two elephants and a 
very plucky policeman we made our way to the place where the 
body of the cow was lying on the previous evening. It was gone. 
Leaving all the men outside the jungle, we followed on Moolah 
Bux, tracking along the course where the tiger had dragged the 
carcase, and keeping a sharp look-out in all directions. After 
a course of about 150 yards we arrived at a spot where the tiger 



CHAP, vii THE TIGER 145 

had evidently rested : here it had devoured the larger portion, and 
nothing but the head remained. It was impossible to decide 
whether jackals or hyaenas had made away with the remnants, or 
whether the tiger had carried them off to some secure hiding-place, 
but it was highly probable that the animal was not far distant. 

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

There was nothing in the drive. 

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

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

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



116 WILD BEASTS AND THEIR WAYS CHAP. 

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

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

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

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

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



vii THE TIGER 147 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The penetration was only an inch in depth. We washed the 



148 WILD BEASTS AXP THEIR WAYS CHAP. 

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

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

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

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

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

A few years ago there was a well-known tiger in the Mandla 



vii THE TIGER 149 

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

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

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

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



150 WILD BEASTS AND THEIR WAYS CHAP. 

seized the dummy driver from his seat upon the rearmost cart, and 
dragged the unresisting victim towards the jungle ! 

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

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

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

Although the tiger as a " man-eater " is a terrible scourge, and 
frequently inflicts incredible loss upon the population of a district, 
there are tigers in existence which would never attack a human 
being, although they exist upon the cattle of the villages, and have 
every opportunity of seizing women and children in their immediate 
neighbourhood. About nine years ago there was a well-known 
animal of this character at a place called Bhundra in the Jubbulpur 
district, which was supposed to have killed upwards of 500 of the 
natives' cattle. This was a peculiarly large tiger, but so harmless 
to man that he was regarded merely in the light of a cattle-lifter, 
and neither woman nor child dreaded its appearance. The natives 
assured me that during fourteen years it had been the common 
object of pursuit, both by officers, civilians, and by their own 
shikaris, but as the tiger was possessed by the devil it was quite 
impossible to destroy it. This possession by an evil spirit is a 
common belief, and in this instance the people spoke of it as a 
matter of course that admitted of no argument ; they assured me 
that the tiger was frequently met by the natives, and that it 
invariably passed them in a friendly manner without the slightest 
demonstration of hostility, but that it took away a cow or bullock 
in the most regular manner every fourth day. It varied its atten- 
tions, and having killed a few head of cattle belonging to one 
village, it would change the locality for a week or two, and take 



vii THE TIGER 151 

toll from those within a radius of four or five miles, always return- 
ing to the same haunts, and occupying or laying up in the same 
jungle. The great peculiarity of this particular tiger consisted in 
the extreme contempt for firearms : it exposed itself almost with- 
out exception when driven by a line of beaters, and when shot at 
it simply escaped, only to reappear upon the following day. I was 
informed that everybody that had gone after it had obtained a 
shot, but bullets were of no use against a devil, therefore it was 
always missed. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



152 WILD BEASTS AND THEIR WAYS CHAP. 

therefore lie had long since ceased to take the trouble. This was 
rather interesting, and added to the excitement. 

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

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

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

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

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

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



vii THE TIGER 153 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In the evening I pondered over the failure of Sheik Jhan, who 



154 WILD BEASTS AND TIIEIK WAYS CIIAP. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



vn THE TIGER 155 

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

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

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

Hardly had the sound impressed itself upon the ear, when a 
dull but heavy tread upon the brittle leaves which strewed the 
surface arrested my attention. This was repeated in so slow but 
regular a manner, that I felt sure it denoted the stealthy step of a 
tiger. I looked along the different nullahs, but could see nothing. 
The sound ceased for at least a minute, when once more the tread 
upon dead leaves decided me that the animal was somewhere not 
far distant. At this moment I raised my eyes from the nullahs 
in which he was expected, and I saw, through the intervening 
leafless mass of bushes upon the opposing slope, a dim outline of 
an enormous tiger, so indistinct that the figure resembled the 
fading appearance of a dissolving view. Slowly and stealthily the 
shadowy form advanced along the face of the slope, exactly cross- 
ing my line of sight. This was the " possessed of the devil " that 
had escaped during so many years, and I could not help thinking 
that many persons would risk the shot in its present position, 
when the bullet must cut through a hundred twigs before it could 
reach the mark, and thus would probably be deflected. The tiger 
was now about 40 yards distant, and although the bushes were all 
leafless, there was one exception, which lay in the direct path the 
tiger was taking, a little upon my right ; this was a very dense 
and large green bush called karoonda. Exactly to the right, upon 



158 WILD BEASTS AND THEIR WAYS CHAP. 

the edge of this opaque screen, there was an open sjmce about 9 
or 10 feet wide, where a large rotten tree had been blown down; 
and should the tiger continue its present course it would pass the 
karoonda biwh and cross over the clear opening. I resolved to 
wait ; therefore, resting my left elbow upon my knee, I covered 
the shoulder of the unconscious tiger, and followed it with the 
577 ritle carefully, resolved to exorcise the devil that had for so 
long protected it. 

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

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

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

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

As this animal had lived in luxury, it was immensely fat, and 



vii THE TIGER 157 

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

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

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

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



CHAPTER VIII 

THE LEOPARD (FELIS PARDUS AND LEOPARDUS) 

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

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

An examination of the skins of leopards from various portions 
of the globe exhibits a striking difference in colouring and quality 
of fur. We find the snow leopard, which inhabits the Himalayaha 
and other lofty mountain ranges, with a fur of great value, deep 
and exceedingly close, while the spots are not determined as 
distinct black, but are shaded off by gray. This species is gener- 
ally found on altitudes of from 8000 to 10,000 feet, or even higher. 
In Manchuria and the Corea there is a species which is unknown 
in India ; this is a large animal, with a peculiarly rich and deep 



CHAP, vin THE LEOPARD 159 

fur when killed daring winter ; the black spots are exceedingly 
large, and are formed in rings. A skin in my possession measures 
7 ft. 9 in. in length ; the tail is full, and the fur long ; this is 
unusually beautiful, and it must have inhabited some lofty altitude 
where the temperature was generally moderate. 

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

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

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

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

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



160 WILD BEASTS AND THEIR WAYS CHAP. 

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

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

It is far more difficult to circumvent a leopard than a tiger ; 
the latter seldom or never looks upwards to the trees, therefore it 
does not perceive the hidden danger when the hunter is watching 
from his elevated post ; but the leopard approaches its kill in the 
most wary and cautious manner, crouching occasionally, and 
examining every yard of the ground before it, at the same time 
scanning the overhanging boughs, which it so frequently seeks as 
a place of refuge. Upon many occasions, when the disappointed 
watcher imagines that the leopard has forsaken its kill, and that 
his patience will be unrewarded, the animal may be closely 
scanning him from the dense bush, imder cover of which it was 
noiselessly approaching. In such a case the leopard would retreat 
as silently as it had advanced, and the watcher would return home 
from a fruitless vigil, under the impression that the leopard had 
never been within a mile of his position. One of the cleverest 
birds in creation is the ordinary crow of all tropical countries, 
which lives well by the exercise of its wits ; nothing escapes the 
observation of this bird, and it is the first to discover the body of 



vin THE LEOPARD 161 

any animal that may have been killed. Should one or more of 
these birds be perched in the trees after sunset, near the carcase 
of an animal, and should it utter a " caw," when at that late hour 
it should have gone to roost, you may be assured that it has espied 
an approaching leopard, although it may be invisible to your own 
sight. The watcher should be careful not to move, but to redouble 
his vigilance in keeping a bright look-out, as the leopard will be 
equally upon its guard should it hear the cry of the warning 
crow. 

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

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

The rear of this trap should be partitioned with bamboo cross- 
bars to form a cage, in which either a goat or a village dog should 
be tied as a living bait. Leopards are particularly fond of dogs, 
and the advantage of such a bait during the night consists in the 
certainty that the dog, finding itself alone in a strange place, will 
howl or bark, and thereby attract the leopard. The partition 
must be made of sufficient strength to protect the animal from 
attack. Iii Africa the natives form a trap by supporting the fallen 
trunk of a large tree in such a manner that it falls upon the 
leopard as it passes beneath to reach the bait. This is very 
effective in crushing the animal, but it is exceedingly danger- 
ous, like all other African traps, as it would kill any person or 
other creature that should attempt to pass. Newera Ellia, the 

M 



102 WILD BEASTS AND THEIR WAYS CHAP. 

mountain sanatorium of Ceylon, was always well furnished with 
leopard -traps upon the i>ennancnt system, and the leopards, 
which were at one time a scourge of the neighbourhood, were 
considerably reduced. In 1846 I introduced English breeds of 
cattle and sheep, and started an agricultural settlement at that 
delightful mountain refuge from tropical heat ; but the leopard 
became our greatest enemy, and although the cattle were well 
housed at night, and carefully watched when at pasture during the 
day, our losses were severe. I observed a peculiarity in the attacks 
by leopards ; they seldom appeared upon a bright summer day, but 
during the rainy season, when the wind was howling across the 
plain, and driving the cold mist and rain, the cattle were off their 
guard, and generally turned their tails to the chilly blast. It was 
invariably during such weather that the leopards attacked. The 
watchman was probably wrapped in his blanket, wet, and shiver- 
ing beneath a tree, instead of remaining on the alert, and this 
auspicious moment was selected by the leopard for a successful 
stalk upon the unsuspecting herd. I have frequently lost both 
cows and sheep, that were attacked and killed in broad daylight, 
and the leopards were generally of sufficient strength to break the 
neck of a full-grown beast. It should be remembered that the 
native cattle are much smaller than those of Europe, and I do 
not think it would be possible for a leopard to dislocate the neck 
of any English cow. An example occurred when unfortunately a 
valuable Ayrshire cow was attacked, and the leopard completely 
failed in the usual dexterous wrench, but the throat was so 
mangled that the cow died within a few days, although the 
leopard was driven away by the watchman almost immediately 
upon its onset. 

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

A wound from either a tiger or a leopard should be thoroughly 
syringed with cold water mixed with ^-th part of carbolic acid, 
and this syringing process should be continued three times a day 
whenever the wound is dressed. Nothing should be done but to 



via THE LEOPARD 163 

wrap the wound with linen rag soaked in the same solution, and 
keep it continually wetted. 

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

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

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

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

Every resident in India is aware of the depredations committed 
by this pestilent class of the carnivora. Lions and tigers may be 
dangerous in the jungles in every country which they inhabit, but 
they never invade the actual premises ; it is exactly there where 



164 WILD BEASTS AND THEIR WAYS CHAP. 

the leopard is to be feared. Nothing is too small or too large for 
its attack ; from a fowl upon the roost to a cow in the pasturage, 
all that belongs to the domestic stock is fair game for the wily 
leopard. 

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

On another occasion a dog named Matchless, a cross between 
foxhound and pointer, was seized by a leopard in open day when, 
together with a pack of hounds, walking through a jungle-path at 
Dimbola, not far from Newera Ellia. The leopard sprang suddenly 
from a tree, and, seizing the dog, immediately ascended, and took 
refuge among the boughs with the hound suspended in its mouth. 
The entire pack bayed the audacious enemy ; it then dropped the 
dog and jumped from tree to tree, followed beneath by the excited 
hounds. At length the leopard reached a large tree, which was 
sufficiently isolated to prevent it from springing to any adjoining 
branches. In this position it was surrounded, and became the 
central object, where it remained snarling at the infuriated pack. 
The party of hunters now commeHced a bombardment with stones, 
and a lucky hit induced the leopard to either jump or fall into the 



viii THE LEOPARD 165 

middle of the hounds. There was an exceedingly large dog named 
Pirate, a cross between mastiff and bloodhound ; he immediately 
seized the leopard, and a general fight ensued, the whole pack 
supporting Pirate in his attack. Captain E. Palliser, late 7th 
Hussars, quickly thrust his hunting-knife under the shoulder, and 
in a few minutes the hounds were worrying a dead leopard. 

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

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



160 WILD BEASTS AND THEIR WAYS CHAP. 

his propensity for a stand-up fight, with results which we never 
could discover ; probably the leopard had been glad to retire 
honourably from the uncertain conflict. This grand dog was 
ultimately killed in a fight with an immense boar, and his name 
will reappear in connection with the sambur deer, misnamed the 
" elk," throughout Ceylon. 

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

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

In every country the natives are unanimous in declaring that 
the leopard is more dangerous than the lion or tiger, and I quite 
agree in their theory that when any dangerous animal is met with, 
the traveller should endeavour to avoid its direct gaze. It is an 
error to suppose that the steady look from the human eye will 



vin THE LEOPARD 167 

affect an animal by a superior power, and thereby exert a subduing 
influence ; on the contrary, I believe that the mere fact of this 
concentration of a fixed stare upon the responding eyes of a savage 
animal will increase its rage and incite attack. If an animal sees 
you, and it imagines that it is itself unobserved, it will frequently 
pass by, or otherwise retreat, as it believes that it is unseen, and 
therefore it has no immediate dread ; but if it is convinced that 
you mean mischief, by staring it out of countenance, it will in all 
probability take the initiative and forestall the anticipated attack. 

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

I have already remarked upon the wide difference in the size of 
leopards, showing that the largest, which are sometimes known as 
panthers, are almost equal to a small tigress. Some of this class 
possess extraordinary power, in carrying a heavy weight within 
their jaws. At a place called Soonbarro, in the Jubbulpur dis- 
trict, we were camped upon a large open space entirely devoid of 
bush. The ground was free from grass, and dusty, therefore the 
surface would expose every track. Three full-grown sheep were 



108 WILD BEASTS AND THEIR WAYS CHAP. 

tied to the cook's tent, well secured to a strong peg. In the 
morning only two remained, but the large tracks of a leopard or 
l>anthcr were deeply printed in the dust, and the sheep had been 
carried off bodily, as a big dog would carry a hare. The jungle 
at the base of a range of hills, almost perpendicular and full of 
eaves, was the great resort of leopards, bears, and jackals ; the 
sheep had l>een actually carried quite half a mile without leaving 
a trace upon the ground to show that it had been partially dragged, 
or that the leopard had stopped to rest. This was an admirable 
proof of a great carrying power, as nothing could have moved upon 
that dusty surface without leaving a well-printed trace. 

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

The Felis julata is totally different in shape from all other 
leopards. Instead of being low and long, with short but massive 
legs, it stands extremely high ; the neck is long, the head small, the 
eyes large and piercing ; the legs are long, and the body light. The 
tail is extremely long, and thick ; this appears to assist it when 
turning sharply at full speed. The black spots upon the skin are 
very numerous, and are simply small dots of extreme black, with- 
out a resemblance of rings. It is generally admitted that the 



vin THE LEOPARD 169 

hunting leopard is the fastest animal in the world, as it can over- 
take upon open ground the well-known black-buck, which surpasses 
in speed the highest bred English greyhound. I have never had 
experience of this animal in a wild state ; those I have known were 
as gentle as dogs. It is a common mistake to suppose that they 
invariably approach their game by a stealthy stalk, followed by a 
few tremendous bounds, only to slink back if disgraced by defeat. 
I have seen them run a long course in the open, exactly like a grey- 
hound, although the pace and action have resembled the long swing- 
ing gallop of a monkey. The nature of this beautiful creature is 
entirely opposed to the cat-like crouching tactics of the ordinary 
leopard : its large and prominent eyes embrace a wide field of view ; 
the length of neck and legs, combined with the erect attitude of the 
head, denotes the character of the animal, as it includes a vast 
distance in its gaze, showing that it seeks its game upon a wide 
expanse of plain, instead of surprising the prey by an unexpected 
and treacherous attack. This is the only species that is a useful 
companion to man when engaged in field sports ; and the native 
princes of India have from time immemorial been accustomed to 
train the Felis jubata for hunting deer and antelopes, precisely as 
European nations have adopted the greyhound for the coursing of 
hares. 

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



170 WILD BEASTS AND THEIR WAYS CHAP. 

now perfectly dry, and exposed a largo plain, like an open race- 
course, upon which the young grass was about 2 inches high. In 
the neighbourhood of this plain there were a few low hills covered 
with sparse jungle, and for several miles around, the flat surface 
was more or less overgrown with bush, interspersed with patches 
of cultivation. 

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

In the meantime the falconers had been galloping at full speed 
around the lake, towards the spot upon which they had expected 
the birds to fall. The falcon was very savage, and it continued to 
tear the neck of the heron even when captured by the men. This 
was a cruel exhibition, as the head falconer, having taken possession 
of the birds, brought them to be admired, the heron being still 
alive, while the peregrine was tearing at its bleeding neck. He 
appeared surprised that I insisted upon its being killed, and he at 



viri THE LEOPARD 171 

once replaced the hood upon the falcon and prepared for another 
flight. He explained the reason for the peculiar behaviour of the 
falcon in taking a different direction from its game ; it was afraid 
of the water beneath, into which both birds must have fallen had 
the heron been struck before it had cleared the surface ; it had 
therefore attained a high altitude in a different direction, from 
which it could swoop obliquely when the lake no longer lay beneath 
them. This man was a high authority, and he assured me that 
many well-trained falcons would decline to strike a bird when flying 
across water, as they thoroughly understood the danger. 

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

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

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



172 WILD BEASTS AND THEIR WAYS CHAP. 

We now observed that the cheetah not only slackened its pace, but 
it crept cautiously forward, as though looking for the lost game. 

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

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

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

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

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

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



mi THE LEOPARD 173 

as we had not been observed while advancing through the 
scattered bush. 

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

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

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

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

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

We started. There was hardly a bush upon the wide expanse 



171 WILD BEASTS AND THEIR WAYS CIIAP. 

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

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

We reached a position within about 120 yards before the two 
fools observed us. They at once left off fighting, and having 



viii THE LEOPARD 175 

regarded us in astonishment for half a second, one dashed off to 
the left, and the other to the right, across the open plain devoid of 
bush, or nits, or any obstacle to the highest speed. 

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

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

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

The course run was about 600 yards, and it was worth a 
special voyage to India only to see that hunt. The cheetah was 
panting to an extent that made it difficult to retain its hold. 
There were a few drops of blood issuing from a prick through the 
skin of the right haunch, where the cheetah's nails had inflicted a 
trifling wound when it delivered the usual telling blow of the fore 
paw, that felled the buck to the ground when going at full speed ; 
beyond this there was no blood, until the keeper cut the throat in 
the customary manner, and the cheetah, much exhausted, was led 



176 WILD BEASTS AND THEIR WAYS CHAP, vui 

to its cage. This wits a very exceptional hunt, and a friend who 
was present declared he had never seen anything to equal it, 
although he had been all his life in India, 

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

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

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

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





] 




CHAPTER IX 

THE LION (FELIS LEO) 

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

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

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

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

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

The Indian species is considerably smaller than the African 
variety, and the mane is seldom so dark in colour, or 80 shaggy. 

I have never seen any lion in confinement that conveys the 

N 



178 WILD BEASTS AND THEIR WAYS CHAP. 

same expression of bulk and massive strength as the wild animal. 
It would be difficult to compare the relative power of a lion with 
that of a tiger, as the animals differ in form and muscular develop- 
ment. I have never weighed a lion, but I feel convinced that a 
fine specimen would be heavier than an equally well-selected 
example of a tiger, as the former is immensely massive, especially 
about the chest and shoulders. The head and neck are larger, 
although, when boiled and cleaned, the skull does not exceed in 
size that of an ordinary tiger. It may l>e safely stated that a lion 
which measures 1) ft. 8 inches in length would weigh heavier than 
a tiger of the same dimensions. I have already described that 
the tiger when springing to the attack does not strike a crushing 
blow, but merely seizes with its claws. A lion, on the contrary, 
strikes with terrible strength, at the same time that it fixes its 
claws upon its victim. The force of this blow is terrific, and 
many a man has been killed outright as though struck with a 
sledge-hammer. An instance of this fatal onset deprived me of a 
most intelligent and excellent German, with whom I was associated 
during a hunting season in the Soudan. 

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

Although Florian was clever with both head and hands, he was 
a bad shot ; his guns were of a common and dangerous descrip- 
tion, one of which burst, and blew his left thumb and forefinger 
off. After his recovery from this accident he still excelled in 
work, but he was exceedingly clumsy with his weapons, which 



ix THE LION 179 

were always going off by accident. Upon several occasions these 
unintentional explosions took place so close to my own head that 
I suggested it would be safer should he adopt solitary rambles 
instead of shooting in company. 

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

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

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

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

If that had been the attack of a tiger, the skull would not have 



180 WILD BEASTS AND THEIR WAYS CHAP. 

been injured, although the sculp would have been badly lacerated, 
and death would have been occasioned by the grip of the jaws 
upon the neck, not by the blow. 

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

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

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

Monsieur Lafargue held a deservedly high position among all 



ix THE LION 181 

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

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

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

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

The steamer was now run alongside the bank, and Monsieur 
Lafargue, with a number of men, quickly went ashore. Both the 
Tokroori and the lion were quite dead. The bullet had struck 
the animal in the chest, and had passed through the heart. The 
Tokroori's arm was hanging from the hip ! It had not only been 
completely dislocated at the shoulder by the blow, but it had been 
torn or struck downwards with such extreme force that the flesh 
had been entirely stripped off the ribs and the side ; the arm at 
the extremity of this ruin was dangling upon the ground, hanging 
only to the hip by the flesh attached. The Tokroori had been 
killed on the spot by the shock to the system. This was a re- 
markable example of force. On the other hand, although the lion 



182 WILD BEASTS AND THEIR WAYS CHAP. 

frequently uses this dreadful ]>ower of striking when in full charge, 
there are many cases when the animal seizes simply with teeth 
and claws, like a tiger or others of the race. 1 

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

Three lions were engaged in a life-and-death combat with the 
gallant old bull, who made a desperate defence, first knocking over 
one of his enemies, then boring another to the ground, and ex- 
hibiting a strength which appeared sufficient to defeat the com- 

1 A tiger possesses the power to deliver a tremendous blow, but it seldom 
exercises this force. 



rx THE LION 183 

bination. Suddenly the buffalo fell dead ; this was the result of 
the original wound, as the rifle bullet had passed through the 
lungs. 

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

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

The giraffe had no chance ; and after a sharp struggle before 
the eyes of the well-concealed spectator, it was pulled down, and 
both lions commenced to growl over their contested prey. The 
position upon a perpendicular bank being thoroughly secure, 



184 WILD BEASTS AND THEIR WAYS CHAP. 

Johunn took a steady shot, and rolled one lion over, close to the 
dying giraffe ; the other looked round for a moment, and sprang 
up the bank uj>on the opposite side of the river, but this, being 
perpendicular, was too high to permit of a direct retreat ; a bullet 
from the remaining barrel struck it through the back, and 
paralysed the hind-quarters. The animal fell backwards upon the 
sandy surface of the river, and rolled over helplessly, as the hind 
legs had lost all power. This gave Johann time to reload, and, 
seeing that the lion was completely at his mercy, he descended 
into the river's bed and put a bullet through its head. 

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

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

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

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



ix THE LION 185 

beast, and knowing that the dense covert of nabbuk (Rhamnus 
Lotus) close by was a great resort of lions, I determined to leave 
the carcase for the night in the spot where it was then lying. 

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

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

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

After a few yards the tunnel became much narrowed, and was 
hardly more than 3 feet 6 inches in height. The bush (evergreen) 
was so dense that it was very dark, and I could not see any tracks 
of lions upon the ground over which I crept ; cautiously advancing, 
with both barrels upon full cock. About 70 yards had been 
passed in this manner when I distinctly smelt the heavy odour of 
raw flesh and offal. I looked behind me, and my two men were 
keeping well together. There could be no doubt that the carcase 
of the buffalo was not far off, and it was highly probable that the 
lions would be in forcible possession. We crept forward with 
extreme caution. The faint and disagreeable smell increased, and 
was almost insupportable. I presently heard the cracking of a 
bone, and there could be no doubt that the lions were close at 
hand. I once more looked round to see if my men were coming 
on : they were both close up. We crept noiselessly forward for a 
few yards, and suddenly a dark object appeared to block the 
tunnel ; in another moment I distinguished the grand head and 



186 WILD BEASTS AND THEIR WAYS CHAP. 

dark inane of a noble lion on the other side of a mass which proved 
to be the remains of the bull buffalo ; another head, of a lioness, 
arose upon the right, and at the same, instant, with a tremendous 
roar, the scene changed before I had time to fire. We were alone 
with the remains of the buffalo, and I believe three lions had 
decamped, never to bo seen again in the obscurity of the dense 
green nabbuk. We were actually in possession, having driven the 
lions from their prey, simply by our cautious advance, without a 
shot. 

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

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

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

I was strolling in search of food, with a particular two-grooved 
single riHc No. 14 which was extremely accurate. Having shot a 
nellut (.1. Strepsiceros), the animal was fixed upon a camel and 
immediately forwarded to camp, towards which I advanced by 
a circuitous direction in the expectation of finding other game. 
The country was perfectly flat in the vicinity of the river, and 
although much covered with dense bush, it was interspersed with 
numerous small glades, covered with parched herbage 2 or 3 feet 
in height. A few Tokrooris accompanied me witli spare rifles (all 
muzzle-loaders, as the breech action had not been introduced in 
those days), and I was leading the way, occasionally breaking 
through the intervening bush, with as little noise as possible. 



rx THE LION 187 

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

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

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

The fires were blazing after sunset ; the horses of my Hamrau 
hunters, and my own, were picqueted within the centre of our 
enclosure, near the tent, and we were about to retire for the night, 
when a deep guttural sigh was heard close to the high and 
impervious fence of kittur thorns. This had been carefully 
constructed, as life was most uncertain within that questionable 
district, where the Arab hunting parties invariably killed all natives 
of the crafty Base tribe whenever met, and they incurred a similar 
retaliation. The fence was made of entire trees cut off near the 



188 WILD BEASTS AND THEIR WAYS CHAP. 

roots, anil then dragged by the steins into line, with their wide- 
spreading heads of sharp hooked thorns forming the outside surface ; 
these were locked together by their hooks, entangled, and nothing 
could possibly have broken through, except an elephant or rhinoceros. 

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

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

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

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

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



ix THE LION 189 

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

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

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

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

We were within half a mile of the camp, and I was pushing 
my way through some dwarf green nabbuk about 5 feet high, 
when, upon breaking into a small open glade, a large lion with a 
dark shaggy mane started to its feet from the spot where it had 
been lying, probably half asleep. I instantly fired, before it had 
time to bound into the thick jungle, and with tremendous roars it 
rolled over beneath the dense nabbuk bushes, where at this late 
hour the shade was almost dark. As quick as possible I fired a 
second shot, as it was rolling over and over, with extraordinary 
struggles, and it disappeared in the almost impervious bush, drag- 
ging its hind legs in such a manner that I felt sure the spine was 



190 WILD 11EA8T3 AND THEIR WAYS CFIAP. 

broken by the bullet. It wus so dark that we could not discern 
the figure of the animal beneath the thorns, although it was only 
a few^ feet distant Having reloaded, I hardly knew what course 
to pursue : we had no means of driving the lion from the bush, I 
therefore examined the ground, and we discovered that the nabbuk 
into which it had retreated was simply an isolated clump, sur- 
rounded by narrow glades of sandy turf. From this asylum I felt 
sure it could not move, and although it would have been more 
heroic to have crept into the dark cover and have given it a 
quietus, or more probably to have received it myself, we came to 
the wise conclusion that if the lion could not move, it would be 
there on the following morning, when we should have daylight in 
our favour. 

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

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

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



ix THE LION 191 

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

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

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

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

I once saw a wounded lion decline a challenge from a single 
hunter. It is possible that a tiger might have behaved in the 
same manner, but it would be dangerous to allow the opportunity. 
I had taken a stroll in the hope of obtaining a shot at large ante- 
lopes, to procure flesh for camp, and I was attended by only one 
Arab, a Hamran hunter armed with his customary sword and 
shield. Having a peculiar confidence in the accuracy of a two- 
grooved single rifle of small bore, I took no other, and we walked 



192 WILD BEASTS AND THEIR WAYS CHAP. 

cautiously through the jungle, expecting to meet Borne animal that 
would supply the necessary food. We had not walked half a mile 
when we emerged upon a narrow glade about 80 yards in length, 
surrounded by thick bush. At one end of this secluded and shady 
spot an immense lion was lying asleep upon the ground, about 70 
yards distant, on the verge of the dense nabbuk. 

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

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

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

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



ix THE LION 193 

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

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

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

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

The lion is never specially sought for by the natives of Central 

o 



194 WILD BEASTS AND THEIR WAYS CHAP. 

Africa, but should he be met with in their ordinary hunting ex- 
peditions, he takes his chance like all other animals, and is attacked 
either with arrows or the spear. 

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

The natives recovered their spears, while we all reloaded, and 



ix THE LION 195 

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

It was impossible to carry this animal, we therefore skinned it, 
and upon opening the stomach we found the sections of a fawn 
antelope ; these when placed in position showed the entire animal, 
which she must have eaten a few hours previously. This was so 
fresh that my natives immediately made a fire and roasted the 
meat, which they ate with great enjoyment as a feast of victory. 1 

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

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

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

1 We measured this lioness carefully with a piece of string ; she was 9 feet 
6 inches from nose to tip of tail. 



CHAPTER X 

THE BEAK (UBSUS) 

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

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

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

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

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



CHAP, x THE BEAR 197 

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

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

Although many varieties of bears are tree-climbers, there are 
others which are contented with the ground, and which could not 
ascend a tree even should they be tempted by its fruit. The grizzly 
bear (Ursus ferox) belongs to this class, and his enormous weight 
would at any time necessitate especial care when experimenting 
upon the strength of boughs. I do not believe that any person 
has actually weighed a grizzly, but an approximate idea may be 
obtained through a comparison with the polar bear (Ursus mari- 
timus), which is somewhat equal in size, probably superior. When 



198 WILD BEASTS AND THEIR WAYS CHAP. 

I was in California, experienced informants assured me that no 
true grizzly bear was to be found east of the Pacific slope, and 
that Lord Coke was the only Britisher who had ever killed a real 
grizzly in California, There are numerous bears of three if not 
four varieties in the Rocky Mountains, and these are frequently 
termed grizzlies, as a misnomer ; but the true grizzly is far 
superior in size, although similar in habits, and his weight varies 
from 1200 to MOO Ibs. 

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

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

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

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



x THE BEAR 199 

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

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

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

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

Asia Minor and Syria possess two distinct varieties of bears, 
although the countries are closely connected, and these animals are 
not inhabitants of the same district. The Syrian bear is smaller 
than the ordinary brown bear, and would hardly exceed 300 Ibs. 
in weight. The fur is a mixed and disagreeable colour, a dusky 
gray of somewhat rusty appearance, but blanched in portions as 
though by age. This species is to be found at the present day 



200 WILD BEASTS AND THEIR WAYS CRAP. 

upon Mount Horeb, and the natives assured me that, when the 
grapes are rijw, it is necessary to protect them by watchers armed 
with guns, to scare the bears during night. 

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

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

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

It is impossible to unravel many of the mysteries of Nature, 
and the cause which prompts the instinct of a winter's sleep will 
always remain doubtful. I should myself attribute hybernation to 
the necessity of repose at a period when food was impossible to 
procure. The body can exist for an incredible length of time, 
provided that it is capable of undisturbed rest, which appears in a 
certain degree to take the place of extraneous nutriment. It is 
well known that every exertion of the muscles is a loss of power, 
the force of the body being represented by heat. To lift a weight 
or to move a limb requires a certain expenditure of heat, which 
means force ; this loss of heat and power is recuperated by food ; 
thus in the absence of provisions for the necessary supply, there 
would be no loss of heat if there is no exertion. Sleep is the 
resource, as the body is not only at rest, but the brain is also 
tranquil ; there is accordingly a minimum of exhaustion. Human 
beings have been known to live without food of any kind (excepting 
water) for a period of forty days, and have then resumed their 



x THE BEAR 201 

ordinary course, simply confining themselves to moderate diet for 
the first few days after their long abstinence. In a time of 
starvation in Africa I have frequently composed myself to sleep 
in the absence of my daily food, and I have awoke without any 
disagreeable craving for a meal. Continued sleep will to a certain 
extent render the body independent of other nutriment, and I 
should imagine that the custom of hybernation has been induced 
by necessity. At a season when the fruits of the earth are 
exhausted, the ground frozen to a degree that would render 
scratching for roots impossible, an animal that was dependent upon 
such productions for its existence must either starve or sleep. The 
sleep is in itself a first stage of the process of starvation. The 
creature that can sleep through an existence of four months 
without food, and lose the whole of its fat during that interval of 
inaction, has already lost all that supported life during the period 
of total abstinence the fat, or carbon. If it were to begin 
another turn of sleep in its exhausted state, it would be unable to 
support its existence. 

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

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

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

There is no doubt that all the American bears will eat flesh 
whenever they can obtain it, although they do not pursue animals 
as objects for food. The usual custom in bear-shooting is to kill a 



202 WILD BEASTS AND THEIR WAYS CHAP. 

black-tail deer and to leave the body untouched. If this course is 
pursued throughout the day, three or four deer may have been shot 
in various localities, and these will lie as baits for the bears. 

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

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

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



x THE BEAR 203 

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

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

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

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

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

We had only four men, all told my hunter Jem Bourne, the 



204 WILD BEASTS AND THEIR WAYS CHAP. 

cook Henry (a German), Texas Bill, who was a splendid young 
fellow, and Gaylord. 

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

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

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

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

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



x THE BEAR 205 

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

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

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

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

At length, after a pursuit of some hours, upon attaining the 



206 WILD BEASTS AND THEIR WAYS CHAP. 

summit of u broad eminence, Big Bill's eyes were gladdened by the 
sight of some distant objects moving upon the horizon, and he at 
once redoubled his speed. 

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

In the meantime, Big Bill was coming up at a gallop ; he was 
boiling with indignation at the treacherous conduct of his uninvited 
guest ; and being fully alive to the manners and customs of the 
West, he placed his Sharp rifle upon full-cock to be in readiness 
for an explanation. 

A few minutes sufficed to shorten the distance to 100 yards, 
when the astonished horse-stealer was surprised by the sound of 
hoofs upon the stony soil, and, turning round, he was almost 
immediately confronted with the threatening figure of Big Bill. 
The dialogue which ensued has not been historically described ; 
there was none of the bombast that generally preceded the combats 
of Grecian heroes ; but it appears that the horse-stealer's right hand 
instinctively grasped the handle of his revolver, not unseen by the 
vigilant eyes of Big Bill, who with praiseworthy decision sent 
a bullet through his adversary's chest from the already prepared 
Sharp '450 ; leaving the lifeless body where it fell, he not only 
recovered all his stolen animals, but also possessed himself of the 
horse and saddle which only recently belonged to the prairie 
horse-stealer without a name. 

The gigantic Swede returned to his solitary camp, well satisfied 
with his morning's work, as he had gained instead of lost, and 
he had saved the State of Wyoming the expense and trouble of 
hanging a man for a crime which is supposed to deserve no mercy, 
that of "horse-stealing." 

Of course this instance of determination and extreme vigilance 
gained for Big Bill the admiration of the extremely limited number 
of people who would be called " the public " in the outlying portions 
of Wyoming ; but although contented with himself, Big Bill was 
always suspicious of a solitary stranger, as he had an undefined 
idea that some relative of the defunct horse-stealer might draw a 
trigger upon him unawares. It was this redoubtable Big Bill who 
now confided to me that he had been running away from some 
monster grizzly bear only on the preceding day. He pointed out 
the spot, as nearly as possible, from where we stood during his 
narrative. "There," he said, "do you see that low rocky cliff on 



x THE BEAR 207 

the tip top of the hill just above us ? That was the place just 
beneath, on that little terrace-like projection with a few spruce firs 
upon it. There's a steep but not a difficult way down by the side 
of that cliff, and when young Edmund and I got down upon that 
terrace, there were a lot of big rocks lying about, and all of a 
sudden one of 'em stood up on end within 10 yards of me, and sat 
up regularly smiling at me, with the most innocent and amiable 
expression of countenance I ever saw. That was the biggest 
grizzly bear I ever came across ; he was as big as the biggest bull 
I ever saw in the ranche, and there he was, sitting up on end like 
a dog, and almost laughing. There was no laugh in me, I can tell 
you ; I just lost no time, but turned round, and hooked it ; and I 
don't think I ever ran so fast in all my life." 

"But why did you not shoot him 1 ?" I exclaimed with astonish- 
ment. " Shoot him 1 Oh yes, that's very likely, when he wasn't 
farther than 10 yards off, and I should have had such a poor 
start, and no place to run to ! No, I knew better than that, with 
a single-barrel Sharp '450. If I had had your double-barrel '577, 
with a big solid bullet, and 6 drams of powder, I shouldn't have 
run away ; but I go hunting for skins with my little Sharp, and I 
don't want a grizzly to go hunting for my skin ; not if I know it. 
I've left him for you, and d'ye see, if you go up there this morning, 
there's some snow about, and you'll likely come across his tracks. 
If you do, you'll be astonished, I can tell you." 

Ten minutes after this discourse, I was on my way up the 
mountain side in the hope of meeting this extraordinary bear. 

Upon arrival at the summit, there was a splendid view of the 
main range of the Eocky Mountains, about 70 miles distant, across 
a desolate region some 4000 feet below the point upon which we 
stood. There was a little snow, but only in patches on the moun- 
tain top, and, when near the terrace upon which Big Bill had had 
his interview with the bear, we certainly discovered an enormous 
track, the largest that I have ever seen. 

We attempted to follow this for some hours, but to no purpose ; 
on several occasions I could have taken deadly shots at black-tail 
deer and wapiti, but I determined to reserve my bullet for the big 
game, the object of our pursuit. The day passed away in failure. 
The next day was equally disappointing ; from morning to sunset 
I fagged over the summits and the spruce fir sides of the moun- 
tains, without a trace of the big bear. We passed the old traces 
that we had seen the previous day upon the snow, but they were 
still more indistinct, and there was nothing fresh. I was de- 
termined, if possible, to find this bear, therefore I devoted a third 



208 WILD BEASTS AND TI1EIR WAYS CHAP. 

day to the pursuit, discarding all other game. On the third 
morning I started with Texas Bill and Jem Bourne, all mounted, 
and \vc rode by a circuitous route to the summit of the hill above 
the valley of our camp. The snow had melted in most places, 
leaving jMily small half-thawed patches. We had so thoroughly 
explored the entire hillside for a distance of several miles during 
the last two days, that I arranged a beat on the other side of the 
mountain, upon the northern slope, facing the far-distant Rocky 
Mountains. 

There were no spruce forests upon this side, but the long incline 
was merely a sheet of rough prairie grass about 18 inches high, 
intersected by deep ravines, filled with dwarf cotton-wood trees, 
resembling the silver-barked black poplar. These trees grew about 
25 feet high, and as thick as a man's arm, but so close together 
that it was difficult to force a way through on horseback. 

There were many isolated patches of this covert in various places 
upon the face of this northern slope, all of which were likely to 
harbour bears or other game. My eye caught instinctively a long 
dark ravine which cut the mountain from top to base, extending 
several miles ; this was intersected about a mile and a half from 
the summit by a smaller ravine, also springing from the drainage 
of the highest ridge, and at the point of junction the two formed 
a letter Y, the tail continuing, widened by the increased flow of 
water. There was at this season a very slight stream about an 
inch in depth, which resulted from the melting of the small amount 
of snow upon the heights. 

There could not be a more likely place for bears, and I in- 
structed my two men to ride to the bottom of the ravine, and to 
force their horses through the thornless thicket, making no other 
noise, but occasionally to tap the stems of trees with the handles 
of their whips. 

I dismounted, and my well-trained horse followed close behind 
me down the steep hillside, exactly on the border of the ravine. 
This was not more than 80 yards across ; thus I could command 
both sides should a bear break covert, when disturbed by my two 
beaters ; there could not have been a more favourable locality. 

My men were thoroughly experienced, and the noise made by 
the horses in struggling over stones and in rustling through the 
cotton-wood trees was quite sufficient to disturb any animals that 
might have been there ; accordingly they seldom tapped the tree- 
stems. 

Black-tail deer were very plentiful ; these were about the size of 
an ordinary fallow-deer, and they were extremely fat and delicious 



x THE BEAR 209 

venison ; but their horns were still in velvet, and would not be 
clean until October. I could have shot several of these animals ; 
but I was full of good resolutions to resist all temptation, and to 
restrict my shooting to the long-sought bear. 

We had followed the course of the ravine for about a mile, when 
I suddenly heard a tremendous rush among the cotton trees beneath 
me on the right, followed by excited shouts " Look out ! look 
out ! A bear ! a bear ! " 

I halted immediately, and in a few seconds three splendid 
wapiti stags broke covert about 100 yards before me, and at full 
gallop passed across the open ground by which I was descending. 
My good resolutions crowded upon me as I instinctively aimed at 
the stag with the finest head, and I resisted the temptation nobly 
until they were nearly out of sight, passing down a hollow on my 
left about 150 yards distant. Somehow or other I pulled the 
trigger ; a cloud of dust suddenly arose from the spot where the 
three stags had disappeared, and I felt sure that the wapiti was 
down. 

At the sound of the shot my men struggled up the steep ascent 
and joined me. " Why did you shout ' A bear ! a bear ! ' 1 " I 
asked. " It was a bear, wasn't it ? I saw a great brown rump 
for a moment, and I thought it was the bear." "No bear at all," 
I answered, " and I have been fool enough to shoot at a wapiti. 
... I think you will find it just in the hollow beneath the ridge." 

The men rode to the spot, and sure enough a magnificent stag 
was lying dead, shot through the shoulder. A wapiti stag weighs 
about 900 Ibs. when fat in August and September. The fat upon 
the brisket of this animal was 5 inches thick, and that upon the 
rump and loins was nearly 3 inches. We cut this off in one com- 
plete piece, and when cold, within half an hour it stood up like a 
cuirass. This was one of the finest that I ever saw, and we took 
the trouble to cut up all the choicest joints, and concealed them in 
the branches of a species of yew that was growing upon the edge 
of the ravine. The delay from my folly in taking this shot exceeded 
an hour, but the head of the stag was a handsome specimen, and 
we placed it upon a large boulder of rock, to be sent for upon a 
future occasion. 

We again recommenced our search, comforting ourselves with 
the reflection that "if the bear was in the ravine, the report of 
the shot would not affect it ; and if it was not in the ravine, it 
would not matter." 

As we continued the descent of the mountain slope, the ravine 
grew wider, and it was now quite 100 yards across ; this would 

P 



210 WILD BEASTS AND THEIR WAYS CHAP. 

increase the probability of finding game, as there was a larger area 
of covert at the bottom. I was walking carefully in front of my 
horse, when, without any alarm given by my men from the bottom 
of the ravine, my attention was attracted by a rushing sound in 
the dense cotton trees, and I observed several that were in the 
thickest part shaking in an extraordinary manner, as though an 
elephant or a rhinoceros was rubbing itself against the stems. 

I ran forward towards the spot, and within 15 paces of me I 
saw a wapiti stag caught by the horns; these were completely 
entangled among the stems of the thickly growing trees, and the 
splendid beast was taken prisoner. I could only see occasionally 
a portion of the horns, and then, as it struggled to escape, I caught 
sight for a moment of a head and neck sufficient to prove that it 
was a very splendid beast, with beautiful spreading antlers. The 
animal was almost within my grasp, and I could have shot it with 
a pistol ; but my good resolutions stood firm ; I refused the shot, 
as we had meat of the finest quality that would keep for a week, 
and to kill another wapiti would be mere waste of life. In a 
couple of minutes occupied with this humane reflection, yet sorely 
tempted to take the shot, the stag broke loose, and I heard it 
crashing full speed down the ravine, and my men shouting loudly 
that I should "look out!" 

Hardly two minutes elapsed before I saw, at about 300 yards' 
distance, the most magnificent stag that I have ever seen. This 
splendid beast issued from the ravine, and exhibited a pair of 
antlers that, large as the animal was, appeared quite dispro- 
portioned to its size. They resembled the wintry appearance of a 
large branch from an oak tree, and this was the prize which I 
could not distinctly see when entangled in the cotton-wood, within 
my grasp. This noble stag descended the mountain side at full 
speed, and I watched it with longing eyes until it was completely 
out of sight, fully determined that I would never indulge in good 
resolutions again, that humanity was humbug, philanthropy puerile, 
and that the rule of success depended upon the principle "Never 
lose an opportunity." 

I was fairly disgusted with myself, and calling my men, I 
described to them the magnificence of my lost stag. Instead of 
consolation they said, " Well, if you're come all this way to shoot, 
and you won't shoot, I don't quite see the use of your coming." 
That was all I received as a reward for having spared an animal's 
life which I did not wish to sacrifice wantonly. 

" All right ; go back and drive the covert to the end ; you may 
depend upon it I'll take the next shot, whatever it may be." The 



x THE BEAR 211 

men rode down the steep sides of the ravine, and we recommenced 
our beat. 

Nothing moved for some time, and I mounted my horse as we 
were approaching the junction of the smaller ravine on my left, 
which formed the letter Y- I was about 100 yards ahead of my 
two men, and I descended into the stony depression, crossed the 
little stream, and ascended the opposite side with some little 
difficulty, as it was extremely steep, and, together with my 12 Ib. 
rifle, cartridges, and a 26 Ib. Mexican saddle, I rode about 18 
stone. We reached the top, from which I could look down into 
the larger ravine on my right, and the lesser on my left, but a 
number of large rocks, 3 or 4 feet in height, and others of smaller 
size, made it difficult for my horse to thread his way. Just at this 
moment I heard the report of a revolver and shouts in high 
excitement "The bear! the bear!" Before I had time to 
dismount in the awkward position among the rocks, I saw a large 
bear within two yards of me, as he had run at full speed up the 
steep bank from the bottom of the ravine without having observed 
me, owing to the rocks; he therefore passed close to my horse 
upon the other side, only separated from us by the large rock 
between. In an instant the bear, having seen the horse, turned to 
the left, and dashed down hill into the smaller ravine which I had 
just crossed. I jumped off my horse, and ran along the edge, 
ready to take a shot the moment that I could obtain a clear view 
of the bear, which I could see indistinctly as it ran along the 
bottom of the channel, in which was the trickling stream. As I 
followed, always keeping the animal within view, I felt certain 
that it would presently forsake this narrow gully, and would cut 
across the open to regain the large ravine from which it had been 
dislodged. I therefore raised the 150 yards sight as I ran along 
the edge, to be in readiness should it try the open. The bear kept 
me running at my best to keep it in sight, and I was just beginning 
to think it advisable to fire through the intervening bushes, when, 
as I had expected, it suddenly turned to the left, ran up the bank 
with extreme activity, and appeared upon the steep open grass-laud, 
with the intention of cutting across to the larger hiding-place. 
This was a splendid chance, as the dark colour of the bear looked 
well upon the yellow grass. I made a most satisfactory shot with 
the '577 at 150 yards, the bullet passing through the kidneys, 
and the bear rolled over and over the whole way down the steep 
grassy hill, until stopped by the thick bushes, which alone prevented 
it from rolling into the streamlet at the bottom. 

My two men came galloping up, and shortly dismounted, and 



212 WILD BEASTS AND THEIR WAYS CHAP. 

we all descended to the place where the bear was lying, almost 
dead. In fact, it died while we were standing over it. 

" Well done ; that was a fine shot, and we've got the grizzly 
bear at last," exclaimed Jem Bourne. "27tebear? This is not 
the bear that Big Bill ran from," I replied ; " impossible, this is a 
silver-tip, and not a true grizzly." The argument that ensued 
over the carcase of that bear was quite enough to make me an 
unbeliever in the ordinary accounts of native hunters. I calcu- 
lated that the body weighed about 600 Ibs., as my two men were 
6 feet high, and exceedingly powerful, and our united efforts could 
not move the bear one inch from the spot where it had fallen ; it 
may have exceeded that weight, as it was full of fat, and in the 
finest condition. We skinned it, and had some trouble to induce 
the horse to permit the hide to be lashed upon its back. Although 
a fine bear, Big Bill on our return would not acknowledge that it 
could be compared with the monster which he had seen with such 
"a smiling countenance." I was quite of his opinion, as the 
tracks which I saw in the snow were very much larger than the 
paws of the bear that I have described. 

The foot of a bear leaves a print very similar to that of a 
human being who happens to be flat-footed, but the breadth is 
larger in proportion to that of a man. It is a curious fact, that a 
shot through the kidneys of any creature occasions almost instant- 
aneous death, and the animal falls immediately, as though shot 
through the neck ; this proves the terrible shock to the system, as 
the body is smitten with a total paralysis. 

The opinions of professional hunters differ in such an extra- 
ordinary manner upon the question of bears, that it would be 
impossible for a mere visitor to arrive at a satisfactory decision. 
It is admitted by all that the grizzly bear is the monarch ; next 
to him in size is the cinnamon bear, named from the colour of its 
fur ; No. 3 is the silver-tipped ; and No. 4 is the black bear. 

The question to be decided remains : " Is the cinnamon bear 
the grizzly, with some local difference in colour?" My people 
called the silver-tipped bears "grizzlies," which was an evident 
absurdity ; but, as they were men experienced in the Big Horn 
range, it was difficult to disbelieve their evidence concerning the 
occasional presence of a true grizzly. I found, whilst riding 
through an extensive forest of spruce fir, an enormous skull of a 
bear, the largest that I have ever seen, except that of the grizzly, 
compared with which all others were mere babies ; what could 
this have been, unless a true sjttcimen of that variety ? 

There can be little doubt that bears of different kinds inter- 



x THE BEAR 213 

mingle occasionally by cross breeds, and many are met with which 
do not exactly correspond with the colouring which distinguishes 
the varieties already mentioned ; but in my opinion those distinct 
varieties actually exist, and any departure occasioned by cross 
breeding is simply an accident. Eighteen months before my visit 
to the Big Horn range, the present Lord Lonsdale, together with 
a large party, was hunting upon the same ground, and at that 
time the country, being new to British sportsmen, was undis- 
turbed. The bears were so numerous and unsophisticated that 
the party bagged thirty-two, and game of all kinds indigenous to 
the locality was in the superlative. It is astonishing that any 
game remains after the persistent attacks of gunners, especially in 
such countries, where open plains expose the animals to the sight 
of man. In the Big Horn range, at high altitudes of from 8000 
to 12,000 feet, the open grass prairie-ground predominates. There 
are plateaux and hill-tops; deep canyons or clefts, from 1500 to 
2000 feet sheer, like sudden rifts in the earth's surface ; long 
secluded valleys, with forest-covered bottoms extending for many 
miles, and slopes of every conceivable gradient descending to a 
lower level of frightfully broken ground, joining the foot of the 
main range of Rocky Mountains at a distance of from 70 to 90 
miles. There are also isolated patches of cotton-wood upon the 
sides of slopes, which afford excellent covert for deer and bears. 

The actual width from margin to margin of the high land does 
not exceed 26 miles, although the length may be 100. It may 
readily be imagined that a month's shooting upon this area would 
be sufficient to scare the animals from the neighbourhood, more 
especially as the hunters are invariably on horseback, and traverse 
great distances each day. 

When I was there we very seldom found bears upon the open, 
as they retired to the obscurity of the forests before break of day. 
Bob Stewart assured me that two seasons ago it was impossible to 
ride out in the early morning without seeing bears, but he counted 
up a long reckoning of seventy-two killed since the visit of Lord 
Lonsdale's party. This must have sensibly diminished the stock, 
and have afforded considerable experience to the survivors. Never- 
theless upon several occasions bears exhibited themselves during 
broad daylight without being sought for. 

We were tired of nothing but venison in every shape, and 
although the German cook, "little Henry," was a good fellow, he 
could not manage to change the menu without other provisions in 
the larder. I accordingly devoted myself one afternoon to shoot- 
ing "sage-hens"; this is a species of grouse about the size of a 



214 WILD BEASTS AND THEIR WAYS CHAP. 

domestic fowl, and, when young, there is nothing better. The 
old birds are not only tough, but they taste too strongly of sage, 
from subsisting upon the buds and young shoots of the wild plant. 
They were very numerous in certain localities, having much the 
same habits as the black game of North Britain, therefore we knew 
at once where to seek them. 

Our camp was within a few feet of the little stream, just within 
the forest at the bottom of the valley ; the dense mass of spruce 
firs extended for 8 or 10 miles along the slopes, only broken at 
intervals by gaps a few hundred yards wide, which divided the 
forest from top to base, and formed admirable places for ascending 
to the great plateau on the summit. This plateau extended for 
several miles, and was nearly level, the surface being liberally 
strewed with stones about 2 feet in length, but exceedingly flat, 
as though prepared for roofing slates ; these had been turned over 
incessantly by the bears, in search for what Bob Stewart called 
" bugs " the general and comprehensive American name for every 
insect. 

We found a number of sage-hens upon this plateau, and I picked 
out the young ones with my rabbit rifle, as they ran upon the 
sage-covered ground. Texas Bill was soon loaded with game, and 
discarding the old birds that had been killed by mistake, we de- 
scended the grass-covered gap between the forests, and returned 
direct to camp. Little Henry had now a change of materials for 
our dinner. 

It was nearly dusk, and I went into the small tent to have a 
hot bath after the day's work. I was just drying myself, after the 
operation of washing, when I heard an excited voice shout " Bears ! 
bears ! " It was useless for me to ask questions through the 
canvas, therefore I hurried on my clothes and ran out. 

Texas Bill was gone. It appeared that two large bears had 
been seen as they came along the glen, and turned up the open 
slope, by which we had descended after shooting the sage-hens. 
My best horse had not been unsaddled, as the evening was chilly ; 
therefore Texas Bill had immediately jumped into the saddle, and 
was off in full pursuit. 

"What rifle did he take?" I inquired of little Henry. "He 
didn't take any rifle, but he's got his six-shooter, which is much 
better in his hands, as he knows it," was the reply. 

There was very little light remaining, and with the long start 
which the bears obtained, I could not think that Bill would have 
the slightest chance of overhauling them before they reached the 
forest ; this they would assuredly attempt, the instant they saw 



x THE BEAR 215 

themselves pursued. If Bill could only get them upon the open 
plateau on the summit, he might be able to manage them, but with 
a gallop up a steep hill to commence with, in the late dusk of 
evening, the odds were decidedly against him. 

It became dark, and we expected Bill's return every minute. 
Jem Bourne, my head man, who was always a grumbler, and ex- 
ceedingly jealous, began to ventilate his feelings. " A pretty fool 
he's made of himself to go galloping after bears in a dark night, 
and nothing but a six-shooter ! . . A nice thing for our best horse 
to break his legs over those big rocks that nobody can see at night. 
. . . Well, he'll have to sleep out, and he'll find it pretty cold 
before the morning, I know. . . . What business he's got to take 
that horse without permission, beats me hollow ! " 

This sort of muttered growling was disturbed by two shots in 
quick succession, far up, above the summit of the forest. There 
could be no doubt that Bill had overhauled the bears. 

By this time it was quite dark, and we drew our own conclusions 
from the two pistol shots, the unanimous decision being that Bill 
had fired in the hope of turning the bears when entering the forest ; 
but what chance had he in the dark, and single-handed ? 

