Chapter 65802440

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Chapter NumberLIII
Chapter Url
Full Date1889-01-18
Page Number0
Word Count4110
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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I'HE YOUNG.FOULKS. MY PLUCKY BOY TO..; OB, SEABOHING FOR OURIOSITIES IN INDIA FOR MY SHOW. By P. T. Bwmxax. CnaTrrE LIII.-A SrLnTUNoaAwKAEInO. If you tica horse by the halter to the rear of a loaded w~ggon, he will tire out sooner than the steed dragging the vehicle, for the reason that: he is unaccustomed to that species of locomotion. A somewhat similar law governed the oip,,ny mddalg il wsay through the wilder incs of the Nizam in Southern India. The lion was unused to being led by a rope, and, for that matter, this wild beast will grow weary of walking continuously, even untrammelled by such a slight hinder ance to his freedom of movement. Although many of the natives of Ilindostan help to carry the paLhmquins in which travellers are seated for long distances, yet neither Athoor nor Zip had ever done any thing of the kind; and, though the spitfire could not have weighed more than forty or fifty pounds at the most, they had not gone far before they found itquite a burden. The same may be said of the mouphilon, though its mild disposition rendered it the last to 'complain.', lo spitfire was the only memnber of the' company subjct to fatigue, and, folded together as if sleeping, it doubtless would have been .willing to be carried all the way to Madras or Bombay. It was the intention of Athoor, when the start was made comparatively, early in the morning, to push on so as to'rcach the stream by nightfall. The region through which they were travelling was so elevated that, evoen during the middle of the day, it was not oppressive enough to'render journeying unpleasant. . But long before the hour of noon the lion gave voshch manifest signs of weariness that it was deaided to take a longrest, and abandon all thought of arriving at the stream before the morrow. You 'Would hardly suspect the peculiar trial to'whichTom Bradford was subjected on this curious march, and which caused him more discomfort than would seem possible. Tom writes me that while walking at the head of the party, his rifle in one hand and the end of the lasso in the other, the know. ledge that 'one of the most terrible animals known was steadily following only a few paces distant' filled him with a nervousness that it times became intolerable. He could not help thinking how easy it was for this king of beasts- to make one apring and; landing upon his dhoulders, tear him to fragmeita before' his friends could interfere. SHe felt sure, more than onc6, that the lion would do that veiy thing, naid th" cotitinual glances he east' over his shoulder `were to assure himself that lie was 'olt gathcring himself for the fatal leap. When, therefore, Athoor called out'that a 'halt would be madebecauso of the faitigen of the lion, you may be sure that Torn wel. comed it as heartilyi as did his comnpanioos... There was no call to cat anything, but since the mnouphilon had not been furnished, with any food since its captivity, Toin hitsied Shimself in hunoting for a spiuies of grtb. wormr that was abuniidant near thedim," - When a goodly asupply of thlese wa?r lIhlied, in front of the wonderful bird, it ate w?thi a relish that showed its inprisoInmut was causing it little distress.' i Thelad offered piar tof the smpply to the spitfire, but' evidentlhy it did not asuit hhu; or lihe was in a morose frame of mind, fo lihe did not so 6much s, 'open one corner of his ' mouth to'pitrtaku. . '" . ; i , 'It twas'about tho"mniddleF of the iftcruoon Swhen the animals,' bird, boy,and tiidei'wero 'aso ? ftlly rested that they' resuned , their 5"journey toward the stream, doWni which they ohbped to float until they reached'the railway,' from which the transportation waes easy to aIdras. SThe face , of the country ihad becon onior oven;' so that travelling