Chapter 65702517

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Chapter NumberXIV
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Full Date1888-08-17
Page Number0
Word Count3253
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, YOUNG FOLKS. MY PLUOCKY BOY TOM, OR, SERAROBING FOR OURIOSITIES IN INDIA FOR MYYSHOW. B: P. T Buase. CHArrER XIV.-Tox LoB e No Tine. A few words are neeersery to explain why I sent my young friend, Tom Bradford, the cablegram Ibhat was published in the preced sag chapter. Lookiog hack over my long experience as showman, . it will be admitted that I have been parsnod with singular persltesny by fire, one of the most fearful enemies of man. In thse month of December, 1857, my summer realdeonae, Iranistan, on Long !sland Suond, near Bridgeport, wasconsumed, with a direct loose Some of more than 150,000dol. In July, 1865, while I was engaged in makinog a speech in the Conneotiout Legislature, a telegram wa handed me announcing that my American Museum, corner of Ann street and Broadway. wasn baurning. I finished my speecsh without anyone notioing any unusual emotion on my part, and then went down to New York to view the ruins. The Museum at that time wars netting a yearly income of 100,000doL., and my slos wars nearly a half million dollars. On Ird Marah, 188, my OChinese Museum, at 533, 537, and 589 Broadway, waent down in fire and smoke, the loss being about 300,0003o01. above the suloranece, and on bhe day before Christmas, 1872, my Hippodrome, on Poorteenth street, eontaining a museum,' ilreus, and menagerie, was totally destroyed, the lose blag nearly a quarter of a pillion of dollars. In 1384, Baraum, Batley, and Hatehinson's elors sustained a damage by fire, in Chicaogo, to the extent of 70.000dol. At two o'elook on M3aday morning, 211st November, 1887, my wife awakened me in my bed at the Murray Hill hotel, New York, wish the ia nformation tBhatl she had just releved a highly important telegram, which she felt some liesitatoon in reading. SLete me hear it, my dear, I said, liMj easpeeotig what was oming. ' Mrs. Barnum read the following: * P. T. Beaousr, Murray Hill hotel.'ft ' Large animal building entirely consumed by ire. All horsem in ring barn burned, together with bree selephants, one lion, and hippopotlamuas and oamele. , . R. BaorwarLL.' In reply to my wife's frightened expra.s alon. I sard: 'I am very sorry, my dear, but apparent evils are often blessings toin dieguise. It's all right.' I then closed my eyes, and my wife asoeris' that in just three minutes I was sound asleep. oo see we can become aoonstomed' to almost anything in thli life. Bot when I awoke in the morning I 'bookled on my armour,' for you will admit that serious busines was before me. I had just enountered the greatest los by fire that .1Jad ever expecleaced. The destroyed building, one hundred by foer hunadred feet, and two and a hall stories in height, was rased by the dames in about iftesen minutes. There were at one time no less than tweotyseven elephante at large, and 1it was extremely fortunate that they killed no one, slute oe of those huge beaste has sometimes, when in a violou mood, alain a bal docson persons, : The wandering herd nholeded the six trained animale-dabe, Sypsy, Jeno, Fritz, Mandarin, and Palla. *racr, a vauinable elephant, wandered down to the Boond, and, the Side being oat, she waded eel In She mud. She was found Sonudering there at daylight, and shortly after died from cold and exposeare. It was fortunate that the elephant Samson, belongnlog to Mr. W. W. Coles, wans urned. He was an ugly brute, and, had he got loose, he would have killed many people. Alloe, known as the wideow Jambo, whclah 0osat uns 10,000dol., besides the expense of bring ing her over, and the saored white elephant from Burmab, which was secured at an outlay of more than 200.,000dol., were among She lost. All my eat animals were burned, and there was little left bolesides the cars and ahbriote. It was a great relief, however, to know that the stuffed skin of Jumbo and his skeleton were saved, the latter being on exhibition in Philadelphia. y This las great fire was so recent, end the particulars wers so widely publishebod, that it would not interest you to read the account again. Youn know how frightfully the rhinoceros was borned, and, I am auore, will recall how the big lion took refuge in Mrs. Gilligan's stable, where he was shot by her neighbours. Our lose was about 700,000dol., on which there was:an insurance of 80,00dol. Monday