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In the Shadow of Cairngorm
Men and Dogs


The following extracts are from "Neighbours," chap. I., in "Selections from the Writings of the late William Forsyth," author of "Kelavane," "Idylls and Lyrics," etc. Mr Forsyth was a frequent visitor at the Manse. Once we had a debate as to the comparative merits of collies and retrievers—my colley, "Fraoch," representing the former, and Mr Forsyth’s "Ceasar" the latter. Hence the article. The Gaelic was supplied by me:-

"‘Some togs speaks nothing but Gaelic, and some speaks nothing but English, and other some speaks Gaelic and English poth. But as for your hunting togs they are Sassanach to the pone, always excepting a teer hound here and there, and not many. Teer hounds speaks very little indeed. But they does a great teal of hard work with their head up and their muzzle porin’ ta wind as silent as a horse.’ These remarks were made by old John Roy, my friend Mister Stewart of Tennaberie’s shepherd.

"John Roy had a famous breed of colleys. They would be priceless in these days when colleys have become fashionable. John’s dogs had a pedigree nearly as old as John’s own, which extended to somewhere about ‘Ossian’s days,’ as he was in the way of saying.

"The race was represented, at the time I speak of, by a notable dog, Fraoch (heather), an honest, kindly, sombre, severe looking animal, very gentle and very grave. To Fraoch life was a serious thing; some dogs smile occasionally, if not with their face, at least with their eyes, their ears, and the turn of the head, but no man could say he had ever seen Fraoch smile. If you made an attempt to warm him up into a sportive mood, he would look up for one instant with a certain sense of responsibility in his eyes, fan you gently with his tail out of pure politeness, and, turning his side to you, look about him as if counting his sheep. His whole demeanour said very clearly, Ay, ay, you are very good, and its all very kindly meant, but I have got other things to attend to. So he had, indeed his sheep were never out of his mind. He treated them just as his master did; and, generally speaking, seemed to regard his master as a sort of sleeping member of the firm, and himself as the managing partner. He looked for no instructions; he did not wait for any, but acted according to his own judgment. He might have been left to look after hundreds of sheep and not one of them would have been lost.

"If John Roy had a famous breed of sheep dogs, Sandy Marr had as famous a breed of retrievers, and John and Sandy were just at that moment deeply engaged in a contest over the respective merits of the two breeds, the most sagacious of all the canine race. John was speaking of his dogs’ linguistic attainents, and was in sober earnest about their speaking two languages, meaning simply that the dogs knew what was said both in Gaelic and English. In some points John’s dogs were wonderfully like their master. They certainly had not blue eyes, they were a soft brown-black, but there was the same quiet, trustful look in both. Dogs’ eyes! There are, you will observe, a quiet, single-minded, simple, trustful, earnest, kindly kind of men who have dogs’ eyes—believing eyes that never doubt, but have with all a latent fire in their calm depths that few would care to provoke Both master and dog had the same light elastic springing gait, the same handsome form, and, over all, that indefinable resemblance which habit and the dog’s sympathies an4 distant imitations sometimes produce between a dog and his master.

"When we came near, Sandy, a square built middle-sized man, dressed in a very dark green tartan, took three ‘draws’ of his pipe, patted his dog’s head, and nodded acquiescence. John, whose eyes were travelling round the horizon from under his broad bonnet, continued—’The whole preed has poth tongues and all the signs and the whussels, which comes to pe four languages, least-ways the father of her had very goot Gaelic, and a great deal of it, put no English to speak o’. Put poth came the same to the moder—so that explains a goot teal. An’ as for the whussels and the signs, I tont think there is no creature half so clever as a goot colley tog. She is a shepherd by nature though she had never seen a tuft of woo’, she would take her place at the head of the first flock she came to and guide them to green pasture, and take care o’ them, and count them ofer an’ ofor.’

"‘John’s colleys are famous dogs, I’ll never deny that, but a colley is no the clever cevilised dog that a true retriever is.’

