ON THE TRAIL OF A MAN-EATER 309
but not badly. Taking refuge again in the bushes, he was lost to view.
Eeloading their guns, the officers were entering the jungle, when the tiger started up in front, not twenty yards away, and came on with a rush. A bullet checked his advance for a moment, but he charged again, and the riders expected to see him the next instant grappling with the elephants. But, instead, he sprang right through the animals, and disappeared in the ravine.
Very cautiously the British officers went after him, searching each patch of grass and clump of bushes, lest he should be hidden there. But no tiger was to be found anywhere. At last they had reached the top of the ravine, which was almost filled by a huge green bush, and, though by this time they all felt nearly sure the tiger must have escaped them, they determined to know what was behind that bush. The green leaves were already tickling the elephant's trunk, when it was seized by the tiger, who held it fast between his teeth, while he dug his claws deep into the animal's face. The elephant, mad with pain, gave a frightful shriek, and tried to gore the tiger with his tusks, which was not so easy; and in his frantic plunges the driver ran a great risk of being thrown from his seat, and trampled to death between them. At length a furious shake forced the tiger to loosen his hold, and he turned and fled down the ravine, while the elephant danced with passion on the bank. When he had grown a little calmer, they all turned and went after the tiger.
He was at last brought to bay a hundred yards further down, and this time sprang straight at the head of one of the other elephants. But the shots he had already received were now beginning to tell, and his attack was not so fierce as before. Another ball ended his struggles ; he let go the elephant's trunk, and, rolling heavily on the ground, turned over quite dead.