|Chapter Title||A FRIGHTFUL MISHAP|
|Newspaper Title||Kyabram Union (Vic. : 1886 - 1894)|
|Trove Title||My Plucky Boy Tom; or, Searching for Curiosities in India for My Show|
THE YOU1NG ]O:L.s. MY PLUOKY BOY TOM; OB. SRAROHING FOR CURIO8IES IN INDIA FOR MY BSOW. BT P. T. Banear. CnAPTe1 XVIII.-A FsaonrT.UL MIsP. * Where are you going ' aked Mr. Godkin, sleepily opening his eyes, as he heard Tom talktng to himeelt and preparing to find out 'heo mn terious objeot which had excited his atMatelw. * uownere in partionlar.' * Well, don't stay long,' added the older, dozing off again, without any well-defined idea of what wee tiking plane. I Tom had gone but a thort distane*, when he noticed that be was moving along the tnail of some large animal, at was shown by the shrubbery pressed down and She faInt imprita in the dry earth. A earleul examination of these etrde Im presions proved that.they had been made by some anlmal with boos. * That shows that it Is irn'. a panther, or tiger, or Icopaid, or cheetab, or saythiog of the cat kind,' was the corrgot conolueion of i the yong hunter, ' but I've no more idea than the man in ebo moon what.ha passed lhie way.' At that instant he esaght a glimpse of some beast browsng among the veetatlon and gradually moving away from him, its head pointing n the same direction the boy wae following. The latterlooked at bi gun to make sure it was right, for none knew better than he that the banoes were ia favour of the area. tore, whatever might be its satue, belng ready for a serimmaee at any tim. .. By-andbje the animnal raed it .had, its aotion ahowig that, eligh t wa tihe maln made bt Tm, be hadbhear him. --nwi-tryl?tisyateop deow ** avoid beog seen, while at the I?e time he was able to pse oat and watch the bealt. That whibohTom partcoulanly notteed wa the enormous borne, whblh carved upward and backward to a height of nearly three feel. It had a shaggy front, somewhat reaembliog a buffalo, which in faot it was. Tom had road and beard about Indian baffaloes, and be knew they were dangorous brotes when excited or angered. Haring raised hia head so that bin big eyes eoold deteat everything within his range of violon, the buffalo ball stood for two or shree minutes mollonlue.. The lad knew that he was not only looking hot was listenalg, and the ens of hearing s eo soate In tboes animals that for thneame period be did not stir a limb, through fear of bringing the brute down upon him. * This dread was snoh, indeed, that Tom mtooped still lower, so that.he was unable to see the ball. Cronehing tbus for a little while, he slowly trlath eved up again, and then disoovered that the buffalo was gone. Seeming to have oonoluded that there was no oanse for alarm, he had resomed hit advance to some point where he probably expeeled to flod better browsing, SThat's a funny mise,' said Tom to him 'elf, Inoklng around; well, if that isn't a tittle aheadt of anything I have eer seen in all my life I' The next instant he broke into the hearlieot laughter he had enjoyed stone leaving Ameriea, for the slght war one which would have made any persoa in the world shake his sides with mirth. If I mbould aek you to name the most comial animal in the world you would answer the monkey, and I am cure I would agree with you. I have known the most dignigod visitors to my menagerie to stand for an hour at a time by the monkey aago, watching the perforeance e of the funny areaueres, and I am free to confees that I often find amurseme in the same manner, Well, now therea oems to be no ead to the varieti-e of monkeys whloh abound in South America, Asia, and Africa, some of them being vastly more entertaining than the others. Bot Tom Bradfcrd wan now gozing upon three of the oddest.loohloe croatures that he had ever seen. The long.nesed mooney is well named, It has a very prominent, oomlonl nose -the animal heing about the Elzo of a child three or four years old, with a longnr nose than you ever saw apon ony man, The ears are small, and tioi foes nod the palms are of a leaden oolCur, with a faint tingo of yellow; the top ot the head and uppeopart of the baok bting a d!oh cheatnu brown, while the aides of tile to00 and a strip over the shoulders' are yellow ; the general Soolour of the body -being a sRndy rod. I may add that this exceedingly interest' l:g oreature ia very rarely mot with in India, hbetlotillg, I believe, to the East India Sslands. SWith all Tom's orading ano study, he had 'nver learned anyobing t)bont the long nowed monkey, so that its appoaranon Iwoo a ,trikirp to him as It would be to you. The first thought that came to tna youth, as ha wrote me, was that somo mltchiev. us person had caught the animals and placed maskr upon them ; but tho next moment bh »aw that the tremendous ?I?en weritfpIe uitely whatnature had furnlihed. The encond thought of the lad was the pleasuro he wnold give' me and my parlerc if he could rend an reveral iprolmena ' Tnry would beat the tigors,' ha tl', Sfor they are maah rarer. Few ponplo in Ameria have ever seen a mokeoy with uchl 'iinrae In toa'%. .rid one rf them would he a Pront drensng uard. I wrnder bow I oh ll no n work so eatch one of ^hem, for 'm hound to taue a speclmen hcme.' I' h three long-nosed areaturea, whon fira seen by him, were not among the liimb of she tresr . as you ould suppose, bht on the around, In an open apsee, nuder some large branohes. where they were gatbering a speoies of not that fell around them. r Io group evidently con~tOted ofa father, mother, and young one-the last being no moro than half the eize of the mother, who in taut was hardly half as largo as the oli male. The last was the Eno upon whom Tom felt he must look with some respeit, for hln size and long, hbarp aanine teeth showed that ho was an ogly oustomr in a fight. SWhoever attempted to overcomohim would lI.d hitebaodn full.
