|Chapter Title||A DESPERATE ATTEMPT|
|Newspaper Title||Kyabram Union (Vic. : 1886 - 1894)|
|Trove Title||My Plucky Boy Tom; or, Searching for Curiosities in India for My Show|
THE YOUNG FOLKS. MY PLUOr Y ):sY TOM ; JL, BEARORING :R)t CUKtOSITisJ I. INDIA ICoHt -?-YtIOW Kr P T. HasRum CHAPTrI XXXt[.-4 I)-lSPEr4TR It was a slrauge .arcu *al t?e cap oru aP .:apiv.e through the mcur.tinoon wilderr.. aP of Southern india. The -lid mtorn swng thrir torehre ome their heads, br. king into that weir., mournful chant which they sang when tih) irst reached the but in which 'he prisoner, were maektg souh a desperate defenoq ag .neat the furious panthers This chan at tim.e rose to eonh a ewellin; ohorau that it r deed oonve, nation between tar friends difflalt, and they walked a longe way in saliento, ear: apeoola ntg on what th. outcome was !ikely to be. The wild men formed such a large hod, that it was imposeibt! for all to keep to r, plainly marked trail whlih they wee. eildently following to their village in th; mountaios. The maljriTy of them, however, walked it, the path in front and rear, a guard of abouL a dozen being on ither hand. The latter, as a o?nocquence, found tan, travelling rough, and at times quite diffi cult; but they adanond with surpricing dexterity, leaping over obitruotione in the hapeof boulders, darting around rooke and boge tree., and keeplg pet with the mein body at all times.
The race oir le connery rerembled; m.e woodd, ' moutsl enooa l-.-?o aofeur. owni land more than the deameasid at ;:e'li-a~' penetrable janglae of India. ' ', Therewas no pordIon enountered where the party were compelled to nalt, in doubi of the best means of gettin; forward, HI would of neceseity have been the oaes bad they been posbine throogh one of tho-t ast tracts known as jungle,. wrioh are sh. homes of numberless birds, beast., auri reptiles. For fully a mile the weird abhnting con tinued, and then at a ional fr, m the leader it oeased, and *at became strangely still, so that the captore, If they chose, were free to talk all they wi.bed, There was one member of the unfortn artes who was profoundly Impreesed with their frightful peril; that wee the natlvr, Zip, who beloeved tha after reaching the preenoce of the terribl- King BEommrn. ever one of them would be doomed beyond any pmesibillty of escape. The captives walked In what may hr called Indian file, Zip at the head Athoni next, with Tom and Mr. Godkin t6llowine in oider. The firt namel did not open his mouth when the :thter were talking, bet with hil eyes fixed on the awarbhy forms io front, seemed to be thinking ef other places and scenes, or prepariog himself, in his ow, charsoterilsio way, for the death that bh was assured was oloe at hand Indeed, It would be bard to say what imagininge were sorglog through his brain though his ellenee and gloom were to pro. found that they excited the symptrhy of his companions, who could do nothlin to lighten the burden that was crushing him tt the very earth. The first break, If each it may bo called. oame when the wild men reaehed a stream of water. Here there was apause, but only for an Instant. The leader stepped Into the current and strode ptraight forward, followed unheel. satingly by the rest, the whole party re suming their wild ohant, whioh rang throngti the forest with a striking Impresrive eff? . The rreek, if unoh it may be called, war a dozen yards In width, but to no place more than a couple of feet in depth, and th. bottom was so hard that the sandals and shoes made little impress on The otrrent, however, was quite siroog, and had the depth been only a littli greater, there would have beeon ome troubl. before all the company reaohed the other side. Just as Mr. Godkin entered the water a sudden uproar and confusion ahead brougbh an exclamation of astonishment and dread from him, * What does it mean ' he asked of Athoor, upon whom he had learned to rely in their preseot misfortones. * Look I' replied the native, * Zip Is trying to escape I' Soch was the fast. The servant seemed to have decided that there was but one ohance in a thousand of metting away, and that ohanoe came at the oroealog of the stream. Certainly the wild men were warranted in believing that no one of their oeptivee would think of trying todash through ruol a livi g wall as that by which they were surrounded. While each was pickicg his way aorote the stream, he naturally gavJ mreti attention to himself than before. It wea near the middle that Zip darted like av fl sh to the left, in the same direction thst Ibe current flowed, and madr a deeperato attempt to get away from his meroile.. No one couldhave showed more daring Colliding violently with the savage .