Графични страници
PDF файл

think it abounds more in France and Ireland than in this country. The mode of this animal's attack is by the voice. Its clamours are dreadful, and sometimes produce the most violent effect on weak nerves. The best way, when attacked by it, is to remain quiet, and offer it no opposition. It will soon exhaust itself by its own vociferation. If irritated by resistance, it will continue screaming for hours together, in the most horrible manner. The females of this species are far more numerous than the males, and infinitely more formidable.

The next species is the Flagitator Prolixus, or Long-winded Dun. This differs from the last specific variety, in being much less loud and noisy, but infinitely more tedious and persevering in its gabble. This animal deals in prosing narratives of immeasurable length and dulness. When it once begins, it is next to impossible to stop, or even interrupt it; it literally drowns its victims in a shower of talk, as the Pole-cat smothers its pursuers in a shower of another kind. For my own part, I cannot recommend any more effectual defence against a dun of this kind than patience, and cotton for the ears. The evil gives way only to this remedy, as gout is said to yield only to patience and flannel. Interruption only prolongs the nuisance. N. B. This animal sports a prodigiously long tail.

The Flagitator Mutus, or Silent Dun, unlike the two last species, speaks very little. But he makes up for this by the most truculent stare and ominous scowl that can be well imagined. Terror seems seated on his brow, and dark unutterable ponderings. He is not, however, so dangerous as at first sight might be supposed. His gloomy and fearful aspect is more generally indicative of constitutional surliness, and a sort of phlegmatic discontent at insolvency, than any settled ill-design, or deep rooted malevolence. The appearance of a dun of this kind, occasions at first, some very uncomfortable sensations, but custom, soon teaches us to regard him without uneasiness. Like King Log, he causes at first a most terrible fright, but after a while is apt to grow contemptible. The only danger, indeed, to be apprehended, is, that we should become too careless about him, and neglect all salutary precautions. For in spite of his usual quietism, his latent ferocity will at times break out, and incite him to peck most fatally with his bill. England is the native country of this species, though it is often found elsewhere.

The Flagilator Subridens, or Smiling Dun, is quite opposite to the last in external character. The countenance is invariably dressed in smiles, and melting compliments flow from the tongue like manna ; an acute observer can, however, easily discover the smile of this dun to be nothing but the risus sardonicus, which Johnson somewhere admirably defines to be " tortion of the risible muscles, without any corresponding hilarity of the heart.' This animal is by far the most dangerous of the whole tribe, and ought to be shunned like a pestilence. He smiles amiably at the very moment he is about to play you the most scurvy tricks. A dun of this species entered my room one morning when I was sick in bed; and after condoling with me on the state of my health, and expressing the most ardent wishes for my recovery, dragged me out of bed, with the assistance of two other animals of the genus bailiff, and hurried me away to a loathsome den at some distance, to the manifest peril of my life. From this hole I did not escape for many days, nor without very considerable loss of blood, from the bite of a sanguivorous animal, which bears a very strong analogy to the Vampire-bat of the West Indies.

a dis

Another species is the Flagitator Tenax, or Adhesive Dun. This animal fastens on his unlucky victim, and sticks to him so closely, as to require the utmost violence to effect a separation. When you meet with a dun of this kind abroad, he seizes you by the skirt of the coat, or some other part of your dress, and generally accompanies you wherever you are going, uttering a sort of low inarticulate growl, in which you occasionally distinguish the words ' long due,' 'hard times,' 'much credit,' &c. &c. &c. If you receive a visit from him at your own house, you may think yourself fortunate if he leaves you within four hours. There are many ways, however, by which you may shake off these troublesome animals. You may sometimes leave them in the channel with good effect, when they attack you in the street;


may be done apparently without intention, while you seem to evade a jostling passenger on the other side. A friend, more good-natured than Fuscus Aristius, may sometimes preserve you, by carrying you off by main force. An excellent method is, 'to rush with your appendage into a thick crowd, or cross the street mid an impetuous torrent of carts and coaches; you are sure to lose him by this means, and it is ten to one if he does not break his neck in attempting to follow you. If you see him before he fastens on you, you may drive headlong against him, and push him down, without stopping to make an apology : this you will find a most effective application of the medical maxim, Veniente occurrite morbo.' When he has actually seized you, you may feign sickness, run into a shop, and call for cold water, or begin to foam at the mouth like a mad-dog. Your persecutor will be off immediately. A mode near akin to this is to pretend that you are just recovered from a typhus fever, or other contagious disease ; just landed from the West Indies, where you left the yellow fever at its height; or that you have brought over the plague in your breeches-pocket from Malta or. Constantinople. If a dun of this tribe should enter your house, there are various modes by which he may be dislodged. You may smoke him out, as people do bugs, by heaping your fire with green wood. If it be in winter you may starve him out with cold, by keeping him in a room without fire; or (as Dean Swift once served a shoemaker) you may lock him up for some hours in your garden; or else you may place him in a strong draught of air, so that he shall infallibly catch the acute rheumatism, or some worse disorder. Menou, the French general, of Egyptian celebrity, once flung an animal of this kind out of a window at Naples; but I can scarcely recommend the adoption of this plan in England; it might be dangerous. Besides, the result of such an experiment could never be calculated upon with sufficient precision; and while you intended only a simple sprain, or slight dislocation, you might peradventure accomplish a compound fracture. Should this creature creep in on you after dinner, you may, if you like, make him drunk, and then have him removed by an arbitrary 'habeas corpus.' If he comes to breakfast, infuse an opiate into his tea; or still better, a brisk cathartic. For my own part, I declare for the latter method; it was always pursued with great success by a general officer of my acquaintance, who was profoundly versed in the habits and character of the Flagitator.

