« AnteriorContinuar »
high time for him to got up, to got breakfast, and to prepare for the journey to Portree, a distance of about eight miles. Alter the morning repast, the ladies, amid peals of laughter, assisted in dressing Betty Burke in her antique Irish garments, winch she was to wear until she had fairly left the premises. The ladies asked some of the Prince's hair, to be preserved as relics, which he smilingly granted by reclining his head upon the end of a sofa, and requesting them to cut oil' substantial bunches fur themselves. While things were thus getting in readiness for the journey, the old lady and Miss Elora went to the Prince's bedroom, folded up the sheets on which he had slept, and each lady took possession of a sheet, and there pledged themselves to preserve them folded up and unwashed until the day of their death, when these relics would become their winding-sheets. Such was really the case. Flora never parted with this precious memorial She carried it with her in after years to America, and back to Skye, and when she departed this life, her mortal remains were wrapped in its folds, and therewith were consigned to the grave.
About three in the afternoon of that day, the thirtieth of June 1746, the Prince warmly embraced the hospitable old lady and her respected husband, and set off for the journey. He was accompanied by Miss Flora, and the dutiful A'iel MacEaehainn only, Niel carried with him the substantial Highland dress of a farmer, and a pair of new shoes, all which Kingsburgh had provided for his Royal Highness. These, however, were to be exchanged for the Irish dress at some convenient distance from the house. When about half-a-mile on their way, Miss Flora walked on, while the Prince and Niel entered a hollow between two rocks, where his Royal Highness robed himself in his new dress and shoes. Niel, at the same time, carefully preserved and concealed the tattered raiment, and torn "bachules" of Betty Burke, as keepsakes to lungsburgh of the Prince's perilous adventures. Captain Donald Roy had reached Portree on the previous evening, and having met young Raasay at the farmhouse of Toutrome, they prepared every thing for meeting the party from Kingsburgh, and for conveying the Prince to the Island of Raasay, which is separated by a channel of a mile or two from Portree. When the Prince and his attendants had arrived, they wont to the only inn in the village, along with young Raasay and Captain Donald Roy, to procure some refreshments. Donald Roy suggested the propriety of the Prince's retiring to a place of safety, as thoro was gTeat danger in remaining longer in a public hostelry, when so many spies and suspicious characters were moving about He told his Royal Highness that lie knew of a cave wherein he could find shelter until removed under night to Raasay, and the sooner he resorted to it the better. The whole party except Flora left the inn immediately under a drenching rain. The time had now come when the Prince had to puit with his true and faithful protectress, the gallant Flora. With tears in his eyes he laid hold of the amiable lady's hands, and bade her a tender, and an affecting farewell. He ardently thanked her for having enabled him to escape from the wall of fire by which he had found himself environed, and which he never would have passed without her intrepidity mid generous aid. He handed her his portrait in a golden locket, while he tenderly saluted hor, and said, in affecting terms, that he yet hoped to meet her at the Court of ISt James, where he would be able properly to reward hor self-denying heroism—and her ardent devotion and loyalty to her unfortunate, exiled Prince. Such were the adventures of three days, and of three days only—but adventures which have immortalised the name of our heroine, and shed a halo of glory over female devotedness. The promises thus made by his Eoyal Highness were richly merited, and although be never gained the position to fulfil them, yet his utter forgetfulness of Flora's faithful services to him, was on his part utterly unpardonable. He lived for upwards of forty-two years after the date of this parting scene on the beach of Portree, and during that long period of time, ho never acknowledged by letter or otherwise the dangers to which our heroine exposed herself to save his life.
During the darkness of that night, the Prince was conveyed from his cave to Eansay, and thence through Skye to the mainland, where for nearly three months'he had to undergo terrible trials and hardships. He had no home, but in rocks and in caves, and in mountain recesses he passed his weary time, hourly exposed to be seized by his vigilant pursuers. Fortunately for him at last, two French vessels, the "L'Heureux," and the "Princesse de Conti," arrived at Lochnanuagh, on which he got on board, and sailed for France on 20th September 1746. He died after having spent a chequered, but not a too provident life, on the 30th January 1788.
Such then was the fate and final career of this unfortunate aspirant to the British throne. By the result of his natural ambition, he created much alarm throughout the United Kingdom, and caused an indescribable amount of rapine and cruolty, as well as the shedding of torrents of innocent blood!
On The Beaoh Op Portree, Skye, 30th Junti 1746.
Amid the shells and shingle on the shore,
The Stuart Prince and Flora met to part;
Than tongue can utter; ever in this heart
I hope, dear Flora, at no distant day,
I can in deeds thy noble deeds repay,
Across the sea,
In sunnier lands, where hearts beat not more true,
Of him whose life to her fond zeal was due.
Has gratitude forever taken wing?
