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Tales of Daring and Danger   By: (1832-1902)

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First Page:

[Illustration]

TALES OF DARING AND DANGER.

[Illustration]

[Illustration: SIGHTING THE WRECK OF THE STEAMER.]

TALES OF

DARING AND DANGER.

BY

G.A. HENTY,

Author of "Yarns on the Beach;" "Sturdy and Strong;" "Facing Death;" "By Sheer Pluck;" "With Clive in India;" &c.

ILLUSTRATED.

[Illustration]

LONDON: BLACKIE & SON, 49 & 50 OLD BAILEY, E.C. GLASGOW, EDINBURGH, AND DUBLIN.

1890.

CONTENTS.

Page BEARS AND DACOITS, 7

THE PATERNOSTERS, 37

A PIPE OF MYSTERY, 71

WHITE FACED DICK, 99

A BRUSH WITH THE CHINESE, 119

[Illustration]

BEARS AND DACOITS.

A TALE OF THE GHAUTS.

CHAPTER I.

A merry party were sitting in the verandah of one of the largest and handsomest bungalows of Poonah. It belonged to Colonel Hastings, colonel of a native regiment stationed there, and at present, in virtue of seniority, commanding a brigade. Tiffin was on, and three or four officers and four ladies had taken their seats in the comfortable cane lounging chairs which form the invariable furniture of the verandah of a well ordered bungalow. Permission had been duly asked, and granted by Mrs. Hastings, and the cheroots had just begun to draw, when Miss Hastings, a niece of the colonel, who had only arrived the previous week from England, said,

"Uncle, I am quite disappointed. Mrs. Lyons showed me the bear she has got tied up in their compound, and it is the most wretched little thing, not bigger than Rover, papa's retriever, and it's full grown. I thought bears were great fierce creatures, and this poor little thing seemed so restless and unhappy that I thought it quite a shame not to let it go."

Colonel Hastings smiled rather grimly.

"And yet, small and insignificant as that bear is, my dear, it is a question whether he is not as dangerous an animal to meddle with as a man eating tiger."

"What, that wretched little bear, Uncle?"

"Yes, that wretched little bear. Any experienced sportsman will tell you that hunting those little bears is as dangerous a sport as tiger hunting on foot, to say nothing of tiger hunting from an elephant's back, in which there is scarcely any danger whatever. I can speak feelingly about it, for my career was pretty nearly brought to an end by a bear, just after I entered the army, some thirty years ago, at a spot within a few miles from here. I have got the scars on my shoulder and arm still."

"Oh, do tell me all about it," Miss Hastings said; and the request being seconded by the rest of the party, none of whom, with the exception of Mrs. Hastings, had ever heard the story before for the colonel was somewhat chary of relating this special experience he waited till they had all drawn up their chairs as close as possible, and then giving two or three vigorous puffs at his cheroot, began as follows:

"Thirty years ago, in 1855, things were not so settled in the Deccan as they are now. There was no idea of insurrection on a large scale, but we were going through one of those outbreaks of Dacoity, which have several times proved so troublesome. Bands of marauders kept the country in confusion, pouring down on a village, now carrying off three or four of the Bombay money lenders, who were then, as now, the curse of the country; sometimes making an onslaught upon a body of traders; and occasionally venturing to attack small detachments of troops or isolated parties of police. They were not very formidable, but they were very troublesome, and most difficult to catch, for the peasantry regarded them as patriots, and aided and shielded them in every way. The head quarters of these gangs of Dacoits were the Ghauts. In the thick bush and deep valleys and gorges there they could always take refuge, while sometimes the more daring chiefs converted these detached peaks and masses of rock, numbers of which you can see as you come up the Ghaut by railway, into almost impregnable fortresses... Continue reading book >>




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