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Tent Life in Tigerland
Chapter IX - A Chapter on "pig-stickin"


Getting under weigh—Tally-ho!—Game afoot—A cunning old tusker— One man down—At our wits' end—A ghat ahead—The boar is a "jinker"—A comical interlude—"Now's the chance"—First spear!— A desperate fight for life—Death of the boar—Eulogy on the sport— The Queenslander on Indian sports—"Hints to Hog Hunters" from The Oriental Sporting Magazine.

What fox hunting is in the merry shires of England, what grouse shooting is on the heathery moors of Scotland, what kangaroo hunting is to the hardy bushmen of Australia, so is pig sticking to the Anglo-Indian planter, or to the bold, keen spirits that are to be found in every military cantonment in broad Hindostan. I know of no sport that gives greater enjoyment. The boar spear is the weapon par excellence of the finished Indian sportsman. It requires the coolest judgment, the most unfaltering nerve, the most consummate tact, a keen eye and unflinching courage, to face the fierce rush of an enraged tusker when he makes up his mind to fight; and, unless well-mounted and thoroughly self-confident, I pity the chicken-hearted tyro who essays to stop the gallant charge of a fighting boar at his spear's point, when the indomitable old grey jungly warrior, with tusks champing and bristles erect, comes tearing down with a snort of fury and defiance, determined to do or die.

Long, long ago, now, amid the tussocks, fern and spear-grass of the Canterbury back ranges in New Zealand, I have "ridden pigs" and pistolled them off horseback; but I never felt the fierce delight of the chase in perfection until I was initiated into the wild, conflicting emotions of a successful boar hunt in India, under the auspices of Paddy Hudson and Jamie McLeod, two of the finest sportsmen I ever heard utter the whoop of victory over the gallant grey boar, when they "dropped him in his tracks," and watched Ins unavailing struggles to "get home" and sheath his tusks in their panting steeds.

To be a successful pig-sticker, requires a rare combination of qualities, and many a time and oft, even the most gallant rider, true of heart, steady of hand and keen of eye, will find all his skill and courage unavailing, and is forced to sheer off before the determined charge of a fighting old grey boar.

Our elephants were fagged out rather, with recent long marches, and as they had some distance to go for charra—-i.e. fodder—we determined to have an off-day at Pig. We were the more inclined to adopt such a course from hearing of the sad ravages made by numbers of them on the paddy fields of the poor villagers. On every hand we could see evidences of their destructive ravages; and while Mac and Peter went off to try for florican to the north of the village, the rest of us, having mounted our horses, and accompanied by a tatterdemalion mob of -villagers, set out to the southward to beat up a likely patch of jungle, just beyond the surveyor's mound before mentioned.

Under the direction of Joe we divided our forces. Butty, myself, Young D., my assistant, a plucky little fellow and a capital rider, and our captain, took the side nearest the river, where the jungle abutted on the sand flats, quicksands and still lagoons of intercepted flood water, which I have already described. The other contingent consisted of George, Pat, and Tom H., who rode up just as we were about to begin the beat. Tom was an assistant then on one of the north Purneah factories, and hearing of our vicinity, had ridden over some eight miles to exchange greetings and get the news of our shikar.

We were not long in getting under weigh. The villagers raised the usual caterwauling din, to the accompaniment of brittle thundering tomtom, screeching copper boms, and rattling instruments of the kettle-drum order, only ten times more discordant. Knowing by experience that the pigs would break cover far ahead, we rode slowly along, well in front of the line of beaters, and a wild tally-ho on the far left soon told us that game was afoot. The. wild exhilarating whoop was quickly followed by our seeing three horsemen tearing madly along the plain after a black speck in the distance, and they were soon lost to view behind a rising undulation topped by a clump of jowar, the circling clouds of dust marking their speedy track.

We were just beginning to wonder if all the luck was to be on their side, when Joe espied a waving, rustling, zig-zag motion in the grass ahead, and in a low whisper he enjoined silence and circumspection.

