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till at length he is enabled to pull him down. This great power of endurance is only to be found in a thorough-bred greyhound; for even though a cross-bred dog might succeed in fastening on a deer, he seldom has the speed and endurance necessary for preserving his hold: and should he receive a fall, will in all probability suffer more than a greyhound, whose elasticity of form is better calculated to receive such shocks. Perhaps the greatest advantage possessed by superiority of speed is, that the dog runs less risk of injury: for so long as the deer has the power of movement, he will not turn round, or attempt to defend himself with his horns, but endeavours to fly from his pursuers, till they have fastened on him, and are enabled, by seizing some vital part, to pull him down. Whereas a cross-bred dog, who has not sufficient speed for a deer, and succeeds only in running him down by the nose (and that after a long chase), finds the deer at bay with his back against some rock. In this situation no dog can possibly attack a deer with the slightest chance of success. In fact, so skilfully does he use his horns in defence, and with such fury does he rush upon the dogs, that none can get to close quarters with him without the certainty of
instant death.* In this position, indeed, he could, without difficulty, destroy a whole pack. When running obliquely down a hill (which is a deer's forte), no dog can equal him, particularly if the ground is rough and stony; and in such a situation, a dog without great roughness of foot is perfectly useless. It is therefore advisable not to let loose a dog at a deer in a lofty situation, as the ground is generally most rugged near the tops of hills, and the dogs run a great risk of being injured. On the other hand, on low and level grounds, a dog is an over-match for a deer in speed, and as the deer generally attempts to make for the high grounds for security, and is a bad runner up hills, the dog has a decided advantage when slipped at a deer in such a situation. It must be a subject of regret to the sportsman and naturalist, that this noble race of dogs is fast dying away, and will, in the course of a few years, inevitably become extinct, unless some extraordinary exertions are made on the part of those who are still possessed of the few that remain. Should they once be lost, it is difficult to imagine how any race of dogs can again be produced, possessing such a combination of qualities."
cannot hope to surpass of one of the human; and we
Having now given a specimen which we canine courage, we must, in equal justice, find hope that the breed will be preserved with as much care, as that of the dogs.
"A forester of the present Chief of Clan Chattan, in passing last summer (1837), through the forest of Stramashie near Loch Laggan, descried the horns of a stag above the heather at some distance: and taking advantage of the cover of a grey stone on the lee-side of the animal's lair, crept cautiously up to him while he was apparently asleep. He had no rifle, but opened his deer-knife, which he placed between his teeth, that his hands might be free, and then threw himself suddenly upon the stag. Upstarted the astonished beast, and sprung forward with Donald on his back, who grasped him with might and main by the horns, to keep his seat in a sportsman-like manner : no easy matter, I trow-for the animal made right down the rugged side of a hill with head
long speed, to a stream in the glen below, and dashed through it, still bearing his anxious rider on his back with the knife in his mouth, which he had neither time nor ability to use. When, however, this gallant pair reached the opposite side of the glen, and the deer began to breast the hill and relax in speed, Donald was enabled so far to collect his bewildered senses as to get hold of his knife, and he absolutely contrived to plunge it into his throat. The deer fell forward in the death-struggle, and Donald made a summerset of course. In consequence of this extraordinary feat, the man has been dubbed by the people with a new and appropriate name in Gaelic, which my authority, Mr. Skene, told me he could neither write nor pronounce."
This was dextrous work; but there are innumerable examples of the spirit and determination of Scottish sportsmen; and Mr. Scrope furnishes us with some examples that would make the blood of us Southrons run cold in our veins, not only of combats à l'outrance with stags, but even with the flock of Proteus in their own element; though we much suspect it was
* Voltaire, in one of his dying letters, says—“ Je suis un vieux Cerf, plus que dix cors, et je leur donnerai de bons coups d'Andouillers, avant d'expirer sous leurs dents.”
Proteus himself whose capture by a Highland laird Mr. Scrope describes, as the god had before surrendered himself to the intrepid son of Cyrene. Mr. Scrope also describes the late Glengarry as going forth in his kilt, and remaining on the hills for a week together, sleeping in the open air.
"When the stag was at bay, he would sometimes have a close engagement with him, using his gun-stock or skene-dhu, and though often in peril, was ever successful; stout-hearted and enthusiastic as he was, nothing could obstruct his course. When
his dogs once held a stag at bay in an island of Loch Garry, no boat being at hand, he placed a knife in his handkerchief, which he bound round his head, swam lustily through the waters, and completed his victory."
