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imagined he had beaten the dogs off.
three days passed away without Merriman's return, and, knowing him to be the leading hound of the pack, I made up my mind that he had been washed down a waterfall and killed.
About a week after this had happened, a native came up from the low country with the intelligence that the dogs had brought the buck to bay in the river close to the village of Pérewellé, and that the natives had killed the elk and driven the dogs away. The remaining portion of this man's story filled me with rage and horror. Merriman would not leave the body of the elk: the natives thought that the dog might be discovered in their village, which would lead to the detection of the theft of the elk; they, therefore, tied this beautiful hound to a tree, knocked his brains out with a hatchet, and threw his body into the river. This dog was a favourite with every one who knew the pack. The very instant that I heard the intelligence I took a good stick, and, in company with my brother, three friends, and my informant, we started to revenge Merriman. Pérewellé is twelve miles from my house across country: it was six P. M. when we started, and we arrived at a village within two miles of this nest of villains at half-past eight.
Here we got further information, and a man who volunteered to point out three men who were the principal actors in murdering the dog. We slept at this village, and, rising at four o'clock on the following morning, we marched towards Pérewellé to surprise the village and capture the offenders.
It was bright moonlight, and we arrived at the village just at break of day. The house was pointed out in which the villains lived, and we immediately surrounded it, and upon entering we seized the offenders. Upon searching the house we found a quantity of dried venison, a spear, and an axe covered with blood, with which they had destroyed the unfortunate dog.
A glorious satisfaction is the law of might! At every blow I thought of the dog's death, and we thrashed them till we dared not go much further. The whole village, which comprises nearly a hundred persons, took to flight, according to their usual cowardly nature. The captured wretches declared their innocence, and they lay down pretending to be at the point of death. Taking a fine gutta percha whip I flogged them till they revived again; and we forced them to lead the way and point out the very spot of the elk's death.
SCENE OF THE MURDER.
They would not confess the dog's murder, although it was proved against them.
It was a frightful spot -about two hundred paces below the foot of the great fall. The river, swollen by the late rain, boiled, and strove with the opposing rocks, lashing itself into foam, and roaring down countless cataracts, which, though well worthy of the name, sunk into insignificance before the mighty fall which fed them. High above our heads reared the rocky precipice of a thousand feet in height, the grassy mountains capped with forest, and I could distinguish the very spot from which I had heard the shouts of men on the day of Merriman's death. Had I only known what was taking place below I might perhaps have been in time to save the dog.
We found the blood and remains of the offal of the buck, but we, of course, saw no remains of the dog, as the power of the torrent must soon have dashed him to atoms against the rocks.
Thus ended poor Merriman: a better hound could not have lived, and his murderers should have been hanged. Unfortunately, Ceylon laws are often administered by persons who have never received a legal education, and these wretches escaped without further punishment than the
thrashing they had received,
Of this, however, they had a full dose, which was a sweet sauce to their venison which they little anticipated.
The few descriptions that I have given of elkhunting should introduce a stranger thoroughly to the sport. No one, however, can enjoy it with as much interest as the owner of the hounds; he knows the character of every dog in the pack every voice is familiar to his ear; he cheers them to the attack; he caresses them for their courage; they depend upon him for assistance in the struggle, and they mutually succour each other. This renders the dog a more cherished companion than he is considered in England, where his qualities are not of so important a nature; and it makes the loss of a good hound more deeply felt by his master.
Having thus described the general character or Ceylon sports in all branches, I shall conclude by a detailed journal of one trip of a few weeks in the low country, which will at once explain the whole minutia of the shooting in the island. This journal is taken from a small diary which has frequently accompanied me on these excursions, containing little memoranda which, by many, might be con sidered tedious. The daily account of the various incidents of a trip will, at all events, give a faithful picture of the jungle sports.
A JUNGLE TRIP.
ON the 16th November, 1851, I started from Kandy, accompanied by my brother, Lieutenant V. Baker, then of the Ceylon Rifle Regiment. Having sent on our horses from Newera Ellia some days previous, as far as Matillé, sixteen miles from Kandy, we drove there early in the morning, and breakfasted with F. Layard, Esq., who was then assistant government agent. It had rained without ceasing during twenty-four hours, and, hoping that the weather might change, we waited at Matillé till two o'clock P. M. The rain still poured in torrents, and, giving up all ideas of fine weather, we started.
The horses were brought round, and old Jack knew as well as I did that he was starting for a trip, as the tether rope was wound round his neck, and the horsecloth was under his saddle. The old horse was sleek and in fine condition for a journey, and, without further loss of time, we