« AnteriorContinuar »
sel pou her the proper stated that she would be
This merciless offiallowing the boat the prudence and ue that she did not y, she did not give sight, and the crew
d Mrs Macdonald, t the right hand of hich the Prince did and his august guest
liberty, produced a 7," and was enjoying ot water, sugar, and Prince was extremely 3 of the magic bowl, i good toddy in his d received at Borronjoyed himself after ire to retire to bed. necessity of going to ing the propriety of ed the bowl several raphically describes, nce that, as he would morrow, he had bet
roper term of sleep. r rest. On the conht, as he said, finish 3 as a host so far as to ssary that his Royal
Charles as eagerly
good-humoured alput it by, his Royal which the little vesinds, and Kingsburgh :n end, and the Prince
the afternoon, when I Highness that it was
er made in glass tumblers,
when it was duly mixed y silver or wooden ladles. its or heirlooms from an
till exis ter of B of whom
“O! see that strange woman! Behold the big, wide steps of that rude, long-legged dame! Eh me! what a bold, untidy, slovenly, uncouth slattern she is ! Surely she must be one of the giant race!" The poor peasants were utterly bewildered, as well they might!
After an uncomfortable day's travelling, the whole party arrived in safety at the mansion of Kingsburgh, a little before midnight. They had no desire to reach it earlier. By this time the family had all gone to rest. Kingsburgh sent Miss Flora and a servant maid to his wife's bedroom to set her up, in order to prepare a supper for her husband and his guests. The good lady at first declined to leave her bed, thinking that her husband had fallen in with some fugitive rebels in their distress, and whom he wished to entertain. Flora did not then undeceive her, but kept silent The good lady sent her keys to her husband, with orders to help themselves to the best cheer they could get at that untimely hour. At that moment her daughter, a little girl, went running to the mother's bedside, and exclaimed—“Oh! mamma, papa has brought home the most muckle, ill shaken-up wife she had ever cast eyes upon, and brought her into the hall too.” The lady at length seeing the necessity for her rising, did so at once, and when about entering the hall with its door half ajar, she observed the frightful female figure, and she at once started backwards. Kingsburgh, who stood in the passage, desired her to walk along with him into the room, which she did with trembling steps, and, on her appearance, the romantic figure quickly advanced, and warmly saluted her. The astonished lady felt the roughness of the male cheek, and the reality that it was the Prince himself instantly flashed upon her mind, and she all but fainted away. The bewildered lady speedily retired, and in broken accents, addressed her husband and said, “Oh, dear! O dear, have matters come to this? We are all ruined—we shall all be hanged !" Kingsburgh smiled, and said—“My dear wife, we shall die but once, and if we die to verify your prediction, we will sacrifice our lives in a good and noble cause. Go now make haste, and prepare supper, as we much require it. Get bread, butter, cheese, eggs, or whatever else you can lay your hands upon, for the poor, starving Prince will eat any thing in the shape of food.” She apologised, and said that she had nothing ready at that untimely hour, but these common things. “All right," said her husband, “let us have them at once, and come to supper yourself.” “Me come to supper! I know not how to conduct myself before royalty.” “Royalty here, or royalty there, the Prince will not sit down without you, and he is as easy and plain as Captain Donald Roy Macdonald, and you know what he is."
While supper was being prepared by the lady herself, as the cook was left in bed, Flora stood beside her, and related all her adventures for the last two days. The lady remarked that Flora had acted imprudently in allowing the boat that brought them to Skye to return immediately to the Long Island, as on its arrival, the crew could not escape being seized, and minutely examined; and the consequence would no doubt be, that the Royal troops would set out in fresh pursuit. In this conjecture the good lady proved quite correct-for the boat on its return was instantly captured—the boatmen were separately examined, and the sad reality was at once expiscated. Captain Ferguson immediately set sail in his Government cutter for Skye, and pursued the track of the Prince from his land. ing at Monkstadt, until he escaped from the Island. This merciless officer was, however, a week too late. The oversight in allowing the boat to return so soon to Uist, was the only point in which the prudence and judgment of the gallant Flora had ever failed. It is true that she did not suggest or sanction the boat's return, but, unfortunately, she did not give instructions to the contrary. The whole was an oversight, and the crew were no doubt desirous to get back to their homes.