Men must either be inspired by the Godhead or the Dæmon: that is, they must sport lawfully on their own lands, or go poaching on those of their neighbours; and there are not wanting instances of determined courage, though "found among the faithless."
shreds,-his bonnet and plaid had entirely disappeared. He now contrived to get hold of his knife, but it dropped in the struggle, and as the deer still sustained its vigour, he had much ado to keep hold of the limb even with both his hands. The darkness became deeper as the animal tore and strained forward through the skirts of a birch wood, and both repeatedly fell together. Breaking forth into the open moor, he found his weight was beginning to tell upon the energy of the stag, so that he had power to swing him from side to side; till at length, just as they were reentering the wood, this determined bulldog of a fellow fairly laid him on his broadside, and with such force, that the crash seemed to stun him. Stript almost naked as the man was, his shirt and kilt torn to tatters, and his hose and brogues nearly gone, he still contrived, by means of his garters and shot-belt, to secure the deer, by binding his hind-leg to a birch tree. Having accomplished this with great difficulty, he returned for his gun, and thus at length secured his victim."
"When men went forth singly (we are told) on these unlawful excursions, they were sometimes placed in considerable difficulties for want of effectual assistance. A poacher had lately a very desperate struggle in Glen Tit, the particulars of which I mention, as they came from his own mouth, for he was never discovered. He set off In the evening, that he might be on a deercast in the grey of the morning. Whilst it was dark, he descried the horns of a deer in a hollow way near him. He had small shot only in his gun, and was in such a position that he could not change the charge without danger of disturbing the stag. He crept, however, so close to him, that when he sprung on his legs he fell to the shot. Not a little surprised, the poacher threw down his gun, dashed forward, and seized his victim by the hind leg; but it was no easy matter to hold him. In this struggle the man kept his grip firmly, whilst the deer dragged him at a tearing pace amongst the large stones and birch hags, till he was all over bruises, his legs severely lacerated, and his clothes torn to How despicable compared to this was the much-vaunted labour of the son of Alcmena, who was a whole year, according to Mr. Keightley and Dr. Lempriere, pursuing the stag of Enöe, and at last caught it in a trap! and this, too, with the advantage which the Highland poacher certainly did not possess of a helmet and coat from Minerva, armour from Apollo, and a brass club from Neptune, besides other gifts from Olympus, all which would have been very useful in Lord Reay's country. This spirit of the wolf was not always confined, however, to the chase or slaughter of the deer; it extended also to those, who, it is to be hoped, have no antlers on their foreheads; and like the Homeric pestilence, it ascended upwards from animals to man.
What a wild, ferocious portrait is the following, more fit for the days of Hengist and of Horsa, than for those of our piping times of peace,-the days of sheriffs and constables, and crowner's quest and other quillets of the law; when men live "on mouldy stew'd prunes and dried cakes," and no more serious conflict is known than "Shallow's fight with one Sampson Stock-fish, a fruiterer, behind Gray's Inn:" but see! the hero of our tale approaches
̓Αλλ ̓ ἐγγὺς ̓Εκτωρ ἐστίν, οὐ μένειν καλόν.
"Donald Mac-Currochy Mac-EanMore, who lived latterly at Hope, was a very noted poacher in Sutherland. Numerous anecdotes are told of this man; but they refer rather to the great enormities he was in the habit of committing, than to his lighter trespasses amongst the deer. His acts of violence and injustice were so unusual and savage, as to render him an object of universal abhorrence. His family name was Macleod. He deliberately murdered his nephew, that he might possess himself of the adjoining lands of Eddrachilles, and he afterwards put to death several of his friends, whose revenge he anticipated. He was an expert archer—so ruthless a villain, and so ready to slay any one who offended him-and, indeed, every one whom he could attack, whether friend or foe, that, at a period when the law was quite inoperative in the remote corners of the Highlands, he became the terror of the entire country. The greater part of his time was spent in the Derrie-More forest, where he was very successful with his long bow. His nephew, when attacked by him, took refuge in a straw-covered hut, in an island on an inland loch; but Mac-Currochy tied burning pitch and tar to the head of an arrow, and firing it into the roof, set the place in flames. The young man endeavoured to escape by swimming, but an arrow from the ruffian's bow pierced his heart, just as he had reached the shore. Mac Curro
chy's shealing was without a door or window, and he entered by a hole in the roof, from which he would occasionally take a shot at a passing traveller. It is reported of him that, when walking with his son, a mere boy, on the banks of the river Hope, they saw a neighbouring priest on the other side of the river. Young MacCurrochy exclaimed, 'O! daddy, give me your bow, that I may bring down the priest.' 'He is at too great a distance from you (said the father), and you would get us into trouble if you attempted to kill him without succeeding.' The priest, unconscious of his danger, approached nearer the river, and seated him upon a projecting stone. Now, daddy,' said the youngster, give me the bow, as I am certain I can hit him.' But the old man, still doubtful of his son's success, and expecting to obtain a nearer aim, refused this second request also. When the priest moved off, the boy insisted on being permitted to shoot at the stone upon which he had been just sitting; and having hit it with an arrow on the very first trial, Mac-Currochy complained bitterly of his want of judgment, in having resisted his son's desire, and d-d himself for vexing the boy's spirit. This ruthless villain was buried in a hole in the wall of Durness church, by his own direction, to balk the threat of an old woman, who told him when he was dying, that she would soon have the pleasure of dancing on his grave.”
