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THE LIBRARY 

OF 

THE UNIVERSITY 
OF CALIFORNIA 









PRESENTED BY 

PROF. CHARLES A. KOFOID AND 
MRS. PRUDENCE W. KOFOID 




SPORTSMAN AND HIS DOG. 



LONDON: 
Printed by Schulze and Co., 13, Poland Street. 



THE 



SPORTSMAN AND HIS DOG: 



OR, 



m J^nrtittg. 



EDITED 

BY THE AUTHOR OF " SCOTTISH SPORTS AND PASTIMES," 

" SPAIN AND THE SEAT OF WAR IN SPAIN," 

ETC. ETC. ETC. 



x 



LONDON: 
JOHN AND DANIEL A. DARLING, 

126, BISHOPSGATE ST. WITHIN. 



CONTENTS. 



Page 

The Sportsman and his Dog ..... 1 

Taking the Field ...... 4 

Make Ready Fire 15 

The more Haste the less Speed . . . . 27 

The Wind and the Walk 40 

The Hare 48 

The Partridge 70 

The Pheasant 95 

The Woodcock 105 

The Wild Duck 117 

The Snipe 127 

Chance Game 132 

Intrepid Sportsmen ...... 140 



M312881 



VI CONTENTS. 

Page 
The Selfishness of Sportsmen . . . .147 

Necessary Precautions . . . . . .154 

The Theoretical Education of Sporting Dogs . 162 

The Practical Education of Sporting Dogs . .173 

The Trickery of War 184 

The Sportsman's Nightmare The Gamekeeper . 191 



THE 

SPORTSMAN AND HIS DOG. 



WHEN on a visit some years since to one of 
the most noble-hearted of English Noble- 
men, and I may truly add one of the best of 
English Sportsmen, at his romantic Shooting 
Castle, situated in one of the most beautiful 
of the Highland glens, the subject of conver- 
sation turned on a French Sporting Work 
written by M. E. Blaze, entitled Le Chas- 
seur au Chien d'Arret. At the period to 
which I allude, I had neither the time nor 
inclination to peruse the book, and was, con- 
sequently, unable to give any opinion as to 
its merits as a Sporting Work, or of its 
general interest to the reader. Circum- 



6 THE SPORTSMAN 

stances, however, wKich would be uninter- 
esting to the public, induced me some months 
since to recur to the subject of the book in 
question, which was most kindly forwarded 
for my perusal. I therein found so much 
excellent matter as regards the truest natural 
history, and such thoroughly good sporting 
notions, intermixed with so many amusing 
anecdotes so well and so piquantly told, 
that I humbly ventured to translate the 
whole into English, with the assurance that 
such portions of it as may not be acceptable 
to the experienced sportsman as a matter of 
interest, could not fail to be so to the inex- 
perienced, who will gain therefrom abundant 
and excellent information, from which he 
will be enabled to put theory into practice. 
To M. E. Blaze, who I sincerely trust still 
lives and sports, I have only one apology to 
make, viz. that my pen can scarcely convey 
to the English reader a faithful opinion of 
the merits or the ability with which this work 
is written, inasmuch as it is almost impos- 
sible for any translation to embrace the 
numerous interesting anecdotes with which 



AND HIS DOG. 3 

it abounds in the same witty and pleasing 
style of which his own language admits. 
The fact, however, of its having found a 
translator who is most truly devoted to field 
sports of every kind, and that that transla- 
tion has been admitted among the pages of 
the most widely-circulated sporting work in 
the most sporting country of Europe, must 
be a pleasing proof to him of the interest 
and value of his work, and I have only to 
add, in his own words : " Et ce n'est point 
un livre ordinaire : il vous enseigne Tart de 
vous amuser ; il vous donne un plaisir de 
tous les jours ; la joie, le bonheur, la sante 
dans ce monde, et par-dessus le marche la 
vie eternelle dans 1'autre : c'est ce que je 
vous souhais." 



THE SPORTSMAN 



TAKING THE FIELD. 

" Enfin ce jour pompeux, cet heureux jour nous duit." 

CORNEILLE. 

AT length the sun rises on the long 
wished-for day : all is ready. The law 
permits war against the partridges. The 
hare, quiet in her form, which believed 
itself in peace with man, will see that peace 
was only a truce, which truce is ended. 
Ah ! how many unfortunate partridges and 
rabbits will this day quit the delightful shade 
of the clover for the burning air of the 
kitchen ! How many quails, on the wing 
for Africa and Asia, will find their intentions 
frustrated ! Alas, having fattened them- 
selves, the better to withstand the chances 
of the voyage, their plump and yellowed 
breasts will serve to satisfy the sensuality of 
gourmands ! God created them to be eaten 



AND HIS DOG. 5 

at the second course, and they submit to 
their destiny. Some, wanting taste, dare to 
eat them at the first ; but I shall in a mo- 
ment prove to them it is a grave error ; in 
the meantime be careful not to imitate them. 

An amiable philosopher, M. Anthony Des- 
champs, put to me the following question : 
" Do you believe that man is permitted to 
kill a partridge ?" " Unquestionably," said 
I, " in the shooting-season, having a license, 
and on ground where none can dispute his 
right." " You do not understand me : I ask 
you if you believe that, notwithstanding the 
three conditions you have named, man is 
justified in destroy ing a partridge, an animal 
which God has created ?" " Most undoubt- 
edly : but on the condition that he eats it 
also." " You believe, then, one may fear- 
lessly eat a partridge ?" " Certainly, when 
cooked to perfection." 

Pythagore, bishop of St. Peter's, said 
otherwise : I am aware of it ; so much the 
worse for them ; they ought to be pitied. 
Listen to me : I admit the dilemma : either 
we ought to eat partridges, or they should 

B2 



6 THE SPORTSMAN 

eat us ; that is the question from which you 
cannot escape. As each year they have 
fifteen or twenty young, remain ten years 
without destroying them, and their numbers 
will equal the wasps or mushrooms : then 
adieu to your corn and oats, your barley and 
your grapes. Therefore partridges must be 
eaten, or horses be shot. Eat partridges, 
those who love claret ; and, if only for the 
simple reason that we cannot live without 
bread, they must be eaten. 

This right of eating partridges comes from 
a higher power. God said to Noah, " You 
shall be master of all the animals," (manui 
vestrce traditi sunt), which means that the 
animals are given to your hands, necessarily 
that your hands should put them in your 
mouth ; therefore, eat all you like. Man 
was not made to feed on grass, his canine 
teeth sufficiently prove it. 

The Bishop of St. Peter's was a first-rate 
fellow, but he had little taste in culinary 
matters. Let the world talk, but eat on : 
added to which one thing is positive, that if 
all were listened to, none would be eaten. 



AND HIS DOG. 7 

The moment your dog has discovered you 
dressed in your shooting-jacket, and has 
scented your gaiters, he is well prepared for 
the events of the day. Behold the joy which 
brightens in his eyes : he jumps, he rolls, 
the earth flies from his paws : like the battle- 
horse who hears the trumpet sound, nothing 
equals his impatience. This picture is your 
first delight. Start, then, for your dog will 
be ill if you go not. 

The most favourable hour to commence is 
with the departure of the morning dew. 
The herds are yet in their stable, and have 
not disturbed the game. The scent of the 
night is still fresh, and your dogs will find 
it more readily. 

If you go to your starting point on wheels, 
never do so in'company with loaded guns : 
when they are in question, a thousand pre- 
cautions are not out of place. When you 
arrive, then load as soon as you like. 

If your gun have a detachable breech, 
nothing is more simple than to introduce 
your cartridge and prime it. There are also 
self-priming guns made by Refaucheux and 



8 THE SPORTSMAN 

Reniger. But, concluding you to possess a 
gun with a ramrod, it is necessary to load it. 

Previous to undertaking this important 
operation, it is indispensable to put half a 
charge into each barrel, then fire it in the 
air without wadding; this is termed " flash- 
ing the gun." Should any little dirt have 
introduced itself into the barrel, the explo- 
sion will drive it out. Should it be too large 
to escape, your gun will snap : then take off 
the nipples, and recommence the operation. 
Immediately after, without blowing into the 
barrels (as some sportsmen have the bad 
habit), introduce your charges of powder, one 
in each side. If in the heat of action you 
put two into the same barrel, this will easily 
make itself evident by the height of the ram- 
rods, as, having secured your wadding, it 
will on one side naturally be higher than on 
the other, when it will of course be neces- 
sary to draw it. It is often dangerous to 
fire a double charge ; and the least which 
can result is a box on the ear, for which you 
will only have to thank yourself. 

Every sportsman has his own system with 



AND HIS DOG. tf 

regard to the quantity of powder and shot 
which he uses together. It would be a great 
error to suppose that a stronger charge would 
give one a greater chance of success. An 
old proverb tells us it is as well to be " chiche 
de poudre et large de plomb ;" and the 
Spaniards repeat, " Poca polvera per digones 
hasta la bocca." Nevertheless it is as well 
to fall neither into one excess nor the other. 
With regard to the powder, the state of the 
atmosphere should influence your determi- 
nation. It is as well that every one should 
try his gun with different charges. That of 
which the result is the most favourable at 
forty paces will be found the best. When 
you have successively tried every charge of 
powder, with all degrees and quantities of 
shot of different numbers, then select the 
best. 

Having previously made all these trials 
and preparations, and found the exact por- 
tion for the charge in your powder-flask, 
charge your gun. Put a wad in each barrel, 
and ram well down twice, as a soldier does 
at his exercise. Nevertheless it is as well 



10 THE SPORTSMAN 

not to force your wadding too much, as the 
powder overpressed does not so readily ignite, 
and the recoil is stronger. Then pour in 
your shot : fix it well on the wadding, either 
by striking the but lightly on the ground, 
or the top of the barrels with your hand ; 
then ram home your other wadding, not 
with too much force, but sufficiently to well 
secure your shot. 

Some sportsmen content themselves with 
forcing the wadding on the top of the shot 
without ramming it. In this they are wrong, 
inasmuch as the slightest movement of the 
gun from the weight of the shot may remove 
the wad, and it escapes altogether. 

At the commencement of the season you 
may use No. 8 or No. 7 shot ; later, No. 5 
and No. 6 ; and at the end, No. 4. The 
smaller the shot the less it scatters, and the 
less distance it carries. The ordinary dis- 
tance for 7 and 8 is from twenty to thirty 
paces ; from thirty to forty with 6 and 7 ; 
and from forty to fifty, 5 and 6 ; from sixty 
to seventy may be attained with No. 4. 
There are occasions when you may kill at 



AND HIS DOG. 11 

far greater distances than the above, but in 
such case you must put it down for hazard 
rather than certainty or good shooting. 
Should you fire beyond the distances I have 
named, let your sight be longer or higher; 
this is necessary to obtain a chance of suc- 
cess. We are not writing a philosophical 
treatise, consequently I shall not submit to 
you the laws which regulate the escape ot 
the shot from the gun. Neither you nor I 
having time to consider the causes, we must 
content ourselves with the result. 

The shot will be sure to scatter if it be not 
of equal size, and round : it is therefore ne- 
cessary to examine it well when you buy it. 
When purchasing shot, should I hesitate in 
regard to the number, I always buy the low- 
est ; that is to say, the least shot, for it carries 
the best. You miss frequently at a long shot, 
but you are repaid at a fair distance. Be- 
lieve me, the compensation is always to the 
advantage of a sportsman. With deer-shot 
a partridge may be killed at one hundred 
and fifty paces, but thirty following will be 
missed with it at twenty. Some sportsmen, 



12 THE SPORTSMAN 

to the number of which I belong, are in the 
habit during the autumn of charging each 
barrel with different-sized shot, taking the 
near shot with one, the long with the other. 

Be cautious not to put on the caps pre- 
vious to loading your gun : this operation 
should be performed afterwards. The cap 
being fixed prevents the air forced down in 
the loading from escaping, and the nipples 
being filled with air do not admit of the 
powder entering. Having fired a shot, take 
the precaution not to let fall the hammer on 
the side which you have not discharged, and 
on all occasions when loading be careful to 
hold the barrels as far as convenient from 
your head. 

Having loaded one barrel, never leave 
your ramrod in the other. A single shot 
may fix itself between the ramrod and the 
barrel, thus preventing your withdrawing it. 
This want of care once caused me to lose a 
splendid day's shooting, and I returned alone 
with an empty game-bag, 

" Honteux comme un renard 
Qu'une poule aurait pris." 



AND HIS DOG. 13 

Should both your barrels be discharged, 
always load them together. If, in order to 
gain time, you load one only, it is possible 
that several shot may fall into your empty 
barrel, and thus, when you load it, your gun 
may snap; which will necessitate your draw- 
ing the charge, by which you will lose more 
time than you have gained. 

When you have only fired one barrel, it 
may be as well to slip the ramrod into the 
other, which will secure the wadding, as the 
shaking caused by loading not unfrequently 
loosens or displaces it, by which serious 
accidents may be caused. 

During the month of September, when 
the weather is very warm, your barrels be- 
come much heated after firing several shots : 
you must then diminish the charge, which 
nevertheless will have a greater effect than 
the ordinary one in cold weather. If you do 
not take this precaution, the violence of the 
concussion will be so great that your gun will 
of itself return to the half-cock. 

The strength of the powder may be aug- 
mented by the sun, which dries up all the 

c 



14 THE SPORTSMAN 

damp particles. This principle once under- 
stood, during wet weather it is as well to 
increase the charge. 

As a general rule, when you make use of 
the drawing-rod, invariably take off your 
caps ; it is not sufficient to lower your cocks: 
at times the ramrod offers resistance : you 
cannot withdraw it yourself: you call a friend 
to your assistance one pulls the rod, the 
other holds the gun. In this " pull devil, 
pull baker" position, a twig or branch of 
a tree touches the cock, and raises it to the 
half-cock ; it requires scarcely as much to 
fire it. 

Having loaded, see that the powder has 
well entered into the nipples. Should this 
not be the case, shake in a few grains, put 
on your caps, fix them well by letting down 
your cocks : you are armed : move on. 



AND HIS DOG. 15 



MAKE READY FIRE. 

" Le chasseur prend son tube, image de tonnerre ; il 
I'lleve au niveau de 1'oeil qui le conduit; le coup part, 
1'eclair briUe, et la foudre le suit." DELILLE. 

BUT I allow myself to be carried away 
by my subject. As yet we have not fired 
our first shot, and I have already detailed 
accounts of well-filled game-bags, from 
which dead partridges fall as billiard balls 
rolling from the horn of abundance daubed 
as the sign of a billiard-room. This digres- 
sion, caused by some happy recollections, 
will reanimate your hope, and you will for- 
give me. 

You have started, your dog precedes you, 
a bird gets up unawares ; do not fire ; you 
will miss it ; and a repetition of such events 
will disgust your dog, who may possibly 
leave you. 



16 THE SPORTSMAN 

One of my friends, inexperienced as he 
was, begged me one day to lend him a 
dog. Now you should lend neither your 
wife, your horse, nor your dog ; but I, who 
am blessed with a greatness of soul quite 
uncommon, exhibited my magnanimity to 
the extent of entrusting Medora to his care ; 
the illustrious Medora, the best of dogs, 

" Quo non preestantior alter," 

to range, point, and bring fur or feather. 
My friend started; an hour elapsed, when 
Medora returned alone to his kennel. Soon 
afterwards my sportsman arrived. " Your 
dog left me." " I am aware of it ; he told 
me you missed five or six shots running." 
66 It is true." " By heaven, I was certain 
of it. A dog hunts for his pleasure far 
more so than for yours. Amuse him, then, 
if you desire he should return the compli- 
ment." 

I have not forgotten that as yet you have 
never shot either hares or partridges : wait 
till your dog stands, it will not be long first. 
Let him alone, do not talk to him ; follow 



AND HIS DOG. 17 

in silence, he knows more than you do. 
He is here there sinks then raises his 
nose to seize the scent which the wind 
conveys : he stops, his position hecomes 
serious your game is not far off. The 
dog reflects, calculates, advances with pre- 
caution ; he chooses the spot, so as to place 
his feet without noise, extends himself, and 
points. 

When you have had some experience, 
you will ascertain from the position of your 
dog the species of game to which he stands. 
For a hare, the tail of the dog is generally 
very stiff, and slightly curved towards the 
end ; inclined and straight for a rahbit ; 
a slight degree elevated and straight for a 
quail; and, lastly, when very stiff, very 
straight, and parallel with the horizon, it 
is a partridge. For birds found in the 
marshes, such as snipes and rails, the tail 
of the dog makes slight movements from 
right to left, which may be said to infer 
uncertainty. 

As yet, however, we have not arrived 
at this crisis. Your heart beats with vio- 
c2 



18 THE SPORTSMAN 

lence, your breast heaves, you breathe with 
pain: do not choke, be calm: the weather 
is hot the game will hold to the point 
you have plenty of time. Assure yourself 
in this manner : " The game is very near 
me : in order that my shot may be effectual, 
I should fire at thirty paces ; I have then 
time to prepare and to take good aim." 
Recollect, if you fire at fifteen paces, you 
have less chance than at twenty-five or 
thirty, as it is only at such a distance your 
shot can have good effect; nearer it will 
be too much balled. If you kill, you de- 
stroy your bird, and moreover you must 
take much better aim to touch it ; whereas 
at thirty paces, should you fire below, or 
even on the side, the bird will probably 
fall. 

All this thought over, reasoned on, and 
calculated on, place yourself in such a 
position as to prevent the sun shining in 
your eyes ; when this precaution is not 
taken, two disagreeable results are sure to 
follow : the one, you invariably miss, or 
you hit by chance ; added to which your 



AND HIS DOG. 19 

eyes become so dazzled it requires some 
time to recover yourself. All appears red 
or blue, and the trees seem to dance before 
you. A partridge takes the colours of a 
parrot, and, without doubting your aim, 
you fire three paces from it. 

Good ! now you have turned your back 
on the sun, advanced a foot, then two, the 
game rises. Be prepared, place your gun 
firm to the shoulder, take a steady aim, 
and touch not your trigger till the bird is 
in a straight line with your eye and the 
sight. But, above all, do not be in a 
hurry ; you have far more time than is 
required : rather let it fly ten paces further 
than fire by chance : you have missed your 
first shot, increase your hope of the second 
by a better aim. 

Nothing falls : the game is off, unharmed 
save by fear; your dog looks at you and 
recommences his work. You missed both 
shots because you were in too great a 
hurry : your gun was not sufficiently firm 
to the shoulder, which causes two serious 
inconveniences ; it vibrates, and causes an 



20 THE SPORTSMAN 

uncertain shot, sent by chance through the 
air, added to which the recoil gives you an 
unpleasant blow. I perceive, also, that your 
right cheek is a little red, which is disagree- 
able, but it does not dishonour you. 

Recollect, in order to be well prepared, 
you should elevate your right arm as much 
as possible without inconvenience, the elbow 
being more elevated than the shoulder ; the 
result is that the hollow or the but of the 
gun rests there, finding a better support than 
were the elbow lower. For one shot which 
you miss from having fired too late, there 
are twenty so missed from firing too soon. 
Shots are also often missed from a desire 
to see too much of your game ; that is to 
say, you obtain too good a sight, and fire 
above it. You should aim at the centre of 
your bird, and never see more than half of 
it when you pull the trigger. 

Walk on: commence again, recollect 
your lesson, and if you follow it only once 
a fine partridge will repay you. 

I did not deceive myself: down goes one ; 
you are all alive your dog runs for it. 



AND HIS DOG. 21 

" Bring !" ought to be your only call your 
only word. He well knows that his busi- 
ness is to bring it ; but in order that he 
should not forget his duty, remind him 
always. At the same time mark down 
the rest of the covey we must look for 
them. 

Having your bird safe, caress your dog 
both with the voice and the hand. This 
animal is most sensible of kindness, as also 
of chastisement. He should remain at your 
feet while you load. If you allow him to 
range at will, he will put your game up 
when you are not there to shoot it. When 
I say your dog should remain at your feet, 
I do not infer that he should approach or 
caress you : these endearments may cause a 
shot which remains for you to rise, and 
more than one sportsman has regretted the 
neglect of this precaution. 

Young sportsmen have at times the de- 
testable habit of firing both barrels at once 
into a covey of partridges which rise under 
their feet, and that without taking aim. 
I have even seen those who were in such a 



22 THE SPORTSMAN 

hurry that the ends of their barrels were 
actually close to the birds. This habit is 
vicious, blameable, and abominable : it is 
the surest manner not to kill, but possibly 
to wound several, who die far off, or are 
the prey to vermin. Having once suc- 
ceeded in killing, and having picked up 
three or four birds with one shot, they 
hope to succeed again ; but you may bet 
ten to one that in firing this way you will 
kill nothing. 

A good sportsman selects a right and 
left shot in the covey, probably two sepa- 
rated from the otLers ; aims at one, then 
the other, kills them both, and lets the 
others off, with the intention of meeting 
them again 

" Je vous en avertis, 
Vous viendrez toutes au logis." 

And it is not without the best intention that 
I advise your aiming at the birds separated 
from the covey. If you fire at those in 
the centre, their neighbours may go off 
wounded. At all times, when two birds 
cross, it is as well to fire at their meeting 



AND HIS DOG. 23 

point, if they have not met ; or, if you 
discover their mutual intention of approach, 
keep your eye on the void which separates 
them, and the moment they meet pull your 
Irigger: thus I have killed doubly-double 
shots. But this is a rare occurrence, only 
such as arrives on fortunate days, such as 
the Romans noted with a " white stone." 

In sporting, as at ecarte, or any other 
game of chance, you may have your good 
luck and your bad on some days every 
thing goes well, on others quite the con- 
trary. 

Be satisfied with the consequences with- 
out desiring to divine the cause. Besides, 
we are not likely to discover it it is one 
of the thousand riddles of the world. 

Continue your walk. Here we are in a 
field of potatoes your dog ranges actively: 
all at once he stands firm, his nose straight, 
his paw elevated ; he remains like a statue, 
in the position he had when moving. His 
tail is stiff, a trifle arched below ; his seri- 
ousness is imperturbable ; he is altogether 
at his work, be you at yours. 



24 THE SPORTSMAN 

Every thing denotes a hare : look be- 
neath that tuft, she is on her form there, 
and safe from the rays of the sun ; she has 
chosen the best position for shade and com- 
fort she never dreamt of a gun. Un- 
questionably you might destroy her point 
blank ; but we are sporting, not committing 
murder : moreover it is a question of learn- 
ing, and not the desire of having a hare in 
your bag. By and bye I will explain to you 
the circumstances which may permit you to 
fire under the nose of your dog. 

Walk on: the hare starts; aim well, 
and fire, but not in a hurry. Allow your 
dog to do his work : should the hare be 
wounded, her pace will be retarded, she 
will be taken ; if not, your dog will return 
when satisfied that pursuit is useless. 

When a hare runs straight, your aim 
should be between the ears when you touch 
the trigger ; if not, you run a risk of 
wounding or missing her. A sportsman 
should not satisfy himself with breaking 
the leg of a hare or the wing of a partridge : 
when he has a fair shot, his game should be 



AND HIS DOG. 25 

dead. At a long shot it is another question : 
it is then excusable to wing a partridge or 
wound a hare. 

When a quail is on the wing, then 
more patience is required. The quail flies 
straight, and more slow than a partridge. 
When it rises, you have time to take a 
pinch of snuff and kill it; you must even 
be careful not to fire the moment you are 
ready, or have taken aim, or your bird will 
be destroyed. Let him fly, and do not fire 
less than twenty-five or thirty paces off. A 
good shot never misses a quail which rises 
from the point of his dog. This is the pons 
asinorum of the sportsman. 

As for a rabbit, it is far more difficult. 
They start from bushes, do not run straight, 
but make many zigzags, and it requires 
much practice to knock them over well 
without a good aim, and I will pardon you 
all the shots you may miss. But the bush- 
rail, the king of quails, which rises at your 
feet, stretches out his long hanging legs, 
and gives you all necessary time, the ease 
with which these good and innocent birds 



26 THE SPORTSMAN 

are killed, always leaves me in surprise 
that any remain. 

The pheasant rises majestically he shows 
a bold front to your aim ; but the noise 
which he makes astonishes those who are 
not accustomed to it. Beginners always 
miss them : they hurry too much they 
lose their heads, and, really, not without 
excuse. You must recollect that his tail is 
not a portion of the animal, and that the 
rear-guard often saves an army. 

This lesson often repeated will bring you 
by and bye to the best results. Practice will 
do the rest : soon with much coolness you 
will see your dog at the point, a hare will 
start, a partridge will rise, but the pleasure 
will be always the same. And tell me if, in 
regard to all other things, you can say the 
same? 



AND HIS DOG. 27 



THE MORE HASTE THE LESS 
SPEED. 

" Mon chien bondit, s'ecarte et suit avec ardeur 
L'oiseau dont les zephirs vont lui porter 1'odeur : 
II s'approche, il le voir, transporte mais docile, 
II me regarde alors et demeure immobile. 
J'avance, 1'oiseau part, le plomb que 1'oeil conduit 
Le frappe dans les airs au moment qu'il s'enfuit ; 
II tourne en expirant sur ses ailes tremblantes, 
Et le chemin est jonche de ses plumes sanglantes." 

YESTERDAY you killed a partridge ; little, 
you will say, for the first day. It is much 
if you took good aim at it, and were not 
assisted by chance. Let us begin again : 
from the haste with which you have risen 
this morning, and the care which you have 
taken to prepare all your appointments, I 
see you wish for nothing better ; you have 
the desire, which is necessary to succeed in 
all things. 

Let us walk at forty or fifty paces one 



28 



THE SPORTSMAN 



from the other, but in the same line, that 
our dogs may beat, without stopping, the 
space which separates us : should any game 
rise suddenly, let nothing take off your at- 
tention fire! to-day you ought to be 
inured. Be all eyes and ears in walking, 
as ready as you were yesterday when your 
dog was at the point ; always thinking that 
a bird is about to rise, always prepared to 
fire. 

You will miss frequently, but I am there 
to back you ; and our dogs will return with 
something in their jaws. 

Look at this partridge I have just killed ; 
you ought to have saved me the trouble, as 
it rose under your feet. You fired too soon 
your gun was not well to the shoulder : 
had you hit your game it would have been 
destroyed, it was only ten paces from you 
when you touched the trigger. 

I have already warned you not to be in a 
hurry I shall repeat it to you unceasingly. 
A young beginner should be preceded by a 
man carrying a board on his back, on 
which is written in large letters, " Do not 



AND HIS DOG. 29 

hurry." It often occurs to me that he 
would be of much service. 

You may tell me this does not always 
depend on yourself such is possible. I 
am aware that a partridge may cause the 
best resolutions to vanish. You lose your 
head this I can understand. Listen to me, 
I will give you some good advice. Do not 
load your gun : when your game rises, 
place yourself in position, aim well at it, 
follow it with your eye ; you are certain not 
to kill it, consequently you can act with 
coolness. When you have your bird well 
at the end of your barrels, fire the cap. 
Do this during several days ; then load 
your gun with powder only, and begin 
again. The conviction that nothing can 
fall to your shot will soon accustom you to 
fire with a more dangerous weapon, and 
you will not have to regret the result. I 
know some excellent shots who served this 
apprenticeship. 

Unquestionably it is no agreeable recre- 
ation to walk over fields with an unloaded 
gun. A sportsman thus equipped may be 

D2 



30 THE SPORTSMAN 

compared to a life-guardsman armed with a 
harlequin's wand ; but if you hurry again I 
shall be obliged to come to this extremity. 
No imprudence. Let your lock down on 
the cap : had I not been with you your 
right hand would have been in danger, and 
probably your face. I am aware you have 
two hands, but, recollect, only one head. 

The whole secret of arms is in giving 
without ever receiving. This is what I was 
one day told by my fencing-master, M. 
Sourdain that is to say, do not accept 
yourself the load reserved for the partridges. 
If a gun goes off on my side, pay no atten- 
tion to it ; as I offer a larger surface, I can 
receive the shot : in which case, farewell my 
lesson ; it is for your interest I speak. 

Good ! now you go into another extreme : 
instead of hurrying, you do not fire at all. 
That partridge at which you aimed was not 
too far off, never was bird at a better 
distance. I was glad to see your barrels 
follow it in the air, but I desired a result 
more was wanted, you should have finished 
by killing it. 



AND HIS DOG. 31 

You saw that covey of partridges which 
have just alighted in the clover: move on, 
take the wind, and as we walk listen to me. 
The covey are in force. The captain and 
lieutenant are at their head; that is to say, 
the old birds are there to direct the 
manoeuvres of the young ones. Let us 
commence with the former : once deprived 
of their leaders, the soldiers will disband ; 
those fellows give them bad advice. Our 
dogs are about to stand : it is hot, and the 
birds will hold. At the commencement 
you will aim at the old bird which rises on 
your side. If you kill it, fire your second 
barrel at another; if not, another shot at 
him. Above all do not fire at chance aim 
well ; do not be in a hurry, arid fire. This 
is the time to show courage. Recruits are 
frightened at the first cannon shot. 

The noise made by a covey of partridges 
rising at your feet has far more effect on 
the nerves. Do not laugh, you will soon 
tell me some news of them. I, with all my 
experience, am not even yet quite cool. 
My respiration becomes painful, and I al- 



32 THE SPORTSMAN 

ways feel glad when the crisis is over. 
Walk on in silence. 

Bravo! two birds at one shot, two par- 
tridges crossing one another, the point of 
meeting admirably seized. Young man, 
you may be satisfied. A bright future 
opens for you. I see an uninterrupted suc- 
cession of well-filled game-bags. That shot 
shows me you will be a sportsman. In such 
manner Buonaparte, before Toulon, an- 
nounced to the world Napoleon of Aus- 
terlitz. 

Do not run to find your birds ; allow 
your dog to do his work ; it is his duty 
to bring them it is his pleasure rather. 
Look where the others have gone. Well ! 
two in the sainfoin, one in the stubble, the 
remainder in the hedge-row. We will pay 
them a visit ; each shall have his turn, they 
shall lose nothing by waiting. 

Begin by the single bird. A partridge 
alone is a dead partridge. When they are 
in covey, some look out, others listen, and 
the fear of harm tells them of the harm 
they fear : they are off before the danger 



AND HIS DOG. 33 

arrives. A single bird down does not move, 
but allows the dog to stand to it. You 
must understand, however, that such are 
among the number that have not already 
been fired at : when they have, they be- 
come more wary ; nevertheless, at all times, 
a single bird is far more easy to kill than 
when in company. 

After those which we have seen drop in 
the stubble, we will take a look for those 
in the clover, and thence to the hedge-row. 
In fact, we will follow them as long as any 
remain, or, at least, as long as we can find 
them on our own ground. 

You have fired into the hedge-row, your 
dog seeks a fallen bird and finds it not; 
the partridge is not dead, but has only a 
broken wing, and he runs. He is incum- 
bered, in which manner he often gets far 
away : you must then take your dog to the 
place where the game has fallen ; let him 
scent the spot, saying to him, "Seek, seek ! 
bring it!" and the moment you are certain, 
by his precipitate movements, that he is on 
a right scent, let him do his work, and do 



34 THE SPORTSMAN 

not interrupt him. If you walk after him 
you may, perhaps, put up other game ; and 
if you fire, the noise of your gun will bring 
back your dog, who will no longer listen to 
your voice. 

Soon you will see him return, all joy, 
with a living bird in his mouth: then is 
the time to caress him, flatter him, and say 
pretty things to him ; he will understand 
them well, and you will be repaid. His 
tongue is powerless, I am aware, but his 
tail possesses an eloquence which many 
R. A.'s may covet. 

Yet if the ground is dry, the weather 
very hot, the nose of the dog has no longer 
that extreme nicety of smell which he pos- 
sesses when the weather is fresh. The sun 
absorbs the scent of a partridge, and your 
game is lost ; do not blame your dog : it is 
not his fault ; he is more taken in than you. 

There is still another way of finding your 
bird. When returning in the evening pass 
by the spot where you wounded it : it is 
probable he may have rejoined his com- 
panions, who are not far off. He is in their 



AND HIS DOG. 35 

centre ; each one tells of the fatigues and 
dangers they have encountered : his is the 
longest story, who has left several feathers 
of his wing in the battle, which he survived 
by flying. 

Approach the covey ; fire, or do not fire : 
those who are well will be off, but the 
wounded one will remain : let your dog find 
him, he will soon be a prisoner. 

On every occasion that I pass by a spot 
from which I have seen a covey of birds 
rise, I wait a moment, and cause my dog to 
hunt ; and often, above all in the com- 
mencement of the season, I glean some- 
thing. These are little profits which ought 
not to be neglected. 

All that I have said in reference to part- 
ridge shooting applies to the quail, the hare, 
and the rabbit. The lesson resolves itself 
into this : place your gun well to the 
shoulder, take good aim, and fire without 
being in a hurry. In the chapters that we 
shall devote for each species of game, I will 
endeavour to explain all the modifications 
relative to firing under every circumstance. 



36 THE SPORTSMAN 

An essential habit, which ought to be 
observed when one follows with the barrel, 
as regards crossing game, whether on the 
wing or running, is not to hesitate at the 
moment of firing, as neither a hare nor a 
partridge will stop, and consequently you 
fire behind them. It is, therefore, neces- 
sary to accustom the hand to follow your 
game with a uniform movement : this is 
indispensable to become a good shot. 

In shooting often you become a good 
shot practice will soon accustom you to 
see a bird rise suddenly with coolness ; you 
will no longer be in a hurry, and firing 
without hesitation your bird will fall into 
the jaws of your dog, without your being 
able to explain to yourself how such an 
operation was effected. 

The prompt shot at game which gets up 
at a long distance in a wood is often very 
extraordinary ; one has only a second or 
two to make ready and fire : a moment 
longer, and your object would have been 
out of sight. Very well ! This calculation 
is made by the glance of the eye ; your gun 



AND HIS DOG. 37 

to the shoulder, the shot is fired and your 
bird dead. Practice has done all : your 
arm, your eye, your finger, have obeyed, 
you not how or why. A mechanical move- 
ment has operated. This object you have 
achieved the moment you conceived it. 
When you desire to write a note, you write 
it ; this appears simple enough. Neverthe- 
less, how many thoughts are required to 
write this word ! In the first place, thought 
must conceive it ; the letters which com- 
pose it are presented to you in their natural 
order ; you have written one after another, 
with their accents, their turns, their points, 
their apostrophes all this is done without 
calculation mechanically, and the word is 
written. 

There are those, to practise themselves in 
partridge-shooting, who shoot owls in the 
day-time : it is a useless murder murder, 
because the owl only does good in eating 
the millions of insects which devour us ; 
useless, because you may shoot fifty owls 
following and miss all the partridges you 
find. That which constitutes a good sports- 

E 



38 THE SPORTSMAN 

man is quickness of action : this prompti- 
tude, this certain glance of the eye, which 
causes him to seize the occasion in a hair's- 
breadth the occasion once lost which may 
never again be found. The Romans repre- 
sent it running on the edge of a razor and 
flying as a bird. 

" Cursu volucri, pendens in novacula." 

They had reason : the partridge, the quail, 
all species of game, resemble it. You must 
take advantage of the moment, once gone, 
never to return. In like manner can 
shooting owls be like that of game ? They 
go, they come, they come again a hundred 
times a thousand : you take your time, 
you aim, you fire only when they are at the 
end of your gun. You select the moment, 
and this moment lost, returns in a minute. 
You may have better practice by throwing 
up sparrows from your hand and firing at 
them in the air. 

As with partridges, you must select your 
time and it will cause you no inconveni- 
ence to destroy a few of these really quarrel- 






AND HIS DOG. 39 

some birds but as regards the owl it is 
positively a crime to kill them. 

Nevertheless, a sportsman may hit many 
a sparrow and miss a partridge, though 
they show a better front. The noise which 
the latter make when rising astonishes and 
unnerves, and some time is required to 
accustom yourself to it ; and we know that 
a young actor who plays well at rehearsals 
loses his head or forgets himself before a 
paying pit. 



40 THE SPORTSMAN 



THE WIND AND THE WALK. 

" Pour etre bon chasseur, il ne s'agit pas seulement de savoir 
bien tirer, il faut encore savoir bien chasser." 

BEGIN by taking the wind ; that is to say, 
should it blow from the north, walk toward 
the north ; if from the south, to the south : 
you will soon find the disadvantages of not 
following this method. Two great annoy- 
ances will be caused therefrom : the game 
will hear the noise of your footsteps, and 
your dog will hunt without scent. The 
contrary will be the case if you feel a slight 
breeze in your face. This conveys to the 
nose of your dog the peculiar scents which 
emanate from the hare or the partridge. 
Like the miner who follows in the earth 
a vein of ore, the dog follows this line of 
^visible atoms, and traces out your path. 

It is not the distance you walk, but the 
manner in which you seek your game which 



AND HIS DOG. 41 

secures sport. Explore all your ground: 
leave none untried. 

You have beaten with a good wind a field 
of lucerne : should another join, do not com- 
mence it without taking the wind : rather 
return to that you have tried, in order to 
commence the new one with the wind in 
your favour. These marches and counter- 
marches are always necessary, and often 
very useful : the hare, which has not moved 
the first time, starts on the second, and your 
trouble is repaid. When the field is large 
and long, take it at your ease, lengthways, 
returning always over the ground you have 
beaten, as it is useless to walk over your 

fields save you have the wind. 

You may also cross and recross the field : 

in such cases you have always a side-wind. 

Where you have plenty of shooting ground, 

adopt this plan ; if on the contrary, do not 

follow it. 

In the latter case, you must economise, 

and not waste. Stop from time to time ; 

be all eyes and ears. A sportsman who is 

always on the move may walk ten times 



42 THE SPORTSMAN 

over a hare without its moving. The 
regular movement of his steps is far from 
frightening it ; but let him stop, and it is off 
at once. One can readily understand the 
calculation of a hare, that is to say, if a hare 
calculates. I believe it, inasmuch as La 
Fontaine says they dream. " The first 
steps have done me no harm, neither have 
the second ; the others will perhaps have 
the same result : " thus reasons the hare. 
" They have walked, but I have received 
no ill : they do not see me. I will remain 
on my form : but they stop ; I am then dis- 
covered. I was all right as long as they 
were on the move, not so when they stop." 
And away she goes. 

You must not always rely on the nose 
of your dog: circumstances have occurred 
when the very best have passed near a hare 
without scenting it : for example, when the 
weather is very hot or dry ; if your dog has 
not had water for some time ; if you are 
shooting in flowery clover or sainfoin in 
this case the perfume which the flowers 
exhale neutralises the scent of the game ; 



AND HIS DOG. 43 

when the slightest wind blows in a contrary 
direction at the moment that the dog passes 
near the hare : such have occurred to me ; 
I have shot one after having beaten a field 
three times, although I had passed so near 
it that the prints of my feet were actually 
within a few inches of his nose. I question 
whether he was not in a devil of a fright. 

When walking with a loaded gun, your 
hand should be on the small of the arm, 
and never near the triggers. A stone may 
cause you to make a false step, and off it 
goes ; and it is as well to carry your barrels 
always slightly elevated, in order that your 
neighbours may not suffer from any such 
misfortune. Your gun should form an angle 
of forty-five degrees with the horizon. 

If I endeavour to give you advice profitable 
to your companions, understand them not the 
less in reference to yourself. 

Be careful of young sportsmen. If you 
walk with them, place yourself rather in 
the rear than in the front. These young- 
sters sometimes lose their heads at the sight 
of a partridge ; a hare causes them a giddi- 



44 THE SPORTSMAN 

ness; and a pheasant throws them into 
convulsions. 

They fire always with little care, how or 
where : this is not agreeable to their neigh- 
bours ; it is as well to be out of shot. As 
for myself, I never shoot so well as when I 
am alone. In company it is necessary to 
give attention to others, both for them as 
for one's self. If a bird rises, all wish to kill 
it; all are in a hurry, and all miss it. I 
have thus seen several shots fired at a hare, 
which has gone off none the worse. 

He who walks most sees the most game. 
But you must walk well and with spirit ; 
not saunter over the fields, uselessly fright- 
ening hares and partridges, and sending 
them on the property of your neighbour, 
where you cannot follow them. 

A good sportsman, like an able general, 
studies his field of battle ; the moment he 
has discovered his fields of clover or of 
wheat-stubble and fallow, his plan is 
formed ; he already knows the shots he 
is likely to fire from the position of his 
ground : his eagle-eye has shown him the 



AND HIS DOG. 45 

advantage he is likely to derive from the 
immense potato-ground which will form 
the base of his operations. He shoots in 
a circumference towards the centre, pene- 
trates the wood when it is well filled, and 
expels the game from the woods again into 
the open. 

Imitate this sportsman, and each of his 
manoeuvres will aid to fill your game-bag: 
quails and partridges will fall therein at 
every step : their agreeable weight will 
finish by being unpleasant, and will hasten 
your return. 

Recollect a little the pleasure which this 
game has afforded you : first, in finding it ; 
secondly, when it was found ; thirdly, when 
the point of your dog has caused your heart 
to beat, and given you those delightful emo- 
tions which a sportsman alone can appre- 
ciate; fourthly, when you have fired and 
brought down your bird ; fifthly, when your 
well-trained dog lays it at your feet ; sixthly, 
when you have felt its weight on your back, 
as nothing is heavier than an empty game- 
bag ; seventhly, on your return home, when 



46 THE SPORTSMAN 

you proudly exhibit the amount of your 
success ; and that your he-cook for, alas ! 
I have only a she-cook admiring the hares, 
partridges, quails, and rabbits, meditates a 
sauce or prophesies a " gibelotte," prepares 
the bacon to lard the one, or cabbage for 
the other. 

His experienced eye never deceives him. 
The quails are for the next day. The 
partridges will succeed them ; and then 
come the hares and rabbits. As for the 
pheasants oh, for the pheasants! you 
must wait awhile : this is a subject which 
we must study and meditate on. It is 
necessary to consult the atmosphere, if it 
is hot or cold, if the wind blows from the 
north or south ; these observations, made 
with thought, determine the day when the 
pheasant will embalm your dining-room 
with its delicious odour. Recollect, that a 
pheasant, killed the day previous, is not 
worth a fowl. Savarin decided this, and 
who has ever discussed the question with 
more grace, science, and amiability? 

All these culinary preparations will furnish 



AND HIS DOG. 47 

your eight delights. Some sportsmen think 
little of the latter ; I by no means agree with 
them. As regards myself, I can appreciate 
all things, and take advantage of the few 
joys allotted to man as I find them. This 
system generally answers, and I am toler- 
ably well : imitate me, and when I have 
the pleasure of meeting you we will com- 
pare notes. 



48 THE SPORTSMAN 



THE HARE. 

" Lievre je suis de petite stature, 

Donnant plaisir aux nobles et gentils ; 
D'etre 16ger, vite de nature, 

Sur tout reste on me donne le prix." 

Du FOUILLEUX. 

THE hare is sufficiently known by all the 
world ; it is, therefore, scarcely necessary 
that I should amuse myself by giving a 
description, forasmuch as I am not writing 
a book on Natural History. 

This animal breeds the first year : the 
female generally gives birth to two young, 
sometimes three, and even four. In the 
month of March, and even in February, as 
soon as the mild influences of spring are 
felt, the bucks pursue the females with 
incredible desire ; their passion amounts 
even to rage, which causes among them 
such bloody battles as even to terminate 



AND HIS DOG. 49 

by death. On one occasion I passed by 
the battle-field of two of these gentlemen, 
and saw with a shudder the fur of a hare 
scattered in the sun in sufficient quantity 
to make a muff; here and there traces of 
blood ; the end of an ear torn by teeth 
only made to nip the grass : farther on a 
still breathing body. " See the dangerous 
effects of love," said I to my cook, " and 
make me a good sauce." 

The first leverets are littered in February, 
the last in September. Should you find a 
hare to-day, if he be not chased by your 
dog, come to-morrow and you will find her 
near the same spot, or within two hundred 
yards. Should you kill a leveret marked 
on the forehead with a white star, seek 
again in the same place ; her brother will 
not be far off. A leveret born alone has 
no mark. 

The destiny of a hare is a strange one 
an enemy to none, yet are all the world its 
enemies the wolf, the fox, birds of 
prey, man, and even the rabbit. The 
rabbit, risking the same dangers, yet seeks 



50 THE SPORTSMAN 

to quarrel with her. Unfortunate ! live in 
peace ! the coverts are large enough, herbs 
are sufficiently abundant for both : be 
brothers from habit as you are from re- 
semblance, inasmuch as your lot is the 
same, for the only difference I find between 
you is when on the table. If the hare has 
many enemies, she may always reckon kings 
among her protectors. In all countries 
there have been innumerable laws made in 
her favour ; the sovereigns of all nations 
have signed them by dozens. How often 
have serious affairs been neglected for those 
having reference to hares! But these high 
protections were similar to those of a 
butcher protecting his sheep from a wolf. 
Lady Morgan, who was at times in error 
when speaking of France, spoke truly when 
she said that we estimated the life of a hare 
to that of the liberty of man. 

When the weather is hot, the hare is 
almost always found on the borders of a 
clover-field, potato-field, or of covert, what- 
ever it may be, where it is sure of protec- 
tion from the rays of the sun. In winter, 



AND HIS DOG. 51 

on the contrary, she places herself in its 
heat, always exposed to the wind, on a 
bank, or in a fallow field. She selects 
any place of her own colour ; she scratches 
the earth, and makes a form always in 
proportion to her size ; and there this esti- 
mable animal sleeps; but she sleeps with 
her eyes and ears open. The hare, endowed 
with an extremely fine sense of hearing, 
passes her life in one continual fear. She 
starts with an extreme speed ; her front 
legs, shorter than the hind ones, give her 
greater facility in ascending than descend- 
ing ; it is as well, therefore, when with 
other shooters, to select the most elevated 
ground, for she is sure to take that direc- 
tion. 

It is rare that a hare takes the same form 
two days running : she makes a fresh one 
each morning. This animal has much dis- 
like to dew ; she fears to wet either her feet 
or skin ; for this reason she seeks for the 
cleanest and driest spots. Through woods 
and hedgerows she makes a path, which she 
always follows ; should she find in that 



52 THE SPORTSMAN 

path any root or thorns, she gnaws them 
with her teeth. With a glance of an eye 
a sportsman will assure himself of the usual 
track of a hare. 

It is easy to discover the sex of a hare 
on its form ; the buck always keeps his 
ears close and firm to the side of the head ; 
the doe, on the contrary, keeps them open 
and enlarged on both sides. 

" Indivisa jacet mediis quando auris in armis, 
I lie tibi mas sit : quando utraque pendet 
Utriusque foemina." 

The Abbe Daries, of Carniol, in the 
Basses Alpes, was a great sportsman. One 
day, at the moment of proceeding to his 
clerical duties, a peasant came to say that 
he knew of a hare on her form. The Abbe 
hastened through his service, and quitting 
his church took his gun. Arrived near 
the hare, the shooter said to his guide, 
" Turn her up ; I do not murder my game." 
The hare is started, the Abbe takes aim, 
but fires not ; the peasant is astonished. 
"Fool!" said the sportsman, "do you not 
see it is a doe, and she is heavy ?" In the 



AND HIS DOG. 53 

same circumstances I entreat all sportsmen 
to follow the Abbe's example. 

The hare does not see well before her : 
if she comes towards you, do not move, 
she will pass between your legs. A hare 
chased by my dogs, and wishing to escape 
from a garden, broke her skull against 
the fence through which she was about to 
enter. 

I have often seen during a campaign 
three or four regiments disperse spon- 
taneously, and, forming a large circle, sur- 
round an unfortunate hare ; ten thousand 
men, many shouting, mixed like a swarm 
of bees at once. The hare being secured, 
each returning to his ranks, nothing more 
was seen but the poor hare hanging to a 
knapsack awaiting the night's bivouac, when 
the cook of the squadron transformed it into 
a savoury stew. 

At the moment of being put up, the hare 
starts instantly, goes far, and does not stop 
until she has placed a considerable distance 
between herself and her pursuers. Never- 
theless, it often occurs that she squats when 

F2 



54 THE SPORTSMAN 

passing through a covert. In such case, 
she makes no form ; grass or herbs cover 
all that is necessary to hide her from your 
eyes. 

The leveret is generally found in the 
centre of a clover-field, a potato, or a beet- 
root field, instead of being found on its 
borders. She has less confidence than the 
hare in the fleetness of her legs ; she fears 
giving advantage to the dog ; and instead 
of taking a direct course, she hides, stops 
often, changes her place without quitting 
the covert, from which she never breaks 
until the shooter is at the other extremity. 
From such reasons I conclude a hare 
should be sought on the borders, a leveret 
in the centre. 

When a fresh form is discovered, or one 
that has been recently occupied ; when the 
earth has been lightly scratched ; when your 
dog makes false points, it is certain a hare 
has been there, close to you, and is possibly 
squatted behind a tuft of grass : walk, look 
out, listen, but do not speak. 

The hare always follows a path, therefore 



AND HIS DOG. 55 

when your dog enters a wood, a hare is up, 
and he follows her ; place yourself at the 
spot where several runs cross, and be 
assured the hare will pass you. This ani- 
mal makes but one cry in life, and that is 
when dying. When she finds herself taken 
by man or a dog, it is the cry of the swan, 
a most harmonious song to a sportsman. 
Having fired in a wood with uncertainty as 
to the result of your shot, this cry gives you 
an assurance of success, soon confirmed by 
the arrival of your dog, who brings the hare 
in his mouth. 

The hare has much cunning : she swims 
well ; followed by hounds, she will even 
cross a river. I have killed the finest and 
oldest of hares between the branches of a 
willow, she being squatted there to deceive 
the dogs. 

Should snow have fallen during the night, 
hares are very easily found : you may follow 
their tracks, which lead you to the form. 
This, however, is only successful on the first 
day, inasmuch as on the second there is 
crossing and recrossing, destroying the pos- 



66 THE SPORTSMAN 

sibility of so unsportsmanlike a manoeuvre. 
A hare will frequently cross and recross her 
own track solely to destroy it ; she will then 
make a jump often paces, and lying closely 
down, will keep herself concealed. 

The snow is a period of destruction and 
terror to hares : the poachers destroy them 
in incredible numbers. At the same time 
a true sportsman is not desirous of snow ; 
he looks on it as a calamity, inasmuch as 
after a severe winter he finds, in the follow- 
ing September, an enormous reduction in 
the number of this game. 

After a white frost, or when snow has 
fallen and the sun shines brightly, an expe- 
rienced eye will discover afar off a slight 
smoke issuing from the earth : it is the 
evaporation from a hare's form ; it is the 
vapour which is thrown from her body after 
running ; it is a chimney in miniature. In 
order to discover this smoke, the sun should 
shine in your face ; it will otherwise not be 
observed. In this instance, as in all others, 
when you know a hare to be on her form, do 
not walk up to her quietly, with a hope of sur- 



AND HIS DOG. 5? 

prising her, as the hare is always listening, 
and the more precaution you take, the more 
surely she will deceive you. On the con- 
trary, you should walk up to her quickly, 
describing a circle as you approach, which 
you lessen as you come nearer. You should 
sing if you be alone, talk loudly if with 
companions, and have the air of going on 
your way merrily. The hare believes you 
unoccupied with her affairs, and remains at 
home. 

On all occasions when you traverse a fal- 
low or a stubble, and that you observe a 
slight protuberance, you should approach 
to see if it be not a hare on her form. You 
may often take many useless steps ; you 
will often be disappointed by a clod of earth: 
but a sportsman should take little note of his 
steps or his difficulties. The quail or the 
partridge should be allowed time on the 
wing ; but at the hare, fire when you can : 
the moment she is in a straight line with 
your aim, fire. In shooting at her when 
near, it gives you time for a second barrel 



58 THE SPORTSMAN 

should you not have been successful with 
the first. 

The Abbe Daries, of whom I have already 
spoken, was on a shooting party in the 
Basses Alpes. Arrived at their shooting 
quarters, a storm commenced, which lasted 
three days, during which time they were 
necessitated to remain within a wretched 
cabaret or road-side inn. At last the sun 
appeared superb and brilliant ; all were dis- 
posed to start, but the Abbe refused to 
accompany them. " I know you young 
men," said he ; " should I kill anything, 
you are very capable of eating it, notwith- 
standing to-day is Friday. In such case I 
should be answerable for your sins, and I 
have quite enough of my own." As the 
Abbe was the best shot of the party, they 
listened to what he said, and promised to 
keep the fast. This decided the question : 
they started, and commenced shooting. A 
hare got up under the feet of the Abbe, at 
which he took aim, but his scruples ap- 
peared to return with all force, as he did not 



AND HIS DOG. 59 

fire. He was heard grinding his teeth, and, 
still following the hare with his barrels, he 
exclaimed, " Ah ! if it was not Friday ! Ah ! 
if it was not Friday !" 

A hare which gets up straight before a 
shooter, and which runs straight from him, 
should be aimed at from the centre of her 
back to between the ears : in this manner 
the shot covers the whole body, and she 
falls like a cork drawn from a bottle. 
Should you fire at her rump (I apologise 
for this expression), you rarely kill her. 
The rump of a hare is a bag of shot. A 
sportsman prevents the trick, which every 
day verifies by experience. In effect, the 
shot which strike the rump do not count ; 
they remain without diminishing the vigour 
of the animal. Turned by the flesh, they 
have not sufficient force to break the bony 
part ; and in such case you lose your hare, 
save that some shot should break a hind 
leg, or, passing above the back, strike the 
head or the remainder of the body. 

A hare which crosses you is more readily 
killed when hit ; but not, as some think, 



60 THE SPORTSMAN 

so easily hit. In fact, when she gets up 
straight before you, you have only a line to 
follow with your aim ; far or near, the shot 
always takes effect ; whereas, when cross- 
ing, it is necessary the shot should strike 
exactly at the point that your line of aim is 
crossed by that followed by the animal. If 
you hit, it is in the stomach, the heart, or 
the head; and the hare is dead. In this 
manner, a hare you fire at when crossing at 
fifty paces is as readily killed as a hare 
going from you, supposing the shots to be 
equally well aimed. 

Should a hare come direct towards you, 
fire low, at the front legs ; should she re- 
turn on seeing you, fire high, at her head ; 
if she crosses you, at the shoulders. 

When a hare is on her form in a field, or 
in an open covert, fire at her when you have 
started her ; but if in a wood, from the 
point of your dog ; and if the thickness of 
the wood or bushes prevent your having 
a fair sight, fire at what you can see of her 
sitting. This is termed murdering or smash- 
ing a hare. Take aim at the head, because 



AND HIS DOG. 61 

* 

in such case, as she is probably near you, 
you destroy any part you hit ; and if the 
head be lost, the inconvenience is of no 
importance to your cook. And, on the other 
hand, the head resists, and is more easily 
pierced ; whereas the body, covered with 
fur, is in such case gifted with a certain 
elasticity, which not unfrequently prevents 
the shot from entering. I once shot at a 
hare on her form within twenty paces, which 
left on the seat a handful of fur, and the 
beast still ran. 

When the earth is frozen, a hare on her 
form in a fallow is not easily killed if you 
fire at twenty-five or thirty paces. Her 
body well down shows no face, and clods of 
earth are always at hand for her protection. 
These clods in ordinary weather would be 
broken by the shot, which still would hit 
the hare ; but hardened by the frost, and 
like stones, they resist and turn off the shot, 
and the hare runs, to be shot at another 
day. 

The hare knows twenty-four hours before- 
hand the weather that it is likely to be, and 

G 



62 THE SPORTSMAN 

* 

that without the use of a barometer. When 
starting to shoot, examine always closely 
the weather. If it rain, or is likely to rain, 
look for hares in springs, stony places, in 
those covered with herbs, roots, and gene- 
rally in dry places out of the wind ; above 
all, if the wind be from the south. If in the 
north or east, the hare will care for it only 
on the two first days ; on the third she no 
longer fears it, and takes her form with her 
nose to the wind. I have made this obser- 
vation a hundred times. 

When it freezes, hares are always to be 
found in the woods, in coverts, and in 
hedgerows. Those found in the open are 
exceptions to the rule. They are often so 
merely from circumstances, having been 
disturbed by sportsmen, dogs, or others. 
In all cases when you have fired at a hare, 
let your dog follow her : if you see that the 
hare loses in her distance, you should follow 
and put your dog on the scent, if he loses it. 
When you judge further pursuit useless, 
whistle and recall your dog. 

Always pick up your hare dead ; kill her 



AND HIS DOG. 63 

should she still breathe. I have seen them 
escape even from the jaws of a dog. 

In Germany, sport may still be said essen- 
tially to belong to the aristocracy ; conse- 
quently hares are far more numerous than 
in France. There was a period when all 
these hares belonged to us by right of con- 
quest. This was the epoch when "glory" 
was so often made to chime with victory. 
Plains of Erfurth, of Gotha, of Weimar ! 
your delightful recollections make rny heart 
beat even to this day ! What well-filled 
game-bags have we brought from our ex- 
cursions ! We were young and inde- 
fatigable : no sooner arrived at a canton- 
ment, after having marched seven or eight 
leagues, than we started to shoot, which 
fatigued us little. What do I say ? Why, 
we sported when performing our duties, and 
shot while our regiments deployed on the 
highway their well-trained columns. We 
marched as sharp-shooters on their flanks, 
to protect the division from an attack of 
hares ! That was the day of pleasure ! The 



64 THE SPORTSMAN 

gamekeepers, the foresters, all these gentle- 
men allowed us to pass with their hats off. 

In days gone by, the right foot of a hare 
was presented to the king this on your 
knee ; more, it was a privilege which those 
who possessed it were not eager to cede to 
others. During a long period in France, 
many were termed " Knights of the Hare," 
who, not having the title of Knight, were 
desirous of bearing it. Let me tell you the 
origin of this title or of this by-name. 

Philip of Valois and Edward III., king 
of England, were about to commence a 
battle, when a hare getting up in the centre 
of the French camp, the soldiers, desirous 
to catch her, caused a great tumult. Some 
officers of the rear-guard, fearing the King 
of France was in danger, rode forward to 
succour him, and for their expedition de- 
manded from him knighthood. " I am 
compelled to refuse you," said the King, 
" because you would be called Knights of 
the Hare!" 

It is essential, when you kill a hare, to 



AND HIS DOG. 65 

discharge her urine. In order to do this, 
hold her in your left hand by the ears, and 
let the thumb of your right hand press the 
extremity of her belly. Without this pre- 
caution, the hare will retain a urinous taste, 
and will be uneatable. 

A hare killed and emptied when warm, 
cooked and eaten at once, is excellent. In 
shooting quarters I have often dined on a 
hare which lived an hour before. If you 
allow her to become cold and stiff, she is 
hard ; and in such case she must be hung 
up several days before you deliver her to the 
experienced hands of your cook. 

With a hare two excellent dishes are to 
be made ; the fore-quarters make an excel- 
lent ragout ; the remainder goes to the spit : 
nevertheless it can only be so eaten at home. 
In all other cases, let her be roasted entire 
in her length, and not larded, as certain 
idle cooks have the detestable habit of do- 
ing. I engage those of taste to give three 
orders ; that she should be sufficiently done 
to be tender ; not too much done, or she 
will be worth nothing ; in fact, done to a 



66 THE SPORTSMAN 

turn. A hare overdone is no longer a hare ; 
she is wood horn ; she is flesh without 
taste or flavour, not worth the shot that 
killed her. 

In order to ascertain if the hare be old or 
young (an essential thing to a cook), you 
should bend the paws of the fore legs to the 
knee. If the separation of the two bones is 
perceptible to the touch, she is young. A 
good hare is plump ; her back is strong, 
large, and broad, but she is never fat. 

The mountain hare is far better than 
those found in the low grounds ; she feeds 
on herbs and wild thyme, and her flesh is 
perfumed with a charming flavour. Gene- 
rally speaking, the drier the earth the better 
the hare. In Provence they are delicious, 
but rare. It is an event to kill one in that 
part of France ; all are jealous of such luck. 

I could never understand why Moses for- 
bade the Jews, and Mahomet the Moors, to 
eat hares. Pork I can understand : in warm 
climates the flesh is unwholesome ; but the 
hare is always good. The Greeks and Ro- 
mans served her on their tables only on 



AND HIS DOG. 67 

great occasions ; and they have vaunted her 
efficacy in certain circumstances which I 
must decline entering into. Yet, while on 
this subject, Pliny tells us an old proverb 
of his time " When you eat hare, you are 
handsome for seven days following." Seven 
days ! this is not bad. Martial says, " Inter 
quadrupedes gloria prima lepus." The Ro- 
mans were persuaded that the flesh of a hare 
preserved freshness and beauty. Ladies, 
then, eat hares ; and, according to the pre- 
cepts of Pliny, make your husbands eat 
them also. The Emperor Alexander ate 
hare at every meal. Among the Greeks it 
was the emblem of fear, and never was em- 
blem better judged. According to their 
custom of deifying, they placed a hare in the 
rank of constellations. In fact, to say one 
word in apology for the hare, I will add 
that Lucullus estimated it infinitely. Lu- 
cullus do you understand the immense au- 
thority of this name in practical gastro- 
nomy ? It is to be regretted that history 
has not preserved to us the receipt of the 
sauce served to this gentleman. The most 



68 THE SPORTSMAN 

material points are ever precisely those 
which historians neglect. As, however, we 
have not the receipt adopted by Lucullus, 
permit me to give you that I use myself. 
Heretofore I ate hare a la sauce piquante. 
Since, however, I have done so with simple 
currant jelly, I have continued so to do 
without demanding the originator of this 
taste, and I recommend the same to all. 

I will conclude this chapter by giving you 
a brief account of the finest hare-chase 
which exists in the memory of man. We 
were four hundred thousand men, French 
and Austrians. The above took place at 
a certain village named Wagram, a few 
leagues from Vienna. The plain was co- 
vered with hares ; at every ten paces many 
got up before us. Our guns and cannons 
caused them much fright ; they started, in 
the hopes of saving themselves ; but at a 
short distance they met with two hundred 
thousand Austrians, afterwards beaten, little 
to their satisfaction. Then they returned ; 
and you might see them running in troops 
between the two armies. A charge of 



AND HIS DOG. 69 

cavalry, in no manner made on their ac- 
count, put them to the route; they pierced 
the ranks, passed between our legs : they 
were killed by the bayonet or the sword, or 
taken alive. Alas ! that day we beheld a 
butchery of men and hares ! A hare killed 
caused a comrade to be forgotten ; it was 
the farce to the tragedy. How many balls 
intended for the enemy were fired at these 
poor hares ! Never were so many seen, 
never were so many killed. That night, 
after the battle, conquerors and conquered 
supped together on hashed hare. 



70 THE SPORTSMAN 



THE PARTRIDGE. 

" De la perdrix entendre faut, 
Qu'elle est lubrique grandement, 
Et concert naturellement ; 
Par Taleine du masle chaud 
La perdrix denote une femme, 
Mondaine, lubrique, et charnelle, 
Qui, au detriment de son ame, 
Attire les paillards a elle." La Sire de Gar gas. 

PARTRiDGEScouplein the month of March; 
they lay in the month of May, at times in 
the end of April : about the 28th of June 
they fty : this is a fact which is proved yearly 
by experience. The moment the young are 
hatched, the cock and hen birds move in a 
body, which is termed a covey. 

Unfortunately partridges make their nests 
in clover, grass, and sainfoin, often prefer- 
ring the grass, because it grows more ra- 
pidly, and offers them shelter; but the 
mower arrives before the young are hatched, 
and thus the covey is lost. Alas ! why have 



AND HIS DOG. 71 

not these interesting birds sufficient foresight 
to make their nest in the wheat - fields ! 
Their eggs would not then be destroyed by 
the scythe, and we should have the pleasure 
of killing many another brace. 

Some preservers purchase the eggs thus 
. found, and place them under hens, and the 
moment the young are sufficiently forward 
to provide for themselves they are turned 
out in the wheat-fields. They start them 
by dozens in places where there are other 
coveys, and the new comers are soon ad- 
mitted to the nursery of a new mother, who 
is vain of her augmented family. 

Partridges, whose eggs have been taken 
by the mowers, sometimes make another 
nest with success, and which are termed 
relayers, but the young seldom become full 
grown. The month of September arrives 
before they are sufficiently strong to help 
themselves : the dogs catch them ; and bad 
shots, who are incapable of killing a vigor- 
ous bird, blush not to destroy these unfledged 
ones ! The wretches ! They truly commit 
a crime, and can only be compared to a 



72 THE SPORTSMAN 

coward soldier, who, in a town taken by 
assault, tears the child from its mother's 
breast in order to blood his sword, and give 
himself the air of a brave man. " I have 
cut off the arm of an Austrian at the battle 
of Wagram," said a recruit. " It would 
have been better to have cut off his head," 
said I. " Without doubt/' said he ; " but 
that was already done !" 

All animals have much affection for their 
young ; that of the partridge is in the ex- 
treme. Without ceasing she is on the 
watch ; she listens, looks about her, and 
calls her brood, covers them with her wings, 
or flies away with them. But should they 
not be sufficiently strong to take wing, it 
is then her motherly instinct finds a method 
sublime. La Fontaine has, however, so 
well described it, that it will be useless for 
me to do so after him : 

" Quand la perdrix 

Vois ses petits 

En danger, et n'ayant qu'une plume nouvelle, 
Qui ne pent fair encore par les airs le tre"pas, 
Elle fait la blessee, et va trainant de 1'aile, 
Attirant le chasseur et le chien sur ses pas ; 



AND HIS DOG. 73 

De*tourne le danger, sauve ainsi sa famille : 

Et puis quand le chasseur croit que son chien la pille, 

Elle lui dit adieu, prend sa volee, et rit 

De rhomme qui confus des yeux en vain la suit.'' 

I have frequently seen this interesting 
family portrait ; each year I have a similar 
pleasure ; I have ever respected the mother 
and her young, and I should most truly 
despise the sportsman who without pity 
would kill a partridge under such circum- 
stances. When the spring is wet, whole 
coveys are often destroyed ; the water covers 
the nests, the eggs become wet, and the 
young die before they see the light. 

" Ut flos ante diem flebilis occidit." 

Hail and storms destroy many, notwith- 
standing the protecting wing of the mother. 
How many enemies, then, has the partridge 
of whom to avoid both the influence and 
the pursuit! In the first rank we must 
place the magpie. The magpie is the bird 
which destroys most other birds ; his 
piercing eye discovers their nests in the 
midst of a hedge, in trees, and among the 

H 



74 THE SPORTSMAN 

grass ; he eats everything he finds, eggs 
and young ; and then, when the partridge, 
either from luck or cunning, has escaped so 
many dangers, man arrives armed with a 
gun, preceded by his dog, and followed by 
the fatal turnspit. 

Partridge-shooting commences only when 
the young have attained size, have quitted 
their first feathers, and are moulted. The 
same as in man, the right of man is under- 
stood by the law of honour, which all 
generals respect ; so in sporting, certain 
rules exist which should ever be held sacred 
by a conscientious sportsman. To kill an 
over-young bird is to cut your crops green ; 
it deprives you of a future pleasure if you 
commit a sporting crime : add to this, that 
it is useless, without taste, without flavour ; 
it is thrown away, and becomes the portion 
of the cat. Still further, it causes you to be 
ridiculed, which is never pleasant, inasmuch 
as, having returned from a day's sport, when 
each with pride displays the fruits of his 
success, jokes and squibs fall on the head 
of the bungler and the murderer, and during 



AND HIS DOG. 75 

dinner it serves as an addition to all the 
sarcasms of the merry circle. In addition 
to this, a very young bird does not count 
as a dead head. In the severe inspection 
which each makes on his neighbour's game- 
bag, if it be a question of the best shot, a 
half-grown partridge, a leveret, and a young 
rabbit, count for nothing. It is necessary to 
have game of good alloy, skin or feather; 
it should, at least, be in youth, but not in 
infancy. Its wings or its legs should dis- 
cover this point. In this mutual control, 
essentially moral, the aim is to punish bad 
actions, and it is the best means to prevent 
their committal. 

The red-legged partridge is far more 
difficult to shoot than the grey, because, 
instead of following a horizontal line, they 
mount in the air at an angle of seventy or 
eighty degrees. As this bird rises almost 
always on being fired at, it is necessary, in 
order to touch it, that it should be aimed 
at on the point of intersection of two lines. 
Add to which it flies faster, makes more 
noise, and surprises you the more. The 



76 THE SPORTSMAN 

sportsman who fires at a red-legged part- 
ridge for the first time often misses it. This 
partridge is a noble and beautiful bird. 

When shooting one day near Chenevieres- 
sur-Marne, I killed four red-legged par- 
tridges, which I presented to Madame P. 
at Nogent. Some days after, many jokes 
were passed on the subject, pretending I 
had purchased them in the market. These 
conjectures were grounded on the fact that 
they had all a green riband on the right 
leg, an ornament which partridges are not 
in the habit of attaching to the legs of their 
young. I knew not what to answer, as I 
had not seen the ribands in question. The 
following day I returned to the wood; a 
red-legged partridge got up and was killed. 
I examined it, and I found a green riband. 
I followed my sport : a double shot ; a 
brace killed ; two green ribands. I soon 
ascertained that the daughter of an illus- 
trious field-marshal had nursed these inte- 
resting birds, and that she had thus marked 
them with the hope of finding them again : 
nevertheless we ate them : sic vos non vobis. 



AND HIS DOG. 77 

This recalls to my memory another anec- 
dote. We were in Poland, encamped near 
the little town of Sochacew, about sixteen 
leagues from Varsovie. We were told that 
in a neighbouring forest there was an abun- 
dance of wolves, and all the sportsmen of 
the regiment started one fine morning for a 
wolf-chase. The dogs were thrown in : I 
placed myself; a wolf appeared within 
twenty paces ; I killed her. Helas! all the 
sportsmen ran to see ; the wolf was a 
superb one, but she had only three paws ; 
one of her front ones was wanting. " She 
lost the other at the battle of Eglau," said 
an old trooper. Another wolf was killed ; 
we looked : she was similar to the first : 
her leg was cut off; the skin had grown 
over the wound ; one might have believed 
her to have been so born. A third a fourth, 
fell to our shots, and our astonishment 
doubled on each occasion ; they had only 
three legs, and that wanting was invariably 
a fore leg. A wit of the regiment desired 
to prove to us that in Poland wolves were 
so born. Some began to wonder ard be- 
H 2 



78 THE SPORTSMAN 

lieve, inasmuch as they could scarcely credit 
that four wolves should be all wounded in 
exactly the same manner. I wished to 
have my heart at ease on this point, and 
also to know the reason of so curious a 
fact. I, therefore, directed my steps to- 
wards the habitation of the forester, about 
two leagues from the place where we were 
shooting, and this was his answer: "The 
skins of our wolves are very valuable as 
a merchandise. In the spring we endea- 
vour to discover the place where the female 
has deposited her whelps, and we cut off 
the fore leg of all the young females : the 
mother licks the wound, which soon heals. 
When the time of rutting commences, they 
draw from the neighbouring forests all the 
male wolves, as with three legs they wander 
less and remain at home, and thus we are 
plentifully supplied." This explanation ap- 
peared to me to be very satisfactory, and I 
astonished our naturalist when I proved to 
him that in Poland wolves, wishing to remain 
in the class of quadruped, had the excellent 
habit of being born with four legs as elsewhere. 



