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Queen Victoria and Prince Albert's Trip to Scotland
Chapter XVII. Route to Taymouth


Every heart was charmed by the great condescension of the Queen, and especially by her kind and considerate manner towards Lord Glenlyon, in the very helpless state in which he then was. After having repeatedly expressed the high sense she entertained of the admirable manner in which every thing had been done at Dunkeld, Her Majesty took leave of her noble host and hostess, and got into her carriage at half-past three o’clock, to start for Taymouth. The chosen guard of the Lochaber-axe men, who had escorted the Queen from the southern end of the bridge, now again attended her thither; and as the carriage left the grounds, the enthusiastic cheers of the assembled multitudes were overwhelmed by the thunders of the mountain echoes, again awakened by the guns of the Stanley-hill battery, firing another royal salute. During her short progress through the town towards the bridge, the Queen met with the same loyal demonstrations which formerly greeted her. But although she failed not to acknowledge them, she seemed to be somewhat pensive; and it was not wonderful that her thoughts should be thrown back upon the remarkable scene she had just witnessed, where so many warm and loyal hearts had been assembled to do her honour, with a feeling of regret that it should have so soon flitted away with fairy-like instability. From the peer to the humblest clansman, all had been so filled with enthusiasm, that they would have sacrificed even their own lives, rather than have failed in the smallest tittle of the duty they owed their sovereign. At the moment of the Queen’s departure, Lord Glenlyon dispatched his brother, on Lady Glenlyon’s beautiful and favourite horse, to escort Her Majesty, who gave orders that the carriage should be stopped at every fine point of view, that she might obtain from Captain Murray the names of the different places and hills, all of which she wrote down with a pencil. When Captain Murray reported on his return, that no one had met him on the confines of the Athole territories to escort the Queen onwards, Lord Glenlyon asked why he had not gone on with Her Majesty? “If I had done so,” replied the Captain, “I might have killed Anne’s horse.”—“And you ought to have killed Anne’s horse rather than have left the Queen unattended,” was Lord Glenlyon’s answer. By the time Her Majesty had reached the middle of the bridge, the royal eyes again lighted up with their most interesting expression, on beholding the romantic prospects everywhere commanded from it; and, judging from the earnestness of her observation, Her Majesty seemed anxious to impress the whole of their features deeply on her mind.

Turning up to the right, a little beyond the bridge, the Queen and her cortege moved rapidly on through the beautiful scenery, to the charming little village of Inver, so called from its position just in the angle of junction between the wild and rocky river Bran, and the broader and more majestic stream of the Tay. Before Dunkeld bridge was built, the ferry here afforded the great passage towards the Highlands of Athole; and the village itself will ever be remarkable as having been the birth-place and the residence of Neil Gow. The scenery is well known to be exquisitely beautiful. The village is approached by a bridge over the Bran, and immediately beyond it the Tay comes in a broad, silent, but powerful stream, through a grand pass formed by Craig-y-Barns and the Iving’s-seat on one side, and Craig-Vinean on the other, the whole surrounding steeps, as well as the banks of the rivers, being magnificently wooded. It happened that a few young gentlemen from Cambridge had taken up their residence at Mr. Pullar’s inn, for the purpose of reading for their college honours; but although it must doubtless have required a great effort in students so ardent, to throw aside their books even for a day, they nobly felt that the occasion demanded the sacrifice. They accordingly exercised their ingenuity in throwing a fine triumphal arch, elegantly decorated with flowers, from the western wing of the inn, quite across the road. It was somewhat singular that these Englishmen should have hit off the most rational as well as national mode in which Scotsmen, and especially Highlanders, could do honour to their Queen, and show the fervour of their loyalty. The whole population of Inver, and its neighbourhood, having turned out to receive their sovereign, the moment that the cannon announced Her Majesty’s departure from Dunkeld, these men of Cambridge armed every man, woman, and child for her due and proper reception, with a brimmer of the native mountain dew, and there they stood all ready; and the moment that the Royal carriage came so near that the Queen could see and duly appreciate the nature of the compliment, every individual present held up a bumper-charged hand, and the word of command being given, health and happiness to the Royal pair was shouted forth, and over went the whole contents of every glass, scaoopes, that is to the very bottom. A hurrah followed, worthy of the loyal spirit that gave it birth. It would be curious for the political economist to ascertain how many gallons of whisky were in this one moment of loyal effusion poured from the glasses into the interior of these good people, and how much the revenue was thereby benefited. Her Majesty did not stop to inquire, but she seemed to be considerably amused with this novel method of making a loyal demonstration.

