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Sport and Work on the Nepaul Frontier
Chapter XVIII


The tiger—His habitat—Shooting on foot—Modes of shooting—A tiger hunt on foot—The scene of the hunt—The beat—Incidents of the hunt— Fireworks— The tiger charges— The elephant bolts— The tigress will not break—We kill a half-grown cub—Try again for the tigress—Unsuccessful—Exaggerations in tiger stories-—My authorities The brothers S.—Ferocity and structure of the tiger—His devastations —His frame-work, teeth, &c.—A tiger at bay—His unsociable habits— Fight between tiger and tigress—Young tigers—Power and strength of the tiger—Examples—His cowardice—Charge of a wounded tiger— Incidents connected with wounded tigers—A spined tiger—Boldness of young tigers—Cruelty—Cunning—Night scenes in the jungle—Tiger killed by a wild boar—His cautious habits—General remarks.

In the foregoing chapters I have tried to perform my promise, to give a general idea of our daily life in India; our toils and trials, our sports, our pastimes, and our general pursuits. No record of Indian sport, however, would be complete without some illusion to the kingly tiger, and no one can live long near the Nepaul frontier, without at some time or other having an encounter with the royal robber—the striped and whiskered monarch of the jungle.

He is always to be found in the Terai forests, and although very occasionally indeed met with in Tirhoot, where the population is very dense, and waste lands infrequent, he is yet often to be encountered in the solitudes of Oudh or Goruckpore, has been shot at and killed near Bettiah, and at our pig-sticking ground near Kudercnt. In North Bhaugulpore and Purneah he may be said to be always at home, as he can be met there, if you search for him, at all seasons of the year.

In some parts of India, notably in the Deccan, and in some districts on the Bombay side, and even in the Soonderbunds near Calcutta, sportsmen and shekarries go after the tiger on foot. I must confess that this seems to me a mad thing to do. With every advantage of weapon, with the most daring courage, and the most imperturbable coolness, I think a man is a fair match for a tiger in his native jungles. There are men now living who have shot numbers of tigers on foot, but the numerous fatal accidents recorded every year, plainly show the danger of such a mode of shooting.

In central India, in the North-west, indeed in most districts where elephants are not easily procurable, it is customary to erect mychans or bamboo platforms on trees. A line of beaters, with tom-toms, drums, fireworks, and other means for creating a din, are then sent into the jungle, to beat the tigers up to the platform on which you sit and wait. Tins is often a successful mode if you secure an advantageous place, but accidents to the beaters are very common, and it is at best a wear}' and vexatious mode of shooting, as after all your trouble the tiger may not come near your mychan, or give you the slightest glimpse of his beautiful skin.

I have been out after tiger on foot but on few occasions. One was in the sal jungles in Oudh. A neighbour of mine, a most intimate and dear friend, whom I had nicknamed the "General," and a young friend, Fullerton, were with me. A tigress and cub were reported to be in a dense patch of nurkool jungle, on the banks of the creek which divided the General's cultivation from mine. The nurkool is a tall, feathery-looking cane, very much relished by elephants. It grows in dense brakes, and generally in damp, boggy ground, affording complete shade and shelter for wild animals, and is a favourite haunt of pig, wolf, tiger, and buffalo.

We had only one elephant, the use of which Fullerton had got from a neighbouring Baboo. It was not a staunch animal, so we put one of our men in the howdah, with a plentiful supply of bombs, a kind of native firework, enclosed in a clay case, which hums like a huge squib, and sets fire to the jungle. Along with the elephant we had a line of about one hundred coolies, and several men with drums and tom-toms. Fullerton took the side nearest the river, as it was possible the brute might sneak out that way, and make her escape along the bank. The General's shekarry remained behind, in rear of the line of beaters, in case the tigress might break the line, and try to escape by the rear. My Gonial a, the General, and myself, then took up positions behind trees all along the side of the glade or dell in which was the bit of nurkool jungle.