AND HIS DOG. 79 

Speaking of wolves when on the subject 
of partridges, I must admit, is rather an 
absurd digression, for which I ask pardon 
of my readers, though without promising 
not to fall into the same scrape should any 
similar sporting anecdote occur to me. 

By nature the red-legged partridge is 
wilder than the common partridge. It is 
usually found in woods, on mountains, and 
among rocks, but is rarely met with in the 
fields. The sport of the former is inces- 
santly varied ; one mounts in the air, ano- 
ther plunges down a precipice : it is rarely 
two are shot in the same manner. In ra- 
pidity of flight no other game can bear 
comparison. It requires a good shot to 
kill a red-legged partridge under any cir- 
cumstances. At times, from the moment it 
gets up till it falls, three seconds are al- 
lowed ; not too much, you will admit. Ad- 
vantages are, however, often found : these 
birds do not always rise together : the first 
gives warning, and you have time to aim 
well at its followers. Not rising together, 
they disperse more readily, and on meeting 



80 THE SPORTSMAN 

with them a third time, you are almost 
always sure to obtain a shot. They run 
faster than the common partridge, but a 
good and well-trained do, who follows 
through bushes, &c., ends by finding them 
down when he stands to the point, and you 
may approach without causing them to 
move, even be you a thousand paces distant. 

Red-legged partridges change frequently 
their ground : you may meet with them on 
spots where you have never previously 
found them. When they are not where 
you expect them, it does not follow that 
they have been killed : they have departed ; 
the spot has displeased them, that is all. 
In the neighbourhood of Paris these birds 
are not in their natural climate; and if 
exotic herbs are not to be found, for on 
these they exist, they would die. But they 
do better, they go elsewhere. 

A sportsman who can readily kill a rab- 
bit or a red-legged partridge is generally a 
bad shot at the common partridge, the 
hare, and the quail. He is in too great a 
hurry, and for this reason good shots in 



AND HIS DOG. 81 

the covert frequently miss in the field. 
Covert and open-shooting differ materially, 
and an equal success is rarely obtained : 
nevertheless some are equally adroit and 
fortunate in all things; but these are of 
Nature's privileged class. 

The common partridge may be found 
everywhere save in large woods. They are 
easily approached in woody spots, and 
where covert is found, such as hedge-rows, 
bushes, potato-fields, and clover. They 
sometimes run before the dog, who stops, 
points, moves again; makes another false 
point, then continues his beat. In such 
case I follow this method, which I suggest 
to amateurs. Should you follow your dog, 
the birds, which each moment improve 
their distance, rise beyond shot. You should 
walk then before your dog, causing him to 
remain behind you. Hasten your steps with 
as little noise as possible, and when you 
arrive at the end of the field, give a shout, 
and the covey will rise. 

When a covey is found in the centre of 
a stubble or fallow, it is rare to approach 



82 THE SPORTSMAN 

them; they have their videttes to apprise 
the battalion, and are off at once. You 
should surround them, or rather walk round 
them, without approaching too near. The 
birds will run into some place for cover : 
leave them to settle for a minute, then 
take the wind, and walk direct towards 
them. 

Partridges are very fearful of man, though 
you may easily come near them with a 
horse or in a cart; but it is necessary to 
do so by a zig-zag path, as though you were 
besieging a town. 

In France a third species of partridge 
is found, but these are only in the south. 
It is similar to the red-legged partridge, but 
larger. When this bird sings, it continues 
its song for some time, and always in the 
same note ; and for this reason it is called 
the " Bartarrelle," which signifies the song- 
ster of the mill. This bird has the same 
habits as the red-legged partridge, though 
probably still wilder. You require good 
legs and wind to follow it, as it is found 
always in wooded, mountainous, and rocky 



AND HIS DOG. 83 

places, and is ever moving from one spot 
to another. It follows a straight line, but 
the sportsman requires to mount and descend 
again and again ; in fact, it is a kind of 
deer-stalking. In the countries where these 
birds are found it is the custom for several 
sportsmen to divide, each placing himself 
on a mountain-side, and in such manner 
a shot may be obtained by some of the 
party. 

I have even heard of a fourth species of 
partridge, smaller than the others, and 
which is said to be a bird of passage. But 
I do not know such to be the case, neither 
have I seen one. At the commencement 
of the season I have carefully acquainted 
myself with all the partridges under my 
command, and have been well satisfied as 
to the strength of the coveys, but I have 
never discovered that any such birds of 
passage have augmented them. At times I 
have certainly discovered less birds, but 
never more. 

The partridge, which in the months of 



84 THE SPORTSMAN 

December and January is very wild, and 
flies afar when followed by dog or man, 
becomes tame in February : this is because 
the breeding time arrives, and the coveys 
are broken up. Should frost arrive, they 
again unite, to separate on the first appear- 
ance of fine days. Amongst partridges there 
are always more males than females ; and 
those which are not coupled always make 
war against the fortunate husbands not a 
rare case among our own sex. At times a 
hen bird is pursued by four or five male 
birds, who never give her rest, not even 
when she is sitting. It would be well in 
the month of March to make war against 
the cock birds. At the break of day, you 
should start with a hen bird in a cage, and 
when she calls, you will soon see several male 
birds arrive. You kill one, and the others 
are off, but shortly they will return and be 
killed also. To obtain their wishes they would 
pass through a brasier. A decoy-bird calls 
ordinarily only in the twilight. I know a 
keeper who has used a starling to attract 



AND HIS DOG. 85 

the cocks. This bird, caught young, was 
brought up among partridges ; never had 
it listened to the paternal song. Like a 
parrot, it is a good imitator ; it repeats that 
which it has most frequently heard, and 
repeats it so well that the cocks themselves 
are deceived. In this manner your sport 
may last all day. I have even known 
sportsmen who could themselves imitate 
perfectly the song of the hen bird when 
calling to the male. It is a rare talent, but 
nevertheless a fact. 

Partridge-shooting, when the pairing sea- 
son commences, should be followed in open 
day ; they will hold to the point as in the 
month of September. The female bird rises 
first, then the cock, and you shoot the latter 
only. Very soon will the lady find a fresh 
husband. It is, however, only during the 
months of February or in March, and 
during the breeding season, that the cock 
rises last. When the month of April comes, 
the scene is changed ; the cock has no 
longer desire, and he flies at the slightest 
noise. This may be termed the " coquet- 



86 THE SPORTSMAN 

ting" of partridge-shooting. It is, how- 
ever, a sport which should be very soberly 
followed. Kill here and there a male bird, 
and then look forward for the return of the 
first of September. 

Partridge-shooting offers an unceasing 
variety. The easiest is when the bird flies 
parallel to the horizon. In such case you 
have only one thing to recollect ; it is to 
aim straight at the centre of the body, and 
whether you fire a little too soon or a little 
too late your bird will fall : if it flies 
straight, the shot cannot fail to strike it. 
But if the bird rises, you may readily con- 
ceive it is not easily killed without the line 
of fire cut that of the flight at the precise 
point of the bird. The shooter should follow 
it with his aim, and not cover it too much, 
but rather to the contrary. It is better to 
fire too high, because the tendency of the 
bird to rise may throw it exactly in your 
fire. Should the partridge plunge down 
the side of a mountain or gravel pit, aim 
at the legs, and the shot will strike the 
centre of the body. Should it come straight 



AND HIS DOG. 87 

towards you, and your gun is on a level 
with it, aim at the head. Should its flight 
be on the rise, aim a few inches before the 
head. If it flies very rapidly, and is aided 
by the wind, aim two feet before the head. 
The time which elapses between the shot 
fired and striking is brief, but that occupied 
in passing two feet by a bird on the wing of 
fear is not long. Should the bird describe 
around you a spiral line in rising, you must 
turn with it without changing your place. 
Do not be in a hurry ; aim well at the 
body, and don't pull the trigger till you are 
well assured of hitting your bird. In such 
a case a second shot is rarely successful. 
They call the shot of a king that which a 
sportsman fires over his head in a vertical 
position. 

He should aim at the head, or six inches 
before it, or more, according to the height 
of the bird. To succeed you should not be 
on the move. Such a shot is far more 
difficult when taken by surprise; no time 
is allowed to prepare the legs or arms. 

When your shot is fired and the bird 



88 THE SPORTSMAN 

falls, it is either dead or wounded. Then 
cause your dog immediately to seek it. 
Should the partridge rise suddenly in the 
air, it is mortally wounded either in the 
head or heart. Follow it with your eye, it 
will rise, rise higher, pirouette, then fall 
like a stone. This frequently takes place at 
some distance from the shooter. He ought, 
from the moment the bird comes to the 
earth, not to lose sight of it. You should 
well observe some intermediate points ex- 
actly in the direction, such as a tuft of 
grass, a clod, a stone, and thus assure your 
mind as to the place where the bird will be 
found, saying to yourself, " Not farther than 
that tree, not nearer than that bush." Then 
walk on and seek. Previous to quitting 
the straight line, in order to search on the 
right or left for your bird, mark well the 
spot you have quitted in order that you 
may be enabled to return to it, having not 
been successful. Notwithstanding all these 
precautions, I have lost many birds in this 
manner. In the centre of cultivated ground 
it is difficult to judge your distance. When 



AND HIS DOG. 89 

the weather is hot, your dog has no nose. 
Add to which it requires so small a place to 
hide a partridge. 

The male of the red-legged partridge is 
known by certain small protuberances which 
appear on each foot ; that of the common 
partridge by the chocolate-coloured horse- 
shoe on the breast. The first of October 
passed, partridges are full-grown. A sports- 
man should be easily able to distinguish a 
young from an old bird. The one should 
be roasted, the other committed to the 
stew-pan. Cooks often are deceived, yet 
all men of taste know the worthlessness of 
an old partridge roasted. When empty- 
ing your game-bag they should be divided ; 
the individuals destined to the spit, and 
those intended for a puree, or stewed in 
cabbage, and who figure in the first course, 
should be pointed out to them. The ex- 
perienced sportsman well knows a young 
from an old bird. In the former, the last 
feather of the wing, which terminates in a 
point, instead of being rounded, is the colour 
of the feet, namely yellow ; whereas that of 
i2 



90 THE SPORTSMAN 

the old bird is much darker. And with 
regard to the red-legged partridge, the 
young bird differs from the old, inasmuch 
as the second feather of the wing is trans- 
parent at the extremity. If you look at it 
in the light you will see an opening appear 
in two distinct lines. 

A sportsman would always prefer a red- 
legged partridge to the common bird. It 
is a much finer bird, more difficult to kill, 
larger, and fills your game-bag sooner. 
But a gourmand ought to prefer the common 
partridge. Many may think this a heresy 
gastronomic, having always heard to the 
contrary ; and having believed it. it is pain- 
ful to get over a long-rooted opinion. I am 
well aware that in the market the red- 
legged bird sells at a higher price than the 
common one, and that the restaurants values 
it at fifty to a hundred per cent higher; but 
all this proves nothing. I have made the 
experiment twenty times at my own table. 
The two birds have been served together. 
Some distinguished friends carefully tested 
their separate merits, and the common bird 



AND HIS DOG. 91 

has invariably received an honourable ver- 
dict in its favour, as possessing more flavour, 
juice, and taste. Try yourself; forget your 
ancient prejudices. " What beautiful feet! 
what beautiful plumage !" will go for no- 
thing in the judgment you will pronounce. 
These things are not eaten. 

Partridges are said not to be easily di- 
gested. It has also other inconveniences. 
You shall see : 

' ' Nimirum crudam si ad laeta cubilia portas 
Perdicem, incoctaque agitas gerietalia coena, 
Heu ! tune effundis semen, nee idonea pulchrum 
Materies fundabit opus. Siste ergo per horas 
Saltern aliquot," &c. 

Certain gourmands pretend that they are 
enabled to distinguish from taste the thigh 
on which the partridge sleeps, and say it 
eats better and that it has more flavour. I 
have often seriously endeavoured to make 
this trial, but I have never been enabled to 
discover any difference. I, therefore, con- 
clude there is some fault in my digestive 
organs, which have not all the sensitiveness 



92 THE SPORTSMAN 

they ought to have. It is a most delicious 
dish a well-roasted partridge ; but it is 
necessary that the nice leaf which well 
incloses his plump body should not permit 
the escape of any of its juicy flavour. 

I am well aware that Doctor Pedro Recio 
de Agguero did not permit Sancho Panza 
to eat partridge, founding his orders on the 
aphorism of Hippocrates, 

" Omnis saturatio mala, perdix autem pessima;" 

yet as the doctor refused other delicacies 
at the same time, such as tarts and sweets, 
we shall pay little attention to his authority, 
and less to that of Hippocrates. We shall 
eat many partridges, and wash them down 
with Burgundy, leaving the digestion to 
take care of itself. 

To distinguish a gourmand it is commonly 
said that he does not like partridges without 
oranges. This proverb alone will prove 
that oranges are necessary to be eaten with 
partridges, if the experience of every day 
had not proved this great truth beyond all 



AND HIS DOG. 93 

contradiction. A lemon may be used ; I 
have known those who, unable to obtain 
better, have permitted it : yet, when possible, 
never forget a sour orange. 

A travelling painter had been retained at 
a convent to take the portrait of its patron 
saint. His work being finished, all admired 
it. They placed it with pomp over the 
altar, with the following inscription in let- 
ters of gold : " Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam." 
The painter was thanked, overpowered with 
praises, and very badly paid. The evening 
previous to his departure from the convent, 
wishing to revenge himself on the monks, 
he got up during the night, rubbed out the 
portrait, and set to work. With a few 
strokes of the brush he altered the figure, 
previously represented in prayer, as sitting 
on a sofa. Before him was a well-covered 
table, on which, under his nose, was placed 
a roast partridge, the steaming odour of 
which promised to the happy expectant 
positive joy ; and in the hands, previously 
pressed in the attitude of devotion, he placed 



94 THE SPORTSMAN 

a fine orange, from which the saint appeared 
to squeeze the juice with much satisfaction. 

The following day the monks found their 
picture still over the altar, the motto was 
unaltered ; you might still read, " Ad Ma- 
jorem Dei Gloriam." 



AND HIS DOG. 95 



THE PHEASANT. 

THIS bird is the king of game. At its name 
the eyes of a sportsman sparkle ; his heart 
beats : listen to him ; if he relate to you his 
exploits in the field, the word pheasant is 
never named with indifference. He speaks 
of partridges, hares, rabbits, with careless- 
ness ; but when he comes to this noble bird, 
his mouth is full, and he speaks of it with 
respect. 

The lucky possessors of property in the 
shape of coverts, woods, &c., are rarely 
without pheasants. The great consolation 
to those who cannot afford to preserve them 
is, that they are by nature rovers a property, 
however large, not having sufficient range 
for them : they ever desire to visit their 
neighbours. Having then a friendly pre- 
serve at hand, it is as well to plant a small 
covert in the immediate neighbourhood, or 
sow an acre of buck-wheat. Providence is 



96 THE SPORTSMAN 

generous : it there conducts these noble ani- 
mals, and you share your neighbour's phea- 
sants, leaving to him the expense and trouble 
of preserving them. In foggy weather, the 
pheasant, when returning from feeding, 
wanders far, and not unfrequently loses his 
intended direction. Possessing, therefore, a 
covert near to a neighbouring preserve, it is 
as well to visit it during such weather, and 
rarely will you be disappointed. 

The pheasant nourishes itself in the same 
manner as the partridge, and rears its young 
almost in a similar manner, but requires 
much care. They are generally found in low 
and damp places, in high grass, on the bor- 
ders of marshes, and in the thickest parts of 
hedge-rows. This bird squats at times like 
a rabbit, and fancies itself in security when 
its head is hidden : it may then be killed 
with a stick. 

The pheasant often runs far before the dog 
without rising, and at times he will not rise 
at all. This takes place when the wood is 
extensive, and the green or under-covert is 
high. Making a thousand turns, retracing 



AND HIS DOG. 97 

his steps, he thus deceives the dog, which, 
getting on several fresh scents, is confounded, 
put out, and not able to recover himself. 
I have thus gone over an immense distance 
after a pheasant. You must follow your dog 
close, and be prepared for all chances. 

A pheasant will also hold to the point 
without, steadily, and not run. This takes 
place when it is surprised. A sportsman, 
having no dog, may pass near to a dozen 
without seeing or causing one to rise. Should 
your dog come to the point in a very thick 
covert, and you see no chance of killing your 
bird should it rise, kill it on the run. Re- 
collect, however, I give this permission to 
those who meet with a pheasant by chance : 
with reference to those who have preserves 
it is quite another question : to them occa- 
sions will not be wanting to fill their bags. 
In looking out for the pheasants which lie 
close, with their heads hidden, it is not diffi- 
cult to discover the long tail. In such cases 
aim well at the spot which you suppose to 
be the body, and, if too near, retire a little, 
otherwise you destroy the bird. 



98 THE SPORTSMAN 

It is a rare thing for an inexperienced 
sportsman to kill the first pheasant he fires 
at on the wing. No game causes so much 
emotion. The noise which he makes when 
rising, the desire one has of hitting so nohle 
a bird, causes an indescribable sensation ; 
consequently, too much haste is made, and 
the shot is missed. As regards myself, I 
admit with shame that the first pheasant 
which I beheld I fired at twice from the point 
of my dog, and missed it with four barrels. 
Latterly, it is true, I have had my revenge ; 
and now those which pass within fair dis- 
tance seldom have an opportunity of relating 
the result of our interview to their com- 
panions. A pheasant should not be fired at 
when it rises in the air, but when it flies from 
you ; that is to say, at the moment when, 
ceasing to ascend, it takes a horizontal direc- 
tion ; and in all cases never aim at the tail. 
If it rise in a thick wood, fire when you can, 
inasmuch as, when it flies direct and low, a 
sight may soon be lost ; but aim at the head ; 
the ascending movement of the bird will 
throw it into your charge. 



AND HIS DOG. 99 

The pheasant flies heavily when first on 
the wing, yet when in direct flight it goes 
rapidly. Should it come towards or cross 
you, shoot at it as at a partridge. Separating 
by a thought the body from the tail, aim 
rather before than behind : the tail saves 
many a pheasant : it is a pleasing object to 
the inexperienced, but the shot which hit it 
count for nothing. This long tail is not in a 
straight line with the animal : his weight 
causes him to take almost a vertical position, 
in a manner that all the shot which pass or 
cross it fall below it. A shot fired in the 
tail leaves many feathers in the air : you be- 
lieve the bird to be wounded, no such 
thing: like the fox in the fable, he loses his 
brush in the battle, and is none the worse. 

Coolness is required in pheasant-shooting; 
in the first place, because his noise in rising 
is startling, which always upsets the unini- 
tiated ; and secondly, as many do not desire 
their hens to be shot, you must satisfy your- 
self before pulling the trigger. 

A wounded pheasant will often run far, 
and is more difficult to recover than a part- 



100 THE SPORTSMAN 

ridge. Allow your dog to do his duty, and, 
above all, do not fire again should other 
game rise near you. On such an occasion, 
I was unwise enough to fire at a rabbit. My 
dog ran after it, and could never recover his 
lost scent : thus I missed my rabbit, and lost 
my pheasant also. 

We are told that a pheasant, when killed 
by a bird of prey, is far better than one killed 
in any other manner : this may be the case, 
but I never had the advantage of practically 
proving the result. 

This superb bird, when placed in your 
larder, should never be abandoned without 
reflection to the capricious arrangements of 
a cook, who will roast it two days too soon, 
or two too late, according to the number or 
quality of your guests. The pheasant should 
be roasted on the day it should be eaten : if 
your friends are there, so much the better 
for them. 

Some people hang them up by the legs, 
and when from the bird two or three drops of 
blood are seen to fall, then it is fit for those 
who do not like it somewhat high. Others 



AND HIS DOG. 101 

hang them up by the tail, and when the 
pheasant falls they judge it worthy a place 
on their tables. Others, again, more difficult 
to please, believe that in order to eat a good 
pheasant he should be kept until he change 
his position without aid. These must per- 
mit me not to be of their opinion. 

If the pheasant be a splendid bird to shoot, 
if it be an ornament to your game-bag, it is 
nevertheless an equally superb decoration to 
your table in the second course. 

We are no longer in the time of the Em- 
peror Heliogabalus, who, from ostentation 
or stupid prodigality, fed the lions of his 
menagerie with pheasants. When I kill one 
of these fine birds I eat it myself. A pheasant 
should not be eaten as other things are eaten ; 
it requires a certain solemnity : neither is it 
without consideration that a subject of such 
importance should be treated : it should be 
delicately treated. Being, therefore, incapable 
to go into the depths of the subject, I shall 
borrow a page or two from a clever author 
on The Physiology of Taste. 

" The pheasant is an enigma of which the 

K2 



102 THE SPORTSMAN 

name is only revealed to adepts ; they alone 
know how to relish it in all its goodness. 
This bird, when it is eaten within the three 
days subsequent to its death, has nothing to 
distinguish it. It is neither so delicate as a 
spring chicken, nor has it so much flavour 
as a quail : but cooked at the proper time 
its flesh is tender, sublime ; its high flavour 
combining that of poultry and of venison. 
The time so desirable to select is that when 
the bird commences decomposition : it is then 
the flavour developes itself, and is mixed 
with an oil which requires a little fermenta- 
tion to exalt it, as the cup of coffee which is 
only obtained by torrefaction. This moment 
is made known to the uninitiated by a slight 
odour and by the change of colour in the 
breast of the bird ; but the inspired derive 
it by instinct. A clever cook decides with 
the glance of an eye the moment when the 
bird should be taken from the spit, or allowed 
a few turns more. 

" When the pheasant is perfectly fit, pluck 
it, not sooner ; then lard it with great care, 
selecting the primest and freshest bacon. 



AND HIS DOG. 103 

It is by no means an indifferent question 
that of plucking a pheasant at the proper 
time. Experience has proved that those 
which are kept in their feathers are more 
perfumed and of better flavour than those 
which have been kept plucked, inasmuch as 
the air neutralises a portion of the flavour, 
or that the juice intended to nourish the 
plumage dries up and injures the flesh. 
Your bird being plucked, it should be stuffed 
in the following manner : Take two wood- 
cocks, and divide the flesh into one portion, 
the trail and liver into another. With the 
meat you make a stuffing, by hashing and 
mixing it with some beef marrow, a small 
quantity of scraped bacon, pepper, salt, and 
herbs ; add truffles sufficient to fill up the 
remaining portion of the inside of the phea- 
sant. Be careful to secure that stuffing so 
that none of it escape, which is difficult when 
the bird has been kept long. Nevertheless, 
there are several ways of obtaining this 
point, and, among others, that of placing a 
crust of bread over the orifice and attaching 
it with a thread. Prepare a slice of bread 
an inch thick, on which the bird rests in its 



104 THE SPORTSMAN 

length. Then take the trail and livers of 
the woodcocks, and mix them with truffles, 
an anchovy, some grated bacon, and a morsel 
of fresh butter : cover the bird with this paste, 
so that it shall be soaked through with the 
juice which melts while roasting. When 
the pheasant is done, serve it on the toast, 
surrounded with slices of orange, and be 
satisfied as to the event." 

This delicious meat should in preference 
be washed down with some of the finest 
Burgundy, which I have fully decided after 
some experience. A pheasant thus cooked 
is food for angels. Already distinguished 
by its own flavour, it imbibes throughout the 
savoury and delicious odour which escapes 
from the woodcock and truffles. The toast, 
rich in itself, is impregnated in threefold 
combination by the juices which run through 
the bird when cooking ; and thus, among all 
these good things, not an atom escapes its 
full appreciation : indeed such a dish is fit 
for the table of kings. 

Animals feed, man eats; but the man of 
mind alone knows how to eat. 



AND HIS DOG. 105 



THE WOODCOCK. 

" Cum nemus omne suo viridi spoliatur honore, 
Prseda est facilis et amoena scalopax." NEMISIANUS. 

THERE are several species or variety of the 
woodcock : as, however, they have all the 
same habits, are found in the same localities, 
and nearly at the same period, we may class 
them under one head. 

This bird of passage inhabits high grounds, 
and there rears its young. Towards the 
month of October it descends to the woods, 
preferring those in which pools of stagnant 
water, ponds, and marshy ground, are found. 
The east and north-east winds are those 
which bring most woodcocks ; above all when 
accompanied by fogs. Woodcocks are found 
in spots where a collection of dead leaves 
has produced a sort of mould. It looks out 
for these as its pasturage, and then makes 
its toilet on the borders of a pool, in which 
it washes its beak and feet. The woodcock 



106 THE SPORTSMAN 

does not make long flights, like the duck or 
the swallow : changing its climate without 
changing its country, quitting high moun- 
tains for woods, and woods for mountain 
tops, it goes over in a vertical sense the 
space which the others pass horizontally. 

Woodcocks may be shot to a pointer, 
although not always seen in a wood. Some 
attach a small bell to his collar : when it is 
no longer heard, direct your steps whence 
the sound proceeded, and you will find your 
dog immoveable before the bird. The wood- 
cock remains well to the point, and gets up 
under the feet of the shooter : the only diffi- 
culty which presents itself to the success of 
your shot is, that it rises in the wood where 
a thousand branches hide it from your sight. 
A short gun is very convenient when shoot- 
ing woodcocks. 

The flight of the woodcock is heavy and 
startling : it plunges behind bushes in order 
to hide itself, its wings and body offering a 
large surface to the shot of the sportsman. 
In elevated woods and among branches, fire 
when you can ; in open coverts, allow him 



AND HIS DOG. 107 

to make his first plunge before you pull the 
trigger. After having fired, should your 
dog return with an empty mouth, be not 
disappointed : walk to the spot where the 
bird may have fallen. Dogs have generally 
a great repugnance to carry a woodcock : 
they would die of hunger with a roasted 
woodcock at hand without touching it with 
their teeth. A woodcock, hit or missed, 
should always be followed to the spot where 
it has dropped. It is readily put up again. 
If you amuse yourself by seeking others, 
you will quit a certainty for an uncertainty. 
The woodcock has bad sight, particularly 
during the day : it certainly sees better 
during the twilight than in broad day, and 
doubtless for this reason in Spain is termed 
gallina ciega, blind fowl. 

Woodcocks may be shot to a terrier, 
though such dog does not come within the 
scope of this book. Nevertheless we will 
say, in passing, this sport is very agreeable 
and advantageous. These dogs give tongue 
when the bird rises, and the shooter is thus 
on the alert. 



108 THE SPORTSMAN 

When shooting in a wood, great precaution 
should be observed in keeping the line with 
your companions, otherwise most serious 
accidents may occur should any one advance 
too much. A word should be occasionally 
passed along the line to see that all are in 
their places. Walk always in a wood with 
your gun elevated : if it be horizontal, a 
branch may touch the trigger, and you may 
kill a poor woman who is collecting the dead 
wood ; the wood-cutter may become a victim 
to your imprudence. As a general rule, in a 
wood never fire the height of a man without 
seeing clear before you the spot where your 
shot will strike. How many have missed 
a hare, and killed a poor devil sleeping 
behind a hedge ! It would be better to lose 
a shot what say I? a thousand shots, 
sooner than fire at hazard in a wood. By 
neglecting this precaution many a sportsman 
has had cause to remember it during life. 
Covert-shooting requires great coolness and 
much experience, and I would not advise it 
for beginners. Practice and thought are 
required before you undertake it. If you 



AND HIS DOG. 109 

cannot see a bird get up with coolness; if 
you fire both barrels by chance and without 
aim, never go into a wood; and, more, be 
careful of the labourer in the fields, the shep- 
herd, the cows and the horses. As regards 
the animals, you may get off by paying, but 
the labourer and the shepherd will be ano- 
ther affair: we are not in Russia, where a 
man may kill his servant if he pay a fair 
price. Woodcocks may be well shot in a 
battue ; but many beaters are required, in 
order that they may be near together. They 
should have long sticks in their hands to 
beat well all the bushes, tufts of grass, &c., 
and the addition of a few terriers would add 
to the chance of success. The woodcock 
rises under the feet of man. Having been 
disturbed and realighted, it will run ; but the 
first time it remains close, and if you have 
no dog, you may pass it ten times without 
seeing it. After a battue each sportsman 
has marked the spot where a missed wood- 
cock or one not shot at has alighted ; they 
go immediately to the spot, and if the wood 
is practicable with a pointer, giving the 



110 THE SPORTSMAN 

beaters time for repose. When shooting in 
a wood which is not very extensive, it would 
be as well to have a marker : place him in 
one of the highest trees, and let him carefully 
look for the woodcock alighting. If I pro- 
hibit an unlimited destruction of hares and 
partridges, I withdraw my veto as regards 
birds of passage. Interdicting to you, as re- 
gards the first, means certain to destroy 
them ; nevertheless I secure your satisfaction : 
but as regards woodcocks, snipes, wild ducks, 
plovers, &c., all means are good. Those 
at hand to-day are gone to-morrow ; others 
will kill them if you do not : kill them if 
you can yourself. The gourmand who dines 
at a table d'hote eats as much as he can, 
knowing he will be charged no more than 
others. 

You have woodcocks in your woods, which 
are too thick readily to tire in. Start either 
in the morning or afternoon, and place your- 
self before twilight near the pools they fre- 
quent ; you will readily perceive the prints of 
their feet on the moist earth : their droppings 
white, and without smell. Select the tracks 



AND HIS DOG. Ill 

which they follow to approach the water and 
return to the wood. During the winter they 
arrive one after another: in the month of 
March they come in pairs. Place yourself 
for choice at the end of an avenue or path 
elevated, from which you can discover all 
before you. Stand near or behind a bush, 
never under a tree, the branches of which 
may prevent your firing. For such sport 
it is necessary to be all eyes ; and, above all, 
be prompt to fire, as the woodcock passes 
rapidly, and always at the moment when 
twilight commences or ends. 

Woodcocks are found all over the world ; 
in the ancient Continent as in the new ; in 
Siberia as in Senegal. It is an excellent 
bird when plump, and always best during 
frost. They should never be drawn. By 
pounding woodcocks in a mortar a most 
delicious puree is made, and if on such puree 
you place the wings of partridges piquees, 
the happiest culinary result is obtained. 
The woodcock should not be eaten too fresh, 
otherwise its flavour will not be sufficiently 
developed : you will have meat without 



112 THE SPORTSMAN 

taste or delicacy : cooked as a salmis, its 
perfume mixes charmingly with that of 
truffles. Roasted with a breastplate of 
bacon, it should be watched over by the 
eye of a sportsman : a woodcock too much 
done is worthless; but a woodcock done to 
a turn, and placed on a toast black and 
unctuous from the trail, is a most delicate 
and delicious morsel, the most savory which 
a man can eat ; and if he take the precau- 
tion to wash it down with some first-rate 
Burgundy, he may flatter himself that he 
has dined well. 

The President of the tribunal of Avignon 
had dined with the Prefect. In the double 
quality of a distinguished gourmand and of 
an intrepid sportsman, he officiated always 
with a good conscience. Having taken his 
coffee to facilitate digestion, and arrived at 
his third little glass of cognac to qualify the 
passage of the coffee, his host accosted him 
as to whether he had dined well? " Why, 
yes," he replied. This answer appeared to 
be accompanied by restrictions. " Eh, no! 
I have dined well enough." " Well enough 



AND HIS DOG. 1 13 

signifies nothing." " Yes, yes, I have dined 
very well/' " I can understand you, my 
friend; you regret those fine woodcocks 
which left the table uncut." "Why, yes, 
I could have eaten my share." " Wait a 
moment, and they shall be served for you." 
" After the coffee? after the liqueur? it 
is impossible." " Nothing is impossible to 
a stomach like yours." 

The order was given a small table laid 
in the adjoining room the woodcocks were 
served, and the happy President ate them. 

This respectable magistrate said one day, 
" We have just been eating a superb turkey: 
it was excellent, stuffed with truffles to the 
neck, tender, delicate, and of high flavour ; 
we left only the bones." " How many of 
you were there?" said I. "Two," he re- 
plied. "Two?" "Yes, the turkey and 
myself." 

An original said to me one day : " See 

how admirable is Providence: it has caused 

all the rivers to run by large towns." We 

ought to be thankful to that same Provi- 

L 2 



114 THE SPORTSMAN 

dence, as doubtless it is for us that voyaging 
instinct has been given to certain birds. 
Each successive year quails are sent to us 
to be roasted, or served en papillotes, the 
only good way of eating them. Some serve 
them en salmis and in patties ; but this is a 
great mistake : indeed it is an act of the 
greatest ignorance. The perfume of the 
quail easily evaporates: the moment it is 
put in any liquid whatsoever, the flavour no 
longer exists : you have still a delicate meat, 
but insipid and tasteless, and no longer a 
quail. 

Nevertheless there are circumstances 
when you may permit yourself to eat a 
boiled quail : it is when on a shooting party 
you find yourself in some isolated or village 
inn, where no means to practise the culi- 
nary art are found. It is doubtless very 
good, but that does not satisfy a correct 
appetite. You have neither time nor pa- 
tience to roast your birds, and have not all 
the necessary additions at hand. Then pluck 
and draw your quails, and suspend them by 
a string over the boiling pot ; allow them to 



AND HIS DOG. 115 

remain five or six minutes, and serve them 
hot. You will find them passable, and it is 
perhaps a dish that requires the least time. 
But this is only an exception, which confirms 
the rule that quails should be eaten roasted : 
and if you desire a proof for there are 
some who never believe your assertions 
you shall have one of much antiquity, 
viz. " that the Israelites found them roasted 
in the desert ; " and as they apparently 
had neither guns, pointers, nor cooks, they 
would scarcely have known what to do 
with them, had not a higher Power pro- 
vided them. Nevertheless these quails could 
not have been larded, as the Jews never eat 
bacon, and were probably not so good as 
ours, as the larding is indispensable. 

All rails furnish the cook with a pleasing 
task, delicate, and of high flavour : pre- 
pared in the stew-pan, their flavour de- 
velopes itself: the spit too often dries them 
up. I therefore recommend their being 
eaten en salmis, seasoned with truffles or 
mushrooms. Nevertheless, they are excel- 
lent roasted : it requires, however, the eye 



116 THE SPORTSMAN 

of one who understands his business to su- 
perintend them. Never place entire confi- 
dence in your cook : a slight circumstance 
may cause you to be disappointed : your 
rail may be overdone, and in such case you 
may as well offer a burnt mutton-chop to 
your friend. 



AND HIS DOG. 117 



THE WILD DUCK. 

" Ainsi dans leur saison les canes du Lapland 
Partent, formant dans Pair un triangle volant." 

THIS beautiful bird of passage arrives in 
the autumn and departs in the spring. 
There remain here and there a few that 
make their nests in France ; they select 
marshes, pools surrounded by wood, in which 
they lay their eggs. The desire of these 
idle ones appears to be simply that of afford- 
ing to the sportsman the pleasure of killing 
the young birds, which grant to the gastro- 
nome the ineffable delight of eating a bird 
of such exquisite flavour. 

The flocks of wild ducks are sometimes 
very numerous, the great difficulty is to 
approach them. It is generally necessary 
to use a boat as well as a duck-gun ; even 
then your shots are at some distance, though 
you may bring down ten or a dozen at a 
time. Among those hit, many are not killed, 



1 18 THE SPORTSMAN 

only wounded; they still swim, though they 
can no longer fly : it is necessary to pursue 
them, bat a second shot generally effects 
your desire. But it is not exactly of that 
species of sport that we here write ; we must 
not forget that we are sporting with a dog. 

In the first place, you must prepare your- 
self with some long water-proof boots, 
strong and pliant. In order to obtain these 
I could recommend you to many places, as 
also give you an excellent receipt to keep 
them in order ; but in the present day there 
is scarcely a town in which you may not be 
creditably supplied. 

Be careful to keep your dog close. Wild 
ducks rise at some distance from the shooter, 
more particularly when the flock is nume- 
rous. As with the partridge, a single bird 
is far more easily approached than a covey. 
Do not then allow your dog by too much 
eagerness to render the chance more diffi- 
cult. Charge your gun with large shot, 
No. 3 or No. 2. The wild duck, above all 
water-birds, has generally the thickest plum- 
age ; you must therefore have a large shot 



AND HIS DOG. 119 

to penetrate this covering, more particularly 
when the bird rises at some distance. Hunt 
with care all the sides of the pool ; beat well 
the long weeds and rushes, and do not hurry 
too much, or you may leave a bird behind 
you. In this manner you may find snipes, 
rails, &c. When duck-shooting, something 
is always to be met with. In marsh shoot- 
ing the best of dogs will sometimes lose his 
scent : the water which penetrates the nos- 
trils, or the particles of mud, is the cause. 
It will be as well, therefore, sometimes to 
allow him to rest, dry himself in the sun, 
and begin again. It is almost needless that 
I should add, that in .duck-shooting, as in 
all other shooting save that of snipe, it is 
necessary to have the wind. A good wind 
in sporting is a sine qua non. 

The wild duck is perhaps the game which 
causes the most noise when rising. The 
flapping of its wings in the water, and soon 
after in the air, astonishes a novice. It is 
on this account that Varron gives it the 
name of quassa gipenna. 

In firing at a wild duck on the wing you 



120 THE SPORTSMAN 

have far more chance of killing it than on 
the water. In the first case the feathers are 
separated and more readily penetrated, in 
the second it is quite the contrary. If you 
fire at a duck on the water, aim always at 
that part of the bird immediately above the 
surface of the water. The duck will some- 
times dive; in such case be prepared to fire 
with your second barrel the moment it rises 
again. When firing at this bird on the wing, 
it will be as well to fire rather high than 
too much at the body : in fact, let your aim 
be at the head. It is sometimes very diffi- 
cult to recover a wounded wild duck; the 
best dog may be at fault : the bird dives, 
and re-appears twenty yards off; the mo- 
ment the dog approaches he dives again, 
and so on ad infinitum. If in a boat this is 
soon ended, as you get another shot : if on 
land, I pity you. The spaniel is the best 
dog for marsh shooting : as for the setter, 
he is too soon done ; rheumatic and other 
pains distress him, and destroy his scenting 
powers : this is a sport too rough for his 
constitution. Should you see afar off some 



AND HIS DOG. 121 

wild ducks on the bank of a river, mark a 
tree or stone in their immediate locality ; 
then make a circuit sufficiently extended to 
prevent their hearingor seeing you, and make 
towards the spot where they are. If the bank 
be high, you will easily approach them, but 
take care your dog is behind you. Should 
the sun throw your shadow on the water they 
will be off the moment they discover it, the 
manner of hiding the shadow of a sportsman 
being not yet discovered. In a marsh it is 
very easy to attract wild ducks by placing 
there some tame ones ; this method may be 
dated for centuries back. We have already 
said an idle wild duck will occasibnally re- 
main in our climate, where they breed, lay, 
and rear their young. When a nest of young 
ones is found they are easily destroyed. This, 
however, must, of course, only be done when 
they are fit to hand over to the cook. Having 
decided on killing them, the old hen must 
first be shot ; after this, the young ones, de- 
prived of their guide, are easily brought to 
reason : they are found one after another in 
the long grass, or in the rushes, and should 

M 



122 THE SPORTSMAN 

one remain, it is readily enticed the follow- 
ing day by attaching near to the river a 
tame duck; the young ones take it for their 
mother, and are not long in coming to be 
killed by its side. It is very difficult to judge 
distances on the water : in order to do this 
well requires much practice. Some who 
possess large pools or lakes, where many 
wild ducks are found, cause stakes to be 
placed in the water: these stakes, all within 
shot the one of another, serve as a guide to 
the shooters, as beyond such distance shot 
would be wasted. 

Wild ducks, geese, and teal have admir- 
able instinct in their flight; the flock sepa- 
rates in two wings, forming exactly the letter 
V. That one seen flying at the head of the 
two columns at the spot where the two 
branches of the letter unite, has necessarily 
less fatigue than the others : all fly behind 
him, following the direction which he traces 
in the air : he is the pilot. A flock of wild 
ducks is an army, of which each soldier be- 
comes a general in his turn. After a certain 
time, which is always the same, the rear one 



AND HIS DOG. 123 

hastens his pace, and takes the lead until 
another supplies his place, and so on. 

Scarcely has the swallow taken its depar- 
ture, than on the winds of the North are 
seen advancing a colony who come to replace 
the travellers to the South, in order that no 
void should remain in our fields. In the 
grey time of autumn, when the keen wind 
whistles through the branches and carries 
off the remaining leaves, a flock of wild 
ducks, all arrayed in file, traverse in silence 
a melancholy sky. Should they perceive 
from their airy height any Gothic manor 
surrounded by pools, lakes, and forests, it is 
there they purpose to descend. They await 
the night ; and, making their evolutions 
above the woods, the moment the shades of 
evening darken the valley, with neck ex- 
tended and whistling wing they descend all 
at once on the waters which tempt them. A 
general cry, followed by a profound silence, 
is heard in the marsh. Guided by a small 
light which probably shines through the 
narrow window of a tower, the travellers 
approach the walls, favoured by the rushes 



124 THE SPORTSMAN 

and the night : then flapping their wings, 
and crying out by intervals amidst unceasing 
winds and rain, they salute the habitation of 
man. 

It is a remarkable fact, that teal, wild 
ducks, snipes, plovers, lapwings, which all 
serve as food to man, should come at the 
moment when the earth is unfruitful ; where- 
as strange birds which come during the fruit 
season have only pleasurable relations with 
us : they are musicians sent to charm amid 
our shrubberies. Some may be excepted, such 
as the quail and the wood-pigeon, of which 
the shooting does not take place till after 
the harvest, and which fatten themselves 
with our wheat to be served on our tables. 
Thus the birds of the North are the manna 
of the North winds, as nightingales are the 
gift of the Zephyrs. From whatever point 
of the horizon the wind blows Providence 
sends us a present. The wild duck is the 
species of game the most known : all over the 
world you hear of their having being killed ; 
they are the hope of the shipwrecked. Aban- 
don a man in any part of the known world, 



AND HIS DOG. 125 

give him a gun, powder, and shot, and he 
will kill wild ducks for his food. 

The wild duck is of higher flavourand more 
savory than the tame duck: whether roasted 
with mushrooms, or en salmis with truffles, 
the wild duck is a most distinguished meat. 

All that we have said in reference to wild 
ducks applies to the teal, and in general to 
all water-birds. We shall only add a few 
observations with regard to the moorhen, 
which you meet with when shooting snipes, 
rails, and wild ducks. 

This meeting is agreeable : it is a good 
shot which kills a water-fowl, but it should 
be well aimed that it strike fully : if the 
slightest life remain, he dives and disap- 
pears. The moorhen possesses an astonish- 
ing instinct in order to avoid the game-bag 
and the spit. She swims for some time under 
water, and, instead of re-appearing as the 
wild duck, places itself under the leaf of a 
lily or among rushes, and, allowing its beak 
to appear, takes breath and remains immov- 
able. It requires a good dog to find them: 
he should beat the rushes and the reeds on 

M2 



126 THE SPORTSMAN 

the borders of a pool, and often double, as 
the water-fowl will make a hundred turns 
to deceive him. The moorhen is otherwise 
very easily shot. It gets up under your feet: 
allow it to fly ; take good aim at its body, 
and do not fire till you are sure of success. 
When it remains immovable, it may be 
taken, from its black plumage and the white 
mark on its head, for an heraldic bird fallen 
from the crest of an ancient cavalier. 



AND HIS DOG. 127 



THE SNIPE. 

As much as the snipe resembles the wood- 
cock in its plumage, in an equal degree do 
its habits and actions differ. Snipes are 
found in marshes, in low and wet grounds, 
whereas the woodcock seeks the mountain 
or the wood. As a general rule, wherever 
you find snipes, never look for woodcocks, 
and vice versa. The snipe arrives in France 
during the autumn, and disappears during 
the cold weather, returns during the spring, 
and then directs its flight again to the North, 
where it breeds. Some may produce their 
young in France, but these are exceptions. 

It is a very agreeable sport that of snipe- 
shooting, but neither the shooter nor his dog 
must fear the water. Supply yourself with 
water-proof boots ; walk and look out ; you 
will find amusement. This shooting requires 
as much experience as address. The snipe 
flies with great rapidity, but this is the least 



128 THE SPORTSMAN 

inconvenience. It commences by starting 
straight for several yards, makes two or 
three plunges, and then flies straight again. 
If you wait till these two or three plunges 
have been made before firing, it is far away, 
without it has risen under your feet. If you 
fire during these doubles, you will generally 
miss it. If you are prepared, it is better to 
fire at once, and you have then the chance 
of the second barrel should you fail with the 
first after the three doubles; but to shoot 
thus you must be very quick few are very 
successful ; nevertheless I have seen many 
who, from constant practice in snipe-shoot- 
ing, can kill them as easily as partridges. 

The snipe can be shot at from morning 
till night. Those once put up will be found 
again. You may fire always, and often miss: 
in no shooting is so much powder wasted. 
It may be as well to charge your two barrels 
with different-sized shot, the right with No. 
1 ; the left with No. 6, or even No. 5. The 
small shot may be used in double charge, or 
at least a charge and a half; as you will fire 
it at a short distance it will bind better. It 



AND HIS DOG. 129 

will be as well to diminish the charge of the 
larger shot by a quarter or a third, as it is 
required to carry further, and if you fire with 
correct aim there will still be sufficient. 

The snipe allows itself to be easily found 
by the dog, and it is the only kind of game 
which can be hunted with a bad wind. It 
is even better to have the wind in the rear, 
and for this reason, the snipe has the habit 
of facing the wind, and of flying straight 
before it. If you find him with a contrary 
wind, it starts before you ; if not, it whirls 
in the direction of the wind, and then such 
whirls, added to the plunges which it never 
omits, greatly complicate the question. 
Snipes are more readily shot during cloudy 
than bright weather. The jack-snipe lies 
close in thick tufts of grass, and gets up 
almost always under the feet of the shooter. 
But the larger snipe has all the allurements 
of the water-rail : it runs, is put up with 
difficulty, and does not fly till far from the 
dog : it then fancies itself out of danger, but 
the gun often damages such ideas. Bour- 
gainville found snipes in the Malonnes Isles, 



130 THE SPORTSMAN 

and ascertained they possessed habits differ- 
ent from those which we deem them to have 
in Europe. As there is nothing to disturb 
them in such latitudes, they make their nests 
in the open country, and are easily killed ; 
they have no fear, and omit the doubles 
when rising. Advice to those who are dis- 
concerted by these movements : they have 
only to make the voyage and they may kill 
snipes as easily as quails, which may pro- 
bably be sufficient compensation. Snipes 
are everywhere to be found, as woodcocks. 
Their eating is delicate and delicious, and 
as regards their culinary preparation, we 
refer you to our receipt for the woodcock. 

Sporting gastronomes, and they are in a 
large majority we desire, but scarcely know 
how, to give them the receipt of the salmis 
des " Bernardins." It may be applied to all 
sorts of game. These good fathers do not 
disdain any science. In those days the 
cloister produced men who knew a thing 
or two. 

Take four snipes, roast them, but not too 
much : cut them up according to the rules 



AND HIS DOG. 131 

of the art, then divide the wings, the legs, 
the breasts, and the backs, and arrange 
them on a dish. On the dish on which you 
dissect them, and which ought to be of silver, 
crush the livers and the entrails of the bird, 
on which squeeze the juice of four lemons 
and the rind finely mixed of one. On the 
members already prepared sprinkle a few 
pinches of salt and of allspice, two spoonsful 
of excellent mustard, and half a glass of 
first-rate sherry : then place the dish over a 
heater of spirits of wine, and stir it well, so 
that the whole be well impregnated with the 
seasoning, but let none unite. Take great 
care not to let it boil ; but when it ap- 
proaches that degree of heat, sprinkle it 
with some fine olive oil : diminish your 
heat, and continue to stir for several minutes. 
Then take off the dish, and serve it imme- 
diately, so that it may be eaten hot. 

Recollect, when you meet with this dish, 
to use your fork, as in case you touch it with 
your fingers you will devour them. 



132 THE SPORTSMAN 



CHANCE GAME. 

" Tros Tyriusve mihi nullo discrimine agetur." VIRGIL. 

WE shall unite under the above title all 
birds, which, without counting them among 
the hope of the sportsman who shoots to the 
pointer, may nevertheless occasionally aid in 
filling his game-bag. When in the field he 
meets with them within shot, he ought to 
take advantage of the chance without per- 
mitting himself to think of the necessity. 

Lapwings and plovers are birds of pas- 
sage ; they arrive in large flocks, but they 
are very cunning and approached with diffi- 
culty. It is rare that a dog points to them, 
and it is only by surprise that such an event 
occurs. When, by the nature of the ground, 
or in a high wind, the shooter meets with 
them on a sudden, then a double shot fired 
into the centre of the flock causes a desirable 
result. Although the guignard is a species 



AND HIS DOG. 



133 



of plover, it forms an exception to the gene- 
ral rule; it allows itself to be pointed by the 
dog. I have killed several in this manner. 
In the month of September, when the wea- 
ther is warm, they are easily approached, 
and at times may even be fired at sitting. 
This is a bird much esteemed by gastrono- 
mists, though little known. Its flesh is 
extremely delicate, and very superior to 
lapwings and other plovers. In countries 
where plovers abound many may be taken. 
The sport of trapping, netting, snaring them, 
and other means, are resorted to in war 
against them: of these means, however, we 
shall not write, inasmuch as we sport only 
with the dog. When shooting the hare and 
partridge, one frequently meets with the 
wood-pigeon and sometimes the turtle dove, 
which is agreeable as being a chance. Such 
birds add to the game-bag; and often the 
shooter has to thank such chance game for 
the pleasure of a day's sport. 

The plover, the lapwing, and the wood- 
pigeon, may be added to the contents of a 
game-bag : as regards the dove, opinions 

N 



134 THE SPORTSMAN 

differ. Many do not consider it as game. 
I do not agree with them : it is shot on the 
wing, and often at a great distance. 

As regards the thrush, the blackbird, and 
the lark, they can only be counted on in the 
kitchen ; even were your bag so filled it 
would not be with game. Nevertheless this 
should not prevent your killing a thrush, 
should occasion offer, of which there are 
four species in France. The common thrush 
is found in September among the vineyards 
and in gardens; it is the best of all; is very 
delicate eating, and very savory. The others 
differ in size and period of the year when 
most easily shot, but they are all good on 
the table. When thrushes are abundant, 
the shooting of them is by no means wanting 
in sport. You should have a companion : 
place yourselves on each side of a vineyard ; 
send your dogs into the centre, and each fire 
at those which rise, and, if good shots, you 
will soon be well supplied. In this manner 
you may get an unusual number of shots, 
and such practice is of great advantage to a 
young sportsman. He accustoms himself to 



AND HIS DOG. J35 

look out and be prepared to follow the bird 
with his aim before pulling the trigger. The 
thrush does not always rise in the same 
manner : sometimes it flies straight, at 
others makes many plunges ; at other times 
its flight is undulated as the waves of an 
agitated sea : at last it rises in the air and 
falls again, describing the course of an 
arrow. A sportsman who can under all 
circumstances kill a thrush will seldom miss 
a partridge. When the thrush is fat it runs 
between the vines, and is put up with diffi- 
culty. A stone must be thrown at it, or a 
piece of earth, to start it; but you must be 
ready to fire, for it will settle again within 
ten or twenty paces. 

Thrushes may also be shot when seated 
on the branches of trees, but they are not 
easily seen, and at times you may be quite 
close without discerning them. If you find 
yourself within twenty or five-and-twenty 
paces of a tree on which a thrush had set- 
tled, aim at the place where it settled, and 
fire : I have often succeeded in this manner. 
All thrushes are birds of passage. Never- 



136 THE SPORTSMAN 

theless some always remain in France during 
the winter, as well as larks, &c. : in fact it 
would appear, with regard to birds as with 
men, that there are workmen and pretenders, 
active and idle. 

The country where most thrushes are seen 
is on the borders of the Baltic Sea, at Dant- 
zic, &c. In that country their number is 
really prodigious at the season for flight. 
Every tree, indeed almost every branch, has 
its thrush: you may fill your bag, and there 
is scarcely a table on which they are not 
served on silver skewers half a yard long. 
A spit of fat thrushes, roasted and larded, 
is a most delicate dish. They should never 
be drawn not more so than a woodcock; 
the toast placed under them will always be 
improved. Some eat them en salmis, others 
make pies of them: this is a mistake never 
dine with such people, or you will contract 
their bad habits. In the neighbourhood of 
Paris, and even farther north, ortolans may 
be found: indeed, I kill several each season. 
Although this excellent bird is rarely fat till 
it has passed some time in cage, we have 



AND HIS DOG. 137 

eaten many tolerably plump, and not with- 
out merit. Few sportsmen know an ortolan : 
they will pass it by without looking at it : 
they disdain it. We pity them. 

A dog will point well to the lark, and 
with the same firmness as to the quail or 
the partridge should the shooter desire it, if 
he fire on each occasion, and cause his dog 
to bring back the dead bird. But when a 
shooter punishes his dog for false points to 
these birds, he soon ceases to notice them. 
For a beginner the shooting of larks on the 
wing is good practice, which he may often 
repeat, as these birds are found at each step 
in certain seasons. It requires quick sight 
to shoot them, as they are certainly more 
difficult to kill than the quail or the partridge. 
It is no longer as the swallow, which passes 
and repasses before you, and which you fire 
at when it suits you. With the lark you 
must seize the moment, which, when once 
lost, will not be recovered. 

In countries where game is not abundant, 
the shooting of larks with a looking-glass is 
an amusement taken advantage of from want 

N2 



138 THE SPORTSMAN 

of better. In those where much game is 
found, when partridges can no longer be 
shot, larks may be so. Whether from co- 
quetting or curiosity, the lark likes to ap- 
proach a brilliant object : it looks, and 
admires itself while singing. 

Looking-glasses are made which turn 
themselves, and move like a clock by the 
aid of clock-work. They are very ingenious, 
but the rays which they throw out are very 
uniform. I prefer the ancient glass which 
our fathers made use of, and which were 
turned with a string. According as the sun 
was strong or weak, so we could accelerate 
or retard their movements. This sport is 
carried on in the morning during the month 
of October, when the weather is clear, till 
two o'clock. A single glass is quite suffi- 
cient for many shooters if the larks are 
abundant. It is one of those sports where 
most powder is burnt, and as it is necessary 
to load quickly, it is as well to make use of 
cartridges. If the lark is difficult to shoot 
when rising from the field, it is quite the 
contrary when shooting with a looking-glass ; 



AND HIS DOG. 139 

it soars, flaps its wings, and hovers without 
changing its position. It is like shooting a 
bird sitting on the branch of a tree. A spit 
of larks, fat and well-dressed, has its merit: 
they must neither be drawn nor roasted too 
much. I am aware that great hunger is 
not easily appeased with larks, but they do 
very well with other dishes. 

We were one day in the fields, and we 
saw a shooter at some distance, who appeared 
desirous of leaping a hedge. Our friend 
had his right leg behind him as if to take 
his jump, and then he stopped. " He'll 
jump," said one, " He won't," said another; 
and his movements began again. " The 
ditch must be very large," said I, "since he 
hesitates so long." " It is quite small," said 
one. " It is deep," said another, " It is 
dry." " It is full of water." To be brief, 
when we approached him we found an 
honest sportsman shooting larks, who turned 
the looking-glass with a string attached to 
his leg : he had no thought of jumping a 
ditch, since there was none. 



140 THE SPORTSMAN 



INTREPID SPORTSMEN. 

Ad limina nota 

Ipse domum sera quamvis se nocte ferebat. 
Hunc procul errantem rabidse venantis lull, 
Commovere canes." VIRGIL. 

IF the weather be not agreeable for shoot- 
ing it will nevertheless do very well for keen 
sportsmen. Bad weather is sometimes the 
best. If you are young and fearless, if the 
rain does not frighten you, start : your first 
steps will alone appear distasteful, and with 
a detonator you have nothing to fear. 

During a fine rain partridges are easily 
approached : they rise from your feet ; their 
flight is heavy and not fast, and you soon 
find them again. Some of the best partridge 
shooting I ever had has been during rainy 
weather in a beet-root field ; clover is not 
so good, as they have no shelter, whereas 
the beet-root plant, well supplied with 



AND HIS DOG. 141 

leaves, serves as an umbrella for a whole 
covey of partridges. They huddle together, 
idleness retains them, and they only rise at 
the last extremity. 1 should, however, also 
observe that dogs have less scent ; the water 
which enters their nostrils neutralises the 
powers of smell, and which is only supplied 
by continual marches and counter-marches. 
If the wind be very high, still you may 
shoot ; game hears you less. The hare is 
easily surprised, and is not more difficult to 
shoot than in calm weather. This is not the 
same with regard to partridges : the height 
of the wind adds to the quickness of their 
flight ; they start precipitately, in which 
you must be a good shot to knock them 
over properly. It has been proved by a 
thousand observations that the hare allows 
itself to be more readily approached when 
the wind is from the south in winter, and 
from the east in summer ; the west and 
south-west winds are good in all seasons. 
The real sportsman starts in all weathers ; 
he rarely consults the barometer : he acts 
according to the state of the atmosphere, 



142 THE SPORTSMAN 

but he sports because he likes sporting. 
He understands the habits and the move- 
ments of game : he beats the fields if the 
weather be fine. If the wind be high, he 
tries the hedge-rows and the sheltered spots: 
he shoots when it is cold, when it is hot ; 
he shoots during rain, during hail ; he 
always sports. He starts at midnight in 
order to arrive at the corner of a wood 
where woodcocks are likely to be found at 
break of day : the woodcocks are not there : 
what avails it? he has enjoyed the hope 
to-morrow he will rejoice in the feast. 
What do I say ? The day is long and is 
not finished. The sportsman starts for the 
fields, beats all the corners of the wood, and 
finds nothing. He has been twenty miles 
without firing a shot : he returns fatigued, 
disgusted, harassed, but in his path a hare 
gets up and is killed. From that time adieu 
to fatigue; nothing rests so much as the 
weight of your game-bag. 

Previous to killing it you were tired, and 
walked with your head down ; but the mo- 
ment this interesting quadruped was safe in 



AND HIS DOG. 143 

your game-bag, as a sailor in his license, 
your frame expanded, your eyes shone 
again : you carry your head high : you are 
no longer the same man. When I meet 
with a sportsman in the field, I decide, at 
fifty yards, if he has been successful or not, 
and am rarely deceived. 

For all sportsmen, sporting is a passion ; 
it is necessary to fatigue yourself to be 
satisfied : but that fatigue is a pleasure. 
The shooter knows that on his return he 
can rest, that a good repast and a good fire 
await him ; the longer such pleasures are 
delayed the more are they enjoyed. What 
gratification, in fact, to dine near a brilliant 
fire, with dry clothes, with clean linen, after 
having been out all the day in mud and 
wet ! To many sportsmen shooting is more 
than a passion ; it is a rage. I have seen 
them during the month of November place 
themselves among rushes with the water up 
to their middles, and in this to watch for 
four or five hours together a flock of ducks, 
which rarely come within shot ; others, who 
would pass the whole night near a wood for 



144 THE SPORTSMAN 

a chance shot at a roe-deer, when sometimes 
a rabbit might appear in the neighbourhood. 
One day two ten days pass without sport ; 
at last they are successful, and from that 
moment all their troubles are forgotten. 

In England sporting is the rage of old 
and young. A professor of mathematics 
at Cambridge hunted at seventy-five years 
of age, and was then blind. His horse fol- 
lowed that of his groom. Addison, passing 
a joke on the Scotch, stated that on one 
occasion a fox passed through an encamp- 
ment, and all the army followed it. 

During the year 1830, immense flocks of 
wild ducks appeared on the banks of the 
Maine. These young ladies had fine ears, 
and were most difficult to approach. In 
order to kill them it was necessary to await 
their time. But how to wait for ducks 
during the night with the barometer at 15 ! 
An honest butcher proved the possibility. 
During one month this honest man never 
went to bed. He had several holes made 
near the river, in which he hid himself, and 
there remained throughout the night watch- 



AND HIS DOG. 145 

ing wild ducks. He killed and sold more 
than he did legs of mutton or rounds of beef. 
Yet few are found sufficiently hardy for such 
an undertaking. I have never tried such 
experiments, because I am not fond of hidden 
shooting ; and more, I am unable to en- 
counter severe cold and wet save on the 
move : but at all times, and during all 
weathers, I can shoot when walking. 

When the ground is covered with snow, 
partridges huddle together in order to keep 
themselves warm, and they may then be 
easily approached should you deem it worth 
your while to dress yourself in white, which 
may be done by wearing white trousers and 
putting a shirt over your other clothes, and 
placing a white handkerchief on your head. 
By no other colour appearing in the field, 
the partridges do not observe you far off; 
and if you have the wind, and take advantage 
of the ground to hide yourself, you are sure 
of a few good shots. Rabbits should not 
be ferreted during snow : the rabbit is chilly 
and idle, and will not leave its burrow ; in 
fact, he will allow himself sooner to be 

o 



146 THE SPORTSMAN 

eaten. In such case you must wait long 
enough, as the ferret, which fears the cold, 
will not hurry itself to return. I have tried 
this, and can assure you it is not very agree- 
able to wait four or five hours in the snow 
by a rabbit-hole. Generally, all kinds of 
sport during snow, cold, and rain should be 
made on the move, to circulate the blood ; 
the movement heats you, and it is dangerous 
to stop: you must walk and walk on, and 
should you feel fatigued, return to your own 
fire-side, leaving more serious affairs to the 
following day. 

There are many intrepid sportsmen who 
have broken their arms and legs in the heat 
of the chase ; many fingers, hands, and even 
eyes have been lost : all these accidents have 
not prevented the sufferers from sporting 
again. Whether it be hunting, shooting, or 
rat-killing, sport will be ever sport. 



AND HIS DOG. 147 



THE SELFISHNESS OF SPORTSMEN. 

" Sensible a la gloire, 
Fier de la victoire, 
A qui veut te croire 
Tu le conteras r 1 Robin des Boi*. 

THE self-love of sportsmen may be com- 
pared to that of authors, actors, and billiard- 
players ; with all it is in the extreme. 
Should a bird rise, and four shooters fire, 
does it fall, each one declares to having 
killed it all are sure; they all give their 
words to the fact. I have known quarrels 
take place on the subject of a partridge. 
The good shot, however, will always give 
way sooner than cause a dispute, which is 
generally sustained by him who has no con- 
fidence in his own shooting, and fears to 
return with an empty game-bag. But if all 
act with courtesy, which should ever be the 
case among gentlemen, these differences 



148 THE SPORTSMAN 

rarely occur. As a general rule, the head 
of game belongs to him who stops it in 
flight or course. One should always allow 
the game time when fired at by a companion. 
Fire yourself only when you are sure it is 
not wounded, and not even then without 
you are shooting with friends. Never fire 
to the point of a dog to which another 
person is shooting without being requested 
to do so. Neither ought you to follow up 
the bird put up by another shooter. The 
hare which runs is not dead. All have a 
right to fire at a hare which runs. Never- 
theless if it be wounded by one of your 
companions, if his dog follows it near, you 
should not fire ; or, should you do so, con- 
sider it the shot of him who has wounded it. 
I found myself in the fields with a stranger: 
we fired at a partridge, which fell. "It is 
mine," said he. " I could claim it, since 
we both fired," said I. " Yes, but I saw it 
fall to my shot, I am certain ; I give you 
my word." "Take it," said I. As we 
were loading our guns, I observed, from the 
height of his ramrod, that my friend put in 



AND HIS DOG. 149 

a double charge. By my advice he made 
use of his drawing-rod, and perceived his 
last charge had never gone off. His gun 
had snapped, whereas mine was discharged. 
My friend had been quite certain of having 
killed, and had given his word to that effect. 
He was desirous to give up the partridge ; 
I begged him to accept it. At this he was 
not sorry, as there is pleasure in showing 
something on your return home. A sports- 
man who returns without anything avoids 
meeting his acquaintances, and, should he 
see any one, gets out of the way. If, on the 
contrary, his bag is well filled, with a face 
radiant in smiles he fearlessly walks on, 
that his game may be seen by all. 

During several years, when I have en- 
joyed some good shooting with an old mili- 
tary friend, on our return he was asked by 
his wife if he had had good sport ? " Yes," 
said he, " I have killed ten brace and he 
has killed six." Yet, on the following day, 
if I had killed twelve brace and he five, he 
would answer, " We have killed seven-and- 
twenty brace." This amiable woman then 
o 2 



150 THE SPORTSMAN 

never failed to say to me, " You have killed 
the most, as he speaks in the plural number." 
" Sportsmen are very amiable, and very gal- 
lant/' said a lady ; " they rise at four o'clock 
in the morning ; they take great precaution 
quietly to descend the stairs ; they never put 
on their thick shoes till they are ready to 
start; they fear to disturb us by their noise ; 
and then they discharge their guns under 
our very bedroom window." Observe a 
sportsman who has missed his shot, will he 
not ever have a good reason for so doing? 
The bird was too far ; the gun hung fire, &c. ; 
the next time he will be more careful ; or, 
his powder is not sufficiently strong his 
shot is mixed, not sufficiently round, and 
scatters too much a tree prevented his 
aim if not a tree, the sun, or, probably, 
the moon ! He will tell you a thousand 
such tales. Be assured it is never his fault 
that he has missed. A shooter always 
augments the distance ; he fires at thirty 
paces, and says it is fifty ; he does not touch 
the bird; this is easily accounted for it 
rises too far off. If he kill it, he takes to 



AND HIS DOG. 151 

himself the merit accordingly. It required 
far more address, far better aim, better 
everything than others have, but which he 
possesses. 

And then the lost birds ! this is the great 
battle-horse two wounded partridges, which 
the dog could not find because the weather 
was too hot ; a rabbit hit, which disappears 
in its hole ; a hare with its leg broken the 
dog was in the act of catching it when the 
hare doubled, and, being close to a wood, 
escapes. All this signifies, that " had I as 
much luck as address my bag would be 
full." To which may be answered, " When 
you find a partridge wounded by another, 
keep it yourself." If your dog catch a hare 
running which some else has wounded, say 
nothing, all is grist to the mill. Sportsmen 
are fabulous ; this is a proverb admitted at 
all times and in all countries. The proverb 
is true ; but if it were not so, it would be 
necessary to become so for the honour of 
the proverb, which ought never to be 
blamed. Nevertheless it is not well to push 



152 THE SPORTSMAN 

the question too far, and thus by doubt to 
revoke all the tales of sportsmen. 

When shooting, extraordinary things are 
met with ; and frequently, from fear of 
the above proverb, I have scarcely dared 
to relate facts which have actually oc- 
curred to ine, as it is not agreeable to see 
a smile of incredulity on the face of your 
listeners. 

One of my ancestors was shooting on a 
mountain covered with snow ; he was on 
the summit, near a precipitous descent ; 
he fired at a hare, which fled down the 
descent ; the hare turned over and over, the 
snow attaching itself each time until it 
literally formed a ball, which became larger 
and larger. Hurried on by its weight, which 
augmented the ball, it continued its way to 
the foot of the mountain, and became so 
large and so hard that with difficulty was 
it broken up to take out the hare. This 
anecdote, ridiculous as it may appear, is 
nevertheless perfectly true. When sport- 
ing circumstances multiply and combine in 



AND HIS DOG. 153 

such a manner that something new is ever 
occurring. 

A young and inexperienced sportsman, in 
despair at each day returning without suc- 
cess and becoming a laughing-stock to his 
companions, bought one day a hare, and then 
went to the field exhibiting his game, pre- 
tending a pleasure which he did not feel. 
On the hare being examined, however, it 
was soon discovered that it had been killed 
ten days previously, and was already nearly 
in a state of decomposition. The fraud was 
discovered, and he became a greater butt for 
his companions. Several days afterwards a 
peasant met him, with his game-bag, as usual, 
empty, and presented to his alluring eye a 
superb hare. He bought it, after assuring 
himself that it was fresh ; he had not forgot- 
ten on this occasion to see that its eyes had 
not sunk into its head, and that its belly 
showed the white. Here was another cause 
of laughter ; on the hare being examined, it 
was found not to have died by the gun, but 
to have been taken in a snare. 



154 THE SPORTSMAN 



NECESSARY PRECAUTIONS. 

" La pere en prescrira la lecture a son ills." 

IT is impossible to be too careful when 
you have a terrible arm in your hands 
which can cause two deaths. We shall 
repeat in this chapter all that we have pre- 
viously said on this head, at the same time 
adding the advice which long experience 
has dictated to us. We do not fear the 
repetition ; the only inconvenience will be 
that we may forget. Never keep too much 
powder in your house ; far better to procure 
it from time to time as you may require it ; 
a spark may ignite it, and the effects are 
terrible. Always keep your powder in a 
dry place, which is locked and far from the 
reach of children. Should you have occa- 
sion to meddle with powder, let it be done 
during the day. If you absolutely require 
to fill your powder-flask at night, do it as 



AND HIS DOG. 155 

far as possible from the candles, as a spark 
may send you and your house into the air. 
At an inn, in a farm-house, or any other 
place of meeting for a shooting breakfast, 
let your guns be so placed as that neither 
children nor your dogs may throw them 
down. A detonating gun may explode by 
the falling of the hammer if the shock be 
on the side of the caps. If you approach 
the fire, do so without your powder-flask ; 
a few grains only need escape to throw you 
into the air as a shell. The town of Eyse- 
nach, in Saxony, was destroyed in this 
manner in 1810; a convoy of artillery was 
passing through it, a few grains of powder 
escaped from a barrel, the shoe of a horse 
ignited it the barrel exploded ; another, a 
hundred ; and in a minute three hundred 
houses were destroyed, and two thousand 
persons killed. 

" Quseque ipse miserrima vidi." 

When you return from the field always 
discharge your gun ; having once entered 
your house you may possibly forget it. You 



156 THE SPORTSMAN 

have many things to say ; to dress for 
dinner ; your appetite hastens you. You 
place your gun in a corner ; a child finds 
it, and if it be loaded all is possible. If for 
your personal protection you desire to 
retain a loaded gun in the house, let it 
not be that with which you sport. Have 
another ; place it in security during the 
day, and be careful where you place it 
during the night, though ready to your 
hand. The charge of such gun should 
from time to time be changed ; this point is 
necessary. If you go to your shooting 
ground in a carriage, keep your gun well 
cased in leather. Flint guns will sometimes 
go off without being touched ; this never 
takes place with detonators. The cock 
should be always down when not loaded. 
These guns probably require more precaution 
than others. If the cock which is down 
on the cap finds itself raised by anything 
whatever, should it fall ever so lightly, its 
force is sufficient to ignite the powder. I 
one day returned wet from shooting. I was 
wiping my gun, which I held at length on a 



AND HIS DOG. 157 

table ; when, passing the cloth over the 
locks, my hand touched the trigger, the gun 
went off and lodged the contents in the side 
of the room. Since that time I always dis- 
charge my gun before entering. On another 
occasion I had just fired, and was re-loading 
the barrel discharged. During the operation 
a partridge rose from my feet. I was in the 
act of raising my gun to take aim, when 
the cock, hitching in some part of my dress, 
pulled it back ; it fell, and the charge passed 
within six inches of my head. These two 
accidents could not have occurred with a 
good flint gun. 