I did not take much interest in such a hopeless chase, but I was 
anxious about the horse, as the country was so rough that it would 
be most difficult to pick a way through holes and rocks, to say 
nothing of fallen trees, which, even during daylight, required con- 
sideration. 

We piled immense pine-logs upon the fire, in addition to bundles 
of spruce branches ; these made a blaze 20 feet high, and would 
form a beacon as a guide in the dark night. 

I had taken the time by my watch when we heard the two shots 
upon the mountain top ; twenty minutes had passed, and my lips 
were almost numbed by whistling with my fingers as a signal that 
could be heard during a calm night at a great distance. Suddenly 
this signal appeared to be answered by a shot, from a totally 
different direction from the first that we had heard ; then, quickly, 
another shot ; followed in irregular succession, until we had counted 
six. " His six-shooter's empty now, but he's got plenty of cart- 
ridges in his belt," exclaimed little Henry, the cook. 

What was the object of these shots 1 He could not have followed 
the bears that distance in the dark, as his position was quite a 
mile from the spot where he had first fired ; and he was now, as 
nearly as we could imagine, above a rocky cliff which bordered a 
grassy gap that would enable him to descend into our valley ; he 
would then find his way parallel with the stream direct to our camp. 



216 WILD BEASTS AND THEIR WAYS CUAP. 

My men wished to fire some shots in response, but I declined to 
permit this disturbance of the neighbourhood, as it would have 
effectually driven all animals from the locality ; we merely piled 
logs upon the fire, which could be seen from the heights at a great 
distance, and we waited in anxious expectation. 

Nearly an hour passed away without any further sign. Bill 
could not have fired those six shots in succession to attract our 
attention, as it would have been a needless waste of ammunition : 
if he had expected a response to a signal, he would have fired a 
single shot, to be followed by another some minutes later. We now 
considered that he might have severely wounded the bear by the 
first two shots that we had heard, and that he had followed the 
beast up in some extraordinary manner, and at length discovered it. 

We were about to give up all hope of his return, and knowing 
that he, as a smoker, was never without a supply of matches, we 
expected to see the glare of a distant fire, by which he would sit 
up throughout the night, when presently we heard the sound of 
whistling, and the clatter of a horse's feet among the stones of the 
brook, within 150 yards of our position. 

In a couple of minutes Texas Bill appeared, leading the horse, 
which was covered with dry foam. In one hand he held a large 
bloody mass ; this was the liver of a bear ! 

"Well done, Bill!" we all exclaimed, except the sulky Jem 
Bourne, who only muttered, "A pretty state you've brought that 
horse to ; why, I shouldn't have known him." 

The story was now told by the modest Bill, who did not imagine 
that he had done anything to excite admiration. This was his 
account of the hunt in the dark : "Well, you see, when the two 
bears were going up the open slope, down which you and I came, 
after shooting the sage-hens, all I could do was to gallop after 
them, to keep them from getting into the forest ; when of course 
they would have been gone for ever. One of them did make a 
rush, and passed across me before I could stop him, and I didn't 
mind this, as I couldn't have managed two. I got in front of the 
other, and cracked my whip at him, and at last I got him well in 
the open on the big plateau, where we shot the sage-hens. He 
got savage now, and was determined to push by me and gain the 
forest ; but I rode right at him, and seeing that I couldn't stop 
him, I fired my six-shooter to turn him, just as he made a dash at 
the horse. He made another rush at the horse, and I turned him 
with another shot, within a couple of paces' distance. This made 
him take off in a new direction, and he tried to cross the big 
plateau, intending, no doubt, to get to the forest a couple of miles 



x THE BEAR 217 

away on the pointed hill. It was so dark that I could hardly see 
him, and my only chance was to ride round him, and work him 
till he should stand quiet enough to let me take a steady shot. 

" He went on, sometimes here, sometimes there, and at last he 
changed his mind, and seeing that he couldn't get away from the 
horse across the open, he turned, and made for the 10 mile forest. 
It was as much as I could do to drive him, by shouting and 
cracking my whip whenever I headed him ; if I had only once let 
him get out of sight, I should never have seen him again. 
The ground is full of stones, as you know, which bothered the 
horse in turning quickly ; but we went on, sometimes full gallop 
straight away, at other times dancing round and round, until at 
last the old bear got regularly tuckered-out, and he was so done he 
could hardly move. There he was, with his tongue hanging out 
of his mouth, standing, panting and blowing, and my horse wasn't 
much better, I can tell you. Well, I was drawn up as close to 
him as though I was going to strike him, and he was so completely 
done there wasn't any fight in him ; my horse's flanks were heaving 
in such a way that I could hardly load the two chambers that I 
had fired. I was determined to have all my six shots ready before 
I began to fire, and it was just lucky that I did, for I'm blessed if 
I could kill him. There he stood, regularly exhausted-like, and 
he took shot after shot, and never seemed to notice, or to care for 
anything. At last I almost touched him, when I fired my sixth 
cartridge between his shoulders, and he dropped stone dead. That's 
all that happened, and I thought you wouldn't believe me if I came 
back without a proof; so I cut him open, and took out his liver 
to show you ; and here it is." 

Although this fine fellow thought nothing of his achievement, 
I considered it to be the most extraordinary feat of horsemanship 
that I had ever heard of, combined with wonderful determination. 
In the darkness of night, without a moon, to hunt single-handed, 
and to kill, a full-grown bear with a revolver, was in my experience 
an unprecedented triumph in shikar. 

Early on the following morning I sent for the bear's skin. It 
proved to be a large silver-tipped, and a close examination exhibited 
the difficulties of the encounter during darkness. 

Eight shots had been fired from the commencement, to the 
termination by the last fatal bullet ; but, although Texas Bill was 
an excellent shot with his revolver, he had missed seven times, and 
the eighth was the only bullet that struck the bear ! This had 
entered between the shoulders vertically, proving the correctness 
of his description, as he must have shot directly downwards. The 



218 WILD BEASTS AND THEIR WAYS CHAP. 

bullet had passed through the centre of the heart, and had escaped 
near the brisket, having penetrated completely through this for- 
midable animal. 

Upon my return to England I immediately purchased a similar 
revolver of Messrs. Colt and Co. the long frontier pistol, '450 
bullet. 

Although bears were scarce, wo occasionally met them unex- 
pectedly. As a rule, I took Jem Bourne and Texas Bill out 
shooting, the man Gaylord had to look after the twelve or thirteen 
animals, and little Henry, the German cook, was left in camp to 
assist my wife. Upon one of these rather dull days the camp was 
enlivened by the visit of three large bears. These creatures 
emerged from the neighbouring jungle, and commenced a search 
for food within 50 yards of the camp, only separated by a narrow 
streamlet of 10 feet in width. For about twenty minutes they 
were busily engaged in working up the ground like pigs, in search 
of roots or worms ; in this manner they amused themselves 
harmlessly, until they suddenly observed that they were watched, 
after which they retreated to the forest. 

My acquaintance Bob Stewart assured me that the bears had 
become so shy, that the only way to succeed was to "jump a bear." 
This term was explained as follows : you were to ride through 
forest, until you came across the fresh track of a bear ; you were 
then to follow it up on foot, until you should arrive at the secluded 
spot where the bear slept during the daytime, in the recesses of 
the forest. It would of course jump out of its bed when disturbed, 
and this was termed "jumping a bear." Of course you incurred 
the chance of the animal's attack, when thus suddenly intruded 
upon at close quarters. 

I agreed to start with Bob upon such an excursion ; but I found 
that this kind of sport was more adapted for his light weight than 
my own, and that his moccasins were far superior to my boots, for 
running along the stems of fallen spruce trees at all kinds of angles, 
and for jumping from one prostrate trunk to another, in a squirrel- 
like fashion, more in harmony with a man of 9 stone than one of 15. 
We started together, Bob mounted upon his little mare, while I 
rode my best horse, " Buckskin," who was trained, like many of 
these useful animals, to stand alone, and graze, without moving 
away from his position for hours ; should it be necessary to dis- 
mount, and leave him. The horses thus tutored are invaluable for 
shooting purposes, as it is frequently necessary to stalk an animal 
on foot ; in which case, the bridle is simply arranged by drawing 
the reins over the head, and throwing them in his front, to fall 



x THE BEAR 219 

upon the ground before his fore-feet. When thus managed, the 
horse will feed, but he will never move away from his position, and 
he will wait for hours for the return of his master. 

We rode about four miles without seeing a living creature, 
except a badger. This animal squatted upon seeing the horses, 
and lay close to the ground, like a hare in form, until we actually 
halted within 10 feet of its position. Bob immediately suggested 
that we should kill it, and secure its skin (his one idea appeared to 
be a longing to divest everything of its hide) ; but I would not 
halt, as the day was to be devoted to bears. We at length arrived 
at a portion of the forest where the young spruce had grown up 
from a space that had formerly been burnt ; about 50 acres were 
densely covered with bright green foliage, forming a pleasing con- 
trast to the sombre hue of the older forest. This was considered 
by my guide to be a likely retreat for bears ; it was as thick as 
possible for trees to grow. 

We accordingly dismounted, threw the reins over our horses' 
heads, and, taking the right direction of the wind, we entered the 
main forest, which was connected with the younger growth. It 
was easy to distinguish tracks, as the earth was covered with old 
half-rotten pine needles, which formed a soft surface, that would 
receive a deep impression. Nearly all the old trees were more or 
less barked by the horns of wapiti, showing that immense numbers 
must visit these woods at the season when the horns are nearly 
hard, and require rubbing, to clean them from the velvet. We had 
not strolled more than half a mile through the dark wood when 
Bob suddenly halted, and, like Eobinson Crusoe, he appeared 
startled by the signs of a footstep deeply imprinted in the soil. It 
was uncommonly like a large and peculiarly broad human foot, but 
there was no doubt it was a most recent track of a bear, and the 
direction taken would lead towards the dense young spruce that 
we had already seen. We followed the track, until we at length 
arrived at the bright green thicket, in which we felt sure the bear 
must be lying down. 

This was an exceedingly awkward place, and Bob assured me 
that if he were alone, he should decline to enter such a forest, as 
it was impossible to see a yard ahead, and a bear might spring 
upon you before you knew that it was near. As I had a double- 
barrelled powerful rifle, I of course went first, followed by Bob 
close behind. As noiselessly as possible, we pushed through the 
elastic branches, and very slowly followed the track, which was 
now more difficult to distinguish, owing to the close proximity of 
the young trees that overshadowed the surface of the ground. 



220 WILD BEASTS AND THEIR WAYS CHAP. 

In this manner we hail advanced about a quarter of a mile, 
when a sudden rush was made exactly in my front, the young 
trees were roughly shaken, and I jumped forward immediately, 
to meet or to follow the animal, before I could determine what it 
really was. Something between a short roar and a grunt pro- 
claimed it to be a bear, and I pushed on as fast as I could through 
the opposing branches ; I could neither see nor hear any- 
thing. 

Bob Stewart now joined me. " That's no good," he exclaimed, 
"you shouldn't run forward when you hear the rush of a bear, 
but jump on one side, as I did. Supposing that bear had come 
straight at you ; why, he'd a been on the top of you before you 
could have got your rifle up. True, you've got a double-barrel, 
but that's not my way of shooting bears, although that's the way 
to jump a bear, which you've seen now, and you may jump a good 
many before you get a shot in this kind of stuff." 

I could not induce Bob to take any further trouble in pursuit, 
as he assured me that it would be to no purpose : the bear when 
thus disturbed would go straight away, and might not halt for 
several miles. 

This was a disappointment ; we therefore sought our horses, 
which we found quietly grazing in the place that we expected. 
Remounting, we rode slowly through the great mass of spruce firs, 
which I had named the "10 mile forest." 

There was very little underwood beyond a few young spruce 
here and there, and we could see from 80 to 100 yards in every 
direction. Presently we came across an enormous skull, which 
Bob immediately examined, and handed it to me, suggesting that 
I should preserve it as a specimen. He declared this to be the 
skull of a true grizzly ; but some of the teeth were missing, and 
as I seldom collect anything that I have not myself shot or taken 
a part in shooting, I declined the head, although it was double the 
size of anything I had experienced. 

The forest was peculiarly dark, and the earth was so soft from 
the decaying pine needles, that our horses made no noise, unless 
when occasionally their hoofs struck against the brittle branches of 
a fallen tree. We were thus riding, always keeping a bright look- 
out, when Bob (who was leading) suddenly sprang from his mare, 
and as quick as lightning fired at a black-tail buck, that was 
standing about 80 yards upon our right. His shot had no effect ; 
the deer, which had not before observed us, started at the shot, 
and stood again, without moving more than three or four yards. 
Bob had reloaded his Sharp like magic, and he fired another shot, 



x THE BEAR 221 

hitting it through the neck, as it was gazing directly towards us ; 
it fell dead, without moving a foot. 

We rode up to the buck ; it was in beautiful condition, but the 
horns were in velvet, and were useless. I now watched with 
admiration the wonderful dexterity with which Bob, as a profes- 
sional skin-hunter, divested this buck of its hide. It appeared to 
me that I could hardly take off my own clothes (if I were to 
commence with my greatcoat) quicker than he ripped off the skin 
from this beautiful beast. With very little delay, the hide was 
neatly folded up, and secured to the Mexican saddle by the long 
leathern thongs, which form portions of that excellent invention. 

Bob remounted his mare, with the skin strapped behind the 
cantle, like a military valise ; and we continued on our way. 
"That was a quick shot, Bob." "Yes, 2J dollars, or 2 dollars 
at least, I'll get for that skin ; you see there's no game that pays 
us like the black-tail, and I never let one go if I can help it; 
they're easy to shoot, easy to skin, easy to dry, and easy to sell at 
a good price, and more than that, they're handy to pack upon a 
mule." 

That little incident having passed, we again relapsed into 
silence, and rode slowly forward, with a wide-awake look-out on 
every side. 

We had ridden about a mile, when the fresh tracks of bears 
that had crossed our route caused a sudden halt, and we immedi- 
ately dismounted to examine them. They were of average size, 
and there could be no doubt, from the short stride of each pace, 
that they were retiring leisurely, after a night's ramble, to the beds 
in which they usually laid up. We led our horses to a small glade 
of good grass that was not far distant, and left them in the usual 
manner. 

We now commenced tracking, which was simple enough, as the 
heavy footprints were distinct, and the bears had been travelling 
tolerably straight towards home. At length, after nearly a mile 
of this easy work, we arrived at a portion of the forest where some 
hurricane must in former years have levelled several hundred acres. 
The trees were lying about in confused heaps, piled in many places 
one upon the other, in the greatest confusion. None of them were 
absolutely rotten, but the branches were exceedingly brittle, and, 
if broken, they snapped like a pistol shot, making a noiseless 
advance most difficult. Through this chaos of fallen timber the 
young spruce had grown with extreme vigour, and I never ex- 
perienced greater difficulty in making my way than in this tangled 
and obdurate mass of long trunks of gnarled trees, and branches 



222 WILD BEASTS AND THEIR WAYS CHAP. 

lying at every angle, iutergrown with the green boughs of younger 
spruce. 

Bob Stewart wore moccasins, and being exceedingly light and 
active, he ran up each sloping tree-stem for 40 or 50 feet, then 
dropped nimbly to another fallen trunk below, bobbed under a 
mass of heavy timber, like masts in a shipbuilder's yard, supported 
as they had chanced to fall, and then dived underneath all sorts of 
obstructions. He was followed admiringly, but slowly, by myself, 
not provided with moccasins, but in high riding boots. If I had 
been a squirrel, I might perhaps have beaten Bob, but after several 
hundred yards of this horrible entanglement, which might have 
been peopled by all the bears in Wyoming, we arrived at a small 
grassy swamp in the bottom of a hollow, just beneath a great mass 
of perpendicular rock, about 70 or 80 feet in height. In the 
centre of this hollow was a pool of water, about 8 feet by 6. This 
had been disturbed so recently by some large animal, that the mud 
was still curling in dusky rings, showing that the bath had only 
just been vacated. We halted, and examined this attentively. 
The edges of the little pool were wet with the drip from the bear's 
shaggy coat, as it had left the water. 

Bob whispered to me, " Look sharp, there are bears here, more 
than one I think, and if they've heard us, they'll be somewhere 
alongside this rock, I reckon, or maybe up above." We crept 
along, and beneath the fallen timber ; but it was so dark, owing 
to the great number of young spruce which had pushed their way 
upwards, that a dozen bears might have moved without our 
seeing one. 

We now arrived at a small open space, about 20 feet square ; 
this was a delightful change from the darkness and obstructions. 
The ground in this spot was a deep mass of pine needles, and in 
this soft material there were three or four round depressions, quite 
smooth, and about 18 inches deep; these were the beds of bears, 
where in undisturbed solitude they were in the habit of sleeping 
after their nocturnal rambles. 

I was of opinion that we had disturbed our game, as several 
times we had accidentally broken a dead branch, with a loud 
report, when clambering through the abominable route. However, 
we crept forward round the base of the rock, and arrived in the 
darkest and thickest place that we had hitherto experienced. 

At this moment we heard a sharp report, as a dead branch 
snapped immediately in our front. For an instant I saw a large 
black shadow apparently walking along the trunk of a fallen pine. 
I could not see the sight of my rifle in the deep gloom, but I fired, 



x THE BEAR 223 

and was answered by a short growl and a momentary crash among 
the branches. 

We ran forward with difficulty, but no bear was to be seen. 
We searched everywhere, but in vain. I came to the conclusion 
that the game was hardly worth the candle. 

Through several hours we worked hard, but did not find another 
bear ; and it was past five o'clock when we arrived at our camp, 
after a long day's work, in which we had certainly "jumped" two 
bears, but had not succeeded in bagging one. 

Texas Bill came to hold my horse upon our arrival ; he was 
looking rather shy, and ill-at-ease. "What's the matter, Bill? 
anything gone wrong 1" I asked. 

" Well," he replied, " I hope you won't blame me, as I don't 
think it right, but you know where you killed a wapiti a couple of 
clays ago, and we found the next morning that the bears had been 
and buried it ; and you said we'd better leave the place quiet for a 
day, and then you'd go early in the morning, and perhaps find the 
bears upon the spot 1 Well, after you were gone with Bob this 
morning, Jem Bourne proposed that we should go and have a look 
at the place, and sure enough when we got there we found a great 
big bear fast asleep, lying on the top of the buried wapiti, and her 
two half-grown cubs asleep with her. So Jem had ydur Martini- 
Henry with him, and he killed the mother stone dead, through the 
shoulder. Up gets one of the young ones, and hits his brother (or 
sister) such a whack in the eye with his paw that it just made rne 
laugh, and then he cuffs him again over the head, just as though it 
was his fault that the mother was knocked over. Jem had reloaded, 
so he put a bullet through this young fellow ; and then putting in 
another cartridge, he floored the third, and they were all dead in 
less than a minute. It's a fine rifle is that Martini-Henry, but I 
think you'll be displeased, as we had no business to go nigh the 
place ; it ain't my fault, and I wouldn't have done it myself, you 
may be sure." 

This was a glorious triumph for the jealous Jem Bourne, who 
was highly offended at my having adopted the advice, and sought 
the assistance of Bob Stewart, to "jump a bear." We had returned 
as failures, and he had killed three bears with my rifle, within my 
sanctuary, which I had specially arranged for a visit upon the 
following day. He declared " that nobody should stop him from 
killing bears, as his right was just as good as mine." This poach- 
ing upon my preserves was rather too much for my patience, 
therefore without any discussion or angry words I gave him a note 
to carry 42 miles' distance on the following morning, to a friend of 



224 WILD BEASTS AND THEIR WAYS CHAP. 

mine at the second ranchc. " What horse shall I ride 1 " asked the 
fellow sullenly. " The white mule," I replied. " When am I to 
come back?" "Not till I send for you," was the answer; and 
Jem Bourne ceased to be a member of our party. 

This was an excellent example, as many of these people are ex- 
ceedingly independent, and although he received high wages (120 
dollars monthly, in addition to his food, and a horse to ride), he 
considered that he was quite the equal of his employer. Although 
my other men received only half these wages, they were more useful, 
and after this dismissal we were far more comfortable. 

It was a strange study of the Far West in these outlandish 
and utterly uninhabited districts. When looking down from the 
summit of the mountains, facing north, we were positively certain 
that for more than 100 miles in a direct line there was not a 
human habitation, and the nearest point of embryo civilisation was 
the Government Park on the Yellowstone river, at least 150 miles 
distant In our rear we were 80 miles from the abandoned 
station of Powder River, with only two ranches in the interval. 
It may be readily imagined that the laws of civilised communities 
were difficult to administer in such a wilderness. 

The nearest railway station was "Rock Creek," about 240 
miles, upon the Union Pacific, from whence we had originally 
started; that point is about 7000 feet above the sea-level. A 
curious contrivance, slung upon leather straps instead of springs, 
represents a coach, which, drawn by four horses, plies to Fort 
Fetterman, 90 miles distant. During this prairie journey the horses 
are only changed twice. 

There are no dwellings to be seen throughout the undulating 
mass of wild grass; this possesses extraordinary properties for 
fattening cattle and wild animals ; but after a weary drive along 
a track worn by wheels and other traffic, and occasionally well 
defined by empty tins that had contained preserved provisions, a 
small speck is seen upon the horizon, which is declared to be the 
station for spare horses. 

Upon arrival at this cheerless abode we entered a small log- 
house, containing two rooms and a kitchen ; but the cooking was 
conducted in the public room, an apartment about 13 feet square, 
with a useful kind of stove in one corner. The man who repre- 
sented the establishment had of course observed the coach in the 
far distance, therefore he was not startled by the arrival of our 
party, which consisted of the Hon. Charles Ellis, Lady Baker, and 
myself. He had already begun to fry bacon in a huge frying-pan 
upon the little stove, and he had opened some large tins of pre- 



x THE BEAR 225 

served vegetables, in addition to another containing some kind of 
animal hardly to be distinguished. He had been successful that 
morning, having killed an antelope; therefore we had quite an 
entertainment in this log-hut, so far away from the great world. 

The table was spread with a very dirty cloth, and our small 
party was immediately augmented by the arrival of the coachman 
(our driver), the man who looked after the horses, an outside 
passenger of questionable respectability, and our host, who had 
just cooked the bacon. It was an unexceptional fashion throughout 
the country to reduce all clothing to a minimum. Coats were un- 
known during the summer months (this was the middle of August) ; 
waistcoats were despised ; and the costume of the period consisted 
of a flannel shirt, and a pair of trousers sustained by a belt in lieu 
of braces. Attached to this belt was the omnipresent six-shooter 
in its. holster. I was the only person who possessed, or at all 
events exhibited, a coat ; and I felt that peculiar and unhappy 
sensation of being over-dressed, which I feared might be mistaken 
for pride by our unsophisticated companions. 

We were not a cheery party; on the contrary, everybody 
appeared to be so determined not to say the wrong thing, that they 
remained silent ; the dulness of the meal was only broken at long 
intervals by such carefully expressed sentiments as " I'll trouble 
you to pass the salt, if you please," or " Will you kindly hand the 
bacon 1 " 

There was no vulgarity in this, and we were afterwards informed 
that these rough people, who, as a rule, season their conversation 
with the pepper of profanity, are painfully sensitive to the presence 
of a lady, before whom they are upon their P's and Q's of propriety ; 
and, should an improper expression escape their lips in an unguarded 
moment, they would be in a state of deep depression from the 
keenest remorse, which might perhaps cause a sense of unhappiness 
for at least five minutes. They most sensibly refrained altogether 
from conversation in a lady's presence, to avoid the possibility of a 
" slip of the tongue." 

If they could have left their perfume behind, together with the 
profanity, our table would have been sweeter ; but the flannel shirts 
were seldom washed, to prevent shrinking, just as their owners 
seldom spoke, to avoid swearing ; an overpowering smell of horses 
was emitted by the driver, and of stables by the ostler, while the 
proprietor exhaled the mixed but indescribable odours combined 
from his various duties, such as cooking, cleaning up, sleeping in 
his clothes, and never washing them. 

The meal over, we again started. This stage was interesting, 

Q 



226 WILD 1SEASTS AND THEIR WAYS CHAP. 

as we left the treeless expanse of prairie, and drove over high land 
through picturesque forests of spruce firs among rocks and canyons. 
About 20 miles of this scenery was passed ; then we descended a 
long slope, and once more emerged upon the dreary, treeless prospect. 

At the end of 35 miles another speck was seen, which eventually 
turned out to be a station similar to that at which we had halted 
in the morning. There were two pretty-looking and clean girls 
here ; they had come to assist their brother, who " ran " the house. 
It was curious to observe the little evidences of civilisation which 
the presence of these girls had introduced. At first sight, among a 
rude community, I should have had strong misgivings concerning the 
security of young girls without a mother ; but, on the contrary, I 
was assured that no man would ever presume to insult a respectable 
woman, and the girls were safer here than they would be at New 
York. It was a delightful anomaly in a society which otherwise 
was exceedingly brutal, that a good woman possessed a civilising 
power which gained the respect of her rough surroundings, and, by 
an unpretentious charm, softened both speech and morals. 

It was to be regretted that this benign influence could not have 
been extended to the vermin. When the lamp was extinguished, 
the bed was alive. I always marvelled at the phrase, " he took up 
his bed and walked," but if the bugs had been unanimous, they 
could have walked off with the bed without a miracle. Sleeping 
was impossible. I relighted the paraffin lamp, a retreat was 
evidently sounded, and the enemy retired. Presently an explosion 
took place the lamp had gone wrong, and burst, fortunately with- 
out setting the place on fire. An advance was sounded, and the 
enemy came on, determined upon victory. 

I never slept in one of those prairie stations again, but we pre- 
ferred a camp sheet and good blankets on the sage-bush, with the 
sky for a ceiling. 

On arrival at Fort Fetterman, 90 miles from Rock Creek station, 
the coach drew up at a log-house of greater pretensions than those 
upon the prairie. I had letters of introduction from General 
McDowell (who was Commander-in-Chief of the Pacific Coast) to 
Colonel Gentry, who commanded Fort Fetterman, and Major 
Powell of the same station. 

Not wishing to drive up to the door of his private house, we 
alighted at the log-hut which represented the inn. The room was 
horridly dirty, the floor was sanded, and there was a peculiar smell 
of bad drink, and an expression of depravity about the establishment. 

The host was a tall man, attired as usual in a flannel shirt and 
trousers, with a belt and revolver. He had evidently observed an 



x THE BEAR 227 

expression of disgust upon our faces, as he exclaimed, "Well, I 
guess we ain't fixed up for ladies ; and p'r'aps it's as well that you 
came to-day instead of last night, if you ain't fond of shooting 
affairs. You were just looking at that table and thinking the 
table-cover was a bit dirty, weren't you 1 Well, last night Dick 
and Bill got to words over their cards, and before Dick could get 
out his six-shooter, young Bill was too quick and resolute, and he 
put two bullets through him just across this table, and he fell over 
it on his face, and never spoke a word. It's a good job too that 
Dick's got it at last." 

This little incident was quite in harmony with the appearance of 
the den. I knew that letters had been previously forwarded from 
San Francisco to the Commandant, therefore I strolled towards his 
quarters, to leave my card and letter of introduction. 

Fort Fetterman is not a fort, but merely an open station, with 
a frontier guard of one company of troops. I met Colonel Gentry, 
who was, very kindly, on his way towards the inn to meet us on 
arrival. Upon my inquiring respecting the fatal quarrel across the 
table, he informed me that he had held an inquest, and buried the 
man that morning. 

The deceased was a notorious character, and he would assuredly 
have shot his younger antagonist, had he not been the quicker of 
the two in drawing his pistol. 

This was a satisfactory termination to a dispute concerning cards, 
and there was a total absence of any false sentiment upon the part 
of the common-sense authority. 

We were most hospitably entertained by Major and Mrs. Powell, 
to whose kind care we were committed by Colonel Gentry, who, 
being a bachelor, had no accommodation for ladies. It was very 
delightful, in the centre of a prairie wildernesss, to meet with ladies, 
and to hear the rich contralto voice of Miss Powell, their daughter 
of eighteen, who promised to be a singer much above the 
average. 

On the following morning we started for Powder River, 92 miles 
from Fort Fetterman ; there was no public conveyance, as Powder 
River station had been abandoned since^the Indians had been driven 
back, and confined to their reservation lands. We were bound by 
invitation to the cattle ranche of Mr. R. Frewen and his brother 
Mr. Moreton Frewen; these gentlemen had an establishment at 
Powder River, although their house was 22 miles distant upon the 
other side, in the centre of their ranche. They had very kindly 
sent a four-wheeled open carriage for us ; one of those conveyances 
that are generally known as American waggons, with enormously 



228 WILD BEASTS AND THEIR WAYS CHAP. 

high wheels of cobweb-like transparency. Jem Bourne had been 
sent as our conductor, having been engaged as my head man. 

There was nothing but prairie throughout this uninteresting 
journey, enlivened now and then by a few antelopes. 

Castle Frewen, as the superior log building was facetiously 
called by the Americans, was 212 miles from Rock Creek station, 
and we were well pleased upon arrival to accept their thoroughly 
appreciated hospitality. Their house had an upper floor, and a 
staircase rising from a hall, the walls of which were boarded, but 
were ornamented with heads and horns of a variety of wild animals ; 
these were in excellent harmony with the style of the surroundings. 
Here we had the additional advantage of a kind and most charming 
hostess in Mrs. Moreton Frewen, in whose society it seemed im- 
possible to believe that we were so remote from what the world 
calls civilisation. There was a private telephone, 22 miles in 
length, to the station at Powder River, and the springing of the 
alarm every quarter of an hour throughout the day was a sufficient 
proof of the attention necessary to conduct the affairs successfully 
at that distance from the place of business. 

Our kind friends afforded us every possible assistance for the 
arrangements that were necessary, and we regarded with admiration 
the energy and perseverance they exhibited in working with their 
own hands, and in knowing how to use their own hands, in the 
absence of such assistance as would be considered necessary in 
civilised countries. 

There were about 8000 head of cattle upon the Frewens' ranche, 
all of which were in excellent condition. It was beyond my pro- 
vince to enter upon the question of successful ranching, but the 
Americans confided to me that the prairie grass, instead of bene- 
fiting by the pasturing of cattle, became exhausted, and that weeds 
usurped the place of the grass, which disappeared ; therefore it 
would follow that a given area, that would support 10,000 head of 
cattle at the present time, would in a few years only support half 
that number. It might therefore be inferred that the process of 
deterioration would ultimately result in the loss of pasturage, and 
the necessary diminution in the herds. 

From the Frewens' ranche, a ride of 25 miles along the course 
of the Powder river brought us to the last verge of civilisation ; 
the utmost limit of the cattle ranches was owned by very nice 
young people, Mr. and Mrs. Peters, Americans, and Mr. Alston, 
an English partner. 

^^ ^ e had l>een hospitably received by these charming young 
settlers, whose rough log-house was in the last stage of completion, 



x THE BEAR 229 

and I fear we must have caused them great personal incon- 
venience. 

On the following morning we started for the wilds of the Big 
Horn, and crossing the Powder river, we at once commenced the 
steep ascent, for a steady pull of 4000 feet above the dell in which 
the house was situated. We left them, with the promise to pay 
them a few days' visit on our return. 

It was then that we quickly discovered the peculiarities of our 
four attendants, whom I had expected to be examples of stern 
hardihood, that would represent the fabled reputation of the back- 
woodsman. 

Although they were fine fellows in a certain way, they astonished 
me by their luxurious habits. In a country that abounded with 
game, I should have expected to exist upon the produce of the rifle, 
as I had done so frequently during many years' experience of rough 
life. A barrel of biscuits, a few pounds of bacon, and a good 
supply of coffee would have been sufficient for a crowned head who 
was fond of shooting, especially in a country where every kind of 
animal was fat. My men did not view this picture of happiness in 
the same light ; they required coffee, sugar, an immense supply of 
bacon, an oven for baking bread, flour, baking-powder, preserved 
apples (dried), ditto peaches, ditto blackberries, together with the 
necessaries of pepper, salt, etc. 

It was always my custom to drink a pint of cafe au lait and to 
eat some toast and butter at about 6 A.M. before starting for our 
day's work ; after this I never thought of food throughout the day, 
until my return in the evening, which was generally at five or six 
o'clock. 

My people were never ready in the morning, but were invari- 
ably squatted in front of the frying-pan, frizzling bacon, when I 
was prepared to start. Jem Bourne was a chronic grumbler 
because we hunted far away from camp, instead of returning at 
mid-day to luncheon. Excellent fresh bread was baked daily, 
and I insisted upon the people supplying themselves with sufficient 
food packed upon their saddles, if they were not hardy enough 
for a day's work after a good breakfast. 

I observed that my friends Big Bill and Bob Stewart were 
also provided with a large supply of bacon, although they left the 
fattest animals rotting in the forest, simply because they hunted 
for the hides. 

In the same manner I remarked the extreme fastidiousness of 
these otherwise hardy people in rejecting food which we should 
have considered delicious. I have seen them repeatedly throw 



230 WILD BEASTS AND THEIR WAYS CHAP, x 

away the sage-hens that I have shot ; these were birds which 
we prized On one occasion, as we were travelling when moving 
camp, I shot a jackass rabbit from the saddle, with my '577 rifle. 
It gave me considerable trouble to dismount and open this animal, 
which would have gained a prize for fat ; having cleaned it most 
carefully, I stuffed the inside with grass, and attached it to the 
saddle. 

We never had an opportunity of eating this splendid specimen ; 
on inquiring, the cook had thrown it away, "because at this 
season jackass rabbits fed upon sage shoots, and the flesh tasted 
of sage !" 

As we shall return to the Big Horn range when treating upon 
the habits of wapiti and other animals, I shall now refer to the 
Indian bears, and commence with the most spiteful of the species, 
Ursits lalmtus. 



CHAPTER XI 

THE BEAR (continued} 

THE outline that I have already given of Ursus labiatus is 
sufficient to condemn its character ; there are more accidents to 
natives of India and Ceylon from the attacks of this species than 
from any other animal ; at the same time it is not carnivorous, 
therefore no excuse can be brought forward in extenuation. I 
have already observed that this variety of the bear family does 
not hybernate ; it has a peculiar knack of concealment, as it is 
seldom met during the daytime, although perhaps very numerous 
in a certain locality. In places abounding with rocky hills, deep 
ravines, and thick bush, it may be readily imagined that bears 
obtain the requisite shelter without difficulty ; but I have fre- 
quently visited their haunts, where no perceptible means of 
secreting themselves existed, nevertheless each night afforded fresh 
evidences of their industry in digging pits, when searching for 
white ants, within 150 yards of our camp. In these places we 
seldom found a bear, although driving the jungles daily with 
nearly two hundred beaters. This experience would denote that 
the bears travel long distances at night, to visit some favourite 
resort which produces the necessary food. The stomachs of all 
wild animals when shot should be immediately examined, as 
the contents will be a guide to the locality which they inhabit. 
I have killed elephants in Africa at least 50 miles distant from 
any cultivation, but their stomachs were filled with dhurra 
(Sorghum vulgare), thus proving that they had wandered great 
distances in search of a much-loved food that could not be obtained 
in their native forests In the same manner all wild animals will 
travel extraordinary distances to obtain either water or food in 
countries where they are liable to be pursued. When the watchers 
who protect the crops are in sufficient force to drive the nocturnal 
intruders away with guns, the same animals will probably not 



232 WILD BEASTS AND THEIR WAYS CHAP. 

reappear upon the following night, but they will visit some well- 
known spot in an opposite direction, and reappear forty-eight 
hours later upon the forbidden ground. 

The elephants in that portion of Abyssinia which is traversed 
by the various affluents of the Nile, being much harassed by the 
sword-hunters of the Hamran Arabs, never drink in the same 
locality upon two nights consecutively ; they drink in the Settite 
river perhaps on Monday, march 30 miles in retreat, and on the 
following night they will have wandered another 30 miles to the 
river Gash, in a totally opposite direction. They will then possibly 
return to the Settite, and after drinking, they will take a new 
departure, and march to the river Royan or to the Bahr Salaam. 

A bear is a rapid traveller, and although sluggish in appearance 
when confined, it is extremely active ; therefore outward signs of 
digging, although evidence of nocturnal visits, cannot be accepted 
as proofs of the bear's proximity. 

I believe that leopards may be frequently crouching among the 
branches of trees, and remain unseen, while a person, unconscious 
of their presence, may pass beneath ; but although the sloth bear 
is most active in ascending a tree, it would be difficult for it to 
remain unobserved, owing to its superior size and remarkable black 
colour. A very large old tree with a considerable cavern-like hole 
at the bottom should always be carefully examined, as bears are 
particularly fond of these impromptu dwellings. I knew a man 
who was thus surprised whilst cutting wood from a large tree, 
unconscious of the fact that a bear was concealed within the hollow 
trunk. The blows of the axe disturbed the occupant, which 
immediately bolted from the hollow, and seized the wood-cutter by 
the thigh. Fortunately the man had his axe, with which he at 
once belaboured the bear upon the head until it relinquished its 
hold. I saw the scars of the wound inflicted by the canine teeth ; 
these were about six inches in length, extending from inside the 
thigh to the knee-joint. The man declared that if his axe had 
been heavier he could have killed the bear, but it happened to be 
exceedingly light, and had very little effect. 

My shikari Kerim Bux, who was a very powerful man, had a 
serious encounter with a bear, which seized his master, and im- 
mediately turned upon him when he rushed unarmed to his assist- 
ance ; the bear seized him by the leg, but in the wrestling match 
which ensued, Kerim came off victor, although badly bitten, as he 
threw the bear over a precipice, upon the edge of which the struggle 
had taken place. This man was head constable in the police, and 
bore a very high reputation. 



xi THE BEAR 233 

The Ursus Idbiatus being one of the most vicious animals, I 
have seen it upon two occasions attack an elephant, one of which 
was quite unprovoked. 

We had been driving jungle for sambur deer in the Balaghat 
district, and instead of posting myself upon a mucharn, or occupy- 
ing any fixed position, I remained upon my elephant Hurri Ram. 
This was a tusker that had been lent to me by the Government 
upon two occasions, and he was so good-tempered, and active in 
making his way over bad ground in steep forests, that I determined 
to try him as a shooting elephant. I took my stand upon the open 
grass-land, which was beautifully undulating, and would have made 
a handsome park. Standing behind a bush we were partially con- 
cealed, and I waited in expectation that some animals might break 
covert in my direction. Presently I saw a dark object running 
through the low bushes upon the margin of the sal forest on my 
right, and a large bear emerged about 100 yards from my position. 
It stood upon the open for a few seconds, evidently taking a close 
scrutiny of the surroundings, prior to a run across the country, 
where no chance would be afforded for concealment. It suddenly 
espied the elephant, and, apparently without a moment's hesitation, 
it charged from the great distance of 100 yards at full speed 
directly upon the nervous Hurri Ram. I had not long to wait, 
but just as I pulled the trigger, when the bear was within 10 
yards, the elephant whisked round and bolted down hill across the 
open, towards the portion of the jungle that was about 250 yards 
upon my left. Nothing would stop the runaway brute, but for- 
tunately I had stationed a police constable at the very spot for 
which the elephant was making, and he, seeing the state of affairs, 
ran forward, shouting at the top of his voice and flourishing his 
rifle ; this had the effect of turning the runaway, just as it was 
about to enter the forest, where we should in all probability have 
been smashed. 

The bear had in the meantime gone across country, and although 
we hunted it for more than a mile, we never saw it again. This 
was a purely unprovoked attack, and it would have been interest- 
ing to have seen the result had the elephant not bolted. I imagine 
that the bear would have seized it by the leg, and afterwards 
would have attempted a retreat. 

Upon another occasion, at a place called Soondah in the same 
district, I was upon Hurri Ram ; I had been working through the 
high grass in the first-class reserves throughout the day, having 
killed a splendid stag sambur, when we were attracted by the 
peculiar short roar or moan made by a tigress calling either for her 



234 WILD BEASTS AND THEIR WAYS CUAP. 

cub or for some male companion. This was in the sal forest, 
within a quarter of a mile of our position. It was a dangerous 
attempt, upon such an untrustworthy elephant as Hurri Ram, to 
look for a tiger in a thick sal jungle, as that species of tree grows 
in long straight trunks exceedingly close together, to an extent 
that would make it impossible for a large elephant to continue a 
direct course. Should the animal run away, the result would 
probably be fatal to the rider. We again heard the cry of the 
tiger repeated ; this decided me to make the trial, and we entered 
the forest, carefully advancing, and scanning every direction. 

The sal tree produces one of the most valuable woods in India 
for building purposes, and for railway sleepers. The bark is black, 
which gives the forest a sombre appearance, and the trees grow 
perfectly straight, generally to a height of 30 or 40 feet, before 
they divide into branches ; it may be readily imagined that an 
elephant would find a difficulty in threading its way through the 
narrow passages formed by these mast-like growths. In addition 
to this difficulty, there were numerous clumps of the tough male 
bamboo, which nothing will break, and which is terribly dangerous 
should a runaway elephant attempt to penetrate it, as the hard 
wiry branches would lacerate a rider in a frightful manner. There 
were numerous ravines in this forest, and we kept along the 
margin, slowly and cautiously, peering at the same time into the 
depths, in the expectation of seeing the wandering tiger. 

It was very perplexing ; sometimes we heard the cry of the 
tiger in one direction, and upon reaching the spot, we heard it at 
a different place. I was determined not to give it up, and we 
worked for at least two hours, until we had thoroughly examined 
every ravine, and all the smaller nullahs that would have been 
likely hiding-places. " Past five o'clock," I exclaimed, upon look- 
ing at my watch. It was time to turn homewards, as it would be 
dark at six, and should we be benighted in the forest we should 
not find our way, neither would it be possible to ride an elephant, 
owing to the thick bamboo. We accordingly gave up our search 
for the tiger, and steered in a new direction towards the 
camp. 

We had advanced for about half an hour through the gloomy 
forest, and were within about of a mile in a direct line of the 
tents, when I observed a peculiarly dark shadow upon my right, 
about 35 yards distant, close to a dense mass of feathery bamboos. 
I stopped the elephant for an instant, and at the same moment 
the black mass moved away towards the thick cover of the 
foliage. Guessing the position of the shoulder, I took a quick 



xi THE BEAR 235 

shot with the Paradox gun ; the elephant, most fortunately, not 
having observed the animal. 

The effect was most extraordinary ; I never heard such a noise ; 
there was a combination of roars and howls, as though a dozen 
tigers and lions were engaged in a Salvation Army chorus. Away 
went Hurri Ram, rendering it impossible for me to fire, as a large 
bear came straight at us, charging from the deep gloom of a 
bamboo clump, and growling, as it ran with the speed of a dog, 
direct at the elephant. 

I thought we must be knocked to pieces ; two or three smaller 
trees fortunately gave way before the terrified rush of Hurri Earn, 
but the power of the driving-hook was gone ; although the mahout 
alternately drove the spike deep into his skull and hooked the 
sharp crook into the tender base of the ears, the elephant crashed 
along, threatening us with destruction, as he swept through 
bamboos, and appeared determined to run for miles. 

I had been accustomed to feed this animal daily with all kinds 
of nice delicacies beloved by elephants, and at such times I always 
spoke to him in a peculiar phraseology. Although I was in the 
worst possible humour, and considerably anxious regarding our 
safety, when rushing through forest at 15 miles an hour, I ad- 
dressed Hurri Ram in most endearing terms " Poor old fellow, 
poor old Hurri Ram, where are the sugar-canes 1 where are the 
chupatties, poor old boy?" etc. etc. I believe thoroughly that 
the well-known tones of my voice restored his confidence far more 
than the torture of the driving-hook, and after a race of about 
150 yards he stopped. "Now turn him round, give him the 
point sharp, and drive him straight for the bear." The mahout 
obeyed the order, and we soon approached the spot, where the 
roars and howls still continued. My men were up the trees j the 
shikari had thrown a mighty spear upon the ground, and had 
gone up the branches like a squirrel, as he did not see the fun of 
meeting the bear's charge. 

Before we had time to examine the actual condition of affairs, 
the big bear suddenly dashed out again straight at the elephant, 
and once more in a disgraceful panic he took to flight, without the 
possibility, on my part, of taking a shot, when the bear thus 
daringly exposed itself. Again I had to comfort Hurri Ram, and 
by degrees we stopped his mad career, and once more returned to 
the scene of his discomfiture. There was a slight depression in 
an open hollow, where high grass in swampy ground intervened 
between two sections of the forest. As we advanced, the elephant 
being severely punished by the driving-hook and scolded by the 



236 WILD BEASTS AND THEIR WAYS CHAP. 

mahout, the bear suddenly uprose from the high grass, and stand- 
ing upon its hind legs, it faced us at about 40 yards' distance, 
affording a magnificent chance for a deadly shot Away went 
Hurri Ram again, whisking round before I had a moment to fire ; 
and after two successive chances of this kind, the bear escaped 
into the opposite jungle, and we searched for it in vain. 

We now returned, and with some difficulty drove Hurri Ram 
to the scene of conflict. There was a bear lying dead. The howls 
and roars had ceased, and a few yards to the left of the dead bear 
was a large black mass : this was another bear, in the last gasp. 
Both had been knocked over by only one bullet from the 
Paradox. 

Although I had only seen one bear, and that most indistinctly, 
it appeared that the bullet, being intensely hard, and propelled by 
4 1 drams of powder, had gone completely through the shoulder of 
the original bear, and then struck an unseen companion, who must 
have been some yards distant upon lower ground beyond. The 
bullet had broken the shoulder of this unlucky friend, and was 
sticking in its lungs, having carried a bundle of coarse black hair 
from bear No. 1 and deposited it upon its course in bear No. 2. 

Although these were full-grown bears, there can be little doubt 
that the bear that had so determinedly attacked the elephant was 
the mother, infuriated by the roars and howls of her dying 
offspring. The penetration of the Paradox bullet was highly satis- 
factory, but I was terribly disgusted with Hurri Ram, whose 
misconduct had caused the loss of bear No. 3, which would most 
certainly have been included in the list of killed had I had the 
chance of only one second's quiet. 

My men were not in the least ashamed when they descended 
from the trees, as they considered that the better part of valour 
was discretion. The large spear had been manufactured expressly 
for this kind of emergency, by a celebrated native cutler, Bhoput 
of Nagpur. It is always advisable that some powerful and plucky 
shikari should carry such a weapon for approaching any wounded 
animal, as accidents generally occur from carelessness, when the 
animal is supposed to be lying helpless, at the point of death. 
Such a spear should be 2 feet long, with a blade 3 inches wide, 
and extremely sharp. There should be a short cross-bar about 22 
inches from the point, to prevent the spear from running completely 
through an animal, which could then writhe up the handle, and 
attack. The socket should be large and long, to admit a very 
thick male bamboo, as the mistake is too frequently made that the 
spear is strong, but the handle is too weak. It is very important 



xi THE BEAR 237 

that a trustworthy attendant should be thus armed, as a dying 
animal can then be approached with comparative impunity. 

The risks that are run in following wounded animals are far 
greater than the prime attack. Should an animal charge without 
being wounded, it may generally be turned by a steady shot, if not 
absolutely killed; but when badly hurt, the onset of a beast is 
spasmodic, and nothing but death will paralyse the spring. I 
could mention numerous cases where lamentable disasters have 
occurred simply through thoughtlessness on the part of the hunter, 
who has been sacrificed in consequence of his neglect. One of the 
saddest catastrophes was the death of the late Lord Edward St. 
Maur, son of the Duke of Somerset, who died from the effects of 
amputation necessitated by the mangled state of his knee from the 
attack of a bear some years ago in India. This unfortunate young 
sportsman was shooting alone, and having wounded a bear, he 
followed up the animal for about a mile. When discovered it 
immediately charged him, and although again seriously wounded 
by his shot, the bear seized him by the knee, pulled him to the 
ground, and in the struggle that ensued he was seriously mauled. 
The bear was driven away by his attendants, and he was conveyed 
to camp. There was no blame in this instance attached to himself, 
or to any other person. In a most courageous manner he defended 
himself against the bear with his hunting-knife, and the body of 
the animal was recovered after some days by his shikari ; but this 
promising young nobleman was cut off in the early days of his 
career, and was probably sacrificed through a want of surgical 
experience on the part of the native operator. 

I remember an instance of carelessness, which might have had 
a disastrous result, many years ago, when I was hunting in Ceylon. 
My brother, the late General Valentine Baker, was riding with me 
through the jungles in the district called "The Park." I had 
been caught by a rogue elephant a few days before, and my right 
thigh was so damaged that I could only walk a few yards with 
difficulty. Suddenly the man who walked before my horse ran 
back, and shouted " Wallahah, Wallahah " (Bears, Bears), and we 
caught sight of some large black object rushing through the jungle, 
close to our horses' heads. Valentine Baker jumped nimbly off, 
and I heard a shot almost immediately ; my wounded leg was 
perfectly numbed, and I had no feeling in my foot ; therefore, as 
it touched the ground without sensation, I fell over on my back. 
Gathering myself together, I managed to run in chase, and I shortly 
found myself close to the retreating heels of two bears that were 
trotting through the dense underwood. One of these brutes, 



238 WILD BEASTS AND THEIR WAYS CHAP. 

feeling that it was pursued, turned quickly round, and immediately 
jumped upon the muzzle of my gun, which I fired into its stomach 
and rolled it over. I now heard my brother shouting my name at 
only a few yards' distance ; running towards him, as I feared some 
accident, I found a large bear half lying and half sitting upon the 
ground, growling and biting at the hard-wood loading-rod which V. 
Baker had thrust into a bullet wound behind its shoulder; he 
seemed surprised that the bear would not die at once. This was 
exceedingly dangerous, as the animal might have recovered sufficient 
strength to have directed an attack at an unguarded moment. 
Having a heavy hunting-knife of 3 Ibs. weight, I gave it a blow 
across the skull, which cleft it to the brain and terminated its 
struggles. This was exactly the occasion upon which an accident 
might have occurred, and when a spear would have been of use. 

I cannot understand why persons who reside in India neglect 
the assistance of dogs for the various kinds of hunting. Bull 
terriers would be invaluable for tracking up a wounded tiger or 
bear, and the latter might be hunted by such dogs even without 
being wounded. At any rate, well -trained dogs would be of 
immense assistance, but I have never seen them used. During 
the cool season of Central and Northern India the climate is most 
favourable, and the dogs could work during the hottest hours of 
the day without undue fatigue. Mr. Sanderson set the example 
some years ago, and had some interesting hunts ; he describes the 
Ursus labiatw as rendered powerless, in spite of its great strength 
and activity, as one bull terrier invariably seized it by the nose ; 
this is the most sensitive part, and easy to hold, as it is long, and 
connected with a projecting upper lip, which is almost prehensile 
in this variety. His experience proved that three dogs were 
sufficient to hold any bear, as the claws, although dangerous to the 
tender skin of a man, were too blunt to tear the tough but yielding 
hide of the dog. 

There are two other varieties of bears in the continent of India, 
the black (Urstis Thibetanus) and the brown, both of which are 
confined to Cashmere and the Himalayah range. I have had no 
personal experience of these animals, therefore I do not presume to 
offer myself as an authority ; but from the accounts I have received 
from those who have hunted them successfully, they are much the 
same in their habits as the average of their species. 

The dangerous character of bears, in like manner with all other 
animals, was accredited at a time when breechloaders and high 
velocities were unknown, but with a -577 rifle and 6 drama of 
powder, or a No. 12 spherical and 7 drams of powder, I cannot 



xi THE BEAR 239 

conceive the possibility of escape for any bear or other creature 
below the standard of a buffalo, if the hunter is a cool and steady 
shot. The conditions of this theory will include a solid bullet, not 
a hollow projectile dignified by the term " Express." 

I will conclude this notice of the bear with an example of the 
failure of the hollow bullet, -577 Express, fired by a native gentle- 
man, Zahur al Islam, when shooting with me in the reserves of 
Singrampur in the Central Provinces last winter. 

We were driving for any kind of animals that the jungle might 
produce, and, being on foot, we constructed the usual little hiding- 
place by cutting half through a sapling about 3 feet from the root, 
and bearing down upon the young tree so as to form a horizontal 
rail in front of our seat ; a similar cut at the back of another 
sapling about 3 inches thick, facing the stem already laid, and that 
was also pressed down to interlace with the branches of the prostrate 
tree. This makes a screen which can be rendered still more opaque 
by the addition of a few green boughs. 

The grass was parched to a bright straw colour, and was about 
4 feet high. As the beaters approached, a bear rushed forward 
and passed within 1 5 paces of Zahur. He fired ; the bear emitted 
a short growl and passed on. 

I assisted in tracking this animal by the blood upon the grass. 
Zahur described the shot he had taken as oblique ; as the bear had 
passed him, therefore the bullet must have struck either the hind- 
quarters full, or the thigh. 

We found a teak tree about 14 inches in diameter covered with 
small pieces of flesh resembling sausage-meat, for a height of 6 feet 
from the ground. The yellow grass at the foot of this tree was 
covered with blood, and many minute fragments of flesh adhered 
to the leaves. Searching the place carefully, we picked up two 
pieces of bone covered with blood ; these were very thick and 
strong, the larger fragment being 2 \ inches in length and 1 inch in 
width, evidently pieces belonging to the upper portion of the 
thigh. 

After tracking the wounded bear for about 200 yards through 
the high grass and jungle, we came to a tolerably deep nullah, 
where we expected to find the animal lying down. Instead of this, 
we discovered another large piece of fractured thigh bone, which 
proved that the hollow Express bullet, although '577, had broken 
up upon striking the bone, instead of penetrating throughout the 
body. The muscles of the thigh and the bone had been shattered 
to atoms, and the flesh so completely exploded that it had flown in 
all directions, dispersed in the smallest fragments ; nevertheless 



240 WILD BEASTS AND THEIR WAYS CHAP, xi 

this bear had gone right away, and was never more seen, although 
we expended more than an hour in its search, both with men and 
elephants. 

There could not be a more cruel example of the effect of a hollow 
projectile when striking a bone. If that had been a solid bullet, 
it would have raked the animal fore and aft, and would have rolled 
it over on the spot. 



CHAPTER XII 

THE HIPPOPOTAMUS 

AFRICA is the only portion of the world which produces this ex- 
traordinary animal, and we find it distributed in almost all rivers 
that are comprised within 26 degrees of latitude North and South. 
It is supposed that in a remote age the hippopotamus of the Nile 
extended its journey towards the north as far as Cairo, but it has 
been driven towards the south by the increase of traffic, and is now 
limited to the distant portion of the Soudan in the neighbourhood 
of Dongola. Even there it is scarce, and no great numbers are to 
be seen north of Khartoum, N. lat. 15 30', although the animals 
actually exist, and take refuge upon the wooded islands of the Nile 
throughout its course from Berber to Abou Hamed. 