"There's a sounder on ahead, boys," he whispered. "Don't press them. Give 'em rope. Let them break."

We were now all excitement. We waved our hands to let the beaters see there was quarry on ahead. This caused them to redouble their shouting and yelling, and they bawled and raised din enough to wake the Seven Sleepers. The crash of their "mingled din" seemed to impart a fixed resolve to the authors of those wavering and vacillating movements in the grass. The little porkers seemed to scatter in affright, while the zig-zag motion gave place to a steady forward rush, and soon with an angry "hoo hoo" of defiance, an enormous boar with gleaming tusks, followed by three sows and a few half-grown youngsters, broke like a rocket from the friendly cover and scattered over the plain in front.

Singling out the old boar, we were very soon in swift pursuit. The tusker was making for a ragged edge in the plain, where the crumbling bank of a steep descent on to the plane of the river below, made riding almost impossible. His tactics showed the marvellous instinct of a sagacious animal. Had he kept to the level upland we must have very soon overhauled him. Had he gone right down to the hard sand below, we could have surrounded him. He was unwilling to face the yelling mob of beaters in the rear, and with the quick divination of a hunted beast he made for the one spot where he could most readily battle pursuit, and where he stood the best chance of escape.

If my readers can imagine the scene, they will readily understand the posture of affairs. The rivers in India run mostly through flat alluvial plains, in which they quietly cut a channel, which during the rains is brimful, of a vast breadth, and the turbid mass of swiftly running water is almost of the same level as the surrounding plain. When the rains are over, however, the river contracts to a narrow stream of silver, in the middle of a great desolate, wide tract of sandy ridges and water-worn hollows, plentifully interspersed with rotting trunks of trees, small patches of tumbled drift and straggling jungle. The real flood-bank of the river is now perhaps miles away from the actual stream, and the river-bed is, in fact, an alley, some miles in breadth in places, confined between two ragged walls of shifting sand and crumbling mould, and along the base of the wall are generally a succession of these still lagoons to which I have more than once alluded, in which the village tame buffaloes love to wallow; where often the village fisherman finds a rich finny harvest, and which, in the cool misty mornings of December or January, are alive with teal or widgeon, wild duck, ibis, curlew, plover, and innumerable winged varieties of game.

The cunning old grey boar had headed direct for the extreme edge of this rotten, crumbling ground. Young D divined his tactics, and made for a rotten-looking descent on to the sandy flats below. His footing, however, was unstable, as if he were treading on a loose heap of grain, and we on the top enjoyed a hearty grin as we watched and his unlucky country-bred mare go tumbling head over heels in a perfect avalanche of dust and sand, until they rolled, unhurt, but choked and blinded, on the cool, crisp sand-bar below.

The pig was lobbing along leisurely in front of us. Now on the extreme edge of the bank, dodging among the half-uprooted tussocks of elephant-grass that hung over the bank, anon hidden from view as he dipped under the overhanging bank and raised the finely pulverised Indian river sand in a cloud behind him. Occasionally he would halt and grimly survey us with a cool, critical look and an angry tremble in his eye below kept shouting insulting threats at him, and occasionally had to make a wide detour to avoid one of those lagoons I have described. We were fairly circumvented. None of us were so foolhardy, or had so little respect for the safety of our lives, as to venture near the grisly fugitive on foot. We could not get our horses to go near the rotten edge of the bank, and we were fairly at our wits end.

We rode leisurely along at some distance from the edge of the crumbling cliff, keeping parallel with the boar, and occasionally getting one of the syces, or running grooms, to heave a clod at his sullen majesty, just to keep his temper lively, or in the vain attempt to lure him from his admirably chosen line of retreat. He was too wary, however, to be tempted from his masterly position. But just then D shouted out—

"Look out, boys! there's a ghat on ahead;" and looking forward, sure enough, to our joy, we descried one of those cart-tracks worn down the face of the bank, and leading to a ford. The boar, too, seemed to discern that here was a dangerous pass, and still betraying a most marvellous understanding of the imminence of his peril and the only way to escape it, he suddenly turned sharp round, and doubling back, seemed once again to laugh at all our efforts to come up with him.

