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the weight of the hunting-nets, or toils. And beyond them again, appeared the whole male population of the village, liberally provided with tomtoms, horns, and other noisy instruments, from which, from time to time, issued diabolical notes of discord, expressive of eagerness, and overflowing valour. Mansfield having ascertained that all the necessary preparations had been made, the procession moved off in good order to the scene of action.
On arriving at the ground, Ayapah was found still sitting patiently at his post ; and from him the welcome intelligence was obtained that the tiger had not yet moved.
The shikaries, who appeared perfectly to understand their business, bustled about with great activity, and, in a wonderfully short space of time, the toils were pitched, and the tiger's lair so effectually surrounded that it appeared impossible for him to escape. But how was this done ? some of our readers may ask—we must try to explain.
The toils are huge nets, made in the same manner as those used for fishing, only that they are formed of stronger cord, nearly as thick as the little finger, and with meshes large enough to admit a man's head. The ground having been first carefully examined, poles, about ten feet long, pointed at one end, and having a notch at the top, are driven into the ground at regular intervals, across every outlet by which it appears possible for an animal to escape. Upon these the toils, or nets, are suspended, like a curtain, with the upper rope resting in the notch on the tup of the pole. This is so slightly fixed, that the moment a large animal rushes against the net, it becomes disengaged, the net falls over the animal, and in his struggles to escape he becomes so entangled in the meshes, that the hunters, who lie in ambush at a short distance, and, who in general are only armed with spears, have time to run in and despatch him before he can extricate himself.
Every thing being arranged, a council of war was held, to decide finally, whether the bold experiment of attacking the tiger with spears should be attempted. The Doctor remonstrated loudly; but the éclat of such an adventure was a temptation not to be resisted. It was voted decidedly unsportsmanlike to shoot a tiger after he had been nettedit was taking an ungentlemanlike advantage of him.-In short, the Doctor's objections were over-ruled, and the measure carried, with great applause from Charles, and a grim smile of satisfaction on the part of Ayapah.
Two strong, broad-bladed, hunting-spears having been provided, Mansfield and Charles laid aside their rifles, and, armed with these more primitive weapons, posted themselves at some distance from each other, so as to command the only two outlets from the ravine, by which it appeared probable that the tiger would attempt to escape. The more prudent Doctor, having no idea of risking his valuable life in any such wild adventure, climbed, with the assistance of Ayapah, into a neighbouring tree, and lighting his cheroot, nestled himself among the branches, to witness the coming strife in safety and comfort.
For some time after they had taken their positions, all remained quiet - not a leaf stirred-no sound was heard, save the dull, hoarse, monotonous roar of the cataract, which, mellowed by the intervening woods, only served to increase the feeling of lifeless solitude, imparted by the perfect stillness of all else around, to the silent, lairs of the watchful sportsmen.
The Doctor's patience, and his cheroot were both wellnigh exhausted. Charles, in spite of himself, was beginning to feel that peculiar, disagreeable, cold, creeping, nervous sensation, which is pot fear, but which will occasionally steal over the stoutest heart in such a situation; it is a feeling which any of my readers who have happened to lead a forlorn-hope, or have stood upon a frigate's deck, during the few minutes of portentous silence which precede the first broadside, may perhaps remember. Even Mansfield was beginning to handle his spear in a fidgety manner, and to think, with peculiar affection, of his trusty rifle, when a distant shout came swelling on the breeze, and all ideas, save those of victory, vanished.
Nearer, and nearer came that cheering sound. The air was filled with wild discordant cries—the rocky sides of the ravine echoed to the clatter of a hundred tomtoms. Now is heard the rushing sound of the lively rockets, as they dart, like hissing snakes, among the tangled bushes—and now the angry voice of the hunted tiger, as he starts indignant from his lair, and roars defiance to his foes. Every nerve was braced, and the blood rushed like lightning through the veins of the excited sportsmen, as that sound reached their ears. The shouting of the beaters was redoubled—a shower of rockets swept the ravine like a storm of fire,—and the tiger, rushing at once from his concealment, dashed, with tremendous bounds, towards the pass which Charles commanded. He had approached within ten yards of the nets, when he suddenly stopped, having probably observed the impediment, and stood in an attitude of indecision, lashing his tail from side to side, and uttering a low savage growl. Charles, in conformity with the directions he had received from Mansfield, immediately stepped from his concealment, and, bringing his spear down to the charging position, advanced steadily towards the frail barrier, which formed his only defence against the expected charge of his formidable antagonist. It was a moment of fearful interest ; and the Doctor, who from his perch commanded a full view of the scene, felt the blood curdling in his viens. But Charles, although he felt a peculiar tingling of the nerves, and a slight palpitation of the heart, bore himself gallantly.
