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which always appeal to one on a moonlight night in the Red Sea, seemed to cry out for adaptation to this glorious prospect. Then as the morning dawned the solemn stillness was broken. But up to six o'clock a sound seemed a sacrilege. I cannot describe it. Let Pierre Louys try, he who has drunken to intoxication of the cup of beauty: C'était le jour morose d'avant la première aurore, qui éclaire le sommeil du monde et apporte les rêves énervés du matin. Rien n'existait
le silence. But the day is never morose, nor are the dreams of the sportsman énervés on these happy hills, if indeed he should waste good sleep in dreaming.
The glorious lamp of heaven, the sun, soon scatters dreams and vapours into flight. Imperial pigeons flit about, laughing thrushes warble, woodpeckers tap the trees to find the soft places wherein lie luscious grubs; insects which counterfeit leaves open and folded with marvellous exactitude, declare their deceits; tree frogs, absolutely indistinguishable from withered leaves until they move, hop on the boughs or out of the path, and gorgeous butterflies of every size and colour illumine the forest. Tree trunks smothered in moss and orchids, rhododendrons bearded with lichens, bamboo bowers, grassy glades with many-coloured flowers, tree ferns, elephant reed, cascades, waterfalls, views of near and distant hills, and
Valleys low, where the mild whispers use
Such are the frequent phenomena of the march which, as the sun becomes more powerful, is accompanied by the shrill piping of the cicadæ, the screaming of the parrokeet, the vituperation of the monkeys, and the scolding of the Malabar squirrel.
Apropos of snakes, has anybody ever heard of a rider who whipped his horse with snakes, emulating so far as is possible, in these days, the prince who chastised his people with scorpions ? It actually happened lately to a friend who was riding along one of the neighibouring paths. He put out his band, and without looking at it, broke off a little branch, with which to wake up his sluggish steed. Absently riding along, he had used his twig several times when, feeling that it was rather heavy, he looked at it and discovered to his astonishment that curled round the stem was a Russell's viper. I will vouch for the truth of this, on the face of it, exceedingly improbable story, and so will Mr. James Muir, who was in fact the snake charmer. Let no one suppose, however, that snakes here are not as unobtrusive and as harmless as they are to Europeans or any boot-wearing people in every part of India. For my part there is not a denizen of the jungle which has caused me such pain and suffering as the not superlatively formidable hornet and the harmless looking plant, under every leaf of which lurk multitudes of filaments like thistle down, the sting of which is extremely poisonous, and the
penetration of which is such, that they get up the nostrils, down the throat, and into the eyes and ears, and afford a convincing proof of man's immense potentiality of pain.
What a country for a botanist or an entomologist! I caught a beetle an inch long with horns measuring five inches, and have seen birds and insects of the most surpassing beauty, and also many flowers which, I believe, have to be classed. Beneath the high forest there is everywhere a dense undergrowth, and in the early morning your head serves as a cobweb bough. These webs, however, are of such beauty, that when warned in time I always dived below them. At dawn they look like gossamer threading pearls of dew; illumined by a shaft of sunlight every filament is shot with prismatic colours.
Then the green grass snake, which is said to lie in wait for travellers in bushes and to dart at their eyes. Of this much maligned ophidian there lives in these forests a variety of extraordinary transparency, through which the sun seems to shine, possessing eyes like liquid gold streaming from the crucible. The jungle folk do not like this creature. When one was discovered in a shrub against which I was leaning, my hillmen proposed no further shooting that day, the appearance of the transparent reptile being unlucky. I thought that not only the snake was transparent, and the day ended with no unusual disaster.
Great care has none the less to be taken in pushing through dense forest. A hillman in front of you is perhaps clearing the way with an axe. He cuts a passage through which with your sun hat you can just force an entry. Behind come two rifles, and if they are pointed your way, and the hammers catch in the creepers and come to full cock, there is nothing to prevent their catching other creepers and coming down. Indeed, I know of two heads blown to bits in these forests, not happily when I was near. Once I was hung up in a bamboo and creepers, and looking around to see that the butt ends of my rifles were not pointed my way before I made an elephantine struggle to be free, I observed two rows of regular white teeth close to my head, which cleared the creepers round my face with a snap and released the prisoner. This was the kind act of one of my hill
What waste of teeth such as these upon a gentle vegetarian ! They almost always mean well the hillmen, though they snub the inquirer after knowledge in the most merciless manner, smiling at one another and wagging their heads even as the warders of a lunatic asylum when their charges would be seriously taken.
And now we had arrived at the parting of the ways, and I had no more opportunities of shooting. My guests, however, went on for awhile, and by-and-by we all descended to the plains and landed at a remote village at the foot of the hills on the borders of the native State of Travancore and of the British districts of Madras. Walking around the village, as is my wont, I chanced to look inside, without
of course, entering the yard of a house. Within was a smart-looking boy who jumped up and cried : 'You must not come in. I said, 'I suppose you are a Brahmin ?' He replied, 'Yes, I am a Brahmin, and at Trichinopoly College I have learnt geometry and others.' Thinking he would prove amusing I asked him to come to the rest house, which he presently did, and when he asked me about the frontier war, I professed ignorance, and begged him to tell me what it was all about. Whereupon he, by no means unwilling, spoke as follows:
• It appears that the Amir of Afghanistan attacked the forces of the British. The Queen is sending ship after ship with soldiers and others. At last came the Warren Hastings. The Amir has not yet succumbed, but the British troops must eventually be victorious.