It was a small basin, sloping gently down to the creek from the sal jungle, which grew up dark and thick all around. A margin of close sward, as green and level as a billiard-table, encircled the glade, and in the basin the thick nurkool grew up close, dense, and high, like a rustling barrier of living green. In the centre was the decaying stump of a mighty forest monarch, with its withered arms stretching out their bleached and shattered lengths far over the waving feathery tops of the nurkool below.

The General and I cut down some branches, which we stuck in the ground before us. I had a fallen log in front of me, on which I rested my guns. I had a naked koohree ready to hand, for we were sure that the tigress w as in the swamp, and I did not know what might happen. I did not half like this style of shooting, and wished I was safely seated on the back of "JorRocks," my faithful old Bhaugulpore elephant. The General whistled as a sign for the beat to begin. The coolies dashed into the thicket. The stately elephant slowly forced his ponderous body through the crashing swaying brake. The rattle of the tom-toms and rumble of the drums, mingled with the hoarse shouts and cries of the beaters, the fiery rush of sputtering flame, and the loud report as each bomb burst, with the huge volumes of blinding smoke, and the scent of gunpowder that came on the breeze, told us that the bombs were doing their work. The jungle was too green to burn; but the fireworks raised a dense sulphurous smoke, which penetrated among the tall stems of the nurkool, and by the waving and crashing of the tall swaying canes, the heaving of the howdah, with the red puggree of the peon, and the gleaming of the staves and weapons, we could see that the beat was advancing.

As they neared the large withered tree in the centre of the brake, the elephant curled up his trunk and trumpeted. This was a sure sign there was game afoot. "We could see the peon in the howdah leaning over the front bar, and eagerly peering into the recesses of the thicket before, him. He lit one of the bombs, and hurled it right up against the bole of the tree. It hissed and sputtered, and the smoke came curling over the reeds in dense volumes. A roar followed that made the valley ring again. We heard a swift rush. The elephant turned tail, and fled madly away, crashing through the matted brake that crackled and tore under his tread. The howdah swayed wildly, and the peon clung tenaciously on to the top bar with all his desperate might. The mahout, or elephant-driver, tried in vain to check the rush of the frightened brute, but after repeated .sounding whacks on the head he got him to stop, and again turn round. Meantime the cries and shouting had ceased, and the beaters came pouring from the jungle by twos and threes, like the frightened inhabitants of some hive or ant-heap. Some in their hurry came tumbling out headlong; others, with their faces turned backwards to see if anything was in pursuit of them, got entangled in the reeds, and fell prone on their hands and knees. One fellow had just emerged from the thick cover, when another terrified compatriot dashed out in blind unreasoning fear close behind him. The first one thought the tiger was on him. With one howl of anguish and dismay lie fled as fast as lie could run, and the General and I, who had witnessed the episode, could not help uniting in a resounding peal of laughter, that did more to bring the scared coolies to their senses than anything else we could have done.

There was no doubt now of the tiger's whereabouts. One of the boaters gave us a most graphic description of its appearance and proportions. According to him it was bigger than an elephant, had a mouth as wide as a coal scuttle, and eyes that glared like a thousand suns. From all this we inferred that there was a full-grown tiger or tigress in the jungle. We reformed the line of beaters, and once more got the elephant to enter the patch. The same story was repeated. No sooner did they get near the old tree, than the tigress again charged with a roar, and our valiant coolies and the chicken-hearted elephant vacated the jungle as fast as their legs could carry them. This happened twice or thrice. The tigress charged every time, but would not leave her safe cover. The elephant wheeled round at every charge, and would not show fight. Fullerton got into the howdah, and fired two shots into the spot where the tigress was lying. He did not apparently wound her, but the reports brought her to the charge once more, and the elephant, by this time fairly tired of the game, and thoroughly demoralised with fear, bolted right away, and nearly cracked poor Fullerton's head against the branch of a tree.

