|Newspaper Title||Kyabram Union (Vic. : 1886 - 1894)|
|Trove Title||My Plucky Boy Tom; or, Searching for Curiosities in India for My Show|
THE YOUNG IFOLKS. MY-PLUOKY BOY TOM3 OR, SEARCHING FOR CURIOSITIES IN INDIA FOR lT SHOW. BY P. T BAmnaux. * n fasuImLII.-Co nsrINo TU IN LtosCu. if i?y of my ydang or old readers should ever be placed inthe trying situation of Tom Bradford,' the wisest course is to do precisely as did my pluck young friend. While the lion is justly named the king of boasts, and while he sometimes displays re mnarkable corteag in attacking a foe, yet no animal is more susceptible to' bhd?i,' s itmay be called, thin he. You'will recall thna Tom had just dis charged his rifle, when, at the warning of a friend, he turned his head rend discovered a hugo lion'only a few paces behind him, and almost in the act of making his fatal leap. Thcowrtelope which the lad had just shot was the intended victim of the wild beast, •who.was not quito as quick as the lad in detecting the approach of the fname. IHe had been lying in wait on the other side ot the samepath, but was a trifle later than the youth in learning thathis intendedvictim was approaching the other bank of the small Attalm. 'Imay as well stath that Mr. Godkin was on'the same side of the water as the antelope, and in the act of levelling his gun to bring it down, when the report of Tom s weapon and 'tho fall. of the animal apprised hinm that he ias also a bit behindhand. Thsus'it was that the Antelopo was the tihroot object of the attach of two hunters and a llon; small chance, therefore, of its eluding 'them all. For 'a single instant Tom Bradford was ztansfixed, when he found himself face to loo:with the formidablebrute, butho quickly sogainbd his pluck and presence of mind. The 'first suspioion that entered his thoughts was that the lion was the same one with' whichho hadhad his singular experienco a short time before. Those 'beasts are so exceedingly scarceo in the Nizam that this belief was natural. The suspicion was confirmed an instant later, when he detected the marks of the wire mask that had been flung over his haed, and which he had striven so hard to remove that hie pawn inflicted a number of scratohes and w-ounds. The ingenious netting woven by 7ip lay at b sided of the path, almost within reach, 'where the lad had east it at the moment of bringing his gun to his shoulder. It was between him and the beast, but scly a step or two was naeesnery to reach it. ' Now there can be little doubta when Tom Blrdfordl faced about and confrctedthe lion, the latter in his ownpoicullar ways.u+o did a mighty lot of thinking. H'Ie must hare recognised his. muster,,as the mpsItt umtamable of horoes always did, when braughit under the hands of tarey,' the 'givet sihduer of intractable steeds. Fixing lis bright eyes ,upo the glowing' orbs of the lion, the lad walked sdowly toward him. Tihe bonet uttered a growl, and angriy' flirted ,his. tail. He was not V.et redly to led 'htit he was in doubt, and half the$ battle therefore was lost. Two more steps, with his gare, fatenedil.on the wild animal, and he still refused to move, thosugh he neoemed on the pirlt of doing so. Again he growled, and *there was a: , peroeptible twitching of his muscles. Those two steps brought Tom alongside of' the scooop-net, asit may be called, near 'the path.,', Without removing his eyes from those of the brute, he stnoped down and graspeil the lasso and the implement. The action of stooping and instantly straightening up again was tho:last.~fther. The movement was so pectiliar that it changed the alarm of the lionoint a panic. With Lnother growl, he turneodto ?tcfrom thodreadled presence of the er sn who huad once displayed in such a migndl 'manner his power over him. As.in the case of the antelope, the action of the boast was the best thing that codld have taken place for the young la'so-thrower. He had just time to conmpleto hlis huriicil poparations, when the scoop 'shot from his It was much more aifRleult 'to fling this accurately than it was to throw the other, but this dieldrantoge was overcmo 'by tho terybrief spice between the yuuth .and ,his victimn: The scoop settled ever the head of the lion as he ran directly into it, ani the tug. of the beest tihtoned the rope, so that:liwas closed about his head us securely as in 'the first instaneoo. 