Siriska, 26 February 1893

The beautiful clear day was preceded y a very cool night so that there were bad news about the tiger. Two tigers had indeed killed but not stayed in place and could not be confirmed. We had again to make do with an unorganized hunt to the ridges and lamented this even more as it was the final day in the camp at Sariska, and the weather seemed to improve.  The first drive led by the head shikari was executed with much clamor and the  usual disorganization but proved to be without success as expected. Only holy peacocks were flying above our heads; in the distance I saw a female nilgai with her calf. The hunting failure was partly compensated by the view of the landscape beyond the ridge where rocks and faces rose which reminded me vividly of out beautiful territories for the chamois hunt in the Alps..

Towards the end of the drive the chief professional hunter gave an incomprehensible order to my mahaut who was at his beck and call and led me around a small ridge to a ledge from where I could not see game nor drivers nor anyone of the gentlemen despite waiting one hour.  My vivid sign language with which I tried to communicate with the mahaut just resulted in the latter’s unrestrained cheers so that I had to accept my fate and wait. Finally the drivers and the head shikari appeared and the other gentlemen returned who had waited in vain for me on other side of the hill. The dear chief professional hunter had caused quite some disorganization but ordered now another drive.

A steep incline covered in vegetation was surrounded on two sides in a semicircle by shooters. But the drive took an eternity even though it was very limited until it was suddenly reported that a panther was in the area. Quickly more than half of the drivers had climbed on trees which they didn’t want to leave again under any circumstance. Everyone was shouting, the drive faltered and the heroes not yet up on the trees advanced very timidly until all emerged into a clearing together without having covered the thickets properly. Where was the panther now!

At the conclusion of this famous expedition a strong sambar deer jumped up and was wounded  by Prónay. The elephants then concentrically closed in on the deer in the jungle, The chief professional hunter did not seem pleased with the behavior of his own people as he was swearing without interruption for more than half an hour. Then he rode home and was not seen again that day.

We decided to test our lucky by venturing across the valley whereas we examined each small hill closely. The result did not meet our expectations by far as I only wounded a jackal and the gentlemen bagged various chickens and small birds. Some gazelles fleeing at a great distance were missed by the whole line.

With interest we watched how one of the elephants attacked the jackal wounded by me. With his raised trunk and braced ears the elephant advanced at a trot towards the jackal, kicked it back with one foreleg and trampled it to death with the hind-leg and continued to jump up and down on the dead victim. Having finished its deadly work, the colossus returned into a peaceful mood and marched on in a phlegmatic way. The hunt had sent us rather far away from the camp. The sun had already set behind the mountains and we rode back to the camp in the clear moonshine.

Links

  • Ort:  Sariska, India
  • ANNO – on 26.02.1893 in Austria’s newspapers. The Empress Elisabeth, meanwhile, has arrived in Switzerland where she will be staying in Territet near Montreux for the next few weeks.
  • The k.u.k. Hof-Burgtheater plays a comedy „Verbot und Befehl“, while the k.u.k. Hof-Operntheater presents the opera „Der Prophet“.

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