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brdes which formerly drained the quarters of India parts of this resources of the State, and en- force have already done service dangered rather than secured its for us beyond our frontiers; and peace, was one of the first objects no one who has seen the genuine of the formation of Imperial earnestness of the princes of India Service troops. The result aimed in this matter, and the fine temper at has been in most cases fully of their troops, can doubt but that attained, and it is to be hoped only the lack of opportunity prethat nowhere will new Imperial vents many other such corps from Service regiments be suffered to doing similar good service for the exist alongside of an undiminished British Crown. standing army
The movement has given yet In the brief account of the another proof of the excellent fightIndian Imperial Service troops ing material which exists in India, given above, many points have and of the British genius for organnecessarily been passed over in ising and training such material to silence or been but slightly touched a higher pitch than it could reach on. But it is hoped that enough under native guidance alone. But has been said to show that a scheme the development of the Imperial which was regarded at first with Service troops has done more than much distrust and suspicion has this. The interest and the money proved a practical success. Loyally freely spent on them give daily supported by the native chiefs, à proof that the offers made on the small number—its utmost limit occasion of her Majesty's jubilee has only amounted to fourteen- were due to something more than of British officers have, by hard the enthusiasm of the moment; work, tact, and perseverance, trans- they prove a deep-seated loyalty formed, in seven years and less, and goodwill on the part of the upwards of 20,000 undisciplined princes and chiefs of India towards men into a disciplined and service- the British Government, and a able force; and that, too, although real belief in the benefits which the units have been scattered over are secured to India by the British many thousand square miles of rule; and they give us cause to country, precluding, in most in- echo in India the words of Lord stances, individual attention, or Salisbury-we care not how much anything but interrupted visits of we are isolated so long as we are inspection. From three separate united.
HOW SUMMER CAME TO CAITHNESS.
Hail! sunny Whitsuntide ! “And Elijah said to his servant, Hurrah for flannel shirts and Go up now, look toward the sea. hobnailed shoon! welcome home- And he went up, and looked, and said, spun suits and supremely shabby, again seven times. And it came to
There is nothing. And he said, Go headgear—the livery of ten days' pass, at the seventh time, that he said, respite from the tyranny of town Behold, there ariseth a little cloud garb! In this free and far-off out of the sea, like a man's hand. land one may wear what he lists, And he said, Go up, say unto Ahab, for never a "lum" hat cometh Prepare thy chariot, and get thee here, save at funerals, and those down, that the rain stop thee not." affected by members of that arch- For more than a month our river aic and strangely ceremonial class had been at its lowest, for no rain -the craft of postboys. Crisp had fallen since that which proheather and flowery turf instead duced a small spate in the second of wood pavement and wall-posters week of April. This was all the —long gloamings on hyperborean more tantalising, for this year 1896 shores in place of glare of gas and has produced a heavier run of electric light—no sorry exchange, spring salmon in Scottish waters pardie!
than has been known for many
seasons, and our stream had drawn Sure there is no more restless its full share. The loch had creature on earth than a salmon- yielded a heavy score already, and fisher during a prolonged drought. still, as often as the north wind All the readable fiction in the blew and passing clouds obscured lodge, as well as a great deal the sun, here and there in the which, under happier auspices, deep river "linns” (“duba” they would have been pronounced un- would call them on the Tweed), or readable, has been exhausted in the loch, small grilse-flies preThe back numbers of the 'Field' vailed to make an odd fish or two have been conned, even to the lay hold, out of the numbers which advertisements (not the least sug- were perpetually rolling up to the gestive matter in its columns); im- surface. The bay, too, was full patient knuckles positively ache of summer fish, both salmon and from repeated rappings of the grilse, waiting for a flood to give barometer, and it is within actu- them escape from the seals, poral knowledge that a scorched- poises, and parasites which emout angler has derived jejune bitter marine life. Everything solace from the perusal of 1 Kings was languishing for rain, but, of xviii. The record in that chapter all Scottish counties, rain falls of the breaking of a long drought most seldom in Caithness; snow is so faithful and vivid that it is the staple from which these filled him with envy of the pro- northern streams are brewed, and phetic gift which enabled Elijah, of that there was very little last while the farmers and shepherds winter. of Israel were still plunged in By the way, there scarcely could despair, to detect in the brazen be a more thorough refutation of firmament "the sound of abund- the kind of evidence which is often ance of rain."
