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nence, and its tinkling streamlet; its tiny lochan, its abrupt cliff, and its flowery sheltered nook. It was in one of these, surrounded on all sides by copses and cliffs, and only open to a small bay, that * The Lady" had reared her home. Never was any spot more fitted to inspire the delightful home-feeling, peculiar to confined scenery,
than this sweet recess. Yet it commanded a view of the hamlet, -of human beings,—their affections, their enjoyments, and their occupations; without which the loveliest scenes of nature exhibit but a cheerless void.
This little solitary home was inexpressibly dear to Lady Augusta,—it was the scene of her unshared sorrows. Here she spent a life of piety and benevolence, and here she hoped to find a peaceful grave. Seldom did she quit her little kingdom, though she received daily visits from the hamlet, which was at the distance of less than a quarter of a mile across the lake.
The lonely dwellers in the glens and moors,
GRAHAME. It was still early when Ronald reached Eleenalin. The Lady had just_risen; and as he related his adventure, standing bonnet in hand, pity and wonder alternately predominated in her expressive countenance. It is, indeed, a very strange circumstance,” said Lady Augusta ; "and is there nothing which may lead to a discovery of her friends". She inquired still more particularly, but Ronald had already told all that he knew. She begged him to be seated, while he described the appearance of the unfortunate stranger.
This was an honour which Ronald positively declined. Women of all ranks in the Highlands associate together with kindness and familiarity;—but for a commoner—a man to sit down in presence of his lady;—Ronald begged to be excused, he better knew his distance. He, however, described the stranger as
very pale, and in very low order, with very small bone, but good hair;" whom Mary called beautiful, but whom Ronald thought not very happy in point of looks; though he owned that she was "very like a gentlewoman."
The Lady was accustomed to hear Ronald, and his compatriots employ the same phrases in describing a fine woman and a fine cow; and though she perhaps did not place quite so much merit in large bone and high order, she seldom dissented from the general opinion. After a pause of some minutes, during which she seemed to take no cognizance of any surrounding object, she arose, and wrapping herself in a Highland cloak, bade Ronald lead the way to the shore.—“Alone, a stranger, friendless !”—said the Lady, in a tone which evinced a deep and intimate sympathy with the condition of the wandering female.
Still the good girl I ever knew," said Lady Augusta, addressing Mary, who sat nursing the little orphan, Mary rose blushing, and humbly curtsied her thanks.
The Lady almost started back as she viewed the corpse of the hapless stranger. Many painful associations seemed to crowd to her mind; and she, who never wept her own sorrows, shed a generous tear over the woes of another. The trifling articles found on the deceased were next submitted to her inspection. On the picture she gazed almost as earnestly as Moome had done; and Mary, unseen, kissed off the warm tear which had fallen on the glass,- for never did Catholic adore his tutelary saint with more intense devotion, than Mary worshipped the Lady:
A nurse had been provided for the orphan, the sister of that Allan whom Mary had mentioned on the preceding night. Allan was the lover of Mary; but many years before this, he had been called out by his Laird as a soldier, with the alternative of seeing an aged father, a widowed sister and her infant children, dispossessed of the little patch of land from which they derived a scanty subsistence, and thrown on an unknown, unfriendly world. Love and duty strove for mastery in the heart of Allan; but he was now a soldier in America. The father of Allan lived in another country; that is, beyond a ridge of stupendous mountains, which, in the Highlands are the boundaries of what are called countries: but he had a sister married in Dunalbyn, who had taken the orphan to her bosom. She was very poor, but Mary was as generous as gentle; and her heart still kept the promise she had made to her absent lover.
The hamlet of Dunalbyn contained about thirty families, who rented the north side of the glen, and a considerable tract of hill country for summer grazing, and the pasture of a few sheep. It was one of those conjunct farms so common in the Highlands before the introduction of sheep-farming, and of which some lingering instances yet remain. Its produce "just gave what life required, to upwards of one hundred and eighty souls, all living together as one great family, all connected by blood or marriage, -by a common name, a common origin, and a common head, -the CHIEF OF THE CLAN. That clan had now no chief!-but memory, clinging to all that had once been their pride, their grace, and their glory, feelingly supplied that want. This little remnant of Macalbyn's clan were united by similarity of pursuit, of condition, of hopes, of enjoyments, of recollections, and of sufferings,--by every affection that endears, and by every bond which links society in harmonious union. A Highland bhalie, such as it then existed, afforded an object of more pleasing contemplation to a mind of sensibility, than the flocks of a thousand hills. The simple and unaccommodated lives of the inhabitants, their romantic virtues, and enthusiastic attachment to the chief and the clan; every pleasing peculiarity of national manners which then marked them a distinct people, -a race which society in its progress seemed to have forgotten,-undebased by its corruptions, unimpressed by its usages, still bearing the lofty character of heroic times,-all combined to seize the imagination, and to interest the heart through its powerful medium.
