One of the first peculiarities of Bombay that I noticed and never lost sight of was the kites. The city by day is never without these spies, these sentries. From dawn to dusk the great unresting birds are sailing over it, silent and vigilant. Whenever you look up, there they are, criss-crossing in the sky, swooping and swerving and watching. After a while one begins to be nervous: it is disquieting to be so continually under inspection. Now and then they quarrel and even fight: now and then one will descend with a rush and rise carrying a rat or other delicacy in its claws; but these interruptions of the pattern are only momentary. For the rest of the time they swirl and circle and never cease to watch. Bombay also has its predatory crows, who are so bold that it is unsafe to leave any bright article on the veranda table. Spectacles, for example, set up a longing in their hearts which they make no effort to control. But these birds are everywhere. At a wayside station just outside Calcutta, in the early morning, the passengers all had tea, and when it was finished and the trays were laid on the platform, I watched the crows, who were perfectly aware of this custom and had been approaching nearer and nearer as we drank, dart swiftly to the sugar basins and carry off the lumps that remained. The crow, however, is, comparatively speaking, a human being; the kite is something alien and a cause of fear, and the traveller in India never loses him. His eye is as coldly attentive to Calcutta as to Bombay.

It is, of course, the indigenous birds of a country that emphasise its foreignness far more than its people. People can travel. Turbaned heads are, for example, not unknown in England; but to have green parrots with long tails flitting among the trees, as they used to flit in my host's garden in Bombay, is to be in India beyond question. At Raisina we had mynahs and the babblers, or "Seven Sisters," in great profusion, and also the King Crow with his imposing tail; while the little striped squirrels were everywhere. These merry restless little rodents do more than run and scamper and leap: they seem to be positively lifted into space by their tails. Their stripes (as every one knows) came directly from the hand of God, recording for ever how, on the day of creation, He stroked them by way of approval.

No Indian bird gave me so much pleasure to watch as the speckled kingfishers, which I saw at their best on the Jumna at Okhla. They poise in the air above the water with their long bills pointed downwards at a right-angle to their fluttering bodies, searching the depths for their prey; and then they drop with the quickness of thought into the stream. The other kingfisher - coloured like ours but bigger - who waits on an overhanging branch, I saw too, but the evolutions of the hovering variety were more absorbing.

When one is travelling by road, the birds that most attract the notice are the peacocks and the giant cranes; while wherever there are cattle in any numbers there are the white paddy birds, feeding on their backs - the birds from which the osprey plumes are obtained. One sees, too, many kinds of eagle and hawk. In fact, the ornithologist can never be dull in this country.

Wild animals I had few opportunities to observe, although a mongoose at Raisina gave me a very amusing ten minutes. At Raisina, also, the jackals came close to the house at night; and on an early morning ride in a motorcar to Agra we passed a wolf, and a little later were most impudently raced and outdistanced by a blackbuck, who, instead of bolting into security at the sight or sound of man, ran, or rather, advanced - for his progress is mysterious and magical - beside us for some forty yards and then, - with a laugh, put on extra speed (we were doing perhaps thirty miles an hour) and disappeared ahead. All about Muttra we dispersed monkeys up the trees and into the bushes as we approached. Next to the parrots it is the monkeys that most convince the traveller that he is in a strange tropical land. And the flying foxes. Nothing is more strange than a tree full of these creatures sleeping pendant by day, or their silent swift black movements by night.

I saw no snakes wild, but in the Bacteriological Laboratory at Parel in Bombay, which Lt.-Col. Glen Liston controls with so much zeal and resourcefulness, I was shown the process by which the antidotes to snake poisoning are prepared, for dispersion through the country. A cobra or black snake is released from his cage and fixed by the attendant with a stick pressed on his neck a little below the head. The snake is then firmly and safely held just above this point between the finger and thumb, and a tumbler, with a piece of flannel round its edge, is proffered to it to bite. As the snake bites, a clear yellow fluid, like strained honey in colour and thickness, flows into the glass from the poison fangs. This poison is later injected in small doses into the veins of horses kept carefully for the purpose, and then, in due course, the blood of the horses is tapped in order to make the anti-toxin. Wonderful are the ways of science! The Laboratory is also the headquarters of the Government's constant campaign against malaria and guinea worm, typhoid and cholera, and, in a smaller degree, hydrophobia. But nothing, I should guess, would ever get sanitary sense into India, except in almost negligible patches.