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Sporting Sketches, Edited by Tilar Mazzeo

M.S. Shelley adds.c.12, fols. 79-80

Edward Ellerker Williams

Edited by Tilar Mazzeo

The following transcription comprises several loose leaves from the Williams-Trelawny notebook, listed by the Bodleian Library, University of Oxford, as MS Shelley adds.c.12, fols. 79-80. These pages have been catalogued separately from the rest of Williams's notebook, but they clearly belong with the larger text, and thus are included in this edition.

Editorial Procedures:

Numbers in brackets [ ] at the beginning of each page break indicate the manuscript pagination; in all other cases, brackets indicate an editorial addition or deletion, typically notes. One point of confusion for modern readers may be Williams's use of the colon [:], which he uses as a modern author would employ a hyphen [-], both to indicate divisions in words interrupted by line breaks and to hyphenate compound nouns and adjectives. Throughout, I have retained the punctuation of the original MS, leaving spelling and punctuation irregularities unaltered; underscoring has also been reproduced as in the original. Cancellations in the manuscript have been indicated, when legible, by a line through the letters; when the cancellation cannot be read, I place arrow brackets [< >] with a cancellation line of the approximate length between them. Williams titled each page of his notebook in a header, and these have been represented, in italics, at the beginning of each page break.

Transcription:

[79] The following facts relating to the natural history of
the Hyena are but little known to even to Sportsmen
in India and border so much on the marvellous
as almost to surpass credibility, and had they not
been confirmed by numerous eye witnesses I should
be almost afraid of relating them.—  Much has
been said respecting the power of Indian Jugglers possess
of charming Serpents, a similar incantation might
almost be supposed to have been resorted to on
this occasion—  In the Year 1813 during some
Shooting excursions I became acquainted with a
singular race of people of the lowest class of Hindus
called (I believe) Kunjooras who live solely by
the chace, and subsist upon the precarious produce of their
toils, the flesh of wolves. Hyenas snakes and any
kind of offal supplying the animal wants
of nature—  One of their people had brought
a Hyena bound in a singular manner alive for sale some days before and
having heard several remarkable anecdotes
of their skill and intrepidity, and being
besides curious to know the method by
which he had succeeded in securing
so large and ferocious an animal I was
induced with several offers of the circles to which
I belong to rendezvous in the ruins of a city a few
miles distant called Jughanow once celebrated in
the history of Hindoostan and now inhabited
only by wild beasts—  We were not long in
discovering the resort of the Brutes of which we
were in search and in one of the numerous
ravines that intersect the ruined walls found
the mouth or entrance to an Earth or Burrow that
from the skulls and bones of different animals
strewn around had evidently been lately
frequented by them—  On sending in a Terrier
his barking clearly proved that it contained
some
confirmed our suspicions and he shortly
afterward came out yelping and dreadfully
bit wounded—   The Chasseurs now commenced their
operations—  Their implements were simply a
Bamboo several feet in length pointed with
iron for the purpose of defense—————-
a coil of rope to fasten the hyena and an instrument
not unlike a marling spike to enlarge the
passage where within sufficiently to admit the body of a
man—  One of them now descended and groped his
way along the subterranean cavity till he
reached the den or retreat of the savage which
when he had ascertained he made a signal by rapping against the roof to
his companion, who immediately set about digging

[80] a well or pit downwards to the spot whence the
sound appeared to issue—  The man had now remained
so long in the bowels of the earth that some of us began
to entertain fears lest he might be suffocated
or devoured by the monster whilst others fancied
him an impostor practising on our credulity
—In about another half hour however he reascended
to breathe—on issuing from the cave he was
unlike any thing human—the dust and sweat
had planted a perfect coat of mud over his whole
frame for he was naked—not a feature was visible
but not even his eyes and well later he forced them open.
—The Pit being now completed the native again
disappeared by the new opening rolling before
him a piece of hard broken ground or cemented gravel called
Konker for protection agt the Beast as well
as to prevent his escape—whose furious
growlings were now plainly distinguishable—  An
old man this Companion now also descended to
his assistance—and by their united efforts the
Hyena was at length muzzled, and his hind legs
bound to his fore whilst a stronger rope was
attached to his body in order to drag "the
struggling savage into day"—  A signal for
this work was now given—and just as we had
succeeded in getting him to the top of the Pit the
rope gave way, and the task devolved upon the
chasseurs of again securing him.  This they went
about aimlessly and with many precautions
but after a struggle of some minutes the
terrific anim monster was again hawled
up foaming and mad with rage—his
exertions snapped the muzzle when he seized
this crow bar between his legs and strange to
say bit it so savagely as to indent the iron
and tear out one of his thighs by the roots.
     This adventure in the annals of sporting will
appear less extraordinary when if we reflect that the
                it would seem <    > from <    >
whole of brute creation have has an instinctive
                          evinces no sense of
dread of man when he faces them with
terror for himself
intrepidityand even the Tiger when pressed
by hunger has been known to fly from him—
but the the felon character of the Hyena has
been long known it will excites our wonder
that an animal so amply provided by nature with
the means of offence should betray so cowardly
an insensibility of injury as tamely to submit
to be bound in this manner above attempted
to be described.

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Published @ RC

September 2002

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