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Only one other element was wanted, -namely, zeal, and this John Rose was deterinined to supply. His début was in a sea-side village, where he got renown by capturing some half-dozen tubs of Scheidam from the fisherwomen and boys, eschewing the Dirk Hatteraiks of the time, though an inward dread of their vengeance induced him in the day of praise for his prowess to throw out a hint that if appointed to a Highland division he would trounce the Rories to some tune. He was taken at his word, and appointed Gauger of Glenazure, the district formerly alluded to, whose Gaugers from their first appointment had always been upon every collecting-day always coming for money, but never bringing any; and there John Rose, quoting his college exercises, prophesied that he would have
“Exegi monumentum ære perennius ;" or, as the learned translate it, would have to boast, on quitting the Highlands in exalted state, that he had
“Eaten a mountain harder than brass."
Glenazure, which was to be the field of John Rose's glory, had long been famous, or infamous if the term is better liked, for the
production and the distribution of whisky, for the quality of which we can vouch, as in the strength of its inspiration we have climbed many a mountain, although we will not certify that Gauger ever said Benedicite, or its opposite, in presence of the still. Situated midway between the two seas, and producing in the sheltered spots most excellent crops of Bere or Bigg, the materiel was thus abundant, there was, as we said, no moral restraint, and the fastnesses of the neighbouring heights were impregnable to all ordinary excisemen. Each end of the strath commanded a market; the sides of it were gauger-proof for their whole length, the upper extremity was nearly the same; residence for such a person within the strath was perilous, and visits from the lower end could not be made unobserved. The length may be some fifteen or twenty miles, and the breadth of the Hat bottom, with a beautiful river twining through its extent, some fifteen or twenty, and not very much elevated above the level of the sea. Its south-western direction opens it to the most powerful influence of the summer's sun, and lofty mountains, some of them full four thousand feet above the tide-way, yet grassy on the very summits, shelter it from the angry north, and give evidence of a climate which, in the summer at least, is not excelled in any part of the island. Then, the immediate banks, varying in height froin five hundred to a thousand feet, composed in one place of wild and beetling precipices, hanging mass over mass, rentinto caves, and festooned with plants upon every little ledge, and in another place rich with verdant copse, interspersed with trees of a larger growth, while between these occurred a steep bank of purple heather and tall fern, with here and there a sloping glade of rich pasture. Then the descent of rills, rivu. lets, and rivers, leaping in cascades or thundering in cataracts from the uplands, especially on the bank exposed to the morning sun, give life and spirit to the whole. Still bevond these an extensive forest of JULY, 1837.
stately pines, furnishing most excellent timber, and glowing in the season with every berry which can refresh the parched lip on a highland height, extends, or did extend, over thousands of acres, and terminates mountain woods in sheep walks of no inconsiderable value.
Such was, and must be still, the character of that part of Scotland in which John Rose the Gauger essayed to vanquish rock and morass and mountain, and men as steeled and as stubbornly true to nature as they. This was, this must still be, the characters of Glenazure, in which during the heat of summer, when the winds of heaven were in deep sleep on the hills, and not even the aspen quivered by the river's brink, the little streamlet, a mighty flood in the autumnal rains, stole gurgling under the verdant copse, until in some sheltered nook a projecting mass of “ the granite of ages” (it is really schistus or gneiss, but never mind) scattered it into ten thousand jets, each broken into an ever-falling chain of pearly drops,
“O, qui me gelidas," &c.,no eye can be upon you here, so strip thee to the simple man, and enjoy nature's own shower-bath, after which you may
the mountain as fleet as the roe. But where is John Rose all this time? Ay“ that's the question, or rather the two questions,” as McGuffog says.
Well, when John Rose came into this Eden of wild nature, the unsuspecting people distilled their whisky at whatever place they found most convenient; and “the auld laird” winked at their doings, and made others wink; for he got larger and better paid rents, and the people were satisfied and so was he. But in the fulness of time, the old laird paid the old debt, the heir was a minor in a distant part of the country, and the estates were under the management of an Edinburgh " doer,” who “did for” the young laird; but the wheel has come full circle, all the “doing gang” are now “done for," and the wind now whistles merrily over many a fair manor of Scotland, where it moaned dismally during that long period when that hopeless end of the island was compelled to build its monument in that den of depravity, the Modern Athens.
