176 SHEEP FARMING ON THE BORDER
farm on the Teviot. There they remained for six long weeks, while the ground was caked completely with iceónot a blade of grass or tuft of heather to be seen. They were all, 2,400, fed twice a day by hand on hay. It was curious to see how, when the first breath of ' fresh ' came into the air, all the hill sheep stopped eating, and every nose turned in the direction of home with loud and prolonged ' baas ;' and I do not know whether shepherds or sheep were most delighted to return to their wilds.
"When the joyful day came, it reminded one of the flight out of Egypt to see the long line of sheep and shepherds wending over the hills. Little do our friends, who come to us in summer days, like the swallows, understand how different our winter life is. It has its discomforts, its many anxieties ; but it also brings one face to face with nature in a way which does one good. It is grand to force one's way up the hill after a wild storm, and see the snow piled up and blown into all kinds of queer shapes and caves, till one can believe oneself in the Arctic Circle. It is good to see master, and men, and dogs all working together on the quest for buried sheep, feeling about with long poles in likely places till the dogs come to the rescue and scent out the sheep. If the snow is dry and powdery, sheep can live three weeks easily beneath it; but if it is soft it will very soon smother them; in which case great is the anxiety to get them to the light of day.
Such are some of the not uncommon events of Border lifeónot very remarkable, not very blood-curling; but bringing with them more of hardship than most things in every-day life.