given, and too often listened to,
before Royal Commissions and It was a very early spring, nearly other inquiries, to the effect that a month in advance of last year. overstocking is the cause of salmon Ripe cherries in the open air near disease, than the condition of the Dingwall and the hawthorn bloom Thurso in a season such as this. past its best before the end of May, Of water there has been a minimum, young grouse actually on the wing of heat a maximum ; fish have been on the 24th-these are incidents huddled together in shoals, both without precedent in anybody's kelts and clean fish, for many memory of the northern counties. weeks, yet the dread Saprolegnia “On the 4th of May," wrote Robert has not made its appearance; nor Dick to his friend Peach nearly has any instance of it been re- forty years ago, " the buds are only corded during the last forty years. swelling. There is no May blosOn the other hand, in the rivers of som' in Caithness. Even at the the Solway, of far greater volume end of May the few hedges are not than the Thurso - rivers which in full leaf.” have been depleted to the utmost Everybody who knows the Highby netting — the scanty stock is lands at this season, knows also the periodically subject to fierce attacks splendour of Highland broom-the of this fatal scourge. So in the badge of clan Sinclair—which, in Tweed, where, it is true, the the north, largely takes the place autumn run of fish do occasionally of the tenderer gorse. Well, the present some appearance of great banks of the Beauly are worth a numbers, even in these lean times special visit in May, by reason of in which our lot is cast, it is an unusual floral display on the alleged that the disease, to the green links near its mouth. They presence of which that river is will be found ablaze with broom, peculiarly liable, takes its rise but mingled with it, and greatly among fish crowded in low water. enriching it, are masses of a bonny Marry! could we but have one purple-and-white lupin, an escape, season on Tweedside such as our no doubt, from some neighbouring forefathers knew before the days garden, which has established itof extravagant netting all along self profusely on the light soil. the coasts, we might then have Seaside landowners please copy. some idea what a full comple- The Scots fir is one of the few ment of fish really means. green things that seem to go rusty
But my present business lies not at this season of ebullient growth in the waters of Abana or Phar- and life. It strikes an autumnal par, but in the little Jordan of key among the vivid verdure of the northern land, in which, by the oak, birch, and sycamore; but it clemency of a friend, it was my is not really sluggish : the rusty privilege to cast an angle in the look is caused by the profusion of month of May of this year. It vigorous young shoots, russet brown was not his fault that the rain in hue, which are pushing from the tarried, and that recourse had to end of every spray. On some of be made to other subjects of in- the well-clothed hills near Bonar terest than the taking of fish. It Bridge this peculiarity is clearly was not difficult to find them to be seen, the braes planted with Angling apart, but for the fisher- Scots fir seeming lifeless and man's constitutional unrest, there wintry, while those bearing larch was store of matter to occupy eyes, woods are veiled in a mist of adorears, and thought agreeably. able green. Farther north, how
VOL. CLX-NO. DCCCCLXIX,
ever, on the windy wastes of pen- counties. The ubiquitous mallard, ultima Thule, there is no oppor- the cosmopolitan teal, the worldlytunity for comparative notes on wise sandpiper, are here in numwoodland, for the
bers, of course; but there are bethat cherubs can't sit down sides many aquatic couples of parceque il n'y a pas de quoi. greater distinction.
One day in After the train has climbed the fishing I came suddenly on birch-clad valley of Helmsdale, and newly-launched brood of widgeon entered upon the appalling desola- in the sedges by the river. Detion of Forsinard, trees become a licious little bundles of golden memory — nothing more. When brown velvet, they were as greatly first I made the acquaintance of terrified as I was delighted, for the river of Thor some years ago, I had never been before in the I was puzzled by the name attached breeding haunt of this choice duck to a salmon-cast on that stream. in nesting-time. It was called the Hazel Pool: nor Mergansers, goosanders, black was the reason apparent, till there scoters, black-throated divers, redwas pointed out to me, half-way shanks, and plovers of various up a frowning cliff on the far side kinds, denote the high latitude by of the river, a stunted, gnarled their presence. These are common hazel-bush-quite enough to con- enough; but on a small loch four fer a title on the pool, for it seemed miles across the moor—a loch that to be the only herb of appreciable shall be nameless by reason of the stature in the whole vast parish of avidity of collectors—there is an Halkirk. Yet there was forest island remarkable for possessing a once on these bleak plains, as at- small thicket of saugh-bushes. This tested by the presence of roots and is one of the very few places on stems of pine and birch in the the mainland where the grey lagnumerous mosses.