'Infadct, but for the hilp which "the king ofbeasts thus unwitfingly gaveo, :ll of Tom Bradford's skill would lhave: come to anught. Itwas at this juneture 'that ?lr. GOddkln, who, from the other aidoe of the -stream, had been quick to detectrtho peril eof his 'young friend, reached the spot. Youn will understsand how 'quickly eve?t passed, when told that 'the gentleman never .gusedin hastening to the sceno, .for he ex patted his aid wouNldbe needed to-nave thelad nRom death. -Keep back P called the lad, recognislng his:' sitep behindhim'; vhe 'is too soared to attack me.'" Youn will underetntlanthe absurd phase' of this exploit of Toni's. Trio; he had flung a soit of ecoopiver the eoad df allon, and the other portion .of. the lasso towhioh the implemoentwasfastened was in hi hand - But what is a boy'n-strmgth compared to that of the king of boasta ? Only a alight eoertion was required to snap the rope in two, snatch Ibout of the hands of the youth, or, if he persisted in holding fast, in dragging him along. But' not one' of 'thse things was done by the lion,'and youn will:unndrsatmd the' reason -hWo had smffered inch distress from that other springaerangement around his head that he must have'beliorve he was similarly :It is ony reasonable, also, to believe that lneconngied in the clad the only one who ould afford dim relief from his torture. ;Atany rate, after 'eoveral futilo efforts --ith 'each paw in turn to' remove the mnask, he minidedl and became as genMtlo .a was the slitfire when approachedl by the hbunters, .suming ibi most maijestic mien, Tom walked forward, so as to plac 'himself in front of the aiimal, and in the direction of the camp., 'Ciomo on,sir I' he commanded, giving a twiteh' at thie rope, whictho rmdo as vigorous as hetould. No peodlio ,og could have obeyed more implicitly than the royal captive. -r. Godkin could not'oeetrain his laughtor at the strango sight. "What doyou mean, iir 1' denuindedl Tom, in-his most awfuil manner, cniting a roproving glance at his friend; 'your levity, sir, is very untinmly.; I'm astonished at your lick of tsate; I will conduct this gentlenmn to namp, and reqmuest you to bring in the 'All right,' replied dMr. Godikin, meekly; I can only obey the orders of suoh.a terrible monarch as'you eeem:to be"' With that heo turned about, 'lealped aoross the emalestream, and bending over the body 1 of the antelope, ansed it upon his ehoulders: It was quiitO heavy, but the distance was I notfar, and holding his gun in one hand, ie used the otlhr to. steady his burden, with which he tmudgedl towawrd amp. 'hythis time, too, Athoor was drawn to the sp?t.bythe sound of the rifle and of the ?ee? in conversation. Quick to understand what hatd been done, e relieved Iir. Godkin by taking his weapon, and the two, hurrying their pace, quisskly caught up to'the lion, taking care, however, to maintain a respectful distance behind the boast, which, had he chosen, could have eaattered all thrio by n single demonistration on his part. It wis a strange procession indeedl; at thei haed stalkled Tom IBuldford, with his rifle in his left hand, ia goodly portion of the aInsso in his right, nilnIesst'an twhenty n eet :behind
walke& the inunenise lion, as docile as a lamb being led to the slaughter. . It requires a very slight incident at times to turn the most impressive scene into a farce, and my plucky young friend came within a liair of precipitating a catastrophe that, to say tholeast, wouldhave brought his great schenmo to naught. The lath which the parties followedgradu ally lost its distinctive character as they pro gressed, since it was made bytheconvergence of many animals from different points on their war to the water. Some ,istanco from camp, the trail dis appeared altogether. This rendered walking more difficult, and, before Tom suspected the danger, he passed on one side of a sapling and the lion on the other. A twitch of the rope caused hhn to turn his head, when he observed the looping of the laseo, while the easy gait of the beast drew the lad back several paces. The unexpected obstruction seemed to startle the lion into a momentary irritability, and he gave a flirt of