" At Narainpqora, about midway between Gogrone and Durree, I had bagged a couple of stag samber the evening before; and hearing game was plentiful also at the latter place, I went out on the afternoon of my arrival with a dozen or so of men. Stalking; in the cool of the evening, when the deer desert the secluded and shady recesses of the thickets and come out to feed, was the means I proposed by which to get shots. But while proceeding along one tangled hill-side, said to be a favourite resort of game, the shikaree I had engaged suggested that I should establish myself behind a tree, and that my scanty party of men should proceed down the glen, and then form a line and attempt to drive the deer towards me. This was not to be effected by the usual method of shouting, and so startling the frightened animals into a headlong flight, but by hitting the trees with their axes and otherwise pretending to be employed in the woods in an ordinary manner. This they assured me would urge any game quickly towards me ; and I might then either stalk them, when discovered at a distance in the open glades, or else get a shot should they move past within easy range.
" The advice seemed good : so while the few men went away up the glen, I established myself in the shade of a small tree about half way up the hill, with my pet single rifle in hand. From this spot I commanded several open breaks on the well-wooded hillside, and it was a convenient place from which to stalk any animals, either above or below me. Perfect quiet and invisibility being necessary, I sent the two men who accompanied me with a spare gun and ammunition, away up the hill in my rear.
" I heard the men in the distance hitting the stems of the trees with axes and sticks; but though I kept a keen and anxious watch, no deer came within my ken. There was below me, and in front, a long narrow strip of open ground, or one so thinly covered with jungle as to allow of anything moving across it to be detected. Over the length of this my eye naturally constantly wandered. A quarter of an hour may thus have passed, my solitary watch being undisturbed by any noise indicating the presence of game, when lo! forth from the brushwood on the other side, a tiger stole into view, deliberately sneaking across the open in a low, crouching attitude. He was about forty yards from me, and lower down than my position. Up came my rifle in the first impulse; but in the moment of raising it, I bethought me that I had no other barrel on which to rely absolutely nothing to protect myself in case of the beast's charging, a by no means unlikely result if wounded, considering that I was alone. I hesitated, then brought down my rifle, and looked back at my men. I thought they might bolt, but they stood firm, though they also saw the tiger. So I sneaked back to their position, and with them in company continued along the hill-side parallel with the supposed onward progress of the tiger, for he had now disappeared in the jungle. Again, however, I caught a glimpse of him, moving cautiously along, not apparently having detected us. With my double gun to depend on, I did not this time hesitate about firing. The tiger responded to my shot with a roar and an abrupt bound forward, and then dashed away down the hill, and was lost to view. I believe it was a miss, though I was not at the time at all certain on that point. However, the tiger went away, and we saw nothing more of him, though we found traces in the shape of a young samber lying dead in the direction of his line of flight. The men declared it had been struck down subsequent to my shot. It was evidently fresh killed, and the only marks on it were those apparently of two fangs in its throat.
" I obtained a couple of shots at cheetul afterwards, wounding one and missing the other, but bagging neither. Unless dropped in their tracks, an animal usually escapes in such thick jungle."
"I should certainly have acted as you did in not at first firing," said Norman. " I was myself once placed in a very similar position, though I had a double gun in my hand, but loaded unfortunately with shot.**
" I had been sent out during the mutiny from Maligaum in Candeeish with a couple of companies to the fort of Sindhwa, on the main road to Mhow, with the object of assisting Holkar's troops in the protection of the fort, and also making a show in case of Tantia Topee's flight southwards from the Nerbudda. It was about the time you were so knocked about, Mowbray. A show it would have been, and a lamentable one too, with Holkar's rabble more than half mutinous, the Bheels in the country round in arms, and some of my own men anything but trustworthy. However, there I was obliged to stick, and occasionally roamed out in search of a deer or other game both for sport and food.
" The jungle was very thick in the neighbourhood, and abounded with large game, though small was scarce.
However, I managed to get a little here and there. One morning I was out with my gun loaded with shot, with the object of procuring -something for breakfast and dinner, when happening to glance across a piece of open ground in front, there I saw a tiger deliberately and coolly walking across, as if, either unaware of my presence or regardless of it. Beaters I had none. Such a thing was quite unprocurable from the deserted village, and my only attendant was my dhobie (washerman). The poor devil turned whity-brown with funk and trembling, and without speaking and with chattering teeth, pointed to the unwelcome visitor. As for myself, I felt anything but comfortable, and resolved myself into the very smallest possible compass. The tiger seemed to take no notice of us, but quietly took himself off; and directly he disappeared in the jungle, I made tracks in the opposite direction, quite satisfied that my acquaintance with his majesty was confined to sight.
** See Appendix, Note S.
" But that is not the only incident of that nature which befell me on that miserable outpost.