Across India eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 323 pages of information about Across India.

[Illustration:  “The striped beast went up into the air.”—­Page 263.]

The bull crouched his head, increased his speed, and bounded on the tiger.  At that moment the striped beast went up into the air so quickly that the audience could hardly see how it was done.  His horned foe showed that he had not wholly escaped, for his head was covered with blood.  But the tiger was not yet defeated.  He sprang to his feet, and darted furiously at his enemy.  He fastened with claws and teeth upon the neck of the bull, and the king believed that his wager was lost.

But the Spaniard shook him off, and turned upon him again, tossing him higher in the air than before.  He came down badly disabled; and the bull, as though it was the finest sport in the world for him, gored him with his long horns till the life was gone out of him.  The Spaniard was the victor.  The people shouted themselves hoarse; but their cries were in honor of the Guicowar, and not the bull.  The victor had lost a great deal of blood from a bad wound in the neck, and it was a question whether or not he would die; but he did not; he recovered, and before the tourists left India Sir Modava learned that he had been killed in a battle with a smaller tiger than the first.

Though the guests said but little about it, most of them were disgusted with these spectacles, and considered them cruel and brutal.  They remained their week at Baroda.  Those who desired to do so were taken to a hunt one day with a cheetah, in which this animal killed deer and other animals; and on another, on elephants, for tigers.  Two tigers were killed, and Louis Belgrave had the honor of shooting one of them.  Felix brought down a couple of cobras; and killing them seemed to be his forte.  Khayrat invited the party to witness a battle between his mongoose and a couple of cobras his hunters had caught; and he killed them both, one at a time.

They all declined to attend a fight between a couple of coolies, with horn spikes attached to their hands, for this was worse than a prize-fight.  But there was no end of amusements that were not brutal, and they enjoyed themselves abundantly to the end of their stay.  They visited the temples and the palaces of the nobles, where they were received with the utmost attention.  Captain Sharp and his wife declared this was the red-letter week of their lives; but the commander of the Blanche insisted that he must take his ship around to Calcutta, and left by train for Bombay the day before the company departed.

The Guicowar resorted to various expedients to retain his guests, with whom he was evidently sincerely pleased; but the commander was inflexible.  It was not possible to see a tithe of India, and he felt obliged to leave at the expiration of the time he had fixed for the visit, and he begged Lord Tremlyn and Sir Modava not to place them in any more courts, or they would never get out of India.  The train was prepared for their departure, and, in addition to the compartment cars in which they were to pass most of their time, a carriage was fitted up, so that all of them could assemble in it; in fact, it was a conference hall on wheels.

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Across India from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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