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think, generally naked of shade, but it is naked | with his own. I expected the otter to have a
and is killed only for his fur. White otters are
ginary stranger has never yet been seen, and
able means of coming. Raasay has wild fowl in abundance, but
The corn of this island is but little. I saw neither deer, hares, nor rabbits. Why it has the harvest of a small field. The women reaped them not, might be asked, but that of such the corn, and the men bound up the sheaves. questions there is no end. Why does any na
The strokes of the sickle were timed by the
Hares and rabbits might be more easily ob- posed to have been of this kind. There is now
inhabited. On one side of it they show caves
The foxes are bigger than treated from the weather. These dreary vaults those of England; but the otters exceed ours in might have had other uses. These is still a a far greater proportion. I saw one at Armidel, cavity near the house called the oar-cave, in of a size much beyond that wbich I supposed which the seamen, after one of those piràtical them ever to attain ; and Mr. Maclean, the heir expeditions which in rougher times was very of Col, a man of middle stature, informed me that frequent, used, as tradition tells, to hide their he once shot an otter, of which the tail renched oars. This hollow was near the sea, that no. the ground, when he held up the head to a level thing so necessary might be far to be fetched ;
and it was secret, that enemies, if they landed, unpenetrated, no inlet was opened to foreign na could find nothing. Yet it is not very evident of velties, and the feudal institutions operated upon what use it was to bide their oars from those, life with their full force. He might there fun who, if they were masters of the coast, could have displayed a series of subordination and a take away their boats.
form of governmeni, which in more lumina A proof much stronger of the distance at and improved regions, have been long forgotten. which the first possessors of this island lived and have delighted his readers with many from the present time, is afforded by the stone uncouth customs that are now disused, and heads of arrows, which are very frequently wild opinions that prevail no longer. But he picked up. The people call them elf-bolts, and probably had not knowledge of the world subbelieve that the fairies shoot them at the cattle. cient to qualify him for judging what weudet They nearly resemble those which Mr. Banks deserve or gain the attention of mankind. The has lately brought from the savage countries in mode of life which was familiar to himself, b: the Pacific Ocean, and must have been made by did not suppose unknown to others, por imagia a nation to which the use of metals was un- that he could give pleasure by telling that, si known.
which it was, in his little country, impossible to The number of this little community has be ignorant. never been counted by its ruler, nor have I ob- What he has neglected, cannot now be pei. tained any positive account, consistent with the formed. In nations, where there is hardly the result of political computation.
use of letters, what is once out of sight is lost years ago, the late laird led out one hundred for ever. They thiok but little, and of tbei men upon a military expedition. The sixth few thoughts, none are wasted on the past, ir part of a people is supposed capable of bearing which they are neither interested by fear na arms: Raasay had therefore six hundred inhabi- hope. Their only registers are stated obsei. tants. But because it is not likely that every Vances and practical representations for this man able to serve in the field would follow the reason an age of ignorance is an age of ceresummons, or that the chief would leave his lands mony. Pageants, and processions, and com totally defeuceless, or take away all the hands memorations, gradually shrink away, as better qualified for labour, let it be supposed, that halt methods come into use of recording erents, and as many might be permitted to stay at home. preserving rights. The whole number then will be nine hundred, It is not only in Raasay tbat the chapel is usor nine to a square mile; a degree of populous- roofed and useless; through the few islands ness greater than those tracts of desolation can which we visited we neither saw nor beard u often show. They are content with their any house of prayer, except in Sky, that wa country, and faithful to their chiefs, and yet not in ruins. The malignant influence of Cal. uninfected with the fever of migration.
vinism has blasted ceremony and decency to Near the house at Raasay is a chapel unroof-gether; and if the remembrance of papal supered and ruinous, which has long been used only stition is obliterated, the monuments of papa! as a place of burial. About the churches in the piety are likewise effaced. islands are small squares enclosed with stone, It has been, for many years, popular to talk which belong to particular families, as reposi- of the lazy devotion of the Romish Clergs; tories for the dead. At Raasay there is one, I over the sleepy laziness of men that erected think, for the proprietor, and one for some col churches, we may indulge our superiority with lateral house.
a new triumph, by comparing it with the ferrid It is told by Martin, that at the death of the activity of those who suffer them to fall. lady of the island, it has been here the custom of the destruction of churches, the decay of to ereet a cross. This we found not to be true. religion must in time be the consequence;
for The stones that stand about the chapel at a while the public acts of the ministry are not small distance, some of which, perhaps, have performed in houses, a very small number can crosses cut upon them, are believed to have be present; and as the greater part of the been not funeral monuments, but the ancient islanders make no use of books, all must neces. boundaries of the sanctuary or consecrated sarily live in total ignorance who want the op. ground.
