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The wild dogs of India are also sagacious and successful hunters, appearing to pursue by the scent. In consequence of the numbers in a pack, and their perseverance, they run down the fleetest animals, and master the most ferocious. Accordingly the elk becomes their prey, and the royal tiger, the monarch of the India forest, will not molest them in any way, but will retire on their approach, being no match for their united attacks. The natives consider these dogs inoffensive to man.
To return for a moment to the Major's sporting exploits, and to one of his stratagies, which may be novel to many who are destined to spend a large portion of their lives in situations somewhat akin in India to those which are mentioned in the present volumes, we observe that he used with much success, by night, a firefly on the sight of his gun, finding the tiny light of the greatest service in directing the eye along the barrel, and thus enabling him to cover his object correctly.
Our last sporting anecdote is that of one of his comrades, and introduces us to a species of animal that excites quite a different emotion in the breast than any of the four-footed creatures of which we have been reading :
“ On his return from Bumbay, Lieutenant C. had a still more singular adventure near the same place. He entered the jungle in search of game, preceded by a favourite powerful dog, that had courage to seize anything. The dog ran a little ahead, and suddenly made a noise, as if choking. 'Run, master! a cheetah has caught your dog,' said the natives. Lieutenant C. advanced cautiously, and saw a large heap, just the colour of a royal tiger, black and orange. In a few seconds he beheld the head and neck of an enormous boa-constrictor slowly uncoiling itself and gliding towards him. He waited until half of the snake was out of the coil or lump, and then fired both barrels. One ball entered immediately behind the eye, the other about four inches from the head. The whole coil instantly fell, and revealed the poor dog crushed to death within the folds. In the mean time all Lieut. C.'s followers had fied, and he was forced to go to a village for assistance. Having with some difficulty mustered a little band, he returned and brought out the snake, the dog, and a spotted deer that the snake had killed, the scent of which had probably tempted the unfortunate dog. The carcass of the deer was so bruised that even the lowest caste in the village refused to touch it, declaring that it was full of zakar, or venom of the ashgur, as they called the snake. The boa was twenty-three feet eight inches long, and about six feet in circumference. There was a large cake of fat all the way inside from the head to the tail, and of this the natives showed great anxiety to obtain possession, declaring that it was an infal. lible cure for all diseases. The body was hung up on the banyan-tree opposite the choultry, or inn of the village. People flocked frorn all parts of the country to see the nionster, and many of the natives used to try whether it was possible to cut through the carcass with a blow of a
VOL. II. (1839). NO. 11.
sword; but even after it was skinned, no person was found who could penetrate more than half way at a single stroke."
We must now turn to some passages which possess a different kind of interest ; and what more natural than to expect, from a veteran, battle-field stories. The following, however, may not exactly accord with the sanguine imaginings of young aspirants after military glory.
