No. 13.-Vol. I. SATURDAY, OCTOBER 27, 1832. Price THREE-HALFPENCE.


fixed a lighted candle. This they do with their mouths THE SCOTCH HALLOW E'EN.

only, their hands being tied behind their backs. From the

custom of flinging nuts into the fire, or cracking them with ABOUT the time this number of the SCHOOL MASTER comes their teeth, it has likewise obtained the name of nut-crack into the hands of our young readers, préparations will be night. In an ancient illuminated missal in Mr. Douce's making, and invitations giving, for the due celebration of collection, a person is represented balancing himself upon the social festivities and ancient mysteries of Hallow

Grow / a pole laid across two stools ; at the end of the pole is a

lighted candle, from which he is endeavouring to light anE'EN. On “hauding Hallow E'en" Burns is, and ever other in his hand, at the risk of tumbling into a tub of will remain classic authority, and Burns, in one shape or water placed under him. A writer, about a century ago, other, is to be found in almost every house in the kingdom.says, This is the last day of October, and the birth of All-Hallow Eve is the eve, or vigil of All Saints' Day

this packet is partly owing to the affair of this night. I

am alone ; but the servants having demanded apples, ale, the Ist of November. It is accordingly celebrated on the

and nuls, I took the opportunity of running back my own last day of October. As a church festival, it is said by an- annals of Allhallows Eve ; for you are to know, my lord, tiquarians to correspond with the Ferialia of the Romans, that I have been a mere adept, a most famous artist, both on which day they sacrificed in honour of the dead, in the college and country, on occasion of this anile chimeoffering up prayers to them, and making oblations.

kiner oblatione Therical solemnity.'*

The real sou Church of Rome consecrates it to Saints en masse, including “Pennant says, that the young women in Scotland detet. all whom the limited number of 365 days cannot compre- mine the figure and size of their husbands by drawing cabhend. Bonfires were made on this night in many parts of bages blind-fold on Allhallow Even, and, like the English, Scotland, Ireland, and in Wales; but the Hallow Even

fling nuts into the fire. It is mentioned by Burns, in a

note to bis poem on Hallow E'en,' that. The first cerebleeze is now nearly fallen into desitetude. From a letter in

mony of Hallow E'en is pulling each a stock or plant of one of Mr. HonE's most amusing books, it appears that the kail. They must go out hand and hand, with eyes shut, custom of kindling fires is still observed near Paisley. In and pull the first they meet with. Its being big or little, the parish of Callander, a Highland border parish, Hallow

straight or crooked, is prophetic of the size and shape of

the grand object of all their spells.--the husband or wife. Even fires were lighted in every hamlet or toun, and it is

If any yird, or earth, stick to the root, that is tocher, or probable the custom still lingers in those districts. When fortune ; and the taste of the custoc, that is the heart of the fire was burnt out, the ashes were swept up into a line, the stem, is indicative of the natural temper and disposiin form of a circle, near the circumference of which a stone tion. Lastly, the stems, or, to give them their ordinary was placed for every member of the families connected with

appellation, the runts, are placed somewhere above the

head of the door; and the Christian names of the people the fire ; and the stone (or stones) displaced or tumbled

whom chance brings into the house, are, according to the over before next morning, foretold the death of the fey or priority of placing the runts, the names in question. It doomed person for whom it was placed, before next Hallow appears that the Welsh have a play in which the youth Eren. In the parish of Logierait, dry heath, broom, and

of both sexes seek for an even-leaved sprig of the ash : and

| the first of either sex that finds one, calls out Cyniver, and fax-dressings were tied upon a pole, the fagot kindled,

is answered by the first of the other that succeeds; and and carried round the village by a person running, attended these two, if the omen fails not, are to be joined in wed. by a crowd of followers. These Hallow Even fagots locki'to made a brilliant illumination through the parish in a dark

