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never heard of, and they did not admire the breed); but the greater number of this gathering of many clans were fine strapping fellows, fit for anything
“ The finest rams, sir, that ever were fed upon hay," or grass, gorse, and green things ! The ewes admired them vastly; and there was not a little coquetting among some of the pretty spinsters of the flock as they looked upon these gallants. But they came to hate, and not to love, and paid little attention to the fair. After a short parley with our simple friends, they took an affectionate farewell of their families, and fell in, and the seer led them that night upon the enemy.
Not to be tedious, an hour before day, to the inspiring cry of « Death to the Lowlanders! the onslaught was made, while the foe were in their beds, if not their bedgowns, they were so taken by surprise. The battle was hot and bloody, and many brave fellows fell on both sides, but most on the Lowland side, they were so unprepared; but they fought gallantly, and gave no quarter, and asked for none. Victory, in no long time, proclaimed that the hardiest, not the most numerous, host had won the night, for it was not day ; and such of the Lowlanders as had not fallen fled. The Wolves looked well after the wounded, as they said they would. No sooner was a ram down, toes upward, than two of them seized him by the shoulders, and drew him off the ground at a gallop, like a field-howitzer, to the rear, that his fall might not dispirit his brothers in arms. If he was only wounded, away with him to the hospital in the woods at once, where the skilled in healing would wait on him, and bind up his wounds, and, if they could not give him another horn, amputate the stump. They looked not after the enemy only, they were as attentive to their friends, bearing them, nay, tearing them off the field as well, before the fight and the life was half out of them. The last who fell was the leader of the Highlanders, wounded in front, honourably, by a stout Lowland horn. The skilled in the healing art—as scamping, ramping, raffish a set as ever danced a polka or chanted in chorus a Nigger melody in the dissecting-room at Guy's—ran up to his assistance ; but, unfortunately, not fast enough to hide him from the garish eye of his gallant friends, who, running up first, found the grey seer wounded to the death, with his woollen waistcoat, if we may so call it, ripped open from top to bottom. They could not believe their eyes when they saw what they saw—the surgeons
could, and wished they had not been called in at the autopsy. It was a wolf in sheep's clothing—the Rambassador! The Highlanders blated out “We are betrayed! Wolves are among us in disguise! Save yourselves!” A panic seized the conquerors, and they fled, leaving the field in possession of the Wolves-just what they wanted. The day was dawning, but they need not hurry themselves ; so, calling a camp-council, they soon settled what was to be done with the killed and wounded : they ate the killed at once, and carried off the wounded to their dens in the forest, to be killed as they were wanted during the winter ; and there was no more scratching up the snow for lichens and frostbitten acorns while there was any mutton in the larder.
And thus ended the irreconcilable antipathy of the Highland and the Lowland Sheep, who went to war at the instigation of Wolves. Ilaving found, a day too late, that both had been made dupes by the designing, to serve their own turns, they soon agreed to live in amity with each other-make a solemn league and covenant against the Wolves only, as the only infidels—and sink their own small religious differences, as non-essential : for, after all, the learned doctors among them discovered that their tenets were the same ; and whether they pronounced Båå short or Bāā long was a matter of indifference, even their shepherds said, if they meant it not irreverently.
TIIE SIGNS OF TIIE (OLDEN) TIMES.
HIERALDRY, I take to be the art of chivalric sign-painting. The Griffins, the Unicorns, the Dragons, the IIands and Daggers, the Bleeding IIearts, and so forth, which the forefathers of our infallible hereditary legislators were in the practice of adopting as signs and symbols of their families ; were, I presume, in their day, very much analogous to the Magpics and Stumps, the Pigs and Whistles, the Swans with two Necks, and the Green Men and Stills, with which that respectable body, the licensed victuallers of this empire, are still in the habit of adorning their establishments. The Bear and Ragged Staff" may be kept in countenance by the modern“ Marquis of Grauby's Head, and the ancient Black Boars and White Harts, which flourished on the baron's scutcheon, or waved in silken folds to the breeze over
the square donjon of the baron's keep, still swing gratingly above the tavern door, the harbingers and heralds of “Good Entertainment for Man and IIorse.”
Now I confess having a very much greater respect for signs than for coats of arms. The one class of symbols, at all events, indicate the whereabouts of honest traffic, while the others, when they were in full force and glory, frequently flourished in places where lodgings for a year or so might be obtained in a cool, sequestered dungeon, at no higher rate than the whole of the worldly goods and chattels of the entertained. No doubt it was very pretty and romantic to blow your bugle at eventide before some Front-de-Bæuf's castle, and see the drawbridge falling, and the seneschals hurrying forth to receive the wildered guest. But then, when one comes to reflect that the worthy baron might take it into his head to get up a pleasant and inexpensive evening's amusement for his retainers, by rifling his guest's saddle-bags, and thereafter chopping off his head in the castle court, by way of a graceful finish to the festivities, I must say for my own part—the taste is horribly vulgar, no doubtthat I would prefer, on the whole, stopping, now-a-days, at the Castle Tavern, to putting up, a few odd hundred years ago, at the Castle : that I would gladly exchange a flourish of the bugle horn for a peal of the chambermaid's bell—nay, that I would even give up the Seneschal, in favour of " Boots.”
