« AnteriorContinuar »
Mr Maclachlan sat down amid deafening applause. The address was cheered throughout, and was one of the best and most eloquently delivered Gaelic speeches we have ever listened to. The "Reel of Tulloch," and more songs, occupied the second part of the proceedings, the performers being those who acted in the first part—Miss Watt, Miss Macdonald, and Mr Robertson again being loudly applauded and again encored. Miss Macdonald this time sang a Gaelic Hong, "OchMara Tha Mi," very sweetly; while Miss Watt, in "O whistle, and I'll come to ye, my lad," was quite up to her usual, and called forth innumerable responses. A special feature of the proceedings was the singing of the following song to a popular old air, composed a few days previously by Mrs Mary Mackellar, on the recent attempt to rob the Highland regiments of their tartan :—
FLEASGACH AN FB.UILT CIIRAOBHAICU, CBAIS.
A fhleasgaich an fhuilt chraobhaich chais,
Oig-fhir a' clmil dualitich;
Co ceutach ri duin'-uasal,
'N am tarruing nan cruaidh-lann,
Chuir oirun uile buaireas,
Le laimh-laidir uaibhrich,
Gu'n d'eirich sinn le fuatbas;
Le colg, ma 'innala ghruamaich,
TuLLOCH, in felicitous terms, proposed a vote of thanks to the Chairman and the performers, who, by their united efforts, had produced such an enjoyable entertainment. The proposal was heartily responded to, and Lochiel, in reply, after complimenting the singers and performers, said that he could not say that he had been much instructed by the Gaelic speech delivered by Air Maclachlan. That was in consequence of his unfortunate want of acquaintance with the language, a want he greatly lamented. He only understood one word or two—the one being his own name—(laughter)—and the other the word "sporran." Mr Maclachlan's speech showed him one thing, and that was the wonderful power over their audience men had who spoke Gaelic. (Hear, hear, and applause). He bad never heard a Gaelic speech delivered before, although he had hstened to a Gaelic sermon. The Gaelic language produced a fluency which the English language did not possess. (Applause).
Miss Chisholm, Namur Cottage, presided at the pianoforte, with her usual ability, and the whole arrangements were such as to reflect credit on the secretary, Mr Wo, Mackenzie, of the Aberdeen Daily Free Press.
On the motion of Dean of Guild Mackenzie, three hearty cheers were given for Tullooh, and the meeting broke up, every one being pleased with the entertainment,
TRADITIONS OF STEATHGLASS.
When a boy, I was coming down from Glencannich with an old man who had the reputation of being one of the best Seanachies in the district. Ho delighted in impressing on young people the necessity of knowing the history, legends, and songs of the former inhabitants in the district. Crossing Torr-beatha, a rising ground that separates Glencannich from Strathglass, he pointed out a cairn at the north-east end of Blar-an-lochaii, which he said was built to the memory of a Strathconan man, killed at that spot. The tradition he related regarding him is that a party of freebooters stole a herd of cattle from Strathconan. As soon as missed, the owners followed hot haste in pursuit They overtook the thieves, with their "creach," on Torr-beatha. The leader of the Strathconan men, Mac Fhionnla Oig, it appears, was a brave man. He at once chaHeng»xl the freebooters to turn the cattle or prepare for fight. They choose thelatter alternative. Mac Fhionnla Oig engaged their leader, and instantly killed him, when another of the thieves levelled his gun at the victor, and shot him dead on the spot Thus, in an instant, the leaders of the two parties were both dead on the top of Torr-beatha. The freebooters disappeared in all haste. The men in pursuit sent one of their number homo with the sad news of the death of their leader. On the following day more Strathconan men arrived in strong force, and with the assistance of Strathglass and Glenstrathfarar men they carried the body of their dead hero across the high hills of Glencannich, and the still higher hills of Glenstrathfarrar and Glenorrin, to his native Strathconan. My iui'or mant stated that a sister of Mac Fhionnla Oig came aiong with the funeral party, and as soon as they raised the bier on their shoulders, she composed and sung the following plaintiff verses :—
Oh ! mo La deurach dubh,
Eh! mo la deurach dubh,
Oh! mo la deurach dubh,
Mu n toir a bha n deis a chruidh.
