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LITERATURE IN THE JUNGLES.
ONE great argument against the
of hare-hunting, that the best known
we repeat, is also a viand of extraor-
Zounds! there is no pleasure in it. Hark, hark! away! Give her fair play! Dull for an hour, and mad for a minute." A charming state of existence this, where the chief end of man is declared to be the chance of first starting a March hare, and then for one minute
"Poor is the triumph o'er the timid hare
The pack full opening various, the shrill horn
Resounded from the hills, the neighing
Wild for the chase, and the loud hunter's shout
O'er a weak, harmless, flying creature,—all Mix'd in mad tumult and discordant joy!" So that we hope we have effectually proved from every consideration, human and divine, prosaic and poetical, that coursing the hare is the enjoyment of a madman, and hunting the hare the base gratification of a savage.
What shall we say of the fox? A little better, but not much. We grant that the mere excitement of careering on a good horse through a "level champaign," not undiversified with hedge and ditch, is itself a fine thing -the hounds in cry, the huntsman's hollo, and the consciousness of speed and power, are very stirring appeals -but yet, after all, what are we all assembled for? The morning is raw and cold; the cover is fifteen miles from home-down from every
dering at its selection of such an occupation. The run has now lasted three hours-the riders have displayed incredible ardour in chasing an invi sible object; for not one in twenty has caught a single glimpse of the fugitive
muddy lane come one or two sportsmen; halls and parks disembogue their inhabitants as we pass-orators, magistrates, legislators, tend onwards to one point; and we think we perceive, on steady brown horses, two or perhaps three uncommonly sedate-look--and four men, including the hunts
ing gentlemen, not altogether unlike chaplains, to the hunt.
Neither age nor sex is spared, as we read in the accounts of captured cities; old men and boys, young men and maidens. -all obey the call; and at last, by half-past ten, a couple of hundred people of all ranks, classes, and degrees of men-are collected at the place of meeting, and anxious for the commencement of the sport. The dogs are thrown into a small plantation-the huntsmen and whippers-in glance momentarily at the end of the different alleys, as they watch how the hounds are working-all eyes are directed to the plantation, all bridles are held tight in hand-and at last, after one or two ineffective barks, a loud clear voice bursts out from an old dog; the huntsman gives the hollo, spurs are clapped into the flanks of every steed, a great rush-a dash through the nearest hedge-and away! away o'er field and fallow, goes the whole multitude, seeing nothing, hearing nothing, but tearing on- on-on, as if it were a race, wherein it was an arranged thing that the devil should take the hindmost. In half-anhour how different is the face of the country!-Dotted here and there a few red-coats are still to be seen, like stragglers from an advancing army silence and solitude resume their ancient sway over the cover the hill's side; and far off as the eye can reach, in one compact mass, which you could cover with a tablecloth, are the hounds, the hunts. men, and seven or eight of the foremost riders. On they go-break ing into quiet domains with their loud holloes, miles from where they started. The peasantry, following the plough or harrows, look on them amazed, as thundering forward they present themselves for a moment close beside them, and the next are at the other side of the meadow. Horses now begin to tire-one reposes in a ditch-another enjoys the rural amusement of swinging on a gate, though, as several of the top spikes are run into its bowels, you can't help won
man, at last ride up to the neighbour-
quite so sure of that. It would be a mighty clever book that would make a review in Hyde Park as magnificent as Waterloo. We rather believe that books never give half vivid enough impressions either of hunts or battles. As far as we are concerned, we would rather see a donkey race than read of Eclipse; rather see a skrimmage with the new police than read of Thermopylæ;-but all we at present contend for is, the wonderful inferiority of all accounts of fox-hunting to the descriptions of other and nobler sports; and this by no means arises from a deficiency in the recorders of such home incidents. The sporting magazines, Old and New, contain some of the best writing of the present day-Nimrod himself is an admirable author; and the followers of Nimrod, who are no inconsiderable number, handle the pen as knowingly as the bridle. But all their talent and all their enthusiasm won't do. Fox-hunting kicks the beam, and, as compared with nobler doings, is scarcely indeed to be distinguished from hare-hunting. We are not going to speak of Lloyd
and his field sports; for, in our own private opinion, fox-hunting is infinitely superior. Nothing can be more desolate or less inspiring than one of his campaigns against the bears no trusty horse, no rattling gallop, no socialty, no enthusiasm we should prefer shooting 'coons and 'possums with our friend Colonel Crockett. Nor are we going to al. lude to Charles Waterton, and his exploits with the alligators. Unpleasant as fox-hunting would be in a country full of stone walls, with a runaway horse, and the scent breast-high, we should consider it the pleasantest of all enjoyments, compared to the rough trot of the Yorkshire squire. Nor are we going to inflict on our readers the pompous descriptions of Hungarian or Bohemian hunting, where wolves are attacked by actual regiments in full military array, commanded by colonels, and led on according to the rules of war. We lay it down as a rule at starting, in the comparison we make, that the sportsmen shall be English gentlemen, and that the sport shall be conducted in the noble and generous spirit that only English gentlemen seem qualified to bring into their amusements, as well as into their loftier pursuits. They shall relate their adventures in their own language; and, before we are done, we doubt not that Nimrod will have to look sharp to his laurels. We go to our own gallant countrymen in the three presidencies; desiring it to be understood that from the epithet gallant, we by no means exclude the civilians of the service. High courage flourishes in a jacket of any colour. Luckily for our purpose, our friendly neighbour Colonel W., before returning to India, left us his favourite book-three neatly bound, thin volumes-no name on the back, but withal of a certain indescribable appearance, which told us at a glance that they neither contained criticisms nor sermons. We opened one, and on the title-page we saw
"THE ORIENTAL SPORTING
Bombay: Printed for the Proprietors, at the Courier Press, by Shreecrustna Jagonnathjee Prabhoo, Hindoo, of No. 15, Pallow Street, without the Fort."
