The Lady of the Lake/Notes to Canto 2

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4330691The Lady of the Lake — Notes to Canto SecondWalter Scott


Note I.

Morn's genial influence roused a minstrel grey.—St. I. p. 47.

That Highland chieftains, to a late period, retained in their service the bard, as a family officer, admits of very easy proof. The author of the Letters from Scotland, an officer of engineers, quartered at Inverness about 1720, who certainly cannot be deemed a favourable witness, gives the following account of the office, and of a bard, whom he heard exercise his talent of recitation.

"The bard is skilled in the genealogy of all the highland families, sometimes preceptor to the young laird, celebrates in Irish verse the original of the tribe, the famous warlike actions of the successive heads, and sings his own lyrics as an opiate to the chief, when indisposed for sleep; but poets are not equally esteemed and honoured in all countries. I happened to be a witness of the dishonour done to the muse, at the house of one of the chiefs, where two of these bards were set at a good distance, at the lower end of a long table, with a parcel of highlanders of no extraordinary appearance, over a cup of ale. Poor inspiration!

They were not asked to drink a glass of wine at our table, though the whole company consisted only of the great man, one of his near relations, and myself.

"After some little time, the chief ordered one of them to sing me a highland song. The bard readily obeyed, and with a hoarse voice, and in a tone of few various notes, began, as I was told, one of his own lyrics; and when he had proceeded to the fourth or fifth stanza, I perceived, by the names of several persons, glens, and mountains, which I had known or heard of before, that it was an account of some clan battle. But in his going on, the chief (who piques himself upon his school-learning) at some particular passage, bid him cease, and cryed out, 'There's nothing like that in Virgil or Homer.' I bowed, and told him I believed so. This you may believe was very edifying and delightful."—Letters from Scotland, II. 167.

Note II.

———— The Græme.—St. VI. p. 53.

The ancient and powerful family of Graham (which, for metrical reasons, is here spelled after the Scottish pronunciation,) held extensive possessions in the counties of Dunbarton and Stirling. Few families can boast of more historical renown, having claim to three of the most remarkable characters in the Scottish annals. Sir John the Græme, the faithful and undaunted partaker of the labours and patriotic warfare of Wallace, fell in the unfortunate field of Falkirk, in 1298. The celebrated Marquis of Montrose, in whom De Retz saw realized his abstract idea of the heroes of antiquity, was the second of these worthies. And, notwithstanding the severity of his temper, and the rigour with which he executed the oppressive mandates of the prince whom he served, I do not hesitate to name as the third, John Grahame, of Claverhouse, Viscount of Dundee, whose heroic death, in the arms of victory, may be allowed to cancel the memory of his cruelty to the non-conformists, during the reigns of Charles II. and James II.

Note III.

This harp which erst Saint Modan swayed.—St. VI. p. 54.

I am not prepared to shew that Saint Modan was a performer on the harp. It was, however, no unsaintly accomplishment; for Saint Dunstan certainly did play upon that instrument, which, retaining, as was natural, a portion of the sanctity attached to its master's character, announced future events by its spontaneous sound. "But labouring once in these mechanic arts for a devoute matrone that had sett him on worke, his violl, that hung by him on the wall, of its owne accord, without anie man's helpe, distinctly sounded this anthime: Gaudent in cœlis animæ sanctorum qui Christi vestigia sunt secuti: et quia pro cius amore sanguinem suum fudcrunt, ideo cum Christo gaudent æternum. Whereat all the companie being much astonished, turned their eyes from behoulding him working, to looke on that strange accident."———"Not long after, manic of the court, that hitherunto had born a kind of fayned friendship towards him, began now greatly to envie at his progresse and rising in goodness, using manie crooked, backbiting meanes to deffame his vertues with the black markes of hypocrisie. And the better to authorise their calumnie, they brought in this that happened in the violl, affirming it to have been done by art magick. What more? this wicked rumour encreased dayly, till the king and others of the nobility taking hould thereof, Dunstan grew odious in their sight. Therefore he resolued to leaue the court, and go to Elphegus, surnamed the Bald, then bishop of Winchester, who was his cozen. Which his enemies understanding, they layd wayte for him in the way, and hauing throwne him off his horse, beate him, and draged him in the durt in the most miserable manner, meaning to haue slaine him, had not a companie of mastiue dogges, that came unlookt uppon them, defended and redeemed him from their crueltie. When with sorrow he was ashamed to see dogges more humane than they. And giuing thankes to Almightie God, he sensibly againe perceaued that the tunes of his violl had giuen him a warning of future accidents."—Flower of the Lives of the most renowned Saincts of England, Scotland, and Ireland, by the R. Father Hierome Porter. Doway, 1632. 4to. tome I. p. 438.

