Juggroo had another fruit ready, very much resembling those he was eating. It is filled with minute spikelets, or little hairy spinnacles, much resembling those found in ripe doghips at home. If these even touch the skin, they cause intense pain, stinging like nettles, and blistering every part they touch.
The unsuspicious bearer popped the treacherous berry into his mouth, gave it a crunch, and then with a howl of agony, spluttered and spat, while the tears ran down his cheeks, as he implored Juggroo by all the gods to fetch him some water.
Old Juggroo with a grim smile, walked coolly away, discharging a Parthian shaft, by telling him that these berries were very good for making the hair grow, and hoped he would soon have a good moustache.
A man from the village now came running up to tell us that there was a leopard in the jungle we were about to beat, and that it had seized, but failed to carry away, a dog from the village during the night. Natives are so apt to tell stories of this kind that at first we did not credit him, but turning into the village he showed us the poor dog, with great wounds on its neck and throat where the leopard had pounced upon it. The noise, it seems, had brought some herdsmen to the place, and their cries had frightened the leopard and saved the wretched dog. As the man said he could show us the spot where the leopard generally remained, we determined to beat him up; so sending a man off on horseback for the beaters to slightly alter their intended line of beat, we rode off, attended by the villager, to get behind the leopard’s lair, and see if we could not secure him. These fierce and courageous brutes, for they are both, are very common in the sal jungles; and as I have seen several killed, both in Bhaugulpore and Oudh, I must devote a chapter to the subject.
The leopard.—How to shoot him.—Gallant encounter with a wounded one.—Encounter with a leopard in a dak bungalow.—Pat shoots two leopards.—Effects of the Express bullet.—The ‘Sirwah Purrul,’ or annual festival of huntsmen.—The Hindoo ryot.—Rice-planting and harvest.—Poverty of the ryot.—His apathy.—Village fires.—Want of sanitation.
Writing principally for friends at home, who are not familiar with Indian life, I must narrate facts that, although well known in Indian circles, are yet new to the general reader in England. My object is of course to represent the life we lead in the far East, and to give a series of pictures of what is going on there. If I occasionally touch on what may to Indian readers seem well-worn ground, they will forgive me.