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the night with him. About midnight, congratulating themselves that no danger appeared, wine and spirits were placed on the table, glasses were filled; but the momentous signal was given, the cock Happed his wings, and with his shrill, clear voice announced that the line was drawn between day and night. In ecstasies of joy Allan shouted—" Tha Chailleach breugach," "The spectre is a liar: let me drink long life and happiness to all of you." Saying this, he took up a glass, but before he tasted of its contents it fell from his hand; the hand fell on the table; and the brave Allan there and then fell down a corpse before his friends. His tragic death has been commemorated in song by the poets of the time, one, who attributes tho death of more of his clan to Cailleach a chrabhaich, begins thus :—
Cha teid miae do'n rathad,
Air feadh na h-oidhche no trath la,
Cha 'n eil deagh bhuan an taigh 'sa Chrabhach,
Tha i trom air mo chinneadh,
Dha marbhadh, 's dha milleadh,
'S gu'n caireadh Dia spiorad u'as fhcarr ami.
In concluding this series of short papers on the traditions of my native Strath, I may be permitted to express my regret that there is no vein of the theologian about me, otherwise I might have felt inclined to say something on the peculiar state of religion in my native district during the last five hundred years. I may, however, say that under existing circumstances, it does seem to mo very remarkable that the people of Strathglass were able to adhere to tho Catholic faith during all this time, while the people of the neighbouring straths and glens, and the whole inhabitants of the four counties northwards, embraced either the Episcopalian or Presbyterian form of religion.
HOW GLENM01USTON OBTAINED GLEN DUCATAY.
In the old days of ignorance and superstition, Highlanders used to attach great importance to charms and spells. These charms were composed of materials of infinite variety, worn and believed in as a sure protection against an endless catalogue of real or imaginary evils. Very frequently they were worn in the form of some article of jewellery; among others, the pin or fibula used for fastening the plaid, was often the object of the greatest importance to the wearer. Some of these ancient fibuke are still preserved as family heirlooms, or in museums. They were generally of large size, and adorned with carvings of grotesque figures and quaint legends, and if they should happen to be engraved with the names of the three fabulous kings, who were supposed to have done homage to the infant Saviour—viz., Melchior, Gaspar, and Balthazar—then, indeed, they became invaluable, protecting the fortunate possessors from every danger, even from sickness. Such a charm was worn by the Laird of Glenmoriston at the time tho following incident occurred.
It happened one day that the young Chief of Lovat was out hunting, accompanied by Glenmoriston, and while passing through the narrow glen ot Ducatay, near the wood of Portclare, on the Lovat estate, a fine deerhound held in leash by Lovat, in straining after the quarry broke away. His master called him back, and mended the leash with the brooch he wore in his plaid. In a little while, however, the eager animal had again broken the trail fastening. Fearful of having liis sport interrupted, Lovat turned to his friend and begged the loan of the large fibula lie wore to secure the dog's leash.' Glenmoriston was in a dilemma; he was anxious to oblige his friend, but most unwilling to risk losing his valued charm, so he began to excuse his seeming impoliteness by expatiating on the extraordinary value of the ornament, which had descended to him through a long line of ancestors, and saying how grieved he should be to lose it. Lovat assured liim that no harm should come to it; he merely wanted the loan of it for a short time; that he would fasten it so securely that it could not possibly get lost. Still Glenmoriston hesitated, while Lovat continued to urge him, and at length said, half in fun, that if the fibula should by any chance be lost he would give the whole of the glen they were then in to Glenmoriston for ever, without homage or acknowledgment. Glenmoriston then gave way, handed Lovat the pin, and they continued the chase.
On their return home, Lovat found to his confusion that he had, in spite of his vehement protestations of safety, indeed lost the precious article, whereupon Glenmoriston at once claimed the penalty, -which Lovat was in honour bound to repay. Thus it happens that the glen of Ducatay, in the midst of Lovat's lands, belongs to Glenmoriston.