"‘A true retriever! Och, an’ what might she be?’ said John, somewhat contemptuously. ‘A cross, Sandy, a pit mere mechanical tog, made out of three other togs, an’ maype four. No, no, Sandy Marr, my poy, the colley’s ta pure tog an’ ta only pure tog, and the ten times purest of all togs—come down from all antiquity without no cross or change. I tare say king Tavid had his colleys when he keepit his father Jesse’s sheep in the plains of Bethlehem, an’ a goot breed of togs too, I mak na doubt, though teil a petter nor Fraoch, Tavid though he was.’

"The best thing will be to try your dogs,’ said I. ‘I know the qualities of Sandy’s dog and all the breed. I have one of them that goes by the same name—a dog so honest as to be incapable of dishonesty. But John’s dogs I only know by their character and their look, and both these are beyond question.’

"‘Go on, John Roy,’ said Alister Stewart to his shepherd, ‘the sheep are well scattered for showing ,how the bitch works.’

"The sheep were scattered over the area of a mile square, and John at once sent his colley to move them.

"‘Feuch, Fraoch, feuch’ (see, Fraoch, see), said John, pointing to the furthest sheep.

"Fraoch looked in the direction indicated, and then sideways up to his master’s face, asking more definite instructions.

‘Mach rompa’ (out before them), said John, and away went the dog, taking a circuit so as not to disturb the body of the flock, and, getting ahead of them, sat down facing us.

"‘As sin leo’ (out of that with them), shouted John. I thought Fraoch out of hearing, but she rose and wore round the stragglers rather hurriedly towards the body of the flock.

Air tathais’ (gently, more slowly), shouted John, and Fraoch held back at once, seeming to let his charge go at their leisure.

"‘Stad’ (stop), cried John, and the dog paused. ‘Gle mhaith’ (very well), said the shepherd, and the dog once more sat down on his haunches, in an attitude of vigilance—indeed he always sat when he could with his attention divided between his master and his charge, never for a moment afraid of offending.

"‘We’ll be trying the tistant signals now,’ said John, moving northward along the face of the hill. We accompanied him, while Fraoch sat still like a flecked stone on the opposite brae face. John, putting the tips of his fore and third fingers to his lips and the tip of his tongue between them, gave a shrill, piercing whistle, at which the dog rose to attention; he then sounded a series of modulated notes, like military bugle calls, all of which the dog obeyed when made more distinct by signs with the crook and an occasional stamp of the feet.

"‘Now she’ll be taking them all over the hill side to rest, you see,’ said John. With that he sounded a few notes like the bugle-call for skirmishers to extend to the left—supplementing the whistled orders by sweeps with his creek—at once Fraoch took a circuit to westward, giving mouth at short intervals like orders, and in the space of two minutes the flock were taking ground in close order to the right—the flock once fairly on the move, Fraoch kept them moving, every now and then giving a glance towards her master.

"Another whistle as a caution, and another bugle call given by the shepherd on his fingers, and Fraoch halted her flock, and was once mere seated on her haunches in a commanding position.

"We then went back to the hut to be within ear-shot.

"‘Air aghart’ (go on), shouted John, and Fraoch was at once on her feet urging her flock still eastward.

"‘‘Naire, Fraoch, ‘naire’ (take care, F’raoeh, take care), said the shepherd. But Fraoch did not know what he meant, she looked about, went up and down to see that none were behind, then stood gazing towards us waiting for more explicit instructions.

"‘Cuir rompa’ (put before them), shouted John, and once more Fraoch stretched out ahead, and round to their front.

"‘Thoir leat iad, Fraoch; dhachaidh leo’ (bring them with you, Fraoeh; home with them).

"And without more ado the intelligent creature was running hither and thither, barking and driving the whole flock before her. Indeed the movements were like the inspection of troops. Fraoch had complete command of the flock, and the shepherd, as reviewing officer, had complete command of Fraoch.

