This interesting article about past country life in Galloway is taken from the Journal of Agriculture July 1865 to April 1866.


WE are not sure that people in general know exactly what and where Galloway is. Some think it simply an alternative name for Kirkcudbright, others for Wigtownshire, whilst portions of Dumfriesshire are sometimes confounded with it. In ancient days, indeed, when it was a sort of half-independent kingdom, its boundaries were considerably wider than during its modern history, but it still comprises the shire of Wigtown and the Stewartry of Kirkcudbright. It is to the latter of these two counties that for the present we purpose chiefly to call the attention of the reader.

When a great river spreads out into occasional bays, the strong current rushes past, leaving them calm and undisturbed. The landlocked sheets of water are more like lakes than portions of a rapid stream. Galloway, a peninsula forming the south-west angle of Scotland, has been a bay in the river of Scottish life, and the traffic of Britain from north to south has been carried past it. Nobody entered Galloway unless it formed the object of their journey; they sailed past it, drove past it, and more lately swept past it by the railway: neither has it been the theatre of any of the greatest events in the history of Scotland, nor has it the honour of having given birth to any one of those foremost men who have left their footprints deep in the Scottish sands of time; yet has it a story of its own, extremely interesting and in many respects unique; and if it has produced no one great name, warrior, poet, or statesman, there are yet few districts of equal extent which can boast of having given birth to so great a number of men of work. Kirkcudbright is in many respects an epitome of Scotland, comprising within its limits the various characteristics of Caledonia, "brown heath and shaggy wood," mountain, moss, and river, with fertile valleys and cultivated dales. The tourist, the traveller, and the occasional visitor, may see it all, and more, in one widespread and magnificent view. Let him climb to the top of some one of the mountain-heights which shoot up far above the lesser hills, and from its summit he will gaze out upon a panorama as varied and as fair as many scenes more noted among the beautiful of the world, whilst from the absence of any very lofty mountain-ranges the views are peculiarly widespread.

Cairnsmuir, with an altitude of from two to three thousand feet, looks over many counties of Scotland, sees Ailsa Craig and the Isle of Man, the coast of Ireland and the Cumberland hills.

Criffel, though rather less in stature, may claim an equal range; whilst from the tops of Bengairn or Skreel, twin hills in the centre south, you look down upon the whole varied extent of the Stewartry, unrolled before you as in a map; the glittering Dee, like some mighty serpent, winding through the centre of the county, with its mouth drinking in the sea at Kirkcudbright, and its tail, diminishing to a thread, lost among the far-off mountains that stretch into Ayrshire. Looking down upon the " moveless " scene, with all its woods and vales and lochs, one realises the idea in Shelley's ' Cloud,' and gazes upon " the calm rivers, lakes, and seas," as " strips of the sky " which have descended from the blue vault above to rest upon the green earth below. As the county represents something of all the leading characteristics of Scotland, so the men are in many respects good specimens of the hardheaded, plodding, enterprising, obstinate, and successful Scot. This rugged corner of the land has been all too small to hold its active children, many of whom, having left it with light purses, have fought their way to fortune in every quarter of the globe, and have returned, Scotchmen-like, to spend it among their native hills.

During its earlier history, and onward till the middle of the fifteenth century, Galloway was a sort of imperium in imperio, governed by laws of its own, and may be looked on as a very independent dependency of the kingdom of Scotland. Its insubordination culminated in the reign of James II., when the great house of Douglas was able to bring an army of 40,000 men into the field, and when its haughty chief, Archibald the Grim, disputed with his sovereign the lordship of the principality. The ruined castle of Threave, the grandest remnant of other days which remains in Galloway, is no unfitting monument of the strong stern race which held it - a race which, if it ruled the district with an iron rod, kept it at the same time from anarchy and confusion. James II. reduced Threave, after a siege which he conducted in person, in 1455 ; and from that period the quasi independence of Galloway may be said to have ceased.*

* It is an interesting fact that the famous cannon, Mom Meg, was employed in the reduction of Threave; and never has local tradition more triumphantly established a case than that in which Galloway antiquarians claim that the piece was manufactured as well as used near Castle-Douglas. It is shown by many local writers that the cannon was made by a smith of the place, that he received for his success a grant of the neighbouring property of Mollance, and that his wife being called Margaret, the great gun was named after her, " Mollance Meg" - contracted subsequently into Mons Meg. No tradition can be more minute than this description of the birth of the great Scottish cannon; and at the present day the visitor of Edinburgh Castle (in contradiction to the unauthenticated inscription upon the gun-carriage - which, by the way, is itself an anachronism) is given a printed letter of Sir, Walter Scott's, stating his opinion that the case for the Galloway smith was irrefragably proved, and the question of the birthplace set at rest. Alas for a cherished tradition! There has been found in the Edinburgh Register-House a State account of the expenses of conveying the monster gun from Edinburgh to Threave and back, when it knocked down a portion of the gate of Linlithgow in its passage. There is no evidence whatever regarding its construction.

