Page:Striking and picturesque delineations.djvu/11

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PREFACE.



 

The present publication of these singular Sketches may be ascribed to one of those happy accidents to which the world is often indebted for the most important benefits. It was for the Public, indeed, that they were originally composed. But remote as their Author was from the capital, and inadequate as were his means to the expense of printing them, he might have remained long in obscurity, or his fame, at the best, might never have travelled beyond the narrow circle round which his manuscripts could be conveyed; and thus the literary world must have been denied the pleasure which these inimitable productions cannot fail to impart. Fortune, however, had determined that he should not long, like the plovers which he scared upon the heath, ‘sing his wild notes to the listening waste’ alone, or, like the native flower on his hills, exhale ‘his sweetness to the desert air.’

About the beginning of last Autumn, a Gentleman who had gone to spend a few days at Loch-Earn, to enjoy the sport of grouse-shooting, was introduced of course to Angus M‘Diarmid, whom he made his companion in all his excursions. He soon discovered that skill and attention in conducting him to the haunts of the muirfowl, was the least valuable qualification of his new acquaintance. The pleasure which he took in pointing out whatever was remarkable in the country which they traversed,–the rapture with which he dwelt on the wild and magnificent scenery which was ever varying to their view,–and the amazing pomp of expression in which he clothed his