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John Stuart Blackie
Chapter XVII. 'Self-Culture' 1873 - 1874


THE winter's leisure was spent in getting into brief emphatic expression the Professor's many thoughts upon the formation of a well-balanced manhood, which his long acquaintance with young men, and his observation of their tendency to turn from sanity and righteousness at the call of any "philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world," had suggested. He noticed to what class of character each beguiling call appealed, and he endeavoured —by a book which might serve as a rallying cry to all open - minded readers - to summon them back to the right starting-point.

Some exception has been taken to the title of this little volume. 'Self-Culture,' it has been urged, means self-worship; but the objection is pedantic, and the term conveys correctly the writer's meaning. Mind, body, and spirit go to form a human being, and each needs recognition, instruction, education, to interfuse its influence with the others into integral health and symmetry. The Professor, himself of sane mind and wholesome habits, loving life for all its joys and lessons, having learned, in reverence for God the creator and provider, and in communion with His Spirit, how momentous a gift is this of life, impressed in wise words upon the young the right attitude toward life, the right use to be made of its opportunities. "Having," he says, "by the golden gift of God the glorious lot of living, let us endeavour to live nobly."

His counsel is conveyed in brief, apt, and vivid expression. No dull reiteration saps the interest with which we read the little book. Its ninety pages contain more of pure wisdom than all the weighty tomes of modern philosophy, with their dreary and futile anxiety to make us independent of God. How welcome to the young manhood of the world this antidote to the torpor of these verbose schemes has proved, is indicated by its wide acceptance. Nine editions of the book appeared in three years, and twenty years have produced no fewer than twenty-two editions. It has been translated into modern Greek, French, German, Italian, Danish, Swedish, and Finnish, has appeared in many American reprints, and in 1893 was bought amongst the English-speaking natives of India to the extent of 2000 copies. Many requests have come to its publisher from districts in India for permission to translate it into the local vernacular. One of these was received recently from a remote northern quarter, where the people only a few years ago were notably fierce and warlike, and averse to British rule.

Its composition occupied four months, and it was published by Messrs Edmonston & Douglas towards the end of 1873.

The early part of this year was clouded by the death of Dr Thomas Guthrie, the preacher, philanthropist, and friend, whom Professor Blackie esteemed along with Chalmers and Macleod as apostolic. The very sight of him was energising, and his voice, uplifted always for the right and against the wrong, or joyous in the interchange of friendly jest and story, strung men up to effort, or sweetened them into charity.

"I am the living to praise God," Dr Guthrie had written in December; "for it would be a deplorable thing if I had had to go through all the sufferings of the last nine weeks and should get no good from them." Less than three months later he had joined the ever-living to praise Him.

In "The Generous Evangelist," a poem made known at the time in 'Good Words' and elsewhere, and finally embodied in 'Songs of Religion and of Life,' the Professor recorded—

How in the rough-hewn Scotsman dwelt
The word of God with power.

This man smells not of books. A green
And lusty show he bears
As one whose foot hath wandering been
Where vitalising airs

Sweep the far-purpled hills. His God
He cabins not in creeds;
But feels him where the fir-trees nod,
And where the south wind speeds

O'er blossomy fields. In waves and winds
For Gospel texts he looks;
And in the hearts of men he finds
What no man found in books.

A continued tussle with the Sanscrit grammar varied the work of non-academical hours, and its effects are manifest in its wider treatment of all subjects connected with the growth of language. His own annotated copy of the second edition of 'Self-Culture' has constant marginal references to the ancient Sanscrit literature and philosophy of education and conduct, and several of the papers published a year later in the 'Hore Hellenic' bear evidence of this adventure towards the sources of European speech. It was by no means an exploration, and his object was not research. It was rather to glean from the labours of pioneers as much of their acquisitions as his mind, trained in language, could assimilate without difficulty.

He was busy inculcating his own large views of natural methods in acquiring Greek, and a note from Robert Browning in January, conveying the poet's thanks for hospitality shown to a friend, contains a sympathetic sentence :-

I altogether believe in your theory of the necessity of speaking out what ought properly to live in speech—as it exclusively must at first have done.

