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habit, because within the last few years several painful instances of premature death of persons who had scarcely reached the prime of life, in consequence of spirit-drinking, have fallen beneath my own immediate observation ; and in each case the victims were well-built, strong, and naturally healthy men, as calculated to attain longevity as any men I ever met with. In each case death ensued from atrophy, the capacity to take sufficient food to support the body having been destroyed. From first to last I have passed at least twelve years in Scotland, having on the last occasion of my visit there remained eight consecutive years, winter and summer, and never found that, in consequence of the climate, there was a necessity for drinking whisky. I never took it out with me shooting, and rarely drank any at other times, and found I could get on very well without it—in fact, much better without it than with it: a slight repast about the middle of the day, washed down by a little weak wine and water, is all that is required; the body is much more capable of enduring great fatigue under the influence of moderate support during the hours of exertion, than when an attempt to sustain it is made by a solid repast, washed copiously down by stimulants. The results of such a lunch I have generally observed to be a decrease of physical elasticity, disinclination to exertion, and indifferent shooting.
The preceding suggestions which I have ventured to submit will, I trust, be received by the young sportsman with the same sentiment and in the same spirit with which they are offered; they are intended for his benefit and advantage, and he will do well to attend to them.
There can be no great enjoyment, especially for the keen and sanguine sportsman, without good health ; and as all excesses, especially those which are of themselves of an injurious character, tend to undermine the constitution and destroy health, if he is wise and consults his own happiness he will scrupulously avoid them in all things: and the rule of his life will be moderation—
'Est modus in rebus, sunt certi denique fines,
This rule applies even to over-fatigue, as many sportsmen have found to their cost and annoyance. Working too hard and taking too much out of a sportsman's physical energy, by walking too fast or too long, has often the effect of weakening the digestive organs, the consequence of which is restlessness at night, instead of sound refreshing sleep, and on the following day lassitude, nervousness, and bad shooting. Those who have over-fatigued themselves, know pretty well the effect which is produced on the nerves by this pardonable excess—of which, I must admit, I have been too frequently guilty, and paid the penalty. In my younger days when I was passionately fond of shooting, and in the habit of being out all day, and mostly shooting every day, I always found when circumstances prevented my going out, and I only shot alternate days, that I shot infinitely better. Too much fatigue unstrings the nerves, in which case neither hand nor eye can be in first-rate order.
VARIETIES OP GROUSE.
On some hills in Argyleshire, over which I shot during the last five or six years I was in Scotland, which were parallel with the Sound of Jura, and consequently immediately opposite to that island, few grouse were bred, but about the end of the month of September or beginning of October in each year, with the first heavy gale of wind, from ten to twelve (and sometimes more) large coveys of grouse arrived, small in size and of peculiar plumage, tamer, and much easier of access than grouse generally are at that season of the year; so that I used to have good sport with them, in a small way, from the time of their arrival till the 10th of December, as there were continuously fresh packs arriving at intervals throughout the winter; so much so, that I frequently found as many and sometimes more in December than at the commencement of October. Whence they came I was never able to ascertain, but suppose they migrated from some hills far north on which there was little food for them. On my hills the supply of young, green, tender heather was always abundant, as a quantity of old heather was burnt regularly every year, generally in March; and as the frost was not so severe as in the north, and the hills were never covered with snow in the spring of the year, there was no impediment to the annual growth of the heather. The weight of these grouse seldom exceeded 1^ lb.; their heads were remarkably small, their plumage yellowish, in some respects similar to that of the golden plover, their breasts thickly spotted with white. There was no visible difference in the size, shape, or plumage of the males and females, whereas in the ordinary grouse the male birds are large, weighing sometimes as much as 2 lbs., some of them being of a decidedly red plumage, others so very dark as almost to be considered black; indeed, on wing, they appear as if they were black. Although naturalists divide grouse into two classes—the red and black, meaning by the latter black game, I am quite convinced from my own observation and experience that there are three distinct kinds or varieties of what are usually termed red grouse; of course all three of the same genus, but varieties as far as size, weight, and plumage are concerned. Some persons are of opinion that these were young birds, driven away from their native hills by the older birds ; but this, I think, is a mistake, as I had some of the smallest of them cooked, and received undoubted evidence of their age from their extreme toughness.
The red and black cock-birds, which I have represented as weighing 2 lbs., are seldom good for the table, being generally very old ones.
I will now venture to make a few remarks on the grouse disease, as it still appears to be a problem, although some sportsmen suppose they have solved it. Some insist that it comes regularly in cycles of five or six years, without any particular assignable cause. From this doctrine I dissent for two reasons: the first, because on hills over which I shot for eight years I never met with one diseased bird; and secondly, because I believe where it has exhibited itself, there has been a particular and direct cause for its appearance. Some attribute the disease to the pollution of the heather by the dressing used for sheep: this, I conceive, also to be a mistake; because to my own certain knowledge, on a very large deer forest, on which no sheep of any kind are ever allowed to intrude, the disease on particular years has been as violent as on any moors frequented by sheep. The years on which disease has frequently made