« ElőzőTovább »
I was captain, but we had no guns. There slitting a man's nose and other things. I was a forest with saw-mills. One of the was in prison thirteen months, while the mill-owners who was enemy to the other governor was trying to get a case against told me that this one had many rifles. me. He found a person without a pose, We went to his house one night and but the man would not give evidence demanded them. He said he had not got against me. He said he did not know any. Then we made him sign a bond how it had been slit, but he supposed he to procure them; and as the first mill. had been born so. This was because I owner had told us wrongly, we compelled had sent a large sum.” “Ah!" said the him to join in the bond - so it was quite station-master, “in this country the map fair to both. We got those rifles all right, who is rich is innocent like one pigeon." and cartridges. I was a brigand eight “ At last Mr. P. got me out.” He paused years. I never killed any one for money; for a minute, and then finished his story but if any one would not stop, or if he was with a sigh, in the same words as he had going to give information to the authori. begun. It was all folly, but I should ties, of course we had to kill him. Once never have gone to the mountains but for a man asked us all to his house to supper. that woman. The gentleman mentioned Then he sent to the governor to say that was connected with the Ottoman Railway: Bouba's party were there; but we heard a Bouba had made himself extremely useful noise and got away. A fortnight after to this company, and its engineers, in wards we came back and slit his nose and making their extension, owed much to his
(This he said in a tone of righteous influence. In fact, he is cavass to the indignations, and he would evidently like chief engineer now, and a highly respected to do it again.) “ We used to stop mer- character. No one would hesitate to trust chants and camel-drivers, and the villagers him with a hundred pounds or any other gave us what we wanted because they sum, and a more suitable chaperon for were afraid. If a person had not anything young ladies could not be found. That is we let him go.”
the story as he told it to us; and as others “What was the best catch you ever confirmed it, I have no doubi it is in the made ?"
main true. He grinned at this, and after thinking a There does not appear to be any brig. bit said: “We once stopped the Imperial andage in that part of the country now, Post and got 7,000l. Then they sent a though the agha of the village assured us large number of soldiers after us. There with undoubting faith that there was a was another band of brigands - eleven of brigand about, whom no bullet could penthem. We helped one another, but did etrate. This story had a foundation in not generally act together; but this time fact, as we afterwards discovered, but it we all combined. The soldiers came up, is too commonplace to be worthy of narbut we were behind rocks. We killed ration. There are undoubtedly epidemics twenty-five of them, and not one of us was of brigandage by which certain districts touched. We afterwards killed seven in Asia Minor are scourged from time to more.” For having won this victory he time, especially within reach of the scum evidently considered that he had deserved of the large cities. well of his country.
“ But," I said, “they But to return to the goats. Given a surely couldn't have tried very hard to get broken cliff, scarcely any part of which hold of you!” “Well, perhaps not al. was more than an hour's walk from our ways. I used to send money to the big camp - for they inhabited only the steep officials, but the sergeants and people like side of the mountain - it will be thought that I did not care for. When we ran that the task of securing an adequate short of cartridges for the Martinis, I sent number of specimens was an easy one; 501. to a colonel in the army whom I knew, but, as my. Pyrenean hunter, in whose and he sent me a quantity of army car. company I have cut to pieces many pairs tridges. When the government found they of boots, put it, after two or three days' could not catch us, they offered a free par- experience, “ Le coquin est rusé comme don to all who would come in, and I gave le diable !” The excellent eyes and ears myself up and was pardoned. I afterwards with which the creature is endowed would helped to hunt down the other brigands. not, however, have saved him from our Two of my companions were killed at this scientific approaches if he had not been time; others died and some are still alive. assisted by surrounding conditions. Not After this another governor was appointed, only are these rocks cut up into innumerand because I would not give him money able clefts and ravines, but they are covhe put me in prison and charged me with tred by a thin forest of stone pines, noble
trees of a pale green color, not mean and watchtower, and, after a note or two of disbranched like those of Italy, but driving alarm and warning - a kind of cough great wedges of root into the rocks and which might spell the letters b-u-r-r-up spreading like Scotch firs into lofty and rapidly repeated - calmly lie down and massive trees of varied outline. Between await events. Woe betide tlie hunter them a shorter and denser growth of cy- who, lulled into hope, then attempted a press and deciduous barberry, now dying scientific stalk, for his labor would be off in scarlet and orange. This covert
