Front Cover
 Front Matter
 Title Page
 Fox hunting
 Otters and otter-hounds
 The seal
 The chamois-hunter
 An adventure in Southern Russi...
 Bear-hunting in Russian Lithua...
 Shooting ptarmigan in Lapland
 Sharks in the Mediterranean
 Shooting pelicans and wild fowl...
 A visit to the Island of Ascension...
 Catching a cayman - a very tough...
 Hunting the kangaroo
 The boa-constrictor
 The ostrich
 The lion - an awkward rencount...
 Hunting the giraffe in Nubia
 The royal bengal tiger
 The boa-constrictor (illustrat...
 The wild horses of America
 The walrus
 Whaling in the Arctic regions
 A tussle with a polar bear
 Back Cover

Group Title: Sketches of adventure and sport : a book for boys
Title: Sketches of adventure and sport
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00053953/00001
 Material Information
Title: Sketches of adventure and sport a book for boys
Physical Description: 75, 3 p. : col. ill. ; 26 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Groves, J. Percy ( John Percy )
Ollendorff, Bernhard ( Publisher )
Publisher: Bernhd. Ollendorff
Place of Publication: London
Publication Date: [1885?]
Subject: Game and game-birds -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Hunting -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Adventure and adventurers -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Animals -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Natural history -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Publishers' advertisements -- 1885   ( rbgenr )
Bldn -- 1885
Genre: Publishers' advertisements   ( rbgenr )
novel   ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage: England -- London
Statement of Responsibility: by J. Percy Groves : with four and twenty illustrations printed in chromo-lithography.
General Note: Contains index.
General Note: Publisher's advertisements follow text.
Funding: Preservation and Access for American and British Children's Literature, 1870-1889 (NEH PA-50860-00).
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00053953
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: Baldwin Library of Historical Children's Literature in the Department of Special Collections and Area Studies, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved, Board of Trustees of the University of Florida.
Resource Identifier: aleph - 002469897
notis - AMH5408
oclc - 45532107

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Page 1
        Page 2
    Front Matter
        Page 3
        Page 4
    Title Page
        Page 5
        Page 6
    Fox hunting
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
    Otters and otter-hounds
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
    The seal
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
    The chamois-hunter
        Page 20
        Page 21
        Page 22
        Page 23
        Page 24
        Page 25
    An adventure in Southern Russia
        Page 26
        Page 27
        Page 28
        Page 29
    Bear-hunting in Russian Lithuania
        Page 30
        Page 31
        Page 32
    Shooting ptarmigan in Lapland
        Page 33
        Page 34
    Sharks in the Mediterranean
        Page 35
        Page 36
        Page 37
    Shooting pelicans and wild fowl on the Danube
        Page 38
        Page 39
    A visit to the Island of Ascension - turning turtles
        Page 40
        Page 41
        Page 42
    Catching a cayman - a very tough yarn
        Page 43
        Page 44
        Page 45
    Hunting the kangaroo
        Page 46
        Page 47
        Page 48
    The boa-constrictor
        Page 49
    The ostrich
        Page 50
        Page 51
    The lion - an awkward rencounter
        Page 52
        Page 53
        Page 54
    Hunting the giraffe in Nubia
        Page 55
        Page 56
        Page 57
    The royal bengal tiger
        Page 58
        Page 59
        Page 60
    The boa-constrictor (illustration)
        Page 61
        Page 62
        Page 63
    The wild horses of America
        Page 64
        Page 65
        Page 66
    The walrus
        Page 67
        Page 68
        Page 69
    Whaling in the Arctic regions
        Page 70
        Page 71
        Page 72
    A tussle with a polar bear
        Page 73
        Page 74
        Page 75
        Page 76
        Page 77
        Page 78
    Back Cover
        Cover 1
        Cover 2
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"When we mount and away at the break of day,
And we hie to the woodland side;
How the crash resounds as we cheer our hounds,
And still at their sterns we ride."

T HE "Noble Science," as fox-hunting is called by its ardent votaries, is generally admitted to be the perfection
of all sport: to quote a favourite saying of the immortal John Jorrocks, it is "the sport of kings, the image
of war without its guilt, and only five-and-twenty per cent. of its danger." Come then, lads! let us, in imagination,
have a half-hour with the hound,.
** *

It is a rather dull day about the middle of January, and-

"A southerly wind and a cloudy sky
Proclaim it a hunting morning."

Breakfast is scarcely over, but the clock gives warning that it is time we were in the saddle, for we have
better than three miles to ride to Bromley Regis, where the West Daleshire Hounds are to meet; and as the
noble Master of that well-known pack is famed for his punctuality, it will never do for us to linger over the
fragrant coffee, devilled kidneys, hot muffins, cold ham, and other delicacies of the matutinal meal. So "to horse"
is the cry !
Forty minutes' gentle riding brings us to Bromley Regis, and here we find quite a crowd of horsemen and
pedestrians assembled on the village green; whilst vehicles of all sizes and descriptions-from the vicar's pony-
phaeton to the well-appointed drag from the Cavalry Barracks at Oldchester-form a line stretching from the "Blue
Cow" Inn as far as the Vicarage.
The members of the "W.D.H. have mustered in full force, and their scarlet coats give extra life and animation
to the "delightful scene, where all around is gay."
There is a fair sprinkling of ladies too; some on foot, some in carriages, and several-who hunt regularly with
the West Daleshire-on horseback.
But what pleases us most is to see so many of the "rising generation" of sportsmen out-youngsters who
are home for their Christmas holidays, and intend enjoying themselves.
There they are, a baker's dozen of them; Eton boys, Rugby boys, Harrow boys, Cheltenham boys, Grammar-
school boys, of all sorts and sizes.
Look at that consequential, dandified youth mounted on a chestnut mare with white fore-legs. What a young
buck! Scarlet coat, snowy leathers, pink "tops," all complete: he might be the "Master" in miniature.
See now he is going to smoke. What a cigar! almost as long as his silver-mounted whip-stick. We hope it
won't make him sick.
There is another lad, bestriding a big badly-groomed brown; he is of a very different cut to the "fumigatin'
piece o' conceit"-as Mr. Jorrocks would call our friend on the chestnut. Nobody could accuse this one of being a
dandy; with his old wideawake, shabby monkey-jacket, trousers,-short, baggy, shepherd-plaid trousers,-and high-lows.


How sore his nether-man will feel after the first ten minutes I we would almost as soon have a "swishing" as
gallop a mile in those ill-fitting inexpressibles. But whom have we here?
Ah! it is young Jack Somers-grandson of Squire Somers of Bilcote Grange. Now there is our beau-idaal of
a boy! he is just the type of youngster that our old friend Gordon Stables delights in.
What a sportsman-like little fellow he is, and how well he is "turned out"!
We must keep our eye on Jack; and mark you, boys I we shall have to ride pretty straight to do so, for the
clever-looking little bay that carries him is one of the best fencers in the county, and you won't catch Master Jack
"nicking or skirting."
Tempus fugit!
Before we have taken stock of half the Field, or had a look at the pack, the Master gives the signal to throw
off. Bromley Coppice-a thick, warm-lying covert, about a half-mile from the village-is to be drawn first, and
thither we follow the hounds.
"Eu leu in!" cries Peter Woodall, the huntsman, with a wave of his arm; "Eu leu in there!" and the eagert
Pack dash into cover, and spread and try in all directions. "Yoicks wind him Yo-o-icks, rout him out!"
Hark! wasn't that a challenge in the thickest part of the copse? Yes, sure enough, and Woodall cheers the
hound to the echo.
"Hoick to Rufus! hoick! h-o-o-o-ick I!!" he screams in a long-drawn note, that sends the life-blood surging
through our veins, and makes our ears tingle with pleasure. "Tally hol ta-a-lly ho!! Gone away! aw-a-a-y !"
hallooes the first whip, as a banging, brown dog-fox, with a well-tagged brush, quits the covert, and steals away
across a five-acre pasture.
See yonder he goes! and as he slips through the hedge at the bottom of the field, Rufus, Justice, Rummager,
and Pieman top the fence out of cover, and, hitting off the scent, away they go full swing, each hound throwing his
tongue and making the welkin ring with his melody.

Now fast flies the fox, and still faster
The hounds from the cover are freed,
The horn to the mouth of the master,
The spur to the flank of the steed."

"Twang-twang-twang sounds Woodall's horn. "Crack! cra-a-ack 1" goes the whip's long thong, as he urges
on the tail hounds.
Moy oi! did ye see un ?" shouts a red-headed yokel, perched up in a tree, to a grinning friend who is watching
the fast-flying pack; dangg un, but he were the biggest fox wot ivir I see'd!"
We have got away on good terms with the pack; Jack Somers is just before us, and the "Dandy" and the
"Shepherd-plaid-trousered lad" are not far behind.
There is a good scent, and the hounds race across the pastures, skirting the base of One-Tree Hill, past the
hamlet of Hopley Hayes, and then over some heavy ploughed land, towards Wychfield. So far the country has been
pretty level and the fences easy, but now we are getting amongst more difficult obstacles, and the field lengthens out.
An awkward, stake-bound fence-over which Jack Somers flies like a bird on the wing-brings half-a-score
perspiring horsemen up all standing. We-who have pledged ourselves to follow Master Jack-get over by hook
or crook; so do five or six men and three ladies; the rest of the Field scamper off in search of a friendly gap or
The "Dandy" and the "Shepherd-plaid-trousered lad" go at the fence with a rush.
"Dandy" gets over, but not his mare! for she refuses, stops short, and shoots her exquisite owner over her
head, landing him on his back on the other side.
"Shepherd-plaid's" big horse carries him over easily, and he comes pounding after us; his "continuations"
have by this time rucked up to his knees, exposing his well-scratched shins and torn socks. But he is a plucky
lad, and rides as though he had a duplicate neck, legs, and arms.
The field is now reduced to eleven, including the Master, Peter Woodall, Jack, and "Shepherd-plaid." The
ground just about here is stained by sheep, and a check gives us a moment's breathing time. But Peter makes
a forward cast,. the hounds once more hit off the scent, and dash onward, at. a pace and with a cry that looks
uncommonly like killing.
Now we run from scent to view I The "thief o' the world" is only two fields before the hounds, and his
slackening pace and unsteady gait tell that he is almost beat. A dip in the next field conceals him from sight for

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a moment or two; then we view him again, as he toils up the greensward towards a low stone wall. The leading
hounds are close behind him, and he knows escape is hopeless. Game to the last, he stops and snaps at Rufus;
Coroner seizes him, and they roll over together.
Who hoop!
Peter Woodall races up, throws himself off his panting horse, and rushes to the rescue.
"Who-hoop!" he cries, holding poor Reynard above the frantic pack; "who-hoop!"
"Who-hoop I who-hoop echo Jack Somers and "Shepherd-plaid," wild with delight at being "up" when so
gallant a fox is accounted for.
Then Peter pulls out his knife, whips off the draggled brush and grim mask, and, with a "Tear and eat him .
tear and eat him he casts the blood-stained carcase to the hounds.
"Give the brush to this young gentleman," says the Master, laying his hand upon Shepherd-plaid's" shoulder;
"and the mask to Mr. Somers. I never saw lads ride straighter"
And so ends our run with the West Daleshire.



THE partridge-that is to say, the common partridge (Perdix cinerea), not the French, a red-legged variety, which
is now very rarely seen in England-is too well known to need much description: even lads who have
"existed "-I cannot write lived-in town all their days, and have never roamed the green fields in search of game,
are acquainted with the appearance of the plump, yellowish-brown birds, whole coveys of which are suspended in
the poulterers' shops from September to January.
Suffice it then to say that the hen-partridge is somewhat smaller than the cock, and may also be distinguished
by a slight difference in her plumage, the chestnut-coloured patch round her beak being of a lighter shade, and
the bars on her flanks being broader and more distinct than those of the male; the hen's lower breast, too, is
nearly white, and does not develop the dark chestnut patch until her second or third year.
Partridges pair in February, and make their nest on the ground, usually amongst corn, mowing-grass, or
clover. The hen commences to lay early in April, and produces from a dozen to a score of olive-brown coloured
The young birds make their appearance after twenty-one days' incubation, and leave the nest directly; but
until they are strong on the wing and able to look after themselves, they are carefully watched over by the
parent-birds. The stratagems of the old cock and hen to draw attention from their young ones when threatened
with danger are really wonderful, and would lead a close observer to believe that they must be endowed with
reasoning powers of a high order.
A well-known sportsman and naturalist relates the following extraordinary instance of an old partridge's
solicitude to save its brood.
"I was hunting with a young pointer," he writes, "when the dog ran on a brood of very small partridges;
the old bird cried, fluttered, and ran tumbling along just before the dog's nose, till she had drawn him to a
considerable distance, when she took wing, and flew still further off, but not out of the field. On this, the dog
returned to me near the place where the young ones lay concealed in the grass, which the old bird no sooner
perceived than she flew back, and settled just before the dog's nose again, and by rolling and tumbling about
drew off his attention from her brood a second time. I have also seen, when a kite has been hovering over a
covey of young partridges, the old birds fly up at the bird of prey, screaming and fighting with all their might to
preserve their brood."
The partridge is to be found all over England, and in the sister-kingdoms wherever there is enclosed land.
The young and old birds together constitute a "covey." Partridges are seldom seen on the wing during the day,
unless they have been disturbed; they are "on the feed" in the morning and afternoon, and at other times
frequent the hedgesides of grass fields or the banks of brooks. At dusk they "call" to one another, and having
assembled, move off to their resting-place for the night.
It is almost superfluous for me to mention that partridge-shooting commences on the Ist September, and ends
on the 31st January.
The first rule to be observed in partridge-shooting is not to commence too early in the morning; the birds
will not lie until the dew is off the ground. Set off between nine and ten o'clock with a brace of well-trained
steady pointers and a "marker"; having entered the stubbles, commence to beat "up wind."
Walk well up to your dogs, but never hurry them. When a covey is found, approach it quietly and in
perfect silence; as soon as the birds rise, single out the one that first shows itself,-it will nearly always be an
old one, -wait until it gets to a proper distance; then knock it over. Do not fire into the "ruck"; it is unsportsman-


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like and cruel. As the uninjured birds fly off, the marker (or in his absence the shooter himself) must note the
exact spot where they settle down again. Then reload, retrieve the birds you have brought down, and proceed
at once after the disturbed covey. This is the old-fashioned and most sportsmanlike mode of partridge-shooting.
And now one word of advice to the tyro I
Do not be too eager to fire, keep cool, and never flurry yourself; above all, be careful how you carry your
fowling-piece, and do not fidget with the locks. Recollect Mr. Winkle's gun that "would go off of itself" I
Well do I remember my first day's shooting!
I was a little over fifteen at the time, and was "cramming" for Sandhurst.
Shooting-I may as well confess it-was not my forte, and on this my debut in the field I earned the
unenviable reputation of being rather a dangerous companion.
How it happened I really cannot say, but I managed to lodge the contents of my right barrel in the skirts
of the keeper's velveteen coat. Fortunately he was not very close to me when my gun went off, so the shot
(No. 5) did not penetrate very deep: nevertheless poor William had to use an air-cushion for many days after the
accident; and though nigh a score of years has passed since then, he still retains a lively recollection of being
made a target of.


