Oldalképek
PDF
ePub

GLENELG.

of one of these confederacies were, that each man had mentioned his company, and the çer. should support the other in the right, or in the tleman, whose name I think is Gordan, di wiong, except against the king.

knowing the penury of the place, had this a The inhabitants of mountains form distinct tention to two men, whose names perhaps k races, and are careful to preserve their genea had not heard, by whom his kindness was a logies. Men in a small district necessarily likely to be ever repaid, and wbo could be remingled blood by intermarriages, and combine commended to him only by their necessities. at last into one family, with a common interest We were now to examine our lodging. Oa in the honour and disgrace of every individual. of one of the beds on which we were to represe. Then begins that union of affections, and co-started up, at our entrance, a man black a a operation of endeavours, that constitute a clan. Cyclops from the forge. Other circutestances They who consider themselves as ennobled by of no elegant recital concurred to disgust as their family, will think highly of their proge- We had been frighted by a lady at Edinburgh nitors; and they who through successive gene- with discouraging representations of Highland rations live always together in the same place, lodgings. Sleep, however, was necessary. Our will preserve local stories and hereditary preju- Highlanders bad at last found some bay, with dices. Thus every Highlander can talk of his which the inn could not supply them. 16 ancestors, and recount the outrages which they rected them to bring a bundle into the room, ad suffered from the wicked inhabitants of the next slept upon it in my riding coat. Mr. Boswell valley.

being more delicate, laid himself sheets with hay Such are the effects of habitation among over and under him, and lay in linen like a mountains, and such were the qualities of the gentleman. Highlanders, while their rocks secluded them from the rest of mankind, and kept them an

sky. ARMIDEL. unaltered and discriminated race. They are now losing their distinction, and hastening to mingle In the morning, September the twentieth, x with the general community.

found ourselves on the edge of the sea. Having procured a boat, we dismissed our Highlanders whom I would recommend to the service of any

future travellers, and were ferried over to the We left Auknasheals and the Macraes in the isle of Sky. We landed at Armidel, where we afternoon, and in the evening came to Ratiken,

were met on the sands by Sir Alexander Maca high hill on which a road is cut, but so steep donald, who was at that time there with bis and narrow that it is very difficult. There is lady, preparing to leave the island and reside # now a design of making another way round the Edinburgh. bottom. Upon one of the precipices, my horse, Armidel is a neat house, built where the Macweary with the steepness of the rise, staggered donalds had once a seat, which was burnt in a little, and I called in haste to the Highlander the commotions that followed the Revolution to hold him. This was the only moment of my The walled orchard, which belonged to the jonrney, in which I thought myself endangered. former house, still remains. It is well shaded

Having surmounted the hill at last, we were by tall ash-trees, of a species, as Mr. James the told, that at Glenelg, on the seaside, we should fossilist informed me, uncommonly valuable. come to a house of lime and slate and glass. This plantation is very properly mentioned by This image of magnificence raised our expecta- Dr. Campbell, in his new account of the state tion. At last we came to our inn, weary and of Britain, and deserves attention ; because it peevish, and began to inquire for meat and proves that the present nakedness of tbe Hebeds.

brides is not wbolly the fault of nature. of the provisions the negative catalogue was As we sat at Sir Alexander's table, we were very copious. Here was no meat, no milk, no entertained, according to the ancient usage et bread, no eggs, no wine. We did not express the north, with the melody of the bagpipe. much satisfaction. Here, however, we were to Every thing in those countries has its history. stay. Whisky we might have, and I believe at As the bagpiper was playing, an elderly gentlelast they caught a fowl and killed it. We had man informed us, that in some remote time, the some bread, and with that we prepared ourselves Macdonalds of Glengary having been injured, to be contented, when we had a very eminent or offended, by the inhabitants of Culloden, and proof of Highland hospitality. Along some resolving to bave justice or vengeance, caine to miles of the way, in the evening, a gentleman's Culloden on a Sunday, where, finding their ene servant had kept us company on foot with very mies at worship, they shut them up in the church, little notice on our part.