“Burns says, that'Burning the nuts is a favourite charm. night. Antiquarianş derive this custom from the proces. They name the lad and lass to each particular nut, as they sions of the Romans, and other ancient nations, who bore lay them in the fire ; and accordingly as they burn quietly torches round the tombs of their ancestors. Ovid states

together, or start from beside one another, the course and that when those rites were neglected, the dead left their

issue of the courtship will be.' It is to be noted, that in

Ireland, when the young women would know if their tombs and went howling about the streets, till the custo

lovers are faithful, they put three nuts upon the bars of the mary honouts were paid to their manes. From BRAND, grates, naming the nuts after the lovers. If a nut cracks or ose of the most delightful of antiquarian gossips, we learn jumps, the lover will prove unfaithful; if it begins to blaze

or burn, he has a regard for the person making the trial.

If the nuts, named after the girl and her lover, burn toa "On this night young people in the north of England dive gether, they will be married. This sort of divination is for apples, or catch at them, when stuck upon one end of a

· Life of Harvey, the conjuror. 8vo. 1729. kind of hanging beam, at the other extremity of which is

+ Owen's Weleh Dictionary.

also used in some parts of England at this time. Gay men- same by an apple in a tub of water ; eachowing a thrnut tions it in his Spell :'.-.

into the fire, and those that burn bright betoken prosperity . Two hazel nuts I threw into the flame,

to the owners through the following year, but those that And to each nut I gave a sweetheart's name:

burn black and crackle denote misfortune. On the followThis with the loudest bounce me sore amazed,

ing morning the stones are searched for in the fire, and if That in a flame of brightest colour blazel;

any be missing they betide ill to those that threw them in.' As õlazed the nut, so may thy passion grow, For 'twas thy nut that did so brightly glow!"

"At St. Kilda, on Hallow E'en night, they baked 69 « There are some lines by Charles Graydon, Esq.c.' On large cake in form of a triangle, furrowed round, and which Nuts burning Alhallows Eve.'

was to be all eaten that night."* In England, there are .These glowing nuts are emblems true

still some parts wherein the grounds are illuminated upon of what in human life we view;

the eve of All Souls, by hearing round them straw, or other The ill-match'd couple fret and fume,

fit materials, kindled into a blaze. The ceremony is called a And thus, in strife themselves consume;

a linley, and the Romish opinion among the common peo. Or, from each other wildly start,

ple is, that it represents an emblematical lighting of souls And with a noise for ever part But see the happy, happy pair,

out of purgatory. Of genuine love and truth sincere ;

" The inhabitants of the Isle of Lewis, one of the western With mutual fondness while they burn,

islands of Scotland, had an ancient custom, to sacrifice to a Still to each other kindly turn :

sea god, called Shony, at Hallow-tide, in the manner folAnd as the vital sparks decay

lowing : the inhabitants round the island came to the church Together gently sink away:

of St. Mulvay, having each man his provision along with Till life's fierce ordeal being past, Their mingled ashes rest at last,"

him. Every family furnished a peck of malt, and this tras The blue clew, the three dishes, the apple ate at the

brewed into ale. One of their number was picked out to

wade into the sea up to the middle; and carrying a cup of glass, the hemp-seed sawing, the winning three wechts o'

ale in his hand, standing still in that posture, cried out with naething, the drouking the sark sleeve, are all familiar

a loud voice, saying, “Shony, I give you this cup of ale spells. The drapping of the egg is less practised in the Low- hoping that you'll be so kind as to send us plenty of sealand parts than the Highlands of Scotland ; the white of the ware, for enriching our ground the ensuing year;" and so raw egg is dropt in small quantities into fair water in a

threw the cup of ale into the sea. This was performed in

the night-time. At his return to land, they all went to glass vessel, when the fantastic floating forms into which

church, where there was a candle burning on the altar: and it shoots, afford subject of divination. If a single particle then standing silent for a little time, one of them gare a of the yolk drop into the glass which is to shadow forth a signal, at which the candle was put out, and immediately young maiden's fortune, her fate is as certain as if she had / all of them went to the fields, where they fell a drinking lost the tap pickle in drawing the three stalks of oats. For

their ale, and spent the remainder of the night in dancing

and singing, &c." the following selection of Hallow Even customs we are in

In Ireland, this vigil, in which it is believed the Prince debted to Mr. Hoxe's works :