During the troubled reigns of the Stuarts, Galloway was famous in ecclesiastical history, and the transition from Popery to Protestant ism was effected more easily and with fewer incidents than in most districts. The names of Rutherfurd and the Welshes are the most prominent among the famous ministers of Galloway; and it was the chief of the latter, whose wife, a daughter of Knox, made a reply to the king which was at least worthy of her father. Having begged that her aged husband might be allowed to return to Scotland, the king consented on certain conditions; but these conditions were not satisfactory to the wife, who, lifting her apron, said, “Please your majesty, I would rather kep his head there." In literature Galloway can boast of several distinguished sons, though not perhaps of any one very famous name. Dr Alexander Murray, the self-taught son of a shepherd, became the most profound philologist which Scotland ever produced; and he was succeeded in his too brief professorship in Edinburgh by another Galloway man, whose name is perhaps better known, Dr Thomas Brown, the profound teacher of moral philosophy.

In poetry the Stewartry can claim but two names - Alexander Montgomery, who in the exaggerated language of his more ardent admirers was designated Homerus Scoticus; and, in later times, John Lowe, whose fame chiefly rests on the beautiful and well-known song, 'Mary's Dream.' The principal poem of the earlier poet is ' The Cherrie and the Slae,' - a composition which, with more of music than is generally found in contemporary bards, describes with much truth and force the river-scenery of the district. As a celebrity, though certainly not either a clerical or literary one, we may mention a famous Galloway man, John Paul, alias Paul Jones, the pirate.

We have remarked that Galloway is in many respects an epitome of Scotland, and its agricultural history has exhibited on a small scale the same transitions which are still in progress in the highlands, and which have given rise to so much discussion and difference of opinion. Everyone who has shot over its moors or wandered among its glens, must have noticed many traces of cultivation in localities from which the plough has disappeared. On the banks of lonely burns you can trace the foundations of dwellings, and steep hillsides are still ribbed by furrows which have long enjoyed repose. Among the relics of other days which are occasionally rescued from the soil, reaping-hooks of the Bronze age are frequently met with; but though this proves that tillage was general at a remote period, yet there can be no doubt that oxen have always chiefly occupied the attention of the district.*

* Under the ancient Galwegian laws, women were denied the right of inheriting land, or indeed any other property, with what was then, as now, an important exception, that of cattle. Oxen formed the maiden's portion; and the word spré, in Pictish-Irish, denotes at once cattle and dowry.

From time to time, however, the breeding of cattle seems to have received special impulses, and to have made inroads alike on the desert and upon the scattered corn-fields. Symson, the Episcopal minister of the parish of Kirkinner, in his Account of Galloway, published in 1682, says on this subject that "Sir David Dunbar of Baldone hath a park about two miles and a halfe in length and a mile in breadth, whereof is rich and deep valley-ground, and yeelds excellent grass. The park can keep in winter and in summer about two thousand bestiall. This park," he adds, "is the chiefe, yea, I may say the first, and, as it were, the mother of all the rest, Sir David being the first man that brought parks to be in request in this country." He informs us that Sir David's cattle were so large that "in August 1682 nine-and-fifty of that sort were seized upon in England for Irish cattell, and because the person to whom they were intrusted had not witnesses there ready at the time to swear that they were seen calved in Scotland, they were by the sentence of Sir J. L and some others knocked on the head and killed: a very hard measure, and an act unworthy persons of that quality and station." At that period the importation of black cattle from Ireland was strictly prohibited. There were no Gourlay Steells in those times, and we must regret we cannot see the portrait of a Galloway ox of 1682, to discover what Irish breed they so much resembled, and to which they were yet so inferior in size. So recently as the middle of the last century, it is certain that the majority were horned animals ; and the history of the loss, as well as the occasional partial appearance, of these appendages, is a subject that might engage the attention of Mr Darwin, Like the Angus breed, the polled Galloways have been called " dodded" or "humble" cattle; and Dr Johnson, in his famous ' Journey to the Western Isles,' says, " some of the cattle are without horns, called by the Scots humble-cows, as we call a bee a humble-bee that wants a sting."*

* Dr Beattie also suggests this idea, and supposes that the word "humble" signifies inermis - wanting natural weapons; but do all humble-bees want stings?