Should your gun fall, and a certain 
quantity of dirt introduce itself into the 
barrels, be careful to remove it by passing 
the ramrod several times into the interior. 
I should then advise you to place another 
wadding ; this wad will force the particles 
of sand which may have remained on the 
charge, and prevent an accident. When 
you jump a ditch, always uncock your gun. 
If you pass through a hedge, a thick covert, 

p 



158 THE SPORTSMAN 

or underwood, care is not less required ; 
and in many positions the mere uncocking 
of your gun is not sufficient, you must 
remove your caps ; but having done so, let 
down your cocks : without this precaution 
the powder may escape by the nipples, or 
become wet. In both cases your gun will 
miss fire, which is always a great annoy- 
ance. 

When in the open, carry your gun at an 
angle of forty-five degrees ; when in a wood 
it ought to be at fifty, that is to say, 
straight. Let your hand always be on the 
small of the gun, that the finger never 
comes near the trigger till you take aim. 
If your companion do not follow these 
precautions, give him a hint ; if he regard 
it not, get out of his way : fly such people 
as a pest ; they are worse than the cholera. 
Ordinarily never walk in a line save with 
experienced sportsmen and reasonable men. 
Fly from incautious youths ; they sometimes 
wound a man, always miss a partridge, and 
often kill your dogs. When your gun 



AND HIS DOG. 159 

snaps, elevate the barrel in a vertical posi- 
tion ; often it only hangs fire, and will go 
off the moment after. 

Be careful riot to overcharge or ram down 
too hard, and see well that no air is left 
between the wadding and the charge ; this 
want of precaution may cause your gun to 
burst, particularly when the barrels are 
dirty. When alone, never fire when facing 
a wall, as the shot may recoil in your face ; 
this inconvenience would not take place 
had you fired obliquely. If in company, 
never fire against a wall, against a heap 
of stones, or on a paved place ; your shot 
is always dangerous to some one. In my 
own neighbourhood a gentleman recently 
lost his eye in this manner. His companion 
fired at a rabbit amongst some stones ; he 
was thirty paces on the other side; the 
same shot which lost him his eye killed the 
rabbit. Should you fire on the water recol- 
lect that your shot ricochets, and be careful 
of your neighbours. Never fire into the 
middle of a hedge without being assured no 
one is on the other side; you may kill a 



160 THE SPORTSMAN 

sleeping shepherd, and it would be a pity to 
put an end to his dreams and prevent his 
awaking. In a wood never fire at man's 
height, or on the ground, without seeing 
before you. In vineyards it is very danger- 
ous to fire low ; children are sometimes 
stealing the fruit, and they hide themselves; 
it is not with a gunshot they should be 
punished, moreover, this is not your busi- 
ness. Always uncock your gun when enter- 
ing a boat, the unsteadiness may cause your 
foot to slip, and bang goes your gun. 
Always take off your caps when entering a 
carriage. These little precautions prevent 
many misfortunes and regrets. Not only 
should every sportsman follow them, but he 
should cause others to adopt his good ex- 
ample. If it be terrible to cause the death 
of a man from imprudence, it is equally 
disagreeable to become the victim of want 
of care in your neighbour. If you are 
accosted by an insolent keeper orv rude 
peasant, by people who endeavour to injure 
you with their tongues, who seek to dispute, 
who irritate you, uncock your gun ; fear 



AND HIS DOG. 161 

the temptation arising from passion ; walk 
away, and allow them to abuse; the better 
you are armed the more courteous you can 
afford to be. I admit that great patience is 
sometimes required ; yet by this will you 
prove yourself the gentleman and the sports- 
man. 



p 2 



162 THE SPORTSMAN 



THE THEORETICAL EDUCATION OF 
SPORTING DOGS. 

" Gardant du bienfait seul le doux ressentiment, 
II vient lecher ma main apres le chatiment. 
Souvent il me regarde ; humide de tendresse, 
Son ceil affectueux implore une caresse : 
J'ordonne, il vient a moi ; je menace, il me fuit ; 
Je 1'appelle, il revient ; je fais signe, il me suit ; 
Je m'eloigne, quels pleurs ! je reviens, quel joie ! 
Chasseur sans interet, il m'apporte sa proie." 

DELILLE. 

" THE good sportsman makes the good 
dog;" all the secret consists in knowing when 
to punish him and when to reward. The 
showman's dog daily makes this reflection : 
" If I do not jump I shall be beaten, my 
master gives me nothing to eat, he prevents 
my sleeping ; if I jump I shall eat, drink, 
and be caressed; let us jump;" and he 
jumps. Imitate the showman. Your words, 
whether harsh or soft, your caresses or your 
lashes, should be so regulated as to cause 



AND HIS DOG. 163 

ideas to find place in the habits of your 
young dog. The moment he can run, you 
should occupy yourself with his education ; 
take him out walking, accustom him to 
your voice, and make him obey you. You 
should also accustom him early to the noise 
of your gun. I have known dogs, with 
regard to which this precaution has not 
been taken, being frightened at the report. 
After his name, the first words made known 
to him ought to be u to heel ;" these should 
be repeated on every occasion when you 
call him to your side ; caress him when he 
obeys, punish him when he disobeys. But 
his punishment should be light; content 
yourself with a few harsh words and a shake 
of the whip. 

The dog is by nature very sagacious and 
intelligent ; he loves his master ; profit by 
this : act with patience and temper, and 
consequently only punish him when he does 
not do what he knows he ought to do. It 
is dreadful to see a sportsman breaking the 
ribs of his dog with the whip; the poor 
beast crouches at the feet of his master, 



164 THE SPORTSMAN 

licks his hand, and seems to say, " Why do 
you beat me? teach rne what to do, and I 
will do it ; I ask no better." 

The moment the master has spoken, the 
dog should obey ; you must not, however, 
omit anything, above all at the commence- 
ment : but never punish him, not even by 
harsh words, till he has learned and under- 
stands that which you desire of him. His 
obedience should be repaid by many caresses; 
a few kind words he readily understands, 
and knows well how to show his gratitude. 
You should therefore be prodigal of kind- 
ness, and at the same time avaricious of 
punishment. The dog delights in flattery ; 
caressed by the voice and gesture, he feels 
even the severity of your look, and a quick 
word is a still greater punishment. Then 
comes the threat of the whip ; then a light 
pull of the ear ; then a little more severity ; 
the lash only on great occasions, and this 
should only be resorted to in extreme mea- 
sures, in cases of absolute necessity. Propor- 
tion the punishment always to the fault, and 
when your dog, having been chastised, 



AND HIS DOG. 165 

finishes by obeying, double your caresses ; he 
knows and feels the difference, and will profit 
by the lesson. During your walk, take the 
precaution to study the character of your 
young dog. If he is gentle and timid, act with 
much management ; if he is wild, wicked, 
and cunning, be severe. You are his lord 
and master ; he should read his destiny in 
your eyes. A word from you ought to make 
him tremble; another ought to make him 
jump with joy. But, above all, be careful 
to make use of the same expressions to 
obtain the same result. The language of 
dogs does not admit of synonymes ; it re- 
quires technical terms, and the vocabulary 
is of no great length. You should occupy 
yourself personally with his education ; 
another voice than your own will disturb 
his ideas; the inflections will no longer be 
the same, and the animal will understand 
nothing. 

When your dog is for some time accus- 
tomed to this passive obedience, the base of 
his education, that he comes to you the 
instant you call him, stops his gambols and 



166 THE SPORTSMAN 

his fun at the slightest word from your 
mouth : you must instruct him to lie down 
at your command ; the front legs should be 
elongated, the rear ones placed under him. 
Your dog should always take this position 
the moment that with a loud voice you cry 
out " Down. " Soon he will attain this 
habit, and the slightest sign of your hand 
be sufficient to cause him to obey. Thus 
placed, you will hold him fixed when walk- 
ing round him; when you call him he will 
rise, but not sooner. A well-trained dog 
should lie down in an instant. 

He should then be taught to fetch and 
carry ; this may be done in playing with 
him, but it does not always succeed. You 
commence by throwing before him a linen 
cloth, and the moment he seizes it call him; 
caress him when he returns, arid take the 
cloth from his mouth. Should he drop the 
cloth previous to your taking hold of it, 
place it in his mouth again : repeat this les- 
son continually. The same exercise may 
be carried on with a stick, which should be 
covered with a hare or rabbit-skin in order 



AND HIS DOG. 167 

to prevent his holding it too fast with his 
teeth. He should seize it by the centre : 
should he seize it by the ends, do not allow 
it, but commence again. You see dogs which 
will not fetch or carry, and others which will 
readily do so : in the former case, you must 
make use of forcing collars : these collars 
are made with small spikes within ; a string 
is attached to the collar, and a pull causes 
the spikes to give severe pain : this should 
be used carefully at first : if, however, the 
dog be obstinate, a few severe pulls will 
bring him to reason. 

When your dog brings readily any object 
thrown for him, then make him bring dead 
game a partridge, a quail, or a rabbit. 
It is only when the dog is full grown and 
strong he should be made to carry the hare. 
If he has a hard mouth, and injures the 
game with his teeth, try the effect of putting 
pins in the birds. 

Your dog carries ; he obeys when you call 
him ; he understands the words "to heel/' 
" fetch it,' 1 "give :" you must teach him to 
seek : his vocabulary is augmented by the 



168 THE SPORTSMAN 

word " seek." In shooting, the dog ought 
to go over a hundred times more ground 
than his master. He should always range 
in zigzag, to the right, to the left, and never 
pass a tuft of grass without beating it. To 
teach him this manoeuvre you should act 
thus : 

The dog ranges before you at a distance of 
fifteen or twenty paces ; you should never 
allow him to be further: you call him on, 
changing suddenly your direction. The dog 
comes to you ; you make him a sign to ad- 
vance in saying " Seek/' This time you go 
in a contrary sense : you begin again, and 
always the words " turn " and " seek " 
accompany all your movements ; and gene- 
rally dogs will at once take to this manoeuvre 
from the dislike they have of losing sight of 
their master when they observe that he 
changes his direction. 

The natural instinct of a well-bred dog 
will cause him to "seek" the moment he 
has a knowledge of game, which experience 
will tell him where to find : he will then 
alone seek it without being told, as a dog 



AND HIS DOG. 169 

has no less pleasure than his master in 
sporting. 

Your dog brings, seeks, and beats ; he 
obeys ; the question is then to teach him to 
point. The greater portion of pointers point 
naturally : I have known them when six 
months old follow their mother to the field, 
and, on seeing her point, quietly place them- 
selves behind her, elongate their noses, 
elevate the paw, stretch out the tail, and 
remain till the gun is discharged. 

Throw for your dog the cloth or the stick 
as before, saying at the same time " Seek :" 
the moment he approaches it, draw the spiked 
collar, at the same time crying out to him 
"Hold." When he has remained a few 
moments, say to him " Bring," and begin 
again. You may also throw to the dog 
bread-and-butter, or anything else, without 
allowing him to take it till he has pointed 
before it to the word " hold." When he is 
on the point, fire your gun, only charged 
with powder, and do not allow him to touch 
the bread till you have fired. Repeat this 
lesson until he well understands it, and till 

Q 



170 THE SPORTSMAN 

he points without the use of the collar. 
Many sportsmen in such case cry " Seize it" 
to their dog : I condemn this manner. In 
the open as in the crowd a good dog ought 
never to rush in. Game should rise itself, 
and when the shooter approaches quietly. 

If a dog throw himself among partridges 
or quails, they will rise frightened and wild, 
and will be far more difficult to hit. When 
getting up before a shooter, they will fly 
straight. If they be red-legged partridges 
that the dog runs into, they will rise at 
once ; in a contrary case, they rise the one 
after another. For a hare or a rabbit, the 
inconvenience of rushing in is still more 
serious, as the dog once started, will follow 
the animal : if he is near, you will forbear to 
shoot ; and if you do shoot, you risk the life 
of your dog. In a marsh the case differs : a 
dog ought to rush, but you should never 
permit him till he is well grounded in good 
principles, and not until you have no fear 
that this habit will induce him to force his 
point in a wood or in the fields. 

Young dogs are generally full of spirit ; it 



AND HIS DOG. 171 

is necessary to calm them. When you see 
your pupil carried away by excitement be- 
yond the distance of twenty paces, stop him 
with a severe voice. When he rejoins you, 
give him a sign to advance again, saying 
"Gently, gently :" moderate your voice, if his 
ardour is too great. All these lessons, re- 
peated with patience, will not be lost on a 
dog of pure breed. You should well know 
how to distribute your recompenses as well 
as chastisements : give them at the proper 
moment, and be prodigal with your favours. 

When your dog knows all that we have 
here named, he is broken, theoretically 
speaking. Many sportsmen exact more. 
The education of a pointer is very trifling : 
he is formed by Nature ; in his youth he is 
so excited that he forces and starts the game, 
but he soon knows better: the instinct of the 
chase causes him to reason ; he continues his 
gallop, but he stops when necessary. 

A sportsman understands the powers of 
his dog : his listeners, who have scarcely 
believed his tales, are surprised by facts. I 
know a man who took a burning stick from 



172 THE SPORTSMAN 

the fire, threw it into the centre of the hall, 
and desired his dog to bring it. The dog 
walked round the burning brand, fearing to 
touch it: the order being repeated to him, 
he at length approached it, and having first 
extinguished the fire with his urine, seized it 
in his mouth, and dragged it to the feet of 
his master. Si non e vero. 



AND HIS DOG. 173 



THE PRACTICAL EDUCATION OF 
SPORTING DOGS. 

" Le bon chasseur fait le bon chien." 

Sagresse de Nation. 

PROCURE a living partridge and cut his 
wings: secure it from time to time, from 
distance to distance, in sundry grassy spots. 
Then attach your bird by a string to a tree 
or bush. It will at first endeavour to escape, 
but finding that impossible, it will soon lie 
close ; allow it to remain so, and leave it. 
Your dog not having observed these prepa- 
rations, take your gun and the wind, and 
with him approach the ground that has been 
touched by the bird. Then repeat the les- 
son to " seek." Your dog will become 
impatient : as soon as he scents the game, 
he starts; stop him with a gentle remon- 
strance; make him return to your side, and 
Q2 



174 THE SPORTSMAN 

cool his ardour by the words " Gently, 
gently." As you have only one partridge, 
and that must die in the lesson, be careful 
of his life, and allow the practice to last as 
long as possible. Tell your dog to seek ; 
make him turn to the right and the left ; 
and lastly, when he approaches the game, 
cry loudly to him to " hold." Should he 
not stop, a good pull at the spiked collar 
will instantly have the effect. Then approach 
your dog, saying to him quietly, " Hold, 
hold!" Walk round him: your voice and 
looks will fix him to the spot he has taken. 
When you have done this several times, take 
the partridge, put it under his nose that he 
may scent it without permitting him to touch 
it. Then let the bird go behind you : take 
your dog away, and recommence your lesson. 
Do this several times, and above all follow 
the advice given you before : and the moment 
your dog has pointed at the bird without the 
aid of his collar, kill the partridge and make 
him bring it. When the dog precipitates 
himself on the bird, and enjoys the pleasure 
of holding it in his mouth, cut the string by 



AND HIS DOG. 175 

which it has been attached. Assure your- 
self that he does not bite the bird, and that 
he gives it you the moment you desire him. 
Throw it three or four times in order to 
make him bring it again, and recommence 
this practice as often as you can procure a 
living bird. 

This lesson may be also followed up with 
a rabbit in a court-yard. It is not necessary 
to secure it; this animal, accustomed to live 
in burrows, will not endeavour to save itself 
in an open space : it will remain quiet. If 
your dog runs after a hare or a rabbit which 
gets up, he should be severely punished : this 
custom will cause you to miss many a shot ; 
he should not move till your gun is dis- 
charged. 

We are now arrived at the period to take 
your dog to the field. If he is wild, place 
the collar on him and allow the cord attached 
to it to trail on the ground ; you will then 
always master him by placing your foot on 
it. The animal receives a severe shock, the 
sharp points run into him and soon correct 
him. But each time that you so stop him 



176 THE SPORTSMATs 7 

you must tell him the reason. If he is wild 
on his beat, you must say " Gently, gently." 
If a bird rise before him and he desire to 
follow it, say " Hold, hold." These ex- 
pressions, or any other constantly repeated, 
will end by being perfectly understood, and 
each time you pronounce them your dog will 
understand your desire. When you are shoot- 
ing to a young dog, fire under his nose, if 
you have the chance, at the game he has 
pointed. The bird is often so destroyed : 
what does it signify ? such will not ever be 
the case. 

Several of these practical lessons will con- 
firm the dog in his points ; and he will soon 
make the following reflection : " If I move, 
the game is off; if I stop, it will be killed ; 
and I shall take it in my mouth, and plunge 
my nose in its blood. I rejoice. Do not 
move." 

Some partridges rise : you kill two or 
three ; your dog only brings back one ; do 
not ask him for the others ; they will serve 
each in their turn for an excellent lesson. 
You charge your gun with powder only; 



AND HIS DOG. 177 

take your dog with the wind towards a dead 
partridge it is still hot ; your dog will soon 
seek it, and will point to it as to a living 
bird. A general fault among young dogs is 
to beat with their noses on the ground ; they 
follow their game by the track, and take it 
against the wind. This must not be per- 
mitted, as in such manner their scent is less 
strong : at times they do not scent it at all. 
The moment you see your dog with his nose 
on the ground, approach him, make him 
hold up his head, and oblige him to seek 
elsewhere. The moment he receives by the 
wind some particles of scent, he will follow 
them with his nose in the air. Partridges 
hold far better before a dog which hunts by 
the wind than before one that follows on their 
track. If in the latter case he point, it is 
only by chance, and when the game is sur- 
prised and lies close under his nose. 

Never allow your dog to run after par- 
tridges : the first time he does it punish him 
severely. Slip on the cord, and give him a 
smart shock of the collar, using the words 
" hold" and " to heel." On a second occa- 



178 THE SPORTSMAN 

gion the whip must be applied, having care 
at the same time to make him sensible by 
words of the cause of his chastisement. 
There are dogs with whom both the above 
modes of correction have not the desired 
effect: their excitement carries them after 
the game, and they become deaf to the voice 
of their master : they require a more severe 
lesson, a charge of No. 7 from your gun 
from forty paces in their flanks. At this dis- 
tance such is not dangerous ; it tickles, causes 
a few drops of blood to flow, and the dog is 
none the worse. All my dogs have had this 
dose, and they are as well as I am. You 
finish by preventing this bad habit; their 
own judgment and experience soon prove 
that the advantage is on the side of the wings. 
But as regards the hare, running as them- 
selves on the ground, they always hope to 
catch it, because they recollect having taken 
several ; they forget the fact of their having 
been first wounded. " 1 caught one yester- 
day,' 7 says the dog ; " why not another to- 
day?" If it be possible, you must prevent 
their being followed : if you are not success- 



AND HIS DOG. 179 

ful, do not be too angry. The first time you 
find yourself shooting in company, and have 
a young dog, be careful to prevent his run- 
ning to the discharge of another gun. A few 
lashes of the whip will generally in such 
cases have a desirable effect. If your dog, 
when on the point, endeavours to snap at a 
hare or a rabbit, a quail or a partridge, and 
by chance he seize the game, you should run 
up to him, threaten him, oblige him instantly 
to drop it, and kill it with your gun. If you 
suffer this enormity, your dog will believe he 
knows better than you ; he will endeavour 
to seize your game on all occasions, will seek 
it, and you will lose your shots. The dog 
must be well satisfied that he can do no- 
thing with game without his master which 
is the fact. 

When your dog has committed a serious 
fault, and you judge an application of the 
whip necessary, you must seize him suddenly 
and apply it. But if, knowing his fault, he 
hesitates to approach you, you must not call 
him as a friend in order to punish him : this 
would be a treason he will not forget. Ap- 



180 THE SPORTSMAN 

proaeh him angrily, and catch him if you 
can : in all cases, if he flies, he is aware of 
having committed a fault. 

Now that your dog knows all that he ought 
to know, there is only one thing wanted : it 
is to make him take to the water. Be care- 
ful never to face him, or to throw him in, 
neither to select cold weather ; if you do so, 
you will make it ever repulsive to him. This 
lesson should be taught during the summer, 
when the water is warmed by the sun. Take 
him to the side of a stream which is not deep, 
so that he may enter the water gradually. 
Throw in a stick or anything else, and make 
him bring it. If he refuse, wait till he is 
hungry, then throw in some pieces of bread, 
at first near, then farther, and caress him 
when he obeys you. By and bye, when you 
find that he seems without fear, throw in at 
some distance a dead partridge, which you 
have previously caused him to scent, and 
without hesitation he will throw himself 
into the water. To finish this lesson, put a 
duck into a pond, and tell your dog to bring 
it ; the duck will plunge, and the dog will 



AND HIS DOG. 181 

pursue without catching it. When you have 
amused yourself sufficiently with this chase, 
shoot the duck, and your dog will proudly 
bring it on shore. 

The good sportsman makes the good dog : 
kill plenty of game, and your dog will be- 
come perfect. The sporting dog judges his 
master as a soldier judges his general. If 
he be a bad shot, the dog becomes careless. 
It is certainly by egotism that man causes a 
dog to submit to all his lessons, that he 
chastises him with the collar smd the whip ; 
but he also provides for him pleasures, 
which on the other hand he never would 
have enjoyed. If the dog could speak, he 
would thank you : without him you could 
do little ; without you he could do no- 
thing. The sporting dog loves the chase 
above all ; he loves it as much as the most 
ardent sportsman. If he is such, the sight 
of a gun animates him ; if he is lame, he 
will drag himself after you ; if he sleep, he 
dreams of partridges, rabbits, and hares. I 
have even known dogs wake up at the words 
"gun," "quail," " partridge." This effect 



182 THE SPORTSMAN 

has been caused without being said on pur- 
pose ; merely the expression in conversation 
has caused them to move the head or sigh. 
The dog is man's best friend ; it may be 
said he was created for his companion. 
Frederick the Great was one day in the 
midst of his courtiers, who assured him of 
their devotion to his person. The king 
listened to them, when, at the moment, the 
door opened, and his dog came bounding 
into the room. " You say well, my friends," 
added the king ; " but here is my best 
friend." 

It would require ten volumes to relate the 
history of celebrated dogs ; I shall there- 
fore confine myself to one, as a finish. Dur- 
ing the Emigration, a marquis of my 
acquaintance was received at the residence 
of a German baron. On the first day his 
astonishment was great at remarking at the 
baron's table an enormous dog, seated in an 
arm-chair. When an attempt was made to 
serve any one before him, some tremendous 
sighs burst from his breast, and he was ap- 
peased on his plate being filled. " You are 



AND HIS DOG. 183 

surprised, sir," said the baron, " to see a dog 
at my table, and treated as we are. When 
you are informed as to the value I place on 
the attachment of this admirable beast, you 
will not blame me, I hope. My chateau 
took fire during the night ; I was asleep ; 
my servants fled and forgot me. I should 
certainly have been burned to death, when 
my dog seized me by the feet, awoke me, 
led the way through the flames, and I was 
saved. I owe my life to him, and I do not 
feel that I do too much for him, when, for 
the rest of his days, I give him all the enjoy- 
ments I can provide for him." 



184 THE SPORTSMAN 



THE TRICKERY OF WAR. 

" La division Vedel aurait du se trouver & Baylen: elle 
resta en arriere, et son absence decida de la perte de 
1'armee d'Andalousie. Les soldats, manquant de vivres, 
se levraient au plaisir de la chasse, en poursuivant des 
troupeaux de chevres que les Espagnols avoient laches tout 
expres dans les montagnes." Memoires d'unApothicaire. 

I HAVE already said, we shoot, but we 
commit no murder. Our dogs, our guns, 
give us sufficient advantage over the game, 
without the necessity for making use of nets, 
gins, or snares, which are only good for 
those unfortunate poachers who live by the 
sale of stolen goods, and are consequently 
unworthy the use of a gentleman. The 
thorough sportsman, who respects himself, 
throws away such unworthy means, as 



AND HIS DOG. 185 

despicable ; he would blush to take ad- 
vantage of them ; he even joins the 
battue only under rare or particular cir- 
cumstances. 

Game has its wiles and cunning to serve 
its turn : we can meet them with other 
tricks, but it should always be allowed a 
chance of escape. For instance, all the 
world knows that a hare, running direct 
towards a sportsman who is behind a hedge 
or tree, is a dead hare. Unquestionably a 
schoolboy could annihilate him. It is wil- 
ful murder. I have often met at a battue 
with very inexperienced shots. This is 
the manner in which I conduct myself, 
and I advise all others to follow the 
example. 

It is forbidden, under a heavy penalty, to 
fire from behind a hedge, &c. Do not en- 
deavour to avail yourself of such tricks; 
look out, mark, and fire. 

The hare returns, doubles, manoeuvres in 
this manner. If you miss it, so much the 
better for him ; if you kill it, your con- 

R2 



186 THE SPORTSMAN 

science is clear ; you have acted fairly. 
You will, however, probably say, Less are 
thus killed. Agreed: the following year 
you will kill more. With regard to part- 
ridges, fire at them as you may, you will 
find it far more difficult to kill them in 
battue, and this must be your consola- 
tion. 

When you are shooting, should you hear 
a shot fired in your vicinity, be on the look- 
out in case anything may come in your 
direction. Listen ; should you hear a dog, 
you may be pretty sure a hare precedes him: 
if it is at some distance, stoop down and call 
in your dog ; if the hare is near you, remain 
perfectly quiet. Your dog may perhaps see 
the hare, and prevent its coming towards 
you : you run a risk; but if you call your 
dog, the hare may hear your voice and take 
another direction. 

This animal once shot at sees no longer 
before him : do not move, and he may 
pass between your legs. If your neigh- 
bour has fired at partridges, follow them 



AND HIS DOG. 187 

with your eyes, and mark where they 
alight. 

You are passing near a wood, a covert, or 
plantation in fact, any sort of covert : you 
have sent your dog therein, and placed 
yourself at a corner in order to see two 
sides. A hare runs out, squats, and looks 
around : do not move ; the slightest noise 
will send him in again ; let him take his 
course, and the moment that you think him 
sufficiently far from the wood that he cannot 
return without your hitting him, take aim 
and fire. 

Should it be a rabbit, you must fire as 
soon as possible at least if another be not 
near him. Then it is probable he may 
advance ; if not, he returns to the wood, 
will make a hundred turns to deceive the 
dog, and will never take the open again, as, 
being well aware he is not so fast as the dog, 
he will soon be taken. A rabbit is often 
found in the open, but he never leaves 
the wood in presence of man for the 
fields. 



188 THE SPORTSMAN 

When several are shooting together, the 
moment you come to a covert you should 
surround it : let every one take his place at 
the sides before the dogs are thrown in. 
This should be quickly done, without talking 
or noise. When all are placed, he who 
hunts the dogs may animate them with his 
voice and gesture as much as he likes. Let 
it be well understood, however, that in such 
cases you shoot only such game as come 
without, and do not fire within the covert. 
A hare has started before you ; he has been 
missed with both your barrels, inasmuch as 
you have seen the dust fly ten paces from 
him. If your dog follows it, you must 
recall him ; whistle and halloo with all your 
lungs ; and this for two good reasons, which 
I shall explain to you. 

In the first place, so useless a pursuit 
tires and winds your dog, and henceforth 
he slackens in his duty. Again : the hare 
runs much further, and you may lose the 
hope of finding it again ; whereas, by al- 
lowing him to go quietly away without 



AND HES DOG. 189 

hurry, he stops, looks around him, starts 
again, and squats in a field of potatoes, 
clover, or stubble, and you meet with him 
again before the day closes. 

You are shooting on your own ground, 
and you see your neighbour shooting on his. 
With a glance of the eye you ought to know 
if he understands his business. If on the 
contrary, profit by his inexperience. Ex- 
amine if he takes the wind : if he does not, 
take advantage of his error by placing 
yourself in the same line with him. The 
hares which he sees will get up at a 
distance without his getting a shot. You 
will have a right wind for them : the 
moment they get up, stoop down and be 
quiet ; you will kill them under his 
nose. 

You are in the field with ambitious youths, 
who desire to beat the whole ground at 
once, who run to be the first at a large 
clover or beet-root field : let them go, and 
remain behind ; shoot alone, wisely and 
soberly ; glean ; your supply will be better 



190 THE SPORTSMAN 

than that of these bunglers. While ten 
sportsmen crossing in a field have put up 
four hares, I will engage to find at least 
six more. 



AND HIS DOG. 191 



THE SPORTSMAN'S NIGHTMARE 
THE GAMEKEEPER. 

" Cerberus haec ingens latratu regna trifauci 
Personat, adverse recubans immanis in antro." 

WHEN sporting, the most honest man 
always poaches a little. We are all most 
conscientious, that is evident ; have infinite 
probity, that is incontestable. 

A shilling ill got would disturb our rest ; 
should we find the purse of a neighbour, 
doubtless we should return it : nevertheless, 
one kills three of his hares without remorse, 
ten partridges without sleeping the worse, 
a brace of pheasants with delight. Such 
are the trifles of the human heart. I have 
myself experienced this. 

A hare killed in the clover of an enemy 
is a hundred times better than another. 

Pain qu'on derobe, et qu'on mange en cachette, 
Vaut mieux que pain qu'on cuit et qu'on achete. 



192 THE SPORTSMAN 

It causes more emotion. We live from 
emotions ; without them we should not act. 
The heart beats quick, as, knowing you are 
in the wrong, you fear the keeper he 
whom you fancy always either behind a 
hedge, lying in a ditch, or stuck up in 
a tree. Ah, the keeper ! that repulsive 
figure saves the life of many a partridge. 

At the same time it is not the gun which 
does most harm. It it not against such 
poaching that an active keeper should give 
his greatest attention. It is against your 
night poachers, your carriers of nets, gins, 
and traps, diabolical inventions, capable of 
destroying all the game on your land in a 
few hours. Yes, your night poachers, who 
sleep during the day, and wake during the 
night, will take advantage of you and us 
also. 

A sportsman should have a well-filled 
purse, and not forget to take it with him. 
This purse should contain money of all 
sorts : the louis d'or should be mixed with 
the five-franc piece, francs, &c. You should 
understand, when occasion offers, whether 



AND HIS DOG. 193 

to give the one or the other : this will 
depend on the nature of the case. At 
times this bribery is useless ; incorruptible 
keepers are found : I have seen half an ecu 
refused with dignity. 

I one day put up a covey of partridges, 
which alighted within two hundred paces 
of me, in a field of clover. This clover was 
surrounded by a ditch, from which a voice 
appeared to say to me, " Stay where you 
are." 

This was all very well ; but the partridges 
being there close to me, the covey complete, 
my game-bag empty, in an instant I could 
secure a brace at least : who the devil could 
resist ? The temptation was too great for a 
poor mortal ; I felt myself devoured by it ; 
and I gave in to it in order to deliver 
myself, which is the best means. 

Caesar passed the Rubicon ; I was a little 
Caesar, and I jumped over the hedge. 

My dog at the point the birds rose 
a double shot; all this was done in an 
instant. 

This keeper was the " Hacktintirkoff " of 

s 



194 THE SPORTSMAN 

keepers, the Cerberus of the plain, the terror 
of poachers. As serpent he hid himself 
in the coverts, climbed trees like a squirrel, 
and there, perched on a branch, his eagle 
eye overlooked the fields and penetrated 
the coverts. Did he see a sportsman, down 
he came like a cat ; he ran like a hare. 
Always invisible when you sought him, he 
rose from the earth at the moment you 
least expected him. Like a certain heroine 
of M. Arlincourt's, he was everywhere and 
nowhere, never and always to be found. 

Keeper. I declare you to have broken 
the law for having fired on my master's 
grounds. Where is your license? 

Self. You have not the right to ask it : 
understand, my friend, a private keeper is 
only a servant ; you should be aware that a 
license can only be demanded by a keeper 
of the forests, a gendarme, the mayor, or 
his deputy. 

Keeper. We shall see that. 

Self. It is already seen. With regard 
to the partridges which I have killed, it is 
another question : I was in the wrong, I 



AND HIS DOG. 195 

admit : take this, said I, slipping a five- 
franc piece into his hand, and drink my 
health. 

Keeper. No, sir : I shall do my duty. 

Self. Do your duty and keep your feet 
warm. It is an excellent prescription, re- 
commended by all the faculty. 

Putting my money into my pocket, I 
turned my back on him. I will take 
advantage of this circumstance to recom- 
mend all sportsmen to avoid all sorts of 
quarrels. 

You should be careful not to get angry 
with a loaded gun in your hand ; the end 
may become tragic : it is a question of 
amusement, and not of acting melodrama, 
when you are in the field. You are taken 
in a flagrant act : endeavour to arrange the 
affair amicably, or at least to lighten the 
consequences. We no longer live in a time 
when the death of a hare will send you to 
the galleys. You will get off for a pound 
or two ; often for less, sometimes for no- 
thing. 

Having returned home, I wrote to Mr. 



196 THE SPORTSMAN 

, the proprietor of the fatal clover-field. 

I availed myself of a little diplomacy : I 
arranged my premises ; my tones were 
courteous ; briefly I proved that if I had 
killed the partridges it was their fault and 
not my own. The wretches were dead, and 
I felt certain they could not appear to con- 
tradict me. Mr. replied to me as a 

gentleman who knows the strength of a 
sportsman's conscience when he sees two 
partridges within twenty paces of him as 
if conscience had eyes on all occasions 
and the affair was arranged. 

The following day I had a visit from the 
keeper, who was desirous to receive his tip. 
Of course I never dreamed of giving it : we 
had changed our position, and the following 
dialogue passed between us. 

Keeper. Good morning, Mr. Blaze: 
hope you're well ? 

Self. And you ? 

Keeper. So so, well! My master has 
replied to your letter. 

Self. There is plenty of game this 
year. 



AND HIS DOG. 197 

Keeper. A great deal. I spoke up for 
you, otherwise the law must have taken its 
course. 

Self. Unfortunately we had much rain 
during the month of May : many coveys 
must have perished. 

Keeper. I said you were not a poacher ; 
that although I had taken you on his grounds, 
you were ignorant that the field belonged 
to him. 

Self. That which also occasions our 
having less birds than we ought to have is 
the quantity of grass meadows. 

Keeper. Any one else would have been 
indicted to appear at the sessions. 

Self. They are mown too soon, and the 
eggs are not hatched. 

Keeper. Which is always disagreeable. 

Self. The mother abandons them. 

Keeper. It is also expensive. 

Self. And the mowers make omelets of 
them. 

Keeper. Last year I put in an action 
against a man, which cost him at least fifty 
francs. 

s2 



198 



THE SPORTSMAN 



Self. Which omelets ought to be very 
bad, inasmuch as the eggs were addled. 

Annoyed at thus playing a game at cross- 
questions, he came to the point. 

Keeper. If you like now to give me what 
I yesterday refused, I will accept it. 

Self. No ; I offered it to you to avoid the 
disagreeable necessity of writing an apology 
to one with whom I was unacquainted. My 
letter has been written, and I am money in 
pocket by it. You are the loser ; but your 
conscience is clear, which is an enormous 
compensation. If during your rounds you 
should meet with Mr. Azais, he will explain 
this to you better than I can. Good bye! 
take care of yourself, and keep your feet 
warm. 

Hacktintirkoff went off much disap- 
pointed. Some days after we met again on 
the field of honour : I threw him double 
that which I had previously offered, and we 
became the best of friends. When he saw 
me in the open, he went into the wood. 

You have no right to shoot game off your 
own ground, being personally on it. Should, 



AND HIS DOG. 199 

however, a bird fall on that of your neigh- 
bour, being hit on your own, you are justified 
in seeking it. If some over-zealous keeper 
make any opposition, do not listen to him, 
but walk on. Give him the example of 
Louis XIV. The huntsman of M. Popilau 
followed a stag into Versailles, which was 
taken in the court of the palace ; the guards 
were desirous to prevent the huntsmen from 
securing it, but the King permitted them, 
at the same time declaring that a stag found 
on your own ground may be taken any- 
where. 

One of my friends was shooting in the 
neighbourhood of Conde. The keeper of a 
rich landowner came up and warned him 
off. Without disturbing himself, he said to 
him, " Ah ! there you are : well, never mind ! 
I could have done without you, although 
your master promised you should be here 

earlier. Go to the chateau, tell Mr. that 

in an hour I will be with him to breakfast." 
' ' By what name shall I announce you, sir ? " 
"The Count of Beaumanoir, Commander 
of the Citadel of Conde." 



200 THE SPORTSMAN 

After having given some good hints to my 
friend as to where he would find most game, 
the keeper returned to the chateau. When 
he had delivered his message they laughed 
at him, and told him that of which he was 
previously ignorant, that in the town of 
Conde (in his own neighbourhood) there 
never had been a citadel. 

The forester is generally a natural, to be 
treated with, his duty not being to prevent 
you from shooting, but to protect the crops 
and fences which you may injure on the 
ground. 

Recollect that the first day of shooting is 
to him as New-year's-day is to the porters 
of Paris : they are on the look-out for some- 
thing to drink and all the world must live. 
The first of September is a chapter of receipts 
in his account-book. Ill luck to him who 
by ignorance or niggardliness deceives the 
hopes which rise without ceasing at the ap- 
pearance of a fresh sportsman ! Abused, 
worried, conducted to the mayor, he loses 
two hours in absurd disputes, and ends by 
paying a fine. Far better is it to commence 



AND HIS DOG. 201 

by so doing. The forester has seen you ; 
from that moment you become his property, 
a machine for something to drink. All 
with guns in their hands who trespass on the 
public grounds of the common deliver a toll, 
as were they passing the Bridge of Arts. In 
the same manner as M. de Pourceaugnac 
became the prey of his surgeon, the sports- 
man becomes that of the forester, and the 
traveller of his postilion. He is another 
astonishing being, the postilion. How many 
glasses, how many gills, how many pints, 
his immense interior ingulfs each day ! 

Was France populated by postilions and 
foresters, from this moment the export of 
wine would be longer possible; foreign com- 
merce would be at an end; all would be 
drunk on the premises. A forester can only 
be compared to a postilion ; a postilion to a 
forester. They are two beings quite assi- 
milar : they cannot enter into any known 
comparison. Why has not Buifon classed 
them? 

The moment you meet a forester, throw 
him a piece of thirty or forty francs : he will 



202 THE SPORTSMAN 

prefer the last, inasmuch as it contains at 
least two more bottles of wine. Enter into 
conversation with him; be courteous and 
polite; a little flattery is not lost. If he 
snuffs, offer him a pinch ; should he smoke 
a cigar, in all cases offer him your spirit- 
flask, and he will accept some of its con- 
tents: the forester always accepts. Show 
him attention ; these gentlemen love to be 
thought of importance: and, above all, re- 
collect that you have before you the last link 
in the chain of administration, which com- 
mences with the prime minister and descends 
to the forester. Consult him as to your 
movements ; he likes to be consulted ; his 
nature is talkative. Use a little tact with 
him : he will very soon, without being aware 
of it, point out to you the most likely spot to 
find a hare where there are most partridges 
and the exact abode of the rabbits the 
snuggery which the quails prefer ; and you 
will neither lose your trouble nor the value 
of your money. 

One of my friends was shooting, when a 
forester approached and threatened him with 



AND HIS DOG. 203 

an action. " Understand, sir, that on meet- 
ing with me, you should take off your hat/' 
From the end of his gun the sportsman threw 
down his hat. " Ah ! I understand, you were 
not desirous to show me your old wig. 
Let us see." He took off his wig, threw it 
into the air, fired at it, and knocked it into 
a thousand pieces, and gave twenty francs 
to the stupified forester, saying, " Buy your- 
self a wig if you have not got one." Both 
were contented. 

The forester is essentially a poacher. Al- 
ways in the field, he knows every run of a 
hare ; he can find you a covey in a moment ; 
his pockets are always filled with gins and 
wires of every description. At night he sets 
his traps ; and in the morning, he, who is 
employed to watch the grounds and protect 
the crops, creeps like a cat here and there 
on his knees, destroying the golden blades 
of wheat ; and, in order to gratify his gains 
alas ! often too abundant, he does im- 
measurable harm to the farmer. 

The first restrictive laws as to the right 



204 THE SPORTSMAN 

of carrying arms in France were made by 
Henry II.; he forbade it on the penalty of 
death. At a later period, his successors 
made some modifications ; but in 1609, 
Henry IV. and I am sorry for him re- 
newed with severity the laws of Henry II. 
Several examples were made ; one, amongst 
others, by the Parliament of Grenoble. 
This severity existed till the reign of Louis 
XIV. The carrying of arms was then for- 
bidden by law to certain persons and certain 
classes in the most decided manner. 

In the present day the license is altogether 
an affair of fifteen francs, a tax on your 
pleasures which you ought to pay. There 
is no more restriction or guarantee to per- 
sons than the giving of a porte d'armes: 
nearly every one can procure it. It is a 
formality in law, as the stamp on a news- 
paper. It is one of the thousand rivulets 
which lose themselves in the ocean of the 
Budget. 

The consequence to him who shoots out 
of season, or without a license, is the con- 



AND HIS DOG. 205 

fiscation of his gun ; but his case must be 
decided by the laws. The police officers 
have only the right of bringing the action, 
and not of depriving you of your gun. In 
such case a sportsman may resist. No man 
of heart allows himself to be disarmed. 



THE END. 



LONDON : 
Printed by Schulze & Co., 13, Poland St. 



NOW HEADY, 
By the same Author, 

SCOTTISH SPORTS AND PASTIMES. 

ILLUSTRATED WITH NUMEROUS PLATES. 



SCOTTISH SPORTS 



AND 



PASTIMES. 



HERBERT BYNG HALL, ESQ. 

AUTHOR OF 

"THE SPORTSMAN AND HIS DOG," 

&c. &c. &c. 



WITH NUMEROUS ILLUSTRATIONS. 



LONDON: 
JOHN AND DANIEL A. DARLING. 

1850. 



LONDON: 
Printed by Schulze & Co., 13, Poland-street, Oxford-street. 



SCOTTISH SPORTS 

AND 

PASTIMES, 



CHAPTER I. 

" Auspicium melioris eevi." 

FROM the earliest periods of history, the inhabi- 
tants of Great Britain have been celebrated for their 
chivalry in arms, and not less so for their prowess in 
the chase. 

As the love of liberty induced our forefathers to 
become warriors, in like manner necessity compelled 
them to pursue, for the means of subsistence, the 
antlered monarch of the mountain, and the feathered 
tribe of the woodland. Indeed, the fact scarcely 
needs comment, that the activity and physical 
energy acquired from the pursuit of game, com- 
prising every species of out-door amusement termed 
sport, has, even to the present day, greatly contri- 
buted to that success which, under God's blessing, 



2 SCOTTISH SPORTS 

the armies of England have, and it is to be hoped 
ever will maintain, over those of foreign powers. 

During the period termed the Golden Age, our 
ancestors looked on the chase not only as a means of 
diversion, as by peers and commoners of the present 
age implied, or as a means of unlawful gain by 
poachers and pot-hunters, but simply as that which 
nature had liberally provided them for the well 
stocking of their larders, and the consequent suste- 
nance of themselves or their followers. Never- 
theless, they sported, in every sense of the word ; 
and, by this active and manly pursuit which caused 
them to be constantly under the canopy of heaven, 
in all weathers and during all seasons they gained 
health, strength, and nerve, for the more serious 
bloodshed of the battle-field. 

Dwelling during the summer months on the 
moorland or the mountain-top, when the rigours of 
winter approached, they sought the sheltered valley 
and the glen ; no millionaire, with boundless acres 
no unnecessary preserver of pheasants, and conse- 
quently, in many cases, destroyer of foxes 
no velveteen-clad forester presented himself in 
person, or by the ruinous arm of the law, to disturb 
their wandering footsteps o'er the land of liberty. 
Ramblers in pursuit of game, no circumscribed 
limit for their sport was marked; their footsteps 
were free and unmolested killing all they could, 
and eating all they killed. Those were no days of 
entails or rent-rolls no agents no pilfering lawyers : 
unthinking, unshackled free, wandering merry 
lads were they. Industrious labour was, however, 
soon taught by nature to appreciate the gifts which 
she so bountifully supplied, and they, good men ! 
with equal bounty appropriated ; for, in those days, 
men hunted as they fought, and fought as they 



AND PASTIMES. 3 

hunted the best sportsman killed the most game 
and ate it ; the best fighter, having won the battle, 
selected the best land and kept it. Many centuries 
have, however, elapsed having a bad memory, 
we forget how many since that pleasant sporting 
and fighting era. It is, nevertheless, vastly agree- 
able to reflect, as we now write in an easy chair, 
that it was long, long ago. We refer more particu- 
larly to the fighting ; for, as regards the hunting 
and shooting, the love of rural sports then engen- 
dered in the hearts of Britons has, from age to age, 
been handed down from generation to generation, 
and the passion burns in the breasts of Englishmen 
with an ardour undiminished : and a very pleasant 
passion it is, without fear of contradiction ; but, like 
all other passions, it is sometimes sadly abused. In 
fact, the transports which excite the minds of all true 
lovers of field sports, at the relation of a glorious 
day's fox-hunting a good run with harriers a 
shooting excursion a coursing meeting-- indeed, 
any sporting details, to all a source of amusement, to 
most is a source of unmitigated delight. 

"The Golden Age" defunct, we come to the 
Middle Age. Then there were kings with their 
horses, and hounds, and henchmen ; and they sallied 
forth from their castles and palaces with a noble 
retinue of fair ladies and bold barons, and they 
brought a stag to bay ; and the king looked on, and 
the ladies looked pleased, and the barons blew their 
fyorns, and they all went home to dinner. And the 
next day, the weather being fair, and the sky clear, 
the palfreys stood caparisoned before the baronial 
hall, and a sprinkling of sporting neighbours and 
pages were in attendance, and they all went forth to 
a hawking expedition, selon la regie of sporting 
barons in baronial times. 

B 2 



4 SCOTTISH SPORTS 

Then came the Age of Squires, real bond fide 
squires not squires in their present undefined title, 
but real solid squires, with their packs of hounds, 
and well filled stables of hunters, and their equally 
well filled cellars and larders ; and we are told 
they rose before day-break, and started to hunt the 
fox ; and that they rode some twenty miles to covert 
on a strong, half-bred, dock-tailed horse, which 
identical animal also carried them through a long 
and hard day's chase, and home again. After 
which, they hospitably and bountifully entertained 
their friends as well as themselves, with barons 
and sirloins of beef, and sundry bottles of good old 
port. These gentlemen had robust limbs, fat faces, 
and red noses ; and their sporting costume was 
generally a very thick pair of yellowish ancestral 
buckskins, with brown tops to their boots. They 
invariably attended the parish church on the Sab- 
bath, whatever might be the weather; and after- 
wards, in the society of the parson, who was always 
a Sunday guest at the squire's table, they drank 
two bottles of port to the prosperity of the chase, 
in the first instance, and then to the king's health ; 
and were termed, perhaps justly so, by their neigh- 
bours, good and honest men, who injured none 
but themselves ; and, as this injury was, of course, 
the fault of the port, they were sinless. 

Swearing and tippling, in those days, were con- 
sidered simply as sporting accomplishments ; to be 
d d by a master of fox-hounds was merely to be 
addressed in sporting language as our legislators, 
in these days of refinement, sometimes courteously 
address one another in parliamentary language, which 
is easily learnt, with a little attention to the duties 
of your constituency, during one session. And as 
for coming drunk into the presence of ladies after 



AND PASTIMES. 5 

dinner, it was supposed to be simply the natural 
consequences which followed the excitement of the 
hunting field : and a sound nap in an easy chair, from 
which issued a chorus of snores, was, doubtless, 
highly pleasing to the fair sex. 

The age of Melton, however, was not far distant ; 
and it came with the rapid strides of a race-horse, as 
did those of battues, grouse-shooting, and latterly 
deer-stalking. The hour for meeting hounds was 
later, the horses better bred, with more natural tails ; 
till at length we find thorough-bred horses and first- 
rate riders, and tails in the fulness of nature's beauty, 
unadorned by docking thus decidedly, as regards 
the horse, adorned the most assembled at th~e 
co vert- side at a reasonable hour in the morning. 

French and English male artistes have taken the 
place of female roasters of sirloins, who nevertheless 
serve eatables more agreeable to the palate, and more 
conducive to keep the frame lighter for the saddle > 
though no offence to roast-beef and Yorkshire pudding, 
excellent both in their way. Good claret in modera- 
tion is now drunk instead of bad port in abundance ; 
and very white and well-made leathers have banished 
the yellow buckskin; whereas well cleaned tops 
adorn the legs of peers and commoners, instead of 
dirty ones. The provincial counties have followed in 
the wake of Melton foxes are killed in one hour 
instead of four; and more pheasants are found on 
one estate, and more partridges in one turnip-field, 
than heretofore lived and flew in a county. 

Young England has made rapid strides in the 
character of sportsman, and, as regards ourselves, we 
feel perfectly satisfied with the system of the present 
age, without entering into any discussion with refer- 
ence to the merits or demerits of the Game Laws. 
As in all other matters of life's career, there are un- 

B 3 



6 SCOTTISH SPORTS 

questionably many objections to be found in the 
selfish bigotry and illiberal monopoly of game, and 
the no less objectionable manner of its undue pre- 
servation by some extensive landholders; happily, 
however, they are in the minority ; and where you 
will find one man of this nature, you will find twenty 
open-hearted and real sportsmen, who preserve simply 
as a means of sport and recreation to themselves, 
but far more so for their friends ; liberally compen- 
sating their tenants for injury done, allowing them 
also in many cases to participate in their pleasures, 
and in fact doing far more good than harm to their 
neighbours and their farmers. 

Melton may be a trifle " too fast," to use a sporting 
term, for those who have not good breeding and long 
purses. There is, however, sufficient breadth of land 
and a sufficient number of packs in Old England for 
all parties ; therefore let those who cannot, or ought 
not to go there, find their proper position, and go 
elsewhere ; sport is to be had, and first-rate sport, 
all over the kingdom, alike in England, Ireland, and 
Scotland. Good horses, good hounds, and better 
riders than heretofore were ever known, notwith- 
standing their apparent dandyism in dress and ap- 
pointments, are to be met with in every hunting 
field ; and hunting has become a source of unequalled 
delight and excitement, instead of a comparative toil 
mixed somewhat too copiously with the source of 
your enjoyment. You may now have a splendid 
day's hunting, ride home afterwards, make yourself 
agreeable to the fair sex, play a game of billiards, 
and then dress for dinner drink a glass or two of 
sherry and a pint of claret, and be fit society for 
women, as well as for those men who do not exactly 
participate in your sporting propensities. Cigars, 
disagreeable as their aromatic effluvia may bo to 



AND PASTIMES. 7 

some, even in a hunting field, nevertheless close the 
lips of many heretofore given to damn a little. Then, 
as regards shooting, in these days of sixty miles an 
hour by express oh ! 'tis a pleasant pastime to see 
your dogs range with a certainty of finding game, 
instead of walking o'er hill and dale for twenty miles 
in search of a brace of birds for your next day's 
dinner. Now, you have sport and pleasure without 
toil and disgust excitement without fatigue pas- 
sion without weariness. Which do you prefer the 
Golden Age, the Baronial Age, the Squires' Age, or 
the age in which we live and sport ? 

Our ci-devant "kilted" neighbours beyond the 
Border, where kilts are now at a discount, and c ' breeks' ' 
at a premium, have also made some wonderful and 
pleasing advances in reference to sporting matters 
though in most others they follow but slowly in the 
steps of reformation, inasmuch as " siller" is required 
to open the floodgates in all matters of civilization : 
and this and perhaps they are right is not just the 
substance they are over fond of parting with. Never- 
theless, they, like we humble Englishers, or foreigners, 
as we are generally termed anent the Border, have 
had their ages ; but, like wise and canny men as 
they are, they have managed to terminate precisely 
where we began namely, with the Golden Age in 
all matters of sporting. First came their age of bar- 
barism, then of clanship, then chief tainism ; and now 
lairdism is the law and will of the land. But even 
in this humility, a spark of ancient pride still lingers 
in the Highlands ; for there, amid those vast and 
magnificent hills, no man possessing an acre of land 
but is designated, not by the name given him by his 
godfather and godmother, if he had any, but they 
assume, by what law or right we have hitherto been 
unable to, learn, the cognomen of the clay from which 



8 SCOTTISH SPORTS 

they draw their means of existence. Thus we find 
the Laird of Cockpen, and the Laird of Glengarry ; 
and if a man gloried in the proprietorship of some 
dozen acres of swampy marsh land, doubtless he 
might, should it so please him, be called the " Laird 
of Mud Marsh." These, however, are insignificant 
trifles ; as harmless, in fact, as theory. Beware, 
nevertheless, should chance or pleasure lead you to 
the land of the mountain and the flood, not to call 
any gentleman by his right name such as Mr. 
MTherson, or Mr. Ross, or Mr. M'Donald, and so 
forth but, on the contrary, let your courtesy induce 
you at once to address your friends as, " How are you, 
Cockpen?" "Hope you 're better, Mud Marsh?" 

But to resume. The barbarous sportsmen shot all 
game which came within range, and not unfrequently 
shot one another, by way of diversifying the sport : 
on the one hand, to supply the "pot au feu;" and, 
on the other, to secure their revenge, or possess 
themselves of some snug retreat and a few broad 
acres which their neighbours had appropriated, and 
for which they had had a longing, like ladies in the 
family way, when it is unwise to refuse them. 

With regard to the chieftains, they hunted, like 
our kings of yore, with much rude magnificence at 
least as regards the number of their retainers ; whose 
duties were twofold the one to drive the deer and 
game into the toils, or towards the stations where 
their leaders were prepared, with deadly aim, to 
bring down the venison with which they supplied 
their larders ; the other to assist in any little 
marauding party against their neighbours' beef and 
mutton, which, in preparation for the butcher's 
knife, still grazed upon the heathered hills. In fact, 
the chase, with them, was only a prelude for collect- 
ing their vassals for a more serious pastime in the 



AND PASTIMES. 9 

pursuit of bipeds. And thus they amused them- 
selves till an Act was passed, prohibiting such 
warlike demonstrations for a morning's deer-stalk- 
ing. 

Then came the days of Scotch breakfasts and 
Scotch hospitality kippered salmon, porridge, mar- 
malade, and whisky ad libitum, like our own days of 
squirearchy port wine and sirloins. Then was the 
wanderer from the South welcomed in the North, 
whether in search of pleasure or of sport, from Tay 
to Pentland Frith ; riimporte, if he could swear he 
had a grandfather, or knew his own mother suffice 
it he was a stranger, and every house was open to 
receive him. These pleasant times have somewhat 
changed, however, since the introduction of steam 
throughout the land ; and King Hudson, were he to 
visit John o' Groat's House which, by the bye, 
exists only in name would find the best welcome 
obtained for a consideration. Foreign importations 
for we have already stated that Englishmen are 
termed foreigners in the Highlands being some- 
what more numerous, and consequently less select, 
bring, then, a letter of introduction from your aunt, 
Lady Banknote, or your uncle, Lord Millionaire, 
which will be the surest means of securing you a 
seat above the salt ; and this precaution can scarcely 
be condemned, when polished boots from the neigh- 
bourhood of Whitechapel glitter in the sun-rays on 
the top of Ben Lomond, and Moses, or one of his 
firm, is met with in half the glens of Argyleshire. 
The sporting generation of Scotchmen, however, and 
Highland sports, are making rapid advances towards 
perfection in the craft. Like our own young Eng- 
lish sportsmen, whom some wise malcontents are 
ever declaring as totally unfit to cope with those of 
days long since- in which opinion we must beg 



10 SCOTTISH SPORTS 

leave entirely to differ with them there are many 
first-rate sportsmen to be found in Scotland. 

Those who annually cross the Border to hunt at 
Melton, or take up their abode at Leamington or 
elsewhere, we do not include ; inasmuch as the 
majority of them merely return to the Highlands, as 
do the visitors from England, during the season of 
grouse-shooting, deer-stalking, salmon-fishing, &c. 
But herein has been the downfall of many a noble 
estate, and not less so the misery of many a noble 
Scotch family. Not many years have elapsed since 
Highland lairds, who possessed some twenty thou- 
sand acres of wild heather and mountain land, on 
which stood a castle with barely the accommodation 
of an English villa, and a proportionate rental of two 
thousand per annum riches in the land of their 
ancestors, doffed their kilt and bonnet, and bidding 
farewell to their adoring clansmen, sought the plea- 
sures of a London season looked in at Tattersalls', 
visited Epsom, Ascot, Doncaster, and Newmarket ; 
entered their names at White's and Brooks's, and 
even ventured to send a stud to Melton. Good 
fellows, pleasant companions, good riders, and first- 
rate shots doubtless were they, but the southern 
atmosphere of England banished from their minds 
their usual national prudence. They totally forgot 
that although the number of their quarterings, and 
the unquestioned antiquity of their ancestry, might 
admit them within the narrow limits of first-rate 
society, that they could never cope with men who 
had ten times their means, or follow, without speedy 
ruin, in the same career. What to the one was a 
matter of course, to the other was a rapid advance to 
beggary, and tended solely to [enrich the W. S.'s of 
Edinburgh and elsewhere. As, however, some may 
not clearly understand the meaning of these letters, 



AND PASTIMES. 11 

we will give them precisely the explanation that 
was given to us on our arrival in Scotland. On 
requesting to be informed as to what might be 
understood by the distinction of W. S. to the names 
of so many northern lawyers, the reply was, Sir W. 
Scott was a Writer to the Signet ; and being learned 
in the law, all were doubtless desirous to follow in 
his footsteps ; therefore, by the payment of a douceur 
to whom deponent sayeth not numerous attorneys 
were permitted to add W.S. to their names, anxious, 
no doubt, to be thought writers to the signet also, or 
"Wise Solicitors," or "Wealthy Solicitors," or W. 
anything else you like to call them, commencing 
with an S. We cannot presume to say what may 
be the particular duties of a Writer to the Signet, 
but they are certainly important, as it requires some 
thousands to perform them. 

To conclude this chapter, however, the Wizards of 
the North remained at home, shot their own grouse, 
killed their own venison, caught their own salmon, 
and ate their own mutton and very good mutton it 
is, we can answer for : whereas, the lairds who fled 
to England for recreation, returned back to sorrow, 
and half the fine estates in Scotland are now in trust 
of the W.S.'s ; and we believe we may refer to one 
instance without fear of contradiction, namely, that 
of " Culloden" a name never to be forgotten while 
the heather yearly flowers o'er his moors a name 
whose present possessor is every way worthy to 
inherit. And yet this laird has known even the 
want of a daily meal, while those who held his land 
in trust or agency, were revelling in luxury at his 
expense. The Scotch sportsmen who came to Eng- 
land, however, made, justly, many friends, and con- 
sequently induced those friends to cross the Border, 
and share in the sports, then little known or appre- 



12 SCOTTISH 6POBTS 

ciated, of grouse-shooting, salmon fishing, and lastly, 
save fox hunting, the most noble of all sports 
deer- stalking, which has become the passion of all 
Englishmen who can afford it ; a passion which 
vents itself most pleasingly and sensibly into the 
pockets of those lairds who are wise enough still to 
kill only their own mutton from the hills which 
supply such abundant sport to their neighbours from 
the south. To them, it is unquestionably the 
Golden Age. 



AND PASTIMES. 13 



CHAPTER II. 

" It's up Glenharchan's braes I gaed, 
And o'er the brent of Killiebraid, 
And many weary cast I made 
To cuttle the moor fowl's tail. 

" If up a bonny blackcock should spring, 
To whistle him down wi' a slug in his wing, 
To strap him on to my lunzie string. 
Right seldom would I fail." 

COME with us to the Highlands, and take a walk 
o'er the rugged mountain top, and flowery heathered 
hill, through many a wild and silent glen, in the 
rocky centre of which rushes the clear and rapid 
trout stream o'er many a rugged fall, to join its 
waters with the calm and beauteous lake. Come 
with us to Scotland, 

" For there on every wild and wondrous scene, 
The Wizard's many-coloured touch hath been." 

We are off for the land of the mountain and the 
flood ! our heart beats with excitement, from antici- 
pation of sport and pleasure ! we go to visit the 
beauties of nature in reality, to see pictures in fact, 
not in theory ; for Art, glorious as it is, can but 
faintly imitate Nature. Come with us, then, knee 
deep in flowery heather, and tread the mountain 
side in search of game. The sun is up, the sky is 
bright and clear : fancy its exhilarating effects on 



14 SCOTTISH SPORTS 

the Highland hills, as, with a light heart and firm 
foot, you start on your first expedition to the moors. 
Come to 

" The moors ! the moors ! the bonny brown moors, 
Shining and fresh with -April showers ! 
When the wild birds sing 
The return of Spring, 
And the gorse and the broom 
Shed the rich perfume 
Of their. golden bloom, 
'Tis a joy to revisit the bonny brown moors ! " 

LIDDELL. 

The Castle of Meggernie, which is situated in 
Glen Lyon, Perthshire, a small, narrow, and secluded 
valley, which reaches almost to the confines of 
Argyleshire, is in truth one of the most romantic 
and beautiful to be found throughout the Scottish 
dominions. The house, or, more properly speaking, 
the castle, for it bears in parts much the resemblance 
of an ancient French chateau, is placed almost in 
the centre of the above-named valley or glen, in a 
singularly sequestered part of the country, being 
actually some fourteen or fifteen miles from the 
residence of any but one other laird or proprietor, 
and about the same distance from a medical man or 
post-office two -most essential neighbours in so 
remote a locality. A noble avenue, principally of 
lime-trees, running parallel with the river Lyon for 
the best part of a mile and which avenue, were it 
within twenty miles of the metropolis, from its 
natural beauties would attract thousands forms the 
approach of Meggernie from the east. The castle 
itself stands clear on a beautiful lawn (which it 
might be), and grassy park (which it really is) ; on 
which are scattered some of the finest trees to be 
found in the Highlands. The place, in fact, is one 
of peculiar beauty and interest, not only from its 



AND PASTIMES. 15 

natural position, which, appears as if isolated from 
the rest of the world, but also from its great an- 
tiquity, and neighbourhood to the scenes of many 
a bloody Highland conflict. 

The house is one of those ancient piles, constructed 
in times of danger, where strength was the first and 
greatest object; the walls are accordingly of immense 
thickness, and the doors defended by iron gratings of 
prodigious size and weight. A donjon, excavated 
from the foundations, is even to the present day 
adorned with hooks, on which the finishing stroke of 
the law, or rather the will of barbarous and despotic 
chiefs, has, we are told, been frequently executed. 
Alas ! would the ghosts of some of these departed 
victims but deign to make their appearance in this 
said donjon during the shooting season, we question 
whether they would not be somewhat " mazed," as 
the Scotch term it, and instead of resuming their 
places as " damp, moist bodies," on the hooks, they 
would probably hang a cauldron thereon, in which 
to make a stew of the abundant game they there 
would find, or mull a few bottles of good port or 
claret, with which the bins that now adorn its sides 
are well filled. In all other respects it remains as 
in the time of Robert the Second. 

There is much accommodation, and all required 
comfort, to be found in the interior of Meggernie 
Castle, both as regards the more modern portion of 
the building, and also in the fine old tower which 
forms one of its extremities, and is divided into many 
good sleeping apartments, to which the turrets form 
admirable dressing-rooms ; none of them are, how- 
ever, large, which is not surprising when we con- 
sider the remote age in which they were built, and 
the great object of safety which the founders must 
have kept in view. Some old portraits, both of the 

c 2 



16 SCOTTISH SPORTS 

Menzies branch, and also of the Stewarts of Cardnay, 
adorn the walls ; likewise those of the late Mr. and 
Mrs. Menzies. The proprietor is descended in the 
male line from Sir John Stewart of Cardnay, son of 
King Robert the Second, from whose eldest son he 
is the fifteenth in descent. From the second son of 
Sir John, the family of Stewart of Dalgarne, in 
Athol, is descended. By the female line, Mr. Menzies 
possesses the estates of Meggernie and Culdares, and 
is a branch of the family of Menzies, of Castle 
Menzies, chief of the same. The present owner of 
Meggernie has very recently attained his majority, 
and he wisely prefers following the example of 
numerous other Highland lairds, of letting his 
ancient chateau, and its glorious shooting manors to 
a noble and generous English sportsman, (who keeps 
the one from falling to decay, and preserves the other 
with the greatest care,) to residing in a place which 
notwithstanding its many beauties, save in the sunny 
months of summer or autumn, would be a sort of 
living grave. But we must dwell as briefly as possible 
on family history or historical facts, and lead on, as 
quickly as may be, to those details more congenial 
to our sporting readers ; or say, doubtless in the 
feelings, if not in the words, of many a Highland 
chieftain who formerly lived on his own domain, 
consisting of some leagues of heathered hills, 
watered by many a trout-stream and salmon- 
river, killing his own game, and eating his own 
venison, surrounded and beloved by his clansmen 

" My hawk is tired of perch and hood, 

My idle greyhound loathes his food, 

My horse is weary of his stall, 

And I am sick of captive thrall. 

I wish I were as I have been, 

Hunting the hart in forest green, 

With bended bow, and bloodhound free, 

For that 's the life is meet for me," 



AND PASTIMES. 17 

Indeed, scarcely a quarter of a century has 
elapsed since the possession of a Highland shooting 
quarter a source of such great autumnal enjoyment 
was heard of, and frequently spoken of with delight 
and longing, by the genuine sportsman. At that 
period however, it was a gratification only practically 
known to, and participated in by, the affluent or 
aristocratic members of society ; in fact, the posses- 
sion of a Highland shooting quarter inferred also a 
place in the highest ranks of society, with the 
frequent addition of a stud at Melton, and a house 
in the lordly west of the metropolis. The question, 
" Do you go to the Moors this season ?" was uttered 
by the same voice which remarked your attendance 
at Almack's or the Opera. And few, even of these 
high-born cavaliers, of England at least, could prac- 
tically speak in truth of the blackcock and ptarmigan ; 
and then, among those, how few had pulled a trigger 
at the noble red deer, the fleet and bounding roe ! 
Whilst, for those of a humbler class, or more 
humble means, although their sporting qualities 
might be of the highest order, and their aim 
unerring, let them talk of thirty brace of par- 
tridges, twenty brace of pheasants, five couple of 
woodcocks, nineteen hares, eleven rabbits, &c., as 
having fallen to their redoubtable Mantons between 
an early breakfast and late dinner, yet grouse, ptar- 
migan, and blackcock were never entered on their 
game-books. They heard of such birds in Leaden- 
hall Market, and might, perchance, have seen them 
on the table of a friend, or read of them on heathered 
mountains afar off. They imagined the delight of 
shooting them ; and they might occasionally, per- 
chance, fall on a paragraph in the daily journals 

w r hich informed them that the Right Honourable 

had, since the close of the session, enjoyed sixteen 

c 3 



18 SCOTTISH SPOUTS 

days of splendid sport in the Highlands, having 
bagged, with his own gun, two hundred and forty- 
three brace of grouse, eighty-four blackcocks, seventy- 
three white mountain hares, a roe deer, seven brace 
of ptarmigan, and three golden plovers ; that his 
health and appetite had been greatly renovated 
thereby ; and that he had proceeded southwards to 
Doncaster previous to returning to Castle Ardeii for 
the pheasant shooting, where he proposed receiving 
a select party of sportsmen, and thence to Melton for 
the hunting season ; and if such were true, though it be 
a vice, " we envy him." They heard, also, that the 
Duke of Blair had killed nine stags, and missed five 
on account of the dreadful state of the weather no 
fault of his, surely ; and that the chief of Glensel- 
fishstream, Sir Murray McPherson, McGregor, Clan 
Alpine Macthousand we trust he may pardon us 
had surpassed all his prowess in shooting of former 
years, at his splendid moors near Creiff, in the county 
of Perth. 

But the grouse shooting of other days is o'er; that 
is to say, the monopoly of this most charming sporting 
privilege is no longer confined to high blood or the 
millionaires of England, though the best of it, 
doubtless, will ever remain for the rich. For the 
Highland lairds have, with much truth, discovered 
the value of such property, and consequently a good 
price is, for the best moors, still demanded and 
readily paid for the exclusive enjoyment of this 
delightful sport. Yet are the shootings to be 
obtained far more numerous than heretofore, and 
consequently they may be secured at from fifty 
pounds to fifteen hundred per annum. Thus the 
true sportsman, though his means be confined, may 
still comparatively partake of all the numerous 
agremens enjoyed by the more wealthy, while 



AND PASTIMES. 19 

treading the sweet-scented heather in search of 
game. Some particulars of these shootings, both 
large and small, however, good, bad, and indifferent, 
we shall hereafter endeavour to detail, for the infor- 
mation of all true sportsmen, who desire to enjoy 
even one season of such glorious sport. And with 
all humility w r e undertake this pleasing task, yet 
practically and fearlessly, inasmuch as we scarcely 
know the hill-side or mountain-top, road or beaten 
track, from rapid Tay to Pentland Frith, German 
Ocean to Irish Channel, that we have not seen or 
walked over ; though we confess to be no lover of 
the " banks and braes of bonny Scotland," save as a 
fishing and grouse-shooting country, and this alone 
from June to September ; indeed, it is the most 
unpleasing portion of Her Majesty's dominious we 
have ever cast our eyes on, or spent a sum- 
mer's, far more a winter's, day in. That it 
contains many a kind and hospitable heart, we 
most fully admit, but they are in a pitiful 
minority; and as for Scottish hospitality, so much 
vaunted, Scottish breakfasts, and Scotch abun- 
dance, believe us, they exist only in the anxious 
hopes of the tourist, or in the novels of Sir Walter 
Scott, who deserves all, and far more than he has 
ever received at the hands of his countrymen. But 
the romance which has found place in English 
minds, pictured by his glorious imagination, in stern 
reality, is as great a fallacy as the news now crying 
through the streets of London, which means that the 
insolent vaunting of President Polk may be bought 
for sixpence, but is not worth a farthing. We speak 
not of the natural beauties of the country, though 
they also will be found, few and far apart. Indeed, 
divest Scotland of its romance and lakes, including, 
of course, Lochs Lomond, Katarine, Earn, Tay, and 



20 SCOTTISH SPORTS 

Loch Ness, in fact, that portion principally visited by 
our gracious Sovereign during her recent tour, and 
no more desolate, bleak, and treeless portion of the 
wide world exists. 

In days lang syne, we read and heard of the 
beauties of the Rhine. Nature in its loveliness has 
to us charms and enjoyments which we should vainly 
endeavour to describe : and, like others, we made 
the grand tour, and we freely own the gratification 
we experienced. Yet we love nature in the truthful- 
ness of its delineation, and not exactly as it is pic- 
tured in the lively imagination of the enthusiast ; 
and we therefore own that, having also seen the river 
Thames from source to mouth, we feel satisfied that 
there are few rivers which surpass it in beauty none 
to exceed it. We had read Sir Walter Scott again 
and again : we had heard of the Highlands : we had 
even listened to the song, " My heart 's in the High- 
lands," from as pretty a pair of lips as are seen but 
once in a life ; but more, we heard of salmon, taken 
with the fly, of 201bs. in weight, and trout of half 
that size ; we heard of a hundred brace of grouse, 
and we were told of red deer, and roe deer, and of 
rough deer- dogs noble animals ; even such sport as 
a chase of the deer by these splendid brutes. Could 
we then refuse, when pressed repeatedly by a kind 
friend to visit his sporting quarters in the Highlands ? 
No, the temptation was far too great to be resisted ; 
and the manner in which we broke through all the 
barriers and difficulties which surrounded us, decided 
our fate in obtaining this great source of delight to a 
sportsman. 

