The Project Gutenberg eBook of The Celtic Magazine, Vol. I, No. VI, April 1876

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Title: The Celtic Magazine, Vol. I, No. VI, April 1876

Author: Various

Editor: Alexander Macbain

Alexander Macgregor

Alexander Mackenzie

Release date: July 24, 2012 [eBook #40323]

Language: English

Credits: Produced by Tamise Totterdell, Margo von Romberg and the
Online Distributed Proofreading Team at
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[Pg 163]


No. VI. APRIL 1876.



Stair meanwhile had made up his mind, and through his influence the certificate of MacIan having signed his allegiance was suppressed, and on the 11th of January, and afterwards on the 16th, instructions signed and countersigned by the King came forth in which the inhabitants of Glencoe were expressly exempted from the pardon given to the other clans, and extreme measures ordered against them. A letter was sent by Lord Stair to Colonel Hill commanding him to execute the purposes of the Government, but he showed such reluctance that the commission was given to one Colonel Hamilton instead, who had no scruples. He was ordered to take a detachment of 120 men, chiefly belonging to a clan regiment levied by Argyle, and consequently animated by bitter feudal animosity towards the Macdonalds.

Towards the close of January a company of armed Highlanders appear wending their way toward the opening of the Valley of Glencoe. The Macdonalds, fearing they have come for their arms, send them away to a place of concealment, and then came forth to meet the strangers. They find it is a party of Argyle's soldiers, commanded by Captain Campbell of Glenlyon, whose niece (a sister by the way of Rob Roy) is married to Alastair Macdonald, one of MacIan's sons. They ask if they have come as friends or foes. They reply, as friends, but as the garrison at Fort-William is crowded they had been sent to quarter themselves for a few days at Glencoe. They are received with open arms, feuds are forgotten, and for a fortnight all is harmony and even hilarity in the hamlet.

Loud in all the clustering cottages
Rose sounds of melody and voice of mirth;
The measured madness of the dance is there,
And the wild rapture of the feast of shells.
Warm hands are clasped to hands that firm reply,
And friendship glows and brightens into love.

Thus for a fortnight matters go on, when on the 1st of February orders are issued by Hamilton to his subordinate, Major Duncanson, fixing five o'clock next morning for the slaughter of all the Macdonalds under seventy, and enjoining the various detachments of men to be at their posts by that hour to secure the passes of the glen that not one of the doomed race might escape. Especial care was to be taken that the old[Pg 164] fox and his cubs should not escape, and that (what cool but hellish words), "that the Government was not to be troubled with prisoners." These fell orders Duncanson handed on to Glenlyon, who gladly received and proceeded to carry them into execution with prompt and portentous fidelity.

With such injunctions in his pocket, Glenlyon proceeded to act the Judas part with consummate skill. He supped and played at cards, on the evening of the 12th, with John and Alexander Macdonald—two of his intended victims; and he and his lieutenant (Lindsay) accepted an invitation to dine with old MacIan for the next day. At five o'clock on the morning of the 13th Hamilton hoped to have secured all the eastern passes to prevent the escape of any fugitives, but, at all events, then must Glenlyon begin his work of death.

All now is silent over the devoted hamlet. All are sleeping with the exception of the two sons of MacIan, who had been led to entertain some suspicions that all was not right. They had observed that the sentinels had been doubled and the guard increased. Some of the soldiers too had been heard muttering their dislike to the treacherous task to which they had been commissioned. The Macdonalds, in alarm, came to Glenlyon's quarters a little after midnight, and found him preparing, along with his men, for immediate service. They asked him what was the meaning of all this, and he, with dauntless effrontery, replied that he and his men were intending an expedition against Glengarry, and added, "If anything had been intended do you think I would not have told Alastair here and my niece." The young men are only half satisfied, but return, although grumblingly, to their own dwellings.

Over the valley, meanwhile, a snowstorm has begun to fall, but does not come to its full height till farther on in the morning. The voice of the Cona is choked in ice. The great heights behind the Sinai of Scotland are silent, they have no thunders to forewarn, no lightnings to avenge. MacIan himself is sleeping the deep sleep of innocence and security. The fatigues and miseries of his journey to Fort-William and Inverary all forgotten. Is there no wail of ghost, no cry of spirit coronach, none of those earnest whispers which have been heard among the hills at dead of night, and piercing the darkness with prophecies of fate? We know not, and had there been such warning sounds they had given their oracle in vain.

Suddenly, at five precisely, a knock is heard at MacIan's door. It is opened immediately, and the old man bustles up to dress himself, and to order refreshments for his visitors. Look at him as he stands at the threshold of his door, clad in nothing but his shirt, and his long grey hair, with looks of friendship and a cup of welcome trembling in his old hand; and see his wife has half risen behind him to salute the incomers. Without a moment's warning, without a preliminary word, he is shot dead and falls back into her arms. She is next assailed, stript naked, the gold rings, from her fingers torn off by the teeth of the soldiers, and then she is struck and trampled on till she is left for dead on the ground, and next day actually dies. All the clansmen and servants in the same house are massacred, all save one, an old domestic and a sennachie.[Pg 165] He has been unable to sleep all night with melancholy thoughts, and falling into a deep sleep ere morning is roused by a horrible dream, leaves the hamlet, dashes through the door, dirks in vain striking at his shadow, and hands trying in vain to seize his plaid, he runs to the hut where the two brothers are lying and cries out, like screams of Banshie through the night, "Is it time for you to be sleeping while your father is murdered on his own hearth?"

They arise in haste, make for the mountains, and by their knowledge of the dark and devious paths through that horrible wilderness, are enabled to escape. From every house and hut there now rise shrieks, shouts, groans, and blasphemies, the roar of muskets, the cries of men, women, and children blended into one harmony of hell! The snow is now falling thick, and is darkening more the dark February morning. Led through the gloom, as if following the lurid eyes of some demoniac being, the soldiers find their way from house to house, from one cluster of cottages to another, rush in, seize their victims, drag them out, and shoot them dead. In Glenlyon's own quarters nine men, including his own landlord, are bound and shot, one of them with General Hill's passport in his pocket. A boy of twelve clings to Glenlyon's knees asking for mercy and offering to be his servant for life, when one Drummond stabbed him with his dirk as he was uttering a prayer by which even Glenlyon was affected. At Auchnain, a hamlet up the glen, Sergeant Barbour and his troops came upon a party of nine men sitting round a fire, and slew eight of them. The owner of the house in which Barbour had been quartered was not hurt, and requested to die in the open air. "For your bread which we have ate," said the Sergeant, "I will grant your request." He was taken out accordingly, but while the soldiers were presenting their muskets he threw his plaid over their faces, broke away and escaped up the valley.

Thirty-eight persons in all, including one or two women and a little boy, were put to death, but, besides, many who are supposed to have perished in the drifts. The murderers, after massacring the inmates, set the dwellings on fire; and how ghastly and lurid, especially to those who had escaped up the glen, perhaps as far as those mountains called the Three Sisters, bound to-day together by a band of virgin snow, must have seemed the effect of the flames flashing against the white of the hills, and which they knew were fed and fattened by the blood of their kindred! Many fled half naked into the storm, and through profound wreaths of snow, and over savage precipices, reached places of safety. The snow now avails more to save than to destroy since on account of it, Hamilton with his 400 men was too late to stop the eastern passes through which many made their escape. Had he come up in time every soul had perished. When he arrived at eleven there was not a Macdonald alive in the glen except one old man of eighty, whose worm-like writhings prove him still alive—

One stab, one groan, and the tremendous deed
Of massacre is done, at which the heath
Which waves o'er all the Highland hills shall blush,
And torrents wail for ages, ghosts shall shriek,
Hell tremble through its dayless depths, and Heaven
Weep, and while weeping grasp its thunderbolts.
Beware Glenlyon's blood at you they're armed!
Beware the curse of God and of Glencoe!

[Pg 166] The allusion in this last line is to a story told by Stewart of Garth in his "History of the Highland Regiments," and on which a ballad by a deceased poet, B. Symmons, an Irishman of great genius, was founded, and appeared originally in Blackwood's Magazine. There was a brave officer, Colonel Campbell of Glenlyon, the grandson of the ruffian who disgraced the Campbell name and human nature at Glencoe. A curse was supposed to rest upon the family, and the lands of Glenlyon departed rood by rood from his descendants. The grandson, however, was brought up by a pious mother, entered the army, and became a prosperous officer. He was pursuing his profession in Canada when a romantic circumstance occurred. A young man named Ronald Blair, a private of excellent character and true courage, was stationed as a sentinel on an outpost. He loved an Indian maid who came eve after eve to meet him at his post, steering up the St Lawrence her lonely canoe. One night as she left him a storm raged on the waters and exposed her and her bark to imminent jeopardy. She shrieked out her lover's name, and called for help.

The waves have swamped her little boat,
She sinks before his eye,
And he must keep his dangerous post,
And leave her there to die.
One moment's dreadful strife—love wins,
He plunges in the water,
The moon is out, his strokes are stout,
The swimmer's arm has caught her,
And back he bears with gasping heart
The forest's matchless daughter.

Meanwhile the picket pass and find his post deserted, and, of course, his life forfeited. He is condemned to die, and Colonel Campbell is appointed to superintend his execution. The circumstances transpire. A reprieve is sent by the commanding officer with secret orders, however, that the sentence be pushed on to all but the last, and not till the prisoner's prayers are over, and the death fillet bound, is the pardon to be produced.

The morrow came, the evening sun
Was sinking red and cold,
When Ronald Blair a league from camp
Was led erect and bold,
To die a soldier's death, while low
The funeral drum was rolled.

The musketeers advance to ask the signal when they are to shoot, Campbell tells them, "Reserve your fire till I produce this blue handkerchief." The prayer is said, the eyes are bound, the doomed soldier kneels. There is such a silence that a tear might have been heard falling to the ground. Campbell's heart beats high with joy and fear to think that by drawing out the pardon in his pocket he is to turn despair into delight. He keeps his hand a moment longer on the reprieve, and then draws it forth, but with it drew—O God, the handkerchief; the soldiers fire, Ronald Blair falls, and his Indian maid is found clasping his dead body to her breast and dying by his side, and the frenzied Colonel exclaims—"The Curse of Heaven and of Glencoe is here."

