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formed. In nations, where there is hardly the tion with a delightful contrariety of images. use of letters, what is once out of sight is lost Without is the rough ocean and the rocky land, for ever. They think but little, and of their sew the beating billows and the howling storm: thoughts, none are wasted on the past, in which within is plenty and elegance, beauty and gayety, they are neither interested by fear nor hope. the song and ihe dance. In Raasay, if I could Their only registers are stated observances and have found an Ulysses, I had fancied a Phæacia. practical representations. For this reason an age of ignorance is an age of ceremony. Pa
DUNVEGAN. geants, and processions, and commemorations, At Raasay, by good fortune, Macleod, so the gradually shrink away, as better methods come chief of the clan is called, was paying a visit, into use of recording events, and preserving and by him we were invited to his seat al Dunrights.
vegan. Raasay has a stout boat built in NorIt is not only in Raasay that the chapel is un- way, in which, with six nars, he conveyed us roofed and useless; through the few islands back to Sky. We landed at Port RP, su called which we visited we neither saw nor heard of because James the Fifth of Scotland, who had any house of prayer, except in Sky, that was curiosity to visit the Islands, came mto it. The not in ruins. The malignant influence of Cal- port is made by an inlet of the sea, deop ond vinism has blasted ceremony and decency to-narrow, where a ship lay waiting to dis; eople gether; and if the remembrance of papal super, Sky, by carrying the natives away to America. stition is obliterated, the monuments of papal In coasting Sky, we passed by ihe cavern in piety are likewise effaced.
which it was the custom, as Martin relates, to It has been, for many years, popular to talk catch birds in the night, by making a fire at the of the lazy devotion of the Romish Clergy; over entrance. This practise is disused; for the the sleepy laziness of men that erected churches, birds, as is known often to happen, have changed we may indulge our superiority with a new tri- their haunts. umph, by comparing it with the fervid activity of Here we dined at a public-house, I believe thc those who suffer them to fall.
only inn of the island, and having mounted cur Of the destruction of churches, the decay of horses, travelled in the manner already described, religion must in time be the consequence; sor till we came to Kingsborough, a place distinwhile the public acts of the ministry are now guished by that name, because the king Irdyed performed in houses, a very small number here when be landed at Port Rc. We were can be present; and as the greater part of the entertained with the usual hospitality by Mr. islanders make no use of books, all must ne- Macdonald, and his lady Flora Macdonald, a cessarily live in total ignorance who want the name that will be mentioned in history, and if opportunity of vocal instruction.
courage and fidelity be virtues, mentioned with From these remains of ancient sanctity, which honour. She is a woman of middle statuie, soft are every where to be found, it has been conjec- features, gentle manners, and elegant presence. tured that, for the last two centuries, the inha- In the morning we sent our horses round a bitants of the islands have decreased in number. promontory to meet us, and spared ourselves This argument, which supposes that the churches part of the day's fatigue, by crossing an arm of have been suffered to fall, only because they the sea. We had at last some difficulty in were no longer necessaiy, would have some coming to Dunvegan : for our way led over an force, if the houses of worship süill remaining extensive moor, where every step was to be taken were sufficient for the people. But since they with caution, and we were often obliged to alight have now no churches at all, these venerable, because the ground could not be trusted. In fragments do not prove the people of former travelling this watery flat, I perceived that it times to have been more numerous, but to have had a visible declivity, and might without much been more devout. If the in babitants were expense or difficulty be drained. But difficulty doubled, with their present principles, it appears and expense are relative terms, which have diffenot that any provision for public worship would rent meanings in different places. be made. Where the religion of a country en- To Dunvegan we came, very willing to be at forces consecrated buildings, the number of those rest, and found our fatigue amply recompensed buildings may be supposed to afford some indi- by our reception. Lady Macleod, who had lived cation, however uncertain, of the populousness many years in England, was newly come hither of the place ; but where by a change of manners with her son and four daughters, who knew all a nation is contented to live without them, their the arts of southern elegance, and all the modes decay implies no diminution of inhabitants. of English economy. Here therefore we settled,
Some of these dilapidations are said to be and did not spoil the present hour with thoughts frund in islands now uninhabited, but I doubt of departure. whether we can thence infer that they were ever Dunvegan is a rocky prominence, that juts out penpled. The religion of the middle age is well into a bay, on the west side of Sky: The house, known to have placed too much hope in lonely which is the principal seat of Macleod, is partly austerities. Voluntary solitude was the great old and partly modern; it is built upon the rock, art of propitiation, by which crimes were effaced, and looks upon the water. It forms two sides of a and conseience was appeased: it is therefore small square: on the third side is the skeleton of a not unlikely, that oratories were often built in castle of unknown antiquity, supposed to have places where retirement was sure to have no been a Norwegian fortress, when the Danes were disturbance.