morning, after eating breakfast (and Mrs. Barnum is my authorisy for say ing that there was no perasptible diminution of appetite on my part). I devoted myself to the important task before me. I had last forwardsd a telegram to Mr. Gohkin at Galcutta, when I resaliled that I had reosieed word from him some lime before that he had slarted for Leknow with Tom Bradford,' bhut was Unoertain whether he would be able to accompany him the entire distasee. I, therefore, sent a telegrsm to Luchnow for my plucky boy, Tom, with the reqoueet that if he had net yet resahed that loily, and It was known where he could be found, he should be sought out, and the despatoh, handed him with the least possible delay. I knew Mr. Godhkin would understand why I sent a personal message to Tom, and both of them *old also see that the gat was a strong expression of my confidence in the young man.. That I was not mistaken In my suppoeltion I was glad tIo learn by the receipt on the same day from Looknow, in India, Tom's cable in answer to mine.t He telegraphed as follows: 'aM P. T. BAnnout, Murray Hill hotel, I 'Oable received. Very sorry to hear of your great loe. India will be seoured, and the wildest and fsreset animals ever seen in Ameriea will be exhibited In she greatest akowon earth, II our lives are not sanorioid in their capture. Tou BRADFDO.' Let na thenefore, return to India, and take up bhe adventnree of Tom and his friends. Wooldn't it have been grand if we could have eaptured that tiger inastead of klilisg him ' said Tom, arefully folding up the deupateb and putting it away Sn hiu.poeket. Teathu relbat Is out ci Ohs quescion,' .1 esplied Mr. Goeilk, 'a you know ior your. m. Ton mibgt as well try So lasroa Ifull The only thing to do is to find a kiiten, and se~nd him homs to Bridgeport, cr wherever Mr. Barnum makes his new qostero, san loS him grow np with the soontry. * What i. your name?' asked Mr. Godkin, Surning suddenly to the messenger, who was arittlug en hia huree, hulding converse in low tones with the three native servantsa. * Mase wah, sahib,' war the respeefol response. 5aHo did you know where to look for no? 2' 'Man redo Cin Lokonow-ey be sar yon on road-send me out to bnnt for you, eahib.' 'It was lucky you found ta; buS, lfaaE.wah, Il it's alil the same to yoe, we'll eall you Jed; tShn wo'll have a qsarlette on Ji-Jo, Jack, .Jm, and Jed. If yon ean stay with us a while, we'll give yeo good wages.' Jed, like most of his people, wan only tro glad to engage himself to the pasty for luits moderals pay, *Ca' you help us to get one or two tiger &itlens ?' asked Tom, who was struok with the Intelligent appearanoe of the naiive. SMe can,' was she prompt response. * How ' skesd Tom and MI. Godkin, in She eame breath. Jed then explained that, while riding apidly along She road, sad when hardly a mile distant, he was decrnding a long hill and wan near a small stream which erossed the highway, when he was terriied almost not of his senses by seeing an enormous tiger amerge item the jangle on his right, and trot onose tshe road in front, lees than a hasdeed feet diatint, Jed's borese sopped ehort, and the rider was on the pint of wheeling about and dashing bsrk to Luckuow, when he observed thatthe enimal rw fmeale, and woe currylng a Tileen io her mouth, The moiher SIerr I. very arfotlonate and

she was so engaged in her task that she paid so heed o sanylthig else, Reaching tso side of the asty highway, she bounded into the jungle on the other side ane diesppeared. Jed spurred his hore forward and passed the spot like whirlwind. Looking back, after going a oonaeidornble ieltases, he saw preaisely the same thing ropeated. The tiger was trotting soross the road again with a seeod kitten in her mouth. Jod, feeling quite safe, halted bit horse and waited soeverat minutes, but nothing more was observed of the hbeast. The eoncluelon of this narrative was that the tiger had two young at .least, the unoal numbeor being from three to five. She was undoubtedly the mate of the tigcr that had behoen killed, and the coveted opportunity of obtaining her offspring was presented. 'Bet I iellU you it's mighty dangeroas batless,' said Mr. Godkin, compressinog his lips and shaking his head; ' you would not think a ieroor brnts than the one we have jolst shot could exist, but wait till you ore a tiger mother defenoding her young.' 