When I reached home, I was obliged to have my boot cut off, and it was a month before I could get about. I have had many a bad cropper since, but with one exception that was the worst I ever got.
" That's but cold comfort after all, for poor old Mac," said Mowbray. " I certainly hope you will be all right in a day or two, instead of a month," he added, addressing the recumbent occupant of the tent door. " But, Norman, I should have been much tempted in your place to give one of the mendicants just the slightest prick possible, to warn him that he had acted wrongly."
" I had rather a queer fall in Scinde once," remarked Danvers. "We were riding out one afternoon from Shikarpore to Aliwan, where we proposed hunting on the following clay, and as it was a distance of over twenty miles, had hired tattoos for the first stage. Owing to the narrowness of the roads through the jungle, and their rutty nature, we usually rode in single file, and I was on this occasion leading. Just as I reached a particularly confined portion of the road, a herd of buffaloes commenced crossing from one side to the other a short way in front. I shouted to the herd-boy, but calculated that I should just have room to pass behind one without being obliged to pull up ; so on I rode, and had the beast not acted in an insensible and provokingly bovine manner, I should have been justified in my calculations. At the very moment of my approach, and when another step of the buffalo would have left me clear room to pass in its rear, the stupid beast thought fit to stop. I had no time to pull up, or even turn into the jungle, and came crash with the tat's right shoulder against its ponderous hind-quarters. I had the satisfaction of knowing that it was upset; but it was a satisfaction somewhat modified by the fact that I was myself in a similar predicament. My tat made most praiseworthy exertions to recover himself. For a few paces we staggered on, but he too was obliged at last to sue-cumb to the force of the shock, and fell over on his side with my leg across a rut under him.
" The pony was so done, or so flabbergasted, that there he lay, to my great discomfort, and I began to punch him in the most persuasive manner to make him rise and liberate me.
. " The man who was riding behind me came up, laughing as if he would split his sides, and asked me if I was hurt. It may have been capital fun for him, but I saw the matter in a very different light. I demanded with an anathema that he should pull the pony off my leg, instead of grinning like an idiot; but fortunately just then the beast took my hints and rose, enabling me to do so likewise.
" I found that beyond a graze and a bruise or two, I had received no material damage ; but I was irritated and angry, and glared round in search of something on which to let off the steam. There was my friend still laughing, and him I began to address. But just then my eye fell on the unfortunate herd-boy, who was staring with open mouth, and evidently quite bewildered by the whole transaction. To pick up my stick and rush towards him was the work of a moment. ' Why did he not drive the cattle from the road when he saw the sahibs coming along in full swing ? It was most unwarrantable conduct, and exhibited a carelessness and want of respect worthy of condign punishment.'
" The poor devil saw me coming glowing with fiery anger, and at once put up his hands in a supplicatory manner and commenced howling. Fortunately for him we generally carried thick, club-like sticks, as defensive weapons, sometimes used to beat off savage dogs which frequently came out at us from one or two of the villages en route, where they were kept for shikar purposes. Had I been armed with whip or switch, I am afraid I should have laid it across the fellow's shoulders, but I couldn't bring myself to strike him with the stick I held. His piteous howls too, and look of blank dismay and fear, assisted in completing his rescue from impending punishment. The ludi-crousness of the whole scene struck me, and I fairly burst into laughter. The miserable offender was doubtless pleasantly surprised at the sudden change in my demeanour and his own escape, for, with a few forcible words of warning I left him untouched, got hold of my tattoo, remounted, and rode off."
" I remember once flying a donkey," said Stewart, sententiously.
" If a donkey in your sense has any metaphorical affinity with a kite," Melton remarked, "why it's an operation that I also have frequently performed."
" No," was the reply; "I mean literally and truly flying a donkey, and it was in this wise.
"I was riding home from shooting one day, and when nearing cantonments overtook a drove of unloaded pack-donkeys, with their empty pack-bags hanging over their backs. I was then quite young and inexperienced in the country, and thought the donkeys would certainly get out of my way as I overtook them. Acting with that misplaced confidence, I rushed in amongst them at the usual hard pace of a griffin. Some did at first avoid me, but, just as I thought myself clear, a stupid ass turned directly across my path, immediately in front. I had no time for anything; but my active horse, accustomed to blind-nullah jumping and other feats demanding quick action, rose at him as if he had been a hurdle, and fairly cleared the donkey proper; but catching his fore-feet in some portion of the pack or ropes, was very nearly brought on to his nose. We just saved a fall, however, and galloped on; but that and later experiences have warned me to be cautious in galloping in amongst a drove of any beasts of burden."
" It is astonishing to me how easily we usually get off in falls, looking at the nature of the ground on which we obtain them in this country," remarked Danvers. " Fractured limbs are of course to be occasionally looked for, but the wonder is they are so rare. On the hard, stony ground we so often meet with, one would fancy broken arms or legs would be the rule and not the exception."