masters of the islands. It is so nearly entire, Raasay has little that can detain a traveller, that it might have easily been made habitable, except the laird and his family; but their power were there not an ominous tradition in the fawants no auxiliaries. Such a sent of hospitali
hat the owner shall not long outlive the amidst the winds and waters, fills the im
The grandfather of the present laird, in defiance of prediction, began the work, use ; and the family is now better supplied from but desisted in a litle time, and applied his a stream which runs by the rock, from tu money to worse uses.
pleasing waterfalls. As the inhabitants of the Hebrides lived for Here we saw some traces of former manners, many ages in continual expectation of hostili- and heard some standing traditions. In the ties, the chief of every clan resided in a fortress. house is kept an ox's horn, hollowed so as to This house was accessible only from the water, hold perhaps two quarts, which the heir of Mao till the last possessor opened an entrance by leod was expected to swallow at one draught, stairs upon the land.
as a test of his manhood, before he was perThey had formerly reason to be afraid, not mitted to bear arms, or could claim a seat among only of declared wars and authorized invaders, the men. It is held that the return of the lard or of roving pirates, which in the northern seas to Dunvegan, after any considerable absence, must have been very common; but of inroads produces a plentiful capture of herrings; and and insults from rival clans, who, in the pleni-ihat, if any woman crosses the water to the optude of feudal independence, asked no leave of posite island, the herrings will desert the coast. their sovereign to make war on one another. Boetius tells the same of some other place. This Sky has been ravaged by a feud between the tradition is not uniform. Some hold that no two mighty powers of Macdonald and Macleod. woman may pass, and others that none may Macdonald having married a Macleod, upon pass but a Macleod. some discontent dismissed her, perhaps because Among other guests which the hospitality of she had brought him no children. Before the Dunvegan brought to the table, a visit was paid reign of James the Fifth, a Highland laird made by the laird and lady of a small island south of a trial of his wife for a certain time, and if she Sky, of which the proper name is Muack, which did not please him, he was then at liberty to send signifies swine. It is commonly called Muck, her away. This however must always have which the proprietor not liking, has endeavoured, offended, and Macleod resenting the injury, without effect, to change to Monk. It is usual whatever were its circumstances, declared, that to call gentlemen in Sco:land by the name of the wedding had been solemnized without a bon- their possessions, as Raasay, Bernera, Lock Buy, fire, but that the separation should be better a practice necessary in countries inhabited by illuminated; and raising a little army, set fire clans, where all that live in the same territory to the territories of Macdonald, wlio returned a have one name, and must be therefore diserimivisit, and prevailed.
nated by some addition. This gentleman, whose Another story may show the disorderly state name, I think, is Maclean, should be regularly of insular neighbourhood. The inhabitants of called Muck; but the appellation, which he the isle of Egg, meeting a boat manned by thinks too coarse for his island, he would like Macleods, tied the crew hand and foot, and set still less for himself, and he is therefore addressed them adrift. Macleod landed upon Egg, and by the title of Isle of Muck. deinanded the offenders; but the inhabitants This little island, however it be named, is of refusing to surrender them, retreated to a ca- considerable value. It is two English miles long, vern, into which they thought their enemies un. and three quarters of a mile broad, and conse likely to follow them. Macleod choked them quently contains only nine hundred and sixty with smoke, and left them lying dead by families English acres. It is chiefly arable. Hall of as they stood.
