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The man who carries the fire and the bell, moves slowly and cautiously through the thickets, ringing as he goes, while his companion follows close behind him, keeping a sharp look-out ahead. The deer alarmed by the sound of the beli, start from their hiding-places; but bewildered, and apparently fascinated by the glare of the burning charcoal, which dazzles their sight, and prevents them from distinguishing the forms of the hunters, they approach the object of their wonder, as if under the influence of a spell. The light reflected from their staring eyeballs discovers their presence to the hunters. Solomon Eagle comes to a halt, and ceases to ring his bell, while his active companion stealing round the bewildered animals, attacks them in the rear, and with his formidable coorg-knife, hamstrings as many as he can reach, before they become aware of their danger, and fly from the treacherous light.

In this manner we saw three deer destroyed within an hour; and our poaching friends would, no doubt, have done further execution, had we not bribed them to discontinue their sport, by inviting them to return to camp, and partake of a glass of their favourite brandy.

April 1lth. The game in the neighbourhood of our camp having become wild and scarce, we struck our tents this morning, and moved on to old Kamah's village, some miles further back in the forest. When about halfway, we were met by a deputation of natives, who informed us with bitter lamentations, that they were on their way to crave our assistance in destroying a gigantic serpent, which had lately made his appearance in that part of the forest; and had, within the last few days, killed and eaten two of their bullocks.

This story sounded so very improbable, that we rejected it with scorn, and abused the unfortunate villagers for attempting to impose

But the

poor

fellows asserted the truth of their report with so much earnestness, and were so urgent with us to assist them, that, partly from goodnature, and partly from curiosity, we consented to accompany them in their search for the monster. This proved fruitless, although we explored many miles of forest; and, during the few days we remained near the village, we never could obtain further tidings of this father of snakes.

But I must acknowledge that, during our search, we came upon traces which puzzled the most skilful shikaries of the party, and somewhat staggered our incredulity.

While exploring a thicket on the edge of a hollow, which, during the rains had been a pond of water, but which was now nearly dried up, one of the natives uttered a triumphant shout, and calling us around him, pointed to the hollow, and requested that we would now believe our own senses, for there was the track of the snake. There remained no doubt as to the existence of a track, and a very curious track; for, in the half-dried mud, a deep furrow was distinctly traced extending from side to side, as if a large hogshead had been dragged across it. And if this really was the track of the snake, as the natives asserted it to be, their account of his enormous powers can hardly have been exaggerated, for he must have measured at least seventy or eighty feet in length.

But was it the track of a snake ?—that was the question. No one could account in a satisfactory manner for the appearance of the mys

upon us.

terious furrow; and yet no one would acknowledge that he believed in the existence of a snake enormous enough to have produced it. Neither shall I venture to do so ; but shall leave the sagacious reader to draw his own conclusions from the above facts.

I never myself met with a living snake above eighteen feet in length; but I am aware that they grow to a much greater size. I once saw (in the museum at Cape Town, I think), the skin and perfect skeleton of a boa-constrictor, said to have been brought from India, which measured thirty-five feet in length; and I am not sure we should be justified in denying, that in the unexplored forests of the east, reptiles may be found of even double this magnitude, although we do not at present possess any satisfactory proof of their existence.

April 13th.-E-being anxious to show me as much as possible of Indian sporting, gave orders for a grand beat to take place this morning, in the oriental style. Messengers were despatched yesterday, to collect as many men as possible from the neighbouring villages; and to-day we commenced work, after breakfast, with two hundred beaters in line, taking a circle of forest, ahout a mile in diameter, at each beat. The natives are very fond of this style of sport, and engage in it with the utmost spirit. The hunters best acquainted with the forest, select the passes where the guns are to be posted. At each pass a light screen of branches is erected, and behind this the sportsman crouches, and remains perfectly still till the game is driven up to him. Unless closely pressed by the beaters, the animals generally come up at a slow pace, carefully reconnoitring the ground as they advance, and thus afford an easy shot. But if a deer happens to dash past at a great pace, a whistle or a clap of the hand will generally make him stop for an instant to listen, and then is the moment for the grooved barrel to send its bissing ball with fatal precision.

I had a running shot at a stag before the first beat was arranged. He started up before me as I was going to my post, and passed within forty yards, but I missed him with both barrels.

