Sketch by Lieutenant Robert Baden-Powell
CHAPTER XI. "TIGER, TIGER, BURNING BRIGHT"
A Possible Interrogation—I Go in Pursuit of Tigers— Smith-Dorrien at Work—The Party Meets—The Old Hands—A Native Weakness—How to Beat for Tigers— A Dead Enemy—A Native Village—Nearly a Fatality— Camp Literature—I Become Doctor—I Get a Bear— Camp Life—A Tiger’s Wings—The Mahout—The Tables Turned—Table Delicacies—Jungle Yachts— The End of the Ghost
WHEN I had been in India for some five years, I began to think of the future.
Some day I might die, and I should look exceedingly foolish in the other world if, on being asked how I had enjoyed tiger shooting when I was in India, I had to confess that in all the years I had been there I had never tasted this form of sport.
April is the month for tiger shooting. It is also the month for pigsticking and hitherto I had always indulged in this last form of sport. So I determined to break away from my usual pigsticking, and to take a turn in the jungle. I had an excellent opportunity offered me, because there was going to Nepaul a party that had, in the previous year, had exceptionally fine sport, bagging over thirty tigers in a fortnight. Sir Baker Russell had been one of the party; but he was not able to go on this occasion, and I was therefore to take his vacant place.
On April 12, ’98, I left Meerut and reached Bareilly the next morning. With the usual perverseness of Indian railways the train which was to take me on from that place to Pillibhit on the Nepaul border started half an hour before my train got in, which condemned me to wait more than ten hours before there was another train to carry me on. However, I did not much mind the delay, as it gave me a chance of seeing my friends in this station, including Smith-Dorrien of the Derbyshire Regiment, who had just returned from the front in Chitral and was shortly to go off to Egypt on service there. I will not say he was a lucky beggar, because I felt that of all men he deserved to get on. [N.B.—Written before this war.]
During the few days which he was spending with his regiment between the two campaigns, he was hard at work for the welfare of his men, working up their coffee-shop and canteen comforts and his cycling club, through which they could develop health and amusement. I was glad of the chance of seeing how he worked these things, and I afterwards cribbed many of his ideas for doing the same in my own regiment. In fact I arranged, then and there, for the purchase of a dozen bicycles towards starting our regimental biking club, which was afterwards an enormous success, because we developed it into a despatch-riding unit, which effected a great saving of horseflesh and became a most efficient means of carrying out communications for service.
At Bareilly I picked up two more of our party, Major Ellis and Major Olivier, Royal Engineers, who were both of them old tiger-shooters. A few miles down the line we were joined by McLaren, of my old regiment, and St. John Gore of the 5th Dragoon Guards, and these completed our party.
During the rest of the journey we three beginners sat agog while Ellis and Olivier told yarns of tiger-shooting and of its dangers, each capping the other with something more wonderful in the way of adventures and close shaves. When they had worked us up into a complete state of trepidation, some of us volunteered to shoot quail for the pot while the rest were out tiger-shooting, and being of a modest disposition myself I agreed to look after camp for the whole lot of them, as it seemed to me that in a jungle so full of tigers as this one appeared to be you had every chance of coming upon a tiger even when you were merely harmlessly quail shooting. For my part I felt inclined to let sleeping dogs lie.
We arrived at the end of our railway journey late in the afternoon and found that our faithful servants, who had been sent on before with our camp equipment, had got dinner all ready for us at the side of the line, and after a few more yarns on the subject of tiger-shooting we turned in, It was warm weather, and we slept in the open, that is we slept as well as the yowling pariahs would let us. Next morning we went on to our camp, which we found pitched in a temporary native cattle village, just in Nepaul. Native servants may always be trusted to find the dirtiest bit of ground in the country to pitch your camp on! If they cannot find a cattle-standing they will choose a native village, and in time you become an epicure in odours.
|Bala Khan directing operations
Sketch by Baden-Powell
Bala Khan, a local native gentleman and sportsman, joined us here. He reported twelve tigers to be about in the district, but probably none in to-morrow’s beat. At dinner somebody remarked that I was wearing M. C. C. (Marylebone Cricket Club) colours without being entitled to them; but "the Boy" explained that I probably did belong to the M. C. C., viz., the Margate Cycling Club!