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ALL disciples of honest Isaac Walton have an inveterate dislike to that amphibious, fish-destroying animal the
otter, insomuch as it may be regarded in the light of their rival in the pursuit of the finny race; and a very
form dable rival too, for it is ever on its hunting-grounds, incessant in its exertions, and voracious in the extreme
-d..vouring quantities of fish, and killing even more than it devours. Of very little use is it for the lover of the
gentle craft to "be quiet and go an angling" if an otter has been at work during the previous night; for the
expectant piscator will wander to the river bank, only to find that he has been deprived of his anticipated sport,
the finest fish having been destroyed or driven away by the nocturnal, web-footed poacher.
Nor is the injury done by the otter confined to its consumption of fish, for its very presence scares them from
their spawning-places, and militates against their increase.
The ease and celerity with which an otter will chase its prey are astonishing; it follows the unfortunate fish
in every turn and double, and maintains the pursuit with a pertinacity that generally ensures success.
In form the otter bears some resemblance to the polecat; its colour is a deep brown, with a light-coloured
muzzle, and throat and breast of an ashen hue; the head is flat and broad, and blunter in appearance than that
of a polecat; the mouth is small; the eyes look upward, and are placed near the nose; the legs are short, loosely
joined to the body, and admirably constructed for swimming; the tail is thick at the root, but tapers to a point.
The otter dwells in the banks of rivers or lakes; it excavates a burrow for its retreat, making the entrance
to it beneath the level of the water, and working its way upwards until it reaches the surface of the earth, and
here it makes a hole for the admittance of air, taking care that the same shall be in the middle of a bush or thicket,
and so concealed from view; on either side of this excavation the otter digs out "holts" or "lodges" in which
to take refuge in case of floods-for no animal affects drier lying.
The burrow thus constructed by the otter is called its "couch."
Otter-hunting has of late years almost died out in England, but during the last century it was a recognized
sport, as is shown by the following advertisement which appeared in the Evening Post in May 1760 :-"To be
disposed of at Barton-under-Needwood, near Lichfield, Staffordshire, Otter-hounds, exceeding staunch, and thoroughly
well-trained to the hunting of this animal. The pack consists of nine couple and a terrier, and are esteemed
to be as good, if not the best hounds in the kingdom. The proprietor disposes of them for the two following
reasons only; first, because all the otters, except three or four, are killed within this hunt, which consists of all
the rivers of this county (except the Dove, where otters are not to be killed with hounds), Leicestershire, and
Warwickshire, etc., etc. N.B.-Mr. Biddulph has killed within these last six years with these hounds, above Burton-
on-Trent only, seventy-four otters."
There are now few, if any, otter-hounds in England, but in Wales and Scotland some gentlemen still keep packs.
In a fifty-year old number of the Sporting Magazine, the return from a day's otter-hunting in Wales is thus
described :--"Sitting near the window, I beheld approaching the bridge a cavalcade, and found it was Squire
Lloyd of Glensevin, escorted by the gentlemen of the neighbourhood, returning from otter-hunting. The gentlemen
in the front rank were mounted, and next the horsemen were three men neatly dressed in scarlet coats and white
trousers, with long spears, on which were suspended three huge otters. Now the huntsman appeared with his
well-disciplined hounds; and then followed the cart, with nets, spears, and other paraphernalia ; and an old ballad-
singer appeared in the rear, who sung the praises of the high-bred hounds and their master."
It must have been quite a triumphal procession !
The otter-hound is described by "Stonehenge" as a descendant of the old southern hound, crossed with the
wire-haired Scotch terrier, and probably with the water-spaniel.


And now let us see how an otter is found and killed !
An otter having been seen in any neighboring stream, the huntsman starts off with his hounds early on
a summer's morning-for the "meet" should not take place later than five or six a.m. The river gained, the
sportsmen, who are provided with spears, divide into two parties, and prepare to beat along both banks.
"Ho wind him ho! is then the cry, and the pack dash for the water, and, if well-trained, commence to hunt
in a most systematic and thorough fashion.
While the hounds are hunting, the sportsmen on either bank should be searching for the seal" (spoor) of
the otter.
When roused from his "couch" the otter immediately takes to the water, and is at once assailed on every
side by dogs and spearmen. The terrified beast dives to escape the "attentions" of his enemies, and then every
eye is strained to mark his vent "-that is, the spot where he will rise to breathe. His reappearance is the
signal for a renewed assault; down he goes again; and so on, till wearied of the unequal strife, he turns upon his
canine assailants, and fights with desperate ferocity, inflicting upon them severe wounds with his strong teeth, and
even endeavouring to drown them by dragging them under water.
A spear-thrust will probably terminate the struggle.
An Essex pack of otter-hounds in the year 1796 killed nine otters in one day; this, we believe, is the best
day's sport on record.
In some parts of Scotland the peasantry talk of a King of the Otters "-an animal much larger than its
fellows, and spotted with white. It is said that this Regal otter" is never killed without a human being dying
suddenly at the very same instant; its skin, too, is supposed to possess marvellous properties-preventing the
spread of infectious diseases, preserving the warrior from wounds, and ensuring the mariner from the perils of
the sea.
But these statements, we think, must be accepted cum grano salis!



T HE seal is a "carnivorous and amphibious mammal inhabiting the sea-coasts in all high latitudes." There are
several varieties of seal,-the sea-elephant, the sea-bear, the sea-lion, etc., all belong to the Great Phocidae
Family,"--and four or five species visit British waters.
Nature has admirably designed the seal for an aquatic life; its trunk is elongated, and tapers from the chest to
the tail; the limbs are short, and have somewhat the appearance of fins; its head resembles that of a dog; its
eyes are large and brilliant, and its physiognomy expresses a remarkable degree of intelligence.
Lads who have watched the well-trained sea-lions at the Zoo" and Brighton Aquarium, or who have read
Captain Marryat's "Little Savage," will perceive how perfectly this intelligent expression accords with the character
of the seal.
The seal when on land moves in a clumsy, but by no means slow, manner; in the water its movements are
singularly graceful and rapid.
The skins of all the members of the Phocida tribe are more or less valuable (a fact that Paterfamilias, who has
to "stump up" for the Mater's seal-skin cloak, will vouch for), and their oil, too, is much esteemed. The Esquimaux
readily devour their flesh, and on many occasions Arctic Explorers have been thankful to make a "square meal"
off it, when short or destitute of provisions.
In the water the Phocae herd together in considerable numbers, and afford each other protection and assistance;
but when once a seal and his family have established themselves in the corner of a nice weedy rock, that particular
corner becomes their peculiar property, and no other individuals of their species are supposed to lay claim to it,
or intrude on their domestic circle; should any ill-disposed and intrusive comrade attempt to invade this territory,
the "father seal" would resist-vi et armis-the invasion, and a battle-royal would ensue, and probably terminate
in the death of one of the combatants. The seal, however, is no land-grabber," and never appropriates more room
than it actually requires; neither is it quarrelsome, but lives peaceably with its neighbours. Three or four families
will probably share a rock, cavern, or ice-floe, and each family "keeps itself to itself," and never interferes with
the others.
The species of seal usually met with on the British coasts is the common seal (Phoca vitulina); it has a very
fine spotted skin, and weighs, when full grown, between one hundred and two hundred pounds; from its habit of
basking on the rocks, it is called by the northern hunter the "Stein Cobbe."
The Phoca vitulina has much the same habits as its congeners, but differs from them in one respect, and
that is, when diving from a rock it drops tail first into the sea, and its muzzle is the last part seen above water.
The Esquimaux, when in pursuit of the seal, attires himself from head to foot in seal-skin, and approaches his
prey by imitating its movements; when within spear-range, he "delivers point," generally with fatal effect. At
times he will change his tactics and advance on their haunts, under cover of a white screen, mounted on a sledge.
On the Scottish coasts seal-hunting is a favourite amusement; the young are often captured by stretching strong nets
across the narrow straits which they frequent, the old ones being knocked over with clubs as they attempt to reach
the sea.
Seal-shooting is also common in Scotland. The sportsman is armed with a rifle; and endeavours to "stalk"
the seals and shoot them while they bask upon the rocks; because if killed when aP at the seal will often sink
rapidly, and it is then difficult to recover the body. The shooter should aim to kill and not disable; for a seal,
however badly hit, will almost always manage to slip into the water, or if afloat will dive immediately; in either case
the body will probably be lost. The head is the most vulnerable spot. Remember never to fire at any harmless
creature simply for the sake of taking its life.


The seal is not only a harmless but also a very interesting animal, and should never be shot unless the body
can be secured, and made some use of.
We speak to those who know that they stand a reasonable chance of hitting the object they fire at. Some
fellows are capital "shooters, but very bad hitters," and these individuals, so long as they direct their muzzles
seawards, might blaze away to their hearts' content, without hurting man or beast; their bullets would certainly
"find a billet," but then, you see, it would be a watery one !

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THE chamois is to be found in the Alps of Dauphiny, Switzerland, and Italy; in the Pyrenees, in Greece and
Crete, and amongst the Caucasian mountains. Some naturalists class this agile animal with the antelope, but
it is far more probable that it belongs to the goat species.
The chamois and the wild goat have many points and habits in common; both inhabit the same climate,
frequent the most inaccessible heights, and are never seen in the plains; both-like the klippspringer" of South
Africa-are remarkable for the wonderful extent and precision of their leaps, and for an extraordinary power of
balancing the body; both are covered with a firm, close skin, and clothed in winter with a double fur; both are
marked along the back with a black stripe; finally, both are inhabitants of Europe, whereas none of the antelope
tribe (the "Saiga or Scythian antelope excepted) are found in this quarter of the globe. The most distinguishing
difference between a chamois and a goat is the absence of a beard in the former.
The chamois is about the size of the ordinary goat, but mord graceful in form; its head is furnished with a
pair of dark-coloured horns, rising from the forehead almost betwixt the eyes; these horns incline forward for a
few inches, and then take a backward curve. In spring the chamois is of an ash colour, in autumn its coat changes
to dun colour, and in winter darkens to a very deep brown. Unlike most other animals the chamois has scarcely
any distinctive cry, save a kind of feeble bleat, by which the doe calls to her young. When alarmed the timid
creature warns its companions by making a peculiar hissing noise, which can be heard at some distance.
The chamois cannot stand heat, and during the summer seeks shelter from the burning sun in caverns,
amidst fragments of unmelted ice, and under the shadow of overhanging precipices facing the north. In winter it
inhabits the thickest mountain forests, and lives upon shrubs and the buds of the pine trees, or visits the
mountain pasture-lands, before the flocks are turned out, in search of herbage.
Hunting the chamois is very laborious and extremely difficult; no man who is not thoroughly accustomed to
hardship and exposure to the elements could possible engage in it.
Nevertheless this sport is the object of an irrepressible passion to the chamois hunter, even when he has a full
knowledge of the dangers and fatigues that he must encounter; it is the sport itself, not so much the value of the
quarry, that attracts the man, and, as a rule, he makes it the object of his life until an accident occurs that either
causes his death or cripples him for the rest of his days.
De Saussure, in his "Voyages dans les Alps," narrates that a young man of the district of Chamouni once
said to him : "Monsieur, my grandfather was killed in the chase of the chamois; my father was killed also; and
I am so certain that I shall be killed myself, that I call this bag, which I always carry when hunting, my
'winding-sheet': I am sure that I shall have no other; and yet if you were to offer to make my fortune, upon
condition that I should renounce the chase of the chamois, I should refuse your kindness."
The naturalist adds that this ardent hunter was killed, in the manner he anticipated, a year or two later.
The chamois hunter starts in pursuit of his game during the night, his object being to reach the most elevated
pasture-lands about day-break, when he may expect to find the chamois grazing. On arriving in sight of the
pasture, the hunter reconnoitres through his telescope, and if he discovers the chamois, endeavours to climb above
them, and then get wit,'in range by passing round a ravine or by dodging from rock to rock.
It is by no means easy to approach unobserved a herd feeding; one of their number is always on the look-
out, and so quick is the eye and keen the scenting powers of this four-footed sentinel, that the hunter is as often
as not thwarted in his attempt; for at the first alarm the whole herd make off at racing speed, and seek refuge
in the most inaccessible places, leaping the chasms, and bounding along narrow ledges in a manner truly marvellous.


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And now the skill and courage of the hunter are brought into action I Carried on by excitement he knows no
fear, but follows in pursuit: leaping from crag to crag and plunging into the most dangerous passes of the
mountains, without considering how he is to get back.
Often he is benighted in the very heat of the chase, and sleeps with a stone for his pillow in the dreary
solitude of the glaciers of Chamouni.
If fortunate enough to get within range of a chamois, the hunter rests his rifle on a rock, takes" a careful
aim, and rarely fails to bring down his game.
He then prepares for the homeward journey.
If the route by which he can best regain his village be impassable to one heavily laden, he contents himself
with the skin of the chamois; but if it be at all practicable, he carries the carcase home to his anxious family,
regardless of the distance he may have to travel, or the dangerous ground he may have to cross.
It is said that very few chamois hunters attain old age; and that those who do, have a wild, desperate air,
and bear in their haggard faces such marked traces of the arduous life they have led, that they are easily to be
distinguished from their fellow-men.