"‘Now, will that be enough, think ye,’ said John, and on our expressing our perfect satisfaction, he stopped Fraoch on the way. He called out, ‘Gle mhaitb, Fraoeh, stad! Stigh gu mo cboise’ (very well, Fraoeh, stop! In to my foot), and the order was no sooner given than Fraoch, looking round the flock to see that they were all right, came trotting down the hill and through the hollow, and sat down at John’s foot with an eye on her distant charge.

"Gle mhaith, Fraoeb (well done, Fraoch), good lass,’ said John, and as Fraoch looked up with a pensive gratification in her mild, melancholy eyes, John handed her a crust of bread, which was no doubt welcome.

"‘Now, Sandy, said I, ‘are you satisfied of Fraoch’s abilities? Let’s see how near Ceasar can come to her.’

Oh, it’s beautiful to see a colley at work. Ye may amaist say that Fraoch has four toagnes—Gaelie, English, the whussel, and the crook. But John, ye see, stands there like a great semaphore signal post, wi’ the crook for his signal airm, on the hill side, and the field o’ vision is open, and the dog has his daily duty clear, and the instinct comes down from the Bible days as John tells us. But look ye noo to Cusar. It’s a’ very wed for them as hae choice o’ dogs to quarter their pointers and keep their retriever at heel. But this puir dog o’ mine does a’ my wark, be it on a turnip field or a heather muir or a Highlan’ tarn, or for rough shooting in wast country swamp. He has a setter’s nose and a smooth English pointer’s strength, an’ a’ his am intelligence, docility, an’ sweetness o’ temper. He has na the ‘point’ by descent, ye see, but he learn’t it in a week’s time, and when he hears a neighbour pointer barks wi’ the best. He had a prood way wi’ him frae the first, an’ winded a’ his game like a deer hound, never rakin’ for a fool scent.’

"‘Noo ye see the Point in a dog is a marvel. It mair than equals ony feat o’ Franch’s. It is the balance between instinct and duty. Ye mieht preach a gweed practical discoorse vera fit for a Highlan’ poopit on the pointer’s pointin’, or the setter’s settin’, or the barkia’ o’ either. I canna say when flushin’ dogs were first taught to ‘set’ at their game for their master instead of springing at it for themselves. It was first the setters when fowlers used a net. The point is a dog caught on the spring at his game, and a’ his faculties turned to his master’s service at the sacrifice o’ his am pleasure. A true sportsman cares far, oh, very far less for the kuhn’ o’ his birds than the workin’ o’ his dogs. A pointer kens as well as you do yersel’ when you shoot his bird, and is pleased—nay even when you fire at it an’ miss he is pleased; an’ away he goes beatin’ up the wind, Ieavin’ to the retriever to search oot the game an’ bring it home. Wi’ finshin’ dogs the point has become an instinct, or the elements o’ an instinct. It is not merely art engrafted on nature, but it is art transfused into nature, sae to speak. But this puir doggie o’ mine had nae sic preparative for his education. It is his instinct to fetch and carry, but a few days with a cheek cord and a scent bag taught him to point as stiff as a wooden figure, and draw his game like a dog of six years’ experience. The ‘point’ is a moral spectacle—ay, it is so, it’s the fair balance between passion and repression, and the dog becomes catalyptic till his master raises the game. His nature is to flush the birds an’ seize ane o’ them at a spring, but his education tells him to leave the capture to his master, and when the birds are brought down he kens the purpose is served, and the pointer begins ranging again. But my dog first quietly picks up the bird, brings it in, and then begins ranging. Ay, ay, it would be a fine thing if we could all learn to point and not to flush—a fine thing for ae body an’ a’ body—but flush we will oet o’ that selfishness, conceit, and self-will that a higher nature than his own has conquered in the dog. True, Ceasar has had to learn to point and to retrieve as well, and be does many a harder day’s wark than me, and is content to sleep wi’ little supper sometimes aneath the half o’ my coat on a hill side, when we lie as close as we can to keep ane anither warm.’