was comparatively easy; though now and then some obstriction. caused tiresome detours. Athoor selected "the site for cairimp ith much care, pressing on until they arnrivd by thei edge of a mall streamn of water, closely resembling that where the antelope hald been shot, though the current was neitber so dool nor so clear. Here they disposed of themrnslves for the night. The supper consisted of a sa~pies of nourishing' apple," resembling the. delicious nangosteen founid "i many partsa of the t?opicel East. After thbmeai l upon antelope s'toak 'earlier in the' day, this was rtgful, "'~tid mitcdli-monr nijoyable than miatmi-oild Sone of thesie pecnlar: applless w re offered :he e aire;ando tlio surprise of all it ite eedlly. ;vs Ien its fill, but, as' tos oxpected, neitlier the lon nor mouphilon would touch thei frit ;: the3 niust have pr-' '.?tued anothir' kinid of diet. '.It was not'to Ine duipposed fthlt the beast was in need of food after :his hearty break- I fist on antelope. Il p'eop ies, after filling' up, can abstain soserul days without ineon veniencd,' thobuk they find. no diffirultyiina disposing of thirty or foety polnds of meat moruing and night ... :, Tom awrites that ho" .lpIreciatel the hallplply philosophy b3 wlch;Ih inscnd to entertain nyi risitors with miay' hi~py fimil'. I.Ikept all of its nemihbers from 'Iostllititse bysiiplyingi ea'nih. with' pleity of ;it owit peculiar food. '.Anmahnhli, likeen, roe iin 't?e' bst fr?amne of mind- when their atuoelites am full.; and so loli?;' the birdls,; eirnals, naild bemats 'cont po uig'the fia?hifnio' lihsehold, I, eoidibitsl in' "nJyold.tmuseum wti iere nt ,llo?ed to'feel:tie .} i? e i, uger,. s6, Ii ang, there '?wn i10 "fI ?ceis.ed iistdiaiitbleo, o prf of thoe truth .of till more than once during.y career . So Toni; likelithe dise boy lihe wai, nd sip his. miud .that the lion shouldoaver be allowd tobecome' hicngy- an t leuast, nut nso long ashoe as outside of a eur cag., .The arrangemenit 'for thlie. niglht. were much the same as before.. The mouphilori was tied by iteanmi of .i cerd airouud its leg to a sinall: bush, while the spitfire was?iaqft in its cage, which was phlcedl on the ground ameanr the camp'fire, wher, it was not eonly iii plain sight, but could gain someo 'f "the leat hieh lehas' so grateful to it. SThi lasso bound the lion eimilarly, 'for Sther.?iwa's no tuse of fastening tie rope to ni tree siice the brute would have to put fortl but a dli"lt exertion. to loap it nasulnds.' Tomn-was ildf inilined to bulive lie wouold do -o.beforo tihe lorning. " Zip.was to keep watihi the first half ftihoe nlght, ald lr. Godhin the rest, Tom and Atloor bein alloserd to spend all the hours of dtirlnaess ro1 shunbcr. As msual, mly gent filled hi.s hoo~ihi and nmokedand talkll a long tine, until in fact he',aw tlhat Atioor anid tihe youth were asleep,' and Zip seemled mone interestCld in hli sentinel thilen in answering qucs-' ions 'anid listening to stories of adventures, ,stirring thoughr manlly of theml were. ' WdVell,"ceoeluded the gentlcallln, looking roufid il tile fonns of his frleud?,' if I im to aiiany leep, I have got to do it pretty -oon'or not at l. -Mv ,rcious !' lThis exclmlation n ' es ensei- hLy I look at SIla watchl, wlhich showed tlhlt it ltmked only an hlour of midnighlt. Little tillme, indeed,' w?ns left him for slumblr, lprovided Zip kept his liart of the agreememt. ': ttle dangelr of im colllmmtliltilg the blunder of Atlisor of tine iighlt before. Louded gua in hland, lie.pacedl bnk and forth over a beant-some ftf- feet in extent, listen Stg and swiitching for thie irot sign of dslnger hat lilgllt tirecllinl thl ciaslil. Is S?rnedl as if thalt night was the (host noisy that our friends hlld spent in the Nizam. dfirly ti Ininlilte passed daurinlg which discordanlt eries did hict riag Out, enllogh to startle Ianly o0le nlllleelStotlnud to thmll.. Solmetimec it was tlihe prolhiged howl of aainigo beast, tlhen I 8hort htcries of larks,. such as llight h've been lieilo by wolves or -smaller anilnls. nulldagain a harnsh cronking, that eanmo frons the throat of a niilght-birdu high among th te trh eornlices. "Vliilo these wers eolre nCucllroulo tliiihi at sily 'time "lofore, the huntlltrs soulli ]ilave peid little lihedto tillifut if iaw5alle, llind to Zip they brought no distnrbaince whlatovcr. Ao long as tihe creatures whliclh ulittered tlhemn remained at a ditllance, he carled nothintlg. Lr. Oodkin Ilhad been aaloP aboulet an Ilholr wha thd observint bltive 'discovered tlat I

