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when he crossed their warm track. Upon these occasions he would stand and look at me with wonder-turn his head from side to side-snuff the ground again, to see if it was possible that he could be mistaken-and when he found that there was no disputing the scent, cock one ear at me with a keener inquiry, and seeing that I was in earnest, trot heavily onward with a sigh.
"The affection of the roe for their young is very strong; and timid and feeble as they are by nature, inspired by the danger of their offspring, they become brave and daring, and in their defence, will attack not only animals but men. We were one day passing along the west walk of Eilean-Agais, and, beyond a turn in the path, heard the sound of feet running towards us, and immediately out shot a cat round the corner, and, close at her heels, a doe pursuing her with great eagerness. Knowing that her pursuer could not overtake her, and having no instinctive dread of her kind, the cat did not give herself the trouble to run faster than just sufficient to keep beyond her reach, while the doe pursued her with an angry scrambling pace, and, whenever she was near overtaking her, endeavoured to kneel on her back. This is a mode of attack common to deer as well as cattle, which, when they have overthrown their object, not only gore them with their horns, but bruise and crush them with their knees. At our appearance there was a pause; the cat cantered up the brae to the top of a little rock, where she lay down in the sun to see what would happen between us and her pursuer. The doe, after a few bounds turned round and looked indignantly at us, and stamped and belled in great displeasure; this she continued for some moments, glancing occasionally at the cat with a strong desire to resume her chase; but being restrained by a sense stopping at intervals to stamp and bell at of prudence, she slowly ascended the hill us, who knew very well that she had two kids in the junipers upon the craig."
Now let us up to the hill, where the mighty herds are feeding. Scotland will, in all probability, never see a tainchel more; indeed, save at a royal hunting, it were scarcely desirable now. The feudal system has melted away, the clans are broken and scattered, and we care not again to see a pageant which is indissolubly connected in our memories with national gallantry and misfortune. But the deer are still on the mountain and in the wood, and we shall seek them in their former haunt. Wood-stalking,
though the Stuarts speak of it with considerable enthusiasm, was never much to our taste. It is true that the largest stags are generally to be met with in the wood, and we have fol lowed the sport ere now in the Spessart, among the pines of Darmstadt, and the thickets of Strath Garve; but it must always partake more or less of the character of driving, and we never have felt while engaged in it, that enthusiasm and keenness which sends the blood to the heart of the hunter when he first discovers a herd in the gorge of some solitary glen. Then he feels that he must put forth the whole resources of his art-that he must baffle the acutest of all instincts by the aid of human cunning
that he has a thousand difficulties to overcome before he can arrive within reach of his quarry, and that a single false step or miscalculation is sufficient to destroy the labour, the patience, and the vigilance of a day.
Great, fat fallow-deer, waxing into obesity in a park, do not seem to mind the approach of a human being, even were he an alderman redolent of blackcurrant jelly. But the red-deer, as many incipient stalkers know to their cost, has a very different amount of perception. Unless you take the wind of him, he is off like a shot, though your distance may be upwards of a mile. In the words of the old stalker, "Above all things, let not the devil tempt you to trifle with a deer's nose you may cross his sight, walk up to him in a grey coat, or, if standing against a tree or rock near his nose, even at an incredible disyour own colour, wait till he walks up to you; but you cannot cross tance, but he will feel the tainted air. Colors or forms may be deceptive or alike; there are gray, brown, and green rocks and stocks as well as men, and all these may be equivocal; but there is but one scent of man, and that he never doubts or mistakes; that is filled with danger and terror, and one whiff of its poison at a mile off, and, whether feeding or lying, his head is instantly up, his nose to the wind, and, in the next moment, his broad antlers turn, and he is away to the hill or the wood; and if there are no green peas, corn, or potatoes, in the neighbourhood, he may not be seen
on the same side of the forest for a month. A word to the wise, from the lips of a Celtic Solon!
So much for your chance, if, in the plenitude of your full flavour, you take the hill, regardless of the currents of the air, which, moreover, are perpetually shifting. But there are other difficulties. Though not impossible, it is very ticklish work to get within shot of a deer by any other means save diligent creeping, and sometimes, when the ground is unusually flat and open, that method of approach is impracticable. Then there are divers enemies-that is, of yours, for in reality there are scouts to the deer-whom you must try particularly to avoid. This is not easy. Sometimes when you are sinuating like a serpent towards the especial stag of your heart, a blundering covey of grouse will start from the heather and give an effectual alarm; sometimes the shrill whistle of the plover will change your anticipated triumph into mourning; and sometimes a charge of that disagreeable cavalry the mountain sheep, little less sagacious and wary than the deer themselves, will put the whole of the glen into disorder. But the worst enemies you have to guard against are the hinds, who are usually so disposed as to be out upon the feeding grounds, and thus to mask the stag. In such a position, it becomes a point of honour to circumvent the lady, which is any thing but an easy task. The Stuarts give us an admirable recollection of such a scene in the forest of Glen
Fidich, which is so exciting that, though rather long, we make no apology for transferring it to the columns of Maga.