And very well printed it is, O Jagon nathjee Prabhoo! considering that you are probably ignorant of Tattersall's
and Newmarket, and that your mother would certainly have been somewhat surprised, if, some fifty years ago, any one had told her that her young Shreecrustna would be compositor in an English press, and set up in types the hair-breadth 'scapes of certain young Britons, whose fathers, perhaps, had quite as little expectation that Jack and George and Tom would go bagging tigers, as yours had of your fingering pica. These, our amiable Hindoo friend! are some of the odd coincidences that our Indian empire gives rise to; and if it is always as beneficial as it has been to you, your remotest posterity will have cause to bless the tight little island. Your press, our good Prabhoo! will put an end to the press of Juggernaut; and as to your widows, for Heaven's sake mention to the young ones, (especially if they have good jointures,) that a lot of us young fellows are coming out by the next steamboat, and we beg they will put off their absurd intention of killing themselves till their beautiful black eyes have had an opportunity of killing us: and with this reasonable request we turn to the body of your Magazine.
No European magazine-not Maga herself-can show a more unexceptionable set of contributors-all jolly, dashing young fellows, souls made of fire, and children of the sun; excellent soldiers, we have no manner of doubt, and unexceptionable residents and judges. However, it is only in their literary and venatorial character we have any thing to do with them; and we pronounce that they give irresistible proofs of the inseparable union that exists between pluck and talent. Cæsar's Commentaries, Napoleon's Bulletins, the Duke's Despatches, do not more completely exemplify the united triumphs of the pen and of the sword, than do some of the graphic descriptions of the Oriental sportsmen those of the pen and spear. The rifle, too, comes in for its share of imperishable renown, as well as of unerring practice; and we know of no individual in our western regions who is so perfectly master of the very difficult art of fighting his battles over again, without inflicting disgust upon the listener. The whole of Oriental sporting seems, according to the Magazine, to divide itself into two great branches: hunting the lion and tiger, on elephants, or, when those movable towers are
"June 20.-Joined R.'s party; they have been out three days, and have had very little sport yet-a hyæna, a cheeta, and one solitary hog, being the amount of their bag. A savage man-eating tigress, with cubs, that had been playing the devil lately, was marked into a date thicket, and we began beating after breakfast, two elephants in the field. The natives told us one of her cubs had been killed by a dog a few days ago, and that she had been very savage ever since. We expected, therefore, that she would show good sport.
not attainable, from trees and hillocks; had taken effect. The cub was burked and hunting the boar with horse and by the beaters. spear. Of these we shall give various specimens, interspersed with a few songs on the delights of such noble sporting, that must for ever put an end to our miserable io pœans over the hare or fox. When we divide Oriental sporting into those two branches, imagine not, O lector benevole ! that all other varieties are excluded. By no manner of means-all is considered as very good fish that comes into the net; not unfrequently you come across a magnificent bear-hunt in the midst of a battue of tigers; ferocious panthers glare out on you from a bush into which you have chased a boar; and, in fact, there is no description of hunting that does not flourish in unbounded profusion in the hills and jungles of the Deccan.
Here is a contribution dated, "Dharwar, March 16;”—
"The people sent out yesterday in search of tigers returned without success, but marked down two bears in the hills at daylight this morning. No beating was required; they were lying sound asleep under a high rock, and, as soon as we had taken up our stations so as to surround them, a stone was dropped upon them from above, and away they went at an awkward gallop. I never saw a bear charge before; but the largest of the two, which was hit by the first that fired, turned short round and made straight at the man nearest him, rolling down the hill at the rate of twenty miles an hour. He was stopped by a ball just as he appeared over the head of his intended victim, and scrambled off after his companion, most fortunately for the gentleman whom he intended to favour; for, after firing both barrels, his foot had slipped, and he was tumbling down the rocks straight before the bear, at the moment a lucky shot turned the latter. We gave chase, and after firing, I am ashamed to say how often, the brute got weary of life, and saved us further trouble by lying down to die under a shady bush. Next day, a bear and her cub were marked into the same place, and after being driven from point to point for half an hour, were finished at last. I say at last, for I verily believe fifty shots were fired, and the operator who examined her carcass reported that thirteen balls
"The cover was beat for hours without success; she had been twice seen and once fired at from a tree, but the elephants had not yet come into action, when we observed a fresh track leading from the nullah to the plain. It was evident she had stolen away, and our only chance was to follow her up instantly. The ground was soft and the tracks plain; it did not require the eye of a bheel to point them out, for we could see them distinctly from the howdah; and, after urging them forward about a mile, we suddenly came on the tigress in an open field, where there was hardly cover to conceal a hare.
