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fancied that every available wild beast within hearing of it would hasten to the spot to make short work of so unwonted an intruder.
* At length, having, as well as I could, covered my object, I pulled the trigger. I am sure that a rifle never made such a clamour in the world as that one did. The first hill that received the report was so taken by surprise that it did not hand it on to its neighbour for several seconds. The second hill wouldn't believe it, and shied it back at once at the head of the first, and so they went on tossing it about for nearly half a minute. In the meantime I inspected the result of my shot. The animal, after some heavy struggles, fell dead, and proved to be a large hyena. I feared I had spoilt my chance of a tiger, but reloaded and returned to my fort, and watched on through the solemn hours of the night.
'I began about twelve o'clock to feel rather dozy, so took the watch in turn with my assistants. It must have been about one o'clock, when, tired of straining my eyesight to make imaginary tigers out of the bushes around me, my eyes resting languidly on the ghostlike body of the dead cow, that suddenly some large animal sprang upon the prostrate carcass, and with a savage growl carried it, rather than dragged it, for a couple of yards. A large dark tiger stood within two spears' length of me!
* For several seconds I was completely incapacitated by nervous excitement. My eyesight swam, and for the life of me I could not for a time distinguish tiger, tree, or cow. This was not fear, but it was as like it as was pleasant. It was produced, I believe, by the suddenness and mystery attending the appearance of my formidable guest. When
I got the peepers clear, the tiger had raised himself from the cow, and was standing broadside to me, and staring me in the face. He must have seen a movement of my head against the light. I slowly raised the rifle and brought it to bear on the large but indistinct form in front of
At that moment I perceived that the 300 yards sight was up, so that the ball would, in all probability, be thrown too high. Without lowering the rifle from my shoulder, I passed my left hand down the barrel and smoothed the sights down, but in that interval the tiger smelt a rat and moved off. I fired at his retreating form, and missed him altogether!
""Oh, you precious muph!” I hear you exclaim, Fortescue assent, and Teddy nod his head. But 'twasn't my fault, really ; I never was taught to shoot in the dark.'
After so graphic an account as this I need not dwell upon any of Taylor's further exploits with his ‘Lincoln Greens,' but it appears that between intervals of work he was always out with his gun. Of his other occupations he has left no mention, and his life in the Ajmir Agency proved uneventful.
He was not, however, destined to remain long at Beawur, for in the first week in January 1847 the following letter arrived from George Lawrence :
• Lahore : January 2, 1847. 'My dear Taylor,—My brother has a vacancy for a junior assistant in this Agency. Would it suit you to take it, as affording a better prospect of promotion than your present one? If so, write him by return of post.
I am off to Peshawur forthwith.—Sincerely yours,
G. W. LAWRENCE.'
So good an offer as this was not to be declined, and Reynell Taylor wrote at once to accept it.
• The sooner you proceed the better,' wrote Dixon. You have
"You have my full permission to go whenever you please. I should have liked to have shaken you by the hand and wished you success vivå voce before you turned your back upon us, but this plan involves an extra trip of eighty miles or so, besides keeping you back, so pray quite suit your convenience.'
Reynell Taylor's acceptance of the offer was acknowledged from Lahore in the following letters, all written one after the other on the same rough sheet of foolscap:
• Lahore: January 19. 'My dear Sir,-I am glad that you like the idea of coming here. Charles Hardinge wrote to you at my suggestion two or three days after my brother addressed you, and I hope you will have started ere this reaches ; but in case authority has not been given you I will write by this dak to Mr. Currie to do the needful.--Yours,
My dear Taylor,— I was quite sure you would like the appointment, and am glad we shall have you among us soon. It's not improbable that after a time you will join me at Peshawur, should the work be heavy there, which I expect it will. My brother thinks you had better join us by dak, as he can furnish you with bed, etc. till your things follow. He has written to Mr. Currie just now, but he hopes that Hardinge's letter, following mine, will have enabled you to start at once, and that you are now on the road. Sincerely yours,
"G. W. LAWRENCE.
My dear Taylor,—It is with pleasure that I add a linc or two to this letter to congratulate you on removing from your present quiet and unpromising post to this frontier.
You are right. The wind of future events blows from the north.
'Business at present is frightful, but as things settle and zealous assistants come to the rescue (!), I hope we shall soon have a little respite.
'Come along and bring your crickets with you.-Believe me, my dear Taylor, yours very sincerely,
CASHMERE-PESHAWUR-THE KOHAT PASS.
At no period of our Indian history were a more reinarkable set of men collected together than were to be found under Henry Lawrence in the year 1847. Few of them remain with us now, but their deeds live after them, and their gallantry and devotion are enshrined in some of the brightest pages of our national records. In writing to Sir John Kaye, Henry Lawrence says of them I was very fortunate in my assistants, all of whom were my friends, and almost everyone was introduced into the Punjab through me. George Lawrence, Macgregor, James Abbott, Edwardes, Lumsden, Nicholson, Taylor, Cocks, Hodson, Pollock, Bowring, Henry Coxe, and Melvill are men such as you will seldom see anywhere, but when collected under one administration were worth double and treble the number taken at haphazard. Each was a good man; the most were excellent officers. My chief help, however, was in my brother John.'1
At the close of the first Sikh war Henry Lawrence had, as we have seen, been left at Lahore as the GovernorGeneral's Agent, and a British force remained in the
1 Lives of Indian Officers (Kaye).