It is curious to observe how a comparatively short interval of 
time will effect a change in driving animals from a particular 
neighbourhood, and compelling them to seek seclusion by travelling 
distances that would to some persons appear incredible. I well 
remember that twenty -eight years ago I saw crocodiles in con- 
siderable numbers at Dendera upon the lower Nile, far to the north 
of the cataracts at Assouan. These creatures have disappeared, 
and the disturbance occasioned by steamers has not only exiled 
them from their old haunts upon the lower river, but they are 
become scarce where they were exceedingly plentiful twenty years 
ago, between the first and second cataracts to Wady Haifa. 

When we have been ourselves eye-witnesses of such a change 
within the short interval of a few years, it becomes easy to com- 
prehend the disappearance of the hippopotamus during the last 
thousand or fifteen hundred years. This animal, in like manner 
with the crocodile, would not migrate suddenly to a distant point, 
but would gradually recede before advancing civilisation, and would 
disappear from a district by slow degrees that would hardly be 
appreciated at the time of its retreat. 

R 



242 WILD BEASTS AND THEIR WAYS CHAP. 

The hippopotamus is heavier than the black rhinoceros, but 
would be about equal in weight to the white variety; it may 
therefore be ranked as second in weight to the elephant. The 
flesh and hide are more dense than those of the elephant, which 
causes it to sink immediately when shot within deep water; if 
within 25 feet depth, the body will ascend and float when the gases 
shall have distended the carcase, which will take place in about 
two hours. 

The specific gravity would be greater than the displacement in 
water, but so nearly balanced that the animal can rise to the 
surface with very slight muscular exertion ; and it can at the same 
time run along the bed of the river at great speed, as hardly any 
weight would press upon the limbs, the body being almost self- 
supporting in the water. 

The feet of the hippopotamus are shaped in a peculiar manner, 
which enables it to clamber up greasy and slippery mud-banks, at 
the same time that they are well adapted for swimming, or for 
travelling upon the spongy bottom. There are only four toes upon 
each foot ; these are tipped with horny points, which afford good 
holding power either for ascent or descent. The toes spread widely 
upon soft ground, and although not actually web-footed, the skin 
between each toe expands to a certain degree, which assists the 
animal's progress when swimming by offering a considerable surface 
for resistance to the water. 

I measured a bull hippopotamus, 1 4 feet 3 inches from snout to 
end of tail ; the latter being about 9 inches. 

The legs are exceedingly short, being in the same proportion to 
the height of the animal as those of a well-bred pig. The head is 
enormous, and the mouth is the largest of any terrestrial creature 
in existence. Cuvier describes the teeth as follows : " Six grinders 
on each side of both jaws, the three anterior of which are conical, 
the posterior presenting two pair of points, which by detrition 
assume a trefoil shape ; four incisors above and below, those of the 
upper jaw being short, conical, and recurved, the inferior prolonged, 
cylindrical, pointed, and horizontally projecting ; a canine tooth 
on each side above and below, the upper straight, the lower very 
large and recurved, those of the two jaws rubbing against each 
other." 

The tusks exactly resemble, on an enormous scale, those of the 
wild boar, and the lower tusks are sharpened in the same manner, 
by attrition against the upper. The enamel upon the surface of 
the two defensive tusks is extremely thick and hard : the amount 
of silica in its composition is so great, that, in cutting out the tooth 



xir THE HIPPOPOTAMUS 243 

with an axe, showers of sparks are occasionally produced, when the 
steel strikes the tusk obliquely. 

The front teeth of both jaws appear to be specially arranged as 
scarifiers for raking and tearing out roots of aquatic plants, or for 
gathering tangled grasses from the river's bank. Although the 
skull is of prodigious size, the brain is very small, in no case ex- 
ceeding the size of a man's fist. The eyes are large, and are sur- 
mounted by a projecting arch of bone, which is a peculiar feature ; 
the ears are small, and the animal has a habit of shaking them 
with great rapidity, to rid them of water when it first emerges 
upon the surface. The tail is exceedingly short, and is flat upon 
the sides ; this can be of no service practically, as it is too small to 
act as a rudder when swimming, and Nature can only have added 
it as the termination of the iigliest of her handiworks. The nose 
of the hippopotamus is an enormous protuberance, which includes 
a firm and cartilaginous upper lip. 

Stupidly ferocious when in the water, the bull will frequently 
attack a boat without the slightest provocation ; but if disturbed 
when on land, it will immediately retreat to the concealment of 
the river's depths by plunging off the bank. I have seen them 
recklessly jump or tumble from a precipitous bank 12 or 16 feet 
in height, and fall into the water with an extraordinary commotion, 
when suddenly intruded upon in a mid-day's sleep beneath some 
shady trees. 

There are exceptions to all rules, and although this stupid 
animal will generally retreat from man, I have known two instances 
when fatal accidents occurred on shore. One of these was upon 
the Atbara river, during the dry season, when the Arabs cultivated 
water-melons upon the exhausted bed, near a large and deep pool, 
from which they obtained the water necessary for irrigation. The 
hippopotami amused themselves with munching ripe water-melons 
during the night, and when the proprieter appeared to drive them 
from his garden, he was immediately seized in the jaws of a well- 
known bull and destroyed by one crunch of the terrible rows of 
teeth. 

On another occasion I had wounded a very ferocious bull that 
was an old enemy of the natives, near a village on the borders of 
the White Nile. On the day following they went in search, and 
discovered the animal lying upon a sandbank in a shallow portion 
of the river. Considering that it was helpless, they descended 
the bank, and approached it with their spears, but it immediately 
rushed upon the foremost man, and bit him into halves by seizing 
him at the waist. 



244 WILD BEASTS AND THEIR WAYS CHAP. 

I was visited by a sheik of the Shillook tribe when camped 
at a station ujxm the White Nile ; this old man was blind, and 
lie was {Middled across the broad river by his son in a canoe formed 
of the stems of an exceedingly light wood known as ambatch. 
Upon the return journey, just as he had left me to recross the 
river, a bull hippopotamus ascended from the bottom, seized the 
frail canoe, together with the blind sheik, in his jaws, and reduced 
the little vessel to a hundred fragments, killing the old man at the 
same moment. I was standing upon the bank, and witnessed the 
splash of the attack and the utter wreck of the canoe, while the 
sheik's son swam in consternation to the shore. 

The skin of a bull hippopotamus is from If to 2 inches thick. 
The entire hide when fresh would weigh about 5 cwts. Although 
I never actually weighed a skin, I once skinned a big bull with 
the intention of preserving it, and when, after great exertion, we 
succeeded in loading a powerful camel, it could hardly carry the 
weight. The usual desert load for a good camel is 500 Ibs., 
therefore I concluded that the skin which caused a difficulty 
must have far exceeded the weight to which the animal was 
accustomed. 

It is difficult to decide the limit of time during which a hippo- 
potamus can remain beneath the water. The nostrils have the 
power of closing, with the action of valves, and the animal sinks 
itself with the lungs inflated. The blood is nourished with oxygen 
from this supply of air during immersion, and when the animal 
appears upon the surface, it blows out the expended air with a 
peculiar snort, accompanied by a jet of spray, very similar to the 
manner in which the whale and other cetacea " spout." 

Precisely in the same way the hippopotamus blows off the 
impure air, and again refills the lungs by an instantaneous effort 
like the cetacea ; and by the time that the eye detects the jet of 
spray, the lungs have been emptied and again inflated. 

I have very frequently observed, and taken the time by my 
watch, but I have found that hippopotami vary in the times of 
total immersion. Five minutes is about the usual interval of 
breathing, when it becomes necessary for the animal to ascend for 
a fresh supply of air, but this depends upon circumstances, as the 
hippo can sustain ten minutes without fresh air, should it choose 
to remain concealed. 

If a hippopotamus has been shot at several times, and is only 
slightly wounded, it will remain as long as possible beneath the 
water, and when it appears upon the surface, it will, in an artful 
manner, only expose the great round nose ; this will just break 



xn THE HIPPOPOTAMUS 245 

the water for the tenth part of a second, during which the air will 
have been exchanged and the lungs inflated instantaneously. 

Although it is a stupid animal, it certainly exhibits a consider- 
able amount of cleverness, in thus preserving its head from attack, 
and when it takes to such tactics as exposing no other portion than 
the nose, it is quite impossible to shoot with any effect. 

At a former period the tusks of the hippo were more valuable 
than the ivory of the elephant, as they were in request by dentists 
for artificial teeth. Their superiority to ordinary ivory consisted 
in the permanence of colour, as they never turned yellow. For 
this reason the price was exceedingly high, as much as 25s. per 
Ib. having been given at the commencement of this century. It 
was necessary to clean off the hard enamel by a revolving grind- 
stone before it was possible to manufacture the close-grained 
material beneath. The American invention of porcelain enamel 
for artificial teeth has destroyed the value of hippopotami tusks, 
which are now lower in price than the ivory of elephants. 

The va 4 lue of the hippopotamus depends at present entirely upon 
its hide and fat; the former is used for whips, and for facing 
revolving wheels when polishing steel surfaces. Hippopotamus 
fat is excellent, being free from any strong flavour, and closely 
resembling lard in consistency when boiled and clarified. A well- 
conditioned hippo will yield about 200 Ibs. of pure fat, which is 
much esteemed by the Arabs, as their domestic animals are 
usually devoid of anything beyond muscles, both hard and lean. 

I have never *seen a female with more than two young ones, 
and very frequently with only a solitary calf; they are affectionate 
mothers, and the little ones usually stand upon the back of their 
careful parent, who swims about with them and occasionally 
brings them to the surface in the same position, whenever she 
considers that they require fresh air. 

They are pugnacious brutes among themselves, and the bulls 
are constantly fighting during the night, roaring bellicose challenges 
to each other in prolonged deep-toned snorts, that vibrate through 
the bottom of the vessel when moored for the night on the desolate 
White Nile. 

I have frequently witnessed tremendous combats between bull 
hippopotami, when they have appeared upon the surface with their 
huge jaws locked together, and utterly regardless in their fury of 
any external danger. Upon one occasion, in a very narrow channel 
of the labyrinth-like branches of the White Nile, I found a herd 
containing numerous individuals ; and as the channel was hardly 
30 yards in width, they were completely at my mercy whenever 



246 WILD BEASTS AND THEIR WAYS CHAP. 

their heads were above the surface. There are two certain shots 
with a powerful rifle one behind the ear when the animal is 
looking in an opposite direction, the other exactly beneath the eye 
when you are vis-ft-vis; both of these shots reach the brain. I 
had fired with great rapidity, and the breechloader had been very 
fatal ; the channel being narrow, and perhaps only 9 or 10 feet 
deep, a great commotion was caused by fifteen or twenty 
hippopotami, some of which were wounded, others, that were 
killed, had sunk to the bottom, and the remainder were in a frantic 
state of excitement. Presently a wounded bull rose to the surface, 
and snorting a jet of bloody spray, it rose several feet out of the 
water : immediately another bull appeared upon the scene, and 
with open jaws it seized its comrade by the neck and held on like 
a bull-dog. The fight continued for two or three minutes, and 
although I was standing unconcealed upon the bare and open bank 
not 3 feet above the channel, the two animals fought and wrestled 
together until, coming within 4 or 5 yards of my position, I put a 
ball behind the ear of one, and into the head of the other with the 
left-hand barrel, which settled the affair. I had more than 1500 
men to feed, therefore I was not in the humour to lose an 
opportunity. 

There is no animal that I dislike more than the hippopotamus, 
if I am compelled to travel at night upon an African river in an 
ordinary boat. There is no possibility of escape should a hippo 
take the idea into his head that your vessel is an enemy. The 
creature's snort may be heard at a few yards* distance in the 
darkness, and the next moment you may be overturned by an 
attack from beneath, where the enemy was unseen. I have some- 
times been benighted when in an open boat, having been exploring 
throughout the day; in returning across a lake, guided by the 
well-known signal (a red light hoisted at the masthead of my 
diahbeeah), I have heard the snorts and the threatening splashing 
of hippopotami around our dinghy, momentarily expecting a blow 
from below that would send us flying, and capsize us helplessly 
in the dark. All of my boats were more or less damaged by 
hippopotami in the course of three years' work upon the upper 
Nile. On one occasion there was a boat full ol sheep being towed 
astern of the diahbeeah, which was going 6 or 7 knots before a 
favourable wind, when a hippopotamus suddenly charged from 
beneath, threw the boat completely out of the water, knocked a 
big hole in her bottom, and capsized her with all the sheep, every 
one of which was drowned. On another occasion we were in a 
very large flat-bottomed canoe, cut out of a single tree. The floor 



xii THE HIPPOPOTAMUS 247 

of this was at the least 3 or 4 inches thick, and happily it was a 
tough quality of wood. This heavy canoe was 27 feet in length, 
but when approaching a bank of high reeds, a hippopotamus 
charged from beneath, and struck the bottom with such force that 
the canoe was actually lifted partially from the water ; had it been 
an ordinary boat, the bottom would have been knocked out, and 
we should have been capsized. 

Dr. Livingstone describes an accident which befell him, when 
his large canoe full of natives was thrown into the air, and capsized 
with the entire crew, by a savage hippopotamus when descending 
some channel of the Zambesi. 

Accidents were frequent with these animals. In broad daylight 
a hippo charged the steamer that was towing my diahbeeah. Not 
content with breaking several floats off the paddle-wheel, it 
reappeared astern, and, striking the bottom of our iron vessel, it 
perforated the plates in two places with its projecting tusks, 
causing a dangerous leak. 

Our vessel was filling rapidly, although, the steamer having 
dropped astern to our assistance, we discharged our cargo upon her 
deck, and at the same time kept pumping and baling out with 
every conceivable utensil. At length the engineer succeeded in 
finding the two holes with his naked feet, which he used as stoppers 
until we were able to reduce the water. He then repaired the 
damage with a clever impromptu device, by covering a small plank 
thickly with white lead and tow, mixed together, and laid 2 
inches thick upon a piece of felt. This was inverted upon the two 
holes; a man stood upon the plank, thus pressing the tow and 
white lead into the apertures. In the meantime an upright batten 
was fixed from beneath a cross-beam, upon the plank, and a wedge 
was driven to tighten the pressure of the batten ; this secured the 
plank across the leaks. 

A hippopotamus can move at a considerable pace along a river's 
bed. We had proof of this while running down the Bahr Giraffe 
with the steamer, the speed with the stream being about 10 knots 
an hour. The river was narrow, and in places rather shallow. 
We observed the head of a very large hippopotamus, which rose 
and snorted upon the surface about 100 yards ahead of the vessel. 
When the animal disappeared, we could plainly see the wave that 
denoted the course of the hippo which had this long start in an 
exciting race. There was very little space upon either side in the 
narrow channel, and we felt sure that if the hippo continued a 
straight course, we should either run over it, or be struck should 
it turn to charge. 



248 WILD KEASTS AND THEIR WAYS CHAP. 

It was some time before we actually gained upon it, but when 
the engineer put on full steam, there could be no doubt of our 
superiority in speed. The wave in the river was close under our 
bows, and in another moment the steamer of 108 tons gave a leap, 
as we rose over the body of the hippopotamus, in water that was 
too shallow to permit it to pass beneath our keel. We had no 
means of ascertaining the fate of this animal. 

The most ferocious attack that I have ever witnessed occurred 
in the Bahr Giraffe, at a time when we were cutting a passage for 
the flotilla of fifty-seven vessels through the obstruction caused by 
aquatic vegetation, which had accumulated to an extent that 
blocked the navigation of the river. During the middle of the 
iiight a bull hippopotamus charged our diahbeeah, and sank a 
small boat that was fastened to the side. The infuriated beast 
then bit the side out of a boat that was 17 feet in length, and the 
crash of splintered wood betokened its destruction. Not satisfied 
with this success, it then charged the iron vessel, and would 
assuredly have sunk her if I had not stopped the onset by a shot 
in the skull with a No. 8 rifle. This hippopotamus was evidently 
a desperate character, and I concluded that it must have been 
attracted to our vessel by the smell of blood, as the small boats 
destroyed had contained flesh that had been cut into strips from 
the body of a hippo which I had shot on the previous day. There 
was an additional provocation in the presence of a dead hippo, 
which I had fastened to the rudder, as we had no time to prepare 
the flesh ; this was floating astern, and assisted in arousing the 
fury of the ill-tempered bull. When I succeeded in killing this 
animal, after an exciting defence, we discovered that it had been 
frequently scored by the tusks of antagonists of its own species ; 
one wound was several feet in length along the flank, and was 
recently healed. The scars of numerous conflicts were a sufficient 
evidence of a vicious character. 

The Hamran Arabs and some other tribes attack the hippo- 
potamus with the harpoon. I have witnessed these hunts, which 
are intensely exciting. 

When a small herd of these animals are floating upon the sur- 
face, basking half asleep in the mid-day sun, a couple of hunters 
enter the river about 200 yards up-stream, and swim cautiously 
with the current in their favour until they arrive within 5 or 6 
yards of the nearest hippo. They hurl the harpoons simultane- 
ously, and at the same instant they dive beneath the surface, 
and swim in an opposite direction, making direct for the nearest 
shore. 



xii THE HIPPOPOTAMUS 249 

The hippo, if well struck, is fixed by two harpoons, to each of 
which a rope is attached. A float of exceedingly light wood, the 
size of an ordinary man's head, is secured to the extremity of each 
rope, and these are arranged in lengths proportioned to the maxi- 
mum depth of the river, generally about 30 feet. 

When the hippopotamus feels the wound, it immediately 
plunges to the bottom, and rushes madly to and fro until it again 
rises to the surface to take breath. It at once perceives the large 
float at the extreme end of the line, and frightened at the unaccus- 
tomed object, it seeks the concealment of the bottom. 

In the meantime the hunters have safely landed, and are joined 
by their numerous companions, well provided with long ropes, and 
armed with spare harpoons and well-sharpened lances. 

The difficulty of capturing the hippopotamus would at first 
sight appear most formidable, but a very clever, though simple, 
plan enables the hunter to secure the float which is fastened to 
the 'harpoon line. The river may be about 150 yards in width. 
One of the hunters swims across, or wades if he can find a shallow 
ford, about 100 yards above the spot where the float upon the 
surface denotes the place beneath which the hippo is hidden in 
the river's depths. The man who crosses over takes the end of a 
long rope. This is more than sufficient to reach from bank to 
bank, and either end is now in possession of a howarti (hippo- 
hunter). An exceedingly strong but a lighter line is fastened to 
the centre of the rope, which is now stretched across the river, 
and the end of this second line is held by the same man who holds 
the superior rope ; thus, upon one shore a man holds one end only, 
while upon the other shore his companion holds the extremities of 
two lines, one being fastened to the middle of the larger or main rope. 

It may be easily understood that the angle may be increased 
or decreased simply by widening the base through an extension of 
the two ends of the lines. 

In this manner the two hunters advance upon either bank, 
dragging the rope upon the surface until they can touch the float 
which they intend to secure. They manipulate their lines in a 
manner that enables them to catch the float between the two 
ropes. When this is accomplished, the hunter on the opposite 
slUe of the river slacks off his rope, as his companion joins his two 
lines together and hauls upon the float, which is now secured in 
the angle '. )etween them. The man who has let go his end of the 
rope now rejoins his companions, and they all haul away upon 
thj lines - ihat have captured the float, to drag the hippopotamus 
towards die shore. 



250 WILD BEASTS AND THEIR WAYS CHAP. 

The fun begins ; the hippo, feeling that it is dragged, offers the 
greatest amount of resistance, but by degrees, and with careful 
management, it is guided within striking distance, and another 
harpoon is fixed within its stubborn hide. There is no longer any 
delicacy necessary, as the collective power of the hunters can be 
distributed upon the various ropes attached to their respective 
harpoons without fear of breakage. 

I have seen a hippopotamus, under these conditions, quit the 
refuge of deep water and boldly challenge the crowd of his pursuers 
by landing upon the bank and making a general onslaught upon 
them. These splendid fellows fought the enraged animal with 
lances, some of which were caught and crushed within its powerful 
jaws. But the most telling defence was made with handfuls of 
sand, which, thrown in the prominent eyes, immediately forced the 
half-blinded beast to retreat to the welcome river, where it could 
wash, and prepare for a renewal of the conflict. Upon one occa- 
sion I saw a hippopotamus, which, when harpooned, had emerged 
from the river to attack the hunters, return over and over again to 
the charge, until it had smashed and broken so many spears that I 
was forced to terminate the fight by a bullet in its brain. 

The natives of Central Africa do not advance to the attack by 
swimming like the Hamran Arabs, but they harpoon the hippo- 
potamus from canoes ; and they are frequently upset by the 
infuriated animal before they have time to escape by paddling. 
Swimming would be a safer method of harpooning, as the hunter 
can save himself by diving, unseen by the hippopotamus, which 
invariably looks upwards when in the water, as it instinctively 
directs its vision towards the light ; but in the White Nile and in 
the lakes there are crocodiles in such great numbers that few people 
would presume upon the risk. 

Although the hippopotamus affords excellent sport when hunted 
in this fashion, the ordinary method of shooting these animals in 
the water exhibits the poorest form of amusement. It is impos- 
sible to determine whether it is killed or otherwise, until the body 
appears upon the surface. The bullet may be heard to strike, and 
the huge head will instantly disappear, but the most experienced 
person may be deceived in accepting the shot as fatal, and a sudden 
snort a few minutes later will prove that the hippo is in being ; 
after which it will rarely expose its head to another aim. 

A No. 10 rifle, very accurately sighted, with a powder charge 
of 10 drams, is the best weapon for shooting these animals, as the 
bullet will crash through the skull, and will frequently stun the 
hippo, although it may have escaped the brain. Upon such occa- 



xii THE HIPPOPOTAMUS 251 

sions the immense creature will roll over, belly uppermost, and the 
frantic kicking of its short legs, and its convulsive struggles, will 
raise an extraordinary commotion in the water ; until at length 
this amphibious creature drowns, through a long-continued immer- 
sion during a state of unconsciousness. I have very often killed 
them in this manner with a heavy rifle, that has crushed the 
cranium; and upon one occasion the '577 bullet performed unex- 
pectedly with the same result, although the skull of the animal 
was only slightly split, and the bullet remained wedged and shape- 
less in the crevice. The hippo, after rolling helplessly for several 
minutes, sank to the bottom, reappearing upon the surface a couple 
of hours later. The skull of this female hippopotamus is in my 
possession, showing the position of the bullet, which remains fixed 
upon the bone. 

It would be a natural conclusion that the hippopotamus, which 
is a pugnacious creature, would occasionally attack the crocodile ; 
but although these reptiles are in great numbers, I have never 
heard of such a conflict. At the same time, I have seen dead 
hippopotami that have remained a couple of hours under water 
after the fatal shot ; these were scored in many places by the sharp 
teeth of crocodiles, which had vainly attempted to make an aper- 
ture. I have observed the large heads of these creatures floating 
upon the surface, in attendance upon the tempting carcase, proving 
that, should an opportunity offer, they were ready to snatch a 
mouthful of a beast, when dead, which they feared to attack when 
living. 

There is a probability that the calves of hippopotami may occa- 
sionally be carried off by crocodiles, but this must remain an open 
question, as it cannot be proved by an eye-witness, and, in such a 
case, the attacking party would certainly be charged by the 
desperate mother. 

A young calf hippopotamus is delicious eating. The feet, when 
stewed, are far superior to those of any other animal, and the skin 
makes excellent turtle soup. The fresh hide of a full-grown hippo, 
if cut into small pieces, soaked in vinegar for an hour, and then 
boiled, so closely resembles turtle that it would be difficult to dis- 
tinguish the difference. The flesh of this animal is always palat- 
able ; and although that of an old bull is tough, it can always be 
successfully treated, by pounding and beating it upon a flat stone 
until the fibre is totally destroyed. If this is mixed with chopped 
onions, pepper, and salt, and wild thyme, it will form either rissoles 
or cotelettes de veau, by a pleasing transformation of the old bull. 

As the female hippopotamus generally produces one calf at a 



252 WILD BEASTS AND THEIR WAYS CHAP. 

birth, these huge creatures do not multiply in any great degree, 
and their numbers in certain places, where they appear to have 
assembled in large herds, must be accepted as periodical gatherings, 
which are altogether exceptional, and by no means represent the 
average area of a locality. 

I have seen a bend in the White Nile, during the dry season, 
which was literally crowded with hippopotami ; and as the steamer 
was coming down the stream at about nine miles an hour, I thought 
it would be impossible to avoid a collision ; somehow they all made 
way for our passage, and we passed through a crowd of heads, some 
snorting and blowing jets, while others disappeared in their visual 
instantaneous manner. 

A hippopotamus differs from most aquatic animals, as it sinks 
backwards, and disappears by throwing its nose upwards ; all other 
creatures dive head first. 

In such secluded places as the banks of the White Nile, where 
dense masses of high reeds fringe the course of the river, far away 
from any habitation, the hippopotami pass a considerable portion 
of their time in marshy retreats among the canes ; such dens would 
be impervious to human beings, and would not be observed unless 
from a vessel upon the river. The tangled mass of vegetation is 
pierced in numerous places by dark tunnels, which have been bored 
out by the bulky forms of hippopotami, and these gloomy routes 
form their channels of retreat, where they retire to sleep. Females, 
with their calves, are especially fond of these impervious bowers, 
where they are secure from all chances of molestation by man or 
beast. 

Although this animal may be shot from the shore, without the 
slightest danger of an attack upon the hunter, I have described a 
sufficient number of casualties to exhibit the^tme ferocity of its 
nature, when in the element which affords the greatest scope for 
its activity. Upon one occasion I was a witness to a most un- 
provoked aggression. We were swimming a herd of several hundred 
cows across the White Nile, about 20 miles south of Gondokoro : 
the natives as usual accompanied the cattle, sometimes holding on 
to the horn, at other times by the tail of a cow, but as they swam 
they directed the course of their animals by shouts and by the aid 
of a stout bamboo. 

Suddenly the herd was invaded by several hippopotami, and I 
myself saw their enormous heads and necks emerge from the water, 
and with opened jaws they seized several cows and dragged them 
beneath the surface, never to appear again. 

This was sheer rage, as the hippo is not carnivorous. It is 



xii THE HIPPOPOTAMUS 253 

impossible to know what happened beneath the water, but, as the 
cows did not reappear, they must have been held at the bottom for 
a considerable time, until quite drowned. 

It may be generally accepted that the hippopotamus is a fierce 
and dangerous animal when in the water, and that it will frequently 
attack boats, especially at night, or any other object that may 
attract its senseless fury, but when on land it very rarely ventures 
to provoke a contest ; on the contrary, it prefers retreat, and be- 
takes itself precipitately to the river's bed, where it feels secure 
from molestation. 

The ivory having decreased in value, owing to the American 
invention of enamel for artificial teeth, and the demand for its hide 
having been reduced by the British interference in Egypt, where 
the courbatch (hippopotamus whip) has been abolished, the hippo- 
potamus will remain the undisturbed inhabitant of the great White 
Nile, monarch of the river ; upon which fifteen English steamers 
were plying when the Soudan was abandoned by the despotic order 
of Great Britain, and handed back to savagedom and wild beasts. 



CHAPTER XIII 



THIS reptile is an intruder among the mammalia, and may appear 
out of place in a description of wild beasts and their ways, but it 
inhabits the same localities as the hippopotamus, and, being equally 
amphibious, I venture to exalt it to the society of superior animals. 

As lizards are found distributed in great varieties throughout 
the world, in like manner we find the largest of all lizards, the 
crocodile, under various names, in nearly every river of the tropics, 
lu America this reptile is generally known as an alligator, and some 
persons pretend to define the peculiarity which distinguishes that 
variety from the crocodile, but I regard the distinction in the same 
light as that between the leopard and the panther, the difference 
existing merely in a name. As we see many varieties of cats which 
are classed as leopards, in the same manner the different varieties 
of alligators may be classed under the name crocodile. There is a 
peculiar species in the Ganges, Brahmaputra, and other Indian 
rivers which, although included in the name, exhibits marked 
variations from all others ; this is known as the gavial. The long 
beak-shaped jaws, with a lump upon the extremity of the nose, 
distinguish this creature from all other varieties. The gavial grows 
to a great length, sometimes attaining 20 feet and upwards, but it 
is deficient in bulk, and is by no means so formidable as other 
varieties of the species. This creature lives upon fish, and it seldom 
attacks either men or animals. The head is far longer in pro- 
portion than the ordinary crocodile's, and the gavial remains 
distinct, per se, as no instance has been known of a cross, or in- 
termediate variety. In other respects the habits are the same ; 
the female lays her eggs in a sandbank near the river, to the 
number of fifty or sixty, and when they are hatched by the heat of 
the sand, the young ones immediately take to the water. 

Few persons have the opportunity of witnessing the rapid dash 



CHAP, xin THE CROCODILE 255 

of a crocodile when it rushes towards its prey, but when it is 
considered that fish constitute the ordinary food, it may readily be 
imagined that the maximum speed of the reptile must be sufficient 
to overtake the swiftest swimmer. 

The crocodile of the Nile is the same as those of Ceylon and 
India : in the latter Empire it is generally distinguished as the 
" mugger," but it is inferior in size to those of Ceylon and Africa, 
with a few exceptions. 

The teeth of this species are specially arranged for seizing, as 
they interlock, and the two longest of the lower jaw penetrate 
through corresponding holes, the points appearing through the top 
of the upper jaw, above the snout. 

There are thirty-four teeth in the upper, and an equal number 
in the lower jaw. These are hollow, and they are renewed by 
others which are contained within them ; by degrees they develop 
into a full growth, and at a subsequent period they push out the 
old teeth and usurp their place, to be themselves displaced upon 
the same principle in later years. 

This special provision of nature for replenishing teeth would 
infer that the crocodile is a creature which surpasses all others in 
the duration of life. This is probably a true presumption, except- 
ing the tortoise, which is in some eastern countries the emblem of 
longevity. There is a tortoise in a garden at Mutwal, near 
Colombo, which is known to be 150 years old, as it had been for 
a long time in possession of the Dutch before the British annexa- 
tion of Ceylon ; but its age, when first captured, remains a mystery. 

The fore feet of the crocodile somewhat resemble the form of a 
short human hand ; these are armed with five long horny claws, 
sometimes measuring 4 inches, and are used for holding the prey 
whilst tearing it with the teeth. The claws of the hind feet are 
shorter, and are only four in number. It is a mistake to suppose 
that a crocodile seizes and immediately swallows its victim ; it 
may do so in the case of small animals, such as fawns which have 
been captured while drinking from the river's bank, or dogs caught 
while swimming, but large animals are dragged beneath, and held 
below the surface until drowned ; they are then dragged away to 
some favourite hiding-place and devoured at leisure. 

The male is difficult to distinguish from the female, as the 
penis and testicles are concealed inside, within an aperture that 
would be accepted as the female parts. Unlike the snakes, which 
are double, the crocodile has a single penis. The male produces 
four glands of musk, two of which are upon either side, beneath 
the jaws, and two upon either side of the groin. These are highly 



256 WILD BEASTS AND THEIR WAYS CIIAP. 

prized by the Arabs in the Soudan, where crocodile-hunting is 
pursued as a profession, and the four glands of an average-sized 
specimen are worth 30s. ; those of a very large male would be 
valued in proportion. The Soudanese women string the musk-glands 
upon a necklace, together with other beads ; when dried they are 
about the size of a small nutmeg. I have frequently inquired of 
the natives throughout India, but they are entirely ignorant of the 
existence of musk-glands in the crocodile. The scent is remark- 
ably strong, and I have frequently been attracted by the odour 
when, in a vessel passing down the White Nile, we had been 
forewanied of the basking-place upon the bank, before we had come 
in sight of the reptile. It is usually considered by the natives that 
the female is attracted to the spot by the musky exudation from 
the male. Although the female possesses an equal number of 
musk-glands, they are smaller, and not so powerful. 

The crocodile is harpooned by the Arabs precisely in the same 
manner as the hippopotamus, with the exception that, instead of 
being struck when floating upon the surface, the hunters swim 
under cover of the bank when they have descried a crocodile 
asleep upon a bed of sand ; the harpoon is then cast, and as the 
crocodile immediately plunges into the river, the hunters with 
equal agility jump out. In many portions of the Soudan the 
hunters are armed with rifles, but the harpoon in dexterous hands 
is more effective, as the creature seldom escapes. Great numbers 
of crocodiles may be shot, but very few in proportion are actually 
secured, as the body sinks immediately in deep water ; and, unlike 
the hippopotamus, it will not rise to the surface for several days, 
until decomposition shall have set in, and the belly has become 
inflated with foul gas. 

Within the last few years the hide of the crocodile has been 
generally used for the manufacture of travelling bags and various 
lighter articles. It is to be hoped that the increased demand may 
have the effect of reducing the numbers of these reptiles, which 
are a terrible scourge to every country which they infest. Person- 
ally I have studiously avoided a swim in any water inhabited by 
crocodiles, but it is astonishing to see the risks that are continually 
incurred by Arabs, whose faith in some special charm, received 
from a faky or priest, is sufficient to induce them to brave all 
dangers, and to defy the fate which so frequently befalls them. 
There is no possibility of escape should a person be seized in the 
water, although the crocodile might be of a small size ; he would 
assuredly be dragged beneath the surface. 

If the creature should be of large size, the force of the snapping 



xin THE CROCODILE 257 

jaws would crush any human bone. As the sixty-eight teeth, 
which are long and sharp-pointed, fit exactly into the interstices 
between them, it may be imagined that such a rat-trap formation 
would effectually preclude escape. The throat of a crocodile is not 
only large, but is capable of great expansion, and, although the 
habits of the creature usually permit the body of a victim to rest 
in quiet until it is devoured in piecemeal, there are many exceptions 
to the rule ; large crocodiles will swallow a small person without 
the slower operation of dismemberment. Mr. Bennett, in his 
excellent work upon Ceylon published in 1843, affords an example 
of this swallowing capacity, which he himself witnessed: -"A 
native in the act of bathing was seized by a crocodile and swallowed, 
with the exception of the head and one hand, which were found 
on the margin of the river ; from which it was inferred that the 
poor victim had seen the animal approach, and had endeavoured 
to save himself, but was overtaken just as he had grasped the 
overhanging branch of a tree in the last fruitless effort to escape. 

" Immediately upon the report reaching the collector of the 
district, James Agnew Farrel, Esq., he ordered a general search 
for the amphibious monster ; which on the second day proved 
successful ; for just as our picnic party was about to sit down to 
dinner, two carts lashed together, and containing the body of the 
animal, which was 17|- feet in length, were driven to the door. 
We had it removed instantly to the sea-side, and opened ; when 
the body of a native, already a mass of putrefaction, was taken 
out, and a coroner's inquest held upon the spot." 

This is direct and interesting evidence, as we have not only the 
description of an eye-witness, but the length of the crocodile is 
given, 17| feet. We thus have an undeniable fact that a creature 
of that length can actually swallow an ordinary human being, if 
it chooses. Crocodiles have been frequently killed in Ceylon that 
have measured 22 feet, and there can be little doubt that this 
length is occasionally exceeded. I have seen the teeth sufficiently 
large to form boxes for carrying percussion-caps, before the days of 
breechloaders. The power of the jaws is terrific, and I have had 
the metal of a large hook, the thickness of ordinary telegraph wire, 
completely bent together, the barbed point being pressed tightly 
against the shank, and rendered useless ; this compression was 
caused by the snap of the jaws when seizing a live duck which I 
had used as a bait, the hook being fastened beneath one wing. 
The crocodile took the bait, but I made a mistake in immediately 
striking and hauling upon the line. After a rush of a few yards, 
the monster sulked among the aquatic reeds at the bottom of the 

s 



258 WILD BEASTS AND THEIR WAYS CIIAP. 

lake, until prodded by a harpoon from a canoe, which I had sent 
to disturb it. The boatman could not pierce through the thick 
scales ; and suddenly the line slackened, and I hauled up my line, 
at the end of which was a completely flattened duck, together with 
my hook, compressed and useless, as I have described. 

I have shot immense numbers of crocodiles in various countries, 
and, if upon the shore, I have generally secured them. A very 
accurate rifle is necessary, as there are only two points that are 
immediately fatal No. 1 is just behind the eye, No. 2 exactly 
through the centre of the shoulder. The latter shot will break 
both joints of the fore legs, and will pass directly through the 
lungs. Although I prefer a "577 rifle, the '450 solid bullet will 
be always fatal, if it is placed exactly as I have described. 

The hard scales of crocodiles were said to be proof against a 
rifle bullet. This may have been the case at the beginning of the 
century, when rifles were loaded with only 1 dram of powder ; it 
was at that date that the grizzly bear was considered almost 
bullet-proof, when the first settlers encountered it with no better 
weapon than the No. 70 pea-rifle; but a hardened solid bullet, 
propelled by 6 drams of powder, will drive through a crocodile like 
a sheet of paper. 

General H. Browne, when at Jubbulpur, showed me a '577 
solid bullet, ^ tin, which he had fired completely through a large 
crocodile when lying on the margin of the river, and he dug the 
bullet out of the hard bank, into which it had penetrated for at 
least 1 foot. This bullet was so little injured in form that it 
might have been used a second time. 

Although the hippopotamus and the crocodile are both 
amphibious, there is a vast difference between them in the power 
of remaining under water. The former has enormous lungs, which, 
when inflated, contain sufficient air to nourish the blood during 
five, or at the most ten minutes, at the expiration of which it is 
compelled to reappear upon the surface. 

The crocodile has valves which close two small orifices in lieu 
of ears, and also the nostrils, but the lungs are not extraordinary 
in size, in proportion to the weight of the reptile. Notwithstanding 
this apparent inferiority in lung capacity, it can remain beneath 
the water for almost any length of time, and when it appears upon 
the surface, it does not blow out a jet of spray, neither does it 
exhibit any sign of a desire for inhalation, but it merely looks 
around, as though scrutinising the immediate neighbourhood, 
either in search of prey, or in the fear of danger. 

The crocodile has the power of hybernaling. This may be 



xni THE CROCODILE 259 

seen in many parts of India, where these creatures exist in small 
lakes or tanks, which are perfectly exhausted during the hottest 
season. At that time there cannot be the slightest doubt that 
they are buried in the mud, which dries and hardens above them, 
in which torpid state they exist until released by the refilling of 
the tank in the rainy season. Under such conditions the crocodile 
never grows to a large size, but it is limited to 8 or 9 feet. 

The largest that I ever saw were of such extraordinary dimen- 
sions that I could scarcely believe the reality, although within 
only a few yards of our canoe ; I had a life's experience among 
these creatures, but I never had the faintest conception that such 
monsters were in existence. We were travelling up the Victoria 
Nile, my wife, myself, and two attendants, in addition to the 
native crew of a very large canoe (about 30 feet in length). 
Another canoe was about 50 yards astern, full of wounded men : 
the troops were marching through forest parallel with the river ; 
this was about 500 yards in width, very deep, with a current so 
slight as to be almost imperceptible. There had been serious 
fighting during a forest march of seven consecutive days, and 
although we were approaching a friendly tribe, I did not wish to 
proclaim our presence by the report of firearms. 

We were paddling with six rowers along this desolate river, 
bordered upon either side by lofty papyrus and sombre forests, 
when we observed a small island, a portion of the area being over- 
grown with the very graceful but mournful-looking rush (papyrus) ; 
this had taken root in a shallow soil formed by rotten vegetation, 
which had drifted upon the hard granite that formed the basis of 
the isle. The bare gray granite shelved gradually towards the 
water, and exposed a clear surface of about 60 feet ; upon this 
were large rounded masses resembling boulders of rock, which had 
resisted the process of gradual disintegration. It was a pictur- 
esque and unexpected island, a huge rock rising suddenly from the 
deep water. 

The canoe drew near, and when within about 20 yards the 
great boulders of granite began to move ! I could not believe my 
eyes ; great masses commenced to unfold, and in a few seconds 
resolved themselves into two vast forms, each as thick as the 
body of a hippoptamus, and of enormous length. These two 
antediluvian monsters glided slowly and fearlessly along the 
gently sloping granite, and when half beneath the water they 
exposed a breadth of back which was the most extraordinary sight 
I have ever seen in my long experience of crocodiles. 

We stopped the canoe for a few moments, but I would not fire 



260 WILD BEASTS AND THEIR WAYS CHAP. 

for the reason already given, and after gazing at us for a short 
time, the great heads sank below the surface ; the scene was then 
restricted to a rather flat granite island, without any boulders, and 
a dense tuft of papyrus rushes on the western side. 

I would not presume to estimate the length of these extraor- 
dinary creatures, but the deep and broad river, flowing silently 
through one of the oldest portions of the earth, suggested, by the 
exhibition of these mighty forms, that no change in the inhabit- 
ants of the stream had taken place since the original creation. 

Crocodiles, like all other creatures, vary in their characters 
according to the conditions under which they exist. Although 
they prey upon any living thing that comes within their reach, 
they, as inhabitants of the water, are by nature fish-eaters. When 
cutting wearily during two seasons through the dense obstructions 
of aquatic vegetation which had closed the navigation of the 
White Nile, we occasionally entered upon horrible solitudes of 
shallow swamp, peopled by countless snakes ; the air, sultry and 
redolent of malaria, was humming with mosquitoes ; and in this 
chaos, if a few sqxiare yards of sandbank appeared above the 
marsh, there were the belly scales of some large crocodile printed 
upon the surface. Nothing could be more horrible than such 
associations : the loud hoarse snorts of the hippopotamus at night, 
and the reptiles that were present in the daylight ; these formed 
a combination which conveyed an indelible impression of ante- 
diluvian realities. This was the natural position of the crocodile, 
in which fish must have constituted its nourishment. 

I remember upon one occasion, in the Albert Nyanza, we found 
one half of a fish (Perca Nilotica) that was bitten as clean 
through as though divided by a knife ; this was the work of a 
snap from the jaws of a crocodile. The fish would have weighed 
about 70 Ibs. when whole. It was almost certain that the fish 
caught nightly in our trammel-nets would be taken by crocodiles ; 
and, not content with an endeavour to abstract them, they tore 
the net into large holes with teeth and claws, in their determina- 
tion to possess them. 

The moat dangerous time for a man to enter a river is just 
before or after sunset, as the fish invariably visit the shallows 
during evening ; the crocodiles follow them, and they may fre- 
quently be seen at that hour dashing like huge pike most furiously 
at the larger varieties, which sometimes jump to a great height 
out of the water, in an attempt to evade their pursuers. 

When I was in command of the Khedive's expedition, our 
losses through crocodiles were very distressing, all of which were 



xin THE CROCODILE 261 

terrible examples of the ferocity, combined with cunning, which 
characterises this useless scourge. On one occasion the vessels 
were sailing up the White Nile with a strong north wind, making 
at least 7 knots an hour ; one of the cavasses was sitting upon 
the deck, with his legs dangling over the sides of the deeply laden 
vesssel, his feet being half a yard above the water. Suddenly a 
rush was made by a very large crocodile, and the man was seized 
and carried off in a shorter time than it would take to announce 
the fact. This was done in the presence of a hundred men on 
board the vessel, and nothing was ever heard of the unfortunate 
cavass. 

On another occasion one of the sailors was sitting upon the 
rudder to wash himself; the vessel was in motion, but he was 
carried off by a crocodile in sight of his comrades on the deck. 

These attacks prove that the fact of a vessel travelling through 
the water does not in all cases terrify this horrible reptile, but, on 
the contrary, it snatches its prey from the vessel itself while in 
movement. 

I lost so many men by these creatures that I made a point of 
shooting every crocodile that showed its head above the surface, or 
that was basking upon the shore. The rifle that I invariably 
carried was a "577 of extreme precision, and I slaughtered a vast 
number of these vermin in revenge for their misdeeds. 

On one occasion I killed a crocodile which, although not longer 
than 12 feet 3 inches, was very thick in the body; this was proved 
to be a malefactor by the testimony of two bracelets and a neck- 
lace, belonging to a missing girl, which we found within its 
stomach. 

Upon opening the stomach and examining the contents we dis- 
covered upwards of five pounds weight of gravel or pebbles, mixed 
with a woolly substance and aquatic weeds. The wool was the 
hair of the girl, and her ornaments were discovered among the 
gravel. 

The necklace was made of small pieces of wood threaded upon 
a string ; these wooden beads were partially abraded by the action 
of the pebbles, which no doubt are swallowed for the purpose of 
assisting digestion, as fowls and other birds swallow sand and 
stones for the same object. Nearly every crocodile that I have 
examined contained a certain amount of coarse gravel within its 
stomach. This has a peculiar power of contraction and expansion, 
capable of sustaining great privation when food is scarce, and of 
accommodating itself to any amount of sudden plenty. 

Among the accidents that occurred to my expedition, one man 



262 WILD BEASTS AND THEIR WAYS CHAP. 

had his arm bitten off at the elbow, being seized while collecting 
aquatic vegetables from the bank. He waa saved from utter loss 
by his comrades, who held him while his arm was in the jaws of 
the crocodile. The man was brought to me in dreadful agony, 
and the stump was immediately amputated above the fracture. 
Another man was seized by the leg while assisting to push a vessel 
off a sandbank ; he also was saved by a crowd of soldiers who were 
with him, engaged in the same work : this man lost his leg. 

The captain of No. 10 tug was drowned in the dock vacated by 
the 108 ton steamer, which had been floated into the river by a 
small canal cut from the basin for that purpose. This channel waa 
about 30 yards in length, and 3 feet in depth. No person ever 
suspected that a crocodile would take possession of the dock, and it 
was considered as the safest place for the troops to bathe. 

One evening at muster the captain was absent, and, as it was 
known that a short time previously he had gone down to wash at 
the basin, he was searched for at the place. A pile of clothes and 
his red fez were upon the bank ; but no person was visible. A 
number of men jumped into the water, and felt the bottom in every 
portion of the dock, with the result that in a few minutes his body 
was discovered ; one leg was broken in several places, being 
severely mangled by the numerous teeth of a crocodile. There can 
be little doubt that the creature, having drowned its victim, had 
intended to return. 

This must have been a peculiarly wily monster to intrude into 
a place which was so continually disturbed. We could never dis- 
cover any crocodile in the immediate neighbourhood upon which we 
could cast a suspicion as the depredator. Some months after this 
incident, a terrible calamity in the canal was adjudged to have 
been occasioned by the same crocodile, although no actual proof 
could be adduced. 

About 7 P.M., Lady Baker and myself, together with Com- 
mander Julian Baker, R.N., were sitting in an open shed in the 
comparative cool of evening, when a man rushed past the sentries, 
and threw himself upon the ground, clasping my legs in an agony 
of terrified excitement. The sentries immediately rushed forward, 
and seized him by the back of the neck. Releasing him instantly 
by my order, the man gasped out, " Said, Said is gone ! taken 
away from my side by a crocodile, now, this minute ! " " Said ! 
what Said?" I asked: "there are many Saids."" Said of the 
No. 10 steamer, the man you liked; he is gone; we were wading 
together across the canal by the dock where Reis Mahomet was 
killed ; the water is only waist deep, but a tremendous crocodile 



xiu THE CROCODILE 263 

rushed like a steamboat from the river, seized Said l>y the waist, 
and disappeared. He's dragged into the river, and I've run here 
to tell you the bad news." 

We immediately hurried to the spot. The surface of the river 
was calm, and unruffled in the stillness of a fine night. The canal 
was quiet, and appeared as though it had never been disturbed. 
The man who had lost his companion sat down, and sobbed aloud. 
Said, who was one of my best men, was indeed gone for ever. 

There were many accidents among the natives, which may easily 
be imagined, as they were continually in the habit of swimming 
across the river when accompanying their herds of cattle. Upon 
these occasions the crocodiles usually extorted a toll, and sometimes 
they took a proprietor instead of being satisfied with a cow. 

A curious incident occurred, which thoroughly exemplified " the 
biter bit," and I should imagine that such an event has very rarely 
taken place. 

I had three large cows with exceedingly long horns, which I had 
brought from the Bor tribe to Gondokoro. These were totally 
different from the small and active cattle of the Bari, and they 
were regarded with great admiration by the natives. When I was 
about to leave for the interior, I confided these valuable animals to 
the especial care of a neighbouring chief, who was to make use of 
the milk, but to be responsible for the safety of the cows. 

Upon my return, two years after, the chief appeared, and, in 
reply to my question, he declared that the cows were all well, and 
that one of them was regarded with veneration by all his people. 
Every morning fresh flowers were garlanded around her horns, and 
she had become the sheik of all the herds, because she had 
accomplished a feat which had never been performed by any other 
animal. She had caught a crocodile ! 

This proved to be correct. She had gone to the river to drink, 
in a place where the bank shelved very gradually towards the 
water. As she was drinking, a large crocodile seized her by the 
nose, and in the usual manner attempted to drag her into its own 
element. Instead of this, the bank being favourable, the heavy 
and powerful cow commenced the game of " tug-of-war," and as 
the crocodile "maintained its hold, the cow, instead of being dragged 
in, succeeded in dragging the attacking party out. Nothing would 
induce the tenacious monster to let go ; therefore by degrees, 
whilst struggling, both the cow and crocodile retreated many 
yards from the river's margin. The natives were attracted by the 
bellowing of the cow, and seeing the position, they at once rushed 
to the rescue, and mobbed the crocodile with their spears. They 



264 WILD BEASTS AND THEIR WAYS CHAP. 

hud kept the head as a trophy ; and the cow was regarded as a 
heroine. 

I was a sjKJctator upon one occasion when a very large crocodile 
seized a bullock and pulled it into deep water ; several times the 
animal in its straggles could be seen upon the surface, although the 
head was held beneath by the steady grasp of the captor: at 
length all disappeared except the tail of the ox, which twisted 
and writhed convulsively in the air like a wounded snake. In 
about two minutes it ceased to move, and the entire body floated, 
drowned, while the long head of the triumphant crocodile rose 
alongside, and quietly contemplated its victim. 

There can be no doubt that crocodiles can see beneath the 
water to a considerable distance, should it be clear ; on the other 
hand, they rarely discover their prey in this manner, but, perhaps 
unseen, the reptile's projecting eyes are just above the surface at 
some little distance, aud it sees an animal upon the bank, so near 
the margin that it can easily be surprised. The crocodile then 
sinks, and approaches beneath the water, until it ventures upon 
another stealthy peep from a closer distance. When certain of the 
position it sinks again, and swimming until within reach of the 
unsuspicious object, it makes a sudden rush with extraordinary 
velocity, and generally succeeds in snapping its prey within those 
merciless jaws from which there is no escape. 

It is always dangerous either to sit or stand upon the extreme 
edge of a precipitous bank, unless many feet above a river. Should 
a crocodile be unable to reach an object with its jaws, it will 
frequently strike with the tail so suddenly that the animal or 
person is tripped up, and knocked into the water, to be instantly 
seized by the teeth and carried off. I have watched upon many 
occasions the stealthy advance of a crocodile to capture small birds, 
when in flights of many thousands they have settled upon the 
yielding branches of dwarf willows overhanging the Atbara river. 
The elastic boughs bent down beneath the weight of the innumer- 
able flock, and the crocodile's head appeared above the surface at 
a distance, sank below, and quickly reappeared (the eyes and 
crown alone above the water) within 10 yards of the unsuspecting 
birds, all of which were busily engaged in twittering excitement, 
quarrelling for places, and occasionally dipping their beaks in the 
water when the bending twigs permitted them to drink. In a few 
moments after the disappearance of the wary eyes, a tremendous 
splash was accompanied by a pair of open jaws, which swept the 
occupants of the lower branches into the greedy throat. This 
artful attack was frequently repeated, and generally with success. 



xiii THE CROCODILE 265 

The Soudanese Arabs eat the flesh of crocodiles, therefore a 
professional hunter can earn his living by the value of various 
portions of the reptile, in addition to the musk. The skin is soaked 
until it becomes soft : it is then cut into long, thin strips, to be 
used for lashing any wood -work that may be fractured. No 
animal's hide is so hard as that of the crocodile when treated in 
this manner, and a good supply is invaluable to an expedition, 
where repairs are necessary almost daily. The contraction of the 
wet hide during the process of drying is sufficient to draw together 
the split stock of a gun, and render it stronger than the original. 

I have seen wheels of field-guns, the spokes of which had 
become loosened by the dry climate and exposure to the sun, 
rendered tighter than when new, by interlacing them with raw 
crocodile's hide, well soaked for two or three days ; these were 
dried in the shade gradually, and they resembled a cobweb in 
appearance, but were as hard as horn. 

The difference of taste is unaccountable ; the natives of Central 
Africa refuse the flesh of a crocodile, although they will eat stinking 
fish. The Arabs eat the crocodile, but are most particular that 
fish should be free from taint. 

The eggs of crocodiles are like those of the goose, both in size 
and shape. The female scrapes a hole in the sand, and lays from 
fifty to a hundred, which she carefully buries. The young, when 
hatched, find their way to the river, and are no longer an object 
of maternal care. 

I have never eaten the eggs, but they are much prized by some 
tribes, although rejected by others. The natives of the Garo Hills, 
in the neighbourhood of the Brahmaputra river, collect a harvest 
of these ova during the season when the river has forsaken the 
high shore, and the sandbanks are raised above the level. It is a 
simple matter to discover the nest, as the claw-marks and the 
heavy trail of the crocodile are distinct upon the sandy soil. 

Crocodiles may be easily captured in nets, and I am surprised 
that so little attention is bestowed upon their destruction, now 
that the skin has a marketable value. When shooting these 
creatures the hunter should be provided with a single-barbed 
harpoon only half an inch in width, with an extremely sharp point. 
This should be made of the best steel, and should be fitted upon a 
bamboo, or some other light but strong pole, about 25 feet in 
length. A rope should be fixed to the harpoon, and secured to 
the centre of the pole. When a crocodile is shot, it sinks to the 
bottom ; it must therefore be sought from a canoe, and when felt 
by the harpoon, it can be speared. 



CHAPTER XIV 

THE BUFFALO (BVBALVS) 

THE genus Bos is the most useful to mankind. The bull has been 
from time immemorial venerated as an emblem of procreative power. 
The winged bulls of Nineveh are now stored in that grand asylum 
of the ancient world, the British Museum ; and we look back to 
the earliest history in Egypt, where we see the bull-calf Apis sacred, 
as symbolical of strength and procreativeness, that should supply 
mankind with the herds of cattle necessary for their existence. 

The veneration for the bull was so firmly implanted in the human 
mind, that we read of the first symptoms of antagonism to the 
teaching of Moses, in Exodus, when the Hebrews sought the 
assistance of Aaron to mould them a bull-calf in imitation of the 
Egyptian Apis, directly that their leader and deliverer had dis- 
appeared for a few days to seek the counsel of the Lord upon 
Mount Sinai. 

In the savage regions of Central Africa, where the worship of a 
Deity is unknown, the bull is regarded with a respect that is not 
bestowed upon any other animal. Vast strength, the perfection of 
masculine vigour, and indomitable courage, form the combination 
which has attracted the adoration of mankind. 

This genus Bos is distributed in immense variety throughout the 
globe, but in Africa we find an extraordinary anomaly, that although 
domestic cattle (the generally accepted Bos) are omnipresent, even 
among those savages who have been until recent years entirely 
excluded from the world's history, there is no such creature ex- 
isting in its wild state, and we are at a loss to discover a progenitor. 
We know three varieties ifpon the African continent, but these 
belong specially to the Jinljalus, and are distinct from the ordinary 
wild cattle (1$. (<iurus) of Europe or other countries. 