He left us which they set on fire: and this, said he, is the Glenelg, and we thought on him no more till be tune which the piper played while they were came to us again in about two hours, with a burning. present from his master of rum and sugar. The

Narrations like this, however uncertain, do

near

[ocr errors]

serve the notice of a traveller, because they are, ages negligently heard, and unskilfully related. the only records of a nation that has no histo- | Distant events must have been mingled together, rians, and afford the most genuine representa- and the actions of one man given to another. tion of the life and character of the ancient These, however, are deficiencies in story, for Highlanders.

which po man is now to be censured. It were Under the denomination of Highlander, are enough, if what there is yet opportunity of excomprehended in Scotland all that now speak amining were accurately inspected and justly the Erse language, or retain the primitive man- represented; but such is the laxity of Highland ners, whether they live among the mountains conversation, that the inquirer is kept in contior in the islands; and in that sense I use the nual suspense, and, by a kind of intellectual name, when there is not some apparent reason retrogradation, knows less as be hears more. for making a distinction.

In the islands the plaid is rarely worn. The In Sky I first observed the use of brogues, a law by which the Highlanders have been obliged kind of artless shoes, stitched with thongs so to change the form of their dress, has, in all the loosely, that though they defend the foot from places that we have visited, been universally stones, they do not exclude water. Brogues obeyed. I have seen only one gentleman comwere formerly made of raw bides, with the hair pletely clothed in the ancient babit, and by him inwards, and such are perhaps still used in rude it was worn only occasionally and wantonly. and remote parts : but they are said not to last The common people do not think themselves above two days. Where life is somewhat im- under any legal necessity of having coats ; for proved, they are now made of leather tanned they say that the law against plaids was made with oak-bark, as in other places, or with the by Lord Hardwicke, and was in force only for bark of birch, or roots of tormentil, a substance his life: but the same poverty that made it then recommended in defect of bark, about forty years difficult for them to change their clothing, hinago, to the Irish tanners, by one to whom the ders them now from changing it again. parliament of that kingdom voted a reward. The fillibeg, or lower garment, is still very The leather of Sky is not completely penetrated cominon, and the bonnet almost universal ; but by vegetable matter, and therefore cannot be their attire is such as produces, in a sufficient Very durable.

degree, the effect intended by the law, of aboMy inquiries about brogues gave me an early lishing the dissimilitude of appearance between specimen of Highland information. One day I the Highlanders and the other inhabitants of was told, that to make brogues was a domostic Britain ; and, if dress be supposed to have much art, wbich every man practised for bimself, and influence, facilitates their coalition with their that a pair of brogues was the work of an hour. fellow subjects. I supposed that the husband made brogues as What we have long used, we naturally like; the wife made an apron, till next day it was told and therefore the Highlanders were unwilling me, that a brogue-maker was a trade, and that to lay aside their plaid, which yet to an unpreju. a pair would cost half-a-crown. It will easily diced spectator must appear an incommodious occur that these representations may both be and cumbersome dress ; for hanging loose upon true, and that, in some places, men may buy the body, it must flutter in a quick motion, or them, and in others make them for themselves; require one of the bands to keep it close. The but I had both the accounts in the same house Romans always laid aside the gown when they within two days.

had any thing to do. It was a dress so unsuitMany of my subsequent inquiries upon more able to war, that the same word which signified interesting topics ended in the like uncertainty. a gown, signified peace. The chief use of a He that travels in the Highlands may easily plaid seems to be this, that they could commosaturate his soul with intelligence, if he will diously wrap themselves in it when they were acquiesce in the first account. The Highlander obliged to sleep without a better cover. gives to every question an answer so prompt and In our passage from Scotland to Sky, we were peremptory, that scepticism itself is dared into wet for the first time with a shower. This was silence, and the mind sinks before the bold the beginning of the Highland winter, after reporter in unresisting credulity; but if a second which we were told that a succession of three question be ventured, it breaks the enchant- dry days was not to be expected for many ment; for it is immediately discovered, that months. The winter of the Hebrides, consists what was told so confidently was told at hazard, of little more than rain and wind. As they are and that such fearlessness of assertion was either surrounded by an ocean never frozen, the blasts the sport of negligence, or the refuge of ignor- that come to them over the water, are too much

snftened to have the power of congelation, If individuals are thus at variance with them. The salt loughs, or inlets of the sea, which selves, it can be no wonder that the accounts of shoot very far into the island, never have any different men are contradictory. The traditions ice upon them, and the pools of fresh water of an ignorant and savage people have been for will never bear the walker. The snow that

ance.

