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huts and simple though not mean parish church and manse, which sheltered themselves from the northern blasts beneath their base. Down the sides of these, every now and then, some brawling and angry little cataract, or series of waterfalls, was dashing, with a consequential noise that contrasted curiously with the utter peace into which, at the distance of a few yards, it was compelled to subside, when merged into the quiet and deep bosom of the tributary from Loch Voil, whose source at the eastern end, or mouth, of that reservoir of many streams, became distinctly visible beyond one of those little bridges, which, in the Highlands, seem to cross every stream the moment it escapes from a parent lake. The outline of the landscape was but indistinctly defined, for, at the western end of the. Loch, though the red tints of the already sunken sun lingered on the peaks of the hills, which seemed to circumscribe it in the direction of Glenfalloch-the mists of evening, and the smoke from a considerable mansion, that of Portnellan, but dimly visible-obscured, yet beautified the horizontal line. The margin of this picture was clearly enough defined on both sides, however, by a range of bleak hills, rising almost perpendicularly from the water's edge to the south-the face of which had a cold distinctness, that was but little softened by a stripe of meadowa starved tuft of fir trees, and a seemingly tenantless mansion of some poor and proud laird, which stood white and thin, like a shivering spectre, at their feet; and a prettily broken and picturesque range seeming to lose itself in an endless series of little hills, whose summits still caught a stray gleam of crimson light to the northward. These were worthy of the name—these really were the Braes of Balquidder.
Having taken this general survey of the landscape, while yet the lingering twilight permitted me, I soon found myself close by the wall which encloses the little rugged garden of the parish minister, and calling aloud to some half dozen of tall but thin fellows, and one short and fat one, a little way before me, who were superintending the jog-trot of a horse that was dragging home a curragh, or car without wheels, full of hay, as its closing occupation for the day, I learned that the only place of public enter. tainment, for miles round, was at the house of the miller, a little further on, close to the bridge I have mentioned, and on the brink of one of these tiny turbulent stripes of water, which, a short way above the dwelling, served to turn his mill. All this information, however, was not given at once, but extracted from the would-be-busy idlers, as I walked alongside of their day's labour, on its way to the stack, and passed by the five or six detached cottages, dignified by the name of town, till I came to the point where the road leads down to the loch and the bridge, and the village inn stands to invite the Highlander who has come from either, to pause and recruit himself, before he proceed to church or church-yard. To the civilest of my informants I offered a share of the refreshment I felt I should need the moment I entered, and he promised to join me in a few minutes, as he pointed out the landlord, who, rising up from the stone upon which he sat, beneath the straw cover of his cottage, bade me “ Good even.” He was a little old man, with a white beard-for it was four days beyond Sabbath, and locks much whiter than his little grey coat, which, by the scanty sprinkling of rainsoddened flour upon it, showed that unless his inn was more resorted to than his mill—though he had less the air of the landlord than the oat-grinder—the joint profits of both would be but small,
Before entering his house, the exterior of which, though not filthy, was any thing but inviting, I made inquiry as to whether I could cross the hill to Glenfinlas with a guide by moonlight, but learned sufficient to discourage me from the attempt, upon the score of both safety and expenses. « 'Deed you could na’ get ane o' the lads to gang wi' ye, for they've been at the brackens a' day, under fifteen shil. lings, and I'm no sure that they could make out the road, even though it's moon-light at ten o'clock," said mine host, whose name, I saw, was Angus M'Gregor, by some scratches, that nothing but a familiarity with Highland sign-boards could have enabled me to distinguish from a Runic inscription, which, with the faint imaging of a gill stoup and « quaich” above the doorway that I passed through, told that whisky could be found within. These words were delivered in a tone half Celtic and half Lowland, showing that Angus had not talked Gaelic all his life, and that he knew the value of Sassenach silver coin. I, of course, at once determined upon taking up my quarters here till morning, and, indeed, I was then so wearied, that I even resolved upon going to bed, if it was found that the occupiers were ever accustomed to make up one for a traveller, and if I could satisfy myself as to the dryness and the cleanliness of the linen. Angus assured me that drovers and wool agents “ often stayed a' night;” and his helpmate, towards whom, with some difficulty, I groped my way
through the smoke of the kitchen, by the fire of which she sat spinning, “ warranted that the sheets were clean, and should be well aired afore bed-time.”
I was then ushered into the spare, or state apartment, and there I deposited my knapsack; but it felt so chill, while I was so much heated by my walk, that I preferred drinking my first gill, with the assistance of the landlord, in the dryer apartment, smoky as it was. Seated then on a cutty stool, and the whisky and oat cake, with my silver drinking cup, placed on another, and Angus himself on a third-behold me placed in the midst of his family of strapping sons and daughters, growing up to the estate of men and women, who, similarly placed, gradually became visible as my eyes got accustomed to the smoke, and the extra peat thrown upon the fire, on my account, gave out its first flickering light. I easily make myself at home whenever I feel myself in a place of public entertainment-be it the “ Mitre” at Oxford, or the veriest hovel in the Highlands; so, after ordering another measure of liquor, and from my own cup pledging health to all round, who, in turn, tasted from the only glass placed before me, I began to gossip with the old woman, and joke with the younger ones, as I undid the buttons of my travelling gaiters. It is not an easy matter, however, for a stranger suddenly to get on familiar terms with a Highland family of cottagers. They are shy, distant, and either proud or timid, as you please to explain the taciturnity which, for a long time, seems, as if they held that every word, like every gill, should be called and paid for. Hospitable enough they may be, when their hospitality is appealed to, but if less revolting than the boorish insolence of our English clodhopping bacon-eaters, their frigid looks and apathetic silence is often not one whit less damping to the spirits of the solitary traveller, who, far far away from his home, after a day spent among the lonely hills, and with no other communing but that he held with Nature, seeks, when the shades of evening fall, and the very fire flickers sociablelike in the chimney nook, to hold converse for a time with his fellow-men, and hear the music of their speech, without seeming to extort it in separate mouthfuls.
