Chapter 65802911

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Chapter NumberLXVIII. (CONTINUED.)
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Full Date1889-04-05
Page Number0
Word Count3311
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 PLUCKY-BOY TOI ; OR, SEARCHING FOR CURIOSITIES IN INDIA FOBi MtY SHOW. Bx P. T. DBAxmr. Cat?n:r. LXVIII. (Co: L:Truc.) ' Yonder,' said Mr Godkin, indicating a clump of trees on the edge of the jungle, ' grows a species of nut, of which the wild bour is very fond. It is the time of the year when the ,ints fall, and I am sure if this fel low has been here quite recently, he will soon be back, if indeed lhe is not there now.' ' Unless I'm mi.ntaiken,' said Tom speaking slowly, and using his bright eyes with all the power at his command, ' there is something moving in the gress on the further side; tell mle what you muake of it.' ' It's the boar, as sure as we're alive ! WVo're in luck to-day.' ' That remains to be seen. Iow shall we proceed ' ' You may ride towards the trees, while I will take a course parallel with thojungle.' ' What is the reason for that?' ' I want to give you the first chance. You have never had any fun with a wild boar, while I have. If you need any help in closing accounts with this one, I'll give what I can.' Tom appreciated the consideration of Lis friend, who had shown the same disposition more than once before. With a confidence born of what he had already passed through, the lad felt no misgiving of the result, so uar as it concerned limself. It stnruck Tom that, if he drove the animal from beneath the trees, he would dart into the jungle, where it was impossible to follow him on lorseback, or on foot with any pros pect of overtaking him. The wild boar can trot with amazing swiftness, and ai few minutes must decide whether the plan of campaign adopted by our friends was a wise one. The lad had ridden but a short distance, when he saw that the boar was really under the trees, pushing his snout over the ground among the grass in quest of .the nuts of which he was so fond. It was not until the hunter was within three or four rods that the boar becameaware of his approach. Thou he throw up his head, and, with his month half full of the fruit, stared at the intruder. He was a formidable beast indeed, and Ton, checking his pony, surveyed him several minutes with wonder, not unmixed with admiration. Of course you have seen thousands of pigs. They belong to the sldx family, which in cludes also peccaries and wart hogs. I have had specimens of these innmyehowfor somany years, that you do not riluire anything in the way of description. The wild boar, which is the favorite game in Germany, is covered with long, coarse bristles; stands high on hislegs ; is generally gaunt of frame, with sharp, elongated snout and tusks, which sometimes grow to the length of sixteen or eighteen inches. These tusks form fearfulweaponsof attack. They curve upward and backward from the lower jaw, projecting outside of each upper raw, and may be compared to keen sword blades in the hands of an ambidextrous person with the power of a giant, for the stren of the wild boar almost surpasses For a full minute Tom Bradford and the gigantic wild boar confronted each other, staring as if anxious to take the other's measure. The intelligent pony, which had displayed great intelligence and nerve on more than one occasion, took part in the staring busi ness, and it was plain that he held the boar in wholesome fear. He must have known something of the creature's prowess, for it is a fact that a wild boar when he meets a tiger in the jungle, often compels him to yield the path. When Itell you this, I have said enough to convince you of the formidable charecter of the royal game. When you read about the great Iraiser William of Germany engaging in a sport with his attendants and bagging several wild boars, don't commit the mistako of supposing herides out and engages the animals in a fair fight, Tho German people love theis good ruler too much to permit him to run any such risk as that. The hog is not an intelligent brute, buat the boar did not have to stare long at Tom Bradford to grasp the situation. The Iight of a second horseman, further out on the plain, was too suggestive for the boar to mistake its meaning. With a whifting grunt he started off on a trot. Instead of entering the jungle, as Tom feared he would do, he took a course parallel and so close to it that, had hechosen to do so, he could have plunged among