" ' Times are changed/ said this friendly man ; 

' There 's a steamer from the docks, so no word of can ; 
There 's a railway from E. -square, on the narrow gauge plan. 
There 's a boat from Liverpool/ said this true gentleman, 



AND PASTIMES. 21 

' You may be in the Highlands in the passing of a span : ' 
Such inducements were held out by this gallant sportsman. 
So warmly we replied, ' We '11 come, be it in a van ; 
But money is the rub for a poor gentleman ; 
Yet we'll borrow or steal a few pounds, if we can, 
Of our banker in the city, who 's a canny Scotsman ; 
We can pay them to his uncle, the chief of his clan, 
When we meet in the bothy of that proud Highland man.' 

This latter determination we, of course, at once 
proceeded to put in force ; and having been success- 
ful, with a purse tolerably well filled, anticipations of 
sport, dogs, grouse, romantic scenery, marmalade 
from Keillor's, short-bread, salmon, and whisky for 
the asking, we jumped into a cab, drove, as directed, 
to Euston-square, deposited ourselves in a comfortable 
first-class carriage, and went off with a whistle and 
a puff for Liverpool. The scent was good, and we 
ran into the tunnel of this celebrated sporting place 
with only one slight check at Birmingham, owing to 
the odours which arose and fumigated the air from 
the kitchen at the Queen's Hotel. During this check, 
however, we had ample time to decide on the merits 
of this celebrated railway restaurant at least, as far 
as we were individually concerned ; and we only do 
justice to the landlord when we declare, that it has 
rarely been our good fortune to obtain such excellent 
cookery and such ample fare for the trifling demand 
of two shillings, as we did on that occasion, when 
seated at the board with some three-score or more of 
as hungry and determined eaters as could easily be 
found on a keen autumnal morning. Mange qui 
pent, and as much as you can for your money, appears 
to be the decision come to by general acclamation at 
such gastronomic halting-places on such occasions ; 
and we may fairly and truly add, that if the whole 
party there assembled ate as we did and, in good 
faith, most of the company there, according to sport- 



22 SCOTTISH SPORTS 

ing phraseology, were tolerably good feeders why, 
then they had the worth of their siller, and no mis- 
take. Yet they tell us the concern is a most profitable 
one ; and we sincerely trust it may long continue so 
to be, if things are kept up in the same style of plenty 
and confort. Ad interim, we shall be glad to acknow- 
ledge one of the landlord's celebrated potted tongues, 
whenever time and inclination may suit him to offer 
one to our taste and approval. The public, however, 
are fond of quick travelling ; and railways wait no 
man's pleasure, though they may, perchance, at times, 
break down, much to his displeasure. So, forward, 
gentlemen ! We stood on the deck of the " Princess 
Royal," a celebrated steamer from Liverpool to 
Glasgow, and vice versa, in twenty hours, weather 
permitting seldom the case. We had a tolerable 
Havannah in our mouth, and a warm coat on our 
back. The weather was fine, the wind was fair, and 
a grouse-hill was in our imagination. What could 
we desire more ? 

" A glass of hot brandy-and- water, steward !" 
" Hot brandy-and- water ? Yes, sir !" 
And it quickly arrived : thus we sipped and puffed, 
puffed and sipped, and looked upon the rippling 
waters, and thought what ? Why, simply that we 
felt very comfortable when, lo ! a lanky, red-haired, 
male individual stood beside us, and also smoked and 
looked not upon the briny deep but very dirty, and 
somewhat merry withal, or with whisky, with which 
he was mightily perfumed ; and he said, in a language, 
a few words, of which we shall only endeavour to 
repeat 

"Ye 're ganging to bonny Scotland, I ken?" 
This was sufficiently explicit ; and we courteously 
replied 

" We hope to visit the Highlands." 



AND PASTIMES. 23 

" Ah ! you 're on a shooting excursion, doubtless ?" 

" We hope to have some sport." 

" And you 're a first-rate shot, we presume ?" 

" A tolerable hand at partridges, but we never 
shot a grouse no, never." 

" Then you will soon have another tale to tell. 
You should ken the Isle of Skye. I have been out 
in the morning before breakfast, and killed four 
stags on Macdonald's ground ; and after breakfast, I 
have had a bang at the grouse and bagged my fifty 
brace. Then I 've dined, you see, and in the evening 
had a cast for a salmon, and killed some twenty 
pounds before night-fall." 

We .had heard of Lord Macdonald's splendid deer 
forest in the Isle of Skye, and of the grouse-hills, and 
of the fishery ; and we declare to have seen there as 
fine a sight as sportsman need cast his eye on, one 
brilliant evening in July viz. , a herd of some four- 
score red-deer. But the assertions of our red-haired 
friend we could not swallow as we had the brandy- 
and- water. Will it be believed, sporting readers, 
that the relater of such exploits was none other than 
an exciseman, who never had pulled a trigger, save 
at a gull ! and yet such sport as he thus named in 
Skye is by no means actually impossible for a first- 
rate sportsman. Having satisfied ourselves, however, 
that his rhodomontade, if not exactly to be credited, 
was amusing so amusing, that we regret the space 
allowed us does not admit of our offering many of 
his wonderful exploits to your notice we submitted, 
till another and another glass of whisky laid him 
snoring on the deck, and a few short hours saw the 
moon sink, and the sun rise in brilliancy on the 
heathered hills of Scotland as we entered the Clyde ; 
of which river we will leave tourists to write, though 
we fear we shall never agree in their praises of it 



24 SCOTTISH SPORTS 

save in a commercial point of view. The Isle of 
Arran was, however, in sight ; 

ts Crowned with dense mists that shine like alpine snow, 
Lo, Arran's hills their rocky summits shew." 

And to us this had far greater charms, and those of 
another nature ; for there the noble red-deer ranges 
in pride and freedom, there the beautiful and glossy- 
feathered blackcock and the heather-feeding grouse 
are abundantly to be found. This glorious shooting 
quarter is the property of the Duke of Hamilton, 
and is generally shot over during the season by his 
son, the Marquis of Douglas, and his friends. The 
game is abundant and well preserved ; and there are 
few spots in Scotland more desirable as a shooting 
quarter, being easy of access, beautiful by nature, 
plentiful in game of all kinds, not difficult to preserve, 
and easily walked over. But we must steam on to 
Glasgow, and thence travel to the fair city of Perth. 
We have little inclination, however, to give our 
readers an account of the one city or the other, as 
many have done so before us, and doubtless more 
ably, and our pen is that of a sportsman not of a 
tourist ; yet we could tell a tale or two of both : 
we shall content ourselves, however, by the simple 
observation, that the citizens of the former are mer- 
cantile and proud, and those of the latter equally 
proud, and somewhat less mercantile. But there are 
sportsmen, and good ones, in both, and some kind, 
good, and hospitable fellows gentlemen with whom 
we ate grouse, and salmon, and trout, and tasted 
whisky-toddy, cold with, and hot without, as also in 
its nature unadorned. But strange to say, we never 
could abide it ; and from the hour we first entered 
the Trongate of Glasgow, to that of our embarking 
from the Bromiclaw on our return to England, the 



AND PASTIMES. 25 

smell, always disagreeable to us, never fairly quitted 
our nasal organs. 

So we left the toddy at 1 A.M., and at six we were 
off for the fair city. There is much interest in the 
route from Glasgow to Perth ; at Dunblane we saw 
the cathedral, but, unfortunately, sweet Jessie was 
not at home ; and the proud Castle of Stirling towered 
in grandeur on a hill from which there is a splendid 
view of salmon rivers, and grouse hills, and hunting 
fields, and race courses. Indeed it is a very plea- 
sing ride, and we were still more agreeably sur- 
prised at the splendid view which presented itself, 
as we rattled down the hill to the ancient metropolis 
of Scotland. 



26 SCOTTISH SPORTS 



CHAPTER III. 



i stood upon the bridge of Perth, kind reader, 
Dt on that of " Sighs ;" and, in good faith and 



WE 

truth, 'tis a pleasant spot to stand on, if the heavens 
be but clear, and the sun be shining a good shine. 

" Across the shire of valleys and of hills 

Breadalbane and great Athol's dread domain 
Swoll'n by the tribute from a thousand rills, 
The Scottish Tiber thunders to the plain." 

The sparkling and rapid Tay we beg pardon of 
the Romans is as superior to the Tiber, in spite of 
all their " ecce's" as is the Thames to a muddy ditch. 
We speak from personal knowledge ; and we per- 
fectly agree with the salmon in their selection. The 
distant Grampian mountains form a most agreeable 
background to the bright and beautiful picture seen 
from this spot. Scone Palace, a modern mass of 
red stone, unadorned by the most remote attempt at 
architectural beauty, stands forth prominent in ugli- 
ness amid the loneliness of nature by which it is 
surrounded on your right hand, the coverts of which 
are full of game, with a fox or two in the bargain ; 
a salmon river flows before and under you ; a race- 
course skirts this rapid stream, and no end of grouse 
hills rise on your left ; all most agreeable sights to 
a sportsman, who, having long admired the beauty 



AND PASTIMES. 27 

of the scene, seats himself comfortably on the parapet, 
and thinks of the coming slaughter of the morrow. 

Our companion on this bridge, or "brig," as the 
Scotch call it we presume because it bears people 
over the water was a breechless loon of a Low- 
lander, but nevertheless a most civil and intelligent 
person. We commenced our acquaintance with this 
individual by tipping him the value of a glass of 
whisky or two well knowing how pleasing is the 
touch of siller to palms that itch beyond the Border. 
Our donation, being conveyed in the most delicate 
and inoffensive terms, had the desired effect, and we 
forthwith questioned him as to the salmon fishing, in 
which, though on the top of the bridge parapet, he 
evidently had a personal interest. He then informed 
us he was "peering" for the fish (Anglice, look- 
ing out), on which we requested he would gladden 
our eyes and satisfy our wishes for a sight of one of 
these noble, beautiful animals, actually alive and 
swimming in its element though we confessed to be 
no good fishermen. Few minutes elapsed ere he 
pointed out to our view, as clearly and distinctly as 
possible, a heavy fish, which we saw from head to 
tail, floating leisurely against the rapid stream ; 
another and another soon passed on, many of which 
had almost numbered the minutes of their existence. 
How well they swam ! how hard and firm and bril- 
liant they looked, when drawn from dozens to the 
shore, enclosed in a powerful net, on the far-famed 
Northern Inch of Perth, celebrated by Walter Scott 
as the scene of the battle in the " Fair Maid," 
celebrated as one of the best race-courses in Scot- 
land, on which the Caledonian Hunt holds their 
yearly meetings celebrated to golf-players and sal- 
mon-netters, and latterly become celebrated to 
cricket-players, a club having recently been estab- 

D2 



28 SCOTTISH SPORTS 

lished celebrated as a pleasing summer walk to the 
fair maids of Perth (ugly ones, of course, there are 
none) beautiful by nature to the eye of man, but 
made at times most unpleasing to the eye of a sports- 
man, (who looks on such unequalled turf as fitted 
only for the plate of a race-horse or the roll of a 
cricket-ball,) when covered, as it is, by the dirty 
shirts of the lord provost, bailies, elders, and citizens 
of Perth, who, by some unfortunate ancient but 
barbarous law granted in former ages, and unre- 
formed in these, are there permitted to hang out 
their summer unmentionables. No offence, my lord 
provost, and you magisterial bailies ; but dry your 
linen at home. 

Let us now take off our hats to the bailies, and 
return to the salmon better companions, with lob- 
ster sauce, any day in the week. A man is seated 
on the bridge of Perth, who watches the progress of 
the fish up the stream, the netters being fully pre- 
pared with their nets, in a boat by the river's bank. 
The moment the man on the look-out sees a fish, he 
gives the sign ; a boat is at once cast off, and the net 
rapidly dropped across the river ; and the chances 
are four to one that Monsieur Saumon finds his way 
into its meshes, from whence he is removed to cool 
himself in a box of ice, takes his passage on board 
the first steamer from Dundee, and is landed, passage 
free, at Billingsgate; and probably, if handsome, 
firm, and robust, he finds his way to Mr. Groves, 
in Bond-street, and thence is immediately invited to 
dine at Buckingham Palace, Sefton House, the Re- 
form Club, or any other pleasant house, where the 
cuisine is soignee that is to say, if he is fresh, and 
has plenty of " sauce piquante" which is always an 
agreeable addition in well-bred society. 

Time and the tide, however, await no man's 



AND PASTIMES. 29 

bidding be he Prince Albert or Ibrahim Pacha. 
The hour of four had already sounded from the 
clocks of Perth, when the Defiance coach rattled 
over the "brig," and we after it, to the Salutation 
Hotel, where we arrived in time to see the reins of 
a very creditable team cast to the ostler, from the 
hands of a no less celebrated dragsman and master 

of hounds than Ramsay, Esq., of Barnton, 

formerly owner of Lanercost, and now of Malcolm, 
&c., one of the best whips and best sportsmen in 
Scotland, who delights not less in steering the first- 
rate cattle of this admirably- established coach, than 
he does in cheering his gallant pack of fox-hounds to 
death and glory. " Peering" into the interior, clad 
in so-termed Glengarry bonnets, and wrapped up in 
plaids, like all young English tourists in Scotland, 
we discovered the friends whom we had come to 
join as boon companions to the Castle of Meggernie, 
permission to enjoy some day's sport at that de- 
lightful shooting quarter having been kindly pro- 
vided for us by the liberality and courtesy of its 
noble owner. 

We will briefly pass over the enjoyment of that 
never-to-be-forgotten evening ; it will amuse few 
to know how much claret we drank, or how 
much toddy we endeavoured to swallow, in com- 
pliment to the national beverage, and how greatly 
we endeavoured to persuade ourselves we liked it ; 
enough that we rose early on the following morning, 
our palate a trifle bitter as to taste, we must admit, 
and somewhat feverish withal. Our dreams, how- 
ever, had been of a refreshing nature ; grouse had 
risen within shot bang ! they were down, and 
bagged ; and the reality, not in its bitterness, but in 
all the delight of a fine fresh autumnal morning, 
came forcibly on our spirits, as we jumped into a 

D3 



30 SCOTTISH SPORTS 

Perth britska, in which we were about to journey to 
the scene of our expected amusement. In order to 
arrive at this noble Highland sporting quarter, there 
are doubtless many routes, such as they are : we 
shall, however, name only two, taking our points 
from Glasgow, if approached by the west, and Perth, 
if travelling from the east. Railways and steam- 
boats, however, have brought her Majesty's Highland 
dominions so near at hand, that a citizen of London 
scarcely now exists but can tell a tale of the High- 
land wonders he has witnessed with his own eyes, or 
write a sonnet on the beauties of the lakes ; and can 
picture to the world Fair Ellen's Isle, and Stirling 
Castle, as readily as he heretofore dwelt on the 
beauties of Ramsgate or Boulogne, or, if a greater 
rambler, the sparkling waters of the Rhine, which, 
generally speaking, are as muddy as ditch-water. 
We humbly question, however, with all such know- 
ledge of routes and scenery, whether they ever found 
themselves on the top of Schiehallion on a bright 
October morning, or on the summit of Ben Lawers 
in a snow-storm ; nevertheless, we shall leave to 
them the task of describing the broad ways of Scot- 
land, and tread ourselves the heather ed paths, simply 
adding, that during the fine months of summer and 
autumn there is a steamer from Glasgow to the end 
of Loch Lomond and a most agreeable steam it is, 
weather permitting, with Ben Lomond in good 
humour, and a sunny smile upon his summit ; from 
thence a most interesting highland route via Inve- 
rarnan to Killin, which, though fifteen miles distant, 
is the post-town, baker's shop, and, in fact, the 
market- town of Meggernie Castle. Civilization in 
the nineteenth century, requires such depots; but 
wait awhile, and we will tell you of the venison and 
the game with which the chieftains of days lang 



AND PASTIMES. 31 

syne filled their larders, ere breeks were worn as 
they now are, even in these wild glens, where at 
least costume ought to have remained sacred from 
the inroads of fashion, if only in memory of " Glen- 
garry and Lochiel." 

Killin was also our present point, though travelling 
from Perth ; and with the aid of post-horses, cigars, 
a ham, cold pie in abundance, and merriment ad 
libitum, we managed to while away as agreeable a 
day's excursion as ever we recollect having enjoyed. 

Journeying via CriefF to Amulrie, across the excel- 
lent grouse hills shot over by Mr. Fox Maule to 
Kenmore, and thence by Loch Tayside to Killin ; 
unquestionably, in our humble opinion, save the 
route by Lochearn, the most beautiful in all Scotland 
to say nothing of our vicinity, when at the former 
place, to the forest of Glenartney, a name ever plea- 
santly brought to the memory of the sportsman by 
the beautiful lines of Sir Walter Scott, when he 
describes, in the " Lady of the Lake" 

" The stag at eve had drunk his fill, 
Where danced the moon on Mona's rill ; 
And deep his midnight lair had made 
In lone Glenartney's hazel shade." 

With such subjects of conversation, and so many 
of pleasure to the sight, the hours passed rapidly 
away ; and ere we had arrived at our last halting 
place, previous to mounting the steep sides of Ben 
Lawers, on our approach to Meggernie, the towering 
points of Benmore, hitherto beheld in the centre of 
the longest distance, were fast losing themselves in 
the shades of coming night ; and 

" The western waves of ebbing day 
Kolled o'er the glen their level way ; 
Each purple peak each flinty spire 
"Was bathed in floods of living fire,," 



32 SCOTTISH SPOUTS 

When arrived at Killin, however, we were still, as 
already explained, some fourteen or fifteen miles 
from the scene of our expected enjoyment ; an inter- 
vening space, which could only, within these last 
ten years, have been honoured by other wheels than 
those of a peat-cart ; yet what is there money and 
determination cannot accomplish ? The noble tenant 
of Meggernie has done this much with the aid of 
siller and kind persuasion. Nothing can be done 
without the former in Scotland above all places. 
That which was heretofore comparatively a sheep- 
track, literally up the mountain side of Ben Lawers 
for seven miles, and down the other seven more, is 
now fit to be rolled over by a London chariot and 
four Killin posters. Lucky for the occupants of the 
carriage, however, be they not rolled over also, 
inasmuch as for many miles on the descent to Glen 
Lyon, in the centre of which stands the chateau, the 
mountain rises steep and abrupt from the road on 
the one side ; and the declivity which presents 
itself on the other, to a bright and rapid trout stream, 
is sufficient to send an ejected from dog-cart, curricle, 
or britska, rolling without a check, till his head 
thumps against one of the numberless rocks over 
which rushes the silvery stream, or, if his mouth be 
open at the moment of his fall, he may chance to 
catch a trout with his fly. 

Never can we forget the last hour of our journey 
on this, our first delightful sporting expedition, to a 
Highland shooting quarter. One of our companions, 
a most amiable, light-hearted, and first-rate sports- 
man who, alas ! has since fallen a victim, like many 
other of our friends, to an Indian campaign was 
convulsed with laughter the whole descent of the 
mountain side, at the fears expressed by another of 
the party as to the probability of our being food for 



AND PASTIMES. 33 

the eagles ere morning dawned. The night had 
become dark as pitch ; lamps we had none ; and the 
Highland postillion, fearless of all danger, with a 
loose rein and lolling seat, rattled us down the 
declivity of the mountain at a sharp trot. How the 
nags, such as they were, kept their footing, heaven 
only knows ; indeed, we admit the fact, that the 
thought passed occasionally through our mind as we 
neared the side of the precipice, as it appeared in 
the dark, that if we escaped an upset or a broken 
limb, 

" The heath this night must be our bed 
The welkin, curtain for my head." 

At length, however, we reached the bottom of 
this interminable hill, and, rattling over an old stone 
bridge barely of sufficient width to admit the 
passage of the carriage, underneath which the river 
Lyon rushed foaming and roaring over a bed of 
rocks we made a sharp left angular twist, whirled 
up a bit of a brae, and came to a dead halt before a 
gate, as it then appeared to us, in the very centre of 
a thick covert. Post-boy descended, and opened 
wide the portal, as we concluded and prayed, of 
Meggernie Castle. Devil a bit of such luck we had 
still an avenue to pass and such an avenue ! (but of 
this more anon,) the river still rushing by our side. 
Oh, ye salmon and trout ! what a cool and pleasing 
retreat ! The darkness became more profound, and 
the stillness of the night, broken only by our carriage- 
wheels, more solemn, as on we poked our way, till at 
last we approached what, in the density, appeared a 
noble pile of massive stone. Not a sound was heard 
without, not a light was seen within. What a 
welcome and pleasing termination, thought we, to 
the sunshine of the morning ! Ghosts and goblins 
of departed chiefs might be housed there, with little 



34 SCOTTISH SPORTS 

to eat and nought to drink, for all we knew ; for all 
was silent as the grave. True, we had despatched a 
letter to say we were coming ; and the noble tenant's 
permission to enter his abode had also duly preceded 
us. But the fact of posting a despatch in the fair 
city of Perth, and its chance of reaching this seques- 
tered glen in safety, had never occurred to our 
minds. 

Our thoughts at that moment, however, as we 
stood without the walls of this ancient abode of 
chieffcainism, naturally recurred at once to the mili- 
tary-secretary of the General Post- Office ; and we 
well knew that his foot-soldiers, or " runners" as they 
are termed in the Highlands because, if possible, 
they move slower there, and are worse paid for their 
labour than elsewhere would not be alive to the 
importance of delivering without delay the corres- 
pondence of gentlemen sportsmen. With such 
thoughts, we felt assured our missile had missed its 
mark. To stand before the door of an old Scotch 
castle till midnight, however, or remain under its 
shadows till morning, was not for a moment our in- 
tention. So bang one ! went against the door for 
knocker there was none. Bang two ! all still was 
silent, save the echo of the bang. Bang three ! a 
double shot ; when joy and relief a light appeared 
through the key-hole. Bang four ! Open sesame ! 
and, with candle in hand, appeared a short, well- 
built individual, with a comely countenance ; in fact, 
a good specimen of a Highland gamekeeper, and, as 
we afterwards found him, a good sportsman and right 
honest fellow. 

"My name is ' Norval on the Grampian Hills/ 
according to school-boy recital, or any other name 
agreeable to you in this said glen : only give us an 
entrance. You received our letter, &c." All an- 



AND PASTIMES. 35 

swered in the affirmative ; and, with a hearty welcome, 
in we bundled, bag and baggage. Five minutes 
scarcely elapsed ere we were made comfortable : a 
blazing peat and wood fire burnt on the hearth 
a bottle was soon produced ; but we forget not a 
bottle, but sixteen blown into one, containing the 
everlasting whisky, we were about to say; but no, 
this was veritable " mountain- dew." We pledged 
the ghosts of departed chiefs for safety ; we pledged 
the noble tenant of the chateau this was our wel- 
come-cup : could we refuse one, or even two, so 
bountifully offered ? A hot supper of stewed moun- 
tain hare, added to the cold viands we had brought 
from the Lowlands a cigar and then to bed. And 
thus, good friends, we leave you for an hour or two, 
to dream, as we did, of deer and grouse, blackcocks 
and white hares, Highlanders and heathered hills ; and 
if some fair blue eyes, far away in the south country, 
were veiled in sorrow for our absence, we must con- 
fess that ours were soon closed in as sound a sleep as 
a sportsman well could wish, who desires strength 
and energy for the expected sport of the coming morn. 



36 SCOTTISH SPORTS 



CHAPTER TV. 

" Awake and be stirring, the daylight 's appearing ; 
The wind 's in the south, and the mountains are clearing ; 
A thousand wild deer in the forest are feeding ; 
And many a hart before night shall lie bleeding." 

LIDDELL. 

Ir may be readily conceived, that the fatigue and 
excitement we had undergone during our delightful 
journey of the previous day, had left us with little 
inclination to explore the interior of the castle on the 
first night of our arrival : the fire burnt cheerfully 
within, and all without was leaden darkness. Hav- 
ing enjoyed, therefore, a rough but substantial and 
merry supper, and blown a good cloud of tobacco to 
keep out the witches, we piloted, with the aid of the 
trusty gamekeeper, our companions to their nightly 
domiciles, and then tumbled into a comfortable bed 
in one of the turrets of the building, and were soon 
lost in sleep to all around us. 

The bright sun of a glorious autumnal morning 
had, however, scarce risen o'er the eastern horizon, 
ere, refreshed by the calm rest of night, we awoke, 
invigorated and nerved, in anxious expectation of the 
coming sports of the day. And we may truly say, in 
the beautiful words of Scott, that there 

"At morn the blackcock trims his jetty wing; 

'Tis morning prompts the linnet's blithest lay , 
All nature's children feel the matin spring 
Of life reviving with reviving day." 



AND PASTIMES. 39 

Our ideas of a Highland shooting box, we are free 
to confess, had hitherto been limited to the imagina- 
tion of a species of mud hut, placed on a wild and 
extensive grouse moor. And true, there are still 
many such; and these so situated as to afford the 
most ample sport for the gun as well as for the fish- 
ing-rod ; for wherever grouse hills are found, you 
may almost rely on the certainty of finding a tolerable 
trout stream, if not a salmon river also, running 
through the valleys. But our present locale was 
truly no mud hut, but a most comfortable, spacious, 
and convenient abode ; and if splendour or luxury 
did not reign there, where they would have been 
most misplaced, yet every reasonable comfort to the 
sportsman was found, and that in abundance ; and 
we must own our surprise and delight at the magni- 
ficent scenery with which we were on all sides sur- 
rounded, for a brief description of which, we crave 
the patience of our readers for a moment and then 
away to the hills, to make acquaintance with the 
plump and chirping grouse, the silvery ptarmigan, 
the jetty blackcock, the snow-white hare, and the 
fleet and timid roe-deer ; for one and all were there. 

On throwing wide our bed-room window, the 
scene which presented itself delighted not less than 
it astonished us ; as, of course, on the previous night 
we had seen nothing. About a gun-shot from the 
Castle arose an almost perpendicular mountain of 
some height, the lower portion of which was clothed 
in rich heather with glowing shrubs at its base ; the 
summit being rocky and almost bare. Between this 
and the house was a green and level park, containing 
several splendid trees, and to the right of these were 
seen the stables and the kennels, through the latter 
of which ran a clear and silvery mountain stream. 

This scene was in the rear of the Castle ; and if 

E 2 



40 SCOTTISH SPORTS 

such had caused us pleasure, how much more grati- 
fied were we when we stood in the front, where, the 
substantial breakfast over, we soon found ourselves ; 
but not alone, for the keepers and gillies together 
with a rough mountain pony, and many dogs, all 
awaited orders. Before us was a range of beautiful 
grouse hills, extending one above another as far as 
the eye could reach. The house itself, standing on a 
flat in the very centre of this rich, wild, and romantic 
valley, so still and yet so glorious in sunshine and 
beauty, that the very existence of a busy world be- 
yond the mountains could almost be forgotten. Not 
two hundred yards from the Castle ran the rapid 
river Lyon, not broad, but clear and beautiful, and 
this well filled both with salmon and trout ; indeed, 
so filled at a good season, that in the year 1839, a 
net being drawn across one of the deep pools, 
brought to land no less than sixty-five salmon. 
We relate this fact without the slightest hesitation 
as to its truthfulness : indeed, we could bring some 
score of old dames, now living in the Glen, to vouch 
for what we write, inasmuch as the kindness of the 
tenant of this princely sporting domain induced him 
to divide almost all the fish among them ; and we 
well recollect that one, more aged than the rest, 
having witnessed the good fortune of her neighbours, 
but by some mistake had been overlooked, called at 
the Castle in high dudgeon at the unintentional indig- 
nity which she conceived had been intended, when she 
was made happy by the possession of two of the canny 
fish, her neighbours having only been awarded one. 
Along the margin of this river, but on the oppo- 
site side, was a thick birch wood or covert, frequently 
containing some scores of blackcocks, on all occa- 
sions roe-deer and hares, and in the season the wood- 
cocks have not been found wanting. To the left was 



AND PASTIMES. 41 

a fine, open, but narrow park of green and velvet turf, 
extending for a mile, adorned by one of the finest 
line avenues bordering the river for the whole of its 
length, which, if equalled in beauty, could not be 
surpassed in that or any other countiy ; almost at 
the extremity of which stands the base of the lofty Ben 
Lawers ; and to the right of the valley, which extends 
and is seen far in the distance, are three small lakes, 
all containing multitudes of trout, from half a pound 
to a pound weight some larger and of excellent 
flavour. You have now far too briefly to admit of 
a clear description " our field of battle." 

As we have already cursorily mentioned, in front 
of the house, awaiting our decision as to the 
arrangements for our first day's sport, stood the 
trusty head keeper, together with the under keeper, 
about as good a specimen of a Highlander as the 
country could produce ; and in addition to these were 
several bare-legged, kilted " gillies," or beaters, 
both old and young. In the hands of one of them 
were firmly held two magnificent rough deer-hounds, 
which noble animals were then, and still are, our 
faithful friends though, alas! we cannot say our 
companions, the one being cared for by a much 
esteemed friend in Ireland, whereas the other enjoys 
his " otium cum dignitate" in Gloucestershire, fed 
daily by fair hands, and watched over by kind hearts, 
by whom he is greatly valued, known to all the 
children in the neighbourhood from his gentleness 
and sagacity, and deservedly the admiration of all 
who see him. As, however, we shall have occasion 
by and bye more fully to enter into the subject and 
character of these scarce and valuable hounds, we 
will now merely state that the following are his di- 
mensions, taken on the 6th of May, 1846, viz. : 
Height at shoulder, 33 inches; girth at chest, 34 

E 3 



42 SCOTTISH SPOUTS 

inches ; length from the end of the nose to the tip of 
his tail, 64. This dog is of a pale yellow colour, 
with black muzzle ; and, from the strength and wiry 
elasticity of his hair, which is considered a great 
criterion of pure breeding among the Highlanders, 
to say nothing of his beautiful form and immense 
power, he may fairly be considered one of the finest, 
if not the very finest, specimen of this noble race of 
dogs in the kingdom, which, it is much to be re- 
gretted, are becoming each year more rare ; in the 
first place, from the great difficulty of rearing them, 
but still more so from the extraordinary desire 
evinced, by those who follow the splendid sport of 
deer- stalking, to cross them with every species of 
mastiff, bloodhound, &c. ; by which they not only 
fail to obtain the object they expect and desire, but 
thereby lose also many of the qualities which are 
alone found in the pure breed of deer-hounds. 

Since writing this, how r ever, we are rejoiced to 
hear that Mr. E. Ellis, who possesses an admirable 
shooting quarter in Scotland, with others, are endea- 
vouring to revive the breed ; and as we are in posses- 
sion of very accurate information as regards these 
dogs, and have been particularly delighted with 
many of their feats, we shall, when giving some 
details, which we propose doing, of Invermoriston, 
then enter more fully into the subject. 

Two smooth- haired and fine-bred greyhounds were 
also straining in their slips, ready for the chase. 
" And wherefore these graceful animals on grouse- 
hills ?" we hear many of our readers exclaim. Be 
not too hasty, and you shall know. In the first 
place, the boundary of the manor Meggernie is so 
extensive, and yet so well provided with game, that 
a large party may easily be separated, and appointed 
to different beats with equal chance of successful 



AND PASTIMES. 43 

sport. Iii addition to this, one may fish for salmon 
in the Lyon, while another can amuse himself with a 
cast for trout in the lakes. And to add to all these 
charming inducements to a six weeks' residence in 
the Glen, there are two little mountains, great 
favourites of ours or, more justly termed, large 
hills the sides of which literally swarm with the 
grey mountain hare, which, at a later period of the 
autumn, become almost entirely white ; indeed, so 
white that it is almost impossible to discern them 
when the hills are covered with snow, as we have 
seen them in Scotland in the latter end of October. 

Now, we yield to none in our delight of every 
sort of sport ; at the same time we admit a prefer- 
ence, more particularly for those wherein the noble 
animal the horse or faithful dog takes a prominent 
part. Indeed, so much do we delight in following 
the sporting instincts and sagacities of these faithful 
friends to man, that for hours together we have 
walked over the moors in company with a first-rate 
sportsman, allowing him, without one particle of 
jealousy, all the honours and pleasures of the powder 
and shot, while we ourselves have been contented 
with watching the qualities and peculiarities of his 
dogs when seeking their game. 

On this occasion the object of one of our friends 
who had joined in this sporting excursion was as 
much to enjoy the fine scenery, as the killing of 
grouse, hares, or blackcocks. He therefore deter- 
mined on accompanying us with the dogs to the top 
of Stroneuich, from which mountain one of the finest 
views, of the surrounding country, in Scotland is 
witnessed. Our other friend, who was all for the 
grouse, we despatched with the keeper to such points 
as he might judge desirable ; and with another 
keeper and a regiment of " gillies/' or beaters, we 



44 SCOTTISH SPOUTS 

started for Stroneuich ; in the first place crossing the 
Lyon in a frail barque, which caused us no little 
amusement ; the large rocks here and there dis- 
persed in this rapid river, together with the shoals 
and deep pools, making the navigation no easy 
matter. On our arrival at the level summit of the 
mountain, after a most delightful walk of some two 
or three miles through heathered valleys, and over 
hill-tops, the grouse rising every moment on each side 
of us, though wild in the extreme, our sport, which 
I shall here describe, commenced ; and most exciting, 
in good truth, it was, though certainly of a novel 
nature to coursers. The two rough deer-hounds were 
held by one of the gillies in slips, and the two smooth- 
haired greyhounds by another gillie, the remaining 
one being kept as a reserve, in case of accident to 
either of the dogs already mentioned. And, thus 
prepared, we quietly walked in the rear of the party 
to witness the sport. The summit, which is in parts 
as flat and even as a grassy plain, extending here and 
there full sixty feet in breadth, and in uninterrupted 
length, in others of at least two hundred. On both 
sides of this mountain, which was covered with 
heather and rocks, a- party of beaters was thrown 
out, who rousing the numerous hares there found, 
they immediately made for the level mountain top, of 
which we were apprised by the loud shouts of those 
below ; and, thus on the qui vive, the moment puss 
appeared in sight, the dogs were slipped, and many 
an exciting chase we had. Did they attempt to cross 
the level, a loud shout on the other side generally 
saluted them, and thus were they obliged to fly for 
their lives along the mountain-tops. To regular 
coursers, this mode of destroying hares by wholesale 
may not appear quite en regie ; let them bear in mind, 
however, the nature of the ground, the excitement 



AND PASTIMES. 45 

caused by such wild sport, the nature of some of the 
dogs employed for such diversions, the abundance of 
hares, which could only be taken on such ground by 
this kind of warfare or with the gun, the splendid 
nature of the scenery by which we were surrounded, 
and the consequent delight, and exhilaration, and ex- 
citement of these hare chases, brief as some of them 
really were for, in truth, many a gentleman, who 
afterwards figured right delicately, and with the 
highest flavour, in a soup tureen or a hash, was 
doomed to die with a rush of the dogs, a holloa, a 
grip, and a shout. It must also be borne in mind, 
that these animals are totally different to those found 
in the low grounds, as to their colour for during the 
spring and early autumn they are of a bluish grey, 
whereas in the fall of the year and during the winter 
they become totally white ; indeed, we have seen 
them, and killed them also, when white as the driven 
snow; and for this seasonable change of costume 
they have to thank an all- wise Providence, who thus 
protects them, during the lasting snow of winter in 
that wild and remote glen, from enemies as formid- 
able as man, in the shape of eagles and various 
kinds of vermin, by which they would be readily 
discovered and destroyed. 

These hardy animals appear to enjoy the same cli- 
mate, and exist almost in the same localities, as the 
ptarmigan, being often found on the very summits 
of the mountains, hidden among the rocks, or bur- 
rowed, like rabbits, among the " cairns" (so called), 
or piles of stones, built up by the shepherds as land- 
marks, or for their amusement, when tending their 
numerous flocks. Their means of sustenance during 
the winter season is also a matter of some curiosity : 
during the spring and summer they are more fre- 
quently found at the sides and base of the mountains, 



46 SCOTTISH SPOBTS 

but at the approach of winter higher and higher they 
ascend; therefore, without they live on air, or by 
suction, or on the chalky stones, on what we know 
not ; for of roots, heather, or grass, there must be 
little, and this little could only be obtained by ferret- 
ing beneath the frozen snow, which in most places 
must be several feet deep, and hard as a rock. What- 
ever be their means of existence, however, during the 
dreary season of winter, we can answer for their 
celerity and fleetness up the mountain side, when re- 
vived and invigorated by the genial days of spring. 
Many a morning's delightful sport we have to thank 
them for ; and as for the eating of their " cadavres," 
as our Gallic friends would term it, why, in good 
faith, we know of few better morsels than that eaten 
from the loins of a well-roasted mountain hare, 
with a trifle of currant jelly to give it a relish. 

The closing evening, however, gave us warning 
that this, our first day's attack on the hares, must 
also close, and, with a few minutes' delay in admi- 
ration of the sinking autumnal sun, as its last rays 
disappeared behind a hundred heathered mountains, 
far in the distance, even to Ben Lomond, we prepared 
to descend towards the Castle, in order to compare 
notes with him who had marched to meet the nu- 
merous corps of grouse and blackcocks on our left 
flank ; and if our anticipations of his abundant sport 
were not entirely realized, we had reason to expect 
much slaughter from the continued rattling of small 
arms, which from time to time had sounded up the 
glen. 

On our approach to the river Lyon, which, as we 
have before stated, divided the Castle from the prin- 
cipal shooting grounds, we found ourselves consider- 
ably higher than the point where we had crossed in 
the morning, and consequently no boat was there. 



AND PASTIMES. 47 

The water was, however, fordable at that spot; and 
as a kilted Highlander has little difficulty in pre- 
paring himself to take soil, the brogues of two or 
three were off in a moment, and their backs were 
politely tendered for a mount across the stream. On 
a horse, we believe, we might overcome a wider and 
deeper obstacle than this said salmon river ; but on 
a gillie's back we were by no means prepared to make 
our debut, with the chance of a souse in a salmon 
pool, amidst the shouts of laughter of half-a-dozen 
breechless boys of the glen, to whom doubtless, such 
an event would have caused much amusement. We 
therefore boldly took water after our leader ; but no 
sooner landed, than bolt we went across the park, to 
circulate our blood for before or since we have 
never experienced aught to equal the cold we suffered 
in our passage through this water ; for, brief as was 
the time we remained in it, it was quite sufficient to 
cause agony of pain on landing. And when we 
witnessed our companion, who had more wisely ac- 
cepted a mount, arrive safe, dry, warm, and laugh- 
ing at our sufferings, we took note, never to ford a 
mountain stream in the Highlands, with a gillie at 
hand to give you a mount on his back. 

Having reached the chateau, the slaughter of the 
morning was laid before us, when we counted nine 
brace and a half of grey hares, and a solitary rabbit. 
Not bad sport, you will admit, sporting readers, when 
you bear in mind that no gun was fired, two brace 
and a half of dogs only were slipped, that a brace of 
these were deer hounds, who frequently ran clean 
over their game, and thus allowed it to escape, being 
too high and too powerful in their neck to admit of 
their contending with the rapid turns of the hare ; 
although in their running points they may bear a 
great resemblance to the fine-bred greyhound, and, 



48 SCJOTTISH: spouts 

from many trials we have made, we believe them to 
be quite as swift ; indeed, in straight running, many 
are faster. Moreover, we had not been out with the 
intention of seeing how much game we could destroy, 
but to have sport, and at the same time thoroughly 
to enjoy everything connected with this delightful 
sporting locale. Having seen to the comforts of the 
noble animals by whose means we had been enabled 
to enjoy so much fun, and had their feet, which were 
lacerated by the rocks and stones on the mountain- 
tops, well bathed with salt and water, we left them 
to repose, and then awaited the coming of our shoot- 
ing friend, whose near approach was soon made 
known to us by the discharge of both his barrels, 
which report echoed far and away from mountain- 
top to mountain-top, by which we were surrounded. 

Never can we forget the delight expressed by this 
truly enthusiastic sportsman at this his first day's 
walk on the heathered hills ! indeed, it would take 
far more pages than those allowed us, were we to 
detail one-third of his enjoyment at all he had seen, 
and not less so of the sport which he had experienced, 
which, though certainly not such as we shall here- 
after have to detail of this charming shooting quarter, 
yet was it quite sufficient to answer all our anticipa- 
tions when he produced eleven brace and a half of 
grouse, two brace and a half of mountain hares, a 
brace of ptarmigan, and oh, delicious morsel ! a 
golden plover, plump, and praying, doubtless, to be 
eaten. To w r hich being added the forlorn little 
rabbit and the hares we slaughtered, we were pro- 
vided with a tolerable larder. 

Should this simple and unostentatious account of 
game should this humble, but nevertheless truthful, 
picture of pleasures long passed, but not forgotten, 
meet the eye of many a sportsman, possessor of a 



PASTIMES. 40 

well-preserved grouse ground, he will, doubtless, 
turn up the tip of his nose, or the balls of his eyes, 
at our sporting pretensions. We think we see him 
now, with a curl on the lip, and a smile on his phy- 
siognomy, at the sum total we have named. Let 
him smile on. We have all humility in saying so 
seen as many grouse fall to the deadly aim of 
first-rate shots, as our neighbours; but we cannot 
admit that the useless slaughter which sometimes 
takes place at the commencement of the grouse 
season can be termed sport ; we have heard of a 
hundred, and even more, brace being killed by a 
single gun on the 12th of August. But, in good 
faith, the labour of the shooter must have been that 
of a coalheaver ; and a third of his birds not worth 
the powder wasted on them. We prefer sport for 
sporting sake : and were we the owner of the very 
best grouse moor in all Scotland, we should feel 
quite satisfied with five-and-twenty brace as the 
ultimatum of each day's shooting, even at the com- 
mencement of the season ; but in the later period of 
autumn, to which we allude, half that number ought 
to satisfy the best shot in England ; and these should 
be killed without the necessity of making a toil of a 
pleasure. Eat your breakfast then you require no 
luncheon on the hills ; then take the rest of the day, 
and come home in time to dress for dinner. You 
may follow all the courtesies of life even in a High- 
land glen. We shall, however, as we continue our 
walk over the heathered hills, endeavour to give 
some careful details of many of the sporting quarters 
it has been our good fortune to visit; and this, 
we hope, in such manner as to excite those who 
have not already enjoyed the sports of the Highlands, 
to make acquaintance with the grouse ; and, as far 
as possible, we will also enter into such little facts as 



50 SCOTTISH SPOUTS 

will point out to them where are the best quarters, 
and how and at what price obtained. 

" The moors ! the moors ! the joyous moors ! 
When autumn displays her golden stores 

When the morning's breath 

Blows across the heath, 

On the mountain-side, 

'Tis gladness to ride 
At the peep of dawn o'er the dewy moors." 

Thus ended our first day's sport in the Highlands. 
And if those friends who were far away could have 
seen us that night, as we sat around the blazing fire, 
and talked over the pleasures of the day, they would 
have said, as we had decided, " Remain, and have a 
few more such." 



AND PASTIMES. 51 



CHAPTER V. 

" Easy is my bed it is easy, 
But it is not to sleep that I incline : 
The wind whistles northwards, northwards, 
And my thoughts move with it." 

/ 

THE dawn of our second day's expected enjoyment 
in the Highlands by no means fulfilled the hopes we 
had reasonably anticipated from the glorious setting- 
sun of the preceding evening, the last golden rays of 
which we had watched with delight, sinking behind 
the distant mountain-tops 

" Till the moor grew dim and stern ; 
And soon an utter darkness fell 
O'er mountain, rock, and burn." 

The first thought of an ardent sportsman, when he 
awakes refreshed by the slumbers of night whether 
he has a twenty- mile ride to cover, a walk to a 
neighbouring moor, or decides on a cast for salmon 
or trout in the sparkling river which glides through 
the glen at hand-^is the weather ; a fickle jade at all 
times and in all climates ; but in none is this fickle- 
ness and eccentricity, so detrimental to sporting gen- 
tlemen and sporting picknicking damsels, more in- 
comprehensibly displayed than in the mountainous 
districts of the Western Highlands ; and in no part 
of the wide world do you find so many reasons 
offered for this variety of atmospherical changes, 

p 2 



52 SCOTTISH SFOBTS 

which, so unpleasingly and constantly occur. We 
shall, however, leave the solution of this question to 
astronomical philosophers ; for whether it be that the 
fleeting clouds, attracted by the mountain-tops, suck 
up the moisture from the Atlantic on their passage 
to this hilly region for the mere frolic of spouting 
their contents on grouse shooters in the glens below 
or that the particular soil requires more moisture 
than elsewhere, we cannot pretend to explain, but 
the fact admits of no argument, that there are few 
parts of her Majesty's dominions so favoured with 
the tears of heaven. And thus we can well under- 
stand the anger of a citizen tourist, w r ho once accosted 
a Highland lad of the west with the question " Does 
it always rain in these parts ?" and are not surprised at 
his facetious reply "Na, sair ; it sometimes snaws." 
Instead, therefore, of beholding another day break 
with a clear blue sky over head, and balmy breezes 
from the glen, the wind whistled, the rain fell 
heavily, the mists were dense in the valley and on 
the mountain tops, and all was damp, and dreary, and 
blue -devilish. We could not, however, permit 
ourselves to be thus easily discouraged, so we forth- 
with prepared ourselves by adopting a costume for 
the worst, and hoping for the best, proceeded in 
search of the gamekeeper, whom we found inhaling 
the comforting weed from two inches of clay, with a 
bowl at the end of it as black as time and smoke 
could well make it ; in fact, a well-seasoned bit of 
clay is the delight of a Highlander. And while on 
this subject, we recommend no sportsman visiting 
the moors to go unprovided with a good supply of 
the pigtail ; no compliment is accepted by a High- 
lander with so much pleasure as a small supply of 
the fragrant w^eed, and many a good day's sport may 
emanate from this trifling douceur, which might 



JLND PASTIMES. 53 

otherwise not be obtained ; in fact, we made it an 
invariable rule never to go on any sporting expedi- 
tion unprovided with a well-filled pouch of tobacco, 
and a pound or two of first-rate tea. But to return 
to our subject ; we found the keeper puffing a light 
cloud at the heavy ones, and admiring the weather- 
cock on the top of the chateau. We forthwith 
questioned this trusty native of the glen as to the 
hopes of a clearing, and having been assured by him 
that, although then decidedly moist, he anticipated a 
braw time about mid- day, we wrapped our plaid 
around us, and whiled away an hour in the external 
scrutiny of our ancient and pleasing quarter, which, 
nevertheless, looked grim and dreary enough as it 
stood in its solemn loneliness on this dark and dismal 
morning. Who might have been the architect of 
this interesting relic of lawless times we cannot 
pretend to say ; but he had doubtless, and with 
reason, satisfied the original owner of days lang 
syne, when might was right, in fact, when Highland 
chiefs lived and kept their own as long as they 
could, not by right of law, or purchase, or entail, but 
by the force of arms ; in short 

" The good old rule .... 

Sufficed then the simple plan, 
That they should take who have the power 

And they should keep who can." 

Sportsmen, however, like other people, must eat for 
life, strength, and energy, if so be they do not 
exactly live to eat; nevertheless, this gastronomic 
sport is a very pleasant pastime on most occasions, 
but never more so than when your inward man is 
reminded by the keen, though it may be somewhat 
moist, mountain air of the morning, of the unques- 
tionable fact that the cravings of hunger expect 
to be satisfied, eyen at fifteen miles from a baker's 

F 3 



54 SCOTTISH SPOETS 

shop. We therefore lost no time in seeking our 
companions, not in arms, but in temporary, though 
very improper, fury at the state of the atmosphere. 
To do them justice, however, they appeared deter- 
mined to make the best of their bad luck, if such it 
may be termed ; not, however, without most ample 
soothing remedies, as the sequel will show, as we 
found them seated around a board well covered with 
abundant creature- comforts. 

Previous to uttering a word, save those compelled 
by courtesy, we lifted the cover of a dish near at 
hand, and beheld oh pleasing sight ! some juvenile 
grouse fendu au centre, and broiled. We performed 
the same office by cover No. 2, when some delicate 
trout, fresh from the Lyon, w r hich had only ceased to 
swim alive when they swam dead in the Lucca oil in 
which they were fried, gladdened our hungry eyes. 
"Nice plump grouse, why do you allow your- 
selves to be shot, thus to broiled and eaten ? Dear 
little fish, why will you be hooked thus to fry in 
oil? 'Tis very kind of you, and much we thank 
you." And with this passing thought, having seated 
ourselves, we prepared for action with a full deter- 
mination to attack centre and flank, front and rear, 
of all the good things before us. 

"Disagreeable morning," said one, "is it not?" 
" Admitted," we replied ; " but we cannot say the 
same as regards the breakfast. Nevertheless, we 
would thank you for a trout or two to begin with. 
And as for the weather, why F r says it will clear ; 
and of course he must know, or who should ? since 
he was born in the glen, and has lived there all his 
life, save on one occasion, when he passed a few days 
among the Lancashire Witches, whose charms, 
together with those of many a jorum of strong ale, 
did not prove sufficient compensation for the loss of 



AND PASTIMES. 55 

his beloved porridge, mountain dew, and Highland 
home ; so he soon turned up his nose at the one, and 
his back on both." 

Like the heavy mists of the morning, which were 
fast disappearing from the valleys, did the physiogno- 
mies of our comrades break into sunshine at this 
information, as, of course, they had all the most 
perfect faith in the opinion of this trusty individual, 
which tallied so entirely with the hopes and earnest 
wishes of their outward feelings viz. for sport on 
the heathered hills as did the trout and grilled 
grouse with their internal ones. And we take 
advantage of these pages strongly to recommend this 
same diable de grouse et truite d Ihuile for the 
matutinal discussion of those novitiate shooters who 
may desire to solace themselves for an hour or so 
when the morning is moist and cloudy, and who may 
hitherto not have enjoyed the opportunity of such 
^astronomical indulgence in its native excellence ; 
they may also be pleased to note in their diaries the 
following fact, that if the weather be not exactly 
agreeable for shooting, it will, nevertheless, suit 
admirably for breakfast-eating. 

With regard to the good humour and temper of 
our companions on that occasion, we hold them forth 
as an example to the sporting world, for their full 
concurrence and ready belief in the fact of the 
coming sunshine ; for of all the bores, there is none 
so great as he who be the morning selected for 
grouse shooting, deer stalking, hunting, fishing, or 
breakfasting at Fulham, where you expect to meet 
your lady-love all smiles and tenderness witnessing 
the torrents fall, declares it must rain throughout the 
day. Alas ! what is life without hope ? We love a 
hopeful, sanguine mind ; and should our bright 
wishes never come to pass, still are they not less 



56 SCOTTISH SPOKTS 

pleasing in anticipation. If the morning, therefore, 
on such occasions break blustering and wet, only 
declare that it must clear ere long; and be assured, 
even do you hope on all day, the time will pass more 
quickly whilst indulging in such pleasing thoughts 
than if spent in the grumblings of disappointment ; 
and when the day is over and your sorrows past, you 
will still hope on for better luck next time. Our 
sanguine expectations on this occasion, however, 
were not doomed to the ordeal of even two hours' 
impatience ; for scarcely was the breakfast over, ere 
the bright sun glittered on the waters of the Lyon, 
and all was preparation for the coming pleasures: 

We have already named our predilection more 
particularly for those sports wherein the sagacious 
and friendly dog takes a prominent part ; and during 
the previous day's walk over the rugged mountain- 
top and heathered vales, we had listened with no 
little interest and attention to many a tale of deer- 
chases and fox-hunts in these wild glens of Meg- 
gernie : we will not, however, presume, in these 
simple details of facts, to enter more fully into the 
subjects of either, save as regards those in which we 
have personally taken part, inasmuch as we feel it 
would be presumptuous to attempt any description of 
that which has been so ably, beautifully, and truth- 
fully delineated by a far more able pen. We will 
simply state, however, with respect to fox-hunts, 
that we allude to the rude, but not less exciting, 
mode of destroying these animals among the rocky 
mountain- sides of Scotland, where their death, under 
any circumstances, of course ceases to be a sacrilege ; 
for there they may fairly be classed among vermin, 
and treated as such. To those who desire more 
ample details on this subject, we beg to recommend 
the perusal of that delightful book for all sportsmen, 



AND PASTIMES. 57 

written by Mr. Scrope. A brief account of another 
species of chase, viz., that of the roe-deer, probably 
the swiftest animal in existence, save the hare, may, 
however, not be uninteresting. 

These graceful animals abound in many parts of 
Scotland, particularly in the county of Perth ; indeed, 
when hunting with the Perthshire foxhounds in the 
immediate neighbourhood of Perth, it has been our 
good fortune to see hundreds cross and recross the 
large covers of Scone and Lynedoch, and, in days 
of yore, of Dupplin, as the hounds were drawing for 
their game ; and, what is yet more astonishing, with- 
out the slightest unsteadiness being remarkable 
among the gallant pack, though the scent of the roe 
is strong. 

Before resuming our humble sketch of the plea- 
sures to be found at Meggernie, however, we will 
crave leave to relate one simple tale with reference to 
these graceful, timid animals, and then once more to 
the hills. Soon after daybreak one bright morning, 
at the latter end of the month of August, the 
keeper was quietly wending his way across the long 
grass-enclosure immediately adjacent to the Castle, 
to inspect the kennel, visit his pets, and see they 
were all in health and energy previous to taking 
orders for the sports of the day, when he beheld two 
roe-deer peacefully feeding near a small cover at the 
extreme end of the park. This sight was a pleasing 
one for many reasons, as we shall hereafter show ; 
and in order to secure the anticipations of sport to 
be derived therefrom, with the foresight of a good and 
trusty sportsman as he is, whose duty, not less than 
his pleasure, was to find as well as to see sport, he 
quietly altered his course athwart the park, and being 
sheltered from view by the trees along the margin of 
the river, reached the Castle unobserved. He then 



58 SCOTTISH SPORTS 

crossed over to the kennel, and sending scouts by 
another route to prevent the roe-deer from being 
disturbed, proceeded to perform the duties of the 
kennel till a reasonable hour of the morning had 
advanced, when he forthwith gave the pleasing in- 
formation to his noble master, who, ever ready to 
afford an hour's pleasure, not only to his visitors and 
family, but also to his household as himself, called 
together his forces, and placing two fleet greyhounds 
in the slips, proceeded to seek the game already 
marked for this novel chase. True to the report, 
there they were, beautiful and graceful creatures, 
plucking the dewy grass ; doubtless, little dreaming 
of their coming foes. They came, however, quietly 
and stealthily till the halloo sounded their death 
warrant in repeated echoes far and wide over the 
mountains till lost in the distance. 

Permit us, however, to give a brief account of 
the ground, simply because we had been repeatedly 
assured that it was utterly impossible that any two 
greyhounds could kill a roe-deer, however favour- 
able the scene of action for the dogs. On the south, 
then, there ran the river Lyon, which in many parts 
being fordable, they had evidently crossed from the 
thick wood by which its banks are skirted, and which 
is in their principal cover on the opposite side, and 
where their number is yearly on the increase, as few 
are ever permitted to be destroyed. To the north of 
the park the mountains rise steep and abruptly, pre- 
cluding all possibility of rapid ascent ; the level be- 
tween the river and these mountains being probably 
about the third of a mile in breadth. At the eastern 
end of the park is a small fir wood, and thence a 
range of grouse hills to the left, the river still run- 
ning on the right ; and to the west the Castle, its 
gardens, &c. ; the whole length being more than a 



AND PASTIMES. 59 

mile. At the eastern end of this ground, the roe- 
deer were still calmly feeding ; and all was yet so 
quiet that the slipper was enabled to approach them 
with the dogs to within about forty yards, when, 
straining from the slips with eagerness, the game was 
roused, and away they went, the dogs swiftly stretch- 
ing for their prey. It was at first quite evident that 
in straight running the dogs had no chance as to 
pace ; but one of the animals, singling himself from 
the other, recrossed the river, and they immediately 
settled to their remaining game. As long as the run 
was straight, the roe maintained the lead ; but the 
moment the animal's strength beginning to fail ad- 
mitted of the hound's nearer approach, the question 
of life and death was decided, for the first attempt at 
turning brought them close to its haunches, and after 
a few succeeding ones they came nearer and nearer, 
till they literally bounded at the throat of the roe 
an unusual feat for smooth hounds and the whoop 
was shouted in the presence of those who witnessed 
this interesting chase. 

We may probably have ill succeeded in the 
attempt to describe it here, as related to us near the 
very spot where it had actually taken place ; and 
doubtless, to many, how tame will appear a roe-deer 
chase ! To us, the manner in which it was related 
by one whose life had been passed in these wild and 
interesting glens, was far otherwise; but then we 
like a rabbit chase better than nothing, and are con- 
tent to catch gudgeons with a casting net, if salmon 
be not within reach. There are, however, other 
modes of roe-hunting ^practised in Scotland, which 
are also exciting, but not so pleasing to us, we must 
admit ; and we know one keen sportsman who keeps 
a species of mastiff or blood-hound, with which he 
hunts these gentle animals through the covers for the 



60 SCOTTISH St0T 

shooters, who stand at the end of the numerous rides, 
cut through the vast fir and birch coverts which here 
and there are found in the Highlands. On our own 
part we were satisfied there must be considerable ex- 
citement in a roe chase with greyhounds, and our 
second day's sport was consequently thus arranged : 
One of our friends, whose health and physical powers 
did not admit of much active exertions though a great 
lover of beautiful scenery, a sportsman in heart in 
every sense of the word, and a most delightful addi- 
tion to the party determined, though late in the 
season for salmon, to try his hand for a trout or two 
in the Lyon. Another voted once more for the 
grouse hills ; and we determined to try if it were not 
possible, by beating in the outlying coverts, to force 
the roe to the open, and have a practical view of 
that sport which hitherto we had only enjoyed in 
theory. 

Our plans being thus decided, with five dogs, 
consisting of two rough deer-hounds and three fleet 
and well-bred greyhounds, a numerous company of 
beaters, old and young, the keeper and another com- 
panion, we once more crossed the silvery waters of 
the Lyon, landing at the eastern extremity of the 
thick birch w r ood, to which we have already alluded 
as skirting the banks of the river almost immedi- 
ately in front of the Castle. Having arrived at this 
spot, we mustered our forces, and then called a 
council of war as to the most effectual means of 
forcing the roe-deer from their shady retreat to the 
open heathered hills, by which the western extremity 
and southern side of the covert was bounded. In 
order to obtain this much desired result, we extended 
our forces ; and thus having, as it were, embraced 
the eastern end of the wood, the word was passed to 
move steadily forward. We may here observe, how- 



PASTIMES. 61 

ever, that although our greatest anxiety was that of 
obtaining a roe-deer chase, we were, nevertheless, 
not unprepared with powder and shot for any sport 
which might offer itself for our gratification. Thus, 
as a blackcock rose on the wing a woodcock 
flushed from the thick underwood a timid hare or 
rabbit rushed across the line of beaters, the deadly 
echo rattled through the covert from right, left, and 
centre of the line of march. At the suggestion of 
our Highland leader, however, the word was soon 
given to cease this file-firing y as he justly conceived 
we had far more chance of forcing the roe to break 
at the extremity of the covert, or at least of witness- 
ing their so doing, by steadily and quietly beating 
our way onwards, and driving them in front ; thus 
the feathered tribe were left in peace, and Forward ! 
was the word. As we slowly made our way through 
the thick covert, many a fleet roe-deer bounded 
across and before us, as if making direct for the 
open ; the hounds, with noses to the ground, strain- 
ing in the slips, as the animal's track here and there 
pointed out the path they had taken. On our arrival 
at the extremity of the wood, the beautiful heathered 
hills opened to our view far and wide in the distance, 
and by the acute scent of the rough hounds we 
had satisfactory evidence that several roe had es- 
caped us. 

To retrace our steps for a chance of those we had 
left in covert, was not deemed advisable, the sun 
having already passed the meridian, and time was 
precious in the shortening days of autumn ; so we 
decided to walk on to another but smaller fir wood, 
about two miles distant, to which the keeper reason- 
ably imagined they had flown. Having reached 
this point, a division of our forces was again suggested, 
the covert being somewhat in the shapa of a triangle ; 



62 SCOTTISH SPORTS 

thus our companion was stationed at one extent of 
the base, with a brace of greyhounds ; a gillie held 
the single dog in the centre ; and, with the rough 
hounds, we were posted at the other extremity. 
Being in this manner fully prepared, the beaters, 
headed by the keeper, walked steadily through the 
covert, evidently driving several roe before them 
towards the points where we quietly lay hidden, and 
prepared to slip the dogs the moment they appeared. 
Unfortunately, at the very instant we were about to 
receive the reward of our patience, and as, excited 
beyond all belief, we lay half smothered in a ditch, 
coaxing the noble dogs, who had already nearly dis- 
located every joint in our arms, to have equal 
forbearance indeed, as we were in momentary 
anticipation of seeing a roe bound from the covert 
side to the open heather on which we looked in 
fact, as we had already pictured to ourselves in the 
ditch, the delightful scene of a chase out of the ditch, 
on these splendid heathered hills beyond, and as 
this very picture was about to be painted to the life, 
up rose (pardon me) a d d unlucky woodcock from 
the very feet of the under-keeper, who was armed, 
and a good shot. Taken by surprise, and unable to 
resist so great a temptation, he levelled and fired. 
The bird fell dead, and well he deserved his fate. 
Under any other circumstances, a woodcock thus 
early in the season, would have been a prize ; 
although we have killed and eaten so many of them 
in the Ionian isles, that we readily confess the bad 
taste of willingly resigning the gastronomic indul- 
gences they offer to any one, for a partridge. But 
the effect of this deadly report at such a moment 
was enough to anger and with all due deference we 
say it the Archbishop of Canterbury or York, the 
primate of Ireland, or any prelate of the realm. It 



AND PASTIMES. 63 

instantaneously scared the timid roe, two of which 
had actually approached within twenty yards from 
the spot where we lay concealed from their view, 
and this evidently with the intention of breaking 
covert right in our front ; whereas three more had 
positively jumped the ditch by which the covert was 
fenced, in full view of our companion, \vho was on 
the very point of slipping his dogs, when bang went 
this what shall we call it? why, "delightful 
report.' ' Instantly they all turned, and flying like 
lightning athwart the fir-trees, broke through the 
beaters in positive fear, faced the open on the other 
side of the plantation ; and where they went, at the 
moment we knew not. All we wished was that the 
luckless inhabitant of Glen Lyon had shot himself 
instead of the woodcock ; at least such, at the moment, 
we thought was our wish. Yet we might have been 
satisfied, when we cooled on the subject, had he 
been attached to the tail of the Nassau balloon in its 
ascent from the gardens of Cremorne. 

This being a comparatively small and open covert, 
our chance of success at that point was at an end, 
and we began to despair of the hopes we had enter- 
tained of witnessing that for which, on reasonable 
grounds, we had undertaken our morning's rambles ; 
indeed our disappointment was so evident, that the 
noble animals we still held in the slips, appeared to 
participate in the annoyance, as, with heads to the 
ground, they seemed to catch the scent of the roe 
which had so closely approached us ; and then, look- 
ing up in our faces, as if in sorrow, they seemed to 
ask for liberty to seek the prey, of which, by this 
unlucky contre-temps, they had been deprived. At 
this moment we were joined by the trusty keeper, 
whose opinion was decidedly in favour of these 
sagacious animals. 

G2 



64 SCOTTISH SPORTS 

" We have little chance remaining here, sir," 
said he ; " if you let loose a brace of the deer-dogs, 
they may show us the line the roe-deer have taken. 
I feel satisfied several have left the covert, and in 
such case we may still have the good fortune to find 
them feeding in the open." 

We could scarcely believe in such luck, after our 
recent disappointment; nevertheless, we strictly 
followed his advice. The dogs were set at liberty, 
and immediately taking up the scent, away they 
went, without a moment's hesitation, right across 
the wood, till they came to a rough fence by which 
it was bounded. Here we luckily managed to stop 
them, and after some little search, most clearly 
traced, by their tracks, that the opinion of the 
keeper was well grounded, and they had faced the 
open. 

" It is all right, sir," said he, " no doubt that they 
have left the wood ; and may be we shall find them 
ere long quietly feeding on the heathery side of yon 
brae. If not, there are some hares on the mountain 
sides, and we may chance to meet with ptarmigan 
on the summits." 

How gratifying was this information ! so much so, 
that, weary with the morning's walk, we determined 
to halt for a few minutes, and prepare ourselves with 
fresh energy for coming events. Pipes and cigars 
were produced and lighted, a dram was filled from 
the flask of mountain dew for those who willed it, a 
crust produced for the hungry: and while these 
luxuries are being enjoyed, pardon us that we give a 
brief description of the wild and beautiful position of 
our halting-place, and then to more exciting details. 

Behind us was the fir covert through which our 
beaters had recently passed to our right through the 
glen; distant about two gunshot, the sparkling 



AND PASTIMES. 65 

waters of the Lyon, with its tributary trout streams, 
serpent-like glided in undisturbed tranquillity to 
join the waters of a neighbouring lake. Beneath us 
ran a rough and narrow mountain road, unceasing in 
its windings and irregularity of surface, being lite- 
rally one continuation of ups and downs ; and 
beyond this road were seen open and extensive 
grouse hills, covering many thousands of acres, ex- 
tending hill above hill to the rocky summit of Gallion, 
a favourite abode alike for the ptarmigan, the moun- 
tain hare, and the eagle. Little time, however, was 
lost in the contemplation of such scenery, or in gas- 
tronomic indulgencies ; a draught from the cool and 
clear mountain rivulet at hand, which abound in 
these localities, and once more then refreshed and 
invigorated, we prepared, with renewed energy, for 
all the chances of sport which might occur. 

The keeper was still firm in the opinion that the 
roe on leaving the covert, had descended the valley, 
crossed the mountain road to which we have already 
alluded, and would probably be found in the heathered 
hills beyond it. 

With this delightful anticipation, we again 
mustered all hands in order of battue, and "For- 
ward!" was the word. Arrived at the road, an 
exclamation of delight from one of the gillies, caused 
us to halt ; and on proceeding to ascertain the cause, 
he joyfully pointed out what the recent rains enabled 
us distinctly to decide were the fresh tracks of 
several roe. Thus, so far, all tended to corroborate 
the keeper's opinion that sport was near at hand, 
and on we walked with redoubled ardour. 

Haxing proceeded quietly half a mile up the 
gentle declivity before us, without firing a shot, 
though numerous grouse had risen almost under our 
noses, the order was given to the beaters to bring 

G 3 



66 SCOTTISH SPORTS 

their right shoulders forward; thus we faced the 
west, from whence the wind was blowing up the 
glen. At this moment we were walking in the 
centre of the party, still holding the deer-hounds in 
the slips, (whose eagerness had caused us already 
more than one upset in the heather,) and had scarcely 
advanced twenty yards on our new line, when, to 
our right, at about fifty paces, up started three of the 
long-sought roe. For a moment they stood, and 
then, like a flash of lightning, were off over the 
rough ground as if it had been a bowling-green. 

At first they appeared as if making for the moun- 
tains ; but the hope of such good luck was only 
momentary, for having cleared the extreme beater 
on our right, they flew along the hill side for two or 
three hundred yards, and then, turning sharp on 
finding themselves pursued, down the hill they went 
with increasing speed. 

Now, we have seen a fox break from a gorse 
covert in the centre of one of the best hunting 
counties in England ; and riding, as we do, about 
ten stoue, have found ourselves seated on a nag able 
to carry twelve, in splendid order, and fit to go. 
We have seen a salmon of some twenty pounds' 
weight, after a lengthened trial of skill and cunning 
between man and fish, safely landed by a first-rate 
disciple of Izaak Walton ; indeed, it has been our 
good fortune, under a variety of circumstances, to 
witness the decisive and exciting moment of most 
European sports. Yet we never recollect having 
felt more gratification than we did on this occasion, 
simple as was the cause. On turning to descend the 
declivity, as we have already stated, the roe-deer 
increased their speed, and most unfortunately, owing 
to tKe hurry and excitement of the moment, though 
famously placed for a slipper, we managed to 



AND PASTIMES. 67 

entangle them thus a momentary delay was caused. 
Being freed however, off flew the dogs, taking an 
oblique course up the hill side in full view of their 
game. This, however pleasing to the lookers-on, 
who kept them in full view, was all against the 
hounds ; for on the rapid turn of the roe, the force 
with which they ran, caused them to overshoot the 
mark and lose some ground. Recovering them- 
selves, however, with every nerve extended, they 
bounded down the mountain side, in full view of 
their game ; thus affording: us a clear sight of the 
whole chase, which proved most interesting and 
exciting. The strongest and fastest of the hounds 
was evidently gaining on the roe at every stride 
indeed, at one moment he could not have been 
twenty paces from them when our unlucky star 
once more rose on the ascendant. 

The splendid dog, every limb stretched to the 
utmost in eager pursuit, flew rather than raced over 
the rough ground, unconscious of all danger, but 
which to him nevertheless contained many hidden 
ones ; and this with such force, that momentarily to 
stop or even change his line was impossible ; whereas 
the roe-deer bounded over it with perfect knowledge 
of the locale. Unfortunately, a deep pit, or moun- 
tain-rivulet course, hidden by the long heather and 
rocks, crossed his path. Had this treacherous fence 
been only treble the breadth of the dog's stride, the 
pace at which he went would doubtless have carried 
him clean over in safety ; as it was, for an instant 
he appeared to stagger and fall, then bound in the 
air, and fall again, and for a single moment lay as if 
dead. Our first impression was that he had broken 
his neck ; and the pang of regret which shot through 
our heart must have been scarcely less painful than 
the bruises he had received in hi fall ; notwith- 



68 SCOTTISH SPORTS 

standing the severity of which, he was up and off 
again like lightning. By this time, however, the 
roe had recrossed the road, and were streaming with 
undiminished speed up the opposite hill towards the 
last covert we had beaten, still closely followed by 
the less fleet dog of the two. The moment the 
accident occurred, we felt our chance of a kill was 
at an end, and such proved to be the case ; the noble 
animal, on recovering himself, strained every limb, 
and showed unequalled courage and pluck in the 
valiant efforts he made to regain his lost ground; 
but, alas ! the law given to his enemies was far too 
great ; and notwithstanding he actually closed on 
them by every stride he took, they reached and 
entered the covert, and were lost to our sight. 

