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Come, come, old friend, you have erred in this. You are in over great haste to worship the rising sun, while his beams are yet level with the horizon. Come thou when he has climbed higher in the heavens, and thou shalt have thy share of the warmth of his noonday height.'
Niel Booshalloch,' said the Glover, 'we have been old friends, as thou say'st; and as I think thee a true one, I will speak to thee freely, though what I say might be perilous if spoken to others of thy clan. Thou think'st I come hither to make my own profit of thy young Chief, and it is natural thou should'st think so. But I would not, at my years, quit my own chimney corner in Curfew-street, to bask me in the beams of the brightest sun that ever shone upon Highland heather. The very truth is, I come hither in extremity—my foes have the advantage of me, and have laid things to my charge whereof I am incapable, even in thought. Nevertheless, doom is like to go forth against me, and there is no remedy but that I must up and fly, or remain and perish. I come to your young Chief, as one who had refuge with me in his distresses; who ate of my bread and drank of my cup. I ask of him refuge, which, as I trust, I shall need but a short time.'
That makes a different case,' replied the herdsman; "So different, that if you came at midnight to the gate of Maclan, having the King of Scotland's head in your hand, and a thousand men in pursuit for the avenging of his blood, I could not think it for his honour to refuse you protection. And for your innocence and guilt, it concerns not the caseor rather, he ought the more to shelter you if guilty, seeing your necessity and his risk are both in that case the greater. I must straightway to him, that no hasty tongue tell him of your arriving hither without saying
the cause.' " Vol. ii. pp. 123–125. His host, after repeating the injunction which the Glover found it so difficult to observe, not to allude to the former name or situation of Eachin MacIan, as his apprentice, takes his leave of him to go to the burial of the deceased Chief, at the same time informing Simon that if he would go to the top of the Tom-anLonach, behind the house, he would see a gallant sight, and hear the loudest coronach that was ever poured out over a warrior's bier. The Glover accordingly ascends the Tom-an-Lonach or Knoll of Yew Trees.
“ The opposite or northern shore of the lake, presented a far more Alpine prospect than that upon which the Glover was stationed.Woods and thickets ran up the sides of the mountains, and disappeared among the sinuosities formed by the winding ravines which separated them from each other; but far above these specimens of a tolerable na. tural soil, arose the swart and bare mountains themselves, in the dark, grey desolation proper to the season.
Sonne were peaked, some broad-crested, some rocky and precipitous, others of a tamer outline; and the clan of Titans seemed to be commanded by their appropriate chieftains-the frowning mountain of Ben Lawers, and the still more lofty eminence of Ben Mohr, arising high above the rest, whose peaks retain a dazzling helmet of snow far
into the summer season, and sometimes during the whole year. Yet, the borders of this wild and sylvan region, where the mountains descended upon the lake, intimated, even at that early period, many traces of human habitation. Hamlets were seen, especially on the northern margin of the lake, half hid among the little glens that poured their tributary streams into Loch Tay, which, like many earthly things, made a fair show at a distance, but, when more closely approached, were disgustful and repulsive, from their squalid want of the conveniences which attend even Indian wigwams. They were inhabited by a race who neither cultivated the earth, nor cared for the enjoyments which industry procures. The women, although otherwise treated with affection, and even delicacy of respect, discharged all the absolutely necessary domestic labour. The men, excepting some reluctant use of an ill-formed plough, or more frequently a spade, grudgingly gone through, and as a task infinitily beneath them, took no other employment than the charge of the herds of black cattle, in which their wealth consisted. At all other times, they hunted, fished, or marauded, during the brief intervals of peace, by way of pastime; plundering with bolder license, and fighting with embittered animosity, in time of war, which, public or private, upon a broader or a more restricted scale, formed the proper business of their lives, and the only one which they esteemed worthy of them.
The magnificent bosom of the lake itself was a scene to gaze on with delight. Its noble breadth, with its termination in a full and beautiful run, was rendered yet more picturesque by one of those islets which are often happily situated in Scottish lakes. The ruins upon that isle, now almost shapeless, being overgrown with wood, rose, at the time we speak of, into the towers and pinnacles of a priory where slumbered the remains of Sibilla, daughter of Henry I. of England, and consort of Alexander the First of Scotland. This holy place had been deemed of dignity sufficient to be the deposit of the remains of the Captain of the Clan Quhele, at least till times when the removal of the danger, now so imminently pressing, should permit of his body being conveyed to a distinguished convent in the north, where he was destined ultimately to repose with all his ancestry.
