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Full text of "The highlands of central India : notes on their forests and wild tribes, natural history, and sports"


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|n Pemonam. 

Before the present volume was 



the press, the author, Captain James 


Bengal Staff Corps, late Settlement 


and Deputy Commissioner of 



Provinces, formerly Assistant 


vator and Acting Conservator of Forests, Central 

Provinces of India, died in London, 1st May, 

1871, aged 33. 






Physical description of the Central Highlands The Satpura Eange 
Early history of G6ndwan The Bajputs and their Bards Mixed 
Eaces Immigration of Hindus The Conquest by Akber Fate of the 
Aborigines Overthrow of the Gond Kings Arrival of the Marathas 
The Hill-tribes plunder the Low Country The Pindaris British 
conquest of the Country Improved Administration Eecent ignorance 
of the Interior of the Hills Constitution of the Central Provinces 
Energy of the New Administration Establishment of the Forest 
Department Exploration of the Hill Tracts Their Area and Character 
Settlement Operations Interesting Nature of the Country Its 
Aboriginal Population The Gonds Kolarian Eaces The Kols The 
Korkus The Bygas The Bheels Singular facts in Distribution of 
Organic Products Timber Trees Eelation to Geological Formations 
The Fauna Wild Buffalo Twelve-tined Deer Jungle-fowl Hog- 
deer Partridges Intrusion of Eastern Forms Early Destruction of 
the Forests The Sal The Teak Its usefulness Euin of the Teak 
Forests 1 



Start for the Mahadeo Hills Camp of an Explorer Travelling in Wild 
Eegions Capture of a Camel March down the Narbada Valley 
Gorge in the Eiver The Marble Eocks Colonies of Bees Fatal 
attack by a Swarm Their Ferocity Capture of the Honey Moon- 
light Pic-nics Crocodiles and Fish Shooting a Crocodile Cold 



Weather Marching Prosperity of the Country Description of Hindu 
Eaces in the Valley Abundance of Game Wild-fowl and Snipe 
Partridge and Quail Shooting- Adventure with a Snake The Black 
Antelope Methods of Stalking A Solitary Buck The Indian 
Gazelle Method of Shooting The Nilgai The Hunting Leopard 
The Wolf Man-killing Wolves Destruction of a Pair "Tinker" 
and the Wolf Wild Boars The People of the Narbada Valley 
Gond Labourers The Mhowa Tree Coal Mines Snipe Shooting- 
Hill Forts Jungle Clearings Forest Animals 34 



The Mahadeo Mountains Sacred Hills Ascent to Puchmurree Aspect 
of the Forest Park-like Scenery A Moist Night Solitary Snipe 
Description of the Plateau Fine Views The Denwa Valley The 
Andeh K6h Legends of the Place Ancient Eemains The Great 
Eavine The Sonbhadra Gorge The Great Eed Squirrel A Hill 
Chief Caprice of the Hill-men Their System of Tillage Destruction 
of the Forests Incursions of Wild Animals Gond Legend Dense 
Jungles Eestlessness of the Aborigines Their Precarious Livelihood 
Produce of the Jungles The Seeding of the Bamboo Scarcity in 
the Hills Bunjara Carriers Project a Forest Lodge Find Lime 
The Indian Bison His Habits and Eange Growth of his Horns A 
Grand Hunt Kill a Stag Sambar A Bull shot by the Thakur 
Power of the Bison A Hill Tiger -A Mother's Defence Description 
of Gonds and Korkus A Midnight Eevel The Wild Men are con- 
ciliated We teach them to Build and Plough The D6nwa Sal 
Forest The Twelve-tined Deer Jungle-fowl Spur-fowl Gazelles 
and Hares Fire-hunting by Night Bears and Panthers A trouble- 
some Panther Fox-hunting at Puchmurree Bison-Stalking A 
Brace of Bulls Tracking the Bison A Hard Day's Work Death 
of the Bull 81 



Interest of the Subject An Historical Parallel Influence of contact with 
Hinduism Mixed Eaces The Bajgonds The Korkus the Bhilalas 
Introduction of Caste Difficulties of Investigation Meagreness of 
Aboriginal Languages Gond Legends Eeligion of the Gonds 



Worship of Powers of Nature Fetishism Worship of Ancestors 
Demigods and Heroes Idol Worship Sivaism Eeligious Cere- 
monies The Great Spirit Eeligion of the Korkus Sun Worship 
Burial Customs of the Tribes Personal Appearance Marriage Cus- 
toms Economical Position of the Tribes Drunkenness Agricul- 
tural Position The Timber Trade Demoralization of the Tribes 
Eetribution Excise Laws Forest Regulations Improvement in 
the Condition of the Aborigines Effect of High Prices Culture of 
the Oil- seed Plant Influence of Hinduism Future of the Abori- 
gines Measures Eequired Hindoo Pilgrims to the Shrine of Maha- 
deo An Indian Fair Description of the Shrine The Eeligion of 
Sivaism Human Sacrifices Omkar Mandhatta Death of a Victim 
A Priestly Murder Cholera among the Pilgrims Panic and Flight 
The Scapegoat 133 



1. The Creation and Exile of the Gonds 2. The Coming of Lingo 3. The 
Deliverance of the Gonds 4. Subdivision into Tribes, and Worship 
of the Gond Deities 179 



The Trap Country Condition of the Teak Forests Other Timber Trees 
The Tapti Valley The Frankincense Tree Aspect of the Forests 
in the Trap Eegion Jungle Fires Ancient Settlements The Kor- 
kus of the Tapti Valley Difficulty of Exploration Wild Sports The 
Sambar Deer Its Habits and Food Death of the Bori Stag Horns 
of the Sambar Curious Occurrences in Shooting Incidents in Tiger 
Shooting Stalking the Sambar The Hatti Hills The Bheels A 
Bheel Fort Mahomedan Architecture Difficulty of finding Sambar 
Dhaotea Disappearance of the Sambar Eeturn to the Plains The 
Valley of the Vultures Eeturn to the Sambar Ground Shoot a Stag 
Miss another The Four-horned Antelope Bison Shooting The 
" Shrimp" and the " Skunk" Find a Herd Kill a Bull A 
Dangerous Position A Solitary Bull We miss the Water Another 
Bull Killed A Herd of Sambar Account of a Bag . . . .199 





Tiger-shooting in the Hot Weather Different Sorts of Tigers The Game- 
killer The Cattle-eater The Man-eater Haunts of the Tiger 
Destructiveness of Tigers Native Shikaris Beating for Tigers 
Shooting on Foot Shooting with an Elephant Difficulty of Finding 
Tigers Method of Hunting Search for information Viceregal 
Tiger-shooting A Tiger in a Tobacco-field The Hot "Weather Camp 
The Village Shikari Spying out the Land Nocturnal Life of Wild 
Animals Tyranny of the Tiger Tiger Tracks The Monkeys Inform 
Death of a Tiger Pranks of Juvenile Tigers The Monkeys Pre- 
varicate Almost too Close Singular Effect of a Shell An Abrupt 
Introduction A Man-eating Tigress The Monkeys are Eight 
Alarm Cries of Animals A Beef-eater slain Terrific Heat Size of 
Tigers Baits for Tigers Caste Objections Tiger Shikaris The 
"Lalla" He is Killed by a Tiger Eevenge What a Shikari 
should not be The Tiger in his Lair Trained Elephants Pur- 
chasing Elephants Their "Points" Selection of a Hunting Ele- 
phant A Man-killer Entering Elephants Elephantine Vices 
Keeping Elephants -A Bag of Tigers Eavages of a Man-eating Tiger 
Unfortunate Delay Denizens of a Mango Grove Sharp Treatment 
effects a Cure Start after the Man-eater Deserted Villages A Pil- 
grim Devoured Unsuccessful Hunt A Bait Proposed Another 
Victim On the Trail A Long Day's Work Eenew the Chace 
Exciting Sport An Elephant Killed by a Tiger Find the Man-eater 
He charges Home Blown up by a Shell Elephant Anecdote 
Destructiveness of Tigers Proposals for their Extermination What 
can be Done Get Jungle Fever Eeturn to Puchmurree A cool Cli- 
mate Completion of " Bison Lodge " Burst of the Monsoon Ad- 
vantages of Puchmurree Selected as a Sanitarium Eeturn to 
Jubbulpur 252 



Jubbulpur Transformed Effects of the Eailway along the Narbada A 
Station Shikari The Panther and the Leopard Dangers of Panther 
Hunting A Man-eating Panther Curious Legend Cunning of 
Panthers A Determined Charge Baits for the Panther A Hot- 
Weather Excursion Dance of the Peacocks Deer Shooting from 



a "Dug-out" The Spotted Deer An Interview with a Tiger The 
Monkey's Leap Immense Herd of Deer A Famous Tiger A Suc- 
cessful Beat A Midnight Intruder The Man-eater of Pouhri 
Ghostly Legend Coursing the Sambar Native Dogs The Wild Dog 
Bunjara Dogs The Black Bear A Family Charge Bear Shooting 
Large Python 314 



Head Streams of the Narbada The Mandla Plateau A Prairie Country 
Character of the Uplands Scenery Climate Scanty Population 
Gonds Bygas Their retired Habits Poisoned Arrows Courage 
of the Bygas Patriarchial Institutions A singular Eace The Byga 
Medicine Man Tiger Charming A pleasant Custom Byga Seers 
Eeligious Sentiments Destruction of Sal Trees The Dammer Eesin 
Traffic of the Bygas Character of the Sal Forests Forest Products 
Lac Dye Tusser Silk A Grazing Country Value of Cattle 
Prospects of the Country Its Eesources Causes of Backwardness 
Wanting Population Distance of Markets Malaria Advantages of 
the Tract for Settlers European Colonisation Field for Enterprise 
A Missionary Attempt Land Jobbing Prospects of Missions 
Wild Animals The Eed Deer Its Habits Variety of Game A 
Christmas Party Beating with Elephants A Tiger Shot Flying 
The Halon Valley A Mendicant killed by a Tiger Stalking the Eed 
Deer Kill a Stag A Eun at a Hind A Wild Elephant Singular 
Freak Eange of Wild Elephants Tigers Eoaring at Night A 
Bemarkable Serenade Large Herds of Eed Deer The Wild Buffalo 355 



Commanding Promontory The Source of the Narbada Sivite Legends 
Fine View A Long Exploration The Wild Buffalo Its Eange 
and Habits Criminal Trespass The Police called in We slay the 
Invader Toughness of the Buffalo Size of his Horns A Voyage 
down the Mahanadi The Country of the Khonds More Buffaloes 
A Feverish Eegion Buffalo Hunting on Horseback A Vicious Cow 
Upset by a Bull " Tinker " to the Eescue A Curious Sentinel 
Treed by Buffaloes The Enemy retires Danger of Buffalo Shooting 
A Cumbrous Trophy March for the Elephant Country A Decayed 



City An unfortunate Seizure Retire to Laafagarh A Hospitable 
Chief The Bygas again A Primitive Pipe An Amazing Spectacle 
The Elephant God Life at Laafagarh The Doctor discomfited 
Jungle Delicacies The Thakur's Yarns A Tiger Shot with an 
Arrow An Elephant Done to Death A " Loathly Worm " Wild 
Animals on the Hill An irksome Prison Make another Start A 
splendid Game Country A Herd of Elephants A Solitary Tusker 
Almost an Adventure A Villainous Termination Explore the 
Country Bhumia Trackers Fate of a Herd of Elephants A Vast 
Sal Forest The Way lost Beat out a Bhumia Habits of the Bhu- 
mias Aspect of the Country A Primitive Measure of Distance 
Haunts of the Buffaloes Capture of wild Elephants Coal Mea- 
sures Prospects of the Country The Plateau of Amarkantak A 
Terrible March End of the Exploration Effects of Exposure 
The Forest Question Utility of Forests Prospects of the Forests 
Central India as a Field for Sport Where to go Outfit Guns and 

-Conclusion 395 


Appendix A. Note on the Diseases of Elephants, and the Treatment of 
the Animal in Captivity B. Rules for the Sale and Lease of Waste 
Lands in the Central Provinces C. Useful Trees of the Forests of 
Central India D. Vocabulary of Local Terms E. Hints on the 
Preservation of Natural History Specimens . . . . .451 





Physical description of the Central Highlands The Satpura Range Early 
history of Gondwana The Rajputs and their bards Mixed races Immi- 
gration of Hindus The conquest by Akber Fate of the aborigines 
Overthrow of the Gond Kings Arrival of the Marathas The hill-tribes 
plunder the low country The Pindaris British conquest of the country 
Improved administration Recent ignorance of the interior of the hills 
Constitution of the Central Provinces Energy of .the new administration 
Establishment of the Forest Department Exploration of the hill tracts 
Their area and character Settlement operations Interesting nature of the 
country Its aboriginal population The Gonds Kolarian races The 
Kols The Korkus The By gas The Bheels Singular facts in distribution 
of organic products Timber trees Relation to geological formations 
The fauna Wild buffalo Twelve-tined deer Jungle-fowl Hog- deer 
Partridges Intrusion of Eastern forms Early destruction of the forests 
The Sal The Teak Its usefulness Ruin of the Teak forests. 

People commonly talk of the " hills" and the " plains" of 
India, meaning by the former the great Himalayan range, and 
by the latter all the rest of the country. The mightiest 
mountains of the earth are called nothing more than " hills ;" 
and popular geography has no name for the numerous excres- 
cences of mother earth which intersect the so-called region of 
" plains. " A range called the Nilgherries, in the south of the 
peninsula, approaching 9,000 feet in altitude, is known to a 
few beyond the limits of India as a resort of invalids, and a 
nursery for cinchonas ; but of lesser ranges than this, which 


would still be called mountains in any other country, the mass 
of " ordinary readers " has no cognizance. 

Much of this has really been owing to the unexplored and 
undescribed condition of such regions ; but something also to 
the overwhelming prominence of the great northern range, 
which rivets the attention of teachers of geography and their 
pupils, and also, from the exigencies of the art of chartography, 
renders it almost impossible to delineate on ordinary maps of 
India the features of inferior ranges. 

Yet in the very centre of India there exists a considerable 
region to which the term Highlands, which I have adopted for 
a title, is strictly applicable ; and in which are numerous 
peaks and ranges, for which the term " mountain" would, in any 
other country, be used. Several of the great rivers of India 
have their first sources in this elevated region, and pour their 
waters into the sea on either side of the peninsula to the 
north the Son commingling with the Ganges, to the east the 
Mahanadi, flowing independently to the Bay of Bengal, to the 
south some of the principal feeders of the Godavari, and to the 
west the Narbadd and the Tapti, taking parallel courses to the 
Arabian Gulf. If the reader will seek the head-waters of 
these rivers on the map, he will find the region I am about to 
describe. To be more precise, it lies on the 22nd parallel of 
north latitude, and between the 76th and 82nd of east longi- 
tude. It forms the central and culminating section of a ridge 
of elevated country which stretches across the peninsula, from 
near Calcutta to near Bombay, and separates Northern India, 
or Hindostan proper, from the Deccan, or country of the 
south. The traveller by the new Great Indian Peninsular 
Eailway from Bombay to Calcutta, after some 275 miles of his 
journey, will come to a point where the line branches into two. 
The northern branch leads him on up the Narbada valley, 


and so, by Alahabad and the Gangetic valley, to the City 
of Palaces. If he takes the southern branch instead, he will 
be landed at Nagpiir, a city in the very heart of India, and its 
present terminal station. Between these two branches lies a 
triangle of country in which is situated the western half of the 
highlands I speak of. From its western extremity, in the 
fork of these lines, the mountainous region extends eastwards 
for a distance of about 450 miles, with an average width of 
about 80 miles. 

The general level of what may be called the plains of 
Central India has here, by gradual, and to the traveller 
scarcely perceptible, steps, reached an altitude of about 1,000 
feet above the level of the sea ; and he will rise but little 
higher than this at any point on the lines of railway. So 
soon, however, as he leaves the railway, and proceeds a few 
miles towards the interior of the triangle, he will begin to come 
on ranges of hills, at first generally low, but in 'places attain- 
ing at once a height of about 1,000 feet from the plain ; and 
beyond them peaks and plateaux will present themselves evi- 
dently of much superior elevation. Valleys will everywhere 
be found penetrating the hills, by following which he may rise 
gradually to these higher regions ; and soon he will exchange 
the rich cultivation of the flat land through which the rail- 
way passes for unreclaimed waste and rugged forest-covered 

He will now find himself in a region where all is chaos to 
the unguided traveller ; where hill after hill of the same wild 
and undefined character are piled together ; where the streams 
appear to run in all directions at once; and it will not be 
until he has traversed the whole region, or closely studied a 
map, that some method will begin to evolve itself, and the 
geography become plain. He will find that at a height of 

B 2 


about 1,000 feet above the plain, that is of about 2,000 above 
the sea, the hills have a tendency to spread out in the form of 
plateaux ; some comprising the top of only one hill and a 
small area ; others like a group of many hills, which support, 
like buttresses, on their summits, large level or undulating 
plains. From these again he will find shooting up still higher, 
a good many other solitary flat-topped hills, reaching the 
height of nearly 3,500 feet; some of which in like manner 
unite into plateaux at about the same elevation. Yet higher 
than these, but never assuming the character of a plateau, he 
will see here and there a peak rising to nearly 5,000 feet above 
the sea. 

As is usual, the inhabitants of the hills themselves have no 
general name for the whole chain ; each individual hill or 
minor range being called by a local name derived from the 
nearest village, or the species of tree it bears, or a god, or a 
river, or some* other accidental circumstance. The Hindus of 
the plains have several terms for its different sections, calling 
the most easterly the Mykal, the centre the Mahddeo, and the 
western the Satpiira hills. Geographers have applied the 
name Satpiira to the entire range ; and the name is perhaps as 
appropriate as any which could be selected. 

The watershed of these mountains varies in direction in 
their several sections. In the extreme east the range termi- 
nates in a bluff promontory with a precipitous face to the 
south, throwing the whole of the drainage of a vast area 
towards the north. This is the cradle of the Narbada river, 
which soon leaves its parent hills, and flows through a wide 
valley of its own along the northern face of the range. In the 
centre the range culminates in the bold group of the MdM- 
deos, crowned by the Puchmurree peaks, throwing the drain- 
age almost equally to the north and south, the former into the 


Narbada and the latter into the Grodavari. The western sec- 
tion (the Satpiiras proper) is cleft in two by a deep valley, 
and drains inwards, forming the river Tapti, which, like the 
Narbada, flows for but a short part of its course within the 
hills before it leaves them altogether, and runs along their 
southern face to the sea. Such, however, is the tortuous for- 
mation of these mountains, that their streams frequently sur- 
prise one by turning short round in their courses, and making 
off towards the wrong river, as if they had suddenly changed 
their minds. The drainage of the great central MaMdeo 
block is a striking example of this. Two streams rise near its 
southern face, the Denwa* and the S6nbadra\ Both flow 
nearly south, away from the Narbada, for a short way, when 
the former turns to the east and the latter to the west. Pre- 
sently, however, they find two vast cracks in the range, 
and turn sharp to the north, passing through them to the 
northern face, where they unite and fall into the Narbada 
after all. 

This extensive region emerged from the outer darkness 
that shrouds the early history of such immense tracts in 
India only within the last three centuries. Before then we 
have nothing to grope by in the thick darkness but the will-o'- 
the-wisp lights of tradition, and the scarcely more reliable 
indications of a few ruinous remains and vague inscriptions. 
The aborigines have never possessed a written language, and 
the Hindu races, who have within the last few centuries 
peopled the valleys that surround and interpenetrate the hills, 
have allowed their literature to remain the monopoly of a 
priestly caste, whose very existence was bound up in the 
necessity of falsifying all history. Their only writings which 
wear even the remotest semblance of history the Mahd- 
bharat and Ramayan epics speak of all India south of the 


Jamn& as a vast wilderness inhabited by hostile demons and 
snakes. Eeligious hermits of the northern race are described 
as dwelling in leafy bowers in their midst, while heroes and 
demigods wandered about like knights-errant, protecting the 
devotees from their hostile acts, which seem more like the 
pranks of frisky monkeys than the actions of human beings. 
The snakes and demons have been conjectured, with some 
probability, to have been the black aborigines of the country, 
and the scenes of the epics to pourtray the gradual advance 
of the Aryan race and religion into their midst. The wander- 
ing Eajas are frequently described as allying themselves in 
marriage with the daughters of the potent demons, and so far 
the poems agree with what is otherwise shown to be probable. 
Nothing like a connected historical narrative is, however, to be 
extracted from the mass of Brahminical fiction ; and whatever 
value such materials may yield to the investigation of the 
history of the Aryan or conquering races, they are worth 
nothing as bearing on that of the wild men of the wilderness, 
who are throughout regarded as being as much beyond the 
pale of humanity as their country was beyond the Aryan 
pale the land of clearings and the black ante] ope. 

We have a few architectural remains and inscriptions that 
tell of Aryan chiefs holding power in parts of the Narbada 
valley and the central plateaux, between the 5th and the 1 4th 
centuries. But who and what they were, and what was 
really their position, their is nothing to show. Bemains of 
religious edifices surrounded by fortifications point to the 
probability of their having been the heads of isolated bands of 
the warlike caste, protecting settlements of missionary priests, 
and perhaps, by superior courage and arms, holding in nominal 
subjection the aboriginal tribes around them. Traditions exist 
of a pastoral race, to whom is attributed every ancient build- 


ing that cannot be otherwise accounted for. It is highly pro- 
bable that the cow was unknown to the aborigines before it 
was brought by their Aryan invaders. Tradition would 
probably fix on so striking a feature as the possession of herds 
by those early colonists ; and thus it does not seem necessary 
to suppose the existence of any peculiar pastoral people, dis- 
tinct from other Aryan settlers in these central regions. 

But what these early immigrants may really have been is 
unimportant. For, when first the light of true history breaks 
upon the country, at the period of its contact with the invad- 
ing Mahomedan in the 14th century, all of them had ceased 
to have any separate existence. Most probably they had been 
absorbed in the great mass of the aboriginal tribes who sur- 
rounded them : and we find the country then called by the 
name of G6ndwana\ from the tribe of G6nds who chiefly 
inhabited it. The petty tribal chieftainships, into which, there 
is reason to believe, it had formerly been divided, had then 
been united into three considerable principalities, under the 
sway of chiefs whom all the evidence we have proves to 
have been of mixed aboriginal and Hindu (Rajput) descent. 
Architectural remains, and the recorded condition of the 
country at the time mentioned, show that these little king- 
doms had acquired a considerable degree of stability and 
development ; and it has often been wondered how a tribe of 
such rude savages as the Gonds could have reached a stage of 
civilization at that early period so greatly above anything they 
have since shown themselves to be capable of. The explana- 
tion seems to lie in the circumstance mentioned. The real 
establishes of these courts, and introducers of the arts, were 
not Gonds but Hindus. 

It is the custom in all families which trace their lineage 
to the fountain-head of Hindu aristocracy among the Rajput 


clans of Eajasthan to retain, like the Celtic chieftains of our 
own country, family bards, whose duty it is to record in 
a genealogical volume, and recite on great occasions, the 
descent and family history of their patrons. The bardic 
office is hereditary, and where the lineage of the family is 
really ancient the bard is generally also a descendant of 
the bards of the original clan. Often he is the chief bard 
of the clan itself, and resides with its hereditary head at 
the family seat in Eajasthan, visiting at intervals the cadet 
branches of the house to record their domestic events. In 
G6ndwana* numerous chiefs now exist who claim either a pure 
descent from Edjpiit houses, or more frequently admit their 
remote origin to have sprung from a union between some 
Eajpiit adventurer of noble blood and one of the daughters of 
the aborigines. Few of them are admitted to be pure Eajpiits 
by the blue-blooded chiefs of Eajasthan ; but all have their 
bards and genealogies. These, like such documents in all 
countries, often go back to fabulous times, and are overlaid 
with modern fiction ; but the legendary portion of the bardic 
chronicle can generally be separated with little difficulty from 
a solid residue of probable fact. 

The general conclusion to be drawn from the evidence of 
these writings, supported as they are by tradition and later 
history, is that during the 1 4th and 1 5th centuries, and it may 
be even earlier, a great immigration of the Eajpiit clans took 
place into the country of the aborigines. The Mahomedan 
invaders of Upper India were then pressing hard on the 
country between the Ganges and the Narbada rivers occupied 
by the Eajpiits ; and it was doubtless the recoil from them that 
forced these colonies of Eajpiits southwards into the wilds 
of Central India. Here it would seem that they generally 
formed matrimonial alliances with the indigenous tribes. 


The superior qualities of the Aryan race would soon assert 
themselves among such inert races as these aborigines ; and 
there is little doubt that before the arrival of the Mahomedans, 
not only the heads of what have been termed the G<5nd king- 
doms, but also many of the subordinate chiefs, were far more 
Hindu than aboriginal in blood. The unfailing evidence of 
physical appearance supports these indications of tradi- 
tion. Most of the chiefs possess the tall well-proportioned 
figure and light complexion of the Hindu, but allied with 
more or less of the thickness of lip and animal type of 
countenance of the pure aborigine. The mass of the tribes 
on the other hand are marked by the black skin, short squat 
figure, and features of the negretto race of humanity. Between 
them are found certain sections of the tribes, who would seem 
to have been also imbued with something of the foreign blood, 
though in a less degree than the chiefs. Like the latter they 
affect much Hindu manners and customs ; and it is probable 
that they too are the result of some connection in long past 
times between immigrant Aryans and the indigenous tribes. 

The Hindu proclivities of the chiefs appear to have early 
led them to encourage the settlement in their domains of 
colonies of the industrious agricultural races who had already 
reclaimed the soil of Northern and Western India. But no 
very extensive arrival of these races would seem to have 
occurred previous to the establishment, early in the 17th 
century, of a strong Mahomedan government, under the 
great Akber, in the surrounding countries. The impetus 
given to the development and civilisation of the dark 
regions of India by the wise rule of that greatest of eastern 
administrators can never be over-rated. Before the absorption 
into his empire of the minor Hindu* and Mahomedan states, 
their history is one of a continuous lawlessness and strife : 


and the further we investigate, the more certainly we perceive 
that political order, the supremacy of law, sound principles of 
taxation, a wise land system, and almost every art of civilised 
government owe their birth to this enlightened ruler. His 
treatment of these unsettled wilds and their people was 
marked with the same political wisdom. While, in the sur- 
rounding countries, which had already been in a measure 
reclaimed by Hindi! races, he everywhere broke up the feudal 
system, under which strong government and permanent im- 
provement were impossible, he asked no more from the chiefs 
of these waste regions than nominal submission to his empire, 
and the preservation of the peace of the realm. Those on his 
borders he converted into a frontier police, and the rest he left 
to administer their country in their own fashion. Acknow- 
ledgment of his supremacy he insisted on however ; and in 
case of refusal sent his generals and armies who very soon 
convinced the barbarous chiefs of their powerlessness in his 
hands. The influence of his power and splendour rapidly 
extended itself over even this remote region. The chiefs 
became courtiers, accepted with pride imperial favours and 
titles, and in some cases were even converted to the fashion- 
able faith of Islam. 

A vast development of the resources of these central 
regions followed the coming of Akber. A great highway 
between Upper India and the Deccan was established through 
a gap in the Satpiira mountains. A vast city arose in the 
Tapti valley, which became the seat of government of the 
southern province of the empire. Armies marching to and 
fro, and the retinues of a great court, brought with them a 
demand, before unheard of, for the necessaries and the 
luxuries of life. The open country, under the rule of Akber 
was rapidly reclaimed by Hindu* immigrants, arriving simul- 


taneously from the north and from the west. Nor were they 
long in extending into the fat lands of the great valleys in 
the territories of the Gond princes. The reclamation of the 
heavy lands of the Narbada valley, and the country now 
known as the Berars, had probably been entirely beyond the 
resources of the aboriginal races. The immigrants brought 
with them the necessary energy and the necessary resources ; 
and from this time a process commenced which resulted in 
the wholesale deprivation of the indigenous races of their birth- 
right in the richest portions of their country, and the establish- 
ment therein of the arts of agriculture and commerce. 

The Gonds retired to the higher plateaux and slopes of the 
central hills, where their hunting instincts, and rude system 
of raising the coarse grains on which they subsist, could still 
find scope ; the more extensive plateaux were also soon 
invaded by the aggressive race, and their level black soils 
covered with crops of wheat and cotton. These elevated 
plains are surrounded by belts of rugged unculturable country 
which remained in the possession of the aborigines ; and thus 
ere long the tribes were not only surrounded but interpene- 
trated by large bodies of Hindiis. 

The Brahman priest accompanied the warlike Kajpiit and 
the industrious Hindu peasant to their new country ; and 
brought with him the worship of the Hindi! gods and the 
institution of caste. No separation from the holy mysteries 
of his faith was demanded from the immigrant. Not only 
was he persuaded that he was still under the protection of the 
old gods ; but the gods themselves, and all their belongings, 
were bodily borne into exile along with their votaries. New 
scriptures were revealed, in which the religious myths of the 
race were transplanted wholesale, and fitted to local names 
and places. The Narbada became more holy as a river than 


the Ganges. The mountain of Kail as, the fabled heaven of 
Siva beyond the snows of the Himalaya, jutted to heaven in 
the peaks of the Mahadeo range. Krishna and Eama passed 
their miraculous boyhood, and achieved their legendary feats, 
in these central forests, instead of in the groves of Matlrdra 
and the wilderness of Bindraban. Some remarks will be 
offered in another place on the social and religious influence 
of this contact with Hinduism of the aboriginal races who 
retired before the invaders. A few remained in the country 
occupied by the Hindiis, chiefly in the position of agricultural 
serfs, of watchers of the villages against the inroads of their 
wilder brethren or of wild beasts, of hewers of wood, pre- 
vented only by the rules of caste from being also their 
drawers of water. A social status was assigned them below 
that of all but the outcasts of the other race ; and they were 
compelled to segregate themselves in humble hovels, beyond 
the limits of the comfortable houses and homesteads of the 
superior castes. 

The semi-aboriginal principalities of Mandla Deogarh, and 
Kherla, which included the whole of this highland region, 
were thus permitted by the policy of successive Mahomedan 
rulers to maintain a little irksome feudatory position, until 
the Maratha power began to supplant that of the Moghuls in 
the latter part of the 18th century. Then the irrepressible 
hordes of the Deccan, having swallowed up the more settled 
dominions of the Moslem, began to overrun also the country 
of the G6nds. Before the close of the century the three 
kingdoms had been entirely broken up, and are heard of no 
more in history. They seem to have at no time been more 
than a feudal agglomeration of numerous petty chiefships ; 
and on the ruin of their heads they resolved themselves again 
into the same elements. The conquest of the Marathas 


assumed little of a practical character in the interior of the 
hills, the mountaineers continuing to wage against them a 
desultory warfare from their fastnesses. The present century 
broke with the commencement of that "time of trouble," 
when the leaders of the Maratha confederacy began to quarrel 
over their spoil, and entered on a deadly struggle for territory 
and power. The financial straits of the Maratha chiefs 
now led to wholesale disregard for all rights of property 
inconsistent with their demand of a rack-rent from every 
acre of the soil commanded by their troops. The hill-chiefs 
were now reft of the last of their possessions in the plains ; 
corrupt and overbearing farmers of the land-tax seizing on 
the last of their accessible resources. Then they took to the 
hills with their tribes, and turned their hands against the 
spoiler, till the name of G6nd and Bheel became synonymous 
with that of hill-robber. Whole tracts came to be distin- 
guished by the title of the " country of robbers." There is 
not a district in all that long frontier between hill and plain 
where tales are not still related of the sudden downswoop of 
bands of hillmen on the garnered harvest of the plains, of 
bloodshed, torture, and blazing villages, and of the sharp and 
savage retaliation of Maratha mercenaries. A little tributary 
of the Tapti river that comes down from the hills of Gavil- 
garh is still called the " stream of blood," from the massacre 
in its valley of a whole tribe of Nahals, man, woman, and 
child, by a body of Arabs in the service of Sindia ; and many 
similar tales have been related to me when travelling in the 
hills. Then, if not before, every pass in the hills was crowned 
by a fortified post of the mountain men, and every inhabited 
village of the plains by a wall of earthwork and a central 
keep. Then, too, arose the organised bands of mounted 
plunderers who have been called Pindaris Ishmaelites of 


these central regions, who, like the vulture, sallied forth from 
their fastnesses in some secluded wild to gorge on the prey 
struck down by a nobler hand. Thenceforth, for nearly 
twenty years, the hill-tribe3, Pindari plunderers, and lawless 
Maratha soldiery, with their daggers at each others throats, 
were unanimous only in robbing the husbandmen of the plains, 
who ploughed their fields by night with swords and match- 
locks tied to the shafts of their ploughs, or purchased peace 
by heavy payments of blackmail. Vast areas of the country 
that had been reclaimed by their industry were again aban- 
doned to the jungle and the wild beast ; and only round the 
walls of fortified villages, within which the people and their 
herds could retreat in time of need, was any tillage main- 
tained at all. 

In the year 1818 this unheard-of anarchy was terminated 
by our final success against the Marathas, and the extermina- 
tion of the Pindari bands. But we entered on the possession 
of our new territories to find them almost desolated by a 
quarter of a century of the utter absence of government, with 
the hill population frenzied by the excitement of a life of 
plunder, and branded with the character of " savage and in- 
tractable foresters." The Sagar and Narbada territories, as 
the northern half of the country was then called, were ac- 
quired by us in full sovereignty after this war. The southern 
portion remained nominally the territory of the feudatory 
Baja of Nagpur, but had long been under British administration 
when, in 1854, it too was annexed on failure of heirs. The 
Gavilgarh hills, in the extreme south-west, formed part of 
the Nizam's territory of Berar ; but that also has for many 
years been under British management. 

With the establishment of a strong government the hill- 
men soon proved how greatly they were maligned when 


described as " savage and intractable." Since they first came 
under our rule there has not been an outbreak among them 
of the least importance ; and, on the contrary, they have long 
since gained the character of being a remarkably submissive 
and law-abiding people. The chiefs were early secured in 
their feudatory position, with the full proprietorship of such 
territories, both in the hills and in the plains, as they could 
establish a title to ; and for many years they were left almost 
to themselves in the management of their internal affairs. Our 
early administrators were too fully occupied with the work of 
restoring prosperity in the open country to have much time 
to spare for the Gond and his wildernesses ; and thus we find 
that the interior of their country remained an almost unex- 
plored mystery up to a very recent period. 

Two and a half centuries ago the great Akber knew nothing 
of the G6nds but as a " people who tame lions so as to make 
them do anything they please, and about whom many won- 
derful stories are told;"* and within the last twenty years 
even they have been described as going naked, or clothed 
in leaves, living in trees, and practising cannibalism. "So 
lately as 1853, when the great trigonometrical survey of India 
had been at work for half a century, and the more detailed 
surveys for some thirty years, Sir Erskine Perry, addressing 
the Bombay branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, wrote, 
'At present the Gond wand highlands and jungles comprise 
such a large tract of unexplored country that they form quite 
an oasis in our maps. Captain Blunt's interesting journey in 
1795, from Benares to Rajamandri, gives us almost all the 
information we possess of many parts of the interior.' " | Till 

* Gladwin's ' Ayeen Akberee,' vol. ii. p. 59. 

t 'Introduction to the Central Provinces Gazetteer,' by Charles Grant, 
Esq., C.S. 


within a few years, " unexplored " was written across vast 
tracts in our best maps ; and, though lying at our very doors, 
unexplored in reality they were. With few exceptions, the 
civil officers of those days never dreamt of penetrating the 
hilly portions of their charges ; and the writer is acquainted 
with one district containing some 3000 square miles of forest 
country, and inhabited by between 30,000 and 40,000 abori- 
gines, in which one officer held charge for eleven years with- 
out once having put foot within this enormous territory. All 
accounts of such tracts were filtered through Hindii or Maho- 
medan subordinates, whose horror of a jungle, and its un- 
known terrors of bad air and water, wild beasts, and general 
discomfort, is such as to ensure their painting the country and 
its people in the blackest of colours. 

But a new era dawned on these dark regions, when the 
conscience of the British rulers of India was awakened to 
the wants of their great charge, after a rebellion which nearly 
ousted them from their seat. Along with many more im- 
portant provinces, this secluded region felt the benefit of the 
impulse then given to the administration of the empire. That 
great civiliser of nations the iron road was to be driven 
through the heart of its valleys ; and Manchester had pro- 
phetically fixed an eye on its black soil plains as a future 
field for cotton. Something stronger than the divided and 
limited agency of the several local officers who had been 
sitting still over its affairs was wanted for the guidance of a 
country and a people who possessed all the elements of a 
rapid progress. Accordingly, in 1861, were constituted what 
have since been known as the Central Provinces, under the 
chief commissionership of Mr. (now Sir Kichard) Temple, of 
the Bengal Civil Service. 

Then were seen strange sights in that unknown land ; when 


distant valleys and mountain gorges, that had heard no other 
sound than the woodman's axe, echoed to the horsehoofs of the 
tireless Chief, and his small knot of often weary followers ; 
when the solitary Gond or Byga, clearing his patch of millet 
on the remote hill-side, was astonished by the apparition, 
on some commanding hill-top, of that veritable " Govern- 
ment" (Sirkar) in the flesh, which to him and his for 
several generations had been an abstraction, represented, 
if by chance he ever visited the district head-quarters, by a 
" Saheb " in his shirt sleeves, sitting in a dingy office smoking 
a cheroot ! 

A Chief who thus, by dint of hard riding, insisted on seeing 
the requirements of the country for himself, was not long in 
perceiving that the highland centre of the province, with its 
extensive forests and mineral wealth, its limitless tracts cf 
unreclaimed waste and scanty half-wild population, and its 
great capabilities for the storage of precious water, was worthy 
of a principal share of attention. It had already been whis- 
pered by a few that its forests, calculated on by the projectors 
of the railway lines, then being constructed through the pro- 
vince, for their supply of timber, were likely to prove a broken 
reed, having been already exhausted by a long course of mis- 
management ; and one of the first steps taken was the organi- 
sation of a Forest Department, for the detailed examination 
and conservation of the timber-bearing tracts. An officer * 
who had already interested himself in the question, and had 
travelled extensively in these regions, and who was admirably 
fitted for the task by physical qualities, and the possession of 
that faculty of observation which is not to be attained by the 
labours of the study, was selected as superintendent of the 

* Captain G. F. Pearson, of the Madras Army, now Conservator in the N.W. 


new department. During the five succeeding years several 
officers, quorum unusfui, were unremittingly employed in the 
exploration of the 36,000 square miles which may be taken 
to be the area of the central hills, besides doing much to ex- 
amine an almost equally extensive tract of. low-lying forest in 
the south of the province. In later years the regular civil 
officers of the district, those employed in the land revenue 
settlement, surveyors, missionaries, and many others, have 
traversed many parts of these mountains ; and a great mass 
of information respecting their physical character and in- 
habitants has been accumulated, which, although of very 
unequal value, is yet a mine of useful ore from which much 
good metal may be extracted. Much of this has already been 
printed in the form of official Eeports ; and recently the 
cream of it has been abstracted into a Gazetteer of the Central 
Provinces, the Introduction to which, from the pen of Mr. 
Grant, late Secretary to the Chief Commissioner, is a resume 
of the history of the province, admirable for its conciseness 
and research. Good maps of all but the remotest tracts have 
also now been made available ; and statistical information of 
all sorts is annually prepared with much care and made public 
by the Government. 

My design, then, in thus venturing before the public, is not 
that of attempting to rival these most complete official docu- 
ments in accuracy or extent of information, but rather to pre- 
sent, in a more popular and accessible form, the lighter and 
more picturesque aspects of a country in which an increasingly 
large section of our countrymen may be expected to take an 
interest, now that two railways, carrying most of the pas- 
sengers between India and England, pass for several hundred 
miles within sight of the hills of Gondwana. Though most of 
what I shall have to say is founded on, or corroborated by, my 


own observation during many years of acquaintance with the 
region described, I shall not refuse to avail myself of well- 
authenticated material collected by others. 

The highland region is comprehended within eleven of the 
nineteen districts into which the province has been subdivided 
for administrative purposes. A portion of most of these dis- 
tricts lies also in the adjacent plains, either to the north or 
south of the hills, a judicious arrangement which combines in 
one jurisdiction the hill and the plain people who have deal- 
ings together. The total area of these districts is, in round 
numbers, 44,000 square miles, of which about 11,000 are 
under cultivation, and the remainder waste. Where such 
extensive mountains are included, it will not be surprising to 
find that of this large unreclaimed area, about 20,000 square 
miles are estimated to be wholly incapable of tillage, the 
remaining 13,000 being probably more or less fit for improve- 
ment. These figures are obtained by the returns of the 
department employed in what is called the " settlement of the 
land revenue." * 

Few readers will require to be told that in India the great 
mass of the land has always paid a tax to the Government 
(which is really of the nature of a rent-charge which had never 
been alienated by the original proprietor of all land the 
State) ; and in these provinces most of the hill-chiefs even 
were found, on the country coming into our hands, to be liable 
to the land tax, which in their case, however, was usually a 
very light one. During the times of anarchy which preceded 
our rule, the proper amount of this tax had become very un- 
certain, the assessment in fact having very much resolved 
itself into a struggle between the rulers and the ruled, " that 

* The writer served for three years as settlement officer of one of these dis- 
tricts, and can vouch for the general accuracy of the statistics. 

c 2 


they should take who have the power, and they should keep 
who can." It was also by no means clear in many cases from 
whom the tax should be demanded, rights of property in land 
having fallen greatly into abeyance during a period when to 
claim the proprietorship was to invite spoliation and oppres- 
sion. Our strong and equable rule so greatly encouraged the 
arts of peace that population soon began to press upon the 
immediately available land ; and this circumstance, together 
with the moderation arid certainty of our land taxation, soon 
bestowed on property in land a value which it had never 
before possessed. Eival claimants then began to bring forward 
conflicting, and often long-dormant, claims to possession ; and 
the courts established for the ordinary business of the country 
were soon swamped by the number and complexity of these 
cases. It was found, too, on inquiry, that there had never 
really existed any clearly recognised right of property, in our 
sense of the term, which would give the agricultural classes a 
real interest in the improvement of their lands, while many 
classes of persons had been allowed to exercise very undefined 
powers over the whole of this immense area of unreclaimed 
land. The culturable wastes were becoming much in demand 
by enterprising settlers, a demand which the shortly expected 
opening of the country by the railway promised to largely 
increase. Such operations were clogged by these uncertain 
claims, and thus the progress of the country was in danger. 
The forest question also became urgent, timber being required 
in large quantities by the railways, while a fear arose of the 
impending exhaustion of the whole forests of the country. 
Nothing could be effected in this direction either, until the 
question of title in these wastes should be determined. The 
Government then determined to appoint special officers for the 
settlement of all these matters in every district of the province ; 


and after ten years of hard work they have now been set at 
rest. Few persons can conceive the amount of personal 
labour, in the field and in the office, involved in the settlement 
of one of these districts. Every village and hamlet has to be 
visited, and every acre of land appraised and assessed; the 
title of every claimant to any interest in the land has to be 
investigated from the beginning of time ; and finally a minute 
and accurate record of the whole process has to be drawn up, 
to form the substantive law for the disposal of future cases in 
the civil and revenue courts of the district. The grand result, 
as affecting rights and interests in the land, was, that where 
any title which could be converted into a right of property 
was established, the freehold, bearing liability to the fixed 
Government rent-charge, was bestowed on the claimant ; while 
all land to which no such private title could be established was 
declared to be the unhampered property of the state. Most of 
the hill-chiefs were admitted to the full ownership of the 
whole of their enormous wastes, though certain restrictions as 
to the destruction of the forests have here (as in all civilised 
countries), been imposed on these proprietors. Thus the area 
which has remained to the State in these highlands is only 
about 14,500 square miles, of which about 9,500 are con- 
sidered to be culturable, and the rest barren waste. A por- 
tion of this area has been reserved from disposal to private 
persons, as State forest ; but in every district there is much 
good land available for sale or lease, under rules which will be 
found in an Appendix. 

Few parts of India present so great a range of interesting 
natural objects for investigation as this. Situated in the very 
centre of the peninsula, the ethnical, zoological, botanical, and 
even geological features of north and south, and of east and 
west, here meet and contrast themselves. As has been 


noticed above, two distinct streams of the so-called Indian 
Aryans, approaching from Northern and Western India, here 
meet and intermingle, differing considerably in appearance, in 
character, and in speech. Where the land has been suitable 
for their agricultural processes, the original dwellers of the 
land have been driven out to the central hills ; and there 
we find them in several tribes, which yield to the investi- 
gator points of connection with several branches of the human 

The total population of the tracts I have included in this 
sketch is about 4^ millions, of whom about 3^ millions are 
Aryans, and one million only belong to aboriginal races. 
The great majority of these (826,484) are the Gonds, who 
have given their name to the country, and who are distributed 
in greater or less density over the whole of the hilly portion of 
the tract. The infallible test of lano-ua^e shows that the 
Gonds belong to the same family of mankind as the Tamil- 
speaking Dravidians of Southern India.* In the extreme 
north-east of the tract, are found about 37,000 of the tribe 
known in the Bengal hill-tracts as Kols, a race closely allied 
to the Santals and other tribes of the north-east ; and in the 
very centre of these highlands, on the high plateaux of Puch- 
murree and Gavilgarh, surrounded and isolated by the Gonds, 
are found another race, called Kiirs or Korkiis, numbering 
about 44,000, whose language and general type are almost 
identical with these Kols and Santals, though they themselves 
are utterly unaware of the connection. All these Kolarian 
tribes differ radically in language from the Dra vidian Gonds ; 
and some connection has been traced between them and the 

* A supposed connection between the Gonds and the Brahuis, a Mahomedan 
tribe on the Sindh frontier, based on the correspondence of a few words in their 
languages, does not appear to bear the test of a closer examination. 


aboriginal races of countries lying to the east of India. 
Further to the east again, in the Mykal range, and like the 
Korkiis imbedded among the Gonds, is found a small body of 
about 18,000 Bygas, who have not yet been traced either to 
the Kolarian or the Dravidian stock. They present, from 
many circumstances to be afterwards noticed, the most curiour 
ethnical problem of all. Less raised above the condition of 
the mere hunting savage than any, and clinging to the most 
secluded solitudes, they have yet entirely lost all trace of their 
own language, and speak instead a rude dialect of the tongue 
of the Aryan immigrants. They present some points of 
affinity to the Bheels of Western India, of whom also, in the 
extreme west, some 20,000 are reckoned in this cauldron of 
peoples. The number of the aborigines is completed by about 
25,000 souls, forming the fag ends of tribes who have lost all 
semblance of distinct cohesion, without language or territory 
of their own. 

Which of these entirely distinct families are the autoch- 
thones of the land, or which of them first settled here, may 
possibly never be known. None of them have any relia- 
ble tradition of their arrival ; and no evidence, bearing on 
the subject, beyond what has been already mentioned, has 
been discovered. It is not within the scope of my present 
purpose to attempt any elaborate investigation into the eth- 
nical history or peculiarities of these tribes. The evidence 
yet recorded is too scanty to yield valuable results ; and such 
has been the admixture of their customs, religion, and lan- 
guage with those of the Hindus, that it is improbable now 
that much of their original distinctive peculiarity remains 
to be discovered. Yet there is much that is curious and 
interesting in their present condition, gradually being ab- 
sorbed as they are in the vast mixture of races composing 


modern Hinduism; and a grave problem remains unsolved 
in the question of our duty towards these races as a Govern- 
ment. What I have to say on these points will find a place 
further on. 

The region is also remarkable as forming the meeting ground 
of some forms of vegetable and animal life, which seem to 
be characteristic of North-eastern and South-western India. 
The principal forest-tree of upper India is the Sal (Shorea 
robusta), a tree whose habit it is to occupy, where it grows at 
all, the whole area, almost to the exclusion of others. It thus 
forms vast forests in the lower Himalaya, and covers also the 
greater portion of the hilly region to the south of the Gan- 
getic valley. From the latter tract it stretches along the table- 
land of the subdivision of Bengal called Chota Nagpiir, and 
thence extends into the Central Provinces in two great 
branches, separated by the open cleared plain of Chattisgarh. 
The southern branch reaches as far as the GodaVari river, and 
the northern embraces the eastern half of the highlands I have 
described, both branches ceasing almost exactly at the eightieth 
parallel of east longitude. To the west of this the charac- 
teristic and most valuable forest-tree is the Teak (Tectoria 
grandis), which is not found at all in Northern India, or 
Bengal, and but scantily in the Central Provinces to the east of 
80 longitude. The Teak- tree is, however, not so exclusive in 
its habit of growth as the Sal, appearing rather in the form of 
scattered clumps among other forms than as the sole occupant 
of large areas. 

Some explanation of this peculiar disposition of these two 
timber trees may perhaps be found in their habits of growth 
and relation to various soils. The Sal is a tree possessed of a 
remarkable power of propagating itself, shedding an enormous 
number of seeds, at a season (the commencement of the rains) 


when the usual jungle fires have ceased, and which sprout 
almost immediately on their reaching the ground. On the 
other hand, the Teak seeds after the rainy season, and the 
seeds themselves are covered by a hard shell, which must* 
be decomposed by long exposure to moisture and heat 
before they will germinate. This necessitates their exposure 
throughout one hot season, when the whole of the grass 
covering the ground below is burnt in the annual conflagra- 
tions. Thus a large per centage of the seeds of the Teak never 
germinate at all. It is clear then, that if these two species 
were growing together, on soil equally suitable for both, the 
Sal must possess an immense advantage in the " struggle for 
life " over the Teak. And if to this natural advantage be 
added an adventitious one, in the fact that the Teak is much 
more generally useful to man particularly to man in a 
primitive state as is really the case, there seems to be a 
sufficient reason why the Teak should disappear before its rival 
in tracts where the latter has obtained a footing and is equally 
suitable to the soil and climate. Now an examination of the 
tracts on which these trees are found in Central India shows 
that, while the Teak does not appear to shun any particular 
geological formation, it thrives best on the trap soils which 
predominate in the south and west of the province. But the 
Sal, on the other hand, clearly shuns the trap formation 
altogether. Not only is it unknown within the great trappean 
area to the west of the eightieth degree of longitude, but even 
to the east of that line, in its own peculiar region, it does not 
grow where isolated areas of the trap rocks are found. 
Further I believe that in no part of India where this tree 
grows is there any of the trap formation. With the exception 
only of this volcanic rock the Sal appears to thrive on any 
other formation, being equally, abundant within its own area, 


where primitive rocks, or sandstones, or lateritic beds pre- 
dominate. Thus I believe that the Sal, where the soil is suit- 
able, that is where there are no trap rocks, has exterminated the 
"Teak, of which it is a natural rival. In other parts of India, 
where the Teak does not meet with this rival, as in Malabar 
and Burma, it flourishes on the soils from which it is here 
excluded by the Sal. The general conclusion appears irresist- 
ible, but sharp contrasts perhaps best illustrate such peculi- 
arities. Many such might be mentioned, but two in par- 
ticular are very noticeable. Within the Sal region, in the hills 
immediately to the east of the town of Mandla, there is a 
considerable area covered by Teak, to the total exclusion of the 
Sal. The whole of this region is composed of a trap overflow ; 
and all around it, as soon as the granitic and lateritic forma- 
tions recommence, the Sal again entirely abolishes the Teak. 
Again, within the area of the trap and Teak, in the valley of 
the Denwa river, 150 miles west of the furthest limit of the 
general Sal region, is found a solitary isolated patch of the 
latter, occupying but a few square miles. Here the Sal grows 
on a sandstone formation. It is surrounded on three sides by 
trap rocks, and there it entirely ceases, and is supplanted by 
the Teak as the principal timber tree. But how to account 
for this small and unimportant outlier of the great Sal belt ? 
To maintain our theory, some link to connect them together 
should be found. I think that a hypothesis, much less 
extravagant than many which are introduced into such argu- 
ments, will do so. Towards the fourth side of the Sal patch 
in the Denwa valley lies the great open plain of the Narbada 
into which the sandstone formation extends, and passes on 
along with primitive rocks, and with little interruption from 
the trap, right up to the main body of the Sal forest at the 
head of the Narbada valley. The Sa], it is true, ceases in the 


open Narbada valley, but so does all forest, the country 
having been completely cleared and cultivated for many 
generations. It is not then a very violent assumption to 
suppose that the Sal forest at one time extended down 
the Narbada valley as far as the Denwa, and that, when the 
country was cleared, this little patch alone was left securely 
nestled under the cliffs of the Mahadeo range, in the secluded 
valley of the Denwa, into which there was no road even until 
within the last few years. 

These are strange facts. But it would be still more strange if 
a corresponding distribution of animal life could also be demon- 
strated. Something of the kind is really almost possible. 
Equally with the Sal tree, several prominent members of the 
Central Indian fauna belong peculiarly to the north-eastern 
parts of India. These are the wild buffalo (Bubalus Ami), the 
twelve-tined " swamp " deer (Rucervus Duvaucellii), and the 
red jungle-fowl (G alius f err ugineus). 'All these are plentiful 
within the area of the great Sal belt, but do not occur to the 
west of it, excepting in the Sell patch of the Denwd valley, 
where the two latter, though not the buffalo, again recur. In 
the Denwa valley there is but a solitary herd of the swamp 
deer, I believe ; the red jungle-fowl are not so numerous as 
the rival species, G. Sonneratii, which replaces it in the west 
and south of India ; and it is not surprising that the wild 
buffalo should have disappeared when his range had been 
reduced, by the clearance of the intermediate forest, to the 
narrow limits of this small valley. So large and prominent 
an animal requires a much larger range than deer and birds ; 
and there is no part of the surrounding country suitable for 
his habits until we reach the Sal tracts again, though very 
probably the extensive black soil plains of the Narbada valley 
were so before they were cleared. In corroboration of the 


probability of his formerly having extended further down the 
valley than at present, skulls and horns have been found in the 
upper gravels of the Narbada in no way differing, except in 
superior size, from those of the existing species. Their greater 
size is not surprising, as they are not larger than the horns 
still occasionally met with in Assam, where also the average 
size is stated to be now rapidly diminishing under the attacks 
of sportsmen. 

Two other large representatives of the eastern and western 
faunas, the wild elephant and the Asiatic lion, also appear to 
have formerly extended far into this region. In modern times, 
however, the advance of cultivation and the persecutions of 
the hunter have driven them both almost out of the country 
I am describing. The former, in the time of Akber (as is 
ascertained from Abul Fuzl's chronicles), ranged as far west 
as Asirgarh, but is now confined to the extreme east of the 
province. Sir Thomas Roe, ambassador from James I. to the 
Court of the Great Mogul, in the 17th century, speaks of 
the lion as being then common in the Narbada valley. It is 
now seldom heard of further east than Eajput^na ; although 
a solitary specimen sometimes appears in their old haunts 
further east. A lion was killed in the Sagar district in 1851, 
and another a few years ago only a few miles from the Jubbul- 
piir and Alahabad railway. The hog-deer (Axis porcinus), I 
have never met with in the west of the province, nor is it very 
numerous even in the east, though very common in the Sal 
tracts of Northern India. The black partridge (Francolinus 
vulgaris) of Northern India, does not extend into these pro- 
vinces at all, its place being taken by the painted partridge 
(F. pictus), a very closely allied species. The great imperial 
pigeon of Southern India does not, I think, cross the Narbada 
to the north, though not uncommon in the higher forests to 


the south of that river. Scientific research among the minor 
forms of animal and vegetable life (for which I have had 
neither the time nor the knowledge), may possibly elicit many 
confirmations of the law of distribution I have thus roughly 
stated from observations that have presented themselves to me 
as a forester and a sportsman. 

I need here only indicate another matter in connection 
with this subject. It has already been stated (p. 22) that 
a tribe called Korkus, closely connected with what is called 
the Kolarian stock, which is represented by the Kols and 
Santals of Bengal, is found embedded among the Gonds of 
these central hills. Now the commencement of the range of 
this tribe precisely agrees with the isolated patch of the Sal 
forest in the Denwa valley ; and their nearest relatives of the 
same stock are the Kols of the country to the north of Mandla, 
where the Sal forest again commences. Thus we have an 
outlier of the human tribes of Eastern India existing along 
with an outlier of its vegetable and animal forms, and the 
country between the whole three and their nearest con- 
geners occupied by other forms. It is a most singular 
coincidence ; and such must be my excuse for devoting 
so much of my space to what must be to many an un- 
interesting discussion. It is worthy, I think, of further 

I have said that at the time the Central Provinces were 
constituted little was accurately known regarding the forest 
resources of their vast waste regions. It had, indeed, been 
suspected that the projectors of the railways had over-Calcu- 
lated the possible supply ; but it was little guessed that the 
exhaustion had gone so far as really proved to be the case. 
In another place (p. 96) will be found an account of the 
system of cultivation of the hill-tribes, who had for centu- 


ries devastated the forests, by the cutting and burning of 
their best timber to form ashes to manure their wretched fields 
of half-wild grain. This was itself almost sufficient to have 
proved the ruin of the forests, but other causes had not been 
absent. The most valuable timbers for the railway and other 
useful purposes are the Teak and the Sal ; indeed no others 
have been found to be really lasting when subjected to the 
great and sudden variations of an Indian climate. The Teak 
tree is perhaps the most generally useful in the whole world. 
In combined strength, lightness, elasticity, and endurance 
there is none to compare with it. At the present day its 
uses cover a wider range than those of any other timber, 
from the handle of an axe in its native forests to the backing 
of an ironclad in the navy of England. But it is unfor- 
tunate also that it is the easiest of all timbers to fell, and 
makes better firewood and charcoal than any other. It is 
little wonder, then, that on it almost exclusively, where 
found, had fallen the weight of the people's requirements, 
ever since the country was first populated by civilised tribes. 
I have already said that it is a most difficult tree to repro- 
duce, the seeds being exposed to the extremities of clanger 
before they have the opportunity to germinate. The seed- 
lings also, with their great dried leaves like so many sheets 
of tinder, are more exposed to injury by fire than those of 
any other tree. Thus the Teak had everywhere been merci- 
lessly cut down, and had to struggle with the most adverse 
circumstances to maintain a footing at all. Over great tracts, 
where it probably once grew, it has been utterly exterminated, 
giving place to a " shoddy aristocracy " of such worthless 
species as the Boswellia, which no one would dream of cut- 
ting, and on which nature has bestowed all the indestructible 
vitality of a weed. The Teak has but one rare and valuable 


property, by means of which it has alone continued to sur- 
vive at all in many places. However much it may be cut and 
hacked, if the root only be left, it will continue to throw up 
a second growth of shoots, which grow in the course of a 
few years to the size of large poles. This is the sort of 
timber which was chiefly in demand for the small native 
houses before the introduction of our great public works ; and 
thus, perhaps, may be explained the apathy with which the 
native Governments witnessed the destruction of the forests 
of large timber. A further reference to this matter will be 
found further on. 

The Sal-tree, again, as I have explained, possesses a much 
stronger vitality as a species than the Teak ; though from its 
liability to heartshake, dry-rot, and boring by insects, as well 
as its want of all power (like most resinous trees) of throwing 
out coppice wood, the individual trees are much more perish- 
able than the Teak. It is also not so generally useful, par- 
ticularly for minor purposes, being hard to fell, of coarse 
grain, and making very inferior charcoal. It, however, yields 
a gum -resin valuable in commerce, and this alone has led to 
a very great destruction of the Sal forests {vide p. 364). 
Again, the Sal tracts were very inaccessible from the popu- 
lous regions, the nearest point where any great supply could 
be had for the railway being about 100 miles, by a bad 
land route. This distance has up to the present time 
proved an insurmountable obstacle to the general utilisation 
of the Sal timber on the railway works. The supply of this 
timber is almost inexhaustible ; and a stronger commentary 
on the commercial value of easy communications could not be 
found than this, that the railways have found it cheaper to im- 
port pine sleepers from Norway, and iron wood from Australia, 
than to carry the Sal timber growing within a hundred miles 


of their line * There is something wrong where this is the 
case ; and that something is the want . of a good road into 
the Sal regions from the railway at Jubbulpur, which road 
should have been made, for many other reasons besides this, 
long ago {vide pp. 376-7). 

So much for the Sal forests. As regards the Teak, the sup- 
ply available for railway uses had already been much reduced 
from the causes mentioned. A good deal was, however, still 
left in the remoter forests, where communications were not so 
easy ; and the forests, if properly taken in hand, might have 
yielded a steady supply of large timber for many years. But 
unfortunately the grave mistake was now made of announcing 
that after a certain time the forests would be brought under 
Government management and strictly conserved. This was 
the death-blow to the remainder of the Teak throughout the 
northern parts of the tract. The railway contractors, and 
numerous speculators, foreseeing the value that timber was 
likely to acquire, owing to railway operations and the closing 
of the forests, then went into the jungles with bags of rupees 
in their hands, and spread them broadcast among the wild 
tribes, with instructions to slay and spare not to fell every 
Teak tree larger than a sapling that they could find, and 
mark them with their peculiar mark. It was only too faith- 
fully done ; and scarcely anything that was accessible escaped 
the axe. Now came delay in the railway works, failure of 
the contractors, and want of money. The cut timber was 
abandoned wholesale where it lay. Teak wood is full of oil, 
and burns readily after lying for a short time. The jungle 
fires occurred as usual in the long dry grass where the logs 

* I would not be understood to say that no Sal timber has been used. A 
little has ; but it has always proved to be a losing speculation in its cost as com- 
pared with the imported material. 


were lying, and the great majority of them were burnt ! The 
exact amount of the destruction can never be known. For 
years afterwards, when exploring in the forests, we continued 
to come on the charred remains of multitudes of these 
slaughtered innocents, most of them being quite immature 
and unfit for felling at any time. All that were worth any- 
thing were saved by the Forest Department in after years, 
and the value even of these amounted to many lacs of rupees. 
They were not a hundredth part of those that were cut, which 
should probably be reckoned by millions rather than thousands. 
The injury done to the forests and to the country by this 
most mistaken measure may never be recovered ; certainly it 
cannot be recovered in less than two generations of the people's 
life. Such was one of the most material results of the utter 
ignorance of the administrative officers of that period regard- 
ing everything connected with the wilder portions of their 
charge. The mischief had been completed, and most of the 
timber speculators had bolted from their creditors, leaving 
their logs smoking in the forests, before the formation of the 
Central Provinces, and ere the Forest Department had entered 
on their labour of exploring and arranging for the protection 
of what was still worth looking after. Succeeding chapters will 
give some account of such of these explorations as the writer 
was engaged in, and of the penalties and pleasures that accom- 
panied the early investigations in these Central Indian forests. 



Start for the Mahadeo Hills Camp of an Explorer Travelling in Wild Re- 
gions Capture of a Camel March down the Narbadd Valley Gorge in 
the Eiver The Marble Eocks Colonies of Bees Fatal attack by a 
Swarm Their Ferocity Capture of the Honey Moonlight Pic-nics 
Crocodiles and Fish Shooting a Crocodile Cold Weather Marching 
Prosperity of the Country Description of Hindu Eaces in the Valley 
Abundance of Game Wild-fowl and Snipe Partridge and Quail Shoot- 
ing Adventure with a Snake The Black Antelope Methods of Stalking 
A Solitary Buck The Indian Gazelle Method of Shooting The Nilgai 
The Hunting Leopard The Wolf Man-killing Wolves Destruction of a 
Pair" Tinker" and the Wolf Wild Boars The People of the Narbada 
Valley Gond Labourers The Mhowa Tree Coal Mines Snipe Shoot- 
ing Hill Forts Junglo Clearings Forest Animals. 

Early in January, 1862, I received instructions to proceed 
to the Puchmurree (Pachmarhi) hills the lofty block I have 
described as crowning the Satpura range to the south of the 
Narbada river. There the centre of our operations in that 
extensive forest region was to be fixed ; a permanent forest 
lodge was to be built in the heart of the country of the Gonds 
and Korkus, whose interests we were to endeavour to unite 
with our own in the preservation of the remnants of the fine 
forests that clothed the slopes of their hills. The country to 
be explored was, as I have said, little known. But it was 
sufficiently ascertained that plenty of rough work was before 
us in overcoming the obstacles presented by the rugged nature 
of the land and its inhabitants. 

The organisation of such a camp as is admissible in such a 


wild country, occupies no great time. Since the return of 
my regiment to quarters a year or so before, I had been 
almost constantly out on detachment duty, or on shooting 
excursions ; and had added little to the modest properties I 
found myself possessed of at the close of some three years of 
camping out in the sub-Himalayan Terae, and subsequent 
hunting up of skulking rebels over the stony wastes of Bandel- 
kand. There are two ways of travelling in such tracts. The 
one is to take a full equipment of the large tents and their 
luxurious furnishings, which render marching about in India, 
under ordinary circumstances, so little attended by hardship, 
or even by inconvenience ; a corresponding train of servants 
and baggage animals ; and a small army of horse and foot as 
a protection. Such a camp will perhaps number from fifty to 
eighty men, and half that number of animals of sorts. An 
array like this may be allowable or even proper for the civil 
officer, who has the dignity of his office to maintain, while 
traversing slowly a populous and well-supplied district of the 
plains. But the hardship of such an infliction on scattered 
tribes of poor and resourceless aborigines is sometimes forcibly 
brought home to the invaders, by finding the country, as they 
advance, utterly deserted in their track. When I come to 
describe the extreme poverty in resource of these outlying 
tracts, this circumstance will perhaps be more easy to 

In my shooting excursions I had always marched with only 
a single small tent, about eight feet square, of the sort called 
a Pdl, which is composed of two or three thicknesses of com- 
mon double-thread country cloth, sewn together, and thrown 
over a ridge-pole on two uprights, all of the hollow (female) 
bamboo, which combines strength with lightness in the highest 
possible degree, It has no doors nor windows, but one of the 

D 2 


gable ends (so to speak) is slit up the middle and fitted with 
stout laces in case of storms. In ordinary weather this end is 
kept open to the breeze except at night, and such a tent 
really affords ample protection and accommodation to the 
traveller who has no heavy indoor business to do, unless per- 
haps in the extreme hot weather when no trees are available 
to pitch it under. It affords room enough for a light folding 
bedstead of bamboo, a cane stool, a small folding table, a brass 
basin and stand, and* your portmanteau and guns, which is 
all the furnishing that the mere sportsman or explorer should 
require. All this, with a good supply of such eatables and 
drinkables as are not to be had in the wilderness, will go on a 
good camel ; and such had been the extent of my personal 
requirements during many a rough expedition and hunting trip 
before the present march. On this occasion I added another 
tent twelve-feet square, for the servants and a few newly 
entertained native foresters who were to assist in my explora- 
tions ; and we were also furnished with a somewhat larger 
double-roofed tent by Government, which was to be pitched 
on the hill as a depot while the contemplated masonry lodge 
was being erected. To carry these additional impedimenta I 
entertained four or five of the rough little unshod and un- 
kempt country ponies, called tattoos hardy little villains, 
whom no amount of work can tire out of immediate readiness 
for a daily battle royal with teeth and heels the moment they 
are cast loose from their loads to graze. 

My own tent travelled as usual upon a camel. I don't 
think I would have ventured to take any other camel but 
" Junglee " into the country I was going to visit. Though 
the camel is far more at home in rough and difficult country 
than his ungainly-looking formation would lead one to sup- 
pose, there are many passes in the Mahadeo hills where these 


animals cannot carry their loads, and some where they could 
not proceed at all. But "Junglee"was a camel among 
camels. Of the low, stout, shaggy breed used by the Cabul 
merchants, who annually during the cold season hawk the 
dried fruits of their country over the plains of India, I had 
found and caught him running wild and ownerless among the 
hills along the Cane river in Bandelkand. When out shooting 
I was astonished to see him start out of a thicket, and flee 
like a deer over rocks and ravines ; and a rare chase we had 
Sepoys, camel men, and camp followers before we got 
him into a corner, and bound his sprawling legs and threaten- 
ing jaws with tent ropes, and led him away between a couple 
of tame loadsters, to have his nose rebored and be starved into 
a peaceful return to the uses of his race. He had probably 
been abandoned by some party of hard-pressed rebels, long 
enough before I saw him to have become perfectly at home in 
the jungles, and to have got into first-rate condition. A 
better beast to scramble over breakneck ground with a heavy 
load I never saw. Poor Junglee ! he afterwards ended his 
days under the paw of a tiger in the Betul forests during 
one of his periodical relapses into the life of freedom he had 
tasted in the wilds of Bandelkand. 

On the 11th of January, I bade adieu to the pretty little 
station of Jubbulpur (Jabalpur), and to my comrades of the 
gallant 25th Punjabees. I was really sorry to see the last of 
the jovial manly company of Sikhs who composed the regi- 
ment, one of the first of the force that rose on the ruins of the 
Bengal army in 1857. But soldiering in India, in time of 
peace, is truly one of the dreariest of occupations ; and I con- 
fess I was far from doleful at the prospect of quitting the 
bondage of parade routine for the free life of the forest ; and 
to think that- 11 - * * ". : r '. 


" No barbarous drums shall be my wakening rude ; 
The jungle cock shall crow my sweet reveille." 

For the first five marches (82 miles), my route lay down 
the open and well-cultivated valley of the Narbada\ In the 
first march I went off the highway to pay a last visit to a 
remarkable scene of beauty, a few miles to the south of the 
road. What visitor to Jubbulpiir can ever forget the Marble 
Eocks ! In any country, a mighty river pent up into a third 
of its width, and for a space of two miles or more boiling 
along deep and sullen between two sheer walls of pure white 
marble, a hundred feet in height, must form a scene of rare 
loveliness. But in a bustling, dusty, oriental land, the charm 
of coolness and quiet belonging to these pure cold rocks, and 
deep and blue and yet pellucid waters, is almost entrancing. 
The eye never wearies of the infinite variety of effect produced 
by the broken and reflected sunlight, now glancing from a 
pinnacle of snow-white marble reared against the deep blue of 
the sky as from a point of silver ; touching here and there 
with bright lights the prominences of the middle heights ; and 
again losing itself in the soft bluish greys of their recesses. 
Still lower down, the bases of the cliffs are almost lost in a 
hazy shadow, so that it is hard to tell at what point the rocks 
have melted into the water, from whose depths the same lights 
in inverse order are reflected as clear as above, but broken into 
a thousand quivering fragments in the swirl of the pool. 

Here and there the white saccharine limestone is seamed by 
veins of dark green or black volcanic rock ; a contrast which 
only enhances, like a setting of jet, the purity of the surround- 
ing marble. The visitor to these Marble Eocks is poled up 
through the gorge in a flat-bottomed punt as far as the " fall 
of smoke," where the Narbada makes her first plunge into the 
mighty rift ; and there is no difficulty in dreaming away the 

Gorge in the Narbada. The Marble Rocks. (From a photograph.) 


best part of a day in the contemplation of this marvellous * 
scene of beauty. 

The only drawback to the peaceful enjoyment of the scene 
is the presence of numerous colonies of bees, whose combs are 
to be seen attached to most of the jutting ledges of the rocks 
on the left bank. In cold weather these insects seem to be 
inoffensive ; but from about March to July, anything disturb- 
ing or irritating them is almost certain to bring them down in 
swarms on the offender. Their attack is of a most determined 
character ; and, not long before my present visit, had proved 
fatal to a gentleman named Boddington, an engineer employed 
in sounding the river for a projected crossing of the railway. 
It is believed that, on this occasion, the bees were roused by 
some of his companions above shooting at the blue rock 
pigeons that build in the cliffs, on which they attacked 
furiously this gentleman and a Mr. Armstrong, who were 
together in a boat below. After a while both gentlemen 
sought protection by taking to the water. His companion, 
by taking long dives under water, managed to elude the angry 
insects and hide in one of the few accessible clefts of the rock ; 
but poor Boddington, although also a practised swimmer, was 
never lost sight of by the exasperated creatures, and in the 
end was drowned and carried down the stream. He lies 
buried above the cliff, under a marble slab cut from the rock 
beneath which he met his death. 

The species of bee that frequents these rocks is, I believe, 
the common Bonhrd (Apis dorsata), which attaches its large 
pendent combs indiscriminately to such rocks and to the 
boughs of forest trees. There are two other species of bees 
common in Central India, both much smaller than the Bonhra, 

* A fiend in human shape has perpetrated a pun, in the visitor's book kept 
at the little rest-house above the cliff, which will here be sufficiently obvious. 


and neither of them inclined to act on the offensive. The 
Bonhra is of very common occurrence in many forest tracts ; 
and I have myself several times been attacked by them. If 
attacked, the only resource is to rush into the nearest thick 
bush, break off a leafy branch, and lay about with it wherever 
there is an opening. On one occasion, when marching in the 
Mandla district, my baggage animals and servants were 
attacked, and scattered in every direction. Many of the men 
and animals were so severely stung as to be laid up for several 
days ; and one of the baggage ponies, who could not get rid 
of his load, was killed on the spot. Our kit was flung about 
all over the jungle, and was not all collected for several days. 
On another occasion a valuable elephant was attacked, and 
driven away into the jungle ; and was so panic-stricken that 
she could not be recovered for days. I have heard of a large 
force of troops in the Mutiny days being routed, horse and 
foot, by a swarm of these terrible insects, in the neighbour- 
hood of Lucknow. The honey and wax of this and the other 
species of bee are regular articles of export from our forests. 
The people who engage in the business of taking them seem 
to possess not a little of the art of the bee-master ; but they 
usually resort to more forcible measures, and rob the combs 
after suffocating the tenants at night with the smoke of 
torches. Their richest harvests are got from cliffs like this 
on the Narbadd ; and some of their slender ladders of bamboo 
slips may usually be seen at the Marble Eocks, hanging from 
the edge of the cliffs over the abyss of water. The honey is 
inferior in quality to that of the domesticated bee of Europe ; 
and is sometimes even of a poisonous quality, owing to the 
bees having resorted to some noxious flower. It is easy to 
procure a comb by slicing it off the face of the rock with a 
rifle ball ; and I once had the gratification of thus operating 


on the colonies at the Marble Eocks, from a safe position on the 
opposite bank, sending several large comb-fulls to a watery 
grave in the depths below. 

The presence of these inhospitable bees renders it a matter 
for congratulation that the finest impression of the Marble 
Eocks is to be got " by the pale moonlight." The bees are 
then quite harmless ; and, if the scenery has then lost some- 
thing in brilliancy of contrast in its lights and shades, it has 
gained perhaps more in the mysteriousness and solemnity that 
well befit a spot seemingly created by Deity for an everlast- 
ing temple to himself. I am sorry to say that, in the old 
Jubbulpur days, we not unfrequently used to desecrate the 
sanctuary by unholy moonlight pic-nics, in which plenty of 
champagne, brass bands, and songs that were sometimes very 
much the reverse of hymns, bore the most prominent part. 
It was very jolly, though, like most things that are wrong. 

A spot so naturally remarkable as the Marble Eocks could 
not escape sanctification at the hands of the Brahmans. 
Nothing more completely refutes the accusation of want of 
taste for natural beauty, so often made against the Hindus, 
than their almost invariable selection of the most picturesque 
sites for their religious buildings. Many of the commonest 
legends of Hindu mythology have, as usual, been transplanted 
by the local priests to this neighbourhood. The monkey 
legions of Hanuman here leapt across the chasm on their 
way to Ceylon; and the celestial elephant of Indra left a 
mighty footprint in the white rock which is still exhibited to 
the devout pilgrim. Several picturesque temples dedicated 
to Siva" crown the cliff on the right bank ; and by the river's 
edge is a favourite ghdt for the launching of the bodies of 
devout Hindus into the waters of Mother Narbada\ A 
pleasure party to the rocks is apt to be not a little marred by 


a collision with one of these unsavoury objects in mid-stream. 
In India many a fair scene has its foul belongings and fell 
inhabitants ; and these lovely waters are polluted by ghoul- 
like turtles, monstrous fishes, and repulsive crocodiles, that 
batten on the ghastly provender thus provided for them by 
the pious Hindii. 

I believe the common Magar of the rivers and tanks of 
the Central Provinces is identical with that of Upper India 
(Crocodilus biporcatus). The other species of Indian croco- 
dile (Gavialis Gangeticus), the long-nosed Gavidl, is found 
in these provinces only in the Mahanadi river, which falls into 
the Bay of Bengal. The long still reaches of the Narbadd all 
contain a goodly complement of broad-snouted magars ; but, 
so far as I have observed, they do not attain in our rocky- 
bottomed rivers nearly to the dimensions I have seen in the 
slimy tributaries of the Ganges and Jamna\ Eight or nine feet 
in length I take to be here about the limit of themagar's growth. 
Nor have I ever heard an authentic case of an adult human 
being having been killed by a crocodile in our rivers. Small 
animals are frequently carried off, and children sometimes 
disappear from the ghats in a suspicious manner. A dog 
employed in retrieving wild fowl is almost certain to be sooner 
or later made a meal of by the saurian. The fall of a duck 
in his neighbourhood generally brings the reptile near the 
spot ; and many a shot bird thus disappears, as if by magic, 
before the eyes of the gunner. But he will prefer your plump 
retriever, should he see him nearing the duck as he comes up. 
A dear old spaniel of mine named " Quail," possessed of an 
uncontrollable " craze after the deuks," had so many narrow 
escapes of this sort that I never taught any of the four gene- 
rations of his descendants I have possessed to retrieve from 


Although our crocodiles are thus little noxious to life, and 
may even advance some claims to merit as scavengers, it is 
not in human nature to refrain from destroying so hideous a 
reptile when a chance occurs. There is a spot in the gorge of 
the Marble Rocks where such a chance is seldom wanting. A 
flat and slightly hollowed rock-shelf at the water's edge in- 
vites to noontide repose these unlovely monsters of the deep. 
Cold weather and a warm sun seem to be the most favourable 
conditions. The place is on the left bank, some quarter of a 
mile above the rest-house ; and is marked by the droppings of 
the brutes, and of the aquatic birds that invariably watch over 
their slumbers. If now, as midday approaches, you will take 
your rifle and cross over below the house, and get you round 
to where a cleft in the rocks commands the spot, and if the 
place has not recently been much disturbed, you will shortly 
perceive (if he is not there before you) the seeing and smelling 
apparatus of one or more of the reptiles floating slowly in 
from mid-stream, like two bungs out of a cask. Nothing 
but experience will enable you to distinguish them at this 
distance from the pieces of drift wood always floating down 
the stream, so marvellously does nature protect even the most 
loathsome of her productions. The crocodile approaches the 
projected scene of his siesta with immense caution. Long 
and keenly he reconnoitres it from a distance ; and if he has 
any suspicions he will sink and rise again and again during 
his approach. If not he will descend after the first good look, 
and then swim right in under water ; and the next thing you 
will see of him will be his rugged head lying on the ledge of 
rock below you, and a pair of fishy eyes slowly revolving in a 
last survey of the neighbourhood. This done, he will heave 
his huge bulk and serrated tail sideways out of the water, 
and lie extended along the edge, ready to " whammle " in again 


^on the slightest alarm. You will aim at him in the centre of 
the neck, just where it joins the head ; and if you then shoot 
plumb-centre, but not otherwise, he will never stir. A different 
shot might eventually perhaps be fatal ; but this alone will 
prevent his reaching the water and escaping, to float up in a 
day or two a sickening mass of corruption. Nothing possesses 
such a frightful, " ancient fish-like smell " as a crocodile that 
has been dead for even a few hours. You can seldom get near 
enough to one of these creatures in a boat to kill him with 
certainty ; and the only certain plans are to watch for them 
at noon as I have described, or to bait with a noisy puppy 
dog in the evening, at which time they appear to be most on 
the feed. 

Few things are more enjoyable than marching along during 
the cold season in a rich open country like the Narbada valley 
with a well appointed camp, and plenty of leisure to linger 
over the numerous objects of interest or amusement presented 
by such a tract. Very little of this sort of thing fell in the 
way of the forest officers of those days, however. Our work 
lay in the depths of distant forests, or at most in the half- re- 
claimed frontier belt lying between the hills and the plains, 
where timber transactions generally took place, and the chief 
dep6ts for forest produce had been established. When by 
chance our direct route from forest to forest led across such an 
open region, our movements were as rapid as man and beast 
could make them ; and at the earliest possible moment we 
hurried again from the face of civilization, like ghosts at cock- 
crow, to bury ourselves again in the depths of the wilderness. 
In after years, when employed in revenue work in a populous 
district, I saw the reverse of the picture. Marching by fair 
roads and easy stages, with a duplicate set of canvas houses 
(for such our large Indian tents really are), one of which goes 


on over-night and is pitched ready for your arrival in the 
morning, in the deep shade of some mango grove, near a 
populous village which supplies all your wants; starting after 
the morning cup of hot coffee to ride slowly along through green 
fields and grassy plains; and looking on the forest-covered hills 
on the blue horizon only as an agreeable vanishing point in 
the landscape, or as unpleasantly complicating the questions 
of liquor excise and police administration ! It is amazing 
what a difference the point of view makes. The man who 
has dwelt for years among the forests, and their simple wild 
inhabitants, will regard nearly every question that arises in a 
wholly different light from him whose experience has lain 
only among the corn fields of the plains, and their tame and 
settled tillers. And each of them will probably arrive at a 
conclusion as little comprehending the whole bearings of the 
question as the other. 

The climate of Central India in the cold season, that is, 
from November to March, is almost perfect for the life of 
combined outdoor exercise and indoor occupation which forms 
the healthiest sort of existence in India. The midday sun, if 
a little hot for hard work in the open air, is just sufficient 
to make the temperature under canvas delightful, while the 
mornings and evenings are cool and bracing, and the nights 
cold enough to make several blankets a necessity. In Janu- 
ary ice will generally be found on water that has been exposed 
all night. Nothing can in my opinion exceed the exhilarating 
effect of a march at such a season, with pleasant companions, 
through a country teeming with interest in its scenery, its 
people, and its natural productions, such as is this region of 
the Narbada valley. 

Of the history of the country and its people something has 
been given in the last chapter. The valley was not long ago 


not long, that is, in the history of countries, a hunting ground 
of the Gonds and other wild tribes who are now chiefly con- 
fined to the hills which surround it. At most it could have 
been but scantily patched by their rude tillage before the 
arrival of the Hindu races, who have cleared its forests, 
driven the wild elephant that roamed through them to the far 
east, and covered its black soil with an unbroken stretch of 
wheat cultivation that strikes every visitor with admiration. 
In less than three centuries this has been done ; and yet it is 
the custom to say that India is an unprogressive country, that 
she has been standing still since the beginning of history ! 
Everything shows that this country is still in its very youth. 
The people strong-limbed and healthy, rejoicing in the, rude 
abundance that falls to the lot of energetic races tilling an 
almost virgin soil. Tilling it roughly, it is true, getting from 
it nothing approaching to the quantity of produce extracted 
by the denser populations of long-reclaimed tracts from much 
inferior soils ; but still tilling it in the way which is the most 
profitable to a scanty population with a poor accumulation of 
wealth and stock. The example of all new countries with 
much available land, even when, as in America, all the 
resources of capital and machinery are available, shows that a 
comparatively rough culture of a large area is more remunera- 
tive than the higher tillage of a smaller area ; and this alone 
is the cause of the rude state of agriculture still observed in 
this and many other parts of India. This undoubted fact is 
however continually overlooked by those who declaim against 
the barbarous processes of Indian agriculture, or cry aloud for 
the imposition in these Central Provinces of a land-tax as 
heavy per acre as that received from the old countries in 
Northern and Western India. The time is probably -not far 
distant, now that this land-locked valley has been tapped by 


the iron road, when population will flow in from denser 
peopled regions ; and the " struggle for life," of which high 
land-rents are by some the much-wished-for result, will com- 
mence among its people ; probably leading to the high rate of 
produce per acre, the high rents, the enrichment of the few 
and the pauperization of the many, which are the peculiar 
happiness of " old countries." At present, plenty for all is 
the rule, poverty the very rare exception. Well-built houses, 
well-stocked cattle yards, and a general air of comfort and 
happiness, cannot fail to arrest the attention in Hindu 
villages. It is true that the people of the soil, those of the 
Gr6nds who have preferred to stay and serve a Hindi! master 
to a retreat to the hills, are poorly clad and housed, living 
like outcasts beyond the limits of the Hindii quarter ; but 
they too are at least sufficiently fed ; and nothing but their 
own innate apathy and vice prevents them from receiving a 
greater share of the surrounding plenty. This is a matter, 
however, which will come to be discussed further on. 

As the influence on the aborigines in the past, and at the 
present time, of their contact with these invading Hindi! races 
will afterwards form matter of consideration, it is important 
to understand of what material these Hindu races themselves 
are really composed. They have generally been comprehended 
in the category of " Aryan," as distinguished from the "Taura- 
nian" peoples who are believed to have preceded the fair- 
complexioned Aryan invaders from Upper Asia in the occupa- 
tion of Hindostan, and among whom are included the rem- 
nants of wild tribes still found in the hills. But it needs but 
little observation of these Hindu races to perceive that they 
themselves have long been subjected to some influence which 
has greatly modified the original high Aryan type a type 
which includes the noblest races of mankind ; the Caucasian 


of Europe, the Persian of high Asia, and the Sanscrit-speaking 
"fair-skinned" people who entered India from the north 
uncalculated ages ago. That influence cannot have been one 
of climate only, which would have affected all their descen- 
dants equally ; whereas we see existing the greatest range of 
diversity, from the light-coloured, noble-featured Brahman of 
the extreme north-west to the black and negro-like chamar or 
pariah of the east and south. Everything shows that the cause 
has been a mingling of the immigrant race with the inferior 
Tauranian tribes whom they found occupying the soil before 
them. To judge from physical appearance, few but the highest 
castes of Northern India can have any claim to purity of 
Aryan blood ; and the admixture of indigenous blood, as indi- 
cated by colour and feature, appears to be greater and greater 
the further we proceed from the seat of the original Aryan 
settlements in the north-west. It can scarcely be doubted then 
that the modern Hindus are a composite race, resulting from 
the absorption of a wave of Aryanism in a great ocean of 
peoples of a far inferior type, the type in fact represented by 
such of them as have still remained undiluted in their inac- 
cessible hills. The force of the wave diminished as it pro- 
ceeded ; and the gradations in the extent of its influence are 
now jso subtle that it is hard to say where the line should be 
drawn to denote a preponderance of the one element over 
the other. The difficulty is further increased by the circum- 
stance that the Aryan language, customs, and beliefs, appear to 
have been carried far beyond any perceptible influence of the 
Aryan blood, so that whole races who show little or nothing 
of the latter have become thoroughly imbued with the 

Not, however, without notable modification have the Aryan 
language, religion, and customs, thus permeated the masses of 


the inferior races. In language, while the tongue of the 
most northern high-caste races has changed from the classical 
SaDscrit scarcely more than was inevitable from the wear 
and tear of use through such long ages, that spoken by the 
masses of lower physical type has suffered so radical an 
alteration that a large proportion of its vocables, in some 
parts as much as half, are not traceable to Sanscrit at 
all ; while in Southern India, where the aboriginal type has 
been little modified, purely aboriginal languages, uncon- 
nected with Sanscrit, are still spoken. Still greater has been 
the effect on the Aryan religion of contact with these lower 
races. The gods of the primitive Aryans have almost dis- 
appeared from practical recognition. The backbone of the 
original system survives in its priesthood and ceremonial, just 
as the backbone of the language survives in the grammatical 
forms of the invaders. But, as the vocables of the tongue have 
frequently been adopted from the aborigines, so probably have 
the popular gods of the pantheon been largely drawn from 
aboriginal sources. No religious system possesses such facility 
for proselytizing as a polytheism ; and history shows that 
when two such systems meet, there is nothing to stand in 
the way of their coalescing but the rivalry of their priests. 
Here there probably was no such rivalry. To judge from 
those which remain, the aboriginal tribes had no regular 
priesthood, and no systematic mythology. They had only 
inchoate gods, without a history, and numerous as the natural 
objects whose forces they represented. And when the tribes 
accepted the Hindu priest and his ceremonial, the priest found 
no difficulty in admitting to his accommodating pantheon a 
sufficient number of these to satisfy the conscience of the 
aboriginal Pantheist. The leading deities in the existing 
Hindu pantheon, Siva and Vishnu, were wholly unknown 


to the early Aryans ; and even they themselves are at the 
present day scarcely worshipped at all, in their radical forms, 
by the great body of the people, but only in the form of 
mythological consorts and sons, and incarnations in many 
forms, most of which are probably adaptations of the gods and 
heroes of the races thus absorbed within the accommodating 
pale of Hinduism. Nor is this all. Even such secondary forms 
of the regular gods of the Brahmans receive but little of the 
real devotion of the people, which is paid rather to tribal and 
village deities, unheard of in recognised mythology, and to 
the Lares and Penates of the householder. And these, the 
Brahman priest, who is paid for his services, has no scruple 
in recognising as orthodox. Superficial inquirers have quoted 
Hinduism as a faith which cannot admit of a proselyte : but 
nothing could be more completely the reverse of the truth. 
Anything in the way of new gods may be brought by new 
worshippers within the pale of orthodoxy, provided only that 
they agree to accept the dominion of the Brahman priest, 
together with the caste rules and ceremonial by means of 
which he exercises his power. 

It was then with a race thus already modified, and with a 
social and religious system which had thus already engulfed 
the great mass of the indigenous nations of India, and which 
was still ready to absorb in a similar manner any number 
more of them, that the aborigines of Central India came in 
contact. What has been the result will be discussed in a 
future portion of this work. 

In a new country like this, few objects of antiquarian in- 
terest attract the attention of the traveller. Allusion has 
already been made to the traces of isolated settlements of 
Aryans in the country, who had all been swept away again, 
or had been absorbed in the indigenous element surrounding 


them, before the true history of the country opens; and a few 
shapeless ruins still remain to mark the sites of some of these 
settlements "in the unremembered ages." Generally, how- 
ever, even the religious edifices, which in the East seem to 
outlast all others, will be found to be of very modern date, 
and of little pretension to interest. They will frequently be 
met with standing on the embankment of some water tank, 
covered with the lotus in full bloom, and shaded by great 
trees of mango, tamarind, and fig. Very often the camp will 
be pitched alongside of them, for the sake of the fine shade ; 
and the wildfowl and snipe that frequent the tanks will pro- 
bably form an attraction, to the sportsman at least, superior 
to the allurements of such poor antiquities. 

Snipe and wildfowl begin to arrive in these central regions 
of India, voyaging from the frozen wilds of Central Asia, 
early in October; and, before the end- of November, every 
piece of water and swampy hollow affords its contingent to 
the gun. The common teal,* and the whistling teal,f are the 
most numerous as well as the first to make their appearance. 
The lovely blue- winged teal J is scarcely less common; and 
of larger ducks, the red-headed pochard, || the wigeon, the 
pintail,! and the gadwall,** are found throughout the winter 
on nearly every tank of tolerable size. On the main rivers, 
and on the larger reservoirs such as those of Bhandara and 
Lachora in Nimar, which, though owing their existence to the 
hand of man (the giants of past days, who knew the require- 
ments of India better than their successors), yet approach the 
dignity of lakes, many other species of wild fowl will be 
found, including that king of ducks the mallard, If the common 

* Querquedula crecca. Mareca penelope. 

t Dendrocygna awsuree. ^[ Dafila acuta. 

% Q. circia. ** Chandlelasmus streperus. 

|| Anthia ferina, ft Anas boschas. 

E 2 


grey goose,* and the black-backed goose, f The latter species 
is extremely common ; the others, which are much superior 
for the table, are comparatively infrequent. Numerous wad- 
ing birds, storks, herons, and cranes, haunt every pool and 
marsh. Few of these offer much temptation to the sports- 
man, except the Demoiselle crane, J generally known as the 
Coolen, which is much sought after, and is therefore difficult 
to approach. Few extensive wheat or gram fields in the 
Narbada valley will be found at this season without a flock 
of these delicious birds stalking across it in the morning and 
evening grazing on the young shoots. 

If encamped in the neighbourhood of a river or swamp, the 
traveller will probably be aroused at daybreak by the quaver- 
ing and sonorous call of the giant Sarus crane, a bird revered 
by the Hindus as a type of conjugal affection. They are 
nearly always seen in pairs, and, should one of them be shot 
by the ruthless gunner, the companion bird will return again 
and again to the spot, to hover and lament over its slain friend 
in a manner that generally prevails on the hardest hearted to 
grant immunity to the race for ever after. A contrast to this 
happy union of lovers is found by the Hindu in the Braminy 
ducks, || which also associate in pairs, but, by a cruel fate, are 
compelled to pass their nights on the opposite banks of a 
stream, wailing forth their unavailing love in the melancholy 
" Chukwa, chukwi," which few travellers by the rivers of India 
have failed to hear in the dusk of the evening. Their unfit- 
ness for the table, probably more than the Hindu adage against 
their slaughter, protects them from the gun. 

Of other winged game, the grey quail best of Indian 

* Anser cinereus. Grus antigone. 

t A. melanonotus. || Casarca rubila. 

X AntJtropoides virgo. 


game birds, in my opinion will be found in good numbers in 
most grain fields. I have never seen them here in such swarms 
as in some parts of upper India, where eighty or a hundred 
brace may be bagged in a day ; but the sport is none the 
worse for that. Twenty brace is a first-rate bag in Central 
India ; and generally the sportsman has to be contented with 
much less. The common grey partridge, which closely re- 
sembles in appearance the English bird, abounds in many 
places. It hugs the vicinity of villages, and feeds foully. I 
have seen a covey of them run out of the carcass of a dead 
camel, and speed across the plain like so many hares. These 
nasty habits, and its skulking nature, much belie its appear- 
ance as a bird of game. Far different is the gallant painted 
partridge,* which here takes the place of the black partridge f 
of upper India. I have seen the latter in Bandelkand ; but 
I am positive that it nowhere occurs in the Central Provinces. 
The appearance of the two species is so alike, and their habits 
are so identical, that assertions to the contrary have no doubt 
arisen from mistake. No game bird could afford more perfect 
shooting than the painted partridge. Of handsome plumage, 
and excellent on the table, his habits in the field admirably 
adapt him for the purposes of the gun. He frequents the 
outskirts of cultivation, in spots where bushes and grass- 
cover fringe the edge of a stream, for he seems to be very 
impatient of thirst. The proximity of some sort of jungle 
seems to be as necessary as the neighbourhood of crops. 
Morning and evening small coveys or pairs of them will 
be found out feeding in the stubble of the cut autumn 
crops, that latest reaped being the most likely find. On being- 
disturbed they seldom run farther than to the edge of the 
nearest cover, from which, on being flushed, they rise like 

* Francdlinus jpictua. -f- F. vulgaris. 


rockets, with a great whirr, straight up for twenty or thirty 
yards, and then sail away over the top of the cover to a dis- 
tance of a few hundred yards ; this time plumping into the 
middle of the cover, from which it is not so easy to raise them 
again. This beautiful bird is most common in the extreme 
west of the Central Provinces, and in good spots a bag of 
ten to fifteen brace to each gun may be made in Nimar 
and the Tapti valley. 

The most common way of shooting quail and partridges is 
by beating them out with a line of men; but it is a poor 
sport compared to shooting them over dogs. I have used both 
pointers and spaniels in this sport. The former secure the 
best of shooting in the early morning and late in the evening, 
while the birds are out of cover and the scent good, and four 
hours' shooting may thus be had in the day. But a team of 
lusty spaniels is, I think, on the whole preferable, as they are 
useful also for many sorts of cover shooting where pointers 
could not be worked. They also keep their health better, and 
degenerate less in breeding than any other imported dog, 
which is probably due to their descent from a race originated 
in a warm climate. They make the best of all companions, 
and are not so liable to "come to grief" in many ways as 
larger dogs. Fresh imported blood is however required, at 
least once in every two generations, to keep all English sport- 
ing dogs up to their best in India. The spaniels should either 
be large Clumbers, or of the heavy Sussex breed, as a small dog 
like a cocker cannot penetrate the jungle cover. The noble 
Clumber, otherwise faultless, has the fault for this particular 
purpose of giving no tongue on game : I commenced the breed, 
which I maintained for twelve years in India, with a strain 
of pure Clumber in the never-to-be-forgotten " Quail " a 
dog that for looks and quality surpassed anything of the breed 


I can now discover in England. All his descendants were 
more or less crossed witli Sussex or cocker blood ; but none of 
them ever gave tongue till the fourth generation, when symp- 
toms of it began to appear. On the whole, then, I think I 
would prefer the heavy Sussex breed. 