'Idon't nloend to creep up and try to take them away from her; but we've got to steal them when she's off hunting for food. Come. Mr. Godkln, I'm ready fit you are. Mr. Barnum will want to open with a bigger show than ever, and it we're to send bim our nuriositis in time we mst getl to work.' Ordinarily it would have been hard, if not impossible to hire a number of natives to take part in sueh a desperate enterprise; bet exploit of Tom Bradford, in slaying Ihe terrible seoarge, gave them anch boundless faith in hi bravery and skill that they were ready to follow him anywhere. As a conseoquence, she four signified their readiness to join in the hunt for the tiger kittens. CaArmrr XV.-A FaIGonTrL Ocousrneos. The preparations for the desperate venture were slidple and soon made.' It was arranged that Jed, Tom, and Mr. Godkin should ride cautlioely forward, the tbree servants followilg them at a shurt 'listsooe. Since they were afoot, and armed with only their primitive wesapons, it was prudent that they should keep well t the rear, so as to esEape anoy esudden onslaught of the savage beast. Jed was to point out the spot where she entered the jungle, and it then remained for our friends to locate the home of Iho animal and to await her departure, if she was still with her young, before attempting to steal them. Jed displayed more bravery than wonuld have been expected, for he losited on keeping several rode in advance of thebs other horsemen Ho seemed to think, and not withouot reason,S that his greater experience in hunling all kindsaof wild animals would enable him to dellat the proximity of the beast before the Amerlosne. Jo, Jack, and Jim were nearly two hundred yards to the rear of the properietors, as they may be ealled, of the enterprise. II will be remembered that the point whbere Jed bad seen the female crossing the highway with her young was at the bottom of a long hill, consequently the exact spot could not to distinguished until the head of the slope was reeshed, so as to permit the I horsemen tolook downward in front at the smell stream whibh crossed the highway. a 1 Jed was yet some distanee off, his pony proceeding on a walk, when he was observed to check hie animal, tmrn his head, and motion with his hand for his friends to halt. They obeyed, wondering what it meant. SHark I' whispered Tom; * do you hear 1 that,' Listening intently, the faint, regular I tinklinog of a small bell was heard, ooming from a point beyond the hill and not for from the spot our friends were approahiong. Walls Tom and Mr. Godkin were looking, they observed the figure of a native descend oing the opposite slops, and coming toward them. Hewas nearlynaked, exeept his voluminonus turban and light motlin skirt around his I middle: He was advanolng on a loping trot, bearing on his ahoulder a slim ptolo, to one end of which was attaehed a small bell that gave out the tinkling whlob arrested bhe attention of the party. This fellow was one of the native postmen of India, who carry the mail in that fashion, Unmindfal of the sweltering weather, one of those tough runners will trot five or ten miles along a dusty htghway, bearing a bundle of letters and papers. Tho small bell which he carries sospended to the stick is to give notiee of his coming, jolt as the postman in this country apprises us ct his approaeh by blowing his whistle, Tns native trots the entire daistance until be meets oanother postman, to whom he delivers the mail, and, while the second takes up the trot, the first turns about and goees back aS a more leisurely psee. 'I'm afralid that follow is roaning into more danger than he enuspects,' remarked Mr. Godkin; ' I have often wondered why Ihey persiet in proclalming their coming in t that way, for the sound of the bell often servres to guide the ttgerlying in wail for hile viotli .' ' Ought we not to warn him of his peril ' asked Tom, feeling that' the poor fellow's e life was worth more than a thousand tiger kittens. ' By all means,' replied his companiona, The two started their animals at the same moment and galloped to where the wonder. Ing Jed awailed their approaeh. They quickly explained their wishes, but he shook his head. 'Too late-mabba no tiger there i' 'Listen I' broke in Tom, with a; start of terror. The hearts of the two almost stopped beating; as they heard frenzied ahbrieke and sereams, just seob as a strong man makes when caugbt in the grip of some power that Is tearing him to deash. 