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however, the different entries to the corrie, I saw a fox come leisurely down a steep slope of loose stones, towards where the huntsman was concealed. Presently he stopped, and quietly sitting down, appeared to listen for the dogs, and, not hearing their cry come nearer, he came quietly and leisurely along, till he had reached the track where we had crossed the corrie, when, cautiously stopping with his nose to the ground, he changed his careless manner of running to a quick canter, halting now and then, and snuffing the air, to find out where the enemy was concealed. Just then, too, the hounds appeared to have turned to our direction, and another fox came in view, entering the corrie to my right hand at a great pace, and making directly towards me, though still at a mile's distance. The first fox had approached within sixty or seventy yards of the huntsman, when I saw a small stream of smoke issue from the rocks, and the fox stagger a little, and then heard the report of the gun. The foxes both rushed down the hill again, away from us, one evidently wounded; when, the echo of the shot sounding in every direction, first on one side of the corrie, then on another, and then apparently on every side at once, the poor animals were fairly puzzled. The wounded fox turned back again, and ran straight towards where the huntsman was, while the other came towards me. He was within shot, and I was only waiting till he got to an open bit of ground, over which I saw he must pass, when the hounds appeared in full cry at the mouth of the corrie by which he had entered. Reynard stopped to look, and stretching up his head and neck to do so, gave me a fair shot at about sixty yards off. The next moment he was stretched dead, with my ball through him, while the other, quite bewildered, ran almost between the legs of my fellow-chasseur, and then turned back towards the dogs, who, meeting him full in the face, wounded as he was, soon caught and slew him. In a short time the whole of our troops, dogs, shepherds, and all were collected, and great were the rejoicings over the fallen foe. I must say, that though our game was ignoble, the novelty of the proceedings, and the wildness and magnificence of the scenery, had kept me both amused and interested. I forget the name of the corrie: it was some unpronounceable Gaelic word, signifying the "Corrie of the Echo." "
The eagle is becoming every year more rare, and will at no great distance of time, apparently, be extinct in Great Britain. A few years ago, in Sutherland and the heights of Mar and Athol, one seldom passed a day on the mountains without meeting one or more; now, excepting in some of the islands, and on parts of the north coast, they are rarely seen. Large premiums given by the sheep-farming societies first reduced their numbers; and English gamekeepers and English traps have done the rest. The golden eagle, aquila chrysaetos, is the most frequently seen in the Highlands. They build in some recess of a perpendicular rock, overhung by a projecting shelf, and seldom to be reached by human foot; though occasionally in the more unfrequented districts, where there is less risk of being disturbed,
they inhabit places more easy of access. The nest, which is formed of sticks, the stems and roots of heather, lasts for many years. A slight repair in the spring prepares it for the ensuing breeding-season. The large, strong-shelled eggs, generally three in number, are laid on the sticks without any softer lining. Seldom more than two young ones are brought out. The male eagle assists in the domestic arrangements, and takes his turn of sitting on the eggs. Indeed, if the female is killed, he will take the entire charge of the young or eggs-frequently, however, taking to himself a second mate to assist him. The young birds remain but for a short time with their parents after they have left the nest, and are soon banished from their paternal dominions.
We are accustomed to talk of the eagle as an impersonation of magnanimity and activity, a character which he hardly deserves. He is a greedy, foul-feeding bird, and lazy, until pressed by hunger. With strength of talons and beak to tear open the skin of a camel, he prefers his game kept till it is putrid; and for all his unrivalled strength and quickness of flight, he likes feeding on any carrion better than hunting for himself. If he find a dead sheep, or, his peculiar dainty, a dead and putrid dog, he will gorge himself on his disgusting food till he is hardly able to rise; and more than one instance has come to our knowledge in the Highlands, of an eagle in that situation being knocked down and killed with a stick. His common food in the Highlands consists of dead sheep, and lambs which he can carry off whole to his nest; and when these fail, white hares and ptarmigan. After floods in the mountain torrents, or the breaking up of a snowstorm, the eagle revels on the drowned and smothered sheep. Many a time he makes a substantial meal off some stag, who has carried off his death-wound from the hunter's rifle, to die in the hill. When he has young to bring up, he prefers hunting for live food, and at that season lambs and fawns are the easiest provision to be had. Sometimes, but rarely, he takes grouse on the wing.
Though not the heroic bird he is called, when hungry or acting in defence of his young, the eagle is bold enough to attack anything, as a Highlander still alive can testify. Some years ago, in Sutherland, an active lad, named Monro, stimulated by the premiums offered by a farmers' society, determined to attempt robbing an eagle's nest in his neighbourhood, which appeared to him comparatively easy of access. He took no assistant with him, that there might be no division of the prize-money, and set about scaling the rock alone. Holding on like a cat, by projections of the rock, and some roots of ivy, he had mounted to within a few yards of the nest, and was on the point of reaching it, when the
female eagle came home, bearing a young lamb in her talons. Instantly, when she saw the intruder, she dropped her game, made a rapid wheel, and attacked him. Monro had no firm support for his feet, and was obliged to hold with one hand by a root of ivy. The eagle fixed one talon in his shoulder and the other in his cheek, and thus commenced the battle. Monro had but one hand free; to quit his hold of the ivy with the other was to ensure a fall of a hundred feet. In these circumstances of peril, his presence of mind did not forsake him. He remembered what he called a bit wee knife' in his waistcoat pocket; this he reached, opened it with his teeth, and with it attacked in his turn the eagle, unable to extricate her talons from his clothes and flesh; and stabbed and cut her about the throat till he killed her. He did not care to carry the adventure farther, but descended, without waiting for the return of the other eagle, faint and half blind with his own blood. It is several years ago, but he carries the marks of the eagle's talons in his face and shoulder to this day.