“ The very
Well, Mary, I know you are a wise girl and a good; and sure enough, that is what concerns you as much as myself
, and all that are called Macalbyn; so, if you promise to be discreet Mary readily promised ; and Moome commenced that narrative in which she felt a solemn pride, and regarded as the most important event of her life, always excepting nursing Donald Dunalbyn.
“ It was ten years after I married Roban Macalbyn,” said Moome. “Roban's father had been Gillie-casflue * to the old Laird, and Roban was always about the castle, where I also, happy time! was nurse to Lady Augusta,-a child she was then. So, when we married, there being no place for us at the time, Macalbyr gave us a croft off his own farm, Bruachrua it was, and a shealing at Glentannar with the other tenants. Well, it was about midsummer, and as I had to go to the moss, I got up very early, to have the milking over; besides, the weather was hot, and towards noon the cattle became restive. Och! Mary, believe me now, the weather is no more like what it was in my young days, than old times are to the new. It was a lovely, serene morning; the sun was not yet up, and the mist was low on the hill. Och! well can I remember it! Well, stepping through the Bruar, what should I do but miss my beads? Look at them, Mary, they are real amber." Mary had seen them every day in her life; but she courteously examined them, and complimented Moome on their possession.
“Beautiful they are, sure enough,” replied Moome. day I took home my Donald, my darling Dalt, to the castle, did the dear Lady that was, present them to me from her own neck. Just eight years he then was, and such a boy! O Mary, you never saw the boy could match him, dressed as he was that day in new tartans of my own spinning; for sure enough, I was a namely webmaker in my own time." Mary had also heard this history of the beads a hundred times, but Highland courtesy restrained her impatience, and Moome resumed.
"Well, when I came home, Roban was still asleep, and I was loath to wake him, though he should have been up at Macalbyn's peats long before that. So I just stooped down, and kissed poor Roban (for I was young then), thinking if he awoke it was good, and if not, I would let him sleep. I found my beads, and hastened to my cattle. And a namely fold Roban had for a commoner; five tidyt cows, besides other cows, and their followers, and sheep on the hills, all for ten shillings Saxon money, Roban's few services at the peats, and such as that, and some duty fowls from myself, and a few hanks of yarn. And to be sure the Lady would say, 'I can know Unah Bruachrua's yarn from all the women's in the glen.' These were her own words, dear Lady! God give her soul its peace! and forbid that I should take pride to myself for my spinning: for no doubt many a Macalbyn woman span better than I, though she would say so, dear Lady; and God forbid, Mary, that I should belie the dead. Well, as I was saying of Roban's fold,-but you will notice, Mary, there was no sheep-farms in those days,-1 was hastening on, gazing round me at our master's castle, and all our cattle, and the smoking cottages of our own clan; and praising HIMSELF for all his goodness, for at that moment my own heart felt it, and was full of it, when all at once, what should I see coming slowly towards me, just down from Tobermora (the well or spring of the Virgin), but a lady so tall, so lovely! Guess yourself if I was not in the terrors. She was dressed in green; a white tunag* flowed from her shoulders, which was fastened by a gold brooch; and her fine yellow hair-such hair!-hung around her. I had not recovered my terror when she asked my news. Trembling like an aspen leaf, I said I had none strange.
* That person of a Chieftain's body-guard, whose business it was to carry him over fords.
† Milch cows. Besides the stated services to the Laird, and the rent, whether paid in money or in the lady has her claim on the wife of the tenant, called " The Wife's Portion,” or due, consisting of fowls, butter, yarn, &c., and attendance at graddaning, waulking, &c.
*Were any one to ask me for news, I could tell what would seem strange,' said she. Think yourself, Mary, how I trembled, meeting a lady in such a place, who did not belong to the family.
“Don't fear me, woman,' said she; 'ask my news; I am not at liberty to speak unquestioned. It was then I was sure she was a spirit. All the while she stood, her starry eyes fixed upon me, and her arm wrapped in her tunag.