sometimes falls, is soon dissolved by the air, or steepness discouraged us. We were told tha the rain.

there is a caird upon it. A cairn is a bear This is not the description of a cruel climate, of stones thrown upon the grave of one eminen yet the dark months are here a time of great dis- for dignity of birth, or splendour of achieve tress; because the summer can do little more ments. It is said, that by digging, an uns than feed itself, and winter comes with its cold always found under these cairns; they nas and its scarcity upon families very slenderly therefore have been thus piled by a people wbos provided

custom was to burn the dead. To pile stotis

is, I believe, a northern custom, and to burn the CORIATACHAN IN SKY.

body was the Roman practice ; nor do I kust

when it was that these two acts of sepelture The third or fourth day after our arrival at were united. Arinidel, brought us an invitation to the isle of The weather was next day too violent for the Raasay, which lies east of Sky. It is incredible continuation of our journey ; but we had a how soon the account of any event is propagated reason to complain of the interruption. We in these narrow countries by the love of talk, saw in every place, what we chiefly desired to which much leisure produces, and the relief know, the manners of the people. We had given to the mind in the penury of insular con- company, and if we had chosen retirement, we versation by a new topic. The arrival of might have had books. strangers at a place so rarely visited, excites I never was in any house of tbe islands rumour, and quickens curiosity. I know not where I did not find books in more languages whether we touched at any corner, where fame than one, if I staid long enough to want tha, had not already prepared us a reception. except one from which the family was removed

To gain a commodious passage to Raasay, it Literature is not neglected by tbe higher rank was necessary to pass over a large part of Sky.of the Hebridians. We were furnished therefore with horses and a It need not, I suppose, be mentioned, that is guide. In the islands there are no roads, nor countries so little frequented as the island, any marks by which a stranger may find his there are no houses where travellers are enterway. The horseman has always at his side a tained for money. He that wanders about tbest native of the place, who, by pursuing game, or wilds, either procures recommendations to those tending cattle, or being often employed in mes- whose habitations lie near his way, or whes sages or conduct, has learned where the ridge of night and weariness come upon him, takes the the hill has breadth suficient to allow a horse chance of general hospitality. If he finds enly and his rider a passage, and where the moss or a cottage, he can expect little more than shelter ; bog is hard enough to bear them. The bogs for the cottagers have little more for themselves; are avoided as toilsome at least, if not unsafe, but if his good fortune brings him to the resiand therefore the journey is made generally dence of a gentleman, he will be glad of a storm from precipice to precipice; from which if the to prolong his stay. There is, however, one inn eye ventures to look down, it sees below a by the sea-side at Sconsor, in Sky, where the gloomy cavity, whence the rush of water is post-office is kept. sometimes heard.

At the tables where a stranger is received, But there seems to be in all this more alarm neither plenty nor delicacy is wanting. than danger. The Highlander walks carefully tract of land so thinly inhabited must have much before, and the horse accustomed to the ground, wild fowl; and I scarcely remember to have follows him with little deviation. Sometimes seen a dinner without them. The moorgane the hill is too steep for the horseman to keep is every where to be had. That the sea abounds his seat, and sometimes the moss is too tremu- with fish, needs not to be told, for it supplies a lous to bear the double weight of horse and man. great part of Europe. The isle of Sky bas stags The rider then dismounts, and all shift as they and roebucks, but no hares. They send very can.

numerous droves of oxen yearly to England, Journeys made in this manner are rather and therefore cannot be supposed to want beef tedious than long. A very few miles require at home. Sheep and goats are in great numseveral hours. From Armidel we came at night bers, and they have the common domestic fowls. to Coriatachan, a house very pleasantly situated But as here is nothing to be bought, every between two brooks, with one of the highest family must kill its own meat, and roast part of hills of the island behind it. It is the residence it somewhat sooner than Apicius would preof Mr. Mackinnon, by whom we were treated scribe. Every kind of flesh is undoubtedly with very liberal hospitality, among a more excelled by the variety and emulation of EngQumerous and elegant company than it could lish markets; but that which is not best may have been supposed easy to collect.

be yet very far from bad, and he that shall comThe bill bebind the house we did not climb. plain of his fare in the Hebrides, bas improred The weather was rough, and the height and his delicacy more than his manhood.

