Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

STRANGE GAME.

No country in the world, perhaps, offers such temptations for the true sportsman as India. The quantity of game, (particularly in Bengal), exceeds the most sanguine ideas of an untravelled Briton. The sport itself is considerably more majestic, and more imposing. The wild peacock, the florikin, the black cock of India, are incomparably beyond the puny game of the West. The traveller, who has hunted the tiger, the lion, and the wild boar, may almost venture to look down on fox-hunting as a childish amusement. The very dangers which environ the Eastern chase give it an excitement as superior to that of Great Britain, as the fox-hunt boasts over the capture of a tame cat, or the destruction of a harmless rabbit. Remember, I am an Indian ; I speak as an Indian; I write as an Indian. Were I an Apperly or Nimrod, I might then view the subject in a different light.

The whole face of the country in the East seems alive. A thousand species of birds unknown in Europe-a thousand different kinds of animals, omitted by some of our best zoologists-a thousand venomous, but beautiful reptiles, vivify the scene. With a gun over the shoulder, a host of objects, besides those which are styled « legitimate game, - offer themselves to tempt a shot, (not that I ever had the craving desire, which some men feel, merely to kill and destroy, for the sake of wanton cruelty,) from their gay plumage and curious form.

It was strolling through a wood «high up the country," with my Manton on my shoulder, my thoughts all centred in Europe, when I heard a curious noise in a tree almost immediately above me. I looked up, and found that the sounds proceeded from a white monkey, who skipped from branch to branch, chattering away with delight at beholding «a fellow-creature of a larger growth,” for so he decidedly seemed to consider me. For a few moments I took no notice of his antics, and walked quietly along, till suddenly a large branch VOL. III.

• 33

[ocr errors]

fell at my feet, narrowly escaping my head. I again paused, and found that the missile had been dropped by my talkative friend. Without consideration I instantly turned round, and fired at him.

The report bad scarcely sounded, when I heard the most piercing, the most distressing cry that ever reached my ears. The agonised shriek of a young infant burst from the little creature whom I had wounded. It was within thirty paces of me. I could see the wretched animal, already stained with blood, point to its wound, and again hear his dreadful moan. The last agony of a hare is harrowing to the tyro, and I have seen a young sportsman turn pale on hearing it. The present cry was, however, more distressing. I turned round, and endeavoured to hurry away. This, however, I found no easy task ; for, as I moved forward, the unhappy creature followed me, springing as well as it could from bough to bough, uttering a low wailing moan, and pointing at the same time to the spot whence the blood trickled., Then regarding me steadily, but mournfully, in the face, it seemed to reproach me with my wanton cruelty. Again I hastened on, but still it pursued me. When I stopped, it stopped; when I attempted to go forward, it accompanied me. Never in the whole course of my life did I feel so much for a dumb animal ; never did I so keenly repent an act of uncalled-for barbarity.

Determined not to allow the poor monkey thus to linger in torture, and at once to end the annoying scene, I suddenly came to a halt, and lowering my gun, which was only singlebarrelled, I was about to re-load it for the purpose of despatching the maimed creature, when, springing from the tree, it ran up to within about half a dozen paces of me, and began to cry so piteously, and roll itself in agony, occasionally picking up earth, with which it attempted to stanch the blood by stuffing it into the wound, that, in spite of my resolution, when I fired, I was so nervous, I almost missed my aim, inflicting another wound, which broke the animal's leg, but nothing more. Again its piercing shriek rang in my ears. Horrified beyond endurance, I threw down my gun, and actually fled.

In about balf an hour I returned, for the purpose of fetching my Manton, fully expecting that the poor animal had left the spot. What, then, was my surprise to find a crowd of monkeys surrounding the wretched sufferer. As I advanced under the shade of some trees, I stole almost close to them before they perceived me. I took advantage of this circumstance to pause for a moment, and watch their movements. The stricken monkey was crying out in the most piteous manner ; the others were busily employed in tearing open the wound, trying to destroy the already-dreadfully maimed creature. A shout drove them all away, save the dying animal.-' I advanced ; the little monkey was rolling in agony. I took up my gun, which lay beside him. I fancied he cast one look of supplication on me, one prayer to be relieved from his misery. I did not hesitate ;, with one blow of the buttend I dashed out his brains. Then turning round, I slowly returned to my quarters, more profoundly dispirited than I had felt for many months.