M. A. ROSE.
THE HON. ALEXANDER MACKENZIE, EX-PREMIER OF CANADA
AT INVERNESS.—We mentioned in our last that Mr and Mrs Mackenzie passed through Inverness on their way North. On Wednesday, 27th of July, they returned, and visited places of interest in the town and suburbs, and on the following afternoon they were driven by Mr A. Mackenzie, editor of the Celtic Magazine (accompanied by Bailie Macdonald and Mr James Barron, editor of the Inverness Courier), to the Battlefield of Culloden, and the Druidical remains at Clava. The trenches in which the Highlanders are buried on Culloden Moor, and all the surroundings, were examined with melancholy inteiest. On their return the party called at Culloden House, where they examined with mixed feelings the relics of 1745, including the bed upon which Prince Charles slept the night before the battle, and upon which are still found the bed-cover and hangings which decorated it on that historical occasion. In the afternoon Mr and Mrs Mackenzie made a private call upon Mr A. Mackenzie of the Celtic Magazine, whom they kindly entertained last year in Canada, and there met our well-known Gaelic bard, Mm Mary Mackellar, who on Saturday enjoyed their company on the Caledonian Canal as far as Fort-William. At two o'clock on Friday a special meeting of the Town Council was called by the Provost, at which, on his motiou, seconded by Bailie Macdonald, and supported by the Dean of Guild, it was unanimously resolved to offer Mr Mackenzie the freedom of the Burgh—the highest honour at their disposal —in appreciation of his distinguished and honourable career in Canada, and as a Highlander in whom all his countrymen take a very warm and special interest. Having agreed to accept this honour, it was conferred in the Castle Convening Room, at 6.30 r.M., when the ex-Premier made a speech, universally admitted to have been the best delivered in Inverness within living memory, perhaps, excepting that delivered by our own present Premier, the Right Hon. W. E. Gladstone, on the occasion of the same honour having been conferred upon him. In the evening a handsome album of Highland scenery in the neighbourhood of Inverness, and on the route of the Caledonian Canal, was presented to Mrs Mackenzie, by a deputation from the Town Council, consisting of the Provost, and Dean of Guild Mackenzie, as a souvenir of hex visit to the Highland Capital. Inverness has done itself great honour, and we feel sure our brother Highlanders, and Scotchmen generally, in Canada, will appreciate the compliment we have paid to their distinguished countryman. We may state that, though a native of Perthshire, Mr Mackenzie's grandfather went there in the capacity of Schoolmaster from the County of Ross,
Conducted by ALEXANDER MACKENZIE, F.S.A. Scot. No. LXXII. OCTOBER, 1881. Vol. VI.
EEV. ALEX. STEWART, F.S.A SCOT.
The Rev. Alexander Stewart, better and widely known as the "NetherLochaber" correspondent of the Inverness Courier, is, to those who know his surroundings and disadvantages, one of the miracles of literature. Some twenty years ago, the late Robert Carruthers, LL.D., for more than fifty years editor of that paper, picked out the Rev. Alexander Stewart from among his country correspondents—as he had previously done in the case of the Cromarty mason, Hugh Miller—and became his literary godfather. During that period he regularly contributed a "Nether-Lochiibor " letter to the columns of the leading provincial paper in Scotland once a fortnight of a column and a-half to two columns, which has for many years been one of the most attractive features of the paper, even when Dr Carruthers was at the head of it, and it still continues to be so. Indeed, a recent writer has said of him with substantial accuracy, that the Courier of the present day is only looked upon by many as the vehicle for the issue of Mr Stewart's letters, "although the journal in question is undoubtedly one of the best conducted and ablest in the Provinces." Mr Stewart is, in fact, the Prince of Provincial newspaper correspondents —a Prince without a peer.
He lives completely out of the world. The only sound of civilization, in the shape of steam locomotion, which is heard within miles of his hermitage is that of Mr Macbrayne's Royal Route steamers as they pass up and down in the distance on the beautiful Loch Linnhe, plying from Oban to Fort-William and Inverness. The railway whistle has not yet penetrated within fifty miles of his oasis in the literary desert of Lochaber. Though he may, through his glass, see the Ballachulish Hotel, and the stago coach going and coming, the sound is too far away to reach his ear. There is not a library within miles, no reading room; no learned or literary friends within reach to suggest ideas or supply inspiration, yet from his lonely manse pours forth the most delightful and the most learned disquisitions on all conceivable subjects, from the smallest and most insignificant creature in the sea to the most abstruse, problem in Nature; of which he is a careful and keen observer in her various moods, delighting his readers with that boyish enthusiasm and sympathetic soul which guides the master hand and deiiculo brush by which he holds forth the minor, and presents her vagaries to his astonished constituents. How such a flow of science in popular form can emanate, as it wore, from the desert wilderness of Lochaber, in such a torrent of prose-poetry is the wonder of all who read the "Nether-Lochaber" letter of the lucernes* Courier.
And the most wonderful thing, and perhaps the highest tribute that can he paid to him as a writer, is that after twenty years of regular correspondence on his favourite themes, he is as fresh and interesting today as ever he was. lie has a charming aud inimitable literary style, possessing a fascinating grace and colour entirely his own. Indeed the reader feels disposed to say of Mr Stewart what Lord Jeffrey said of Macaulay, "The more I think the less I can conceive where you picked up that style." At the same time it may be said that no form of literary expression could be more unlike that of the great essayist and historian than that of "Nether-Lochaber's." It is varied, musical, and flowing; rich and rotund, hut not redundant; abounding in happy descriptive phrases, which fit into the sentence with perfect art, yet with the utmost apparent artlessness. Indeed, the chief characteristic of Mr Stewart's stylo is that it is always apparently artless. Whether he is telling a Highland story—in which ho stands unrivalled—or recording his observations of a sea-bird—whether he is criticisiug a poem or describing f. glorious western sun-set—in either case, he says, with the most charming grace and simplicity what he has to say, filling in every detail, and employing every suitable epithet and adjective; yet never conveying any sense of effort or exaggeration.
