« ZurückWeiter »
may be regarded as a sort of educational treatise, thrown into the narrative form, and addressed more especially to working men. They will find that a considerable portion of the scenes and incidents which it records, read their lesson, whether of encouragement or warning, or throw their occasional lights on peculiarities of character or curious natural phenomena, to which their attention might be not unprofitably directed. Should it be found to possess an interest to any other class, it will be an interest chiefly derivable from the glimpses which it furnishes of the inner life of the Scottish people, and its bearing on what has been somewhat clumsily termed "the condition-of-the-country question.” My sketches will, I trust, be recognized as true to fact and nature. And as I have never perused the autobiography of a working man of the more observant type, without being indebted to it for new facts and ideas respecting the circumstances and character of some portion of the people with which I had been less perfectly acquainted before, I can hope that, regarded simply as the memoir of a protracted journey through districts of society not yet very sedulously explored, and scenes which few readers have had an opportunity of observing for themselves, my story may be found to possess some of the interest which attaches to the narratives of travellers who see what is not often seen, and know, in consequence, what is not generally known. In a work cast into the autobiographic form, the writer has always much to apologize
for. With himself for his subject, he usually tells not only more than he ought, but also, in not a few instances, more than he intends. For, as has been well remarked, whatever may be the character which a writer of his own Memoirs is desirous of assuming, he rarely fails to betray the real one. He has almost always his unintentional revelations, that exhibit peculiarities of which he is not conscious, and weaknesses which he has failed to recognize as such; and it will, no doubt, be seen, that what is so generally done in works similar to mine, I have not escaped doing. But I cast myself full on the good nature of the reader. My aims have, I trust, been honest ones; and should I in any degree succeed in rousing the humbler classes to the important work of self-culture and self-government, and in convincing the higher that there are instances in which working men have at least- as legitimate a claim to their respect as to their pity, I shall not deem the ordinary penalties of the autobiographer a price too high for the accomplishment of ends so important.
My birth and parentage.—Mythologic character of the recollections of early child-
Another journey to the Highlands.-A delightful residence.-Scenery of Loch
Shin.--Memorials of the barbarism of our ancestors fast disappearing.–Charms