Chapter 65702772

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Chapter NumberXXX
Chapter TitleHUNTING THE HUNTERS
Chapter Urlhttp://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article65702772
Full Date1888-10-12
Page Number0
Corrections0
Word Count3557
IllustratedN
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleKyabram Union (Vic. : 1886 - 1894)
Trove TitleMy Plucky Boy Tom; or, Searching for Curiosities in India for My Show
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THE YT@N@ MFOLKL MY PLUOKY BOY TE9; R., SUAROINMG OR OUIMOScrEl If INDIA OR MI UHOW. Bs P. T. Baarme. Carema XXX.-hews to xua He Nua 'l've heard of the Frenchmse whoe thought is very finla sport to hang the tiger, but who said it was not sobh tine sport to have the tiger hbeat him,' remarked the amaseed Tom Bradfed, * and it strike me we are in about the same fix; for, while we have been aflter wild animals e long, they have taken it fate their Ikads to ge aller us.' The situation was indeed seous ; for the panthers were as frce asa so many tigers, seemingly resolved to get at the darintg in vaders of their haunts, and to tear them to pieOes. The shot wahek the lad aet among them found Its mark, as we have shown, bet it seemed rather to add to their feresely. Immediately followeng the wild yawp of the wounded beastd was a series of ooree-she, howls, and growling of so frightful a ntore that Tom, sheutiag 0 sas to make himself heard, asked what it meant. 'They are maddened at the small or blood,' replied Atboor; 'they have fallen upon their wounded oompanion, sad are reading him to shaede.' 'It bey will enutinue that sort of thing,' Galled Mr Oodkle. the problem is solved; we will keep them busy. Let ne the into them as fast as we can load and discharge Thi? oought to have been the solution of the peril of the friends, but antertonately it was not. Pushlng the door adde, so as to allow them to thrust out the monelb of their gave, all foer-Athene, Zip, Tom, and Mr. Godki- let Dy lato the raveuing swarm. They ought not to have missed Ifa siagle insteace, hat they must have doseme despite the mob that wase fighting around the entrance. ThI ebrIeking, howling. and emnlling be eame fearful, but still did net divert the whrle peek from their derperate attlempt to get at the heate.rs Help shot the door or they will be on as I' breleked Athoor, tugging savagely at the eumbrous strootore, against whieh many of the panthers appeared to have flung them. elves,. The wild appeal of the aative was instantly obeyed by his companile., all of whom dropped their weapons and applied their nunited strength to the heavy struetare, for, unless it wees quiekly shoved bahk in plase, she furious beasts would poor through the etrane Itke a mountaino borrent, and ovre whelm the defendere. The door was in plate, exceptieg one earner, which resltaed the fierest efforts of the defenders. Posh as they might, they eeold not get It in no?tion. A rasplue howling told the rese. One of the ranthers, In his frantie essere?es, had throsthis head so far within 'he bht that he was naught around the nook, sad could not withd-aw it, though he strove with might and main. All he oould do was to claw and serateh and howl, and he did that with a 'thorough. nuHs that could not be improved. 'I'll settle your hash,' mattered Mr Godkin, who, having just diseharged his rifle. clubbed It and brought the butt down with a force that smashed the skull as though It were an eggshell. Then, in obedience to a sugge'tlon from Athoor, the door was opened a little wider, and, easthlng the beast by hie shattered head, he was snapped inside in a twinkling. Like a flash the door was banged into place, and secured by the heavy props. Once more the hat wan shot against its intruders, and our friends for a minute or two breathed freer. The interposition of the thiek walls of the fort between them and their ravening foes partly shut out the deafening din, so they were able to make themselves heard without shouting at the very top of their vetoes. 'It won't do to pen that door again,' said Mr. Goikin, striking a wax match, and hold Ing it above his head so aM to gain a partial sight of the interior. ' You sneak truth,' replied Atbhoor, 'for it was only by a hair's breadth that they were shot out from reaohing us a few minutes ego.' '?Then we have got to stand a siege,' eaid Tom Bradford, in disfmay, ' for there ar no port.holes through which we can fire upon the panthers.' 'I don't think the aloge will last long,' was the significant reply of Athoor. 