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seventy-four successive matches without having been once beaten. But we have not time or space to enumerate the prowess of the greyhounds of the present period or bygone days; suffice it to say that the breed has not degenerated, and that coursing is now as popular as it ever was; and sincerely do we hope to see the time when every farmer, freed from the fetters that now encumber him by the withdrawal of that protection which he had a right to expect would be continued to native industry, will be enabled to keep his greyhounds and “his bit of blood,” and devote his leisure hours to that manly and exhilarating sport-second alone to liunting-coursing. If hares are looked upon as enemies to the farmer, let the latter have at least the amusement and satisfaction of hunting them down.
Among the most distinguished patrons of coursing may be mentioned the names of the late Duke of Gordon, Lords Orford, Craven, and Rivers, Sir H. P. Dudley, the present Lord_Stradbroke, the late Colonel Thornton, and Major Topham. Lord Orford may literally be said to have possessed “the ruling passion strong in death," for on the morning that his lordship’s favourite bitch, Czarina, who had started forty-seven times and had always proved victorious, was matched in a heavy stake, the noble patient eluded the care of his medical adviser, and appeared on the course. The greyhounds were in the slips, the owner of Czarina was all anxiety: again was she successful; but at the moment that this fresh honour was heaped upon her, her kind, though eccentric master, fell from his
pony, and, pitching upon his head, was killed. The late Lord Rivers's kennels at Strathfieldsaye were the finest in England, and at one time his lordship carried off every prize : but breeding too much in-and-in, and looking for speed more than stoutness during the latter years of the noble lord's life, his greyhounds often suffered defeat.
There is an old saying, that handsome children seldom grow up beauties; and this remark may be applied to greyhounds, for the rawboned, lean, loose-made, and unseemly whelps in every joint, usually turn out the best-shaped dogs; whereas those that after three or four months appear round and well-proportioned, are not worth bringing up, as they seldom were either useful or ornamental, swift or comely. It is also generally believed that the female turns out more speedy than the male. At two years old the greyhound is full-grown, and ought to possess the following points: a fine skin, thin hair, long lean head, sharp nose, a full, clear eye, large eyelids, small ears, a long neck, broad breast, body not too long, back straight and square, with a rising in the middle, little belly, broad shoulders, round ribs, strong stern, a round foot with large clefts, and his fore-legs straighter and shorter than his hinder. This prose description will be found quite to come up to the old poetical lines we have quoted at the commencement of this paper, and which proves that sportsmen have, in every age, agreed as to the quality of the dog we have thus briefly alluded to.
Coursing is one of the earliest of field sports in which we were initiated—we still keep up the editorial we-and never shall we forget the day when, mounted upon my pony “King Pepin,” we accompanied farmer H, a great lover of the leash, over the Southdown-hills to enjoy a day with his greyhounds. It was during the holidays that this, at least to me, important event took place; need I say that I
hardly closed my eyes during the previous night? At daylight I started from my bed, looked out to see whether the morning was fair or frosty. Then with what haste did I deck myself out in my new corduroy breeches, my well-cleaned top-boots, my velveteen shootingjacket! and, after eating a hasty meal, ran down to the stable to see that my pony was well. There, to my great delight, I found the worthy farmer in attendance with Hero, Hector, Hebe, and Hellespont, and two or three other brace of as fine greyhounds as ever were seen,
“Good morning," said the kind-hearted tiller of the soil. “I'm happy to see you are not an idle, lazy lie-in-bed. We shall have glorious sport to-day."
After returning this kind greeting, I led “King Pepin” out, mounted him, and proceeded to the South Downs. With what delight did I witness the first course! Never shall I forget the excitement—the gallop down the hills I now scarcely dare crawl along; the fences I flew over, and which now I should crane at! Even now I can conjure up to my mind's eye that day : I see Hellespont and Hector dashing gallantly through brakes and bushes; with what fire and resoluteness does the latter take a smuse after the timid hare! See how poor puss turns and doubles, and evades her swift pursuer. Now Hellespont gives the Trojan the go-by, and draws ihe flock from the hare. A thicket is in view; the hunted animal shortens her stride, and is about to make a sudden spring, when Hector strikes at her, and in a second he has secured his prey.