I thocomparatively clear water of the strneam which flowed by the camp was so riled that it musthavc been caused, by the feet of some ainoml. Hte felt no special alarm at the discovery, for whatever the nature of the beast, it was not likely to approach dangerously near, because of . the bright fire that was kept burning. If it should attempt a closer icequaintance, he was confident he could take care of it with his rifle, Listening carefully, Zip was able to detect a faint spladlhing of the water, so near to I outp that he decided to investigate. c~.cutLitugly he flung a lot msore of fuel on the fire, aml,.making sure that no immediate peril impended over the sleepers, moved cautiously up the small stream. Now, the native was too wiseo to allow any. inducement .to lead him any distance' from his friends. They were the ones whose safety was entrusted to his care, and he was too con scientious, to say nothing of his fondness foie them, to neglect his duty. It was, therefore, just beyond the line of illumination from the camp fire that :Zip halted, though quite sure that lie had but to go a few steps further to learn the nature of the animal that eaosed the disturbanceo'in the stream. A slight splashing and a growl told it was near at hand. But if the native dared extend his search no further, hoe felt himself warranted in re maining where he rsoa for a few minutes, and lhe did co, holding his weapon ready to dis charge the instant he caught sight of the beastin the faint moonlight. An ought to have been foreseen,' it was at this juncture that an extraordinary incident took place within the camp itself. Tom Bradford, lying on his side, with his arm doubled under his face for a pillow, was sleeping the sleep of youth and health, when he became the subject of a most distressing dream-sometlhing which rarely plagued my young friend. The dream was one of those grotesquely horrible visions which we are all aptto ex perience when we have eaten a great deal of some kind of food that does not agree with Without attempting any desMription of it, I may say that rthe. lad fancied that lie Was extended, without the power of moving' lit the foot of a mountainoui precipice, and'thpt a suspended boulder- just above him was dn the point of falling upon his chest." -' Tom struggled desperately,' but could not move. Nearer iand nearer eame the slow smoving rock] on which a':little green demon now, appeared, holding orio of King Holuna's poisoned javelins in his hand;! ii:' - Grtimacing aond-'grining; :thiis' frightful creature reached., overl the 'loulder wien it Swas only a fewl iniohe'ifromJ the- lad's face, and biave hint a, sharp priok-witlh the point of thde a'perin-his chcok.:-m' iu , ..:. " -,. SThe hurt was ,so. lihrp thit aTom abko with an .exclunation, t and'fiuhid ttlhit the pain in his cheek was real ! ! 1 It:wuasnot the dmion' at'lhia?sido, btqtfla thouland-fold 'more frightful' olijecit'ii the' shapeof the spitfire.: , .',J ;t :arl "i:,rt : Thios icriature, freed sentirely: f`rom the framework: of vines: thathad wrnappdI - him about, was standing on his lower rsgil spines, his eyes star h i, snumouth open hnid his feored, tougnniodirting illthe· and 'thither iwithlighbtouglikeor pidlty..'v"d I .,m i 1e After rolling to the spot heo nust hirvdshot out his iron-like ndccdalos,so fusuto ris? erect,' so neur the lad's.faeo that thepoint' of 'one .of thespiticS pricked his choo k. :' ? . : ; ;Iias'that which caused theolid to' aaken -vith: Ouchia