By signs Achi indicated that we were to climb up above and circle around the cliff to a ragged promontory which jutted into space within a hundred yards of the animal. It was a good three quarters of an hour before we peered cautiously between two rocks opposite the ledge where the goral had been asleep. The animal was gone. We looked at each other in blank amazement and then began a survey of the ground below.
Halfway down the mountain-side Achi discovered the ram feeding in an open meadow and we began at once to make our way down the face of the cliff. It was dangerous going, but we gained the meadow in safety and worked cautiously up to a grassy ridge where the goral had been standing. Again we crawled like snakes among the rocks and again an empty slope of waving grass met our eyes. The goral had disappeared, and even Achi could not discover a sign of life upon the meadow.
With an exclamation of disgust I got to my feet and looked around. Instantly there was a rattle of stones and a huge goral leaped out of the grass thirty yards away and dashed up the hill. I threw up my rifle and shot hurriedly, chipping a bit of rock a foot behind the animal. Swearing softly at my carelessness, I threw in another shell, selected a spot in front of the ram, and fired. The splendid animal sank in its tracks without a quiver, shot through the base of the neck.
I had just ejected the empty shell when Achi seized me by the arm, whispering “gnai-yang, gnai-yang, gnai-yang, na, na, na, na,” and pointing to the cliffs two hundred yards above us. I looked up just in time to see another goral flash behind a rock on the very summit of the ridge. An instant later he appeared again and stopped broadside on with his noble head thrown up, silhouetted against the sky. It was a perfect target and, resting my rifle on a flat rock, I covered the animal with the white bead and centered it in the rear sight. As I touched the hair trigger and the roar of the high-power shell crashed back from the face of the cliff, the animal leaped with legs straight out, whirling over and over down the meadow and bringing up against a boulder not twenty yards from the first goral.
That night as I walked over the hills in the cool dusk I would not have changed my lot with any man on earth. The breathless excitement of the stalk and the wild thrill of exultation at the clean kill of two splendid rams were still rioting in my veins. I came out of the valley and across the rice fields to the blazing camp fire. Yvette ran to the edge of the grove, her hands filled with wet photographic negatives. “How many?” she called. “Two,” I answered, “and both big ones. How many for you?” “Fourteen color plates,” she sung back happily, “and all good.”
SEROW AND SAMBUR
We had a delightful visit from Mr. Grierson during our first week in camp. He rode out on Thursday afternoon and remained until Sunday, bringing us mail, war news, and fresh vegetables, and returning with goral meat for all the foreigners in Teng-yueh. On the afternoon of his visit I had killed three monkeys which represented a different species from any we had obtained before. They were the Indian baboon (Macacus rhesus) and were probably like those of the Salween River at Changlung.