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13. “What strength of power," the statesman cried,
“ Could such a judgment bring ? Can such a feeble child as this
Do aught for thee, O King,
14. “ When thou hast need of brawny arms
To draw thy deadly bows,
To crush thy mortal foes?"
15. With earnest voice the fair young boy
Replied: "I cannot fight,
And Ileaven can give thee might!”
16. The King bent down and kissed the child ;
The courtiers turned away.
"Let none thy right gainsay.
17. “ Our swords may cleave the casques of men,
Our blood may stain the sod,
EUGENE J. Hall.
Who are the persons described in the poem? Who was the first to claim the vacant place (4) ? What reasons did he urge for his claim (5, 6)? Who was the next to make a claim (7) ? Why did he think that he should have the place (8, 9)? Who was the third to claim it (10) ? For whom did she claim it (11) ? Why (12) ? What objection was made to the boy's appointment (13, 14)? What did the boy say (15)? What did the King decide (16, 17) ? What is the moral of the poem ?
1. ag ga geers’; n. mounted 3. stalked; v. walked slowly; native hunters.
approached by stealth. 3. trůmp'ět îng; v. making 6. ăl tēr' natę lý; adv. by a peculiar cry.
turns. 3. €ÓV' ērt; n. hiding-place; 8. eodrse; n. hunt; chase. that which covers.
10. děx těr' Y tý; n. activity; 3. jūņ gle; n. land mostly cov skill.
ered with trees, brush-wood, 11. În vā' rý å blý; adv. without etc.
Hunting the Elephant in Africa. Part I. 1. The aggageers reported the fresh tracks of a herd, and they begged me to lose no time in accompanying them, as the elephants might retreat to a great distance. There was no need for this advice; in a few minutes my horse Tétel was saddled, and
servants with spare rifles were in attendance. The aggageers were quickly mounted. It was a sight most grateful to a sportsman to witness the start of these hunters, who with their sabres slung from the saddle-bow, as though upon an every-day occasion, now left the camp with these simple weapons only, to meet the mightiest animal of the creation in hand-to-hand conflict.
2. Tracking was very difficult; as there was a total absence of rain, it was next to impossible to distinguish the tracks of two days' date from those most recent upon the hard and parched soil. The greater part of the day passed in useless toil, and after fording the river backward and forward several times, we at length arrived at a large area of sand in a bend of the stream, that was evidently overflowed when the river was full ; this surface of many acres was backed by a large forest.
3. Upon arrival at this spot, the aggageers, who appeared
to know every inch of the country, declared that, unless the elephants had gone far away, they must be close at hand, within the forest. We were speculating upon the direction of the wind, when we were surprised by the sudden trumpeting of an elephant, that proceeded from the forest, already declared to be the covert of the herd. In a few minutes, a fine, large elephant marched majestically from the jungle upon the large area of sand, and proudly stalked directly toward the river.
4. At that time we were stationed under cover of a high bank of sand that had been left by the retiring river in sweeping round an angle; we immediately dismounted and remained well concealed. The question of attack was quickly settled ; the elephant was quietly stalking toward the water, which was about three hundred paces distant from the jungle; this intervening space was heavy, dry sand, that had been thrown up by the stream in the sudden bend of the river. I proposed that we should endeavor to stalk the elephant, by creeping along the edge of the river, under cover of a sand-bank about three feet high, and that, should the rifles fail, the aggageers should come on at full gallop, and cut off its retreat to the jungle; we should then have a chance for the swords.
5. Accordingly I led the way, followed by my head man with a rifle, while I had my large gun, which I called “ Baby," that carried a half-pound explosive shell. Florian accompanied us. Having the wind fair, we advanced quickly for about half the disiance, at which time we were within a hundred and fifty yards of the elephant, which had just arrived at the water and had commenced drinking
6. We now crept cautiously toward it; the sand-bank had decreased to a height of about two feet, and afforded very little shelter. Not a tree nor bush grew upon the
surface of the barren sand, which was so deep that we sank nearly to the ankles at every footstep. Still we crept forward, as the elephant alternately drank and then spouted the water in a shower over its colossal form ; but just as we had arrived within about fifty yards, it happened to turn its head in our direction, and immediately perceived
7. It raised its enormous ears, gave a short trumpet, and for an instant wavered in its determination whether to attack or fly; but as I rushed toward it with a shout, it turned toward the jungle, and I immediately fired a steady shot at its shoulder with the “ Baby.”
8. The only effect of the shot was to send it off at a great speed toward the jungle ; but at the same moment the three aggageers came galloping across the sand like greyhounds in a course, and wisely keeping on a line with the jungle, they cut off its retreat, and turning toward the elephant, they confronted it, sword in hand.
9. At once the furious beast charged straight at the enemy; but now came the very gallant but foolish part of the hunt. Instead of leading the elephant by the flight of one man and horse, according to their usual method, all the aggageers at the same moment sprung from their saddles, and upon foot, in the heavy sand, they attacked the elephant with their swords.
10. In the way of sport, I never saw anything so magnificent, or so absurdly dangerous. The elephant was mad with rage, and, nevertheless, it seemed to know that the object of the hunters was to get behind it. This it avoided with great dexterity, turning as it were upon a pivot with extreme quickness, and charging headlong, first at one, and then at another of its assailants, while it blew clouds of sand in the air with its trunk and screamed with
fury. Nimble as monkeys, nevertheless the aggageers could not get behind it. In the folly of excitement, they had forsaken their horses, which had escaped from the spot.
11. The depth of the loose sand was in favor of the elephant, and was so much against the men that they avoided his charges with extreme difficulty. It was only by the determined pluck of all three that they alternately saved one another, as two invariably dashed in at the flanks when the elephant charged the third, upon which the wary animal immediately gave up the chase, and turned round upon its pursuers.
12. During this time I had been laboring through the heavy sand, and shortly after I arrived at the fight, the elephant charged directly through the aggageers, receiving a shoulder-shot from one of my large rifles, and at the same time a slash from the sword of one of the men, who, with great dexterity and speed, had closed in behind it just in time to reach its leg.
13. Unfortunately, he could not deliver the cut in the right place, as the elephant, with increased speed, completely distanced the aggageers; it charged across the deep sand, and reached the jungle. We were shortly upon its tracks, and, after running about a quarter of a mile, it fell dead in a dry water-course. Its tusks, like those of the generality of Abyssinian elephants, were exceedingly short, but of good thickness.
Explain the expressions : “in useless toil" (2); “The question of attack was quickly settled” (4) ; Having the wind fair" (5); “In the folly of excitement" (10); “ completely distanced the aggageers ” (13).
“ Bad habits gather by unseen degrees,
As brooks make rivers, rivers run to seas."