« ПредишнаНапред »
2. skírt; v. to run along the edge | 3. im pliç'it; a. complete ; unof.
doubted. 2. Ym pěn' e trå ble; do not 7. loom' ing; v.
rising; apto be entered.
pearing above the surface.
Hunting the Elephant in Africa. Part II.
1. Some of our men, who had followed the runaway horses, shortly returned and reported that during the fight they had heard other elephants trumpeting in the dense jungle near the river. A portion of thick forest of about two hundred acres, upon this side of the river, was a tempting covert for elephants, and the aggageers, who were perfectly familiar with the habits of the animals, positively declared that the herd must be within this jungle.
2. Accordingly we proposed to skirt the margin of the river, which, as it made a bend at right angles, commanded two sides of a square. Upon reaching the jungle by the river side, we again heard the trumpeting of an elephant, and about a quarter of a mile distant we observed a herd of twelve of these animals, shoulder-deep in the river, which they were in the act of crossing to the opposite side, to secure themselves in an almost impenetrable jungle of thorny hedge.
3. The aggageers advised that we should return to the ford that we had already crossed, and by repassing the river we should most probably meet the elephants, as they would not leave the thick jungle until the night. Having implicit confidence in their knowledge of the country, I followed their directions, and we shortly afterward recrossed the ford, and arrived upon a dry portion of the river's bed, banked by a dense thicket.
4. Jali, my Arab sword-hunter, now took the management of affairs. We all dismounted and sent the horses to a considerable distance, lest they should, by some noise, disturb the elephants. We soon heard a cracking in the jungle on our right, and Jali assured us that, as he had expected, the elephants were slowly advancing along the jungle on the bank of the river, and would pass exactly before us.
5. We waited patiently in the bed of the river, and the cracking in the jungle sounded closer as the herd evidently approached. The strip of thick, thorny covert that fringed the margin was in no place wider than half a mile; beyond that the country was open and park-like, but at this season it was covered with parched grass, from eight to ten feet high : the elephants would, therefore, most probably remain in the jungle until driven out.
6. In about a quarter of an hour we heard by the noise in the jungle, about a hundred yards from the river, that the elephants were directly opposite us. I accordingly instructed Jali to creep quietly, by himself, into the bush, and to bring me information of their position. In three or four minutes he returned; he declared it would be impossible to use the sword, as the jungle was so dense that it would check the blow, but that I could use the rifle, as the elephants were close to us—he had seen three standing together, between us and the main body of the herd.
7. I told Jali to lead me directly to the spot, and, followed by Florian and the aggageers, with my gun-bearers, I kept within a foot of my little guide, who crept gently into the jungle. We advanced stealthily, until Jali stepped quietly to one side and pointed with his finger ; I immediately observed two elephants looming up through the thick bushes about eight paces from me.
8. Determined to try fairly the forehead-shot, I kept my ground and fired a quicksilver-and-lead bullet from one of the large rifles. It struck in the centre of the beast's forehead. The only effect was to make it stagger backward, when, in another moment, with its immense ears thrown forward, it rushed on. I fired my remaining barrel a little lower than the first shot.
9. Checked in its rush, it backed toward the dense jungle, throwing its trunk about and trumpeting with rage. Snatching a rifle from one of my trusty men, I ran straight at it, took a most deliberate aim at the forehead, and once more fired. The only effect was a decisive charge ; but before I fired my last barrel, Jali rushed in, and with one blow of his sharp sword severed the sinew of the hind leg. That instant the animal was utterly helpless. I had fired three shots so closely together that they occupied a space in its forehead of about three inches, and all had failed to kill. There could no longer be any doubt that the forehead-shot at an African elephant could not be relied upon, although so fatal to the Indian species.
Explain the expressions : “a tempting covert” (1); "a bend at right angles" (2); “ fringed the margin ” (5). There is a marked difference in the appearance of the Indian elephant and the African species : the former has a comparatively high oblong head with a concave forehead, whilst the latter has a round head and a convex forehead. The ears of the African elephant are much the larger, covering the whole shoulder and descending on the legs (9).
My son, keep the commandments of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother. Bind them in thy heart continually, and put them about thy neck. When thou walkest, let them go with thee : when thou sleepest, let them keep thee, and when thou awakest talk with them ; because the commandment is a lamp, and the law a light, and reproofs of instruction are the way of life.—Proverbs vi. 20–23.
4. reel ; v. stagger.
of a gun when discharged. 6. băg'ging; v. capturing.
7. çîr eŭm' férence; n. the
line that goes round a circular figure; the space included in a circle,
Hunting the Elephant in Africa. Part III.
1. I now reloaded my rifles, and the aggageers quitted the jungle to remount their horses, as they expected the herd had broken cover on the other side of the jungle, in which case they intended to give chase, and if possible to turn the elephants back into the covert and drive them toward the guns. We accordingly took our stand in the small, open glade, and I lent Florian one of my double rifles, as he was provided with only one single-barreled elephant-gun.
2. About a quarter of an hour passed in suspense, when we suddenly heard a chorus of wild cries of excitement on the other side of the jungle, raised by the aggageers who had headed the herd and were driving them back toward us. In a few minutes a tremendous crashing in the jungle, accompanied by the occasional shrill scream of a savage elephant, and the continued shouts of the aggageers, assured us that the beasts were bearing down exactly in our direction; they were apparently followed, even through the dense jungle, by the wild and reckless Arabs.
3. I called my men close together, and told them to stand fast, and to hand me the guns quickly; and we eagerly awaited the onset that rushed toward us like a storm. On they came, tearing everything before them. For a moment the jungle quivered and crashed; a second
later and the herd, headed by an immense elephant, thundered down upon us.
4. The great leader came straight at me, and was received with shots right and left in the forehead from a large rifle as fast as I could pull the triggers. The shock made reel backward for an instant and fortunately turned it and the herd likewise. My second rifle was rapidly handled, and I made a quick shot with both barrels at the temples of two fine elephants, dropping them both stone-dead.
5. At this moment the “Baby” was pushed into my hand by another of my men, just in time to take the shoulder of the last of the herd, which had already charged headlong after its comrades, and was disappearing in the jungle. Bang! went the “Baby”; round I spun like a weathercock, with the blood pouring from my nose, as the recoil had driven the sharp top of the hammer deep into the bridge. My “Baby” not only screamed, but kicked viciously. However, I knew that the elephant must be dead, as the half-pound shell had been aimed directly behind the shoulder.
6. We had done pretty well. I had been fortunate in bagging four from this herd, in addition to the single one in the morning; total, five. Florian had killed one, and the aggageers one; total, seven elephants. One that I had wounded in the shoulder had escaped, and two that had been wounded by Florian.
7. Having my measuring-tape in a game-bag, that was always carried by one of the meri, I measured accurately one of the elephants that had fallen, with the legs stretched out, so that the height to the shoulder could be exactly taken :-From foot to shoulder, in a direct line, nine feet one inch; circumference of foot, four feet eight inches. We now left the jungle and found our horses waiting for