N. B. Most of the plans recommended with this species, may be successfully followed with the others.

The last species which I shall notice is the • Insinuator,' or Dun by Implication. This dun never makes a direct attack. He hovers gracefully around his prey in a multiplicity of concentric circles, describing the


periphery of the first at the greatest possible distance from the common centre, and gradually narrowing his revolutions, until he arrives at a point where it is just barely possible to draw a discernible line of circumference about the object of his attraction. This animal is neither very dangerous nor violent, but it next to impossible to escape him.

I do not pretend to have enumerated here all the species, nor particularised all the habits of this tribe of animals; to do so would be to exceed the limits I have prescribed for this paper. It will be sufficient if, by this hasty sketch, I shall be able to awaken the attention of profounder naturalists to a branch of zoological science most unleservedly neglected.




Twine, thou blushing rose-tree, twine
With the luscious purple vine !
Round the blooming myrtle rove,
Form the bridal bower of Love!

O'er the fresh and verdant ground
Flora spreads her sweets around;
Fair Pomona's blooming train;
Bring the treasures of her reign.

Whilst his nectar Bacchus pours
O'er the cups in sparkling showers,
Light attendant Cupids move :
Deck the bridal feast of love!

Bright Apollo's lyre around
Breathes its softest, sweetest sound!
Hence, far hence, ye satyr train!
Nor these spotless rites profane !

Long had Psyche wandering strayed,
Long had Cupid mourned the maid;
All his woes, her wanderings o'er,
See them joined to part no more!

See, from Hymen's sacred fane
Come the happy bridal train !
Round the god his torch's rays
Spread the brightest purest blaze!

Hymen, friend of Love! 'tis thine
Every transport to refine;
O'er fair Psyche's blooming head,
Now thy choicest influence shed!

Fondly twined their snowy arms,
Blushing fair in downcast charms;
See the modest graces move,
Friends of beauty, guards of love!

Zephyr, playful by her side,
Fans the timid graceful bride;
Lightly lifts her veil, and shews
O’er the lily flush the rose.

Shews her eyes celestial blue,
Shews her ringlets golden hue,
Half her graceful form displays,
Then playful shroud her from the gaze.

All his darts now laid aside,
Cupid moves in beauty's pride ;
Mark his cheek's celestial red !
Envious roses droop your head!

Bright his glittering ringlets flow,
O’er his shoulders living snow;
Whilst he shakes his azure wings,
Heavenly odours round he flings.

Now Venus o'er the nuptial bower,
Wreathes the myrtle, vine, and flower ;
Entwined, their mingled branches rove,
And veil the bridal bower of love.


That frown on your brow is alarming ;

A lover might die at that air, Miss !
But whether your sulky or charming
I vow, by my life, I don't care Miss !

Because I have sung of a beauty

With whom you have nothing to do Miss !
Your glass, (how it swerved from its duty)
Has taught you to think I meant you, Miss !

But banish that frown so alarming

Your beau (if you've one) to befriend Miss !
I said that my Mary was charming
And there all your doubtings should end, Miss !



A deadly feud subsisted, almost from time immemorial, between the families of M‘Pherson, of Bendearg, and Grant, of Cairn, and was handed down

unimpaired' even to the close of the last century. In earlier times the warlike chiefs of these names found frequent opportunities of testifying their mutual animosity; and few inheritors of the fatal quarrel left the world without having moistened it with the blood of their hereditary enemies. But in our own day the progress of civilization, which had reached even these wild countries—the heart of the North Highlandsmalthough it could not extinguish entirely the transmitted spirit of revenge, at least kept it within safe bounds, and the feuds of M.Pherson and Grant threatened, in the course of another generation, to die entirely away; or at least to exist only in some vexatious law-suit, fostered by the petty jealousies of two men of hostile tempers and contiguous property.

It was not, however, without some ebullitions of ancient fierceness that the flame which had burned for so many centuries seemed about to expire. Once, at a meeting of the country gentlemen, a question of privilege arising, Bendearg took occasion to throw out some taunts aimed at his hereditary foe, which the fiery Grant immediately received as the signal of defiance, and a challenge was the consequence. The sheriff of the county, however, having received intimation of the affair put both parties under arrest; till at length by the persuasions of their friends not friends by bloodand the representations of the magistrates, they shook hands, and each pledged his honour to forget-at least never again to remember in speech or action, the ancient feud of his family. This occurrence at the time was the object of much interest in the country-side ;' the rather that it seemed to give the lie to the prophecies, of which many an highland family has an ample stock in its traditionary chronicles, and which expressly predicted that the enmity of Cairn and Bendearg should only be quenched in blood : and on this seemingly cross-grained circumstance some of the young men who had begun to be tainted with the heresies of the lowlands, were seen to shake their heads as they reflected on the tales and the faith of their ancestors ; but the grey-haired seers shook theirs still more wisely, and answered with the motto of a noble house-'I bide


time.' There is a narrow pass between two mountains in the neighbourhood of Bendearg, well known to the traveller who adventures into these wilds in quest of the savage sublimities of nature. At a little distance it has the appearance of an immense artificial bridge thrown over a wide chasm; but on a nearer approach, is seen to be a wall of nature's own masonry, formed of vast and rugged bodies of solid rock piled on each other, as if in the giant sport of the architect. Its sides are in some places covered with trees of considerable size; and the passenger who has a head steady enough to look down the precipice, may see the eyries of birds of prey beneath his feet. The path across it is so narrow, that it will not admit of two persons passing along-side ; and indeed none but natives, accustomed to the scene from infancy, would attempt the dangerous route at all, though it saves a circuit of three miles. Yet it sometimes happens that two travellers meet in the middle, owing to the curve formed by the pass preventing a view across from either side; and when this is the case, one is obliged to lie down while the other crawls over his body.

« ПредишнаНапред »