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resort of various sea-fowl and shore-birds, | feature, offering a favorite covert to black while the low projecting reefs, natural game and caillie, and deep lairs to the cairns, and detached miniature islets are deer. haunted by a tribe of otters of unusual size. It is obvious that in an island which is A skin that I obtained last year measures more or less thickly covered with trees, four feet eight inches from tip of tail to and where the rock formation ruos chiefly snout, and this I take to be considerably in parallel ridges with narrow dells beover the average dimensions of these ani- tween, the telescope and field-glass, so mals. The otters seem to live almost en- valuable to the Scotch stalker, are comtirely in the sea, but occasionally travel up paratively useless. The sportsman should the few brooks which descend from the always carry one or the other, because by high levels of the island. There is to me a its aid he can frequently decide in the pargreat pleasure in wandering along this kind tial obscurity of the wood the character of of quiet deeply indented beach, where the some doubtful object, and because he may green of the land approaches so closely to bow and then find himself in some clear, the salt water, and all nature verges on the elevated position, whence he can search a amphibious.
portion of subjacent forest; but they are North of the isthmus, the larger division not, as a rule, of much utility in finding of the island with which we are chiefly deer in woodlands. It is also obvious concerned, rises gradually to a plateau of that in such wooded rocky ground, it is bare moor and a single conical hill of about easy enough, even when paying every atfifteen hundred feet in height, and faces the tention to wind and tracks, and all that south with a long unbroken range of per- a hunter ought to notice, to pass by deer pendicular inlaid cliffs crowned by woods concealed in the hollows, or to suddenly of Scotch fir. Only at two points is it come upon and disturb them. It is, I impossible to surmount by steep deer-passes agine, this difficulty in finding the deer the great continuous wall of limestone which induces sportsmen in other islands once, no doubt, washed by the sea - and to resort so much to the practice of having avoid the long tramp necessary to turn its them driven up to butts; a deadly way, no extremities. On approaching its base doubt, of securing the stags, and all very through the comparatively level belt of well now and then, but I fancy I am justi. forest between it and the beach, we enter fied in saying, a somewhat clumsy method a labyrinthine region of enormous moss- as compared with stalking of any kind. grown boulders and giant tree stems, in Impressed with these ideas, I resolved to dark weather an oppressively, sombre and try whether the elk.dog could not be used silent solitude, but full of warmth and successfully to find red-deer, and last au. beauty when the midday sun strikes into tumn took my little hound Huy with me its recesses, bringing out in gleams the to Skarsö; and also that staunch henchvaried tints of fern and moss, of boulder men and excellent companion, Nils, whose and bark, while the face of the colossal name must be by this time tolerably farock-rampart above shines, broadly lumi- miliar to readers of the Fortnightly. nous, through the distorted upper limbs And so it came about that on a bright, and dark foliage of the firs. Here, too, we frosty morning early in October last, we shall find the black mouth of more than one three were crossing the small extent of cavern, piercing the base of the mountain, cultivated land belonging to the farm of and to be explored with safety only by the Kalveland, our headquarters, in the usual aid of torches. The stately Scotch firs high spirits and sanguine frame of mind are a remarkable feature in the island, produced by the first day of any kind of many of them being of magnificent girth chase. For more than a whole month, and growth. As timber trees they are ever since September the first, when the more valuable, as picturesque objects season began, we had been expected in the more agreeable, and as covert greatly island, but sport of other kind had detained preferable to the ordinary spruce-pine of us elsewhere. The rocky ridges which central Norway, inasmuch as they gen- radiate from the central chain of hills erally grow less closely together, and being taper gradually down towards the coast, often bare of branches to a considerable and as a rule, end abruptly somewhat height, permit the eye — it may be behind short of it. Between these natural fences a rifle-sight - to travel for a long distance the ground is fairly level, and has, by under their shade. In some of the shel- years of industry, been converted into tol. tered glens the columnar trunks shoot up- erable pasture and cornland. The farmer wards from dense thickets of tall juniper, finds it necessary to guard the latter from whose luxuriant growth is another special | the attacks of the deer by means of long