Meantime, lady Kingsburgh, assisted by Flora, and Mrs Macdonald, Kirkibost, prepared supper, at which the Prince sat at the right hand of the hostess, and Flora at her left. After supper, to which the Prince did ample justice, the ladies retired, and left Kingsburgh and his august guest alone. His Royal Highness, after apologising for the liberty, produced a small, black, tobacco pipe, which he called “the cutty," and was enjoying a smoke from it, while his host was preparing the hot water, sugar, and mountain dew to make a bowl of toddy.* The poor Prince was extremely cheerful, and while enjoying the exhilarating contents of the magic bowl, he assured Kingsburgh that he had never tasted such good toddy in his life. He thought that it excelled by far what he had received at Borrodale and in the Long Island. In short, he greatly enjoyed himself after his many fatigues and hardships, and had no desire to retire to bed. Kingsburgh, however, seeing both the wisdom and necessity of going to rest, had to perform the disagreeable duty of suggesting the propriety of breaking up the company. “After they had emptied the bowl several times," as Dr Robert Chambers so correctly and graphically describes, “Kingsburgh thought it necessary to hint to the Prince that, as he would require to be up and away as soon as possible on the morrow, he had better now go to bed, in order that he might enjoy a proper term of sleep. To his surprise, Charles was by no means anxious for rest. On the contrary, he insisted upon another bowl, that he might, as he said, finish their conversation. Kingsburgh violated his feelings as a host so far as to refuse this request, urging that it was absolutely necessary that his Royal Highness should retire, for the reason he had stated. Charles as eagerly pressed the necessity of more drink; and after some good-humoured altercation, when Kingsburgh took away the bowl to put it by, his Royal Highness rose to detain it, and a struggle ensued, in which the little vessel broke in two pieces, Charles retaining one in his hands, and Kingsburgh holding the other.t. The strife was thus brought to an end, and the Prince no longer objected to go to bed.”
The Prince slept soundly until two o'clock in the afternoon, when Kingsburgh entered his bedroom, and told his Royal Highness that it was
* In those times, and until a late period, toddy was never made in glass tumblers, but in large punch-bowls, often of Chinese manufacture, and when it was duly mixed the glasses of the guests were filled out of the punch-bowls by silver or wooden ladles. Punch-bowls are still kept in many households, as ornaments or heirlooms from ancestral times.
to Tradition says that this punch-bowl was of old China, beautifully figured, and would contain about an English quart. It was for centuries an heirloom in the man. sions of the Lords of the Isles. Having been broken, as stated, in almost equal halves, it was carefully and neatly clasped with silver, and it likely still exists. Dr Chambers states that in 1827, it was in the possession of Colin Macalister of Barr and Cour, who was married to a daughter of Old Kingsburgh, the little girl of whom mention has been made above.
high time for him to get up, to get breakfast, and to prepare for the journey to Portree, a distance of about eight miles. After the morning repast, the ladies, amid peals of laughter, assisted in dressing Betty Burke in her antique Irish garments, which she was to wear until she had fairly ieft 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 off substantial bunches for themselves. While things were thus getting in readiness for the journey, the old lady and Miss Flora 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 Niel MacEachainn 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“ bachulus” of Betty Burke, as keepsakes to Kingsburgh 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 went 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 there was great danger in remaining longer in a public hostelry, when so many spies and suspicious characters were moving about He told his Royal Highness that he 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 part 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 and generous aid. He handed her his portrait in a golden locket, while he tenderly saluted her, and said, in affecting terms, that he yet hoped to meet her at the Court of St James, where he would be able properly to reward her 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 Royal Highness were richly merited, and although he 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, he 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 Raasay, 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 cruelty, as well as the shedding of torrents of innocent blood !
ON THE BEACH OF PORTREE, SKYE, 30TH JUNE 1746.
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,
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.; and the whole, carefully revised and extended, will soon be issued in a neat volume, by the publishers of the Celtic Magazine.
CLUNY MACPHERSON OF CLUNY, C.B.--Her Gracious Majesty has conferred upon Cluny Macpherson of Cluny, Colonel-Commandant of the Inverness-shire 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.