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THE SCOTTISH DEER FORESTS.
We would that, like stout Lord most fatal delusions as distinct prinPercy of yore, it were in our power at ciples of right, and then shrinks, tremthis present moment to chronicle a bling and aghast, from the inevitable vow that we should forthwith take result of their development ! our pastime for three summer days on We do not want–in this article at the pleasant hills of Scotland. Alas least-to be political, and we vow that for us, that we are doomed, from we took up our pen three minutes ago divers causes, to absent ourselves from in a spirit of perfect good-will and felicity awhile, and, amidst the heat harmony towards all manner of men. and noise of London, listen with in- But the hoarse bawling of these cannitense disgust to the brutal bayings of bals has somewhat ruffled our temper, the Chartists! This very night, we dispelled for the moment our dreams hear, the ignoble hunt is to be up in of the mountains, and forced us back Bishop Bonner's fields. Crowds of to the sterner realities of popular dirty, unshaven, squalid ruffians, who tumult and the truncheon. If this bave not the strength to use the pike, sort of thing lasts, we shall indubitbut the will to employ the knife of the ably emigrate. Assassination, as reassassin-fellows whom even Cobden commended by the modern Hamilcar, would be chary to recognise as his is by no manner of means to our quondam supporters, defenders, and taste. Our opinion coincides with dupes —not unmingled with foreign that of the gracious Captain of Knockpropagandists, whom even France, in dunder, and, were we promoted to a the fury of her revolutionary tornado, judicial function, “the chiel they ca' repudiates—are thronging to the place the Fustler" should ere long fustle in of rendezvous, where, doubtless, their a tow. Neither are we at all disposed souls will be worthily regaled by the to fraternise with the milder Cuffeyravings of some rascally vendors of a fellow, by the way, who is not withsedition, blasphemy, and treason. Then out some redeeming scintillations of will ensue the usual scene which for humour. We have no wish to be nights has disgraced the metropolis. introduced to him even at a mesmeric Some unfortunate tradesman, whose soiree ; and, acting upon the principle curiosity has been stronger than his of Jacquey, we shall pray heaven to prudence, will be fixed upon as a decrease our acquaintance, and put "special" or a spy—the cowards, pre- the Tweed as speedily as possible besuming upon their numbers, and the tween ourselves and the partisans of apparent absence of all executive O'Connor. We hope the Lord Propower, will attempt a deliberate mur- vost, though discomfited in his Police der—the police will sally from their Bill, has been looking after the tranhiding-place to the rescue—there will quillity of the Calton. If not, we be a storm of brickbats, a determined must move further north, and finally charge with the baton, a shop or two locate ourselves somewhere in the will be gutted, some score of craniums vicinity of Dalnacardoch. The cracked, and to-morrow morning the deuce is in it, if the revolutionary greasy patriots, at the bar of Bow mania has penetrated to that sequesStreet, will read their recantation, and, tred region ! No son of the mountains in the face of overwhelming evidence has ever yet given in his adhesion to to the contrary, protest their loyalty the Charter-treason hath not stained to the Queen. Such are the pastimes the tartan, and no republican pins of merry England in the month of have ever been exposed beneath the June, and such the results of that checkered margin of the kilt. There enlightened policy which yields every is loyalty at least in the land which thing to popular clamour, adopts the was traversed by Montrose and Dun
Lays of the Deer Forest, with Sketches of Olden and Modern Deer Hunting, &c. fc. By John SOBIESKI and CHARLES EDWARD STUART. 2 vols., post 8vo. William Blackwood & Sons, Edinburgh and London.
dee; and without the slightest fear would far rather meet them in the that any of the numerous points of garb of the forester, than in the more that interesting bạt incomprehensible fantastic fashion of the minstrel : be public document, which Mr Joseph theirs the lot of Ryno the hunter, not Home proposes to condense, shall be the darkened destiny of the bard. unduly obtruded on our notice, we Do, therefore, what you please with shall at once exchange our London the first volume-pack it up in your dwelling for the more pleasant bothy portmantean, or place it on the shelf of the hills.