the trees at any instant. It seemed to Tom as he galloped after the game, that it looked like anything except a wild boar. He was tall and gaunt, and with such long legs that he could have been easily mistaken for some other animal. There was no mistake in this case, how ever. Glancing along his thin hatmehes as he trotted leisurely away, his enormous tusks could be seen curling up in front of his eyes, with the tough, pointed snout which could belong to no other animal. Although the brute was trotting easily and Tom's pony was galloping, the lad was sur prised to notice that hoe was not gaining in the least. He, therefore, spurred his steed to a sharper pace.. This lessened the distance so fast, that in a few.minutes Tom, believing that-he had. reached the right point, brought his gun to his shoulder and blazed away. " . : ?ore than likely he hit the target, though if such were the fact, the boar gave no evi dence of it, but continued his usual trot, neither faster nor slower. It was probable the ball struck some part of the snout or head, and glanced off with out drawing blood. SIf you can got in fifteen or twenty more shots like that,' shouted Mr. Godkin, 'maybe you can persuade him to pay some attention to you.', Tom thought it dignified to pretend he did not hear this disrespoetful remark, though he smiled to himnelf, feeling that his friend was entitled to his own fun. A second' cartrid"o wasB quickly in place, and he made ready for another shot. But during the brief spell required to get his gan ready, the pony had slackoned hii pace, aiid, ais a consequence, the boar was further off tlhan before; the intervening" space must be much decreased, and Tom spnrred his horeso forward. As he did so he observed a fact which con 'iniedhin thernwas little chance of gaining the covectd shot after all. . Cnarean. LXIX.-A Wo.onnru- r Runa. Tho grassy plain;,. over:whlich all parties wor~ohastcning, termiuated not far off, the jungls sweephig around : in.,fronti so that unless theo game wasv brought down before the termination .was reached, he was.likely to got away altogether. . STom Bradford, therefore, devoted a minute or twoo to placing .hinself closer to the onimal. TThe pony, in accordancc'- .with:a habit he haod formed, slackened his pac and shwred a disposltion to draw off after his ridor fired..-; *. ! .",.'-... . I Thisprobably'was on the theooy that the hunter:astrido of him required ol a single shot .to :bring down his game.. hsfatth was no doubt .complimoentary to the hunter himself, biut, as yon.will perceive, it had its dlsadvantagos.. . Thoe horso was also quick to comprehend his duty, nd .now that heo was headel toward the bear once more, hlo did his level best, gradRhally bat surely lessening the space sepnranting himn from lhis wiftly fleeiinggieme. '-Don!t aim at his hindil leg this timo I, called Mfr. Godkin, 'for ihe can rm on three legs as well as four.' Tom, rmude no reply, for hle could think of none that promieed to silence his friendd; he had enoughl to look after the gamne, whilch was likely to get sway aftoroll. Dtepte toall the pony could do, it was not until the boar reached the further edge of the plain that Tom felt hin-'if nigh enough to risk another ch;.. Ha was ouly a trifle

further off than before, when he levelled his rifle and fired again. To his mortification, the pony at that instant half stumbled over some obstruction in his path, so disturbing the aim of the rider that he knew, without looking, that he had missed entirely. ' Well done ' shouted his tormentor, whose laugh rang across the plain ; that shot didn't go more than ten feet above his hiead. Can't we coax the follow to stand still a minute Swhile you poke your gem into his eart' 'It's too la?s now,' replied Tom, checuking i his horse, as he saw that the boar was close to the end of the plain ; 'but your gun is loaded; suppose you shbow s how to do it.' Tomn was looldking at Mr. Godkin, who instantly began gesticulating in a way that showed he was greatly excited over sonle r thing. 