The African buffalo, or fins differ, has two varieties, in which 
the distinction is only to be found in the horns. No. 1 are convex, 



CHAP, xiv THE BUFFALO 267 

and meet at the base across the forehead. No. 2 has flat-fronted 
horns, very broad, but they do not actually unite across the front 
of the skull. 

There is also a species which is quite distinct ; this is the Bos 
Irachyceros, or short-horned buffalo. This is found upon the West 
Coast of Africa, and is very beautiful. It is a fawn colour, with a 
tinge of dark chestnut, and about the size of a Jersey bull. The 
ears are long, and are tipped with a long tuft of hair ; the eyes are 
large, the head remarkably small, and delicately shaped : the horns 
are about 12 inches long, broad at the base, without much curve, 
and sharp at the points. The hair of the body is short and smooth, 
like an English cow in summer condition, and the dewlap is soft and 
large. The tail is long, with a black tuft of hair at the extremity. 

Like all the Bos tribe, the bull is savage when provoked. My 
nephew, Commander Julian A. Baker, R.N., nearly lost his life in 
an encounter with one of these animals. He was at that time in 
command of the Foam on the West Coast of Africa, and he had 
landed at some convenient spot, from which he strolled inland, 
accompanied by a faithful Kruman as a shikari : this man carried 
a spare rifle. They had not gone far when he observed a bull 
grazing in a narrow glade, and upon firing within 100 yards, the 
animal fell, and blundered into a small bush. Being rather excited 
with the novelty of a strange species, he ran up to the place where 
the bull had fallen ; but no sooner had he reached the spot than the 
beast that he had supposed to be dead, or dying, charged furiously 
at him from the impervious cover which had sheltered it. His 
rifle missed fire, and in another moment the bull thrust one horn 
into his thigh, and lifted him off the ground. He was in this 
manner thrown upwards, and found himself fixed securely upon the 
animal's head. Fortunately he was well practised at acrobatic 
feats, and in this dilemma he managed to hold on to one horn, and 
to disengage his perforated thigh from the other, falling to the 
ground the instant that his leg was released ; but he never relaxed 
his hold of the right horn. He was now upon his back, with the 
infuriated bull attempting to gore him as he lay, but with great 
presence of mind he remembered the plan used in Africa for throw- 
ing oxen ; and bringing his full weight to bear, by pulling with his 
right hand upon the animal's left horn, he twisted the nose with 
his left hand upwards in a contrary direction, thus exerting the 
greatest leverage upon the neck. In this manner he was able to 
prevent the horns from entering his chest, and, knowing that the 
bull was shot through the shoulder, he trusted that it could not 
survive a sufficient time to complete his destruction. In the 



268 WILD BEASTS AND THEIR WAYS CHAP. 

meantime, his faithful Kruman shikari had rushed to his aid, and, 
fearing to shoot lest he might wound his master, he fired both 
barrels right and left in the air, close to the ear of the assailant, in 
the hope that it would be frightened by the sound. This had not 
the slightest effect. Throwing away his useless rifle, he drew a 
long and extremely sharp hunting-knife, and seizing the bull by the 
soft and pendulous dewlap, he held it tight, and with one desperate 
drawing cut across the throat he reached the spine. As the blood 
rushed from the several arteries the bull fell struggling upon the 
ground, and when, after considerable delay, assistance was obtained, 
Julian Baker was carried to his ship, where for nearly three months 
he was laid upon his back, with a vivid recollection of his first 
interview with the " Bos brachyceros." The head of that animal, 
carefully prepared by Mr. Rowland Ward, the well-known naturalist 
of Piccadilly, is now among my collection. It is very small, and 
delicately shaped, differing entirely from all other varieties of the 
buffalo, and exhibiting its connection with that species only by the 
peculiar shape and texture of the horns. If such a struggle had 
taken place with an ordinary buffalo, the strongest man would 
have been killed almost instantaneously, without the chance of 
escape. 

The Bos Gaffer is about the same in size and shape as the 
Indian variety, but differs in the shape of the head and the forma- 
tion of the horns. All the Bos tribe are more or less savage, but 
the African buffalo is a peculiarly ferocious brute, especially when 
wounded. 

All buffaloes delight iu swampy plains, where they can obtain 
rich pasturage of the coarsest description, that would not be eaten 
by ordinary cattle ; they love to wallow in the mud during the 
mid-day sun, and to lie in shallow pools with only their heads 
above the surface of the water. A buffalo appears to have only 
just escaped the classification of amphibious. The love of water 
becomes an actual necessity, as the buffalo, although so useful as a 
beast of burden, or for draught purposes, requires a rest during the 
hottest hours of a tropical day, to enable it to bathe, and roll itself 
in the dearly beloved mud ; without which it would refuse to work, 
and would ultimately lose condition. 

The buffaloes of Italy and Egypt retain the original type of 
their Oriental race, but they have dwindled in size, and have lost 
both length and weight of horns. There cannot be a better 
example of a theory than this animal, as it has been domesticated 
for so great a length of time that we are enabled to observe the 
peculiar changes effected by local peculiarities. This proves that 



xiv THE BUFFALO 269 

various conditions of localities produce special results in the 
development and character of animals. 

The buffaloes of Ceylon are the same as those of India, but the 
horns are very inferior. The horns of all animals in Ceylon are 
comparatively small, as there is a deficiency of the necessary 
ingredients in the pasturage for their production ; we therefore 
see elephants without tusks, and both deer and buffaloes with 
horns far smaller than those of India belonging to the same species. 

In Ceylon the so-called domestic buffaloes are extremely vicious. 
In Egypt and Italy they are the reverse, and children are seen 
mounted upon their backs or driving them to pasture. In China 
they are equally good-tempered. 

The horns of the Indian buffalo are enormous, and, when 
measured in the curve from tip to tip, they have been frequently 
known to exceed 12 feet. 

Like all other wild animals, the buffaloes of India are much 
reduced in numbers. The modern breechloaders, with increased 
facilities for communication, which enable Europeans to penetrate 
without much difficulty to their haunts, threaten to exterminate 
everything which has been attractive to the hunter, and in another 
twenty years the game will have disappeared. 

I have myself witnessed the distressing change in many 
localities, which, when I was young, were teeming with wild 
buffaloes and other animals. People will now hardly credit the 
fact of their existence. My earliest introduction to the buffalo 
was at Minneria, Ceylon, in 1845 ; such a creature is now unknown, 
as the few that remain have left the open plain, and betaken them- 
selves to distant jungles. 

There was no road to Minneria from 1845 to 1849 except an 
overgrown footpath for 22 miles from Narlandd, which had to be 
specially cleared at the traveller's cost when he ventured upon the 
journey. I can never forget the impressions of my first visit ; 
we had been cutting our way through jungle in a long day's 
march, assisted by a number of Singhalese with their sharp bill- 
hooks (catties), and, oppressed with the sultry heat of the dense 
bush, we were at length overjoyed when we suddenly emerged 
upon the beautiful green plain. The grass was about 6 inches 
high, and the plain, which was irregular in shape, extended for 
a great distance. I cannot improve upon the description which I 
gave of this spot in the Rifle and Hound in Ceylon, published 
many years ago: "At 4 P.M., and 80 miles from Kandy, we 
emerged from the jungle, and the view of Minneria lake burst 
upon us, fully repaying us for our day's march. It was a lovely 



270 WILD BEASTS AND THEIR WAYS CHAP. 

afternoon. The waters of the lake, which ia 20 miles in circum- 
ference, were burnished by the setting sun. The surrounding 
plains were as green as an English meadow, and beautiful forest 
trees bordered the extreme boundaries of the plains like giant 
warders of the adjoining jungle. Long promontories, densely 
wooded, stretched far into the waters of the lake, forming sheltered 
nooks and bays teeming with wild-fowl. The deer browsed in herds 
on the wide extent of plain, or lay beneath the shade of the spreading 
branches. Every feature of lovely scenery was here presented. 
In some spots groves of trees grew to the very water's edge ; in 
others the wide plains, free from a single stem or bush, stretched 
for miles along the edge of the lake ; thickly wooded hills bordered 
the extreme end of its waters, and distant blue mountains mingled 
their dim summits with the clouds. . . . The grass was most 
verdant, about the height of a field fit for the scythe in England, 
but not so thick. From this the snipe rose at every 20 or 30 
paces, although the ground was perfectly dry. Crossing a large 
meadow, and skirting the banks of the lake, from which the 
ducks and teal rose in large flocks, we entered a long neck of 
jungle which stretched far into the lake. This was not more 
than 200 paces in width, and we soon emerged upon an extensive 
plain bordered by fine forests, the waters of the lake stretching 
far away upon our left, like a sheet of gold. A few large rocks 
rose above the surface near the shore ; these were covered with 
various kinds of wild-fowl. The principal tenants of the plain 
were wild buffaloes. 

" A herd of about a hundred were lying in a swampy hollow 
about a quarter of a mile from us. Several single bulls were 
dotted about the green surface of the level plain, and on the 
opposite shores of the lake were many dark patches umlistinguish- 
able in the distance ; these were in reality herds of buffaloes. 
There was not a sound in the wide expanse before us, except 
the harsh cry of the water-fowl that our presence had already 
disturbed. . . . Not a breath of air moved the leaves which 
shadowed us, and the whole scene was that of undisturbed 
nature. The sun had now sunk low upon the horizon, and the 
air was comparatively cool The multitude of buffaloes en- 
chanted us, and with our two light double-barrels we advanced 
to the attack of the herd before us. " 

I have extracted this passage as a picture of the hunter's 
paradise, which I so well remember, but which now exists as a 
scene still lovely, but almost devoid of game. 

In those days the buffaloes were quite unsophisticated, as 



xiv THE BUFFALO 271 

they were never disturbed ; the plain was their territory. I will 
not repeat what has already been published in the Rifle and 
Hound in Ceylon, but that first interview with the buffaloes, 
when we (my late brother and I) "advanced to attack the herd 
before us," very nearly wound up my early experience of shikar. 

The " two light double-barrels " were quite inadequate to the 
power required, but from that date I invariably used my heavy 
rifles, which arrived on the following morning, and the 3-oz., 
with 12 and sometimes 16 drams of powder, proved irresistible. 

The Indian buffalo, although savage, is not so dangerous as that 
of Ceylon. The horns are immensely superior to the Ceylon species, 
but they are not so handy ; and, as the hunter is generally mounted 
upon an elephant, he is tolerably secure, while in Ceylon he would 
be forced to advance to the attack on foot. 

There is extreme danger in this sport unless the hunter is a 
cool and accurate shot, armed with a rifle of heavy calibre. The 
hide of a buffalo is intensely tough, and of great thickness ; it is 
almost free from hair, and resembles the bare appearance of india- 
rubber. The frontal bone is thick, and although easily penetrated 
by an ordinary bullet with a large charge of powder, it is difficult 
to hit, as the animal, when facing an antagonist, carries its nose 
thrown upwards. The nose, therefore, should be the point of aim, 
as a bullet well directed will by this route reach the brain. It 
may be readily understood that when a vicious animal is your vis- 
a-vis the duel has commenced, and your shot must be delivered as 
a "settler." If you miss, or if the shot be uncertain in its effect, 
the buffalo will in most instances charge. 

The charge of a buffalo is a very serious matter ; many animals 
charge when infuriated, but they can generally be turned by the 
stunning effect of a rifle shot, even though they may not be mortally 
wounded; but a buffalo is a devil incarnate when it has once 
decided upon the offensive. Nothing will then turn it ; it must be 
actually stopped by death, sudden and instantaneous, as nothing 
else will stop it. 

If not killed, it will assuredly destroy its adversary. There is 
no creature in existence that is so determined to stamp out the life 
of its opponents, and the intensity of fury is unsurpassed when a 
wounded bull buffalo rushes forward upon the last desperate charge. 
Should it succeed in overthrowing its antagonist, it will not only 
gore the body with its horns, but it will endeavour to tear it to 
pieces, and will kneel upon the lifeless form, and stamp it with its 
hoofs until the mutilated remains are disfigured beyond all 
recognition. 



272 WILD BEASTS AND THEIR WAYS CHAP. 

I have killed some hundreds of these animals, and I never regret 
their destruction, as they are naturally vicious and most dangerous 
brutes, whose ferocity is totally uncalled for. The Ros Gaffer and 
the ordinary buffalo of Ceylou are about equal in pugnacity, and 
the duels between the bulls are a magnificent display of taurine 
strength and determination. 

In such trials of strength the vanquished party generally retreats 
at full speed, followed for a certain distance by its adversary, who 
endeavours to drive its horns into the posterior. This is a difficulty, 
as the great curvature of the horns renders a direct thrust impossible. 
The victorious bull, left upon the field of battle, has kindled the 
fire of fight, and longs to seek some new antagonist more worthy 
of its strength. It does not much signify at that moment of ex- 
citement whether it be man or beast, but if the former, it is to be 
hoped that he is well prepared. 

I have frequently witnessed such battles between old bulls, and 
then walked up to interview the victor, with a 3-oz. rifle, upon the 
open plain. Nothing can be grander than the sight of a thoroughly 
excited bull who is determined to assume the offensive, provided 
that you have a double-barrelled No. 8 with 12 drams of powder, 
or the 3-oz. with 14 or 16 drams. 

The terrific power of the old 3-oz. belted spherical bullet was 
frequently exhibited upon Minneria plain ; and it was a grand ex- 
perimental shooting-ground in those days, when buffaloes were 
within shot at all hours from sunrise to sunset. The 3-oz. was an 
absolute exterminator, and no buffalo had a chance, provided the 
rifle was held steadily and straight. This weapon was a single- 
barrel, and in those distant days it was of course a muzzle-loader, 
therefore I could not afford to miss, in the event of danger; I 
accordingly got into the habit of shooting straight, having a thorough 
confidence in the crushing power of the rifle. 

Upon one occasion a single bull, which had evidently been 
fighting, as it showed the white scores of an adversary's horns upon 
its black hide, was venting its rage by pawing the green turf, and 
ploughing the soft ground with its angry head, when I dismounted 
from my pony, and advanced upon the open plain. Seeing me, it 
made hostile demonstrations, and marched slowly and determinedly 
forward, as though determined to settle the dispute at the closest 
quarters. AVhen within 100 paces it stopped, and, after tearing 
up the ground most viciously for a few minutes, it started at full 
speed in as direct a charge as it could take ; I met it in the chest 
with a bullet from the 3-oz. rifle, and the bull was killed so 
suddenly, that the momentum of its attack turned the body a 



xiv THE BUFFALO 273 

complete somersault, and it lay motionless upon the ground, within 
about 30 yards of my position. The bullet had entered the chest, 
and, after passing through the heart and viscera, I found it beneath 
the skin of the hind-quarters, having completely raked the animal 
from stem to stern. 

Upon two occasions, on the plain of Minneria, I killed two 
buffaloes with one bullet from the deadly 3-oz. rifle. There was a 
great commotion among a large herd of these animals, and upon my 
approach I discovered that a fight was going on between two very 
large bulls. When I drew near, the herd departed in full gallop, 
and left me alone with the two bulls, which were far too much 
engaged in their contest to notice my presence. I accordingly 
continued my approach until, when within about 50 yards, they 
condescended to observe me, and they at once resolved upon retreat ; 
but their strongly curved horns were hooked together in their 
combat, and when attempting a departure, they pulled in vain to 
disengage themselves, ranging side by side in their efforts to effect 
a separation. Seeing the opportunity, I fired exactly through the 
shoulder of the nearest bull, and it dropped dead upon the spot, 
thus unlocking the horns and releasing its antagonist. This ran 
for a short distance, and then halting, it faced about, reeled to and 
fro for about a minute, with bloody foam issuing from its mouth, 
and rolled suddenly upon its side, dead. 

The 3-oz. bullet, with 16 drams of powder, had smashed botli 
shoulders of the first bull, and passed clean through the body ; it 
had then entered behind the shoulder of the second bull, passed 
through the lungs, and was found just beneath the tough skin upon 
the opposite side, not much the worse for this extraordinary pene- 
tration. 

On another occasion, as a herd was crossing me at full speed, I 
fired at the shoulder of a large bull, and dropped it on the spot ; 
the herd continued at a gallop, but presently a cow lagged behind, 
and stopped ; she reeled to the right and left, and fell dead, the 
bullet having passed completely through her, after having perforated 
the bull. 

This large rifle was a wonderful performer, and it would be 
endless to record the various examples of its power, but it may be 
instructive to give an account of an incident which will show by 
comparison the danger of small rifles in the pursuit of such hard- 
skinned beasts as buffaloes. 

Mr. Frederick Dick, who was subsequently murdered at Negombo 
by a shot from a malefactor whom he, as Police Magistrate, 
attempted to capture, was shooting with me upon one occasion at 

T 



274 WILD BEASTS AND THEIR WAYS CIIAP. 

my happy lain ting-grounds, Mtnncria lake and plain ; buffaloes were 
swarming. The 3-oz. was in the best of humours, and its j)er- 
fonnance led my friend Dick to imagine that buffaloes were, after 
all, not such resolute beasts as had been described. He was armed 
with a ridiculous single-barrelled rifle, No. 20 spherical ball. He 
hod fired a number of shots from this toy uselessly, and I had killed 
the various buffaloes with the heavy weajwn ; I prevailed upon him 
to double his charge of powder. After some time, during which 
we had walked a considerable distance along the margin of the 
lake, we saw a solitary bull buffalo in a state of great excitement, 
on the opposite side of a small creek leading from the lake towards 
the jungle, about half a mile distant. As we drew nearer, the 
buffalo faced us, and tore up the turf with its horns, at the same 
time looking down the perpendicular bank, as though questioning 
the possibility of a descent. We now arrived at the creek ; there 
could not have been a more favourable position for Dick's little 
rifle with a double charge (about 3 drams), as the breadth of water 
which divided us from the opposite bank was not more than 30 
yards. There was no danger, as the vertical bank, upon which the 
angry bull was standing in a menacing attitude, was at least 12 
feet high, therefore it was impossible for the animal to cross over. 
I told Dick to be ready, and to aim at the back of the neck should 
the buffalo lower its head. To effect this, I threw a hard clod of 
earth across the creek ; this splashed loudly in the water imme- 
diately beneath the buffalo's position. It looked down, and exposed 
its neck ; at the exact moment Dick fired. The bull turned round 
convulsively, and fell upon its side. " Well done, Dick ! " I ex- 
claimed, " the double charge has done it ; " and we hurried round 
the creek, wading through a shallow place as a short cut. Upon 
arrival at the spot, we found a mighty specimen of a bull buffalo ; 
in the exact centre of the massive neck a minute hole, that was 
hardly perceptible, denoted the position of the tiny bullet which 
had overthrown this colossal animal. Dick stood in front of the 
bull's head, and revelled in the delight of his first buffalo, which 
he had killed by a neat shot from so insignificant a weapon. 

" Never stand at the head of a buffalo, whether dead or alive," 
I exclaimed to my excited and delighted friend ; " but always 
stand upon the side facing the back of the animal, well away from 
the legs as I am standing now." 

The words were hardly uttered when, to our intense surprise, 
the apparently dead buffalo suddenly sprang to its feet, and 
blundered forward straight at the astonished Dick, who was not 
3 feet distant. He attempted to jump backwards to avoid the 



xiv THE BUFFALO 275 

horns, but the ground being full of ruts, he tripped, and fell upon 
his back, immediately in the path of the savage bull. Instinctively, 
as quick as lightning, my right hand had drawn my long hunting- 
knife and plunged it hilt-deep exactly behind the shoulder. To 
my amazement, the buffalo fell to the blow ; and the kicking of 
all four legs, and the convulsive twitching of the tail, showed 
unmistakably that this time the mighty bull was beyond recovery. 

I had jumped back upon the instant, to clear myself from the 
animal ; Dick had only just recovered himself, and was staggering 
away, until I called him back. "He's dead enough this time," 
I shouted, as I showed him the long knife streaming with blood, 
which had paralysed so suddenly an attack which must have been 
fatal. 

Our native attendants appeared stupefied ; the whole affair, 
from the moment we had surveyed the apparently dead buffalo to 
its actual death, had not occupied one minute. 

This was a very wonderful escape, and a most practical example 
of the teaching which I was giving when the resuscitation took 
place. The questions would naturally be asked " What sort of 
a hunting-knife was this 1 ?" and "What was the nature of the 
wound which effected such an instantaneous collapse 1 ?" 

The knife was a portion of a real old " Andrea Ferrara" High- 
land claymore. The blade was 18 inches in length and 2 inches 
in breadth, double-edged, and as sharp as it was possible to make 
it. The point was as keen as a lancet ; that is the condition in 
which a hunting-knife should always be kept. I never leave the 
camp for a day's work without first examining the edge and point 
of my knife : if necessary, I personally sharpen it upon a Turkey 
hone, and I never allow a servant to handle it. 

We made a careful post-mortem examination of the buffalo. 
The small No. 20 spherical bullet had settled upon the spine at 
the back of the neck, but had not damaged the bone ; the shock 
had stunned the animal for a few minutes. The sharp double edge 
of the long hunting-knife had completely divided the great artery 
of the heart, which was split open exactly at the orifice. 

From that moment my companion declined to fire at buffaloes ; 
I felt no hesitation in supporting his determination, as his weapon 
was totally inadequate to the work required. 

Although it appears to have been a wanton destruction of life, 
I had no pangs of conscience in shooting these ferocious animals, 
as it would have been exceedingly dangerous in those days to have 
gone out snipe-shooting with an ordinary smooth-bore, while so 
many bulls were possessors of the plain. The practice with the long 



276 WILD BEASTS AND THEIR WAYS CHAP. 

3-oz. rifle was most interesting, and afforded instructive experience 
in the i>enctration and stopping power of the heavy bullet. Upon 
one occasion I managed to separate a herd, and five buffaloes swam 
across a bend of the lake and reached a long but narrow spit of 
land which extended for several hundred yards into the water. 
Upon reaching the base of this narrow promontory I saw that the 
buffaloes would dispute the right of possession, and I advanced 
with extreme caution, the 3-oz. rifle in my hand, while a trust- 
worthy native carried the long 2-oz. My people were so thoroughly 
confident in the power of these weapons that they had no fear of 
animals, which in ordinary circumstances they would certainly 
have avoided. We had not proceeded far when the buffaloes 
which were on the point ranged up together, and, without much 
demonstration, a large bull made a determined charge at full 
speed upon us, fortunately without being accompanied by his 
companions. 

A shot from the 3-oz. met him exactly in the chest, and his 
momentum was so great that, being shot through the heart, he 
turned a complete somersault, and lay dead upon the muddy 
ground. This two-grooved rifle was easy to load, as the belt of 
the bullet was so prominent that it fitted at once into the broad 
and deep lines of the barrel. I had just placed the cap upon the 
nipple when, undismayed by the fate of the first buffalo, another 
bull charged, but not with the same velocity. This fellow was 
regularly crumpled up, and lay floundering upon the ground, the 
bloody foam from the mouth proving the death-wound through the 
lungs. Reloading, I assumed the offensive, and I knocked over 
another, leaving only two from the original number. One of these 
now took to water, but received a bullet in the neck ; the other 
made a rush as though wishing to charge past me to reach the 
plain ; this one got the 2-oz. through the shoulder-blade atf close 
quarters, and fell struggling in a confused heap, both shoulder- 
bones being smashed. 

This was sharp work for two single -barrelled muzzle-loaders, 
but nothing could resist them. The effective power of such 
weapons induced me to order four double-barrelled No. 10 two- 
grooved muzzle-loaders, which proved to be exactly the weapons 
required for Ceylon shooting at that period, as they had nearly the 
same power as the 2-oz. rifle, with the additional advantage of the 
double-barrels. 

As a rule, no person should attempt to shoot dangerous game 
with a single barrel, if on foot. Although the modem breech- 
loader has simplified the system of loading, there are many cases 



xiv THE BUFFALO 277 

when an accident might occur which would be obviated by the 
possession of a second barrel. I once had an unmistakable 
reminder, which I never forgot. 

The heavy 3-oz. rifle had been so great an ally, that I regarded 
it as invincible. Instead of remaining satisfied, I attempted a fresh 
improvement, and I had a 4-oz. mould that produced a sharp-pointed 
cone, instead of the original spherical but belted ball. In actual 
practice the rifle was not so powerful, as the shock upon impact 
was reduced by the pointed projectile, and was inferior to the larger 
surface of a hemisphere. The pointed bullet did not produce the 
same knock-down blow, and it was deflected from a direct course if 
it struck a bone. 

I was loaded with this new bullet upon one occasion when a 
very large rogue elephant was grazing in a lake, and we resolved if 
possible to shoot it. The lake was several miles in circumference, 
and was, as usual, surrounded by open grass-land, backed by the 
thickest jungle. In one locality there was a patch of perhaps two 
or three acres of the densest thicket, growing partly in the water, 
and forming an isolated jungle separated only by about 100 yards 
of turf-like grass from the main body of the forest. If we could 
manage to place the guns behind some favourable bushes for con- 
cealment, close to the main jungle, and then drive the elephant into 
the isolated patch, it would probably march straight through, and 
expose itself to a steady shot at close quarters, from the hidden 
guns. 

My brother was my companion, and having taken our places, 
we sent the men round to disturb the elephant, and to drive it, if 
possible, in our direction. 

I was concealed behind a bush, only a few yards in front of the 
jungle behind me, and about 90 yards from the isolated patch, into 
which we expected the elephant to be driven. 

The beaters were thoroughly experienced, the wind was favour- 
able, and in a short time the heavy splashing in the water warned 
us that the elephant had retreated from the lake into the clump of 
bush, exactly as we had expected. The beaters closed up, but 
nothing moved. 

There was no doubt that the rogue was there, but the difficulty 
had commenced. Who was to drive it out 1 The soil was muddy, 
and the men could not move quickly, therefore they refused to 
venture within the thorny bush, where escape would have been 
impossible. I gave the men a gun, and ordered them to commence 
at the rear of the isolated patch, to fire several shots, to shout, and 
by these means to drive the elephant in the required direction. 



278 WILD BEASTS AND THEIR WAYS CHAP. 

This plan was adopted. We heard two or three shots, the 
beatere had ascended the trees, from which they were shouting like 
demons, and suddenly a magnificent rogue elephant, a gigantic 
bull, emerged from the jungle, and advanced majestically in direct 
line for my concealed position. It was a grand sight, and having 
thorough confidence in my rifle, I disdained concealment, and stood 
in front of my bush to meet him. The instant that the rogue dis- 
covered me, his demeanour changed; for a moment he halted, then 
swung his head to and fro, and without further introduction he 
charged full speed upon me. I awaited quietly, covering the exact 
spot in the forehead, and fired. The smoke of the heavy charge of 
powder hung like cotton wool around me, and for a moment obscured 
the view ; but feeling sure that he was down, I looked beneath, 
and to my horror I saw the trunk, the cocked ears and the expres- 
sion of fury just above me. 

To throw down my heavy rifle and to bolt upon one side was 
the work of half a second, but the elephant turned after me, and 
the race commenced over the most lovely piece of turf, like a well- 
kept lawn tennis ground. I could run in those days, and I flew 
along the level surface with this horrid brute behind me, going his 
best, and gaining in the race. Keeping parallel with the jungle, I 
hoped that the elephant would relinquish the pursuit and turn 
suddenly into the welcome covert ; but no, he seemed determined 
to overtake me. This race lasted for about 100 yards, when I 
suddenly doubled to my left, which would necessitate a correspond- 
ing move upon the part of my pursuer, that would bring him into 
the crowd of beaters who were advancing from the isolated patch. 
At that moment the elephant turned to the right, and was lost in 
the thorny jungle ; while I was breathless, and relieved from the 
exciting chase. 

We never saw that elephant again, although we followed some 
distance xipon his tracks in pursuit. My brother and my shikaris 
declared that the bullet had struck him exactly in the right place, 
but that his head was carried very high, and thrown back ; the 
conical sharp -pointed bullet had therefore deflected, instead of 
continuing a direct course. 

I had another unsatisfactory experiment with an elephant, 
which determined me to have nothing more to do with this 
pointed projectile, and I returned to my old love, the 3-oz. belted 
spherical. 

In those days we always used the finest grained powder, as we 
were afraid of a miss-fire with a muzzle-loading rifle, unless the 
grains could be distinctly seen in the nipple before we adjusted the 



xiv THE BUFFALO 279 

cap. This strong and quick-burning powder produced a severe 
recoil, but the penetration was enormous. It is this power which 
is absolutely necessary when shooting buffaloes, rhinoceros, etc. 
If the animal charges, you have no chance of escape unless you 
possess a rifle that will rake it from end to end. When making a 
post-mortem examination of a bull buffalo that has been killed in 
this superior manner, the passage of the bullet through such dense 
masses of muscles and bone appears incredible. The depth of 
chest through the brisket from the front is at least 2 feet of solid 
matter, chiefly gristle and breast bones ; that alone will stop an 
ordinaiy bullet; but a 2-oz. hardened spherical with 12 drams of 
powder will drive through the entire animal, and the ball will be 
discovered nestled beneath the hide somewhere below the tail. I 
have known a 3-oz. hardened conical bullet pass completely through 
an African bull elephant, from one shoulder to that opposite, from 
which it escaped. These are the sort of tools for heavy game ; and 
if the hunter is strong enough for his work, and is properly armed 
with double-barrels, there will be every chance in his favour, and 
he will not be included in the gloomy list of casualties that have 
befallen so many of his race, chiefly through the inferiority of their 
weapons. 

I have killed elephants with a No. 16 spherical bullet (1 oz.), 
and African buffaloes and rhinoceros with a 24 bore ('577) and 
only 2 drams of powder, in the old days of muzzle-loaders ; but 
these were favourable shots in positions which afforded slight 
resistance. Such instances of success are exceptions to the rule, 
and I cannot too energetically impress my experience upon all 
beginners, that they must be especially armed with rifles that are 
of proportionate strength to the animal to be encountered. 

Although the bull buffalo is generally more formidable than the 
female, the latter is even more determined to destroy her antagonist 
if in defence of her calf. I have already described, under the head 
of the "Tiger," the courage of the buffalo in attacking that .formid- 
able beast should it presume to invade the sanctity of the herd. 
There is no creature in existence so determined as the buffalo to 
fight to the last gasp, when once its combative spirit has been 
aroused. 

There are very few persons who have had a really wide experi- 
ence of buffaloes in the various countries which they inhabit, and 
the description that I have given might appear somewhat superla- 
tive ; but although many may be shot which offer no resistance, 
and fall unresistingly before the rifle, these are not to be depended 
upon as guides or examples. The hunter of buffaloes who follows 



280 WILD BEASTS AND THEIR WAYS CHAP. 

the pin-suit for years, will find that the true character of the 
animal is one of stubborn unflinching courage, and unmitigated 
revenge should it gain the ascendant. 

During eight years' experience in Ceylon I was fortunate in 
escaping from any casualties among my followers, although very 
nearly caught myself; but in Africa I lost my best man, only 
through the fact of his being badly armed. 

I shot a bull, late in the evening, upon the marshy border of 
the White Nile ; this was knocked over, apparently dead, by the 
first bullet from a No. 10 rifle. My men actually danced in 
triumph upon its body, in the anticipation of a feast, after a long 
absence from fresh provisions during a voyage upon the desolate 
river. Instead of hamstringing the lifeless beast, they continued 
their insane gesticulations, when suddenly the buffalo jumped up, 
and sent them flying into the river, like so many frogs, swimming 
for their lives towards my diahbeeah. The buffalo disappeared iu 
the swamp of high reeds and aquatic vegetation. On the following 
morning, supposing that the beast must have died during the 
night, about thirty or forty men, armed with double-barrelled 
smooth-bores, went ashore to look for the dead animal. They had 
not been ashore for many minutes when I heard a shot, then 
another, followed by a regular volley. My people returned with 
the head of the buffalo and a large quantity of meat, but they also 
earned the body of my best man, who, when leading the way 
through the high reeds upon the traces of blood, actually stumbled 
over the buffalo lying in the swamp, and the light guns failed to 
stop its charge. 

The crooked horn had hooked him beneath the ear, and pene- 
trating completely through the neck, had torn out the throat, as 
though it had been cut. The savage beast had then knelt upon 
the body and stamped it into the muddy ground, until it fell dead 
before the united fire of thirty men. 

I have never experienced any great difficulty with African 
buffaloes, for the best of reasons, that I have been extremely 
cautious, and have always shot with very powerful rifles. Baron 
Harnier, a Prussian, was the first unprofessional hunter to visit 
the White Nile as an independent traveller. He had his own 
vessel and two German servants, both of whom died of fever. 
Although he had great experience in buffalo-shooting, he was 
eventually killed by a large bull, which attacked his native servant 
after having received a death-wound from a single-barrelled rifle. 
Being unloaded, Baron Harnier attacked the buffalo with his 
clubbed rifle, in the hope of driving it away from his servant, who 



xiv THE BUFFALO 281 

was lying upon the ground ; instead of this, the bull turned upon 
its new assailant, and stamped and gored his body beyond recog- 
nition. His large gold signet ring was found by the missionaries 
some yards from his remains, and the body of the buffalo was 
lying by his side, proving that the beast continued the savage 
assault until the wound proved mortal ; vicious to the last gasp. 

The celebrated sword-hunters of the Hamran Arabs excel in 
riding down the Bos Gaffer and hamstringing it with a blow of 
the sharp sword while at full speed. I was with these people 
on one occasion, where the rocky hills were so much against the 
horses that they dared not venture sufficiently close to a large 
bull, which turned to bay upon a small plateau covered with 
boulders. The bull stood to bay for some minutes, but at length, 
as we tried the ruse of a feigned retreat, it turned and galloped 
down the hill. In an instant four horses clattered after it in 
renewed pursuit, and after a run of about five minutes over the 
most unfavourable ground, which precluded all attempts at 
closing with the game, the bull reached a narrow but impervious 
jungle. My artful allies now rode to the opposite side to wind- 
ward, and having thereby given their wind to the hunted animal, 
they shouted, and threw stones into the jungle, in order, if 
possible, to drive the buffalo within sight of myself on the other 
side. 

I presently heard something moving among the tangled 
branches, and being on a steady horse I rode to the extreme edge. 
I now saw the buffalo standing in the deep shade, broadside on, 
exposing the shoulder to a deadly shot. Taking the steadiest 
aim, exactly behind the shoulder-joint, with my handy little 24 
bore, and only 2|- drams of fine grained powder, I fired. The 
buffalo did not flinch, or respond in any way to the shot. I re- 
loaded, but before the bullet was rammed completely home, the 
animal reeled to the right and left, and fell. It was dead, 
struck through the centre of the lungs, and the bullet was dis- 
covered in a rib upon the opposite side. Here was an instance 
where a large and powerful beast was killed by a single shot from 
an inferior weapon, but this was an exception, as such a chance 
seldom occurs of obtaining a quiet shot within 30 yards exactly 
at right angles with the shoulder. It will be seen from the 
description I have given from my own experience that the buffalo 
should be held in due respect, and that no unnecessary risks 
should be thoughtlessly encountered. Above all, do not follow 
a wounded bull into a thick jungle, or you will assuredly liave 
trouble ; it is a common trick for a badly wounded beast to turn 



282 WILD BEASTS AND THEIR WAYS CHAP, xiv 

from its direct course, and conceal itself in dense bush or high 
grass, from which it will rush unexixjctedly, and charge your flank 
as you arc following up the track of blood. If the forest is 
sufficiently open to enable you to sec 30 or 50 yards ahead, 
there is no great danger, but thick and opaque bush will certainly 
lead to a mishap, that may be fatal. It must be well remembered 
that when a buffalo attacks, it never quits the body of its enemy 
until it lias stamped out every sign of life. 



CHAPTER XV 

THE AMERICAN BUFFALO (BOS BISON AMERICANUS) 

THERE is no portion of the globe which exhibits the results of 
destruction more painfully than the prairies of North America. 
The Indians have given place to the extension of the white 
man's sway, and, as the wild tribes have diminished in proportion 
to the increase of European races, in like manner the wild 
animals either retreat to more distant solitudes, or cease to 
exist. The buffalo of America, which at one time blackened 
the plains with its countless herds, has now become a rarity, 
and in certain localities, where formerly the prairie grass was 
eaten close by thousands of these uncouth but interesting beasts, 
not a solitary specimen can be discovered. 

The bison is a grand-looking creature, and in my opinion it is 
the most striking of all wild animals. There is a peculiar 
savagery in the aspect of a shaggy old bull in its winter coat, 
which surpasses in wildness of appearance all other species of 
game. Although in reality a bison, this animal is invariably 
termed the American buffalo. The bull is about 15 J to 16 
hands at the shoulder, but this gives an erroneous idea of the 
proportions of the animal, as the shoulder is abnormally high, 
and from the withers, the back, instead of being straight, slopes 
towards the hind-quarters. These are disproportioned to the 
massive front of the animal, as they are very inferior to the fore- 
quarters. The tail is shorter than in any of the bovine tribe. 
The hoofs are small in proportion to the great size of the animal. 
The ponderous strength of this animal is exhibited in the head, 
neck, and fore -quarters; these are enormous. A shaggy mass 
of nearly black hair covers the head and almost conceals the eyes ; 
this mane-like covering descends, and terminates in a long beard, 
which reaches to the knees. The horns, like all the bisons, are 
short and curved. In the winter months the coat is thickly furred 



284 WILD BEASTS AND THEIR WAYS CHAP. 

with exceedingly close and curly hair, almost resembling a fine 
brown wool. The skins at that season are valuable as "buffalo 
robes," and have for a long time been in great request, but owing 
to the diminution in numbers of the animals, they are becoming 
exceedingly scarce. 

Although the bison has a ferocious aspect, it is a perfectly 
harmless creature, and, unlike the buffalo of Africa and India, 
it would never offend unless previously attacked. Even then, it 
will escape if possible, but is furious when brought to bay. 

The annual slaughter of these fine animals by the Indian tribes 
has been well described by Cattlin. These hunts took place at 
the commencement of winter, when the hides were in prime 
condition, and the temperature was so low that the flesh could 
be prewired as pemmican. 

The Indians, who were instinctively adepts at the pursuit of 
these splendid creatures, hunted them on horseback, until they 
managed to drive a vast herd into some favourable ground, where 
they could be surrounded by the tribe. The massacre then com- 
menced, with arrow and lance, until none remained. 

In the deep snow of winter, when the heavy bisons could 
scarcely plough their way through the unstable mass, and they 
struggled breast-deep along the drifts in search of some bare spot 
where the keen wind had exposed the scanty pasturage, the active 
Indians, shuffling in their snow-shoes upon the surface, could easily 
overtake and kill the tired buffaloes. This was a war of extermina- 
tion, and the advent of the white man, with his usual talent for de- 
struction, has nearly completed that which the wild Indian had begun. 

I had heard much of this and other stories of the "buffalo." 
It was therefore a pleasurable surprise to find upon our arrival in 
the Big Horn range in 1881 that, although the plains had been 
deserted, there were many of these animals upon the mountains. 

We had been toiling for some hours up the mountain face, at 
the base of which the Powder river flows, and upon arrival at the 
summit, our guide was obliged to confess that " he had never been 
there before ! " This was a perplexity, as the vast extent of 
mountain range was entirely trackless, and apparently devoid of 
water. Under such circumstances, although boiling with indigna- 
tion, it is advisable not to express your sentiments, as such a policy 
will only add to the confusion of the guide. I therefore instructed 
him to cross a small valley, and to ascend the opposite hill, from 
which he would obtain a more extended view ; he was to examine 
the whole landscajie, and to rejx>rt should he observe any appear- 
ance of water. 



xv THE AMERICAN BUFFALO 285 

I rode with my wife across the same valley, but we ascended 
the range of hills upon our right, from which we could embrace an 
immense extent of country, and I immediately perceived a long 
green line, winding through the yellowish grass, between low hills, 
like a velvet ribbon. I knew this would represent a stream. 
Upon our left was a descent of 600 or 700 feet into a deep dell, 
at the bottom of which a similar green thread betokened water ; 
this joined almost at right angles the original green line, after 
which the stream continued along a dark ravine, until lost in the 
thick forest of spruce firs, almost beneath the spot upon which we 
stood. 

At the distance of about 1-*- mile I could distinguish four black 
objects upon the face of a knoll to the right of the green ribbon, 
and upon an examination with my binoculars I discovered them to 
be four buffaloes lying down upon the yellow grass, about 50 yards 
to the right of the small stream. I immediately arranged that 
Lady Baker should take the people and camp below the forest on 
our left, while I should endeavour to stalk the buffaloes and procure 
some meat for our first dinner. There was high ground between 
the two green streaks, which formed almost a triangle from the 
apex of their junction, therefore the distance across the base, from 
the buffaloes to the camp, would not be above a mile. 

We separated. Upon arrival at the bottom of the steep hill, I 
found the water, as I had expected, running in a clear stream only 
a few inches deep, between green rushes ; following this for some 
little distance, I arrived at the junction, and I then ascended the 
larger stream. I was accompanied by my hunter, Jem Bourne, 
and we had sent our horses, together with the pack animals, to the 
proposed camping-spot. My long riding boots made walking most 
unpleasant, as the grassy slopes were slippery in the absence of 
nailed soles. By preference I waded up the shallow stream, until 
we considered that the animals were sufficiently near to detect the 
sound of splashing. We at length arrived at a mound which I 
had particularly remarked, owing to the presence of a large rock, 
which I had at first mistaken for some wild animal. I knew that 
the buffaloes, when we first saw them, were lying down upon the 
slope on the other side of this unmistakable position. Quitting the 
low bed of the stream, I now carefully ascended the steep slope, 
stooping low until I neared the summit. There was very little 
wind, but it was in our favour. Gradually, upon nearing the top 
of the knoll, I raised myself; at the same moment there was a 
rushing sound of heavy feet, and the next instant I saw the four 
buffaloes going at full speed down the slope towards the small stream 



286 WILD BEASTS AND THEIR WAYS CJIAI-. 

that we h;ul just quitted. The nearest was about GO yards from 
me, and with the '577 rifle I aimed at the root of the tail. As the 
bullet struck within a couple of inches of the mark, this magnifi- 
cent bull plunged heavily UJKNI the ground. The three remaining 
buffaloes, all bulls, dashed through the shallow stream, and 
struggled up the opposing bunk ; this was so steep that they 
scrambled with the greatest difficulty, and no tame animal of that 
weight could have accomplished the ascent. I had immediately 
reloaded, and I took a lovely aim between the shoulders of each 
bull, as it exposed itself to a deadly shot, almost perix-ndicidar, 
within 70 or 80 yank' distance ; but I would not fire ; I had them 
completely in my power, and that was sufficient. Buffaloes were 
being destroyed wholesale, and I would not join in the brutal list 
of destroyers. 

In the meantime this grand bull was sitting paralysed, with 
the two hind legs stretched wide apart. It had attempted to move 
down hill after the first shock of the bullet, and had managed to 
slide itself for only a few feet forward by the action of the fore legs. 
It was now upon its knees, struggling to rise, but completely help- 
less in the hind-quarters. I called the attention of Jem Bourne 
to the effect of the '577 solid bullet, and I told him to watch the 
result of a merciful quietus, exactly through the shoulder-bone. 
The bull fell over upon its right side, and never moved. 

I trust that I may not be considered hard-hearted in recounting 
such shots in detail, and their results ; I do so in the scientific 
interests of rifle practice, to produce examples of the actual 
practical effects of certain weapons, used against particular 
animals. Had I been as I was in my younger days, without a 
life's experience, I could have shot thirty or forty of these splendid 
animals with ease ; but from the moment of this first example I 
determined to kill no more, but only to admire. In accordance 
with this determination, I took great pains upon many occasions 
to obtain a shot, and after long stalks, having obtained a magni- 
ficent position, I raised my rifle, took a most deadly aim, and 
touched the trigger, having carefully kept the rifle upon half-cock. 
Away went the buffalo, to live for another day, instead of being 
slaughtered uselessly, to rot upon the plains, or to be devoured by 
wolves, or buried in the soil by bears. This sort of stalking 
afforded me much pleasure, but it did not suit my American 
attendant. u Well, if you came all the way from the Old Country 
to shoot, and you won't shoot when you've got the chance, you'd 
have done better to stop at home." This was the consolation I 
received for my self-denial when sparing buffaloes. 



xv THE AMERICAN BUFFALO 287 

I did not miud these remarks ; I had my own reward. The 
buffaloes on many occasions fed around our camp within 300 or 
400 yards. We could watch them with the binoculars, and we 
enjoyed the study of their ways with far greater pleasure than I 
should have felt in shooting them. 

That big bull which I had extinguished was quite enough to 
prove all that I required ; it was so heavy that, when Texas Bill 
arrived, our united efforts could not turn it upon its side. 

There was nothing new in American bisons, unless it was the 
mercy shown to them on this occasion. That was a grand fellow ; 
his mighty head is in my hall at this moment, stuffed and set up, 
as though alive, by that great artist Mr. Kowland Ward, who 
declared it to be the finest he had seen, huge, black, and shaggy, 
the dark colour of the head contrasting with the nut-brown of the 
neck and body. 

It was an interesting post-mortem examination of this bull, and 
should ladies honour these pages with a perusal, they will of course 
pass over the descriptions which can so easily be avoided. The 
577 solid bullet, with a 6-dram charge of powder, had entered 
about 2 inches upon the left of the tail-root. This had passed 
through the pelvis, which was fractured, and had occasioned the 
paralysis of the hind legs. The bullet then perforated the 
intestines, passed through the paunch and lungs, and, having 
traversed the entire cavity of the body, it was found imbedded in 
the fleshy mass of the neck. 

I can only ask those persons who patronise the hollow Express 
bullet Where would that wretched projectile have been after 
striking such a bone as the pelvis of a bull bison 1 It would never 
have broken such a bone, but it would have smashed into a hundred 
fragments, as though it had struck an iron target ; there would 
have been an end to it ; the buffalo would have gone on, not much 
the worse for the encounter. 

It was very interesting to watch these bisons, as they almost 
daily appeared, either near the camp, or while I was out shooting. 
Frequently I saw them beneath me, when upon a cliff I was 
looking for big horns (mountain sheep) ; at other times I have 
come upon them suddenly, when they have jumped up from a 
lower terrace, as I descended the mountain side, but upon no 
occasion would I fire at them, as we always had plenty of venison 
in camp and I did not want them. 

My fine young fellow Texas Bill was an expert hand at the 
lasso, and he captured a cow upon one occasion, but she was too 
strong for him to manage single-handed. I do not consider that 



288 WILD BEASTS AND THEIR WAYS CHAP. 

the great difficulty consists in throwing the lasso, but rather in the 
management of the animal when entangled. The Mexican saddle 
has an upright pillar about 9 inches long in front ; this is called 
" the horn," and one end of the lasso is secured by a round turn 
being taken when the animal is caught. It is manipulated entirely 
from this horn, as it can be slacked off, or drawn tighter, as the 
occasion may require ; but there is considerable danger, as a 
powerful animal may dash away before the hand of the lasso- 
thrower is clear of the coil, in which case it might be caught 
between the loose coils and the wooden pillar or horn. While I 
was there, a man lost two fingers by catching them in this 
manner, just as a buffalo jumped off, and the hard line cut them 
oft' like a knife, against the still harder horn. 

The Americans show scant mercy to the buffalo, as they declare 
that it consumes as much grass as would fatten two bullocks; 
also, that the presence of many of these animals will attract the 
Indians. I do not credit either of these statements, as the 
buffaloes are not found upon the cattle ranches, but upon the 
mountains far beyond. They have long since been driven from 
the plains in the vicinity of man, and they have retired to higher 
altitudes, where they are comparatively undisturbed. The Indians 
are bound by law to remain upon their reservation grounds, and 
they would have no chance of following upon the tracks of 
buffaloes; it is merely an excuse for the destruction which is 
rapidly annihilating the wild animals of the once interesting 
" Far West." 

I have adhered throughout my description to the local misnomer 
of "buffalo," but it must be borne in mind that the American 
species is the true bison. 

In India there is the so-called Indian bison, but naturalists 
deny the right of this animal to such an appellation, and designate 
it as Bos Gaurus, commonly known in India as the gaur. 
Although I have been five times a visitor to our magnificent 
Indian Empire, I have never yet had an opportunity of shooting a 
gaur ; the day may, I trust, arrive, as I hope to revisit the country 
next winter, and instead of returning home in the spring, I shall 
devote those months of the driest season to the jungles, when it is 
far easier to discover the desired game. 

As I have never experienced the gaur personally, I cannot enter 
into the details of its habits. It has decreased in numbers in the 
Central Provinces, not only from the annual destruction by the 
rifle, but from epidemics, to which all members of the bovine family 
are peculiarly liable. I remember about forty years ago, when in 



xv THE AMERICAN BUFFALO 289 

the northern portion of Ceylon, the stench was unbearable in certain 
places, where both wild and tame buffaloes had died in hundreds. 
A few years since, the district of Reipore was visited with a similar 
calamity, which destroyed the gaur in such numbers that some 
localities were left entirely deprived of these animals. 

The gaur is supposed to be the largest of the Bos tribe, measur- 
ing 17 to 18 hands in the height of shoulder. The head is enor- 
mous, with a peculiar formation of the frontal bone, which projects 
above the cranium. A bullet must therefore be placed lower than 
it would be in an ordinary ox to reach the brain. 

This grand animal is generally to be found among hills that are 
covered with forest, in which the bamboo is plentiful, as the latter 
is the principal food of the gaur. In the winter months, when I 
have generally visited India, such jungles are so dense and green 
that they are almost impenetrable. At that season there is water 
in every channel, and torrent-beds at the foot of hilly ranges; 
therefore it is impossible to find the gaur, which is then upon the 
summits, securely lodged in thick bamboo retreats. The yak is 
another species of which I have had no personal experience. This 
beautiful animal is a denizen of the most lofty mountains, and is 
found at elevations that could hardly be attained by any other 
animal of its weight. It is a most sure-footed beast, and is used 
for riding among the Himalayahs in its domesticated state. 

There is a species of wild ox, or rather bison (Bison bonassus), 
still remaining in the forests of Lithuania ; this was the original 
aurochs of Central Europe, which was at one time plentiful ; but 
the increase of population and the invention of firearms drove these 
animals into the remotest forests, until by degrees they have been 
nearly exterminated. 

It may be accepted as a fact that only two species of the true 
bison are known to exist, the Bison Americanus (or so-called 
buffalo) and the European species, Bison bonassus, both of which 
are distinct from all others belonging to the ovidce, in possessing 
fourteen pairs of ribs. 



CHAPTER XVI 

THE RHINOCEROS 

THE " unicorn " of the ancients has been one of those animals that 
appear to defy the attacks of man. It is thus descried by 
Cuvier : " They are large animals, with each foot divided into 
three toes ; and the nasal bones, very thick and united into a kind 
of arch, support a solid horn, which adheres to the skin, and is 
composed of a fibrous and horny substance, resembling agglutinated 
hairs. They are naturally stupid and ferocious ; frequent marshy 
places; subsist upon herbage and the branches of trees; have a 
simple stomach, very long intestines, and a great coecum. 

" The Indian rhinoceros. (Rh. Indicus, Cuv.) In addition to 
its twenty grinders, this species has two stout incisive teeth in each 
jaw, together with two other intermediate smaller ones below, and 
two, still more diminutive, outside of its upper incisors. It has 
only one horn, and its skin is remarkable for the deep folds into 
which it is thrown behind, and across the shoulders, and before, 
and across the thighs. 

"The Javanese rhinoceros (2th. Javanus, Cuv.), with the great 
incisors and single horn of the preceding, has fewer folds iu the 
skin, though one of them on the neck is larger; and what is 
remarkable, the entire skin is covered with square angular 
tubercles. 

"The Sumatran rhinoceros (Rh. Sumatrensis, Cuv.), with the 
same four great incisors of the foregoing, has no folds to the skin, 
which is besides hairy, and there is a second horn behind the 
first. 

"The African rhinoceros (Rh. Africanits, Cuv.), or rather 
rhinoceroses, three species of them being now ascertained. Two 
horns as in the preceding; and no folds in the skin, nor any incisor 
teeth, the molars occupying nearly the whole length of the jaw. 
This deficiency of incisors might warrant a separation from the 




Ill O 



CHAP, xvi THE RHINOCEROS 291 

others. The great rhinoceros (Rh. simus, Burchell), which con- 
siderably exceeds in size any of the others, is further distinguished 
by its pale colour, its very long and straight anterior horn, and re- 
markably short hind one, and particularly by the form of its upper 
lip, which is not capable of elongation, and a certain degree of 
prehension, as in all the others ; it is the most gregarious of any, 
and also the most inoffensive, frequenting the open karoos. The 
common Cape rhinoceros (Rh. Africanus, Guv.) is darker, with 
also unequal horns, the posterior being shorter; and the Ketloa 
rhinoceros (Rh. Ketloa), recently discovered by Dr. Smith, is an 
animal of solitary habits, with horns of equal length, reputed to 
exceed the rest in ferocity." 

I have extracted the definition assumed by Cuvier to exhibit 
the peculiar varieties of this species. His Rh. simus is the white 
rhinoceros of Southern Africa. This does not exist north of the 
equator. The peculiar form of lip to which the great naturalist 
directs attention proves, being broad and rounded, that the animal 
is a grass-eater, in which it differs from those with prehensile lips, 
which feed upon the extreme ends of twigs and tender branches ; 
to gather these, they require an embryo proboscis, which the pre- 
hensile lip actually represents, and the next stage of evolution may 
be seen in the development of the same member in the tapir. 
Cuvier omits to describe the peculiarity of the molars of the pre- 
hensile lip varieties ; these teeth have sharp overlapping cutting 
edges, which, when the jaws are closed, exactly represent the action 
of a pair of shears. The prehensile lip catches a bunch of twigs, 
and forming them into a compact bundle, introduces it into the 
mouth ; the shear-like teeth then cut it off as neatly as though 
primed with a switching-hook. 

There has been a great diversity of opinion concerning the 
varieties of rhinoceros, and I feel convinced that it cannot be solely 
determined by the length or shape of horns ; these differ as much 
as the horns of stags, although the animals belong to the same 
species. The great white rhinoceros is a distinct species, which is 
marked by the blunt muzzle, the rounded and non-prehensile lip, 
the shape of the head, the enormous size, and the extraordinary 
length of the horn. 

All the varieties of rhinoceros have the same peculiar formation 
of foot, confined to three horny toes, each of which forms nearly a 
half-circle. The horn of the Indian variety is so short as to be 
valueless as a trophy, and the length of 8 inches would be con- 
sidered above the average, although the base is remarkably thick. 

I do not agree with Dr. Smith that the horns of the Ketloa are 



292 WILD BEASTS AND THEIR WAYS CUAP. 

of equal length. It is quite jwssible that some may be equal, 
where the anterior horn has been ground away by long service ; 
but as a rule the anterior horn is considerably longer, and always 
different in shape, being rounded from its broad base, and continu- 
ing always round until it terminates in a sharp point. 

The posterior horn is flattened at the sides, and rises with a 
sharp edge along the ridge, with a raised centre, which forms a 
point. 

