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therefore clearly apparent that now-a-days the land is not entirely selfsupporting to the vast majority. What then probably was the position of the majority of the crofter chiss in the days of the evictions? Making every allowance for the increased cost of living, and taking the then price of cattle into consideration, each of which would nearly balance the other, the probabilities are that the crofter's profit out of the land must have been then much about what it is now; but steam has altered the position for the better, as it enables the crofter to dispose of his labour in the Southern market, an opportunity which was not open to him iD the eviction days. So his position on the whole must now be much better than in those days. Are we then justified in blaming proprietors for removing tenants, when the land they were in possession of would not maintain them, when they had not capital to enable them to increase their holdings, and when no other occupation was open to them? Under such circumstances I don't think the proprietors were to blame in all instances. So much for the past,
Now for the present Having seen that the crofter has to depend on his labour as much as on his capital, the next question in importance to be considered is the locality bed suited to his circumstances, and in which he will have most opportunities of employing his stock in trade; and here we come to the relative merits of the glen and sea-side situations. The glen has the romance of summer hanging about it, and the recollections that the glens were formerly inhabited. So why not let them be peopled again, and I interpret your own views from your article on the crofter to lean to this theory. It is quite true the glens were formerly inhabited, but circumstauces have greatly altered since; the extra cost of living must be taken into consideration, and the isolation of the position makes it perfectly certain that the crofter can get no employment in such localities or their neighbourhood. Besides this, the glens possessed advantages in former days which they do not now possess, owing to the more practical restrictions and preservation of game; the glens also represent a money value now which was unheard of then. They are admirably situated for deer, so why not let them remain under those animals, at any rate for the present.
By this let me not be supposed to advocate the entire clearing of the glens, for my argument in no way applies to those inland situations through which railway lines run, for it is manifest such situations possess great advantages, as the inhabitants are in a position which makes the Southern markets easy of access. I refer simply to such localities as have no such advantages.
The sea-side resident is differently situated, and enjoys many opportunities of employing his labour, denied to the resident of such a glen.
The favourite and general means the crofter has of making up his deficit is by fishing, and here ho often has it at hand; besides, the crofter who is not a fisherman, can often get other employment, for fishing, as a rule, creates more or less of a traffic in its neighbourhood; he has also sea-ware near at hand which he can use as manure, which of itself is a very great pull in his favour, but the glen man has nothing save the dry heather which he puts under his cows to use lor this purpose.
In a small Island like Skye, surrounded by the sea, where even its most inland glen cannot be very remote from the sea air influence, it is well known that even such glens are by no means so well adapted for stock as the sea-side localities, aud if any further argument were necessary to prove the superiority of the sea-side to the glen locality, it is found in the fact of the conduct of the former inhabitants, in those days when might constituted right. The strongest, of course, always took the best, and so the gentry invariably chose the sea-board for their residences, leaving the glens to their dependants, or to those for whom room could not be found in the more favoured situations. I think, therefore, if the crofter system is to be encouraged, the sea-side situations should first be tried, and there is plenty of room for them on ground now under sheep.
As to the general question of improving the conditon of the present crofter, or letting him alone, I tliink there is a great deal of sense in the letting him alone plan.
The first and general idea that gets hold of the Southern traveller when he visits the Highlands is one of commiseration for the crofter, judging entirely from the crofter's household arrangements—the said traveller, taking his own town residence as the test and model of what the crofter's house ought to be, leaving out of sight the fact that towns are the results of the combined eiforts of various classes, which, with a great deal of money expended over a limited space, result in the formation of handsome streets and splendid edifices, forgetting that the crofter is only a labourer, that he is his own mason, carpenter, and architect, and above all that he is acquainted 'with the labourer's position in the south, and that after a practical knowledge of this and that system, he elects a croft with its black hut, and after due reflection considers that his own position, that of a dignified rent-payer, even with the drawback of the black hut, is preferable to the drudgery imposed on the Southern labourer, notwithstanding he is housed under a slated roof. And, taking an impartial viow of both positions, I cannot think the crofter is wrong in his choice; for so long as he is reasonably industrious, he is independent, and surrounded by influences calculated to make him more or less a thinking being; and children raised in such a position have every tendency to rise, not to sink, in the social scale. Tho croft, be it large or bo it small, has certain advantages. The crofter has his own house, such as it be, his peate, pure milk and fresh air. for his children, all fanned by the atmosphere of independence. To carry home peats is no hardship to the labouring man or woman, who has to earn every penny made by some sort of manual labour; and what more glorious labour could they be employed in than in this seeming drudgery, when it is independently incurred and engaged in on their own behalf, without an order from a superior; and far from commiserating him on his position, he should be viewed as he actually stands, the real aristocrat of the labouring class.
