The wild-boar! There is something in the very name suggestive of fierce, impetuous courage, of dogged, obstinate determination, and sudden, brisk rapidity of action. At least, to my mind, the word seems to present the incarnation of those qualities, for it summons before my mental vision many a foughten field in which they have been markedly displayed.
What a tumultuous crowd and whirl of feelings memory recalls as it dwells on the associations connected with the pursuit of that animal! How vividly it reflects all the accessories of that noble sport, termed, indifferently, " Hog-hunting," or, less euphoniously,
" Pig-sticking ! " The preparations for, and happy prospects of, the meet! the excitement and expectation attending the period before the break! the wild feeling of enjoyment, the sense of relief, of being, as it were, unstrapped, as the " gone away 99 is seen or announced ! Then the run ! the interest with which the relaxing speed of the panting game is viewed ! the intensity of the eagerness to draw forward! the spirited emulation ! the racing contest for the honour of first-spear! the game Arab horse reeling from exhaustion and hard pressing, but struggling for victory as keen as his master, every stride a struggle ! the last desperate effort! the lift with hand and heel! the lunge of the body forward over the gallant horse's neck! the thrust at arm's length, almost involving separation from the saddle ! a gentle touch yes no by heaven, yes !— the first-spear is won. Hurrah ! hurrah ! Then the boar at bay, with glaring eyes, foaming mouth and bristles erect, prepared to attack all comers! The charge, the fight, and the gallant death! What is the end of a poor broken-hearted, worried vermin to that ?
I fully and freely acknowledge tlie manifold attractions of fox-hunting, and the merited enthusiasm it creates among its votaries. But is not hog-hunting also worthy of such ? Shall the chronicles of foxhunting form almost a distinct branch of literature, and, save for a few brief, isolated descriptions of runs, boar-hunting remain an unrecorded sport ? Exhaustive accounts have been written of most sports; but why one, admitting as it does of great variety of action and description, should be only represented by a few desultory, though graphic and spirited, sketches, I know not. I have, therefore, in default of others more able, taken on myself to describe this sport as a whole, as I have enjoyed it in various provinces. I would that a more skilful hand had undertaken the pleasing task, though one more loving could hardly be. Indian hog-hunting or, in other words, the spearing of wild-pig from horseback is then the principal subject treated of in the following pages, though I have by no means confined myself to descriptions of that sport alone.