On one occasion the whole of my spaniels were very nearly 
being " wiped out " by one of a class of accidents that must 
be looked for in India. I was shooting quail in a grainfield 
near Jubbulpiir, with "Quail," "Snipe," "Nell," and "Jess," 
when on a sudden they all began to jump violently about, 
snapping at what seemed to me to be a large rat. But coming 
nearer I made out that it was a huge cobra, erect on his coil, 
and striking rioht and left at the dogs. I lost no time in 
pelting them off with clods of earth, and then cut the brute's 
head off with a charge of shot ; when I found that the snake 
had been in the act of swallowing a jat, of which the hind 
legs and tail were protruding from his jaws, so that his re- 
peated lunges at the dogs had fortunately been harmless. All 
these spaniels were famous ratters, and had no doubt been 
attracted by the cobra's mouthful, for they generally had, like 
all dogs of any experience in India, a wholesome dread of the 
snake tribe. I never lost any of these dogs by an accident, 
though exposed to all the dangers of panthers, hyenas, wolves, 
snakes, and crocodiles ; and all of them lived to a good age, 
in excellent health. As with men, English dogs keep healthy 
enough if properly treated in accordance with the climate. 

Of larger game, the principal animal met with in the settled 
parts is the black antelope,* which has probably followed the 
clearings made by the immigrant races. The aversion of this 
animal to thick uncleared jungle has made it, in the Hindu 
sacred literature, a type of the Aryan pale, of the land fitted 

* Antelope cervicapra* 


for the occupation of the fair-skinned races ; and the appro- 
priate seat of the devotee is still upon its black and white skin. 
It is too well known to require any minute description. Suffice 
it to say, that not even in Africa the land of antelopes is 
there any species which surpasses the " black buck " in love- 
liness or grace. In Central India, although this antelope 
attains the full size of body, the horns of the buck (the female 
is hornless and of a fawn colour) rarely exceed a length of 22 
inches. I have shot one with horns 24-^ inches, and seen a 
pair that measured 26 inches. The longest horns are probably 
attained in Giijerat, and about Bhurtpur in Northern India. 
In all the corn districts of Central India it is found in con- 
siderable herds, and does much damage to the young crops. 
I have seen herds in the Sagar country, immediately after 
the mutiny of 1857, when they were little molested, which 
must have numbered a thousand or more individuals. A 
tolerable shot could at that time kill almost any number he 
chose. In most cultivated districts, tracts of the poorer land 
are kept under grass for cattle-grazing, &c, and these pre- 
serves are generally the favourite mid-day resorts and the 
breeding-grounds of the antelopes. Thence in the evening 
they troop out in squadrons on to the cultivated lands in the 
vicinity ; and all the night long continue grazing on the tender 
wheat shoots, returning in the grey of the morning to their 
safe retreat. Many will, however, remain in the fields the 
whole day, sleeping and grazing at intervals, unless driven off 
by the cultivators. In such places the voices of the watchers 
in the fields will be heard in the still night shouting continu- 
ously at the antelopes ; but they seldom succeed in effecting 
more than to move them about from field to field, doing more 
damage probably than if they were left alone, for a buck killed 
in the morning will always be found filled nearly to bursting 


with tlie green food. Although many of them are shot by the 
village shikaris at night, and more snared and netted by the 
professional hunters called Pardis (who use a trained bullock 
in stalking round the herds to screen their movements), the 
resources of the natives are altogether insufficient, in a country 
favourable to them, to keep down the numbers of these prolific 
and wary creatures ; and it is a perfect godsend to them when 
the European sportsman hits on their neighbourhood as a 

There are many ways of circumventing them. Living quite 
in the open, they rely principally on the sense of sight for 
protection, although at times warned also by their power of 
smell.. One way is to drive up to them in one of the bullock 
carts commonly used in agriculture. The native shikari often 
gets near tbem by creeping up behind a screen of leaves which 
he works before him. Where they have not been much ha- 
rassed the European sportsman, in sad- coloured garments, can 
usually stalk in on them when passing between the grass 
plains and the crops. In the very early morning, if a station 
be taken up in their usual route, they are nearly sure to come 
within shot, the grunting of the bucks warning the sportsman 
of their approach some time before they emerge from the dark- 
ness. One of the most successful and interesting plans is to 
ride a steady shooting horse nearly up to the herd. When 
within say four hundred yards, slip off and walk on the off 
side of the horse in such a direction as will lead past the herd 
within shot, if possible on the down-wind side. If they have 
been so shot at in this way as to be shy of the horse, take a 
groom and pass them further off; and when a convenient 
bush or hillock intervenes drop behind, and let the man lead 
the horse on, passing well clear of the herd. They will pro- 
bably be so intent on watching them out of the way, that you 


will generally be able to creep in on them without much diffi- 
culty. Shots at antelope in populous districts are seldom got 
much under 150 yards now-a-clays, which is however near 
enough for modern rifles to make sure work. One great advan- 
tage of employing a horse in stalking is that it will often 
enable you to follow and spear a wounded buck which might 
otherwise escape. If you have a brace of good greyhounds in 
the distance ready to slip, the chances will be still better. A 
wounded buck often gives a beautiful run with greyhounds, 
which have never been known to catch' an untouched and per- 
fect antelope on fair hard ground, though under conditions 
unduly favourable to the dogs they have sometimes done so. A 
shooting horse, like several which I have possessed, who is quite 
steady under fire, does not need to be tied, and will come to 
call, is a perfect treasure for many sorts of sport in India. As 
in all good qualities, the Arab is the most likely to develope 
such a character ; but most horses are capable of being taught 
something of the business. Should neither horse nor hounds 
be at hand, a wounded buck should not be followed, up too 
quickly. If left to himself he will probably lie down in the 
first cover he comes to ; and by watching the line he takes you 
may often follow up and secure him. 

In upper India they are frequently shot by approaching 
them on a riding camel. The more bells and gay trappings 
he has on him the better, as the antelope on this plan fall 
victims to their curiosity and amazement. I brought down 
to Central India with me a trained camel, with which I had 
thus bewildered many an antelope into rifle distance ; but 
after getting some dangerous tumbles owing to the yawning 
cracks that form in the black soil in these provinces after 
the rains, I had to abandon the camel as a shooting vehicle. 
As a sport antelope-shooting palls upon the taste. There is too 


much of it, and it lacks variety. So I should think also 
would be the case with much of the African sport we read of. 
To the beginner in Indian sport, however, there is no pursuit 
more fascinating. The game being nearly always within 
sight, the excitement is maintained throughout the day's 
sport. Simple as it seems, it takes a good man and a good 
rifle to make much of a bag when the antelope have been 
much disturbed. The old hand is apt to smile at the 
enthusiasm of the "griff" when he dilates on the glories of 
antelope-stalking ; but the time was when he too passed 
through the stage at which the acquisition of a particular long 
spiral pair of horns was more to him than the wealth of all 
the Indies, and when nothing impressed him so profoundly 
with the vanity of all human affairs as the miss of " a few 
inches" under or over, which so frequently terminated the 
weary stalk. Perhaps I may be allowed to quote a descrip- 
tion of the pursuit of a master buck, written many years ago, 
when I myself was in the throes of the " buck fever." 

" I had frequently seen in my rambles over the antelope 
plains a more than ordinarily magnificent coal-black buck. 
I had watched him for hours through my ' Dollond/ but my 
most laborious attempts to reach him by stalking had as yet 
proved futile. His horns were perfection, of great size, well 
set on, twisted and knotted like the gnarled branch of an 
old oak tree. As the sun glanced on his sable coat, it shone 
like that of a racehorse fit to run for the Two Thousand 
Guinea stakes in fact, he was the beau ideal of a perfect 
black buck. Of course, the more difficult the task appeared, 
the more determined was I that these superb horns should be 
mine, and that in future I would disregard every buck except 
the one. He was constantly attended by two does, to whom 
he confidently entrusted the duty of watching over his per- 


sonal safety and faithful sentinels they were. They seemed 
to relieve each other with the precision of sentries, and clever 
indeed would be the stalker who could approach within many 
hundred paces ere the warning hiss of the watchful doe 
aroused the grand signior from his siesta. It was then grand 
to see the majestic air of the buck, as, after stretching his 
graceful limbs, he slowly paced towards the object of his sus- 
picion, still too far distant to cause him any alarm. Now he 
stops, and, tossing his nostrils in the air, snuffs the breeze 
that might convey to his delicate sense the human taint. Now 
he lazily crops a blade or two of grass, or scientifically whisks 
a fly from his glossy haunch with the tip of his horn ; anon 
he saunters up to one of his partners, and seems to take 
counsel regarding the state of affairs. Again, as some move- 
ment of the distant figure catches his eye, his sudden wheel 
and prolonged gaze show that, despite his careless mien, not 
for a moment has he lost sight of his well-known foe. But 
soon the does begin to take real alarm ; and after fidgeting 
round their lord, as if to apprise him of the full extent of the 
danger, trot off together towards some other haunt. Now 
they halt a moment, and look round appealingly to the buck, 
and again with feigned consternation start off at a gallop, 
every now and then taking imaginary ten-barred gates in 
their stride. At last the buck, after remaining behind a 
decent time to maintain his character for superior courage, 
follows them at a pace that mocks the efforts of every animal 
on the face of the earth but one the hunting leopard. 

" Such was the invariable result of my best efforts for up- 
wards of a week. I would not risk a long shot, as it might 
drive him for ever from that part of the country. His 
favourite haunt was a wide grassy plain, intersected here and 
there by dry watercourses, up which I had many a weary 


crawl, ventre d terre. I soon found out his usual feeding and 
drinking places ; and observed that to reach the latter he 
almost daily crossed a deepish dry nullah about the same 
place. This struck me as affording the means of circumvent- 
ing him, so I took up my position in the nullah ; but as luck 
would have it my buck took his water in some other direction 
for the next two days. Many other herds of antelope con- 
stantly passed within easy shot of where I was ensconced ; but 
not until I was almost giving up hope on the third day, and 
was taking a last sweep of the plain with my binocular, did 
the well-known form of the master buck greet my vision, as 
he slowly wound his way with his two inseparable companions 
towards the pool to which he had watched so many of his 
species passing and re-passing in safety. 

" The wind was favourable, and the buck came steadily on 
till he arrived within a long rifle shot of. where I was posted. 
Here he suddenly threw up his head, and, after standing at 
gaze for a few moments, turned sharp to the left and started 
off at a canter for a pass in the nullah, about a quarter of a 
mile from where I was ; I knew he could neither have seen nor 
smelt me, and was at a loss to account for his sudden panic 
till, on turning round in disgust, there was the cause behind 
me, in the shape of a small parcel of does, which had 
evidently been returning from the water, but, having dis- 
covered my unprotected rear, were now pulled up in a body, 
and staring at me with an air which had telegraphed the state 
of affairs to the old buck in an unmistakable manner. I felt 
very much inclined to sacrifice one of the inquisitive does to 
my just wrath, but preferred the chance of a running shot at 
the buck ; so off I started at a crouching run (somewhat try- 
ing to the small of the back) up the bed of the nullah, in 
the hopes that the buck might have pulled up ere he crossed, 


and would still afford me a shot. Nor was I mistaken, for, 
on turning a bend of the tortuous nullah, there he stood 
broadside on, in all his magnificence, not eighty yards from 
my rifle ; but, alas ! who could shoot after a run, almost on 
all fours, of some 500 yards or so ? When I attempted to 
bring the fine sight to bear on his shoulder, my hand trembled 
like an aspen leaf, and the sight described figures of eight 
all over his body. There was no help for it, however : he was 
moving away, and I might never have such another chance. 
So, almost in despair, I fired. I was not surprised to see the 
ball raise the dust a hundred yards or so on his further side, 
and with a tremendous bound of, I fear to say how many 
yards, straight in the air, away went the buck like an arrow 
from the bow. In for a penny, in for a pound ! once fired at, 
I might as well have the other shot ; so stepping from my 
cramped position, I held my breath as I tried to cover his 
fleeting figure with the second barrel. He had gained at least 
150 yards ere I touched the trigger, but the ball sped true, 
and over rolled the buck in a cloud of dust. Short was my 
triumph, however, for ere I had well taken the rifle from my 
shoulder he had regained his feet, and was off with hardly 
diminished speed. It is very rare that an antelope thus sud- 
denly rolled over does not succeed in regaining his legs. 
Their vital power is immense, and nothing but a brain shot 
or broken spine will tumble them over for good on the spot. 
When shot in the heart they generally run some fifty yards 
and then fall dead, and I much prefer to see an antelope go 
off thus, with the peculiar gait well known to experienced 
shots as the forerunner of a speedy dissolution, than to see 
even the prettiest somersault follow the striking of the ball. 

" In the present instance I watched the antelope almost to 
the verge of the horizon. Now and then he slackened his 


pace for a few seconds, and looked round at his wounded 
flanks, and then, as if remembering that he had not yet put 
sufficient distance between him and the fatal spot, he would 
again start forward with renewed energy. The two does, 
as is generally the case when the buck is wounded, had 
gone off in a different direction ; and were now standing on 
the plain, a few hundred paces from where I stood, gazing 
wistfully from me to their wounded lord. Such are the scenes 
that touch the heart of even the hardest deer-stalker, and for 
a moment I almost wished my right hand had been cut off 
ere I pulled trigger on this the loveliest of God's creatures. 

" When he dwindled before the naked eye till he seemed 
as a black speck on the far horizon, I still continued to watch 
him through my glass, in the hope that he might lie down 
when he thought himself concealed, in which case I might 
steal in and end his troubles by another shot. Suddenly I 
saw him swerve from his course, and start off in another 
direction at full speed. Almost at the same instant a puff 
of smoke issued from a small bush on the plain the buck 
staggered and fell, and many seconds afterwards, the faint 
report of a gunshot reached my ears." 

The person who came to my aid in so timely a fashion 
was a native sportsman, whom I then saw for the first time. 
He was more like the professional hunter, of the American 
backwoods than any other native of India I have ever met. 
His short trousers and hunting-shirt of Mhowa green dis- 
played sinewy limbs and throat of a clear red brown, little 
darker than the colour of a sun-burnt European. An upright 
carriage and light springy step marked him out as a roamer 
of the forests from youth upwards ; and the English double- 
barrelled gun, and workman-like appointments of yellow 
sambar leather, looked like the genuine sportsman I soon 


found him to be. Many a glorious day did I afterwards pass 
with him in the pursuit of nobler game than black bucks. 

' The chikdrd, or Indian gazelle,* is another antelope very 
common in Central India. It is called often the " ravine 
deer " by sportsmen ; and, as regards the first part of the 
name, is so far well denoted. Its favourite haunts are the 
banks of the shallow ravines that often intersect the plain 
country in the neighbourhood of rivers, and seam the slopes 
of the higher eminences rising out of the great central table- 
land. These are generally thinly clothed with low thorny 
bushes, on the young shoots and pods of which it browses like 
the domestic goat. Of course it is wrong to call it a " deer," 
which term properly belongs only to the solid-horned Cervidce. 
Considerably smaller than the black antelope, the gazelle also 
differs much from it in habits. It prefers low jungle to the 
open plain ; and trusts more to its watchfulness and activity 
than to speed, which however it also possesses in a high 
degree. It is very rare to catch a gazelle, or still more a herd 
of them, off their guard; and it is surprising how, on the 
least alarm, the little creatures manage to disappear as if. by 
magic. They have probably just hopped into the bottom of a 
ravine, sped along it like lightning for about a hundred yards, 
and are regarding you, intent and motionless, from behind the 
straggling bushes on the next rising ground. Should you 
follow them up they will probably repeat the same manoeuvre, 
but this time putting three or four ravines between you and 
them instead of one. They also resort to the cultivation to 
feed, though not so regularly as the black antelope ; and 
their numbers are not sufficient to do any notable damage. 
In the morning they may often be found picking their way 
back to the network of ravines where they stay during the 

* Gazella Bennettii. 


day. Should you disturb them at this time, they will most 
likely seek their cover at top speed ; and what that amounts 
to will amaze you if you let slip a greyhound at them. 
Chikdrd have not yet learned the range of the modern 
" Express " rifle ; and consequently they still often let one 
get almost within the killing distance of the old weapon, 
and are easily knocked over with the " Express." The depth 
of their slender bodies is so small, that a bullet must be 
planted in a space little wider than a handVbreadth to make 
sure of stopping them. Shots are generally got at a distance 
of from 100 to 150 yards; and the difficulty of such fine 
shooting at uncertain distances, together with their peculiar 
" dodginess " in keeping out of sight, makes the stalking of 
them a more difficult, and I think more interesting, sport than 
the pursuit of the larger antelope. Their art has little variety 
in it however ; and there is something to .the experienced eye 
in the features of the ground which will almost infallibly tell 
whereabouts one is likely to have stopped after his first dis- 
appearance. Unless they have been seen to go clean away, 
they should always be followed up on the chance of being 
found again. 

The last of the antelopes met with in the open country is 
the Mlgae* the male of which, called a " blue bull," wall 
stand about 13-J- hands high at the shoulder. The female is a 
good deal smaller, and of a fawn colour. Their habitat is on 
the lower hills that border and intersect the plains, and also 
on the plains themselves wherever grass and bushes afford 
sufficient cover. The old sites of deserted villages and culti- 
vation, unfortunately so common, which are usually covered 
with long grass and a low bushy growth of Palas and Jujube 
trees, are seldom without a herd of nilgae. They are neverf 

* Portax picttis. t Butea frondosa, Zizyphns Jujuba. 


found very far from cultivation, which they visit regularly 
every night. When little fired at, the blue bull is very easily 
approached and shot. It is very poor eating, and affords no 
trophy worth taking away, so that it is not much sought after 
by the sportsman. The beginner, however, who is steadying 
his nerves, or the inventor who wants a substantial target for 
a new projectile, will find them very accessible and convenient. 
The blue bull is an awkward, lumbering, stupid brute ; and it 
is highly ludicrous to observe the air of self-satisfaction with 
which a blockhead of a bull, who has allowed you to walk up 
within fifty yards of him, will blunder off to the other side of 
a nala, then turn round and stand still within easy range of 
your rifle, and look as if he thought himself a very clever 
fellow indeed for so thoroughly outwitting you. He is a 
favourite quarry with the unenterprising Mahomedan gentle- 
man. The antelope his style of dress and powers of locomo- 
tion do not allow him to approach ; the rugged ground and 
thorny underwood prohibit his succeeding with the forest 
deer ; the tiger he likes not the look of, and the pig he may 
not touch ; so he gets him into a bullock cart, and is driven 
within a few paces of an unsuspecting blue bull, whose 
carcase, when shot and duly cut in the throat after the rules 
of his faith, makes for him the beef which his soul loveth. 
Awkward and inactive as he looks, however, the blue bull 
when fairly pushed to his speed will give a good horse as 
much as he can do to overhaul him. It is in vain to attempt 
it in or near the jungle ; but if you can succeed in getting at 
him when he has a mile or two to go across the open plain, 
a real good run may be had with the spear. I have never 
heard of a blue bull attempting to charge when brought to 
bay, in which respect therefore the sport of riding them is 
inferior to pig-sticking. 


Such are the principal animals which form the objects of 
the sportsman's pursuit in the open country. As, however, in a 
state of nature, there never are herbivorous creatures without 
their attendant carnivora to form a check and counterbalance 
to them, so we find various natural enemies attendant on the 
herds of antelope and nilgae, whose acquaintance the sports- 
man will occasionally make. The nilgae is a favourite prey 
of the tiger and the panther. But it is in the low hills where 
he retires during the day, rather than in the plains where he 
feeds at night, that he meets these relentless foes ; and the 
chief carnivorous creatures of the open country are the hunting 
leopard,* the wolf,| and the jackal.| 

I have several times come across and shot the hunting leo- 
pard when after antelope ; but they cannot be called common 
in this part of India. They live mostly in the low isolated 
rocky eminences called Torias, that rise here and there like 
islets in the middle of the plains, and on the central plateau, 
and which are frequently surrounded by grassy plains where 
they hunt their prey. They are of a retiring and inoffensive 
disposition, never coming near dwellings, or attacking domes- 
ticated animals, like the leopard and panther ; and I never 
heard of their showing any sport when pursued. Their 
manner of catching the antelope, by a union of cat-like stealth 
of approach and unparalleled velocity of attack, has often 
been described. A few are kept tame by the wealthier 
natives, but more I think for show than real use in hunting. 

The common jackal, always ready for food of any descrip- 
tion, seldom fails to make a meal of any wounded animal, and 
I have seen a small gang of them pursue a wounded antelope 
I had just fired at. The fawns of the antelope and gazelle 
frequently become their victims. . 

* F. juhata. t & pallipes. J C. aureus. 

F 2 


The wolf is extremely common in the northern parts of the 
province ; frequenting the same sort of ground as the antelope 
and chikara, I have very seldom met with them in forest 
tracts ; and I think that in India they are. clearly a plain- 
loving species. They unite in parties of five or six to hunt ; 
the latter being the largest number I have ever seen together. 
More generally they are found singly or in couples. I have 
several times observed them in the act of hunting the ante- 
lope ; their method being to steal in on all sides of a detached 
party of does and fawns, and trust to a united rush to capture 
one or more of them before they attain their speed. Fast as 
the wolf is (as you will learn if you try to ride him down), I 
do not believe he is capable of running down an antelope in a 
fair hunt, though doubtless old or injured animals are thus 
killed by him. When game is not to be had, the wolf seldom 
fails to get a meal in the neighbourhood of villages, in the 
shape of a dog or a goat. They are deadly foes to the former ; 
and will stand outside a village or the travellers' camp at 
night, and howl until some inexperienced cur sallies forth to 
reply, when the lot of that cur will probably be to return no 
more. Unfortunately the wolf of Central India does not 
always confine himself to such substitutes for legitimate game ; 
and the loss of human life from these hideous brutes has 
recently been ascertained to be so great that a heavy reward 
is now offered for their destruction. Though not generally 
venturing beyond children often or twelve years old, yet when 
confirmed in the habit of man-eating, they do not hesitate 
to attack, at an advantage, full-grown women and even adult 
men. A good many instances occurred, during the construction 
of the railway through the low jungles north of Jubbulpur, 
of labourers on the works being so attacked, and sometimes 
killed and eaten. The attack was commonly made by a pair 


of wolves, one of which seized the victim by the neck from 
behind, preventing outcry, while the other, coming swiftly up, 
tore out the entrails in front. These confirmed man-eaters 
are described as having been exceedingly wary, and fully able 
to discriminate between a helpless victim and an armed man. 
My own experience of wolves does not record an instance of 
their attacking an adult human being ; but I have known 
many places where children were regularly carried off by them. 
Superstition frequently prevents the natives from protecting 
themselves or retaliating on the brutes. In 1861 1 was march- 
ing through a small village on the borders of the Damoh dis- 
trict, and accidentally heard that for months past a pair of 
waives had carried off a child every few days, from the centre 
of the village and in broad daylight. No attempt whatever 
had been made to kill them, though their haunts were perfectly 
well known, and lay not a quarter of a mile from the village. 
A shapeless stone representing the goddess Devi, under a 
neighbouring tree, had instead been daubed with vermillion, 
and liberally propitiated with cocoa nuts and rice ! Their 
plan of attack was uniform and simple. The village stood on 
the slope of a hill, at the foot of which ran the bed of a stream 
thickly fringed with grass and bushes. The main street of the 
village, where children were always at play, ran down the 
slope of the hill ; and while one of the wolves, which was 
smaller than the other, would ensconce itself among some low 
bushes between the village and the bottom of the hill, the 
other would go round to the top, and, watching an opportu- 
nity, race down through the street, picking up a child by the 
way, and making off with it to the thick cover in the nala. 
At first the people used to pursue, and sometimes made the 
marauder drop his prey ; but, as they said, finding that in 
that case* the companion wolf usually succeeded* in carrying 


off another of the children in the confusion, while the first 
was usually so injured as to be beyond recovery, they ended, 
like phlegmatic Hindus as they were, by just letting them 
take as many of their offspring as they wanted ! An infant 
of a few years old had thus been carried off the morning of 
my arrival. It is scarcely credible that I could not at first 
obtain sufficient beaters to drive the cover where these two 
atrocious brutes were gorging on their unholy meal. At last a 
few of the outcaste helots who act as village drudges in those 
parts were induced to take sticks and accompany my horse- 
keeper with a hog-spear and my Sikh orderly with his sword, 
through the belt of grass, while I posted myself behind a 
tree with a double rifle at the other end. In about five 
minutes the pair walked leisurely out into an open space 
within twenty paces of me. They were evidently mother 
and son ; the latter about three-quarters grown, with a reddish- 
yellow well-furred coat, and plump appearance ; the mother a 
lean and grizzled hag, with hideous pendent dugs, and slaver 
dropping from her disgusting jaws. I gave her the benefit of 
the first barrel, and dropped her with a shot through both her 
shoulders. The whelp started off, but the second barrel 
arrested him also with a bullet in the neck ; and I watched 
with satisfaction the struggles of the mother till my man 
came up with the hog-spear, which I defiled by finishing 
her. In the cover they had come through my men said that 
their lairs in the grass were numerous, and filled with frag- 
ments of bones ; so that there was little doubt that the 
brutes thus so happily disposed of had long been perfectly 
at home in the neighbourhood of these miserable supersti- 
tious villagers. 

Dogs that are in the way of hunting jackals will readily 
pursue a wolf, so long as he runs away. But- the wolf 


generally tries the effect of his bared teeth on his pursuers 
before running very far, and only the most resolute hounds 
can be brought to face them. I have several times had my 
dogs chased back close up to my horse by a wolf they had 
encountered when out coursing foxes and jackals ; and only 
once saw the dogs get the better of one without assistance 
from the gun. On that occasion I had out a couple of young 
greyhounds, crossed between the deerhound and the Eampore 
breed ; and along with them was a very large and powerful 
English bull-mastiff, rejoicing in the name of "Tinker," 
whose exceedingly plebeian looks in no way belied his name. 
He was an old hand at fighting before ever he left the 
purlieus of his native Manchester ; and in India had been 
victor in many a bloody tussle with jackal, jungle cat, and 
pariah dog. His massive head and well-armed jaws com- 
bined in a high degree the qualities of a battering ram and 
heavy artillery ; and his courage was in full proportion to 
his means of offence. On the present occasion the three 
dogs espied the enemy sitting coolly on his haunches on the 
top of a rising ground ; and the young dogs, taking him no 
doubt for a jackal, went at him full speed, Tinker as usual 
lumbering along in the rear. Soon, however, the hounds 
returned in a panic, with their tails well down, and closely 
pursued by the wolf, a large dark grey fellow, snapping and 
snarling at their heels. The greyhounds fled past Tinker, 
who steadily advanced, dropping into the crouching sort of 
run he always adopted in his attack. No doubt Master Wolf 
thought he too would turn from his gleaming rows of teeth 
and erected hair, as all his canine assailants had done before. 
But he never was more mistaken, for the game old dog, as 
soon as a pace or two only remained betwixt him and the 
enemy, suddenly sprang to his full height and with a bound 


buried his bullet head in his advancing chest. I saw the 
two roll over and over together ; and then the gallant Tinker 
rose on the top of the wolf, his vice-like jaws firmly fastened 
on his throat. At this point of a combat he usually over- 
powered his antagonist utterly, by using his immense weight 
and power of limb to force him prostrate on the earth, the 
while riving at the throat with a force that often scooped a 
hollow in the earth under the scene of action. His efforts 
were now directed to effect this favourite manoeuvre ; but the 
wolf was too strong for him, and repeatedly foiled the at- 
tempt. But the young hounds, who were not at all without 
pluck, soon returned to his assistance, and seizing the wolf 
by different hind-legs, made such a spread eagle of him that 
Tinker had no difficulty in holding him down while I dis- 
mounted and battered in his skull with the hammer-head of 
my hunting-whip. None of the three dogs had been bitten, 
Tinker having got his jaws in chancery from the very first. 
I am sure that the three, or even Tinker alone, would have 
killed him in time without my assistance ; for Tinker never 
let go a grip he had once secured, and though not so large, 
was not much inferior to him in strength. 

The catalogue of amusements offered to the sportsman in 
the open plain would be incomplete without a mention of the 
"mighty boar." He is to be found almost everywhere in the 
low jungle on the edge of cultivation, and sometimes in the 
sugar-cane and other tall crops ; and with a liberal expendi- 
ture of self and horse may be ridden and speared in a good 
many places. Generally, however, the country is highly 
unfavourable to riding, the black soil of the plains being 
split up into yawning cracks many feet in depth, or covered 
with rolling trap boulders, both sorts of country being almost 
equally productive of dangerous croppers. The neighbour- 


hood of Nagpiir affords the best ground ; and there there is 
a regular " tent club," which gives a good account of numer- 
ous hogs in the course of the year. The sport has been so 
voluminously described that I believe nothing remains to be 
said about it. The hogs that reside in the open plains are 
not much inferior in size to those of other parts of India ; 
but those met with in the hills are generally much smaller, 
and far more active. A brown-coloured variety has some- 
times been noticed among them. The common village pig of 
the country shows every sign of having been derived from 
the wild race originally. 

My march down the Narbada valley led along the tortuous 
and rugged cart track, through the deep black loam of the 
surrounding fields, which, before the construction of the rail- 
way, was the only means of communication through these 
fertile districts. Broken carts strewed the roadside, and 
clumps of thorny acacias overgrew the path. These were 
justly called the " cotton thief" by the people, their branches 
being laden with bunches of the fibre dear to Manchester, torn 
by their thorns from the unpressed bales, as they lumbered 
along on antediluvian buffalo carts towards the distant coast. 

Large gangs of aboriginal Gonds from the nearer hill tracts 
were labouring on the railway works. The really wild tribes 
of the interior of the hills were not yet attracted by the labour 
market in the plains, preferring a dinner of jungle herbs and 
their squalid freedom to plenty earned by steady toil under the 
eye of the foreign task-master. But the semi-Hindu tribes of the 
border-land, who are now the most numerous of the race, and 
whom long contact with the people of the plains has imbued 
with wants and tendencies strange to their wilder brethren, 
have reaped a rich harvest from this sudden demand for labour 
arising at their doors. How far it has been to them an un- 


mixed advantage will be discussed further on. As labourers 
their innate distaste to steady toil, born of long years of a 
semi-nomadic existence, renders them inferior to the regular 
Maratha navvy from the Deccan, who is also their superior in 
muscular power, and can double the wages of any Gond at 
this sort of work. 

On the 25th of January I quitted the main road down 
the valley, near the little civil station of Narsingpur, and 
struck off nearly at right angles to the south, marching direct 
for the hills that bounded the horizon in that direction. 
About half way through the march of fifteen miles the level 
deep black soil of the valley began to give place to a red 
gravelly tract of undulating conformation ; and numerous 
flue Mhowa trees, forming groups that at a little distance 
much resembled oaks, and half-cleared fields, gave indications 
of the approach of the border belt of half-reclaimed land 
which intervenes between the open plain and the forest- 
covered hills. The Mhowa (Bassia latifolia) is one of the 
most useful wild trees in this part of India. It is not cut 
down like other forest trees in clearing the land for tillage, 
its value being at first greater than that of the area rendered 
unproductive by its shade and roots. As the country gets 
more thickly peopled, however, the case is reversed, and it 
generally disappears in long settled tracts. As a singular 
instance of the influence sometimes exerted by social customs 
on the physical character of a country, I may mention an 
exception to this rule in the case of the district of Nimar, 
which, even in its fully cultivated parts, is still thickly dotted 
with Mhowa trees. The reason of this I believe to be that, 
during the " times of trouble " referred to in my first chapter, 
the majority of the small proprietors of the land were ousted 
from possession of their fields ; but the custom having been 


established that possession of the fruit trees growing on it did 
not necessarily pass with the land, they mostly retained the 
proprietorship of these trees. Thus it has happened that the 
land is often owned by one party and the trees by another. 
The rent is paid only by the landholder ; and thus, though 
it would pay him to clear off the trees, it would not pay the 
tree-man ; and so they have remained, doubtless to the very 
great advantage, and certainly to the beauty, of the district. 

The value of the Mhowa consists in the fleshy corolla of its 
flower, and in its seeds. The flower is highly deciduous, 
ripening and falling in the months of March and April. It 
possesses considerable substance, and a sweet but sickly taste 
and smell. It is a favourite article of food with all the wild 
tribes, and the lower classes of Hindus ; but its main use is 
in the distillation of ardent spirits, most of what is con- 
sumed being made from Mhowa. The spirit, when well made 
and mellowed by age, is by no means of despicable quality, 
resembling in some degree Irish whisky. The luscious flowers 
are no less a favourite food of the brute creation than of man. 
Every vegetable -eating animal and bird incessantly endeavours 
to fill itself with Mhowa during its flowering season. Sambar, 
nilgae, and bears appear to lose their natural apprehensions 
of danger in some degree during the Mhowa season ; and the 
most favourable chances of shooting them are then obtained. 
The trees have to be watched night and day if the crop is to 
be saved ; and the wilder races, who fear neither wild beast 
nor evil spirit, are generally engaged to do this for a wage 
of one-half the produce. The yield of flowers from a single 
tree is about 130lbs., worth five shillings in the market ; and 
the nuts, which form in bunches after the dropping of the 
flowers, yield a thick oil, much resembling tallow in appear- 
ance and properties. It is used for burning, for the manu- 


facture of soap, and in adulterating the clarified butter so 
largely consumed by all natives. A demand for it has lately 
sprung up in the Bombay market ; and a good deal has been 
exported since the opening of the railway. The supply must 
be immense ; and probably this new demand will be the 
means of greatly increasing the value of the trees. 

I encamped at the end of this march at a place called 
Mohpani, the scene of the works of the " Nerbudda Coal and 
Iron Company/' Their labours have however as yet been con- 
fined to the coal. This useful mineral has been now discovered 
in numerous parts of the Central Provinces, of a quality con- 
sidered equal to most Indian coals. When I visited the mines 
at Mohpani, several trial shafts had been driven for some hun- 
dreds of feet into the beds, and I believe there is no doubt 
that an ample supply of coal for the railway could be obtained 
from here. Other schemes have, however, since presented 
themselves ; the management of the company's negociations 
does not appear to have always been conducted with judg- 
ment ; and it seems now to be doubtful whether their labour 
and money have been laid out to great advantage. Most of 
the miners employed at that time were Gonds, whose courage 
in diving into the bowels of the earth was found to be 
superior to that of other races. The universal pantheism of 
the Gond stands him in good stead on such occasions. From 
his cradle he has looked on every rock, stream, and cavern 
as tenanted by its peculiar spirit, whom it is only needful 
to propitiate in a simple fashion to make all safe. So he 
just touches with vermillion the rock he is about to blow into 
a thousand fragments with a keg of powder, lays before it 
a handful of rice and a nutshell full of Mhowa spirit, and lo ! 
the god of the coal mine is sufficiently satisfied to permit his 
simple worshipper to hew away as he pleases at his residence. 


If utility is, as some have thought, a good quality in religions, 
surely we have it in perfection in a pliable belief like this ! 

Near Mohpani is one of the best snipe jheels in the pro- 
vince. I went out to it in the afternoon with one of the 
gentlemen connected with the works, who surely never could 
have seen a snipe before. We took opposite sides of the long 
swamp, which swarmed with the long-bills ; and when we 
met at the end I had got 27^ couples, while my friend had 
collected a miscellaneous bag of snippets, plovers, paddy birds, 
and minas, and not one snipe among them. 

My next march lay under the northern face of the main 
range of the Satpuras, which here form a bluff headland 
rising some 500 feet above the plain, crowned by an old 
fortress called Chaoragarh. This is one of the many extensive 
fortifications constructed by the chiefs of the country to the 
south of the Narbada, at the time when 'the resistless tide of 
Mahomedan conquest, after engulfing the Hindu kingdoms of 
upper India and the Deccan, was rolling against the princi- 
palities of these central regions. The works of these forts 
generally enclose a considerable space on the summit of a 
naturally inaccessible hill, having been designed for the retreat 
of large bodies of the inhabitants, and of armies, in times of 
successful invasion. The flat-topped and scarp-sicled hills of 
the trap formation are the most suitable for such strongholds, 
and there are consequently more of them in the trap country 
than elsewhere. Such additional works as are necessary are 
composed of massive blocks of rock, roughly squared and laid 
without masonry. Inside tanks have generally been exca- 
vated in the rock to hold a plentiful supply of water, natural 
hollows being always taken advantage of to avoid labour as 
much as possible. Before the days of artillery such places 
must have possessed great strength ; but we rarely hear of 


their being vigorously defended by their possessors ; and they 
were generally surrendered after a short investment. Doubt- 
less the chief cause was usually want of provisions, masses of 
people being suddenly huddled into the place, and being un- 
able to carry with them the scanty provender afforded by a 
poor country in the face of danger. In 1564 the great Akber 
sent his lieutenant to reduce the Gond chieftain of MandM. 
The Gond troops, led by the heroic Diirgawati, the Eajput 
widow of the last chief, made a noble resistance to the invader 
near Jubbulptir ; but, the battle at last going against them, 
their leader stabbed herself rather than suffer the disgrace of 
defeat ; and this fort of Chaoragarh immediately afterwards 
fell into the hands of the Moslem, together with property and 
treasure valued in the chronicles at an altogether fabulous 
amount. The summits of these old forts usually contain a 
little water in the old tanks ; and being generally covered 
with thick jungle are favourite resorts of the tiger and other 
animals in the hot weather. 

From my camp at Chaolpani a single peak of the Puch- 
murree hills was visible. It had not a very imposing appear- 
ance, however, as I find it recorded as " like half an egg 
sticking out of an immense egg-cup ! " A couple of bears 
came close up to the camp at night and commenced to fight, 
making a fearful noise, it seemed to me, as I awoke, inside 
the tent ropes. The horses were tearing at their pickets, and 
all the camp in a hubbub. I started out with a gun, but the 
people said they had just passed through the camp, rolling 
over each other and growling ; and it was so pitch dark that 
I could not see any distance before me, and had to come back. 
The next march was fourteen miles to Jhilpa, the last village 
before the ascent of the hills begins. The view of Puchmurree 
was lost during this march from our being too close under the 


intervening range of hills. On the way I shot a young 
Sarnbar stag ; and after arriving in camp a messenger from 
the village I had left in the morning came in breathless to say 
that a tiger had killed a bullock in the morning within half a 
mile of my camp. At that time of year, when the jungle is 
very green and thick, and tigers always on the move, it was 
not worth while to go back, even if I had had the time. 

This day's march was through a much more jungly country 
than I had yet met. It could not be called a forest ; for the 
trees were all of the secondary growth which marks land 
repeatedly cleared and abandoned again ; and the cultivation, 
such as it was, was still carried on with the regular bullock- 
plough, after the manner of the plains. In many places there 
was a thick growth of teak poles from old stumps of trees ; 
and many of the fields had been hewn out of these coppices, 
the poles being burnt on the ground as manure, in the manner 
to be hereafter described. The clear and pretty stream of the 
Denwa, which comes down from Puchmurree, was crossed 
several times by the track we followed, and contained on its 
sandy banks many footprints of tigers. There was evidently 
a good deal of forest game about. The valley is one of those 
tracts on the border between open plain and dense jungle, 
where much of the nocturnal life of the forest creatures is 
passed. In such a tract the traveller will often be astonished 
at the quantity of signs of animals he will see in the morning 
all about his night's camp, while not a wild creature of any 
sort will he find in the neighbourhood if he goes to look for 
them after the sun is up. The fact is that deer, bears, pigs, 
etc., travel such long distances at night to their feeding 
grounds, and depart again to the remoter hills so early in the 
morning, that unless a very early start be made, nothing but 
the tracks they have left behind will ever be seen. The tigers 


and panthers, again, which prey on them, although not usually 
retreating so far, yet seek the most secluded thickets and 
ravines of the neighbourhood at an equally early hour, and in 
the cold weather are so much on the alert, and can so easily 
hide in the thick vegetation, that the chances with them, 
except by sitting up over a bait at night, are equally poor. 
The native Shikari, watching by night, kills a great deal of 
game at this season. But it is very slow and cold, as well as 
rather poaching, work, and few Europeans are cat-like enough 
to succeed in it. Now, as most Europeans who attempt 
shooting at all in India (and who does not at first ?) only go 
out during the cold season, and never go deeper into the 
forest than this semi-cleared belt, the reason of much of the 
want of success complained of is not far to seek. To ensure 
success the animals must be followed up into the deeper 
jungles. In future chapters some sketches of the sport in 
these wilder regions will be given. The present chapter 
scarcely deals at all with the subject indicated by my title ; 
but I have given it as a sort of introduction to Indian camp 
life, and to the field sports likely to be attempted by beginners, 
and in the earlier part of the season. 



The M&hadeo Mountains Sacred Hills Ascent to Puchmurree Aspect of the 
Forest Park-like Scenery A Moist Night Solitary Snipe Description of 
the Plateau Fine Views The Denwa Valley The Andeh K6h Legends 
of the Place Ancient Eemains The Great Ravine The Sonbhadra Gorge 
The Great Red Squirrel A Hill Chief Caprice of the Hill Men Their 
System of Tillage Destruction of the Forests Incursions of Wild Animals 
Gond Legend Dense Jungles Restlessness of the Aborigines Their 
Precarious Livelihood Produce of the Jungles The Seeding of the Bamboo 
Scarcity in the Hills Bunjara Carriers Project a Forest Lodge Find 
Lime The Indian Bison His Habits and Range Growth of his Horns A 
Grand Hunt; Kill a Stag Sambar A Bull shot by the Thakur Power of 
the Bison A Hill TigerA Mother's Defence Description of Gonds and 
Korkus A Midnight Revel The Wild Men are conciliated We teach 
them to Build and Plough The Denwa Sal Forest The twelve-tined Deer 
Jungle-fowl Spur-fowl Gazelles and Hares Fire-hunting by night 
Bears and Panthers A troublesome Panther Fox-hunting at Puch- 
murree Bison Stalking A brace of Bulls Tracking the Bison A. hard 
day's work Death of the Bull. 

In the eyes of the Hindu inhabitants of the neighbouring 
plains, the whole of the range of hills which culminated in the 
Puchmurree plateau is sacred to their deity Sivd, called 
Maliadeo, or the Great God ; and the hills themselves are 
called by his name, the M&hadeos. A conception of awe and 
mystery had always been associated with their lofty peaks, 
embosomed among which lies one of the most sacred shrines 
of the god, to which at least one pilgrimage was a necessity in 
the life of every devout Hindii. But excepting at the ap- 
pointed season for this pilgrimage, no dweller of the plains 



would venture, at the time of which I am writing, to set his 
foot on the holy soil of Mahadeo's hills ; and, as we approached 
its neighbourhood, gloomy looks began to gather on the faces 
of my followers, whose fears had been acted on by the con- 
versation of the people they had met. The road to the top 
was represented as impassable from natural difficulties ; and 
guarded by wild beasts, goblins, and fell disease. 

Camp at Puelmmriee. Buddliist caves in the background. 

I halted a day at Jhilpa, the last village on the plains, to 
make arrangements for the ascent, and procure guides ; and 
on the 22nd packed my small tent and a few necessaries on a 
pony, and with two attendants started up the hill on foot. 
For the first ten miles or so the pathway led up an easy and 


regular ascent over shelving rocks and scanty soil, whereon 
grew a thin forest of the commoner sorts of trees, Salei (Bos- 
wellia thurifera), Dhaord, (Conocarpus latifolia), and Saj 
(Pentaptera glabra), being the most numerous species ; the 
grass and vegetation on these slopes had begun already to 
assume the yellow tinge of the dry season. Such a prospect 
as this, which is typical of vast tracts in the jungles of Central 
India, is sadly disappointing to him who looks for the luxu- 
riant tropical forest of low-lying equatorial regions. Forests 
like those of Southern Africa and the littoral countries of Asia, 
with their close array of giant trunks, dense canopy of vege- 
tation, impenetrable underwood, gorgeous flowers, and mighty 
tangled creepers 

" From branch to branch close wreaths of bondage throwing." 

are unknown in these central regions of India ; and their 
character is rarely approached save in some occasional low 
moist valley, where the axe of the woodcutter has not pene- 
trated, and the stagnation of some stream has united with the 
heat of a close valley in giving to the vegetation a more truly 
tropical character. Indeed, but for the preponderance of 
yellows where rich reds and browns should be, and the rare 
appearance of a palm or other eastern form, most of these low 
forest tracts might be taken after December for a late autumn 
scene in a temperate climate. Nothing is more striking 
than the absence of brilliant flowers, which contrary to 
popular idea are far more characteristic of temperate than 
of tropical regions. The PaMs (Butea superba) is almost 
the only tree in our forests which possesses really bright 

When an elevation of about 2000 feet (above the sea) had 
been attained, the character of the scenery began to change. 

Q 2 


Vertical scarps of the red sandstone which forms the higher 
plateau began to rise into view at every turn of the path, 
which now plunged into narrow and gloomy glens, following 
the boulder-strewn bed of a small stream. The dried and 
yellow grasses and naked tree stems of the lower slope gave 
place to a green vegetation thickly covering the soil, and in 
places almost meeting overhead. The moist banks of the 
stream were covered with ferns and mosses, and the clear 
sparkle of the little brooks appeared singularly refreshing after 
our long walk up-hill in the heat of a sultry and lowering day. 
The baggage-pony found considerable difficulty in scrambling' 
over the boulders that now began to block the road ; and we 
relieved him by putting about half of his load on the two 
guides. After scrambling thus along the sides and bottoms 
of ravines for some miles, steadily rising at the same time, we 
suddenly emerged through a narrow pass, and from under the 
spreading aisle of a large banyan tree (from which this pass 
gets its name of the Bur-ghat), on to an open glade, covered 
with short green grass, and studded with magnificent trees, 
which I found was the commencement of the plateau of 

Heavy masses of cloud had now gathered overhead, and 
large drops of rain began to fall, betokening, as it proved, the 
coming of one of the short but severe storms to which these 
hills are liable at this season. The village of Puchmurree was 
still some miles distant, and we hurried along over the now 
almost level plateau to get shelter as soon as possible, as we 
had already walked about seventeen miles, and the sun was 
almost set. The road now lay over a hard and gently undu- 
lating sandy soil, crossed by many small streams running 
swiftly in their rocky beds. Immense trees of the dark green 
Harra (Terminalia Chebula), the arboreous Jaman (Eugenia 


Jawfoolana), and the common Mango dotted the plain in fine 
clumps ; and altogether the aspect of the plateau was much 
more that of a fine English park than of any scene I had before 
come across in India. By-and-by, through the vistas of the 
trees, three great isolated peaks began to appear, glowing red 
and fiery in the setting sun against the purple background of 
a cloud bank. The centre one of the three, right ahead of us, 
was the peak of Mdhadeo, deep in the bowels of which lies 
the shrine of the god himself ; to the left, like the bastion of 
some giant's hold, rose the square and abrupt form of Chau- 
rd,deo ; while to the right, and further off than the others, 
frowned the sheer scarp of Dhupgarh, the highest point of 
these Central Indian highlands. 

We had little leisure to enjoy this splendid view, however, 
for a blinding rain, accompanied by thunder and lightning, 
now came on ; and some distance still intervened from the 
village when we were compelled to seek shelter in a grove of 
trees. Fortunately there was among them a large hollow 
banyan tree, within which we all found shelter, including 
" Quail " and " Snipe," who I forgot to say were of the party, 
and had revelled in spur fowl all the way up. 

I sent on the two guides to the village to procure us some 
firewood and water ; for I determined to encamp here, rather 
than go further, and probably fare worse, among the unknown 
disagreeables of a Korku village. A swampy hollow lay be- 
twixt us and the village, and after we heard the guides go 
splashing through this and disappear in the darkness it was 
full two hours before we heard them floundering back again 
with three or four Korkus carrying bundles of sticks, grass, 
pots of water, and the various natural productions which have 
always to be procured from the village where camp is pitched. 
Meanwhile we sat in our tree and smoked, and very cold and 


disagreeable it was, though tolerably dry. With the help of 
the Korkus the little tent was soon pitched, and I transferred 
myself and dogs to its shelter, while a fire was lit in the hollow 
of the banyan, and the natives were soon crouching over it as 
jolly as sandboys ; while my servant plucked and grilled over 
its embers one of the spur fowl I had shot, as a "spatch- 
cock." About midnight the rain ceased, and the sky 
cleared. It was an excessively cold night ; and when I got 
up shivering in the morning I found my men had stayed up 
the greater part of the night by the fire for the sake of the 

The morning broke fine and bright, however, and I started 
off for a ramble over the plateau. In passing through the 
swamp below the tent, the dogs put up, and I shot several 
couple of snipes, and among them a fine specimen of the 
solitary or wood snipe.* This fine snipe is of rare occurrence 
in Central India, and in fact I have only met with it on one 
other occasion, in the Mandla" district. I suspect this is the 
bird that has stood for the woodcock in the stories told of the 
latter s occurrence in the Central Provinces ; for though I 
have hunted every likely spot in the hills for the latter bird, 
I never found a single one of them. 

There were two small settlements of Korkiis on the plateau. 
One at Puchmurree itself, and another about a mile to the 
north of it. The, former was the larger of the two, consisting 
of about thirty houses, and, besides the Th&kur, a few families 
of traders from the plains lived in it. The functions exercised 
by these Hindu dealers in the rural economy of the aborigines 
will form the subject of some remarks further on. 

A brother of the Thdktir of Puchmurree accompanied me 
in my ramble, a fine athletic intelligent young fellow of 

* GalUnago nemorkola. 


eighteen or twenty, and an ardent sportsman, who was after- 
wards my guide over the whole of this wonderful mass of 
mountains. We were out nearly all day, the succession of 
fine views from the different heights and bluffs luring me on 
and on, till what was meant for a stroll ended in a pretty 
hard day's work. 

I found that the plateau had something of a cup-like shape, 
draining in every direction from the . edges into the centre, 
where two considerable brooks receive its waters and carry 
them over the edge in fine cascades. The general elevation 
of this central valley is about 3400 feet, the ridge sur- 
rounding it being a few hundred feet higher, and here and 
there shooting into abrupt peaks, of which the three I 
had seen the evening before attain a height of 4500 feet. 
The area of the plateau is altogether about twelve square 
miles, some six of which in the centre resemble the portion I 
had before passed through, and consist of fine culturable, 
though light, soils. Everywhere the massive groups of trees 
and park-like scenery strike the eye j and the greenery of the 
glades, and various wild flowers unseen at lower elevations, 
maintain the illusion that the scene is a bit oat of our own 
temperate zone rather than of the tropics. Though the ascent 
on the side I had come up was generally gradual, I found 
that in all other directions the drop from the plateau was 
sudden and precipitous. There are three other pathways by 
which a man can easily, and an unladen animal with difficulty, 
ascend and descend. Subsequently we took lightly laden 
elephants (which, when there is room for them, are the most 
sure-footed of all creatures) up and down both of the passes 
leading to the south ; but the eastern pass (Kdnji GMt) has 
never, I believe, been traversed by any baggage animal. The 
view from the edge of the plateau, in almost any direction, is 


singularly fine ; and a still more extensive sweep is com- 
manded from the tops of the higher peaks. 

To the south, as far as the eye can see, lie range upon range 
of forest-covered hills, tumbled in wild confusion. To the 
east a long line of rampart-like cliffs mark the southern face 
of the Mahadeo range, the deep red of their sandstone forma- 
tion contrasting finely with the intense green of the bamboo 
vegetation, out of which they rise. Here and there they 
shoot into peaks of bare red rock, many of which have a 
peculiar and almost fantastic appearance, owing to the irre- 
gular weathering of their material beds of coarse sandstone 
horizontally streaked by darker bands of hard vitrified ferru- 
ginous earth. Looking across this wall of rock, to the north- 
east, a long perspective of forest-covered hills is seen, the 
nearer ones seeming to be part of the Puchmurree plateau, 
though really separated from it by an enormous rift in the 
rock, the further ranges sinking gradually in elevation, till, 
faint and blue in the far distance, gleams the level plain of 
the Narbada valley. Standing on the eastern edge of the 
plateau, again, the observer hangs over a sheer descent of 
2000 feet of rock, leading beyond, in long green slopes, down 
to a flat and forest-covered valley. Its width may be six or 
seven miles, and beyond it is seen another range of hills rising 
in a long yellow grass-covered slope, dotted with the black 
boulders, and ending in the scarped tops that mark the trap 
formation. That is the plateau of Motur (Mohtoor), with 
which the general continuation of the Satpura range again 
commences, after the break in it occasioned by the Mahadeo 
group. On this side, the forest that clothes the valley and 
the nearer slopes presents a very dark green and yet brilliant 
colouring, which will be noted as differing from the vegetation 
in any other direction. This is the Sal forest, which I have 


mentioned before (p. 26), as forming so singular an outlier 
far to the west of the line which otherwise limits the range 
of that tree in Central India. It fills this valley of the 
Denwa, almost to the exclusion of other vegetation, and, 
creeping up the ravines, has occupied also the south-eastern 
portion of the plateau itself. 

A remarkable feature in the configuration of the plateau is 
the vast and unexpected ravines or rather clefts in the solid 
rock, which seam the edges of the scarp, some of them reach- 
ing in sheer descent almost to the level of the plains. You 
come on them during a ramble in almost any direction, open- 
ing suddenly at your feet in the middle of some grassy glade. 
The most remarkable is the Andeh-K6h, which begins about 
a mile to the east of the village, and runs right down into the 
Denwa valley. Looking over its edge, the vision loses itself 
in the vast profundity. A few dark indigo-coloured specks at 
the bottom represent wild mango trees of sixty or eighty feet 
in height. A faint sound of running water rises on the sough 
of the wind from the abyss. The only sign of life is an 
occasional flight of blue pigeons swinging out from the face 
of either cliff, and circling round on suspended pinion, again 
to disappear under the crags. If a gun is fired, the echoes 
roll round the hollow in continually increasing confusion, till 
the accumulated volume seems to bellow forth at the mouth 
of the ravine into the plain below. If tradition be believed, 
no mortal foot has ever trodden the dark interior of the 
Andeh-K6h. I myself never found an entrance to it, though, 
with the aid of ropes, I got once at the easiest place within a 
few hundred feet of the bottom. I may say, however, for the 
benefit of adventurous explorers, that a way in may pro- 
bably be found by going round behind the M&hadeo peak, 
and following down the bed of the stream which issues from 


the cave of the shrine I am about to describe, and which, 
I think, eventually falls into the Koh under the scarp of 

Legend has made the Andeh-K6h the retreat of a monstrous 
serpent, which formerly inhabited a lake on the plateau, and 
vexed the worshippers of Mah&deo, till the god dried up the 
serpent's lake, and imprisoned the snake himself in this rift, 
formed by a stroke of his trident in the solid rock. It needs 
no very ingenious interpreter of legend to see in this wild 
story an allusion to the former settlements of * Buddhists 
(referred to as snakes in Brahminical writings) on the Puch- 
murree hill, and their extinction on the revival of Brahmanism 
in the sixth or seventh century. Certain it is that there once 
was a considerable lake in the centre of the plateau, formed 
by a dam thrown across a narrow gorge, and that on its banks 
are still found numbers of the large flat bricks used in ancient 
buildings, while in the overhanging rocks are cut five caves 
(whence the name of Puchmurree), of the character usually 
attributed to the Buddhists. Beneath the lower end of the 
lake lies a considerable stretch of almost level land, on which 
are still traceable the signs of ancient tillage, in the form of 
embankments and water-courses. Looking from the portico 
of the rock-cut caves, it is not difficult for the imagination to 
travel back to the time when the lower margin of the lake 
was surrounded by the dwellings of a small, perhaps an exiled 
and persecuted, colony of Buddhists, practising for their sub- 
sistence the art, strange in these wilds, of civilized cultivation 
of the earth, and to hear again the sound of the evening bell 
in their little monastery floating away up the placid surface of 
the winding lake. 

Another very striking ravine, called Jambo-Dwip, lies on 
the opposite side of the plateau from the Andeh-K6h. About 


a thousand feet of steep descent, down a track worn by the 
feet of pilgrims, leads to|the entrance of a gorge, whose aspect 
is singularly adapted to impress the imagination of the pilgrim 
to these sacred hills. A dense canopy of the wild mango tree, 
overlaid and interlaced by the tree-like limbs of the giant 
creeper,* almost shuts out the sun ; strange shapes of tree 
ferns and thickets of dank and rotting vegetation cumber the 
path ; a chalybeate stream, covered by a film of metallic scum, 
reddens the ooze through which it slowly percolates ; a gloom 
like twilight shrouds the bottom of the valley, from out of 
which rises on either hand a towering crag of deep red colour, 
from the summit of which stretch the ghostly arms of the 
white and naked Sterculia urens, a tree that looks as if the 
megatherium might have climbed its uncouth and ghastly 
branches at the birth of the world. Further on the gorge 
narrows to a mere cleft between the high cliffs, wholly desti- 
tute of vegetation, and strewn with great boulders. Climbing 
over these, and wading through the waters of a shallow stream, 
the pilgrim at length reaches a cavern in the rock, the sides 
and bottom of which have been, by some peculiar water action, 
worn into the semblance of gigantic matted locks of hair ; 
while deep below the floor of the cavern, in the bowels of the 
rock, is heard the labouring of imprisoned waters shaking the 
cave. It is small wonder that such a natural marvel as this 
should be a chosen dwelling place for the god to whom all these 
mountains are sacred, and that it forms one of the most holy 
and indispensable points in the circuit which the devout pilgrim 
must perform. 

The place has also a slight historical interest. During the 
last of our struggles with the Mar^th^s, App Salieb Bhonsla, 
Raja of Nagpiir, on his way to an exile justly earned by re- 

* Bauhinia scandem. 


peated acts of treachery, escaped and fled to the fastnesses of 
the Mahadeo hills ; and it was in this secluded ravine, if tra- 
dition speaks the truth, that he was concealed by the fidelity 
of his aboriginal subjects till he finally made his escape, while 
detachments of British troops were hunting for him in every 
other nook and recess of the mountains. 

Beyond the Jambo-Dwip, or " great ravine " as we called 
it, and between it and the valley of the Sonbhadra, lies 
another group of wild hills, a little lower than the Puchmurree 
block in elevation, and with few level plateaux of any extent. 
One or two poor hamlets of Korkus occupy its most sheltered 
nooks ; but the soil is everywhere extremely thin, and there is 
a great absence of water in this section of the Mali&deo range, 
so that it is almost uninhabited. The Sonbhadrd, valley itself 
can only be entered where it leaves the southern face of the 
hills, by a difficult pathway along the edges of the rapid 
stream ; but the scene is well deserving of the scramble of 
eight or ten miles on foot by which it is reached. , It is utterly 
untenanted even by animals, save a few melancholy bears, and 
its steep precipices, and long slopes of grey and naked rock, 
interspersed with scanty moor-like vegetation, are singularly 
suggestive of a comparison with the well-known valley of 

These deep and gloomy dells that seam the Puchmurree 
block are the home of a splendid squirrel (Sciurus maximus), 
measuring two and a half to three feet in length, and of a rich 
deep claret colour, with a blue metallic lustre on the upper 
parts of the body, the lower parts being rufous yellow. They 
dwell in the upper branches of the wild mango trees, making 
nests of the leaves, generally in the very top. They live 
ehiefly on the mango fruit, lavishly squandering the supply 
while the fresh mangoes are attainable, and afterwards crack- 


ing the discarded stones for their kernels. They seem to be 
of a retired and melancholy nature, appropriate to the sunless 
ravines they reside in ; and they are not very numerous either 
here or at Amarkantak, which is the only other part of the 
hills where I have met the species. They are easily captured 
in the nests when young, but make most foolish and unin- 
teresting pets, having a singularly vacant expression of coun- 
tenance, and nothing of the light-hearted vivacity of the other 
members of the squirrel family. If an exquisite fur for a lady's 
muff or a sporran is an object, some pretty shooting may be 
had in knocking them off the tops of the high trees with a 
small rifle. Numerous vultures and birds of the rapacious 
order build on the ledges of the cliffs. Among them is the 
grand imperial eagle (A. imperialis), whose wings measure 
eight feet from tip to tip, and whose soaring flight and harsh 
scream forms a grand feature in the scenery of this range of 

On my return to the tent I had an interview with the 
Th&kur, or chief, of Puchmurree. This potentate is the pro- 
prietor of a considerable tract of hill and forest in the MaMdeo 
range, and the valleys at its base. He is the representative 
of one of the families already referred to as having been estab- 
lished in the early days of Aryan colonisation, by an inter- 
mixture of the blood of the adventurous Kajpiit with that of 
the aboriginal (in this case Korku) occupants of the soil. In 
personal appearance and habits the family exactly correspond 
to their descent. Taller and fairer by far than the undiluted 
Korkus about them, they still possess the thick lips and pro- 
minent jaw of the aborigines. With all the love of tinsel and 
sounding form of the vain Eajput, they unite much of the 
apathy and unthrift of the savage. In religion they are (like 
all converts) ultra Hindu, worshipping Sivd, looking on the 


slaughter of a cow with horror (though they will kill the 
nearly related bison of their hills), wearing the holy thread of 
the twice-born castes, and keeping a family Br&hmn to do 
their household worship for them. The Puchmurree Thakur 
was a well-grown young man of about twenty-five ; but 
awkward in manner and incapable of any sort of conversation. 
I subsequently found that he was, like most of these petty 
chiefs, a confirmed opium-eater. By his side, however, stood 
the Br&hman " Dewan," or minister of state (!), whose glibness 
of tongue was fully sufficient for both. Behind them came 
four or five tatterdemalion retainers, in quilted garments of 
many hues, girded as to their loins with broad embroidered 
belts of Sambar leather, in which were stuck, or suspended, 
swords, daggers, and the cumbrous appointments of a match- 
lockman, the matchlock itself being borne, with smoking 
match, over the shoulder of each. These were mostly of the 
same breed as the Thakur, being his poor relations in fact. 
This description would serve sufficiently well for the great 
majority of these petty semi-aboriginal chiefs, who are so 
numerous in the hills of Central India. Though the breed 
between the Rajput and the aborigine produces the best of all 
shikaris and foresters, in a somewhat higher sphere they are 
chiefly remarkable for debauchery, and a vain and silly pride 
which leads them into expenditure beyond their means, and 
ruinous debt. They all call themselves " Rajds," and keep up 
minute standing armies of these ragamuffin retainers, as well 
as one or two Brahman bloodsuckers to manage their holy and 
clerkly affairs. As they are always seeking for brides for their 
sons in families with higher claims to Rajput descent than 
their own, they have to pay enormous sums for marriage ex- 
penses, and this is probably the chief cause of their generally 
hopeless poverty. 


I found I was likely to have a good deal of trouble in getting 
the wild hill people to help in building our lodge. The 
Thakur made all sorts of excuses for withholding from us his 
influence with his " subjects." There was great scarcity among 
them, owing to a failure of their precarious crops ; they had 
nearly all left the hills to seek service in the plains ; they were 
engaged in preparing the land for their crops ; they hated 
work they had not been accustomed to ; they would be afraid 
to help in making a house on Mahadeo's hill and so on. 
Truth was, I saw the chief himself and his advisers hated our 
intrusion. With some truth they feared we were come to 
break up their much -loved seclusion, and untrammelled bar- 
barism ; their rich harvest from the taxation of pilgrims to 
Mahadeo's shrine they thought was in danger ; and they would 
have none of us. They promised, however, to send me a gang 
of men to start wood and grass cutting next morning. Of 
course they did not come ; and the Thakur I found had gone 
off to a village he had below the hill, and quite out of reach 
of my camp ; and he did not return to Puchmurree, except 
when I sent for him, all the time I was there. Luckily I had 
a friend in council in the shape of the younger brother, who 
had shown me the lions of the place. Not being a chief he 
had little to live on, and was in fact scarcely to be dis- 
tinguished in position or worldly wealth from the common 
Korkus about. He promised to use his influence to get them 
to come and work for me, and went oft* on a visit to the 
neighbouring hamlets, partly with this object, and partly to 
look for traces of any bison or other larger game there might 
be on the hills, as I contemplated a grand hunting party at 
which I hoped to overcome the shyness of the jungle popu- 

They were really in great distress owing to the failure of 


the previous harvest, on which great part of their subsistence 
for the year depends. The system of cultivation of all the 
wild tribes of these provinces is much the same, and is, in 
fact, almost identical with the method followed jby all the 
unreclaimed aboriginal races throughout India. Though large 
tracts of splendid level land lie untilled on the Puchmurree 
plateau, and in the valleys below, the Korku has no cattle or 
ploughs with which to break it up. He has nothing in the 
way of implements but his axe. This is enough, however, 
for his wants. He selects a hill side where there is a little 
soil, and a plentiful growth of grass, timber, and bamboos. 
He prefers a place where young straight teak poles grow 
thick and strong, as they are easiest to cut, and produce 
most ashes when burnt. He cuts every stick that stands on 
the selected plot, except the largest trunks, which he lops 
of their branches and girdles so that they may shortly die. 
This he does early in the dry season (January to March), and 
leaves the timber thickly piled on the ground to dry in the 
torrid sun of the hot season. By the end of May it will be 
just like tinder, and he then sets fire to it and burns it as 
nearly as he can to ashes. With all his labor, however 
(and he works hard at this spasmodic sort of toil), he will 
not be able to work all the logs into position to get burnt ; 
and at the end of a week he will rest from his labor, and con- 
temp] ate with satisfaction the three or four acres of valuable 
teak forest he has reduced to a heap of ashes, strewn with 
the charred remains of the larger limbs and trunks. He 
now rakes his ashes evenly over the field and waits for rain, 
which in due season generally comes. He then takes a few 
handfuls of the coarse grain he subsists on and flings them 
into the ashes, broadcast if the ground be tolerably level, if 
steep, then in a line at the top, so as to be washed down 


by the rain. The principal grains are Kodon {Paspalum), 
Kutki (Panicum), and coarse rice. But nearly all the 
ordinary crops raised in the plains during the autumn season 
are also grown more or less in these dhya clearings, as they 
are called, though usually from greatly degenerate seed, the 
produce of which is often scarcely recognizable as the same 
species. A few pumpkins and creeping beans are usually 
grown about the houses in addition to the dhya crop. Such 
is the fertilising power of the ashes that the crop is generally 
a very productive one, though the individual grains are far 
smaller than the same species as cultivated in the plains. A 
fence against wild animals is made round the clearing by 
cutting trees so as to fall over and interlace with each other, 
the whole being strongly bound with split bamboos and 
thorny bushes. The second year the dead trees and half- 
burnt branches are again ignited, and fresh wood is cut and 
brought from the adjoining jungle, and the same process is 
repeated. The third year the clearing is usually abandoned 
for a fresh one. Sometimes the owner of a dhya will watch at 
night on a platform in the middle of the field and endeavour 
to save it from wild animals, but oftener he does not think 
it worth the labor, and lets it take its chance till ripe, while 
he earns his livelihood in some other way. 

The dhya clearings are of course favourite resorts for all 
the animals of the neighbourhood. The smaller species of 
these peafowl, partridges, hares, &c, are often trapped in 
ingenious " deadfall " traps set in runs left open on purpose ; 
and the larger are frequently shot by the sportsmen of the com- 
munity. None of the G6nds of the Central Hills now use the 
bow and arrow; but few villages are without their professional 
hunter, who is generally a capital shot with his long heavy 
matchlock, and as patient as a cat in watching for game.- He 


usually takes it in turn to sit up at night in all the dhya 
clearings of the village, getting as remuneration all that he 
kills, and a basket of grain at harvest-time besides. The 
skins of sambar are of considerable value in the market for 
making the well-known soft yellow leather the best of all 
materials for sporting leggings and other accoutrements. 

The abandoned dhya clearings are speedily covered again 
with jungle. The second growth is, however, very different 
from the virgin forest destroyed by the first clearing ; being 
composed of a variety of low and very densely-growing 
bamboo, and of certain thorny bushes, which together form 
in a year or two a cover almost impenetrable to man or 
beast. I have often been obliged to turn back from such a 
jungle after vainly endeavouring to force through it a power- 
ful elephant accustomed to work his way through difficult 
cover. In such a thicket no timber tree can ever force its way 
into daylight ; and a second growth of timber on such land 
can never be expected if left to nature. The scrub itself 
does not furnish fuel enough for a sufficient coating of ashes 
to please the dhya cutter; and so the latter never again 
returns to an old clearing while untouched forest land is to 
be had. Now, if it be considered that, for untold ages, the 
aboriginal inhabitants have been thus devastating the forests, 
the cause of the problem that has puzzled railway engineers 
namely, why, in a country with so vast an expanse of forest- 
covered land, they should yet have to send to England, or 
Australia, or Norway for their sleepers will not be far to 
seek. Stand on any hill-top on the Puchmurree or other 
high range, and look over the valleys below you. The dhya 
clearings can be easily distinguished from tree jungle ; and 
you will see that for one acre left of the latter, thousands 
have been levelled by the axe of the Gond and Korku. In 


fact I can say, from an experience reaching over every teak 
tract in these hills, that, excepting a few preserved by private 
proprietors, no teak forest ever escaped this treatment, unless 
so situated in ravines or on precipitous hill-sides as to make 
it unprofitable to make dhya clearings on its site. 

The system of cultivation thus adopted by the wild tribes, 
which seems to be a natural consequence of their want of 
agricultural stock, necessitates a more or less nomadic habit 
of life. The larger villages, where the chief of a sept, and the 
Hindu traders who effect their small exchanges, reside, is 
usually the only stable settlement in a whole tract ; the rest 
of the people spreading themselves about in small hamlets of 
five or six families, at such intervals as will give each a suffi- 
cient range of jungle for several years of dhya cutting. Their 
huts are of the most temporary character, and made from 
materials found on the spot a few upright posts, interlaced 
with split bamboos, plastered with mud, and thatched with 
the broad leaves of the teak, and an upper layer of grass. It 
costs them but the work of a day or two to shift such a 
settlement as this in accordance with the changes of their 
dhya sites. 

The system of cultivation, if it can be so termed, I have 
thus described is of course of the most precarious character. 
The holding off of rain for a few weeks after the seed is 
sown, or when the ear is forming, will ruin the whole, and 
then the owner may be compelled to subsist entirely on what 
always largely supplements his diet the wild fruits and pro- 
ducts of the forest. Nature has been very bountiful in these 
forests in her supply of food for their wild human denizens. 
Many species of tree and bush ripen a wholesome and palatable 
fruit in their season ; and the earth supplements the supply 
by many nourishing roots. The Mhowa flower before referred 

H 2 


to (p. 75), the plum of the ebony tree (Diospyros melanoxy- 
lon), and the fruit of the wild mango, are the staples in 
these hills. The berries of the Chironji (Buchanania lati- 
folia), and the Ber (Zizyphus jujuba), the seeds of the Sal 
(Shorea robusta), the bean of the giant Bauhinia creeper, 
and many other products of trees, are also eaten in different 
parts of the hills. A species of wild arrowroot (Curcuma), 
and a sort of wild yam, are also dug out of the earth and 

The rare occurrence of the general seeding of the bamboo 
forests, is a godsend to the aboriginal tribes. A certain 
number of bamboos seed every year, but a general seeding is 
said to occur only once in about thirty years. Then every 
single bamboo over a vast tract of country will drop its leaves, 
and form at the end a large panicle of flowers, to be followed 
by the formation and shedding of myriads of seeds which are 
hardly to be distinguished from grains of rice. This done the 
parent bamboo itself immediately dies, while a fresh and 
vigorous crop at once begins to spring from the seed. For some 
years the scarcity of so useful an article as the bamboo may 
be severely felt, though it is not often that all the sources of 
supply are at once cut off; but in the meantime an abundant 
supply of wholesome grain is afforded, not only to the wild 
tribes but to multitudes of the poorer inhabitants of the open 
country, and the cities around, who crowd to the spot to 
obtain their share of the heaven-sent provender. There is a 
proverb that this occurrence portends a failure of the common 
food staples of the country ; but like many such it has not 
been verified by experience. It would probably be in vain to 
guess the cause of this sudden renewal at long intervals of the 
whole crop of bamboo. 

This diet of herbs is varied and improved by the flesh of 

THE MAHADEO HELLS. \ \ ' \ , / > \ i < rci 

wild animals, procured by extensive drives in which the whole 
population of a tract will unite ; and many small fish are also 
captured in the mountain streams, chiefly by poisoning the 
pools with various vegetable substances, of which I am ac- 
quainted only with the leaves and fruit of the species of 
stryclinos that grow wild in these hills. 

Those of the wild men who live in the neighbourhood of 
the plains, and have got accustomed to contact with their 
inhabitants, add considerably to their means of subsistence by 
trooping out in large numbers, after they have cut their own 
dhyas, to the reaping of the wheat harvest of the plains in 
the month of March, much after the fashion of the gangs of 
Irishmen who cross the Channel about harvest time. But the 
genuine hill-man of the far interior cannot yet bring himself 
to this, and is often put to severe straits by the failure of his 
scanty crop. 

Such was now the case with the Gonds and Korkus in and 
about the Puchmurree hills; and I soon saw that to make any- 
thing of them I must appeal to their bellies. I accordingly sent 
down to the nearest large market in the plains, and purchased 
a mighty store of wheat and millet about twenty-five bullock 
loads I think and had it sent up by the agency .of some of the 
Banjdrd* carriers, who are in the habit of penetrating the 

* These Banjaras are a curious race of nomads who are found everywhere in 
Central India, acting as carriers with herds of pack bullocks. Their name 
means " Forest Wanderer," and they appear to be perfectly distinct both from 
Hindus and from the known aboriginal tribes. It has been conjectured with 
some probability that they are gipsies. They are a fine stalwart light- coloured 
people, ready for any adventure, and of dauntless courage. With the aid of 
their splendid dogs they do not scruple to attack and spear the wild boar, the 
bear, and even the tiger ; and they are at all times ardent and indefatigable 
sportsmen. Each tanda, as their camps are called, is commanded by a 
chief called the naik, whom all obey, and who, in council with the elders, 
disposes of intertribal offenders, even to the extent of capital punishment it is 
believed. The old men and many of the women and children remain encamped 


remotest tracts of these liills with loads of salt, and taking 
back forest produce in return. 

In the meantime I got up the remainder of my camp, 
pitched the large tent, and erected a hut of wattle and daub 
as a storehouse for the grain and tools, and made myself com- 
fortable. At the same time I arranged for a few artificers, 
carpenters, and masons, being sent up from the plains ; but 
it was long before any of them could be induced to venture 
into the dreaded region. Though the geological surveyor of 
the Narbada valley had given no hope of limestone being 
found in these hills, I discovered an excellent supply of it in 
one of the deep glens a little below the scarp of the plateau. 
After searching long and wearily for it in vain, and receiving 
on all hands assurances that such a thing had never been 
heard of, I was directed to the place by a Korku whom I 
incidentally .saw in the unwonted occupation of chewing paun 9 
in the composition of which lime has a place. I found a 
huge block of pure white crystalline limestone jammed in the 
bottom of this ravine ; and it is curious to conjecture by what 
fortunate geological process this immense boulder of an article 
without which building would be impossible at Puchmurree, 
could have been brought and so conveniently deposited at an 
elevation of at least 2000 feet above the nearest formation of 
the kind. Though I believe I have at one time or other been 
in almost every other ravine in these hills, I never found 
another piece of limestone but one a smaller boulder of the 
same sort, similarly situated, but at a rather lower elevation. 

The young Thdkur came back in a day or two, with about 

at some favourite grazing spot during the expeditions, where all return to 
pass the rainy season and recruit their cattle. Though eminent in the art and 
practice of highway robbery, the Ban j aids are scrupulously faithful in the execu- 
tion of trusts, and are constantly employed in the interchange of commodities 
between the open country and the forest tracts. 


half-a-dozen Korkus from the neighbouring hills, and news of 
a herd of bison in the B&nganga Valley, behind and below the 
high peak of Dhupgarh ; so I determined to have our grand 
hunt in that place. Invitations were sent to all the Gond 
and Korku chiefs in the neighbourhood, with their followers, 
and every available man in the hills was sent for to beat. A 
store of grain enough to feed them all was sent down to the 
little hamlet at the bottom of the Rorighat pass, where the 
beat was expected to end ; and one of the Puchmurree grog- 
shops was taken bodily down to the same place to supply the 

In after days I spent many a long day in the chace of the 
bison on these splendid hills ; and have also made the acquaint- 
ance of the mountain bull in many other parts of the province. 
Some account of his habits may, therefore, not be out of place 
here, particularly as they are frequently a good deal misre- 
presented. And first as to his name. The latest scientific 
name for him is Gavceus Gaurus, but what he is to be called 
in English is not so easily settled. Sportsmen have unani- 
mously agreed to call him the " Indian Bison," which natu- 
ralists object to, as he does not properly belong to the same 
group of bovines as the bisons of Europe and America. They 
would have us call him the Gaur, which appears to be his 
vernacular name in the Nepalese forests. I would, however, 
put in a plea for the retention, by sportsmen at least, of the 
name " Indian Bison." In the first place it fully accomplishes 
the object of all names in distinctly denoting the animal 
meant. Ever since he became known to Europeans he has 
been so called, and no other animal has ever shared the name. 
Then his structural distinction from the true bisontine group 
appears to consist chiefly, if not solely, in his having thirteen in- 
stead of fourteen or fifteen pairs of ribs, and somewhat flattened 


instead of cylindrical horns (Jerdon). Lastly, there is no 
vernacular name universally applicable to him, " Gaur " being 
unknown in Central India ; while his occasional Central Indian 
name of Bluiisa (with Bun or " wild " prefixed to it) is almost 
identical in sound with " bison," and is no doubt derived from 
the same root. If you ask for " bison " in these forests where 
he is known (and speak a little through your nose at the same 
time), you will certainly be shown Gavceus Gaurus and no 
other animal. 

The respective ranges of this animal and the wild buffalo 
(Bubalus) have sometimes been defined by sportsmen in the 
saying that the bison is not found north, nor the buffalo south, of 
the Narbada river. Like most apophthegms, however, this con- 
tains little more than a flavour of the truth. Not only does the 
bison inhabit many parts of the Vindhya Mountains, directly 
to the north of the Narbada, but he also stretches round the 
source of that river and penetrates into the hills of Chota- 
Nagpur and Midnapur, and crosses over to the Nepalese Terae, 
and the hilly regions in the east of Bengal. The wild buffalo 
also covers the whole of the eastern part of the Central Pro- 
vinces far to the south of the latitude of the Narbada, and also 
the plateau of Mandla and the Godavari forests, directly to the 
south of that river. In fact, the bison appears to inhabit every 
part of India where he can find suitable conditions. These 
appear to be, firstly, the close proximity of hills, for though 
he is sometimes found on level ground, he is essentially a 
lover of hills, and always retreats to them when disturbed ; 
extensive ranges of forest little disturbed by man or tame 
cattle, for, unlike the buffalo, he cannot tolerate the proxi- 
mity of man and his works ; a plentiful supply of water and 
green herbage ; and lastly, so far as I have observed, the 
presence of the bamboo, on which he constantly browses. In 



the Central Provinces of India all these conditions are unfor- 
tunately still present over enormous tracts of country. 
Thousands of square miles in the central range, much of 
which will one day be reclaimed to the uses of the plough, 
are now the very perfection of a preserve for the bison. 

Perhaps he is nowhere more completely at home than in 
the Mahadeo hills. There, as a general rule, he will be found 
to frequent at any season the highest elevation at which he 
can then find food and water. During the cold season suc- 
ceeding the monsoon they remain much about the higher 
plateaux, at an elevation of 2000 to 3000 feet, where they 
graze all night on the bamboos that clothe their sides, and on 
the short succulent grasses fringing the springs and streams 
usually found in the intervening hollows. They generally 
pass the day on the tops of the plateaux, lying down in secure 
positions under the shade of small trees, where they chew the 
cud and sleep. Their object in lying under trees seems more 
the concealment thus afforded to their large and dark-coloured 
bodies than shelter from the sun, as the shade is seldom dense, 
and a secure windy position is always secured irrespective of the 
sun. I have observed that single animals always lie looking 
down wind, leaving the up wind direction to be guarded by 
their keen sense of smell ; and, in my experience, it is far 
easier to baffle their sense of vision in a direct approach, than 
to stalk them down wind, however carefully the approach 
may be covered. It is extraordinary how difficult it often is 
to distinguish so strongly coloured an object as a bull bison 
when thus lying down in the flickering shadow of a tree. 

The colour of the cows is a light chestnut brown in the cold 
weather, becoming darker as the season advances. The young 
bulls are a deeper tint of the same colour, becoming, however, 
much darker as they advance in age, the mature bull being 


almost black on the back and sides, and showing a rich chest- 
nut shade only on the lower parts of the body and inside of 
the thighs. The colour of both bulls and cows varies a good 
deal in different localities. The lightest coloured are those of 
the open grass jungles in the west, the darkest those of the 
deep bamboo forests of Puchmurree and the east. The white 
stockings, which are so characteristic a marking of this species, 
also change with advancing age, assuming a much dingier 
colour in the old bulls. A singular change also occurs in the 
growth of the horns, which will be well illustrated by the 
accompanying plate of a photographed series belonging to 
bulls of different ages shot in the same locality (Nimar). 
No. 1 belonged to a young chestnut-coloured bull of about 
five years old. Its shape, it will be seen, approximates to 
that of tHe cows (No. 5), being, like them, slender and much 
recurved at the points. No. 2 pertained to a very dark, but 
not black, bull, evidently a year or two older than the first, 
but not. quite mature. The horns have considerably increased 
in girth at the base, and have assumed a more outward sweep, 
with less incurvature at the points. No. 3 are still thicker 
and more horizontal, with some signs of wear at the tips, and 
were taken from a full-grown jet-black bull, the lord of a 
herd. No. 4 adorned a very old and solitary bull, and are, it 
will be seen, extremely rugged and massive, with scarcely any 
curve, and are considerably worn and blunted at the points. 
They measure thirty-seven and a half inches across the sweep, 
and seventeen round the thickest part. No. 3 are the longest 
round the curve of the horn, each measuring twenty-five and 
a half inches, the extreme girth being only fifteen and a half 
inches. The largest of these bulls measured exactly seventeen 
and a quarter hands (five feet nine inches) at the shoulder, 
measuring fairly the right line between two pegs held in the 




line of the foreleg. I once measured a bull in the Puchmurree 
hills which was two inches taller than this, and I am con- 
vinced that this is about the extreme height attained by them 
in this part of India. I strongly suspect that the much greater 
heights often given have been taken from unfair measure- 
ments. A common way is to take an oblique line from the 
forefoot to the top of the dorsal ridge, and follow the curva- 
tures of the body besides. In this way twenty-two hands 
may doubtless be made out, but we might as well measure the 
distance from nose to tail for the height as this. 

At this season of the year (the winter months) the bison 
are rutting, and they will be found collected in herds num- 
bering ten or twelve cows, with one bull in the prime of life, 
and a few immature males, the remaining old bulls being 
expelled to wander in pairs, or as solitary bachelors, in sullen 
and disappointed mood. Very old bulls with worn horns are 
almost always found alone, never apparently rejoining the 
herd after being once beaten by a younger rival. These 
solitary gentlemen wander about a great deal ; while the 
herd, if undisturbed, will constantly be found in the same 
neighbourhood. Each herd appears to possess a tract of 
country tabooed to other herds ; and in this are always in- 
cluded more than one stronghold, where the density of the 
cover renders pursuit of them hopeless. When frequently 
disturbed in and about one of these, they make off at once to 
one of the others. 

As the hot season advances, and the springs in the higher 
ranges dry up, the bison come lower down the hills ; and may 
even, if compelled by want of water, come out into the forest 
on the plains, drinking from the large rivers like other animals 
at that season. But they are always ready to retreat to their 
mountain fastnesses when much disturbed ; and as soon as 


the fall of the rains has renewed the supply of water, and 
freshened the grass in the higher hills, they retire again to 
their favourite plateaux. At this season the cows begin to 
calve, and separate a good deal, remaining for two or three 
months secluded in some spot where grazing and water are 
plentiful. The bulls and young cows are then often found 
together in herds of six to ten, the oldest bulls, however, 
always remaining alone. During the lulls in the monsoon 
a species of gadfly appears in the jungles, which is exceed- 
ingly troublesome to all animals. At such times the bison 
seek the high open tops of the mountains ; and I have then 
seen a solitary bull standing for hours like a statue on the top 
of the highest peak in the Puchmurree range. 

Though at first sight a clumsy-looking animal, which is 
chiefly due to his immensely massive dorsal ridge, the bison 
is one of the best rock climbers among animals. His short 
legs, and small game-like hoofs, the enormous power of the 
muscles of the shoulder, with their high dorsal attachment, 
and the preponderance of weight in the fore part of the body, 
all eminently qualify him for the ascent of steep and rocky 
hills. For rapid descent, however, they are not so well 
adapted ; and I have known cases of their breaking a leg 
when pushed to take rapidly a steep declivity ; a bull with 
one foreleg broken is at once brought to a standstill. 

Terrible tales are told of the relentless ferocity of the bison 
by the class of writers who aim rather at sensational descrip- 
tion than at sober truth. I have myself always found them 
to be extremely timid, and have never been charged by a 
bison, though frequently in a position where any animal at all 
ferocious would certainly have done so. In all my experience 
I have only heard of one or two cases of charging which I 
consider fully authentic, and in all these cases the animal had 


previously been attacked and wounded. Captain Pearson was 
once treed by a wounded bull in the Puchmurree hills, which 
charged and upset his gun-bearer ; and an officer was killed 
by one some years ago near Aslrgarh. Often the blind rush 
of an animal bent on escape is put down by excited sportsmen 
as a deliberate charge. Much, too, of the romance attached to 
the animal must be attributed to his formidable appearance ; 
for the sullen air of a mighty bull just roused is very impres- 
sive ; and much to the wild tales of the people in whose neigh- 
bourhood they live, who always dilate on their general fero- 
city, but can seldom point to an instance of its effects, and 
who are, moreover, frequently from religious prejudice, de- 
sirous of withholding the sportsman from their pursuit. Still 
there is sufficient evidence on record of the occasional fierce 
retaliation of the bull bison when wounded and closely fol- 
lowed up, in some resulting even in the death of the sports- 
man, to invest their pursuit with the flavour of danger so 
attractive to many persons, and to render caution in attacking 
them highly advisable. The ground on which they are usually 
met is fortunately favourable for escape if the sportsman be 
attacked, trees and large rocks being seldom far distant. 

Although a closely-allied bovine, the Gayal of trans-Brah- 
maputra India, has for ages been domesticated and used to 
till the land, all attempts to do so with the subject of my 
remarks, or even to raise them to maturity in a state of 
captivity, have failed. After a certain point the wild and 
retiring nature of the forest race asserts itself, and the 
young bison pines and dies. It has always struck me as 
curious why the most difficult of all animals to reclaim from 
a wild state are precisely those whose congeners have been 
already domesticated. The so-called wild horses, and the 
wild asses, are almost untamable ; so also with the wild 


sheep and goat, the wild dog and the jungle-fowl. A young 
tiger or hyena is infinitely easier to bring up and tame than 
any of these. 

This unconquerable antipathy of the Indian bison to the 
propinquity of man is slowly but surely contracting its range, 
and probably diminishing its numbers. Gradually cultivation 
is extending into the valleys that everywhere penetrate these 
hills ; and the grazing of cattle, which extends far ahead of 
the regularly settled tracts, is pushing the wild bull before it 
into the remotest depths of the hills. I have, in a compara- 
tively brief acquaintance with these hills, myself known con- 
siderable areas where bison used to be plentiful almost entirely 
cleared of these animals. Other wild beasts retire more slowly 
before the incursions of man, partly subsisting as they do on 
the products of his labour. The tiger who finds himself sud- 
denly in the middle of herds of cattle merely changes his 
diet to meet the situation, and preys on cattle instead of wild 
pigs and deer. Even deer seldom live entirely in the deep 
forest, but hang on the outskirts of cultivation, and, mainly 
subsisting on it, need not materially decrease in numbers so 
long as there remain uncleared tracts to furnish a retreat 
when pressed. But the bison admits of no compromise. I 
have never heard of his visiting fields even when he lives 
within reach ; he never interbreeds with tame cattle ; and the 
axe of the clearer and the low of domestic cattle are a sign 
to him, as to the traditional backwoodsman, to move " further 
West." It may be that the time is not far distant when the 
tracts now being marked out, to remain for all time as re- 
serves for the supply of forest produce to the country, will 
be the only refuge for these wild cattle, as has been the case 
with the bison and the wild bull of Europe. 

On the day appointed for our grand hunt I started early, 


with the young Thakur and a few of the Korkus, by a way that 
led right over the top of Dhupgarh. After walking along the 
open plateau for about three miles w T e commenced the ascent 
of the hill, which is close on 1000 feet above the plateau. 
The zigzag track was hardly distinguishable among the grass 
and bamboos that clothe the hill ; and every here and there a 
road had to be cleared with the axe, no one having passed 
that way since the preceding rainy season, when all vestiges 
of paths in these hills become obliterated. We were amply 
rewarded, however, for the climb by the magnificent prospect 
that awaited us when we gained the summit the finest by far 
in all this range of hills. The further slope of Dhupgarh was 
not nearly so precipitous as that we had come up, but fell, by 
steps as it were, to the bottom of a deep and extensive glen, 
which was the one we were about to beat. Beyond this 
again rose the mural cliff that buttresses the who]e of this 
block to the south ; and far past this, to the left, stretched 
out below us the wilderness of forest-clad hills, that reaches 
with scarcely a break to the Tapti river a distance, as the 
crow flies, of sixty or seventy miles. All this immense waste 
is the chosen home of the bison ; and beyond it, on either 
side of the Tapti, on the elevated Chikalda range, and in the 
wild hills of Kalibhit, lies another tract of equally wide 
extent, where, too, the mountain bull roams, as yet scarcely 
troubled with the presence of man or cattle. This is the 
region of the Teak tree par excellence in this central range 
of mountains, to which I will have the pleasure of conducting 
the reader in a future chapter. 

Tracks of bison and sambar were numerous on the top of 
the hill, which is covered with bamboo clumps and with a 
low thicket of the bastard date.* I have frequently, on other 

* Phoenix sylvestris. 


occasions, found both bison and sambar on the very top of 
Dhupgarh in the early morning. The descent of the farther 
side of the hill, over long slopes of crumbled sandstone, and 
the curious vitrified pipes of ironstone that exfoliate from the 
decomposed surface of these hills, was fully more tiresome 
than the ascent. Many a time after this did I tread the same 
path to reach this valley, where bison were nearly always to 
be found, and many an effort did I make to discover a shorter 
and less precipitous road. But all in vain ; for the sheer 
ravines that everywhere else hem in the flanks of the Dhup- 
garh mountain render a passage round it a matter of in- 
finitely greater time and toil than the way over the top. 
At the bottom of the valley, below a shady grove of wild 
mango trees, where the stream that drains the large valley 
has formed a considerable pool in a rocky basin, I found 
assembled three or four of the Raj-G6nd chiefs whose pos- 
sessions lie in the hills to the south of Puchmurree. They 
differed not at all from him of Puchmurree, unless that they 
were somewhat more intelligent and polished in manner. 
Each had brought his small retinue of matchlock men, and 
a large gang of common Gonds and Korkus to beat ; so that 
altogether we mustered some twenty guns, and between two 
and three hundred beaters. The people were well acquainted 
with all the beats and passes, having always several great 
hunts of this sort during the year ; and everything had been 
arranged before I came. The bulk of the beaters had gone 
on hours before to surround the valley, and, as we were a 
little later than was expected, it was likely that they would 
already have commenced to beat. We lost no time, therefore, 
in taking up our posts, which stretched in a long line right 
across the lower end of the valley. First, however, I had to 
furnish powder to load the whole of the matchlocks of my 


native friends ; and had I not guessed that such would be the 
case, as usual, I would certainly not have had sufficient in my 
flask. Six fingers deep is the rule for these weapons, and it 
is of no avail to point out the superior strength of our powder. 
They will have six fingers of Hall's No. 2, whatever the con- 
sequence. As they put generally two bullets, a leaden and 
an iron one, on the top of this charge, and wad with a hand- 
ful of dry leaves, the result often is the bursting of the barrel, 
and always considerable contusion of the user's shoulder. 

This was to be a silent beat ; that is, the people were to 
advance without noise, beyond the rapping of their axes 
against the trees, as there was another dense cover lower 
down which usually held bison, and sometimes a tiger, and 
which was to be beaten also in the afternoon. I had sat an 
hour at least behind the screen of leaves that had been put 
up for me when the first sign of the beat appeared, and for 
another half-hour nothing was heard but the occasional knock 
of an axe-handle on a tree. Presently a shot rang from the 
extreme flank of the line of guns, then another, and a clatter 
of hoofs inside showed that a herd of something had been 
repulsed in an attempt to escape. As the beat advanced 
more shots were heard on either side, and the galloping about 
of the imprisoned animals, now and then met by a shout from 
behind when they attempted to break back, became productive 
of considerable excitement on my part. At last a rush of 
animals advanced down the side of the stream where I was 
posted, and eight or ten sambar clattered past within half a 
stone's throw. I had just fired both barrels of my rifle at a 
couple of the stags, dropping one of them in his tracks, and 
had advanced a few paces towards it, when I heard a shot on 
my immediate right, and a fine bull bison, with two cows and 
a small calf, trotted past almost in the same line as the sambar 


had taken. Those were not the days of breech-loaders, and 
though I had another rifle it was a little behind, leaning 
against the tree, and before I could get hold of it nothing but 
the sterns of the " beeves" (as a friend used to call them) were 
to be seen. When I got it I favoured the bull with both 
barrels a posteriori, but there was no result. The young 
Thakiir, who occupied the post on my right, had been more 
successful ; and when the beaters came up immediately after- 
wards I found a fine four -year-old bull lying dead, with two 
of his bullets through the centre of his . neck. All the 
guns now came dropping in, and gathered in a group round 
the slain bison. One had seen a bear, another a couple of 
sambar, and so on. All had fired, and of course hit hard, 
but the net result was the Thakiir 's beeve, my sambar, and 
two little "jungle sheep/' as they are called, the proper name 
being the four-horned antelope.* 

I had never seen a bison before, and though this was only 
a young chestnut-coloured bull with small horns I was much 
struck with the bulk and expression of power belonging to 
the animal. Such was the width of the chest that when 
lying on the side the upper fore leg projected stiff and 
straight out from the body, without any tendency towards 
the ground. The head in particular has a fine highbred, 
and withal solemn appearance, which is still more noticeable 
in old bulls. From the eye of a newly slain bison, turned 
up to the sunlight, comes such a wonderful beam of emerald 
light as I have seen in the eye of no other animal ; and the 
skin emits a faint sweet odour as of herbs. 

We tracked the wounded sambar and bison a little way 
down the valley, the former showing signs of being hard hit, 
and a little blood was found also on the track of the bull. We 

* T itracer 08 quadricornis. 

I 2 


left a few of the best trackers to follow up their trail with 
the next beat, and went round to take up our places about a 
mile further down, and close to my camp at Rorighat. The 
same process was repeated here, and this time with much 
shouting and hammering of drums, as a tiget was usually 
somewhere in this part of the valley, and his tracks had been 
seen in the morning. I did not get a shot on this occasion. 
One of the Gond Thakurs shot another sambar ; and my 
wounded stag was found and killed with their axes by the 
G6nds. The wounded bull was in the beat, and broke near 
one of the Thakiir's retainers, who was too astonished to fire. 
The rest of the bison, or another herd, broke through the side 
of the beat, and plunged down a very steep and rocky de- 
scent, which the people said they had never attempted but 
once before, when one of them had broken a leg. Certainly I 
should not have thought that any animal so large as a bison 
could go down that place and live. 

Nothing had been seen of the tiger, and had I known him 
as well as I afterwards did, I would not have been surprised. 
I knew that tiger intimately for many months after this, and 
yet I never once saw him. He was a very large animal in- 
deed, but entirely a jungle tiger, that is, preying solely on 
wild animals, and keeping during the day to the most inac- 
cessible ravines and thickets. He frequented the bison ground 
round Dhupgarh, and hung on the traces of the herds, ap- 
parently with an eye to the young beeves. I never came 
across evidence of his killing any of them, though I once saw 
a place on the plateau where the whole night long he had 
evidently baited an unfortunate cow with a calf. Within a 
space of some twenty yards in diameter the grass had been 
closely trampled down and paddled into the moist ground by 
their feet, the footprints of the calf being in the centre, while 


the tiger's mighty paw went round outside,, and the poor 
cow had evidently circled round and round between the 
monster and her little one. I am glad to say that I tracked 
the tiger off in one direction, and the courageous mother and 
her calf safe in another. The tiger cannot, I believe, kill even a 
cow bison, unless taken at a disadvantage ; and with a bull he 
could have no chance whatever. I seldom went out without 
meeting the tracks of this tiger ; and often followed him 
through his whole night's wanderings, which were laid out as 
on a map in the clean sand of the stream beds ; but I always 
lost him in the end, though I believe he often let me pass 
within a few yards of him without saying anything. He 
came at rare intervals, like the bison, on to the plateau ; but 
his regular beat was round the bottom of Dhiipgarh, a thou- 
sand feet lower down. Once, long ago, a tiger took up his 
post on the plateau, and became a man-eater, almost stopping 
the pilgrimage to Mahadeo, till he was shot by the uncle of 
the TMkur. 