Strange it is, that while all the ingenuity of man has been exercised in bringing the breed of greyhounds to the greatest perfection, so as to acquire speed, courage, and resolution, and every experiment has been tried to train and break-in the dogs, the hare, left to nature, continues to beat the greyhound single-handed. There are exceptions to every rule, and I well recollect upon one occasion the following circumstance taking place not far from Stoke, Sussex, the property of the Duke of Richmond, the present residence of Sir Horace Seymour: a brace of hares were started by the finder exactly at the same moment, one taking to the right and the other to the left of the valley underneath Bow-hill. The greyhounds happened to be a little wide of each other, and in consequence each dog only saw one hare. Away they went gallantly after their respective game, and the field of sportsmen separated, following their favourite dogs. After a beautiful course, or, strictly speaking, two courses, the hares running very strong, both Luath and Loyal succeeded in killing their hares.
Although deer stalking ought properly to have a place to itself, yet as the dogs used in this sport of sports differ but little from the Irish or Scotch greyhounds, we shall briefly allude to it in this chapter. Deer-stalking in the Highlands has been so admirably described by Scrope, that I shall merely say it requires the greatest caution, patience, and perseverance ; " a quick lieye and a good hobservation, as the thimble-riggers were wont to say, before the late Secretary of State for the Home Department annihilated their body; add to these a firstrate “ Purdy" rifle, and a couple of Grampian deer-hounds, an intelligent forester, and in the forests of Athol, Marr, Ben Ormin, Gaulock, Glenfiddich, and Corrichbah, you may have as fine and exciting a day's amusement as is possible to be enjoyed by mortal man. It may
here not be uninteresting to the novice to give a slight insight into the sport by laying before them a sketch of “a day with the deer" in the noble forest of Glen.
It was early in the morning of a bright October day that I was summoned by Duncan McAlister, to accompany him to a spot near the above-mentioned and far-famed forest. After some little delay a stag, attended by some does, was discovered by the aid of a glass at about a mile and a half distant; and the trusty forester, crawling upon all fours, made me a sign to follow him. For a good half hour did I, in breathless silence, creep after my guide, until I approached within one hundred yards of the noble animal. With what anxiety did I look along my rifle-barrel ! with what a trepidating pulse did I pull the trigger! and with what stillness did I await the result of my shot! Until Duncan, jumping up, unslipped two splendid deer-hounds, and laid them on the slot, exclaiming, in the broadest Scotch dialect, that he never would cross the foaming torrent, that dashed from an eminence some little distance from where I stood. And true were the words of the forester : after a gallant run the wounded monarch of the woods fell a victim to the game and good training of Fang and Lutra ; and after being broke, was borne off in triumph upon the lusty shoulders of McAlister, and my gillie, Geordie Cameron.
The following account, which we lately féll in with in the “Inverness Courier,” will point out the “wide awake” propensities of the red deer. These animals, says our authority, are uncommonly sagacious, and seem to employ the whole of their sagacity in inventing and adopting plans of self-preservation. Wherever a red deer is found, if his seat be carefully examined it will appear that it possesses a more commanding view than any other part of the surrounding scenery. If a deer travels in snow to his form, he gazes at and watches his own track with the greatest anxiety. If the wind blows from the direction of his pursuers, he will smell them at several miles' distance. If any of them are in a state of perspiration-no unlikely an event in a hot day in September-he will detect them much further. It must have been frequently observed that almost every herd of red deer carries a young one along with it. The young one is the sentinel. He is placed on an eminence to watch, while the others browse beneath; and if he attempts to quit his post, the stags pursue and butt him with their horns until he resumes his watch. When the leading stag is perplexed with bafiling winds, he works up the herd to a pitch of terror in a peculiar manner. He leaps from his form as it in extreme fright, scampers off, but soon returns, followed by the others. After a little, when no danger is apparent, they begin to browse, and the stag suddenly repeats his ruse. In this manner he convinces the herd that some danger threatens, and they all become watchful as so many lynxes. They also adopt this system in instructing their young. There is a perpendicular rock above the village Shieldaig, on the summit of which a stag selected his form. He lay with his flank towards the precipice, and commanded a view of the surrounding country, and did not seem in the least degree alarmed at the approach of the shepherd or his boy, or even the cutter-men; but if the gamekeeper entered the ground, he bounded away directly.
CASTS AND CHARACTERS ON TWEEDSIDE.
BY T. T. STODDART, ESQ.
(Author of the “ Scottish Angler," 8C., &c.)
A DAY'S SALMON FISHING AT TROWS.
