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แ ROGUE" STALKING.
of the torrent, but in a few days it subsided, and the elephant was found lying dead in the spot where they supposed he had fallen.
Thus happily ended the destruction of this notable pair; they had proved themselves all that we had heard of them, and by their cunning dodge of hiding in the thick jungle they had nearly made sure of us. We had killed three rogues that morning, and we returned to our quarters well satisfied.
Since that period I have somewhat thinned the number of rogues in this neighbourhood. I had a careful and almost certain plan of shooting them. Quite alone, with the exception of two faithful gunbearers, I used to wait at the edge of the jungle at their feeding time, and watch their exit from the forest. The most cautious stalking then generally enabled me to get a fatal shot before my presence was discovered. This is the proper way to succeed with rogue elephants, although of course it is attended with considerable danger. I was once very nearly caught near this spot, where the elephants are always particularly savage. The lake was then much diminished in size by dry weather, and the water had retired for about a hundred yards from the edge of the forest, leaving a deep bed of mud covered with slime and de
cayed vegetable matter.
This slime had hardened in the sun and formed a cake over the soft mud beneath. Upon this treacherous surface a man could walk with great care. Should the thin covering break through he would be immediately waist-deep in the soft mud. To plod through this was the elephants' delight. Smearing a thick coat of the black mud over their whole bodies, they formed a defensive armour against the attacks of musquitos, which are the greatest tormenters that an elephant has to contend with.
I was watching the edge of the forest one afternoon at about four o'clock, when I noticed the massive form of one of these tank rogues stalk majestically from the jungle, and proceed through the deep mud towards the lake. I had the wind, and I commenced stalking him.
Advancing with my two gun-bearers in single file, I crept carefully from tree to tree along the edge of the forest for about a quarter of a mile, until I arrived at the very spot at which he had made his exit from the jungle.
I was now within eighty yards of him as he stood with his head towards the lake, and his hindquarters exactly facing me. His deep tracks in the mud were about five feet apart, so great was his
stride and length of limb, and, although the soft bog was at least three and a half feet deep, his belly was full two feet above the surface. He was a fine fellow, and, with intense caution, I advanced towards him over the trembling surface of baked slime. His tracks had nearly filled with water, and looked like little wells. The bog waved as I walked carefully over it, and I stopped once or twice, hesitating whether I should continue: I feared the crusty surface would not support me, as the nearer I approached the water's edge, the weaker the coating of slime became, not having been exposed for so long a time to the sun as that at a greater dis
He was making so much noise in splashing the mud over his body that I had a fine chance for getting up to him. I could not stand the temptation, and I crept up as fast as I could.
I got within eight paces of him unperceived; the mud that he threw over his back spattered round me as it fell. I was carrying a light doublebarrelled gun, but I now reached back my hand to exchange it for my four-ounce rifle. Little did I expect the sudden effect produced by the additional weight of the heavy weapon. The treacherous surface suddenly gave way, and in an instant I
was waist deep in mud. The noise that I had made in falling had at once aroused the elephant, and, true to his character of a rogue, he immediately advanced with a shrill trumpet towards me. His ears were cocked, and his tail was well up; but, instead of charging, as rogues generally do, with his head thrown rather back and held high, which renders a front shot very uncertain, he rather lowered his head, and splashed towards me through the mud, apparently despising my diminutive appearance.
I thought it was all up with me this time: I was immovable in my bed of mud, and, instead of the clean brown barrel that I could usually trust to in an extremity, I raised a mass of mud to my shoulder, which encased my rifle like a flannel bag. I fully expected it to miss fire; no sights were visible, and I had to guess the aim with the advancing elephant within five yards of me. Hopelessly I pulled the slippery trigger. The rifle did not even hang fire, and the rogue fell into the deep bed of mud, stone dead. If the rifle had missed fire, I must have been killed, as escape would have been impossible. It was with great difficulty that I was extricated from my muddy position by the joint exertions of myself and gun-bearers.
DANGERS OF ELEPHANT SHOOTING.
Elephants, buffalos, and hogs are equally fond of wallowing in the mud. A buffalo will gallop through a swamp, hock deep, in which a horse would be utterly powerless, even without a rider. Elephants can also make wonderful progress through deep mud, the formation of the hind legs with knees instead of hocks giving them an increased facility for moving through heavy ground.
The great risk in attacking rogue elephants consists in the impracticability of quick movements upon such ground as they generally frequent. The speed and activity of a man, although considerable upon a smooth surface, is as nothing upon rough stumpy grass wilds, where even walking is laborious. What is comparatively level to an elephant's foot is as a ploughed field to that of a man. This renders escape from pursuit next to impossible, unless some welcome tree should be near, round which the hunter could dodge, and even then he stands but a poor chance, unless assistance is at hand. I have never seen any one who could run at full speed in rough ground without falling, if pursued. Large stones, tufts of rank grass, holes, fallen boughs, gullies, are all impediments to rapid locomotion when the pursued is forced to be constantly looking back to