"‘Ye speak o’ countin’,’ continued Sandy, warming on a favourite subject; ‘weel here’s ane, twa, three—here’s seven shillings. See, Ceasar, my gude lad. Now will ye just put on my glive, John, an’ scatter the siller as wide an’ far as you can amo’ the heather wi’ teae wind-mill airms o’ yours, an’ nae let the dog see you.’

"John did as he was bid, going away a little distance and sowing the coins broadcast with Sandy’s glove on his hand.

"‘Seek, seek, Ceasar, seek,’ cried Sandy, and away went the dog to find the money. He soon brought in one piece and then another, but on advancing a little further he halted at the point, having scented game ahead.

"Hie on,’ cried Sandy.

"The dog did as he was bid, and up sprang a brace of grouse. Ceasar looked back, and seemed inclined to spring at the birds.

Ware chase,’ shouted Sandy, ‘seek, boy, seek.’

"The dog did so, and in a few minutes had the seven shillings laid down at Sandy’s foot.

"‘Now,’ said Sandy, ‘that dog has as many virtues as waeel set some folk up in a fair way to saintship. I dare say ye ken that I have my temptations where game is concerned, and have been afore twa or three justices i’ my time

What’s bred i’ the marrow ye canna tak’ oot o’ the bane "—and while I submit to the first man that ca’s me by name on challenging me to stand, I’ll raturally keep oot o’ sicht an I can. Sae Ceasar an’ I hae had to hide wi’ little to hide us and wi’ half-a-dozen keepers beatin’ roon an’ roon for us. He kens what he’s doin’ at sic times, an’ lies close an’ silent. I hae been wae for him when we had baith to lie in a moss pot, wi’ oor noses side by side, bareiy aboon the water for breath, at the back o’ a rashen buss, till the keepers were tired o’ searchia’. Puir beastie, he an’ I hae wearied twa or three o’ them oot aft’ner nor ance, all’ syne risen an’ shaken oorsel’s an gaen awa hame, or maybe lain doon to sleep in oor wet coats in a safe place. I hae ken’d dogs o’ his breed do remarkable things. I mind the Duke o’ Leeds, when he lived at Huntly Lodge, in the last Duke o’ Gordon’s time, had a dog they ca’d Turk— the great-great-grandfather o’ Ceasar there. When his Grace wis fishin’ sax or seven miles up the Deveron he wad send Turk hame for his sheltie, and the twa came trotting up the water together, the dog leadin’ the pony by the rein. It was said he sometimes wanted to mount him, but the sheltie wadna hear o’ that. Weel, Turk kent the way to open a’most ilka door in Huntly, nu’ geed frae hoose te hoose to get what wis gain’ when the Duke was frae hame. Ac nicht the Duke had left his gloves somewhere on the moors where he had been shooting, and sent Turk hack for them free the lodge. The Duke had gone over thirty miles o’ ground that day, and the puir dog came back at breakfast time neest mornin’ wi the gloves an’ a bit flaskie that had been left the week before on the moor. Poor Turk—his master left Huntly Lodge for Kincardineshire soon after,and when the dog died he was buried like a Christian in the Kirkyard o’ Duunottar—so they say, and they say he got a head-stone wi’ an inscription—but I doubt that.’

"Sandy was eloquent on the merits of the dogs that he had known, and when Alister Stewart and I left the two friends they were deep in a profound discussion on the immortality of dogs, the spirit, whatever it may be. Sandy had na doubt about the matter, but John Roy was an elder in the kirk, and could not give direct countenance to such doctrines. But he went the length of saying that it would be a comfort to him if he could hope to meet his old colleys again in a better world, where creation groans and travails no more, ‘for,’ he said, ‘he had mair affection for these puir beasts than he could weel justify.’

The following extracts are from "Neighbours," chap. I., in "Selections from the Writings of the late William Forsyth," author of "Kelavane," "Idylls and Lyrics," etc. Mr Forsyth was a frequent visitor at the Manse. Once we had a debate as to the comparative merits of collies and retrievers—my colley, "Fraoch," representing the former, and Mr Forsyth’s "Ceasar" the latter. Hence the article. The Gaelic was supplied by me:-

"‘Some togs speaks nothing but Gaelic, and some speaks nothing but English, and other some speaks Gaelic and English poth. But as for your hunting togs they are Sassanach to the pone, always excepting a teer hound here and there, and not many. Teer hounds speaks very little indeed. But they does a great teal of hard work with their head up and their muzzle porin’ ta wind as silent as a horse.’ These remarks were made by old John Roy, my friend Mister Stewart of Tennaberie’s shepherd.