this little dominion the laird retains in his own Here the violence of the weather confined us hand, and on the other half, live one hundred for some time, not at all to our discontent or in and sixty persons, who pay their rent by exported
We would indeed very willingly corn. What rent they pay we were not tord, have visited the islands, which might be seen and could not decently inquire. The propor: from the house, scattered in the sea, and I was tion of the people to ihe land is such, as the particularly desirous to have viewed Isay; but most fertile countries do not commonly main'ain. the storms did not permit us to launch a boat, The laird having all his people under his nomes and we were condemned to listen in idleness to diate view, seenis to be very attentive to their the wind, except when we were better engaged happiness. The devastation of the small-por, by listening to ihe ladies.
when it visits places where it comes seldom, is We had here more wind than waves, and well known. He has disarmed it of its terror suffered the severity of a tempest, without en- at Muack, by inocula:ing eighty of his people. joying its magnificence. The sea being broken The expense was two shillings and sixpence a by the multitude of islands, does not roar with head. Many trades they cannot hare among so much noise, nor beat the storm with such them, but up in cccasion, he fetches a smith from foumy violence, as I have remarked on the coast the isle of Egg, and has a tailor from the main of Sussex. Though, while I was in the He- land six times a year. This island well do brides, the wind was extremely turbulent, I served to be seen, but the laird's absence left us never saw very high billows.
no opportunity. The country about Dunvegan is rough and Every inhabited island has its appendant and warren. There are no trees except in the or- subordinate islets. Muck, however small, has chard, wh ch is a low sheltered spot surrounded yet others smaller about it, one of which has wih a wall.
only ground sufficient lo afford pasture for three When this house was intended to sustain a weihers. siege, a well was made in the court, by boring At Dunvegan I had tasted lotus, and was in the rock downwards, till water was found, which danger of forge:ting that I was ever to depart, though so ner to the sea, I have not heard til Mr. Boswell sagely reproached me with my mentioned as brackish, though it has some hard-sluggishness and softness. I had no very forcible ness, or other qualities, which inako it le s fit for I dutence 19 make; and we agreed to pursue our
journey. Macleod accompanied us to Ulinish, however, I am by no means persuaded. This where we were entertained by the sheriff of the was so low, that no man could stand upright in island.
it. By their construction they are all so narrow,
that two can never pass along them together, ULINISH.
and being subterraneous, they must be always Mr. Macqueen travelled with as, an' directed damp. They are not the work of an age much our attention to all that was worthy of obser- ruder than the present; for they are formed with vation. With him we went to see an ancient as much art as the construction of a common building, called a dun or borough. It was a cir. but requires. I imagine them to have been cular enclosure, about forty-two feet in diame- places only of occasional use, in which the ter, walled round with loose stones, perhaps to islander, upon a sudden alarm, hid his utensils the height of nine feet. The walls are very or his clothes, and perhaps sometimes his wife thick, diminishing a little towards the top, and and children. though in these counties stone is not brought This cave we entered, but could not proceed far, must have been raised with much labour. the whole length, and went away without Within the great circle were several smaller knowing how far it was carried. For this rounds of wall, which formed distinct apart- omission we shall be blamed, as we perhaps ments. Its date and its use are unknown. Some have blamed other travellers; but the day was suppose it the original seat of the chiefs of the rainy, and the ground was damp. We had Macleods. Mr. Macqueen thought it a Danish with us neither spades nor pickaxes, and if fort.
love of ease surmounted our desire of knowThe entrance is covered with flat stones, and ledge, the offence has not the invidiousness of is narrow, because it was necessary that the singularity. stones which lie over it, should reach from one Edifices, either standing or ruined, are the wall to the other ; yet, strait as the passage is, chief records of an illiterate nation. In some they seem heavier than could have been placed part of this journey, at no great distance from our where they now lie, by the naked strength of as way, stood a sheltered fortress, of which the many men as might stand about them. They learned minister, to whose communication we were probably raised by putting long pieces of are mueh indebted, gave us an account. wood under them, to which the action of a long Those, said he, are the walls of a place of re line of lifters might be appl ed. Savages, in all fuge, built in the time of James the Sixth, by coun ries, have patience proportionate to their Hugh Macdonald, who was next heir to the unskilfulness, and are conteni to attain their end dignity and fortune of his chief. Hugh, being by very tedious methods.