At first I had said, that, as I would soon go to bed, for all the time I sat, I would prefer the place where I was ; but, observing that the girls fidgeted, and the old wife sulked, I then inquired if I could not have a fire in the room, and was told that it was already kindled. I rose to adjourn to it, and invited mine host and the communicative guide, who had now joined us, to accompany me, which they did; but, on approaching its door, the smoke of damp wood and half-kindled peat drove me back to the outer entrance, when I was not sorry to observe night had not yet closed in, and the more so, that on my remarking it to be still clear, the bellman-for such I found was my guest-offered to conduct me to see some curiosities in the church-yard hard by.
The space whereon were inscribed the “ Simple Annals of the Poor," of this remote valley, was very limited—the whole church-yard not being more than thirty or forty yards in circuit, after allowing for the room occupied by the church itself. It was prettily situated on a little knoll that stood out from the hill behind it, and above the road and village that lay below, and was reverently enclosed by a wall, which could not be needed for any purpose of security, as it was so diminutive in height as to make the office of the hinges to its little gate a sinecure one. Indeed, there was a regular stone stile that superseded the breach in the wall where that stood, and over it we passed. The two dignitaries of the clachan, who were my guides, led me, all at once, with a mysterious and knowing air, to . a point of the enclosure, noways distinguished, as I could see, from the rest, but on which lay a long, flat, and irregularly fashioned slaty kind of stone, nearly overgrown with high grass and nettles; and, after bidding me direct my attention to it, both said, in a breath, “ You are now standing beside the grave of Rob Roy !” I gave an involuntary start at this unlooked-for information, which seemed mightily to increase the self-important good-humour of the twain, who stood beside me, both evidently expecting some such indications of surprise. Their complacency, however, experienced some abatement, on my recollecting, in a moment after, that I had long ago read that MʻGregor lay buried here, and adding some other particulars from my memory, which they evidently had calculated upon a monopoly in furnishing from their legendary lore. This disappointment was, however, visible but for a moment, for the same local sensation of pride which a Greek experiences amid the ruins of the Parthenon-a modern Roman in St. Peter's, and a citizen of London beneath the dome of St. Paul's—soon made them feel delighted that their home too had its memories and associations, which were of interest to foreigners and pilgrims. As I stooped to decypher the rude legend-a sword, which symbolically told that the redoubtable “ Robert Macgregor
Campbell” was as safe from the persecutions of his enemies as unconscious of his recently revived celebrity, they began to overwhelm me with traditionary gossip, rightly calculating that it was a commodity I would be glad to obtain, but mistakingly thinking that I could not too soon begin to receive it. To the tomb-stones of Rob's children and relatives, which they pointed out lying around among those of other “ cattle-dealers," “ farmers," “ portioners,” and “ shepherds," I gave a hasty glance, and then requested that my worthy friends would await me in the room of the inn, where, by the time they had another half-mutchkin called in, I would join them, and comfortably talk over all the incidents in the life of their hero and his descendants, with which they wereacquainted if the chimney would allow us. I was thus left alone in this spot, solitary indeed, but yet peopled with so many singular associations, at the very moment when twilight had given way to the fast-deepening shades of night, and the stars were appearing, and brightening one by one, in the blue vault above me. There was no sound heard—no light seen peering from the habitations of man—and, but for the smoke which here and there curled lazily upward from some straw-bound chimney, the existence of another human being near me, would then have had no visible evidence. A murmur, so faint that it was not easy at first to distinguish whether it proceeded from the shaking of the long grass around me in the evening breeze, or the distant and now idle fall of water, which served through the day to turn the little mill that lay farther up the glen, or from both, was the only sound that met the ear-the one cause being heard, when the whispers of the other paused. And this, said I to myself, is the resting place of the most unquiet and turbulent spirit of the time when, and the place where, he lived, agitated as were both. Pursued by his enemies, betrayed by his pretended friends, a party in a hundred combats, yet, near this, he died of old age; and unmolested, his ashes moulder amid his native scenes, though by law proclaimed a banished and a broken man. Hunted like a wild beast; to yield him shelter was to share his curse ;-yet, after a century has elapsed, and many a titled captain, and then favourite of fortune, is utterly forgotten, the possession of this man's dust is a pride to the descendants of his very persecutors, as well as to the offspring of his own clan; and his memory is cherished-nay, even his most ordinary actions carefully remembered, and handed down from father to son. The