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full speed into the ravines in rear of the line. Their pig's point was out across the plain to some distant spinney; but they did not give him enough law, so when he found himself hard pressed in the open he still was able to double back and to make the ravines again before they could catch him.
Now the odds are they will lose him, for these ravines are real nasty riding. Yes, I thought so there's a loose horse, so somebody is down. And there come the other two riding slowly back-they've lost him.
Then a black form flashes out of a ravine mouth on our right, well ahead of the line, and splash! splash!-a big boar lollops through the shallows and orosses to our side.
Watch him trotting up the sand and entering the grass. See him stop as he enters covert and stand, ears cooked, to listen to the noises behind him and to make sure the road ahead is clear. Steady! not a move or you will turn him. Not that he is frightened of you. Don't think that for one moment. But he is no fool, and so is not looking for trouble. Normally his attitude is well summed up by that song of our fathers
"We don't want to fight;
But, by Jingo!—if we do," -that is, provided you don't worry him too much, he is prepared to keep out of your way as far as possible. But his patience is always short, and occasionally he has his liverish mornings like the best of us, and then he will fall
upon you at sight the moment you cross his path.
Now he is trotting on. See, the other heat are mounted and moving towards him, for he has passed closer to them than to us, and is their pig. Now he has seen them and is off, and the riders seem to drop a hand's-breadth as their horses stretch to a gallop.
We lose sight of the boar in a moment, but can still follow the three spears as each strains to get the lead and to keep on terms with the boar,-no easy job, the latter, in rough going and heavy covert; for over the first half mile the fastest of horses will hardly gain a yard on a good pig, but let him once get out of sight, and it is a hundred to one against his ever being picked up again. So they are all travelling all they know.
Look the black's down. But it was a good fast fall— horse right over and man thrown well clear. He is up again and mounted as we watch, so no harm is done.
Now the other two have gone over a mile, and you can just make them out in the distance, tacking to and fro and riding more slowly; they are close upon their pig, who is getting blown and is jinking to try to throw them off. At this stage it is not so much a question of hard riding as of quickness in the turn and a watchful eye and collected horse.
Meanwhile our friend on the black horse has gallo ped up and joins them. But just at this moment piggy's patience fails him. A jink brings them face to face-piggy sees the
newcomer, to greet him with an angry charge. For you catch the flash of the distant spear-point lowered to meet the boar.
So the black's rider has had the luck to get first-spear after all-and perhaps deserved it for joining up with them again so quickly.
Now the boar's blood is up; all thought of flight is gone, and charge follows charge. But the end comes quickly; and soon he dies, with the hot red light dancing before his eyes-reckless of his wounds and scorning quarter.
A better end this than to be netted and murdered in cold blood as he trots in the darkness down a game-track; than to be hunted and done to death by a mongrel pack; or to be greeted with a charge of slugs as he enters a field at night to orawl off to die.
trimmed to a uniform two feet like the bristles of a giant's tooth-brush?
Don't you see it-that grey wither and the top of that long lean back slipping by_us like a submarine awash? It's a boar.
No, he never orossed the channel from the beat,-true. He must have been disturbed by the other heat galloping, and is quietly changing his quarters. Mount quickly— and we'll make him change 'em faster than he bargained for.
The submarine pauses for a moment - then suddenly inoreases the number of his revolutions, The boar has broken from a trot to a gallop, and we are off.
There he goes straight across the clearing in the grass, taking the long lines of out grasssheaves like a deer-a fine grey boar. After him we go,
each taking his own line, legs working frantically and spears outstretched each silently praying that he has the legs of the others—each anxiously watching the boar to take advantage of the first sign of a turn.
Yet, were it not for the Tent Club, these are the deaths which would undoubtedly befall the majority of his race, whose continued existence is only tolerated by the landowners out of the great goodfellowship between them and us, and because, by keeping Crash!-we are out of the down pig within reasonable olearing and into the high limits, we save them both standing grass. Now we can trouble and expense. For even only catch glimpses of the boar his best friend must admit the he's still in front, going damage to crops which the strong, and we haven't gained wild pig often does; so, if you a yard. B.'s ahead, riding his want pig, be friends with the line, and shouting whenever he farmers and hunt your country sees him. We must spread out thoroughly thus, and thus right and left to help take only, will you succeed. him through the eovert.
But what is that just showing above the grass over there? There, behind you, where the grass has been cut, and stands
Now, as you seem to sail on the effortless stride of a gallant horse, and the orashing grass sweeps by-as you feel him
put in a short one in an awk ward grip, and then open out again to his stride, er drop into a sudden nala without a peok, and on up the farther side and you know there's a boar ahead-it's now that you feel that you've really lived, and life can hold few better moments.
By Jove! B.'s down. It was that buffalo-wallow that did it, but a clever pig-sticker wouldn't have fallen. He won't fall the next time he meets one. No time to stop to make kind inquiries,-a hunt here is too short and sharp an affair for that, and you would only get sworn at for your pains for losing the pig.
Now you've taken up the hunt, and are riding the pig. He is still about thirty yards ahead-but he is coming back to you now. You see his great stern looming in front of you, nearer and nearer. It is the climax of the hunt, and-wild with anticipation-you take a fresh grip on your spear and shorten your reins, to be ready for anything.
Now you are right on himsteady your horse and wait for your chance; then put your legs to him and spear right home as you pass your boarno thrusting out ahead.
Halloa! here's a wide shallow open nala ahead, and the boar must cross. Now's your chance, for you've got him in the open. Into him quickly.
