Across India eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 268 pages of information about Across India.

The vanquished brute was removed from the arena, and the victor remained alone on the field he had won; but he had only come to the beginning of his troubles, for there was a second act to the affair.  The men, who were armed with whips, fireworks, red cloths, and other instruments of torment, assailed him.  They pricked him with the javelins, shook the red banners in his face, and fizzed the pyrotechnics before his eyes.  They tormented the poor creature till he was furious.  He had no adequate weapon for this unequal and unfair warfare.

He chased one assailant and then another, being as often turned aside from his intended victims by the thorning of the other tormentors.  As he became a little more accustomed to the game, he ceased to be diverted from his victim and confined his attention to only one.  The red banners, the blows from the whips, and the fizzing of the powder, did not affect him.  He pursued his victim till the man was glad to save himself by dodging through one of the narrow doors in the wall, where the monster could not follow him.  He butted against the wall, and then pounded the earth with his feet in the fury of his wrath.

If the man had far to run he would inevitably be lost; for the elephant, clumsy as he appears to be, develops great speed of foot when he is excited.  An incident was related by one of the nobles to Captain Ringgold as the runner disappeared within the door.  A young man who was very swift of foot was closely pursued by the elephant, and had reached the door, when he was seized by the arm, tossed in the air, and came down heavily on the ground.  The foot of the infuriate beast was raised to crush his skull, when another man flashed a Bengal light in his face, with the flame almost in his eyes, and the giant bellowed and fled.

At the blast of a bugle all the men in the ring suddenly deserted it.  The elephant looked about him for any new assailant, and was immediately provided with one.  A door flew open, and a fine looking fellow, mounted on a magnificent horse, dashed into the arena.  After the manner of the matador in a bull-fight, he conducted his steed, prancing in his pride, up to the arch at which the Guicowar stood, and saluted him with the grace of a knight-errant whose head was full of ladies.

The elephant is said to have an especial aversion to a horse; and the tormented beast in the ring at once manifested the prejudice of his race, for he made a dart for him.  The horse did not flinch, but stood still till the giant was almost upon him.  Then, at the command of his master, he wheeled, and the rider gave the big beast a smart punch with his lance.  For a few minutes there was a lively skirmish between them, the horseman pricking him on the trunk or the flanks, and the rage of the elephant was at its highest pitch.

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Across India from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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