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maneatersoftsavo00pattiala

maneatersoftsavo00pattiala

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Published by Gustavo Gorgulho

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Published by: Gustavo Gorgulho on May 11, 2011
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escape was little short of miraculous, as the lion

had been

actually standing on him as he

lay on the

floor. The

carriage itself was

badly shattered, and

the wood-work of the window had been broken to

pieces by the

passage of the lion as he

sprang

through with his victim in his mouth.

All that can be

hoped is that

poor Ryall's death

288

THE MAN-EATERS OF TSAVO CH. xxv

was instantaneous. His remains were found next

morning about a

quarter of a mile

away in the

bush, and were taken to Nairobi for burial. I am

glad to be able to add that

very shortly afterwards

the terrible brute who was

responsible for this

awful

tragedy was

caught in an

ingenious trap

constructed

by one of the

railway staff. He was

kept on view for several

days, and then shot.

l.MI'AI.A.

CHAPTER XXVI

WORK AT NAIROBI

ALTHOUGH the lion which caused

poor Bhoota's

death was the last I

managed to shoot in East

Africa, I saw several others afterwards while travel-

ling up and down the line at different times on

construction work. In

particular, I remember one

very curious incident which

happened early on the

morning of

June 2, when I was

travelling towards

Nairobi, accompanied by Dr. McCulloch. The

Doctor was

going home on leave in the course of a

few

days, and was

bemoaning to me his bad luck in

never

having shot or even seen a lion all the time he

had been in the

country. We were

standing on the

engine at the time, facing each other, he with his

back to the north.

"

My dear Mac," I

said,

"

it is because

you don't

look out for them."

"

Rubbish," he retorted ;

"

I do

nothing else when

I am out

hunting."

290

THE MAN-EATERS OF TSAVO CHAP.

"

Well," I

replied, "are

you really very anxious to

shoot one before

you go home ?

"

"

I would rather

get a lion than

anything else in

the world," was the

emphatic reply.

"

Very good, then. Sultan," I called to the

driver, "stop the

engine."

"

Now, Mac," I

continued, as the train was

quickly brought to a standstill,

"

here's a chance

for

you. Just jump off and

bag those two over

there."

He turned round in blank astonishment and

could

hardly believe his

eyes when he saw two

fine lions

only about two hundred

yards off, busily

engaged in

devouring a wildebeeste which

they had

evidently just killed. I had

spotted them almost

as soon as Mac had

begun to talk of his bad luck,

and had

only waited to tell him until we

got nearer,

so as to

give him a

greater surprise. He was off

the

engine in a second and made

directly for the

two beasts.

Just as he was about to fire one of

them bolted, so I called out to him to shoot the

other

quickly before he too made

good his

escape.

This one was

looking at us over his shoulder with

one

paw on the dead wildebeeste, and while he

stood in this attitude Mac

dropped him with a

bullet

through the heart. Needless to

say he was

tremendously delighted with his success, and after

the dead lion had been carried to the train and

XXVI

291

propped up against a

carriage, I took a

photograph

of him

standing beside his fine

trophy.

Three

days after this incident railhead reached

Nairobi, and I was

given charge of the new

division of the line. Nairobi was to be the head-

quarters of the

Railway Administration, so there

"

I TOOK A I'HOTOC.RAI'H OF HIM STANDING RKSIDF: HIS KINK TROl'HY."

was an immense amount of work to be done in

converting an

absolutely bare

plain, three hundred

and

twenty-seven miles from the nearest

place

where even a nail could be

purchased, into a

busy railway centre. Roads and

bridges had to

be constructed, houses and

work-shops built, turn-

u 2

292

THE MAN-EATERS OF TSAVO CHAP.

tables and station

quarters erected, a water

supply

laid on, and a hundred and one other

things

done which

go to the

making of a

railway

township. Wonderfully soon, however, the nucleus

of the

present town

began to take

shape, and

a

thriving "bazaar"

sprang into existence with

a mushroom-like

growth. In this, however, a

case or two of

plague broke out before

very

long, so I

gave the natives and Indians who

inhabited it an hour's notice to clear out, and on

my own

responsibility promptly burned the whole

place to the

ground. For this somewhat

arbitrary

proceeding I was

mildly called over the coals, as

I

expected ; but all the same it

effectually stamped

out the

plague, which did not

reappear during the

time I was in the

country.

With a little

persuasion I

managed to induce

several hundred of the Wa Kikuyu, in whose

country we now were, to come and work at

Nairobi, and

very useful and

capable they proved

themselves after a little

training. They frequently

brought me in word that the shambas

(plantations,

gardens) at the back of the hill on which

my camp

was

pitched were

being destroyed by elephants, but

unfortunately I could never

spare time to

go out in

quest of them. On one occasion, however, I

passed

the news on to

my friend, Dr. Winston Waters,

xxvi

WORK AT NAIROBI

3

with the result that he had a most

exciting adven-

ture with a

big bull

elephant. He set out in

quest

of the

depredator, and, guided by a few of the Wa

Kikuyu, soon came

upon him hidden

among some

shady trees. Waters was a

great believer in a

close shot, so he stalked

up to within a few

yards

of the animal and then fired his

"577, aiming for

the heart. The

elephant responded by a

prompt

and determined

charge, and

although Waters

quickly let him have the left barrel as well, it

proved of no effect ; and on he came, screaming

and

trumpeting with

rage. There was

nothing for

it, therefore, but to

fly for dear life

; so down a

path raced Waters for all he was worth, the ele-

phant giving vigorous chase and

gaining rapidly.

In a few seconds matters

began to look

very

serious for the

sportsman, for the

huge monster

was almost on him ;

but at the critical moment

he

stepped on to the false cover of a

carefully-

concealed

game pit and

disappeared from view as

if

by magic. This sudden descent of his

enemy

apparently into the bowels of the earth so startled

the

elephant that he

stopped short in his career

and made off into the

jungle. As for Waters,

he was

luckily none the worse for his fall, as the

pit was neither staked at the bottom nor

very

deep ; he soon scrambled out, and, following up

294

THE MAN-EATERS OF TSAVO CHAP.

the wounded

elephant, succeeded in

finishing him

off" without further trouble.

Towards the end of

1899 I left for

England. A

few

days before I started all

my Wa Kikuyu

"

children ", as

they called themselves, came in

a

body and

begged to be taken with me.

I

pictured to them the cold, wet climate of

England

'SUCCEEDED IN FINISHING HIM OFF WITHOUT FURTHER
TROUBLE."

and its

great distance from their native land ; but

they assured me that these were

nothing to them,

as

they only wished to continue

my "

children "

and

to

go. wherever I went. I could

hardly imagine

myself arriving in London with a

body-guard of

four hundred more or less naked

savages, but it was

only with

difficulty that I

persuaded them that

they

had better remain in their own

country. The ever-

faiihful Mahina, my "boy" Roshan Khan, my

XXVI

WORK AT NAIROBI

295

honest chankidar Meeanh, and a few other coolies

who had been a

long time with me, accompanied me

to the coast, where

they bade me a sorrowful

farewell and left for India the

day before I sailed

on

my homeward

journey.

STEAMER I'NI.OADINC. AT KISl'MU, ON LAKE VICTORIA NYAN/A.

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