The troops left the glen with a vast booty—900 kine, 200 ponies, and many sheep and goats. When they had departed the Macdonalds crept[Pg 167] from their lurking places, went back to the spot, collected the scorched carcasses from among the ruins, and buried them there. It is said that the Bard of the Clan took his place on a rock opposite the scene of the massacre and poured out a lament over his slaughtered kinsmen and their desolate dwellings. The subject had been worthy of an Ossian. The scene there is now changed. A house or two only remains where smoked hundreds of happy hearths. The thistle and the wild myrtle shake their heads in the winds, and utter their low monody which mingles with, and is swelled by the voice of the Cona, all seeming to mourn over crime, and to pronounce for doom. Yet let our conclusion be that of the Judge of the earth Himself when he says vengeance is mine, I will repay, saith the Lord, and who mixes mercy with judgment, and makes the wrath of man to praise him in pardon as well as by punishment. Yet this stupendous crime was not to pass wholly unpunished. It was a considerable time ere its particulars and aggravations were fully known. Conceive such an atrocious massacre perpetrated now! In less than seven days there would be a cry of vengeance from the Land's End to Caithness. Within a fortnight demands for the blood of the murderers would be coming in from every part of the British dominions. In a month the ringleaders would have been tried, condemned, and hanged, and even Mr Bruce, the late lenient Secretary of State, would not venture to reprieve one of them. It was different then. Not a word of it appeared in the meagre newspapers of that day. Floating rumours there were, but they were all, in many particular points, wide of the mark, and it was long ere the particulars condensed into the tragic and terrible tale which is certainly stranger than fiction. Very little interest was then felt in Highlands feuds, and as Macaulay truly says, "To the Londoner of those days Appin was what Caffrarra or Borneo is to us. He was not more moved by hearing that some Highland thieves had been surprised and killed, than we are by hearing that a band of Amakosah cattle-stealers had been cut off, or that a barkful of Malay pirates had been sunk." Gradually, however, the dark truth came out, and orbed itself into that blood-red unity of horror, which has since made the firmest nerves to tremble, and the stoutest knees to shake, which has haunted dreams, inspired poetry, created new and ghastly shapes of superstition, and which, even yet, as the solitary traveller is plodding his way amidst the shadows of an autumn evening, or under the shivering stars of a winter night, can drench the skin and curdle the blood. No wonder though the actors in the tragedy felt, in their dire experience afterwards, that the infatuation of crime dissolves the moment it is perpetrated; that Breadalbane sought the sons of the murdered MacIan to gain impunity for himself by signing a document declaring him guiltless; that Glencoe haunted the couch and clouded the countenance, and shortened the days of Glenlyon. Hamilton apparently felt no remorse, and his only regret was that any had escaped, and that a colossal crime had been truncated by some colossal blunders. He might have said like the Templar in the Talisman, when some one tells him to tremble, "I cannot if I would." And yet as God comes often to men without bell, so there might be some secret passage through which, on noiseless footsteps, remorse might reach even the sullen chamber of his hardened heart.

[Pg 168] Many lessons might be derived from the whole story, none, after all, more obvious and none more useful than the old old story of the desperate wickedness of human nature when unpenetrated by brotherly and Christian feeling; and that he who has sounded the ocean, the grave, the deepest and the darkest mountain cavern has yet a deeper deep to fathom in the abyss of his own heart; and that the moral of the subject may be yet more briefly condensed in the one grand line which Shelley has borrowed from Burke:—

"To fear ourselves and love all human kind."


Professorship of Celtic at Oxford.—In a congregation held on Tuesday, March 7th, a form of statute was promulgated to provide for the establishment of a Professor of the Celtic languages and literature in this University. The Principal and Fellows of Jesus College have offered the sum of £500 annually, to be applied by the University for the foundation of the professorship, and a further sum of £100 is to be paid from the University chest, until an equivalent provision is made from some other source. The statute also provides for the constitution of a board for electing the professor. Such professor will be required to reside within the precincts of the University for six months at least, in each year, between the tenth day of October and the first of July next following. The professor must apply himself to the study of the Celtic languages, literature, and antiquities, and give lectures on those subjects, and also give instruction on the same subject to members of the University. He is not to hold any other professorship or public readership in the University. Matters are looking up for the Celtic languages at last; thanks to the redoubted Professor Blackie. Two Celtic Professorships are now practically established. We understand that Charles Mackay, LL.D., F.S.A., the well-known poet, and Celtic scholar, is a candidate for the Chair.

The Prophecies of Coinneach Odhar Fiosaiche—The Brahan Seer.—John Noble, bookseller, Inverness, is about to publish those "Prophecies" in small book form, collected and edited by Alex. Mackenzie of the Celtic Magazine. Some very remarkable instances of second sight by others than Coinneach Odhar will also be given. Parties forwarding any prophecies in their possession, or known in their district, to Mr Noble, or to Mr Mackenzie, will be conferring a favour, and will receive due acknowledgment. It is desirable to make the work as complete as possible.

[Pg 169]


This is a question which has for some time engaged the earnest consideration of many who are interested in the welfare of the Highlands. Much has been said and written on the subject; on the one hand by those who wish to see the language of the inhabitants excluded from the schools—nay more, use every means at their command, by word and deed, to extinguish it altogether. They argue that it is better we should only possess one living language throughout the whole country, and that, of course, the language of the Legislature, the Courts of Justice, and of Commerce. No doubt a good deal can be said for this view of the case, and we shall have something to say regarding it hereafter. On the other hand, we have those who would have the language cultivated, supported, and maintained as an active living tongue, spoken by the Highlander and used in the common conversation and business of life; and with that object have it taught in our schools just as we teach English. Others do not exactly go that length. They wish it taught as a Special Subject only, in the same way, on the same principle, and with the same encouragement to schoolmasters and pupils that is given in the case of Latin and Greek, French and German. And last of all, we have those who only go the length of advocating its use for conveying information to Gaelic-speaking children regarding what they read in their English class-books—making it the medium by which the intelligence of the pupil is appealed to, and so enable him the more easily and speedily to understand and grasp the substance of his lessons in English, a language which is to him as much a foreign one as Sanscrit or Hindustani.

On the present occasion we shall refer more particularly to the latter—those who wish to give Gaelic the dignity of being taught as a Special Subject, and those who only wish it applied as a means with which to reach the intelligence of the child while receiving an English education. We will admit at the outset, that the primary object of education in the Highlands, as well as elsewhere, must be to fit the children for the active duties of after life. We will also admit that a Gaelic education, however perfect, is not enough for this purpose. If this be so—and no writer possessed of ordinary common sense can reasonably dispute it—the teaching of Gaelic in our Highland schools can be discussed only as a question of secondary importance; unless we can show that it is through the native language of the scholars that we can best appeal to their intelligence; and, that while giving Gaelic its proper place in our system of Highland education, we can also show that we are taking a more direct and more natural course, in the end, to secure a more intelligent and vastly superior English education.

No one approaching the subject with an unprejudiced mind, after giving the smallest consideration to the subject, can maintain that a system which wholly ignores the only language known to the child when he enters school for the first time, can be either a sensible, a reasonable, or a[Pg 170] successful one. It is doubtful if ever such a system was adopted anywhere else, at home or abroad, out of the Highlands of Scotland, and the Gaelic-speaking districts of Ireland; but whether, or not, it was ever adopted in the past we are unable, at the present day, to discover any trace of such an unnatural, senseless, and, we might say without exaggeration, idiotic system in any other part of the world. The disadvantages of such a plan of teaching are so apparent to every one except those teachers and their friends, who are totally ignorant of the language of the children they are so well paid to teach and who, from the manner in which they disregard the necessities of children in Highland districts, must, we are afraid, be held to place their own interests and that of their class far above the requirements of the country; forgetting that the Legislature passed the Education Act not so much in the interest of teachers as with the view to secure a really substantial education to the pupils. We much regret that there should be any necessity to point this out, as the interest of both teachers and children should be identical; but this clearly cannot be, so long as teachers maintain and advocate a system contrary to reason and common sense, and opposed to every system of education throughout the civilized world; and, indeed, quite the reverse of what they do themselves in the case of all other languages taught by them, except that of English to Gaelic-speaking children. When the pupil is sufficiently advanced in English to justify the teacher in taking up any of the Special Subjects, does he, for instance, while teaching Latin or Greek, French or German, begin by throwing aside the knowledge of English already acquired by his pupil, and commence to teach these foreign languages in the same way adopted by him in teaching the child English—a language quite as foreign to him as Latin or Greek, French or German? Does he begin with a Latin spelling book without any translations in English and teach him these languages on the same parrot system by which he managed to get him to pronounce and read English, in most cases without ever having carried with him the intelligence of his pupils? Not he. He knows better. If he were foolish enough to teach Latin and other foreign languages in such a way, he would soon discover that his labours were mainly thrown away, and that he would earn few special grants by the time his pupils left him. If it be so very absurd to teach all other languages, on such a false and ruinous plan, upon what reasonable grounds can the system be maintained in the case of teaching English to a Gaelic-speaking child? We are afraid the only valid reason which can be given is,—that our teachers are, as a rule, quite ignorant of Gaelic, and unable to teach it; and forsooth! the interests of the rising Gaelic-speaking generation are to be sacrificed to suit the convenience of those paid officials who are quite unsuitable, and who should never have been appointed to teach Highland children until they had acquired a knowledge of the language; any more than we would think of engaging a teacher innocent of any knowledge of English to teach foreign languages to a child born and bred in the Midland Counties of England. Would any one in his senses ever think or dream of such a proposal? and yet this is what some people maintain to be the correct thing to do in the Highlands of Scotland.

[Pg 171] Government has already admitted and provided in the Code for testing the intelligence of the children through their native tongue; but this concession is quite useless where the teacher is ignorant of Gaelic, and worse than useless where the examining inspector is positively unable to test them as provided for by the Education Department. Would it not have been better still had it made provision to reach and rouse the intelligence through, and by means of it. The Legislature has also made other special provisions for the peculiar situation and educational requirements of the Highlands, and we feel sure, if it can be shown to be a necessity, that the Education Department will also alter the Code so as to put teachers who may possibly be kept back a little in the first two standards, in consequence of any time that may be lost in teaching Gaelic, in a more favourable position, and so enable them to draw the same grant as if they devoted their whole time to the exclusive teaching of English. We feel sure that no one whose opinion is worthy of the slightest consideration, will, for a moment, attempt to argue against a system of teaching children through the only language which they understand.