Of another mysterious person, but of better fame, known by the name of Our-na-Kelig, who lived on cod-fish and cutlets of venison, in spite of forest laws and rights of fisheries, and of his huge two-handed sword, which could cleave a man from chops to chine, Mr. Scrope has given a very interesting story. But we must leave this, and many other most ag eeable tales and striking passages; for see, even as we speak, the sun is going down with a red and angry glare over the lofty summits of Bengoe: dark clouds are rolling upwards from the west. There is a sullen rising of the wind along the coombs and caverns of the higher hills; while below, the mist is couching and creeping, like an aged man, slowly and sinuously along the vale. The mountain ponies have departed with the noble spoils of the day; the dogs in the keeper's leash are quietly tracking their homeward path; while loud shouts and Gaelic cries are heard responding from hill to hill, from the stalkers and foresters who have been separated in the chase, and who are now on the look-out to join their party. The hearth is again brightening in the shepherd's shealing; and the smoke that bespeaks the substantial supper to come, is wreathing itself fitfully and in gusty puffs into the air. Look homeward now!
Et jam summa procul villarum culmina fumant,
GENT. MAG, VOL. XII.
NOTICES OF THE CASTLE AND LORDSHIP of LAUGHARNE, CAERMARTHENSHIRE.
(With a Plate.)
THE Castle and Town of Laugharne are distant about twelve miles from Caermarthen in South Wales; and are built on a stratum of red argillaceous sand-stone, which terminates in a range of low rocks, that form the western bank of the Taf or Tave river. When the spring tides of the Severn-sea swell its waters, they form a noble estuary or lake; the inhabitants of the lower part of Langharne are obliged on these occasions to stop the crevices of their doors with clay in order to exclude the flood from their houses. At these times a rude ancient cross of black stone, which stands in an open space, opposite "the Grist," or large corn mill of the lordship of Laugharne, is completely surrounded by the tide. From this expanse of waters the place had probably its long received name Talacharne- contractedly from Tal y-lwch eirian, the head of the beautiful lake; still further abbreviated to Lacharne, Laugharne, and in the current pronunciation now reduced to the monosyllable Larne.
Giraldus Cambrensis calls the place Talachar, but it is said to have had at an earlier period another appellation, Aber Coran, being seated at the confluence of the Coran with the Tave. The former is a small stream that runs in the valley from Llandawke, a parochial district north-west of Laugharne, and joins the Tave under the walls of the castle. The RomanoBritons had certainly some settle. ment at Laugharne its vicinity to Muridunum, Caermarthen, and its harbour accessible to ships of moderate burthen, must have recommended the place to their attention.
A bar of sand which crosses the mouth of Laugharne river forms at neap tides a very serious obstacle to the entrance of the harbour; at spring tides the depth of water over this bar may be four or five fathoms. A striking illustration of the geological fact, that rivers, flowing into the sea or other waters, deposit at their mouths extensive alluvial plains, is exhibited in the rich tract of pasture land known as Laugharne Marsh; a silt deposit
from the retiring tides of ages, the barriers of which are lofty natural sand hills, the resort of numerous rabbits. The waters of the Tave at Laugharne are diminished on the ebb tide to a very narrow channel, fordable under direction of an experienced guide, and leaving long-extended sands; frequented by innumerable flights of gulls and other aquatic birds; the cormorant and the heron are constant inhabitants of these waters, to which in the winter season vast quantities of ducks, teal, geese, and other migratory fowl resort.
It has been before observed, that Laugharne could not be unknown to the Romans. Carausius, the naval commander and usurper of the imperial purple, had probably a fort here; an urn containing several of his coins was found some years since in a garden adjoining to Laugharne castle; and in a natural cavern at Cyngadel, a pass through the cliffs westward of Laugharne, a sacrificial censer or thuribulum of bronze was discovered, containing many coins of Carausius. This relic is in the possession of the widow of the late Mr. Skyrme of Laugharne, and is a beautiful specimen of British workmanship.
The foundation of Laugharne castle, on the ruins perhaps of the Roman fort, is ascribed to Rhys ap Gryffydh, the last of the princes of South Wales, who, after many vigorous efforts for the independence of his country, became tributary to Henry II. Here he met and did homage to that monarch on his return from his expedition into Ireland, A.D. 1172. The approach to the principal gate of the fortress is still to this day called King Street, in commemoration perhaps of this royal visit. The hall and keep tower of Laugharne castle may pretend to as early a date, and it is remarkable that the names of some of Henry's followers in this expedition are found attached to certain localities in the neighbourhood of Laugharne. Makerel Brook, which descends from Roche castle, a mile distant from the town, derives its name from the Nor
* Seamen call a port of this kind a dry harbour.