In Kirkcudbrightshire another inroad seems to have been made by the cattle upon the corn in 1723 ; and no doubt in their immediate consequences these abrupt transitions must have been severely felt by the crofters and small farmers of Galloway, just as the same classes of persons in the Highlands necessarily suffer in the present day. A very interesting letter bearing upon this point, written by John Maxwell, of Munshes, has been published by the Stewartry Agricultural Society.

Mr Maxwell, who died in 1814 at the venerable age of ninety-four, gives a sketch of the social and agricultural conditions of the county as they existed in his early days. Writing in 1811, he says, that though only three years old in 1723, events occurred at that date of which he had a distinct remembrance. " In that same year," he writes, " many of the proprietors enclosed their grounds to stock them with black cattle, and by that means turned out a vast number of tenants at the term of Whitsunday 1723, whereby numbers of them became destitute, and, in consequence, rose in a mob ; when, with pitchforks, gravellocks, and spades, they levelled the park-dikes of Barncailzie and Munshes at Dalbeattie, which I saw with my own eyes. The mob passed by Dalbeattie and Buittle, and did the same on the estates of Netherlaw, Dunrod, &c, and the Laird of Murdoch, then proprietor of Kilwhaneday, who turned out sixteen families at that term. The proprietors rose, with the servants and dependants, to quell this mob, but were not of sufficient force to do it, and were obliged to send for two troops of dragoons from Edinburgh, when, upon their appearing, the mob dispersed. After that, warrants were granted for apprehending many of the tenants and persons concerned in the said mob. Several of them were tried, those who had any funds were fined, some were banished to the plantations, whilst others were imprisoned, and it brought great distress upon this part of the country. At that period justice was not very properly administered; for a respectable man of the name of McClacherty, who lived in Balmaghie parish, was concerned in the mob, and on his being brought to trial, one of the justices admired a handsome Galloway which he rode, and the justice told him, if he would give him the Galloway he would effect his acquittal, which he accordingly did."

The black cattle of Galloway have at all times formed a leading feature in its landscape. At any period of its history were a stranger carried there blindfolded and then allowed to look around him, he would have no difficulty in knowing in what part of the world he was from the appearance of the beasts of the field. They are less stately, less magnificent than the Angusshire oxen, the pride of Aberdeen and northern feeders, and with which Scotch farmers astonished the Parisians at the Great International Exhibition; but they are, perhaps, more characteristic and more distinctly stamped by nature as an original breed than their weightier rivals. The Galloway ox, like a good hunter, is long and low, having a well-rounded body upon short legs. His hair is long, soft, and glossy; the ears are large and shaggy, and well supplied with hair inside, the excellent provision of nature to meet the wetness of the climate.

When slaughtered, the flesh and fat are found distributed in a manner fitted to produce the most satisfactory roasts and rounds. When we thus find that an ox has become historical in a district- indigenous, as it were, to the soil-and that it maintains its ground in spite of increasing intercommunication and the improvement of other breeds, we may be assured that the animal is specially fitted for the locality in which it has so long flourished, and that it must be recommended by good qualities, positive as well as relative. And be it far from us to depreciate the Galloway ox! We are aware that it is something like heresy, in Galloway estimation, to suggest that it in any respect falls short of absolute bovine perfection ; yet " true it is and of verity " that this worthy, ancient, and remarkable animal is not looked upon with favour in any feeding district in Scotland. He is invariably found to be the slowest of all well-bred animals in laying on flesh, and the extra price which he undoubtedly commands when fat, will not compensate for the greater length of keep. Put a lot of Galloways on the same farm with shorthorns, and ask the cattleman in six weeks what is the news of the " courts," and you will have for answer something like this, " Oo, the Englishers is mendin' fine, but they black brites is terrible dour." To all this the Galloway breeder answers, " Why then do the great feeding-districts in the south buy up every ox we have, and would buy twice as many if we had them to sell ? why do we send them in hundreds right off to the extremity of England, to Norfolk and other eastern counties ?" We frankly answer that we cannot tell. Perhaps the southerners wish to top the London markets at Christmas, and do not very minutely reckon up the cost; but it has always struck us as a strange phenomenon, that on road or rail all the black cattle should be going one way, and the white and brown the reverse. The “polls " are whirled southward, whilst the " horned " meet them in the face going to Edinburgh and the north. Like birds of passage, both migrate from the land of their birth to find food during winter, and both by so doing must add considerably to their price. Galloway feeds few of its own oxen, as the entries to the Highland Society's Shows afford convincing proof. To some extent other breeds have in later years obtained a footing in Galloway. Where dairy-farming is practised, Ayrshires have been introduced. A few shorthorns are bred in its most arable districts, whilst on its higher hills, some of which are abundantly covered with grass, that most picturesque of domestic animals-the delight of Rosa Bonheur-the West Highlander, with his gigantic horns and long yellow hair, is preferred as better able to contend with "winter and rough weather." In Wigtownshire, too, induced by apparent cheapness and proximity to the sister isle, Irish cattle have of late years been frequently bought by graziers. This in past times could not be an advantage, but Ireland is so rapidly improving in its cattle that its lean stock is now much more favourably regarded in our markets than formerly.