wires stretched on poles across the little couragingly, no certain sign did he betray wooded gullies down which the marauders that there were deer in the flesh ahead of are in the habit of descending to their him, despite the strong sea-breeze which evening or morning foray. He has, more swept all the range of low woodland, and over, by law, the right of lying in wait for gave constant occupation to his quivering and shooting, at any season, any deer, nostrils. We therefore decided to fall back either stag or hind, which does damage to and make for the sæter, whence we could
- a right which is, of course, turn the end of the main cliff, and gain the liable to abuse by unscrupulous proprie. wooded slopes on the higher level. The tors, who may leave a worthless patch of farmer had warned us that the neighborbarley or oats standing for this especial hood of the dairy was most likely ground purpose. But although the Norwegian for deer, and asserted that they were in agriculturist has a shrewd eye to every the habit of feeding night and morning on possible chance of gain, he will, as a rule, the grass of its enclosure. This pleasant deal fairly by those who deal fairly by him, oasis we reached after following for some and few lessees who object to the deer distance the course of a small stream, being occasionally shot in this fashion will which with lilliputian cascades and pools grumble, in the case of proven serious aped delightfully the features of a salmon damage, at the notion of fair compensa- river, and enlivened, with its sparkle and tion. The present law permits two stags music, the solemnity of a deep, narrow to be killed on each holding, and forbids glen faced on either side with fir-clad, altogether the shooting of hinds by the rocky terraces. On the incline of the hill ordinary sportsman; but I understand above this brook lay the sæter, open to that in consequence of the notoriously the morning sun, and conspicuous from a large excess of female over male deer the long distance as a bright green patch law, as regards the islands, is likely to be among dark, surrounding woods; a couple altered forth with, and that next season of acres of steep sward within a ring of the legal allowance will be one of each sex. rude but strong fencing, a cattle-shed, a If the shooter be desirous of sparing the small barn full of hay, and a dwelling-hut. binds, he will thus be limited to the single But poor places are these Scandinavian stag.
sæters, yet I shall ever regard them with As we rounded the first spur of rock, gratitude. With how many delightful close to the house, and came in sight of rambles are they associated in my inind, the stubble just beyond, a pack of half a with how many hours of shelter, warmth, hundred black-cock rose from the field, and rest, granted when most needed to the and settled leisurely on a bare billock at weary or belated wanderer! no great distance, whence with craning The first glance at the turf showed that necks they watched movemeots. the farmer was right; several deer had “ Those fellows know very well we are been there often, and quite recently. But not after them to-day,” was Nils's remark; after patiently trying to decipher ihe con
but they are not so safe as they think.” fused markings which were everywhere And perlaps in both of our hearts was a conspicuous, we came to the conclusion half wish to drop a bullet amongst the that but few of them were caused by stags. handsome uniforms of that dark battalion Then we made the circuit of the fence, - the life-guards blue of game birds. But and discovered that the deer were in the the temptation was soon forgotten as we habit of leaping it at more than one point, left the clearing behind, and began to work going and coming by different routes. our way through the belt of forest between Huy's most deliberate and intelligent inthe cliffs and the sea. We adopted the vestigation of all these details was clearly same order of march as in elk-hunting. satisfactory to him, and on our sitting Huy, in his harness, ambled airily in the down to consult, he testified by the ghost van; then came Nils holding the leader, of a whine his impatience and desire to and judiciously steering the dog in a long be moving. When permitted, he jumped slant across the broken ground of the off with the lead at the full length of his woodland, so as to give him the full advan. tether, scrambled over the fence, and betage of the wind ; in the rear myself. In gan to strain through the wood right this fashion we proceeded for a couple of up-wind towards the edge of the cliff. So hours, quartering the ground, until we be vigorous, indeed, was his advance, that
near the boulder region close more than once I had to murmur to Niis beneath the great limestone precipice, but to moderate the pace. At such a time, although we found in several places fairly when the dog is beginning to pull, it is fresh tracks at which the dog' sniffed en-l impossible to go too slowly or cautiously.