-n his immedlate loft, he cent him headlong Into the water, which splashbd In every direotion as he went down. There was a socond wild man directly ir his way, and, without an iontant' hesitation, he raired his gun and droves bullet tbrougi his bronzed skull. Hie osptora were still on hi- right, left, and rear, but there were none in rr, nt. Zip bounded through the water, takpnl snoh leaps that he rose above the surfase sea lime, instantly pitl ging up agais and goir K forward with a celerity thai not even a long. nosed monkey could ho.s surpassed. It must no- be supposed that the wild men were idle during thes brief but exailu?g moments. The attempt of Zip was certainly nees. peated on the pisr of all, for, had any of tir eaptosn entertalned the slightest asspicion of his purpose, he would not have pRined the time in which to mke thefirst essay. As it we., the inevitable conuasion followlng the over-turning of the frast savae and the ahooting of the soond, paralysed the whole company for jaut an instant of time. It was the leader of the wild men who firt grasped the situation, though he was the furthest removed of all. At theanusual uonad, he toread his head like a .ish, Bnd, byhbei light of ithe faiflii torches, oought a glimps of the sinewy native, bounding and plunglng down stream. He lostantly uttered a reaplig asreech, resembling the cry of one of the panthers that had received his death-wound, and ran In the direction of the fugitivr, followed by folly 'ne-ball or mors of the company. But he had hardly taken the flras bound, when the recolleotion of the other eaptivre obecked him, and he atopped as suddenly as II he had brought up against a stono wall With the ezoeption of aboout a doeen, the rest did the same, instantly alolog shbou, the group, the members of which were standing as mute and motionless as so many lambs. It wae at this exiting juncturn that Athoor displayed a quickness of resource - hloh excited the admiration of rom and Mr. Godkin, andwhieh was certaloly a brilliant etroke on his part, At the very moment the leader eprorg in purmiut of the flying fogitive, Athoor ehouted at the top of bis voice : ' Stop, Zip I Come back I come back I' Thie 9 range eopeal wee Ottered in the tongne of the Wild Men of the Mountains, and was really lotended for their bentfit, for Athoor was not laah an idiot as to tuppose that his friend would give it the ieas, heed, after making a start. If it be considered possible, really added to his energy of movement, Away he went through the wonde, w th the swarm streaming after him, all toreech ing, waving their torches and brandistluy lhir javelin, many of whinh were hurlhd after the fugltive, who was makiog luoh mnoazing saped through the andergrowth and amo. R the trees that only the fointest glimpee was obtaineodd him. H. and hbl pursuers quickly vanliah, from ihtl,
The 1.. ,., a.r.c.ptl t tthe uatlve pl .a~ .it fri,. is f:ionfirl jeopardy, for the as**r a... s uraled that he ap : a.i. -ho resolve to end the matter by patting the three to death. S. a " ....pr· teat the break was :uotn •. ..y :t a four three of whom bad been eouverailg so freely in their own I .a,*a .. :-: a their beetle fatled them at the critlol momeot, N?r iu..- etia uit Iribute can be rendered to Ar?'.ar' w.a:d4rfrtl readines of mind than Illr uia,. alt-. feet that t wase hi frenied apieal Lo Z., :itls saved the lives of himselt .na two u.. 1a1.olo1e. Th' e. vwo. heard and understood by the ICader, t ., ;tter a I moment's heealtaion, eemcd rt, ua.olede that Zip's movement wao entiroly) IlO(.arpdent of the rest. .The Iardr, t.bretore, was given to resume the wdvesce. bus the bief notified Athoar that taut sautsher wordmust be spoken by him and his otmpanions. T',." .a.o' t,,'.-.Loative, with another pro Icad esleasm-which was not Imitated by Tom eail Mr Godklhn-aid that it would give himn unbounded bappiesse to obey the .isheoi es tea great and easemed a man an the ohbia of tale Wild Men of the Mountalas. whobuser kiog was the mighty Homma. h hint sI.a 'om ani Mr. Godkin was enough ta seal tr.eir lips. Au Four later, the members of the por. sunlog paty began dropping back and re joining .he .Iain company. Our friends were naturally anxious to learn the result or their a~tempt to overtake Zip, and Asboor rlseened attentively in the hope of earching some remark that would give the lsue, but the wild men were so guarded in what they said, that he scold not gain o much as a hblot. II wa? cer Ita they had ot'osaptered hii, forrtb heyha;drnetred iloeib e wese i. puosible he hid escaped ? While Athoor wae uking himself this question, he observed that one of the pur suers was carrying In hbls hand, which had tlrowuoaay the torob, the gun of zip. Thai enned -i doubt ; if Zip's feet had been too fleet for those of the wild meo, a.ey we.. not fleet enough for the javelins, end whean he fell prostrate on bis face onootured by the poisonous weapons, doubt-. less they protruded from the poor fellowae body, Iake the quille from the back of the porooupine. Jura as day was breaking, and when the captives were beginning to feel the effelts of ,heir long, laborious march, the party arrived at the native village, where dwelt he terrible Homms, king of the Wild Men of the lMountains. CnArr a TXXXIII.