All rhinoceros horns are of the same texture, being simply 
agglutinated hairs, which, if cut in a thin transverse section and 
placed beneath a microscope, exhibit the capillary tubes glued 
together by a horny substance into a solid body. There is no 
material that can equal in toughness the horn of rhinoceros, and it 
has always been in request from time immemorial for various 
useful and other imaginary purposes. The belief that a cup 
formed of rhinoceros horn will detect poison is very common, and 
is thoroughly accepted by the Arabs of the Soudan. I have three 
in my possession, mounted in silver, which were presented to me, 
when leaving Africa, by the great sheik of the deserts, Hussein 
Khalifa Pasha. 

The horns are not attached to the skull, but they are merely 
seated upon the hard and thick bone, which forms a foundation, 
slightly convex, above the nose. The skin is immensely thick at 
the base from which the horn springs, and it appears bristly and 
rough, to a degree that would suggest gradual development into 
horn, which is actually the case. 

When a rhinoceros has been killed, and the head has been 
exposed in the sun to dry, the horns will fall off upon the third day 
if struck lightly with a stick, and they will expose the foundation 
upon which they rested ; this closely resembles the bottom of an 
artichoke when the prickly leaves have been removed. 

Although the horns would appear unsuitable for rough work, 
being merely attachments to the skin, they are most powerful 
weapons of offence. It has been asserted that the rhinoceros will 
kill an elephant ; this is highly probable, if it had an opportunity 
of striking it in the belly or the flank by an unexpected attack ; 
but no rhinoceros would have the remotest chance in actual conflict 
with an ordinary bull elephant, as the weight and strength would be 
immeasurably superior, in addition to the length and power of the 
two tusks. Elephants are much afraid of rhinoceros, but they are 
almost equally timid with other animals, while the rhinoceros is a 
sullen, stupid brute that is afraid of nothing. 

I have never seen more than one species of rhinoceros east of 



xvi THE RHINOCEROS 293 

the White Nile, from Abyssinia to within 1 14' of the equator; 
this is the variety known as the Ketloa. It well merits the dis- 
tinction of superior ferocity, as it will attack either man or beast, 
frequently without the slightest provocation. It is especially 
likely to attack should it obtain the wind (scent) of any person or 
strange animal before it appears in sight. This makes it extremely 
dangerous when riding through thick jungle or high grass, should 
a rhinoceros be somewhere concealed to leeward. I have myself 
been hunted out of the jungle by two rhinoceroses which thus 
gained our wind, just as we had become aware of their existence 
through the presence of fresh droppings. Fortunately there was 
no lady, and our party was confined to the Hamran Arabs and 
myself; but three sharp whiffs close at hand in the thick jungle, 
like jets of steam let off to ease the boiler, were immediately 
followed by the animals themselves, which came tearing down upon 
us at full speed, and sent us flying in all directions. 

No lady upon a side saddle could possibly have ridden through 
that thorny jungle without being dragged from her seat. As it 
was, after a mad chase the animals lost sight of us, but when we 
collected together, everybody was more or less damaged, by either 
tumbling over rocks, or being torn by the hooked horns. 

The sure find for rhinoceros is in the neighbourhood of a 
peculiar red-barked mimosa. This is the much-loved food, and the 
appearance of the bushes will immediately denote the presence of 
the animal ; they are clipped, as though by pruning shears, all the 
shoots being cut off in a straight line where the rhinoceros has 
been browsing. This neat operation is effected by the prehensile 
lip and the shear-like teeth. Another proof of rhinoceros will be 
found in the vast piles of dung, nearly always against the stem of 
a considerable tree ; it is a peculiar custom of this animal to visit 
the same place every night, and this regularity of functions brings 
it into the traps which are cunningly devised by the natives for 
its capture. 

A round hole, the size of an ordinary hat-box, is dug near the 
tree. This is neatly formed, and when completed, it is covered 
with a wooden circle like the toy wheel of a child's waggon. The 
spokes are made of flat bamboo, with sharp points overlapping 
each other in the centre, in the place where the nave would be. 
This looks rather like a sieve when fitted carefully as a cover to 
the hole. If any person were to thrust his fist through this 
clastic substance, the points of the bamboo would prevent his 
hand from being withdrawn, as they would retain his arm. In 
the same manner this sieve-like cap would retain the leg of an 



294 WILD BEASTS AND THEIR WAYS CHAP. 

animal, should it tread upon the surface and pass through. 
Accordingly a noose is laid upon the surface. The rope is con- 
structed specially, of great strength, and the end is fastened to a 
log of wood that weighs about 200 or 300 Ibs. This is buried 
slightly in the earth, together with the cord. A quantity of dung 
is thrown carelessly over the freshly turned ground to conceal the 
fact. 

The rhinoceros, like many other animals, has a habit of scraping 
the ground with its fore foot when it visits the nightly rendezvous ; 
during this action it is almost certain to step upon the concealed 
trap. The foot sinks through, and in the withdrawal the noose 
fixes itself upon the leg, prevented from slipping off by the pointed 
support beneath, which remains fast, adhering to the skin. 

The moment that the rhinoceros discovers that its leg is noosed, 
it makes a sudden rush ; this draws the noose tight, and, at the 
same time, the jerk pulls the buried log out of the trench. The 
animal, frightened at the mishap, gallops off, with the heavy log 
following behind. This arrangement is excellent, as it leaves an 
unmistakable trace of the retreat, which can easily be followed by 
the trappers on the following morning. At the same time, there 
is not the same risk of the rope breaking that would be occasioned 
by a steady pull. The log, which trails behind, catches in the 
innumerable bushes and thorns, causing great fatigue, until the 
rhinoceros, thoroughly wearied, is obliged to halt. When dis- 
covered by the hunters, it is generally entangled by some attempt 
to turn, which has hooked the log around a tree ; the fight then 
commences, as the beast has to be killed with spears, which pene- 
trate the hide with difficulty. Accidents frequently happen when 
the rhinoceros, thoroughly enraged, succeeds in snapping the rope. 

I have seen a horn in Khartoum that was brought down the 
White Nile by one of the slave-hunting companies, which came 
from the distant west, in the latitude of Lake Chad ; that must 
have belonged to a different species of rhinoceros, as it was quite 
3 feet long, and immensely thick ; no Ketloa or black rhinoceros 
ever possessed such a horn. The longest one I have ever shot 
measured 23 inches, and I have never seen a larger one in pos- 
session of the natives. 

There was a ready market in Gellabat, the frontier town of 
Abyssinia, as in that country the horn is in great demand for the 
handles of swords belonging to the chiefs. In 1861 in that locality 
the ordinary price was a dollar per Ib. 

The skin of the rhinoceros is exceedingly compact and dense. 
When stretched over a block and dried, it is rubbed down with 



xvi THE RHINOCEROS 295 

sand -paper, and oiled; it then becomes semi-transparent, like 
clouded amber, and is much esteemed by the great personages of 
Abyssinia for shields ; these are beautifully mounted with silver, 
and are highly ornamental. I have a piece of skin tanned which 
measures 587 square inches and weighs 13| Ibs. In its fresh 
state it would weigh more than double. 

Although the Soudanese Arabs eat the flesh of this animal, it is 
refused by the savage tribes of the White Nile regions. These 
people say that the Arabs are hyaenas, who will eat anything, even 
crocodiles. The reason given by the blacks for their objection to 
the flesh of the rhinoceros is, that the blood is unlike that of any 
other animal ; that should your hand be bloody, and you close your 
fist for a few moments, the fingers stick together, and you have a 
difficulty in opening them. 

I have eaten young rhinoceros, and found it quite as good as a 
buffalo calf, but I imagine that anything young is tolerable. This 
was a curious incident. I was shooting, and exploring the affluents 
of the Nile from Abyssinia, and having examined the course of the 
Atbara and Settite rivers, I passed into the territory of Mek 
Nimmur, who was at war with the Egyptians. The first march 
from his camp brought us to the rivers Salaam and Augrab, at 
their junction ; and I was following the course of the main river 
below this point, when we came upon the tracks of rhinoceros. 
Following upon these, I left the two camels behind, with the ropes, 
etc., which they always carried to secure any animals I might shoot. 

We had not advanced far through the tolerably open jungle 
when we arrived at the foot of a rocky hill. There were many 
large boulders lying about, when suddenly one of my Arabs touched 
my arm and directed my attention to an object that appeared to be 
a rock ; almost at the same moment a rhinoceros rose quickly from 
the ground, and had evidently obtained our wind. I made a good 
shot with a No. 10 rifle through the shoulder, and after turning 
round twice, and uttering a peculiar squeaking sound like the 
bellows arrangement of a crying doll, it fell to the ground and died. 
We now observed a fine young animal which was standing upon 
the opposite side of the mother, and I suggested to my famous 
Hamran hunters that we should call up the camels and endeavour 
to secure the calf with our good supply of ropes. 

This was quite opposed to their ideas, as the young one was 
sufficiently advanced to boast of a pair of small horns, which the 
Arabs declared to be too formidable to warrant an attempt at 
rapture. 

I thought otherwise, therefore I arranged that we should make 



296 WILD BEASTS AND THEIR WAYS CHAP. 

a trial. The camels were brought, nnd the ropes arranged. Nooses 
were prepared, and I suggested that we should attempt to mob the 
young one, and then secure its legs. 

My Arabs declined this plan, as they rightly declared that the 
ground was unfavourable, owing to the number of large rocks, 
which would prevent them from getting out of harm's way should 
the animal charge. It was ultimately arranged that Taher Noor, 
my head Arab, was to lend me his sword, and that I was to go 
first, while they would follow with the ropes and nooses, to en- 
deavour to trip up the calf should it charge past me. 

Taher Noor drew his sword. This was a beautiful blade, that 
had belonged to his family, and been handed from father to son for 
several generations ; the cross hilt and fittings of the handle were 
solid silver, also the knob at the end, through which the tongue 
was riveted. He cautioned me to beware of striking a stone, and 
he evidently parted with regret from his familiar weapon. 

The calf was about 3* feet high, and was standing by the body 
of its mother, evidently ignorant of her death. As I cautiously 
approached, it looked much larger than when I had seen it at a 
distance, and I began to think the Arabs were right in their con- 
clusion. There was not much time for reflection, for the young 
tartar gave an angry shake of its ugly head, emitted the usual three 
sharp whiffs, and charged at me as fast as it could gallop. 

I jumped quickly backwards, by a large rock, and it passed 
within 3 feet of me, but immediately halted, instead of continuing 
so far as the spot where the Arabs were in waiting with the ropes. 

It now turned round, and seeing me, it repeated its charge in 
reverse, as hard as it could go. I again jumped back, but as I did 
so, I delivered a lightning-like downward cut with Taher Noor's 
favourite sword. The young rhinoceros fell stone-dead, all in a 
heap ! 

The Arabs ran to the spot. Taher Noor took the sword care- 
fully from my hand, and pointing it at arm's length, he looked 
along the edge ; he then wiped the blade upon the body of the 
rhinoceros, and, to prove the perfection of his weapon, he shaved a 
few hairs off his naked arm ; then exclaimed with a deep sigh of 
pleasure and astonishment, " Mashallah" and returned it to the 
scabbard. 

We now carefully examined the young rhinoceros. Although 
only a calf, it was a large animal, and the neck was about 15 
inches thick. The blade had fortunately struck exactly between 
two vertebrae, and had slipped through the gristle as though it 
had been a carrot. Continuing its course, it had severed the neck 



xvi THE RHINOCEROS 297 

completely, leaving only the thick skin of the throat, to which the 
head was still attached. 

This was a magnificent stroke, which delighted the sword- 
hunters, and I should much like to hear the story as it is now 
told by them, if alive, or by their descendants. They will 
assuredly have converted the calf into a full-grown rhinoceros, as 
the length of time now elapsed will have accounted for the change ; 
but the incident will certainly be remembered, and narrated by 
the owner of the sword, and will be handed down to posterity with 
some few exaggerations. 

We opened and cleaned the calf, and the united efforts of six 
men secured it across a camel ; we then cut the shields off the 
large rhinoceros, and took the calf to camp, as Taher Noor wished 
particularly to exhibit the trophy of his sword to the Sit (Lady 
Baker). 

As we arrived, we found a large body of Abyssinian hunters, 
who asked us for meat. " Meat 1 " exclaimed my men. " We've 
left an entire rhinoceros only just skinned, about twenty minutes' 
walk from this. Look, you can see the vultures gathering in 
the air." 

" Vultures 1 Yes, there are plenty of them ; but if you took the 
skin off, there'll be no meat by the time we get there." 

"Not if you stop here talking," my men replied. "Run, and 
you will be in time to get something." 

About twenty fellows started off in the direction pointed out 
by the hovering birds. In less than an hour the Abyssinians 
returned with a report "that only the skeleton remained upon 
their arrival." 

There is no animal which parts with its hide so easily as the 
rhinoceros. Directly that the fatal shot has been fired, the Arab 
hunters measure the body by so many spans, the thumb stretched 
from the little finger. The rhinoceros should yield eight large 
squares of hide, each of which will produce a circular shield about 
2 feet in diameter, or rather larger. When the operation of 
skinning is commenced, it is curious to see the want of attachment 
between the hide and the flesh ; it detaches immediately, simply 
upon a few digs with the fist, and it flakes away like the bark of 
an oak when felled in May. Each square is worth 2 dollars, there- 
fore a rhinoceros is a valuable prize to the Arab hunters. 

It is difficult to believe the rapidity with which vultures will 
consume a large animal when it has been divested of the skin 
Should a buffalo die, these birds are helpless, as they can only 
work at the eyes, and beneath the tail, the hide resisting their 



298 WILD BEASTS AND THEIR WAYS CHAP. 

attack until decomposition shall have commenced ; but, when 
skinned, a cloud of these repulsive birds will settle upon the carcase, 
and it disappears in much less than half an hour. This is the 
case in Abyssinia, where vultures are more numerous than in any 
portion of the globe which I have visited. 

Many years ago there was a long and interesting discussion in 
the Field respecting the power of sight or scent in directing the 
vulture to its prey. Of course, views were expressed upon oppos- 
ing sides ; one declared that the bird discovered its food by sight, 
others pronounced in favour of guidance by scent alone. 

Common-sense would suggest that a bird which soars at such 
an enormous height that it is frequently invisible to the naked eye 
would not ascend without a purpose, as there can be no food 
attraction in the great wilderness of space. What is that purpose ? 
It is to obtain an extensive field of observation upon the world 
beneath. If a bird hunted by scent, it would assuredly remain as 
near as possible upon the surface to obtain that scent, instead of 
soaring in an opposite direction, where the strongest smell could 
never be detected. 

I have tried the experiment practically, many times. 

When an animal is killed and skinned, before the operation is 
completed the first bird to appear is the wily and omnipresent 
crow. The next is the ordinary buzzard. Both these birds are 
near the surface of the earth, seeking their food with untiring 
energy ; but although they may have keen powers of scent, even 
they, in my opinion, are mainly guided by their acuteness of vision, 
as they are always on the alert, hunting in every direction, and in 
fact keeping a sharp " look-out." 

The third arrival is the small red-necked vulture. This bird 
descends from a great height. 

It is now most interesting to watch the concentration from all 
quarters of the compass ; this is easily arranged by lying beneath 
a bush, and shading the eyes while you gaze into the deep-blue 
sky. It will appear to be alive with the smallest flies, all moving, 
all hurrying, and descending. These become rapidly larger, and 
you are aware that they are vultures, collecting from such enor- 
mous altitudes, that, were a mountain-top exposed, it would be 
capped with everlasting snow. While you are straining your eyes 
to peer into those blue vaults, you are startled by a tremendous 
rush like the roar of a rocket ; this is the descent with closed 
wings of one of the large bare-necked vultures, which has plunged 
like a plummet for some 1000 feet, to share in the feast below. 

All those birds, Hying at high altitudes, have been soaring upon 



xvi THE RHINOCEROS 299 

endless wings, never fatigued by motion, as they seldom flap, but 
only adjust themselves to the currents of air upon which they 
float ; and having with their extraordinary powers of sight observed 
the hurry of smaller birds to some attractive point, they have at 
once directed their course, to fulfil the Biblical expression, 
"Where the carcase lies, there shall the eagles (vultures) be 
gathered together." 

The audacity of the vulture is remarkable, in countries where 
it pursues its course undisturbed. I have known an instance 
where, in a serious battle, in the midst of musketry and the dense 
smoke and flame of a general conflagration, the vultures mutilated 
the bodies of the killed before they could be carried off the field. 

Last, but not least, of all birds of carrion tastes is the adjutant. 
When the buzzard has driven away the crow, the red-necked 
vulture has driven off the buzzard, and the bare-necked vulture 
has kicked out the red-necked intruder, the long-legged and 
gigantic-beaked adjutant arrives upon the scene of turmoil, where 
feathers, dust, and blood are mingled with the shrieking and 
quarrelling of mixed varieties. All stand clear when the adjutant 
appears, as the long bill delivers its pecks to the right and left, 
and commands attention and respect. This bird, which carries 
its supply of water in a bag beneath the bill, pendant from the 
throat, flies at a higher altitude than any other, and arrives upon 
the scene the last, owing to the greater distance it has been forced 
to travel. All these birds have been necessarily directed by sight, 
and not by the sense of smell. 

The sense of vision may be continually observed by any person 
who has experience of countries that are full of living creatures. 
When the grass is fired in the dry season, there may not be a bird 
in sight, but directly that the dense volumes of black smoke 
darken the air with rolling clouds upon the earth's surface, a great 
variety of birds are almost immediately attracted. The buzzard, 
the fly-catchers, and, curiously enough, the bustard (or houbara), 
which is generally so scarce, all appear upon the dusky scene, and 
challenge the smoke and flames, to pursue the locusts, which are 
endeavouring to escape from the advancing fire. 

The so-called rhinoceros bird, which is supposed to afford the 
animal some notice of approaching danger, is not confined specially 
to that particular beast, but it is to be seen frequently picking the 
ticks and other vermin from the backs and sides of buffaloes, as 
starlings may be seen upon the cattle in England during the warm 
days of summer. There is also a so-called crocodile bird, which 
is accredited with watchful instincts in the interest of the animal 



300 WILD REASTS AND THEIR WAYS CHAP. 

it attends upon ; this is the ordinary plover, which when alarmed 
cries in good English, throughout the world, " Did-he-do-it 1 Did- 
he-do-it 1 " These birds are not employed in protecting the animals 
they wait upon, but they are simply searching for insects which 
infest such creatures, and when disturbed themselves, their cries 
and movements naturally alarm the beasts upon which they fatten. 

I have had no personal experience of the Indian rhinoceros, 
which is heavily protected by thick folds of skin, instead of the 
comparatively smooth exterior of the African species ; but the 
habits of the animal appear to be somewhat similar, with the 
exception of its frequenting marshy localities. 

I have never found the African rhinoceros in the neighbourhood 
of swamps, but, on the contrary, I have generally met them in dry 
and elevated places, at the base of rocky hills, or in woods, at 
some distance from a river. Certain animals have their regular 
hours for drinking : the rhinoceros in Africa approaches the water 
an hour after dark, and during the day it may retreat several 
miles inland. The female Ketloa has a longer horn than tfie male, 
but more slender. The males are continually grinding their horns 
by sharpening them upon rocks and the trunks of trees ; this 
process reduces their size, from continued friction. 

The female has only one offspring at a birth, and the ugly 
little calf is well protected by its mother. In a very few weeks 
after its introduction to the world it becomes exceedingly strong and 
active, and follows its mother over the rough ground at consider- 
able speed. At that early age, when from two to four months 
old, the young ones are captured by the sword-hunters, who 
hunt the mother until the calf becomes thoroughly fatigued. 

When the vast bulk of a rhinoceros is considered, it is astonish- 
ing to see the speed that this heavy animal can attain, and continue 
for a great distance. I have hunted them in company with the 
Arabs, and for at least 2 miles our horses have been going their 
best, keeping a position within 5 or 6 yards of the hind-quarters, 
but nevertheless unable to overtake them before they reached an 
impenetrable jungle. It is the peculiar formation of the hind legs 
which enables the rhinoceros to attain this speed ; the length from 
the thigh to the hock is so great that it affords immense springing 
capacity, and the animal bounds along the surface like a horse in 
full gallop, without the slightest appearance of weight or clumsiness. 

Upon a level plain, free from bushes or stones, a good horse 
would quickly overtake the black rhinoceros, but the animal is 
seldom found upon such favourable ground, and its strength and 
three-hoofed feet give it a peculiar advantage for travelling at a 



xvi THE RHINOCEROS 301 

high speed over a rough surface that would test the endurance of 
the best horse. 

There is considerable danger in shooting a rhinoceros, owing to 
the difficulty in stopping a charge. The position of the two horns 
makes it impossible to reach the brain by a forehead shot, as the 
bullet, should it strike a horn, would certainly deflect. If you 
are slightly on one side, there is a direct line to the exceedingly 
small brain, exactly in front of the eyes, but this is extremely 
difficult to hit, and must be hazardous. The bone of the skull is 
the hardest of any animal in existence, and upon one occasion a 
No. 10 bullet struck the head just in front of the ear, and failed 
to penetrate. The animal fell to the ground, stunned, but recovered 
its feet and ran half unconsciously past me, giving me the oppor- 
tunity to run alongside and fire the remaining barrel behind the 
shoulder, which immediately finished the encounter. 

I was not aware at the time that the No. 10 leaden bullet had 
failed to penetrate ; but upon an examination of the head, I found 
the lead wedged into the joint of the lower jaw ; the skull was 
slightly fractured, but not actually penetrated. 

Upon another occasion I was stalking a bull rhinoceros which 
I had observed from a distance, and it had disappeared upon the 
other side of rising ground. Feeling sure that I should reach it 
by running quickly forward, upon my arrival at the spot where I 
had lost sight of my object I detected it among a few bushes not 
20 yards distant. There were a number of brown-coloured rocks 
scattered about the surface, nearly as large as ordinary grindstones. 
Taking advantage of these, I knelt behind one and fired at the 
shoulder. Instead of falling, the rhinoceros immediately turned 
towards the smoke, which fortunately was drifting across to my 
right in a strong breeze. With stupid astonishment it regarded 
this unsubstantial cause of disturbance, and followed it until I 
again had a good chance within only a few yards. The No. 10 
quicksilver and lead conical bullet shot completely through the 
body, entering behind the right shoulder, and making its exit upon 
the opposite side. The animal staggered a short distance, and 
then, emitting a few shrill squeaks, quite disproportioned in sound 
to the great size of the beast, it fell and died. 

This proved the advantage of a hardened and heavy bullet for 
such an animal, instead of pure lead, although the latter would 
have been preferable for a thin-skinned beast. 

Although the rhinoceros is dangerous, I have never heard of 
many casualties among sportsmen. This may be explained by 
the comparatively small number of persons who have engaged in 



302 WILD UEASTS AND THEIR WAYS CHAP. 

the sport. It is quite impossible to determine the exact amount 
of risk in the encounter with any animal, as they vary in character 
and pugnacity. The black rhinoceros is generally accepted as the 
most vicious, and the huge white variety the most harmless, but 
the uncertainty in the sport is the charm to the hunter, and I will 
relate an incident that befell a friend of mine, which will exhibit 
this uncertainty in a striking manner. 

Mr. Oswell was one of the early Nimrods in South Africa, at 
the same time that the renowned Roualeyu Gordon Gumming was 
paving the way for fresh adventures. There never was a better 
sportsman or more active follower of the chase than Oswell ; he 
had gone to Africa for the love of hunting and adventure, at a 
time when the greater portion was unbroken ground. He was the 
first to bring Livingstone into notice when he was an unknown 
missionary, and Oswell and Murray took him with them when 
they discovered the Lake N'game". He had a favourite double- 
barrelled gun made by Purdey. This was a smooth-bore No. 10. 
specially constructed for ball. Although a smooth-bore, it was 
sighted like a rifle, with back-sights; the gun weighed 10 Ibs. 
The owner most kindly lent me this useful weapon when I first 
went to Africa in 1861, therefore I can attest its value, and the 
hard work that it had accomplished. A portion of the walnut stock 
had been completely worn away to the depth of an inch by the tear- 
ing friction of the wait-a-bit thorns, when carrying the gun across 
the saddle in chase at full speed through the hooked-thorn bushes. 
The stock had the appearance of having been gnawed by rats. 

At the time of Oswell's visit, the country was alive with wild 
animals, all of which have long since disappeared before the advance 
of colonial enterprise and the sporting energy of settlers. There 
was a particular locality that was so infested with rhinoceroses that 
Oswell had grown tired of killing them, and he passed them un- 
noticed unless he met some specimen with an exceptional horn. 
He was riding a favourite horse, which had been his constant com- 
panion in countless shooting incidents, and he happened to remark 
a large white rhinoceros standing in open ground alone. This 
animal possessed a horn of unusual length, which made the owner 
a worthy object of attention. 

Oswell immediately rode towards it. The animal took no 
notice of his approach until he arrived within about 100 yards. 
Tiie Rhinoceros simus (white species) is not considered dangerous, 
therefore he had approached without the slightest caution or hesi- 
tation. I forget whether he fired ; but I well remember that the 
beast calmly confronted the horse, and slowly, but determinedly, 



xvr THE RHINOCEROS 303 

with measured pace, advanced directly towards the rider. Like 
an object in a disturbed dream, this huge creature came on, step 
by step, leisurely but surely, never hesitating or halting, but with 
eyes fixed upon the attacking party. Firing at the forehead 
being useless, Oswell endeavoured to move either to the left or 
right, to obtain a shoulder shot ; but the horse, that was accustomed 
to a hundred contests with wild animals, was suddenly mesmerised, 
and petrified with horror. The quiet and spectre-like advance of 
the rhinoceros had paralysed and rooted it to the ground ; trembling 
all over, its limbs refused to move; the spur and whip were 
unavailing ; the horse felt that it was doomed. 

This horrible position endured until the rhinoceros was within 
only a few paces distant ; it then made a dash forward. 

Oswell describes his first sensations, upon returning conscious- 
ness, nearly as follows. He found himself upon a horse. The reins 
were not in his hands. A man was walking in front, leading the 
animal by the reins, which had been pulled over its head. There 
were natives upon either side, apparently holding him upon the 
saddle ; a dreamy feeling, and a misty and indistinct view of the 
situation, was sufficient to assure him that something must have 
happened. He felt certain that he must be hurt, but he had no 
pain. He began to feel himself with his hands, and he felt some- 
thing wet and soft upon one thigh. 

The fact was, that the long horn of the rhinoceros had passed 
through his thigh. It not only passed through his thigh, but 
through the saddle flap, then completely through the horse, and 
was stopped by the flap upon the other side. The horse and 
rider together were thrown into the air, and the inversion was so 
complete, that one of OswelPs wounds, a cut upon the head, was 
occasioned by the stirrup-iron, which proved the inverted position. 

The horse was of course killed upon the spot, and the Caffres 
came to their master's assistance, and placed him on his spare 
horse, upon Avhich they held him until they reached the camp. 
This wound kept the great hunter prostrate for several months. 
It is many years since Oswell told me this story, but I think I 
have narrated it exactly. 

It must be remembered that this rhinoceros belonged to the 
so-called harmless species. This incident is sufficient to exhibit 
the utter fallacy of a belief " that any kind of animal is invariably 
harmless." We find that many beasts which are accredited with 
bad characters conduct themselves occasionally as though abject 
cowards; in the same manner, those which are considered timid 
may, when least expected, exhibit great ferocity. 



CHAPTER XVII 

THE BOAE (SUS SCROPllA) 

THE carnivore exhibit the natural character of beasts of prey ; 
although, acting generally on the offensive in their pursuit of 
animals for food, they are not disposed to provoke or to prolong a 
fight, and they seldom attack man unless under provocation. The 
buffalo, we have seen, is a stubborn and powerful antagonist ; but, 
for a really thorough and determined fighter, who does battle for 
the love of the thing, the boar stands foremost among all other 
animals. There is no creature more common to all climates and 
countries than the pig ; and although, when domesticated, we find 
an infinite variety, there is very little marked distinction among 
the wild hogs of Europe and Asia. The conditions of localities, 
and the abundance of food, or the reverse, exert a natural influence 
upon its size, but were a photograph taken of a wild boar in Europe 
and in Asia Minor there would not be any perceptible difference. 
Throughout India and Ceylon they are the same in general appear- 
ance, differing somewhat in size, and, to a certain extent, in length 
of bristles, according to the influence of temperatures. In cold 
climates the pig is protected by a growth of coat in proportion to 
its requirements, but in all other respects it is much the same, and 
it would be difficult to distinguish any features that would consti- 
tute a separate variety. 

It is well known that pigs are omnivorous ; their teeth are ac- 
cordingly designed for every kind of food, with formidable arrange- 
ments for offence. Although they sometimes differ in the number 
of molars, they generally have twenty- eight, and six incisors in each 
jaw. The canine teeth are immensely long, and turned upwards, 
forming tusks, exactly similar to those of the hippopotamus, the 
upper jaw containing shorter tusks, against the sharp edge of which 
those of the lower jaw clash when shut, and thus, by continual 
friction of surface, preserve the cutting edge in order. 



CHAP, xvii THE BOAR 305 

The length of a good pair of boar's tusks extracted from the 
jaw is about 10 inches outside curve. Of this length, 5 inches 
are imbedded in the jaw, leaving only 5 inches as a weapon of 
offence. 

It is astonishing to see the amount of mischief that can be 
achieved by so insignificant a weapon. The boar has been asso- 
ciated with the hunting triumphs of ancient history, from the 
remote period when Adonis, the beloved of Venus, fell before its 
tusks. The Macedonian boar was considered to be the most 
formidable of all wild animals, and to the present day there is 
no creature in the brute creation that will hold its own against all 
comers with equal pluck and tenacity of purpose, so determinedly, 
as a staunch old boar. 

This animal exhibits more sport than any creature that I 
know. It may be hunted in various ways, according to the 
conditions of the ground. In forest countries it may be followed 
on foot with the aid of hounds, and, when brought to bay, 
killed with the hunting-knife or spear. I have always used 
the knife. 

In the open, where riding is practicable, there is no sport 
in the world that surpasses the excitement of "pig -sticking." 
I regret to say that I have had very limited experience in this 4 
latter phase of hunting, owing to the scarcity of the game when 
I was in a pig -sticking locality ; but the hunting upon foot with 
dependable hounds was a sport that I enjoyed for many years. 

Shooting wild boar, after the foregoing description of hunting, 
is a very tame proceeding ; until a boar is wounded, and you 
have to look for him in thick jungle. 

There is an immense amount of character in a pig. Not only 
is it a fierce antagonist, but it is a clever and thoughtful creature. 
It is all very well to quote the word "pig-headedness," but 
there is a meaning in the name that commands respect. A pig 
knows its own mind, which very few human beings can assert ; 
when it has made up its mind, it acts, without any trace of 
hesitation ; and in this it sets a bright example to many of our 
generals and so-called statesmen. If a pig determines to go for- 
ward, nothing will stop it ; but if it makes up its mind to break 
back through a line of beaters, even should there be a serried 
rank of a hundred elephants, I should like to see anything on 
earth that would stop a pig. It will dash back, giving a sharp 
toss of its long head to the right and left as it goes, and leaving 
its mark even upon the tough legs of elephants should they have 
opposed its passage, 



306 WILD BEASTS AND THEIR WAYS CHAP. 

Few people would credit the speed of n pig until they have to 
overtake it. The feet are curiously constructed, as each foot has 
two toes just behind and above the hoof; these only touch the 
ground should it be deep, but there can be no doubt that they add 
to the security of the step, when the foot is widely spread, in 
galloping over rough and uncertain ground. 

I have never seen a wild pig make a mistake, no matter what 
the quality of the ground may be. In deep snow, upon the 
mountains in Asia Minor, I have seen them plough their way 
through long distances, leaving a trough, as though a canoe had 
been dragged through. 

Their power of scent is acute, and it is highly interesting to 
watch them when unsuspected. If the jungle is being beaten, an 
opportunity is almost daily afforded of watching their habits ; 
especially should you be too proud to demean your rifle by shoot- 
ing anything so humble as a pig. 

I have frequently seen a pig arriving apparently direct for my 
position, but it meets a small jungle path upon which some 
person has recently been walking. The pig at once halts, smells 
the ground, and waits, listening attentively and making up its 
mind. It may be that it determines to go forward; if so, it 
starts oft' at its best pace ; but should it declare for a retreat, it 
waits, listens for the advance of the line of beaters, and quietly 
hides in the densest bushes. At last, with shouts sufficient to 
scare away every animal for miles around, the beaters arrive ; you 
know the pig is there, but nobody has yet discovered it. Just as 
the beaters have brought their Hue in good order to the extreme 
margin of the jungle, there is a sudden outburst of shouts and 
yells ; a rush in all directions, screams and halloos, sticks going 
upon all sides ; a few short angry grunts, and a rattling of loose 
stones, explain that the boar has broken back through the line of 
l>eaters. 

Pigs multiply in such an extraordinary manner that in some coun- 
tries they become a pest to the unfortunate agriculturist. When 
travelling, their pace is a shambling trot, at about five or six 
miles an hour. They keep this up for a considerable distance, and 
it is astonishing to see a country that is quite devoid of game, but 
nevertheless the fields are guarded by numerous watching-posts to 
scare the wild pigs from the crops at night. These animals must 
travel six or seven miles from the jungle-covered hills to make a 
raid upon the well-known fields ; sometimes they will exceed this 
distance, and again return to their unknown haunts before the 
rising of the sun. The great strength and activity of the wild pig 



xvn THE BOAR 307 

are exhibited in the little ones, which follow their mother wherever 
she may lead them, and never appear to exhibit any signs of 
weariness. They generally are gregarious, and in India, parties of 
twenty to thirty may be seen together, but in Ceylon I have seen 
hundreds in a herd. 

I have never seen such large boars in any portion of the world 
as in Ceylon. The reason is evident, that food is plentiful 
throughout the year; therefore, with plenty of water in which 
they can wallow at all seasons, and roots, snakes, dead animals, 
and every conceivable material upon which a pig will fatten, 
Ceylon is a perfect pig's paradise, unsurpassed for true enjoy- 
ment. 

The wild pig of Northern Africa is the same as the European 
species, but there is a distinct variety throughout the entire area 
of Central Africa and a portion of the south which differs 
materially from the ordinary pig ; this is the wart hog, Sus 
Africanus. This animal is superlatively ugly : the head is dis- 
proportioned to the size of the hog ; the tusks are so enormous 
that they appear as though they had belonged to some much 
larger creature, and had merely been assumed as masquerade ; 
there are two prominent protuberances upon either side of the 
eyes, also two pendulous warts of large and hideous growth ; and 
when this ugly monster becomes excited, it cocks a long thin tail, 
with bristles upon either side, like that of an elephant. This 
appendage is carried straight in the air, as stiff as a stick, which 
gives the animal a ridiculous appearance. 

The boar of this species does not attain the same great size as 
those of Europe and Asia, and the usual weight when cleaned 
would be about 170 Ibs. There is a striking peculiarity in the 
formation of the teeth, as this is the only animal, except the 
elephant, which possesses the arrangement for a continual repro- 
duction from the rear of the molars. 

This extraordinary animal possesses, in the upper jaw, two 
incisors, six molars, and two tusks ; in the lower jaw, six incisors, 
six molars, and two tusks. The molars are most peculiar, being 
formed of three parallel rows of cylinders of hard enamel, united 
vertically by a less hard cement, which forms a solid block some- 
what similar to the molar of an elephant. The rear molar is 2^ 
inches in length, -| inch in breadth, and the front molar, -| inch in 
length. The lower or cutting tusks protrude 4^ inches from the 
lip, and the upper tusks project 8-f inches, and each is 5 inches 
circumference ; these, as in the ordinary boar, form a whetstone, 
against which the lower cutting tusks are sharpened by gnashing 



308 WILD BEASTS AND THEIR WAYS CHAP. 

the teeth. These are actual measurements taken from a specimen 
in my possession, but I have seen others which far exceed these, 
both in length and thickness. 

Although this species, from its formidable armoury, must be a 
fighter, I have never had any difficulty that I can remember : they 
have charged now and then, and been shot and despised, whereas, 
had they been hunted with dogs, they might have proved worthy 
adversaries. 

I will not pretend to introduce experiences of pig-sticking in 
my description of the wild boar, as so many have written glowing 
narratives of this great sport of India ; but I cannot treat of the 
pig without personal reminiscences of those glorious, but for the 
hounds, fatal hunts, which in the days of my youth formed the 
excitement of Ceylon sports. In that country we seldom or never 
used the spear. I never in my life used it against a boar on foot, 
but the only weapon was the hunting-knife. 

My old hunting-knife is at this moment hanging against the 
wall, among a number of my old friends that are associated with 
early years ; and when I regard this trusty servant, that shows no 
gray hairs to mark the advance of time, I cannot help recalling 
the words which I wrote so many years ago at the conclusion of 
my first publication, The Rifle and Hound in Ceylon : " The 
day's sport concluded, the evenings were most enjoyable, and will 
never be forgotten. The well-arranged tent, the neatly-spread 
table, the bed forming a triangle around the walls, and the clean 
guns piled in a long row against the gun-rack, will often recall a 
tableau in after-years, in countries far from this land of independ- 
ence. The acknowledged sports of England will appear child's 
play ; the exciting thrill will be wanting, when a sudden rush in 
the jungle brings the rifle upon full cock ; and the heavy guns will 
become useless mementoes of past days, like the dusty helmets of 
yore, hanging up in an old hall The belt and the hunting-knife 
will alike share the fate of the good rifle, and the blade, now so 
keen, will blunt from sheer neglect." This was written in 1853, 
and I have lived to see the forecast of events fulfilled. At the 
same time that the old hunting-knife was discarded, and now 
hangs idly from the wall, it simply was exchanged for another 
]>attern, which has been in active service from that period, and 
was adapted for shooting expeditions, whereas the former was 
specially constructed for hunting wild animals with the hounds, 
when a thrust with the broad-bladed knife was the termination of 
a glorious bay. This style of sport required a peculiar weapon of 
great weight and strength. It was necessary to combine the 



xvn THE BOAR 309 

ordinary power of a knife with the efficiency of a bill-hook, for 
clearing jungle when necessary; for cutting poles, to carry home 
the heads and horns of sambur deer, etc. ; to fell the young trees 
for building an impromptu hut ; and for the hard work of cutting 
up large animals into quarters, for conveyance by coolies, where no 
roads existed, either for pack animals or carts. It was difficult to 
arrange a knife that would comprise all these desiderata, but Mr. 
Paget, of Piccadilly (long since dead), was a first-rate cutler, and 
he produced the perfection of a blade. The knife weighed exactly 
3 Ibs., including the sheath. It weighs 2^ Ibs. now without the 
cover, being reduced by constant grinding during many years of 
hard work. The blade was 1 foot in length, 2 inches wide, and 
double edged 3 inches from the point, slightly hollow in the centre 
(If inch wide), and again 2 inches wide at the base, and T 5 g- inch 
thick at the back. 

I give the exact measurement of this blade, as it performed 
several curious feats during the period of active service. When 
sharpened to as keen a point and edge as could be obtained, this 
highly tempered steel would pierce a hole right through one of the 
old rim pennies, and would cut the same coin into two halves, 
when placed upon a block of oak, without in the least degree either 
turning the point or damaging the edge. It will of course withstand 
the same test at the present moment. 

This was the perfection of a weapon for the purpose required ; 
it was the companion of every hunt where no firearms were 
permitted, and, whatever the game might be that was discovered 
by the pack, it was brought to bay and killed by the hounds and 
hunting-knife. Sometimes it might be a sambur deer, which was 
the recognised object of pursuit ; at other times it might be the 
small red-deer ; frequently a wild boar ; and sometimes, but 
rarely, a buffalo, which many years before had deserted from 
its owner and run wild among the forests of the Ceylon High- 
lands. 

As I class the pig with the pachydermata, which will be 
concluded in this chapter, I introduce the hunting-knife as closely 
connected with hunts that will be continued with the deer 
(Cervidcc\ as the experience of such animals was almost identical 
in the same period and locality. It may readily be understood, 
from my detailed description of the weapon, that such a knife, in 
the hand of any person who knew how to use it, would have been 
nearly as formidable as the old Roman sword. I have on more 
than one occasion stood against the charge of a sambur stag at bay, 
and met the attack with the point of the knife in the face, held 



310 WILD BEASTS AND TIIEIK WAYS CHAP. 

firmly at arm's length. This requires great strength of arm and a 
linn footing, but, above all things, a blade that is more dependable 
than the British bayonet. 

For seven years I kept my own pack of hounds at Newera 
Ellia in Ceylon, G200 feet above the sea. During that time I was 
hunting regularly throughout a large extent of country, and I much 
regret that I kept a game-book only during the last two years of 
my residence in that delightful sanatorium. I commenced the 
diary at the instigation of a friend, to whom I owe much for the 
advice, which has afforded me intense pleasure when looking back 
to former years. In that journal I noted down every detail of each 
separate hunt, and when I regard the sum total, and remember 
that every animal was run down on foot, and killed with the knife, 
when brought to bay and seized by the hounds, I must acknowledge 
that anything that I have been able to accomplish since that time 
lias been a mere nothing compared with the hard work of that 
interesting period. The journal commenced in October 1851 and 
ended in March 1854, at a time when severe illness necessitated 
an immediate return to England. In those years the diary shows 
the following list of killed : 

Sambur deer, 138. Wild hogs, 14. Red-deer, 8. 

During only a portion of those years I was accompanied by my 
brother ; for five years preceding I was quite alone, excepting the 
presence of my huntsman, and occasionally accompanied by a 
friend. The success throughout the entire period was in the same 
proportion as that enumerated in the diary. Although many wild 
boars were killed, they were never objects of the hunts, but, on the 
contrary, they were if possible avoided, as an encounter invariably 
resulted in the sacrifice of hounds, either killed, or incapacitated 
by serious wounds. 

It was no easy matter to call the hounds off a scent when in 
the wild forest, where they could run riot at their own free will, 
and there was no means of reaching them. 

If I saw the fresh tracks of a large boar, I always endeavoured 
to collect the pack, and secure the hounds in couples, in order to 
prevent them from following upon the inviting scent. But too 
frequently I heard the opening notes of a leading hound before I 
could gather my pack together ; in that case there was no longer 
any hope, as the hounds would immediately join in full cry, and 
there was nothing more to do but to await the event. 

A boar never runs for any great distance before the hounds ; it 
goes straight away at the first burst, but quickly turns, first up 



xvn THE BOAR 311 

one ravine, then down another, and comes to bay after a run of 
about ten minutes, in some difficult bit of thick thorns or tangled 
bamboo, or any other place of refuge, in which it can face the 
hounds, and at the same time be secure from either a side or rear 
attack. 

This places the seizing hounds in a dangerous position, as they 
are obliged to rush direct upon the boar's tusks, unless they can 
manage to break through the barriers upon either side. Even 
then they would be hampered in their attempts to get away from 
the quick and desperate lunge, which the boar makes when least 
expected. All these difficulties have to be well considered, and the 
nature of the animal thoroughly understood. 

Every creature, whether human or of the lower creation, is born 
with certain gifts, excepting a few unfortunates, who appear to 
have been passed over. It is impossible to educate a man or an 
animal to be a first-rate performer in anything unless the nature is 
within. A thousand boys may be educated for the military 
profession with the same masters, and equal care bestowed upon 
their training, but how many will become distinguished generals 1 
Only those who have natural gifts. There will be many who 
become generals, but how many who become distinguished 1 It is 
the same in everything. Take music, for an example. Every girl 
learns music in some horrible form or other, which is a misery to 
herself and an expense to her parents ; a worry to her master, and 
an infliction upon her audience, when in ripening years she 
torments them with the results of musical education. On the 
other hand, a few are born musicians ; they require but little care 
in early life, and, whether through voice or hand, they are born to 
enrapture their hearers. 

It is a dreadful descent to jump suddenly to dogs, but it is 
nevertheless true. There are dogs of all sorts and degrees of 
cleverness, they are born with gifts ; there are other dogs which 
are born to be stupid, they are beyond teaching. I had a spaniel, 
a very lovely and energetic dog, a great and untiring hunter ; that 
dog would have gained a prize for beauty ; but it had its peculiar 
ways. If I shot a wild duck, and it fell into the water, he would 
immediately plunge in to retrieve the game ; but if there happened 
to be a sand-bank near that duck, or should the opposite shore be 
closer than the bank upon which I stood, he would assuredly carry 
the duck to the nearest land, and leave it there, instead of bringing 
it to me. That dog was born for the Royal Humane Society, but 
not for a retriever. Nothing would teach him better ; his one 
idea was, that if a bird fell into the water, no matter how, it was 



312 WILD I5EASTS AND THEIR WAYS CHAP. 

his business to fetch it, and to put it upon the first and most con- 
venient dry land ; beyond that, his intellect did not extend. 

It is the same with all creatures, but this natural talent, or 
the deficiency, is peculiarly marked in hounds, especially with 
those large dogs which I was accustomed to denominate as 
" seizers." The pack was composed of thoroughbred fox-hounds, 
others which were a cross between fox-hound and pointer, fox- 
hound and blood-hound, and about half a dozen large dogs, such as 
Scotch deer-hounds, kangaroo-hounds from Australia, and all kinds 
of curious cross-breeds, that would produce powerful, speedy, and 
savage dogs. Some of these met an early grave, as they did not 
temper valour with discretion. The dog that will fly straight into 
a boar's face, or into the face of a sambur stag, is perfectly certain 
to meet a glorious death, before its career shall have actually 
commenced. There are seizers who are born with gifts. Equally 
courageous, they fight to win ; like a skilled swordsman, they 
enter scientifically upon the strife, instead of rushing heedlessly 
upon the point of their adversary's weapon. 

I have had dogs of immense power and courage, combined with 
wonderful discretion. Such a dog, when a boar is at bay, would 
certainly refuse to attack unless holloaed on by his master ; at the 
sound of the well-known voice he would fly straight into the jaws 
of death ; but if left to his own instincts he would join in the 
chorus of the bay, and watch for an opportunity. Any stranger 
would imagine that the dog was devoid of pluck, should he be 
seen, now advancing with apparent boldness, then suddenly spring- 
ing back when the boar made an unexpected demonstration ; but 
with a little more patience, it would be seen that he was only 
trying the character of his game, and reserving his power until the 
boar should make some audacious charge, which would for the 
moment separate it from its secure asylum. Then, at the exact 
moment, with a spring from one side, the dog would jump across 
the shoulder of the boar and seize the ear upon the opposite side, 
thus pulling the boar's head in a manner that would turn its nose 
up in a contrary direction, and save the dog from a collision with 
the tusks. This is high art in seizing, and it comes natural to 
some dogs, but never can be taught. 

The usual plan, when hunting on foot, is to wait in one position 
from the earliest notes of the " find," until the chorus of voices 
proclaims the bay. You then tear your way through the jungle 
in the endeavour to reach the point as soon as possible. I was 
always accompanied by two faithful seizers, which never left my 
side; this was a great advantage, as when, after great exertion, 



xvir THE BOAR 313 

we neared the spot, it was only necessary to holloa the dogs on, 
and the two big seizers instantly responded, and appeared as fresh 
allies upon the scene. In another moment all the seizers resolutely 
sprang upon the boar, regardless of cuts and thrusts. The peculiar 
sound of angry grunts, and the excited yells of hounds, bespoke 
the desperate character of the conflict. 

There was then no time to lose, and, with the hunting-knife 
drawn, a few struggles through the tangled brake brought me upon 
the scene. One hound would have assuredly secured his hold, as 
I have described, upon the opposite ear, and would endeavour to 
turn the boar's head upwards, by pulling back. Another would 
have seized the ear next to him, while the remaining seizers would 
have tackled the boar in every direction, one hanging beneath its 
throat, another by the thigh just above the joint. Without a 
moment's hesitation it was then necessary to close, and drive the 
long knife up to the hilt behind the shoulder. 

I have seen many severe struggles with boars of the larger size, 
which have dragged the pack of seizers, and myself clinging to the 
long bristles on the back, with the knife buried in the shoulder, 
until, after a glorious resistance, the boar has fallen dead, righting 
to the last gasp with desperate courage, till the moment that life 
ceased. 

The large and heavy hunting-knife was an admirable weapon 
for this style of hunting, as both point and edge could always be 
depended upon. The skin of a boar is tough, and requires an 
acute point, otherwise the blade would fail to penetrate at the 
critical moment when the vital place should be exposed. The 
scrimmage when a boar is seized, and the larger dogs crowd upon 
him, must be seen to be understood. It is a difficult matter during 
such confusion to discover a clear spot, where the knife can be 
driven behind the shoulder without injuring one of the hounds ; 
some hold on like bull-dogs, others lose their hold, and again spring 
madly upon the boar's back, seizing thoughtlessly the first portion 
of the animal that meets their teeth. Nothing requires more cool 
dexterity than to come in exactly at the right moment, to assist 
the pack, and to prevent serious casualties ; which would assuredly 
happen if the struggle were indefinitely prolonged. A masterly 
attack on the part of the hunter, with a clever thrust exactly 
behind the shoulder, completes the victory in less than half a 
minute. 

Then the ghastly wounds of hounds require attention, and the 
big seizers, panting with exhaustion, yet raging with the excite- 
ment of the recent fight, once more dash forward, and fix their 



314 WILD BEASTS AND Til KIR WAYS CHAP. 

teeth in their lute antagonist, hardly believing that Hie is quite 
extinct. 

It may readily be imagined that this style of hunting is attended 
with considerable danger, as the peculiar difficulties of the ground 
make active movements terribly uncertain. I once saw a com- 
panion fall backward when charged by a boar, in the stony bed of 
a dry nullah. Fortunately I was close enough in the rear to seize 
one hind leg of the animal, and pull it back with my left hand, 
while I gave it the knife behind the shoulder when it attempted 
to turn. This was not a large boar, otherwise I could not have 
held it. 

There is a great risk when a boar is at bay in dense jungle, 
and the hunter is breaking his way to reach the spot. It is 
impossible to see three feet in advance, therefore he may possibly 
appear upon the scene of conflict exactly opposite the boar's face. 
In that case it is absolutely certain that the animal will charge 
straight at him, unless securely held by very powerful hounds. 

The hunter must never lose his head through rash excitement ; 
and upon no account should he arrive before he is certain that the 
seizers have the boar within their grip. Even then there may be 
a risk, should he appear suddenly in front of the maddened animal, 
as it may shake off the dogs by a sudden jump forward, and inflict 
a severe injury before the hounds should be- able to restrain it. 

I have seen something that approached an accident upon several 
occasions, but the narrowest escape occurred upon the hills at 
Newera Ellia, in a jungle of dense bamboo grass. Although this 
tangled mass is termed " grass," it is merely a species of bamboo 
which grows at an elevation of about 6500 or 7000 feet, in a 
climate too cold for its complete development. Instead of forming 
a hollow cane, it extends in long and thin creeping stems, entwined 
together, forming a mass which can be broken through only with 
the greatest difficulty. 

A large boar had turned to bay after a short run within a 
jungle composed of this dangerous vegetation. 

Having broken my way with great exertion until I was within 
five or six yards of the " bay," I holloaed the dogs on. Two power- 
ful long-legged hounds immediately sprang from my side, and in a 
few moments I heard the peculiar angry sounds which told me that 
the boar was seized. I tore my way through the tangled jungle, 
and almost immediately found myself in the presence of a large 
boar exactly facing me. Without an instant's hesitation, it made 
a supreme effort to attack ; its charge was so furious and sudden, 
that, being unexpected by the dogs, they lost their hold, and for 



xvn THE BOAR 315 

a moment the boar was free. I instinctively jumped upon one side, 
as the brute rushed at me, and delivered a tremendous cut with 
the heavy knife across its back, just behind the shoulder. At the 
same moment a very powerful bitch named Lena had recovered 
her hold upon the boar's thigh. . . . This large boar fell dead ! 
It never moved a muscle. 

In those days I could hit tolerably hard, but the effect of this 
blow was so instantaneous that I was almost incredulous when I 
saw the body of the boar lying at my feet, cut half-way through. 
The knife had struck downwards, as the boar had passed at full 
speed ; the body, being stretched through the weight of the bitch 
that had seized the thigh, gave way at once before the keen edge 
of the heavy blade. The spine was cut clean through, and the 
knife had passed through the vitals. 

This boar weighed about 2| cwts., as nearly as I could estimate 
its weight, from its length and general appearance. The largest 
that I have ever killed with the hounds and hunting-knife weighed 
at least 4 cwts., and the head alone, when slung upon a pole, made 
a tolerable load for two men, who were well contented to be released 
from their burden after a long march to camp ; the carriers being 
my brother and myself. 

The Ceylon style of hunting must depend entirely upon the 
hounds ; even then, as 'I have shown, the boar, if possible, would 
be avoided. Boar-hunting cannot be classed as a Ceylon sport ; it 
is a misfortune when the hounds take up the scent. 

In the low country, where wild pigs swarm, I seldom or never 
condescended to fire at them. The coolies love the fat and flesh 
of these indigestible animals, and the result is certain to be either 
fever or dysentery. For this reason alone I reserved my fire when- 
ever a fine boar presented itself, as our people were sure to possess 
themselves of the flesh, although it was strictly prohibited. I 
have often felt, when in hot climates, that Moses and Mahomet 
were right in forbidding the use of pork. A pig is a filthy beast 
in its tastes, and there is no garbage that it would refuse. A foul 
feeder must to a certain extent have foul flesh ; the pigs of the low 
country in tropical climates are the omnipresent scavengers ; 
common-sense should warn the consumer of the danger of such 
food. 

The Avild pigs of Newera Ellia are highly estimated, as they 
cannot possibly obtain anything undesirable as food. The jungles 
are full of roots and berries, and there is nothing objectionable 
within reach of the wild hog. 

In Turkey and Asia Minor I have frequently eaten wild boar. 



316 WILD BEASTS AND THEIR WAYS CHAP. 

In the month of November they are delicious, as they have 
fattened upon walnuts, sweet chestnuts, and a great variety of wild 
fruits. 

During the Crimean War, when the cavalry went into winter 
quarters at Scutari, I was living with the officers of the 12th 
Lancers ; I started off upon a trip to Sabanja, about 24 miles 
beyond the town of Ismid. 

This is a curious and picturesque vestige of the ancient city of 
Nicomedia, situated at the extreme end of the Gulf of Ismid, about 
ten hours' voyage by steamer from Constantinople. The town 
occupies the entire face of a lofty hill from the base to the summit, 
and the red-tiled roofs and quaint colouring of the houses, inter- 
spersed with occasional tall cypress trees, give a peculiar theatrical 
appearance, resembling a scene upon the stage. The blue water of 
the gulf affords a highly artistic foreground, as this arm of the Sea 
of Marmora washes the quays at the base, while opposite the town, 
on the other side of the gulf, a chain of mountains walls in the 
shore, and forms a continuation of a mountain range inland. A 
small river flows through the valley ; this is an affluent from the 
Lake of Sabanja, a fine sheet of water about 9 miles distant, which 
receives the drainage of the mountains upon either side. This lake 
is about 12 miles in length, and 3 or 4 miles across at the widest 
part. 