I followed the wounded bison bull for about a mile from 
where he was last seen ; but he was moving fast, and the blood 
had ceased to drop. He would never stop, the people said, 
till he got to a stronghold of the bison of these hills, about 
five miles off, a hill called the Buri-Ma (Old Mother) ; and so 
I reluctantly gave up the pursuit. When I returned all the 
beaters were assembled ; and a more wild and uncouth set it 
never before had been my lot to see. Entirely naked, with 
the exception of a very dingy and often terribly scanty strip of 
cloth round the middle, there was no difficulty in detecting the 
points that mark the aborigine. They were all of low stature, 
the Korkus perhaps averaging an inch or two higher than the 
G6nds, who seldom exceed five feet two inches ; the colour 
generally a very dark brown, almost black in many indivi- 


duals, though never reaching the sooty blackness of the negro- 
Among the G6nds a lighter-brown tint was not uncommon. 
In features both races are almost identical, the face being flat, 
forehead low, nose flat on the bridge, with open protuberant 
nostrils ; lips heavy and large, but the jaw usually well 
formed and not prominent like that of the negro ; the hair 
on the face generally very scanty, but made up for by a 
bushy shock of straight black hair. In form they are gene- 
rally well made, muscular about the shoulders and thighs, 
with lean sinewy forearm and lower leg. The expression of 
face is rather stolid, though good humoured. Some of the 
younger men might almost be called handsome after their 
pattern ; but the elders have generally a coarse weather-beaten 
aspect which is not attractive. All the men present carried 
the little axe, without which they never stir into the forest, 
and many had spears besides. During the beat they had 
killed a good many peafowl and hares, and one little deer, by 
throwing their axes at them, in which they are very expert. 

The Korktis, I found, were prevented by prejudice acquired 
from the Hindus from eating the flesh of the slain bison ; so 
the Gonds from Alm6d, and a number of a tribe called Bharyas, 
who had come from the Motur hills, had him all to them- 
selves, while the Korkus set to work on the s&mbar with their 
sharp little axes, w T hich are all that is wanted for skinning 
and cutting up the carcass of the largest animal. My servant 
secured the tongues and marrow-bones, and a steak out of the 
undercut of the bison all delicacies of the first water for the 
table of the forest sportsman ; and the remainder of the flesh 
was given up to the hungry multitude. As night fell, they lit 
fires where the bison had fallen, and near the village where 
they had brought the deer; and for hours after continued 
carrying about gobbets of the raw meat, which they hung up 


on the surrounding trees, broiling and swallowing the titbits 
during leisure moments. This was only the preliminary to 
the great feast, however the dozen of oysters to whet the 
appetite for turtle and venison. Soon the trees were fully 
decorated with bloody festoons, and the savages set to work 
in earnest to gorge themselves with the half-cooked meat. 
The entrails were evidently the great delicacies, and were 
eaten in long lengths, as Italians do maccaroni. The gorging 
seemed to be endless, and I sat outside my little tent for 
hours looking on in wonder at the bloody orgie. The bonfires 
they had lighted threw a ruddy glow over the open glade, and 
on the crimson junks of flesh hanging on the trees, bringing 
the dusky forms of the revellers into every variety of 
picturesque relief, and forming a wild and Eembrandt-like 
picture which I shall not soon forget. Till a late hour many 
new arrivals continued to add to their numbers, winding down 
the steep path that leads over the Rorighat, with lighted 
torches and loud shouts to show the way and scare wild beasts. 
All were welcome to a raw steak and a pull at the pot of 
Mhowa spirit that stood beside every group. Ere long they 
began to sing, and then to dance to a shrill music piped from 
half-a-dozen bamboo flutes. The scene was getting uproarious 
as I turned in ; and my slumber was broken through the 
greater part of the night by the noise and the glare of the 
great fires through the thin canvas of my tent. 

Next morning I was roused by the crow of the red jungle- 
fowl, which swarm in the bamboo cover of this little valley, 
and by the unremitting "hammer, hammer" of the little 
" coppersmith " barbet,* of which there seemed to be more in 
this valley of Rorighat than in all the rest of the country. I 
found the revellers lying like logs just where they had been 

* Xantholcema indica. 


sitting; and it was no small labour to rouse and get them 
together. A couple of days' supply of flour was served out 
to each, as remuneration for their labour in the drive ; and 
plenty more was promised if they would come and help to 
build the lodge at Puchmurree. I also gratified the Chiefs by 
presenting them with sundry canisters of powder and all my 
spare bullets; and we parted, I believe, mutually pleased with 
each other, and with promises of plenty more hunting-meets 
of the same sort. I had had enough of that sort of sport, 
however; and, excepting once with the TMkur of Almod, 
never again drove the hills for game. It is poor sport in 
my opinion, and is seldom very successful even in making 
a bag. 

Two days after this parties of my aboriginal friends began 
to drop in at the bungalow work ; and, as a few masons and 
brickmakers had also arrived from the plains, our prospects 
looked cheerful. The wild people brought their women and 
children along with them, and in half a day erected huts of 
boughs sufficient for their accommodation. They were all 
told off in parties to cut and bring in Sal poles for rafters, and 
bamboos and grass for thatching, to break and carry up lime 
from the ravine, to puddle earth for brick-making, etc. The 
wood-cutting part of the work they were well accustomed to ; 
but those to whose lot fell the lime and earth business were 
much disgusted, and were with difficulty kept to their work. 
All payments were made in kind, the convoy of Banjara 
bullocks being now unremittingly employed in carrying grain 
from the plains. The work rapidly progressed, and was but 
slightly interrupted by the absconding after a while ol all our 
masons and brickmakers, who had very unwillingly come up 
from the plains. Their places were at once taken by the 
Gonds who had been employed under them, and whom I had 


selected to learn these branches of the work, with a view to 
such a contingency. An old foreman carpenter, who stuck by 
us and superintended the work, had fortunately some know- 
ledge of bricklaying, and with his help we soon began to get 
the Gonds to turn out very respectable work indeed. Nobody 
knew how to turn an arch, however ; and I had to evolve the 
idea of one out of my own consciousness, and build the first 
over the fireplace myself. The Gonds were immensely amused 
at the idea of the Koitor, or " men," as they call themselves, 
dabbling in bricks and mortar, and laughed and joked over it 
from morning to night. Regular industry, however, was not to 
be got from these unreclaimed savages; and there were seldom 
half of those on the muster-roll actually present. Every now 
and then, too, they would walk off in a body, and have a big 
drink somewhere for a couple of days, returning and setting 
to work the next morning without appearing to think a word 
of explanation necessary. The height of absurdity was reached 
when I imported a plough and a pair of bullocks from below, 
and sent a Korku to work with them to plough up a piece of 
land for a garden. He really made a sad bungle of it at first, 
having no conception of the business ; and I had to set one of 
my peons, who had followed the plough before he donned the 
badge of office, to help him. In a little while, however, 
several of the Korkus became quite aufait at ploughing; and 
an acre or so of fine soil in the old bed of the tank was soon 
fenced in, deeply ploughed, and prepared for gardening opera- 
tions at the commencement of the rainy season. 

For the next few weeks my spare time, was pleasantly 
passed in exploring the neighbourhood of the hills and 
their productions. I visited the Sal forest in the Delakari 
valley, to the east of Puchmurree. It was one of the few 
forests in this part of the country which had till then escaped 


destruction at the hands of the timber-speculator or the dhya- 
cutting aborigine, being inaccessible to the former from want 
of roads, and unsuited from its level character and the size of 
the trees to the operations of the latter. It, however, affords an 
example of one of the great difficulties of growing large timber 
in the dry upland regions of Central India. Though the trees 
bore every appearance of being fully mature, their size was by 
no means first rate, the largest averaging no more than six or 
eight feet in girth, while most of them when subsequently cut 
down were found to be almost useless from heart-shake and dry 
rot. At this time there was a great outcry for sleepers to lay the 
Great Indian Peninsular Eailway line ; and it was important 
to secure so promising a forest as this, both for present wants 
and to be regularly worked on a proper system in after years. 
It belonged to the Thakur of Puchmurree and another Chief ; 
and I soon after concluded a lease of it for Government with 
them, and laid out a road connecting it with the open country. 
The view looking upwards to the Puchmurree heights from the 
Denwa" valley, or across from the opposite Motur hills, is exceed- 
ingly fine, the rich reds of the sandstone scarp mellowing 
into an indescribable variety of delicate shades of purple and 
violet in the evening sun, while broad belts of shadow thrown 
across the green slopes at the foot, and gathering in the re- 
cesses of the ravines, seem to project the glowing summits of 
the rocks to an unnatural height in the soft orange-tinted 

Here I ascertained the existence of the Bara-Singha, or 
twelve-tined deer (Rucervus Duvaucellii), an animal which, 
like the Sal forest in which it lives, had been supposed 
not to extend to the west of the Sal belt in the Mandla 
district. I was not so fortunate as to shoot a stag myself 
in this place ; but I shot two does, and saw a frontlet of the 


male in the possession of a native shikari, with the unmis- 
takable antlers attached. Since then, too, I have heard of a 
fine stag being shot there by a railway Engineer. I believe 
they are not very numerous here ; indeed, the Sal forest, to 
which I believe their range is confined, covers an area of only 
a few square miles. 

I also found that the red jungle-fowl of North-eastern India 
(G. ferrugineus) inhabits this Sal forest and the hills around 
it, although, .so far as I am aware, it is not found anywhere 
else in these hills further west than the great Sal belt of 
Mandla. The other species of jungle-fowl, which properly 
belongs to Western and Southern India (G. Sonneratii), is also 
to be met with on the Puchmurree hills ; and I have shot both 
species in the same day in the ravine where the Mahadeo Cave 
is situated. The red fowl could hardly be distinguished from 
many a specimen of the domesticated race either in appearance 
or voice, while the grey fowl does not crow like a cock, and is, 
I think, a much handsomer bird than the red. His peculiar 
hackles, each feather tipped as with a drop of yellow sealing- 
wax, are much valued for fly-dressing. Jungle-fowl shooting 
with spaniels in these hills is capital fun. The cover they 
frequent is very thick, and they take a good hustling before 
they fly up and perch on the trees. When you approach 
they generally fly off, and are very clever at putting a thick 
cover between themselves and the gun, making the shooting 
by no means so easy as it looks, so that a couple of brace are 
a good bag for a morning's sport. I never saw reason to sup- 
pose that the two species interbreed, nor that either of them 
crosses with the domestic fowl of these hills. 

I have already remarked on the singularity of thus finding 
a patch of the forest peculiar to eastern India, together with 
its most characteristic mammals and birds, isolated among the 


vegetation and fauna of the west, at a distance of about one 
hundred and thirty miles from the nearest point of the main 
forest to which they belong. 

Two species of spur-fowl are pretty common on the hills. 
The one is the common little red bird,* which, but for its 
size, might easily be mistaken for the red jungle-fowl, being 
very like a small bantam cock. The other species is, I think, 
the same as the painted spur-fowl,f an exceedingly handsome 
bird, with a long double spur on each leg. The latter species 
is generally found on the edges of the ravines, down which 
it drops, when flushed, like a stone, and can seldom be found 
again. The red bird I found chiefly on the little broken hills 
that surround the plateau, and in the same places as the 
jungle-fowl ; and very pretty sport it gives with spaniels. 

The common Chikdrd gazelle of the plains inhabits the 
undulating part of the plateau ; and the little four-horned 
antelope, already referred to, is not uncommon in the thicker 
parts. The black antelope is quite unknown, though on 
the similar plateau of Toran Mai, in the western Satpuras, 
it is said to be common. Hares are very numerous. The 
Korkus have a curious way of killing them at night. I dis- 
covered it by observing a strange will-o'-the-wisp-like light 
flitting about the edges of the little eminences across the 
valley below my tent, accompanied by a faint jingle as of 
bells. It is very simple. One man carries a pole across his 
shoulders, from the fore end of which is slung an earthen 
pan full of blazing faggots of the torch-wood tree,;]: arranged 
so as to throw the light ahead. The pan is made out of one 
of their ordinary earthen water-vessels, by knocking out the 
side. It is balanced at the other end by a basket of spare 

* Galloperdix spadiceus. \ G. lumulosus, Jerdoii. 

\ Cor/)fospermii,m goasypium, 


faggots. Another man carries a long iron rod, with a number 
of sliding rings, that jingle as he walks. Three or four lusty 
fellows follow, carrying bamboos fifteen or twenty feet in 
length ; and the party proceed to move about the edge of the 
thickets, where unsuspecting hares come out to feed after 
nightfall. As soon as one appears in the streak of bright 
light thrown across the ground by the fire-pan, the whole 
party rush towards her, jingling frantically at the bells, and 
keeping her terror-stricken form in the circle of light. Poor 
puss seldom attempts to escape, but sits stupefied by the glare 
and noise, till a bamboo brought down on her back ends her 
existence. A party generally gets five or six hares in this 
way in a few hours. They sometimes come across small deer, 
and kill them in the same way ; and I have heard stories of 
panthers and even tigers being met with, and turning the 
tables on the fire-hunters in an unexpected fashion. I once 
took a gun out with one of these parties ; but found that it 
spoiled the whole aifair, all the hares in the neighbourhood 
retreating to the cover at the first shot. 

I have already said that tigers rarely come on to the 
plateau. Bears are equally scarce ; in fact, I don't think I 
ever saw the track of one above the passes, and very few below. 
The opposite range of Motiir, however, as well as the Maha- 
deo hills further west, are full of them. The panther, on the 
other hand, is pretty common in Puchmurree. The first night 
my camp came up, one of a small flock of sheep I had 
brought, in case of provisions running short, was killed by 
a panther close to my tent. He dropped from an overhanging 
branch into an enclosure of prickly bushes that had been 
put up round the sheep ; and his attempts to drag it through 
the fence created such a disturbance among the people that 
he left it and leaped out in the confusion. The next night he 


seized one of my Clumber spaniels at the door of my tent ; 
but a big greyhound named " Jack " flew to the rescue, and 
little " Nell " escaped with a few scratches and a great fright. 
The same panther became afterwards very troublesome on the 
hill when the workmen at the bungalow had left, attacking 
my dogs, sheep, and goats nearly every night, and coming 
boldly through the very rooms of the house. He was a 
toothless old brute however, to which circumstance the dogs 
owed several escapes out of his very jaws ; and though so 
daring at night in attacking our animals he would never face 
the men. Several times my horsekeepers and dog-boys sent 
him skulking off sideways, like a crab, from the vigour 
of their applications of long bamboos across his back. I 
never could kill him, though I tried ever} 7- conceivable plan. 
One night 1 might have shot him as he passed along below 
the raised plinth of the house in the moonlight ; but of 
course I had seized the only unloaded gun in the rack in the 
hurry, and the locks snapped harmlessly within a foot of his 
back. He was shot by a shikari after I had left the hill. 

Coursing foxes was another great amusement. A colony 
of the pretty little fox of the plains * inhabited a small 
open glade a little to the west of my camp. They had 
a great many burrows almost in the centre of the plain, all 
of which appeared to run into each other. I never failed 
to unearth one or more foxes here by the aid of " Pincher," 
a minute black and tan English terrier, with the spirit of a 
lion, who could get into any of the holes, and would die 
rather than not get out his fox. Often he showed signs of 
severe subterranean combats ; and once I thought he was done 
for, when the greyhounds ran a fox into the very hole he had 
gone in at. We had to get picks and spades and dig down 

* Valpes Bengalemi&. 


to him, and we found him lying with one fox before him 
pinned up in the end of a blind hole, which he had already 
half killed, and another blocking the way out behind him. 
Poor gallant little Pincher I He died of a sunstroke some 
three months later, from being dragged through a long 
eighteen-mile march in the hot sun by a brutal dog-boy, 
without getting a single drop of water. I had two brace of 
capital greyhounds at that time ; one couple crossed between 
the English and Kampur breeds, and the other bred from a 
Scotch deerhound out of a Bunjiira bitch. The Indian fox is 
not above half the size of English Reynard, but he has an 
astonishing turn of speed, and doubles with wonderful agility. 
These dogs had, however, the speed of them, and the run was 
generally much in a circle ; so that though the ground was 
well suited for riding, I generally went on foot, along with 
some of the workpeople who greatly enjoyed the sport, and 
some of whom (Bharyas) eat the foxes afterwards. It was 
capital training for bison-shooting, which severely tries the 
wind, and in which I also spent a day or two now and then. 

Stalking the bison in these hills is very severe work indeed. 
At times they may be found pretty near at hand, but more 
generally the Dhupgarh hill, or the great ravine, has to be 
crossed first, and either implies a good many miles of stiff 
work before the sport really begins. Then bison, though they 
seem to move slowly, are often really going very fast ; and, 
as scarcely a yard of the country they live in is anything like 
level, what is apparently nothing to them is really a very hard 
pull for their pursuer. The bottoms of the valleys are also 
very hot even at this time of year; and at all times exercise 
under an Indian sun is much more fatiguing than in a cold 
climate. A wounded bison never stops going while he can, 
short of nightfall, and must be pursued while a ray of hope 


remains. Thus hill after hill, and ravine after ravine, are put 
between one and home in the excitement of the chase, till 
suddenly you pull up and realize what an immense distance 
you have come, and that you cannot possibly get back before 
the middle of the night. If you have anything to eat, the best 
course under such circumstances is to sleep where you are. 
I often used to bivouac thus when out after bison ; and seldom 
found it much of a hardship. A good fire can always be lit in 
a few minutes, dry wood being never far off in an Indian jungle. 
An elevated place, at the same time sheltered from the wind, 
should be chosen for the purpose, as the valleys are more 
malarious at night. A shelter of boughs should always be 
knocked up, which your wild men will do handsomely in five 
minutes. I learned more of the simple nature of the forest 
people during the few hours' chat by the fire on these occa- 
sions than I believe I would have done otherwise in as many 
years. I think they got attached to me a good deal ; and, 
though they are not very demonstrative at any time, Iwas 
often touched by some simple act of thoughtfulness one would 
hardly have expected from their untutored natures. 

About the hardest day I had was after a couple of bulls I 
had seen grazing on the very top of Dhupgarh, looming against 
the sky-line like two young elephants in the red sunlight. It 
was evening when I found them, and, as the spot was 
inaccessible by stalking, I sent round a couple of Korkiis to 
move them, while I posted myself on the road they would be 
most likely to take down the hill. They went, however, by a 
pass a few hundred yards further on ; and though I ran over 
the intervening bare and slippery rocks as hard as I could to 
get a shot, I was only in time to see them floundering down 
the hill-side like two great rocks, and they never pulled up 
till far down in the blue haze that huncr over the bottom of 


the valley they looked scarcely bigger than a couple of crows. 
As they had not been alarmed by shooting, and would pro- 
bably be found in the valley next day, I went home and 
prepared for a long hunt. We took the road round by the 
great ravine, instead of going over Dhiipgarh, because it was 
rather shorter when the bottom of the valley had to be made 
for, and also because we expected to find another herd on the 
way. We were disappointed, however, in this, seeing nothing 
till we got to the valley except a bear with her cub, the former 
of which I shot. Arriving in the valley, we spread about in 
all directions to -look for bison-tracks. The young Thakiir of 
Puchmurree, the best hunter and tracker in the hills, was un- 
fortunately laid up with a sprain he had got the preceding 
day ; but we picked up two capital bison-trackers out of a 
lot of Korkiis from a village across the great ravine, whom 
we found cutting a dhya on one of the hill-sides as we 
passed. I had found the footprints of the Dhiipgarh tiger in 
the bed of the stream, and was following them up with one 
of the Korkiis, when I was recalled by a whistle to a place 
where the tracks of the two bulls had been discovered. They 
were making for a high plateau covered with thick bamboo 
jungle at the top of the valley, and we at once started on the 
trail. It was clear everywhere, and the men ran it at a sharp 
walk nearly to the top of the hill. Here, however, a sheet of 
rock intervened, and above it was a mass of large boulders 
intermixed with heavy clumps of bamboo. We were a long 
time puzzling the track through here, as the bulls had stopped 
and fed about on the young bamboo shoots. At last, how- 
ever, one of the men we had picked up took a long cast over 
the top of the hill, and returned with the news that the bulls 
had separated, one going off to the south, apparently in the 
direction of a well-known haunt in the Bori teak forest, while 


his companion had gone off up the hill in the opposite direc- 
tion. We decided to follow the latter, as it led more nearly 
in the direction of home. The wilderness of bamboo-covered 
hills and deep intervening rocky-bottomed or swampy dells, 
over and through which we carried that trail till the sun was 
getting low, is beyond description. Every now and then we 
thought we were just upon him, freshly cropped bamboos and 
droppings showing that he was not far in front. But he had 
never stopped for long. This restlessness I afterwards found to 
be the habit of bison which have recently been disturbed. He 
was evidently making off steadily for some, distant retreat. 
We started several herds of sambar and solitary stags, and 
once a bear bustled out of a nala we were crossing, and 
bundled off down the hill-side ; but we were bent on nobler 
game and durst not fire at them. By evening we had got 
right to the further side of the great ravine beyond Jambo- 
Dwip, and the peak of Dhupgarh glowed pink and distant in 
the rays of the declining sun. We were descending a long 
slope among thin trees and high yellow grass, and I was a 
little ahead of the rest, when I suddenly saw the head and 
horns of a bison looking at me over a low thicket, and was 
putting up my rifle to fire when, with a loud snort, the owner 
wheeled round, and plunging noisily down the hill disap- 
peared. This snort, which sounds like a strong expulsion of 
air through the nostrils, is very commonly uttered by bison 
when suddenly disturbed, and is the only sound I ever heard 
from them, except a low menacing moan, which I have heard 
a bull utter when suspicious of approaching danger, and the 
quivering bellow which they sometimes emit in common with 
most other animals when in articulo. I ran to the edge of 
what proved to be a deepish ravine full of bamboos, and was 
just in time to see a small herd of six or seven cows and 


calves disappearing over a low shoulder on the opposite side. 
But behind them slowly stalked one bull a majestic fellow 
nearly jet-black, and towering like a young elephant in the 
rapidly-closing gloom of the evening. As he reached the top 
of the rise he paused and turned broadside on, his solemn- 
looking visage facing in our direction. He was about ninety 
yards from where I sat, with the heavy 8 -bore rifle I had 
wearily dragged after him all day rested on my knee ; and, 
forbidding though he looked, I sighted him just behind the 
elbow and fired, fully expecting him to subside on the 
receipt of two ounces of lead driven by six drachms of powder. 
But there was no result whatever, save a dull thud as the 
bullet plunged into his side ; and he slowly walked on over 
the brow as if nothing had happened. My other barrel caught 
him in the flank, and then I seized the spare rifle that was 
thrust into my hand, and sped across the intervening ravine. 
I was toiling up the other side, very hot and much out of 
breath, when a heavy crash beyond fell upon my delighted 
ear. I had been in agony lest I had missed the mighty target 
after all ; but it was not so. There he lay as he had fallen, 
and rolled over down the hill until stopped by a clump 
of bamboos. A mighty mass of beef, truly, secured at last. 
But we were six or seven miles from Puchmurree, and there 
was no more than half-an-hour of daylight left. The road I 
knew was frightful, with hundreds of ravines besides the great 
one to cross, and it was not to be thought of at night. After 
due consideration we determined to go and sleep at a recently 
cut dhya that was known by the people, about a mile from 
where we were ; so, leaving the fallen bull to the shadows of 
night, we went and made ourselves sufficiently comfortable 
for the night, under a canopy of the newly-cut branches, on 
couches spread deeply with the springy shoots of the bamboo. 

K 2 



We had walked at least twenty miles in the course of the day, 
and that over fearful ground. I was very tired, but happy, 
and never slept sounder in my life. On the whole I think 
stalking the mountain bull among the splendid scenery of 
these elevated regions, possesses more of the elements of true 
sport than almost any other pursuit in this part of India. 

Head of Bull Bison. 



Interest of the Subject An Historical Parallel Influence of contact with 
Hinduism Mixed Races The Rajgonds The Korkus The Bhilalas 
Introduction of Caste Difficulties of Investigation Meagreness of Ab- 
original Languages Gond Legends Religion of the Gonds Worship of 
Powers of Nature Fetishism Worship of Ancestors Demigods and 
Heroes Idol Worship Sivaism Religious Ceremonies The Great Spirit 
Religion of the Korkus Sun Worship Burial Customs of the Tribes 
Personal Appearance Marriage Customs Economical position of the 
Tribes Drunkenness Agricultural Position The Timber-trade 
Demoralization of the Tribes Retribution Excise Laws Eorest Regu- 
lations Improvement in the Condition of the Aborigines Effect of High 
Prices Culture of the Oil-seed Plant Influence of Hinduism Future of 
the Aborigines Measures Required Hindu Pilgrims to the Shrine of 
Mahadeo An Indian Fair Description of the Shrine The Religion of 
Sivaism Human Sacrifices Omkar Mandhatta Death of a Victim A 
Priestly Murder Cholera among the Pilgrims Panic and Flight The 

Something has already been said regarding the inter- 
mixture of Hindu blood, manners, and religion, that has 
taken place among the aboriginal races of Central India. 
Were this an isolated event in the ethnical history of the 
country it would possess a comparatively feeble interest. Its 
high importance lies in its furnishing us with a living example 
of a process which has, as already suggested, played an im- 
portant part in the development of the races which compose 
the mass of modern Hinduism. It is the uppermost and 
most accessible stratum of a geological series of untold 
antiquity ; and, as the geologist interprets ancient formations 


by the analogy of the processes he sees still going on around 
him, so it may be that some light may be thrown on the 
construction of modern Hinduism by the process of trans- 
formation which is here going on before our eyes. 

It is difficult to say how far the actual admixture of blood has 
taken place. There is small room for doubt that the so-called 
Gond Rajas of pre-Mahomedan times were nearly, or quite, 
pure Hindu Rajputs, exercising a feudal authority over 
numerous petty chiefs of mixed descent. The former have 
been nearly swept away, their only remaining representative 
being the pensioned Gond Raja of Nagpur ; the latter 
remain in their descendants, and, almost to a man, show the 
clearest signs of possessing a mixture of the Hindu and 
aboriginal blood. The Hindu element in such cases has not 
been the debased article current among the masses of the 
laboring population, but the purer strain derived from the 
aristocratic families of Rajpiit&Da\ It is as it were the first 
cross in the mixed breed, and thus, as might be expected, 
shows the characteristics of both sides clearly developed. In 
other cases, among the lower races of aborigines, crosses also 
appear to have taken place ; but in such cases it appears to 
have been the already debased Hindu of the lower orders 
that has furnished the foreign element, and the result has 
been a breed which little approaches the high Aryan character, 
and is in fact only a slight advance on the purely aboriginal 
type. Among the chiefs the cross appears to have taken place 
with all the different tribes of indigenes. Towards the east 
the mixed breed call themselves Gond-Rdjputs, or shortly 
RaJ-G6nds, and are the direct result of the alliance between 
the Rajput adventurer and the G6nd. In the Korku country 
the same thing seems to have occurred between the Rajputs 
and the Korkvis. In this case, however, the tribe being an 


influential one, the descendants are only known as Korkus. 
But they differ in many respects from pure Korkus, being tall 
and fair-complexioned, ultra-Hindu, in their observances, and 
marrying only among their several families, or into purer 
houses never among the undiluted aborigines. In the ex- 
treme west a distinct race called Bhilalas has originated from 
the cross between the Eajput and the Bheel. The Bheels 
were for a much longer period in close contact with Hindus 
than any other tribe, and that during a- period of Indian 
history when the restrictions of caste were almost entirely in 
abeyance. Buddhism, and its offspring Jainism, were the 
ruling faiths in that part of the country up to the 11th or 
12th century; and thus it is probable that a much greater 
admixture of the races occurred there than in countries 
where the Brahminical forms prevailed. The Bhilalas are 
now very numerous, occupying large tract's as almost the sole 
population, but still there is a marked distinction between 
these and the land-holding chiefs of the same descent. The 
distinction is in fact identical with that between the Kaj- 
Gond and Korku chiefs and the numerous commoner classes 
of the same tribes who are nominally pure aborigines, but are 
really half Hindu. 

As is the case with the divers peoples now included among 
modern Hindus, it would be wholly impossible now to gauge 
the extent to which the infusion of the Aryan element has 
taken place among these aboriginal races. The facility for 
amalgamation between them the chemical affinity, so to speak, 
between the races seems to be so great, that in a very few 
generations the points denoting the predominance of one or 
the other become obliterated. And yet the traveller among 
them will come on stratum after stratum showing in the 
clearest manner the intermediate stages between the two 


races. And, as a rule, variation of physical type will be 
found to be accompanied in almost equal ratio by divergence 
from aboriginal manners and religious ideas in the direction 
of Hinduism. It is probable that the further commixture of 
blood, excepting through the occasional immorality of the 
races, has in recent times ceased as regards the masses, though 
the chiefs are still unremitting in their endeavours to purify 
their families by alliance with more blue-blooded Eajpiit 
houses than their .own. Blue blood being a marketable com- 
modity here as in other countries, the chiefs have to pay 
highly for such privileges ; and nothing has so much tended 
to pauperize these families as these constant bribes for the 
ennoblement of their race, and the equally heavy cost of 
conciliating the priestly arbitrators of their quality. 

For it is through this chink that the influence of Brahman- 
ism has mainly succeeded in penetrating to the very core of 
these indigenous tribes. The test of purity of caste among 
races of uncertain descent is much more the extent of their 
observance of the Hindii code of purity and ceremonial than 
actual proof of lineage. The Brahmans form a sort of Heralds' 
College, to be inscribed on the rolls of which for a few gene- 
rations entitles an aspirant to ally himself with families who 
have already attained a higher status than himself. Strict 
reverence for the Brahmans, and adherence to ceremonial 
purity, are necessary to secure this ; and thus it is that all 
these semi-Hindu chiefs spend the greater part of their time 
and means in striving to attain the utmost rigour of attention 
to Hindu religious and social rule. To this end they have 
abandoned the gods of their fathers for the deities of the 
Brahmans. They have retained Brahmans as their councillors 
and to conduct the worship of the gods. They .eat nothing 
unsanctioned by the Brahminical law; and some even employ 


Brahmans to cook their food, sprinkling the faggots employed 
for the purpose with holy water. Thus they have gradually 
separated themselves from the mass of their aboriginal sub- 
jects, and formed a separate caste of their own, either inter- 
marrying among families similarly situated, or if possible 
seeking brides, as I have said, in houses superior to them- 
selves. Some of them have thus succeeded in almost eradi- 
cating the aboriginal taint; and by continued reversion to the 
purer stocks have attained to an equality of physical type with 
the higher races. Their social status has come to be acknow- 
ledged as that of the Kajpiit rather than the aborigine ; 
and many have assumed the sacred thread, the wearing of 
which denotes membership of one of the twice-born castes. 
Most of them, however, whether from motives of policy or of 
superstition, still concede something to their semi-aboriginal 
descent ; worshipping perhaps in secret the tribal deities, 
and, in cases, placing at certain festivals the flesh of cows, 
abhorred of Hinduism, to their lips, wrapped in a thin cover- 
ing of cloth. Many of them also require to be installed on 
their succession to the chiefship by a ceremony which includes 
the touching of their foreheads with a drop of blood drawn 
from the body of a pure aborigine of the tribe they belong to. 
Such an example on the part of their influential chiefs was 
certain to be followed by large sections of their subjects ; and 
in particular by such of them as were themselves in some 
degree of mixed descent. Accordingly we find the tribes 
much subdivided into clans, or castes, distinguished from each 
other by a more or less close adoption of Hindii customs 
and religious forms. A theory has arisen that the Gonds are 
divided into twelve and a half formal castes according to the 
number of the gods they worship, after the pattern of the 
Hindus ; but, as in the case of the latter such a division is 


purely nominal, the actual number of Hindii castes being 
almost infinite, so also among the Gonds this distinction 
accords with nothing to be seen in practice ; and their sub- 
divisions differ in almost every district, being founded partly 
perhaps on tribal descent, but chiefly on imported distinc- 
tions arising from the extent of their approximation to 
Hinduism. Some of these castes have already succeeded, 
like their chiefs, in attaining to the status of Eajputs ; and 
the process is still going on before our eyes in places where 
the sacred thread is openly sold to aspirants by the chiefs and 
their obsequious Brahmans. We have only to make a slight 
change in the machinery to recognize in all this a system of 
social promotion going on amongst ourselves in civilized 
England ; and it may perhaps be doubted whether, if a slight 
change of creed were, as here, the password to advancement 
of social position, a good many Christians might not be found 
to discover excellent reasons for such a step ! 

As might be expected, the Gonds have gone further in the 
adoption of these Hindu sentiments than the other tribes. 
They are far more numerous ; they occupy large tracts of low 
country intermixed with the Hindus; their semi-Hindu chiefs 
possessed the ruling power of the country for many genera- 
tions ; and possibly they belong to a branch of the human 
race more susceptible of modification than the others. Their 
Tamulian congeners in Southern India, while losing little of 
their aboriginal physical type, have conformed en masse to 
the customs and religion of Hinduism ; while the Kolarian 
stock, wherever found, has obstinately resisted intermixture 
with the Hindii. 

In the next chapter I propose to give a sample of the 
legends current among the Gonds, which indicate their own 
consciousness of the importance of the change that has been 


wrought among them by their acceptance of Hindu, ideas ; 
and in the meantime will proceed to some description of the 
aboriginal beliefs and institutions, which still lie, in the most 
advanced of their sections, but a little way below the surface, 
and which, among the undiluted denizens of the wilder 
regions, are yet found in their primitive purity. 

It is not an easy matter for the inquirer among such tribes 
really to ascertain the peculiarities of their language, religion, 
or ideas. Like all savages there is a child -like vagueness 
about their conceptions which it is very difficult to get the 
better of, and to this is added a suspiciousness which frequently 
leads them to deliberately withhold information the object of 
which they are unable to comprehend. In the case of these 
particular tribes, moreover, the admixture of Hinduism has 
proceeded so far that one has to be constantly on his guard 
against admitting as belonging to them what is in fact of foreign 
origin. An intimate acquaintance with Hindu beliefs and 
peculiarities is therefore the first essential quality of him who 
attempts to ascertain the distinctive features of these races ; 
and from the want of this great mistakes have constantly been 
made in describing them. The poverty of their languages is 
another great obstacle to the inquirer. In the aboriginal 
tongues there seem to be no expressions for abstract ideas, the 
few such which they possess being derived from the Hindi. 
In fact, the aboriginal roots are really almost confined to 
the expression of the barest necessities of savage existence. 
The names even of most of their personal deities, the nomen- 
clature of religious ceremony, of moral qualities, and of nearly 
all the arts of life they possess, are all Hindi. The form, and 
particularly the termination, of these imported words is, how- 
ever, frequently a good deal modified, the pronunciation being 
as a rule broadened ; and thus an imperfect acquaintance with 


the dialects of Hindi frequently leads to the acceptance of 
such phrases as purely aboriginal. The greatest difficulty, 
however, is their vagueness of conception, and their want of 
abstract ideas. Thus, for instance, in all the recorded vocabu- 
laries it will be found that the term for " sky " is nothing but 
the Hindi name for "clouds," or "sun," or "moon," or some 
specific object in the sky, not for the sky generally, for which 
they do not seem to possess a name. It is only in the re- 
motest wilds that either Gonds or Korku s are now found who 
do not know sufficient Hindi to carry on a simple conversa- 
tion, although they generally employ their own tongue in 
talking among themselves. The tribes bordering on the 
plains, who visit some bazaar town once a week for purposes 
of exchange, and who are constantly in contact with the 
people of the plains, have in many cases lost all knowledge of 
their own language, and speak the Hindi of the plains. There 
is nothing that is worth preserving in these rudimentary 
indigenous tongues ; and their inevitable absorption in the 
more copious lingua franca of the plains is not at all to be 

In religion the Gond tribes have passed through all the 
earlier stages of belief, and are now entering on that of 
idolatry pure and simple the last in which religion is still 
altogether dissevered from ideas of morality. As has been 
generally observed, however, the objects of worship of each 
new stage of development here form additions to those for- 
merly reverenced, rather than supplant them. 

The foundation of their creed appears to be a vague pan- 
theism, in which all nature is looked upon as pervaded by 
spiritual powers, the most prominent and powerful of which 
are personified and propitiated by simple offerings. Every 
prominent mountain top is the residence of the Spirit of the 


Hill, who must be satisfied by an offering before a dhya can 
be cut on its slopes. The forest is peopled by woodland 
sprites, for whom a grove of typical trees is commonly left 
standing as a refuge in clearing away the jungle. When the 
field is sown, the god of rice-fields (Khodo Pen) has to be 
satisfied, and again when the crop is reaped. The malignant 
powers receive regular propitiation. The Tiger God has a hut 
built for him in the wilderness that he may not come near 
their dwellings. The goddess of small-pox and of cholera 
receives offerings chiefly when her ravages are threatened. 
Among such elementary powers must be reckoned the ghosts 
of the deceased, which have to be laid by certain ceremonies. 
These consist in conjuring the ghost into something tangible, 
in one case into the body of a fish caught in the nearest water, 
in another into a fowl chosen by omen. The object, whatever 
it is, is then brought to the house of the deceased, and propi- 
tiated for a certain time, after which it is formally consigned 
to rest by burial, or in one case by pouring it (in solution) 
over the representation of the village god. The spirits of 
persons killed by wild animals are believed to be especially 
malignant, and are " laid ' with much care and ceremony. To 
this practice has been superadded by some the rite of periodical 
propitiation of deceased ancestors by sacrifice, implying their 
continued existence in another world, an entirely different 
thing it may be observed from the rite already described, 
which implies only a restless and spiteful existence in this 
world of a ghost which may be made an end of by a 
ceremony. I believe the superior belief to be entirely 
derived from the Hindus, with whom it is a prime article 
of faith. 

None of these powers of nature are represented .by idols, 
nor have they any particular forms or ceremonies of worship. 


They are merely localised by some vague symbol ; the moun- 
tain god by a daub of vermilion on some prominent rock ; 
the tree god by a pile of stones thrown round the stem of a 
tree and so on. At these the simple savage pays his devo- 
tion, almost furtively, as he passes in the grey of the morning 
to his day's labour, by a simple prostration, or perhaps by the 
offering of a handful of rice or an onion ! More elaborate acts 
of worship are engaged in by the community at certain seasons, 
and then these primitive powers may be joined with the more 
personal deities derived from their neighbours in the general 
act of worship. 

In the next stage the tribes have added certain Fetiches to 
the list of powers. The principal of these is an iron spear- 
head called Pharsa Pen, and he is supported by the Bell god, 
the Chain god, a god composed of some copper money hung up 
in a pot, shapeless stones, and many other objects, the power 
attributed to which is purely arbitrary, and unconnected with 
any natural agency. To this stage appears to belong the 
medicine man and dealer in witchcraft, who still possesses 
considerable power among the tribes. These medicine men 
can scarcely be called priests, and are not a hereditary caste. 
Their business is to exorcise evil spirits, to interpret the wishes 
of the fetish, to compel rain, and so on. Some of them seem 
to have acquired the power of throwing themselves into a sort 
of trance in which they are visited by the deity ; but in this 
respect they are far behind the sorcerers of the Byga race 
further to the east, who will be subsequently alluded to. 

In a still more advanced stage the Gonds have resorted to 
hero worship ; but it is curious that all the deified heroes they 
reverence are of purely Hindu derivation. The chief are 
Bhima, one of the five Pandu brethren, who is represented by 
his mythical club either in stone or wood ; Hardyal, a Eajput 


hero of much later date ; Dulha Deo, the apotheosis of a bride- 
groom, and many others. 

Lastly come the recognized divinities of the Hindu, pan- 
theon. Amongst a race whose blessings are few and hardships 
many it is not surprising that the malevolent members of the 
Hindu pantheon should have found more acceptance than the 
benevolent deities. Vishnu is scarcely recognized by them, 
except in his one terrible development of Narsingha or the 
Man-Tiger; while Siva the Destroyer, with his formidable 
consort Kali, and son Bhairava, are the favourite objects of 
reverence among the more advanced of the tribes. These are 
represented by rude idols, Siva, himself in his usual Phallic 
form ; and a Brahman in many cases officiates at their shrines. 
Here for the first time we find mythology the science of 
priests at work. In their earlier stages the tribes had no 
priests, no hierarchy of gods, and consequently no mythology. 
Now legends are invented to connect the tribes, and their 
earlier gods, with the great web of Hindu fiction, and bring 
them within the dominion of caste and priestdom. In the 
succeeding chapter will be found a version of one of these 
fragments. Their art is of the rudest character, often out- 
raging the requirements of Hindu orthodoxy suited, in fact, 
to the mental calibre of a people scarcely yet emerging from 
mere fetishism. 

Many have conjectured that the worship of Siva and his 
mythic companions, which forms so incongruous an intrusion 
into the milder faith of the Aryan Hindus, has been in fact 
derived from the aboriginal races of India. As regards Siva 
himself in his Phallic form there seems to be little founda- 
tion for such an hypothesis. The emblem has nowhere, I 
believe, been found as an object of adoration among the in- 
digenous races where Brahmanism has not penetrated, whereas 


it was a very ancient form of worship among the peoples of 
Western Asia, and was even prevalent in heathen Eome more 
than 1600 years ago. It was, as in India, so in the countries 
of Western Asia, connected with human sacrifices. It is true 
that this form of the Hindu religion is chiefly prevalent in 
the wilder parts of the country, where the aboriginal element 
prevails, many of its chief est shrines being in fact situated in 
secluded wildernesses, and guarded by aboriginal, or semi- 
aboriginal, custodians. It may be, then, that the personified 
forms of this deity were adaptations from the cultus of some 
of the aboriginal races that have been absorbed in Hinduism ; 
but I think we must go much further back in the history of 
this movement to find the originals of Kali and Bhairava 
than to anything we know of the indigenes as they now 
exist. May it not have been in the earliest days of Brahmin- 
ical revival, when competitors for the adherence of the people 
in the great struggle with Buddhism had to be sought for 
among the popular deities when Vishnu was transformed 
into the popular demigods Kama and Krishna, into the Tor- 
toise, and the Fish, and the Man-Tiger, to suit the tastes of a 
variety of half-Hinduized races that then Siva was also im- 
ported from the West, and allied with the sterner objects of 
worship of the wilder races, to draw them into the great net 
of the priests, as the incarnations of Vishnu in their popular 
heroes and totems were employed to draw the more civilized 
classes of the people % Were these deities really indigenous 
amongst the Gonds we should certainly see their worship a 
matter of more widespread and heartfelt devotion than it is. 
It is in truth still almost confined to the Chiefs and their half- 
Hindu dependants, and to a few of the most advanced, and 
probably half-blooded, sections of the tribes. In the great 
periodical acts of public propitiation of the gods they are 


either not admitted, or if so, frequently have to sit under 
one of the fetishes or nature-gods of the primitive faith. 

The chief of these ceremonies occur at the marked periods 
of their agricultural season when the crops are sown or 
reaped, and at the flowering of the valuable Mliowa tree 
also when severe pestilence threatens the community. On 
such occasions a row of small stones, taken from the nearest 
hill side, are set up in a row and daubed with vermilion, to 
represent the presence of all the gods that are to be included 
in the propitiation. Sometimes small pieces of iron hung up 
in a pot are used instead. A bigger stone or bit of iron 
represents the " Bard Pen," or Great God of the occasion, who 
is usually the one supposed to want most attention at the 
time. Cocks and goats, and libations of mhowa spirit, are 
then offered with much ceremony, dancing, and music ; and 
the affair, like most of their great occasions, usually winds up 
by the whole of them getting abominably drunk. Such is 
still the real religion of these peoples, notwithstanding the 
lacquer of Hinduism many of them have received ; and such 
I may add is not very different from that of the vast mass 
of the so-called Hindus of the plains, who look on Vishnu 
and Siva as little nearer to them than do these savages, 
and pay their real devotion to the village gods, to the gods 
of the threshing-floor, and to their lares and penates 
all unrecognized by the orthodox priest. In both cases 
their religious belief is wholly unconnected with any idea 
of morality. A moral deity, demanding morality from his 
creatures, is a religious conception far beyond the present 
capacity either of the aborigine or the ordinary Hindu. 

The idea of a Great Spirit, above and beyond all personal 
gods, and whom they call Bhagwan, is, however, accepted by 
all Hindus, and has been borrowed from them by the Gonds. 


He is the great First Cause of all things, but himself 
endowed with neither form nor moral qualities. He is 
unrepresented, and receives no adoration. A Hindu will 
accurately describe all the gods of his pantheon ; but of 
Bhagwan he has no idea, except that he is the great Creator. 
He is, in fact, that " Unknown God " whom humanity has 
never yet learned to approach save through the medium of 
some human or anthropomorphous substitute. 

I have not yet touched on the religion of the Korkus. It 
is, I think, purer than that of the Gonds. The powers of 
nature are equally adored, such as the Tiger God, the Bison 
God, the Hill God, the Deities of Small-pox and Cholera. But 
these ^are all secondary to the Sun and the Moon, which, 
among this branch of the Kolarian stock as among the Kols 
in the far East, are the principal .objects of adoration. I have 
seen nothing resembling Fetichism among them ; and if, 
as some consider, that is the earliest form in which the 
religion of savages developes itself, the Korkus would seem in 
this respect to have advanced a stage beyond the Gonds. The 
sun and the figure of a horse (a Scythian emblem of the sun) 
are carved on wooden posts, and receive sacrifices. They also 
sacrifice to the manes of their dead, but only for a certain 
period, to "lay" them. Belief in sorcery and witchcraft is 
not so prevalent among them as with the Gonds and Bygas. 
Their semi-Hindu chiefs have accepted Siv& and his com- 
panions ; but the common Korkus seem to care little about 
them, excepting in the immediate neighbourhood of his great 
shrine in the Mahddeo hills. A few glorified heroes receive 
attention, but not to nearly so great an extent as among the 

In disposing of the dead, the aboriginal tribes all appear 
to have formerly practised burial ; but those who have been 



much Hinduized resort by preference to cremation. The 
process being an expensive one, however, it is not lavished 
on all alike, women and children being still mostly buried, 
while adult males are burnt. Also during the rainy season, 
when burning is inconvenient, burial is often adopted for all 
alike. Most of the tribes erect some sort of a memorial to 
the dead ; the Gonds generally in the shape of little mounds, 
covered by slabs of stone ; while the Korkiis carve elaborate 
pillars of teak-wood, with emblems of the sun and the 
crescent moon, and of the deceased party mounted on a 
horse, which they erect under a tree appropriated to the 
purpose near each of their villages. A very populous ceme- 
tery of this sort may be seen close to the village of 

I have already described the personal appearance of the 
men of the Gond and Korku tribes. Their women, I think, 
differ among themselves more than do the men of these races. 
Those of the Gonds are generally somewhat lighter in color 
and less fleshy than the Korkus. But the Gond women 
of different parts of the country vary greatly in appearance, 
many of them in the opener parts near the plains being 
great robust creatures finer animals by far than the men ; 
and here Hindu blood may be fairly suspected. In the inte- 
rior, again, bevies of G6nd women may be seen who are liker 
monkeys than human beings. The features of all are gene- 
rally strongly marked and coarse. The young girls occa- 
sionally possess such comeliness as attaches to general plump- 
ness and a good-humoured expression of face ; but when 
their short youth is over, all pass at once into a hideous 
age. Their hard lives, sharing as they do all the labours of 
the men except that of hunting, suffice to account for this. 
They dress decently enough, in a short petticoat, often dyed 

L 2 


blue, tucked in between the legs so as to leave them naked to 
the thigh, and a mantle of white cotton covering the upper 
part of the body, with a fold thrown over the head. The 
most eastern section of the Korkus (hence called Pothrias) 
add a bodice, as do some of the Hinduized Gonds. The 
Gond women have the legs as far as they are suffered to be 
seen tattooed in a variety of fantastic patterns, done in indigo 
or gunpowder blue. The Pardhans are the great artists in 
this line, and the figures they design are almost the only 
ornamental art attempted by these tribes. It is done when 
the girl becomes marriageable ; and the traveller will some- 
times hear dreadful screeches issuing from their villages, 
which will be attributed to some young Gondin being 
operated upon with the tattooing-needle. Like all barba- 
rians, both races deck themselves with an inordinate amount 
of what they consider ornaments. Quantity rather than 
quality is aimed at ; and both arms and legs are usually 
loaded with tiers of heavy rings in silver among the more 
wealthy, but, rather than not at all, then in brass, iron, or 
coloured glass. Ear and nose rings and bulky necklaces 
of coins or beads are also common ; and their ambrosial locks 
are intertwined on state occasions with the hair of goats and 
other animals. 

In marriage customs they differ from the Hindus chiefly in 
the contract and performance both taking place when the 
parties are of full age. Polygamy is not forbidden; but, 
women being costly chattels, it is rarely practised. The father 
of the bride is always paid a consideration for the loss of her 
services, as is usually the case among poor races where the 
females bear a large share in the burden of life. The Biblical 
usage of the bridegroom, when too poor to pay this considera- 
tion in cash, serving in the house of his future father-in-law 


for a certain time, is universal among the tribes. The youth 
is then called a lamjan; and it frequently happens that he 
gets tired of waiting, and induces his fair one to make a 
moonlight flitting of it. The morality of both sexes before 
marriage is open to comment ; and some of the tribes adopt 
the precaution of shutting up all the marriageable young men 
at night in a bothy by themselves. Infidelity in the married 
state is, however, said to be very rare; and when it does 
occur is one of the few occasions when the stolid aborigine 
is roused to the extremity of passion, frequently revenging 
himself on the guilty pair by cutting off his wife's nose, and 
knocking out the brains of her paramour with his axe. 

The marriage ceremony is very elaborate and childish, and 
is generally borrowed in great part from the Hindus. The 
bride is in some tribes selected from among first cousins by 
preference. More usually, however, connection is sought 
among another tribe. Usually an understanding is come to 
privately before the formal " asking " takes place, so that a 
" refusal " is scarcely known. The Pardhan is the ambassador, 
and arranges the articles of the " marriage settlement/' In 
contradistinction to the Hindu practice, it is at the bride- 
groom's house that the ceremony takes place, so that the 
whole of the expense may fall upon him. Hindiiized tribes, 
however, practise the reverse. The actual ceremonies consist, 
first, of an omen to discover the propitious day, on which com- 
mences a series of repeated carryings to and fro, anointings 
and sprinklings with various substances, eating together, tying 
the garments together, dancing together round a pole, being 
half drowned together by a douche of water, and the inter- 
change of rings all of which may be supposed to symbolise the 
union of the parties. The bridegroom sometimes places his foot 
on the bride's back to indicate her subjection ; and a feigned 


forcible abduction of the bride is often a part of the ceremony 
the usual relic of olden times of the strong hand. Sacrifice to 
the gods, and unlimited gorging and spirit-drinking, are usually 
the "wind-up of the affair. Widows are not precluded from 
re-marriage ; and among the Gonds it is even the duty of a 
younger brother to take to wife the widow of an elder. The 
converse is not, however, permitted. A widow's re-marriage 
is accompanied by little ceremony. 

There is little in any of these customs, it will be seen, to 
distinguish these tribes from other races of savages ; and it 
would be unprofitable to devote further space to a record of 
their details. They may nearly all be found repeated among 
large masses of the so-called Hindu population of the plains ; 
and, in fact, so far as religious and other customs are con- 
cerned, I believe that, were the Gonds not associated with 
hills and forests into which the Hindus have not penetrated 
very far, they would long since have come to be looked on 
merely as another caste in the vast social fabric of Hinduism. 
The Korkus are more peculiar, and, I think, a far superior 
race in most respects ; and the Bygas or Bhumias of the 
eastern hills are still more worthy of observation by the 
ethnologist. Something will be said of them in future 

It is more important, as regards the Gonds and Korkus of 
the central and western hills, to inquire into their present 
economical position and their probable future. Their me- 
thods of subsistence in the interior of the hills have already 
been described ; and their life has been shown to be one of 
great hardship and toil. Although so far inured to malaria 
as to be able to exist, and in some measure continue the race, 
in the heart of jungles which are at some seasons deadly to 
other constitutions, the effect of the climate and a poor diet 


is seen in impoverishment of the constitution, constant attacks 
of fever and bowel diseases, and often chronic enlargement of 
the spleen. Imported diseases like cholera and small-pox 
also commit dreadful ravages among them. The life of labour 
which both sexes undergo, and their low physical vigour, re- 
sult in very small families, of whom moreover a large per- 
centage never attain maturity. There has been no accurate 
enumeration of the hill tribes at intervals, from which to judge 
whether they are increasing or the reverse. I suspect the 
latter as regards those in the interior, though the better fed 
and less exposed tribes in and near the plains may probably 
be increasing. 

Until lately habits of unrestrained drunkenness have 
aggravated the natural obstacles to their improvement. The 
labour of their peculiar system of cultivation, though severe, 
is of a fitful character, a few weeks of great toil being suc- 
ceeded by an interval of idleness, broken only by aimless 
wanderings in the jungle or hunting-expeditions. Periods of 
rude plenty, when the rains have been propitious to the crops, 
the hunt successful, and the crop of mhowa abundant, have 
been succeeded by times of scarcity or even of want. Such 
a thing as providing for a rainy day has never been thought 
of. The necessity for constantly shifting the sites of their 
clearings and habitations has created a want of local attach- 
ment, and a disposition to anything rather than steadiness 
of occupation. Occasional periods of hardship are sure to be 
followed, in such a character, by outbursts of excess ; and 
thus the life of the Gond has usually consisted of intervals of 
severe toil succeeded by periods of unrestrained dissipation, 
in which anything he may have earned has been squandered 
on drink. It is this unfortunate want of steadiness that has 
led to most of the misfortunes of the race, to the loss of their 


heritage in the land, and in a great many cases practically 
even of their personal liberty. Inferior races give way before 
superior whenever they meet ; and whether, as here and in 
America, the instrument selected be " fire-water," or as in 
New Zealand, it be our own favourite recipe of powder and 
lead, the result is the same. 

The case of the Gond has hitherto little differed, whether 
he has preferred to cling to his rugged hills and struggle 
with nature, or has remained on the edge of civilization and 
toiled for the superior races. Everywhere the aboriginal is the 
pioneer of the more settled races in their advance against the 
wilderness. His capacity for toil that would break the heart of 
a Hindii, his endurance of malaria, and his fearlessness of the 
jungle, eminently qualify him for this function; and his thrift- 
lessness and hatred of being long settled in a locality as 
certainly ensure the fruits of his labour reverting as a per- 
manency to the settled races of the plains. The process is 
everywhere much the same. The frontier villages in the posses- 
sion of Hindu landholders or of the Grdnd Thakurs or chiefs 
usually comprehend large areas of culturable but uncleared 
land, and there are always numbers of the aborigines floating 
about such frontiers, earning a precarious livelihood by wood- 
cutting and occasional jobs, or working as farm servants, who 
can be induced to undertake to break it up. They have, of 
course, no capital, and seldom any security to offer; and the risk 
of loss must therefore be borne by the landholder. He either 
lends money himself for the purchase of a plough and pair of 
bullocks, and the other small farm-j>tock required to commence 
with, or becomes security for such a loan borrowed from the 
banker who is found in every circle of villages with money 
always ready to be lent on any such speculation. The interest 
charged on such a money-loan is never less than 24 per 


cent, per annum. Seed grain has also to be borrowed ; and 
this, as well as sufficient food to last the cultivator till his 
crop is ready, is generally borrowed in kind, the arrangement 
being that double the quantity borrowed shall be repaid at 
harvest-time. As grain is cheaper at harvest than, at seed 
time, this does not quite represent 100 per cent, interest! 
Such rates of interest seem high, but the risk of such specu- 
lations is very great, the principal being not seldom lost 
altogether. The short-sighted policy long followed by our 
legislature, which rendered the recoveiy of such debts a 
matter of the greatest difficulty and uncertainty, greatly aided 
in maintaining these rates of interest. This policy is not 
even yet extinct, there being, in the Central Provinces at 
least, a rule which prohibits procedure against the farm-stock 
of a debtor, although it may all have been purchased with the 
borrowed money to recover which execution is sought. 

It is obvious that transactions of this' nature are really of 
the nature of a partnership between the labourer and the 
capitalist, the former furnishing nothing but his personal 
labour and supervision. Sometimes the partnership takes a 
more explicit form, when the man of money furnishes the 
oxen against the manual labour of the cultivator. All the 
other expenses, including the wages of the cultivators family 
if he has any, are deducted from the gross produce of the 
farm, with interest to the capitalist if he has advanced any 
part of such expenditure, and the balance is then divided 
equally between the owner of the oxen and the cultivator. In 
either case the result usually is that all the profit, beyond the 
bare wages his labour would fetch in the market, is absorbed 
by the man that supplies the money and takes the risk. But 
the cultivator is far better off also than if he had been 
working for hire, for then he would not have laboured half so 


steadily as his interest in the result of the crop induces 
him to do. 

Until recently the habits of debauchery I have mentioned, 
together with the low value of agricultural produce, usually 
prohibited the advance of the aboriginal cultivator from this 
stage. The harvest reaped, any grain that might fall to his 
share was at once taken to the spirit-dealer (who usually com- 
bined grain-dealing with his more pernicious trade), and con- 
verted into mhowa spirit, gangs of Gonds at this season be- 
ing constantly to be seen rolling about in a perpetual state of 
drunkenness, or sitting blear-eyed at the door of the bothy, 
until the last of their earnings had been dissipated. This 
effected, they had no resource but to work during the rest of 
the season, until sowing-time should again arrive, at occasional 
jobs of wood-cutting or road-making, or anything that 
might turn up, always getting drunk whenever opportunity 

Great numbers of them, when once they had resorted to the 
grog-shop, never again became their own masters, remaining 
practically the bond slaves of the spirit-dealer ever after. 
And this introduces one of the most pernicious evils with 
which we had to contend in the early days of forest conserva- 
tion. A very great amount of timber, bamboos, grass, and 
other forest produce is annually required by the people of the 
plains for house-building and repairing, fencing their fields, 
and other agricultural purposes. The timber-bearing tracts in 
the neighbourhood of the cultivated plains having long since 
been cleared, all this has to be brought down from the interior 
of the hills ; and such work can only be done by the bold 
and hardy aborigines. Almost the whole of this trade had 
got into the hands of the Kulars, or spirit-dealers, by means of 
the power they had obtained over the tribes by their devotion 


to strong potations. Badly off as the poor Gond was in the 
hands of the agricultural money-lender, he was at least paid 
in wholesome grain or hard coin ; but here the universal prac- 
tice was to pay him in liquor, all except the pittance neces- 
sary to keep body and soul together in the way of food and 
raiment. Often the Kulars united the three trades, making 
the Gond cultivate an autumn crop of grain for his own sub- 
sistence and the trader's profit at a season when forest opera- 
tions were impossible, exchanging his surplus grain for liquor 
immediately after, until he had him deep in his books again, 
and then sending him out to the forests to cut wood to repay 
him, and to purchase back some of his own grain for subsist- 
ence. He was clean done and cheated at every turn, having 
to labour like a horse, and getting out of it nothing but a 
scanty subsistence, and as much vile liquor as he could swal- 
low without interfering too much with his working power. 
This trade had become enormously profitable. The numbers 
of the caste of Kulars, who alone can legitimately deal in 
spirits, were limited ; and they soon were rolling in wealth. 
A dissolute flaunting set by nature, they did no good with the 
money they thus earned, spending it chiefly in gambling and 
debauchery, and in loading themselves and their women with 
massive golden ornaments. The evils of the system were in- 
calculable. In his wild state the Gond or Korku has been 
recognized to be truthful and honest, occasionally breaking 
out into passion which might lead to violent crime, but free 
from tendency to mean or habitual criminality. Now he be- 
came a thief and a scoundrel. His craving for drink made 
him a ready tool in the hands of every designing knave ; and 
to the dangerous temper of the drunken savage he soon began 
to add the viciousness of a debased and desperate character. 
To the forests the injury was scarcely less. Having no im- 


plements but their little axes, and their employers being 
wholly indifferent to economical processes, these woodcutters 
procured their material in the most wasteful way possible. 
To produce a post for a cattle-pen a straight young teak sap- 
ling of ten or fifteen years' growth would be felled, and a piece 
six feet long taken from its middle, all the rest being left to 
perish. To procure a plank for a door a mature tree would 
be cut down, and hewn away to the requisite thickness with 
the axe. Timber was then doubtless cheap because nothing 
but the labour of these down-trodden races was expended in 
procuring it, and as many of them as they desired could be 
procured by the spirit-dealers for a wage which to the latter 
was almost nothing. In those days, the excise arrangements 
being very lax, the duty levied on spirits was very low ; and 
enough liquor could be brewed to make a Gond drunk for 
about a penny of our money. No forests could stand such a 
drain as this ; and this wasteful system of working them was 
one of the main causes of their impending exhaustion. 

It is fortunate that, under an improved administration, 
means were found at once to put a stop to this wholesale 
waste, and to greatly ameliorate the condition of the abori- 
ginal labourer. The first step in this direction was the intro- 
duction of a new excise law, under which the formerly unre- 
stricted power of establishing spirit-stills and grog-shops among 
the aborigines was withdrawn. Liquor was allowed to be 
distilled only at certain central places, and on payment of a 
fixed and considerable still-head duty. A certain number of 
retail shops only were allowed, sufficient in number and 
position to supply all the proper requirements of the people, 
and capable of being regulated by the police, without forcing 
temptation in the way of the less provident classes. The 
licenses for this restricted number of shops were let by public 


auction. Now came a just retribution on the whole race 
of Kulars. There were far more of them engaged in the 
liquor-trade than were required to man these shops ; all were 
wealthy and reckless, and also jealous of each other ; and so a 
strong competition for the licenses set in among them. Fabu- 
lous sums were bid at the auctions in many cases ; and every- 
where the price of liquor was so forced up by this and the 
heavy still-head duty that the poorer classes could no longer 
afford to drink it in excessive quantity. Sales thus diminished, 
while the expenses of a shop were largely increased ; and the 
result was the almost universal ruin of the Kulars, arfd the 
complete breaking up of their system of traffic. The gold 
ornaments they had flaunted to the world gradually dis- 
appeared, and many of them ended in utter bankruptcy. It 
may, perhaps, be regretted that a less sudden and seemingly 
oppressive method of curing the canker that was eating into 
the frontier society did not suggest itself ; but it is difficult to 
pity so vicious and unscrupulous a tribe as these Kulars. 
Though the consumption of liquor has fallen off immensely, 
the state revenue has not suffered, the avowed object of get- 
ting "the maximum of revenue with the minimum of con- 
sumption" being fully attained. 

The complement to this overhauling of the excise law was 
the introduction of our system of forest conservation. So 
large a subject, regarding which so little knowledge existed, 
could not be expected to be dealt with in an entirely satisfac- 
tory manner all at once. Some mistakes were made, the chief 
of such being to attempt too much on a sudden, and with in- 
sufficient means. The management of all our immense tracts 
of waste was thrown upon one or two officers, who had not 
yet even explored the country, and had nothing besides to 
guide them, and who were expected to administer a code of 


rules in detail, throughout this area, which was afterwards 
found to be much too strict, and to bear very hardly on the 
people. It could not be done ; and things came ere long to a 
dead lock, till solved by the rules themselves passing into a 
dead letter. Presently the proper remedy was applied, by 
reserving the most promising forests to be directly managed 
by the special Forest Department, while the greater portion 
was left to be looked after by the ordinary civil officers. 
Improved experience has still further improved the system ; 
but the main features of it w^ere struck out as early as 1864. 
Restrictions on the method of felling timber were imposed, and 
a fixed timber-duty levied. These measures, if in some cases 
not unopen to exception, at least had the effect of inducing a 
more economical system of working the forests. The abori- 
gines still furnish the labour in the forests, and, being paid in 
coin at the regular market value of their work, are enabled to 
profit by whatever they can earn. For some time the break- 
ing up of the Kul&r system left a want of private agency in 
the timber trade ; and the Forest Department itself had to 
step in and arrange for the supply of the country. At the 
time this was beneficial in many respects, enabling us to 
utilize most of the fully ripe standing trees, and the logs 
lying in the forest, by enhancing the price until it became 
remunerative to take these out. Now, however, this has 
ceased to be necessary, and there are sufficient legitimate 
dealers in the trade to supply all wants. 

It was some time before we ventured to interfere with the 
devastation caused by the wild tribes in their system of 
tillage by axe and fire which has been described. Having 
acquired the reputation of " savage and intractable foresters," 
it was with considerable hesitation that the first steps were 
adopted. The most promising forests were encircled by 


boundary lines, marked by terror-inspiring masonry pillars, 
within which the formation of dhya clearings was prohibited. 
The people obeyed with scarcely a murmur ; and presently 
the rules were extended to the great mass of the wastes, in so 
far that the cutting of valuable timber for clearings was for- 
bidden, except under such arrangements as afforded a prospect 
of the reclamation of the land being permanent. To the 
wildest of the tribes certain areas were assigned, sufficient to 
afford room for a rotation of sites for their dhya-fields. It 
cannot be said that these comprehensive restrictions have 
been everywhere enforced to the letter, nor was it to be 
expected. But the general effect has been very marked : the 
" intractable foresters w have shown a ready acquiescence in 
arrangements the object and necessity of which were carefully 
shown to them ; and year by year the influence of law is 
more fully acknowledged and felt in the forest regions. 

The habits of the aborigines are now' greatly changed for 
the better. Excessive and constant drunkenness is almost 
unknown, though drinking to a greater extent than is good 
for them on occasions has not entirely ceased. The whole of 
their earnings is not now dissipated in drink ; and the accu- 
mulation of the little capital needed to start cultivation on a 
more regular system is now possible to them all. An im- 
mense assistance in this respect has been derived from the 
great enhancement in the value of all agricultural produce, con- 
sequent on the opening up of the country and the American 
war. Large areas in the west of India, which formerly yielded 
cereals, have been devoted to the production of cotton, and a 
great extension of cultivation to supply the consequent scarcity 
of food-grains has taken place, and is still progressing, where- 
ever the country is fitted by proper communications to yield 
an exportable supply. The great undertakings in railways, 


and other public works, which have marked the last decade, 
have also much increased the demand for labour ; and even 
the natural produce of these central wilds has acquired a 
commercial value which it never before possessed. Before I 
left India, the agents of Bombay mercantile houses were 
probing the recesses of my district (Nimar) in search of 
various articles of natural production which had suddenly 
become valuable for export, such as the oil-yielding seeds 
of the Mhowa (Bassia latifolia), and the pure gum of the 
DMora (Conocarpus latifolius). Altogether a new era has 
dawned for these " children of the forest." The relation 
between labour and capital, long unfavourable to the former, 
has been reversed, and hard rupees are finding their way into 
the hills of G6ndwana, to the material improvement of 
the circumstances of its denizens, instead of the poisonous 
liquor which was fast hurrying them to destruction. Their 
contact with the Hindu races was long to them nothing but 
a curse ; but there is now a general agreement of opinion 
that of late they have been fast improving, both in well- 
being and in character. Where they still continue to work 
as farm-servants they receive better wages, and save some- 
thing out of them ; and, either from such savings or from 
their large earnings on the railway works, many have found 
the means to settle down as small farmers on their own 
account. Even as borrowers their credit is much improved. 
A great deal of capital is now seeking the profitable invest- 
ment offered by agriculture ; and loans are given on easier 
terms even to these still somewhat unreliable settlers. " The 
high price obtainable for oil-seeds of late years has perhaps 
done more towards this than anything else. It takes a mere 
handful of seed to sow an acre of tillee (sesamum) ; it flou- 
rishes with the rudest tillage on half-cleared land, for which 


no rent is usually paid for the first three years ; and it is cut 
and sold by the beginning of November. I know two ' un- 
encumbered' Korkus who in 1867 cleared thirty acres of 
light land, and sowed it with tillee. They borrowed 
80 rupees (8) to buy bullocks and implements, and two 
manees (1,920 lb.) of jowaree (millet) to eat. The interest 
on the money-debt was 20 rupees, and, as usual, double the 
quantity of grain had to be paid back at harvest. They had 
no other expenses, no rent being charged, and they themselves 
doing all the labour. The produce was 75 maunds (6,150 lb.) 
of oil-seed, which sold for 215 rupees (21 10s.), from which 
they repaid the 80 rupees worth of grain and 100 rupees in 
cash, leaving them gainers of 35 rupees (3 10s.), after paying 
off the whole of their debt. Thus they got a stocked farm, 
free from debt, in a single season, by their own manual 
labour alone, which would afterwards yield them at least 
10 apiece per annum, or much more than they could live on 
in comfort. The money-lender at the same time cleared 40 
per cent, on his money in eight months." * Such a farm as 
this may appear rather a miserable little affair to the English 
reader ; but such are the units of which the vast extent of 
Indian tillage is made up ; and to obtain possession of such a 
holding, with its slender stock, is an object of ambition to 
millions of labourers for a bare subsistence. 

There can be small room for doubt that the permeation of 
these aboriginal tribes with Hindu ideas, manners, and religion 
is steadily progressing; and it may be hoped that this influ- 
ence is now working rather for the better than for the worse. 
The flighty, debauched, half-tamed G6nd was a being much 
deteriorated from his original state of rude simplicity ; but the 

* Extract from a Report, by the writer, on the Settlement of the Nimar 



steady and sober, if illiterate and superstitious, Hindu cultivator 
of the soil is a type towards which we should by no means 
regret to see the aboriginal races advancing. It is true that 
in thus joining the great mass of Hinduism they will exchange 
their rude forms of religious belief for a submission to the 
powerful priestly influence which still prohibits the advance 
of the people of India beyond a certain point, and for a 
superstition which is morally no better than their own. The 
missionary may lose his chance in the meantime of getting 
them to accept some of his fetiches"''" in the place of their 
own. But probably they will then be no further, if so far, 
from the acceptance of a pure religion of morality than they 
are at present ; and when the distant day dawns for the dusky 
peoples of India, when the light of education shall dissipate 
their hideous superstitions, and lead them to inquire after a 
pure belief, they will be there, elevated and improved by con- 
tact and assimilation with a race superior to themselves. 

Such seems to be the probable future of those sections of 
the aborigines who lie on the confines of Hinduism in the 
plains. But so long as the vast wildernesses of these central 
highlands remain uncleared, which physical causes will in 
great measure render a permanent necessity, so long must 
h u man inhabitants of a type fitted to occupy them continue 
to exist. For such, civilization as we call it is impossible, 
and undesirable if it were possible. All that can be done for 
them is to eliminate by thoughtful administration causes 
which lead to their depression or demoralization, and to avoid 
any treatment irksome to their wild and timid nature which is 
not necessitated by the general requirements of the country. 

There is probably not room in their jungles for a much 

* Of course I mean what would prove fetiches to them in their present intel- 
lectual stage not that they are so to the missionary ! 


larger number of them than there are to exist in their wild 
state. In the great areas of unculturable waste their remnants 
must probably continue to exist much as they are, struggling 
for a livelihood with the beasts of the forest. But much of 
their country is also capable of clearance and permanent 
tillage. In this work the aboriginal will, as hitherto, be the 
necessary pioneer. Must he also, as hitherto, clear the wastes 
only to resign them when ready for permanent settlement to 
the occupation of the Hindu races ? Can we not now hope 
to secure to him some of the permanent fruits of his own 
toil ? Legislation has never yet enabled an inferior to stand 
before a superior race ; but it has frequently done much to put 
a weapon in the hands of the aggressors without which the 
invaded might have held their own. There are Haws in our law 
relating to the occupation of land, and to the legal enforce- 
ment of obligations, which, it may be feared, arm the Hindti 
irresistibly against the aborigine. None but a capitalist can 
now practically occupy the waste lands so as to secure a legal 
proprietary title ; and the aborigine never has such capital as 
would enable him to do so. The rules for the occupation of 
the wastes, given in Appendix B, will sufficiently explain 

Again, our administration of civil justice, while perhaps 
sufficiently suited to the requirements of settled districts, is 
practically a negation of all justice to the aborigine in his 
jungle. The courts sit at distant stations ; and in the Central 
Provinces there is even a rule prohibiting the trial of cases by 
civil officers on tour, unless both parties live on the spot. It 
wants only the slightest acquaintance with the timid and 
suspicious aborigine to see that this really amounts to denying 
him a hearing altogether. He will never come in to the station 
if he can avoid it by any payment within his means to make, 

m 2 


and, if he does, the chances are against his succeeding in 
escaping from it, and the crowd of harpies who clog the 
wheels of justice, without leaving behind him much of his 
worldly substance. The apparent necessities of a government 
which impoverishes its treasuries to cover the land with public 
works have led to an economy in its judicial establishments 
that inevitably leads to a very superficial investigation of small 
causes, and to a corrupt execution of the processes of the 
courts ; so that, notwithstanding much recent improvement in 
these respects, it is still often fully within the power of a 
wealthy litigant, who is acquainted with the secret springs of 
the judicial machinery, to obtain a decree, and take out pro- 
cesses of duress and distraint, against an alleged debtor, who 
may never have even been informed of the claim against him. 
Of course the law provides subsequent remedies for a person 
who has been so injured, but they are not such as are within 
the power of a poor aborigine in a remote jungle. The proper 
remedy obviously is to encourage, or even prescribe, the 
hearing of claims against the hill people by the superior civil 
officers during tours in their own country tours which for 
many reasons should be regularly made, instead of, as now, 
being rendered almost impracticable owing to constant pressure 
of other work. 

The aborigine is the most truthful of beings, and rarely 
denies either a money obligation or a crime really chargeable 
against him. When brought into court he will stand on one 
leg, and, holding his ears in his hands in token of submission, 
freely confess to having battered in a rival's head with his axe. 
But he has no idea of letters ; and, so long as his admission of 
having signed a bond is held to prove against him all the 
obligations that it may contain, he will continue to be cheated 
by the man of the pen with whom he deals. In addition to an 


improved machinery for the disposal of such cases, we should 
accordingly require some system of compulsory registration 
of agreements between such parties, without which no claim 
should be enforced. In fine, our system is too sharp and 
swift for these people. The dwellers in the plains may be 
left to adjust themselves to its requirements : they are clever 
enough to protect themselves. But it is death to the honest, 
timid, and unsettled aboriginal. 

But to return to my doings at Puchmurree, after this long 
digression. Towards the end of February numbers of Hindu 
pilgrims from the plains to the great shrine of Siva in the 
Mahadeo hills began to pass my camp. They usually encamp 
at the foot of the hill below the shrine ; and, besides the road 
over the plateau, come by a way which leads through the 
Denwa valley below the Puchmurree scarp. Several other 
roads lead in from the south, all of which are rugged and 
difficult, and are traversed in fear and trembling by the 
pilgrims. About this time I crossed over from Puchmurree 
to visit the opposite plateau of Motur, which was also at 
that time under examination as a possible site for a sani- 
tarium in these provinces. The Denwa valley lay between, 
necessitating a descent and ascent of about 2500 feet each 
way. On my return from Motur on the 26th of February I 
found the little plain in the Denwa valley below the shrine, 
through which my road lay, swarming with the pilgrims, some 
forty thousand of whom had collected in this lonely valley in 
a few days, and were now crowding up into the ravine where 
the cave is situated a ravine through which a week or two 
before I had tracked a herd of bison ! 

Most of these annual gatherings of pilgrims are, to the ma- 
jority of the Hindus who attend them, very much what race- 
meetings and cattle-shows are to the more practical English- 


man an episode in their hard-worked and rather colourless 
existence, in which a nominal object of little interest in itself 
is made the excuse for an " outing," the amusements of which 
chiefly consist in bothies for the sale of all sorts of miscella- 
neous articles, universal gossiping for the elders, and peep- 
shows and whirligigs for the younger members. It is sur- 
prising how the familiar features of a fair at home come out 
in an oriental costume, at these so-called religious gatherings. 
The cow with five legs and the performing billy-goat ade- 
quately represent the woolly horse and the dancing bear of 
our childhood. The acrobats are there to the life, tying them- 
selves into the identical knots we loved so well. The begging 
gipsy appears in the fantastic Jogee. Ginger-pop and oranges 
are even faintly typified in Mhowa grog and sticky sweet- 
meats. Aunt Sally alone is nowhere : there is nothing at 
all resembling the uproarious mirth of that ancient lady. 

Doubtless at all these gatherings there are a certain number 
of genuine pilgrims, whose end in coming is the performance 
of sacred rites at these holy shrines at such holy seasons ; for 
the fairs are all held at times when the worship of the local 
deity is held to be particularly efficacious. But generally their 
number is no greater a proportion of the whole than is that 
of the "members of the ring" in a Derby crowd. Such 
gatherings usually occur near the large centres of population, 
where solemn temples crown some sacred eminence by the 
holy Narbada. But the gathering at the Mahadeo shrine 
was of another character from these holiday outings. It draws 
its multitudes into a remote and desolate valley surrounded 
by the " eternal hills," where the Great God has his chief est 
dwelling-place in these central regions. No gorgeous temples 
or impressive ritual attract the sight-seer. The pathways 
leading to the place are mere tracks, scarcely discernible in 


the rank jungle, and here and there scaling precipitous rocks, 
where the feet of countless pilgrims have worn steps in the 
stone. Young and old have to track out these paths on foot ; 
and all the terrors of pestilence, wild beasts, and the demons 
and spirits of the waste surround the approach in their excited 
imaginations. Arrived at the foot of the holy hill, the pilgrim 
finds neither jollity nor anything more than the barest require- 
ments of existence awaiting him. His food is dry parched 
grain, his couch on the naked earth, during his sojourn in the 
presence of Mahdeva\ Should he be among the first to arrive, 
the tiger may chance to dispute with him the right to quench 
his thirst at the watering-place in the Denwa river.* Those 
who come to a place like this for pleasure must be few indeed. 
On my way back to Puchmurree, as I passed through the 
assembled multitudes, many of them were starting, after a dip 
of purification in the holy stream, to scale the heights that 
contain the shrine. My way also lay up the pilgrims' pass ; 
and as I went I passed through numerous groups of them 
slowly toiling up the steep ascent of nearly two thousand feet. 
Both men and women formed the throng, the former stripped 
to the waist and girded with a clean white cloth, the hori- 
zontal marks of red and yellow which distinguished them as 
worshippers of Siva being newly imprinted on their arms and 
foreheads. The women retained their usual costume ; but the 
careful veiling of face and figure, attended to on common 
occasions by high caste ladies, was a good deal relaxed in the 
excitement of the occasion (and besides, were they not on 
their way to be absolved of all sin ?) ; and not inconsiderable 
revelations of the charms of many of the good dames, of light 
brown skins and jet-black eyes, were permitted by the wayward 

* As I went to Motur on this occasion I saw the track of a tiger where the 
pilgrims drink. They had not then arrived, of course. 


behaviour of their flowing robes as they turned to stare in 
astonishment at the saheb and his strangely attired attendants 
pegging away past them up the hill with double-barrelled 
rifles on their shoulders. Signs of religious fervour there were 
none. All were talking and laughing gaily now and then 
shouting out " Jae, Jae, Mahadeo ! " (victory to the Great 
God). The cry raised by each as he took the first step on the 
hill was taken up by all the forward groups, till it died away 
in a confused hum among the crowd who had already reached 
the shrine, far up in the bowels of the hill. Gloom and terror 
are the last sentiments in the religious feeling of the Hindu, 
even when approaching the shrine of the deity who has been 
called the Destroyer in their trinity of gods. It is considered 
sufficiently meritorious to perform such a pilgrimage as this 
at all, without further adding to its misery by wailing and 
gnashing of teeth. They believe it will do them good, because 
the priests say so ; but they do not think it necessary to weep 
over it, and " boil their peas" when they can. But at the 
best it is a hard clamber for those unused to toil. The old 
and decrepit, the fat trader, and the delicate high-bred 
woman, have to halt and rest often and again as they labour 
up the hill. The path was a zig-zag ; and at every turn some 
convenient stone or rocky *ledge had been worn smooth by 
these restings of generations of pilgrims. 

For a long way before the shrine was reached the path was 
lined on either side by rows of religious mendicants and de- 
votees, spreading before them open cloths to receive alms, 
clothed in ashes picked out by the white horizontal paint- 
marks of the followers of Siva, with girdle of twisted rope 
and long felted locks, hollow-eyed and hideous, jingling a huge 
pair of iron tongs with moveable rings on them, and shouting 
out the praises of Mahadeo. The clang of a large fine-toned 







bell and the hum of a multitude of voices reached our ears, 
as, surmountiDg the last shoulder of the hill, we entered the 
narrow valley of the shrine. A long dim aisle, betwixt high 
red sandstone cliffs, and canopied by tall mango trees, led 
up to the cave. The roots of the great mangoes, of wild 
plantains, and of the sacred Chumpun* were fixed in cracks 
in the pavement of rock, worn smooth by the feet of the 
pilgrims, and moist and slippery with the waters of the 
stream that issues from the cave. 

The cave itself opens through a lofty natural arch in a 
vertical sandstone cliff ; and for about three hundred feet runs 
straight into the bowels of the hill. It is without doubt 
natural ; and a considerable stream of clear cold water issues 
from a cleft at its further end. Here is set up the little 
conical stone (Lingam) which represents the God, and attracts 
all these pilgrims once a year. No temple made with hands, 
no graven image, nothing of the usual pomp and ceremony of 
Brahminical worship, adorns this forest shrine. Outside on 
a platform a Brahman sits chanting passages in praise of the 
god, out of the local Sivite gospel (the Rewa Khanda) ; and a 
little way off an old woman tolls the great bell at intervals. 
But within there is no officiating priest, no one but a retainer 
of the aboriginal Chief whose right it has been from time 
immemorial to act as custodian of the shrine, and to receive 
the offerings of the pilgrims. No pilgrim ever brings more up 
the hill with him than he means to offer ; for he may take 
back nothing his last rupee, and even the ornaments of 
the women, must be left on the shrine of the god. Before 
passing into the cave the pilgrim leaves with the Brahmans 
outside (along with a sufficient douceur) his pair of small 
earthen vessels for the receipt of holy water. These they 

* Michelia Champaca. 


fill from the stream, seal up, and return to the pilgrim, who 
then proceeds to make the tour of the holy places on the 
MdMdeo hills. This takes him the whole of the remainder of 
the day. At each place a cocoa nut is offered ; and little piles 
of stones, like children's card -houses, are erected at some point 
of their peregrinations to signify a desire for a mansion in 
Kail as the heaven of Siva. Many of the places which 
should in theory be visited are very inaccessible, such as the 
top of the Chaoradeo peak, and very few of the pilgrims 
make the whole round. 

I sat for some hours in the ravine sketching the entrance 
to the cave and the picturesque throng about it. A few 
sulky looks from the professional religionists, and a drawing 
closer of their garments by the ladies, when they saw my 
occupation, were all the notice I met with. The bright 
colouring which gives such a charm to congregations of 
Hindus was heightened by the general holiday attire of the 
worshippers on this occasion j and, in the mellowed light from 
above, which percolated rather than shone through the canopy 
of foliage, would have formed a subject worthy of a much 
better artist than myself. It was hard to believe that all this 
gay gathering had come in a day, and would go in another, 
leaving the valley again to the bison and the jungle-fowL 
Unlike most shrines where such pilgrimages occur, no one 
remains to look after the god when the pilgrims are gone. The 
bell is unslung and taken away, being evidently looked upon 
as the only thing of value in the place. When 1 first visited 
the cave I found that the Great God had been better attended to 
by the wild beasts of the forest than by his human worshippers 
a panther or hyena having evidently been in the daily habit 
of leaving the only offering he could make before his shrine ! 

It is a common idea amongst Europeans that the worship 


at these Sivite shrines includes rites or mysteries of an ob- 
scene character. I believe this to be wholly groundless. No 
such thing could take place, here at any rate, except in public 
among a dense crowd ; and neither here nor at any other of the 
many shrines that I have visited have I either seen or heard of 
such a practice. It is undoubted that the small sects who 
worship the Sdkti, or female power of Sivd, do indulge in such 
obscenity. Their unholy rites are not, however, practised at 
the public shrines, but in the dark seclusion of their secret 
meeting-places ; and their existence I believe is wholly un- 
known to the great majority even of the ordinary followers of 

There is one object which will attract attention near this 
shrine of Siva, and which will receive a remarkable explana- 
tion. Projecting from the edge of a sheer and lofty cliff 
above the sacred brook is hung a small white flag. Innocent- 
looking enough it is ; but it marks a spot where, " in the 
days that are forgotten," human victims hurled themselves 
over the rock as sacrifices to the bloody Kali, and Kal- 
Bhairava, the consort and son of Siva the Destroyer. The 
British Government, which cannot be accused of timidity in 
forbidding so-called religious customs which are contrary to 
humanity, has long since put a stop to these bloody rites. 
For centuries, however, they were a regular part of the show 
at these annual pilgrimages, both here and at other principal 
shrines of Siva. They are connected with the worship of the 
terrible mythical developments of the god above mentioned 
forms which have, with some probability, been conjectured to 
be aboriginal deities imported into the Brahminical pantheon. 

Far to the west of Puchmurree, in the district of Nimar, is 
a rocky island in the Narbada river called M^ndhdtta, on 
which is situated the shrine of Siva called Omkar one of 


the oldest and most famous in all India. Like that at 
Puchmurree it is situated among rugged hills and jungles ; 
but it has evidently at one time been the seat of a great centre 
of Sivite worship. Ancient fortifications surmount its scarps ; 
and the area of nearly two square miles enclosed is piled up 
with the ruins of a thousand gorgeous temples. The most 
ancient of the temples at which worship is still paid are held 
by aboriginal Bheels as their custodians, and the more recent 
by a Bhilala family, who admit their remote derivation from 
the former. A legend is here current, and based on writings 
of some antiquity, that Kali and Kal-Bhairava were here 
worshipped by the Bheels, long before the worship of Omkar 
(Siva) was introduced along with the Rajput adventurer and 
his attendant priest, who were the ancestors of the present 
Bhilala custodian and of the hereditary high priest of Siva s 
shrine. The Rajput is said by alliance with the Bheels to 
have obtained the headship of the tribe ; and the holy man 
who accompanied him, to have stayed by his austerities the 
ravages of their savage deities, locking Kali up in a cavern of 
the hill (and if you do not believe it you may still see the 
cavern closed up), and vowing to Bhairava an annual sacrifice 
of human beings. Listen now to the inducements which the 
local Sivite gospel* holds forth to devotees to cast themselves 
from the rock. " At Omkar-Mandhatta is Kal Bhairava. 
Regarding it Parbati (wife of Siva) said unto twenty-five 
crores of the daughters of the Gandharvas (angels), ' Your 
nuptials will be with persons who shall have cast themselves 
over that rock/ Whoever thus devotes himself to Kal Bhairava 
will receive forgiveness, even though he had killed a Br&hnian. 

* The Narmada Khanda, which professes to be a part of the Skanda Purana. 
A more detailed account of the Holy Island and its Shrines, by the author, will 
be found in the Central Provinces Gazetteer, 2nd edition. 


Let the devotee make a figure of the sun on a cloth and take 
two flags, a club, and a chawar * in his hands, and proceed 
joyously with music to the rock. Whoever shall boldly cast 
himself down and die, will be married to a Gandharva. 
But if he fall faintheartedly his lot will be in hell. Whoso- 
ever turns back again in terror, each step that he takes shall 
be equivalent to the guilt of killing a Brahman ; but he who 
boldly casts himself over, each step that he takes is equal in 
merit to the performance of a sacrifice. Let no Brahman cast 
himself from the rock. A devotee who has broken his vows, 
a parricide, or one who has committed incest, shall by thus 
sacrificing himself become sinless." 

In 1822, a European officer of our Government witnessed the 
death of almost the last victim to Kal Bhairava at this shrine. 
The island then belonged to a native State (Sindia), and our 
Government had not then begun to interfere with such bloody 
rites. The political officer who wrote the account of it was 
therefore unable to prevent it by force. I came on the descrip- 
tion a few years ago in MS., hidden away among many other 
forgotten papers in the Government record room of the Nimar 
district. The concluding portion may be interesting, as per- 
haps the only account on record, by an eye-witness, of such 
an occurrence. After narrating how he vainly urged every 
argument on the youth to dissuade him from his design, the 
writer proceeds to relate how he accompanied him nearly up 
to the fatal rock. " I took care," he says, " to be present at 
an early hour at the representation of Bhyroo (Bhairava), a 
rough block of basalt smeared with red paint, before which he 
must necessarily present and prostrate himself, ere he mounted 
to the lofty pinnacle whence to spring on the idol. Ere long 
he arrived, preceded by rude music. He approached the 

* A yak's tail used for fanning, &c. 


amorphous idol with a light foot, while a wild pleasure marked 
his countenance. As soon as this subsided, and repeatedly 
during the painful scene, I addressed myself to him, in the 
most urgent possible manner, to recede from his rash resolve, 
pledging myself to ensure him protection and competence for 
his life. I had taken the precaution to have a boat close at 
hand, which in five minutes would have transported us beyond 
the sight of the multitude. In vain I urged him. He now 
more resolutely replied that it was beyond human power to 
remove the sacrifice of the powerful Bhyroo ; evincing the 
most indomitable determination, and displaying so great an 
infatuation as even to request me to save him from the fell 
dagger of the priestess,* should he safely alight upon the idol. 
So deep-rooted a delusion could only be surmounted by force ; 
and to exercise that I was unauthorised. While confronted 
with the idol, his delusion gained strength ; and the barbarous 
throng cheered with voice and hand, when by his motions he 
indicated a total and continued disregard of my persuasions to 
desist. He made his offering of cocoa-nuts, first breaking one ; 
and he emptied into a gourd presented by the priestess* his 
previous collection of pice and cowries. She now tendered to 
him some ardent spirit in the nut shell, first making her son 
drink some from his hand, to obviate all suspicion of its being 
drugged. A little was poured in libation on the idol. She 
hinted to him to deliver to her the silver rings he wore. In 
doing so he gave a proof of singular collectedness. One of 
the first he took off he concealed in his mouth till he had 
presented to her all the rest, when, searching among the 

* The priestess here referred to was probably tbe Bheel custodian of the 
shrine. There is nothing to prevent the hereditary custodian from having been 
a female at that time ; but priestesses, properly speaking, have never existed in 
India. Her receipt of his collections from the people also indicates this con- 


surrounding countenances, he pointed to a man to whom he 
ordered this ring to be given. It was a person who had 
accompanied him from Oojein. An eagerness was now evinced 
by several to submit bracelets and even betel-nuts to his sacred 
touch. He composedly placed such in his mouth and returned 
them. The priestess at last presented him with a pann leaf,* 
and he left the spot with a firm step, amidst the plaudits of 
the crowd. During the latter half of his ascent he was much 
concealed from view by shrubs. At length he appeared to the 
aching sight, and stood in a bold and erect posture upon the 
fatal eminence. Some short time he passed in agitated motions 
on the stone ledge, tossing now and then his arms aloft as 
if employed in invocation. At length he ceased ; and, in slow 
motions with both his hands, made farewell salutations to the 
assembled multitude. This done, he whirled down the cocoa- 
nut, mirror, knife, and lime, which he had continued to hold ; 
and stepping back was lost to view for' a moment a pause 
that caused the head to swim, the heart to sink, and the flesh 
to creep. The next second he burst upon our agonized sight 
in a most manful leap,| descending feet foremost with ferrific 
rapidity, till, in mid career, a projecting rock reversed his 
position, and caused a headlong fall. Instant death followed 
this descent of ninety feet, and terminated the existence of 
this youth, whose strength of faith and fortitude would have 
adorned the noblest cause, and must command admiration 
when feelings of horror have subsided. Thus closed the truly 
appalling scene. "| 

With the exception of the murder of a poor old woman 

* The usual signal for the termination of a formal interview. 

t The place is called the " Bir-Kali" rock, which I believe means literally 
the " manful leap." 

X Extract from a letter of 29th November, 1822, from Captain Douglas, 
Political Assistant in Nimar, to the Resident at Indore. 


who shrunk from the fatal leap when brought to the brink, 
but was mercilessly pushed over by the excited religionists, 
this was the last of these sacrifices that was permitted, the 
country coming in 1824 under our administration. 

But the powers of evil were not yet to be baulked of their 
victims. The British Government could prevent deluded and 
drugged devotees from casting themselves over the Bir-Kali 
rock ; but it could not deprive Kali and Kal-Bhairava of 
their fell executioner the cholera demon. Year by year the 
pestilence invaded the encampments of the pilgrims. Sani- 
tary science would say that it arose from the germs of disease 
brought from the festering gullies of the great cities, and 
pushed into activity by the exposure, bad food, defiled neigh- 
bourhood, and poisoned water, of the pilgrim camps. But the 
Hindu saw nothing in it but the wrath of the offended 
Divinity claiming his sacrifice. Year after year the gatherings 
were broken up in wild disorder. The valley of the cave, the 
steep hillside, and that green glade in the Sal forest, were left 
to bury their dead, while the multitude fled affrighted over 
the land, carrying far and wide with them the seeds of death. 
Everywhere their tracks were marked by unburied corpses ; 
and the remotest villages of the Narbada valley and the 
country of the South felt the anger of the destroying fiend. 
A pilgrim fleeing from the fatal gathering could find no rest 
for the sole of his foot. The villages on his road closed their 
gates against him as if he were a mad dog ; and many who 
escaped the disease perished in the jungle from starvation and 
wild beasts. At last, after a terrible outbreak of cholera in 
1865, the Government prohibited the usual gathering at the 
Mahadeo Cave. The people made no complaint. They do 
not seriously care about these things when left alone by the 
priests ; and here the priests were satisfied by the continuance 


to the hereditary custodians, on whom they were dependent, 
of their average income from the pilgrimage, in the form of a 
pension. It is very different when their gains are affected. 
Two years ago a cholera epidemic threatened in Nimar, aud 
the pilgrimage to Omkar Mandhatta was closed by order. 
The priests and guardians of the shrine were up in arms at 
once, basing their objections entirely on the money loss they 
would suffer. Since the closing of the Mahadeo pilgrimage 
the deities of destruction have been baulked of their prey. The 
valley of the Denwa, although now opened up by a good 
timber road made to penetrate the Sal forest, no longer wit- 
nesses the annual pilgrim congress. The Cave of the Shrine 
is silent and deserted. 

The interruption to the business of the country caused by 
these cholera outbreaks used to be terrible. Whole villages 
were sometimes swept away. In May of 1865 I had marched 
nearly twenty miles to a small Gond village on one of the 
pilgrim tracks, in the district of Be'tul. I had been eluding 
the tracks of cholera the whole of the hot season, and had 
escaped without a single case of the disease in my camp. My 
people were almost exhausted with such a long march in the 
height of the hot season ; and I joined them at the village, like- 
wise much knocked up by a long exploration in the hills. 
I found my tent-pitcher and one or two others who had 
arrived struggling to pitch the large tent, without the usual 
assistance rendered by the villagers at the camping place. 
They placidly told me that the village was no longer the home 
of the living, every one in the houses being dead of cholera ! 
The only living object in the place was a white kid, wandering 
about with a garland round its neck. It was the, scape-goat 
which these simple people, after the manner of the Israelites 
of old, send out into the wilderness on such occasions to carry 


with it the spirit of the plague. Tired out as we were it was 
death to stay in this place ; so we re-loaded the things and 
marched eight miles further, straight into the jungle ; and at 
nightfall pitched our camp by the banks of the wide Tdwa 
river, far from human habitation. No one was seized by the 
disease ; and during all my marching, humanly speaking I 
believe owing to proper sanitary precautions, I never had a 
single case in my camp. 