Many hunters make the mistake of suffer. I was some reason for such wonder. From ing themselves to be dragged along in a the spot where we stood there appeared to way that renders it difficult to plant their be a sheer descent of some hundreds of feet noiselessly. With an eager dog, the feet to the tree-tops below; it is true that only plan is to hold bim short and lean jutting points of rock and overhanging back, and stop frequently to listen or re. bushes prevented our obtaining a posiconnoitre. He should always wear har- tively clear view of what was immediately ness, with a broad band across the chest, underneath us. But on the right the cliff and the leading-strap fastened to a ring or curved apparently without a break until it buckle between the shoulders. The ordi- resumed the straight line, and trended nary collar round the neck chokes him, away from us in interminable, foreshortand causes him to puff like a steam-ened perpendicularity. We had no reason engine.
for suspecting any interruption in its sheer Certain as we were that deer were di fall. It was not until some days later, rectly ahead, we did not much trouble when gazing upwards from the lower for. ourselves to examine the ground for est, that I discovered its face at this point, tracks; but after we had travelled for although terribly steep, to be broken by about half a mile, and were so near the connected grass slopes and terraces, capacliff that we could see the brushwood on ble of supporting large trees. I have no its edge cutting the distant landscape, I doubt that the stag slipped over the edge noticed in glancing down a large slot on and descended by this natural ladder, but some soft soil, and halted for an instant to at the time his evasion was inexplicable. inspect it; in that instant Nils advanced Huy appeared to be as much puzzled as a few yards ; I looked up again, saw that we were; he stood on a projecting slab, he also was examining the track, and at gazing into space, and snuffing up the air the same moment caught sight over his from the abyss, but I believe that in his bent head of a fox-red patch on the bank | heart the little dog knew exactly the truth of a snug hollow about a hundred yards of the matter; neither to right nor left off. A deer lying down ! not a doubt of would he take up the scent, and had we it! Ah! it was too late ; before I could loosed him would probably have shown us raise my rifle and warn Nils, the stag saw the way down without hesitation. him, “sprang from his heathery couch in Our present elevation commanded a haste," displaying his broad antlers, in very fine view over the neighboring islands one bound cleared the hillock under which and fjords, and the precipitous fjelds of he was lying, and disappeared instantane. the mainland, now covered with fresh ously in the wood behind it. It was all snow, and showing like a lofty range of over'in a moment, and the admirable Huy Alps. But the wind was keen, and I was had exhibited his intelligence and wood. hungry; I proposed that we should search craft in vain. Of small avail was it to for some sheltered nook with water handy, demonstrate to Nils how easily I could and there eat our lunch. With some have crawled to within a few yards of the trouble, after making a long circuit round stag, if only we had caught a glimpse of the bend of the cliff, we discovered on him before he saw us. But we had one lower ground the very place we wanted, a consolation, that in finding woodland deer dry bank, screened from the wind by a the elk-hound was a distinct success. Un- ledge of rock and fully exposed to the sun. der such circumstances one must make the A tiny, ice-cold rivulet trickled at our feet best of poor comfort. Again we debated and served to dilute the contents of the what to do ; we were within fifty yards of whiskey-flask. Over the subsequent pipe the cliff edge. Shall we see where he we decided to try our luck at a yet higher go, sir ? ” inquired Nils. There might level, where the growth of Scotch fir possibly be other deer in the same line, ceased and the crest of the hill rose bare and willing to improve my knowledge of above thickets of stunted birch and moun. the country, I consented. We had not tain ash. In half an hour we were again far to go ourselves before we ascertained afoot. Not until we faced the breeze, well where the deer had gone. We followed out on the open moor, did Huy show any the track for a few hundred yards parallel indications of having caught scent. Then to the precipice, and then, when the cliff he began to stop at intervals and throw took an abrupt, sweeping curve to the his nose up and his head back until his right, it led us clean up to the very brink, ears almost touched his quarters ; pressing where it of course disappeared. “I do forward after each halt with greater eager. not know much about red-deer,” said Nils, ness. * Very steadily now, Nils, there “but I wonder if they can fly." There must be deer on the hillside in front, or