I found very little change when I made a subsequent visit in 
1860. The road from Ismid to Sabanja was the usual example of 
Turkish administration ; it had been commenced at some remote 
period, with grand intentions of a continuous line of pavement ; 
this had evidently been entrusted to a multitude of various con- 
tractors, some of whom had succeeded, while others had failed. 
The latter were the most numerous, therefore a route of 24 miles, 
through forest, running at the foot of the mountain range, was 
diversified by a succession of surprises ; a tolerable piece of stone- 
paved highway suddenly ceasing, and a depth of mud of two feet 
receiving the traveller's floundering horse, without the slightest 
warning. As the route skirted the forest-covered hills, the drain- 
age towards the lake a few miles distant on the east had scored the 
surface into numerous channels ; these were partially bridged, but 
wherever the stones had become dislodged, the bridge remained 
impassable, as no authority expended money upon such trifles as 
repairs. It was dreadful to witness such a picture of neglect, 
where a most lovely and fertile country, within a few miles of a 
secure harbour, was completely paralysed through the absence of 
all-important roads. 



xvn THE BOAR 317 

A scramble of 24 miles upon good ponies may be amusing occa- 
sionally, but when baggage must be conveyed, the matter becomes 
serious. Even the pack animals fell down with their loads, in the 
places where contractors had failed, and where the broken bridges 
necessitated a descent into the treacherous torrent-bed. A ride to 
Sabanja was a journey in those days, full of misery to horse and 
rider, but the result of this difficulty of access was in favour of the 
game, as the ubiquitous Briton had not included it among his 
"beaten tracks," or happy hunting-grounds. 

Sabanja is a large town, situated exactly at the foot of the 
nfountains, within half a mile of the lake, which at that spot is 
about four miles in width. Although the opposite shore is moun- 
tainous, the numerous slopes are cultivated in terraces, where 
mulberry trees are grown for silkworms, and fruit in great variety 
for the supply of Ismid and Constantinople. 

On the Sabanja side, the mountains and valleys were unbroken 
forest, and the cultivation was confined to the level ground in the 
immediate neighbourhood of the town ; this was apportioned into 
fields, where vines, apples, figs, pears, quinces, and mulberries were 
planted in rows, between which were crops of cereals, in somewhat 
rude imitation of the method pursued in Italy. 

I had sent a messenger some days before us to engage a few 
rooms, in the absence of any public place of entertainment ; we 
therefore rode through the Turkish quarter, then through the 
Greek, and at length, after nearly half a mile up the street, we 
arrived upon the extreme verge of the town, where the wild forest 
abruptly terminated within a few yards of the adjacent houses. 
This was the end of the Armenian quarter, and we entered the 
dwelling which had been engaged for our reception. The ground- 
floor was occupied by a cow and her calf; this looked propitious, 
as the milk was close at hand. There was a flat-stepped ladder, 
which led through a ceiling of rough plank ; upon ascending this, 
we arrived upon a very clean landing, with a couple of small rooms, 
and a kitchen close at hand. This was all very nice ; we could see 
the cow by looking perpendicularly through the broad crevices 
between the boards which formed the floor ; we could also smell 
her, and hear the calf. 

There are no chimneys in Turkish houses. A large brazier of 
charcoal warms the room most thoroughly; but great caution is 
necessary in the use of this simple apparatus, as the charcoal must 
be in a complete glow before it is admitted to the room. Without 
this precaution the inmates would be asphyxiated. It was the 
winter (December) of I860 when we were at Sabanja, and a few 



318 WILD BEASTS AND THEIR WAYS CHAP. 

days after our arrival the ground was covered by a heavy snowfall. 
Unfortunately I had no spaniels, and my two pointers were useless 
for the covert, where woodcocks were in considerable numbers. 
The cold weather had brought all game down from the mountain- 
tops, and the wolves became so daring that they took a calf from a 
shed during the night, from a house next to that we occupied, the 
door not being securely fastened. 

This was a sporting residence, on the margin of a forest that 
extended for an unknown distance. I could leave the house, and 
expect a shot at woodcocks within 150 yards from the door. 
Wolves and jackals were howling close to our windows during the 
night, and wild hogs actually broke the fences and invaded the 
gardens, with an impudence that proved the difficulty of procuring 
their usual food. The game of the forests included bears (these 
had hybernated), wolves, boars, red-deer, roe-deer, pheasants, wood- 
cocks ; while snipe and ducks were found along the borders of the 
lake. 

Although Sabanja contained a considerable population, compris- 
ing Greeks and Armenians, in addition to the numerical superi- 
ority of Turks, they all harmonised, and occupied their separate 
quarters of the town without a symptom of that antagonism of 
race or religion which is so generally accepted as the rule. Friday, 
l)eing the Mahometan Sabbath, was the favourable day for a general 
hunting party ; the Turks turned out with great spirit and geni- 
ality, to act in the capacity of beaters, while all those who possessed 
guns were delighted at the opportunity of sharing in the sport. I 
never saw people who enjoyed themselves more thoroughly ; the 
hunt drew all classes and races together in the best of humours, 
and although I accompanied such gatherings for a couple of months, 
I never saw an instance of quarrelling or discontent. The effendi 
who governed the town always sent on Thursday evening to ask 
the hour at which I proposed to meet, and on the Friday morning 
at 9 o'clock, when I appeared at the rendezvous outside the walls, 
I found several hundred people collected, some of whom were firing 
at marks, and all looking forward to the day's sport with keen 
enthusiasm. 

In dense forests there is no other way to obtain sport except 
the old style of beating. Some persons declare this is not sport ; 
such persons must accordingly remain at home ; but if you travel 
about the world, you will assuredly discover that the inhabitants 
of a locality, no matter where it may be located, require very little 
teaching from a stranger. At first sight it would appear dangerous, 
when fifty guns are placed in various positions throughout a long 



xvn THE BOAR 319 

line of forest, to intercept all animals within the beat; but no 
accident had ever occurred in the neighbourhood, and the vast 
numbers of large oak trees which composed the forest would be 
certain to intercept a bullet before it had passed through its flight 
for 50 yards. 

In all these hunts a spirit of goodwill and fair-play pervaded the 
people. If the Turks killed wild boar, they handed over the game 
to the Christian community, who were delighted to obtain the 
meat. On the other hand, if the Greeks or Armenians killed a 
deer, it was presented to the Turks, most of whom, as hunters, 
regarded the death by bullet as equivalent to the cutting of the 
throat by a knife, and they accepted the animal without 
protest. 

Some of the boars that we killed in these drives were very large, 
and excessively fat. There was nothing so good to be obtained in 
the market; vegetables were very plentiful, and cheap. One 
favourite dish was wild boar, stewed with leeks, onions, and cauli- 
flowers ; to vary this dish when we had nearly tired, we changed 
it to "leeks, onions, and cauliflowers, stewed with wild boar." 
One of the largest I killed one night by moonlight, by wandering 
along the skirts of the forest upon the snow, and waiting until I 
heard the animal crunching through the frozen substance. Having 
a white paper fore-sight, I could shoot with tolerable accuracy. It 
was astonishing to witness how the wild hogs could plough their 
way through deep frozen snow. I was well furnished with snow- 
shoes, the wood being that of the fig tree, light and tough, never- 
theless I could never overtake these powerful and active animals, 
although they must have suffered considerably ; I have frequently 
seen the snow discoloured with blood, where the sharp frozen sur- 
face had lacerated the legs of the hogs when breaking .through, in 
ploughing their way forwards. 

The pleasure of shooting at Sabanja consisted in the diversity 
of game ; it was impossible to foretell what the creature might be 
that would appear before the line of beaters. Although we fre- 
quently shot roe-deer, I never attained a shot at red-deer. I took 
great pains, but these animals were invariably concealed amongst 
dense rhododendrons near the tops of the mountains ; I several 
times heard their sudden rush and caught sight of them only for 
one instant, but I could not fire. 

There was excellent pike and perch fishing in the Sabanja lake, 
and at the expiration of our visit I determined if possible to renew 
my acquaintance with the people and their delightful wilderness. 
Fate has led me into various portions of the world since then, and 



320 WILD BEASTS AND THEIR WAYS CHAP. 

in twenty-nine years there may have been a change that has driven 
the animals away. 

About fouror five miles from Ism id there wasacapital snipe-marsh, 
and the wild-rose thickets u\ton the border were full of woodcocks. 
The Greeks were professional chasseurs for the supply of Constanti- 
nople, as the daily steamer conveyed the birds to market in ten or 
eleven hours. These fellows used pointers, trained expressly ; each 
dog wore a bell upon its collar, therefore when there was a cessation 
of jingling, the master knew that his dog was on a point. It is 
my opinion that the best companions for a person who is fond of 
sport in general are a brace of first-class clumber spaniels thoroughly 
broken not to chase, and never to hunt more than 20 yards in 
advance of the gun. Such dogs will discover a quantity of game, 
which would never be moved by a person unprovided with such 
assistants. It is a common occurrence that people disbelieve in the 
existence of game simply because they do not see it ; hares, wood- 
cocks, partridges, and several other creatures, especially quails, will 
sometimes allow themselves to be almost trodden upon before they 
can be induced to move. 

A good dog is always a useful companion in a forest, as it will 
detect the presence of an animal long before it would be perceived 
by the unassisted eye. Upon one occasion at Sabanja I had hired 
a Turkish sportsman, who possessed a little nondescript dog with 
only a stump of 2 inches to represent a tail. We were passing 
through thick rose jungle, when we suddenly missed the cur; a 
minute later, we heard vigorous barking within 150 yards of our 
position. Upon arrival at the spot, there was a very large wild 
boar standing at bay, with the little dog before it in a frantic state 
of excitement, but far too sensible to risk a close approach. I had 
been expecting woodcocks, but, knowing the uncertainty of the 
forest, I fortunately had a bullet in the left-hand barrel ; a shot 
through the shoulder dropped the boar upon the spot, to the intense 
delight of the little dog, which immediately seized it by the snout, 
and endeavoured to shake the body twenty times heavier than itself. 
This was a low-born cur, but a jolly little dog, that must, upon 
the principle of heredity, have had some unknown but heroic 
ancestor. If any person wishes to shoot wild boar, a single dog of 
small size is better than a great number, as the boar, or even a sow, 
will certainly not condescend to run far before a puny antagonist. 

In the course of a long experience I have naturally adapted my 
tastes to the various portions of the world in which I have been 
situated ; in many places where boars are shot, and are considered 
dangerous, I have not dared to relate or even to touch upon the 



xvn THE BOAR 321 

incidents connected with the hounds and hunting-knife ; but I 
must confess that after the sport that I have enjoyed, I do not 
take the slightest pleasure in shooting pigs. It is seldom that my 
forefinger, paralysed by aversion, can be induced to pull the trigger. 
Should it disgrace itself by such an act, it is only to procure flesh 
for some section of the people who desire it ; unless I am in Asia 
Minor, where I like it myself, stewed with leeks and onions, or 
"onions and leeks, stewed with wild boar." 

There is one consolation for all who destroy wild hogs they 
are working for the public good. It is almost incredible, in certain 
countries where pigs are numerous, to witness the total destruction 
of crops committed by these animals. I have seen fields completely 
turned up as though by some agricultural implement, and actually 
nothing left ; the industry of the cultivator being entirely wasted. 
Hundreds of wild pigs have been digging during the night in a 
newly sown field, in search of the grain, which would appear too 
insignificant for their notice. 

Among sugar-plantations they commit terrible havoc, as they 
bite the canes to obtain the juice. The wounded portion bleeds 
and ferments, rotting the cane, and damaging the quality of the 
sugar. In fact, wild pigs may be classed as only second to rats as 
destroyers of general produce. 

I have never seen the wart-hogs of Africa in numbers approach- 
ing to the wild hogs of Asia : probably they are kept down by the 
lions and leopards. The hysenas would destroy the little ones, 
although no such enemy would presume to attack a boar. 

The late Vice-Consul Petherick of Khartoum, who was one of 
the earliest traders upon the White Nile, was, like all the 
merchants of the Soudan, a collector of animals for the various 
Zoological Societies of Europe. Among other beasts that were 
kept in dens around the large courtyard of the Consulate, all of 
which were more or less insecure, there were two very large boars, 
with prodigious tusks. During the night one of these brutes 
escaped from a sty, surrounded by a wall of only sun-baked bricks. 
Not satisfied with the simple delights of liberty, it at once attacked 
one of my people, a Tokroori, who was lying asleep upon his mat. 
This unfortunate was scored deeply by the tusks in so many places, 
before the animal could be driven off, that he lay helpless for 
several weeks afterwards. 

A few days after this occurrence, I was sitting, together with 
Lady Baker, in the large covered " Rakooba," or raised square, 
ascended by a broad flight of six or seven steps, when I heard a 
great noise at the farther end of the courtyard, and I saw the 

y 



322 WILD BEASTS AND THEIR WAYS CHAP, xvn 

bricks falling from the wall, showing that the boars were once 
more breaking out. Before the men had time to interfere, the 
large boar had effected a breach, and it appeared in the courtyard. 
The people immediately retreated under shelter, but the brute, 
having surveyed the scene, ]>erceived \is sitting above the flight of 
steps, exactly opposite. Without a moment's hesitation it charged 
at full speed across the yard, from a distance of about 60 paces. 
The Rakooba was about 15 feet square, and, as we had lately 
arrived from Abyssinia, there were numerous trophies of the chase 
arranged around the pavement ; among these were many horns of 
rhinoceros. Fortunately a long horn weighing about 10 Ibs. was 
close at hand ; this I immediately seized with both hands, and 
was just in time, when the boar was half-way up the steps, to hurl 
it with all my strength. 

It was a lucky shot, the heavy horn struck exactly between the 
eyes, in the forehead, and knocked the assailant down the steps, 
at the bottom of which it lay, kicking convulsively, but thoroughly 
stunned, and unconscious. My men now rushed forward, and we 
secured the fore and hind legs with ropes, and dragged it to a 
neighbouring store, the door of which we locked. The remaining 
boar was not particularly vicious, and we secured it within another 
sty. 

The rhinoceros horn was a formidable weapon, and the effect 
was highly satisfactory, as the objectionable boar was discovered 
dead when the door was cautiously opened on the following morn- 
ing by the men, who were prepared for an attack. I was rather 
proud of my shot upon this occasion, as I seldom threw a stone at 
an enemy without hitting a friend by mistake. Some persons are 
good at one sport, others at another ; but throwing a stone to hit 
the object of aim was never my pride, as I failed in performance. 
The boar was within 5 feet, which is about my distance for 
extreme accuracy ; even at that short range I should not have 
sufficient confidence in myself to back my own projectile at long 
odds, I should only have sufficient good feeling to request my 
friend, or spectator, to stand well beyond the range of my shot. 



CHAPTER XVIII 

THE HYAENA 

I HAVE among the " Wild Beasts " to bring in this low-caste 
creature. It is not worthy of a position among sporting animals, 
as it is a mere scavenger, useful in its repulsive habits as a four- 
legged vulture, to remove impurities from the surface. The pig 
would no doubt indulge in the same propensities, only that, being 
omnivorous, it is not exclusively a carrion feeder. 

There are two varieties of hya3na, the stripped and the spotted. 
The latter is the larger, but both have the same habits. 

The bone-cracking power of this animal is very extraordinary. 
I cannot say that it exceeds the lion and tiger in strength of jaws, 
but I can safely assert that both those giants of the feline tribe 
will leave bones unbroken which a hysena will bite in halves. Its 
powers of digestion are unlimited ; it will swallow a large knuckle- 
bone without giving it a crunch. It will crack the thigh-bone of 
a wild buffalo to obtain the marrow, and will swallow either end 
immediately after. 

Natives of all countries despise this animal as the greatest of 
all cowards, although in some places it is declared that they have 
been known to carry away children and the calves of cattle. I 
have been nine years in Africa, but I never actually experienced 
any attack on the part of these creatures, either against my 
people or my animals, nevertheless we heard exceptional tales of 
depredations committed against goats, children, and such harm- 
less young things, that could not defend themselves. I remember 
once that a hyasna came into our tent at night ; but this was 
merely a friendly reconnaissance, in the hope of securing some 
delicacy, such as our shoes, or a saddle, or anything that smelt 
of leather. It was bright moonlight, and the air was calm, 
there was not a sound to disturb the stillness. I was awakened 
from sleep by a slight touch upon my sleeve, and my attention 



324 WILD BEASTS AND THEIR WAYS CHAP. 

was called by my wife to some object that had just quitted our 
tent. 

I took my rifle from beneath the mat upon which I lay, and, 
after waiting for a few minutes sitting up in bed, I observed a 
large form standing in the doorway preparatory to entering. 

Presently it walked cautiously, until partially within, and 
immediately fell dead, with a bullet between the eyes. This 
proved to be a very large hyaena, an old and experienced depre- 
dator, as it bore countless scars of encounters with other strong 
biters of its own race. 

Cuvier describes this animal thus: "The hytcnas have three 
false molars above, and four below, all conical, blunt, and singu- 
larly large ; their upper carnivorous tooth has a small tubercle 
within and in front, but the lower one has none, presenting only 
two stout cutting points. This powerful armature enables them 
to crush the bones of the largest prey. Their tongue is rough, 
exhibiting a circular collection of retroflected spines ; all their feet 
have each but four toes, as in the surikate ; and under the anus 
is a deep and glandular pouch, which led the ancients to believe 
that these animals were hermaphrodite. . . . Three species are 
known the striped hyaena (//. Vulgaris, Canis hyaena, L.), 
found from India to Abyssinia and Senegal ; the spotted hyaena 
(C. crocuta, L.), from South Africa; and the woolly hyaena (//. 
villora, Smith), also from South Africa." 

I know nothing about the last-named species. Cuvier omits to 
mention the prodigious muscle which works the lower jaw, with- 
out which the crushing power of the teeth would be impossible. 
An examination of the skull of this animal will exhibit the re- 
markable size of the aperture through which this muscle passes ; 
it is this which gives the broad and repulsive appearance to the 
head of the hyaena. 

In portions of Abyssinia these creatures are so numerous, that 
immediately after sundown they visit the outskirts of the towns, 
in search of any offal or dead animals that may have accumulated 
during the day. Although the spotted hyaena appears to be the 
same as that of India, the cry is totally different. It was the 
usual occurrence in camp, when we were travelling through the 
Nile tributaries of Abyssinia, that immediately we had retired 
within the tent to sleep, after having dined outside, we heard the 
cracking of bones, all of which had been thrown by the Arab 
servants only a few feet from our deserted table. The hyaenas 
must have been watching us while at dinner, although themselves 
unseen, as they came to glean the crumbs almost immediately upon 



xvin THE HY^INA 325 

our disappearance. The curious weird howls of these brutes were 
heard throughout the night close to the tent-door, but they never 
attacked our goats, neither did we ever lose a fowl through their 
depredations ; they were simply scavengers. 

The early traveller James Bruce, who discovered the source of 
the Blue Nile (1773), had a peculiar respect for hyaenas, which he 
considered to be dangerous. They are so much despised, that 
during the great hunts of Central Africa, should any of these 
useful beasts be killed, it is the custom for the women of the 
village to visit the bodies, and each administers to the carcase one 
blow with a stick, in derision of the cowardly character it bore 
when alive. 



CHAPTER XIX 

T11E GIRAFFE (CAMSLOPARDALIS, L.) 

Tins beautiful and harmless creature is the tallest of the animal 
creation. The bull, when standing erect, will measure 19 feet 
from the crown of the head to the ground in a perpendicular line. 
The horns are short, and resemble those of the deer when not fully 
developed, as they are covered with a hairy skin, although hard ; 
these are never shed, but are firmly fixed upon the skull. The 
giraffe has a long prehensile tongue, which enables it to lay hold 
of twigs or small succulent shoots, upon which it feeds. 

The peculiar length of the fore legs makes it difficult for this 
animal to graze from the surface of the earth ; the elongated neck 
and prodigious height prove that its natural food is far above the 
ground ; and although it occasionally will eat ordinary herbage, its 
delight is to feed upon the delicate twigs of the flat-topped mimosas 
and several other varieties of shrubs. 

The pace of the giraffe is peculiar ; it moves like a camel, both 
legs upon the same side simultaneously. The long neck swings 
ungracefully when the animal is in rapid motion, and the clumsy 
half -canter produces the appearance of lameness. Although 
inelegant when in action, it is capable of considerable speed, that 
will test the endurance of the best horses that can be obtained in 
such countries as it inhabits. 

It may be readily imagined that, owing to the great height of 
this animal, it can be distinguished from a distance, and does not 
require an elaborate search, nevertheless it is exceedingly deceptive 
in appearance when found among its native forests. 

The red-barked mimosa, which is its favourite food, seldom 
grows higher than 14 or 15 feet. Many woods are almost entirely 
composed of these trees, upon the flat heads of which the giraffe 
can feed when looking downwards. I have frequently been 
mistaken when remarking some particular dead tree-stem at a 




THE GIllAFFE DETECTS AN ENEMY. 



CHAP, xix THE GIRAFFE 327 

distance, that appeared like a decayed relic of the forest, until 
upon nearer approach I have been struck by the peculiar inclina- 
tion of the trunk ; suddenly it has started into movement, and 
disappeared ! The giraffe seldom holds itself quite upright, except 
at such moments when its attention is attracted to some object at 
a distance. 

It is most difficult to approach, as its large eyes, at an elevation 
of 18 or 19 feet from the surface, embrace an extensive field of 
vision ; but when found in a forest of large trees, it is occasionally 
met with unexpectedly. The Hamran Arabs invariably pursue it 
upon horseback, and hamstring the animal with a stroke of the long 
straight sword. When dealing with the Arabs in the purchase 
of horses, they invariably declare that the animal for sale can 
"overtake a giraffe"; this is the highest commendation. 

Riding down a giraffe would be easily accomplished by a good 
English hunter, but not so easily by the small horses of the Soudan, 
that are seldom weight-carriers, and are hardly adapted to carry 
anything above 11 stone over broken ground. There is only one 
rule for following a giraffe, the horse must be pressed at its best 
speed from the moment that the animal is sighted. If you allow 
the game any leisure, it will appear to be going easily, but it will 
keep up that pace for hours ; on the other hand, if you commence 
with the spur, you obtain a good position early in the race, and 
you will then be surprised at the speed when you eventually close 
with your game. Care is necessary to keep a little upon one side, 
as the giraffe rushes madly through opposing tree-stems and over- 
hanging boughs, which may spring backwards and inflict a serious 
injury upon horse and rider. 

The cloven hoof of a giraffe is a beautiful specimen of horn ; it 
is shaped with extreme elegance, like that of a deer upon a colossal 
scale. When at full speed over stony ground, the wide-spreading 
hoofs send showers of pebbles flying backwards, which have been 
known to injure the hunter when following exactly in the rear : 
this has given rise to the absurd belief that "the giraffe pelts its 
pursuer purposely with stones." Care must also be taken when 
closing with the animal to avoid its hind legs, as it will kick when 
least expected, with such force as to upset horse and rider. 

The skin of the giraffe is highly prized for shields, as it is much 
lighter than that of the buffalo or rhinoceros ; at the same time it 
is peculiarly tough, and, when dry, it resists both lance and sword. 
The Arabs hunt this inoffensive animal expressly for the hide ; at 
the same time, they preserve the flesh by cutting it into thongs 
and hanging it upon the bushes until thoroughly sun-dried. 



328 WILD BEASTS AND THEIR WAYS CHAP, xix 

The Hamrun sword-hunter is a merciless but wonderful horse- 
man, and should throe or four of these fellows form a party, they 
will frequently kill seven or eight giraffes during one hunt. The 
long and extremely sharp blade is exactly suited to this kind of 
sport, as the hocks of the giraffe are so high above the ground 
that they can be reached by the sword without the necessity of 
stooping. The speed of the horse is naturally imparted to the 
weapon, therefore when riding alongside, upon the left of the flying 
animal, the slightest blow will sever the hamstring, and all further 
movement is impossible. If the giraffe moved like ordinary 
quadrupeds, it could continue upon three legs, but the fact of its 
moving the legs of each side simultaneously renders it entirely 
helpless when one has been disabled. 

I have never taken any great pleasure in shooting giraffes, as 
they have always appeared to me the most harmless creatures that 
exist. They never invade the natives' crops, neither do they attack 
any animals, or man, but they simply enjoy themselves in their 
harmless manner, their only enemies being the lion and human 
beings. 

It is a curiously beautiful picture when a large herd of these 
animals is seen upon bright green pasture, among dwarf-mimosas 
and other small bushes, which, through contrast, enhance the great 
height of the giraffes. I once counted one hundred and fifty-four, 
all of which were within the area of 3 or 4 acres. I made a 
successful stalk, and killed two by a right and left shot. One 
had a broken shoulder, and was quite incapable of any movement, 
beyond the slowest attempt at hobbling. I have never pursued 
them except upon occasions when my people were devoid of meat, 
as the destruction of such lovely creatures without some necessary 
purpose I regarded as wanton cruelty. 

The eye of the giraffe is worth special study, as there is nothing 
to compare with its beauty throughout the animal creation. 

Although some naturalists have termed the giraffe " a modified 
deer," I cannot accept the definition, as there is nothing relating 
to the deer, excepting the peculiarity of the horns, which have a 
somewhat remote resemblance to those of a young stag. The deer 
has a short tail, while that of the giraffe is long, and fringed with 
so important a garniture of black hairs that it is in request for 
whisking away the attacks of flies. The deer moves its legs like 
other quadrupeds, while the action of a giraffe resembles that of 
the camel. The general figure in no way approaches that of any 
other animal, and I regard the giraffe as a creature entirely 
separated from all others. 



CHAPTER XX 

THE ANTELOPE 

THERE is no animal that belongs to the Cervidce south of the 
Sahara desert ; the deer of Barbary is supposed to have been in- 
troduced from Europe, possibly by the Carthaginians ; at any rate, 
there are no deer throughout the vast continent of Africa, excepting 
the Northern States which border the Mediterranean. This is a 
peculiar feature in the African fauna, the deer being common to all 
other portions of the globe. In Africa, in the absence of deer, we 
find an extraordinary variety of the antelopes. 

The antelopes, although possessing many of the characteristics 
of deer, have a distinguishing feature in the permanency of their 
horns ; these grow like those of the Bos, in proportion to the age 
of the animal. There is an extraordinary variation in both shape 
and length, according to the species, also in the distribution of 
horns among the sexes ; in some antelopes the horns are confined 
to the male, while in other varieties both the male and female are 
thus armed. 

Although Africa takes precedence for size and variety of species, 
the antelope is found in different portions of the world, in smaller 
numbers, but in most instances distinct examples. In North 
America the well-known antelope of the prairies is totally unlike 
all others in the peculiar position of the horns ; these are prong- 
shaped, slightly palmated, and are fitted at right angles with the 
flat top of the skull, starting from exactly above the orbit of the 
eye, which forms the base. This animal (A. furcifera) is quite 
unlike all other antelopes, in shedding the sheath of its horns 
annually. This species was to be found in enormous numbers at 
the commencement of this century, and even now, owing to its 
natural vigilance, it has escaped the general destruction of wild 
game. The live weight is about 90 Ibs., and the flesh is excellent. 
The females are devoid of horns. 



330 WILD BEASTS AND THEIR WAYS CHAP. 

There is a second variety in Canada, but I have never met 
with it. 

The chamois represents the European antelope (Rupicapra 
trayw). There is also a second variety in Russia (the Antilope 
saiga). 

We thus discover the extreme paucity of varieties in cool 
temperatures, which suggests that the antelope is an animal better 
suited for tropical or sub-tropical climates, in which it becomes 
thoroughly developed. 

In India we find one variety of large size, the nilghye (Portax 
picta). This is a curious animal, as it carries extremely short 
horns, seldom more than 8 inches in length, although it attains the 
large size of GOO Ibs. live weight. The bull is a bluish gray, very 
high in the withers, and deep in the chest ; the female is devoid 
of horns, and is smaller, also different in colour, being a russet 
brown. There is a strong resemblance to domestic cattle in the 
nilghye, but the animal is shy, and, in my own experience, I have 
found it more difficult to approach than the sambur deer. All 
antelopes have a peculiar arrangement below the eyes, a sort of 
pit, in connection with the lachrymal duct. 

In some parts of India the nilghye commit great havoc during 
their nightly depredations upon the natives' crops, but the Hindoos 
will seldom destroy them, as they regard them in the same light 
as cows, the name signifying " blue cow." All the horns of 
antelopes are sheaths fitted upon a bony cone. I cannot see much 
difference between the gazelle (A. dorcas) of Africa and Arabia, 
and the chicara of India. They are graceful creatures, which 
generally inhabit extensive plains, and are difficult to approach. 
I do not pretend to give a description of every variety of antelope ; 
there are several in Northern India and Thibet, also the four- 
horned antelope (Tetracems quadricornis). This is a curious little 
animal with four short spike horns ; the two anterior are seldom 
more than 2 inches in length, and the posterior, which are im- 
mediately behind, do not exceed 4 inches. The four- horned 
antelope is not gregarious, but is found either singly or in pairs, 
generally in high grass, where they lie close until disturbed by the 
elephant, which almost treads upon them before they can be induced 
to move. They dash off at full speed, and from the howdah they are 
difficult to hit with a rifle. A Paradox gun with one barrel loaded 
with ball, while the other contains a charge of buck-shot, is an 
excellent weapon where small deer are objects of the day's sport. 

The antelope par excellence of India is the well-known black- 
buck (Antilope cervicapra). This is without exception the most 



xx THE ANTELOPE 331 

graceful and sporting animal of the tribe. In some portions of 
India it is exceedingly numerous, while in other parts it is so 
extremely rare that it cannot be classed among the fauna of the 
district. 

This animal is gregarious, and is generally seen in herds of 
twenty or thirty individuals. It inhabits vast plains and infests 
the crops of the natives, especially when the young wheat is about 
9 inches high. I have seen exceptional herds, comprising several 
hundred individuals, but it is seldom that they are met with in 
such great numbers united, although many hundreds may be scat- 
tered in small groups over the area of a few square miles. 

There is nothing more lovely than a fine black-buck about 
eight years old, when the coat looks as black as pitch, contrasted 
with the snow-white markings of the belly, face, and throat. The 
females are a rich yellowish brown, with white thighs and bellies ; 
these never change their colour, and they are devoid of horns. 
The males require three years for the skin to darken, and it is 
of common occurrence to find a buck with horns of 20 inches in 
length, although it has not commenced to assume the jet-black 
coat. I do not think they are really and thoroughly black until 
they are six years old. The hide darkens by degrees, and in a 
herd of twenty animals there will probably be several bucks of 
different gradations, but only one that has attained the maximum 
of colour ; this will be without exception the " master-buck " 
which dominates the herd. This little lord of his small court 
enforces a thorough discipline, and when the young bucks, in the 
presumption of youth and good looks, pay too much devotion to 
the fair sex of the party, it is a pretty sight to see the master-buck, 
with horns thrown back and nose in air, curling his upper lip in 
high disdain, as he prepares to chastise the sinning youngster for 
his audacity. After stepping proudly around the does, as though 
warning them against the feminine weakness for admiration, he 
makes a savage onset upon the love-sick buck, prods him with his 
spear-pointed horns, and drives him ignominiously from the herd. 
He then returns proudly to his ladies, marches alongside each of 
the younger bucks, as though to caution them, by the recent 
example, against any excess of devotion to the does. 

This seems to be the all-absorbing employment of the master- 
buck, to preserve order and to support his conjugal rights in a 
limited society of about twenty lovely females and five or six 
young aspirants of various ages. 

In other herds there may be two or three thoroughly black 
bucks, in which case the personal combats are both fierce and 



332 WILD BEASTS AND THKIR WAYS CHAP. 

frequent. They arc highly pugnacious, and I have frequently 
obtained a shot when two old bucks have been so closely engaged 
in their duel that, although the herd had lied, they were too much 
occupied to notice my appearance. 

The live weight of an average buck is about 85 Ibs. It is 
difficult to give an average of horns, as they vary in different 
districts and animals. I have heard of horns that were 28 inches 
in direct length measured from point to base, but I have never 
shot them longer than 23.-,-. I should say a length of 19 inches 
would be a fair average. They arc most regularly spiral, and to 
be good specimens they should be exactly alike in length and 
inclination from the base. 

In the description of the hunting leopard (Fclis jubata) I have 
already given an account of the speed of the black-buck ; there 
is nothing more interesting than to watch the habits and the 
movements of these graceful animals through powerful binocular 
glasses, which upon an open plain permit you to examine them as 
though in the centre of the herd. 

If there is a public road through the cultivated fields upon 
which these antelopes love to graze, you may sometimes pass them 
within 100 yards, provided that you are either riding or driving; 
but if on foot, they will not permit a near approach, although they 
will take but little heed of ordinary natives. They are afraid of 
elephants, and will seldom allow them to come within 200 paces ; 
the only method by which you can obtain an ordinary range is by 
stalking them with a horse or trained ox, or by following behind a 
bullock-cart such as the natives use upon their farms. 

The most favourable ground for black-buck is a mixture of 
great cultivated flats, with neighbouring tracts of wilderness, where 
low hills, broken ground, and thick bush afford a sanctuary for 
their retreat, and for the rearing of their young. 

A few shots fired upon a vast area of young wheat will soon 
scare the animals from the locality, and should there be no jungle, 
or hills within several miles, they will disappear entirely. 

If there is an extensive area of rough jungle to which they can 
retire, you may sometimes obtain good .shots by stalking carefully 
up wind, as the animal may be discovered beneath the imaginary 
security of the bushes ; but even then the greatest caution must 
be observed, as the game is always on the alert. 

When, upon the open plain, the black-buck has arrived at the 
conclusion to retreat, the sight is most interesting, as the speed 
and agility of the animal are at once displayed to the fullest 
extent. The females of the herd trot oft' for a few yards, and then 



xx THE ANTELOPE 333 

usually halt to reconnoitre. The bucks separate, and all turn 
round to gaze at the object of disturbance. Having made up 
their minds to go, there is no more hesitation, but away and away 
they fly, hardly touching the ground with their swift hoofs, but 
hopping almost vertically in the air, and bounding at least 6 feet 
in perpendicular height at each leap, as they follow each other at 
50 miles an hour across the level plain. I believe that they are 
capable of the extraordinary speed of 60 miles an hour, as it is 
said that the best English greyhound cannot overtake them. 

It is difficult to give an opinion without having tried the 
experiment. Although I have frequently had the advantage of 
excellent native dogs for my assistance in following wounded buck, 
I have never seen a fair trial with greyhounds. It M r ould be 
difficult to find a locality that would permit the greyhound a fair 
use of its powers, as the dog requires not only a level but a smooth 
surface to exert its maximum speed. In India the land is very 
roughly ploughed, and is never harrowed. When the wheat is 
growing, the surface is a mass of large clods the size of a man's 
head ; these have been exposed to the sun until they have become 
as hard as sun-burnt bricks. The black-buck is at home upon this 
uneven ground, but the greyhound could not use its feet with full 
effect. The greyhounds in the Soudan are well known to over- 
take the gazelle, if they can obtain a fair start, and I should 
certainly imagine that a first-class greyhound would catch a black- 
buck if it could be slipped within 100 yards upon a level unculti- 
vated plain, where the surface was absolutely smooth. 

A couple of years ago, when I was in the district of Damoh, 
where black-buck were plentiful, I procured two excellent dogs 
from the village of Bertulla. My first introduction to them was 
accidental. Our camp was pitched upon the raised bank or 
bhund of a tank which adjoined the village. Upon this were 
several fine tamarind trees which shaded the tents, also a large 
peepul (Ficus religiosa), from the centre of which a wild date- 
palm grew like the mast of a ship for about 40 feet in height, 
its spreading crown appearing like a plume of feathers above 
the highest branches of the peepul. From our rather elevated 
position we had an extensive view of the slightly undulating 
surface, and upon a rough uncultivated slope about half a mile 
distant I observed a very black buck lying down alone. It is 
easier to approach a solitary buck than when surrounded by a 
herd, and I commenced a stalk, walking behind a bullock-cart, 
driven by one of my men who understood the work. 

It is high art to conduct the cart properly. Bullocks are 



334 WILD BEASTS AND THEIR WAYS CIIAP. 

awkward animals to drive, and they will not go in the required 
direction without considerable trouble. The driver has a tolerably 
easy time if the cart forms one of a train along a good highway ; 
in that case the bullocks will follow the line of route to the tune 
of their jingling bells, but once off the road, and stalking black- 
buck, when constant halts and turns are necessary, according to 
the changing position of the game, a driver of a bullock-waggon 
has enough to do. 

He drives his sharp-pointed stick into the hind-quarters of one, 
then twists the tail of its companion till it is nearly fractured at a 
joint, then tickles them both simultaneously by dexterously driving 
his naked feet beneath their tails, as he sits upon the front bar of 
his cart, and indulges in ceaseless jerks and spasms. All these 
movements are really necessary to impel the bullocks, but they are 
much against success when the greatest quiet should be observed. 
In the meantime you walk either exactly behind or upon one side 
of the sheltering cart, ready with your rifle for a shot at 100 
yards, which, if the cart is well managed, you should obtain, 
unless the black-buck have been much disturbed. 

lu this manner we succeeded in approaching the recumbent 
buck to within 150 yards, before it rose lazily from the ground 
and regarded us with some astonishment. The cart-driver turned 
immediately towards the right, as though his intention was to 
leave it unmolested on our left. 

The buck evidently believed in our innocence. After a half- 
minute he again altered the course to our left to regain lost 
ground, and by careful judgment we presently found ourselves 
about 110 yards from the buck, which was standing up regarding 
our bullocks with some curiosity. 

I now halted to fire, while the cart turned slightly to the right 
but did not stop. This should always be observed, as, should the 
bullocks halt for one instant, the buck would be off directly ; the 
cart should pass slowly forward, leaving the shooter standing or 
kneeling behind, as he may prefer. 

I had a '360 rabbit rifle, and as the buck faced me I fired a little 
too low, and broke its fore leg just below the chest. For a moment 
it fell, and I thought it was secure, but almost immediately it 
recovered, and running down a gentle incline, it crossed a small 
stream at the bottom, ascended the rough slope of rank grass upon 
the other side, and remained standing upon the side of this rising 
ground at about 200 yards' distance. I had reloaded, and not 
being aware of the nature of the wound beyond the broken leg or 
shoulder, I waited in the expectation that it would presently lie 



xx THE ANTELOPE 335 

down. To my surprise, two dogs suddenly rushed past me ; they 
had heard the shot, and had seen that the buck was wounded, but 
I have no idea where they were at the time, unless with the cattle 
in the distance. They crossed the stream at full speed, rushed 
up the slope through grass about 2 feet high, upon the blood-track, 
and the buck, which was still in the same position, did not 
observe them until they appeared in full attack within 30 paces. 
Away it flew upon the instant ! The chase commenced, and 
although the poor buck had only three useful legs, it kept well 
ahead and appeared to gain upon the dogs for the first 150 yards, 
but unfortunately for itself there were some acres of irrigated land, 
and this being soft, although apparently sound turf, the buck was 
at a disadvantage. The dogs did not sink in the treacherous soil, 
and after a short run they closed, and at once pulled the buck 
upon the ground. 

Some natives who had been watching me observed the hunt, 
and they came from the direction of the village, running like so 
many hounds ; but no sooner did they arrive upon the scene than 
they commenced hammering the good dogs with their heavy 
bamboos as though they intended to kill them on the spot. It 
was with some difficulty that I stopped them ; but in spite of the 
assault the plucky dogs had not relaxed their hold, and they 
gripped the throat of the buck with determined fury. After some 
trouble the natives choked them off; but again and again they 
returned to the attack, exhibiting a savage nature that I foresaw 
would make them invaluable allies. 

I hired both these dogs, together with their owners. They 
were a cross between the ordinary native dog and the large breed 
which is known as belonging to the Bandjarahs. The latter is a 
tribe somewhat similar to the gypsies of Eastern Europe. These 
people are hereditary carriers, and travel enormous distances, 
conveying the various productions of India to the different 
commercial centres, upon pack oxen. They are accompanied by a 
peculiar breed of dogs, large and fierce, which guard their animals 
during the night's bivouac. 

The two dogs which I engaged were Cabre' and Mora. 

Cabre' was only twelve months old ; he was a black dog, with 
smooth hair. Mora was the same colour, but rather long in the 
coat. Both were about 26 inches at the shoulder. These animals 
became my staunch companions, although Cabre* never took to 
Europeans ; he did not exhibit the slightest regard for myself 
personally, but he was enthusiastic in sport, and the report of the 
rifle was quite sufficient to awaken the keenest delight, as he knew 



336 WILD BEASTS AND THEIR WAYS CHAP. 

that some animal was cither killed or wounded. Mora, on the 
contrary, was affectionate, although savage to a degree when game 
was to be attacked. 

I once broke the fore leg of a fine old buck at a long shot, and 
it went across country as though untouched, the bone being 
fractured just above the knee. Cabre' was with me alone, and he 
ran that buck single-handed for upwards of 3 miles. We had lost 
both antelope and dog, and I followed upon a fast elephant, 
inquiring of every native whom we met working in the fields 
whether he had seen anything of the hunt. Every man told the 
same story ; he had seen a buck followed by a dog, and they had 
taken a certain direction, which was pointed out. At length, after 
a long search upon a boundless plain of cultivated ground, bright 
green with young wheat about 6 inches high, I made out with the 
binocular glasses a small knot of people, with a dog following 
behind. 

Upon our arrival we found a number of natives carrying a 
black-buck slung upon a long pole, all four legs being lashed 
together, and behind the little crowd was our dog Cabre', who had 
run the buck down single-handed and seized it in a nullah, close 
to a village. The natives had secured it, and were bringing it in 
triumph to my camp, a distance of 3 miles. The buck was still 
alive, as these people, being Hindoos, had declined to kill it. This 
was one of Cabr^'s early performances ; after which he quickly 
became distinguished. 

The antelopes are all more or less bullet-despisers ; if they are 
not struck in the right place, they exhibit a wonderful tenacity of 
purpose and of life ; but the black-buck is exceedingly difficult to 
kill with certainty. If there is any covert within reach, it will 
attain the shelter, to die a miserable death, unless it is shot 
through the lungs, heart, or neck. It is a small animal, and, 
being wary, it is seldom that a shot is obtained within 100 or 120 
yards. The mark, to be fatal, will be limited to 3 inches square, 
or at the outside 4 inches. Distance upon a flat plain is deceptive, 
therefore it is necessary to possess a small-bore Express of the 
highest velocity to ensure a flat trajectory. In my opinion a '400 
bore with 4 drams of powder is the best rifle for this sport. This 
is the only case in which I recommend an expanding bullet. The 
long projectile of the '400 should have a very shallow hollow 
inch at the point, and only inch in diameter. As the bullet will 
be 1^ inch in length, it will not smash up into films or shreds, but, 
if composed of pure lead, it will flatten out at the point for about 
half an inch, and form a mushroom head, that will prevent it from 



xx THE ANTELOPE 337 

passing through the body, and perhaps ricochetting into some 
village a mile on the other side. 

At Bertulla, where we were camped for some time, the village 
was benefited by the presence of a Hindoo priest. This fellow 
was an extraordinary personage, as he combined the ascetic with 
the acrobat. Naked, with the exception of the smallest waist- 
cloth, he was smeared from head to foot with ashes : his begrimed 
face had the unearthly appearance produced by this ghastly 
colouring, and his large eyes shone with that peculiar brilliancy 
which may be so frequently remarked among the religious 
enthusiasts of India. This holy man was an important personage 
at Bertulla, as he possessed a small temple upon the outskirts of 
the village, which represented all that was ecclesiastical in this 
portion of the district. The temple, or church, was about 8 feet 
square, therefore it was somewhat limited in accommodation ; it 
was glaringly white, with a small shrine, painted with divinities, 
which appeared to be in an advanced stage of scarlet fever. 

The signal for divine service was given upon a species of 
trumpet, which emitted a weird sound, happily unlike any other 
instrument to which we are obliged to listen. This high priest 
was the sole representative of the little temple, and he led a 
solitary life ; his chief occupation consisted in sweeping his small 
courtyard and brushing up his premises. He had no dwelling, 
neither did he sleep upon a bedstead, nor even upon the ground, 
but he laid himself upon a horizontal bar like the pole of a bullock- 
cart, supported upon posts about 3 feet above the courtyard floor. A 
short cross-piece at one end was sufficient for his shoulders, and upon 
this uncomfortable perch he was able to pass the night in rest. 

We became great friends, as I frequently gave him presents for 
his temple. I am fond of clergymen generally, as they are never 
shy in accepting donations for their parishes. My interpreter 
described this faky as "a sort of Bishop"; he accordingly became 
known by that name in camp. The Bishop would have been 
known in England as "a sporting parson." Although a devout 
man, he was a sportsman at heart. The tank abounded with 
wild-fowl, and I was accustomed to supply sufficient ducks and 
teal for our entire party almost daily. Upon these occasions I was 
invariably attended by the Bishop, who plunged into the water 
like a retriever to secure the birds when either killed or wounded. 
This cleansing process effected a sudden change in his appearance ; 
the ash-smeared faky became a really handsome man when divested 
of his holy colouring. I had presented him upon one occasion 
with a few rupees to beautify his church, and he became more 

z 



338 WILD BEASTS AND THEIR WAYS CHAP, xx 

grateful than a member of the Established Church would have 
been under similar circumstances. He exhibited his gratitude by 
a voluntary exhibition of his powers as an acrobat, leaping to a 
great height, and turning somersaults, for which performance his 
dress was admirably adapted, as he had nothing on but ashes. 
He then walked upon his hands, head downwards, doubled himself 
together with his arms beneath his legs, and hopped like a frog ; 
until he wound up the entertainment by balancing himself upon 
his nose on the hard ground a feat that would have been highly 
remunerative at the close of a charity sermon in London. 

Our " Bishop " was of considerable service during a memorable 
hunt. I had wounded a very fine black-buck, which made off 
across the open country. Although it had a long start, I had 
slipped the dog Cabrd immediately, and we had a glorious chase 
straight across the level ground, the young wheat being about 8 
inches high. 

I was on a fast elephant, therefore we managed to keep the 
animals in view. All the villagers turned out to see the fun ; the 
natives who were travelling along the road put down their bundles 
and enjoyed the scene ; people who were working in the fields 
rushed after the dog, others cut across and endeavoured to turn the 
buck. Thus hard pressed, the buck altered its course, and having 
passed the village, it turned to the left, disappearing from my view. 
We hurried the elephant along at about 8 miles an hour, as I felt 
sure the buck would either run directly through our camp upon 
the bhund, or it must take to water, as it would be intercepted by 
the lake. The dog was about 100 yards in the rear, running 
beautifully. 

We turned the corner, passed the village, and almost im- 
mediately we saw a crowd, in the middle of which was the 
Bishop, holding the buck by the horns, in spite of its frantic 
struggles to escape. It appeared that the animal at full speed 
was passing by his temple directly towards the lake, and the acro- 
batic parson, with extraordinary agility, sprang across its path and 
seized it by the horns. They had the greatest difficulty in 
restraining the dog, which upon arrival immediately pinned the 
struggling buck by the throat, but was cruelly beaten off with 
bamboos by the excited crowd. 

Much might be written upon the black -buck, as it is the 
prettiest animal in India, and without any exception it affords the 
best sport to a lover of the rifle, but there would be a mono- 
tony in the description. I shall therefore close this chapter, and 
devote the next to the more important antelopes of Africa. 



CHAPTER XXI 

AFRICAN ANTELOPES (A. BUBALIS) 

THIS interesting tribe inhabits more or less every part of Africa. 
There are varieties which differ in their habits so completely 
that it appears impossible to accept them as belonging to the 
same genus, nevertheless they are all antelopes, the distinction 
of the class consisting in the formation of the horns, and the 
tear-ducts beneath the eyes. As before mentioned, the horns 
of antelopes differ entirely from those of deer, as they resemble 
those of oxen, which are mere sheaths that fit upon a conical 
bony projection, and are permanent. 

The difference in size is very marked, varying from the tiny 
oom dik-dik (HempricManus), which weighs about 16 Ibs., to 
the roan antelope, and the still heavier eland (Soselaphus oreas), 
that would weigh 900 or 1000 Ibs. 

The most common of the larger antelopes is the bubalis, 
known by the Arabs as the tdtel and at the Cape as the 
" hartebeest." 

There are two varieties of this animal, specially distinguished 
by the horns. In Abyssinia these are spreading, and the simi- 
larity to those of the buffalo is at once perceived, but in Central 
Africa the horns are closer together, more upright, and generally 
more massive in the base. 

The head of the A. bubalis is very extraordinary in shape; 
the skull rises about 4 inches above the brain cavity, and the 
horns are rooted upon this projection. If the entire head is 
not required as a trophy, this portion may be sawn off without 
disturbing the position of the horns, or in any way interfering 
with the actual cranium. The horns appear to be carefully 
arranged for defence, as they rise almost perpendicular with 
the skull for about a foot, and then turn back for 7 or 8 inches, 
terminating in extremely sharp points. When the head is 



340 WILD BEASTS AND THEIR WAYS CHAP. 

lowered to receive an attack, these points are presented to the 
enemy, and a sudden lift would be certain to impale. 

The colour of the skin is a beautiful chestnut, inclining to red ; 
the texture of the coat is exceedingly fine, and in the bright 
sunlight it glistens like that of a well-groomed hunter. 

Although the live weight of this animal would exceed 500 Ibs., 
it is one of the fastest antelopes, and is more difficult to over- 
take than any other. In fact, I have never seen a horse that 
has been able to run down a tetel, and the Hamran Arabs 
would not as a rule attempt the chase. I have ridden after 
them on several occasions upon a good horse, and I have 
imagined that I gained upon the herd, but when within about 
100 yards they seemed to be aware of the danger of a close 
approach, and, without any apparent effort, they kept the horse 
at its maximum speed. 

They are, as the Dutch name implies, " hard beasts," and re- 
quire correct practice with the rifle. Unless shot in a vital place 
they will travel for an unlimited distance, and will seldom be 
recovered. As the colour is bright, they are readily distinguished 
among the green foliage, and upon open ground they can be seen 
at a great distance. 

Like many others of their tribe, they are difficult to 
approach, and they generally place a sentry upon some favour- 
able position, that will command a distant view. The white 
ant hills in Central Africa are very numerous, and being 5 or 6 
feet above the surface, they afford admirable watch-towers, upon 
which the sentry generally takes his stand, while the herd grazes 
in security in the immediate neighbourhood. 

The te'tel feeds principally upon grass, but it is attracted by 
the tender young shoots of the various mimosas at the com- 
mencement of the rainy season. 

The distressing months, when a continuance of rain has en- 
couraged a giant growth of herbage, cannot be appreciated by 
those who have not experienced the block of vegetation. The 
entire country becomes impassable, being clothed in a dense 
mass of coarse grass from 8 to 10 feet high. By degrees 
this ripens, and when the dry weather has continued for two or 
three months, it becomes highly inflammable, and is fired in 
all directions by the inhabitants. When a strong north wind 
is blowing, the sight is most impressive, as nothing appears to 
check the flames. The fire rushes onward with wild delight, 
crackling the hollow canes, licking the dried leaves off lofty 
branches, and roaring like a heavy gale as it drives forward in 



xxi AFRICAN ANTELOPES 341 

its destructive course, leaving the blackened ground behind as 
clean as a velvet pall. 

An immense extent of country may be cleared within a few 
days, if the grass is carefully ignited to windward, and it is a 
mystery how the wild animals arrange their retreat before the 
annual conflagration. I imagine that they are well aware of 
certain places of refuge in the dry beds of rivers, where the experi- 
ence of the past has assured them of security. At any rate, they 
save themselves, and reappear upon the scene within a very few 
days after the fire has destroyed all pasturage. This is the time 
for the hunter, as all animals are driven to the broad beds of 
streams, where green herbage is always to be found throughout 
the driest months. The borders of such rivers are generally 
fringed with nabbuk, and the antelopes are attracted by the small 
fruit, like miniature apples, which fall to the ground in quantities. 

By degrees the wind cleans the ashes from the surface, and 
although the jungles are in a leafless condition, as bare as our 
English woods in winter, a change takes place. The different 
gum-bearing mimosas, that have been scorched by the recent fire, 
exude their sap through the heat -contracted bark. There are 
several varieties which produce gum-arabic, but the most valuable 
is that of a tree which is armed with a double-hooked thorn in 
reverse. It is simply impossible to escape without assistance 
when caught in this entanglement, if your clothes are strong 
enough to hold without giving way. 

The best gum-arabic is found in Kordofan ; also in the country 
from the base of the Abyssinian range of mountains to the river 
Atbara. In some portions of this extensive district, where the 
best quality is produced in quantities, there are no inhabitants to 
gather it, as there is a considerable area uninhabited, owing to the 
insecurity of life in the absence of a firm government. I have 
seen crops of this valuable gum in such profusion that the naked 
trees were ornamented with transparent fruits resembling small 
candied oranges. These were semi-transparent, adhering to the 
stems and branches, so brilliant in their golden frosty surface that 
they became most attractive ; I could not help dismounting, and 
collecting as much as I could carry. It has frequently occurred 
to me, when among such scenes, that the old story of the garden of 
jewels in Alladin and the Wonderful Lamp originated in travellers' 
accounts concerning the mimosas laden with this topaz-coloured 
gum. 

It is sweet and agreeable to the taste when freshly gathered 
from the tree ; the outside is hard, but the centre contains liquid 



342 WILD BEASTS AXD THEIR WAYS CHAP. 

gum, which would become hard in the course of time. If the 
round lumps, resembling Mandarin oranges, are packed together, 
they become exceedingly dry and brittle, losing their shape, and 
crumbling into small pieces, such as arrive in England under the 
well-known name of " gum-arabic." 

Almost all wild animals are attracted by this gum when, in the 
driest season, the mimosas are in full bearing. The dog-faced 
baboons (Cynocephalns) may be seen in large troops, all bent 
upon the gum-collecting industry. With the order of human 
beings they march along, the females carrying their young upon 
their backs, until some well-furnished trees are sighted. A rush 
takes place immediately by the ten-year-old boys, or young baboons 
equivalent to that human age, but the arrival of some old grand- 
fathers in the shape of well-maned males, who cuff them right and 
left, restores immediate discipline, and all the party resolve them- 
selves into groups around the well-laden trees, filling their stomachs, 
and distending their pouches with the bon-bons of the wilderness. 

The antelopes are particularly fond of this gum, and they are 
sure to be found in the neighbourhood of this species of mimosa. 

The hide of the te'tel or hartebeest is much prized by the Arabs, as 
the toughest and most durable leather when tanned. Large sacks are 
manufactured by the simple process of stripping off the skin in one 
piece, like a stocking from the leg. This is tanned, and the aper- 
tures at the four legs, and the neck, and hind-quarters being sewn 
up, the entire skin forms a bag ; in this, corn is conveyed to market. 

I have killed great numbers of these animals both in Abyssinia 
and Central Africa ; they have invariably yielded good sport, 
requiring careful stalking and accurate rifle-practice. Both males 
and females are furnished with horns. 

