* See Appendix, Note O.
" That was my first experience of the abundance of game at the place in question. My second was in the year following, when circumstances again took me there, but this time in company with many other officers. Acting on my representations, two others accompanied me to beat the same places at which I had personally been so unsuccessful the previous year.
" On this occasion we held the upper part of the first koondah, each of us in a separate position, while the men beat from below. It was my fortune to be allotted the task of guarding the hill, near the place where the jdgie had made his successful shot, and there I established myself in a tree commanding several outlets, two or three men who had accompanied me, also climbing into others to act as markers. The beat had not proceeded long, before one of these scoundrels began shouting aloud and waving his cloth to intimate that the tiger was coming. So indeed it was; but warned in time it turned aside, and all I saw of the beast was a momentary glimpse I obtained as it trotted away through some high grass on the top of the hill; but before I could bring up my gun it had disappeared.
" The other koondah, on this day, held nothing, for it was too early in the season, and big game were yet much scattered, water being plentiful. A few samber certainly were turned up, but at these of course we did not fire when on the look-out for nobler animals. Now I have never been so successful elsewhere in finding game by merely beating on spec, and I think never so unlucky as to killing."
"What an abundance of game, though, there must be in those parts," said Danvers. " To turn up two tigers and two bears during a beat on mere speculation, was what could be done in few countries. The circumstance you mention of the fellow shouting in the tree and frightening the tiger, reminds me of a somewhat similar occurrence which took place on Mount Aboo.
" Aboo is, I dare say you all know, a hill station at the south-western extremity of the Aravelly range of hills, which stretches from near Delhi to within about forty miles of the military station at Deesa. Though actually but the end of the range, it is so much higher than its neighbours as to be isolated in fact. The invalids and sickly men of the European regiment quartered at Deesa, are sent to the hill for the sake of the climate ; barracks have been built there for their accommodation. 1 was up there one season, and temporarily kept a local shikaree, who was constantly on the look-out for game; for there were tigers, panthers, and bears to be found, and samber were to be had for the beating.
" One afternoon my shikaree came in to say that after following a family party, consisting of a couple of tigers, with two young ones, all the morning, he had at last come upon them in action with a bull buffalo. He declared that he had seen the whole combat from the top of a hillock not far distant, and described to me how the buffalo fought for a long time, though with both tigers engaged. I must con-fess that, as I knew the man to be possessed of a more than average ability for lying, and one not infrequently employed, I somewhat mistrusted the entire truth of his narrative. The details, however, were very circumstantial, and, as I afterwards found considerable corroboration of them, it is very possible he may really have witnessed the whole affair.
"Most unfortunately, the little mess of three, of which I was one, were engaged that evening as hosts to entertain a party of the hill residents to dinner, and subsequent vingt-un. My shikaree, however, appeared sanguine that the tigers would visit the carcase of the buffalo early in the evening, as the beast had been but slightly fed upon, and they were hungry, having effected no kill for some days previously. Under the circumstances I determined, at any rate, to try and get an early shot, for my man had already prepared a " muchan" in a neighbouring tree overlooking the scene of the kill. This decided, I sent down to the companions with whom I messed, and one of them, equipped for business, soon joined me with his guns, and we lost no time in sallying forth.
" The spot was about half a mile beyond the village of Dilwarra, a great place of pilgrimage, renowned for its sanctity, and its beautifully cut old temples of white marble. This village lay at the distance of about a mile from my house.
"The plateau of Aboo is upwards of 4000 feet above the sea level, and forms an irregular and uneven basin, surrounded by wild rocky peaks and fells. The highest of these—Gooroo Sikur towers some 1500 feet above the general level of the plateau itself. The basin is broken up into pieces of flat cultivated ground, alternating with rocky knolls and jungle-covered hills and ridges, and curious huge boulders of granite. It is traversed by numerous nullahs, which, in the monsoon, are rampant streams. The watershed is not any ridge in the central plateau itself, but is contained in the encircling band of peaks, which, in some instances, throw their drainage into the interior. This, in part, serves to supply the pretty island-studded Nuki lake, and thence escapes down the mountain side through a narrow gorge. Many other outlets there are, which principally carry off the water from the external slopes of the girding: watershed.
"The mountain is very steep, in many parts precipitously abrupt, till it becomes merged in the lower hills at its base, or meets the plain.
" The scene of the kill was just under and within the outer ridge of rocky, jungle heights, from which at that point issued a stream. After being joined by another, this flowed across the plateau, and subsequently entered the lake.
" We were not long in reaching the spot, and a very brief inspection served to show that there had indeed been a severe struggle. The dead body of the buffalo was now lying on the edge of the stream, partly in, partly out of the water. But the bank above, from which it must have fallen, was torn up, and deeply indented with numerous hoof-prints, show-ing where the death-fight had taken place. The carcase was but little eaten ; a small portion as usual, about the hind part being all that had been consumed, in addition to the blood sucked from the throat. Beyond the buffalo, and on the side of the stream opposite to that which had been the scene of the battle, were two or three fair-sized trees, in one of which my shikaree had constructed a rough muchan, or sitting-place.