Obrázky na stránke
PDF
ePub

sunshine. Put thy paws over our shoulders, and round our neck, true son of thy sire—oh! that he were but alive, to see and share thy achievements; but indeed, two such dogs, living together in their prime at one era, would have been too great glory for this sublunary canine world. Therefore Sirius looked on thy sire with an evil eye, and in jealousy

“ Tantæne animis cælestibus iræ !"

growled upon some sinner to poison the Dog of all Dogs, who leapt up almost to the ceiling of the room where he slept-our own bed-room-under the agony of that accursed arsenic, gave one horrid howl, and expired. Methinks we know his murderer-his eye falls when it meets ours on the Street of Princes; and let him scowl there but seldom— for though 'tis but suspicion, this fist, O'Bronte, doubles at the sight of the miscreantand some day, impelled by wrath and disgust, it will smash his nose flat with the other features, till his face is a pancake. Yea! as sure as Themis holds her balance in the skies, shall the poisoner be punished out of all recognition by his parents, and be disowned by the Irish Cockney father that begot him, and the Scotch Cockney mother that bore him, as he carries home a tripe-like countenance enough to make his paramour the scullion miscarry, as she opens the door to him on the fifth flat of a common stair. But we are getting personal, O'Bronte, a vice abhorrent from our nature.

There goes our Crutch, Hamish, whirling aloft in the sky a rainbow flight, even like the ten-pound hammer from the fling of George Scougal at the St Ronan's games. Our gout is gone—so is our asthma –eke our rheumatism—and, like an eagle, we have renewed our youth. There is hop, step, and jump, for you, Hamish - we should not fear, young and agile as you are, buck, to give you a yard. But now for the flappers. Pointers all, stir your stumps and into the water. This is rich. Why, the reeds are as full of flappers as of frogs. If they can fly, the fools don't know it. Why, there is a whole musquitto-fleet of yellow boys, not a month old. What a prolific old lady must she have been, to have kept on breeding till July. There she sits, cowering, just on the edge of the reeds, uncertain whether to dive or fly. By the creak and cry of the cradle of thy firstborn, Hamish, spare the plumage on her yearning and quaking breast. The little yellow images have all melted away, and are now, in holy cunning of instinct, deep down beneath the waters, shifting for themselves among the very mud at the bottom of the reeds. By and by, they will be floating with but the points of their bills above the surface, invisible among the air-bells. The parent duck has also disappeared; the drake you disposed of, Hamish, as the coward was lifting up his lumbering body, with fat doup and long neck in the air, to seek safer skies. We male creatures-drakes, ganders, and men alike—what are we, when affection pleads, in comparison with females ! In our passions, we are brave, but these satiated, we turn upon our heel and disappear from danger, like dastards. But doves, and ducks, and women, are fearless in affection, to the very death. Therefore have we all our days, sleeping or waking, loved the sex, virgin and matron, nor would we hurt a hair of their heads, grey or golden, for all else that shines beneath the sun.

Not the best practice this in the world, certainly, for pointers—and it may teach them bad habits on the hill; but, in some situations, all dogs and all men are alike, and cross them as you will, not a breed but shows a taint of original sin, when under a temptation sufficiently strong to bring it out. Ponto, Piro, and Basta, are now, according to their abilities, all as bad as O'Bronte—and never, to be sure, was there such a worrying in this wicked world. But now we shall cease our fire, and leave the few flappers that are left alive to their own meditations. Our conduct for the last hour must have seemed to them no less unaccountable than alarming; and something to quack over during the rest of the

Well, we do not remember ever to have seen a prettier pile of ducks and ducklings. Hamish, take

What do you say—two score? That beats cockfighting. Here's a hank of twine, Hamish, tie them all together by the legs, and hang them, in two divisions of equal weights, over the crupper of Surefoot,

season.

census.

THE MOORS.

FLIGHT THIRD-STILL LIFE.

We have been sufficiently slaughterous for a man of our fine sensibilities and moderate desires, Hamish; and as, somehow or other, the scent seems to be beginning not to lie well—yet the air cannot be said to be close and sultry either—we shall let Brown Bess cool herself in both barrels—relinquish, for an hour or so, our seat on Shelty, and, by way of a change, pad the hoof up that smooth ascent, strangely left stoneless-an avenue positively looking as if it were artificial, as it stretches away, with its beautiful green undulations, among the blocks; for though no view-hunter, we are, Hamish, what in fine language is called a devout worshipper of Nature, an enthusiast in the sublime; and if Nature do not show us something worth gazing at when we reach yonder altitudes, she must be a grey deceiver, and we shall never again kneel at her footstool, or sing a hymn in her praise.

The truth is, we have a rending headache, for Bess has been for some hours on the kick, and Surefoot on the jog, and our exertions in the pulpit were severeaction, Hamish, action, action, being, as Demosthenes said some two or three thousand years ago, essential to oratory; and you observed how nimbly we kept changing legs, Hamish, how strenuously brandishing arms, throughout our discourse-saving the cunning pauses, thou simpleton, when, by way of relief to our auditors, we were as gentle as sucking-doves, and folded up our wings as if about to go to roost, whereas we were but meditating a bolder flight-about to soar, Hamish, into the empyrean. Over and above all that, we could not brook Tickler's insolence, who, about the sma' hours, challenged us, you know, quech for quech; and though we gave him a fair back-fall, yet we suffered in the tuilzie, and there is at this moment a throbbing in our temples that threatens a regular brain-fever. We burn for an air-bath on the mountain-top. Moreover, we are seized with a sudden desire for solitude—to be plain, we are getting sulky; so ascend, Surefoot, Hamish, and be off with the pointers—O'Bronte goes with usnorth-west, making a circumbendibus round the Tomhans, where Mhairhe MʻIntyre lived seven years with the fairies; and in a couple of hours or so, you will find us under the Merlin Crag.

We offer to walk any man of our age in Great Britain. But what is our age? Confound us if we know within a score or two. Yet we cannot get rid of the impression that we are under ninety. However, as we seek

« PredošláPokračovať »