Page:The Days Work (1899).djvu/163

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"Now if he was a partridge he 'd tower. Lungs must be full of blood."

The brute had jerked himself over a boulder and fallen out of sight the other side. John Chinn looked over with a ready barrel. But the red trail led straight as an arrow even to his grandfather's tomb, and there, among the smashed spirit-bottles and the fragments of the mud image, the life left, with a flurry and a grunt.

"If my worthy ancestor could see that," said John Chinn, "he 'd have been proud of me. Eyes, lower jaw, and lungs. A very nice shot." He whistled for Bukta as he drew the tape over the stiffening bulk.

"Ten—six—eight—by Jove! It 's nearly eleven-call it eleven. Fore-arm, twenty-four—five—seven and a half. A short tail, too: three feet one. But what a skin! Oh, Bukta! Bukta! The men with the knives swiftly."

"Is he beyond question dead?" said an awe-stricken voice behind a rock.

"That was not the way I killed my first tiger," said Chinn. "I did not think that Bukta would run. I had no second gun."

"It—it is the Clouded Tiger," said Bukta, unheeding the taunt. "He is dead."

Whether all the Bhils, vaccinated and unvaccinated, of the Satpuras had lain by to see the kill, Chinn could not say; but the whole hill's flank rustled with little men, shouting, singing, and stamping. And yet, till he had made the first cut in the splendid skin, not a man would take a knife; and, when the shadows fell, they ran from the red-stained tomb, and no persuasion would