Thus unsuspecting and unprotected were the people of Glenazure, when John Rose came upon them like “a thief in the day.” The very first week, he seized half a dozen of stills, took a considerable quantity of whisky, wasted many hogsheads of wash, and burned unmeasured quantities of malt. His fame soon reached his superiors in the excise; and its opposite ran through Glenazure like wildfire.
But this first professional harvest was also the last to John Rose ; for whenever he took his journey along the strath, the warning,
Here's John Rose the Gauger!" was telegraphed before him, and he not only could find nothing to seize, but nobody would supply him with any thing either for love or for money. Thus, on the burning days of a Glenazure summer,—and any one who has felt them can certify to the excess of their temperature above the average of the West Indies,—John Rose had to carry his own flask, and after a panting pull, kneel down at “the fountain of the tuft," or, as the learned may translate the Gaelic, “the well of life," and convert his own stomach into a grog jug; or if he was hungry, and the contents of his “haversack” out, he might follow the old custom, and after “ a drink of the well” take "a bite of the brae.” But John Rose was a man of resource; and when he found that his eyes could guide him to no more seizures, he set about cultivating his nose, which he actually rendered more acute than that of a blood-hound, as he actually practised until he could find a single bottle of whisky concealed in the heather
where within the distance of a mile. This perfection of nose would of course find out a still at five miles; and thus John Rose again entered the glen with a new power of which the people could have no knowledge, and against which they could have no defence.
The first “dead point” which he made, was at the foot of Ess nan Phitheach, one of the most romantic of the water-falls, and one which is defended by the triple array of rifted rock, tangled wood, and falling water. Onward he scrambled upon the slot, and actually saw the blue smoke, and heard the voices of the persons who were engaged in the business of distillation; but there was a curtain of rock overhanging the leap of the fall, which he had to get round upon very narrow and slippery footing. No matter, at that time, when the hope of the Scottish exchequer, now wisely abolished, was bright in the mind's eye, the aspirant would dare mony things. So, grasping the rock, John Rose attempted to swing round, but his foot slipped, and he was at the bottom of the fall in an instant,
bathed supra atque infra to his heart's content and a little beyond. The depth of water saved him from any thing harder than his own bones, and he at the same time rose buoyant, in consequence of that beautiful law of nature which ordains that that which has an inherent impulse to rise upwards can never sink downwards. John Rose “rowed his state with oary feet” to the most convenient bank of the pool; the sun soon dried him; and he reached his abode silent as to the result of his adventure. Finding that he was so hopeless on the left bank of the river, it struck John Rose that by "going to the right” he at least should not "go wrong.” Wherefore, he saddled him," not his “ass” but his pony, and forth he fared to the elevated moors on the other side. There his nose caught the gale in very brief time, and he was onward upon the scent of a still and “no mistake.” But upland moors are treacherous places, where rains are frequent and heavy, and there is no drainage save by evaporation through the air of lieaven. But John was above thinking of such matters, and so he dodged along until he saw, or thought he saw, the blue smoke of distillation curling from behind a little clump of stunted birch trees on the opposite height. Then, onward he spurred or kicked (for the mode is not registered) his piece of cattle, till at one step it sunk belly-deep and was quite inextricable; and John Rose alighting was soon up to the cleft in the same mire, and quite as fast and sure as the pony. The people of Glenazure had compassion upon both man and beast; and so John and his pony were speedily delivered from the mire by men that came he knew not from whence, who, having conducted him to another part of the hill, left him and went he knew not whither.
Being again mounted, he rode this way and that way, carefully avoiding every appearance of a bog until the day, which was none of the shortest, wore to its close, and the last long shadow of the peak was unseen upon the moor; still he rode, and rode gallantly, till he came to a well head, which he deemed might be unsafe footing for his beast. There was kindly herbage there however, and he left it to refresh its stomach, while he proceeded upon the scent of illicit distillation which had again saluted his well-tutored nose. There was no air stirring, and so he could not judge whether the odour came from any one point of the compass or from all points at once, so he beat about upon the increasing odour, till the earth gave way under him, and he was precipitated headlong into its bowels before he could recover his astonishment, the gripe of a giant was upon
his collar, a terrible visage, even the description of which any single language would have broken down, and of which it can only be said, in the Cerberian strength of the language of Drummond, " In faciam girnavit atrox," and the voice of a Stentor thundered through both ears to the innermost fastness of his redoubtable cranium, "Are you Shone Rose t'a gaager ?” John stared wildly round: the place was a Pandemonium, the smoke almost solid, the inmates of no earthly type; and it wanted only a little imagination to make John Rose fancy that he had fallen farther than living man could fall. But the hope of the commissionership came strongly to his aid, and he faltered out “Ye-es” “Tit any boty saw you come in?” “N-00.” "T'en tam t'a one shall saw you go out;" and with that the lurid glare of the whisky-making fire burned on the blade of a skein dhu, and the spirit of John Rose the Gauger fainted within him, while his carcase sunk endlong on the floor.