It was a great delight to be in shirt-sleeves and cowboy hat, in camp once more. Our kits were generally much alike, especially as regards thick pads on the back to prevent sun-stroke, a very necessary precaution.
Half our elephants not having arrived we went out with the fifteen we had, each of us in a howdah, on top of an elephant. A howdah is a cane-sided, boat-like car with seat for yourself and one behind for a native. It is fitted with gun-racks, cartridge pockets, etc. My general armament consisted of a 500 express, and a Paradox, or 12 bore, firing ball. The other equipment carried in the howdah was a chagul, or water-bottle, full of tea and lime juice; a blanket to roll up in if attacked by bees; an umbrella, gloves, and blue spectacles for protection against sun, a dry shirt, a towel, a camera and sketch-book, a yard measure, and a skinning knife.
Off we went, across country very like English park-land; but without the "antlered herds," and plus the scent of flowering grass, a scent just like that of the powder some women use; it reminded me at once of—well, to continue. All the country here had been under water during the rains for a width of ten miles and to a depth of twelve feet, All green, wild, and gamey looking, very like Mashonaland.
At a small straw-hut camp of cattle-grazers the natives, women as well as men, came out quite cheerily to talk and told us they had that morning seen a tiger near by.
We went into the gal-forest, with its long stems, small branches, and big, fresh, light-green leaves and on reaching a boggy stream with a tropical jungle of canes, ferns, and reeds, we took up positions for finding a tiger. Gore, Olivier, and I were posted, I in the stream, they on each bank. The line of elephants beat up the stream from about a mile lower down; the Boy in advance on one flank, the Khan on the other, and Ellis working the line.
There we sat for an hour—watching. The twitch of a leaf, or the rustle of the beautiful dark peacock green doves pricked our excitement. But no tiger. At last we could hear the line of elephants crackling along; but very cautiously. Then silence again. Suddenly a bellowing roar—a screaming trumpeting of elephants—yells of mahouts—bang goes a rifle— jabbering—orders shouted—on come the elephants —crash, splash—bang, bang something tears through the bush across my front and then fifty yards to my left a grand, great tiger springs gaily across the pathway. I banged at him as he disappeared into the jungle, and then turned my elephant and followed up with all speed. I saw him canter, tail up, and enormous he looked too, into a fresh patch of high grass and weeds. Again we formed to beat him out, three of us going on about half a mile while the line beat him up. Presently we in advance heard a rifle report and then a second. The mahouts shouted to each other and we learned that the old brute had turned and charged the line of elephants and had fallen to Ellis’s gun.
It was now three o’clock and, while the mahouts got a great net round him (the only way to get sufficient hold of him, and an enormously massive brute he was), and hoisted him on to a pad-elephant, we squatted down to lunch on cold chicken and lime juice and soda. We found our new camp situated on a knoll in the gal-forest with a glimpse of the hills between the trees. It was known as Sinkpal Guree; Stinkpal would have been more appropriate. Voltaire says: "Le corps d’un ennemi mort sent toujours bon." He cannot have smelt a tiger the day after it was shot. The next morning we were quite reconciled to leaving our beautiful camp on this account.
|A bird’s-eye view at a tiger-beat
Sketch by Baden-Powell
When necessary to move camp, we would select a spot and leave the rest to our native servants. When the beat was over we would rush for the new spot and find everything in readiness. The tents and other paraphernalia were carried on our camels and bullock carts, and our drinking water (we brought our own in iron tanks) on a bullock dray.
During the night of the second day our missing elephants arrived in camp, which was very satisfactory as it meant a far better chance of sport. To counterbalance this good fortune, we found Ellis looking very grey and tired; he had got a touch of fever, and had to lie up for the day in camp. We others started with twenty-seven elephants in a blazing hot sun. Our pad elephants carried us at first, this being far more comfortable both for elephant and man than a howdah, for a longish ride. These are elephants with big mattresses or pads fastened on their backs and are used for beating the jungle and for carrying home the game when shot.
Although the days should seem long with so little shooting, as a matter of fact they do not. The sun is blazing hot, and the elephants move so slowly, but they are such interesting beasts to watch that the time slips by very comfortably. Also one lives in constant hope of a tiger, and there is always a world of pretty scenery about.