, surely wasted. I remember once to have though not quite continuous, made hiding nearly circuñvented a buck chamois who very easy for the ibex. Nor was this all. thus flouted me. He saw the tops of our The rock is a kind of pudding-stone, and caps against a patch of snow before we the round, embedded pebbles constantly saw him, and bounded away, but stood work out and lie in unstable banks, wher-three hundred yards off whistling. Then ever the angle of solid rock admits of it. he lay down, still whistling and watching. The least touch, and down they clatter, The fatal thing would bave been to with. starting others. During the last fortnight, draw. It was necessary to give him somethe drought and heat were excessive. thing to look at. Leaving my hunter This not only drove the animals to the where he was, with instructions to keep innermost recesses for coolness, but made his cap gently moving, I drew back with the stones more resonant; and the air infinite precaution; then, making a detour, being dead still, the least noise travelled got within easy distance of my friend, still far. Even the fallen oak-leaves were so lying there and whistling, crept ioto a crisp and dry that they crackled like beautiful position, and missed him clean! parchment. Like all animals that live in But to return to our goats. The only good covert, these goats have great confi- method of hunting them practised by the dence in its protection, and we saw them inhabitants is to drive them to certain more often near the foot of the cliff, within posts occupied by the guns; but though hearing of the drovers on the highway, we were not above trying this and every than at a higher elevation.
method, and did stoop to conquer in this The best which I secured I killed within way when we got tired of the other, it is easy shouting distance of the railway. not interesting, and the more crafty jodi. But this confidence is accompanied by ex. viduals, especially the old rams, will not ceeding watchfulness, and their natural be driven. We preferred stalking, and alertness is indefinitely increased by the did so with great perseverance, and, for constant harrying of the natives. The the reasons given above, with singularly bands, consisting of from four to ten, little result - at least at first. The best almost always, according to our observa chance was during the two hours following tion, posted a sentinel, and more than one sunrise, and a similar period before suo. promising stalk was spoilt by this incon- set. We had therefore to be astir early, venient precaution, the sentinel posted and the camp-fire shone red before we above having been previously invisible to returned. The telescopes were in con
On one occasion one of my compan. tinual use during the day, though, as is the ions observed that they had established a case in all timbered countries, I found a very complete system of reliefs. Each powerful opera-glass often more effective member of the band took its turn on a for spying corries where it was all-imporcommanding rock for about ten minutes tant not to show over the skyline. Notby the watch, standing immovable while withstanding the facilities for hiding, our the others fed below. At the end of the industry with the glasses was rewarded time he would go down, and another in. by finding the animals almost daily, but stantly mounted to the coign of vantage the conditions above described generally and took his place ; but the most remark- defeated the stalk. That is to say, when able part of it was that the turns seemed we reached the spot the goats had moved, to be taken in order of seniority, beginning and even a slight change of position on with the kids, followed by the ewes and such ground made “picking them up young rams – the oldest patriarch, who | again before we were ourselves“ spotted inad by that time finished his meal, being by the quarry exceedingly chancy work. last of all; but he shirked his duties, for in the end I thought that what the Amerihe distinctly took a post-prandial nap. can still-hunters call “sitting on a log" Another trick of theirs which I twice ob- in other words, lying perdu in a likely served old solitaire males to be guilty of, place – probably the most effective was, if they saw, or thought they saw, means; but for that I had not the patience. anything suspicious, to mount a prominent Almost the best chance I had came in
my way the first evening. We saw a waiting I looked round and found we had small herd feeding near the base of the returned to almost the identical spot of cliff, with some good bucks in it, and got my first stalk. At that moment I heard down to the rocks above them in the last stones rolling below, and looking over the twenty minutes of daylight. Arrived edge saw my beast of the morning rolling within shooting distance, we could see a over and over, quite dead. It was scarcely female and two kids feeding among the a score of yards from where I had lost trees nearly perpendicularly below us, sight of him. He appeared to have been and were peering down the openings to dead some time, and it was the most ex. try and make out the bucks, when sud- traordinary chance which led us back to denly one of the kids showed signs of un- the identical spot at the fortunate moment easiness. Perhaps it was the cry of some when his body rolled down, as we should partridge; more probably the little beast never have seen him except for the movewas sharper of eye than I gave him credit ment of the stones calling our attention. for, and the setting sun was shining full The beaters now began another drive upon us.
