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of a cat. The extent of the ground which the tiger clears at a bound, and the crushing force with which it alights on its victim, can only be conceived by those who have witnessed its wild spring. The buffalo sinks before the irresistible charge, and the ponderous elephant can at times scarcely shake froin his bead the furious beast, wbich has dashed from a distance of twenty feet, and grappled with savage claws its huge foe. The force of the spring, the weight of the body, and the distance from which the animal flings himself, are three formidable causes of the fatal power of the tiger's stroke. One blow of the Bengal tiger's paw has been known to fracture the skull of a man; whilst the strength of the animal has been proved by the ease with which it has borne off the Indian buffalo.
Mr. Wood in the following short passage will enable the reader to understand the suddenness with which, in moments of supposed security, the traveller or sportsman may receive liis death-stroke from the lurking beast. The narrative relates to the death of Mr. Monro, son of Sir Hector Monro. It appears that a party of gentlemen were shooting on an island in the month of December, 1792. “They continued their sport till the afternoon, when they retired to the edge of a jungle to refresh themselves; where they had not remained long before one of the party, who was leaving the rest to shoot a deer, heard a dreadful roar, and saw a large tiger spring upon poor Monro, and rush with him into the jungle with the greatest ease, dragging him through every thing that obstructed his course, as it all were made to yield to his amazing strength. All that his companions could do to rescue their friend from this shocking situation was, to fire at the tiger; and it is evident that their shots took effect, since, in a few minutes after, Mr. Monro staggered up to them, covered with blood, and fell. Every medical assistance that the ship afforded was procured for him immediately, but in vain ; he expired, in the course of twenty-four hours, in the greatest agonies. His head was torn, his skulĩ fractured, and his neck and shoulders covered with wounds made by the claws of the savage beast.” It is worthy of observation, that neither the large fire that was blazing close to them, nor the noise and laughter which it seems they were making at the time, could divert this determined animal from his purpose.
We have here in one picture all the terrible peculiarities of the tiger ; the sudden spring—the roar- the display of strength in dragging off the victim —and the fatal injuries inflicted in a few moments by the teeth and claws of the animal. When hunted, the tiger generally attempts to steal off, and will not shew fight unless hemmed in or desperately wounded, when he flings away all fear, and struggles to the last. The following description of a hunt by Captain Mundy illustrates both the desire of the tiger to avoid a combat with men, and his subsequent determination to sell life as dearly as possible.
“On clearing the wood,” he says, “we entered an open space of marshy grass, not three feet high; a large herd of cattle were feeding there, and the herdsman was sitting singing under a bush; when, just as the former began to move before us, up sprang the very tiger to whom our visit was intended, and cantered off across a bare plain dotted with small patches of bush-jungle. He took to the open country in a style which would have more become a fox than a tiger, who is expected by his pursuers to fight, and not to run; and as he was flushed on the flank of the line, only one bullet was fired at him ere he cleared the thick grass. He was unhurt, and we pursued him at full speed; twice he threw us out by stopping short in small strips of jungle, and then heading back after we had passed; and he had given us a very fast trot of about two miles, when Colonel Arnold, who led the field, at last reached bim by a capital shot, his elephant being in full career. as he felt himself wounded, the tiger crept into a close thicket of trees and bushes, and crouched. The two leading sportsmen overran the spot where he lay; and as I came up, I saw him through an aperture rising to attempt a charge. My mahout had just before, in the heat of the chase, dropped his goad, which I refused to allow him to recover: and the elephant, being notoriously savage, and irritated by the goading he had undergone, became consequently unmanageable; he appeared to see the tiger as soon as myself, and I had only time to tire one shot, when he suddenly rushed with the greatest fury into the thicket, and falling upon his knees, nailed the tiger with his tusks to the ground. Such was the violence of the shock, that my servant, who sat behind, was thrown out, and one of the guns went overboard. The struggles of my elephant to crush his still resisting foe, who had fixed one paw on his eye, were so energetic that I was obliged to hold on with all my strength, to keep myself in the houdah. The second barrel, too, of the gun, which I still retained in my hand, went off in the scuffle, the ball passing close to the mahout's ear, whose situation, poor fellow, was any thing but enviable. As soon as my elephant was prevailed upon to leave the killing part of the business to the sportsmen, they gave the roughly-used tiger the coup-de-grace. It was a very fine female, with the most beautiful skin I ever saw.”
The hatred of the elephant towards the tiger was strikingly shewn in this encounter, in which the huge animal so fearlessly grappled with his foe. Advantage is taken of this enmity by the eastern princes, who sometimes appoint elephant and tiger fights, in which, notwithstanding the furious charges of the carnivorous quadruped, the more powerful animal is generally the conqueror. The great object of the elephant is, to get the tiger under his feet, when the beast is either crushed at once, or half his bones broken by a kick. Sometimes, however, a tiger of great strength proves no mean antagonist even to the elephant; which, being unable to shake off his desperate enemy, falls down with the intent of rolling upon the tiger, and so crushing him at once. To impart such courage to the elephant, is, however, the work of skilful trainers, who begin by accustoming the animal to kneel or stamp on the stuffed figure of the tiger. As it is of the utmost consequence to the hunter that his elephant should boldly face the foe, none but the most courageous elephants are selected for such perilous conflicts. The grand object of the huge auxiliary of man is, to protect its trunk from being scratched; for when this happens, no management will keep the elephant to his work. Mr. Williamson, in his Oriental Field Sports, gives an instance which sufficiently proves this assertion.