The same supernatural circumstance is alluded to by the anonymous author of "Grim, the Collier of Croydon."

————————[Dunstan's harp sounds on the wall.]
Forrest. Hark, hark, my lord, the holy abbot's harp
Sounds by itself so hanging on the wall!

Dunstan. Unhallowed man, that scorn'st the sacred read,
Hark, how the testimony of my truth
Sounds heavenly music with an angel's hand,
To testify Dunstan's integrity,
And prove thy active boast of no effect."

Note IV.

Ere Douglasses, to ruin driven,
Were exiled from their native heaven.—St. VIII. p. 55.

The downfal of the Douglasses of the house of Angus, during the reign of James V., is the event alluded to in the text. The Earl of Angus, it will be remembered, had married the queen-dowager, and availed himself of the right which he thus acquired, as well as of his extensive power, to retain the king in a sort of tutelage, which approached very near to captivity. Several open attempts were made to rescue James from this thraldom, with which he was well known to be deeply disgusted; but the valour of the Douglasses, and their allies, gave them the victory in every conflict. At length, the king, while residing at Falkland, contrived to escape by night out of his own court and palace, and rode full speed to Stirling Castle, where the governor, who was of the opposite faction, joyfully received him. Being thus at liberty, James speedily summoned around him such peers as he knew to be most inimical to the domination of Angus, and laid his complaint before them, says Pitscottie, "with great lamentations: showing to them how he was holden in subjection, thir years bygone, by the Earl of Angus, and his kin and friends, who oppressed the whole country, and spoiled it, under the pretence of justice and his authority; and had slain many of his lieges, kinsmen, and friends, because they would have had it mended at their hands, and put him at liberty, as he ought to have been, at the council of his whole lords, and not have been subjected and corrected with no particular men, by the rest of his nobles: Therefore, said he, I desire, my lords, that I may be satisfied of the said earl, his kin, and friends; for I avow, that Scotland shall not hold us both, while (i.e. till) I be revenged on him and his.

"The lords hearing the king's complaint and lamentation, and also the great rage, fury, and malice, that he bure toward the Earl of Angus, his kin and friends, they concluded all, and thought it best, that he should be summoned to underly the law; if he fand not caution, nor yet compear himself, that he should be put to the horn, with all his kin and friends, so many as were contained in the letters. And further, the lords ordained, by advice of his majesty, that his brother and friends should be summoned to find caution to underly the law within a certain day, or else be put to the horn. But the earl appeared not, nor none for hin; and so he was put to the horn, with all his kin and riends; so any as were contained in the summons, that compeared not, were banished, and holden traitors to the king."—Lindsay of Pitscottie's History of Scotland. Edinburgh, fol. p. 142.

Note V.

In Holy-Rood a knight he slew.—St. XII. p. 59.

This was by no means an uncommon occurrence in the court of Scotland; nay, the presence of the sovereign himself scarcely restrained the ferocious and inveterate feuds which were the perpetual source of bloodshed among the Scottish nobility. The following instance of the murder of Sir George Stuart of Ochiltree, called The Bloody, by the celebrated Francis Earl of Bothwell, may be produced among many; but, as the offence given in the royal court will hardly bear a vernacular translation, I shall leave the story in Johnstone's Latin, referring for further particulars to the naked simplicity of Birrel's Diary, 30th July, 1583.