Then they began to move off, the reverse way, and across the ground and for a moment I saw the bucks, dis- where we were. We lay low and let the tinguishable by their size and darker color. men pass us, which of course they did I had my bead on one of them, but the without seeing us, then got on to a promshot was long and the light in my eyes. inent rock to see what would happen - in Surely, I said to myself, they won't be- fact, “ stayed back for the rabbits.” As I lieve that youngster. Hoping they would expected, the ibex kept coming back. It stop, and that I should better my position, was curious to see them sneaking out of I wiihheld my fire. They did stop about groves close to which a man had just three hundred yards off and fed again, passed. They knew perfectly well what but when we arrived they had disappeared, was up. First came three within shot of and, the light fading, we gave them up. me, but they were all small; then a female That was a fair sample of our experience. and a little one; then two goodish bucks I did not get another chance for a week. with others, very low down. These last
Day after day we basked, and some- we were fortunately able to keep in view, times gasped, in the heat, climbed and and saw them lie down. tumbled on the loose stones and toiled We got down and found a good place with the glass, the sweet, sun-distilled for a shot, whence I could see the biggest. smell of the pines in our nostrils. 1 It was a longish shot, but I was very should be sorry to make the reader as steady. However, off we went like lightweary as, to tell the honest truth, we be. ning, and Celestin again declared I had came of Maimun Dagh, and I will confine missed, neither could we find any blood. my narrative to a single day, the most for. I could not see how many went away when tunate which I had.
they crossed the next ridge, but I noticed I had heard that some of the railway that they were a long time arriving there, officials were going to have a drive, so 1 as though something bad delayed them. went up early and posted myself at a high To this circumstance I attached impor: elevation where I could command a good tance, as wild animals always stop and deal of the cliff. There I spied a band of look back if one of their number is missfour, comprising two small bucks. They ing; so we followed on their line. There were quite quiet, and lay down in a good was a little hollow behind some rocks be. place, and I got quickly within fifty yards low me which I thought worth climbing of one of the bucks. He went off with down to explore. As I peered into it my the rest at the shot, and Celestin, who fol. beast sprang away through the trees. Í lowed what he thought was the track, could only see a pair of legs, but of course could find no trace of blood, and declared I knew he must be badly wounded. Then that I had missed. As the shot was a we found — where the poor beast had perfectly easy one I could not think of stood and stamped the ground — another any excuse to account for it. In a very sign of a wounded animal. A few yards depressed condition we climbed up to an- further there were spots of blood, and other high point and stayed there some thenceforward we followed the track with hours watching. At last we saw two ibex extreme care. At last I saw him lying coming away from the drive, and climbed behind a bush. He sprang away again, down quickly on the chance of cutting but I was able to give him a disabling them off; and now a wonderful piece of shot as he ran. luck, the only one that fell to my lot on These ibex are of a light brown color, this trip, happened. While sitting and the males being rather darker than the
females; but the oldest males undergo a | but a long one, and intervening trees now complete change in appearance, becoming made it necessary to shoot quickly or not light grey with a clearly defined black at all. The cartridge missed fire. There shoulder-stripe, which gives them a very was no time to change it, as they were smart appearance. It is a sight to stir just moving, but, hastily cocking the rifle, the heart of a hunter to see such a one I tried the same cartridge again. That sunning himself on some tower of rock, time it went, but wide of the mark - a and, by way of morning exercise, bending miss, but excusable under the circumhis head to the ground and driving his stances. They went up to F., sword-like black horns into some bush, of cured them both - capital right and which he “makes hay” in about two min. left. These were the best two we got,