A lecture on the whole subject of Education belongs to March 7. it was delivered at Broughty Ferry, and offered eleven propositions as a scheme of reform, "whose truth," said the 'Pall Mall Gazette,' "is only equalled by their profanity,"—which meant boldness in the face of pedantry hallowed by the dry-rot of ages, or jubilant over-cram, its mushroom product.

A short visit to Professor Campbell Shairp broke the journey home. "Two such splendid days, with a grand expanse of sea to look out on from these sea-topping terraces, and such nice people within, so full of love and intelligence and grace, both Scotch saving grace and Greek decorating grace!" He returned to Edinburgh to revise his paper on the "Pre-Socratic Philosopiiy" for 'Fraser's Magazine,' and to wind up all his business at the University, where another blast of the trumpet on Educational Reform closed the session.

His nephew, Alexander Blackie, for many years like a son to him and to Mrs Blackie, had reached the point of choosing a career, and had decided on entering one of the larger mercantile houses in Leith, London, or Liverpool, as fortune might decide. To fit him for acceptance, it was necessary to give him an opportunity of acquiring more German than grammars and exercises bestow. It was therefore planned to spend the summer months in Germany, and mainly at Göttingen.

The party, recruited by Miss Augusta Wyld, took steamer from Leith to Hamburg, and were established in pleasant quarters at Göttingen by the beginning of May. The Professor cast the slough of all customary duties and causes, and flung himself heartily into the University life, attending Dr Pauli's lectures on History, and Professor von Seebach's summer course on Geology. It was an old study revived, and one which made his walking tours a constant delighted perusal of nature's cipher. He sat on the benches with the class, as true a Bursch as any; and shouldered his knapsack, hammer in pocket, for excursions to the Harz, which Seehach organised to bring his students face to face with facts. As interesting to him were Dr Pauli's historical tours to Hildesheirn, Brunswick, and Wolfeiibtittel, and his observations were duly despatched to the 'Scotsman,' in whose columns they appeared.

The open-air life of Göttingen suited them all, until in July the heat became unbearable, and the ladies suffered from its effects. Not so the Professor for once, as he selected that month for a three weeks' peregrination in Westphalia and Lorraine. Paderborn with its perpetual miracle of a river sprung full-grown, Soest, Bonn, Andernach with its volcanic neighbourhood, Metz with its battle-fields near at hand—where the dead lay buried amongst waving corn—the Eifel, with more volcanic associations, Münster, Bielefeld,—all occupied his time and observation. Too long journeys, however, and fasts too exhausting, brought on an illness between Bielefeld and Hanover, and he had to stop to be doctored on the way. He always objected to carrying food while on his travels, preferring to trust to casual inns and station beer and sausage, and when these failed he was surprised and a little indignant to find himself tired out at the end of a twelve hours' fast. It was humiliating to discover that his vitality depended on due supplies of food and drink, which in their ordinary course he did not at all despise, but accepted as part of an inflexible social and domestic system, and as provocative of charity and good - fellowship. A short rest at Gottingen restored him, and all four prepared for a final tour before returning to Scotland. This embraced Berlin, the Baltic coast, the island of Rugen, and Copenhagen. By the end of August they were back in Edinburgh, and on their way to Aitnacraig.

Gaelic, Erse, and Samiscrit mingled their vexed currents in a maelstrom of autumn study, relieved by the proofs of' Self-Culture,' and by a digression to Bismark as a worthy topic for provincial lecture. As the year advanced, the success of his little book brightened its close. Letters from all sorts and conditions of men greeted its author.

It is all gold [wrote Sir Theodore Martin], and I would like to see it in the hand of every young man in the three kingdoms. The only point in which I differ from you is your estimate of Thackeray.

I like much its sound practical wisdom and its deep reverence [wrote Dr MacGregor].

Send me five copies [commissioned Bishop Wordsworth in a letter to Mr Douglas], one for myself, like Solon not yet too old to learn from wiser men, and one for each of my four sons.

The Professor spent the New Year of 1874 in Liverpool, where his nephew had been received into the large and influential business of Messrs Balfour & Williamson. On his return a new "cause" was presented to him, and after some natural hesitation he undertook its probationary championship. For some years he had agreed with other scholars in Scotland that gradual extinction threatened the Gaelic language, and that its disappearance would mean a serious loss to all philology, and to the whole body of literary and artistic thought and suggestion.