No sooner did the tiger perceive his intended victim than his whole appearance was altered. His green eyes glared savagely-his ears were laid flat back upon his neck—the hair upon his back stood erect,—and, crouching close to the ground, he crept swiftly towards the nets. Having got sufficiently near, he uttered a tremendous roar, and springing forward with a lashing bound, threw himself against the net with a force that threatened to carry every thing before it. But the tough cordage yielded to the shock without sustaining any injury,--the upper rope became disengaged,--the net fell together in a heap-and the enraged monster was instantly enveloped in a complicated mass of network, from which, in spite of his frantic efforts, he found it impossible to disengage himself. So furious was the onset of the tiger, and so apparently frail the defence opposed to it, that Charles had not sufficient command of nerve to stand bis ground ;-he made an involuntary spring backward, stumbled and fell.
The Doctor, seeing the desperate rush of the tiger, accompanied by a roar that made his heart sink within him, and perceiving through a cloud of dust, that the net was, apparently, demolished, and his young friend down, immediately jumped to the conclusion that he must be
in the tiger's jaws. His first impulse was to shout to Mansfield for help, which he did right lustily; his next to slide from his perch, with a reckless haste that considerably injured the appearance of his nether garments; to snatch up his fusee, and hurry to the rescue, invoking maledictions on the man who first invented the desperate amusement of spearing tigers on foot.
But, ere he could reach the scene of action, Charles had recovered his footing, picked up his spear, and driven it deep into the chest of the tiger. The previous struggles of the powerful animal were those of a cat, compared to the frantic efforts which he now made to reach his pigmy antagonist. His eyes glowed like live coals-foam, mingled with blood, flew in spray from his distended jaws-he roared-he gnashed his teeth—he tore up the earth—he twisted and turned with the agility of a wild cat. By dint of gnawing, he had so far succeeded in destroying the net, that his head protruded; but still the complicated folds entangled his limbs and paralyzed his efforts. Charles, although tremendously knocked about, clung manfully to his weapon, and exerted his utmost strength to force it through the monster's body and pin him to the ground. At length the tiger succeeded in grasping the shaft with his powerful? jaws, and, by one vigorous shake, snapped the tough ash-pole as if it had been a reed. Charles, although partially disarmed, still retained sufficient courage and presence of mind to make the best use of what remained of his weapon, and so gain time till assistance arrived ; he had never quitted his hold of the spearshaft, and, with this, he showered such a volley of blows upon the tiger's head, as partially to stupify him, and thereby impede his efforts to disengage himself.
The Doctor, whose courage had failed him, the moment he perceived Charles on foot again, had all this time remained at a respectful distance, dancing about like a maniac, brandishing “Mons Meg," and shouting to Charles “to haud out o’the gate till he got a rattle at the brute wi' the grit shot.” But Charles, who expected no aid from any one but Manstield, was much too busily engaged in preventing the tiger from getting clear of the nets, to pay any attention to his exclamations, and continued to thrash away with his heavy ash-pole like a young Hercules. The tiger's efforts, however, instead of diminishing, only seemed to increase. He gnawed, and tore, and plunged, with the fury of desperation. Mesh after mesh of the strong network gradually gave away.
He had already succeeded in liberating one forepaw as well as his head, and it was but too evident that a few more vigorous struggles must set him free. At this critical moment, Mansfield came bounding over the rocks, and, uttering a hearty cheer of encouragement to Charles, drove his spear deep into the body of the tiger. Instead of attempting to hold the animal down, as Charles had done, he instantly withdrew the weapon, and repeated his thrusts with such strength and rapidity, that in spite of a desperate resistance on the part of the tiger, he was speedily covered with wounds, and bleeding at every pore. The rapid loss of blood had perceptibly diminished his strength-his shrill roar was changed to a hoarse bubbling growl-the victory was all but gained—when, with one tremendous blow of his gigantic fore-paw, he snapped the shaft of the spear in two, leaving the iron head sticking in his own body, and bringing down the but-end of the shaft with such violence upon Mansfield's head, that he fell backwards, stunned and insensible.
The case was now indeed a desperate one. Poor Charles, although his courage failed not, was so much exhausted by his previous exertions, that his blows fell harmless as those of a child, and it was evident that he could not much longer maintain the unequal contest. Most heartily did he now wish for his trusty rifle, and loudly did he call upon the Doctor for assistance.