Passing Inver, and winding over the north-western side of Craig-Vinean, the scenery of the Tay becomes more expanded, but very beautiful, and the road continues up its western bank amid richly cultivated fields, lying on the base and slopes of the hills, interspersed with wood, and having here and there cheerful cottages and comfortable residences. Ualguise is particularly interesting, from its old-fashioned terrace-garden being seen from the road. A little beyond this, in the wood at Miltown of Ivincraigie, a very pretty arch was thrown across the way, with the well conceived words, in large letters, “Welcome to your Highland glens,’ with V. R. and a crown. This was most appropriately placed near the mouth of Glen-Albert, giving additional value to the compliment. Everywhere the population had turned out in groups—some almost amounting to crowds; and as no native of the Highlands ever assumes an an kward attitude, they very much improved the scenery, as they generally chose the prettiest spots, and those which showed them in the most picturesque point of view. One old woman was observed reading her bible, which she scarcely discontinued, even when the Queen was passing by. Leaving the house of Kinnaird upon the right, the Queen enjoyed an extensive view of the beautiful valley of the Tummel, here joining the Tay, and forming the grand avenue of approach into Athole.

Running westward up Strathtay Her Majesty reached the small inn of Balnaguard, where the Royal carriages stopped to change horses. Miss Jameson from Logierait, having previously collected some beautiful sprigs of heather, took the liberty of approaching the Royal carriage here, and after making her humble obeisance, ventured to present them to the Queen. Her Majesty was graciously pleased to accept this rural offering, and with the utmost courtesy and frankness, thanked the lady for her attention, and handed some of the sprigs to Prince Albert, who fixed them in the breast of his coat. Some of them fell from the Queen’s hand, and were picked up by one of the pages, and restored to his Royal mistress, who turned to Miss Jameson, and, to show that the accident arose from no indifference to her present, with great condescension expressed her regret that it had happened.

The valley of the Tay is extremely rich and beautiful here, and its northern bank is thickly set with gentlemen’s seats and Highland hamlets, from its junction with the Tummel upwards. The ancient seat of the Stewrarts, the old castle of Garntully, with its singularly picturesque hanging turrets, rising from amidst its ancient avenues and groves, presents an interesting object to the left. Beyond this the features of the valley become more decided. On its northern side, the Weem Craig, a lofty and finely wooded craggy hill face, is seen beetling over Castle Menzies and the village of Weem, whilst Aberfeldy appears on its southern side. The Royal carriage swept rapidly on towards the latter pretty village, and before reaching it, passed under a triumphal arch of heather, executed with great taste, where the Queen read her Highland greeting in the motto, “Welcome to Breadalbane.” Here Her Majesty entered the extensive territory of the Marquess of Breadalbane, which stretches from this point for very nearly one hundred miles, to the Western Ocean, altogether exclusive of those islands there forming integral parts of his vast domain. A nobleman, whose estate lay in one of the smallest English counties, being on a visit to an ancestor of the Marquess, and being delighted with Taymouth, and the scenery around it, exclaimed, “This lovely property of yours wants one thing only to make it perfect.”—“What is that?” demanded Lord Breadalbane.—“Why,” replied the English peer, “if you could only remove it into our county, it would then be all that one could desire.”—“There is a serious objection to your proposition,” replied Lord Breadalbane, “and that is, that your county is much too small to hold my estate!” and there was no exaggeration in this.

Aberfeldy is beautifully situated where the small river that forms the romantic falls of Moness, quits its mountain ravine, and hurries over the plain to join the Tay. The whole of its houses were whitewashed, and decorated with heather and evergreens, and triumphal arches were erected in various parts of the village. While the Queen changed horses here, and the people were crowding closely round the carriage, the landlord of the inn vigorously exerted himself to keep them back; but a man, rather elevated with the beverage of the country, made numerous attempts to get forward, saying, “That he and all his forbears were friends of the Stuarts, and that he had a right to bid the Queen welcome to the hills.” A mutual scolding and altercation took place in Gaelic, and the excited expression of their countenances, with the absurdity of their gestures, and their Celtic vociferation, were altogether so ludicrous, that the Prince was highly amused with them, and calling the Queen’s attention to the scene, they laughed at it very heartily. In driving through the village, the Queen met with a greeting similar to that she encountered at Inver. One hundred of the villagers were arranged on each side to right and left of the street, each with an overflowing glass of whisky in his hand, and the moment the carriage came so near as to place Her Majesty within ken of their motions, they shouted forth her health, tossed off their bumpers, and then cheered her with loud hurrahs.