An attempt had already been made by leading Free Churchmen, amongst whom should be mentioned Dr M'Lauchlan and Mr Alexander Nicolson, to ensure the scholarship of the country against this inevitable calamity. But the agent who had been employed for a year to rouse attention to the matter was not sufficiently notable to succeed, and an appeal for co-operation was forwarded to Professor Blackie. The idea was to found a Celtic Chair in the University of Edinburgh, whose occupant should make the whole group of Celtic dialects the subject of academical lectures, with particular care for Gaelic. Professor Blackie had already studied Gaelic to good purpose both conversationally and through its literature, and was at one with this wise foresight and scholarly purpose. But he had not sufficient confidence in his own capacity for business to be willing at once to undertake the collection of a fund sufficiently large for endowment. At least £12,000 would be required, and the money already collected was a very trifling instalment of this sum.

Urged by his friends of the Free Church on the ground of his known enthusiasm for Gaelic, of his position, of the welcome given to his appearance on all platforms and in every circle, Professor Blackie came at last to realise that he was probably the only man likely to succeed in this enterprise, and he consented to be the mouthpiece of its promoters, on the conditions of tentative success and of perfect independence in the performance of his mission. He decided, as a first step, to run up to London in March, and to sound the weightier merchants, peers, and proprietors of Scottish origin concentrated there. Another motive for this hasty visit to London was the publication of 'Horae-HelIenicae,' which Messrs Macmillan accepted for the spring season. This book was a collection of essays on various points of Greek research which he considered to have received inadequate treatment at the hands of the more speculative modern scholars. Some of them had already done service in the form of lectures, others had appeared in learned periodicals. Two of them advocated the views of modern Greek and of classical accent which were now associated with his name; one treated of the use of hexameters in English verse; others concerned modern theories on Greek mythology and on the origin of language; and the rest engaged controversially against Mr Grote's defence of the Sophists and his heterodox handling of the Spartan constitution. The volume was dedicated to Mr Gladstone, who accepted the compliment with pleasure, although on many points he dissented from the Professor's conclusions.

A visit to the city resulted in several promises of £100 each to the fund for a Celtic Chair, and the success of this preliminary canter decided him to run the race for a year. His business done, he returned to Edinburgh and to the work of the closing session. His study in Erse determined him to see Ireland in the summer, and he left Hill Street at the end of April 1874 with purpose and preparation complete. But three weeks had first to be given to his friend Mr Archer, who wished to paint his portrait, and he halted in London in the artist's hospitable home. Two hours of every morning were devoted to the "counterfeit," which took shape in an excellent picture of the Professor, swathed in the wonted plaid, and standing amid scenery suggestive of some nook in a Highland glen. The attitude was chosen as suited to "bring out the character of a man who thinks best on his legs." He found the process purgatorial, and avenged himself by a perfect whirl of afternoon and evening activity. Meetings of the Education Commission alternated with gaieties. "Jowett and Sewell were there, with their smooth English faces and cold English reticence."

The most interesting episodes were the customary visit to Dr Manning, and an encounter with Mr Bradlaugh—men at the opposite poles of opinion, whose friendly relations with the Professor testify more than words to his large- hearted tolerance, and to that swift recognition of the divine in man which was never troubled by shallow censure or ignorant scare.

This morning, after I stood for the counterfeit of my bony hand and significant knuckles, I swung down to Westminster, where Archbishop Manning now has his palace, a house as he modestly calls it, on the Vauxhall Bridge Road. He was extremely agreeable and full of telling anecdotes with him only two theological students and the editor of the 'Tablet,' yelept Rankin, a very intelligent man: so that betwixt us, round a well-spread luncheon table, a brisk fire was kept up. The Archbishop is to give me a letter of introduction to the Bishop of Tuam, who is a famous Celt, and has made an Irish translation of the 'Iliad.' I want to get into the midst of the regular hot and bright Irish, and to avoid all Saxon solicitations.

He met Charles Bradlaugh at Mrs Gregory's.