luirt:; f'.l. , n. CnruE.m LIV-rA rGIFA. atonrPoEu Ln.I Youl havo not forgotten that, in referring to the ingenious framework constricted by the 'ntive Zip for thO temporarycago of.the spit :fr'Id5 Tid that all'of our fricnds'weron ilty of a stingo plece of fdrgetfulness. .. ,. : ...',eo- dildty fail: to . think-, that the oresa ture, ,.withits, enormous mouth, could eat its way..out of its prison whenover.:lt chose to, 'put foitttho'effort .," - . '-It" iiight lioe been -different. had. the meshes 'eoen composed :of iron .wire,,bht. as they were sinmply vegetable they were owith 'out tho.least' restranung power, against thp hiaTltt it hod remained a prisoner so long wuws because it was willing to do o. .:!. ,,?Mlil' Zip was pacsing baok and forth, teo spptfird apppairpd to' have made up its.mind thatllith hour:lhad como. to.:part company ,wth. .tlth hunters of the Nizam. :. Opeiing' iti prodigious 'mouth, it pushoed the .aes foar enough; to seize the meslies'in frouti anderuoshed ,tlItr botween its maill, shairp teeth st though .they o mny_ stalks of npcrsp celery :, ::.::.. L "Theh foldbng itsef up, if,.rlled out of its cocoon-likoe nclosur.. , . :: '-I cannot. pretend to say what its purpose might hve been in moin ma ngy towr ,-Tom Bradford, insteadof passing into tho shadlows of the wood, as it ought to :have donel but when it straightened -out- its spines, -in its sudden fashion, it was:a so nigh the head:of the lad that, :as, I have said,: one of them prioked his obhk : .,, tu : c .h-- ' - . iThis took placoe .hile Zip was on .lhidlittlo t o?u f;inyestigation up the small stream, otherwise, the. rustling of theo spines must havo caught his ; : . . -;For !a,miuuto or. two Tom Bradfordswns, trans?fixedby the, sight, .whichwlau terribleo enoughlito etartlo itho etrongest-nerved "man. ;' 'l'here,wyans sufficienti light :fromr the camnp fire tljthow:the object fainitly. , : ·,. Te~lnipuwthi:wiasoponed anil-oshut:in ane oager, wva ,i .r thougl-:thee -plitfiire wits iinisote!Uitult li, prepiratory to 'ilosing its jawvalsittl?t the ld.; theiforkedto?n e t dirt ins hered aid thete,!didplaying faint elautrictl sparksn; ad hlie' eyei:were as bright ao theo firoi sh lf. : l L; - Y":.- 4- - ,f ~iot doihbting i.that' the creature .meant to. asqail him, Tontmaprang 'to a sitting posture .antm':oved,:botli hitunds toward -it? with nn oxe llan atibn., , •. :: -;' .." 'Insteoad of iehslttiung itself.. up ,as :it. did. befeoro,oitho approch of anyon,, thoespit fire tse?ed to :'boeaiigured, and, for the first tinle A~uco its capture,.- emitted a' rumbling, Pcoughhng sound ;;'and, opening 'its mouth wideor;thni before,' reached- forivard ,'and cloied itsjaws with a savage snap.o ' ,.;DBut theoy, did not reach Tom, who made. the quickest backward leap of his-life, barely eseaping the attack of the oreature. - -'..: i, Hais. exclamation canught the .ear. of Zip,, who, caring.nothiug for the wild aniimal he had been ivestigating, .hurried back to learn whatwns goingon. ' --.:!..- .:: ...'bfy grnoios ' exclaimedl thlo lad,- 'there is more spunk about lim'thin any of: us imabgine? hecame -:pretty'near getting mde tlat time.' " : The creuture seemed to think the approachl of two persons Was inoro than it was saf, for him to combat, and hle eollapsedl. "-.. i - Athoor and Mr..Godkiu:renmained sldeping, and it wao not.-deemed!wo~th .whiloe to idic turblihem. . .: . .- - i SNeither the lion nor . mouphilori showed. oonscioisneis of anything unusual. : a':r The utter weaknless of-.the netting which: had enclosed the spitfire was soapparent that both Tom and Zip. expressed ;2a natmural wonder that they :had:not. thounght of it before. --. :-t - : I don't, know -what we shall hold lim safe until we reach the place wlhere we can secure something in the wayof a cage,' said Tom, surv?ying the quiescent reature. '-Iro do,' reldied Zip; ' hove ready seam. "Witliiu tub hiliowiug hhlf hmur thoestruo ture was finished,, and it- nawer?ld its i ur i)Ose perfectly. It consistcd