Galloway once possessed an indigenous breed of sheep, a small white-faced race, which has long since disappeared. The traditional horse, the stout, wiry, active, sure-footed little animal of 14 hands, to which Galloway gave its name, has also, we fear, become extinct, or has at least been so crossed with other breeds as to have lost its distinguishing characteristics. The race who rode them have not, however, yet passed entirely away; and we have the pleasure of knowing at least one venerable agriculturist, who in his early days, mounted on one of these small untiring steeds, rode every year to and from Falkirk Tryst, eighty miles on a stretch.

Shakespeare, who knew everything, knew the worth of a "Galloway." Pistol, like all heroes, was learned in horse-flesh, and after talking contemptuously of “pack-horses, and hollow pampered jades of Asia, which cannot go but thirty miles a-day," exclaims, as if they -were made of other metal, " know we not Galloway nags!"

Mr Macadam, we suspect, extinguished the "Galloway." Good roads enabled heavier horses, fitted for other purposes, to perform the journeys, and hence the peculiar breed gradually disappeared.

Swine have long held a rather prominent place in Galloway stock-farming, and considerable quantities of both pigs and pork are sold in Dumfries and other markets. Improved breeds may have recently found their way into the Stewartry; but if so, it is nevertheless true that the long-legged, lean-looking animal we were once familiar with, lingered in it many years after it had disappeared from most districts of the country. They used to roam over the pastures in herds, rutting up the grass that flocks of geese were rendering foul, and flapping like elephants their great ears, which seemed natural umbrellas provided by nature to keep off the ever-abounding rain.

Of the struggle with soil and climate which every arable farmer in Scotland has to wage, the Galwegian has his full share, and, considering the means at his disposal, he has probably made as much of it as any others of his countrymen would have done. Some farms are as well cultivated as any similar land in any part of the kingdom; but it is at the same time undoubtedly true that there is a great deal of bad farming in Galloway. Signs of want of capital, or of enterprise, or of modern science, meet you at every turn, and, what is worse, many of the farmers seem little disposed to learn. If you venture to suggest an improvement, you probably receive a smile in reply, which says as plainly as words that you had better teach your maternal ancestor the best mode of extracting the yolk of eggs; or you are met by a boast, or the offer of a bet, that they will produce the biggest turnip, the heaviest acre of swedes, the largest crop of oats, or the fattest hog in Scotland This, of course, proves nothing, supposing it to be the case. It is no doubt true that the utmost caution should be exercised by a man who, familiar with the farming of one district, examines the agriculture of another. Local modes and customs are almost sure to have some foundation in the wisdom derived from experience. Many capital Scotch farmers have failed in England by insisting dogmatically on the systems they knew were successful at home. But when you find snipe luxuriating in strips of water between the rows of potatoes, you may perhaps be permitted to say that tile-drains would be an advantage; when you see turnips half choked in sorrel, you may be allowed to suggest lime; and if you observe haycocks black with months of rain, or covered with snow at Christmas, you may be excused were you to ask if there had been no opportunity of carrying them. An almost universal fault is the inadequate number of labourers during harvest. From this single cause Galloway seldom escapes loss; and in wet seasons it is sometimes melancholy to see fine fields of oats sprouting in the rain, which, had there been proper means of carrying it, would have escaped injury. You may ask why such and such a field was not carried a week sooner, and you are told that every man and horse have been worked off their legs; and indeed, during harvest, farmers often carry the corn by moonlight - an amount of activity one observes inculcated in Farmers' Calendars, but which is seldom practised in well-cultivated districts.