Oh! mo la deurach dubh,
Eh! mo la deurach dubh,
Oh ! mo la deurach dubh,
D' fhag iad m' fhear fein a muigh.
Oh t mo la deurach dubh,
Eh ! mo la deurach dubh,
Oh I mo la deurach dubh,
'S lion iad a leine a d' fhuil
Oh! mo la deurach dubh,
Eh! mo la deurach dubh,
Oh ! mo la deurach dubh,
'S truagh nach bo "u de an diugh
Having passed the ridge of Torr-bheatha, and descending the south sido of it, we came in sight of the Clachan, or Cill-Bheathain, the burying ground in the upper part of Strathglass. My aged fellow-traveller took off his bonnet, and solemnly recited the pious oli salutation:
Dhia beannaich an Clachan,
Far am bheil tasyaidh na tire,
Far am bheil m' ullaidh agus m' araic,
Agus m' ailleaganan priseal.
Passing Raon-Bhraid, my companion told mo that, long ago, a woman went from this farm to the adjoining ouo of Easter Invercannich for the purpose of borrowing a griddle, wherewith to bake the Christmas bread. The snow was deep on the ground at the time. Although the distance between the two farms is only about half a mile, she felt fatigued, and sat down to rest at a place called Kaon-ceann-a-ghlas, after which she resumed her walk, reached Invercannich, got the griddle, and retraced her steps homewards. On coming to the spot where she had halted on the outward journey, she was bonified to observe an infuriated wolf burrowing with all his might in the snow and earth, at the very place where she was so recently sitting. What was she to do? A battle for life was imminent, and there was not a moment to be lost. In this terrible plight the courageous woman determined to use the only weapon within her reach, and, raising the griddle, she, with all her strength, by a well-directed blow from the sharp edge, struck the ferocious animal on the small of the back, broke its bones, and cut the body in two. tiumo two or three months afterwards the same brave woman became the happy mother of a son, who grew up to be a famous hunter. It is said that a very rough place on the shady side of Glencannich, called Bacaidh-namMadadh, used to be infested with wolves; but the hunter alluded to succeeded in destroying them all.
I heard the authorship of the pious salutation alluded to about the clachan attributed to Cailean Mac Alastair, a very old man, who lived long ago at Lietry, Glencannich. I was told that at the funeral of one of his children at Clachan, when the coffin was laid in the earth, ho said, "This is the fifteenth coffin I have laid in this grave." He was reported to be the wisest man in the district. Let the reader judge for himself. He married five times, and succeeded in admirably adapting his own to the temper of his five different wives.
It is said that an old woman, who nursed one of the Chisholms of Comar when he was a baby, remained in the family until he became a full-grown man. Whether he consulted his nurse on the choice of a wife, I do not know. Anyhow, wheD he married the lady of his choice, and took her home to Comar, her ladyship did not seem to come up to the nurse's standard of perfection. The old woman believing, however, that she could improve the young lady, was good enough to remain among the domestics for the purpose of carrying her theory into practice. After a few attempts to shape and mould the views and ways of the laird's lady, the old nurse became convinced that she had a will of her own and was determined to act upon it. About a year after the marriage his wife presented the Chisholm with an heiress. To obtain the opinion of the nurse of the new arrival, the infant was handed to her, and this is how tho cruel woman saluted it:—
'S toigh leam fein do leth a leinibh,
The English of which is—" I love the half of you, baby, from the top of your head to the «>le of your foot; but I regret the other half of you i= not burning in a Mazing tire of brown oak."* This verse having been recited to the mother, she ordered the nurse not only out of the house, but out of Strathglass. She was transported to the plains of Morayshir--. where the Chisholni seat men with wood to build a house for her reception. When the old crone entered the new residence in Ler penal settlement of Morayshire, she surveyed its internal construction with an anxious eye. Gazing at its couple-trees, her heart gladdened at finding herself surrounded with Strathglass timber, and she addressed her new abode thus :—
'S tocha learn do mhaidean croma,
Meaning—"I prefer thy crooked couple-trees to two-thirds of all in Morayshire, because they have grown in the wood of Coinar, the haunt of the red and the dun stags." Before parting with the builders of her new house she made them bearers of a mark of gratitude to her patron, the Chisholm. This is how she began her message of thanks to him :—
'S truagh nach robh Loch-mhaol-ardich,
"I regret that Lochmulardich is not where I would order it, in Moray, its length, breadth, site, and area,+ growing bright barley for my love, the Chisholm."