"At Aberdeen, « The Midsummer Even Fire, a relic of of the Power of the Air, and his minions, have full scope, 19 Druidism, was kindled in some parts of this county ; the observed with nearly the same ceremonies as in Scotland • Hallow Even fire, another relict of Druidism, was kindled and the north of England. One custom peculiar to the in Buchan. Various magic ceremonies were then celebrated

north of Ireland is, for the girl who longs for a glimpse of to counteract the influence of witches and demons, and to prognosticate to the young their success or disappointment

| her predestined partner, to go to some solitary spot by her. in the matrimonial lottery. These being devoutly finished, self, and knitting nine knots on a garter, repeat the whila the Hallow fire was kindled, and guarded by the male part the following spell:of the family. Societies were formed, either by pique or

« I knit this knot-this knot I knit, humour, to scatter certain fires, and the attack and defence

To see the sight I ne'er saw yetwere often conducted with art and fury.' But now the

To see my true love in his best array Hallow fire, when kindled, is attended by children only;

Or the clothes that he wears every day and the country girl, renouncing the rites of magic, endea.

And if his livery I'm to wear,

And if his children I'm to bear vours to enchant her swain by the charms of dress and of

Blithe and merry may he be, industry.'+

And may his face be turned to me." », « Pennant records, that, in North Wales, 'there is a custom, upon All Saints' Eve, of making a great fire, called

{ The apparition of course passes the maiden, as in these Coel Coeth, when every faunily about an hour in the night, ruled cases. The only drawback on these old usages was makes a great bonfire in the most conspicuous place near the the mortal terror into which they sometimes threw yonn; house ; and when the fire is almost extinguished, every one people, especially the blue clew, and the rites practised in throws a white stone into the ashes, having first marked it,

solitude. In the southern suburbs of Edinburgh, a girl, a then, liaving said their prayers, tuning round the fire, they go to bed. In the morning, as soon as they are up, they ser

servant in a respectable family, died about tirenty-five come to search out the stones; and if any one of them is years ago, in consequence of the agony of fright into which found wanting, they have a notion that the person who she was thrown by the trick of a mischievous companion. threw it in will die before he sees another All Saints' Eve.' They also distribute scul cakes on all Souls' Day, at the receiving of which poor people pray to God to bless the next CURIOUS TRAITS OF FEUDAL MANNERS. crop of wheat.

« Mr. Owen's account of the Bards, in Sir R. Hoare's HIGHLAND GRAND VIZIERS.--Under the hereditary " Itinerary of Archbishop Baldwin through Wales,' says, ' The jurisdictions, the deputies of the lairde, or Feudal larons, autumnal fire is still kindled in North Wales, on the cve

the bailies, possessed or assumed delegated anthority, of of the first day of November, and is attended by many ceremonies; such as running through the fire and smoke, each

which they often made the most wanton and fagitious use; casting a stone into the fire, and all running off at the con- | proving that excessive, and irresponsible pouer is not more clusion to escape from the black short-tailed sow; then dangerous to its unfortunate victims than to the petir or pupping upon parsnips, nuts, and apples; catching at an the great tyrant by whom it is exercised. The annals of apple suspended by a string with the mouth alone, and the

petty tyranny and cruelty in our own country, if more oli • Graydon's Collection of Poems. Svo. Dublin, 1601, + Sinclair's Stat. Ace, of Scotland,

+ Martin's Western Lslands,

+ luid.

