Imágenes de página


from being unaccustomed to scenes of peril, lose their presence of mind at such moments.

Knowledge such as is called for in the examination of candidates for cadetcies is very useful, and actually necessary: such also as is acquired on the paradeground is likewise necessary; but they are not the only kinds of knowledge required by the soldier. One man, accustomed to look danger in the face, feeling the consciousness of superiority over his enemy from knowledge of his weapons, is, at the hour of peril, worth a host of men who have not had similar training. Danger which would appal others, is to such a man a delight; and almost as necessary to him as the breath of life, is the excitement attending such scenes.

I must beg my reader to be indulgent, and to forgive many mistakes and ill-worded sentences in the following pages; requesting him to bear in mind that those who are in the habit of taking much outdoor exercise, can rarely brook the restraint required to keep them steadily at work writing a book.

“ This child”—as the American most happily terms himself, when very innocent-inherited a love of sport, and with it a seat on horseback, quite at variance with a seat at a desk. From using the spear, his right hand soon became a great deal too hard and unpliant to use the pen. Thus this book trusts for support only to its matter and utility.

That a thirst for adventure, and a love of excitement and danger may be engendered in the hearts of the rising generation, and that England's sons may rouse themselves from their beds of luxury

and ease

« Wield the keen brand and poise the ready spear,
And back the wild horse in his wild career,”


is the earnest wish of the author, and aim of this work.

May the reader always bear in mind, that he who walks in the untrodden forests of India, teeming as they are in many places with wild animals, goes, as it were, with his life in his hand; and, though

“Fate steals along with silent tread,
Found oftenest in what least we dread,"

that there is One who is always watching over and caring for us, even when we do not take care of ourselves.

“For Death, he gathers here and there,
Now spares the dark, now strikes the fair,

Now poisons with a kitten's claw,
The man escaped the tiger's jaw;
Controlled alone by Him whose will,
Chooses the good from out the ill;
Daunted alone by Him whose power
Creates the little daisy flower,
Rearing it in simplicity
And all its native beauty free,
Beneath the giant forest tree.
Dared oftentimes by him who knows
That God is with him as he goes-
Then Death, thou canst not give alarm,
To him who, shielded from all harm,
Goes forth in humble faith of heart,
And laughs to scorn thy threat'ning dart,
Allowed on him prepared to fall,
When ready, on his Master's call.
Surely, our earthly work being done,
Death hath no sting, Life is but then begun."


13th Sept., 1859.




Introduction-Advantage to a young Indian of a Love for Field

Sports—Weapons: Rifles, Hunting-knives, Swords. THERE are many sportsmen in India who have had more experience in shikar, that is, in hunting and killing the large game with which its forests abound, than the writer of the following pages : there are few who have followed the calling with more zeal and delight, or who can look back with greater pleasure to many hairbreadth escapes and successes. They are detailed, not for the instruction or edification of the old or experienced sportsmen, but to teach the young and uninformed.

When I arrived in India, in 1834, an accomplished English sportsman, that is to say, a shooter of small game, what would not I have given for the experience of twenty-five years, now offered in these pages!

Ye anxious parents, who perchance read or hear the title of my book, with a full determination and dread resolve that your boys shall not peruse or obtain it, bear with me a little, while I explain to you, that by making them shikarees, or hunters of the large game of India's magnificent forests, you are keeping them out of a thousand temptations and injurious pursuits, which they can scarcely avoid falling into, if from no other cause than ennui and thoughtlessness. Induce them, if possible, to become fond of field sports. This will keep them fit for their duty as soldiers, both in body and inclination.

Depend upon it, that the deep-set eye, thin nostril, and arched brow, are not to be baulked of excitement. The possessors of these—I may say giftslove and are formed for excitement. If not satiated in one way, and that an innocent, manly, and useful one, your boys may take to the gaming-table, or to an excess of feasting, rioting, or debauchery. Excitement they must have, or die. Let them, therefore, become bold riders, cunning hunters, riflemen of the woods. Inure them to toil while they are young, and a green old age shall reward both them for their choice, and you for your encouragement, education, and advice.

The active form, the muscular arm, the sinewy hand, the foot whose arched instep betokens its spring and elasticity—beneath which, when naked on the ground, water will flow-were not given, combined with the above-named gifts, to waste their

« AnteriorContinuar »