From his choice of language and expression it is, however, quite clear that he must be a careful writer, and he has acquired an ease and flexibility that are truly marvellous. According to Pope—
True ease in writing cornea from art, not chance,
And so Mr Stewart must have acquired that perfection which conceals art. Do not let it be supposed that we are extolling too highly the merits of his style. Its varied qualities, its melody aud strength, its purity and expressiveness, its musical rhythm and poetical suggestiveness have been fully recognised and admired by the most cultivated literary tastes. In virtue of his letters, and we may almost say, his letters alone, "XethcrLochaber," as his admirers delight to call him, has earned a high reputation in literary circles, not only in Scotland but wherever Scotsmen are located throughout the world. He is not only acknowledged as an authority on Natural history but on literary questions and points of scholarship. The position he has attained is quite unique, but it is quite intelligible to every one who is in the smallest degree acquainted with his inimitable letters; and who is not at least among Scotsmen ]
With all his qualifications, it will be considered remarkable that Mr Stewart should have done so little literary work of a permanent character, apart from his epistolary correspondence. In 187G he edited a new edition of Logan's " Scottish Gael," but this cannot bo sail to have added much to his reputation. For this he is not, however, much to blame. To bring that work up to the requirements of the present day, when so much new light has been thrown on the subject of which it treats, it would require to be almost entirely re-cast and extended, but the facilities ;tnd space placed at Mr Stewart's disposal did not admit of more than the addition of a few foot-notes—many of them exceedingly interesting, but, to those ignorant of the circumstances, scarcely worthy of "Nether-Lochaber's" reputation and special knowledge of the subject. Perhaps the mistake was to bave had anything to do with it, except on such terms as would have enabled him to do it full justice.
He has contributed more or loss to the periodical literature of the day, among those more indebted to his versatile pen in recent years being the Celtic Magazine, the Gael, and, since Principal Tulloch took the helm of Fraser's, he has become a member of the staff of that once famous magazine. lie is a Fellow of the Scottish Society of Antiquaries; of the Royal Physical Society of Edinburgh; of tho Geological and of the Natural Societies of Glasgow; Honorary Bard of the Celtic Society of St Andrews; as well as a corresponding member of several of tho learned societies of the continent. He received several calls to ministerial charges of greater importance and higher remuneration than that to which ho has been presented by the Government in 1850 on the unanimous petition of the parishioners, and in which he has continued ever since. Unlike most of his cloth, who almost invariably accept tho call of duty to charges where the amount of the stipend is greater, Mr Stewart adheres to his first love, though the emoluments are by no means liberal—indeed the very reverse. He has, however, the full confidence and warm affection of his people, which, to a man of his charactor, is infinitely more valuable than mere pence. He is, at the same time, an intellectual and popular preacher, with no clerical starch or stiffness; a thoroughly social being; a most agreeable, and, sometimes, brilliant conversationalist—one of those who leaven the Established Church of Scotland with cultured tolerance, learning, and liberality.
Mr Stewart is a thorough Highlander by birth, education, and natural inclination. He is a great admirer of the language, literature, and music of his native land, and has done perhaps more than any other living man to keep the Celtic lamp flickering, if not very brilliantly burning, for the last quarter of a century. The flow of Highland story, Gaelic proverbs, genial criticism of everything calculated to advance the Celtic cause; and his own original contributions in the "Kether-Lochaber" columns of the Courier, kept the question alive and attracted the attention of scholars to tho richness and beauty of the Gaelic language and its treasures, long before his redoubtable friend Professor Blackie volunteered to carry tho ramparts of narrow-minded ignorance by his determined perseverance and eloquence, and succeeded in establishing a Celtic Professorship in tho University of Edinburgh. In this respect, as well as in many others, not only Highlanders, but scholars and philologists throughout the world are much indebted to the Rev. Mr Stewart. He is in request at the leading Celtic gatherings throughout the North, and when he does attend he makes a very good appearance on tho platform, and manages to please and carry his audience along with him. His hermitage in "wild Lochaber" has become a centre of attraction for all the literary and scientific dons who may chance to pass in that direction, and his isolated home is the centre of learned correspondence from men of letters in every quarter of the globe.