Page images
PDF
EPUB

story, was so close and hot about that his that befalls, uttering no plaint and refusing horse was killed under him, and his groom no human sympathy, that appears before us. by his side. This address was “an honour He makes merry, like the valiant gentleman Ned was not a little fond of, and promised he was, over his privations. When no betto do his best ;” and thus began the most ter fare is to be had, he swallows the Highwonderful tale of adventure, privation, ab- land drammock, oatmeal mixed with water solute trust, and unequalled fidelity that on this occasion sea-water - and calls it our records or those of any country have no bad food." Nothing daunted him in ever known.

this last chapter of his wondrous advenThe little party seems at this time to tures. When his poor followers were sinkhave consisted of two of the Irish gentlemen ing under fatigue and want, he sang them whom Charles had brought with him, Lord songs to keep up their hearts sometimes, Elcho, and an aide-de-camp called Macleod. their native Gaelic songs — sometimes, For several days they wandered sadly, but doubtless, God help him! the soft Italian not entirely without hope, finding refuge in strains he had sung in the Palazzo Muti, the houses of the lairds, most of whom, like with gaping English spectators looking on, themselves, were fugitives, if not slain on and a hundred impatient ignorant hopes in the field — houses where shelter was to be his heart. Never once do we find him flaghad, if nothing else. But this life was too ging from his wonderful patience. From luxurious to last. Some ten days after, wild isle to isle, from tempest to tempest, having worked their way northward, the now almost within prick of the bayonets forlorn party took boat and set out for the sent out against him, now tossed on waves isles. Here another heroic Highlander, that threatened every moment to swallow Donald Macleod, of Gualtergill, in Skye, his poor boat, a ruined, destitute, forsaken came to the aid of the little company. He wanderer, his high spirit never failed him. was their guide by sea as Burke was by A price of £30,000 was set upon his head, land. His clan was one of those which had and every island and bay swarmed with solheld aloof; his chief was (in words at least) diers eager to win that reward. Yet the an active enemy of Charles; and he himself Prince went fearless from cabin to cabin, was an old man, beyond the impulses of from guide to guide, trusting everybody, youth. But all these deterring influences and never trusting in vain. The extraordidid not hold him back. He met the Prince nary fidelity of the crowd of lowly moun" in a wood all alone,” and his heart taineers, who might have betrayed him, has swelled within him. “You see, Donald, I been celebrated to the echo; never was am in distress,” said the Chevalier, with his there a more wonderful instance of popular

• I throw myself into your bo- honour and devotion. But the man who som: I know you are an honest man, and fit trusted so fully should not go without his to be trusted." “When Donald was giving share of honour. He was afraid of vo me this part of his narrative,” says Bishop man, chief, vassal, or robber; he threw Forbes, "he grat sore; the tears came run- himself upon them with a generous confining down bis cheeks, and he said, “Wha dence. Perhaps a forlorn hope that he deil could help greeting when speaking on might yet find himself at bay and sell his sic a sad subject ?'"

life dearly, may have crossed the mind of No eloquence can surpass these words. Charles. But whatever it might be that With this faithful pilot at the helm, the for- buoyed him up, the fact is clear, and it is a lorn party coasted the barren isles, putting noble one, that never word or murmur in now and then for rest or food, encounter- broke from him amid all his hardships. ing all the storms of that wild sea, drenched | His playful talk, his jests, the songs he sung with its frequent rain, sometimes hungry, to his poor followers, the smiling, patient always weary, outcasts of the land and sea. front with which he met all his sorrows, Yet, strange to tell, in these miserable wan- form another picture as touching, as noble, derings, the reader, with a lump in his and as melancholy as ever was made by throat, finds again the gallant young Cheva- man. lier of Glenfinnan and Holyrood. He of We cannot linger even on that romantic the retreat, petulant, complaining, reproach- episode of Flora Macdonald, which has ful, came to an end in the last catastrophe proved so 'attractive to all romancers. The which completed his ruin. In the toilsome brief bit of heroism has writ the name of the mountain-paths, in the huts he had to creep Highland girl on the immortal page of hisinto on hands and knees, in the boat storm- tory, higher than many that have taken a far tossed upon that melancholy sea, it is no greater place in the world's eye. Even at șullen fugitive, but a noble, cheerful, gal- this saddest strait of Charles's fortunes there lant soul, making the best of everything is that gleam of humour in the gloom which

