There is not much conversation on these occasions, for the party is apt to become scattered, and there is a general tone of expectancy in the air, the old hands conversing more with the natives who know the district than with each other, and the young ones either wondering how many tigers they will kill, or listening open mouthed to the tales of adventure reeled off by the yard by the old bearded shikarry, who has slain the king of the jungle with a kookrie in hand to hand struggle when he was young, and bears the scars of the deadly encounter on his brown chest to this day.
On a larger altar greater sacrifices are being offered up for our breakfast. A crowd of nearly naked Bheels watch the rites and snuff the fragrant incense of venison from a respectable distance. Their leader, a broken-looking old man, with hardly a rag on, stands apart exchanging deep confidences with my friend the Shikarry.
The Baboo will subsequently be told off to sit on the Member's head. During this function the Baboo will deliver some sesquipedalian reflections in the rodomontade mood. The Shikarry will then tell the twelve-foot-tiger story. Mrs. The company will break up at this point, after receiving a plenary dispensation from the Archdeacon.
When Lord Dufferin was Viceroy of India, he had a "shikarry," or sporting servant, whose special duty was to attend the visitors at the Viceregal Court on their shooting excursions. Returning one day from one of these expeditions, the shikarry encountered the Viceroy, who, full of courteous solicitude for his guests' enjoyment, asked: "Well, what sort of sport has Lord had?"
Aberigh-Mackay early showed in his book "A Manual of Indian Sport," which, in addition to collecting in small compass lessons taught by many a noted Indian hunter, contains a great deal of original matter useful to every would-be sportsman, that he was well fitted to depict "The Shikarry" in correct and graphic manner and from actual personal knowledge.
The weather was not so warm as on the previous day, and I was debating whether I should not try and induce the younger men to go and stick a pig the shikarry said there were plenty in some place he knew of or whether I should settle myself in the dining-tent for a long day with my books, when the arrival of a mounted messenger with some letters from the distant post-office decided me in favour of the more peaceful disposition of my time.
And all this on a handful of parched grain! My friend the Shikarry delights to clothe himself in the coarse fabrics manufactured in gaol, which, when properly patched and decorated with pockets, have undoubtedly a certain wild-wood appearance. As the hunter does not happen to be a Bheel with the privileges of nakedness conferred by a brown skin, this is perhaps the only practical alternative.
If they have not had them, they will, I have no doubt. Heaven is just, and will not leave you to the conversational mercies of the entertaining tiger and the engaging shikarry." "By Jove, Mr. Griggs, that was a brilliant idea: and, as you say, they may all get the measles yet. The fact is, I have set my heart on this thing.