The feudal times were no doubt very nice times indeed to write novels about, but, on the whole, I think they are best admired at a distance. Ruined castles are very beautiful things—in ruins. I doubt much, however, whether their ten-feet-thick walls, garnished with
“ Loop-hole grates where captives wept,” were such agreeable objects of contemplation to the unprotected foot traveller, as now-a-days when we catch sight of their crumbling remnants from a speeding railway train. The truth is, that the baronial keeps of old were very much of the same nature with those establishments, which, in modern thieves' dialect, are denominated" kens,” and “fences,”—in other words-refuges for robbers, and receptacles for stolen goods. “ The man,” said King James V. of Scotland, pointing to a Border Castle, “ the man who built that tower, was a thief in his heart.' Indeed it is a pretty patent fact, that not a few of the “great old families of England would be, at this present moment, “ great old families ” in Norfolk Island, had an effective system of metropolitan and
detective poliec existed in the times of their founders—the Burkelamented-days of chivalry.
I have spoken of heraldry—of coats of arms--the Signs of the bold barons of yore.
The actual device was frequently not remarkable for aught but mere senseless invention of impossible monsters—listorted into impossible attitudes. Sometimes, however, the nature of the composition gave a shrewd hint of the profession, tastes, and predilection of the exhibitor. Now we have a hand and dagger, indicating that the owner of the device was given to those practices, which, when they are now-a-days made the subject of a newspaper paragraph are generally headed “The knife again ;"-occasionally the peculiarity in question was merely pictorially hinted at, by a bloody hand. Implements of war and dungeon furniture generally cut a conspicuous figure in the devices of our respectable ancestors, but you may wade through many a book of heraldry without finding a trace of the slightest penchant for enlightened generosity or honest industry.
The mottoes however were peculiarly significant. If the device did not let the cat out of the bag—the legend did. The coolness indeed with which thievislı mottoes were assumed, is quite delicious. We may be a nation of merchants—but so, in one respect, we always were. The feudal baron of old in his impregnable tower was a merchant, although not quite in the sense of the word as understood now-a-days. No doubt both the “House and the Castle dealt, and still deal in monies and merchandise; the difference simply is, that the former makes ventures with its own property—the latter, whenever it could, operated upon other people's. Thus the merchant, now-a-days, enters upon a speculation—the feudal gentleman rode a foray: IIc of the counting-house has dealings with other counting houses_IIe of the castle had dealings with other castles ; but they were confined in most cases to the pillaging line of business. The man of the ledger collects his debts —the man of the lance gathered in his black mail. The one has his clerks, the other had his moss-troopers. The first has his correspondents, the other had his spies. The former rears cities -the latter burned villages.
Taking this view of the case, and looking at a good many of the founders of our ancient families as gentlemen well to do in the burglary and sheep-stealing lines of business, nothing can be more appropriate than the mottoes which they chose, to hint the nature of their callings. The old legend of the Scotts of Harden was "Reparabit cornua Phoebe," in plain English, “There will soon
be moonlight.” The hint is most suggestive. You could no more misunderstand it than you can the “ Country orders carefully attended to ” of the tradesman in the next street. Moonlight ! Can we mistake the delicate insinuation. “ Diana's foresters :Gentlemen of the shade!-Minions of the moon!” The ancient motto of the Buccleugh family was similar—"Best riding by moonlight.” Yes—especially when one is burdened with his neighbours' goods, or is making off surreptitiously with his own.
The Cranstoun family boasts a peculiarly self-denying and Christian legend. It is “ Thou shalt want ere I want. But, as Lord John Manners will tell us—there was such high-minded generosity in the soaring chivalry of yore! “Per ignem et gladium,” the motto of another noble family, breathes a fine spirit of peace and good-will towards men-strikingly contrasted with the sordid and selfish dictum, “Buy in the cheapest market, sell in the dearest,' of modern shopkeeping days. “ Forth Fortune, and fill the fetters,” would be a very good legend for a turnkey or a bailiff. It happens, however, to be that of the Athol family, who probably distinguished their pursuits from those of more ignoble cagers of criminals, by carefully abstaining from making legal captures, and only “filling their fetters with those who might be instrumental in filling the pockets of their captors. Grip Fast” is a piece of advice we have seen on an ancient scutcheon. It was probably quite supererogatory." Ride Through " is another legend, which may, I presume, be rendered “Don't stand on bones- Go the whole hog--Vake a clean sweep.” While such maxims as “Spare Nought,” (Tweedale)—“A ma puissance," (Stamford and Warrington) give a fine notion of the power and the disposition of the magnates of those good old times which Young England would fain dig up in all their festering rottenness from the grave.
But no,—they are gone--past recall. The workshop and the counting-house have put down the castle and the keep. The spirit and the symbols of the ancient age are outworn together. Burglary, highway robbery, and arson, would not, now-a-days, be accounted a brilliant foray, or killing, no murder; while the peaceful merchants who now hold the sway, once exercised but by titled robbers and gold-spurred burglars, would hardly think of conforming so far to the spirit of times gone by, as—in forming a company, or entering upon a commercial speculation-boldly to blazon such a device as a pair of loaded scales, graced with such a motto as “ Success to Swindling.'
Avgus B. REACII.