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“ Proceed, Philip,” said Amine, calmly.
“ I thought we ran thousands and thousands of miles—we passed by beautiful islands, set like gems on the ocean bed ; at one time bounding against the rippling current, at others close to the shore-skimming on the murmuring wave which rippled on the sand, as the cocoa tree on the beach waved to the cooling breeze.
"It is not in smooth seas that your father must be sought,' said she ; 'we must try elsewhere.'
“ By degrees, the waves rose, until at last they were raging in their fury, and the shell was tossed by the tumultuous waters; but still not a drop entered, and we sailed in security over billows which would have swallowed up the proudest vessel.
"Do you fear now, Philip ?' said you to me.
«. We are now off the Cape again,' said she, “and here you may find your father. Let us look well round us, for if we meet a ship it must be his. None but the Phantom Ship could swim in a gale like this.'
“ Away we flew over the mountainous waves-skimming from crest to crest between them, our little bark sometimes wholly out of the water; now east, now west, north, south, in every quarter of the compass, changing our course each minute. We passed over hundreds of miles :—at last we saw a vessel tossed by the furious gale.
“. There,' cried she, pointing with her finger, ‘ there is your father's vessel, Philip.'
“Rapidly did we approach--they saw us from on board, and brought the vessel to the wind. We were alongside-the gangway was clearing away—for though no boat could have boarded, our shell was safe. I looked up. I saw my father, Amine! Yes! saw him and heard him as he gave his orders. I pulled the relic from my bosom, and held it out to him. He smiled, as he stood on the gunnel, holding on by the main shrouds. I was just rising to mount on board, for they had handed to me the man ropes, when there was a loud yell, and a man jumped from the gangway into the shell. You shrieked, slipped from the side, and disappeared under the wave, and in a moment the shell, guided by the man who had taken your place, flew away from the vessel with the rapidity of thought. I felt a deadly chill pervade my frame. I turned round to look at my new companion—it was the Pilot Schriften !-th c one-eyed wretch who was drowned when we were wrecked in Table Bay!
“No! no! not yet ! cried he.
“ In an agony of despair and rage I hurled him off his seat on the shell, and he floated on the wild waters.
“Philip Vanderdecken,' said he, as he swam,' we shall meet again!'
“ I turned away my head in disgust, when a wave filled my bark, and down it sank. I was struggling under the water, sinking still deeper and deeper, but without pain, when I awoke.
“Now, Amine,” said Philip, after a pause," what think you of my dream ?”
“ Does it not point out that I am your friend, Philip ? and that the Pilot Schriften is your enemy?”
“I grant it; but he is dead.” "Is that so certain ?"
“ He hardly could have escaped without my knowledge."
“ That is true, but the dream would imply otherwise. Philip, it is my opinion that the only way in which this dream is to be expounded is-that you remain on shore for the present. The advice is that of the priests. In either case you require some further intimation. In your dream, I was your safe guide—be guided now by me again.”
“ Be it so, Amine. If your strange art be in opposition to our holy faith, you expound the dream in conformity with the advice of its ministers."
“ I do. And now, Philip, let us dismiss the subject from our thoughts. Should the time come, your Amine will not persuade you from your duty; but recollect, you have promised me to grant one favour when I ask it.”
“ I have ; say then, Amine, what may be your wish ?” “ Oh! nothing at present. I have no wish on earth but what is gratified. Have I not you, dear Philip?" replied Amine, fondly throwing herself on her husband's shoulder.
(To be continued.)
We are writing with a quill plucked from the wing of an eagle, and fashioned into the form of a pen by means of our hunting-knife, our skein-dhu, which, as behoves an old Highlander, we always carry in our garter. We are inspired with very stirring recollections of our youthful exploits, and have thrown aside the gray goose quill as a pitiful implement unworthy of our lofty subject. We have renewed our youth, like the royal bird from whose wing our pen was plucked. The fire of other days is in our blood-our eye is once more bright-we cast off our spectacles as an useless incumbrance, and we grasp our long-neglected rifle, which for years has slumbered peacefully above the fire-place, reposing on the brow-antlers of a noble stag. The dark spirit of the woods is upon us—the angry roar of the wounded Bison is in our ears—and we snort like an aged war-horse who hath been roused by the trumpet's sound, as we look back, through the long vista of years, on the sylvan warfare of our youth.