1. The Creation and Exile of the Gonds. 

2. The Coming of Lingo. 

3. The Deliverance of the Gonds. 

4. Subdivision into Tribes, and Worship of the Gond Deities. 

The Pardhans, or bards, of the G6nd tribes are in posses- 
sion of many rudely rhythmical pieces, which it is their func- 
tion to recite on festive occasions to their assembled con- 
stituents, to the accompaniment of the two-stringed lyre. 
The best and most complete of these, extending to nearly a 
thousand bars or lines, was laboriously taken down in writing 
from the lips of one of these Pardhans by the late Rev. 
Stephen Hislop, of the Free Church of Scotland mission at 
Nagpur. But the lamented death of that indefatigable 
investigator into the history and manners of the Central Indian 
peoples prevented his furnishing it in a complete form. In a 
collection of his papers afterwards published under the editor- 
ship of Sir R. Temple, this legend appeared at length, with a 
translation of each word as it stood, only so far modified as 
to conform to the first requirements of English grammar. 
In this guise, although well suited to the purposes of the 
student, the piece is almost unintelligible to ordinary readers ; 
and, if it be considered that the Gonds have never had 
any written language, and that these pieces have only been 
preserved by tradition from one of these troubadours to 
another, it will not be surprising that a good deal of recension 
is requisite before it can be made suitable to the general 

H 2 


reader. Whether or not the piece has any original foundation 
in purely Gond tradition may be matter of doubt ; but it is 
certain that it has become greatly overlaid with the spirit and 
phraseology of Hinduism. It professes to recount the creation 
of the original Gonds at the hands of Hindu (Sivaic) deities ; 
what may be called their subsequent fall through the eating of 
meats forbidden by Hindu law ; their exile and imprisonment 
by the offended Hindu deity ; the appearance by miraculous 
birth and life among them of a Hindu saint named Lingo,* 
whom they ungratefully put to death, but who rises again, and, 
after much penance and suffering, delivers them from bondage, 
introduces Hindu observances, the arts of agriculture, and the 
worship of tribal gods, and eventually disappears and goes 
to the gods. The programme thus bears a singular resem- 
blance in many respects to the legend of Hiawatha, the 
prophet of the Eed Indians ; and to some an even more 
startling parallelism may suggest itself. 

My own opinion is that its origin is comparatively recent, 
subsequent to the propagation among the Gonds of Hindu 
ideas and rules. It seems to possess little value as bearing 
on their origin, assigning to them a northern descent, which 
is contradicted by the strong southern affinities of their lan- 
guage, and which is obviously only introduced as part of the 
Hindu machinery which pervades the piece. As a com- 
position it has little merit, though here and there exhibiting 
something of beauty, and more often a good deal of quiet 
humour. The style of the original is very discursive, con- 
stantly losing sight of the narrative, often apparently lead- 
ing to nothing, and full of repetition, defects which are 
probably the natural result of its usage as a ballad, handed 

* This name is probably typical of the Lingaet sect, who are known to have 
actively propagated the worship of the Phallic Siva in the Deccan. 


down by mere word of mouth. It gives the idea of having 
been composed by the gradual accretion round a very slender 
thread of original story of successive episodes, manufactured 
by the semi-Hindu Pardhans for recitation before the almost 
entirely Hindu chiefs of the Gonds. Yet even as such it 
possesses some interest, as exhibiting, in a somewhat dramatic 
form, the recent Hinduization of many of the Gond tribes ; 
and I have, accordingly, endeavoured to throw it into a shape 
that will not greatly fatigue my readers. I have excised from 
it most of the Hindii mythology with which it was overlaid, 
and which was often anything but orthodox ; and I have 
thought it best to omit nearly the whole of the latter part, 
which consists of tiresome details of marriage and other cere- 
monial, which do not even possess the value of being an 
accurate account of the practice of the present day. 

Thus the present version is greatly reduced in bulk, and is 
rather a paraphrase than a translation, though in many parts 
it will be found to adhere almost literally to the original, 
and little will be detected which has not some foundation 
therein. I should, perhaps, apologise for the adoption of 
the Hiawathian metre and style, and in a few cases even 
of the words of the American poet, in a piece which may 
appear almost like a burlesque of his Eed Indian legend. It 
is probable that the originals of the two legends may not have 
differed greatly in character : and the close and curious paral- 
lelism between them could only be brought out by the 
adoption of the method introduced by the author of Hiawatha, 
and now familiar to the public. But the " noble savage " of 
North America is a very different character from the poor 
squalid Gdnd of Central India ; and not even the genius of a 
Longfellow or a Fenimore Cooper could throw a halo of senti- 
ment over the latter and his surroundings. I have therefore 



thought it best to give full play to the grotesque element in 
the tale, for which, it must be confessed, the Hiawathian 
style is provokingly well adapted. I should add that the 
serious student of G<5nd institutions had better, perhaps, 
prefer the original to the version now offered. 


In the Glens of Seven Mountains,* 
Of the Twelve Hills in the Valleys, 
Is the mountain Lingawangad, 
Is the flowering tree Pahindi ; 
In that desert far out-spreading 
Twelve coss round arose no dwelling : 
" Caw " saying, there no crow was ; 
11 Chee" saying, there no bird was; 
"Kaghum" saying, there no tiger was. 
And the Gods were greatly troubled. 
In their heavenly courts and councils 
Sat no Gods of Gonds among them. 
Gods of other nations sat there, 
Eighteen threshing-floors t of Brah- 
Sixteen scores t of Telinganas ; 
But no Gods of Gonds appeared there 
From the Glens of Seven Mountains, 
From the Twelve Hills in the Valleys. 
Then the Strong God Karto Subal, J 
The firstborn of Mahadeva, 
Of the Great God Mahadeva, 
Pondered deeply in his bosom 
O'er a circumstance so curious ; 
Pondered much, and then he fasted, 
Devotee-like prayed and fasted 
For the coming of the Gond Gods 
From the Glens of Seven Valleys 
To the councils of the Godhead. 
Pondered thus till on his left hand 

Eose a most Portentous Tumour, 
Tumour boil-like, red, and growing 
Bigger daily, daily bigger, 
Till it burst, and from its centre 
Came the Koitor, came they trooping, 
Sixteen threshing-floors they num- 
Came and spread them o'er the country, 
On the hills, and in the valleys, 
In the arches of the forest, 
Everywhere they filled the country ; 
Killing, eating, every creature ; 
Nothing knowing of distinction ; 
Eating clean and eating unclean ; 
Eating raw and eating rotten ; 
Eating squirrels, eating jackals, 
Eating antelope and sambar, 
Eating quails and eating pigeons, 
Eating crows and kites and vultures, 
Eating Dokuma the Adjutant, 
Eating lizards, frogs, and beetles, 
Eating cows and eating calves, 
Eating male and female buffaloes, 
Eating rats, and mice, and bandicoots ; 
So the Gonds made no distinction. 
For half a year they bathed not, 
And their faces nicely washed not 
When they fell upon the dunghills 
Thus at first were born the Koitor 
From the hand of Karto Subal. 

* The Sdtpfira mountains are probably here referred to. 

t Such expressions are used thioughout the legend to denote indefinite 

% Kartik Swami the son of Siva (Mahadeva) is thus termed in the legend. 

Koitor is the national name for all the Gonds of different tribes. It signi- 
fies properly " men." 



Soon a stench began to issue 
From the forests and the mountains 
Stench of Gonds that lived so foully. 
Rose the stench to Mahadeva, 
To his mountain Dewalgiri.* 
Wrathful then became the Great God, 
Called his messenger Narayan, 
Said he, ' ' Bring these Gonds before 

Outcast wretches ! How their stink has 
Spread o'er all my Dewalgiri." 
Then the messenger Narayan 
Called the Koitor all together, 
Called them up to Dewalgiri 
To the Great God Mahadeva, 
Ranged them all in rows before him 
In the courtyard of the Great God. 
Then the Great God washed his body, 
Washed a little of the dirt off ; 
Fashioned it into the likeness 
Of the King of Squirrels Warche ; 
Breathed the breath of life into it ; 
Down before the Koitor threw it. 
Straight the Squirrel then his tail 

Seeking passage to escape them, 
Jerking in and out among them ; 
And the Gonds began to chase it, 
Crying, < Catch it ! " crying, Kill it J" 
" Let us catch and skin and eat it," 
Some took sticks, and some took stones, 
Some took clods, and off they scurried 
After W&rche, King of Squirrels,, 
Hip-cloths streaming out behind them. 
But the Squirrel Artful Dodger 
Jerking in and out among them 
Popped into a hole convenient 
In the mountain Dewalgiri. 
And the Gonds all ran in after 
All but four that stayed behind them. 
Then a stone took Mahadeva., 
A great stone of sixteen cubits, 
Shut them up within the cavern 

In the mountain Dewalgiri ; 

Shut them up, and placed the demon 

Monster horrid, fierce Basmasur 

Placed him guardian o'er the entrance. 

And the four that were remaining 

Swiftly fled from Dewalgiri, 

Fled across the hills and valleys, 

Fled to hide them from the Great God, 

From the wrath of Mahadeva. 

Long they wandered thus in terror, 

But no hiding-place discovered ; 

Till a tree at last ascending, 

On a hill a straight- stemmed date tree, 

Thence looked forth and saw a refuge 

Saw the Red Hills, Lahugada, 

The Iron Valley, Kachikopa. 

There they sped them through the 

And they hid them from the Great God. 
Now the goddess-queen Parbuttee 
Consort she of Mahadeva 
On the mountain top was sleeping, 
On the top of Dewalgiri. 
Waked she shortly from her slumber, 
Waked to find a something wanting 
In the air of Dewalgiri. 
Then she grieved, and thought within 

" Where can all my Gonds have gone 

Many days our hill is silent, 
Once that echoed to their shouting ; 
Many days no smell ascendeth, 
Pleasant smell of Gonds ascending ; 
My sweet-smelling Gonds, where are 

And my Mahadev, also, 
Him I see not ; much I fear me 
He has done my Gonds a mischief." 
And she grieved, and took no dinner, 
Prayed and fasted like a hermit, 
Devotee-like penance doing 
For her lost sweet-smelling Koitor. 

* Dewalgiri is one of the highest peaks of the Himalaya range 
used as identical with Kailas, the mythic heaven of Siva. 

and is here 



Six months thus she prayed and fasted, 
Till the King of Gods, Bhagwantal,* 
Swinging in a swing and snoozing, 
By her penance greatly moved was 
Moved to rise and look about him ; 
Sent the messenger Narayan, 
Sent him forth to Dewalgiri, 
Sent to see what she was np to, 

Why so sadly she was grieving. 
Soon she told her little grievance, 
How her pleasant- smelling Gonds had 
Disappeared from Dewalgiri. 
Then Bhagwantal sent and told her 
He would try if he could find them ; 
And betook him to his swinging, 
And bethought him how to do it. 


On the mountain Lingawangad, 
Grew the flowering-tree Pahindi. 
Flowers budding, still unopened, 
Yellow flowers of the Pahindi, 
Saw the King of Gods Bhagwantal ; 
Saw and thought him of the Koitor, 
Wandering sadly in the mountains, 
Pining deep in Dewalgiri ; 
Saw, and came as comes a raincloud, 
Spreading fanlike, came in thunder. 
Lightning flashed, the sky was dark- 
Thus the God came to the Flower. 
Darkness spread around her cover, 
Gently oped the flower her blossom, 
Softly fell the quickening shower 
Thus conceived the flower Pahindi. 
In the fourth watch of the night 
Fell a heap of yellow saffron ; 
Fell beneath the tree Pahindi. 
Morning dawned, the clouds were 

opened ; 
Thundering still the clouds were 

Burst the yellow flower Pahindi, 
Cracking burst it in the sunlight. 
Sprang to life from it my Lingo, 
Sprang into the heap of saffron ; 
Sat and wept among the saffron, 
Till his tears the God Paternal 
Dried with sprinkling of the saffron ; 

Sent the Gular tree beside him, 
Honey dropping from its branches, 
Dropped it in the mouth of Lingo. 
Sweetness drinking then he cried not. 

Blew around him noontide zephyrs ; 
Grew my Lingo in their breathing. 
In a God-sent swing reposing 
Gently slept he till the evening. 

Purest water may be stained ; 
Stainless ail and pure was Lingo. 
Diamond sparkled on his navel ; 
On his forehead beamed the Tika, 
Mark divine of fragrant sandal, 
Mark of godhead in my Lingo. 
Playing grew he in the saffron, 
Swinging slept he in his cradle, 
Honey sucking, nothing eating 
Of the wild fruits in the forest. 

Nine years old became my Lingo, 
When his soul began to wonder 
Whether all alone his lot was 
In that forest shade primeval. 
There no wild deer cropped the herbage, 
Manlike form there none appeared ; 
Somewhere they must be, thought 

Lingo ; 
I will seek them, I may find them. 
Then he rose and wandered onwards, 
Wandered on by brook and meadow, 
Through the forest shade primeval, 
Till before him rose a mountain, 
Mountain pointed like a needle. 

* This is intended for Bhagwan, the unworshipped Creator of the Hindus 
(vide p. 144). His introduction here as a mythical personage is not consonant 
with the usual practice in Hindu writings. 



Thither climbing, on the summit 
Lingo saw the tree Mandita, 
Saw beneath it Kirsadita, 
Sweetly flowering Kirsadita. 
There its perfume sweet inhaling 
Lingered Lingo for a little. 
Then he climbed the tree Mandita, 
Climbed and looked forth o'er the forest, 
To the valley Kachikopa, 
To the Bed Hills, Lahugada. 
Saw a little smoke ascending, 
Saw and very greatly marvelled 
At this circumstance portentous. 
Wandered on, and soon discovered 
In that forest shade primeval, 
Manlike forms four discovered- 
Saw the four Gonds that remained 
Hiding fearful of the Great God. 
Forest quarry having stricken, 
Steaks of venison were roasting, 
Pieces raw at times devouring. 

Seeing Lingo up they started ; 
Seeing them our Lingo halted ; 
Long time gazed they at each other. 
But the brothers inwards pondered, 
Brothers four we are, bethought them, 
Let us take him for a fifth one, 
Let us take him to our wigwams. 
Then they brought him to their wig- 
To their wigwams in the forest, 
And set meat before their brother. 
But he asked them whence the meat 

And they answered, " Of a wild boar." 
Then he asked them for its liver ; 
And they sought long for the liver, 
But no Liver could discover. 
Then they told him, " Lo, a strange 

thing ! 
Without liver is this creature 
We have slain in the forest." 
Lingo laughed at this conception 
Of a creature without liver, 
Asked to see it in the forest 
Living creature without liver. 

Then the brothers much considered 
Where on earth they might discover 
In the forest or the mountains 
Living creature without liver. 
One suggested, ' ' He is little, 
We are big, and practised roamers 
Of the forest shades primeval. 
Let us take him to the mountains 
Eough and stony, to the thickets 
Close and thorny ; he will fagged be, 
Thirst for water, get so hungry, 
Glad he will be to sit down, and 
Give up looking for a creature, 
Living creature, without liver." 

Then they took their bows and 
Bows of bamboo from the mountains, 
Shafts of bulrush from the marshes ; 
And they went by deepest thickets 
Of that forest shade primeval. 
Kurs the Antelope they saw it, 
Killed it, found it had a liver. 
Mawk the Sambar found and slew it, 
Found it also had a liver. 
Malol the Hare they saw and kiiju ' H, 
In it too they found a liver 
All the creatures had a liver. 
Tired and weary were the Brothers ; 
Lingo only was not wearied. 
Thirsty very were the Brothers ; 
Clambered up upon a hill-top 
Seeking water, but they found none. 
Clambered down again, and wandered 
Through a close and thorny jungle, 
Where a man could scarcely enter. 
There they found a spring of water, 
Cool and sparkling in the shadow. 
And they plucked the leaves of Pulas, 
Making cups, and drank the waters, 
And refreshed were from their labours. 
Then said Lingo, " Wherefore stay ye? 
We have not yet seen the creature, 
Living creature without liver. 
Without liver creature is not." 

And he said, ' ' Here in the forest 
Let us clear a field and plant it. 



Down the trees here let us fell them; 

And the ground here let us dig it; 

Seed of rice here let us sow it. 

I will sleep here for a little 

While ye clear away the forest." 

Then slept Lingo, slept and dreamed 

Dreamed he of twelve threshing-places, 

Threshing-floors that full of Gonds 

And his soul was greatly troubled ; 

And he rose and looked about him. 

Found the Brothers sadly hewing, 

Hewing sadly at a big tree ; 

And their hands had blisters on them, 

Blisters large as fruit of Aola. 

And their hatchets down they threw 

And went off and down they squatted. 
Then our Lingo up an axe took, 

Took and hewed he at the big tree, 

Hewed and levelled all the forest, 

Felled the trees and grubbed their 
roots out 

In an hour the field was finished. 

And the Gonds said, " Mighty Lingo ! 

Lo our hands were sore and blistered, 

Hewing sadly at one big tree, 

Which we left still undemolished. 

In an hour has Lingo done it ! 

He has levelled all the forest ; 

Black the land appears below it ; 

Thick the rice is sown upon it ; 

High a hedge is raised around it ; 

Single left an entrance to it ; 

Strong a gate is placed before it." 

Then they rose and turned them home- 

Homewards went they to their wig- 
Soon the rainy season cometh, 

Black a little cloud appeareth, 

Strong the winds from heaven are 

All the sky is clouded over ; 

Now the rain begins to patter. 

In a while the streams run knee- deep, 
All the hollows flooded brimfull. 
Thus three days and nights it raindd, 
Then it stopped as it begun had. 
And the rice began to shoot up ; 
Green became the field of Lingo. 
High as fingers four it sprouted, 
Sprouted thus high in a day's time. 
In a month 'twas somewhat higher, 
With a man's knee it was level. 
In the forest shade primeval 
Sixteen scores of Deer were dwelling ; 
Chief among them Uncle Maman ; 
Nephew Bhasyal heir apparent. 
Eich the odour reached their noses 
Of that rice-field in the clearing. 
First the Uncle sniffed the odour, 
And the Nephew sniffed it after. 
Then the Nephew fetched a gambol, 
Upwards leaped he, joints all cracking, 
And his ears with pleasure cocking. 
To his Uncle near he trotted, 
And he said, ' ' My ancient Uncle, 
See this lovely field of green stuff. 
May we have it for our dinner ? " 
But the Uncle, ancient Maman, 
Warning, chiding, spake in this wise 
" Ere you leap 'twere wise to look well. 
In the valleys of the forests 
Many fields there are of green stuff; 
Touch ye not the field of Lingo 
Go and graze on some one else's. 
Sixteen scores of Eohees are ye ; 
But of all your noble sixteen 
Neither buck nor doe will left be 
If ye touch the field of Lingo." 
Then spake Bhasyal the Nephew, 
Spake disdainfully in this wise 
" Old are you and somewhat feeble, 
We are young and rather frisky ; 
Seven- foot- six about the mark is 
We can clear a running high jump 
Stay behind, Old Ninkampupo ! 
They might catch you if you tried 

Then his ears pricked twitchy-witchy, 



And his tail cocked jerky-perky, 
And went forward to the rice-field. 

And the Uncle, deeply thinking, 
Greatly grieving, left behind was. 
But he slowly followed after. 
At the fence the Nephew halted, 
And prospected for an entrance ; 
But an entrance nowhere found he, 
For the sixteen scores of Eohees. 
And the sixteen scores to mutter 
'Mong themselves began in this wise 
" Left behind is ancient Maman, 
He the very wise among us. 
Now this Bhasyal, youthful Nephew, 
He must show us how to do it. 
Uncle Maman spake of Lingo, 
Said that very sapient uncle, 
Look behind and look before you, 
Ere ye touch the field of Lingo." 
Answered them the valiant Nephew 
" Keep not company with ancients, 
Full of years and slack of sinews, 
Follow me " and then he bounded 
O'er the hedge into the rice-field. 
After him the Eohees leapt all 
Leapt the sixteen scores of Eohees ; 
Leapt they straight into the rice-field, 
And the rice began to graze on. 

Soon the Uncle coming after 
By the hedge stood and looked over ; 
And his mouth began to water 
Like a dripping spring in summer. 
But no entrance seemed to offer, 
And his joints were stiff and feeble ; 
So he stayed outside, reproachful, 
While those sixteen scores of Eohees 
Eat up all the field of Lingo. 
Eat it up, and back they leapt all, 
Stood beside that ancient Maman, 
Who in words of solemn wisdom 
Warning, chiding, spake in this wise 
1 Hear, ye sixteen scores of Eohees ! 
O my children, my poor children ! 
Very nicely ye have done it 
Eaten up the field of Lingo. 
Father Lingo, he the powerful, 

When he comes to see his rice-field, 
What on earth will he think of it ? " 

Then the very youthful Bhasyal, 
To the sixteen scores of Eohees 
Counsel offered, spake in this wise 
" Listen, brethren! let us speed now 
To our forest shades primeval. 
On the stones our feet well placing, 
On the leaves our footsteps keeping, 
On the grass our way selecting, 
On the soil no footmarks leaving, 
Let us cunningly our way take 
To our forest shades primeval." 
As he said so did the Eohees, 
Lightly stepping left no traces* 
Marks of footsteps none appeared ; 
Eeached their forest shades primeval. 
Some to sit down, some to sleep went, 
Some to stand up in the cool shade, 
'Gan these sixteen scores of Eohees. 

Midst the perfume sweet of flowers, 
Swinging in a swing, was Lingo; 
Swinging slept he, and he dreamed, 
Dreamt of sixteen scores of Eohees, 
Of a devastated rice-field. 
And his soul was greatly troubled; 
And he rose and looked about him. 
Looked, and went to reconnoitre 
By the way of Kachikopa ; 
Went he through the Iron Valley, 
To the Eed Hills Lahugada, 
Went the very valiant Lingo ; 
Saw the devastated rice-field ; 
Thence returning, to the Brothers, 
Brothers sleeping in their wigwams, 
Spake our Lingo " Listen, Brothers, 
Listen to my doleful story, 
How these sixteen scores of Eohees 
All our rice-field have demolished." 
Then the Brothers, greatly troubled 
By this doleful tale of Lingo, 
Wailed a wail of disappointment, 
Spake the words of bitter anguish > 
' ' To the gods our yearly firstfruits, 
Firstfruits that we yearly offer, 
Now of what shall we give firstfruits, 



Since our rice- field is demolished ? " 
Answered Lingo " Lo a firstfruit 
To the Gods of Rohees' livers, 
Of the sixteen scores of Rohees 
Liver firstfruits shall we offer. 
On the perfume of the flowers 
I, a devotee, can prosper ; 
Ye are Gonds with hungry stomachs, 
Wherewithal shall they be filled, 
Now these sixteen scores of Rohees 
All our rice-field have demolished ? " 
Then the Brothers took their wea- 
Bows of bamboo from the mountains, 
Shafts of bulrush from the marshes ; 
And in wrath they sought the rice- 
Where the soil was black and naked, 
Saw they nothing but the stubble 
Of the rice that waved so greenly. 
Then a flame of mighty anger, 
From the heels of Lingo rising, 
To his matted head ascended. 
Reddened were his eyes like firebrands, 
Bit his fingers till the blood came ; 
Said he " Search ye for the footprints 
Of these sixteen scores of Rohees." 
Then the Brothers bent them down- 
Searching closely for their traces, 
Traces nowhere that appeared 
Of the sixteen scores of Rohees. 
Searched they long and found a foot- 
Single footmarks scarce appearing, 
Thence the jungle trodden down was 
To the forest shades primeval. 
East they followed on the traces, 
But the sixteen scores they saw not. 
Soon a Peepul tree appeared 
Towering high above the forest ; 
Clambered Lingo to its summit, 
Looked he from it o'er the forest, 
Spied the sixteen scores of Rohees, 
Rohees in the shade reclining, 
Rohees sleeping, Rohees frisking 

In the forest shade primeval. 
Then said Lingo to the Brothers 
' ' Take .your bows and take your 

arrows ; 
Quickly get ye round about them, 
To the four sides of the Rohees. 
Slay and spare not, smite the rascals ! 
Hence my bolts I will deliver." 
Then the Brothers stalked around 

To the four sides of the Rohees ; 
Thence their bulrush shafts delivered ; 
Shot our Lingo from the Peepul. 
Smitten were the herd of Rohees, 
Only Maman, Uncle Maman, 
And one little female Rohee, 
Of those sixteen scores remained. 
Then our Lingo aimed an arrow 
At that Uncle, ancient Maman ; 
But the arrow from his hand fell. 
Thought he, surely here's an omen 
That this veiy ancient Maman 
Of our rice has nothing taken. 
Then to run began the Rohee, 
Female Rohee that remained; 
And to run began the Uncle. 
Brothers all behind them followed, 
Shouting " Catch them " to each other. 
But they vanished and were seen not. 
And the Brothers, much disgusted, 
Back returned to their Lingo. 

Then said Lingo, ' ' Search ye, 

For a firebox in your waistbelts." 
Flints and steel they forthwith brought 

Struck a spark among the tinder, 
But the tinder would not burn. 
Thus the whole night long they tried it, 
Tried in vain until the morning, 
When they flung away the tinder. 
And to Lingo said, " Brother, 
You're a prophet, can you tell us 
Why we cannot light this tinder ? " 
Answered Lingo, " Three coss onward 
Lives the Giant Rikad Gowree, 



He the very dreadful Monster, 
He the terrible Devourer. 
In his field a fire is smoking ; 
Thither go and fetch a firebrand." 
Then the Brothers went a little, 
Went a very little, onwards ; 
Thence returned, and said to Lingo 
" Nowhere saw we Eikad Gowree, 
Nowhere have we found this Giant." 
Then said Lingo, " Lo my arrow, 
By its pathway see ye follow." 
Then he fitted to his bowstring 
Shaft of bulrush straight and slender ; 
Shot it through the forest thickets, 
Shot it cleaving through the branches, 
Shot it shearing all the grass down ; 
Cut a pathway straight and easy ; 
Fell it right into the fireplace 
Of the Giant Eikad Gowree ; 
Fell, and glanced it from the fireplace, 
Glanced, and sped into the doorway 
Of the wigwam of the Giant ; 
Fell before the seven daughters, 
Seven very nice young women, 
Daughters fair of Eikad Gowree. 
Then those seven nice young women 
Took the arrow and concealed it. 
For they oft had asked the old man, 
Asked him when they would be mar- 
And he always answered gruffly, 
11 When I choose that you be married 
Good and well, if not you won't be." 
And they thought this was an omen. 
Now the Brothers, greatly fearing 
Lest they all should eaten up be, 
Counsel taking, sent the youngest, 
Sent Ahkeseral the youngest, 
To prospect the Giant's quarters. 
By that pathway straight and easy 
Went this very young Ahkeseral ; 
Saw the Giant's smoke ascending ; 
Coming nearer saw the Giant. 
Saw him, like a shapeless tree trunk, 
Sleeping by the fire and snoring 
By the fire of mighty tree stems, 

Stems of Mohwa, stems of Anjan, 
Stems of Sajna, stems of Tekta ; 
Blazing red, its glow reflected 
From that form huge and shapeless 
Of the Giant Eikad Gowree, 
Of that very dreadful Bakshis, 
Of that terrible Devourer. 
Then his knees began to quake all, 
O'er his body came cold shudders, 
Leapt his liver to his throat all, 
Leapt the liver of Ahkeseral. 
But he crept up to the fireplace, 
Crept and snatched a blazing firebrand, 
Blazing brand of Tamadita. 
Groaned the Giant, fled Ahkeseral, 
Dropped the firebrand, and a spark 

Flew and lighted on the Giant, 
On his shapeless hip it lighted. 
Eaised a blister like a saucer ; 
Started up the Giant swearing ; 
Also feeling very hungry, 
Feeling very much like eating. 
Saw that very young Ahkeseral, 
Plump and luscious as a cucumber, 
Saw him running and ran after, 
Ean and shouted loud behind him. 

But in vain he followed after. 
For the very young Ahkeseral, 
Speeding swiftly through the forest, 
Shortly vanished and was seen not. 
And the Giant, much disgusted, 
Then returned to his fireside. 
And Ahkeseral, returning, 
Told his greatly trembling brothers 
Of that very dreadful Giant. 
But the very valiant Lingo 
Said, u Eepose ye here a little, 
I will go and see this monster 
That so much has discomposed you." 

At the crossing of a river, 
In that straight and easy pathway, 
Lingo saw the stick Waduda 
Floating down upon the current. 
Saw he too a bottle-gourd tree, 
Saw it growing by the river ; 



Pulled a bottle-gourd from off it, 
Pished Waduda from the river, 
Stuck the one into the other, 
Plucked two hairs wherewith to string 

Made a bow and keys eleven, 
Played a tune or two, and found he 
Had a passable guitar. 
Pleased was Lingo, and proceeded 
To the field of Eikad Gowree ; 
Eikad Gowree lying snoring 
By the fireside, mouth wide gaping, 
Tushes horrible displaying, 
Lying loglike with his eyes shut. 

Close by grew the tree called Peepul, 
Peepul tall with spreading branches. 
Quickly Lingo clambered up it, 
Climbed aloft into its branches ; 
Sat and heard the morning cock crow, 
Thought this Giant soon would waken. 
Then he took his banjo Jantur, 
Struck a note that sounded sweetly, 
Played a hundred tunes upon it. 
Like a song its music sounded ; 
At its sound the trees were silent ; 
Stood the mighty hills enraptured. 
Entered then that strain of music 
In the ears of Eikad Gowree, 
Quickly woke him from his slumber ; 
Eubbed his eyes and looked about him ; 
Looked in thickets, looked in hollows, 
Looked in tree-tops ; nothing finding, 
Wondered where on earth it came from, 
Came that strain of heavenly music, 
Like the warbling of the Maina. 
Back returning to his fireside, 
Sat down, stood up, sat down, stood up ; 
Listened, wondered at the music ; 
Jumped and danced he to the music, 
Sung and danced he to the music ; 
Eolled and tumbled by the fireside 
To the warbling of the music. 

Soon at daybreak his old woman 
Heard that strain of heavenly music ; 
Came she wondering to the fireside, 
Saw her old man wildly dancing 

Hands outstretching, feet uplifting, 
Head back reeling, dancing, tumbling, 
To that strain of heavenly music. 
Saw and wondered, saw and called 

"Ancient husband, foolish old man!" 
Looked he at her, nothing said he, 
Danced and tumbled to the music. 
Said she, listening to that music, 
" I must dance too." Then she opened 
Loose the border of her garment, 
Danced and tumbled to the music. 

Then said Lingo, " Lo my Jantur ! 
To thy strain of heavenly music 
Dance this old man and his woman ; 
All my Koitor thus I teach will, 
Thus in rows to sing and dance all, 
At the feasting of the Gond Gods, 
At the feast of the Dewali, 
At the feast of Bu-dhal Pena, 
At the feast of Jungo Eeytal, 
At the feast of Pharsa Pena 
Salutation to the Gods all 
From this various tuneful Jantur ! " 
Then he ceased the wondrous music ; 
Hailed the old man from the treetop, 
Saying " Uncle, Eikad Gowree, 
See your nephew, on this tree-top ! " 
Then the Giant, looking upwards, 
Saw our Lingo on the tree-top ; 
Called him down, shook hands, and 

said that 
He was very glad to see him. 
Asked him in and made him sit down; 
Eang and called for pipes and coffee ; 
Apologized for having thought of 
Making breakfast of Ahkeseral ; 
Thanked our Lingo very kindly 
For his offer of the livers 
Of those sixteen scores of Eohees ; 
In return proposed to give him 
All those seven nice young women, 
"With their eyes bound, will they nill 

To be wedded to the Brothers. 

And those seven nice young women 



When they heard about the young 

Of those young men faint and fasting 
Waiting fireless by the Eohees, 
Forthwith packed they up their ward- 
On their heads they took their beds up, 
Back to Lingo gave his arrow 
Arrow of the truthful omen 
Saying good-bye to their parent, 
Followed Lingo to the forest, 
To that forest- shade primeval. 
Eeached those young men by the 

Made a fire, and had some luncheon 
Of the livers of the Eohees. 

Then the Brothers 'gan to squabble 
O'er those seven nice young women. 
Holy Lingo, virtuous very, 
Quite refusing to be wedded, 
Somewhat easier made the problem ; 
And he soon arranged it this wise 
That the eldest of the brethren 
Each should take two nice young 

While the very young Ahkeseral 
Should be fitted with the odd one. 
Then returning from the forest, 
By the valley Kachikopa, 
To the Eed Hills Lahugada, 
Holy Lingo joined the Brothers 
To those seven nice young women, 
To the daughters of the Giant. 
Water brought and poured it o'er them, 
Bowers of branches raised around 

Garlands gay he threw about them, 
Mark of Turmeric applied he 
And declared them duly wedded. 
Then the Brothers mighty pleased 
With their good and virtuous Lingo ; 
Said they'd go forth to the forest, 
Go and smite the bounding red-deer, 
Bring its liver to their Lingo, 
Gather wild flowers for their Lingo, 

While those Sisters seven should swing 

Swing him gently as he slumbered. 
Then their bows and arrows took they, 
Took and started to the forest. 
And the sisters swinging Lingo 
Thus began to say among them 
1 ' See this Lingo ! who so solemn 
As this brother of our husbands ? 
Neither laughs he, neither speaks he, 
Neither looks he even at us. 
He must laugh, and speak, and 

Must this very solemn Lingo ; 
Let us pinch and pull and hug him." 
And they pulled him by the arms, 
Pulled his feet and pinched his arms ; 
But the more they pulled and pinched 

All the sounder slept our Lingo. 
Till the sisters, vexed to find him 
Nothing caring for their toying, 
Took to hugging rather closely, 
Hugged that very virtuous Lingo, 
Till they woke him from his sleeping. 
Wrathful then was holy Lingo, 
At those wanton Giant's daughters; 
Eose the flame of indignation 
From his boots up to his topknot ; 
Looked about him for a weapon, 
For a weapon to chastise them ; 
Saw a pestle hard and heavy, 
Pestle made for husking rice with ; 
Bounded from his swing and seized it, 
With it thrashed those Giant's daugh- 
Thrashed them till they bellowed 

Fled and roared like Bulls of Bashan, 
Fled and hid them in their wigwams. 
Soon the Brothers back returning, 
Bringing game and bringing wild 

Found their Lingo quietly sleeping ; 
Sisters none his swing were rocking. 
Much astonished, they betook them 



To the wigwams of the Sisters. 
But had scarce begun to scold them 
Ere they found the tables turned 
" Pretty fellows are you truly ! 
Thus to leave your wives behind 

And go hunting in the forest, 
"While your very holy Lingo 
Tries his arts upon our virtue. 
We have quite made up our minds now 
Not to stay another minute, 
But to take our beds and wardrobes, 
And return to where we came from 
To our poor deceived papa ! " 
Then the Brothers said among them 
" O that sinful, wicked Lingo ! 
How the villain has deceived us ! 
When we offered him the fairest, 
No, he wanted none, he told us ; 
Called them sisters, called them 

mothers ; 
Now to play so mean a trick on 
Us when hunting in the forest ! 
Let us get him to the jungle, 
Kill him there, and pull his eyes out. 
Hares and antelopes we've hunted, 
Now we'll hunt our little Lingo. 
Bread or water let us touch not 
Till we've played a game of marbles 
With the eyes of faithless Lingo." 
Then they went and wakened Lingo, 
Saying, "Rise, our youngest brother." 
And he rose, and wondering asked 

Why so late they had returned, 
Bringing nothing from the forest. 
And they answered, " Lo, a Creature, 
Mighty strong, appeared before us ; 
And we fought him with our arrows, 
But this mighty Creature fell not, 

Neither fled he ; come then with us." 
Then rose Lingo, and before them 
Stalked he on into the forest, 
To the forest- shade primeval. 
Looked for traces of the Creature 
In the grass, among the bushes; 
But this mighty Creature saw not. 
Then they sat them down and rested 
By the tree called Sarekata. 
And the Brothers went for water, 
Went and pondered how to kill him ; 
And returning softly, hidden 
By the stem of Sarekata, 
From their bows four arrows sped they, 
Bulrush shafts, at holy Lingo. 
Split his skull was, pierced his neck 

Cleft the liver was of Lingo. 
Down he dropped, and out his life 

By the Tree called Sarekata. 

Then a knife they took and gouged 

Out the eyes they bored of Lingo ; 

In a hole they put the body ; 

Strewed it over with some branches ; 

Pulled some leaves and made a goblet 

For the bored-out eyes of Lingo ; 

Tied it up into a waistcloth, 

Hied them homeward to their wig- 

Called their wives, and lit some torches, 

Blazing torches made of flax-stalks ; 

Played their horrid game of marbles 

With the bored-out eyes of Lingo. 
So the Brothers four of Lingo 

And those seven nice young women 

Chucked his eyes about like marbles 

For an hour's time by the torch- 





In the Court of great Bhagwantal 

Sat the Deities assembled ; 

Sat they in the Upper World, 

Wondering where, in earthly regions, 

Lay the body of their Lingo : 

Wondered much, but nothing knew 

In what region it had fallen. 

Then Bhagwantal took a basin, 

Washed a little of his body, 

Washed a little of the dirt off: 

Took and made of it an image ; 

Breathed the breath of life into it ; 

Made KagSsur, Lord of Ravens. 

Amrit * sprinkled he upon it. 

From his hand released it, saying 

" Search the forests, search the moun- 

Search the valleys, search the rivers, 
For the body of my Lingo." 

Then Kagesur, Lord of Eavens, 
He the very black and cunning, 

Swiftly sped him on his errand ; 
Searched he first the Upper Eegions, 
Thence descended to the Lower ; 
Searched their hills and glens and 

Till he reached the Iron Valley, 
In the Eed Hills Lahugada. 
Peered among the forest thickets, 
Saw the twigs that covered Lingo, 
Looked below them, found our Lingo, 
Looking horrid, with his eyes out, 
Split his skull, and pierced his liver. 
Hied him back to great Bhagwantal, 
Told the doleful tale of Lingo. 

Then the God said, " Ha ! I see it, 
By his birth-place has he fallen, 
By the flowering tree Pahindi." 
Then he sent for Karto Subal, 
Gave a flask of heavenly Amrit 
(Bade him well to shake the bottle), 
For external application 
To the skull and neck and liver 
Of the gouged and butchered Lingo ; 
And despatched him with Kagesur 
To the valley Kachikopa, 
To the Eed Hills Lahugada. 
Flew the Eaven straight before 

Eeached the place ; then Karto Subal 
Took the flask of heavenly Amrit, 
Poured it o'er his wounds and bruises, 
Stitching up the chiefest openings 
In his head and his abdomen. 
Soon his eyes began to open,f 
And he saw the Lord of Eavens ; 
Thought he'd slept a little soundly ; 
Asked them, " Had they seen his 

Brothers ? " 
And was. very much astounded 
When they told him how they found 

Gouged and butchered by his Brothers. 
Then he thought perhaps t'were better 
Now to leave this lot of Brothers, 
And their seven nice young women ; 
And go seek those other Sixteen, 
Sixteen thr&shing-floors of Koitor. 

So the Strong God and the Eaven 
Hied them back and told Bhagwantal 
Of their surgery successful. 

* The water of immortality. 

f It is not related how these organs were restored to him. 



And our Lingo Redivivus 
Wandered sadly through the forest. 
Wandered on across the mountains 
Till the darkening of the evening, 
Wandered on until the night fell. 

Screamed the panther in the forest, 
Growled the bear upon the mountain, 
And our Lingo then bethought him 
Of their cannibal propensities. 
Saw at hand the tree Niruda, 
Clambered up into its branches. 
Darkness fell upon the forest, 
Bears their heads wagged, yelled the 

Kolyal the King of Jackals. 
Sounded loud their dreadful voices 
In that forest-shade primeval. 
Then the Jungle-Cock Gugotee, 
Mull the Peacock, Kurs the Wild- 
Terror-stricken screeched and shud- 
In that forest shade primeval. 

But the Moon arose at midnight, 
Poured her flood of silver radiance, 
Lighted all the forest arches, 
Through their gloomy branches slant- 
Fell on Lingo, pondering deeply 
On his Sixteen Scores of Koitor. 
Then thought Lingo, I will as.k her 
For my Sixteen Scores of Koitor. 
" Tell me, Moon ! " said Lingo, 
" Tell, Brightener of the darkness, 
Where my Sixteen Scores are hidden." 
But the Moon sailed onwards, upwards, 
And her cold and glancing moonbeams 
Said, "Your Gonds, I-have not seen 
And the Stars came forth and 
Twinkling eyes above the forest. 
Lingo said, " Stars that twinkle ! 
Eyes that look into the darkness, 
Tell me where my Sixteen Scores are." 
But the cold Stars, twinkling ever, 

Said, "Your Gonds, we have not seen 

Broke the morning, the sky reddened, 
Faded out the star of morning, 
Bose the Sun above the forest, 
Brilliant Sun the Lord of Morning. 
And our Lingo quick descended, 
Quickly ran he to the eastward, 
Fell before the Lord of Morning, 
Gave the Great Sun salutation 
" Tell, Sun ! " he said, " discover 
Where my Sixteen Scores of Gonds 

But the Lord of Day reply made 
" Hear, Lingo, I a Pilgrim 
Wander onwards through four watches 
Serving God, I have seen nothing 
Of your Sixteen Scores of Koitor." 

Then our Lingo wandered onwards 
Through the arches of the forest ; 
Wandered on until before him 
Saw the grotto of a hermit, 
Old and sage, the Black Kumait. 
He the very wise and knowing, 
He the greatest of Magicians, 
Born in days that are forgotten, 
In the unremembered ages. 
Salutation gave, and asked him 
" Tell, O Hermit ! Great Kumait ! 
Where my Sixteen Scores of Gonds 

Then replied the Black Magician, 
Spake disdainfully in this wise 
" Lingo hear, your Gonds are asses, 
Eating cats, and mice, and bandicoots, 
Eating pigs, and cows, and buffaloes ; 
Filthy wretches ! wherefore ask me ? 
If you wish it I will tell you. 
Our Great Mahadeva caught them, 
And has shut them up securelv 
In a cave within the bowels 
Of his mountain Dewalgiri, 
With a stone of sixteen cubits, 
And his bulldog fierce Basmasur. 
Serve them right too, I consider, 
Filthy, casteless, stinking wretches ! " 



And the Hermit to his grotto 
Back returned, and deeply pondered 
On the days that are forgotten, 
On the unremembered ages. 

But our Lingo wandered onwards, 
Fasting, praying, doing penance ; 
Laid him on a bed of prickles, 
Thorns long and sharp and piercing; 
Fasting lay he devotee-like, 
Hand not lifting, foot not lifting, 
Eye not opening, nothing seeing. 
Twelve months long thus lay and 

Till his flesh was dry and withered, 
And the bones began to show through. 

Then the Great God Mahadeva 
Felt his seat begin to tremble, 
Felt his golden stool all shaking 
From the penance of our Lingo. 
Felt, and wondered who on earth 
This devotee was that was fasting 
Till his golden stool was shaking. 
Stepped he down from Dewalgiri, 
Came and saw that bed of prickles 
Where our Lingo lay unmoving. 
Asked him what his little game was, 
Why his golden stool was shaking ? 
Answered Lingo, " Mighty Ruler! 
Nothing less will stop that shaking 
Than my Sixteen Scores of Koitor, 
Rendered up all safe and hurtless 
From your cave in Dewalgiri." 
Then the Great God, much disgusted, 
Offered all he had to Lingo, 
Offered kingdom, name, and riches, 
Offered anything he wished for, 
" Only leave your stinking Koitor 
Well shut up in Dewalgiri." 
But our Lingo all refusing 
Would have nothing but his Koitor ; 
Gave a turn to run the thorns a 
Little deeper in his midriff. 
Winced the Great God, "Very well 

Take your Gonds but first a favour. 
By the shore of the Black Water 

Lives a bird they call Black Bindo ; 
Much I wish to see his young ones, 
Little Bindos from the sea- shore ; 
For an offering bring these Bindos, 
Then your Gonds take from my moun- 
Then our Lingo rose and wandered, 
Wandered onwards through the forest, 
Till he reached the sounding sea-shore. 
Reached the brink of the Black Water. 
Found the Bindo birds were absent 
From their nest upon the sea-shore, 
Absent hunting in the forest, 
Hunting elephants prodigious, 
Which they killed and took their 

brains out, 
Cracked their skulls, and brought 

their brains to 
Feed their callow little Bindos, 
Wailing sadly by the sea-shore. 
Seven times a fearful serpent, 
Bhawamag the horrid serpent, 
Serpent born in ocean's caverns, 
Coming forth from the Black Water, 
Had devoured the little Bindos 
Broods of callow little Bindos 
Wailing sadly by the sea-shore, 
In the absence of their parents. 
Eighth this brood was. Stood our 

Stood he pondering besido them 
" If I take these little wretches 
In the absence of their parents 
They will call me thief and robber. 
No ! I'll wait till they come back here." 
Then he laid him down and slumbered 
By the little wailing Bindos. 

As he slept the dreadful serpent, 
Rising, came from the Black Water, 
Came to eat the callow Bindos, 
In the absence of their parents. 
Came he trunk-like from the waters, 
Came with fearful jaws distended, 
Huge and horrid. Like a basket 
For the winnowing of corn 
Rose a hood of vast dimensions 



O'er his fierce and dreadful visage. 
Shrieked the Bindos young and callow, 
Gave a cry of lamentation ; 
Rose our Lingo ; saw the Monster ; 
Drew an arrow from his quiver, 
Shot it swift into his stomach, 
Sharp and cutting in the stomach, 
Then another and another ; 
Cleft him into seven pieces ; 
Wriggled all the seven pieces, 
Wriggled backwards to the water. 
But our Lingo, swift advancing, 
Seized the head-piece in his arms, 
Knocked the brains out on a boulder, 
Laid it down beside the Bindos, 
Callow wailing little Bindos. 
On it laid him, like a pillow, 
And began again to slumber. 

Soon returned the parent Bindos 
From their hunting in the forest ; 
Bringing brains and eyes of camels, 
And of elephants prodigious, 
For their little callow Bindos 
Wailing sadly by the sea- shore. 
But the Bindos young and callow 
Brains of camels would not swallow ; 
Said " A pretty set of parents 
You are truly ! thus to leave us 
Sadly wailing by the sea-shore 
To be eaten by the serpent 
Bhawarnag the dreadful serpent 
Came he up from the Black Water, 
Came to eat us little Bindos, 
When this very valiant Lingo 
Shot an arrow in his stomach, 
Cut him into seven pieces 
Give to Lingo brains of camels, 
Eyes of elephants prodigious." 
Then the fond paternal Bindo 
Saw the head -piece of the serpent 
Under Lingo's head a pillow. 
And he said, "0 valiant Lingo, 
Ask whatever you may wish for." 
Then he asked the little Bindos 
For an offering to the Great God. 

And the fond paternal Bindo, 
Much disgusted, first refusing, 
Soon consented ; said he'd go too 
With the fond maternal Bindo 
Take them all upon his shoulders, 
And fly straight to Dewalgiri. 
Then he spread his mighty pinions, 
Took his Bindos up on one side 
And our Lingo on the other. 
Thus they soared away together 
From the shores of the Black Water. 
And the fond maternal Bindo, 
O'er them hovering, spread an awning 
With her broad and mighty pinions 
O'er her offspring and our Lingo. 

By the forests and the mountains 
Six months' journey was it thither 
To the mountain Dewalgiri. 
Half the day was scarcely over 
Ere this convoy from the sea-shore 
Lighted safe on Dewalgiri ; 
Touched the knocker on the gateway 
Of the Great God Mahadeva. 
And the messenger Narayan 
Answering, went and told his master 
" Lo this very valiant Lingo ! 
Here he is with all the Bindos, 
The Black Bindos from the sea-shore." 

Then the Great God, much disgusted, 
Driven quite into a corner, 
Took our Lingo to the cavern, 
Sent Basmasur to his kennel, 
Held his nose, and moved away the 
Mighty stone of sixteen cubits ; 
Called those Sixteen Scores of Gonds 

Made them over to their Lingo. 

And they said, "O Father Lingo ! 
What a bad time we've had of it, 
Not a thing to fill our bellies 
In this horrid gloomy dungeon." 
But our Lingo gave them dinner, 
Gave them rice and flour of millet, 
And they went off to the river, 
Had a drink, and cooked and eat it. 






Then they rose and followed Lingo, 
Followed onwards to the forest, 
From the mountain Dewalgiri ; 
Followed on till night descended, 
And before them saw a river, 
Dark and swollen with the torrent 
Bursting down from Dewalgiri, 
From the snows of Dewalgiri. 
On that river nothing saw they, 
Boat nor raft, to waft them over. 
Nothing saw they in the torrent 
But the Alligator Puse, 
And the Eiver-Turtle Dame, 
Playing, rolling, in the water. 
Then our Lingo called them to him, 
Called them brother, called them mo- 
ther ; 
Bound with oaths to bear them over. 
And the Alligator Puse, 
Looming long upon the water, 
Bore the Gonds into the torrent, 
Through the black and roaring water : 
And the Eiver-Turtle Dame 
With our Lingo followed after. 
Soon the faithless Alligator, 
In the deep and roaring water, 
Slipping from below his cargo, 
Left them floundering in the water. 
Then our Lingo stretched his hand out, 
Fished them out upon the Turtle ; 
Faithful Dame bore them onward 
O'er that black and roaring torrent, 
Bore them on across the river. 
And the Sixteen vowed to cherish 
Name of Dame with them ever, 
Who had borne them safe and hurtless 
O'er that dark and foaming river. 
Then they travelled through the 
Over mountain, over valley, 

To the Glens of Seven Mountains, 
To the Twelve Hills in the Valleys. 
There remained with Holy Lingo. 
He, the very wise and prudent, 
Taught to clear the forest thickets, 
Taught to rear the stately millet, 
Taught to yoke the sturdy oxen, 
Taught to build the roomy waggon, 
Eaised a city, raised Narbumi ; 
City fenced in from the forest. 
Made a market in Narbumi. 
Eich and prosperous grew Narbumi 
So they flourished and remained. 

Then our Lingo called them round 
Eanged them all in rows beside him, 
Spake in this wise "Hear, Bre- 
thren ! 
Nothing know ye of your fathers, 
Of your mothers, of your brothers, 
Whom to laugh with, whom to marry ; 
Meet it is not ye should be so 
Like the creatures of the forest." 

Then he chose them from each other, 
Chose and named their tribes distinc- 
tive ; 
Chose the first and said, "Manwajja." 
Thus began the tribe Manwajja. 
By the hand took Dahakwali, 
Bard he called him " Dahakwali." 
Koilabutal named another, 
And another Koikobutal 
Koikobutal wild and tameless. 
Thus he named them as he chose them, 
Till the Sixteen Scores were numbered, 
Till the Tribes had all been chosen. 
Next among them chose the eldest, 
Chose an old man hoary headed, 
Chose and called his name ' 'Pardhana, ' ' 
Priest and Messenger he called him. 



Called and sent him on a message 

To the Eed hills Lahugada, 

The Iron Valley, Kachikopa ; 

To those Brothers four he sent him, 

Sent to ask them for their daughters 

To be wedded to his Koitor 

Thus the Tribes our Lingo mated. 

Thus they grew and multiplied. 

Then he chose them into houses, 

Into families of seven, 

Of six, of four, he chose them. 

And he said, " O Koitor listen ! 
Nowhere Gods of Gonds are wor- 
shipped ; 
Let us make us Gods and worship. 
Then made Ghagara the Bell- God, 
Made and gave he to Manwajja. 
Brought the Wild Bull's Tail and 

named it 
Chiiwardeo ; brought the War God - 

God of Iron, Pharsa Pena; 
Manko Eeytal, Jango Eeytal 
Thus their tribal Gods he fashioned. 
Taught them how to raise their altars ; 
Taught to offer sacrifices 
Hoary goats, white cocks a year old, 
Virgin cows, and juice of mhowa ; 
Taught to praise with voice and psahVr, 
Twang of Jantur, sound of drumming 
Drum of Beejasal resounding 
Dancing, singing, by the altars. 

Thus he taught them, Holy Lingo ; 
And his last words then he uttered 
u Keep your promise to the Turtle, 
To the Eiver-Turtle Dame ; 
To the Gods I now am going." 
Then he melted from their vision ; 
And they strained their eyes to see 

But he vanished, and was seen not. 

Gonds of the Sahpura Eaoge. (From a photograph.) 



The Trap Country Condition of the Teak Forests Other Timber Trees The 
Tapti Valley The Frankincense Tree Aspect of the Forests in the Trap 
Region Jungle Fires Ancient Settlements The Korkus of the Tapti 
Valley Difficulty of Exploration Wild Sports The Sambar Deer Its 
Habits and Food Death of the Bori Stag Horns of the Sambar Curious 
Occurrences in Shooting Incidents in Tiger Shooting Stalking the Sam- 
bar The Hatti Hills The Bheels A Bheel Fort Mahomedan Archi- 
tecture Difficulty of finding Sambar Dhiaotea Disappearance of the 
Sambar Return to the Plains The Valley of the Vultures Return to the 
Sambar Ground Shoot a Stag Miss Another The Four-horned Ante- 
lope Bison Scouting The M Shrimp "and the " Skunk " Find a Herd- 
Kill a Bull A Dangerous Position A Solitary Bull We miss the Water 
Another Bull Killed A Herd of Sambar Account of a Bag. 

On the 28th of March, having seen our forest lodge in a 
fair way to completion, I left the Puchmurree plateau, and 
entered on the first of many long journeys of exploration 
among the forests of the Seoni, Chindwara, and Betul districts. 
I have already described these as being situated on the great 
central table-land of this mountain range, from the centre of 
which juts up the still higher formation called the Mahadeo 
(or Puchmurree) group. The general elevation of the table-land 
is about 2,000 feet above the sea ; but this general level is 
broken by numerous minor projections, besides the great one 
of the Mahadeo range, which generally exhibit the peculiar 
flat-topped outline of hills of the trap formation.* The 

* Many of these isolated hills, being flat-topped and surmounted by precipi- 
tous scarps, and frequently furnished with depressions in which rain-water 


overflow of basalt lias indeed been nearly universal over 
all this vast region, the great MaMdeo sandstone block, and a 
few isolated peaks of granite, known at once by their sharp and 
splintered peaks, being the only notable breaks in the great 
volcanic ocean. To judge from the great extent of table-land 
lying at about the elevation of 2,000 feet, this would appear 
to have been the original level of the trap overflow, the higher 
peaks of that formation, which reach in a few places to 3,000 
feet, being more probably the result of subsequent upheaval. 
The plateau has, however, been generally denuded by the 
larger streams to a depth of about 1,000 feet, where they 
still run over volcanic beds at the level of the great southern 
plain of the Deccan. The extent of level plateau is thus 
much diminished, on the one hand by the ramifications of 
the drainage system, and on the other by the higher ranges, 
and the long sloping valleys which connect them with the 

I have called this volcanic region also the region of the 
teak tree in Central India. It is so generally, but, strictly 
speaking, the teak tree does not accurately confine itself to 
the trap formation ; nor, on the other hand, is the teak the 
only, or even the principal, timber tree of the trap country. 
No such close lines of distinction exist in nature, but the 
coincidence is, I think, sufficient to warrant the inference of 
some link of connection between them, an attempt to discover 
which has already been made in the first chapter. More or less 
teak is scattered all over this region, but the principal forests 
are found clinging to the skirts of the higher ranges rising 
from the general level of the plateau. The more extensive 

collects, are natural fortresses of an almost impregnable strength; and, with 
the addition of some rude masonry works, were generally occupied for this 
purpose by the hill Chiefs in former times. 


level portions of the country have long been cleared of jungle 
for purposes of cultivation, and for a long way around these 
settlements the forests have been hacked down into mere 
scrub for the common requirements in timber and fuel of 
the people. The outer slopes of the plateau, towards the 
lower plains, have also been long ago swept of all valuable 
teak ; and, moreover, from their sterile nature, have pro- 
bably at no time produced any large quantity of timber. 
Even in the higher and more secluded tracts, where forests 
of teak yet remain, the causes already referred to have 
now reduced the number of mature and well-grown trees 
to a very small proportion of the whole, so small that 
in few places are there more remaining than will suffice to 
reproduce the forests by their seed in ' a period of fifty to a 
hundred years. Everywhere the teak grows very much in 
patches intermixed with other species, the principal hard- 
woods of which in these forests are the Saj (Pentaptera), 
the Bijasal (Pterocarpus), the Dhaora (Conocarpus), and in a 
few localities the Anjan (Hardwickia). Many other species 
have been observed, of which a list will be found in an 

The mature teak tree of Central India attains a girth of 
from ten to fifteen feet, with a boll of seventy or eighty feet 
to the head of branches. Perfect specimens are, however, rare, 
the majority of such trees as remain having suffered injury 
in the sapling stage from fire or axe, so as to permanently 
contort their form. The soft scaly bark, large flabby leaves, 
and generally straggling and "seedy" habit of growth of the 
teak, are certainly, I think, disappointing to those accustomed 
to the trim firm aspect of other hardwood forests, and parti- 
cularly to such as have had the opportunity of comparing it 
with the striking appearance of the evergreen Sal forests of 


the more eastern regions. In the rainy season the teak tree 
is surmounted by a heavy head of large green leaves, sup- 
porting masses of yellowish white flowers ; and when in con- 
siderable masses it then gives a peculiar and not unpleasant 
character to the scenery. The large umbrella-like leaves are 
admirably fitted for the great function of vegetation at that 
season, in breaking the direct impact of the rain torrent on 
the soil of the hill slopes, which would otherwise soon end in 
depriving the rocky skeletons of the hills of their covering of 
earth and vegetation. But this foliage is very deciduous, 
and by the month of March little of it remains on the tree. 
Then the yellow brittle fallen leaves in many places strew 
the ground so thickly as to make silent walking impossible. 
As a facetious friend once expressed it, in a very unnecessary 
whisper, when we were trying to creep up to a stag sambar 
in such a cover " It was like walking on tin boxes." 

Forests containing any great number of tolerably large teak 
trees are, however, now extremely few ; and, as I have said, 
the teak has been indiscriminately hacked down for every 
sort of purpose, for many generations, over nearly the whole 
area where it is found. Among its numerous other valuable 
qualities, however, it includes that of rapidly throwing up a 
head of tall slender poles from the stumps, if they are allowed 
to remain in the ground. In five years this coppice wood will 
attain a height of twenty-five or thirty feet, and a girth of one 
to two feet. Such poles are invaluable in a country where 
habitations are in great measure very small, and built of wood 
alone far more valuable, in fact, than larger timber, which is 
only useful for the exceptional class of structures comprising 
the residences of wealthy persons, European houses, and public 
edifices. It was thus, perhaps, scarcely very surprising that 
when we suddenly demanded from the forests a large and 


permanent supply of large timber for our railway system, we 
found that they could not afford it, though it by no means 
follows that the forests were not in a useful state to meet the 
ordinary requirements of the country. 

Our treatment of this question of the teak forests is a good 
example of the difficulties in Indian administration which 
arise from the absence of accurate information on the real 
requirements of the country, and the obstacles in the way of 
reconciling the conditions of a low and almost stationary stage 
of society with nineteenth-century " progress," and high-pres- 
sure civilization. In the cry for great timber for our railways 
we totally forgot, or neglected, the demand of the masses of 
the population for small timber for their houses and many 
other purposes. We shut up every acre of the teak-producing 
country we could, and referred them to inferior sorts of wood, 
all the best species besides teak having been tabooed along 
with it. The other species of timber, when used young, 
mostly decay in a year or two in an Indian climate ; and so 
the people were put to a vast unnecessary expenditure of 
labour in renewals, while we strove, by pruning and pre- 
serving, to make large timber grow out of the scrubby 
coppice wood which had before supplied their wants ; and, 
as it proved, strove entirely in vain. This pollarded teak 
will not grow straight and large, prune we never so wisely. 
It will grow well to a certain size, the size the natives 
require it, but after that it decays and twists into every 
variety of tortuous shape. What we should have done was 
to reserve the best forests for timber purposes proper, and 
apply to the rest the vastly greater part of them only such 
measures as would ensure the best and quickest production 
of coppice wood for the requirements of the people. It has 
been said that they should learn to do as European nations 


do, convert large trees to smaller scantlings by the saw, as it 
is an undoubted fact that forests yield a larger aggregate 
supply of timber when the trees are allowed to mature. The 
argument is oue of a sort too readily applied to many Indian 
subjects. Theoretically it is true enough, and in the distant 
future it may be realised. But in the meantime the people 
have not the capital wherewith to do it, even if the large 
timber were growing ready for them, which it is not. We 
have taken one step rightly enough, in strictly reserving 
limited areas of the best forest to reproduce large timber. 
But we have not released the rest, nor applied to it a method 
which aims at the continued reproduction of small timber, for 
which the teak tree is so admirably fitted by nature. Vast 
expense is still incurred in attempting to conserve it all after 
a fashion, and the problem of cheap and efficient management 
of these forests will never, in my opinion, be satisfactorily 
worked out until we revise our system altogether, with this 
object kept in view. 

Of other trees than teak these forests produce a great variety, 
some producing highly ornamental woods for fancy purposes, 
others useful in the arts, and a good many, when fully ma- 
tured and seasoned, capable of almost supplanting teak for 
ordinary building purposes. The useful sorts, however, on 
the whole, bear a very low proportion to the great mass for 
which no general use has as yet been found. Eound the settle- 
ments the valuable sorts have mostly been exterminated ; and 
such parts as are not actually under tillage are covered with 
a scrub composed of such thorny species as Acacia Arabica, 
A. catechu, Zizyphus Jujuba, and others. It is remarkable, I 
think, how the thorny species, which are the best armed to 
resist destruction, have thus won the race for life in such 


Vast areas, again, do not produce, and do not seem to be 
capable of producing, any species but such as are, from the soft- 
ness of their timber, almost useless to the carpenter. A typical 
example of such a tract is found in the upper valley of the Tapti 
river, a river which forms so good an example of the streams of 
this region as to be worthy of some description. Kising among 
the western spurs of the Mahadeo range, it flows for a short 
distance over the level plateau of the Betul district, in a 
shallow channel, which, in the hot season, forms a chain of 
silent pools fringed by great Kowa trees and by the thick green 
cover of Jaman and Karonda, in which tigers delight to dwell. 
The surrounding country in this part of its course is partially 
cleared and cultivated with rice and sugar-cane. Presently, 
however, it commences its descent towards the level of the 
lower plains, plunging into a glen riven through the basalt, 
and assumes the character of a mountain torrent. Here and 
there it widens out into little bays of level valley land ; but is 
henceforth, for a hundred miles or so, generally shut in be- 
tween high banks rising from the edge of its channel. Through 
these the rapid drainage of the higher hills has cut innumer- 
able narrow channels down to the level of its bed, which 
spread out above into an interminable series of rocky gullies, 
seaming in every direction a long succession of rolling basaltic 
waves. The surface of these tracts has been weathered in 
places into a penurious soil, bearing multitudes of round black 
boulders of trap, ranging in size from an egg to a small house, 
and salted over with small white agate splinters, both 
apparently eliminated from the mother rock in the process 
of decomposition. This surface is covered with a growth 
of coarse grass, varying according to the depth of the 
soil from a few inches to several feet in height, and is 
studded with small trees, of which ninety-nine in every 


hundred are the Salei, or frankincense tree (Boswellia thuvi- 

This tree has hitherto been regarded as a mere incumbrance 
to the ground. Its timber is soft and spongy, and is certainly 
valueless for building and such purposes. It has also been 
rejected as firewood, its specific gravity being so low that a 
great bulk of it has to be transported in comparison with teak 
and other hard w^oods to produce a given effect. Yet it pro- 
duces excellent charcoal, and is perfectly adapted for most 
ordinary purposes of fuel ; and, wherever the carriage of better 
sorts from remote parts has rendered their use more expensive, 
the Salei has been actually used instead. This points to 
another mistake we have hitherto made in our Indian forestry. 
Undoubtedly this and other soft wood trees should have been 
forced into common use by the people as fuel long ago, 
instead of our giving way to their outcry for hard woods and 
bamboos, the use of which should be confined to certain special' 
requirements. The Boswellia possesses other properties, which 
will probably at some future time render these great desolate 
tracts of high economical value. It yields a fragrant gum 
resin, which is burnt as incense in Hindu temples. It was long 
thought to be the Olibanum of the ancients, employed for a 
similar purpose ; but Dr. Bird wood has, in a recently published 
pamphlet, attempted to show that this substance was procured 
from other species of the Boswellia in countries to the west of 
India. It is, however, singular that its Sanscrit name, labdnd, 
should still so closely resemble that of antiquity ; and it may 
perhaps be doubted if our knowledge of the ancient com- 
merce of India suffices to exclude India from the list of 
countries which contributed the frankincense of the Boswellia 
to the fanes of heathen gods. It is highly probable that some 
much more general utility would be found in this gum resin, 


were the attention of persons capable of testing it drawn to 
the subject. It is also not unlikely that the soft woody fibre 
of the tree would prove to be adapted for the manufacture of 
coarse paper or cloth. Should any economic value be found 
to attach to any portion of the tree, the supply would be 
practically unlimited ; and reproduction of the forests would 
be easy in the extreme, large stakes when stuck in the ground 
during the rainy season rapidly taking root and shooting into 
trees. This quality of the tree has recently been taken advan- 
tage of by the railway company for the construction of live 
fence-posts on which to stretch their fencing wires. The Salei 
is of a highly social character, emulating in this respect the Sal 
(Shorea), but admitting in a greater degree than it the com- 
panionship of other species. The principal of these are the Saj 
(Pentaptera) ; the Torchwood tree (Cochlospermum), with its 
bright yellow solitary flowers gleaming on the extremities of its 
naked branches; and the Iron wood tree (Hardwickia binata), 
which is perhaps the most graceful forest tree in these regions. 
The aspect of these vast forests of the Boswellia, of which 
the country about the Tapti is a specimen, and which cover, 
I should say, fully one half of the whole of this trap region, 
is very remarkable. During the height of the monsoon 
(July to October) the grass is green, and the trees have 
thrown out a thin foliage of small bright green pinnated 
leaves. The river beds, too, are then filled by foaming tor- 
rents, and the fervor of the sun is moderated by a canopy of 
grey clouds. At this season one might almost mistake the 
valley for a scene in some northern primeval wilderness. But 
gradually, as the clouds clear off and the rain ceases, a change 
occurs. The rivers shrink in their beds, till a trickling stream 
in a wide bed of boulders represents the resistless mountain 
torrent of a month before, while the higher gullies are 


utterly dried up. The grass turns from green to yellow, 
and bristles with a terrible armature of prickles, like needles 
of steel with the barbs of a fish-hook, which catch in 
each other and mat together into masses. Woe betide the 
undefended pedestrian in grass like this. Unless defended 
by leather, before he has gone half a mile every stitch 
of his clothing will be run through and through, and pinned 
to his flesh by multitudes of these barbs, causing the most 
intolerable pain. The foliage of the Salei withers and droops 
after a few weeks of sunning ; and its naked yellow stems then 
fill the prospect like a vast army of skeletons. But this stage 
is not even the worst. It continues till the month of April 
introduces the torrid summer season, when the fierce sun laps 
up the last particle of moisture in these basaltic regions. Then 
the grass has become like tinder, and a thousand accidents may 
set it on fire. The traveller dropping a light from his pipe, the 
wind carrying a spark, from an encampment of jungle-haunt- 
ing Banjaras, the torch of the belated traveller, and, should it 
escape these accidents, then certainly the deliberate act of the 
graziers who bring herds of cattle with the first fall of rain in 
June into these tracts to graze on the resulting new crop of 
grass, will start a jungle fire which nothing can stop till it 
burns itself out. Early in the hot season it is a fine sight to 
watch at night the long creeping red lines of the jungle fires 
on distant hill-sides. From the hill fortress of Asirgarh the 
eye ranges over the whole of the upper Tapti valley ; and at 
this season the whole country appears at night ringed with 
these lines of fire, curving with the curvature of hills ; 
here thin and scarcely visible where the grass is scanty on a 
bare hill-top ; there flaring through tracts of long elephant 
grass, or wrapping some dried and sapless tree-stem in im- 
mense tongues of flame. By night a ruddy glow colours all 


the heavens above the spot; while by day a thick pall of 
smoke hangs over the valley. Near the scene the air is 
stifling and thick with falling flakes of ash. Wild animals 
have fled the neighbourhood ; and clouds of insects rise before 
the advancing flames, to be devoured by myriads of birds col- 
lected seemingly from every end of the country. Innumer- 
able snakes and noxious vermin of all sorts perish in the fire, 
including many of the curious grass snake of these regions, 
which a diligent search will frequently discover twined among 
the matted masses of the spear-grass. It is a harmless crea- 
ture, living on insects, and changes its colour from green to 
yellow along with the grass. When the fires are burnt out 
the spectacle is a dismal one indeed. Hill-side after hill-side 
of blackness, relieved only here and there by a long streak of 
white ashes where a prostrate trunk has been consumed, and 
by the wilderness of S&lei skeletons, scorched at the base, and 
above more yellow and ghastly than ever. 

Yet, even in the heart of those parts of the basaltic region 
to which this description most fittingly applies, there are few 
tracts where, at a little distance, some oasis will not be found. 
The larger ravines are often filled with clumps of bamboo 
which never entirely lose their verdure ; and here and there a 
sheltered valley will be met, where there is either a pool of 
water, or moisture not far below the surface, with its fringe of 
verdure, and a few Mhow& or Mango trees, perhaps marking 
the site of some old village, deserted long ago beyond the 
memory of living man. In the central valley of the Tapti 
also will be found at intervals bays of rich deep soil, with a 
moist substratum that is never entirely parched up, and carry- 
ing a greener grass which it is hard to burn, and often a 
covering of forest trees. Most of these tracts have been at 
one time reclaimed to the plough and thickly populated. That 


was in the days when the Mahomedan Viceroy of the Deccan 
held court at the city of Burhanpiir, some fifty miles lower 
down the valley, and great armies marching between the Dec- 
can and Hindostan had to be fed. The bays in the valley are 
still dotted over with the sites of the villages of those times, 
and with the ruined forts and tombs and mosques of their 
Mahomedan rulers. Near the ancient site of Sajni, the chief 
town of one of these tracts, may be seen a banyan tree of im- 
mense spread, whose trunk has embraced and lifted bodily up 
from off the ground the domed masonry tomb, about twelve 
feet in all dimensions, of some Moslem notable, and so en- 
veloped it with its thousand folds that not one stone of it is to 
be seen outside, while, passing inside by a narrow opening, 
the arch of the dome and the wall will be seen to be almost 
perfect. A Moslem could scarcely desire a fitter entombment 
than to be suspended thus between heaven and earth, like the 
prophet of his faith. 

It is now some seventy years since the malaria of the en- 
croaching jungle and famine in the country caused by the 
failure of the rains of heaven and the still more terrible strife 
of men desolated these settlements in the Tapti valley. The 
rank jungle then sprang on the deserted clearings, rendered 
fertile to weed as to cereal by the labour of man, and has now 
clothed them with a thicket of vegetation of such thickness, 
and guarded by a miasma so deadly, as to baffle all attempts 
at renewed occupation by the Hindu cultivators densely 
crowded in the adjoining open country. Here and there the 
Korkus, whose constitutions seem impervious to malaria, have 
settled down on some neighbouring rising ground, and built a 
neat little village of Swiss-like cottages of bamboo, and have 
cleared and tilled the opener parts of the valley, raising such 
crops of wheat on the unexhausted black soil as are the envy 


of the laborious tiller of the hard-used lands in the outer valley. 
But it is a terrible and unequal struggle between the aborigine, 
even so far reclaimed as these Korkiis are, and the jungle with 
its immense and unremitting strength of vegetation, and 
tribes of noxious wild beasts. Every now and again the heart 
of the Korku fails him, and he abandons the contest, flitting 
off to some hill-side where he may more easily contend with 
axe and fire against the less exuberant vegetation of the thin 
mountain soils. On the whole, however, the habits of the 
Korkiis of the Tapti valley are a great advance on those of the 
tribes inhabiting the Mahadeo hills further east. Their culti- 
vation is performed with the bullock plough instead of the axe, 
and is of a much more permanent character. Their villages and 
houses are much more substantial, and are seldom changed ; 
and habits of providence and steady industry have been de- 
veloped among them which are unknown to either Gond or 
Korku of other parts. Much of this may, no doubt, be due to 
their fortunate occupation of a country where cultivation by 
annual cutting down the forest is scarcely possible, owing to 
the scantiness of timber and of soil on the slopes of the hills, 
while the neighbourhood of so large a city as Burhanpiir must 
always have furnished them with a regular and remunerative 
market for their produce. 

The grass burning universal in the jungles of these pro- 
vinces is undoubtedly beneficial in a great variety of ways. 
It allows, and assists by the manure of the ashes, a crop of 
green and tender grass-shoots to appear for the grazing of 
vast herds of cattle, which form great part of the wealth of 
the people in the neighbourhood of jungle tracts. It kills 
multitudes of snakes and noxious insects. It probably pre- 
vents much malaria that would arise from the vegetation if 
gradually allowed to decay. It destroys much of the harbour 

p 2 


for wild beasts. And the ashes no doubt form a valuable in- 
gredient in the deposits of soil carried down by the drainage 
of these hills to lower regions, and in the cultivable crust 
gradually forming in these uplands themselves. It has been 
held by some that these fires are very injurious to the growth 
of saplings of teak and other valuable trees. But it is an 
undoubted fact that teak seeds will germinate and produce 
seedlings where the grass has been fired better than where it 
has not ; and it is not well established that much permanent 
injury is afterwards done to the seedlings. By great efforts 
fires were kept out of one or two favourably situated teak 
forests for some years, but no result of consequence to the 
young trees has been observed. On the other hand there 
is no room for doubt that in unburnt tracts the forests 
must become greatly more malarious, and wild beasts 
will multiply exceedingly. The discussion, however, can 
never assume much practical value, since it would be quite 
impossible, with any means at our command, to keep fires 
out of any but a few very limited and peculiarly favourable 

The labour of exploring such forests as those I have de- 
scribed during the hot season, when alone they are sufficiently 
open and free from malaria, is immense day after day toiling 
over those interminable basaltic ridges, where many marches 
have often to be made without meeting an inhabitant, without 
often a single green tree for shelter, and dependent for water 
on a few stagnant pools puddled up by the feet of wild ani- 
mals. This was what often fell to the lot of the forest officers 
of those early days. I doubt if many of them would have 
gone on with the task but for the love of sport and adventure 
which probably led to their original selection of a jungle life ; 
and there is not one of them whose health did not, after a 


few years, give way under the combined assaults of malaria 
and a fiery sun. 

Vast* tracts of the most sterile portion of this region are 
absolutely without water during some months of the hot 
season ; and in many others there is no more than perhaps a 
single small pool, in some shaded hollow of the rocks, for many 
miles on end. The only animal which can inhabit such wastes 
as these is the nilgai, which can and does pass many days 
without drinking; and scattered herds of them are accord- 
ingly found even in the driest parts. The bison wanders over 
the whole of the forest and hilly portion of the tract, wherever 
the absence of man and cattle, and abundance of bamboo 
cover and water, afford him the needful conditions. The deer 
tribe comprises the Sambar (Rusa aristotelis) and the Axis or 
Spotted Deer {Axis maculatus) in large numbers, and, more 
rare, the Barking Deer (Cervulus aureus), besides the little 
four-horned antelope already mentioned. The Hog Deer 
(Axis porcinus) does not, I believe, occur so far to the 
south-west as the trap country. The spotted deer is never 
found except in the neighbourhood of the larger rivers. 
Abundance of water and green shade appear to be first con- 
ditions of its existence. A few barking deer are found scat- 
tered all over the tract, though never very far from water. 

Sambar are rarely found in the very dry interior, but som e 
times travel to rest during the day to a long distance from the 
water hole or stream where they drink at night, On the level 
table land they are not very numerous, preferring the slopes 
and summits of the hills. But no animal changes its location 
so much, according to the season of the year, abundance of 
food, etc., as the sambar. Wherever the bison is found, the 
sambar is certain to be as well ; but his range is not so con- 
fined as the bison's, being much more tolerant of the propin- 


quity of man and of grazing herds of domestic cattle. While 
the crops of the table land and lower plains are green the 
herds of sambar come out to feed on them at night, remaining 
during the day near the edge of the jungle, unless disturbed 
and driven into the depths of the forest by man. They also 
feed, however, on a great variety of jungle products ; and 
move about in apparently the most capricious manner in search 
of them. The short green grass that clothes the banks of 
pools and springs, and the tender shoots of young trees and 
bushes, may be said to be at all times the foundation of their 
fare, and during the rainy season almost their only resource. 
Later on, in late autumn, the young wheat and grain crops of 
neighbouring clearances are made to pay heavy toll ; and with 
the commencement of the hot season comes a great variety of 
wild fruits, all greatly relished by the deer. At one time 
(March and April) it is the luscious flower of the Mhowa tree 
(p. 75), which they share with the G6nd and the bear and 
most other animals and birds. The Tendfi, the Chironji, the 
Aola, the Bher, and many other trees, also fruit plentifully in 
spring ; and a little later the pods of numerous species of 
acacia, chiefly Babul*, Keunjaf, KheirJ, and of the tamarinds 
which have overgrown many deserted village sites, and the 
fruit of several species of wild fig , amply support the sambar 
through the hot season. Wherever any of these are plentiful, 
there the marks of nightly visits by sambar will be found in 
the morning. But by the earliest break of day the animals 
will have disappeared ; and, having drunk well at some 
neighbouring water, will probably be well on their way to 
their resting-place for the day. For the next hour or two 
they are often to be found at a few miles' distance, apparently 

* A. Arabica. J A. catechu. 

t A. Leucophlcea. F. indica, F. religiosa and F. guleri. 


loitering about, but all the time slowly making their way in a 
certain direction, higher up the hills and towards denser cover, 
and keeping a heedful watch on possible pursuers. As they 
penetrate deeper into the waste country their watchfulness 
diminishes, but they generally take a long and keen survey of 
all their surroundings before lying down for the day. At all 
times but the rutting season (October and November) the 
heavy old stags remain mostly solitary, a few young animals 
only remaining with the herd, which consists of ten to fifteen 
individuals. The old stags usually travel deeper into the forest 
and higher up the hills before lying down than the herd, which 
is often found within a mile or so of their feeding ground. 
In all cases a patch of longish grass is selected, and a regular 
form like that of a hare is made by each individual. Each 
form is usually in the shade of a small tree, the side or top of 
the hill, where grass is long but trees not very numerous or 
thick, being preferred to very dense thickets ; and it is curious 
with what skill the spot is selected, so that the deepest shade 
shall fall on the form at about three o'clock in the afternoon, 
which is the hottest portion of the day. Hundreds of forms 
will sometimes be found in one locality, every one of them at 
precisely the same point of the compass from its sheltering 
tree. The large stags do not seem to care so much about 
shade, and generally lie on the side of some little depression 
on a hill top, sheltered only by long grass. Their forms can 
be readily distinguished from those of the others by their 
greatly superior size. These forms are generally made when 
the grass is green, and are occupied at intervals all the rest of 
the year. More than one herd and a few solitary stags will 
not usually be found in the same tract of country ; but in the 
rutting season they collect together in much larger numbers 
on the tops of the high plateaux ; and the hoarse roar of the 


stags may then be heard echoing far and wide in the silent 
night. When lying down for the day, sambar, and par- 
ticularly the solitary stags, will frequently allow one to 
approach and pass them quite close without getting up, trust- 
ing to concealment in the grass ; and it is really almost 
impossible in many places for the sportsman on foot to see 
them unless he actually stumbles on their forms. The hard 
yellow grass, while unburnt, leaves next to no trail of the 
passage of a single deer, and thus the search for sambar on 
foot after the hour when they lie down is seldom very suc- 

If information can be got from the people who frequent the 
jungles for wood cutting, etc., of whereabouts the sambar are 
feeding and resting at that particular season, capital sport can 
be got with them in the day time with the aid of a riding 
elephant. This enables you to see over the grass, and gene- 
rally starts any sambar that may be lying down within about 
a hundred yards. The elephant must be thoroughly trained 
to stop dead short on deer getting up, and should not be 
furnished with a howdah, the simple pad or xhdrjdmd being 
preferable for this sort of shooting ; and the smaller and more 
active the elephant is the better. You should start about 
eleven o'clock and hunt till sundown, proceeding as silently 
as possible through the longest patches of grass, with rifle on 
full cock, for you do not generally get much time to make 
ready once the deer get up. The presence of recently used 
forms (which will be known by the droppings) will indicate 
the probable proximity of deer; and it is better to beat 
thoroughly a limited area than hastily a large extent of 
country. Where the hills rise by steps, as is often the case 
in the trap country, the outer edge of each step is the most 
likely place, and the sambar will almost always run up hill. 


A standing shot may sometimes be had during a few seconds 
after the sambar first rise, but more generally they dart off at 
full speed at once, and then comes into play the most difficult 
of all the arts of the rifleman snap shooting at running 
game off an elephant. The elephant is never perfectly still 
for more than a moment, and its short swing must be allowed 
for as well as the pace of the deer. The sambar is, of course, 
from its great size and distinct colour, much more easy to 
hit than the spotted deer, or barking, or hog, deer ; but still 
it is amazing what a preponderance of clear misses the best 
shots will make at even running sambar off the elephant, 
until long and constant practice has given the peculiar knack 
which is so difficult to attain. It is, however, by far the 
most deadly as well as one of the most enjoyable ways of 
hunting the sambar. The best stags will, however, seldom 
be obtained by this method, lying as they do on the tops of 
remote hills, where one might search for and not find them 
for a week, 

Driving a large extent of country with a long line of 
beaters is the commonest method of hunting sambar. It is 
frequently successful, and often secures a good stag ; but for 
my own part I have very rarely resorted to it. It is difficult 
often to get a sufficient number of beaters without oppression, 
and accidents often occur to them from the enclosure of 
dangerous wild beasts. The whole country is disturbed ; the 
shooting of a creature driven up to you, without the exercise 
either of skill or any other manly quality on your own part, 
is not sport ; and lastly, to prove successful, a large number 
of sportsmen are required to guard the numerous passes ; and 
it never has been my fortune (not that I have much regretted 
it) to be out with a large hunting party in India. A few 
times however I have helped to drive a jungle, generally 


for some other game than sambar, and these have sometimes 
proved memorable occasions. 

In 1861, in the Jubbulptir district, I was beating a wooded 
hill side for sambar as the shades of evening were drawing 
on, and the beaters had nearly reached the end of the drive 
when I suddenly saw them swarming up trees, and the shout 
reached me of " Two tigers are afoot ! " I was then trying 
for the first time a rifle made on Jacob's principle for explo- 
sive shells, and congratulated myself on having so good an 
opportunity for testing it. Anxiously I waited behind my 
little green bush, the beaters creating a din enough to 
deafen a dozen tigers, till at last I saw a striped form glide 
across an open spot in front, and advancing in my direction. 
With finger on the trigger I was awaiting his appearance 
at the next break in the low jungle, when suddenly I heard 
the bushes crashing on my left, and a large tiger bounded 
into the jungle pathway on which I was standing, and 
cantered towards my position. Wheeling round, I delivered 
the right barrel of the Jacob in his left shoulder, on receiving 
which he rolled over like a rabbit. At the moment I fired 
my eye caught a glimpse of the other tiger close by, in the 
direction I had first seen him ; so, seeing the first disposed of, 
I again fronted, and, with a steady aim, gave No. 2 the left 
barrel through the neck. As luck would have it, the spine was 
broken, and he dropped on the spot. All this occupied but a 
few seconds, being as quick a right and left as ever I fired. 
On turning my attention again to the first tiger, I was just 
in time to see him reach the thick jungle some twenty paces 
off, and, before I could seize another gun, he had disappeared. 
I had time to perceive, however, that his right hind leg was 
broken in the body ; the shell must, therefore, as he was hit 
in the left shoulder, have traversed his body from stem to 


stern ; and yet here were none of the immediate paralysing 
effects ascribed to these shells at close quarters. On walking 
up to the second " tiger," what was my disgust to find that it 
was not a tiger after all, but only a huge striped hyaena I had 
shot, having mistaken his disproportionately large head in the 
imperfect light for that of the jungle king ! The shell had 
passed completely through his neck, but, if it exploded at 
all, must have done so after passing out. The other was a 
veritable tiger, however. We followed him a little way by 
his footprints and blood, but it was getting very dark, and 
prudence compelled us to leave him till the morning. We 
failed, however, to find him then, though we hunted about 
the whole day ; and it was not till some days after that a 
cow-herd found his rotting remains beside a pool of water, 
many miles away. 

On another occasion I secured the largest sambar horns I 
have ever seen, in a drive. It was in the Bori teak forest, 
a lovely little valley nestling under the northern scarp of the 
Mahadeo hills, and surrounded on three sides by its mural 
precipices. Being very inaccessible from the plains, more teak 
trees have here escaped the destroying timber contractor than 
almost anywhere else ; and E., D., and myself were engaged 
in demarcating its boundaries as a reserved forest. Having 
toiled for some days putting up cairns of stones along the 
open southern border, where it is not enclosed by precipices, 
and completed the business, we decided to wind up with 
a drive in the forest itself for sambar, and the chance of a few 
bison whose tracks we had seen during our work. The grass 
was so long and the forest so thick that driving was then 
almost the only possible way of getting game. We had had 
a number of Gonds and Korkus out with us at the boundary 
work, and the prospect of abundance of meat readily induced 


them to beat for us. A long slope of broken ground between 
the foot of the scarp and the bottom of the glen was to be 
beaten crossways; D. took the post just below the scarp, 
E. remained near the bottom, and I had the middle place. 
I screened myself behind the thick double trunk of a teak 
tree, forking from the ground. The beat was a short one, 
and I had not waited long before a tremendous crashing on 
the hill side above me, followed by a shot from D., an- 
nounced the approach of some heavy animal. I thought it 
was a bull bison at least, and was surprised when a sambar 
stag burst through the underwood just in front of me, and, 
with horns laid along his flanks, clattered down the steep 
hill side. He was going full speed, and was much screened 
by the long grass and dry bamboos, which he scattered on 
every side in his passage, so that I had not much confidence 
in the broadside shot wherewith I greeted him proving suc- 
cessful. Something told me I had hit him, however, a 
sportsman who has shot much is seldom mistaken in his 
inward heart as to the truth of his aim, and though he 
crashed away apparently untouched I ran eagerly to the 
place where he had passed to look for blood. Before I arrived 
I heard the ring of a rifle in R's direction, and then a long 
holloa which told me that the stag was down. Though 
greatly disappointed at losing the magnificent head which I 
saw he carried, I went on to the trail, and there I found great 
gouts of the red and frothy blood that tells of a shot through 
the lungs. Some of the Gonds now came up, and I left them 
to run the trail down hill, while I hastened down to where 
the stag had fallen. He lay on his side, close to E.'s post, 
which he had been passing full speed when he fired and 
toppled him over. The shot hole was, however, in his haunch 
and that wound I knew would never stop a stag like this. So 


we turned him over and found my bullet hole on the other 
side, just a little too high for the heart. It was a true enough 
shot after all, and I was very glad when I measured by spans 
his splendid horns, though sorry for the disappointment of a 
brother sportsman. 

Though not a very large stag he was very old and rather 
mangy, and had a perfect head with the usual three points 
on each horn, and measuring from base to tip forty-one inches, 
round the base ten inches, and eight and a half at the thinnest 
part of the beam. I have never seen a larger head altogether 
than this in Central India. It is figured at the end of the 
present chapter. The horns of sambar vary greatly in deve- 
lopment, some being very massive but short, and others very 
long but slender. Keally good heads every way like this one 
are the rare exception, and would not be seen once out of 
perhaps fifty animals shot. About thirty to thirty-five inches 
is the average length of the horns even of mature stags. 
Occasionally more than three tines are seen on one or both 
antlers ; but this is an abnormal development, and such 
heads will generally be found of stunted growth and devoid 
of symmetry. Sometimes the inner and sometimes the outer 
tine of the terminal fork will be found the longer. 

I have taken much pains to assure myself of a fact, of 
which I am now perfectly convinced, namely, that, neither in 
the case of the sambar nor the spotted deer (both belonging 
to the Asiatic group of Kusinse as distinguished from the 
Cervidae or true stags), are the antlers regularly shed every 
year in these Central Indian forests, as is the case with the 
Cervidse in cold climates.* No native shikari, who is engaged 

* Probably on the higher hill ranges they shed them more regularly ; on the 
Nilgherry hills I saw a number of stags in the month "of July, and none of 
them had full grown horns. I may add here that but one species of this deer 


all his life in the pursuit of these animals, will allow such to 
be the case ; and all sportsmen out at that season must have 
seen stags with full-grown horns during the hot weather and 
rains, when they are supposed to have shed them. Hornless 
stags are seen at that season, but the great majority have per- 
fect heads. I have also known certain stags for successive 
years always about the same locality, and which I have repeat- 
edly stalked at intervals during this time along with natives 
who constantly saw them, so that I could not be mistaken as 
to the individual ; and all the time they never once dropped 
their horns. 

One of these was a very peculiar animal, almost jet black 
in colour, and with large horns so white as to look almost like 
a cast pair bleached by the weather. He frequented, during 
several years I knew him, an open part of the Mona valley, a 
good deal resorted to by wood, and grass cutters. He never 
could be found like other stags in the morning ; but seemed 
to lie down before daylight in some strategical position whence 
he always managed to effect an escape without being seen till 
far out of shot. I had never even fired at him though I had 
seen him often, when very early one morning I was walking 
over the grassy plain where he was often seen, and some cart- 
men who were loading hay told me they had seen a stag lie 
down on the side of a hillock not far off. I made a long 
circuit to get to the other side of it, and then slowly, inch by 
inch and with beating heart, drew myself over the brow. 
Nothing was to be seen from there, and, with finger on the 
trigger of my little single "Henry," I crawled down the 
slope. Just then a stick cracked on my left, and looking 

is now recognized as inhabiting all India, including the Oeroiv of the Hima- 
layas, and that I believe, after inspecting large collections of horns, &c, it 
nowhere attains greater development than in Central India. 


round I saw the stag running in a crouching tiger-like fashion 
along the bottom of a water-course I had not noticed, but 
which doubtless had been duly considered in the selection of 
his position. I had only time for a snap shot, which caught 
the top of his shoulder and heavily lamed him. He could go 
just a little faster than myself after this, and had frequently 
to stop. But he always got the start of me when I came up, 
and thus carried me some four or five miles towards the base 
of the hills, before a lucky shot at a very long range caught 
him in the centre of the neck and finished the business. 

It is curious how often incidents like that one with the 
Bori sambar occur. A beast shot in the lungs will run on, 
particularly down hill, for several hundred yards before he 
drops, though then he will generally fall stone dead ; and the 
collapse frequently occurs just when he receives another 
wound, though it may be a very slight one, or when anything 
occurs to interrupt his impetus. I remember when shooting 
in the Rohilkhund Terdi, a hog deer ran the gauntlet of a 
whole line of elephants. I had fired at him first on the right 
with a little rifle carrying a very peculiar bullet, but we all 
thought we had to register a miss when he fell to the Joe 
Manton of old Col. S. on the extreme left of the line ; 
and it was not till we were examining the goodly heap of 
slain brought in by the pad elephants on our return to camp 
that I thought of looking for my shot, and found that the 
death wound was from my rifle after all, as we cut out the 
little bullet from the top of its shoulder, while the Colonel's 
round ball had only just grazed its quarter. On another 
occasion I had fired at a large tiger sneaking through some 
thin jungle in the Betul district. The brute dashed ahead out 
of sight with loud roars, but presently came wheeling round 
in a circle, galloped along the bottom of a small ravine, 


and came up the bank of it right opposite me, as I thought 
with the determination of making a home charge. As his 
head appeared over the top I fired at it, at the distance of 
only some dozen paces, and he tumbled back again to the 
bottom, where he lay dead. My astonishment was not 
small to find that I had missed him clean the last time, and 
that he had died just in the nick of time from the first shot 
through the shoulders. 

By far the finest sport afforded by the sambar is when he 
is regularly stalked in his native wilderness, without either 
elephant or beaters. I will not waste a word on so vile a 
practice as that of shooting him at night, when he comes to 
the crops or drinking places. None but a native shikari, or 
an European with equally poaching proclivities, would ever 
think of such a thing. To succeed in stalking, the camp 
must be pitched as near as possible to where they have 
been ascertained to resort at night to feed and drink. A 
party of the aborigines of the place must be entertained to 
act as scouts, people who thoroughly know the country and 
the haunts and habits of the deer, and who are not afraid to 
traverse any part of the jungles in the dark. These must be 
sent out in couples long before daylight to crown the most 
commanding hill tops in the neighbourhood, with instructions 
to mark any sambar they may see on the way from their 
feeding grounds to the midday resting place. When deer are 
observed one should remain to watch them, while the other 
hastens with the news to some well-marked central point, 
whither the sportsman himself must leisurely proceed, starting 
half an hour or so before daybreak, accompanied by one or two 
of the wild men. It is very likely he may fall in with deer 
himself by the way, and get a stalk ; but if not some of the 
scouts are almost certain to bring information in time to get at 


the deer before they have lain down. This method of scouting 
also succeeds well with bison in the thin jungles where they 
are sometimes found ; and I do not know any place where the 
sport of stalking the bison and sambar in this fashion can be 
followed with better chance of success than in the jungles on 
either side of the upper Tapti valley. Indeed, the very best 
of this sport can be had within an easy morning's ride of the 
large city of Burhanpur, in the Nimar district, situated on the 
Tapti, a few miles below the point where the narrow rugged 
valley opens out into a wide basin of fertile and highly culti- 
vated black soil. Here the Tapti is joined by the Mona, a 
beautiful stream which flows clear and sparkling out of a 
branch of the Satptira range called the Hatti hills. It is one 
of the most singular parts of the great basaltic formation, and 
forms the extreme westerly termination of the highland region 
I am describing. Last year I traversed the whole of this 
range from end to end, on boundary settlement business, 
in company with a friend Captain T., of the Survey ; and 
though, being on duty, our first object was of course the 
public service, we found leisure for a little of our favourite 
sport at different times. 

In the end of February we rode out from Burhanpur to 
our camp, which was pitched at the last village in the open 
plain. Next morning a small tent was sent up to a little fort 
called Gharri, that crowns the northern face of the Hatti range, 
and we ourselves took different lines through the hills on 
foot to the same place. The inhabitants of these hills are all 
Bheels, a good deal spoilt by " civilization," being mostly lazy 
and thriftless, and confirmed opium eaters. They are the 
descendants of ancestors who were nominally converted to 
Mahomedanism, in the days when a strong Moslem power was 
established at Burhanpur, but now retain scarcely anything of 


their faith besides the name of the Prophet, and the practice of 
its most elementary rites. In Mahomedan times the chiefs 
of these Bheels were subsidized and constituted wardens of 
the hill passes in this range, over which ran the main high- 
ways between the valley of the T&pti and Ber&r ; and they still 
continue to receive from our Government this subsidy, which 
is nothing but a compensation for the blackmail levied by 
their turbulent ancestors from the adjoining plains. A few un- 
converted Bheels still remain in this country, who are chiefly 
the hereditary village watchmen of the Hindu villages border- 
ing on the hills. They are usually a good deal Hinduized in 
manners, but retain much of the keen natural qualities that 
render the wilder members of the race such excellent hunters. 
Bheels of the wildest character are also found in the moun- 
tainous region west of Asirgarh, depending for subsistence 
much on their bows and arrows, and still ready for any under- 
taking of lawlessness and peril. It is scarcely, however, within 
the province of this work to devote space to this tribe, 
which is but scantily represented in the highland region of 
which it treats. 