The road all the way hence to Taymouth, a distance of some six or seven miles, is exquisitely beautiful, and it was everywhere enlivened by dense masses of joyous Highlanders crowding to see their Queen. After leaving Aberfcldy, the craggy steeps of Weem and Dull arise to a great height on the opposite side of the river, hung with grand woods. A wide plain of very fine land, richly cultivated, and umbrageous with hedgerows, there stretches between the mountains and the Tay. At one end of this is the village of Weem, and Castle Menzies, the ancient seat of Sir Neil Menzies, chief of the clan of that name, towers from the midst of its ancestral trees. It was built in the year 1571, and its pleasure grounds, avenues, plantations, and walks, prove that landscape gardening must have been much attended to at a very remote period in the Highlands. The Queen was particularly struck with this fine old building and place. The fall of the Tay is so gentle, that although Castle Menzies is so far in the interior of the country, it stands comparatively but very little above the level of the sea. All this combination of richness and wildness is heightened, as the road proceeds, by the pointed pinnacle of Shihallion, and the bulk of Ferragon appearing over and behind the northern heights, while the opening of Glenlyon leads the eye into a wilderness of beauty, and the magnificent wooded hill of Drummond rises farther on above the park of Taymouth. The whole of this is rendered the more lovely by the noble river, up the margin of which the road winds, amidst trees of giant growth, whilst an ever-changing series of fine pictures are continually presenting themselves through the interveiling openings. The charms of the scenery go on increasing as the road draws nearer to the immediate grounds of Taymouth, and the park wall, with undulated knolls appearing over it, covered with oaks of great magnitude, indicates the approach to the grand entrance gate, which is soon afterwards recognised by the massive castellated building protecting it.

Before carrying the Queen forward, it may be as well to attempt to give some description of Taymouth, and of the preparations made there, that its effect on Her Majesty may be somewhat better comprehended. Imagine then a wide valley, being a prolongation of that through which the Queen has been described as travelling— having on its northern side the extended, lofty, and precipitous face of the hill of Drummond, covered with old woods, except only where here and there a bare crag lifts his bald and lichen-tinted front, like a giant peeping from the leafy umbrage,—and on the southern side, the long stretch of the Taymouth hills, mostly wooded, but having beautiful green lawns interspersed, and though steep in many parts, appearing to drop down in most others in rapid slopes into the plain below. To the west this plain is bounded by the lower end of Loch Tay, which stretches away between misty mountain chains, over which Benlawers and Benmore are proudly pre-eminent. These are the grand bounding features of this beautiful district, extending some five or six miles in length by a mile or more in breadth, and entirely laid out in the pleasure grounds of Taymouth.

The castle itself is built on the ancient site of that of Balloch— that is, the town of the Loch. The ancient fortress was erected by Sir Colin Campbell, the fourth Baron from that Sir Colin who was the first of the house of Glenurquhy. A question was put to this prudent Highlander, why he had thus built his family place of strength so near to the eastern extremity of his property; to which he replied, —“Ou, we maun just brisse yont.” That is, “ we must press beyond;” and accordingly it has happened, that, by good fortune, a great deal of land has been added to the estate to the eastward, including the village of Aberfeldy. This ancient hero, who lived about the middle of the sixteenth century, was a great builder of castles—not Chateaux en Espagne, but good substantial fortalices—and his son, Sir Duncan Dhu, took after his father in this particular. Thus it was that Sir Duncan afterwards acquired the designation of “the Knight of the Seven Castles.” These were, Kilchurn, on Loch-Awe, built in 1450; Balloch; Finlarig; Edinample; Achallader; Loch-Dochat; and Barcaldine. All these, except Kilchurn, were built by Sir Colin and Sir Duncan. This Sir Colin was great-grandson of the first Sir Colin of Glenurquhy, who was third son of Duncan first Lord Campbell of Loch-Awe, by Margery, daughter of Robert Duke of Albany. Sir Colin of Glenurquhy, founder of the Breadalbane family, is erroneously stated in the Peerages to have been one of the Knights of Rhodes—a mistake arising from the fact that he was dubbed knight at Rhodes. Another error ought to be corrected. He is said to have married Margaret, the second of the three daughters of John Lord Lorn, whereas his wife was Janet, the eldest of the three daughters. This has arisen from a circumstance lately discovered. His nephew, and the representative of his father’s family, Colin second Lord Campbell, afterwards created first Earl of Argyll, married the younger sister of his wife, on which occasion the Laird of Glenurquhy consented that the title of Lorn, and superiorities thereof, should be made over to Argyll, agreeing, at the same time, to hold the third of his own lordship from him, all which was done with the clannish desire of increasing the power and honours of his paternal house.