soure, are not a whit less dark and revolting than the history and were all buried there ; which place bears the name of of despotism on the large scale of a Turkish or Russian des

Macfadden to this day. Brux leit no children but one pot, before opinion or dread of the bowstring had inter

daughter, named Katherine, under the guardianship of

the Earl of Mar, against whom Muat had rebelled, alposed a restraining power on their actions. The Bailie More

though his vassal. Brux's taking the earl's side was the in Strathspey-or Big Bailie-not much more than a cen-cause of the quarrel. The young lady made a vow tury back, hung at pleasure ; and, as is not unusual in such never to marry any but him who would revenge the death cabés, took great pleasure in hanging _50 true it is. o that of her father. The Lord Forbes had four sons; one of increase of appetite doth grow by what it feeds on ;" and

them falling in love with Katherine Cameron, undertook

to revenge the death of the Camerous. Muat, hearing of this whether for good or evil. On one occasion, the Big this, sent him a defiance or challenge, to meet him on the Bajlie hanged two brothers on the same tree. He was, | 8th of Jay, at a place called Badenyoan, near the head of horrever, surpassed in enormity by another of these High-Glenbucket. They both kept the appointment; but being land janissaries in the same district. Bailie Roy, or the

afraid of treachery, each brought a great number of their Red Bailie, who proceeded with Jeddart justice, then the

friends and followers along with them. When they met,

to prevent more bloodshed, they agreed on a single combat; only justice to be obtained, to hang a man, and try him and both parties solemnly vowed to live in peace with whoafterwards. The Red Bailie's victim was named Stewart. ever of them should be victorious. But at this place Forbes Those hangings were always attended with the immediate killed Muat; and here there was a monument set up, confiscation of goods to the vizier ; and indeed this was

which is called Clachmuat, or Muat's stone to this day.

Of this event, tradition gives an account somewhat differoften the leading object of the execution. Roy once boiled

ent, and with additional circumstances, of which the folthe heads of two thieves he had hanged, and afterwards lowing only are perhaps worthy of notice, viz. That Kathe. spiked them; and he anticipated the French Terrorists in rine Cameron, after her father's death, lived under the im. Noyades. Two men he drowned in sacks near the manse

mediate care or guardianship of her mother, Lady Brux,

a woman animated by a spirit suited to the times; and tho, of Aberncihy, in Strathspey. This vizier founded a family,

exasperated by the treacherous murder of her husband, and and purchased an estate with the fruits of his rapine and

successive outrages of the Muat clan, is stated to have made confiscations. Another of those wretches, Bailie Bane, or the vow, (ascribed with less probability to the youthful the Fair Bailie, for they were of all complexions, though of

Katherine,) " That whoever should bring to her Muat's one nature, became so detested for his rapacity and cruelty,

head, or evidence of having killed him, should have her

daughter and the estate of Brur.” Such a prize, so to be that the oppressed people drowned him in the Spey, and

won, could not remain long uncontended for. Robert Fora pretended that he had been thrown into the river from bes, the youngest of Drimminor's sons, a warm admirer of horseback. When affeeting, with great sorrow, to search for the young lady, challenged Muat, fought, and killed hin his body in the Haughs of Cromdale, a man inquired what

with his dirk or skien, after a long and desperate contest,

as narrated in the poem. Going directly from the field of they sought, and when informed, said, “ Turn back, turn

battle to the house of his fair one, and bearing, no doubt, hack : ye'll find him up the water, like the fiddler's wife.

ample credentials of his zeal and success, Forbes was pro. He was ever acting against nature.” The viziers, though they ceeding to claim the promised reward, and to deprecate the had holdings on the estates, had no emoluments save what postponement of his happiness to any distant period, when they were able to extort from the wretched people by con