in the ravine under it.” The said ravine, we stepped out briskly right across it, re. a shallow gully or trench, itself overgrown gardless of wind, and simply determined with bushes, divided the moor from the to see what lay on the other side, for I brushwood-clad slope mentioned above. had forgotten the features of the island in Between us and it ran several parallel ribs that direction. A single covey of willow of rock, over which we crept with exceed grouse, a few black game, a pair of whiteing care, taking advantage of perched tailed eagles wheeling at a great height, boulders or cross fissures filled with and a fox, were the only living creatures heather; in the intervening hollows we we met with. From the farther edge of were well concealed. Huy became at last the moor we looked down into a broad, so keenly demonstrative, snapping his deep glen, with wooded sides and a flat, teeth and showing symptoms of what Nils swampy bottom cut by the silver thread calls “whistling," that i directed the latter of a small stream. At its upper extremity to lie down with the dog, whilst I crawled a gloomy little tarn nestled under grey on alone to the crest of the last ridge. crags. It looked a likely place for deer, Here I got out my field-glasses and peeped and we determined to explore its recesses
I at once detected with the naked before long, but the afternoon was begineye an object moving among the bushes ning to wane, and we were forced to turn near the edge of the gully, which on exam- our steps towards home, arriving again at ination with the glass proved to be a very the sæter on our way just at that hour of large hiod. Shortly after a second deer, fading light when the woods looked most also a bind, stalked out of the thicket and solemn and mysterious. As we halted calmly surveyed the landscape, little sus. within the enclosure Huy suddenly faced pecting what bloodthirsty eyes were upon the gentle air which was now stirring, and her. Then, as I lay, I beckoned to Nils, began to sniff demonstratively: “ Perhaps wno sneaked up to me and with much sat- there is some deer coming, whispered isfaction took his turn at the glasses. But Nils; “we might go into the cattle-shed few Norwegians, except those who live on and watch ; we shall see if there are any or near the islands, have ever seen a red. more stags about.” The insidious whis. deer, and Nils was always greatly struck per fell upon willing ears; in another with the beauty and symmetry of their minute we had ensconced ourselves noiseproportions as compared with those of the lessly in the cold, dark building, and were elk. Our hope naturally was that a stag peering, through the round air-holes cut would put in an appearance, and for an in its timbers, down the slope of the enbour we crawled and waited and watched closure. Sure enough, before long some - but all in vain. The hinds when first deer did come. All at once, like a ghost,
were about three hundred yards a great gaunt hind appeared in the midaway, and busily engaged in feeding up dle of the green — I declare I do not know the side of the gully. The line of this, as whence she came — and up to her, as she it narrowed, and that of the rock-ridge on stood motionless, there glided two other our side, gradually converged, so that phantoms. Three long-legged appariwhen the deer reached a little patch of tions ! sudden, noiseless, and hornless ! green grass, no doubt due to a spring at And here I pause to notice a question the end of the ravine, they were within which I feel sure will be asked : What did easy shot, and our disappointment at there you propose to do, or what would you not being a stag with them was the greater. have done, had one of the spectres not There was no use in disturbing them, but been without horns ? I must decline to the opportunity was good for testing Huy's answer; I am not in any way bound to steadiness; so before quitting our ambush commit myself. For all incidents as set we hoisted the hound up between us on to forth in this article I am responsible, but the rock and let him view the deer. He with those that are purely speculative, fixed them in a moment; his ears cocked, such as might bave occurred, I have nothhis eyes glistened, his lip curled above his ing to do. Need I point out that by a few fangs, the coil of his tail tightened until it strokes of my pen I could convert one of was fit to snap, but he remained perfectly the hinds into a stag, and gain much mute, and never stirred an inch until we credit for chivalrous and sportsmanlike took him down again. The deer did not conduct. The situation would be far notice his grey rigidity. Admirable Huy! more dramatic; the monarch of the glen Once more our consolation under disap- appears at last, the author magnanimously pointment was his excellence as a stalker. spares him! But I am not for the present
And now, after searching the moor care- a writer of fiction. The three unsuspectfully with the glass and finding nothing, ling females — but here I may be wrong,
