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THERE is power in England still, England holds your fathers' dust,

Strength to do & strength to bear, By your fathers' deeds it stands,
Faith, that trusts a Higher Will, And the living-dead in trust
Hope, that wrestles with despair, Leave its riches in


hands : Peace, that knows no anxious strife, Wealth of poet, patriot, sageLove, the richest wine of life! Nelson's blood and Shakspeare's page!

Do not say that life is vain,

Martyrs died for you in fire, Never falter on the road,

Died to make our island free, Though its roughness give you pain, Brightly from their funeral pyre Yonder are the hills of God;

Flashed the sparks of liberty, And among

the flints are flowers, And by God's good help that light Happy thoughts for restful hours. Never shall be quenched in night.

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“Forsan et hæc olim meminisse juvabit." FOR POR the last fifty years the summer haunts Spey the path led through plantations of

and nest of the Snow-bunting in Scot- odorous firs and graceful birches. How beauland have been eagerly sought for by field-tiful are those Highland roads, with low, naturalists. Gamekeepers and shepherds have roughly-built walls on either side all mossalso been offered large rewards for the eggs, grown, with delicious vividly-green and delibut as yet, as far as the writer is aware, cate little ferns peeping out of the crannies, without success.

surmounted by dilapidated-looking wooden This beautiful little creature, no larger fences, all encrusted with scarlet and yellow than a skylark, is a well-known winter visi- lichens, while overhead the silvery branches tant. Many of our readers must have seen of the birch-trees clad in bright green mingle flocks of them flitting, with graceful and fitful their crisp, tremulous, rustling leaves; or flight, about the snow-covered ground in win- among the pines, where you walk noiselessly, ter, their peculiar plumage usually striking as in some cathedral aisle, in a dim religious the attention of even the most unobservant. light and cool refreshing shade, while as you

It is a bird of very wide distribution, look before you down the long vista, little extending all over the northern half of the streams of sunshine may be seen here and northern hemisphere.

there bursting in golden splendour through Captain Markham, in his account of the rifts in the thick foliage, and lighting up into late Arctic Expedition, relates that a single life and beauty the thick layer of withered snow-bunting was seen, evidently quite at pine-needles which carpets your path! A crash home in the dreary wastes of snow and ice, is heard among the neighbouring pine-tops, and within a few miles of the most northern point for an instant you see the strong direct flight reached by his sledge-party. And when the of a wild cushat-dove, resplendent in purple North Pole itself is reached, if reached it and fine linen, as he sweeps away; or there, ever be, an individual of this species will in the fork of that tree, can be seen the sharp doubtless be seen gravely searching for food black eyes and long erect ears of a russetin the near vicinity.

coloured squirrel as it looks down curiously Seven years ago I began to search the on you from above ! summits of the highest Grampians during After two hours' walking, thinking that the breeding season for these birds. For the the path was not leading me as directly as it first two seasons I climbed hills and lay might, I determined to leave it and make about in cold places without being fortunate straight for the opening between the hills. enough to find them. But at the beginning Before doing so I sat down for some little of June in the third year, after a fortnight's time on a heathy knowe at the roadside to hunting, I found two pairs of snow-buntings rest. in a dreary spot called the “ Barren Hollow, The day was hot and clear, the sky cloudnear the summit of one of the highest hills less, except for some lovely layers of fleecy in the western corner of Aberdeenshire. cumuli floating on its bosom, rendering the Since then, each succeeding June has seen deep blue more attractive by the contrast. me lying shivering among the rocks in the Some little distance in front a small stream “ Barren Hollow,” trying to watch the birds ran between steep wooded banks. At this to their nests, though, on account of the na- distance its noisy rush over granite boulders ture of the ground and wariness of the birds, fell on the ear with a sweet murmur, and as yet unsuccessfully. But, although suc- mingled harmoniously with the distant "moocessful only as far as finding the birds, still I ing” of cattle and the near and tender think an account of my last snow-bunting cooing” of the wild doves as they fed their hunt may interest some of those who cannot young among the branches of the trees

. My undertake such expeditions.