“ Near midnight, when about to retire to rest, an order was received from the Commander-in-chief to detach an officer and one hundred pioneers for the purpose of collecting the wounded, and also such arms and accoutrements as could be found on the field of battle. This severe duty devolved upon me, as the other officers were all laid up from the fatigue they had undergone throughout the day. Several palanquins belonging to the head-quarters and staff were kindly sent to bring in the wounded, as none of the public dooly boys could be procured, they having dispersed in search of plunder. The scenes of wo and misery I experienced during this dark and dismal night, in my progress over the field of battle amidst the carnage of the day, will never be effaced from my memory. The groans and screams of the wounded and dying constantly struck my ear, as also the piteous wailings of the wives, daughters, fathers, or sons of those who had fallen, or the cries of others in search of their missing relatives. With these heartrending sounds were often mixed the wild execrations of the dying, who were attempting to repel the marauders who came for the purpose of plunder and rapine. We found many bodies of our own soldiers in a perfect state of nudity, which plainly evinced they had not escaped those indignities offered to the dead and dying by the profligate followers of a camp. Our enemies were treated in the same manner; the wretches who wandered over the field in search of plunder spared neither friend nor foe when there was a prospect of booty. We rescued a considerable number of the wounded from this lonely death, the most terrible to the imagination ; but several of them had fallen victims to the cowardly assassins or the inclemency of the weather before we could afford them rescue or relief. The ground was soft clay, which had been saturated by the heavy rains and trodden into a quagmire by the passing and repassing of men, animals, and carriages; a misty, drizzling rain fell incessantly, and these circum stances rendered our toil exceedingly difficult and tedious. We had to wait a considerable time for the return of the palanquins from the fieldhospital, whither our wounded were conveyed, so that the morning dawned ere our task was completed. The scenes which I witnessed in the hospital were scarcely less harrowing to the feelings than those in the field. Dr. A. and the rest of the medical staff employed all that skill and energy could suggest for the relief of the sufferers. I saw them perform several very difficult operations and amputations, and especially one on Lieutenant H., whose knee was severely shattered. He sustained the operation with unflinching courage, but expired soon after it had been completed. Few, indeed, of those who had received gun-shot wounds survived, for the fractures they had suffered were generally so extensive
as to bring on lock-jaw. Many young aspirants for military fame, dazzled by the pride, pomp, and circumstance of glorious war,' would have their ardour sadly damped by witnessing the scenes on the field and in the hospital of Mahed poore.”
There is a number of stories and anecdotes in these volumes of individuals, native and European, with whom the author during his lengthened service had intercourse. Some of them are melancholy in the extreme. We quote one specimen :
“ The extraordinary death of the doctor is worthy of notice. On his removal to another regiment, having been falsely accused of taking or using improperly part of the medical stores, he tras for a short time (till cleared of the charge by the opinion of a court of inquiry) suffering under a depression of spirits. Soon after, an officer of this regiment, one morning, sent to borrow a sword from another; but the servant making a mistake, went and asked the doctor for his, who, on giving it, thougbt it was for the purpose of placing him under arrest again (as it is the usual mode), and while under this erroneous impression he blew out his brains."
Our last extract of all is deserving of the consideration of every European Officer in India, as well as of authorities in the highest stations :
" A great error committed by young officers on first joining the Indian army, is to affect contempt for the soldiers whom they are to command, calling them black fellows,' niggers,' &c. A residence of a few months at a Mofussil station soon clears the head of all that nonsense ; the sepoy has many opportunities of obliging his officer, and he never neglects them if his heart be won by kindness. There is nothing so efficacious in destroying the feelings of mutual prejudice as the sense of mutual dependence. It has been frequently asserted that the condition of the native officers is so very anomalous that it must of necessity lead to the agitation of awkward questions of precedence. I have never heard of any such being mooted, though the constitution of native officers is not unlikely to lead to such discussions. The sepoy recruit must not be more than twenty years of age, nur under five feet five inches in height. If he is well-behaved, intelligent, and attentive, he is, at the end of five or six years, selected for the rank of lance-naigue, or confidential; a situation much coveted, as it exonerates from sentry-duty, and puts the individual on the road to promotion, though no additional pay is given. This is the only appointment which can be made by an officer commanding a company. After a service of fourteen years, two rupees a month are added to the sepoy's pay, and a similar addition is made at the end of twenty years, provided his conduct has been uniformly good during the entire time. The next step is full-naigue, or corporal, which is rarely granted until after a service of ten years. An average of seven years more elapses before the sepoy can attain the rank of havildar, or serjeant. After a service of about ten years, but earlier if the soldier
