Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

CHAPTER XII.

To Secunderabad.-Buy an Elephant.-Rawrapett.-Family of Tigers.-Kill three Cubs.-Procession of the "Lungur.”— Sir Richard Temple as Resident.-The Reformed Troops.— African Body Guard.-Murder of a Native Woman.--Executions. Entertainments at Hyderabad.-Nawaub Sir Salar Jung. His Palace.-Amazons.-Two Months in the Jungles. -Yelmulla.-Bear-shooting.-A good Day's Sport.-Impracticable Tigers.-" Pawn" Gardens.-A Panther Fight.-The Kaissera Tiger.-Panther and Hare.

N

arrival at Madras, I found myself posted to the

command of a regiment at Secunderabad, and I journeyed thither by three successive modes of travel : by rail to Beypore; on a little, slow coasting steamer, the "Tilly," to Bombay; and partly by rail, partly by "bullock transit" from Bombay to Secunderabad. On arriving at Cokutlapillay, about four miles from Secunderabad, the last relay of bullocks gave in, there having been no relief for them at the proper stage; and I walked into Secunderabad. Just before I entered the cantonment, the "Paddy Bird," whom I had summoned from his native village, met me; and great was the delight which he exhibited at the meeting.

Soon after, I bought a very steady and docile female elephant in the city of Hyderabad, and went with her on a shooting excursion to the country lying north and east of the station, but had no luck whatever. My former haunts, Kaissera and Ramaram,

were visited by me; but I saw no large game. Everything near Secunderabad had been shot off, and, except a few wandering tigers, which I had not the luck to meet with, and a very few bears of which I saw the marks and diggings only, the jungles were empty. I shot a young hyæna, which bolted from beneath as I was clambering along the side of a hill, and that was the only large animal I got.

In October I had a little better luck. My shikarry heard of a tigress with cubs at Rawrapett, about twenty miles north-east from Secunderabad ; and I had a young bullock picketed close to the jungly hills which this tigress was known to frequent. I encamped near the tiger's haunt, and, the next morning, a report was received that the buffalo had been killed and dragged into the jungle under the hills. On proceeding to the spot, we found that it had been carried clean away: the strong rope with which it had been tied up was broken into three pieces, showing the enormous power with which a tiger can tug; and a trail was seen, leading over the embankment of a small tank into the thick cover at the foot of the hills. As the village beaters were confident that they knew where the tigress would break, I sent one elephant round to the west flank of the hill, and went myself on the howdah-bearing elephant to the eastward. This elephant belonged to Sir Salar Jung, who, with his usual kindness, had lent it to me.

Almost directly after the beat began a cry arose that the tigress and cubs were on foot. Unfortunately the tigress herself came out just where the shikarries said she would not, and she went away close to my pad elephant, and I lost the chance. The howdah elephant was driven up as fast as possible, but to no

FAMILY OF TIGERS.

305

purpose : she had escaped to the thickly-wooded hills which lay beyond those which I was beating. The cubs were still in the cover, having been deserted by their cowardly mother; and a clump of bushes was pointed out as the retreat of one of them. This clump was accordingly well beaten, and the cub rushed out close to the elephant's fore-feet. The elephant bolted, and I fired a useless shot. By this time my own elephant, Luchmee by name, came up, and we beat the cub out again ; but again the howdahelephant ran away, and I mounted on Luchmee's pad.

In a little time news came that the cub was lying in the cover from whence the family had been first turned out; so I went up, still on the pad, and began to beat. It was a very thick jheel (swampy cover), full of grass and bushes, lying between the little tank and the rocks.

Very soon a cub rushed out, roaring like a fullgrown tiger, and scattered the beaters. I shot it through the body, and it lay, growling, in the bushes under a tree. After a little while, another cub was moved from a neighbouring bush, and I shot it. When the people went to pick it up out of the bushes, a third cub went at them, and I had to get off the elephant and climb up the rocks after it, and very soon shot it also. By this time it was fast getting dark, and, as the wounded cub under the tree was in a dense thicket, still growling, but unable to quit the spot, and as the people would not go near it, we left it till the next day.

The next morning we found this cub lying dead where we had left it; and we beat for the tigress, but she was probably many miles away. The cubs were

about the size of small panthers, as large (that is, allowing for the difference in build) as a good mastiff. Their skins were very prettily marked : the colour a a fine deep orange tawny and black. A pale skin is always a sign of age in a tiger ; and I have seen some immense skins of male tigers which are of quite a light buff colour, and the stripes of which are by no means of the intense black with which the younger animals are so well adorned, but are of a dull greyish black only.

Soon after my return from Rawrapett the procession of the “Lungur" took place in the city of Hyderabad. This procession is on one of the last days of the Mahorum festival, which is observed as such by the “Soonnee” Mahomedans, who are the most numerous sect of that religion in India : the 66 Sheeah

sect, chiefly Persians, observe the Mahorum as a time of mourning and not of festivity. The Turks and Affghans are strict Soonnees. Sir Richard Temple had just come as British Resident ; and I went with him to see the procession pass Salar Jung's palace, from a balcony of which we saw it wind its lengthy way through the wide street below. It was a wonderful sight: all the great officers of state and the city nobles, with their retinues, and also about twenty thousand troops, regular and irregular, horse, foot, and artillery, streamed on for about three hours. Most of the nobles and great Arab and Ro. hilla jemadars were mounted on richly-caparisoned elephants, and were accompanied by swarms of retainers and of mercenary soldiers, fierce and wild in their demeanour; and the streets were lined with armed ruffians, in soiled and tattered garments, the very scum and offscourings of the great city: to use

PROCESSION OF THE LUNGUR.

307

[ocr errors]

Sir Richard Temple’s vigorous descriptive words— “a seething, surging, mass of devilry”!

On came the procession, an animated, manycoloured river. Each chief, gorgeously attired in kincaub and satin garments, and girded with ancestral arms of rare value, reclined in his richly-ornamented howdah ; his servants, also armed to the teeth, in the khawas behind him, holding a gold or silver fringed umbrella over their master's head. Some few haughty nobles took no notice, and made no obeisance, as they passed the balcony in which the Minister was seated ; but most of them rose slightly in their howdahs and acknowledged Sir Salar Jung in a manner more or less emphatic. In front of each great man's elephant strode a throng of white-clad mercenaries, armed with sword and shield and long matchlocks wound round with fillets of silvered metal, all marching to the sound of drums and hoarsely-braying horns. Then, immediately in front of the caparisoned elephant, a party of men bearing tall spears crowned with plumes and tufts of black ostrich feathers. Behind each elephant pressed on troops of mounted warriors, some in bright chain mail, with steel caps flashing in the sun, and high steel gauntlets on their strong right arms, their horses caparisoned with manycoloured housings, and bridles encrusted with cowry shells and jingling silver coins, and with heavy martingales adorned with great hanging silken tassels. Some of the horsemen, instead of coats of mail, were clad in thickly-wadded vests with high wings, or collars, rising above their necks and shoulders; and, on their heads, tall wadded caps coming over their ears, and proof against a sabre-cut however stoutly delivered.

« ZurückWeiter »