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high, jhow-hunting is extra- boundaries are unrest and ordinarily interesting and political agitation, competi
pleasant; for a horse gallops through it easily, while the moving tops in front show to the hunter the course of the pig passing invisible beneath. But the horse must be handy, and the rider wide-awake; for let a hard-pressed pig but beat you by a second on a turn, or let him squat suddenly and an uncollected horse pass by him even by a yard, and he will have vanished like a dream. On a windy day, too, this hunting is particularly difficult, for of course little information can be gathered from the movement of the jhow.
Jhow sometimes grows to a great height, and to try to take a boar through a patch of tree-jhow of any extent is a quite hopeless proposition-a fact the writer has learnt to his cost, after being lured by sundry over-optimistic spirits into spending many a profane and wasted hour in coverts so high and thick that, though he was often in imminent danger of emulating Absalom, he never had the faintest hope of hunting and killing any animal of less stature than a giraffe, a beast unfortunately nonresident in the Kadir.
tion and change, and all the kindred ourses of our modern world. Within the Kadir is peace, for there primitive man -in blissful ignorance of our Montagus and our Tilaks-is content to live as his forefathers lived before him; there primitive beast is not yet denied all place in the scheme of things.
But the sun is low in the west, and we must hurry on to camp.
In the gathering dusk the herds are being driven in through hanging clouds of dust-and none too early, for from a distant patch of jungle beside the river comes that low, harsh, oft-repeated ory, fraught, surely, with more concentrated savagery than any other of nature's sounds-the rending, saw - like call of a leopard commencing his evening rounds, and woe betide any belated goat or calf who now may cross his path.
One herdsman whom we pass deserves a second glance: a minute individual of some eight summers, pot-bellied and stark naked, with head barely reaching to the muzzles of the buffaloes of which he is in charge, but who, none the less, is dealing them resounding thwacks with a mighty stick, while he ourses their ancestors to ten generations with a precocious fluency that would have shamed our army in Flanders. But, terror of the buffaloes though he be, to us he is quite ready to be kind, and-"Salaam, Protectors of the Poor," he shrills to us a8 we pass
"Salaam, Great King," we gravely reply.
As we enter the village, the pungent smell of cow-dung fires strikes our nostrils, and the usual gossipers at the street corner rise and salute us politely; for this is a kindly land and a humble, beneath the notice of agitator and politician, and manners are still an asset here.
15.2, with really good shoulder-for you must have lots in front of you if your horse is to stand up over this blind rough country. The faster he is the better; but absolutely on us absolutely on his hooks he must be, and as well schooled as a polo-pony, for a galloping boar jinks like lightning; and unless you can follow suit, either the pig is lost altogether, or your friend - who has been hanging behind for just this chance-nips in and takes up the running, and you are out of the hunt. Too big a horse is a mistake, as he is apt to be clumsy, and the extra weight increases the strain on him in the constant recoveries out of holes and depressions. But if your horse fills the bill in all the above particulars, and, in addition, is bold and will face the pig- then you have a pearl of price.
Our syces run out to take the horses, and we seat our selves luxuriously in deck-chairs for a welcome whisky-and-soda, before we look round our other horses which have preceded us to the Meet.
Eight of us have forgathered for the Meet, and about thirty horses and ponies are collected in camp. But you notice that horses very much predominate, for you need the weight and stride of at least fifteen hands to carry you well through the grass and jhow of Kadir pigsticking. In the rooks and hills of Rajputana and the Deccan the Arab pony is probably the pig-stioker par excellence; but here nearly everybody rides Waler horses, with just a sprinkling of country-breds. English horses make very good pig-stickers if their legs will stand the iron hard going. Countrybreds sometimes turn out exceptionally well; but they, too, often have a kink in their temper which makes them uncertain and pig-shy.
The best horse here is the best horse you can afford. Nothing is too good; but it is generally agreed that the ideal to work to is an almost clean bred Waler of about
The Meets in the Kadir are all so far distant from headquarters that the usual arrangement is to go out about twice a month for three or four days' continuous hunting. Of course this system of extending Meets is hard on horse-flesh, and necessitates a larger stud than would be required for a single day's hunting at a time. Pig-outs, sprained tendons, stakes, and other untoward occurrences, put a lot of horses on the sick-list; so probably it would not be far wrong to say that at least six horses will be wanted for & full season's hunting, allowing for ordinary luck. But you must not suppose each and all of us to be
provided with six such super- surrounding hamlet provides horses as I have described its quota of beaters, who come above. Two hundred pounds trooping in, and squatting is a by no means unheard-of themselves down in little price for a pig - sticker, and groups muffled against the millionaires are just as scarce morning cold, wait for the in the Kadir as out of it signal to start. signal to start. Syces are if not more so. We collect busy saddling horses and serthe best we can, and those vants rush about with shaving of us who belong to cavalry water and early morning tea. or artillery can very often find As soon as all the beaters have one or two first-class horses in assembled, Babu blows his the ranks of our units, and can whistle for all to start, and the buy them from Government whole cortége files off to the at moderate prices dependent opening beat. upon their age.
After the horses, a bath and dinner, and then a talk as to the prospects for the morrow with one armed Babu, the head shikari, who combines the duties of head-keeper, harbourer, and huntsman. The Tent Club shikaris belong to the humble Aheria tribe-almost outcasts-but the office has been in their particular family for at least three generations, and they have waxed fat and become a power in the land. Go where you will in India, and you will always find that the men to show you game are the aborigines and the outcasts, be they Aheria or Kanjr, Sansi or Bhil, Ghond or Bhoomia, or any other of the countless tribes of the under-world. And it is only natural, for they have the instinet bred in them, and have been catching wild things for a living-from elephants to lizards-since the beginning of time. Cheery rogues they are too, and good companions, though their habits and eustoms not seldom leave much to be desired.