so near his wishi, was impatient of delay; and If it was ever roofed, it might once have had art and influence sufficient to engage been a dwelling, but as there is no provision for several gentlemen in a plot against the laird's water, it could not have been a fortress. In life. Something must be stipulated on both Sky, as in every other place, there is an ambi- sides; for they would not dip their hands in tion of exalting whatever has survived memory blood merely for Hugh's advancement. The to some important use, and referring it to very compact was formally written, signed by the remote ages. I am inclined to suspect that in conspirators, and placed in the hands of one lawless times, when the inhabitants of every Macleod. mountain stole the cattle of their neighbour, It happened that Macleod had sold some cat. these enclosures were used to secure the herds tle to a drover, who, not having ready money, and flocks in the night. When they were driven gave him a bond for payment. The debt was within the wall, they might be easily watched, discharged, and the bond redemanded ; which and defended as long as could be needful; for Macleod, who could not read, intending to put the robhers durst not wait till the injured clan into his hands, gave him the conspiracy. The should find them in the morning.
drover when he had read the paper, delivered it The interior enclosures, if the whole building privately to Macdonald, who being thus informed were once a house, were the chambers of the of his danger, called his friends together, and chief inhabitants. if it was a place of security provided for his safety. He made a public feast, for cattle, they were probably the shelters of the and inviting Hugh Macdonald and his confedekeepers.
rates, placed each of them at the table between From the Dun we were conducted to another two men of known fidelity. The compact of place of security, a cave carried a great way conspiracy was then shown, and every man conunder ground which had been discovered by fronted with his own name. Macdonald acted digging after a fox. These caves, of which with great moderation. He upbraided Hugh many have been found, and many probably both with disloyalty and ingratitude ; but told remain concealed, are formed, I believe, com- the rest that he considered them as men deluded monly by taking advantage of a hollow, where and misinformed. Hugh was sworn to fidelity, banks or rocks risc on either side. If no such and dismissed with his companions; but he was place can be found, the ground must be cut not generous enongh to be reclaimed by lepity ; away. The walls are made by piling stones and finding no longer any countenance among against the earth, on either side. It is then the gentlemen, endeavoured to execute the same roofed by large stones laid across the cavern, design by meaner hands. In this practice he which therefore cannot be wide. Over the roof, was detected, taken to Macdonald's castle, and turfs were placed, and grass was suffered to imprisoned in the dungeon. When he was hun. grow; and the mouth was concealed by bushes gry they let down a plentiful meal of salted or some other cover.
mcat; and when, after his repast, he called for Thego caves were represented to us as the drink, conveyed to him a covered cup, which, cabins of the first rudo inhabitants, of which. I when he lifted the lid, he found empty. From that time they visited him no more, but left him tempest on the rocks. Towards the land are to perish in solitude and darkness.
lofty hills streaming with waterfalls. The garWe were then told of a cavern by the seaside, den is sheltered by firs, or pines, which grow remarkable for the powerful reverberation of there so prosperously, that some which the presounds. After dinner we took a boat to ex sent inhabitant planted, are very bigh and thick, plore this curious cavity. The boatmen, who At this place we very happily met with Mr. seemed to be of a rank above that of common Donald Maclean, a young gentleman, the eldest drudges, inquired who the strangers were ; and son of the laird of Cut, heir to a very great ex. being told we came one from Scotland, and the tent of land, and so desirous of improving bis other from England, asked if the Englishman inheritance, that he spent a considerable time could recount a long genealngy. What answer among the farmers of Hertfordshire and Hampwas given them, the conversation being in Erse, shire to learn their practice. He worked with I was not much inclined to examine.
his own bands at the principal operations of They expected no good event of the voyage ; agriculture, that he might not deceive himself for one of them declared that he heard the cry of by a false opinion of skill, which if he should an English ghost. This omen I was not told find it deficient at home, he had no means of till after our return, and therefore cannot claim completing. If the world has agreed to praise the dignity of despising it.
the travels and manual labours of the czar of The sea was smooth. We never left the shore, Muscovy, let Col have his share of the like apo and came without any disaster to the cavern, plause, in the proportion of his dominions to the which we found rugged and misshapen, about empire of Russia. one hundred and eighty feet long, thirty wide This young gentleman was sporting in the in the broadest part, and in the loftiest, as we mountains of Sky, and when he was weary witte guessed, about thirty high. It was now dry, following his game, repaired for lodging to Ta. but at high water the sea rises in it near six feet. lisker. At night be missed one of his dogs, and Here I saw what I had never seen before, lim- when he went to seek him in the morning, found pets and muscles in their natural state. But as two eagles feeding on his carcass. a new testiinony of the veracity of common fame, Col, for he must be named by his possessions, here was no echo to be heard.
