A flying and a sitting snipe killed with one shot—Pot shots—Incidents in early life—Spearing a muggur—Hanging a muggur Hunting pig through deep water—A boar caught, bound, and released—Riding swimming horses—Amusing scene on the Ravee—Ducking of riders—Carried away in a hill-stream-Pigs' liking for water—A boar in a well—The Runn at night.
The party, as usual, adjourned after dinner to a blazing log outside, and talked of sporting matters in general, and their own performances in particular. Hawkes had related how the redshank had rushed to meet a death not intended for him ; but Stewart was able to top it with a similar incident, but more satisfactory still in its result.
" I had ridden out one morning early in November," he said, " from Ahmedabad to a village of the name of Neelapore, about twelve or fifteen miles off, for a day's sniping, as I had heard of the arrival there of a good wisp of the long-bills. I made a capital commencement, though the birds were not very plentiful, bagging, I remember, sixteen out of the first seventeen shots. But as I happened to kill two teal with one barrel, two shots still remained misses. After killing most of the snipe I could find in the swampy ground near Neelapore, I beat over the country towards another village, and on the way there came unexpectedly across a nice little bit of marsh, which I found contained a few snipe. It was here the circumstance occurred which led me to refer to that day's sport.
" Soon after I had entered the marsh which was but thinly covered with short grass a snipe rose and flew away low. I knocked him over, and on going to pick him up, found that another, which had been squatting or feeding a little further on in the same line, had likewise become wounded, and I secured him also."
" That," said Norman, " reminds me of two singular pot shots at snipe which were made by a friend and myself in my youthful days in Scotland.
" I was studying in Edinburgh then, and lived with a gentleman who took in three or four young fellows as boarders in his family. He lived in the neighbourhood of the village of Duddingstone, a couple of miles from Edinburgh, and where there is a nice sheet of water called 'Duddingstone Loch.' On one side of this rises the hill Arthur's Seat; and on the other is some very boggy land to which snipe, sometimes in considerable numbers, resort in the winter. Wild duck also occasionally visited the reeds and sedges, and moorhens were at all times to be found there.
" Such a spot was naturally one of considerable interest to lads with sporting proclivities; and it. among other places, was the scene of a considerable amount of persevering poaching on our part.
" We began with an old horse-pistol, but not being particularly successful with that ancient weapon, which scattered shot like a blunderbuss, my brother and myself determined to invest in a gun, since the double-barrel which was considered our property at home was kept for home purposes.
" Flush with tips on our return to Edinburgh after the long vacation, we spent a holiday in making diligent search through a number of old pawn and marine store shops in the neighbourhood of the Canongate ; and, at last, hit upon a single-barrelled gun which we thought suited us both in appearance and price. The latter was thirty shillings, and the former respectable. Indeed the barrel was a really good one, and, as we afterwards found, a hard hitter. This was the weapon which was a standing subject of dispute between us and our kind and worthy master for it led to numerous complaints on the part of a neighbouring factor. Eventually, as we were prohibited to bring it near the house, we put it out to board in a neighbouring cottage, where I rather think it was left at last to pay for its keep.
" At this time there were four of us boarding with the gentleman in question, one of whom usually accompanied my brother and myself, and in consideration of contributing his share of ammunition, shot turn about with ourselves. In all of our expeditions we were also accompanied by another well-tried and loved companion. This was a varminty Scotch terrifer, who was a perfect terror to cats, an excellent dog for rabbit-shooting or hunting a sport we patronised and generally an animal gifted with strong sporting propensities. He was the property of my brother, whose affection he fully reciprocated.
" Excuse my diffuseness, gentlemen, but somehow, one, in later life, dwells on those wild, thoughtless, and, perhaps, scampish days, with such thorough pleasure.
"In time we came to know every inch of the ground about Duddingstone Loch; the very spot where snipe were in the habit of settling ; where a moorhen might be fully expected to be found, and the like. Now, there was one patch of tall reeds on the very edge of the water, and to get at which we had to cross a quagmire, shaking, but firm on the surface, which we knew was the principal and favourite resort of the snipe. If they had not been disturbed, a wisp of them might be expected to be found there at favourable times. They lay very close together, so we determined one day to see what effect a pot at the reeds before they rose might have, for we had not been particularly successful in killing many on the wing.
"The place was commanded from a little promontory on the farther side of a sluggish brook which there entered the lake, and on this we took our stand. We were, of course, not certain of there being any snipe there at all, but we had good reason to expect them. It was our friend's turn to shoot; and after a general consultation as to the exact spot at which to aim, he fired, and a large wisp of snipe rose and darted away. We now went round to see the effect of the random shot, and we found one bird dead in the rushes.
"But that is not the only occasion on which we made a successful pot. One day I marked down a couple of snipe into a small single tuft of grass some distance out in deepish water, but within shot. It was my turn to shoot, and I fired straight into the tuft. As only one snipe went away, I rightly conjectured that its companion was killed. But I had great difficulty, in securing my prize. There was, fortunately, a large log of wood close at hand; this I floated, and getting a long piece of paling, I rested it across the log, and with the latter as a fulcrum, manoeuvred it till I reached the tuft with the end of the paling, and gradually drew the snipe towards me. It was bitterly cold, and I had to wade pretty deep; but the snipe was obtained,"