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public subscription and for public benefit, and a letter from him to Lord Lamington was quoted in the House of Lords as authoritative in reference to a close time for yellow trout.
These are some of the evidences of service devoted to the angling world. Quite recently, on retiring from the presidentship of the Wanderers' Angling Club, a handsome escritoire with roller top, and a study chair, were presented to Mr. Robertson, as a mark of esteem from the members; of these he is very proud.
Though he regards cultivating the muses as an amiable weakness, the muses have sung his praises without stint. Several Glasgow poets have busked Robertson's Wonnerfu' Flees in never failing lines of verse, and even Paisley
"Lithe Teviotdalc's amang the worst,
Ere early morn;
Kills me with scorn."
Another poet tells the Golden Bee in confidence :—
"Hyperion to a Satyr was my cast
The Hyperion Cast was Willie Robertson's; and yet again :—
"F'rae Sol way to Shetland where meteors gleam;
has not been silent. Than this favourable comment could no further go; and yet—and yet, the author of the Lay of Loch Leven submitted his lines to Mr. Robertson, and recast many at his behest. At the same time he has favourite poems, of which the chief are "The Grave," by Blair, and " Miles Standish." The lines in the former, descriptive of a boy walking through the churchyard at night, "whistling aloud to bear his courage up," being much appreciated:—
"Sudden! he starts, and hears, or thinks he hears The sound of something purring at his heels; Full fast he flies, and dares not look behind him.''
It is, nevertheless, as President of the G.B.C.A. that we are chiefly concerned with Mr. Robertson. Though pursuing his career thus far has been a pleasant pastime, combined as it is with the dolce far niente of holiday times within sound of the murmur of Tweed, and under the shadow of Kelso Town Hall, we are more at home with Mr. Robertson among Borderers in Glasgow. Some thirteen years ago the Association met only four times a year, the younger members struck out and formed a Literary Society. It was but a few weeks old when the never failing "night at the Hustings " came on; candidates were chosen, party feeling ran high in the usual way, but the Conservatives were in straits to find a proposer for their political
aspirant. They got over the difficulty by inducing a burly chield, present for the first time, to fill the breach, which he did to perfection, speaking well himself, applauding the points in other speakers, and keeping up an animated enthusiasm. The Liberals got in by a large majority; the sense being on one side and the numbers on the other in the usual way, and everybody was satisfied. The burly chield who led the forlorn hope was Mr. Wm. Robertson. Ten years had expanded him beyond recognition. A stalwart, genial, broad-minded aud open hearted Borderer in place of the dapper young man of early
President six years ago, after keeping in the modest background until his light could no longer be hid; and since then the brightest annals of the Association have been minuted. Its first dinner was celebrated in the Windsor Hotel, when Sir George Douglas, Honorary President, was entertained by the Directors, and the desire for a Border Keep in Glasgow was first publicly spoken of. In '93 the majority of the Association was commemorated with a Dinner, Soiree and Dance, the Hon. President, Sir James Miller and his fair young bride lending lustre to the occasion. Prosperity has followed
I rum P.\ oto hjr KlitS'
recollection. This readiness in helping people out of a difficulty is a marked trait in his character, as our Association has experienced on many occasions. We surmise that politics do not take a high place in Mr. Robertson's estimation; indeed, how could they in any one possessed of a virtuous, well regulated mind and sound judgment. The Literary Society became the life of the Association, the members developing finely democratic views, and paying deference readily to wealth, when it is the mind that makes the body rich, in which respect Mr. Robertson is well endowed. He was elected
Mackintosh * Co., Kelso
it ul) since then, and the Border Reep, which was never lost sight of, is now in a fair way of being realised. In the Literary Society Mr. Robertson was elected Editor of MS. Magazine. In reading he is perspicuous, with a fine resonant voice: and when the "Border Bummer" seceded from the magazine and secured him for its Reader, its fortune was made. As the unofficial organ of all the sayings and doings of Borderers in Glasgow, its light pervades everywhere: it comes to the Reader, the night before the meeting, when he sees it for the first time, yet he unfailingly interprets every dark saying; and that is no light task, as it occupies more than an hour in steady reading; and there is no dull time. In all branches of the Association Mr. Robertson shows like interest, Cricket Club, Angling Club, Football Club, he gives encouragement and support to all. Mrs. Robertson has been a good coadjutor and helpmeet. Her heart is still on the banks of Tweed, and she delights much to attend our Border Gatherings in Glasgow. Three big sons, the eldest of whom is the second William, and takes after his father in love of literature as well as in business; and a vivacious golden haired girl of f1fteen summers, in whom the mother lives again, the youngest, make up the household. When last we saw Mr. Robertson, he was delvin' in his kail yairdie at Cathcart; and under his guidance respects were paid to the castle hallowed by having sheltered the hapless Mary Queen of Scots: he then led us away to see a charming poem in nature, where Cart frets over the weir into surges crested white, and brattles with foamy flecks past the old mill and underneath the ancient bridge, the whole set in a background of living greenwoods. Contemplating in this beautiful natural scenery, on a mild evening, he may often be found, and in this view we may love him and leave him hale and hearty.