"Mors improbi hominis non tam ipsa immerita, quam pessimo exemplo in publicum fædé perpetrata. Gulielmus Stuartus Alkiltrius, Arani frater, naturá ac moribus, cujus'sæpius memini, vulgo propter sitim sanguinis sanguinarius dictus, à Bothvelio, in Sanctæ Crucis Regiá, exardescente irá, mendacii probro lacessitus, obscænum osculum liberius retorquebat; Bothvelius hanc contumeliam tacitus tulit, sed ingentem irarum molem animo concepit. Utrinque postridie Edinburgi conventum, totidem numero comitibus armatis, præsidii causa, et acriter pugnatum est; cæteris amicis et clientibus metu torpentibus, aut vi absterritis, ipse Stuartus fortissimè dimicat, tandem excusso gladio à Bothvelio, Scythicá feritate transfoditur, sine cujusquam misericordiá; habuit itaque quem debuit exitum. Dignus erat Stuartus qui pateretur; Bothvelius qui faceret. Vulgus sanguinem sanguine prædicabat, et horum cruore innocuorum manibus egregiè parentatum."—R. Johnstoni Historia Rerum Britannicarum, ab anno 1572, ad annum 1628. Amstelodami, 1655, fol. p. 135.

Note VI.

The Douglas like a stricken deer,
Disowned by every noble peer.—St. XII. p. 60.

The exiled state of this powerful race is not exaggerated in this and subsequent passages. The hatred of James against the race of Douglas was so inveterate, that numerous as their allies were, and disregarded as the regal authority had usually been in similar cases, their nearest friends, even in the most remote parts of Scotland, durst not entertain them, unless under the strictest and closest disguise. James Douglas, son of the banished Earl of Angus, afterwards well known by the title of Earl of Morton, lurked, during the exile of his family, in the north of Scotland, under the assumed name of James Innes, otherwise James the Grieve, (i.e. Reve or Bailiff.) "And as he bore the name," says Godscroft, "so did he also execute the office of a grieve or overseer of the lands and rents, the corn and cattle of him, with whom he lived." From the habits of frugality and observation, which he acquired in this humble situation, the historian traces that intimate acquaintance with popular character, which enabled him to rise so high in the state, and that honourable economy by which he repaired and established the shattered estates of Angus and Morton.—History of the House of Douglas. Edinburgh, 1743, Vol. II. p. 160.

Note VII.

Maronnan's cell.—St. XIII. p. 61.

The parish of Kilmarnock, at the eastern extremity of Loch-Lomond, derives its name from a cell or chapel, dedicated to Saint Maronoch, or Marnoch, or Maronan, about whose sanctity very little is now remembered. There is a fountain devoted to him in the same parish, but its virtues, like the merits of its patron, have fallen into oblivion.

Note VIII.

Bracklinn's thundering wave.—St. XIV. p. 62.

This is a beautiful cascade made at a place called the Bridge of Bracklinn, by a mountain stream called the Keltie, about a mile from the village of Callander, in Menteith. Above a chasm where the brook precipitates itself from a height of at least fifty feet, there is thrown, for the convenience of the neighbourhood, a rustic foot-bridge, of about three feet in breadth, and without ledges, which is scarcely to be crossed by a stranger without awe and apprehension.

Note IX.

For Tinc-man forged by fairy lore.—St. XV. p. 64.

Archibald, the third Earl of Douglas, was so unfortunate in all his enterprizes, that he acquired the epithet of Tineman, because he tined, or lost, his followers in every battle which he fought. He was vanquished, as every reader must remember, in the bloody battle of Homildon-hill, near Wooler, where he himself lost an eye, and was made prisoner by Hotspur. He was no less unfortunate when allied with Percy, being wounded and taken at the battle of Shrewsbury. He was so unsuccessful in an attempt to besiege Roxburgh Castle, that it was called the Foul Raid, or disgraceful expedition. His ill fortune left him indeed at the battle of Beaugé, in France; but it was only to return with double emphasis at the subsequent action of Vernoil, the last and most unlucky of his encounters, in which he fell, with the flower of the Scottish chivalry, then serving as auxiliaries in France, and about two thousand common soldiers, A. D. 1424.

Note X.

Did, self-unscabbarded, fore-show
The footstep of a secret foe.—St. XV. p. 64.