By dawn camp is astir. Each
The etiquette of pig-sticking is simplicity itself. When a boar breaks, the nearest heat to him hunts him; and not more than one heat hunts each boar. The honour and glory and the pig in every hunt go to him who is first to spear; but, though much of the supreme joy in pig-sticking lies in the successful struggle for first- spear and in outgeneraling and outriding one's friends, there must never be the slightest hint of selfishness; and it must be borne in mind that the primary object of every member of a heat is that his heat should kill the pig-all should work together to that end, leaving the question of first-epear as a purely secondary consideration. There must, of course, be no erossing or riding-off, and every firstspear must be given to kill, for a first-spear which merely pricks the pig in the buttock is a matter for shame rather than for self-congratulation. In this connection all pigsticking competitions, from the famous "Kadir Cup" downwards, which go to individual winners of first-spears, are, in
the writer's iconoclastic view, to be deprecated, as tending to encourage selfish riding as opposed to hunting, and competition - pricking as opposed to spearing. The "Muttra Cup," instituted by the Inniskilling Dragoons, is the sole exception, for that is a competition for teams of three, who must kill their pig to score a point. However, there be few who will agree with these views.
A ride of a couple of miles takes
us to the main or western branch of the Ganges, and crossing a bridge of boats, we find ourselves on Pig Island at last. There is not a village or even a hut upon it, and save for a few melon-beds which meet with the unqualified approval of the pig, the whole of it is uncultivated and covered with grass and jhow. Now, villages and oultivation inevitably mean poachers with guns and nets and dogs, but here the only visitor is the grass-cutter or the cowherd with his buffaloes, so, save for our visits, Pig Island remains a peaceful sanctuary.
The going is rather above the average of pig-sticking country, except in the jhow at the south-eastern corner, and here and there where windblown sand-dunes have raised a succession of switchbacks that it takes a clever horse to negotiate. Sufficient olearings have already been made in the grass to give us a sporting chance of catching our pig, though earlier in the season this would have been an almost impossible task.
VOL. CCVIL-NO. MCCLI.
Our old friend, the road, traverses the northern end of the island, which is about a mile in width, and then erosges the narrow eastern channel to the mainland. This narrow
channel is now practically dry, and forms no obstacle to horse or pig; but, of course, in the rains it is full to overflowing.
Immediately overhanging this channel lie the ravines and cliffs of the farther Kadirbank, and the road passes up through these, and on, through crops, mango-topes, and market-gardens, to the city of B, some four miles distant. These ravines facing the island are filled with grass and scrub, and always hold plenty of pig, but the ground is so broken that it is practically unrideable; so, knowing that the line of these pig will be down on to the island, we usually start by beating these ravines, posting the heats below on the island to wait for any bear that may come down towards them across the narrow channel.
We oross the island, and reaching the mainland beyond, find the line drawn up ready to beat down the ravines. Our line consists of about a hundred beaters, each armed with a heavy stick. Behind these ride the Tent Club shikaris, mounted upon camels, from whose backs they can control the line even in the highest grass, and whence they can view any ounning old boar that tries to sneak off unseen. To-day we have an elephant out as well, lent us by a local magnate, and Babu is con
trolling operations from his back. Time was when an elephant was here as much a badge of respectability as a silver teapot in a certain class of society at home, and every nawab, zamindar, and bunya, who could possibly afford it, kept one or more, sometimes for shooting, but much more often purely for show-to walk in marriage processions and the like. Eheu fugaces!-the march of progress has substituted the Overland for the elephant, and it becomes inoreasingly difficult to collect a number of the latter, when they are required for such functions as the Kadir Cup.
The starting-point is near an old deserted police hut. An aged Jat, now quite in his dotage, but in former days shikari to a perfect succession of the Collectors of Balways meets us here with a yarn about an old black boar of fabulous size, which, according to him, lives close beside this hut, but though many a time and oft we have sought him, never a glimpse have we oaught of this Gargantuan swine. As we ride up, we see old Sidjoo waiting for us as usual, and running to meet us: he assures us eagerly that as he passed by the hut two mornings ago, he met our mythical friend wending his way sedately home to bed. However, we have heard old Sidjoo's yarn so often before, that to-day it leaves us rather cold, and we shall not be unduly downeast if we again draw blank.
One heat goes with the line, in oase pig should break in
land; while two heats have already been posted down below upon the island. Our heat is one of the latter, and it is time that we joined them.
After reaching our allotted stand we earefully hide away our syces and spare horses where they will not be seen, and ourselves dismount behind a tuft of jhow, through which we can watch the line as it moves along the ravines above. A blast of the whistle from Babu and the line moves off, silent save for the noise of the thumpings and proddings of the beaters' sticks into every likely tuft and bush. Pig often lie very close, and the best of lines pass over numbers of them in thick cover; but shouting and noise is fatal, for a cunning old boar will slip away unseen half a mile ahead as soon as he hears the sound of approaching human voices.
Soon a yell from the line tells us that something is moving, and we see a string of hurrying black forms bobbing in and out of the ravines as they run along the face opposite to us. A sounder of nine or ten it is, but quite likely there is not a rideable boar amongst them, for the old gentlemen, except when they
are love-making, are erusty, solitary old curmudgeons.
Then a rattle of hoofs and a cloud of dust from the top of the farther bank-the heat with the line are riding. Away they go inland across the fields, but soon they are swinging round left-handed, and back they come again