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answered. “Yes; these Lowlanders look sleek, and fat, and fleshy, and well they may, when they feed as they do, the canni no ; I will not utter the disgusting word! Learn this from me, and you will think worse of shepherds than you do: in some parts of the world there are shepherds who prey on shepherds, and think them good eating when baked with yams under them, and esteem them so done a dish for a king, or
“His black Mandingo majesty's white minister of state 1’
Do you wonder, then, when sheep feed on sheep—Lowlanders fatten on lean Highlanders?” The rage of these Highland Hotspurs was terrible to look upon. They were for an immediate descent upon these wretches, now while their indignation was at blood-heat. “Ridiculous !” said the grey Wolf. “Rashness! Madness! How many of ye are there who can be called fighting rams ? Aye, it sounds well to hear young and old among ye cry “All !' whether lambs or rams; but how few there are in this flock fitted for the strife " Not more than a dozen, at the most ; while these Lowlanders increase and multiply so fast in their fat folds, they can bring their thousands into the field, and eat ye up, and lick their plates, not half satisfied with such a snack!” But they should gather, the Highlanders said, as they rushed down, like an avalanche from the mountain-top in winter, and sweep, shatter, and scatter these soft-hearted, soft-headed, softhorned, craven creatures—a shame to the simple name of Sheep— like snow before the wind. No, no, he advised them as an admiring friend. Let them nurse and hug their wrath, and keep it as warm as they could—let the sun go down upon it—till winter came, and it was coming soon, and the first fall of snow was down: then they might, unseen in the thick mists of the long night, and unheard in the foot-silence of the snow-covered ground, rush on them in their separate folds, too far apart for warning and alarm, and crush them in detail. By that time the fine young fellows he had in his eye—an honour to the Highland race—would be fitter to fight by their fathers' side, and show the foe the mettle of their mountain-breeding. And here, casting his wicked eyes up to heaven, the canting old scoundrel for a wolf said, that grey hairs and great experience had made him a seer among his tribe; and be foresaw the coming shortly of a seer among sheep, who would descend from the farther Alps, with such an array of rams mighty in war, the gathering of alpine clans they had never heard of, as should sweep these Lowlanders from the face of the earth, and give them their lands for an inheritance. Wait, he entreated them, wait till the hoary winter and the grey seer descend together from their snow-crowned heights, and then fall upon the foe as suddenly as you please. By that time the lichen on which his people lived would be scanty in the mountains, and they would have migrated and moved down to the woods in the low country, to feed on the acorns, chestnuts, and beech-nuts which every blast that blows showers upon the ground, till spring calls them up to their old haunts again: so that his people would be at hand to advise and succour them, and be a friendly power, on whom they might fall back, if they failed in their enterprise, if that were possible. Would the Wolves make common cause with them as allies, inquired a young ram, with a diplomatic turn of mind; but he was clamoured down directly. No, however much they must sympathize with the Highland race, as Highlanders themselves, the quarrel was no quarrel of theirs; they had suffered no insults and endured no injuries from these Lowlanders. He consulted a moment with his companions, and then said that he could promise them so much aid as this, if they would accept it: that, as wolves were notoriously skilled in the healing art, and had performed wonders in the cure of wounds—indeed, one lick of a wolf's tongue was a cure of all complaints of that kind in oxen and horses and asses—some of the most skilful of these Hunters should follow both armies indifferently, and attend on the maimed on either side, as a work of mercy and good hospital practice. He could promise no more than this assistance, at this present writing. Perhaps it would be as well to settle now what should be the password on the Highland side when the time came for their assistance; for it would be dangerous to the wounded, and unhandsome treatment of their medical attendants, when two or more were met bearing some bleeding hero from the field to the rear, if they were challenged and arrested in their benevolent work. It was soon arranged that “Bād,” short, should be the password on the one side; of course, “Bää,” long, would be that of the other. So far, so good, said the grey Wolf to his coadjutors, giving the slightest perceptible turn of his tongue in his cheek. When lichen failed, there was every likelihood of a glut of fools; and, by a beautiful provision of Nature, the more foolish the bird, the better the fowl for gustation. Thus, while the craftier kind of creatures are not easily taken, such as wolves, foxes, and the like, and are not worth taking, because they are bad eating, geese, and sheep, and such small deer, simple souls' are as gullible as they are good eating. “Enough,” said the gaunt Wolf, with a smile—such a smile!— at the success of his embassy. “Be wise, be secret, letting not your shepherds know a tittle of your designs, and possess yourselves with patience till the hour and the leader come. The grey mist of the morning melts away, and shows these aged eyes, not so good as they were, but still far-seeing, the long shadows of two stalwart shepherds, and about the same number of dogs, faithful followers' stalking this way from the Eastern hills. We must not be seen, though messengers of mercy, or something injurious to us and you will be suspected. It is a scandalous world! Give a wolf an ill name, and you may spare yourself the trouble for life of thinking well of him. Farewell, good friends, farewell; till we meet again in the Lowlands, farewell!” And after a few hurried civilities on both sides, these reverend Rambassadors went off in an opposite direction to the shepherds: at first, slowly, gravely, and dignifiedly as aldermen enter our Guildhall when dinner is announced to be on the table; increasing their pace as they proceed from a slow movement to a quick step, and then a rush in,
“As fools rush in, where angels fear to tread.”
For, whether the early morning mountain air was cold, and it was
or whether it was past their time for breakfast, from a good walking pace they got into a trot; and, as they shook off the stiffness of age, into a headlong gallop down hill—the devil take the hindmost ; and this they kept up with great spirit, good speed, and good wind for old wolves, till they disappeared in the dense forest on the neutral ground. Early in the winter, when the snow lay unusually deep in the windy Highlands, and in the sheltered Lowlands deeper and deeper still, the promised seer came down from the Alps in the grey of the evening—a long, lank, flat-sided, ungainly, unmuttonly ram to look at-a sheep who could not look sheep in the face. And he came not alone: for he was accompanied by from five to six hundred followers; some as shy, sly, and unhandsome as himself these were, doubtless, specimens of the Alpine sheep they had 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 Lowlauders' " 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. Having 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 Băd long was a matter of indifference, even their shepherds said, if they meant it not irreverently.
THE SIGNS OF THE (OLDEN) TIMES.
HERALDRY, I take to be the art of chivalric sign-painting. The Griffins, the Unicorns, the Dragons, the Hands and Daggers, the Bleeding Hearts, 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 Magpies 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 Granby'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