"Hang the brute!" said Joe. "He may jink us this way till nightfall. We must dislodge him somehow."

By this time the other contingent, having killed their boar, had rejoined our party, and there being a small tattoo or native pony, ridden by one of my native tokedars, Pat got off his horse, leapt on the tat, and rode close up to the brink of the rotten bank, shouting and brandishing his spear, and hurling all the execrations he could think of at the wary old boar.

Perhaps he (the boar) may have understood Pat's insinuations, and felt indignant at so much insult. Perhaps he disdained to fly from a Sahib mounted on a sorry-looking diminutive native pony. Perhaps he really thought he had an opportunity of turning the Philistines to flight in the person of the vituperative Pat, but, at any rate, his "dander was up." Pat proved "a draw," and, with bristles erect, eyes flashing forth rage and spite, his tusks champing and his whole mind bent on ripping up Pat's miserable mount, he charged up the bank and came tearing down at the double on the venturesome Master Pat. It was comical to see our friend kick and straggle and spur the unfortunate tat. The pony didn't seem to see the adventure in the same light as his rider. He struggled with might and main to turn and flee. Paddy was as full of fight as a bulldog, and vigorously plied his spurs. The pony had a mouth as hard as a coupling chain, and tried all he knew to avoid facing the fierce-looking assailant that was now within a very few yards of him, grunting forth the most defiant challenge, such as only an enraged Indian boar can grunt. The saddle Pat bestrode, was one of those flimsy padded constructions dear to the native equestrian, and the girths were only knotted cords, which had been patched up once and again, until it were difficult to tell how much of the original material now remained. The unwonted exertions of the generally somniferous tat proved too much for the textile strength of the belly band. It snapped. The boar was close on the pony. Away went Pat ignomidously over the rump of the recalcitrant steed. The saddle, or agglomeration of padded felts and cloths which did duty for that part of the equestrian furniture, went one way, and Pat went another. The pony, feeling himself free, gave vent to his relieved feelings in a spasmodic upheaval of the hinder portion of his frame, disclosing his hoofs to the startled gaze of us onlookers. Lucky also for Pat that he (the pony) gave utterance to a neigh of martial defiance. This served to rouse the warlike tendencies of the boar to tenfold fury, and with a concentrated grunt of rage he made straight after the. retreating steed.

Now was my opportunity. Cutting in between the boar and the bank, I delivered a spear, that in my eagerness took him too high and far forward, and only made an ugly gash over his off fore shoulder. Joe followed me up and delivered a telling thrust in the loins; and now the boar, realising all his danger and roused to the utmost pitch of rage and fury, began charging right and left at every fresh assailant. All his cunning now was lost in his blind rage and eager desire to inflict an injury on Ins cruel enemies.

It is really a grand sight to see a boar at bay.

He disdains quarter.

If he is of the true fighting breed, he sets his heart as hard as a flint, and "drees his darg" without a sound. I have seen a boar fighting with a tiger. I have been in at the death of many a tawny monster. The true Bengal boar is a very Spartan. He disdains to utter sound or sob or sigh. When the fighting fever is on him, he is a very devil incarnate. He shows no quarter and he asks for none, and sad indeed is the plight of man or beast that forms a close-acquaintance with his sharp, unpitying tusks. They can cut as sharp and clean as a razor; and even the stately elephant prefers to give a wide berth to a grisly old grey boar when his fighting instincts are fairly aroused, and he determines to be the pursued no longer, but strikes a blow before he dies for vengeance and may be victory.

So it was now with our old boar. He was a true old Jungly warrior. He had made his mind up now to fight. Yet even now his native cunning and generalship did not desert him. There was a small withered mango tree close by. Feeling that he had deserted his only stronghold, the friendly sheltering bank, he made straight for this tree, and planting his stern against its trunk, he prepared to do battle with all and sundry who wished to battle with him.

