And so, ae morning, siccan a fright as I got! Twa unlucky red-coats were up for black-fishing, or some siccan ploy for the neb o' them's never out o' mischief and they just got a glisk o' his Honour as he gaed into the wood, and banged aff a gun at him. I out like a jer-falcon, and cried "Wad they shoot an honest woman's poor innocent bairn?"

He was even a kind of favourite with them, and upon the division of a common, or the holding of a black-fishing or poaching court, or any similar occasion when they conceived themselves oppressed by the gentry, they were in the habit of saying to each other, 'Ah, if Ellangowan, honest man, had his ain that his forbears had afore him, he wadna see the puir folk trodden down this gait. Meanwhile, this general good opinion never prevented their taking advantage of him on all possible occasions, turning their cattle into his parks, stealing his wood, shooting his game, and so forth, 'for the Laird, honest man, he'll never find it; he never minds what a puir body does. Pedlars, gipsies, tinkers, vagrants of all descriptions, roosted about his outhouses, or harboured in his kitchen; and the Laird, who was 'nae nice body, but a thorough gossip, like most weak men, found recompense for his hospitality in the pleasure of questioning them on the news of the country side.

He was even a kind of favourite with them, and upon the division of a common, or the holding of a black-fishing, or poaching court, or any similar occasion, when they conceived themselves, oppressed by the gentry, they were in the habit of saying to each other, "Ah, if Ellangowan, honest man, had his ain that his forebears had afore him, he wadna see the puir folk trodden down this gait."

I have known a black-fishing expedition stopped because a "yellow yite," or yellow-hammer, hovered round the gang when they were setting out. Still more ominous was the "peat" when it appeared with one or three companions. An old rhyme about this bird runs "One is joy, two is grief, three's a bridal, four is death."

But, fall back, fall edge, nothing shall induce me to publish what I do not think advantageous to the community, or suppress what is. December 23. To add for this day to the evil thereof, I am obliged to hold a Black-fishing Court at Selkirk.

He was even a kind of favourite with them, and upon the division of a common, or the holding of a black-fishing or poaching court, or any similar occasion when they conceived themselves oppressed by the gentry, they were in the habit of saying to each other, 'Ah, if Ellangowan, honest man, had his ain that his forbears had afore him, he wadna see the puir folk trodden down this gait. Meanwhile, this general good opinion never prevented their taking advantage of him on all possible occasions, turning their cattle into his parks, stealing his wood, shooting his game, and so forth, 'for the Laird, honest man, he'll never find it; he never minds what a puir body does. Pedlars, gipsies, tinkers, vagrants of all descriptions, roosted about his outhouses, or harboured in his kitchen; and the Laird, who was 'nae nice body, but a thorough gossip, like most weak men, found recompense for his hospitality in the pleasure of questioning them on the news of the country side.

And so, ae morning, siccan a fright as I got! Twa unlucky red-coats were up for black-fishing, or some siccan ploy for the neb o' them's never out o' mischief and they just got a glisk o' his Honour as he gaed into the wood, and banged aff a gun at him. I out like a jer-falcon, and cried "Wad they shoot an honest woman's poor innocent bairn?"

He was even a kind of favourite with them, and upon the division of a common, or the holding of a black-fishing or poaching court, or any similar occasion when they conceived themselves oppressed by the gentry, they were in the habit of saying to each other, 'Ah, if Ellangowan, honest man, had his ain that his forbears had afore him, he wadna see the puir folk trodden down this gait. Meanwhile, this general good opinion never prevented their taking advantage of him on all possible occasions, turning their cattle into his parks, stealing his wood, shooting his game, and so forth, 'for the Laird, honest man, he'll never find it; he never minds what a puir body does. Pedlars, gipsies, tinkers, vagrants of all descriptions, roosted about his outhouses, or harboured in his kitchen; and the Laird, who was 'nae nice body, but a thorough gossip, like most weak men, found recompense for his hospitality in the pleasure of questioning them on the news of the country side.

Their great place of congregating is still some country smiddy, which is also their frequent meeting-place when bent on black-fishing. The flare of the black-fisher's torch still attracts salmon to their death in the rivers near Thrums; and you may hear in the glens on a dark night the rattle of the spears on the wet stones. Twenty or thirty years ago, however, the sport was much more common.

And so, ae morning, siccan a fright as I got! Twa unlucky red-coats were up for black-fishing, or some siccan ploy for the neb o' them's never out o' mischief and they just got a glisk o' his Honour as he gaed into the wood, and banged aff a gun at him. I out like a jer-falcon, and cried "Wad they shoot an honest woman's poor innocent bairn?"