The present Taymouth Castle was entirely rebuilt by the late Marquess of Breadalbane, and has since received some additions from his son, the present Marquess. Speaking of the building externally, it is now an immense pile, its principal part consisting of one great square mass of four stories in height, crowned with a battlement, and having a large round tower rising from the ground at each of the four angles. From the centre of this mass arises a great and very lofty square tower, enriched with tall Gothic windows filled with stained glass. The castle fronts the south, and when the main part is looked at from that quarter, a high picturesque gable, attached to its western side, filled by a grand florid Gothic window, richly coloured, and altogether like that of a cathedral, unites it with a large oblong building of three stories, jutting southwards, surmounted by an enriched battlement. From the north-eastern angle of the great central mass, there runs out a long irregular wing of two stories, all in a corresponding style of architecture. The front of the main part is decorated with Gothic balconies, having access from the windows of the second story, and these projecting over the lower story, cover the great entrance. The north-western angle has been so varied, that whilst unity of character is perfectly preserved, a good deal of picturesque effect is produced. It is altogether a very imposing pile, and as it has been improved by the present Marquess, it is not improbable, that magnificent as it is externally, it may yet be made still more so, by those touches of a master hand from which alone an approach to perfection can be produced.

The castle stands on an extensive flat of green sward of the closest texture and liveliest green, around the northern side of which the Tay makes one large and bold sweep. A straight, broad, and magnificent avenue of lofty lime trees crosses as the chord of this extensive semicircular piece of ground immediately behind the building. This has been partly broken up, and, without being destroyed in itself, it now combines happily with single trees and groups of beeches and other kinds of timber, that tower up from the smooth turf, whilst wide gravel walks wind along under those bordering the stream, and patches of shrubbery diversify the whole. A long bridge gives access to the northern bank of the river, which embraces this semicircular amphitheatre, and rises abruptly to another wide terre-plein, at no great height above the level of the stream, and running back to the base of Drummond bill. The whole of this sweeping bank is covered with the finest timber, and above its upper edge a grand and broad grassy avenue, flanked by trees of the noblest growth, follows the sweep of the Tay on the one hand, and that of the plain on the other. All that has been here described is to the north of the castle.. To the front, the level lawn stretches southwards into the deer park, here wire-fenced off, and so onwards till it meets the burn of Taymouth, at the base of the slopes of the southern hills. On a fine elevated terrace on their face, stands the Fort, mounted with nine 12-pound carronades, its white buildings rising from among the thick wood ; and still higher up, and more to the westward, rises a tower, occupied by the head keeper. At some distance to the right of the castle, that is, towards the west, there are banks, stretching north and south, which seem to have been at one time architecturally shaven, in the old style of landscape gardening, and these lead on from their upper angle westwards in levels of somewhat higher elevation than that on which the castle stands. Above this, and more to the westward, the valley widens, its surface becomes more undulating, and the richness of its wooding thickens, and then the park again opens, having some wooded knolls rising towards its northern side, on one of which, called Tom-na-croich, or the gallows-hill, there is a battery mounted with two short 32-pounders, two long 24-pounders, and four long (5-pounders. Beyond this it is bounded by the wall of enclosure, and its western gate leads directly into the square of the nice clean little village of Kenmore, with its handsome church, embosomed in trees. This was the scene alluded to in that curious manuscript, called the Black Book of Taymouth, when noticing the execution of a chief of the Clan Gregor, by Sir Colin, the sixth laird of Glenurquhy, who built the castle. “He was ane great justiciar all his tyme, throch the quhilk he sustcnit the deidly feud of the clan Gregour ane lang space. And bcsydes, that he caused execute to the death mony notable lymmares, he behiddit the Laird of Macgregor himself at Ivendmoir, in presence of the Erie of Atlioll, the Justice-Clerk, and sundrie other noblemen.” This was Gregor Roy, to whom his executioner was second cousin. The village occupies a gently rising peninsula, jutting into the eastern end of Loch Tay, immcdiateh to the south of the point where a very handsome bridge of five arches spans the new born river Tay, carrying across it the road that leads privately to the kitchen garden, and publicly along the north side of the lake towards Killin.