of four long poles, united by thongs, as they may be called, of the snamee .kinid of vines thlat composed the noetwork in whichl the shpitfire was eCIUIsed. ... Tluhes poles were just fur beoughl'apiiu t to arlinit the bhuly of tihe croature betweenthem. At echli corner a prjerting piece of ohdd, loharpesud-C to the miest possible point, rns fosltened. The spitfire heing enclosedl in this cage likle strnucture, it was futmd to lit exactly: If it attemptedl to ect its sway out, it could nmake no niove writlout cominog in contact with one of the ohnlrp points, iand It had shown nschl a sensitieness to disttlrbance thlat it was not likelyto ilnllcr tlhat penhlty. These poles were long enough to pcrnmit the spitflire to ie enried somnowhalt after the tlnnnller of the day lufore. ' Zip gave- no further attention to the iuimal that haid iIntrersted him n short time

provi-tid up the stieam;, biut rumiiined near the camp. Not until it was long past the hour fixed upon for awaking Mr. Godkin ,did he dis turbbim. By that tino Tom had fallen off to sloop again, and Zip told him about the attempt of the spitfire to get away, or at least to attack the one who had captured it. At daylight the lion showed such restless nes that Athoor set out to.scoure him a breakfast, and was fortunate enough to be absent only a short time, when he came back with an antelope large( than the one Tom shot the day before. This was disposed of in precisely the same manner, 'ith march was resauned, and before the aui reached meridian the party arrived at the bank of the stream where they intended to take boat for the river lower down, there to board, the railway train for the long journey to yadraa. Here, for the first time, signs of acivilisa tion were seen. The point at which they strick' the stream was a native ferry, that bad be'n' in more frequent use a score of yearn before than at the present time. British hunters from Madras were ac customed to ride to this point, where they 'crossed the ferry and ventured some distance into the country of thq Wild Mcen of the Mouidtain, though very rarely to the extent penetrated by our friends. IL a miserable hut nea by still lived the old ferryman, whose pittance from travellers in that section was so scant that he welcomed the coming of anyone disposed to add to it even to the slightest extent. SNaturally he was amazed at tho sightof his visitors and their curiosities,. but as it was evident that they possessed plenty or funds, and showed a desior to pay for everything they could get, the happy veteran believed his day of jubilee had come. SHo.was the owner of. three different boats, mainly used.for fishing.' Only one of these was large enough to serve the purpose of our friends ; but since that was hisregular ferry boat, Mr. Godkin hardly supposed it was obtainable. -When, however, the gentleman made an offer, the native was delighted to place it at his disposal, saying the price was so liberal that he was welcome 'to the two smaller craft if lie wished them, without paying anything 'additional. " Mr. Godkin declined with thanks, and gave him another bonus, which made the old-follow fool like throwing in his house and'all his earthly possessions. . . The boa tbought was fully thirty feet long, two-thirds as wade, and with sides three feet or more in height. You: will understand its shapo by being, told thab inthis part of the world it would bo kqqown a.a scow. .. , Its buoyancy was sufpoicnt to carry, double the cargo that was meant to jbo.itrupted to it., Inaumuch aa our friends p; spe?nd considerable time on board this awkward craft, away from the shado.of. the .woods, which had been at their ~4ommtnid. uitil now, it rwas ncc sairy to. provide wioue,.kind of Since tho'e voierable fergYmoe .we able to produco thlo: lipen, .this' wes ai-'cnay task. Stakes wero 'r.Cted at acth corner, muld from' them was strethedo the cloth, which afforded a completo c6sic for llt.thaitnight 'uter tlhe boat ' " '., ` " Before doingrthii our frie?dsa