Rambles and Recollections of an Indian Official eBook

William Henry Sleeman
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 1,051 pages of information about Rambles and Recollections of an Indian Official.
and guarded during the day, when the animals are left to repose in the shade, except on such occasions as the present, when the Raja wants to give his guests a morning’s sport.  On the plains and woods outside we saw a good many large deer, but could not manage to get near them in our own way, and had not patience to try that of the natives, so that we came back without killing anything, or having had any occasion to exercise our forbearance.  The Raja’s people, as soon as we left them, went about their sport after their own fashion, and brought us a fine buck antelope after breakfast.  They have a bullock trained to go about the fields with them, led at a quick pace by a halter, with which the sportsman guides him, as he walks along with him by the side opposite to that facing the deer he is in pursuit of.  He goes round the deer as he grazes in the field, shortening the distance at every circle till he comes within shot.  At the signal given the bullock stands still, and the sportsman rests his gun upon his back and fires.  They seldom miss.  Others go with a fine buck and doe antelope, tame, and trained to browse upon the fresh bushes, which are woven for the occasion into a kind of hand-hurdle, behind which a man creeps along over the fields towards the herd of wild ones, or sits still with his matchlock ready, and pointed out through the leaves.  The herd seeing the male and female strangers so very busily and agreeably employed upon their apparently inviting repast, advance to accost them, and are shot when they get within a secure distance.[2] The hurdle was filled with branches from the ‘dhau’ (Lythrum fructuosum) tree, of which the jungle is for the most part composed, plucked as we went along; and the tame antelopes, having been kept long fasting for the purpose, fed eagerly upon them.  We had also two pairs of falcons; but a knowledge of the brutal manner in which these birds are fed and taught is enough to prevent any but a brute from taking much delight in the sport they afford.[3]

The officer who conducted us was evidently much disappointed, for he was really very anxious, as he knew his master the Raja was, that we should have a good day’s sport.  On our way back I made him ride by my side, and talk to me about Datiya, since he had been unable to show me any sport.  I got his thoughts into a train that I knew would animate him, if he had any soul at all for poetry or poetical recollections, as I thought he had.  ’The noble works in palaces and temples,’ said he, ’which you see around you, Sir, mouldering in ruins, were built by princes who had beaten emperors in battle, and whose spirits still hover over and protect the place.  Several times, under the late disorders which preceded your paramount rule in Hindustan, when hostile forces assembled around us, and threatened our capital with destruction, lights and elephants innumerable were seen from the tops of those battlements, passing and repassing under the walls, ready to defend

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Rambles and Recollections of an Indian Official from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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