CHAP. Ix.] DESCRIPTION OF PLATE. 175
the cold when sleep is in these tropical climes so peculiarly grateful, simply for the chance of shooting the worthless animal ; it is far simpler to have a gun in his path, and let him pull the trigger himself, to his own destruction. Again, as to lions, they do real mischief; and, after all, they are not noble animals whose character entitles them to the privilege of a code of honour, but skulking, troublesome creatures, who give infinite annoyance, and will seldom wait to be shot at. In England one thinks differently, but a traveller who has large herds of cattle with him is only too glad to exterminate lions out of the land, and a spring-gun is the best way of doing this. This is my creed, though I personally am guiltless of its use upon the king of beasts. The way of setting a gun is very simple ; everybody has a sort of general conception how an animal when he chests a string shall in some way pull the trigger and be shot ; but without a more definite notion considerable difficulty would in practice be found in making the necessary adjustments. The accompanying plate will explain how to do it. A piece of stick is lashed across the narrow part of the stock of the gun in such a way as to have a slight play backwards and forwards ; a string from the lower part of the stick is fastened to the trigger, one from the upper leads through the ramrod tubes (the ramrod being taken out), anox passes across the pathway ; it is evident that when an animal pushes the string the gun will go off. A few points have to be observed ; one is, that the string should not be too tight, else as soon as it is touched the trigger will be pulled, and the bullet make only a skin wound in front of the animal's chest. The other, a very important point, is that the height to which the gun is lashed should be such as to send the bullet through the beast's heart, or thereabouts. The rule is, that for a hyena the barrel should be as high as a man's knee from the ground, but for a lion a span (or eight inches) higher. Neither the string nor the stick that is lashed to the stock, and which acts as a lever, should be too strong, lest, if the animal carries all before him in a rush, they should not break, but the gun be torn from its supports and smashed.
When a lion's death is determined upon by means of a spring gun, advantage is taken of the first animal that lie kills ; this is probably found half eaten, and the lion is sure to return to his prey the ensuing night. Bushes are then put round the carcase, a doorway is made to one side of a couple. of posts, against these two posts, the gun is lashed, and the trigger-string passes across the doorway to the opposite side (see plate).