16 NOVEMBER 1907, Page 10


Big Game Shooting on the Equator. By Captain F. A. Dickinson. With an Introduction by Sir Charles Norton Eliot. (John Lane.

12s. 6d. net.)—Captain Dickinson is nothing if not practical. His aim is not to write a picturesque account of the East African plateau, but to give intending sportsmen the kind of information

they need. Nothing could be more useful than some of his recommendations, especially as to the art of preserving skins and the arrangement of a sporting trip. And in an early chapter he points out what so many people forget, —that African hunting is mainly stalking, and that he who does not recognise this will get few shots. His last chapter, on " The Preservation of Big Game," is full of excellent sense. The plan of the book is to give a. chapter to each of the greater animals, with particulars of its habits and the localities in East Africa where it is chiefly found, and a few notes of the author's own experiences. The style is one of the oddest we have met with for many days. It is slangy to a degree far beyond what is usual even in smoking-room gossip. The author seems to bo inspired with a horror of correct writing, and, out of a kind of perverted modesty, insists on saying what he has to say in slipshod English. The curious thing is that he can write exceedingly well when he tries, as witness the chapter called "An Impression," a description of a scene on the German boundary. The book is difficult to criticise because it is mainly a collection of facts. Captain Dickinson found that the eland could be brought down with one bullet, though he had been told that it was a difficult animal to stop. We wonder who his informants were, for the eland is notoriously the softest of all the great antelopes. About the rhinoceros he advances an interesting theory. When it rushes violently towards a hunter, he thinks that it is not charging, but merely running away up-wind, as most wild animals do. The hunters or the caravan, whom he has scented, are of course up-wind, most unfortunately for them, but no blame to the rhinoceros. This sounds to us a disputable proposition. No doubt he is not always charging in anger, being sometimes merely fussed and frightened ; but we should have thought that his temper, perhaps owing to his bad eyesight, was on the whole the worst of all the creatures of the bush.