To teach thus, successfully, it would be best to adopt class books and grammars in the earlier stages, in both languages, as is done elsewhere, in every case where a foreign language is taught. These might be given up, when the pupil arrived at the third standard. After this he could pick up all the requisite knowledge of Gaelic with little difficulty; for be it observed, we are at present only advocating the use of Gaelic as a medium for imparting a sound and intelligent English education. We are happy to know that it is still the practice, particularly in those districts where a snobbish aping of Cockneyism has yet failed to overpower and crush out the old devotional spirit of the Gael, for the parents to conduct family worship, at least twice a day, by the reading of a Chapter and a Psalm out of the Gaelic Bible, while the children, who come to the age of discretion, have to follow the reader in their Gaelic Bibles, and thus they soon learn to read Gaelic perfectly. We think it, therefore, quite unnecessary to teach Gaelic beyond the stage at which it fails to be useful in helping to a better and more intelligent understanding of their English class-books, except to those who are to become ministers or schoolmasters; when the teacher, in the case of smart boys, should be encouraged to take it up and teach it as a Special Subject.

We fully appreciate, and make allowance for, the difficulty to be overcome in providing a special set of Gaelic and English elementary school-books specially suited for the Highlands, and would be disposed to forego the unquestionable advantages derivable from them were we satisfied that the teachers were capable and willing to make up to some extent for the defect by fully explaining the meaning of the elementary English lessons to the children through their mother tongue; and then teach Gaelic as a Special Subject in the more advanced standards to those who intended to continue their education with the view of following any of the learned professions. We had ample and conclusive proof that Gaelic reading can be acquired by Gaelic-speaking children in a very short time. Not long ago the Gaelic Society of Inverness offered prizes in the Parish of Gairloch to the best Gaelic scholars; for the best reading, the best spelling, and[Pg 172] the best translations from Gaelic into English, and from English into Gaelic. We were informed by some of the teachers that before these prizes were offered they never taught Gaelic to the children; and even when they decided to compete, only taught it privately after ordinary school hours. The progress made, as exhibited by the examination was, on such short notice, really marvellous. The reading and spelling were almost perfect, and the translations were such that we believe translations from English to Latin and Greek, or vice versâ, of equal faithfulness would secure a bursary in some of our Universities. We are writing from actual experience, having taken a part in the examination; and one single fact of this kind ought to have more weight in argument than all the theories which those who are ignorant of the facts can propound.

We have repeatedly heard and seen objections made that a Gaelic education was calculated to hinder the Gaelic-speaking child in his progress in English, and that he could not overcome the difficulty of acquiring a correct English pronunciation with the same ease and facility as if first taught to read it. We have even heard it stated seriously that a Highlander who read and wrote Gaelic could never be a good English writer, and were challenged to prove the contrary.

When we first went to school we knew not a single word of English. We attended one where it was the rule that no English was to be taught until we were able to read the Gaelic Testament, after which we had to translate our Bible lesson on alternate mornings from English into Gaelic, and from Gaelic into English. There were eight or nine other schools in the Parish, in one only—the girls' school—in which the same rule was applied. We had an excellent teacher who taught Latin and Greek (and we think, in one instance, Hebrew) to the more advanced pupils. We have made enquiries as to the result, and find that from forty to fifty of the boys who were taught in our school have raised themselves to good social positions throughout England, the South of Scotland, and the Colonies. The few who remained at home are known to be the most intelligent and best informed in the Parish; and the great majority of those who have been educated on the system now in fashion have forgotten all they have ever learned and have taken to the herring fishing, while a miserable existence about their parents' crofts is enough to satisfy their highest ambition.

It is quite unnecessary to prove that those who advanced their social position from home, have acquired a better pronunciation than those who have never left it, and who have forgotten all they were ever taught; and in reply to the objection that those who are taught Gaelic can never write English with the same ease and fluency as those who obtain an exclusively English education, we assert that those of our Highland countrymen who knew, spoke, and wrote Gaelic best are pre-eminent amongst us as the best writers of English—such, for instance, as "Old" Norman Macleod; the late Dr Norman Macleod; Dr Macleod of Morven and his three sons; Sir James Mackintosh; Dr Mackintosh Mackay; John Mackenzie of the "Beauties of Gaelic Poetry;" Dr Maclauchlan; Dr Clerk, Kilmallie; Sheriff Nicolson; Mr Cameron of Renton; James Macpherson, of Ossianic fame; Dr Kennedy, Dingwall; Mr Blair, Glasgow; "Nether-Lochaber;" D. Mackinnon, Edinburgh; The Macdonalds of Fort-William and of the[Pg 173] "Times;" and many others we could mention. We shall be delighted to see produced a list of writers from the Highlands, even if possessed of the so-called qualification of a total ignorance of the Gaelic language to equal these men in English composition. The contention of our opponents is really so irrational and absurd as to be unworthy of notice, were it not that we see men of position seriously giving expression to such absurdities. We have even seen a gentleman who has been elevated since, much to the surprise of the profession, to the position of an inspector of schools, stoutly maintaining it in large type in the columns of one of our northern newspapers. Such arguments amount to this—that a real and thorough knowledge of his native language, whether it be Gaelic, English, or French, is a drawback and a disqualification for acquiring and writing a foreign one, and that the greater his ignorance of his native tongue the greater the proficiency of a scholar in a foreign one; while common sense, (which is unfortunately, in educational circles, sometimes, and especially on this question, very uncommon), and all the experience of the past go to prove the very opposite.

It is pleasant to find the rational view making steady progress even among those who were understood for a long time to hold a different opinion. Mr Jolly, Her Majesty's Inspector of Schools, who is unfortunately ignorant of the native language of the children whom he examines professionally, expressed himself unfavourable to teaching Gaelic in Highland schools, before he had time to examine the question for himself; but having looked the matter in the face, and given it serious consideration, we are gratified to find him stating at the last annual meeting of the Gaelic Society that he belonged to the class who desired that Gaelic should be used for getting at the intelligence of the children when reading English; and who afterwards wished the Gaelic language and literature to be introduced when the children had mastered the mechanical difficulties of reading, and were able to enter into the meaning and spirit of what they read. "Although a Lowlander he had every sympathy with those who desired to preserve the Gaelic; and he held exactly the same views on the subject of Gaelic teaching as are held by Professor Blackie, the Rev. Alex. Macgregor, and Dr Clerk, Kilmallie." We have a pretty good idea as to what the Rev. Mr Macgregor's views on the question are, as well as Professor Blackie's, and are therefore quite satisfied with Mr Jolly's. The Professor, we are happy to say, has engaged to give expression to his, in a definite form, on an early date in these pages; and we feel sure that they will satisfy all reasonable men.

We attach great value to the expression of such an opinion as Mr Jolly's, arrived at after mature deliberation and observation of the requirements of the Highlands; from one who is himself a stranger to the language, and who would naturally be prejudiced against it; for we must keep in mind that in expressing such a favourable opinion he was to some extent weakening his own position as an Inspector of Schools, unable to examine in a language which he honestly affirmed, and with a candour which deserves acknowledgment, ought to be used, and at a certain stage taught in the schools. We are quite satisfied to place this opinion against the views of another inspector in the north, whose only reply to[Pg 174] the advocates of Gaelic in our schools is—that such a system would limit the sphere from which to choose teachers—forgetting, or choosing to ignore, that the teachers ought and must accommodate themselves to the system which all rational men admit to be the only true and successful one, and the only one practised everywhere else out of the Highlands. A gentleman who could publicly use such an argument as, "If the language ought to be kept alive by being taught in school, surely Edinburgh and Glasgow are the places where this should be done, where the children know nothing of it, and not in the Highlands where the children already speak it with fluency,"—is perfectly innocent of the real question at issue, and deserves little notice or attention in the controversy.

We have by no means exhausted the subject, but shall, meanwhile, content ourselves by laying down the following propositions:—(1), That it being an acknowledged educational principle that the unknown can only be made successfully known through the known; and as this principle is not only acknowledged but practised everywhere else out of the Scottish Highlands we must hold it to be the only rational one to adopt there also; unless it can be shown that the Highlander is constructed intellectually entirely different from the rest of humanity. We must therefore, to be rational, teach the unknown English through the known Gaelic: (2), We must adapt the Code to the requirements of the special circumstances of the case: (3), Our teachers must keep in mind that after all, they are only a part (although a very important part), of the system by which Parliament has wisely decided to place education within the reach of every child in Scotland, and if it can be shown—and it is self-evident—that teachers who are ignorant of the Gaelic language are not competent or suitable to carry out the intentions of the Legislature, they must just accommodate themselves to the requirements of their position, and qualify properly to discharge their duties by acquiring a sufficient knowledge of Gaelic to enable them to impart education according to the only rational system, in use, in all civilised communities: (4), To get the full benefit of the concessions already made by the Education Department as to the testing of the child's intelligent understanding of his English reading by means of his native language, it is absolutely necessary that our Inspectors of Schools should have a sufficient knowledge of Gaelic to enable them to test the understanding of the children as intended by the Department, and now provided for, in the Code.

The great and primary question is, how to impart a sound education to the rising generation? The means—the teaching staff—are only important in so far as they serve to bring about the great end and principal object of all—an education in the true sense of the term.[A]

A. M.


[A] Since the above was in type Mr Fraser-Mackintosh, M.P., has given notice of his intention, upon Friday, 31st March, to call attention to the Scottish Education Code of 1876, and to move a resolution on the subject of Gaelic teaching in the schools in Gaelic-speaking districts.

[Pg 175]




Chapter IX.

The first duty which Major Cameron had now (1794) imposed on him by his "Letter of Service" was to recommend the officers from the "half-pay list" to be associated with him in raising the regiment. In the disposition of these he was to a certain extent under the guidance of his own inclination to have as many as he could, of his old American brother-officers, with him in the undertaking. After the selection was made, the names were submitted to the War Office and approved. Reference to the list of officers selected will prove that Major Cameron was not unmindful of his brother-officers of the "Royal Emigrant Regiment," his choice consisting of five officers of the Clan M'Lean, while two only belonged to his own. The reason of the numerical difference will be understood to be, in consequence of the above stated restrictions. When the "half-pay list" was exhausted, by distribution among the numerous corps being embodied, and Major Cameron was released from the War Office regulations, the commissions in the regiment were always given to his Lochaber relatives, as the army list of subsequent years will testify.