There is a species (Damalis Senegalensis) which somewhat 
resembles the bubalis. This is not an inhabitant of Abyssinia, 
but it is not uncommon in Central Africa. The size is slightly 
inferior to the latter, but the habits are the same. The horns are 
differently shaped, being annular, and retiring slightly backwards. 
In like manner with the bubalis, both sexes have horns. The 
colour of this variety is a very dark chestnut, with black thighs 
and fore legs. The flesh is superior to that of all other antelope*. 

This species invariably posts a sentry to guard the herd when 
feeding, and it was always my ambition to stalk the guard and 
knock him off his stand, instead of attempting a shot at the less 
suspicious herd. Upon several occasions I have succeeded where 
the white ant hills were sufficiently numerous to afford cover for a 
stealthv advance. 



xxi AFRICAN ANTELOPES 343 

The handsomest of all the larger antelopes is the koodoo, or 
nellut of the Arabs (A. strepsiceros). This animal is most grace- 
ful, and is prettily marked. It stands from about 13 to 13| 
hands in height of withers. The colour is mouse-gray, with per- 
fectly white stripes. The horns are very long and spiral. In 
this species we find a distinction in the female being devoid of 
horns. Their habits are different from the foregoing varieties, as 
they are seldom met with upon the open, but are found in deep 
ravines and thickly wooded nullahs. 

There are no elands in Abyssinia, neither have I ever seen them 
throughout my journeys in Central Africa, but I have seen a very 
large pair of horns that were brought by the slave-hunters from 
the West, somewhere upon the Bahr Gazal. 

The largest of all that I have met north of the equator is a 
species of roan antelope that was named Hippotragus Bakerii, as 
a new specimen, differing from the well-known roan antelope of 
South Africa. This animal stands about 13 hands 3 inches at 
the withers, or 14 hands; it is immensely bulky, and clumsy in 
comparison with the more elegant strepsiceros. The horns are 
thick, anuulated, and are curved completely backwards, so that 
when the head is thrown up they would reach the shoulder. The 
mane upon the neck gives it a remote resemblance to a horse, 
with horns. I have never weighed a roan antelope, but I should 
estimate the live weight at about 700 Ibs. Both male and female 
have horns, those of the male being superior. 

I saw this species for the first time near the Bahr Salaam 
in Abyssinia, also subsequently upon the border of the Settite 
river. In portions of Central Africa they are more plentiful, 
but they are not so generally distributed as the bubalis or 
strerjsiceros. 

A very handsome variety of the large antelopes is the water- 
buck or mehede'het (A. ellipsiprymna). This is an exceedingly 
massive animal, nearly allied to the red-deer in colour and texture 
of hair. It weighs about 600 Ibs. when alive. The dark-brown 
hair of the throat is coarse, and somewhat shaggy in the males ; 
the horns are long, distinctly anuulated, and after turning slightly 
backwards, the extremities project forward in a gentle curve. 
The flesh of this variety is coarse, and although eaten, it is not 
esteemed, even by the Arabs. 

As the name " water-buck " would imply, this species is found 
in the neighbourhood of swamps and rivers. A fine old male is a 
grand-looking creature, resembling a German stag with a winter 
coat, surmounted by large horns of goat-like appearance. The 



344 WILD BEASTS AND THEIR WAYS CHAP. 

females arc devoid of horns, and they look at a distance exactly 
like the hinds of red-deer, or sambur. 

I have shot a great number of these animals, as I have been 
compelled during many years to depend upon the rifle for a supply 
of food, not only for myself, but for a large number of followers. 
There is no superiority of sport in this variety, but I cannot help 
recalling to remembrance a particular occasion when I nearly lost 
a fine male through the want of penetration of the bullet. 

The flotilla of fifty-seven vessels was toiling along the adverse 
current of the White Nile, and, according to the varying energies 
of officers and crews, the ships occupied positions either in advance 
or rear, straggling throughout a course of many miles. 

As my vessel led the way, we moored alongside the bank one 
afternoon, where an extensive flat of perhaps a thousand acres 
stretched from the water's edge to the base of low wooded hills 
which formed a range, increasing in height as they stretched into 
the interior. It was a pretty bit of country after the interminable 
swamps of the White Nile, through which we had been so long in 
passing, therefore I landed, with my rifle, accompanied by my chief 
engineer, Mr. Higginbotham, and Lieut. Baker, R.N. 

We had walked through the wooded hills for a considerable 
distance without firing a shot, although game had several times 
been moved, when, upon descending to the lower ground, en route 
to our vessel, we observed three large bull meheddhets feeding in 
the open plain, directly in the path that we were about to take. 
There was very little chance of obtaining a shot upon the exposed 
ground ; I therefore begged my two companions to wait, while I 
should endeavour quite alone to stalk the game. 

There were several large isolated trees growing in the marsh 
outside the jungle, at the base of the rising ground from which I 
now descended. I endeavoured to estimate the distance, which I 
computed to be about 220 yards from the farthest tree to the 
nearest of the animals. 

The difficulty would be to arrive at this tree without being 
perceived by the mehedehets, as they were somewhat scattered. 
Had there been only one, I might have advanced under cover of 
the tree by keeping the thick trunk in a direct line with my 
approach. At length, by dint of perseverance, sometimes crawling 
along the rutty surface, then lying flat to conceal myself in the 
grass about 18 inches high, whenever there was a danger of being 
observed, I managed at last to reach the farthest tree. I rested 
here for several minutes to become cool, and to wipe my eyes from 
the streams of perspiration, which nearly blinded me. At length 



xxi AFRICAN ANTELOPES 345 

I was cool enough to take the trial shot. The distance was a little 
over 200 yards. Taking a rest against the stem of a giant tree, I 
fired. The bull fell as though struck by lightning. His more 
distant companion went off at full speed, and was soon lost to 
view ; but his nearest neighbour simply started for a few yards, 
and after having regarded the situation without discovering any 
enemy, he turned round with astonishment to inspect his fallen 
friend. This turned the broadside towards me, and again I fired. 
If a sledge-hammer had struck the skull, the animal could not have 
succumbed more suddenly. This had a very pretty effect at so 
long a distance, as the right and left had been fired within about 
ten seconds, and both of these fine bulls lay stretched upon the 
ground. 

I never like to see an animal fall apparently stone dead without 
the slightest struggle, as it is generally paralysed for the moment, 
but quickly recovers, and escapes : I accordingly ran towards the 
spot, and immediately perceived Julian Baker and Higginbotham 
racing across the rutty ground, hurrying to the scene. We soon 
met. The first buck was shot through the centre of the shoulder : 
had he been a target, the bullet would have made a bull's-eye. 
We went a few paces to the right to examine the last shot. I had 
missed the shoulder, and the bullet had struck the middle of the 
neck. We were standing together, admiring the massive pro- 
portions of this fine water-buck, when, without the slightest 
warning or preparatory struggle, it jumped up and started off at 
full gallop. In another second it dropped dead, with a bullet in 
the back of the neck, as fortunately I had reloaded. 

This was a curious example of an instantaneous recovery from 
the stunning effect of a shot in the neck. My rifle was a wonder- 
fully accurate weapon, but it was in the early days of breechloaders, 
and although -577, it carried the Snider hollow bullet and 2i 
drams of powder. This had no penetration, and animals that were 
well hit were continually escaping, which would not have been the 
case with a larger charge and a solid bullet. In this instance the 
bullet had struck the spine, but had not sufficient power to break 
the bone, after passing through the hard muscles and tough hide of 
the water-buck at a distance of about 220 paces. 

Two of these splendid animals formed a welcome addition to the 
hard fare of the expedition, and they were quickly divided among 
the men. 

There is an antelope in the marshy country of the White Nile 
which I have never met with elsewhere. This is rather larger 
than an ordinary donkey ; a jet-black colour, with a patch of pure 



346 WILD BEASTS AXD THEIR WAYS CHAP. 

white across the withers. The crown of the head is white, also a 
white ring around the eyes ; the chest is black, but the belly is 
white throughout. 1 The horns of this species are from about 28 
to 32 inches in length, and they bend backwards in a peculiarly 
graceful curve, unlike any other antelope. The coat is rather coarse 
and long, approaching that of a goat. The coat of all antelopes 
that frequent marshes and the neighbourhood of water is more or 
less coarse ; this is very marked in the ellipsiprymna. 

I have before remarked that animals and birds vary in their 
degrees of shyness and difficulty of approach. The megaceros is 
easier to stalk than any other antelope that I have met ; and upon 
one occasion I stopped our vessel and landed, where I saw a number 
of these animals upon the half-dried marshes. In the course of the 
afternoon, I bagged five, affording a grand supply for my hungry 
people. The females of this species are a brown colour, and devoid 
of horns. I have never seen this antelope inland, but always in 
the close vicinity of rivers and lakes ; they are generally in large 
herds, and can only be discovered at the driest season, when the 
rivers have sunk low, and the marshes, which are inundated during 
the rainy months, have become exposed and hardened by the sun. 
It is difficult to estimate the number of animals in a herd, but I 
have occasionally seen this species in dense masses that would 
contain a thousand. The pallah (A. leucotis) is another antelope 
that is found in important herds. This is very common in Central 
Africa, and affords excellent sport, and good food for the camp. 
It is a well-known antelope both in South and Central Africa, but 
I have never met with it north of 10 N. latitude. The horns of 
the male are prettily shaped, something like the gazelle, but spread- 
ing. The females have no horns, but they are nearly the same 
colour as the male, a yellow body with snow-white belly. The size 
of the pallah is about the same as a fallow-deer. 

The prettiest creature of the jungles is the harnessed antelope 
(A. scripta). This is never found in herds, but generally in pairs, 
or three or four together. It is seldom met with in open plains, 
but it is an inhabitant of the bush, and will lie tolerably close, 
starting up with a frantic rush when suddenly disturbed. A fine 
buck will weigh about 90 Ibs. The male is dark-brown, ornamented 
with snow-white stripes, six or seven of which descend from the 
back upon either flank and the hind-quarters ; a few white marks 
are upon the shoulders, and white spots upon the thighs ; a long 
white line from the shoulder extends in a continuation below the 
transverse marks upon the flanks, and terminates near the junction 
1 This is the Kolus Maria of Gray, or M?<jaceros of Hcnglin. 



XXI 



AFRICAN ANTELOPES 



347 



of the hind leg. This resembles a white trace, hence the name 
"harnessed antelope." 

There are many varieties of small antelopes which are hardly 
worth enumeration. These* are scattered throughout an immense 
area north of the equator, and are never to be found in the same 
locality. The oryx (leucoryx) or the leptoceros of Heuglin is known 
by the Arabs as the bagger el wahash (cow of the wilderness). 
This fine antelope is confined to certain districts in the Taka 
country, also in Kordofan, but I have never met with it. The late 
Professor Heuglin was a painstaking naturalist, whom I had the 
pleasure of knowing when staying in Khartoum, and we compared 
notes of all the animals with which we were mutually acquainted. 
He arranged the following list, which embraces all that I know 
practically, and many others which I have not seen. 

18. R. Lechee. 

19. R. Megaceros (Black Antelope). 

20. R. Defassa. 

21. R. Ellipsiprymna. 



ANTILOPE GAZELLA. 

1. G. Dorcas. 

2. G. Arabica. 

3. G. Losvipes. 

4. G. Dama. 

5. G. Scemmeringii. 

6. G. Leptoceros. 

CALOTRAGUS. 

7. C. Montanus. 

8. C. Saltatrix. 

N.A NOTRAGUS. 

9. N. Hemprichianus. 

CEPnALOLOPUUS. 

10. C. Madaqua. 

^ Two unknown species in 29- Tr. Strepsiceros. 

"' [ White Nile, called by the 30. Tr. Sylvaticus. 

iz - Dinkfis "Amok." 31. Tr. Dekula. 



HIPPOTRAGUS. 

22. H. Niger. 

23. H. Bakerii (new species). 

24. H. Beisa. 

25. H. Ensicornis. 

26. H. Addax. 

TAUROTRAGTJS. 

27. T. Orcas. 

28. T. Gigas (new species). 

TRAGELAPHUS. 



REDUNCA. 

13. R. Eleotragus. 

14. R. Beb or. 

15. R. Kull (new species). 

16. R! Leucotis. 

17. R. Uruil (new species). 



BUBALIS. 

32. B. Mauritanica. 

33. B. Caama. 

34. B. Senegalensis. 

35. B. Tiang (new species). 

36. B. Tiaiig-riel (new species). 



'It will be observed that the gnu (Catollepas ynu) of South 
Africa is not found north of the equator. 



348 WILD BEASTS AND THEIR WAYS CHAP. 

All these interesting varieties of the species antelope exhibit 
peculiar characteristics ; some partake the appearance and action 
of the goat, others of the buffalo ; there is an affinity to the horse 
in the hippotragus, and to the Bos in the eland (Boselapkus orais). 
To the traveller, the antelope is invaluable, as it provides flesh 
more or loss palatable for his party, at the same time that the 
skins of all varieties are useful, and can be readily tanned by the 
omnipresent mimosa bark, and the pods of the soont (Acacia, 
Arabica). The fawns of antelopes must be destroyed in great 
numbers by the numerous carnivora, as they are completely help- 
less ; they are also the prey of pythons, which seldom attack large 
animals, but subsist upon the calves, as their bones are easily 
crushed in the coils, and prepared for swallowing. 

Some species will defend their young ; among these the te'tel 
(A. bubalis) is remarkable. I once witnessed a striking example, 
where.the entire herd came to the rescue of a calf. I was shooting 
with only one attendant, a native named Shooli, who was a most 
trustworthy man and a devoted follower. This man was an 
experienced hunter and a first-rate tracker. The country was 
covered with high grass, that was not sufficiently dry to burn 
thoroughly, but in some places the natives had ignited it, and 
cleared small patches, in which the young grass had quickly 
sprouted to the height of several inches. These open places were 
an attraction to the game, which was otherwise invisible in the 
vast mass of tall vegetation. 

We were prowling cautiously through the country, keeping 
watchful eyes upon our surroundings, when, upon passing a clump 
of trees, we observed a fine bull te'tel standing sentry upon an ant 
hill about 400 yards distant. 

There was no doubt that a herd was somewhere in his neigh- 
bourhood, therefore we waited behind some trees, and watched the 
attitude of the sentry. 

Presently we espied a doe, which emerged from the high grass 
and walked carefully but inquiringly across the small open space, 
and then stood in a fixed position. We now crept upon hands 
and knees through the rustling herbage, as quietly as possible, in 
the hope of getting within 150 yards of the sentry. I had marked 
a particular tree as the spot to be reached which would afford 
concealment, and at the same time be within killing distance. 

It was trying work for the bare hands among the sharp stems 
of the coarse grass, but we reached our destination, and then 
cautiously rose, in expectation of seeing the sentry upon his elevated 
post. He was gone, together with the doe. We had been quite 



xxi AFRICAN ANTELOPES 349 

invisible, and the wind was in our favour ; probably some bird, 
frightened at our advance, had flown hurriedly away, this would 
have been sufficient as a signal of hidden danger. 

We now threw off disguise, and walked direct towards the 
raised spot upon which the watchful tdtel had taken its stand. 
There was a pile of droppings, of all dates, which proved that this 
was its daily resting-place in the middle of the green patch, that 
was regularly visited by the herd. While I was examining the 
signs, I observed my companion Shooli searching diligently among 
the young herbage, and he assured me that a calf must be concealed 
somewhere near, as the doe would not have appeared alone unless 
she had a young one lying hidden, which she had intended to suckle 
if undisturbed. 

Presently I saw him standing with his spear raised, aiming at 
something upon the ground. Upon approaching him, he asked if 
he should throw his spear ; but before I could reply, a calf that 
had been lying close, like a hare in form, sprang up and raced 
away at great speed. In an instant the spear flew from the up- 
raised hand, and striking the calf, it passed just beneath the skin 
of the back without injuring the bone, and penetrated through to 
half its length, thus impaling the poor little animal transversely. 

Even with such an impediment, the strong young calf managed 
to get along, until at length it was captured by the active native. 

He now withdrew the spear and asked whether he should carry 
it alive to camp. At the same time the calf, wounded and terrified, 
screamed loudly; this noise appeared to give Shooli a sudden 
inspiration. Telling me to kneel down, he beat the calf with his 
open hand, which made it repeat its cry of distress. In a few 
moments we heard a rush among the high grass, and as the cries 
of the calf continued, I saw a number of horns and heads appearing 
above the yellow grass, as the herd, leaping as they galloped, 
endeavoured to see the cause of the disturbance. 

In less time than it takes to describe the scene, some ten or 
eleven of these large animals frantically rushed into the open and 
charged direct upon Shooli, who was kneeling with his arms around 
the calf. I fired right and left within 20 yards, knocking over 
the leader upon the spot, and turning the herd, another of which 
floundered upon its side after running a few yards. I reloaded 
quickly, and fired another shot as they disappeared, like fish in 
water, among the tall herbage from which they had made their 
gallant attempt to save the calf from danger. Shooli assured me 
that had he been alone, the herd would certainly have knocked 
him over, and have rescued the calf. 



350 WILD BEASTS AND THEIR WAYS CHAP. 

I imagine that the animals concluded that the young one was 
attacked by some wild animal, and they determined to rescue it by 
an attack in force, thus exhibiting their affinity to the buffalo. 
The bull that was stretched upon the ground by the first shot was 
probably the same that had stood sentry over the herd, but had 
retreated to the high grass upon our approach. 

My attendant Shooli assured me that the natives frequently met 
with accidents from the horns of this variety (A. bnbalis) when 
following up a wounded animal in high grass. Some days after 
this adventure I was out with the same man and another excellent 
fellow named Gimoro. We observed a fine bull te'tel lying on the 
ground beneath a tree, only the head and neck being visible above 
the grass. Taking Shooli with me, I made a very successful stalk, 
and obtained a position behind an ant-hill within GO or 70 yards of 
the game. At this short range I could make certain of the centre 
of the neck, without allowing the animal to rise for the shoulder 
shot. I fired, and the head disappeared. To my surprise, a herd 
of fifteen or twenty of the same animals dashed away from some 
high grass and bush about 120 yards distant, and I fired my 
remaining barrel at the most prominent, as they were disappearing 
in the dense yellow herbage. 

The bull was lying dead ; therefore, as nothing had fallen to 
my other bullet, we examined the tracks, and shortly discovered 
blood upon the grass, in such quantities that we considered the 
wounded animal could not have retreated to any great distance. 

We accordingly followed quickly upon the well-marked traces, 
Gimoro leading, with his spear in readiness to strike. The grass 
was so dry that it rustled as we brushed through, and there would 
be no chance of our coming suddenly upon the te'tel. Twice we 
heard it rush forward as we approached, and in each place it had 
evidently been bleeding as it stood. We now went forward with 
extreme caution, and after an advance of about 150 yards, Gimuro 
hurled his spear, but at the same instant the te'tel charged straight 
into him, with the spear sticking in its flank. He sprang nimbly 
upon one side, and I shot the animal through the centre of the left 
shoulder as it turned after the man. It fell instantly to the shot. 
The natives thought this excellent fun, and laughed heartily at the 
conclusion, but they assured me that great care is necessary when, 
without a rifle, a wounded bull te'tel is followed into high grass, as 
it is difficult to kill upon the spot by throwing a spear. 

This is the only occasion upon which I have ever seen the tetel 
charge, but I do not doubt my informants, as they were thoroughly 
reliable. 



xxi AFRICAN ANTELOPES 351 

As a rule, I make a point of hamstringing every species of 
animal (except an elephant) immediately that it falls to the ground ; 
it is then safe. A slight drawing cut with a good hunting-knife 
will sever the tendon at once. Mahometans are very particular in 
performing the Khallahl before life is extinct. It is a difficult 
operation to cut the throat of a large beast armed with sharp horns, 
while it is struggling upon the ground, especially when the hide is 
thick and tough, as in the case of bull antelopes of the larger 
species. I once had a deplorable loss of one of the finest koodoos 
(A. strepsiceros) that I ever shot. This was lying upon the ground, 
shot a little too high, and as it struggled violently, my men, to one 
of whom I had given my hunting-knife, were afraid to seize it by 
the beautiful long horns. It was in vain that I endeavoured to 
hurry them, until losing patience, I laid my rifle on the ground, 
and was about to take the knife myself in spite of their religious 
prejudice, when the koodoo suddenly gained his feet and started off 
at full gallop into the thick bush, leaving my dilatory people stupe- 
fied and amazed at the disappearance of their beef. We never saw 
this animal again. 

The koodoo generally affords pretty shooting, as it is found in 
deep wooded ravines, which can be commanded by a rifle upon both 
sides, should the animal rush forward from the bottom. Such 
deep places are seldom more than 100 yards across, therefore one 
person upon the margin can always obtain a shot when the koodoo 
is disturbed by throwing stones into the bottom of the hollow. In 
this case the rifle should be 100 yards ahead of the men who throw 
the stones. 

I have never seen any variety of antelope that was really fat. 
Although they are exceedingly muscular and fleshy, being thoroughly 
well rounded, and in good condition, the best that I have seen 
would hardly produce one pound of suet ; that being around the 
kidneys. Many of these animals are infested by parasitical worms, 
The bubalis has a species of large maggot which is found in the 
high bony protuberance upon which the horns are fitted. Some of 
the gazelles have worms which bore through the flesh, and are only 
stopped by the skin, upon reaching which a local inflammation is 
set up, and blood-red circular spots are found beneath the surface. 
I have frequently seen gazelles that were perfectly unfit for food, 
and nevertheless they appeared to be in good condition until 
flayed. When divested of the skin, they were in a deplorable 
state, the inner surface of the hide being covered with rings of 
blood, the results of the worm's puncture in its passage through 
the flesh. 



352 WILD BEASTS AND THEIR WAYS CHAP, xxi 

There is a peculiar charm in the antelope tribe, owing to their 
great variety and their gainey character, and I look back to many 
years passed in the African wilderness, where the associations con- 
nected with the wild animals of the country were far more agreeable 
than my experience of the human inhabitants. 



CHAPTER XXII 

THE DEEK 



THE deer has always been the game par excellence of the hunter. 
There is no animal more generally distributed throughout the 
world, therefore it has been, and still remains, the general attrac- 
tion, as it is usually within reach of the hunter in all wild 
countries where it is not specially preserved. There is no animal 
which exhibits the necessity of preservation by game-laws more for- 
cibly than the deer. In Scotland, where preservation has afforded 
a sanctuary by the strict observance of a close-time, we see an 
immense increase of numbers, although the conditions of the 
Highlands have entirely changed since the destruction of forests, 
which originally gave shelter to the red-deer. In mediaeval times 
the shelter of vast areas of woods exerted a corresponding influence 
in the development of the animals. Shrub?, grasses, and various 
plants throve within the woods ; these afforded nourishment to 
the animals during winter. At the same time, they were pro- 
tected from the driving winds by their dense retreat, instead of 
being exposed, as they now are, to the fury of every winter's gale. 
The effect of misery has been seen in the deterioration of the animal. 
The deer exhibits in its horns the ratio of its vigour. If the 
animal has been well nurtured, and protected from its birth, never 
unduly exposed to privations, but sheltered and well fed through 
every season, it will develop antlers superior in length and solidity, 
and it will increase in weight. The red-deer of Scotland cannot 
be compared, either in size or antlers, with those of Central 
Europe, which exist in large forests, and live a life of undisturbed 
seclusion. Those which have been starved by exposure to cold 
and winter famine have naturally fallen off and deteriorated in 
size. A hart of twelve years old in our Scottish Highlands will 
hardly average 15 stone when grallocked, although some of those 
which have had the advantage of woods will exceed 18 and even 

2 A 



854 WILD BEASTS AND THEIR WAYS CHAP. 

20 stone. The same species of deer in Hungary and Transylvania 
will average 20 stone, and will produce antlers of great length 
and weight, with from fourteen to twenty points, against the 
Scotch stag's ten or twelve. Nothing can more forcibly prove the 
necessity of shelter and good food. Many j>ersons imagine that a 
wild animal can live upon anything, and will thrive where a 
domestic animal would starve. To a certain extent this is true, 
but, on the other hand, the creature will either improve or deterior- 
ate, according to the quality of its pasturage and its protection 
from the severity of climate. Nothing can improve by suffering ; 
all pain and privation must have an adverse effect upon animals or 
human beings ; therefore the destruction of forests in the High- 
lands of Scotland has not only deprived the deer of shelter, but 
has destroyed the plants upon which they depended for their 
winter's food. Foreigners are struck by the absurdity of the 
misnomer " a deer-forest " in Scotland, upon hills that are com- 
pletely devoid of trees. 

It is much to be regretted that the red-deer of Great Britain 
are no longer the grand animals which they continue to be in other 
parts of Europe. The trophy of a fine head is the reward for a 
painstaking stalk and a successful shot ; but there are no heads in 
Scotland that are worthy of the name, as specimens of the antlers 
of red-deer. 

As I have already remarked, the development of every animal 
will depend upon the favourable conditions of localities ; as the 
red-deer has deteriorated in Scotland, it may have improved in 
other countries. I regard the wapiti of America as the red-deer 
upon a gigantic scale. If a wapiti stag were placed in a line with 
a fine German, and a Scotch red-deer, there would be an immense 
difference in size, but they would look like the same animal in 
gradations ; there would be about the same relative difference 
between the wapiti and the German stags as between the latter 
and those of Scotland. 

Many years ago, through the kindness of the late Duke of 
Athole, I had an intimate experience of the Athole forest, which 
at that time was much overstocked with deer. The consequence 
was that they lacked size, and it was rare to kill a hart in con- 
dition, above 15 stone ; 16 was considered much above the average, 
and very few of that weight were killed during the season. The 
horns were small in due proportion. The deer were so numerous 
in those days that the ground was foul from their great numbers, 
and I have seen upwards of a thousand together in one drive upon 
the hillside above Glen Tilt. At one time Her Majesty and the 



xxn THE DEER 355 

late Prince Consort were staying at Blair Castle, and the wind 
being favourable, several thousand deer were driven successfully to 
the desired spot, upon the hill-face opposite Ben-y-Gloe. Such an 
assemblage of wild animals could not have been seen in any other 
part of Scotland, but during winter the food for so vast a number 
was insufficient, and the deer upon that forest have dwindled 
through overstocking. 

At Dunrobin, much farther north, the deer are larger, especially 
those which occupy the woods at the foot of the hills. Twenty 
years ago, when, a guest of his Grace the Duke of Sutherland, 
enjoying some deer-stalking upon the hills, I was struck with the 
superiority in the size of the deer compared with those of Blair ; 
this was due to smaller numbers, better food, and sheHer of large 
woods, to which they could retire during winter; 17 and 18 stone 
were not extraordinary weights for stags of ten or twelve years old. 

It is a curious fact that the rutting season commences with the 
hard frosts of October, after which the deer are out of season. 
With other animals this sexual excitement is the result of warm 
weather, or early spring, when birds and creatures of all kinds, 
released from the icy fetters of the winter, commence their loves 
in the warm hopes of approaching summer. 

When October arrives, the stags begin to bellow, the hair of 
the neck grows coarse and long ; they fight with great fury to 
obtain the mastery of the hinds, until the master stag, having 
gained the ascendency through frequent combats, associates with 
the females, and becomes a ragged -looking object, far different 
from the grand appearance which marked him as the lordly hart 
at the first commencement of his amours. 

It is generally believed that all deer shed their antlers annually, 
but this is not the case. Both the red and the fallow deer shed 
their horns in spring. The huge wapiti of America does the same, 
but the sambur of India is supposed to change its horns only once 
in three years. There is no regular season, either in India or 
Ceylon, but the same species may be killed throughout the year 
with the horns in different degrees of development. 

In forest countries the stags are very careful in their movements 
during the early stages of their antlers. When these first sprout, 
they somewhat resemble the thick stalk of rhubarb, as they push 
boldly from the root with a round, blunt termination, covered with 
a glistening cuticle. These growing horns are very sensitive, and 
the stag has a strong objection to pushing its way through tangled 
thickets. I have known localities among the lofty mountains in 
Ceylon, beneath bare precipices of rocks, where plateaux at lower 



356 WILD BEASTS AND THEIR WAYS CHAP. 

levels were free from jungle, in which we were sure to find a stag 
with horns in velvet ; these secluded spots, which produced good 
pasturage, were at the same time open, anil afforded space to move, 
without danger to the growing horns. 

There are few things more curious than the growth of a deer's 
horns. We have already seen that those of antelopes resemble the 
horns of oxen, goats, and sheep : these are sheaths fitting upon an 
inside core of bone, which is a projection of the skull, and never 
can be shed. The horns of deer commence their growth when the 
male is two years old, in a single spike about G inches long. This 
is perfectly hard and solid, but, like all mature horns, it falls off 
in spring, leaving the peculiar porous base ready for the growth 
of a larger pair. If the animal is healthy, and the conditions of 
the locality favourable, each annual shedding is succeeded by an 
increased size. The base or foundation grows broader and more 
solid every year, and the spike horn forms a tine. As age 
increases, the horns become antlers, as the tines not only enlarge, 
but extend in number, until the animal reaches the prime of ita 
existence ; this would be when about twelve years old. At that 
age the red -deer of Scotland might have ten or twelve points, 
sometimes fourteen, when the stag becomes " imperial," the points 
sprouting from a thickened portion of the horn, which forms a cup. 
Every pointed projection, however small, is termed a "point"; 
thus a stag of twelve will frequently possess only ten good tines, 
and a couple of projections of 2 inches in length will make it 
twelve. 

The growth of antlers is extremely rapid. The young horns 
commence in the beginning of May, and they are sufficiently hard 
beneath the downy skin to commence to peel in the first week of 
August. While growing they are nourished by small blood-vessels, 
and, as by degrees they become developed, the points denote the 
maturity of the formation. When these become acute, the bone 
is thoroughly set and the cleansing process is commenced. The 
small veins dry up, and become obtuse ; the downy skin, which is 
known by the name of " velvet," also becomes dry and leathery. 
As the blood-vessels contract and wither, an itching is set up ; 
this encourages the animal to rub its antlers against some tolerably 
yielding surface, that will by degrees detach the irritating cause. 
The deer generally seeks a sapling of about an inch in diameter 
for its first rubbing post, as the horns are still delicate. In a few 
days, having destroyed several of these yielding stems, it ventures 
upon a tougher material, until at length it has no choice, and 
boldly rubs the last adhering strings of velvet from its horns 



xxn THE DEER 357 

against the rough bark of some old birch, or any tree that will 
assist to cleanse its antlers from the irritating substance. 

When the large horns of sambur or wapiti are growing, they 
make an excellent dish; first scalded to divest them of the down, 
and then gently stewed with a good sauce and a few vegetables. 

If a deer is badly hurt during the growth of antlers, there will 
generally be some deformity in the shape of one, or perhaps both. 
Any accident to the horns while young in velvet has a direct effect 
upon the antlers, and will set up a local inflammation, which 
interferes with the ripening of the horn. I have seen a stag 
which had two peculiarly curved tines of great length ; these had 
interfered with its progress through the woods (in America), and 
had evidently caught among the branches like a grapnel. Although 
the horns were perfectly hard when I shot the animal, the ends of 
these tines were bloody, and instead of sharp terminations, they 
were round and thick, showing that a chronic inflammation had 
prevented the horns from hardening, and had kept the blood-vessels 
in continued action. 

As the stag becomes old, and its powers are on the wane, the 
annual horns become shorter and thinner, the rough exterior loses 
its knobby appearance and becomes smooth, the tines are short 
and fewer in number, and the antlers, which in former years were 
the signs of vigour, exhibit in their reduced appearance an evidence 
of decay. Should a stag be castrated, the horns cease their growth. 

The female carries about eight months, and has only one calf. 
None of the females of the genus Cervus have horns except the 
reindeer; but I have had no personal experience of the latter 
species. 

It is to be deeply regretted that the red-deer no longer exist in 
the New Forest in Hampshire, the Forest of Dean in Gloucester- 
shire, and other places, where in 1838 they were sufficiently 
numerous. I remember them when they were strictly preserved 
by the Crown, and the heads of those in the Forest of Dean were 
very superior to any that exist in Scotland. I am surprised that 
such persons who are the fortunate proprietors of deer-forests do 
not import fine specimens of German deer to cross with those of 
our own country. Any visitors to Vienna must be struck by the 
magnificence of the antlers borne by the stags in the Prada, on 
the outskirts of the city ; in our own country there is nothing that 
will compare with them. 

The hunting of deer, like all other sports, must depend upon 
the condition and customs of the localities. There can be little 
doubt that "hunting" is far superior, as a sport, to shooting. 



358 WILD BEASTS AND THEIR WAYS CHAP. 

But hunting must depend upon the country. You can shoot any- 
where, but to enjoy lain ting, the country must be open, and the 
ground passable for horses. The only portion of Great Britain 
where the wild red-deer is still hunted in the old-fashioned manner 
with horses and hounds, is upon Exmoor ; there the deer remains 
as it always has been ; and may it long continue, as a relic of the 
olden times, is the wish of every person who takes an interest in 
the chase. 

During a long experience I have seen deer both hunted and 
shot, in different ways, and the proof of the superiority of this 
animal, as the perfection of sport, is the fact that it affords intense 
excitement in every form and condition of the pursuit. 

There are so many varieties, that a volume might be devoted 
to the deer alone, instead of mingling it together with wild beasts 
and their ways. Every kind of deer possesses distinct habits and 
peculiarities ; it is therefore impossible to describe their " ways " 
generally, but to be correct, every species requires a separate 
description. The red-deer (Cervus elaphus) is the same throughout 
Europe, Asia, and America, differing only in size and denomination. 
It is hunted in various ways. 

Anderson described a hunt in Siberia with a large species of 
eagle, which actually killed the deer before those who were 
mounted on horseback could reach the spot. He was himself 
present, and his explanation of the incident was clear and graphic : 
the eagle tore out the liver, after having coursed and struck the 
stag upon the open plain. 

In Scotland it would destroy sport if the red-deer were hunted 
with hounds, as they would be driven en masse beyond the limits 
of the forest. If deer are in herds, they should never be hunted. 
A solitary stag that has harboured in some particular spot, and 
has been carefully marked down, might be turned out and coursed 
with deerhounds, but even then the forest might be disturbed if 
the course were long. There can be no doubt that a deer-forest 
should be kept as quiet as the grave. 

There are agitators in England who disturb the minds of 
unthinking men, almost as much as yelping curs would scare the 
deer in a well -secluded sanctuary. It is the prevalent fashion, 
among these egotistical people, to describe to an ignorant audience 
what they consider to be the birthright of mankind. This 
birthright takes the attractive form of appropriation. A man, 
no matter who, is supposed to be bom with a birthright that 
will enable him to wander (trespass) at will over the grounds of 
another private individual, who has either inherited his land, or 



xxn THE DEER 359 

become a proprietor by purchase. The rights of game are ques- 
tioned, and condemned, as " wild creatures are God's gifts to man- 
kind, and are sent for the benefit of all." 

These gentlemen forget that the important element of " water " 
may be claimed as a gift of nature for mankind, but that private 
wells cannot be invaded by the public, neither can springs upon 
private property be interfered with. They also wander from 
historical fact when advancing the theory of a natural right to 
land, or a right to game. If these agitators, who know nothing of 
primeval rights of man, were to examine the actual conditions of 
primeval society as represented by the vast numbers of tribes in 
Central Africa, they would discover the utter fallacy of their 
arguments. I extract, from what I wrote upon this subject when 
in Africa, a few observations that may be worthy of their attention, 
showing that the earliest rights (private rights) of man consisted 
in the possession of land and hunting-grounds : 

" Although the wilderness between Unyoro and Fatiko is un- 
inhabited (about 80 miles), in like manner with extensive tracts 
between Fabbo and Fatiko, every portion of that apparently 
abandoned country is nominally possessed by individual proprietors, 
who claim a right of game by inheritance. 

" This strictly conservative principle has existed from time 
immemorial, and may perhaps suggest to those ultra-radicals who 
would introduce communistic principles into England, that the 
supposed original equality of human beings is a false datum for 
their problem. There is no such thing as equality among human 
beings in their primitive state, any more than there is equality 
among the waves of the sea, although they may start from the 
same level of the calm. ... In tribes where government is weak, 
there may be a difficulty in enforcing laws, as the penalty exacted 
may be resisted ; but even amidst these wild tribes there is a force 
that exerts a certain moral influence among the savages, as among 
the civilised : that force is public opinion. 

"Thus, a breach of the game-laws would be regarded by the 
public as a disgrace to the guilty individual, precisely as an act of 
poaching would damage the character of a civilised person. 

" The rights of game are among the first rudiments of property. 
Man in his primitive state is a hunter, depending for his clothing 
upon the skins of wild animals, and upon their flesh for his sub- 
sistence ; therefore the beast that he kills upon the desert must be 
his property ; and in a public hunt, should he be the first to wound 
an animal, he will have gained an increased interest or share in the 
flesh, by having reduced the chance of its escape. Thus public 



360 WILD BEASTS AND THEIR WAYS CHAP. 

opinion, which we must regard as the foundation of equity, 
rewards him with a distinct and special right, which becomes 
law. 

" It is impossible to trace the origin of game-laws in Central 
Africa, but it is nevertheless interesting to find that such rights 
arc generally acknowledged, and that large tracts of uninhabited 
country are possessed by individuals, which are simply manorial. 
These rights are inherited, descending from father to the eldest son. 

" When the grass is sufficiently dry to burn, the whole thoughts 
of the community are centred on sport ; but should a person set 
fire to the grass belonging to another proprietor, he would be at 
once condemned by public opinion, and he would (if such establish- 
ments existed) be certainly expelled from his club." 

It is not my intention to enter upon a treatise concerning game- 
laws, but there is a fact that is beyond contradiction the existence 
of game depends upon preservation. If the game-laws were 
abolished, and all protection withdrawn, reducing the position of 
game to that of vermin, the question would resolve itself without 
further argument, as there would, within a very few years, be no 
existing subject of dispute. The game would entirely disappear, 
as it has done in most parts of France. 

The destruction of red -deer has already been complete in 
England, excepting the small number still remaining at Exmoor ; 
and those of Scotland would quickly share their fate should the 
existing laws be abolished. 

The character of the nation would be severely affected should 
the game of the country disappear. No pursuit can be more con- 
ducive to a development of manly instincts than that of either 
shooting or hunting. It teaches a man to be quick, and ready for 
any opportunity or emergency ; he must have a correct eye for 
country, and considerable decision of character. He must be a 
good rider, and must excel both with the rifle and the smooth-bore ; 
he must be hardy in constitution, and sound in wind and limb, if 
he is to enjoy the exercise which must accompany all field sports, 
whether on horseback or on foot. 

At the present day England takes the lead in the manufacture 
of first-class firearms. Tiie reason may be accepted, that those 
who enjoy the sports of the field can afford to pay for the best 
quality. This is an important industry that would be almost 
effaced should the game of the country disappear. In the vast 
Empire of India, where extensive tracts of dense jungle were con- 
sidered sufficient to ensure the security of wild animals, it has been 
found necessary within the last twelve months to introduce special 



xxii THE PEER 361 

laws for the preservation of the game, which was fast disappearing 
before the unremitting attacks of man. 

In Ceylon there have been stringent game-laws for many years, 
but in spite of this undeniable necessity, there are persons who 
madly clamour against the protection of game in England. The 
value of a deer-forest in Scotland is many times superior to the 
annual rental for sheep pasturage. It is absurd to complain that 
the poor have not the same privilege as the rich ; nobody, unless a 
professional agitator, envies the rich man his harmless enjoyments, 
and the fact of wealth being introduced into the wild Highlands 
brings comfort and employment to many who would otherwise seek 
their livelihood on foreign shores. 

Nothing can be more enjoyable than deer-stalking in the High- 
lands. In olden times, when people shot with muzzle-loading 
rifles and small charges of powder, the shooting was more difficult 
than in the present day, as the trajectory of the bullet being high, 
it was necessary to judge the distance accurately, to adjust the 
back-sights of the rifle. The improvements within the last twenty 
years have produced the perfection of weapons for deer-stalking in 
Scotland, as the trajectory of the modern Express is so low that 
no elevation is required for 150 yards. Practically no other sight 
is required beyond that of point-blank. 

I mentioned, in the commencement of this work, the name of 
Purcley as the first inventor of the muzzle-loading Express. This 
was then called No. 70, as that number of spherical bullets 
weighed 1 Ib. In those days there were no decimals of the inch 
to designate the size of a bore, but the relative proportion to the 
pound was always understood by the number of the calibre. 

A dear friend, the late Sir Edward Kerrison, presented me 
with a very beautiful Purdey rifle of this calibre, the first Express, 
which burnt 4 drams of powder, and carried a conical solid two- 
grooved bullet weighing 200 grains. I considered that rifle 
perfection for deer-stalking in the Highlands, as it was point-blank 
for 150 yards merely permitting the natural intelligence of the 
shooter to take the sight either coarse or fine, according to his 
estimation of the distance. During the season of 18G8 I was 
enjoying the hills and hospitality of his Grace the Duke of Suther- 
land, and afterwards of the late Lord Middleton at Applecross ; I 
fired at fourteen stags with this Express solid bullet of Purdcy's. 
The rifle bagged thirteen out of fourteen j and I felt ashamed of 
myself that the only escape was the first shot fired, at Dunrobin, 
when, never having previously fired the rifle, the extremely light 
pull of the trigger deceived me, and it went off by accident, break- 



362 WILD BEASTS AND THEIR WAYS CHAP. 

ing the fore leg of a hart just below the shoulder, to my disgust 
and disgrace. 

That little bullet was about the diameter of the modern '400, 
but, as its small weight denotes, it was exceedingly short. It 
may be readily imagined that the extreme velocity doubled up the 
soft lead upon impact with the tough muscles and bones of a 
red-deer, so that the bullet never passed through, but remained 
within the body, or generally beneath the skin on the side opposite 
to that of entrance. Although I have always regarded that 
weapon as perfection for deer-shooting, there was a difficulty in 
loading. The first movement was to pour into the extremely 
small bore 4 drams of powder, without spilling it ; the second was 
to press down a thin wad, with a thick greased felt-wad on the top 
of it ; the third was to wrap the bullet in a greased linen patch, 
and ram this gently upon the greased wad. As the winged bullet 
was mechanically fitted, and highly greased in its linen patch, it 
was thoroughly air-tight, therefore the force necessary in loading 
compressed the air between the descending bullet and the wad 
upon the powder. The bullet formed a piston, and when the 
weight of the loading-rod was removed, the elasticity of the com- 
pressed air forced the bullet upwards, and left a dangerous vacuum 
between it and the powder about 8 inches distant. This was a 
source of danger, and although the barrel was of sufficient strength 
to resist the strain, by not absolutely bursting, many barrels 
bulged, my own included. Nevertheless the move had been made 
by Mr. Purdey in the right direction. I used this rifle in Scot- 
land and in Africa, and I never made better practice. 

Deer-stalking in the Highlands, although most enjoyable, is a 
selfish sport. If a house is full of guests, it is almost impossible 
to afford " stalking " for any number, it is therefore necessary to 
drive, as by this means all can share in the day's sport without 
prejudice. At the same time, there is a great gulf between 
stalking and driving. In the latter process much knowledge is 
necessary, and great patience on the part of the keepers or gillies, 
but there is nothing for the shooters but to lie hidden in the 
positions allotted to them, and to shoot well when the opportunity 
offers. On the other hand, stalking requires a profound knowledge 
of the habits of red-deer, and thorough experience in the geography 
of the locality, together with patience, coolness, and bodily activity. 
We will assume that the weather is not bad, and that we start for 
a day upon the hills. The dress will be arranged for easy walking, 
and for concealment from view. I object to the kilt strongly, as 
it swings, and any object in movement is liable to attract attention. 



xxii THE DEEK 363 

Bare knees are not adapted for crawling along the spiky stumps of 
burnt heather. There is nothing better than heather-mixture of 
strong tweed trousers, and a Norfolk shirt; certainly no white 
collar. 

The attendants are very few. A gillie, a mile in the rear with 
his pony and deer-saddle to bring home the dead. Another gillie, 
who leads a brace of deer-hounds in the slips, about 200 yards 
behind you. The keeper who accompanies you, and who will 
severely test your patience unless you make him thoroughly under- 
stand, before you start, that he is to keep quiet, and in no way 
whisper, tug you by the sleeve, or offer advice at a critical 
moment ; but that he is to remain a dumb companion. This is 
all that you require. 

Stalking is tolerably hard work upon some deer-forests, although 
easy walking upon others. We will say that the month is Sep- 
tember, at which time the horns are certain to be clean. No 
sheep have been permitted upon the forest, therefore the only 
enemy is the grouse or the blue-hare. Nothing is more perplexing 
than the whirr of a disturbed grouse, whose sudden flight is certain 
to awaken the attention of the deer, when otherwise your position 
would be well concealed. Attended by an experienced gillie, you 
may have ascended a steep mountain side, commanding an exten- 
sive view of deep corries, precipitous slopes, barren rocks that 
have fallen in chaotic confusion from bare cliffs, and have nearly 
choked the burn which threads its silvery way beneath. Your 
guide halts suddenly, and seats himself upon a convenient rock or 
tump of heather. " We'll just tak' a bit o' a spy," exclaims your 
attendant, who can always halt and rest, when he feels blown, by 
such a plausible excuse. The field-glass is at once brought to bear 
upon the rusty surface of the heathery scene. Every hill-face is 
scanned ; the sky-line of each mountain ; the dark depths of 
inhospitable corries, nothing is in view. 

" Weel, I never saw the like o't ; it's just bad luck that we 
met that d d auld witch when we first started," exclaimed Sandy. 
" I never kent the day for guid sport if auld Bell cam' across the 
path ; " 1 and he spat upon the ground. " She's just an uncanny 
body that brings nae guid, and my eyes are just that dull I canna 
see through my gless ; but I dinna remember time stanes by the 
bit saft green moss near the tap o' that dark corrie yonder." A 

1 According to Highland superstition, it is bad luck if the first person met 
when starting should be an old woman. Old Bell was considered to be more 
than usually uncanny. The generally accepted antidote to the spell is to spit 
upon the ground. 



364 WILD BEASTS AND THEIR WAYS CHAP. 

steady look with my own glass determined that the stones were 
hinds, lying down in the deep heather near a spring in the 
mountain side. The question remained : " Was there any hart in 
the neighbourhood?" None could bo seen; the hounds were 
about three-quarters of a mile distant in a straight line, but double 
that distance by actual approach. It would never do to disturb 
them, as their retreat would alarm any stag that might be lying 
within view. The only plan was to back out of sight, to take the 
wind, and to make a circuit round the hill, in order to come down 
from above them. In stalking a deer, you should always endea- 
vour to approach from above. The deer seldom looks towards a 
height, but when standing upon an eminence, it looks downward 
upon the great extent, which from its elevated position is exposed 
to view. When you find it impossible to advance direct, and it 
becomes necessary to make a long detour, the work begins, and 
you appreciate the advantage of a thorough knowledge of the 
country. We were soon out of sight, and crossing a lower shoulder 
of the hill we had ascended, we hurried along the opposite side 
under cover of the ridge for at least a mile and a half, and then 
descending into a rocky torrent-bed, we commenced a careful ascent 
towards the summit. This was a gap which formed the watershed, 
and the source of the burn that we had adopted for our route. 
We were now above the deer, and instead of being in our front, 
they were upon our left. They were still lying down, and nothing 
more was visible. Under these circumstances it was necessary to 
cross the ridge and see what might be in view upon the other side 
of the hill. We accordingly drew back, and then followed the 
horse-shoe shape of the ridge, until we arrived upon the same slope 
on which the deer were lying. We arrived at a broken portion of 
the ridge, where large rocks were scattered over the surface ; 
ascending to the sky-line, we had a clear view of the other side, as 
we were now just above the hinds, which were not in sight, but 
about 300 yards upon our left. 

Almost at the same moment, Sandy and myself, without utter- 
ing a word, knelt slowly down. There was a pair of antlers and 
a portion of a head about 200 yards below us on our right. The 
stag was lying down in very deep heather. 

The wind was wrong ; but as we were high above him, we 
remained unobserved. There were no means of stalking that stag, 
as there was absolutely nothing except the heather to cover us. 
I whispered to Sandy to remain where he was, while I would 
endeavour to crawl cautiously through the heather. The face of 
the hill was so steep that crawling head-foremost was impossible, 



xxir THE DEER 365 

find I was obliged to wriggle upon my side and back, feet-foremost. 
By degrees I made progress, and I flattered myself that I should 
get within 100 yards, when suddenly a hind and fawn which had 
been concealed in the deep heather sprang to their feet about 150 
yards upon my right. I sank below the heather, and was out of 
sight, but I felt that the stag was on his legs. Gradually and 
cautiously raising my head, I saw the stag standing about 120 
yards from me ; the hind and fawn, upon the right, were looking 
out across the line of our positions. They evidently had my 
wind. If they had commenced to run, the stag would have 
followed in an instant. He was looking downwards upon the 
glen below, but he was standing almost broadside towards me. 
I was lying on my back, therefore slowly and carefully I sat up, 
my head was just above the heather as I raised the rifle. Almost 
at the same moment the hind and fawn started off; the stag was 
in the act of moving when I fired. He fell to the shot, disappear- 
ing in the heather, and now and then exposing his antlers as he 
struggled on the ground. I began to step the number of paces to 
measure the distance, which is my usual custom. I had arrived 
about half-way, when the stag suddenly jumped up, and without 
a moment's hesitation started at full speed down the steep 
mountain side, as though he had never been touched. 

" Slip the dog," I shouted at the top of my voice, but the 
knowing gillie had already done it. He had closed up with the 
keeper, whom I had left behind when the stalk commenced, and 
he had been watching the progress of the stalk with intense 
. excitement. He saw the deer fall, and was running towards me 
when the stag regained his feet ; at the same moment he loosed 
the dog, and Oscar, who was a first-rate hound, came bounding 
past me with the game full in view. 

Whatever superiority Oscar might have possessed upon level 
ground, was entirely lost through the rough nature of the country. 
The stag completely distanced him in the race down hill; one hope 
remained, that upon reaching the peat moss in the bottom, the 
heavy soil would be against the deer, and the hound might recover 
some advantage. 

Hurrying at the best pace possible down the steep incline, 
through the deep heather, occasionally slipping backwards over the 
clattering stones, we ran down the hill, which in ordinary moments 
would have required careful walking. Now, the stag was going 
across the deep peat moss, and the snow-white Oscar was a bright 
speck upon the brown surface, gaining decidedly in the race of life 
and death. Had the deer been stationary, it would have been 



366 WILD BEASTS AND THEIR WAYS CHAP. 

difficult to have distinguished it upon the peat moss, which matched 
exactly with its colour ; but as it sped before the dog, and became 
smaller as they both increased their distance, we could just deter- 
mine that the stag would disappear from view before we should be 
able to reach the lower ground. 

This proved to be the case, and from the direction taken by the 
stag, I much feared that it would escape should the hound lose 
sight of it among the numerous torrent-beds between us and the 
river Bruar. I knew Oscar to be thoroughly good, but although a 
fleet and powerful hound, he had been trained, like all others, to 
bring a wounded deer to bay, but not to seize. This always ap- 
peared an absurdity to me, but it was a rule of the forest (Blair- 
Athole). If the deer were determined to make for a certain point, 
there was nothing to stop it ; the only chance lay in its being 
pressed so closely by the hound that it would turn to bay in some 
favourable locality. 

I could run like a dog in those days, and the hardy gillie and 
myself hurried across the heavy ground for about a mile, making 
for the direction where the stag and Oscar had both disappeared. 
The level swamp drained into many burns ; these had cut deep 
clefts in the slopes which inclined towards the lower country. We 
had lost all clue to the whereabouts of both stag and hound, and 
after running for nearly a mile beyond the swamp where we had 
last seen them, we halted to listen, in the hope of hearing the deep 
voice of Oscar with the stag at bay. 

Suddenly, to our surprise and disgust, we observed a white 
object in the distance returning in our direction ; this was Oscar, 
having lost his game. 

Having had many years' experience, I felt certain that the stag 
had thrown the hound off by running clown a stream before the dog 
had come in view, and it would probably be standing in some deep 
place for concealment. We accordingly called the dog, who ap- 
peared to receive fresh courage from our presence. After a run of 
about half a mile, we arrived at a stream flowing along a deep 
gully, where the tracks of the deer were most distinct, the hoofs 
being widely spread, showing that it had been going at great speed. 
As the torrent rushed down some ugly places, I felt sure the deer 
would be in hiding somewhere not far distant ; I therefore encour- 
aged the dog by hallooing him on, and he presently dashed away 
to the left, as though he had obtained the scent. In another 
minute we heard a few loud barks, and we saw the stag going off 
down the hill about 200 yards distant, with Oscar close behind. 
With a good view halloo to cheer the dog, we followed at best 



xxn THE DEER 367 

speed. After a run of a quarter of a mile, we had a splendid view 
of the stag at full speed, and the dog upon its left flank; had 
Oscar been trained to seize, he should have immediately tackled his 
game by the throat or ear. Instead of this, he simply kept his 
position, and presently turned a somersault as the stag kicked him 
in the chest, and then gained 30 or 40 yards before the dog could 
recover from the fall. Again both deer and pursuer were lost to 
view, as they disappeared among steep descents and broken ground. 
We had run more than three miles from the spot where I had fired 
the shot, and I could now form a tolerably correct idea of the spot 
where the stag would come to its final stand. The river Bruar 
lay before us about a mile distant, and, as we hurried forward, I 
caught sight of a white speck in the far distance. I felt sure this 
was Oscar, and the stag was still in front, although from its colour, 
matching with the brown heather, we could not distinguish any 
animal beyond the hound. 

We were not long in reaching the steep banks of the Bruar, 
about a mile and a half above the falls. Nothing was in sight, 
but as we halted to listen, our hearts beat with delight at hearing 
the voice of Oscar, with the stag at bay somewhere beneath, in the 
dark hollow of a sudden bend. Hurrying towards the spot, the 
voice of the dog ceased ; the stag had broken his bay, and instead 
of crossing the precipitous rocks, it turned back, and passed us at 
full speed within 40 yards, with the dog in chase behind it. A 
shot through the neck rolled it over, and for the first time Oscar 
seized it by the throat. I did not fire at the neck, as I had in- 
tended to hit the shoulder ; but I had been running for four or five 
miles, and I was out of breath. 

My first shot was too high. It was in good line just behind the 
shoulder, but it had passed through the animal exactly below the 
spine. The shock had knocked it over, but it had almost instantly 
recovered, and practically it was as fresh as though it had not 
received a bullet. 

When aiming at an animal that is standing upon a steep incline 
below you, the greatest care should be taken to shoot low, as near 
the brisket as possible, to attain the shoulder. I made a mistake 
when shooting quickly from an uncomfortable position, and did not 
make a sufficient allowance for the downhill shot. 