eyes began to close involuntarily under the It was sunrise on a June morning as I influence of this drowsy music. In truth it emerged from a little railway-station on the was pleasant to sit there looking over the banks of the Spey. The Cairn Gorm moun- well-wooded plain to the distant hills, and tains seemed in the clear morning light to be listen to the gentle sounds which scarce disquite near. As my destination lay in the turbed the summer air. The chaffinch with heart of the mountains some thirty miles his brilliant plumage enlivened the dusty away, I set out at once. After crossing the road, now and then a sooty blackbird would


skulk off with loud chuckle, the little jenny. In a few seconds every little runlet was wren seemed as busy as ever among the transformed into a mimic torrent. loose stones of the low dyke, while above, in Hundreds of these, churned into white some thick firs, a family of long-tailed tits spray, came tumbling down the steep hillcould be heard twittering impatiently, as side, and lighted up the black rocks into a they flew actively about searching for food. scene of the wildest and most savage confu

After a short rest I started, but before sion. This continued for several minutes, proceeding far, had cause to regret having and then almost as suddenly the rain ceased, left the path, as I found myself floundering blue sky appeared overhead, a glint of sunamong deep heather, which tripped me up, shine fell into the dark pass, and in a few or obliged me to make wide detours to escape seconds nature lay smiling tranquilly, and alı the numerous patches of peat bog. Tired the face of the land looked as bright and of this I made for the stream, and began pure as on the first day of completed creastruggling up along its margin. It was tion. stifling hot in the deep glen, and I was faint Soon after this I reached the summit and with heat and fatigue. But still I struggled keystone of the pass. Here for several hun-' on, until at last, after hours of painful toil

, dred yards my way led over a chaotic heap I got well up into the glen. Well has this of granite blocks, fallen from the rocks glen been named the Devil's Pass, for a above. Burdened as I was with a knapwilder or more rugged exists nowhere in sack, progress was slow and laborious. At Scotland. A narrow defile, with black pre- either end of this huge heap of stones a cipitous sides, rising on either side full a stream gushes out as if glad to escape from thousand feet: the summit of the precipices further durance, presenting the curious apriven and rent into a thousand fantastic and pearance of a large body of water bubbling uncouth shapes—at one place bearing a strik- up out of the earth. I plucked up courage ing resemblance to the outline of a ruined as I now saw, some miles down the glen, the cathedral; at another the grim turrets of termination of my long, weary tramp. a dilapidated keep are traced against the Three hours' more struggle, and my destisky.

nation is reached. The day, which had been growing sultrier With what a feeling of relief then did I and sultrier, now suddenly darkened. A stagger up to the hut, and throwing off my cold wind blew in fitful gusts down the knapsack sit down thoroughly dead beat ! narrow ravine. In its eerie cries I could This hut, if I may dignify so rude a shelter hear the weird laughter of the spirits of the by the name, lies in a hollow among lofty storm. It grew darker and darker, and I hills, near the birthplace of the Dee. It is saw from the lurid appearance of the clouds, meant to afford shelter during the deerwhich seemed to rest on the summit of the stalking season to any benighted sportsman precipices, that a thunderstorm was immi- or gamekeeper. Built under the shelter of a nent. A black raven flew by uttering his bank it rises little above the surrounding deep uncanny croak. Then all grew still peat. Its walls, a few feet in height, are and silent as the grave, and the blackness of formed of rough granite stones, and are night seemed to settle noiselessly on the innocent of mortar. The roof is rudely crags overhead.

fashioned, and covered with peaty turf cut Suddenly the gloom was rent by a vivid from a neighbouring bank. flash of forked lightning. It passed in Entering by the low door-way, I found a slightly downward direction between me the interior dark, damp, and miserable, and and the dark precipice in front, and seemed by no means inviting to a wearied wanderer. to scorch by its nearness. I cowered under Glad, however, of the opportunity of resting, a large overhanging mass of granite like a I lit a fire and surveyed the premises. ptarmigan frightened by the rush of an eagle. The furniture consisted of a rough wooden Never shall I forget the hideous crash of table and a three-legged stool, both thickly thunder which immediately followed on the encrusted with green mould. The space belightning, reverberating from side to side, tween the wall and the turf roof served as and breaking up into scarce less horrid echoes. shelf, with a collection of culinary utensils, It seemed as if mountains had been rent, comprising a tin drinking - vessel, much and were tumbling in wild confusion into rusted, and one earthenware bowl. The the deep ravine.