Lady Brux, in a tone and manner sufficiently characteristic

of her feelings on the occasion, settled at once all dispute as Isgations and fines, which they both imposedl, and pocketed;

to the time and preparatory ceremonials of the marriage, they were also entitled to a few days of labour from the by declaring, that “ Kate Cameron should go to bed with tenants or vassals; for they were still in fact vassals. This Rob Forbes as lang's Muat's blood was reekin' on his was called the Bailie's Dargs--it was in addition to the gully.Of this arrangement, report sayeth, that the gal

lant Forbes expressed entire approbation, and that his laird's dues, and was severely exacted. They were also enti

blushing bride did not permit the maiden scruples she was tled to a kind of legacy-duty, consisting of the best cow, ox, abont to make to stand a moment in competition with hier horse, or other property of which a man died in possession, filial obedience. and which, like the modern legacy-duty, was remorselessly levied from widows and orphans, at the time they most

AN OLD ENGLISH BARONET'S OPINION OF needed solace and assistance.


“ALL is grown pride and poverty, excess and want, show SINCE we are noticing feudal manners, we give an in- and unsubstantiality. We drive out eight or twelve miles dance of the indomitable pride and fierce spirit of revenge to dinner, when we should be thinking of bed-time; and if which animated our ancestors, which is, we believe, unparal. I have been shooting in the morning, I live all day in leled. It is given from the traditionary stores of a gentle hopes of a disappointment. I visit men and women who man, originally of the north countrie,” whose reminis care for neither me nor my wife, and whose only thought, Gences would be a treasure of Jacobite and popular anti-from the moment I enter their houses, is to make the quarian lore :

greatest display possible; and, to do them justice, this is Brux is the seat of the ancient Camerons, who were en the exact feeling we have towards them. In my younger gaged in a quarrel with Muat, Laird of Abergeldy, who at days some of my friends thought that I sometines kept low that time possessed most part of that country which is called Braemar, upon the river Dee. To put an end to their dis.

company - Low company did I? Is it family they alluded putes, Cameron, Laird of Brux, and Muat of Abergeldy, |

to ? I am sure I visit more

and bastards among agreed to meet at the hill of Drumgaudrum, near the river ! this high grade! Or did they mean duuces and fools ? I Don, and to bring twelve horsemen on each side, and there! can produce five to one in our privileged order. As for decide their quarrel by the sword. Muat treacherously |

honour and honesty, credit and reputation, I assure you brought two men on each horse, so that they were two to one Brux, and all his sons, and most of his party, were

that the intrusion of sycophants and fatterers is so predo. killed: 03 the other side, Muat's two sons, the Laird of

minant, and the pretensions of upstart professional gentina Macfad

Wadden, and several others, wore killed upon the spot, men, ashamed of business, trade, and reasonable couple

[ocr errors]

ment, so pressing, that I have greater selection to make small peculiarity, which mere wealth toils to imitate than ever I did in my life. Then, during the visiting sea- some arbitrary disposition of a vehicle or a garment : and son, my servants, carriages, and horses, are, from morning in this poor avoidance of the old or the vulgar, they place till night, ay, and through the night, employed in greater all their pride, and exhaust all their talents. The principle scenes of idleness and demoralization than they ever knew of exclusion is not inconsistent with enjoyment, if the Exin my very idlest days; when I drove from race course to clusives but possessed the social qualities; but they have race course, and drank claret and champagne by the dozen. neither wit, enthusiasm, imagination, nor learning: the It cannot last, I plainly see, for some of us are brought to an only distinctions they can reach are such as might be at end year after year. The Rev. Mr. — , and his wife tained by stable boys and cabriolet drivers—they consist and family, is just gone off to the continent, while the va- merely in a violation of all those points of manners and luable Rectory goes through a course of sequestration. Mr. feelings that other classes hold to be respectable. This is