T HE ibex, or steinbokk," is supposed by the naturalists Pennant and Pallas to be the stock from which the
common domestic goat originated. The male ibex stands higher at the shoulder and has a larger frame than
the tame goat, but resembles it in its general appearance.
This animal is remarkable for the size of its horns, which often measure three feet in length, and appear out
of all proportion to the body; they curve backwards with a bold sweep from the head almost to the haunches,
and are of a deep-brown colour, marked at regular intervals on the upper surface with protuberant semi-circles.
The hair of the ibex is long and of a brownish hue on the head, back, and flanks; the belly and thighs are a light
fawn colour.
The female is smaller than the male, and her horns, though "ringed" like those of her consort, are not more
than ten or twelve inches long.
The Reverend Mr. Wood in his description of the ibex writes: "The horns are immensely strong, serving, as
some say, to break the fall of the ibex when it makes a leap from a height."
The ibex inhabit the Alps and Pyrenees, and are also common in Western Asia and the mountainous districts
of Candia. They usually herd together in flocks of ten or fifteen, and feed during the night in the highest
mountain forests, but as the sun rises they begin to ascend the heights, grazing as they go. During the day they
frequent the most elevated and sun-warmed spots, and lie basking in the sunshine until evening draws on, when
they descend again to the forests. The males, after attaining a certain age, gradually withdraw themselves from
their mates, and often live a life of complete solitude. The female is of a more sociable disposition, and remains
with the herd; she exhibits the utmost affection for her young, and will fight till her last gasp in its defence
against the attacks of birds of prey, and even against wolves. The season for hunting the ibex is during the
months of August and September; they are then in the best condition, and their flesh is by no means despised
by the Alpine mountaineers; their horns and skins, too, are of some value.
The following account of ibex shooting is abridged from Illustrations of Natural History."*
The mountaineers alone engage in the chase; for it not only requires a head that can bear to look down from
the most tremendous heights without terror, but also great strength, vigour, activity, and sure-footedness. Two
or three hunters associate in this perilous occupation, armed with rifle-barrelled guns and furnished with small
bags of provisions. They erect a miserable hut, where they pass the night, and on waking in the morning often
find the entrance blocked with snow.
"Sometimes, in the pursuit of this animal, being overtaken by darkness, amid crags and precipices, they are
forced to pass the night supporting one another, in order to prevent themselves from sleeping and being frozen
to death. As these animals ascend into the highest regions at early dawn, the hunters must gain the heights
before them, otherwise they would scent them, and betake themselves to flight. It would then be useless to
follow them, for when once they begin to escape they never stop until entirely out of danger. The ibex will mount
a perpendicular rock of fifteen feet at three leaps, or rather at three successive bounds. Their fore-legs being
shorter than the hind ones, these animals can ascend with greater ease than they can descend, and on this account
it is that nothing but the severest weather will induce them to go down into the valleys."
It is evident that hunting the ibex is quite as arduous and difficult a task as hunting the chamois; and unless
the hunter is a good shot and knows where to plant his bullet, he had better devote his energies to some other
sport: in short, he must not only be strong, active, and clear-headed, but he must also have a keen eye and
a steady hand, and be accustomed to handle a rifle.
Published by Longmans & Co., in 1829-30.



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There is another species of the ibex called the "Caucasian ibex," or, according to Monsieur Tavernier, "la
chevre sauvage." It is probably of the same stock as the common ibex, but there is not much resemblance between
them; its horns are black, smooth, and sharply ridged; they have no rings, but are marked on the upper surface
by slight wavy wrinkles.
The chin of the male Caucasian ibex is bearded; the female has neither beard nor horns. This species of
the ibex is found among the loftiest rocky points of Mount Caucasus, also in Asia Minor, and on the hills of
Laar and Khorassan in Persia. In point of strength and activity it is superior to the common ibex.


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T HE' steppes" or plains of southern Russia, which extend across the entire breadth of the Czar's dominions,
from the Hungarian frontier to the confines of China, probably present less diversity of appearance than any
other portion of the earth's surface; for throughout this vast tract of country there is scarcely a hill, or even a
tree, to be seen for miles and miles.
The climate is such that agriculture can only be pursued under great disadvantages, and with but meagre
profit. During the winter the cold is intense, while the summer heat is almost unbearable; the late spring and
autumn are the pleasantest times of the year, and during those seasons the steppes are covered with coarse
herbage, and afford indifferent grazing for horses and sheep.
Cities, towns, and even villages are few and far between in this unfavoured region, and the principal occupation
of its inhabitants is horse-breeding: indeed, a very large proportion of the horses required in Eastern Europe, and
nearly all the "remounts" for the Russian cavalry, are drawn from the numerous herds which wander, in a
semi-wild state, over the steppes of southern Asiatic Russia.
Some five-and-forty years ago I went to the Crimea to stay a few months at Simferopol with a distant relative
who was one of the Russian Government horse contractors. My host-who rejoiced in the name of Ivan Potosky-
was about to visit a "taboon," or "horse farm," in the vicinity of the Volga, in order to purchase horses for the
Imperial service, and he pressed me to accompany him. I need hardly add that I did not require much pressing.
During our somewhat tedious journey to the Lower Steppes, Monsieur Potosky gave me much interesting
information respecting these horse farms, which are, for the most part, owned by the Russian nobility.
A "taboon" generally consists of from 500 to 1,ooo horses,-stallions, mares, and foals,-and is under the charge
of a "tabuntshik," or horse herdsman.
The tabuntshik is nominally well paid, but is under an engagement to refund the full value of any horse
that may be lost, stolen, or destroyed by wolves, which infest these regions during the winter months; his equine
charges are half wild, and apt to stray from their herds, so what with horse thieves, wolyes, and the wandering
propensities of the horses themselves, the tabuntshik has a pretty rough time of it, and must be in the saddle
morning, noon, and night if he wishes to receive his wages intact.
There are regular horse fairs held at intervals in different parts of the steppes, but the Government contractors
do not always wait for fair time, preferring to travel from one taboon to another, and select such horses as may
be best suited for the particular service for which they are required : they thus secure the pick of the herds.
Potosky's mission was urgent, so he neither waited for the next fair, nor for the more favourable season, but
set off in the middle of an unusually cold December.
On the tenth day after leaving Simferopol we arrived at a taboon belonging to a certain Count Boriskoff, and
were received with fulsome protestations of respect by the tabuntshik in charge.
I could not, for the life of me, make out this man's name, but it appeared to begin with a sneeze and terminate
in a sort of hiccough; of his personal appearance, however, I retain a very vivid recollection.
He was a tall, gaunt individual, with as rascally a countenance as you would meet with on any racecourse
in the United Kingdom, and that is saying a good deal; he wore a hooded, woollen cloak (called a "sreeta") over
his dirty, stained, leather doublet; his loose breeches, too, were of leather, and a conical black lambskin cap covered
his shaggy locks; he carried a "harabuck," or whip, having a short handle and a thong about fifteen feet in
length; a sort of lasso was slung over his shoulder, and he was also provided with a formidable bludgeon, yclept
a wolf-club."


Altogether he was a villainous, savage-looking, and unsavoury ruffian.
It was late on a Tuesday evening when we reached the taboon, and we were accommodated with a large,
but exceedingly dirty, room in the guest-house.
The next two days were spent in inspecting the herd, but the horses were in a wretched condition and
Potosky was unable to make up his number, so it was arranged that we should visit a branch farm some fifty
versts distant.
Early on Saturday morning we set out in a roughly-constructed but light-running sledge, drawn by a pair of
stout horses, and driven by the tabuntshik himself.
It was bitterly cold, and we provided ourselves with rugs and furs sufficient to clothe the crew of an Arctic
whaler; the tabuntshik was wrapped up in his "sreeta," and it struck me that he had been endeavouring to
render himself impervious to the cold by copious libations of bad brandy. He certainly appeared "three sheets in
the wind."
Away we went at a rattling pace, for the road was level and unusually good : in fact, I believe it was one of
the few roads in that district along which a sledge could be driven with any degree of safety. As far as the eye
could see the surrounding country was quite flat,-save where a few snow-clad sandhills rose,-and no vegetation
was visible except here and there some stunted birch.
About noon we came in sight of a low wooden shanty, which the tabuntshik informed us was a "brandy-
house," and the half-way baiting-place.
It was a miserable hole enough, and the host and hostess, a Polish Jew and his wife, were the only occupants.
Still we were not sorry to warm ourselves before a good fire in the "guest-room," while our horses were unharnessed
and taken to a shed hard by.
After an hour's rest we thought it time to make a move, and sallied forth in search of the tabuntshik. Much
to our indignation and disgust we discovered him and the landlord lying in the stable both hopelessly drunk
Potosky stormed and raved, but it was not of the slightest use; they lay like logs, and nothing would rouse
them. We held a brief consultation as to what was to be done, and as the road was straight, and we could not well
miss our way, decided to continue our journey, and leave the tabuntshik to follow afoot when sober: the landlady
voluntarily expressed her approval of this arrangement, somewhat to our surprise. Accordingly the horses were
put to, and off we started, Potosky taking the reins; for we had agreed to drive turn about, and he was to have
the first spell.
1 suppose we must have left the "brandy-house" four or five miles in our rear, and were traversing a snow-
covered plain, with not a habitation in sight, when I described several dark forms racing over the snow, and
evidently making for us.
"Look, Ivan I" I exclaimed, pointing to the advancing animals; "what are those ?"
"Wolves wolves! he cried, whipping up his horses; "and they are trying to cut us off. There are not
more than a dozen of them," he added, taking another look; "but they must be desperately ravenous, or they
would hardly venture to attack us. You had better get your rifle, my good friend."
I had with me a double-barrelled rifle that had done me good service in a warmer clime, and I took it up
and came to the "ready."
The wolves were racing towards us, and were now about four hundred yards distant, to our right front. It
was just a toss-up whether they cut us off or not. A big grey fellow was leading, and I singled him out for
my first shot. We dared not draw rein even for a moment, and I can assure you it was no easy matter to fire
with true aim from a jolting sledge going at racing speed. However, I waited till the savage brute was within
thirty yards, then I levelled my rifle, aimed rather low, and pulled the right trigger.
Crack !
A miss! by all that's unlucky I But with my second barrel I was more fortunate, and the wolf rolled over,
badly hit.
Now I was under the impression (from all I had read "in tale and history") that when one of a pack of
wolves is placed hours de combat, his amiable comrades stop and make a meal off his carcase; but in this case
I suppose our pursuers knew that their defunct leader had very little flesh on his bones, or else guessed that he
would prove a tough rather than a toothsome morsel; be that as it may, they did not even check their pace, but,
as we shot ahead, swept round to their right and followed in our wake, baying in a most unpleasant and
suggestive manner.
There was no necessity now for Ivan Potosky to use his whip, for our terrified horses tore along at a


fearful pace, and the sledge jolted so violently that he was forced to hold them in, for fear we should be
With some difficulty I reloaded my trusty rifle, and resting it on the back of the sledge, sent two more
bullets amongst the howling pack. Fortune favoured me, for both barrels told, and while one wolf was knocked
over "dead as a door nail," a second went limping aside with a shattered leg.
I had thus disposed of three of our pursuers, but, nothing daunted, the remainder of the pack (twelve or
thirteen in number) came tearing along, gaining upon us at every stride. Three of the wolves outstripped the
rest, and came up with us just as I rammed a cartridge into my right barrel. There was only time for me to
cock and recap when the foremost wolf sprang up behind; I fired from the hip, and over he went with a hole
in his chest that you might have put your hand in. At the same moment his two companions raced up; one
made for our off horse and tried to pull him down, the other sprang right into the sledge, and made a dash at
my throat; I struck him full in the mouth with the butt of my rifle, and knocked him backwards. In the mean-
while the third wolf had sprung upon one frightened horse, and set him plunging furiously; Potosky lashed
at him with his whip, but the brute held on like grim death. It was a critical moment-the other wolves were
not twenty yards behind us, and we had come to a dead stop.
There was no time to load again, so dropping my rifle, I jumped out of the sledge, seized the wolf by the
brush and dragged him off the horse. The savage brute turned sharp round and grabbed at my leg, but
I saluted him with a kick in the jaws that sent him howling off. Our impatient horses were no longer to be
restrained, and off they went again at full speed; I was very nearly left behind, but happily managed to catch
hold of the back of the sledge and scramble over.
The wolves now appeared to have had enough of it, and though they followed us for a short distance, they
gradually tailed off, and we arrived at our destination without further adventure.
And now for the sequel!
When we reached the taboon, Potosky discovered that a small leather bag, containing a goodly sum in
roubles, was missing.
We concluded that it must have fallen from the sledge during our rapid flight, and gave it up for lost.
But we were wrong.
Some four hours later a Cossack patrol rode up to the farm with two prisoners, whom we instantly
recognized as. the landlord of the brandy-house'" and our friend the tabuntshik; both these worthies were
perfectly sober, but bore traces of having been engaged in a pretty stiff "rough and tumble."
It appeared that when riding past the "brandy-house" the patrol had heard sounds of strife; the corporal
halted his men, dismounted, and entered the house. He discovered the tabuntshik engaged in a free fight with
the host and hostess; on the floor lay a leather bag, and several pieces of money were scattered about.
The fact was that Potosky had carelessly left the bag in the sledge when we stopped at the "brandy-house,"
and it was found by the landlord and our charioteer."
They agreed to appropriate the money, and readily divining that we should not be likely to remain all
night at such a filthy and uncomfortable place, they feigned drunkenness with the hope that we should act as it
happened we did act-that is, start off and leave the tabuntshik behind. Unfortunately for themselves they
quarrelled over the spoil, and were in consequence caught red-handed by the Cossack. The landlady promptly
turned "Czar's evidence," and the Cossacks came on with their prisoners in search of us. So Potosky recovered
the greater part of his money.
It is a risky matter to meddle with Government officials in Russia, and that the tabuntshik and his accomplice
learned to their cost; for they spent the remainder of their lives in retirement in the Siberian mines.