The ancient warriors, whose hope and confidence rested chiefly in their blades, were accustomed to deduce omens from them, especially from such as were supposed to have been fabricated by enchanted skill, of which we have various instances in the romances and legends of the time. The wonderful sword Skoffnung, wielded by the celebrated Hrolf Kraka, was of this description. It was deposited in the tomb of the monarch at his death, and taken from thence by Skeggo, a celebrated pirate, who bestowed it upon his son-in-law, Kormak, with the following curious directions: "The manner of using it will appear strange to you. A small bag is attached to it, which take heed not to violate. Let not the rays of the sun touch the upper part of the handle, nor unsheath it, unless thou art ready for battle. But when thou comest to the place of fight, go aside from the rest, grasp and extend the sword, and breathe upon it. Then a small worm will creep out of the handle lower the handle, that he may more easily return into it.' Kormak. after having received the sword, returned home to his mother. He shewed the sword, and attempted to draw it, as unnecessarily as ineffectually, for he could not pluck it out of the sheath. His mother, Della, exclaimed, 'Do not despise the counsel given to thee, my son.' Kormak however, repeating his efforts, pressed down the handle with his feet, and tore off the bag, when Skoffnung emitted a hollow groan: but still he could not unsheathe the sword. Kormak then went out with Bessus, whom he had challenged to fight with him, and drew apart at the place of combat. He sat down upon the ground, and ungirding the sword, which he bore above bis vestments, did not remember to shield the hilt from the rays of the sun. In vain he endeavoured to draw it, till he placed his foot against the hilt; then the worm issued from it. But Kormak did not rightly handle the weapon, in consequence whereof, good fortune deserted it. As he unsheathed Skoffnung, it emitted a hollow murmur."—Bartholini de Causis Contemptæ a Danis adhuc Gentilibus Mortis Libri Tres. Hafniæ, 1689. 4to. p. 574.

To the history of this sentient and prescient weapon, I beg leave to add, from memory, the following legend, for which I cannot produce any better authority. A young nobleman, of high hopes and fortune, chanced to lose his way in the town which he inhabited, the capital, if I mistake not, of a German province. He had accidentally involved himself among the narrow and winding streets of a suburb, inhabited by the lowest order of the people, and an approaching thunder-shower determined him to ask a short refuge in the most decent habitation that was near him. He knocked at the door, which was opened by a tall man, of a grisly and ferocious aspect, and sordid dress. The stranger was readily ushered to a chamber, where swords, scourges, and machines, which seemed to be implements of torture, were suspended on the wall. One of these swords dropped from its scabbard, as the nobleman, after a moment's hesitation, crossed the threshold. His host immediately stared at him, with such a marked expression, that the young man could not help demanding his name and business, and the meaning of his looking at him so fixedly. "I am," answered the man, "the public executioner of this city; and the incident you have observed is a sure augury, that I shall, in discharge of my duty, one day cut off your head with the weapon which has just now spontaneously unsheathed itself." The nobleman lost no time in leaving his place of refuge; but, engaging in some of the plots of the period, was shortly after decapitated by that very man and instrument.

Lord Lovat is said, by the author of the Letters from Scotland, to have affirmed, that a number of swords that hung up in the hall of the mansion-house, leaped of themselves out of the scabbard at the instant he was born. This story passed current among his clan, but, like that of the story I have just quoted, proved an unfortunate omen.—Letters from Scotland, Vol. II. p. 214.

Note XI.

————The pibroch proud.—St. XVII. p. 67.

The connoisseurs in pipe-music affect to discover, in a well-composed pibroch, the imitative sounds of march, conflict, flight, pursuit, and all the "current of a heady fight." To this opinion, Dr Beattie has given his suffrage in the following elegant passage:—"A pibroch is a species of tune peculiar, I think, to the Highlands and western isles of Scotland. It is performed on a bagpipe, and differs totally from all other music. Its rythm is so irregular, and its notes, especially in the quick movement, so mixed and huddled together, that a stranger finds it impossible to reconcile his ear to it, so as to perceive its modulation. Some of these pibrochs, being intended to represent a battle, begin with a grave motion, resembling a march; then gradually quicken into the onset; run off with noisy confusion, and turbulent rapidity, to imitate the conflict and pursuit; then swell into a few flourishes of triumphant joy; and perhaps close with the wild and slow wailings of a funeral procession."—Essay on Laughter and Ludicrous Composition, Chap. III. Note.

Note XII.