h as cut down the fine plantation of Oaks, which his an unhappy peculiarity, which, while it separates them grandfather planted, and W- 's race-horses all went to from the rest of their countrymen, equally holds themi apart the hammer last week.”_ This unfortunate baronet had from maintaining real fellowship among themselves. They been entrapped into fashionable society by a fine lady wife. are stars, indeed, but anxiously watching each other's fall: She died when he had just full time to understand and des- they are atoms of matter brought together by the attraction pise that utterly worthless and presumptuous state of so- of cohesion, but rejecting all real union by their principles ciety, which looks down with superciliousness upon the of.repulsion. Among other virtues of the Reform Bill, we lower orders. He had found that a “ superior style" is anticipate that it will put down the Exclusives and the only superior show. Characters of wit, he discovered, were Fashionable World ; not by interfering with it directly, very laboured, very uncertain, and yet more wearisome but by raising the middle classes so far in independence, from their sameness. But what proved most offensive to importance, and virtuous ambition, as to drive the indus. his feelings was to hear upstart great ones talk of “their trious ennuyes into their real insignificance. Political family and their pedigree.” A remark of his will not soon power has more to do with the Exclusive principle than be forgotten in his own neighbourhood. The conversation has been commonly imagined ; a secret which has, hosp. had continued for two or three hours of “ Who are they ? ever, struck the German Prince, during his attentive obser. what are they?” in reference to the whole circle of the vation of the phenomenon of English society. At present, neighbourhood having pretensions to gentility, and all in it is rather equivocal taste to be in the House of Commons reference to family consequence and property, when Sir —the greater part of that House is pronounced not to be Harry said, “I think a man ought to be stripped of honour “good society:" wait a while, and there will probably be as soon as he has lost character. There is not a man in less “good society” in it than even now ; for, to be a pa. this county can boast higher pedigree than three, one of tient and intelligent guardian of the public interests, is no whom I should little scruple to name a notorious black- qualification for “good society;” to be upright, impartial, leg, the second an arrant swindler, and the third I could and persevering in the discharge of duty, implies no preput upon trial for his life for forgery. There is a fourth tension to fashion ; nay, a man might possess all the talents who can trace his pedigree to half the great families in the and the virtues of the model of a legislator, and yet possess country, and yet is more infamous than all the rest put to. no claim to be any thing but a Nobody. gether; and it is not a little remarkable that the two proudest people in our neighbourhood are natural children.

THE BARN OWL. The gentleman is son of a West India planter; and his

AMONGST the numberless verses which might be quoted lady is the daughter of a celebrated baronet and Mrs. against the family of the owl, I think I only know of one the actress.”

little ode which expresses any pity for it. Our nursery.

maid used to sing it to the tune of the Storm, “Cease, rude FASHIONABLES.

Boreas, blust'ring railer.” I remember the two first stanzas Of all the castes into which this country is divided, none of it :is so unhappy as that of the Fashionables, for they alone

« Once I was a monarch's daughter, feel the burden of existence : the other end of society resorts

And sat on a lady's knee ;

But I'm now a nightly rover, to vice through poverty, the Exclusive to crime from the

Banish'd to the ivy-tree. lack of the power of self-amusement. The extremes meet in the character of their enjoyments, if not in their theatre.

Crying hoo hoo, hoo hoo, hoo hoo,

Hoo hoo, hoo, my feet are cold ! A London Exclusive of the present day is pronounced by

Pity me, for here you see me, the Prince Puchler Muskau, an excellent judge_"a bad,

Fersecuted, poor, and old." flat, dull impression of a roué of the Regency and a courtier I beg the reader's pardon for this exordium. I have of Louis the Fifteenth ; both have in common, selfishness, introduced it, in order to shew how little chance there has levity, boundless vanity, and an utter want of heart ; both been, from days long passed and gone to the present time, think they can set themselves above every thing by means of studying the haunts and economy of the owl, because of contempt, derision, and insolence.” Nothing can be

its unmerited bad name has created it a host of foes, and

doomed it to destruction from all quarters. Some few, cer. more true than this. The class of Fashionables in England tainly

tainly, from time to time, have been kept in cages, and in are stupid among themselves, and boorish to all others. aviaries. But nature rarely thrives in captivity, and very The Nobodies, we must say, very frequently deserve their seldom appears in her true character when she is encumcontempt, by endeavouring to imitate these odious models.