The few small patches of cultivation had "machans," look-out platforms from which the natives watch their crops and flocks against wild animals. The natives were wilder-looking than those of the plains, the men with shock-heads of hair; yet their huts were much neater and more comfortable, having a small verandah in front, clean wattle and daub walls, and a small "hall" inside the door with a room opening off to each side of it.
On reaching the forest we got off our pad-elephant cover-hacks and on to our howdahs. Again the same plan of beating, two of us as stops posted at the mouth of a swampy stream, the remainder of the elephants beating it in line towards us. This waiting for a tiger "donne une emotion," as the Frenchman would say, especially when the line approaches and you hear the elephants breaking down small trees and dead branches, with a noise just like guns firing, in order to frighten the tiger, and then they come in sight in a close and formidable line that must push the brute on to you if he is there.
|Bagging a panther.
Sketch by Baden-Powell
This time he was not; but at the last moment, when the line was only about thirty yards from me, a panther jumped up close to Gore, who had two shots at him in the long grass; but though we beat carefully for him we did not see him again. Then we moved off two miles, and halted for lunch on the bank of a river, where our elephants bathed while we enjoyed the scenery and a cool breeze.
About sunset we turned homewards, doing "general shooting." Beating out one bit of cover we got shots at a lot of jungle fowl, just like small English fowls; they cluck and crow the same, except that they say cock-a-doo instead of cock-adoodle-doo, but they fly like pheasants. We got seven of them. On the way home my elephant trod on a thorn. He stopped and held up his foot and would not budge till the mahout had got down and examined it. The mahout saw the thing but it was broken short off in the foot, so he could not get it out. He told the elephant it was all right, and the old brute went on quite happily again and we got back to camp after dark through a crowd of dancing fire-flies. As Sir Baker Russell had not come on this shoot, the other fellows took to calling me "the General Sahib." But one night Olivier appeared at dinner in a black velveteen coat ! We could not live up to such form. As a matter of fact I had not any coat to wear in camp so I felt I could not pretend to the exalted position in the face of such rivalry, and I determined to resign.
Although the sun was very hot in the day, yet the air was cool whenever there was a breeze, whilst at night it was quite cold. I put on a blanket about midnight and a resai (quilt) about 3 a.m.
One morning before breakfast the Boy and I drove off on a pad-elephant to the neighbouring village of Dais, to see how the people lived and whether they had any curios worth buying. The houses are very neat and clean inside as well as out They were divided by partitions into several rooms; one of which is the kitchen, well kept and tidy, which, however, they did not like us to enter. They had a few muzzle-loading guns and some inferior tulwars. Their ordinary working tools, axes and koorpies (grass-cutting chisels) they would not sell, but the Boy bought a cow-bell, and I got a carved club and a quaint iron lamp. We gave them two rupees for the lot, at which they grinned and examined the rupees as if they had never seen such things before. The women and children were quite friendly and, after getting over their first shyness, they crowded round and grinned to see us so interested in their household odds and ends. These people have the Chinese eyes of the Ghoorkas and Thibetans, but the taller physique of the Hindus. The women wear two braids of hair looped across their foreheads.
That day we beat a large swamp south of the camp, where the grass and reeds were so vast in extent and thick and high that the elephants were often completely out of sight in it. It was on our return to camp that the incident occurred that nearly brought my life and my diary to an abrupt termination. Another sportsman riding up alongside me on his elephant with his rifle lying across his howdah accidentally let it off. Fortunately I was thin and the bullet passed across my front without perforating my corporation. I do not think I am fated to be shot accidentally; for this is not the only time that I have escaped that sort of an end. Apart from the ordinary shaves incidental to cover-shooting at home, I have had others. I was missed by a mule once. I am probably the only man who has been shot at by a mule, although many have experienced narrow escapes from asses. We had just buried a man during a fight in the Matoppos, and his rifle had been strapped on to the pack-saddle of a mule; but no one had noticed that the rifle was loaded and at full cock. We noticed it a few moments later when the mule walked on and in brushing past a bush caught the trigger of the rifle on a twig, and the bullet passed " between my ear and my skull," as the Zulus say when they wish to indicate a narrow shave. When forming a force for the defence of Mafeking I went to inspect them in the manual and firing exercise. They were put through the actions of " Ready," " Present," and " Fire;" Two or three of them did more than merely go through the action, they actually did fire, having forgotten to unload their rifles after a previous lesson in how to load. As I did not happen to be standing in front of a firer, I got nothing out of it; the firers got a good deal—of advice.