A number of boats pushed off from various points of the near and more distant shore, many displaying sable banners, and others having their several pipers in the bow, who, from time to time, poured forth a few notes of a shrill, plaintive, and wailing character, and intimated to the Glover that the ceremony was about to take place. These sounds of lamentation were but the tuning as it were of the instruments, compared with the general wail which was speedily to be raised.
A distant sound was heard from far up the lake, even as it seemed from the remote and distant glens, out of which the Dochart and the Lochy pour their streams into Loch Tay. It was in a wild inaccessible spot, where the Campbells, at a subsequent period, founded their strong fortress of Finlayrigg, that the redoubted commander of the Clan Quhele drew his last breath; and, to give due pomp to his funeral, his corpse was now to be brought down the Loch to the island assigned for his temporary place of rest. The funeral fleet, led by the Chieftain's barge, from which a huge black banner was displayed, had made more than two-thirds of its voyage ere it was visible from the eminence on which Simon "Glover stood to overlook the ceremony. The instant the distant wail of the coronach was heard proceeding from the attendants on the funeral barge, all the subordinate sounds of lamentation were hushed at once, as the raven ceases to croak and the hawk to whistle, whenever the scream of the eagle is heard. The boats, which bad floated hither and thither upon the lake, like a flock of water-fowl dispersing themselves on its surface, now drew together with an appearance of order, that the funeral flotilla might pass onward, and that they theme selves might fall into their proper places. In the meanwhile the piercing din of the war-pipes became louder and louder, and the cry from the numberless boats which followed that from which the black banner of the Chief was displayed, rose in wild unison up to the Tom-an-Lonach, from which the Glover viewed the spectacle. The galley which headed the procession, bore or its poop a species of scaffold, upon which, arrayed in white linen, and with the face bare, was displayed the corpse of the deceased Chieftain. His son, and the nearest relatives, filled the vessel, while a great number of boats, of every description that could be assembled, either on Loch Tay itself, or brought by land carriage from Loch Earn and otherwise, followed in the rear, some of them of very frail materials. There were even curraghs, composed of ox-hides stretched over hoops of willow, in the manner of the ancient British ; and some committed themselves to rafts formed for the occasion, from the readiest materials that occurred, and united in such a precarious manner as to render it probable, that, before the accomplishment of the voyage, some of the clansmen of the deceased might be sent to attend their Chieftain in the world of spirits.
When the principal flotilla came in sight of the smaller group of boats collected towards the foot of the lake, and bearing off from the little island, they hailed each other with a shout so loud and general, and terminating in a cadence so wildly prolonged, that not only the deer fed from their caves for miles around, and sought the distant recesses of the mountains, but even the domestic cattle, accustomed to the voice of man, felt the full panic which the human shout strikes into the wilder tribes, and like them fled from their pasture into morasses and dingles.
Summoned forth from their convents by those sounds, the monks who inhabited the little islet, began to issue from its lowly portal, with cross and banner, and as much of ecclesiastical state as they had the means of displaying; their bells at the same time, of which the edifice possessed three, pealing the death-toll over the long lake, which came to the ears of the now silent multitude, mingled with the solemn chant of the Catholic church, raised by the monks in their procession. Various ceremonies were gone through, while the kindred of the deceased carried the body ashore, and, placing it on a bank long consecrated to the purpose, made the Deasil around the departed. When the corpse was uplifted to be borne into the church, another united yell burst from the assembled multitude, in which the deep shout of warriors and the shrill wail of females, joined their notes with the tremulous voice of
the babbling cry of childhood." The coronach was again, and for the last time, shrieked, as the body was carried into the interior of the church, where only the nearest relatives of the deceased, and the most distinguished of the leaders of the clan, were permitted to enter.
The last yell of woe was so terribly loud, and answered by so many hundred echoes, that the citizen of Perth instinctively raised his hands to his ears, to shut out, or deaden at least, a sound so piercing. He kept his attitude, while the hawks, owls, and other birds, scared by the wild scream, had begun to settle in their retreats, when, as he withdrew his hands, a voice, close by him, said,
*Think you this, Simon Glover, the hymn of penitence and praise, with which it becomes poor forlorn man, cast out from his tenement of clay, to be wafted into the presence of his Maker!'” Vol. ii. pp. 128-132.