Well, well do we remember thee, thou green spot in the wilderness our forest-home—the scene of our early exploits—the pride and joy of our old age. Oft have the gloomy shades of the eternal forest, in which thou art embosomed, echoed to the crack of our trusty rifle, and oft has the green herbage been stained with the life-blood of the stately Bison. Hurrah for the wild woods !-hurrah for the headlong charge of the mighty bull !-and thrice hurrah for the deadly grooved barrel before which he bows his proud head to the dust!
But hush! we are getting beside ourselves-our unusual fit of excitement has got the better of our wonted discretion; and our much respected consort, who was approaching to administer our usual morning potation of Athol brose, hath fled in dismay, wringing her fair hands, and proclaiming aloud that “the laird hath gaen horn wud.” We must compose ourselves, else we shall lose both our character and our Athol brose.
* Coutinued from p. 365, vol. I.
So! we have pacified our better half, quaffed our morning cup, and replaced our spectacles with becoming gravity. The spirit of the woods hath passed away; we have laid aside our rifle, resumed our eagle pen, and the Old Forest-Ranger hath once more subsided into the douce and cannie carle.
Now, gentle reader, hie we to the green wood. We left our jungle encampment glittering in the moon-light: the moon hath now set and the forest is shrouded in darkness; but a slight tinge of gray in the eastern sky, and a damp chill in the morning air, announce that daylight is at hand. The distant roar of the prowling tiger, which at intervals“ had vexed the dull ear of night,” is no longer heard, and the silence of the woods is unbroken, save by the melancholy voice of the great horned owl, as he flits past, on muffled wing, like an evil spirit retiring before the approach of day. Heavy wreaths of gray mist slumber on the calm surface of the river, and all nature is hushed in deep repose. The horses, picketed in front of their masters' tents, stand dull and listless, with drooping heads and slouched ears; and the wearied bullocks may be seen reposing in groups, under the shelter of the lofty banyan trees. The only beings which appear possessed of life in the midst of this dreamy scene, are two dusky figures which are brought out in strong relief by the cheerful blaze of a wood fire, over which they are crouching. One is our friend Heels, who, carefully wrapped up in his dark cumbley, is busied in preparing a pot of coffec as a morning draught for the sportsmen. His companion is a strange wild-looking animal, and deserves a more particular description. He is a tall, gaunt figure, and perfectly naked, with the exception of a tattered piece of blue cotton cloth, which does duty, but very imperfect duty, for a fig leaf. His short woolly hair, flat features, and thick lips, betray an African origin; but his air and manner are very different from what we are accustomed to expect in that persecuted race. He is a Seedee,* a free inhabitant of the trackless forest, and displays all the lofty bearing, and dignified self-possession, of an independent savage. His woolly pate is slightly sprinkled with gray, but his dark piercing eye is full of fire, and his limbs still display all the muscular power and elasticity of youth. He is sitting cross-legged, with a long matchlock resting across his knees, and is indulging in the luxury of a very primitive species of pipe, formed by rolling up a small quantity of tobacco in a green leaf. He observes a dignified silence, and is evidently regarding the servile occupation of poor Heels with sovereign contempt, as he puffs out huge volumes of smoke, and strokes his moustache with a self-complacent air. He had for several years been in the habit of attending Mansfield as guide in his hunting excursions, and always attached himself to the camp during his stay in the forest. He had acquired a sufficient knowledge of Hindostanee to make himself understood on all ordinary occasions, and the wonderful sagacity, almost amounting to instinct, which he displayed in following up the trail of wild animals, made him an invaluable addition to a hunter's camp. He was fully aware of his own importance, dignified himself with the title of Jaggardar, or Prince of the Forest, and comported himself with becoming dignity. He never condescended to act as guide to the hunters, except when in pursuit of Bison. It requires great skill and perseverance in following up a trail, to surprise these animals in their wild haunts; and some little nerve and presence of mind to attack them with success when they are found. He was the only man of his tribe who could reduce the finding and killing of Bison to a certainty. He therefore considered the hunting of them a royal sport, worthy of his superior talents. But if deer or any inferior game were the object of pursuit, his son, a boy about twelve years of age, was deputed to attend; the old man remarking, with a glance o. proud superiority, “ The boy can find deer.”
* The wild race who inhabit the jungles, on the western coast of India, are called Seedees. They are evidently of African origin, and are said to be the descendants of African slaves who fled from the early Portuguese settlers at Goa, and took refuge in the jungles.
Mansfield had announced, on the previous evening, that it was his intention to seek for Bison in the morning; and old Kamah was waiting impatiently to lead the sportsmen into the jungle, whilst the Bison were still feeding and afoot.