'Why not' Mr. G(odkin bad lit another matoh, and. by way of reply, the native pointed to the sides and retoof of the building. No need of that, for the terrlfi-d inmates saw them trembling under the furiou* aesault. Nothing onuld be plainer than that they must speedily suenocumb before the cyclone of brute fernoity. Mr. olkin continued lighting match after mateh, ., that the interior was illnml nated sunffioently for all to note the effeote of this strange and resistless aesault of wild animals. ' The rooft will give way first.' said Ath.or. as calmly as If he were desoriblg some incident that had taken plaso a han'red miles away, ' for that is the weakest part of the hut.' S'And the panthere have found it out.' added Mr. Godkin, holding the lieht so high that it almos' touched the roof, whioh wae shakin?p so that there conld be no doubt that the panthers were on top. and nein. :teir strength and activity for all they were worth. The defenAers hastily re.loaded their unsc. Tom doing that service for his friend, en that be might oentinue to keep the matches golee. 'When they make their rush, we shall have th give them a volley,' said Tom, 'and thet olub our Rons and umn our knlves.' 'Little good can they do us, for the horl. Inc of the panthers is hrTnatng others to the soet, asd there will oon be so many that it would-take a regiment to beat them rB.' ' Let's set fire to the place.' sunet?ted Tom, folly rea'sing the appalling perul by which they were enrioneld. 'I'd rather be destroyed by wt4 beMast. than bon'ed to death,' replied Me Gndkin. :I didn'tmean that.'Tom hastened to say; 'hot the flames will drive them back, and. hefore they rally, we can dash out and take to the trees' Both Athoor and Mr. G ,dkLa ompresed their lips and abook their heads. The remedy was almnestimpos'ihls. But, after all. there might be one ohance in a thoeusand. nd that, slight as It was. wa geme hope ..... . . . Saddenly all-oaueht the sound of uah furious ensrli' overhead that every eye was hared opward. The panther' had suaoeeded in displaolong Sper'ion of the rnof, and the hideous fr(ant of one of the fereolnoo beasts was thrust so 'ar throunh that his red tongue white, enrlivorous teeth, end flamingeye.hballs were visihle For an Instant hih head wa still, and then Its qulak, vhbrstory motion showed that he wa. using his sharp alaws with sorh vi?oor that it agitated his whole body. A blinding fleash and deafening report filled the room for an instant, and with ademnanie seawp the head vanished, an if a bomb shell had exploded beneath it. 'The enhsrqnenot proeedlngs will Interest tnu no 'sore,' ooslly remarked Tom, as he peooueded to reload hie uan,. All this time Zip, the native, was arunoh. mIn at the side of the door, so if strivireg to prep tbruosh the crevice at she aide. thnolph no one enosd imagine what be hoped to seoomplish by that means All at once be turned hie swarthy feer round, plowing with the perspir'tlon of lerror, sad paid somlething in an excited ndertone ton Atheor, who, replylgar in the eme languepe-Hindusteal-sprung for' ars sad applied hise face to the same revice, Mr. Ondkin bearn the excsamation of eaoh, hugh he onauld not oatch their meaniRg. But, while they were wonderieg, end look g, and lisltening, something took place so

asoandi that thoy sea ldbardly baelee The terrifio turmcil on the outside osaeed -a eeddaoly as salene follows the bursting of a thunderbelt, Where haba ir was rent by the most trightful uproar a minute before, everything became as still as a summer day. It was as though there war not a living creature withln a hundred leaguse of the hua, again t which the panthers bad thrown Ibaemelvee with a irrepressible madname that would not be denied. Meaowhila. Athoor end Zip, peering through the slight opening at the side of the door, saw someting whichlo was as startlie an the abrupt etilluess, following so olosely on the heels of the maddening uproar. Just beyond the seething bodies that swarmed on all aidee of the hut, lights were men moving to and fro. There seemed to be hundreds of them, and the fantastic manner in which they were airoled and waved about lets no doubt they were grasped by human beings. But who could they be that arrived in this strange manner, and at sight of which the panthers showed each terror ? That they were men was proved the nut minute by the sound of a m'range, weird ohban that swelled out on the night air. It was one of those wild.savage soege that no one uos hear withbout feeling hie blood tinage from head to foot. It canano be believed that the walling monotone prodaoed any deterrent effect on the raveaons panthers, but the faring terebes did, feor they were in the bhands of persons who understood the nature of wild animals Had the strangers paused or besitated in their advance, the panthers might have reelned their courage; but nothing i. so unoerving as the steady, unvarying apprimoh of an enemy. Pew bodies of mea, however brave, enu calmly await a bayonet charge. Nothing is so terrifying as fre to a wild beast, and at sight of the torohee among the trees the panthers meased their howling, and staredppprehas ely at them. Bteadily advanced the myriad ights, their redetion showing the wild men who held them, and whom huge mouaths were wide open to emit the hideous chant that rolled out. The sight was too much for the panthere, and all at onse they broke and shorried away as if a million terrors were at their heels. ' aved I eaved I' exclaimed the grateful Tom, faint in his excess of joy. 