No ghosts! [he records], but some dozen of strange, stray characters, and among others Bradlaugh, whom she [Mrs Gregory] conceits herself to be able to convert—catching a bull with a cobweb ! A bull verily—a big Ajax, tall and broad. having a fancy for looking closely at nature, I determined to go and hear him preach in his atheistic church on Sunday evening at the East End. It was a notable exhibition. A terrible tearing assault against the Book of Exodus, and its anthropomorphic representations of the unseen God; eloquence powerful and fervid of the first order. Really a remarkable man, and from his point of view triumphant over those who hold by the infallibility of the record, instead of the Divinity of the dispensation. He made incidentally a public profession of atheism, which caused me to write him a long letter. I imagine that in the Socratic way I may be able to do him some good. He is a manly, honest fellow, and quite worthy of gentlemanly treatment, which I am afraid he seldom receives.

The letter was courteously answered by Mr Bradlaugh. "I would like to convince you that my atheism is neither shallow nor flippant. Spinoza, whom you name, has been in much my revered teacher." The "Socratic way" scarcely justified its antique reputation; but had men earlier struck hands with Charles Bradlaugh and bade him welcome in the name and charity, and insight of God, as this sweet- hearted Christian did at their first encounter, can we doubt the result? Here is the record for May 4 and 5 :

I lunched with Browning—charming, fine, manly, frank fellow, full of sense and eloquence, and overflowing with Greek. In the evening I dined with Murray, Albemarle Street, in a room hung round with portraits of Byron, Lockhart, Southey, and all the famous Tories of the last generation. To-day I breakfasted with Froude, who is just popping off for a summer retreat in Wales. He gave me some hints about Ireland, and was very bland and wise. Then I came home and spelt my Irish Bible for an hour and a half, and thereafter started off to lunch with Donald Fraser in that region of stately dreariness and cold formality called Bayswater. But mine host was all warmth and cordiality, and we were extremely jolly, he, I, and the Rev. Robert Taylor.

The month wore into the middle with dinners and lunches here and there, and with a raid amongst the publishers to find one willing to bring out a philosophical work by Dr Robert Wyld, and another to launch a little volume by Miss Christina Blackie on the 'Etymology of Place-names.' The good genius in the latter case was Mr Isbister, although Mr Murray undertook the second edition, and the Professor wrote a preface to the educational part of the book. A letter to his sister from Stepney contains news of his success on her behalf, and gossip about his gaddings to and fro. "I take to the dissipation quite easily. It is mere trifling when compared with the digging at Sanscrit roots in dark Hill Street!

At a luncheon with Lady Burdett Coutts he met the Duke of Sutherland, who broached the subject of crofts and crofters, and invited him to come to Dunrobin in October. He accepted the invitation, but afterwards wrote to the Duke to explain that he was an ardent upholder of the crofters, and had written, spoken, sung much and at many times to that effect. The invitation was repeated, and the visit eventually paid. On May 13 he lunched at Niddry Lodge with Campbell of Islay,—

the finest fellow that I have seen here, full of a free, frank, broad, vigorous, and hilarious manhood, he is great in Celtic and in geology; and can use a painter's brush to purpose besides. In the evening I swung down to Cheyne Row and had an hour's talk with stout old Carlyle, who is flailing about him in the same one-sided magnificently unreasonable way that you know. Of course I protested against that sort of thing in toto; and ended by putting myself under the wing of Aristotle, who, if not a greater genius, is certainly a much wiser man, than Carlyle.

An "amazing event," as he describes it, detained him in town. This was an appointment with the American publisher of his 'Four Phases of Morals' and 'Self-Culture,' who insisted on putting £50 in the Professor's pocket. Later on the same day he met Mr Gladstone,—

and we had much interesting talk about Celtic and Saxon elements in British blood, about the recent excavations at Troy, and other subjects. I presented to him an elegantly bound copy of my new book ['Hone HelIenica '], which he received graciously, and said that I had paid him a great compliment. To which of course I replied that he had furnished my front leaf with a great ornament.

Mr Archer let him go at last, on condition of his bond to return at Christmas for further sittings, and he sped away to Gloucester to pay Mr Dobell a passing visit. He found his friend in fragile health, but without portent of the end, so near.