“ Hugh!" exclaimed he, uttering a deep guttural sound, as he. pushed Heels, and pointed with an impatient gesture towards the eastern sky, which was fast brightening into day: “Hah! daylight come ?” cried Heels, starting up;
“ time to call master :” and wrapping his cumbley more tightly around him, he glided into the tent to rouse the sleeping sportsmen.
In a few minutes Mansfield and Charles made their appearance: the latter had discarded his green hunting-coat and top-boots, and now appeared in a dress better adapted for the jungle; with a hunting-knife in his girdle, a heavy rifle on his shoulder, and all the other accoutrements of a well-equipped shikaree. Kamah rose as they approached, and extended his hand to salute them with the air of an equal. Charles looked with astonishment at this piece of unwonted familiarity on the part of a native.
“ Allow nie,” said Mansfield, leading up Charles, and obliging him to shake hands with the grinning savage," allow me to introduce my friend Kamah, the Jaggardar; his appearance is certainly not prepossessing, and, like many other illustrious characters, it is his pleasure to affect great simplicity in his dress."
Here Charles could no longer retain his gravity, but burst into a laugh, and Mansfield was obliged to bite his lips hard to avoid following his example. But, let me tell you, he is a person of no small importance in my camp. He is the best shikaree, and the staunchest hand at following up a trail, in the whole western jungle. He knows every haunt of the Bison as well as if he had reared them himself; but you will be better able to appreciate his extraordinary talents when you have seen him at work. In the mean time there are just three little cautions which I must beg to impress upon you: always treat him with marked civility ;-never attempt to disturb him when running a trail ; —and, above all things, avoid laughing at him. He is as gentle as a lamb when well treated; but his savage nature cannot brook an insult, and if once offended, bis revenge is implacable. I have more than once seen the vermin grind his teeth, and handle his knife, on very slight provocation.”
This was, of course, said in English, so as not to be understood by their savage friend, who stood showing his white teeth, and looking very much pleased at the formal manner in which he had been introduced, as well as by the accompanying speech, which he, no doubt, thought was uttered in his praise.
“Well, Jaggardar," continued Mansfield, now speaking Hindostanee, “ can you show us any Bison this morning ?”
The jaggardar drew himself up to his full height, and assumed a lofty air.
“Can the shepherd of the plain find the pasture-ground of his flock ? Does that vulture," pointing to a black speck which was seen sailing high above the tree tops—" does that vulture require a guide to lead him to the carcase ? Follow me; the Prince of the Forest knows where to find his herds."
“Come, Master Charles," said Mansfield, smiling, as he hastily swallowed a cup of coffee ; “shoulder your rifle and march; our swarthy friend is waxing impatient, and if we ruffle the old pagan's temper he will show us no sport to-day.”
Charles promptly obeyed the summons, and our two sportsmen, bringing their rifles to a long trail, followed old Kamah as he stalked into the jungle with rapid strides.
At this early hour, when the morning air is still fresh and the ground sparkling with dew drops, the tropical forest seems suddenly to burst into life. The woods resound with the buzzing of innumerable insects. The jungle cock and wild pea fowl are heard calling to their mates in wild discordant notes. Chattering troops of monkeys frisk amongst the branches overhead, showing their white teeth, and making threatening grimaces at the strange intruders. The startled deer bound across the open vistas of the forest, their bright speckled sides flashing for an instant on the sight, and as suddenly disappearing, like passing meteors ; whilst wandering herds of Bison are now on foot, returning slowly from the open glades, where they have pastured during the night, to the thick covers of bamboo, under the shades of which they find an agreeable shelter from the mid-day sun.
Having penetrated some distance into the forest, the savage guide suddenly slackened his pace, and, making a sign to his companions to keep silent, glided on in front with the stealthy and noiseless tread of a fox, his ears erect to catch the faintest sound, and his lynx-like eye rolling from side to side, now peering into the dark tangled masses of bamboo, and now roving over the ground in search of a fresh track.
“Now,” whispered Mansfield," not another word, as you value the friendship of the Jaggardar; step lightly; avoid as much as possible treading on the dry twigs which crackle under foot; and mind you do not attempt to fire at any deer which may cross your path; we can get plenty of them at any time; but the report of a rifle, at present, would be death to our hopes of finding Bison."
“ Hugh!” exclaimed their guide, suddenly stopping short, and kneeling down to examine more carefully some marks, which his experienced eye had detected amongst the dry leaves and withered herbage. To the