Pat by this time had got to his feet and beaten an ignominious and undignified retreat. Turning to distinguish himself and recover his lost laurels, he was the first to urge his steed down full tilt on the savage boar; but here for once the experienced pig-sticker was at fault, his over-eagemess defeated itself. He missed the boar, and the old grey warrior once again turned the tables on his foe, and got well home with his charge, inflicting a nasty, ugly, gaping wound on the stifle of the horse.

The thrust Joe had given him was now, however, becoming stiff and sore. He occasionally settled down on his haunches like a panting dog on a hot day, and my next spear took him fair in the spine, and very speedily the old boar was stark and stiff.

We beat back again for the coverts, and once more dividing our party, we were lucky in spearing five young boars before lunch. Every one of them fought well. These boars of the Koosee Diraras are all plucky animals. Instances have been known in which they have even proved too much for the Royal Tiger himself. One of these encounters I myself once witnessed and will in a future chapter describe. But what I want to impress on the reader is the fact that pig-sticking in India is no child's play. It demands every quality of a true sportsman. It taxes all the powers of a finished rider, and one of bold undaunted nerve, to come off victorious in the encounter. It is the sport par excellence of the Indian jungles, and there never was a "rank duffer" yet on this earth who made a good pig-sticker. A man who is "good after Pig" could hold his own anywhere, whether after wild cattle on the pampas, out mustering on the salt bush country, or in the Australian scrubs and gullies, or over the stiff timbers and six footers of Leicestershire or Galway. In very truth I know no sport in all the world that calls for more varied exercise of pluck, judgment, forethought, quickness, resource, and all manly qualities than this same pig-sticking. I was rather amused then to read in that delightful paper the Queenslaneder some time ago, under the heading "The Savage Life," the following remarks on Indian sport, which, although in a certain sense doubtless true of some, is altogether inapplicable to the fierce and thrilling ardour that fires every vein as you feel your good steed bound under you, while you rally for the final burst after a fighting thirty-inch old grey boar. The quotation is as follows:—

"The self-reliance engendered by the constant wrestle with Nature in her silent wastes, which induces patient endurance of hardship, the fortitude to bear disappointment, and the intense enjoyment of success, is not a requisite in our Native Shikar. In India, the sportsman is enervated by the luxuries of the chase. He adds nothing to his moral fibre by successful warfare against the brute creation. Jungles teeming with pea-fowl and the smaller feathered game—where nilghai, spotted and hog deer crash through the undergrowth—in winch the huge grey tusker grunts suspiciously as he grubs up his meal of roots—in which possibly the awful tiger has made a lair for his sleek consort —afford excitement enough and to spare for the sportsman who finds his pleasure in fowling-piece and rifle. There is the requisite spice of danger, too, that lends excitement its keenest zest. But there are no higher excellences required of the hunter than that of shooting deftly at such game as offers. He is not called upon to measure his reason against the wary instincts and acute senses of his quarry, and to stake. Ids chance of success upon his superior cunning. Far less is he called upon to extract the moderate provision necessary for existence from a wary conflict with pitiless elements. The Indian sportsman is housed in a commodious tent, waited upon by obsequious servants. His every want is foretold. Bottled beer and brandy pawnee cheer him after his day's fatigues. His bearer kneels to wash his feet as he lounges on a comfortable cliarpoy, indolently recalling the incidents of the day under the soothing influence of a cheroot. "When he goes forth in the morning his head shikaree marshals the army of beaters, directing their movements with the one object of affording the Sahib the maximum of sport at the minimum of trouble. He is, in fact, the sultan for whose pleasure a subservient following are bound to find such amusement as the jungle affords. Xo doubt the pastime is glorious and the enjoyment great. But to such a one the subtle, the almost weird charm of what we have termed 'the savage life' is almost unknown, and with every appreciation of comfort, we are led to think he has faded to attain to a hunter's truest pleasures."