In Galloway, a limited number of men and women are engaged for the whole harvest, and this occupies nearly all the labourers in the neighbourhood; and as the farms are small, strangers are not induced by the certainty of employment to come in numbers to the district. Thus the Galloway arable farmer encounters harvest with a supply of labourers not greatly in excess of the usual staff of the farm, and consequently the time occupied in reaping and housing his crop is far too long. And then the wretched arrangements of many of the farm-offices! They are not constructed, it is true, for feeding cattle, but the streams that flow from them, dark as the issue of a peat-bog, are certainly not ornamental, and the mode in which they distribute manure is the reverse of useful.

But the glory of Galloway, at least to the sportsman, was its heathery hillsides, its grouse, and its black game; and, sad to say, it is necessary to speak of these in a great measure as things of the past. Evil days have fallen alike upon heather and upon game. It is within the last fifteen years that this change has taken place, but it has proceeded much more rapidly during the latter half of that period. Formerly the higher districts of Dumfries and Galloway afforded the very perfection of sport, so far as gun and dog can give it. There was nothing of the multitudinous slaughter of the Highlands, but you had enough; and then the bag was generally so agreeably varied! A good day on fair ground might give to one gun eight or ten brace of grouse (fine full-plumaged birds), a brace and a half of old blackcock (splendid fellows), two or three snipe, probably a wild-duck, with an occasional plover or curlew. Game was abundant. You saw grouse or blackcock in numbers by the side of every moorland road you drove along. In hundreds of directions one could have filled a bag without ever leaving a dog-cart, whilst at this day there are not on the same moors a good bag of game altogether. No one cause has produced this melancholy change; it is the result of a combination of circumstances, some of which, we fear, admit of no remedy.

Agricultural improvement, which has banished the grouse from many districts, has not played a very important part in driving the grouse-cock from the Galloway hills. " There is scarcely a breed left on this moor," said an intelligent dweller upon it, whom we chanced to meet last autumn. “And yet," we replied, "it has been let for some years at £70, and used to be full of birds; what has come over it ?" “Englishmen and the heather disease," was the reply. And these, indeed, are two of the chief causes of the decline and fall of Galloway grouse-shooting. Of all the evils the heather disease is the most serious, because the most irremediable; and if on some farms it has given place to grass fit for pasture, on many more it is a loss in an agricultural as well as a sporting point of view. If more local, it is still more inscrutable than the somewhat analogous disease in the larch. It is, we believe, unknown in the Highlands: the heather on the Lammermoor Hills is perfectly healthy, but on thousands and tens of thousands of Galloway acres, and of contiguous counties, the hillsides, that used in August to be all one blaze of glowing purple, are now thinly covered with scrubby half-withered plants, unhealthy, dying, or dead. As a consequence, the birds that fed on the fresh young shoots must disappear with the food that supported them. We can only hope that a plant that must have flourished for untold ages is not suddenly to disappear, and that the everlasting hills are not to lose forever the "purple" with which nature crowned them before there were emperors to wear it. As to the other reason, the meaning of "the Englishmen " is simply that the anxiety of Galloway proprietors to increase their rentals has induced them to let their moors latterly at rents for which the shooting, even in better days, was quite an inadequate return.

Places that no one ever dreamed of seeing occupied by a game tenant - out-of-the-way nooks and isolated farms that seldom saw the smoke of a gun, or that some neighbouring proprietor rented for £5 or £10 just to preserve it - suddenly became worth £50 or £60, Liverpool and Manchester outbidding each other to secure it. Galloway was moved bodily southward when the railways opened, and set down almost alongside of Lancashire. The temptation was too strong, and Galloway killed the goose that had just been discovered to be capable of laying golden eggs. The birds became the objects of a ceaseless persecution, and, as a consequence, those that remained became monstrously wild. But "driving" grouse or blackcock is capital sport. Line a Galloway dyke with three or four guns; have half-a-dozen men to cross the moor so as to send the birds in the required direction: down they come upon you like cannon-balls, right on to death; but the destruction is their own. Who is to blame? Not the men who hire the moor, surely; and as regards those who let it, £50 added to a small income is a sad temptation. In letting a moor, like a farm, it is not prudent always to take the last sixpence that can be got. A moderate rent might permit restrictions as to shooting, and the tenant would be less likely to exhaust the soil-that is to say, clear it of birds. To the two reasons of our friend we shall add two others, which, if not quite so potent, still produce serious effects. These are the discontinuance of a patchy cultivation of oats far up among the glens, and mischievous modes of game-preserving.