beside Chambers' History and the As for a companion, we shall seek collections of good old Bishop Forbes. none better-for we could not find But if you profess to be a deer-stalker one-than this last publication of the though we fear your profession to Stuarts. And here, once for all, let be false—or if you are but an aspiring us draw a line of distinction betwixt neophyte, and hankerer after that the poetry and the prose of these very proud position-or if you merely remarkable brothers. We have not bound your aspirations towards the the remotest intention of sitting in compassing of the death of a roebuck judgment on the “ Lays," or of test- -or if simply you have a keen and a ing the poetical merits of John So- kindly eye for nature, and are a lover bieski and Charles Edward, either of the sylvan solitudes—in one or by the canons of Longinus, or by other, or all of these characters, we that superior code of literary laws pray you to deal more leisurely with which Maga has promulgated to the the other tome, which is the Hunter's world. The poems, which occupy Vade-Mecum, the best guide ever yet exclusively the first of these volumes, published to the haunts of the antlered are, with one exception, fugitive in monarch. their nature, and appear to have been We are fond of Mr Scrope, and penned rather from occasional impulse, we have an excessive partiality for than from any deliberate intention of St John. Two finer fellows never publication. Accordingly, we find that shouldered a rifle; and our conscience most of them relate to topics personal does not accuse us of having used too to the authors themselves and with superlative an epithet in their praise. these we do not meddle. In others. This was the more creditable on our there are flashes of the deep national part, because we knew them both to spirit which still survives—though our be Southrons; and while freely adrulers do not seem to mark it-in mitting the sportsman-like qualities Scotland: indignation at the neglect of the one, and the strong picturesque with which too many of our national style and spirit of the other, we felt a institutions have been treated, and slight, passing, but pardonable pang mournful lamentings over the misfor- of jealousy, that they should have tunes of a former age. But the im- stepped in, and pre-occupied the pulse which leads to the composition native field. Where, thought we are of poetry does not always imply our Scottish deer-stalkers ? Can the its accomplishment. Poetry, as an lads not handle a pen as well as art in which excellence can only be touch a trigger? Will none of them, obtained by a combination of the who have been trained to the hills simple and the sublime, requires a since they were striplings, stand study far more intense and serious forth for the honour of Albyn, and than the mere critic is apt to allow. try a match with these fustian-coated In a former Number we devoted an circumventers of the stag? By the article to an exposition of those prin- shade of Domhnull Mac-Fhionnlaidh ciples, which are absolutely invariable nan Dan, we blush for the literary in their application, and which must reputation of our country, and almost be thoroughly understood, if they are wish that we were young enough not intuitive to the poet; and, being ourselves to take the hill against the in no mood for repetition, we shali invading Sassenach! At length—and simply say that we adhere to our we are delighted to see it the rerecorded doctrines. The Stuarts, it proach has been swept away. Two must be confessed, are more success. stalwart champions of the forest have ful with the rifle than the lyre. We risen in the persons of the Stuartsthey have encountered the English- Purdie which decorates the shoulder men with their own weapons, and, in of the former—though the hound that our opinion, beaten them hollow. sometimes attends him, though oftener
Mr Scrope had the merit of produc- he is alone, never slept a single night ing the earliest work in which deer- in a kennel
, and is the ruggedest spestalking was treated as a distinct and cimen of his kind-still he is in the peculiar branch of the art venatory, enjoyment of advantages incomparWe speak of it now from recollection; ably superior for the development of for our copy, somewhat frayed and all his faculties, and the sharpening of worn by the fingers of ambitious every sense. The triumph of the sportsmen, is in the snug corner of a sportsman does not lie so much in the library some hundred miles to the killing as in the finding of his game. northward. But we remember well Were it otherwise, the pigeon-slayer the Waltonian character of the book of Battersea or the Red-house would the professional style in which the have just claims to the honours of Sir elder practitioner enforced his precepts Tristram, and the annihilator of upon the dawning intellect of his poultry to rank with the Nimrods of companion ; and the adventures, the world. Our young friend the neither few nor feeble, which were Squire shoots well—that is to say, he depicted in the heart of the Atholl can kill with reasonable precision ; forest. Taken as the production of but, after all, what is he save an inan English sportsman, Mr Scrope's strument ? Take Ponto away from book is highly creditable : considered him, tie up Juno, send a bullet through as the manual of a deer-stalker, it is the brain of Basta, and a pretty begat the best indifferent. Nor, indeed, garly account you will have of it in could it well be otherwise. Not until the evening when we come to the middle age, if we are informed rightly, emptying of the bags! Or lead him did Mr Scrope first send a ball into down to the sea-shore,
and show him the ample shoulder of a hart: his a whaup, which in the English tongue young blood never beat tumultuously is denominated a curlew ; request him in his veins at the sight of the mighty to use all his possible skill to compass creature rolling over upon the heather, possession of the bird ; but do not set and its antlers buried in the moss. your heart on having it, else, as sure His boyish enthusiasm, we fear, was as fate, you are doomed to disappointexpended upon game of less mark and ment. Whaup is quite alive to his likelihood-partridges, perchance, as own interests, and by no means unthey whirred from the turnips, or suspicious of the Saxon, who advances possibly he was " entered" with the straight towards him with a hypocrihare. Wordsworth's maxim, that the tical air of unconcern. Had the boy is the father of the man, is pecu- Highland lad been there, what a difliarly applicable in sporting matters. ference! He would have dropped like Upon the character of the country in a stone behind that rock, wriggled which the latent spirit of the hunter like a serpent over the sand, kept the is earliest developed, depends, in a bird between himself and the sea, great degree, his future success, and taken advantage of every inequality certainly his accomplishment as an in the ground, discerned from the Orion. The young squire, who has attitude of his quarry whether its been brought up in the faith of Sykes, suspicions were aroused or not, and who never stirs abroad without a in ten minutes a pluff of white smoke keeper, and who is accustomed to see and a report would have announced his delicate pointers execute their its extermination. As it is, the curlew maneuvres with almost mathematical remains apparently unconcerned until precision on the flat stubbles of Nor- the Lord of the Manor has reduced folk, labours under a huge disadvan- the intermediate distance to a hundred tage in the higher branches of his and twenty yards, and then, with a science, compared with the Highland shrill whistle, takes flight along the boy who has received his education margin of the tide. Or set him to on the hill. What though the single stalk a blackcock, perched high of an barrel of the latter be a clumsy imple- Autumn morning on a dyke. How ment indeed in competition with the clumsily he sets about it!