Ah!-but he was too quick for you, for, as you made to close with him, he threw himself across your bows to your near side. So you missed him -but he precious nearly got
you, for you felt his tusk strike your near stirrup-iron as you passed. Round on to him as quick as you can, for he's just into covert again on the farther side.
He's in jhow now, and it really is thick-for this is the patch he's been making for all along. We should have got him before he crossed that nala. Now the submarine is submerged-you have only got the wake to follow, but stick to that if you can. He's a tired pig, and we're right on his tail. We'll get him after all.
Ten thousand fiends!-we're right in the middle of a herd of buffaloes, and they've split and are galloping in every direction. The jhow is waving everywhere, and we've got a dozen wakes to follow-but which is the right one? The one we're on now isn't, anyway, for we find it is made by a promising calf. Throw forward and try to pick him up againit's our only chance, though a poor one. No good, we've lost him after all. What poisonous luck-but largely our own fault too. Nothing for it but to get back to our place-and to hope for better luck next time.
As the line moves on several more hunts result. Then the end of the ravines is reached, opposite the tail of the island: the beaters swing down on to the island itself, and the line turns for a beat-up through the island-coverts.
Now all the heats accompany the line. For your next hunt you shall be mounted on my old chestnut mare "Regret,
the mare most nearly approach- longing
Our heat rides quietly behind its allotted bit of the line, on the look-out to catch the first glimpse of any boar that may break, and to prevent the beaters carelessly missing any patch of covert.
Bird and beast are constantly on the move in front of us now it is the burnished bronze and ebony of the black partridge as he skims over the grass-tops; now the russet of the hog-deer stealing furtively down a game-track with lowered head, like some detected criminal; now it is a herd of black-buck, playing follow-my-leader as they go, each in turn leaping high above the grass in graceful bounds; now a group of nilghai, those oow-like antelopes, lumbering clumsily along.
Several sounders, too, are soon afoot, bursting like bombshells from the grass at our feet with a chorus of protesting grunts-on every occasion to be loudly acclaimed as the fathers of all pig by the beaters who have dislodged them. And here we see the advantage of mounting the shikaris on camels or elephants, for from these coigns of vantage they can distinguish size and sex, and save us many a useless ride.
At last!-loud and clear, trembling with pent-up excitement-comes that shout for which we have all been
"Woh jata! Woh jata! Bara kala soor!"-There he goes-there he goes—a great black boar; and we catch a glimpse of Babu-an incarnation of eagerness, upright on his elephant, with his one arm outstretched-pointing us wildly forward. has just seen a huge boar slipping away far ahead.
It is but a glimpse you osteh, for "Regret" has been waiting for that cry. Before the first word has died on Babu's lips-long before you have put your legs to hershe has travelled half a dozen lengths. Leave her head alone and let her gallop-a loose rein is best travelling fast over this sort of ground, and if you try to steady her you will only bring her down.
And travel we must, for somewhere on ahead the boar is moving fast, and he has a big start. Unless we can pick him up quickly it will be hopeless.
No good riding for the place where he was last seen-his line is sure to be left-handed for those big coverts in the centre of the island, so hold to the left, and ride like blazes to out him off, keeping a good look-out far ahead, and trusting to your mare to stand up.
There! did you catch that spurt of sand and dust behind that clump of jhow? Your boar, for a wager. Yes-the merest glimpse of something black vanishing into the covert beyond, and you know you are on the right line.
Now, holler like anything to
bring on the rest of your heat, and after him as hard as you
Now you are fairly on terms with your boar, for you can see the tops of the jhow waving in front of you as he passes. It is very thick here, so close with him as much as you can, and lie close behind him, following every jink and turn with horse absolutely in hand. Don't be in toe great a hurry to spear till you have got him beat, or have nursed him into a lighter bit of country. If you try to rush him now, you will override him and lose him. There-the jhow isn't moving any more, he must have squatted. Don't take your eyes off the exact spot. Lucky that your mare was well in hand, or you could never have stopped her as you did, and you would have lost sight of the place. Now he can't move on without the jhow telling you, and he's still here all right-you could tell that by the rank smell of pig, let alone anything else, for, on a hot day, you can hunt a large gross boar almost by scent alone.
Look out for the slightest tremor in the jhow, and shout to the others to come up to watch the farther side.
Woof! Woof! The jhow parts and out he comes-he has charged you. It was your shout that did it, too much for piggy's nerves. It was lucky that prod you gave him in the face stopped him, for you had no time to get any way on your horse, and something over two hundred pounds of bone and muscle at the charge has a nasty habit of
knocking over horse and rider when it meets them at the halt.
Now after him again, but look out for squalls; for see, all the hackles on his back and spine are standing up like porcupine quills, his jaws are open, and you can catch the wicked twinkle of his little eyes as he watches you over his shoulder. You have but to forge alongside of him, and he will come in again like a flash. Take him quietly-let the momentum of your horse send the spear home-and, above all, don't thrust.
My goodness!—that's just what you did do, so of course your point went over his shoulder. And of course he got in-and knocked your poor mare's forelegs from under her, sending you on your head.
You deserved what you got, but she might have had her shoulder laid open. Thank goodness, she isn't cut, and you may thank your lucky stars that the rest of your heat was near enough to stop piggy from paying you loving attentions on the ground. Up you get again quickly, and help to finish off your boar.
Back we go to rejoin the line, where we change horses and are ready for another hunt; while the dead boar, slung on a pole, is borne off by four beaters in triumph to the luncheon place.
Soon after, as we ride behind the line, we see old Sidjoo, like a stage conspirator, beckoning frantically to us and pointing to a grass-tuft at his feet,-he must have found a boar squatting within.