SHORTLY after the adventure recorded in the previous paper, I accompanied my relative, Ivan Potosky, into
Minsk-a province, or government, of Russian Lithuania. On this occasion we were not on "business bent";
on the contrary, pleasure-and pleasure only-was the object of our journey, for an old friend of Ivan Potosky's
had invited us to stay a few weeks with him at Mozyr, a town situated on the bank of the Dnieper.
Minsk is a level, well-wooded district, watered by the Dnieper and its tributary the Pripet; in its vast forests
bears, elk, wild oxen, and many other animals-well worthy of the enterprising hunter's attention-abound.
Monsieur G- our host, was himself an ardent disciple of Nimrod. His sanctum" was crowded with
trophies of the chase; bears' heads decorated the walls, bearskins covered the floor and the chairs and couches,
and-somewhat to the discomfiture of the guest who entered the room suddenly for the first time-two enormous
stuffed bears kept watch on either side of a well-filled arm-rack which faced the door.
Bear-hunting was G-'s hobby, and many and wonderful were the tales he told of his encounters with
"Grim Bruin," as we sat smoking in his "den" on the evening of our arrival at Mozyr.
One of these "yarns" I will relate, as nearly as possible in G- 's own words; and I may mention, in
parenthesis, that our host spoke English remarkably well.
"When I was a young man," began Monsieur G- "my father had in his employ an old Finn, who had
been noted in his own country as a most successful bear-hunter. Stremidoff-for that was the old fellow's name
-was a good servant, and we respected him, but he had one serious fault in my eyes, and that was, he was
always boasting that whereas we Lithuanians attacked 'Bruin' with dogs and guns, his countrymen would set
forth for the chase armed only with a spear, and forcing the formidable 'Bruin' from his lair, would engage him,
so to speak, in a hand-to-hand combat. He used to show me a spear with which, he declared, he had slain
at least a score of bears, and he so worked upon my imagination that I resolved at the first opportunity to fight
Bruin, d la Finnois.
"I broached the subject to old Stremidoff, and he agreed to accompany me to the forest of Grodek, which
was only about two miles-three versts-from our house, and show me how to use a bear-spear.
"I had some little difficulty in obtaining my father's consent to this expedition, but he at length gave the
required permission, on condition that Stremidoff carried a rifle, which, however, was only to be used in case of
dire necessity.
"Early next morning we started for the forest, leaving our usual companions the dogs at home. Stremidoff
was armed with a single-barrelled rifle, and I with his wonderful spear, which he had sharpened for the occasion;
I also had with me a long-bladed hunting-knife.
"On arriving at the village of Grodek, we learnt that a fine she-bear with cubs had been seen in the
neighbourhood, and was supposed to have her den near a place called 'Blue Spring.'
"Thither we bent our steps, and very soon perceived traces that convinced us we were on the right track.
But to my astonishment and chagrin, old Stremidoff now showed signs of trepidation, and tried hard to persuade
me to abandon the chase. I was very indignant, and upbraided him in no measured terms, and we were engaged
in hot discussion when suddenly he uttered an exclamation of terror, and looking round I saw an enormous she-
bear playing with her cub, not twenty feet from the spot where we stood.
"The next moment Stremidoff pushed me aside, levelled his rifle, pulled the trigger, and the cub fell dead.
I have not the slightest doubt that the poor fellow really aimed at the mother, with the intention of shooting her,
in order to prevent my attacking her with the spear; but unhappily his hand was not as steady, nor his eyes
as keen as of yore, and so he killed the cub instead; which was about the most unfortunate thing he could have
done, for it raised the bear to a pitch of ungovernable. fury.

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"I at once brought my weapon to the charge, and rushed at the mother, but she, rearing herself on her
hind leg3, gave me a fearful blow with her paw, and sent me staggering backwards. Before I could regain my
feet, the infuriated brute charged down upon Stremidoff and dashed him to the ground; then she turned upon
me a second time, and I found myself on my back with the huge monster bestriding me. I thought my last
hour was come, and every second expected to feel the bear's fangs in my throat, when, to my utter astonishment,
she again reared up, and stood on the defensive; the next instant three dogs sprang upon her. I was badly
bruised and half-stunned, but managed to seize my spear, and staggering to my knees thrust the keen point into
my adversary's side. The bear now tried to escape, but the dogs had fastened upon her, and would not be shaken
off; I pressed home my weapon with all my strength, driving it deep into her body, and at length the huge creature
sank down exhausted. I remember nothing more of the struggle, because I fainted away.
"When I came to, the bear lay stiff and stark across my legs, and one of the dogs was stretched dead
beside her; the other two were crouching by my side, and you may judge how amazed I was when I recognized
them as my own hounds.
"I had a flask of 'vodki' in my pocket, and a draught of the spirit revived me a little. I struggled up, and
went to look at Stremidoff; poor old fellow! he was quile dead, and his white locks were dyed crimson with the
blood that had flowed from an awful wound in his head. I managed to crawl back to Grodek, and despatched a
couple of peasants with a sledge to bring in poor Stremidoffs corpse; then I drove home. For six weeks I lay
ill with something very like brain-fever, and it was nearly a year before I fully recovered from the shock of that
fearful encounter.
"It appeared that after we left Mozyr my father had loosed my dogs, and they, following in our track, arrived
just in the nick of time to save me from a violent death.
"The stuffed bear on the left of the arm-rack is the identical brute that fractured poor Stremidoffs skull; the
head over the rack belonged to the dog that was killed during the struggle; and the servant that waited upon
us at dinner is old Stremidoffs grandson.
"And now, my friends, with your permission we will retire for the night."


h 1-'q Pirr
K 71

' .. .-* .._ -


T HE ptarmigan-or "tarmachan," as it is called in the Gaelic tongue-is a bird of the grouse family, inhabiting
the northern parts of Europe and America; it is also met with among the most elevated ranges of hills in the
Highlands of Scotland, and in the Hebrides and Orkneys.
The plumage of this bird is of a mottled-grey colour during the summer, but in winter it changes to a pure white;
its feet and legs are feathered to the claws; in size it is somewhat smaller than the red grouse.
Like the red grouse, the ptarmigan pairs in the early spring; the hen lays eight or ten eggs of a yellowish-white
colour, spotted with brown; the young ones keep with the parent birds until the depth of winter, and then "seek
fresh fields and pastures new"-or, in other words, "start on their own hook."
Though these birds can never be tamed or reared in confinement, they are naturally so sluggish and stupid that
they are easily approached, only taking flight when an enemy is close upon them; then off they fly in loose order, and
betake themselves to some distant part of the mountain.
Being thus "dull of wing," and difficult to put up, they afford very indifferent sport, and for that reason are
seldom sought by those who "shoot for shooting's sake."
Ptarmigan abound in Sweden and Norway, and are exported in large numbers from those countries to the
London markets; the flesh is both wholesome and agreeable to the palate, though it tastes strong of the rock-plants
and berries upon which the bird feeds.
In Swedish Lapland the country-folk make a regular business of shooting or trapping the ptarmigan.
In the depth of winter, when the snow lies thick on the ground, the hardy Laplander sets forth in search of the
" snow-bird."
Perchance, two brothers or friends will start off together for the inhospitable regions which the Ptarmigan frequents.
They are clad in their warmest garments, and wear "snow-shoes" of a rather primitive description; very different
both in shape and make to those used in Canada, though no doubt they answer the Lapp's purpose well enough. These
mountain hunters are armed with old-fashioned fowling-pieces, but nevertheless they nearly always make good bags;
true it is that the ptarmigan is easy to shoot, but it is not easy to find, for it is so similar in colour to the rocks amongst
which it dwells that a whole covey will often escape notice. But our friends the Lapps understand their work, and
mean business; they have no notion of returning home empty-handed Over the snow-clad hills they range, examining
closely each likely haunt, and searching among the mossy, lichen-covered rocks for the birds. Presently they "view"
a covey squatting under a rock, lying so close that it requires a practised eye to discover them.
Sticking their long iron-shod poles into the snow, the exultant Lapps handle their pieces, and "put up" their
game by shooting or throwing a ball of snow or a stone into their midst.
The sentry bird, alarmed, rises and calls to his mates; up they fly, one by one; bang bang! go the ancient guns,-
"kicking," of course, "like fury I"
Two or three birds drop, the rest of the covey take flight, and get right away. The Lapps retrieve the dead
birds, and then move forward in search of fresh game.
By the time they turn their steps homewards, they have probably succeeded in bringing down as many birds as
they are able to carry. Not a bad day's sport by any means I


T HERE are several varieties of shark, but the species most commonly found in the Mediterranean is the White
Shark (Carcharus). The white shark is described as "a cartilaginous fish having a long round body tapering
from the head, the surface set with minute osseous granules in place of scales, and the gill-openings placed upon the
sides of the neck; the jaws are furnished with successive rows of sharp teeth." Sailors hold the shark in the utmost
detestation, and never lose an opportunity of wreaking their vengeance upon the voracious and cruel monster which
has done to death so many "good men and true"; it is indeed the scourge of those seas that it frequents.
The shark will swallow almost anything that is thrown overboard from a vessel, and marvellous collections of
articles have been discovered "stowed away" in its capacious maw.
The Reverend Mr. Wood relates that the "entire contents of a lady's work-basket, down to the scissors," were
found in the interior of a shark; another had actually swallowed an entire bull's hide-a circumstance that led the
operating sailor to remark that the "shark had swallowed a bull, but could not digest the hide "*
We should imagine that this Jack Tar must have been a native of the Emerald Island; the Irish are noted for
"bulls "I
Shark-skin is used for various purposes; the "grip," or handles, of swords are often covered with it, its peculiar
substance enabling the hand to grasp the sword more firmly.
The flesh of the shark is sometimes used as an article of food, but rarely by Europeans, except in case of necessity.
Those who have partaken of it declare that it is not "bad eating"; we should scarcely think it pleasant to dine off a
fish that may, in all probability, have made a meal off a human being not long before I
Apropos of this, an amusing yarn is told of a certain Admiral who swore roundly that nothing should ever induce
him to eat shark's flesh.
"Don't tell me that cooks can disguise it I" the old gentleman exclaimed; "I have never tasted it, and never will,
but I should know its flavour directly it came to table."
"I don't think you would, B-," rejoined a brother-admiral.
"Pooh, pooh! don't talk to me," was the reply. "I tell you I should!"
Some months after this conversation the two friends met in the West Indies, and Admiral A- invited Admiral
B- to dinner. The soup and fish were duly discussed and appreciated, the entrees were handed round, and then
a fine roast fillet of veal made its appearance.
Excellent veal this," said Admiral B--, signalling to the steward to hand his plate for a second helping;
'really, it is the best veal I have tasted since I left home! Where do you get it?"
"Out of the sea," replied his host; "it is not veal, it's shark."
Poor B-- dropped his "napkin," turned very pale, and rushed into the next cabin, exclaiming in horrified
accents, "Shark! shark! how do I know that it is not the very brute that swallowed my poor coxswain, Tom
Toplights, last Tuesday I"
S* ** *

Shark-fishing-or rather shark-catching-is common in some parts of the Mediterranean, and boats are built and
fitted for the purpose.
The boat used is a broad-beamed craft, not easily capsized; it is furnished with a short mast and lateen-sail; right
up in the bows is a windlass, to which is attached a long rope. At the end of this rope is a length of chain with a
shark-hook attached. The crew of the boat consists of three men-the "padrone," or captain, and two hands. Having
"Boy's Own Natural History."


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arrived at their fishing-ground, the crew furl the sail, and take their post in the bows, the padrone remaining aft armed
with an axe.
A large piece of raw flesh is fixed on the hook, and thrown overboard; very soon a shark catches sight of the
"dainty morsel," turns over on his back, grabs the bait, and is caught. Then the crew man the windlass, and the
writhing, plunging monster is drawn alongside; the padrone watches his opportunity, and deals Mr. Shark a blow
with his axe, that puts him hors de combat.



THE Danube is distinguished among European rivers by the width of its channel, the velocity of its current,
its shallows, rapids, and whirlpools, and by the rocky nature of its bed. The Danube waters several
countries; rising in, and running through, the circle of Suabia, it flows by Ulm, then through Bavaria and
Austria, passing by Ratisbon, Passau, and Vienna; it then enters Hungary, passing on to Presburg, Buda, and
Belgrade, after which it divides Bulgaria from Wallachia, and empties itself (by several channels, known as the
"mouths of the Danube") into the Black Sea.
The Danube begins to be navigable for boats at Ulm; receives several large rivers as it flows its sinuous
course; and is so deep between Buda and Belgrade, that the Turks have frequently had war-vessels of considerable
draught upon it; yet there are cataracts both above and below Buda, which prevent the river from being free for
navigation, either up or down stream, in that part.
Near Rustchuk (an important town of Bulgaria, overlooking the river) the Danube expands itself over a
considerable width, divided into several branches, and forming a number of islands large and small; on the
Wallachian side the country is marshy, and shows evident traces of having, at some remote period, been covered
by the waters of the Black Sea; the Bulgarian shores are precipitous, and the surrounding country better
In these marshy districts pelicans and wild fowl abound, and afford excellent sport to the grave Pachas and
Beys stationed at Rustchuk. The pelican is a large web-footed waterfowl, remarkable for its enormous bill, to the
lower edge of which is attached a singular membranous pouch; this pouch is capable of holding several quarts
of water, and also serves as a net in which to scoop up the fish upon which the pelican feeds. The colour of this
remarkable bird is a pure white, with a very slight tinge of rose-colour; the pouch is yellow.
But the pelican is not the only bird that frequents the banks of the Danube; the mallard, the bittern, the
spoonbill, the crane, and many other wild-fowl are there to be found.
It would astonish Colonel Hawker, and other lovers of wild-fowl shooting, to see the unspeakable Turk
"potting" pelicans, etc., amongst the reed-covered islands of the Danube.
The "Poole-punt" is represented by a large, gaily-painted calque; a stolid, gorgeously-attired, scarlet-fezzed
Turk takes the place of the keen, flushing-coated, workman-like "gunner"; and a grave beturbaned "caYquejee"
that of the "puntsman." And what about the dogs ? There are neither spaniels nor retrievers to fetch the slain,
but a I;ghtly-clad boy of sixteen or seventeen plunges into the water and "retrieves" the dead birds.
Well, we daresay that the Turk enjoys his day's shooting on the "Blue Danube" just as much as we
should do up Beaulieu River or Southampton Water; and if he chooses to wear a superfine frock-coat and
gold-laced trousers on these occasions, why, so much the better for the Turkish tailors-that is, if our sportsman
pays his bills 1


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E ARLY one February morning, in the year of grace 187-, I alighted at the Plymouth station in a very
unenviable frame of mind, for I was about to leave "England, home, and beauty," to seek my fortune in the
South African diamond fields. It was raining "cats and dogs" when the express steamed into the station, and
I quitted my cosy compartment with the greatest reluctance, and looked up and down the long, dreary platform in
utter disgust; at first I thought that I was the only Plymouth passenger, but soon perceived two prison warders
in charge of twice as many convicts-en route for Dartmoor-descend from a third-class carriage at the tail end of
the train. I positively envied these unfortunates, for I had good reasons for not wishing to leave England just at
that time, and I felt that although they, poor wretches, were in for "penal servitude," I was about to be "transported
beyond the seas"; so there was not much difference between us. I wonder if that ill-doing quartettee" is still at
Dartmoor ? A sleepy porter collected my goods and chattels, I was bundled into a damp, mouldy fly, and rattled
off to the nearest hotel. It was now past five, so I would not go to bed, but stretched myself on a lumpy, hard
sofa (everything seemed hard that morning !), and dozed until eight o'clock, when I managed to get some breakfast
-hard eggs, hard toast, and the hard drumstick of an elderly fowl I At twelve o'clock I found myself on board
the Royal Mail Steamer Adrian, commanded by Captain L- and twenty-four hours later we were tossing about
in the Bay of Biscay, in such a fearful manner that I, half unconsciously, quoted old Horace's lines:-

Illi robur et as triplex
Circa pectus erat, qui fragile truci
Commisit pelago ratem,
Primus, nec timuit precipitem Africum.
Decertantem Aquilonibus,
Nec tristes Hyadas, nec rabiem Noti,
Quo non arbiter Hadrie,
Major tollere seu ponere volt freta."

