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THE FALLS OF THE CAUVARY.*

BY THE OLD FOREST RANGER.

" Lo! wbere it comes like an eternity,

As if to sweep down all things in its track,
Charming the eye with dread-a matchless cataract.”

Childe HAROLD.

We left our three friends, attended by Mr. M—-, and the trusty Ayapah, on their way to visit the great fall of Bir Jooki. We have already, in our last paper, inflicted upon our readers a translation of the Hindoo legend, from which this fall derives its name. We have also attempted to present them with a faint outline of the river, and Tiger Island. We must now try to describe the fall itself. But, being aware that the subject is one considerably beyond our powers, we feel ourselves in honour bound to forewarn our gentle reader of the fact; and to beg, if he have the slightest objection to a bad description of fine scenery, that he will be kind enough to skip over the next two pages, and either take our word for it that Bir Jooki, in spite of its barbarous name, is one of the grandest falls in the world, or, if that be not sufficient, let him, after having applied to us for a letter of introduction to our friend Ramaswamy, take his passage in the first ship bound for Madras, hire a palanquin, with twelve bearers, and a Mussaulcheemake the best of his way to the Island of Seevasamoodrum ; and judge for himself.

After walking about' a mile, the party struck into the low belt of jungle, which skirted, and concealed the river; and, descending by a rugged path, suddenly emerged upon a smooth platform of rock, directly facing the principal fall, and about a hundred feet above the level of the basin, into which the cataract discharged itself. On their left, and so close to their position, that the rock on which they stood trembled as if shaken by an earthquake, one branch of the river came bounding from ledge to ledge of rock, forming a succession of roaring cataracts, and hurrying along, in its headlong course, huge masses of rock, the crash of which might be heard, even amidst the din of raging waters. Directly opposite, the great fall rushed in one unbroken sheet of water, over a perpendicular cliff, nearly three hundred feet in height, and was lost in the cloud of spray, which, rising from the dark abyss, like steam from a boiling caldron, rolled away in light eddying wreaths, along the sides of the surrounding mountains.

So stupendous a scene, bursting suddenly upon the beholder, is almost overpowering. The steady, unceasing, irresistible, rush of the eternal waters, giving one the idea, more than any other object in nature, of unlimited power; the fearful turmoil, unseen though heard, in the fathomless gulf below, the dull monotonous roar, the mysterious cloud of vapour, all tend to be wilder the senses. The head swims, the sight is dazzled, the ear is stunned, all the faculties appear to be paralyzed. Man feels his own insignificance, and the proudest gazes for a moment in awe-struck silence.

Continued from No. ccxxvii., page 397.

Even the Doctor held his breath, and the remains of his beloved cheroot, not yet half consumed, dropped unheeded from his lips.

Mansfield, folding his arms upon his chest, gazed upon the bewildering scene, with the same calm and apparently unmoved expression, which his noble features ever wore, even in moments of the greatest excitement; but the flashing of his dark eye showed that lofty thoughts were swelling in his bosoın.

Charles, also, stood for some minutes in silence, till overpowered by the rush of poetical images which crowded upon his mind, he sprung forward to the very edge of the precipice, and throwing his arms aloft, like a young eagle spreading its wings for flight, shouted, at the very top of his voice, the following beautiful lines from “ Childe Harold ;"

“ The roar of waters ! from the headlong height,

Velino cleaves the wave-worn precipice ;
The fall of waters! rapid as the light,
The flashing mass foams, shaking the abyss,
The hell of waters ! where they howl and hiss,
And boil in endless torture; while the sweat
Of their great agony, wrung out from this
Their Phlegethon, curls round the rocks of jet
That gird the gulf around, in pitiless horror set.

And mounts in spray the skies, and thence again
Returns in an unceasing shower, which round,
With its unemptied cloud of gentle rain,
Is an eternal April to the ground,
Making it all one emerald :-how profound
The gulf! and how the giant element
From rock to rock leaps with delirious bound,
Crushing the cliffs, which, downward worn and rent
With his fierce footsteps, yield in chasms a fearful vent.

To the broad column which rolls on, and shows
More like the fountain of an infant sea
Torn from the womb of mountains by the throes
Of a new world, than only thus to be
Parent of rivers, which flow gushingly,
With many windings through the vale :-Look back !
Lo! where it comes like an eternity,
As if to sweep down all things in its track,
Charming the eye with dread,-a matchless cataract.

Horribly beautiful! but on the verge,
From side to side, beneath the glittering morn,
An iris sits amidst the infernal surge,
Like Hope upon a death-bed, and, unworn
Its steady dyes, while all around is torn
By the distracted waters, bears serene
Its brilliant hues with all their beams unshorn :
Resembling, 'mid the torture of the scene,
Love watching madness with unalterable mien.”