Roderigh vich Alpine Dhu, ho! ieroe!—St. XIX. p. 69.

Besides his ordinary name and surname, which were chiefly used in his intercourse with the Lowlands, every Highland chief had an epithet expressive of his patriarchal dignity as head of the clan, and which was common to all his predecessors and successors, as Pharoah to the kings of Egypt, or Arsaces to those of Parthia. This name was usually a patronymic, expressive of his descent from the founder of the family. Thus the Duke of Argyle is called MacCallanmore, or the Son of Colin the Great. Sometimes, however, it is derived from armorial distinctions, or the memory of some great feat: thus Lord Seaforth, as chief of the Mackenzies, or Clan-Kennet, bears the epithet of Caber-fae, or Buck's Head, as representative of Colin Fitzgerald, founder of the family, who saved the Scottish king, when endangered by a stag. But besides this title, which belonged to his office and dignity, the chieftain had usually another peculiar to himself, which distinguished him from the chieftains of the same race. This was sometimes derived from complexion, as dhu or roy; sometimes from size, as beg or more; at other times, from some particular exploit, or from some peculiarity of habit or appearance. The line of the text therefore signifies,

Black Roderick, the descendant of Alpine.

The song itself is intended as an imitation of the jorrams, or boat-songs of the Highlanders, which were usually composed in honour of a favourite chief. They are so adapted as to keep time with the sweep of the oars, and it is easy to distinguish between those intended to be sung to the oars of a galley, where the stroke is lengthened and doubled as it were, and those which were timed to the rowers of an ordinary boat.

Note XIII.

The best of Loch-Lomond lie dead on her side.—St. XX. p. 70.

The Lennox, as the district is called which encircles the lower extremity of Loch-Lomond, was peculiarly exposed to the incursions of the mountaineers, who inhabited the inaccessible fastnesses at the upper end of the lake, and the neighbouring district of Loch Katrine. These were often marked by circumstances of great ferocity, of which the noted conflict of Glen-fruin is a celebrated instance. This was a clan-battle, in which the Macgregors, headed by Allaster Macgregor, chief of the clan, encountered the sept of Colquhouns, commanded by Sir Humphry Colquhoun of Luss. It is on all hands allowed, that the action was desperately fought, and that the Colquhouns were defeated with slaughter, leaving two hundred of their name dead upon the field. But popular tradition has added other horrors to the tale. It is said, that Sir Humphry Colquhoun, who was on horseback, escaped to the castle of Benechra, or Banochar, and was next day dragged out and murdered by the victorious Macgregors in cold blood Buchanan of Auchmar, however, speaks of his slaughter as a subsequent event, and as perpetrated by the Macfarlanes. Again it is reported, that the Macgregors murdered a number of youths, whom report of the intended battle had brought to be spectators, and whom the Colquhouns, anxious for their safety, had shut up in a barn to be out of danger. One account of the Macgregors denies this circumstance entirely: another ascribes it to the savage and blood-thirsty disposition of a single individual, the bastard brother of the laird of Macgregor, who amused himself with this second massacre of the innocents, in express disobedience to the chief, by whom he was left their guardian during the pursuit of the Colquhouns. It is added, that Macgregor bitterly lamented this atrocious action, and prophesied the ruin which it must bring upon their ancient clan. The following account of the conflict, which is indeed drawn up by a friend of the clan Gregor, is altogether silent on the murder of the youths. "In the spring of the year 1602, there happened great dissentions and troubles between the laird of Luss, chief of the Colquhouns, and Alexander, laird of Macgregor. The original of these quarrels proceeded from injuries and provocations mutually given and received, not long before. Macgregor, however, wanting to have them ended in friendly conferences, marched at the head of two hundred of his clan, to Leven, which borders on Luss, his country, with a view of settling matters by the mediation of friends: but Luss had no such intentions, and projected his measures with a different view; for he privately drew together a body of 300 horse and 500 foot, composed partly of his own clan and their followers, and partly of the Buchanans, his neighbours, and resolved to cut off Macgregor and his party to a man, in case the issue of the conference did not answer his inclination. But matters fell otherways than he expected; and though Macgregor had previous information of his insidious design, yet, dissembling his resentment, he kept the appointment, and parted good friends in appearance.