Ingratitude forgetteth every thing!
The subsequent portion of our heroine's life has been already fully described in volume iii. j and the whole, carefully revised and extended, will soon be issued in a neat volume, by the publishers of the Celtic Magazine. ALEX. MACGREGOR.
CLUNY MACPHERSON OF CLTTNY, C.B.—Her Gracious Majesty has conferred upon Cluny Macpherson of Clunv, Colonel-Commandant of the Inverness-stare Rifle Volunteers, a well-deserved honour, by decorating him with her own hand with the insigna of a Companion of the Bath. Long may he continue to enjoy the distinguished honour.
TRADITIONS OF STRATHGLASS.
Long ago a man, much respected by bis neighbours, was residing in the Davoch of Clachan, Strathglass. His name was Cameron, but he was more frequently known by the patronymic of Mac-'ill-donaich. He was noted for his acts of kindness and his willingness to assist his neighbours. In return for his good-natured deeds, it was supposed that everything he undertook prospered so much that on three different occasions he had a miraculous multiplication of such things as ho required. This auspicious kind of increase is called in Gaelic "An tore sona." According to the legend it appears that Mac-'ill-donaich was a joint farmer with another man in a part of the Davoch of Clachan, the arable portion of which was at that time called " an t-Ochdamh," i.e., the eighth-part of a Davoch of land. In the spring of the year Mac-'ill-donaich ploughed and prepared the ground for the seed. He took a firlot of oats to the field, and began to sow, but, strange to say, the more he took out of the bag of oats the larger it looked. Mac-'ill-donaich continued sowing away with all his might. He finished his own, and continued with equal vigour to sow his neighbour's land out of the same firlot of oats.* Some idle man, who was curiously looking on, and could perceive no diminution in the size of the bag of seed, remarked rather unceremoniously, "Am bheil thu 'n duil gu'n cuir thu an t-Ochdamh leis a cheathramh?" Do you think you will sow the eighth with the quarter? Immediately the remark was uttered, the bag became empty. Mac-'ill-donaich, attributing the sudden stoppage of the supply of seed to the inquisitive question of the idler, addressed him thus :—" A dhuine leibidich, na'm bi'dh tu air do theacgaidh pheasanach a chumail samhach, chuirrinn talamh mo nabaidh, an deigh mo chuid fein a chur mar tha, leis an aon cheathramh."—Ton thoughtless man, had you held your flippant tongue quiet, I would have sown my neighbour's land after my own with the same firlot. Tradition says that the oats are said to have grown so well as to render the whole circumstances the wonder and source of talk in the district, until, at last, tlie farm on which the miracle took place acquired the Gaelic name of "Ceathramh," or, as it is written in English, Kerrow. Clann Mhic-'illilnnaich were both strong and numerous on the Strathglass estates about \ hree hundred years ago. I heard it said that they were instrumental in settling two very knotty points in favour of the Chisholm. I believe there are a few of this family of Camerons still in the parish of Kilmoraek. '1 here was another old family of the Clan Cameron in Strathglass, dei Pendants of Mac-Mhic-Mharstinn na Leitrcach, of whom some members ■were noted soldiers. I heard old people saying that Lochiel was on a uvi tain occasion in trouble with Mackintosh of Mackintosh. News came to the Strath that a battle between the two chiefs was imminent. One of the Mac Martin Camerons, Eoghan beag, was at the time a sorvant to the Chisholm. Ewen asked leave to go and assist his chief, LochieL Permission * Firlot ia an old Scotch measure equal to one-fourth part of a boll.