goose breeds regularly. Ah, these Nevertheless, bare and cheerless accursed collectors ! how senseless as this country strikes the travel- is the craze for "British - laid " ler, I found here the same blithe eggs to which they minister !—a business of love-making and nest- craze which has raised the price building in progress that I had of a grey lag's egg from Sutherleft the previous week in full swing land to fivefold that of one from beside a Hampshire chalk-stream, Iceland. Last
Mother Goose In a blazing springtide such as this, had brought a fine nide of eggs the lot of a pair of reed-buntings, near to hatching on this island. with all their hopes and cares The keeper was watching them centred in a nest on the heather to secure a pair of goslings for not fifty yards from the front door me: beshrew me! if one of these of our lodge, seems greatly more scamps did not rifle the whole lot desirable than that of another pair under the brief cloud of a night in of these birds which I left honey- June. mooning beside the tepid Itchen. On goosanders and mergansers, A coat of feathers must be terribly showy and aristocratic as they are stuffy wear in that steaming valley. in plumage and carriage, the The two districts, so diverse in salmon - fisher is forced to look aspect and atmosphere, have many with no friendly feelings. About fowl in common, but many a winged four o'clock one sunny morning thing breeds among these lochs lately a pair of mergansers might which is unknown in southern have been seen taking breakfast
in the pool immediately under our despondency, mourning their bewindows. It is not often that one reavement in advance. Far othergets such a near view of their wise the gallant lapwings. They operations. Swift and fishlike swoop, dart, and tumble round they darted under water, pro- the tyrants, uttering agonising pelled by powerful wings, making shrieks, and actually succeed in the spray fly over their backs in driving the great gulls off the the shallows, too often emerging ground. If gamekeepers had spared with a salmon-smolt between the the ospreys and kestrels, and dealt sharp serrated mandibles that give more severely with black-backs and them their popular name of saw. mergansers, they would have served bills. It was a mistaken clemency the cause of grouse-shooting and to bring these greedy marauders salmon-fishing to better purpose. under the scope of the Wild Birds A word in
for the Protection Act, and make the shoot- lapwings. The farmers of Great ing of them penal precisely at the Britain have no more indefatigseason when they do most mischief able ally among birds. The food -when the smolts are descend of the lapwing consists exclusively ing to the sea. They are all out of worms, insects, molluscs, and as hurtful as cormorants, and crawlywigs of all sorts : the dilithough one would be sorry to gence with which these pretty see them extinguished altogether, birds search every inch of the their numbers certainly should be fields over and over again ought kept in strict check.
to earn for them more tender Yonder, however, are a pair of consideration than they receive. pirates of noble mien, but of such We actually treat them worse murderous repute that the law has than any other wild bird, for it shown no tenderness for them. is the only species of which both The greater black-backed gull is the bodies and the eggs are made one of the handsomest of British regular articles of commerce. It birds, measuring fully six feet is nothing short of disgusting to from tip to tip of the wings. His see, as one may do any spring in massive snowy throat, powerful London, strings of these birds lemon-yellow beak, and sable back hanging in poulterers' shops at and wing coverts, compose a livery the same time that their eggs are so distinct that one cannot but displayed for sale. There is no enjoy his presence. But justly reason to deprecate the traffic in he has been outlawed, for he is the eggs; they are a delicate and the enemy of all lesser fowls and rightly prized article of food; of many small quadrupeds. These their collection brings a little two black-backs are quartering the harvest to a very needy class of moor in diligent search for young persons each year;
a very peewits and golden plover, and large proportion of the eggs that great is the anguish of the parent find their way to market would birds. But the two species, so never be hatched, even if left nearly allied in race, manifest alone, because most of them are their concern in very different laid on ploughed and fallow fields, ways. The golden plover, which where they would be destroyed in have exchanged their white winter the operations of sowing, harrowwaistcoats for black summer wear, ing, and rolling. But the lapwing fit disconsolately from knoll to itself is far from being a delicacy, knoll, piping with indescribable and our county councils, who have