portunity of vocal instruction." Martin was a man not illiterate : he was an From these remains of ancient sanctity, which inhabitant of Sky, and therefore was within
are every where to be found, it has been conjecreach of intelligence, and with no great diffi-tured that, for the last two centuries, the inculty might bave visited the places which he habitants of the islands bare decreased in numundertakes to describe ; yet with all his oppor- ber. This argument, which supposes that the tunities, he bas often suffered himself to be churches have been suffered to fall, only because deceived. He lived in the last century, when they were no longer necessary, would have somo the chiefs of the clans had lost little of their force, if the houses of worship still remaining were origiual influence. The mountains were yet suflicient for the people.
But since they have
now no churches at all, these venerable frag- | a name that will be mentioned in history, and if inents do not prove the people of former times to courage and fidelity be virtues, mentioned with have been more numerous, but to have been honour. She is a woman of middle stature, soft more devout. If the inhabitants were doubled, | features, gentle manners, and elegant presence. with their present principles, it appears not that In the morning we sent our horses round a any provision for public worship would be made. promontory to meet us, and spared ourselves Where the religion of a country enforces con part of the day's fatigue, by crossing an arm of secrated buildings, the number of those build the sea. We had at last some difficulty in comings may be supposed to afford some indication, ing to Dunvegan : for our way led over an ex
however uncertain, of the populousness of the tensive moor, where every step was to be taken ** place ; but where by a change of manners a na- with caution, and we were often obliged to alight
tion is contented to live without them, their because the ground could not be trusted. In decay implies no diminution of inhabitants. travelling this watery flat, I perceived that it
Some of these dilapidations are said to be had a visible declivity, and might without much found in islands now uninhabited: but I doubt expense or difficulty be drained. But difficulty whether we can thence infer that they were ever and expense are relative terms, which have difpeopled. The religion of the middle age is well ferent meanings in different places. known to have placed too much hope in lonely To Dunvegan we came, very willing to be at austerities. Voluntary solitude was the great rest, and found our fatigue amply recompensed Art of propitiation, by which crimes were effaced, by our reception. Lady Macleod, who had lived and conscience was appeased : it is therefore many years in England, was newly come hither not unlikely, that oratories were often built in with her son and four daughters, who knew all places where retirement was sure to have no the arts of southern elegance, and all the modes disturbance.
of English economy. Here therefore we setRaasay has little that can detain a traveller, tled, and did not spoil the present hour, with except the laird and his family; but their power thoughts of departure. wants no auxiliaries. Such a seat of hospita- Dunvegan is a rocky prominence, that,juts lity, amidst the winds and waters, fills the ima- out into a bay, on the west side of Sky. The gination with a delightful contrariety of images. house, which is the principal seat of Macleod, Without is the rough ocean and the rocky land, is partly old and partly modern; it is built upon the beating billows and the bowling storm : the rock, and looks upon the water. forms within is plenty and elegance, beauty and gayety, two sides of a small square : on the third side is the song and the dance. In Raasay, if I could the skeleton of a castle of unknown antiquity, have found an Ulysses, I had fancied a Phæacia. supposed to have been a Norwegian fortress,
when the Danes were masters of the islands. It is so nearly entire, that it might have easily been
made habitable, were there not an ominous traAt Raasay, by good fortune, Macleod, so the dition in the family, that the owner shall not chief of the clan is called, was paying a visit, long outlive the reparation. The grandfather of and by him we were invited to his scat at Dun- the present laird, in defiance of prediction, began vegan. Raasay has a stout boat, built in Nor. the work, but desisted in a little time, and apway, in which, with six oars, he conveyed us plied his money to worse uses. back to Sky. We landed at Port Re, so called As the inhabitants of the Hebrides lived, for because James the Fifth of Scotland, who had many ages, in continual expectation of hostilicuriosity to visit the islands, came into it. The ties, the chief of every clan resided in a fortress. port is made by an inlet of the sea, deep and This house was accessible only from the water, narrow, where a ship lay waiting to dispeople till the last possessor opened an entrance by Sky, by carrying the natives away to America. stairs upon the land,
In coasting Sky, we passed by the cavern in They had formerly reason to be afraid, not which it was the custom, as Martin relates, to only of declared wars and authorised invaders, catch birds in the night, by making a fire at the or of roving pirates, which in the northern seas entrance. This practice is disused; for the must have been very common; but of inroads birils, as is known often to happen, have changed and insults froin riral clans, who, in the pleni. their haunts.