with a large plump of hinds-which he herded within a wide vacant circlethere was a mighty black hart, with a head like a blasted pine, and a cluster of points in each crown. Though each stag of the surrounding circle had not less than ten points, there was none which approached his size, and they all kept at a respectful distance, while he marched round and round the central group of hinds. 'He will have them all in the ring before long,' said MacLellan; 'yon's one of the old heroes of the Monadh-liath; he has not been four-and-twenty hours in the forest.' I looked with an eager and longing eye at his gigantic stature. but there was no apparent possibility of approaching even the outward circle of stags. The herd was scattered over all the ground between the hills, and every little knoll and eminence had its restless picquets, and plumps of discomfitted stags, which had been beaten by the great hart, and were chafing about, driving off and broding the buttocks of all the inferior stags that came in their way, then returning and staring with jealous disgust at the mighty stranger, who gave them no notice, except when one or two more audacious, or less severely beaten, made a few steps before his companions; upon which he immediately charged, drove them before him, and scattered the nearest in every direction. Upon these occasions, some hind of greater levity than ing her pasture, or paying her complithe rest took the opportunity of extendments to her companions, for which she immediately received a good prod in the haunch, and was turned back again into the centre.
"There is no doing anything there,' said I.
"After about an hour's stalking, we came upon the shoulder of a long slope, which looks into the gorges of two or three short glens, opening to a narrow plain, on which we saw a noble sight-a herd of four or five hundred deer, among which were many very fine stags. Af ter having feasted my eyes with this splendid sight-the illustrious cavalry of the hill, the crowned and regal array of the wilderness-I began to calculate how to make the approach, how to slip between the chain of vidette hinds, and numerous picquets of small stags, which commanded almost every knoll and hollow. In the centre of the main body,
"'Deed no,' replied MacLellan, shutting up his glass, we be to go down to the foot of the burn."
the middle of the narrow plain, and emp"This was a stream which runs through
ties itself into the Fidich, about four miles below, at the east end of the forest. Before resolving upon this, however, we made an attempt to cross the little glen to the north-west; but, after passing round one hill, and nearly to the top of another, we fell in with a small herd of insignificant stags, but none among them being worth the disturbance of the great herd; and being unable to pass them unobserved, we were obliged to adopt the last alternative, and descend to the Fidich. In about an hour and a half we performed this retrogration, and, having crossed at the forester's house, ascended the burn till we again approached the deer, and stealing from knoll to knoll, again came in sight of the herd. The
outskirts of its wide circle had been much broken and deranged by the jousts and expulsions during our absence; and we saw that it was impossible to get near the better stags without taking the channel of the stream. We immediately descended into the water, and crept up the middle, sometimes compelled to crouch so low, that the pools reached our hips, and, as the stones were round and slippery, it was very uneasy to proceed with out floundering and splashing. At length, however, we were within the circle of the deer: there was not a breath of wind, and the least sound was audible in the profound stillness. We slipped through the water like eels, till we came to a little rock, which, crossing the burn, made a shelving fall, which there was no means of passing, but by drawing ourselves up the shoot of the stream. With some difficulty I pushed my rifle before me along the edge of the bank, and then, while the water ran down our breasts, we glided up through the gush of the stream, and reached the ledge above. The return of the water, which I had obstructed, made however, a rush and plash different from its accustomed monotonous hum, and I had scarce time to lay flat in the burn, when a hind sprang up within a few yards, and trotted briskly away, then another, and another. I thought that all was over, and that, in the next moment, we should hear all the clattering hoofs going over the turf like a squadron of cavalry. All remained still, however, and, in a few seconds, I saw the first hind wheel about, and look back steadily towards the fall. I was rejoiced to observe that she had not seen us, and had only been disturbed by the unusual sound of the water. She continued, however, anxious and suspicious-watched and listened--picked off the tops of the heather-then walked on, with her ears laid back, and her neck and step stilting away as stiff as if she had been hung up in the larder for a week. This, however, was not the worst; all the surrounding hinds which noticed her gait gathered here and there, and stood on the tops of the little knolls, like statues, as straight as pucks, with nothing visible but their narrow necks and two peg-legs, and their broad ears perked immovably towards us, like long-eared bats. MacLellan gave me a rueful look. 'Cha n-'eil comas air.' 'Never mind,' said I, 'we shall see who will be tired first.' The forester gave a glance of satisfaction, slid up his glass on the dry bank, and we lay as still as the stones around us, till the little trouts, which had been disturbed by our convulsion, became so accustomed to our shapes that they again emerged from under the
flat pebbles, and returned to their station in the middle of the stream, skulking their little tails between my legs with no more concern than if I had been a forked tree. At length the immobility of the hinds began to give way: first one ear turned back, then another, then they be came sensible of the flies, and began to flirt and jerk as usual, and, finally, one applied her slender toe to her ear, and another rubbed her velvet nose upon her knee ;--it was more than half an hour, however, before, one by one, they began to steal away, perking and snuffing, and turning to gaze at the least air that whiffed about them. At length they all disappeared, except one gray, lean, haggard old grandmother of hinds, who had no teeth, and limped with one leg, probably from a wound which she received fifty or perhaps a hundred years before I was born. Her vigilance, however, was only sharpened by age; time, and the experience of many generations, had made her acquainted with all the wiles and crafts of the hill, her eyes and ears were as active as a kid's, and I have no doubt she could smell like Tobit's devil.