One night I heard a horrible noise which I took to be my bearer clearing his throat, so I shouted to him in plain terms what I thought of him and his ancestors, and what I would do if he didn’t move further afield to carry on his concert. There was no reply, till breakfast time, and then poor Ellis mildly asked why he should be called a "soor" because he couldn’t "help" having fever. The word "help" has a double meaning, it is what our dog used to say, as almost any dog will, when he had been eating grass or was otherwise not feeling quite well.
The flies were a great nuisance, at one time forcing us to change our camp. At meals it was a case of one hand hurrying the food into you while the other kept the flies momentarily at bay. Somebody, who went in for statistics about flies, has found that if you kill two bullocks and give one to a lion to eat and the other to a pair of flies, the flies and their progeny will make a close race of it with the lion; both parties taking about two days to carry out the job. Such is the rate of increase among flies. We had been in this particular camp for three days and there was more than one pair in residence when we arrived.
I generally rode with the Boy. The literature he had brought for light reading in camp and on the elephant was very instructive, viz., the British Almanac. He was always bringing out most instructive remarks, but neither he, nor any of us, not even our four Whitakers, Encyclopaedias, etc., could answer Bala Khan when he asked us the simple question: "How far is the moon from the earth?" Most of us knew the distance of the sun, and the books gave us the distances of all the planets; but none give the moon.
We beat a likely looking river-bank jungle without result, and afterwards some swamps, but never saw a sign of a tiger. The grass was much higher, more abundant and green this year than usual; generally most of it is burnt by the end of April. On the way to our new camping-ground at Toti I sustained a severe loss, namely, the old belt I wore in Matabeleland. The hole at which I wore it there speaks volumes for the large amount of exercise and the small amount of food we had, and the consequent reduction of my " capacity."
At Toti Camp, too, I definitely resigned my position as "Sir Baker Russell," and they then made me doctor of the expedition. I got to work on Ellis with a Dover’s Powder and mustard leaf, having diagnosed his fever as influenza, followed by Pyretic Saline next morning. For Olivier I prescribed three drops of chloroform in half a bottle of soda-water for headache without fever; but I do not suppose he took it. One of the cart-men, to whom I was called, I found lying covered with a sheet. He was supposed to be dead, having had a cart fall over on to him. Finding no bones broken I made him a liniment of vinegar and whiskey, and gave him a podophyllin pill. He eventually recovered from all of them.
Our starts were invariably late, as we had to wait for the return of the shikaries who go out at dawn to look for tracks of tiger and then return with their " khubber " or news. One morning they found fresh tracks of two tigers. We got to the place, a most likely looking nullah, in the forest, and beat it carefully out, but nothing came. Then we tried a second even better nullah, which almost felt as if it held a tiger. We saw fresh spoor in several places, but never a glimpse of a tiger.
|Dandelion was as firm as a rock.
Sketch by Baden-Powell
After lunch we reformed the line in the forest and went straight through, beating up several likely looking bits of reed en route. I was moving as half forward on the left when a shout from the line warned us a bear had been seen. I was at the moment in a deep ravine with steep sides. My mahout looked anxiously round to find a good way out, and seeing none he put "Dandelion," my elephant, straight at it and we began to climb. Holding tight inside my howdah I could see nothing in front till suddenly "Dandelion" stopped and stood like a rock hanging on in an almost perpendicular position. I knew that with "Dandelion" this "freezing" was like a setter’s "point" and meant game afoot. I jumped up and at first could see nothing, till a moving tuft of fur along the top of the bank above me showed where a great black bear was rolling along at a lumbering canter. I let fly at him with the Paradox at about forty yards and heard it thud into him. He fell for a moment, and then was up again and moving on when I gave him the second barrel and he turned head over heels and then rolled end over end close past us down to the bottom of the nullah. Even then he struggled a bit and I gave him another shot (which missed!) and another which hit him in the shoulder close by the first; my second shot had hit him in the neck. Then I jumped down and went and examined him. He was a very big black bear, measuring seven feet two inches, with a good coat. After this the world seemed more cheerful and I thoroughly enjoyed the view of him during the remainder of the homeward beat, as he reposed on the top of a pad elephant.
