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daylight at the “buchts” or sheep-pens in the cattlemarket, and worked incessantly, and to excellent purpose, in helping the shepherds to get their sheep and lambs in. The man said with a sort of transport, “She's a perfect meeracle; flees about like a speerit, and never gangs wrang; wears but never grups, and beats a' oor dowgs. She's a perfect meeracle, and as soople as a maukin.” Then he related how they all knew her, and said, “There's that wee fell yin; we'll get them in noo.” They tried to coax her to stop and be caught, but no, she was gentle, but off; and for many a day that “wee fell yin ” was spoken of by these rough fellows. She continued this amateur work till she died, which she did in peace.
It is very touching, the regard the south-country shepherds have to their dogs. Professor Syme one day, many years ago, when living in Forres Street, was looking out of his window, and he saw a young shepherd striding down North Charlotte Street, as if making for his house; it was midsummer. The man had his dog with him, and Mr. Syme noticed that he followed the dog, and not it him, though he contrived to steer for the house. He came, and was ushered into his room; he wished advice about some ailment, and Mr. Syme saw that he had a bit of twine round the dog's neck, which he let drop out of his hand when he entered the room. He asked him the meaning of this, and he explained that the magistrates had issued a mad-dog proclamation, commanding all dogs to be muzzled or led on pain of death. “And
“ And why do you go about as I saw you did before you came in to
“Oh,” said he, looking awkward, “I did na want Birkie to ken he was tied.” Where will you find truer courtesy and finer feeling? He did n't want to hurt Birkie's feelings.
Mr. Carruthers of Inverness told me a new story of these wise sheep dogs. A butcher from Inverness had purchased some sheep at Dingwall, and, giving them in charge to his dog, left the road. The dog drove them on till, coming to a toll, the toll-wife stood before the drove, demanding her dues. The dog looked at her, and, jumping on her back, crossed his forelegs over her arms. The sheep passed through, and the dog took his place behind them, and went on
Of Rab I have little to say, indeed have little right to speak of him as one of “our dogs;” but nobody will be sorry to hear anything of that noble fellow. Ailie, the day or two after the operation, when she was well and cheery, spoke about him, and said she would tell me fine stories when I came out, as I promised to do, to see her at Howgate. I asked her how James came to get him. She told me that one day she saw James coming down from Leadburn with the cart; he had been away west, getting eggs and butter, cheese and hens, for Edinburgh. She saw he was in some trouble, and on looking, there was what she thought a young calf being dragged, or, as she called it, “haurled," at the back of the cart. James was in front, and when he came up, very warm and very angry, she saw that there was a huge young dog tied to the cart, struggling and pulling back with all his might, and, as she said, " lookin' fearsom.” James, who was out of breath and temper, being past his time, explained to Ailie that this “muckle brute o' a whalp” had been worrying sheep, and terrifying everybody up at Sir George Montgomery's at Macbie Hill, and that Sir George had ordered him to be hanged, which, however, was sooner said than done, as “the thief” showed his intentions of dying hard. James came up just as Sir George had sent for his gun, and, as the dog had more than once shown a liking for him, he said he “wad gie him a chance;” and so he tied him to his cart. Young Rab, fearing some mischief, had been entering a series of protests all the way, and nearly strangling himself to spite James and Jess, besides giving Jess more than usual to do. “I wish I had let Sir George pit that charge into him, the thrawn brute!” said James. But Ailie had seen that in his foreleg there was a splinter of wood, which he had likely got when objecting to be hanged, and that he was miserably lame. So she got James to leave him with her, and go straight into Edinburgh. She gave him water, and by her woman's wit got his lame paw under a door, so that he could n't suddenly get at her, then with a quick, firm hand she plucked out the splinter, and put in an ample meal. She went in some time after, taking no notice of him, and he came limping up, and laid his great jaws in her lap; from that moment they were “chief,” as she said, James finding him mansuete and civil when he returned.
She said it was Rab’s habit to make his appearance exactly half an hour before his master, trotting in full of importance, as if to say, “He's all right, he 'll be here.” One morning James came without him. He had left Edinburgh very early, and in coming near Auchindinny, at a lonely part of the road, a man sprang out on him, and demanded his money. James, who was a cool hand, said, “ Weel a weel, let me get it,” and stepping back, he said to Rab, “Speak till him, my man.” In an instant Rab was standing over him, threatening strangulation if he stirred. James pushed on, leaving Rab in charge; he looked back, and saw that every attempt to rise was summarily put down. As he was telling Ailie the story, up came Rab with that great swing of his. It turned out that the robber was a Howgate lad, the worthless son of a neighbor, and Rab knowing him had let him cheaply off ; the only thing, which was seen by a man from a field, was, that before letting him rise, he quenched (pro tempore) the fire of the eyes of the ruffian by a familiar Gulliverian application of Hydraulics, which I need not further particularize. James, who did not know the way to tell an untruth, or embellish anything, told me this as what he called “a fact positeevely."
ALFRED TENNYSON, the most famous English poet of the latter half of the nineteenth century, was born August 6, 1809, in the village of Somersby, in Lincolnshire, England. He was one of a large family of children, and at least one of his brothers showed also poetic genius. His father was rector of the English church in the quiet English village, and the young poet grew up in the shelter of a refined home. Mrs. Ritchie, a daughter of Thackeray, tells a pleasant story of the family life :
“ These handsome children had, beyond most children, that wondrous toy at their command which some people call imagination. The boys played great games like Arthur's knights; they were champions and warriors defending a stone heap, or again they would set up opposing camps with a king in the midst of each. .. When dinnertime came, and they all sat round the table, each in turn put a chapter of his history underneath the potato bowl, long, endless histories, chapter after chapter, diffuse, absorbing, unending, as are the stories of real life of which each sunrise opens on a new part; some of these romances were in letters like Clarissa Harlowe. Alfred used to tell a story which lasted for months, and which was called The Old Horse.”
When Alfred and his brother Charles were scarcely more than boys, they published a book under the title Poems by Two Brothers. A year after this little book came out,