was readily granted, and little Ewen gladly started for Lochaber. He was in time to join the Camerons on the morning of the day of battle. The contending parties were marching on, in haste, to cross a certain ford. The Camerons on one side of the river suddenly descried the Mackintoshes about equi-distant on the other side. Placed in this position, the plans of both armies were instantly upset. If either determined on crossing, the chances were that the other would annihilate them in the water. The contending clansmen eagerly watched each other for some time; rested on their arms; then sat on the heather, and began to devise new plans of attack. Little Ewen, however, thought their council of war tedious, for he meant business. He left Strathglass with the purpose of doing some service for his chief, and was determined to prove that he was both able and willing to do it. So he got up and coolly walked out of the Cameron ranks, wending his way towards the river. He then stood on a small plateau and shouted out at the top of his voice, "An dean fear agaibh malairt saighdo rium 1" (i.e., '■ Will one of you exchange arrows with me ?"). In answer to this challenge an archer came down from the enemy's camp, stood on a steep bank of the river, and shot an arrow which fell quite harmless close to Ewen. He took it up and shouted to his opponent—" Co dhiu 'sfhearr leat do phlaigh fhein na plaigh fear eile?" (i.e., "Will you have your own or another man's plague sent back to you t "). The reply was, "Send back my own, if you can, little man." Ewen shot the archer's own arrow across, hitting and killing him. The body of the archer having rolled down the bank into the water, another came to avenge the death of the first one, and little Ewen killed him also. After a long pause the Camerons observed the Mackintoshes preparing to move. Lochiel ordered a counter-movement in his ranks. Instead, however, of attacking the Camerons, the enemy left the held. Then Lochiel asked the little man for his name, where he came from, and several other particulars, and having received answers, he said, "My brave fellow, if you stay with me you shall have one of the best farms in Lochaber." But Ewen was plain spoken, and said that he could not wish for a better master than the Chisholm, and consequently he intended to remain with him. "In that case you must call on me before you leave Lochaber," said Lochiel. Needless to say that Ewen called on his Chief, remained ■with him for some days, and, when parting, Lochiel gave him a letter to the Chisholm, on receipt of which, or very soon afterwards, Ewen was placed by the Chisholm in the fertile farm of Eaile na bruaich. In this farm ono generation after another of his descendants lived as farmers until about the beginning of the present century, when the general curse or infatuation for sheep seized the landed proprietors of the Highlands. The only one I now know of these Mac Martins or Camerons, originally of Letterfinlay, is Hugh Cameron, who is in the 82d year of his age, and living alone at 36 King Street, Inverness. He had one son a soldier, who was in the Indian Mutiny, and if now alive I know not whore.
Like other parts of the world, Strathglass has its fairy tales, goblin and ghost stories. Here is one of them. A man named Allan Ban Macdonell from Glengarry was on a visit with some friends at Clachan, Strathglass, in the beginning of December. When about to return home he proposed to cross the hills in a straight direction from Clachan to the house of a relative in Glenmoriston, with whom he intended to pass the night. The hills he had to cross aTe dreary, lonely, and long, without road or path to guide his steps. The distance as the crow flies is some ten miles. A portion of the hills is called Crabhach, and this part is supposed to have been from time immemorial haunted by some evil spirit. His friends at Clachan endeavoured to dissuade Allan Bin from his purpose of crossing the hill. They used all available arguments to induce him to return home by the ordinary road through TTrquhart. Last of all they reminded him that it might be dangerous for a lone man to pass through Crabhach about dusk, or at night, in case the old hag of the place, or as she was called in Gaelic, Cailleach-a-Chrabhaich, might attack him. "If she attacks me," said Allan, "she will never attack another after me." He was a powerful man, and was accompanied by his favourite stag-hound, whose name was Gille Dubh, or Black Gille. Allan Ban, in bidding his friends at Clachan good-bye, told them to make themselves easy in regard to his safety, and added, "With my faithful Gille Dubh at my side, I would not hesitate to face any number of ghosts and goblins. Why, therefore, should I be afraid of danger where no danger exists?" So saying, he took himself off to the hill. According to his own tale all went well with him until he reached about half-way between Clachan and Glenmoriston. But, when passing by the side of the lake at Crabhach, he was intercepted by an ugly looking spectre, who announced itself as Cailleach a-Chrabhaich, and ready to try conclusions with him. Allan, determined to despatch the old hag at once, entered on a fierce combat with her. He found it more difficult than he anticipated, and called his Gille Dubh to his assistance. The desperate combat was now at its height; Allan dealing heavy and mighty blows at the spectre with his ponderous sword, while his stag-hound was lacerating, galling, and ripping it on all sides. The ghost could not long stand such merciless treatment But Allan vowed by all that was sacred, on earth and elsewhere, that he would not desist until the goblin's head should be in the nook of his plaid as a trophy for his friends at home. The moment the sacred name of the Almighty was mentioned, the spectre disappeared. Allan felt much exhausted, but proceeded on his journey.
Sitting down to rest he discovered that he had left his bonnet at the scene of conflict. To go home without his bonnet might be attributed to cowardice, so he returned and found his enemy, the old hag, had taken possession of his head-pieco; and had her feet in it, busily engaged milling it at the loch side. .Allan made a peremptory demand for his bonnet; but he was met with an offensive refusal, and the battle had to be fought over again. The second encounter was even more severe than the first. In the struggle, however, the brave Allan got hold of his bonnet and kept it. The Cailleach, finding she could not vanquish the hero, addressed him thus :—"You have slipped through my hands to-night; you had a narrow escape; if I had succeeded in making a hole in your bonnet you would have been dead this very night. But I shall meet you again soon, and by the time the cock crows on Christmas night you shall be a dead man." Allan reached home battered and bruised, and he took to his bed. His friends visited him daily; whatever they dreaded or believed they pretended that he was in no danger from what occurred in Crabhach. However, on Christmas night his nearest rclntives and friends in the neighbourhood gathered at his house, determined to share the dangers of