Gratified as we had been at witnessing this inte- 
resting chase, which we had so eagerly sought, we 
own we should have been better pleased had we 
been enabled to add the death of a roe-deer to the 
day's amount of game killed ; and though the .word 
" magnificent" can scarcely be used when referring 
to these gentle animals, we wonld gladly have 
repeated the following beautiful lines : 

" Thy heart's blood is streaming thy vigour gone by : 
Thy fleet foot is palsied, and glazed is thine eye ; 
The last hard convulsion of death has come o'er thee : 
Magnificent creature ! who would not deplore thee)" 

But such was not to be ; and the keeper at once 
suggested that we should proceed towards the sum- 
mit of , in hopes of bagging a few more of 

ptarmigan, and killing a mountain hare or two on 
our ascent. 

" I will send," said he, " two of the gillies to 
recover the dogs ; and as we have still three hours 
of daylight, we may as well proceed to the top of 
the mountain." 



AND PASTIMES. 69 

We will not, however, weary our readers with any 
detail of the exciting courses with which our walk was 
diversified ; suffice it, we met with many a puss, two 
brace of which succumbed to the fleetness of our grey- 
hounds ; and then came the ptarmigan, the shooting 
of which birds is by no means the most uninteresting 
sport to be met with in the Highlands. They are 
found, generally speaking, on the rocky summits of 
the mountains, or among the rocks and stones of the 
mountain sides, generally in flocks or coveys, but 
sometimes in twos or threes, or even in single birds. 
They rise much like a pigeon, and often fly round 
the mountain, pitching again and again near the 
same spot, as if loth to leave it ; at other times a 
single shot, particularly in foul weather, will send 
them flying for miles, whereas at periods they will 
wait till you are fairly among them; in fact, no 
game, if such they may be termed and certainly 
they have a mighty pleasant gout a la bouche afford 
a greater diversity of sport as to how and when they 
will be killed: as to where, it is always near the 
clouds. On this occasion we were fortunate enough 
to meet with them in great abundance ; and had not 
time passed rapidly, and our fatigue been great, we 
might have loaded more than one gillie. As it was, 
three brace and a half were bagged, and one bird, 
falling among the rocks, was lost. By this time we 
had reached the summit of Lock's Mountains, when, 
being totally precluded by fatigue from further pro- 
gress, we seated ourselves on the mountain brow, 
determined to enjoy the magnificent and panoramic 
view extended far beyond and around us. 

The hour and the scene were what the poet pro- 
nounced fit to cure all sadness but despair. The 
glorious sinking sun was about to terminate an 



70 SCOTTISH SPORTS 

afternoon of unusual brilliancy ; in fact, the evening 
was one of those magnificent closes to the year, which 
seems intended to comprehend all the beauties of 
the past. The western sky was one blaze of varied, 
gilded colours, the reflection of which actually 
painted the numerous mountain peaks, seen from 
this spot, with numberless hues ; and when we 
looked on this truly wild and magnificent landscape, 
and turned towards the dark and sheltered woods 
below us, the meandering river, and the solemn- 
looking Castle, standing as it did in the centre of 
their wildness, whose turret windows glittered in 
the last rays of the setting sun, our thoughts wan- 
dered, but not in sadness, to the calmer, but not less 
beautiful landscapes of our dear England. We 
thought of the scenes of bloodshed and lawless enter- 
prise, which once had occurred in the now peaceful 
valley which lay at our feet of the wild sports of 
the chieftains of the soil which we had that day 
trodden and of all the exciting, happy, merry, 
joyous sports, now so abundantly and uninterruptedly 
to be enjoyed there. No longer shots are fired in 
anger no longer is the Highland dirk steeped in a 
neighbour's blood ; but all, united in the bond of 
brotherhood, worship the same God, and honour the 
same sovereign. 

We acknowledge ourself to be an enthusiastic 
lover of Nature's beauties ; indeed, at the moment of 
mental, as well as bodily pain, how often have we 
felt the soothing tendencies they inspire ! and the 
effect of the bold and beautiful scene we looked on, 
was fast leading on to the building of a thousand 
castles in the air, when the voice of the keeper re- 
minded us that there was one in the valley, towards 
which if we did not soon bend our steps, we might, 



AND PASTIMES. 71 

perchance, have to bivouac in the heather. The 
hint was sufficient, and after an hour's most exhaust- 
ing walk, we once more reached its welcome 
portals. 

Our two friends, from whom we had parted in the 
morning, were on the look-out, anxious to recount 
their own performances, and not less so to receive 
the details of our day's amusement, which caused 
them both to regret their absence ; though neither 
had ill spent the afternoon the one having killed 
six brace of grouse, three mountain hares, and a 
blackcock whereas the other had provided us an 
abundant dish of fish, and well enjoyed his ramble 
along the river's banks. 

Having refreshed ourselves by a change of clothes, 
and plenty of warm water for the feet, which we 
recommend as the most reviving of all refreshers 
after a long day's walk, we sat down to an amply- 
provided board ; and many a glass of whisky-punch, 
and many a merry laugh went round to say nothing 
of one excellent bottle of mulled port, and half a box 
of undeniable Havannahs. But our noble friends, the 
dogs believe us, they were not forgotten. Scarcely 
had we prepared for dinner, when with gladness we 
saw them coming slowly across the park, held by 
the gillies. We instantly proceeded to welcome them, 
when, much to our regret, we discovered the gallant 
animal who had fallen must have pitched against 
the steep side of some rock, for the upper part of 
the shoulder of the near fore leg was laid bare to 
the bone, and a cruel gash appeared across the ribs. 
Fortunately, however, no bone was broken ; never- 
theless, he must have been severely shaken and 
yet, with the true and unfailing courage of his race, 
he shewed such pluck, that he had not only chased 



72 SCOTTISH SPOETS 

the roe through the covert, but was discovered, by 
the beater sent in search, at the extremity of that 
we had first entered, still hunting the track of his 
game, which had only beaten him by the aid of its 
dark recesses. 



AND PASTIMES. 73 



CHAPTER VI. 

THERE are, probably, few periods more exhilarat- 
ing in the life of a sportsman, than that when he finds 
himself, at the commencement of the season, in the 
freshness of early morning, on the heathered moun- 
tain, prepared for his first day's grouse shooting. 

" At the peep of dawn, o'er the dewy moors, 

For the sportsmen have mounted the topmost crags, 
And the fleet dogs bound o'er the mossy hags, 
And the mist clears off, as the lagging sun 
With his first ray gleams on the glancing gun : 
And the startled grouse and the blackcock spring, 
At the well-known report, on whirring wing." 

Not that we pretend to be an advocate for the 
general habit, adopted by many, of commencing a 
day's shooting at an unreasonably early hour, and 
which is by some considered so absolutely necessary 
to obtain sport. 

There is a sort of faintness of the inner man 
experienced before the sun is well o'er the horizon, 
which dims the sight, wearies the limbs, unsteadies 
the hand, and consequently unsettles the aim ere you 
get well into the business of the day ; and we there- 
fore humbly declare, on our own part at least, that, 
not having taken out a licence to sell game, and the 
quality of the sport, not the quantity bagged, being 
our object when enjoying such delights, we have 
never been able to discover the utility of walking 

H 



74 SCOTTISH SPOUTS 

through wet turnips with an empty stomach, or on 
the dewy moors with a ravenous appetite, and eyes 
like a five-days'-old puppy-dog, half open. 

If you have to meet a pack of hounds some twenty 
miles from home, get up as early as you please ; at 
all events, be in ample time to see them thrown into 
covert ; not, however, without fully preparing your 
inward, as well as your outward, man for coming 
events. Should you chance, on the other hand, to 
find yourself comfortably located in a Highland 
shooting quarter, there is no reason on earth, or on the 
moors, why you should not take the matter as you do 
other pleasures in life, that is, obtain all the enjoy- 
ments within the range of possibility, and eschew all 
the inconveniences. By following this principle, if 
you are not a gainer, you will never be a loser. On 
our arrival at a sporting abode, which hitherto we 
may not have had the pleasure of visiting, if the 
time be night, we turn in comfortably (even the 
French make use of the word " comfortable" in 
these days, though their application of it proves an 
entire ignorance of its meaning) : if we awake early, 
we immediately turn out and take a peep from the 
window in the first place to inspect the state of the 
weather, and then to seek a knowledge of the locale. 
Should we have a decided object, well and good, we 
prepare for the occasion : if not, we fairly ensconce 
ourselves once more between the sheets, and ruminate 
a little, half- dreaming over our expected day's sport 
by anticipation, and then turn round and have 
another sound nap, just to recruit our limbs for the 
mountain sides. Indeed, we know a first-rate shot, 
in fact, a superior sportsman, whether with the gun, 
fishing-rod, or bridle in hand, who visits the High- 
lands annually. He makes his appearance about 
half-past ten, or eleven; eats his morning meal 



AND PASTIMES. 75 

peacefully, plentifully, and with evident enjoyment ; 
then lights his Havannah, and about mid-day finds 
himself knee deep in the flowery heather. We 
condole with the unfortunate grouse, ptarmigan, or 
blackcock, who have the temerity to rise within 
distance of his unerring aim: their rise is but to 
fall again for ever. He shoots on steadily till the 
sun sinks behind the western mountains ; then lights 
another fragrant weed, and turns his step home- 
wards ; appears dressed and cool at the dinner table, 
and is a most lively and agreeable companion ; and 
when the game -book is brought in for an entiy of 
the clay's sport, few can ever number the total bagged 
that he can. This .is the sort of man to have as a 
companion in a Highland shooting quarter ; not your 
restless, quicksilvery fellow, who can neither take 
his own " ease at his inn," nor will he allow any one 
else to do so who gets up before sunrise, and is, 
consequently, dead beat before it has crossed the 
meridian; and, instead of really enjoying a day's sport, 
a cool bottle of claret after dinner, qualified by a 
tumbler of mountain dew, " hot, with" and perhaps just 
one cigar to prevent indigestion, or a little moderate 
" vingt-et-un" to pass the evening merrily, quits the 
table for an arm-chair, and in five minutes is snoring 
like a buffalo. Sportsmen, permit us to recommend 
your taking it easy as the midshipman of that name 
so justly advised and practised whether it be in the 
turnips in September or on the moors in August. 
This is the plan we have hitherto pursued, and we 
have found it to be both successful and agreeable, 
notwithstanding all that has been said and written 
about the want of scent after mid-day. 

On the morning subsequent to our chase of the 
roe-deer which, unfortunately was to be our last 
at Meggernie on that occasion, having engaged 

H 2 



76 SCOTTISH SPOETS 

ourselves to visit other friendly quarters we had 
determined take a sort of rambling excursion all 
over the hills around and in the immediate neigh- 
bourhood of the Castle, and with this arrangement 
the whole party were luckily well pleased. Having, 
therefore, as usual, made sad havoc among the 
dainties which were bountifully spread before us, we 
prepared ourselves for another day of entire enjoy- 
ment. Human thoughts will, however, wander, in 
the best regulated brain, which unquestionably ours 
is not ; and we could never divest our mind, as we 
sat at the bountiful board, of the idea, that could the 
founder of that ancient pile, in which we were then 
so happily domiciled, but walk into the room at the 
very moment we were about to plunge a fork into the 
breast of a cold grouse, or in the act of lifting up 
the cover of some smoking dainty, the chieftain's 
hand might chance to seek the sharp skeinduh, and 
play with us the same trick we were playing with 
the game. To add to this wandering of our imagina- 
tion the portrait of some grim old laird, with long 
and flaxen curly wig (evidently one of his descend- 
ants), whose physiognomy was adorned by an ancient 
gilded frame, scowled at us, as we sat in our usual 
seat, face to face with the old gentleman. The tip 
of his nose appeared to change colour at every 
morsel we ate, and at times so startled us, that we 
were literally on the point of jumping up and laying 
hold of the back of the chair for protection ; and on 
one occasion we were nearly choked by the back- 
bone of a trout, when admiring the frill of his 
shirt. 

We must proceed, however, on our sporting walk, 
instead of dwelling on the family portraits of the 
Stewarts of Glen Lyon, or the matutinal dainties of 
Meggemie Castle. Nevertheless, as there are already 



AND PASTIMES. 77 

Meggernie " stakes' ' at the Liverpool meeting, we see 
no reason why there should not be potage a la Meg- 
gernie in the glen. We shall, however, say no more 
on this international subject, otherwise we may be 
taken for a gastronomist, which we are not, instead 
of an enthusiastic sportsman, which we really are. 
Indeed, we already fancy we hear some good-natured 
Norfolk or Hampshire squire, who has killed his 
twenty brace of partridges in the morning, and is 
snoozing over the " Sporting Mag" in the evening, 
exclaiming," D d" no, we never swear, "Devilish 
fat and lazy fellow this must be, who lays down the 
law so decidedly about early rising and gorman- 
dizing ; who gets up at eleven, stuffs himself, and 
looks at the old family pictures till twelve, and then 
calls it taking it easy.'* You are in error squire, be 
cool ! we are neither fat nor lazy ; we weigh nine 
stone three pounds in tops and unmentionables, and 
just nine stone in nankeens ; we eat less than most 
men ; and though we do not rise early, we go to bed 
late, and never could sleep after dinner. Twenty 
miles to cover with you any day you please. But 
now to the hills ; come and take another walk with 
your fat, lazy friend ; he heartily offers you a share 
of the sport. 

Once more the keeper, and the gallant-looking 
fellow, his aid (who, by-the-bye, had he been in 
any station but that of a keeper, we should have 
endeavoured to have enlisted as a life-guardsman ; 
for in his kilt he looked well enough, but in the 
cuirass, and mounted on one of those unequalled 
black chargers which adorn the portals of the Horse 
Guards, he would have been a fit escort for our Lady 
the Queen) awaited our commands for the day's 
march. 

" Good morning, Donald ; splendid weather 

H 3 



78 SCOTTISH SPORTS 

for the hills ! What luck shall we have to- 
day?" 

" Yes, sir, 'tis a braw season. May-be we shall 
meet with some blackcock behind the garden dyke ; 
I saw at least fifty of them this morning, feeding, 
soon after daybreak," 

"The deyil you did! Why were we not 
called?" 

He laughed in reply, as much as to say, "It 
would have been of no avail." He was right, he 
would have called in vain. 

" Then let us tiy for these birds at once." 

And away we went. Our party was strong : we 
had four guns, a host of gillies, and two brace of 
dogs, who, notwithstanding their exertions of the day 
previous, were tolerably fresh and full of spirit, save 
the gallant Bran, who, though suffering from his 
severe injury, was nevertheless all eagerness to be of 
the party ; this, however, we valued him too much 
to permit. 

We had reached the wall before alluded to, within 
fifty yards, when we felt ourselves seized by the 
shoulder in Donald's powerful grip. " There they 
are !" said he. " Hist ! hist !" and the whole party 
were made to understand that the game were in 
sight. And a pretty view for a sportsman's eye, in 
good truth, it afforded ! In a sort of stubble field 
if stubble it can be termed, in such a wild valley as 
there presented itself about half gun-shot from 
the wall, we beheld what seemed, to the eye of an 
inexperienced sportsman or, we should rather say, 
to a sportsman unaccustomed to this species of game 
a multitude of large ravens, employing themselves 
in gleaning. On a nearer inspection, however, these 
ravens appeared to have curly tails, adorned with a 
white feather or two intermixed, as a relief to their 



AND PASTIMES. 79 

gloomy blackness. There they remained, these 
proud and plump Highland blackamoors, as if waiting 
in defiance of attack, and determined to resist our 
rude intrusion on their feeding territory. Luckily, 
however, it was not our first acquaintance with their 
peculiarities, and those of the glen, by whom we 
were accompanied, were up to all the trickery and 
cunning of those splendid birds. We crave one 
moment while we add, though we know not why, 
that it appears, by general sporting acquiescence, 
permitted to shoot a blackcock how you can, w r hen 
you can, and wherever you find him. Now, were we 
to see a pheasant sitting on the top of a park- wall, 
which we frequently have seen, none but a poacher or 
a pot-hunter would deign to fire at the beautiful bird 
till it " fluttered in the air ;" but with the blackcock, 

C'est autre chose : 

Bang when you can, and over it goes. 

Precaution and silence was, therefore, the word of 
command, in order to secure success. Luck, for the 
time, placed us in a good position; and, having 
crept up to the wall, we rested our double-barrels 
on the top, within twenty yards of the formid- 
able black army ; in fact, we managed just com- 
fortably to bring five glossy heads along the sight, 
and, with nervous excitement, were on the very 
point of pulling the trigger, when a confounded 
gillie sneezed only sneezed but it w r as a detestable 
sneeze : we have hated people with colds ever since. 
This was enough ; the whole pack rose in a dense 
cloud not a moment was to be lost. Instead of the 
murderous aim we had chosen, as we thought, so 
cunningly, we had no alternative but that of banging 
into the centre of the flock. Down came two black 
bodies, plump, like coals from the heavens ! Bang ! 
bang ! went the file firing, from right to left ; over 



80 SCOTTISH SPORTS 

the wall we jumped, keepers, gillies, shooters and all, 
to pick up the dead and make prisoners of the 
wounded. This, however, proved not so easy a 
matter as might be supposed ; two lay dead as ham- 
mers a simile we cannot explain; three others 
were only legged or winged, and they made a despe- 
rate attempt to escape ; but the pack of bipeds, all 
eager for their prey, were too strong for them ; and 
after floundering, ankle deep in swamp, over flowery 
heather and rough stones, all were at length cap- 
tured in life, and bagged in death two brace and a 
half, no bad commencement for the day ; though the 
skirmishing which obtained the victory might not 
have been exactly in sporting regie. Never mind 
grumblers : it caused much mirth, and pardon for 
the sneezer. True, we had expected at least six 
brace ; but we are easily satisfied the half loaf 
contents us; and on the party walked, hoping for 
better luck next time. 

Having reached the mountain slopes, hares rose 
here and there and every where, before and around 
us ; and we succeeded in killing two brace, after 
some very interesting runs. On our arrival at the 
summit of the mountain, the day, which hitherto 
had been cloudy, dark, and misty, became brilliant 
and clear, the sun bursting forth in unrivalled splen- 
dour ; and the view of a hundred mountains seen 
almost to the summit of Ben Nevis, the wide, dark- 
looking, and extensive grouse ground and valleys, 
which lay in solemn grandeur at our feet, was a pic- 
ture of unequalled interest alike to the sportsman, 
artist, and lover of nature's wildness. Add to this 
the calm waters of Loch Rannoch, nearly twelve 
miles in length, and two of general breadth, which 
lay, as it appeared, almost at the foot of the moun- 
tain on which we stood ; and though literally two 



AND PASTIMES. 81 

miles distant, the mountain shadows on its waters 
were quite distinct, so still and placid was all 
around. This beautiful lake, glittering and spark- 
ling ever and anon, as the sun's rays, darkened by a 
passing cloud which swept through the heavens, left 
on its unruffled surface gloomy and flittering sha- 
dows, is the resort of a large-sized trout, probably 
not delicate-eating, but affording ample sport with 
the rod. And many there are who eagerly seek per- 
mission to try their skill with the fly, from the 
owners of the extensive shooting grounds by which 
it is surrounded ; the principal one being the Earl of 
Mansfield, who rents the moors immediately contig- 
uous to Meggernie, for which he pays a large annual 
rent. In this desirable sporting possession he suc- 
ceeded Lord Grantley ; and although we believe his 
first season of sport did not average his expectations, 
yet during those which have followed, though his 
outlay may be large, the total of his game-book has 
been most ample. 

Loch Rannoch is bordered on the north by a long 
lone eminence of gentle slope, regular and unbroken 
outline ; whereas the hills to the south are higher 
and more abrupt, and stand distinctly apart the one 
from the other. Of all these beautiful scenes, nature 
tendered us a superb and truly interesting picture ; 
but time did not admit our dwelling on such pleasing 
objects, though long could we have lingered on such 
a spot. 

The chirping grouse and silvery ptarmigan awaited 
our coming near at hand most courteously, just 
granting us sufficient time to admire mountain, val- 
ley, and lake, as we walked on, and they were seve- 
rally pointed out to us and named by the keepers 
(their denominations, however, are utterly beyond 
the power of a sportsman's pen to write) ; the still- 



82 SCOTTISH SPORTS 

ness of the scene being alone disturbed as the echo- 
ing shot, reverberating from hill to hill, told a tale of 
death to the feathered tribe. Among these \ve were 
fortunate enough to number several golden plovers 
without exception, in our humble opinion, the most 
delicious morsel that ever was placed before a deli- 
cate appetite, and no bad finish for a hungry sports- 
man who has duly attended to the substantiate after 
a long day's walk. Readers, should you not hitherto 
have tasted this little well-flavoured bird always an 
acquisition to a game-bag do us, the favour, and 
yourself the enjoyment, to follow Mrs. Kitchener's 
advice, viz., to kill one the first opportunity; and 
having killed it, should your establishment not be 
blessed with a cook of course we do not mean one 
of those fat females in petticoats who most unjustly 
defame the cognomen, but a cook why, write a civil 
note to " Soyer," and ask for his brief attention to 
the succulent little animal ; then eat it, and wash the 
delicious nutriment down with a glass or two of La- 
fitte, if you have any if not, Chateau Margeaux 
will answer the purpose ; and then send us a dozen 
or two, if you like, for the hint, as we shall then be 
ill repaid for the pleasure you will have derived. 
But we must walk on, for the day advances which 
was our last on the hills of Meggernie. 

As we reached the summit of another portion of 
the Schiehallion range, where the ground was covered 
with large stones and rocks intermixed with the 
heather, surmounted by a cairn, the shepherds' 
handiwork, we were gratified by the sight of nume- 
rous mountain hares scudding up the declivities. A 
few of these we were fortunate enough to tumble 
over, (they make good soup, but eat better as a roast, 
recollect), and, among others, we witnessed a very 
strong, large fellow make direct for the cairn. Higher 



AtfD PASTIMES. 83 

he could not go, and descend towards the valley on 
the opposite side he certainly did not : we therefore 
reasonably surmised that he must have taken refuge 
among the loose stones ; and such proving to be the 
case, the grey old gentleman was quietly removed 
from his retreat by the hind legs, and snugly depo- 
sited in a covered basket, with all the energies of life 
unharmed ; and this with the intention that he 
should afford us a little amusement in the lowlands, 
as we shall hereafter explain. A flight of blackcocks 
also passed directly over our heads, as we were 
descending, towards evening, through the heathered 
valley leading towards the Castle. We had at the 
very moment fired at a grouse, and were conse- 
quently in the act of reloading the discharged bar- 
rel, when these black gentlemen fluttered, or, more 
properly speaking, sailed through the heavens im- 
mediately aloft. We had scarcely sufficient time to 
raise the gun to the shoulder, take a hasty aim, and 
fire ; in fact, the shot was one almost at hazard, 
point blank to the skies, at least sixty-five to seventy 
yards distant. To our astonishment and gratifica- 
tion, nevertheless, down came, with a startling 
thump, the most beautiful in plumage and largest 
blackcock we have ever beheld, before or since. So 
large, so fat and heavy was he, that, stewed with 
onions no bad dish, by the bye he might have 
graced the bottom of the Lord Mayor's table at a 
civic feast, and been taken for a boiled turkey with 
celery; or, a la broche, would not have failed the 
palate of an alderman. We decided otherwise, 
however ; and, instead of stuffing ourselves with 
him, we graciously permitted him to be stuffed; 
and he now figures in a glass-case, mourning for 
himself, doubtless, in his glossy black coat, and 
looking so lively, that, were his glass cage but 



84 SCOTTISH SPOETS 

broken, he would surely take wing once more, and 
fly to meet his mate amid the dark recesses of Ben 
Lawers. 

When the day had nearly closed, we found our- 
selves again on the grassy park immediately fronting 
the Castle; and as the fast receding light of an au- 
tumnal evening left us but little time for considera- 
tion, we determined at once to settle our affairs with 
the gentleman in the basket, whom we had removed 
from his stony hiding-place. Among the canine 
race then enjoying a sejour in the Meggernie ken- 
nels, were two well-bred greyhound pups. These 
had hitherto scarcely ever seen a hare; certainly 
they had never tasted the excitement of an actual 
chase. We determined therefore on forthwith 
granting them this pleasing amusement, with the 
true spirit of " doing to others, &c.," and we cer- 
tainly had had our quantum of sport : ergo, the as- 
pirants for future fame at Altcar were produced and 
secured in slips, and a graceful pair of puppies in- 
deed were they ! On the cover of the basket being 
lifted, away went puss, without hesitation, doubtless 
nothing loth like what shall we say? like the 
diable ? no ! but like an uncommonly strong and 
speedy hare, who had been well frightened, but not 
injured or disheartened, by a few hours' imprison- 
ment. The slips were loosed : Nature taught the 
rest, and away flew the puppies, proving well their 
good breeding by stamina and fleetness. Twice had 
the snow-white hare been turned, when again she 
stretched before her eager pursuers, immediately in 
front of the Castle where we stood, as if determined 
to swim for life across the river, rather than die by 
such young foes when lo ! a new enemy appeared 
on the field of action, who soon decided the question. 
The scene was truly one of amusement : we had at 



AND PASTIMES. 85 

the moment entirely forgotten that, previous to 
leaving the Castle in the morning, a favourite and 
first-rate greyhound bitch, then heavy with pup, had 
been left in one of the rooms fronting the park, 
where the chase was then proceeding. The window 
of this room had unfortunately been left open, inas- 
much as, being from eighteen to twenty feet from the 
ground, it was never imagined that an animal in her 
state would endeavour to escape therefrom : never- 
theless, we were deceived ; she managed, on hearing 
the halloos which sounded through the glen as en- 
couragement to the young dogs, to raise herself on 
her hind legs and look out. The scene which pre- 
sented itself was doubtless most satisfactory to her 
mind, for not a moment did she hesitate. Out from 
the window she sprang, heavy as she was, and 
alighted without injury on her feet : a few strides 
she made across the park, straight for the hare, 
which was running at right angles to her. They 
met, and in an instant it was flung high in the air. 
Breathless with astonishment, the pups stopped their 
rapid career, and gazed on the lifeless body of their 
prey; whereas the old lady, none the worse for her 
prowess, walked quietly back towards the Castle, as 
much as to say " That's the way to do the trick, 
young 'uns ! go, get your suppers, and recollect the 
lesson." This self- same bitch has figured in the 
Coursing Calendar, as the winner of many a stake ; 
and the pups she produced on this occasion, only 
one week after this window-flight, all proved very 
superior dogs ; indeed, they may fairly be said to 
have been in training in their mother's womb. 

The amount of game killed on this day's excursion 
we do not name here with any intention whatever of 
calling attention to its amount ; the rough account 
of our walk must speak for itself, and will quite suf- 

i 



86 SCOfTtStf SPOUTS 

ficiently explain that with shooting we combined the 
pleasure indeed, the endless delight, to be found in 
Nature's picture-gallery, so variedly and so beauti- 
fully set before us : besides which, had we not a 
variety of chases the last not the least exciting 
to say nothing of the storming of blackcocks, by 
which we commenced the various amusements of the 
day. 

Three brace of these beautiful and glossy black- 
cocks, nine hares, three-and-a-half brace of grouse, 
three golden plovers, two brace-and-a-half of ptar- 
migan, making a total of twenty-nine head of game, 
was therefore all we could muster ; quite sufficient, 
believe me, to afford an admirable day's amusement, 
even though we numbered four guns in the field. 
Let it be understood, however, that the grouse 
grounds of Meggernie produce quite sufficient game 
to secure the utmost amount of killed, compatible, 
in our humble opinion, with the spirit of a true 
sportsman, who shoots, not slaughters ; indeed, at 
the moment we write this, we have before us two 
letters, dated, the one, Meggernie Castle, August 
25th, 1846 ; the other, September 15th, which con- 
tains the following information : 

" We have not done much in the shooting yet, as my party 
are hardly assembled ; Mr. H. has, however, been out a few 
times, and at his age (73) done wonders. He killed on four 
different days 26 , 27, 30, and 21 brace. There will be no 
performance like this in Scotland this year. We have plenty 
of game millions of hares. 

Truly may this be called good sport ; and we will 
answer for it, not a chirper or a bad tried bird was 
found among the number. But this gentleman is a 
true sportsman by heart and deed, and has been so 
from seventeen to seventy-three. May he shoot on 
for years to come ! The other letter states : 



AND PASTIMES. 87 

" The sport has been excellent. We have had great days 
with the hares. Above the wood, on Saturday, we killed 145 
hares, 12 brace of grouse, 4 brace of ptarmigan, 1 roe, 1 gol- 
den plover. We have killed a thousand brace of grouse since 
the 12th of August, though there are but few young birds." 

Turning to another document, a paragraph taken 
from a newspaper, we read that in the month of Au- 
gust the owner of some extensive moors in Perthshire 
killed and bagged on those moors the astonishing 
amount of one hundred and twenty brace of grouse 
in one day. 

We have no patience to proceed further in such 
details ; for without we heard the fact asserted by 
him who did the foul deed, which courtesy would 
compel us to believe, we own we imagine it to be 
impossible for any single gun to commit so great a 
slaughter, unless large packs of grouse rose every ten 
yards immediately under the nose of the shooter, so 
that each volley could settle a dozen birds at least. 
On naming this fact to a friend, who, like ourselves, 
would rather at this moment be walking over the 
grouse hills, or riding at the rear of the stag-hounds 
over Dartmoor, than be the last in London, he at 
first endeavoured to excuse the murder by saying 
that this feat, as he had been told, was undertaken for 
the purpose of proving the abundance of game to be 
found on this property, the proprietor being anxious 
to sell it. If such be really the case, we can only 
say that, had we been desirous of becoming a pur- 
chaser, we should prefer to buy it with game on the 
grouse hills rather than without, which an act such 
as we have related must tend to annihilate for ever. 
According to the old maxim, however, every man 
has a right to do what he will with his own ; and, 
having said thus much, we take our leave of the 
destroyer of one hundred and twenty brace of grouse, 

I 2 



88 SCOTTISH SPOBTS 

with the hope that he had the courtesy to send some 
of them to his friends in the south. 

Daylight had now closed, and the bright moon 
shone in majesty over mountain, lake, and glen ; 
millions of stars glittered in the mighty heavens ; the 
early frost of autumn already whitened the grassy 
park, and the keen atmosphere without told with 
double force on the comforts prepared for us within, 
as, with one more look on the sparkling waters of 
the Lyon, and the shadows of the dark woods on its 
margin reflected by the moonbeams, and the tower- 
ing hills beyond, we closed the shutters, and turned 
to the blazing wood and peat fire, and then joined 
our friends at the well-supplied board. Stewed hare 
at top ; roast grouse at the bottom ; then the hotch- 
potch and the haggis the latter a dish, the eating 
of which ought to have been forbidden by an article 
in the Union. Yet was this repast one most grateful 
to the palates of tired and hungry sportsmen, and as 
the toddy glass went round for those who preferred 
it, and the mulled wine for those who did not, and 
the skirmishes on the hill tops were fought over 
again and again, who so merry as we ? Years have 
now passed, many, many more may pass, yet long 
shall we remember this brief visit to the Glen of 
Lyon, as one bright spot in the journey of a life on 
which the clouds have not seldom lowered with un- 
usual darkness. On the morrow we were to quit a 
scene, perhaps for ever, which had been to us one of 
unusual happiness. Well, be it so ! yet long may 
the inhabitants of the wild glen live in peace and 
plenty ! We sought them for our gratification, we 
left with much regret. It was our intention to start 
early, and walk direct through the glen, passing 
Loch Lyon and Ach, and making our first halt at 
Inverouran, a small lone house, twenty-five miles 



AND PASTIMES. 89 

from the Castle westward. But as we hope for your 
company in our walk, so we shall defer our descrip- 
tion of it till a night's rest has refreshed our mental 
as well as physical powers ; so 

" Good night ! good night ; 

May visions bright, 
Sweet slumber o'er you hover, 

Nor Fancy bring 

Upon her wing 
One thought to cloud to-morrow." 

When most fatigued, however, sleep will not 
always readily obey the tired and fevered traveller, 
or the over-fatigued sportsman ; particularly when 
his brain is overwhelmed with thoughts which rush 
through the imagination, now bright and beautiful, 
then dark and gloomy ; like the stars of heaven, now 
shining forth in brightness, then lost to view by the 
passing cloud. This waking of the brain, though 
the body reclines in rest, may also be much increased 
by any little excitement previous to the hour of rest, 
and we must admit that we had a fair share of the 
grateful juice, which, doubtless, could the fruit which 
produced it have reasoned, as it ripened for the wine- 
press on the sunny hills of Portugal and France, 
would never have submitted to be bottled up for the 
gratification of grouse-shooters in the Western High- 
lands. Nevertheless it was there, and we drank it ; 
possibly a glass, just one glass, too much of it, and 
the consequence was, that instead of joining in the 
chorus of snores which sounded from time to time 
from neighbouring rooms, we lay thinking and ru- 
minating, and building castles, and bringing down 
grouse, and, among other things, we painted the 
following picture perhaps not with the skill of an 
artist, but nevertheless truthfully as far as our 
recollection will permit. 

I 3 



90 SCOTTISH SPORTS 



CHAPTER VII. 

THE hour was about six, the weather beautiful, 
the season late in July. We were strolling quietly 
homewards across Grosvenor Square, admiring with 
much satisfaction the unusual greenness of its centre 
garden, the clear blue sky above us, and the many 
gay and well-dressed children who were enjoying 
their gambols within the iron rails ; ruminating also, 
and with justice, on the many joys and comforts 
granted us to mitigate the bitter cares, amid life's 
dark and fleeting dream of wretchedness, as we 
watched the numerous splendid horses, handsome 
carriages, and fair and well-adorned occupants, as 
they rolled rapidly by, when our attention was more 
particularly called to an unusually well-appointed 
equipage, which had stopped at one of the houses in 
the square. The horses were noble animals, the 
servants remarkably well but plainly dressed ; in- 
deed, the carriage, the harness, and everything, was 
peculiarly striking, from its total absence of all un- 
necessary ornament, and yet complete elegance and 
distinction in general appearance ; yet if the car- 
riage, servants, and beautiful horses had caused us to 
turn our attention to them, how far more were we 
attracted by the appearance of the fair and elegant 
woman who so gracefully reclined within it, face to 
face with two as beauteous children as mother's eye 



AND PASTIMES. 91 

ever looked upon with fondness, or we ever had the 
pleasure of beholding. In fact, the whole picture, 
drawn as it is from nature, the high-bred mother, 
the lovely children, the horses, the whole combined, 
was a most perfect specimen of the wife, the mother, 
and the parent of England's most noble race. As 
yet no pride nor care sat on her fair, young brow, but 
the bright and beaming smile which lightened up 
her sweet face as she gazed on the loved ones near 
her, and the clear blue eye and winning grace of that 
gentle countenance, once seen could never be for- 
gotten ; indeed, the sweet and childish expression of 
the girl who faced us as we passed slowly on, can 
never be obliterated from our memory. 

This is a true but simple sketch of an English 
mother in the higher ranks of society ; and if we 
may judge from the many beautiful children which 
are now daily to be seen driving about during the 
London season, we would fain hope that fashion no 
longer forbids to those amenable to its laws the 
pleasure of proving to the world they love the com- 
panionship of their offspring. There may be, as 
doubtless there are, many pictures similar to that we 
have endeavoured to describe, daily to be seen during 
the season ; and doubtless the same fond mothers, 
met in the parks by day, at night may be found 
partaking of scenes* of gaiety and revelry, wjien 
these loved objects of their tender care are hushed 
in their infantine slumbers. Yet, be assured, there 
is many and many a bright face, many a noble heart, 
many a young and affectionate wife, who participates 
in the frivolities of fashion, from the nature of her 
position, far more than from the nature of her incli- 
nations, and who can most fully appreciate the 
beauties and the delights of the country beyond the 
precincts of Kensington Gardens and the parks. 



92 SCOTTISH SPOUTS 

Ay ! hundreds are there, who look forward with 
delight to the period which emancipates them from 
the supposed pleasures of a London season, to the 
real ones to be found on the flowery-heathered 
mountains of Scotland, the wooded parks of England, 
and the green hills of Ireland. But mark the sequel 
of this rough sketch : rough, we say, for all was 
rough in memory, compared to the outline of those 
cherub faces we had looked on but for a moment for 
the first time, and, as we then believed, the last. 
And yet it was so willed that we should meet again 
but where ? in Grosvenor Square ? No, surely not ? 
Another London season had passed, and was for- 
gotten ; another bright summer had waned, and 
winter's rigours were over. The rich harvest of a 
second had been well nigh culled, when either duty 
or pleasure, but most probably the latter, found us 
in the extreme north- west of Scotland. 

The hour was about the same, the season some- 
what later, but the sun shone as brightly, and the 
scene was far, far more beautiful than Grosvenor 
Square, as, in company with a friend who like our- 
selves, loves to combine his sporting visits to different 
parts of the kingdom, with a glimpse of Nature's 
beauties wherever to be found, we were quietly 
walking our horses along the margin of a beautiful 
lake, the sides of which were overhung with luxu- 
riant birch trees and mountain ash. All was so still, 
so bright, so beautiful, that as we looked on the 
rugged mountains, the green woods, and the clear 
waters near which we lingered, the busy world and 
the thronged city and the multitude might well be 
forgotten. The daily strife of man with man, the 
bitter sorrows of family contention, the agony of 
poverty, the sovereignty of wealth, the daily toil for 
bread, the follies of worldly pleasures, the darkness 



PASTIMES. 95 

of crime, and the wearying, feverish hours of the sick- 
bed, were lost to thought in the contemplation of 
Nature's loveliness, by which on all sides we were 
surrounded. Thus we rode on, in much enjoyment 
of the scene, when, as we turned a sharp corner of 
the road, a totally different prospect presented itself: 
the path, which had hitherto been secluded by trees 
which covered the mountain slopes, now opened on 
a wide and extensive range of heathered hills, rising 
one above another in the far distance. We drew the 
rein, in admiration of the splendid prospect, when, 
about one hundred yards from the spot where we 
halted, we beheld a party of equestrians riding 
slowly down the mountain side towards the road. 
On their nearer approach, we discovered that the 
leader of the party was a lady ; gracefully she sat, 
and carefully she guided a handsome and powerful 
Highland Galloway; by her side, on a rough Shet- 
land pony, a very picture of its race, rode a beautiful 
boy, some eight or ten years of age. The rear of 
the party was brought up by a steady and well-ap- 
pointed groom, who held by a rein attached to its bit 
another but smaller Shelty, on which, gaily laughing, 
sat a lovely girl, probably a year younger than the 
boy, who doubtless was her brother. In such a spot, 
so secluded, and yet so interesting, the appearance 
of this riding party so unusual a sight was 
naturally a cause of much surprise. How much 
greater, however, was our astonishment when, on 
their reaching the road, we beheld the same beau- 
tiful woman, and the same lovely children, whose 
presence two years previous had delighted us in 
Grosvenor Square ! The fair lady had no London 
appointments; no park habit; no thorough-bred 
steed; no flowing feather or cashmere shawl; a 
plain straw bonnet covered her small and well- 



96 SCOTTISH SPOETS 

formed head; a skirt of tartan served as a riding- 
dress ; but the same kindly smile, the same bright 
look graced her fair face, which, pale and beautiful 
in Grosvenor Square, was now tinged with the hue 
of health, gained doubtless from the fresh air of the 
mountains, among which, with her children, she was 
now enjoying herself. And the boy, with his Glen- 
garry bonnet proudly placed on a head from which 
his long golden hair floated in the breeze how well 
he sat his pony ! How joyous was his look, as by 
his mother's side he rode true specimen of the 
noble house of which in future years he may become 
the head! And the sweet girl how she laughed 
and rode along, appealing to the faithful servant, as 
much as to say, "Let me ride free: I fear not!" 
Then, turning towards a noble deer-hound, well nigh 
as large as her pony, who trotted by her side as if 
proud of his darling charge, she caressed him with 
her sweet young voice, as he, with large and brilliant 
eyes, looked up and answered her caresses. We 
could have pressed her to our heart. But this was 
not all the picture. On the summit of a small hill, 
from which they had descended, were scattered here 
and there a party of sportsmen. Their dogs were 
in the act of seeking game ; and the constant sharp 
echoes of the guns' report, as it rattled through the 
mountains, told of an addition to the game-book, 
and added to the childish delight of those who felt 
they were partakers in the pleasures and the sports 
the mother, of her husband ; the children, of their 
father. Landseer ! why were you not there, to put 
on canvass, in all the beauty of your colouring, that 
which our pen has but vainly endeavoured to con- 
vey ? But the scene shifted, and we turned to sleep, 
with the hope that a bright sunshine would welcome 
our rising. 



AND PASTIMES. 97 

" What various scenes, and, oh ! what scenes of -woe 
Are witnessed by that red and struggling beam ! 
Through crowded hospital behold it stream : 
The ruined maiden trembles at its gleam ; 
The debtor wakes to thought of gyve and jail ; 
The love-lorn wretch starts from tormenting dream ; 
The wakeful mother, by the glimmering pale, 
Turns her sick infant's couch, and soothes her feeble wail." 

But hark ! what knock is that which breaks upon 
our slumbers? bang, bang against the door! "Come 
in, come in;" and we started up in bed, endeavouring 
to re-collect our thoughts. Oh, we understand ; it is 
the last morning : we must bid adieu to Meggernie, 
its heathered hills and grassy vales, mountains, and 
bright trout streams. 

" Well, F , what's the hour, and how looks the 

weather ?" 

" Time to rise, sir ; your walk up the glen will be 
a long and weary one. The rain has fallen heavily 
since midnight, and the morning is rough and wet, 
with slight hopes of a clearing. The mountain 
rivulets will be swollen across the road before mid- 
day ; it will therefore be well that you start early." 

True, the appearance from our window was any- 
thing but a pleasing one, and we may fairly add 

" And mirk and mirkier grows the hill, 

And fiercer sweeps the blast ; 
The heavens declare His wondrous power 
Who made the mountain fast." 

Nevertheless, we had determined to go, and go we 
must. We had seen a little campaigning on the 
north of the Pyrenees, and were not to be deterred 
by the dangers which were threatened from boisterous 
weather to the west of Ben Lawers. Our baggage 
being in light marching order, was soon prepared, 
and strapped across the back of a strong, active, 
Highland pony. The keeper, and many of the 

K 



08 SCOTTISH: 

gillies who had shared in our sports and pleasures, 
came to bid us adieu ; and, with a hearty wish for 
their health and happiness, we took one last long 
look at the Castle and all familiar scenes around it. 
The word was given to march, and away we went. 

The trusty F who, during our visit, had been 

keeper, valet, waiter, bed-maker, and cook's assistant, 
for all we knew- as he appeared active and willing 
enough for anything, as the following trifling anec- 
dote will prove had determined to accompany us 
some miles up the glen, in order to point out the 
right track ; for of a road, after we had proceeded 
some little distance, there was very trifling appearance. 

" Well, F ," said we, as side by side we walked 

along, grumbling, as human nature will grumble, 
even when one's best hopes have been realized, " it 
is unlucky w r e could not remain a few days longer in 
the glen ; nevertheless w r e have had much enjoyment, 
and, thanks to you, we have been well fed and most 
comfortably lodged ; indeed, after your day's work 
on the hills, and your night's work in the Castle, you 
must have had enough of us." 

Scotch we never learnt, though we managed to 
pick up a few words of Gaelic ; the majority of our 
readers are, doubtless, equally ignorant of the neigh- 
bouring language. We must try, therefore, though 
it will lose much in the translation, to give his reply 
in plain English. 

"No, indeed, sir; I should be glad if you could 
have remained : you have not walked over half the 
sporting ground, and you appear to enjoy everything 
scenery as well as sporting. I am not readily 
fatigued ; indeed, I have scarcely been in bed this 
night." 

" Why so, what's been the matter? No one ill, 
we trust ?" 



AND PASTIMES. 99 

" Oh, nothing sir ; nothing unusual or extraordi- 
nary; only my missis was taken unexpectedly in 
labour. Doctors are not so plentiful in these High- 
land glens as in the low country ; so I mounted the 
pony and rode fourteen miles to Fortingale, and 
brought bach the leech just in time : eight-and- twenty 
miles at midnight through the valley is no pleasant 
excursion. All's well, however, thank God ; and I 
am the happy parent of No. 5." 

The night previous to this pleasing event, we had 
seen Mrs. F. concocting a hare stew ; so these 
matters are easily arranged beyond the Border ; and we 
conscientiously recommend those having cara sposas 
in a state which ladies desire to be " who love their 
lords," to take them on a Highland tour just in proper 
time. The process we mean that of introducing a 
young Highlander to the light of day is rapid, 
cheap, and cleverly effected. 

But to proceed ; we had determined not to deviate 
from the beaten track, for a heathered couch among 
the mountains of Glen Lyon is by no means an 
agreeable resting-place during the night at the latter 
end of October. Should any grouse, blackcock, or 
hares, be sufficiently obliging to present themselves, 
no objection whatever existed to slaying them ; but 
to follow game over the heathered mountain-sides 
was forbidden. We had two couple of dogs that 
is, two rough deer-hounds and two greyhounds ; 
these ran free, with due authority to chase, catch, 
and kill any hares, roe-deer, or other intruders which 
might perchance cross our path ; but no roving was 
permitted, all was left to chance. The mountain 
rivulets rushed foaming across the road ; the hills 
looked dark and dreary ; even the smoke of our 
cigars was beaten down by the atmosphere ; and we 
had scarcely walked a mile, ere we were sufficiently 

K2 



100 SCOTTISH SPORTS 

informed that a Scotch mist in London, which in- 
duces a man to spend a shilling for a cab to save his 
new hat, among these craggy mountains of Glen 
Lyon proves that your shooting-jacket, flannel waist- 
coat, and shirt are by no means waterproof never- 
theless, le jeu vqut bien la chandelle, be it even a 
wax one burnt on the altar of patience and temper ; 
and a wet jacket on such an occasion is unques- 
tionably a trifle lighter than the air over head. 
" But what's that on the brow of yonder hillock ? a 
crow, or a raven?" 

" I'll bet you a shilling it is a blackcock." (Eng- 
lishmen always bet, however trifling the subject.) 

" Done !" 

" Then here goes !" 

Whatever the bird, it was perched on a rock at 
more than sixty yards' distance. No gun ever 
misses in the Highlands, whatever it may do in a 
turnip -field. Bang ! the report echoed through the 
mountains : up towered the black bird straight in 
mid air, and down it fell plump among the heather. 

F smiled, and we laughed outright; and our 

companion ran and picked up a fine blackcock, dead : 
we pocketed the shilling and the bird; the bad 
weather, for the moment, was forgotten, and on we 
walked, arriving shortly after at the small lake of 
Girnie, which is well stocked with trout, though of 
no great size ; nevertheless the catching of these 
affords much sport both to ladies and gentlemen, and 
the eating of them a consequence which naturally 
follows is by no means a disagreeable pastime. 
This small but interesting lake is surrounded on all 
sides by lofty heather-covered mountains, to which, 
on a calm summer or autumnal evening, it may lite- 
rally be said to be the mirror, as their shadowy out- 
lines are therein most distinctly reflected. 







K 3 



AND PASTIMES. 103 

On such an evening we have found ourselves, rod 
in hand, almost imperceptibly pulled over its unrip - 
pled waters by the sinewy arms of a Highlander, who 
quietly rowed the boat ; while we, with sundry small 
flies attached to our line, now hauled some three or 
four fish at a time into our boat, who were sufficiently 
unwise or greedy to snap at the many- coloured bait, 
which streamed along the surface of the glassy lake 
as we glided on, reclining in our gondola; now lost 
in admiration of the wild but quiet scene by which 
we were encircled ; now barbarously removing the 
little trout from their native element for our amuse- 
ment, but, doubtless, to their dismay ; now rumina- 
ting on the many cares of life, and thinking, at the 
same time, our position, for the time being, was 
vastly agreeable. So you may take note, gentlemen 
sportsmen, that even should you be afflicted with the 
gout, and cannot always walk over the heathered 
hills in search of the game, you may even pass an 
hour or two reposing in a boat, and do a little business 
in the fishing line in memory of Izaak Walton. 

We had scarcely proceeded half a mile further up 
the glen, when an unusually rocky, and almost per- 
pendicular side of a steep mountain was pointed out 
to our notice. High in this craggy mount there was 
a deep fissure, or hollow, called the " Eagle's nest,' ? 
from which projected a curiously- shaped projecting 
ledge, whereon the mind could readily imagine one 
of these noble birds " sitting in the pride of place," 
as surety of his mate and young within. 

" It was from that place," said F , " that the 

eagles were taken which were sent you last year." 

"Is it possible," we replied, " that any human 
being could venture to obtain a footing there, and 
return with life ?" 

" Oh, yes," he said, "it is a constant practice for 



104 SCOTTISH SPOKTS 

the boys of this glen to lower themselves with ropes, 
and thus they secure the eggs, as also frequently the 
young birds; and I haye never known an accident 
occur." 

But with reference to these eagles, two young 
birds were kindly sent to us when staying in the 
neighbourhood of Perth. These birds were duly 
deposited in a hamper, with ample provision for their 
journey ; a letter having been previously forwarded 
to announce their arrival. At length the expected 
hamper made its appearance ; but, on opening it, we 
only discovered one a fine, living bird of the genus 
Falco chryscetos, or Golden Eagle, who had trampled 
on the breathless body of his companion : a trifling 
scrimmage must therefore, doubtless, have taken 
place during their transit ; and, as is ever the case, 
the weak succumbed to the strong. Our living friend, 
however, was so splendid a specimen of his race, that 
we forthwith took the precaution to secure his com- 
forts as well as his presence in our garden, and, by 
general consent, christened him " Meggernie," His 
growth, however, was so rapid, his strength so 
wonderful, and his appetite really so untiring, that 
neither his education nor consumption were unim- 
portant matters. Nevertheless, for his bodily com- 
fort, we had a sort of wooden house built ; and, for 
his better security, a very light chain was attached 
to his leg ; which the sequel will shew was by no 
means an unnecessary precaution. His food of 
which the daily consumption was enormous con- 
sisted of raw meat, poultry, when he could get it, 
rabbits, and every species of bird, dead or alive, from 
a raven to a pigeon, which might be tendered to 
appease his appetite. Offer him a living bird, he 
clutched it with his talons, and forthwith it ceased 
to live ; present him with a dead one, and his beak 



AND PASTIMES. 105 

instantly tore it asunder. Now, we chanced at that 
time to have a Highland terrier named Quiz, a very 
gem of his race the very writing of whose name is 
really a matter of pain to us, for, as a puppy, he had 
been kindly presented to us by a friend ; and though 
we have seen hundreds of these little cheerful 
animals, he was, without exception, the most attached 
and faithful companion man could desire to possess, 
and we have never known a dog whose death caused 
us such real regret as he, who, during his life, gave 
us such a constant fund of entertainment, whether in 
the house or not. 

Now the jealousy of this little animal, in regard to 
the intruding eagle, was something marvellous ; in- 
deed, so hateful was the presence of the bird, we 
firmly believe he would have sacrificed his own life, 
could he have made the eagle succumb in the same 
struggle for existence. But his enemy was too wary, 
and indeed far too powerful, for us to permit their 
coming to close quarters; for doubtless he would 
have seized the little terrier at once with his talons, 
and having pecked out his eyes, destroyed him in no 
time. When bones or meat were thrown to the 
eagle, the little fellow, with ears erect, would watch 
the opportunity of his back being turned, and then 
make a dart at the provision : this was an every- day 
practice, and caused us endless fun and merriment. 
In proof, however, of the powers of this bird, we will 
merely add, that on one occasion he broke his chain 
short off at the end attached to his domicile, and with 
this, notwithstanding the whole length of its weight, 
flew up to the top of a high fir-tree, from which, 
with great precaution and difficulty, we succeeded 
in again securing him. At length, however, his 
quarrels with Quiz, his everlasting and unsatisfying 
appetite, with its consequent outlay for provisions, 



106 SCOTTISH SPORTS 

and his eternal screaming near the house, together 
with the knowledge that he would not be unaccepta- 
ble to a kind friend in England, induced us to part 
with him. And he was once more deposited in a 
large hamper, and by steam conveyed from Glasgow 
to Liverpool. And if he hath not departed this life 
since the winter of 1844, he still lives as one of the 
not least noble specimens in the splendid collection 
of the Earl of Derby, at Knowsley. 

But here we bade adieu to out* trusty guide. Had 
he been a Frenchman, doubtless we should have em- 
braced him, and said, au plaisir or au revoir, or some 
similar humbug ; as it was, we parted from him with 
the feeling that he was an honest man, and a good 
sportsman : would that we could quit all men with a 
similar feeling of good-will, amid the varied scenes 
of this passing dream of life ! him we have never 
since beheld. 

" You must continue straight up the glen," said 
he, " passing by Loch Damh* at the extremity, 
about ten miles forward; the mountain-bases will 
there almost close in the valley ; you will then come 
to the high road which runs from Tyndrurn to King's 
House ; and a short walk further to your right you 
will find the inn at Inverouran, a lone house which 
stands on the banks of Loch Tallie, or Tulla, at the 
southern extremity of the Black Mountain; there 
you will find accommodation for the night ; and for 
the morrow, your way is clear. " 

With these instructions he bade us farewell. 

It will be uninteresting to our readers to fatigue 
them with any lengthened details of this day's excur- 
sion, as we did ourselves with the walk, notwith- 

* Dartih is Gaelic for stag, and certainly has a great 
affinity to the French word daim, which signifies fallow-deer. 



AND PASTIMES. 107 

standing its great interest to sportsmen, though 
literally through a rough, wild valley, formed of the 
extended bases of high, rocky, and heather-covered 
mountains, by which it was hemmed in, as it were, 
from the wide world. Beyond these limits, and 
through the centre of which becoming at last a mere 
mountain rivulet, runs the river Lyon. It would 
also be uninteresting to others, though certainly not 
so to ourselves, to describe how here we crossed a 
rushing mountain-torrent knee deep, and there 
floundered in a swamp, declaring each moment that 
the Scotch miles were English leagues that we 
must have lost our way, for there was no end to the 
glen ; and as for high-road, it could only have 
existed in the imagination of F., and not in reality. 
Indeed, had we not managed to keep up animal ex- 
citement during the morning excursion by tumbling 
over a few grouse and a snipe in addition to the 
blackcock, and fancied we saw a deer on the moun- 
tain-top, which was probably only a heifer, we really 
think we should have been food for the eagles ere 
day-break, and our bones, bleached by time and ex- 
posure, would have adorned the top of some shepherd 
cairn, as a warning to sporting gentlemen from the 
south never to attempt the passage of a Highland 
glen without a guide. We allude, of course, to a 
regular, positive, ready-made, absolute glen ; not one 
of your glens through which runs a macadamized 
road, with halting points of admiration made for 
tourists, like vistas cut through the labyrinths of a 
Dutch garden. As it was, wet, weary, foot-sore, 
and half famished, we at length beheld with joy the 
long-looked-for road, and with renewed courage, after 
a brisk walk, arrived at Inverouran. 

Imagination loves to revel in comforts, and anti- 
cipation had led us to hope that the hovel we beheld, 



108 SCOTTISH SPORTS 

nick-named an "inn," might prove a harbour of 
rest and refreshment. Of rest, however, we had 
little ; and as for the refreshment, more of that anon. 
The closing evening was wet, dark, and dreary, as 
our little cavalcade halted before the door of this 
house of entertainment which in good truth it was, 
in every sense of the word, but that we desired at 
the moment: entertained mentally, unquestionably 
we were bodily, however, we had no entertainment 
whatever ; nevertheless we managed to pass the time 
merrily. 

For one moment, however, do us the favour to 
fancy a lusty citizen tourist fresh and blooming 
from turtle and sirloins hungry, wet, fatigued, and 
grumpy, driving up to the " Hotel de 1'Inverouran," 
and on being ushered into a sitting-room eight feet 
by ten, half filled with smoke from a smothered peat 
fire, and redolent with the smell of whisky and bad 
tobacco, and having therein seen his goods and 
chattels deposited, in despair requests a shoeless 
Highland lassie, who scarcely understood a word of 
English, to show him his sleeping apartment, that he 
might refresh himself previous to the evening's 
repast ; imagine, we say, this damsel pointing to 
two large cupboards, built in the wall, almost 
exactly similar to those on board a Scotch smack in 
days lang syne, and saying, with perfect coolness, 
" you may e'en take your choice! " We say, imagine 
such a scene occurring to such an individual, be- 
cause the absurdity would be great. To us it did 
actually occur ; and we laughed aloud, and took our 
choice, and tried to sleep therein, and should have 
slept soundly, had it not been for the numerous 
visitors of the flea family who supped on us, as 
almost supperless we retired to our berth. Having, 
however, secured our sitting-room, we opened the 



AND PASTIMES. 109 

shutters to let out the smoke for glass there was 
none and made ourselves as comfortable as Eng- 
lishmen generally do on all occasions. We next 
solicited refreshment : tea, fried ham, and eggs, 
bannocks or oat cakes, and what we surmised to be 
smoked mutton ham, were soon placed on the board ; 
and board it literally was, for no white cloth con- 
cealed the dirt of an unwashed deal table. Urged 
by hunger, we attacked the dainties thus rudely 
set before us ; and had they been eatable, a sports- 
man's appetite would not easily have been checked, 
and after a rough day's walk he might readily have 
dispensed with the damask. The tea, however, was 
out of the question no senna was ever half so 
nauseous ; and as for the fried ham, we insult the 
excellence of such a dish by giving its name to the 
wedges of smoked bacon which floated in their own 
grease. The eggs were tolerably fresh, and, being 
protected by their shells from the dirty hands of the 
lassie who placed them on the deal, were clean 
within, if not without. But the mutton required 
consideration. "What is it?" we exclaimed, as, 
with some difficulty, we made an incision into the 
hard and flat-looking joint ; but whether it was a 
leg or shoulder, it was utterly impossible to decide. 
"What is it!" exclaimed the damsel, who bare- 
footed stood at hand, as if in admiration of the 
bounty with which she had supplied us, "why, 
braccy, to be sure ! " 

" Braccy, my bonny lassie ! and what may braccy 
be?" 

But we must again request permission to give her 
explanation in plain English. 

" Why, braccy, sir, is just a sheep which dies of 
the rot or, we should rather say, which would have 
died without the aid of the butcher's knife, if master 



110 SCOTTISH SPOUTS 

had not supplied his own just in the nick of time ;" 
thus saving a coroner's inquest of eagles and ravens, 
who doubtless would soon have appeared to set on 
the body of the defunct. Having done this little 
act of politeness by relieving the unhappy animal 
from probably an hour's internal torture, he next 
proceeds to skin and cut up the carcass ; this process 
being over, two or three gillies set to work in the 
nearest brook to pound the flesh with stones till all 
the blood is extracted ; the meat and joints are then 
salted, and hung up the chimney to dry and smoke, 
till some hungry traveller or excursionary sports- 
man, like ourselves, may chance to halt at the posada 
and require a mutton ham- 
But we really speak nothing but fact when we 
assert the above occurrence, such as we have related 
it, to be a constant practice in the Highlands ; and 
so far from any disgust arising, as it did to us, at 
the bare idea of feasting on meat so luxuriously 
prepared by Highlanders, it is esteemed as one of 
the greatest delicacies with which their larder can be 
supplied for winter consumption. They do not eat 
it, however, as served to us ; but a large slice is cut 
from time to time from the joint, and then, with 
onions, cabbages, and such herbs as may be at hand, 
it is thrown into the "pot au feu " till a greasy 
broth is prepared, which, to a resident on the 
heathered mountains, is preferred to all the turtle 
which Birch would supply, or Soyer set before the 
most delicate palate. To them, without one feeling 
of jealousy or regret, we leave the braccy so liberally 
offered to us, and for which, of course, we had as 
liberally to pay. One smoking tumbler of toddy, in 
recollection of the last night's savory supper, and 
with some difficulty, and not without some danger of 
a broken head, we crawled into the berth we had 



AND PASTIMES. Ill 

selected. Take notice, however, sporting travellers 
in the land of the mountain and the flood, that on 
this occasion we wore the breeches ; and why ? the 
game is plentiful on the borders of the Black Mount : 
and notwithstanding our precaution, ere the light of 
morning had peeped through the ill- secured shutters, 
we were up and ready to fly " over the hills and far 
away," whether wet, fine, or gloomy, so fiercely had 
we been feasted on during the night. 

" And if my voice break forth, 'tis not that now 
I shrink from what I suffered." 

Let us forgive, however, if we cannot well forget 
the miseries of that night. For, lo ! the glorious sun 
once more beams in all its splendour on mountain, 
wood, and vale ; the rain of yesterday is gone, and 
all nature, as if laughing with joy, shines forth 
bright and beautiful. Where is the heart that is 
not touched with gladness by the fresh and exhila- 
rating air of a clear and brilliant autumnal morning 
in the Highlands ? where the sportsman, who does 
not carry his gun with double vigour, when the sky 
above is clear, the air light, and all nature smiling 
around him ? 

" The sluggards deem it but a foolish chase, 
And marvel men should quit their easy chair, 
The toilsome way, and long, long league to trace. 
Oh ! there is sweetness in the mountain air, 
And life, that bloated Ease can never hope to share." 



L 2 



SCOTTISH SPORTS 



CHAPTER VIII. 

OUR object in selecting the route we did, in order 
to visit Loch Ness and Invermoriston, was twofold : 
the one, that we might pass the Black Mount, and 
consequently through the celebrated Deer Forest, 
the property of the Marquis of Breadalbane, and, 
.we may add, the jewel of greatest value in the esti- 
mation of a sportsman, his very extensive shooting 
grounds; the other, that we might look on scenes 
never to be forgotten while treachery is loathed, or 
.murder of the foulest nature engraven on the annals 
of Scottish history, with tears of remorse. 

Alas ! no time can ever blot from the pages of 
memory the fact, that swords which were drawn 
under the semblance of friendship and protection, 
were dishonoured and bedewed with the blood of 
innocent victims while generously tending the rites 
of hospitality, and disgraced for ever by the massacre 
of Glencoe. To history, however, we must refer our 
readers for details of this sad deed, as well as for 
others which mark the high road from Inverouran to 
King's House, and thence to Fort William the 
mountain tracks being more in keeping with the 
pursuits and pleasures on which we were bound. As, 
however, the lord of the soil, who has a commodious 
shooting-lodge hard by Loch Tulla, in which he 
doubtless spends many agreeable weeks, when follow- 
ing the splendid spoil of deer-stalking in which we 



AND PASTIMES. 113 

should not have the slightest objection to accompany 
him, should he ever require an agreeable companion 
is not over pleased that the foot of an idler or a 
poacher, if he can help it, should cross these wild 
hills and disturb the deer, we determined, at least, 
as far as King's House, to act in obedience to his 
wishes, and consequently decided that both men 
and dogs should be conveyed on wheels. On asking 
for a vehicle, however, to put this our determination 
into practice, the bare-footed lassie, who might, 
without fear of fibbing, be termed the maid-of-all- 
work, literally laughed outright, in sheer admiration 
of our ignorance. Nevertheless, she made us sensible 
to the fact that we might be carted in a peat-cart to 
King's House, if so we desired ; but as for a carriage, 
it would not do to keep such luxuries on the banks 
and braes of Tulla : so we agreed with her, and 
decided on the cart at once. And carted we literally 
were with empty stomachs, forsooth, but all ex"- 
citement for the hoped-for events of the coming day. 
The spring! ess vehicle stood at the door, a rough 
Highland cob being harnessed in the shafts, the 
interior well filled with straw and heather ; and in 
this we seated ourselves, dogs, and light baggage, 
being determined to disturb the forest as little as 
possible at so early an hour. 

The road was in admirable order, and our anxiety 
to behold some red deer was paramount to all other 
considerations. With telescope in hand, therefore, 
we reclined in our cushionless "one-horse shay;" 
and on we moved, with the full conviction that when 
the mind is bent upon a fascinating pursuit, trifles 
neither deter nor disgust at least those who desire 
to pleased, and are not ever on the look-out for 
causes of annoyance. 

As we journeyed along thus at early morning, our 

i, 3 



114 SCOTTISH SPOKTS 

ears were constantly saluted by the crowing of 
grouse, which, perched upon the numerous little 
hillocks, looked as comfortable and fearless as had 
they been a hundred miles from two double-barrelled 
Mantons and a rifle ; which, merely in fear of our 
meeting brigands in this wild locality, we kept 
loaded in the vehicle, notwithstanding all the written 
precautions of ourselves and others never to sit in 
the same carriage with a charged fowling-piece. 

Half reclining, half sitting on the straw and 
heather, during this our uneasy transit, we ranged 
with our glass far and wide each dark vale and 
craggy mountain-top, in the anxious hope of behold- 
ing a herd of red deer ; in which, nevertheless, we 
scarcely expected to be gratified, inasmuch as the 
sun was already far advanced o'er the eastern horizon. 
Indeed, we had already yielded to the calming in- 
fluence of a cigar, and were deep in the mental de- 
lusions respecting the pleasures the Marquis must so 
frequently enjoy, and which to us were denied, when 
the caravan came to a sudden halt, which well nigh 
threw us on our beam-ends. Having luffed, how- 
ever, a little to the westward, to recover our easy 
position, the kilted chariot- driver approached, and, 
as if nothing had really occurred worth mentioning, 
with a half -sleepy yawn, as he removed the short 
pipe from his mouth, he quietly exclaimed, " I'm 
just thinking I see a stag or twa on yon brae." Out 
flew the cigar from lips which hitherto had held it as 
a treasure up went the telescope and, breathless 
with emotion, we skimmed the horizon, and at 
length pitched on the spot, where not a stag or twa, 
but a whole herd of red-deer, hart and hind, were 
seen reposing in the warm sun, while others were 
still picking up the fresh and dewy grass. As we 
gazed, intensely delighted at this, one of the niost 



AND PASTIMES. 115 

beautiful pictures a sportsman can behold, the 
thoughts rushed rapidly through our mind, of what 
must be his sensations at such a moment, who not 
only looks on the noble animals, but has the right to 
shoot them also. This herd of deer, on which our 
eyes then dwelt with interest and admiration, could 
not have numbered less than a hundred haunches, 
for thus they were jocularly counted by one of our 
companions ; and although a mile at least from the 
spot where we had halted, the sun, which shone in bril- 
liancy on their feeding ground, enabled us so distinctly 
to behold them, that with the aid of a glass they 
might easily have been counted. 

We remained for a considerable time watching the 
movements of these kings of the forest, when lo ! 
for what reason, we know not, whether they had 
caught sight of our party (by no means improbable 
or impossible, for their sense of smell and hearing is 
most acute, as all sportsmen are well aware), or 
whether they had been disturbed by some more im- 
mediate object invisible to us, we cannot pretend to 
say nevertheless, in one moment the reposers started 
up, and the whole formed in a strong body like a 
troop of horse. A large stag singled himself from 
the herd, and having gazed around on all sides, and 
having doubtless informed his seraglio that danger 
was at hand, the whole body galloped steadily up the 
mountain side : their chivalrous leader, in this case 
forming the rear guard, halted from time to time, 
till, having reached the summit of the hill on which 
they had been feeding, the word to form in single 
line was evidently given ; for in this manner they 
rattled along the ridge, and thence down the steep 
end of it, bounding like racers up the face of a 
steeper mountain, right over the top of which 
they fled. 



116 SCOTTISH SPOETS 

The large and gallant stag, who still kept his 
place in the rear, halted one instant on its rocky 
summit, and was then lost to our sight for ever. 
Never before or since have we so heartily desired, as 
we did on that morning, that poaching were pastime 
instead of imprisonment; indeed, a month's incar- 
ceration, " minus" the treadmill, might almost be 
endured for one crack, hit or miss, at such noble 
animals, or for one slip of a brace of dogs, such as 
we then possessed, on the ground they had selected 
for their morning meal of which we already began 
to feel the want ; for excitement added to an early 
morning's ride, gives a keen edge to the appetite. 
Yet, for one day's permission to follow on their 
track, we would willingly have run the chance of a 
venison steak ere nightfall, or starvation. But we 
were recalled from this truly exhilarating scene by 
another wise hint from the lips of our driver " I'm 
just thinking, if we do not gang on our way, ye'll 
nae be reaching Ballahulish this night." 

So creak went the wheels again, and on we drove 
amid this wild and mountainous scene; for here 
Rannoch appears nothing but a dreary, bleak, and 
boggy moor, the loose soil of which is peat, broken 
by pools and small lakes. At length we reached 
King's House truly no regal abode of entertain- 
ment, though dignified by the name which stands 
like a dot in the midst of a barren wilderness ; sur- 
rounded, save on the east, by the most craggy, bare, 
and lofty mountains which the mind can well picture 
in her Majesty's dominions. 

In these days of reformation, however, w r hen 
princes shoot grouse and stalk deer with their sub- 
jects, and, we trust, give them an equal chance of 
the sport with themselves, royalty may chance to 
light a pipe there. As regards ourselves, we found 



AND PASTIMES. 117 

the only room in the house in which we could stand 
upright half-filled with drovers, the other half with 
smoke. Being, therefore, perfectly satisfied with the 
royal hostelry within, we took a turn without, in 
order to survey the sporting ground by which it was 
surrounded. To the west of the house may be seen 
a bare mountain of great height and of a conical 
shape, from the summit of which, half way to the 
base, the shelving rocks lay one on the other, form- 
ing a truly picturesque appearance, on which the 
sun. glittering like diamonds, formed a curious con- 
trast to the dark and russet- coloured ravine beneath 
it. This is doubtless a pleasant retreat for ptarmigan 
and mountain fox. But we must 

" Away, nor let me loiter in my song, 

For we had many a mountain path to tread." 

before we arrived at Glencoe ; and if so be that 
night should darken on our footsteps before we 
reached the ferry of Ballahulish, some greater dis- 
tance still, we might perchance find the cognomen 
of the district prophetic ; for we surmise the *' coe" 
to signify, in Gaelic, lamentation. Previous, how- 
ever, to being received into the arms of the craggy 
mountains we were approaching, or placing a foot on 
the " Devil's Staircase," for such is the name given 
to the very steep and very interesting descent into 
Glencoe having a very unpleasant recollection of 
the miserable larder and untouchable cuisine of the 
previous night, and fearing that we might meet with 
a similar fate at Ballahulish, the very name of which 
was sufficient to cause internal misgivings, we took 
the liberty of borrowing a 'hare, a brace of grouse, 
and a grey hen, from the most noble the Marquis of 
Carabas ; for such, without offence, he may be justly 
designated in the where and whereabouts we were 



118 SCOTTISH SPOKTS 

sentimentally sporting, by looking at red- deer we 
longed for and dared not shoot ; and as we knew it 
was wrong to covet other men's goods, we borrowed, 
as aforesaid, a bird or two to stifle the pangs of con- 
science and prevent the pangs of hunger. The hare, 
poor thing ! unluckily got up just before us, as we 
quietly walked aloog the heather by the road side. Of 
course we could not permit it to exhaust its energies 
for our diversion, so we shot it dead, and carried it 
in our pocket down the declivity. A brace of grouse 
rose also very rudely just under our nose in their 
hurry to get off, nearly knocking out the second 
cigar with which we were endeavouring to console 
ourselves, the deer having obliged us to relinquish 
the first. So, having seriously warned them of their 
effrontery with a cartridge right and left, we con- 
demned them also to imprisonment for the remainder 
of the day. One of our companions appeared also to 
be insulted in a similar manner by another grouse, 
and, knowing the punishment we had inflicted, in- 
stantly followed our example ; and being also very 
desirous to examine the plumage of a grey hen, none 
of which game had fallen to his gun at Meggernie, 
he helped himself to one as he walked along ; and, 
having satisfied himself that it really was a very 
handsome bird, and would do well to stuff, we con- 
veyed that also with our other light baggage, inas- 
much as it was too late to walk back to Taymouth 
to leave them with the keeper. So we decided to 
view the " Massacre of Glencoe," as the tourists de- 
nominate the beautiful glen, and really talk of it as 
if they expected to arrive in time to witness the 
direful scene of bloodshed actually taking place, 
where history points out the romantic locale of its 
occurrence. 