able is his stoop! how wretchedly he should be left behind a stone, or in calculates his distance! That wide- some covert, before the stalker comawake bat, which, for the sake of mences his approach ; not from any symmetry, he has been pleased to recognition of the false reproach made surmount with a feather, is as conspi- against the guides by Mr Scrope, but cuous to the country for miles round, tant, and
the action of one has more
because there is no occasion for an assisand of course to the blackcock, as celerity, independence, and security from was the white plume of Murat in the discovery, than when a greater number field of battle, and as potent to effect are in motion. The charge made by the a clearance, of which we presently anthor of The Art of Deer-stalking, have ocular demonstration.
that the forester is often in the way, and We contend, therefore, that it is ex: sometimes obstructs the shot, is not true, tremely difficult for the man, be he ever unless in instances of inexperienced and so addicted to field-sports, who has been awkward individuals, who are not to be educated in a cultivated country, to found among that class of foresters of disembarrass himself of the artificial whom the guest of the Atholl Forest prohabits which he is tolerably sure to ac- poses his remarks. With a MacKenzie, quire. His trolling may be excellent- Hardie, the asserted inconvenience must
or a MacDonald, a Catanach, and a Macindeed, English gentlemen are, gene- proceed from the ignorance or malrally speaking, first-rate shots, but he adroitness of the gray worm which crawls will be deficient in the science of the na- at his back, and who often does not know turalist, and in that singular acuteness what he is doing, or where he is going, of perception which can hardly be with his ideas égaré on his sensitive gained save by an early intimacy with knees and varnished Purdie, unconscious nature, on the mountain, the moor, orin of what he ought to do and nervous for the glen. No subsequent education or what he ought not, flurried with eagerexperience can make up for the nor- ness and disgusted with his posture, and • mal deficiency, least of all in the pursuit who, never seeing a deer except once in of an animal so wary, so instinctive, the year, is led up to him like a 'blind and so peculiar in its habits as the scarcely understands. In general, there
burraid,' by one whose language he deer. Of course we do not mean to fore, the embarrassments of the creep' deny that there is much which may are those of the superior, who is frebe learned. What a pointer is to quently so ignorant, unpractised, and partridges, some waryand experienced dependent upon the guidance of the foforester may often be made to the rester, that to be taken up to the deer' deer; and if you put yourself under has become the modern forest phrase for his tuition, and scrupulously obey his the approach of the sportsman. This conorders, you may very possibly
term, and its contemptible pracin attaining the object of your desires. tice, has only been introduced within the Nor indeed can you do better, up to a of stalking gentlemen utterly unacquaint
last quarter century, since the prevalence certain point, notwithstanding the ed with the ground and pursuit of deer, strictures of the Stuarts, who are, we of old, the Sealgair uasal nam bèann' think, unnecessarily wroth at the was initiated to the hill when yet but a system which would call in the aid " biorach' of a stalker; and when he of any supplementary assistance. We became a matured hill-man, he should no hope no gentleman who has rented a more have suffered himself to be taken forest for the ensuing season will be up to his deer' by an attendant, than a deterred from following the feet of a Melton fox-hunter to be trained after the Highland Gamaliel on account of any rein. What should
have been the senti
bounds by a whipper-in with a leading ridicule which may be attached to the fact of his having been taken up" ments of the old chiefs and Uaislean of to a deer. If he should rashly attempt and Gordon-Glengarrie-John Aberar
the last century—the Dukes of Atholl stalking at his own hand, without any dar-Iain dubh Bhail-a-Chroäin—to hear preliminary instruction, we should be a deer-hunter speak of being taken up sorry to found our hopes of dinner on to his deer !'-Certainly that he was the chance of his acquisition of a a noble amadan' or gille-crübach, hanneh.
