21 DECEMBER 1867, Page 21


WE are grateful to any one who reminds us of the favourites of our boyhood. Yet gratitude must not disarm justice, and while the reader is pleased, the critic may be severe. The reminiscence is sometimes too much like imitation. Imitation has often a sus- picious look of plagiarism. We do not mean to accuse Captain Newell of having taken a leaf out of that most charming of all books of Indian sport, the Old Forest Ranger. But the descrip- tion of the tussle for the first spear at p. 2 of his volume seems word for word the same with the one which we used to know by heart, and which we constantly retailed to maiden aunts and mild clergymen. Nor does Captain Newell bear comparison with Colonel Walter Campbell, the author and the Charles of the Forest Ranger. We are rather tired of boars and their pursuers before we reach the end of this stout octavo. There is a sameness in constant pig- sticking. Too many nullahs have been cleared by the game Arab horses, and there has been far too much pugging. Captain Newell's book would gain in interest by being reduced in size, and as he recommends light spears which do not fatigue the arm, he will do well to spare the hand and wrist of his readers.

Another point in which Captain Newell's heroes are inferior to those of Colonel Campbell is the mode of spearing they have adopted. In the older book boars were always speared in the chest. Here they generally receive an inglorious wound in the back. We are told that "one does not often get a clear thrust at the chest ;" that the boar knocks the spear aside with his head, and you might as well hit a stone as his shoulder blades, and that "a thrust over the head and into the back is usually a more deadly wound." But this is merely to shirk difficulties which the true sportsman delights in overcoming. We should have thought that there was a needless risk in meeting a boar in its charge, and not checking it before it had a chance of a stroke at the horse. If you wait till it arrives almost under your stirrup, and then drive the spear over its head into its back, you must surely expose your horse to the danger of being ripped. Great firmness and caution are needed to avoid the boar's head in spearing his chest, but the result seems at once more thorough and more satisfactory. Surely, too, Captain Newell exaggerates the difficulty of receiving a boar on foot when he tells us of three men standing the charge of a wounded boar, and all of them being upset by the shock. We have read of boars being speared on foot in India, and the practice prevails largely in Germany, as we gather from Mr. Boner's Forest. Creatures. But the Captain looks upon Indian hog-hunting as far nobler than kindred sport in any other countries. Dogs, guns, pistols, and other weapons are used elsewhere ; the Indian hunter must rely on his spear, his horse, and his own courage. Except among the high hills in the great jungles, it is a worse crime than murder to shoot a pig. Captain Newell says that the genuine pigaticker is like the foxhunter in one of Leech's caricatures, who pointed with holy indignation to a clergyman as one who has destroyed two foxes, and yet walks about with a hymn-book under his arm. In the same spirit it was observed the other day of a retired manu- facturer, who professed to admire hunting, but whose grounds never yielded a fox, that his trade must have exercised a bad influence on his morality.

