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sieur Rougeventre, you must be kind enough to come over to Vernon to-morrow morning to depose to the circumstances under which these men arrived at your house. The carriage in which they travelled will be necessary amongst the pièces de conviction.”
“ I will drive it myself,” said Monsieur Rougeventre, cheerfully; "also the horse of those scélérats."
Auguste Mercier and Jean Courapied occupied separate cells that night on either side of the one in which Jules Vermeil was confined, and the impartiality of justice was further exemplified in the identical character of the several prison arrangements. In the moral position of the prisoners there was, however, a little difference. Fatigue, if not innocence, made Jules sleep soundly; Mercier's wound and the rage he felt at losing his prize, rendered him wakeful enough; and Courapied passed the night in revolving the best method of getting out of the scrape into which the Norman had led him.
The examination on the following day presented some features which were not altogether without interest.
The statement made by Jules respecting his own abduction was fully corroborated by the unreluctant testimony of Monsieur Rougeventre, who, fearing to be compromised, incriminated his associates after the most approved fashion. Nor was this friendly feeling confined to the host of the Loyal Postillion; it extended to Jean Courapied, who, when it came to his turn to be examined, volunteered evidence against the Norman for which the court was by no means prepared.
We must not search too narrowly into his motives, but I believe that the real cause of the Roulant's conduct arose from his conviction that Mercier had cheated him the day before : a night's consideration of the subject had certainly satisfied Jean Courapied that his money had not been fairly lost. There might have been another reason also the desire to save himself; but in any case he made a clean breast of it, and revealed the fact that Mercier had stabbed Walter in the forest of Saint-Germain, leaving him there for dead: in support of his assertion, he produced the purse and handkerchief which, he said, the Norman had given him to keep.
On hearing this story, and beholding the objects which had belonged to Walter, Jules, who loved him like a brother, burst into an agony of grief, and was removed fainting from the court,--the proceedings of which were suspended till he was well enough to reappear. This did not take place for several days,—and, in the interim, he was nursed at the house of the mayor, who had discovered that his friends were of high respectability in Rouen. Another discovery was also made before Mercier and Courapied were finally committed for trial : the Norman found out that all the trouble he had taken to secure his prisoner had been literally thrown away. Deceived by the words which Jules was in the habit of using, he had taken it for granted that he who said “Goddem” could not possibly be other than English. It might, however, have been some satisfaction to one of his fierce nature to think that, after all, he had killed the boy who was the cause of his present trouble.
JOURNAL OF A WEEK'S SHOOTING IN THE EASTERN
PROVINCE OF CEYLON, IN JANUARY, 1857.
Jan. 13–My coolies, sixteen in number, having left on the 10th of January, I bid farewell to Glenloch and my bereaved family. This leaving home on a Shikaar trip is the only drawback to its real pleasure, as I well know Ellen is kept in a perpetual state of alarm during my absence. I was to have been accompanied by my friend Captain Wilkinson (late of the 15th), losing, at the eleventh hour, a most excellent companion and an accomplished fellow-sportsman. Met Lyon Fraser and Jilks on the Rambodda Pass, came to an anchor on a log, and after smoking the calumet and passing round the fire-water of the pale face, they bid me good speed. Got into Newera Ellia at two P.M. tiffen, and walked on to Wilson's bungalow, which I reached at half-past six P.M. Dinner, and turned in. Distance walked and ridden thirtyfive miles.
Jan. 14.-Up at three A.M. Bright moonlight. IIad a cup of coffee, and started to walk to Attampyttia Rest-house, where I expected to find my horse. Walked very fast, as it was most indescribably cold. Did the distance, thirteen miles, by half-past six A.M., and was considerably disgusted to learn that my nag had been seen going into Badulla the day before. No help for it ; and having drunk a bottle of beer even at that early hour with molto gusto, I sped on my way.
Took the short cut, like an ass, and getting too much way down the steep, struck
little toe against a projecting stone, and knocked the nail off. Very painful. Breakfasted at Dickwelle with Mr. Hall, and got into Badulla at three P.M. Dined with the Judge, E. H. Burrows, and got to bed very early in consequence.
Jan. 15.-Up at three A.M. Toe awfully painful. Started at four o'clock by most lovely moonlight. Felt very done up, but got much better by the time I reached Passera, making Alipoot* at eleven. I consider the distance twenty miles. Made a light breakfast off a couple of biscuits and a glass of grog. Under weigh again at one P.M.
Found the sun most dreadfully hot, and had a most fatiguing walk until I got to a decent riding road, when I mounted “Popjoy,” and rode into Bootel. Having ridden for the last hour and a half at a hard gallop, I am much mistaken if the whole distance to Badulla is less than thirtyseven miles, most of the road being very stony and broken up. Found my servant Lazarus and a few coolies waiting my arrival, the bulk of the men, with the heaviest loads, having left that morning for Kattregam.t Took up my abode in the same shed that Shipton and I occupied last year. Head man very civil.