To them we leave the task of its description ; for 



AND PASTIMES. 119 

us, the pleasure of dwelling a few moments on the 
sublime scenery by which on all sides we were sur- 
rounded. 

Turn to the west, and behold the lofty mountains 
which almost close the entrance of Glencoe, for few 
such are to be found in other parts of Scotland. As 
you advance, each mountain top appears more craggy, 
each mountain side more wild, than that which pre- 
cedes it. Walk on, and you appear lost in a 
labyrinth of ravines and rocks ; dark, dreary, and 
towering mounts, at the feet of which the winding 
rivulet rushes foaming madly on. As we looked on 
this truly beautiful picture, one of nature's wildest 
specimens, we clenched more firmly the rifle in our 
hands, in momentary but imaginative hope that a 
chamois, bounding from rock to rock, would soon 
give us a chance of getting our hand into practice 
for the expected sport at Glen Moriston, forgetting 
we were in the land of cakes and ale, and not once 
more " upon the woody Apennine." Touching the 
" cakes and ale," however, in this part of the High- 
lands, we imagine, by common consent, such pleasing 
edibles are reserved for him whose staircase we were 
descending ; at least, none were forthcoming for us. 
Agreeable as the descent to Glencoe truly is in 
fine weather, during a storm it must be grand in- 
deed. About six miles from the royal posada, we 
approached the torrent which forms the embouchure 
of the small water of Coe, whence it falls from the 
mountains in a fine cataract, and thence through a 
dark, deep, narrow passage, dashing over and among 
large and craggy rocks for at least a mile, runs 
through the narrow Glen of Coe and joins the lake, 
alike refreshing trout and eel. The mountains to 
the north of the Coe are high and beautiful, but 
rounder than those on the opposite side, their sum- 



120 SCOTTISH SPORTS 

mits being clothed with good feeding for deer. As 
we advanced through this steep and narrow pass, our 
amusement w r as diversified by the sight of a sort of 
open barouche, drawn by a pair of cart horses, 
doubtless posters from Ballahulish, which came slowly 
up the Devil's Path. This meeting was rather a 
pleasing variety in our afternoon walk ; not that we 
needed subjects of interest. 

The party to which the carriage appertained, con- 
sisted of a portly gentleman, his spare rib, and a 
rather pretty daughter. For her sake we were half 
inclined to resist the tormenting inclination which 
came over us, to ask her worthy sire what he thought 
of the beauties of the glen, and whether he was on a 
deer-stalking excursion, or simply on a trip of plea- 
sure. His face, however, round as a harvest moon 
at the full, which discovered itself from time to 
time, as he removed the yellow pocket-handkerchief 
which was doing duty on his perspiring forehead, at 
once convinced us that he was an interesting speci- 
men of the biped creation who could stand the fire of 
badinage ; in fact, one of the owl species, the female 
of which is said to hatch her young in Whitechapel, 
whence they frequently migrate, during the months 
of summer and autumn, to the Highlands of Scotland, 
returning on the approach of winter to their own fire- 
sides. It was quite evident that the individual who 
called himself a post-boy, but was, in fact, a herd-boy, 
had been pointing out to our traveller the beauty of 
the scenery, and half in Gaelic, and the other half 
in English and Scotch curiously mixed together, had 
been telling various tales of how and where it had all 
happened in the glen below. The good fat gentle- 
man, however, was either totally ignorant or totally 
deaf to this newly-invented language, for the more 
the lad talked the more he mapped and looked 



PASTIMES. 12 1 

amazed. At length, however, he beheld our party. 
We had halted, and sat on a rock by the way- side to 
allow the carriage and pedestrians to pass, and 
having previously surveyed the strangers with our 
glasses, were speculating on some adventure. On a 
nearer approach, the lusty tourist evidently concluded 
from our costume, guns, and companions the dogs 
that we were sporting gentlemen of the neigh- 
bourhood, and in this opinion we had no objection 
that he should remain. And thus he accosted us 
accordingly : 

' Good sport, gentlemen, I hope ?" 

' Very fair, sir very fair indeed." 

' Killed any deer ? " 

4 Not many, to-day only two or three." 

' But there are plenty among these Alpine moun- 
tains, are there not ? " 

" Yes, plenty : when you get further up into the 
forest you will see them feeding in scores." 

kt The d 1 ! " he was about to say, but checked 
himself on a sign from the pretty daughter, who 
looked at him archly from under a pink silk bonnet : 
nice costume for the Highlands ! 

" And how far, gentlemen, may we be from the 
forest? Because, if we get among these brutes 
after nightfall, it may probably be unpleasant." 

" Why, the forest commences at the top of the 
mountain, from whence it may be twelve miles or 
thereabouts to King's House : certainly no further." 

" Not further ! Are the trees of the forest 
thick?" 

Alas ! what an expression had that lusty face ! It 
really appeared to grow thinner at the idea of passing 
through a dense forest full of wild deer, instead of 
six miles over barren hills ; but he felt he had no 
alternative, and resigned himself accordingly. 

M 



122 SCOTTISH SPORTS 

" Pray, what sort of accommodation shall we find 
at King's House? " 

" Why, certainly much better than is generally 
found at such inns." 

" This latter intelligence was evidently pleasing ; 
and he forthwith broke into a running fire of pleas- 
ing information : " Such a fine prospect this, gentle- 
men ! Bloody battle in the glen below, I'm told, 
when the French landed!" And, with courteous 
salutes, we parted. 

The travellers had scarcely proceeded twenty 
yards, however, ere our heart smote us for thus 
rudely joking ; and we ran after the carriage, and 
insisted on the ladies accepting the brace of grouse 
we had shot, in positive fear that our sex would 
become hateful to them for the vile effrontery with 
which we had accosted them, should they chance to 
go supperless to bed in the smoky hovel where they 
proposed resting till daybreak. 

We had still, however, several miles of rough 
walking, previous to reaching the destination we had 
determined on as our halting-place for the night, in 
order to secure an easy day on the morrow, when we 
trusted ere sunset to reach the Castle of Invermoris- 
ton. True, nothing could surpass the interest and 
variety of beautiful scenery such as that amid which 
we were rapidly descending towards the glen. To 
diverge, however, from the road for any chance of 
game was out of the question ; for on one side the 
mountains rose abrupt and steep, and on the other, 
massive rocks and huge stones formed the only bar- 
rier to the descent into a rapid torrent, which rushed, 
foaming and roaring, below us. The whistle of a 
rifle, and its rattling echoes o'er the mountains, 
which, in desperation, we discharged at a hungry 
raven, the solitary possessor of a large rock in the 



AND PASTIMES. 123 

centre of the ravine, was, therefore, all the powder 
we spent in this memorable descent of the Devil's 
Staircase; and him we scarcely frightened. Yet, 
notwithstanding that we had not loitered on our 
route, after passing courtesies with the T. G., as all 
travelling gentlemen are termed who visit a colonial 
garrison, the change from daylight to pitch dark, 
which, barring the moon's brightness, is as sudden 
in the North Highlands as the report from the flash 
of a gun, came over us ere we arrived at the ferry at 
Eallyhulish, where we had decided on crossing Loch 
Leven, in order to gain a resting place where we 
hoped to find better accommodation than that which 
had fallen to our lot at Inverouran. 

There is a whiskey-shop (Anglice, a pot-house 
Scottice, an inn) on either side of the above-named 
ferry, at which houses of public entertainment tra- 
vellers and tourists are said to be provided with 
ample food and refreshing sleep, during the fine 
months of summer and autumn ; in fact, till the 
equinoctial gales set in, and then they all set out for 
the south. Sportsmen are never unwisely particu- 
lar : if they are so, far better remain at home, and 
shoot pheasants after luncheon. Food and lodging, 
such as it is, can therefore generally be found for 
them. As we have already said, however, night had 
closed over mountain, lake, and valley ; and a pitch 
dark one was it ere we reached the ferry. The gob- 
lins of departed heroes might have risen from the 
Coe, and twitched us by the nose, without the 
slightest power of precaution on our part, for all we 
saw or could have avoided, had it not been so dis- 
posed that we should be overtaken by a shepherd 
and his faithful collie dog by the bye, one of the 
most sagacious and attached of the canine race - 
who had followed us with the same intention as our- 

M 2 



124 SCOTTISH SPORTS 

selves, to cross the waters of the Leven without 
delay. 

The time lost, however, in refusing the various 
endeavours which were made to detain our bodies 
and our siller on the south side of the Loch (our 
fixed determination being to sleep on the north side) ; 
the boiling of a pint of water with which we desired 
to concoct a glass of toddy, to keep us inwardly, at 
least, free from the chilling effects of the cold night 
air and sea breezes which whistled up the glen ; to 
rouse the ferrymen by threats and then by bribes, 
the latter far the more effectual ; to induce them to 
leave their snug corners by the warm peat fire and 
soothing pipes, in the full enjoyment of which they 
were quietly seated, was at least two hours. They 
had not the most remote idea that any one not abso- 
lutely daft, with a will of their own and siller in 
their pouch, could leave a house of entertainment to 
cross a ferry during so dark a night, at all times un- 
pleasant, and frequently dangerous ; and this, as 
they positively declared, with a strong tide running 
and strong wind blowing, in the precise direction, of 
all the tides which flowed and all the winds which 
blew, the worst and wildest. At length, however, 
Mammon decided the question, and we were fairly 
embarked 

"O'er the dark waters of the deep blue sea;" 

the shepherd, his faithful collie, our beloved canine 
companions, Bran, Brcnda, Nell, Rachael, and the 
rest of us. 

A few small lights twinkled on the opposite shore ; 
the wind moaned through the mountains ; we heard 
the rushing of the tide beneath and around our frail 
bark ; we smelt the smell of insufferably bad tobacco ; 
but as for seeing one another, or aught else, such 



AND PASTIMES. 125 

was not to be. Indeed, we really began to think 
seriously we had been over-zealous in our persuasion, 
and over-liberal with our donations. But the 
shepherd took the matter so coolly, we determined 
to follow his example ; and it happily proved that 
the very tide which was to carry us over to the 
island of Mull, and the very wind which was to 
prove so dangerous, as we had already surmised, 
proved in both cases the very best wind and the very 
best tide for the rapid crossing of the Ballyhulish 
ferry from south to north. With no little satisfac- 
tion, therefore, we soon discovered that the twinkling 
lights we had seen in the distance were nothing 
more nor less than the tallow candles used by the 
inhabitants of that celebrated locality. We lost no 
time even in abusing the boatmen, so rejoiced were 
we to find ourselves once more on terra firma, but 
proceeded at once to seek our quarters and rest, and 
what was equally desirable at the moment, some- 
thing to eat ; for we were well nigh famished. But 
it is a strange fact, though nevertheless a true one, 
that Highlanders either nourish themselves by 
stealth, or live on less than any other mortals under 
the sun. At these roadside inns, excepting in the 
tourist season, whisky, oatmeal, and dried herrings, 
and those none of the best, is all the provision gene- 
rally at hand. As regards the Lowlanders, in the 
summer they live on the hope of gain ; in winter, as 
above described ; whereas the Highlanders substitute 
braccy for herrings. 

We entered, as usual, into a smoky, dirty kitchen, 
too late to expect any reasonable comfort or consi- 
deration. A lazy, fat, bare-footed girl half-dozed on 
a three-legged stool over a cauldron of potatoes 
boiling for the pigs ; and a lanky, red-haired, ill- 
looking fellow, probably her lover, lolled on a bench 

M 3 



126 SCOTTISH SPOUTS 

near the fire, smoking his short black pipe, which he 
merely moved from his mouth on our entrance to 
give us a look of astonishment ; and probably wish- 
ing us at Jericho for so untimely an intrusion upon 
his tete-a-tete, resumed his puffing, in which occupa- 
tion the ferryman who had entered with us imme- 
diately joined him. Having received our promised 
reward, they were satisfied ; and had any unfortu- 
nate traveller chanced to arrive with the same desire 
that we evinced to cross the ferry, the identical ex- 
cuses would doubtless have been offered to his wish, 
though with somewhat more of truth. 

We have to thank the Marquis of Carrabas, that 
we went not supperless to bed that night. The hare 
was prepared and roasted ; the remaining grouse 
split and broiled ; we robbed the pigs of a few po- 
tatoes the disease had not then, luckily, made the 
best of vegetables uneatable and notwithstanding 
the toughness of puss, we managed to pass a very 
pleasant hour or two ; and we had scarcely laid our 
head on the pillow ere the discomforts of the Bally- 
hulish hotel, the Marquis and his deer forest, the fat 
gentleman, the Devil's Staircase, and the ferrymen 
were forgotten. 

We dreamt not of grouse or Highland mountains 
yet of scenes not unlike, though more soft and 
genial. We saw the stag roused from his lair in 
the woods of North Devon, and we followed in pur- 
suit over the hills and dales of Exmoor. Devon ! 
scene of so many recollections of happiness unalloyed, 
of bitterness never-to-be-forgotten ! Arcadia of pure 
streams and pastoral hills, rich vales, and softly 
genial climate ! region of picturesque beauty, where 
Spring first unfolds her mantle green ! Nature to 
thee has indeed been bountiful ; and though many 
may smile at your sporting pretensions, we contend 



AND PASTIMES. 127 

that, take the county in every sense of the word, and 
there are very few which offer more sport 

" Are not the mountains, waves, and skies, a part 

Of me and of my soul, as I of them? 
Is not the love of these deep in my heart 
With a pure passion]" 

Yes : the waters of the Leven ran calmly towards 
the sea ; the bright sun glittered on the mountain 
tops ; the dark yellow leaves of autumn still clung to 
tree and shrub as if loth, by falling, to tell of summer 
past undisturbed by the slightest breath of wind, 
as we walked forth after the rest of night to look 
around us on a scene scene which hitherto had been 
hidden by utter darkness. The morning was one of 
those with which we are frequently gladdened during 
the latter days of October, which speaks forcibly of 
what the summer has been, what the winter may be 
bright, warm, and cheering in its sunshine, but 
clear, cold, and saddening in its shade ; yet as 
unclouded as if it came to usher joy alone into this 
world of anxiety. Reader, bear with us a moment 
while we look on the beautiful scene before us ; one 
not often sought, but yet unquestionably, if not more 
rare in natural beauty, equally so to almost any other 
spot in the Highlands, as offering a succession of 
varied and lovely landscapes. Among the singular 
shaped mountains which rear their lofty summits as 
you stand on the south side of Ballahulish, that 
which most particularly attracts the eye is the Pap 
of Glencoe, a large conical mountain which over- 
hangs the lake ; the naked surfaces, abrupt decli- 
vities, and various colours of others, forming a most 
striking and interesting contrast to the green and 
woody slopes which border the shores of the 
Leven. 

But we must dwell no longer on scenes like these, 



128 SCOTTISH SPORTS 

or we shall fail to reach the sporting locale whither 
we were bound ere the castle bell toll the hour^of 
midnight ; neither shall we attempt to say more in 
reference to the route we that day travelled o'er, 
save that few present more beautiful scenes, and few 
more abounding with interest alike for sportsman 
and tourist. We made our way as rapidly as a pair 
of ill-conditioned and ill-fed horses could drag a 
ramshackling old phaeton, which we had hired at 
the ferry-house ; arriving at Fort William ere mid- 
day, and at Fort Augustus in good time to reach 
Glenmoriston, four miles distant, ere the family 
dinner hour. Most persons in the present day are 
well aware that Fort William and Fort Augustus- 
the one situated on Loch Eil, the other at the 
western extremity of Loch Ness are two of the five 
Scottish forts retained by the terms of the Union ; 
though the latter is now garrisoned simply by a 
sergeant's guard, and the former by a subaltern's 
party detached from the regiment which for the 
time may be quartered at Glasgow or Fort George. 
We take this opportunity, therefore, to give a hint 
to the officers of such regiments, should there be 
sportsmen among them and in what mess are there 
not many first-rate ones ? to look out for this 
detachment. Their military duties they will doubt- 
less find not very onerous, and their sporting pro- 
pensities may be gratified to the utmost bent of 
their inclination. Let them only be prepared with 
a good double-barrel, a rifle, and fishing-rods (for 
flies, powder and shot, &c., they can obtain at Fort 
William,) some good cigars and tobacco, with a few 
books, and if they have only half the gentleman-like 
manners and habits which officers of the British 
army generally have, there is scarcely a day through- 
out the season that they may not obtain permission 



AND PASTIMES. 129 

to shoot, fish, and even stalk deer, ad libitum. Some 
of the best salmon fishing is close at hand, grouse 
hills surround them, and deer may be found within 
the distance of a two hours' ride on a shelty. 

Well we recollect the time when we would have 
given a year's pay, had we been in the army, to have 
found ourselves thus located ; and we doubt not 
that, were all the subalterns now on detachment in 
Ireland told to hold up their hands for such a quarter 
in Scotland, the numerical uplifting would be suffi- 
cient to secure the Westminster election. 



130 SCOTTISH SPORTS 



CHAPTER IX. 

ARRIVED at Fort Augustus, or Kil-y-a-Whoimin, 
as it is still termed by Highlanders, we took one 
long look of admiration at the splendid lake, which 
lay stretched like a sheet of glass before us, in which 
the shadows of the surrounding mountains were dis- 
tinctly visible ; but as we proposed to spend some 
days amid this truly grand scenery, we shall, for the 
present, only add that we decided on proceeding 
thence to our resting place, about four miles distant 
by water. Having, therefore, hired a bbat and two 
stout rowers, we prepared to do a little fishing on 
our way, being informed that some heavy trout 
resorted to that end of the lake, who are nothing 
loth to swallow a fly which trails at the stern of a 
boat, even when the bright- coloured shawls which 
ought to cover the shoulders of fair tourists are 
trailing there also. So w r e rigged our gear ac- 
cordingly ; and as the flies skimmed along the 
surface of the lake, and we reclined in full enjoy- 
ment, of the weather and the wild but beautiful 
scene around us, we will crave permission to relate 
a brief but saddening tale, as told to us by a kilted 
Highlander with whom we had joined in conversa- 
tion, during the brief hour we had passed in our 
morning's ramble on the banks of Loch Leven. 

Having alluded to the subject of the numerous 



AND PASTIMES. 131 

English sportsmen and sight- seers who now annually 
cross the Border, intent on sport or pleasure, he 
proceeded to inform us that he kenned well the time 
when a velveteen shooting jacket or an English face 
in Glencoe was as great a novelty as a railway 
might be to Ballahulish, even these days of steam 
and cotton-powder. " But," continued he, " even 
then we were not without the occasional presence of 
a stranger from the south ; and a circumstance 
occurred in the neighbourhood where you last night 
slept, which, though years have since elapsed, can 
never be forgotten : indeed, it has left many 
sorrowful recollections on the hearths of the inhabi- 
tants of this wild glen. 

" It was late one evening, at the latter end of 
August, that a young Englishman, accompanied 
only by a fine setter (to which animal he appeared 
much attached), arrived at the North Ferry House, 
and solicited accommodation. He had apparently 
travelled from Fort William in a hired car, and his 
baggage consisted simply of a portmanteau, gun, and 
fishing-rod. It was therefore naturally concluded 
that his object was that of sporting, his appearance 
unquestionably denoting him to be a gentleman. 
No impertinent questions were therefore asked, and 
no information offered on his part as to his intentions 
or proceedings. He desired simply the accommoda- 
tion of two rooms, which he stated he might require 
for some days ; and having obtained them, quietly 
took possession, and retired to rest. 

" For a few days subsequent to his arrival, little 
notice was taken of him or his pursuits : he walked 
out early, fishing-rod in hand, and returned home 
late. But in this there was neither cause for astonish- 
ment nor alarm, it being naturally concluded that 
he was desirous of visiting the interesting scenes 



132 SCOTTISH SPORES 

which, abounded in the neighbourhood, and con- 
sequently passed much of his time in the open air. 
Added to this, he carried his rod ; and if his sport 
proved successful, it was not likely he would be 
desirous of leaving it. It may readily be supposed 
that if in these enlightened days the landlady of a 
Highland hostelry is content to boil her own 
porridge, and leave her guest to the tender mercy of 
a barefooted damsel-of-all-work, that in those more 
remote to wish we allude, the good hostess of the 
ferry-house was not likely to be over attentive, it was 
not, therefore, till informed by her thrusty hand- 
maiden that the gentleman took little or no food that 
his meals, such as they were, remained in fact almost 
untasted and that, on being questioned as to his 
wishes in reference to food, he had replied with 
perfect indifference as to the matter, and perfect 
satisfaction with anything which might be provided 
and for which he liberally paid, at other times show- 
ing great eccentricity and appearance of indisposition 
that the good woman herself became desirous of 
beholding the person of her lodger ; which, strange 
to say, had not previously been the case, although he 
had already resided several days under her roof. On 
proceeding, therefore, sufficiently early to the sitting 
apartment to insure the occupation of its tenant, she 
was not a little surprised to find herself not in the pre- 
sence, as she had imagined, of a robust and healthy 
young man, who, all activity and energy, had ventured 
alone among these distant northern hills for sport 
and pastime, but the reality of the following por- 
trait : 

" In the only tolerably comfortable chair which 
the room possessed, sat, or rather leaned, his head 
resting on his hand, a young man perhaps eight-and- 
twenty years of age : his figure was slight indeed 



AND PASTIMES. 133 

almost too slight to support the strength of life : his 
countenance, as he looked up on her entrance, 
though pale as death, was animate by an expression 
of intense care and thought, which caused a sense of 
actual pain to the observer ; yet it was not positively 
the pallor of bodily suffering alone, but rather the 
worn and haggard appearance of intense, torturing, 
unyielding, mental agony, fast dstroying the body, 
till the last thread of life is snapped asunder. His 
faithful dog lay at his feet, from time to time looking 
on his sorrowing face, as if the poor animal desired 
to say 4 Do not sorrow master ! I, your untiring 
friend, am with you still.' On the rude sofa, on the 
chairs, indeed in every part of the room, were 
scattered books, gun, fishing-tackle even pistols 
were there. Amid this melange of sporting materiel, 
there could be no mistaking the position of the man 
he was a gentleman, and had been a sportsman ; 
indeed, his personal appearance and all around him 
proved most clearly that he had been accustomed to 
all the conveniences, and, moreover, the luxuries of 
life. 

" Appearances, however, are often deceitful ; but 
the voice is rarely so, as proving education, and 
seldom does it deceive in regard to gentle birth. 
When kindly accosted, therefore, as to his wants 
and wishes, his courteous and even calm replies, that 
he w r as \vell served and required nothing, satisfied 
the landlady on that score at least ; and after 
numerous offers of attention, she felt convinced that 
if he ailed, neither complaint nor cause was serious ; 
and ended her visit by requesting that her good 
man might be permitted to shew him the best pool 
for salmon, and the best burns for trout as the day, 
of all others, was make for sport. 

" A week thus elapsed : the stranger ate little 



134 SCOTTISH SPORTS 

and drank less ; and if the hints which were thrown 
out by the servant-lassie were true, he slept not at 
all, but passed the night is pacing his appartment. 
On some occasions, when the weather was brilliant, 
he never left the house ; on others, though boisterous 
and wet, he was seen miles up the glen, sometimes 
with gun or fishing-rod in hand, always accompanied 
by his faithful dog; but game or fish he never 
brought home. To not a soul was he ever known to 
speak unaccosted ; but when addressed, his replies 
were ever kind and gentle, as his hand was ever 
open to calls of charity and consequently his person 
was soon known to the poor in the glen ; and, save 
that his manner was eccentric, there were few who 
passed him without a feeling of respect and recogni- 
tion of courtesy." 

But we must conclude this painful tale : and we 
scarcely know why we have introduced it here, save 
that we listened to it from rough lips, which uttered 
words which came from a feeling heart; and this 
during a sporting excursion which memory ever 
recalls with interest too faithful to be forgotten. 
Moreover, we cannot but believe that there are few of 
our readers indeed, we earnestly trust there lives 
not one, to whom its reality may give one moment's 
pang. 

" Twelve days had elapsed since the sportsman's 
arrival in the glen, when late one night indeed at 
the very moment the house was about to be closed 
a chaise drove up to the door, also from Fort Wil- 
liam. In the interior sat a lady, but so muffled up 
that it was impossible to distinguish her countenance 
"in fact, save from her light and youthful figure, it 
would have been difficult to decide whether she 
were young or old. She requested, in a few words, 
to be informed if an English gentleman was residing 



AND PASTIMES. 135 

in the house ; and having received a reply in the 
affirmative, begged to be shewn to his room. This 
request was complied with. But over the scene of 
agony which there was said to have taken place, we 
must beg to draw a veil ; for this simple reason 
we relate only from hearsay, which can seldom be 
depended on ; and it is just possible, though we trust 
not probable, that there may be some one now living 
on whom such memories might fall heavily and 
painfully, and we desire to be the last to inflict such 
a blow. All, therefore we shall say is this that ere 
morning dawned, with a countenance depecting in- 
tense anguish and remorse, still with a firmness as if 
compelled to perform a duty, for which he had for 
the last time braced the shattered nerves of his 
frail existence, rather than as one of pleasure, the 
stranger led back the lady, still closely wrapped, to 
the chaise, into which, with heart-rending sobs, she 
threw herself. It drove away ; and he, returning to 
his apartment, refused all offers of aid or attendance, 
locked his door, and was alone. 

" The few additional circumstances connected 
with this melancholy tale may be soon told : not, 
however, without sorrow and sadness. On going to 
his appartment, rather later than usual on the 
following morning his door was still found secured. 
To this fact, however, little heed was given ; a 
simple remark being made, that the poor gentleman 
was doubtless fatigued after the occurrences of the 
night. When hours, however, had elapsed, and 
still no sign was given of his stirring, the landlady 
repaired herself to learn the cause ; but still finding 
the door locked, she became alarmed, and im- 
mediately requested her husband to place a ladder to 
the window. He did so when a horrid scene 
presented itself. On the floor, half- dressed, lay 

N 2 



136 SCOTTISH SPORTS 

extended the lifeless form of him who, during his 
short residence in the glen, by his mild and gentle 
manners and bearing, had made himself a general 
favourite. On the floor, covered by his life-blood, 
lay an open razor; and by his side, with eyes 
literally tearful, was found the first to welcome, the 
last to forsake the ever-faithful friend of man his 
dog." 

To those who may, either for sport or other 
pleasure, chance to pass by this fair glen, we will 
merely observe that in the basin of Loch Leven 
there are several islands. One of these is called St. 
Mungo's Isle, and has long been used as a burying 
place. It consists of two hillocks, one of which is 
appropriated to the inhabitants of Glencoe, the other 
to the people of Lochabar. These spots have much 
local interest, and carry with them many tales of 
Scottish history. In the former may now be seen an 
unostentatious stone, on which will be found the 
following simple inscription : " E. L. Born A. D. 
1 7 ; died 1 8 Traveller ! pass it not without a 
tear." 

But let us now turn to scenes more bright to the 
mind, more pleasing to the memory of Highland 
sports and Highland quarters. "What's that?" 
A bounce and a plash. " By Job ! we have him." 
And a fine salmon-trout of three pounds' weight 
was gently deposited in the boat ; and in a few 
minutes more our keel grated on the stony shore 
which told us we had reached the territory of the 
Laird of Glenmoriston, the extremity of whose park 
or domain is watered on the south side by Loch Ness, 
and to the west by the waters of the rapid and 
beautiful river of Moriston, which flows o'er many a 
rock and stone, through the magnificent glen of that 
name, and at the entrance of which we lauded at 
Invennoriston. 



AND PASTIMES. 137 

" Yet live there still who can remember well 
How, when a mountain-chief his bugle blew, 

Both field and forest, dingle, cliff, and dell, 
And solitary heath the signal knew ; 

And fast the faithful clan around him drew." 

We must decline entering into any save general 
details of the hospitalities so kindly and so cour- 
teously accorded to us by the amiable and high- 
minded owner of the interesting castle of Invermo- 
riston, by whose family, as well as himself, we were 
so frankly and cordially made welcome. \Vith re- 
gard to our first day's dinner, therefore, we will 
merely state, for those curious in such matters, that 
its excellence and abundance, for the time being, 
entirely obliterated from our minds the painful in- 
ternal recollections most feelingly engendered by the 
last two days of our travels through a land of scarcity, 
as regards the wants of luxurious bipeds. Salmon 
from the lake, grouse from the hills, trout from 
Moriston, and venison from the mountains, groaned 
on the board within ; and without, on a terrace in 
front of the western dining-room window, groaned 
also, previous to our onslaught on the smoking 
viands so amply set before us, the discordant tones 
of a bagpipe to us a barbarous uproar of unmusical 
sounds ; to those who admire it, doubtless, a delight- 
ful solo : therefore, take your choice, readers, and no 
offence. The custom, however, is another question; 
to that we have no objection: it is sacred to the me- 
mories of days lang syne. And as regards the piper, 
he was a fine specimen of a race who need yield to 
none in Scotland, and in the battle front his moun- 
tain pipe might well sound savage and shrill, to 

"fill the mountaineers 
With the fierce native daring which instils 
The stirring memory of a thousand years." 

N 3 



138 SCOTTISH SPOUTS 

In these peaceful days, however, when Highland- 
men and Cockneys cast their flies in the same sal- 
mon-pool, and vie with one another in stalking the 
red- deer, no such stimulants are required for an 
onslaught on a venison pasty. But we can have 110 
second thought as regards the impropriety, we may 
say the unjustifiable indelicacy, of publishing to the 
world at large the domestic habits of individuals, 
rich or poor, by whom we have been received with 
kindness and hospitality, though their residence may 
be in a Highland glen, and not on Richmond Hill ; 
we shall therefore leave to the imagination of the 
hungry and thirsty all further details of cuisine and 
cellar : they may fancy, if they will it, the peculiarly 
excellent fried potatoes and kippered salmon served 
up for breakfast ; they may discuss also the length of 
Mr. Grant's nose, and the colour of Mrs. Grant's 
dress. We shall leave them in that peace and happi- 
ness in w r hich we found them ; and a continuance in 
which, their Christian lives, and the deserved estima- 
tion in which they are held throughout the Highlands, 
we would fain hope may tend, with God's blessing, 
to secure to them and theirs. For our own part, we 
could have lingered long, had time and duty permit- 
ted it, among those in whose hospitable mansion the 
spirit of true Highland cordiality reigns, surrounded 
by ease, elegance, and cheerfulness. On local and 
sporting matters, however, our pen may flow on 
without fear of intrusion. And as late one evening 
we stood by the Laird's side, at an open window in 
front of the castle, and looked on the bright and re- 
fulgent moon which shone o'er the wide waters of 
the Ness, and beheld the dark and lofty mountains on 
its southern bank, we scarcely felt the chill night air, 
so interested were we with his kind information in 
reference to the historical annals of the spot, as well 



AND PASTIMES. 139 

as with the details of its neighbouring sporting 
qualities. 

The ancient castle of Glenmoriston, or Invermo- 
riston, on the site of which the present mansion 
stands, was built by John Grant, more commonly 
called John A'Chragan, between the years 1440 and 
1450. This bold chieftain, or clansman, as he might 
then more properly be termed, whose name stands 
pre-eminent in the history of those daj^s when blood- 
shed and neighbouring feuds were ripe among the 
clans, was the direct ancestor of the present owner, 
James Grant, Esq., of Glenmoriston by courtesy or 
Highland custom on all occasions addressed as Glen- 
moriston ; indeed, when first introduced to his ami- 
able wife, we are not quite satisfied that we did not 
" hope Mrs. Glenmoriston was in good health," the 
name of Grant being quite out of the question in the 
glen. In the year 1715, the above ancient strong- 
hold was burnt to the ground by the troops of the 
government, and the whole property of A'Chragan 
forfeited to the crown. Mr. Grant's grandfather, 
however, repurchased his own estate at least such 
was literally the case ; and he built on the blackened 
foundation a residence of wood, to replace the ancient 
pile of his ancestors. 

The existence of this structure, however, was of 
short duration, for in the year 1745 the King's troops 
again applied the torch, and the wooden fabric blazed 
into light 011 the dark waters of the Ness, as a 
beacon for the gathering of neighbouring clans, that 
their chieftain was in danger. Such men as these, 
however, were not to be easily subdued by fire or 
sword, and once more the present interesting struc- 
ture rose from the solid ruins of its ancient strength, 
from the remnants of which it was literally built on 
the ashes of its predecessors. Nevertheless, the 



140 SCOTTISH SPORTS 

property was once more forfeited to the crown, and 
the name of Glenmoriston stood prominent in the 
list of attainted Highland proprietors for rebellion ; 
but by the act, it is presumed, of some unknown 
friend to the family even to the present hour, his 
name was erased ; and from that time the heathered 
hills and dark mountains, fair fields and spacious do- 
mains, of the Grants, were left in their peaceful pos- 
session. And may the well-known loyalty of heart, 
and liberality of conduct and opinion of its present 
possessor, secure it to him and his heirs for ages ! 
For any other details of this ancient family, to such 
of our readers who desire it, we will refer them to a 
pleasing little book, called " Ascanius, or the Wan- 
derer " a work giving rather an interesting ac- 
count of the Prince's wanderings after the battle of 
Culloden. That will tell them something but a 
visit to the glen will please them more. 

The present house stands on a lawn, within two 
gun-shots of the waters of the Ness. Nothing can be 
more picturesque and sheltered than its present po- 
sition. To the west the small park is encircled by 
the river Moriston, which, rushing over a beautiful 
waterfall within the pleasure grounds in the immedi- 
ate vicinity of the castle, joins the lake below. The 
north or rear of the house is protected by lofty and 
wood-clad mountains, at the base of which a few 
houses repose, among which may be numbred a 
clean and comfortable little inn : the whole em- 
bowered in trees, mark the village of Glenmoriston 
as one scarcely surpassed in Switzerland by the wild- 
ness and beauty of its situation. 



AND PASTIMES. 141 



CHAPTER X. 

MAJESTIC was thy appearance, " Meal Four Vou- 
rine !" for such is the name of the lofty mountain 
which stands pre-eminent over its more humble 
neighbours, to the north of the castle of Glenmori- 
ston. Grand indeed were thy towering outlines, 
though half veiled by the morning's mist, as we 
walked forth early after a good night's rest, and 
caressed the noble and beautiful deer hound, who, 
stretched on the lawn, enjoyed the first rays of the 
rising sun. On the wild and magnificent scenery 
which surrounded us on all sides, however, we must 
no longer dwell, but proceed to tell a tale of hound 
and hart. 

Once more, however, the sound of the pibroch 
called the castle inmates together ; and having refused 
the morning's dram, and made a furious attack on 
the centre of a cold grouse pie, which succumbed to 
our onslaught and lighted our cigar, the Laird threw 
his plaid around him, and kindly proposed a visit to 
the kennel, being well aware of the great admiration 
in which we held the noble race of deer-hounds, 
some of the purest of whose breed have, from time 
immemorial, been possessed by the ancestors of 
Glemnoriston. On our arrival at the kennel, the 
doors being thrown open, three fine rough deer- 
hounds, and a very handsoine smooth hound, of the 



142 SCOTTISH SPOKTS 

same breed, and of equal size and strength, rushed 
out on the grassy space before us ; indeed, had we 
not moved on one side, we should, unquestionably 
have measured our length on the ground. In addi- 
tion to these we speak only of deer-hounds was 
our friend of the morning, who joined in their gam- 
bols and delight of freedom; he, however, on all 
occasions being allowed to range at large, the faithful 
friend and companion of his master, by whom he is 
greatly valued and the pet and favourite of the 
children ; for, notwithstanding their great courage 
and ferocity when roused to action, the temper of 
these dogs is most gentle. This gallant animal has 
been the subduer, as we were then informed, of no less 
than eighteen stags, which, single-handed, he has 
either brought to bay or killed ; and was the sire of 
two of those released from the kennel, as also of our 
own dog Bran, mentioned in a former part of these 
pages ; who like his parent, is one of the finest specimens 
of his race that can possibly be conceived. Indeed, 
without the slightest intention of exalting his cha- 
racter because we have the satisfaction of owning 
him, but rather in gratitude to the donor by whom 
he was presented to us as a puppy, we should not 
fear to produce him against any dog of the same 
breed now living, as a remarkably fine specimen of 
his race. 

" I am not," said Mr. Grant, " the original foun- 
der of the noble breed of animals in this glen ; in- 
deed, a long minority on my part caused a serious 
degeneration in the sporting superiority which here 
maintained its pre-eminence in the time of my pre- 
decessors. In fact, there now remains to me but few 
relics of their prowess, either in the sports of the 
field or valour in arms." A long gun, however, 
which we had the pleasure of handling, still remains 



AND PASTIMES. 143 

as an heirloom in the family. It is of great antiquity 
and curiosity, and certainly two hundred years old. 
It is well known in the locality by the name of the 
"Alandick," and is of Dutch manufacture. The 
barrel is a very fine one, at least six feet and a half 
in length, and curved at the breech. It holds a 
prominent place in the arm-rack, and is still an ex- 
cellent ball gun, and many a red-deer has fallen to 
its unerring truth. There is also in the same rack a 
six-barrelled gun, or short rifle, of curious construc- 
tion and great antiquity, with which its owner has 
also been known to bring a hart to bay. Such are 
the heirlooms of the Highlands. 

But let us return to the dogs. The first which 
entered the kennels of Glenmoriston, subsequent to 
his majority or accession to the property, was sent 
to him by Captain McDonald, of Moray, in the Braes 
of Lochabar. This gentleman, since dead, was a 
landholder and farmer of the old Highland class, 
and a first-rate sportsman. Having heard of a pure 
and beautiful bitch of the same breed, whose charac- 
ter stood high for her great courage and lasting power 
in the chase of the deer, then the property of the late 
Thomas Mackenzie, of Applecross, Glenmoriston 
suggested that either the one or the other should 
endeavour to keep up this precious breed of dogs, 
the pure animal becoming daily more scarce in the 
Highlands. Mr. Mackenzie, however, having a far 
greater taste for literature than sporting, declined the 
task, and the lady forthwith became domiciled at 
Invermoriston ; from which period, now about thirty 
years ago, the breed has remained uncontaminated, 
in those parts, at least, of which we had the pleasure 
of seeing the few remaining specimens. We have 
since been informed that Glenmoriston has relin- 
quished his dogs, as also the care of their augmen- 



144 SCOTTISH SPOUTS 

tation in which, at one period, he took great 
interest to Mr. E. Ellis, of Glengarrick ; at least 
such is the name of his shooting quarters ; and as 
this gentleman is a first-rate sportsman, has the 
means, and, like ourselves, is an enthusiast with re- 
gard to these rough deer-hounds, we may fain hope 
he will restore them to their original size and splen- 
dour. The trouble and difficulty of rearing them 
and keeping them pure in breed is, however immense. 
Cross them but once, and a smooth piled puppy will 
be introduced among the litter, as has been the case 
with Mr. Grant's dogs ; and ever afterwards one or 
two of the puppies will be smooth-haired. We must 
however, state, that the fact of their smoothness does 
not always detract from their fleetness or courage. 
The puppies are extremely delicate, and require con- 
stant care and attention ; but, the casualties of youth 
and distemper once over, they become extremely 
hardy ; as an instance, we will merely observe that 
the splendid dog which had welcomed us in the early 
morning, on our first proceeding from the castle, has 
been known to lie out night after night on the lawn, 
when the ground has been knee deep with snow ; 
and this with shelter at hand, had he desired to take 
advantage of it. If properly trained, their courage 
and endurance of fatigue can be surpassed by no 
domesticated animal ; but, on the contrary, if mis- 
managed, and led to a task beyond their strength ere 
they are full grown and well broken, should they 
fail or get severely wounded, they will never re- 
cover their courage. Glengarry, a name familiar 
as birch-trees in the Highlands, to history and to 
most sportsmen, who, at one period, possessed many 
of these dogs, was in the habit of crossing them, 
and some other owners continue to do so in the 
present day. There is no question, however, that 



AKD PASTIMES, 145 

they act erroneously, that is to say, if they require 
a race of animals to hunt, chase, kill, or bring to bay 
a red-deer. The deer-hound is either a deer-hound, 
or it is a mongrel ; there can be no intermediate race. 
Neither can there be a question that the animal in- 
tended by a higher power for a particular object, is 
the fit, proper, and superior one over all others. For 
instance, cross a greyhound with a Newfoundland 
dog ; then he may kill a hare, but how ? why, 
by chance ; but he will never win a cup at the 
Altcar. For the same reason, cross a noble deer- 
hound with a mastiff or a bulldog, as many have 
done ; he may, in some trifling degree, increase some 
particular quality of the latter, but he will lose many 
of the fine qualities and sagacities of the former, 
which are alone to be found in the pure-bred deer- 
hound. For instance, Glengarries had large feet and 
great ugly heads, and other defects of proportion, 
which made them unable to run on rocky or hard 
ground, without soon becoming lame and useless. 

But were we to write volumes on the interesting 
subject of this breed of dogs, we should only add, 
Get the pure race, and you will have the true one. 
Treat them and train them properly, and they will 
prove the best and only dogs which ought to be 
used in the noble sport of deer- stalking, whether in 
the open chase, or as the means of running a wounded 
deer and bringing him to bay. They are a great 
acquisition to any sporting kennel ; and, even when 
far away from the Highlands, we know of few more 
magnificent and faithful companions during a morn- 
ing's ramble, or by a winter's fire-side. 

A few years since, Glenmoriston most kindly sent 
us two puppies of the purest breed ; and we were 
fortunate enough to obtain another, equally pure 
and handsome, from the same part of Scotland. Of 

o 



146 SCOTTISH SPORTS 

the dog we have already spoken ; he lives, as fine a 
specimen as can be of his race. The bitch was as 
beautiful and graceful an animal as could be ima- 
gined ; but with the peculiarity which is particularly 
prominent in these animals, she was not much more 
than half the size of the dog, but so fleet that we 
constantly and most unwisely used her to chase the 
mountain hares ; and after a hard day on the hills of 
Meggernie, w hen the weather was unusually hot for 
October and probably from her youth she was 
seized with convulsions, and, much to our regret, her 
bones lie beneath the sod of her native hills. The 
third is now in Ireland. She produced nine beautiful 
puppies by the dog; but, notwithstanding every 
care, they all died. These dogs were never kept in 
kennel, save at night ; during the day they had, as 
they do now, their entire freedom, and were our 
constant companions, whether riding or walking; 
indeed, they had the entree of every room in the 
house. Their food was a matter of perfect indiffer- 
ence as to the choice anything which was to be 
had from the kitchen ; and under this treatment no 
dogs could possibly thrive better: indeed, when 
Glenmoriston saw the dog he had kindly sent as a 
puppy at two years old, he admitted he was one of 
the finest animals he ever beheld. 

Did space permit it, we could tell endless tales of 
their sagacity; we will, however, only name one, 
with regard to their being excellent water dogs, and 
then close the subject. For a season we resided at 
a house, the garden or lawn of which extended to 
the banks of a tolerably wide river ; on this river we 
had a small skiff, in which, both summer and winter, 
we constantly crossed to the opposite bank. On all 
occasions, whatever the weather, even with snow on 
the ground, the moment the boat was pushed from 



AND PASTIMES. 147 

the shore, in plunged, not only the deer-hounds, but 
two smooth grey-hounds ; and had we rowed back- 
wards and forwards a dozen times, these animals 
would have followed. On one occasion, we scarcely 
recollect why, the deer-hound bitch, then not 
eighteen months old, was sent to a friend who re- 
sided at least a mile on the opposite side of the 
river. On the first night after her departure, we 
heard a howling under the bed-room window ; and 
on looking out, not only discovered her ladyship, but 
also, from the dripping of her shaggy coat, that she 
had swum the river at midnight to return home ; and 
this she repeated, in the depth of winter, on two 
successive nights. And in reference to their gentle- 
ness, we will simply add, that these fine animals 
have often been seen stretched before a blazing fire, 
with an Angola cat literally resting his head between 
their fore legs. 

Having enjoyed a view of the kennel, the mist of 
the mountains thickened instead of clearing as the 
day advanced ; and not ourselves being particularly 
robust on that occasion, the Laird kindly suggested 
we should take a look around his home domain, and 
defer a sporting excursion to the hills till the 
following one. As we walked along, therefore, care- 
less of the threatening shower, he favoured us with 
a few details of his neighbouring deer-forest. In 
addition to his outlying distant forest, if such it 
may be called, he has recently appropriated a mode- 
rate proportion of the glen entirely as a harbour for 
deer, of about three miles in length, and two in 
breadth; and it is "prospering charmingly" these 
are his own words. Forty or fifty deer may be found 
there any morning that a sportsman desires a shot ; 
but they are careful, and very properly so, of des- 
troying too many stags : hinds, therefore, as yet, are 

o 2 



148 SCOTTISH SPORTS 

alone permitted to be killed ; nevertheless, the game 
book of 1845 scores ten stags. And the tenant who 
rents a shooting higher up the Glen we believe 
Sir H. Meux also killed ten last season ; but, if we 
are not mistaken, in this account were numbered two 
or more hinds. Lord Lovat had also a deer-forest 
joining, or on the opposite side of the Glen to that 
of Glenmoriston, and he also had good sport during 
the season of 1845. In fact, not less than thirty or 
forty stags succumbed to the deadly rifles of these 
true sportsmen and doubtless they had some very 
agreeable pastime ; yet the stock increases rather 
than otherwise. 

Of the neighbouring grouse hills, there are few 
better in Scotland : blackcocks are also abundant, as 
well as mountain hares. Ptarmigan are not wanting, 
and, in addition to which, there is some first-rate 
duck shooting in the season. The fishing in the 
Moriston is very good, both as regards salmon and 
trout ; and we feel satisfied that no fair sportsman 
would be refused by Glenmoriston who might desire 
to throw his fly therein. And now, a word of the 
lake, on the borders of which we stood watching the 
progress of the Glasgow steamer, which is a most 
desirable accommodation to those w r ho possess shoot- 
ing quarters on the line of the so -termed Caledonian 
Canal. This beautiful lake is twenty-two miles in 
length; its breadth save near Castle Urquhart, 
where it is broader being about two miles. Its 
depth is very great ; indeed, opposite a rock called 
the "Horse-shoe," it has been found to be 140 
fathoms. From a neighbouring eminence, a full 
view may be obtained, for it is almost straight from 
end to end, running east and west ; and its sides, 
which are steep, rocky, and wooded, are most 
pleasing to the eye of the traveller, as well as to 



AND PASTIMES. 149 

the sportsman, for they yield game of all kinds. 
Many peculiarities are attached to these wide and 
extensive waters ; on which, however, we shall only 
dwell in reference to their sporting qualities. Owing 
to their great depth, they never freeze ; and, during 
intense cold weather, a steam rises in the air as from 
a furnace ; in fact, ice brought from any other place 
and thrown into Fort Ness, would immediately thaw. 
Yet no water freezes sooner than that from Loch 
Ness, if taken into the house, or from the lake, and 
placed elsewhere. Moreover, it is considered as re- 
markably salubrious ; in fact, many come long 
distances to take advantage of its qualities. And 
it is a well-known fact, that during seven years, the 
garrison of Fort Augustus lost not a single man by 
death as was generally supposed from the quality of 
the water, and the salubrity of the neighbouring 
mountain air. 

The salmon taken from this lake are in season 
from Christmas to the latter end of September. 
Trout of great weight, as also pike and eel, are 
numerous ; and during winter there is endless sport 
to be secured, from the numerous wild mews, wild 
ducks, and widgeons, which abound there. The 
surface of the lake is sometimes violently agitated 
by the wind, which blows furiously between the 
steep mountains by which it is hemmed in ; and the 
waves are at times quite Biscay an. Indeed, a curi- 
ous fact is related of an occurrence which took place 
on the 1st November, 1755, at the same period with 
an earthquake at Lisbon. The waters rose and 
flowed up the lake from east to w^est with vast 
impetuosity, breaking over the banks in waves, at 
least three feet high ; and a heavy boat, laden with 
wood, was literally carried three times high on shore, 
and then dashed back again by the receding waters, 

o 3 



150 SCOTTISH SPOETS 

till destroyed. At tlie same period, an island on a 
small lake in Baddanock was literally carried from 
its base and flung on the main land ; yet at neither 
the one nor the other place was the agitation felt on 
the neighbouring shores. 

The afternoon having set in dull and gloomy, we 
passed the remainder of this agreeable day in trying 
our prowess with rifle and pistol at a target placed 
conveniently for such practice in the park ; and, 
from the many successful shots which struck the 
bull's-eye, anticipation was ripe as to the slaughter 
of red-deer on the following morning. But we soon 
found out, by practical demonstration, that the nerves 
and pulse which beat calmly before a wooden mark, 
are at fever heat when the antlers of a hart appear in 
view ; and the best shots in the kingdom, who might 
hit the neck of a bottle at one hundred and fifty 
yards, or a shilling thrown in the air, need not be 
disheartened should they miss their first red-deer at 
five-and- twenty paces. 

The inspection of an ancient shield, carried by the 
great grandfather of Glenmoriston, namely, " John 
A'Chragan," at the battle of Killicrankie. through 
which was the hole of a musket, as also a pistol- 
ball, and which ancient relic is verified as actually 
having been used by that chieftain, from the records 
of those present in the action and a few remarks 
from the present chief, as to his being the only one 
of his race who had never taken part in a military 
life closed the light hours of our first day's visit to 
the glen ; and the shrill notes of the pibroch again 
informed us it was time to join the family circle in 
the refectory. 

At an early hour on the following morning, which 
dawned fresh and fair, an open carriage stood ready 
at the door to convey us to a convenient point for 



AND PASTIMES. 151 

commencing the sports of the day. For some miles, 
we followed the route of " Ascanius" up the beauti- 
ful glen, which, in various breadths, was clothed by 
dense masses of trees of every kind, growing almost 
to the very summits of the high and rocky hills ; the 
river, migrating and roaming, at times dashing with 
violence from side to side of the deep, narrow, and 
rocky channel, which in the course of ages it has 
worn for itself ; at others, escaping, thundering and 
foaming, it encloses some wooded islet or isolated 
rock, where the aged pine holds undisputed sway, 
and, luxuriating in freedom, shoots its weather- 
beaten stem into a thousand irregular forms. No- 
thing can be more wild and luxuriant, nothing more 
beautiful, than the southern entrance to Glenmoris- 
ton. Having arrived, however, at the appointed 
spot, we were welcomed by keepers, gillies, deer- 
hounds, and pointers, it being proposed in the first 
instance to try for blackcock and roe-deer, that 
abound in the low ground and slopes of the moun- 
tains, which here became more open and heathered ; 
an outlying deer might also, perchance, be met 
with : as there, unlike their habits in the more open 
and extensive forests in Scotland, they harbour much 
in the woods, occasionally feeding on the grass 
slopes, at other times reposing in the warmth of its 
sunshine, but on the slightest alarm instantly return- 
ing to the deep recesses of their coverts. Glen- 
moriston, as well as his clansmen of the glen, are, 
however, thoroughly acquainted with their man- 
ceuvres, and the eye and local knowledge of such 
sportsmen are not easily to be deceived; so with 
justice we felt assured that our ignorance in such 
matters could not be better guided than by attending 
to their instructions, and by following their example. 
Guns were . therefore loaded, and rifle-balls rammed 



152 SCOTTISH SPOUTS 

home, and we breasted the mountain side. But soon 
the sport commenced : bang on the right, bang again 
on the left, a double shot in the centre, told of death 
among the feathered tribe ; and a hare, endeavouring 
to escape up the hill side, fell to our unskilful aim. 
We had scarcely arrived at a thin belt of fir and 
birch trees, ere a gillie apprised us that red-deer 
were on foot. 

" Halt here a wee bit," said he, "anent this rock, 
and they'll just be ganging this way." 

We did as he desired ; and, a rifle being handed 
to us, we couched behind a rugged rock, heart- 
beating and nervous, for the coming of these timid 
and beautiful animals, whom we desired thus cruelly 
to slaughter for a moment's pleasure. If this thump- 
ing of the heart takes place on the expectation of a 
roe- deer, we remarked, as thus we lay concealed, 
the thump will break the string asunder when on a 
similar watch for the nobler game of red- deer. They 
came, however, true as the gillie had predicted. A 
shot from the nearest sportsman, echoing through 
the mountains, warned us to look out; and we did 
so, all eyes and anxiety, when at last four swift and 
elegant roe-deer bounded like lightning across the 
rocky ground, within thirty yards of our position, 
and rushed along the hill side towards another small 
cover at hand. Bad as we admit our shooting quali- 
ties to be, we felt at the moment assured that such 
large objects, and so near, could not be missed, not- 
withstanding the speed to which fear had given 
additional wings ; indeed, we* fancied we already 
grieved o'er the dead carcass of the beautiful crea- 
ture, so remorselessly slain in the fleeting moment of 
sporting excitement. We were never more mistaken 
in our lives : cool as we attempted to be careful as 
we imagined our aim to be-^ere the report of our 



AND PASTIMES. 155 

rifle had warned our neighbours of our luck in 
getting a shot, the ball had struck a stone at least 
half a yard to the right of the roe, and they fled on 
unscathed into the cover at hand. This was our first 
and last chance at a roe that day ; in other respects, 
we did a fair share of the duties of the morning, and 
certainly yielded to none in the enjoyment we 
experienced. At mid-day we halted, and assembled 
the party near a refreshing mountain rivulet ; and, 
though we are by no means an advocate for these 
gastronomic interruptions to a day's sport, yet, we 
must own, a pleasant half-hour's rest, and a trifle of 
cold grouse, in such a scene, and on such occasions, 
with an afternoon's deer-shooting in prospect, is by 
no means the most disagreeable moment of one's life. 
Seated, therefore, on a heathered bank, with a merry 
group around in fact, forming one of those pleasing 
pictures which kandseer or Taylor can far better 
paint than we can pen as the smoke from various 
cigars and pipes curled in wreaths through the clear 
air, we contemplated the success of the morning. A 
beautiful roe, still graceful in death, which had fallen 
to the unerring aim of one of our companions, and 
which he beheld with much satisfaction several 
mountain hares, blackcocks, and four brace of grouse, 
lay before us ; and a very pleasing sight it was, and 
not bad sport late in the season. But fatigue is 
little thought of with game in view, and the whole 
party were soon prepared for another start. 

" We will cross the river," said our leader, " and 
doubtless you will then have a shot at a red- deer : be 
calm, however take time, and ere nightfall you may 
yet tell of something better than a roe." 

We descended to the banks of the stream, in order 
to cross over by some rocks and large stones, so 
placed as to admit of a dry passage ; when evident 



156 SCOTTISH SPOUTS 

signs and tracks of deer having also recently crossed, 
gave us renewed hopes. Oscar, one of the deer 
dogs, was nose to the ground and ears erect, pulling 
hard at the gillie, who with much difficulty pre- 
vented his breaking loose. Having reached the 
opposite shore, we came to a halt, in order to arrange 
our forces ; and after a little discussion among 
keepers and foresters, our line of battle was formed, 
and we found ourselves in company with one of the 
Laird's sons, a most agreeable and amiable lad, now 
in India to whom, should these pages ever meet 
his eye, we would recall with thanks his courtesy 
and kindness on that occasion the shouts of laughter 
and humour which enlivened our walk home after 
this day's sport, when scarcely one of us could other- 
wise have walked a yard farther ; indeed, as regards 
ourselves, to this hour we believe we have never 
recovered the fatigue and excitement, which caused 
us subsequently a sharp attack of fever and in- 
disposition. 

But to proceed. With, our kind conductor, we 
skirted a great portion of the thick wood or covert, 
our companions also being appointed to favourable 
localities for the passing of the deer ; and at length 
we found ourselves fairly ensconced in a thicket, 
from which we commanded the crossing of two long 
rides or paths, cut in the recesses of the forest ; and 
a multitude of beaters being thrown in, Heaven 
knows where, we awaited the coming of the sove- 
reign of the glen barring Glenmoriston himself. 
What passed beyond, as thus we lay secluded in that 
retired spot, we cannot here recount, inasmuch as a 
monthly volume of the " Colonial Library" would 
not admit of it. But as long as the breath of life 
remains to us and we would wish to speak our 
natural feelings, though many may say "stuff!" 



PASTIMES. 157 

we shall never forget that day. Half an hour 
elapsed in pleasing dialogue, in a sort of demi-tone. 
A joke was passed a smothered laugh the pro- 
posal to light a cigar. The deer will smell the 
smoke : their scent is very acute. Nevertheless, we 
both wished it. How dreadfully cold ! Never mind, 
a shot will warm you. We sink knee-deep in wet ! 
Ah, that's nothing, when you're used to it ! be 
patient. Well we might ! an hour elapsed, and not 
a sound. Can we be well placed ? Decidedly so 
none better. We are frozen ! Never mind. 

Hark ! a shout ! Bang ! The sound died away. 
We started up held the rifle firmly. Look out ! 
A blackcock passed us. " D n those blackcocks !" 
at any other time how welcome ! Another shout 
another bang ! Half an hour more elapsed we 
could scarcely brave it longer. Frozen half drowned 
the first hour's merriment began to flag. Had we 
only been allowed a cigar ! but then red- deer are 
not fond of the smell of baccy. We coughed. You 
must not cough ! We sneezed. No sneezing ! We 
danced. You must not dance. This is forest deer- 
shooting, is it r A jungle, for all we cared. Alas ! 
how long we had desired such luck ! but then, like 
the child who cries for a toy, having obtained it, we 
could have flung the treasure away. But as yet we 
had not obtained it. Two hours had we remained 
in this damp and cold seclusion, when, lo ! a louder 
report saluted our anxious ears ; close at hand the 
echo came, and all our miseries w^ere about to cease. 

" Be patient for Heaven's sake, be calm !" said 
our young companion, " or you will miss him." 

We have heard the whistling ball, which tells of 
danger past, fly harmless o'er our head in scenes of 
bloodshed and danger we have heard the shriek of 
figony occasioned by its paralyzing stroke we have 

p 



158 SCOTTISH SPORTS 

seen Death busy in the ranks of men, and have 
known the hour of agony and pain : in such moments 
we have thought of home and loved ones far away, 
and the heart has beat quick, and the nerves have 
been unstrung. We have also felt the joys of pride 
and pleasure, and known, which many ne'er can 
count, moments of joy and excitement, which repay, 
and well repay, for long long hours of bitterness and 
anxiety. Yet, though folly may it be to declare it, 
never have we felt have the feverish excitement that 
was caused us at the moment when, looking up the 
open forest side which lay in our front, we beheld 
the approach of about twenty red- deer coming to- 
wards us at full speed. Perhaps it was the cold 
perhaps the wet, or the long waiting we know not 
whieh but so nervous were we, that scarcely could 
we lift the rifle to our shoulder. We managed, 
however, to shake off partially this feeling which un- 
nerved us, and, bringing the rifle to the shoulder, 
prepared for the coining deer. The quick eye of our 
young companion, however, accustomed to such 
sport, immediately perceived that the herd were 
composed of hinds, some having calves still by their 
sides, and not an antler was among them. He 
therefore seized the arm, which in another instant 
would perhaps have pulled the trigger, and by 
destroying the mother, at the same time have 
murdered the son. And, lo ! they passed a noble 
group. To us they appeared as a drove of oxen so 
large they loomed in the shades of the forest, and 
magnified by the excited state of our nerves. They 
passed, however, rapidly on, and were lost to view. 
We know not why, but this scene totally revived us : 
we recovered nerve, and felt that we had acted with 
patience, if not foresight. Altogether, we were 
recalled to the fact, that we desired to kill a stag ; 



A.ND PASTIMES. 159 

what we might have done, had not our young friend 
been at hand, we know not, but probably we should 
have wounded a hind. As for him, we hope ere this 
he has bagged a brace of elephants and lordly tigers. 
But our patience and forbearance were amply re- 
warded. A brief time elapsed ere again the mur- 
derous voice of powder proclamed the deer at hand ; 
and with nerves well knit we prepared ourselves for 
action. Once more the opening was darkened by 
the coming deer. In this instance the number was 
far less, but the antlers, the forked antlers, adorned 
their lofty heads. 

" Take the leader," said our young chieftain, 
" and hit him in the heart. I shall not fire." 

We did as he desired. Hidden by the trees, we, 
calmly as circumstances would permit, awaited the 
moment when the animal was well nigh abreast of 
our hiding-place, and then fired as he rapidly 
advanced. Almost immediately after the report, at 
not more than thirty yards from where we stood, the 
deer fell on its knees, and then with a sudden bound 
recovered itself, and fled through the forest. The 
gillie near at hand for the moment we had for- 
gotten him and who held a fine deer-hound, imme- 
diately slipped the noble animal, who at once gave 
chase to the wounded deer; and we followed, in 
eager and breathless hope of the result, which, how- 
ever, we were not fated to know ere the light of day 
had closed the glen in darkness ; and had that plea- 
sure been afforded us by time and sufficient remain- 
ing strength to follow on his lengthened track, 
we could ill have related here that which has been so 
forcibly and beautifully described by abler pens, in 
their accounts of wounded stags at bay. On our 
arrival at the hospitable castle, a packet of letters, 
some not unimportant, apprised us that by daybreak 

p2 



160 SCOTTISH SPOUTS. 

we must start for the south ; and the feverish and 
sleepless night which followed our pleasures of the 
preceding day warned us to lose no time. Lucky 
for us that we acted with decision, or we might not 
now be living to tell the tale. 

A short time afterwards we were greeted with a 
letter from our merry companion in the swampy 
hiding-place, accompanied by a handsome pair of 
antlers ; an extract from which we subscribe : 

" You killed your first stag, or, at least, wounded it to the 
death, for it Las been recovered ; and I have the pleasure of 
sending you a haunch of venison and a fine pair of antlers. 
The latter you can hang up in your hall, if you have one ; if 
not, preserve them in recollection of the sports of the glen." 

We have them still. 



AND PASTIMES. 161 



CHAPTER X. 

WE have hitherto been so entirely engrossed with 
sporting anecdote as to have dwelt but cursorily on 
subjects more immediately connected with the habits 
and pursuits of those who dwell in that most inter- 
esting portion of Her Majesty's dominions termed 
the Highlands, over so large a tract of which we 
wandered, alike on craggy mountain top and through 
fertile glen. We are now, however, about to visit 
the wild and majestic Corryarrick, once more to 
crave for a night the kind hospitalities of the Laird 
of Invermoriston, and thence, passing by the northern 
road, which skirts the border of Loch Ness, to have 
a peep at that ancient capital to which the neigh- 
bouring waters grant a name. We shall, however, 
speak of persons and places as we have heretofore, 
endeavoured to speak, in all kindness ; of persons as 
we found them, of places as we saw them, without the 
slightest endeavour to illustrate by poetical fiction, 
or " set down aught in malice." With the convic- 
tion that theory must e\er give way to facts, con- 
jecture to certainty, general views and hasty sketches 
must not be substituted for accuracy of description 
or truthfulness of delineation. Human manners, 
under every variety, must be caught from the 
life ; and hence, we trust, may arise some value 
and interest from our simple details. In England, 

p 3 



162 SCOTTISH SPORTS 

the name of Scotchman is used indiscriminately ; 
but we may remark, with little fear of contradiction, 
that the Highlanders differ from the inhabitants of 
the low country in almost every circumstance of 
life ; their language, habits, manners, and, not lang 
syne, their dress, was equally unlike. Thus the 
resident of the land of milk and honey, as they 
formerly denominated it, would be ill-satisfied were 
he supposed to number as one of those who revel in 
" cakes and ale," in fact, the dweller amid the 
wilderness of mountains takes to his heart the pride 
of place from, the native of the more fertile Low- 
lands. Indeed, this trifling matter of vanity as to 
birthplace may only be compared to the passion of 
jealousy in love. And thus to name a Scotchman 
only, without regard to his being a Highlander or 
Lowlander, would be as indefinite a term as would 
be that of calling a Frenchman an European. 

With reference, however, to that portion of Great 
Britain termed " the Highlands" of Scotland, we 
will simply remark, that while they range over more 
than one-half of the whole of that interesting 
country, their productiveness save as regards the 
recently understood valuable speculation in game, 
and the consequent pleasure of the chase, for which 
their wealthy neighbours of England are ready to 
pay any price demanded, and the still more recent 
discovery of wealth derived from the mountain 
sheep-farms may be counted in proportion as a 
bushel in a well-filled grain store. This portion, 
however, of the country so denominated nevertheless 
extends from Dumbarton, on the river Clyde, near 
Glasgow, to the most northern part of the kingdom, 
in length exceeding two hundred miles, whereas it 
varies in breadth from sixty to one hundred from 
German Ocean to Atlantic Sea. 



AND PASTIMES. 163 

And there, in that large extent of country, while 
wildness and beauties of nature unsurpassed abound 
in the west, barenness, shivering discomfort, and 
nakedness, from the want of woodlands, is prominent 
in the more cultivated, but far less interesting, plains 
of the east. In fact, speaking plainly and truth- 
folly and we yield to few men in regard to the 
extent of the Highlands, or other portions of Europe 
over which we have wandered, we should say, as 
well to the sportsman as to him who seeks the untiring 
interest of Nature's beauties in their wildness, visit 
these beauties, for pleasure or for sport, during the 
more genial season of summer or of autumn, and 
steer your course generally to the west : for if 
perchance your barque be windbound on the eastern 
coast, you may chance to exclaim, " For which of 
my sins am I doing penance here ?" 

As the sequel, however, will show, it was not our 
fate to practise always that which we herein preach 
for the information of our neighbours. 

The summits of the Grampian range were white 
with abundant snow, the silvery birch woods, beau- 
tiful 'mid summer fulness of leaf, now bowed their 
graceful heads from the weight of white hoar frost, 
the lawn without, similarly bedecked, hardened and 
crisp under foot, looked like a sparkling sheet of 
diamonds as the bright rays of a clear, full, winter's 
moon, surrounded by a myriad of glittering stars, 
shone o'er the waters of the Tay, as, within half gun- 
shot of its wooded banks, we sat within our snuggery. 
Merry Christmas time was fast approaching. The 
seventh of December, 1 84 , had well nigh closed 
for ever ; three days alone remained ere a short 
truce would be permitted to the chirping grouse and 
raven- winged blackcock. On such a night, or, more 
properly speaking, on that very night of the year, 



164 SCOTTISH SPORTS 

we sat in the aforenamed snuggery snug enough 
and warm enough, we must admit, notwithstanding 
the bitter cold which reigned without ; for the room 
which, for a season, we claimed as our own, measured 
somewhat less than twelve feet by eight ; and while 
a fire blazed on the hearth, big enough and bright 
enough to roast a New Year's sirloin, curtains, shut- 
ters, and doors were closed. Moreover, as if deter- 
mined to make the best of the warmth, our legs 
were deposited on the hob, not far distant from the 
top of the chimney-piece, our back reclined on a 
soft and well- cushioned arm-chair, and, while in our 
right hand we held for perusal the " Chateau d'lf," 
our left secured a meerschaum, small in size, but well 
filled with c'naster, from which, ever and anon, the 
perfumed smoke curled up towards the ceiling, 
and served to brighten an imagination already well- 
nigh extended to the full, from the interest of the 
book we were perusing. This was the extent of our 
indulgences, for toddy we never drink, or aught else, 
while smoking ; and although c'naster may not come 
quite up to the mark of more refined lovers of the 
aromatic weed, we find it cheaper, and it serves our 
purpose well. 

We have already taken leave to remark, that we 
have not the power of placing mere simple facts 
before our readers in any other form than that in 
which they actually presented themselves to us, or of 
putting words in the mouths of men otherwise than 
as we heard them spoken; therefore must we 
leave our friends to tell their own tales, and call 
on memory for a faithful delineation of what they 
told. 

A fine curl of smoke had just risen in small 
circles towards the ceiling of our snuggery, forced 
up rapidly at the last moment doubtless from a more 



AND PASTIMES. 165 

vehement puff, caused by an exciting passage from 
the pen of Dumas, when the door opened, and a 
smiling face peeped into the room a mild, an 
amiable face it was and then a cough, doubtless the 
effect of the smoke. A hand was extended, and a 
hearty welcome given. 

" How is it possible you can exist in such an 
atmosphere ? Cold as it is unquestionably without, 
this room is like a baker's oven, and the smoke is 
more dense than the mist on the mountain top." 

" Precisely : we were at this very moment on the 
top of Monte Christo, and a most treasurable mount 
it is." 

" Well, however interesting, put aside your book, 
and let me open the door, for I am half stifled ; and 
then tell me, are you up to a ramble r" 

" A ramble ? Decidedly. Where and when r" 

" Why, as to the where, I have frequently heard 
you express an intense desire to cross Corryarrick, 
and 4 tomber,' as the French have it, on Kilyawhoimin 
or Fort Augustus, previous to leaving the High- 
lands, a desire in which I eagerly participate." 

" Cross Corryarrick thus late in the season r" 

" And kill an old woman." 

" More likely to kill two young men ; but are you 
in earnest ? are you serious in your intentions ? For 
if such an excursion be practicable thus late in the 
season, the very difficulties which present themselves 
are sufficient to induce us at once to desire to par- 
ticipate in your wanderings ; and, above all things, 
we are anxious to see a snow-storm on the moun- 
tains." 

" Snow-storms, believe me, are better seen from 
the window of this smoky den of yours. Neverthe- 
less, the weather is brilliant and frosty, there are 
etijl three days to the 10th of December, and, as 



166 SCOTTISH SPOBTS 

Yorkshire pies are eaten at York, there can be no 
possible reason why we should not have a grouse pie 
in the Highlands ; and if the flavour be increased by 
the addition of a blackcock or a mountain hare, I 
think we may reckon on as good fare for Christmas 
day as our friends in the south." 

" Your arrangements are positively delightful. 
The question is settled on our parts, so the sooner we 
start the better. Corryarrick, Kilyawhoimin, and 
grouse pies for ever !" 

Our friend departed to prepare for our adven- 
turous ramble, to be commenced on the morrow, and 
we attempted to smoke another pipe, and read a few 
more pages ; but our imagination flew so rapidly 
from I) If dungeons to Corryarrick precipices, from 
Marseilles to Fort Augustus, that both book and 
pipe were soon laid by, and, ensconced to the nose in 
our downy couch, we soon slept too soundly to dream 
of care. 