The tiger, weakened though he was by loss of blood, had by this time so far succeeded in destroying the net, that his head and shoulders were at liberty. One struggle more, and he was free, to wreak a fearful vengeance on his foes—to quench his burning thirst in their blood. A hellish fire shot from his eyes, and his whiskered lips curled into a grin of ineffable malignity as he gathered himself together for a decisive spring. It was madness to oppose him longer. Charles, upbraiding the Doctor for a cold blooded poltroon, turned to fly; but, in doing so, he stumbled over his prostrate companion, and fell heavily. “ Doctor! Doctor! where is your manhood? Will you
your gallant young companion to be miserably mangled before your eyes?" —No !--The latent spark of fire which lurked in the blood of his Celtic ancestor, is at length roused. He utters a war-cry-he rushes boldly between the infuriated tiger and his prostrate victims,-Mons Meg pours forth her deadly contents,—and the monster, in the very act of springing, rolls dead at his feet, with two ounces of “ grit shot” in his brain. Hurrah !!
“ What think ye o' the grit shot now, captain ?" exclaimed the Doctor, pointing with an air of triumph to the dead tiger, as soon as Mansfield had sufficiently recovered from the stunning effects of the blow, to understand how narrowly he had escaped destruction. “There are waur things than a fusee and grit shot, at a pinch, I'm thinkin'. That plan o'yours, o' spearin' tigers, is a' very weel, for ance in a way; but, by my troth, lads, ye had better no make a practice o't.”
This was a sentiment in which the two young sportsmen perfectly concurred. They had got a lesson which made them heartily repent of their folly. And, after returning thanks for their providential escape, and bestowing abundant praise on the Doctor for his timely aid, they both vowed, solemnly, never more to engage in so foolhardy an adventure.
Great were the rejoicings that night in the sacred village, and many were the good jokes cracked by the worthy Doctor over a bottle of glenlivat, which he insisted on draining in honour of his victory. We have heard it hinted, that towards the “sma' hours,” the Doctor was seen pursuing rather a tortuous course towards his bedroom, under the guidance of his friend Heels; but this we believe to be a calumny. At all events, it was the proudest day in the worthy Doctor's life; and, to this hour, his favourite story after dinner is, “ The daft-like tiger-hunt, wi' thae twa wild Birkies, at the Falls of the Cauvary."
ANNETTE ; OR, THE GALERIEN :
BY THE COUNTESS OF BLESSINGTON.
Annette Moran, was the prettiest girl at a village in the department of the Isère, famed for the beauty of its female inhabitants. the only person who doubted this fact; and her evident freedom from vanity, joined to the unpretending simplicity and mildness of her nature, rendered her beloved, even by those of her own sex, who might have felt inclined to contest charms less meekly borne by their possessor. Among the many candidates for the hand of Annette, Jules Dejean was the one who had won her heart. Their marriage had been long agreed on, and they only waited to have a sufficient sum laid by, the fruits of their earnings and economy, to enable them to commence their little ménage. Annette might be seen, every evening, busily engaged in spinning the yarn that was destined for the linen of her future establishment, while Jules sat by her, reading aloud, or indulging with delight, in anticipations of their marriage. How often did he endeavour, during the period of their probation, to persuade his Annette, that they already had sufficient funds to commence housekeeping. Charles Vilman and his Marie, with many other notable examples, were produced to prove that a couple might marry and be happy with less than five hundred francs, and Annette, half convinced, stole a timid look at her mother, who answered it, by shaking her head, and saying, “Ah ! that's all very well, because Charles and Marie have no children as yet, so that they are as free to work as if they were single. But people are not always so fortunate as to be married three years without having a family; and when a young woman has one child in her arms, and another beginning to walk, she can attend but little to her work."
This reasoning never appeared quite conclusive to the comprehension of the lovers, though it brought a brighter tint to the cheeks of Annette, and a roguish smile to the lips of Jules, and neither seemed to think it was peculiarly fortunate, for married persons who loved each other, not to have children, though they did not dispute the point with la bonne mere Moran.
About this period the curé of the village died, and his place was supplied by a young clergyman, who came from a distant part. The regret felt by all his flock for the good old pastor, was not lightened by seeing in his successor a man, whose youth excluded the hope that his advice or experience could replace that of him they had lost. Nevertheless, the urbanity and kindness of Le Père Laungard soon reconciled them to him, and he became popular. Le Père Laungard was a young man of prepossessing appearance, and some natural abilities; but with passions so violent and irregular, that they rendered him most unfit for the holy profession he had adopted. Like pent-up fires, they raged but with the more violence because they were concealed ; and hypocrisy and artifice were called in to assist him in hiding feelings that he took more pains to conceal than to suppress. Some irregularities had marked his conduct at the cure he had left, and these had been repre