Well, for three days I was horribly ill-so was every other passenger on board, for we experienced awful
weather, and I thought there could not possibly be such another miserable creature in the wide world as myself,
until I caught sight of the man who shared my cabin, and then I was satisfied that there was one person quite as
wretched; and I felt a sort of fiendish delight in contemplating his pea-green countenance, and wondered what he
was like when he wasn't-oh I
But what has all this to do with the Island of Ascension and turtle turning?
Why, in the first place we very nearly "turned-turtle" the third night out; and in the second place-well, it
is a sort of "preliminary canter" to my yarn, if yarn it can be called. But I will not "chop about" any more,
but do what the good ship Adrian did, when she got clear of the Bay-go straight ahead I
On the seventeenth morning of our voyage we sighted the Island of Ascension, and shortly before two p.m.
dropped anchor opposite the landing-place.
Ascension is a small island in the South Atlantic, some 800 miles N.W. of St. Helena; it is used as a coaling
station for Her Majesty's ships, and also for mail and other steamers. There is a commander of the Royal Navy
in charge, with two or three lieutenants, a surgeon, a paymaster, a subaltern-officer of the Royal Marine Light
Infantry in command of a detachment of "Jollies," and a "crew" composed for the most part of "Kroomen." I
believe that no civilian, except the man who keeps the canteen, is allowed to live on the island, and discipline
is carried on just the same as on board one of Her Majesty's ships of war. During the Ashantee war, Ascension
was turned into a sanatorium for fever-stricken soldiers, as well as blue-jackets.


Hardly had our cable rattled through the hawse-holes, when the commander's gig, manned by six ebony-black
"Kroomen," pulled alongside; down went the accommodation-ladder, and the commander, who was attired in the neat
undress uniform of the Royal Navy, came on board. After the usual greetings were exchanged, and formalities
complied with, Captain S- asked if any of the passengers would care to land, and stretch their legs on terrafirma.
I, for one, was thankful for a run on shore, even on such a barren cinder-like spot as Ascension, and I went with
other passengers in the steamer's cutter. There were two or three officers down on the beach waiting to see us land,
and I recognized one of them as an old acquaintance, a lieutenant of marines whom I had met a year or two before
when quartered at Gosport. Of course we fraternised, and while my fellow-passengers accompanied the naval
officers up to "Green Hill," the marine and I went for a short stroll by ourselves, chatting about "days gone by,"
and inquiring after mutual friends. We presently found ourselves on a small beach, where a party of men were
busily engaged "turning turtle." Ascension is a noted place for turtle, and there are regular turtle-preserves there.
When a mail-steamer arrives, one, or more, of these amphibious animals is presented to the skipper; there had been
rather a run on the turtle-ponds lately, and the men we saw at work were making captures to replace the
turtles that had found their way to the cook's galley.
Turtles are captured by turning them over on their backs; for the "carapace" (a horny shell that covers the
back) is so flat, and their "flippers" are so short, that once capsized they are forced to lie helpless and await their
captor's pleasure. Here indeed was a sight for an alderman !
Three or four huge fellows-weighing probably four or five hundred pounds a piece-were already "turned,"
whilst several others were shuffling along the beach making vain attempts to reach the water. The grinning Kroomen
soon seized them, one by one, and over they went, flat on their backs. When six or eight of the very finest had
been taken (the smaller ones were allowed to escape), they were carried to a cart, drawn by the only horse in the
island, and driven off to the turtle-pond, there to remain in blissful ignorance of their coming fate.
We watched until the last of the unfortunate victims had been carted away, and then returned to the landing-place.
The Adrian's boats were waiting to take us off, so bidding farewell to my Jolly friend, I took my seat in the stern
sheets, and returned to our "floating home." .
Next day we had turtle-soup and turtle-steak for dinner, and in the night I dreamt that I had been "turned,"
and could not rise from my back. I made one violent effort to regain my erect position, and landed all fours in the
middle of the cabin. Mcral-Don't take more than one helping of fresh turtle-steaks!


*Turning u .tles.- ,

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" OU'VE seen a power of wonderful things in your time, Muster Dibbs," observed a chuckle-headed, mottled-faced
l butcher to "mine host" of the "Spendcash Arms."
It was a cold winter's night, and a select company of village Solomons had gathered round the blazing fire in
the parlour of the above-mentioned inn. There was the speaker, Jonathan Cleaver; there was Lynes, the schoolmaster
and parish clerk; Stryker, the blacksmith; Boles, the cow-doctor; and two or three burly farmers, whose flaming cheeks
and rich, husky voices bore evidence that they were certainly not members of the Blue Ribbon Army."
Sampson Dibbs, the host, occupied the seat of honour in front of the fire; he was a nondescript-looking sort of
personage, with a pale, flabby countenance and voluminous cane-coloured whiskers. It was a difficult matter to guess
what had been Sampson's vocation in life; at first sight you would probably have put him down as a "son of the
ocean," who had never quite got over the mal de mer; but then his Bedford-cord-breeched, butcher-booted legs, and
blue bird's-eye neckcloth, savoured rathered of the stable than of the sea; and whilst you were debating whether he
was an ex-stud groom or an out-of-place coachman, Sampson would rise from his seat and serve a customer with an
air that stamped him as a retired butler. The truth was, Host Dibbs had commenced life as knife-boy in a seaport
hotel, then he blossomed into a waiter on board a third-rate mail steamer, and at last, after a good many ups and
downs, found himself the full-blown chief steward of Sir Titus Spendcash's yacht, the Bluebottle. At the age
of forty Dibbs married Sir Titus's cook and settled down as landlord of the Spendcash Arms "; he also farmed ten
acres of land, rode a raw-boned screw with the harriers, attended race-meetings, and thought himself a sportsman.
"Yes, you've seen a power of wonderful things!" repeated the butcher; "there's nowt like goin' about for that.
I've bin to Lunnon and Manchester mysel,' so I knows some'at, I do."
"Did you hever come across a hallegory, Dibbs?" inquired the fattest of the farmers, taking his churchwardenn"
from his lips. "They're hawful beasts, so I've heerd tell; in fact, one on 'em swallowed my missus's brother, somewheer
out Hegypt way."
Our respected friend Wurzel is halluding to a halligator, I presume," put in the schoolmaster, who, after Dibbs,
was considered the "authority" of the company.
"Dessay you're right," rejoined Wurzel. "I knows it's a hally-something or other. Did you hever see one on
them animals, Dibbs ? "
"Did you hever see a 'og ? was the landlord's contemptuous reply. "Why, man, I caught a halligator once-
caught him alive I"
"What, in Hegypt ? asked the astonished Wurzel.
"No, it was in the Philippine Islands, where they're three times as big, and hever so much savager. I've seen
'em in the Nile too."
"Come, Mr. Dibbs," said the schoolmaster; "suppose you relate, for our amusement and instruction, how you
managed to capture such a formidable member of the genus crocodiles ?"
"Well," began Dibbs, after the usual prefatory cough; "when I was cruising all round the world with Sir
Titus, we touched at the Philippine Islands, and Sir Titus thought he'd like a spell ashore. So he took a will at a
village called Jala-Jala, and me and Mossoo Halcide, the chef and two or three of the hunder-stewards and servants,
went with him. Now close to our housee there was a lake, and from our windows we could see the halligators-or
'caymans,' as they calls them out there-a-playin' about the banks, and a-splashin' in the water, as innocent as if
they'd never swallowed a nigger in their lives."
"Then they do swallow 'em ?" interrupted Wurzel.


"As heasy as you would a hoyster," replied Dibbs. "But don't you put me out, Mister Wurzel, or I shall
'lose my bearings'-as we says at sea." And in order to refresh his memory (or imagination!) the worthy
landlord gulped down half-a-tumbler of his particular "vanity "-hot rum and water.
"Well," he resumed, wiping his lips with a bright-coloured bandana, "I was just a-saying that these caymans was
as plentiful as water-rats, and there wasn't a day passed but they made a meal off a nigger or some other animal.
Me and Sir Titus had capital sport a-shooting at 'em from the windows, but though they was heasy enough to 'it,
they was plaguey 'ard to kill. Now Sir Titus was a curious sort of gent, and took all sorts of queer fancies into
his head; and one morning he says to me, says he, 'Dibbs, you must catch one of them caymans alive, -I should
like to take one to England, and present it to the Zoological Gardens. See to it at once!'
"Ard off he struts, as cool as if he'd been saying what he'd have for tiffin, or ordering a brandy and, soda.
"I know'd it was no use fussing over the job, for Sir Titus would have it done, come what might; so I began
to think how I was to manage it, and very soon a capital plan came into my head.
"Caymans, I must tell you, are uncommon fond of roast pork, the very smell will attract 'em; so I had a small
pig well cooked, and in his inside I put a bladder containing a pint-and-a-half of chloroform. The pig when ready
was tied to a log of tough wood, and this log was hung from the branch of a tree, about eighteen inches off the
ground. Me and two out-of-door hands climbed up the tree, and took with us a coil of strong rope, noosed at one end.
"We'd hardly got everything ready when the caymans scented the roast pig, and a dozen or more of 'ei came
waddling up the bank, as hard as they could waddle. One was a tremendous big chap, about twenty feet long, and
him I picked out as the one we'd try and catch. I had six or seven niggers, armed with muskets hidden behind
trees, and I sang out to them to open fire on the caymans, but to take care they didn't 'it the big one.
"Well, they began to fire as hard as they could, and their bullets rattling against the caymans' hides sounded
for all the world like hail pattering on a greenhouse; the brutes soon had enough of it, and turning tail bolted back
to the lake, except the big one, and he kept on his course, reached our tree, raised his great head, snapped at the
pig, and-as I guessed he would do-got his teeth jammed into the log, so that his jaws were held tight. Then we
slips the noose over his head, and in two minutes had him moored hard and fast to the tree. The brute struggled a
bit at first, but the chloroform soon sent him to sleep, and before he awoke we had him aboard the Bluebottle
shut up in a strong wooden cage. And now, gentlemen, you know how I captured a halligator."
"And did you get him home to England, Mr. Dibbs ?" inquired the schoolmaster, as the applause that greeted
the landlord's "tough yarn" subsided.
"No," replied the valiant Dibbs, "I had all my trouble for nothing! He got obstropolous during the homeward
voyage, broke out of his cage, swallowed a boy, bit off the boatswain's leg, and precious nearly laid hold of Sir Titus
hisself; so we was obliged to shoot him with one of the yacht's signal guns."
"And a werry good job too I" exclaimed old Wurzel. "Sir Titus might have taken it into his head to bring
the nasty brute here; and a precious fine bis'niss that would have been "


Catching a ay'man
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WHAT fox-hunting is to the Leicestershire squire, pig-sticking and tiger-shooting to the Anglo-Indian, or the
chase of the chamois to the Swiss mountaineer, kangaroo hunting is to the Australian sportsman:-
the "sport of sports" I
The kangaroo is found in Australia and the neighboring islands. Its formation is singular; the fore legs are
short, and of little use for walking, but well adapted for burrowing and conveying food to the mouth; in fact, they
almost answer the purpose of hands; the hind legs are long and very powerful, and the feet are furnished with
sharp claws; the tail is thick and muscular, and of great assistance to the animal in its immense leaps. The
natural walking position of the kangaroo is on "all fours," but when pursued it rises on its hinder legs and makes
a succession of bounds that soon carry it away from its pursuers, unless they are very swift of foot. The female
kangaroo carries her young in a kind of pouch marsupiumm), from which the little ones emerge when they wish for
exercise, leaping back to their shelter on the slightest alarm.
The varieties of kangaroo consist of the "forest kangaroo," an animal of a grey colour with longish fur,
inhabiting the forests; the "wallaroo," or hill kangaroo; the "wallabee" and "paddymalla"; the rock kangaroo,"
and the "kangaroo rat"; and last, but not least, the "great kangaroo," called by the colonists the "old man,"
or "boomer."
The length of the "great kangaroo" is about five feet, and its muscular "caudal appendage" measures from
three to four feet.
It is the "boomer" that both the aborigines and settlers of Australia delight to chase. The former tracks it
down, and either knocks it over with his boomerang, or spears it from behind a bush. Captain Gray, in his
"Journals," writes:-"The mode of tracking a kangaroo until wearied out is the one which beyond all others excites
the admiration of the natives. To perform this feat, the native hunter starts upon the track of a kangaroo,
which he follows until he sights it, when it flies timidly before him; again he pursues the track, and again the
animal bounds from him; and this is repeated until nightfall, when the native lights his fire and sleeps upon the
track. With the first light of day the hunt is resumed, and towards the close of the second day, or in the course
of the third, the kangaroo falls a victim to its pursuer. None but a skilful huntsman, in the pride of youth and
strength, can perform this feat, and one who has frequently practised it always enjoys great renown amongst his
The kangaroo is a dangerous animal to approach when at bay, for with the terrible claws on its hind feet it
will sometimes rip up" its assailant with a single kick. Knowing this, the aborigine endeavours to deal it a
heavy blow with his "waddie" (a sort of club) across the loins; this stroke, if well delivered, paralyzes the
animal's hind legs, and renders it helpless.
The Australian colonist hunts the "old man" with a pack of regularly trained hounds. The kangaroo
usually gives a capital "run," and riding to "kangaroo hounds" requires a firm seat, strong nerves, and sound
When "viewed" the kangaroo at once makes for the nearest water, with the hope of effecting his escape by
swimming. Rising on his hind legs he bounds away at an amazing pace, his tail wagging up and down as he
leaps, and serving him as a balance. Over gullies and down declivities he goes with wonderful ease and celerity;
now leaping a rock, now bounding over the tops of the low brushwood. The eager hounds strain every nerve
to come up with their chase, but so long as he keeps to broken, scrubby ground they have little chance of
running into him. But perchance the "boomer" is tempted or forced to leave this vantage ground and take
to the open country; then he soon tires, and his pursuers gain on him hand over hand.
At length the foremost hound closes upon him, and endeavours to seize him by the hip and pull him down;


but the hunted animal turns and stands at bay, showing himself to be a formidable antagonist, such as not one
dog in twenty cares to tackle single-handed. Sitting upright upon his tail and haunches, the kangaroo turns
adroitly round and round, taking care to keep his face to the foe; if the hound presses on him, he seizes him
with his fore-paws, hugs him like a bear, and then with a stroke of his hind feet rips him open. The hunters
ride up to the assistance of their hounds, and while one engages the kangaroo in front, the other attacks him in
the rear, and hamstrings him in order to save the dogs from further injury. Often the hounds succeed in pulling
down the kangaroo without the aid of their owners, and turning him over, seize him by the throat and kill him
without trouble.
Kangaroo is reckoned excellent eating; it tastes very much like doe-venison, and makes delicious stews and
steaks. The Australians have a favourite dish called "steamer," which is made of kangaroo steaks and tail (the
latter, which is very fat, chopped fine), with a few slices of salt pork, stewed in a small quantity of water for two
or three hours.
When required for eating, the kangaroo should be shot or speared, not hunted. It is a fallacy to suppose
that a hunted animal eats better than one despatched in a more "butcher-like" way. An animal that has been
hunted to death with hounds nearly always tastes strong, and is often absolutely unfit for human food.