Ere the clock of St. Paul's had struck the mid-day 
hour in England's great metropolis, far in the north 
of Her Majesty's dominions, well and warmly clad, 
we sat on the box of the mail which rolled on its 
way towards Dimkeld. The sun shone brilliantly, 
the sky was clear and cloudless overhead, and the 
ground was hard and white with frozen snow beneath 
the wheels. Our difficulties, however, commenced 
right early, for scarcely had *we started from the first 
place of changing horses, ere crack went a spring, or 
some other equally important portion of the vehicle ; 
and at the very onset of our expedition, we barely 
escaped an overset, with the chance of being buried 
alive in the snow. The guard, however, an active 
but ill -paid servant of the crown, though well- remu- 
nerated slave to the public to whose wants and 
comforts, if he be a wise individual, he pays far more 



AND PASTIMES. 167 

attention than to the mail-bags speedily produced 
ropes, straps, &c., from his deposit of precautionary 
measures, and, having soon bound up the fracture, 
away we went again, little the worse, up hill and 
down brae, at a good steady pace, till we arrived at 
the well-known bridge which crosses the Tay from 
south to north, and joins the very entrance to the 
town of Dtmkeld glorious in forest and in gloom 
beautiful locality when embosomed in the bright 
and cheerful graces of sunny spring still more 
interesting and beautiful when bedecked with 
autumn's variety of coloured foliage but at merry 
Christmas time, like the toy of a hamlet buried in a 
basin of snow, the sides of which are darkened by 
the gloom of vast and dense woodlands. 

Here we made an unusually long halt, to repair ; 
and, although it would afford little interest to dwell 
at any length on the peculiarities and dreariness of a 
route now generally so well known and so much fre- 
quented moreover, which, ere many years elapse, 
will be within the reach of all, both in regard to 
time and means we must nevertheless crave per- 
mission to say a few words in reference to Blair in 
Atholl, which was the next point of any importance ; 
for there we were again unusually delayed by the 
miserable state of the roads, which had once more 
shaken our spring out of joint. Therefore, while the 
blacksmith's hammer is at work, we will add that 
Blair in Atholl, which we surmise to be the proper 
cognomen, is one of those Highland gems whose 
local interests are equalled by few in the estimation 
of a sportsman, and scarcely less so to him who 
visits as a tourist such wild scenes of forest, glen, 
and woodland. The present chieftain of Atholl, now 
the head of his clan, was very recently better known 
to the world as Lord Glenlyon, and he well deserves 



168 SCOTTISH SPORTS 

the proud possessions of his forefathers ; alike from 
the interest he takes in the welfare of his followers, 
the love which he appears to entertain for his native 
hills, and the consequent outlay and improvement of 
his noble patrimony, with many other causes tending 
to the welfare of those among whom he chiefly resides, 
and by whom he is much esteemed : and of these 
qualities, certainly not the least is his desire to keep 
up old family feelings, ancient costumes, and here- 
ditary associations, with the word of kindness and by 
the hand of liberality, without recurring to the days 
of the broadsword and the sharp skenedhu. Yet, 
though we can speak of the pleasure of his personal 
acquaintance, and have received some kindness and 
courtesy at his hand, we must decline entering into 
any detail of his home peculiarities, for reasons of 
delicacy heretofore divulged. That we name him as 
a sportsman, however aud there are few better who 
range o'er the steep sides of Benigloe, or level the rifle at 
antlers in Glenlilt we need scarcely apologize when 
we add that, when it is borne in mind that he is 
extremely near-sighted, and moreover far from robust 
in health, it appears to us most extraordinary that he 
should ride and drive with the most consummate 
nerve go through physical exertions almost un- 
equalled, certainly rarely surpassed over the same 
ground where sovereigns of yore, and princes of our 
own time, have made the welkin ring with rifle and 
with Mantons. We know not whether, at the 
moment we write, it is his pleasure, as was his wont, 
to keep hounds; but at the period to which our 
memory returns, he possessed not only a well- sized 
and well-bred pack of harriers, with which he afforded 
sport and pastime to himself and neighbours in the 
vales immediately adjacent to his ancient castle of 
Atholl, but also, being a constant resident on his 



AND PASTIMES* 169 

property at Dunkeld, where lie possesses a most 
beautifully situated and commodious cottage ornee in 
the ancient park of his ancestors, through which 
flows the rapid Tay, he was wont constantly to hunt 
from thence with the above hounds over the rich and 
luxuriant vale extending from Perth to the afore- 
named town. Various and exciting was the sport 
he thus afforded his friends and neighbours, both 
Highland and Lowland ; and it was not seldom that, 
having secured a noble red-deer from his neighbour- 
ing forest of Atholl, and having shorn him of his 
graceful antlers, and conditioned him with hard food, 
he was turned before the hounds, almost wild from 
his native hills ; and, under such circumstances, as 
may readily be supposed, frequently affording a rare 
gratification to those sufficiently well nerved and 
mounted to follow the chase over so wild a country, 
so difficult to cross. On one of these occasions, in 
the springy freshness of March the scene is now 
before us, clear to the mind's eye as if it were yes- 
terday we formed one of a small party of merry 
horsemen, who were fortunate enough to meet the 
hounds in question at a small road-side inn on the 
highway from Perth to Dunkeld: more fortunate 
still were we on finding ourselves mounted on a gallant 
light grey mare, one of the very best fencers, and 
most enduring of animals, it was ever our delight 
to ride to hounds ; though, in truth, she was not 
exactly a Derby nag in regard to pace. His Grace 
the chieftain for recollect, we are in the Highlands 
approached to welcome us at the meet, mounted 
on an animal which, for blood, bone, and symmetry, 
Melton might have well been proud of. Beneath 
his velvet hunting- cap there appeared a pair of spec- 
tacles, which, to those who looked around on the 
country we were about to cross, caused some degree 

Q 



170 SCOTTISH SPORTS 

of astonishment, as it was quite evident that good 
eye -sight, as well as nerve, would be required to their 
utmost. Nevertheless, we remained but a brief time 
to discuss the remnant of a cigar, and partake of the 
Edinburgh ale and London Porter (probably brewed 
at St. Andrews), which was liberally offered to the 
party, ere the king of the forest was uncarted ; and, 
having for a moment exposed his splendid haunches 
to the admiring field, trotting gently up an acclivity, 
he tossed his noble head as if in disgust at the affront 
offered by the deprivation of his forked antlers, 
snuffed up the air in disdain at its Lowland murki- 
ness, and then, with a bounding gallop, bade adieu 
to hound and horse, at a pace which few could have 
complained of, even in these days ef railway hunting, 
and which few could have followed for any lengthened 
period over such a country. 

A brief law having been granted to the stag, the 
pack was laid on, and, immediately taking up the 
scent, away they raced, without hesitation or check. 

The first portion of the run crossed an enclosed 
and heavy country, with tremendous fences ; then 
came comparatively open, undulating ground, com- 
posed of stony, heathered hills : here, boggy moor- 
land of some miles in extent ; there, cultivated lands 
intersected by ravines, far more difficult to ride over, 
in our humble opinion, than the stiffest flight of 
gates : then we approached hill and stony dale, then 
easy riding land, fir plantations, and heathered braes, 
without check or hindrance, till we came to a sudden 
halt on the banks of the Tay, which there rushed 
foaming past us, unfordable, and in considerable 
breadth of stream. We had then raced, for no time 
had been allowed for a moment's consideration, full 
nine miles from the uncarting point, when thus the 
hounds threw up their heads, and the few who had 



AND PASTIMES. 171 

been fortunate enough to keep the pack in view, 
cried, " Hold, enough /" for the pace, which had 
been killing throughout, as well as the nature of the 
ground, was sufficient to stop the best blood and 
bone in the kingdom. Moreover, we had commenced 
late in the day, and having a long ride to our quarters 
for the night, through a wild country not well known 
to us, we felt it as well to take time by the forelock, 
and be wary of the shades of evening. Not so the 
gallant master of the pack, however ; he well knew 
that the deer had crossed the Tay, making for some 
dense woodlands which skirted the opposite bank ; 
to ford the river was out of the question ; to swim it, 
still more so, for both horse and man would soon 
have been food for salmon. No chance therefore 
remained of resuming the scent, but that of riding 
for a bridge, some three miles distant from the spot 
where we had checked ; thus, at least six intervened 
between the hounds and the slot of their game. And 
having attained these thick woodlands, where the 
deer was unquestionably sheltered, for of course we 
had tried every possible means to ascertain this fact 
previous to coming to a decision, any possibility of 
forcing him ere dusk, we felt was out of the question. 
We therefore turned our horse's head from the 
battle-field, and leisurely pursued our route towards 
a neighbouring Highland Castle, where we had been 
kindly invited to sojourn for the night. And never 
shall we forget our visit there, so long as memory 
with life exists. Having arrived at the portals of 
this truly splendid abode, situated in one of the most 
romantic and beautiful localities in Scotland, at no 
great distance from Dunkeld, we gave our horse to 
the servant in attendance, and thence proceeded to 
divest ourselves of the paraphernalia and dirt of the 
chase ; and having substituted a more sombre garb, 

Q 2 



172 SCOTTISH SPORTS 

we were welcomed by our host in an apartment, the 
decorations, valuable pictures, and objects of vertu in 
which, would not have discredited the mansion of 
the richest peer of the realm. Haying said this 
much, we may add that a similar appearance of ele- 
gance and wealth evinced itself in all other parts of 
the castle, even to the bed-rooms, where comfort and 
even luxury abounded. To make our tale the more 
readily understood, however, in its truthfulness and 
quaintness, w r e must add, without intentional offence, 
that while the proprietor of this noble chateau was 
absent, the duties of offering the well-known hos- 
pitality which generally there abounded, were left to 
the care of a younger brother, who, with many ad- 
mirable qualities and most perfect breeding in manner 
and conduct, nevertheless fully carried out in prac- 
tice, on most occasions, the theoretical cognomen of 
" Canny Scotchman." Thus, our expectations, as 
far as gastronomic indulgences were concerned, cer- 
tainly bore no comparison with the luxuries and 
comforts by which on all sides we were surrounded; 
therefore, after having been warmly greeted by our 
host, we were by no means surprised at his assertion 
to the guests assembled, that he had nothing better 
to offer them than boiled rabbits, with which the 
estate supplied his table most abundantly. Yet 
knowing full well the parsimonious character which 
he bore in the neighbourhood, although there are 
few better repasts than rabbits stewed with onions, as 
we looked around on the hungry faces of the com- 
pany, and knew that our own appetite at this moment 
would have enabled us to eat our grandmother simi- 
larly stewed, we certainly felt, as the last word in 
the marriage ceremony informs us, amazed. But 
still more so, in addition to our gratification, when, 
on crossing a fine entrance hall, filled with ancient 



AND PASTIMES. 173 

and curious implements of war and of the chase, on 
the dining-room door being thrown open, we beheld 
a large round table abundantly supplied with covers ; 
in fact, on this occasion, a most ample and well- 
cooked repast was served, and we all set to with a 
vigour and determination to do justice to the viands, 
and houour to the absent laird, whose well-known 
liberality we felt could alone have been the means of 
securing to us so many creature comforts. 

Now, it so happened, that one of the expected 
guests, a gallant Major of Infantry, who had joined 
in the chase in the morning, having lingered too long 
in the vain hope of discovering that we had been 
mistaken in our conviction of the deer's having 
crossed the Tay, did not reach the castle till we had 
made considerable havoc with a salmon fresh that 
morning from the river, and whose richness we were 
endeavouring to correct with just one gout of most 
excellent Cognac. The first glance at our hungry 
party convinced the soldier, and with reason, that no 
delay could be admitted for ablution or personal 
adornment, so he forthwith joined us at the table, 
booted and spurred, splashed, and in scarlet. 

It would be difficult to explain at this remote 
period, the reason, if reason there existed, for such a 
cause ; yet it was nevertheless apparent, that while 
the addition of the officer to the assembled company 
increased their merriment, it also increased the 
determination of the whole party to do ample justice 
to the good things so unexpectedly, yet abundantly, 
provided. Moreover, the reported character of our 
host's love of keeping his siller in his pouch, appeared 
whether out of frolic or maliciousness, we will not 
presume to decide to have caused so exciting a 
thirst to overcome the guests, that a bottle of claret 
was scarcely placed upon the table ere it was 

3 



174 SCOTTISH SPORTS 

emptied ; and this with such rapid succession, that 
an anxious, nervous, muscular twitching in the face 
of the absent laird's brother soon became too evident 
to be mistaken. This fact, however, only increased 
the ardour of attack ; and the midnight hour was 
therefore near at hand ere we retired from the 
dining-room to the handsomely furnished drawing- 
room already named. The excitement, however, 
aided by the libations of claret so copiously imbibed 
by all, tended only to increase a desire for further 
excitement; and smoking was not only proposed, 
but acceded to. 

To quit, however, the easy and luxurious seats in 
which we had ensconced ourselves, was out of the 
question ; and by this time, the juicy grape had so 
happy an influence on our host, that, admitting his 
pocket to be generally closed, his heart was decidedly 
open on this occasion, to any desire, however 
strange, on the part of his guests. Long Turkish 
pipes, the humble clay, and the Havannah cigar, 
were therefore at once supplied and as strange 
a scene presented itself as ever was, or perhaps ever 
will be, seen in this magnificent Highland sporting 
quarter. 

Comfortably ensconced in a most luxurious arm- 
chair, sat, or rather lounged, the gallant officer, in 
full hunting costume, with a clay pipe in his mouth, 
from which the curling fumes of Dutch Cut wafted 
in clouds towards a beautiful sporting piece by 
Murillo, which adorned the opposite wall; in another 
equally luxurious chair, reclined a young English 
tourist, with a cherry-stick a yard and a half long, 
at the end of which was a small Turkish bowl rest- 
ing on a table of immense value, formed of mosaic, 
and which had been purchased and conveyed to its 
then resting place at an enormous expense : and in 



AND PASTIMES. 175 

another part of the room, at full length on a sofa, 
cigar in mouth, reposes a third guest in the full 
enjoyment of his aromatic weed, while he calmly 
admired a hunting piece by Teniers, which hung 
over one of the fire-places : in the centre of the 
room, a party of four prepared themselves to try a 
hand at whist ; as an ancient servant of the family 
entered with a jug of boiling water, and sundry 
black bottles containing brandy and whisky, as a 
finale to the festivities which had already been so 
copiously enjoyed. 

Fatigued by the sports of the day, however, and 
excited beyond our general custom from the share 
we had taken in the endeavour to inebriate the host 
no very courteous act for his hospitality, by- the - 
bye, we availed ourselves of the opportunity of 
escaping to our downy couch, in order to prepare 
ourselves for a journey on the morrow. Being 
over-heated and feverish from our libations, how- 
ever, sleep was out of the question, and at an early 
hour we sallied forth to take a look at the mag- 
nificent scenery by which the castle is on all sides 
suiTounded, as well as to walk along the beautiful 
terrace which skirts the river Tay. 

The fresh breezes of the morning soon revived us, 
and renewed appetite warned us the hour of break- 
fast was at hand. With this hope we turned towards 
the castle, and reached the dining-room, the scene of 
the previous night's entertainment : not a soul, how- 
ever, had made his appearance ; at length one, and 
then another entered, like ourselves, anxious to 
revive themselves with the morning meal. Thus an 
hour passed ; neither our host nor the gallant soldier, 
however, greeted us ; the bell was rung and an- 
swered, but the Laird was not up, the keys were 
under his pillow, and he could not be disturbed. 



176 SCOTTISH SPORTS 

At length, famished, and anxious to bid adieu, 
we ventured to his sleeping apartment, when the 
sight which presented itself was quite sufficient proof 
that the national beverage had had the desired 
effect, while no claret would cause him to succumb. 
If the Laird had suffered in the onslaught, however, 
he had not suffered without disabling his foe ; for 
stretched on another bed, lay the soldier, booted 
and even spurred, as on his joining the festive board. 
We must now draw a veil over a scene which, 
immeasurably ludicrous to those who witnessed it, 
we have only referred to in recollection of a day 
which commenced with sport and pleasure, and 
terminated in laughter. 

Should this meet the eye of those to whom we 
have alluded, may they take it as it is meant, and 
give us an opportunity of enjoying their society 
again. 



AND PASTIMES. 177 



CHAPTER XII. 

Is the afternoon, ere we left the castle, we received 
some additional information in reference to the deer 
which had given us the joyous and exciting chase of 
the previous day ; in fact, it was made known to us 
that the noble animal, having been somewhat too 
closely pressed by the hounds to make his land 
tenure agreeable, had plunged into the river Tay at 
the very spot where we had checked ; a fact sub- 
sequently discovered from his foot-marks on the 
banks, when, doubtless, owing to his great weight 
and exhaustion, together with the rapid current of 
the rushing waters, he was unable to stem the current 
in a direct line, and the flying animal consequently 
landed several hundred yards below the point on the 
opposite shore to that where he had taken soil. 

This truth was very speedily discovered by the 
noble Laird, subsequent to his crossing the bridge ; 
for after a few trials along the water side, the scent 
was recovered, and away they raced again. By this 
time, however, the "shades of evening" had well 
nigh closed in darkness o'er the large and extensive 
woodlands which cover this part of Perthshire ; 
moreover, a most impracticable country to ride over 
presented itself; obstacles which at once decided the 
question of leaving the noble stag, for the night, in 
peaceful possession of his forest home. 

The sun had, however, scarcely topped the horizon, 



178 SCOTTISH SPORTS 

ere this indefatigable sportsman called once more on 
the aid of his pets ; who, having with little delay 
recovered their game, made the welkin ring with 
their melodious voices. Chasing, however, was 
impossible, from the thickness of the underwood; 
this, nevertheless, also prevented the deer from 
putting forth his energies, and unharmed, therefore, 
he was speedily secured, to fly once more before his 
enemies on another day. 

After this brief digression, let us now return to 
our line of march, once more mount on wheels, and 
make direct for Dalwhinie, the chosen place of halt- 
ing for the night ; towards which well-known spot to 
most Highland sportsmen, for the last ten miles we 
sat on. the mail-box, in animated converse with one 
of the most eccentric whips, as far as his style of 
driving was concerned, as e'er was the doom of a 
nervous biped to make acquaintance with : now 
rattling down a narrow, stony, abrupt declivity, 
without drag or other security now whirling like 
mad up what he termed a bit of a brae then down 
a regular pitch again, with a whisk literally at right 
angles, over a narrow bridge so narrow, indeed, as 
barely to admit the passing of one carriage, beneath 
which the foaming torrent, rushing over rocks and 
stones, formed refreshing pools for trout, yet of 
sufficient depth to drown any unfortunate victim 
who might chance to be immersed therein ; which 
sort of immersion actually took place not lang syne, 
as the abigail of a noble lady now living can vouch 
for. We may, however, as well tell our neighbours, 
that this subsequently half-drowned damsel sat on 
the rumble of an English travelling chariot doubt- 
less gazing afar, in admiration of the wild mountains 
when at the very moment of being whirled over 
one of those right-angled bridges previously named, 



AND PASTIMES. 179 

the post-boy made a bad shot at the centre of the 
roadway, and the hind wheels consequently coming 
in rough contact with the projecting stones of the 
parapet, jerked the young maiden, pink ribbons and 
all, splash into a trout pool, from which, with great 
good fortune, but with much difficulty, she was 
happily recovered with life, it is true, but with a 
full determination never to pass that life with a 
mistress given to Highland travelling. 

With this event fresh in our memory for it had 
occurred only the previous summer our nerves were 
somewhat unstrung, and scarcely dared we rest our 
eyes on the wild heathered mountains, now clad 
with snow, which extended far and wide on all 
sides. Moreover, so intently was our imagination 
fixed on the manoeuvres of cecher, by whose side we 
sat, that, if the truth be known, we felt our fingers 
clutch from time to time a strap or any other safe- 
guard within grasp, as he, with hands widely ex- 
tended, in each one held a rein, and these so loosely, 
that it appeared to us utterly impossible that he 
could do aught to lighten or prevent an accident, 
should such perchance occur ; tenfold the more so, 
that any nag selected from the team he gloried in 
would have disgraced a hackney coach, though 
honoured for the time being by the arduous duty of 
dragging her Majesty's mail. Not one of these four 
animals was entirely sound ; what the one suffered 
from the loss of eye or wind, the other equally shared 
from lameness or broken knees. Time, however 
for time appears far more precious than humanity to 
Highland mail contractors was not allowed for 
these poor ill-used horses ' to fall ; a rough favour 
roughly granted : moreover, the only one, we pre- 
sume, which does perchance save the necks of some 
hundreds of English sportsmen and tourists who 



180 SCOTTISH SPORTS 

annually visit the northern capital by this Highland 
road. During the long summer's day, when the 
weather, even in its brightest garb, is clear and 
balmy, this tortuous route is wild, naked, and deso- 
late, and, save that the eye of a sportsman loves to 
dwell on trout streams and vast moorlands, it pre- 
sents but few objects of interest, with the exception 
of those derived from its peculiar barrenness of aspect 
and total absence of woodland. Fancy it, then ye 
gentlemen who sit at home at ease, snugly ensconced 
in a soft arm chair before a blazing fire as it then 
presented itself to us, clothed in Siberian garments, 
some short time previous to Christmas, and join in 
our feelings of happiness as we descended from our 
position of danger on the top of the mail ; for though 
half frozen was our life's blood, they told of nothing 
but gratitude that we still existed in unmutilated 
convalescence, to exclaim : 

" If this be the road of General Wade, 
'Tis the most damnable ever was made." 

Nevertheless, thanks to a kind Providence, here 
we arrived safe and sound at Dal whin ie ; not a 
pretty name but unquestionably a pleasant place, as 
many can vouch for with much truth as well as our- 
selves, and, moreover, a first-rate quarter for grouse 
shooting, for the merit of which assertion we may 
refer you to the Marquis of Huntly, Captain Barclay 
of Ury, the late Mr. Purcall, Mr. L. S. M'Kenzie, 
and a host of other good sportsmen and agreeable 
gentlemen, though it be, in unadorned description, 
simply a rambling, rough, stone built, barn- like 
abode, situated in the centre of a wilderness of wild- 
ness. In fact, were it possible, by magic or any 
other means, to convey a corpulent and well-fed 
alderman, whose previous existence had been passed 



AND PASTIMES. 181 

in the full enjoyment of the luxuries of the mighty 
Babylon with the rare exception of an occasional 
trip to revel on the seasonable gastronomic delights 
of white bait at Blackwall or perch at the Star and 
Garter, Richmond or even to the more distant 
Brighton, there to inhale, during the afternoon of 
each summer Saturday, fresh sea breezes for a week's 
consumption, and luxuriate on the best of soles 
were it possible, we say, to put such an amiable gen- 
tleman's head in a bag at the very moment he was 
about to lift a spoonful of luscious turtle to his 
anxious mouth, and transport him on the carpet of 
Arabia to the hostelry of Dalwhinie, we question 
whether dismay or despair, or both, would not cause 
him a fit of apoplexy. 

Yet Dalwhinie is, as we shall endeavour to illus- 
trate, a pleasant and most important locale in her 
Majesty's Gaelic dominions ; and, if the landlord who 
now reigns there be the identical individual who, in 
the time of our wanderings, was wont to provide for 
the internal requirements of mail passengers, sight- 
seeking tourists, and ardent sportsmen, we can with 
truth declare that he is a very amiable Boniface, a 
very good sheep farmer, and, moreover, he can cast a 
fly, shoot a grouse, and perform many other desirable 
things as they should be performed. Dalwhinie 
decidedly does not convey to the mind on first ap- 
pearance any very peculiar sensations of pleasure or 
of interest ; on the contrary, the extreme loneliness 
of its position, standing as it does in the very centre 
of vast heather- covered hills, the only trees visible 
within the wild expanse of moorland over which the 
eye wanders being a few stunted firs, which in some 
measure shelter the tenement, though on the wrong 
side to protect it from the keen blasts from north and 
east, as you approach its welcome doors. Never- 

11 



182 SCOTTISH SPORTS 

theless, as we have already said, it is a most im- 
portant resting place, as all will readily admit whose 
pleasure or whose duty may perchance induce their 
travelling by the Highland road from the fair city of 
Perth to the ancient capital of the north ; or from 
the banks of the Ness, on whose wide waters Meal 
Four Vournin casts his dark shadows to the afore- 
named city of " Inches :" indeed, with all the deso- 
lation and bleakness of position, it is truly a rich 
pearl in the wilderness, and if not the best road-side 
hostelry in Scotland which, after all, would not be 
saying much in its favour it is as good as the best. 
Should you perchance arrive there by the mail, when 
journeying southwards, about eight in the morning, 
you will doubtless fully concur in our opinion, while 
appeasing an appetite derived from a long night's 
journey through wild hills and over rough roads, in 
the discussion of some half score of delicious fried 
trout, fresh from the burn which rushes beneath the 
window of your breakfast parlour, in addition to an 
egg or two, warm from the nest of the cacklers in 
the yard. True, the bread you eat may have been 
baked some four days previous, but let not that dis- 
turb you, for the toast becomes more crisp, and 
whatever your displeasure it will avail you nought, 
inasmuch as no baker lives nearer at hand than 
Dunkeld or Perth on the one side, or Pitmain and 
Inverness on the other. 

The hour of halting at this welcome spot, when 
travelling towards the north by similar conveyance, 
was wont to be 5 P.M. ; then, for the reasonable out- 
lay of two shillings, you were served, without a 
moment's delay, with some well-flavoured heather- 
fed mutton ; add to this, if any addition be required, 
in the season, a hotch-potch, which, at Dalwhinie, 
requires not the " confidence" of sausages, as at most 



AND PASTIMES. 183 

other Highland inns ; fresh trout, and even salmon, 
poultry, game, and the best of custard puddings a 
standing dish for those puddingly inclined. Should 
you have a weakness for whisky there is none better 
in the Highlands, if not, ask for ale and " London" 
porter, which is admirably brewed at St. Andrew's, 
but in things, if not in persons, there is much in a 
a name in both, say we. Sherry we never there 
attempted, and port does not bear the shaking of 
Highland roads ; therefore, if you can make yourself 
contented with such international articles of ordinary 
consumption, can bear the smell of a peat fire, and 
put up with a tolerable bed, you may do far worse 
than pass a night at the " Hotel de la Poste Dal- 
whinie," which we did much to our satisfaction. 

Thus we prepared ourselves, by rest and refresh- 
ment at this our starting point, for Corryarrick on 
the morrow ; and this morrow broke bright and 
cloudless, as we walked forth early to the front of 
the inn, to look on the cold strange scene which pre- 
sented itself, as we gazed on the distant rugged and 
snow clad mountains, over which we had determined 
to make our way. 

" The morn is up again, the dewy morn, 

With breath all incense, and with cheeks all bloom, 
Laughing the clouds away with playful scorn, 

And living as if earth contained no tomb, 
And glowing into day. We may resume 
The march of our existence." 

A morning such as might be fancied from the 
above beautiful quotation from " Childe Harold," is 
that we should suggest as the most desirable for the 
excursion we were about to commence, yet, like 
many other persons as wise as ourselves, we have 
not through life habituated ourselves to follow in the 
path we have occasionally selected for our friends ; 

R 2 



184 SCOTTISH SPORTS 

and in this instance we certainly evince no selfish- 
ness, when we add, that the whole earth, or, more 
properly speaking, the whole expanse of snow for 
nought else was visible sparkled and glittered in 
the sun's rays, and the air intensely keen, but clear 
and bracing, seemed to invigorate and nerve us for 
the hazardous undertaking of mounting the steep 
sides of Corryarrick, at all times no easy route, and 
now made doubly difficult from the various impedi- 
ments offered by the snow, and others consequent on 
the late period of the season. Having determined, 
however, to enjoy the beauties of nature's wildness 
in her wintry garb, we had greater inducement for 
attempting this route, and although many strange 
tales of danger and difficulty are still told of it, we 
were by no means deterred. Nevertheless, w r hile we 
were awaiting the commissariat department, in the 
way of kippered salmon and sundry grilled chops of 
heather-fed mutton, in order to prepare us for the 
line of march, we may tell our readers, that on one 
occasion a poor woman, who followed in the rear of 
a detachment who were marching over Corryarrick 
during the winter, embarrassed and fatigued by the 
difficulties of the route, and the additional care of an 
infant which she held in her arms, sat down on the 
mountain to rest, still keeping sight of the receding 
troop of soldiers, as they straggled irregularly down 
the zigzag path towards the valley of the Ness, in 
which stands the military station of Fort Augustus, 
whither they were marching. Overcome by fatigue 
and the inclemency of the weather, she fell asleep, 
and although, on her being missed, several parties 
were sent forth from the Fort to seek her, it was not 
till the following morning she was discovered by a 
shepherd reclining against a stone, nearly covered 
with snow. The poor woman was then quite dead, 



AND PASTIMES. 185 

but the infant at her breast, probably from the affec- 
tionate care it had received from a tender mother till 
the last moment of her existence, was not absolutely 
lifeless. On being immediately removed to the Fort, 
every attention which humanity could suggest was 
tendered to the poor child by the wife of the go- 
vernor, and the energies of life were at once fully 
restored to it ; not so, however, the use of its limbs, 
till after weeks of constant care, unremitting kind- 
ness, and unwearied attention. Many soldiers were 
also formerly lost during their march over Corry- 
arrick. But the world now wags apace, and in these 
days we understand the power of contending even 
with natural difficulties far better than did our grand- 
papas. Ladies, and delicate ones too, therefore now 
ride on horseback half way up the steep sides of Ben 
Lawers, and many a fair damsel we wot of would be 
nothing loth to face the more hazardous Corry Zig- 
zag, even during a rough autumnal day, on a tho- 
rough bred ; and thus may a sportsman presume to 
attempt it in December. 

The pass of Corry arrick is one of the ancient mili- 
tary ways, now termed Parliamentary roads we 
surmise from the fact of these ways being more tor- 
tuous, more rough, and more difficult to follow, than 
most other ways, be it highway or byeway. Neither 
difficulties nor dangers, however, deterred us from 
attempting it; und having therefore hired a one- 
horse open car that is to say, a ramshackly, broken- 
springed, four-wheeled carriage with a trusty 
gillie as companion, guide, and driver, we bade adieu 
to the comforts of Dalwhinie, and started on our 
expedition at an early hour, being determined to 
make as rapid progress as possible till the road 
would no longer admit of our travelling on wheels. 
Arrived at this point, we halted at a rude sort of 

n 3 



186 SCOTTISH SPORTS 

slieilling, half stone, half turf, in the neighbourhood 
of which we were enabled to secure three strong 
Highland ponies, on one of which we strapped our 
light baggage, and with the aid of the others and our 
legs we prepared to approach the Zig-zag ; not, how- 
ever, till we had obtained some information as to the 
practicability of the route, while we sat warming 
ourselves by a peat fire, the smoke from which, now 
struggling through the thatched roof, now filling the 
low room with its density, half stifled us. Never- 
theless, warmed, refreshed, and amused by this brief 
delay, we renewed our onward path the gillie in 
advance, with the cavalry and baggage ; \vhile we, 
having loaded our guns, prepared ourselves in the 
hope of securing a brace of grouse or a duck or two, 
of which there are abundance on the banks of the 
Spey. And thus we walked cheerfully up the accli- 
vity which led to the far more abrupt ascent of the 
mountain ; while our preparations for sport proved 
so far successful, that we managed to kill a white 
hare, a brace of grouse, and a wild duck no bad 
commencement for our Christinas pie ; for which 
depredation we beg to offer our apologies to Cluny 
M'Pherson, to whom, we imagine, they justly be- 
longed. From all we have heard, however, of that 
Highland laird, we feel satisfied, that so far from 
creating his anger, he would have permitted a double 
slaughter for so laudable an undertaking ; and we 
shall not forget to toast him in a bumper, the moment 
we have secured the wherewith. 

At length, arrived at the foot of the Zigzag, we 
looked with astonishment, if not awe and admiration, 
on the rugged sides of Corryarrick ; still more so, 
when informed that the strange and precipitous 
staircase, of a mile and a half in length, we were 
about to climb, would entail on us another descent 



AND PASTIMES. 187 

though a less steep and less rough one of nine miles, 
ere tree or shrub, or track or trace of human habita- 
tion, would again greet us. * Such a route, therefore, 
at all periods, all seasons, and during all weathers, 
cannot fail to strike the heart with feelings of desola- 
tion ; but how much stronger must be these sensa- 
tions when that desolation is clothed in the garb of 
winter ! Yet as the sun still shone on the white 
expanse of snow, and sparkled on each mountain 
top, we could not resist recurring to a fact we had 
once heard related, in reference to the wild pass we 
were about to enter. 



188 SCOTTISH SPORTS 



CHAPTER XIII. 

IF memory does not fail us, it was in the year 
1746 that a detachment of the 24th regiment were 
marching, one brilliant day in summer-time, from 
Fort Augustus over Corryarrick, en route to the 
south, when the officer in command, doubtless a 
lover of such wild and beautiful scenery, ordered his 
men to march down the Zigzag in single file, direct- 
ing, at the same time, that the baggage and women 
should bring up the rear on horseback. Such an 
appearance, in such a desert, must doubtless have 
formed a picture of no common interest ; and many 
an artist would have gloried thus to have witnessed 
the brilliant sunshine glittering on the arms of this 
little warlike host, whose military costume, contrast- 
ing with the dark and rugged mountains, through 
which, in a living mile of zigzag, they defiled, must 
have added greatly to the scene. It would have 
pleased us well had we met with such a sight , not a 
living being, however, or a living thing, save here 
and there a croaking raven, greeted our footsteps, as 
we toiled up the hard and snowy frozen mountain side. 
But we must dwell more briefly on such scenes, how- 
ever interesting, for they are within the reach of all 
who visit the Highlands, and this number has now 
become legion. 

At length, however, we attained the wished for 
summit, on which extends a small plain, probably 



AND PASTIMES. 189 

the third of a mile in circumference ; and there, on 
that spot, we once more halted, in order to select the 
most favourable position for enjoying the extensive 
view, which had been the principal object that in- 
duced us to undertake so rough an excursion at so 
unseasonable a period of the year. With this intent, 
having mounted on a neighbouring rock, we cast a 
rapid glance on all sides ; a glance, however, suffi- 
cient to recall the following beautiful sentiment " I 
live not in myself, but I become portion of that 
around me." 

"And to me, 

High mountains are a feeling, but the hum 

Of human cities' torture : 

I can see nothing to loath in nature/' 

CHILDE HAROLD. 

It had previously been our good fortune, during 
many seasons, both in summer's warmth and sun- 
shine, and during winter's frost and gloom, to visit 
many a mountain path, and stand on many a moun- 
tain summit. O'er the Siinplon we have travelled 
when the green leaf hung thick on the woodland 
valley ; the Mount Cenis we have crossed in wintry 
desolation ; the Pyrenees, the Alps, the Morean 
Mountains, and Etna's smoking pinnacle, we have 
seen ; and many another rocky mountain have we 
wandered over. Yet with all the resplendent beauty of 
many, and all the varied interests of others to 
many, indeed most of which, Corryarrick can only be 
compared as a hill, yet it nevertheless surpasses all 
in peculiarity of feature, and curiosity of prospect 
attained therefrom. 

From its grassy summit for sheep might be, and 
are, we believe, there fed- no distant lakes or ma- 
jestic rivers, no leafy glens, no rich vales, no life- 
thronged towns or even hamlets, rich woodlands or 
sheltered cots, appear ; but one boundless expanse or 



190 SCOTTISH SPORTS 

rough ocean of mountains and hills, whose tops seem 
to wave one beyond the other to the distant sea in 
the west, as on every other side as far as the eye can 
reach, to the marked outline of the horizon. In fact, 
nothing but the eye of life can convey to the mind 
any adequate idea of that snow-clad scene as we then 
beheld it, and which so entirely repaid us for our 
unseasonable, or some may add, fool-hardy excursion 
the sensations inspired from which it would be 
impossible clearly to explain. The homeward flight 
of the ravens, however, if home they possess, together 
with the intensity of the cold, told us we had suffi- 
ciently for the nonce admired this wilderness of snowy 
mountains ; therefore, having fired a distant shot with- 
out effect at one of these black wanderers, in order to 
break the desolation of stillness which reigned on all 
sides, we descended from our rocky eminence and 
hastened to overtake the gillie with his ponies, in 
order to ride down the long and interesting descent 
towards Laga-ne-viene. If the ascent of Corryarrick 
by the zigzag route approached from Dalwhinie is 
rugged, precipitous, and interesting from its very 
wildness and desolation ; the less abrupt, but far 
longer ascent towards Laga-ne-viene or the Hollow 
of Milk, as it is termed at which point, when tra- 
velling from Fort Augustus, the base of Corryarrick 
commences offers no less abundance of picturesque 
beauty. All, however, is wild mountain and barren 
heathered hill, till you cross the river TarfF, when 
the hanging woods and rocky bed of the stream 
form a delightful relief from the interminable hills 
over which you have hitherto passed ; and yet these 
hills, bleak as they are from situation as from ap- 
pearance, afford admirable pasture for sheep, and 
formerly abundant black cattle ranged over their 
extensive sides. 



AND PASTIMES. 191 

As the evening approached, however, we at length 
quitted the rugged hill, and, with little regret, beheld 
some signs of human habitation. During our descent, 
we had added another mountain hare to our meagrely 
filled game bag : this kept up the excitement. As 
the wintry evening closed, however, the sky became 
overcast ; and the brilliant sun, which hitherto had 
so kindly favoured our footsteps, gave way to gloom 
and dreariness, with every appearance of a fall: 
human nature also began to cry peccavi, as excite- 
ment gave way to fatigue ; and in truth, our day's 
march had been one of no usual nature, either for 
mind or body. With no little delight, therefore, 
did we hail the curling smoke which issued from the 
roof of each cottage, which even in their primitive 
and humble appearance, if not of cleanliness a rare 
virtue in such parts told at least of warmth and 
shelter from the rude wintry blast, and caused us to 
increase our lagging and weary efforts to receive the 
welcome we knew we might expect when we reached 
the quarters of the amiable and hospitable command- 
ant of Fort Augustus. The night had nevertheless 
closed in darkness ere we crossed the drawbridge by 
which the Fort is entered ; and never was sportsman 
or tourist who felt half the gratification we did when 
relieved from our rough walking costume : warm 
and refreshed, we took our place at the well-covered 
board of smoking dainties, of which we were so 
kindly made to share. The dinner over, shutters 
and curtains closed, we drew our chairs around the 
blazing fire, composed of turf and sparkling fir logs ; 
and having mixed a smoking tumbler just to keep 
the cold claret in order, and lighted our cigars, many 
a Highland tale of lang syne was told, and many an 
anecdote as exciting as the punch. Absent friends 
were toasted, and scenes in our own dear England 



192 SCOTTISH SPORTS 

dwelt on till the hour of midnight, and increasing 
fatigue told us that it was time to rest : and ere 
another hour passed, we slept soundly in a comfort- 
able apartment within the precincts of that Fort, 
where in days of yore the military watch had paced 
his lonely rounds, and many a military carouse had 
closed the hours of day in the very room we had 
been so kindly greeted. 

The December morning broke heavily, and all was 
leaden dulness as we threw aside the shutters of our 
sleeping-room, and looked out from the windows of 
the Fort on the strange, wild, and wintry scene 
which presented itself a scene from which the 
mind gathers fresh interest, in the knowledge of its 
being one of which history has many a tale to tell ; 
for there, amid those rugged mountains, had wandered 
an unhappy Prince, after the battle of Culloden, 
hunted like a beast of prey from glen to glen, yet 
not less welcome to the hearts and hearths of his 
misguided but faithful followers ; and scarcely a 
neighbouring hill presents itself, but could tell some 
sad tale of sorrow and rebellion. Once more we 
looked 011 the wide waters of the Ness, whose glassy 
stillness and dark-looking surface contrasted strangely 
with the bright and sparkling picture which w r e had 
dwelt on the previous summer, when we had rowed 
along its woody banks on our way to Invermoriston, 
whose hospitable domain we were about once more 
to enter, previous to visiting the northern capital, 
where we shall halt but briefly. 

Meal Four Yournin's towering pinnacle, now 
deeply clad in snowy garb, still held aloft his hoary 
head, as if in pride of place he stood a steel clad 
sentinel over the dark pine, oak forests, and scattered 
hamlets, whose curling smoke rose here and there 
through the still and dark solemnity of the valley. 



AND PASTIMES. 193 

The same noble deer-hound, still, heedless of the 
inclemency of the season, lay stretched on the frozen 
lawn, rising but slowly, as we drove up to the castle- 
door, to welcome visitors, which, with a glance, this 
extraordinary animal's instinct was satisfied were no 
intruders. As usual, the kind-hearted and hospitable 
Laird greeted us with the warmly given hand of 
welcome ; and had we been enabled to accept his 
generous offers that we should remain a few days in 
glen, those days might probably have been swelled 
into months, ere we should have been considered as 
intruders. Time, however, awaits the pleasure of 
no man ; add to which the dark and lowering sky 
gave strong evidence of a coming snow storm of no 
gentle order ; and notwithstanding our anticipations 
and desires for such a down-falling, we by no means 
rejoiced at the probability of such being realized so 
as to necessitate our detention as a witness of its 
furies in a Highland glen. While we halt, however, 
to shake hands with the good Laird of Glenmoriston, 
and take advantage of his local knowledge, in order 
to make practical our wishes of crossing the Ness 
near the fall of Foyers, for the purpose of proceeding 
thence by the southern bank to Inverness, we will 
beg leave to lay before our sporting friends some 
further interesting details in reference to that portion 
of the Highlands where stands his ancient abode, 
amid its surrounding extent of sporting quarters ; 
but more particularly with regard to those his more 
immediate property details which we humbly 
flatter ourselves will be eagerly perused by a large 
portion of those who annually visit the moors during 
the grousing season. With 'this hope, we shall pro- 
ceed to name the several quarters now let by Glen- 
nioriston, /. e. Mr. Grant, together with a rough 
calculation of the game killed thereon during the 

s 



194 SCOTTISH SPOETS 

last season, the very naming of which amount causes 
a sort of sporting palpitation about the regions of 
the heart. 

The most extensive of these quarters is that of 
Dundregan, in Glenmoriston, tenanted by Sir H. 
Meux. On this most desirable ground there is a 
very comfortable residence, affording ample accom- 
modation, and ample sport for four guns ; which 
may be readily conceived, when we state that the 
moors over which the shootings range, may be esti- 
mated at fifty thousand acres. 

Sir Henry, from all accounts, for we have not the 
pleasure of his acquaintance, is an amiable man, and 
a first-rate sportsman. In proof of which obser- 
vation, we may state, that he is highly popular 
among the inhabitants of the glen, of whose comfort 
he is not unmindful while following his own plea- 
sures conduct, which all who imitate, will find to 
their advantage. And by a careful, but not selfish, 
preservation of his game, it is yearly found on the 
increase. 

The amount of game killed at this quarter during 
the last season, as far as we have been enabled to 
ascertain, was not less than one thousand brace of 
grouse, in addition, to a very large amount of black 
game and ptarmigan, with the glorious addition of 
seven or eight red deer. 

Forsooth, a sportsman's mouth may well water at 
such delicate provision for his pastime. For our- 
selves, had we such a chance, we should scarcely 
close an eyelid from the 1st, till the 12th of August 
had caused bodily strength to give way to mental 
excitement. 

Knocky is another admirable quarter on Glen- 
moriston's estate. These moors are, however, divided 
from the land on which the castle stands by the 



AND PASTIMES. 195 

waters of Loch Ness ; yet immediately opposite to 
it, on the southern side of the lake. This shooting 
is now let to Mr. Perry, but will be occupied, we 
understand, during the present season, by Lord 
Guernsey and his friends. Its range is of much 
smaller extent that that of Dundregan, and may be 
estimated at about fifteen thousand acres, but in 
many respects it is equally desirable. The house is 
well situated, and has good accommodation for a 
party of four ; moreover, it is a suitable and pleasant 
residence during the autumnal months, for ladies 
always, in our opinion, not only most welcome, but 
a charming addition to the delights of a shooting 
excursion, as in all other places and at all other 
times. 

The game on the Knocky moors consists exclu- 
sively of grouse and black game, both of which are, 
nevertheless, so abundant as to have admitted of a 
thinning of seven hundred brace last year. Mr. 
Grant is also the proprietor of the well known beau- 
tiful estate of Foyers ; the romantic charms of which 
have, however, been so frequently dwelt on by abler 
pens than ours and, moreover, it is a spot so well 
known to Highland tourists, that it scarcely needs 
comment here. As a shooting quarter, nevertheless, 
it offers numerous advantages, with which few others 
in Scotland can attempt to vie. The house, though 
old, as is the furniture it contains, cannot be classed 
with the usual residences generally found on the 
hills, (and which, save by the gamekeeper or gillie 
left in charge, are rarely occupied except during the 
shooting season,) inasmuch as it has been tenanted 
as a constant family residence, the head of which 
might enjoy his mornings on the surrounding moors, 
while his loved ones, surrounded with magnificent 

s2 



196 SCOTTISH SPOUTS 

scenery, would find their Highland home both 
interesting and agreeable. 

To this residence, which, embosomed in trees, 
stands close on the borders of the lake, there is 
attached a good garden ; and moreover, the steamer 
which plies almost daily from Glasgow to Inverness, 
and vice versa, presents a means not only of reaching 
this beautiful spot from England or elsewhere with 
facility and little expense, but is also a most desirable 
carrier for the wants of human nature and human 
pastime, which otherwise could not be obtained in 
the glen. 

This desirable quarter is now held by Mr. Majori- 
banks ; so " coute qui coute" however long the 
rent may run, there is little fear of a u cheque." 
The extent of the estate, let with Foyers, may be 
estimated at twenty thousand acres : and though we 
are not precisely aware what may be the annual 
amount of game killed thereon, yet, calculating 
roughly, we should say five hundred brace of grouse 
is under the mark. There are also abundance of 
black game, as also red-deer and roe-deer : owing 
however to this shooting having hitherto constantly 
changed its tenants, the game has had little rest or 
preservation. 

Glenmoriston has also another agreeable small 
shooting quarter, adjacent to Foyers, on the southern 
side of the Ness, let at a very inconsiderable rent to 
Lord Lovat ; but this has always formed a portion of 
his well known shooting of Killin. 

In addition to all these pearls in the wilderness, 
he holds for his own sport a good extent of ground 
in the immediate neighbourhood of the castle, which 
runs up the beautiful glen of Moriston for about 
seven miles, and offers ample sport to himself and 



AND PASTIMES. 197 

friends. The amount generally killed thereon, has 
averaged about five hundred brace of grouse ; and 
as the birds are now spreading over a large portion 
of the hill, where hitherto few were found, they will 
greatly increase. But the pride of the place is the 
deer forest, which extends along four miles of wood- 
land, enclosing five thousand acres, and joins with a 
deer forest of Lord Lo vat's, in both of which a 
glorious tale of venison may be yearly told. 

Sir H. Meux, the tenant of Dundregan, has this 
year, we are informed, taken the sheep from a por- 
tion of his ground and laid it under deer. It will 
naturally take some years to stock it, but in three 
he will find sport. And thus will this, one of the 
most noble of noble sports, ere long merit for its motto, 
" Aucto splendore resurgam" in a glen, where nature 
has been so bountiful in beauty, and princes have 
been welcomed by its inhabitants, who have proved 
alike their honour as their faith, by succouring an 
unhappy fugitive amid its wilds, in spite of golden 
offers which even the cravings of hunger could not 
tempt. 



s 3 



198 SCOTTISH SPOBTS 



CHAPTER XIV. 

BUT \ve must wander on, or be buried in the 
snow. We preferred the former; and with this 
intent we secured a vehicle similar to that provided 
by the lassie at Invcrouran that is, a cart, to convey 
our baggage to the spot where we crossed to Foyers, 
and took a hasty look at the waterfall, which, truly 
beautiful as it is in summer sunshine, is scarcely less 
interesting when the pendant icicles hang in myriads 
on its rocky sides. On these beauties, however, we 
must not dwell. Solemn, grand, and gloomy as they 
were, bedecked in Christmas garb, yet we may truly 
say, 

" To climb the trackless mountain all unseen, 
With the wild flock, that never needs a fold ; 

Alone o'er steeps and foaming falls to lean : 
This is not solitude ; 'tis but to hold 

Converse with nature's charms, and view her stores unrolled." 

The short winter's day, however, gave us little 
time for loitering by the way. And, as it was, dark 
night had well nigh hidden the surrounding scene 
ere we found ourselves snugly seated before a blazing 
fire, at the Union Hotel at Inverness, where we pur- 
posed to make one day's halt, and then to steer our 
course southward. Due time, good neighbours, was 
it not ? for the new year was already near at hand, 
and the keen winds of the north country had already 



AXD PASTIMES. 199 

well iiigh blown through and through us. In fact, 
we began seriously to consider that wandering, 
sporting, and sight-seeing in the Highlands was a 
very agreeable mode of passing the autumnal 
months, but rather an unruly taste in winter ; so w r e 
must refer our readers to others, should they require 
any prolific detail of Inverness. 

This much, however, we can say, and say truly ; 
the situation of this ancient capital of the north, if 
not interesting, pleasing, or beautiful when the snow 
is on the mountain-top, nevertheless lies snug in 
peace and shelter ; and when the bright sun of 
summer sparkles on the Ness, it must be a pleasant 
pastime to stand on the bridge which crosses that 
river from east to west, and watch the silvery fish 
which gambol in its waters. 

We stood on this bridge, even on the bleak day of 
our sojourn there, and were casting, not a fly, but an 
eye around us, when it fell on a sort of iron grating, 
or trap-door, in the centre of the carriage-way, 
Curious to ascertain the utility of such a dungeon, 
we accosted a Highlander, passing at the time, for 
information, and were not a little suprised at the 
prompt and courteous answer we received. " That 
sir," said he, " was the ancient prison of the town ; 
many a felon was there confined, not half a century 
since. As you will observe, there was no escaping 
below save into the Ness, or above without discovery, 
between \vhich and drowning there was but the 
choice. On one occasion, however, when the jailor 
proceeded to supply a thief confined there with 
his morning's meal, he discovered that the rats 
had taken time by the forelock, and made a meal of 
his person during the night. The law was not 
pleased with such interference on their parts, 
consequently the place was abandoned as a 



200 SCOTTISH SPORTS 

prison, and remains, as you see, only as a subject of 
curiosity." 

"Very curious, indeed, and very disgusting," said 
we, thanking him for his tale ; which, if true and 
we have since heard it repeated reflects no great 
credit on the humanity of those who could be guilty 
of consigning a fellow-man to such a fate ; but since 
the days of Cromwell they have prided themselves 
on the purity of their English pronunciation, if not 
on the purity of their actions. And with these 
feelings we returned to the hotel, of which there are 
two for selection at Inverness, large enough and 
good enough to satisfy all who are not very mag- 
nificent and fastidious in their requirements ; the 
choice we must leave to those who travel so far 
north. 

In winter, Inverness is as dull a place, we surmise, 
as may be ; but during the four months of the 
sporting season, it wears a garb of cheerfulness and 
prosperity, with which few towns in the north can 
vie. Steamers from London, coaches from Perth, 
and steamers from Glasgow, which ply vid Loch 
Ness, and pass through, and near to, some of the 
finest scenery in Scotland, bring shoals of visitors 
and sportsmen ; and, in fact, what, generally speaking, 
is a dull Highland town, then becomes a lively place 
of pleasure. But we must be off, for thicker and 
darker are the clouds which hang over the summits 
of Meal Four Vournin. 

The starting hour of Her Majesty's mail from 
Inverness is, or rather was at the period to which we 
refer, 2 A.M. of all hours probably the most incon- 
venient and most objectionable to those who purpose 
travelling thereby. Should you retire early, for a 
few hours rest previous to your departure, at the 
Very moment that you sink into a sound nap, the 



AND PASTIMES. 201 

horn of the guard apprises you of that which 
the waiter, notwithstanding the strict injunctions he 
has received to arouse you in good time, of course, 
has omitted ; thus leaving you only a few minutes 
for slipping on your breeks and taking your seat ; 
whereas, should you endeavour, by snoozing on a 
sofa, to prepare for your journey, you arise feverish 
and fatigued before that journey has actually com- 
menced. Nevertheless, such was our doom, and this 
not on a bright moonlight morning in Midsummer, 
but on a dark, dense, lowering morning of Christmas 
time, with the snow already a foot deep on the 
ground, and then falling so fast, as to leave scarcely 
a doubt that the Highland road would be well nigh 
impassable ere mid- day. 

We have already alluded to our anxiety to proceed 
to the south, together with our anticipated hope of wit- 
nessing a Highland snow-storm a hope w r hich was 
about to be realized, somewhat more roughly, however, 
than we had bargained for. Yet, notwithstanding 
all the horrors depicted to us by the worthy landlord 
of the Union, should the probable event arrive of 
our being detained for a month in some rude wayside 
shielling with nothing to eat but oatmeal, and little 
to drink but whisky with the further possibility of 
being dug out, half dead, from a snow-drift having 
formed our plans, we were determined to put them 
into practice ; and having, therefore, bid adieu to 
our amiable companion over Corryarrick, who was 
about to proceed to Aberdeen, well and warmly clad, 
we took our seat in the mail. The horn of the 
guard apprised the waking Invernessians that their 
hopes, fears, and wishes, sentimental and commercial, 
were safe in the letter-bag, and away we started 
the very necessary addition of a pair of leaders having 



202 SCOTTISH SPORTS 

been made to the four ill-conditioned nags which 
formed our team. 

Without the coach there was not a passenger, and 
within, save ourselves, but one, whom we very soon 
ascertained to be a commercial individual or, pro- 
bably we ought to say, commercial gentleman 
who would doubtless have preferred his ease at his 
inn, if duty had not made it indispensably necessary 
that he should make an attempt to get forward to 
Glasgow ; and doubtless, having satisfied his mind 
on this point, he slunk into the corner of the vehicle, 
with the full intention of sleeping, as much as possible, 
throughout the journey in which determination, 
however, he was doomed to be wofully disappointed. 
Our party, therefore, if not a pleasant one, was a 
small one, consisting of coachy, guard, post-boy, 
bagsman, and our wandering self. 

For a few miles we travelled on snug enough, but 
a peep from the window told us all was white with- 
out, and the snow fell faster and thicker ; thus we 
continued till we had performed probably two -thirds 
of the first stage, when a tremenduous bump, and 
then a lurch, roused us from a slight doze ; or rather 
the ejection from our friend in the opposite corner 
into our lap, convinced us something was wrong. 
In order to satisfy ourselves of this fact, however, 
we let down the window sash, when, true enough, 
there we were, fast in a snow-drift, in the very centre 
of a vast and wild looking moorland; the moon, 
notwithstanding the fast falling snow, however, still 
gave ample light clearly to enable us to distinguish 
all objects around, as well as the more distant moun- 
tains. And thus our curiosity had very speedily 
been gratified, for here, in truth, was a picture which 
surpassed all we had hitherto beheld on canvass. 

Naturally enough, we jumped out of the coach, 



AND PASTIMES. 203 

knee deep in snow, to assist the guard and post-boy, 
who were already hard at work, endeavouring to clear 
the way spades, &c., being always carried by the 
Highland mail guards during the winter ; and at 
length, by the aid of six horses, we were once more 
fairly en route. 

During the whole of this time, however, the 
" commercial gentleman" dozed snugly in the interior; 
which convinced us of one fact, that he must have 
been a dealer in grocery. 

Having so far effected our escape from the moor, 
we made tolerable progress for about two miles 
farther, and were in great hopes of reaching the 
first place of changing without further interruption. 
Such, however, was not to be ; for within sight of 
the welcome haven we once more sank deeply in a 
snow-drift of far greater depth than the former one. 
Snap went the traces of the leaders, and down went 
the horse on which the post boy rode, almost burying 
the lad, as well as himself, in the snow. The wind 
had risen considerably, and the snow flakes fell larger, 
foster, and more dense. Oh ! what a hideous night 
it was ! there we were, truly, in a snow storm, and 
that of no common order. What was to be done ? 
We really began to think we had acted a mad part. 
To move the carriage was impossible, and to reach 
the shelter of the inn almost as impracticable. At 
first, it was proposed that the whole party should 
take refuge in the inside,* and quietly await the 
break of day : to this, however, the guard made ob- 
jections, and just ones. He was desirous, if possible, 

* A case of this nature actually occurred, as early as the 
29th of October, 1842, in Scotland; when with several others 
we sat in the mail four hours awaiting the break of day, in 
order to recover the line of road, which from the density of 
the snow-storm we had lost. 



204 SCOTTISH SPORTS 

to get forward with the mail-bags on horseback ; and 
was equally aware that, if the storm coiitinned 
another half-hour, it would prevent the possibility 
of moving the coach either forwards or backwards. 
His advice was therefore listened to viz., that the 
coachman should make his way back to Inverness, 
while he, strapping the mail-bags on one of the 
leaders, would endeavour to reach the first stage on 
the other. 

On our parts, however, this arrangement was by 
no means satisfactory : we had not the most remote 
desire of being snowed up for a month at Inverness, 
and still less of retracing our steps, even for a league, 
in company with the immovable bagsman, who had 
not even been disturbed by our second fixation in the 
drift, and who, for ought we know to the contrary, 
still sleeps in the mail. Consequently, with a little 
persuasion, we at length prevailed on the guard to 
accept our companionship, and forthwith mounted on 
the horse which carried the mail-bags. 

We thus started for the little hostelry of Moy, 
which, after various struggles, both of horse and 
man, we at length reached in safety, leaving the 
remainder of the party to return from whence they 
came. 

Having arrived so far, however, we were deter- 
mined neither to succumb to persuasion, nor fear of 
the dangers hinted at, should we continue our route 
during the night. The guard was determined, with 
a praiseworthy zeal, to proceed with the mail-bags if 
practicable. And if in his intention he could suc- 
ceed, why should not another, with such arguments 
strengthened by the addition of a little siller ? We 
at length obtained a horse, on the back of which was 
strapped our share of the bags ; and having wrapped 
ourselves snugly in as many outward garments as it 



PASTIMES, 205 

was possible to move in, we obtained a couple of 
guides, and once more started towards the south, 
our next point of halting being the bridge of Car. 

It would be as uninteresting to our readers, how- 
ever, as tedious to ourselves, were we to dwell from 
stage to stage of that most hazardous and exhausting 
journey, which we nevertheless performed in safety, 
having ridden through actual ravines, and over 
mountains of snow and wilderness, on every variety 
of cattle, from the cart-horse to the broken-down 
thoroughbred, a distance of seventy-two miles to 
Dalnarcardock ; and this during one of the most 
severe snow-storms which had been known for years 
in Scotland, beating directly in our faces for the greater 
portion of the night. 

On quitting Moy, what with the continued fury of 
the snow, and utter impossibility of finding the road 
across the vast moors, our difficulties greatly in- 
creased ; and various were the rolls in the snow, in 
which the whole party shared. After riding for 
several hours, however, we at length reached Avie- 
more, at which snug little hostelry we obtained some 
hot and refreshing tea. On starting again from 
thence, we were happily greeted by a change of 
weather : the storm gradually relaxed in fury the 
mist cleared from the mountain -tops and the bright 
and frosty sun broke in brilliancy o'er the snow- 
covered landscape. The effect was truly exhilarating, 
after the difficulties and dangers we had experienced 
during the night ; which may be conceived when 
we add, that the snow in many places where it had 
drifted was higher than the animals we rode, and in 
all others at least two feet in depth. 

But now we could see clearly. Moreover, the 
road became more decided in its demarkation, so 
that we advanced with renewed courage the intense 



206 SCOTTISH SPORTS 

pain of the bones of the face, and an occasional 
somerset, being all we had to complain of, till once 
more we came in sight of the " Hotel de la Poste 
Dalwhinie," about two hours after mid-day. Thus 
we had already been twelve hours exposed in rambling 
through the mountains. 

At Dalwhinie we found a large party crowding 
round the smoky peat fires, who had arrived so far 
by mail from the south ; but their vehicle having 
being left half buried in a drift, several miles on 
the road, they had walked through the snow to Dal- 
whinie, where there was every chance of their re- 
maining a fortnight, without they ventured on horse- 
back, as we had done for which few seemed 
inclined. 

At Dalwhinie having procured a good basin of hot 
broth, we again mounted fresh nags, and leaving the 

Cr to amuse one another, we rode forward to 
arcardock, at which place we found the road so 
much improved, and so comparatively free from 
snow, that having obtained a post-chaise, in which 
the four animals prepared for the mail were har- 
nessed, we got snugly into the interior, with the 
comfort of lighted cigars to prevent rheumatism. 
And thus we travelled the remaining distance to 
Perth, at which city we arrived about two hours 
after midnight. 

Thus we had been twenty-four hours in performing 
a distance of 1 1 7 miles : and this, considering the 
intensity of the cold, the violence of the storm, and 
the variety of difficulties we had to contend with, 
was by many considered no easy task. At all events, 
we had accomplished our desires : we had crossed 
Corryarrick when snow clad, and witnessed a snow- 
storm when travelling over the highest and wildest 
route in the Highlands. We can never regret the 



AND PASTIMES. 207 

former; indeed we suggest to many to do the same. 
Of the latter, we can only add, that while we were 
certainly not disappointed with the severity of the 
storm, and can most fully credit the numberless 
deaths and accidents which arise therefrom in the 
Highlands, yet it was the first and will be the last 
we shall willingly encounter. The excitement and 
absolute necessity of action while on our journey 
had caused us, for the time being, to think little of 
the aches and pains which the exposure to the air 
would cause us to endure on entering a heated 
room. However, the effect was instantaneous ; phy- 
sical powers forced to their utmost extent, gave 
way; and for weeks we scarcely recovered the 
effects of our winter excursion. 

During our ride over the hills, we not only saw 
abundant grouse, but whirled by one of the fiercest 
gusts of the storm, a bird was actually driven against 
the horse ridden by the mail guard ; which we se- 
cured, and which is added to our store of stuffed 
birds, in memory of the past. 



208 SCOTTISH SPORTS 



CHAPTER XV. 

IN addition to many we have already named, there 
are a variety of most interesting and desirable sport- 
ing quarters that may be visited without difficulty 
throughout the Highlands of Scotland, which afford 
alike, beauty sufficient to attract the lover of fine 
wild moorland scenery, and far more than interest to 
him who, while he wanders on mountain and through 
glen in search of nature's multiplicity of charms, 
hears with the ear of a sportsman the chirping of the 
grouse, which rise ever and anon from the flowery 
heather through which he treads knee-deep ; and 
looks afar, by the aid of his glass, at a hundred 
antlers which roam the hill tops : indeed, nothing can 
exceed the exhilarating effects which thrill through 
the heart of a man, far more so of a sportsman, who 
during the autumnal months visits the Highlands, 
even as we have already said, though he only look 
with longing eye, and dare not shoot. The abundant 
bright rushing torrents from the mountains ; the 
salmon rivers, and salmon pools ; the rippling trout 
streams; the scattered coverts which harbour the 
graceful roe-deer, and the deep historical interest of 
the Highlands, which carry back the mind in a thou- 
sand sources of excitement obtainable in few other 
spots in Europe. 

Among these sporting quarters, we should not 
forget to name that of Ardverykie, which borders 



AND PASTIMES. 209 

Loch Laggan, extending far towards the south, over 
mountain and heathered hill, for many thousand 
acres. There, on those vast hills, may be found 
every species of Highland game in abundance, to 
say last, but certainly not least, that each year the 
red- deer in the forest become more numerous, till 
we may live to see the herds which originally, un- 
disturbed, ranged over these vast territories in thou- 
sands, attain their former number and size. At a 
convenient, we may say, beautifully chosen spot on 
this shooting, within gunshot of the wide waters of 
Loch Laggan, stands the Highland shooting quarter, 
or what may be more properly termed the Highland 
autumnal sporting residence, of the Marquis of Aber- 
corn; and there, indeed, is an example of the effect 
of wealth ! for what was, probably, in days lang syne, 
the sheilling of some lawless wanderer in the moun- 
tains, who lived on the produce of the chase afforded 
him in wild expanse of forest and of moor and 
whose larder was ever well stocked with the salted 
venison haunch of the red-deer, as with the kippered 
salmon and dark trout from the lake hard by, with 
an occasional side of mutton, by way of variety, from 
the neighbouring farmer's flock ; and thence became 
the residence of some northern sheep farmer, -is 
now a comparative palace in the wilderness, the 
windows of which, glittering in the rays of the sink- 
ing sun, shew the shadows of their number in the 
calm and glassy surface of the Laggan. Could but 
the forefathers of some of the present Lairds, who re- 
joice in the increased revenues which the love of 
sport draws from English pockets to doubly line their 
purses, rise from the dead, and cast but one glance in 
this mirror of Laggan, great would be their con- 
sternation, doubtless, as they witnessed the sight of 
many and many chimney tops reflecting therein ; the 

T 3 



210 SCOTTISH SPORTS 

smoke from which, smelling not of peat, floats away 
in the clear air of the mountain, and is caused by 
many a coal fire or heated stove, over which a French 
gastronomic artist watches in cap and apron : now 
tasting the soup, d la grouse, now inspecting the 
cotelette de saumon or truite d Vhuile, to say nothing 
of the venison yes, the true mountain-fed, high- 
flavoured, glorious venison haunch, which slowly 
turns before a well-ranged grate. 

But far greater would be the extent of their amaze- 
ment, even to the standing of their hair on end, could 
they select their own time to make their bow once 
more on the wilderness, from which the hand of 
death had caused them for ever to bid farewell, and 
appear the coming August ; for if our information be 
not incorrect, ere these pages have passed through 
the hands of the printer, the British royal standard 
will float in mid air, in the centre of that glen where 
heretofore none but a rebellious pennon has ere been 
unfurled. There, in that wild scene, where, save in 
the memory of the present century, the footstep of 
the gentle, scarcely of civilization, was never wont 
to roam, the proudest nobles of the land now meet 
in sportsman's garb, and revel in the delights of 
sports and pastime, free from the turmoil of a London 
season, far from London's splendid parks, but amid 
nature's far more splendid scenery ; and England's 
proudest, fairest, and most high-bred dames, sur- 
rounded with the noblest children of the land we 
live in, now watch the gambols of their loved ones, 
'mid the blooming and sweet-scented heather ; and 
deign not to turn away, when told of many a feat 
with the gun and the rod. And if such as these find 
joy in so wild a dwelling place, and by word and 
action of kindness have found favour in the hearts of 
many a rude Highlander, how will the notes of 



AND PASTIMES. 211 

pibroch swell from hill to hill for the gathering of 
clans to welcome their youthful and much loved 
Sovereign, who thus, without guard or ceremony, in 
company of him to her the first and dearest on earth, 
loves to visit their wild mountains, that she may 
share in his sport and pleasures, and visit scenes 
where hitherto no sovereign of England has deigned 
or dared to venture. 'Tis strange indeed that these 
wild glens should e'er be visited by a crowned head, 
and that the sovereign of Europe's proudest kingdom. 
But of this shooting quarter for shooting quarter 
ostensibly it is, though, forsooth, it has of late become 
a commodious mountain dwelling near a lake (not 
such, perchance, as may be gazed on by the bright 
waters of Maggiore or Como ; nevertheless, truly a 
palace in comparison to its wont) w r ashed by the 
waters of Loch Laggan, and not lang syne, almost 
unapproachable by any vehicle glorying in the pos- 
session of springs : but now a royal carriage and 
royal retinue will doubtless pass from Fort William, 
a distance of about thirty miles. For the benefit of 
the tourist, or those who may hereafter be disposed 
to visit that portion of the Highlands which un- 
questionably will be looked on with a greater degree 
of interest than usual, from the fact of its being the 
Queen of England's chosen route we may state, 
that the boats which daily ply during the summer 
months from Liverpool to Glasgow, are first-rate as 
regards their accommodation, rapid in their transit, 
and the charge made for the passage, as well as for 
all necessary comforts on board, reasonable. Should 
the object of a sportsman or a tourist be the West 
Highlands, or even Inverness, let him disembark at 
Greenock or Port Glasgow, from whence he will find 
other boats, whose course enables the passenger to 
enjoy some of the most magnificent scenery in the 



212 SCOTTISH SPORTS 

Highlands of Scotland; and will be, we presume, 
almost precisely the line of country more particularly 
selected for her Majesty's and her Royal Consort's 
progress and pleasure. 

Passing through the Kyles of Bute, these small 
but commodious steam boats, termed the Highland 
Boats, gain the western end of Loch Tyne at Loch 
Gilphead : from thence the passengers are conveyed 
a distance of nine miles through an interesting line of 
country; the greater portion of which is the pro- 
perty of Mr. Malcolm, a good sportsman and a hos- 
pital Laird by numerous and convenient boats drawn 
by horses at a rapid rate, at the termination of 
which a steamer is found, with steam up, ready to 
convey all travellers to Oban, and thence to Fort 
William. If the weather be fine, nothing can be 
more interesting, few parts of Europe more beauti- 
ful, than the mountain scenery of Argyleshire, 
which here presents itself; and the distant view of 
the many islands which rise as from the sea, clear 
and rugged in the distance, are in themselves a suf- 
ficient sight to repay the lover of nature, if no other 
objects of interest should present themselves. At 
Fort William there is a very tolerable inn ; and to 
those who are hardy enough to undertake the ascent 
of the lofty Ben Nevis, generally we imagined to be 
the highest mountain in Britain, though in regard to 
this assertion we are by no means satisfied, as we 
surmise that Invernesshire contains a rocky mount, 
whose rugged pinnacle can lay claim to nearer ac- 
acquaintance with the clouds. On this point, how- 
ever, we will not here dwell ; but proceed to urge 
those who have physical powers and taste, as we 
have had, for such excursions, to attempt the ascent 
of Nevis' s lofty sides ; which are by no means diffi- 
cult of ascent when approached by a ridge towards 



AND PASTIMES. 213 

the west, about a quarter of a mile up the river 
Nevis. The view which then presents itself for the 
first five or six hundred yards, is entirely confined to 
Glennevis, and the grassy surface of the slopes offer 
admirable pasture for sheep-feeding : indeed, this 
spot, far distant from the turmoils and cares of busy 
life, is celebrated for some of the best mutton and 
whisky procurable in the Highlands. Of the former 
we may speak with confidence, having had many a 
practical gastronomic proof of its excellence ; and of 
the latter, though no lover of the mountain dew, we 
may nevertheless venture, with full faith in its high 
flavour, to recommend it to those who have no ob- 
jection to a Highland dram, or who desire to talk 
over their morning's ramble in companionship with a 
soothing glass of hot toddy. 

But let us walk on : for each yard we ascend 
higher and higher, brighter and more beautiful is 
the picture which nature presents; diversified by 
bushes, shrubs, and silvery birch woods, the abiding 
places of the graceful roe-deer, and the raven-coloured 
blackcock, with many a verdant spot to form a fore- 
ground ; while below you, in the distance, the smoke 
of rural hamlets, encircled by young plantations ; a 
river rushing at the bottom of the vale, over many a 
rock and stone, glides away in a clear stream, and, 
meandering through \vood and vale, loses itself in the 
sea at Fort William ; while, to heighten the delight 
of this charming view, the sea and distant shores 
present themselves as a background, formed by 
many a blue and rugged mountain. It is indeed a 
scene which expands the heart of one alive to the 
charms of nature. 