This politician, who spoke in the usual stilted and staccato style of the orator, was rising fifteen, and he also expressed the opinion that the village in which he lived was 'a damned rascal place.' He did not mean to take away the character of the inhabitants, but only, as he explained, to compare it with the town of Trichinopoly, in which he learned 'geometry and others.' When at length I proposed, as good manners permit on such occasions, that he should take leave, he said, 'I cannot go till I have seen Portal' (sic)—Captain Portal, A.D.C. to His Excellency the Governor of Madras, who had joined us here. I said, 'You shall ; but why do you want to see Portal rather than Stonor?' 'I wish to see Portal,' said he, because I understand that he is the Secretary to Sir Havelock, who is the Lord Governor of the Company. For here the country is still divided into that of the Maharaja of Travancore and of the Pandyan King of Madura, which just now happens to be in the hands of the Company, an entirely modern institution, and hardly yet understood by the people, though it is 500 years since the reign of the East Pandyan king.
Had the boy known that our Stonor was an official of the House of Lords he perhaps would not have condescendingly added, 'I am willing to see Stonor, but I wish to see Portal.' An English boy of the like character would have been a prig, but this stripling undoubtedly pleased. I suggested to him that he had better follow the respectable lead of Plato, and set up over the gate of the yard he so jealously guarded, the inscription : 'Let no one enter who is unacquainted with geometry.' He promised to consider this proposal, but unfortunately, from an excess of ignorance or veracity, I could not assure him that Plato in his day had been an official, so I doubt if he adopted my suggestion. He begged me at parting to remember that though he had nothing to say against Native States, he would always stand by the British Company.
I could tell more tales of those fascinating forests and lovely hills. The day before I wrote these lines I had an adventure, or rather une aventure manquée. Starting in the very early morning
of the day succeeding the night of the full moon, I was creeping along the narrow ledge of a precipice 100 feet above, and 200 or 300 feet below, to commence my day's stalk after ibex, when I came straight upon another sportsman who had just finished his stalk. Before I could raise my rifle, he leaped off apparently into space, but as appeared subsequently from the opposite side of the valley, on to a lower shelf. Still it would have been a leap full of risk for anything but an ibex or a panther. And a black panther, a rare and dangerous brute, he was. Naturally he was much more at home on two tufts of grass than I was, and perhaps it was just as well that we had no encounter on so cramped a stage.
Another day I was lost in a thick jungle in the mist, and from five o'clock in the morning till nearly nightfall, with two hillmen, wandered round and around the forest, repeatedly coming back to exactly the same spot. I really think, taken all in all, to be lost in the jungle, wet to the skin, without food, and unable to sit down without being eaten by leeches, is quite the most unpleasant accident that can happen to a sportsman. Luckily the hillmen are seldom at fault, and such a catastrophe only occurs in wild weather, when they have advised you, as they often mention, to be wise, and stay at home.
J. D. REES.
VOL. XLIII-No. 256
THE FINE-ART OF LIVING
THERE is no word in the English language more foully misused than the word Art, possibly because there is no nation which, as a whole, has less understanding of what art is than the English nation. I do not mean to assert that England has been behind other civilised countries in its artistic productions, for that is not true. English artists have produced admirable buildings, sculptures, paintings. musical compositions, and other artistic productions, but these have never appealed to the great mass of Englishmen; they have always been created for and appreciated by the few. In Florence, when Cimabue finished his first great Madonna, the whole town went en fête; no English town can be conceived of as behaving in 8 similar manner. There is with us no popular artistic judgment worth a moment's consideration. The verdict of the majority on any artistic question, if it could be obtained, would throw no light whatever on that question, but might cast a somewhat lurid illumination on the majority's artistic sense.
It may be assumed that if any one understands the mind of the purchasing public it is they whose bread is earned by selling things to it and endeavouring to find out what it wants to buy. Advertisers are continually proclaiming the merits of art-furniture, art-colours, and art-goods in general. Presumably they do so because they find the phrase attract. That alone is proof positive that the purchasing public knows nothing about art, for all colours alike are capable of artistic employment and no colour is more an art-colour than any other. I have often wondered what these advertisers, and the people they appeal to, consider art to be. Do they imagine one lot of things to be mere objects of utility, not art-things at all ? and do they conceive that there is a separate category of things appertaining to art? A more erroneous classification cannot be made.
The simple fact is that art is the style or manner in which & thing is made or done. The word may be applied to every object fashioned and to every act of life. Every object may be made, erers action may be performed, gracefully and fittingly or ungracefully and awkwardly. An object so made as exactly to fulfil its purpose, fashioned too with a sense of appropriateness and of grace, so that its