Old Natta has been once before introduced by me to the public, though not in clerical costume.
He was a veritable character, and actually appeared in the cast-off clergyman's coat as described. His son really considered that his father's great endurance was, in a measure, owing to the possession of a pair of gigantic feet. He was not my own shikaree, who was of a different caste altogether, and not a native of Cutch. But I have often killed pig to his finding.
He it was who classified pig as described at page 97. I took the names and characteristics down from his own viva-voce description.
The lungra-wallah was a noted old boar who was, indeed, said to have killed one or two people; with what truth I know not. His pug was easily distinguished by the want of one of the false heels or spurs I have referred to. I have been after him, but I do not think I was ever successful in getting a run, though he was once said to be amongst a number of pig in the Dooree jungle on an occasion of our beating it.
The Bunnee is a narrow tract of high grass-land which stretches out into the Runn from the main-land, with which it continues almost parallel for many miles. Beyond it lies the sandy soil of the waste alone, of which also there is usually a narrow strip between the mainland and Bunnee.
Whether these birds are veritable geese or not I cannot say. They have the appearance of such, but are smaller, and quite different to the two other species I have shot in Raj-pootana. Indeed, I have never met with them elsewhere. We called them geese, and by that name I have referred to them. I have a description of them somewhere, but just now cannot lay my hand on it. Another species visits Cutch in the monsoon. It has a large horny protuberance from the upper mandible. I never met this in the cold season.
All anecdotes related of scenes where I was not myself present, I have marked with a double asterisk. That of the officer being stunned and smelt by the boar as related, was told of the late Major P--, R.A. The same officer, if I remember rightly, himself told me of the incident at page 352.
I have ridden two horses who occasionally showed great disinclination to be kicked on out of the way of the boar. One was an old trooper, lent to me for the occasion, and who had been in his youth a clever hunter. The other was a horse of my own. The latter had, I think, acquired the habit from being checked by me as he approached the boar at bay. The best and safest plan, and that I usually adopted, was to gallop up towards the boar with my horsú well in hand. As he charged, I generally pulled in so as to receive him with a good aim, and not rush too quickly past. By meeting him at full speed, unless the approach be exactly timed, his onset might be avoided, and the spear miss. Immediately the boar was speared, I turned off, and pressed my horse out of the way. But in his old age, "Kutty" had become so habituated to be checked, as the boar rushed on, that he reduced his speed sometimes of himself, and eventually I found considerable difficulty in inducing him to move on, after delivery of the thrust.
The same stout, good old horse, who credited me with many a first-spear, a few even in extreme old age, would of himself follow a pig in its turns. Being in pace very slow, he turned often almost as quick as the pig, and I often thought would, if allowed, have seized it.
It was on this horse I proposed to ride down a black-buck as mentioned at page 304. He was in my possession for twelve years, during all of which I hunted him more or less. A visit to Persia was included in his travels. I also used him as a second charger in the mutiny campaign. I was, to my great regret, obliged to have him destroyed at last, as, from old age, and perhaps from some hidden disease, he became miserably wasted, and was so wretched in appearance as to be a most pitiable-looking object.
It may not be uninteresting to the sporting reader to learn that another horse which did me good service was won in a raffle. My ticket cost me five rupees (ten shillings), the horse, then barely three years old, being valued at 350 rupees. I think the first time I ever rode him after a pig I obtained a first-spear, but not a contested one, as out of a small party we had separated.
I took my last first-spear off him as described at page 421, the tushes represented (p. 415) being the spoils. He, then buta four-year-old, was also the animal referred to as going so well through the Vinjule jungle. I rode him constantly for five years, as a hack and hunter. He, also, served me as a charger during the mutiny campaign. On my leaving India I parted with him to a brother.
These were certainly two cheap and most successful ventures in horse-flesh ; by far the most so it has ever been my fortune to make. All cannot expect to meet with such good luck.