bered with chains, or is to be looked at by the passing

crowd through bars of iron. However, the scene is now The object of fashionable amDITION 18 always a paltry one : | going to change ; and I trust that the reader will contem. the brilliancy of its votaries consists in a display of some plate the owl with more friendly feelings, and under quite

different circumstances. Here, no rude schoolboy ever ap- when the weather is gloomy, you may see an owl up t, proaches its retreat ; and those who once dreaded its dia. | apparently enjoying the refreshing diurnal breeze. Ti. S bolical doings are now fully satisfied that it no longer year (183)) a pair of barn owls hatched their young, on meddles with their destinies, or has any thing to do with the 7th September, in a sycamore-tree, near the old ruined the repose of their departed friends. Indeed, human wretches gateway. in the shape of body-snatchers, seem here in England to If this useful bird caught its food by day, instead of have usurped the office of the owl in our churchyards ; ) hunting for it by night, mankind would have ocular de" et vendunt tumulis corpora rapta suis." .

monstrations of its utility in thinning the country of inice, Up to the year 1813, the barn owl had a sad time of it and it would be protected and encouraged everywhere. It at Walton Hall. Its supposed mournful notes alarmed the wonld be with us what the ibis was with the Egyptians. aged housekeeper. She knew full well what sorrow it had When it has young, it will bring a mouse to the nest about brought into other houses when she was a young woman ; every twelve or fifteen minutes. But, in order to have a and there was enough of mischief in the midnight wintry proper idea of the enormous quantity of mice which this blast, without having it increased by the dismal screams of bird destroys, we must examine the pellets which it ejects something which people knew very little about, and which from its stomach in the place of its retreat. Every pellet every body said was far too busy in the churchyard at contains from four to seven skeletons of mice. In sixteen night-time. Nay, it was a well-known fact, that if any months from the time that the apartment of the owl on the person were sick in the neighbourhood, it would be for ever old gateway was eleaned out, there has been a deposit of looking in at the window, and holding a conversation out- | above a bushel of pellets. side with somebody, they did not know whom. The game keeper agreed with her in every thing she said on this im

The barn owl sometimes carries off rats. One evening portant subject ; and he always stood better in her books

I was sitting under a shed, and killed a very large rat, as when he had managed to shoot a bird of this bad and mischiev.

it was coming out of a hole, about ten yards from where I ous family. However, in 1813, on my return from the

was watching it. I did not go to take it up, hoping to get wilds of Guiana, having suffered myself, and learned mercy,

another shot. As it lay there a barn owl pounced upon it, I broke in pieces the code of penal laws which the knavery

and flew away with it. of the gamekeeper and the lamentable ignorance of the

This bird has been known to catch fish. Some years other servants had hitherto put in force, far too successful

ago, on a fine evening in the month of July, long before ly, to thin the numbers of this poor, harmless, unsuspecting

it was dark, as I was standing on the middle of the bridge, tribe. On the ruin of the old gateway, against which,

and minuting the owl by my watch, as she brought mice tradition says, the waves of the lake have dashed for the

into her nest, all on a sudden she dropped perpendicularly. better part of a thousand years, I made a place with stone

into the water. Thinking that she had fallen down in and mortar, about four feet square, and fixed a thick oaken

epilepsy, my first thoughts were to go and fetch the boat;

but before I had well got to the end of the bridge, I saw the stick firmly into it. Huge masses of ivy now quite cover it. In about a month or so after it was finished, a pair of

owl rise out of the water, with a fish in her claws, and

take it to the nest. This fact is mentioned by the late much barn owls came and took up their abode in it. I threatened to strangle the keeper if ever, after this, he molested

revered and lamented Mr. Aitkinson, of Leeds, in his

" Compendium,” in a note, under the signature of W., a either the old birds, or their young ones; and I assured the

friend of his, to whom I had communicated it a few days housekeeper that I would take upon myself the whole re

after I had witnessed it. sponsibility of all the sickness, wo, and sorrow that the