"John Roy had a famous breed of colleys. They would be priceless in these days when colleys have become fashionable. John’s dogs had a pedigree nearly as old as John’s own, which extended to somewhere about ‘Ossian’s days,’ as he was in the way of saying.

"The race was represented, at the time I speak of, by a notable dog, Fraoch (heather), an honest, kindly, sombre, severe looking animal, very gentle and very grave. To Fraoch life was a serious thing; some dogs smile occasionally, if not with their face, at least with their eyes, their ears, and the turn of the head, but no man could say he had ever seen Fraoch smile. If you made an attempt to warm him up into a sportive mood, he would look up for one instant with a certain sense of responsibility in his eyes, fan you gently with his tail out of pure politeness, and, turning his side to you, look about him as if counting his sheep. His whole demeanour said very clearly, Ay, ay, you are very good, and its all very kindly meant, but I have got other things to attend to. So he had, indeed his sheep were never out of his mind. He treated them just as his master did; and, generally speaking, seemed to regard his master as a sort of sleeping member of the firm, and himself as the managing partner. He looked for no instructions; he did not wait for any, but acted according to his own judgment. He might have been left to look after hundreds of sheep and not one of them would have been lost.

"If John Roy had a famous breed of sheep dogs, Sandy Marr had as famous a breed of retrievers, and John and Sandy were just at that moment deeply engaged in a contest over the respective merits of the two breeds, the most sagacious of all the canine race. John was speaking of his dogs’ linguistic attainents, and was in sober earnest about their speaking two languages, meaning simply that the dogs knew what was said both in Gaelic and English. In some points John’s dogs were wonderfully like their master. They certainly had not blue eyes, they were a soft brown-black, but there was the same quiet, trustful look in both. Dogs’ eyes! There are, you will observe, a quiet, single-minded, simple, trustful, earnest, kindly kind of men who have dogs’ eyes—believing eyes that never doubt, but have with all a latent fire in their calm depths that few would care to provoke Both master and dog had the same light elastic springing gait, the same handsome form, and, over all, that indefinable resemblance which habit and the dog’s sympathies an4 distant imitations sometimes produce between a dog and his master.

"When we came near, Sandy, a square built middle-sized man, dressed in a very dark green tartan, took three ‘draws’ of his pipe, patted his dog’s head, and nodded acquiescence. John, whose eyes were travelling round the horizon from under his broad bonnet, continued—’The whole preed has poth tongues and all the signs and the whussels, which comes to pe four languages, least-ways the father of her had very goot Gaelic, and a great deal of it, put no English to speak o’. Put poth came the same to the moder—so that explains a goot teal. An’ as for the whussels and the signs, I tont think there is no creature half so clever as a goot colley tog. She is a shepherd by nature though she had never seen a tuft of woo’, she would take her place at the head of the first flock she came to and guide them to green pasture, and take care o’ them, and count them ofer an’ ofor.’

"‘John’s colleys are famous dogs, I’ll never deny that, but a colley is no the clever cevilised dog that a true retriever is.’

"‘A true retriever! Och, an’ what might she be?’ said John, somewhat contemptuously. ‘A cross, Sandy, a pit mere mechanical tog, made out of three other togs, an’ maype four. No, no, Sandy Marr, my poy, the colley’s ta pure tog an’ ta only pure tog, and the ten times purest of all togs—come down from all antiquity without no cross or change. I tare say king Tavid had his colleys when he keepit his father Jesse’s sheep in the plains of Bethlehem, an’ a goot breed of togs too, I mak na doubt, though teil a petter nor Fraoch, Tavid though he was.’