• My God, preserve me!' cried I, almost fainting with terror.
* Perhaps I adore that Being as much as you do,' said she; ask me for news. Seeing she was a good spirit, I took courage, and you may be certain my first question was what would happen to the Dunalbyn family.
" Their race is nearly run,' said she, and drew her hand across her forehead, 'and now 'tis finished! You shall live and see Macalbyn without a foot of land, or a hut in his country to give him shelter. You shall yet see four different lairds divide Macalbyn's lands. In this glen you shall see fifty smokes put out in one morning!, Oh! Mary, conceive my feelings; I forgot the awful being with whom I conversed, and thought only of Macalbyn! "* And his sons?' I cried in agony.
• They shall live while they live between the turf and the thatch,' said she; 'fifty years hence, and no gentleman will bear the name of Macalbyn; but a day, shall come.' Oh! Mary, how sadly have I seen all this accomplished !” Moome wept anew the desolation of her clan, and then resumed; "Well, you may be sure I thought, after all I had seen and heard, I was no longer for this world, had the spirit not told me that I should live to see ; would that I had died, and never seen! After a while, I asked what would happen to Norman Ballachadron, the laird's brother's son, a choalt of my own he was, and a gay, wild young man; many is the chase he would give myself, when he would come to the hill with his gun, and I a young girl, alone in the shealing, and the herds all out of sight.
" He will follow evil, and evil will pursue him,' said she; 'he
* Tunag, a short mantle, still worn by old women in some parts of the Highlands. The plaid is only worn in full dress, but the tunag by way of shawl. In the distant isles, this piece of dress is called Guilechan.
It might, indeed, have been easy to find a people who practised a more improved mode of agriculture, who better understood the qualities of soil, and the uses of manure, and who could avail themselves of local advantages with skill infinitely superior. But, for purity of manners, warmth of affections, kindness, and courtesy,for every social virtue and fire-side endearment,- for that untutored elegance of sentiment, and that love of music and song, which embellish all these, even in the lowest condition-No! it was impossible!—The LAST OF THE CLAN were a chosen people, with whom peace and love took refuge.
And the cow of the fatherless and the widow was in the fold of the bhalie.-Moome's cow was there; and her little flock, rent-free, ranged the hills of Glenalbyn. And what Moome received from generosity she bestowed in kindness; for with the wool of that little flock, and a distaff, which though it performed little, never was idle, Moome could clothe the orphan and the poor. If “Macalbyn's blood” warmed their veins, so much the better; for though Moome's charity did not end with the clan, it certainly began there.
Besides a share of this social establishment, which Ronald held in right of his wife, he rented a croft in another part of the glen, and was what is termed a small tenant." He was likewise the blacksmith, and this trade had been hereditary in his family, from those lamented days when the head of every bullock an slaughtered for the chief was the blacksmith's perquisite. Few heads now for Ronald !--but still his situation was comfortable compared with the lot of his neighbours. And he was as generous as rich; for Ronald now informed the lady “that he had got a cask;” no Highlander thinks it necessary to add~" of whisky;" “that his wife would have everything decent: that some of the women would sit up all night to help her to bake oatcakes; that all the neighbours in the glen had sent fowls and cheeses; that he had looked out a piece of wood for the coffin; and finally, that he would send his horse for the minister, who would ride over on the following day, which, with the Lady's leave, he wished to fix for the interment of the stranger, and the baptism of her child.”
The Lady bowed in token of approbation, and afterwards added, “You shall carry the corpse of the stranger to Eleenalin. 'Tis not fit, Ronald, that her ashes should mingle with strangers. Should her friends ever inquire after her, we may point out where she is laid. Mary may yet lead that infant to weep at the grave of his mother. There is the green knoll called Kilechan, (the cell, or grave of Hector,) where moulders the dust of the unfortunate lover of the Lady Malbina, my remote ancestor. There he was surprised, when asleep, by the barbarous vigilance of her haughty brothers; but I have no spirits for that bloody catastrophe. Sacred be the last asylum of unfortunate love!” The Lady raised her speaking eyes, and for a moment was silent. She then resumed," That favourite spot shall be sacred to this lady and her misfortunes." These were sentiments dear to Highland pride, and Highland tenderness. A grave among the graves of their ancestors was perhaps the only thing the people of the glen would have grudged to