Circumstances occurred at the conclusion of Jock’s sermon that caused the company to break up, but not before a time had been fixed for another meeting. The day fortunately arrived before the storm, and found Mr Cameron, Jock, the Provost, Mr Mac-muckle-o’-little, and ourselves, at Nelly’s at the hour appointed. After partaking of a morning dram we sallied forth to the hill, at the hack of our hostess’ dwelling, determined if pos­sible to reach the top of the Conval before noon, and view the Danish camp there. As our road lay entirely through “game ground,” the conversation naturally turned upon the game-laws, and the alterations that had taken place since the death of the late Earl of Fife ; and it very soon appeared that Mr Cameron held differ­ent opinions on this as, indeed, he did on almost every subject from his companions, for, on the Provost re­marking that he thought the present Earl’s popularity was not likely to be increased by the restrictions and alterations he had made, he burst out into a heat and said—“ What, sir, is a man to consider the protection of his property or the suppression of crime for one single moment in the balance against the fulsome breath of vulgar popularity, or simply because a number of black­ guards and their accomplices, who regard neither moral nor legal restraint, and would wish to go through the world setting both at defiance, raise a hue-and-cry against them, are they to be abandoned or abated from? You may as well say that you ought to leave your henhouse door open for the convenience of the thief, or the farmer his cows without a herd, that any man may go and select and take from them what he thinks proper. No, sir, I think you are very far wrong there. Were I a landed proprietor I would be most severe in causing these laws to be rigidly enforced upon my estates, for I consider them not only absolutely necessary for the protection of property but as even more beneficial in sup­pressing crime, and turning men that otherwise would lead wicked and irregular lives, into industrious and peace­able persons. How many poachers did you ever see or hear of coming to a good end? Scarcely one—that habit once indulged in, seems to break down all moral barriers in a man’s mind, and almost invariably leads him into still deeper crime.”

Tut, Mr Cameron, said Jock, ye’r nae sic a guid reasoner as Mr Mack-muckle-o’-little, for ye’r nae makin’ near sue guid logic. Man, gin ye wid only gang up by to the city o’ Dufftown and hear the callants o’ the instruction Society, they wad lat ye ken how to draw a richt conclusion frae fat they ea’ the premises, which i understand to be the startin’ pint. Ye surely see that there is a muckle difference atween, we sal say, my puckle hens or the Provost’s coos, for ye see they are real property, buyable and saleable, and kenable, costin’ sae muckle to bring them up and keep them, an’ belongin’ till’s until we sell them or gie them awa’ for­ ever they may be ; bit a hare, or a rabbit, or a deer that has never been domesticated may be stan’in’ by a burnie side, an’ be the Duke o’ Richmond’s, an, jist by a single loup o’ his ain free will mak’ himsel’ a cratur o’ Lord Fife’s; and in the coorse o’ a few minutes, gin his Lordship’s pasture doesna please him, consign himsel’ o’er to some ider laird. Sae that I think unless it be to punish them as trespassers, nae logic can mak’ them oot to be one man’s property; an’ I’m thinkin’ gin that theory war to be carried oot, the farmers wad need to be the public prosecutors, for they bae maist cause o’ complaint against them. But it’s nae sae muckle ye’r notions o’ property that I fin’ faut wi’, as wi’ ye’r ideas o’ the game laws hadin’ doon crime Losh, man, until the law made it a crime, there was nae ill in it ava ; and it’s only because the law’s made it ane, that it does a’ the mischief that ye speak o’. For dinna ye see that fin a thing’s caed wrang that’s nae wrang in’t sell, jist to shuit the purse or the capers o’ ony ane, that re­striction, though it may be inforced, canna hae richt weight in mony folk’s een, for it’s nae foon’t on richt but on micht: and fin a man’s conscience tells him he’s nae deein’ wrang, though the law may say it, he winna heed the tyrannical impost very muckle fin ever he can get a chance o’ breakin’t wi’ impunity. There sud be nae legal crime that’s nae a moral wrang, an’ syne the moral barriers, as ye ca’ them, widna be sae muckle broken doon as they are. Though I’m nae jist ane that wad advocate the breakin’ even o’ an unjust Law, yet I man own that little temptation ance on a day wad hae taen me oot wi’ the gun fan I micht hae been better employed. But I got a sattler the last time I was oot, an’ I hinna tried it again.