Speecb an& Dumouc In tbe toorse.
BV THE EDITOR.
ONE of my earliest recollections is having been taken to see Ord's travelling circus which held its entertainment in the open air, beneath the blue skies of summer, and without enclosure or covering of any kind. Under such an arrangement, the admiring spectators closed in so frequently upon the ring that the performers had, once and again, to stop and beseech the onlookers to "retire a little." On one of these occasions the clown tried his hand at persuasion, and as he did so he jumped on the back of a beautiful cream-coloured horse, paced round and round the outside of the ring and kept the spectators in good humour by saying, "Now then, mind the horse's toes, will you?"
It was while cracking this joke that the creamcoloured beauty caught my eye and said, or seemed to say, "Isn't he a funny fellow this clown of ours? This joke about my toes is good, isn't it?"
b'or the remainder of the entertainment the boy's attention was almost wholly concentrated upon the cream-coloured horse. Always as he came ambling round and round the ring, sometimes with a beautiful lady standing upon his
back, at other times with one of the performers in "character," he gave a wink to the boy and told him to keep his eye on the clown, and to remember the joke about the horse's toes. So expressive were these looks and winks on the part of the cream-coloured beauty that the boy clothed them in language, and interpreted them as easily as if they had been conveyed in the plainest of English.
The entertainment over, the boy returned home. "Well, how did you enjoy the circus?" his mother asked. "Oh, it was grand,"' said he in ecstacy: "for one of the horses spoke to me, and"
"Hush, hush," interrupted the mother. "Horses can do many clever things, but they canna speak."
"Ah, but, mother, the cream-coloured horse spoke, and he spoke to me."
All the reasoning on the part of that muchloved woman did not seem to produce the desired effect upon her son, for he kept to his point, and eventually brought from the Scriptures an illustration in proof of his assertion that horses can and do speak.
"Hush, hush, laddie : ye're forgetting yoursel' now. Nowhere, that I mind, does the Bible tell us that horses speak."
"The book of Job, mother, where the horse says among the trumpets, 'Ha ha!' Ha ha, mother!"
"Ye've clean coupit me now," replied the mother, pleased and proud in her defeat—totally different from most people when they are "floored" in argument. I canna keep up \vi' ye now," she continued; "your faither'll have to take ye in hand."
The "faither " next "yokit " the boy; but he, too, was floored, and at last both mother and father agreed to let both boy and horse have their own way, and hold as much communication with each other as they liked.
A wonderfully constructed creature is the horse. The " Vet." knows all about his anatomy and his ailments—the couper or dealer can describe his good points and his weak ones. The carter, the trooper, the farmer, each and all have their special information to impart about the horse. But the horse in his mental constitution has not yet received the attention which he deserves. As a suggestion, but merely as a suggestion, that something might be done in this direction, the present writer proposes to relate a few instances of speech and humour in the horse. These, it may be stated in the outset, are mostly drawn from personal reminiscences, and not collected from anecdotes or books on natural history.
In a great city like Glasgow, where horses are so much "in evidence" on the streets, there is abundant opportunity for studying the subject of the present paper. Next to the human family, and probably the dog, there is no member of the animal creation so much on the outlook for sympathy as the horse. A word of cheer for him on the street stirs him like the sound of a trumpet, and vibrates through his whole intellectual and physical system. Standing so high as he does in the scale of animated nature, he feels the slightest indignity placed upon him, and resents is as an affront not to be endured without protest of some kind or other. One day the present writer met a string of tramway trace-horses coming down Renfield Street, each one carrying a trace-boy sitting on the rump. The last horse in the string caught the writer's eye, and though it was only a passing glance, and at the trot, it was enough to convey this mortifying intelligence—"" This riding on the rump is more than I can stand!" and away the poor tracer clattered down the street after his companions in indignity. It was a sore point this riding on the rump! But it is now a thing of the past. Since the tramways came into the hands of the Corporation of Glasgow, the traceboys are not even allowed to ride the horses in the orthodox fashion, but are required to dismount and lead them down the hill.
Perhaps of all horses on the street the lornhorse has the keenest sense of humour. He is seen at his best, curiously enough, after a hard day's work. While on his way to the stable he is quite "larky" and up to anything in the way of a joke between himself and the lorryman, his driver. Hut even during business hours the humour of the lorry horse comes out, as may be gathered from the following incident. One day, several years ago, hundreds of business men were seen crowding into St. George's Church at one o'clock. Nearly opposite the church door, a group of horses and lorries was standing waiting for the trace boys to come and give them a help up the steep incline on the upper part of Buchanan Street.
On the day in question, a "scene" occurred in consequence of one of the trace horses refusing to "take the hill." Words, orthodox enough at first, were used by the drivers and boys to induce the tracer to buckle to his work, but the orthodox words produced no effect; whereupon a stronger quality was tried, but still without effect.
