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We had a long march before us to Boanghir: M-in his palankeen left during the night, and we followed early in the morning. The scenery was now very different from what we had been lately accustomed to, the road occasionally winding through low jungle, along the edge of rice-fields, or over the bund of a tank covered with water fowl of every description, amongst which we were often tempted to let drive a charge of No. 3, thereby giving our horsekeepers the opportunity of having a cold bath in collecting the killed and wounded.
As we approached Boanghir, our progress was often retarded by long strings of bullocks carrying grain, and belonging to some wandering Lombari, or, as they are generally called in this part of the country, Brinjari, a most extraordinary race of people, and of a caste entirely distinct from the rest of the Hindoos, with whom they have little intercourse, being quite dissimilar in language, manners, and customs. These wanderers never enter a house. In the height of the monsoon, during the coldest weather, or whilst the hot land-winds are scorching up the earth and driving every living being to seek for shade and shelter, these hardy and lawless sons of the camp are always in the meidan (open fields). In peaceable times their vocation is trading in grain, thence their appellation, beringe the Persian for corn, and durdun to carry. Their riches consist in their numerous bullocks, and a fierce race of dogs to guard their property at night. During any commotions in the country, they attach themselves to either party, supply it with grain, and hire out their bullocks for carriage, taking care to plunder both friends and foes, and to devastate the country which may be the scene of war whenever opportunities present themselves of doing so with impunity in fact they are most determined loot-wallahs (plunderers), as was but too well proved to us during the Mysore war, when the English army had several thousand Brinjaris in their train to supply them as above-mentioned.
Their bullocks graze on the side of the road as they travel along, or, when they halt during the day, are their own purveyors in the neighbouring jungle; at night-fall they are fastened in a circle round the encampment, which consists of sacks full of grain piled up, over which others are placed crossways, so as to form a space sufficient to creep into : during the rains this edifice is covered with a couple of coarse blankets, stretched out and fastened to pegs; and in such abodes do this hardy race spend the time which is not employed on the march. Although constantly exposed to the elements, they are much fairer than the generality of the lower class of Hindoos: the women are finely shaped, large, and good-looking, and might perhaps possess attractions if they added cleanliness to their picturesque and gaudy dress, which consists of a petticoat of red or blue, fastened above the hips, with a similar colored scarf thrown over one shoulder, whilst the ancles, arms, and ears, nay even the nose, are loaded with massive brass ornaments. Their carriage, like that of all other Hindoo females, is graceful in the extreme; but so filthy are they in their persons, that they never by any chance remove their dress until it actually falls off from sheer wear and tear. The Brinjari women have the character of being extremely dissolute, so much so that their lewdness passes for a proverb: it is even said that they often go in a body, and oblige such men as they fall
in with to accede to their wishes; but I must confess, that although frequently, whilst shooting in the jungle, I have met these nut-brown maids both alone and in company, I was never placed by them in that awkward predicament.
Mais revenons à nos moutons.We arrived after a tedious march at Boanghir, and next morning took leave of M—, as we had resolved to see a little more of Goolencondah before our final return to headquarters.
We took the opportunity of writing to a couple of Sporting friends, acquainting them with our expectations there, requesting them to join us with an elephant, sundry supplies, and, as the hot weather had now set in, to bring out cuscus tatties and a detachment of tauny-catches, with the particular proviso that the damsels should be young, active, and good-looking*.
After taking these preliminary steps we retraced our road to Goolencondah, and in the evening found ourselves at our old quarters, under a clump of fine old tamarind trees at the foot of the rock.
