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MORRISON AND GIBB, PRINTERS, EDINBURGH



 

DEDICATION

TO

SIR THOMAS DICK LAUDER
OF GRANGE AND FOUNTAINHALL, BARONET.


HONOURED SIR,
    I am not much acquainted with what Goldsmith has termed the ceremonies of a dedication.   I know, however, that like other ceremonies, they are sometimes a little tedious, and often more than a little insincere.  But it is well that, though dulness be involuntary, no one need deceive unless he wills it.  There are comparatively few who seem born to think vigorously, or to express themselves well; but since all men may be honest, though all cannot be original or elegant, every one, surely, may express only what he feels.  In dedicating this little volume to you, I obey the dictates of a real, though perhaps barren, gratitude; nor can I think of the kind interest which you have taken in my amusements as a writer, and my fortunes as a man, without feeling that, though I may be dull, I cannot be insincere.

    There are other motives which have led to this address.  He who dedicates, more than expresses his gratitude.  By his choice of a Patron, he intimates also, as if by specimen, the class which he would fain select as his readers; or, as I should perhaps rather express myself, he specifies the peculiar cast of intellect and range of acquirement from which he anticipates I the justest appreciation of his labours, and the deepest interest in the subject of them.  Need I say that I regard you, Sir Thomas, as a representative of the class whom it is most my ambition to please?  My stories, arranged as nearly as possible in the chronological order, form a long vista into the past of Scotland, with all its obsolete practices and all its exploded beliefs.  And where shall I find one better qualified to decide regarding the truth of the scenery, the justness of the perspective, or the proportions and costume of the figures, than he, whom contemporary genius has so happily designated as the "Poet and Painter of the great Morayshire Floods?"  I can form no higher wish than that my work may prove worthy of so discerning a critic, or that you, Sir, may be as fortunate in your protégeé as I in my patron.

    I am, I trust, no hypocrite in literature, but a right-hearted devotee to whom composition is quite its own reward.  If my ,little volume succeed, I shall be gratified by reflecting that the pleasure derived from it has not been confined to myself; if it fail, there will be some comfort in the thought that it has proved, to at least one mind, a copious source of entertainment.  Besides, I am pretty sure, I shall be sanguine enough to transfer to some production of the future, the few hopes which, in the past, I had founded on it.  And when thinking of it as the "poor deceased," I reflect that, at worst, it was rather dull than wicked, and that it rather failed in performance than erred in intention; I shall not judge the less tenderly regarding it, when I further remember that it procured for me the honour of your notice, and furnished me with this opportunity of subscribing myself,
                                                         Honoured Sir,
                                                                         With sincere respect,
                                              Your humble friend, and obedient Servant,
                                                                                                           THE AUTHOR
CROMARTY, 1834

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NOTE TO THE SECOND EDITION.
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    THE present edition contains about one-third more matter than the first.  The added chapters, however, like those which previously composed the work, were almost all written about twenty years ago,* in leisure hours snatched from a laborious employment, or during the storms of winter, when the worker in the open air has to seek shelter at home.  But it is always less disadvantageous to a traditionary work, that it should have been written early than late.  Of the materials wrought up into the present volume, the greater part was gathered about from fifteen to twenty years earlier still; and though some thirty-five or forty years may not seem a very lengthened period, such has been the change that has taken place during the lapse of the generation which has in that time disappeared from the earth, that perhaps scarce a tithe of the same matter could be collected now.  We live in an age unfavourable to tradition, in which the written has superseded the oral.  As the sun rose in his strength, the manna wasted away like hoarfrost from off the ground.

    In preparing my volume a second time for the press, I have felt rather gratified than otherwise, that, at least, much of what it contains should have been preserved.  The reader will here and there find snatches of dissertation, which would perhaps not be missed if away—which, at all events, had they not been written before, would have remained unwritten now; but which I have spared, partly for the sake of the associations connected with them, and partly under the impression that the other portions of the work would have less of character if they were wanting. Some of these dissertative fragments I have, however, considerably abridged, and there were others of a similar kind in the first edition which have been wholly suppressed.  In my longer stories I have, I find, exercised the same sort of liberty in filling up the outlines as that taken by the ancient historians in their earlier chapters.  Livy in the times of the Empire could write speeches for Romulus and Junius Brutus, and introduce them into his narrative as authentic; and Taciturn details as minutely, in his Life of Agricola, the deliberations of the warlike Caledonians as if he had formed one of their councils.  Even the sober Hume puts arguments for and against toleration into the mouths of Cardinal Pole and his opponents which belonged to neither the men nor the age.  But though I have, in some cases, given shade and colour to the original lines, in no case have I altered the character of the drawing.  I have only to state further, that the reader, when he finds reference made, in the indefinite style of the traditionary historian, to the years which have elapsed since the events related took place, must add in every instance twenty additional twelvemonths to the number; the some thirty bygone years of my narratives have stretched out into half a century, and the half century into the threescore years and ten.