Although Major Cameron had been, by this time, absent from Lochaber a number of years, yet he was not an entire stranger, for he was from time to time heard of. He had been advised by his brother that the rage and irritation occasioned by the result of the duel had greatly subsided, if not, indeed, entirely disappeared, and that his arrival in the country was not at all likely to revive them. On receipt of this intelligence Major Cameron, with politic calculation, arranged that he should arrive in his native place on one of the first days of November, which arrangement would give him the opportunity of meeting the greater part of the country people of all classes, this being the week of the winter market at Fort-William. The idea also struck him that, as he was to be engaged in "His Majesty's service," the Government might give him, for his own and his officers' accommodation, quarters in the garrison. His application to the Board of Ordnance, to this effect, proved successful, and the building known as "Government House" was placed at his disposal. His family, at this time, consisted of three sons, respectively named Philips, Donald, and Nathaniel; the first and last after their mother's father, and the other after his own father (he of the '45). The eldest two accompanied him to the Highlands, and remained there long enough to acquire some acquaintance with the Gaelic language, an acquisition which they often declared afterwards to have served them advantageously in their relationship with the soldiers of the 93d.

The day at last arrived when Alan, after an absence of twenty-one years, was to look again on his native hills, an event which, no doubt, gladdened and warmed his Highland heart. It is stated that he timed his first appearance to take place on the last day of the market, and he observed it punctually. This enabled the people, if so inclined, to meet him without interfering with their business affairs. His brother was[Pg 176] most useful to him in making proper preparations for his reception. Quite a multitude went out to meet him and his companions, a mile or so, and accorded him a most enthusiastic reception. It has, indeed, been said, that the ovation and the escort of that day resembled more that usually awarded to an illustrious conqueror than that to a mere field-officer of the British army. Alan gave instructions to make that and subsequent days a carnival of hospitality—feasting and rejoicing without limit. After a reasonable time, however, festivities must terminate, and business commence. A writer of ripe experience, on Highland subjects, adverts to the anxious state of public feeling at this time[B]—"In 1793, and the succeeding years, the whole strength and resources of the United Kingdom were called into action. In the northern corner a full proportion was secured. A people struggling against the disadvantages of a boisterous climate and barren soil, could not be expected to contribute money. But the personal services of young and active men were ready when required for the defence of the liberty and independence of their country." Producing so many defenders of the State, as these glens have done, they ought to have been saved from a system which has changed the character of, if not altogether extirpated, their hardy inhabitants.

Chapter X.

The business of "raising" the regiment was now (1793-94) to commence in real earnest, and as it was the Major's desire that the complement should be made up of as many as he could induce to join from his own and the adjacent districts, his officers and himself visited every part round about, and with so much success that, between Lochaber, Appin, Mull, and Morven, 750 men were collected at Fort-William, within a period of less than two months; at any rate the official accounts record that number to have been inspected and approved by General Leslie on the 3d January (1794).[C] General Stewart states, "in the instance of the embodiment of the 79th no bounty was allowed by Government, and the men were therefore recruited at the solo expense of Mr Cameron and his officers; nevertheless the measure of the success will be understood by the early date of their inspection at Stirling, where they received the denomination of the 79th Cameron Highlanders." The Major was now desirous to repair as quickly as possible to the place appointed for inspection, that he might get his corps numbered, and with that determination, ordered every man to be in readiness for the journey southwards. Great was the excitement in the little village adjoining the garrison of Fort-William, on that winter's morning, when Cameron and his followers collected on its parade-ground, to have the roll called by "old Archie Maclean" (their first Adjutant), preparatory to bidding farewell to Lochaber—a last farewell by the greater part of them. The nearest and dearest must part, and such was the case with the Lochabermen and their friends, now that "they promised to help King George." With Alan at their head, this devoted band filed off in well regulated order, marching with steady step through the village, the pipers leading, playing the well-known march—"Gabhaidh sinn an rathad mor" (We'll keep[Pg 177] the high road), while large numbers of the country people convoyed them on their route a considerable distance, reluctant to give the final farewell; deferring it till they were reminded that they had now a long way to go back. Their affection probably laid them under a spell that "farewell was such sweet sorrow, they could not say farewell till to-morrow." A string of horses preceded them, to different stages, with their creels well provided with creature comforts desirable for their long journey, along indifferent paths, and over bleak mountains, to Stirling. At that season of the year, the weather was very severe, and the absence of any habitations on the way did not admit of any halting; therefore it was decided to continue their onward course without interruption, except the short intervals necessary for refreshments. This decision enabled them to reach the rendezvous at noon of the third day, when after a day or two's rest, drilling was resumed without intermission, in consequence of which persistency, the corps were in a fair state of order by the time the inspecting officer arrived. "The Cameron Highlanders" underwent this ordeal of military and medical inspection to the General's entire satisfaction, and he duly reported the result to the War Office, and, being the first to be so reported the corps received the first and subsequent number of 79th (the 78th, Mackenzie's Ross-shire regiment, had been completed in the month of March of the previous year). Meanwhile the exigencies of the service becoming pressing, the "Office" was induced to dispatch urgent orders to Cameron to augment the regiment with the necessary 250 men to raise it to a total strength of 1000 rank and file. In obedience to this summons, he, with others of his officers, lost no time in returning to the districts of the Highlands from whence they came. If further proof were needed of the popularity of Cameron, the fact that he collected the 250 recruits wanted, and reported them at the same place (Stirling), in the short space of five and twenty days, will be sufficiently convincing. When the 1000 men were completed on the 30th January (1794), Alan was advanced to the Lieutenant-Colonelcy of the regiment![D] This marvellous rapidity may be contrasted with the fact, that when Mr Cameron of Fassifern was offered a company in the corps being raised by the Marquis of Huntly in the following month of February, he was obliged to have recourse to the assistance of his brother-in-law, Macneil of Barra, to complete the number of 100 men. He could only secure nineteen men in his own district of Lochaber, notwithstanding that he was aided by the personal influence of his cousin Lochiel. Alan Cameron did not seek, nor did he receive the slightest favour from the Chief of his clan, for reasons which may be subsequently referred to.[E]

Chapter XI.

The colours for the 79th had been prepared, and immediately on its being registered they were presented (1794), after which the regiment received the route for Ireland. There they remained till the following June, where their uniform reached them, which, being the Highland dress, was similar to that of the other Highland corps, except in the matter of "facings," which[Pg 178] were green. Although the tartan of the Clan Cameron is one of the handsomest patterns; the ground and prevailing colour being red, it was thought unsuitable for wear with the scarlet jacket; but that was not a sufficient reason for its non-adoption as the tartan of the "Cameron Highlanders," inasmuch as the tartan worn (the Stewart) by the 72d is of still brighter colour than the Cameron. Neither of these was the real reason which caused the clan tartan's non-adoption by the 79th.[F] Alan choose rather to have a tartan of his own (or rather his mother's) design. That pattern is so well known as to need no description. The first supply was provided by Messrs Holms of Paisley (now of Greenhead, Glasgow), and designated the "Cameron Earrachd," as distinguished from that of the Cameron proper. It is the pattern chosen by the Highland company of the Liverpool Rifle Corps, and by the 2d Lochaber Company, of which Lochiel was captain.[G]

The Cameron Regiment had scarcely completed its equipment, when it was ordered to embark for Flanders to reinforce the British and Austrian armies under the command of the Duke of York, against the French. They were joined in this expedition by their countrymen of the 42d and the 78th. Their arrival proved to be of the utmost consequence, inasmuch as that by their support, in reserve, they helped, by a victory over Picheqru to retrieve a disaster experienced by the Duke shortly before that. This engagement lasted from an early hour till the afternoon, and its decision was weighing in the balance, when the Duke charged with the British troops into the centre of the French army, bayonet in hand, and thus, brought hostilities to an end for the day. This success, however, was of small advantage, as the allies were subsequently compelled to retreat before the overwhelming forces of the French, and, retiring towards Westphalia, endured the most dreadful hardship and suffering, both from its inhospitable inhabitants, and the rigour of its climate (the winter and spring of 1794-5), the elements of which proved more fatal to the British army than the fire of the enemy. The Camerons lost 200 men. The contingent of the British army withdrew from the Continent after this fruitless campaign, embarking in April at Bremen. The 79th was ordered for quarters to the Isle of Wight, where it remained till the month of July, when it received the route for India, and Colonel Cameron was ordered to recruit the regiment to the extent of its losses in Flanders.

(To be Continued.)


[B] General Stewart's Sketches, vol. II., pp. 245-6.

[C] Historical Record of the 79th Regiment by Captain Robert Jamieson, Edinburgh, 1863.

[D] Captain Jamieson's Historical Record, Blackwood, Edinburgh, 1863.

[E] The Rev. Mr Clerk's Memoir of Colonel Cameron of Fassifern, p. 109.

[F] Mr Cameron of Lochiel, and Mr Cameron of Earrachd (Alan's father), had been, or were, at differences about the ownership of part of the property, when it was alleged that the latter was hardly used in the matter, by the former and his trustees, of whom Cameron of Fassifern was the most active. This misunderstanding led to a coolness between the families.

[G] It was returned to the Lord-Lieutenant by this company under the designation of "Cameron Lochiel." The captain's attention was drawn to the misnomer, who disclaimed any knowledge of the error. It has transpired since to have been the act of an officer of the corps, now deceased, who must have committed this paltry piece of piracy, either from ignorance or subserviency.

[Pg 179]


The Gael, their language, their songs, and their melodies, will live or die together. If the one sinks they shall all sink. If the one rises they shall all rise. If the one dies they shall die together, and shall all be buried in the same grave. Is it possible that a people, with such a language, such songs, and such delicious melodies, shall vanish and disappear from the earth, and their place become occupied by others? It cannot happen, and I candidly assert for myself that, were the whole of the Breadalbane Estate mine, I would willingly part with it for the sake of being able to master the songs and the melodies of my Highland countrymen. I have reason to be thankful for the circumstances in which I was placed in the days of my youth. I had eight brothers and a sister. My father had a fine ear for music, and an excellent voice, and frequently gratified our young ears, during the long winter evenings, by playing on the Jew's harp and singing the words connected with the different Highland airs. There was also a man in our immediate neighbourhood who was frequently in the house, who played on the violin, and who was one of the best players of our native airs I ever listened to. The consequence was that as I grew up I was very fond of singing, and to this moment of my life I do not think that it had any bad effect upon me; and certainly my fondness for Gaelic songs was the first thing that led me to read the Gaelic language. From fifteen to the age of twenty I herded my father's sheep among the Grampians. The following is a true description of my state then:—

'Nuair bha e 'na bhalach
Gu sunndach, 's lan aighear,
'S mac-talla 'ga aithris
A cantuinn nan oran,
Toirt air na cruaidh chreagan,
Le 'n teangannan sgeigeil,
Gu fileant 'ga fhreagradh,
Gu ceileireach ceolmhor.
A laddie so merry
'Mong green grass and heather,
The voice of the echo
Rehearsing his story:
The mountains so rocky
To mimic and mock him,
Becoming all vocal
Like songsters so joyful.