(To be Continued.)
THE HON. ALEXANDER MACKENZIE, Ex-Premier of Canada, and Mrs Mackenzie, passed through Inverness on Monday last, on their way to Caithness. Mr and Mrs Mackenzie have been travelling hero ami on the Continent of Europe for the last two months, and we were very pleased to learn from himself that he has been greatly benefitted by his trip, and his appearance unmistakably indicates the fact. By the time this shall have appeared in print, he is to be back in Inverness for a few days, and we hope that he will thoroughly enjoy the surroundings of the Highland Capital.
THE GAELIC CENSUS.—Though we have given this month eight pages inr.iv than usual, to enable us to present the reader with a report of the Annual Assembly of the Gaelic Society, we are obliged to hold over a valuable communication by Mr Eraser-Mackintosh, M.P., on the Gaelic Census; as also the Rev. Alex. Macgregor's next chapter on "Flora Macdonald." We are glad to find that Mr Eraser-Mackintosh has been successful in getting an address agreed to, in the House of Commons on Monday last, for a tabulated return of all the Gaelic-speaking people of Scotland, bycounties, parishes, and districts, under the Census of 1881.
* The oak is supposed to burn hotter than any other wood + The area of Lochmulardich is about four miles,
A LIFE PURSUIT. By William Allan, A uthor of " Rose and Thistle," A-c. Sunderland: Hills & Co.
The reading of Mr Allan's now work has afforded us unalloyed pleasure. The history of a life, however uneventful to outward seeming it may appear to be, cannot fail to be instructive; how much more so the history of an eventful life faithfully told. But Mr Allan's book is more than a history in verse of a life of mere adventure; it is the history of a life of purposeful toil, of honest long continued striving—often in spite of discouragement and apparent defeat—after fortune; a term which, with the author, means infinitely more than mere wealth. It is, too, the history of a successful life, success achieved in a manner which leaves no regrets behind, a history, moreover, written by the man whoso life it is, for there is little if any attempt in the book to disguise the fact that "Mor the Scot," whose life is narrated, is Mr Allan himself.
The plan of the work is natural and simple. After a description of Mor's father and mother, written with the reverential hand of a son, in whose loving memory the one lias become a hero nnd the other a saint, we have an account of Mor's birth, baptism, boyhood, and education—of his apprenticeship, and of his first campaign as a toiler, ending in apparent defeat. Then follow several cantos, describing a vision which had the immediate effect of reviving the hero's dead courage, and to which he ascribes the inculcation of the principles of Honesty, Justice, and Truth, which were bis guides ever afterwards. Mor rises from the chair in which he had received his ghostly visitors with new hope, and once more seeking employment, is successful!
By ar.d bye comes the American Civil War, and the blockade of the Southern Ports, affording opportunities for the employment of men of nerve and ability which Mor takes advantage of: for we next find him on board a blockade-runner. He runs the blockade at least twice successfully, but is ultimately captured and sent to prison in Washington. When he regains his liberty he returns to Britain, "not richer but far wiser than before." Soon after this a more extended sphere of labour opens to him, to be followed by one still more extended, and then comes victory and its fruits, by which we take it, is meant the enviable position which Mr Allan by his ability and energy has now earned for himself
We have endeavoured thus to shadow forth the plan of the book, but no mere sketch can give an idea of tho merit of the work itself. It is full of word-pictures of the happiest and most graphic kind. As already indicated, the portrait of Mor's father is drawn with a loving and reverential hand. He is a man who is suddenly reduced by innocent misfortune from wealth to comparative penury. But this is not dwelt on—little more than a casual reference being made to the fact. Tho moral and mental aspect of the man fiuds a larger place in his son's memory, and we are told that
Detesting cant, no hate to those he showed,