We could plainly see, that with only one elephant we could never dislodge the tigress, so making the coolies beat up the patch in lines, we shot several pig and a hogdeer, and adjourned for something to eat by the bank of the creek. We had been trying to oust the tigress for over four hours, but she was as wise as she was savage, and refused to become a mark for our bullets in the open. After lunch we made another grand attempt. We promised the coolies double pay if they roused the tigress to flight. The elephant was forced again into the nurkool very much against his will, and the mahout was promised a reward if we got the tigress. The din this time was prodigious, and strange to say they got quite close up to the big withered tree without the usual roar and charge. This seemed somewhat to stimulate the beaters and the old elephant. The coolies redoubled their cries, smote among the reeds with their heavy staves, and shouted encouragement to each other. Eight in the middle of the line, as it seemed to us from the outside, there was then a fierce roar and a mighty commotion. Cries of fear and consternation arose, and forth poured the coolies again, helter skelter, like so many rabbits from a warren when a weasel or ferret has entered the burrow. Eight before me a huge old boar and a couple of sows came plunging forth. I let them get on a little distance from the brake, and then with my "Express" I rolled over the tusker and one of his companions and just then the General shouted out to me, "There's the tiger!"

I looked in the direction of his levelled gun, and there at the edge of the jungle was a handsome, half-grown tiger cub, beautifully marked, his tail switching angrily from side to side, and his twitching retracted lips and bristling moustache drawn back like those of a vicious cat, showing his gleaming polished fangs and teeth.

The General had a fine chance, took a steady aim, and shot the young savage right through the heart. The handsome young tiger gave one convulsive leap into the air and fell on his side stone dead. We could not help a cheer, and shouted for Fullerton, who soon came running up. We got some coolies together, but they were frightened to go near the dead animal, as we could plainly hear the old vixen inside snarling and snapping, for all the world like an angry terrier. We heard her half-suppressed growl and snarl. She was evidently in a fine temper. How we wished for a couple of staunch elephants to hunt her out of the cane. It was no use, however, the elephant would not go near the jungle again. The coolies were thoroughly scared, and had got plenty of pork and venison to eat, so did not care for anything else. We collected a lot of tame buffaloes, and tried to drive them through the jungle, hut the coolies had lost heart, and would not exert themselves; so we had to content ourselves with the cub, who measured six feet three inches (a very handsome skin it was), and very reluctantly had to leave the savage mother alone. I never saw a brute charge so persistently as she did. She always rushed forward with a succession of roars, and was very vary and cunning. She never charged home, she did not even touch the elephant or any of the coolies, but evidently trusted to frighten her assailants away by a bold show and a fierce outcry.

We went back two days after with five elephants, which with great difficulty we had got together, [This was at the time the Prince of Wales was shooting in Nepaul, not. very far from where I was then stationed. Most of the elephants in the district had been sent up to his Royal Highness' camp, or were on their way to take part in the ceremonies of the grand Duniar in Delhi.] and thoroughly beat the patch of nurkool, killed a lot of pig and a couple of deer, shot an alligator, and destroyed over thirty of its eggs, which we discovered on the bank of the creek; and returning in the evening shot a nilghau and a black buck, but the tigress had disappeared. She was gone, and we grumbled sorely at our bad luck. It was doubtless intensely exciting work, and both tiger and cub must have passed close to us several times, hidden by the jungle. We were only about thirty paces from the edge of the brake, and both animals must have seen us, although the dense cover hid them from our sight. I certainly prefer shooting from the Howdah.

Although it is beyond the scope of this book to enter into a detailed account of the tiger, discussing his structure, habits, and characteristics, it may aid the reader if I give a sketchy general outline of some of the more prominent points of interest connected with the monarch of the jungle, the cruel, cunning, ferocious king of the cat tribe, the beautiful but dreaded tiger.