tude of feudal independence, asked no leave of Ilere we dined at a public house, I believe their sovereign to make war on one another. Sky the only inn of the island, and having mounted has been ravaged by a feud between the two our horses, travelled in the manner already de- mighty powers of Macdonald and Macleod. scribed, till we came to Ringsborough, a place Macdonald having married a Macleod, upon distinguished by that name, because the king some discontent dismissed her, perhaps because lodged here when he landed at Port Re. We she had brought him no children. Before the reign were entertained with the usual hospitality by of James the Fifth, a Hligbland laird made a trial Mr. Macdonald, and his lady Flora Macdonald, of his wife for a certain time, and if she did not
please him, he was then at liberty to send her | woman crosses the water to the opposite island, away. This however must always have offended, the herrings will desert the coast. Boetius tells and Macleod resenting the injury, whatever were the same of some other place. This tradition is its circumstances, declared, that the wedding not uniform. Some hold that no woman may pas, had been solemuized without a bonfire, but that and others that none may pass but a Macleod. the separation should be better illuminated ; and Among other guests which the hospitality of raising a little army, set fire to the territories of Dunvegan bronght to the table, a visit was paid Macdonald, who returned a visit, and prevailed. by the laird and lady of a small island south of
Another story may show the disorderly state Sky, of wbich the proper name is Muack, which of insular neighbourhood. The inhabitants of signifies swine. It is commonly called Muck, the isle of Egg, meeting a boat manned by which the proprietor not liking, has endeavoured, Macleods, tied the crew hand and foot, and set without effect, to change to Monk. It is usuai them adrift. Macleod landed upon Egg, and to call gentlemen in Scotland by the name ei demanded the offenders ; but the inhabitants their possessions, as Raasay, Bernera, Loch Bus, refusing to surrender them, retreated to a cavern, a practice necessary in countries inhabited by into which they thought their enemies unlikely' clans, where all that live in the same territory to follow them. Macleod choked them with bave one name, and must be therefore discrimi. smoke, and left them lying dead by families as nated by some addition. This gentleman, whose they stood.
name, I think, is Maclean, should be regularly Here the violence of the weather confined us called Muck; but the appellation, which be for some time, not at all to our discontent or in- thinks too coarse for his island, he would like convenience. We would indeed very willingly still less for himself, and he is therefore addres have visited the islands, which might be seen sed by the title of Isle of Muck. from the house, scattered in the sea, and I was This little island, however it be named, is of particularly desirous to have viewed Isay; but considerable value. It is two English miles long, the storms did not permit us to launch a boat, and three quarters of a mile broad, and conseand we were condemned to listen in idleness to quently contains only nine hundred and sixty the wind, except when we were better engaged English acres. It is chiefly arable. Hall of by listening to the ladies.
this little dominion the laird retains in his own We had here more wind than waves, and suf-hand, and on the other half, live one hundred fered the severity of a tempest, without enjoying and sixty persons, who pay their rent by exported its magnificence. The sea being broken by the corn. What rent they pay, we were not told, multitude of islands, does not roar with so much and could not decently inquire. The propornoise, nor beat the storm with such foamy tion of the people to the land is sueh, as the violence, as I have remarked on the coast of most fertile countries do not commonly maintaia. Sussex. Though, while I was in the Hebrides, The laird having all his people under his imthe wind was extremely turbulent, I never saw mediate view, seems to be very attentive to their very high billows.
happiness. The devastation of the small-pos, The country about Dunvegan is rough and when it visits places where it comes seldom, is barren. There are no trees except in the or- well known. He has disarmed it of its terror chard, which is a low sheltered spot surrounded at Muack, by inoculating eighty of his people. with a wall.
The expense was two shillings and sixpence a When this house was intended to sustain a head. Many trades they cannot have among siege, a well was made in the court, by boring them, but upon occasion, he fetches a smith from the rock downwards, till water was found, which the isle of Egg, and has a tailor from the main though so near to the sea, I have not heard men- land, six times -year. This island well de tioned as brackish, though it has some hardness, served to be seen, but the laird's absence left us or other qualities, which make it less fit for use ; no opportunity. and the family is now better supplied from a Every inhabited island has its appendant and stream, which runs by the rock, from two pleas- subordinate islets. Muck, however small, bas ing waterfalls.
yet others smaller about it, one of which has Here we saw some traces of former manners, only ground sufficient to afford pasture for three and heard some standing traditions. In the wethers. house is kept an ox's horn, hollowed so as to hold At Dunvegan I had tasted lotus, and was in perhaps two quarts, which the heir of Macleod danger of forgetting that I was ever to depart, was expected to swallow at one draught, as a till Mr. Boswell sagely reproached me with my test of his manhood, before be was permitted to sluggishness and softness. I had no very forcible bear arms, or could claim a seat among the men. defence to make ; and we agreed to pursue our It is held that the return of the laird to Dunve- journey. Macleod accompanied us to Ulinish, gan, after any considerable absence, produces a where we were entertained by the sheriff of the plentiful capture of herrings ; and that, if any island.