vero obliged tli.cunositiebard'. .. ,, .. '. hi.w'wna readily'dono in the ~ so of tlh 'iouplilohi and spitfire, bit thelion manifested. a disposition to rbel., . "'At Ono tiiib'it looked oas if the. tai .would' be impossible, but finlally h yielded,' and. leaping lightly 'pon the'bolt lay down in orio corneri , oeemingly, rady: to form one of th imbtloy crowd of passengers.' , 'It'was a pidturoEsuo 'dnud otrango-looking. crft 'tha tdrftt t fted slowly sutliwrd in, thi stream, filly- a" hundred yards wide, on its way to th'grcat. ity of Madrasn ' Theo lion crouched .in is con'er, wlih he seemed disposed to pp.rolpriato exclusively, and where the others were glad to leave hu alone. .' ..' ' The' mbuiphiloit atit'ipposibt,'and thio'itflro was' satisfied- to' iakuso 'of 6ione of tho re:' maining corners. . ' "A constant. surveillaico. of all.thcso was necessary, since the surroundings were so uusiual that there was no guessing what fancy might enter theo head of any or all of thenm; - " If the moutphillon should .6nt to lieave, he could leap over the gunwalb kind make off before anyone could provent him, if the cord by wlich ,he was fastened should happen to becomeo lb0so. , ' STlero was not so'mich fear of the spitfire, because of itadslugitsh' ovmeInte. It looked 'impossiblo for thi strange reature o'to swim; if Iho shouldd onco'go overboard;' and'.it via not likely that'he voiuld be 'bl .tbo eat; his way out of ";theo pculihar inclosiiro,' that wrappiedhun abbut. ' .:r' r - :: ' - It was the lion respecting whic tho most concern was felt, ince if ho.chose to depart thero'was H no, ay'of hindering. him.. Ho could snali the rops '.' thodgh it were a pieco' of yarii; and; .pringinog isto thi water, swim ashore. . T'om Brndford.would haveo.been sorry to lose him, butif he fodun' himnislf, compelled toprt with'ono of his prizes ho ,woiil have selected the king of beats. ',' .':, - ' SThese animalst are cily repl c,.: and! I have owiied a great aiany, but the moouphilon tand' spitfiro,worocudriositiba which it would htiib lcet'iswoll-ri-igl'iiiuposible to rcplaoo. . Th?i four' oiimnid. ke'pt'.tlicinosvcosawell fdirvird, ivlier itodst of, tio.timnthey. i t on tho'stools hieli' tho. frryma. .hlad'. fiurnished Mr. Godki'iiked hisipe, and th' oiw linhimof c6uvner'· ttn weiit on-fqriiouir at ~ 'Tlere wnas'nolihnig; i thonaihro of a sail or oars with propii.:thh' caft,.' the only iaids bing'i" doup o of 1ng 'poles .with which to puish thbir annd from'hlhorc.i : ' 'ho currrit'was'qutito'pid,' anhd -n 'thbro' was hardly us'broath'of air, a sail Vouýild have boEsi'ofittloheli ?" '' "'p ' ' Thlo;shores woro' instly woboly, 'ind the igns' indicated 'thiat'thoy. were still in the region whero gaur abouidred. "Theo afterntoon was wearing away, and everything' was progressing in a remy, mngnid fashion,. in which thoro was no thought of disturbance, whohe oepryone was startlel by a thump under the boat as though it had been struck a violent blow. ::'Athoor hapiened to. be standing at tle time,'and tho shock was so great that lie wis nearly flung off his feet. . 'The' spitfiru opened' his eyes and motith, and :"rmn out his tongue; the miuphilon looked around, and tile lion started up with 'a growl. . Before anyone could decide the cause of the' disturbance, the head of an enormous crocodile was shoved over the gunwale, so elos'd to'the lion that had he not leaped back *lia leg would have been caught between its n'imense jaws. Tile hunters reached for their rifles, but before they could bring them into use' tihe angered king of beHsta gave an amazing ex hibition of its strength. '":., 'With ono proldigouS blow, of hlia paw on the side of th o indurated' hoad, he .knocked the enornmois saurian fully a rod' away from the boat. . ' . ' Thien standing vith 'his' fore feet on tlhe gtunwale, the moniarch looked defiantly at the floundering river monster, fia if challenging him to renew the attack. ' And the crocodile aciqptedtho chilllenge. S .. (vTaoi n Cs.uEm .)'n " 4 . •'