"She crouched to receive the ele phant, with her head towards him, and, just as she was rising, a ball hit her in the spine, and quite disabled her. We walked up both elephants within three yards; and I never saw such an expression of devilry as her head presented when she found herself quite helpless in the middle of her enemies. Although her back was broken and she was unable to rise, she tried to die game, and it took at least ten deliberate shots to finish her, for we purposely avoided hitting her in the head.
"June 21.-Moved on ten miles to a village where tigers had been doing a great deal of mischief, upwards of a hundred head of cattle having been destroyed by them. A more difficult covert could hardly be imagined. The date-grove in which the tigers had taken up their abode, extended for miles. The trees were so close that an elephant could hardly force his way through them, and the underwood was so thick as to form a covert almost impenetrable of itself. Beating this
seemed a hopeless case; but we went to work. The date-trees crashed as the elephants forced their unyielding sides between the rugged stems, and many were levelled to the ground by their heads when a passage could not otherwise be effected. For two days we persevered in wading through the endless mazes of dates, meeting at every step with skeletons of bullocks and goats, relics of former feasts, but without getting a fair view of a single tiger, although once or twice a glimpse was obtained and a snap-shot taken. During the first day's beating a tiger bolted, but immediately returned into covert, after clawing a fat Banian on a prominent part of his person where wounds are seldom dangerous; and this is all that had been seen or done in two days' hard fagging. On the third day the greater number of the party gave it up in disgust; but four of us, having no faith in odd numbers, determined to try once more; and perseverance was rewarded, for five minutes after putting the elephants in, we heard that two tigers had broken away across country, and just killed a
"We were soon at the spot where they were last seen, and found the dead man, although considerably clawed, and very raw and uncomfortable from the stinging application, yet very far from dead, and able to show us the exact spot from which the tiger charged him. A pair of bright green eyes were observed gleaming among the thick branches of a stunted datetree, and a ball straight between them put out the light.' We dragged out the carcass and found it to be a small tigress-she had been wounded in four places by the shots fired during the preceding days, which we thought had missed.
"Dec. 10.-We mustered about two hundred beaters this morning, to beat up a tiger which we were told always frequented a hill close to our encampment; put them in line at daybreak, and by nine o'clock the tiger was marked down, and surrounded. As we had no elephant, trees were the substitutes; but although there were some high enough to hang a lizard on,' not one could be found out of reach of a tiger's spring if he should charge; however, there was no help for it, so we took to our perches, and the tiger was on foot
presently. He was fired at and hit as soon as he broke covert; but instead of making off, as tigers generally do, he turned back and charged slap at the tree from which the shot was fired. Whether he felt weak from his wound, or suddenly lost courage, I know not; for just as he appeared ready to make his spring into the tree; he stopped, turned sharp round, and sneaked away into that covert from which he never moved again. The first man who went up to the spot to see how matters were going on, got severely mauled for his pains. The tiger's teeth met in his arm, but luckily did not break the bone, and he was carried off more sick from fright than his wounds. A second adventurous wight took a peep about half an hour after, and saw the tiger lying on his back very dead indeed. It is quite unaccountable how one tiger is killed by a single ball, even when hit in a spot not considered vital, and another walks away with balls beautifully placed in the shoulder, chest, and other mortal spots, as if invulnerable. This tiger was hit by one ball only, and that passed through the hind quarters. On the 25th, a tiger was announced, marked down, and surrounded in a thick date grove.
We took up our station' in a tree directly over his path, and a shower of rockets and other combustibles soon bolted him. From a distance of four hundred yards we saw him descend from the bank into the bed of the nullah, and walk slowly towards us, glancing suspiciously from side to side at every step. He appeared greatly distressed by the heat, and we could plainly hear his laboured breathing, and even see his sides heave as he sulkily approached. Directly under us was a thick brab-tree, and we had agreed not to fire till he passed it. Some rustle attracted his attention just as he reached this spot; he halted for an instant, looked up, and seeing us, drew back his head, with a loud growl, so rapidly under cover of the branches, that only one ball touched him. He cantered back roaring towards the beaters, keeping so close to the bank that it was almost impossible to cover him, and I did not believe that one of the shots fired after him reached its mark. We now mounted the elephant, and after a search in the strongest parts of the covert, the mahout saw him stretched