hearing that our intention was to visit lona, of We then walked through a natural arch in fered to conduct us to his chief, Sir Allan Mac. the rock, which might have pleased us by its lean, who lived in the isle of Inch Kenneth, novelty, had the stones, which encumbered our and would readily find us a convenient passage. feet, given us leisure to consider it. We were From this time was formed an acquaintance, shown the gummy seed of the kelp, that fastens which being begun by kindness, was accidentitself to a stone, from which it grows into a ally continued by constraint; we derived much strong stalk.
pleasure from it, and I hope have given him no In our return we found a little boy upon the reason to repent it. point of a rock, catching with his angle a supper The weather was now almost one continued for the family. We rowed up to him, and bor- storm, and we were to snatch some happy interrowed his rod, with which Mr. Boswell caught a mission to be conveyed to Mull, the third island cuddy.
of the Hebrides, lying about a degree south of The cuddy is a fish of which I know not the Sky, whence we might easily find our way to philosop!ical name. It is not much bigger than Inch Kenneth, where Sir Allan Maclean resided, a gudgeon, bu: it is of great use in these islands, and afterwards to lona.
For this purpose the most commodious station for their lamps. Cuddies are so abundant, at that we could take was Armidel, which Sir some times of the year, that they are caught like Alexander Macdonald had now left to a gentlewhite bait in the Thames, only by dipping a
man who lived there as his factor or steward. basket and drawing it back.
In our way to Armidel was Coriatachan, where If it were always practicable to fish, these we had already been, and to which therefore we islands could never be in much danger from were very willing to return. We stayed however famine: but unhappily, in the winter, when so long at Talisker, that a great pari of our jourother provision fails, the seas are commonly too ney was performed in the gloom of the evening. rough for nets, or boats.
In travelling even thus almost without light
through naked solitude, when there is a guide TALISKER IN SKY.
whose conduct may be trusted, a mind noi ne
turally too inuch disposed to fear, may preserve From Ulinish our next stage was to Talisker, some degree of cheerfulness, but what must be the house of Colonel Macleod, an officer in the the solicitude of him who should be wandering Dutch service, who in this time of universal | among the crags and hollows, benighted, igao peace, has for several years been permitted to be rant, and alone ? absent froin his regiment. Having been bred to The fictions of the Gothic romances were not physic, he is consequently a scholar, and his so remote from credibility as they are now lady, by accompanying him in his different thought. In the full prevalence of the feudal places of residence, is become skilful in several institution, when violence desolated the world, languages. Talisker is the place beyond all that and every baron lived in a fortress, forests and I have seen, from which the gay and the jovial castles were regularly succeeded by each other, seem utterly excluded ; and where the hermit and the adventurer might very suddenly pass might expect to grow old in meditation, without from the gloom of woods, or the ruggedness of possibility of disturbance or interruption. It is noors, to seats of plenty, gayety, and magnif. situated very near the sea, but upon a coast (cence. Whatever is imagined in the wildest where no vessel lands but when it is driven by a tale, if giants, dragons, and cnchantrent be es
cepted, would be felt by him, who, wandering in Their agriculture is laborious, and perhaps the mountains without a guide, or upon the sea rather feeble than uskilful. Their chief ma without a pilot, should be carried, amidst his nure is scaweed, which, when they lay ii to rot terror and uncertainty, to the hospitality and upon the field, gives them a better crop than elegance of Raasay or Dunvegan.
those of the Highlands. They heap scu-shells To Coriatachan at last we came, and found npon the dunghill, which in time moulder into a ourselves welcomed as before. Here we stayed fertilizing substance. When they find a vein of two days, and made such inquiries as curiosity earth where they cannot ute it, they dig it up, and suggested. The house was filled with company, add it to the mould of a more commodious place. among whom Mr. Macpherson and his sister Their corn grounds often lie in such intricacies distinguished themselves by their politeness and among the crags, that there is no room for the accomplishments. By him we were invited to action of a team and plough. Thc soil is then Osuig, a house not far from Armidel, where we turned up by manual labour, with an instrument might easily hear of a boat, when the weather called a crooked spade, of a form and weight would suffer us to leave the island.