The writer has evidently never been out pig-sticking in a planting district, or tiger-shooting during the rains near the Terai, or black buck shooting in a remote corner of Oudh, or bear hunting in the Sonthal Pergunnahs, or leopard stalking in the sal jungles of Bhaugulpore, to say nothing of the ibex shooting on the Thian Shan, stalking Ovis Amnion or Thar or Harigul among the glorious hills near Cashmere, or maliseer fishing in Assam.

To give the reader, however, a graphic unvarnished account of this most famous and favourite of all Indian sports, I cannot, I think, do better than extract a capitally written article called "Hints to Hog Hunters," which appeared in the Oriental Sporting Magazine for November, 1873, and from a perusal of which a better idea can be formed of the nature of the sport than from reams of description giving details of individual encounters :—

"Whatever the strength of the party," says my unknown author, "not more than three riders should follow the same hog, as a large number will interfere with good sport, by being in each other's way, as well as by preventing the overmatched boar from showing his finest qualities as a fighter; it is when opposed singly, or by not more than two horsemen, that these qualities are displayed pre-eminently. Another rule equally good is, that when the hunter has the hog in his right front and within double spear's length, no other should attempt to come between them; and a third, still more important, is, that under no provocation or temptation should the spear be thrown at the hog. The breach of these rules entails half of the accidents which happen to both man and horse; while another source of wounds is the too great importance attached to the taking of the 'first spear,' which often renders horsemen too eager and reckless in the determination to draw first blood. It is well known that boars are far more savage and dangerous after feeling the first wound, and consequently more skill and daring are called for then than previously, when the principal object of the hunted beast has been to escape into some neighbouring covert; but while too great an eagerness for the coveted honour is to be avoided, that honour is well bestowed upon him who, by his bold and skilful riding, has first not merely scratched the wild hog's back, but buried deep in his side the glistening blade, since, after such an injury, the enraged animal seldom thinks more of escape, but only of revenge, and thus his death becomes a certainty if the first spear be ably seconded by his companions.

"When the horseman can deliver his thrust with hand held low and rapidly dashed outwards from his side into the hog's ribs, the wound will not only prove mortal, but the spear can be easily withdrawn; but this can only be effected when the horse is racing alongside the hog; when the latter charges, the spear is usually driven deep down from his crest through his lungs, or somewhat further back, in which case the weapon cannot be readily extracted, but is often left standing in the body of the hog; and it is no uncommon sight to see a large one with two, three, or even more spears standing deep buried in his body, and yet charging desperately all who approach him, till, weak from loss of blood and feeling his strength gone, he gently subsides to the earth, without a sigh or groan.

"A touch on the spine with a keen spear will generally kill at once, and require no second thrust: the best places therefore to aim at are the ribs, the crest and the centre of the back. Beginners, it is notorious, frequently links the charging boar through their over anxiety to inflict a severe wound, which induces them to raise too high the spear hand and so go over the animal's back; whereas in truth all that is called for is a quick eye to direct to the fatal part, the spear held low in a firm and steady hand: the speed of the steed and boar as they advance towards each other will do the rest. In the course of the chase, when an encounter is not imminent, the spear is balanced easily across the body, the right hand which holds it rests on the right thigh, and its fingers can if necessary aid those of the left which guides the horse; but when the hunted hog may be expected momentarily to turn and charge, the hand is slightly raised and projected forward from the body, the point of the weapon being some three feet from the ground, much of which is concealed by jungle of some sort. Pig-stickers require a strong rather than a pretty seat on horseback; the more so since they will mount fresh or young horses totally devoid of any experience of cross-country work, and expect and make them do their work by a firm and exacting hand, rather than by a gentle and coaxing one; so that the vulgar saying of 'a rum 'un to look at but a good one to go,' may be frequently applied with justice to many individuals of their class.