As regards the oats, we have already remarked that very recently the last remnants of arable cultivation have disappeared from many of the wilder hillsides; but a dozen years ago, an acre or two of corn were grown on every little farm. These oat stubbles were almost a necessity to the black game, and they were at least great luxuries to the grouse. Morning and evening these small oat-fields were black with birds; and wherever they still exist, there the game (which may almost be said to follow the plough) congregates.

In October, and all through the winter, the grouse of a whole district may be seen gathered at dawn or sunset upon a single strip of stubble, and there they are easily gathered to their fathers by the hand of the fowler. Then Galloway game-preserving, as it has been recently developed, is enough to sweep the remaining grouse from the face of the earth. We have no sympathy with poaching. Your hulking, skulking, sneaking poacher, the fellow that snares and nets, or pots a covey over a wall, who sells the game at half-price at a public-house (where he probably gets drunk, and goes home and beats his wife) - this scoundrel is the nuisance of a country-side; and as for his unconquerable love of sport that we hear about, he has no more of the sportsman in him than the proprietor of a preserve who knocks some cartloads of hares and handfed pheasants on the head, and sells them to the poulterer. Further, many gamekeepers are sensible men, as well as civil and industrious servants, knowing their business and doing it; but there are also too many keepers who are the means of destroying fifty birds for every one they preserve. Let us illustrate our meaning. On reaching, one August, an accustomed Galloway shooting, we were horrified to find the keeper at bitter feud with both the farmer and the shepherd of the place. The man had made a monstrous row about the shepherd's dog chasing a hare; the farmer had supported his man, and the keeper had abused, threatened, and exasperated both. No one cared a farthing whether every hare in the place was killed or not. When shot, they were generally given to the people about; and well-bestowed hares they were, taking a selfishly sporting view of it. Does anyone suppose that the farmer and shepherd were above the weaknesses of human nature ? Were they not likely to identify the game with the gamekeeper? and were they not sure to know the whereabouts of the nests quite as well as he?

In the wide unpeopled wastes of the Highland mountains, where few feet cross the heather save those of keepers and watchers, nests are not in much danger from man ; but in Galloway and the south of Scotland it is quite otherwise. A shepherd, by merely driving a flock of sheep from time to time over likely breeding-ground, would destroy the nests, or, if they cared to find them out, would have little difficulty in doing so. Yet the stupidity of making the men who dwell among the grouse their enemies for the sake of a hare (which, after all, has probably scarcely been frightened), is constantly perpetrated by gamekeepers; and, what is much more inexcusable, the error is not rectified by their masters.

Passing from the subject of game, we may say a very few words on the fera natura of Galloway, in so far as it exhibits any variation from other counties in the south of Scotland, which, as may be imagined, in so narrow a space, is not great. Many birds, however, are scarce in Galloway, which are exceedingly numerous in other districts. The wood-pigeon, for example, though quite a common bird, does not appear in endless clouds, to the dismay of the farmer; nor is he ever obliged to scare wild-geese from his wheat, as in some parts of the east coast. Many of the larger and smaller birds of passage, which are numerous visitors on the east coast, are rare in Kirkcudbright; but, on the other hand, several species are frequently met with which we have not seen elsewhere in Scotland, and which are certainly unknown on the opposite side of the island. Among these we may instance perhaps the most singular-looking bird in Britain, not excepting our odd friend the Tammy Nori, with his Punch-like nose. We allude to the night-jar (Caprimulgus Europueus). These birds may say with the "great twin brithren,"-

“By many names men call us, in many lands we dwell."

Night-jar, dor-hawk, goatsucker, fern-owl, night-hawk, jar-owl, night-crow, churn-owl, wheel-bird, eve-churr, night-churr, puckeridge, the whip-poor-Will of America - these, and many more, are names suggested by the appearance of the bird, its cry or its habits, real or supposed. It is rarely seen by day, lying close in some tuft of grass or fern, but is frequently heard by night as it sweeps about, hunting moths and other insects, and uttering wild cries suggestive of the rush and whirr of wheels spun round by machinery. Prom its vast mouth, and the fact that it is generally found in such rocky places as are assigned to goats, it has been absurdly charged with sucking them, as hedgehogs have been maligned in regard to cows. In appearance one might say it was a cross between an owl and a swallow, and it partakes of the nature of both. Having a very small beak, it seems, when its bill is closed, as if it had no mouth at all; but when it gapes, it looks as if it was all mouth together. We remember our astonishment when, in boyhood, we dropped the first we ever saw, as it rose on the slope of Bengairn. The poor bird was only winged, and, gaping as we took it up, it seemed as if it had swallowed itself, and left nothing but the jaws!