MacLellan looked at her through his glass, and spit into the burn, and grinned against the sun-as if he was lying in the bilboes instead of cold water.-The old sorceress continued to watch us without relaxation, and at last lay down on the brow of the knoll, and employed her rumination in obstinate contemplation of the bank under which we were ambushed. There was now no alternative but to recommence our progress up the burn; and as I was determined to circumvent the hind, I prepared for every inconve nience which could be inflicted by the opposite vexations of a sharp, rough, slippery, and gravelly stream. Fortunately, at the place where we then were, it was so narrow, that we could hold by the heather on both sides, and thus drag ourselves forward through the water, between each of which advances I pushed my rifle on before me. In this manner we reached the turn of the brook, where I concluded that we should be round the shoulder of the knoll, and out of sight of the hind, who lay upon its east brow. This was effected so successfully, that, when we looked behind, we only saw her back, and her head and ears still pointing at the spot which we had left. One hundred yards more would bring us within sight of the great hart; the general position of the herd had not changed, and I hoped to find him near the central knoll of the flat, at the base of which the burn circled. We were almost surrounded by deer; but the greater number were small vigilant hinds, the abomination and curse
of a stalker. At length, however, we to turn my head, and catch a glimpse of reached the knoll and rested to take a base little gray hind, who, in crossing breath, at its foot; I examined my rifle, to the hollow, had stumbled upon us.-It see that the lock was clean and dry. We was but a moment; a rapid wheel and took a view of all around us, and, drawing rush through the long grass, and I heard ourselves cautiously out of the burn, slid the career of a hundred feet going up through the heather on the south side through the hollow. I sprang on my of the eminence.-Scarce, however, had knee, and skadle a dozen small stags and our legs cleared the stream, when we dis- hinds which came upon us full speed; covered a pair of ears not above fifteen for those behind, not knowing from yards from the other side.—' Mo mhal whence came the alarm, made straight lochd ort! [My curse upon you]-whis- for the hill. The herd were now gathpered MacLellan. She had not discovering in all directions; charging-flying, re-uniting, dispersing, and reassembling in utter disorder, like a rout of cavalry. -1 made a run for the middle knoll,— two stags, with pretty good heads, met me right in the face.-I did not stop to look at them, but rushed up the brae.— What a sight was seen from its top!upwards of six hundred deer were charg ing past-before, behind, around, in all directions.-The stately figure which I sought-the mighty black hart, was slowly ascending an eminence about three hundred yards off, from whence he reconnoitred the ground below; while the disarray of stags and hinds gathered round him, like rallying masses of hus. sars in the rear of a supporting column. I was so intent upon the king of the forest, that I saw nothing else.-No other heads, forms, numbers, took any place in my senses; all my faculties were on the summit of that height.-At this moment I felt my kilt drawn gently; I took no notice-but a more decided pull made me to look round:-MacLellan motioned up the slope, and I saw the points of a good head passing behind a little ridge, about eighty yards away. I looked back at the hart-he was just moving to the hill. What would I have given to have diminished a hundred and fifty yards of the distance which divided us! He passed slowly down the back of the eminence and disappeared, and the gathering herd streamed after him, ' O Chìal! Ă Chial exclaimed the forester-bithidh è air falbh! The stag whose horns I had seen had come out from behind the ridge, and stood with his broad side towards me, gazing at the herd; but as they moved away, he now began to follow. The disappearance of the great hart and the disappointment of MacLellan recalled me to the last chance. I followed the retreating stag with my rifle, passed it before his shoulder, whiz went the twoounce ball, and he rolled over headlong in the heath, on the other side of the knoll, which the next stretch would have placed between us. I looked to the hill above: the whole herd was streaming up the long green hollow in its west shoulder