"Dogs are not employed in either hunting out hogs or hunting them afterwards, as if good and courageous they would be soon killed, and their places could be supplied with difficulty and only at great expense; but if inferior and cautious, they are in the way of the horseman without lending him any assistance. The best beaters for all descriptions of jungle but thick forest, in which hogs are seldom looked for, are elephants; but when they cannot be obtained, men armed with long staves, and supplied with fireworks, rattles and kettle-drums, generally serve the purpose, though accidents among them must be anticipated, as hogs which have made up their minds not to face the open, cannot without difficulty and some danger be dislodged by beaters from their strongholds; in these cases a charge of snipe shot, applied from a moderate distance on a certain prominent part, will cause them almost invariably to move at once.

"The Wild Hog of India," pursues our author, and most Indian sportsmen will cordially endorse his remarks, "is acknowledged by experienced sportsmen to be the most courageous—one might almost say chivalrous—of all the numerous beasts of the chase to be found in the Peninsula, throughout almost every part whereof he may be met with, differing slightly according to the locality. Taking that of the plains of Bengal Proper as the best type of his race, he may be described as generally a nocturnal animal, possibly rather through compulsion than choice, as in spots not much disturbed by man he will be found resting and wallowing in the soft lowlands at all hours of the day, specially should there happen to he water lying thereon. He is the first among wild animal to leave the coverts of an evening in search of food, and the last to return thereto the following morning. His favourite lairs are the banks of tanks, lakes, and water-courses overgrown with grass, reeds, or rushes, and shaded by overhanging trees. There he will prepare himself a dainty and luxurious couch by cutting down and stamping upon a sufficient quantity of the softest grass and leaves, and then with his snout gently raising the mass, and inserting his body, until a perfect little hut be formed impervious to sun and rain; in this, with his back to a thick bush of thorns, his snout to the outlet, he will devour up the juicy sugar cane, the ripening paddy, and the soft black mud of the neighbouring jheel, till the heavy crushing advance of a line of elephants, or haply more fortunate, the slanting rays of the setting sun penetrating the leafy shade, and the calls of the francolin shall wake him softly ere the light sinks behind the bank of the western clouds.

"The hog is essentially a gentleman of the old school, fond of society, grave and dignified, not prone to quarrel or attack, but when insulted (and his feelings of honour are exceedingly acute) he extorts an apology in the hasty flight of his aggressor, or, failing that, vents his injured feelings upon him in the most resolute and unflinching manner, no matter how strong or large that adversary may be; but having once prostrated him, he disdains generally to mutilate his foe, but tossing up his snout he looks around to see whether there be any willing to take up the quarrel again, and if none appear, trots off' with a contented grunt and stiffly elevated tail.

"Hogs when very young are of a yellowish-brown colour, marked longitudinally with light-greyish stripes, which disappear after a few months, and leave them a dark-brown, up to two years of age or thereabouts; they then become black, and if in fine condition 'blue' black, and thus are heard stories of desperate fighting 'blue boars,' which are nothing more than hogs in their prime and lull strength, with an unusual amount of black bristles.

"With advancing age they become grey, and when very old are almost harmless. A well-grown boar measures from 36 to 38 inches in height. Not one in a thousand exceeds, and comparatively few attain that size.

"The head is comparatively lighter than that of the tame beast; it is armed in the lower jaws by tusks from three to four inches in length outside the jaw bone, but these tusks frequently grow to a much greater length, especially when those of the upper jaw, which are shorter and thicker, having been broken, permit them to curl over, supplying no longer the bone, on which they are kept sharp and of serviceable form; in the latter case the lower tusks become useless for attack and defence, and then sometimes the conscious animal may exhibit a disinclination for combat. His legs and feet are very Wood-looking in appearance, and his tail, unlike that of his domesticated cousin, is invariably straight, and naturally tufted, but the tufts are often wanting in consequence of the defeated boar being occasionally scalped by his conqueror. The sows are much the same sort of animal, though smaller and lighter in build, and unprovided with tusks in either jaw; but an old one sometimes carries a tusk of one to two inches in length, quite enough to enable her to inflict a deep cut. The bristles in her crest and back are shorter and thinner than those of the boar, whose grow to the length of three or four inches.