From Nailsworth he went to Wales to renew some friendships there, in hasty fashion, with loins girt and staff in hand. On May 23 he started for the Green isle.

It is a sad thing to part from so much beauty, brightness, and goodness, but a glimpse of excellence is a joy for ever in memory. Dolabella is as full of grace and simplicity and gentleness and bright-eyed intelligence as ever.

At Dublin his host was an old acquaintance called Dr Dobbin, who lived in the suburbs about a mile from Donnybrook. He took a little cottage for the Professor, who wished to spend some peaceful and studious hours every day; but this was made impossible by the rush of hospitality. He gave up his struggles with Erse and his hopes of solitary explorations in. and round about the city, and let himself go on the current of Irish kindness, not without a little grumbling at its force. He had come to Ireland, already weary of being lionised, to inquire and to study. But he enjoyed his dinners with the Provost of the University, with Professor Dowden, and with Professor Mahaffy. Besides these academical hosts, the acquaintance to which he most cordially responded was the well - known specialist, Sir William Wilde.

An enthusiastic antiquary, with his head full of old castles, old chapels, old sepulchres, and every sort of curious lumber consecrated with millennarian dust. He is a tall, blithe, frank, and very intelligent fellow. Yesterday I called on his lady, who is a poetess, and very tall. She has an admiration for my 'Ĉschylus,' and of course for myself!

Dinners with the Wildes and "various notable Dublin intellectualities" followed, and he found it hard work to snatch moments from the flying hours in which to read Froude's and other Irish histories.

Dr Stokes, President of the Royal Irish Academy, piloted him through the Museum, and introduced him to his daughter, who was just then collaborating with Lord Dunraven at a work on the oldest architecture of Ireland. By this time he had changed his quarters from the suburban cottage to Mr Armstrong's house at Rathmines. Mr Erskine Nicol had furnished him with a heartily hoioured introduction to his host. Together they

drove off to Drogheda, and, under the experienced captainship of Sir William Wilde, entered the subterranean chambers of famous, old, pre-Celtic kings, perhaps the oldest buildings in Europe, possibly older than the Pyramids, of which they are rude types. Sir William, a restless, keen-eyed old gentleman, who has all the district of the Boyne written on the volumes of his brain, snuffed and poked about.

The battle-field, the round tower, the Irish crosses, were all inspected.

Much as he enjoyed Dublin, he was glad to get quit of the " tussle of society," and to bid it farewell at a dinner with the Club of the Royal Irish Academy. His host escaped with him, and by June 9 they had put a hundred miles between them and the convivial capital, halting first at Cashel of the Kings.

I now feel the dear delight of no goad in this metropolis of old abbeys, castles, and round towers, and am soothed by a strange and grateful feeling of quiet liberty after five weeks' driving and junketing and fretting about, and serving all things but my own sweet will.

From Cashel to Cork, from Cork to Queenstown, thence to the groves of Blarney, where he kissed the Blarney stone with the end of a Platonic stick," were but stages on the way to Glengariff, Bantry Bay. Mr Armstrong returned to Dublin, and he settled down for some days to revel in the "Green Paradise," and to read the histories of Ireland which he had brought. They led him to make several excursions in the neighbourhood to identify the scenes of many a tragedy.

Everywhere in this country the memorials meet us of blood and bungling, of stupidity and swindling. One needs only to travel here to forgive the Irish all their follies.

He reached Kenmare on June 17, and stayed some days with Mr and Mrs Trench at Dereen, a visit which he thoroughly enjoyed in spite of the fact that the main conveyance was by yawl on the water, and that he held with the immortal to whom "a boat was a moving prison with a chance of being drowned." Here is a sea- adventure :-

