|Chapter Title||A STRANGE VISITANT.|
|Newspaper Title||Kyabram Union (Vic. : 1886 - 1894)|
|Trove Title||My Plucky Boy Tom; or, Searching for Curiosities in India for My Show|
STHE YOUNG FOLES. MY PLUCKY BOY TOM; oR;, SacREoNG 'FOR cURIosIrrIES IN INDIA FOR MY sHOW. Bit P. T. BaIsux. - 'CV.tirat XLIX.-A. ST5at Vs5rTrAsr. Athoor .sc one of those fertunate perwsr 'who have the faculty of ase'king like a ash with all their scnses at conumnd. The instant the growl of the srrered leopar washeanrd he unieretood the prilous siltuatien. ?!it rifle lay aes'.. his knees, and he sprnng to his feet with the agility of an asrobat, and the woupon was at his shoulder it-lt twinkling. Thle mouphilon had proved the 'friend in st-ed beyond qucfilon. Batt for that Iahshing of its marvelous icrown of fire in the face of the willd beast, he would have beer, on the breast -sf the native at the monmeet?he opened his ?c?'es; but the glare bewildoermld- the n me just as the; sudden flanoaig of the sun in the eyes of a ldeeper dnzesi;lm on first awstking. You kleknlothat wild brutes dread fire, all.l the leopardcmust have believed that by sonme mystenros -occurrence he had plunged i' : head intoe a blazing fwsrncee, though, of course, the sensation of helat was valltinlg. Atloarilost no time. bi'is terrible toecm, was almost at his feet, .and before it 'could recover from its confolion or retreat, the sharp explosion of the alifle nlng out ton the night, :and the sphere'of- land, entefting its askul Btivccen the eyec,ttore its way through bone, lrain, and msudle'to tile seat ofilife. The beast, with a -snarl of quick pain, loated-severn l feet stniight up into the air, and, -tolling over mn his back, made two or three convulsive struggles, and then was deed. The report of the 'gun roused the others, .whlo started up wenllering what it all meant. 'Iithlut spexldng, .Athouor stooped over tbe fire, stirred the emnbers into a bright falme, and then l'eBgn reloading Ils piece. My the light thrown out, the dead leopard nwas seen a short distance off, the night stelling the mesiing of the shot tlnt Ihad mauned all from lcep. The mouphilon having rendered this great service ' dousedhis glim,' to use a conmnon xpresslon. The strange light was extinguished as Suddenly as before. The bird rrobably saw that the occasion .for its use w'as past, and it allowed the camp :fire to take its place. Atlhoor, like a schoolboy detetelilla fauilt, 'confessed his, remissness, and told his friends that but for the interferen:e of tile munphilou one at least'of tiheirnuuilberwould have fllesn -a victim trl.thei stealtlly imipsntl. SI feel 'like embrnaieg it,' said Ton DBIud :'frd, with san aldmiring glan:Ue at the bird, 'which lhaid slatted down on the ground .again near the bush, with its enes closned, as if in sleep; 'I don't know whether we l ea afforn to send hlin to fMr. ilaurlni until we :lire through huntingf in this country.' W' hy not?' unksll Athool kntswing wll, 'however, the meaning of the remark. ",Wo shall need hIla to take.nare of us at night.' 'I don't think any other member of the company would ever I0 guilty of soy reniisn a?sas, and I am sure I shall never play the part of zany again.' ' Well,' said Mr. GO?dkin, ' I have had all 'the sleep I want, and I will relieve you for ?the rest of the nigl?t.' No, you won t,' was the sturdy reply of Athoor; ' I mtast have slept half of my tioe, and I owe it to the rest to stand watclh ultil idayslight.' His friends protested, lut le insisted, maid, since no one but Zip yhowed a dispoi ien to slumber, after such it startling interruption, lhe wis allowed to lie down, whleTomen nd Mr. Godkin decided to keep their sontihil company for the remainisg hoursif'daurkless. Mr. (G odkin's watch showed that ;it wasee considerably past the turn of night, .and, lighting his hookah, he pronounce lilmself as. 