Returning to the castle, and taking up the great bend of the river there, its sweeping course runs thence quite up to the sloping base of the hills, and meeting them at the point where it is joined by the burn of Taymouth, where the fork of the two streams embraces an extremely low and very beautiful piece of level ground. The abrupt point of the high bank and continuous plain on the northern side of the river, is crowned by the Star battery, a very pretty little fortification, mounted with twelve guns, eight of them long G-pounders, and four of them 6-pound carronades. From hence eastwards, as far as the pleasure grounds go, the woods, chiefly composed of gigantic oaks, of a fine free growth that would not disgrace the forest of Windsor itself, come down from the higher faces of the southern hills, spreading themselves sometimes in thicker masses, and sometimes almost thinned to single trees, and rising even where from a most picturesque assemblage of knolls, intervening hollows and ravines, intermixed every now and then with fairy glades, and affording a thousand pictures for the artist, many of which are scenes where the melancholy Jacques might love to repose, or the fair Rosalind to roam, and where the musing philosopher might

“Find tongues in trees, books in the running brooks,
Sermons in stones, and good in every thing.”

And all these romantic associations are the more readily awakened and rendered tangible, as it were, from the animating forms that are continually flitting before the eye, as the sparkling fallow-deer, or the more sober-coloured, but majestic royal red stag, with his herd of hinds, are seen to glance along the sun-streaked sward, or to pass leisurely amidst the shadows of the deeper recesses of the woodland.

To complete this description, which, however full in itself, must be found miserably deficient in conveying any just idea of a place so extensive, and where nature and art vie with each other, it is only now necessary to add, that the grand castellated eastern gate gives entrance to an open slope of grass among these fine trees ; whence the road sweeps down amid the varied knolls and woods of the falling ground last described, until it comes to a bridge leading over the burn of Taymouth, at a point a little above its junction with the Tay. Before it descends upon this bridge, a grand view is caught between the intervening trees, of the level plain of the park—the sweeping river—the castle, with its embracing groves—the whole backed by the wide and lofty wooded front of Drummond hill. Having crossed the bridge, the approach leads on in one grand sweep of about a quarter of a mile, to the wide square of gravel in front of the castle.

Above a thousand head of deer range through the grounds of Taymouth; for, besides the red and fallow-deer in the extensive park, the woods of Drummond hill abound with wild fallow-deer. Roedeer are also most abundant, as are the smaller species of four-footed game. The burly savage-looking bison is also to be met with; and the lama herds with the sheep in the pastures. There are partridges and pheasants in the more cultivated parts: grouse upon the mountains;—and black game—and, above all, the capercailzie, (Core de Bois,) once a native of Scotland. These various animals give a peculiar wildness and animation to a walk at Taymouth. The last of the aboriginal race of Scottish capercailzies was shot, nearly a century ago, in the old fir woods belonging to Chisholm of Chisholm in Strathglass, to the westward of Inverness. That the bird existed at Taymouth in considerable abundance in the reign of Charles the First, is proved by three very curious letters, addressed to Lord Breadalbane’s ancestor, Sir Colin Campbell of Glenurquhy. One of these is from the Lords of the Council, and the other two are from the Provost and Magistrates of Edinburgh, all of them asking him to send game for the great banquet that was to be given there to his Majesty, “becaus the comoun mercatts cannot affoord sufficient prouisionis in that behalf.” In that from the Magistrates, dated “Edinbur ye 18 of May 1633,” and addressed “To the Rycht Honorable and oure most loveing friend Sr Coline Campbell of Glenurquhy, Kng1, Barronet,” they request that they “ may have some vennisone and capercalyies frome row vpone our nixt adverteisement, quhen we ar better ac-quented with his Mai dyett.” Their last letter on this subject is dated

“Edinbur1, 12 Junii 1633,”—“ To the right honbl,‘ the Laird of Glenurquhy.”