old grace;

makes the story more pathetic than any out- for a valiant spirit to yield and acknowledge cry of sorrow. When Flora and Lady Clan- itself beaten, or if some desperate hope of ranald went to dress the fugitive in the better things waxing stronger as his circumwoman's dress he was to wear, “it was not stances grew worse, sustained him, it is imwithout some mirth and raillery passing possible to tell. He went through a hundred amid all their distress and perplexity, and a deaths, and survived them all. There are mixture of tears and smiles." When he even some indications that this terrible inparted with the brave girl, whom he called terval was bitter-sweet to him, full as it was with tender grace our lady, a momentary of friendship and devotion. And the obgleam again came upon the anxious faces of server feels that here he should have died. the spectators at the scandalised looks of Death would have made the story completeanother lady's-maid, who described Miss an epic beyond all competition of poetry; Flora's attendant as "the most impudent- but death under such circumstances must looking woman she had ever seen. "They be a crown too splendid for the exigencies call you a Pretender," said good Kingsburgh, of common humanity. It does not come into whose hands he fell next, still in those when its presence would complete and pertroublesome garments which he did not fect the round of life. Charles lived as know how to manage, “ but you are the Napoleon lived, as men live every day after worst of your trade lever saw." In Kings- existence is over for them; surviving to burgh's homely house, while all the inhabi- add some vulgar or pitiful postscript to the tants were thrown into wild anxiety for his tragedy which might have been completed safety, he himself, glad as a wanderer only so grandly — a postscript more tragically incould be of the night's rest and comfort, structive, perhaps more painful and appalplayfully struggled with his host for a sec- ling, than that brief and solemn dropping of ond bowl of punch, and “ laughed heartily.” the curtain which follows a well-timed as he put on again his feminine gear. His death. long walks, now with one guide, now with And accordingly Charles survived. He another, are full of a simple human fellow- lived to get back to France, to reign the ship which goes straight to the heart; though hero of the moment in Paris until the time the reader at the same moment perceives came when France and England swore peace. with a thrill of pitiful emotion, in the snatches A year after his return from Scotland, such of rude conviviality which now and then hopes as might have preserved a feverish life break in upon the gravity of the record, one within him were crushed to the earth by the of the germs of ultimate ruin. Be it Mal- news that his young brother Henry had becolm Macleod, or Donald Roy, or any other come an ecclesiastic, and received the Carof his many conductors, the heart of the dinal's hat - an act which was nothing less wanderer unfolds itself to the humble friend than rolling the stone to the door of the sepby his side with a brotherly openness. ulchre in which hope was buried. NevertheWhen his anxious companion proposes with less he went and came, to Spain, to the Highland brevity to shoot a suspicious wan- French Court, wherever he could get a derer who may chance to be a spy, the gen- hearing, to seek help for a new expedition, erous Prince at once interferes. “God

for- with a longing after England which is more bid that any poor man should suffer for us, touching than mere ambition. It is like the if we can but keep ourselves any way safe!" effort of the drowning man to snatch at a he cries. “He used to say that the fatigues straw which might preserve him from the and distresses he underwent signified nothing cold waters of death in which he felt himself at all, because he was only a single person; sinking. But nobody held out a hand to but when he reflected upon the many brave the lost soul. One vain last struggle he fellows who suffered in his cause, that, he made, not to be sent out of France, resistbehoved to own, did strike him to the heart.” ing foolishly, with something of the petuWhen he dozed in his weariness, he would lance he had shown on his retreat, the power wake with a start, crying, “Oh, poor Eng- against which he could not stand. But fate land! poor England !" yet the next moment, was against him in all his struggles. Against when his boatmen were struggling with the his will

, in spite of a mad resistance, the waves, “ to divert the men from thinking of deadly quiet of Rome sucked him back. the danger, he sung them a merry Highland Shipwrecked, weary of life, shamed by his song.” Thus cheerful, sorrowful, resolute, knowledge of bitter things, consumed by and all-enduring, Charles Stuart struggled vain longing for a real existence such as through six months of such hardship as would never could be his, the Chevalier sank as, have killed any ordinary man. If it was the God help us ! so many sink, into the awful mere instinct of life which kept him afloat, abyss. To forget his misery, to deaden the the mere necessity which makes it impossible smart of bis ruin, what matters what he did?

