My Strange Pets and Other Memories of Country Life

Assistant Professor of History Richard Bell

This historic book may have numerous typos and missing text. Purchasers can usually download a free scanned copy of the original book (without typos) from the publisher. Not indexed. Not illustrated. 1905 edition. Excerpt: ...years ago since the first great outbreak of disease which I can remember took place. The birds were nearly decimated by the scourge, and their number has never increased to the same extent as before it broke out. As the shootings for several years have been let, they probably never will become so numerous again. The days are past when all the birds on the Castle Oer grounds might have been one day shot, and still on the next a very good bag could have been made from the birds which had come over the march from the Duke of Buccleuchs unlet shootings. Besides this wealth of birds at home, my brother, Mr Wilson, and Professor Aytoun joined in taking the shooting of Glendinning in Westerkirk, the property of Sir Frederick johnstone of Westerhall, and which ground marches with Castle Oer, or rather Crurie. Over this additional range of ground big bags were made, all shot over dogs: the luxurious driving butt was not then invented. About this time Professor Wilson and Sheriff Gordon were frequent visitors at Billholm, as well as Professor Aytoun, and my reminiscences embrace many happy days listening to the learned conversation of four men who were great wits, as well as learned. I was then a young lad, and many jokes were practised at my expense by Aytoun and my brother-in-law during our wanderings over the hills. One episode which I remember was anything but a joke to me. The Professor possessed a setter which was treated more as a pet than a sporting relegated to the kennel after a days sport, it slept in the bedroom occupied by him and Mrs Aytoun. Once when the beast was ailing, Mrs M Aytoun got out of her bed in the middle of the night and boiled water on the kitchen fire wherewith to bathe its...