In the first beat nothing came near me, except a muntjack, or redfaced deer, which I shot. I, however, heard a good deal of firing on both flanks, and the roaring of some animal, which I took to be a tiger. When the beat was over, I found that none of the European sportsmen, except R—and myself, had gotten a shot; R had fired at a wild boar, which he only wounded slightly. The animal charged him, and knocked him over, but fortunately without ripping him badly; the destruction of a pair of new cords, and a slight wound on the outside of the thigh, being the only injury he sustained. A herd of bison, and a couple of bears—whose roaring I mistook for a tiger-had also been started, but had either turned back, or broken out at the flanks, where the native hunters, armed with matchlocks, were stationed. Several shots had been fired at the bison, and two or three were said to have been mortally wounded, but nothing was bagged. The bears charged through the line of beaters, and broke back.

The next beat proved blank, although plenty of game was seen.

In the third beat, a fine stag samber came up to my pass, and gave me a beautiful shot-1 hit him with both barrels in the throat. He stood tottering, uncertain whether to fall or not, till my peon went up to despatch him with the hunting-knife, when he charged, with his

mane erect; and attacked the man so savagely, that I was obliged to fire again to drop hiin. He stood four feet five inches at the shoulder, and had fine antlers. My brother also shot a young stag, and this was all that was done in a long day's work.

Having now seen the far-famed beating of the Great Western Forest, I am inclined to think it very interior sport to stalking your game. There is certainly a good deal of excitement—there is something fine in the “pomp and circumstance” of the thing—and when you do get a shot, it is, in general, a deadly one. But for my taste, give me the excitement and exercise of following up a trail; the wellcontested struggle between'man's reason and the unerring instinct of the brute, and the satisfaction of bringing down your game at a long range, when you feel that the victory has been obtained by your own skill in woodcraft. I am told, however, that this day's sport has been a very unfavourable specimen of beating. The grass is at this season too high, and the underwood so dense, that it is utterly impossible for the beaters to preserve regularity in their line, and thus the game is enabled to break back.

April 14th.--To-day we made another attempt at driving. A strong body of beaters took the field, headed by old Kamah, and armed with all the instruments for producing hideous sounds ever invented in this land of discord ; the traces of bison and deer were recent and numerous, and the knowing ones predicted a successful day's sport.

During the first beat, including about a mile of jungle, a large herd of bison, and an old solitary bull, were driven up. The solitaire alone passed within shot of our line, the others having broken back before they reached the flankers, placed to hem in those which were going wide of our guns. Rấhad a good shot at the bull; and I saw, by his action, as he rushed past my post, that he was severely wounded, but the ball had struck too far back to stop him. His hind-quarters, turned towards me in his retreat, received the contents of both barrels of my large rifle; but the enormous brute never even staggered, and we heard him forcing his way through the bamboo with a crash like thunder, till the sound died away in the distance.

The second beat only produced a few stray bison and a solitary stag, none of which came within shot of our line.

During the third beat, I climbed into a high tree, so as to command an extensive view. A herd of bison were started, and I had a fine opportunity of studying their habits as they came up in front of the beaters.

As the wild yells, mingled with the rattle of tomtoms, and the braying of trumpets, came echoing through the forest, the wild herd snorting with alarm, dashed aside the boughs, lowering their heads, and clearing a passage through the tangled underwood that closed again behind them, and left no traces of their course. They would then halt and listen, with ears erect and expanded nostrils, till the yell of their pursuers again came swelling on the breeze, and again they thuodered onwards to the silent enclosure, where the sportsmen lay concealed behind his fence of green leaves. The herd was making direct for a pass defended by their guns, and I expected every moment to hear a volley poured into them, when a stupid fellow, leaving his post just at the critical moment, spoilt every thing.

The bison, hearing a rustle directly in their path, and fearing this hidden danger more than all the noise behind them, drew up in a body, wheeled round, and rushed back like a whirlwind, sweeping every thing before them in their headlong course.

Thus ended a second day's work without producing a single head of game.

April 15th.—The bad success of the last two days, “ with all appliances and means to boot,” has disappointed us not a little. Old Kamah still talks confidently of success, twirls his mustache, and damns the beaters for sons of unchaste mothers—while he works his long skinny fingers with convulsive twitches, as if he longed to clutch the luckless knave who yesterday deranged a beat planned with his utmost skill in woodcraft. To-day, at his urgent request, we tried fresh ground several miles further back in the forest, a beautiful green spot in a valley, watered by numerous springs.