The road to Gharri lay up a fine level, though narrow, 
valley in the Hatti hills, containing the sites of several old 
villages marked by ancient trees and Mahomedan tombs. As 
we overlooked, from the height of Gharri, its long level reach, 
and the narrow gorge formed by a transverse chain of little 
hills at its mouth, with the level black-soil plain of the Tapti 
valley stretching away into the distant haze beyond, the 
thought suggested itself at the same time to both of us, 
how remarkably suited the spot was for an irrigation 
reservoir. Without the land thirsting for water, being 
underlaid by a sandy subsoil so deep that no well can 
tap the stratum of moisture below it, and crowded with a 


dense population, who pay for their dry and unfertile acres the 
rent that in many places is given for irrigated sugar-cane land. 
Within a natural reservoir, fed by the drainage of forty square 
miles, and only wanting an embankment of a few hundred yards 
to hold back sufficient water to convert the whole of the plain 
without into an evergreen garden. Such sites as these, though 
not always so favoured by a combination of circumstances as 
this one, are met with at intervals along almost the whole of 
the frontier line between the highlands and the open plain. 
But, alas ! the means at the command of so poor a country as 
India are unequal to the task of realising her own future ; 
and the wealth of life-giving water that annually escapes 
through these unguarded outlets must still, for many a genera- 
tion, it may be feared, be allowed to waste itself in destructive 
inundations and fruitless floods. We are only just beginning 
to realise that at the bottom of all India's wretched poverty 
and backwardness lies the exceeding unfertility of her 
land in the absence of artificial irrigation. A return of 
wheat no more than four or fivefold the seed, and but forty 
pounds of clean cotton to the acre, from the deep black 
soils of the Narbada valley, such is the boasted fertility 
of one of the finest tracts of soil in all India ! What might 
be the changes in the physical conditions and economy of 
India were the annual rainfall saved which now escapes to 
the sea it is impossible to foresee. An almost incredible 
increase in the productiveness of the low country, and the 
final banishment of the famine demon that now claims its an- 
nual thousands and quinquennial millions throughout the land, 
would probably be combined with a great amelioration of the 
climate, and improvement of the forests of the higher regions.* 

* I would not here be understood to affirm the opinion that such a country as 
the bulk of the Central Provinces are as yet ripe for large irrigation works. A 



Gharri is situated on the edge of a table-land of considerable 
extent, but of very irregular outline ; on the north winding 
round the heads of long ravines which drain down into the val- 
ley below, and to wards the south coming suddenly to a steep drop 
into the plains of Berar. The more open parts of this table-land 
have at some remote period been cultivated, the trap boulders 
having been cleared off and piled into rough walls enclosing 
large square fields. The land is in many places very deep 
and rich, and, the elevation being about two thousand feet, it 
would no doubt grow tea and coffee well. Now it is utterly 
waste, the lazy Bheels being satisfied with their subsidy from 
Government, while want of roads, and probably a bad climate, 
deter the cultivators of the neighbouring plains. There is 
plenty of water on the top, and one day it will doubtless be 
the seat of a considerable settlement. 

At Gharri T. went out in the evening, and found two 
sambar stags feeding on the pods of some acacias on the site 
of a deserted village. Being a capital stalker and a good 
shot, he got close in upon them, and bagged both with a right 
and left shot. Next day we crossed the plateau to a place 
called Bingara, near which T. had a survey station to put 
up. The road for some distance lay over a tolerably level 
plain of black soil, covered by a thin scrub of teak poles and 
thorny bushes ; but presently, leaving the plateau, passed on 
to a very narrow ridge which forms the backbone of these 
singular hills throughout their length. In some places an 
exceedingly steep slope of a thousand feet or so led down 
from this saddle-back to the plains on either side, leaving 

much denser population, and more farm stock, will be required before such can 
be the case. The old district of Nimar however and particularly the basin of 
the Tapti valley surrounding the large city of Burhanpur which is here 
referred to is an exceptional tract, fully prepared for the general introduction 
of irrigation, and ready to pay for it. 


scarcely room for the path we were treading. It was a terrible 
business getting the baggage camels along these narrow places, 
studded as they were with trees, and encumbered with boulders 
of trap ; and though we had a number of Bheels with axes to 
clear a passage for them they did not get in till nightfall. 
The views at the turns where the plains on both sides could 
be seen were remarkable, though scarcely to be called pic- 
turesque. At our feet steep hill-sides of crumbling basalt, 
covered with long yellow grass beaten almost flat by the 
western blasts that sweep the hills at this season, and studded 
over with large black boulders and the naked yellow stems of 
the Salei tree. Above, short scarps of dark grey trap leading 
up to the flat tops of the range ; and below, so near looking 
that you would expect a stone thrown over to light on it, and 
yet so far beneath that towns and groves and corn fields 
were all melted in one indistinguishable blue haze, the long 
level cotton-yielding plains of Berar. 

At Bingara the Mahomedan Nawdbs of Berar had, some 
hundreds of years ago, constructed a pleasure house after their 
earnest fashion, which, despite the effects of a destructive 
climate, and the searching roots of the peepul and banyan 
figs, remains to this day, though probably never repaired, an 
example of the solidity of their style of construction. The 
massive domes, thick walls, and narrow openings combine in 
these buildings to form the coolest structures to be found 
in India. The building at Bingara is erected on the banks of 
a small artificial lake, the waters of which, however, now 
escape a good deal through the rotten embankment, leaving 
behind a slime which by no means adds to the attractions of 
the place. The building itself was the habitation of bats and 
owls ; and so we pitched our little tent a short way back from 
the lake under the shade of some immense banyan trees 


Just as we arrived some dogs belonging to the Bheels, which 
had been ranging in the jungle, passed across the dry bed of 
the lake in full cry after a doe sambar they had roused. Of 
course we flew to our rifles, but were just in time to miss her 
handsomely as she dashed into the thick jungle, followed for a 
little way by the dogs, who soon came limping back however. 
Next morning we took different directions to explore and 
hunt, each with a few Bheel attendants. My way lay along 
the backbone of the range beyond Bingara. After walking 
some miles, examining carefully with glass and eye the 
declivities on either side, my Bheel henchman, a sharp lad 
called Chand, or " the Moon," fixed a longer look than usual 
on the slope of a distant hill-side, and after a while motioned 
me up to him, and directed my binocular to the centre of a 
scrubby patch of teak forest. Presently I caught the glint of 
the sun on something moving, and made out a noble sambar 
stag standing under the trees motionless, except that he slowly 
turned his antlered head from side to side, sweeping with keen 
vision the whole semicircle within his ken. He was not more 
than a mile off in a direct line ; but to get to the spot it 
would be necessary to go several miles round the head of a 
long ravine. As he was almost certain to lie down where he 
was we carefully marked the spot, and slipping back over 
the edge of the saddle started off at a brisk walk to circum- 
vent him. The sun was well up now, and it is very hot in 
March even at that early hour ; so that by the time we had got 
round into the ravine below our temperature was considerably 
higher than when we started. Now commenced an excru- 
ciating advance on tiptoe, with bended backs, over a stratum 
of fallen teak leaves of the " tin box " description, to step on 
a single one of which would be fatal to the stalk. As the only 
alternative foot ground was on rounded trap boulders, given 


to rolling away from beneath the unwary foot, the heat deve- 
loped by the exertion was greatly out of proportion to the 
progress made. At last, however, we sighted the red-topped 
tree under which we had marked our stag ; and then " the 
Moon," stripping himself of next to his last fragment of rai- 
ment, swarmed up a teak pole to look out ahead. Nothing 
was seen however, and so we stole on again, friend Chand 
swarming up trees at intervals, and I balancing myself in fear 
and trembling on the rounded boulders. We were not to 
succeed however ; for the Bheel in coming off a tree acci- 
dentally stepped on a leaf, and the game was up. Though I 
dashed ahead at once, knowing that we could steal in no 
further, it was too late ; and all I saw was a dark form run- 
ning low, but at a great pace, through -the teak scrub, too far 
off for a shot. I believe that this was about the only sambar 
then on the hills ; for though the forms where they had been 
lying were numerous, and both T. and I hunted the livelong 
day for them, not another hoof or horn did we see. The 
Bheels said they had all gone to " Dhowtea" a place which 
we afterwards found was so difficult of access that very few of 
them had ever been there ; and so they used it, much as we 
do " Jericho," to express an indefinite region where everything 
that can't be found elsewhere must certainly have gone. 

Greatly to the surprise of the Bheels, we did shortly after 
this go to Dhowtea ; and if its name was great before it 
certainly became much more so after we had been there. 
Neither of us ever saw anything so extraordinary in our lives ; 
and to the Bheels there was nothing short of magical devilry 
in what we found, or rather did not find. Dhowtea was a 
hollow on the top of the range surrounded by flat plateaux of 
small elevation, with a fine stream of water in the centre, and 
long grass all about. After a long struggle through thick jungle 


and over desperate rocky ground we reached it long after sun- 
down, and encamped uncomfortably in the open plain for the 
night. The place was perfectly puddled up with the feet of 
sambar, the footmarks ranging from a day to weeks old ; and in 
the grass around were literally thousands of sambar forms, while 
every second or third tree was peeled of its bark by the rub- 
bing of the stags' horns against them. Next morning we 
started off, with an extra supply of ammunition, in different 
directions, our only fear being that we had not people enough 
to carry in all the enormous stags we expected to bag. For 
my part, I wandered round and round the plateaux, and over 
their tops, and through the hollow ground, and everywhere 
within six miles on my side of the hill ; and though the 
sambar signs were everywhere plentiful and recent, and there 
were droppings of bison also of some weeks old, not a dun 
hide of stag or hind did my eyes behold that morning. It 
was truly amazing, and I almost feared to return to camp 
lest all the beasts should have gone across to T.'s side, and I 
should find him smoking the pipe of satisfaction amid a heca- 
tomb of slain. He had returned before myself, however ; and 
mutual delight was no doubt displayed in our countenances 
when we found that each was in precisely the same plight as 
the other, not having seen hoof or horn between us ! Half 
believing with the Bheels that the place was enchanted, we 
stayed and tried again next day, but the result was precisely 
the same. Then we vowed that Dhowtea of the Bheels should 
be written down with the blackest of spots in our mental map. 
We were utterly ruined, of course, with the Bheels. Having 
seen these multitudes of ghostly sambar tracks, we never 
again found any place vacant of game but to be told with a 
grin, " Oh, they are gone to Dhowtea, of course ! " 

We were utterly beaten, and, the unburnt jungle having 


also proved too thick for our boundary operations, we 
determined to retreat to the plains. But we were unwilling 
to return by the awful road we had come ; and, a possible 
way down the northern face of the hill being reported, 
we left Dhowtea behind us the next morning, march- 
ing along the top of the range for eight or ten miles 
to a place called Jamti, the residence of another of these 
petty Bheel chieftains, and marked by a conspicuous banyan 
tree which is visible from every part of the surrounding 
country. Thence we descended the next day to the Tapti 
valley, intending to return to the hills when the jungle should 
be clearer. The truth was we had happened to visit Dhowtea 
just when nearly all the sambar had gone down the hills to 
feed on some jungle fruits that had ripened in the valleys ; 
and the few that remained were not to be found among the 
long unburnt grass. I believe that the immense number of 
marks we saw were caused by the collection of large numbers 
of deer there during the rutting season (late autumn). I 
intended to investigate this had I remained in that part of 
the country; but neither of us ever got back there again. 
T. is, I believe, now surveying in the Himalayas, and I am in 
old Scotland, content with much smaller game than sdmbar. 
" Such is life," as the poet says ! 

The path we went down by wound along the top of a long 
spur of naked basalt. On either side were deep and almost 
coal-black rifts in the rock, the summits clothed scantily with 
thin yellow grass, and here and there a Salei tree stunted and 
twisted like a corkscrew. At one point the rock assumed the 
form of a sheer cliff, many hundred feet in height, of the 
columnar structure seen occasionally in this volcanic forma- 
tion, where the rock seems composed of a vast conglomeration 
of pentagonal pillars standing together and broken off at 


different lengths. This singularly favourable situation for 
nest building had been occupied by an immense colony of 
vultures, the whole face of the rock for miles being whitened 
by their droppings, while numbers of the birds were perched 
on the cliff or sailing over the ravine. Among them were a 
good many of the common brown carrion vulture ; * but the 
majority were the foul white scavengers f to be seen on every 
dunghill in the villages of the plains. I had often wondered 
where these birds bred, for although there are myriads in all 
inhabited tracts of Central India only a few nests are to be 
seen here and there in the tops of trees. Here was the puzzle 
solved, in the grim and retired solitude of the Valley of the 
Vultures. But a single hill, a few minutes' flight, separated 
them here from the thickly peopled plain where they find their 
repulsive food ; and yet that ravine is probably as seldom 
looked on by the eye of man as if it were a guano island in 
the Pacific Ocean. 

A few weeks after our unsuccessful trip to the Hatti hills, I 
heard from T. that the grass was mostly burnt, and sambar were 
plentiful on the northern slope of the hills. He had also come 
across a preserve of bison, out of which he had bagged a bull. 
Early in April, therefore, I rode out to his camp at Chondi 
one of the deserted village sites in the valley below Gharri. A 
lovelier spot for a hunting camp in the hot weather could not be 
found. Close by a clear and beautiful pool of water stood an 
enormous banyan tree, so old that many of the suckers thrown 
out by the branches of the parent tree had themselves become 
mighty stems, with branches which again had given birth to 
trunks of considerable girth, while the stem of the original 
tree had utterly decayed away. Beneath its copious shade 
were sheltered from the sun several tents, and numerous 

* Gyps Bengalensis. f Neophum Perenopterus. 


servants, lascars, and Bheels, besides our horses, dogs, etc. 
The grass on the lower hills had mostly been burnt since we 
were last here, and the Mhowa flowers had been falling for 
some time. Sambar nightly visited some fine clumps of that 
tree in the bottom of the valley, a little higher up than the 

The next morning we sent out about half a dozen pairs of 
Bbeels to look out on the hill tops long before daybreak ; and 
soon after ourselves started up the valley to a point where we 
intended to separate and take different beats. A colony of 
monkeys in the trees overhanging the river were " swearing" 
lustily about half a mile to our left, and presently we found 
the remains of a sambar that had been killed during the night 
under the Mhowa trees by a tiger. The brute himself was 
doubtless making off up the valley when seen by the mon- 
keys. Many sdmbar had been feeding on the Mhowd, and 
fresh tracks led off in almost all directions. Just where we 
were about to separate a long spur ran down from the hills 
on the right to the valley up which we were proceeding ; and 
as we approached it we saw in the dim grey light a long line 
of deer file over the top, each pausing for a second on the sky 
line before passing over to the far side. Watching them for 
a few seconds, we saw that they were followed by a large stag 
at a good distance in the rear. In fact he had just com- 
menced to climb the spur when we saw him ; and at the 
same time he must have seen us pausing on the path, for his 
leisurely walk then became a run, the low crouching run, 
almost like a tigers, with antlers thrown back, often adopted 
by a stag who wants to escape quickly and without being 
seen. We only saw the ridge of his back and the tips of his 
horns as he stole up the other side of the spur after the hinds 
It is of no use for two men to follow one lot of sdmbar ; so, as 


it lay in my beat, I took after these deer, while T. held on 
up the valley. When I got to the top, a stiff climb of five 
or six hundred feet, the eastern heavens were suffused with 
that beautiful greenish yellow flush which immediately pre- 
cedes sunrise in an Indian sky. It was light enough (it never 
is very dark at any time of night at this season of the year) 
to distinguish a couple of the Bheels perched on a higher peak 
of the same range ; and on seeing me top the rise one of 
them stole softly down to me, and said that the herd, followed 
by the stag, had proceeded leisurely down the thickly wooded 
declivity on the opposite side. After a consultation, it was 
determined that I should keep along the top of the ridge, 
while two of the Bheels were to follow the track of the herd, 
and if they saw them come up and let me know. I went 
along slowly from one commanding point to another, keeping 
a little ahead of the Bheels, who tracked the herd along the 
slope, not very far below the top. In the course of one of 
these moves I started the herd from some long grass near the 
top. There were fifteen or twenty of them, but no good stags, 
so far as I could see as they bustled away along the hill side 
in a confused mob, the round light-coloured patches on their 
rumps looking like so many targets as they switched their 
tails in the air. It was very tempting, but I wanted the fine 
horns of the stag and let them go. I was rewarded soon 
after by the appearance of the stag, walking slowly along in 
the same line, and showing by his dignified gait that he had 
no suspicion of danger. He was passing about a hundred 
yards below me when I pulled on his shoulder with the little 
single " Express ' rifle, and he fell to the shot without a sound. 
The Bheels came running up at once, and as I had not gone 
down to the stag proceeded to cut his throat in the orthodox 
Mahomedan fashion, though I am certain he was stone dead 


long before they arrived. He was one of the finest harts I 
ever saw, in beautiful condition, with much of the cold- 
weather mane remaining, and of a peculiar and rare rich 
chestnut colour. His horns were very stout and hand- 
some, though about four inches shorter than those of the 
Bori stag. The colour of the smbar of these open light 
jungles is generally decidedly lighter than that of those 
which inhabit the more shady forests further east. Some- 
times a very black stag will be found, however, even here ; 
and the colour of all varies a good deal at different times of 
the year. I did not get another shot that morning, and T. 
returned with an empty bag, having lost the stag he followed 
in the long grass on the tops of the hills. 

The next day we again went out long before daybreak. I 
was beckoned up a very steep hill by the Bheels on the top ; 
and when I got there some time after the sun was up, and a 
good deal fatigued by the climb, I found it was only to tell 
me that they had seen two stags go up the opposite hill slope, 
between which and our hill there lay a valley as deep as that 
from which I had come up. They had never been at this 
scouting work before, or they had well deserved a thrashing 
for their pains. There was nothing for it but to descend to 
the valley again, which was almost severer work than coming 
up. The slipperiness of these trap hills when every particle 
of grass on them has been burnt into fine charcoal is dreadful. 
I never found the deer that had been seen, and soon got in- 
volved in a troublesome series of cross ravines, so that by 
about nine o'clock I was pretty hot and wearied in the April 
sun. I had almost given up hunting, and had turned for 
home, when something caught my eye in the bottom of a 
slight hollow in the hill. It looked exactly like one of the 
bunches of twigs that grow out of old teak stumps on these 


hills, with one or two dried leaves attached to them ; and yet 
I fancied I had seen it move. I looked at it intently for at 
least a minute, trying to make out if it was a bunch of teak 
twigs or a sambar's head and horns. It never moved the 
whole of this time ; and, as the Bheels who were with me said 
it was only a stump, I turned to pass on. The glint of my 
rifle barrel must then have caught in the sun, for a noble stag 
started up from his lair, and without pausing for a second 
wheeled round and clattered away. My hasty shot missed 
him clean, and he then plunged into a ravine that lay at the 
back of the hollow he had been in. I followed across, think- 
ing I might find blood, but there was no sign, and I turned 
for home, swearing to expend a bullet in future on every teak 
stump that bore the most distant resemblance to a deer's head. 
Both T. and I were often mistaken in these hills in the same 
manner, and have frequently gone up within a few yards of 
a stump to make sure. The resemblance is so very close 
between the two objects that I cannot but think that the 
instinct of the animal leads him to dispose of his head so as 
to resemble the bunch of teak. Even the motion of the large 
ears of the sdmbar, which they restrain only when actually in 
the presence of danger, answers exactly to the stirring of a 
dried teak leaf in a light breeze. Indeed no one can hunt in 
these scantily covered hills without wondering at the extreme 
difficulty of making out such large animals as s&mbar, bisoo, 
and bears on the open hill-side. The bison and bear precisely 
resemble the large black trap boulders that thickly strew 
every hill ; and thus the glaring contrast of their black hides 
with the bright yellow grass frequently attracts no attention 
whatever. T. again returned without a stag, but he had shot 
a fine fat young doe for the pot. 

On my way back I knocked over a four-horned antelope, 


with very perfect horns, a long distance across a valley with 
the " Express." These little creatures are very common in the 
hills we were hunting in, living solitary or in small groups in 
all parts of the range. The female is hornless, while the buck 
has four distinct sheathed horns. The posterior pair are four 
or five inches long, and set upon high pedicles covered with 
hair. The anterior pair are generally mere knobs, and never 
exceed in length an inch and three-fourths. In some speci- 
mens they are even absent altogether. The animal is found 
throughout India ; and appears to be generally without the 
anterior horns in the South. Here, in Central India, some 
have them and some have not. I never could see any other 
difference between them ; but it is not altogether certain that 
there are not two distinct species. The preponderance of 
females appears to be very great, quite as great as in the case 
of the ordinary Indian antelope, though, from their not con- 
gregating in large herds, it is not so much observed. To kill 
a buck at all is rare, and to kill one with four well developed 
horns is much rarer still. They seem to be very retiring little 
creatures, never coming to the crops, and moving very little 
out of the limited area where they find food and water. There 
is scarcely a water-hole in all these regions which is not fre- 
quented by one or more, and they are nearly certain to be 
found during the day lying in the nearest patch of grass. 
They make little forms like those of the sambar, and allow 
themselves almost to be trodden on before they start. They 
run for a short distance at an incredible velocity, with their 
necks low and making themselves as small as possible, till they 
suddenly stop, but always with such art that a tree stump, or 
mound, or thick bush shall screen them from the observer ; 
then another short dash, and another halt, and so on till out 
of sight. They are nearly sure to be found in the same place 


next day however. When seen walking about undisturbed in 
the jungle their pace is most curious, raising their feet absurdly 
high as if stepping over large stones, and putting them down 
with a fastidious delicacy and softness as if they were walking 
on eggs, a simultaneous " bobbing " action of the head and 
neck giving them altogether very much the gait of "that 
generous bird the hen." They live on the green shoots of 
bushes, young grass, and fallen jungle fruits ; and their venison 
is coarse and tasteless. 

The same afternoon two of the Bheels who had been out 
scouting in a very solitary part of the hills to the east of the 
valley came in and reported a large herd of bison as always 
to be found where they had been. Nothing is more difficult 
than to get really reliable news about the haunts of animals, 
until you can get the few jungle people who do know 
thoroughly enlisted in your interests. If you ask any one 
else, or even them when they don't care to tell you, ten to 
one they will charge their faces with a stare of utter vacuity, 
and ask you "if it is not a jungle," implying that, if you 
allow so much, of course you must know where to find beasts. 
The little block of hills we were going to visit is quite shut 
in from all the ordinary lines of travelling in these parts. 
There is no road into it by which carts can be taken ; cattle 
are never sent to graze there by the neighbouring villagers ; 
and thus no one ever goes into it, excepting a single family of 
Bheels who are the hereditary Turvees* of an ancient village, 
said to have existed in the palmy days of Mahomedan rule in 
one of its valleys, and now represented by half a dozen Mhowa 
trees, the fruit of which these Bheels still go annually to 
gather. Two of the family happened to be among our scouts, 

* The Turvee is the chief of a Bheel clan or settlement ; and all heads of Bheel 
villages in this part of the country are so called by courtesy. 


and knew every inch of the country. The one who brought 
us the news rejoiced in the name of Jhingra Or " The Shrimp;" 
and really, by some fortuitous accident, his long attenuated 
arms and legs, and curiously shrivelled features, with a few 
long feeler-like bristles in the place of a beard, gave him a 
very strong resemblance to that innocent crustacean. The 
name of the other, who had been left perched in a tree to 
watch the beeves, cannot be handed down to fame, having 
been lost in the secondary appellation of " The Skunk." I 
must say the olfactory powers of the bison lost greatly in my 
estimation when I found that they had remained quietly 
grazing for half a day within a mile or so of this most odorous 
of Turvees ! The Shrimp was very anxious that we should 
proceed there and then to attack the bison, urging how un- 
comfortable the Skunk would be if left clinging to the upper 
branches of a tree all night, and patting his shrivelled stomach 
to show how delighted they both would be to be at close 
quarters with a bison steak. We pitied the Skunk, and 
pointed out to the Shrimp a quarter of sdmbar venison hang- 
ing up from which he might satisfy his own cravings ; but 
we had no idea of starting off after bison six miles away in 
that country at three o'clock in the afternoon. 

It wanted a good deal of arrangement, in fact, to hunt that 
country ; and we never found out the proper way to do it till 
just as we were leaving it. As it was we sent round a tent 
and the needful supplies by a very circuitous road, down our 
valley to the plain, along the foot of the hills for a good many 
miles, and then up another valley that was said to run into 
the heart of the bison country. The people had directions to 
go as far up the valley as they could find water, and pitch 
there. We were to go straight across next day, and, after 
hunting up the bison, come down the head of the further 


valley to the camp ; and dearly we paid for giving such 
indefinite instructions before we were done. 

Next morning we started under the guidance of the Shrimp, 
and mounted on two redoubtable Deccanee ponies, who we 
had found could go in these hills wherever we could and 
saved us a good lot of hard work in the sun. The way lay 
up a long burnt valley, in which tracks of s&mbar, and the 
pug of a large tiger who had been following them during the 
night, were plainly visible. It was too late, however, to see 
any game out in such open country ; and we wound up the 
rugged pathway leading to the top of the hill without having 
come across a single animal. 

We now came on to a tolerably level plateau, and rode on 
for some miles, keeping a sharp look-out for animals. The 
plateau was beginning to shelve down towards a ravine 
filled with clumps of bamboo, beyond which rose another flat- 
topped ridge, when my eye rested on a spot of denser shadow 
in the thin salei jungle that topped the further ridge. Pull- 
ing up to use the binocular, I discovered the whole herd 
of bison grazing quietly in the cover. We were a 
couple of miles away at least, and silently withdrew into a 
hollow that would lead us down into the ravine. T. and I 
now advanced, with the Shrimp, leaving our ponies and 
the other Bheels to follow us on hearing a shot. We had a long 
hot stalk, and on reaching the plateau found that the herd 
had disappeared. The place was evidently a regular resort 
of the wild cattle, the long grass being twisted about into 
wisps by their feet, and all the bushes broken and grazed away. 
We stalked over the plateau with cocked rifles, the Shrimp 
swarming trees to look out ahead ; but no beeves did we see, 
except a cow and her little calf making off over a distant rising 
ground at a slow trot, the sunlight glancing every now and 


again on their beautifully bronzed hides. There were so 
many tracks that to follow the herd was hopeless ; the Skunk 
was nowhere to be seen ; and so we coasted round the edge 
of the plateau, peering down among the bamboo clumps in 
the hope of discovering the herd. After going about half 
round I suddenly almost ran up against a cow in some long 
grass ; and immediately T., who was a little to my right, 
called out that the whole herd was standing down below 
among the bamboos. My cow had bolted off in a great 
fright, and I ran up to T. in time to see ten or twelve bison 
scrambling up the opposite side of the ravine a long shot 
from where we were. A bull brought up the rear, and there 
was another covered by the clump of cows ; so we opened fire 
on the former, and the third shot broke, his leg. He had the 
other shots too, and, after limping on a bit, staggered and fell 
over down the hill. Being much fatigued by the heat of a 
very sultry April day, we waited there till the people came 
up with our leathern water-sack to have a drink, and then 
went over to the bull, who was still alive but unable to rise. 
The Skunk, who had luckily been exactly in the line of the 
herd's retreat, now came running up, and, standing afar off 
by special request, told us whither they had gone. 

There was a mighty black bull among them, whose horns 
we determined to have, if possible ; so, sending the ponies, 
and with them, alas ! the water, under the guidance of the 
Skunk, to wait us at a point in the valley beyond for 
which we thought the herd was making, we started off on 
their tracks. In going along the edge of a spin: T. saw three 
or four of the bison standing under the ridge of the hill, and 
we went round to stalk them. It was a long way and the heat 
was really fearful, so that we were not perhaps so cautious in 
our approach as we should have been, and the result was that 

E 2 


before we got up we heard the alarmed snort of the sentry, 
and the crash of the herd through the jungle. We now 
walked along a ridge between two deep valleys on the 
right hand that in which the camp should be, and on the left 
another leading down to where we had started from in the 
morning. We saw the startled herd far below us in the 
latter, crossing over at a swinging trot, and afterwards 
mounting the range beyond. The Shrimp said they were 
doubtless making for " Dhowtea " ! Further on, the Shrimp 
pointed to a motionless coal-black form standing against the 
sky-line, which the telescope showed to be a mighty bull. 
He stood for a few minutes till the cows came up and passed 
across him, and then stalked solemnly after them. He, too, 
was no doubt going to Dhowtea ! We were walking on dis- 
gusted when my eye caught another jet-black figure among 
the trees ahead of us, and we crouched into nothing as 
another bull walked slowly into an open space about half a 
mile ahead. After gazing round in every direction he slowly 
began to descend to the same valley. He, too, appeared, like 
the rest of them, to have started for Dhowtea. But he was not 
there yet, and we determined at least to give him a run for 
it; so, waiting till he was concealed by the fall of the 
ground, we doubled down a rocky watercourse to cut him 
off, if possible, from the valley. We succeeded ; for he evi- 
dently got our wind, and sheered off from the pass down to the 
river, walking slowly and magnificently along the edge of a 
precipitous fall, apparently looking for another way down. 
There was none such, however ; and we followed him along 
in short running stalks, gaining on him every time he got 
hidden for a minute by inequalities of the ground. The 
hill we were on gradually narrowed to the saddleback form 
so common in this range, and not far ahead seemed to ter- 


minate in an abrupt descent to the valley. There seemed to 
be no doubt we Jiad him in a trap if we would only have 
patience ; for he must either take that header to reach the 
valley, or charge back along the ridge over our mangled 
corpses ! He became very cautious as he neared the end, 
zigzagging across the narrow ridge, and using all his senses to 
detect the pursuer he evidently suspected. We were slowly 
roasting on the bare shadeless sheet of basalt that topped the 
ridge, lying as we had to do prone on it to escape his sight. 
I would have given a rupee per drop for the contents of our 
water-sack just then. At last, after what seemed an age, the 
tall black form of the bull slowly sank over the end of the 
hill. He was going down, then, after all, and there was 
nothing for it but a rush. A rush we accordingly made ; 
but suddenly pulled up, much taken aback, as we saw the 
bull again emerge and stand in full sight of us, though much 
covered about the body by scrubby salei stems, on the ex- 
treme point of the ridge. It was really a most ticklish situa- 
tion. Had he charged, and our shots failed to stop him, T. 
might have escaped with a few broken bones by rolling 
down on his side of T the hill ; but on mine there was a sheer 
descent of a hundred feet, and the ridge itself offered not the 
slightest shelter. But we each had a double-barrelled, breech- 
loading, twelve-bore rifle a battery against which few animals 
can stand. I saw T. sighting him, and heard the bull emit a 
low tremulous moan that sounded like mischief. His vitals 
were protected from me by the salei stems, so I kept my double 
shot in reserve in case of accidents. The ball thudded against 
something, as it turned out probably a salei tree ; and the bull at' 
once disappeared over the edge. We now ran to the spot, and 
saw him below thundering down the steep hill-side at a tremen- 
dous pace* Utterly winded by running, and half dead with 


heat and thirst, the remaining three shots had no effect ; and 
then we sat down perfectly exhausted, to watch the bull as he 
gained the valley and crossed the stream-bed halting for a few 
seconds under a shady tree to look back ere he set himself to 
mount the further slope, which he did in the line taken by 
the other bison. He, too, was fairly off for Dhowtea and, as 
it seemed and we hoped seeing that we could not have him, 
without a wound. 

Life was now a blank. The Shrimp had lingered far 
behind, and there was no one to show us the way, while the 
Skunk was goodness knows where with the ponies and water. 
So we slowly and sadly descended the hill to our own valley, 
and walked on in the probable direction of camp, chewing grass 
in our speechless mouths. About a mile further on we were 
joined by the villainous Shrimp, who had taken a line of his 
own for home when he saw us bent on pushing the big bull to 
extremities. There was no water in all this valley, he said, 
excepting one pool miles ahead where our camp should be. 
After getting the direction, we started him off to find the 
ponies and water and bring them to meet us. It was now 
mid-day, and the sun was blazing hot a quivering haze 
that made the eyes twinkle playing along the surface of the 
earth. After plodding along for some miles more, we came 
to a pathway by which we thought the ponies must pass ; 
and there we sat down completely exhausted in the 
scanty shade of a wild fig-tree. A mhowa grew close by, 
and some of its luscious flowers tempted us to try if they 
would assuage our raging thirst. Bah ! never was anything 
more horrible than the clammy taste and fetid odour of that 
sickening product. Our mouths were now glued up as well 
as parched, and when at last the people came we could only 
make signs for the water, and replied not at all to the Skunk 


when he assured us that a big bear had been besieging him 
and the ponies on the road for ever so long not very far from 
where we were. After a draught that no one could appreciate 
unless he has hunted the "bounding bison" through an April day 
in the trap hills of Nimar, we jumped on the welcome ponies 
and galloped up the valley to our tent. Kevived by 
breakfast and cold claret cup, we spent the rest of the day 
in skinning and preserving the head of the bison we had shot. 
A fine solemn look have the features of a dead bull. The 
horns alone are nothing of a trophy compared to the complete 
head, which should if possible be saved entire.* 

Next morning our Bheels were out early, and we ourselves 
made for the hill of Alf-Bal-K6t, or the "High Exalted 
Fort," which being translated means the ruinous little mud 
keep of one of these pensioned Bheel chiefs. They are all 
" R&jas " of course, and maintain standing armies of one or 
two ragamuffins apiece. We always had the " king " of the 
territory we were in in our camp, and it was really dis- 
appointing to find how little Hia Majesty differed from 
any other of these debauched-looking, opium-eating, and 
utterly ignorant and brutal Mahomedan Bheels. Our 
shikaris and scouts Shrimp, Skunk, and Co. were ordinary 
unconverted Bheels, and far superior in every respect to 
the converts, who, however, looked down upon them as an 
unregenerate lot. 

We had not proceeded far towards the foot of the hills when 
a Bheel on a hill-top waving a cloth caught our sight ; and on 
going up we saw about five or six stag sdmbar slowly wend- 
ing their way along the far side of a valley towards the 

* I cannot speak too highly of the artistic manner in which some of these heads 
have been set np by Mr. Edwin Ward, Naturalist, of 49, Wigmore Street. A 
woodcut from a photograph of one of them was appended to Chapter IIL 


interior of the hills. Our yesterday's shooting had no doubt 
cleared this part of the hills of all the bison, so we made 
after these deer, watching them over the rising grounds and 
then running close in behind them. At last we saw them 
apparently halted for the day in a shady place. Two of them 
appeared to have first-rate antlers, and we stalked round a 
long way to get in on them from above, and without giving 
them our wind. We blundered it, however, coming down at 
the wrong point, and the herd broke a long way to our left 
hand. T. fired into their backs as they struggled up the 
opposite slope in a confused gang, but without apparent 
effect ; and the last of them was disappearing over the brow 
when I took a long shot at him with my single " express." It 
was two hundred and fifty yards at the least, but I had often 
before killed as far with this rifle, and down he dropped. 
Crossing over, we found the stag lying dead ; but though it 
was one of the two we had marked his antlers were very 
inferior. Nothing is more deceptive than the apparent size of 
smbar s horns while stalking : as they have all the same 
number of points, the guide to size and quality afforded by 
the branches of the red deer is here wanting. On examina- 
tion we found this to be still another instance of the curious 
occurrences before mentioned; for it wasT.'s ball after all that 
had killed him, while mine had missed ! 

After this we made a long round through the hills looking for 
bison, but without success ; and were descending towards the 
camp by a long narrow spur of bare basalt, when we saw the 
Skunk near the top of an isolated eminence rising out of the 
valley violently signalling to us ; and soon after we were scan- 
ning the proportions of a fine bull bison lying down on the 
further side under the shade of a small tree. It was a very easy 
stalk, and we crept in to about seventy yards in the grass. T. 


fired both barrels at him as he lay, which is always a mistake, 
the vital regions being then greatly shielded by the enormous 
development of the shoulder and dorsal ridge. He sprang up 
and plunged away across our front, swerving round towards us 
in a fashion that made the Bheels take to their heels. On 
receiving my shots, however, he turned again ; and, executing 
a most extraordinary series of plunges, with his head between 
his fore-legs and hind-quarters and tail in the air, disappeared 
down a small ravine. We were soon up, and followed along 
the side. I was rather ahead, and found him lying very 
sick in the bottom of the hollow. When he perceived me he 
staggered up and shook his horns in a threatening manner ; 
but it was all up with the poor brute, and a shot in the neck 
rolled him over finally on his back. I think if our yester- 
day's bull had been as viciously inclined as this fellow we 
might have had more of it than we bargained for on that 
narrow ledge. 

We had to return next day to the station, and bid adieu to 
these singular hills. The hot season was fairly on, when no one 
can long endure the exertion of hunting on foot the sdmbar and 
bison in hilly country. My readers will probably think I have 
described to them but poor sport compared to what they have 
often read of before. It is so easy to throw in half a dozen 
bull bison in a day's sport by a stroke of the pen that the 
temptation to meet the wishes of the reader is difficult to. 
resist. I have, however, stuck to the exact facts of a by no 
means heavy bag, on purpose to give a more accurate idea of 
what such shooting really means namely very hard work 
and much exposure for an average of certainly not more than 
one head of game a day, and often much less. One of the 
hardest workers and best shots I ever knew, who had only time 
for a few weeks' bison and s^mbar shooting in the year and 


then went at it tooth and nail, told me he was always proud 
if he could keep his average up to one a day for the time he 
was out ; and I am certain that very few ever do so much. 

(Sambar Horns. Scale, one tenth.) 

By taking every chance at cow bison and doe sambar of course 
the bag could be largely increased ; and I heard of two men 
who one year murdered in this way twenty-eight bison in a 
week. This is not sport, of course, nor are the performers 
sportsmen. The bison is already, it would seem, diminishing 


in numbers ; certainly his range is becoming greatly con- 
tracted. He is one of the most harmless animals in the whole 
world to the industry of man, and, fairly hunted, affords per- 
haps the best sport in India ; it would be a pity, then, if 
his numbers should be .unduly diminished by unsportsmanlike 



Tiger- shooting in the hot Weather Different Sorts of Tigers The Game- 
killer The Cattle-eater The Man-eater Haunts of the Tiger Destruc- 
tiveness of Tigers Native Shikaris Beating for Tigers Shooting on 
Poot Shooting with an Elephant Difficulty of Finding Tigers Method 
of Hunting Search for Information Viceregal Tiger-shooting A Tiger 
in a Tobacco-field The Hot Weather Camp The Village Shikari -Spy- 
ing out the Land Nocturnal Life of Wild Animals Tyranny of the 
Tiger Tiger Tracks The Monkeys Inform Death of a Tiger Pranks of 
Juvenile Tigers The Monkeys Prevaricate Almost too Close Singular 
Effect of a Shell An Abrupt Introduction A Man-eating Tigress The 
Monkeys are Eight Alarm Cries of Animals A Beef-eater Slain Terrific 
Heat Size of Tigers Baits for Tigers Caste Objections Tiger Shikaris 
The " Lalla" He is killed by a Tiger Eevenge What a Shikari should not 
be The Tiger in his Lair Trained Elephants Purchasing Elephants Their 
" Points" Selection of a Hunting Elephant A Man-killer Entering Ele- 
phants Elephantine Vices Keeping Elephants A Bag of Tigers Eavages 
of a Man-eating Tiger Unfortunate Delay Denizens of a Mango Grove 
Sharp Treatment effects a Cure Start after the Man-eater Deserted Vil- 
lages A Pilgrim Devoured Unsuccessful Hunt A Bait Proposed 
Another Victim On the Trail A long Day's Work Eenew the Chase 
Exciting Sport An Elephant killed by a Tiger Find the Man-eater He 
charges Home Blown up by a Shell Elephant Anecdote Destructive- 
ness of Tigers Proposals for their Extermination What can be Done 
Get Jungle Fever Eeturn to Puchmurree A cool Climate Completion 
of "Bison Lodge" Burst of the Monsoon Advantages of Puchmurree 
Selected as a Sanitarium Eeturn to Jubbulpur. 

While wandering about in 1862, during the months of 
April and May, in the teak forests of the Betul district, I de- 
voted a day now and then to the sport of tiger-shooting ; and 
it was the laudable custom of the forest officers to spare, if 
possible every year, a few weeks during the height of the 


hot season for the purpose of making an impression on the 
numerous tigers which at that time rendered working in the 
forests and carrying timber so dreaded by the natives, and 
consequently costly to Government. 

Although there is much in the sport of tiger-hunting that 
renders it inferior as a mere exercise, or as an effort of skill, 
to some other pursuits of these regions (for many a man has 
killed his forty or fifty tigers who has never succeeded in 
bagging, by fair stalking, a single bull bison or a stag sdmbar), 
yet there is a stirring of the blood in attacking an animal 
before whom every other beast of the forest quails, and un- 
armed man is helpless as the mouse under the paw of a cat 
a creature at the same time matchless in beauty of form and 
colour, and in terrible power of offensive armature which 
draws men to its continued pursuit after that of every other 
animal has ceased to afford sufficient excitement to undergo 
the toil of hunting in a tropical country. 

It will have been gathered from previous descriptions that 
the hot season, the height of which is in April and May, is 
the most favourable time for hunting the tiger. Then the water- 
supply of the country is at its lowest ebb ; and the tiger, being 
very impatient of thirst, seeks the lowest valleys, where, too, 
much of the game he preys on has congregated, and where 
the village cattle are regularly watered. In Central India 
tigers vary a good deal in their habits and range ; and they 
may be roughly classed into those which habitually prey on 
wild animals, those which live chiefly on domestic cattle, and 
the few that confine their diet to the human species. Not, 
of course, that any tiger adheres invariably to the same sort of 
prey. But there are a large number that appear to prefer 
each of the former methods of existence, and a few that select 
the latter. 


The regular game-killing tiger is retired in his habits, living 
chiefly among the hills, retreating readily from man, and is alto- 
gether a very innocuous animal, if not even positively beneficial 
in keeping down the herds of deer and nilgai that prey upon 
the crops. His hot- weather haunt is usually some rocky ravine 
among the hills, where pools of water remain, and shelving 
rocks or overhanging trees afford him shelter from the sun. 
He is a light-made beast (called by shikdxis a lodhia bdgh), 
very active and endurhig, and, from this as well as his shy- 
ness, generally difficult to bring to bag. 

The cattle-lifter, again, is usually an older and heavier 
animal (called oontia bdgh, from his faintly striped coat re- 
sembling the colour of a camel), very fleshy, and indisposed 
to severe exertion. In the cool season he follows the herds of 
cattle wherever they go to graze ; and then, no doubt, in the 
long damp grass brings many a head of game also to bag. In 
the hot weather, however, the openness of the forest and the 
numerous fallen leaves preclude *a lazy monster of this sort 
from getting at game ; and he then locates himself in some 
strong cover, close to water, and in the neighbourhood of 
where the cattle are taken to drink and graze about on the 
greener herbage then found by the sides of streams, and, 
watching his opportunity, kills a bullock as he requires it, 
and drags it into his cover. Of course a good many head of 
game are also killed by such a tiger when they come to drink, 
but so long as he can easily procure cattle he does not trouble 
himself to hunt for them. 

Native shikans recognize more or less two kinds of tigers, with 
the names I have given above. It may be matter for specu- 
lation which is cause, and which is effect. Is it that as tigers 
grow old and heavy they take to the easier life of cattle-lift- 
ing ? Or has the difference of their pursuits, continued for 


generations, actually resulted in separate breeds, each more 
adapted for its hereditary method of existence ? I myself be- 
lieve the former to be the truth, and that there really is only 
one variety of tiger in all peninsular India. It is only to ex- 
treme specimens that the above distinctive names are applied ; 
and the great majority are of an intermediate character, and not 
distinguished by any particular name. The larger and older 
the animal the more yellow his coat becomes, and the fainter 
and further apart are the stripes. Small tigers are sometimes 
so crowded with the black stripes as almost to approach the 
appearance of a rnelanoid variety. A few specimens of white 
tigers with fulvous stripes have also been mentioned, though 
I never heard of one in Central India. The tiger, like all 
animals that I am acquainted with, is subject to slight varia- 
tions of appearance and conformation amongst individuals ; 
and local circumstances, and perhaps " natural selection," may 
tend to give the race something of peculiarity in different 
localities. But none of these has as yet, I believe, reached the 
point of even permanent variation. 

It is useless to devote much time to hunting the hill tigers 
that prey on game alone. They are so scattered over extensive 
tracts of jungle, and are so active and wary, that it is only by 
accident that they are ever brought to bag. 

Favourably situated covers are almost certain to hold one or 
more cattle-eating tigers during the hot weather ; and how- 
ever many are killed, others will shortly occupy their place. A 
favourite resort for these tigers is in the dense thickets formed 
of j&man, karondd, and tamarisk evergreen bushes whose 
shade is thickest in the hot weather, and which grow in islands 
and on the banks of the partially dried-up stream-beds. A 
thick and extensive cover of this sort, particularly if the 
neighbouring river banks are furnished, as is often the case, 


with a thick scrubby jungle of thorny bushes, through which 
ravines lead up to the open country where cattle graze, is a 
certain find in the hot season. Sometimes considerable gather- 
ings of tigers take place in such favourable places. I have 
twice known five, and once seven, tigers to be driven out of 
one cover at the same time ; and I think the season of love- 
making has something to do with these meetings. More 
usually it is a solitary male tiger, or a tiger and tigress, or 
a tigress with her grown-up cubs, that are found in one 
place. The tigress cannot breed more than once in three 
years, I believe ; for the cubs almost invariably stay with her 
till they are over two years old, and nearly full grown. The 
greatest number of cubs I have ever found with a tigress was 
three. These were small, however, and I never saw more than 
two grown-up along with the female. 

A single tiger will kill an ox about every five days, if not 
disturbed, eating, if very hungry, both hind quarters the first 
night. He will not go further than he can help after this 
meal, but will return again next night to the carcass, which 
in the meantime he often stores away under a bank, or covers 
with leaves, etc. This time he will finish all but the head ; 
next night he will clean the bones ; and then for a couple of 
days he will not take the trouble to hunt for a meal, though 
he will strike down another quarry if it comes near him. 
Should he have been fired at, however, when thus returning 
to his kill, he will frequently abandon such measures of eco- 
nomy, and kill a fresh bullock whenever he is hungry. A 
tigress and grown cubs are also far more destructive, finishing 
a bullock in a night, and like the daughter of the horse- 
leech always crying for more. The young tigers seem to 
rejoice in the exercise of their growing strength, springing 
up against trees and scratching the bark as high as they 


can reach by way of gymnastics, and, if they get among a 
herd of cattle, striking down as many as they can get hold of. 
The tiger very seldom kills his prey by the " sledge-hammer 
stroke" of his fore paw, so often talked about, the usual 
way being to seize with the teeth by the nape of the neck, 
and at the same time use the paws to hold the victim, and 
give a purchase for the wrench that dislocates the neck. 

Tigers that prey on cattle are generally perfectly well known 
to the cowherds and others who resort to their neighbourhood. 
They seldom molest men, and are often driven away from 
their prey, after killing it, by the unarmed herds. Frequently 
they are known by particular names ; and they really seem 
in many cases to live among the villagers and their herds 
much like a semi-domesticated animal, though, from a mutual 
consent to avoid direct interviews as much as possible, they 
are chiefly known by their tracks in the river beds and by 
their depredations on the cattle. They do not, of course,#con- 
fine their attacks to the cattle of a single village, usually 
having a whole circle of them where they are on visiting 
terms, and among which they distribute their favours with 
great impartiality. The damage they do on the whole 
is very great, sixty or seventy head of cattle, worth from 
5 to 10 apiece, being destroyed by one such animal 
in the course of a year. Generally there is at least one native 
in every circle of villages whose profession is that of 
" shikdri," or hunter, and who is always on the outlook to 
shoot the village tiger. When he hears of a bullock having 
been killed he proceeds to the spot, and, erecting a platform 
of leafy boughs in the nearest tree, watches by night for the 
return of the tiger, who, though he may kill and lap the blood 
during the day, never feeds before sunset. Generally he does 
not get a shot, the tiger being extremely suspicious when 


approaching his " kill," and the shikaris being usually such 
bunglers at their work as to disturb him by the noise of their 
preparations. Often he misses when he does shoot, the jungle- 
king being somewhat trying to the nerves ; and if he kills one 
tiger in the course of the year he considers himself lucky. 
His weapon is a long matchlock, which he loads with six 
" fingers " of powder and two bullets. These fly a little apart, 
and if they hit are usually the death of the tiger. His 
method of shooting is sometimes imitated by lazy European 

Another way of hunting ordinary tigers is to beat them out 
of their mid-day retreat with a strong gang of beaters, sup- 
plied with drums, fireworks, etc., the guns themselves being 
posted at likely spots ahead. This plan is often successful, 
when the operations are directed by someone who knows the 
ground. Frequently, however, the tiger is not found at all, 
and b moreover he very commonly manages to escape at the 
sides, or break back through the beat, without coining up to 
the guns at all. It has also the disadvantage of exposing the 
beaters to much danger ; and there are few who shoot in this 
fashion who have not had more than one beater killed before 
them. To stalk in on a tiger in his retreat on foot is generally 
impracticable, as a man commands so little of a view in thick 
cover that he rarely sees the tiger in time for a shot. In some 
places, however, where tigers lie in rocky places inaccessible to 
elephants, this is the only way to do ; and a very certain one 
it then is, there being generally little cover and plenty of 
commanding elevations whence to see and shoot. The best 
way of hunting the tiger is undoubtedly that usually adopted in 
Central India namely to bring in the aid of the trained 
elephant, and follow and shoot him in his mid-day retreat. 
Anyone who thinks he has only got to mount himself on the 


back of an elephant, and go to a jungle where he has heard of 
tigers, to make sure of killing one, will find himself very much 
mistaken on trying. A number of sportsmen with a large line of 
elephants may kill tigers if they simply beat through likely 
covers for a long enough time ; and many tigers are thus killed, 
or by driving the jungle with beaters, without the possession of 
any skill in woodcraft whatever. But no sort of hunting requires 
more careful arrangements, greater knowledge of the habits of 
the animal, perseverance, and good shooting, than the pursuit 
of the tiger by a single sportsman with a single elephant. 

At the outset of one's experience in forest life it is impossible 
to avoid the belief that the tiger of story is about to show 
himself at every step one takes in thick jungle ; and it is not 
till every effort to meet with him has been used in vain 
that one realises how very little danger from tigers attends 
a mere rambler in the jungles. During ten years of 
pretty constant roaming about on foot in the most tigerish 
localities of the Central Provinces, I have only once come 
across a tiger when I was not out shooting, and only twice 
more when I was not actually searching for tigers to shoot. 
In truth, excepting in the very haunts of a known man-eater, 
there is no danger whatever in traversing any part of the 
jungles of this, or I believe any other, part of India. 

Some people affect to despise the practice of using elephants 
in following tigers, and talk a good deal about shooting them 
on foot. As regards danger to the sportsman, nine-tenths of 
the tigers said to be shot on foot are really killed from trees 
or rocks, where the sportsman is quite secure. The only 
danger then is to the unfortunate beaters, if used ; and when 
this is not the case the sport generally resolves itself into an 
undignified sneaking about the outskirts of the covers, in the 
hope of getting an occasional pot-shot from a secure position. In 

s 2 


this method of hunting many more tigers are wounded than are 
finally secured, the only danger lying in following up a wounded 
animal, which is usually avoided ; and thus an innocuous animal 
is often converted into a scourge of the country side. A very 
few sportsmen do, for a short period of their lives, make a prac- 
tice of hunting and shooting tigers really on foot ; but they are 
seldom very successful, and sooner or later get killed, or have 
such narrow escapes as to cure them of such silly folly for the 
remainder of their days. A man on foot has no chance what- 
ever in thick jungle with a tiger that is bent on killing him. 
He cannot see a yard before him, and is himself conspicuous 
to every sense of the brute, who can completely hide in a 
place that looks scarcely enough to conceal a rat, and can 
move at will through the thickest cover without the slightest 
sound or stir. At the same time the sportsman who as a rule 
uses an elephant in thick cover will find quite enough oppor- 
tunities, in special cases, of testing his nerve on foot, particu- 
larly if he marks down and tracks his own game instead of 
employing shikans to do so. Even on the elephant all is not 
perfect safety, instances being not rare of elephants being com- 
pletely pulled down by tigers, while accidents from the run- 
ning away of the elephant in tree jungle are still more com- 
mon. Much of the excitement of the sport depends on the 
sportsman's method of attacking the tiger. Some men box a 
tiger up in a corner and push in at all hazards, getting 
repeatedly charged, while others keep at a distance, circling 
round and offering doors of escape to the tiger, and never get 
a charge at all. As a rule, when on an elephant in fair ground, 
the object should be to get the tiger to charge instead of 
letting him sneak away, as the hunt is then ended in a short 
and exciting encounter, while if let away it may be hours 
before he is found again, if he ever is at all. 


The first difficulty is to get reliable information of the 
presence of tigers in a particular neighbourhood. A great 
many reasons, besides the simple one to which it is usually 
attributed, namely that " they are cursed niggers," combine to 
make the natives in most places very unwilling to give infor- 
mation about tigers. Firstly, it is likely to bring down a large 
encampment of " Sahibs " on their village, which they, very 
justly in most cases, dislike. The military officer who scorns 
to learn the rural language, and his train of overbearing 
swindling servants, who fully carry out the principle that 
from him who hath not what little he hath shall be taken 
away, and that without a price too, stinks in the nostrils of 
the poor inhabitants of the tracts where tigers are found. The 
tiger himself is in fact far more endurable than those who 
encamp over against them to make war upon him, and de- 
mand from them grain and other supplies which they have 
not, and carts, etc., to carry the camp, which they want to 
use for other urgent purposes. Then they fear that they will 
be made to beat for the tiger both those who are willing and 
those who are not with a considerable chance of getting 
killed, and very little of being paid for their services. There 
are few well-known resorts of tigers where some story of the 
sort has not been handed down among the people. The first 
essential towards getting sport is to conciliate the willing 
co-operation of the people, and make it plain to them that 
your arrangements for supplies are such as to throw no un- 
bearable burden on a poor country, and that your method of 
hunting is not one to lead to the constant risk of life. Such, 
however, is the want of sympathy often engendered in the 
naturally generous Englishman by the fact of his becoming a 
member of the ruling caste in India, that sportsmen will some- 
times be heard on their return from an unsuccessful expedition, 


in which they had harried a quiet population who did not want 
their tigers killed at all on their terms, cursing and swearing 
at them, and perhaps even expressing little regret that a few 
of them had been sacrificed to their bungling ardour. On the 
other hand a properly organised expedition, where the sports- 
man provides his own supplies and his means of hunting the 
tigers, is certain to meet with every co-operation from the 
people. They will even crowd in to help in driving the 
jungles, when they know they are to work for a good sports- 
man and shot who will not unnecessarily risk their lives. 

With luck and first-rate arrangements a few tigers may be 
got in the cold weather. A good many persons will remember 
a hunt in the month of January, 1861, when we secured a 
royal tiger for the Governor- General of India, on his first visit 
to the centre of his dominions, within a mile or two of the 
cantonment of Jubbulpur. I mounted sentry over that beast 
for nearly a week, girding him in a little hill with a belt of fires, 
and feeding him with nightly kine, till half a hundred elephants, 
carrying the cream of a vice-regal camp, swept him out into 
the plain, where he fell riddled by a storm of bullets from 
several hundred virgin rifles. He had the honour of being 
painted by a Landseer, by the blaze of torchlight, under the 
shadow of the British standard ; and my howdah bore witness 
for many a day, in a bullet hole through both sides of it, to 
the accuracy of aim of some gallant member of the staff ! 

At this season tigers sometimes venture very close to large 
towns, and even to the European stations. Several tigers have 
been shot within the walls of the town and station of Mandla, 
and in the " Pdu " gardens round about ; and at Seoni, in 
1864, I formed one of a party who drove a large tiger out of a 
tobacco field, within a stone's throw of a considerable village, 
and shot him in the main street thereof. There was nothing 


but fields of short green wheat for many miles round about 
this place ; and the only reason we could discover for so 
singular an appearance of a tiger among the habitations of 
man was that he had received a slight wound a few days 

But it is not until the greater part of the grass has been 
burnt in the jungles, and a hot sun has contracted the supply 
of water to the neighbourhood of the great rivers, that regular 
tiger hunting can be commenced with a fair prospect of success. 
At this season, having discovered a tract where tigers are 
reported, a good central place should be selected for a camp, 
in the deep shade of some mango grove near a village, or 
under the still more grateful canopy of some spreading banyan 
tree. The graciousness of nature in furnishing such plentiful 
shade at this arid season cannot but be admired. It is just 
at the time when all nature begins to quiver in the fierce sun 
and burning blasts of April that the banyan and peepul figs, 
and the ever present mango, begin to throw out a fresh crop 
of leaves, those of the first tree being then moreover charged 
with a thick milky juice that forms an impenetrable non-con- 
ductor to the sun's rays. 

Kiding up to his camp, pitched in the cool shadowy depths 
of some grove like this, the sportsman will probably find 
assembled the village headman, with a small train of culti- 
vators and cowherds, waiting to receive him with some simple 
offering a pot of milk, or a bunch of plantains from his 
garden. If he is welcome, tales will not be wanting of the 
neighbouring tigers how Earn Singh's cow was taken out of 
the herd a few days before, or Bhyron the village watch, going 
on an errand, went down for a drink to the river, and there 
came on a tigress with her cubs bathing by its brink. That 
youth himself will chime in, and graphically describe how he 


took to a tree and was kept there all night the same being 
probably a euphemism for a night passed with some boon 
companions at a neighbouring grog-shop. The usual haunts 
of the tiger will be described ; and the size of his footprints 
and width of his head be drawn to a greatly exaggerated 
scale. The shikari of the neighbourhood will be present, or 
can be sent for a long gaunt figure clad in a ragged shirt of 
Mhowa green, with a dingy turban twisted round his shaggy 
locks, and furnished with the usual long small-bored match- 
lock, with its bulky powder-flask of bison horn, and smaller 
supply of fine priming powder kept carefully in a horn of the 
gazelle. Eupees, or a prospect of them, will be wanted to 
loosen his tongue, and then his statements will likely be 
studiously vague. His hearty services must be secured, how- 
ever, for he alone knows intimately the ways and haunts of 
the tiger, and he alone will have the pluck to accompany you 
or your shikari to mark him down. If you are known to be 
a good paymaster he will willingly serve you, otherwise you 
must promise him a handsome douceur in case of success, to 
induce him to spoil his own chance of claiming the Govern- 
ment reward. This reward was, till financial difficulties re- 
duced it to half, fifty rupees (5) ; and, as all sportsmen were 
entitled to claim it, it used to go far to cover the cost of the 
hunt. I used always to divide it equally between the village 
shikari, if he worked well, and my own shikari and elephant 
driver. Now, however, the sportsman will find himself a good 
deal out of pocket by every tiger he kills. 

More precise information must be sought for by the sports- 
man himself. The village shikdri knows nothing of our system 
of hunting by attacking the tiger in his midday lair. His 
personal experience of him has probably been confined to 
nocturnal interviews from the tops of trees ; but he will be 


certain to know his habits and usual resorts, and also where- 
abouts he is at the time being. It is necessary, therefore, for 
some one to go out with him who knows our style of work 
and what particulars to note for guidance when the actual 
hunt commences ; for it is absolutely necessary to have some 
preliminary knowledge of the ground, and habits of the parti- 
cular tiger, to ensure success. In my earlier sporting days I 
always went out to make the preliminary exploration for 
tigers myself ; and this is the only way to learn the business 
thoroughly, so as to be able afterwards to devolve the labour 
on your shikaris. A sportsman who is not thoroughly master 
of this business will never have a reliable shik&rf ; and the best 
men are those who have been trained up in it along with their 

The morning is the best time for this work. It is then cool, 
and every footprint of the previous night is sharp and clear. 
All the wild animals, from whose movements much is to be 
learnt, are then on the move. The movements of the tiger 
even may often be traced up to eight or nine o'clock by the 
voices of monkeys and peafowl, the chatter of crows and 
small birds, and the bark of sambar and spotted deer. The 
whole nocturnal life of the beasts of the forest is then dis- 
played in the clearest manner to the hunter whose eye has 
been trained to read the book of nature ; and I know nothing 
more interesting than a ramble in the cool grey of a summer 
morning along the stream-beds of a tract in which live a great 
variety of wild animals. The river beds usually contain large 
stretches of sand and gravel, with here and there a pool of 
water, the margin of which will be covered with tracks of 
deer, wild hogs, bears, etc., and here and there the mighty 
sign manual of the jungle king himself. AH must come here 
to drink in the cool night succeeding a burning day ; and in 


the neighbourhood of the water occur most of the tragical 
interviews between the herbivora and their carnivorous foes. 
Everywhere the cruel tyranny of the tiger has imprinted itself 
on the faithful page. His track to the water is straight and 
leisurely, while that of the nilgai or spotted deer is halting 
and suspicious, and apt to end in a wild scurry to right and 
left where it crosses the tiger's. Here and there bleaching 
skulls and bones show that the whole herd have not always 
made good their escape. The ambush of dried leaves by the 
pass down the bank marks, perhaps, an unsuccessful stratagem ; 
and not seldom the trampled soil and patches of blood and 
hair show where a stubborn boar has successfully resisted the 
attack of a tiger. Bruin alone is tolerably safe from the 
assault of the tiger ; but he too gets out of his way like the 
rest, and drinks at a different pool. 

The sportsman wil] not be long under the guidance of the 
village shikari before he comes on tracks of tigers. Where 
one or more have been living some time in the neighbourhood 
footprints of many dates will be found in the sandy bed of 
almost every nala\ The history and habits of the tigers will 
generally ooze out of the local hunter at the sight of these 
marks. When the fresh tracks of the previous night are 
found his impassive features will be lighted into interest, and, 
as he follows the trail with the end of his gun, his speech 
will be low and hurried from suppressed excitement. There 
is little chance, however, of coming on the brute himself at 
that early hour. He is probably lying somewhere on an 
elevated place commanding the approaches to his favourite 
lair, sunning himself in the soft morning light, and watching 
against the approach of danger, until the growing heat about 
ten o'clock shall have extinguished all signs of movement in 
the neighbourhood, when he will creep down into some shady 


nook by the water, and, after a roll in the wet sand, proceed 
to sleep off the effects of his midnight gorge. Sometimes, 
however, if the sportsman be out early enough, he will find, 
from the cries of animals, that the tiger is moving not far 
ahead of him, and he may then by cutting him off even 
obtain a shot. 

On one occasion I followed a tiger in the early morning for 
several miles up the bed of a stream, entirely by the demon- 
strations of the large Haniiman monkey,* of which there were 
numbers on the banks feeding on wi]d fruits. As the tiger 
passed below them the monkeys fled to the nearest trees, and, 
climbing to the highest branches, shook them violently and 
poured forth a torrent of abuse f that could be heard a mile 
away. Each group of them continued to swear at him till 
he passed out of sight, and they saw their friends further on 
take up the chorus in the tops of their trees, when they 
calmly came down again and began to stuff their cheeks full 
of berries as if nothing had happened. The river took a long 
sweep a little further on, and by cutting across the neck I 
managed to arrive very much out of breath in front of the 
tiger, and crouched behind the thick trunk of a Kawd tree till 
he should come up. He came on in a long slouching walk, 
with his tail tucked down, and looking exactly like the guilty 
midnight murderer he is. His misdeeds evidently sat heavily 
on his conscience, for as he went he looked fearfully behind 
him, and up at the monkeys in a beseeching sort of way, as 
if asking them not to betray where he was going. He was 
travelling under the opposite bank to where I was, in the 

* Presbytia entellus. 

t The voice of the monkeys on snch occasions is quite different from their 
ordinary cry. It is a hoarse barking roar something like that of the tiger. Is 
it the first beginning of imitative language ? 


deep shadow of the overhanging trees ; but, when nearly 
opposite me, he came out into the middle, in the faint yellow 
light of the just risen sun, and then he looked such a picture of 
fearful beauty with his velvety step and undulating move- 
ments, the firm muscles working through his loose glossy 
skin, and the cruel yellow eyes blinking in the sun over a 
row of ivory teeth, as he licked his lips and whiskers after 
his night's feed. He passed within about twenty yards of me, 
making for a small ravine that here joined the river from 
the hills. I let him get to the mouth of this before I fired ; 
and on receiving the shot he bounded forward into its cover 
a very different picture from the placid creature I had just 
been looking at, and with a roar that silenced the chattering 
of every monkey on the trees. I knew he was hit to death, 
but waited till the shikaris came up before proceeding to see ; 
and we then went round a good way to where a high bank 
overlooked the ravine in which he had disappeared. Here 
we cautiously peeped over, but seeing nothing came further 
down towards the river, and within fifty yards of where I 
had fired at him I saw a solitary crow sitting in a tree, and 
cawing down at an indistinct yellow object extended below. 
It seemed like the tiger, and sitting down I fired another 
shot at it ; but it never stirred to the thud of the ball, while 
the crow, after flying up a few feet, perched again and 
cawed away more lustily than before. We now went down, 
and found the tiger lying stone dead, shot very near the 

I think it is the pranks of juvenile tigers, rather than the 
serious enmity of old ones, that cause such a terror of 
them to exist among the monkey community. The natives 
say that the tigress teaches her cubs to stalk and hunt by 
practising on monkeys and peafowl. The gorgeous plumage 


of the latter, scattered about in a thousand radiant fragments, 
often marks the spot where a peacock has thus fallen victim 
to these ready learners, but the remains of a monkey are 
seldom or never seen. Indeed these sagacious Simians rarely 
venture to come down to the ground when young tigers are 
about, though this sign is not always to be relied on as de- 
noting the absence of tigers. I thought so for a long time, 
till one day in the BeUul country, in 1865, after hunting long 
in the heat of a May day for a couple of tigers whose marks 
were plentiful all about, we came up to a small pool of 
water at the head of a ravine, and saw the last chance of 
finding them vanish, as I thought, when a troop of monkeys 
were found quietly sitting on the rocks and drinking at the 
water. I was carelessly descending to look for prints, with 
my rifle reversed over my shoulder, and another step or two 
would have brought me to the bottom of the ravine, when 
the monkeys scurried with a shriek up the bank, and the 
head and shoulders of a large tiger appeared from behind 
a boulder, and stared at me across the short interval. I 
was meditating whether to fire or retreat, when almost from 
below my feet the other tiger bounded out with a terrific roar, 
and they both made off down the ravine. I was too much 
astonished to obtain a steady shot, and I was by that time ' 
too well acquainted with tiger shooting to risk an uncertain 
one, so they escaped for the time. I quickly regained my 
elephant, which was standing above, and followed them up. 
It was exceedingly hot, and we had not gone more than a 
couple of hundred yards when I saw one of the tigers 
crouched under a bush on the bank of the ravine. I got a 
steady shot from the howdah, and fired a three ounce shell 
at his broad forehead at about thirty yards. No result. It 
was most curious, and I paused to look ; but never a motion 


of the tiger acknowledged the shot. I then went round a 
quarter of a circle, but still the tiger remained motionless, 
looking intently in the same direction. I marchecl up, rifle 
on full cock, growing more and more amazed but the 
tio-er never moved. Could he be dead ? I went round to 
his rear and approached close up from that direction. He 
never stirred. Then I made the elephant kick him, and he 
fell over. He was stone dead converted, without the 
movement of a hair, into a statue of himself by the bursting 
of the large shell in his brain. It had struck him full in the 
centre of the forehead. We then went on with the track of 
the other. It led down into the Moran river, on the steep 
bank of which there was a thick cover of Jaman bushes in 
which the tiger was sure to stop. I had just before come 
through it, and found the place as full of tracks as a rabbit 
warren. Having a spare pad elephant out that day, I sent 
her round to keep down the bottom of the bank and mark, 
while I pushed my own elephant -Futteh Rani (Queen of 
Victory) through the cover. About the centre I came on 
the tiger, crouched like the other, with his massive head 
rested on his forepaws, the drawn-up hind quarters and 
slightly switching tail showing that he meant mischief. At 
the first shot, which struck him on the point of the shoulder, 
he bounded out at me ; but the left barrel caught him in the 
back before he had come many yards and broke it, when he 
rolled down right to the bottom of the bank, and fell, roaring 
horribly, right between the fore legs of the pad elephant. 
She was a new purchase for forest work, called Moti Mala or 
" Pearl Necklace " (such are the fantastic names given to ele- 
phants by their Mahomedan keepers), and quite untried ; but 
she stood admirably this rather abrupt introduction to her 
game, merely retreating a few steps and shaking her head at 


the contortions of the tiger. There is no more striking inci- 
dent in tiger shooting than to witness the fearful and impo- 
tent rage of a tiger with a broken back. He cannot reach 
beyond a short circle, but within that limit stones, trees, and 
the very earth are seized and worried with fearful savageness, 
and the wretched brute will horribly mangle even his own 
limbs. It is too ghastly to look on long ; and, though the 
agony is that of a monster who has caused so much himself, 
a merciful bullet in the head should quickly end the horrid 

These were regular cattle-eating tigers, and perhaps had 
not been molesting the monkeys. On another occasion, how- 
ever, I was much struck with the caution of the monkeys 
under very trying circumstances. In May, 1864, I had 
tracked a man-eating tigress into a deep ravine near the 
village of Pali in the Seoni district. She was not quite a 
confirmed man-eater, but had killed nine or ten persons in the 
preceding few months. She had a cub of about six months 
old with her, and it was when this cub was very young and 
unable to move about that want of other game had driven her 
to kill her first human prey. I knew when I entered the 
ravine that this was her regular haunt ; for, though every bush 
outside had been stripped of its berries by a colony of 
monkeys, I saw them perched on the rocks above the ravine 
wistfully looking down on the bushes at the bottom, which 
had strewed the ground with their ripened fruit. They 
accompanied me along the ravine on the top of the rocks, as 
if perfectly knowing the value of their assistance in getting 
the tigress and better markers I never had. I should pro- 
bably have passed out at the top without seeing her, as she 
was lying close under a shelving bank, but for the profane 
language of an ancient grey-bearded Hantiman, who posted 


himself right above her, and swore away until he fairly- 
turned her out of her comfortable berth. The excitement of 
the monkeys soon told me she was on the move ; and 
presently I saw her round face looking at me from behind a 
tree with a forked trunk, through the cleft of which I caught 
sight of about a square foot of her striped hide. It seemed 
about the right place, so covering it carefully I put in a 
shell at about forty yards, and she collapsed there and then, 
forming a beautiful spread-eagle in the bottom of the nala. 
The youngster now started out, roaring as if he were the 
biggest tiger in the country ; and, though I fired a couple of 
snap shots at him as he galloped through some thick bushes, 
I could not stop him. It is important to extinguish 
a brute, however young, who has once tasted human flesh ; 
and I followed him up till it grew nearly dark, when I 
returned to the ravine to take home the tigress, and there I 
found my monkey friends tucking into the berries in all 
directions, and hopping about close to the body of the dead 
tigress. The cub was met, much exhausted with its run, by 
a gang of wood-cutters, and killed with their axes. 

The barking of deer, and the alarm cry of peafowl, also 
frequently indicate the movements of a tiger. The s^mbar, 
the spotted deer, the barking deer, and the little four-horned 
antelope, all " bark " violently at a tiger suddenly appearing in 
the daytime. In April, 1865, having marched nearly a thou- 
sand miles exploring in the forests almost without firing a 
shot, I halted to hunt a very large cattle-eating tiger near 
Chandvel in the Nimar district. This animal was believed 
by the cowherds to have killed more than a thousand head of 
cattle ; and one of the best grazing grounds in all that country 
had been quite abandoned by them in consequence. His 
haunts lay in a network of ravines that ]ead down to the, 


Narbada" river now included in the Pondsa Reserved Forest, 
which I was then exploring. The herds of cattle having been 
withdrawn from the grassy glades on the banks of the Nar- 
badd, where he usually preyed on them, he had lately been 
coming out into the open country, and had been heard for 
several nights roaming round about the village of Chandvel 
on the edge of the forest. I found his tracks within a hundred 
yards of the buffalo pens of the village the morning I arrived ; 
and a few nights before he had broken into aBanj^ra" encamp- 
ment a little way off, and killed and dragged away a heifer, 
which he eat within hearing distance of the encampment, 
charging through the darkness and driving back the Banj^r&s 
and their dogs' when they tried to interrupt him. I picketed 
a juicy young buffalo for him the night I arrived, about half 
a mile from the village where his tracks showed he regularly 
passed at night. Next morning it was found to have been 
killed and dragged away about a hundred yards to a small 
dry watercourse ; and, after having been cleaned as scienti- 
fically as any butcher could have done it, eaten up all but the 
head, skin, feet, and one fore quarter. If his footprints had not 
already shown him to be an unusually large tiger, this feat of 
gormandizing would have sufficiently done so. We started 
about ten o'clock on his trail. It was the 12th of April, and a 
hotter day I never remember. Long before midday the little 
band of cowherds and shik&ris who accompanied me had 
most of their wardrobes bound round their heads to keep off 
the sun ; and I looked for a tussle with such a heavy old 
tiger, long accustomed to drive off the people he met, if we 
found him well gorged on such a grilling day as this. We 
took the track down fully five miles till it entered a long 
narrow ravine with pools of water at the bottom, and shaded 
over with a thick cover of trees and bushes. We could not 


go into so narrow a place to beat him out with an elephant ; 
and after much deliberation we decided to leave a pad ele- 
phant at the head of the ravine, and post the people we had 
with us on the trees round about to mark, while I went down 
to the other end and quietly stalked along the top of the 
bank on the chance of finding him asleep below. There never 
was such a beautiful retreat for a tiger I think. In many 
places I could not see through the dense shade at the bottom, 
and several times had to fling down stones to assure myself 
whether some indistinct flickering object were the tiger or not. 
I was proceeding quietly along, probing the ravine in this 
fashion, when the pad elephant we had left at the further end 
gave one of those tremendous screams that an untrained 
elephant sometimes emits when suddenly put in pain. She 
had stumbled over a stone when swinging about in their im- 
patient fashion. There was little chance of finding the tiger 
undisturbed after this, and I had only to stand and watch for 
a chance of his coming down the ravine or being seen by 
the scouts on the trees. The first intimation I had of his 
presence was from a couple of peafowl that scuttled out of a 
little ravine on the opposite side ; and then I saw the tiger pick- 
ing his way stealthily up the face of a precipitous bauk, where 
I could hardly think a goat would have found footing. He 
was about a hundred and fifty yards from my rifle ; and the first 
bullet only knocked some earth from the bank below him. 
"When I fired the other he was just topping the bank, and clung 
for a second as if he would have come over backwards, but by 
an effort recovered himself and disappeared over the top. Eun- 
ning to a higher piece of ground I saw him trotting sullenly 
across the burnt plain, and looming as large to the eye as a 
bull buffalo. He certainly looked a very mighty beast ; but 
he was a craven at heart, or he would never have left such a 


stronghold to face the fearful, waterless, burnt-up country he 
did. I lost no time in getting round the head of the ravine 
and giving chase on the elephant. His tracks in the ashes of 
the burnt grass were clear enough, and we followed him for 
about two miles, sighting him on ahead every now and then, 
till he disappeared in a little ravine, and we lost the track in 
its bare rocky bottom. I was going along the bank, with the 
other elephant in the bottom of the ravine, when I heard the 
bark of a s&mbar to my left on some high ground, and, urging 
Futteh Ed-ni at her best pace in that direction, shortly came on 
the tiger slouching across the open plain, evidently suffering 
from a wound, with his tongue hanging out, and wearing alto- 
gether a most woebegone look. He made an effort when he saw 
me, and galloped a hundred yards or so into a patch of bamboo 
jungle. I knew from the local shik&ri that he was making for 
a water-hole about half a mile ahead, and cut across with the 
elephant to intercept him. I had the pace of him now, and 
got clean between him and his water. I never saw such an 
air of disgust worn by any animal as that tiger had when he 
came down the hill and saw the elephant standing right in 
front of him. He said as plainly as possible, " Come what 
will, I don't mean to run another yard ; and it won't be the 
better for anybody that tries to make me." So he lay down 
behind a large Anjan tree, showing nothing but one eye and 
an ear round the side of it. I marched up within fifty yards, 
and now saw the switching end of a tail added to the eye and 
ear. I could not fire at him thus, and therefore sidled round 
till I saw his shoulder. He saw the opening thus left, and 
eyed it wistfully, as if he would rather escape that way, if he 
could, than fight it out. But I planted a ball in his shoulder 
before he had time to make up his mind ; on which he rose 
with a languid roar, and lumbered slowly down the hill at the 

T 2 


elephant. So slowly ! He actually hadn't steam left in him 
to get up a proper charge when he tried. A right and left 
stopped him at once, and another ball in the ear settled him ; 
and then Futteh went up and kicked him, and it was all over. 
He was a very large tiger, measuring ten feet one inch in length 
as he lay, and was a perfect mountain of fat, the fat of a thou- 
sand kine, as the cowherds lugubriously remarked when they 
came up. He had a perfect skin, clear red and white, with the 
fine double stripes and W mark on the head, and long whiskers, 
which add so greatly to the beauty of a tiger trophy. The 
whole of the pads of his feet were blistered off on the hot 
rocks he had been traversing, and his tongue was swollen and 
blue. We were nearly dead ourselves, and went down to the 
water he had been making for, while a messenger went to the 
village for more men, the dozen lusty cattle-herds and my 
own men together being totally unable to put him on the pad- 
elephant to carry home. An ordinary tiger will weigh about 
four hundred and fifty or five hundred pounds, but this beef- 
fed monster must have touched seven hundred pounds at least ; 
and a tiger, from his length and suppleness, is a very awk- 
ward object to lift off the ground. 

I have said that ten feet one inch is the length of an un- 
usually large tiger. The average length from nose to tip of 
tail is only nine feet six inches for a full-grown male, and for a 
tigress about eight feet four inches. The experience of all sports- 
men I have met with, whose accuracy I can rely on, is the same ; 
and it will certainly be found, when much greater measure- 
ments than this are recorded, that they have either been taken 
from stretched skins or else in a very careless fashion. The skin 
of a ten-feet tiger will easily stretch to thirteen or fourteen 
feet, if required ; and if natives are allowed to use the tape they 
are certain to throw in a foot or two " to please master." Master 


also, no doubt, sometimes pleases himself in a similar manner. 
A well-known sportsman and writer, whose recorded measure- 
ments have done 4 more to extend the size of the tiger than 
anything else, informed me himself that all his measurements 
were taken from flat skins. But the British public demands 
twelve-feet tigers, just as it refuses to accept an Indian land- 
scape without palm-trees. So a suppressio veri went forth ; 
and not only that, but his picture of a dead tiger being 
carried into camp was improved by a few feet being added to 
the length of the beast, while, to make room for it, the most of 
the bearers were wiped out, leaving about four men only to 
carry a tiger at least fifteen feet long ! Populus vult decipi, 

Sporting stories are apt to breed each other, incident leading 
on to incident, so that I find I have already killed some frve 
or six tigers while yet only on the threshold of my subject 
discoursing of the preliminary exploration of the tigers 
haunts. I have little more to say on that matter, however, 
the sum of it all being that every information regarding the 
tiger s country, the route he usually takes from one haunt to 
another, the points where he may be most easily intercepted 
or come upon unawares, good points for scouts, etc., must be 
obtained. Places must also be fixed on for tying out baits for 
him at night. He' must be induced, if possible, to kill a 
buffalo or an ox so tied out ; and it must be in such a position 
that he can be easily tracked from there to one of his usual 

It may seem cruel thus to bait for a tiger with a live animal, 
but there is no doubt that the death of a tiger saves much 
more suffering than is caused to the single animal sacrificed to 
effect it. A natural kill will not do so well for many reasons. 
It will probably not be discovered in time to hunt the next 


day, and the day after it would be useless. Further, it would 
seldom be conveniently situated with respect to some haunt 
of the tiger favourable for finding him in, and the whole day 
might be lost in trying to find him in wrong places. In fine, 
experience shows that no bag can ever be made worth speak- 
ing of without tying out baits. I usually purchased at the 
commencement of the season a dozen or fifteen half-grown 
buffaloes, these being the cheapest as well as the most readily 
killed by tigers. A thin old brute of an ox, or a tough full- 
grown buffalo, a well-fed tiger will scorn to touch, and often 
in the morning his footprints will be found all round such a 
bait, which he has come and smelt, and (metaphorically) 
poked in the ribs, and left untouched. But a tender juicy 
young buff, of about three and a half feet high would 
tempt the most blase of tigers to a meal. The cowherds, 
being good Hindus, will not sell cattle avowedly to be 
tied up for tigers ; nor will your Hindu shikdris tie them 
up with their own hands, though few will object to super- 
intend the operation. The flimsiest disguise is, however, 
sufficient to quiet the consciences of the cattle men, who 
will sell a herd of young buffaloes in open market to your 
Mahomedan shik&ri dressed up as a trader in kine, though 
they may have known him for a bloody-minded baiter for 
tigers all their lives. I remember being very hard up for a 
bait once in the Nimar district, having come to a place where 
tigers were very destructive when I had none of my own. 
All I could say would not induce the Gaolis (cow-keepers) of 
the place to sell me a single head during the day-time, the 
owner of the village being a Baghel Edjpiit, a clan which 
claims descent from a royal tiger, and protects the species 
whenever they can. I was standing outside my tent in the 
evening, when the village cattle were being driven in, having 


given up all idea of halting for the tigers another day, when 
a fine tall young Gaoli stepped up with a salaam and said, 
" Sahib, I have lost a very fine young buffalo in the jungle, 
and it will very probably be snapped up by the tigers ; but if 
you would send some one along that road perhaps he might 
find it, and we will be pleased if your Highness will keep it, 
as you are going away from this to-morrow.' He grinned a 
broad grin as he finished, and I spotted his game ; so sending 
along the " Lalla " about a quarter of a mile we found a very 
sufficient young wall-eyed buffalo tied by a piece of straw 
rope to a little tree ! We had barely time to get the little 
brute put out in a proper place before nightfall ; but he was 
duly taken, and we shot a fine tigress, and wounded and lost 
a tiger, the next day ! 

The morning after the baits have been tied out a shikdri 
should go to see the result, untying and bringing in those that 
have not been taken, and following up the tracks from any 
that have, so far as to ascertain fully whereabouts the tiger is 
likely to be found later in the day. 'I have mentioned above 
" the Lalla," and that brings me to the subject of shikdris. 
A really first-class tiger shikdri is extremely rare. The 
combination of qualities required to make him is seldom 
found in a native. I shall best explain what he should 
be by describing the Lalla. And first as to his name. " Lalla" 
means in Upper India a clerk of the K&yat caste, to which 
our friend belonged; so that though utterly ignorant of all 
letters save those imprinted on a sandy ravine-bed by a tiger's 
paw, he was nicknamed the Lalla by the people, and there- 
upon his real name disappeared for ever ; and, when he was 
afterwards killed by a tiger, no one had any idea what it was. 
He was a little, wee man, so insignificant and so dried and 
shrivelled up that, as he used to say, " No tiger would ever 


think of eating me." His early days had been passed in 
catching and training falcons for the nobles of Upper India, 
and in shooting birds for sale in the market. He had come 
down to Central India to make a bag of blue rollers and 
kingfishers, whose feathers are so much valued in the 
countries to the east for fancy work, when he was caught, 
nobody knows how, by a gentleman with a taste for bird- 
stuffing, from whom he passed into the possession of a sports- 
man who put him on tigers, and eventually he came to me 
with a little experience of the business. His early training 
had made him exceedingly keen of eyesight and in reading 
the signs of the forest ; while in his many wanderings he had 
accumulated a store of legends of demons and devilry, and a 
wild jumble of Hindu mythology, that never failed, when re- 
tailed over a fire at night to a circle of gaping cowherds and 
village shik&ris, to unlock every secret of the neighbourhood in 
the matter of tigers. Such an oily cozener of reticent Gonds 
never existed. Then, miserable as he looked, he could walk 
about all day and every day for a week in a broiling sun, 
hunting up tracks, with nothing but the thinnest of muslin 
skull-caps on his hard nut of a head, and would fearlessly 
penetrate into the very lair of a tiger perfectly unarmed. He 
had a particular beaming look which he always wore on his 
ugly face when he had actually seen or, as he said, " salaamed 
to " a tiger comfortably disposed of for the day ; and in late 
years, w T hen I had to leave all the arrangements to him, I 
hardly recollect ever going out when he reported the find a 
likely one without at least seeing the game. He could shoot 
a little, say a pot shot at a bird on a branch at twenty paces, 
and kept guns, etc., in beautiful order. But he soon came to 
utterly despise and contemn everything except tiger-hunting, 
for which he had, I believe, really an absorbing passion. Even 


bison-hunting he looked down on as sport not fit for a gentle- 
man to pursue. For ten months in the year he moped about 
looking utterly wretched, and taking no interest in anything but 
the elephant and rifles ; and woke up again only on the first of 
April, opposite which date "Tiger-shooting commences" 
will be entered in the Indian almanack of the future, 
when the royal animal shall be preserved in the Keserved 
Forests of Central India to furnish sport for the nobility of 
the land ! 

Poor old LalM ! He fell a victim in the end to contempt of 
tigers, bred of undue familiarity. I was very ill with fever 
in the June of 1866, and meditating a trip home, and had 
sent out the Lalla* with a double gun to shoot some birds 
for their feathers with a view to salmon flies. He came 
upon the tracks of a tiger, and, contrary to all orders, 
tied out a calf at night as a bait, and sat over it in a 
tree with the gun. The tigress came and received his 
bullet in the thigh, going off wounded into a very thick 
cover in the bed of a river. The plucky but foolish Lalla* 
followed her in there the next morning by the blood ; but 
soon found that tracking up a wounded tiger with a gun is 
a very different thing from following about uninjured tigers 
without intent to disturb them. Before he had gone a dozen 
paces the tigress was upon him, his unfired gun dashed from 
his hands and buried for half its length in the sand, his turban 
cuffed from his head to the top of a high tree by a stroke of 
her paw that narrowly missed his head, and himself down 
below the furious beast, and being slowly chewed from shoulder 
to ankle. He was brought in a dozen miles to Khandwri., 
where I was, by some men who had gone in for him when 
the tigress left him. The fire of delirium was then in his 
eye, and he raved of the tiger's form passing before him, red 


and bloody. But he recognised me when I came to him, and 
conjured me to go out forthwith and bring in her body next 
day if I wished to see him live. I knew that the natives have 
a superstition to this effect ; and, though I was then in a high 
fever, I sent off my elephant at midnight to a village near the 
spot, following myself on horseback at daybreak. Much rain 
had fallen, and all old tracks were obliterated. The jungle 
was also very green and thick, and I spent the whole day 
till the afternoon, hunting, as I afterwards found, in a wrong 
direction. At last I came on a fresh trail, with one hind foot 
dragging in the sand, and then I knew I was near the savage 
brute. We ran it up to a dense j^man cover in the river-bed, 
and I had barely time to get the people on foot safely up trees 
when the tigress came at me in the most determined manner. 
She looked just like a huge cat that had been hunted by dogs 
her fur all bedraggled and standing on end, eyes glaring with 
fury, and emitting the hoarse coughing roar of a charging tiger 
that no one, to the very close of his tiger-shooting, hears with- 
out a certain quickening of the blood. The first two shots hit 
fair, but did not stop her ; and she was not more than a few 
yards from the elephant's trunk when the third ball caught her 
clean in the mouth, knocking out one of her canine teeth 
and passing down the throat into the chest. She could do no 
more, but lay roaring and worrying her own paws till I put an 
end to her with another shot in the head. She was a lean 
greyhound-made brute scarcely bigger than a panther. The 
Lalla" was avenged, but the poor fellow was beyond any help 
that the sight of his enemy might have afforded him ; and not- 
withstanding every care for he was the favourite of every- 
body who knew him he sank under the exhausting drain of 
so many fearful wounds. 

Very different from the old Lalla is the usual pattern of 


tiger shikari. He will probably be a tall swaggering Maho- 
medan, brushing out his whiskers to the likeness of a tiger's, 
and to add ferocity of expression dyeing them when young a 
steely blue and when old a rusty red ; clad in elaborate jungle- 
coloured raiment, and hung with belts and pouches of sambar 
leather supporting a perfect armoury of cut-throat weapons 
which he has not the faintest idea of using ; bragging sky 
high of his own and his master's doughty exploits ; insuffer- 
able to the people and lazy as a pampered lap-dog ; with just 
enough knowledge of his work, gained in his early days by 
carrying the water-bottle of some real sportsman, to concoct a 
plausible but utterly fictitious story at every place he comes 
to ; and convicted at every turn of lying, stealing, and every 
deadly sin ; yet possibly the admiration of a gullible master, 
on whom a portion of m the glory of his whiskers and tall talk 
is reflected, as he struts about his house in cantonments in 
full war-paint, snapping the locks of his bran-new sixty -guinea 

How the tiger marked down in the morning is to be hunted 
and killed at mid-day, when all life in the forest is still be- 
neath the scorching heat of the sun, and the brute himself is 
least on his guard and most unwilling to move, will have been 
seen from previous descriptions. To read, the hunting of one 
tiger is like that of every other ; but a different set of inci- 
dents marks each day's sport in the memory of the hunter, 
who pictures vividly the death of each long after the incidents 
of his sport with every other sort of game have faded away. 
The main features are the careful preliminary arrangements, 
the settling the direction of approach so as to cut off all 
roads of escape to inaccessible fastnesses, the posting of 
scouts to notify the possible retreat of the tiger, and the 
cautious silent approach, the excitement gathering as the 


innermost recess of the cover, where the brute is expected to 
lie, is approached by the wonderfully intelligent and half- 
human elephant. 

A strange affection springs up between the hunter and his 
well-tried ally in the chase of the tiger ; and a creature seem- 
ing to those who see him only in the menagerie, or labouring 
under a load of baggage, but a lumbering mass of flesh, be- 
comes to him almost a second self, yielding to his service the 
perfection of physical and mental qualities of which a brute 
is capable, and displaying an intelligent interest in his sport 
of which no brute could be thought to be possessed. No one 
who has not witnessed it would believe the astonishing caution 
with which a well-trained elephant approaches a tiger, 
removing with noiseless adroitness every obstacle of fallen 
timber, etc., and passing his huge bulk over rustling leaves, or 
rolling stones, or quaking bog, with an absolute and marvel- 
lous silence ; handing up stones, when ordered, for his master 
to fling into the cover ; smelling out a cold scent as a spaniel 
roads a pheasant ; and at last, perhaps, pointing dead with sensi- 
tive trunk at the hidden monster, or showing with short nervous 
raps of that organ on the ground that he is somewhere near, 
though not actually discovered to the senses of the elephant. 
Then the unswerving steadiness when he sees the enemy he 
naturally dreads, and would flee from panic-stricken in his 
native haunts, perhaps charging headlong at his head, trusting 
all to the skill of his rider, and thoughtless of using his own 
tremendous strength in the encounter for a good elephant 
never attempts to combat the tiger himself. To do so would 
generally be fatal to the sport, and perhaps to the sportsman 
too ; for no one could stick to an elephant engaged in a per- 
sonal struggle with a tiger, far less use his gun under such 
circumstances. The elephant's business is to stand like a rock 


in every event, even when the tiger is fastened on his head as 
many a good one will do and has done. 

It is not one elephant in a thousand that is so thoroughly 
good in tiger-shooting as this ; and such as are command very 
high prices in the market. From 200 to 400 is now the 
value of a thoroughly first-rate shooting-elephant, though much 
sport may be had with one purchased for a much smaller sum. 
The supply of elephants has much fallen off in late years, 
since the Government ceased to capture them in the forests of 
the north of India. In 1864 I visited the great annual fair 
at Sonpur, on the Ganges, to purchase elephants for our forest 
work in Central India. This fair is decidedly one of the sights 
of India, and well worthy of a longer description than I can 
give it now. It occurs on the occasion of a great congrega- 
tion of Hindu pilgrims to worship at a noted shrine of Sivd, 
and bathe in the Ganges at the full 'moon of the month of 
Kdrtik (September October). Several hundred thousands of 
Hindus from every part of India are then collected on the 
banks of the holy river ; and such a gathering together of 
people is of course seized by traders in every sort of ware, 
from wild ydks' tails of Tibet to croquet implements in lac 
varnish, and dealers in every sort of animal, from white mice to 
elephants. The European gentlemen of Bengal have also here 
constructed an excellent race-course, with grand stand com- 
plete ; and some of the best races in India are run during the 
fair. The year I was there something like twelve thousand 
horses were brought by dealers for sale ranging from the tiny 
woolly-haired pied pony of Nepal, which makes the best child's 
pony in the world, to Australian thorough-breds and u made- 
up " casters from the Indian cavalry. 

About five hundred elephants offered a considerable choice 
in my particular department. It is difficult to buy horses 


at a fair; but the difficulty is ten times greater in the 
case of elephants. Every one connected with the keeping 
of elephants (and camels) is by nature and training from 
his youth upwards a consummate rascal ; and the animal 
himself is subject to numerous and often obscure vices 
and unsoundnesses. I have given in an appendix (A) 
some hints regarding these, as well as on the management of 
elephants, which would scarcely interest the general reader. 
Elephants differ as widely in their " points " as do horses ; and 
it is very difficult for an uneducated eye to distinguish these, 
particularly in the fattened-up condition the animals generally 
carry at the fair. Furthermore, and fortunately enough for 
us, a native's idea of good points in an elephant (as in a horse) 
differs in toto from ours. He looks not at all to shape, or 
good action, or likelihood of standing hard work ; but first of 
all to the presence or absence of certain accidental marks,- such 
as the number of toe-nails on the foot, which may be five or six 
but not four ; the tail, which must be perfect and with a full 
tuft ; and the colour of the palate, which must be red without 
spot of black. Some of the best elephants I have known 
failed in each and all of these points. Then a female or tusk- 
less male is of small value to a native, who wants big white 
tusks. A rough high action, and a trunk and forehead of very 
light colour, are greatly in request by the native buyer, who 
looks entirely to show, and covers up every part of the animal 
except the face with an enormous parti-coloured cloth. We, 
on the other hand, dislike the high rough action, and never by 
any chance purchase a tusker, who is nearly certain to be ill- 
tempered. We look for a small well-bred-looking head and 
trunk, and a clear confident eye devoid of piggish expression, 
fast easy paces, straight back and croup, wide loins, and gene- 
rally well-developed bone and muscle a great test of which 


is the girth of the forearm, which should measure about three 
feet eight inches in an elephant nine feet high. A very tall ele- 
phant is seldom a good working one, and generally has slow 
rough paces ; so that in a male nine feet, or a female eight feet 
four inches at the shoulder, should not be exceeded. A smaller 
animal than eight feet two inches will be undersized for tiger- 
shooting purposes. A female makes the best hunting-elephant 
when she is really staunch with game, as her paces and temper 
are generally better, and she is not subject to the danger of 
becoming " must " and uncontrollable, as male elephants do 
periodically after a certain age. But females are more un- 
certain as to courage than males ; and it is a risk to buy the 
former untried for shooting purposes. Most " muknas " (tusk- 
less males) can, I believe, be relied on to become staunch with 
tigers when properly trained and entered ; and for my own 
part, if buying an entirely untried elephant, I would always 
select a "mukna." They are generally more vigorous and 
better developed than tuskers, though not usually so tall. A 
not improbable explanation of this was given me by a wild 
inhabitant of the forests to the east of the sources of the 
Narbada, where wild elephants then existed in large numbers. 
He said he had noticed that the young tuskers, after their sharp 
little tusks began to prick the mother in the process of sucking, 
were driven off by her and allowed to shift for themselves, 
while females and muknas continued to be nourished by her 
until she got another young one. 

After some trouble I bought the ten elephants I wanted 
eight of them muknas and two females. Their average price 
was 150, the dearest being 200, and the cheapest 100. 
The highest price I heard of being obtained at the fair was 
800 for a noble tusker, bought for a Raja' in the Punjab. 
So far as I know, none of them had ever seen a tiger ; but they 


all became excellent shikaris, except one large mukna in whom 
I found I had been stuck with a regular man-killing brute. 
He was quite quiet at the fair, having been probably kept 
drugged with opium ; but on the march down to Central India 
he broke out and killed a man, and afterwards became quite 
uncontrollable. He fetched his full price, however, for a 
native notable ; for he was a very handsome animal, and a 
wealthy native is rather proud of having an elephant that 
no one can go near chained up at his gateway for an orna- 

All elephants intended to be used in hunting tigers must 
be very carefully trained and entered to their game. A good 
mahout, or driver, is very difficult to obtain. They differ as 
much in their command over elephants as do riders of horses ; 
and a plucky driver will generally make a staunch elephant, 
and vice vend. The elephant should first be accustomed to 
the firing of guns from his back, and to seeing deer and other 
harmless animals shot before him in company with a staunch 
companion. He must not be forced in at a tiger, or at a hog 
or bear which he detests even more, until he has acquired some 
confidence, though in some few cases he will stand to any 
animal from the very first. When they have seen a few tigers 
neatly disposed of most elephants acquire confidence in their 
human allies, and become sufficiently steady in the field ; but 
their ultimate qualities will depend much on natural tempera- 
ment. The more naturally courageous an elephant is, the 
better chance there is of his remaining staunch after having 
been actually mauled by a tiger an accident to be avoided, of 
course, as long as possible. It will occur sometimes, however, 
in the best hands ; and then a naturally timid animal, who 
has only been made staunch by a long course of immunity 
from injury, will probably be spoilt for life, while a really 

THE ' TIGER. 289 

plucky elephant is often rendered bolder than before by such 
an occurrence. 

