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"Well, have your own way; he's a goodish fish, and as you arẻ more active than I am, run him down-stream."
I and Peter got down to the agreed gaffing spot simultaneously; and, alas! just as I was about to resume the rod into my own hands, the hold gave way, and away floated the fish which ought to have been mine." Well, never mind, Peter: those who seek to win, must expect also sometimes to lose the chance of war. Did you see the fish well?"
"I agree, Peter: I also saw the fish, well, several times; not less than 14 lbs.; but it is gone! It can't be helped; though I think now, we might have delayed his course down the stream, and have gaffed him in the way, by humouring him rather than forcing him down-stream. He was quite exhausted when he escaped, and ought to have been our prize. Never mind, the hounds don't always kill their fox.'
Saw several large fish leap and rise, lower down. One 18 or 20 lbs. Only killed 1 lb. mort at Quay, though the water was in most excellent order. No fault of mine. Weather showery and blustering all day. At night, glass inclined to rise a trifle, but still below "change." Wind S. and S.W., down-stream.
Tuesday, Aug. 31.-Glass below "change;" wind as yesterday; more water in river, and rather thick; showery all day. Went up left bank to Hafod Deeps; water not A 1. Took with large salmon fly" the Mighty Conqueror," eight trout and morts, a fine dish in all, weighing 11 lbs. For the first time, I was warned by the lessee that Peter might not throw a line for me! Never mind; I am getting stronger, and will do all the work.
Wednesday, Sept. 1.-Glass still falling; wind N.W.; river very high and thick. No fishing to-day except about 4 p.m. On left bank, at Rector's Pool, hooked a fish of about 8 lbs., but after a turn or two, he got off. Water getting into beautiful order. Gwydyr Chapel, built A.D. 1673. Received present of leash of partridges.
Thursday, Sept. 2.-Water in beautiful condition; wind S.W.; glass low. Fished Wall Stream and Jones's Deeps in vain. Went down-stream to the Old Quay Stream, but could not stir a fish; no one did, except Mr. G., who, at Flat Stream, killed a bright salmon 8 lbs. There were now about 10 rods scattered on the whole river. Heavy rain came on, and on return to hotel I had to get into dry garments.
fine morning; River falling
Friday, Sept. 3. Very heavy flood; water thick; wind S. glass rising above "change"; air 60 fast at 10 a.m. At 4 pm. went up on left bank to Quay Stream and Rector's Pool, but water too thick, and I did nil. Ladies went to see the "falls" near Gwydyr, and saw them. Then they climbed the mountain, in hopes of seeing Snowdon in "the far no guide, and they would have been lost, save for the good fortune of falling in with a kind Welshman, who put them in a homeward path.
Saturday, Sept. 4. More rain; glass below "change" wind S.W.; air 64°.; water 58°., rising; but at 9 not very muddy.
I had previously become acquainted with a very agreeable, lively, and entertaining party, who were also living at the hotel, and this day they suddenly determined to return to London. I was sorry to lose them. They were the talented Mr. Emden, and that true genius, Mr. Robson, of the Olympic, and their ladies! At 2 p.m. went on left bank to Rector's Pool; fished it most carefully four times, but did nothing. Crossed the bridge, and went to Quay Stream; water improving fast. At second time of going over it, just at the right spot for rising I have before referred to, up came a fish, and I held him fast!
"Patience, Peter; remember the last loss." What sport he showed! three or four good leaps, and then a sw-s-s-s-s-sh of full fifty yards at once, as fast as lightning flash!"
"Mind the weeds under water on the gravel; sir, bad as he goes up."
"Pelt him, Peter; he's coming down a bit. There's another sw-s-ss-s-sh, as glorious as the former. Aye, aye, Sir Salmo! you'll soon tire of that game. Down he comes; so prepare the gaff." "Where you like, sir; but the sun is in our eyes, and I can scarce see him."
"Nor I, Peter; so take your time, and be careful." And careful and cunning he was, and after about fifteen minutes' fight, he, the fish, lay upon the grass, dead. "Not quite bright, Peter. Out with 'Seibe.'
Exactly 12 lbs.; bravo, sir; I told you you could do it." (Length 2 ft. 8 in., girth 1 ft. 3 in.)