'tht is not too late,' lihe called back; ' load quick ! you've got a better chance now than before.' The lad turned his head, and saw to his amazement that the boar, instead of taking refuge in the jungle, had turned eluarely about and was coming back over the same route lie had just followed. But the lad's grm was unloaded, and his pony come to ia full stop. Nothing could be done until a new eartridge was put in place, and lie set about repai:tg his forgetfulness with all haste. This compelled the young hunter to with. draw his attention for the moment from the boar. Brief as was the time required to recharge his weapon, hI had not yet finished doing so when sMr. Godkin, who was riding toward him, called: 'Look out, Tonm ! he's coining for youn ' A glance showed the youth that Ihis friend spoke the truth. The boar had wheeled about, not with the purpose of keeping up his flight, but to punish the parties that lhad presumed to molest hLim while peacefully groping for dis dinner. Running alongside the jungle until oppo site the point where Tom had halted, he turned sharply to the right, and, with his head lowered, charged upon the horseman at full speed, coming with such a cyclone rush that he was upon the terrified pony before the latter could gather himself for flight. In accordance with what scenis a naturtl instinct with the boar, he ran his head directly beneath the horse, with the intention of disembowelling him by an upward flirt of those fearful tusks ; but, in his rage, he drove his snout beyond the steed, so that when it was flung aloft it missed the body of its victim, and the blado-liko ivories clove empty air instead of flesh and bone. But the swing of the head lifted the pony entirely off his feet, and he fell. broadside across the neck of the boar, kicking and striving frantically to freeo imself from the brute beneath him. And now took place something which seems incredible, but which I assure you is actual fact; and, furthermore, that to my own personal knowledge this strangeincident does not stand alone. Tom had flung down his rifle, and he strove to leap from the backof his horse; but before ihe could do so, the latter had fallen, and tho bs;y' foot was caught inextrioably in tie stirrup. Thus it was that the boar supported on his neck not only the full weight of the kicking pony, but thatof the rider also, and holding them there he resumed a swift trot, as though the ineumbrance caused him no incon venieneo. It was a strango sight upon which Mir. Godkin looked, though his astonishment was not great, for he was familiar with the vast strength of the wild boar. The pony lay on his side across the neck of the boar, with Tom Bradford also entangled, the two held in place by some means that the hunter could not understand. To Mr. Godkin, the only plausible explana tion was that the boar had driven histusks so deeply into thesido of the horse that he was impaled and held inmovably there; but unless the gentleman, who was making all haste toward the spot, was mistaken, appearances indicated that the steed was uninjured. The distance at the least was fully two hundred yards, and incredible as the statement may seem, the boar trotted it all, carrying the pony and Tom Bradford all the way. Mrie. Godkin was frantic lest his young friend should be killed. Leaping from his own saddle, he ran forward with the intention of planting a bullet back of the boar's foreleg, but the risk of hitting either the pony or the rider was too great, and he held tis fire. The natives, from their position on the edgo of the plan, saw that something serious was amiss, and hurried to the aid of their friends; shouting, brandishing their spears aloft, and eager to do all they could to help the imperilled youth in whose powers they held ouch unlimited faith. They were so far off, however, that they could not iossibly arrive in time to give any nasistance. To Mr. Godkin it looked as if Tom's chief danger was from the hoofs of thohorso, which were not still for an instant. Indeed, the vigour with which the pony kept np his struggles was proof that he could not be very badly hurt. ' 1ut on the very edge of thoplain, the pony managed finally to fight himsolf.fteo, and lihe went tothe ground, tholad going with him. The boar gave no farther attention to either, but without increasing dr diminishing his pace, trotted into the jungle and disap peared... - o'. . .. "Vhile the horse was clambering to his feet in a bewildered way Mr. Godken ran for. ward and bent over tise boy, who lay so still that he fearedho was dangerouslw hurt. !.Are . you. suffering, . Tom 1. he asked tenderly.. ' :·,- •.... . ' No ; I'm bruised a little, but I don't think anybones are broken;. help. me to shako my selftdgether.' . -;:. . With thUeo assistance of his companion lie was soon on his feet, and began what might be called an inventory of himself. His hat 'was gone, and his. clothing pre sented a sorry appearance; but it was just like Tom, after finding no bones broken, to lookup in the face of M?r. Godkin, and with a quizzical expression ask: (ow is the boar getting along?' 