The deer in the island of Rum are said to have been quite extirpated by the eagles; and certainly in no other part of Scotland does one see so many eagles. At present, their principal food must consist of the dead fish cast on the shore.
The male and female eagle assist each other very often in pursuit of their prey, coursing, as it were, the animal, whatever it may be, and turning it from one to the other, like a couple of greyhounds in pursuit of a hare. At other times, wheeling at an immense height in the air, at some distance from each other, in search of dead sheep or other carrion, when one bird has discerned a prize, by a shrill bark-like cry it warns the other. The eagle only soars at a great height when the atmosphere is clear, and the hills free from mist. When rain and fog cover the mountain side, the sportsman or shepherd is frequently startled by the sudden and noiseless appearance of this monarch of the clouds passing quietly past him, at the height of a few feet from the ground. The only notice the bird takes of a person in these rencontres, is to turn his head quickly from side to side, to get a good view of the enemy; and he then passes unconcernedly
We doubt very much whether this bird is capable of being tamed or trained for hunting. Their attachment to their keeper and feeder seems to be but uncertain, and liable to interruption on the slightest occasion. But we must hasten to a conclusion.
The interest and occupation of Highland sport, the energy exerted and the difficulties overcome, would be captivating in any country. But we regard it as their chief advantage that they lead
men necessarily among such scenes as are found only among the Highlands. The mountain precipice, the deep secluded glen, the rushing torrent, the lonely loch, even the bare, desolate moor, each connected with some adventure, fix themselves in the memory, and impart to the most unimaginative something of the ideal that raises a man above what is merely worldly and sordid in the path of life.
It would be painful to think the advantages were all on the side of the sportsman; but while the taste for mountain sport is attracting to the Highlands crowds of young men of fortune, to whom it thus forms not the least important part of their education; their residence and its objects are working an important change on the state of the native population. We have already alluded to the number of hands required by the wealthy occupants of Highland shootings. The superabundant population of the glens, not perhaps well suited for patient and sustained industry, either of agriculture or fishing, was almost of its own nature a population of sportsmen, and the man who had roamed over every foot of the hills as a shepherd, was soon found to make an admirable keeper. It is true he has not yet reached the mystery of dog-breaking, and is apt to undervalue a dog that will not help its master in more than merely setting game. But, as a patient watcher on the mountain tops, as the steady attendant of the sportsman in a new region, where it is of much consequence to know the ground and the habits of the game, he is invaluable. His power of mountain travel, his endurance of weather and hardship, and his knowledge of hill game, especially of deer, make the Highlander preferable to an English gamekeeper, even if you discount the pleasure of his conversation, which is indeed very different from that of the business-like, matter-of-fact Norfolk keeper. How often have we forgot the length and roughness of the way, and the want of sport, as we listened to a young Celt pouring out the traditions of his native glen, and reaching unconsciously almost to poetry!
By the fortunate accident of the rise of a new fashion, the active lads who, if not required for tending sheep, and unwilling to join their kinsmen in Canada, seemed destined to be driven to poaching or smuggling, are now employed in different grades as assistants of sport, a situation which no Highlander, however averse to other servitude, finds degrading, and which, requiring all and more than all the qualities of a shepherd, is raising a hardy population, with improved intelligence and tastes somewhat beneficially heightened.
It is remarkable that, while a misdirected and sickly passion for preserving game in one end of the island is threatening to
bring back some of the mischiefs of the cruel old Norman forestlaw, with no commensurate advantages; the same taste for sport, finding a more healthy outlet in the mountains of the north, benefits alike both classes of the community, and is in our estimation productive of unmixed good.
ART. IV.-1. Eloge Historique de James Watt. Par M. Arago, Secrétaire Perpétuel de l'Académie des Sciences. Paris, 1839. 2. Address of the Rev. William Vernon Harcourt, at the 9th Meeting of the British Association at Birmingham (1839);— in the 8th volume of the Reports of the British Association.
3. Lives of Men of Science of the Time of George III. By Henry, Lord Brougham, &c. &c. London, 1845. 8vo.
WE took occasion, in our Number for June last, to criticise the
Biographies of Men of Letters in Lord Brougham's recent publication: we propose now, in conformity with an intimation which we then gave, to call the attention of our readers to the Biographies of Men of Science included in the same volume -particularly of Black, Cavendish, Priestley, and Watt, as connected with those great discoveries in pneumatic chemistry which terminated in the generalizations of Lavoisier and the other chemists of the French school: and we further propose to examine, in some detail, the claim put forward by M. Arago and others, in favour of Mr. Watt, to the great discovery of the composition of water, which Lord Brougham has adopted without modification -notwithstanding the decisive determination which that question had received in the Address of Mr. William Vernon Harcourt and in the documentary and other evidence with which that remarkable Address is accompanied.
In the age which preceded the labours of the founders of modern chemistry, the phlogistic theory of Stahl was universally adopted. It assumed the existence of an inflammable principle in all combustible bodies, to which the name of phlogiston was given: whose nature was not attempted, in the first instance, to be defined, but which was assumed to be extricated in all processes of combustion and solution, and which produced light and heat by the violent vibration and movement of its particles. The body from which this principle escaped, when no longer capable of supporting combustion, was said to be dephlogisticated; conversely, the body of whatever nature, whether solid, liquid, or aerial, with which the phlogiston was combined, or by which it was absorbed, was said to be phlogisticated: and it was the absolute identity of this principle or substance, when separated from a