He lost, in shame, in oblivion, and painful | Cheshire' suggested the description of new decay, the phantasm which was life no longer, ground to those adventurous enough to try

with other fantastic shadows — ill-chosen it. “ The Wilds of Norfolk" are even wife, ill-governed household, faithless and more striking than those of Cheshire. In foolish favourites, a staring silly spectator- many parts of Great Britain there are spots crowd — flitting across the tragic mist. A resembling the latter; but Norfolk stands merciful tear springs to the eye, obscuring alone in the character of its “Broad" the fatal outlines of that last sad picture. scenery. Walter White, in his pleasant, There sank a man in wreck and ruin who gossiping volumes, has dwelt upon it enthuwas a noble Prince when the days were. siastically; but it is necessary for a man to If he fell into degradation at the last, he live in Norfolk thoroughly to enjoy the towas once as gallant, as tender, as spotless a pography of the Broad district.' Wilkie gentleman as ever breathed English air or Collins, in his “ Armadale," has given a trod Scottish heather. And when the spec- slight but graphic sketch of one of these tator stands by Canova's marble in the Broads, but his picture does not lie on the great Basilica, in the fated land where, with canvas long enough to be sufficiently enall the Cæsars, Charles Edward has slept joyed. In his own way, also, Charles for nearly a century, it is not the silver Kingsley has adverted to many of the satrumpets in the choir, nor the matchless lient features of the Fens, in " Hereward." voices in their Agnus Dei, that haunt the The district, however, I am about to de ear in the silence; but some rude long-drawn scribe lies more inland t] that which this pibroch note wailing over land and sea well-known writer has ! down as the wailing to earth and heaven - for a lost scene of his hero's exploits. One or two cause, a perished house, and, most of all, local works have recently directed attention for the darkening and shipwreck and ruin towards the Broads, such as Stevenson's of a gracious and princely soul.

“ Birds of Norfolk," and Lubbock's “ Fauna” of the same county. In both these, and more particularly in the former, there

are several good bits of word painting, sufFrom Saint Paul's.

ficient to induce a man who is careless about THE NORFOLK BROADS.

the fashionable reputation of his holiday THERE are more localities in Great Brit- placed, to see the **.lk Broads for himain unacquainted with the footsteps of the self. tourist than otherwise; for but few take a The “Broad Distric," proper is included walk from “ John O'Groat's to the Land's within an almost equiateral triangle, having End.” Here and there, sparsely scattered the sea-coast for its base, and its two sides through the length and breadth of the coun- drawn from Lowestoft to Norwich, and from try, are places of historical or traditional Norwich to Happisb. h. Within this area attraction, and on these the interest of the there are no fewer than fourteen large holiday-seeker is usually concentrated. We Broads, besides groups of smaller ones. Englishmen like to have these spots chosen The principal of these natural sheets of wafor us, and are conservative enough to es- ter are Surlingh Prayaa' Breydon, teem it as unfashionable to visit out-of-the-Filby, Ormesby, rossed the mind or way localities, as it would be for a Belgra- ton, Irstead, and it might be that vian to canter through Whitechapel. Gene- the exception of is clear, and it is a rally speaking, we require an old ruin, a parts of the cour word or murmur mineral spring, or a long track of dazzling hat. Formerly all his hardships. yellow sea-sand, as a peg to hang our visit der water that' tk. the songs he sung upon. Whilst we are asking, “Where th rivers now flow me smiling, on peat shall we go this autumn ? " the usual tracks wh then ose met breed. In most of travel, from Dan to Beersheba, are so of ther picture grass is pulled up worn and beaten that we are forced to empty

wells are found adhering cry, " It is all barren!” Holidays are spent to the roots. All the rivers have a very in going over old grounds which possess as low fall, and consequently meander about much interest for us as travelling through a the country before they find an outlet into railway cutting. True, some of our more the sea. The tidal wave enters their adventurous spirits have mapped out fresh mouths and comes up for a great distance, fields of recreative research, and the wilds' causing the fresh water to back up," so of Norway, Canada, and even Africa, are that ebb and flood tide are felt many miles not unacquainted with the ring of merry beyond where the water has ceased to be English voices.