floor at the end of the hut farthest from Then the floodgates of heaven were the doorway was used as fireplace, on one opened, and there followed a deluge of rain. side of which was a pile of peat, and on the

other a few pieces of damp wood. Chimney them, startled by my sudden appearance and

, there was none, the smoke escaping as it trusting too much to its powers of flight, best might through a hole in the turf roof. flew over the edge of the cliff

, and I could Lastly, in another corner was a pile of heather see it falling through the air like a tiny which served as bed.

parachute, till it disappeared in the mist. I now proceeded to the nearest spring to The others with more prudence ran and hid fill my camp-kettle with water. Into this themselves in crevices, while the mother flew was tumbled a handful of coffee and two unwillingly away. eggs. In this way coffee is made and eggs Skirting the edge of the crags, another boiled at the same time. And, moreover, hour's climbing brought me to the now wellthe eggs acquire a rich brown colour which known haunts of the bunting. is rather pleasing than otherwise.

In vain did I watch all day, trusting more Soon afterwards I performed my simple to the sense of hearing than sight to distoilette for the night, which consisted in cover the whereabouts of the birds. At last, pulling my shooting-cap well down over my wearied and disappointed, I gave up the ears; and retired to my resting-place among quest and made my way back to the hut, the heather. It was very cold and lonesome, which I reached about nightfall

. and the night wind swept through the hut Next day, five hours after day break, I most dismally. All the weird legends I had again stood in the “Barren Hollow.". The heard from the peasantry of the district re- day was clear but cold. After two hours' curred to my memory. Wrapping myself lying about I suddenly heard the sweet unup, head included, in the rug, and coiled obtrusive song of the bunting coming from somewhat into the shape of a frightened the stony hill-slope near me.

I at once rose hedgehog, I soon fell asleep.

and began scrambling over the stones in the At daybreak I started for the haunts of direction of the sound, and soon caught sight the snow-bunting. It was raining heavily, of a beautiful male bird, crouching on the and a thick mist blotted out everything be- sloping side of a large lichen-encrusted boulyond a few yards. But the weather in the der. Gently creeping within a few yards I highlands is incertum et mutabile, and I hoped lay down behind a rock and watched his it would clear up by mid-day. My way at movements. These birds in their breeding first led up a steep corry. Many a time had haunts are very shy and cunning. I have I plodded up this same steep hill-side on the never, for example, seen one boldly perch on same errand, but never on a stormier morning. a topmost point or ridge of a boulder, but

Having reached the top of the corry after always on the sloping side. It is sometimes an hour's hard climbing I found a cold gale very difficult to catch sight of it in this posiblowing from the east. Rain, alternating tion on account of its remarkable similarity with hail

, drove pitilessly along the bleak to its surroundings. The stones among mountain-side. Guided by the compass, I which it sits are of a grey colour, often havstruck in a slanting direction up the shoulder ing little patches of black-coloured lichen of the neighbouring hill, and reached the growing on them. A snow-bunting sitting other side after two hours' more laborious close against the sloping side looks exactly scrambling. Here I sat down and hoped for like an oval patch of black lichen hanging a momentary lifting of the mist to show me to the grey stone. Every now and then it my position, and the direction of the hill; utters its short twittering song, and, especifor in a hollow near the summit was the ally when the sun shines out, the clear sweet only spot I knew of in the whole district notes fall gently on the ear, and enliven the frequented by the snow-bunting in summer. grey

voiceless solitude. A drearier picture cannot well be imagined. After watching the male for some time I In the foreground a large misshapen block of was delighted at catching a glimpse of the granite. Sitting behind it a dripping figure more dusky coloured hen-bird quietly threadwith knees bent up to chin. A few yards ing her way among the stones near her of dimly-seen grey stones, and the rest driv- mate. ing mist.