I only once got a chance at one of and I fear I was envious. these grand old " billies,' and that I mud- The ibex were not the only animals that died. We had taken refuge from a sharp inhabited this mountain. On one occashower in a cave, or rather shelf on the sion, a large, yellowish creature sprang cliff, protected by a long overhanging away and stood gazing at us. If I had not rock. The rain drifted in, and Celestin been slow and clumsy, be ought to have carried my rifle to one end where it was been stopped, but the form was dim among more sheltered. We made a fire at the the trees, and hard to identify. Subse. other end, and were sitting over it, when, quently, Celestin got a glimpse of it with a fixed stare, Omar pointed with his through the glass, and pronounced it to be finger over my shoulder. There, about a a leopard. I saw it again myself at a long hundred yards off, was a splendid male distance, and thought the outline more ibex such as I have described, with black like that of a hyena; it may have been a horns which curved back nearly to his tail. lynx. All three of these animals are found There are not more than two or three like in the mountains. A few days later I that on the mountain. He was quite un- found some small caves which the tracks suspicious, and calmly moving down the showed to be frequented by this big cat, mountain, on account of the bad weather whatever he was. Outside one of these I suppose. Risking discovery, I crept to holes was an immense store of bones of
Ι the place where my rifle lay. Two trees camels, bullocks, sheep, dogs, and the grew across that end of the opening, and shells of tortoises broken open. They I could not shoot from there. Back I must have been dragged one thousand crawled, and sat down for the shot. He feet up the cliffs, and probably belonged was slowly stalking down the rocks, but to animals that had died on the caravan still within easy rangé. I levelled my route below. piece, but at that moment a gust of wind Hearing of a distant mountain said to blew the flame and smoke across my line of contain ibex, which had the further advan. sight, and I could see nothing. The next tage of being clear of forest in its upper instant he was round a rock and gone. I part, and_being by this time tired of pearly turned sick with desperation Of Maimun Dagh, we struck our camp and course we followed and tried to find him journeyed thither. At the foot of this again — an all but hopeless task in the range was a charming village, with a copicomplications of this hill. In the course ous stream, which sprang full-bodied from of the search we got wet through, and in the living rock and worked numerous trying to dry my coat over the fire Celestin small mills, the splashing of which, and burnt the back of it - my best "go-to-the greenery of the walnut-trees, were re. meeting" one, as it happened; but I freshing after our arid experiences. Every would give twenty coats to have got that village has its guest-bouse, and this one beast.
was comfortable, and the agha or headThat was not the only piece of bad luck man hospitable. Indeed, that virtue, acwhich I had — far from it. Once in a cording to our experience, is universal drive I was posted on the edge of a ravine ; among the Turks in the country districts. there were eddies of wind about this gorge, When any distinguished or very holy peoand in the middle of the drive a puff in ple are received as guests in the villages my back warned me that, if I stayed of the Turkomans, who must not be con. where I was, I might spoil sport. I there founded with the Turks, I was credibly fore withdrew to a less exposed post a informed that the hospitality of these peohundred yards behind. I had scarcely ple extends to lengths which are surprissettled there, when two capital males ing to our ideas of the inviolability of the came and stood within fifty yards of my harem. The agha's friends were not less first position. It was still a possible shot, pleased than he to see the foreigners eat. The bost likes not only to entertain the the Yuruks are responsible for the terrible stranger, but to show off the latest lion to destruction of the forests by fire. This is his friends. These Turks are themselves not accidental, but done of set purpose to very abstemious, and our appetites seemed improve the grazing. From some of our to astonish them. “ Heaven be praised ! camps we could every night see two or tbe Effendi wants more meat! What an three of these fires raging. appetite !” they said. Bouba's customary According to our hosts, no stranger had evening greeting, “ May your food sit ever hunted on that mountain. They asheavy on you, my lords ! ” was another sured us there were plenty of Kayeek on sign of this friendly interest, and not the it. Some Yuruks whom we met the next brutal curse which it sounds like.