brackish. Were any of these geological The recent article on “The Wilds of changes of which we have heard so much to

occúr here, and Norfolk to settle down a| the country, he cannot do better than take dozen feet or so, by far its greater portion one of the marshmen with him, who will be would be submerged. Here and there, glad to accept half-a-crown for his day's where the land lies lower than usual, the services. These men are civil and exceedrivers all but stagnate. Their waters spread ingly shrewd. They know every phase of out into natural sheets or lakes, and are local nature, and the habits of every fish, vernacularly termed “ Broads." These are fowl, or four-legged animal in their neighthe “ Wilds” I have chosen to treat upon. bourhood. Marshmen are a distinct variety They resemble each other so much, that a of the genus homo, for their general isolation description of the principal features of one from society, and their habit of spending so would almost serve for the rest.

much time alone, make them naturally taciNotwithstanding the magnitude of the turn. They can, if they wish, wile away larger Broads, few of them have a greater the hour by many a sporting or poaching average depth than eight feet, the majority adventure, told in the naïve, racy, Norfolk being even shallower still. They are, for dialect. The visitor, however, must be this very reason, exceedingly favourable to careful about the way he strikes a fish or the growth of a luxuriant aquatic vegeta- knocks over a snipe, for these men are extion, so that a greater area is covered by ceedingly critical on these matters, and, alsedge and bulrush than by water. These though they may not say much, their suform a splendid cover for snipe and innu- preme smile at any discomfiture is not calcumerable est Mes of aquatic fowl. The lated to improve an irritable temper. Broads, L' Iver, are not what they for I will suppose you, gentle reader, to merly were. The last hundred years have be the sportsman aforesaid, that you seen them greatly altered, the agricul- have made all necessary arrangements for turalist will say for the better, the sports- an excursion, and that you are about to man will say for the worse. Anybow, the start from the improvised pier near the marsh lands bordering them have, in many marshman's cottage on your expedition. cases, been drained and turned to good pur- Gun and angling-tackle have been stowed in pose; whilst, since the introduction of the the boat, and your companion begins to pull American weed, anacharis, into this through tall thickets of bulrush and sedge, country, turf has been forining at a more the watery lanes extending through them for rapid rate, cav_ 'w, the area of the Broads miles. Many a shot may be had by the to be greatly w.roached upon. What will way, for the marshman will row as noisebe the result in another century it is diffi- lessly as if he had muffled oars. It may be cult to tell, but ineantime I recommend a that the cut on which you are floating has a visit to a locality where so much of the sudden bend. If so, at the turn you will be country exists now as it did when the Iceni certain to see half a dozen coot sporting inhabited it, an there a man may imagine and frolicking about. Quick! or all that is he is no longer in England.

visible of them will be their white rumps, The sportsman who has spent a fortnight and a few bubbles indicating where they in fishing and shooling over the Broads, disappeared! Should you go in the early

ver afterwards at the morning, or late in the evening, wild duck that any poor man e if we can but keep ourse

There he finds water- will be feeding. If you lie concealed a he cries. “He used t

Àance, snipe of two or short time before, somewhere opposite to and distresses he undecu. "", mallard, and teal good bag. Proceeding on your pleasant

ind twittering at almost the wind, the chances are that you make a at all, because he was o but when he reflected

eir sedgy covert, or voyage, many an uncommon object will arwho suffered

to it. Pike of a score rest your attention. Here and there the

be captured, arzhJórdly stately heron stands like a statue. He rises perch thäi did strike rod half, sir's play. lazily' as you approach, and slowly flaps Bream, roach,

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

weariness, a

warm the away over the tall bulrushes, to continue the waters, whilst for the n hardly be process of digestion in a quieter spot. The equalled anywhere else in England. In this peculiar cry of the bittern is heard from district it is rare, indeed, to hear anglers amid the reeds, although this bird, as well speak otherwise of their finny captures than as the little grebe, is now becoming very by the stone!

The kingfisher is still abundant, Not the least important item about these notwithstanding that his attractive colours Broads is that they may be visited so cheap- cause him to be remorselessly shot down. ly. A flat-bottomed boat, roomy enough to He flits across the channel where you are hold a cart and horse, can be hired for a rowing, his brilliant plumage glittering in shilling a day. If the visitor care to have a the sunshine until he looks like anything but companion who knows every square foot of an honest English bird. The reed spar

rare.