'I don't thiul he has a scratch oi him: and he seoem?d to be in the enjoyment of his ususd health lwhen I saw him last.' ' I'm glad to hessr tshat, for I had some fear that I might have caused hin a littloe annoyance.' 1 'I'm quite sure he is not aware of it.' The next question, whichl ought to hIave been the first, was as to how the pousy had come out of hIis rough experience. It was evident, too, that he was not badly hurt, for he had got upon hiL feet and was skurrying acroes the plain, Islr, mane, bridle and stirrups flying, while Ies snorted whit fright. Surely if ever horse was warranted in going on a ponie itwis he. [lut he wans heading towarld the three natives, runuing to thohelp of their msisters. Seeing him comning, they spreid out over the plain; and, as ho wiass weil-t~rinbd steed, he suffered b caught'"hby'Jak,' who fourid his so weak and trembling that he could hardly stand.. ' Wlien, however, the native.s nidcrtiok to lead him ,back to .whisre his owntr was standing, ho refiised to move. His usage iu tlhat part of the pliin wee such that hie was not anxious to receive any moro of tlhe same. ;Accordingly I3ack remained . with him, while his companions hurried forward.. : '?Vell,' nlaughed Mr. Godkin, unspeak ably relieved to find that Tom Imad not been injured, ' what do yoi thinle of the wild boar as. game to be lsunteil 1' SI know one of them thlat is able to ]hold his owni against me sit lIst.' ' es, and againsst ]Ihlf a dozen. I am astonished that hie failed to kill your pony. ' So I judge the poony must be, for he dloesn't seem to be hurt, is viewed frontu A few mninutes Ilier they reached t] o spot where Jalck was holding the horse, which was rapiidly recovering from its fright, s un uexamitnationioueyued the pleas ing fset that the steed lsad autiferd no snore than Iis master. SHis glossy hide was riuled somewhat, and

doubtless he was bruised, but he moved about without any signs of lameness, though he kept glancing toward the spot where he had parted company with the boar, as though he wished to keep as far away from it as he could. ' It was the boar's ardour to kill the pony that saved him,' remarked Mir. Godkin; 'he drove his head forwerd with such fieroenoes that he overshot the milk.' ' But he had onlv to draw bnak a step or two to cut the horse fatally,' ?tlggestel Tomh. 'I wonder that he did not do si; but having got you both on his neck, he was willing to give you a ifree ride.' 'It's the kind of ride I wouldn't take again for all the curiosities we have gathered for Mr. Barnum. No one can imagino my feelings during those two or three minutes when the boar was running along under inm with the pony on top.' ' I fearelhe would kick your brains out.' 'IIe came mighty near it, and I can't understand why lie did not. 3My foot weas caught in such a way that I couldn't possibly get it out of the stirrup, though I nearly wrenched it off trying.' 'His whole weight was not upon you ?' ' It could not have been, though I felt as if mty breast was crushed in by the mountainohu weight bearing me down. I fought and kicked, too, but cold see nothing lainly, and it was all a blind struggle for ' But you did get your foot loose.' ' When the pony toppled off, he usit have twisted the stirrup in such a way that my foot drew out. By that time overythinig wasa looking dark, and you saw I was a little dazed when you came up.' ' It was most providential that you were not killed outright.' ' I fooel that, and I shall thank Heaven as long as I live for preserving monotonly from this peril but from the others bywhich 7 have been threatened.' * It is better to be boren plucky than rich,' was the truthful remark of 'Mr.' Godkin. ' I judge wo have had eaough, huntinggfor some time.' y ;; ;Pr '[Tom,"'r. Godlin, Athoor, Zhip, and one or two natives landed one fine morning in New York harbour with a wealth of curiosi ties from that land of strange crcatures, India. To recapitulate the manyhairbreadth sescapes of our friends and. their captives by land and sea would fill many more of our colunms, and we have contented ourselves with selecting some of the most stirring adventures chronicled by the "IPrince of Showmen," Mr. Barnum. L"My Plucky Boy Tom," if published in the orthodox book form, would make one of the most interesting and instructive narratives of adventure, pluck, determination and judgment that could be placed in the hands of youthful readers.]