I cannot make up my mind to pay any attention to. new tenants might bring into the Hall. She made a low

the description of the amours of the owl by a modern curtsy; as much as to say, “Sir, I fall into your will and

writer ; at least, the barn owl plays off no butfooneries here, pleasure ;" but I saw in her eye that she had made up her mind to have to do with things of fearful and portentous

such as those which he describes. An owl is an owl all

the world over, whether under the influence of Momus, shape, and to hear many a midnight wailing in the sur

Venus, or Diana. rounding woods. I do not think, that up to the day of this

When farmers complain that the barn owl destroys old lady's death, which took place in her eighty-fourth

the eggs of their pigeon, they lay the saddle on the wrong vear, she ever looked with pleasure or contentment on the horse They ought to put it on the rat. Formerly I coull barn owl, as it flew round the large sycamore-trees which grow near the old ruined gateway.

get very few young pigeons, till the rats were excluded efWhen I found that this first settlement on the gateway

fectually from the dove-cot. Since that took place it has had succeeded so well, I set about forming other establish

produced a great abundance every year, though the barn

owls frequent it, and are encouraged all around it. The ments. This year I have had four broods, and I trust that

barn owl merely resorts to it for repose and concealment. next season I can calculate on having nine. This will be a

| If it were really an enemy to the dove-cot, we should see pretty increase, and it will help to supply the place of those which in this neighbourhood are still unfortunately doomed

| the pigeons in commotion as soon as it begins its evening

flight; but the pigeons heed it not; whereas, if the sparto death, by the hand of cruelty or superstition. We can

row-hawk or wind-hover shonld make their appearance, the now always have a peep at the owls, in their habitation on

whole community would be up at once, proof sufficient the old ruined gateway, whenever we choose. Confident of

that the barn owl is not looked upon as a bad, or even & protection, these pretty birds betray no fear when the

suspicious, character by the inhabitar.ts of the dove-cot. stranger mounts up to their place of abode. I would here

Till lately, a great and well-known distinction has alventure a surmise, that the barn owl sleeps standing.

ways been made betwixt the screeching and the hooting of Whenever we go to look at it, we invariably see it upon the perch bolt upright, and often with its eyes closed, apparent

owls. The tawny owl is the only owl which hoots; and

when I am in the woods after poachers, about an hour be. ly fast asleep. Buffon and Bewick err (no doubt, uninten

fore daybreak, I hear with extreme delight its loud, clear, tionally) when they say that the barn owl snores during

and sonorous notes, resounding far and near through hill its repose. What they took for snoring was the cry of the

and dale. Very different from these notes is the screech of young birds for food. I had fully satisfied myself on this

the barn owl. But Sir William Jardine informs us that score some years ago. However, in December, 1823, I was

this owl hoots; and that he has shot it in the act of hoot. much astonished to hear this same snoring kind of poise,

ing. This is stiff authority; and I believe it, because it which had been so common in the month of July. On as

comes from the pen of Sir William Jardine. Still, how. cending the ruin, I found a brood of young owls in the

ever, methinks that it ought to be taken in a somewhat di. apartment.

luted state ; we know full well that most extraordinary exUpon this ruin is placed a perch, about a foot from the hole at which the owls enter. Sometimes, at mid-day,

amples of splendid talents do, from time to time, make

their appearance on the world's wide stage. Thus, Frank. And sch bodies torn from their toinbs.

lin brought down fire from the skies ;_" Eripuit fulmen

« 上一页继续 »