On the other piece of table was laid a rifle and gun-case, with other sporting articles; and bags of shot and bullets, boxes of wads, and canisters of gunpowder rested beneath.
Near this table stood a stand for spears, about four feet in height. It consisted of two side pieces which supported a crossbar near the ground ; a similar broad wooden cross piece, perforated by numerous circular holes, forming the upper bar. The spears were placed through these holes and rested on the lower piece, thereby retaining an upright position, and were thus prevented from acquiring any bend or crook, which might have been the case had they been placed against walls, in a corner, or elsewhere. The spearheads were wrapped in rolls of cloth or leathern covers.
One or two engravings, and an equal number of water-colour drawings, framed in blackwood, adorned tlie walls. Horns of neilgliye, antelope, and gazelle were also fixed around ; and some boars' tushes— mounted as large bottle labels, in the silver work for which Cutch is renowned, and destined hereafter to adorn the paternal sideboard formed no unattractive pendents round a silver mounted hunting knife, which was suspended above the writing-table. This com-pleted the adornment of the light pink-washed walls ; unless, indeed, numerous remarks and notes consisting of the hours ordered for parade, numerical figures, and other memorabilia, written in pencil, thus forming of the walls a gigantic note-book, could be considered in that lightA bear-skin the spoil of former days and another district was spread as a rug at the side of the sofa, and a few tanned deer-skins were thrown over the single easy chair and other three or four common chairs which completed the furniture of the room. One or two of the latter showed signs of age or hard use, and the hand of an amateur mender.
The floor was covered with a drugget somewhat old and worn originally composed of broad alternate stripes of blue and red dungree the manufacture of the district. The elegance of the pattern had been agreeably diversified by patches of other fabrics of various colours, which had been dexterously let in to cover holes, with a taste and judgment somewhat singular. These patches, however, imparted to the drugget all the charms of variety. No dull uniformity of pattern permitted the eye to become wearied by gazing on a changeless monotony of aspect.
Such was the general aspect of the room; but I should leave the description incomplete did I not mention that one corner was evidently devoted to the purposes of a general lumber and store-room. In and about it quietly reposed a most promiscuous assemblage of articles, including a pigeon-trap ; a native sword ; a net; a golaila, or two-stringed bow for discharging mud bullets; a thick bamboo walking-stick ; a six-foot measure; an old jam-pot; a spring weighing-machine ; a pair of single-sticks; a leathern bottle-holder ; a small paste-board target showing several bullet-holes ; a belt; a leathern shikar and ammunition-bag ; a silver mounted riding-whip; an old battered pewter tea-pot; a set of boxing-gloves ; one or two pickle bottles filled with some compound perhaps for cleaning or preserving saddles ; a broken spear-head; an old tea-box ; a bag; and various other articles.
Altogether, the bungalow formed a very comfortable little dwelling for one man, and quite luxurious enough for a subaltern of limited means and sporting proclivities.
Outside, in the verandah, were some large six-dozen deal chests. One or two of these formed the pantry and crockery • room, and contained the small but variegated assortment of plates and table necessaries required for breakfast. A large supply was not required by one who always dined at mess. Another box contained the gram (pulse resembling peas) for the horses. Several porous jars and pots for holding and cooling water, together with sundry bottles bound in wet cloths, reposed in that portion of the verandah facing the wind ; and a bundle of untanned skins of deer and other animals lay in another. A shikar stick for carrying small game effected by drawing the dependent nooses round the birds' heads was slung _ from some of the rafters, and on it hung some ducks and other birds out of reach of midnight-cat or prowling jackal.
The servants' houses were in the same line with a two stalled-stable each stall converted into a loose box and each occupied which stood in the corner of the compound. Throughout the latter were scattered a few low baubel trees. A deep well of masonry, but quite dry and forming the abode of several blue pigeons, occupied one corner; and the whole was surrounded by a milk-bush hedge which, in some parts, surmounted drifted hillocks of sand, considerably undermined by sand-rats.
One of the nullahs or gullies, which in heavy rain rattled down the hill sides and tore through the cantonment, passed along the side of the compound ; and higher up across the road a wall of rock in its course afforded a convenient spot for rifle practice from the portal or verandah of the bungalow.
Such was the bungalow of a sporting subaltern in the station of Bhooj some years ago; and such may serve to represent many another, though it was then more common to build them for two who chummed together.
Into it Norman and his friend Mowbray shortly entered when the hunters had reached Bhooj, which they did without mishap. There, for the present, I shall leave the majority of the party, following only the movements of two, who rode out early on the Monday morning to a well in the heart of the Charwa hills. Guns and some breakfast had been previously dispatched there, as it was the intention of the two sportsmen to try and obtain a shot or two at neilghye, which there abounded, before continuing their journey to Seesagud.