The following morning I in vain endeavored to rouse my chum G―: he declared he would have a regular caulker after two such long days march. I was, therefore, obliged to sally out alone, or rather in company with my old horsekeeper Chennoo, in quest of Orsino, and determined, in spite of rocks and briars, to penetrate into the heart of his stronghold, and beard the lion in his very den; but in so doing had to encounter a thousand difficulties, for, after proceeding some distance up the hill, "Further way I found none, so thick entwin'd
As one continued brake, the undergrowth
All path of man or beast that pass'd that way"-(MILTON)— and was often obliged in the course of my progress to creep along on all-fours through this intricate maze. I had just emerged from this awkward position, followed by Chennoo, when, at the turn of a rock, a large bear appeared within ten paces. The brute was advancing very slowly, and looking up in my face with the most ludicrous gravity, which I soon put an end to by giving him my left barrel through the head, whereupon the facetious monster rose capering on his hind legs: bang went No. 2 barrel, and over rolled friend bruin apparently lifeless. Immediately from the spot whereon he lay extended arose a din which might have awakened the dead; for an instant I was taken quite aback, but soon recollected it to be a second edition of the music I had heard some days before from the top of the rock; and hastening to ascertain the cause, to my surprise I beheld two young cubs holding on like sick monkeys by the long and shaggy coat of their prostrate dam, and, d—n their eyes, roaring most lustily. I had no idea of letting the youngsters slip through my fingers; so running up I laid hold of each by the scruff of the neck, and attempted to drag them off their maternal hold. In the meantime the old lady, who apparently had only been in a trance, feeling something unusual going on, with an effort recovered her legs, and began with one fore-paw to wipe away the blood and brains which
*Cuscus tatties are mats made of a sweet-smelling grass, which are kept wet, and the wind blowing through them produces a delightful coolness; the tauny-catch is the woman employed to keep the tatty constantly wet.
were trickling over her eyes and obscuring her visual organs: luckily Chennoo, who carried my spear and rifle, was at hand, and applying the muzzle of the latter to her ear, I settled her instanter.
The young 'uns still singing out, but making no attempt to escape, I remained a moment looking at the old hag to see if she were now really dead or only shamming. Chennoo was likewise steadfastly contemplating the cratur, till at last giving utterance to his reflections, he exclaimed, “Dekho, Sahib, you see, Sar, that d-n Bhan-Choot, him come night time into willage, him get into house, and him take off woman to the jungle; I bhot khoosh (very glad) Sahib kill d-n rascal." After this sentimental effusion, not being able without assistance to move the old one, we secured a cub each, and, in spite of their cries, carried them in triumph to the tent.
G-came out to see the cause of the uproar he appeared to be very much down in the mouth, which I attributed to his not having accompanied me in the morning, and rallied him accordingly. "D-n the bear!" at last said he; " 'tis not that which annoys me, but "But what then! what the deuce is the matter with you, old fellow ?" said I. G-replied not, but, entering the tent, pointed in silent horror to a sheet of paper on the table, on which were-guess, most sapient reader, what a couple of lice in the last agonies of death. "Look there!" he at last exclaimed with unaffected dismay and grief; "look, N-, I'm lousy, by G-!"
I could contain no longer, but, bursting into a loud laugh, replied, "Is that all? why, my lad, you have had nearly as good fun as myself this morning! But cheer up, my hearty! you can see by the color that they are not Britons, but of the true Nigger breed; and perhaps it may be a consolation for you to know that I have had great sport in that way myself ever since the night of the storm, when all those Black fellows slept in the tent with us!" And to convince him, I soon unkennelled one crawler, and, cracking him scientifically on my thumbnail, presented it in the most graceful manner to the astounded young man. He, however, was much relieved on finding he had a companion in misfortune so true is Rochefoucault's celebrated saying, trouve toujours du plaisir dans les malheurs de son meilleur ami." Having, therefore, settled this knotty point, we made arrangements for the disposal of all the bear family. Six or seven men were requisite to remove the defunct to the tent, where we soon had a couple of chucklers hard at work in the process of skinning. These people, whose name is a European corruption from the chakali or shoemaker cast, are considered the lowest of the low-the despised amongst the dishonored: even the outcast Pariah looks down with contempt and abhorrence on the unhappy chuckler. The meanest and most revolting offices in society devolve on this unfortunate race. They are employed to remove carrion and filth, to officiate as executioners and hangmen ; in fact, whatever is considered as too degrading for people of other castes, or even of no caste at all, is imposed on the chuckler; nor do his appearance and habits belie his occupations: small and decrepid in stature, filthy in their tastes, this degraded race hesitates not to commit what the Hindoos consider the height of abomination and impurity, by eating food of any kind, no matter how loathsome: they will feast
voraciously on the carrion of a horse, or any other animal; and it was, therefore, no matter of astonishment to us when, having concluded their task, they claimed the carcase of the bear.