-AD A Da ULro .SENTaoa. Two hours later, the three captives stoed in the presence of Homma, King of the Yi:d lMen of the blMontains. The town of those strange people il in one of the wildest portions of Nisam, the southern seroton of the immense division of India salled the Deooan. it tonsslte of more than fifty huts, quite similar to that in which our friends were assailed by the panthers. They stand in wo row. fasing each other, with a hundred ses of spese between, like the street of an ordinary elry. In the centre is a struoture double the sire of the others, the front of which is open, an apartmens being at the rear and two above, The buildings are made of trees, cot and laid with no little skill, end roofed over wish branches, leaves and dirt, which render them Impervious to the ieree storms which somellmes sweep over that elevated region. In ibis large bulldinagdwelt King Bomma, hie abree wives and hib favourlIt daughter, Mul'etti, a beasoifol princess, whose age was almost the same as Tom Bradford's. In India the women develop early, and thlk prineese was as mature In figure and mind au a European ladyis who has roeahed the age of ewe ty years. King Momma wes in middle life, ta1t, very dark, with a a muscular frame and the countensoaoe of a savage tysaIt. Birel. more than a year before he had slain the ergolar king and taken his place by fres He was Utterly cruel, and was held in abject fear by all his subjeets. There was somo rode resemblance to royally in his dress and eorroundings While his attire was similar in its scanty make-up to that of his warriors, he wore about his shoulders a cape of rod silk, on which were stamped representations of strange creatures in gold. Thle was looped at the neck; and as he at in his huge chair with the garment covering his shoulders and sheet, and with a blue turban of satin stuff, stamped and ornamented in the same barbaric fashIon, he formed a good repro. sentation of a savage king. Stating thus, he held in his strong right hand a gigantlojavelln, tipped wilh geld-a fitting scepte for sunh a ruler as he. The Princees Mulelti displayed becoming modesty in her apparel, her beautiful figure being wrapped in a robe of purple silk, brilliantly embroidered with figures in yellow thread, the whole descending to her knees, so that little more than her CInderella-like sandals, end her dainty hands and wriets, with their numerous gold rings and their bracsslets, were visible. Her hair was long, louxuriant, and without the woolly oppearance of the warriors and other women, many of whom were gathered respectfully around the king's palace. Hes looks, gathered in a golden band, were as bleok as night, and streamed away in an ex oner ant mass over her shapely ahoulders. Muletti's eyes were black, large, and lustrousne, her nose delicate and slightly Roman, while the Contour of her ooontenance was as regular and as pleasing as that of a daughter of Persia. You will remember that Athoor dreaded above .1i thiongs a recognition on the part of this autocrat, from whom he had sonarrowly escaped a couple of years before. What means do you imagine he took to avoid recognition f When Tom Bradford and Mr. Godkln observed It they eauld hardly repreus a smile. He twi-ted his eonutenaoee into an e. preselon that wouald have done eredit to a professional comedian on the stage, doing it so naturally that none of the wild men nuspeoled iets object, but supposed he was euffering from sone pain whlch rendered the oonsortion involuntary. It served ite purpose for a time, but whether it would continue to deceive the king remained to be seen. The latter frst demanded of the three strangers why they dared to enter bie domain nbidden. Athoatr toek nnblugb _gly to ha fib, that Mr Godhin ,e , o Tom the en ofa kin sosoe the wateri s they wese on their way to pay their repeeets to the mightlest ruler of a1l, when they ware beet by wild animals, from which the brave warriore of King Humma reseaued them Whether th potentate golped down thIsl stopendoue yparn as whole, it is imposerible to say, but it manifestly produced some effect opon him, forhe made many inquiries about the other ruler moroe the seea, adding some quesions oonserniog the que-u whloh showed that ahe name of the good Victoria, Empress ut India, had penetrated even to thbat remote puart of her domielons. The situalion of Tom Bradford and Mr. Oodkin wale trying, since they were obliged to stand by the side of A boor, witbout taking any part In thbe conversation, or understanding a word utlered. They endea. wonred, however, to fill their role with brecoming dignity. What rendered the youih's position more embarrasinelog was the feet, apparent to everyone, that Princees Moleti we deeply intlereseled in him, Every time the lad'e weodertng eyes settled on her winniop onotenanocs, he saw she was gAzing eteadlly I aS him, as thbough she eared for naught else. Tom tried to avoid meeting her gate, but as is natural under ench cironmatanoes, his own eyes encoontered here conlinoally. Once be tried to stare her out of oonte nante. Looking clraight at her, he wase thrown into confousion by an unmistakable emile on her part, em though ehs wam greatly pleased SI tSell you, Tom, you've made a con qnest, remarked Mr. Godklin, In a low voile, greatly amoused at the little by-play. Sehaw I' was the implatient teply, 1'm houting wild animaels for Mr. Barom, sand hlavent any ose for seavages, even if they are lood lookiag and the daughtses of kings.'