In conclusion, one other word in defence of the ciofter, and that is, to say, that he should not be judged by the present condition of his household, for it is no fault of his that it is such. It is but tho results of a bye-gone and short-sighted polisy, when to improve one's dwelling-house or even to improve one's holding, was nothing short of an act of insanity, as it would simply have been an invitation to have his rent raised; the then view being that, if a man could afford to improve his dwelling-house, surely he could afford to pay a little more rent, hence a premium on nonimprovement.
There seems now to he a changed feeling on the part of laird and factor, public opinion having, no doubt, a great deal to do with it; for it is wonderful how liberal people can be with property which does not belong to them! Yet lairds and factors may naturally ask when are we to get the change. Should it not be immediately apparent now since the crofter is encouraged?
This will, no doubt, come when the crofter understands that he will get compensation for any improvement he may make to his dwellinghouse or holding. At the same time, some patience must be exercised by those in authority in many, or, perhaps, in most instances, for it must be remembered that crofters are not at all times in a position to effect improvements.
I have known crofters who might have been seen some twenty years ago with numerous and weak families having as much to do as they could, in supplying them with meat and clothes. See the same crofters now with grown up and strong families, each contributing to the maintenance of the household, and engaged in improving their dwelling-houses, and making them comfortable. This is the aesthetic period of those crofters' lives, and, as a rule, an independent and competent period of this kind, or some other, occurs during the lifetime of every or of most crofters, when improvements can, and no doubt will be carried out sooner or later; but the crofter must first be assured that any outlay expended on improving his house or holding, will not result in a rise of rent, but on the other hand be as good as money in the bank.
Skaebost, Isle of Skye.
In the excellent account of the late Seaforth's funeral, which appeared in the Courier of Saturday last, we find the following :—" In the first pan of the funeral arrangements the traditions of the house of Seatorth were strictly honoured, and were departed from only at the dictation of circumstances. What is called the Kintail privilege has always been accorded to the Kintail people—the privilege, namely, of carrying a dead Sealorth out of the Castle; and at the funeral of the late Honourable Mrs Mackenzie the coffin was borne from the Castle by Kintail men only. On Saturday, however, there was a small representation of Kintail men, and the vacant places around the coffin were taken by tenants on the Brahan property." What a sad comment on a system which has driven the ancient retainers of the soil from Kintail, only to bo followed soon after them by the chiefs themselves, who had to sell the ancient heritage ot the race. Not many years ago, the greatest portion of a splendid regiment was raised in Kintail. To-day a sufficient number of natives cannot be found to carry out of Brahan Castle the coffin of the lineal representative of their illustrious chiefs according to ancient custom. The sad fact is indescribably lamentable, and we trust it will prove a warning to those who are still driving away their kith and kin and ancient retainers, to make room for sheep and deer.—Inverneseian for Jtily.
THE GRANTS AND THE MACGRUTHERS.
There had been a sanguinary encounter between the Grants and the Macgruthers, resulting in the overwhelming defeat of the latter, their few survivors having had to seek safety by dispersing, each man looking only to himself. Thus it happened that towards nightfall the leader of the Macgruthers found himself in an awkward predicament. In the confusion of his hurried retreat, added to his ignorance of the locality, instead of running away from his foes, he found, to his intense chagrin, that he had actually run right into their midst; for, from where he stood, on a slight elevation, he could see the hamlet right below him, and could see the men straggling in by twos and threes on their return from the pursuit of his own flying followers. He could even hear the joyful shouts with which the women and children greeted the successful warriors. In utter desperation poor Macgrather threw his body on the ground, and gave himself up for lost. He had been severely wounded in the fight, which, combined with his subsequent efforts, had completely exhausted him. He could neither flee nor defend himself. In his anguish he groaned aloud, exclaiming " It is all over with me, I can go no further, and I must either die here like a dog and become the prey of the fox and the eagle, or be discovered by some of the accursed Grants, who will soon put an ignominious end to my miserable life." Even the iron will and athletic frame of the hardy mountaineer could not longer sustain the terrible strain of mind and body, and Mncgruther grew faint, a mist came before his eyes, his brain reeled, then all was dark. The strong man had swooned.