However, Captain Newalrs book ought not to beguile us into such general reflections. We read it for its animated descriptions, and we have no right to spoil them by our own prosiness. As we glance over the pages, each illustration makes us pause, and turn with curiosity to the context. In the frontispiece we see two bold riders with their spear heads scarcely an inch from the tail of a running boar. A few pages further on an uplifted spear and a yell give notice to the rest that a "sounder" has gone away, and the man who catches sight of the " well known sterns of pig" bobbing up and down among the scrub and grass is fortunate enough to draw first blood. This feat is always attended with some diffi- culty. One time the hog jumps in and out of nullahs, which are stony ravines in dry weather, and water-courses in the time of rains. Another Time it takes refuge in a cane thicket, and after sending in beaters without any effect, the hunters have to dislodge • Rog-Hunting in the East, and other Sports. By Captain J T. Newell. London Tinsley. it by volleys of guns. Or, again, it jumps sideways over a hedge five or six feet high, and of corresponding breadth, without even taking a run at it, and it is as much as the horse can do to follow. When it is brought to bay it drops all these tricks, and resorts to ferocity. There is a picture, aptly called a ripping affair, when an Englishman 4aB been thrown from his horse, and tries to ward off .the strike of the boar's tusks by hitting out at it from the shoulder. Such a defence would suit Guy Living- stone, but it is not of much avail against a boar. Once) when the horse was ripped, its rider was flung with such force as stunned him, and the boar, meeting with no resistance, was content to sniff at the piostrate figure, and then trotted off into the jungle. A pig of the softer sex would not have been so merciful. But the male is generous in his nature, and disdains to trample on a fallen enemy. It would be well for the horses if the same kindness was shown them. But they are always the first to receive the onset, and the clumsiness of the rider is often visited upon them. One man, whose arm was weak from a recent fall, missed his aim with the spear, and struck the ground instead of the boar. By some rather strange manceuvre the spear sprang from his grasp, and twirling round in the air, came with its point towards the horse. A more surprising feat on the part of a spear was achieved by the suicidal help of a wounded boar. The spear was driven in between the neck and the shoulder, and as the boar went plung- ing through a thick jungle, every bush or stone on the way helped to fix the spear more deeply, and at last the point protruded near the tail, after passing through the whole length of the body. No wonder that the owner of the spear was complimented on his amazing strength.

It will be fair to Captain Newell to let him describe a charge of more than usual spirit which he tells with more than usual vigour :—

" Norman now drew ahead of his companion. The gallant young one answered to the spurs, and as he rushed up to the blown hog had got clear from his competitor. With his spear extended far in front, and leaning over his horse's neck, he attempted to prick the hog, which, however, gave a sharp turn and the colt dashed past. Mowbray, who had taken a slight pull on his horse when he found himself passed, now took advantage of the turn, drove his horse up, and, leaning forward, just managed to touch the boar behind. Norman thought he had failed, but a cry of 'First spear' told the contrary. The hog made another sharp turn, and Norman, with some difficulty bringing round the colt, who, though showing no fear of the gains, was naturally unaware of the object in view, again got in behind it. The boar now ran down along- side a hedge, boring in toward it as if with the view of keeping on the pursuer's bridle hand. But Norman forced him a little out, and rushing past drove his spear deep in as the boar made a half-turn and tried to charge. The young one swerved a little, but his blood was up, and he behaved as a game Arab should do, and, in truth, generally does. The rider withdrew his spear unbroken, and wheeled round again to come to action. In doing so, however, he met Mowbray, who had just received a charge, and a serious broadside collision took place. Both riders were shaken in their seats, and the colt nearly came down, but each managed to pull himself and his horse together, and the attack was renewed. Vivian, who had been outpaced, now joined in the action. But they had reached the brink of the flint nullah, and into it the boar plunged, followed by the horsemen, who forced him to climb up the opposite bank. There, however, with curled back, erect bristles, glaring eyes, and champing tusks, he faced round and refused to badge an inch further. It was rather an awkward position to assail, but a direct attack was unavoidable. Norman was nearest, and dashed up the bank. The boar met him before he could gain a footing on the top, and, had the colt not behaved like a veteran, it might have come to grief. As it was, it barely escaped being ripped. Norman's spear rattled in among the boar's teeth, but the charge was staved off, and the impetus of the animal carried it on into the nnllah. Vivian here got a alight dig, but the boar ascended another portion of the bank, went on a little, and again stood at bay. Mowbray and Norman—whose horse was getting half frantic—rushed up this slope together, the former a little in advance, and on the left. The boar was standing with foam flying from his jaws on a piece of level but stony ground, and after a few sharp trotting steps rushed at Mowbray, thus passing directly across Norman. The latter made a thrust in front and struck the boar, which was at the same moment received by Mowbray on his spear. Norman's spear came across his horse's chest and flew from his grasp, while to avoid coming end on over the pig the colt rose to jump him. But only partial was his success. The boar was struck and knocked over, and either the spear shaft or the horse's head hit Norman a blow in the face, knocking off his hat and giving him a bloody nose. The active younghorse staggered on but recovered, and Norman found himself still in his saddle, and pull- ing his horse up on the other side half confused with the blow and the brief scrimmage, for it had been the work of a few seconds. Both horse- men came round ; but that was the gallant boar's last charge. He had risen to his legs, trotted a few paces, then reeled, sank on his knees, and rolled over, and gasping out his last sob, was gathered to his fathers."