which to me appeared very incommodious, and
would perhaps be soon improved in a country OSTIG IN SKY.
where workmen could be easily found and easily At Ostig, of which Mr. Macpherson is mi- paid. It has a narrow blade of iron fixed to a nister, we were entertained for some days, then long and heavy piece of wood, which must have, removed to Armidel, where we finished our ob- about a foot and a half above the iron, a knce or servations on the island of Sky.
flexure with the angle downwards. When the As this island lies in the filiy-seventh degree, farmer encounters a stone, which is the great the air cannot be supposed to have much warmth. impediment of his operations, he drives the blade The long continuance of the sun above the hori- | under it, and bringing the knee or angle to the zon, does indeed sometimes produce great heat ground, has in the long handle a very forciblə in northern latiiudes; but this can only happen lever. in sheltered places, where the atmosphere is to According to the different mode of tillage, a certain degree stagnant, and the same mass of farms are distinguished into long land and shori air continues to receive for many hours the rays land. Long land is that which affords room for of the sun, and the vapours of the carth. Sky a plough, and short land is turned up by the lies open on the west and north to a vast extent spade. of ocean, and is cooled in the summer by a per- The grain which they commit to the furrow's petual ventilation, but by the same blast is kept thus tediously formed, is either oats or barley. warm in winter. Their weather is not pleasing. They do noi sow barley without very copious
If the year is deluged with rain. From the manure, and then they expect from it ten for one, alinmnal to the vernal cquinox, a dry day is an increase equal to that of better countries : hardly known, except when the showers are sus- but the culture is so operose that they content pended by a tempest. Under such skies can be themselves commonly with oats; and who can expected no great exuberance of vegetation. relate without compassion, that after all their Their winter overtakes their summer, and their diligence, they are io expect only a triple inhrvest lies upon the ground drenched with rain.crease? It is in vain to hope for plenty, when The autumn struggles hard to produce some of a third part of the harvest must be reserved for our early fruits. I gathered gooseberrius in seed. September ; but they were smail, and the husk When their grain is arrived at a state which was thick.
they must consider as ripeness, they do not cut, The winter is seldom such as puts a full stop but pull, the barley: to ihe oats they apply the to the growth of plants, or reduces the cattle to sickle. Wheel carriages they have none, but ve wholly on the surplusage of the summer. make a frame of timber which is drawn by one In the year seventy-one they had a severe sea-horse, with the two points behind pressing on 901), remembered by the name of the Black the ground. On this they sometimes drag home Spring, from which the island has not yet re- their sheaves, but often convey them home in a covered. The snow lay long upon the ground, kind of open pannier, or frame of sticks, upon a calamity hardly known before. Part of their the horse's back. cattle died for want, part were unseasonably sold
Of that which is obtained with so much diffi. to buy sustenance for the owners; and, what I culty, nothing surely ought to be wasted, yet nuve not read or heard of before, the kine that their method of clearing their oats from the husk survived were so emaciated and dispirited, that is by parching them in the straw. Thus with They did not require the male at the usual time. the genuine improvidence of savages, they de. Many of the roebucks perished.
stroy that fodder for want of which their cattle The soil, as in other countries, has its diver- may perish. From this practice they have two sities. In some parts there is only a thin layer petty conveniences; they dry the grain so that of earth spread upon a rock, which bears nothing it is easily reduced to meal, and they escape the but short brown heath, and perhaps is not ge- theft of the thresher. The taste contracted nerally capable of any better product. There from the fire by the oats, as by every other are many bogs or mosses of greater or less ex. scorched substance, use must long ago have tent, where the soil cannot be supposed to want made grateful. The oats that are not parched depth, though it is too wet for the plough. But must be dried in a kiin. vre did not observe in these any aquatic plants. The barns of Sky I never saw.
That which The valleys and the mountains are alike dark- Macleod of Raasay had erected near his house ened with heath. Some grass, however, grows was so contrived, because the harvest is seldom here and there, and some happier spots of earth | brought home dry, as by perpetual perton to are canable of village.
prevent the now from heating.