* Formerly an out-station for the Ceylon Rifle Regiment, but now a mass of jungle. The inhabitants of the village a most ruffish set of Moormen. Very few supplies to be had; in fact, without a warning letter from the acting government agent, nothing could be obtained on this route to the low country.
† Kattregam contains a large Hindoo temple, which in the month of August is visited by some thousands of pilgrims, many of whom come from Juggernaut, and as a finale to their travels, perhaps, from Delhi even. VOL. XLIV.
Jan. 16.—Up at four A.M., having slept very well, and my toe very much improved. Started to walk to the Galghé* (rocky cave), taking a gun-bearer, “ Maliappu," with me and my single rifle. Shortly after starting it came on to rain heavily, which it continued to do tiil eight A.M. Had a shot at a spotted buck in some scrub, and missed him in first-rate style. Must leave off smoking now until after dinner, and get à steady hand again. Got to the Galgħé at nine A.m. Distance from Bootel sixteen miles. The road very good, but would be all the better if some of the logs were cleared away and the sides opened and re-cleared. Had some breakfast, and rode into Kattregam, the distance marked by posts being nine miles. Had a row with some Moormen, who refused to allow me to occupy the verandah of a tiled temple. Big words and big stick most successful. Felt very feverish and seedy. Went down to the river, and was glad to meet “ Bab Alli” and “Soor Appoo" with the ricecart from Hambantotte. Had a most delicious bath, and on my return found the coolies had all come up. An old villager promised to point out to me an old rogue elephant within a mile, who was said to commit nightly razzias in the village gardens. Took Bab Alli and the villager. Found the elephant standing in a chena, ran at him, and greeted him with a No. 10 in the temple, and forthwith took formal possession of his tail. Regular old rogue, with a very vicious general appearance. Struck up wind, and after a short walk saw two deer, one a very fine buck; as there was no chance of getting nearer to him, owing to the jungle being so thorny on each side of the glade, I took a steady aim with the single rifle at his throat as he stood fronting me, and killed him dead with the bullet through his windpipe; distance measured one hundred and thirtynine yards. Carried him home, and gave half to my coolies and half to the village people. To bed at eight, very feverish and used up.
Jan. 17. - Never did I pass such a night as this last. I went to bed completely done, and did not close an eye until daylight warned me to get up. I was, moreover, disturbed by an accursed bird (Cingalese devil-bird), which flew round and round the shed with a succession of shrieks something between the sound of setting a saw and rending Horrock's longcloth. How ardently I wished for a loaded shot-gun, and I would soon have stopped his fun. Some fakirs who lived near the temple yelled at stated intervals, in imitation of a pack of jackals. These men had come all the way from Delhi to keep watch over the grave of one of their brotherhood who had departed this life in the fullest odour of sanctity.
Started at eight A.M. for Kattagamma, which usually might be considered seven miles off, but, owing to the rains having made a large artificial lake, I was obliged to make a long détour, not getting there until past eleven. Here I pitched my tent, and made the coolies build some bough huts for themselves.
Went out at three P.m., and after a long walk came upon some fresh elephant tracks ; followed them up, and found a small herd in terribly thick thorny jungle. Got close up to the largest, but found it impossible to fire, owing to the impenetrable thorns between us. At last took a
* This cave not only offers shelter to the traveller, but also excellent water, obtainable from the fissures in the rock. This is the only water procurable within twenty-four miles after leaving Bootel,
random crack at his or her supposed head. No effect, except a violent rush away, and a few blasts on the trumpet! To follow them up was a simple impossibility. Shot a large bull buffalo on my way home, and brought away his tail for soup, and his tongue to be stewed. Saw a great many tracks of elephants, and am full of hope that some of their tails will be mine ere long.
Sunday, Jan. 18.—Tried to have a bath this morning, but the water was most impure and full of leeches. Sent coolies off for good water to the Yallé river, distant about two miles. Lay in bed reading all morning. Wrote to Ellen, and despatched a Cingalese with the letter to Hambantotte. Went out in the afternoon to look for a deer for the coolies. Did not meet with one, but shot an immense large boar with my small rifle. The tusks of this beast were singularly fine. On my way back to camp I saw Bab Alli, who was walking in front of me, suddenly jump back and point to the ground. On coming up, I found it was a huge python in the act of performing its powers of deglutition upon a fine hare. Cut a stick and killed the snaké. He had swallowed nearly the whole head and shoulders. This snake, called by the natives “pimbera," resembles the boa. It was about twelve feet long. I asked Bab Alli if he had ever seen any very large ones. He told me that they were so large as frequently to swallow a deer. (This I know to be a fact.) I asked him if he ever heard of one swallowing an elephant. He said he had never known a case himself, but his father had frequently seen such an exhibition. Rather too much to swallow, Mr. Bab Alli! Had all the guns well cleaned this morning. My battery consists of a fourounce single rifle, two No. 10 rifles, and a single-barrelled No. 14 rifle. These are all two-grooved," and were made expressly for me by Mr. Beattie, of Regent-street, certainly the best maker for large game shooting I know. I have also a No. 16 rifle by Westley Richards, and my old No. 16 shot-gun by Charles Moore--all good guns and true. I was very glad to turn in at eight P.M.