"When he regained consciousness it was night, the keen frosty air chilled his blood, causing his many wounds to smart again. With difficulty he moved his stiffened limbs and rose to his feet. By the clear cold light of the full moon he looked anxiously around in the vain hope of seeing some place where he could obtain succour. Alas! no habitation met his view save these of his deadly enemies, who were even now seeking his life; for though all was silent in the village below, he could plainly hear the men who were placed as sentinels on every hillock and point of advantage calling to each other, and he well knew if either of them caught sight of him, his doom was sealed.
All at once he formed a desperate resolve which only his extreme peril made him entertain for a moment. This was nothing else than to approach the house of the Chieftain of the Grants, and boldly demand his hospitality for the night; for he felt that to remain exposed, with his wounds uncared for, during the severe frosty night would most likely prove fatal.
Fortunately for his daring design, he was between the line of watchmen and the village, so he apprehended no danger from them provided he was careful to keep in the shade.
With a great effort, and supporting his tremidous limbs with his trusty broadsword, Macgruther at length reached the Chieftain's house, and knocked loudly for admittance.
Those were the days when men slept with their claymores ready to their hand at the slightest alarm, for a midnight assault was no uncommon occurrence, so, before Macgruther had scarcely done knocking, the door flew open, discovering the leader of the Grants with his drawn sword in one hand, and a lighted pine torch in the other. "Who art thou that so rudely breaks my rest?" he exclaimed; then, as the light fell full on his untimely visitor, he started, "Ha! a stranger, and methinks a foe; speak! what dost thou want?" "Chieftain," said Macgruther, "you see before you a vanquished enemy. I am Macgruther, alone, wounded, and entirely in your power; but I throw myself upon your hospitality, and trust to your generosity to give me food and shelter. Here is ray sword," and handing his weapon to the astonished chieftain, Macgruther drew himself up, and waited with a proud air for his answer. For a momentGrant was silent, while conflicting emotions surged within his breast. Here was the man he hated, on whom he had sworn to be revenged, standing helpless before him; how easy it were by one stroke to rid himself for ever from his constant and dangerous enemy; then the nobler part of his nature asserted itself, and, refusing the proffered sword, with a graceful gesture he said, "I cannot say thou art welcome Macgruther; but thou hast appealed to my hospitality, which has never yet been refused to mortal man. Come in, and rest in safety until thy strength be restored. Nay, keep thy sword, thou hast trusted me and I will not doubt thee." The brave old Chieftain then aroused his household, and bade them attend to the stranger's wants.
They bound up his wounds, put meat and drink before him, and provided him with a couch on which he was glad to rest his wearied form. All this was done with the greatest kindness and attention, not a single rite of hospitality was omitted.
The next day Macgruther was sufficiently recovered to resume his journey, and, with many acknowledgments to his generous foeman, he prepared to take his departure. "Hold !" said Grant, "thou hast been my guest, and I must see that no harm happens to thee this day. One of my sons shall guide thee safely until sunset. To-morrow see to thyself, for remember that the Grants and the Macgruthers are still foes, and if ever I meet thee in fair fight I shall not spare thee, and I charge thee to do the same with me or mine. Adieu !" and, with a courtly bend of the head, the proud old chieftain turned and re-entered his house.
Guided safely by young Grant, Macgruther was enabled to regain the road towards his home; at sunset they bade each other farewell, and parted as friends, who were to bo foes on the morrow.
M. A. ROSE.
MARRIAGE OF MARY J. MACCOEL, THE POET. — At Kingston, Ontario, Canada, was married, on the 27th June, Miss Mary MacColl, eldest daughter of Evan MacColl. the Bard of Lochfvne. The bridegroom was Mr Otto H. Schulte, of the Hasbruck Institute, Jersey City, U.S. Intellectually the happy pair were drawn together, both having been for years engaged in literary and educational pursuits. Miss MacColl has been long well-known in the United States and Canada as a poet of no mean order, and her last work, "Bide a Wee," recently noticed in these pages, wil', we are sure, cause her to be better known and appreciated in this country. We sincerely hope the auspicious union, just consummated, will prove one of enduring happiness.