“Rycht Honorable Sr, oure eomendationes rcmcmbrit, Being confident of youre willingnes for ye advancement of ye honor of ve kvng-dome, and credite of yis burgh, now at his Ma' entrie, and hecaus we are to prepairc ane Royall banquett for his Matie, qlk is now appointit he his Maties awin directione to he upon ye xxiij day of Junij Tnstand ; And as we wrett to yow of hcfoire, swa now againe We ar to Intreat vow to send ws with ye berar twa dayis hefoir ye said bancquett, Twa Vennisone of these that are most seasoinahle, aytlier hairt, liynd, or dea, with some Caperkealzies, Heroinis, Termigantis, or suche Lyik that ye think fittest for suche ane occasione. Quhairin as ye sail do ws ane most singular plesr, so sail Me be most willing to mak retributione of yor favor and kyndncs, As ye sail have occasione to vse ws. Swa expectting yor favor heirin, We Comitt yow to ye protectioun of ye almichtie, And sail ewer remayne, your Lo\eing freindis and nichthor", The Provest and Baillies of Edinbur1.—Al. Clark, provest; Johne Sinclair, Baillie ; William Gray, Baillie ; Ja. Murray, Baillie ; George Baillie, baillie.”

The first attempt to re-introduce the capercailzie into Scotland was made by the Earl of Fife at Mar Lodge in 1829, as noticed in the “ Account of the great Moray Floods” of that year, bv the author of this work. But as nothing farther has been heard regarding it, the probability is, that it finally proved abortive.

In 1837, the Marquess of Breadalbane procured twenty-eight birds of this gigantic species of the grouse genus from Sweden, and fourteen or fifteen more in 1838, and they have already multiplied to above 1000 head. The cock is nearly as large as a turkey, being about two feet nine inches in length, and specimens have been found from eleven to nineteen pounds in weight; the average, however, may be fairly set at sixteen pounds. The bill is very strong, convex, and of a horn colour; the eyes are hazel, the nostrils are small, and almost hid under a covering of short feathers, which extend under the throat, and are there much larger than the rest, and of a black colour ; the head and neck are elegantly marked with small transverse lines of black and grey, as are also the back and wings, but more irregularly; the breast is black, richly glossed with green on the upper part, and mixed with a few white feathers on the belly and thighs; the sides are marked like the neck ; the tail consists of eighteen black feathers, of which those on the sides are marked with a few white spots ; the legs are very stout, and covered with brown feathers ; the toes are furnished with a strong pectinated membrane. The hen is considerably less than the male, and of the average weight of ten pounds ; she differs from the cock greatly in her colours. Her throat is red; the transverse bars on the head, neck, and back, are red and black; the breast is of a pale orange colour ; the belly is barred with orange and black, the top of each feather being white. The back and wings are mottled with reddish-brown and black; the scapulars are tipped with white, and the tail is of a deep rust colour, barred with black, and tipped with white.

Nothing can be more beautiful in nature than to behold the male bird, strutting about with his tail erected, fan-fashion, like the turkey-cock, with the sun shining on his lustrous neck, and giving the fiery sparkle of the carbuncle to his eyes. Lord Breadalbane's head keeper, Mr. Guthrie, found the young chicks most difficult to rear, for when he tried to feed them like young pheasants, they all died. At length, after considering that the chief food of the1 old birds was the tender shoots of the Scottish firs and the larch, he adopted a different mode with them. He put the hen mother into a moveable crib, and set down the young ones on the ground outside of it, nearer at first, and afterwards at some distance from it; and as they made their way hack to the crib, he saw that they picked up some minute objects, whether animalcukc or some vegetable matter he could not say. In this way he succeeded perfectly in rearing and turning out many of them, and they are now left in the fir woods, to bring out their young and to rear them in the natural way. They make their nests by scraping a little hollow among the dry fallen spines at the root of a Scottish fir, and generally where some portion of a broken branch accidentally covers the place, and there they lay their eggs. They will multiply very fast wherever fir woods are tolerably extensive, and where foxes are exterminated—but where these abound, any attempt to introduce them would be hopeless, as they seem to prefer the capercailzie to all other kinds of prey. Mr. Guthrie says, that he had cleared the whole woods of foxes, but to his great dismay he found no less than three capercailzie nests, at different times, where the hen mother had been carried off, and the young chicks, to use his own phrase, “ chackit, out o’ mere spite in the beast.” After a good deal of thought, he became persuaded that all this murder must have been committed by some fox from the hills ; and resolving to ascertain this, he cast about, like a North American Indian looking for a trail, across and across the wood, in the line leading from the spots where the nests were, towards the open hill. At last he discovered the impression of the pads of his marauding enemy, in a moist bit of bare ground, and noting their direction, he proceeded to search carefully in the same way a-head, till, after picking up a hint here, and a trace there, he with uncommon patience tracked the fox fairly out to the hill, so as to leave no doubt in his mind that he came thence. He now set out on a different search, and hunted all over the neigdibourinsr farms, till he procured a hen, having plumage somewhat resembling that of the hen capercailzie, and having at last got one to his mind, he proceeded to the hill, and availing himself of the side of a dry bank of moss, lie threw up a rude low roof of brushwood, which covered some two or three square yards of area, like a penthouse. In the midst of this he drove a stake about two feet high, and attached a cord and a swivel to the top of it, and tied the fowl to it, leaving but two entrances in the direction of the track of the fox, and concealing a powerful trap in each. Next morning he had the satisfaction of finding the caitiff taken.

