This handsome animal is an inhabitant of the Runn; and the same or a similar species is found, I believe, in the desert between the mountains in the north-west of the Punjaub and the Indus.
An officer in Bhooj, during my residence there, possessed a pair male and female which had been obtained when young.
He endeavoured to tame them, and break them in to riding; but the male was quite intractable, and, though once or twice mounted, soon got rid of its rider. It was a savage beast, and had to be tied up with stout halters and ropes. Eventually it escaped, and roved at will about cantonments and the neighbourhood, but never went very far away.
It occasionally showed symptoms of pugnacity, and was somewhat of a terror to the nervous, but usually trotted away on being rated. Its end was somewhat tragic. It was found one morning dead with its body much swollen, and this was attributed to the bite of a snake. I once lost a pony from a similar cause.
The female was more tractable, and was led about cantonments, and occasionally mounted, though she. too, had a decided objection to equestrian training. This she frequently exhibited by getting rid of her master, who was often bold enough to risk his limbs in the endeavour to break her in.
She was subsequently sent to Lord Falkland, then Governor of Bombay, who, it was understood, dispatched her to England.
I may mention that we endeavoured, but unsuccessfully, to breed from her by a pony in the possession of one of the officers.
Both were very handsome, with legs and limbs almost as developed as a pony's. The male was considerably the higher of the two, and must, I should think, have stood thirteen hands high and upwards. But of this I am not certain. Their coat was fine, with a dark stripe down the spine.
Wild donkeys have been ridden down and speared in their wild state, though it is thought by some not without the animal having been gorged, or something being amiss with it. I regret I have not copies of some numbers of an old defunct Indian magazine to refer to on this subject.
A word or two of explanation regarding this-and analogous terms may not be out of place.
In the " Eastern Hunters " I recorded the fact of a low-caste native asking for " tiger leg-mutton." An able public critic considered that this incident sounded rather " apocryphal. " I can only repeat that it really occurred as related: but perhaps I did not sufficiently explain the circumstances. u Wuh tukro jo leg-mutton bolta " (that part called the leg-mutton) was the exact expression made use of in the by no means perfect Hindostanee of a Mahratta, and was thus recorded by me in my sporting journal.
" Soor ke mnttony-chop " (pig mutton chops) is a similar expression in general use to represent pork chops. " Hurun ka saddel mutton " (deer saddle mutton) is another of the same nature.
The English terms denoting the different portions of a sheep have become typical of those joints respectively of other animals, and are used to express them by the native servants of the Bombay Presidency. The curious confounding of terms in the expressions u goose's pup " and " wilderness/' recorded in the preceding pages, are said to have really occurred, though not within my own cognizance.
I have explained in the text some of the characteristics of costume and appearance of this tribe, or branch of a tribe, which inhabits the mountainous region belonging to the Chumba rajah. These rajpoots are not the aborigines of the hills, but have migrated there in, I believe, comparatively recent times; and their change of climate and residence has not tended to improve their habits of cleanliness. In this they are far inferior to their race in the plains. I should think, too, they have lost much of the warlike spirit which actuates that division of the great Kshatriya or military class.
I made their acquaintance during a brief visit to their country as described, when journeying in the Punjaub.
The incidents referred to under this letter, I have taken from the journal, in my possession, of a lamented brother. Bold and determined, active, decided, and energetic, a good shot and fair horseman, he was singularly adapted to excel in the more dangerous sports of the field. The first is an account of the death of the first tiger he assisted in slaying.
The anecdotes extracted occurred during a month's trip with a friend into the Boondee jungles. In the space of twenty-five days, that is to say, from the 3rd to the 27th of the month, the two hunters killed
This may serve to show the abundance of the deer tribe in some parts of Rajpootana.
But there are other parts far superior to that visited by them in respect of tigers, and other big game, a term not usually applied to other than savage animals.
Nor is that favoured country less abundantly supplied with small game. Antelope abound, and the numerous tanks swarm with duck and snipe in the cold season. During a four years' residence, I traversed the country of the Rajpoots in almost every direction, having journeyed in that space several thousands of miles, and found much sport of every description.
It may not be uninteresting to my readers, if I here give a summary of the quantity of small game killed by the officers accompanying the camp of the Agent to the Governor-General on its tour when returning from the grand durbar held by Lord Canning at Agra in December, 1859. I have also included a few days on the road to Agra, after the camp marched from Jeypore, when game was not well in.
I must premise by saying that sport was only the relaxation, not the object, of most of us, who had our daily office duties to perform. Hence, though we sometimes managed to devote the principal portion of the day to shikar, it was usually limited to what we could pick up on the morning's march or during a stroll towards evening.
The statement is not quite perfect, as I missed some of the days; but is sufficiently approximate to be relied on as generally accurate.
Total number of days on which some one or more of the
Number of guns out varied from
1 to 8
Total number employed in the aggregate about
This gives an average, in round numbers, to each day of shooting, of about three guns. I have compiled the total from very roughly kept notes, in some instances the bag not being specified, but said to amount to about so and so. However, it is not far out, and may be accepted as approximate.
Total bag of Small Game.
Duck, widgeon, and teal
Partridges and quail
Large sand-grouse, peculiar to the northern
parts of India not far from the Deserts
Besides these were killed a few jungle and spur fowl, small rock partridges, and green pigeons. Also a few pea-chicks were surreptitiously bagged.
In addition to the above, the rifles of the party obtained
2 chinkara buck,
11 black buck,
Two boars were speared, only one day's pig-sticking having been obtained. One black buck was killed by hunting cheetahs; and one jackal, and about a dozen foxes coursed and killed by greyhounds.
About twenty-one dozen Indian trout, a small speckled fish, having the external appearance of a trout, but said to be a species of dace, were caught by fly-fishing. Two or three dozen mahseer of various sizes, weighing up to fifteen pounds, and a number of murrel, some as heavy as six pounds, were also caught writh the rod and ground-bait.
Altogether an average of about ten brace of birds may be allowed to each gun per diem. I do not mean to say that such is any unusual amount for a shikar party; but this was not one in the proper sense of the word. Sport was with most, as I have said, mere relaxation.
But duck and snipe were exceedingly plentiful in some parts. I went out late one afternoon, after the day's work was done, and between that and dinner-time bagged twenty-two couple of snipe, and a couple of teal; and two other officers following in my wake, likewise killed a considerable number. The ground was the marshy land surrounding a large tank nearly a mile in length. This was the best snipe shooting I think I ever had, considering the short time I was engaged.
On another occasion I killed eighteen couple of snipe in a similar brief space of time. On this occasion, however, there were very few birds left.