I should prefer to show his character by incidents with which I have myself been connected, but as many statements have been made about tigers that are utterly absurd and untrue, and as tiger stories generally contain a good deal of exaggeration, and a natural scepticism unconsciously haunts the reader when tigers and tiger shooting are the topics, it may be as well to state once for all, that I shall put down nothing that cannot be abundantly substantiated by reference to my own sporting journals, or those of the brothers S., friends and fellow-sportsmen of my own. To G. S. I am under great obligations for many interesting notes he has given me about tiger shooting. Joe, his brother, was long our captain in our annual shooting parties. Their father and kit brother, the latter still alive and a keen shot, were noted sportsmen at a time when game was more plentiful, shooting more generally practised, and when to be a good shot meant more than average excellence. The two brothers between them have shot, I dare say, more than four hundred and fifty male and female tigers, and serried rows of skulls ranged round the billiard-rooms in their respective factories bear witness to their love of sport and the deadly accuracy of their aim. Under their auspices I began my tiger shooting, and as they knew every inch of the jungles, had for years been observant students of nature, were acquainted with all the haunts and habits of every wild creature, I acquired a fund of information about the tiger which I knew could be depended on. It was the result of actual observation and experience, and in most instances it was corroborated by my own experience in my more limited sphere of action. Every incident I adduce, every deduction I draw, every assertion I make regarding tigers and tiger shooting can be plentifully substantiated, and abundantly testified to, by my brother sportsmen of Purneah and Bhaugulpore. From their valuable information I have got most of the material for this part of my book.

Of the order ferae, the family felidae, there is perhaps no animal in the wide range of all zoology so eminently fitted for destruction as the tiger. His whole structure and appearance, combining beauty and extreme agility with prodigious strength, his ferocity, and his cunning mark him out as the very type of a beast of prey. He is the largest of the cat tribe, the most formidable race of quadrupeds on earth. He is the most bloodthirsty in habit, and the most dreaded by man. "Whole tracts of fertile fields, reclaimed from the wild luxuriance of matted jungle, and waving with golden grain, have been deserted by the patient husbandmen, and allowed to relapse into tangled thicket and uncultured waste, on account of the ravages of this formidable robber. Whole villages have been depopulated by tigers, the mouldering door-posts and crumbling rafters, met with at intervals in the heart of the solitary jungle, alone marking the spot where a thriving hamlet once sent up the curling smoke from its humble hearths, until the scourge of the wilderness, the dreaded "man-eater," took up his station near it, and drove the inhabitants in terror from the spot. Whole herds of valuable cattle have been literally destroyed by the tiger. His habitat is in those jungles, and near those localities, which are most highly prized by the herdsmen of India for their pastures, and the numbers of cattle that yearly fall before his thirst for blood, and his greed for living prey, are almost incredible. I have scarcely known a day pass, during the hot months, on the banks of the Koosee, that news of a kill has not been sent in from some, of the villages in my ilaka, and as a tiger cats once in every four or five days, and oftener if he can get the chance, the number of animals that fall a prey to his insatiable appetite, over the extent of Hindostan, must be enormous. The annual destruction of tame animals by tigers alone is almost incredible, and when we add to this the wild buffalo, the deer, the pig, and other untamed animals, to say nothing of smaller creatures, we can form some conception of the destruction caused by the tiger in the course of a year.

His whole frame is put together to effect destruction. Id •cutting up a tiger you are impressed with this. His tendons are masses of nerve and muscle as hard as steel. The muscular development is tremendous. Vast bands and layers of muscle overlap each other. Strong ligaments, which you can scarcely cut through, and which soon blunt the sharpest knife, unite the solid, freely-playing, loosely-jointed bones. The muzzle is broad, and short, and obtuse. The claws are completely retractile. The jaws are short. There are two false molars, two grinders above, and the same number below. The upper carnivorous tooth has three lobes, and an obtuse heel; the lower has two lobes, pointed and sharp, and no heel. There is one very small tuberculous tooth above as an auxiliary, and then the strong back teeth. The muscles of the jaws are of tremendous power. I have come across the remains of a buffalo killed by a tiger, and found all the large bones, even the big strong bones of the pelvis and large joints, cracked and crunched like so many walnuts, by the powerful jaws of the fierce brute.