'comfortable an anyone could wish. " --' Tom'walaked out:to where the lyod'uif-he leopard lay, and made a critical exannusstion. -of t. - . It was i nuiale of unusually largeo ?,iizeo,nd io shuddered to think of what rtheooense quences would have been but for the-dingsilar part played by the mouplhilon. . Possibly, the cry of Athoor rwl,.ehe awoko, in the grasp of the beast, might have enabled his friends to save his life, but h?evouildthave been sure to have been lacerated iby amnny oevere wounids. Next he walked to where the mnlouiiilon was sitting on the earth, plainlyroveiledslby the glow of the camp fire. SI feel half ~osted to uafasten -anl let you go,' he alid, 'because of.thoeservicee'you have done us. You have earanedlyourtliberty ahundred times over; but you :will.lbefor tonate, after all, in becoming "'Brnum's property, for he will treat you wilth amrmudh consideration mnd kindnemnasltlhtl lh'whliite elephant, and I can promise ;you thhat he 'won't let you meet the fate of ithat andithe other anrimals burned at Bridtegi~,rt.:" SDon't got sentiseuntal,' s?aiid'r.?goilkin,. with a laugh, overhearing the wortldsof:his plucky young friend; ' you aalltheo:rest of us are in India .a?, bsi,,a , sai, :if you.lo your: part well, you' are likely to ece~ivo another commission fro Mr. a' am, who 'has a quick eye for a valuable servant. " Don't worry over me,' Tom hastenell to reply; ' I promised Mr. Barnum, "in answer to hie cable, tostop at no riskto earry out r -.? ?;l'wishes,' and'I shall kehop a- worll:; "but, a "'?ll thb same, I'oen't help feling a strong admirtlion for .that remar kale arll 'ditting over there by the bbush, mahinglbeliove:he is "'aaop;,"d, threre ore, eaa't'her 'the nice *, .? ,?-I my about his'- - *'t strike me,' said Mr. Goakin, that it 's .poor: poliey to appr1pr1is ,U .of your :laaso to hold it: fst.u . YMu osyneea. that rope again, ,and, it has done "ya -so many good turna that it ought always Ito -be at command.' ,'I have. nothlng.elsa to ase,; 'rplirdToms, Swho had thought of the eamsethieiLgwhilsho was seeuring the prize. "I "lalways mako.a practice .otEoarsying. a supply of cord with me, as dics 'Athoorover there, and, from' the doeility',ofthe .bird, it will not require a very strong 'tinig'to hold . -him fa??st . l.1 aidon to ron,. who speedIly put It inpia?n "' ofth6 iao that'uwo loopd aBa mo as of the '. uTm6irdsopensd itas eyes ewh:iscfelt the . o?t ali'at rosl. It.?uttered nstrtid, and . i?ed lso me tmidity, bat yen.ay bsr Iras it .'ts 'handledi ,wih such to easerl.that the ::iatldignt cereab"re qaieLy sawift ·ac.int no .Leeft to itedf, the moaprhion se o more . iNtLe down on. the gmad, e >itly well a...tired with is aintla?o, waitly ..ditfcrent w.adyt tw rom that to which it'hath?l alwys Is....,een customed. ..: Athoor,'esid Tom, remnlng:siiha-etnear .ls friend, who did not heitato tosreet himn i o-s.. f enthe gronnme, nowtat ho'ehirscnpany, " ' rhat do .you qow about the mouqhliaon nI' "''b.out as much oas 'ao ne sloe, .'drich is ",iit'a 'p?at deal. You nsed not bestuld that ithe bird is exceedingly rare. It.ia found onl~n Nizanm, so farls hoowr, b ing ast .extinot in other pars of the world as the '1 .dTIo,'nd ther te ar vry fowtahi cnoutAry. e'viover heard of the.creators:' - 'Z?;"Noc ud. I,' addedMe. ;?1i8k, 'mud I #;1te. spent thirtyesr!o m~rao'hie hoe.; but [ ·: h • -veno donttat .i'bgeud:'itfliy 7 s. ?mm 'without leaning .one.&ah of -thlo ',s.d e to be met In Indi.. Tide bird, I 9sappeso, is a malo"' "..s-:YeI,' .reled thoe.,ntir. 'Se .yoea awcs ',-iig'atua hisitey the smals?,lb.ebd bsest.iu -'wueac hs Isawthaat prevals amnss.human t ?T-'gh..o? of ai sober greytolemn fr om Rhead toitnl,',nd has svoie?. hansh sa ,the . le" 1?i?veo the grown of ore lk. Sitn , 'That Is oaal' the stmnge fin set unseted , with. the ms1eab1c" the femaleh hasantl z '.'(113~' bfi~-~~li~ldlhd on pherebm - ·~t~i!..~ ··~L~i~i~iie·btt furehwpotri '.a '
iow that mates the m?al theo Only creatire of its kind in the whole aniiant kingdom.' : What is its foodl2 You know I must learn all about it, so Ltht it shall not stiffer when ?mnt to America. St t lives much the same as domestic birds, bcEog fond ofgrain, wornm, andanch tid-bits as it can pick up it the jungles and woods.' ' This birdl mnst have a mate, iand I would colmtmyself lsecky indeed if I could sou?r oneto take with the male.' 'No doubt the imte of this fellow is not far off, and he could call her to his sideo if le wished to cdo so, but I lanpect hc is too cunning ftr that.' ' lie sppears to be so contented with his lot, and is so docile, that I have been hoping he wedait invite his mate to keep him com dany- Hallo ! what's the mutter with him nosw.!' Srmecthing had occurred to disturb the imorphilon, though not one of the people were able to hear or see the ianse. 