"The best thing will be to try your dogs,’ said I. ‘I know the qualities of Sandy’s dog and all the breed. I have one of them that goes by the same name—a dog so honest as to be incapable of dishonesty. But John’s dogs I only know by their character and their look, and both these are beyond question.’

"‘Go on, John Roy,’ said Alister Stewart to his shepherd, ‘the sheep are well scattered for showing ,how the bitch works.’

"The sheep were scattered over the area of a mile square, and John at once sent his colley to move them.

"‘Feuch, Fraoch, feuch’ (see, Fraoch, see), said John, pointing to the furthest sheep.

"Fraoch looked in the direction indicated, and then sideways up to his master’s face, asking more definite instructions.

‘Mach rompa’ (out before them), said John, and away went the dog, taking a circuit so as not to disturb the body of the flock, and, getting ahead of them, sat down facing us.

"‘As sin leo’ (out of that with them), shouted John. I thought Fraoch out of hearing, but she rose and wore round the stragglers rather hurriedly towards the body of the flock.

Air tathais’ (gently, more slowly), shouted John, and Fraoch held back at once, seeming to let his charge go at their leisure.

"‘Stad’ (stop), cried John, and the dog paused. ‘Gle mhaith’ (very well), said the shepherd, and the dog once more sat down on his haunches, in an attitude of vigilance—indeed he always sat when he could with his attention divided between his master and his charge, never for a moment afraid of offending.

"‘We’ll be trying the tistant signals now,’ said John, moving northward along the face of the hill. We accompanied him, while Fraoch sat still like a flecked stone on the opposite brae face. John, putting the tips of his fore and third fingers to his lips and the tip of his tongue between them, gave a shrill, piercing whistle, at which the dog rose to attention; he then sounded a series of modulated notes, like military bugle calls, all of which the dog obeyed when made more distinct by signs with the crook and an occasional stamp of the feet.

"‘Now she’ll be taking them all over the hill side to rest, you see,’ said John. With that he sounded a few notes like the bugle-call for skirmishers to extend to the left—supplementing the whistled orders by sweeps with his creek—at once Fraoch took a circuit to westward, giving mouth at short intervals like orders, and in the space of two minutes the flock were taking ground in close order to the right—the flock once fairly on the move, Fraoch kept them moving, every now and then giving a glance towards her master.

"Another whistle as a caution, and another bugle call given by the shepherd on his fingers, and Fraoch halted her flock, and was once mere seated on her haunches in a commanding position.

"We then went back to the hut to be within ear-shot.

"‘Air aghart’ (go on), shouted John, and Fraoch was at once on her feet urging her flock still eastward.

"‘‘Naire, Fraoch, ‘naire’ (take care, F’raoeh, take care), said the shepherd. But Fraoch did not know what he meant, she looked about, went up and down to see that none were behind, then stood gazing towards us waiting for more explicit instructions.

"‘Cuir rompa’ (put before them), shouted John, and once more Fraoch stretched out ahead, and round to their front.

"‘Thoir leat iad, Fraoch; dhachaidh leo’ (bring them with you, Fraoeh; home with them).

"And without more ado the intelligent creature was running hither and thither, barking and driving the whole flock before her. Indeed the movements were like the inspection of troops. Fraoch had complete command of the flock, and the shepherd, as reviewing officer, had complete command of Fraoch.

"‘Now, will that be enough, think ye,’ said John, and on our expressing our perfect satisfaction, he stopped Fraoch on the way. He called out, ‘Gle mhaitb, Fraoeh, stad! Stigh gu mo cboise’ (very well, Fraoeh, stop! In to my foot), and the order was no sooner given than Fraoch, looking round the flock to see that they were all right, came trotting down the hill and through the hollow, and sat down at John’s foot with an eye on her distant charge.

"Gle mhaith, Fraoeb (well done, Fraoch), good lass,’ said John, and as Fraoch looked up with a pensive gratification in her mild, melancholy eyes, John handed her a crust of bread, which was no doubt welcome.