Sketch by Baden-Powell
It was evident that the floods or something had vastly changed this country since the previous year. Smith-Dorrien’s diary of his party’s trip shows that in addition to a total of twenty-three tigers they used every day to shoot several buck, besides seeing unlimited numbers of them. We would see only about five or six in a whole day. One beast that I saw every day, and would like to get, was a very handsome little dove. I had never seen him anywhere before. He lived only in the thickest swamp jungles, and was very shy. He generally dashed away the moment the elephants began beating and there was seldom more than one of him in a beat. I was often tempted to have a whang at him as he came whizzing past, but no general shooting was allowed during a tiger beat, and I never saw him at other times.
After dinner our skin-curer was showing us the small bones, said to be rudimentary wing-bones, which he had cut out of the previous days’ tiger, when one of them was dropped on the ground. For a long time we searched in the grass with a lantern, but in vain, till, going down on all fours, I played at being a dog and, after a little "niffing" about, I soon winded the missing link. These rudimentary wing bones are said to connect tigers with the griffin.
|B-P smelling out a tiger’s wing-bone.
Sketch by Baden-Powell
Our want of luck now resulted in a council of war, and it was resolved to move on to Calcutta (not the Calcutta) two marches from Camp Akadbully, where we then were, where the jungle had been burnt and two tigers at any rate were known to be. Although we were getting no sport, yet the time was very enjoyable and slipped by very quickly. Every day was exactly like the last, and this was our routine as noted in my diary. At dawn we awoke and had tea, during which we would lazily chaff each other and enjoy the cool air. The country round was full of the noise of birds, the jungle fowl, especially, making it quite civilised with their cock-crowing. The blue, misty view was very good too. At about eight we would think of dressing, after which we breakfasted in the open. By nine a dead stillness would come over the forest and the sun was already high and strong. Half an hour later the howdah elephants came round to our tents to be loaded up with guns, water-bottles, etc. Then came the pad elephants and we mounted and rode off, umbrellas up and goggles on, Ellis and the Khan on one elephant, Gore and Olivier, the Boy and self.
This was the worst part of the day. From ten to twelve it was dead, sweltering heat and no breeze. About an hour’s ride would bring us to the cover. Here we would mount our howdahs and carry on the beat. This was rather like a game. As in all games, including the game of soldiering, you ought to play for your side and not for yourself, the aim being to get the tiger killed by the party, not merely to get a shot at him yourself. A line of a dozen pad elephants beat out the cover. The’ two forward guns or stops are sent ahead to head him and stop him going away forward. Two side guns act principally as stops at all likely points of escape on either flank. Guns with the line prevent him from going back. The thing is to hold him in till the guns are in a circle round him and he cannot escape. We did it awfully well, but then we never had the tiger to put in the centre.
The elephants move very slowly in the jungle, about one and a half to two or three miles an hour, thus much time is wasted in getting from one beat to another.
About two o’clock we would halt for lunch under a tree. One elephant carried a box of eatables and drinks, claret and two bottles of soda-water per man, and ice, which we got every two or three days from the railway thirty miles distant. Lunch never took more than half an hour, and then on we would go beating till sunset. Then back to camp to tea. The Khan would sit and talk and drink soda-water and ice, while we had angostura bitters and soda. After tea there was the tub, then dinner at 7.30 and bed at nine.
|Me!||My mahout, Kumala Din.|
|Sketch by Baden-Powell|
During the heat of the day I wore a handkerchief dripping wet under my topee and it kept the back of my neck very cool, which is important when the sun is so powerful that your guns are too hot to hold without gloves. You cannot carry your white umbrella while shooting, it is too conspicuous.