Soon after this both birds disappeared, and An hour afterwards I found out my posi- I began to examine carefully all the crannies tion by coming suddenly on the steep pre- and fissures in the rocks round about, but cipitous edge of a corry well known to me. with no result. This went on all day with Here I disturbed a family party of ptarmigan the same want of success. Once I saw as cowering behind a rock. The young birds many as three male birds at the same time were well grown but unable to fly. One of I at some little distance from each other.





On making my way back to the hut in changed their tactics. While one remained the evening I came on a ptarmigan and her below to divert the attention of their antayoung ones, and as the mother ran off and gonist, the other, by a few strong impulses the youngsters scuttled away 'in different of its powerful wings, mounted vertically directions I managed to capture one of them. some two hundred feet. From this height

Sitting down on a low stone I examined with closed wings it descended with lightning my prisoner, when much to my surprise the rapidity. I looked to see the raven dashed old bird came running towards me till within headlong. But no, just as the peregrine had a few yards. She then ran round in narrow- almost reached him, the wary bird suddenly ing circles, with wings trailing on the ground, presented its pointed beak to the onslaught, until at last she ran right up and lay down and it was only by a rapid swerve on the close beside me, looking up in my face as if falcon's part that it was saved from transsaying, "Take me, and let the little one go." fixion. I looked about me to see if it were a reality. As the bird of prey recovered from its There was the wild hillside stretching above swoop, its mate seemed to mount as swiftly and below. And here close beside me, with as the other had descended, repeating the in a few inches of my hand, was the wild same manquvre. creature, whose love for her


It was most exciting to watch the three come all her fears for her own safety. After birds as with loud cries and much croaking enjoying this strange companionship for the fight went on high up in the blue sky. some little time, I gently placed the soft, How it ended I know not, as they continued hairy, little creature in front of its mother. their aerial evolutions till quite out of sight. The young one at once ran off and disap- On the three following days I renewed my peared under a large rock. The instant the chase, and watched the buntings with great

, old bird was assured of the little one's safety but steadily decreasing ardour. The nest she too left me; running at first and then seemed as far from being found as ever. The taking to her wings, she swept round the birds paid little attention to my presence, shoulder of the hill and disappeared.

nor could any excitement be detected in their On the following day I again started at behaviour however much I wandered about. daybreak for the “ Barren Hollow.” As on On the third day, as I was lying behind a the previous day I found the birds in the boulder, I suddenly heard a shout, and looksame place, and continued my search, climbing up was delighted to see the head keeper ing up and down the stony slopes, poking making his way over the stones towards me. into all the likely places, and expecting every He told me he had received a letter from the minute to disturb the female and so find the laird on the previous day, informing him nest. But all to no purpose.

that I was coming. Thinking I might be at Tired at length of this fruitless work, I the hut he had started that morning at dayclimbed to the summit of the hill and ex- break to find me, and seeing signs of my amined the magnificent line of cliffs. De- presence there, had come up the hill, guessscending sheer down for more than a thou- ing that I would be in the “ Barren Hollow." sand feet, they extend in a slightly curving After we had talked for some time, and the direction for about a mile. As far as the eye buntings had disappeared, he proposed that could reach on all sides were huge upheav- we should walk over the hills to a neighbouring mountain masses, looking quite unreal as ing glen to inspect an eagle's nest built in a they stretched their massive shapes in the tree. As this position for the nest of the bright midsummer sunshine.

golden eagle is extremely rare, I gladly While walking along the edge of the cliff embraced the proposal, and we set out at there occurred one of the finest displays of once. bird flight it is possible to imagine. A raven The golden eagle being strictly preserved flew out from the crags uttering its deep in this district is undoubtedly increasing in croak. Before he had proceeded far, two numbers. It owes its preservation in the peregrine falcons, with loud, fierce cries, dashed deer forests, not as a rule to the notion that out from the same cliff and rapidly followed. it is a crime to render extinct such an interIn vain did the sable bird rise high into the esting member of our fauna, but to the fact air. The peregrines speedily overtook him, of its usefulness in keeping down the grouse, and then ensued in mid-air à most exciting ptarmigan, and blue hares, which are the fight.

natural enemies of the deer-stalker. Foiled by the sharp, strong bill of the For the same reason, the peregrine, the raven in their direct attack, the two falcons raven, and the hooded-crow are unmolested.


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