I may be deemed by many unduly enthusiastic but, to me, field sports have ever been invested with a wild, undefined, inexplicable charm, which I can only express by the term "poetry of sport.' The habits, modes of pursuit, and haunts of game, are associated in my mind with the scenes into which they lead the hunter. They form a connecting link between animate and inanimate creation.
To the true sportsman and lover of nature and the terms are synonymous his avocations but give an additional interest to the scenes into which they carry him, and increase the delight with which he views the ever varying beauties of nature.
Some there may be who look on sport in the merely material light in which Peter Bell is said to have regarded the pale spring flower : —
" A primrose by a river's brim A yellow primrose was to him, And it was nothing more."
To them my meaning will be inexplicable. But a man may be but a very moderate shot and a poor performer in the pig-skin, yet be a true sportsman, notwithstanding; while some—I hope a very few au contraire, may be splendid shots and first-rate riders, yet hardly entitled to that honoured and honouring appellation.
From the taking of my maiden spear on the rough hills of the Deccan, to the last heavy boar which fell to me in Raj poo tana, a cut of whose tushes graces a subsequent page, I have hunted in various provinces, each with its peculiar characteristics of scenery and nature of riding-ground.
Over the rugged hills, and across the rolling stones and sheet rock of the Deccan ; amidst the jungles, and over the cracked and fissured plain, or through the inundated land of the valley of the fiery sun, Scinde ; through the deep nullahs, sandy river beds, mid the high thorny hedges of the cultivated plain, and across the howling wilderness of the Rutin, of Cutch ; over the prickly-pear hedges, high grass lands, and bountiful cultivation of Guzerat; across the desolate wastes and hills, and through the thorny jungles of Rajpootana, I have hunted and speared the noble game.