who had not the faculties or the limbs to
act for himself.-But this is only one of “When advancing upon deer (say the many instances for which the hills of otir authors]-except in strange ground Gael may monrn with the mountains of -the forester, or any other attendant, Gilboa—' Quomodo ceciderunt robusti!""
Far are we from insinuating that nervous about your sanatory condition, Mr Scrope is at all liable to the re- when subjected to the enormity of marks contained in the foregoing damp sheets—how would you like to extract. On the contrary, we hold spend a few nights on the misty hillhim to be a man of vigorous mind side, or even in the hut of the hunters ? and acute eye, and any thing but a We shall take you if you please to the contemptible foe to the stags, after the latter spot, merely premising that, in measure of his own experience. If he order to reach it, we must cross the is deficient at all, it is in the poetry Findhorn, now roaring down in spate. and higher mysteries of the art, which A terrible stream is that Findhorn, as hardly would be expected from a Mr St John well knows; but we stranger, whose initiation was neces- question whether he ever ventured to sarily late. Waverley, though a re- ford it on the rise, as was done by one spectable shot, and a man of literary of the Stuarts. For the information taste, would, we apprehend, have of distant friends, we beg to put our described the driving and disposition imprimatur to the following descripof the tainchel less effectively, and tion of this furious Highland flood, certainly far less truly, than Fergus which rolled between the residence of M'Ivor; so great a difference is there the hunters and their favourite betwixt the craft of the master and ground. bis pupil. Let Mr Scrope, therefore, rest content with the laurels he has
“ That stream, however, which was so won, and the trophies he has taken calm, and bright, and sunny, when the
otters floated down its current in a still from the forest. Not unforgotten is
summer's morning, was a fierce and his name in Atholl, nor unloved. Let terrible enemy in its anger; and, for a him be a guide to the Southren, but great part of the year, the dread of its he must not dream of rivalling the uncertainty and danger was a formidable Stuarts in woodcraft, or Stoddart in cause for the preservation of that prothe science of piscation.
found solitude of the forest which so long Of Mr St John's “Wild Sports of the made it the sanctuary of deer, roe, and Highlands," we have already spoken every kind of wild game. The rapidity in terms of unqualified praise. A
with which the river comes down, the more delightful volume was
impassable height to which it rises in an adapted for the pocket of the sports- fury, would render it an object of care
incredibly short time, its incertitude and man : a more truthful or observant work has seldom issued from the pen the peasants of the 'laich,
to bold forders and boatmen ; but with of the naturalist. His sketches and tomed, like the Highlanders, to wrestle pictures of deer-stalking we allow to with a mountain torrent, and, excepting be as perfect in their way as the com- in rare instances, unable to swim or positions of Landseer; and having manage a coble, it inspires a dread, alsaid so much, we shall not make any most amounting to awe, and none except further call upon that gentleman's ourselves ventured to keep a boat above blushes. Still, even his experience is
the fishing-station of Slui. Pent within limited, and his knowledge imperfect.
a channel of rocks from fifty to a hunHe has given us a brilliant account
dred and eighty feet in height, the rise
of the water is rapidly exaggerated by of his own exploits upon the hill, but
the incapability of diffusion ; and the he has not lived long enough in the length of its course sometimes concealing wilder haunts of the deer accurately beyond the horizon the storms by which to understand their habits. Not so it is swelled at its source, its floods then our authors, who for years have been descend with unexpected violence. Fredenizens of the mountains, speaking quently when, excepting a low wreath the tongue of the Gael, wearing the upon Beann-Drineachain, the sun is shinnative garb, and following the chase ing in a cloudless sky, and the water with an ardour and enthusiasm un
scarce ripples over the glittering ford, a paralleled in these degenerate days.
deep hollow sound-a dull approaching Gentlemen who complain of the in- river ; and almost before the wading
roar may be heard in the gorges of the ferior accommodation afforded by some fisherman can gain the shore, a bank of of the more distant hostelries of Scot water, loaded with trees, and rocks, and land-who are shocked at the absence wreck, will come down three -- fourof warming-pans, and tremulously five feet abreast-sweeping all before it