Some elephants which are in other respects perfect shikdris 
will retain some ineradicable peculiarity which may almost 
unfit them for use in hunting. For some time I had a female 
who would stand anything in the way of animals (I once had her 
charged close up by a whole family of bears a terrible trial 
for any elephant), but who bolted invariably in the utmost 
panic from the loud shout of a human voice. On one such 
occasion she carried a cargo of native clerks into the middle 
of a deep river, and left them to swim for their lives. On 
another, I thought I should die of laughing, though her prank 
nearly ended in the death of an unhappy Gond. He had been 
taken out with her by the attendant whose business it is to 
cut branches of trees for fodder, and was left on her back to 
pack the load, while the other went up the tree to cut down 
branches. In the meantime a loud shout in the neighbour- 
hood sent her off at full speed for camp, and, a deep weedy 
tank lying in the way, she marched right into it, and began 
to surge up and down in the water, her unwilling rider 
piteously screaming at every plunge. He was half drowned 
and nearly finished with fright before we could release 
him by sending in two other elephants with their drivers, 
who drove her with their spears into a corner and secured 

The keeping of an elephant is very costly at the present 
prices of the wheaten flour on which they are chiefly fed, 
coming in Central India to about 80 or 90 a year. Few 
people do so, therefore, though, it is far more satisfactory if 
one is pretty constantly in the jungles. The Government has, 
however, great numbers of elephants, many of them trained 
shikaris ; and there is seldom much difficulty in obtaining the 


use of one for a few weeks. They may also be frequently 
borrowed from wealthy natives ; but in that case will seldom 
be found to possess the hard condition necessary for severe 
work in the hot season. In the later years of our forest 
work we always had several Government elephants allowed 
for the carriage of baggage and riding purposes ; and, as I 
always kept one of my own besides, I could generally 
muster enough to drive effectively any tiger ground in 
Central India. .But I rarely took out more than one elephant 
besides my own when shooting alone, finding that quiet 
hunting was far more successful than the bustle of many 
elephants and the rabble of men that usually accompany a 
tiger hunt. 

In the end of April and May of 1862 I bagged six tigers 
and one panther in the Betul jungles, wounding two more 
tigers which escaped. I was unable regularly to devote myself 
to tiger-shooting, having much forest work to do, and my shoot- 
ing was also much interfered with by accidental circumstances. 
A sprained tendon laid me up for fifteen days of the best 
weather (the hottest), and there was so much cholera about 
that many of the best places had to remain un visited. 
Another party was also shooting in the same district ; and, 
though they arrived after me in the field, contrary to the well- 
understood rule in such circumstances, proceeded ahead and 
disturbed the whole country by indiscriminate firing at deer 
and peafowl. It is scarcely necessary to say that when after 
tigers nothing else should be fired at. The Lalla came out strong 
under these unfavourable circumstances, working ahead and 
securing by his plausible tongue a monopoly of information, 
in which he was well seconded by the conduct of our rivals 
in harassing the people in the matter of provisions, and 
thrashing them all round if a tiger was not found for them 


when they arrived. On one occasion I reached their ground 
just as their last camel was moving off to a new camp. They 
had stayed here a week trying in vain to extort help in finding 
a couple of tigers whose tracks they had seen. The tigers 
were all the time within half a mile of their tents ; and before 
ten o'clock that day I had them both padded. During 
whole month I believe they only succeeded in getting one 
tiger, and that by potting it from a tree at night. Some 
years afterwards, when I shot the same country under much 
more favourable circumstances, the number of tigers had 
greatly diminished, owing to the high rewards and the steady 
attentions of the forest officers, and my bag was then just the 
same as in 1862. Five or six tigers may, in fact, be considered 
a very fair bag for one gun in a month's shooting, even in the 
best parts of the Central Provinces ; but two or three guns, 
with a proportionate force of elephants, should of course do 
much better. 

I spent nearly a week of this time in the destruction of a 
famous man-eater, which had completely closed several roads, 
and was estimated to have devoured over a hundred human 
beings. One of these roads was the main outlet from the 
Betul teak forests towards the railway then under construc- 
tion in the Narbada* valley ; and the work of the sleeper-con- 
tractors was completely at a standstill owing to the ravages of 
this brute. He occupied regularly a large triangle of country 
between the rivers Moran and Ganjal ; occasionally making a 
tour of destruction much further to the east and west ; and 
striking terror into a breadth of not less than thirty to forty 
miles. It was therefore supposed that the devastation was 
caused by more than one animal ; and we thought we had 
disposed of one of these early in April, when we killed a very 
cunning old tiger of evil repute after several days' severe 

u 2 


hunting. But I am now certain that the brute I destroyed 
subsequently was the real malefactor even there, as killing 
again commenced after we had left, and all loss to human 
life did not cease till the day I finally disposed of him. 

He had not been heard of for a week or two when I came 
into his country, and pitched my camp in a splendid mango 
grove near the large village of LokartaMe, on the Moran river. 
Here I was again laid up through over-using my sprained 
tendon ; but a better place in which to pass the long hot days 
of forced inactivity could not have been found. The bare 
brown country outside was entirely shut out by the long droop- 
ing branches of the huge mango-trees, interlaced overhead in a 
grateful canopy, and loaded with the half-ripe fruit pendent 
on their long tendril-like stalks ; while beneath them short 
glimpses were seen of the bright clear waters of the Moran 
stealing over their pebbly bed. The green mangoes, cooked 
in a variety of ways, furnished a grateful and cooling addition 
to the table ; and the whole grove was alive with a vast 
variety of bird and insect life, in the observation of which 
many an hour that would otherwise have flown slowly by was 
passed. A colony of the lively chirping little grey-striped 
squirrel lived in every tree, and from morning to night per- 
meated the whole grove with their incessant gambols. My 
dogs would have died of ennui, I believe, but for the unremit- 
ting sport they had in stalking and chasing these unattain- 
able creatures, whose fashion of letting them get within two 
inches of them while they calmly sat up and ate a fallen 
mango, and then whisking up and sitting just half a foot out 
of reach, jerking their long tails and rapping out a long chirp 
of defiance, seemed highly to provoke them. Clouds of 
little green ring-necked paroquets flew from tree to tree, 
clambering over and under and in every direction through 


the branches to get at the green mangoes. A great variety of 
bright-coloured bulbuls, several species of woodpecker, and 
the golden oriole or mango-bird, flashed about in the higher 
foliage, while an incessant hum told of the unseen presence of 
multitudes of the insect world. 

I was much amused by the result of my tent being pitched 
between two trees inhabited respectively by colonies of the 
common black and red ants, so plentiful in all wooded parts 
of the province. Each side sent detachments down the ropes 
of the tent attached to their trees, and numerous were the 
skirmishes and reprisals I watched between them. At last, 
on coming in from a short stroll one morning, I found the 
top of my tent had been the scene of a pitched battle between 
the entire forces of each party, multitudes on each side having 
been killed and wounded. Their telegrams to head-quarters 
in the tops of the trees must have much resembled those of 
the French and Prussians, for both sides seemed to claim the 
victory, and each was busily engaged in carrying off the 
fallen of the other side, perhaps with a view to provender in 
case of a siege ! There were far more of the black ones, how- 
ever, killed than of the red. The latter are most unflinching and 
venomous little devils, and prefer to leave their heads and 
shoulders sticking where they have bitten rather than loose 
their hold. I shall never forget disturbing a nest of these 
red ants in an overhanging tree when hot on the fresh foot- 
prints of a tiger. In an instant the elephant, howdah, and 
myself were covered with a multitude of the creatures rearing 
themselves on end and watching for a tender place in which 
to plunge their nippers. No philosophy not even in the hot 
pursuit of a tiger could stand this ; and everything was for- 
gotten in a wild rush to the nearest water, where half an hour 
was lost in clearing ourselves and the half-maddened elephant 


of the tormentors, and in picking out the fangs they had left 

A few days of a lazy existence in this microcosm of a 
grove passed not unpleasantly after a spell of hard work 
in the pitiless hot blasts outside ; but when the Lalla brought 
in news of families of tigers waiting to be hunted in the 
surrounding river-beds I began to chafe ; and when I heard 
from a neighbouring police post that the man-eater had again 
appeared, and had killed a man and a boy on the high road 
about ten miles from my camp, I could stand it no longer. I 
had been douching my leg with cold water, but now resorted 
to stronger measures, giving it a coating of James's horse- 
blister, which caused of course severe pain for a few days, 
but at the end of them resulted, to my great delight, in a 
complete and permanent cure. In the meantime, while I was 
still raw and sore, I was regaled with stories of the man-eater 
of his fearful size and appearance, with belly pendent to the 
ground, and white moon on the top of his forehead ; his pork- 
butcher-like method of detaining a party of travellers while 
he rolled himself in the sand, and at last came up and in- 
spected them all round, selecting the fattest; his power of 
transforming himself into an innocent-looking woodcutter, 
and calling or whistling through the woods till an unsus- 
pecting victim approached ; how the spirits of all his victims 
rode with him on his head, warning him of every danger, and 
guiding him to the fatal ambush where a traveller would 
shortly pass. All the best shikaris of the country-side were 
collected in my camp ; and the landholders and many of the 
people besieged my tent morning and evening. The infant of 
a woman who had been carried away while drawing water 
at a well was brought and held up before me ; and every offer 
of assistance in destroying the monster was made. No useful 


help was, however, to be expected from a terror-stricken popu- 
lation like this. They lived in barricaded houses ; and only 
stirred out when necessity compelled in large bodies, covered 
by armed men, and beating drums and shouting as they passed 
along the roads. Many villages had been utterly deserted ; 
and the country was evidently being slowly depopulated by 
this single animal. So far as I could learn, he had been 
killing alone for about a year another tiger who had 
formerly assisted him in his fell occupation having been shot 
the previous hot weather. Be'tul has always been unusually 
favoured with man-eaters, the cause apparently being the 
great numbers of cattle that come for a limited season to graze 
in that country, and a scarcity of other prey at the time when 
they are absent, combined with the unusually convenient cover 
for tigers existing alongside most of the roads. The man-eaters 
of the Central Provinces rarely confine themselves solely to 
human food, though some have almost done so to my own 
knowledge. Various circumstances may lead a tiger to prey 
on man ; anything, in fact, that incapacitates him from kill- 
ing other game more difficult to procure. A tiger who has 
got very fat and heavy, or very old, or who has been disabled 
by a wound, or a tigress who has had to bring up young cubs 
where other game is scarce, all these take naturally to man, 
who is the easiest animal of all to kill, as soon as failure with 
other prey brings on the pangs of hunger ; and once a tiger has 
found out how easy it is to overcome the lord of creation, and 
how good he is to eat, he is apt to stick to him, and, if a tigress, 
to bring up her progeny in the same line of business. The 
greater prevalence of man-eaters in one district than in 
another I consider to be that I have mentioned. Great 
grazing districts, where the cattle come only for a limited 
season, are always the worst. Where the cattle remain all 


the year round, as in Nimar, the tigers rarely take to man- 

As soon as I could ride in the howdah, and long before I 
could do more than hobble on foot, I marched to a place called 
Chirkher^, where the last kill had been reported. My usually 
straggling following was now compressed into a close body, 
preceded and followed by the baggage-elephants, and protected 
by a guard of police with muskets, peons with my spare 
guns, and a whole posse of matchlocked shikaris. Two 
deserted villages were passed on the road, and heaps of stones 
at intervals showed where a traveller had been struck down. 
A better hunting-ground for a man-eater certainly could not 
be. Thick scrubby teak jungle closed in the road on both 
sides ; and alongside of it for a great part of the way wound a 
narrow deep watercourse, overshadowed by thick j&man 
bushes, and with here and there a small pool of water still left. 
I hunted along this nali, the whole way, and found many old 
tracks of a very large male tiger/ 5 " which the shikaris declared 
to be the man-eater. There were none more recent, however, 
than several days. Chirkherd was also deserted on account 
of the tiger, and there was no shade to speak of ; but it was 
the most central place within reach of the usual haunts 
of the brute, so I encamped here, and sent the baggage- 
elephants back to fetch provisions. In the evening I was 
startled by a messenger from a place called Ld, on the 
Moran river, nearly in the direction I had come from, who 
said that one of a party of pilgrims who had been travelling 
unsuspectingly by a jungle road had been carried off by the 
tiger close to that place. Early next morning I started off 

* A little practice suffices to distinguish the tracks of tigers of different ages 
and sexes. The old male has a much sqiiarer track, so to speak, than the female, 
which leaves a more oval footprint. 


with two elephants, and arrived at the spot about eight o'clock. 
The man had been struck down where a small ravine leading 
down to the Moran crosses a lonely pathway a few miles east of 
Le\ The shoulder stick with its pendent baskets, in which the 
holy water from his place of pilgrimage had been carried by the 
hapless man, were lying on the ground in a dried-up pool of 
blood ; and shreds of his clothes acihered to the bushes where 
he had been dragged down into the bed of the nala\ We 
tracked the man-eater and his prey into a very thick grass 
cover, alive with spotted deer, where he had broken up and 
devoured the greater part of the body. Some bones and 
shreds of flesh, and the skull, hands, and feet, were all that 
remained. This tiger never returned to his victim a second 
time, so it was useless to found any scheme for killing him on 
that expectation. We took up his tracks from the body, and 
carried them patiently down through very dense jungle to the 
banks of the M6ran, the trackers working in fear and tremb- 
ling under the trunk of my elephant, and covered by my 
rifle at full cock. At the river the tracks went out to a long 
spit of sand that projected into the water, where the tiger had 
drunk, and then returned to a great mass of piled-up rocks 
at the bottom of a precipitous bank, full of caverns and 
recesses. This we searched with stones and some fireworks I 
had in the howdah ; but put out nothing but a scraggy hyena, 
which was of course allowed to escape. We searched about 
all day here in vain, and it was not till nearly sunset that I 
turned and made for camp. 

It was almost dusk, when we were a few miles from home, 
passing along the road we had marched by the former day 
and the same by which we had come out in the morning, when 
one of the men who was walking behind the elephant started and 
called a halt He had seen the footprint of a tiger. The elephant's 


tread had partly obliterated it ; but further on where we had 
not yet gone it was found plain enough the great square pug 
of the man-eater we had been looking for all day ! He was on 
before us, and must have passed since we came out in the 
morning, for his track had covered that of the elephants as 
they came. It was too late to hope to find him that evening ; 
and we could only proceed slowly along on the track, which 
held to the pathway, keeping a bright look-out. The Ldlld in- 
deed proposed that he should go a little ahead as a bait for the 
tiger, while I covered him from the elephant with a rifle ! But 
he wound up by expressing a doubt whether his skinny corpora- 
tion would be a sufficient attraction ; and suggested that a plump 
young policeman, who had taken advantage of our protection 
to make his official visit to the scene of the last kill, should 
be substituted, whereat there was a general but not very 
hearty grin. The subject was too sore a one in that neigh- 
bourhood just then. About a mile from the camp the track 
turned off into the deep nala" that bordered the road. It was 
now almost dark, so we went on to the camp, and fortified it 
by posting the three elephants on different sides, and lighting 
roaring fires between. Once in the night an elephant started 
out of its deep sleep and trumpeted shrilly ; but in the morn- 
ing we could find no tracks of the tiger having come near us. 
I went out early next morning to beat up the nala" ; for a man- 
eater is not like common tigers, and must be sought for morn- 
ing, noon, and night. But I found no tracks, save in the one 
place where he had crossed the nadd the evening before, and 
gone off into thick jungle. 

On my return to camp, just as I was sitting down to break- 
fast, some Banjaras from a place called Dekna about a mile 
and a half from camp came running in to say that one of their 
companions had been taken out of the middle of their drove of 


bullocks by the tiger, just as they were starting from their 
night's encampment. The elephant had not been unharnessed ; 
and, securing some food and a bottle of claret, I was not two 
minutes in getting under way again. The edge of a low 
savanna, covered with long grass and intersected by a nala, 
was the scene of this last assassination ; and a broad trail of 
crushed-down grass showed where the body had been dragged 
down towards the nala. No tracking was required. It was 
horribly plain. The trail did not lead quite into the nala, 
which had steep sides ; but turned and went alongside of it 
into some very long grass reaching nearly up to the howdah. 
Here Sarju Parshad (a large Government mukna I was 
then riding) kicked violently at the ground and trumpeted, 
and immediately the long grass began to wave ahead. 
We pushed on at full speed, stepping as we went over 
the ghastly half-eaten body of the Banjara. But the cover 
was dreadfully thick ; and though I caught a glimpse of 
a yellow object as it jumped down into the nala it was not 
in time to fire. It was some little time before we could get 
the elephant down the bank and follow the broad plain foot- 
prints of the monster, now evidently going at a swinging 
trot. He kept on in the nala for about a mile, and then took 
to the grass again ; but it was not so long here, and we could 
still make out the trail from the howdah. Presently, how- 
ever, it led into rough stony ground, and the tracking became 
more difficult. He was evidently full of go, and would carry 
us far ; so I sent back for some more trackers, and with orders 
to send a small tent across to a hamlet on the banks of the 
Ganjal, towards which he seemed to be making. All that day 
we followed the trail through an exceedingly difficult- country, 
patiently working out print by print, but without being 
gratified by a sight of his brindled hide. Several of the 


local shikaris were admirable trackers; and we carried the 
line down within about a mile of the river, where a dense 
thorny cover began, through which no one could follow a 

We slept that night at the little village ; and early next 
morning made a long cast ahead, proceeding at once to the 
river, where we soon hit upon the track leading straight 
down its sandy bed. There were some strong covers reported 
in the river-bed some miles ahead, near the large village of 
Bhadugaon, so I sent back to order the tent over there. The 
track was crossed in this river by several others, but was 
easily distinguishable from all by its superior size. It had 
also a peculiar drag of the toe of one hind foot, which the 
people knew and attributed to a wound he had received some 
months before from a shikari's matchlock. There was thus no 
doubt we were behind the man-eater ; and I determined to 
follow him while I could hold out and we could keep the track. 
It led right into a very dense cover of jaman and tamarisk, 
in the bed and on the banks of the river, a few miles above 
Bhadugaon. Having been hard pushed the previous day, we 
hoped he might lie up here ; and, indeed, there was no other 
place he could well go to for water and shade. So we circled 
round the outside of the cover, and, finding no track leading 
out, considered him fairly ringed. We then went over to the 
village for breakfast, intending to return in the heat of the 

There I was told by one of the mahouts a story, which I 
afterwards heard confirmed from the lips of one of the prin- 
cipal actors, regarding a notable encounter with tigers in the 
very cover where we had ringed the man-eater. It was in 
1853 that the two brothers N. and Colonel G. beat the cover 
for a family of tigers said to be in it. One of the brothers 


was posted in a tree, while G. and the other N. beat through 
on an elephant. The man on the tree first shot two of the tigers 
right and left, and then Colonel G. saw a very large one lying 
in the shade of a dense bush, and fired at it, on which it 
charged and mounted on the elephant's head. It was a small 
female elephant, and was terribly punished about the trunk 
and eyes in this encounter, though the mahout (a bold fellow 
named Eamzan who was afterwards in my own service) bat- 
tered the tiger's head with his iron driving-hook so as to leave 
deep marks in the bones of his skull. At length he was 
shaken off, and retreated ; but when the sportsmen urged in 
the elephant again, and the tiger charged as before, she turned 
round, and the tiger, catching her by the hind leg, fairly pulled 
her over on her side. My informant, who was in the howdah, 
said that for a time his arm was pinned between it and the 
tigers body, who was making efforts to pull his shikari out of 
the back seat. They were all, of course, spilt on the ground 
with their guns ; and Colonel G., getting hold of one, made 
the tiger retreat with a shot in the chest. The elephant had 
fled from the scene of action, and the two sportsmen then went 
in at the beast on foot. It charged again, and when close 
to them was finally dropped by a lucky shot in the head. But 
the sport did not end here ; for they found two more tigers in 
the same cover immediately afterwards, and- killed one of 
them, or four altogether in the day. The worrying she had 
received, however, was the death of the elephant, which was 
buried at Bhadugaon one of the few instances on record of 
an elephant being actually killed by a tiger. 

About eleven o'clock we again faced the scorching hot 
wind, and made silently for the cover where lay the man-eater. 
I surrounded it with scouts on trees ; and posted a pad-ele- 
phant at the only point where he could easily get up the high 


bank and make off ; and then pushed old Sarju slowly and 

carefully through the cover. Peafowl rose in numbers from 

every bush as we advanced ; and a few hares and other small 

animals bolted out at the edges, such thick green covers being 

the midday resort of all the life of the neighbourhood in the 

hot weather. About the centre the jungle was extremely 

thick, and the bottom was cut up into a number of parallel 

water- channels among the strong roots and overhanging 

branches of the tamarisk. Here the elephant paused and 

began to kick the earth, and utter the low tremulous sound by 

which some elephants denote the close presence of a tiger. 

We peered all about with nervous beatings of the heart ; and 

at last the mahout, who was lower down on the elephant's 

neck, said he saw him lying beneath a thick jaman bush 

We had some stones in the howdah, and I made the Lalla, 

who was behind me in the back seat, pitch one into the bush. 

Instantly the tiger started up with a short roar and galloped 

off through the bushes. I gave him right and left at once, 

which told loudly ; but he went till he saw the pad-elephant 

blocking the road he meant to escape by, and then he turned 

and charged back at me with horrible roars. It was very difficult 

to see him among the crashing bushes, and he was within 

twenty yards when I fired again. This dropped him into one 

of the channels ; but he picked himself up, and came on again 

as savagely though more slowly than before. I was now in the 

act of covering him with the large shell rifle, when suddenly the 

elephant spun round, and I found myself looking the opposite 

way, while a worrying sound behind me and the frantic 

movements of the elephant told me I had a fellow-passenger 

on board I might well have dispensed with. All I could do 

in the way of holding on barely sufficed to prevent myself and 

guns from being pitched out ; and it was some time before 


Sarju, finding he could not kick him off, paused to think 
what he would do next. I seized that placid interval 
to lean over behind and put the muzzle of the rifle to the 
head of the tiger, blowing it into fifty pieces with the 
large shell. He dropped like a sack of potatoes ; and then I 
saw the dastardly mahout urging the elephant to run out of 
the cover. An application of my gun-stock to his head, 
however, reversed the engine ; and Sarju, coming round 
with the utmost willingness, trumpeted a shrill note of 
defiance, and rushing upon his prostrate foe commenced a 
war-dance on his body that made it little less difficult to stick 
to him than when the tiger was being kicked off. It con- 
sisted I believe of kicking up the carcass with a hind leg, 
catching it in the hollow of the fore, and so tossing it back- 
wards and forwards among his feet, winding up by placing 
his huge fore foot on the body and crossing the other over it, 
so as to press it into the sand with his whole weight. I found 
afterwards that the elephant-boy, whose business it is to 
stand behind the howdah, and, if necessary, keep the elephant 
straight in a charge by applying a thick stick over his rump, 
had had a narrow escape in this adventure, having dropped 
off in his fright almost into the jaws of the tiger. The tiger 
made straight for the elephant, however, as is almost invari- 
ably the case, and the boy picked himself up and fled to the 
protection of the other elephant. 

Sarju was not a perfect shikan elephant ; but his fault was 
rather too much courage than the reverse, and it was only 
his miserable opium -eating villain of a mahout that made 
him turn at the critical moment. He was much cut about 
the quarters ; but I took him out close to the tents two days 
after and killed two more tigers without his flinchiDg in the 
least. The tiger we had thus killed was undoubtedly the 


man-eater. He was exactly ten feet long, in the prime of 
life, with the dull yellow coat of the adult male not in the 
least mangy or toothless like the man-eater of story. He had 
no moon on his head, nor did his belly nearly touch the 
ground. I afterwards found that these characteristics are 
attributed to all man-eaters by the credulous people. 

Before dismissing Sarju. from these pages, I would like to 
record an anecdote of his sagacity which I think beats every- 
thing I have heard of the elephant's intellect. He was a 
consummate thief; and had grown so cunning that he could 
unfasten any chains or ropes he was tethered with, which he 
often would do of a dark night if not watched, and proceed 
to roam about seeking what he might devour. His favourite 
object on such occasions was sugar-cane ; and if he got into 
a field of this would trample down and damage the greater 
part of it. Many a long bill have I paid for such depre- 
dations. He would never allow himself to be caught again 
after such an escapade while his keepers pursued him with 
sticks and threats, but surrendered at once as soon, as they 
resorted to persuasion, and promised not to beat him. One 
night the people of the camp were sitting up late over a small 
fire, and saw Sarju unloose his foot-chain and stalk off through 
the camp. Presently he appeared sniffing about the place 
where a grain-merchant had brought out his sacks during the 
day to supply the wants of the camp. A sack of rice, nearly 
empty, lay under the head of a sleeping lad; and Sarju 
paused and seemed to ponder long how he might annex its 
contents. At last he was seen to gradually withdraw the bag 
with his trunk, while he replaced it with the sloping edge of 
his big fore foot in supporting the head of the boy. Having 
gobbled up the rice with much despatch, he then rolled up the 
bag, and returning it under the boy's head stalked away ! I 


was told this story next morning by several respectable 
natives who saw the whole affair, and who had no object in 
telling a lie about it. For my own part, knowing what Mr. 
Sarju was capable of, I believe it. 

Before quitting the subject of tigers I may notice the 
obstacle presented by the number of these animals to the 
advance of population and tillage. Between five and six 
hundred human beings, and an uncalculated number of cattle, 
are killed by wild beasts in the Central Provinces alone every 
year. This enormous loss of life and property has been the 
subject of much discussion; and many schemes for their de- 
struction have been proposed, most of them unpractical, and 
some even absurd. For some years heavy rewards were given 
for every tiger and other dangerous animal killed, special 
rewards being placed on the heads of man-eaters ; and I am 
convinced that many more were killed during that time than 
previously, though statistics of former years when there was 
no reward are not available for comparison. The number 
destroyed increased every year under this stimulus. Kewards 
for the killing of 2414 tigers, panthers, bears, and wolves 
were claimed in 1867 (the last year for which statistics are 
available), against 1863 in 1865. Tigers are certainly not 
now so numerous by a great deal in many parts with which I 
am personally acquainted as they were even six or eight years 
ago. The reward has now again been much decreased ; and 
the experience of a few years will show whether the tigers 
again get the upper hand. It is practically only the cattle- 
killing and man-eating tigers that are productive of injury, 
those which principally subsist on game being probably more 
useful than noxious. Poison has sometimes been successful in 
destroying a man-eater, a famous tigress, that long ravaged 
the western part of Ohindwilra district having been killed 


with strychnine in 1865, just a day before I arrived after 
a forced march of a hundred miles to hunt her. More 
commonly, however, poison is of no avail with these 
cunning brutes ; and, as a rule, man-eaters can only be 
killed by the European sportsman with the help of an ele- 
phant, the native shikaris rarely attempting to molest them. 
Elephants have been made more available than formerly, some 
of the jungle districts having a Government one attached to 
them, besides many possessed by various public departments ; 
and man-eaters of a bad type now rarely survive long. I know 
of eight or ten that have been killed by European officers since 
1862, and I have not heard of any more for the last few 
years. It is a great point to extinguish those brutes at the 
outset of their career ; for, if not killed when he commences 
to prey on human beings, a tiger becomes so cunning that it 
is afterwards a most difficult thing to circumvent him. 

While, then, I believe that the greater outcry made of late 
years about the ravages of wild animals is simply due, like 
many other circumstances of old standing that have dis- 
covered themselves of a sudden in India, to more careful 
gathering of statistics, I certainly think that the evils shown 
still to exist are sufficient to call for some action on the 
part of the State. There is no doubt that an application to this 
matter of the same administrative ability which has reformed 
other evils would speedily reach to the root of this. Every 
tiger which really does mischief is perfectly well known 
locally ; and his destruction should be merely a matter of time 
and arrangement. It should be as much the business of the 
local officers of Government to kill off destructive tigers as to 
capture dacoits and murderers. To do this they must, of course, 
have the means. In a bad district one at least of the resident 
officers, police or magisterial, should be a known sportsman ; 


and a staunch elephant should be a part of the regular establish- 
ment of every such district. The sums now allowed for rewards 
should be placed more at the disposal of the local officers than 
they are. If expended according to local requirements, in 
obtaining information, organizing and arming shikdris, paying 
for the destruction of particular tigers, etc., far more could be 
done with the money by a competent officer than by the 
present method of a hard and fast reward for every animal 
brought in. More than this, I would have the vast resources 
of the Government in sportsmen and elephants regularly 
utilised in an annual campaign against the tigers. Every 
cantonment contains some dozen of ardent sportsmen, who do 
nothing whatever of value to the state after the drill season is 
over, and throughout the hot season when tigers can best be 
destroyed. They would all be only too happy to give their 
services in this work if their extra expenses were paid. Also, 
in every commissariat yard are some scores of Government 
elephants, many of them staunch already, and nearly all capable 
of being made so. After the marching season they have 
nothing whatever to do, and from want of sufficient work go 
out of condition and frequently die. What so obvious then 
as that these idle riflemen and these idle elephants should be 
sent forth into the jungles all over India for three months, 
from March to June, to fetch in their tale of tigers ? All that 
is wanted is a little organization. The different departments 
of Government must be made to work together the com- 
missariat officers must be over-ruled when they prophesy the 
ruin of their dearly beloved elephants. They will in fact be 
all the better for it. The military authorities must be in- 
formed that they can have their officers and animals back 
again on two days' notice should they require them. The 
civil officers of the country to be hunted must be got to work 

x 2 


in concert with the expeditions. Without their, co-operation 
nothing can be done. A thorough sportsman, well acquainted 
with the country, and known to get on among natives, must 
be placed with sole power at the head of each party. I need 
not go farther into details. The scheme is so simple, and so 
certain of success, without even the least extra expense to the 
state, that it is only surprising that, among so many schemes 
which have received notice, this, the only possible method 
of making a real and speedy impression upon the wild 
animals, should not have been brought forward. Of course 
it is unnecessary to say that partial and timid experiments 
of the sort can lead to no result worthy of notice. The scale 
of operations must be large, while at the same time the 
arrangement of the details of organization must be careful, 
and free from anything resembling jobbery. I have said that 
no extra expenditure need be incurred. The pay of the 
officers employed and expenses of the elephants would not of 
course be charged to this work, while all the other expenses 
of camp equipage, carriage, hunting expenses, etc., should be 
defrayed from the existing provision for rewards. 

On the 27th of May I shot my last tiger for that season in 
the famous cover of Dapdrd,, being seized the next day with 
the preliminary symptoms of what turned out to be a severe 
attack of jungle fever, brought on by constant exposure to 
the hot sun by day and the malarious air of these close 
valleys by night ; cholera, too, was raging all around us, and 
so I determined to return to the cool heights of Puchmurree, 
which I did by the Bori route, in four longish marches. I 
was sick of the constant severe heat of the burnt-up plains 
below, and parched with the coming fever as well, and I 
think I never enjoyed anything so much as when I bared my 
head to the cool breeze that swept over the Puchmurree 


plateau, as I topped its edge after climbing up the stiff ascent 
of the Eori GMt. The thermometer in my tent below had 
been ranging from 98 degrees to 110 degrees during the heat 
of the day, and had once reached 120 degrees, when I went 
out and lay like a tiger under some jdman bushes by the 
water-side. In the verandah of the lodge on Puchmurree, 
which was now nearly finished, it stood at 86 degrees, while 
the nights, which below had not for weeks been free from 
hot winds, were cool and delicious up here. Soon after com- 
ing up I was fairly prostrated with fever, and remained 
delirious for about a couple of days, emerging at last, thanks 
to a very attentive native doctor we had, much shaken and 
weak, but free from the fever. Nearly all my servants and 
the camp followers who had been through the hot weather 
with me also got fever on coming up to Puchmurree, and the 
place presented much the appearance of an extensive hospital 
for some weeks. 

The first rain of the monsoon fell on the 12th of June, a 
smart shower, that, as if by magic, covered the plateau with 
the greenest of tints. The wild flowers, too, again burst 
forth on all sides, under the influence of the gentle showers 
that now almost daily visited the hill. It was inexpressibly 
delightful to be up here, in a perfectly English climate, with 
cool grey skies, and greenery all about, after the terrible 
grilling we had suffered for two long months down below. 
My Korku friends seemed glad to see me back again, and I 
tried to go out after the bison with them, but I found myself 
far too weak to negotiate the formidable slopes of Dhupgarh. 
The early part of the rainy season which was now approach- 
ing is the very best time of all for hunting the bison, tracks 
being easily followed, while the sky is generally overcast with 
clouds, and the weather cool in these high regions. Towards 


the end of the month the clouds began to bank up into deep 
purple masses behind the higher peaks, and at night lightning 
played incessantly round the horizon. By great exertions we 
got the house roofed just in time to hang a bison's frontlet 
over the door, and christen it " Bison Lodge," before the full 
force of the monsoon broke upon the plateau on the last day 
of June. I must not now tell of the many pleasant days and 
jovial nights passed between those four walls in after years, 
when the fire blazing in the arched grate I had builded with 
my own hands, and the jorum of whisky toddy imported from 
my native hills, deluded us into the belief that we were far 
away from the exile, if still a pleasant exile, of the highlands 
of Central India. Such a terrific storm I never saw as on the 
night of the breaking of the monsoon, crash after crash seem- 
ing to burst within the rooms, while a blaze of green light- 
ning incessantly lit up the whole features of the hill. It lasted 
about the whole night, and nearly four inches of rain fell 
along with it, but on its clearing up in the morning, such is 
the beautiful drainage of this plateau that in less than an hour 
a horse could have galloped over it comfortably in any direc- 
tion. Eain clouds continued to shroud the higher peaks, and 
roll round the edges of the plateau, the whole time I remained 
on the hill, but we never had another heavy storm, and, what 
is very unusual at such altitudes, the clouds never invaded 
the centre of the plateau at all. I had repeated returns of 
the fever, and neither could my people shake it off. Con- 
veniences to help recovery were also wanting, and I left 
the plateau on the 20th of July to march to Jubbulpur. It 
was a melancholy procession down the hill, that march of my 
gaunt and fever-stricken followers, crowded on the backs of 
the elephants that carried them in several trips to the carts 
that awaited them below. 


Another officer relieved me at Puchmurree, and remained 
nearly till the end of the rainy season ; meteorological obser- 
vations being kept up, in order to compare with others which 
were being taken at the same time by a party resident on the 
rival plateau of Motiir. The result was that a mean tempera- 
ture of about 73, and a rainfall of rather more than 60 inches, 
were registered for both places during the four months from 
June to September, which shows a range of heat about 8 or 
10 lower than on the plains, and nearly double the rainfall. 
Unfortunately, however, the comparative difficulty of access to 
Puchmurree was allowed to tell against its infinitely superior 
beauty and suitability in other respects ; and swampy, jungly, 
hideous Motiir, which lies on the trap formation, and very 
much resembles the country along the T&pti river described 
in the last chapter, was preferred to this beautiful plateau for 
trial as a sanatarium for European troops during the ensuing 
season. It was an utter failure, the climate being bad, and 
there being nothing to interest the men in such a place. It 
seems to have been forgotten that in a year or two the rail- 
way would pass within thirty miles of Puchmurree on the 
north, from which side a wheel-road up the hill might be 
made at small expense. 

Since then the Forest Department has regularly occupied 
the lodge on the hill, and laid out extensive gardens round 
about. Attempts to cultivate the quinine-yielding cinchona 
made on a small scale have failed, owing probably to want of 
the needful attention and knowledge, rather than to un suita- 
bility of the place and climate. The potato, and all sorts of 
European vegetables and flowers, have been found to thrive 
admirably at Puchmurree. Another house has been built, 
and many European and native officials have enjoyed 
excellent health during visits to the place for some years. 


Lately a wheel-road up the hill from the railway station of 
Bankheri has been constructed, and one of the loveliest spots 
in India is now in a fair way of having justice done to it 
at last* 

Horns of Hog-deer, Barking-deer, male and female Cbikara, and Four-horned Antelope. 
(Scale, one tenth.) 

I shall not say much of my long ride of a hundred miles to 
Jubbulpiir in the soaking rain, through the stiff black mud 
and unbridged streams of the Narbada" valley. It was very 
miserable, with the chills of ague in one's bones. A luxuriant 
seat in a first-class saloon now whirls the visitor to Puch- 
murree over those weary miles ; and the pioneers of earlier 
days must not prate of their hardships. "With the exception 
of a few days, when I had the excellent society of my friend 

Since writing the above I have seen that Government has sanctioned the 
experimental establishment of a sanatarium for European soldiers at Puch- 
murree. It cannot fail to prove a success if properly managed. 


Captain Pearson, I had not seen a white face during these six 
months of jungle wanderings ; and though by no means tired 
of the wild, independent life of a forester, or of the company 
of the hill people and the kindly little band of dependants I 
had gathered about me, the society of a pleasant station like 
the Jubbulpur of those days was no doubt an agreeable 
change. . 



Jubbulpur Transformed Effects of the Railway along the Narbada A Station 
Shikaii The Panther and Leopard Dangers of Panther Hunting A 
Man-eating Panther Curious Legend Cunning of Panthers A Deter- 
mined Charge Baits for the Panther A Hot- weather Excursion Dance 
of the Peacocks Deer Shooting from a " Dug-out " The Spotted Deer 
An Interview with a Tiger The Monkeys' Leap Immense Herd of 
Deer A Famous Tiger A Successful Beat A Midnight Intruder The 
Man-eater of Pouhri Ghostly Legend Coursing the Sambar Native 
Dogs The Wild Dog Banjara Dogs The Black Bear A Family Charge- 
Bear Shooting Large Python. 

JuBBULPtJR is now rather an important place, being the 
point of junction of the two lines of railway which between 
them connect the political with the commercial capital of 
India, Calcutta with Bombay, and over which pass all the pas- 
sengers, and much of the goods, in transit between England 
and Upper India. At the time of which I write it was a 
small civil and military station, of which few who had not 
been there knew anything, except that it was situated some- 
where in the wilds of Central India. I remember when we 
first got our orders to march there from Upper India no one 
could give us a route to it. It was trooped from Madras at 
that time, and so of course the Bengal authorities could not 
be expected to know anything about it. We found it the 
pleasantest of Indian stations ; situated in a green hollow 
among low rocky granite hills always covered with verdure ; 
with tidy hard roads and plenty of greensward about them ; 


with commodious bungalows embowered in magnificent clumps 
of bamboo ; remarkable for the delicacy and abundance of its 
fruits and other garden products, including the pineapple, 
which* will not grow anywhere else in Central India ; and 
withal, from its land-locked condition forbidding exports, a 
most absurdly cheap sort of place to live in. All this is now 
changed. The steam-horse has torn his way through the 
parks, and levelled the bamboo clumps that were the glory 
of the place. Hideous embankments, and monstrous hotels, 
and other truly British buildings, stare one in the face at 
every turn. Crowds of rail-borne " picturesquers " assail the 
Marble Kocks and other sights about the place. Everything 
has run up to the famine prices induced by the rapid " pro- 
gress" of the last ten years. And progress it is, in every 
proper sense of the word. The Narbada* valley is now a part 
of the great bustling world outside, instead of being a mere 
isolated oasis in a desert of jungle, thinking and caring only 
about its own petty wants and concerns. The agriculturist, 
the merchant, and all who " paddle their own canoe " on the 
great ocean of life, are all the better for it. Their gains have 
grown in more than proportion to their outgoings. Only such 
wretches as sail in "foreign bottoms" have to regret the 
change ; their fixed incomes have not grown with the growth 
of their expenses. The poor clerk, who could barely in the 
old times keep body and soul together on his pittance of ten 
rupees a month, gets no more now that his expenses are 
doubled. Government schools have flooded his market with 
competitors, who prevent' his wages from rising by their im- 
portunity for office ; and the Government, not having yet 
discovered the way to raise its own income, when appealed to 
for more, buttons up its pockets, and points to the crowds 
ready and willing to serve for less. The poor clerk has his 


remedy ; lie can pick and steal enough to make up the de- 
ficiency ; and he does so. But the subaltern of infantry, or 
the young civilian, being incommoded with the troublesome 
commodity called honour, have no such resource ; aftid so 
they have nothing for it but to knock off their Arab, and 
other little luxuries, and fag away through an ill-concealed 
period of indigence to higher grades and better pay. 

All this civilisation has of course greatly deteriorated the 
place as a residence for him whose pleasures lie with the 
jungle and its wild inhabitants. In the old times, Jubbulpur 
was almost the perfection of a sportsman's headquarters. It 
lay nearly at the head of the last of the great basins of the 
Narbada* valley, which have been reclaimed by population and 
agriculture. These basins are a characteristic of the valley, 
and within the limits of our province are four in number ; 
great circular plains surrounded by steep hills, filled with 
deep alluvial soil, through which the river moves slowly in 
long silent reaches, with here and there a gentle stream. Be- 
tween them lie shorter sections of rugged ground, where the 
hills on either side converge, and through which the river 
tumbles in a less placid course, short pools being connected 
by long broken rapids. -A little way above Jubbulpur, the 
last of these basins is terminated by the again converging hills, 
and from this point up to the little civil station of Mandla* the 
river flows through a narrow valley, very scantily cultivated 
here and there, and generally covered along the river-side 
by bamboos, and on the hills by a low jungle composed of the 
commoner sort of trees. Many little tributary streams joined 
the river in this part of its course. These ran up into the 
partially cultivated uplands on either side of the valley ; and 
in the cold season, when they contained water and green vege- 
tation, afforded cover to great numbers of wild animals of 


all sorts. When the hot season advanced their waters gradu- 
ally dried up, and then the game all moved down into the 
Narbada valley, congregating at that time, when the great 
mutiny had for some years prevented their molestation, in 
very great numbers. 

In January, 1863, I marched up this valley, on my way to 
explore the Sal forests in the eastern part of the province. 
But want of time then prevented my lingering to shoot. The 
year before joining the forest department, however, I had 
made an excursion up this valley during the hot season ; and 
while cantoned at Jubbulpur, made many excursions through 
the hilly regions surrounding the valley. Several sorts of 
game which have not yet been much mentioned were then 
met with in great abundance ; and before taking my readers 
towards the Sal forests I will devote a little space to these 

I was then a good deal of a " griffin," and was obliged to 
rely much on the assistance of native shikans in finding game. 
The chief of these about Jubbulpur was an arch- villain who 
haunted the purlieus of the cantonment messes, and hawked 
about his news of panthers, bears, deer, etc., to the highest 
bidder. I don't think I ever heard his name. He was always 
called " Bamanjee," or the " Brahman," for such was his 
caste. He knew intimately every inch of the jungle for 
twenty miles around, and had sons and nephews in close 
relations with the tigers and other wild animals in all direc- 
tions. He was thoroughly acquainted with all the different 
sorts of game and their habits, and really could, when he 
chose, furnish first-rate sport to his clients. But he was by 
nature a rogue of the first water, generally taking his informa- 
tion all round the station for offers ; and taking out the 
highest bidder to a hunt which almost invariably ended, 


through some perverse accident, in the escape without scathe 
of the object of pursuit, which he would very likely bring in 
the next day himself to claim the Government reward. He 
had "stumbled on it" of course, quite by accident, and in 
self-defence, etc., he was compelled to shoot it ! 

His great quarry was the panther, of which he was known 
to have killed an almost incredible number in the course of 
his long life. He lived in a little village about four miles out 
of the station, just under one of the steep isolated granite hills 
that rise at intervals from the plain ; and he once showed me 
a notched stick, on which fifty- two cuts recorded the number 
of panthers he had killed on this hill alone. The number of 
these animals in the districts round about Jubbulpur is very 
great. The low rocky hills referred to, full of hollows and 
caverns, and overgrown with dense scrubby cover, afford them 
favourite retreats ; while the numbers of antelope and hog 
deer, goats, sheep, pariah dogs, and pigs, supply them with 
abundant food. A large male panther will kill not very 
heavy cattle ; but as a rule they confine themselves te the 
smaller animals mentioned. They seldom reside very far 
from villages, prowling round them at night in search of prey, 
and retreating to their fastnesses before day-break. Unlike 
the tiger, they care little for the neighbourhood of water even 
in the hot weather, drinking only at night, and generally at*a 
distance from their mid-day retreat. 

There has been much confusion among sportsmen and 
writers as to the several species of Cat called "Panther," 
" Leopard," and " Hunting Leopard." Jerdon, in his " Mam- 
mals of India," has at last correctly distinguished them under 
the above names, recognising two varieties marked with 
rosettes (the fulvous ground of the skin showing through the 
black), instead of plain black spots, which are peculiar to the 


Hunting Leopard (F. Jubata). He calls both F. Pardus, 
considering them only as varieties, not distinct species. In 
English he calls the larger the panther and the smaller the 
leopard, and it will be well if sportsmen will avoid future con- 
fusion by adopting this appropriate nomenclature. The points 
of difference between the two varieties of F. Pardus he states 
to be the larger size of the panther, which reaches in fine 
specimens seven feet eleven inches in length from nose to tip 
of tail, the leopard not exceeding five feet six inches ; the 
lighter colour, and taller and more slender figure of the 
panther, and the rounder more bull-dog like head of the leo- 
pard. These distinctions I myself recognised, and described 
in "The Field," of 17th May, 1862. 

In my early sporting days I fell into the mistake of most 
sportsmen in supposing that the panther might be hunted on 
foot with less caution than the tiger. On two or three occa- 
sions I nearly paid dearly for the error ; and I now believe 
that the panther is really by far a more dangerous animal to 
attack than the tiger. He is, in the first place, far more 
courageous. For though he will generally sneak away un- 
observed as long as he can, if once brought to close quarters 
he will rarely fail to charge with the utmost ferocity, fighting 
to -the very last. He is also much more active than the tiger, 
making immense springs clear off the ground, which the tiger 
seldom does. He can conceal himself in the most wonderful 
way, his spotted hide blending with the ground, and his lithe 
loose form being compressible into an inconceivably small 
space. Further, he is so much less in depth and stoutness 
than the tiger, and moves so much quicker, that he is far 
more difficult to hit in a vital place. He can climb trees, 
which the tiger cannot do except for a short distance up a 
thick sloping trunk. A few years ago a panther thus took a 


sportsman out of a high perch on a tree in the Chindwara 
district. And lastly, his powers of offence are scarcely inferior 
to those of the tiger himself; and are amply sufficient to be 
the death of any man he gets hold of. When stationed at 
Damoh near Jubbulpur, with a detachment of my regiment, I 
shot seven panthers and leopards in less than a month, within 
a few miles of the station, chiefly by driving them out with 
beaters ; all of them charged who had the power to do so ; but 
the little cherub who watches over " griffins" got us out of it 
without damage either to myself or the beaters. One of the 
smaller species, really not more than five feet long I believe, 
charged me three several times up a bank to the very muzzle 
of my rifle (of which I luckily had a couple), falling back 
each time to the shot, but not dreaming of trying to escape, 
and dying at last at my feet with her teeth closed on the root 
of a small tree. This animal had about six inches of the quill 
of a porcupine broken off in her chest. Another jumped on 
my horse, when passing through some long grass, before she 
was fired at at all ; and after being kicked off charged my 
groom and gun carrier, who barely escaped by fleeing for their 
lives, leaving my only gun in the possession of the leopard. 
I had to ride to cantonments for another rifle, and to get to- 
gether some beaters. When we returned, I took up my post 
on a rock which overlooked the patch of grass ; and the beaters 
had scarcely commenced their noise before the leopard went 
at them like an arrow. An accident would certainly have 
happened this time had my shots failed to stop this devil 
incarnate before she reached them. She had cubs in the 
grass, which accounted for her fury ; but a tigress would have 
abandoned them to their fate in a similar case. The last I 
killed was a man-eater, which took up his post among the 
high crops surrounding a village, and killed and dragged in 


women and children who ventured out of the village. He 
was a panther of the largest size, and had been wounded by a 
shikari from a tree, the ball passing through his external ear 
and one of his paws, and rendering him incapable of killing 
game. I was a week hunting him, as he was very careful not 
to show himself when pursued ; and at last I shot him in a 
cowhouse into which he had ventured, and killed several head 
of cattle, before the people had courage to shut the door. 

When a panther takes to man-eating, he is a far more 
terrible scourge than a tiger. In 1858 a man-killing panther 
devastated the northern part of the Seoni district, killing 
(incredible as it may seem) nearly a hundred persons before 
he was shot by a shikari. He never ate the bodies, but 
merely lapped the blood from the throat ; and his plan was 
either to steal into a house at night, and strangle some sleeper 
on his bed, stifling all outcry with his deadly grip, or to climb 
into the high platforms from which watchers guard their fields 
from deer, and drag out his victim from there. He was not 
to be baulked of his prey ; and when driven off from one end 
of a village, would hurry round to the opposite side and secure 
another in the confusion. A few moments completed his 
deadly work, and such was the devilish cunning he joined to 
this extraordinary boldness that all attempts to find and shoot 
him were for many months unsuccessful. European sports- 
men who went out,, after hunting him in vain all day, would 
find his tracks close to the door of their tent in the morning. 
When, a few years later, I passed through the scene of his 
chief depredations (Dhiima), a curious myth had grown round 
the history of this panther. A man and his wife were travel- 
ling back to their home from a pilgrimage to Benares, when 
they met on the road a panther. The woman was terrified ; 
but the man said, " Fear not, I possess a charm by which I 


can transform myself into any shape. I will now become a 
panther, and remove this obstacle from the road, and on my 
return you must place this powder in my mouth, when I will 
recover my proper shape/' He then swallowed his own 
portion of the magic powder, and assuming the likeness of 
the panther, persuaded him to leave the path. Eeturning to 
the woman, he opened his mouth to receive the transposing 
charm ; but she, terrified by his dreadful appearance and open 
jaws, dropped it in the mire, and it was lost. Then, in 
despair, he killed the author of his misfortune, and ever after 
revenged himself on the race whose form he could never 

The Seoni panther is not a solitary case, several other man- 
eating panthers having done scarcely less amount of mischief 
in other parts of the province. Their indifference to water 
makes it extremely difficult to bring them to book ; and, 
indeed, panthers are far more generally met with by accident 
than secured by regular hunting. When beating with ele- 
phants they are very rarely found, considering their numbers ; 
but they must be frequently passed at a short distance, unob- 
served, in this kind of hunting. In 1862, I was hunting for 
a tigress and cubs near Khapa, on the Lawa river, in Betul. 
Their tracks of a few days old led into a deep fissure in the 
rocky banks of the river, above which I went, leaving the 
elephant below, and threw in stones from the edge. Some 
way up I saw a large panther steal out at the head, and 
sneak across the plain. He was out of shot, and I followed 
on his tracks, which were clear enough for a few hundred 
yards, till, at the crossing of a small rocky nald,, they dis- 
appeared. I could not make it out, and was returning to the 
elephant, when I saw the driver making signals. He had 
followed me up above, and had seen the panther sneak back 


along the little nala, which Ted into the top of the ravine, and 
re-enter the latter. I then went and placed myself so as to 
command the top of the ravine, and sent people below to fling 
in stones ; and presently the panther broke again at the same 
place, this time galloping away openly across the plain. I 
missed with both barrels of my rifle, but turned him over 
with a lucky shot from a smooth-bore, at more than two 
hundred yards. I then went up to him on the elephant, and 
he made feeble attempts to rise and come at me, but he was 
too far gone to succeed. The panther will charge an elephant 
with the greatest ferocity. In 1863, near Sambalpiir, a party 
of us were beating a bamboo cover for pigs, with a view to 
the sticking thereof, my elephant accompanying the beaters, 
when a shout from the latter announced that they had 
stumbled on a panther. They took to trees, and I got on 
the elephant to turn him out, while the others exchanged 
their hog-spears for rifles, and surrounded the place on trees. 
She got up before me, bounding away over the low bamboos, 
and I struck her on the rump with a light breech-loading gun 
as she disappeared. Several shots from the trees failed to 
stop her, and she took refuge in a very dense thorny cover on 
the banks of a little stream. Twice up and down I passed 
without seeing the brute, but firing once into a log of wood 
in mistake for her, and was going along the top of the cover 
for the third time, when the elephant pointed down the bank 
with her extended trunk. We threw some stones in, but 
nothing moved, and at last a peon came up with a huge stone 
on his head, which he heaved down the bank. Next moment 
a yellow streak shot from the bushes, and, levelling the ad- 
venturous peon, like a flash of lightning came straight at my 
elephant's head, when just at the last spring I broke her back 
with the breech-loader, and she fell over under the elephant's 

Y 2 


trunk, tearing at the earth and stones and her own body in 
her bloody rage. She had a cub in the cover, about the size 
of a cat, which I shot on the way back. 

The method usually resorted to by old Bamanjee and other 
native shikaris for killing panthers and leopards was, by 
tying out a kid, with a line attached to a fish-hook through 
its ear, a pull at which makes the poor little brute continue to 
squeak, after it has cried itself to silence about its mother. 
No sentiment of humanity interferes with the devices of the 
mild Hindu. A dog in a pit, with a basket-work cover over 
it, and similarly attached to a line, is equally effective. I 
have known panthers repeatedly to take animals they have 
killed up into trees to devour, and once found the body of a 
child, that had been killed by a panther in the Betul district, 
so disposed of in the fork of a tree. They are very often lost, 
I believe, by taking unobserved to trees. Beating them out 
of cover with a strong body of beaters and fireworks is, on the 
whole, the most successful way of hunting these cunning 
brutes ; but it is accompanied by a good deal of risk to the 
beaters as well as to the sportsman, if he is over-venture- 
some ; and it is apt, also, to end in disappointment in most 
instances. My own experience is that the majority of pan- 
thers one finds, are come across more by luck than good 

In April, 1861, old Bamanjee, with whom 1 had often been 
out on short trips with considerable success, induced me to 
take a month's leave, and accompany him up the Narbada" 
valley from Jubbulpur to shoot. The game promised con- 
sisted of tigers, bears, sambar, and spotted deer ; and I found 
that all these were really attainable in no small numbers. 
The sambar and bears lived on the hill ranges on either side 
of the river; while the spotted deer, as usual, kept to the 


banks of the river, where a network of ravines, covered with 
clumps of bamboo, afforded them the plentiful shade and 
abundance of water they delight in. In attendance on them 
was the tiger, who revelled in the abundance of game then 
congregated about the river. The herds of cattle and buffa- 
loes that were grazing in the valley were seldom touched, 
excepting in one place, where I found a family of tigers 
wholly subsisting upon them ; but nearly every day we 
stumbled on the remains of spotted deer, s^mbar, and nilgai, 
which had fallen victims to the destroyer. The destroyer 
himself, however, kept, with a good deal of success, out of 
our way. I was too green a hand to hunt him then with 
the silent perseverance which alone ensures success, and could 
rarely resist a promising shot at other game on the distant 
chance of finding a tiger. Nor do I think that Mr. Bamanjee 
much desired to have very many interviews with his jungle 
majesty. Spotted deer were in immense numbers, and the 
bucks were everywhere bellowing along the banks, and in the 
bamboo-covered ravines that radiate from the river. It was 
very easy to shoot the poor brutes at that time, the best plan 
being to embark in a canoe dug out of a single log, and 
paddle slowly down the reaches a little way from the bank, 
between daybreak and ten or eleven o'clock. The air of 
repose worn by the whole scene at that time is scarcely 
broken by the movement of animal life. The lazy plunge of 
a crocodile, the eddying rise of a great fish, the hover of a 
gem-like kingfisher, the easy flight of the dark square-winged 
buzzard, all add to, rather than diminish, the sense of quietness 
in the scene. Immense numbers of peafowl live on the banks. 
This is the season of their loves, and almost every bare knoll 
may be seen covered with a flock of them, the hens sitting 
demurely in the centre, while the cocks ruffle out their magni- 


ficent plumage, and spread their gorgeous trains, and waltz 
round and round them in a most absurd fashion. The boat- 
men are fond of trying to catch them when absorbed in this 
dance of love ; and, though I have never seen one actually 
secured, I have seen an active fellow get so near as to pluck 
some feathers from the tail of the collapsed and retreating 
swain. No riotous sounds offend the ear in this peaceful 
valley. The Koel, bird of the morning, raises now and then 
his staccato note from some overhanging tree, or the giant 
Sarus crane floats his tremulous cry along the calm surface of 
the lake-] ike river. 

But hark ! From a clump of tangled bamboos, overhang- 
ing the mouth of a little burn that joins the river, rings the 
loud bellow of a spotted buck. The boatman sticks his long 
pole down to the bottom, and anchors the dug-out, while the 
sportsman, with cocked rifle, watches in the bow. Presently 
a rustle and a motion in the fringe of bright-green jdman 
bushes that edge the river, and the head and shoulders of a 
noble buck emerge, one fore foot advanced hesitatingly to the 
strip of yellow sand beside the water. Another instant and 
he stands, a statue of grace and beauty, on the open beach. 
Now he has seen the boat, and his careless mien is changed 
for an attitude of intense regard. Motionless, head thrown 
up, and antlers sweeping his flanks, he might be photographed 
for the second or two he stands at gaze. In an instant more 
he will wheel round and plunge into the thicket, unless 
stopped by the deadly bullet. The true sportsman will often 
spare the beautiful creature, even when thus at the point of 
his rifle, when a week or two of the easy sport has satiated 
his ardour, and filled his camp with meat and trophies of 
graceful antlers. It was impossible in those days to walk 
half a mile along the river bank without seeing deer, and I 


have known an indifferent shot kill six bucks here in a 


There was some excitement in the chance of stumbling 
on a tiger in the cool thickets of green cover by the river, or, 
like the sportsman, stalking the spotted deer. I was following 
a wounded buck once, when I thus almost trod upon a tiger 
doing the very same thing. It was in the dusk of the evening, 
when I saw him about twenty paces ahead of me, roading up 
the bloody trail like a retriever on a winged pheasant. He 
was passing over a low ridge between two ravines, and I was 
below him a situation awkward for a foot-encounter with 
any dangerous animal. I, therefore, waited till he disappeared 
on the other side, and then running softly up, peered down 
from behind a clump of bamboos. Presently I saw the 
wounded buck and two does start out of some cover beyond 
the further ravine, and then a motion of the tiger, who had 
been standing a little below them, as he quickly crouched out 
of their sight, revealed him to me. I sat down, and took a 
steady shot at his shoulder at about seventy yards. He rolled 
back into the nald, above which I was standing, and, after a 
good deal of growling and struggling among the leaves, all 
w r as still. It would have been folly to go down to him in 
such uncertain light, so I returned to the boat, going back 
next morning with an elephant to see the result. It was just 
as well I had not ventured down in the dark the night before ; 
for, after lying some time where he fell, and leaving a great 
pool of blood .on the ground, he had afterwards recovered 
himself, and gone slowly and painfully off towards the river. 
We followed up the track, and about three hundred yards 
further down found him, by the chattering of birds, lying stiff 
and stark under a bush. He had never reached the water he 


About twenty-five miles above Jubbulpur is a curious place 
called the " Monkeys' Leap." A small tributary of the Narbada, 
called the Baghora (or " Tiger Kiver"), here comes down from 
the southern hills, and, after approaching the Narbada within 
about a hundred yards, sheers off again, and runs sonle miles 
before it finally joins it. Deep water fills both the channels 
opposite the narrow neck, and the strip of cover between the 
rivers is a favourite resort for all sorts of game in the hot sea- 
son. I was invited by a neighbouring thakur, a Kajput, to 
join a drive for game he was arranging at this place, in which 
he hoped to secure a famous tiger that had long defied every 
effort to kill him. Long will "Whitehead" of the Gaira 
Baira be remembered on the banks of the Narbada. He fur- 
nished sport to a whole generation of the sportsmen of Jub- 
bulpur, and, so far as I know, never was killed. He disap- 
peared in the course of time. Several hundred beaters were 
assembled to beat the leg-of-mutton shaped tract, of which the 
narrow " Monkeys' Leap" between the two rivers formed the 
shank. A large old stump of a banyan tree stood right in the 
centre of the neck, hollowed like a cup at the top by the 
weather, and filled a few inches deep with drift sand: A 
better post for the gunner could not be, and here the thakur 
and I took our places. It was a long drive, and it was not 
for an hour or more that the game began to appear, and 
groups of spotted deer gradually collected on all the knolls 
within sight on the inward side. They grew and grew in 
numbers, gazing back at the beaters and forward at the tree, 
where they had often run the gauntlet before. They were 
very unwilling to come on, but the drive was strong and not 
to be eluded. I watched for the tiger till many of the deer had 
gone past ; at first a straggling doe with her fawn, then small 
groups, and finally a great hustling mass of dappled hides and 


tossing antlers. There was no tiger evidently in the beat. 
Tjx: thakurs long matchlock had already been the death of a 
buck, and he was painfully reloading its long tube from his 
primitive charging implements. I had a couple of rifles, 
single and double, and it was the work of as many seconds 
only to fire the three barrels, killing two and wounding 
another. There were no breech-loaders in those days ; but I 
had time to reload the double while the stream of deer poured 
past, and secure two more bucks before the beaters came up. 
The wounded buck was afterwards recovered. There cannot 
have been less than a thousand spotted deer in this beat ; and 
I never before or since saw such a sight. With a breech- 
loader twenty or thirty bucks could easily have been killed. 
One of the bucks I killed had the largest horns I have 
ever seen, measuring each thirty-eight inches round the 

I had another beat for " Whitehead" afterwards, near the 
same place. The beaters came on him in a patch of long 
grass jungle, from which he obstinately refused to move. He 
had been once wounded in a drive, and never would face 
the guns again. At last we set fire to the jungle, while I 
awaited him on a tree at one end. The raging flames must 
have passed completely over him, and it was not till they had 
nearly reached my post, and the heat was exploding the dried 
fruits of a leael tree* next to me, with reports like pistol shots, 
that I retreated from my post. I had barely reached the 
ground when I heard a shout from the beaters, who were all 
in the trees round about the cover, and the tiger broke out 
among them. Then ensued a dra wing-up of black legs, and a 
perfect Babel of abuse of his remotest ancestors was poured on 
him from the trees as he halted below, and looked up at them 

* ASgh marmalos. 


with a longing gaze. I hurried round, but was just in time 
to see him pause for a moment on the top of a ridge, his grand 
form appearing dilated to an unnatural size, from the bracing 
of the muscles, lashing tail, and bristling coat, bathed in the 
red glow of the setting sun and the blazing jungle. The next 
instant, before my rifle could be got to bear on him, he 
plunged down the farther side and disappeared. 

I had one piece of really wonderful luck in this trip, which 
compensated for a good deal of heavy fagging in vain after 
the monarch of the jungle. I will quote the account as 
written at the time, which betrays an enthusiasm I should 
scarcely be able to call up in such a description now-a-days, 
and which gives the details of a method of hunting tigers 
which in later years I abandoned as involving too great a risk 
of human life, namely, driving with beaters. In such a 
country as the Upper Narbadd valley, however, the more legi- 
timate method of stalking with the elephant could scarcely be 
followed, owing to the extent and density of the cover and 
the abundance of water. 

Three tigers, namely, a tigress and her two nearly full- 
grown cubs, had long been the plague of some villages on the 
banks of the river. Their depredations extended over about 
five miles of country, where they found beef so plentiful and 
easily got that they seldom wandered above that distance from 
their usual haunts, which lay in a mesh of most difficult 
ravines bordering the Narbadd., and running up towards the 
hills. The covert here was of the densest description, though 
thinner, of course, at this time of the year than at any other. 
On my arrival in the neighbourhood, I was immediately 
solicited to go and rid it of these pests, and every assistance 
promised. So I pitched my camp at the village nearest to 
their haunts, and began to lay plans for their destruction. 


There was no need to tie animals out as baits for the tigers, 
as is sometimes done, for here they killed a cow or two every 
other day, although, food being so plentiful, they seldom re- 
mained long near the carcasses. The third evening after I 
came, two cows were killed about a mile from camp. I would 
not allow them to be touched, trusting that, having eaten well 
during the night, the tigers would lie up in some place close 
at hand, to which we might track them next morning, and 
beat them out in the heat of the day. 

When any tracking has to be done, it is of great importance 
to be at the spot very early in the morning, as the breezes, 
which generally rise shortly after daybreak, are apt to destroy 
the fine edges of the impressions left, and by nine o'clock it is 
often impossible to tell whether the marks are old or new. 
We accordingly started for the " murrees" before daylight, 
and had no difficulty in finding the place, which was deeply 
marked by the feet of both tigers and cows, and a broad trail 
led off in the direction the tigers had dragged the carcasses. 
Following this up, it led us shortly into a ravine, where we 
found the remains of both cows deposited in different narrow 
clefts, where the tigers had retired to dine at their leisure. 
Of one the head alone was left, and the head and fore quarters 
of the other. The carcasses had evidently been most scienti- 
fically cleaned out by these professional butchers before setting 
to work, the dung and other refuse being carefully piled up at 
a little distance, so as not to come between the wind and their 
nobility during the repast. Vultures, kites, and crows had 
already commenced to demolish the remainder a sure sign 
that our game had left the immediate neighbourhood. 

Taking up the tracks, we followed them for about half a 
mile along the ravine towards the river. The prints of the 
old lady and her daughters were nearly the same in size, and 


scarcely distinguishable. The G6nds who were tracking 
declared that they could tell that the cubs were both females. 
This, I confess, I was somewhat incredulous of, although I 
had frequently had occasion to admire their extraordinary skill 
in tracking ; and I thought they were merely trusting to the 
well-known preponderance of female over male cubs,* to get 
a little kudos in the event of their prediction turning out 
true. This was subsequently the case, but I have since 
learned that the footmarks are really distinguishable. On in- 
quiry, I found that while the foot of the male leaves an im- 
pression nearly round, that of the tigress is almost oval. On 
seeing them both together the difference is at once perceived. 
This is likewise true of the male and female panther. With 
a single exception, the footprints of all these great cats can be 
distinguished with certainty after a little practice, which is no 
small assistance to the hunter at times. The exception is, 
that a large male panther and a young male tiger leave marks 
absolutely identical, and not to be distinguished by the best 
native trackers. 

After following the easily-read trail in the sandy bottom of 
the ravine for some half-mile or so, the ravine branched off 
into two ; the main branch leading straight down to the 
river, and the other a narrow rock-bound gully striking off 
almost at right angles to the left. The sturdy little Gond 
who was then leading seemed to grow somewhat anxious as 
we approached the junction, and his swarthy countenance 
lighted up with a smile pleasant to see, when he found that all 
three tigers had entered the gorge to the left. 

* Natives account for this by saying that the old male tiger kilh all the 
male cubs he comes across when they are young; and they describe so similarly, 
in different parts of the country, the manoeuvres of mamma to protect her 
young " hopefuls " against their unnatural papa, that I have little doubt of the 
truth of the story. 


" We have them ! " he exclaimed ; " they are in the dewur, 
and as good as killed." 

Dewur is the local name for a place where two or three 
nal&s meet, and form a hollow in which water remains through- 
out the hot weather ; if sufficiently shady and cool, it is a 
favourite haunt of the tiger ; and it really seemed very likely 
that the tigers, having gorged themselves at night, had pro- 
ceeded to lie up in the dewur, as surmised by the Gond. To 
make all sure, we described a circle round the place, carefully 
examining all the nal^s that led from it, and finding no marks 
to indicate their exit, returned to camp, pretty confident of 
having "ringed" the family, and that we would find them 
asleep about twelve o'clock. A scorching hot wind was 
blowing fiercely across the plain when I left my tent after 
breakfast, and mounted the howdah. It was fearfully hot, 
and the flickering haze that plays over the bare ground at this 
season, like an exhalation of gas from its surface, playing the 
strangest pranks with houses, trees, and figures, was exceed- 
ingly painful to the eyes. Never mind ! all the more chance 
of finding the tigers at home, and we were soon under way 
for the dewur. About 150 beaters had collected, for, the 
whole wealth of these people lying in their herds, they were 
naturally anxious for the destruction of the family of pests. 

On arriving at the scene of operations, they were told off 
into four parties, each placed under charge of one of the more 
respectable inhabitants ; and, after strict injunctions about 
taking to trees, etc., were dispatched to their several posts. 
There were only two places where the tigers were likely to 
break, of which one led to the river, and the other, a dry 
watercourse, towards the neighbouring hills. Some peculiari- 
ties in the ground induced me to select the latter for my own 
post, while I intrusted the former to the old shikari with his 


matchlock. I got an excellent position in a thick covert of 
jaman bushes, while at the same time effectually commanding 
the pass. 

Half an hour elapsed, as agreed on, and then burst forth 
from the beaters the most terrific Babel of barbarous noises 
ever heard out of Pandemonium. I had engaged a " band," 
that had come from some distance to assist at the marriage of 
a wealthy merchant in the village, and we were, consequently, 
powerful in instrumental music. Fancy-drums, great and 
small, " ear-piercing fifes," * rumtoolahs" of formidable dimen- 
sions (a hideous copper wind instrument, indescribable in 
simple English, but which I fancy must be identical with the 
" cholera horn " of Southern India), mingled with a tempest 
of watchmen's rattles (each of fifty landrail power), and 
abundantly supplemented by vocal abuse of the tigers' ances- 
tors to the tenth generation, delivered in the loudest key of 
native Billingsgate, and you have a faint idea of the row ! 

As they approached, it of course got more and more ex- 
citing, and soon the various inhabitants of the dewur began 
to make their appearance. First came a peacock and two 
hens, pattering over the fallen leaves. Sharper in eyesight 
than any other denizen of the forest, they soon observed me, 
and, rising in a panic, sailed off with their beautifully steady 
flight towards the river, the gorgeous plumage of the cock 
flashing in the sun six feet of living gold and purple ! 

Another rustle, and a herd of spotted deer came trotting 
over a little eminence ahead, led by a well-antlered buck, 
with two more good 'ones bringing up the rear. Entirely 
taken up by the noise of the beaters, they never observed me, 
and, passing within fifteen paces of my elephant, disappeared 
in the jungle. I could have shot any one, or perhaps two, of 
the bucks, but seeing what was more interesting at the time, 


held my hand. This was a troop of baboons hoary-bearded 
old fellows, and matrons with their young ones in their arms 
who were perched on the trees ahead, and had already 
commenced their angry warnings that the tigers were there. 

Then came the glorious moment of excitement, ample 
reward for days of bootless toil. The tigress came sneaking 
along amongst the bushes that fringed the nala, and, halting 
about sixty paces off, turned round her head for a moment 
towards the beaters. Steady now ! the bottom of the neck is 
exposed, and the sight of the big rifle bears full upon the 
proper spot. Bang ! and with a gurgling roar, over she rolls 
into the nala\ Is it she ? or the devil, or what 1 Certainly 
she fell ; but, from the very spot she stood on, bounds forth 
the image of herself, with blood pouring in torrents from a 
gaping wound in the neck ! More still : a third leaps the 
nala" just in front of my elephant, and the jungle seems 
alive with tigers. I had instantly exchanged the single for 
the double rifle, and as this one passed me at full speed, 
I rolled her over with a broken back and a bullet through the 
shoulder. Meantime the wounded one had disappeared behind 
me, and I proceeded to inspect the field, and count the killed 
and wounded. The last shot was a cub ; so was the one that 
had rolled into the nala to the first shot ; and it was the 
old tigress that had escaped behind me. This was all a 
mystery, till I found that the first one was shot through the 
heart, the ball entering through the ribs, whereas, the first 
tiger I had fired at was standing almost facing me when 
I pulled ; and then it was explained. One ball, the crashing 
two-ounce one, had passed through the tigress, and killed cub 
No. 1 on the other side. 

My little elephant, a female called Kali, quite untried, 
which I had borrowed from the Jubbulpiir commissariat, had 


behaved nobly. Curling her trunk out of harm's way, and 
placing her sturdy fore legs firmly before her, she stood like a 
rock in the midst of all the noise (for the trio roared like very 
bulls of Bashan). I had therefore perfect confidence in pro- 
ceeding to follow up the wounded tigress. We soon found 
blood in plenty leading along the nala" towards the hills. I 
had taken the precaution of placing scouts on all the prin- 
cipal trees, some of whom had seen her cross an open space 
and enter the nala" where it debouched from a cleft in the 
hill side ; she was going quite strong, they said, although 
bleeding freely from the neck. On inquiry I found that the 
gorge in the hill was a mere cul-de-sac, having no exit at 
the other side, except on to an elevated plateau, as bare 
as my hand, which a wounded tiger would never dare to face. 
There was no doubt, therefore, that she had stopped in this 
gully and would fight, so I proceeded to make arrangements 
for the attack. The first thing done was to send men up the 
hill, by a circuitous route, to post themselves on trees all 
round the top of the ravine, as outlooks. This done, I 
advanced along the nala" till I found the blood again, which 
I followed up slowly, keeping a bright look-out ahead. The 
ravine was densely covered on both banks by clumps of 
bamboo jungle, and I had just reached the first of these when 
up jumped the tigress with a roar, and galloped off as fresh 
as ever towards the head of the ravine ; I had two snap shots 
at her, which made her speak still louder, but otherwise had 
no effect. The people above now shouted out that she had 
again lain down higher up the nala, among some bamboos 
half-way up the banks. It would not do to approach her in 
this position from below, as a charge would probably have 
resulted in a general roll to the bottom of the ravine ; so, 
with considerable labour, we climbed up to the table-land, 


and went round till we were right above her. Here, however, 
the bank was too steep to admit of a descent ; so, getting a 
supply of stones into the howdah, I commenced bombarding 
the bamboo clumps, and at the third shot the tigress charged 
out. On she came within twenty paces, when her heart 
failed her ; she turned sharp off to the left, .and I got two 
pretty fair shots at her, which told loudly, but still she went 
on as strong as ever. This time she crossed quite over to 
the opposite side of the ravine, and ascended the bank, as if 
with the intention of bolting across the open ground. The 
scouts kept shouting out to me to come round, which I did, 
and found them in a terrible panic, for the tigress, seeing 
them on the trees, kept walking about and eyeing them in a 
cat-and-mouse sort of manner, growling fearfully and lashing 
her tail about. The first of them I came to told me she was 
then lying down at the foot of a tree further on, watching 
two Gonds in the branches. I soon reached the place : the 
wretched Gonds were too much frightened to speak, but 
pointed to the ground below the tree, and sat jabbering like 
monkeys as I approached. I now made out the tail of the 
tigress impatiently switching up and down ; she herself being 
crouched in the long grass, I could not see her body. On 
perceiving the elephant, she jumped up, and, making a short 
run forwards, crouched again. We steadily advanced, and, 
finding she could not put us to flight, she took to it herself, 
and suddenly bounded again towards the ravine. I had 
another shot as she was disappearing over the bank. This 
time it was the large rifle, and she caught it unmistakably ; 
for, on coming to the place where she had vanished, we could 
hear her down below, growling and struggling on the ground. 
The descent here was more gradual, though the bamboo cover 
was dreadfully thick. The elephant was sliding down on her 


haunches, stones and earth rolling down before her. The 
growling grew deeper as we descended, and the noise of 
struggling ceased, as if the tigress had collected herself for 
a last charge. The bamboo stems kept whipping me in the 
face as I stood in the howdah with my double smooth-bore 
ready for the coup de grace. My face was soon covered with 
blood, and my shooting jacket torn to ribands. A raging 
thirst parched my throat, for I had now been some five hours 
in the sun ; and my hat having been swept off on first enter- 
ing the bamboos, its rays had been for some time beating 
full on my unprotected skull. I felt my head begin to swim, 
and the bamboo stems to dance before me in an indistinct 
maze. Had it lasted much longer, I feel certain I must have 
had a sunstroke ; but the last act was playing out. Crash 
went the elephant into a dense clump of bamboos ; a jagged 
stem seized me by the neck ; and as I raised my hand to 
disengage it, the roar of the tigress burst forth in my very 
face ; a striped form rose in the centre of the clump, in the 
act of bounding on the elephant's head. Leaning over the 
railing of the howdah, I levelled the gun, double-shotted in 
both barrels, at her chest ; and the next moment was shout- 
ing out : " For God's sake, bring that claret and water, will 
you, and come down, half a dozen of you, and take up this 
carcass ! " 

So I bagged the whole family, to the no small delight of 
the cattle-keepers of the place. 

A large panther was making himself very troublesome at 
that time in the neighbourhood of the Jubbulpur and Mandld, 
road. He had killed several children in different villages, 
and promised, unless suppressed, to become a regular man- 
eater. I encamped for some days : in the neighbourhood of 
his haunts, and the very first night the villain had the im- 


pudence to kill and drag away a good-sized baggage pony- 
out of my camp. The night being warm, I was sleeping out- 
side, for the sake of coolness, and was awakened by the riving 
gurgling noise close to my bed. It was too dark to see ; so I 
pulled out the revolver, that in those uncertain times always 
lay under my pillow, and fired off a couple of shots to scare 
the intruder. Getting a light, I was relieved to find it was 
only the pony, instead of a human being, as I had half 
feared, and we proceeded to investigate the condition of the 

The brute had seized him by the neck, which was dis- 
located ; the jugular was also divided, and he had evidently 
been drinking the blood when my shots, or perhaps the light, 
scared him off. The night was too dark for any attempt to 
kill the panther, who moreover had probably been scared com- 
pletely away from the neighbourhood of the camp. It was, 
however, very probable that he would return next evening in 
quest of the pony before it was too dark to shoot, and I was 
persuaded by the old shikari to sit up on a " machan " and 
watch for him. A small nala" ran from the river nearly up 
to the camp, as is always the case when a misadventure like 
this occurs. This I had overlooked when selecting a site for 
my tent. We dragged the carcass, without touching it our- 
selves, to the head of this nala, where there was a con- 
venient tree. The shikari an old hand at this sort of work 
strewed the ground for some paces round the pony with 
fresh white wheat chaff, which he said would not prevent the 
panther coming to feed, while it certainly rendered the chance 
of hitting in the dark much greater ; and about sunset he and 
I took our places on the machan. There was small chance of 
the panther making his appearance so early in the evening, so 

I commenced a whispered conversation with the old man about 

z 2 


machan-shooting in general, which he evidently considered the 
finest sport in the world, as well as the safest. He was full 
of stories of curious events that had occurred to himself and 
others ; and told me many as we sat through the long hours 
together, of which I only remembered one next morning suffi- 
ciently well to note it down in my journal. Somehow we got 
on the subject of man-eating tigers, and I happened to ask 
him if he had ever watched for a man-eater over the body of 
a man he had killed. 

" Yes," said he, " but I didn't much fancy it, as it stinks 
abominably ; and besides I don't care to have more to do with 
ghosts than I can help, after what happened to P&d&m Singh, 
Th^kur of Ponhrf." 

With much pressing, I got him to tell me this wonderful 
tale, which was much as follows : " The village of Ponrhi, 
about thirty coss from here, was haunted a few years ago by a 
perfect shitan of a man-eating tiger. He was very old and 
very cunning. There were two ghats that led from the vil- 
lage to the open country, and on the hill between these he 
used to live. Whenever he saw any persons leave the village, 
he would rush across to the gMt they .selected, and waylay 
them there ; springing out with a roar, and carrying off one of 
the party like a flash of lightning. Often did the people of 
the village see him thus stalking some wretched traveller, and 
sometimes were in time to warn him to take to a tree ; but 
still oftener the monster was too cunning for them, and ap- 
proached his victim in the stealthy manner only a man-eater 
can. He sometimes left his post for a few days, and was then 
sure to be heard of at some one of the surrounding villages, at 
his old tricks. The road by Ponhri was soon completely 
blocked up, and no one would pass that way, although it was 
the high road to several large villages. The tiger soon became 


straitened for food, as, having become confirmed in his taste 
for human flesh, he could now eat no other ; so he took to fre- . 
quenting the outskirts of the village, and two or three times 
stalked the Aheers who were driving home their cattle up to 
the very doors. The buffaloes, however, which you know do 
not in the least fear a tiger when in a body, always discovered 
him and drove him off before he could do any mischief. Thus 
repeatedly baffled, the man-eater conceived the bold idea of 
lying in wait for one of the cowherds in his own house. This 
he did, somehow managing to smuggle himself in unobserved ; 
and when the wretched man, after securing his charge in their 
shed, returned blithely home to his dinner, just as he reached 
the door forth sprang the terrible scourge of the village, and, 
racing off to the hills with the Aheer in his horrid jaws, disap- 
peared in an instant ! 

" It was about the hour of sunset, and most of the villagers 
returned from their work were collected by the image of Ma- 
hadeo, under the village pepul tree, discussing the events of 
the day. Amongst them was a G6nd Thakur, named Pdd&m 
Singh, who had killed his tiger, and was consequently con- 
sidered the village authority on sporting matters. He was a 
man of determination, as his after-conduct will show, and at 
once proposed that they should proceed in a body and rescue 
the remains of their fellow-villager from the maw of the 
spoiler. Arming themselves as best they could, and taking 
all the drums and other noisy instruments in the village, they 
sallied forth and approached the spot where the man-eater 
had retired to devour the Aheer. Bold and undaunted as the 
tiger is when himself the aggressor, the most terrible man- 
eater wants the courage to stand the approach of a body of men 
like this ; so he retreated (as indeed the villagers very well knew 
he would). They found the corpse half eaten, the upper half 


remaining untouched. Pdm Singh, the possessor of the only 
.matchlock in the place, proposed that the remains should be 
left untouched, that he might sit up in a tree, and, awaiting 
the return of the tiger, rid the village for ever of the pest. To 
this the dead man's relations yielded an unwilling assent, and 
Pd,dd,m Singh was left to the ghastly company of the corpse? 
perched high on a neighbouring tree. Ere long the man- 
eater returned, and the Thakiir watched his approach with 
immense satisfaction from his lofty position. The tiger ap- 
proached within eighty yards or so thirty too far for a sure 
aim with the rude matchlock. Then he paused, and to his 
horror the Th&kiir saw the mutilated corpse slowly raise its 
right arm, and point with a warning gesture at himself ! On 
the signal, the man-eater instantly disappeared in the jungle. 
Transfixed with horror, the Thakiir remained glued to the 
tree. Shortly the tiger again returned, and again was the 
same mute warning given by the dead man, the tiger disap- 
pearing as before. A bright idea now struck the Thakur, 
who had somewhat recovered his senses ; and cutting two 
sharp stakes with his knife, he slipped down the tree and 
pegged both hands of the corpse firmly to the ground. 
Scarcely had he regained his perch when the man-eater again 
appeared ; and, concluding from the absence of the signal that 
the danger no longer existed, proceeded quietly to resume his 
horrid feast. He had buried his jaws in the neck of the 
corpse, when the matchlock of the avenger flashed forth its 
contents. Struck full on the shoulder by the two bullets with 
which Pddd-m Singh had loaded his weapon, the dreaded man- 
eater rolled over dead on the body of his last victim." 

It is singular how widely spread is this superstition regard- 
ing the malice against their fellows entertained by the spirits 
of persons killed by wild beasts. According to Sir J. Lub- 


bock, many other savage races, besides those of India, have 
entertained it ; and it will be seen further on that it forms the 
ground of a singular ceremony among the wild Byg&s of the 
Mandla" district. 

The panther of course never came to the carcass of the 
pony. I never saw an animal do so yet ; but I have, I confess, 
only tried it a few times. Some sportsmen have been very 
successful in this machan-shooting by night ; but it would be 
poor fun even if one killed a tiger every night. 

Sambar were extremely numerous at that time on the hills 
on both sides of the valley, but particularly on the north side. 
Shots at them could be procured by driving almost any of the 
hills with beaters, and I killed a number of them both this 
way and by stalking. Although it was near the end of the 
month of April, when, according to theory, both sambar and 
spotted deer should have cast their horns \ yet, out of the im- 
mense number of both species that I saw in this trip, only one 
sambar, and two or three spotted bucks, were without horns. 
Some of the most interesting sport I have had in this valley 
has been in coursing the sambar with dogs. During this trip 
I fell in with a gang of G6nd woodcutters, who possessed a 
number of fine large red-coloured dogs, with the aid of which 
they were able to run down and spear many deer and wild 

This red breed of pariahs is certainly the indigenous one of 
these parts, whether or not, as I suspect, descended from the 
wild species which frequents these jungles. The large parti- 
coloured animals, seen about Hindu villages in the open val- 
ley, were probably imported along with their masters. The 
wild dogs live in packs of fifteen or twenty, and prey exclu- 
sively on game, running down all sorts of deer like a pack of 
hounds. Where a pack has been hunting for any time, most 


of the game naturally disappears. This applies to the tiger 
even, which they are said to attack wherever they meet him. 
Tigers would naturally follow the herds of deer on which they 
prey, if they were moved by the wild dogs ; but there is such 
a consensus of native opinion as to the wild pack actually 
hunting, and even sometimes killing tigers, that it is difficult 
altogether to discredit it. I do not believe that any number 
of the dogs could overcome a tiger in fair fight ; but I think it 
quite possible that they might stick to him, and wear him out 
by keeping him from his natural food. Many stories are 
related of tigers climbing into trees (which of course is quite 
against their nature) to escape from them ; and I once saw the 
bones of a tiger lying on a ledge of rock, where more than one 
person assured me that they had seen him lying surrounded 
by a large pack of the wild dogs. 

The wild dog of this part of India* is about the size of a 
small setter, and the colour of the old " mustard " breed of 
terriers. In shape, however, he is more vulpine than any 
European breed of dogs, with a long, sharp face, erect but 
not very long or pointed ears, and slouching tail never raised 
higher than the line of the back. In these respects he very 
much resembles the red pariahs above mentioned, the most 
noticeable distinction being that the latter raise their tails at 
times a good deal higher, with something of a curl. Very 
often, however, and particularly when moving fast, the pariahs 
carry their tails just like the wild dog ; and so close is some- 
times the resemblance between them, that I remember on one 
occasion, near MandUi, I allowed what afterwards proved to 
be really a wild dog to escape from before my rifle, as he 
trotted across the road before me, thinking him to be one of 
those red pariahs strayed from some village. There is of 

* Cuon rutilans. 


course the considerable distinction, that the wild dog cannot 
bark, while the tame one can. But how readily the voice of 
the latter reverts to the howl of the wild animal must have 
been remarked by everyone who has passed by a village when 
they came forth to salute him. 

But to return to our muttons. I arranged with the owners 
of some of these red dogs to have a morning's sambar-hunting 
with them, assisted by two capital hounds of my own. Scouts 
were out before daybreak, and marked down a herd of about 
twenty sdmbar on a spur which jutted out into the plain from 
the main range of hills. This spur was covered with mhowd 
trees, the deciduous flowers of which have a strong attraction 
for all sorts of deer, as well as bears and Gonds. The former 
come long distances at night to eat the flowers that drop in 
great profusion as soon as ripe, Bruin, if too late for the feast, 
having no objection to scramble up and get some for himself. 
The plan was to send a strong body of beaters round to the 
neck of the spur, while we were to post ourselves with the 
dogs where it ended in the plain. I call it plain, but it was 
so only comparatively speaking. Broken and treacherous 
"cotton-soil" it was, intersected by numerous ndUs, and 
about as bad ground to ride over as could well be 

We were wending our way down a somewhat precipitous 
pathway that led from the village to the scene of operations, 
when the Gond to whom I was talking dropped behind on 
some pretence or other, and shortly afterwards we passed one 
of the primitive altars they erect near almost every pathway. 
This consists of a platform of hard mud, on which are con- 
structed, of the same material, small models of the necessary 
implements of their simple life, such as a cooking-place, flat 
plate, etc. Near the platform is a stake planted in the 


ground, from which project two wooden arms, drilled with 
holes; through these a peeled wand is passed, the top of 
which is decorated with a streamer of red cloth. Close by is 
a cairn of stones, to which every passer-by adds another. 
These altars are generally erected to the manes of some one of 
their race who bore a saintly reputation during life, and 
offerings placed on them are supposed to propitiate his spirit. 
On this occasion the Grond who had dropped behind, and who 
was the leader and concocter of the present hunt, stopped 
before the altar ; and, after a prostration, extracted from the 
folds of his waistcloth, and placed on the plate constructed 
for such purposes, a peeled onion ! Each of the band then 
added a stone to the heap, muttering at the same time some- 
thing I could not make out, and passed on. This was for 

We soon reached our station, and taking up a properly 
concealed position, awaited the approach of the game. The 
beaters had a long way to go round, and we had waited about 
an hour when their voices began to be heard, as they advanced 
in a long line that stretched completely across the spur. They 
were still about a quarter of a mile off, when I made out that 
something unexpected had occurred, by their shouts suddenly 
ceasing, and then breaking out into a terrific and concentrated 
yell ! By my glass I saw that some of them had taken to 
trees, and that all were looking down the hill-side to the left 
of the line. Advancing my Dollond in that direction, I made 
out some black objects trundling down the hill, and a few 
moments afterwards, as they emerged on the plain, I saw that 
they were a bear and two cubs ; they were making for another 
spur of the hill that ran parallel to the one we were beating, 
at a distance of about half a mile. Between them ran the 
dry bed of a nala, formed of a natural pavement of huge flag- 


stones, and strewn with boulders that had been rolled down 
from the hills above. Jumping on my pony, I started up this 
nala\ at a rattling pace, scrambling and sliding in a most 
wonderful manner over the stones, till I again caught sight 
of the bears going leisurely about two hundred yards ahead. 
I had gained about fifty more on them before they saw me, 
and was just going to pull up and fire, when they set off at a 
shambling gallop, which, owing to the badness of the ground, 
soon left me far in the rear. Coming to a better place, I 
rapidly gained on them again, but the hill was too near, and 
I was full 150 paces behind when they commenced the ascent. 
Pulling up, I administered my two barrels with as much 
steadiness as my panting steed would admit of ; the second 
shot told somewhere, as testified by the growls it elicited from 
the old " she," but it was too far for such a snap shot, and 
their movements seemed to be only accelerated. Throwing 
my bridle over a branch, I was reloaded in a few seconds, and 
scrambling up in Bruin's tracks, I heard them above me on 
the hill-side rustling among the dried leaves, but could not 
get another shot ; nor did I find any blood. This was very 
unlucky, for if I had had a suspicion of there being bears on 
the hill, I would never have taken up the position I did, as a 
bear would break back through an army of beaters rather 
than take to an open plain, where he had no stronghold to 
make for. The bear is very sweet upon the " mhowaV' and 
these had evidently come down to feed on it ; for, had they 
been regular residents, the villagers must have been aware of 
it from seeing their tracks and excavations. 

The beaters, who had suspended operations to witness the 
result of the bear chase, now resumed their beating, while I 
rode slowly along the bed of the nald, in case there might be 
any more of the family left. We had reached within about 


200 yards of where the dogs were concealed, when I observed 
a dun hide glance between two bushes, and shortly afterwards 
the whole herd of sa^nbar filed slowly down the face of the 
hill. Indecision still swayed them, and, fearing lest they 
might yet break back, I fired off my rifle ; at the same time 
a round stone from the beaters rolled down the hill among 
them, and down they galloped straight for the hounds. The 
Gonds, in their eagerness, slipped their dogs too soon, and 
about half the herd broke back through the beaters after all ; 
the rest took across the plain in the direction of the spur the 
bears had reached. Shouting to my man to let loose the grey- 
hounds, as the deer were in full view, I started off at the best 
pace I could muster over such ground. Had it not been for 
my own dogs, the sdmbar would probably have reached the 
hills and been safe ; but, as it was, they shot ahead of the 
Gondi pack, and the sambar, finding they could not make the 
hills, turned off towards the river. By cutting off an angle 
here I gained a good deal on the chase, and could see that my 
hounds, dog and bitch, were well up. The dog is a heavy, 
powerful, Kampur hound, while the bitch, more lightly made, 
has considerably the speed of him. As I came up, she made 
a gallant rush at the hindmost stag, and, springing at his 
hocks, deer and dog rolled over together. She wanted power, 
however ; and, before the dog was up to help her, the stag was 
up and pegging away as fast as ever. Two or three of the 
Gondi dogs now joined in at a respectful distance, but going 
as if they meant something. Shortly afterwards I came 
up to a deep nald, and missing the pass by which the 
deer and dogs had crossed, lost a deal of distance in 
trying to find it out. Everywhere else the bank was 
about twenty feet deep, and nearly perpendicular. At last 
I found the place, and, crossing over, had the satisfaction 


of finding that I was utterly alone, dogs and deer having 

I knew the direction of the river, and rode for that, but soon 
got into the labyrinth of nalds that fringe its bed, and had 
the greatest difficulty in forcing my nag through amongst the 
bamboos. The nalas themselves were a perfect puzzle; in 
and out and roundabout, they twisted like the alleys in fair 
Bosamond's bower ; and I several times found myself in the 
place I had just left. At last I got into the bed of one of the 
principal of them, that led straight down to the Narbada* ; 
and, by dint of occasionally putting my head under my pony's 
neck and forcing him through the bamboos, and here and 
there leaping a fallen tree, I soon emerged on the shingly 
banks of the river, and, pulling up to listen, I thought I heard 
a faint yelp far, far up the stream. 

A broad belt of sand and shingle intervened between the 
jungle and the shrunken river, along which I galloped for 
about a mile, the baying of the dogs becoming more and more 
distinct as I rode. A few minutes after, I reached the scene 
of conflict a shady nook of the river, arched in by the mas- 
sive boughs of trees, interspersed with the feathering stems of 
the bamboo. A giant forest tree lay felled by the brink of 
the pool, worm-eaten and water-logged, as if it had lain there 
for centuries, and beyond this stood the stag at bay, chest 
deep in the water. Four of the G6ndi dogs and my grey- 
hound bitch were baying him from the log; and just as I 
arrived a black little Gond, spear in hand, emerged from the 
forest and jumped on to the tree. Two or three prods he 
made at him with his weapon failed to reach him ; and he 
was just about to leap into the water, when the greyhound, 
encouraged by our arrival, made a fierce leap at the stag, 
falling short by about a yard of her intended mark. Instantly 


the deer bounded forward, and with his fore feet struck the 
hound under water ; but in so doing he forgot his fence, and 
exposed his flank within striking distance of his human foe. 
The spear was buried twice in his side, and the dark water 
was streaked with crimson as the blood poured from the 
wounds. The poor brute now tries to struggle to the 
shore, but in vain ; the dogs are upon him in a body, and 
their united weight bears him down; a few more spear 
thrusts, and the gallant stag is bubbling out his life under 

The distance run must have been about four miles, but I 
had ridden probably double that distance. The dogs were a 
good deal done up, as the heat was by this time tremendous ; 
but a swim in the river, and half an hour in the cool shade 
made them all right again. These Gondi dogs must have 
wonderful noses to follow deer by scent over the burning 
ground at full speed, as they are said to do. They had not 
much trouble on this occasion, as the greyhound bitch had 
never lost sight of the stag to the finish, and cut out the work 
for the others. 

At other times, I have had excellent sport with the fine 
breed of dogs possessed by the Bunjard carriers referred to in 
a former chapter. If the wild dog were available to breed 
from, a still better hound for sambar-hunting might probably 
be obtained. With more regular organisation, better dogs, 
and more sportsmen, sambar-hunting in this country might 
give admirable sport. The best breed, if the wild dog is, as 
is probable, unavailable, would be the cross between the 
Scotch deerhound and the Bunjard, dog, the former being the 
mother. Pups of a Bunjdrd bitch almost invariably grow up 
with "vernacular" habits, and a hatred of Europeans. A 
real specimen of the Bunjard, should however be selected, and 


this is not easy, the breed having got much mixed with the 
common village pariah dog. The true Bunjdra" is a fine, up- 
standing hound, of about twenty-eight inches high, generally 
black mottled with grey or blue, with a rough but silky coat, 
a high-bred, hound-like head, and well feathered on ears, legs, 
and tail. He shows a good deal of resemblance to the Per- 
sian greyhound, but is stouter built, and with a squarer 
muzzle. Probably this wandering race of gipsies may have 
brought the originals with them from Western Asia, the sub- 
sequent modification of them being due to a cross with some 
of the indigenous breeds. The Bunjai-a* breed possesses 
indomitable pluck, can go about as fast as a foxhound, and 
will run all day. His nose is superior to that of any other 
domestic breed in a hot climate ; but he wants better speed 
for coursing deer, and attachment to Europeans. 