We keep a yawl, and so long as the breeze keeps steady, ploughing the briny way is sufficiently pleasant; but then the breeze is like the Irish character, extremely impulsive and fitful, and it does not always blow in the right direction: this of course causes us to go by the longest possible road, technically called " tacking"; then the breeze, which is our sole dependence, without giving any warning, or assigning any substantial reason, will suddenly die away, and so we lie becalmed; and the night comes on, and though the stars twinkle blissfully in the blue sky, and the moon glances with poetical light over the lofty swelling waters, and the dip of the oar strikes fire from the phosphorescent billow, yet one does not feel exactly either easy in body or poetically moved in spirit. So we get out of our large craft and seek the shore in a small punt, which at every bound brings the greedy waters snapping at our upper vestments, not to mention porpoises and other sea- monsters gambolling about all round us, blowing and snorting fearfully with their noses (if they have any), and threatening at every turn to upset our little prison with a flap of the tail, and set us at large liberty for ever in the deep Neptunian mansions. This is a literal picture of a voyage which we made last night home from a visit to one of the Saxon gentlemen who rent Celtic castles on the north side of the bay.

On June 22d he

saw Killarney lakes in the easiest and most effective way without losing a moment's time. The road from Kenmare comes close down upon the top of the lakes; so Mr Trench telegraphed in the morning that a boat should be sent up from the Lake Hotel to take me from the mail-car, and row me down through the whole range of the woody meanderings of those delightful waters.

He reached Limerick next day on the eve of St John, where he made

a march of discovery through the most ragged part of the town, and you may imagine the sensation I created appearing in my Edinburgh costume. Great crowds of boys are gathered about in corners lighting bonfires, to which I was invited by the bolder sort to contribute, but the greater part evidently did not consider me an approachable being. All stared,—some winked and grinned, —others burst out into open laughter,—and some fled in fear as from a bogle!

The appearance of his trim figure in black surtout and plaid, with broad-brimmed hat and twirling stick, and feathery white hair blown about and over his collar, stepping, pausing, gazing, perchance singing, certainly uttering aloud his momentary emotions must have filled the slums of Limerick on St John's Eve with awe and admiration.

A slow journey brought him to Tuam, where disappointment awaited him in the Archbishop's absence: but Father Bourke received him with all cordiality and reasoned discourse tempered by champagne. The next stage was Galway, on the shelves of whose College he found 'Hor Hellenic' newly planted. "The boys here have a custom of answering to everything 'All right!' but one finds generally that it is all wrong."

He left Galway) after a day's rest, for the Connemara hills, and settled down at Kylemore, where he enjoyed a spell of climbing and exulting in the grandeur and beauty of the Irish highlands.

The fogs were creeping about among the highest peaks, but I saw the wonderful variety of gleam and gloom that, as in Wester Ross, characterises this land of strangely intersected fell and flood.

Sunday occurred during his "soul's rest" at Kylernore.

It had a kindly whim to deliver to the excellent people a sermon. So they called some twenty or thirty from the neighbourhood together in the dining-room of Kylemore House. I led off with a psalm and a short prayer, and then discoursed on Hebrews xi., the drift of my discourse being to show that faith is an act of the practical reason ill necessarily influencing the will, and leading to a persistent course of conduct in harmony with the belief in God and the divine order of the universe,—the identity of faith and work, or the necessary fatherhood of the one by the other, becoming thus evident.

His tour was at an end. It had been favoured by cloudless weather. Hurried although it was, and deflected from its purpose by overmastering hospitality, he had seen much and learnt much, and he came back sad at heart for Ireland.

Belfast and Edinburgh were but stages for Altnacraig, which he reached on July 4. His voyage in the Iona was depressing, and he was forced to seek shelter from the rain, and to find in Swinburne's 'Bothwell' some compensation for lack of movement. He was no critic of form and verse, and always insisted that a story should interest him, which the misfortunes of Queen Mary failed to do. Perhaps his predilection for John Knox extended to that "sair sanct's" detestation of contemporary crowned women.

It seems to me [he wrote to his aunt] that a woman cannot be a politician, or live amongst politicians, without becoming either bad or miserable.

His friend Sydney Dobell breathed his last "in blessed quietness" on 22nd of August 1874, and he was at once entreated to hold himself in readiness to pay the last honours to the form which had held that urbane and delicate spirit. He went to the funeral, which took place on September 1 at Painswick, and afterwards wrote a short account of the poet,—"a man of most pure, generous, and altogether noble character."