The eye is peculiarly brilliant, and when glaring with fury it is truly demoniac,. With his bristles rigid, the snarling lips drawn back disclosing the formidable fangs, the body crouching for his spring, and the lithe tail puffed up and swollen, and lashing restlessly from side to side, each muscle tense and strung, and an undulating movement perceptible like the motions of a huge snake, a crouching tiger at bay is a sight that strikes a certain chill to the heart of the onlooker. When he bounds forward, with a hoarse barking roar that reverberates among the mazy labyrinths of the interminable jungle, he tests the steadiest nerve and almost daunts the bravest heart.

In their habits they are very unsociable, and are only seen together during the amatory season. When that is over the male tiger betakes him again to his solitary predatory life, and the tigress becomes, if possible, fiercer than he is, and buries herself in the gloomiest recesses of the jungle. "When the young are born, the male tiger has often been known to devour his offspring, and at this time they are very savage and quarrelsome. Old G., a planter in Purneah, once came across a pair engaged in deadly combat. They writhed and struggled on the ground, the male tiger striking tremendous blows on the chest and flanks of his consort, and tearing her skin in strips, while the tigress buried her fangs in his neck, tearing and worrying with all the ferocity of her nature. She was battling for her young. G. shot both the enraged combatants, and found that one of the cubs had been mangled, evidently by his unnatural father. Another, which he picked up in a neighbouring bush, was unharmed, but did not survive long. Pairs have often been shot in the same jungle, but seldom in close proximity, and it accords with all experience that they betray an aversion to each other's society, except at the one season. This propensity of the father to devour his offspring seems to be due to jealousy or to blind unreasoning hate. To save her offspring the female always conceals her young, and will often move far from the jungle which she usually frequents.

When the cubs are able to kill for themselves, she seems to lose all pleasure in their society, and by the time they are well grown she usually has another batch to provide for. I have, however, shot a tigress with a full-grown cub—the hunt described in the last chapter is an instance—and on several occasions, my friend George has shot the mother with three or four full-grown cubs in attendance. Tins is, however, rare, and only happens, I believe, when the mother has remained entirely separate from the company of the male.

The strength of the tiger is amazing. The fore paw is the most formidable weapon of attack. With one stroke delivered with full effect he can completely disable a large' buffalo. On one occasion, on the Koosee dyarahs, that is, the plains bordering the river, an enraged tiger, passing through a herd of buffaloes, broke the backs of two of the herd, giving each a stroke right and left as he went along. One blow is generally sufficient to kill the largest bullock or buffalo. Our captain, Joe, had once received khuhber, that is, news or information, of a kill by a tiger. He went straight to the batan, the herd's head-quarters, and on making enquiries, was told that the tiger was a veritable monster.

"Did you see it?" asked Joe.

"I did not," responded the gwa!a or cowherd.

"Then how do you know it was so large?"

"Because," said the man, "it killed the biggest buffalo in my herd, and the poor brute only gave one groan."

George once tracked a tiger, following ftp the drag of a bullock that he had carried off. At one place the brute came to a ditch, which was measured and found to be five feet in width. Through this there was no drag, but the traces continued on the further side. The inference is, that the powerful thief had cleared the ditch, taking the bullock bodily with him at a bound. Others have been known to jump clear out of a cattle pen, over a fence some six feet high, taking on one occasion a large-sized calf, and another time a sheep.