The common black sloth-bear of the plains of India* is 
very plentiful in the hills on either side of the Narbadd,, 
between Jubbulpur and Mandla\ Indeed, there are few parts 
of these highlands where a bear may not at any time be 
met with. They are generally very harmless until attacked, 
living on roots, honey, and insects, chiefly white ants, which 
they dig out of their earthen hillocks. The natives call them 
ddam-zdd, or "sons of men/' and, considering them half 
human, will not as a rule molest them. Eeally, their absurd 
antics almost justify the idea. Sometimes, however, a bear 
will attack very savagely without provocation generally, 
when they are come upon suddenly, and their road of 
escape is cut off. As a rule, in frequented parts, they do 
not come out of their midday retreats, in caves and dense 
thickets, until nightfall ; but, in remoter tracts, they may be 
met with in the middle of the day. I was once charged by 

* Ursus labiatus. 


four bears all at once, which I had come upon near the high 
road between Jubbulpiir and Damoh,. feeding under a mhowd 
tree. I had two guns, and hit three of them ; but had to 
bolt from the fourth, who chased me about a hundred yards, 
and then dived into a ravine. Eeturning to the scene of 
action, I found one sitting at the foot of a tree, bewailing his 
fate in most melancholy whines, and finished him with a ball 
in the ear. The other two had gone down the slope of a hill, 
and I started off to head them. The ground was rocky and 
very slippery, and I had not gone far when I fell, my rifle 
sliding away down the hill, to the considerable damage of its 
stock and barrels. I picked myself up, however, and by dint 
of hard running, arrived above and parallel to the bears, and 
commenced a running fight with them, in which my chances 
would have been a good deal better, had I had a breech 
instead of a muzzle loader. As it was, I had to keep one 
barrel unfired in case of a charge, and peg away at long 
intervals with the other. At last, one of them came round 
up the hill at me, rising on his hind legs, pulling down 
branches, and dancing and spluttering in so ludicrous a 
manner, that I could scarcely shoot for laughter. When I 
did, he got both barrels through the chest, and subsided. 
I never got the other, as it had sufficient headway to escape 
into some hollow rocks near the river-side. A wounded bear 
will often charge with great determination. He comes on 
like a great cannon ball ; and the popular idea, that he will 
rise on his hind legs in time to give a shot at the " horse- 
shoe " mark on his chest, to penetrate which is fatal, is, as a 
rule, a mistake. But a shot, when he is ten or fifteen yards 
off, will nearly always turn, if it does not kill him. The 
most successful way of getting bears is to get up very early, 
and go up to some commanding position, that overlooks the 


pathways taken by the animals on their return from the low 
ground, where they go nightly to feed. They can then either 
be intercepted, or marked into some cover, and afterwards 
beaten out. It is a sport of which a little is great fun ; but 
one soon tires of it, the animals being generally so easily 
killed, and furnishing neither trophy (an Indian bearskin 
being a poor affair), nor food. Most sportsmen ere long come 
to agree with the natives, and let the ddam-z&d alone, except 
when they turn up by accident. 

It was in these jungles that I first saw the great rock 
python of India, which is the subject of so many wonderful 
tales. I was following the track of a wounded deer, and, the 
day being very hot, had mounted my horse, a chestnut Arab, 
from which I could shoot, carrying a rifle. The horse almost 
trod upon him, lying on a narrow pathway, and started back 
with a snort, as the great snake slowly twisted himself off 
the road, and down the slope of the hill, along which it 
wound. A loud rustling, and here and there the wave of 
a fold in the grass, told me that something was moving 
down the bank, and I forced the horse after it, very unwill- 
ingly on his part, till with a loud hiss, and a swish of his 
folds, the serpent gathered himself into a great coil, just 
under the horse's nose. A very unpleasant sound, like the 
boiling of a big kettle, came from the gathered pyramid of 
coils, and I lost no time in leaning over and firing both 
barrels of the rifle into the mass, at the same time drawing 
the horse back to the pathway, as I did not know the 
customer I had to deal with. The snake made off down the 
hill, and my horse refused to follow, so that, before I could 
dismount and get down on foot, all trace of him was lost. 
I was taken by surprise, or should perhaps have made a better 
business of it. My impression was that the creature was 

A A 


about twenty-five feet long, of a leaden colour, and about 
as thick as a large man s thigh. I have seen one killed in the 
same jungles, which measured sixteen feet in length. They 
are of a very sluggish disposition, and do not molest man. 
The stories of their swallowing spotted deer whole, antlers 
and all, I believe to be utter myths. 

Horns of Spotted Deer. (Scale, one tenth.) 



Head Streams of the Narbada The Mandla Plateau A Prairie Country 
Character of the Uplands Scenery Climate Scanty Population Gonds 
Bj'gas Their retired Habits Poisoned Arrows Courage of the Bygas 
Patriarchal Institutions A singular Race The Byga Medicine Man 
Tiger Charming A pleasant Custom Byga Seers Religious Senti- 
ments Destruction of Sal Trees The Dammer Resin Traffic of the 
Bygas Character of the Sal Forests Forest Products Lac Dye Tusser 
Silk A grazing Country Value of Cattle Prospects of the Country Its 
Resources Causes of Backwardness Wanting Population Distance of 
Markets Malaria Advantages of the Tract for Settlers European Colo- 
nisation Field for Enterprise A Missionary Attempt Land Jobbing 
Prospects of Missions Wild Animals The Red Deer Its Habits Variety 
of Game A Christmas Party Beating with Elephants A Tiger Shot 
Flying The Halon Valley A Mendicant Killed by a Tiger Stalking the 
Red Deer Kill a Stag A Run at a Hind A Wild Elephant Singular 
Freak Range of Wild Elephants Tigers Roaring at Night A remarkable 
Serenade Large Herds of Red Deer The Wild Buffalo. 

Above Mandla, the valley of the Narbada opens out into a 
wide upland country, the main river, between this and Jub- 
bulpur, joined by few and unimportant tributaries, here 
radiating like the fingers of a hand, and draining the rainfall 
of an extensive triangular plateau, known as the Mandla dis- 
trict. These converging valleys rise in elevation towards the 
south', where they terminate in a transverse range of hills, 
which sends down spurs between them, subdividing the drain- 
age. The valleys themselves also successively rise in general 
elevation, by a step-like formation from west to east. Furthest 
to the west, that of the Banjar river possesses a general height 

A A 2 



of about 2,000 feet ; next is that drained by the Halon and 
the Phen at about 2,300 ; still further to the east the basin of 
the Khormdr has risen to about 2,800 feet ; and furthest east 
of all is the plateau of Amarkantak, the chief source of the 
Narbada, which attains a general altitude of about 3,300 feet, 
with smaller flat-topped elevations reaching to 4,000 feet 
above the sea. The hilly range which runs along the southern 
border of the district is called the Mykat, and overlooks, in a 
steep descent to the southward, a flat low-lying country called 
Chattisgarh, or " the land of thirty-six forts." 

Sal forests in the Halon valley. 

The elevated cradle of the infant Narbada, thus described, 
contains within its outer circle of hills an area of not less than 
7,000 square miles ; mcuh of it, of course, of a broken and un- 
culturable character, but comprising also in the valleys much 


of what may properly be called virgin soil of the finest 
quality. The M^kat range, and the radiating spurs which 
separate the plateau, are mostly clothed with forests of the sal 
tree, which, here as elsewhere, almost monopolizes the parts 
where it grows. The saj alone grows in any quantity along 
with it. Some of the hills are covered with the ordinary 
species of forest trees of other parts ; the species of vegeta- 
tion appearing, as I have said before, to depend much on the 
geological formation. 

The valleys themselves are generally open and free from all 
underwood, dotted here and there by belts and islands of the 
noble sal tree, and altogether possessing much of the character 
ascribed to the American prairies. In their lowest parts the 
soil is deep, black, and rich, covered with a growth of strong 
tall grasses. As the valleys merge into the hilly ranges, the 
soils become lighter and redder, from the lateritic topping 
that here overlies the basaltic and granitic bases of the hills ; 
the grasses are less rank and coarse ; and in many places 
springs of clear cold water bubble up, clothing the country 
with belts of perpetual verdure, and conferring on it an 
aspect of freshness very remarkable in a country of such 
comparatively small elevation in the centre of India. Every- 
thing combines to deprive this region of the sterile and 
inhospitable appearance worn by even most upland tracts 
during the hot season. The sal tree is almost the only ever- 
green forest tree in India. Throughout the summer its 
glossy dark-green foliage reflects the light in a thousand 
vivid tints : and just when all other vegetation is at its worst, 
a few weeks before the gates of heaven are opened in the 
annual monsoon, the sal selects its opportunity of bursting 
into a fresh garment of the brightest and softest green. The 
traveller who has lingered till that late period in these wilds 


is charmed by the approach of a second spring, and it requires 
no slight effort to believe himself still in a tropical country. The 
atmosphere has been kept humid by the moisture from the 
broad sheets of water retained by the upland streams, which 
descends nightly in dews on the open valleys. The old 
trasses of the prairie have been burnt in the annual conflagra- 
tions, and a covering of youug verdure has taken their place. 
Now and then the familiar note of the cuckoo* (identical 
with the European bird), and the voices of many birds, in- 
cluding the deep musical coo of the grand imperial pigeon, 
heighten the delusion. But for the bamboo thickets on the , 
higher hills, whose light feathery foliage beautifully supple- 
ments the heavier masses of the sal that cling to their skirts, 
the scene would present nothing peculiar to the landscape of 
a tropical country. 

The climate of these uplands is very temperate for this part 
of India, showing a mean of about 77 of the thermometer 
during the hot season. The variation between the temperature 
of day and night is however considerable, ranging from about 
50 to 100 as extremes during the hot season under canvas. 
It would of course be much more equable in a house, and the 
range is also far less on the higher plateaux than in the lower 
valleys. In the cold season (which corresponds to our wintej) 
it generally descends at night to freezing-point in the open air, 
rising in a tent no higher than 65 or 70 in the middle of the 

The country can scarcely be said to be populated at all, 
except within a short distance of Mandla itself, where the 
rich soil has been cultivated by an outlying colony of Hindus 
from the Lower Narbadd valley. Mandla* was at one time the 
seat of one of the Gond-Eajpiit ruling dynasties, and the 

* Cuculus canorus. 


remains of their forts and other buildings still crown in 
crumbling decay the top of many a forest-covered mound. 
I think it very doubtful if any part of the interior was ever 
colonized further than by the scattered religious settlements 
of the advancing Aryans in early times. The wide open 
valleys of deep soil are now utterly untilled ; while the hills 
are scantily occupied by aboriginal races, who subsist in the 
primitive and destructive manner, by cutting and burning 
the jungle, described in Chapter III., on the Puchmurree 

The Gonds are here a very poor and subdued race, long 
since weaned from their wild notions of freedom, with its 
attendant hardships and seclusion ; but still unreached by 
the influence of the general advancement which has in some 
measure redeemed them in most parts from their state of 
practical serfdom to the superior races. .They usually plough 
with cattle, instead of depending on the axe, and are nearly 
all hopelessly in debt to the money-lenders, who speculate in 
the produce they raise. There is no local market, and the 
difficulty of exporting grain over the seventy or eighty miles 
of atrocious road to the open country is such that the prices 
obtained for their produce are contemptible. They congre- 
gate in filthy little villages, overrun by poultry and pigs, and 
innocent of all attempt at conservancy. 

Far superior to them in every respect are the still utterly 
unreclaimed forest Bygds, another aboriginal race, whose 
habitat is in the hills of the Mykat range and its spurs, 
which intersect these valleys. The same tribe extends over 
a vast range of forest-covered country to the west of Mandld,, 
where we shall subsequently meet them again under the name 
of Bhumi^s ; and in all this country they number no more 
than about eighteen thousand souls. A few of these have 


somewhat modified their original habits, and live, along with 
the Gonds, in villages lower down the valleys. These have 
been slightly tainted with Hinduism, shave their elfin locks, 
and call themselves by a name denoting caste. But the real 
Byga of the hill ranges is still almost in a state of nature. 
They are very black, with an upright, slim, though exceed- 
ingly wiry frame, and showing less of the negretto type of 
feature than any other of these wild races. Destitute of all 
clothing but a small strip of cloth, or at most, when in full 
dress, with the addition of a coarse cotton sheet worn cross- 
wise over the chest, with long, tangled, coal-black hair, and 
furnished with bow and arrow and a keen little axe hitched 
over the shoulder, the Byga* is the very model of a hill 
aborigine. He scorns all tillage but the dhy ^-clearing on 
the mountain-side, pitching his neat habitation of bamboo 
wicker-work, like an eagle's eyrie, on some hill-top or ledge 
of rock, far above the valleys penetrated by pathways ; and 
ekes out the fruits of the earth by an unwearying pursuit 
of game. Full of courage, and accustomed to depend on 
each other, they hesitate not to attack every animal of the 
forest, including the tiger himself. They possess a most 
deadly poison wherewith they tip their little arrows of reed ; 
and the most ponderous beast seldom goes more than a mile, 
after being pierced with one of these, without falling. The 
poison is not an indigenous one, but is brought and sold 
to them by the traders who penetrate these wilds to traffic 
in forest produce. I believe it to be an extract of the root of 
Aconitum ferox, which is used for a similar purpose by 
some of the tribes of the eastern Himalaya. The flesh is 
discoloured and spoilt for some distance round the wound. 
This is cut out, and the rest of the carcass is held to be 
wholesome food. Their bows are made entirely of the bam- 


boo, " string " and all ; they are very neat, and possess 
wonderful power for their size. A good shot among them 
will strike the crown of a hat at fifty yards. Their arrows 
are of two sorts ; those for ordinary use being tipped with 
a plain iron head, and feathered from the wing of the pea- 
fowl, while those intended for poisoning and deadly work 
have a loose head, round which the poison is wrapped, and 
which remains in the wound. These poisoned arrows are 
altogether remarkably similar to those used by the Bushmen 
of South Africa. Their axes are also of two sorts one, like 
the ordinary axes of the Gonds, for cutting wood, and the 
other, a much more formidable implement, called a tongid, 
with a long semicircular blade like an ancient battle-axe 
in miniature. All the iron for these weapons and for their 
agricultural instruments is forged from the native ore of the 
hills, by a class called Aguri^s, who seem to be a section 
of the Gonds. A Byga" has been known to attack and destroy 
a tiger with no other weapon than his axe. This little weapon 
is also used as a projectile, and the Bygd will thus knock 
over hares, peafowl, etc., with astonishing skill. 

Though thus secluded in the wilderness, the Mandla Byga 
is by no means extremely shy, and will placidly go on cutting 
his dhya while a train of strangers is passing him, when a 
wild Gond or Korku would have abandoned all and fled to 
the forest. They are truthful and honest almost to a fault, 
being terribly cheated in consequence in their dealings with 
the traders ; and they possess the patriarchal form of self- 
government still so perfectly, that nearly all their disputes 
are settled by the elders without appeal, though these, of 
course, under our alien system, possess no legal authority. 
Serious crime among them is almost unheard of. The 
strangest thing about them is that, though otherwise cer- 


tainly the wildest of all these races, they have no abori- 
ginal language of their own, speaking a rude dialect of which 
almost every word can be traced to the Hindi. They can 
also communicate with the Gonds in their language, though 
they do not use it among themselves. A similar case is that 
of the Bheels, in the western continuation of these hills, who, 
though also extremely wild, have no peculiar language of 
their own, and never have had, so far as history informs 
us. There are many points of resemblance between the 
Bygas and the Bheels, and there seems to be no evidence 
to connect either with the Kolarian or the Dravidian families 
of aborigines. Further inquiry may show them to be rem- 
nants of a race anterior in point of time to both, and from 
which the Hindi may have borrowed its numerous non- 
Sanscrit vocables. We know that, at an early period in 
Hindu history, Bheels held the country up to the river 
Jamnd, which they do not now approach within many hun- 
dred miles. 

There is every reason to believe that these Bygds are, if 
not autochthonous, at least the predecessors of the Gonds- in 
this part of the hills. They consider themselves, and are 
allowed to be, superior to the Gonds, who may not eat with 
them, and who take their priests of the mysteries, or medicine- 
men, from among them. Theirs it is to hold converse with 
the world of spirits, who are everywhere present to aboriginal 
superstition ; theirs it is to cast omens, to compel the rain, 
to charm away the tiger or disease. The Byga medicine-man 
fully looks his character. He is tall, thin, and cadaverous, 
abstraction and mystery residing in his hollow eyes. When 
wanted, he has to be sent for to some distant haunt of 
gnomes and spirits, and comes with charms and simples slung 
in the hollow of a bottle-gourd. A great necklace, fashioned 


with much carving from the kernels of forest fruits, marks his 
holy calling. 

The Byga charmer's most dangerous duty is that of laying 
the spirit of a man who has been killed by a tiger. Man- 
eaters have always been numerous in Mandld, the presence 
during a part of every year of large herds of cattle fostering 
the breed, while their withdrawal at other times to regions 
where the tigers cannot follow causes temporary scarcity of 
food, too easily relieved in the abundant tall grass cover by 
recourse to the killing of man ; the desultory habits of the 
wild people, and the numbers of travellers who take this short 
route between the Narbada* valley and the plains of Chattis- 
garh, furnishing them with abundant and easy victims. The 
Byga" has to proceed to the spot where the death occurred, 
which is probably still frequented by the tiger, with various 
articles, such as fowls and rice, which are offered to the 
manes. A pantomime of the tragedy is then enacted by 
the Bygd, who assumes the attitude of a tiger, springs on his 
prey, and devours a mouthful of the blood-stained earth. 
Eight days are allowed to pass ; and should the Byga* not, in 
the interval, be himself carried off by the tiger, the spirit is 
held to be effectually laid, and the people again resort to 
the jungle. The theory rests on the superstition, prevalent 
throughout these hills, that the ghost of the victim, unless 
charmed to rest, rides on the head of the tiger, and incites 
him to further deeds of blood, rendering him also secure from 
harm by his preternatural watchfulness. To remove pesti- 
lence or sickness, they have a pleasant notion that it must 
be transferred to some one else ; and so they sweep their 
villages, after the usual sacrifices, and cast the filth on the 
highway or into the bounds of some other village. 

The real Byga medicine-man possesses the gift of throwing 


himself into a trance, during which the afflatus of the Deity is 
supposed to be vouchsafed him, communicating the secrets of 
the future. I never saw the performance myself, but persons 
who have affirm that it is too severe in its physical symptoms 
to be mere acting ; and there is sufficient evidence from other 
quarters, to prove that some persons can educate themselves 
into the power of passing into such fits at will, to lead us to 
credit the Byga at least with nothing worse than self-deception 
in the matter. In religion the Bygas have admitted a few of 
the Hindu, deities of the destructive type ; but their chief 
reverence is paid to the spirits of the waste, and to Mother 
Earth, who is their tribal god. One of their tribal names is 
Bhumid,, meaning " people of the soil," and it is curious that 
among every aboriginal tribe of these hills, including the 
Bheels, the priests or medicine-men are called by the same 
name. The rite of charming the souls of deceased persons 
into some material object, before described, and which seems 
peculiar to these hills, is practised also by these Bygas. 

A male Byga" is easily distinguished from a Gond ; but 
their women are scarcely in any respect different, perhaps a 
little blacker, but dressing in a similar manner, wearing the 
same ornaments (including a chignon of goat's hair), and like 
them also tattooed as to the legs. Though the Bygd,s are, like 
the Bheels, less given to congregate together in large villages 
than some other tribes, often indeed living in entirely detached 
dwellings, there are a good many villages of a considerable 
number of houses. These are arranged with much neatness 
in the form of a square, and the whole place is kept very 

The Byga is the most terrible enemy to the forests we have 
anywhere in these hills. Thousands of square miles of sal 
forest have been clean destroyed by them in the progress of 


their dhy^-cultivation, the ground being afterwards occupied 
by a dense scrub of low sal bushes springing from the stumps. 
In addition to this, the largest trees have everywhere been 
girdled by them to allow the gum resin of the sal (the dammer 
of commerce) to exude. 

The dammer resin, called here dhok, is extensively used as 
a pitch in dockyards, and for coating commercial packages. 
It is extracted by cutting a ring of bark out of the tree three 
or four feet from the ground, when the gum exudes in large 
bubbles. Several half-circles are, however, equally effective, 
and do not destroy the life of the tree, like the former method. 
The ringing of sal trees has now been entirely prohibited 
within our territories; but I do not think that any. more 
economical method has as yet been substituted, the vast area 
of sal in native states being sufficient to supply the present 
wants of the trade. The dammer is collected, and, together 
with lac dye, is exchanged for salt, beads, and arrow-poison, 
brought by peripatetic traders with pack-bullocks, who 
annually visit their wilds for the purpose. This may be said 
to be the only commercial transaction of the Bygd, in the 
whole year. He rarely visits the low-country markets like 
the other tribes, and has scarcely a knowledge of coined 

Fortunately the sal tree, unlike the teak, is possessed of a 
most inextinguishable reproductive power, the seeds being 
shed by every mature tree in millions, and ready to germinate 
at once in a favourable position. The seedlings shoot rapidly 
above the danger of jungle-fires, and grow straight and tall 
before branching out. Many of the young forests now spring- 
ing up in these valleys resemble more the regularly tended 
saplings of an English plantation than self-sown trees. The 
country has never been surveyed, and we have no accurate 


information of the extent of the sal forests. The area they 
already cover with good timber, and that which may with 
conservation be recovered for the production of timber, is very 
great ; and as, from its preferring the skirts and slopes of the 
hills to the open valleys, it need never interfere with the 
settlement of these splendid uplands, there is every reason to 
believe that this must in future years be one of the chief 
sources of timber-supply to the country. The timber of the 
sal, if inferior to the teak for some purposes, such as carpentry 
and transverse beams, is superior for others, such as wheel- 
work and uprights, its straight firm grain giving it immense 
power of resistance to crushing. It is almost the only timber 
tree of Upper India, where teak is unknown. The unlimited 
water-power of these rivers will supply the means of convert- 
ing it on the spot ; and the Narbada will form a highway for 
floating it to the open valley. Sal will not swim by itself, 
until seasoned for several years ; but the hills produce an un- 
limited quantity of the finest bamboos, a bundle of which tied 
round a log will support it, and which are themselves of the 
highest economic value. At present these forests have 
scarcely been drawn on for the supply of timber, being distant 
from the Narbada* some thirty or forty miles, without a road 
capable of conveying heavy timber. I have already remarked 
on the appearance of the sal tree. Singly it is a little formal 
in outline, though possessing a fine firm aspect from its hori- 
zontal branching, bright evergreen leaves like broad lance- 
heads, and straight tapering stem covered with grey and 
deeply fissured bark. Its great charm, however, resides in the 
fresh cool aspect of the masses and belts in which it chiefly 

Besides the dammer resin of the sal, several other kinds of 
minor forest produce are collected here, as in other tracts, for 


sale to the traders of the plains. Some of these have already 
been mentioned. Another is the stick-lac of commerce, 
which is deposited by an insect on the smaller twigs of 
several species of trees, among which Butea frondosa, 
Schleichera trijuga, and Zizyphus jujuha are the principal. 
The twigs are broken off, and sold as they stand, looking like 
pieces of very dark red coral. About twenty pounds will be 
procured annually from a tree, so long as any of the insects 
are left on it to breed. But just as often as not the improvi- 
dent wild man will cut down the whole tree to save himself 
the trouble of climbing. The inborn destructiveness of these 
jungle people to trees is certainly very extraordinary : even where 
it is clearly against their own interest, they cannot apparently 
refrain from doing wanton injury. A Gond or Bygd, passing 
along a pathway will almost certainly, and apparently un- 
consciously, drop his axe from the shoulder on any young 
sapling that may be growing by its side, and almost every- 
where young trees so situated will be found cut half through 
in this manner. The stick-lac is manufactured into dye in 
considerable quantities at a factory in Jubbulpur, established 
by a gentleman (Mr. Williams) who has long since retired, 
after realising the success so well deserved by his remarkable 
foresight and enterprise. The agents of this factory penetrate 
the remotest corners of these jungles in search of the raw 
material ; and the development of this profitable business, 
during many years of patient and fair dealing with these timid 
savages, is a valuable example to those who would follow Mr. 
Williams's steps in the development of the many latent 
resources of these regions. 

The cocoons of the wild tusser silk-moth are also collected 
in great numbers for sale to the caste of silk-spinners who 
live by this business in the villages of the plains. Experience 


has shown that these moths will not breed a second genera- 
tion of healthy silk-producing insects in captivity, and a 
fresh supply is therefore procured annually from their native 
hills. They live chiefly on the leaves of the saj tree, whose 
foliage, being deciduous, wou]d not afford safety to the insect 
in its chrysalis stage, if the cocoon were attached, as other 
pecies are, to the leaf alone. The instinct of the little 
creature teaches it therefore to anchor its cocoon by a strong 
silken rope to the leaf-stalk, where it sways about in safety 
after every leaf has dropped from the tree. The cocoons 
brought from the jungles by the breeders are attached to 
pollarded saj trees, grown near their villages, till the moths 
have hatched and paired, when the females are captured and 
made to lay their eggs in close vessels, where they are in- 
cubated by heat. The worms reared from the eggs are again 
placed on the saj trees, where they form their cocoons, which 
are then spun into the rough silk known as " tusser." The 
business is a very precarious one, much depending for success 
on favourable weather. Superstition of course seizes this un- 
certainty for her own; and the purchased blessings of the 
Byga" priest must accompany the cocoons from their native 
hills, if the breeder of the plains is to expect success. 

Besides such scanty exportation of the minor produce of 
these wilds as I have described, almost their only economic 
use has hitherto been the splendid grazing they afford for 
countless herds of cattle, annually brought to them from great 
distances in the open country on both sides during the hot 
season. Fine grass and abundance of shade and water make 
this one of the finest grazing countries in all India ; and the 
amount of wealth which thus actually seems to depend on its 
continuance as a waste is very great. 

At first sight some hesitation might be felt at the prospect 


of these great grazing-grounds being reclaimed for cultivation, 
when it is considered how all-essential to the life of a country 
like India is the breeding of large stocks of oxen. Here the 
draught ox takes the place of the farm-horse and the steam- 
engine of England. Cattle are bred, not as an article of food, 
but as affording perhaps the only description of power by 
which the operations of agriculture could be performed at all. 
Horses could not take their place in converting the hard, 
burnt-up soils, under the blazing sun of the season, when 
ploughing and sowing the autumn crop goes on ; nor, so far 
as we know the resources of the land, could steam power, 
even if otherwise suitable, find sufficient fuel at anything like 
a moderate cost. Thus it may not have been without a 
teaching of far-seeing policy that the Hindu, has been pro- 
hibited by his religion from converting the race of horned 
cattle to the purposes of food. Few of -the precepts of any 
religious system which are directed towards the regulation of 
mundane affairs will be found to be wholly unconnected with 
some object of sound policy. It may be true that the rigid 
prohibition against touching the carcasses of such animals, or 
in any way trafficking in their death, may have excluded the 
Hindii cattle-owner from much legitimate profit in the way of 
leather, horn, tallow, glue, etc. ; but it is impossible to draw 
fine shades of distinction in religious sanctions ; and if, as is 
probable, the slaughter of cattle useful for the plough could 
not be otherwise prevented,, then the sanctification of the 
animal from all such uses was probably a measure of the 
highest policy. Even looked on as an article of food, it is 
probable that the sacredness of the cow has been productive 
of more gain than loss, milk and butter being much more 
wholesome articles of diet than beef in a hot climate. Cer- 
tainly, any measure which would be likely to endanger the 



existing supply of plough-cattle would be highly objectionable. 
But I think that no apprehension of the sort need be enter- 
tained from the probable reclamation of such tracts as the 
Mandla" savannahs. Sufficient forest land must always remain 
in the higher regions to furnish the green bite at the end of 
the hot season, which is all that is necessary to tide the herds 
over the most trying part of the year ; and, for the rest, the 
people will soon learn to do as other countries have done, and 
as other parts of India even have done, namely, devote a part 
of the cultivated area to the raising of green pasture, by 
irrigation, for the cattle. This fine natural pasture is no 
doubt a great advantage ; but it is not at all indispensable 
even in India. 

It is indeed impossible that such a country as this can long 
remain a wilderness occupied by herds of buffaloes and wild 
beasts. In natural capabilities it is favoured beyond most 
regions of India. Soil of every character abounds ; and almost 
every known product of eastern agriculture thrives admirably 
where trial has been made. Wheat, grain, rice, cotton, and 
especially flax, have been proved to flourish; and there can 
be little doubt that sites might be found in which every other 
article that has been grown in India, including the potato, 
tea, coffee, and cinchona, might be successfully raised. The 
breeding of stock, including horses, but probably excepting 
sheep, would no doubt be most profitable in a region where 
natural pasture, shade, and water are so abundant. 

The resources of the country in iron and other mineral 
wealth have never been fully examined, though it is evident 
on the surface that they are abundant. Gold is washed out 
of the sands of more than one of the streams, in small 
quantities, however, which barely repay the labour; and it 
is probable that its lodes are buried in the quartz of the 


primitive rocks deep below the flow of volcanic material that 
has overlaid them. 

What, then, it may be asked, has so long excluded this 
favoured region from colonisation ? The reply is simple, if 
the old conception of India, as being a country thickly popu- 
lated by industrious races in fabled ages of the past, be 
exchanged for the truer one that in great part it is a young 
country, only now beginning .to be occupied by the slow 
expansion from the north of that Aryan element which alone 
has anywhere opened out the dark regions of the earth. The 
wave of population which, within these last three centuries, 
has driven the wild elephant from the Lower Narbada* valley, 
and planted a white expanse of wheat where grew the virgin 
forest, has not yet reached this more secluded tract. There 
are unusual obstacles to its doing so ; but these would not 
long stand in the way, were the population outside to attain 
the density and straitness of means sufficient to induce so 
domestic and unad venturous a race as the Hindus to throw off 
another swarm, as they did when they overleaped the Vindhya 
range in their first great emigration from the Gangetic valley. 
Their natural unprogressiveness is not now tempered, as of 
yore, by the spur of foreign invasion or domestic oppression ; 
and as yet they but thinly occupy the fertile regions of the 
lower valley, scratching its rich soils for a poor return of five 
or six fold, and with abundance of nearly as good waste land 
still to break up not far from their doors. It is natural, no 
doubt, for the superficial observer to exclaim against the 
unimproved condition of these vast uplands, and to feel 
astonished when he sees the most tempting offers fall fruit- 
less on the ears of the neighbouring people. The explanation 
is simply as I have said. The pressure of population outside 
is not sufficient to induce them to attempt to meet the diffi- 


culties in the way of their overflowing into this neighbouring 

Some of these difficulties I will now mention. They are 
principally the inaccessibility of the tract, and the conflict 
that awaits the new settler with the forces of nature, in the 
shape of unhealthy climate, luxuriant jungle, and noxious 
animals. Much of the popular dread of these matters is the 
work of imagination, though not of course for that the less 
a real influence ; but much, too, is undeniable fact. The 
country is doubtless very difficult of access, the nearest 
available wastes lying upwards of eighty miles from the 
railway line or a market, without any road that is worthy 
of the name. Towards the south some attempt has been 
made, within a few years, to open out the lowest of the 
valleys (of the Baiyar river), by constructing passes through 
the hills which separate it from the Nagpiir plain. The 
adjacent country is more thickly peopled than that of the 
Narbada valley ; and the encouragement given them by this 
road, and by the establishment in the middle of the wilds of 
a European civil officer and his following, has now begun 
to show some signs of result, in attempts to colonise portions 
of the land above the pass. But much cannot be looked for, 
even here, for many years. The nearest good market would 
be a hundred miles away, and over very imperfect roads. 
There is no great amount of population to spare, and there 
is still plenty of waste land to take up much nearer at hand. 
The experiment, I fear, is one of those which have always 
ended in the same result heavy expenditure vainly en- 
deavouring to support a naturally languishing settlement 
that has been planted some distance ahead of the natural 
expansion of the population. 

In the matter of climate, like all uncleared regions in this 


latitude at so low an elevation, the tract is subject to 
malarious fever during the months of October to January. 
But experience shows that this influence lasts only so long 
as the country continues uncleared. It is probable that the 
Lower Narbada valley was equally unhealthy at one time, yet 
it is now as healthy as any part of the country. Several 
stations in these provinces have been set down in the middle 
of jungles with as evil a reputation as this, and along with 
the clearance of the jungle the fever was found to disappear. 
The Wynaad, Assam, and Cachar are also standing instances 
of the successful occupation of malarious countries by the 
help of European enterprise. The malaria excepted, the 
climate is highly favourable to colonisation, considering 
the situation of the tract. No region out of the great 
mountain ranges could probably be pointed to as possessing 
such advantages of coolness and freshness as are here con- 
ferred by the elevated situation, abundance of moisture, and 
its attendant evergreen verdure. 

As for the obstacles supposed to be presented by the rank 
vegetation and noxious animals, they are chiefly imaginary. 
Immense plains lie ready for the plough, if merely the coarse 
natural grasses were cleared away, there being no brush- 
wood or heavy timber to speak of. The luxuriance of these 
grasses is only evidence of the fatness of the land that lies 
below ; and a torch applied in the month of May will, over 
large tracts, remove all obstacle to the immediate application 
of the plough. The wild animals, here as elsewhere, would 
retire before the axe and plough of the settler. Such as are 
noxious to human life are not really more so here than in 
many other much more open parts of the country. In the 
districts of Doni and Betul there is certainly a larger 
number of tigers in the same area than in Mandki, and there 


they have not been found to constitute any serious obstacle to 
the steady advancement of population and tillage. 

I have thus remarked at considerable length on the pros- 
pects, of this tract, because it furnishes an excellent though 
perhaps extreme example of the difficulties in the way of 
reclaiming the waste regions of these highlands. Many other 
tracts besides this are almost similarly circumstanced, though 
perhaps there are none which can be compared with it in 
extent and importance, or in the advantages it offers to the 
settler, and especially to the European settler. I am not one 
of those who believe that Europeans can ever labour profit- 
ably with their own hands in the " plains" of India ; and even 
at this elevation I believe that the power of the sun, although 
much alleviated by the coolness of the breezes, the low tem- 
perature of the nights, and the freshness of the vegetation, 
would still be prohibitive of severe manual labour by natives 
of a temperate region. But I think that we have here a tract 
eminently fitted to yield results from the application of Euro- 
pean energy, intelligence, and capital to the supervision and 
direction of native labour. 

The great difficulty would be to obtain the labour to super- 
vise. I doubt if the regular Hindu cultivators of the plains 
outside could be induced to move into these wilds by any 
temptation, so long as they can obtain a pittance where they 
are. The aborigines are too timid and unstable to furnish 
reliable workmen. I would rather look to the teeming mil- 
lions of the coast districts to furnish the needful supply of 
labourers, if these inland wastes are to be reclaimed within any 
reasonable period of time. It really seems to be matter for 
astonishment that these littoral races have for many years 
shown themselves to be ready to cross the seas to the West 
Indies, the Mauritius, and other distant countries, and have 


actually been transported thither in great numbers, while all 
the time vast areas of the finest land are pining for labour in 
the interior of their own country. There cannot be a doubt 
which they would most willingly go to, in order to escape 
from their densely crowded condition at home, were the in- 
ducements offered to them the same. What has tempted 
them to other countries has been the superior wages which 
their industries could afford to offer ; and in India, wherever, 
as in Assdm, Cachar, and the Wynaad, such articles of Euro- 
pean demand as coffee, tea, etc., have attracted European 
enterprise, and where similar wages have been held out, an 
abundant supply of labour has been furnished by these 
fountains of population. What appears to be necessary, then, 
to effect the rapid reclamation of these wilds is the introduc- 
tion of some special industry which will attract the European 
energy and capital which alone can ever effect the movement 
of Indian labour in large bodies from one part of the country 
to another. That there are such industries capable of intro- 
duction there cannot be a doubt. Leaving such exotic sub- 
jects as tea, coffee, and cinchona out of the question, as not 
having yet been proved to be suitable, India is fast attaining 
a point at which it will pay imported capital to invest in the 
culture of her old and well-tried staples, particularly under 
such improved scientific conditions and methods as may be 
hoped for from European knowledge. Improved communica- 
tions have so much equalised values in different parts of the 
country, that the extension of cotton tillage in Western India 
alone has more than doubled the local value of all sorts of 
agricultural produce throughout the greater part of India. 
Cattle are worth about three times what they were ten years 
ago. Such a rise in the value of the produce of the earth, 
and all that is connected with it, as has taken place since the 


rebellion of 1857 is perhaps unprecedented in any country in 
the world. It is so startling that cautious persons do not 
believe that it can be permanent. Its permanency seems to 
hang on the balance of what the next few years may bring 
forth. If the price of cotton holds up, everything may be 
hoped for ; and it is a symptom which every well-wisher of 
India must rejoice to see, that this year we have nearly as 
large an American crop as before the war, with the price of 
cotton still remaining steady in the market, while the 
American growers are refraining from extending their area 
for fear of bringing down the price. No doubt some fall in 
the price of cereals must be looked for in India in the next 
few years. There is no doubt that something of the late 
enormous rise in their prices has been due to actual scarcity 
induced by the appropriation of the land for cotton. This is 
being rapidly remedied by extension of tillage, and the prices 
must shortly come down to their proper level. Many circum- 
stances indicate this as the position of prices at present. It 
may be hoped then that before long it will remunerate foreign 
capital to engage in some one of the numerous agricultural 
pursuits possible in these regions, on a sufficiently extensive 
scale to lead to the importation of masses of labour from the 
hives of population on the coast. At present cattle-breeding 
would seem to be the most promising opening, both because it 
wants the fewest hands, and because the absence of roads is 
of less consequence in such a business. Whether it would not 
remunerate the Government to take the first steps in the 
settlement of these unimproved parts of their property may 
be a question. The Indian Government has already led the 
way in many such enterprises with success ; and signs are not 
wanting of willingness to do so again where the case is made 
sufficiently clear. It certainly appears to me that the con- 


struction of a decent road through the Mandla district, con- 
necting its culturable wastes and its splendid sal forests with 
the railway at Jubbulpur, is one of the most obvious necessi- 
ties of the time. This has been often urged before, and its 
urgency has as frequently been admitted. The money only 
has always been wanting ; and so it may probably continue 
for many a year to come. 

We have heard much of the recent financial distress in 
India, and much violent criticism has been levelled at the 
Government in directions the most incompatible with each 
other. It has been blamed equally for the imposition of 
additional taxes and for its penury in expenditure on matters 
affecting the development of the country. Few or none of 
these critics have really seen the present situation of the 
country. That situation is one of much peculiarity, which, 
while creating the greatest embarrassment at the present 
time, is yet full of hope for the future. I have referred to 
the state of prices, and this appears to me to furnish the key 
to all the existing difficulties. The value of labour has about 
doubled in ten years, while the cost of provisions has nearly 
trebled. Government derives most of its revenue from the 
land ; and in such times of agricultural prosperity it should 
be able, by a great increase in its rents, to meet the large 
enhancement of its expenses, owing to the rise in prices and 
wages. But it has been found impossible to raise its rents 
very much without interfering with the advance of agri- 
culture. The reason is plain. The appropriation of the land 
for cotton unduly diminished the area under food. Several 
dearths also occurred, and the food supplies of the country 
were unduly contracted. Prices rose immensely, higher than 
the -rise in wages, to a scarcity point, in fact. Land began 
to be taken up to meet this, in consequence of the very great 


profits yielded to agriculture. This process is now going on, 
but it requires all the existing profit to enable it to do so ; 
and as to increase the Government rent very greatly would 
be to diminish this profit, it proves to be impossible to do so 
at present. Further, the scarcity has affected all incomes 
from other sources than land, and thus all other branches of 
taxation are also unproductive. The profits of commerce, 
which mainly deals with the produce of the land, are also at 
present low, and taxation of them is very difficult to effect. 
But all this must pass away before long. The extension of 
tillage having taken place, the people will soon have sufficient 
food again ; prices will steady themselves at a somewhat 
lower though still remunerative point ; and the Govern- 
ment, if gifted with sufficient foresight, will be able to adjust 
its income to the altered circumstances of the country. It 
may then be expected that such enterprises as the opening 
up of such extensive waste regions as the MandM district 
will receive a share of the public attention. Another danger 
to such enterprises is, however, looming in the distance. 
Interprovincial jealousy bids fair to form a serious obstacle 
to the proper development of the great public property vested 
in the soil of India. It is scarcely credible that a clamorous 
school of Indian public writers exists, whose continual cry 
is levelled at the policy of expending any portion of the 
revenues raised in one province of the empire on the deve- 
lopment of another ; who would have wealthy thriving 
Bombay or Madras allowed to expend the whole of its 
revenues within itself, and such poor half-reclaimed regions 
as the Central Provinces allowed nothing for their improve- 
ment but what they can raise themselves. The policy aimed 
at would be identical, it seems to me, with that of a gardener 
who should refuse to expend anything in the cultivation of 


one or two particular beds of his garden, because they had 
previously been neglected in favour of the others, and yielded 
no income towards his general funds. 

Before leaving the subject of these waste lands, I should 
refer to the only attempt ever made to form a settlement 
in them under European supervision, and which ended in 
lamentable failure. Some thirty years ago four German 
missionaries attempted to form a colony among the abori- 
ginal tribes, on the Moravian system, in one of these upland 
valleys. They selected a spot just under the Amarkantals 
plateau, near a small village called Karinjed,, in the middle 
of a fine plain of rich soil, a few miles south of the Narbada. 
The place had an elevation of about 2,700 feet, and was well 
situated in every respect but one. In a country abounding 
with shade and water they pitched on a bare mound without 
an evergreen tree, and more than two miles distant from the 
nearest running water. They went out in the hot weather, 
and failed to prepare sufficient shelter before the arrival of 
the rainy season. Thus they remained exposed to constant 
damp and cold winds, and dependent for their water on a 
small stagnant pool polluted by the drainage of decaying 
vegetation. The result was the death from cholera, or some 
other malignant bowel-complaint, of three out of the four, 
and the retreat of the only survivor. However worthy of 
praise, such an enterprise cannot be looked on as a fair 
experiment. But it cast a gloom over the prospect of further 
attempts of the same sort, and has never again been re- 
peated. The example of the missions to the Kols of Bengal 
and the Karens of Burma, where the combination of profit- 
able industrial enterprise with theological teaching has been 
found to be singularly effective in the propagation of the 
Gospel among aboriginal races, may point to the desirability 


of some such system being attempted among the unsophisti- 
cated savages of these wilds by those who are now preaching 
in vain to the semi-Hindii tribes further west. 

Some time ago a French gentleman took up a considerable 
tract of the finest land in one of these valleys. But it soon 
appeared that he had no intention of real colonisation, and 
had in fact been merely speculating on the value of the forest 
produce of the land. This and other symptoms of land- 
jobbiDg have, I believe, induced some reconsideration of the 
rules for the sale of the fee simple of waste lands. I have 
given the existing rules in an Appendix ; but possibly 
these may now be subjected to modification. One thing 
may be relied on, however that whatever title a settler 
may here obtain from the Government will be an absolute 
one, every existing or possible private interest having been 
fully determined before the available wastes were declared by 
law to be state property. 

In such a well- watered, shady, and grassy region as this 
Upper Narbadi valley, it is inevitable that wild animals 
should abound. The hilly ranges which separate the valleys 
contain the bison, the sambar, and the black bear, like similar 
tracts in other parts of the province. These are animals 
peculiar to no part of India, and the same may be said of 
the spotted deer, which affects the densely wooded banks of 
the larger streams. But, as I have said, we are here within 
the limits of the great sal belt, and come upon some animals 
which I have noticed as coinciding in range therewith. 

Chief in interest among these is the beautiful twelve- 
tined deer (Rucervus Duvaucellii), called by some the Bara- 
singha, a name which simply means " twelve-tined," and 
which is applied also to the Kashmir stag (C. Cashmiriensis). 
In size it is intermediate between the sambar and the spotted 


deer, and almost the same as the red deer of Scotland. In 
colour it is a reddish brown during the cold season, passing 
through a bright rufous chestnut in spring to a rich golden 
red in summer. The antlers are very handsome, and diffe- 
rently shaped from those of any other deer in the world. 
They have but one basal tine over the forehead, no median 
tines at all, and all the other branches arranged at the 
summit of the beam. Here they show a tendency to 
approach the Eusine type, to which belong the sambar and 
the axis, the beam being first divided into a terminal fork, 
each branch of which afterwards splits into several points. 
Usually the outward or anterior branch bears three such 
points, and the inward or posterior two, making, with the 
brow-antler, six points on each horn. Very old stags some- 
times have more ; but, as in the Rusince, when there are 
more than three the extra ones are abnormal monstrosities, 
and the antlers are usually unsymmetrical and stunted in 
size. The horns are greyish in colour, and of a smoother 
surface than those of the sambar. They are not nearly so 
massive, nor so long, but have a very handsome outward 
sweep, which renders them, I think, more effective as a 
trophy for the deerstalker. They are very difficult to pro- 
cure fully developed and perfect. They are cast more regu- 
larly, I think, than those of the Rusince ; and as the stags 
seem to be very combative, some of the points are usually 
broken off soon after they lose the velvet at the close of the 
rainy season, when their haunts first become accessible to the 
sportsman. In form the Rucervus is one of the most beauti- 
ful of the family, lightly and gracefully made, and with a 
stately carriage ; and altogether, with his splendid golden 
colour and finely shaped antlers, this stag is not surpassed, I 
think, in appearance by any member of the deer tribe. 


This animal has been called in north-eastern India the 
" swamp deer/' but here he is not observed to be particularly 
partial to swampy ground. They graze in the mornings and 
evenings, chiefly along the smaller streams, and by springs, 
where the grass is green, in the open valleys, and rest during 
the day about the skirts of the sal forest. A favourite mid- 
day resort is in the shade of the clumps of sal dotted about 
the open plain, at some distance from the heavy forest. 
They are not nearly so nocturnal in habits as the sambar, 
being often found out grazing late in the forenoon, and again 
early in the afternoon ; and I do not think they wander about 
all night like the sambar. Their midday rest is usually of a 
few hours only, but during that time they conceal themselves 
in the grass much after the manner of the sambar. I have 
never heard of their visiting cultivated tracts, like the latter ; 
nor can I learn that their apparent adherence to the sal forest 
is due to their employing any part of that tree as food. 

In the middle of the day the red deer (so they are called 
by natives, and often by Europeans) may be shot by beating 
the grass with elephants in the manner before described. 
During the height of the cold weather many parts of this 
tract can hardly be traversed except on an elephant ; and 
in such places shooting would otherwise be impossible, owing 
to the height and thickness of the grass jungle. In the 
course of a day's beating of this sort in the Mandld district 
a very great variety of game may easily be met with. On 
one occasion, when spending the Christmas of 1864 with two 
friends in the lovely Matiari valley, a day's march east of the 
station of MandM, we secured, I think, a specimen of nearly 
every kind of game to be found in the country, excepting the 
bison and the panther. On the 26 th we marched from a 
place called Bartold, to Gobri, both on the Matiari a clear 


sparkling stream that here rurs through a valley, filled with 
long grass cover, and bounded on either side by chains of 
low hills, flat on the tops, and clothed with low tree jungle 
and bamboos on their sides. We took separate lines, F. 
going by the pathway, D. along the tops of the hills on 
one side, while I beat along the river below on an elephant. 
I had not gone far before I put up a large herd of s&mbar 
in long grass, and, firing right and left, dropped one small 
stag, and heavily wounded a very large fellow with splendid 
antlers and as black as a buffalo. I got off, and tracked the 
wounded animal for about three miles by his blood through 
the long dewy grass, till I was as thoroughly wetted through 
as if I had been wading in a tank, when, as the deer had 
reached heavy bamboo cover, and seemed to be still strong, 
I gave it up, and again made for the river. On the way 
I came on a herd of red deer, grazing a,bout in an opening 
in the low jungle, where a fine spring kept the grass beauti- 
fully green. They saw me before I was within shot, however, 
and retreated into grass cover. Waiting a little, I got on 
the elephant, and proceeded to beat the long grass ; and, 
after going about a quarter of a mile, started the herd, 
which must have contained fully thirty individuals. They 
dived into a deepish hollow, filled with low brushwood, in 
front of me, and I waited on the edge for their appearance 
on the far side. Presently they clattered up in single file, 
stags and does intermixed, the last of all being a very large 
dark red stag, with beautiful antlers that seemed almost to 
overpower him as he slowly trotted up the rise. I had the 
sight of the double rifle bearing full on his broad back, and 
was just touching the trigger, when the man behind me 
seized and detained my arm in a vice-like grasp. The 
moment was lost, and I turned viciously on the culprit, 


who, however, pointed silently to an object in a tree close 
to our heads. It was a huge colony of bees the terrible 
Bouhrd, whose swarms had, a march or two before, routed 
our whole following, leaving a good-sized baggage-pony dead 
upon the ground. Lucky it was I had not fired, and I 
thought little of the lost stag in the hurry to get out of 
so dangerous a vicinity. About half a mile further on, near 
the river, a spotted doe leaped out of a patch of grass, and 
scoured across the plain. It was too tempting, she looked 
so round and fat ; and a snap shot rolled her over, shot 
through the loins. We were now not far from camp, and 
I was beating through some longish grass, when a full round 
countenance was seen peering over the top of it at the 
advancing elephant. I did not make it out for a while, and 
presently it disappeared, the motion of the grass showing the 
progress of a large body towards the river. A little further 
on it stopped, and the round face again glared at me over the 
grass. Surely it must be a tiger 1 A glimpse of a striped 
red hide settled the question, and I moved a little down to 
cut her off from the river bed. All was motionless for a few 
minutes, and then again the slowly waving grass showed the 
stealthy progress towards the deep gully in which ran the 
river. A shallow ravine was a little ahead, down which she 
could steal unobserved, except in one place, where a little 
jungle pathway crossed it, and I took up a place commanding 
this at about sixty yards, waiting with cocked rifle and 
beating heart. Now she is close to the opening, the grass 
rustling gently above her. Now she sneaks rapidly across, 
crawling low, but halts for a moment to look again before 
entering the further cover. Fatal pause ! A ball speeds 
through her shoulder, and, turning with a roar, she gallops 
back again up the hollow. I thought she meant a charge, 


and hastily reloaded the discharged barrel of my breech- 
loader, as I had only one gun out, being on a pad. But she 
left the nald,, when nearly opposite me, on the wrong side. 
I think she must have forgotten, for she evidently looked 
out for her assailant, jumping high above the grass at every 
bound a really beautiful sight, with her very bright-coloured 
skin, hair erect, and tail streaming behind her. About the 
third bound I caught her with another bullet, and she fell, 
crumpled up in mid-air, for all the world just like a partridge 
struck full by a charge of shot. She was lying stone-dead 
when I came up, and no wonder, for the ball had entered 
near her tail, traversed the whole length of her body, and was 
resting under the skin of her forehead. The rifle was a 
twelve-bore breech-loader, on my own spherical ball prin- 
ciple, the penetration of which may be judged of by this 
performance. The first shot was a little .high on the shoulder, 
but would soon have killed her, and fully accounted for her 
confusion of ideas. She had evidently been lying on the 
watch for spotted deer coming to drink. A large herd of 
them broke out of the grass while our interview was in 
progress. Coming to camp, I found that F. had shot a black 
buck antelope on the road ; while D. returned with a young 
bdrd-singhd stag and a spotted deer. In the evening F, 
went out, and killed a large bear, which came down to the 
river to drink beside him. Next day we were almost equally 
fortunate, though no tiger was met with ; and we spent a 
Christmas of considerable joviality in that remote wilderness, 
the dinner consisting, as far as I recollect, of a (peacock) 
turkey and sambar tongue, supported by roast haunch of 
red-deer venison, as pieces de resistance, with cheetul cutlets 
and fillet of nilgai veal as entrees, followed up by boiled 
quails and roasted teal, and concluded by the orthodox plum- 


pudding and mince-pies out of Crosse and BlackwelTs tins. 
Sundry glasses of whisky-toddy, imbibed round a rattling 
bonfire lit in front of the tents, were fully justified by the 
really severe cold after sunset. Stalking the bdrd-singhd, 
however, affords the finest sport; and from the less exclu- 
sively nocturnal habits of the animal, as well as the open 
character of the country, resembles deer-stalking in Scotland 
more than any other of our field sports. 

When hurrying through this country in January of 1863, 
en route to the eastern forests, I halted for two days in the 
upper valley of the Halon to stalk the red deer, which I had 
never before seen. The grass was very thick and long, and, 
being still green, was entirely unburnt. At a place called 
Motinald, where a deep branching watercourse crosses the 
pathway several times, I was walking ahead of my followers, 
when I came on the remains of a poor wanderer, who had 
evidently not long before been killed by a tiger. He was 
a religious mendicant ; and his long iron tongs, begging-bowl 
hollowed from a skull, and cocoa-nut hooka were scattered 
about in the bottom of the nald, where he had been resting 
on his weary march, together with tresses of his long matted 
hair and a shred or two of cloth. The bones were all broken 
to pieces, and many of them were missing altogether. A 
Bunjdra' drover had been taken off near the same spot about 
a week before, so that it was not without some misgivings 
that I wandered off the road through the long grass to look 
for red deer towards the skirts of the hills. To hunt for the 
tiger in such an ocean of grass-cover would have been hope- 
less. I skirted the hills to the right of the road from here 
to the camping-ground at Mangli, very soon getting drenched 
to the skin in passing through the high grass dripping with 
the morning dew. Towards the hills the grass was shorter, 


and the plain much cut up by deep fissures in the black, 
heavy soil. I saw several small herds of deer, wending their 
way towards the clumps of sal forest on the skirt of the hills, 
before I found any in a position that would admit of stalking. 
At last I marked a small parcel of hinds, with two fair-looking 
stags, disappear over a low rising ground, slowly feeding their 
way towards the forest ; and making a long detour to gain 
the shelter of a deep crack, which led into the valley they 
had entered, I stalked almost into the middle of them before 
I was aware. My first intimation of the fact was the sharp 
bark of a hind, who had observed the top of my head over 
the bank, and the next moment a rush of feet informed me 
that the herd was off. Stepping on to the bank, I made a 
clean miss of the first running shot ; but, taking more time 
with the second barrel, I saw the hindmost stag reel and 
almost fall over to the shot. He made off, however, along 
with the herd ; but presently left them, and took a line of 
his own towards the long grass-cover in the middle of the 
plain. I soon hit on his track where he had entered the 
grass, and found a little blood ; but as the grass was a long 
way over my head, I sent back for the elephant with which 
to beat him out. Following the blood-marks on the yellow 
stems for about a mile, we started him out of a patch of grass 
near the river, and I shot him through the back as he ran 

The next day, being encamped at TopM, in the centre of a 
wide valley among the sal forest, I went out' in the afternoon 
towards the Halon river. Here the country was open and 
prairie-like, short grass plains, dotted with clumps of sal, 
intervening between the heavier masses of forest. The river 
was very bright and clear, running over a pebbly bed. I 
took out two young half-bred hounds, between the Rampur 

C c 2 


breed and the Scotch deerhound, in the hope of getting them 
a run at a wounded red deer, as they were as yet guiltless of 
blood. Their mother, and the bull mastiff " Tinker," of wolf 
renown, accompanied to help them in the kill. A couple 
of lithe blacks, and nearly naked Bygas, with their war- 
axes, guided the party. We wandered a good many miles 
in the early afternoon without coming on game, but I, at 
least, was gratified by the delightful park-like scenery. About 
four o'clock, by the- advice of the Bygas, we sat down on a 
little eminence crowned by a clump of sal trees, to watch for 
deer coming out to drink or feed. Very soon a good-sized 
herd suddenly appeared in the middle of a long flat stretch of 
grass-land beyond the river ; and after stretching themselves, 
and enjoying a game at romps, commenced feeding pretty 
quickly down towards the banks of the river. We at once 
retreated over the bank of our knoll ; and, getting into a 
hollow protected by a fringe of bushes, crept up to the banks 
and again reconnoitred. They were quite unsuspicious, the 
wind being highly favourable ; and they seemed likely to come 
and drink in our very faces. When within a few hundred 
yards, however, they halted a long time behind a little rising 
ground. I was in agony lest the dogs should make us known, 
as they were dreadfully excited by the restraint of the stalks, 
and seemed to know perfectly well that there was something 
to hunt at hand. Presently a single hind topped the rise, and 
for full five minutes stood sniffing round in all directions, her 
great ears cocked in aid of her sense of smell. At last she 
seemed to be satisfied, and moved slowly forwards, now 
pausing to crop a mouthful of grass, and then again starting 
and looking about as if she had heard or smelt something. 
A stag now walked up past her, and without the least pre- 
caution came boldly on to the water, which he entered about 


a hundred yards above our post. The rest of the herd were 
still mostly hidden by the rise. Creeping through the bushes 
I prepared to fire at the stag, and gave orders for the hounds 
to be slipped at once after I should fire. I was barely in time 
to secure a shot, before the stag, alarmed by a yelp from one 
of the dogs, turned to flee up the bank. As it was I dropped 
him on the pebbly bank, shot through the shoulder; and, 
turning the rifle on the hind who was pausing startled at the 
shot, the other bullet passed through her thigh, injuring the 
hip joint. She fell on her hind quarters for a few moments, 
but presently recovered, and made off after the herd across the 
flat. The four dogs had sprung from the slips, and splashed 
through the shallow stream before she had well got on her 
legs ; and they very nearly had her before she got fairly into 
her pace. Then, however, she distanced them at once for a 
few hundred yards, when the old bitch "Bell," who was 
extremely fast, began to draw steadily up to her. The pups 
were a hundred yards behind, giving tongue like foxhounds, 
and old Tinker laboured along scarcely half way from where 
they had started. Bell was very near the hind, when I 
saw her disappear bodily into a hole. But the deer was now 
failing fast; and, seeing no chance of making the forest, 
turned round and came back towards the river. The pups 
and Tinker now made up considerably by cutting off the 
corner, and very soon the brindled one, " Sheroo," who was 
rather the faster, was racing alongside of her, making un- 
certain snatches at the shoulder. The yellow dog soon joined 
him, and together they managed to throw over the deer just 
as she reached the bank of the river. They all three rolled 
down the bank together ; and before the deer could recover 
herself Tinker was up and pinned her by the throat. The 
bitch was not far behind, and among them they nearly tore 


the poor animal limb from limb. Fearing a row between 
Tinker and the young dogs I ran up as fast as possible ; but 
a Byga with his axe was before me, and attempted to get the 
quarry from the dogs. He didn't know Tinker, however, who 
loosed his hold on the deer s throat only to fly at the Byga. 
The latter defended himself as well as he could with his axe 
handle, very thoughtfully for such a savage, not attempting 
to use the head ; but he had several pretty severe bites in the 
arms and legs before I could arrive to his rescue. As a rule 
Tinker was as quiet as a lamb with men ; but when roused by 
blood he was a perfect devil ; and as his size and weight were 
immense I was often rather afraid of him myself. Poor fel- 
low, his formidable aspect and a few outbursts of this sort 
were the death of him, being poisoned by a dog boy a few 
months afterwards. Bell broke her neck by chasing an ante- 
lope down a blind well, a few marches after the hunt I have 
related ; the best of the two pups was carried off by a leopard 
or hyaena ; and altogether I was so disgusted with the bad 
luck I had always had in keeping large dogs in India that I 
gave it up altogether ; and I cannot say that I found very 
much loss accrue to my sport in consequence. I believe they 
lose more wounded animals, by driving them out of reach, 
than they recover. 

On the way back I shot another hind, who stood too long 
to gaze at the unwonted intruders, and saw the tracks of a 
wild elephant sinking deep into the soft black soil. I was 
told afterwards that this elephant was one which had broken 
loose from captivity about ten years previously, and had since 
inhabited the dense covers about the head of the Halon river. 
He afterwards annoyed the forest officers not a little by 
systematically demolishing all the masonry boundary pillars 
erected by them round the reserved forest. Keally wild ele- 


phants do not now come so far west as this ; the country to 
the east of Amarkantak (the source of the Narbada), or at the 
most the Samni valley, a little nearer than that place, being 
their most westerly range in this part of India. Formerly, 
however, the whole of this country, and far to the west of it, 
was the home of the wild elephant. The etymology of many 
names, such as the " elephant enclosure," the " elephant pool," 
etc., would suffice to indicate this ; but besides we have it dis- 
tinctly recorded, in that valuable work the " Institutes of 
Akber," that in the 1 6th century elephants were found and cap- 
tured in the Narbada valley as far west as the Bijagarh and 
Handia" Sirkars,* which lie partly to the west of the meridian 
of the present military stations of Mhow and Asirgarh. This 
is probably the most westerly range of the wild elephant that 
has been recorded ; and their subsequent disappearance over 
so large a tract of country speaks volumes for the advance- 
ment which has taken place in that period. 

The night I was at Topla, two tigers roared loudly round 
about the camp. We were pitched in a little glade in the 
sea of grass, and the effect in the clear cold night was very 
fine. The night voice of the tiger has a very impressive 
sound, conveying, though not nearly so loud as the bray of a 
jackass, the idea of immense power, as it rolls and trembles 
along the earth. Four months later, when I was encamped 
near Md-tin, in the forests of the far east, I listened one night 
to the most remarkable serenade of tigers I ever heard. A 
peculiar long wail, like the drawn out mew of a huge cat, first 
rose from a river course a few hundred yards below my tent. 
Presently from a mile or so higher up the river came a deep 
tremulous roar, which had scarcely died away ere it was 

* Gladwin's " Azeen Akbery," vol. ii. p. 249. 


answered from behind the camp by another pitched in a 
yet deeper tone, startling us from its suddenness and proxi- 
mity. All three were repeated at short intervals, as the three 
tigers approached each other along the bottoms of the deep 
dry watercourses, between and above which the camp had 
been pitched. As they drew together the noises ceased for 
about a quarter of an hour ; and I was dozing off to sleep 
again, when suddenly arose the most fearful din near to where 
the tigress had first sounded the love note to her rival lovers, 
a din like the caterwauling of midnight cats magnified a hun- 
dred fold. Intervals of silence, broken by outbursts of this 
infernal shrieking and moaning, disturbed our rest for the 
next hour, dying away gradually as the tigers retired along 
the bed of the river. In the morning I found all the in- 
cidents of a three-volume novel in feline life imprinted on the 
sand ; and marks of blood showed how genuine the combat 
part of the performance had been. For the assurance of the 
timid I may as well say that I have never had my camp 
actually irivaded by a tiger, though constantly pitched, with 
a slender following, and without any sort of precaution, in the 
middle of their haunts. It strikes a stranger to jungle ways 
a little oddly perhaps to see a man in the warm summer 
nights calmly take his bed out a hundred yards from the 
tents, lie down under the canopy of heaven, listen, pipe in 
mouth, for half an hour to the noises of wild animals, and 
then placidly fall asleep. He soons learns to do the same 

About the end of the rains, in September and October, the 
red deer collect in large herds on the tops of the plateaux ; 
and I have been told of assemblages of several hundred 
head at that season. They are then beginning to rut, and 
are very easy to get at, the Gonds and Bygas killing great 


numbers with their axes, aided by their strong tall dogs. 
The best heads are to be got from these people ; and that 
figured below, which is a very typical one, was killed 
either thus or by a tiger. I myself never got a complete 
head with more than ten points, though I have secured 
some heavier than the twelve-pointed one figured below. Its 

Horns of Bara Singha Deer. (Scale, one tenth.) 

length is 33^ inches round the curve of each antler, and 
extreme spread 36 inches. There are few larger in the 

In the rains the wild buffalo wanders in herds all over 
these Mandla highlands. They mostly disappear, how- 
ever, when the tame cattle are brought up to graze in 


the open season, a few only lingering in the most secluded 
valleys ; and they must then be sought in the less acces- 
sible jungles' to the south and west. Thither I must carry 
the reader to introduce him to the animal, as I never was in 
the Mandla district at the time when the buffaloes are found 



A Commanding Promontory The Source of the Narbadd Sivite Legends 
Fine View A long Exploration The Wild Buffalo Its Eange and 
Habits Criminal Trespass The Police called in We slay the Invader 
Toughness of* the Buffalo Size of his Horns A Voyage down the Maha- 
nadi The Country of the Khonds More Buffaloes A Feverish Region- 
Buffalo Hunting on Horseback A Vicious Cow Upset by a Bull 
" Tinker " to the Rescue A Curious Sentinel Treed by Buffaloes The 
Enemy Retires Danger of Buffalo Shooting A Cumbrous Trophy March 
for the Elephant Country A Decayed City An Unfortunate Seizure 
Retire to Laafagarh A Hospitable Chief The Bygas again A Primitivo 
Pipe An Amazing Spectacle The Elephant God Life at Laafagarh 
The Doctor discomfited Jungle Delicacies The Thakur's Yarns A Tiger 
Shot with an Arrow An Elephant done to Death A " Loathly Worm " 
Wild Animals on the Hill An Irksome Prison Make another Start A 
Splendid Game Country A Herd of Elephants A Solitary Tusker 
Almost an Adventure A Villanous Termination Explore the Country 
Bhtimia Trackers Fate of a Herd of Elephants A vast Sal Forest The 
Way Lost Beat out a Bhtimia Habits of the Bhumias Aspect of the 
Country A Primitive Measure of Distance Haunts of the Buffaloes 
Capture of Wild Elephants Coal Measures Prospects of the Country 
The Plateau of Amarkantak A Terrible March End of the Exploration 
Effects of Exposure The Forest Question Utility of Forests Prospects 
of the Forests Central India as a Field for Sport Where to Go Outfit 
Guns and Rifles Conclusion. 

The Highlands of Central India may perhaps properly be 
said to terminate where the steep southern face of the Mykal 
range, trending away to the north-east, culminates in the 
high bluff promontory of Amarkantak. Standing here on this 
prominent point, the very focus and navel of India, the eye 


ranges over a panorama perhaps inferior in extent to no out- 
look in the whole peninsula. The rain that clothes this little 
plateau of a few square miles with the greenest of verdure, 
having the peculiarity of seldom ceasing for more than a few 
days at any part of the year, forms the first beginnings of 
three great rivers, whose waters flow in opposite directions to 
the seas on either side of India. The infant Narbada bubbles 
forth at the feet of the observer, enclosed by religious care in 
a wall of masonry, and surrounded by Hindu temples, and 
thence meanders on for some miles through a narrow glade, 
carpeted with beautiful grass, and fringed by forests of sal ; 
at first a tiny burn, but growing rapidly by union with others, 
till, some three miles from the fountain, it leaps over the edge 
of the plateau in a clear shoot of about thirty feet. Seven 
hundred and fifty miles further on it rolls, a mighty river, 
into the waters of the Arabian Gulf. In the local Sivite 
Mythology the Narbada is the maiden Mykal-Kanya, daughter 
of the Mykal Mountain, from whose brow she springs. 
Eesistless in her divine might, at her first birth she over- 
flowed the earth in a destructive flood, till, in answer to the 
prayers and sacrifices of men, the Great God sent the Vindhya" 
Mountain and his seven stalwart sons * to restrain her, when 
she shrank into her present channel, leaving behind her the 
Ganges and other rivers, as pools are left by the receding tide. 
Hence the sanctity of the Narbada" is superior to that of all 
other rivers, though the gods gave the preference for the first five 
thousand years of the Kali-Yug to the Ganges. Twenty-eight 
years only of this period now remain unexpired, when the 
local Brahmans fully expect the Narbada" to surpass as a place 
of pilgrimage all other rivers of India. As it is, the parent 

Thence the name Sat-pura, applied to these highlands, Sat putrd meaning 
literally the " Seven Sons." 


spring at Amarkantak and many places along its course, are 
places of great sanctity to pilgrims from all parts of India ; 
and the help of the railway, which is by no means scorned by 
the devout Hindu (who likes to " boil his peas"), bids fair to 
realize in some degree the prophecy of the Purdn^s. A little 
to the north of the source of the Narbada" rises the JohilM, a 
stream which shortly joins the Sone, also born in these hills, 
and flows north into the Ganges ; while, still only a few steps 
from these, another little stream, the Arpd,, bubbles forth, and 
shortly tumbles over the sheer cliff to the south, and mingles 
with the great M&Mnadi, which drains the plains of Chattis'- 
garh into the Bay of Bengal. From this height of 4,000 feet 
the eye embraces a view of three-fourths of a circle, uninter- 
rupted by anything but the blue haze of distance which limits 
the vision. Far below to the south, lying like a chessboard, 
is the open cultivated plain of Chattis garh, stretching out to 
the uttermost range of vision. To the east and north, 2,000 
feet below, appears a flat sea of greenery, broken here and 
there by an isolated peak that appears to reach the level of the 
observer. In the faint distance beyond rises another wall of 
rock, visible only on a clear day as a faint violet-coloured 
shade across the sky. The green plain is a vast forest of sal, 
unbroken by tillage, and scarcely inhabited by man, and the 
rocky rampart beyond is the buttress of another table-land 
called Sirguj&, the land of the K61 aborigines, and beyond the 
limits of our province. My mission for the succeeding six 
months was to explore this vast region of sal forest, lying to 
the north and east of Amarkantak, and stretching far beyond 
and to the south of the plain of Chattis'garh, in the semi-inde- 
pendent country called the Qarhj^t States. 

Over all this country roams the wild buffalo, and in the 
forests north and east of Amarkantak were then found large 


herds of wild elephants, which descended at the ripening of 
the crops of Chattis'garh to the skirts of the forest, doing 
immense damage, and forming a serious obstacle to the culti- 
vation of the country. To penetrate to their haunts, ascertain 
their numbers, and propose means for their destruction, was 
another object of our expedition. 

In the end of January I descended the Kajddh&r pass from 
the Mandla" district, and marched across the Chattis'garh plain, 
where antelope, ducks, snipe, etc., afforded perpetual occupa- 
tion for the gun, to the station of BaTpiir, where I met the 
Chief Commissioner's camp and my future companion in this 

expedition Captain B., of Her Majesty's Eegiment. 

Thence we proceeded to the eastern and southern forests, 
marching rapidly to get from one portion of these forests to 
another, where days and weeks would be passed in tramping 
about the hills and making notes, the great part of which 
would possess no interest for the general reader. We never 
allowed ourselves to linger for sport ; but the herds of buffa- 
loes are in some parts of this country so numerous that it 
would have been almost impossible to avoid encountering 

The extreme western range of the wild buffalo* in Central 
India is almost exactly marked by the 80th meridian of longi- 
tude, or in physical features by the Wyn-Ganga tributary of 
the Goda>ari river, and below their junction almost by the 
latter river itself. I say almost, because in a trip down the 
God&vari river which I made during the rains of 1865 I saw 
the tracks of a herd of buffaloes on the western side of that 
river, at the " third barrier" \ south of the station of CMnd, 

* Bubalus ami. 

t These " barriers " are points in the course of this river where its otherwise 
still, lake-like character is broken by spaces in which the river assumes more the 


that is, a short distance to the west of the 80th meridian. The 
natives, however, told me there that they only cross the river 
in the rainy season, and that they do not penetrate very far to 
the west, so that so slight an exception may fairly be held to 
prove the general rule. So far. then from the cpmmon adage 
of the sportsman being true that the wild buffalo does not 
extend south of the Narbada* (see Shakspeare's " Wild Sports of 
India," p. 210), the truth is that the animal is unknown to the 
north of it, in the longitude of that river. It has been stated 
that the feral buffaloes of these parts are only the descendants 
of tame ones run wild, an idea that will not hold water for a 
second. They have all the habits of fully wild animals, are 
extremely numerous in the parts they inhabit, and exactly 
correspond in size and every particular with the aboriginally 
wild buffaloes of Eastern Bengal. Two varieties are recog- 
nized in India, differing chiefly in the length and shape of the 
horns. They have been called by Hodgson B. Macroceros, 
and B. Speiroceros, the horns of the former being long, 
straight, and more slender, and of the latter, shorter, thicker, 
and more curved. All the Central Indian species that I have 
seen pertain to the latter race, the average length of the horns 
of a mature bull being three and a half to four feet. No 
animal has changed so little in domestication as the buffalo. 
In appearance the wild animal is extremely like the tame one, 
but fully a third larger, and showing fine, plump, sleek con- 
dition, instead of the slouching, scraggy appearance of the 
domestic " buff," and possessing the free action and air of a 
denizen of the wilds. I have never heard an authentic case 
of their interbreeding with the domestic race, though indi- 

character of a mountain stream. They interrupt what would otherwise be an 
unbroken stretch of water-way into the heart of the country, and are now being 
dealt with by a staff df skilful engineers. Probably a herd of buffaloes would 
find it easier to cross at one of these barriers than elsewhere. 


viduals of the latter sometimes join the wild herds and be- 
come difficult to reclaim. In height I have never seen a wild 
buffalo exceed sixteen hands ; but though thus less in stature 
than the bison, the buffalo stands on much shorter legs, and 
is altogether a heavier-built . animal, so that in bulk and 
weight he must a good deal exceed the wild bull of the hills. 
They never interfere with each other, the bison adhering to 
hilly tracts, while the buffalo is essentially a lover of plains 
and level plateaux, where the extensive swamps he delights 
in can be found. The very different structure of their hoofs 
would suffice of itself to indicate this, those of the buffalo 
being broad and platter-like, to support him on soft ground, 
while those of the bison, who has to pick his way among 
rocks, are wonderfully small for his size, as neat and game- 
like and little larger than those of the sd-mbar deer. The 
buffalo is also much less intolerant of man and his works than 
the bison, invading the rice cultivation, and often defying all 
attempts to drive him from the neighbourhood of villages. 
They are altogether very defiant of man, and, unlike the bison, 
will generally permit a close approach without any conceal- 
ment where they have not been much molested, trusting 
apparently to th&r formidable aspect to secure the retreat of 
the invader, which is usually successful. If the attack be 
followed up, however, they almost always make off at last, 
and are then not so easily got at again. The favourite re- 
sorts of the buffalo are on the skirts of the lower sal forests, 
where they run out into the open plain, and between them 
and the rice cultivation of these regions, in the great open 
swampy plains where long rank grass affords the sort of cover 
they like. 

Our first introduction to the wild buffalo in this trip was 
near the high road between RaTpiir and Sambalpiir, when B., 


who liad the shot (in stalking a herd together we always 
arranged by turns who should have the first shot), killed a 
cow. We followed the herd a long way, and wounded another, 
but could not bag. For a long time after this we were em- 
ployed in the forests, and though we saw a few, never had 
time to hunt them, until, near the MaMnadi river, we came 
out on a cultivated plain, of which a large bull and four cows 
had completely taken possession, devastating the rice, and 
charging indiscriminately at all who approached. A Baboo 
from the nearest police station had come out a little while 
before to rid the place of the invader, but contented himself 
with firing away all his ammunition at half a mile's distance 
from the top of a house, and the bull remained monarch of 
all he surveyed. We had scarcely entered on the plains when 
the owner of the ruined rice-fields pointed out his enemy 
looming against the horizon as large as an elephant, and we at 
once made preparations for the attack. The place was as 
level and open as a billiard-table, so we had to rely on our 
rifles alone. We were both heavily armed with two-ounce 
rifles, however, and several smaller guns in reserve, so we 
marched straight on the foe, with our very miscellaneous pack 
of dogs under orders to be let go at the first shot. The bull 
and his harem came boldly down to meet us, and as we ap- 
proached commenced his usual demonstrations to put us to 
flight, pawing the earth with his feet, tossing his mighty 
horns, and making short runs in our direction. But we 
steadily advanced, and when within about eighty yards 
separated a little, so that one should get a flank shot, the full 
front of the buffalo being practically proof against lead It 
was my turn for first shot, and when about sixty yards in- 
tervened I knelt down and brought the heavy rifle to bear on 
the point of his shoulder. Crash went two ounces of lead, 

D 1) 


propelled by eight drachms of powder, against his tough hide, 
and he fell upon his knees. Bang went several more of our 
shots, and he stumbled off dead lame and very much crest- 
fallen. Following him up with the dogs, who were now 
baying round him, we overhauled him in an open field, and 
repeated the dose again and again till he fell heavily against 
the embankment of a rice-field, and then, stepping up, I put 
a three-ounce shell behind his shoulder, and with a quiver of 
the limbs he gave it up. He was a fine animal, in the prime 
of life, and we were amazed at the bulk and strength ex- 
hibited by his massive form. The horns were each three feet 
ten inches long, which is nearly the extreme length they ever 
attain here.* He had sixteen bullets in him before he died, 
several of large calibre, and at close quarters. "We were, how- 
ever, shooting with bullets of plain lead, and I found that my 
first two-ounce ball, propelled by eight drachms of powder, 
had flattened out on his shoulder, pulverising the bones, how- 
ever, and completely laming him. After this we shot with 
hardened projectiles. 

Next day we embarked in a long canoe, hollowed from the 
stem of a mighty sal tree, on the bosom of the MriMnadi, 
and sailed down to Sambalpiir in two days and a night. It 
was mighty exciting work, the stream passing at intervals 
over long rapids, where the water, broken into many channels, 
rushed between narrow banks overhung with bushes, the boat- 
men steering the canoe with long poles in the most dexterous 
manner, now warding her bows from a rock on which the 
stream broke in a sheet of foam, then prostrating themselves 
at the bottom of the boat to avoid the sweep of the branches 
while the canoe shot through some narrow passage, and pre- 

* Fossil horns of much larger size have been found in the Narbada gravels, 
along with bones of the hippopotamus, &c. 


sently emerging, after a final shave against a sunken rock, 
into a deep and silent pool, where the plash of huge fish, and 
the eye-knobs and serrated backs of crocodiles sailing about, 
showed that we had entered one of the long silent reaches 
that break at intervals the torrent of these mountain rivers. 
My companion had got a severe attack of fever, which marred 
what would otherwise have been a sufficiently jolly trip. 
After resting awhile at this most secluded of stations (they 
get their supplies from Calcutta, several hundreds of miles 
away, on men's heads, and a convoy had just been trampled 
up by wild elephants before we arrived), we started again for 
the Garhj&t States, where the next month was spent in unre- 
mitting toil among their rugged hills. Here we were among 
the Khond aborigines, famous for the Meria" sacrifices of 
human beings to the dread goddess Kali. How they can 
have been confounded with our Central Indian Gonds I can- 
not imagine. They are much blacker and more negro-like in 
their physique, and speak a wholly different language, a few 
words only of which approximate, like G6ndi, to the Tdmil of 
the south. Their country is wholly beyond the limits of the 
central highlands ; and it would be out of place to enter here 
into a detailed description of the tribe, even did the few 
weeks I passed among them justify such an undertaking. We 
returned from this trip with most of our following severely 
ill of fever, contracted ' in these close jungles, where water is 
so scarce and bad at this time of year (April) that we rose, 
like river gods, from our daily bath hung with the green slime 
of the fetid pools from which our supplies were drawn. As 
we marched northward again we entered the valley of the 
Jonk river, a tributary of the MiMnadi, and here we fell in 
again with great herds of buffaloes, and halted for a day or 
two to recruit our followers and shoot. Our camp was pitched 

D D 2 


below a great spreading tree at the deserted site of the village 
of Jilda\ Eaten up by the buffaloes, the people had moved 
off to a less open place. Around us was a sea of long grass, 
bounded by low hills and sal forests on the far horizon. Here 
our poor fever-stricken people paraded themselves in rows to 
let the sun into their shivering bones, and three times a day 
got a dose of quinine all round, a course of treatment (pre- 
ceded by a smart dose of jalap) which soon frees a native from 
this hot-weather fever. 

When marching in the morning, about a couple of miles 
from camp we saw a herd of fifty or sixty buffaloes standing 
up to their knees in a swamp among long grass. It was B.'s 
turn for the shot, and we spent several hours trying to get 
near enough to shoot. The buffaloes were very wild, having 
been much fired at a few weeks before by a sportsman with 
long-range small-bore rifles. As we approached on one side 
they waded through the swamp and went out on the other, 
reversing the process when we changed the direction of 
approach. At last I got on my horse, and took a light breech- 
loading gun, to try and get round and drive them across to B. 
They now got alarmed, and made off towards the head of the 
swamp ; and on our following them on either bank, left it alto- 
gether, and started at their best pace across a rising ground. 
The ground seemed very favourable for riding for that 
country, so I could not resist the temptation to breathe my 
little nag at them, and was soon galloping full speed in their 
rear. My animal was an Arab pony, about thirteen three in 
height, but game as a bantam, and wonderfully sure-footed 
over bad ground. To my surprise and delight, I found myself 
ahead of them in less than half a mile ; and, shooting past, 
looked out for a worthy quarry among the labouring mass. I 
fixed on a bull with long horns, whose shining tips danced in 


the sunlight conspicuous above them all, and was just ranging 
alongside to fire when a tremendous bound of my little nag 
nearly unseated me, and we just escaped the long pointed 
horns of a lean brute of a cow that shot past my quarter, and 
then pulled up beyond me, shaking her head and looking very 
wicked indeed. I sheered off, and let her proceed to rejoin 
the herd, giving her a broadside of two barrels as she passed, 
which was followed by another end-on charge for several 
hundred yards. Eventually she went off again towards the 
retreating herd ; but, though the ground had now become very 
bad, cut up in all directions by deep rifts in the black soil and 
pitted by the old footmarks of the buffaloes, I was not going 
to decline the challenge of this fighting cow. So after reload- 
ing my breech-loader, which was a very light snipe gun 
pressed into ball service, and wholly unfit for this sort of 
work, I cantered after her, and, when within distance, made a 
rush past, intending to fire into her at close quarters. But 
she was too quick for me, and we almost met, my gun going 
off, I believe harmlessly, in her face. I had another narrow 
shave as she again charged me, the little horse stumbling 
heavily several times in the frightful ground. Again she 
sheered off, and once again I rode up, though not so close as 
before, and gave her both barrels, holding the gun out like a 
pistol. She felt these, and, though shaking her head in a 
threatening manner, did not charge again. She now held on 
slowly behind the herd ; and as I felt I could not kill her with 
this weapon, I waited behind, hoping she would lie down and 
the heavy rifles come up. Presently she slackened her pace to 
a walk, and I watched her from behind a bush. Peering 
cautiously all round, she went on a little further, and then, 
after standing about five minutes' watching, lay down in the 
long grass. I marked the spot carefully, as I thought, by a 


bush, and then rode back full split for a heavy rifle. About 
a mile behind I met B. with the rifles and dogs, and we pro- 
ceeded together to finish off the cow. My large rifle had got 
bulged in one barrel some time before, being unable to bear 
the proper charges for buffalo-shooting, so I had only one 
barrel to depend on. "We walked up through the grass close 
to the spot I had marked, but she was not there. 1 soon lost 
the bearings, there being fifty bushes just like the one I had 
marked her by, and we wandered about, a little apart, looking 
for her. I had stood up on an ant-hill to get a better look, 
when just below me up started her savage-looking head and 
long horns, and she plunged towards me in the grass. A ball 
from the heavy rifle in the neck turned her, and she passed 
between B. and me, preventing both of us from further firing. 
The dogs now tackled her, " Tinker" in particular (whose 
deeds of valour in the wolf line have already been recorded) 
striving to seize her by the nose as she tore along. A 
couple of hundred yards further on she stopped in another 
patch of grass, the dogs baying round her, and Tinker, 
exhausted by the great heat, lying down in the shade of a 
bush, but flying at her the moment she tried to move. We 
marched up, at a short interval from each other, and, arriving 
first on her blind side, I saw her glance at B., shake off the 
dogs, and creeping forward in a stealthy manner like a tiger, 
watch for him, with horns laid back, behind the screen of grass 
and bushes that intervened. Before he arrived, however, I 
took a steady shot at her neck with the little double fourteen - 
gauge rifle, dropping her stone dead. We found she had an 
old bullet wound in the flank, which was full of maggots, 
accounting for her extremely poor condition and unusual 
savageness. The small-bore rifle of our predecessor in these 
hunting-grounds was probably the cause. Her horns were of 


full cow length, the pair measuring eight feet four inches 
round the curve and across the skull. 

The herd was now clean gone of course in the meantime, 
and we turned towards camp. On the way B. shot a cow, 
and I wounded a bull, and lost him in the long grass. While 
smoking our pipes after breakfast, one of the men who had 
remained to look after B.'s wounded bull came in to say that 
he had been found lying down in an open plain, about a mile 
away, looking very savage. We sallied forth immediately to 
encounter him, and found him lying close to a little ridge 
that had been the embankment of a rice field when the country 
was cultivated, and was now overgrown with tall grass. He 
had taken up a position which commanded all approaches, 
and, as there was no cover, there was nothing for it but to 
march up on foot. When within about sixty yards I took a 
shot with a small rifle, on the accuracy of which I could rely, 
at his broad forehead reclining on the bank. But the angle 
was wrong, and the ball glanced off without injury to the bull, 
who sprang on his feet and retreated to the middle of the 
field. The dogs were now loosed, and bayed round him till 
he began to chase them all round the* field ; but as soon as 
our heads appeared over the fringe of grass, he left them and 
charged down at ourselves. There was no sort of shelter, and 
everyone had to look out for himself. I stood till he was 
within about half-a-dozen paces, and then jumped out of his 
course in the grass, not a moment too soon, my rifle being 
whirled out of my hands and its ramrod broken. Eecovering 
it, I fired the undischarged barrel into the back of his shoulder, 
and at the same time the report of B/s rifle in front of him 
rang in my ears. Next moment I saw B. fall spinning to one 
side, while the bull came down on his knees, Tinker, who had 
dashed past along with him, clinging nobly to his nose. 


Neither spare gun, gun-bearer, nor dog-boy was within sight, 
as I dashed about, looking for the wherewithal to finish the 
struggling bull. At last I saw them, shrunk into nothing, in 
a shallow hollow in the black soil, and, seizing a couple of the 
guns, was hurrying up to the scene of action, when I met B., 
safe and sound, though rather pale, and at the same time 
heard the report of a rifle, and saw the bull fall over dead. 
My Mahomedan shikari, a man accustomed to shoot, had for- 
tunately ensconced himself with my spare rifle close to where 
the bull stopped after knocking B. over; aud putting the 
muzzle to his head had pulled the triggers of both barrels at 
once ! Tinker was covered with mire and blood from the 
bull, but otherwise uninjured, while the nose of the buffalo 
showed how determined had been his grip. B. had been 
caught fortunately with the outside edge of his horns, and but 
slightly, in the arms and ribs, and was not hurt beyond loss of 
wind and the shock of his fall. 

The next day B. had fever, and was so shaken as to require 
a rest, and I went out alone in another direction. I came on a 
herd of about forty, grazing in an open plain some two miles 
south of the camp, and proceeded to stalk them. I had an 
elephant with me, and sent him round a long circuit to at- 
tract their attention while I crept in. Getting within about 
a hundred yards I saw that the buffaloes had a bull nilgai 
along with them, which maintained a sharp outlook all round, 
while the buffaloes gazed stupidly at the elephant* I was 
crouched in grass about three feet high, and could not get 
any nearer for this singular sentinel. So I remained still, and 
presently the elephant disappeared in some low jungle, and 
the herd began again to graze. They fed down towards me, 
and when about seventy yards off* I fired at the leader, who 
was standing end on to me, and was raked fore and aft by 


the heavy hard ball, falling prone, toes upwards, on the ground. 
Instead of retreating, the herd now gathered about their com- 
rade, and trotted round, snuffing the blood, and looking about 
for their concealed enemy. The wreathing smoke of my rifle 
betrayed our position, and it was not without some alarm 
that I saw them draw up in a semicircle of pawing hoofs and 
snorting nostrils, surmounted by forty pairs of monstrous 
horns. My gun-bearer, Peer Kh&n, and I thought discretion 
the better part of valour under such circumstances, and espy- 
ing, some way to our right, the pollarded trunk of a saj tree, 
we retreated, snake fashion, through the grass, and clambered 
up it. Getting to the top, I sat on its smooth summit, while 
Peer Khan roosted crow-like on a branch, the only one, a foot 
or two lower down. I now opened fire on the herd, the first 
shot from the large rifle almost knocking me off my perch 
with the heavy recoil ; I believe Peer Khdn, who had reloaded 
it, had put in a double charge of powder. I then fired two 
rounds from the fourteen-bore, the herd pausing irresolute, 
and finally breaking into panic-stricken flight. The bal]s had 
knocked the dried mud in clouds from their hides, and one 
remained standing on the ground, while another lagged, very 
lame, behind the retreating herd. I went up and finished the 
first, and then tracked up the other a long way, till it went 
with the herd into a heavy swamp, when I returned to camp. 
I did not see in the confusion what became of the nilgdi ; but 
he was not with the herd when it retreated. 

Our experience of the wild buffalo was thus different from 
that of some, who have reported it to be a timid, inoffensive 
animal. As is the case with most wild beasts, it all depends, 
I believe, on whether you press them hard or not ; and probably 
many might be slaughtered at long ranges without even elicit- 
ing a charge. If followed up on foot, I believe the buffalo to 


be a much more dangerous opponent than the bison, being 
less timid, and also found in country where there is usually 
no protection to be derived from trees or rocks. In Bengal 
they are scarcely ever shot in any way but from elephants ; 
and then have been known to prostrate an elephant in their 
charge. The prime sport with buffaloes is on horseback ; but 
it is rare that ground is found fit to ride them on with any 
degree of safety, and I never heard of its having been accom- 
plished excepting on the occasion above related. I am sure, 
though, that with a horse clever over rough ground, and a 
light breech-loading carbine, capital runs at buffaloes might 
often be secured by watching them into favourable ground. 
To kill them with the spear would, I conceive, be utterly out 
of the question. We cut open one bull down the chest with 
an axe, to see what stopped our balls so strangely in front 
shots, and found that a bullet fired into the chest has to pass 
through more than two feet of hide, bone, and gristle before 
reaching the cavity of the lungs. Nor is the brain more 
accessible, the animal holding its head either elevated till the 
nose is level with the eyes, or, if charging, down between its 
fore legs and quite protected from a shot. A plain leaden 
bullet of an ounce weight, with three drachms of powder, will 
go clean through the skull if hit perpendicularly, which, how- 
ever, it is nearly impossible to do. The best places to fire, 
both at bison and buffalo, are through the point of the 
shoulder, if the rifle be powerful enough, or, if not, then be- 
hind and a little above the elbow. The centre of the neck is 
also very deadly, if the aim be true ; natives almost always 
fire there with their matchlocks. The skull and horns of a 
bull buffalo are so large and heavy as to form a considerable 
encumbrance as a trophy to the sportsman marching fast with 
a light camp. Its value is completely spoilt, however, by 


sawing off the horns, and throwing away the skull, as is often 
done. The better way is to boil away the flesh, and wait a 
few days till the horn-sheaths loosen on the bony cores, when 
they can be taken off, and the cores sawn down, leaving only 
a few inches to give the set of the horns. In doing this, the 
wonderful provision for giving requisite strength to the struc- 
ture, without undue weight, by constructing the bony cores 
like hollow cells, crossed by stays in every direction, will not 
fail to be perceived. 

We marched on down the valley of the Jonk through tracts 
of sal, mostly devastated by dhya* cultivation, to the Mahd- 
nadi river, and then along it and its tributary, the Arpd, to 
the little civil station of Bildspur, where we arrived on the 
28th of April, and began to make arrangements for an ex- 
pedition to the elephant haunts in the great sal forest to the 
north of that station. This country had never been explored 
by Europeans, excepting one small party of sportsmen who, a 
good many years before, had traversed a part of it and shot 
an elephant. It was reported to be scarcely inhabited except 
by a few utterly savage Bhumias ; and it was certain that no 
supplies of any sort would be procurable. Our first business 
was, therefore, to hire a large herd of Bunjard bullocks, with 
their drivers, and load them up with grain ; and such was 
then the land-locked condition of this fertile country that we 
purchased as much wheat, gram, and rice as we required at 
the rate of about 100 lbs. for a shilling ! Five years later the 
price of all agricultural produce had so greatly risen, owing 
to large tracts of land to the westward having been turned to 
the cultivation of cotton, and improvements in the communi- 
cations, that from 1 6 to 25 lbs. for a shilling had become the 
usual rate in the same district. 

On the 3rd of May we rode out to Eatanpur, the ancient 


capital of a Rajput dynasty which ruled over the greater part 
of this eastern country from the earliest times till the invasion 
of the Marathas in the eighteenth century. This ancient 
place is an example of the decay which has overtaken many 
of the old Hindu cities since the extinction of the native 
dynasties, and the decay of orthodox Hindu religious senti- 
ment. Standing on a little central hill, on whose summit the 
white painted dome of a temple forms a landmark to the sur- 
rounding country, the eye looks over great vistas of enormous 
banyan and mango groves, embosomed in which sleep the 
waters of a hundred and fifty tanks, and shrouded in whose 
recesses, with here and there a ribbed spire visible above, lie 
the crumbling ruins of a vast number of temples, palaces, and 
forts. A day's ramble scarcely discovers a tithe of the archaeo- 
logical treasures which here await the inspection of the 
curious. Much of the city has already fallen to pieces. 
Great untenanted masonry buildings attest the former wealth 
and state of its inhabitants, while mean little mud shanties 
and thatched hovels clustering against their walls witness to 
the poverty of the diminished number of its modern residents. 
As the temples of the old faith have suffered decay, so, too, 
has the religion itself; and orthodox Hinduism has over all 
this country been extensively displaced by a deism, planted 
less than fifty years ago among the Chamdx inhabitants of 
Chattis'garh by a prophet of their own race. It is, like the 
Buddhism of old, an uprising of the down-trodden low castes 
against the tyranny of Br&hmanism, its leading principles 
being abjuration of priestdom and caste, and substitution for 
the Bralim&nistic pantheon of the worship of one God, whom 
they call Sal Nam, or the " True One." It is one of the 
most singular social and religious revolutions in Hindu history, 
and is but an example of similar movements which are stir- 


ring the old fabric of Hinduism to its very foundations. 
Whether or not these movements towards a purer faith will, 
like their great predecessor, degenerate after a time into 
another and lower form of idolatry than that from which they 
have emerged, remains to be seen. 