About the age of twenty a change came over me, when I forsook the songs, but not their melodies, and had recourse to Buchanan's, M'Gregor's, and Grant's hymns as a source of gratification. I was, in a measure, prepared to enjoy them, as I found several of the melodies I used to sing, in the hymns. M'Gregor was my great favourite. He was every inch a man, a Gael, a scholar, a poet, a Christian, and a great divine. I regret that his hymns are not more extensively known. Forty-two years ago I composed several hymns—six or seven years afterwards a few more—but during the last ten years, I suppose, nearly fifty. I have done as much as I could to regenerate the songs of my country. My predecessors carefully avoided cheerful and lively airs, especially those with a chorus, but I find these generally, when the subject is applicable to them, the most powerful and the most appropriate for use in connection with the preaching of the gospel. Last summer I sang one of them in a Free Church, on a Sabbath evening, to the Gaelic part of the congregation. As I was descending from the pulpit, the Gaelic precentor, and a deacon, whispered in my ears, "Tha i sin fad air thoiseach air laoidhean Shanci." (That is far before Sankey's hymns.)

[Pg 180] So far as I know, singing Gaelic songs has had no evil effect upon our countrymen. Indeed, singing is one of the prettiest, and one of the most harmless things connected with human nature, even in its degenerate state. A man who can sing a Gaelic song well is properly considered a favourite. It is felt that he spreads kindness, and infuses joy and happiness in the social circle—the language and the sweet melody of the piece will banish all melancholy and bitter feelings from the mind. A man influenced by a wicked malicious disposition is certainly not disposed to sing. The practice they have of fulling or shrinking cloth in the West Highlands has had a great tendency to keep up the native melodies. Five, six, or seven females are seated in a circle facing one another. The cloth having been steeped, is folded in a circle. Each holds it in both hands, while they raise it as high as the breast, and then bring it down with a thump on the board. In this way it goes gradually round from the one to the other. A person standing outside would only hear one thump. The chosen leader commences the song, all unite, and by raising and lowering their hands they beat time to the tune. This generally attracts a crowd of listeners. I have seldom listened to finer singing.

Lachlan M'Lean, the author of "Adam and Eve," and one of the greatest enthusiasts for the language, the songs, and the music of the Gael, that ever lived, was one day on board a steamer going from Tobermory to Oban. A number of Skye females were on board. He placed them seated in a circle on deck, and they commenced singing, with their handkerchiefs in their hands, to the great delight of all on board, with the exception of an elderly austere professor of religion, who frowned upon them and silenced them. If such be the effect of real religion, I have yet to learn it. I have no doubt the same man, if he could, would prevent the larks from singing; and as well attempt to do the one as the other. I am certain that he would rather have his ears stuffed with cotton than listen to Piobaireachd Dho'il Duibh played on the bagpipes.

Robert Burns has been greatly vilified by a certain class of preachers. He and his songs have been held forth as a great curse to his countrymen; but when these Rev. Divines and their hot, but mistaken, zeal is forgotten, Robert Burns will shine forth, and in the long run will be found to be a greater blessing to his country than his accusers. For certainly no man ever did more to keep up the native language and the melodies of the Lowland Scotch than he has done. The same is equally true respecting our Highland bards. Taing dhuit a Dhonnachaidh Bhain, agus do d' chomh-Bhaird airson nan oranan gasda, agus nam fuinn bhinn a dh'fhag sibh againn. I am certain that the Scotch must return to the melodies in their native language. Sankey's melodies may do for a short time, but will never find a lasting lodgment in the Scottish heart like their own delicious melodies. There is as inseparable a connection between their melodies and their native language, as there is between our Highland melodies and our native Gaelic. The Gaelic may easily take up their melodies, but the English never.

Those tunes that are used in public worship have no melody to my soul like our native airs, and it is utterly impossible for me to feel otherwise. This assertion will find a testimony in the bo[Pg 181]soms of men, although their prejudices may be opposed to it. Where is the man that would compose a song in praise of his fellow-creature, that would attempt to sing it to a psalm tune? Should he do so, all men would look upon him as a blockhead. And what is the great difference between praising a fellow-creature and praising the Redeemer? I can conceive none, except that the latter deserves a sweeter, and, if possible, a more delicious melody. I think it was Rowland Hill who wisely said that "he could not see why the devil should have all the finest tunes," and I quite agree with him.

It is also a fact, although I understand English as well as Gaelic, that it has not the same effect upon me in singing it. Although the English were sung with the greatest art, and in the best possible style, it would neither warm our hearts nor melt our souls like singing in Gaelic. I feel that the great "mistress of art" has a tendency to puff me up, whereas I have no such feelings in my Gaelic. Perhaps one-third of the songs of the Gael are love songs, and the delicacy of feeling which is manifest in most of them is extraordinary. They will not offend the most refined ear; so that we have reason to be proud of our race in that respect. Our songs may be divided into two classes—the cheerful and plaintive. In the former we have M'Lachlan's "Air fatll-ir-inn, ill-ir-inn, uill-er-inn o." M'Intyre's song to his spouse, "Mhairi bhan og," and "Ho mo Mhairi Laghach"—translated by Professor Blackie in the first number of the Celtic. These are instances of lyric poetry as beautiful as ever saw the light, and melodies as sweet as can be listened to. In the other may be placed "Fhir a bhata 's na ho ro eile," which was lately sung in Inveraray Castle in the presence of Her Majesty. Another is:—

A Mhalaidh bhoidheach,
A Mhalaidh ghaolach,
A Mhalaidh bhoidheach,
Gur mor mo ghaol duit,
A Mhalaidh bhoidheach,
'S tu leon 's a chlaoidh mi,
'S a dh'fhag mi bronach
Gun doigh air d'fhaotainn.

What a delicious piece! how full of sweet melody! Can the English language produce its equal? Poor fellow, he was sincere. The deer would be seen on wings in the air, fish on tops of mountains high, and black snow resting on the tree branches, before his love to her would undergo any change.

Perhaps one-fourth of our songs are Elegies to the departed; and the melodies to which these are sung are as plaintive and melting as can be listened to. I place at the head of this class the "Massacre of Glencoe," and Maclachlan's Elegy, to the same air, in memory of Professor Beattie of Aberdeen. I said in my "Address to Highlanders" that the Fort-William people might, on the top of Ben Nevis, defy the English and broad Scotch to produce its equal:—

[Pg 182] Ghaoil, a ghaoil, de na fearaibh,
'S fuar an nochd air an darach do chrè,
'S fuar an nochd air a bhord thu,
Fhiuran uasail bu stold ann a'd bheus,
'N cridhe firinneach soilleir,
D'am bu spideal duais foille na sannt,
Nochd gun phlosg air an deile
Sin mo dhosguinn nach breugach mo rann.

It is utterly impossible to give a proper expression of that piece in any other language.

Lachlan M'Lean, already referred to, composed an elegy, to a daughter of the Laird of Coll, who died in London and was buried there, to the same air:—

Och! nach deach do thoirt dachaidh
O mhearg nigheana Shassuinn 's an uair,
Is do charadh le mōrachd.
Ann an cois na Traigh mhor mar bu dual;
Fo dhidean bhallachan arda
Far am bheil do chaomh mhathair 'na suain,
'S far am feudadh do chairdean,
Dol gach feasgair chuir failte air t'uaigh.

I entered his shop soon after this appeared in the Teachdaire Gaelach, and sung him some verses of it. He could scarcely believe that it was his own composition. He seemed in a reverie, his eyes speaking inexpressibles.

"Gaoir nam Ban Muileach"—(The wail of the Mull women)—is another extraordinary piece. I am sorry that I could not get hold of it. M'Gregor also has three hymns suited to this beautiful air. There is a good deal of monotony in singing the few first lines, but it reaches a grand climax of expression at the sixth. The last line is repeated twice. When two or three sing it together, and the whole join in chorus at the sixth line, I have seldom heard singing like it.

Dr M'Donald composed an elegy, to the Rev. Mr Robertson, with a very plaintive air—the air of a song occasioned by the great loss at Caig—

Ochan nan och, is och mo leon,
Tha fear mo ruin an diugh fo'n fhoid,
Tha fear mo ruin an diugh fo'n fhoid,
'S cha teid air ceol no aighear leam.

Many of the songs of the Gael might be called patriotic songs, and they make us feel proud that we are Gaels. Their daring feats in the field of strife against the enemies of our country, as at Bannockburn, Waterloo, Alma, &c., are celebrated in song. Their quarrels, amongst themselves, is the only thing that makes us feel ashamed of them. Several of their songs raise us in our own estimation, with good cause, above our neighbours the Lowlanders, the English, and the French. The songs of the Gael embrace every variety—their language, mountains, corries, straths, glens, rivers, streams, horses, dogs, cows, deer, sheep, goats, guns, field labour, herding, boats, sailing, fishing, hunting, weddings—some of them as funny as they can be, and some the most sarcastic that was ever written. There is always something sweet and pretty about them. The artless simplicity of the language, with its extraordinary power of expression, gives them an agreeable access to the mind, which no other language can ever give.

The power these melodies have over the Gael is really extraordinary. I was told by a piper, who was at the Battle of Alma, that when on the eve of closing with the Russians[Pg 183], he, contrary to orders, played "Sud mar chaidh 'n cal a' dholaidh, aig na Bodaich Ghallda," which had a most powerful effect upon the men, on which account alone he was pardoned. I saw a man who heard a piper playing "Tulloch gorm" in the East Indies, and it made him weep like a child. About two years ago a young man, a native of Oban, was out far in the country, in Australia, and having entered a hotel, he saw a man who had the appearance of being a Highlander, in the sitting-room. He (of Oban) was in a room on the opposite side of the passage, and thought to himself "If he is a Gael I'll soon find out," and leaving the door partially open, that he might see him without being seen, he commenced playing, on the flute, the most plaintive Highland airs. No sooner did he begin than the other began to move his body backward and forward. At last he bent down his body, covering both his eyes with the palms of his hands, and began to sob out "Och! och mise; och! och mise." He (my informant) then played some marching airs, and instantly the other raised his head and began to beat time with both feet. At last he played some dancing airs, when one foot only was engaged in beating time. He then raised a hearty laugh and closed the door with a bang. The man rushed forward, but finding the door closed he settled down a little. The door was opened, and what a meeting of friends! what union of hearts! what kindness of feeling! what joy! What was the cause of all these? What but the melodies of the Gael.