“swo gentlemen were hunting the tiger on an elephant, and they one day roused a tiger of a very fierce disposition. The animal, after doing some mischief among the dogs, which baited him very courageously, at length darted at the elephant's head; and though foiled in the attempt to get upon it, nevertheless scratched her trunk severely. No sooner did she feel the tiger's claws penetrating her proboscis, than she turned round and set off at full speed, roaring most vehemently. She seemed to have lost her senses, and to be bent on mischief; for whenever she saw a living object, she pursued it, totally heedless of the mahout's endeavours to guide or restrain her. She was at length, by fatigue and management, brought into a governable state; but she was spoiled for tiger-hunting.
Another instance, from the same work, illustrates the sudden terror soinetimes produced even in regularly trained animals by the sudden charge of the tiger.
“ The tiger had satiated himself upon a bullock he had killed, and lay lurking in the grass, which was as high as the backs of the elephants and very thick, not far from the remains of the hullock. He was extremely cunning, and crouched so close, as to render it for a long time doubtful whether he was in the jungle or not. The symptoms displayed by the elephants, on approaching the place where he lay concealed, induced the party to persevere in their efforts to rouse him. One gentleman particularly urged his mahout to make his elephant beat the spot where the scent was strongest; which being done, in spite of the tremendous tones of the agitated animal, the tiger, finding himself compelled either to resist, or to submit to being trodden upon, sprung upon the elephant's quarter, and so far succeeded as to fix his claws in the pad; his hind legs were somewhat spread, and their claws were fixed into the Heshy membranes of the elephant's thigh. Actuated by the excess of fear occasioned by so sudden and so painful an attack, the elephant dashed through the cover at a surprising rate ; the tiger holding fast by its fore paws, and supported by its hinder ones, unable, however, in consequence of the rapid and irregular motions of the elephant, either to raise himself any higher, or to quit the hold he had so firmly taken with his claws. The gentleman, who had much ado to keep his seat, was precluded firing at his grim companion, as well from his unprecedented situation, as from the great danger of wounding some of his numerous followers, who were exerting the utmost speed of their respective elephants, to come up to his assistance. The constant desire felt by the elephant to get rid of his unwelcome rider, which produced a waving and irregular pace, gave the opportunity for those who were mounted on light and speedy animals to overtake the singular fugitives. Another gentleman of the party coming up close, was enabled to choose his position ; when taking a safe aim, he shot the tiger, which fell to the ground, and required no further operations." This sudden retreat of the elephant exposes the hunters to imminent peril; for the tiger is thus enabled to spring on the back of the frightened animal, and often tears one of the party from the howdah or seat.
But the danger attending such sports supplies the excitement which attracts to the tiger-hunt both the native prince and the European officer. The spectacle of the English stag-hunt, though full of inspiriting associations, is tame when contrasted with the long line of elephants, the howdahs filled with armed men, and the tumultuous excitement produced by the chance of a battle, face to face, with the royal tiger. There is also the additional feeling that good service is rendered to the country by such sports; for until the jungle-patches in a district are cleared from tigers, neither man nor beast is secure; the labours of the husbandman, and the pursuits of the shepherd, are carried on in fear; and thus the progress of civilisation may be effectually hindered by a prowling brute.
These notices of the habits, powers, and ravages of this member of the cat family are sufficient to impart a higher interest to the animal which we may see in perfect ease and safety any day in our London nienageries. At four o'clock in the afternoon the spectator may see the tiger in the Regent's Park display over his food something of the ferocity which, in the jungles or the narrow passes of India, has so often proved fatal to the lonely traveller. It will not surprise the reader to learn that the natives of India have many superstitious notions about this animal. One of these is, that the ghost of a slain tiger will haunt his slayers and do them injury, if the whiskers are not singed immediately after the death. On this account they generally shew the greatest anxiety to apply a lighted match to the whiskers of the slaughtered tiger. Another superstition consists in the belief that the souls of men do sometimes enter into the bodies of these beasts; and this belief often renders the natives peculiarly reverent towards the fierce tiger. The following narrative, from the “Life of Sir Thonias Stamford Raffles," illustrates such an idea:
• Tigers abound in Sumatra ; and the natives have a notion
that the soul of man, after death, very frequently passes into that animal. This is paying no great compliment to human virtue ; but so strong is their belief on this subject, that they regard that fierce beast almost as sacred, and treat it with much undeserved mildness and respect. An example of this strange feeling occurred in one of their journeys, when, in passing through the forest, the men carrying their luggage came before a tiger crouched on the path. The simple natives instantly stopped, and began to entreat the wild beast, assuring him that they were poor people carrying the great man's luggage,' who would be very angry with them if they did not arrive in time, and therefore they begged permission to pass quietly and without injury. The tiger, being startled at their sudden appearance, got up, and walked quietly into the depths of the forest; and they came on, perfectly satisfied that it was in consequence of their petition that they passed in safety.”
The other species of this ferocious tribe, such as the leopard, panther, ocelot, and the varieties of the tiger-cat, require but little notice, for they resemble, in most of their habits, each other; the smaller varieties being only less dreaded because less strong.
This animal is easily distinguished from the tiger by the ten lines of rose-shaped clusters of spots ; whilst the panther has but