But walk on further, till the prospect opens to the 
south-west, and you will behold the straights of 
Correen, the islands of Shuna and Lismore, and the 



214 SCOTTISH SPORTS 

south-east part of Mull, together with the islands of 
Sued and Kerrara, on the opposite coast of Argyle ; 
and here two elevated hills appear in the far distance, 
which declare themselves to be the Paps of Jura ; 
while, turning to the west, you see the small Isles 
of Rum and Canna, and the sound which separates 
them from Skye. Beyond all these, if not already 
sufficient to repay your fatigue, you have the Cullin 
hills, which form the west of Skye itself, and many 
parts of Lochiel, a name endeared to all who love 
the courteous and the brave ; and who that does not 
recollect the beautiful lines of Byron 

" And wild and high the Camerons' gathering rose ! 

The war note of Lochiel, which Alpyn's hills have heard.' ' 

As higher and higher the pedestrian mounts, the 
path, though by no means difficult, still changes in 
its nature, till Ben, as if in anger that the stranger 
should invade his territory, presents all at once the 
brink of a precipice on his northern barriers, which 
is almost perpendicular. 

The wanderer may be gratified, but is nevertheless 
astonished, at the sudden appearance of this preci- 
pice, the bosom of which is as cold as an eternal 
snow can make it ; at least on the 8th of the month 
of August we still found it, where the sun's rays 
aided not the atmospheric heat in its demolition. 
Here, looking to the east, Loch Laggan appears, on 
whose glassy surface our sovereign Queen may, ere a 
month elapse, be pleased to venture, as she did on 
the waters of Loch Tay, where many a light bark 
and many-coloured pennon, floating in the light 
breezes, was seen by the multitude from neighbouring 
heights, as her little regal flotilla, with echoing oar, 
was swiftly propelled along its centre. And, to the 
south-east, Loch Rannoch, in Perthshire, lies placidly 






AND PASTIMES. 215 

in the distance ; and, if you be accompanied by one 
who is well acquainted with the country, you need 
travel no further, for with a clear day and a bright 
sky, advantages rarely attainable in mountain sce- 
nery, you have before you Cruachan, in Glenorchay ; 
Shiehallion, Ben More, and Ben Lawers in Perth- 
shire ; Bhillan, in Glencoe ; Ben More, in the island 
of Mull ; Bennanis, and other hills, in Rosshire ; in 
fact, the whole of the great glen of Scotland, from 
Fort George to the Sound of Mull, comprehending 
the fresh-water lakes of Ness, Oich, and Lochy, 
together with the course of the two rivers, Ness and 
Lochy, from their very source to the spot of their 
forming a junction with the briny element, across 
the land eastward to the German Sea, to the west^ 
ward expanse of the Atlantic Ocean. Nature, in- 
deed, here presents herself on a scale of universal 
magnificence and vastness, offering objects not few 
in number, or of common interest. 



216 SCOTTISH SPOUTS 



CHAPTER XVI. 

AT the south-west of Mull, Colonsay, a spot inte- 
resting to the hearts of all sportsmen, as being- one 
of the favoured resorts of the noble red-deer, and the 
Highland deer-hound, of which splendid animal Mr. 
M'Neil, the owner of Colonsay, is so true a friend, 
and has been, perhaps is, so celebrated a breeder 
rises out of the sea like a shade of mist, though so 
far in the distance as to be seldom observable with 
the naked eye ; a fact which scarcely needs com- 
ment when we state the distance at full fourscore 
miles. Neither was it our good fortune to witness 
the coast of Ireland, which many nevertheless affirm 
to be visible from the heights of Ben Nevis. 

Such, however, is the wide extent of landscape 
seen from the towering Ben, reaching full fourscore 
miles from the horizon of the sea, on the north-east 
of Moroyshire to the island of Colonsay on the south- 
west ; and this is of so varied a nature now the 
peaceful vale, now towering hills, now torrents of 
water, which here and there rattle down the preci- 
pices over rock and cliff, that the eye has scarcely 
time to rest on one object of interest ere it wanders 
to another. In a word, the number, the extent and 
variety of pleasing prospects, the wild and irregular 
freaks of nature, the diversity of shapes and colours, 



AND PASTIMES. 217 

the glassy surface of many a lake, the rippling waters 
of the sparkling sea, the struggling and rushing 
sounds of the many mountain streams, and, if the 
weather be but favourable, the exhilarating effects of 
mountain air, the glorious sun and the azure sky, 
form a scene so resplendent, and yet so calming, 
even in its grandeur, that the most fervid imagi- 
nation will not be dissatisfied with a venture, even 
to the summit of Ben Nevis ; an undertaking, if 
not easy of accomplishment, by no means imprac- 
ticable in the course of seven or eight hours. 

To those who visit that portion of the Highlands 
to which we have more particularly alluded, for the 
sole purpose of ascending Ben Nevis, we would 
suggest to them the advantage of making themselves 
as comfortable as circumstances will admit in the 
hostelry at Fort William, till they secure a fine day ; 
not that it offers any peculiar features of elegance or 
cleanliness virtues niggardly scattered on Highland 
highways. * 

Like the hardy and contented-minded individual, 
however, who professed his powers of endurance 
with such humble fare as a beefsteak and a bottle of 
port, they may be enabled to follow his example, 
with fresh salmon from the rivers at hand, and the 
best of whisky toddy, without the loss of much 
patience or physical comfort. 

To those who are not satisfied with the enjoyable 
sights we have enumerated as visible from the 
shoulder of Ben, we beg their company a few leagues 
farther towards the Ness. 

Previous, however, to recommencing our line of 
march, we may briefly name the probability of her 
Majesty's steamer, Fairy, proceeding from Fort Wil- 
liam by the Caledonian canal to Fort Augustus, 
should her size permit her passing through the locks. 

XJ 



218 SCOTTISH SPORTS 

If such be the case, we would give much to find our- 
selves, that identical morning, high up on the slopes of 
Ben Nevis, were it only to catch a glimpse of the Fairy 
on the waters, with her snaky pennant curling, and 
royal standard floating in the breeze ; a trifling sight, 
though nevertheless an object which will, doubtless, 
obliterate for ever from Highland hearts the memory 
of all that may still remain in bitterness of the past, 
and tend doubly to cement the seal of the Union ; 
erasing nationalities, save in the picturesque garb 
and romance of other days, from the minds of men, 
who, as Christians, worship one God, and, as sub- 
jects, obey one Sovereign. 

To those also who are about to amuse themselves 
during the autumn in rambling amid Highland 
scenery, or whose intent it may be to pay their 
annual visit to the heathered hills a determination 
on their parts which calls forth in ours the sin of 
envy a hint may not be unacceptable in reference 
to the mode of approaching Loch Laggan otherwise 
than by the way of Fort William, should curiosity 
induce them to take a peep at the quarter chosen by 
a Prince to try his sporting qualities, which, as far 
as the gun is concerned, we have reason to believe 
are by no means of an inferior order. 

Travelling then from the south by the Highland 
road from Perth to Inverness, we come to the hostelry 
whicn we have already denominated, of Dalwhi- 
nie. From this spot the route breaks off towards 
Laggan through a wild interesting country, pursuing 
which, the traveller may not only have a passing 
glimpse of the royal sporting quarters, but also pro- 
ceed, if he will, to Fort William, thence obtaining a 
view of all the splendid scenery we have already 
named ; but, should he prefer it, he may deviate 
from the Port William route, and passing by the 



AND PASTIMES. 219 

Corryarrick Zigzag, descend to the valley of the 
Ness, and halt for the night at Fort Augustus. 

At Aviemore also, a well known hostelry for tired 
travellers on the Highland route, he will also find 
himself amid scenes of sporting excellence which 
can vie with most in the Highlands ; and we must 
with truth admit, there are few roadside inns in 
Scotland which can surpass in comfort and cleanli- 
ness that of Aviemore, the landlord of which, for a 
consideration, was, and we believe now is, enabled 
to give the sportsman a good day's grouse shooting, 
or a good day's salmon fishing, and the traveller or 
tourist all necessary comforts for the inward man, as 
well as a good pair of horses, should he desire from 
thence to visit the route which borders the waters of 
Laggan. 

Should Fort William not be found an agreeable 
halting quarter, an excursion onwards to Fort Au- 
gustus, either by the route which skirts the base of 
Ben Nevis, or a passage in the Caledonian steam- 
boat, will amply repay the wanderer or the sports- 
man for his trouble, if trouble it be ; for while the 
one, with eager eye and gratified taste, looks on the 
abundant and varied beauties which Nature in her 
loveliness has supplied for his recreation, the imagi- 
nation of the other, extending beyond these sources of 
gratification, looks first on the fresh wide waters of 
Loch Lochy, which extends full fourteen miles 
through the wild valley, and fancy tells him many a 
tale of Izaak Walton's art. 

But now pursue your wanderings along the 
southern bank by the road, which continues along 
the water's edge about eight miles. Here, broken 
by rough and varied stones, collected by the rapid 
torrents which rush down the mountain sides when 
iiowing from the heavy rains which visit this wild 

V 2 



220 SCOTTISH SPORTS 

locality in the season of the tempest and the flood, 
and leaving Loch Lochy, you behold Glengarry, a 
narrow, but most picturesque and romantic valley, 
bounded by mountains, whose densely wooded bases 
are filled with every feathered tribe of game, the 
antlered monarch of the north, and the graceful roe- 
deer, while the ivy-grown ruin of Invergarry Castle, 
now the only remaining property of its ancient Lairds, 
speaks to the heart of many a bold but lawless war- 
rior, who in days of clanship was wont to dwell there 
in savage security. 

Here again you behold another shooting quarter 
of an English nobleman, who, having purchased the 
extensive woodlands, moors, and wide acres of the 
present Laird of Glengarry, now, amidst his Highland 
tenantry, passes the autumnal months in following 
with his chosen friends the pleasures of every species 
of Highland sport, including deer stalking and salmon 
fishing, and that with success and abundance to be 
surpassed in few other localities. In the immediate 
vicinity of the ancient ruin we have named, which 
still gives to the Lairds of Glengarry the right of 
freehold over a small patch of land (all that remains 
to them of many thousand acres), stands the modern 
and commodious shooting lodge of Lord Ward. 

The house, embosomed in trees, and beauteous in 
situation, is placed within half gunshot from the 
waters of the small but beautiful lake of Oich, which 
encircles the lawn. 

The banks of this lake, which does not exceed four 
miles in length, slope beautifully to the water, form- 
ing a number of little bays, while the surface is 
dotted over with several tufted islands ; indeed, 
though insignificant in size, there are few lakes in 
Scotland more picturesque and interesting. 

Leaying Loch Oich, the route ascends over hea- 



AND PASTIMES. 221 

tkerecl hills till the head of the vast waters of Loch 
Ness are distinctly visible, with its rough and rocky 
wood-clad banks, variegated with every beauteous 
tint of nature, and on the northern extremity of 
which stands Fort Augustus, situated between the 
river Oich, which runs from the lake already named, 
as also the Tarff from Loch Tarff. As, however, we 
have endeavoured fully to describe Loch Ness in our 
previous pages, we wall not inflict on our readers 
further comment on its beauties, however interesting 
they must ever be to those who love to dwell on the 
many sources of interest with which the neighbour- 
hood abounds. Neither must we halt at Fort Au- 
gustus, though there, in that secluded spot, one of 
the forts selected as a military station after the 
Union, adds to the interest of the locality ; never- 
theless, we may name to those who are desirous of 
making it their abiding place for a brief period, that 
he or they will find a snug little inn, and if he be 
alone, and worthy of companionship, let him w r alk 
across the drawbridge, which in ancient days was 
wont to be lowered to friends only, but now, where 
all are friends, it forms the sole entrance for the 
visitor. On his right, having passed this bridge, he 
will enter the square of the Port (where no longer 
warriors, in " coats of mail, and military pride," are 
lingering, and find the quarters of the governor. 
Knock at the door and it will be opened, and every 
attention granted you. Or, having taken your ease 
at your little inn, if the morning but break fair and 
bright, walk forth across the river Tarff by a wooden 
bridge, and having ascended a high hill on the other 
side, you will have a splendid view of Loch Ness, 
stretched for many a league beneath you, while the 
hamlet of Augustus and its fort will appear as a 

u a 



222 SCOTTISH SPORTS 

country residence, obliterating in its peacefulness all 
recollection of bloodshed and civil feuds. 
" Cold must he be who ever gazed 

Impassive on its beauty." 

Nevertheless, the associations that are aroused, can- 
not fail to heighten the delight with which such 
scenes are contemplated. 

Proceeding onwards, the glittering lake is lost to 
view, but instead of approaching, as all around you 
leads the mind to expect, a dreary, mountainous 
country, you will be agreeably surprised to find 
yourself entering a pleasant sequestered valley, 
through which a trout stream winds its rapid course 
into the Loch, the banks of which are richly clothed 
with birch, while the land on which your footsteps 
linger is on every side surrounded by high and rocky 
mountains. 

Thence walk on with renewed vigour to the sum- 
mit of Seechuimin, or Cummin's seat, where you will 
look on many a small but lovely Liliputian lake, for 
any one of which an English millionaire would 
readily pay the value of the estate which claims it, 
could it be transported to adorn his broad park lands 
in merry England; the largest of which is Loch 
Tarff, about three miles in circumference, in which 
here and there are scattered little tufted islands, on 
which stands the silvery birch, surrounded with 
brushwood and purple heather. 

Such are the Highland scenes which present them- 
selves to gratify the wanderer in the north. And 
pleasing are they to the sportsman also, even though 
he sport not, for while he looks on this lake we have 
named, with its surrounding beauties, he will recol- 
lect that it abounds with char, which, on a courteous 
request from its owner, will afford him many an 
hour's recreation. 



AND PASTIMES. 223 



CHAPTER XVII. 

WE must now bid adieu to the Highlands, per- 
haps for ever, with a few details in reference to the 
Isle of Skye, both as regards its sporting advantages, 
as well as with the view to point out briefly the 
many objects of interest which will there be found 
to greet the wanderer who may be disposed to 
venture so far north. In so doing we may remark, 
that we know of few summer trips that will more 
entirely repay the lover of wild scenery ; while the 
sportsman will find ample employment for the rod, 
should shooting not be attainable. 

As regards ourselves, we have more than once 
looked on the Coolin mountains, and passed many a 
pleasant hour on the heather ed hills, which form the 
extensive patrimony of the Lord of the Isles. In- 
deed, did no other inducement offer itself for a visit 
to Skye, a perusal of Sir Walter Scott's beautiful 
poem of " The Lord of the Isles" would be sufficient 
to attract the steps of the wanderer to Skye's 
romantic shores, where the sportsman might exclaim 
with Ronald 

" If true mine eye, 
These are the savage wilds that lie 
North of Strathnardill and Dunskye. 

No human foot comes here. 
And since these adverse breezes blow, 
If my good liege love hunters' bow, 
What hinders that on land we go 
And strike a mountain deer ]" 



224 SCOTTISH SPOKTS 

For the information of those who desire to behold 
such spots, we may observe, that there are several 
modes of attaining their wishes ; by far the most 
convenient of which, provided the object be solely 
that of visiting the island, is by steam boat, which, 
if we are not mistaken, plies regularly twice a week 
during the summer and autumnal months, and once 
duriiig the winter, from Glasgow to Portree. For 
those who love the sea, this is a most agreeable 
mode of beholding some of the most romantic and 
interesting parts of the Highlands ; yet, should the 
wind, on the morning selected for starting, be 
westerly or south-westerly inclined, and somewhat 
puffy withal, far better remain, and make your way 
by terra jinna, for under the above circumstances 
no more disagreeable sea excursion exists that we 
wot of. 

On the other hand, having weathered the entrance 
of the Clyde, fair weather and fair winds per- 
mitting, you look with admiration and comfort over 
the rocky promontory termed the Mull of Cantyre, 
and probably listen with a degree of calm resigna- 
tion to all the direful tales which the undue rapidity 
of tides in that locality have inflicted on your fellow- 
men. If the weather be foul, however, no need to 
listen to romance, or look on that which may have 
proved so deadly to your neighbour's ; for the roar of 
waters, and tender disposition of the neighbouring 
cliffs, who long to hug you in their fond, but too 
rough embrace, will satisfy you for the nonce that 
r tis as pleasing to hear the tale of the hardy sailor 
who has had proof of Cantyre' s affection, on shore, 
as to endeavour by practical information to be 
enabled to tell of your own disasters. 

Sail on, however, with a clear sky and light winds, 
and you will be well repaid the venture, as each 
league you glide through the clear blue sea, till 



AND PASTIMES. 225 

" Mull's dark headland scarce they knew, 
And Ardnamurchan's hills were blue ; 
But then the squalls blew close and hard, 
And fain to strike the galleys' yard 
And take them to the oar " 

as was once our doom, having embarked at Portree, 
to pass a whole night beating about in sight of 
Ardnamurchan's point, in the month of November, 
with, every chance of providing a breakfast for the 
sea-gulls instead of ourselves, on its iron-bound 
coast. 

But the month of August offers better fare and 
better weather ; and at such period of the year, 
having passed this second point, the steamer glides 
on through many a narrow channel, and many a 
splendid view of mountain and of wooded vale ; re- 
paying you well, e'en though you may have been 
somewhat inwardly unmanned by the roughness of 
the sea, till at length the narrow sound of Kyleakin 
tells you that accommodation is at hand ; and land- 
ing at Dunvegan, you once more stretch your limbs 
on the heathered mountains. 

It has been our good fortune, however, to travel 
to the Isle of Skye, or rather to the Ferry of 
Kyleakin, which divides the Isle of Skye from the 
main-land, both by the beautiful route from Glen- 
moriston on Loch Ness, as also from Invergarry on 
Loch Oich. The distance from either of which 
places is within an easy day to Skye ; the country 
over which you pass being most interesting, and in 
all respects worthy of a sportsman's visit. 

Arriving at Skye, we should recommend the halt- 
ing place to be either at Portree or Dunvegan: 
at both accommodation is to be obtained, and that of 
a nature superior to most small places in the High- 
lands of Scotland. There are, we believe, but few 



226 SCOTTISH SPORTS 

shootings let to the stranger in the Isle of Skye ; the 
principal portion of the Island belonging to Lord 
Macdonald himself, as all who know him are aware, 
a first-rate sportsman ; the remaining portion, we 
surmise, being the property of Macleod of Macleod, 
with the exception of some trifling freeholds. 

The Castle of Armisdale, the residence of the 
above-named Lord, is a most picturesque, and in- 
deed handsome Highland mansion ; and the woods 
in which it is embosomed almost the only trees 
which are seen in Skye prove what wealth can 
secure, even in a wilderness, and add greatly to the 
beauty of a locality which is surpassed by few in 
Scotland, and which gathers fresh interest as being 
the autumnal abiding place of the Lord of the Isles. 

Lord Macdonald' s moors are very extensive, and 
well preserved. We are not, however, enabled to 
speak accurately of the amount of game generally 
killed thereon during the grousing season, or of the 
present state of the game to be found there ; yet w r e 
imagine he can tell a yearly tale sufficient to satisfy 
the most ardent desire of real sportsmen. Hut if the 
grouse on his moors are abundant, the deer in his 
forest are not only equally so in comparison, but 
rank among the finest in the Highlands. Indeed, 
we had once the good fortune to find ourselves in the 
Isle of Skye, on a fine summer's day almost imme- 
diately preceding the deer-stalking season. 

Our object was more particularly, in the first 
instance, to gain the summit of a high portion of the 
Coolin mountains, from which we had been informed 
a most wild and extensive view was attainable, and 
thence to proceed to the lake of Coriskin of which 
more anon. Having therefore left Dunvegan with 
this intention, we had scarcely gained our intended 
halting place, about midway between that place and 



AND PASTIMES. 227 

Portree, ere the dark clouds lowered, and the mist 
hung so heavily over the mountains, as to preclude 
any chance of our object being secured. We there- 
fore determined on remaining at the rude hostelry 
for the night, in the hope that the following morning 
would prove more favourable. With this deter- 
mination, having secured the only sitting room the 
house afforded, we awaited all chances <* 

The weather having become somewhat clearer as 
the afternoon advanced, we walked forth in com- 
panionship of a cigar, with the hope that, as the 
days were long, we might still gain the mountain-top 
ere night-fall ; but the clouds still lowered so densely 
on its peaked summit, that we were soon convinced 
the attempt would be fruitless. 

At this moment of our disappointment, a forester, 
followed by one of the noble breed of deer-dogs, 
walked up to the door of the inn where we were 
standing, and him we immediately accosted as to the 
nature of the deer forest, the number of the deer, as 
also to the probability of our being gladdened by a 
sight of any of them during our intended walk across 
the island. 

" I'm about to ascend the steep hill before us," 
said he, very civilly, though not precisely in the 
English language, " and if you like to be my com- 
panion, it is more than probable you may be gratified, 
with a sight of some score of them." 

As may be imagined, we readily assented to 
so agreeable a proposal : and well were we repaid 
for the fatigue of an hour or two's brisk walk. 

" Awhile their route they silent made, 
As men who stalk for mountain deer." 

Lord of the Isles. 

For hardly had we gained the summit of the hill he 



228 SCOTTISH SPORTS 

named, when our arm was firmly clutched, and down 
we went, half buried in heather, beside the hardy 
forester. 

" Whist !" said he, " and you'll see fourscore 
deer or more on yon brae side." 

We were soon made fully to understand, however, 
that silence and patience were absolutely necessary ; 
and having Calmly submitted to the orders of our 
chief in every respect now creeping up the heather 
now lying flat mid its flowery bed now bobbing 
our head now sliding along with back half broken, 
we at length gained a point where, having taken 
breath, we were permitted to dwell on one of the 
finest pictures which sportsman's eye may wish to 
look on namely, at least one hundred head of red- 
deer, peacefully grazing on the short green herb 
with which the opposite slope of a hill was covered, 
about three hundred yards distant from where we 
lay, most comfortably enjoying a full and uninter- 
rupted view. 

Having looked on and enjoyed this splendid sight 
till the western horizon informed us the sun would 
soon sink behind the countless hills seen in the 
distance, we arose, and moved on our return to the 
valley, where we intended to await the anxious hope 
of a fine clear morning. 

We had, however, scarcely taken ten paces, ere 
the whole herd of deer, following a common leader, 
raised their heads and started at a sharp trot, then 
formed in line, galloped over the hill- top, and were 
lost to us for ever. A sight so gratifying, indeed so 
splendid, once seen, can never be forgotten ; a sight 
sufficiently convincing that the Lord of the Isles 
possesses a shooting quarter worthy of the days of 
his ancestors, and so stocked, and of such magnitude, 
as to satisfy the most ardent lover of deer-stalking. 



AND PASTIMES. 229 

There are red-deer also to be found, though, 
we imagine, in far less number, on the property of 
Mr. Macleod, as are his moorlands well stocked with 
grouse. And here, while we mention the name of 
this Highland Laird, we may add, that he is one who 
well merits the name he bears, and not less so 
the estimation in which he is held in the Isle of 
Skye ; for there, amid the wild hills of his ancestors, 
he has raised a comparative palace on the foundations 
of his ancient castle, where, passing the greater por- 
tion of the year alike, amid winter's rigours and 
summer's sunshine, he cheers the hearts of the 
islanders by his presence and protection, and adds in 
every possible manner to their comfort and means of 
existence, by giving labour to the strong, and tender- 
ing the hand of benevolence to the weak. Such 
men well merit to head the race from which they 
inherit their possessions. And we can only add, 
Would there were many more such ! 

Fatigued with our walk over the hills, we soon 
closed our eyes in sleep, (though, forsooth, our couch 
was none of those termed downy), requesting to be 
called with the sun, in order that we might start 
early on our intended excursion to Coriskin, and 
with the hope that the lowering clouds with which 
the day had darkened might clear from the moun- 
tains' tops during the night, and that all would be 
sunshine and brightness in the morn. But the 
hopes of man are but as feathers to be scattered to 
the winds ; for, being aroused at daybreak from 
pleasing dreams by the rattling of a heavy shower 
against the windows, we felt -that all hope of moun- 
tain views was at an end. This was sufficiently dis- 
heartening to one who had come some distance 
simply with the intention of visiting the wild 
scenery of this part of the country, still more so that 

x 



230 SCOTTISH SPORTS 

the dense mist which accompanied the do \vnfall 
entirely shut out the mountains almost to their very 
bases, thus precluding all chance, all hope of the 
prospect we had anticipated. 

Determined, however, not to give up our enter- 
prise, we waited only till the heaviest of the clouds 
and rain had passed away, and then started for 
Coriskin, about fourteen miles distant from the 
quarters where we had passed the night. Nothing, 
as we conceive, could exceed the wildness of the 
scenery through which we passed during the first 
seven miles of our walk, literally soaked by a Scotch 
mist, which precluded the sight of all around us, and 
this by the most rough and uninteresting sheep- 
tracks, though enlivened we certainly were by the 
occasional rising of a grouse ; but neither man nor 
beast did we meet with, and the deer were out of 
range. 

At length, after a brisk walk, we arrived at one of 
the most primitive Highland bothies that ere was 
erected for the residence of human being. We 
question whether all the art of Cubitt or of Nash 
could have imitated the rusticity of its appearance in 
an English pleasure-ground, even had the same 
materials been placed at their disposal ; in fact, we 
entered a sort of cattle-shed formed of sods, with 
one opening in the top, for the double purpose of 
admitting light and giving vent to the smoke which 
issued from a peat fire that smouldered in the centre, 
the dense vapour of which so completely filled the 
room, if such it may be called, that it was some 
moments after our entrance ere the pupils of our 
eyes became sufficiently dilated to penetrate the 
obscurity. Here we found the family indolently 
reclining round the peat fire, on which a frugal 
meal of porridge was preparing, with- the occasional 




x 2 



A:>D PASTIMES. 2oo 

addition of rnilk and limpets, whose shells scattered 
about the entrance seemed to identify it as their 
chief means of subsistence. In short, everything 
bore the aspect of the most extreme poverty, and 
most unwholesome dirt. 

Yet, in the midst of these miseries to the eye of 
civilization, there were no grounds for sorrow to the 
beholder, inasmuch as the sight was pleasingly 
blended with looks of cheerfulness and content, 
added to a disposition of kindness and hospitality, 
even to the offer of a share of the contents of the 
cauldron, which left a gratifying recollection on our 
hearts, and might have been an example to those 
who, with tenfold means, are loth to welcome the 
stranger. 

Having halted a brief hour, to rest from the 
fatigues of our struggle over the rough sheep-tracks 
and swampy grounds, which had hitherto intercepted 
our path, the day having somewhat improved, we 
lighted our cigars, and bidding adieu to our rustic 
entertainers, hastened on our way, every mile of 
which became more wild and desolate. But while 
we advance, we may here observe, that we were 
greeted with the sight of numberless shaggy ponies, 
which in absolute wildiiess grazed on the hill-sides, 
among which we could have selected several pair 
which would not have disgraced the elegant phaeton, 
of many a fail* lady daily seen in the parks of 
London. 

As may be supposed, this breed of ponies is pecu- 
liarly hardy. Permitted to range for almost the 
whole of the year on these -remote hill-sides, they 
possess a sureness of foot ever desirable ; and when 
brought to a more salubrious climate, and more 
abundant pasture, what may at first appear a wild 
animal, all bone, mane, and tail, is often found to be 

x 3 



234 SCOTTISH SPOUTS 

a well shaped, well boned, useful, and even graceful 
pony. The price of these animals formerly averaged 
about 51. ; in fact, a selection of the best pair among 
sixty, would not have exceeded ten. 

The increased facilities of steam and railways 
have, however, materially altered all such matters ; 
for while formerly Skye and the neighbouring isles 
alone afforded a market for them, hundreds are now 
annually sent to Glasgow, Edinburgh, and even 
Liverpool, from whence they naturally find their 
way to the small city of London. But even now a 
very moderate price will secure a much admired 
pair. 

But we were now on the summit of one of the 
smaller range of the Coolin mountains, and every 
step we advanced offered fresh scenes of interest and 
delight. Indeed, a more exquisite and savage scene, 
or one of more romantic wHdness and beauty, can 
scarcely be conceived ; for here we looked down on 
the dark waters of Coriskin, surrounded by pathless 
and inaccessible mountains, the tops of which were 
here and there so rugged as strongly to resemble 
the shivered crater of an exhausted volcano. The 
eye rested on literally nothing but barren and naked 
rocks, and those on which we walked were as bare 
as the pavements of St. James's-street not a sign of 
vegetation appeared ; indeed, there can scarcely be 
found a spot in Europe so bare of all that is luxuriant 
in nature. Descend with us now to the shores of 
these dark waters, and you will agree with us, even 
be you a sportsman, that, with the exception of 
a herd of the noble antlered monarchs of the moun- 
tain, there is nothing more worthy of a visit, nothing 
more interesting and remarkable, in the whole length 
and breadth of the Isle of Skye. 

It is true, the mist still lingered, not only on the 



AND PASTIMES. 235 

mountain-tops, but also here and there even on the 
surface of the lake, which our guide informed us 
was popularly called the Water Kettle ; the proper 
name of which is Coriskin from the deep corrie, or 
hollow, in the mountains of Coolin, which affords the 
basin for this wonderful sheet of water on which 
there are one or two small islets, almost covered 
with juniper or some such bushy shrub. Upon the 
whole, though we may have witnessed scenes of 
desolation more extensive and more solemn, never 
have we looked on one which dwells more deeply on 
the eye and heart than that at Coriskin, at the same 
time that the rugged grandeur of its mountains 
redeemed it from entire dreariness. 

From this lake to the sea the distance is not 
great ; time, however, did not permit of our linger- 
ing long ; but, for the sake of our sporting friends, 
we may add, that the waters which rush towards 
that sea are filled with hundreds of trout and salmon 
struggling onwards in their journey to the fresh waters 
of the lake ; while the wild and infinite number of 
sea-fowl, hovering over their prey, offer many an 
hour's amusement with the rifle and the fowling-piece. 

We have dwelt but briefly on the interest of a 
spot which all who visit Skye should endeavour to 
behold ; they will be amply repaid for the difficulties 
they may encounter in their route. And the beau- 
tiful lines of Scott, who refers to Coriskin, will sink 
with truthfulness in their memory, and substantiate 
our assertions. 

" I've traversed many a mountain strand, 
Abroad and in my native land, 
And it has been my lot to' tread 
Where safety more than pleasure led : 
Thus many a waste I 've wander'd o'er, 
Climb'd many a crag, crossed many a moor ; 
But, by my halidome, 



2ob SCOTTISH SPOliTS 

A scene so rude, so wild as this, 
Yet so sublime in barrenness, 
Ne'er did my wandering footsteps press, 
Where'er I happ'd to roam." 

On leaving Coriskin, one of the hardest day's 
walking we have ever encountered, at length closed 
an excursion of most unusual interest ; and as, 
feverish, exhausted, and soaked, we entered the 
little hostelry at Dun vegan, where we awaited the 
arrival of the steamer on the following day to convey 
us from such wild scenes to more southern lands, we 
felt, and felt truly, that pleasing as may be, and are, 
the reminiscences of many a sweet and flowery spot 
where the hand of nature has rested in luxuriance of 
foliage and beauty, there is scarcely less pleasure 
certainly more excitement, to be gained in scenes of 
wildness, where the hand of man intrudeth not, as 
you wander 

" On mountain or in glen, 
Nor tree, nor shrub, nor plant, nor flower, 
Nor aught of vegetative power, 

The weary eye may ken." 

Previous to leaving Skye, we may add, that there 
are abundant small lakes, formed from the arms of 
the sea, where excellent trout fishing may be obtained 
for the asking; and he who desires to cast a fly 
thereon, as well as in many of the numerous trout 
streams which intersect the glens of Skye, will be 
amply repaid for a visit to those waters. 

On the opposite shores of Invernesshire may also 
be seen the Highland residence of Mr. Mackenzie, of 
Applecross, whose moors abound in grouse, and 
whose deer-forest is one of the best provided in the 
Highlands. And the island of Uist, the property of 
the Earl of Dunmore, is also well stocked with these 



AND PASTIMES. 237 

noble animals, as are also his Leathered hills with 
grouse. 

But we must now bid adieu to scenes never to be 
forgotten till the memory of pleasant days of sport- 
ing wandering cease to give us interest ; or that the 
grouse season's annual arrival causes our heart to 
beat with the desire to be treading the flowery 
heather: the approach of which in 1847, now so 
near at hand, we trust may offer abundant sport and 
success to all who visit the land of the mountain and 
the flood. Though we greatly fear the game book 
at many of the best quarters will tell but a sorry 
tale for even while we write we have before us 
details which give but little reason to hope for 
abundance ; indeed, from one of the best quarters in 
Perthshire, we have received the following infor- 
mation : 

" After a day's fishing on Loch Tay, we arrived 
here, I am sorry to say, to hear nothing but the 

most miserable reports of grouse ; F , the 

keeper, never having known anything at all like it. 
On the north side of the river, there is scarcely 
a bird left alive, distemper has made so complete a 
sweep : the south side rather better, but very few in 
a brood." 

This is difficult to be accounted for, and much to 
be regretted; nevertheless, when the glorious day 
arrives, we trust matters may be found somewhat 
better than this account leads us to anticipate. 



238 SCOTTISH SPOUTS 



CHAPTER XVIII. 

" Where the .Northern Ocean in vast whirls 

Boils round the naked, melancholy Isles 

Of further Thule, and the Atlantic surge 

Pours in among the stormy Hebrides. 

Who can recount what transmigrations there 

Are annual made 1 What nations come and go 1 

And how the living clouds arise 

Infinite wings ! till all the plume-dark air 

And rude resounding shore are one wild cry !" 

ALTHOUGH neither the Shetland, nor more imme- 
diate Isles of Orkney, can be named, in reference to 
their natural beauties, or as regards the customs, 
manners, or habits of those who vegetate in that 
wild portion of Her Majesty's northern dominions, 
with their neighbours of the Scottish mainland, yet 
do they contain many a source of interest, which 
will amply repay the sportsman or tourist who, 
selecting the fair weather of summer, ventures a 
ramble o'er the grassy hills where the graceful 
Minna, and still more lovely Brencla, were wont to 
wander ; though neither in the former w r ill he find 
the old Norwegian Udaler to tender him hospitality, 
nor a Norna of the fitful head, with whom to while 
away an idle hour in magic story ; nor in the latter 
will he meet a Cleveland or a Bruce, with their 
pirate crew. Yet, should he visit Kirk wall, a week 
or two may nevertheless be well spent amid such 



AXD PASTIMES. 230 

scenes, to say nothing of the sport of shooting the 
multitudes of wild fowl, of every species, which are 
to be met with in numbers beyond all belief in those 
Northern Isles, varied by a day or two in company 
with the seals, which congregate in hundreds on 
their rocky shores. 

There, also, when weary of such sport, some 
relaxation offers itself in visiting the hills, and 
selecting a pair of shelties, although the quantity, 
as well as the quality, has materially diminished of 
late years, doubtless owing to the facility which con- 
stant steam communication offers for supplying the 
markets of the south with Liliputian ponies, as well 
as Orkney mutton, only to be surpassed by that of 
Portland. These little shaggy animals heretofore 
scarcely known in England, save as a prize to some 
newly breeched scion of the aristocracy brought 
shoeless from their wild native hills, where hitherto 
they have existed on the Lord knows what in the 
winter, for assert we dare not sold for a sum not 
exceeding the value of an English donkey, are now 
bought up by scores for the southern dealer, who 
naturally doubles their value to all English pur- 
chasers, in proportion as the islanders have ascer- 
tained it from the increased demand. Even now, 
however, you may still see them at the fair of Kirk- 
wall, and listen also, as we have done, to the voice of 
the pedlar who sells his wares beneath the ancient 
walls of the cathedral of St. Magnus. 

Previous, however, to dwelling on the peculiarities 
of the Orkney and Shetland Isles, either as regards 
their sporting qualities or local interests, let us speak 
as to the most agreeable mode of placing foot on 
their shores ; the former of which, at all periods of 
the year, is most difficult of access from the main- 
land of Scotland, save in the fairest weather and 



240 SCOTTISH SPORTS 

during the most favourable tides, owing to the 
uncertain waters and extraordinary rapidity of those 
of the Pentland Frith ; whereas the latter, until 
very recently, was almost entirely cut off from all 
communication with the mainland, save by the occa- 
sional fortunate event of a vessel's arrival from Aber- 
deen, or other eastern port, which, at uncertain periods 
during the summer, but rarely during the winter, 
made its welcome appearance on their rocky 
coast. 

Indeed, it is a strange, but not the less true, state- 
ment, that until within the last ten years, notwith- 
standing the power of steam being used as a means 
of transit to all the nations of Europe, so large a 
portion of Her Majesty's northern subjects, in 
number not less than thirty thousand, should be thus 
almost absolutely excluded from any participation in 
the advantages obtained by all other portions of Great 
Britain ; indeed, deprived of communication with 
their fellow-men, as were they in some far distant 
land of the foreigner. 

The assertion of u better late than never" is, how- 
ever, a just one ; and matters are now unquestionably 
3 roved ; there is, nevertheless, still a wide field, 
it would doubtless be agreeable to these northern 
islanders did Prince Albert, who is a tourist and a 
sportsman, feel inclined to have a crack at a seal, 
or bid for a pony, some fine summer day, en attendant 
the more noble sport of deer-stalking ; inasmuch as 
the Shetlanders might then lay some claim to the 
commiseration of the generous people of England 
if still neglected, as they have ever been, by their 
canny neighbours. 

To those who may desire to visit the Orkneys 
the inhabitants of which are now a mixed race 
between the old Norwegian line and the more recent 



AND PASTIMES. 241 

Scoth importations, but nevertheless, most hospitable 
and agreeable people we suggest their taking 
passage on board a very commodious and well regu- 
lated steamer of 250 horse-power, which starts, if we 
err not, each Tuesday, during the summer and 
autumnal months, from the Grantham Pier, at Leith. 
Her captain, be he the same corpulent gentleman as 
was wont to pace her decks in the days that we were 
wandering, is not only an amiable man and most 
admirable seaman, a qualification which, in good 
faith, is not seldom required in his passage on one of 
the most turbulent seas in Europe, or the world 
but also one of considerable information, of which 
he is rarely niggardly to those who desire such 
favour. 

Should you touch at Arbroath, on the eastern 
coast of Scotland which is generally the case, 
weather permitting ; as also at Stonehaven and 
thence to the proud, cold City of Aberdeen, he will 
point out to you all spots and places which your 
guide-book has laid down ; and tell you many a tale 
of the Bell Rock, and of Dunstaffnege Castle ; and, 
having given you time to pass an hour or two in the 
above-named city, he will steam you on to Wick 
sweet locale of herrings and of dirt from whence, 
rounding the northern headland of that bay, you will 
cross the turbulent waters of the Pentland Frith ; 
till, at length, gliding through many a rocky isle 
and islet, you will drop your anchor in the harbour 
of Kirkwall, and look on the ancient tower of St. 
Magnus. 

Thence, should your intention be that of proceed- 
ing still onwards on your rambles, even to the 
shores of Shetland, he will carefully steer your gal- 
lant bark round the rugged promontory of Shum- 
burgh Head for such is the wild and precipitous 



242 



SCOTTISH SPORTS 



cliff against which the pirate " Bruce," though not a 
less wary seamen, managed to wreck his clever little 
Revenge ; and steering, with well-known knowledge 
of the dangers which surround him, through many 
an eddying whirlpool, you will weather the abrupt 
coast, look on the summit of Rocness Hill, and hear 
the rattling of the cable as it falls yard by yard into 
the still waters of Limerick Bay. 

But, should your intention be that of remaining to 
amuse yourself at Kirkwall, you will there find a very 
decent little hostelry, which should it please you not, 
you can cross the island to Stromness, and visit the 
harbour, a sight of which has made the tear of joy 
to glisten in many a hardy sailor's eye, who has been 
previously hugged for hours in the rough embrace of 
the Pentland tides. Time will be afforded you for 
this excursion, ere the steamer, which, being char- 
tered to convey the mails, is therefore tolerably regu- 
lar as to time, returns. 

On the other hand, should you desire to visit the 
Orkneys from the mainland, thus crossing by the way 
of the rough and turbulent Pentland Frith, finding 
yourself at Wick a locale in which most assuredly 
you will remain not a moment longer than necessity 
compels, inasmuch as a more vile and dirty hole 
Scotland cannot produce, and more can scarcely be 
advanced in its disfavour you have then a distance 
of eighteen miles to drive, in any vehicle which 
chance and the aid of siller may put you in posses- 
sion of, to the house of John O' Groat, that is to say, 
to the spot which that illustrious individual selected 
as a freehold on which to found his home a home 
which no longer exists, save in the imagination of 
man. In the immediate neighbourhood, however, of 
that spot, where once the house stood, you will still 
find scattered a few sheillings or cottages, one of 



AND PASTIMES. 24o 

which glories in the name of the " Mariner" of 
Hima, and is, in fact, the most northern hotel, post- 
office, and house of her Majesty's northern dominions, 
pretending to offer accommodation to the traveller ; 
but in which you can rarely indulge your gastrono- 
mic desires, be your appetite ever so exciting, even 
to the obtaining of an egg. 

There, on that lonely spot, as you lounge along a 
shore literally formed of minute shells, so desolate is 
all around you that your mind can scarcely bring 
back the imagination to southern civilization; the 
only human being who may chance to cross your 
path being sonic ill-remunerated and hardy indivi- 
duals, whose chief means of existence is derived 
from the dangerous and laborious occupation of con- 
veying the mail-bags to and fro across the rapid 
Frith. 

Never can we forget the night that it was our ill- 
fortune to pass in this dog-hole, in the anxious hope 
that the dawn of a fair bright morning would enable 
us to take a passage across these turbulent waters in 
safety. When, however, the sun did rise, it was 
only to throw its faint rays, struggling through a 
misty rain, over one of the most tempestuous seas 
and tremendous currents it is possible for the mind 
of man to conceive. Indeed, all hope of crossing in 
comfort was out of the question, for the rapid waters 
roared and swelled ; and, notwithstanding that the 
anxiety of the hardy boatmen to perform their duty, 
and obtain their paltry wages, of which they were 
otherwise deprived, induced them to put to sea, with 
the endeavour of making their passage ; drenched to 
the skin, and well nigh swamped, they were soon 
obliged to return to the shore, which they reached 
with difficulty, and in imminent danger of their 
lives. 

y 2 



244 SCOTTISH SPOBTS 

And these are the waters of the Pentland Frith ; 
a channel, alas ! but too well known to all the inha- 
bitants of the Northern Isles ; for have not its angry 
waters been the tomb alike of the father and the son, 
the mother and her infant ? Indeed, there is not a 
mariner who has ventured on those uncertain waters, 
but has pronounced them as most perilous perhaps 
the most perilous channel in Europe. 

Yet were we informed that it was, probably now 
now is, considered by the " theoretical" bunglers of 
the Edinburgh Post-office department who waft 
their theory to St. Martin's for the edification of 
those who must be of course practically acquainted 
in such matters (most of them having never even 
crossed the Border), as a mere arm of some calm 
lake, practical and easy of passage at all periods, in 
all tides, and during all seasons. And while they 
are or ought to be aware that the boats, thus em- 
ployed by Government to convey the mails, are the 
only public means of conveyance from the mainland 
of Scotland to the Orkneys ; yet even the annual 
boon of a few pounds yearly was felt, as we were 
told by the boatmen, to be far too heavy a burden on 
the exchequer to be thus risked in the hope of bene- 
fitting some thousands of human beings in so far 
distant and so little cared for a locale ; or with hope 
of saving the lives of those employed in the service 
of the Crown, for which they receive a most un- 
worthy pittance. 

Rowland Hill, and his present chief, however, 
have far more expansive views ; and, happily, more 
just and liberal notions than hitherto have found 
place in the heads or hearts of Post-office secretaries ; 
and it is, therefore, to be hoped, that although 
hitherto the energies of the wiiole department have 
been employed solely in making an increase to the 



A.M) PASTIMES. 243 

revenue, without the slightest consideration as re- 
gards practical accommodation to the public, they 
may henceforth have it instilled into their minds, 
that instead of everlastingly counting up their pence 
to show a good quarterly surplus, their best means of 
obtaining that surplus would be, by listening to the 
suggestions of their practical officers, and doing their 
utmost to further the advance of civilization, and 
extend the comforts of every class of the community 
throughout the British dominions, whether at John 
O' Groat's House or Richmond Hill. 

But let us now return to the subject from which 
we have wandered from feelings excited in our minds 
by the just complaints of the Government servants 
employed as boatmen to convey the mails across the 
Pentland Frith ; and which dangerous channel of 
the sea we have crossed more than once in fair 
weather, yet even then with so little comfort as to 
leave us no inducement to recommend either sports- 
man or tourist to make the attempt, if his object be 
simply that of visiting the Orkneys. 

While these islands belonged to Norway and Den- 
mark, many Norwegians settled on them, and their 
language was exclusively in use ; but, since they have 
be eii annexed to Scotland, a great change has taken 
place, and the Norse tongue has long since ceased to 
be heard. 

A few relics of the Udal tenure the universal 
tenure of land among free nations of the north may 
still be found ; and there are instances of families 
still inhabiting the Orkneys, who possess landed 
property which has descended from father to son 
from time immemorial. The present inhabitants 
are an intelligent, educated, moral, and hospitable 
people ; indeed we may name, as a subject of some 
surprise, that not withstanding the local difficulties 



246 SCOTTISH SPORTS 

they have to contend with, they appear in every 
respect more civilized and more intellectual than 
their neighbours of the Scottish mainland, notwith- 
standing the vaunted education of the lower class, 
both Highlander and Lowlander. 

The Orkneys, in centuries past, were the general 
rendezvous of the piratical fleets which constantly 
devastated the coasts alike of England and of France ; 
and it was not till the year 1468 that the islands 
were pledged to Scotland a pledge, we know not 
how to congratulate them, which has never been 
redeemed. 

Kirkwall, situated in a bay on the north coast of 
Ponoma, is the capital of the islands ; and the visitor 
of this remote district will be gratified by a sight of 
the cathedral of St. Magnus, which is one of the most 
remarkable specimens of middle-age architecture in 
Scotland, having been built by Olave, king of Den- 
mark. In its immediate vicinity, the ruins of the 
Bishop's palace still offer an object of interest; as 
also the palace of the Earl of Stewart, the last feudal 
Earl of Orkney, who was executed for high treason. 

The town is situated close to the sea, its narrow 
and ill-paved streets having all the appearance of a 
Norman town. 

The Isles of Orkney can boast of little game, 
although, on some parts of the higher lands, many 
grouse are to be met with, as also abundant hares ; 
as a shooting quarter, however, it is out of the ques- 
tion ; for even were the difficulties which offer them- 
selves for approaching the island a matter of less 
importance when pleasure is the object, there is de- 
cidedly not sufficient game to offer a very tempting 
bait for so long a journey to the Southron. To him, 
however, who lands at Kirkwall, with the intention 
of rambling through the Orkneys in search of beauties 



AND PASTIMES. 249 

which he has found in fairer lands, and who, at the 
same time being a sportsman, has prepared himself 
for all chances, by numbering among his baggage 
for the line of march, a double-barrel and a fishing- 
rod, may chance to pass a morning on the Wideford 
hill of Pomona agreeably, and cast many a success- 
ful fly in the rippling waters and lakes with which 
the isles abound. Sea-fowl also visit the Orkneys in 
thousands ; and a protecting Providence, caring for 
and watching over all, appears to have selected the 
rocky coast of these wild islands as an abundant 
abiding place for fish, whereby numerous families 
are provided with a means of existence otherwise un- 
attainable. Cod-fish, herrings and lobsters abound 
along the coast ; indeed the London market, we are 
credibly informed, is chiefly supplied with lobsters 
from the Orkneys. The neighbouring shores are 
also constantly visited by seals ; from which, indeed, 
it has been conjectured that the islands derive their 
name ore, in the language of the Northman, signi- 
fying seal. 

Let those who love to dwell on the dark waters of 
the deep blue sea, and who desire a shot at a sea- 
eagle, there called bonxie, or Scua-gull, a very rare 
bird, which rears its young on the high hills of 
Foula and other places, come with us to Shetland. 

We scarcely ever recollect a more glorious sum- 
mer's night than that, when, standing on the deck of 
the large steamer we have already named, we be- 
held the rays of a bright moon cast her glittering 
beams on the swelling waters, which rolled towards 
the shores of Tair Isle ; and subsequently having 
breasted the unexampled tide, which literally roars, 
even in its calmness, round the rocky base of Shum- 
burgh Head, we cast our anchor in the Bay of Ler- 
wick soon after midnight if night there be at all in 



'^50 SCOTTISH SPOUTS 

that northern latitude, for there the long days of 
midsummer rarely say farewell, or are clothed in 
darkness. At a reasonable hour in the morning 
subsequent to our arrival, we landed on the little pier 
of Shetland's capital ; but had scarcely set foot 
on this northern isle, ere the hand of the stranger 
was held forth in kindness and hospitality to bid us 
welcome, and offer us those courtesies so doubly 
gratifying when unexpected and unsought. 

Nevertheless, on such occasions, when the object 
is to see everything worthy and within the range of 
possibility of being seen, without entailing unneces- 
sary trouble on others, we hold that it is far better 
to secure an independent resting place, under the 
roof of public accommodation, where you may com- 
mand the waiter at discretion, if such be your 
pleasure and he be well paid, rather than lay your 
head to rest on the pillow of any man, however much 
you may regard him, or appreciate his generous offers 
of hospitality. With feelings such as these, there- 
fore, although we gratefully accepted the invitation 
which had been courteously tendered us as far as 
that most essential pastime dinner was concerned, 
we declined the rest, and forthwith walked through 
the only street, curious and narrow as it is, which 
with some hundred additional straggling houses, form 
the city for city we conclude it must be, of Ler- 
wick. We arrived at the sign of the Uclaler, the 
principal, in fact only abiding place for tired and 
hungry travellers, and solicited accomodation, which, 
such as it proved, was immediately placed at our 
disposal ; the only public sitting room, in fact, the 
only good apartment which the establishment could 
boast of, (that we had obtained being literally a 
closet) being already occupied by a young En- 
glishman. 



AND PASTIMES. 251 

Haying secured, therefore, such as we could get, 
we set forth to see the sights if sights there were 
to see in this, the only town of Shetland, and the 
capital of the island. The houses, originally built 
merely for the accomodation of fishermen from foreign 
countries, who annually visited Shetland during the 
cod and herring season, line the water' s edge ; and 
as there are no roads throughout the interior of the 
island, till very recently no wheeled vehicle has been 
seen there ; and even now, a cart or a pony-chair, 
belonging to the amiable gentleman who had greeted 
us on our arrival, and who, having built a commo- 
dious house within a mile or two of the town, had 
made an approach thereto, is all in the carriage 
line the island can produce. 

Streets were, therefore, never thought of; and 
consequently the town presents a singularly confused 
appearance, with no other thoroughfare than a 
tortuous, ill-paved lane between the houses. It is 
nevertheless, more particularly at the periods of the 
steamer's arrival from the mainland, a bustling, in- 
teresting little place, with a thriving and industrious 
population, possessing some well-supplied shops ; 
and has so good a harbour, protected by the shores 
of Bressy Island on the one side, and by those of 
the mainland on the other, that Lerwick ought 
to become a town of considerable commercial im- 
portance. 

Having passed the principal portion of our first 
day in Shetland in walking about the town and im- 
mediate neighbourhood, with the intention of visiting 
the interior of the island on the morrow, we returned 
in the afternoon to our hostelry, in order to prepare for 

the hospitalities of Mr. , when curiosity induced 

us to peep into the apartments we had been informed 
were occupied by an Englishman : and true enough, 



252 SCOTTISH SPORTS 

there sat, writing, a countryman. On seeing him, 
our first impression was that of apologizing for our 
intrusion, but a courteous welcome satisfied us on 
this point ; and a glance at the occupier of the room 
convinced us, that had not some casual care clouded 
a brow of unusual frankness, merriment and laughter 
would have reigned there. 

" This moment I was taking the liberty of writing 
to you," said he ; " yes, writing to you, sir ; and at 
this you will be the less surprised, when I tell you 
the very unpleasant predicament in which I am 
placed ; and still more so, when I further add an 
explanation of it. The facts are simply these : 
Having been shooting with a friend in the neigh- 
bourhood of Tongue, west of Thurso, I was in- 
formed that a steamer touched each week at Wick, 
on its passage to the Shetland Isles, which I had 
much curiosity to visit. With this intention, I 
started last week, with the view of meeting my 
servant, whom I had sent forward to Wick with my 
baggage ; but, owing to some delay, I did not reach 
that place till the very moment the steamer was 
about to leave. To jump, therefore, into a shore- 
boat, and get on board as she was fairly under 
weigh, was literally all that I could accomplish ; 
and having done this, so interested was I at look- 
ing at the wild and rocky declivities which 
formed the entrance to the bay, the distant town 
and country, that we were well nigh a league in 
sea ere I discovered that neither my servant nor 
baggage was on board ; indeed with the exception 
of a carpet-bag containing some linen and books, 
which 1 had luckily retained, I had nothing but 
the clothes on my back, and barely sufficient means 
to pay my passage here. Finding myself in such a 
predicament, although my first thought was to re- 



AND PASTIMES. 253 

turn by the steamer, on consideration, and being 
desirous to visit the interior of the islands, fearing 
also I might miss him, I determined to make myself 
as comfortable as circumstances would permit, and 
therefore wrote for my servant to join me with my 
goods and chattels; the steamer has, however, again 
arrived, and my position is worse than before, for no 
servant has made his appearance; and here I am, 
without means or clothes, or indeed the knowledge 
of how to act," 

After this explanation, and putting just faith in 
the manners and appearance of the gentlemanlike 
stranger, many members of whose family we recently 
found we were known to, we soon relieved his mind 
of any further anxiety as to the means of joining his 
servant and baggage by the return of the vessel ; 
and as he had already become acquainted with those 
parts of the interior we were desirous of visiting, we 
determined to sally forth in company on the morrow, 
in order that we might be enabled to enjoy as much 
as possible of the island scenery ere the vessel 
started again on her return to the mainland of 
Scotland. 

Having arranged this matter, we prepared to join 

the festivities of the hospitable mansion of , 

which, in modern comfort, is built by the side of a 
lake, about half a league distant from the town of 
Lerwick. All around, however, is barren hill and 
uninteresting country; but the careful hand of art 
has done all that man could do to make that, which 
in nature is wild and desolate, pleasing to the eye, 
and agreeable as a residence. A view of the lake on 
the one side, with its neighbouring hills, and on the 
other, the distant islands of Fetlar, Papa-Stour, 
Bressay, and the wide ocean, break the monotony of 
a scene which would otherwise leave nothing but 

z 



254 SCOTTISH SPORTS 

desolate effects on the mind. A garden also sur- 
rounds the habitation, in which every attempt at 
cultivation, in many cases successfully made, adds to 
the general appearance of comfort, if not luxuriance ; 
in fact, this is perhaps the only spot in the whole 
island where the flowers of summer may be plucked, 
or luxuriant vegetation finds a resting-place. 

Nothing could exceed the kindness of our warm- 
hearted and liberal host; and as the party which 
assembled, consisting of some few Englishmen who 
like ourselves had visited the northern shores ;for the 
sake of the scenery, together with the commandant 
of the little fort, and other residents of Lerwick, 
sat at the well-supplied board, arranged with all the 
luxury and comfort of our southern homes, we soon 
forgot, amid the merriment and joviality of the even- 
ing, that we were far from the land of our birth, or 
that nature in its barrenness surrounded us. Here 
we first tasted the tusk-fish, which is excellent in 
flavour, and, together with the ling, is one of the 
most valuable and hazardous of the open sea fisheries, 
which contribute largely to the prosperity of the 
settlement. 

This agreeable meeting, which lasted till well 
nigh midnight, over, the whole party lighted their 
cigars, and prepared to return to Lerwick. 

The night was one of unusual brilliancy countless 
stars glittered in the wide expanse of heaven, and 
the air, soft, yet fresh, added greatly to the comfort 
of our ramble homewards. The midnight hour had 
tolled, yet all was so clear and brilliant, though no 
fulness of moon lighted our path, that every object 
appeared as clearly to the eye as were it mid-day; 
indeed, in the high latitude of Shetland, the light of 
day at Midsummer never totally disappears, and the 
smallest print can be read at midnight, when the 



AND PASTIMES. 255 

lingering rays of the preceding day mingle with and 
give way to the early dawn of the morrow. Of this 
fact we had sufficient proof, as one of our party pro- 
duced a copy of the Times newspaper from his 
pocket, every letter of which was distinctly visible. 

During the winter the nights are proportionately 
long and dreary; and, in the month of December, 
the sun is not above the horizon more than five 
hours and twenty minutes ; making these Northern 
Isles, cut off as they then are from all but rare 
means of communication with the mainland, we 
should imagine, one of the most dreary places of 
residence in Europe. Books, too, must be few; 
the pleasures of the daily press less attainable than 
were you on the banks of the Sutlej ; society limited 
and ever formed by the same circle; and as for 
sporting, save amid the feathered tribe which inhabit 
the rocky cVffs. that is out of the question. 

The morning subsequent to our hospitable enter- 
tainment dawned in every respect favourable to our 
intended excursion across the island, or as there 
termed, the mainland of Shetland; and having 
stowed away a hearty and substantial breakfast, in 
company with the agreeable acquaintance whose 
misfortunes had introduced him to us, we mounted 
some small but powerful little shelties, and prepared to 
follow our guide across the mountain-tracks. Thus, 
as we rode along in agreeable conversation over hill 
and dale, we had ample time to look on the wildness 
with which on all sides we were surrounded, which 
the clearness of the horizon made less sad, yet more 
distinct to view. 

The surface of the island is particularly rugged 
and wild, and not unfrequently bears the appearance 
of actual desolation and sterility; indeed, the small 
tracts of cultivated and fertile land generally near 

z 2 



256 SCOTTISH SPORTS 

the vales and sea coast, rich pastures, arid bright 
green meadows, are pleasing exceptions to the general 
character of the country; yet, like angels' visits, 
few and far between, Yet the majestic cliffs and 
towering headlands that frown over the stormy seas ; 
the turbulent surges raised by the conflicting currents 
and torrents that sweep round the headlands; the 
numerous detached and very singular pyramids of 
rock which rise to a great elevation along several 
parts of the coast, and the openings of innumerable 
lofty and dark caverns in the cliffs and precipices 
along the shore, some of great beauty, and others of 
gloomy grandeur, either separately or grouped to- 
gether, form, very magnificent and highly picturesque 
features; a sight of which will amply repay the 
lover of such savage scenes, should he venture to 
cross the rough and uncertain waters which sepa- 
rate the Shetlanders from their Scottish neighbours. 
But of all the objects most worthy of interest, in 
our humble opinion, is one which we beheld about 
mid-day, after a long march half ride, half ramble 
across treeless moors, stony hills, and rough sheep- 
tracks, to the south-eastern extremity of the island. 
There, on a point or headland, which towers above 
the roaring sea, which even in its calmness swells 
like thunder against the rocky shore, you will be 
interested by the sight of a small island, if such it 
can be designated, the top of which forms a grass 
plot; in extent about one quarter of an acre, on the 
very surface of a cliff, which appears as if rent from 
the neighbouring mainland by some sudden effort of 
angry Nature. This abrupt and almost triangular 
cliff or headland, which stands as if in defiance of 
the thundering waters which rush around its base 
about forty yards from the coast, becomes an object 
of greater curiosity when we relate the fact, that 



AND PASTIMES. 257 

man in his boldness has obtained an approach thereto 
by the means of a basket slung on ropes. 

To him who looks on this tremendous cliff, and 
watches the turbulent sea, which boils and foams 
some hundred yards beneath the spot on which he 
stands, it becomes a matter of wonder and surprise 
that any human being should trust himself in so frail 
a means of conveyance, for an object which is 
scarcely of sufficient interest to mention even in 
these pages. It is nevertheless a fact, that a few 
hardy islanders, having cast an eye of desire on the 
luxuriant herb which flourished on this extraordinary 
rock, became jealous of the myriads of gulls which 
were wont to make it their resting-place ; surmising, 
perhaps justly, that the pasture was better suited to 
the wants of their little sheep which fed on the 
mainland. With difficulty, one more bold than his 
comrades, a rope encircling his waist, made his way 
down the precipitous side of the cliffs, swam boldly 
across the narrow channel of turbulent waves which 
roar between the rocks, and with almost incredible 
activity now climbing, now crawling gained the 
summit of the island. Having attained this point, 
his comrades formed a means of communication by 
attaching a stone to the end of a string, which they 
threw across the gulf : ropes were thus drawn over, 
then stakes, then implements to drive them in the 
earth ; on these a strong basket was at length inge- 
niously slung, in which an individual ventured, a 
cord being attached to each side, and thus he was 
enabled to drag himself across. 

These matters satisfactorily arranged, what was at 
first a most hazardous means of conveyance was at 
length so improved on as to become tolerably safe, 
and now has for years existed as a mode by which 
not only do these adventurous Shetlanders cross from 

z3 



258 SCOTTISH SPORTS 

the mainland to the little island, but actually carrying 
in their laps, while seated in the perilous basket, 
sheep after sheep, which having disposed on the 
grassy plot, they leave to feed on the sweet herb, 
without the slightest protection from the blasts of 
heaven, or aught else than their own instinct to pro- 
tect them during the day ; but tenfold more so during 
the darkness of night, from the dangers which sur- 
round them. Indeed, were a rope to break in cross- 
ing, or the slightest accident to occur, man and beast 
would be cast some hundred yards below in the 
foaming element, to eternity. For the small dona- 
tion of half-a-crown, those who visit this spot will 
find more than one individual ready to cross and 
recross the dark and tremendous chasm. And we 
must own that curiosity induced us not only to ex- 
pend that sum to behold the venture, but we also 
witnessed the feat of a sheep being also carefully 
conveyed to his neighbours, who fed quietly on the 
sweet herb. 

This one hazardous step was, however, quite suf- 
ficient to satisfy our curiosity ; and as, with nerves 
extended to the full, we watched the frightful pro- 
gress of the basket, and its living contents of man 
and beast, we must own we felt regret that no means 
could be put in force to prevent the risk of human 
life for so little advantage. 

The hundreds of sea-fowl which whirled around 
the rocks, sending forth their screams and piercing 
cries as we fired a ball at a cormorant floating on the 
ocean beneath, all contributed to a scene whose wild- 
ness and desolation, yet peculiar interest, once seen, 
can scarcely be erased from the memory. 

Having lingered long on this spot, and viewed 
from the distance many a rocky eminence and distant 
island, which the brightness of the day fortunately 



AND PASTIMES. 259 

placed more distinctly on the horizon, we prepared 
by a different route, to return to Lerwick, as the 
steamer in which we intended to re-embark was to 
heave her anchor that evening. 

During the whole of our walk, however, the same 
uninteresting country alone was to be seen, not a 
tree, not a shrub to enliven the monotony of our 
walk ; and as for game, though a few hares, we were 
told, existed in the island, not a grouse, or any 
other species of the game tribe, did we meet with. 

For the information of sportsmen, however, we 
may observe, that they will readily find a great 
number and variety of sea-fowl, which render the 
ornithology of the district an interesting study. The 
sea-eagle, previously alluded to in these pages, and 
there called bonxie, or Scua-gull, a very rare bird, 
rears its young in the high hills of Foula and other 
elevated places. The great owl, termed provincially 
katogle ; the arctic and parasite gull, the cormorant, 
guillemots, lyres, or shearwaters, kittywakes, shel- 
drakes, terns, sea-hawks, and a vast variety of simi- 
lar birds, are all common to Shetland. And the 
slaughter of seals in the deep caverns and rocky 
borders of the sea-coast is in itself quite sufficient 
sport to enable the lover of wild scenery to pass a 
week in good fellowship with the hospitable and 
simple-hearted Shetlander. 



260 SCOTTISH SPORTS 



CHAPTER XIX. 

CONNECTED also with other matters of interest 
afforded to him who rambles as we did on the lands 
of the Udaler, we cannot close this rough account of 
our most pleasing excursion, without making some 
additional remarks to those we have already made, 
in regard to those diminutive and graceful little ani- 
mals, the Shetland ponies. These little creatures, 
now so well known all over England, indeed Europe, 
from the facility of exportation heretofore named, 
are supposed to exist to the number of at least ten 
thousand in the Shetland Isles. The pure breed are 
to be had at the low standard of eight hands, the 
largest never exceeding twelve ; we allude, of course, 
to the true and uncontaminated breed. 

And these little animals, notwithstanding their 
being allowed to provide for themselves, ranging 
whither their will directs, over hill and pasture, alike 
by day and night, during the warmth of summer as 
in winter's bleakness, are nevertheless vigorous in 
proportion to their size, beyond all belief, capable of 
carrying great weights, and are naturally hardy in 
accordance with their mode of existence. 

The Shetland cow, equally diminutive in size and 
in weight, but rarely exceeding two hundred and 
eighty pounds, yet yielding three English quarts of 
milk per day, is another animal peculiar to these 



AND PASTIMES. 261 

northern isles, as graceful in form, and, when well 
fed, as excellent in flesh, as the best beef to be pur- 
chased in the London market. 

The native sheep may also be classed amongst the 
wild animals which feed on the pasture, and range 
the numerous hills between Feideland and Shum- 
burgh Head, from Sandness to the Noup of Nesting. 
These little creatures, in number exceeding sixty 
thousand, are remarkable for their diminutive size 
and weight, which seldom reaches thirty pounds; 
and being totally free from the care or protection of 
a shepherd, they have attained a degree of fleetness 
and instinct which would be considered foreign to 
the nature of the animal, by those who have wit- 
nessed none but flocks, the tinkling bell of whose 
leader has sounded far up the valley of some rich 
and luxuriant pasture-land of merry England. 

But we have dwelt longer than we had intended 
on the interest of the Shetland Isles a portion of 
her Majesty's dominions we never can regret having 
visited; a spot in the far bleak north, to the comfort 
of which we would still hope the legislature may 
cast a thought and give a care ; for there, amid those 
wild hills on the borders of those rocky shores, live, 
exist, and labour under the protection, and as sub- 
jects, of the British throne, thirty thousand souls. 
But the " blue peter" floats aloft on board the royal 
mail steamer, and the hissing and spluttering steam 
reminds us that, should we not hasten, like our 
brother in distress, whom we have rescued from his 
loneliness, we may be doomed to while away a week 
in riding Shetland ponies, shooting cormorants and 
seals, or searching for bonxies' eggs several amuse- 
ments, all agreeable in due season, but which at the 
moment we could dispense with. 

On board once more, the revolving paddles soon 



262 SCOTTISH SPORTS 

told that we were rapidly bidding farewell to the 
Shetlanders; and as we advanced, the lowering 
clouds on Shumburgh's towering head, on which we 
gazed as if the figure of Norna was about to appear 
on the top of some wild peak for our especial grati- 
fication, reminded us that the brightness of the day 
was past, and that we might look out for what the 
sailors term a dirty night an unpleasant truth, the 
commencement of which was practically proved to 
us by the unusual rolling of our large vessel, which 
was hurled like a cork amid the terrible tides, which 
handled us roughly and uncourteously as we bade 
the bold and darkening cliffs adieu! In fact, the 
recollections of that tempestuous night can never be 
erased from our memory a memory which scarcely 
needed jogging, as far as regards the circumstance 
of our very soon feeling a dreadful alloverishness, 
which compelled us to turn in had we not, at the 
moment we now write, been forcibly reminded of the 
fact; having an hour since dined luxuriantly on 
machereau d la sauce piquante, a loin of Dartmoor 
mutton, stewed in a manner which would have proved 
satisfactory to the veriest gourmand, to say nothing 
of a lobster fresh from the blue ocean on which our 
window looks, and with which having made too free, 
the slight sensations which we experienced, together 
with our subject, at once recalled the fact of how we 
lay all that night in the bay before Fair Isle. And 
as the light of day once more broke, as we hoped, to 
our great relief, we heard a sudden crash, so terrible, 
so loud, so unpleasant to us a landsman, that earn- 
estly we vowed, ere the ship righted from her terrific 
lurch, that if once we put foot again safe and sound 
on the mainland of Scotland, no sporting or wander- 
ing tastes should ever induce us to take passage in a 
northern steamer. 



AND PASTIMES. 263 

We had yet, however, some days to try our pa- 
tience; for, ere we had gained the smooth water 
'mid the Isles of Orkney, it was found that we had 
split the main shaft of the vessel fore and aft ; and 
that the wind having died away at the very identical 
moment we most required its services, we might 
perhaps, as the engines had become useless, the tides 
particularly adverse, and scarcely a breath of air to 
fill the sails, have managed to run straight on the 
stupendous rocks with which on all sides we were 
surrounded ; and, had such been the case, the morn- 
ing papers would have secured the pleasure of con- 
veying the intelligence to our friends, that a large 
steamer of 250 horse power having driven ashore in 
a gale on one of the Orkney Isles (although it was a 
dead calm), every soul perished. However, a merci- 
ful Providence, on this occasion, decided otherwise ; 
and, after rolling here and rolling there, a friendly 
puff carried us round a formidable rock, instead of 
on it ; and, with a delight which few can conceive but 
those who have been placed in a similar situation, we 
heard the anchor drop, and found ourselves in safety. 

The fact of being there, in the calm waters of 
a small bay amid the Orkney Isles, and getting to 
Aberdeen, or even to Wick, with no shaft on which 
to revolve our paddles, was another question. A 
council of war, or rather of peace, was therefore 
held; and as fortunately we had a gallant and in- 
telligent naval officer on board, who suggested many 
practical plans for splicing even a steamer's shaft, a 
boat was dispatched on shore, and messengers were 
sent across the island to Kirkwall for all the black- 
smiths and all the iron in the town. All the black- 
smiths and all the iron, however, that could be 
obtained, were only, the one capable, the other suf- 
ficient, to make four sort of rings by which to bind 



264 SCOTTISH SPORTS AND PASTIMES. 

our broken limb, by two days' hard labour; ad 
interim, we had no alternative but that of shooting 
puffins and catching codlins, diversified by eating 
breakfast, lunch, dinner, tea, supper, washed down 
with beer, porter, brandy, champagne, port, claret, 
and sherry. At last, however, the welcome sound 
of the puffing steam greeted our ears once more, and 
we were fairly under way again; we had, however, 
scarcely weathered the island, ere crack went the 
handywork of the Orkney smith. On this occasion, 
however, the wind proved fair, every sail was hoisted, 
and we made headway sufficient for safety. The 
naval officer then proposed that a chain should be 
strongly bound round the shaft ; this was successfully 
managed, and good fortune and a fair night enabled 
us to make the harbour of Wick, where, taking the 
mail for the south, we recorded the vow already 
made, never again to seek pleasure on the Shetland 
seas. 

With this determination, we bade them farewell, 
as did we our travelling companion, who was once 
more greeted with the presence of his faithful ser- 
vant, who, like his master, had been acting a comedy 
of errors imprimis by allowing him to go on board 
alone, with the full idea that he would call for him 
at the inn as he passed for embarkation; and, 
secondly, by making two vain attempts to cross the 
Pentland Frith and catch the steamer at Kirkwall, 
by which he lost a second chance of a passage to 
Shetland. 



THE END. 



London: Printed by Schulze and Co., 13, Poland-st., Oxford-st. 



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