ered us, however, and we glided round the base of the knoll-but on the other side lay three hinds and a calf, and I could see no trace of the great hart. On the edge of the barn, however, farther up, there was five very good stags, and a herd of about thirty deer, on the slope of the north brae. All round us the ground was covered with hinds; for the prevalence of the westerly wind, during the last few days, had drawn the leer to that end of the forest. Upon the spot where I lay, though I could only see a portion of the field, I counted four hundred and seventy; and it was evident that no movement could be made upon that side. We tried again the opposite slope of the knoll;-the hind which we had first seen was still in the same place, but she had lain down her head, and showed only the gray line of her back over the heather. We drew ourselves cautiously up the slope and looked over the summit. On the other side there was a small flat moss, about seventy yards in breadth; then another hillock; and to the left two more, with little levels, and wet grassy hollows between them. Upon the side of the first knoll there were two young stags and some hinds; but the points of some good horns showed above the crest.-The intervening ground was spotted with straggling hinds, and we might lay where we were till to morrow morning, without a chance of getting near any of the good deer. While we deliberated, MacLellan thought that, by crawling with extreme caution up a wet hollow to the left, we might have a chance to approach the stags whose horns we had seen behind the other knoll, and, as nothing better could be done, we decided upon this attempt. The sun was going down from the old towers of Auchandun, and we had no more time than would give light for this venture. We slid away towards the hollow, and, drawing ourselves, inch by inch, though the heather and tall thin grass, had reached the middle of the level between the hillocks, when we heard a stamp and a short grunt close beside us-I had scarce time
headed by the mighty of the desert.' They rounded and passed the brow, and sloped upward on the other side, till the forest of heads appeared bristling along the sky-line of the summit. In a few moments afterwards, as the sun was going down upon Scúr-na-Lapaich, and the far western hills of Loch Duiach, the terrible wide-forked tree came out in the clear eastern sky on the top of the hill, and, crowding after, at least two hundred heads-crossing, and charging, and mingling-their polished points flashing in the parting sunbeams, and from many a horn, the long steamers of the moss fluttering and flying like the pennons and bannerolles of lances. The herd continued to file along the ridge of the hill, and wheeling below the crest, countermarched along the sky-line, till their heads and horns slowly decreased against the light."
With such a book as this before us, we could go on alternately comment ing and extracting until we had broken the back of the Number. Even now we are dying to pilfer the account of the late Glengarry's course with "Black Dulochan," and the no less exciting history of the three days' ruse with a roebuck. But abstinence is a virtue which is forced upon us in the present instance, rather from the lack of space than from any exercise of voluntary discretion; and we shall now leave the deer without further molestation for a season, hoping soon to encounter them in person with our rifle somewhere about the skirts of CairnGorm.
This is, we have no hesitation in saying, the best work on deer-stalking which has yet been written; and the amount of information which it contains regarding the habits of the stag
and roe, combined with the vivid pictures of which we have made such ample use, cannot fail to render it popular. In an antiquarian point of view, it is also highly interesting; for it embodies a large amount of traditionary lore, sketches of the clans and fragments of Highland song, of much superior merit to those which have hitherto come into our hands. The disquisitions, too, upon the disappearance of some animals once indigenous to Scotland-such as the wolf, the elk, the wild bull, and the beaver-exhibit a great amount of research, and supply a gap which has long been wanted in the page of natural history.
One word to the authors-though we fear our words must travel a long way before they can reach them in a foreign land. Why should they not recast and add to their second volume, so as to make it a single and unrivalled work upon the noblest sports of the Highlands? If it has proved so fascinating, as in truth we have felt it, in the more cumbrous shape of notes, how much better would it be if issued, not as an appendage to the poems, but in a distinct and articulate form? Perpend upon this, John Sobieski and Charles Edward, at your leisure; and let us add, that we trust some of your more gloomy anticipations may fall short of reality; that the walks of Eilean-Agais, that little Eden of the north, may again be gladdened by your presence; and that the sound of your hunting-horns may once more be heard in the woods of Tarnaway, and on the hills near the sources of the Findhorn.