The monkeys, moving about in their rito. ward fashion, stopped eating and starcd at the introder with no little enriosity. The old male showed his tooth in a belligerent way. and. more -than 'oea, seemed on thepoint of attaching the youth. 'You let me ilone, and I'll oall r Iit stand-of,' said Tom,. 'but,' he added, smilong at his own aoneet,' you mustn'to go .to "monkeying'! about me.' - ter wathobing the interesting orattutee for several minutes, and notiiong that they had resumed etlng the nuts on thoe ground, Tom moved an?tiously toward them, He bed taken only two or throo etops, when the young one emitted a frightened, ohatter ng ,oond, and ran nround to the ther sil? of the male. At the name tim, the mother looked up and withdrew a short distanee, but the head of the household wa negered, and showing his frightful teeth, h?rao walking threateningly . toward the lad.
'Keep off old felalow; I doan't ant to hort you,' said the lad, as though thearimol could understand the warning. The male advanced folly one-bHll te? intervening distance, and doubtless. truld have attacked Tom, bad not .a most naur proted interruption taken place. Buoddenly the female, who with her yoaop one war watohlog the action of her lord and maiter, uttered a pecullar, chirruping ory, which warned him that a new danger had appeared, though Tom himself was unaware of its nature. The old I How turned hasrply about, and without looking to the right or left, scampered bok to his family with aril.e imilar to tho e of hie mate, though he repeated them oftener and with a vigour whieh showed hie exoite meat over the new alarm. Evidently he was uttering oommaids to hil kindred, who showed commendable shbdiesno by quickly scrambling up among the hranche of the tree under which they had been eating their dinner, 'while the old lellow wme alote )ehiod them, seekingr foge.
I theat, at tooed as it tee -as oclvig. Lte two before him, ready to admioniter lunisha mait i they pre ed laggard in obeylg. 'It Is mt enough .to understand the mesola g of that,' said Tom to hlmeelf, ' but I don't ase anything to be frightened at yes, by gracious I I do.' - The lad was o interested in the long anoed' monkeys that hae had forgotten nil about the buffalo ball that be had been following when his attention wan. divorted; but evidentlythe savage creature did not for' gethim. The buaelo mu ha bve halted near the spot when he again raised his head to' look and listen. The noise made by the youth in advanelne upon the monkeys, slight so it was, resache bl;nears, End he turned about to investigate He had but a few steps to take when be Besereid the lad that had been following him. and trees discovered himself. at the same maomot by the long nosed monkeys, who lad to the branches of the tree for safety. T'rlinghis head, as he uttered tbo words tgivoy, Tom auw the bull on hia right, and not more tshan fifty feet dletant. i!e had rared hibl h-ad, snd was stariue !fom above the hblk undergrowth, as though to was not quite convinced of thenature of hi enemy. That, however, was a small matter. The ball was In a fighting mood that day, and he stood on no ceremony, but proeeeded straight to busineser. Down dropped the boeby head, and one pow romaped the ground, while he emitted anangry bellow ortwo as if to warn the yoneg man of hi approaobing doom. STOot means fight,' coneluded Tom, ' and if you are ao ai al , I don't know that I haveany objeetton.' Ai her uttered the words, he coeoke his ri$e andbrqught it tobta shoulder. - Sinuo the aalmal was eomig 'ead ow,' Tom bhaa fine h oan to 'sand- a ballet home, though hbe would base prefreyd to holy the lead jot book of the foreleg at the moment it resahed forward, for thea there would have been no doubt about reaching the seat of life. But there ought to be none when drits from the front, since a rightly aimed ball was anto to orash its way through She bony shell which protected the brain. Tom Bradford was never coaler