We need not inform the attentive reader that this interrogatory proceeded from no other person than Father Clement, who gives the Glover to understand that he is already at loggerheads with all the priests of the clan, and is, in his turn, informed by the Glover that he “smells too strongly of blazing pitch” to make a very agreeable companion to a fugitive from the commission for extirpating heresy.
Presently, the flotilla returned up the lake with banners displayed, and every indication of joy and triumph, and Simon Glover is introduced into a sylvan banqueting room, constructed for the occasion, has an opportunity of seeing his former apprentice presiding over a festival of his clan, with all the dignity and the pride of a hereditary chieftain. The description of this homeric repast is as follows:
“ We have said as much of the preparations as may lead the reader to conclude that the festival, in respect of the quality of the food, was of the most rude description, consisting chiefly of huge joints of meat, which were consumed with little respect to the fasting season, although several of the friars of the Island Convent graced and hallowed the board by their presence. The platters were of wood, and so were the hooped cogues or cups, out of which the guests quaffed their liquor, as also the broth or juice of the meat, which was held a delicacy. There were also various preparations of milk which were highly esteemed, and were eaten out of similar vessels. Bread was the scarcest article at the banquet, but the Glover and his patron Niel were served with two small loaves expressly for their own use. In eating, as indeed was then the case all over Britain, the guests used their knives called skenes, or the large poniards named dirks, without troubling themselves by the reflection that they might occasionally have served different or more fatal purposes.
At the upper end of the table stood a vacant seat, elevated a step or two above the floor. It was covered with a canopy of holly boughs and ivy, and there rested against it a sheathed sword and a folded banner.
This had been the seat of the deceased Chieftain, and was left vacant in honour of him.
Eachin occupied a lower chair on the right hand of the place of honour.
The reader would be greatly mistaken who should follow out this description, by supposing that the guests behaved like a herd of hungry wolves, rushing upon a feast rarely offered to them. On the contrary, the Clan Quhele conducted themselves with that species of courteous reserve and attention to the wants of others, which is often found in primitive nations, especially such as are always in arms; because a general observance of the rules of courtesy is necessary to prevent quarrels, bloodshed and death. The guests took the places assigned them them by Torquil of the Oak, who, acting as Marischal Taeh, i. e. sewer of the mess, touched with a white wand, without speaking a word, the place where each was to sit. Thus placed in order, the company patiently waited for the portion assigned them, which was distributed among
them by the Leichtach; the bravest men, or more distinguished warriors of the tribe, being accommodated with a double mess, emphatically called bieyfir, or the portion of a man. When the sewers themselves had seen every one served, they resumed their places at the festival, and were each served with one of these larger messes of food. Water was placed within each man's reach, and a handful of soft moss served the purposes of a table-napkin, so that, as at an Eastern banquet, the hands were washed as often as the mess was changed. For amusement, the bard recited the praises of the deceased Chief, and expressed the clan's confidence in the blossoming virtues of his successor. The Senachie recited the genealogy of the tribe, which they traced to the race of the Dalriads; the harpers played within, while the war-pipes cheered the multitude without. The conversation among the guests was grave, subdued, and civil-no jest was attempted beyond the bounds of a very gentle pleasantry, calculated only to excite a passing smile. There were no raised voices, no contentious arguments; and Simon Glover had heard a hundred times more noise at a guild-feast, than was made on this occasion by two hundred wild mountaineers.
Even the liquor itself did not seem to raise the festive party above the same tone of decorous gravity. It was of various kinds—wine appeared in very
small quantities, and was served out only to the principal guests, among which honoured number Simon Glover was again included. The wine and the two wheaten loaves were indeed the only marks of notice which he received during the feast; but Niel Booshalloch, jealous of his master's reputation for hospitality, failed not to enlarge on them as proofs of high distinction. Distilled liquors since so generally used in the Highlands, were then comparatively unknown. The usquebaugh was circulated in small quantities, and was highly flavoured with a decoction of saffron and other herbs, so as to resemble a medicinal potion, rather than a festive cordial. Cider and mead were seen at the entertainment, but ale, brewed in great quantities for the purpose,
and flowing round without restriction, was the liquor generally used, and that was drunk with a moderation much less known among
the more modern Highlanders. A cup to the memory of the deceased Chieftain was the first pledge solemnly proclaimed after the banquet was finished; and a