During the commotion, and the commotion was considerable it may be stated, one of the horses in the group looked across to a human bystander on the pavement and asked, with
reference to the crowd of men pouring into St. George's Church, "What's ado there today?"
"Oh, it's John M'Neill preaching to businessmen," was the reply.
"Business men!" replied the lorry horse. "Bring John out here, and see what he can do in the way of softening the language of the lorrymen fechting away wi' that puir cratur o' a trace-horse. I've heard strong language in my day, but 'never aught like this,' to quote Sir Walter. Yes, bring John M'Neill; he'd be better employed outside the kirk the day than inside."
In the country, with its lighter and less "hashing" work, the horse gets more play for its humour than in the city. During a drive down a steep glen above St. Catherine's on an August day a few years ago, one of the two horses in the "machine" suddenly stumbled, fell, and lay like one dead; so like, indeed, that as the driver jumped down from the box he threw up his hands in despair, rent the atmosphere with a Highland lament, and shrieked aloud—" Och, she's deid, she's deid."
One of the passengers in the machine, who knew more about horses than the driver, got out and pronounced the prostrate one to be not "deid," but only pretending to be so. And his opinion was confirmed by the other horse, who, all the while, was standing laughing at his fallen companion, and saying in a jeering, bantering sort of tone, "At it again! I declare, I'll not come any more wi' ve -affronting me in this way!"
Then turning to the passenger, the speaker continued, "It's only a bit weakness this o' his; he wants five minutes to take in the scenery!"
Perhap the finest instance of humour in the horse that ever came under the writer's notice was on one occasion while visiting a young minister in the Bow mont Valley, on the northern slope of the Cheviot hills. After dinner, the host proposed a drive up the country as far as the Field of Flodden, where
"Shiver'd was fair Scotland's lance,
The minister's machine, a low-set affair on four wheels, was drawn by a pony whose sense of humour was deliciously practical. The two guests took their seats, and the minister stepped up to his. As the party drove off, the minister whispered to his guests, at the same time pointing with his whip to the pony—"Watch him, now, and see his humour."
Not long had the party to watch, for on meeting an auld wife trudging homeward, the pony stopped—not to speak to her himself, but to afford the minister an opportunity of asking how she and the auld man were getting on at home. By this manoeuvre the pony secured what he was wanting—a rest of a few minutes, for he was inclined to take things easy. The same thing happened on every occasion of meeting a passenger on the road, and to every passenger the minister had to speak, no matter whether known to each other or not.
But the greatest farce of all was when the minister and his guests reached the foot of a hilly part of the road. There the pony stopped, turned round his head, and thus addressed the occupants of the machine— " You fellows had better get out here. You're abler to walk than I am to drag you up the hill. Besides, you'll be the better of stretching your legs after this long drive."
Out the party had to get and walk to the top of the hill, where the pony halted, and suggested that as they had reached the summit they had better rest for ten minutes, and take a general view of the Field of Flodden, which lay on the slope about a mile to the eastward.
The declining years of the horse are not not usually spent in "the leisure of retirement."' In the experience of most of them, the familiar saying holds true—"They have seen better days." In the old pre-railway times, the horsing of the mail coaches used to be largely recruited from the ranks of the used-up hunters and troopers. Nothing raised their drooping spirits so much, when tired-out after a long run, as to hear the sound of the guard's horn, or the cry of a pack of hounds breaking away out of cover and across country. The old times came back again, and could the " wheelers " or the " leaders" have got out of harness for a few minutes, the certainty is that they would have been off after the hounds with the " yauldest " and the freshest of the hunting-party.
On one occasion an ex-hunter, employed in some menial capacity, heard the well-known sound of a pack in full cry. Away she broke, rattling behind her an old cart, and closing her ears to the cries and entreaties of the master she had left behind on the road. Attempting a hedge, the cart stuck fast, but the shafts gave way, and she was free. Tearing across the country, she overtook the hunting-party. The excitement however, had been too much (or her, for the action of the heart had suddenly failed, and she dropped down—dead. I did not witness the incident, but in the subsequent narrative of the gleam of the eye which preceded dissolution, I have often fancied that something of Sir Walter's was in her last thoughts, and that
that something was embodied in the well-known lines:
"Sound, sound the clarion, fill the fife.
"Sooner or Xater."
[Suggested by the article "The Principal and the
A Branch all white with blossom grew
Upon a garden wall:
To deck a lordly hall:
Seemed gone beyond recall.
Another branch beside it grew.
In beauty's bloom its fellow;
When leaves were golden yellow,
Luscious, ripe and mellow.
Through light and shade, through toil and strife
We see an aged man
His full allotted span,
That hope set in the van.
Lord Tennyson bore blessed fruit
For all the coming years,
Among the gifted seers,
Among a mist of tears.
But who can gauge the riches
That came from grief's sad dower,
Unto the friend that loved h1m so
And Heaven-sent rains of sorrow,
Our poor blind hearts arraign too oft
The doings of the King, When, were our vision clearer,
We might see everything, Works out a higher good to make
Our hearts with gladness sing.
LlLLIESLEAF. FREE Lance.