Now, I am certain that were I to listen to the native melodies of my country in distant parts of the world, I would also weep. But there is nothing that ever I listened to that would affect me so much as: "Crodh Chailean." Many a cow has been milked to that air, and many a fond mother soothed her child to rest with it, and I am sure it would be a greater accomplishment for young ladies to be able to sing it properly than any German or Italian air they could play on the piano:

Bha crodh aig Mac Chailean,
Bheireadh bainne dhomh fhein,
Eadar Bealtuinn is Samhainn,
Gun ghamhuinn, gun laogh,
Crodh ciar, crodh ballach,
Crodh Alastair Mhaoil,
Crodh lionadh nan gogan,
'S crodh thogail nan laogh.

Shaw composed several hymns to this air.

I suppose there is not a class of people on the face of the earth that have finer imaginations than the Gael. This has arisen partly, no doubt, from their language, so adapted for lyric poetry and composition, and verses calculated to give scope to the imaginative faculty. It has arisen likewise from the place of their birth. The roaring Atlantic, the grandeur of the resounding flood in their rocky glens. Waterfalls, down dashing torrents, fast flowing rivers. The scream of the curlew, the lapwing, the plover, and the shrill whistle of the eagle. The shadows of the clouds seen moving majestically along in the distance—all these have a great tendency to move and to give wing to the imagination. But I believe that the ditties they have been accustomed to hear sung in their youth have had a far greater effect upon them. Could these be all collected they would form a rare collection. How often has "Gille Callum" been sung—

[Pg 184] Gheibh thu bean air da pheghinn,
Rogh is tagh air bonn-a-se,
Rug an luchag uan boirionn,
'S thug i dhachaidh cual chonnaidh.

When one begins to tell what is not true, it is better to tell falsehoods which no one can believe. Now I am certain that children at the age of four would not believe "Gille Callum's" lies, and would understand at once that they were all for fun, and still it would have the effect of setting them a-thinking, perhaps more than had it been sober truth.

The following I have frequently heard:—

H'uid, uid eachan,
C'ait am bi sinn nochdan,
Ann am baile Pheairtean,
Ciod a gheibh sinn ann,
Aran agus leann,
'S crap an cul a chinn,
'S chead dachaidh.

Huid, uid is used in Perthshire for making horses run. The boy is set astride on a man's knee, which is kept in motion like a trotting horse. Stretching both his hands, the boy, in imagination, is trotting to Perth, where he expects bread and ale; and as a finish to the whole, a knock on the back of the head, and leave to go home. Many a hearty laugh have I seen boys enjoy when they got the knock on the head. Another is—seizing a child's hand, and beginning at the thumb giving the following names—"Ordag, colgag, meur fad, Mac Nab, rag mhearlach nan caorach 's nan gobhar, cuir gad ris, cuir gad ris." Reaching the small finger, the thief is seized and severely scourged with the rod, and a roar of laughter is raised by the youngsters. Placing a child between the knees and slowly placing the one foot before another with the following words, is another—

Cia mar theid na coin do n' mhuileann
Mar sud, 's mar so,
'S bheir iad ullag as a phoc so,
'S ullag as a phoc sin,

And then moving them quicker—

'S thig iad dachaidh air an trot,
Trit, trot, dhachaidh.

Ullag means the quantity of meal raised by the three fingers. What a glee of hilarity is raised when the quick motion commences?

The following is a very imaginative piece, descriptive of a flighty individual who proposes to do more than he can accomplish:—

Cheann a'n Tobermhuire
'S a chollainn 's a Chrianan,
Cas a'm Boad hoi-e,
'S a chas eil a'n Grianaig
Head in Tobermory,
Body in Crianan,
Foot in Boad (Bute) hoi-e,
Other foot in Grianaig (Greenock).

It is a most melancholy fact, that at present there is a combined and a determined effort put forth to banish the native language, and the native melodies of the Gael entirely from the country, and to bring the whole population under the sway of the artificial language taught in our schools, and of its artificial melodies. The foreigner represents our[Pg 185] language as low and vulgar, quite destitute of the sterling qualities peculiar to his own; and consequently not deserving either to be held fast, or to be worthy of attentive study. And in order that he may be the more successful in his effort, he pretends to be our greatest, our only friend; heartily disposed to make us learned, wealthy and honourable, yes, and, of course, pious too. I say to him at once, without any ceremony, keep back, sir, give over your fallacious, your blustering bombast, we know the hollowness of your pretensions. The Gael has a language and melodies already, superior to any that you can give him, and would you attempt to rob him of his birthright and inheritance, which is dear to him as his heart's blood? Every true friend of the Gael would certainly give him a good English education; but instead of doing away with his own language and melodies, it would be such an English education as would ground him more than ever in a knowledge of his own. Is it not an acknowledged fact that, there is nothing that grounds students more thoroughly in a knowledge of a language than to translate it from his own. This mode of teaching is perhaps more troublesome to schoolmasters at first, but when once fairly tried and put in practice, it will, without doubt, be the most agreeable and the most successful part of their work, and would not have such a deadening effect, either upon their own minds, or upon those of their scholars.


Island of Tiree.


O autumn! to me thou art dearest,
Thou bringest deep thoughts to me now,
For the leaves in the forest are searest,
And the foliage falls from each bough.
And then as the day was declining,
While nature was wont to repose,
A sage on his harp was reclining
Who sang of Lochaber's bravoes.
He played and he sang of their glory,
Their deeds which the ages admire;
Then softly, then wildly, their story
He told on the strings of his lyre.
While praise on the heroes he lavished,
And lauded their triumphs again,
A maid came a-list'ning, enravished—
Enrapt by his charming refrain.
O! bright were the beams of her smiling,
I sigh for the peace on her brow,
Not a trace on her features of guiling,
My heart singeth songs to her now.
Inspired by the rapturous measure,
This fair one skipt over the lea:
One morning I sought the young treasure,
Now dear as my soul she's to me.


Member of the Gaelic Society of London.

[Pg 186]



"Oh! nach be 'n ceatharnach am fleasgach, bu mhor am beud cuir as da gun chothrom na Feinne" (Ah! what a valiant youth, it would be a pity to extinguish him without according him Fingalian fair play), shouted several voices at once. "Did you ever hear the story about Glengarry and his old castle, when he was buried alive with Macranuil under the foundation?" asked Alastair Mac Eachain Duibh. "I heard it, when, last year in Strathglass, and you shall hear it." At this stage "Norman" exhibited signs of his intention to go away for the night, when several members of the circle, backed up by the old bard, requested the favour of one more story ere he departed. Norman would rather hear Alastair's story of Glengarry, and would wait for it. "No, no," exclaimed Alastair, "you can have my story any time; let us have one more from Norman before he leaves, and I will give mine afterwards, for he may never come back to see us again." "That I will," says Norman, "as often as I can, for I have just found out a source of enjoyment and amusement which I did not at all expect to meet with in this remote corner of the country. However, to please you, I'll give you a story about Castle Urquhart; and afterwards recite a poem of my own composition on the Castle, and on the elopement of Barbara, daughter of Grant of Grant, with Colin Mackenzie, "High-Chief of Kintail."

Glen Urquhart, where Castle Urquhart is situated, is one of the most beautiful of our Highland valleys, distant from Inverness some fourteen miles, and expands first from the waters of Loch Ness into a semicircular plain, divided into fields by hedgerows, and having its hillsides beautifully diversified by woods and cultivated grounds. The valley then runs upwards some ten miles to Corriemonie, through a tract of haughland beautifully cultivated, and leading to a rocky pass or gorge half-way upwards or thereabouts, which, on turning an inland valley, as it were, is attained, almost circular, and containing Loch Meiglie, a beautiful small sheet of water, the edges of which are studded with houses, green lawns, and cultivated grounds. Over a heathy ridge, beyond these two or three miles, we reach the flat of Corriemonie, adorned by some very large ash and beech trees, where the land is highly cultivated, at an elevation of eight or nine hundred feet above, and twenty-five miles distant from, the sea. At the base of Mealfourvonie, a small circular lake of a few acres in extent exists, which was once thought to be unfathomable, and to have a subterranean communication with Loch Ness. From it flows the Aultsigh Burn, a streamlet which, tumbling down a rocky channel, at the base of one of the grandest frontlets of rock in the Highlands, nearly fifteen hundred feet high, empties itself into Loch Ness within three miles of Glenmoriston. Besides the magnificent and rocky scenery to[Pg 187] be seen in the course of this burn, it displays, at its mouth, an unusually beautiful waterfall, and another about two miles further up, shaded with foliage of the richest colour. A tributary of the Coiltie, called the Dhivach, amid beautiful and dense groves of birch, displays a waterfall, as high and picturesque as that of Foyers; and near the source of the Enneric river, which flows from Corriemonie into the still waters of Loch Meigle, another small, though highly picturesque cascade, called the Fall of Moral, is to be seen. Near it, is a cave large enough to receive sixteen or twenty persons. Several of the principal gentlemen of the district concealed themselves here from the Hanoverian troops during the troubles of the '45.

On the southern promontory of Urquhart Bay are the ruins of the Castle, rising over the dark waters of the Loch, which, off this point, is 125 fathoms in depth. The castle has the appearance of having been a strong and extensive building. The mouldings of the corbel table which remain are as sharp as on the day they were first carved, and indicate a date about the beginning of the 14th century. The antiquary will notice a peculiar arrangement in the windows for pouring molten lead on the heads of the assailants. It overhangs the lake, and is built on a detached rock separated from the adjoining hill, at the base of which it lies, by a moat of about twenty-five feet deep and sixteen feet broad. The rock is crowned by the remains of a high wall or curtain, surrounding the building, the principal part of which, a strong square keep of three storeys, is still standing, surmounted by four square hanging turrets. This outward wall encloses a spacious yard, and is in some places terraced. In the angles were platforms for the convenience of the defending soldiery. The entrance was by a spacious gateway between two guard rooms, projected beyond the general line of the walls, and was guarded by more than one massive portal and a huge portcullis to make security doubly sure. These entrance towers were much in the style of architecture peculiar to the Castles of Edward I. of England, and in front of them lay the drawbridge across the outer moat. The whole works were extensive and strong, and the masonry was better finished than is common in the generality of Scottish strongholds.