The other game that fell to the guns of the sportsmen might have afforded even more excitement. But pig predominates. There is a lively incident with an alligator, and we hear of one or two bear hunts, and the death of one or two tigers. .It seems, how- ever, that Captain Newell prefers the spear to the rifle, and that there is more pleasure in racing across a plain after flying hogs than in waiting up a tree for a shot at a tiger. Hog-hunting is

certainly the more successful. Tigers are not always to be found, and when they put themselves within range, it is sometimes better to let them pass unmolested. We have an instance of this-in the illustration which represents a man standing under a tree, and a tiger stealing into view not forty yards away from him. Here discretion seemed the better part of valour. The sportsman had only a single-barrelled gun, and if he did not kill the tiger with his first fire he was sure to be charged. With a double barrel he would not have hesitated. But it is rashness instead of courage to wound a tiger, and see it come at you " looking- all tail and legs " when you have nothing to fall back upon.

The phrase which we have just borrowed from one of. Captain Newell's heroes exactly conveys the impression of a charging tiger.

But on that occasion the man who witnessed the charge was safe in a tree. This, we should say, made all the difference. It enables the hunter to feel the legitimate amount of excitement, while it saves him from the necessity of that prudence which afterwards he is almost ashamed to have consulted. We read, however, of a wretched native whose cowardice spoiled a splendid piece of sport. A buffalo had been left in a place where two tigers had killed it, and a couple of Englishmen posted themselves in a tree close at hand, knowing that the tigers would come back in the evening. All their men were sent back to the village, but one, who thought himself safer near his masters, climbed into another tree, and left his shoes at the foot of it. The tigers duly came, but, seeing the shoes, stopped to snuff at them, and the man in the tree set up such an unbroken series of yells that the game was frightened back into the jungle. Here is an account of a more successful attempt

The jungle was very thick, and we were posted about sixty or yards apart, both of us commanding a hill in front. From it came a nullah which lay between us, and part of this was folly exposed to fire from my tree. Most of you know the anxious excitement with which one generally has to wait for a tiger when being beaten up ; but on this occasion we had no opportunity of exercising that commendable quality—patience. The beaters had been taken round to the other side of the hill, and we had barely established ourselves in the mandwas, and the first shout of the distant line announced that the beat had com- menced, when the tiger accepted the notice to quit, and came galloping over the hill in splendid style as hard as he could go, and roaring as he. came on to the utmost of his ability. There was no sneaking along, or anything in the slightest degree indecisive about the matter. Appa- rently quite regardless of any hidden danger in front, he galloped straight on to the position held by my friend. L— would.gladly have let him approach closer, but owing to the thickness of the jungle. in front and to his right was afraid of losing sight of him; so, a favour- able opportunity occurring when within about thirty yards, he blazed away sharply right and left. The volley was delivered with such effect that the tiger was knocked clean over into a part of the nullah I have mentioned, and which was commanded from my position, but not so from that of my companion. It was about forty yards distant, and as. the tiger recovered himself and tried to scramble out of the nullah, I planted a bullet in his shoulder and dropped him back. Again he got up and made an effort to ascend the bank, and again I dropped him with another bullet placed not far from my first, and so effectually that he needed no third, as he never rose from the last shot. After waiting a while we descended our respective trees, and went down into the nullah, and found him quite dead. He was a fine fall-grown male, with enormous whiskers, and had in his death agony driven one of his teeth. right through his foot."

Shooting a bear in his hole, sticking a pig in a well, hanging one alligator and spearing another, are among the further adventures. in Captain Newell's book. If our readers have not had enough of it by this time, they will, no doubt, turn to the book itself, and though we have found its pages too many, we do not dissuade them from following up the trail which we have started.