When he came to his recollection, or, to speak more correctly, when his recollection came to him, he found his wife busy in extricating him from a sack into which he had been put by the men of the moor, and carried home on the back of his own pony, which was standing by, washed from the contamination of the bog, and as mild as a lamb. He felt his head, it was still on his shoulders; his skin too was scratch-free; and death had again got the “ go-by;" but with all this good fortune John Rose had inward bodings, that never again could he hunt for stills on the moors of Glenazure. But fortune, good or bad, “never rains but it pours,” an early hour of the day brought a letter, which, after sundry complimental expressions, contained these words : “ Would the zealous and faithful servant of Our Sovereign Lord, the King, exchange to the extreme west of the Scottish mainland ?” He was delighted, at once agreed, and in less than a week he was journeying to his new locality, to the great joy of the folks of Glenazure and of himself.
In those days there was a certain lugger-rigged vessel, which visited the Hebrides, and lone parts of the west coast of the Highlands every summer. It was called An Torc, the hog, because it rode gunwale in, and the deck bristled as for battle. The commander was Dhomuil Spaignach, of whom there is a tale worth telling; and he came from Jersey, but somehow or other the embouchure of the Loire was always in his way, and he lost his cargo of pea-jackets and night-caps, and replaced it with Nantes, Bourdeaux, and sundry other matters, choke up to the beams of Au Torc. There was a revenue cutter in those seas; but it was a kindly cutter. Old Bunting, as he was called, stood by the glass; and having looked starboard till he knew what was what, he gave the word, “Run up the bunting ;” then he looked larboard and after a while the word was given, “ A strange sail on the lee-bow, bear away." The helm was down in an instant, and the wind was not hauled till the longitude and nearly the latitude of Ireland was made. Meanwhile An Torc did not lie like a log; Dhomuil knew the bunting and what to do. We have tasted the Nantes and Bourdeaux in the house of-Non mi ricordo, Deputy Lieutenant, and Captain and Adjutant of the local troops ; and they were excellent, and no question asked. Commodore Bunting never got a second sight of the sail on the lee-bow, and as little did he ever see An Torc, when he again made the land ; but he always had his grog, and a bottle of good claret for a friend.
This had gone on for many years; and as the cutter had been able to do nothing on the high seas, it was resolved to “ tackle” An Torc, when high and dry on the beach; and the extreme west point was the chosen spot, and John Rose the chosen man,
A brother officer was appointed to assist John Rose, and the local militia were instructed to support the Gaugers in case of need, a work to which the militia had not the best will in the world. All were in readiness for the seizure; but the scouts reported that An Torc was "floating with all ready, and the wind fair, and would to a certainty be off on the least display of a martial array." Canute the Great could not stop the flow of the tide, and how could John Rose roll back the flood ? There was nothing for it but to wait the movement of the moon; and thus the militia were ordered to pile arms and wait behind a copse until the concerted signal should rouse them to arms and to their mettle. This being duly arranged, John Rose and his companion set out to reconnoitre An Torc, quite sure that they would be, as the scouts had assured them, received as friendly visitors.
Their reception confirmed this: the plank was laid for them; Dho. muil himself handed them over the rails; and the “ running” of the cargo went on the same as if there had not been a Gauger or a local militia-man in Argyllshire.
John Rose outwardly admired all that he saw, and was inwardly making his inventory. There was a pretty little cask slung abaft the mast, with a silver crane in the end, and a little silver jug suspended by a chain of the same. “What could be in that little cask ?" The means of knowing stared them in the face; and by some magic, a camp-stool touched each of the Gaugers behind. The flexures of their bodies obeyed the gentle invitations; and John Rose instinctively took the jug, turned the crane, and out flowed the contents of the little cask. Smack went the lips of John Rose, and smack went the lips of his companion, again and again, and yet again-and another time,-for in such cases arithmetic is out of the question. Their valour rose. Seize An Torc! hey for the signal. Alas! their heels rose, but not their heads ; they were "oblivious," " and carried below. Presto! the last tub was run, the tide rose, the land breeze