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(See illustration on page 6 .)

THE boa-constrictor is the largest of all serpents, and frequently measures five-and-twenty and even thirty
feet in length. It is not venomous, but for all that it is none the less dangerous, for its muscular power
is extraordinary, and in the coils of its immense body it can crush its prey to death; even cattle and deer fall
victims to the boa, as well as smaller animals. Indeed, if tradition be true, a boa-constrictor once threw an entire
Roman army into confusion and panic. Valerius Maximus relates this fact, quoting from one of the lost books of
Livy. It appears that near the river Bagrada, in Africa, a serpent was seen of such enormous proportions that
the forces of the Roman general, Attilius Regulus, were unable to approach the water. Many soldiers were
destroyed by this colossal snake, and Valerius Maximus actually asserts that soma of these unfortunates were
swallowed by the horrible brute. At length Regulus brought his "artillery" into action, and the boa (if boa it was
-it must have been bore though!) was "bombarded" by the military engines of the period, and succumbed
beneath the weight of several tons of stones. But the poor Romans had not done with it yet; "dead or alive
there was always a sting in it;" for its huge carcase, rotting in the African sun, nearly poisoned the whole army,
and the camp had to be shifted. Valerius adds, that the skin of this serpent was subsequently taken to Rome
as a trophy; it measured one hundred and twenty feet!
We fear that Mr. Maximus-or else Mr. Livy--didn't stick at trifles!
In order to procure food, the boa lies in wait near a river or pool where animals of all kinds are in the habit
of quenching their thirst. The boa waits patiently until some wretched quadruped comes within reach, when with
one spring it fixes its fangs in the victim's head, coils its body round it, and crushes it to a shapeless mass by the
pressure of its folds. Then the boa makes preparations to enjoy its meal, and gradually swallows the dead animal
whole; having gorged itself, the boa lies torpid until its enormous meal is digested, when it again roams abroad
in search of a dinner. It rarely happens that a human being becomes the victim of a boa, but an extraordinary
story is told (we do not vouch for the truth of it, but it is "well found") of an unhappy man being "constricted"
and gorged.
A certain man, belonging to a certain village in tropical America, committed an offence against the law of that
country, and had to make himself scarce; accordingly he left his home and took refuge in a cavern. The refugee's
father, who alone knew the place where he was concealed, used to visit him at regular intervals and carry him
food and drink. One day the old man entered the cavern, and discovered an enormous boa-constrictor placidly
sleeping, not the sleep of peace, but the sleep of repletion. The refugee was, however, nowhere to be seen!
A horrible suspicion seized the father, and he hastened home to alarm his friends. A party assembled and
returned to the cavern; the boa was despatched while asleep, and then opened; in its inside was found the
mangled body of the unfortunate refugee
The artist has given us an illustration of a European shooting a gigantic boa-constrictor from a boat. The
beautiful colours and variegations of the boa are here capitally depicted, and it is represented in the very act of
launching itself at its assailant. But a rifle-bullet fired at almost point-blank range would be almost certain to find
its billet; and the boa-constrictor stands but a poor chance of making a meal of the sportsman or his dusky crew.


THE ostrich is a native of Africa, and belongs to the same family as the emu, cassowary, and apteryx; these
birds are all remarkable for the shortness of their pinions, which are not sufficiently powerful to sustain
them in "aerial flight," or even raise them from the ground, though it is evident they afford them considerable
assistance when running. Cuvier, the celebrated French naturalist, has dubbed this family "Brevipennes," or
short-winged birds.
The ostrich is supposed to be the largest bird in creation; when full-grown it attains a height of between
six and eight feet; its legs are stout and long, and it can run with great swiftness; its pinions are covered
with beautiful soft plumes, which are of great value, and find a ready market all over the civilized world.
The nest of the ostrich is merely a hollow scooped in the sandy soil, usually amongst low brushwood; two
or more hens will often lay in the same nest. The eggs are so large and strong of shell that the wandering
natives of Bechuanaland use them as drinking vessels, cups and dishes, and even as cooking utensils.
Gordon Cumming writing of the ostrich, says :-" If a person discovers an ostrich's nest and does not at
once remove the eggs, on returning he will most probably find them all smashed by the old birds; and this
even when he has not even handled them."
The ostrich is a vegetarian," and is accustomed to assist digestion by swallowing stones; this is all very
well when the bird is in its wild state, and no doubt "Mother Nature" herself has taught it this simple mode
of guarding against "dyspepsia"; but when captured and introduced to civilized life (and the ostrich, we may
remark, en passant, is easily tamed) it does not content itself with moderate doses of pebbles, but contracts a
reprehensible and unwholesome habit of "bolting" all sorts of hard materials,-bits of glass, rusty nails, pieces
of brickbats, etc.,-in quantities that often prove too much for its stomach ; and the misguided bird falls a victim
to self-physicking."
The Bosjesmen and other African natives hunt the ostrich for the sake of its feathers. They have various
ways of killing them. Some tribes chase them on horseback, and either spear or shoot them. Others scrape a
hole in the sand near an ostrich's nest, and lie in ambush until the birds come to their eggs, when they shoot
them with poisoned arrows.
A favourite mode adopted by the Bushman for approaching the ostrich is to disguise himself in the skin of
a defunct bird, and to stalk about the plain imitating the gait and motions of the ostrich. Taking great care to
keep to leeward of the birds--lest they should scent him-the wily hunter gets nearer and nearer, until within
range, then he opens fire with a tiny bow, the string of which is made of twisted sinews; with this primitive
weapon he rarely fails to bring down his quarry. The Bushman's bow measures about three feet in length;
his arrows are made of slender reeds fitted with sharp bone heads; the points are dipped into a composition, the
ingredients of which are obtained from a succulent herb yielding a poisonous juice.
Ostriches take great care of their young ones. Gordon Cumming has remarked this in his travels, and
relates how he once fell in with a troop of young ostriches which were not much bigger than guinea-fowls.
On catching sight of Cumming and his companions the hen ostrich spread out her wings and dropped as though
wounded, while her mate led the brood away in an opposite direction.
There is an American variety of ostrich called the "Rhea," which is found in great numbers on the banks
of the river La Plata.
The "Rhea" can swim very well, and has been seen to cross rivers many yards broad; this is an accom-
plishment that neither the African ostrich, nor its congener-the emu, can boast of.


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W E may fairly assume that there is not one British lad in a thousand who is not well acquainted with the
general appearance of the "king of the beasts "-the terrible, ferocious lion!
Live lions may be seen at the Zoo, and in two-thirds of the menageries in the United Kingdom; "stuffed"
lions are plentiful in museums and naturalists' shops; and a lad could not walk down the principal thorough-
fare of any large town in England, Scotland, or Ireland without coming across lions of all sorts,-golden lions,
red lions, blue lions, lions passant, lions rampant, lions sejant, lions couchant, etc.
Indeed, if King Leo possessed the gift of speech, and had read "Nicholas Nickleby," he might well paraphrase
Mr. Snevellicci's boasting remark, and exclaim, or rather roar:-" I'm not ashamed of myself, Leo is my name;
I'm to be found in Africa, Arabia, Persia, and in some parts of India, when I'm at home. If I'm not at home, let
any boy ask for me at any wild beast show in the civilized world. Shoot me! but they know me all over
the civilized world, I suppose. Most boys have seen my effigy over half the shops in London-that profess to
supply the Queen with something or other-fighting the unicorn for possession of the crown. I have been
described in books of natural history, books of travel, books of adventure, ever since printing was introduced,
haven't I?"
To all of which remarks, we should reply, "True, true, King Leo; if any living creature on the face of the
globe can lay claim to notoriety, you can, Your Four-footed Majestyl"
So I think we need hardly describe the formation, colour, etc., of the lion, though we will give Captain
Gordon Cumming's description of its roar, which is one of its chief peculiarities. The great African sportsman
says:-"One of the most striking things connected with the lion is his voice, which is extremely grand and
peculiarly striking. It consists, at times, of a low deep moaning, repeated five or six times, ending in faintly
audible sighs; at other times he startles the forest with loud, deep-toned, solemn roars, repeated five or six times
:n quick succession, each increasing in loudness to the third or fourth, when his voice dies away in low muffled
sounds, very much resembling distant thunder. At times, and not unfrequently, a troop may be heard roaring
in concert, one assuming the lead, and two, three, or four more regularly taking up their parts like persons
singing a catch."
Pleasant sort of music that Fancy a nervous gentleman listening to a lions' concert in the midst of an
African forest, about 11.30 p.m. I
The lioness is much smaller than her lord and master, and has no mane; she is, as a rule, more fierce and
active than the male, especially when she has a young family.
Lion cubs are splendid little fellows, playful as kittens, and easily tamed.
The lions inhabiting the Bushman's country are remarkably fierce, and though at first averse to attack man,
yet when they have once tasted human flesh they lose their awe of him, and will often venture to spring in
among a company of men, and seize a victim; it has been remarked that a "man-eating lion" will select a black
man in preference to a white.
A quarter of a century ago, two Africander Dutchmen, Ryk Piton and Dirk Schiefers, accompanied by a few
Kaffirs, were travelling through the wilds of Africa, some three hundred miles to the north-east of Cradock, when
they came upon a "fontein" surrounded with tall reeds and bushes. Two of the Kaffirs, Paul and Tom, pushed
through the reeds in search of water, when suddenly an enormous lion sprang upon them with a terrific roar,
that set the Dutchmen's horses capering, and sent the other Kaffirs scampering in all directions.
Paul was knocked down, but managed to thrust his assigai into the lion's side, while his dusky comrade
leaping aside, tried to do the same, but missed his stroke.


Ryk Piton immediately levelled his rifle and gave the lion both barrels, the bullets striking in the fleshy
part of the shoulder, and inflicting painful wounds without injuring the bone. Dirk Schiefers would have fired,
too, had not his frightened horse turned round and bolted across the karoo.
The Kaffirs, with one exception, had retreated at the first alarm, and were now out of harm's way; the
exception was a youth between sixteen and seventeen years of age, who was so terrified that he had fallen upon
his knees and appeared incapable of flight. The lion made for this wretched lad and seized him by the arm,
lacerating it in a shocking manner, and laying bare the bone; happily the poor lad lost all consciousness and fell
senseless between his destroyer's fore-paws. By this time Schiefers had succeeded in pulling in his horse, and was
returning to his comrade's assistance; Piton, too, had reloaded both barrels, and dismounting, desired Tom to hold
his horse. Then advancing cautiously to within ten yards, he took careful aim at the lion's head and fired his
right barrel. The terrible beast sprang to his feet, and looked furiously round, lashing his sides with his tail.
Piton fired again, and down dropped the lion, shot clean through the heart.
His victim was still living, but terribly injured. The Dutchmen did all they could for him, and carried him
to the nearest kraal, but the poor fellow died three days afterwards of lock-jaw.



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T HE giraffe, or camelopard, is a native of Africa, and is not found, in its wild state, in any other continent.
It inhabits the Ethiopian forests, and the interior parts of Africa, as far north as Senegal, where it is
sometimes seen in herds of seven or eight. As the gnu appears to combine the properties of the antelope,
horse, and buffalo, so the giraffe appears to bear the characteristics of the antelope and camel. Modern naturalists
hold that it forms a group to which no other animal belongs, and assign it a place between the deer and antelope.
The height of the full-grown giraffe is about eighteen feet from the ground to the top of the head, while
at the rump it is not more than eight or eight and a half; the neck alone measures between six and seven feet,
and the length from the nose to the extremity of the tail is from twenty to twenty-two feet. The general colour
of the animal is yellowish white, the head, neck, shoulders, body, and thighs being covered with large reddish-
brown spots of unequal size and figure; its belly and legs are white.
In the year 1835 Monsieur Thibaut brought four living giraffes to Europe, and in a letter (dated 2nd January,
1836) written from Malta to the secretary of the Zoological Society of London, he gives the following interesting
account of their capture and transportation to Malta:-
Instructed by Colonel Campbell, His Majesty's consul-general in the Levant, and desirous of rendering
available for the purposes of the Zoological Society the knowledge which I had acquired by twelve years'
experience in travelling in the interior of Africa, I quitted Cairo on the 15th of April, 1834. After sailing up the
Nile as far as Wadi Halfa (the second cataract), I took camels and proceeded to Debbat, a province of Dongolah,
whence on the i4th of July I started for the desert of Kordofan. Being perfectly acquainted with the locality, and
on friendly terms with the Arabs of the country, I attached them to me still more by the desire of profit. All
were desirous of accompanying me in my pursuit of the giraffes, which, up to that time, they had hunted solely
for the sake of the flesh, which they eat, and of the skin, from which they make bucklers and sandals .
I proceeded immediately to the south-west of Kordofan. It was on the I5th of August that I saw the first two
giraffes. A rapid chase, on horses accustomed to the fatigues of the desert, put us in possession, at the end of three
hours, of the largest of the two : the mother of one of those now in my charge." Unable to take her alive, the
Arabs killed her with blows of the sabre, and cutting her to pieces, carried the meat to the headquarters which
we had established in a wooded situation. We deferred until the morrow the pursuit of the young giraffe, which
my companions assured me they would have no difficulty in again discovering. .On the following day,
I6th August, the Arabs started at daybreak in search of the young one, of which we had lost sight not far from
our camp. The sandy nature of the soil of the desert is well adapted to afford indications to the hunter, and
in a very short time we were on the track of the animal which was the object of our pursuit. We followed the
traces with rapidity and in silence, cautious to avoid alarming the creature while it was yet at a distance from
us. Unwearied myself, and anxious to act in the same manner as the Arabs, I followed them impatiently, and
at nine o'clock in the morning I had the happiness to find myself in possession of the giraffe. A premium was
given to the hunter whose horse had first come up with the animal, and this reward is the more merited as the
laborious chase is pursued in the midst of brambles and of thorny trees.
"Possessed of this giraffe, it was necessary to rest for three or four days, in order to render it sufficiently
tame. It became gradually reconciled to its captive condition, and was soon willing to follow, in short stages,
the route of the caravan. The first run of the giraffe is exceedingly rapid; the swiftest horse if
unaccustomed to the desert could not come up with it unless with extreme difficulty. The Arabs accustom their
See the accompanying illustration.