for one of the trio was only a calf, but let | next farm, Torset, which lies at the narthe point pass — having assured them. rowest point of the sound between Skarsö selves that all was safe, began to feed; and the mainland, has reported that sevand we watched them until it was too dark eral deer, with at least one stag amongst to see the sight of a - I mean the sight them, were seen yesterday in the steep of the innocent creatures in their native woods overhanging the beach. There is freedom; and then prepared to slink out a sæter belonging to that farm, and it is of the back of the premises and be off. probable that the deer will remain someBut some slight sound we made caught where in its vicinity, for the sake of the the quick ear of the old hind, who had feed. The ground I know pretty well, as more than once regarded the cattle-shed in the old days we used to search it for with an air of mistrust, and after a long black-game and caillie ; it is awkward to gaze, which may have revealed to her the hunt, being broken up into very narrow shadowy face of an Englishman looking gorges and dells, divided by very steep through a hole, she trotted slowly to the banks and rocky knolls, all thickly clothed fence, cleared it and vanished. Her with wood, and it is impossible to calculate young companions, no doubt surprised how the wind may be blowing among their at this abrupt and apparently causeless intricacies. But we mean to put our trust exit, and loth to leave their supper, in Huy and do our best; and, in addition, lingered behind, whereat she gave utter- to make a long circuit, including a visit to ance to a series of short barks, which a small lake, celebrated among the natives rang through the wood like pistol-shots, for the number, size, and quality of its and must have told any deer within a mile trout, but in which I have never had the that there was mischief abroad. I can opportunity of casting line. It is the one only say that if- and I lay great stress chance for the angler that our island on the hypothetical particle — if I and affords, for the other tarns are said to be Nils entered that shed with any murder- fishless, and there is not a brook large ous or poacherous intent we amply atoned enough to hold aught but the most dimin. for it during the next two hours, for we utive troutling. To-day I shall at least see last our way in the darkness, foundered the lake, a sight always a gratification in into bogs, tumbled into water-holes, broke itself, and perchance another year I may our shins over boulders, and knocked our manage to visit it earlier in the season with heads against trees, eventually reaching a rod. We must of necessity travel down Kalveland - I must speak for myself, for wind for a long distance, one way or the Nils is always cheery and never tired — other, during the day, and we prefer to in a dilapidated condition of mind and do so at starting, so that while working body.
back towards home we may be sustained But in Norway one soon recovers from by hope to the very finish, and avoid the one's dilapidations. Once more we three despondent weariness and demoralization are starting from the house at Kalveland, apt to be begotten by a long tramp with a bent upon the chase of the stag, and full certainty of failure ; by deliberately play. of fresh hope. The weather and the ing a losing game, by perpetrating a con. wind have changed, and the day is the tinuous blunder, by pursuing of free-will reverse of bright and frosty. It has rained the chase of the phantom wild goose – in all night, as it rained all yesterday, when short, by trying to approach wild creatures the hill was impossible owing to the depse down-wind. mist, and we were compelled to keep to “Nils, we must get a stag to-day.” De. the ground below the cliff, where Huy spite his sanguine nature, Nils replies patiently led us in amongst the grim cautiously : “ I hope we shall, sir. I am shades and piled boulders of that weird afraid there is not a great many of them region, and right up to the lurking place about; but the boy says he is sure there of a huge solitary hind — always a hind! is one or two on Torset.” And then he — who sprang up from her lair on the top goes on to tell me that the man who cuts of a flat ledge, within easy distance and firewood was in the kitchen last night, and with a clatter worthy of a lordly stag. had given him directions how to find a cer. And now the sky is of a uniform dreary tain pass among the crags, used habitually grey, and heavy clouds capping the sum- by the deer, and likely to serve us as a mits of the hill threaten a recurrence of short cut to the higher level of the island. the mist and rain. But still, as I say, we Accordingly, after a time, we discover this set forth full of fresh hope and enthusi- staircase, which, without some guidance
A boy who came over early in the or knowledge of its whereabouts, inight be morning with a supply of eggs from the easily overlooked and passed by. The