Reminiscences of the Highlands would make a volume, and I 
cannot afford space for any lengthened descriptions of the red-deer 
of Scotland, which are well known to so many who have had, 
perhaps, greater experience than myself; but the great mimbers of 
deer, and the facilities for acquiring a knowledge of their habits, 



368 WILD BEASTS AND THEIR WAYS CHAP. 

offer a more than ordinary advantage, and yield information that 
would be difficult to obtain elsewhere. 

Although I do not chuss deer-driving with the far nobler and 
more exciting sport of stalking, the driving is most instructive in 
affording a knowledge of the habits of the animal. The deer will 
always travel against the wind, which affords notice of an enemy. 

Certain winds will be in favour of particular drives, and it 
would be absurd to attempt a drive unless the wind were favourable. 

There was no forest where deer-driving was better organised 
than at Athole, in the last Duke's lifetime. Through his great 
kindness I had much practical experience for some years upon those 
well-remembered hills. If the wind was fair, the valley of Glen 
Tilt was the favourite position for the rifles. The so-called 
"boxes" were shallow pits built up with rocks and sods of turf to 
resemble natural excrescences. These lined the left side of the 
road when ascending from Forest Lodge, the river Tilt rushing in 
a brawling stream upon the right. 

The " boxes " were about 200 yards apart, and the hills rose 
more or less abruptly to the height of about 700 feet above the 
glen, exhibiting a clean sky-line, upon which in clear weather a 
dog might have been distinguished with the naked eye. 

On the opposite face, to the river's left, were the lofty Grampian 
Hills, Ben-y-Gloe being the highest point. 

The prettiest drive when the wind was favourable was that in 
face of Ben-y-Gloe. The keepers and gillies had stereotyped 
instructions that the deer were to be on the sky-line at 3 P.M. 

To effect this, they would leave the Castle at about 4 A.M., 
and take a circuit embracing about 20 miles, from which they 
would converge towards the appointed spot above Glen Tilt. The 
driving of deer is a science ; very few men are necessary, and they 
should be at intervals of a quarter of a mile apart. Eight men 
will accordingly cover a line of 2 miles. They would commence 
at a great distance by intervals of half a mile, or even more, 
gradually converging as they approached the terminus of the drive. 

The various herds or " parcels " of deer, seeing the men extended 
in their rear, but not obtaining their scent, as the wind was in the 
front, would gently move forward in the required direction, if the 
drive were properly conducted. Xo noise of any kind should be 
made, no wild gesticulations, but the men should march slowly 
but steadily forward, halting occasionally according to the move- 
ments of the deer. 

I have frequently been with the keepers, with instructions to 
prevent the deer from breaking back. The greatest possible care 



xxn THE DEER 369 

is required to keep them straight, and to drive them forward 
without flurry or excitement. As herd after herd joins the general 
movement, as miles of heather have been traversed, the difficulty 
increases, as the deer become suspicious of danger, and evince a 
strong desire to charge back through the wide intervals between 
the advancing line. 

When a herd turns round and faces the keepers, the simple 
action of exposing a white handkerchief, without waving it, is 
generally sufficient to stop the deer, and to prevent them from 
making a rush towards the rear. Should one lot of deer rush 
back and succeed in escaping from the drive, it is highly probable 
that every deer, even should there be a thousand, would follow 
suit, and a general stampede would produce a complete failure. 

The hinds are always the leaders of a movement, and the harts, 
or stags, are dependent upon these wary females for advice. 

When the drive is advancing, and perhaps five hundred deer 
may be moving slowly and hesitatingly forward, some clever old 
hind, a regular "old parliamentary hand," will turn round and 
confront the men at about 400 yards' distance. Several other 
hinds will immediately imitate her example, until at length a 
large number of deer will have halted in a crowd. A keeper will 
immediately display a white handkerchief, and for the moment 
halt ; every man along the line will do the same. The old hind 
will perhaps advance inquisitively forward, as though to examine 
the peculiar appearance of a white handkerchief. This is 
dangerous, and she must be stopped. A shrill whistle will at 
once turn her, and as she retreats, the handkerchief may be slowly 
waved, as the man advances. 

In this manner, by degrees, with quiet and reflective manage- 
ment, the large mass of animals may be induced to move in the 
required direction. Should some determined hart or hind make a 
rush backwards in desperation, it must be stopped at all hazards 
by a shot, but the great secret of success is quietness. 

In the meantime six guns are anxiously waiting in the same 
number of boxes at the foot of the hills, thus lining the valley of 
Glen Tilt. The order has been given that the deer are to be 
visible on the sky-line at 3 P.M. Every watch has been set to 
the same time, and the anxious watchers have been repeatedly 
conferring with their dials, and scanning the sky-line with their 
binoculars, as only five minutes remain of the time appointed. 

The keepers in the rear of the advancing herds have also referred 
to their watches, and they take a pride in carrying out their 
instructions with the greatest punctuality. 

2B 



370 WILD BEASTS AND THEIR WAYS CHAP. 

Everything goes well, and those who are watching below 
suddenly observe a solitary head and antlers clearly defined upon 
the sharp outline of the hill-top. Then another, and another, 
until single deer are multiplied and the crest of the hill is covered 
with a display of deer, stags and hinds confused together ; other 
stags in company ; and a few hinds some 50 yards or more in 
advance, to reconnoitre, before the main body will venture upon a 
general forward movement down the mountain side. 

It is highly interesting to watch the caution of the hinds ; how 
they regard the view before them, how they scrutinise the right 
and left, and leave nothing unobserved. Then perhaps the wary 
old hind herself advances alone, and trots along the face, regarded 
anxiously by every deer of the vast herd, all confident in her 
qualifications as a pilot. 

By degrees she becomes satisfied, and she walks briskly down 
the hill, followed by about twenty other hinds ; these form a kind 
of advance guard, followed by a number of stags, and a mixed lot 
of all kinds, as they feel that no danger exists in front. 

In this way they descend the hill, and shortly afterwards the 
sky-line will be occupied by a line of sentries in the shape of 
keepers and gillies, who, having successfully driven the deer before 
them, now stand as though on parade upon the ridge, their duty 
having been well performed. 

The work is not yet over. Great care is now required. The 
keepers must not descend too hurriedly, but only remain standing, 
and show themselves to encourage the forward movement of the 
deer. They are now nearing the bottom, and in a few minutes 
will be splashing through the shallow waters of the Tilt. A few 
fine harts are following a parcel of cunning hinds, which have halted 
a dozen times before they reached the bottom. These are already 
belly-deep in the water, wading across the river; the harts are 
following, and are near the stream. Suddenly a puff of smoke, 
then another, from a raised portion of the heather ! A stag falls, 
and the astonished herd rushed frantically to the right ; another 
puff of smoke from a hidden box rolls over another stag. 

A rush takes place in all directions : some force a passage across 
the river, several falling to successful shots as the fire is opened 
from every box that is available ; some deer break back and 
reascend the hill. Now the active rifles which have advanced in 
line with the keepers throughout the drive run nimbly forward, 
and endeavour to intercept those animals which are determined to 
break through the converging line of drivers. 

At length the drive is over. The main body of the deer have 



xxn THE DEER 371 

crossed the river, and can be seen in scattered groups ascending 
the steep sides of Ben-y-Gloe. A few have succeeded in breaking 
back, some eight or ten are killed, and two or three are wounded, 
and may be seen standing alone about half a mile distant, mid-way 
up the hill. 

There is a gillie well above one of these stags hurrying 'forward 
with a deer-hound in the slips. When the dog sees the deer, and 
strains upon his collar, he is loosed, and away he goes straight for 
the stag, who is looking after the departed herd, and has not 
observed the approaching hound. Suddenly it perceives the 
danger ; as though unhurt, the stag flies down the hill-side, running 
obliquely to avoid the steep descent, and the dog is shortly at its 
heels. Both disappear among the bushes of a small copse of 
birch ; a few minutes later everybody is running towards the bay 
as the deep voice of the hound proclaims that the stag is in the 
river, standing before the dog in bold defiance. 

There is hardly a more sporting sight than a stag at bay ; but 
as the dogs are trained simply to follow a wounded deer until it 
stands, when the baying of the hound will attract the attention of 
the far-distant men, the termination of the hunt is a tame affair, 
as the deer is shot directly that the rifle arrives upon the scene. . . . 
About thirty-two years have passed away since we discussed the 
question whether the deer-hounds at Blair would seize a stag, if it 
were considered necessary. Most persons who knew the training 
of the dogs thought not. The Duke of Athole inclined to that 
opinion. On the other side I thought they would, provided that 
no rifles were taken out, and the dogs should see that the stag 
was to be tackled at close quarters with the knife. 

There never was a keener sportsman than his Grace the late 
Duke of Athole, and he was good enough to consent to a trial. 
The arguments had interested the ladies of the party, and it was 
arranged that I might select any two of the deer-hounds, and hunt 
down a fresh stag, run it to bay, and kill it with a knife. To 
myself the affair appeared exceedingly simple, as I had been 
accustomed to this kind of hunting for many years on the moun- 
tains of Ceylon, but others disbelieved that the two hounds would 
bring a fresh deer to bay, as they had always been accustomed to 
follow animals that were wounded. 

By the advice of the head forester, Sandy Macarra (MacCarra), 
I chose my old friend Oscar, and another hound, whose name I 
have forgotten. 

We were a large party, and we met at Forest Lodge, about 1 
miles from the Castle, in the middle of Glen Tilt. There are few 



872 WILD BEASTS AND THEIR WAYS CHAP. 

glens in the Highlands more picturesque. The road from Blair 
Castle passes through lovely woods bordering the impetuous 
stream ; this rushes wildly through contracted passes, hemmed in 
by opposing rocks ; sometimes it is girt by stony cliffs half con- 
cealed by lichens ; other portions of the face combine every shade 
of colouring in vivid tints. The mountain ash, with clusters of 
scarlet berries, overhangs the rocks in rich profusion of both fruit 
and foliage, until at length the open glen is reached, beyond the 
limit of the woods. 

This is a well-known resort of tourists, and nothing can exceed 
the wild beauty of the scene, when about the middle of September 
the autumnal tints have ornamented every leaf with peculiar 
brightness. Although we have emerged from the main woods, 
there are clumps of weeping birch with its silver bark and golden 
leaves ; and rowan thickets bending over the rapid river, now and 
then reflected in the calm surface of a deep pool, where the salmon 
are lying waiting for a flood. This kind of rough scenery con- 
tinues throughout the glen, the narrow bottom occupied by the 
river, bordered by a good road, while the mountains rise upon 
either side, and form the Grampian Hills. 

The afternoon was perfect ; all that was required was game. 

Certainly the presence of many ladies brought us luck ; for, 
after scanning in vain a long expanse of country, we were suddenly 
delighted by the almost magical appearance of a stag ; he had been 
lying clown behind a large rock a little more than half-way up the 
hill-face. He now stood regarding the carriages, and our large 
party, which included the keepers, and the two hounds from Forest 
Lodge. The stag was about 1000 yards distant I was only 
afraid that he would commence a trot up the hill, and disappear 
above the sky-line ; but fortunately we were upon the main road, 
upon which the deer were accustomed to regard passengers 
(although few), who did not interfere in any manner with their 
domain. It was therefore decided that the party should turn 
back, and drive for about a mile on the Castle side of Forest 
Lodge, while I should walk on until I should be out of the deer's 
sight ; I could then discover a favourable position for ascending 
the hill, and coming down from above upon the stag. This was 
an excellent arrangement. The party turned back, while I con- 
tinued on my way, accompanied by two of the hill-men and the 
dogs. 

It did not take us very long to climb the hill, and we found 
ourselves upon the well-known desolate extent of heather, sloping 
always upwards, although we had reached what from below 



xxn THE DEER 373 

appeared to be the summit. There were a few hinds within view, 
and some young harts, but they were not in a position to disturb 
the stag, who was far away out of sight, being on our left, well 
below, upon the hill-face. 

There was neither caution nor science required, therefore we 
made a quick advance, marching parallel with the glen, about a 
quarter of a mile on the right of the incline above the Tilt. 

When arriving at the position which I had roughly calculated 
as above the spot where we had seen the stag, we turned to our 
left, and came downwards, until we were in sight of Glen Tilt, 
and we could see the carriages with our entire party waiting in the 
road about a mile upon our right. The deer was not in sight. 
This was exceedingly awkward, as it looked as though he had 
suspected danger, and had departed. 

My men did not think so ; they thought that he had again lain 
down when the carriages turned and were lost to view. It was 
the party which had disturbed him, therefore he had again reposed 
when the party was gone. 

In this opinion I agreed : we accordingly held the dogs in 
readiness to slip immediately, and the gillie led the way. We 
were not kept many minutes in suspense ; there was no doubt 
that the stag had been lying down, as he suddenly sprang up 
within 100 yards of us, and in the same instant the dogs were 
slipped. They had viewed him immediately that he sprang up 
from the heather and the broken surface of the hill-face. 

This must have been a lovely sight from the carriages, although 
rather far for the unassisted eye. For a few seconds the stag 
took up the hill, but the hounds ran cunning, and cut him off; he 
now took a straight course along the face, towards the direction 
where the carriages were waiting below. The hounds were going 
madly and were gaining on him. I now felt certain that he could 
not breast the hill at such a pace, therefore, instead of follow- 
ing over the rough ground, we made all speed direct for the 
bottom, to gain the level road. It did not take long to reach the 
welcome solid footing, and away we went as hard as we could go 
along the road, towards the direction of the carriages. As 
we drew near, we could see the hunt. The deer had passed the 
spot where our party was in waiting, but he now turned down the 
hill towards the river, with the two dogs within a few yards of 
his heels. Presently we lost sight of everything ; we pushed for- 
ward, passed the carriages, which were empty, as everybody had 
joined in the hunt, and after running about a quarter of a mile 
down the road, we heard the bay, and shortly arrived at the spot 



374 WILD HEASTS AND THEIR WAYS CUAP. xxn 

where the stag was standing in the middle of a rapid, and the 
hounds were baying from the bank. No doubt the dogs expected 
to hear the crack of a rifle, and to see the gallant stag totter and 
fall in the foaming river, according to their old experiences. How- 
ever, they were not long in doubt. Patting both the excited 
hounds upon the back, and giving them a loud halloo, I jumped 
into the water, which was hardly more than hip-deep, but the 
stream was very rapid. The stag, upon seeing my advance, ran 
down the bed of the river, and halted again after a short run of 
50 or 60 yards. The two keepers had followed me, and Oscar 
and) his companion no longer thought of baying from the bank, 
but being carried forward by the torrent, together with ourselves, 
were met by the stag with lowered antlers. I never saw dogs 
behave better, although for a moment one was beneath the water ; 
Oscar was hanging to the ear. I caught hold of the horn to assist 
the dog, and at the same moment the other hound was holding by 
the throat. The knife had made its thrust behind the shoulder, 
and the two gillies were holding fast by the horns to prevent the 
torrent from carrying away the dying animal. This had been a 
pretty course, which did not last long, but it was properly managed, 
and in my opinion ten times better sport than shooting a deer at 
bay. 

I am afraid that Sandy Macarra never quite forgave me for 
that hunt. "Weel, you've just ruined the dogs for ever, and 
there'll be nae haudiu' them frae the deer noo. They'll just spoil 
the flesh, and tear the deer to pieces." This was the keeper's idea 
of what I thought was good sport. Certainly the venison did not 
belong to me, neither did the dogs. 

Deer-stalking in the Highlands is a tempting theme, upon 
which I have no space to dilate. It awakens recollections of keen 
excitement, and the kindness of old friends, nearly all of whom 
are gone. 



CHAPTER XXIII 

(continued) 



NEXT to the red-deer is the fallow-deer (Cervus dama). Although 
this species is most common, it is declared by some to be not 
indigenous to Europe, but upon the authority of Cuvier it was 
originally introduced from Barbary. I should much doubt that 
fact, as the deer is not an animal that belongs to the African 
continent, and is nowhere found except on the north coast border- 
ing the Mediterranean. It should therefore be more natural that 
the Cervus dama (platyceros of the ancients) was introduced into 
Barbary from Southern Europe. The great Sahara desert has 
intervened as though it were an ocean, and has completely pro- 
hibited the passage of the fauna from north to south, therefore 
the deer which are found in Barbary can have no affinity with the 
fauna of Africa. 

The fallow-deer does not run wild in Great Britain like the red- 
deer, but is confined in parks. As late as 1835 there were large 
numbers that were unfenced in the New Forest in Hampshire, and 
I can well remember seeing them in 1832 when I delighted in 
that forest, as a boy. I believe a few still remain, but the fallow- 
deer can no longer be accepted as a wild animal of Great Britain. 

It is a beautiful species, and, as it is park -fed, and better 
sheltered during winter than the red-deer of Scotland, the horns 
have not deteriorated. These are very elegant in shape, being 
palmated, with many points. There is a difference of opinion 
respecting the quality of the venison as compared with that of the 
red-deer. I prefer that of the fallow-deer, but it is almost a crime 
to declare this in Scotland. 

The third variety of British deer is the roe (C. capreolus). 
This small deer is about the size of an ordinary goat. Although 
the horns have only two tines, the quality is exceedingly dense, 
and the exterior is rich in small knobs ; the roughness makes 



376 WILD BEASTS AND THEIR WAYS CIIAP. xxm 

it particularly handsome. It exists in considerable numbers in 
Scotland, being generally found in thick woods where the ground 
is covered with very high heather. This animal is not gregarious, 
but is generally associated with one female, or is quite alone. 
The female carries her young for between five and six months, and 
has seldom more than one or two at a birth. The flesh is esteemed 
in Central Europe, where it is well larded with bacon, and prepared 
in a different manner from that in England ; but I have always 
regarded it as dry, and most inferior game. It can hardly be 
classed as a sporting animal, as the shooting of a roe-deer is upon 
a par with shooting a hare. It is common throughout Europe and 
Western Asia. 

There are great varieties of small deer throughout the world, 
some of which are too insignificant for description, as I endeavour 
in this work to exhibit the characters and peculiarities of such 
animals as are generally accepted by the sportsman as attractive 
game. It is therefore a relief to take leave of the insignificant 
roe, and to cross the Atlantic, where we shall find the red-deer of 
Europe transformed by the favourable conditions of the country 
and its fattening pasturage into the gigantic wapiti (Cervus 
Canadensis). 



CHAPTER XXIV 

THE WAPITI (CERVUS CANADENSIS) 

I HAVE already advanced the opinion that this superb species of 
deer is nothing more than the Cervus elaphus, or red-deer of 
Europe and Northern Asia, upon a larger scale ; it exceeds them 
in a wonderful degree, not only in stature, but in the immense size 
of the antlers. A fine stag, when about ten or twelve years old, 
is a magnificent sight to any person who takes a pleasure in the 
study of wild animals. The colour is similar to that of the red- 
deer, but the rump is rather a lighter brown. I have never 
actually weighed or measured a wapiti, but from my experience in 
the exact weight of other deer of various species, I should say that 
the live weight would be from 900 to 1000 Ibs. ; the same animal 
would be 14^ hands in shoulder height. It is found throughout 
North America, but, like other game, it has been so hunted that 
it has almost disappeared from localities where formerly it was 
plentiful, as neither sex has been spared in the warfare of 
extermination. 

This splendid deer was at one time numerous in the Sacramento 
valley, not far from the city of San Francisco, but it is now an 
animal of the past, although the town is hardly forty years old. 
Southern California affords every facility for the hunter, owing to 
the mildness of its climate, which enables him t<3 shoot throughout 
all seasons, therefore the game has no rest. The wapiti is departed 
towards the north, where it seeks the shelter of the uninhabited 
wilderness, far away from the dwellings or pursuits of man. 

Many persons, in their descriptions of game, forget the great 
distances that animals will travel when once disturbed. Accounts 
have been given to me by persons well accustomed to wild sports, 
who, having had the good fortune to be the first upon fresh 
ground, have seen an enormous amount of game. They have 
described this as impossible to destroy; "no matter how many 



378 WILD BEASTS AND THEIR WAYS CHAP. 

gunners may start from England, the game would last for five or 
six years." These enthusiastic persons forget that although the 
game will not be actually shot, it will be driven away, which is 
almost as bad. 

A week's shooting in a mountainous country, where the echoes 
of the rifle will be resounded far and wide among the hills, will 
disturb an incredible extent. Such long-enduring animals as deer 
will travel 30 or 40 miles in 24 hours, and they will quickly dis- 
appear. The presence of deer is seldom continuous in the same 
locality throughout all seasons. They are influenced by the 
pasturage, and the changes of climate : they accordingly are well 
acquainted with a large area of country, perhaps extending for 
several hundred miles, through which they have been accustomed 
to range from the days of their birth. 

The wapiti is a wide ranger, and I have no doubt that those 
which are met with on the Big Horn range in the State of 
Wyoming travel at certain seasons to the main range of the Rocky 
Mountains. All animals that are gregarious are migratory, especi- 
ally if they are in large numbers. I have myself seen at least 300 
wapiti in one herd, and I am quite certain that they went straight 
away from the Big Horn range, as I never saw them again, 
although I was riding great distances every day for several weeks 
throughout the country. 

I have already described the character of the Big Horn mountains 
in the chapter devoted to the bear ; it is only necessary to repeat 
that it resembles the Highlands of Scotland to a certain degree, 
upon an enormous scale, the mountains rising to an altitude of 
12,000 feet above the sea-level, and the forests of spruce firs 
extending for many miles along the slopes. The superiority over 
Scotland consists in the firm character of the soil ; there are no 
swamps or peat mosses, but fine grass, which forms a most fattening 
pasturage, and in many places the wild sage takes the place of 
Scottish heather. It may be readily imagined that such a com- 
bination forms the perfection of a shooting ground. There are, 
however, considerable drawbacks. Although the climate is ex- 
tremely healthy, the atmosphere is most disagreeable, through the 
sudden varieties of temperature and the extreme dryness. 

Our camp was generally about 10,000 feet above the sea. At 
that altitude the air is considerably rarefied, and the cold during 
night was extreme, in the month of September. In the day the 
sun was hot, and the wind was at the same time piercing : this 
was very trying to the skin, and although I was tolerably weather- 
proof, my face and neck were peeled from the harsh exposure. 



xxiv THE WAPITI 379 

We had no other tent than an ordinary single cloth lean-to, about 
7 feet square, and under 6 feet in height in the centre beneath the 
ridge-pole. A bed upon the ground, formed of the tender ends of 
spruce branches, and covered with a waterproof camp sheet, upon 
which were double blankets, would have been a luxury in a milder 
climate, but it was almost impossible to keep warm, as the cold 
was so intense, that a pail of water exposed at night became a solid 
block of ice before the morning. The most welcome bedfellows 
were a few large rounded pebbles from the stream, about 10 Ibs. 
each; these were well heated in the fire, and then wrapped in 
thick flannel : in the absence of a warming-pan, it was a simple 
arrangement that produced great comfort. 

The extent of forest was very small in proportion to the open 
grass -land. Periodical fires appeared to have destroyed large 
tracts, and the blackened stems produced an aspect of painful 
desolation. 

Where the spruce forests were unharmed, the signs of wapiti 
were very extraordinary. In some places there was not a sound 
tree, as every stem had been used from time to time as a rubbing- 
post, to clean the antlers. This would be a proof that the animals 
were collected in vast numbers towards the end of the period when 
the horns were hardening, and the velvet required rubbing. The 
horns are clean in the middle of August ; the animals would be 
there about the middle of July in their greatest numbers, but at 
that time they would not be fit to shoot. 

The flies are insufferable until about 15th August, therefore 
the actual shooting season in the Big Horn is limited from that 
date until 30th September. 

A man who never misses a day, but who is in the saddle from 
sunrise till sunset, will cover a large extent of country in a month, 
and there will be very little remaining after a shooting expedition 
of six weeks. 

When I was there, a party of skin-hunters had obtained a start 
of a few days, and I was obliged to change my course in order to 
avoid them, as they had already disturbed a portion of the ground. 

There was no attractive scenery throughout the Big Horn 
range ; it was a great expanse of desolation. The finest spruce 
were not larger than those ordinarily seen in England ; the cotton- 
wood, which in the low country grows to the size of a black 
poplar (which it exactly resembles), is dwarfed by the rigour of 
the climate, and is not thicker, nor taller, than a hop-pole. This 
grows in dense patches of 8 or 10 acres upon the face of the 
slopes, and is the chief resort of the black-tail deer. 



380 WILD BEASTS AND THEIR WAYS CHAP. 

The game of this mountain range consisted of bears, wapiti, 
black-tail deer, bison, wild sheep (big-horn), antelopes, wolves, and 
foxes. Among the game-birds were the blue-tailed grouse and the 
sage-hen. 

I had heard so much concerning the wanton slaughter of wild 
animals, that I determined not to leave the character of a 
" destroyer " behind me ; therefore, although my sport would be 
limited by showing mercy, I made up my mind to abstain from 
shooting only for the sake of killing. By adopting this arrange- 
ment I should have a certain advantage, as I should not alarm 
the country by firing many shots. 

The black-tail deer were not fit to shoot until the middle of 
October, as the horns were not yet clean. I regretted this, as 
their antlers are most peculiar, being curved, with a multitude of 
points, and although not large, they are exceedingly ornamental. 
This animal is about the size of a fallow-deer, the colour grayish 
brown, and the venison excellent. Owing to the disturbance 
caused by the skin-hunters, we saw no wapiti for several days. I 
was astonished, as the accounts that I had received had been most 
glowing. There were plenty of antelopes, all of which were as 
wild as hawks ; and had wapiti been upon the open, it would have 
been difficult in some places to have stalked them, as the antelopes 
scouring over the ground would have given notice of the approach 
of danger. Bison were very plentiful, but after shooting a fine 
bull, I only regarded them as ornaments in a natural park, and 
they were considered sacred. In several places they fed within a 
few hundred yards of our camp, without apparent notice. This 
was all very agreeable, but where were the wapiti 1 

There was no party beyond Lady Baker, myself, and our four 
attendants, with a number of horses and mules. 

I had lent my hunter (Jem Bourne) a Martini-Henry rifle, 
but he was not supposed to shoot without permission. 

Among our horses was a well-trained animal named Buckskin, 
who would remain any length of time standing, to await my 
return, if I dismounted to stalk a deer. This was a remarkably 
safe beast ; powerful and steady, he never made a false step, either 
up or down a hill. I could shoot from his back almost as well as 
though on foot, as he never flinched, but stood like a rock. He 
was a horse that should endure for many years, as he never over- 
exerted himself; he preferred to be ridden without spurs. I 
forgot them once ; but I never did again. On that occasion he 
was delighted, as he knew that he could arrange his pace according 
to his natural discrimination; he accordingly declined to go 



xxiv THE WAPITI 381 

beyond a walk. As to digging the unarmed heels of riding-boots 
into his flanks, or thrashing him with a stick, you might as well 
bestride a garden roller and dig your heels into the iron; you 
could not discover the stick that would affect him for more than a 
few seconds, neither could you "belabour" the animal without 
cessation. 

The day that I forgot my spurs, we were riding along a 
valley ; the left slope was wooded with spruce forest, the right 
was open grass. We suddenly observed a number of antelopes 
scouring down from the sky-line on our right, about 600 yards 
distant ; these had evidently been disturbed, and as there were no 
hunters within many miles of our position, we could not conceive 
the cause. Presently, three large bears appeared, cantering along 
at a great pace down the grass slope, making all haste to reach 
the forest on our left. As they would cross our path, we had 
every chance of intercepting them by a quick gallop straight ahead 
along the bottom of the valley. Buckskin took a different view 
of the position : he knew that I had no spurs, and in spite of 
every exertion on my part, I could not induce him to increase his 
pace from an ordinary walk. I jumped off, and ran as hard as I 
could go, but as we were about 10,500 feet above the sea-level, I 
was soon out of breath. The bears did not appear to suffer from 
short wind, as they reached the forest before I could cut off their 
retreat. My man unfortunately rode a mule upon that occasion, 
therefore we lost our chance. Mine was a really clever horse ; as 
a rule, I think a horse is next door to a lunatic ; but Buckskin 
with spurs was as different from Buckskin without spurs as a 
steam-engine would be with or without fuel. Although I liked 
this animal, because he carried me up and down hills without fail, 
I did not actually love him, because I knew that my spurs were 
my true allies, and that I could no more progress without them 
than a steamer without her screw propeller. Horses are contra- 
dictory creatures ; some occasionally exhibit intelligence, especially 
when they are offered a feed of corn, and they do not refuse it, but 
they decidedly fail as examples of evolution ; they have been the 
companions of mankind ever since the days of the creation, and 
they are no more civilised in the nineteenth century than when 
Noah took them into his ark. 

There was a member of Parliament a few years ago (he was 
not the leader of the House of Commons) who thus defined the 
horse, in some debate upon Army Estimates, where cavalry 
remounts were concerned "I have but little sympathy with the 
horse ; I only know that it is an animal that bites you with one 



882 WILD BEASTS AND THEIR WAYS CHAP. 

end, kicks you with the other, and makes you sore with its 
middle." 

That " making you sore with its middle " brings the Mexican 
saddle to the front. For such countries as the Rocky Mountains, 
where no jumping is necessary, there cannot be a more perfect 
arrangement for horse and man than the Mexican saddle. This is 
totally opposed to European ideas. It is exceedingly heavy, 
weighing from 25 to 30 Ibs. There is no stuffing. It is open by 
a longitudinal slit beneath the scat, which would suggest the idea 
that you certainly would suffer from a long ride. It has a horn in 
front, and a high cantle behind. The stirrups are very wide, and 
are covered with leather ; they are neither heated by the sun in 
summer, nor rendered cold in winter, as the bare metal would be. 
From different portions of the saddle, long strips of buckskin are 
suspended, which are most useful for lashing anything required to 
be carried. 

The argument in favour of weight is, that the extent of the 
saddle covers the entire back of the horse, therefore the weight of 
the rider is generally distributed over a large area of the muscles, 
instead of being concentrated upon a small portion of the back. 
The slit in the seat ventilates the back of the horse and the 
posterior of the rider, therefore both are kept cool. The absence 
of stuffing is supplied by a small folded blanket ; and owing to its 
peculiar shape, the tree of the saddle rests upon either side of the 
spine, instead of pressing directly upon the withers and the central 
line of the back. 

When I was in San Francisco I hit upon a practical method 
for carrying the rifle on horseback. Mr. Davies, the saddler in 
that city, gave me great assistance. A strong leather case, that 
will receive the rifle as far as the bend of the stock, is secured 
through a broad strap (4 inches wide) of very thick leather, riveted 
with copper rivets to the flap of the saddle, which in the Mexican 
pattern projects in front of the knee. This arrangement is upon 
the near (left) side. When the rifle is in this leather case, fitting 
loosely, the case is forced through the retaining strap, which keeps 
it firmly secured against the flap. A very strong belt of leather, 
fastened also with copper rivets from the upper and broad portion 
of the leather case, is buckled round the front horn of the saddle. 
The rifle is now represented as muzzle downward, perpendicular. 
The butt-end is about level with the arm-pit of the rider. His 
bridle-hand holds the reins inside, therefore, when he requires his 
rifle suddenly, he has only to grasp it with his right hand by the 
neck of the stock, and draw it from its stiff and firmly secured 



xxiv THE WAPITI 383 

leather case, as though it were a sword being drawn from the 
scabbard. I have never seen any plan equal to this, as you can 
gallop through bush without the rifle being any obstacle whatever, 
and you can draw it in an instant. 

I was riding along a ridge overlooking a valley upon my right, 
a few days after we had seen the bears, when I caught sight of a 
cotton-wood tree upon the margin of the spruce forest, that was 
shaking violently. At once divining the cause, I dismounted, and 
leaving my horse, I sat down upon the very steep grass slope, and 
thus shuffled along the incline until I was opposite the spot. 1 
could see nothing, but after waiting for about a minute, I observed 
another cotton-wood shaking a few yards from the outside edge of 
the spruce forest. I knew that a wapiti must be rubbing its antlers 
against the yielding stem. The wind was in my favour, therefore, 
as I could not discern the animal, I felt that it did not see me ; 
accordingly I crept along the ground until I arrived at the margin 
of the wood. Again the tree shook, not 20 yards from me ; still 
I could see nothing, owing to the thickness of the vegetation. I 
crept slowly towards the spot, and almost immediately I heard a 
tremendous rush ; at the same moment I caught sight of a most 
glorious stag as he sprang down the hill, passing me within 15 
yards. 

As I pulled the trigger, I heard a sound as though a horse had 
fallen. The great rush continued, and was passing on my right. 
A few steps regained the open, and eight magnificent stags at full 
gallop passed me in single file within 60 yards. I put up the rifle, 
took the line of sight, and lowered it again without pulling the 
trigger, as I knew my beast was down. I watched these superb 
animals as they dashed across the valley and breasted the steep 
hill on the other side, almost with regret that I had spared them 
from the shot. I now re-entered the forest, and found my first 
wapiti lying dead. This was indeed a glorious creature, with a 
pair of antlers which looked like the branches of a tree. I would 
not have it touched, but I immediately rode to camp, about two 
miles distant, for my wife to come and admire this lovely specimen ; 
at the same time I ordered the mules with their pack saddles, to 
bring home the flesh. When we opened this animal, the fat was 
several inches thick upon the brisket. 

This was the commencement, and I could not help reflecting 
upon the absurdity of the situation. I had come a great distance 
to shoot, but the circumstances rendered indiscriminate shooting 
impossible to any person who was experienced in fair game. If 
there had been Indian tribes, I should have been delighted to have 



884 WILD BEASTS AND THEIR WAYS CHAP. 

shot for their benefit, but as the country was uninhabited, the 
shooting of those splendid wapiti was simply destruction. I could 
only restrict myself to a study of natural history, occasionally 
taking shots whenever the temptation was too strong. 

In riding daily throughout the country, I was much impressed 
with the small number of cast horns which we discovered. 
Although they were scattered in considerable profusion, they were 
nothing compared with the rubbing marks upon the trunks of the 
spruce firs. Thousands of them were bare to the wood, over a 
surface of 4 or 5 feet; from the appearance, these were annual 
rubbing-posts, but all had been freshly rubbed during the last 
season. We seldom found a pair of antlers, generally only one ; 
and the fellow was nowhere in the neighbourhood. This paucity 
of antlers denoted that the deer were not in this country in large 
numbers during the early spring when the horns are shed. I can 
imagine that the bitter cold of winter to the end of February 
would drive every living creature to the lower ground ; but where 
the horns are shed, I cannot explain. As the deer are migrating, 
it is possible that they travel to certain localities periodically, 
either for the annual shedding, or for the reproduction of their 
horns. 

Upon two occasions only I came upon really large herds. I 
had been out all morning, but had only seen bison and black-tail 
deer. We were riding along the gentle incline of a glen, through 
which a rapid but shallow stream was flowing; there was an 
object in the distance, that resembled the charred stump of a 
dead tree, within 50 yards of the right bank of the streamlet. 
The binoculars determined that this was a female wapiti. 

She was standing in a narrow portion of the glen, not far from 
a cliff of bluff rocks 80 or 100 feet high ; upon the opposite side, 
the hills rose to several hundred feet in a steep grass slope. The 
hind was about 1200 yards distant. We accordingly dismounted, 
and leaving our horses, I suggested that we should approach in 
the hollow upon the bank of the stream until within about 200 
paces ; my hunter would then stop, and I would continue along 
the bed, in order to gain a position exactly opposite the spot where 
the deer was standing. I felt perfectly certain that a stag, or 
perhaps more, would be lying down, as, though invisible, they 
would not be far off. 

We accordingly commenced the stalk. We had not proceeded 
far, when the hind was joined by a large stag, which must have 
been lying down close to her, unperceived by us. Although the 
antlers were not bad, there was nothing particular in their size. 



xxiv THE WAPITI 385 

We advanced along the hollow of the river's bed until we were 
within 200 yards from the spot where the deer were standing. 
Occasionally we took a cautious peep above the bank to see 
whether they had moved. I now left my hunter lying down, with 
his head just above the bank to watch, while I waded down the 
centre of the stream, in the endeavour to reach a bend, which would 
bring me within 100 yards. 

The water was about knee-deep. I was progressing well, when 
to my astonishment I heard a shot. With considerable difficulty I 
clambered up the steep side of the bank, which rose 12 or 14 feet 
above the river on my right. There was a lovely sight ; several 
hundred wapiti had crossed the stream about 200 yards ahead of 
my position, and were ascending the grass slope, struggling in a 
line of dense brown upon the yellow surface, making a rapid retreat 
across the hills upon my left. This large herd must have been 
lying down in the hollow unseen by us, owing to the rocks and 
rough nature of the broken ground. It appeared, from the descrip- 
tion given by my hunter, that shortly after I had left him to 
watch the hind, a stag had risen from the bushes in the neigh- 
bourhood, and the two had commenced a movement down the 
valley. As he knew that I must be unaware of the change, being 
far below the point of view, in the deep hollow of the river, he 
took a shot at the retreating stag. The report of his rifle immedi- 
ately startled a great herd of these splendid deer that had been 
lying concealed somewhere in the valley, close to the borders of 
the stream, where there was a regular passage for wild animals. 
They had dashed across the shallow ford, and I had nothing to do 
but to abuse my companion for having fired the shot. There must 
have been three or four hundred deer in this herd, many of which 
carried superb heads. If my man had kept quiet, I should most 
certainly have obtained a splendid chance ; as it had happened, I 
could only admire the sight of these grand animals in rapid move- 
ment ascending the open slope until they at length reached the 
summit, and having crossed the sky-line they were lost to view. 

I have no doubt that this fine herd travelled direct, and did 
not return to the Big Horn range during the remainder of the 
autumn season. Having crossed the shoulder of the mountains, 
they had a straight course down hill for 7 or 8 miles, and then a 
wild and uninhabited district for 60 or 70 miles towards the main 
range of the Eocky Mountains. From the direction they took, I 
feel confident this was the case, and their departure from our 
range was highly instructive, showing the direct effect of disturb- 
ance in driving wild animals away from a particular district. If 

2 c 



386 WILD BEASTS AND THEIR WAYS CHAP. 

these wapiti had been divided into twenty or thirty herds of small 
numbers, they would have been scattered over an extreme area, 
and have afforded permanent sport for many days ; but the fact of 
their being collected into one vast herd would denude the country. 
A very large herd would probably travel a much greater distance 
than a smaller numlx:r. All masses and crowds are influenced by 
panics ; the presence of many females with their young ones would 
increase the excitement of a retreat, and a march of only five hours 
would carry a herd of deer over an interval of 25 or 30 miles. 

It appeared as though all the wapiti of the immediate neigh- 
bourhood had been gathered together in that large herd, as I could 
not discover one animal of the species for a couple of days after 
this incident ; we accordingly moved our camp. 

There is always a charm in novelty, and this is exhibited to per- 
fection when, after a morning's march in the Big Horn range, a 
clear rippling brook in a shady glen, beneath overhanging woods 
of dark green spruce, invites a halt ; here we decide upon the new 
camping ground, well sheltered from wind, with a supply of fuel, 
and good water. No shot had been fired within 10 miles of our 
new camp, therefore we had every reason to expect game. 

On the following morning I rode out with my hunter Jem. 
The forests were difficult, owing to the number of fallen trees and 
the steepness of the mountain slopes ; we accordingly ascended the 
mountain until we gained a tolerably level surface above the 
woods ; this enabled us to obtain a clear view for some miles 
ahead, and to the sky-line upon the summit to our left. We rode 
parallel with the forest, upon the extreme verge, occasionally 
turning into it when level ground rendered it practicable ; but 
although tracks were numerous, we saw nothing except black-tail 
deer. It is probable that many other animals were existing in the 
recesses of the dark forest, but for mounted men it would have 
been impossible to adopt any other course than that pursued. 

Having reached a locality where the ground was favourable, we 
rode through a series of open glades separated from each other by 
belts of spruce and cotton-wood. This was a likely place for 
game. The surface was undulating, and the rich grass in the 
glades would afford pasturage, at the same time that the belts of 
trees gave shelter. We were riding leisurely through this promis- 
ing country when I suddenly observed the branch of a dead tree 
move. I immediately checked my horse, and watched. Again 
the same branch moved at about 150 yards' distance. I dis- 
mounted gently. My hunter Jem, who was behind me, did the 
same. 



xxiv THE WAPITI 387 

I had seen at once that the object I had at first mistaken for a 
branch was the portion of a wapiti's horn of very large dimensions. 
The reins were now drawn over the horses' heads, and they were 
left to graze. 

There was a small clump of green spruce firs upon a gentle 
slope on our right, and we concluded, according to the wind, that 
we should be in a safe position to obtain a shot if we could 
manage to reach such shelter undiscovered. Some rising ground 
concealed the wapiti, and now that I dismounted, I could not see 
the antlers. 

My hunter had not observed them. 

Making a detour to our right, we at length succeeded in reach- 
ing the clump of thick green spruce. Pushing our way softly 
through the yielding boughs, we gained the edge, from which we 
had expected to obtain a view of the still hidden game. 

There was a glorious sight ; three immense stags, about 1 50 
yards upon our right, were feeding in a direction that, if continued, 
would bring them across our position within 80 or 90 yards. The 
wind was favourable ; we therefore watched. 

One of these stags had stupendous horns, and as they slowly 
approached, I counted with my glass fourteen points. The others 
had twelve each. I was determined to possess that grand head. 

They had now fed to within a distance of about 110 paces of 
our position, and the intervening ground was open. If I waited 
until they should be exactly opposite, they would be much nearer, 
but they would pass behind a clump of large spruce firs, which 
might almost obscure them. I could make quite certain of the 
shot at 110 yards, but I enjoyed the sport of waiting and watch- 
ing, therefore I determined to let them cross exactly in front of my 
position before I would take the shot. 

In a very short time they arrived upon the other side of the 
trees, and I at once saw the difficulty. However, I determined to 
be very careful in my aim, and to select the largest head. Some- 
how or other they appeared suddenly to get the wind of danger. 
Whether they smelt the horses I cannot say, but certainly they 
could not have winded us ; they looked up, and around, and trotted 
past the clump. I immediately fired at the shoulder of the biggest. 
I heard the usual well-known sound of the '557 bullet; but the 
deer did not drop. 

" He's got it all right," exclaimed Jem. " He'll drop directly." 

I was of the same opinion, but all three stags continued to 
canter along as though unharmed down a gentle slope, jumping 
over the prostrate stems of fallen spruce, as though enjoying their 



388 WILD BEASTS AND THEIR WAYS CHAP. 

power of active movement. At length they disappeared in a dark 
hollow about 200 yards distant, where some spruce firs grew in the 
depression of a stream bed. 

On the other side of this depression was a small open slope of 
grass ; this was bordered by the main forest. I had of course 
reloaded, but I could not understand the possibility of the wapiti 
having retreated to such a distance with the '577 solid bullet in 
his shoulder. 

I had now raised the back-sight for 250 yards in the expecta- 
tion of seeing the three wapiti emerge from the hollow, and appear 
upon the clear open space before they could reach the forest. 
Although it would be a long shot, it would be absolutely necessary 
to stop the wounded animal, otherwise in all probability we should 
never see it again. 

Presently a pair of spreading antlers appeared, as a fine stag 
slowly walked up the steep incline, and appeared upon the open 
slope. I raised the rifle to my shoulder. " That's not the one," 
said Jem. "I know that; hold your tongue," I replied, still 
keeping in readiness. Another stag appeared. "That's not the 
one either," exclaimed irrepressible Jem. Both these fine beasts 
entered the forest, and disappeared. I lowered my rifle. " He's 
lying dead in the hollow," continued Jem. 

I began to think this was the case, but presently a grand pair 
of antlers appeared, followed by the stag, which slowly rose from 
the depression, passed through the fringe of spruce trees upon tlie 
slope, and emerged upon the open ground, over which it slowly 
walked, almost in the tracks of those which had preceded it. 

I took a very steady aim, and fired. The great stag reeled 
and fell just as the sound of the bullet upon impact returned to 
our ears. 

" Well done ! he's got it this time ; that's a fine rifle and no 
mistake," exclaimed Jem, who immediately ran forward towards 
the distant prize. I followed slowly ; as I stepped the distance, 
it was 240 long paces to the bottom of the hollow. I could not 
measure the steep slope, as I had to scramble up the bank, but 
taking the direct line of the bullet's flight it was about 250 yards. 

We now examined the wapiti. This was indeed a prize. We 
knew that the first shot should have struck the left side, likewise 
the last shot ; but there was only one bullet -wound ; this was 
through the centre of the shoulder. We now cut it open, and 
grallocked the immense animal, to render it easier to examine. 
The bullet had gone through the centre of the heart : it had 
broken the shoulder on the opposite side, and had lodged beneath 



xxiv THE WAPITI 389 

the skin, expanded like a half- matured mushroom. This was 
pure lead. 

No other bullet had touched that stag, and my first shot had 
been intercepted by the trunk of one of the numerous trees which 
had intervened between me and the animal when I fired. 

This wapiti had the finest antlers that I have ever possessed, 
and the freak of nature had added two peculiar tines, which must 
have plagued the unfortunate proprietor. These turned in the 
reverse direction, therefore they must have acted like a grapnel in 
catching the branches of trees, when otherwise they would have 
been avoided in the usual manner, as the stag throws its head 
backwards, and elevates the nose in passing through a forest. 
Although the horns were perfectly clean and hard (29th August 
1881), the extremity of one of the extra tines was round, instead 
of pointed ; it was bloody at the tip, as a chronic inflammation 
had been set up through continual friction, and it had never 
thoroughly matured. We were powerless to do anything with this 
grand animal ; we accordingly left it until we could send men and 
mules from camp. Upon the following day, when we arrived, a 
party of bears had scratched a hole, and attempted to roll the 
wapiti into it. This was a glaring failure, as the animal was not 
half concealed. The bears had eaten all the inner portion, which 
we had laid upon one side ; they had also eaten the soft extremities 
of the ribs and brisket ; but, beyond a quantity of grass and earth 
roughly thrown upon the carcase by the claws of the bears when 
scratching, there was no actual burying. 

The horns of this wapiti measured 53 inches in curve length 
from burr to extreme point, 12| inches round the burr, 52 inches 
direct line from tip to tip of extreme points. 

The day after this incident I had been riding with two of my 
people over the summits of the mountains, about 10,000 feet above 
the sea-level, when my attention was directed to a couple of fine 
stags, about three-quarters of a mile distant, feeding along the 
side of the hill-face downwards by an oblique course. Upon the 
opposite side of a deep depression at the bottom flowed a consider- 
able stream. After watching these stags for some time with my 
field-glass, seeing that they occasionally raised their heads, and 
looked wistfully towards a copse which grew upon the opposite 
slope, on the shoulder of the mountain spur, I felt sure that 
females must be somewhere in the thicket. Accordingly I crept 
cautiously along the crest of the hill, until at length I arrived at 
the border of the covert. As I had approached the copse I had 
several times obtained a view of the stags ; they were no doubt 



390 WILD BEASTS AND THEIR WAYS CHAP. 

advancing, aud would in my opinion cross the stream and join 
other deer which, although invisible, were somewhere in the 
neighbourhood. 

After waiting a few minutes, I discovered that a plot of open 
ground lay within the copse at no great distance ; this I perceived 
through the light which penetrated into the free opening. Upon 
reaching this, I found an area of about 2 acres perfectly free from 
bushes, but filled with rank grass aud sedges, about 2 feet high. 
It struck me that the two wapiti stags would in all probability 
pass through this opening upon their arrival in the covert. 

Hiding myself beneath a thick bush, from which I could 
command every portion of the open space, I waited patiently, 
having left my two men concealed, together with the horse, at a 
considerable distance. 

Nearly half au hour passed away in expectation ; I was cramped 
in my stooping position, and I slowly rose to stretch my limbs. 
As I stood upright, I caught sight of a pair of antlers just emerg- 
ing from the thicket on my left. I slowly sank into my former 
position. First one and then another large stag issued from the 
wood. They walked very slowly along the verge of the thicket, 
occasionally halting to take a mouthful of grass, aud feeding as 
they went. 

When exactly opposite my position, I took aim at the leading 
stag and fired ; at the same time I ran towards the spot. The 
bullet struck the shoulder, and the stag reeled to and fro, some- 
times falling on its knees, and in this way blundered into the 
thicket, but fell dead just as I arrived. Hearing a groat rush, 
and seeing that the stag was safe, I continued to run forward ; 
within 50 yards I emerged upon the open, and found myself upon 
a hog's back sloping ridge of only a few yards' width, while a 
natural fosse like a letter V, about 300 feet deep, lay before me ; 
the opposite side continuing the steep slope to the summit of the 
mountain. 

There was an extraordinary scene around me. A great mass of 
wapiti had burst from the jungle upon hearing the report of my 
rifle, and there was no room for them to stand upon the narrow 
area of the hog's back ridge. There were about 300 stags, hinds, 
and young ones of all ages mingled together, some of them being 
within 10 or 15 yards of me. They were determined to go forward, 
to effect which they were obliged to attempt the precipitous descent 
into the narrow bottom of the canyon, after which it would be 
necessary to ascend the opposite side. 

This cleft was so abrupt that, although quite 300 feet in depth, 



xxiv THE WAPITI 391 

it was not wider than 60 or 80 yards across the surface where I 
stood. I never witnessed a sight of such utter helplessness. It 
required great caution to descend, even for such practised moun- 
taineers as wapiti. The herd shuffled down the precipitous incline 
of crumbling stones, causing showers of loosened rocks, which 
clattered with their struggling hoofs, as slowly and surely these 
heavy animals progressed into the dangerous bottom. 

I sat upon a large stone that was close to the edge, and 
thoroughly enjoyed the scene. If I had been inclined to commit 
havoc, I cannot say how many I could have shot. As they slowly 
descended, I took aim at the back of each stag's neck, and in 
imagination only, reckoned my slain. At length the herd reached 
the bottom, and the toilsome ascent commenced. When they 
appeared slightly below my own level on the opposite side, my 
sport recommenced ; I picked out every big stag, one by one ; 
taking most accurate aim exactly between the shoulders, but never 
firing. A skin-hunter would have killed at least thirty in such an 
opportunity. The little ones were fatigued, and many of the 
smaller fawns were bleating like lambs as they struggled after their 
dams over the loosened rocks. At length they reached the surface, 
but even then they remained exposed, as the slope was exceedingly 
steep, and they were apparently too tired or too confident to increase 
their pace. By degrees they disappeared across the sky-line, and I 
never saw a large herd of wapiti again. 

My men had joined me, and they were quite annoyed at my 
mercifid behaviour ; however, I now lead them into the thicket, 
where a splendid stag was lying dead. They were quickly em- 
ployed in cleaning it, to keep the flesh sweet, until we could send 
for the head upon the following day. 

There were some fine heads among the stags which I had allowed 
to escape, but none approaching in size to the last that I had shot. 

Some days after this exemplary exercise of mercy, I had a very 
pretty quarter of an hour, which formed the only exception to my 
rule of never shooting at a second wapiti, if I had killed one upon 
the same day. 

We had ascended from the gleu in which the camp was pitched, 
and had reached the level plateau, which extended for several 
miles, bordered upon two sides by a continuation of the deep valley 
in a winding course. The stream in the bottom, together with 
good pasturage and forest-covered slopes upon the mountain sides, 
formed an attractive combination for game. It occurred to me 
that the animals would probably amuse themselves upon the open 
plateau during the night, and retire soon after daylight to the 



392 WILD BEASTS AND THEIR WAYS CBAP. 

seclusion of the forest ; therefore, shortly after sunrise, we found 
ourselves upon the level ground about 500 feet above the valley. 
The formation was peculiar ; the plateau represented an immense 
terrace, as other ridges rose above it, until the highest point formed 
a prominent figure in the general outline of the landscape. Al- 
though the surface was sufficiently level for a horse to gallop at 
full speed, there were many slight depressions where the ground had 
been water-worn by streams during heavy rains or melting snows. 
Bears were regular visitors, as many of the flat stones had been 
turned over in their search for insects. There were tracks of wapiti, 
also of buffaloes and black-tail deer, therefore I felt tolerably san- 
guine of finding game in some of the ravines that opened upon this 
extensive terrace from the neighbouring hills. 

As we rode leisurely along through the centre of this barren 
area, we frequently halted to scan the country with binoculars. 
Upon one of these occasions my attention had been attracted by a 
dark-coloured object in the distance, which I imagined to be a bear, 
or some large rock which had deceived me by its resemblance. 
The glasses decided that this was a buffalo. It was more than a 
mile distant, but for simple amusement, as it lay in the direction 
we were taking, I determined to see if we could approach near 
enough for a certain shot. The wind was fair, therefore we took 
no precautions, but simply rode forward until within a distance of 
1200 yards. I now made out that the buffalo was advancing in 
our direction ; there was a dry bed of a stream before us, and I 
suggested that we should dismount, and conceal the horses and 
ourselves within this natural channel, to wait for the arrival of the 
buffalo. This was quickly arranged, and we descended into the 
river's bed. 

By peering over the bank, I made out the exact direction that 
the buffalo was taking, and by changing my position accordingly, 
I had the satisfaction of seeing a fine bull approaching me, without 
the slightest suspicion of impending danger. Presently it descended 
into the channel within 40 paces of the rifle, which as usual I had 
pointed at the shoulder, without the slightest intention of pulling 
the trigger. The animal obtained my wind, or saw me, and with 
a snort it threw up its tail, and galloped off across the plain, leaving 
me quite satisfied at having bagged it mentally, without the ex- 
penditure of a cartridge, or the useless sacrifice of a life. 

We remounted, and rode forward, scanning as before every nook 
and corner of the country. We had not proceeded far when I 
made out another buffalo ; this lay in our route, therefore without 
taking the trouble to notice it, we rode straight forward. When 



xxiv THE WAPITI 393 

within about 300 yards it observed us, and turning away, it re- 
treated across the open, making towards the direction of the 
higher ground. 

We now observed specks moving upon the surface at so great 
a distance that I thought they were black-tail deer, until the 
binoculars declared them to be wapiti. A rigid inspection with 
the glasses proved them to be eight fine stags that were slowly 
trotting on before us, as though they had been recently disturbed. 

It struck me that they must have seen the buffalo gallop off in 
retreat, and this was the cause of their disturbance. We followed 
at a canter, to keep them within our view, as I felt sure they 
would turn to the right, and seek the shelter of the forests upon 
the slopes, above the winding valley. In about ten minutes we 
had gained upon them considerably, and they had neared the 
margin of the plateau. As I had expected, they now disappeared 
one by one, as they descended to the lower ground. 

We rode quickly to the spot upon which they had been lost to 
view : their tracks showed plainly the course of their descent. 
This was a narrow grassy slope interspersed with a few spruce firs, 
forming a division in the long dark foliage which clothed the hill- 
side for a distance of many miles. 

The opposite side of the valley was different in general character, 
as the hills, which rose to a considerable altitude and formed a 
wall, were not completely covered with forest, but on the contrary 
they were grassy slopes, only cut at intervals by ravines which had 
been scooped by water ; these were clothed with spruce. 

The bottom of the valley was not wider than 300 yards, and 
although it was more or less occupied by forest, there were many 
extensive tracts of open grass ground which afforded excellent 
pasturage ; the little stream through this valley would ultimately 
flow through our camp, about 3 or 4 miles distant in our rear. 

There was nothing in view when we scanned this valley with 
t