Page:Views in India, chiefly among the Himalaya Mountains.djvu/145

This page has been validated.



pace. The elephants now pushed on, two more shots were fired, and suddenly the tiger made across the open space full in front of us, but at too great a distance to bring him to the charge. We followed as rapidly as possible, crossing and crashing through the bed of a nullah, to which our friend had betaken himself. While in full chase, two fresh tigers got up almost under our feet, and, receiving a few shots, made for cover. The glare of an eye gleaming through some brushwood betrayed the retreat of one, and a ball aimed with fatal precision went through the brain, and he fell, never to rise again. The second was despatched in a very short time, though it took two or three shots to stretch him on the ground: the third was still abroad, and apparently unhurt, and, arousing him for the third time, he went off in good style, but considerably ahead. At length a long shot from a rifle told; the noble animal turned and charged, coming down gallantly, and offering too fair a mark to be missed: before it could spring upon the leading elephant, a well-aimed bullet stopped his career, and he, too, bit the dust. This day the party returned to camp in great triumph, with three tigers padded on the baggage elephants, the whole cavalcade being such as Landseer would not have disdained to paint, and which, combined with the beautiful scenery and the picturesque cluster of tents, would have made a very effective group upon canvass.

The next day we proceeded along the Dhoon, without much expectation of finding tigers, and with some intention of looking after deer on the way to the encamping ground, but in beating some lemon bushes, a large tiger broke cover, going off, however, before we could get in good range of him: a considerable space of open country interspersed with swamps, and bounded by a thick forest, formed the hunting ground, which, if we could succeed in turning the tiger should he make for the forest, was the best that could have been selected; the pedestrians were therefore directed to climb the trees, and to shout with all the power of their lungs, if our friend should come their way. Meantime we had lost sight of him, but were guided to the probable place of his retreat; by a flock of vultures which were perched upon a tree; a pretty certain sign that there was a dead carcase below newly slain, which the tiger would return to devour. The cover was exceedingly heavy, and we found some difficulty in beating, but a glimpse of a tawny, stripe, assuring us that we were on the right track, and the trumpeting of the elephants increasing, we pushed forward, warned at the same time by the shouts of our people in the trees, that lie was making for the forest. Turned at all points, the tiger doubled back, and was now in a long narrow strip of high jungle grass, which was separated from the dense wood on the right by nothing more than twenty yards of bare bank, being divided from the heavy covers he had just left by a pool of clear water. We immediately beat up this strip, taking care to have an elephant on the bank, to prevent a retreat to the forest. Presently the tiger again got up about two hundred yards ahead, and again doubling back, one of the party got a fair shot which brought him on his haunches; another ball made him move to some broken ground, where he took up his position. Advancing, we saw him in the grandeur of his rage, lashing his tail, roaring, and grinding his teeth, as he prepared to charge. Firing again, the provocation was completed. With a roar that made the whole dell ring, down he came upon us, and fell at length from a volley fired simultaneously by the whole party, under the very feet of the elephants.