The first siege Urquhart Castle is known to have sustained was in the year 1303, when it was taken by the officers of Edward I. who were sent forward by him, to subdue the country, from Kildrummie near Nairn, beyond which he did not advance in person, and of all the strongholds in the north, it was that which longest resisted his arms.

Alexander de Bois, the brave governor and his garrison, were put to the sword. Sir Robert Lauder of Quarrelwood in Morayshire, governor of the Castle in a.d. 1334, maintained it against the Baliol faction. His daughter, marrying the Earl of Strathglass, the offspring of their union, Sir Robert Chisholm of that Ilk, became Laird of Quarrelwood in right of his grandfather. After this period it is known to have been a Royal fort or garrison; but it is very likely it was so also at the commencement of the 14th century, and existed, as such, in the reigns of the Alexanders and other Scottish sovereigns, and formed one of a chain of fortresses erected for national defence, and for insuring internal peace. In 1359 the barony and the Castle of Urquhart were disponed by David II. to William,[Pg 188] Earl of Sutherland, and his son John. In 1509 it fell into the hands of the chief of the Clan Grant, and in that family's possession it has continued to this day.

How it came into the possession of John Grant the 10th Laird, surnamed the "Bard," is not known; but it was not won by the broadsword, from Huntly, the Lieutenant-General of the king. It has been the boast of the chiefs of the Clan Grant that no dark deeds of rapine and blood have been transmitted to posterity by any of their race. Their history is unique among Highland clans, in that, down to the period of the disarming after Culloden, the broadswords of the Grants were as spotless as a lady's bodkin. True it is, there were some dark deeds enacted between the Grants of Carron and Ballindalloch; and at the battles of Cromdale and Culloden, the Grants of Glenmoriston were present, but far otherwise was the boast of the Grants of Strathspey—a gifted ancestry seemed to transmit hereditary virtues, and each successive scion of the house seemed to emulate the peaceful habits of his predecessor. That this amiable life did not conceal craven hearts is abundantly evident from the history of our country. There is a continual record of gallant deeds and noble bearing in their records down to the present time, and there are few families whose names, like the Napiers and the Grants, are more conspicuous in our military annals. But their rise into a powerful clan was due to the more peaceful gifts, of "fortunate alliances," and "Royal bounties."

It is much to be regretted that so little has been transmitted to posterity of the history of this splendid ruin of Castle Urquhart.

The probability is that it is connected with many a dark event over which the turbulence of the intervening period and the obscurity of its situation have cast a shade of oblivion.

The most prominent part of the present mass, the fine square tower of the north-eastern extremity of the building is supposed to have been the keep, and is still pretty entire. From this point, the view is superb. It commands Loch Ness from one end to the other, and is an object on which the traveller fixes an admiring gaze as the steamer paddles her merry way along the mountain-shadowed water. On a calm day the dashing echo of the Fall of Foyers bursts fitfully across the Loch, and when the meridian sun lights up the green earth after a midsummer shower, a glimpse of the distant cataract may be occasionally caught, slipping like a gloriously spangled avalanche to the dark depths below. "My story," said Norman, "in which the castle was the principal scene of action is quite characteristic of the times referred to. A gentleman of rank who had been out with the Prince and had been wounded at Culloden, found himself on the evening of that disastrous day, on the banks of the river Farigaig, opposite Urquhart Castle. He had been helped so far by two faithful retainers, one of whom, a fox-hunter, was a native of the vale of Urquhart. This man, perceiving the gentleman was unable to proceed further, and seeing a boat moored to the shore, proposed that they should cross to the old Castle, in a vault of which, known only to a few of the country people, they might remain secure from all pursuit. The hint was readily complied with, and, in less than a couple of hours, they found themselves entombed in the ruins of Urquhart Castle, where sleep[Pg 189] shortly overpowered them, and, the sun was high in the heavens next day ere any of them awoke. The gentleman's wound having been partially dressed, the fox-hunter's comrade yawningly observed 'that a bit of something to eat would be a Godsend.' 'By my troth it would,' said the fox-hunter, 'and if my little Mary knew aught of poor Eoghainn Brocair's (Ewan the fox-hunter) plight, she would endeavour to relieve him though Sassenach bullets were flying about her ears.' 'By heaven! our lurking-place is discovered!' whispered the gentleman, 'do you not observe a shadow hovering about the entrance.' ''Tis the shadow of a friend' replied the Brocair; and in an instant a long-bodied, short-legged Highland terrier sprung into the vault. 'Craicean, a dhuine bhochd,' said the overjoyed fox-hunter, hugging the faithful animal to his bosom, 'this is the kindest visit you ever paid me.' As soon as the shades of evening had darkened their retreat, Eoghainn untied his garter, and binding it round the dog's neck, caressed him, and pointing up the Glen, bade him go and bring the Brocair some food. The poor terrier looked wistfully in his face, and with a shake of his tail, quietly took his departure. In about four hours 'Craicean' reappeared and endeavoured by every imaginable sign to make Eoghainn follow him outside. With this the Brocair complied, but in a few seconds he re-entered accompanied by another person. Eoghainn having covered the only entrance to the cave with their plaids, struck a light and introduced, to his astonished friends, his betrothed young Mary Maclauchlan. The poor girl had understood by the garter which bound the terrier's neck, and which she herself had woven, that her Eoghainn was in the neighbourhood, and hastened to his relief with all the ready provision she could procure; and not least, in the estimation of at least two of the fugitives, the feeling maiden had brought them a sip of unblemished whisky. In this manner they had been supplied with aliment for some time, when one night their fair visitor failed to come as usual. This, though it created no immediate alarm, somewhat astonished them; but when the second night came and neither Mary nor her shaggy companion arrived, Eoghainn's uneasiness, on Mary's account, overcame every other feeling, and, in spite of all remonstrance, he ventured forth, in order to ascertain the cause of her delay. The night was dark and squally, and Eoghainn was proceeding up his native glen like one who felt that the very sound of his tread might betray him to death. With a beating heart he had walked upwards of two miles, when his ears were saluted with the distant report of a musket. Springing aside he concealed himself in a thicket which overhung the river. Here he remained but a very short time when he was joined by the Craicean dragging after him a cord, several yards in length. This circumstance brought the cold sweat from the brow of the Brocair. He knew that their enemies were in pursuit of them, that the cord had been affixed to the dogs neck in order that he might lead to their place of concealment; and alas! Eoghainn feared much that his betrothed was at the mercy of his pursuers. What was to be done? The moment was big with fate, but he was determined to meet it like a man. Cutting the cord and whispering to the terrier, "cul mo chois" (back of my heel) he again ventured to the road and moved warily onward. On arriving at an old wicker-wrought barn, he saw a light streaming from it, when creeping towards it, he observe[Pg 190]d a party of the enemy surrounding poor Mary Maclauchlan, who was, at the moment, undergoing a close examination by their officer. 'Come girl,' said he, 'though that blind rascal has let your dog escape, who would certainly have introduced us to the rebels, you will surely consult your own safety by guiding me to the spot; nay, I know you will, here is my purse in token of my future friendship, and in order to conceal your share in the transaction you and I shall walk together to a place where you may point me out the lurking place of these fellows, and leave the rest to me; and do you,' continued he, turning to his party, 'remain all ready until you hear a whistle, when instantly make for the spot.' The Brocair crouched, as many a time he did, but never before did his heart beat at such a rate. As the officer and his passive guide took the road to the old Castle, Eoghainn followed close in their wake, and, when they had proceeded about a mile from the barn, they came upon the old hill road when Mary made a dead halt, as if quite at a loss how to act. 'Proceed, girl,' thundered the officer, 'I care not one farthing for my own life, and if you do not instantly conduct me to the spot where the bloody rebels are concealed, this weapon,' drawing his sword 'shall, within two minutes, penetrate your cunning heart.' The poor girl trembled and staggered as the officer pointed his sword to her bosom, when the voice of Eoghainn fell on his ear like the knell of death, 'Turn your weapon this way, brave sir,' said the Brocair, 'Turn it this way,' and in a moment the officer and his shivered sword lay at his feet. 'Oh, for heaven's sake,' screamed the fainting girl, 'meddle not with his life.' 'No, no, Mary; I shall not dirty my hands in his blood. I have only given him the weight of my oak sapling, so that he may sleep soundly till we are safe from the fangs of his bloodhounds.' That very night the fugitives left Urquhart Castle and got safe to the forests of Badenoch, where they skulked about with Lochiel and his few followers until the gentleman escaped to France, when Eoghainn Brocair and his companion ventured once more, as they themselves expressed it, 'to the communion of Christians.' The offspring of the Brocair and Mary Maclauchlan are still in Lochaber."


(To be Continued.)

[Pg 191]


"After many years he returned to die."

The last of the clansmen, grey-bearded and hoary,
Sat lone by the old castle's ruin-wrapt shade,
Where proudly his chief in the bloom of his glory
Oft mustered his heroes for battle arrayed:
He wept as he gazed on its beauties departed,
He sighed in despair for its gloom of decay,
Cold-shrouded his soul, and he sung broken-hearted,
With grief-shaking voice a wild woe-sounding lay.—
"Weary, weary, sad returning,
Exiled long in other climes,
Hope's last flame, slow, feebly burning
Seeks the home of olden times:
In my joy why am I weeping?
Where my kindred? Where my clan?
Whispers from the mountains creeping,
Tell me 'I'm the only man.'
"Yon tempest-starred mountains still loom in their grandeur,
The loud rushing torrents still sweep thro' the glen,
Thro' low-moaning forests dim spirits still wander,
But where are the songs and the voices of men?
Tell me, storied ruins! where, where are their slumbers?
Where now are the mighty no foe could withstand?
The voice of the silence in echoing numbers,
Breathes sadly the tale of fate's merciless hand.
"Ah me! thro' the black clouds, one star shines in heaven,
And flings o'er the darkness its fast waning light,
'Tis to me an omen so tenderly given,
Foretelling that soon I will sink in my night:
The coronach slowly again is far pealing!
The grey ghosts of kinsmen I fondly can trace!
Around me they gather! and silent are kneeling,
To gaze in deep sorrow on all of their race!
Slowly, slowly, sadly viewing
With their weird mysterious scan,
Desolation's gloomy ruin!
All of kindred! all of clan!
Ah! my heart, my heart is fainting,
Strangely shaking are my limbs,
Heav'nward see! their fingers pointing,
And my vision trembling swims.
Slowly, slowly, all-pervading,
O'er me steals their chilly breath,
See! the single star is fading,
Ling'ring in the joy of death,
Darkness swiftly o'er me gathers,
Softly fade these visions wan,
Welcome give, ye spirit fathers,
I'm the Last of all the Clan!"