Two beats failed to produce a single hoof, although plenty of game was started.

The third, a forlorn hope, was tried in despair. And this time I determined to adopt my own plan of operation.

Old Kamah having placed us in what he considered the most likely passes, the beat commenced; and I slipped quietly away from the post assigned me, to a small valley, which, from its appearance, I fancied must be a frequented pass, and which, if it was so, would lead any animal which might be driven up, quite wide of our line.

One rule violated, I went further; and, to the utter disgust of my attendant, Seedeewho had lived in the forest for fifty years, without ever having seen such an atrocity committed-1 declined to use his fence of green leaves, and took up my position on the branch of a tree, some ten or fifteen feet from the ground.

From what I had observed of the nature of wild animals, both at home and in India, I was convinced that game coming up to a pass, frequently discover, by their sense of smell, objects on their own level which are not perceptible, if raised some distance from the earth. And the experience of the last two days satisfied me that bison smell danger, and avoid it long before they come in sight.

My worthy savage seeing me resolved to abandon the beaten path of his forefathers, would not be witness to such a gross violation of established custom; and after assuring me that nothing could or would come near me, he threw his blanket over his shoulder, and strode away with a look of ineffable scorn.

The beat was nearly over. Nothing had yet been done. And the shouts of the wearied beaters were dying away, when a heavy animal came tramping down the valley, and a fine old bull, with inflated nostrils upturned to the breeze, trotted along the very pass I had selected as the most likely one for an animal to take. He passed within fifty yards of my tree. I lodged a couple of balls in his shoulder, and down he sank upon his knees, with his broad muzzle buried in the earth. In this position the disabled monster lay groaning till I descended from the tree, and lodged a ball in the back of his skull, which finished him. He was the largest bison I have ever seen; his size when stretched upon his side, appeared enormous—too large, indeed, for the eye to take in all his huge proportions at a glance. His height, from heel to shoulder, was six feet two inches, and at the highest ridge of the back, six feet six inches.

During the various beats, several traces of wild elephants were seen, but none of these animals showed themselves.

We got back to the tents by seven o'clock, and supped on the marrow-bones of the bison.

I have now had three days' experience of driving game in the jungles, with two hundred beaters and a line of twenty guns-five of them in the hands of European sportsmen—and what is the result? One bison, two samber, and a rib-faced deer, which is not more than any one of us might have killed in a day's stalking. Beating is all very well where there is no possibility of approaching your game, on account of the thickness of the cover. But there is no doubt that in all places where the timber is large, the grass burnt down, and the underwood tolerably open, far more game may be killed by stalking than by beating. That the former plan is more sportsmanlike and interesting, will, I think, be readily admitted by all, except those lazy fellows, who prefer having their game found to seeking for it themselves; and would rather sit quietly under a tree till it is driven up to them, than “ lard the lean earth as they walk along," in following up a trail.

NOTE ON “KING JOHN.”

Prince Arthur.-Must you with hot irons burn out both my eyes ?

Hubert.-Young boy, I must.

In the barbarous cruelty proposed to be practised on Prince Arthur there appears to be some coincidence with a theory brought forward of late years, in reference to the Hanoverian heir-apparent; namely, that by the ancient laws of Germany the sovereignty could not be exercised by a person deprived of the sense of sight. Although “ death” was indicated by the royal uncle in his conference with Hubert, it would seem as if John, shrinking from the guilt of actual murder, had subsequently contented himself with ordering that the young " serpent on his path” should be rendered incapable of reigning by the loss of his eyes. It was a particular act, intended for an especial purpose, expressly commanded by warrant, and Hubert was “sworn to do it.”

Supposing, therefore, that the intention was simply to blind the victim, to disable him from the throne, not to inflict unnecessary torture or endanger life, it is humbly suggested to future painters and stage mangers, that the inhuman deed would not have been performed with great clumsy instruments like plumber's irons, but more probably with heated metal skewers or bodkins, as the eyes of singing birds have been destroyed by fanciers—though for a different reason with red-hot knitting-needles.

T. H.

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