his head which jerked the rope from the grasp of the youth. At this moment the beast was close to Tom; who bending quickly down, seized the rope on the same aide as hiscaptive, which, as you will perceive, freed it from the obstruction caused by the eapling. Then the lad took his place again at the head, taking good caro that a simiilar mishap should notoccur again. You can imagino the astonishment of the native,' Zip, when the procession reached camp. RItenmbering that his former comrade, Zugg, had been mangled and devoured by this same beast, which he recognised, he was shy of him for a few minutes. Being assured by Tom, however, that there was no danger, and observing the docility of tholion, he soon moved about with more confidence. . The plucky lad now did a thing which proved his nerve. The lion had laid down on the ground, as if to signify ha awaited .the pleasure of 'his master. The lattei deftly removed the mask from his head, but left the end of the lasso faietenedabout his big neck, asyon sometimes see a horse rouglhly tied with a halter. :The presenco. of the beast near the water showed that he was in quest of something to eat. ' ZIp had out a steak from the antelope large enougih to furnish all a meal, and the rest 6f the carcase was now 'turned over to the lion. Tho latter at ones proceeded to dispose of it, growling like ahugj do while thus engaged. At much times it is dangerousna to distnrb his sp-cies, and our friends took enroto leave him Thn spitfire remained folded together in his netting, and as quieseent as a block of wood. 'The mouphilon, looking tenfold more "brilliant and gorgeous by daylight, showed only a languid interent, merely opening his eyes; while e nained rseted on the ground. S'-ow,' said'Athoor," when "this iael ras 'fidised, .'wp: must agrib '.thatY we have secured all tih:ourioeitioe we. oan' attend to, sand l?fore huntii03fnr any more w'must ship these to their destination., There was no dimimuting the truth of this statement, and the others looked at the wise native for his decision. " We have'but t travel 'a few milesralieod; when wo"shall' strike 'a tributary:of tlio Krishna ?iver. ' Therewe will flndno trouble inseeurii?g a suitable?boat on which we can place our eharge and ourselves.' 'And what then I' askeilthe interestedMr. 'Golkin. . 'TYo will floet down the stream until it reaches thoeriver;',at the poiint:of their intersection is a station on the line of railway over which you came to this spot, and by --hich we'can ride.all the way to Bombay on the west, or Madra, 'on the eat.' ' Towhich city will we go ?' ' To Madras; there I am well acquainted, and we will have no trouble in securing the be?t care for our curiositioes. They can be held in Madras until the ship leaving Cal cutta with the prizes sent down the Ganges from Lucknow calls and takes these on board,' " But we shall have to secoure something in the way of aecommodations for them before reaching Madras.' ' The station where we will take the rail way is one from which many wild animals are shippel, and all that we need can be pur ehased ready made.' SYoun have indicated the true course,' said Mr. Godkin, much pleased. 'Let there be no more delay, fur we cannot afford to lose any time in shipping Mr. EBrnumn's curosities to him.' The procesion which a brief while later took up its march through the wilderness was very striking. At the head walked Tom Bradfrid, leading I the lion by the lasson tied around his neck. The eoop was cast adds as of no further use. Directly behind him came Mr. Godkin holding the mouphilon by a cord which he had also looped loosely about its neck. Each,member of the party carried his rifle c n his right hand, and the nrmarkablo bird walked after its coaptor with the asn meek neas shown by the n of beste A.thoor and Zip came next. They were a' doson feet aart, and a long polo connected their shouldr , from the middle of which hung the netting that was wrapped about the spitfire. This creature's method of locomotion was c too slow for the party to wait fur it to roll along with them. The four travelled in Indian filo, for that was the only style of pronedure feasible in that country, and even that was often attended with ooniidorablo difflculty. (O as uowrnoasl..