and more oolileted in his life. Somehow or other it seemed to him that hie danger was not to be compared to that which he endeewent the day before from the tigre, and asone sense it may have been that It was n, ead yet it is hard to oouceive how he could hate stood eloear to death than he did at the moment the buffalo lowered bi. head ad obhargld upon him like a oyolone, for a mishap befell my young friend aobh aL might have some to Gordon 'Jamming, and againe whish no human skill eoold have sneosealfaly guarded. It was not the fault of his gun, though, am you know, the most trusty weapon is liable to fail ; nor was there the slightest tremor or wavering on his part; for, as I have said. he was never in better form to all his life, ?=*? wap With a ooolnees that no man of double hie years could have surpassed, Tom decided to discharge his pisoe when the ball reached a point about twenty-five feet distant. By that time, there would be so little shrubbory in front of the animal that there was no tear of the ballet suffering the alightest laterferase from that canse. It was Toms intentionforther to plant the leaden mielsle midway between the eyes, where it was sure to pieree the brain of hi enemy. All this paised through the lad's thoughto like a flash, and at the very moment he had declideod upon, he let 'fly. The aim could not have been more un erring, and is ought to have dropped the boll in his tracks as if smitten by a lightning stroke, but it was at that instant that the mishap to which I have alluded same. For some cauem, or, more properly, from no canoe at all, the bull's nose just theno dropped slightly, the movement being exactly enough to cause the bullet to strike the iron-like ridge coneoting the horns at the base, and whisch may be compared to an impenetrable armour of the brain. More than likely the boll did not feel the blow, for it oertainly caused him no harm, nor did it abate his lerrifo hobarge In the slightest degree. He came forward at the same tremendous pace, reaching the spot where orm Bradford etood before the smoke lifted from theo mozzle and while the report was still rceoundine through the jungle. CcArraB XIX.-A OLoso Cor,, The life of Tom Brcdfcrd bhng on the passing of a moment. Ho snw that oven it hie bullet hod sped true, the buffalo butt would not fall it tme to save him, and the terrifle speed with which he was oharginh made eotcpe by runnlng impossible. ?rlof was the period for reflection, and the notion which tho imperilled youth tech nano the result of inotinot rather than that of mroeon, El dropped like a flesh to the earth, when, it may be ?ald, the savage bcast was upot: tim, with his immense head hbeut nd tt rriing hornes almost n??iral his breast. The bull nhot direo ly over the proetrati fonm. none of his hoofs toohlog 'tha body, and, In the twinkling of an eye, went twentj puaoe beyond. But be knew he had mlsed hie mark, and. with a celerity abeolutelywonderfol in ellh n . huge animal, he stopped shot, whirled about, and t made for the lad again. But Tom ha-i not been idle; he know that jnst ~noh a memacovre would follow tht failure. though he did not expoct it would be aeoompliehed with ucnh inoredib'i quibntees. The instant the meteorio bo3y whizzed past, he leaped to his feet and sped o? eover before. No use now for hie unloadec oun, and he fing It aside so a fatal iacte. brncoe. No use either of running far, for the in, forlated animal was sure to overtake him ; he aoct go up a tree, But there was no time to climb in the. regtlar way; he moust seize a limb'and vault out of reach, and there was not a second to 'pare in resorting to that desperaite venture. The tree in which the long-nosed monkeys had taken' refuge was the near?at one that otiered refuge. Some of the outspreadi g branohes drooped so low that the aeties outlih believed he could reach them by a. uning leap .. Aeoordlngly, at ' the -moment' the ball wtltvlsd Ikn n ar.t..e.,..hc............