Monday, Jan. 19.-Up at four A.m., and away before five. Saw nothing but a few stray deer, very shy. At eight o'clock came across fresh tracks of elephants, and succeeded in following them up. Made out two large females and a calf. Got close up to the largest, and tried the effect of the No. 4. Strange to say, the cap snapped, although I had loaded most carefully (snapping off a cap on every barrel, and seeing that the muzzle moved a piece of paper on the ground, which is the best test of the nipples being clear). As there was a stiff breeze blowing, the elephant took no notice of my propinquity beyond half-cocking her ears. As I looked round to take a fresh gun, I saw two more elephants just rounding a small patch of jungle. I immediately ran back, and, rushing in between them, killed them right and left. Getting a fresh No. 10, I ran back and killed my first friend with an ear shot, followed up the second, and secured her with the remaining barrel, but had to settle her with Westley. We then had great fun in securing the calf, and tied him up securely to a tree. I hope to take him home safe and sound to my
Weight of four-ounce single rifle, 154 lbs. ; weight of No. 10 doublebarrelled rifles, 13} lbs. each. I have often run a mile at top speed with one of these latter, but the four-ouncer is rather too weighty, except for stalking an old rogue.
little daughter Emily, who is always begging me for an elephant. Walked for two hours without seeing any fresh tracks; suddenly came upon the track of a single elephant, and came upon him in some broken, rocky ground. Tried to stalk him, but he saw me, and came down upon me at railway speed. I brought him up at about eight yards with a shot in his temple, which appeared to bother him, and then running close up to him, dropped him dead. He was a very old male, and as vicious a looking specimen oft a rogue as any to be met with in the Park chenas.* Had my breakfast by a stinking tank, and had a jolly snooze in the Mexican grass hammock that Nicholson gave me. This hammock is quite an " institution,” for one of my gun-bearers carries it folded round his waist ; triced up between two trees in thick shade it forms the very acme of a sportsman's siesta. Up and away at three P.M.; afternoon's sun most deadly. Took up the young elephant en passant, and homewards. The
snuffler roared at first like great guns, but when the coolies slackened the ropes, he put his trunk round my leg and followed me like a lamb. Perhaps he thought my dirty green Derry trousers resembled his affectionate parent's leg. On getting to camp I had him securely fastened to the wheel of the rice-cart, and I saw the young beast (who resembled an overgrown pig) swallow several balls of rice (boiled) that the coolies gave him. Total killed up to this evening: six elephants, one buffalo, one buck, one hog.
Jan. 20. — The first news I had when I got up this morning was, that the young elephant had bolted in the night, which rather surprised me, as I saw him well secured with a good piece of English lining rope. This is very vexatious, so I must try and get another one for Emily. Started in an easterly direction, towards a place called “Bootellay," in a parallel line with the Yallé river. After an hour's walk we came upon a large female elephant and a half-grown companion. She made a run for it, and I had to put three bullets into her before she bit the dust; the young one fell to the remaining barrel. Having loaded up, I trudged on again, and came upon several fresh tracks, but none of them were very satisfactory. At last we heard a trumpet in some thick bédé (thorny jungle), and got up to a herd of nine and killed four in a lump, taking six shots. Oh! Fred Palliser, † had you been here not a tail would have escaped us. My face and hands were torn to pieces, and my clothes shockingly ill-treated by the thorns, which, as usual, were of the most subtle and diabolical description. After loading, and taking a horn, and cutting off the tails, on I went. Twigged a fine herd of deer feed
Chena, or Hayna, means jungle grown up in felled forest land that has been cultivated and abandoned, about one or two years old, full of briers, and a favourite lounge for a rogue.
Bědé is the thickest species of thorny jungle found in Ceylon, full of waagħt abitjees, and every description of fishhook, including the real Limerick sneckbend, all done in thorn.
Mõõkalāne is virgin forest nearly free from underwood—a splendid arena to . catch a herd in.
† I discovered when out in January of this year (1858) that the small elephant was stolen by some Tavelam people (bullock-drivers) and taken to Batticoloa. I may yet live to be even with them.
| A great friend of mine, and the crack sportsman of Ceylon. One of the most splendid rifle-shots to be met with anywhere in the East.
§ The spotted deer abounds everywhere in the low country of Ceylon, especially