Графични страници
PDF файл
ePub

THE SCOTTISH FÊTE.

185

a curtain, and hear without being seen. This was done, the judge in question observing that it would not make the slightest difference, for that he should know his piper out of the crowd. Accordingly, when all the pipers played in their turn, this wise judge nodded his head at a certain performance, and said, “That's my piper !' Other pipers followed, but the judge in question voted that the prize should be given to 'my piper.' It so happened that the other judges agreed that this particular performer was the best, so that they had no hesitation in deciding to give him the prize. He was ordered in, and, alas ! the laird's ears had been mistaken, for, instead of the winner being his piper, he was the piper of his particular foe, between whom and whose clan there had been a perpetual feud since the days of—well, let us say-Ossian.

These bagpipe contests still form a portion of the socalled 'amusements’ pertaining to 'the Scottish fête, and they have never been described in a more amusing way than in Punch of July 19, 1851, where Mons. Clairvoyant writes his feuilleton to Le Canard de Paris, and gives a description of the Scottish fête at Lord Holland's park. Here is one paragraph of his account:- The day was glorious, that is to say, it did rain at great pours- but then, it always rains in Scotland—and I tell you it was a Scottish fête. I did get myself wet all through, but I make not any regrets, for it was a Scottish fête, and one is always soaked to the skin in Scotland, excepting in Mons. Scribe's operas. The music was much different to that in “La Dame Blanche,” though that is full of beautiful Scotch music, written by Boildieu, one Frenchman, who write better Scotch music than the Scotch themselves. Oh! it was too much. It did break open my head, it did

split my ears, it did inflict pains on my stomach, with recollections of the cholera. It was the baggypipe ! Maudit instrument! It must be the music of the spheres below. It must be the veritable violon du diable! different to the one that St. Leon plays with Cerito in that charmant ballet. I am told there is not any nightingales in Scotland. On my faith I understand it well — the baggypipe has killed them all!' Whether this may be the cause or no, there are no nightingales in Scotland.* The Scottish poet, Grahame, calls the

Sweet redbreast, Scotia's Philomela ; And Sir Walter Scott, whose local colouring' of his poems is ever so correct, scarcely makes mention of the bird; and, in his three great poems of “The Lady of the Lake,' • Lay of the Last Minstrel,' and Marmion,' only one solitary passage is to be found in which the nightingale obtains a notice, and then only in the way of a passing simile. It occurs where Fitz-Eustace, the squire (where, by the way, had he heard the nightingale?), replies to Marmion, that, with Constance, their choicest minstrel is gone:

To dear St. Valentine no thrush
Sings livelier from a spring-tide bush,
No nightingale her love-lorn tune

More sweetly warbles to the moon.
If the groves that fringe the margin of Loch Lomond

* Weir's History of Greenock, however, says, that somewhere about the year 1780, "a nightingale, at least a bird that sung by night,' visited a garden, where Tobago Street now stands, "for two consecutive summers, to the great entertainment of the neighbours, and indeed of the major part of our worthy townsfolk, who used to assemble in crowds about ten o'clock at night, and continue delightedly listening to the warbling of the stranger, until the rising of the sun, which had invariably the effect of rendering him mute.' (p. 59.). As the rising of the sun never has this effect on the English nightingale, could these Scottish night-watchers have been deceived by an owl?

[blocks in formation]

were as resonant with nightingales as was the famous grove of Coleridge, surely the man with the baggypipes' would be put to shame and silenced.

But, here we are at the little pier of Tarbet, where some of our party land, to proceed to Arroquhar and Loch Long, or to catch the coach to Inverary, viâ Glencroe and Rest-and-be-Thankful. We, too, may rest at the comfortable hotel, and be thankful that the bagpiper is severed from us, we trust, for ever. Alas, for the vanity of human wishes ! While we are looking out of window, and gazing in raptures at the sunny lake and giant mountain, a wild yell, as from a hundred tortured pigs, ascends upon the breeze, and there, • with solemn step and slow,' pacing the lawn in front of the hotel, is the wretched man with the “ baggypipe. Instead of going on to Inversnaid, he has tarried at Tarbet, to play to us while we are at dinner. . May good digestion wait on appetite!' but I cannot see how it is to do so, when the music that accompanies the banquet inflicts pains on the stomach, with the recollections of the cholera.'

[merged small][ocr errors]

The head of Loch Lomond-Ardlui-The Pulpit Rock-Rob
Roy's Cave, Craig Royston-Rob Roy's House–The Outlaw
and the Whigs—The Highland Rogue,' and its statements
The Parson à prisoner-Ellan-Vhou-Robert Bruce-The last
of the Macfarlanes—Legend of The Brownie's Cell—The Mac-
farlane's Lantern-James the Sixth and the Wildgeese.

N a fine day, and in an easy sailing boat, there could U scarcely be a more enjoyable thing than to float from Tarbet past Inversnaid to the head of Loch Lomond. The width of the lake is nowhere so great as to interfere with the full view of the landscapes on either hand. The loch, in fact, is narrowed in some places to the dimensions of a goodly river, its width northward of Tarbet varying from about two and a half miles to one mile. The height of the mountain ranges on either side assist in apparently contracting this portion of the loch to still narrower limits, and with their bold forms and serrated outlines, their rocky valleys and ravines, their mountain torrents and masses of dark firs and lighter larch and birch, their pink and purple tints of heather, and (unless it be during the summer months) their snowy peaks swathed in mist—all these form an unrivalled picture, and make the upper portion of Loch Lomond the very beau ideal of a Highland loch. Well does she deserve her proud title of the Queen of Scottish Lakes;' and she is charming and infinite in variety

[blocks in formation]

of the 10.70ad that he half a

as Cleopatra herself. It is at this upper portion of the loch that the scenery of the Trossachs may be said to commence, for many portions of the landscape are very similar both in character and beauty to the wild scenery on the other side of Loch Katrine.

At the very head of the loch is Ardlui, by Glen Falloch. The steamers come up here to convey tourists to the Inverarnan Hotel, about half a mile beyond the loch, and on the road that leads southward down the west side of the loch to Tarbet, or northward past Ben More to Killin. On the western side of the loch, near to Ardlui, is “the Pulpit Rock. The pulpit has been carved out of the face of the rock, and from it the minister of Arrochar occasionally preaches to a congregation seated upon the green turf beneath. Lower down, on the eastern side of the loch, towards Inversnaid, is Rob Roy's cave, of which I have already spoken. It is called Craig Royston; and in the introduction to • Rob Roy, Sir Walter Scott thus refers to the spot:

Rob's own designation was of Inversnaid; but he appears to have acquired a right of some kind or other to the property or possession of Craig Royston, a domain of rock and forest, lying on the east side of Loch Lomond, where that beautiful lake stretches into the dusky mountains of Glenfalloch. Hence Sir Walter's mention of this place in his lyrical Gathering of Clan-Gregor:

Through the depths of Loch Katrine the steed shall career,
O'er the peak of Ben Lomond the galley shall steer;
And the rocks of Craig-Royston like icicles melt,
Ere our wrongs be forgot, or our vengeance unfelt!

Then gather, gather, gather, Gregalich!

Besides his cave, Rob Roy had a house at Craig Royston; and after he and his followers had obtained

« ПредишнаНапред »