(Continued.) It was on a fine breezy morning in the month of September, that I set off from Kelso with the intention of having a day's trouting in the Makerston water, one of those portions of Tweed, which, as it is less thrashed by fishers, and more congenial to my taste in other respects, I am especially given to frequent. The river had recently been in a state of food, and on the morning in question was of a brownish hue, a degree less so than the favourite trouting colour, but still sufficiently dark to tempt forth the zealous angler in pursuit of sport, the more readily, because, at the time of the year my relation refers to, considerable numbers of sea-trout are to be found scattered over this part of Tweed, willing occasionally to snatch at the small flies which it was the privilege, until very recently, of every one, in spite of salmon-proprietors and their tacksman, to use at all seasons over our Scottish rivers. Nor can I deny that the expectation of getting hold of one or more of these fellows, perhaps a grilse or salmon itself, which the recent spate had displaced from its accustomed haunt, and left within fly.cast of the water's edge, chiefly, on the occasion in question, encouraged my angling humour; for, at so late a period of the year, except very occasionally with salmon-roe and worm, I am not given to go much in quest of the yellow river-trout, which do not rise at the fly with anything like their vernal greediness, and are more disposed, from sheer surfeit with this kind of food, to batten on ground insects and the ova of each other.
The weapon I took with me, as best suited for encountering fish of this description, was one made under my own superintendence, by Forrest, of Kelso, than whom there is not a better rod-maker, a better fly-dresser, or, I'may add, a better angler in Scotland. It measures about sixteen feet and a-half, consists of three pieces, and is jointed in the English fashion, which I now begin to think greatly superior to our Scottish screw system. I have used it over the lower part of Teviot for upwards of four years, during spring and autumn, when fish of any size are to be got, and have not unfrequently killed a couple, sometimes four or even five salmon, and sea-trout with it, on a forenoon; wading, of course, when the low state of the river called for it, but as often doing the work of execution solely from the edge or bank.
Thus armed, and amply equipped to boot with the requisite ammu. nition, I sallied forth, holding my route by the south side of Tweed -the north, which immediately above Kelso is formed by the park and pleasure grounds belonging to Floors House, the residence of his grace the Duke of Roxburghe, being strictly shut up against the intrusion of anglers. A walk of rather less than three miles brought me to a part of the Duke's water not far from Trows, and immediately opposite a salmon-cast, known by the name of the Weetles. Here I made ready my trouting apparatus, selecting, as the most likely flies, a large brown professor, to be used as the trail hook; one with landrail wing and harelug body for the lower bob; and for the uppermost, a dark-coloured hackle, winged with teal-drake feather. These, I may remark, are the best killers at all seasons on this part of Tweed, only let the size be varied according to the mood of water, and let care be taken to dispose of them properly along the fly-line, always placing the largest and weightiest hook lowermost. Not many minutes elapsed before I had captured three or four trout, one of them of very respectable dimensions; but, as I was bent upon getting sport with larger fish, and at the spot in question had no expectations of procuring it without wading, I ere long pursued my course upwards to the Makerston water, wetting my line in passing at the Black Stane pool and head of the Slates, two of the Duke’s favourite salmon-casts. Arriving at the Killmouth stream, and when on the point of testing the humour of its inhabitants, I was holloaed to, from the other side of the water, by old Rob, who, unobserved, had emerged from a small shed or fish cellar, not far from the river's edge. “Good day, Mr. how are ye comin' on?”
Returning the worthy fisherman's greeting, I revealed to him the state of my pannier, expressing a hope that ere long the contents might assume a more respectable appearance.
“Had ye no better come an' tak a throw wi' me in the boat ? I've been waitin' amaist the whole morn for some yerl or ither; but I'm thinkin' he's no gaun to show face, an' it's a pity to lose sic a fine chance o' gettin haud o' a fish. Ye'll hae some big flees wi
The invitation thus cordially given was not to be despised. Tweed was in fair, if not first-rate trim for salmon-fishing-a thought indeed too large for the lower part of Trows water, but this was fault which before the end of the day would, in all likelihood, wear off
. Accordingly, thanking him for his offer, I removed to a sort of landingplace at the lower end of the Killmouth stream, where, in the course of a minute or two, Rob made his appearance with a light skiff, or ferry-boat, used for the transport of passengers. Having accompanied him across, we proceeded together over the rocky bank to the Doors and Nethernheads; where, substituting a casting-line of stronger material for that already used by me, and replacing my trouting-flies with a small salmon one, I embarked anew, along with my companion, in a boat similar to the other, but used solely for the purpose of angling out of. Before, however, we launched off, a certain thought struck me, accompanied by a movement of the hand towards my coat-pocket, which movement had the effect of making the good fisherman quit hold of his oars, and turn an expectant glance in the direction in question. Nor, judging from the merry twinkle of his eye, which succeeded it, on my bringing forth a small spirit-flask,