The capercailzie is now fairly re-introduced into Scotland, so far at least as Taymouth is concerned, and if foxes were kept down, they would soon multiply and spread all over the country, having already been shot in Athole and in Stratherne. But the most curious circumstance is, that Mr. Guthrie has repeatedly seen birds, decidedly the production of a cross between the capercailzie and black game, though as yet he cannot say for certain that he has known these to breed again. One of these, shot at Dunira, is now to be seen stuffed in Edinburgh. This bird occurs frequently in Norway and Sweden, being called by foreign naturalists Tetruo fttedius, that is, the middle or intermediate grouse, so named from its exhibiting a combination of the characters of the Tetruo uro-galtns, or capercailzie, and the Tetrao tetrix, or black game. It is nowhere met with, except in countries where both these species are found together, and as none of this peculiar species were introduced among the live specimens brought by Lord Breadalbane from Sweden, it is now quite proved that the bird is a hybrid, seeing that, so far as this country is concerned, it must have been produced by a cross betwixt the capercailzie and black game. The mixture of the two parent birds is very remarkable—the feathers in the tail partaking somewhat, though not altogether, of the curve in those of the tail of the black-cock. The weight of this description of bird is from eight to nine pounds. "

The entrance to Taymouth Castle is by a vaulted Gothic corridor, ornamented with an immense number of very fine stag’s heads and ancient arms. To right and left of this there are two large waiting rooms. The corridor leads directly into the grand staircase, contained in the great central square tower, the whole height of which is upwards of eighty feet. The floor, from which the stair starts, is covered with curiosities, stuffed animals, and figures of men in armour, and various kinds of weapons of the most ancient description are hung up or lean against the walls. The stair rises in one broad flight, and then divides into two, both landing on the level of the second story, and lea\ mg all above quite unencumbered. The walls are stone, richly relieved with canopied Gothic recesses and tracery, having shields bearing arms, crests, and devices, interspersed. Slender Gothic columns rise the entire height of the tower, and branch out over the roof in rich fans of Gothic tracery, the whole being lighted at top by one large window on each of the four sides, filled with stained glass. The look upwards is magnificent.

To describe, in the first place, that suite of public apartments running around the central tower, the Ante-room, or Print-room, as it is sometimes called, is that first requiring notice, as entering directly from the landing-place. The ceiling is oak, lightly relieved with gold—the walls arc covered with scarlet cloth, and hung with pictures. Turning to the right from this room, there is an entrance to the Baron’s Hall, which is the banquetting-room. This is 53 feet long by 28 feet 3 inches wide, and 19 feet 4 inches high. The ceiling is vaulted, and done in imitation of stone, richly relieved with moulded Gothic tracery. The chimney-piece is large,—and cut out of stone, in the style of a rich Gothic canopy. The walls arc hung with a paper of a crimson ground, having on it a drab flock resembling tapestry. The Dado is high, and composed of dark oak, great part of it of the finest old German Gothic carving, with shields, figures of birds, and other ornaments, the deficiencies being supplied by modern work, so well done as not to be discovered from the original. At the western end of this most magnificent apartment, there is an immense Gothic sideboard of beautifully carved oak, underneath which stands one of the most gorgeous cellarets that can possibly he conceived—of very great size—its sides composed each of one piece of exquisitely rich old German carved oak, united together down the angles, and around the bottom and top by the most massive and elaborately chased solid silver bands,—the lid being similarly bound, and the whole supported on boar’s heads— the family crest—all of massive and solid silver,—in which the arms and supporters are also very admirably executed. Along the northern wall are arranged three large carved Gothic oak buffets, lined with crimson velvet. The window curtains are of crimson Genoa velvet, with cut vallances, and cornices of carved oak, partly gilt. At the western end of the hall is a most gorgeous Gothic window, filled with stained glass of the richest description, containing full length figures of the old Knights of Glenurquhy, from Sir Colin Campbell, of the year 1400, downwards, arranged in genealogical order, and exhibiting a most beautiful and interesting emblazonment of the various family bearings. This magnificent hall, besides other pictures, contains that very fine work of Rubens, “The Head of John the Baptist brought to Herod.” Let this hall only be imagined, with its table, its sideboard, and all the shelves of its large beaufets, piled up with the most gorgeous silver and gold plate, some of the pieces of which were extremely old and curious, and the whole illumined with a blaze of light, and the Gothic window lighted from without, and then let it be animated with the figures of the Queen of Great Britain, Prince Albert, and the distinguished persons w’ho sat with them, and with the richly liveried and garbed attendants wrho went about the room, and then sonic faint idea may be formed of what the Royal banquet was at Taymouth.