'Don't be too sure of that,' was the elgaoitant re.pomee of Athoor. 'What do you mean V asked the lad. ' We are surrounded by the Waswaras.' OC rrre XXXL--Tai Wora MaL or ran Mou?rrAcxe. ' Who are the Wawaru !' was the natural question of Tom. ' They are the wl d m4 n of the moantislo,' replied Attoor, 'and they are as savage haters of white people and other n.tivee of India as the panthers are haters of us.' SLet nous the make a fght against them; we have plenty of immunidion, and each ia armed; this will nswer for a fore, and we ought to be able to keep them at bay.' For oue minute Atboor seemed to helltate. as though inclined to adop the daring olicy proposed by the pleaky yoangeter. But Zip, who wasee able to read the meanleg of his master, shook his head vigorously, anod sald something in Hindustani with auch cnergy that Athoor felt its force. * It won't do,' he replied, also shaking his head; ' there are too many of thsm. If we should slay any of their somber-and we wooul have to slay a good many to drive them away, for they are brave-they would show os no mercy.' ' But will they do so If we surrenders ' l'ssibly ; we shall soon know.' 'I am ready to make a ight,' said Mr. Godkin; * but in this part of the world it le best to follow the advice of Athoor.' ' Help me then,' added the native, apply ing hie strength to the door. Tom and Zip joined him, while Mr. Godkin continued using hie matches to aid them by the falint illumination. The door was lifted to one side, and then Athoor walked boldly forth, followed by Tom cnd Mr. Godkln, while the timid Zip t',ok care to be the last one,of the strange procession. It was a onderfuol scene. The wild men, as they cad been ailled, numbered at least a hundred, and each held a flring torch of some sort of resinons wood above his head. It not only gave out a great dealof smoke, but produced enough light to show tbhelr form, distinctly. They were tall, sinewy men, almost as black as native Africans, with enormous bouby heir, high cheek bones, large, thin noses, most of which were curved like the beak of a bird, and with exoeedingly mosoular limb,. Their olotohing consslated of a breech oloth, whioh left their legs. arme, and the upper parts of their bodies bare. The huge mans of woolly hair, spreading like an umbrella over each erown, was all the head gear that was needed in lbs' warm climate, sad even that at times mast have been unoomfortably warm. A number of the wild men, who appeared to be leaders of the party, were bracelets of gold around their right arms, and double rowe of brilliantlycoloured beads about their necks. Their feet were shod with ruae sanda's, made of a speoles of tough, yellow grass. these, with the breech oloth, conatliuting their entire wardrobe. Every man o.rried a sharp.polnted javelin. the handle of wood as hard as iron, while the polt was of steel. which they probably had had no difficulty in aeourog. These weapune in the hands of such powerful and skilful throwers mast have been very formidable, though, of oourse, their efeotiveness was not to be compared with that of firearms. It would seem that If she suggestion of Tom Bradford had been followed, the four per, os, sheltered by the hut, ought to hove been able to keep this band at bay; but the advise of Athpor, after all, was the voles of wisdom. These men were reckless in their bravery, and a volley from the defenders, while it might have obheked, could not have stayed them for more than a few minutes. Tone Wanwaras an throw their javelins with ,onderfol aeonroacy for fully s hundred yards Like the Indians of our own country. they 'ill sbeiter themaelves behind bushes and trees when fighting a foe whomse numbers are nearlyor qite equal to their own, and Oey will th ow their wespons with an efeotirvenes that is little distarbed by the fant that tshy expose only a aoinglie arm., and a swift, palttr glimpse of a portion of she head at the moment of hburling the avrlln. "Added o.this ll a fast whleh besame known to our frien~t shor'ly after their sc qlu insanre with the wild men m every one of those needle.liks spears had been dipped in a vegetable deoootion as virolently p isonous as the seoretion of the cobra di capeilo. A slight etuetorefrom one of the weapons mealt certain death, and when they came whlzsaing through the air, thlr swiftnessoand tblnes prevented the eye seeing them qulckly enough to dodge the missile. Audso, after all, the chanese of tht little party making a defenes againsst the Wild Men of the Moauntains was hopeless. Mr. Godkin and Tom were wile in Imittling the policy of Athoor, who knew a grestdesal annut the peculiarities of the strange peoile into