"‘Now, Sandy, said I, ‘are you satisfied of Fraoch’s abilities? Let’s see how near Ceasar can come to her.’

Oh, it’s beautiful to see a colley at work. Ye may amaist say that Fraoch has four toagnes—Gaelie, English, the whussel, and the crook. But John, ye see, stands there like a great semaphore signal post, wi’ the crook for his signal airm, on the hill side, and the field o’ vision is open, and the dog has his daily duty clear, and the instinct comes down from the Bible days as John tells us. But look ye noo to Cusar. It’s a’ very wed for them as hae choice o’ dogs to quarter their pointers and keep their retriever at heel. But this puir dog o’ mine does a’ my wark, be it on a turnip field or a heather muir or a Highlan’ tarn, or for rough shooting in wast country swamp. He has a setter’s nose and a smooth English pointer’s strength, an’ a’ his am intelligence, docility, an’ sweetness o’ temper. He has na the ‘point’ by descent, ye see, but he learn’t it in a week’s time, and when he hears a neighbour pointer barks wi’ the best. He had a prood way wi’ him frae the first, an’ winded a’ his game like a deer hound, never rakin’ for a fool scent.’

"‘Noo ye see the Point in a dog is a marvel. It mair than equals ony feat o’ Franch’s. It is the balance between instinct and duty. Ye mieht preach a gweed practical discoorse vera fit for a Highlan’ poopit on the pointer’s pointin’, or the setter’s settin’, or the barkia’ o’ either. I canna say when flushin’ dogs were first taught to ‘set’ at their game for their master instead of springing at it for themselves. It was first the setters when fowlers used a net. The point is a dog caught on the spring at his game, and a’ his faculties turned to his master’s service at the sacrifice o’ his am pleasure. A true sportsman cares far, oh, very far less for the kuhn’ o’ his birds than the workin’ o’ his dogs. A pointer kens as well as you do yersel’ when you shoot his bird, and is pleased—nay even when you fire at it an’ miss he is pleased; an’ away he goes beatin’ up the wind, Ieavin’ to the retriever to search oot the game an’ bring it home. Wi’ finshin’ dogs the point has become an instinct, or the elements o’ an instinct. It is not merely art engrafted on nature, but it is art transfused into nature, sae to speak. But this puir doggie o’ mine had nae sic preparative for his education. It is his instinct to fetch and carry, but a few days with a cheek cord and a scent bag taught him to point as stiff as a wooden figure, and draw his game like a dog of six years’ experience. The ‘point’ is a moral spectacle—ay, it is so, it’s the fair balance between passion and repression, and the dog becomes catalyptic till his master raises the game. His nature is to flush the birds an’ seize ane o’ them at a spring, but his education tells him to leave the capture to his master, and when the birds are brought down he kens the purpose is served, and the pointer begins ranging again. But my dog first quietly picks up the bird, brings it in, and then begins ranging. Ay, ay, it would be a fine thing if we could all learn to point and not to flush—a fine thing for ae body an’ a’ body—but flush we will oet o’ that selfishness, conceit, and self-will that a higher nature than his own has conquered in the dog. True, Ceasar has had to learn to point and to retrieve as well, and be does many a harder day’s wark than me, and is content to sleep wi’ little supper sometimes aneath the half o’ my coat on a hill side, when we lie as close as we can to keep ane anither warm.’

"‘Ye speak o’ countin’,’ continued Sandy, warming on a favourite subject; ‘weel here’s ane, twa, three—here’s seven shillings. See, Ceasar, my gude lad. Now will ye just put on my glive, John, an’ scatter the siller as wide an’ far as you can amo’ the heather wi’ teae wind-mill airms o’ yours, an’ nae let the dog see you.’

"John did as he was bid, going away a little distance and sowing the coins broadcast with Sandy’s glove on his hand.

"‘Seek, seek, Ceasar, seek,’ cried Sandy, and away went the dog to find the money. He soon brought in one piece and then another, but on advancing a little further he halted at the point, having scented game ahead.

