" On another morning I had sallied forth in a different direction, with my gun this time loaded with ball. As luck would have it, an old bear obtruded himself on my notice at the distance of not more than forty or fifty paces. He, too, was in the open, and presented a shot irresistibly tempting. So I up with the old gun and gave him one in his ribs. Thus summarily disturbed in his peaceful occupation, he twisted round and round biting at the wound, but catching sight of the intruder, he turned and came at me open mouthed. Knowing that I had only one barrel left to depend on, I thought I might as well have the advantage of a good position, as the affair seemed likely to be decided at close quarters; and, moreover, I believed I could outrun the beast. I accordingly doubled back to the nearest tree without, as I believe, his gaining a yard on me and from behind its stem awaited the approach of my assailant. On he came, giving audible signs of displeasure ; but I reserved my fire till I could make pretty sure of employing my remaining bullet with effect. When he had arrived within two or three yards of my position, he rose on his hind legs, either with the object of seizing me more easily, or the better to ascertain the exact nature of my stronghold. By whatever motive influenced, however, his altered mode of attack was fatal to him. I took aim at that most vulnerable part of a bear, the chest, and drove my bullet in it. He received it with a groan and toppled back, and in a very brief space, to my relief and satisfaction, joined his departed forefathers. On looking round for the dhobie, that person was nowhere to be seen. He had made the best use of his legs and disappeared in the jungle. I remember in my own race seeing a pair of long thin shanks flying over the ground at a pace which astonished me even, though I am a fast runner. Verily it would have taken a speedy bear to catch the fellow."
" Well, that is certainly an example of bears rising on their hind legs when charging," said Melton. " I confess as far as my limited experience goes I have never seen them do so, though I have shot several at close quarters."
" But an animal will rear up from sheer pain sometimes," observed Mowbray. " Tigers frequently do so.
The last I ever shot affords an excellent case in point. * *
"I was shooting with a friend in the Boondee jungles. We had killed several tigers and numerous deer, and our month's leave was drawing to a close with a by no means despicable bag, which was fated to be increased by a tiger on the very last day of our stay.
" On that morning our men had marked a large tiger into the very place where we had killed a couple some days before ; and after this we sallied.
" I was placed in a tree which commanded the jungle and a mass of rocks on the side of a hill, and there I sat, like ' patience on a monument,' for I suppose a couple of hours ; and I need hardly tell you fellows how very uncomfortable is a constrained position in a tree for that length of time.
" The tiger was undoubtedly in the jungle, but persistently objected to show himself to an appreciating public; and I confess that I had almost given up all hope of claiming his acquaintance on that occasion. I was in this despairing frame of mind, and perhaps somewhat negligently looking about me, when my eye lit on a brindled mass of yellow fur moving stealthily through the jungle at a distance of about forty yards on the hill-side above me.
" I was quickly recalled to a sense of the importance of the occasion, and brought my rifle to the front. The tiger, either in consequence of seeing me, or from the fact of the weight of doom being on him, dashed up the rocks, fully exposing himself in the effort, and gave me a free, open shot. I fired, and planted a ball in the very centre of his shoulder. This made him rear straight up on end, and I thought at first he was going, there and then, to subside. But with a great effort he recovered himself, and made off in the direction of my friend, who was posted in a tree at no great distance. L-favoured him with a bullet in his jaw as he approached. This turned and sent him back again in my direction, and on he came, looking all tail and legs. I fired at and missed him; but my first shot had been a teaser, and he felt the effects, and before he approached close was nearly expended. He came staggering along within fifteen yards, and I was just waiting till he got out of line with my friend's tree to dispose of him, when a native perched in a tree near me put down his long matchlock as the tiger passed beneath within a few feet, and drove a bullet into his brain. This summarily put an end to the beast's fast failing strength. That was a fitting climax to a nice month's sport, for we left that evening on our return journey."
** See Appendix, Note L.
"Those jungles teem with cheetul, do they not?" asked Vivian.**
** See Appendix, Note L.
" Yes ! During our trip we killed no less than thirty-eight, besides samber and a few neilghye. By the way, an amusing incident occurred with reference to one of the cheetul I killed. We used to go out in the morning and evening;, when not engaged in the more serious chase of tigers, and each of us usually took his own line of country. I had been one morning, for a long time endeavouring unsuccessfully to stalk two outlying bucks, after which I fogged till, almost in despair, I was on the point of giving them up, when I saw one in the jungle staring at me with its broadside exposed, at a distance of about one hundred and twenty yards. I dropped him with a ball through the root of his neck, to the exceeding astonishment of L—-—, who had stalked up within fifty yards of the beast, and was then aiming at it. Our cautious movements and endeavours at concealment had rendered us invisible one to the other "
" Have you ever known an instance of samber or cheetul charging when wounded ?" asked Hawkes.