The summer of 1874 was singularly fine, and Mr Hutcheson organised a series of all-day excursions to and from Loch Scavaig and Skye. He invited the party at Altnacraig and a contingent of friends, visitors to Oban, to make the first trip with himself. At six in the morning the steamer left Oban pier, and at ten in the evening it returned. It was a day to be well remembered: sea like glass; a shoal of mackerel pursued into a shallow bay and leaping like frothed silver on the waters; tumbling porpoises; the rock-bound coast of Skye, the fresh waves of Loch Scavaig, where a wind seems ever in ambush ; and the solemn blackness of Loch Coruisk. Dr Appleton, Mr M'Lennan, Mr T. T. Stoddart, and Mr and Mrs Ross of Stepney were of the party, whose vagrant centre and stimulus was the Professor.

Not long after, Mrs Blackie invited the same party to a picnic at the old stronghold of the Lords of Lorne in Kerrera, Castle Gylen,—perched on the southern clift where currents divide and seas leap and roar when the wind sweeps the Atlantic. The talk was of Highland chiefs and their followers, of the loyal adhesion of older times and its betrayal in days when "a four-footed people" is rated worthier than a clan of faithful hearts. They went back by boat along the Sound to high tea at Altnacraig, where songs wound up the day.

When the summer visitors left, the Professor went to Inveraray Castle, where the Princess Louise was staying with the Duke and Duchess of Argyll.

At 7.30 the most important event of the day took place. The Duke marched in first with the Princess, who had a beautiful gold chaplet on her head. Lord Halifax took in the Duchess; and to me was assigned Miss Wood, the daughter of his lordship, beautiful, bland, but not venturing out her horns before the majesty of a Professor of Greek. The rest of the party were Lord Percy and his spouse, Lord Cohn, the Marquis, Lady Halifax, and more than half- a-dozen of young Argyll chicks with the most beautiful locks of flowing gold. After dinner we marched into the drawing-room, where I had to read my Gaelic translations to the Princess, which went off with manifest approbation. Nothing of special importance occurred. Lord Halifax seemed amused at the strong feeling which I expressed with regard to Bob Lowe and his wretched educational mechanics. The piper played, marching to and fro on the lawn, half an hour before dinner, and the same shrill swell of musical drones proclaimed itself at 8 A.M. this morning as a sort of cock-crow.

Next day he stayed at the Castle, reading up the Ossianic controversy while time rest of the party went picnicking to Loch Awe in a drizzling mist. At night he sang "Bifleher" in the drawing-room.

The Princess is very agreeable, and 'I have long talks with her. She is an artistic creature, and not given to deal in discursive talk, but extremely frank and intelligent.

There is a tradition that he clapped her on the back and called her "a bonnie lassie," but it lacks written confirmation. Certain it is that he sent her an offering of his book 'On Beauty' when he went home.

After a fortnight at Altnacraig the trio left to make a tour in the north as far as Loch Shin before returning to Edinburgh. Included in this were his visit to Dunrobin and a lecture on behalf behalf of the Celtic Chair, delivered at Inverness.

The Duke of Sutherland [he wrote from Dunrobin] is a remarkable character, tall and big, but with a careless broad swing about him; not the least like a lordly English aristocrat, lie is quite natural, easy, and affable in his manners, with a sort of indifference, however, that kills all airs and allays all apprehensions. He is not at all brilliant in conversation, but has a great amount of good sense and good humour, and has seen and tried a great number of things in a practical way. He is at present engrossed with gigantic agricultural improvements, with working a coal-mine, and with manufacturing bricks! He takes me all over his property, and lets me see what is being done, and keeps an eye on that is going on. I forgot to say that he is breeding salmon also on a grand scale, nursing the young fry as carefully as we do delicate children, and having a nursery for them that holds not less than a million in their earliest and smallest stage.

While at Inveraray, he had spoken to the Duke and Duchess of Argyll about the Celtic Chair, and had received from them hearty encouragement in his effort "to stir Highland blood." In the north he continued to proclaim the cause, and held at Inverness the first public meeting on its behalf. Its success, and that of another at Glasgow towards the close of the year, decided him to undertake the work systematically, and he accepted the arduous post of collector pressed upon him by his Free Church friends.


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