"Hie on,’ cried Sandy.

"The dog did as he was bid, and up sprang a brace of grouse. Ceasar looked back, and seemed inclined to spring at the birds.

Ware chase,’ shouted Sandy, ‘seek, boy, seek.’

"The dog did so, and in a few minutes had the seven shillings laid down at Sandy’s foot.

"‘Now,’ said Sandy, ‘that dog has as many virtues as waeel set some folk up in a fair way to saintship. I dare say ye ken that I have my temptations where game is concerned, and have been afore twa or three justices i’ my time

What’s bred i’ the marrow ye canna tak’ oot o’ the bane "—and while I submit to the first man that ca’s me by name on challenging me to stand, I’ll raturally keep oot o’ sicht an I can. Sae Ceasar an’ I hae had to hide wi’ little to hide us and wi’ half-a-dozen keepers beatin’ roon an’ roon for us. He kens what he’s doin’ at sic times, an’ lies close an’ silent. I hae been wae for him when we had baith to lie in a moss pot, wi’ oor noses side by side, bareiy aboon the water for breath, at the back o’ a rashen buss, till the keepers were tired o’ searchia’. Puir beastie, he an’ I hae wearied twa or three o’ them oot aft’ner nor ance, all’ syne risen an’ shaken oorsel’s an gaen awa hame, or maybe lain doon to sleep in oor wet coats in a safe place. I hae ken’d dogs o’ his breed do remarkable things. I mind the Duke o’ Leeds, when he lived at Huntly Lodge, in the last Duke o’ Gordon’s time, had a dog they ca’d Turk— the great-great-grandfather o’ Ceasar there. When his Grace wis fishin’ sax or seven miles up the Deveron he wad send Turk hame for his sheltie, and the twa came trotting up the water together, the dog leadin’ the pony by the rein. It was said he sometimes wanted to mount him, but the sheltie wadna hear o’ that. Weel, Turk kent the way to open a’most ilka door in Huntly, nu’ geed frae hoose te hoose to get what wis gain’ when the Duke was frae hame. Ac nicht the Duke had left his gloves somewhere on the moors where he had been shooting, and sent Turk hack for them free the lodge. The Duke had gone over thirty miles o’ ground that day, and the puir dog came back at breakfast time neest mornin’ wi the gloves an’ a bit flaskie that had been left the week before on the moor. Poor Turk—his master left Huntly Lodge for Kincardineshire soon after,and when the dog died he was buried like a Christian in the Kirkyard o’ Duunottar—so they say, and they say he got a head-stone wi’ an inscription—but I doubt that.’

"Sandy was eloquent on the merits of the dogs that he had known, and when Alister Stewart and I left the two friends they were deep in a profound discussion on the immortality of dogs, the spirit, whatever it may be. Sandy had na doubt about the matter, but John Roy was an elder in the kirk, and could not give direct countenance to such doctrines. But he went the length of saying that it would be a comfort to him if he could hope to meet his old colleys again in a better world, where creation groans and travails no more, ‘for,’ he said, ‘he had mair affection for these puir beasts than he could weel justify.’

"Alas, the fate of one of the two men was thoroughly linked with his poor dog, even to the end. John Roy is still an elder of the kirk, and has a fine flock of his own, but his colley saved him one winter night from perishing with some of his sheep in the snow. Sandy Marr was an example of a noble nature turned away by never learning the lesson which his dog taight in his 'point'. He never found that nice balance between impulse and repression, which, in his eyes, made the work of his pointer dog a lesson to mankind. He was a Bohermian to the end; and one morning in the end of the shooting season, many years ago, he was found stark and cold , with his poor dog licking his face, and howling piteously over him. His old tartsn coat was lying beside him. He had taken it off to wrap about his companion, as he had done on many a cold night before to keep the poor dog warm. He who cared for neither cold nor wet, nor pain nor hunger, had, on that cold night, thought more of his dog than of himself; and the wail of the poor animal on that lone morning over his dead master brought some wayfarer to the spot where he lay. Alas! poor Sandy."


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