reot .b, isetke, Tom ??shot like an arrow .oroa the brief eplae before him ' There was little 'undergrowth I hles way, end It wee fortunate that it wat so, for he was racing with an animal who paid no heed to oeuh obatrentions, and who gained upon him with amazing swifllness. The bull wac thoroughly aroused, and in a mood to attack a lion. All that I am tellirg you pasned in a few brief seconds. Gatbherlg his museles fdr the mighty effort, the fugitive- eampresaed hit pale lips and ran like a terrified deer, He had fired his eyes upon the limb at which he meant to leap It was so high above his heed that had there been no easse for suoh haste, he would have declared it beyond his reaob. But he wee aware.that only the single alinee was left; If he missed the limb the hull would be upon. him before he coold repeat the attempt.. The experiene wioblch Tom bhad had with my eirone, though not important, addrd t 1l, naturar' suppleness, was what gave him a roalldenca that would have come to few olhere. A skilful trapeslat will tell you that there are tiefes in hie profesion when he feels be ie sure to alooeed, and again there are oeesalions when he knows that failure in Inevitable. So it was with my plucky young friend At the' moment his feat left the earth, end he made a tremendous bound upward, he felt in bhi hones,' as the expression goes, 'hat he would aonomplish the almost Impops. Bible feat, He was not miltaken. The two hands that were thrown upward elosed abbot the body of the limb, and the iron.like grip remained immovable. The Impetus of his a errowy form swong 'h feet beyond, and as a
quinct ae a f.ed hte tlitW thana overi the bransh and filrted himself on the upper eda. Now, if the limb which he seized In this fashion had been as rigid as steel she fugitive would have been some dlstanee beyond the reach of his fariosfoe fee; but hi weight uanere is to dip considerably, and nnothbi an scoyt more clearly tke alose oell of my onl fticnd. then the fact.that one of the ontl's bonas strook his right foot just ashe was drawing iI ap oat of the way. It seems iu me,' said Tom,' that my shoe received tbh kick of a mule.' B.it on the upper side of the limb be was ole. for oven it the ball aould have reached it, the body of the banoch itself acted es a bhield against the plunging horns. But Tom lost no time in acrambling still higher, where he could look down on the buffalo and emile at his rage. The animal was the picture of baeled fury. He reealeed by what a hair's breadth the young hooter had eluded him, and the o long as he remained perched among the branohee he wea as scure as in the bear ml the city of Luoknow itself. Lie inernd hib huge head upward, and hie eye resmeio so take on a glare like those of ia wounded tiger. His moush was fall of leaves and ahbrub on whish he had been browsing, and these appeared to be dripping whh the foam from bie jawi. The nostrils rose and fell with his quick respirations which made him sides work like , pair of bellows, while athamttered bellow iege gave itting voles to him fury. Then the ball moved to and fee, tilll muttering and flirting his tall, and fnally; in therery impotenes of his rage, remme, his horns againet the huge trunk. au though he expected to batl that over and thus reach his viatim. You m m?n emo? yourself as long a yenou pleae. ,a tt ti haloq.'- said b laed, who emuld well afford a laugh at the angry bull, 'for it ano't hbut me.' - "Ab, it tee youth ad.' only hie gun 1 What speot it woned have team to'bombard ,he brute until he was compelled to easumb 1 Bus the weaposn lay some distance away on the ground, where is was impossible to rease its Meanwhile the long-nted monkeye, as may be sDpposed, manifested a lively in. torest in the eveant going on b low them. The old male had driven the other two among the upper branohec, as though he bad some fear of the bull's ability to climb, but observing that he kept the level of the vround. the three deseanded about half way from the top, whee they stayed. s is probable that thees singolar aroature: dete-ted thl being among the branehes ae maob as the oh e on the ground, though it was elear that they held the former In moth leas fear than the latter. In faet, the head of the house showed a desire to measnrn swords with the intruder; and, now that the rifle nun beyond bie reach. Tom reflected that a sorimmage with him wes likely to prove anything bhut pleassot. While pecurlating over the matter, he suddenly awoke to the fact that he had a frearm at commend. * How did I coma to forget it I' he asked himself, reoahing one hard to his hip poeket and drawing his revolver. 'Up to tbis minute I lupposed I was defenceless, hat here is my Smith and Wosron, with every ohamber loaded, while I have plenty of eartridges. What's to prevent my having a little circus here of my own without any danger to myeself ?' Now, it cannot be supposed that a Smith and Weeson revolver amounted to much in the way of a weapon with which to combat an East Indian buffalo, but all the same, if one or two of the bullets could be sent into the right spot, the brutoe would fall as sorely as if knocked sky high by a dynamite bomb. I'll try it, if he will only give me a albance,' esid Tom to himself, peering down among thebranohes n ' but it does look as if the old feollow had some suspiolon of danger.' Sighting as best he could, the youth let fly with a coup!o of chambers at the' beaset, which was otandieg with his head towards him. 1Io was probably a dozen yards or so distant, and both shots hit him. Bus the effeot was no greater than when the rifle.ball glansedfrom the iron ridge at the top of the skull, the animal giving no evidence of being huret in the least, The ballets may have been loot among the shaggy hair, or possibly entered the body, but, as I hav eraid, without any apparent effeot so far as the markeman could see. 'I don't beliovo I an bother you much.' thought Tom, ' unless I can drive a shot into ,no tf thoas eyes, and I'm afraidl there's little obanee for that.'. (TO as conirmeno.)