Olivier left us early on the 24th, his leave being up, and to signalise his departure Ellis, who had been getting gradually, better, in spite of my medicines, now complained of feeling very weak and knocked up. So we left him in camp with mosquito curtains and a book, and with orders to move to the new camp after the heat of the day was over. Of course he started bang in the middle of it after all.
The men of this country are lithe, well-made chaps, not so squat as the Ghoorkas we enlist into our regiments, but with the same Chinese face. Their dress shows off the symmetry of the limbs at any rate. On nearing our camp in the afternoon Bala Khan called at a village where a good local shikari lived. This man, a cheery, well-fed Ghoorka, was delighted to see us, as a tiger had killed one of his cows the previous day and another the day before. It lived about a mile away in a little gully, and drank at a certain stream. He knew all about it and climbed on to an elephant to show the way. What a change he brought on us. The day was no longer hot, or the way long. We were all very wide awake. When we got to the forest he showed us the stream where the tiger drank, as a kind of proof of words. "Where is his lair?" we asked. "Oh! there," he replied, pointing generally all over the forest. "And where shall we post ourselves?" "Oh! anywhere. He’ll walk past all right. A most confiding tiger this! And the biggest you ever saw," etc., etc. Needless to say we beat and beat and never saw a sign of him.
Next we moved from Daka-ki-garhi to Calcutta, Ellis going with the baggage. Calcutta was a big open plain south of the forest in which we had been. The people were more like the ordinary Hindus, they lived in wretched straw huts, had less cattle and more cultivation than our late neighbours. The plain was dotted with solitary peepul trees, and big ant-heaps five to eight feet high, similar to those in South Africa. I was sorry to see the mountains dropping away into the distance again.
It is wonderful how the mahout drives his elephant. He sends him on by digging his toes in behind his ear, stops him by digging his ankus or hook into the front of his forehead and pulling backward, hits him hard with the flat of the hook on the side of the head when correcting him; and does much by word of command.
On the 6th Ellis left for Bareilly, unable to get better in camp and evidently wanting better medicines than I was able to give him; better doctoring he could not get.
|Hunting the hunter.
Sketch by Baden-Powell
One day we mounted our elephants and, for a change, beat outside the forest, a swamp that runs for three or four miles along the edge of the forest. It was about two or three hundred yards wide, with reeds ten to twelve feet high, in most places dangerous bog. Having beat a lot of it without result we were wearily on our way to beat the same bit again. At last I felt hopeless and was dozing in my howdah as "Dandelion" plodded slowly back to our post, when I was suddenly awakened by a rifle crack, quickly followed by others from the people away behind us. This is what happened. A tiger, tired of being hunted by us, changed places, and quietly followed us in our procession across the open plain. The Khan happened to see him, and he and Gore saluted the beast with a volley at two hundred yards, which the tiger acknowledged with a whisk of his tail and a smile as he lightly slipped away into the jungle.
|With a whisk of his tail he disappeared.
Sketch by Baden-Powell
Boiling with impotent rage we set to work and fired his jungle-home and watched for his coming out, but it was a hopeless job in the huge bog. As a bonfire it was a great success. The forest took fire, and the view from camp that night was very fine. Gore remarked: "By Jove! We shall be put down for six new Nepauls, as sure as fate." N.B.—It is customary, when through your own carelessness you damage any article in the mess, that you pay for six new ones to replace it.
After our return to camp, between tea and sundown, we three, accompanied by Bala Khan, walked out and shot a few quail. Quail shooting is a nice sporting pastime, but these asses with me must needs make foolery of it all by pretending that we were tiger shooting. When a quail fell wounded you would hear: "For goodness’ sake, don’t go in on foot to him. Wait till the elephants come up," etc. Even the Khan himself entered into the spirit of the thing. I did expect better sense from the Boy, for he could play golf without even wanting to put on black crepe weepers, and that’s more than I could do.
We greatly missed Ellis with his rich Hibernian intonation and his: " Now, what I’m going to tell ye is thrue, Johnnie. There’s only three sardines left for the five of ye, so it’s no use for anny Johnnie to take more than his fair share, or there won’t be enough! Oi’ll take wan and that will make the division easier for the four of ye."