has distinguished himself by any remarkable action, the havildar is eligible to become a jemidar, or commissioned officer, who has the command of twenty-five men. The highest rank attainable by a native is that of subedar, who may have the command of fifty men, but is rarely entrusted with more than thirty. All these grades have a proportionate increase of pay, varying from the original sum of seven rupees a month at the time of enlistment, up to one hundred and twenty rupees per month, the pay of a subedar-major. The relative precedency of European and native rank has never been defined, but custom has established the rule, that in no case does a native command a European; even a European serjeant on the same guard with a subedar, is allowed to give the word of command without being viewed with jealousy. I have generally seen kindly feelings prevail between the sepoys and the European troops when quartered in the same cantonments. The sepoy finding a British soldier drunk in the roads or fields is always ready to help him to his rooms, and assist in hiding his delinquency. A subedar and jemidar are attached to every company: they live with their families, mixing neither with the privates nor European officers. Religious prejudices, on the part of the natives, have more effect in keeping up this distinction than the aristocratic reluctance of English officers to mix with persons who have risen from the ranks. I can testify, from my own personal experience, that the native officers are anxious to do all in their power to contribute to the comfort of their European commanders: they are, however, very jealous of their dignity, and are especially anxious to be the sole medium of communication between the European officer and the privates. When I was at the Rhoura Ghaut in 1817, the subedar under my command came to me of his own accord, to say that he knew my tent was not sufficient to protect me from the scorching heat of the sun, and to propose that some of the men should be permitted to volunteer on fatigue to build me a hut thickly thatched. Similar consideration was shown by the native officers and privates when we were quartered at Nagpore; indeed I could easily multiply instances of their kindness, but those that I have mentioned are sufficient to show that the jealousy between native and European officers has been greatly exaggerated.”
It will be seen from the above extracts that the Major's volumes contain much that is amusing and exciting. There are also in them many hints that will be serviceable to others in similar circumstances, and not a few particulars, both in the way of facts and passing remarks that are valuable. We have no hesitation in saying that the work has opportunely appeared, and that the author has contributed more than a mite towards the elucidation of matters and the delineation of territories, of nations and their manners, that at this moment occupy an unwonted degree of public attention.
Art. VI.-Hints on Horsemanship, to a Nephew and Niece; or, Com
mon Sense and Common Errors in Common Riding. By an Officer
of the Household Brigade of Cavalry. London: Moxon. 1839. The horse is so noble an animal, so gallant and sprightly in his bearing, so fleet, and so sagacious even in a wild and gregarious state, that man, at a very early stage of the existence of our race, must have striven to tame and to master the creature. Nor would human ingenuity and stratagem be long in compassing this object of anıbition ; for there is nothing to oppose or frustrate the neces. sary wiles, but the swiftness of foot which belongs to the quadruped which man must have set his eyes mainly upon. A netting of withes, the digging of pits, might speedily entrap one of the herd that flew like the wind from their pursuers. The mastery of one would become the means of catching and taming many, as is practised among some savage or barbarous tribes. The taming process would soon be found to be simple and easily accomplished; for, as is well known, the Red Indians of America, on their prairie ground, by means of a dextrous mastery, in the course of a very few lessons, make the newly caught colt feel that he must obey, and that all efforts to escape are in vain ; after which he becomes instantly comparatively tame, and remarkably docile.
Then the uses of the horse, when once thus subdued, could not escape human experiment and pride. How serviceable in the chase and in battle! How ennobling the exercise of horsemanship! How fond are all, savage or civilised, young or old, to associate pastime and prowess with the art of riding. The horse is so splendid a creature, so tractable and sagacious, that every one delights to have him for a servant, for a companion.
Hard, distressing, and revolting it is, however, that the horse is in civilized nations the worst used of all animals. He has been delicately reared for the most part ; the more refined the breed the more tender his up bringing, but the more miserable his latter end. In early life he is pampered and caressed, often by the most delicate hands and considerate persons. But alas, in old age, a hundred to one, that he is terribly wronged, and abused, as well as neglected. He is made to work when the work is beyond his strength. He is starved, and made to lie down in cold, damp, unwholesome places. He is smitten by the most ruffian beings in the shape of man, in the face, or wherever dreadful pain can be most effectually and speedily produced. Yet he openeth not his mouth to complain. He does not even announce that he is hurt. There is no allusion to the past, though he may have been bred in princely parks, housed near to palaces, and fed, addressed, and cared for, by the noblest in the land.
Sad reverse! Yet, not to old age alone are the horse's misusage