coursers to hunger and fatigue; milk generally serves them for food, and gives them power to continue tneir
exertions during a very long run. If the giraffe reaches a mountain, it passes the heights with rapidity. Its
feet, which are like those of a goat, endow it with the dexterity of that animal; it bounds over ravines with
incredible power; horses cannot in such situations compete with it. I was so fortunate as to collect five
individuals at Kordofan; but the cold weather of December 1834 killed four of them in the desert on the
route to Dongolah, my point of departure for Bebbah. Only one was preserved; this was the first specimen
that I obtained. After twenty-two days in the desert, I reached Dongolah on the 6th of January, 1835. Un-
willing to return to Cairo without being really useful to the Society, and being actually at Dongolah, I determined
on resuming the pursuit of giraffes. I remained for three months in the desert, crossing it in all directions.
Arabs in whom I could confide accompanied me, and our course was through districts destitute of everything.
We had to dread the Arabs of Darfour, of which country I saw the first mountain. We were successful in
our researches. I obtained three giraffes, smaller than the one I already possessed. Experience suggested to me
the means of preserving them. Another trial was reserved for me : that of transporting the animals by bark
from Wadi Halfa to Cairo, Alexandria, and Malta. Providence has enabled me to surmount all difficulties .
These four giraffes, four males and one female, are so interesting and so beautiful that I shall exert myself to
the utmost to be of use to them."
Monsieur Thibaut's pets were subsequently taken to England in the Manchester steamship, and arrived safe
and sound at the "Zoo" on the 25th of May, 1836. One of the four killed himself shortly after his arrival
by striking his head violently against a wall. These giraffes bred in due course, and we believe that some
of their descendants are still at Regent's Park ....
The Arab is not the only foe that the camelopard has to fear; the lion often attacks it, and devours it.

"Close beside the sedgy brim
Couchant lurks the lion grim,
Watching till the close of day
Brings the death-devoted prey.
Heedless at the ambushed brink
The tall giraffe stoops down to drink:
Upon him straight the savage springs
With cruel joy. The desert rings
With clanging sound of desperate strife-
For the prey is strong, and strives for life;
Plunging oft with frantic bound
To shake the tyrant to the ground.
S *

And mad with terror, thirst, and pain,
Spurns with wild hoof the thundering plain.
'Tis vain; the thirsty sands are drinking
His streaming blood-his strength is sinking;
The victor's fangs are in his veins-
His flanks are streaked with sanguine stains-
His panting breast in foam and gore
Is bathed-he reels-his race is o'er:
He falls-and with convulsive throe,
Resigns his throat to the rav'ning foe "


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THE true tiger-often called the "royal" Tiger, to distinguish him from the panther, leopard, and jaguar,
which animals have been erroneously designated as tigers by various authors-is an inhabitant of Asia;
Hindostan being the part of that vast continent most infested by it. The royal tiger is the largest of its species,
and is justly considered the most beautiful of all animals, as it is the most ferocious and cruel; its height is
from three to four feet, and it measures from muzzle to croup between eight and nine feet. Buffon mentions
one, seen in the East Indies by Monsieur Magore, that measured fifteen feet, including the tail; and Abb6
Richard testifies to the fact that at Tonquin tigers are frequently found measuring as much as eighteen feet from
the point of the nose to the tip of the tail.
The colour of the tiger is orange yellow, decorated with a series of black transverse stripes, which form a
bold and striking contrast; the tail and legs are striped as well as the body; the face, throat, and belly are nearly
white; the head is short and round, with small erect ears, and teeth exhibiting a truly ferocious appearance.
The tiger is the most rapacious of all carnivorous animals, his thirst for blood being insatiable. Fierce without
provocation, and cruel without necessity, he attacks, destroys, and tears in pieces every animal with equal
rapacity; he is said by some writers to prefer human flesh to any other.
The tiger lies in ambush for his prey; usually on the borders of rivers and streams, where other animals
are compelled to repair for drink. If he misses or is unable to destroy his object,-which is but seldom,-he beats
a retreat; but if he subdues it, be it man or beast, he carries it off to his lair.
When taken young the tiger is easily tamed; our travelling shows contain several, and the fakirs of Hindostan
keep them in a very docile condition.
Tiger shooting is one of the favourite sports of the Anglo-Indian. A hunt having been organized several
sportsmen assemble, and "take the field," mounted on regularly trained elephants. Each elephant is "saddled"
with a "howdah," and in each "howdah" one or more persons take their place, carrying with them a perfect
battery of loaded rifles; the "mahout," or elephant driver, seats himself just in front of the howdah, and, all
being ready, a start is made for the scene of action.
The tiger is usually to be found concealed in the long jungle-grass, which is from eight to ten feet high.
Disturbed in his lair, the monster endeavours to creep away unobserved, but the shaking of the grass reveals
his whereabouts, and a rifle-ball forces him to show himself. Then, with an ear-splitting roar, the "royal
Bengal tiger" breaks cover, and springs at the nearest elephant, endeavouring to clamber up and attack the party
in the howdah. Unless the elephant is well-trained and accustomed to the "fun," he will probably turn tail;
others are rendered furious and turn on the tiger, much to the discomfort of their riders. If, however, the
elephant behaves as he should do, and stands firm, the sportsman receives the tiger with a well-directed shot
that probably rolls him over. The wounded beast then tries to escape, but a second shot brings him down-
that is, if the hunter is a marksman, and knows where to plant his bullets.
But tiger-shooting from the back of an elephant is an expensive amusement, and only those fortunate
individuals who have the "rupees" can afford it; unless some generous friend gives them a "mount."
For this reason many Anglo-Indians-rather than forego their favourite sport-shoot the tiger on foot. This
is very generally condemned as foolhardy, and nobody can maintain that it is by any means a safe sport; but,
nevertheless, if properly conducted it is not so dangerous as one might suppose. For a tyro to attempt it would be
an act of insane folly, but the experienced sportsman runs comparatively little risk.
Whether a tiger should be attacked on foot or let alone depends a great deal on the nature of the jungle
in which he is found. In grass plains and thick undergrowth he should only be shot from an elephant's back;


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where the jungle is comparatively clear, or on ground where rocks and ravines afford shelter to the sportsman,
he may be hunted afoot.
A wounded tiger should never be followed into long grass or close cover; the man who attempted to come
up with him under such circumstances would probably pay the penalty of his rashness with his life.
The natives of India usually take tigers in pit-falls, at the bottom of which are planted bamboo posts,
sharpened into a point.
The tiger during his midnight rambles tumbles into the pit, and impales himself on the post. A pit-iful
end, indeed! the natives in the morning hold a post-mortem on the "bamboozled" animal, who may be said to
have "staked his existence"! This is a safe and certain- if not sportsmanlike-method of obtaining a tiger-skin.
Apropos of tigers, no less than six of our Line Battalions-the 17th, 65th, 67th, 75th, o02nd, and io3rd--
wear the "royal tiger as their regimental badge.

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T HERE are three distinct varieties of buffalo: the bison (friwv, a bunTlo) of America; the Cape buffalo
(Bos caffer); and the buffalo of Hindostan (Bos bubalus).
The bison is distinguished from other species of the ox kind by a hump placed between the shoulders, a
loose dewlap, and round horns curving externally. The hump is almost as large as that of a camel, and is
considered a great delicacy by the American hunters; it is covered with thick, coarse, shaggy hair. The bison
is of a dark, blackish-brown colour; his eyes are large and glowering, his limbs massive and strong, and his
whole aspect is extremely savage and gloomy.
Bison herd together in large numbers on the American prairies, and are constantly hunted by the Redskins."
Armed with a sharp spear, and a bow and arrow, and mounted on a swift mustang, the Indian pursues the bison
with great courage and skill; riding fearlessly up to the huge animal, he drives his spear deep into the spine,* or
drawing his bow with unerring aim, sends an arrow up to the feather into his body.
Often a number of "Redskins" will set forth on a "buffalo hunt" in company, and, having sighted a herd,
form line and charge down, with wild "whoops" and cries, driving the bison towards the brink of some
precipitous cliff; down the cliff the terrified animals tumble in hundreds, those in the rear pushing over their
comrades in the van; and then an indiscriminate slaughter takes place.
Thousands of bison are annually killed by the Indians, merely for the sake of their hides, humps, tongues,
and marrow-bones; the remainder of the slaughtered animals being left to rot at the foot of the cliff or to furnish
a meal for wolves and birds of prey.
Yet despite this wholesale "butchering," the bison does not appear to decrease in numbers in America,
though they have become more wary, and have withdrawn themselves to distant parts far from the haunts of
man. A wounded bison is a very awkward animal to meet, and should be approached with extreme caution.
The Cape buffalo differs very little in appearance from the bison; his horns are thick and rugged at the
base, and sometimes measure three feet in length; they lie flat, so that they almost cover the top of the head.
The Bos caffer exhibits a peculiarly fierce and malevolent aspect, and his evil looks in no way belie his
character, for he is exceedingly ferocious and cunning. He will often lurk among trees until an unsuspecting
and harmless traveller approaches, then the buffalo rushes on him and tramples and gores him to death, venting
his fury and malice on the mangled body even after life has fled.
The Cape buffalo is hunted both by Europeans and Kaffirs, for the sake of his horns and hide, both of which
are of considerable value.
We now come to the common buffalo-Bos bubalus.
This animal is a native of Hindostan, where he is found both domesticated and in a wild state. As a
heavy draught animal the buffalo is almost unsurpassed, and a pair of them will draw as much as four strong
horses. Their pace of course is slow, but they have great powers of endurance, so long as water is plentiful.
Buffalo-shooting is a favourite sport in India.
The late Captain H. De L. Groves (4th Madras Cavalry) gives the following account of buffalo-shooting in
the "gorgeous East ":-
"In the month of April 1861, my friend H- and I arrived at Luckunpore, on a six months' shooting trip. The
first day we were out we fell in with a herd of wild buffaloes. H- fired and hit one hard, and the animal after
going about three hundred yards lay down. We went close up and H- fired into his back, and as he was rising
to charge I drove a ball through his brain, and that gave him his quietus. On the zoth of April we moved to
See frontispiece.


a place ten miles off, killing two bucks on the road. The morning after our arrival we went out, and after
proceeding a mile or so, a huge bull buffalo got up from the long grass about twenty-five yards in front of us
and stood looking at me. I instantly gave him a ball in the chest, which sent him to the 'rightabout' in double-
quick time. H- fired after him and broke his hind leg. He then went into some high grass, and there squatted.
"Near the grass was a tall tree, up which H- quickly swarmed.
"'I can see him,' he cried; 'give me a rifle.'
"One of our natives handed up a spare rifle, and he fired both barrels.
'The next moment I saw the buffalo's huge head and horns within six yards of me. Fortunately he did not
charge me, but seeing one of our natives up in a very slender tree, he went at him and butted the tree. until it
shook in a most alarming manner. H- had now loaded again, and gave our friend two more shots. He then charged
at me through the grass, but I had now got hold of H.'s big two-ounce rifle, and as he rushed past I let drive
and broke his shoulder; down he dropped like a shot, and a ball through the brain finished him."


T HE "mustangs," or wild horses, which roam in vast troops on the prairies of America probably owe their
origin to horses transported from Europe by the Spaniards. The astonishment and terror exhibited by the
inhabitants of Mexico when they first saw the Spanish cavalry, tend to show that the horse was entirely unknown
in the New World prior to the conquest of the home of the Aztecs by Cortes and his veterans. The Spaniards
conveyed numbers of horses to Mexico and Peru, not only for service, but also to propagate; they left them, too, on
many of the West Indian islands, and turned them loose on the continent of America, where they have multiplied
like other wild animals. La Salle mentions that (in the year 1685) he saw large herds of horses grazing in the
neighbourhood of the Bay of St. Louis, which were so wild that they fled at the approach of man. The author
of the "History of the Bucaniers," says :-" In the island of San Domingo horses are sometimes seen in troops of
five hundred, all running together; when they see a man they all stop; then one of them approaches within a
distance, snorts, takes flight, and is instantly followed by the rest of the troop."
Wild horses are stronger, swifter, and more nervous than trained horses; they are not ferocious, but high-
spirited and wild. As though proud of their freedom and independence, they fly the presence of man and disdain
his care; they wander about the prairies in blissful liberty, and live day and night beneath the broad canopy of
The horse is possessed of many noble qualities; though superior in strength to most other animals, he rarely
attacks them without provocation. Grass and other vegetable matter being sufficient for his nourishment, he has no
reason for preying upon other animals in order to obtain food; he lives at peace because i is appetite is simple, and
Nature has provided him with abundant provision. But notwithstanding his many high qualities, the horse is not
entirely without faults, especially when domesticated. Many are vicious and bad-tempered, and absolutely dangerous
to approach.
The following anecdote of a thoroughly vicious horse is worth recording.
A French nobleman, in the reign of Louis XV., had a horse that nobody could break or even approach without
great personal risk; more than one groom was killed or maimed by this "Bucephalus," and at last his owner
determined to be rid of him. He therefore asked the King for leave to turn him loose in the Royal Menagerie
against one of His Majesty's largest lions.
Permission was given, and the doomed horse was conducted to the arena. The grooms withdrew, and an
enormous lion was loosed from his cage. As soon as Leo saw his antagonist he set up a tremendous roar. The
horse started and fell back; his ears pricked, his mane raised, his eyes sparkling, while something like a violent
tremor agitated his whole frame. After the first feeling of surprise, and probably of fear, had subsided, the
horse trotted to a corner of the arena, and, presenting his heels to the lion, stood looking over his shoulder,
watching with extreme eagerness every movement of his terrible enemy. The lion presently commenced the
combat by making a sudden spring at the horse, but the latter lashed out and caught his assailant fairly on the
chest, and caused him to beat a retreat. The lion was evidently hurt by this vigorous kick, for he groaned
audibly, and for some minutes appeared disinclined to renew the attack. But after a while he commenced sidling
round the arena, apparently seeking a favourable opportunity to seize his prey; during this time the horse
remained in the same position, keeping his head erect and his eyes fixed on the lion. At length the lion gave
a second spring, with all the strength and velocity he could command, but the gallant horse once more "let out,"
and caught the lion on the under jaw, which was fractured by the force of the kick.
Having sustained this second repulse the lion gave in, and bolted into his den, where he lay moaning with pain.
Well done, Bucephalus


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But to return to the wild horses of America.
These noble animals are not allowed to remain undisturbed in their wild state, but are captured and speedily
brought into a state of subjection.
On the prairies of La Plata and Paraguay, the Guachos pursue the mustangs with lasso or bolaa," and capture
large numbers of them.
The bolaa" is long leather thong, having a leaden ball at each end. The Guacho can throw it with great
dexterity, so as either to stun or kill his prey with a blow from the lihavy balls, or else capture it by allowing
the bolaa" to twist round the leg.
For capturing horses a lasso is preferable to a bolaa," as the latter is apt to injure the horse in many ways.