Another wounded tiger, with two bullets in his flanks, the wound being near the root of the tail, cleared a nullah, or dry watercourse, at one bound. The nullah was stepped by George, and found to be twenty-three paces wide. It is fortunate, with such tremendous powers for attack, that the tiger will try as a rule to slink out of the way if he can. He almost always avoids an encounter with man. His first instinct is flight. Only the exciting incidents of the chase are as a rule put upon record. A narrative of tiger shooting therefore is apt in this respect to be a little misleading. The victims who meet their death tamely and quietly (and they form the majority in every hunt)--those that are shot as they are tamely trying to escape—are simply enumerated; but the charging tiger, the old vixen that breaks the line, and scatters the beaters to right and left, that rouses the blood of the sportsmen to a fierce excitement, these are made the most of. Every incident is detailed and dwelt upon, and thus the idea has gained ground, that all tigers are courageous, and wait not for attack, but in most instances take the initiative. It is not the case. Most of the tigers I have seen killed would have escaped if they could. It is only when brought to bay, or very hard pressed, or in defence, of its young, that a tiger or tigress displays its native ferocity. At such a. moment indeed, nothing gives a better idea of savage determined fury and fiendish rage. With ears thrown back, brows contracted, mouth open, and glaring yellow eyes scintillating with fury, the cruel claws plucking at the earth, the ridgy hairs on the back stiff and erect as bristles, and the lithe lissom body quivering in every muscle and fibre with wrath and hate, the beast comes down to the charge with a defiant roar, which makes the pulse bound and the breath come short and quick. It requires all a man's nerve and coolness to< enable him to make steady shooting.

Aroused to fury by a wound, I have seen tigers wheel round with amazing swiftness, and dash headlong, roaring dreadfully as they charged, full upon the nearest elephant, scattering the line and lacerating the poor creature on whose flanks or head they may have fastened, their whole aspect betokening pitiless ferocity and fiendish rage.

Even in death they do not forget their savage instincts. I knew of one case in which a seemingly dead tiger inflicted a fearful wound upon an elephant that had trodden on what appeared to be his inanimate carcase. Another elephant, that attacked and all but trampled a tiger to death, was severely bitten under one of the toe-nails. The wound mortified, and the unfortunate beast died in about a week after its infliction. Another monster, severely wounded, fell into a pool of water, and seized hold with its jaws of a hard knot of wood that was floating about. In its death agony, it made its powerful teeth meet in the hard wood, and not until it was being cut up, and we had divided the muscles of the jaws, could we extricate the wood from that formidable clench. In rage and fury, and mad with pain, the wounded tiger will often turn round and savagely bite the wound that causes its agony, and they very often bite their paws and shoulders, and tear the grass and earth around them.

A tiger wounded in the spine, however, is the most exciting spectacle. Paralysed in the limbs, he wheels round, roaring and biting at everything within his reach. In 1874 I shot one in the spine, and watched his furious movements for some time before I put him out of his misery. I threw him a pad from one of the elephants, and the way he tore and gnawed it gave me some faint idea of his fury and ferocity. He looked the very personification of impotent viciousness; the incarnation of devilish rage.

Urged by hunger the tiger fearlessly attacks his prey. The most courageous are young tigers about seven or eight feet long. They invariably give better sport than larger and older animals, being more ready to charge, and altogether bolder and more defiant. Up to the age of two years they have probably been with the mother, have never encountered a reverse or defeat, and having become bold by impunity, hesitate not to fly at any assailant whatever.

Like all the cat tribe, they are very cruel in disposition, often most wantonly so. Having disabled his prey with the first onset, the tiger plays with it as a cat does with a mouse, and unless very sharp set by hunger, he always indulges this love of torture. His attacks are by no means due only to the cravings of his appetite. He often slays the victims of a herd, in the wantonness of sport, merely to indulge his murderous propensities. Even when he has had a good meal lie will often go on adding fresh victims, seemingly to gratify his sense of power, and his love of slaughter. In teaching her cubs to kill for themselves, the mother often displays great cruelty, frequently killing at a time five or six cows from one herd. The young savages are apt pupils, and "try their prentice hand" on calves and weakly members of the herd, killing from the mere love of murder.