“ Whew!" the Doctor gave a long whistle, turned on his heel, picked up the stump of his cheroot, replaced it in the corner of his mouth, seated himself on a stone, puffed out a huge volume of smoke, and winking at Mansfield, tapped his forehead significantly with his

Feb.--SOL. LVIII. NO. CCxxx.

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forefinger, thereby implying that he had serious misgivings as to the perfect sanity of “ The laddie, Maister Charles.”

Standing, as he did, on the brink of a precipice, his arms outstretched, his flowing locks drenched by the heavy spray which fell around him, and shouting, at the top of his voice, as if declaiming to the spirits of the flood, the excited appearance of our young friend was such as might have induced a commonplace, unimaginative mind, to coincide in the Doctor's opinion. But Mansfield, although a bit of a stoic in externals, was an enthusiast at heart, and liked to see enthusiasm in others. He remembered the day when he would have acted as Charles did, and a benevolent smile played around his mouth, a responsive chord vibrated in his heart, as he witnessed this natural burst of feeling in his young companion.

“A good and apt quotation, boy," said he, tapping Charles on the shoulder," and one I had almost forgotten. I thank you for reminding me of it. If you are ever asked for a description of the Falls of Gungah, you cannot do better than repeat these very lines. But your eyes have been so intently riveted upon that · Hell of waters,' as your friend Byron has it, that you have not yet beheld half the beauties of the scene. Look upwards, above the cloud of spray, hanging, as it were, between heaven and earth, with what an air of dignified composure that beauteous island, glowing in all the splendour of tropical vegetation, sits like a queen, smiling amidst the war of elements. And here, to the right, see that narrow gorge, throughout which the foaming torrent, lashed to madness in this boiling whirlpool, bounds with such frantic speed, like a hunted lion, bursting through the toils. Cast your eyes around, mark the grandeur of the hills, by which we are surrounded-children of an earthquake, their hoary heads, scathed by the fires of heaven, bleached by the storms of a thousand ages, piercing the clouds, frowning defiance to the spirits of the tempest; proud and unyielding, as at the day of their birth. See the graceful feathery bamboo, cowering from the blast, and clinging for protection to their iron sides. The deep scarlet flowers of the rhododendron, glowing like gems, upon the rugged breast of that moss-grown rock. The swift. winged paroquets darting aniong the branches of that lofty teak-treethe-ha! what was that?”

Mansfield stopped short, in the midst of his rhapsody, and, bending forward, listened eagerly for a repetition of the sound which had attracted his attention. Again it was heard, even amidst the din of rushing waters, and this time there could be no mistake. It was the short barking cry of the spotted deer, and, apparently close at hand. Charles fixed his eyes upon Mansfield's face, with an inquiring look, as if he expected some explanation of so strange a circumstance. But Mansfield, whose quick ear immediately recognised the well-known signal of an Indian Shikarie, bounded forward, without uttering a word, and, snatching the proffered rifle from the hand of Ayapah, followed with his eye the direction of his finger, as he pointed eagerly towards the bottom of a deep ravine, which Aanked their position, and whispered the exciting word-Bhag.

Mansfield's rifle was thrown hastily forward, as a bramble-bush, immediately below him, was seen to rustle, and a solitary monkey, which sat grinning like an evil spirit, in a dark nook of the glen, began

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to spring from rock to rock, filling the air with hideous screams. Swift as lightning a brindled mass glided, like a huge snake, across an open space in the bushes, and again disappeared in the dense thicket which filled the bottom of the ravine.. The report of the rifle bellowed among the rocky caverns, as if a twelve-pounder had been discharged, and the narrow chasm was filled with a dense cloud of smoke. But no angry roar answered to the shot; and when the sulphury vapour rolled away, the blue mark of the bullet, which had flattened upon a stone, in the dry water-course below, convinced Mansfield that, for once, a tiger had been too quick for him.

“ Away with you, son of a slave !" cried he, turning upon the unfortunate Ayapah, for want of some more fitting object upon which to vent his wrath, “ why do you stand gaping there like an old woman, as if you had never seen a tiger missed before ?

Off with you, I say, to the top of the hill, and mark him."

Ayapah turned, without answering a word, and dashed into the jungle-next moment he was seen perched amongst the highest branches of a tree, which crowned a bill, and commanded a full view of every outlet from the ravine. But Mansfield waited, in vain, for a signal that the tiger had appeared. Ayapah remained motionless as a vulture watching his prey.

“ He does not intend to show himself, I find,” observed Mansfield, throwing his rifle carelessly into the hollow of his arm. “ As my friend Ayapah would say, he has no fancy to eat bullets; but we must force him a little. Mr. M I believe you have some good shikaries in your village."