[Pg 192]



We do not care for Fairy Tales, as a rule, but we have read this book with genuine pleasure. It is written in a pleasant, easy style, and though it has the full complement of witchcraft, enchanted princesses, and, sudden transformations, it deals more with human sympathies and affections than is usual, in this class of literature. There are five different stories, of which the scene of two is laid in Germany, one in Denmark, one in Wales, and the other in the Highlands of Scotland. Baron Bruno, or the Unbelieving Philosopher, is the story of the Prime Minister at the Grand Ducal Court of Rumple Stiltzein. The Baron is not only a clever Statesman, but a Philosopher and Astronomer; albeit, a sceptic in religious matters. He is so wrapt up in his abstruse studies that he ignores the pleasures of domestic life, and lives a solitary man without wife or children. At last he begins to feel the loneliness of his home life, and overcome in spite of himself, he cries aloud—"To you distant stars! I nightly offer the homage of a constant worshipper; would that you in return could give me to know the spell of love, and teach me what it is that inspires the painter, the poet, and the lover." This impassioned address is immediately answered by the appearance of a beautiful maiden, who informs him that she is sent to teach him the spell of love, and to try to lead him through the influence of human affections to believe in the immortality of the soul. She becomes his wife, but exacts a promise from him, that once every month she is to spend the evening hours in undisturbed solitude, as her life depends on the strict observance of this. She also tells him that if he doubts her faith even for a moment she will have to leave him and return to her celestial home. They live happily for a time, but at length, through the machinations of a wicked Countess Olga, a spinster of uncertain age, who had hoped to have gained the Baron for herself, he becomes uneasy, and one night is so worked upon by the wily insinuations of the spiteful Countess, and irritated at the non-appearance of his wife at a Grand State Ball, that he rushes home in a frenzy of suspicion, and regardless of his promise, breaks in on the Baroness' seclusion. The result is disastrous, the child dies and his wife returns to her starry home; but her mission is fulfilled, for over the death-bed of his infant—a scene full of pathos—his heart softens and he avows his belief. This story is capitally told, and considerable humour is displayed in the account of a grand Court Dinner, at which the young Prince and his mischievous companions amuse themselves by sticking burrs on the footmen's silk stockings, much to the discomfiture of the poor flunkeys, the dismay of the high officials, and the indignation of the Grand Duke.

[Pg 193] "Esgair: The Bride of Llyn Idwyl," is founded on an old Welsh Legend, and is a graceful, though rather weird story. "Eothwald, the young sculptor," tells how a Mermaiden was wooed and won, but in Eothwald's breast the artist was stronger than the lover, and the poor Mermaid died broken-hearted.

"Fido and Fidunia" is the longest of the tales, and will, we think, be the favourite with young folks. Fido is the very embodiment of canine sagacity, and poor, plain, unsophisticated Fidunia is a well drawn character, though she seems to be rather hardly dealt by. There is one thing which may be considered a defect in this otherwise charming book; all the heroines, though amiable and faultless, come to a sad end. They are made the scapegoats of their masculine companions. Though this is too often the case in real life, it is much more pleasant in a Fairy Tale, that all the amiable characters should be married and "live happy ever after."

Eudæmon, the hero of the Highland story, is the son of Valbion, the wild sea-king, who has deserted him and his mother. Eudæmon, as may be supposed from his mixed parentage, is a singular being, living a hermit-like life in the lonely Castle Brochel, on the Island of Raasay. Carefully educated by his mother, he knows all the medicinal properties of herbs and minerals. This, combined with magic lore inherited from his father, enables him to perform such wonderful cures that he is known far and wide as "The Enchanter of the North." His fame reaches the Lowlands, where lives a beautiful princess, afflicted, through the magical spells of Valbion, with dumbness. Her parents bring her to Castle Brochel in the hope that Eudæmon may work her cure. He begins by teaching her the game of chess, and then tries the power of music. This enables her to sing but not to speak. To complete the cure it is necessary that she should visit the abode of the powerful Valbion himself in the mysterious submerged halls of Thuisto—an expedition fraught with great danger; and which, though it proves the means of restoring speech to the princess, proves fatal to Eudæmon, through the indiscretion of the Queen. The poor Princess in gaining the use of her tongue loses her heart, and, like a second Ophelia, goes distracted, for the loss of her lover.

The following is given as the Highland Legend of Castle Brochel, on which the story is founded:—

On the eastern side of the Isle of Raasay there still stands a lonely ruin known as Castle Brochel. Parched upon precipitous rocks at the very verge of the ocean, it is easy to imagine how, armed and provisioned, this fortress held its own amid the perpetual warfare of early Celtic times. Castle Brochel has always borne a doubtful reputation. According to tradition, it was originally built with the price of blood, for the ancient legend runs somewhat after this fashion. Shiel Torquil went forth with his dogs one morning to hunt the red deer on the wild mountains Blaven and Glamaig, in the neighbouring Island of Skye. Sheil Torquil had with him only one retainer, but he was a host in himself, being surnamed, from his immense size and strength, the Gillie More. After some time they sighted a stag. In the ardour of the chase the dogs soon ran out of sight, pursuing their quarry towards the shore at Sligachan. Now it so happened that the young Kreshinish in his galley was anchored on that side of the island within sight of the beach. He saw the hunted animal about to take to the water, and swim, as deer are often known to do, across the narrow strait which lies between Skye and Raasay. Kreshinish and his men at once landed and took possession, not only of the stag itself, but of the dogs which, panting and exhausted, were unable to offer any resistance. Shiel Torquil presently appeared on the scene and angrily asked for his deer and his hounds. Kreshinish refused to deliver them up. A bloody struggle ensued, during which the Gillie More inflicted a fatal wound upon the ill-fated young chieftain who unwittingly[Pg 194] (at first) had interfered with the sports of another. This brought the affray to a speedy conclusion, and Shiel Torquil with his follower carried off deer and dogs in triumph. Not long after this the poor old father of Kreshinish came to Skye to seek for the murderer of his son, and publicly offered the reward of a bag of silver to any one who would show him the guilty man. The Gillie More, hearing of the promised guerdon, boldly entered the presence of the elder Kreshinish. Confessing that he himself had slain the youthful chieftain, he urged in self-defence the young man's overbearing conduct in attempting to carry off Shiel Torquil's stag-hounds and game. The bereaved father, obliged by the stringent laws of Highland honour to fulfil his solemn promise, reluctantly bestowed the bag of silver on the very man who had cut off his only child in the early bloom of manhood. The Gillie More, however, haunted by remorse, and still fearing the avenger's footstep, entreated his master to accept the money and build therewith a retreat for them both. Shiel Torquil granted his henchman's request. After some time spent in searching for a suitable site, they at last selected the wild easterly shore of Raasay. Here were speedily raised the frowning walls of Castle Brochel. Secured from sudden attack by the inaccessible situation of their refuge, the Gillie More and his master lived in peace for many years. Their retired habits, and their dislike to intruders, coupled with this strange tale of robbery and murder, caused the Castle, though newly-built, to be regarded with no friendly eye. When they died, it was left untenanted for a considerable time. Many reports were circulated concerning the strange sights and sounds to be seen and heard at the eerie hour of twilight, or amid the silent watches of the night, by the belated traveller who chanced to pass that way by sea or by land. At the period of which we speak, Castle Brochel had, however, for some time been inhabited by a being whose origin was partially shrouded in mystery, the gloomy Eudæmon, known as the "Enchanter of the North."

It will be seen that our author is ignorant of the Gaelic language; for she thinks Shiel Torquil—or correctly, Siol Torquil—is a proper name, and applies it to a person, instead of a sept or branch of the Macleods. She is also defective in her knowledge of Hebridean geography. Old Kreshinish—correctly Grishernish—comes to Skye, while we all know the place, and the man, who was called after it, to be in Skye.

We are divulging no secret however, in stating that, although the author appears to be but indifferently acquainted with the Highlands, she is of Highland extraction. And now that the connection is re-established by her brother, John Darroch, Esq., by his recent purchase of the Estate of Torridon, she will enjoy better opportunities of making herself more fully acquainted with the country of her ancestors.

The book is beautifully illustrated by R. Caldecott.

Logan's Scottish Gael.—This publication, by Hugh Mackenzie, Bank Lane, has reached the fourth part. In the third we have coloured and well executed plates of the Bonnets of the Highlanders, and the Sporans of the different Highland Regiments; after which we have an account of the peculiar Oaths of the Gael; the Chief's Body Guard; Mode of Drawing up the Highland Armies; Right of certain Clans to certain positions; Military tactics and Mode of Attack; Valour of the Celtic Females; Duties of the Bards; Origin, Adaptation to the country, and Equity of Clanship; Fosterage; Mode of Electing Chiefs, and Titles of Celtic Nobility; Origin of Feudal Tenures; Creachs; Blackmail; &c., &c. Part four treats of Gaelic Law and Law Terms; Judges; Punishments; Manner of Dress; Painting the Body; Animal's Skins; Origin of Clan Tartans; Native Dyes; Costumes; Bonnet; Shield Ornaments; Women's Dress; Defensive Armour; Mail and Helmets; Shields, and other interesting matter. Great credit is due to the publisher for the expeditious progress he is making in bringing out the work.


The following amendments to the text have been made:

p. 164 "consumate" changed to "consummate"; "neice" changed to "niece";

p. 180 "inseperable" changed to "inseparable";

p. 181 double quotes in front of "Ghaoil" deleted; "S tu" changed to "'S tu";

p. 183 closing quotes added after"och mise";

p. 192 "abtruse" changed to "abstruse";

p. 194 comma after "work" changed to full stop.

The spellings "Inverary" and "Inveraray", "Shiel" and "Sheil" appear in this text.

The spelling "Conceive" on p. 167 has been left unchanged.

There should probably be an extra double quotation mark after "High-Chief of Kintail" on p. 186, but no addition has been made.

"Picheqru" on p. 178 should probably be "Pichegru" but has been left unchanged.