"No sooner was he gone, than Luss, thinking to surprise him and his party in full security, and without any dread or apprehension of his treachery, followed with all speed, and came up with him at a place called Glenfroon. Macgregor, upon the alarm, divided his men into two parties, the greatest part whereof he commanded himself, and the other he committed to the care of his brother John, who, by his orders, led them about another way, and attacked the Colquhouns in flank. Here, it was fought with great bravery on both sides for a considerable time; and, notwithstanding the vast disproportion of numbers, Macgregor, in the end, obtained an absolute victory. So great was the rout, that 200 of the Colquhouns were left dead upon the spot, most of the leading men were killed, and a multitude of prisoners taken. But what seemed most surprising and incredible in this defeat, was, that none of the Macgregors were missing, except John, the laird's brother, and one common fellow, though indeed many of them were wounded."—Professor Ross's History of the Family of Sutherland, 1631.

The consequences of the battle of Glen-fruin were very calamitous to the family of Macgregor, who had already been considered as an unruly clan. The widows of the slain Colquhouns, sixty, it is said, in number, appeared in doleful procession before the king at Stirling, each riding upon a white palfrey, and bearing in her hand the bloody shirt of her husband displayed upon a pike. James VI. was so much moved by the complaints of this "choir of mourning dames," that he let loose his vengeance against the Macgregors, without either bounds or moderation. The very name of the clan was proscribed, and those by whom it had been borne were given up to sword and fire, and absolutely hunted down by bloodhounds like wild beasts. Argyle and the Campbells, on the one hand, Montrose, with the Grahames and Buchanans, on the other, are said to have been the chief instruments in suppressing this devoted clan. The laird of Macgregor surrendered to the former, on condition, that he would take him out of Scottish ground. But, to use Birrel's expression, he kept "a Highlandman's promise;" and, although he fulfilled his word to the letter, by carrying him as far as Berwick, he afterwards brought him back to Edinburgh, where he was executed with eighteen of his clan.—Birrel's Diary, 2d Oct. 1603. The clan Gregor being thus driven to utter despair, seem to have renounced the laws from the benefit of which they were excluded, and their depredations produced new acts of council, confirming the severity of their proscription, which had only the effect of rendering them still more united and desperate. It is a most extraordinary proof of the ardent and invincible spirit of clanship, that, notwithstanding the repeated proscriptions providently ordained by the legislature, "for the timeous preventing the disorders and oppression that may fall out by the said name and clan of Macgregors, and their followers," they were, 1715 and 1745, in a potent clan, and continue to subsist as a distinct and numerous race.

Note XIV.

————The king's vindictive pride
Boasts to have tamed the Border side.—St. XXVIII. p. 81.

In 1529, James V. made a convention at Edinburgh, for the purpose of considering the best mode of quelling the Border robbers, who, during the license of his minority, and the troubles which followed, had committed many exorbitancies. Accordingly he assembled a flying army of ten thousand men, consisting of his principal nobility and their followers, who were directed to bring their hawks and dogs with them, that the monarch might refresh himself with sport during the interval of military execution. With this array he swept through Ettrick forest, where he hanged over the gate of his own castle, Piers Cockburn of Henderland, who had prepared, according to tradition, a feast for his reception. He caused Adam Scott of Tushielaw also to be executed, who was distinguished by the title of King of the Border. But the most noted victim of justice, during that expedition, was John Armstrong of Gilnockie, famous in Scottish song, who, confiding in his own supposed innocence, met the king, with a retinue of thirty-six persons, all of whom were hanged at Carlenrig, near the source of the Teviot. The effect of this severity was such, that, as the vulgar expressed it, "the rush-bush kept the cow," and "thereafter was great peace and rest a long time, wherethrough the king had great profit; for he had ten thousand sheep going in the Ettricke forest in keeping by Andrew Bell, who made the king as good count of them as they had gone in the bounds of Fife."—Pitscottie's History, p. 153.

Note XV.

What grace for Highland chiefs judge ye,
By fate of Border chivalry.—St. XXVIII. p. 82.