We were not to get any more of his surprise delicacies, which were brought specially for Sir Baker Russell’s benefit. One night we had mince pies made with apricot jam and pie crust; they had got pounded on the journey into a solid mass and were served up scalding hot. Luckily we dined in the open and so had no carpet, and were able to say with Dr. Johnson, to his hostess, when he had done with a cup of over-hot tea: "A fool, madam, would have swallowed it." A fool might also have swallowed the oysters that figured on our bill of fare another night, but he would have been a number-one-sized fool.
While sitting in the howdah during a beat one is visited by many strange characters; spiders with gold spots, spiders with long bodies with a splash of whitewash on them, opal coloured spiders, praying mantis looking like dead straws, and a, to me, new kind of mantis, which I called the "Interested Mantis" because he looks about him; all these and many others come to one, not to mention flies, fleas, bugs, and bush ticks.
On April 30 we were back again in civilisation and our shoot was ended. We reached Bala Khan’s villa at Sherpur before noon, where he made us at home during the day. The villa appeared like a small square room, full of chandeliers and lamps and coloured glass balls, with little rooms round it. We lunched, dozed, and talked to the Khan and his sons. One of them could talk English and would suddenly spring upon us, a propos des bottes, such a statement as: " The wind is now blowing very furiously."
At Puranpur we were seen into the train by the Khan and his sons, after being decorated by him with tinsel necklaces, and having our handkerchiefs perfumed with pungent sandalwood scent. We noticed while at the Khan’s house that the hot weather had really begun, but by living out in it we had got acclimatised. Now that we were in a house and looked out at the glare or went out into it, we realised that summer had set in.
From: Baden-Powell, Memories of India, 1915.
|Forward by Sir Robert Baden-Powell|
|From Chapter III. The Sport of Kings and the King of Sports. B-P tells an amusing story of Young Winston Churchill, his devotion to the sport of polo, and early evidence of his talent for public speaking.|
|Chapter VIII. When the Tribes are Out. The Afghan War—The Great March—Ordered up to Kandahar—A Warlike Atmosphere—The Expedition of I842—The Camel and His Ways—Kandahar—A Dangerous City—Theatricals Under Difficulties—A Serious Mistake—Afghan Nerve—Attacked by Ghazis —The Crack of Doom—The Field of Maiwand—A Broken Square—A Heroic Chaplain—A Narrow Escape|
|Chapter IX. The Aftermath of War. The Image of War—Patrols and Picnics A Curious Superstition—Jock Fights a Wild Cat—Afghan Depredations—Relics of Alexander the Great—Camp Rumours —Abdurrahman Waits—The Horses Stampede—A Subaltern’s Opinion of the Government—A Study in Contrasts—Rifle Stealing—An Ingenious Plan—Further Losses—I Shoot Myself—I Hear my Death Announced —Digging for the Bullet—Convalescence—Stalked by a Leopard—A Rough and Tumble|
|Chapter XII. A Frontier Row. The Value of the North-West Frontier—Village Warfare —Readiness and Efficiency—How an Irishman Got a Dog and a Breakfast for Nothing—Trouble in the Buner Country—The Subaltern in War-time—The Pessimistic Afridi—A Terrified Jehu—Sniping—The Morning of the Fight—Sir Bindon’s Dispositions—The Artillery Triumphs—Touching the Button—Rock-rolling—An Exciting Race—The Bravest Man I Ever Saw—The Enemy in Retreat—An Exhausting Climb—The Tribute of a Foe—The Trophies of War—Our Casualties|
|Chapter XIV. The Elephant as Gentleman. Sentiment About the Elephant—His Mathematical Mind—"Dandelion’s" Idiosyncrasies—Her Courage in the Face of an Enemy—The Elephant Who Died—A Problem in Sanitation—The Jungle Ship—Sea Legs— The Genius of the Elephant—His Timidity—Jock’s Victory—The Duchess of Connaught’s Adventure— The Elephant’s Caution—He Utilises Human Material— A Malefactor Flogged by Elephants—The Elephant in War—An Elephant Fight|
|The Baden-Powell Library
A Selection of excerpts from the works of Sir Robert Baden-Powell and works relating to his life and career.
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Please write to: Lewis P. Orans
Lewis P. Orans, 1997
Last Modified: 2:50 PM on August 9, 1997