'The binl's position was such that tihe light f: ..n the camp fire brought it in as plain ':!,t a: if at midday. r: v:.e co used to warm weather that it is lt:oblc thehreatof the fire was girteful to T'he bird was seen to open Ilis bright, rounel: eyes, while in quick flirt of the head fhowed that he was looking toward the three p?rtics by the fire, bu: evidently with hiso intcrest fixed upon soleothing on tile other side of the opening beyond. '?Then the bird rose from his silting posture, and, seeminglyforgetful of hli bonds, started to walk into the open space. -He passed only a few paces, when a sharp twitch of the cord reminded hihm that he was deprived of the fredloms of motion. Thereupon he stopled without any strugglin ; bat, instead of returning to his former place, stood still, ivith his attention still fixed on sonie point behind his captr?s. The latter, ns nmay be supposed, were deeply interested.cL 'They watched every movement of tile bird, often looking toward the other side of the opening, in the effort to learn the cause of this agitation on the part of their illustrious captive. ' Ai, I sec something!' exclaimnie Tomn Bradford, iin an excited whisper.; ' look! right there on the edge of the opening !' It seemed likea flickering shadow, instead of a substantia object ; but, watching closely, our friends were able to detect a resemblancoe to the form of a moving creature. ' It's the m:te of the usoupliilon !' added Atheor; ' he is iut to learn wiyv her Irhusbanud is keeping such Into hours. rie probuhly discovered her before she did lii,-- . "i * At the momnent when the hearts of Tomui lBradford and Lr. GodHkin were;be:tinig high with the hope of.eapturing the female, the mautle 'alve tterance to a peru:liir cle. I ?ennet describe this cry except to cay that in tone it 'relsermlhed tile honk of a wihl gOose, but was shorter, ttid wais relpeated three timers in quatik suoccsoioin. The femaile vanishid like ia flsh, and Ather Inughsdl merrily. 'That cry of tile old fillow was v a warning to his matotol make hersrilf scanre, or 1ie wmldd sharo his- fte, and, like a dutiful wife, she hns oleyed hin withr re promptrness that lshrits tnt all chance of your over secrling ia partneerf?r your piizo:' No iloult such was theo fiact, for nothing mnore was seen of :the 'femaile, though Tom lradford world not .give p hope No long as they-stayed in the nemglhborhlodl. it would hie supposeJ that the male, having perfrnnrie:tliisnaeat trick, would have Nettled down ?gainr with that ,nonitentment blnefitfting a inupliilon whose conscience ualproveslids course of conduct; but, instead of doing so, hi displayed more rgitation than ' There's something ?lse out there,' adlded Athoor, ri.ingi to his feet, and, shading his eyes with his hland, pecring out in the gloom, SYrou nroilooking at the wrong place,' said >Me. Godiin. ' It is to the left, but I'nm 'Blessed if I eanimlike it out!' It was prolbably a hundred feet to the left of the point whiere'tho feimalo binr had dL appeared with such suddenness that the three caught sight of an eoxtraordinary object. It:had the -shape of a ball, about a couple of feet in dirameter,'from every part of wluhich prrjecteil myirials of spines fully a dozen These spines were of needle-like sharpness, and:as'the object came into plainer view, it -suggested nresemblunco to the porouplrie. :Butiit was not a jeorcupine, ats o sie heing ifr too graet, while Its manner of lioomotion was ,iltogether lifferent, to say nothing of more thau one other distinction. -at.rosomble at ball of long, shiny bilades rof gr?rs,more: thri an n uimato creature. Instead of creeping forwanl, like tile genus flyst*ri.r,rthisotrnragomencber of the anhuul kingdom-formed itself into a circular sluror whichithe porcupine only does to defend it self against attack-and rolled slowly over n·ul over, directly toward the camp fire. 'i:BIy gnciot! I ho's coming for us I' ex 'claimed Tom Bnlitdford ; 'I wonder what he means to do ' * 'lhat,' said Athoor, ' is the creature callce the s.itfiro ; I don't know whether he means any mischief, but he is one of the very few creaturesiin India which I know no way of killing:' " We tlon't want to kill him,' said Tom, 'hoe? one of the curiosities that must be captured.' A' All:I can coy is that you will have a sweet time!ia capturing him. Look out !' There was something alarming inthre ation oft tho-pitflro, as it was 'pi/rrprizately termed by the nitiveo. . ld~I ig.its innumerablo spines close to it: beily,:it rollel slowly over and over, until it rerachelta, point within a few feet of the fire', when; it came to an abiupt halt. - [,o v eoar laaa .T