Then, on the coast, there is the red-legged crow, the chough so often mentioned by English writers, but which we never saw in Scotland save in Galloway. There, too, we were made familiar with the large dark-skinned adder, a couple of feet long, and with the more amiable "glow-worm in the grass." Strange to say, there are no squirrels in Galloway, notwithstanding all its wood-a remarkable fact, for which we never heard any explanation suggested.

In conclusion, Galloway seems to us to have in its quite recent history a past and a present as regards its social condition. We lately sketched in this Journal the purely agricultural county of East Lothian, which in many respects is as different from Galloway as it is possible for one Scottish county to be from another; but in no respect is this difference so great as in the character of its inhabitants, and the social position of its classes. East Lothian is occupied by farmers; Galloway is dotted over with proprietors. Four-fifths of East Lothian are owned by some dozen families, several of which never have their foot within its bounds, and most of the rest are only there a small portion of the year. Its higher class forms perhaps the most exclusive society in the world. Between it and the farmers a great gulf is fixed, which the small proprietors and private gentlemen do not bridge over; they belong to neither, are few in number, and, so far as the county is concerned, have scarce any society at all. But in Galloway the men of moderate fortune have it all their own way; and the few grandees must either associate with their neighbours or give up country visits altogether. They have chosen the former. Galloway has in almost every district a pleasant and agreeable society; but since its increased communication with the world at large, it has lost with its isolation some of its hearty simplicity and joyous good-fellowship-has grown a little more stately, reserved, and proper. It used to be a glorious place. People went to each others' houses to enjoy themselves - to eat, drink, and be merry; to dance, flirt, and join in careless converse; nay, even to laugh, not having the fear of Lord Chesterfield before their eyes. Nobody cared who had the best-set-out dinner ; and as to the dreadful anti-prandial drawing-room business, it passed off without any very extreme anguish. The thought of “who was to take down who " did not cost the lady of the house a night's sleep; and as for precedence, if there ever were any rows, they were less formidable than that which Dublin and Edinburgh were recently engaged in. Summer saw fair girls, who in town had been all that was proper and decorous, galloping upon unkempt ponies, “loose flowing robes, and hair as free !" and doing all sorts of things that were wild and natural, though gentle withal. We fear their daughters can now only mount properly appointed horses, with well-trained grooms behind them. All classes seemed merry and good-humoured alike, with an extra relish for fun and jokes, which, one must confess, were sometimes practical ones.

Now the farmers, we suppose, return in these decent days from Dumfries market by rail to Dalbeattie and Castle-Douglas ; but formerly there used to be quite a little Derby-scene every Wednesday evening along the road; and capital roads they make in Galloway. Gigs and dandy-carts made a regular race of it; and apropos of gigs, one may mention as a curious fact in Galloway idiosyncrasy that the whole farming and trading community believed in gigs with the tenacity and exclusiveness of a faith. Long after dogcarts and other conveyances had been found much more serviceable wherever more than two have to travel, Galloway held on to the gig as an Irishman does to his car. But what is more curious still, we never saw a new gig in the Stewartry. It seemed as if the whole old gigs in the three kingdoms (or rather in the two kingdoms, for there are no gigs in Ireland) had congregated in Galloway before finally converting themselves into “sticks and whistles."Or perhaps they never were new; perhaps they were old when they were made, like the pictures, antiques, and ancient coins manufactured in Paris for the virtuoso markets of Europe. Three in a gig-the farmer's wife seated a la unicorn-does not seem the perfection of comfort; but neither horse nor man, the drivers nor the driven, seemed to object to the arrangement; so by all means let there be gigs! The country hacks, too, something between pony and horse, when used in the saddle, were invariably ornamented with that obsolete caudal appendage, the crupper - a disfiguration, we suspect, caused by the big round bellies of the steeds being oftener lined with grass than with oats and hay.