"When wild hogs are numerous they may be met with in 'sounders,' or herds of from ten to thirty, or even more, in each of which one or more well-grown boars may be found; but in countries more disturbed, 'sounders' of six to ten will be more commonly seen. Boars are often solitary, or lie singly near the 'sounders' without associating with them, as is the case with certain bull elephants and buffaloes, and, like such, these hogs are the fiercest, their tempers having been roused by expulsion from society.

"Wild hog are not only strong and courageous, but are extremely crafty and fleet. When first breaking covert and coming in view of his mounted enemies, he halts for a moment, takes a rapid glance at the state of affairs, and often either charges at once, or more probably, having made up Ins mind as to the line of country to be taken, goes off at such a pace that for the first few hundred yards the swiftest horses gain little on him. When he finds that his hunters are overhauling him, he tries to throw them off by either crossing suddenly, when at full speed—a very common practice with him—and then rapidly taking a very different course, or stopping in full career he avoids the spear by a quick turn to the right, and, wheeling round, follows the horse, and endeavours to inflict a wound behind. At such moments the spur must be plied vigorously to save the horse. In country much intersected by 'nullahs' and dried water-courses, he will often, descending one of them, turn sharp to the right or left, or in jungly ground will suddenly halt and hide himself in the grass till the hunters have passed, and then dash off in some other direction. A hunted boar has been known to cast himself into the nest of another, rouse him up, and before, the half-sleeping beast knew what had occurred, he found the hunters upon him, and to save his life has been driven into flight, while the intruder, with a grunt of satisfaction, turned into his comfortable quarters and, after recovering his wind, got into some heavy covert.

"Many hogs will charge immediately the horsemen overtake him; indeed, if the strong covert be distant, such will generally be the case, and his rush will be extremely rapid and sustained to some distance, if he escape the spear and follows the horse, which he -will do with long bounds and angry grunts. Now and then a boar will altogether disdain flight, or even when the sought-for jungle he gained, will slacken speed, turn, and at a trot increasing to his utmost speed will rush headlong to the attack; at such moments he is most dangerous, and his appearance as he advances, with every bristle in his body erect, his eyes flashing fire, the froth flying from his champing jaws and half-open mouth, is very imposing, and quick and steady must be the horse, and bold and experienced the rider, who will escape scatheless and victorious from the encounter. Such face-to-face meetings with tolerably fresh and large boars are to be avoided if possible, and may be judiciously, when two or three hunters are out; but the solitary horseman cannot always do so, and then this sport assumes its most dangerous and exciting character, for there is death in the meeting."

The above account is at once the most concise and truthful I have ever seen in print on the dangers incidental to pig-sticking. That the sport is dangerous enough I have had frequent opportunities of proving. I have had two friends of my own—young planters and bold riders, too—killed outright in the hunting field by wild hog, and another was so lamed that he had to throw up his appointment and go home, where, however, he eventually succumbed to the influence of his terrible wound. That the sport is exciting and irresistibly seductive to those who have gained some proficiency in handling the spear, is proved by its universal popularity all over India, Wherever a few sportsmen are to be found congregated together, pig-sticking is the favourite toast in that chosen land of teeming game; and it is, in my humble opinion, the field sport of all others that most combines the elements of all true sporting ardour and delight; calls forth the keenest exercise of all manly qualities, and so enthrals its votaries that all other sports seem tame and insignificant beside the incomparable glories of a rattle across country after a fleet grey boar, and a "tussle for first spear" with bold and generous kindred spirits.

Shortly after this our merry party broke up, and I had to return to the factory, to undergo a spell of hard work, although in such a glorious district for large game of all sorts, scarcely a day passed in which I did not find some adventure worthy of recording in my sporting journal.


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