'Come on 1' called Tom, sparring his hborse into euoh a gallop that he quioklyp placed him. self at She head of the others, who followed 1 close behind.' Meahwhiles, the rest of the'servants, seing Ihat something was amiss, took good care to linger in the hbackground, A sharp ride brought the three horsemen Io the top of the hill, bht brief as was the gallop, the cries of the poor native were a bushed before ocr friends could gase down She long treteb in front of them, The aight theysaw was snough to startle She bravest man. It is more than probable that the postman bed met hle death by the means Mr. Godhin a refsrred to. The tiger moet IIkely was nursing her young aS some distasne from the roadside, ehen she caught tbs tintionabulation, ubose moaning she knew. Leaving her kittens in their new bed, abel orept noilelessly cot to the aide at the hlgh. way and awllted thecoming of the man with She tinkliog bell, Then followed the long, terrib losp, aed She nalive was borne to she eechb, and so lrightftlly tore that his sufierlng e were morel. fully ended almnot as soon ae they began. Looking down the bill, the epelaetors saw the tiger holdieg the body of ths man in her a motlth, jost as ene would hive carried one of ber kitens. Sthe had erushed him down in a lhb middle of the highaay, and, holding his body so thasonly his bare heels tonohed the ground, she tratted from She read ito tShe jungle with no more apparent effort than if arryling one of her tiny youog. This preof el the prodigioa strength eithe Siger was not needed by our friends, bht they were so impressed by what thsy saw thae for a few minutes they looked in eaeh other's fanes without speaknog. 'What a pity we did not arrive sooner,' uas the remark at Tom, made in a lou vole, is it fearful af ettratting the attenthon o0 their terrible enemy. 'Yes; and the fat that Ihat man lost tie ilfe throegh his own shortsightednems cia. not lersen our pity for him. I Itll you, Tom, I hblek Mr. ectrum will exaxse yov from napturing one or two yonag tigerm.' 'But I will not enonse mysslf,' was the etOrdy responme. 'Iam more resolved than evr to rub hat meroiless heart of her off, All right; I am with yoe; but it striLkes me Ibal sfooe she has saersd a good day's

meal, she will not he upt to lave her young fee some time, and we are likely to have a tediousewail at it.' *I am afraid so, but I wase thinking that if It was her husband wblohi we shot, she may set out to hunt him up, it he stays out too lato.' Mr. Godkin Icoksa Inqulroingly at Jed, who nodded his hand. * Mobbe do so-don't know-wait- see.' * Where shall we wait!' was the important qoueestlon which Tom proposed for joint corn aideration. By this time Jo, Jack, and. Jim gained enough courage to movo forward and join theb horooono, where they quickly learned all that had taken place. The reasonable conslausion was formed by all that the tiger would be likely to indulge in her siesta during the afternoon, breakling it only at long intervalse to go to the brook near at hand to quench her thirst. Toward night she would probably aet out to look for her mate, or perhaps to seek more game, though after noch a feast, she could con venisantly go several daeys without any food. The cono!usaion was to ride silently down the hill and up the opposite one. Jad in formed them that a native hut stood hbut a small distanoe beyond. There they would leave their animals, and oarefully mate their way hack to the spot, approaehbag as near a they dared, They would then hide them. selves In.the dense jungle, and watoh and wait, witho enoureoraging prospect of eno. csee, as must be confessed. The duty of pasesing directly over the epot where a man had been killsed buhot a few minutes before was anything but piea. stnt, even to sooh brave persons as Tom Bradford and Mr. Godki, but it seemed necseary, since there was no way of going round the place, and it was too far to ride to the native village. Mr. Godkin told those on foot that if thebsy feared to make the ventore, they nsetl anot do so; hbut, when they saw the horsemon start, and probably, too, when they recalled the wonderful bravery eal mareksmaship of bhe young man, they showed no hesitation n following. All inslotintively hold their pease or they slowly deseeunded the hill, bat you may be sore that Mr. Godklo and Tom were certain their riles were ready for the emergency, and they glanced from right to left like a couple of Indian warnriors approaohing a hoslile camp. The youth half wished that the tiger would show herself, though he would have hssn sorry indeed to see any member of the party los his life; buht it the mother could be pet out of thebs way, the task of soourinog the kittens would be moch simpli. led. fee a- arĂ½.)