[ocr errors]

rows twitter and chirrup, and hang to the It is a usual plan for local sportsmen to go sedges, where they are swayed to and fro by out purposely for a day's “liggering.” In the wind. Here and there a black-headed that case no angling is attempted. Two or bunting pretends lameness in order to lure three score liggers are put out in various you away from its nest. The length of the parts of the Broad, and, by the time the last reedy cut loses its monotony by these vari- is laid down, it will be necessary to take ous incidents, and presently you see it open- the first up. The whole day is thus busily ing out into a magnificent sheet of water, spent, and the general average of fish so dotted with swampy islands, and set in a captured will be at least one-half, if not twoframework of tall sedge and dwarfed alder thirds of the number of lines laid out. As or willow. The eye readily catches a glimpse many as four-score pike have thus been taken of many species of aquatic fowl sporting in one day. Not unfrequently, when the on the surface, but, strong though the temp- eager sportsman rows up to a submerged tation may be to make towards them, the float, and cautiously hauls in his line, his attempt would be perfectly useless. heart palpitates as he beholds a huge pike

The boat glides over the Broad to some slowly rolling over and displaying his belly. favourite spot known only to your compan- Just as he draws him to the surface, a pair ion. Here he thrusts down into the mud of enormous jaws are displayed, there is a the two long poles he brought with him, and sudden swirl of the tail, and the monster makes the boat fast to them. Below, in the has disappeared! Instead of the capture clear water, you see immense shoals of fish, reckoned upon, behold a young jack of a -roach, perch, or bream. No sooner has couple of pounds! With the ravenous humthe gut been wetted than “bob” goes the ger of his tribe, superadded to that of his float, and your capture is separated from you juvenility, he had taken the roach, and got only by the length of your rod and line. himself into trouble. Whilst replacing the This, perhaps, is a part of the Broad which original bait, he had been swallowed by a your friend has repeatedly“ ground-baited,” cannibal neighbour, out of whose capacious so that you may confidently reckon upon stomach he had been regretfully hauled. good sport. The great glory of the Norfolk The intended capture, disappointed of a Broads, however, is their pike. So common meal extracted in so strange a way, has hasare they, that in some places I have known tened to the weedy depths below, there to them to be sold for manuring the land ! meditate with pike-like taciturnity upon the The usual plan of taking them is by“ lig- strange experience which has just befallen gering” or “trimming," and, destructive him! Mr. Cholmondley will lift up holy though this method is, they do not seem to eyes of horror at this unsportmanlike way be less abundant in consequence. There of taking the pike. I am, however, but a are several kinds of " liggers," but the fol- humble chronicler of actual facts. Even he lowing is the most common. - Be provided would find “spinning" at a discount, alwith good store of strong twine, and plenty though on the very deepest Broads. The of pike-books attached to gimp. Then take weeds are so numerous, and the water so a bait, -roach is the best, — and pass the shallow, that all his time would be occupied gimp by means of a needle just underneath in disentangling the spoon or artificial bait, the skin, until the hook is drawn quite close not from the gorge of the pike, but from the to the head of the fish, The end of the clutches of anacharis and potamageton. gimp is made fast to the cord. About a True, the navigable streams which usually foot above the bait is a perforated bullet to run through the Broads are kept pretty clear sink the line, and three or four feet higher from these entanglements, and here, in the still, according to the depth, the cord is tied months of September and October, some round a bunch of dry weeds, so as to repre- splendid, and what is more, legitimate sport sent a huge float. One end of the line is may be had. then made fast, and the entire apparatus is În eel fishing, I am not aware that the thrown into the water. No sooner has the laws of angling have laid down any rule, roach returned to his native element than except that famous one of Mrs. Glasse. In he makes desperate struggles to escape. this department, at least, it is fair to take This attracts the attention of some pike on your fish any way you can, the only importhe look-out for a feed, and, as this fish tant point being that you do take it. The never scruples to take advantage of his muddy bottoms of the Broads and the innuprey being in a pickle, he snaps at it imme- merable insect larvæ which feed upon the diately. Down goes the impromptu float, aquatic vegetation, surround the eel with and the pike, finding he is caught, gets to every favourable circumstance for his physithe end of his tether, and there quietly re- cal development. Accordingly, nowhere do mains.

we find eels so large and fat as in these lo

« EelmineJätka »