The enthusiastic sportsman had hardly begun to climb the tree before he heard a hissing behind him, and discovered another cobra. Two of the four in sight were much smaller than the other two, and he could easily believe he had come upon a family of them. He got a position in the tree, and lost no time in attacking the enemy. He was a good shot, for he and Louis had both been thoroughly trained in a shooting-gallery in New York. He gave his attention to the one nearest to him, and wondered he had not trodden upon him as he came to the spot.
As this one stood up Felix could see the top of his head, and he decided to use his revolver first. He fired; and, as the reptile was not ten feet from him, so skilful a marksman could hardly help hitting him. He did hit him, and the ball passed through his head. He wriggled a moment, and then stretched himself out at full length, dead.
One of the larger ones was within twenty-five feet of him, and he used his repeating rifle this time. He slipped a little in his perch as he discharged the piece, and the ball went through the snake’s body, which was furiously mad, hissed and shook himself. He held still a moment, and then Felix fired again. The ball seemed to tear his head all to pieces, and he dropped down out of sight. He had to fire several times to kill the other two; for, as he expressed it, they “would not hold still.”
But he had killed the four, and felt just as though he had settled the snake question. Most of the natives, who are oftener the victims of the cobra than the white people, go about in the dark with naked feet, and it is not strange that they are bitten. He descended from the tree, and went to examine the game he had brought down. Cutting some pliable sticks, he dragged the serpents together, and passed a withe around them behind the hood, and started back for the rendezvous where they were to take the carriage. He was determined to convince Scott that he was not afraid of snakes.
He had already heard several shots, and realized that his companions had found game of some kind. He waited a full hour for them, when Louis returned first, with a very handsome deer slung on a pole with Khayrat carrying the other end. Morris came in with a monkey, which the officers would not have permitted him to kill if they had been near him. Scott came in last with only a couple of birds.
“Did ye’s mate ony cobrys, Musther Scott?” asked Felix.
“Not a cobra; and I didn’t want to meet any,” replied Scott, disappointed at his luck.
“You’s air afeered of the schnakes,” rallied the Milesian.
“So are you, Flix. If you saw one you wouldn’t stop running till you got back to Baroda,” returned the third officer of the ship.
“But I have seen four of them in my little walk, and I’m not doing any running just now,” said Felix triumphantly.
“Go ’way with you, Milesian, and don’t tell any fish stories!” replied Scott, continuing to blackguard him while the servants were putting the deer on the top of the wagon.