James was, in fact, equally attentive to restrain rapine and feudal oppression in every part of his dominions. "The king past to the isles, and there held justice courts, and punished both thief and traitor according to their demerit. And also he caused great men to show their holdings, wherethrough he found many of the said lands in non-entry; the which he confiscate and brought home to his own use, and afterward annexed them to the crown, as ye shall hear. Syne brought many of the great men of the isles captive with him, such as Mudyart, M'Connel, M'Loyd of the Lewes, M'Neil, M'Lane, M'Intosh, John Mudyart, M'Kay, M'Kenzie, with many others that I cannot rehearse at this time. Some of them he put in ward and some in court, and some he took pledges for good rule in time coming. So he brought the isles, both north and south, in good rule and peace; wherefore he had great profit, service, and obedience of people a long time hereafter; and as long as he had the heads of the country in subjection, they lived in great peace and rest, and there was great riches and policy by the king's justice."—Pitscottie, p. 152.

Note XVI.

Rest safe till morning-pity 'twere
Such cheek should feel the midnight air.—St. XXXV. p. 91.

Hardihood was in every respect so essential to the character of a Highlander, that the reproach of effeminacy was the most bitter which could be thrown upon him. Yet it was sometimes hazarded on what we might presume to think slight grounds. It is reported of old Sir Ewen Cameron of Lochiel, when wards of seventy, that he was surprised by night on a hunting or military expedition. He wrapped him in his plaid, and lay contentedly down upon the snow, with which the ground happened to be covered. Among his attendants, who were preparing to take their rest in the same manner, he observed that one of his grandsons, for his better accommodation, had rolled a large snow-ball, and placed it below his head. The wrath of the ancient chief was awakened by a symptom of what he conceived to be degenerate luxury. "Out upon thee," said he, kicking the frozen bolster from the head which it supported, "art thou so effeminate as to need a pillow?" The officer of engineers, whose curious letters from the Highlands have been more than once quoted, tells a similar story of Macdonald of Keppoch, and subjoins the following remarks:

"This and many other stories are romantick; but there is one thing, that at first thought might seem very romantick, of which I have been credibly assured, that when the Highlanders are constrained to lie among the hills, in cold dry windy weather, they sometimes soak the plaid in some river or burn, (i.e. brook;) and then, holding up a corner of it a little above their heads, they turn themselves round and round, till they are enveloped by the whole mantle. They then lay themselves down on the heath, upon the leeward side of some hill, where the wet and the warmth of their bodies make a steam, like that of a boiling kettle. The wet, they say, keeps them warm by thickening the stuff, and keeping the wind from penetrating.

"I must confess I should have been apt to question this fact, had I not frequently seen them wet from morning to night; and, even at the beginning of the rain, not so much as stir a few yards to shelter, but continue in it without necessity, till they were, as we say, wet through and through. And that is soon effected by the looseness and spunginess of the plaiding; but the bonnet is frequently taken off, and wrung like a dishclout, and then put on again.

"They have been accustomed from their infancy to be often wet, and to take the water like spaniels, and this is become a second nature, and can scarcely be called a hardship to them, insomuch that I used to say, they seemed to be of the duck-kind, and to love water as well. Though I never saw this preparation for sleep in windy weather, yet, setting out early in a morning from one of the huts, I have seen the marks of their lodging, where the ground has been free from rime or snow, which remained all round the spot where they had lain."—Letters from Scotland. Lond. 1754. 8vo. II. p. 108.

Note VIII.

——His henchman came.—St. XXXV. p. 91.

"This officer is a sort of secretary, and is to be ready, upon all occasions, to venture his life in defence of his master; and at drinking-bouts he stands behind his seat, at his haunch, from whence his title is derived, and watches the conversation, to see if any one offends his patron.

"An English officer being in company with a certain chieftain, and several other Highland gentlemen, near Killichumen, had an argument with the great man; and both being well warmed with usky, at last the dispute grew very hot.

"A youth who was hanchman, not understanding one word of English, imagined his chief was insulted, and thereupon drew his pistol from his side, and snapped it at the officer's head; but the pistol missed fire, otherwise it is more than probable he might have suffered death from the hand of that little vermin.

"But it is very disagreeable to an Englishman over a bottle, with the Highlanders, to see every one of them have his gilly, that is, his servant, standing behind him all the while, let what will be the subject of conversation."—Letters from Scotland, II. 159.