16 NOVEMBER 1907, Page 42

Old English Sports. By F. W. Hackwood. (T. Fisher Unwin.

10s. 6d. net.)—Mr. Hackwood writes on a subject which is always interesting to Englishmen. He does not tell us anything new, but he knows what he is writing about, and has a lucid and yet dignified style. Naturally a great deal of attention is paid to such sports as still survive—hunting, pugilism, football—and such as have recently died out or been stamped out. Bull-baiting, bear- baiting, and whipping the blind bear certainly deserved this fate. The last-named seems the, moat absurdly cruel form of entertainment ever invented. That it actually existed, however, may enable us to realise the temper of our ancestors better than any amount of conjecture or supposi- tion. Cook-fighting, probably because the literature is ex- tensive, comes in for an exhaustive, and, it must be confessed, interesting, account. We have heard a man say he has seen the dessert cleared from the Sunday dinner-table, and the cocks put on it. Mr. Hackwood might have told us a little more about hockey, which must have always been a popular game. Its old name, bandy, we suppose, is restricted to the ice game. Speaking of archery, we notice the author does not tell us what is now notorious, that English yews were really of very little use for good bows. It would not have taken much research to bring that home to him. The reference to the splendid pageant of the Eglinton Tournament is a somewhat unkind one. The illustrations are good, especially as a guide to dress, some of the half-tone plates being really excellent.