Take my advice, sensible reader, if you must live in India, never shoot a monkey.

(BENTLEY's MISCELLANY.)

[ocr errors]

No more cars bones, lieth

On seeing « Justice lies here » inscribed on the Tomb-stone of a notorious Liar.

We thought when on his head the dust we threw,
No more on earth his influence would be knowu --
From the dry bones the tablet takes its cue --
As lied poor Jemmy, lieth still the stone!

IDEM ALITER REDDITUM
A bumpkin gazed upon the stone - no sigh
Burthened his breast, but with a droll delight,
Scratching his ear, I heard the rustic cry:
« Dang it! its queerish-but Ecod ye're Right! »

Qui pro quo.

ROMANCE OF THE WOODS.

THE WILD HORSES OF THE WESTERN PRAIRIES.

BY T. B. THORPE.

The head-waters of the Arkansas and Black rivers flow through a country abounding in singular variety, with high and broken land and level prairie. Many of these abrupt eminences spring up from the plain, run along for a few miles and again disappear in broken ridges. Standing upon one of these abrupt eminences, if it is a favourable season of the year, the eye is greeted with a sight of life, in the spring-time of its existence, as beautiful and glorious as the age and decay of the old world is desolate and heart-breaking. There is a freshness in the whole scene, as vast as it is, that rests upon the landscape like dew upon a new-blown rose. The sun here sends its morning rays, through an atmosphere so dewy and soft that it seems to kiss the prairie flowers gently, only meeting the side of the abrupt hills with its noon-day heats. Among the prairie and broken land lives every species of game, the Antelope, the Deer, the Turkey, the Bear, and the Buffalo,—these are all found in abudance, but the most prominently attractive object is the Wild Horse. Here the noble animal has roamed untrammelled until every trace of subjection, which marked his progenitors, has disappeared. They are now children of the wind, and only need but one more touch of freedom to mount the air. The high-meliled racer", wrought up to the perfection of civilized beauty, as he steps upon the turf causes indescribable emotions of pleasure. But the animal falls incomparably behind the wild horse of the prairie, in every point where mere beauty is concerned. There is a subjection in the gail and in the eye of tbe « blood » that tells of slavery, while the wild horse is the very personification of the freedom of his life, and proudly and nobly indeed does he wear his honours. To stand upon the high hills that rise up from the plains in this rich country of their home, and mark the wild horses as they exhibit their character, is one of the most interesting sights in nature. At one time browsing with all quietness and repose, cropping the grass and herbs daintily, anon starting up as if in battle array, with fierce aspect and terrible demonstrations of war. Changing in the instant, they will trot off with coquettish airs, that would, for affectation, do bonour to a favourite troup of ballet girls; then as the thought of their power comes over them, they will with lightning swiftness dash in straight lines across the plains, mingling into one mass, so obscure will they be by their flight. Changing still again, they will sweep round in graceful çurves, rivalling the sportive flight of the eagle, then breaking into confusion, parsue a pell-mell course for a few moments, uintil suddenly some leader will strike out from the crowd, and lead off single file, thus stringing out over the plain in lines, looking in the distance like the current of some swiftrunning river. Approach them nearer, and see what beauty, as well as power. That stallion, whose mane floats almost down lobis knees, shakes it as a warrior of the crusades would bave done his plumes ; he springs upon the turf as if his feel were dainty of the ground ; and how that mare leaps, and paws, and springs into the air ; she would teach her colt to fly, one would think,—and then, as the sun shines obliquely on the crowd, their skins betray the well formed muscle and darken and glisten like silver and gold. The groom of the stable labours in vain for such glossiness-it is the result of health-it's nature.

The wild Indian loves the horse, herein showing his humanity, and his soul. He has his traditions, thai his ancestors were once without them, and the Great Spirit is daily thanked that he now possesses the treasure. The happy buntinggroundś » are filled with the noble animals, and the warrior, if he reposes in peace, is beside his steed, which, sacrificed on his grave, follows him in spirit to the land of the Indian's fathers. In the Indian horseman the centaur of the ancients

« ZurückWeiter »