Galloway, if it has not yet drained all its bogs, has the credit of having drained a good many bottles of wine and stiff tumblers of whisky-toddy; and although drinking-bouts such as Burns made famous at Maxwellton have long been numbered with the past, yet we fancy the Stewartry is not now more " addicted to thin potations" than when an honest farmer criticised the beer with which a yeomanry officer treated his troop on the banks of the Dee. “What do you think of the ale?" asked one trooper of another. " Ale !" exclaimed his friend, making a wry face, "I think the maut's been put in at the Brig o' Ken, and ta'en oot at Glenlockar;" but these were primitive times, when maid-servants bargained with their mistresses that they were either to get to Tongland sacrament or Kelton high fair.*

* One of Galloway's "drinking customs " has rather a ludicrous appearance. At auctions of agricultural and other country produce there is really an official who may be styled bottle-holder to the auctioneer. This individual's business is to watch the bidding, bottle in hand, and to rush from place to place across the ring to reward every bidder with a dram.

We don't remember those days ; but when shall we forget the tangled banks of the Urr, with its herling-fishing, its salmon-spearing, its picnics pretending to be bramble or nutting parties, its Toxophilite Society, and its general jollity, which gained for it the name of the "Happy Valley;" and when Kirkpatrick-Durham, in playful raillery, styled itself the " court-end of Galloway " ? *

* This sobriquet has been gravely copied into the Statistical Account of the parish, the writer being apparently in happy ignorance of the self-directed satire of the merry god-fathers and god-mothers.

Our earliest reminiscence of Kirkpatrick-Durham is, however, decidedly solemn and courtly, and we mention it as we can scarce imagine such a circumstance occurring furth of Galloway. A village lad, a rather roving sort of youth, had gone to sea, fallen into bad health, returned home, and died. The villagers assembled at his funeral; but before the company left the house of mourning, a local bard recited to the assembly a poetic effusion, composed for the occasion. We very much regret that this remarkable production has faded to a fragment in our memory, but the following is a specimen of it. The corpse was supposed to be the spokesman, and in complimenting the father we were told:-

“A bounteous edication
He did bestow on me;
And the art of navigation,
For to guide me on the sea."

Every district has an individuality in its dialect.* A practised ear can at once detect a Galloway tongue, with its hard, harsh, guttural intonation, but the pronunciation is far from being peculiarly offensive, and has not the coarseness of East Lothian, the absurdity of Aberdeen, or the mean drawl of Glasgow.

* No district is richer than Galloway in stores of queer, quaint, characteristic stories. There are enough to supply Dean Ramsay with a third series of his Anecdotes, and we have to regret that those he has been furnished with from the Stewartry are few in number, and of those the point of several is entirely lost. The duck story of Watty Dunlop, for example, is sadly defaced. The Dean gives it thus: ". . . While offering up prayer, a peculiar sound was heard to issue from his greatcoat-pocket, which was afterwards discovered to have proceeded from a half-choked duck, which he ' had gotten in a present,' and whose neck he had been squeezing all the time to prevent its crying." Now this is all wrong. The rev. gentleman, riding off from a farm he had visited, a duck in his greatcoat-pocket, which had been presented to him, began an outcry. “Puir thing!" said Watty to the guidwife, " it's just quacking for a neeber." The hint was of course taken, and the opposite pocket supplied with a duck.

Some of the phrases are peculiar. The meaning of “terrible," “horrid," and "shocking," are reversed by the Galloway peasant, and all these adjectives are sometimes applied to describe an acre of good potatoes. Perhaps the most distinctive phrase is that of “sitting." The kettle is “sitting on the fire," the teapot is "sitting on the shelf."

Hamlets are in Kirkcudbright universally called clachans, a word the original meaning of which is a circle of stones consecrated to Druidical worship. This is the more singular that no remains of the Druids can be traced in the county.

But we must bring these desultory notes to a close. In no district of the United Kingdom is it likely that railroads and steam-vessels will work greater changes than in the Stewartry. Much that was pleasing, much that was picturesque, much that was delightful, must disappear; but we have a firm faith, as well as a strong hope, that a large and increasing stream of material prosperity is now beginning to pour into Galloway. Its isolation has already ceased, and it is about to become a highway for trade between Scotland and Ireland; whilst, if the price of grain is to remain permanently so low that its cultivation cannot be carried on at a profit, there is the less to regret in a district which seems to have been designed by nature for the production of beef and mutton and wool.

We now bid Galloway farewell, with a longing, lingering look behind to times and scenes rendered dear by early associations, and by friendships formed in other days, when life was bright and new.