“Yes, sar,” replied the half-cast, with alacrity. "Plenty shikaries got-plenty nets got. Suppose I give order, in one half-hour plenty shikar men attend master's pleasure. That very bad tiger, sar—two mans he eat last week. Suppose master kill that tiger, that thing make black man's heart glad. He very much ceremony make--plenty cocoa-nut, plenty jaggary* he give to Swamy.t"

“ Ha! another man-eater. By the hump of the Holy Camel we are in luck. And nets too, you say. I am glad of that, it is the most effectual way of securing a tiger in such jungly ground. The sooner, then, you can get the shikaries, and the nets, the better. And,

hark

ye, Mr. M--, if you can manage to procure a few rockets, at the same time, I shall feel obliged, it will save much trouble in beating him up. I shall leave Ayapah here, to watch the ravine, and, in the mean time, I would propose that we adjourn to the bungalow, and have some tiffin, to give us strength for the encounter."

“What new species of shikar is this?” asked Charles, with a look of wonder. “Do you really mean to say that you intend to catch the tiger in a net!-to bag him like a rabbit ?”

“ Ay,” replied Mansfield, smiling, “and to spear him too, when he is bagged. How like you the idea, boy, of spearing a tiger on foot? It will be something to talk of, when you get back to the hills.”

Charles appeared rather startled by this proposal, but said nothing.

The Doctor sprang to his feet, shoved his hands deep into his pockets, and stood staring at Mansfield with a look of utter bewilderment.

* Jaggary-a course sort of sugar.

+ Swamy—the Hindoo Deity.

“Spear a tiger!" The words dropped from his lips as slowly as if he had stopped to weigh each individual syllable. “Spear a tiger ! The Lord forgie ye, captain. I aye thought ye had a bee in your bonnet; but now I am satisfied ye are just fit for Bedlam. Spear a tiger indeed! Did ony leevin' mortal ever hear the like!" So saying, the Doctor turned on his heel, and marched off, whistling the old Scotch tune of “ The Devil among the Tailors.”

“Our friend the Doctor does not appear to relish the idea of spearing a tiger,” said Mansfield, indulging in a quiet laugh; “but, I can assure you, it may be done, and is done, constantly, in some parts of India. However, you shall see, and judge for yourself. It will, at all events, be something new, and I think you will allow it to be the most exciting style of sport you have yet seen.”

The sportsmen had" hardly finished their tiffin, ere a clamorous beating of tomtoms, and blowing of horns, announced that the shikaries had arrived. Mansfield and Charles started to their feet, at the welcome sound,—thrust their hunting-knives into their belts,snatched up their rifles, and sallied forth to inspect and arrange their forces. Even the Doctor, whose blood had been warmed with generous wine, shared in the enthusiasm of the moment. Shouldering his favourite weapon, Mons Meg, he crammed his broad-brimmed hat fiercely over his eyes-swallowed a glass of brandy-and-water, to strengthen his nerves, -and swearing, by the piper of war, that he would not be outdone by “ony young birkie o' them a',” struck up the warlike tune of “ Johnny Cope," and strode after his companions, with the air of a man, determined io do or die.

On the steps of the portico, they were received with a profound salaam, by the Cotuall, or head man of the village, in his holiday robes. The quaintly-dressed trumpeter gave forth a deafening blast, from his gigantic instrument, streaming with tigers' tails, the hardearned trophies of many a bloody field. A confused clatter of tomtoms rent the air; and the assembled multitude prostrated themselves before the Burrah Sahib, whose fame as a tiger-killer had reached even to the banks of the Cauvary.

The Cotwall, in a flowing speech, complimented Mansfield on his exploits, calling him, “the Lion of Mysore—the Invincible—the Open- · handed,”—here he looked out of the corner of his eye to see whether this last compliment was likely to produce the desired effect upon Mansfield's purse-strings; and concluded by expressing a hope that the arrangements he had made, might meet with the approbation of his Magnificence. His Magnificence, who, instead of attending to the Cotwall's elaborate speech, had been counting the number of the beaters, and scanning the features of the shikaries, with the eye of a connoisseur, expressed his entire satisfaction; and, slipping a pagoda into the extended hand of the delighted Cotwall, informed him that he was at liberty to make his salaam, and take leave.

The Cotwall had done his duty, and well deserved the present bestowed upon him. In front of the crowd, leaning on their long matchlocks, stood four shikaries of the real fighting caste-long-legged, wiry, hard-featured, hairy-muzzled, devil-me-care-looking fellows—such as a Yankee would say, at the first glance, were “ fit to flog their weight in wild cats." Behind them, some dozen naked coolies tottered under

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