Lying in a low hollow between surrounding eminences, 
the foul water-tanks, fetid with the slime of centuries, breed 
among the people of Katanpur every sort of loathsome disease ; 
and everywhere the hideous leper, and sufferer from elephan- 
tiasis, are seen stalking gloomily about in the shadows of 
these decaying groves. I was myself destined to share in the 
pestilence that is rapidly depopulating the place. Coming in 
heated from our ride, and the tents not having arrived, I was 
foolish enough to throw myself down on a string bedstead I 
found under a tree and go to sleep, and in the evening found 
myself overtaken by a sensation which I did not recognise. 
It was fever, but not that of the malaria I had become 
accustomed to. Next morning I marched, though very ill, 
ten miles to the next halting-place ; and the day after, being 
much worse, was carried on six miles further. After tossing 
about all night I suddenly felt relieved from the burning 
fever, and became aware of a fine crop of small-pox pustules 
on my feet. This promised to be the end of my explorations ; 
but, as I had been duly vaccinated, I hoped the attack might 
be a light one, and determined not to return to the station 
while a hope remained of accomplishing my desire to see the 
elephant-country. It was very hot where we now were ; but 
about seven miles further on rose a high conical hill, crowned 
by an old fortress, called Laafagarh, which seemed to possess 
an elevation of at least 3,000 feet ; and as, on inquiring about 
it, I found there was shade and water on the top, 1 determined 
to get myself carried up there to a cooler temperature, and 


fight through it with the help of the worthy though not very 
skilful native apothecary attached to our camp, while B. went 
off to do as much of the exploration as possible in the mean- 
time. Next morning I was carried up to a small village half 
way up the hill, and which the aneroid showed to be about 
2,450 feet above the sea. Here I was met by the th&kur of 
Laafd,, the landowner of a considerable hilly tract round about 
Laafagarh, who, with the utmost civility, led the way to a 
commodious hut he had prepared for my accommodation, of 
leafy boughs from the forest, under the shade of a large ban- 
yan tree, while my tent was being made comfortable in the 
old fort on the top of the hill. A gang of wild Bhumids from 
the thdkur s hill villages had been collected to carry up my 
things ; and throughout the day I was " interviewed" by little 
knots of them, who would steal to the door of the hut, squat 
down on their hams, with their axes hitched over their arms, 
and their funny little leaf pipes stuck behind their ears, and 
remain perfectly contented as long as we let them, drinking 
in the strange appearance and surroundings of the sahibs. 
"Without his formidable battle-axe (tongid,) and his leaf pipe 
(chongee) you will rarely see the Bhumid of these eastern 
regions. The pipe is twisted in a few seconds out of the leaf 
of the palas tree, a peculiar twist making the bowl and its 
narrow neck in the most perfect manner. It looks simple, but 
I never could acquire the knack of it, and my pipes always 
came to pieces before they were well lit. The BhumnCs smoke 
them once or twice, and then make another. They spoke 
capital Hindi, and were not at all shy in conversation, though 
wilder in appearance even than those of their race who live in 
the Mandld, district. Here the tribe is known only by the 
name of Bhumia, the term Byga, which is their commoner 

* Butea frondosa, after which the whole district of Bilaspur is named. 


tribal name in MandM, being restricted to their priests and 
medicine-men in these more eastern regions. It was queer to 
see what trifles sufficed to bring a grin of .delight on their 
black and unhandsome but good-humoured countenances. 
Their broadest grins were elicited by my three lemon-and- 
white spaniels, when they sat up in line to beg "Wah 
Kookur ! Koo-oo-Koo-ra* ! " exclaimed among them, testifying 
their delight ; and when the visitors who had been initiated 
to this awful mystery were excluded ' from the hut to let me 
have a sleep, I saw them, through the leafy wall, form a depu- 
tation from the whole population of the place, to solicit my 
dog-boy to give one more exhibition, by the aid of a bone, of 
the wonderful performing "kookurs." For days afterwards 
fresh parties of these simple savages used to come up to my 
tent on the hill, and sit down over against me in the hope of 
seeing the wonderful spectacle, the news of which was carried, 
I believe, to the uttermost ends of this wilderness. When our 
elephants arrived from below with my tent and things (there 
was a pathway as far as the village), all the Bhumids saluted 
them by placing a hand on their broad footprints and then 
touching their foreheads. The wild elephants were truly, as 
they said, the raj&s and demons of their country at that time, 
wandering whither they listed, and devastating their fields of 
hill rice at will. So, as usual with the offensive powers of 
nature among these tribes, they were ranked and propitiated 
as an expression of the Deity. The next morning I was 
carried up to the top of the hill, where my tent had been 
pitched under a shady tree by the banks of a small tank, 
which in olden days had been excavated for a supply of water 
to the fort. The way up was a steep zigzag of 730 feet. Near 
the top a clear scarp of light grey rock rises out of the sloping 
forest-covered hill-side, sweeping right round the hill, an in- 


accessible barrier excepting at the point we ascended, where a 
pathway has been formed by excavation, and piling up huge 
blocks of rocks. . The entrance itself lay through a massive 
double gateway of great blocks, laid without mortar ; and a low 
wall, of similar cyclopean structure, had surmounted the top of 
the precipice. Much of this had now fallen into ruins, which 
could be seen lying in great heaps in the jungle below ; but in 
some places, particularly at the bastions, it was still almost 
complete. The top was a tolerably level plateau, broken by a 
few knolls, and was at that time covered by long yellow grass, 
and dotted with trees. Among the latter I found some speci- 
mens of the ebony tree,* which had evidently been cultivated, 
their plum-like luscious fruit being much larger and more 
fleshy than the wild species, and with very small stones. The 
only building on the top is a small temple dedicated to the 
consort of Siva\ The extreme elevation of the hill, on a rising 
ground above my tent, was shown by the aneroid barometer 
to be 3,410 feet, which is almost identical with that of the 
source of the Narbada* at Amarkantak. 

I stayed up here till the 1 5th of May, rapidly recovering 
from my attack, for which I took no medicine but siedlitz 
powders, to the discomfiture of the " doctor/' who wanted to 
drench me with cathartics, diaphoretics, and goodness knows 
what else, out of his tin boxful of very miscellaneous dis- 
pensary kit. The only physic I ever took from our worthy 
medico was what he called a " carminative," valuable in fits of 
ague brandy and soda, to wit. But he had a great effect, 
with his purges, and emetics, and seven-leagued medical talk, 
on the native following. The thakiir was exceedingly kind, 
visiting me constantly, and sitting for hours talking about 
the affairs of his jungly domain. He was a fine, tall, middle- 

* Diospyros melanoxyh'n . 


aged man, claiming to be a pure Rajput, and a descendant of 
the ancient dynasty of Eatanpiir, whose stronghold for many 
years was the fort of Laafagarh. He brought me numerous 
delicacies produced by his wilds, among which two were 
particularly acceptable, namely, a fine pure arrowroot (Tikur), 
made from the roots of the wild Curcuma Angustifolia, and 
a beautiful small grain called Siker, which is nothing but the 
produce of old plants of the grain called Kutki (panicum), 
generally cultivated by those hill tribes in their dhya* clear- 
ings. After a clearing has been abandoned, the plants of 
Kutki rapidly degenerate, and in their third and fourth year 
the grain has become this Siker. It is much smaller than 
the fully cultivated grain, but also much sweeter, and with a 
nutty flavour about it, which is particularly delicious. Very 
little of it is gathered, the labour being great for a small 
result; but it is so much appreciated as to be generally kept 
for the Purshdd, or sacrificial food of the gods. It made the 
best porridge I ever tasted. The TMkiir had been a mighty 
hunter in the days of his youth, and was full of yarns of 
his sport. I remember few of them, and was too listless at 
that time to note them down. He showed me a scar received 
from a man-eating tiger, which he and another had done 
to death with their bows and arrows. He told me much 
about the wild elephants, which wandered all over his own 
and the neighbouring chieftaincies, their head-quarters being 
in M&tin and Uprord, about twenty-five miles to the north. 
He only knew of one of these animals having ever been killed 
by a native. He was a very old male, with a broken tusk, 
and was shot in the trunk with a "bisa>," or poisoned arrow, 
from a tree by the Bhumia, whose rice-field he was devas- 
tating below. He wandered long in the neighbouring jungle, 
growing thin and weak, and at last sank down helpless in a 


water-pool, where he had gone to bathe his miserable body. 
Then a neighbouring Thakiir came and fired all day into him 
from his match-lock, two bushels of bullets being taken from 
his carcass after he expired. 

He had another story, of a " loathly worm " that haunts the 
forests of the Uprora" country slimy and horrid like a great 
caterpillar, a cubit and a half in thickness, and dull grey in 
colour, with a scarlet head, to look upon which was death. 
Many had seen it, but none had lived to tell the tale. On 
pressing him as to the source of the accurate portrait of the 
monster he had drawn for me, since all who had seen it had 
died, he was at no loss for a reply. The Th&kur of Uproni 
was travelling, with an attendant behind him, when at the 
crossing of a stream the latter called out, " What is that great 
slimy caterpillar-like monster with a scarlet head, etc. ? " on 
which his master warned him not to look at it, and did not 
do so himself. He was too late, however, for the servant was 
dead in a few moments. 

Evening after evening I sat on the highest point of the hill 
listening to the incessant music of the " myriad crickets " that 
seemed to permeate every nook and cranny of the hill and its 
covering of trees, and gazing over the vast forest prospect 
spread below. To the south the open plain of Chattis'garh 
from which we had come, to the north the great green wilder- 
ness of the elephant country, dotted here and there with 
isolated hills. A long valley led up into this region from the 
foot of Laafdgarh, in which a few specks of village clearings 
could be seen. Everywhere else was utter waste. Far to 
the west a pink promontory glowed hazily in the setting sun. 
That was Amarkantak, the source of the Narbadd, to which I 
took the reader at the opening of this chapter. 

Many wild animals had their haunts in the wooded sloping 


skirts of the hill. The harsh grating roar of the panther was 
heard nearly every night ; Sambar deer were sometimes seen 
picking their way up the hill from the plains in the early 
morning ; and once I saw a black bear hurrying up the rocks 
to his cavern long after the sun had risen. Gangs of Hanu- 
man monkeys stalked about the ruined ramparts and the preci- 
pice they crowned. On the top were many hares, peafowl, 
and painted partridges ; and my dogs had endless chases after 
the yellow wild cat,* and the tree cat,f which were both more 
numerous on this hill than anywhere else I have seen them. 
Once when strolling round the camp in the dusk, looking for 
a shot at the green pigeons which every night came to feed 
on the wild fruits, I saw a pair of gleaming eyes looking down 
on me from the dark shadow of an overhanging banyan tree ; 
and a charge of No. 4 brought down among the dogs a fine 
red lynx4 which they soon despatched in his wounded con- 
dition. It takes hard fighting for the best of dogs to kill an 
unwound ed lynx, as my pack knew to their cost. 

I pined sadly over my imprisonment on the top of this hill. 
The climate was milder by many degrees than it had been 
below, with no hot wind even at this height of the summer 
season ; and was in particular delightfully cool at night. But 
there were only a few weeks remaining of the dry season ; and 
we had to march nearly two hundred miles after leaving the 
elephant country to get into Jubbulpur ; so as soon as I could 
move at all I descended the hill, and marched on an elephant 
for M&tin. At a place called Sirki, fifteen miles from Laafd,, 
a tiger had just been killed with a poisoned arrow. His 
companion was reported to be still in the jungle, and I foolishly 
went out to hunt him in the heat of the day, ending in my 

* F. chous. f Paradoxus musanga. 

| F. Caracal. 

e b 2 


being brought fainting back to camp. When I reached Mdtin, 
I was again very ill. It was far hotter than in Laanigarh, 
lying as it does in a low valley surrounded by hills. B. did 
not rejoin me for the next eight days, and I had a very dreary 
time of it indeed. There was abundance of game about, and 
several cow elephants drank daily at a pool not a mile from 
camp. Shooting females, or anything but old males, had been 
prohibited by the Government, as there was an intention of 
establishing a hhedda here to capture them alive. But there 
was an old "rogue " about, who had killed several persons not 
long before, and I sent some Bhumi&s out to search for him. 
The second night after my arrival I was sleeping outside for 
coolness, when I was rudely awakened, and sat up to listen to 
the crashing and trumpeting of a herd of elephants on the 
slope of the hill above the village. All night long, till within 
a few hours of daybreak, they kept on breaking the bamboos 
and crying shrilly at intervals. Our tame elephants were 
very uneasy the whole time ; and I took the precaution of 
securing them by additional ropes, and stationing people with 
spears beside them to suppress any attempt at an emetite. In 
the evening I went out to the place, and found the hill-side 
completely levelled, bamboos torn down, crushed between 
their teeth, and many of their young shoots eaten away, and 
many trees of the Boswellia and other scantily rooted species 
overthrown and stripped of the tender bark of their top 
branches. The limit of their powers in overthrowing trees 
appeared, however, to be confined to those of not more than 
about eight inches in diameter,, and my experience with trained 
tame elephants leads to a similar conclusion. Even these are 
not torn up by the roots, but merely borne down by the appli- 
cation of their full weight, by means of the forehead and one 
foot, or, as the natives here assured me, of the stern. The tales 


of some African travellers of elephants employing large trees 
as projectiles (one declares he saw two trees of eighteen inches 
diameter torn up and hurled ten or twelve yards) must be 
utter myths. A broad track through the jungle, like a high 
road, led off in the direction taken by the herd ; and, where 
they had crossed the dry sandy bed of the Mdtin river, their 
tracks of every size, ranging from that of the tusker of a foot 
and a half diameter to the youngster's the size of a teacup, 
showed that the herd must have numbered some fifty or sixty 
individuals. I was of course quite unable to follow them in 
my present condition. 

In the afternoon, when I was asleep, some of the Bhumids 
came in with news of the solitary tusker being within half a 
mile of the camp. Ill as I was I could not stand this, so 
getting on my pony, in sleeping drawers and slippers just as I 
was, I went out at least to see him. He was standing in the 
sandy bed of the Mdtin river, where he had dug out a great 
hole down to the moisture below the surface, and plastered 
himself all over with the wet sand to keep off the flies. He 
was a very large tusker, resembling the Nepal breed in shape. 
The only striking difference I noticed between him and 
domesticated elephants was the much greater fleshiness of his 
neck and fore-quarters, a circumstance also to be remarked in 
the wild buffalo bull, as compared with the tame species. He 
stood leaning on his tusks against the bank, gently swaying 
his tail about, and seemingly half asleep. There was no way 
of getting nearer him than about a hundred and fifty yards 
much too far to shoot at an elephant ; and I sat long watch- 
ing him in the hope that he would move, but he didn't. Then 
I went and found the road he had taken down the steep bank 
of the river, and posted myself behind it, sending a Bhumid, 
round a long way to give him his wind. It was interesting 


to see the elephant when he caught the first whiff of the 
savage. He still stood leaning on his tusks, but his tail 
ceased to sway, and the point of his trunk was curled round 
below his ear in the direction of the scent, while his ears stood 
cocked to catch the faintest sound. Long he stood thus, per- 
fectly motionless. The Bhumia" soon got more directly to 
windward, though still unseen by the elephant, and got up a 
tree. Those wild creatures had a wholesome dread of this 
jungle deity of theirs it seemed. Then the elephant gently 
walked out of his hole, and never a look did he take towards 
the foe ; slowly and heavily making for another pass up the 
bank a couple of hundred yards from where I was. I stole 
along through the grass as near this point as I could without 
coming into his view, and again sat down by an elephant path 
up which I hoped he would come. And I was not mistaken, 
for after a breathless pause of a minute or so, his great solemn 
forehead and gleaming tusks . appeared, waving to and fro 
as he moved, and within eighty or ninety paces of my post. 
I felt sure of him with my big rifle if he came along the path, 
and determined not to fire till he was quite close. About 
forty yards only now intervened between us, and I was lifting 
the rifle to my eye, when a short cough behind caused me to 
look round, and there, oh horror ! was a tall figure, clad in a 
yellow coat and bright red turban, standing on an ant-hill 
and striving to get up a tree ! Instantly I turned again to the 
elephant ; but all I saw was his vast round stern in full retreat 
through the trees. It was a little provoking, and I did not 
bless very much the owner of that yellow garment as I sped 
along frantically after the vanishing tusker. I remember no 
more than this, till I found myself being supported on my 
pony back to camp. They said I had fallen senseless in the 
grass after running about a hundred yards. The culprit was 


a relative of the TMkur of Mitin, who had stolen out after 
me, and, coming up unperceived in the grass, had lain still 
enough till the formidable aspect of the man-killer had over- 
come his opium-shaken nerves. He looked so utterly wretched 
and ashamed of himself that I could not tell him all that I 
thought of him. There was also rather a panic abroad just at 
the time, as not long before a young son of the Thalmr of 
Uprora" had been taken out after some elephants which had 
come down near the plains, by some sportsmen from BiMspur ; 
and a large tusker charging down on them, after having been 
followed and shot at for half a day, was trampled up before 
he could get clear. It was a terrible disappointment, and 
neither B. nor I ever had another chance at an elephant which 
we might shoot. I made a number of little excursions from 
Mdtin to the principal elephant haunts of the neighbourhood. 
All about there were great quantities of game of other sorts, 
spotted deer along the N&lds, and red deer in nearly every 
glade of the sal forest. Bears were numerous, and I saw a 
few prowling about in the early morning, but, being unable to 
work on foot, never got a shot. I picked up four or five deer, 
of sorts, shooting from the elephant ; and, having to follow up 
the tracks of several which were wounded, had an opportunity 
of admiring the wonderful tracking powers of these wild 
Bhumi&s. An ordinary track that I could barely see, they 
ran breast high, and scarcely looking at the ground, and it 
was not till all sign disappeared to other eyes that real interest 
in the work began to be displayed. No natives of these 
highlands can compare with a Bulimia" in real knowledge of 
woodcraft. A short distance north-east of M^tin is a small 
hill called Malindeh. Many bones of elephants lay strewn 
about below the steep precipice at one end of this hill ; and 
it seemed that, the year before we were there, a singular acci- 


dent had led to the destruction on this spot of almost the 
whole of a small herd. The Thakur and villagers were going 
up the narrow path, by which alone it is accessible, to pay 
their annual devotions to the god of the hill. The procession 
was accompanied by the noise of drums and much shouting 
in honour of the deity; and they were wholly unaware that 
they were driving before them a herd of five elephants which 
had been ahead of them on the path. Arrived at the summit, 
and the noise still pursuiug them, the elephants became panic- 
stricken, and four of them tried to descend on the opposite 
side. Here a slope of loose shingle led down from the top, 
ending in a sheer cliff. Once embarked on this there was no 
retreat for their ponderous weight, and the poor brutes were 
hurried over the perpendicular fall. The fifth the big tusker 
whom I had so recently encountered it was said charged 
back through the procession, scattering them like chaff, and 
made his escape down the path. 

On the 26th, B. rejoined me, having covered a great extent 
of country by dint of hard marching, and explored the eastern 
portion of the sal forest and elephant country which belongs 
to the Th&kur of Uprora. He had seen little game, and had 
never stayed to shoot. From Malm we proceeded again 
together, due north, to examine the country between this and 
Amarkantak ; and till the end of the month we travelled on 
through an unbroken forest of the sal tree. This wild is very 
scantily peopled by a few utterly primitive Bhumi^s, a sight 
of whom could only be secured by sending on an embassy of 
some of their own tribesmen whom we took with us from 
Malm. On one occasion I had wandered off the elephant 
track, that served for a road in these parts, into the thick sal 
forest, without a guide, trusting to regain it after a short 
detour. But the country is here so level, and the prospect so 


circumscribed by the never-ending array of great grey stems 
of the sal, that I soon found I had entirely lost my way, while 
the mid-day sun, hanging like a globe of glowing silver right 
overhead, threw only vertical shadows, which afforded no 
guide to the points of the compass. I was riding on an 
elephant, and we wandered on for some hours through glade 
after glade and clump after clump of the sal trees, each exactly 
like the one before it, till at last we emerged into a little open 
space, where a few tall naked stems of sal trees killed by ring- 
ing stood up from among a thick copse of bushes sprung from 
the roots of the cleared forest. In the middle was a small 
Bhumia hamlet of a few huts of bamboo basket-work, sur- 
rounded by a fence of the same material. We marched up 
to the little wicket-gate of this enclosure, and the barking of 
a dog brought out the two or three inhabitants. To stare 
wildly like startled deer at the amazing sight of an elephant 
ridden by a white man, fly over the fence with a shriek, and 
plunge into the thick copse-wood of the little clearing, was 
the work of a moment. But I could not do without a guide 
to regain the road, and pushed in the elephant after them. It 
was just for all the world like beating hog-deer out of thick 
bush-cover, the naked black savages lying close in the thickets 
till the elephant put her foot almost on the top of them, when 
they bolted out and ran crouching across to another patch. I 
thought we would never catch one, until the man behind me 
slipped down the elephant's tail and ran round, intercepting 
a lad in the act of leaving the last of the underwood for the 
open forest. When laid hold of he struggled a little, but soon 
resigned himself, trembling in every limb, to his fate. It was 
many minutes before we could get him to speak at all, a blank 
shake of the head meeting every question before he could 
have heard it. At last, after much reassuring and comforting, 


with presents of tobacco and the almighty rupee, and the 
withdrawal of the elephant to a distance, he found a tongue, 
and that in good broad Hindu, but only to declare that he 
knew nothing of the road ; and, indeed, as we were making 
for nothing more definite than a water-hole in the forest re- 
joicing in the name of Boogloogee, I dare say the poor youth 
spoke the truth. We insisted on his trying, however, and at 
last he started, taking the way back to the huts, and peering 
about among the bushes as if he had lost something. Pre- 
sently he put his hand to his mouth and gave a succession of 
piercing yells, the last of which was answered from the copse- 
wood, and in a while a very old wrinkled little man crept 
out, holding his hands across his shrivelled stomach to depre- 
cate the wrath of the riders on the elephantine gods of the 
forest. More tobacco and another, bright rupee, and the sight 
of the youth safe and sound after his awful adventure, brought 
a grin over the highly Simian countenance of this ancient ; 
and the pair of them, first diving into a hut for their pipes 
and axes, stalked away before us through the trees. Soon 
they got quite chatty, gabbling and grinning to themselves 
about the elephant and its riders, on whom, however, they 
kept a sharp look-out over their shoulders. Once or twice I 
made the elephant take short runs close up behind them to 
try their nerves ; and the alacrity with which they skipped 
behind the nearest trees, and chuckled and grinned from their 
secure positions, was worth seeing. They took us straight 
across country to Boogloogee without a mistake ; and when 
we got there, and set them down among their tribesmen to 
fill themselves with venison, and wheat-flour from our store, 
they were perfectly happy. 

The Bhumias of these parts are much wilder than those of 
the Mandte district, cultivating not at all, and subsisting solely 


by their bows and arrows, and the roots and fruits of the 
jungle, and collecting the dammer resin of the sal tree to 
barter for the few necessaries of life not produced by their 
wilds with the traders who reside at the head-quarters of their 
Thdkurs. They have scarcely an idea of the use of coined 
money, the rare rupees that reach them being pierced and 
worn as ornaments by the women. They are said to have, 
besides their little hamlets in the forest, a retreat in some still 
more secluded wild, known only to the family it belongs to, 
in which all their worldly substance beyond a few days' sup- 
ply is kept, and to which they are ready to fly at a moment's 
notice. The sal forest has thus here escaped much of the 
devastation it has suffered where the tribe is more numerous, 
and where they cut it down for dhya' cultivation. Many of 
the trees are annually ringed for the extraction of dammer ; 
but the forest is too extensive to be much injured by the 
operations of this handful of savages ; and as it is the oldest 
trees that are selected, which, if not cut down, soon become 
useless L from heart-shake and dry-rot (a peculiarity of the 
sal), probably little harm is done by them in so remote 
and inaccessible a region. The general elevation of the 
country we traversed is about 1700 feet above the sea. It 
is very level, and with a light porous soil formed by the de- 
tritus of the primitive rocks, which here mostly lie near the 
surface. The water-courses are broad, shallow, and sandy, 
showing that large floods do not occur. Thus in the summer 
there is little or no water on the surface, but a little below it 
the soil is everywhere full of moisture ; and the brilliant 
greenery of the sal forest thus plentifully supplied with sap, 
melting in the distant vistas with startling rapidity into won- 
derful blues, is unspeakably delicious at that torrid season of 
the year. Wild animals are very scarce, owing to the absence 


of water, though in the rainy season elephants, buffaloes, bison, 
and innumerable red deer are reported to frequent the forest. 
In this march the dainty footmarks of a few four-horned ante- 
lopes at the water-holes, the voice of the cuckoo in the early 
morning, and rare glimpses of some hornbill or woodpecker 
glancing among the foliage of the sal, was allthe sign we saw 
of the presence of animal life. 

It is very difficult to ascertain distances in these extensive 
level forests, where there are no eminences from which the 
country can be examined ; and we had some tremendous 
marches in consequence of relying on statements of distance 
made in " coss " by the Bhumi^s. Considering that their coss 
is derived from so indefinite a basis as the distance at which 
a yell from a hill-top can be heard, it is little surprising if the 
coss itself should be uncertain. This is their table of long 
measure : 

2 yells - 1 daab (or " bittock "), 

2 "bittocks"=l coss, 
12 coss = 1 day's march. ; 

which seems to be about thirty miles. 

In the jungles of Kenda and Pendrd, which form the most 
easterly section of this forest, and lie right under the range of 
the Mykal hills, great numbers of wild buffaloes were reported 
to us ; but we had not time at this season to stop to look 
after them. Doubtless it is chiefly to these regions that they 
retire from the Man did uplands when the latter are invaded 
by the grazing of domestic cattle. 

So far as we could learn, an area of about 1200 square 
miles was occupied by herds of wild elephants, whose numbers 
we estimated, from all accounts, to range from two hundred 
to three hundred. They undoubtedly did very serious 
damage to the crops in the neighbourhood ; and for many 


years the annual tribute of the Thakurs whose possessions 
they disturbed had been remitted on this account. The people 
were totally unable to defend themselves from such powerful 
foes, and most of the villages I met with on the borders of 
the jungle are furnished with platforms in high trees, to which 
the people were accustomed to retreat on the occurrence of 
an invasion. Shooting at wild elephants only increases the 
damage they occasion, by breaking up the herds and spread- 
ing their ravages over a larger area ; and, besides, to shoot an 
elephant is like hanging a man, the worst use that can be 
made of him. After a good deal of reporting and corre- 
spondence, the Government of India was induced to send down 
one of its regularly organised elephant-catching establishments 
to these wilds, which attacked the herds during the years 
1865 to 1867. The system pursued in this country was 
somewhat peculiar, and has been thus described by an eye- 

" Several modes of capture were tried here, but the most 
successful was a simple stockade erected hurriedly in one 
of the runs near the spot where the elephants were tracked. 
To make this process successful, a very large establishment is 
required, for all necessary arrangements to be of any use 
must be made at once. A rough ring-fence of bamboos is 
thrown round a large area, traversing in circumference some 
two or three miles, within which the elephants have lots of 
moving room. This enclosure must contain water and fodder, 
or the elephants are certain to break through. At every few 
paces there are two coolies who relieve one another, and by 
striking the fence with a stick, keep up a continual clatter. 
Then at every hundred yards or so, there is a matchlock-man 

* Eeport on the Settlement of the Bilaspur district of the Central Provinces, 
by J. W. Chisholm, Esq. 


supplied with blank ammunition. Near this fence the jungle 
is cleared, so that at any point the elephants make for, they 
are at once visible, and when they are seen approaching, 
a rush of men occurs to the threatened locality with an 
immense shouting and firing of matchlocks. This has the 
effect of driving the herd back, and as it is at night that 
these efforts are chiefly necessary, they entail much watchful- 
ness and labour. In fact, at night the whole circle is, as 
it were, a blaze, for each party has lighted a grand pile of 
wood. These fires surround the elephants in a ring of light, 
which they believe themselves powerless to break through, 
especially as they are assailed with all the din of battle if 
they approach too near, so that it is a sheer case of despera- 
tion or gross carelessness, or a weak establishment, if they 
succeed in getting out. From a neighbouring camp the scene 
is exciting enough, for the hill-side resounds with shouting, 
and the discharge of blank ammunition seems incessant, 
partly from necessity, and partly from the inherent affection 
an Asiatic has for noise. All this time the stockade is pro- 
gressing, made of immense piles of wood, capable of standing 
any charge, and enclosing a few hundred square yards of 
ground. The elephant runs are clearly marked-out tracks, to 
which they usually keep. The stockade is on one of them 
with an open gate at one extremity, from which an immense 
arm of piled logs stretches on either side, so that the rush 
may be, once the arms are entered, into the single opening 
that has been left. The first day after the stockade is finished 
the driving commences. If fortune smiles, once the herd is 
started by shouting and firing in their rear, they make a rush 
for the stockade run and are enclosed without further trouble ; 
if not, they require to be driven several times a service 
often of difficulty and danger. When enclosed, the decoy 


elephants with trained men are employed for noosing and 
tying them." 

Doubts have been expressed whether these elephants are 
really indigenous to this part of India, or are the descendants 
of some tame elephants which broke away from a train 
belonging to one of the K&j^s of Ndgpiir, when passing 
through the country about a century ago. Lieutenant John- 
stone, who superintended the Khedda" operations here, says 
that the Central Indian elephant more nearly resembles the 
species of Ceylon and the Eastern Archipelago (Elephas 
Sumatranus) than the species of the Indian Peninsula (E. 
Indicus), particularly in having an extra pair of small ribs 
peculiar to the former, and in having fewer tusked males 
than is usual with the Indian elephant.* But it would seem 
that the osteology of the elephants of Asia (if there really 
be more than one species) has not yet been properly deter- 
mined ; and there are other arguments which lead to the 
belief that these elephants are really indigenous. It is fully 
ascertained that wild elephants at one time extended much 
further to- the west in these central regions than they 
now do ; and the nomenclature of localities in the inter- 
mediate districts, in which the Hindu name for the elephant 
still forms a common element, supports the belief that they 
were gradually driven east by the advance of civilisation. 
Again, these herds are not isolated, but are only the most 
westerly extension of a vast elephant region in the hills of 
Sirgujd, Chota* Ndgpiir, and Cuttdck. Lastly, it is wholly 
impossible, considering the rate of birth and growth of the 
animal, that a few individuals could have so increased by 
mere breeding in so short a period. Possibly the intro- 
duction of one or two Cingalese elephants from captivity 

* Vide Proceedings of the Bengal Asiatic Society for May, 1868. 


may have led to some variation in an otherwise indigenous 
race. During the operations of the Khedda^ 117 of the 
elephants were actually caught, of which thirty-five sub- 
sequently died from exposure and disease in so remote 
a tract, where proper facilities for keeping newly caught 
elephants were wanting. The total expenditure amounted 
to 8000, and the value of those which survived was 
9650, leaving the State by so much a gainer in mere 
money by the undertaking, besides removing so serious an 
obstacle to the progress of tillage and the realisation of the 
public revenue. About fifty more elephants were supposed 
to be left in this part of the country, besides a good many 
w T hich probably retreated further east. These it would not 
pay to pursue further, so they were left alone. But they 
were thoroughly cowed into harmlessness, and it may not 
be a matter for regret that a breeding stock of this most 
useful of wild animals has been left in a tract which for 
many years can scarcely be useful for any other purpose. 

An enormous area of the tract we travelled over, in the 
neighbourhood of the Hd,sdii river and its tributaries, was 
found to be full of coal measures, which have since been 
professionally examined, and reported to furnish mineral of 
a highly valuable character. But the extreme remoteness 
of these regions from any of the great centres of commerce 
or transport must certainly put out of the question any 
immediate utilisation either of the coal or the rich store of 
timber which are now ascertained to exist. The same reason 
renders all idea of colonising these wilds, except by the slow 
process of extending population, a matter which it would not 
be useful to discuss. Far superior lands in every respect, 
whether of natural quality or situation, exist in great areas in 
the Mandla highlands, which must come to be taken up 


before a plough can furrow the remote regions to the east of 

On the 1st of June we climbed the steep ascent leading up 
to Amarkantak from the east, and rested there for two days. 
I was still very ill and weak, and obliged to travel on an 
elephant ; and though it was very tempting to linger on this 
elevated region, where, at this season of excessive heat below, 
the temperature in a small tent all day was delightful, while 
at night it was cold enough to enjoy a couple of blankets, 
the season was getting very late, and banks of clouds collect- 
ing on the horizon threatened heavy rain, which might block 
the way to Jubbulpur. So we determined to march straight 
to that station by the direct road to the north of the Nar- 
bada\ That frightful march still lives in my dreams. For 
the first ten days we kept to the elevated country south 
of the river, which we then crossed. The country to the 
north is an utterly bare sheet of black .basalt, without a field 
or a tree, or, I believe, hardly a blade of grass. Sharp 
glancing flakes of white quartz alone relieved the inky black 
of the horrible rocks. The sun was at its very hottest, and 
heavy thundrous clouds now gathered round the sky, oppress- 
ing the air with a sultry stillness far worse than the fiercest 
hot blast of the earlier summer. Day after day we toiled 
along in the fierce heat, pitching in a burning plain, without 
a particle of shade ; and I really thought that before we 
reached Jubbulpur on the 16th of July, I should have had to 
sit down decently and give up the ghost. I had marched 
close on a thousand miles in changes of camp alone since 
I left the station in the preceding January. How much 
more should be added for our explorations it would not be 
easy to say. 

The monsoon burst a day or two after ; and in the comfort 


of the beautiful little station, and its pleasant society, I soon 
, got over my troubles. I was very much broken in health, 
however, by constant exposure to the malaria of the jungles, 
at all seasons of the year. I had never lost the remains 
of the fever I had contracted the previous year ; and, I may 
add, never did so till I had a trip to England in 1867. 
I was therefore induced to leave the forest department 
shortly afterwards, and go into a less physically laborious 
line of civil work ; but only to return again in less than 
a year to relieve for a time my friend Major Pearson, who 
had also got completely knocked up by exposure. The 
necessity for such exposure, consequent on having to explore 
in a short time the large areas of forest comprised in the 
province, is now over ; and work in that department is not 
necessarily more unhealthy than any other ; while my readers 
will be able to judge of the opportunities it affords for the 
excitement of adventure and sport. 

I have no intention of attempting a treatise on Indian 
forestry, for which, indeed, there are as yet few available 
materials ; but a few remarks on the present aspect of the 
question may not be out of place before concluding my work. 

The Government of India has within the last ten years 
been fully awakened to the necessity of watching over the 
important part of their trust which resides in the forest re- 
gions. Even now it is doubtful whether the clearances already 
effected have not seriously deteriorated the rainfall of the 
country, as they certainly have much impaired the supply of 
useful timber ; and the example of many countries, ancient 
and modern,* is a warning against rash interference with the 
life-giving forests of hilly regions where rivers are born, such 

* A pamphlet, admirable for learning and research, on this subject, by Dr. 
Dalzeil, Conservator of Forests in Bombay, exhausts the subject. 


as that I have attempted to describe. I have pointed oiit 
in another place a few mistakes which I think we have made 
in our administration of these central forests ; but I think 
that, considering how little knowledge of the matter we had 
to commence with, the results already attained are really 
wonderful. The scientific forester must now take the place of 
the explorer; and the Government have taken the proper 
course in seeing that all newly-appointed forest officers shall 
in future go through a course of instruction in the advanced 
schools of forestry in Germany and France. The only danger 
now remaining is lest a too purely professional view of forest 
questions be allowed to exclude considerations bearing power- 
fully on the general economy of the masses of the people, and 
particularly of the hill tribes : and perhaps lest cut-and-dried 
theories, based on the example of moist temperate regions, be 
applied without sufficient caution to the very different con- 
ditions of tropical forests. For example, one of the prac- 
tices of Continental forestry, the working of forests in blocks 
by rotation, though probably quite inapplicable to a hot 
country, where stripping the soil of all the trees at once 
converts it into an arid desert, is still aimed at in our 
Indian forests, and is the cause of much, and I believe 
wasteful, expenditure of money. Many important matters 
can even now be dealt with only in a tentative manner ; 
and the wisdom of the administrator must always be joined 
to the technical skill of the forester to secure the best results. 
One word more. Outcry has not been wanting on the part 
of some shallow writers, who deem themselves the represen- 
tatives of the vast silent opinion of the Indian peoples, 
against the apparent absence of immediate result, in the 
shape of great supplies of timber and a full exchequer, from 
the exertions and outlay of these few years in the forests. It 

F F 2 


is forgotten that the reproduction of an exhausted timber forest 
is the work, not of a few years, or even of a generation of 
men, but of a generation of trees that is, a period ranging 
from fifty to a hundred years. And it is the supreme ad- 
vantage of the forests of a country remaining, as here, in 
the hands of its Government, that it alone is, or should be, 
superior to the desire of immediate personal gain, which has 
generally led to the improvident conversion into money of the 
standing forests of private owners. England alone of coun- 
tries where the forests had passed into private hands escaped 
such a catastrophe as the near extinction of her forests, by 
means of her system of entail, which unites several genera- 
tions in a joint guardianship of landed properties. It may 
be added that in the Central Provinces the forests have even 
now more than returned in revenue the outlay upon them, 
while their prospective value to future generations, both as a 
source of supply for the country's wants, and in mere money, 
is wholly beyond estimation. 

My narrative is now done, having carried the reader over 
every portion of these Central Highlands, and even taken a 
step with him below their eastern termination. In the course 
of our rambles he has made the acquaintance of every wild 
animal he is likely to meet with in the forests ; and it only 
remains for me to offer a few hints to the traveller or sports- 
man who may contemplate an excursion in these regions. 
Few men would probably come to India merely to shoot over 
this central wilderness. But as a field for general travel, 
and even as a sporting ground, India is rapidly coming into 
favour among the wandering section of Englishmen. I need 
not dilate on the general interest of the country. It may be 
hoped that most Englishmen will benefit as much from a tour 
through this greatest of our dependencies, as India herself will 


assuredly benefit from having the bull's-eye of outside observa- 
tion turned on to her obscurity. I will here speak only of the 
glorious field that the country offers to the sportsman incom- 
parably the finest in the whole world. Africa may be thought 
to be better, but it is not so if India be looked at as a whole. 
Perhaps more animals in number or in size may be slaughtered 
in Central Africa ; but that does not surely imply superior 
sport In reading accounts of African shooting, I have often 
wondered how men could continue to wade through the 
sickening details of daily massacre of half-tame animals offer- 
ing themselves to the rifle on its vast open plains. In India 
fewer animals will perhaps be Ragged ; all will have to be 
worked for, and some perhaps fought for. The sport will be 
far superior ; and the sportsman will return from India with a 
collection of trophies which Africa cannot match. Africa and 
India both have their elephants. We cannot offer a hippopo- 
tamus ; but we have a rhinoceros superior in a sporting point 
of view to his African relative. We have a wild buffalo as 
savage and with far superior horns to the Cape species ; and 
we have four other species of wild bovines besides, to which 
there is nothing comparable in Africa. In felines, besides a 
lion, a panther, and a hunting-leopard, almost identical with 
those of Africa, we have the tiger, and one, if not two, other 
species of leopard. Our black antelope is unsurpassed by any 
of the many antelopes of Africa ; and besides him we have 
fourteen species of antelopes and wild goats and sheep in our 
hills and plains, affording the finest stalking in the world, to 
compare with the other antelopes of Africa. Africa has no 
deer properly speaking at all, except the Barbary stag, which 
is out of the regular beat of sportsmen. India, on the other 
hand, has nine species of antlered deer. We have three bears ; 
Africa has none at all. There is no country in the world that 


can show such a list of large game as we can in India. And 
for minor sport, what can compare with our endless array of 
pheasants, partridges, and wildfowl \ 

All this, too, is now so easy of access. Twenty-one days by 
overland passage lands the traveller in Bombay, where he may 
step ashore, with nothing more than a carpet-bag if he pleases, 
and at once fit himself out for a year's tour through the 
country. If he joins a regular camp in the " plains," he will 
find the most perfect system of open air life that has any- 
where been devised. Though an Indian camp may not, as, 
according to Mark Twain, did that of the Yankee pilgrims in 
Palestine, contain " a thousand boot-jacks," he will find pretty 
nearly everything that civilized man can want, ready to move 
about with him at the rate of from twelve to twenty miles a day. 
By the help of railways, he may see almost the whole country 
south of the Himalayas, and shoot specimens of all its game, 
during the pleasant cold months from October to March ; and 
by the time that April ushers in the hot blasts of summer, he 
may find himself, if he pleases, stalking the ibex among the 
snows of Kashmir. 

For mere sport England need not be left earlier than 
December ; but should the traveller, as is probable, have other 
objects in view, he should take an extra month or two to see 
the lions of the civilized parts at their best, which he may 
combine with some small game shooting and pig sticking if 
he likes, in November and December. Should these central 
regions be selected by the sportsman, the shooting camp should 
be organized, if possible, beforehand, at some station on the 
Great Indian Peninsular Kailway, the exact spot depending 
much on whether the sportsman has any friends on the spot 
who would assist him. The help of the local civil authorities 
is of course of the greatest value ; and I may say that it is 



Horns of Bull Buffalo. (Scale, one tenth. ) 


always freely rendered to gentlemen projecting a tour through 
their charges. Some previous acquaintance with the language, 
and the general requirements of such a trip on the part of at 
least one of the party, is almost essential to ensure success. 
In the absence of inducements to take another line of country, 
I would recommend the traveller to leave the railway at the 
large city of Burhanpur, in the district of Nimar, and com- 
mence his hunting in the country round the head- waters of the 
Mona" tributary of the Tdpti river. Bison, sambar, and bears 
are as numerous and easy to get at there as in any part of the 
country I know. Painted partridges, jungle fowl, and other 
small game, would also diversify the sport, and supply the 
pot. Thence he should cross over to the Betiil district, north 
of the Tdpti, where tigers are plentiful, and devote the month 
of March to their pursuit. Spotted deer, antelope, nilgai, 
and other game, are also abundant in this tract, and the end 
of March might see the sportsman stalking the bison on the 
Puchmurree hills. If he means to devote the hot weather 
also to these regions, the district of MandM and the sources of 
the Narbada* should be selected, where plenty of tigers will be 
found, and the sdmbar, red deer, and wild buffalo, will add to 
the variety of the sport. 

The cost of such an expedition need not be very great. 
Most of the outfit required would be re-sold at the conclusion 
at no very great loss. One hill tent, ten feet square, and a 
small " pal," would be sufficient for two sportsmen ; and 
would cost at the Jubbulpiir School of Industry (whence they 
should be ordered beforehand and sent to the railway station) 
about SOl. A strong rough pony is the best animal to ride, 
unless hunting on horseback is contemplated, when a good 
Arab should be bought in the Bombay stables. The former 
are not always to be picked up on the spot, but can generally 


be bought in Bombay at a cost of about 20/. A good Arab, 
fit to hunt under eleven stone, will cost 80/. or 100/. Ar- 
rangements should be made to get the loan of or purchase a 
staunch shooting-elephant and howdah ; for, though much 
good sport can be got without one, a far heavier bag will be 
realized with the help of an elephant. They are difficult to 
obtain, however, at any time ; and a really good one will not 
be bought for less than 200 /. to 300/. Decent shikdris can 
generally be obtained on the spot, though they will not of 
course come up to men who have been brought up by the 
sportsman himself to the work, The current expenses, after 
the outfit has been bought, will come to about 30/. per men- 
sem for each sportsman. Of course a man accustomed to 
rough it could get on, and obtain the best of sport at a much 
less expense than this, which is laid down for a party wishing 
to enjoy all the comforts of the Indian style of travelling in 
camp. Such an adventurous sportsman need only get for 
himself a small pal tent and a few necessary implements of 
travel, and hire a camel to carry them, buy a rough pony for 
5/. or 10/., hire a couple of servants, and plunge with his rifle 
into the wilderness. If capable of speaking the Hindi lan- 
guage, and conciliatory towards the wild men, he would soon 
have about him a knot of real jungle hunters who would take 
him up to every sort of game ; while his monthly expenses 
would not exceed 10/. or 15/. Saddlery, hunting implements 
of all sorts (excepting boar spears which are made better in 
India), ammunition, and clothes, should be brought from 

In the matter of guns and rifles, improvements are still so 
rapidly progressing that the dicta of one year are very likely to 
be upset before the next. Since I published the last edition of 
my little work on sporting rifles in 1867, a perfect revolution 


has taken place in their construction, by the universal intro- 
duction of breech-loading, and application of what has come 
to be called the " Express " system. Eegarding breech-load- 
ino- it is sufficient to say that by the universal consent of 
sportsmen the use of the muzzle-loader is now confined to 
exceedingly remote countries where the cartridge cases cannot 
be carried. No part of India answers to this description, and 
a muzzle-loader is now rarely seen there. The Express system 
consists in the use of a short conical bullet, hollowed at the 
point like a shell, but without any bursting charge, and pro- 
pelled by a very great charge of powder in proportion to its 
weight. The first result of this is that the bullet, striking 
with extreme velocity, has its hollow point opened out by the 
shock iuto the shape of a mushroom, or even, when the hollow 
is very deep and the speed great, broken altogether into frag- 
ments, which take different courses through the animal and 
inflict a terrific wound. This complete breaking up of the 
bullet has as yet been effected only with very small gauges, 
not larger than the half inch (*500) diameter ; but projectiles 
of even this size have been found to be amply sufficient to kill 
effectually all animals of the deer class, and hardly any other 
description of rifle is now used for that purpose. 

Their only serious disadvantage is the smallness of the hole 
they make on entering, while they rarely pass through an 
animal of any considerable size, rendering the work of track- 
ing, should the animal leave the spot, a matter of some diffi- 
culty. I have found that generally a deer struck by the 
Express bullet, even in the lungs, will rjm from fifty to a hun- 
dred yards before falling. It is then generally stone dead, 
having bled internally. But very often there will not be the 
slightest mark of blood on the track. The very first two shots 
I ever fired with an Express were remarkable illustrations 


of this. The first was at a lovely spotted buck, who suddenly 
stood before me like an apparition, drinking at the margin of 
the mirror-like lake of Lachora, as I rounded the point of one 
of its bays on my way back, tired and muddy, from an even- 
ing's snipe shooting. It was over two hundred yards across 
the arm of the lake from where I was. I had taken out a 
single Express by Henry, to raise the flocks of wild fowl 
that sat in safety in the centre of the lake, and this my gun- 
boy now thrust unloaded into my hand. The buck had 
turned, and was picking his way leisurely up the bank, before 
I had the cartridge in ; and his graceful form and long taper- 
ing antlers stood out clear against the sky line as I fired point 
blank at his shoulder. With a startled toss of the head, and 
a desperate bound over the top of the bank, he was off into 
the thick cover that here surrounds the lake. We tracked his 
footprints in the gravelly soil for near a hundred yards, when, 
light failing us altogether, we had to give it up. Next morn- 
ing I returned, and a solitary crow cawing on a branch pointed 
out the buck lying dead and stiff within a few paces of where 
we had left the trail. The next chance I had with this rifle 
was equally unexpected. Walking along near midday in the 
Pun&sa" forest, by a little travelled pathway, the ridge of a 
great black back appeared through the trees, slowly passing 
behind a little eminence. It was a splendid stag sain bar, 
who had, very unusually, ventured down to that silent valley 
in the midday heat to drink at a little stream. He seemed to 
be dazed by the sunlight as he came out on the pathway, and 
failed to notice a cortege of three or four horses with their 
riders, an elephant, and ten or a dozen men on foot. I fired 
at about a hundred and seventy yards, and heard the little 
bullet strike against his brawny shoulder. But he galloped 
away up a little glade, leaving no blood ; and I felt inclined 


to throw down the little rifle in disgust. Less than a hun- 
dred yards from the pathway, however, the great stag lay 
perfectly dead, shot through the middle of the shoulder. I 
afterwards acquired complete confidence in this weapon, and 
killed a far larger percentage of the animals I fired at than I 
had ever accomplished with any other. On one occasion I 
shot three out of a herd of five Chikara" antelopes running 
across me, the nearest being over a hundred yards. This little 
creature offers an extremely small mark to fire at, and these 
were fairly struck in the shoulder. I could not have done 
such work as this with any other rifle of my acquaintance. 

These small bores, however, have not been found so effective 
for destroying the larger animals, such as tigers, buffaloes, bison, 
etc., the small fragments into which the bullets are broken up 
not possessing sufficient penetrative power to reach the vitals. 
It is a great object, too, with these large and dangerous animals 
to break the large bones, so as to cripple them at once and 
prevent accidents ; and this the small Express, with its very 
hollow bullet, is quite unable to effect. The bone-breaking 
and penetrative power of these bullets can, however, be much 
increased by diminishing, or altogether omitting, the hollow 
in the point. A good many elephants have been killed dead, 
by the head shot, with the smaller gauge, using solid hardened 
projectiles ; and the larger rifle, with a short hollow, has been 
effectively used against tigers and bears. Much of the shock 
to the system caused by the spreading of the hollow bullet is 
of course lost if a solid ball be employed. 

The next advantage of the Express system, where it is 
suitable as regards killing power, is the very flat trajectory at 
sporting ranges obtained by the use of a light ball and heavy 
charge of powder. Two sizes of the small Express are now 
made, the smaller, *450 of an inch, having a charge of nearly 


four drachms, and the larger, *500, shooting five drachms of 
powder. The first gives a perfectly point-blank range of a 
hundred and sixty yards, with an extreme effective range of 
two hundred and fifty ; the latter a point-blank of rather more 
than two hundred, and an extreme of four hundred. They both 
shoot with extreme accuracy at these ranges. The smaller 
weighs seven and a half pounds, and the larger eight and a 
quarter as a minimum ; though the addition of half a pound to 
the weight of each gives more steadiness and regular shooting. 

The very great improvement thus effected in the shooting 
of any one who uses an Express rifle, goes a long way towards 
compensating for any loss of smashing power in comparison 
with the old wide-bored rifles. I unhesitatingly therefore 
recommend the adoption of the '450 or *500 Express for all 
ordinary purposes. If its greater weight be not objected to, 
the larger is certainly preferable in every other respect ; but 
very good work can be done with the smaller bore, and the 
saving of weight is a great advantage for work in the hills. 

For dangerous game such as tigers there is nothing better 
yet available for sportsmen than the large rifle firing the 
spherical ball, or the explosive shell of my invention, which I 
have described in my former work. This should be at least 
twelve gauge, and eleven pounds in weight. The application 
of breech-loading to these rifles renders it possible also to use 
a spherical or short conical ball with the same rifle, either of 
which gives flatter trajectory than the shell, and which are 
preferred to it by some sportsmen. If the shooting is to be 
from an elephant I think the spherical twelve bore is amply 
sufficient. This ball, or the short conical hardened with one 
twelfth part of mercury or tin, with four and a half or fivo, 
drachms of powder, will also form an excellent charge for 
buffalo or bison shooting. 


I have lately been experimenting, in order to obtain a 
projectile of considerable weight, which should have a corre- 
sponding effect on these large animals to that of the small 
Express on deer, etc. So far as target experiments go, 
I think this has been well effected by employing a twelve 
or sixteen gauge short conical, built up in segments, which 
may be of any number desired (by preference four), and held 
together by a jacket of lead, either cast or "s wedged" on. 
The object is to get the ball to split up like an Express, 
with the comparatively smaller charge of powder which the 
limit of weight in the rifle will allow us to employ in such a 
gauge. The " segment " bullet, as it may be called, effects 
this perfectly, while the shock required to do it is still so 
great as to ensure full penetration nearly to the vitals before 
the breaking up commences. I incline to think that this 
projectile will be found more destructive than the explosive 
shell of similar gauge. The latter requires to have a large 
chamber to break it up into fragments, which diminishes the 
weight of its material, and also causes the pieces to be of 
uncertain, and often very small, dimensions. The explosion 
of the shell checks its progress a good deal, while with the 
segment bullet there is no such action, and the breaking 
up of it in the animal is effected by the resistance it meets 
and overcomes, in process of which it of course effects a large 
amount of damage. A sixteen gauge, with a bullet of this 
kind one and a half diameter in length, carries four drachms 
of powder pleasantly enough at nine and a half pounds' 
weight ; and a twelve gauge takes Hve drachms at eleven 
pounds' weight, and six drachms (the utmost that the longest 
cases will hold) at twelve pounds'. Half a pound more might 
be required in* the weight of each by those who object to 
a moderate amount of recoil. I believe that these rifles will 


be found to be the most effective for large game of any yet 
introduced. I write without having put them to the test 
of actual trial on our Indian quadrupeds ; but since I got 
the gunmakers to make them, several sets have been sent out 
to different parts of the world, and we shall shortly learn the 
result. In any case, the same rifle might be used with a 
short, solid conical, or a hollow Express, or even a spherical 
bullet. Were I myself going back to my old hunting grounds 
to-morrow, I would take with me two rifles, namely, a *500 
Express, with mould made to allow of a hollow of any 
length being made by a movable "plunger," and also fitted 
with a solid mould ; and a twelve gauge with segmental, and 
also solid, bullet, weighing about twelve pounds, and taking 
six drachms of powder as the charge. For hill work only 
I would take the '500 Express, and a No. 16 weighing 
lOlbs., to take a " segment " ball and five drachms. 

As regards choice of a maker, so many now turn out 
admirable weapons on the old large-bore plan for spherical 
ball or shell, that it would be invidious to make any very 
close selection. Doubtless there are many others equally 
capable, but I know, from actual experience, that Messrs. 
W. W. Greener of Birmingham, Keilly of London, and Henry 
of Edinburgh, are to be depended on for such weapons. My 
only successful experience with the Express system has 
been with Mr. Henry of Edinburgh. These rifles are not 
easy to make ; and those of many makers I have tried have 
proved either not to be really on that system at all shooting 
a heavier bullet with less powder, or else have shot in a 
very inferior manner. Almost any proper gunmaker should 
be able to make a " segment " ball ; Messrs. Greener and 
Henry have made them for me. 
All rifles should, by preference, be double-barrelled. To 


use a single rifle is to sacrifice many chances, while it pos- 
sesses no advantage whatever over a well-made double. A 
good price will, however, have to be paid for a really true- 
shooting double rifle ; and when this is a matter of the first 
consideration, a breech-loading single Express rifle will be 
found to give a wonderful command of shots. There is, in 
my opinion, no system of breech-loading for single rifles at 
all comparable with that of Mr. Henry of Edinburgh. It is 
probable that considerations foreign to the mere merits of the 
actions will induce our Government to adopt the Martini in 
preference to the Henry breech for the new military arm ; 
but sportsmen will probably always continue to prefer that 
of Mr. Henry, which is much more simple and enduring, 
more certain of ignition, and possesses the incalculable ad- 
vantages of allowing the barrel to be inspected and cleaned 
from the breech end, and of possessing a half and full 
cocking action, exactly like that of ordinary guns. The 
Martini has no such action ; and consequently the rifle must 
be carried either unloaded altogether or on full cock. This 
would never do for emergencies ; and in the opinion of all 
practical men forms a fatal objection to both the Martini and 
the new Westley-Kichards actions. There is no plan of 
breech-loading superior for double rifles to the "double 
grip " action commonly adopted by gun-makers. Some 
patented actions are probably equal in strength and dura- 
bility to the double grip, when really well made ; but 
they usually require more careful workmanship, while the 
monopoly of the patentee is apt to lead to the reverse ; so 
that on the whole my experience is that the sportsman had 
better avoid them for his rifles. None of the " snap " actions 
have sufficient power for a heavy rifle, I believe, though I 
certainly prefer them for shot guns. The best for the latter 


purpose is, in my opinion, that of Messrs. Powell and Son of 
Birmingham, and next to it is the Spring double grip of 
Messrs. Keilly and Co., both of whom I may say may be 
relied on to build a gun excellent in all other respects. 

The rifles should be fitted in small, handy, solid leather 
cases, unincumbered by much apparatus, or by space for 
cartridges. The latter should be soldered up in tin cases, to 
hold two hundred and fifty each, and should be carried un- 
loaded until about to take the field. 

I have added in Appendices some information which may 
be useful to travellers in the region I have thus attempted to 

G O 


Appendix A. Note on the Diseases of Elephants, and the Treatment of the 
Animal in Captivity B. Eules for the Sale and Lease of Waste Lands in 
the Central Provinces C. Useful Trees of the Forests of Central India 
D. Vocabulary of Local Terms E. Hints on the Preservation of Natural 
History Specimens. 


There are few subjects on which so little is generally known as that of the 
diseases and unsoundnesses, and the general management, of tame elephants. 
Although there are many elephants under the charge of officers of different 
public departments in India, as well as a good number which belong to private 
persons, it always seems to be assumed that to attain to any acquaintance with 
the nature of the animal and its veterinary treatment is a hopeless task. The 
consequence is that their mahouts, or native keepers, than whom a more ignorant 
and careless class does not exist, are commonly allowed to do with them what 
they choose, very often to their serious detriment, and sometimes complete 
disablement. They profess to possess many secret specifics, most of which are 
useless, and only intended to extract money from their masters on the pretence 
of purchasing drugs : and many of them founded on the grossest superstition. 
For instance, it is common among them to give the elephant a piece of a 
tiger's liver to make him courageous ! and, in order to make him see well 
at night, to thrust down his throat the great yellow eyes of the brown horned 
owl torn fresh from the living bird ! < 

Having had much to do with elephants, both in my private possession and in 
the forest establishment, I am induced to put on record what I know of their 
management, not with the idea of furnishing a complete guide to their treat- 
ment, but in the hope that it may go some way towards obviating some of the 
mismanagement they are now so generally subjected to, and also be of assist- 
ance to persons engaged in purchasing elephants. In a rough country like the 
forest tracts of Central India, elephants, when properly looked after, are the 
most useful of animals, whether for riding purposes or for carrying baggage 
and other heavy works. When neglected, however, they are subject to. 
numerous small ailments, which have led some persons to reject them for 
such services. 


On looking over an elephant, the most inexperienced eye would at once 
detect the presence of the disease called by natives Zerlad. There are two 
varieties of it, called Asl and Sukhd. The former is a dropsical affection, in 
which the neck, chest, and stomach fill up to an enormous size. It occurs 
most frequently in newly caught animals, and is probably attributable to a 
sudden change of food. I once had an elephant attacked with it immediately 
after changing from wheat to rice, on entering a district where the former 
was not procurable. Generally an elephant that has been two or three years 
in captivity is considered pretty safe from it. Sukhd Zerbdd is usually de- 
veloped out of the other, but sometimes comes on at once. It is a sort of 
general atrophy, or falling away ; and is characterised by a shrivelled, cracky 
skin, much emaciation, and weakness. It is apt to become complicated with 
troublesome sores in various parts of the body. In purchasing an elephant it 
is not likely that the actual presence of Zerbad would be overlooked; but 
without care it is easy to buy an animal so recently caught as to be still likely 
to develope it. Such an animal should be got for much less money than one 
longer domesticated. The state of training the animal has reached will 
generally indicate the period of his capture. If thoroughly obedient to its 
driver, lying down patiently to let you examine its feet, &c, it will probably 
have been sufficiently long in hand to be pretty safe. 

This brings me to unsound feet the most common failing in an elephant. 
It is of two kinds, called by natives Kandi and Sajhan. The former is a sort of 
canker, that begins on the sole and gradually eats deep into the structure of 
the foot, until at length it breaks out above the toe nails. In its earlier stages 
it is easily concealed by plugging the holes ; and many of the elephants 
brought to the great fairs, like that of Sonpiir, are in fact affected with Kandi, 
though to outward appearance perfectly sound. It can generally be discovered 
by making the elephant lie down, and administering a series of smart raps with 
a stick all over the soles of the feet, when, if Kandi be present, the animal will 
be sure to show it by shrinking. 

Sajhan is what would be called " cracked heels " in a horse. Its deep cracks, 
discharging matter, situated about the junction of the horny sole with the skin, 
can hardly be passed over in a bad case, though a slight one may escape obser- 
vation. It is a serious unsoundness, being generally constitutional, and often 
rendering useless during every rainy season elephants that are subject to it. 

The eyes of the elephant are extremely delicate, and appear to possess in an 
unusual degree a sympathetic connection with the digestive organs. Nearly 
every indisposition of the animal is accompanied by a clouding or suffusion of 
the eyes. Few elephants that have been long caught, especially if in the 
hands of natives, have perfect eyes. Heating food, or undue exposure to bright 
sun is often followed by the appearance of a film over one or both eyes, which, 
if not attended to, and its cause remains in operation, increases till the cornea 
becomes quite opaque, and the animal loses its sight. The leaves of the 
peepul fig-tree, which form excellent fodder in the cold season, are almost sure 
to produce this affection if given for any considerable time in the hot season. 
I would not reject an elephant, otherwise suitable, merely because it had a 


slight film over the eye ; for it is easily removed when attended to in time. 
But its presence would of course lessen the value the animal would otherwise 

Another very tender point in the elephant is the back. A highly-arched 
back is very liable to get galled ; and such sores, when fairly established, are 
exceedingly obstinate. Such a back will almost always show traces of old sores 
about the ridge, and frequently they are only healed over on the surface, 
leaving deep sinuses below ready to break out on the slightest pressure. Such 
a back should be avoided, and a flat back, showing as nearly as possible a 
straight line from the withers to the croup, should be selected. Besides its 
immunity from galling, such a back always carries a load, or the howdah, well 
and steadily. 

The above are almost all the external points to which the attention of the 
purchaser requires to be directed. Old strains will sometimes affect the paces, 
but this can be seen at once. I have alluded, in the text, to the points of build 
and carriage that should be looked to in choosing an elephant. There is no 
critical test of the animal's age. The ears are always a good deal split and 
frayed at the edges in an old animal ; but so they sometimes are also in young 
ones. The general appearance will, however, indicate the age sufficiently well 
for practical purposes. The full size and development is attained at from thirty- 
five to forty years, and from that age till about sixty, the elephant is in the prime 
of life. It is desirable to buy an elephant of full age if required for shooting, 
young animals being nearly always timid and unenduring. A very old, or 
"aged" elephant will be easily recognized by the loose, wrinkly state of tho 
skin, deep hollows above the eyes, and very deeply-cracked ears. I do not 
think that the number of concentric rings in the ivory of the tusk is a reliable 
criterion, though the natives talk a good deal about it. 

At the great Sonpiir fair, mentioned in the text, which is the principal 
market for elephants, the animals offered for sale are usually the property 
either of landowners from the districts of Bengal, or of Mahomedan dealers 
who move about between the places where they are captured and the chief 
markets and native courts. The former are much the safest to purchase, 
having generally been purchased young by the landowner, and brought up 
among his own people at his farm, with plentiful food and good treatment. It 
is quite a part of their business this buying of youngsters, which they prefer 
for their own riding, keeping them till of full size, and selling them at a 
good round profit. The dealer's strings, on the other hand, are too often made 
up of the halt and the blind. There is no end to their tricks. A dangerous 
man-killer is reduced to temporary harmlessness by a daily pill of opium and 
hemp. Kandi sores are plugged, and Sajhan cracks " paid " with tow. Sore 
backs are surface-healed ; and the animals are so bedizened with paint, and so 
fattened up with artificial feeding, that it is hard to tell what any one of them 
would look like if " stripped to the bones." Then the space is so confined, and 
the crowd so great, that very little " trotting out " is possible; so that alto- 
gether buying elephants at such fairs is anything but plain sailing. 

The usual food of elephants in Upper and Central India consists of cakes of 


wheaten flour, baked without leaven, to a weight of about 21bs. each, and 
given with a slight spreading of clarified butter. In the South and East, where 
wheat is scarce, plain uncooked rice is given instead. The daily ration of a 
full-sized animal of, say 8| feet high, is 24lbs. of flour, or 321bs. of rice. When 
one of these sorts of food is substituted for the other, it should be done 
gradually ; and when rice is first given a part of it should be boiled for some 
weeks. The above rations are for an animal in hard work. In the Government 
Commissariat Department, where great numbers of elephants are kept almost 
in idleness for a great part of the year, lower rations are given. But the 
treatment of these elephants is by no means a model for imitation. In a state 
of nature the animal takes an immense deal of exercise. Here they get no 
work to speak of between the close of one marching season (March) and the 
beginning of the next (November). They pass quite out of condition during 
this time ; and many are lost from complaints generated by these sudden alter- 
nations of work and idleness. In the text I have urged the employment of 
these elephants during this season in the organized destruction of wild beasts. 
Of course the amount of the ration will vary somewhat with the size of the 
animal, and elephants, like horses, have their idiosyncrasies in the matter of 
feeding. A sharp look-out requires to be kept over the mahouts at feeding- 
time, otherwise great part of the allowance will probably go to Moula Bux, 
wife, small family, and the several fathers, brothers, and cousins, who usually 
aim at getting "half a seer of flour" apiece out of their great milch cow 
master's elephant. About half a pound of clarified butter, and the same 
amount of salt should be allowed daily with the food ; and spice-balls should be 
administered about once a week. Besides these rations an elephant devours an 
enormous amount of fodder. The principal substances given him are the 
branches of various trees of the fig tribe, banyan, peepul, and goolar. The 
leaves of the peepul are eaten, but should be avoided in the hot season for 
reasons before mentioned. Of the others the inner bark of the larger branches, 
and the whole substance of smaller twigs alone are eaten. It is astonishing 
to observe the adroitness with which the elephant peels off the delicate inner 
bark in long strips, and rejects all the rest. This fastidiousness necessitates an 
immense supply of branches every day ; and the elephant always goes out with 
his keeper to bring in as much as he can carry at a time. The bamboo is also 
eaten, but will not be accepted very long at a time. Other trees are also eaten 
in the jungle, but as they are seldom accessible to tame elephants, they need not 
be referred to. A long species of grass (Typha elephantina), which grows in 
many tanks and rivers during the rainy season, forms excellent fodder for 
elephants, who are very fond of it ; and when they have been much pulled 
down by a season's hard work, they should, if possible, be sent to pick up 
again where this fodder is plentiful. In the absence of the above descriptions 
of fodder, the stalks of millet, called "Kurbee," or even dry grass, maybe 
given, but it will not satisfy them long without a mixture of green food. 
Sugar-cane is a great treat, and in moderate quantities is very good for them, 
particularly if in poor condition. 

Elephants should be picketed on dry ground, standing in damp being a 


great cause of diseased feet. They do not. require any protection from the 
weather but the shade of a tree, and a Jhool or Numda (cloth of string or felt) 
thrown over them in cold nights. They should be bathed as often as possible 
in tanks and rivers ; and a small quantity of clarified butter should afterwards 
be rubbed over their foreheads, ears, chests, and such parts as are liable to 
crack, or suffer from the rubbing of the accoutrements or from the sun. They 
should be allowed to drink as much water as they like. They are often very 
nice about it, and reject it when muddy or stagnant. The pad should be of 
full size and well stuffed with grass. The felt cloth that goes under the pad 
(Gadela) should always be in proper repair, or a sore back is the certain con- 
sequence. Both these articles require to be renewed about once a year, if a 
whole season's work has been done. The smaller felted cloth on which the 
driver sits should be made large enough to project a little in front of the 
elephant's forehead, and protect him from a vertical sun. It is not the nature 
of the animal to remain out in the open in the heat of the day ; and I am sure 
that he suffers from it if made to do so unprotected. If not allowed a tree to 
stand under in the heat of the day, an elephant always heaps all the leafy 
branches he can get on his head and back. 

After much marching on stony ground, the feet are apt to get tender from 
undue wearing away of the horny soles. This is to be remedied by the process 
called " Chobing," which consists in the application to the feet of a boiling hot 
mixture of a good many ingredients, generally resembling coal tar. Its prin- 
cipal component is the gum resin of the Sal tree ; but every mahout professes 
to have a mixture of his own, which he keeps a profound secret, and which it 
is as well to let him use, so long as the desired result ensues, and it does not 
cost more than about five shillings. There is no doubt that the process is 
beneficial, the most foot-sore elephant getting round under it in about a week. 
It requires to be done about twice a year, if the animal is regularly worked on 
hard ground. 

In dropsical ZerMd the food must be reduced to a minimum, about 4 lbs. of 
wheat or 61bs. of rice; and if the latter be the diet it should be given boiled. 
No green fodder should be allowed, only dry grass or " Kurbee." A purgative 
should also be given ; and the following recipe, which I got from a very 
experienced elephant doctor, is as good as any : 

Croton seed 1 ounce, 

Calomel 14 drachms, 

Aloes 6 drachms, 

made into a ball with rice flour and "goor" (crude sugar). Most elephants 
take physic without any trouble. In a bad case the swellings will have to be 
tapped. Many mahouts know how to perform this operation. The skin should 
be pierced about the middle of the abdomen where the greatest quantity of 
liquid is usually collected, and a fleam of 1 J inch blade will be required. Tho 
fluid which comes out is said to be infectious to other elephants if they are 
allowed to stand near it. The root of the Mudar plant (Calotropis gigantea), is 
often given by the mahouts in this disease in doses of one drachm twice a day, 


apparently with good effect. This is also their great remedy in the more 
advanced stage of the disease called Sukha Zerbdd. It should be accompanied, 
however, by abundance of food, including green fodder and sugar-cane, plenty 
of bathing, and regular exercise. 

For Kandi in the foot, the horny sole must be pared down till the sinuses can 
be got at, and well washed out with warm water. The holes should then be 
filled with an ingredient, composed of 

Tar 1 part. 

Leaves of the Nim tree (Melia Azidirachta) . . . . 1 part. 
Gum of the Salei tree (Boswellia thurifera) . . .2 parts. 

A piece of stout leather should then be fastened over the open parts with small 
tacks driven into the adjoining horny sole, or tied on if there is no place for the 

Sajhan, or cracked heels, cannot be remedied unless the feet are kept dry. 
This alone will suffice to cure moderate cases. The following lotion was recom- 
mended me by the experienced friend above alluded to ; but I never had 
occasion to use it myself. Take \ lb. of dry tobacco and boil it down in a quart 
of water till it becomes a pint. Then mix with it 21bs. of quicklime, with 4 
ounces of bluestone, and apply at intervals to the cracks. 

For dimness in the cornea of the eye caused by heating food, change the diet, 
particularly avoiding peepul leaves. Give the elephant grass if in season. In 
the earlier stage of the disease this treatment, and bathing the eye with a weak 
solution of nitrate of silver (5 grains to the ounce of water), will usually effect 
a cure. If a film has been formed it may generally be removed by blowing a 
pinch of very finely powdered glass into the eye once or twice a day. 

Sore backs are the most troublesome of all elephant affections to cure effec- 
tually. They must not on any account be allowed to heal up superficially ; and 
should sinuses or a sac have formed, they must be cut open and kept open until 
they heal up from the bottom. A downward orifice should, if possible, be 
secured to permit the escape of the matter. Cutting open a sore back is gener- 
ally a terrible business, as the elephant, not realizing the utility of the opera- 
tion, fights against it with all his might. He must be well secured and held 
down, and a sharp razor is the best weapon to use. The wounds should then 
be thoroughly washed out with a solution of alum ; and then filled with a stuff- 
ing composed of two parts of Nim leaves and one part common salt well 
pounded together. If they should slough or throw up proud flesh, they must be 
touched with bluestone at intervals. This cleaning and dressing will have to be 
repeated at least twice a day ; and the practitioner will have his hands full while 
it lasts in keeping the lazy elephant attendants up to their work. They will 
always, if allowed, let a sore back heal up superficially only to break out again 
on the first pressure. They rather like their elephant to have a sore back, as it 
saves them the trouble of loading it and going out to cut fodder. I have known 
them cause a sore back on purpose by inserting a stone below the pad ; and I 
knew one case in which an elephant was destroyed by these ruffians, by the con- 
tinued application of quicklime to a sore near the spine. 


Elephants are very liable to intestinal worms. They generally cure them- 
selves, when they get very troublesome, by swallowing from ten to twenty 
pounds of earth. They always select a red-coloured earth for the purpose. In 
about twelve hours after, purging commences and all the worms come away. 
When this occurs the hard food should be stopped for a week, fodder only 
being given ; and a ball of spices should be given every day. Some elephants 
will not eat earth when they require it ; and they are considered a very bad lot 
in consequence. I do not know how to treat them for worms. Should an 
elephant get wounded by a tiger, or otherwise, the places should be well cleaned 
and kept moistened with cold water. If they get foul apply Holloway's oint- 
ment. The mahouts have a cruel practice in such cases of heating balls of 
elephants dung in the fire and splitting them open, applying them hot and hot 
to the wounds. I believe it to be as useless as it is barbarous. Fomentations 
and rest are required in the rare event of a strain. 

The above are the commonest cases that will call for treatment by the 
elephant owner. They seldom prove fatal (excepting Zerbdd), but are very 
troublesome when not properly attended to. Besides these elephants are subject 
to several obscure internal diseases, which fortunately are of very rare occur- 
rence, but when they do occur usually prove fatal from the difficulty of dia- 
gnosing or treating them. Among them are fever and inflammation of the 
internal organs. Bleeding can, I believe, be effected from some small arteries 
behind the ears ; but I have never seen it done. It would probably offer the 
only chance of a cure in such cases. 

Occasional injuries and complaints will give an opportunity for the display of 
ingenuity in the application of remedies. One of the most singular operations 
of dentistry I ever heard of was the removal of a large excrescence on the back 
tooth of an elephant, which had grown into the poor brute's cheek, and almost 
prevented his feeding. One of the best mahouts I ever knew volunteered to 
remove it. He got a good thick log of wood, and made a hole through it large 
enough for his arm to pass. Outside he covered it all over with nails, leaving 
about a quarter of an inch of each sticking out of the wood. The elephant was 
made to lie down and fastened with hobbles, while the log thus prepared was 
placed in his mouth like a bit, and bound with ropes across his neck. Twenty 
or thirty persons now sat upon his head and trunk (if these be kept down an 
elephant cannot rise from his side), and the operator. introduced his arm through 
the hole and began to saw off the protuberance. He took several hours to effect 
it, the elephant after awhile lying perfectly still, with the expression of a 
martyr in his upturned eye. The piece sawn off was as large as one's fist ; and 
the animal got perfectly well very soon afterwards. 


I. The maximum limits of the quantity of laud which will be sold in one lot 
in the several districts are as follows : In the districts of Raipur, Belaspur, 
Sambalpur, Mandla, Upper Godavari, Hoshungabad (5,000) five thousand acres. 
In other districts (3,000) three thousand acres. 

II. The upset price of the lands to be sold will, ordinarily, be as follows : 
In the Eaipur, Belaspur, and Mandla districts eight annas (one shilling) per 
acre. In the Sambalpur and Upper Godavari districts, one rupee (two shillings) 
per acre. In other districts, two rupees and eight annas (five shillings) per 

III. On payment of one-tenth of the purchase-money, and of the expenses of 
survey, demarcation, advertisement, and sale, the purchaser will receive a deed, 
signed by the Deputy Commissioner, conveying to him the lot in full hereditary 
and transferable proprietary right, free from all demand on account of Land 
Revenue for ever, but subject, nevertheless, to all general taxes and local rates 
imposed by Law or by the Local Government. There is no prohibition against 
the same person applying for two or more lots of land, provided that each appli- 
cation contains no more than the maximum of acres prescribed for the District 
or locality on which the said lots are situate. Every lot must be compact, and 
shall not include more than one tract of land in a ring-fence. Reserves of 
grazing land and forests ; of land for the growth of firewood near towns and 
stations ; of building sites, parks, recreation-grounds ; of tracts possessing 
mineral wealth, stone quarries, and the like ; and of land required for other 
special purposes, are not to be sold under these rules without the express 
sanction of the Chief Commissioner. 

IV. It being found that many natives, who would not purchase under the 
above rules, would yet be desirous of taking leases of small quantities of waste, 
it was decided to offer further facilities for this object, tending to the reclaiming 
of the waste bit by bit, and thus to the gradual increase of the land revenue. 
Accordingly rules have been promulgated for the grant of waste lands on 
clearance leases, on the following terms : 

(1) The leaseholder shall be allowed a rent-free tenure of three years from 
the date of the grant coming into operation. 

(2) The minimum area to be granted shall be 100 acres. 

(3) On expiry of the terms of rent-free tenure, the grantee shall pay two 
annas (3d.) per acre per annum on the whole grant for the next seven years, 
and a rent of four annas (6d.) per acre during the next ten years. 

* These rules have been extracted from the Provincial Administration Reports. 


(4) From the beginning of the twenty-first year the grant shall be liable to 
assessment, at the same rate and on the same terms as the surrounding lands. 

(5) The lessee shall engage, as a condition of his lease, to break up six per 
cent, of the area of his grant every three years, until the cultivated portion 
reached thirty per cent, on the whole area of the grant ; and when the lessee 
shall have brought forty per cent, of the area of his grant under cultivation, he 
shall become proprietor thereof. 

(6) In any case where a clearance grant faces, or is bounded by, a road, river, 
or canal, the face of the grant opposite such river, road, or canal shall not be 
more than one-half the length of the grant perpendicular to such road, river, or 

Most of the accessible culturable waste lands have been surveyed and divided 
into blocks, of which descriptive registers may be seen at the head-quarters of 
Districts. The valuable wastes of the Mandla District, however, which are most 
attractive to Europeans, are still unsurveyed. 




















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a. HINDI. 



Antelope . 

. . Hirn . . . 

Hirn (h) . 


,, four-! 

Lorned Chonsingha 

Bun-Bher (h) 


Axe, commo 

a . . Kulhari . . . 

Maro . . . 



. (Bygas) Tonngya. 
. . Bans . 


<, UULtlv 

Bamboo . 

Bans (h) . . 



. Eeech . . . 




. . Bun-Boda . 

Bun-Bhainsa (h). 

Hela (h) 

Blood . 

. Looh . . . 



Buffalo (wild 

) . Arna-Bhainsa 
, . Dehra . . . 

Bungla (ii) . . 


Deer, barkin 

2f . Kakur . 



,, red 

Till pr-Sa mn t 

Bher-Samur (h) . 

. Bara Nerwaree or 

r . . Samur . . . 

Gowna . . . 
Mauk . 

,, samba] 

Stag, Kakur; Hind, 


,, spottec 

1 . Cheetul ; Buck, 


Kurs . . . 


Dog. . 

. . Kutta . . . 




. Hathi . 

Yani . . . 

Hathi (h) 


. . Bokhar or Tup . 

Yerki . 


Eire . 

. Angar . . . 

Kis ... 



. . Khana 

Nena . 


Eorest . 

. Jungal . . . 

Kaira . . . 

Tharee (h) 


. . Moorghee . 

Pitte . 


Eox . 

. Lorn . . . 

Khekree . . . 




Hirni (h) 

Agwa (h) . . 

Guide . 

. Agwa . . . 

Agwa (h) 


. . Gond . 

Dhok . 



Barood . . . 

Burko . . . 




Malol . 


Hill . 

, Dongur . . . 
. . Singh . 

Mata . . . 



Kor . 

Singh (H) 

Hyena . 

. Turrus . . . 

Renhra . . . 



. . Geedur 



Jungle fowl 

. Bun-Moorgh . . 

Bun-Moorgh (h) . 


Leather . 

. . Chumra 

Chumra (h) . 



. Borbacha . . 

Gordag . . . 


,, hun 

:ing . Cheeta . 


. Admi . . . 

Maursal . . . 








Milk . . . 

Doodh . 

Pal . 


Monkey (Hunoo- 

inan) . . . 

Iiungoor . . . 

Lungoor (h) . . 




Sukre . 


Nilgai . . . 

Rojh (male) . . 

Gorayen (female) 

Goorya . . . 



Tendwa and Adh- 
naira . . . 



Partridge, painted 

Kala Teetur 

Kukkura . . 


Peafowl . . . 

M6r . . . 

Mai . 


Pigeon, wild 



Parewal . . . 

Kubdoor (h) 

Plains, the 


Khulotee . . 

Maidan (h) . 




Mai . 

Dadur . . . 




Seyal . . . 



Quail . 



Batte . . . 




Bursaat . . . 

Pirr . 


Ravine . 


Kori . . . 



, . 

Nuddee (small, 

Nala) . . . 

Dhoda . . 


Road . 


Rasta . 

Sarri . . . 




Dhata . . . 






Dor (H) . 

Dora (h) 

Sal tree . 


Sal and Renga 

Surye . 




Balu . . . 

Waroo . . . 




Surp . 

Turas . ' . 




Chota Bun-moorgh 

Bunteetur (h) 




Puthur . . . 

Puthur (h) . . 


Teak tree 


Sagon . 

Sag . . . 




Bagh and Nahr . 

Poolie . . . 


Torch . 

Massal . . . 

Doote . 

Marsal (h) 



Pug and Punja . 

Koj(H) . . . 

Mang (h) 

Tree . 



Mara . 


Valley, or 


ground . 

Neechwas . 

Daab . . . 


Village . 


Bustee . . . 

Naru . 

Gaon (h) 

Wild boar 



Puddee . . . 



Son-Kutta . . 






Landgal . . . 

Lendya (h) 



Ghao . . . 

Chot (h) . 

Gaae (h) 


One . 












Do . . 

Tin . 

Char . . . 


Cheh . . . 

Sdt . 

Ath ' . 


Dus ... 

Oondi . . . 


Moond . . . 

Nalu . 

Saighan . . . 


Yedung . . . 


Nau (h) . . . 

Daha (h) 














Contributed by Edwin Ward, F.Z.S. 

General. It must always be borne in mind that the value of any object 
secured and preserved depends on the completeness with which all its natural 
features are saved, as well as the condition in which they are kept. This is 
true in degree for whatever purpose the object is designed ; but it is an absolute 
essential in regard to specimens for the illustration of natural history. 

Large Game. Those met with in the Central India district will most 
generally be : the Felidce, most important of which is the Tiger ; many smaller 
Carnivora; of horned beasts, the gigantic Gour Bos Sylhetanus commonly 
called the Indian Bison ; Buffalo, Sambar, Cheetal, and other deer. There is 
also the elephant, largest of all, and other pachyderms. 

When the great game is secured, first turn the animal on its back, and 
stretching apart the fore and hind legs, proceed to remove the skin. In all 
cases where the skin is wanted entire, this is best done by making incision from 
one corner of the mouth through the medial line of belly to the extremity of 
tail. Next make lateral incisions in order to strip the limbs ; for the fore legs, 
from the edge of central incision through the armpit along the inner side of the 
limb, the line of incision inclining slightly to the outer portion, in order that 
the seam may be less perceptible when the perfect specimen is mounted. A 
like process through the groin is necessary for the hind legs. The incisions 
thus made leave the skin in form of tongue pieces over the breast. First apply 
the knife to these points and detach the skin round to the spine. In doing this 
it is necessary to clear the limbs, and great care must be taken to leave intact 
the natural features of the foot. The last metacarpal and metatarsal bones 
must be left in the skin, whether in the case of Felidce or Cervidce. Now turn 
over the carcase and draw back the whole skin over the head, exercising parti- 
cular care in separating the ears and the eyes from the skull. Similar care 
must be taken as to the lips. For if the rim of the eyelids be severed by the 
scalpel the injury spreads in a remarkable manner, often so badly as to render 
the damage seriously conspicuous. As to the ears, they should be separated 
from the skull close to the bone, or the lower structure will present too large 
an aperture. The lips must be cut off close to the gums. Having thus taken 
off the skin, it must be cleaned of all superfluous fat and flesh. The cartilage of 
the ear must be turned through. The lip must be treated thus : pass the knife 
between the mucous lining and the outer skin all round the mouth so as to 
admit of the preservative penetrating this thick portion of the specimen com- 
pletely. The eyelids and feet must each be treated in a similar manner for the 


same reason. Now peg the skin out with the fur downwards for drying, and 
anoint it thoroughly with arsenical soap if preferred ; but at the same time use 
freely a sufficient quantity of powdered alum, especially on the lips, eyelids, 
ears, feet and all other fleshy parts. In regard to the employment of arsenical 
soap as a preservative against insect ravages, it is not in my opinion always 
completely efficacious. I therefore recommend that spirits of turpentine should 
at the same time be freely poured over both sides of the skin. When the skin 
is sufficiently dried it can be folded and packed. 

Although the process just described is a very good one, I should myself adopt 
the following, which would be much more simple, and is thoroughly successful. 
The skin having been removed from the carcase and cleaned, instead of being 
pegged out for drying, should be thickly covered over the flesh side with pow- 
dered alum, then folded in convenient form, and thus immersed in a barrel of 
brine, what we technically call " liquor ; " add parts of alum and common salt 
in the proportion of six pounds of alum and two pounds of salt to a gallon. A 
number of skins may be placed in the same barrel, which is thus ready either for 
storing or transit. They are quite exempt from the ravages of insects ; native 
dressing with lime and other deleterious material is avoided. They will keep 
safely for a long period, and the process is at once inexpensive and a saving of 
time. In the case of horned beasts where the head only is frequently preserved, 
I have no hesitation in recommending this system as the best. Of course in 
such case the skull and horns are cleaned and packed separately. In cutting 
off bison and stags' heads be sure to leave a long neck ; they are too frequently 
cut close to the jaws, and this considerably mars the effect when mounted. 

It is important for the proper preservation of the skulls of Felidce that they 
should be protected from injury to or loss of the teeth. This is best done as 
follows. When the skull has been boiled and cleaned it should be tied up in a 
calico bag and placed in a separate compartment of the packing case designed 
for it. Stuffing should moreover be put into each compartment to prevent the 
skull from injury from being shaken. 

Small Mammalia, etc. In $he case of the small mammals the skull and 
bones of the legs are to be left in the skins. The animal being placed on its 
back, incision is made from the sternum (breast bone) to root of the tail. The 
skin is then separated from the carcase as far as can be conveniently reached, 
and the limbs are severed from the body at the shoulder and thigh. Each limb 
can then be drawn out as a glove might be turned inside out but the bone 
must not be separated at its junction with the toe, or the skin of the foot or leg 
in any way injured. The muscles can then be removed from the bone, and 
this can best be done by cutting the tendons near the toes, and carefully draw- 
ing the whole mass away at one operation. It must come in one piece, not 
piecemeal. The bone will now be clean. Clean the skin of the limb, and at 
the same time the remainder of the skin of all superfluous flesh and fatty 
matter. Dress the inside all over with arsenical soap, and apply freely pow- 
dered alum all over it, but particularly to the fleshy parts, as the eyes, nose, 
lips, feet, etc. Then replace the bones in the limbs, having previously, if 
possible, bound them with tow or similar material, so as to replace the muscle 


that has been removed. A portion of stuffing should be placed in the skin of 
the head and trunk, and the whole can be suspended to dry. 

Birds. First of all plug up with cotton wool the throat, nostrils, and all 
shot holes. Place the specimen on its back, the head towards you. Break the 
wing bones {humeri) near the body. Next separate the breast feathers care- 
fully, and make an incision along the medial line from chest to vent ; having 
done which turn back the skin and raise the specimen to a perpendicular posi- 
tion, resting it on the vent. Now skin round the chest, cut through the neck, 
windpipe and gullet, detach the wings from the body, and remove the skin all 
down the back to the thighs. Push the thigh through at the same time, care- 
fully drawing off the skin, and having cut the tendons near the tarsus remove 
the muscle of the thigh in one piece, leaving the bone clean. This bone must 
be cut near the femur joint, leaving the head of the bone, which is useless, with 
the flesh attached to the thigh and body. Having treated both legs thus, skin 
round root of tail ; but in cutting the vertebrae take care to leave the small bone 
which supports the tail. The next operation is to turn back the skin of the 
head with care so that the eyes and ears may not be injured. Cut away the 
back part of the skull with neck, tongue and palate. Eemove the brain and 
eyes, skin the wings and trim the tail, and the whole skin is in condition to be 
cleaned and prepared. Having taken away all fat and superfluous flesh, dress 
it with arsenical soap, bind tow in place of the muscles on the bones, and return 
them to their places. It is not desirable to use powdered alum to bird skins, as it 
tends to make them brittle. The specimen should be filled out to natural size, 
and a band of paper placed round it in order to keep the wings and other parts 
in proper position till dry. During the whole operation wood dust or other 
dry powder should be freely employed to absorb blood and grease, so that the 
plumage may be kept clean. 



Chapman antr fall's 




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February, 1872. 




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Ornament, royal 8vo, half bound, 10s. 6d. ; or, in six parts, each, Is. Qd. 


Jewitt's Handbook of Practical Perspective. l8mo, 

cloth, Is. 6d. 

Kennedy (John) First Grade Practical Geometry, 

12mo, Qd, 

Freehand Drawing Book, 16mo, cloth, Is. 6d. 

Laxton's Examples of Building Construction, 1 and 2 

divisions, folio, each containing 16 plates, 10s. each. 

Lindley (John) Symmetry of Vegetation, principles to be 

observed in the delineation of plants. 12ino, sewed, Is. 

Marshall's Human Body. Text and Plates, 2 vols., cloth, 21s. 
Principles of Decorative Art. Folio, sewed, Is. 

Puckett, R. Campbell (head master of the Bath School of Art) 

Sciography or Badial Projection of Shadows, crown 8vo, 
cloth, 6s. 

Redgrave's Manual and Catechism on Colour. Second 

edition, 24mo, sewed, 9d. 

Robinson's (J. C.) Lecture on the Museum of Orna- 
mental Art. Fcap. 8vo, sewed, 6d. 

Manual of Elementary Outline Drawing for the 

Course of Flat Examples, 32mo, Id. 

Science Directory, 12mo, sewed, Gd. [Annual] 

Wallis (George) Drawing Book, oblong, sewed, 3s. 6d. 

ditto ditto, mounted, 8s. 

Wornum (R. N.)-The Characteristics of Styles ; An 

Introduction to the Study of the History of Ornamental Art, royal 8vo, 
cloth, 85. J ' 


Wornum (R. N.) Catalogue of Ornamental Casts, 8vo, 

cloth, Is. Qd. 

Outline Examples. 

A. O. S. Letters, 3 sheets, Is., mounted, 3s. 

Albertolli, Selections of Foliage from, 4 plates, od., mounted, 3s. Qd. 

Familiar Objects. Mounted, 9d. 

Flowers Outlined from the Flat. 8 sheets, Sc?., mounted, 3s. Qd. 

Morghen's Outline of Human Figure, by Herman, 20 sheets, Zs. id., 
mounted, 15s. 

Simpson's 12 Outlines for Pencil Drawing-, mounted, 7s. 

Tarsia. Ornament Outlined from the Flat. Wood Mosaic, 4 plates, 7d., 
mounted, 3s. Qd. 

Trajan Frieze from the Forum of Trajan, Part of a, 4c?., mounted. Is. 

Weitbricht's Outlines of Ornament, by Herman, 12 sheets, 2s., mounted, 
8s. Qd. 

Delarue's Flat Examples for Drawing, Objects, 48 subjects, in packet, 5s. 

Animals, in packet, Is. 

Dyce's Elementary Outlines of Ornament. Drawing Book of the Govern- 
ment School of Design, 50 plates, sewed, 5s., mounted, 18s. 

Selection of 15 plates from do., mounted, Qs. Qd. 

Smith's (W.) Examples of First Practice in Freehand Outline Draw- 
ing, oblong, sewed, 2s. 

"Wallis's Drawing Book, oblong, sewed, 3s. Qd., mounted, 8s. 

Shaded Examples. 

Bargue's Course of Design, 20 selected sheets, each sheet, 2s. 2d. 

Doric ' Renaissance Frieze Ornament (shaded ornament), sheet 4 L, 

mounted, Is. 2d. 
Early English Capital, sheet, id., mounted, Is. 
Gothic Patera, sheet, 4c?., mounted, Is. 
Greek Frieze, From a, sheet, 3d., mounted, 9c?. 
Pilaster, Part of a, from the tomb of St. Biagio, at Pisa, sheet Is., 

mounted, 2s. 
Renaissance Scroll, sheet, Is. id., mounted, 2s. 
Renaissance Rosette, sheet, 3d., mounted, 9d. 

Sculptured Foliage, Decorated, Moulding of, sheet, Id., mounted, Is. 2d, 
Smith's Diagrams for the Black Board, 16mo, packets, 2s. 
Column from the Vatican, sheet, Is., mounted, 2s. 
White Grapes, sheet, 9d., mounted, 2s. 
Virginia Creeper, sheet, 9<r?., mounted, 2s. 
Burdock, sheet, id., mounted, Is. 2d. 
Poppy, sheet, id., mounted, Is. 2d. 
Foliated Scroll from the Vatican, sheet, 5d., mounted, Is. Zd. 

Coloured Examples. 

Camellia, sheet, 2s. 9c?., mounted, 3s. 9d. 

Pelargonium, sheet, 2s. 9d., mounted, 3s. 9d. 

Petunia, sheet, 2s. 9d., mounted, 3s. 9c?. 

Nasturtium, sheet, 2s. 9d., mounted, 3s. 9d. 

Oleander, sheet, 2s. 9d., mounted, 3s. 9d. 

Group of Camellias, mounted, 12s. 

Diagram to illustrate the Harmonious Relations of Colour, sheet, 9c?., 

mounted, Is. 6c?. 
Elementary Design, 2 plates, sheet, Is. 

Pyne's Landscapes in Chromolithography, (six) each, mounted, 7s. QJ. 
Cotman's Pencil Landscapes, (nine) set, mounted, 15s. 

Sepia (five) set, mounted, 20s. 

Downe Castle, Chromolithograph, mounted, 7s. 


Petit (Stanislas) Selected Examples of Machines of 
Iron and Woodwork (French), 60 sheets, each Is. id. 

Tripon (J. B.) Architectural Studies, 20 plates, each, 

Is. 8d. 

Liineal Drawing Copies, in portfolio, 5s. 6d. 

Design of an Axminster Carpet, by Mary Julyan. 2s. 

A Box of Models for Parochial Schools, 1/. 4s. 

Binn's Box of Models for Orthographic Projection 

applied to Mechanical Drawing, in a box, 30s. 

Davidson's Box of Drawing Models, 40s. 

Bigg's Large (Wood) Compasses, with Chalk Holder. 

4s. 3d. 

Set of Large Models. A Wire Quadrangle, with a Circle and 

Cross within it, and one Straight Wire. A Solid Cube. A Skeleton Wire 
Cube. A Sphere. A Cone. A Cylinder. A Hexagonal Prism, 21. 2s. 

Models of Building Construction. Details of a king-post 

truss, 2. 

Details of a six-inch trussed partition for floor, 3 3s. 

Details of a trussed timber beam for a traveller, 4 105. 

These models are constructed in wood and iron. 
Skeleton Cube in Wood, 3s. 6d, 
A Stand with a Universal Joint, to show the Solid Models, 

&c, 11. 10s. 

Slip, Two set squares, and T-square, 5s. 

Specimens of the Drawing-board, T-square, Com- 
passes, Books on Geometry and Colour, Case of Pencils and 
Colour-box ; awarded to Students in Parish Schools, 13s. 6d. 

Imperial Deal Frames, glazed, without sunk rings, 10s. 
Elliott's Case of Instruments, containing 6-in. compasses 

with pen and pencil leg, 6s. M. 

Prize Instrument Case, with 6-in. compasses, pen and 

pencil leg, two small compasses, pen and scale, 18s. 

6-in. Compasses, with shifting pen and point, is. 



Three Objects of Form in Pottery (Minton's) Indian 
Jar ; Celadon Jar ; Bottle, 135. 9d. 

Five selected Vases in Majolica Ware (Minton's), 

21. 2s. 6d. 

Three selected Vases in Earthenware (Wedgwood's),. 

15s. 6d, 


Astronomical. Twelve sheets. Prepared for the Committee of 

Council of Education by John Drew, Ph. Dr., F.R.S.A., each sheet, 45. 

on rollers and varnished, each, 7s. 

Building 1 Construction. By William J. Glexny, Professor of 

Drawing, King's College. 10 sheets. In sets, 215. 

Physiological. Nine sheets. Illustrating Human Physiology, 

Life-size and Coloured from Nature, prepared under the direction of John 
Marshall, M.R.C.S., each sheet, 12s. 6d. 

1. Skeleton and Ligaments. 

2. Muscles, Joints, &c. 

3. Viscera and Lungs. 

4. Heart and Blood Vessels. 

5. Lymphatics or Absorbents. 

6. Digestive Organs. 

7. Brain and Nerves. 

8. Organs of the Senses. 

9. Textures, Microscopic Struc- 


On canvas and rollers, varnished, each, 21s. 

Zoological. Ten sheets. Illustrating the Classification of Animals,, 
by Robert Patterson, each sheet, 4s. 

on canvas and rollers, varnished, each, 7s 

The same, reduced in size, on Eoyal paper, in nine sheets, 12s. 

Botanical. Nine sheets. Illustrating a Practical Method of Teach- 
ing Botany, by Professor Henslow, F.L.S., 405. 

on canvas and rollers, and varnished, 31. 3s. 

Extinct Animals. Six sheets. By B. Waterholtse Hawkins, 

F.C.S. , in tinted Lithography, on canvas and rollers, and varnished, each, 
8s. lOd. 

Mechanical. Six sheets. Pump, Hydraulic Press, Water Wheel, 

Turbine, Locomotive Engine, Stationary Engine, 62|-in. by 47-in., on canvas 
and roller, each 16s. 6d. 

Illustrations of the principal Natural Orders of the 

Vegetable Kingdom. By Professor Oliver, F.R.S., F.L.S. Seventy 
Imperial sheets containing examples of dried plants, representing the different 
orders. Five guineas the set. 





Edited by JOHN MOKLEY. 

fllHE object of The Fortnightly Eeview is to become an organ 

I for the unbiassed expression of many and various minds on topics of general 
interest in Politics, Literature, Philosophy, Science, and Art. Each contribution 
will have the gravity of an avowed responsibility. Each contributor, in giving his 
name, not only gives an earnest of his sincerity, but is allowed the privilege of 
perfect freedom of opinion, unbiassed by the opinions of the Editor or of fellow- 

The Fortnightly Review is published on the 1st of every month (the issue 
on the 15th being suspended), price Two Shillings, and a Volume is completed every 
Six Months. 

The following are among the Contributors : 

J. S. Mill. 
Professor Huxley. 
Professor Tyndall. 
Dr. von Sybel. 
Professor Cairnes. 
Emile de Laveleye. 
George Henry Lewes. 
Frederic Harrison. 
Walter Bagehot. 

Professor Beesly. 
A. C. Swinburne. 
Dante Gabriel Rossetti. 
Herman Merivale. 
Edward A. Freeman. 
William Morris. 
F. W. Farrar. 
Professor Henry Morley. 
J. Hutchison Stirling. 

W. T. Thornton. . 
Professor Bain. 
Professor Fawcett. 
Hon. R. Lytton. 
Anthony Trollope. 
Joseph Mazzini. 
The Editor. 




Contents for November. 

Contains : 



Contents for December. 



THE EUSTACE DIAMONDS. Chapters XXI. to XXIV. By Anthony Trollope. 



LYRICAL FABLES (Conclusion). By the Hon. Robert Lytton. 


Contents for January. 


THE CLOUD CONFINES. By Dante Gabriel Rossetti. 

HOME RULE. By W. O'Connor Morris. 

CHAUMETTE. By A. Regnard. 




THE EUSTACE DIAMONDS. Chapters XXV. to XXVIII. By Anthony Trollope. 





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