It was given to them, with the exception of one haunch, which, having often heard of the celebrated Westphalia hams, I had determined to dish up as an experiment. Bear-flesh was accordingly served up to dinner that day under every possible shape-bear soup, bear stew, bear stakes, bear curry: having no cloth the table itself was bare; it could scarcely bear the weight of the feast, nor could we forbear admiring its variety and profusion. But however beautiful to the eye, the first mouthful was quite sufficient for my palate-I never had such a sickener: however, determined to give G- his fill of it, I loaded my plate, extolling it to the skies; but what he, in the innocence of his heart, fancied I put into my mouth was craftily conveyed under the table; and such was the effect of example, that G-, seeing me make such play, imagining it must be good, ate abundantly of the abominable mess. Poor fellow! I was afterwards sorry for the trick I had played him, as a dozen emetics would scarcely have had the effect produced by this unbearable food. Shortly afterwards we were more successful in our experimental cookery with a porcupine, whose flesh we found extremely delicate, and much resembling that of wild hog.
The young bears, with all their sorrows before them, being duly packed in a basket and placed on the head of a cooly, were shipped off to the Cantonment as a present to a lady to whom I had promised to send a pretty pet from the jungles. One died on the voyage from grief at the tragic fate of its mother; the other, of a less susceptible disposition, reached his destination, became very tame, very big, and so very saucy, that, from having the range of the house and garden, he was obliged to be chained up, and, for aught I know, remains to this day in irons cursing the author of his fate and historian.
LIKELY TO BECOME A NATIVE OF SCOTLAND.
A FEW years ago it was looked upon as a rare sight to flush a woodcock in this part of the country after the first week in April; but of late years it has not been uncommon to see a few birds remain with us all summer. These were put down as a few of the crippled and wounded birds that were not in a fit state to migrate with their brethren for another country. This, however, does not appear to be the case this season, as I was told the other day by the keeper at Lawns, Perthshire, that he had more woodcocks at this present moment in the coverts under his charge than he had at any period during last winter. The keeper at Strowan, in the same neighbourhood, has found a great many woodcock nests this summer, all thriving birds, and to all appearance as happy as if in their native country. Some of the broods took flight about the latter end of July, and he (the keeper) calculates upon having a fair show of cocks this season, independent of a good flight from a foreign country. VERAX.
September 10, 1839.
THE LIFE OF A JOCKEY, AND ON WASTING.
THE world are apt to imagine that all persons engaged in pleasurable occupations lead a life of unsullied happiness, forgetting that the daily scenes of gaiety and excitement which give a zest to the enjoyments of those who can use their own discretion in seeking amusements, have not the same influence over the minds of such men as devote their time and skill to the amusements of others. The constant recurrence of similar exhibitions, however exciting they may be, loses their effect by repetition; and the pleasurable feeling of the performer merges into the consideration as to how far his individual interest may be concerned, or the welfare of any particular friend or connexion may be dependent upon the event. Of all the occupations and sciences which are patronized and sought after by way of affording pleasure to the public, a jockey has, perhaps, the most arduous task to perform of any exhibiter. Not only is the responsible office of riding a race attended with very great personal exertion, but the preparation required previous to the performance is, in many cases, very severe, and is accompanied by very great personal deprivation.
For the purpose of complying with the customs of the Turf, which have appointed the weights for race-horses to carry considerably below the average standard of the human race, the jockey is under the necessity very frequently of reducing his natural corpulence by a system of training severe and unpleasant, and performed with the most active labor.
How far the custom of carrying such light weights as are usually proposed is consistent with the best policy of our racing laws appears very questionable. Looking to the improvement of our national breed of horses, the object should be to select those possessing the greatest power combined with the most superior speed. There can be no doubt of the fallacy of carrying such light weights; but a custom once established is not easily corrected, however bad the principle may be upon which it is founded; consequently jockeys must submit to the fiat of their superiors, and reduce themselves accordingly. As it may be interesting to those who are not acquainted with the usual preparations resorted to for the purpose of reducing the natural weight, and useful to many who are desirous to become lighter, I will endeavor to enumerate the most important customs to be attended to.
Various constitutions require different treatment: whilst some can scarcely bear any aperient medicine, others require a considerable quantity: some men who are good walkers are under the necessity of performing long and forced marches, whilst there are others who cannot ; neither do they require to go anything like the same distance: some being of a cold nature, with a languid circulation, require a considerable quantity of flannels, vulgarly denominated sweaters, and others will obtain the necessary evaporation with very light ones. It is, therefore, impossible to lay down a rule that every man is to take a certain quantity of medicine, walk a specific distance, and with a given quantity of clothing such things must be regulated by circumstances dependent on the constitution and health of the individual, as also by the weather, weight to be reduced, and the time that can be afforded to accomplish