Their cunning is as remarkable as their cruelty; what they lack in speed they make up in consummate subtlety. They take advantage of the direction of the wind, and of every irregularity of the ground. It is amazing what slight cover will suffice to conceal their lurking forms from the observation of the herd. During the day they generally retreat to some cool and shady spot, deep in the recesses of the jungle. Where the soft earth has been worn away with ragged hollows and deep shady watercourses, where the tallest and most impenetrable jungle conceals the winding and impervious paths, hidden in the gloom and obscurity of the densely matted grass, the lordly tiger crouches, and blinks away the day. With the approach of night, however, his mood undergoes a change. He hears the tinkle of the bells, borne by some of the members of a retreating herd, that may have been feeding in close proximity to his haunt all day long, and from which he has determined to select a victim for his evening meal. He rouses himself and yawns, stretches himself like the great cruel cat he is, and then crawls and creeps silently along, by swampy watercourses, and through devious labyrinths known to himself alone. He hangs on the outskirts of the herd, prowling along and watching every motion of the returning cattle. He makes his selection, and with infinite cunning and patience contrives to separate it from the rest. He waits for a favourable moment, when, with a roar that sends the alarmed companions of the unfortunate victim scampering together to the front, he springs on his unhappy prey, deprives it of all power of resistance with one tremendous stroke, and bears it away to feast at his leisure on the warm and quivering carcase.

He generally kills as the shades of evening are falling, and seldom ventures on a foraging expedition by day. After nightfall it is dangerous to be abroad in the jungles. It is then that dramas are acted of thrilling interest, and unimaginable sensation scenes take place. Some of the old shekarries and field-watchers frequently dig shallow pits, in which they take their stand. Their eye is on the level of the ground, and any object standing out in relief against the sky line can be really detected. If they could relate their experiences, what absorbing narratives they could write! They see the tiger spring upon his terror-stricken prey, the mother and her hungry cubs prowling about for a victim, or two fierce tigers battling for the favours of some sleek, striped, remorseless, blood-thirsty forest-fiend. In pursuit of their quarry they steal noiselessly along, and love to make their spring unawares. They generally select some weaker member of a herd, and are chary of attacking a strong big-boned, horned animal. They sometimes "catch a Tartar," and instances are known of a buffalo not only withstanding the attack of a tiger successfully, but actually gaining the victory over his more active assailant, whose life has paid the penalty of his rashness.

Old G. told me he had come across the bodies of a wild boar and an old tiger, lying dead together near Burgamma. The boar was fearfully mauled, but the clean-cut gaping gashes in the striped hide of the tiger, told how fearfully and gallantly he had battled for his life.

In emerging from the jungle at night, they generally select the same path or spot, and approach the edge of the cover with great caution. They will follow the same track for days together. Hence in some places the tracks of the, tigers are so numerous as to lead the tyro to imagine that dozens must Lave passed, when in truth the tracks all belong to one and the same brute. So acute is their perception, so narrowly do they scrutinize every minute object in their path, so suspicious is their nature, that anything new In their path, such as a pitfall, a screen of cut grass, a mychan, that is, a stage from which you might be intending to get a shot, nay, even the print of a footstep—a man's, a horse's, an elephant's—is often quite enough to turn them from a projected expedition, or at any rate to lead them to seek some new outlet from the jungle. In any case it increases their wariness, and under such circumstances it becomes almost impossible to get a shot at them from a pit or shooting-stage. Their vision, their sense of smell, of hearing, all their perceptions are so acute, that I think lying in wait for them is chiefly productive of weariness and vexation of spirit. It is certainly dangerous, and the chances of a successful shot are so problematical, while the desegreeables and discomforts and dangers are so real and tangible, that I am inclined to think this mode of attack "hardly worth the candle."

With all his ferocity and cruelty, however, I am of opinion that the tiger is more cowardly than courageous. He will always try to escape a danger, and fly from attack, rather than attack in return or wait to meet it, and wherever he can, in pursuit of his prey, he will trust rather to his cunning than to his strength, and he always prefers an ambuscade to an open onslaught.


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