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their maturity, the young leaves being of an equally bright copper colour. In the hot season the mowah bears a fleshy yellow drupe in great profusion. It is called the flower, but is more like a fruity covering to the seed when the seed, or nut, has formed fully at the base of this fleshy morsel, the drupe, or flower, falls off, and the ground beneath the tree becomes yellow with it; and the patter of the falling flowers on the leaf-strewn ground is like that of a light shower of rain. A rather rancid oil is expressed from the seeds when ripe. The mowah trees are scattered all over the plains, and are mostly in twos and threes; but in ravines and corners of the hills they form large groves.
THE MOWAH TREE.
At the mowah season women and children, with large baskets, sally out into the fields and jungles, to collect the flowers, from which a very ill-smelling strong spirit is distilled. The smell of the fresh flower is also very nasty-a kind of sickly, musty odour, which is exceedingly disagreeable. Nor is its taste more pleasant; but, to the animal creation, the mowah season is one of revelry and enjoyment. All jungle animals-bear, sambur, spotted deer, neilghye, hog, and pea-fowl, and jungle fowl also-eat the mowah. Domestic cattle and poultry stray far into the fields to find it; in fact, all fruit-eating and graineating animals and birds delight in the mowah.
In the evening we went out on the elephant, and traversed a portion of the jungle at the foot of the hills; and I shot a neilghye, one of a party of three which we came across. We also saw about twenty hog, and a great number of pea-fowl.
Next day, having failed in the morning to get a shot at anything, though we saw both neilghye and
hog, I went out on the elephant in the afternoon along the skirts of the hills, looking out for anything which might come down to feed on the mowah. Just as it began to get dusk, which, in India, means a very short time before it is quite dark, we saw a bear coming from the hills across the open plain, and making for a large mowah tree which stood by itself in the fields. We immediately pushed the elephant along, and got to within a hundred and fifty yards of the bear before it saw us, as it was busily feeding under the tree. It appeared greatly horrified and astonished at sight of the elephant, and shrank behind the tree, gradually drawing itself behind the trunk, and peering at us as we advanced. When we were within a hundred yards it made off at a full canter, keeping the trunk of the tree between it and the elephant. The mahout was immediately ordered to give chase; and when we had gone on a couple of hundred yards the bear stopped to look at us, and I got a long shot at it. I thought I hit it, for it seemed to go lame after this; and it now made a circuit to gain the hills. We then had a grand chase for near a mile, the elephant going at best pace. At last we gained sensibly upon poor Bruin, who began to very much relax his speed. I got another shot at him, which drew a great roar; one more, and he tumbled over, legs in air, a dead Bruin! After this day we had no more success, though we saw a good deal of large game-sambur, neilghye, &c.-and a panther killed a calf not far from the village; but, though we had a careful beat, we could not find it.
In July of this year I went out in the rains, but had no luck at all. To perambulate jungles in rainy weather is of little use. The only noteworthy entry
CHOLERA AT MAHADEO.
in my journal on this occasion is that I saw a welldressed woman roll herself through the streets of a village, with the usual festive accompaniments of tomtoms and other native music(?). I was informed that she did this in accomplishment of a vow which she had made, to be fulfilled in the event of her being blessed with offspring!
The early part of the year 1860 was a busy time at Kamptee. The last embers of the great mutiny having been quenched and swept up, the troops, which had gone from Madras northward, returned to their own Presidency; and the greater part of them marched through Kamptee and Nagpore. It happened very unfortunately at this time that the great "Maila" (pilgrim assembly) at the Mahadeo (Great God) cave, in the Satpoora mountains, took place, and the usual multitudinous gathering of Hindoos attended at the place of pilgrimage. The common consequence-a violent epidemic of cholera-followed; and the terrified and stricken concourse rushed from the sacred valley, and spread, with the fell disease in their train, over the whole of the Central Provinces. The roads by which these wretched pilgrims travelled were thickly strewn with their corpses; and every village and town on their homeward track was infected with the pestilence. Nor did the troops, then marching through these districts, escape; and many a brave soldier, who had gone unscathed through all the hardships and dangers of the Mutiny campaigns, fell a victim to the epidemic which raged along his route. It was my duty to arrange for the passage of these troops through the Nagpore province; and several corps escaped the disease by marching by jungly and unfrequented tracks, far removed from
great lines of communication. All this was over by the end of March, and the cholera died out in the country after having slain its thousands.
After this I went out for a fortnight's shooting; but was not successful. I saw several bears, a panther, at which I did not get a shot, and many sambur and neilghye; but I shot very badly, and returned home with a bag of only one bear and a sambur. On this trip I explored all the hills in the vicinity of Seldoo, and changed camp several times too often, I have since thought, for successful sport.
I had been back barely a fortnight in cantonments when I was ordered to proceed with a committee to examine a proposed site for a sanitarium at Moothoor, a small table-land on the top of the Sathpoora mountains, one hundred and ten miles north of Kamptee. We proceeded separately, according to our own pleasure, to Chindwarra, a civil station seventy-five miles from Kamptee; and thence we marched together the remainder of the way to Moothoor.
All along the road were evidences of the violence of the cholera which had lately prevailed, in small cairns of loose stones, which had been drawn together by means of long poles, to not bury but cover the corpses of the victims to the pestilence. From many of these piles of stones leg and arm bones and skulls were protruding in naked ghastliness, exposed, either by the imperfect manner in which the noisome task of covering them had been executed, or by the efforts of hyænas and jackals to drag them away. In places where these cairns were very numerous-for example, on the banks of watercourses, where the wretched pilgrims, tormented by intense thirst, had stopped to
drink, and die—the smell was, even now, very offensive, and we were glad to hurry by.
At one village, before we ascended the mountains, the inhabitants, terror-stricken at the ravages of cholera in their midst, had fled away; and remains of bodies, half eaten by vultures and jackals, were lying all around. Long tangled hair, swept on by the strong hot wind, was lying under the trees in the grove where I pitched my tent; and I was glad indeed to get away from this ghastly camp.
Sitting outside my tent that moonlight night, an animal, disturbed by people who came chattering along the high road, cantered past; and, as far as I could judge in the moonlight, it was a tiger. It came to within about a hundred and fifty yards of my tent, stopped, stared, and cantered on. I afterwards found that the mahout of one of the elephants had seen a tiger in the river-bed that afternoon, when he was taking his elephant to water; but, with true native apathy, or, perhaps, because he feared that he might be told to "show it," he said nothing about it till I mentioned, the next morning, what I had seen in the moonlight. Villagers, also, are very averse to give information regarding wild animals which they have seen their fear is the same-that they may be laid hold of and told to "show," and perhaps be thrashed if they fail in the quest.
Chindwarra is a pretty place, well wooded, and with a beautiful stream running past it, the bed of which is one mass of great rocks and water-worn boulders, and which, together with the luxuriant tamarisk and jamun bushes which spring from every cranny of the rocks, form a perfect cover for the tigers and panthers which still haunt this river,