Their fowls are not like those plumped for them ; whatever, therefore, is made dear only sale by the poulterers of London, but they are by impost, is obtained bere at an easy rate. as good as other places commonly afford, except A dinner in the Western Islands differs very that the geese, by feeding in the sea, bave uni- little from a dinner in England, except that, in versally a fishy rankness.

the place of tarts, there are always set different These geese seem to be of a middle race, be- preparations of milk. This part of their diet tween the wild and domestic kinds. They are will admit some improvement. Though they so tame as to own a home, and so wild as some- have miik, and eggs, and sugar, few of them times to fly quite away.

know how to compound them in a custard. Their native bread is made of oats, or barley. | Their gardens afford them no great variety, but of oatmeal they spread very thin cakes, coarse they have always some vegetables on the table. and hard, to which unaccustomed palates are Potatoes at least are never wanting, which, not easily reconciled. The barley cakes are though they have not known them long, are thicker and softer; I began to eat them without now one of the principal parts of their food. unwillingness; the blackness of their colour They are not of the mealy, but the viscous raises some dislike, but the taste is not disagree- kind. able. In most houses there is wheat flour, with Their more elaborate cookery, or made dishes, which we were sure to be treated if we staid an Englishman, at the first taste, is not likely to long enough to have it kneaded and baked.

As approve, but the culinary compositions of every neither yeast nor leaven are used among them, country are often such as become grateful to their bread of every kind is unfermented. They other nations only by degrees; though I have make only cakes, and never mould a loaf. read a French author, who, in the elation of his

A man of the Hebrides, for of the women's heart, says, that French cookery pleases all diet I can give no account, as soon as he appears foreigners, but foreign cookery never satisfies a in the morning, swallows a glass of whisky; Frenchman. yet they are not a drunken race, at least I never Their suppers are like their dinners, various was present at much intemperance; but no man and plentiful. The table is always covered with is so abstemious as to refuse the morning dram, elegant linen. Their plates for common use are which they call a shalk.

often of that kind of manufacture which is The word whisky signifies water, and is ap- called cream-coloured, or queen's ware. They plied by way of eminence to strong water, or use silver on all occasions where it is common in distilled liquor. The spirit drunk in the North England, nor did I ever find a spoon of horn is drawn from barley. I never tasted it, ex- but in one house. cept once for experiment at the inn in Inverary, The knives are not often either very bright, when I thought it preferable to any English or very sharp. They are indeed instruments of malt brandy. It was strong, but not pungent, which the Highlanders have not been long ac

and was free from the empyreumatic taste or quainted with the general use. They were not in their smell. What was the process I had no oppor regularly laid on the table, before the prohibition huipent tunity of inquiring, nor do I wish to improve of Arms, and the change of dress. Thirty years sit the art of making poison pleasant.

ago the Highlander wore his knife as a comNot long after the dram, may be expected the panion to his dirk or dagger, and when the comman breakfast, a meal in which the Scots, whether pany sat down to meat, the men who had knives to of the lowlands or mountains, must be con

cut the flesb into small pieces for the women, inges fessed to excel us. The tea and coffee are ac- who with their fingers conveyed it to their

companied not only with butter, but with bo- mouths. ney, conserves, and marmalades. If an epicure There was, perhaps, never any change of nacould remove by a wish, in quest of sensual gra- tional manners so quick, so great, and so ge

tifications, wherever he had supped he would neral, as that which has operated in the Highcontestant breakfast in Scotland.

lands by the last conquest, and the subsequent In the islands, however, they do what I found | laws. We came thither too late to see what we it not very easy to endure. They pollute the expected, a people of peculiar appearance, and tea-table by plates piled with large slices of a system of antiquated life. The clans retain Cheshire cheese, which mingles its less grateful little now of their original character; their feodours with the fragrance of the tea.

rocity of temper is softened, their military arWhere many questions are to be asked, some dour is extinguished, their dignity of independwill be omitted. I forgot to inquire how they ence is depressed, their contempt of governwere supplied with so much exotic luxury. ment is subdued, and their reverence for their Perhaps the French may bring them wine for chiefs abated. Of what they had before the wool, and the Dutch give them tea and coffee at late conquest of their country, there remain the fishing season, in exchange for fresh provi- only their language and their poverty. Their sion. Their trade is unconstrained; they pay language is attacked on every side. Schools are big customs, for there is no officer to demand | erected, in which English only is taught, and