This fish was most singularly captured-I can't say "hooked," for the hook had never entered him. It is hard to describe. He was a male fish, and in rising at the fly must have missed it, but taken the fly-link of gut into his mouth, and then have twisted his body so that the gut higher up caught in the hook over the front of his upper jaw. This, from the form of the jaw of a male fish, became, when I struck, a tight noose so long as the line was held tight. In addition to that, when we landed him, we found that he had twisted the other part of the gut round his mouth, head, and gills three times, so that he could open neither his mouth nor gills, and it stopped his breathing. I never saw such a thing before.
I have before said " and tackle all as should be.' But I must here remark, that my reel-line is one of the old-fashioned twisted silk and hair; and here I observed how completely my "gut bottom" was twisted in every link of single gut.
"Well, sir," says Peter, "you may depend upon it that the best reellines are those new kind, of the prepared plaited silk. The old twisted lines untwist the moment a strain comes upon them; and when that is continued during the playing of a heavy fish, it finally is communicated to the single links of the casting gut-line, and they become permantly twisted as you see them. I do not think the gut becomes less strong; though, perhaps, it is more perceptible to the fish. I certainly advise you to buy a plaited line for your next season, sir."
Well, Peter, I begin to think you are right." Tried down again thrice; hooked only weeds, and third time Peter had to go in
"When low-water comes we'll afterwards did.
above his knees to release the hook, cut those weeds, Peter;" and so we Ladies made another "effort, Mrs. Dombey," and by the aid of a guide, found near the spot, did get up to the top of a mountain of giddy rugged height; Llyn-y-Park at full length glistened immediately and deeply beneath them. In the distance were Pen-machno and the everywhere-visible Moel Shabod; but beyond, and far above all, towered old Snowdon, his outline clearly defined by the setting sun behind him. It is a glorious picture! Saw first cormorant of my season; plenty since.
MORTAL COMBAT WITH A LEOPARD IN THE INDIAN JUNGLE.
[COMMUNICATED FROM INDIA.]
We have often heard of perilous encounters with wild animals, and hair-breadth escapes of sportsmen when in pursuit of beasts of prey. We have read of how the old sportsman went down on one knee with rifle levelled steadily from the shoulder, and allowed the most ferocious monarch of the jungle to approach within a few yards of the muzzle of his weapon ere he pulled trigger; and how that when he did so, the rifle missed fire, and a deadly encounter ensued between sportsman and beast, which ended in the sportsman slaying the animal with his claspknife, or performing the same office with his pocket pistol-all which is strictly feasible, and we have no doubt perfectly true. We have read, besides, how men have been attacked by wild beasts, but escaped by dexterity. But, when we hear of mortal combat in the Indian jungle between
"A man who never drew a bow,
Nor track'd his game along the fallen snow,"
and who was without rifle, gun, pistol, knife, or weapon of defence of any sort, and yet escaped with his life! and afterwards slew his victim, it carries us back to the days of the stripling David, when he slew a lion and a bear which had come to take sheep from his flock. Nor since that scriptural record have we ever heard of an authentic statement of the kind but we have now to lay before our readers one of the most extraordinary and ferocious encounters with a leopard that it has ever been our chance to meet with. Our readers may be assured that it is from a reliable source, in which the parties concerned are intimately acquainted with us. The particulars have only just been received from India by this month's mail; and were it not that they come from an undoubted source, our customary care in selecting none but wellauthenticated facts would induce us to discard the whole affair as partaking too much of improbability,
The Great Indian Peninsula Railway, which is intended to traverse the lofty Western Ghauts, is now in course of rapid construction by a number of enterprising Englishmen ; who, undergoing various deprivations, sacrificing many comforts, enduring many hardships, and encountering frequent perils, deserve a nation's gratitude for their bold exertions. One of these men, whose name is Gooday, and who comes from Maldon or Braintree, in Essex, has proved at least that he is no Essex calf," but as noble-spirited and daring a fellow as ever trod an Indian jungle. This man Gooday, it appears, was sent by his master, a railway contractor, many miles up a wild region of the country, to look after timber for the purposes of the railway: when, having arrived at his destination in the afternoon, he pitched his tent near a village, and went into the jungle about five or six o'clock in the evening (quite daylight), for the purpose of examining some trees and not suspecting danger, and with no other weapon of defence than a small riding cane, which he held in his hand, Gooday suddenly observed a full-grown leopard, of the most ferocious nature, emerging from some cactus, and marching stealthily, but resolutely towards him; gnashing his teeth, and fixing his eye upon his human victim with most savage stare. "For an instant," says Gooday, "death seemed inevitable." His thoughts were, "It is all up with me now. If I run or attempt to escape I shall be torn in pieces and if I face him I have nothing to fight with. I will therefore sell my life dearly: I will grapple with the brute !" Whilst these reflections were running rapidly through his brain, and before he had time for another thought; the beast, with measured pace, couched himself upon its haunches, and, giving a tremendous spring, pounced upon its intended victim and seized him in its claws with dreadful clutch. Gooday says "None but those who have seen a leopard in its wildest nature, can imagine the terrible spring, and the deadly grasp with which it seizes its victims; and I hope no human being may ever experience what I have done, nor feel as I felt when I saw its couchant position at the instant of making its deadly spring."