morning bringing wood down the moun. A word here may not be out of place tain said the same, but when I showed about the various races which inhabit this them a picture of the ibex, I saw that they land. Turks, Turkomans, Circassians, looked doubtfully at it. The fact is, the Yuruks, differ in their customs and modes term Kayeek is used vaguely, and is gen. of life ; each race, generally speaking, liv- erally applied to the largest horned animal ing in villages apart from the others. The in the district. We were assured that Turks, according to our experience, ex: there was plenty of water on the moun. bibited a more sincere and dignified, iftain, but it took us four hours of stiff less oste ious, ospitality, and a more walking up a rough path to find the first rigid observance of the Mussulman code sign of it. When reached, it proved to be of religion, than their neighbors. Of the a tiny mud pool no bigger than a soup: Circassiads not much need be said. They plate, from which the faintest trickle oozed are thinly scattered about this part of the away, losing itself in slime. Alongside country. Those we saw were a particu. lay a disused trough formed of a hollowed larly sinister-looking lot, with none of their trunk, dry and cracked. It was unpromworld-famed beauty. Nevertheless, their ising, but this camp was so beautiful that daughters are in demand, and, whatever it was worth an effort to make it habitathe law, they habitually sell them. Our ble. By clearing out the little pool and friend the station-master said he had had puddling the trough with mud, we at a commission to buy as many as he could length got a tiny trickle of clear water, at 15l. a head, and within a few days a enough for drinking, though not for washgirl of sixteen had been offered for twenty ing. If we had gone farther, we should medjids; 51. does not seem dear, but per- have found plenty of water, but not so. haps she had a temper. Even the Turks favorable a camp. It was at an elevation of accept a very substantial present from about five thousand feet, and at the upper their would-be sons-in-law, and the credit edge of a gorge or canyon, fifteen hun. of a man with six daughters is always dred feet deep, which cuts the mountain in good. The Yuruks, who are the moun- two. The position overlooks an extensive taipeers and shepherds of this country, range of hills covered with stone pipes, the are said to steal their wives, but this must finest truoks we had yet seen. Out of this be a risky process. They are nomadic, forest rose, on either side of the gorge, and their black goat's hair tents are con- lofty white peaks of limestone. spicuous; but the climate compels them Having settled the water, we began colto spend the worst months within four lecting wood, and while so engaged a shout walls. Their flocks are protecied by a from one of my companions called me to large breed of white dogs, whose threaten. look at a fresh track he had found. There ing attacks are rather alarming to a stran- was no mistake about it. It was that of a ger; but I always found a stout stick a red deer, but twice as large as any red sufficient passport. They are sturdy folk, stag's slot which I had ever seen. This but their manners are rough. Thus, on was indeed a find upon which we had not leaving a Yuruk village, F. received a reckoned, for few travellers have had the somewhat curt demand for his English luck even to see the big red stag of Asia saddle. As a contrast to this I may men- Minor. tion the polite request of the Turkish But duty before pleasure. I bad come sheriff just mentioned, when we bade him here for ibex, and must first ascertain if farewell, that a barrel of wine of the coun- there were any on the mountain. That try which we were leaving behind should afternoon was devoted to a very careful bé emptied to the last drop on the group. search of the upper part of the mounThe Yuruk agha would have scorned this tain, and from the complete absence of self-denial, and would have made it the tracts, a fact.corroborated by a careful excuse for a drinking bout. I am afraid | spy of an extensive area, we soon came to