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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 21.djvu/507

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493
ABOUT ELEPHANTS.
forcibly battering its sides. About 1 p. m. he became more ungovernable than ever, and commenced battering the bars of his den with his trunk. These bars are upward of three feet in girth, and are composed of oak, strongly bound on all sides with iron, and are placed about a foot asunder. For some time they resisted the ponderous blows which he almost incessantly directed against them, but by 2 p. m. one of them was found to be started from the massive cross-beam into which it was mortised: and, as at that time the animal still continued as violent as ever, serious fear began to be entertained lest he should break out, in which event the amount of damage or loss of life which he might occasion would have been incalculable. In these circumstances, although the value of the animal was at least one thousand pounds, Mr. Cross at once determined on having him destroyed, and after some consideration it was resolved to give him some corrosive sublimate in a mess of hay. However, the animal no sooner smelled the mixture than he rejected it, and it was then determined to shoot him. Accordingly, a messenger was sent to Somerset House, where two soldiers were on guard, who, on a suitable representation being made, were allowed to go over to the menagerie, taking with them their muskets. Several rifle-guns were also obtained from different places in the neighborhood and put into the hands of such of the persons about the establishment as had courage enough to remain in the room. In this manner, in all about fourteen persons were armed, but before commencing operations it was deemed prudent to secure the front of the den, by passing cords around those bars against which the animal's violence had been principally directed. This having been done and the muskets loaded, about a third of the party advanced to the front of the den till within about five yards of the animal and discharged their pieces at the tender part of the neck below the ear, and then immediately retreated to a recess at the lower end of the room for the purpose of reloading. The animal, on finding himself wounded, uttered a loud and piercing groan, and advancing to the front of the den struck his trunk several times with all his fury against the bars, another of which he succeeded in forcing out of its place. Having thus exhausted his fury, he became quiet, upon which another detachment of the party approached his den, and, after firing upon him, retired into the recess as before; the animal on receiving the fire plunged again most violently against the front of the den, the door of which he actually lifted from off its uppermost hinges, but was prevented from getting out by the strong manner in which the ropes bound the different bars together, On his becoming more tranquil, preparations were made for firing a third volley; but no sooner were the muskets about to be leveled than the animal, as if conscious of their being the cause of his wounds and also of the vulnerable parts against which they were intended to be directed, turned sharp round and retreated into the back of the den and hid his head between his shoulders. It hence became necessary to rouse him by pricking him with spears, which-being effected, the muskets were discharged at him, and, although several balls evidently took effect in the neck on this as well as on the former occasion, still he did not exhibit any signs of weakness, beyond abstaining from those violent efforts which he had previously made against the front of his den; indeed, from this time he kept almost entirely at the back of his den, and, although blood flowed profusely from the wounds he had received, he gave no other symptoms of passion or pain than an occasional groan. For about an hour and a half in this manner a continuous discharge of musketry was kept up against him, and no less than one hundred and fifty-two bullets were expended before he fell to the ground, where he lay nearly motionless, and was soon de-