!

there were lately some who thought it reason has been used to contemplate as the mansions : able to refuse them a version of the holy scrip- pleasure, struck the imagination with a de tures, that they might have no monument of lightful surprise, analogous to that which is les their mother tongue.

at an unexpected emersion from darkness isə That their poverty is gradually abated, cannot | light. be mentioned among the unpleasing conse- When it was time to sup, the dance cerved quences of subjection. They are now ac- and six and thirty persons sat down to the quainted with money, and the possibility of tables in the same room. After supper the la gain will by degrees make them industrious. dies sung Erse songs, to which I listened a u Such is the effect of the late regulations, that a English audience to an Italian opera, delighter longer journey than to the Highlands must be with the sound of words wbich I did ni Etaken by him whose curiosity pants for savage derstand. virtues and barbarous grandeur.

I inquired the subjects of the songs, and a

told of one, that it was a love-song, and el RAASAY.

another, that it was a farewell composed by ene

of the islanders that was going, in this epidez.Ar the first intermission of the stormy weather cal fury of emigration, to seek his fortune in we were informed, that the boat, which was to America. What sentiments would rise, convey us to Raasay, attended us on the coast. such an occasion, in the beart of one wbo bad We had from this time our intelligence facili- not been taught to lament by precedent, I tated, and our conversation enlarged, by the should gladly have known; but the lady, by company of Mr. Macqueen, minister of a parish whom I sat, thought herself not equal to the in Sky, whose knowledge and politeness give work of translating. him a title equally to kindness and respect, and Mr. Macleod is the proprietor of the islands who, from this time, never forsook us till we of Raasay, Rona, and Fladda, and possessed a were preparing to leave Sky, and the adjacent extensive district in Sky. The estate has Del places.

during four hundred years, gained or lost a sizThe boat was under the direction of Mr. Mal-gle acre. colm Macleod, a gentleman of Raasay. The One of the old Highland alliances bas centiwater was calm, and the rowers were vigorous; nued for two hundred years, and is still subsistso that our passage was quick and pleasant. ing between Macleod of Raasay, and Macdonald When we came near the island, we saw the of Sky, in consequence of which, the survive laird's house, a neat modern fabric, and found always inherits the arms of the deceased; a nMr. Macleod, the proprietor of the island, with tural memorial of military friendship. At the many gentlemen, expecting us on the beach. death of the late Sir James Macdonald, bis We had, as at all other places, some difficulty in sword was delivered to the present laird of landing. The crags were irregularly broken, Raasay. and a false step would have been very mis- The family of Raasay consists of the laird, cbievous.

the lady, three sons, and ten daughters. Per It seemed that the rocks might, with no great the sons there is a tutor in the house, and the labour, have been hewn almost into a regular lady is said to be very skilful and diligent in Alight of steps ; and as there are no other land- the education of her girls

. More gentleness of ing places, I considered this rugged ascent as manners, or a more pleasing appearance of da the consequence of a form of life inured to mestic society, is not found in the most polished hardships, and therefore not studious of nice countries. accommodations. But I know not whether, for Raasay is the only inhabited island in Mr. many ages, it was not considered as a part of Macleod's possession. Rona and Fladda afforé military policy, to keep the country not easily only pasture for cattle, of which one buedred accessible. The rocks are natural fortifications, and sixty winter in Rona, under the superin. and an enemy climbing with difficulty was tendance of a solitary herdsman. easily destroyed by those who stood high above The length of Raasay is, by computation, ffbim.

teen miles, and the breadth two.

These counOur reception exceeded our expectations. tries have never been measured, and the com. We frund nothing but civility, elegance, and putation by miles is negligent and arbitrary, pienty. After the usual refreshments, and the We observed in travelling, that the nominal and usual conversation, the evening came upon us. real distance of places had very little relation to The carpet was then rolled off the floor; the each other. Raasay probably contains near it musician was called, and the whole company hundred square miles. It affords not much was invited to dance, nor did ever fairies trip ground, notwithstanding its extent, either for with greater alacrity. The general air of fes- tillage or pasture ; for it is rough, rocky, and Svity, which predominated in this place, so far barren. The cattle often perish

by falling from emote from all those regions which the mind the precipices

. It is like the other islende, I

« ElőzőTovább »