whose hands they hbad falls", As the native stalkod out of the eabin, be bowsedlow to the swarm sathered in fr.ot. and so arrang d 'hat the littl, group war completely earrounded. Hissalute look on I melt the nature of the profoond salaam of thecountry and wee instantry Itated by the other three, who sew in the esalutation the oa' jeot of onclastlng their captore The next faotwhlh soetoolhed Tom and Mr OdlklI was the ew dente that Athoor fully understood the languago of theae s'runDs people. for, in aoewer to a gottoral exclomo. tina, uttered by thebo leader, he made a reply in the same odd sounding tongue. The Importance of the brier cenvereation hat followed requirese a trenslation, whlh, f ourse, is very liberal. ' Whenae come you . demanded the tall,

I"e ln swhoa thin Ifae wre 10 Weam. arams the earthward,. wI" At c.a. . dItng by hia oetaitdal lae Wh biness e you to enter honting grounds of the eat King Hon L who owns all tnme Itada P SWe were on our way to pay nue rtape to the mighty keg atof the easts the blt and the repide,' w the unblushing b the natteila t. ' Who ear these o have brought w pyo,' asked the ehleI, torning bie Iromw gaze uope Tom and Mr. Godkhin. * They are Ye?ghese, who have _. mstrs the wide sa to tiet their k Athoor. of Caloutta.' * And why, do you bring them Into iP land of King Hamem without his pel mIseloat ' My klend, replied Athoor. ndiaatingi ulauspielooa Mt. Godkin. ' is the brothr a great king neatto Homma, and the youth the son of that king. They had beadl mighty aomma, even on the othe e aid the big, round world, and they eaked me Y take them to his palace that they might their head. before him; and then, when t go back, Lkey will be able to taf the with the pale face all the wondeful they have seen and beard.' mrom what I bae stated, you will that oar fiend Athuer was drawin exaeedingly long hew. Neemely es modee b require it, and he was equal to the deaL: it was hard to tell from the eaprmeel the face of the chief, and on the eo en of the other wild men who crowded to whether they believed all or a part of wee mid by Atheor; but U the doubted it, he did not heitate to keep the rlaky pat he was playing. ' Why did you stop on the away to HommaP asked theohile . -- -, mc We had walkeda iqd?Iance ; we w hred; we ly down a toe o the maea saoe opna n e n?le we aelenp. We fouglt had and killed a *any, bat lhey would'have devonured not our riends the Walwaies taken pity ? u anad come to o help. Great ie tb* bhief,' aSded Athoor. with another e whie his oompanlens promptly milat Sand we shall always carry his Ilee in hearta.' This deolaratioe of gratt41d lid not asp Sn impree the leade very deeply, and it quite evident that he did not hol (aunks in high eeteam. ManfaleIe, he not well disposed toward Wtse stenugo had penetrated Into the very heart o ounatry which Momma, the ruler of th; me., claimed belonged to him alone, a whieh he jealously guarded against all ea trando. * trinc you have nome to see oar m king, we will show you the righo p etace you might go astry i left to selves.' ' Wow ean we thank the ehiof foir h kindness ' asked Athoor. with another peb. found oboianee. It need not be said that his wordse w hypooritioel-evy one of them ; for rnlsaratlon of the ahlet was the vary which he dreaded to hear. But Athoor was a philoseopher, and 1b made the best of everything. The leader uttered a command to hi. followere, who instantly formed thee srlves into what might be oalid a hollow square. They made no attem)$ to take away the weapone of the prisona evidently holding them in too maoh moM tempt to do so. Underestandina the meaning of the mow, ment, Athaor told hib friends to join him h taking their plaee in the open space, elen it was Intended that they should oooopav I while on their way to the presence of Kig Homma. The march was immediately taken ol and eaine there was no restraint put aup the captives, Athoor explained the oonversot tlon that had passed between him and Sh ehief. Slow Is it you know so muooh about thea people ?' aead Tom. I suppose I ought to have told you, bat alane we did not expeat to remain long Ie this section, I hoped we would keep slier at them ; and when we were all out of danger I meant to let you know the rtsk you hal run. Two years ago, when I wee hunting animals in this section, I fell intothe hedo o! the wild men, hut managed to eseap eb first night before they had eompleted thek preparations to put me to death by thole peauliar torture.' 'How did you learn to speak thoe language so well ?' ' A party of the Wild Men of the Moane talins visited Madras a number of yere egg, and I made a study of their peeuliarllteI aa lonpue, which I havn not forgotten.' SDo you dread going before their king?' 'Ihave rearOa to dread it, for two yeat -ag. King Homma was the leading abid stean the people, and it was he who cap tured me and from wbom l had sob naurrow escpe.' (TO na CONTtrNr.D.)