Suumpee%, admousiasd lhs sren y-on luow what a ood thing Captaln Jo miltb Uh u,.4 it to Lave friend at oour it I. not impsetble that the alm adress of Atboor and bia ustonal ingenuity and self peesedlon wols i earried 1|i three sanly through the but for an oexpeeted ad unfot ooeurrenue. Dauing blis strikg laterview, o r ondience, with Knlg Homma, almost all ubjects were gathered aroend, it and .urvying the prieses. They kept respetfuol distaeeo, and knew better to obtrude themselves in any way. Athoor's acootnt of his woaderful panione, belonging to a mighty royal fo anaroe the sea, was so entertaining that saw tub king was not only interested, favourably disposed. But, to ?revrve good will, is was necessary hat Ath ohould eeaap rseieglion at all has and that no auspieion should enter ruler's mind' that the partil had entered dominiona for the purpose of capturing taking .way auy of hb wild animals. That was a plece of presumption wbh1h be could not forgive or overlook, as Atho-g very well knew. The imagination of the latter enable? to tell a marvelloos story of the mythi potelrate beyond the see, and, had A& only possessed some showy presents to over to Homma, it Is not impossible that ? would have given them an escort ot ot of country. But a sudden turmoil at the further _ .f the village caused all eyes to tarn I diretdon. A aeore of Wanwara hunter wers rppsnaohing. lead a h lion, ad beoon eat about his bead, end were ? by kosng hands. whee ;owu er oet 5 heiae britging ma Into 5nythg mhetbe. As it was, it looked a i he had but b make a slngle effort to tear them to frl ment with him mighty paws. But the lion was singularly handliepla else he never would have permilled hid to be made pulsoner in that feshlon. M. faLe e ..tOaslaoons in he h adirne
of the noIse, eod then eIlalmed ian undertone: ' By George ! but that i our Hlon I h? he's got the muzzle on yet.' The face of Athoor showed more agitai| than at any time linoe their capture. ' Tetl Is bad,' said he, * very bad I oovery must follow, and the king will . - forgive os.' For the moment all interest was t ferred to the prodigious beast, whloh is meost venerated of all animals with the Men of the Mountaelne. He strode forward with hbi captors either side until he was balted in front of barbaric throne, where he was enna? wi-hh admiration and respect amona almost to worhlp. The ond muzsle, whlob the beast never been able to remove, eaolted greatest wonder on the part of the kd prinees, and subjects At irst they seemed to think it waIs - extraordinary abnormei growth; but ll ones a sespioiton of the Iruth flebed into1 mind of Homma, who knew of hnterOl beI that had entered his domains for the par of oaptnrinl wild auimale. ' Who plaeed that on the king of beaul P he demanded in thunderousne tones, addreeel himself to Athoor. BRfore the latter could reply, Tom Bras ford read the question in the looks WI manner of the inflorialed monarch. Advancing two steps, he bowed low ud answered by gelsture, pointing to the likes then touhnlog his finger to hle own breaL then Imitating the outline of the morale, I tapping his breast again. The gesture was so doquent that not the king and priness, but nearly warrior translated lts meaning as rapidly if the words had been spoken in their tongue. toYou have done it now,' said Athoor, 1ll an expreselon of intolerable digustl. SHave done what ?' ' Ruined us all.' ' It couldn't be helpef, and I will not tel him a lie or suffer one to be told to save ie from his anger.' The king thundered out some eomm? whlch Athoor Instantly translated for the benef8t of Tom Bradford. ' He orders that sine you placed thiy moztz!e on the sacred head of the kltg besets, you alone shall take it off l' i(o as Oesmnsa )