One would think the boldest heart would recoil with terror at such a moment, and leave its possessor a powerless victim at the animal's feet: but it sometimes happens, as we have learnt from experience, that in cases of imminent danger, a man displays a courage which he never gave himself credit for possessing. In this instance Gooday knew it must be a mortal combat, and his strength seemed prodigious, his courage and resolution beyond control. On being seized by the leopard, Gooday fell, the animal being uppermost, but only so an instant. Quicker than thought, and in a manner for which he is quite unable to account, Gooday found himself struggling on the ground with the animal beneath him. It was now that the unfortunate man put forth the strength of a giant, well knowing that all was up with him unless he could keep the beast under him; and so plunging his knees into the animal's body, and grasping the skin of its throat, he made prodigious efforts to strangle it. The struggle for life and death between man and beast became awful, and such as no pen can describe; notwithstanding which, up to this moment Gooday's injuries amounted only to a few severe scratches; but the animal now became doubly furious, and Gooday's gigantic strength seemed of no avail,
for the leopard seized hold of his victim by the thigh, and bit him through to the bone. Smarting with agony, Gooday called in vain for help, and seeing the animal's ferocious jaws extended for the purpose of seizing him by the throat, the part the beast had been aiming at all the while; and when in the very act of burying its teeth in the jugular veins, Gooday, with a presence of mind which was the means of saving his life, dashed his fist down the animal's throat, and clutched its tongue with such a grasp as made the blood to start beneath his finger-nails, and caused the animal to writhe with anguish. Finding he had obtained a temporary mastery over the brute, Gooday grasped the tongue with even firmer clutch, and at the same time, with his other hand, rammed his riding cane down its throat. The leopard now feeling itself overpowered, struggled desperately to get away; and after severely lacerating its victim with its claws during the struggle, succeeded in doing so; and Gooday, by no means wishing to continue the unequal contest, was very glad to see the brute slink sulkily away. The whole combat, up to this time, had occupied but two or three minutes. Gooday then made his escape to the village, where he quickly armed himself with a heavy bamboo cudgel, and proceeded immediately in search of the leopard; which he direcily found among a herd of twenty buffaloes, which were grazing close by. On these animals the leopard was now wreaking his vengeance, and had commenced attacking them with all its fury. The brute looked more savage than ever; but Gooday (plucky old dog!), when he felt his wounds smarting with pain, and saw his bloodstained clothes, the thirst for revenge was unquenchable, and he felt that nothing but the animal's life could appease it. He then, with a courage such as none but Englishmen possess, approached his victim boldly in the field; and just as the animal was about to make another spring at him, Gooday dealt it such a blow across the head with his bamboo, as laid it stunned and powerless at his feet.
Gooday was then asked by the natives how he dared to attack the animal after the deadly strugggle from which he had just escaped. "Do you think," replied Gooday, "I was going back to my country without his skin?"
The combat being over, and the victory entirely his own, Gooday now saw the necessity of looking to himself: he was frightfully lacerated, and some of his wounds were bleeding rather profusely. In a few minutes he sank to the ground from exhaustion, and the natives carried him to his tent, when it was found that his leg was bitten completely through; his left hand horribly crushed and disfigured, from having been within the animal's jaws and down its throat; his right-hand thumb was also bitten through, and his body covered with wounds and ugly scratches from the brute's claws. The poor fellow is said to have been kept alive through the night by the natives rubbing him from head to foot (a practice very prevalent throughout that country). Next morning he was brought on a litter (the body of the leopard preceding him) to the contractor's headquarters, at Bhiza Baies Palace, Nassick; where he received every possi ble attention, not only from the medical attendant of the staff, but from the engineers and other gentlemen connected with the railway works, who felt the greatest concern about the precarious state of so brave a man. For several days he lay in great danger, and but little hopes