T HE walrus, or morse (Trichicus rosmdrus), closely resembles the common seal in the general shape of the
body and position and formation of the limbs. Like the seal the walrus is clothed with short, stiff
hair, and its body gradually tapers from the chest to the hinder paddles; but in size it is superior to any of
the seal family, and is also more bulky and clumsy in its proportions.
The most remarkable point in the walrus is the construction of its skull, and the great length and thickness
of its upper canine teeth, which indeed assume the proportions of tusks; these tusks are directed downwards,
curve gently back, and are compressed at the sides; they vary in length from eighteen inches to two feet,
and are of proportionate stoutness. The head of the walrus has a most peculiar appearance; it is bullett" in
form, and instead of terminating in a snout, presents two bony protuberances, covered with thick bristles, and
from these protuberances the tusks depend; between these protuberances is a division, above which are placed
the nostrils, about midway between the eyes and lips. The round shape of the head is not relieved by external
ears; small valvular orifices-as in most of the seal tribe-being all that denotes the situation of these organs.
The walrus is a native of the Arctic regions, but has been known to visit the British coasts. The Reverend
J. G. Wood mentions three instances of such visits-namely, one in 1837, one at the Orkney Isles in 1825,
and a third in 1839 at the mouth of the Severn. The walrus resembles the seal in many of its habits; it lives
in troops, which constantly visit the shore, or take up their abode on ice-fields. In ascending rocks or masses
of ice, the walrus makes use of its tusks with great advantage, and with them, too, it digs up the fiicus
digilatus, a coarse kind of seaweed upon which it chiefly subsists.
Captain Cook, alluding to the walruses he came across off the northern coast of America, says :-" They
lie in herds of many hundreds upon the ice, huddling over one another like swine; and they roar and bray so
very loud that during the night and in foggy weather they gave us notice of the ice before we could see it.
We never found the whole herd asleep, some being always on the watch. These on the approach of the boat
would awaken those next them, and the alarm being thus gradually communicated, the whole herd would be
presently on the alert; but they were seldom in a hurry to get away till after they had been once fired at;
they would then tumble over one another into the sea in the utmost confusion, and if we did not at the first
discharge kill those we fired at, we generally lost them, though mortally wounded."
The walrus is hunted for the sake of its oil, flesh, skin, and, above all, tusks. It is not a particularly
savage animal unless thoroughly roused, but if one of a herd is wounded, its comrades will nearly always come
to its rescue, and attack the enemy with their sharp tusks in a fearless manner.
The crew of a whaler's boat was thus attacked by a herd of walruses and very nearly destroyed. A female
walrus had been harpooned and captured while in the water, and in an instant her companions swam to her rescue.
They surrounded the boat, and attacked the sailors with great courage; several were shot or killed with
harpoons, but nothing daunted the, survivors strove to capsize or break up the boat, by driving their tusks into
the planks. A considerable portion of the gtnwale was actually ripped off, and two of the crew received severe
wounds, before the walruses beat a retreat. Another boat, belonging to the same vessel, fortunately pulled to
the rescue, and on its approach the walruses desisted from their attack, but there is little doubt that in another
ten minutes they would have capsized the boat, and in all probability the six sailors who formed her crew
would have perished.
But the above is by no means a solitary instance of walruses attacking boats; it is a very frequent
occurrence in the northern seas.

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The female walrus will defend her young to the last gasp, whether in the water or on the ice; and the
young one will never quit its dam, even after she is dead; so if one is killed the other is a certain prey.
Formerly walruses used to assemble in great numbers in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, about the beginning of
the spring. The St. Lawrence fishermen would attack them during the night by torch-light, when the bewildered
creatures fell an easy prey, and were slaughtered by hundreds. This has tended both to thin their numbers
and to drive the survivors away to safer haunts.
Corneille Zorgdragu, in a work published in 1750, mentions that formerly the walrus was to be found in
vast numbers towards Spitzbergen; "but," he writes, "our vessels which go every year to those shores on
whaling expeditions have so terrified them, that they have retired to more remote abodes; and those which still
remain do not visit the land in herds, but remain in the water, or dispersed here and there on the ice."


HE whale-that Leviathan,
"T which God of all His works
Created hugest that swim the ocean stream "-
is popularly considered to -be a fish, but, except that it makes its dwelling upon the waters, it has but slight
similarity to the finnyy tribe."
It is viviparous; it is provided with lungs, and can only breathe by bringing its head above water; and it is
warm-blooded. Naturalists have therefore generally classed it among mammals.
The Greenland whale (Balcena mysticelus) not unfrequently measures sixty feet in length, by forty in circum-
ference; this implies a weight of between sixty and seventy tons. Naturalists have written of whales that measured
a hundred and fifty or two hundred feet, but Captain Scoresby-a "whaler" of great renown-says in his book
on whale fishing, that of three hundred and twenty-two whales, in the capture of which he was himself personally
concerned, not one exceeded sixty feet in length. There is, however, another variety of whale, known among
whalers as the "Razor-back," which reaches a larger size, and has been found over one hundred feet long; but
the "Razor-back" is not much sought after by whalers, as it is troublesome to secure, and not nearly so valuable a
prize as the "Greenlander."
Nearly a third part of the entire length of a whale is taken up by its head, which is of peculiar construction.
The mouth is enormous, and extends back almost to the neck; immediately above the corners of the mouth are
placed the eyes, which are scarcely larger than those of a horse. On the highest part of the head are the nostrils,
or "blow-holes"; through these apertures, when the whale breathes, a jet of moist vapour is spurted forth to a
considerable height, and with a noise that may be heard for miles.
The skin of the whale is dark-coloured, smooth, and free from scales; immediately under the skin, enveloping the
body, fins, and tail, lies the "blubber," or fat. It is principally for the sake of its blubber," which yields an
excellent oil, that the whale is pursued.
From Orosius' narrative of the voyage of Ohthere the Dane, it appears that the Norwegians hunted the whale
as early as the ninth century ; how they carried on the war against Leviathan is a matter of conjecture, but it
could hardly have been pursued on any systematic plan. The first persons who seem to have engaged in whale
fishery with a commercial object were the inhabitants of the coasts of the Bay of Biscay; their prosecution of it
can be traced back to the twelfth century, but the whale against which the Biscayan mariners directed their attack
was probably a smaller species than that found in the northern seas; it was hunted chiefly for the sake of its flesh,
which was in those days considered fit for food. By degrees the whales ceased to visit the Bay of Biscay, and
then the hardy Biscayans carried their operations farther and farther from their own coasts, till at last they
approached the shores of Iceland, Greenland, and Newfoundland; thus was commenced, towards the middle of the
sixteenth century, the whale fishery of the northern seas.
The earliest whaling voyage made by the English took place between the years 1594-8, much about the same
period that the Dutch engaged in the trade. The Hamburgers, French, and Danes soon followed suit. The
French Revolution drove France and Holland from the field, and neither of these countries appears to have made
any great efforts to renew the business; the Yankees and Germans are now about the only competitors with whom
English whalers have to contend.
The Greenland whaler is generally a barque-rigged vessel of from three hundred to four hundred tons burthen;
she is very strongly built, her bows being protected by extra planking, and her hold-beams are placed low, so that
her sides may better withstand the pressure of the ice. The crew number from forty to sixty hands, all told,-


captain, mats, surgeon, harpooners, boat-steerers, line-managers, carpenters, coopers, foremast-men, landsmen, and
apprentices. The whaler is provided with six or seven boats, each having its own crew, consisting of a harpooner,
a boat-steerer, a line-manager, and three, four, or five oarsmen-according to the size of the boat; each boat is
provided with two harpoons and six or eight lances, and many hundred fathoms of line.
We will now quote a paragraph from Captain Scoresby's description of a whale chase.
"Whenever a whale lies on the surface of the water, unconscious of the approach of its enemies, the hardy
fisher rows directly upon it, and an instant before the boat touches it, buries his harpoon in its back. The
wounded whale, in the surprise and agony of the moment, makes a convulsive effort to escape. Then is the
moment of danger. The boat is subjected to the most violent blows from the whale's head, or fins, but particularly
from its ponderous tail, which sometimes sweeps the air and threatens to involve boat and crew in one common
destruction. The whale on being struck dives down into the water."
The moment the whale disappears the line attached to the harpoon runs out with great velocity, and the utmost
care in its management is needed. The whale remains under water about half an hour, or even longer, but at
length he is forced to rise to the surface again, in order to blow."
Immediately it reappears the boats race after it, the oarsmen bending to their oars with right good will,
and striving to reach the wounded monster before their mates. As the boats come up, each harpooner plunges
his harpoon into the whale's back, and if it does not dive again, its persecutors follow up the attack with their
lances. At length, exhausted by numerous wounds and loss of blood, the whale shows signs of approaching death
by discharging fountains of blood-stained water from its blow-holes, and it commences to lash the sea furiously
with its tail.
"He's in his flurry I Stern all!" is the cry.
The final struggle now takes place; the sea is stained with blood; the dying whale jerks and whirls his tail
violently, and lashes the water into a foam. Gradually the monster becomes weaker and weaker, and soon,
turning over on its side, dies.
Then three cheers are given by the exultant whalers, and the huge carcase is towed back to the ship, to be
"flensed" (cleared from the bone and blubber), boiled down, and askeded"
Our space will not permit us to pursue the subject of whaling, but before laying down our pen, we strongly
advise our young readers to get hold of a copy of Captain Scoresby's book, published in 1820.
However tattered and torn the copy may be, they will not lay it down in a hurry!


-" '" .
.," __; "



"iT HAT was the werry narrowest shave as ever I had in my life?" repeated Joe Nighthead, a rough and
S tough old salt of the good old school. "Well, Master George, I've had so many narrowest shaves that
I must overhaul the log of my memory a bit. You see, young sir," continued the old sailor, cutting and shaping
a fresh "plug" of "negro twist," "when one's been at sea, boy and man, for nigh forty-fower year, one naturally
don't have as easy a time of it as them folks what sleeps in a feather bed every night o' their lives; and so you
understand, sir, we has so many escapes one way and t'other, that we gets to think nothing' at all about 'em."
"Well, just spin us a yarn, Joe, of some sort," rejoined George Ransome, the youngest son of the vicar, in
whose parish Joe Nighthead had "come to anchor" for the rest of his days, after nearly half a century's tossing
to and fro on the briny ocean. I've got ten minutes to spare before I go out with the mater, and I want a
good story to tell in our dormitory when I get back to Piggott's. By the way, have you ever been to Worthing, Joe?"
"Not that I rightly remembers, Master George," Joe Nighthead replied; "though I've a notion I was launched
somewhere in them parts,-Shoreham or Ncwhaven, or one of them ports. Howsomever, you wants a yarn, sir!
so I'll just try and tell you what happened to me along of a polar bear once; and I don't know as ever I had a
narrower escape than I did that time."
"Then heave ahead, old fellow," said young Ransome, squatting down on the grass at the sailor's feet.
"I think it was in '50, or it might have been in '51," commenced Joe Nighthead, "that I shipped aboard the
Henrietta, a barque of four hundred tons, engaged in the Greenland whale fishery, as a foremast hand. We put to
sea in the beginning of April, and about the second week in May we commenced fishing. I was a raw hand at
whaling, and know'd precious little about it, but the "skipper" and some of the old hands said they'd never had
such a bad season, and when the end of June come we'd still a 'clean ship.'
"To make a long story short, Master George, we went so far north that we got more and more among the
ice, and found ourselves hemmed in for the winter, instead of getting back home and passing Christmas in the
buzzums of our families-not as I'd any family to pass it with, 'cos why? both my parents died when I was a
"Well, our skipper, Captain Johnson, was a good fellow, and there wasn't a man on board what wouldn't have
done anything for him; so when we'd got all snug, he set about to try and amuse us and keep us from thinking
of home; but for all that the winter days passed precious slow.
"One morning I went off from the ship by myself to see if I could knock over a seal or two, and I armed
myself with a large boat-hook, for we wasn't allowed to waste powder and shot. I hadn't any luck, and was
returning to the ship, and had got within five or six hundred yards of her, when suddenly a big white bear came
out from behind some blocks of ice, and precious nigh gripped me. It wasn't no manner of use running from
him, so I just gave a shout to signalize the ship, and then faced the brute with my boat-hook. The bear reared
himself up on his hind legs, and made as though he'd knock me on the head with his big paws, like a cat does
a mouse; but I wasn't going to be sunk all standing without firing a shot, so I just gives him a drive in the belly
with the boat-hook, as a hint to sheer off. My shipmates by this time had sighted us, and two of them, armed
with guns, were coming to my assistance. I now began to make stern way, keeping my face to the bear, and
holding my boat-hook as a soger does his musket and bayonet. I don't know why the big brute didn't spring
on me, but he didn't; and I kept going astern, and he kept following of me close, until all of a sudden I tripped
up, and down I went.


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"The bear gives a bit of a growl, and I sees him rising again to pounce on me, when I hears some one hail
me by name close by, and the next minute up runs Captain Johnson with a double-barrelled rifle. He come right
up to us, bold as a lion, and just as the bear prepared to spring, he gives him both barrels, and down comes the
bear right on top of me, with a couple o' bullets in his head. And that, Master George, was, I think, the werry
narrowest shave as ever I did have But there's Madam Ransome coming' out of the gate, so you run off like a
good lad, and don't be keeping her waiting."




Demy 4to. Cloth Gilt, with Illustration on Cov:r. Price 5s.

Waro!p of grabefanb,

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