* Chiefly between the years 1829 and 1832, inclusive.  A few of the paragraphs were however, introduced at a later time.

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CONTENTS.
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CHAPTER I.
My Old Library and its Contents—The Three Classes of Traditions —Legend of Sludach— Singular Test of Character—The Writer's Pledge.

CHAPTER II.
Alypos—Etymological Legends—Epic Poetry of the Middle Ages—Astorimon—The Spectre Ships—Olaus Rudbeck.

CHAPTER III.
The Bay of Cromarty—The Old Coast Line—The Old Town—The Storms of the Five Winters—Donald Miller's Wars with the Sea.

CHAPTER IV.
Macbeth—Our earlier Data—The Fions of Knock-Ferril—The King's Sons—The Obelisks of Easter Ross—Dunskaith—The Urquharts of Cromarty—Wallace—The Foray of the Clans—Paterhemon.

CHAPTER V.
Remains of the Old Mythology—The Devotional Sentiment—Interesting Usages—Rites of the Scottish Halloween—The Charm of the Egg—The Twelfth Rig—Macculloch's Courtship—The Extinct Spectres—Legend of Morial's Den—The Guardian Cock.

CHAPTER VI.
A Scottish Town of the 17th Century—The Old Castle of the Urquharts—Hereditary Sheriffship.

CHAPTER VII.
Sir Thomas Urquhart.

CHAPTER VIII.
The Reformation—Outbreaking at Rosemarkie--Sir John Urquhart of Craigfintrie—The Ousted Ministers—Mr. Fraser of Brea—Luggie.

CHAPTER IX.
The Chaplain's Lair.

CHAPTER X.
The Curates—Donald Roy of Nigg—The Breaking of the Burg— 143 George Earl of Cromartie—The Union.

CHAPTER XI.
Important Events which affect the Religious Character—Kenneth Ore—Thomas Hogg and the Man-horse—The Watchman of Cullcuden—The Lady of Ardvrock—The Lady of Balconied.

CHAPTER XII.
The Fisherman's Widow.

CHAPTER XIII.
The Story of John Feddes—Andrew Lindsay.

CHAPTER XIV.
The Chapel of St. Regulus—Macleod the Smuggler—The Story of Sandy Wood.

CHAPTER XV.
The Poor Lost Lad—A Ballad in Prose—Morrison the Painter.

CHAPTER XVI.
The Economy of Accident—The Black Years—Progress of the Pestilence—The Quarantine—The Cholera.

CHAPTER XVII.
Martinmas Market—The Herring Drove—The Whale-Fishers—The Flight of the Drove—Urquhart of Greenhill—Poem—William Forsyth—The Caithness-Man's Leap.

CHAPTER XVIII.
Sandy Wright and the Pair Orphan.

CHAPTER XIX.
Tarbat Ness—Stine Bheag o' Tarbat.

CHAPTER XX.
The Mermaid—The Story of John Reid—Maculloch the Corn-Agent —The Washing of the Mermaid.

CHAPTER XXI.
The Bad Year—Sandison's Spulzie—The Meal Mob.

CHAPTER XXII.
The Forty-Five—Nanny Miller's Onslaught—The Retreat—The Battle of Culloden—Old John Dunbar—Jacobite Psalm.

CHAPTER XXIII.
The Dropping Cave—The Legend of Willie Millar—A Boy Adventurer—Fiddler's Well.

CHAPTER XXIV.
Wars of the Town's-people—Macculloch the Lawyer—The Law-Plea—Roderick and the Captain—Mr. Henderson.

CHAPTER XXV.
The Churchyard Ghost—My Writing-Room—The Broken Promise —The Polander—The One-eyed Stepmother—The Pedlar—The Green Lady—Munro the Post.

CHAPTER XXVI.
The Literati of Cromarty—Johnie o' the Shore—Meggie o' the Shore —David Henderson—Macculloch of Dun-Loth.

CHAPTER XXVII.
The Gudewife of Minitarf.

CHAPTER XXVIII.
The Olds School, and what it produced—Dr. Hossack—The hard Dominie—Mr. Russel them minister—The Cock-Fight—M'Culloch the Mechanician.

CHAPTER XXIX.
The Itinerant Sculptor—Kirk-Michael—The Apprentice's Dream—The Wild Wife—Gordon of Newhall—Sir Robert Munro— Babble Hanah.

CHAPTER XXX.
George Ross, the Scotch Agent.

CHAPTER XXXI.
The Burn of Eathie—Donald Calder—The Story of Tom M'Kechan—Fause Jamie.

CHAPTER XXXII.
Our Town Politics—The First Whig—The Revolution—The Democracy—The Procession—Hossack's Pledge—The County Meeting—The French War—Whiggism of the People.

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