roofed by large stones laid across the cavern,
which therefore cannot be wide. Over the roof, MR. MACQUEEN travelled with us, and directed turfs were placed, and grass was suffered to our attention to all that was worthy of observa- grow; and the mouth was concealed by bushes, tion. With him we went to see an ancient or some other cover. building, called a dun or borough. It was a cir- These caves were represented to us as the cular enclosure, about forty-two feet in diame- cabins of the first rude inhabitants, of which, ter, walled round with loose stones, perhaps to however, I am by no means persuaded. This the height of nine feet. The walls are very was so low, that no man could stand uprigbt in ' thick, diminishing a little towards the top, and it. By their construction they are all so narthough in these countries stone is not brought row, that two can never pass along them togefar, must have been raised with much labour. ther, and being subterraneous, they must be alWithin the great circle were several smaller ways damp. They are not the work of an age rounds of wall, which formed distinct apart- much ruder than the present; for they are
Its date and its use are unknown. formed with as much art as the construction of Some suppose it the original seat of the chiefs of a common hut requires. I imagine them to the Macleods. Mr. Macqueen thought it a bave been places only of occasional use, in which Danish fort.
the islander, upon a sudden alarm, hid bis utenThe entrance is covered with flat stones, and sils or his clothes, and perbaps sometimes his is narrow, because it was necessary that the wife and children. stones which lie over it, should reach from one This cave we entered, but could not proceed wall to the other; yet, strait as the passage is, the whole length, and went away without knowthey seem heavier than could have been placed ing how far it was carried. For this omission where they now lie, by the naked strength of as we shall be blamed, as we perhaps have blamed many men as might stand about them. They other travellers; but the day was rainy, and the were probably raised by putting long pieces of ground was damp. We had with us neither wood under them, to which the action of a long spades nor pickaxes, and if love of ease surline of lifters might be applied. Savages, in all mounted our desire of knowledge, the offence countries, bave patience proportionate to their has not the invidiousness of singularity, upskilfulness, and are content to attain their end
Edifices, either standing or ruined, are the by very tedious methods.
chief records of an illiterate nation.
In some If it was ever roofed, it might once have part of this journey, at no great distance from been a dwelling, but as there is no provision for our way, stood a sbattered fortress, of wbich water, it could not have been a fortress. In the learned minister, to whose communication Sky, as in every other place, there is an ambi
we are much indebted, gave us an account. tion of exalting whatever has survived memory, Those, said he, are the walls of a place of reto some important use, and referring it to very fuge, built in the time of James the Sixth, by remote ages. I am inclined to suspect that in Hugh Macdonald, who was next heir to the lawless times, when the inhabitants of every dignity and fortune of his chief. Hugh, being mountain stole the cattle of their neighbour, so near his wish, was impatient of delay; and these enclosures were used to secure the herds had art and influence sufficient to engage seveand focks in the night. When they were dri- ral gentlemen in a plot against the laird's life. ven within the wall, they might be easily watch- Something must be stipulated on both sides; for ed, and defended as long as could be needful; they would not dip their hands in blood merely for the robbers durst not wait till the injured for Hugh's advancement. The compact was clan should find them in the morning.
formally written, signed by the conspirators, The interior enclosures, if the whole building and placed in the hands of one Macleod. were once a house, were the chambers of the It happened that Macleod had sold some chief inhabitants. If it was a place of security cattle to a drover, who, not having ready money, for cattle, they were probably the shelters of the gave him a bond for payment. The debt was keepers.
discharged, and the bond redemanded; which From the Dun we were conducted to another Macleod, who could not read, intending to put place of security, a cave carried a great way into his hands, gave him the conspiracy. The under ground, which had been discovered by drover, when he had read the paper, delivered digging after a fox. These caves, of which it privately to Macdonald, who being thus inmany have been found, and many probably formed of bis danger, called his friends together, remain concealed, are formed, I believe, com- and provided for his safety. He made a public monly by taking advantage of a hollow, where feast, and inviting Hugh Macdonald and his banks or rocks rise on either side. If no such confederates, placed each of them at the table place can be found, the ground must be cut between two men of known fidelity. The comaway. The walls are made by piling stones pact of conspiracy was then shown, and every against the earth, on either side. It is then man confronted with his own name. Macdonald