Leaving the Baron’s Hall by its north-eastern angle, there is a passage through a circular apartment in a tower into the breakfast-room, an apartment of quiet appearance, 37 feet long by 2G feet wide, and 19 feet 5 inches high. The ceiling is arched in Gothic oak, with light ribbed mouldings. The walls are a subdued green, and the window curtains of scarlet cloth. At one end there is a grand picture by Salvator Rosa, and on one of the walls, there is a very curious portrait of “the Bonny Earl of Moray,” who was murdered at Donibristle, very interesting to antiquaries, in re-o-ard to its Highland costume. From the south-western corner, a passage through a beautiful little ante-room leads into the Drawing Rooms, two magnificent apartments, 72 feet in length by 25 feet in breadth, and 19 feet 4 inches high, having their windows facing the south. These arc altogether of a lighter character, the general unity in the antiquity of the whole being sustained rather by the style of the decorations, than by the heaviness of their interior architecture. The ceilings were all designed by Mr. Crase, of Wig-more-street, London, who undertook the execution of the decorations of the interior of these rooms and the Grand Hall, and who employed foreign as well as British artists in carrying out his designs. The ceilings of these two drawing-rooms, then, are painted in the style of the illumination of the manuscripts of the fourteenth century, in Gothic arabesque of tbe richest character of ornament, partly on gold grounds, and introducing armorial bearings, and figures, relating to the history of the Breadalbane family. At the eastern end of the larger drawing-room there is a recess, the ceiling of which is covered with tracery, all richly gilt, and the ground silvered, with a light ornament in ultramarine blue painted on it—the centre pendants in each room, the small pendants in the large, and the Gothic tracery fans in the ceiling of the small room being done in the same manner. The walls are hung with green and gold, of a quiet and subdued tint, forming a fine ground for the display of a choice collection of pictures, among which are the Nativity, by Murillo, the Lucretia, by Guido, two splendid full-length portraits by Vandyke, of Richard Earl of Warwick, and the first Earl of Breadalbane. The folding-doors between the two rooms are of satin wood, and the canopy and framed work are carved in rich florid Gothic, with foliage, tracery, and niches, under which are supporters bearing shields, resting on ornamented columns. The whole is finished of a vellum tint, richly gilt. The smaller doors are also of satin wood, and with frames of a similar style, though less elaborate. The window shutters and other parts of the wood work are of the same vellum tint and gold. The curtains are of a superb brocade silk of flowers and maroon ornament on a gold ground, and their cornices are rich Gothic, according with the canopied door frames. There are two very beautiful buhl cabinets in the larger dining-room, of ebony, inlaid with tortoise-shell and or molu, and some of the tables are extremely rich. The carpets, of great originality of design, are the produce of the tapestry looms of Aubusson. A rich specimen of gold tapestry forms a portiere to the centre folding-door. Immediately off the recess, at the end of the large drawing-room, is a circular boudoir, in the south-eastern round tower, hung with fluted green silk, containing a most interesting collection of large miniature portraits of the sovereigns of the royal families of Scotland, from the Bruce to the present time.

At the south-western angle of the smaller drawing-room, is another circular apartment, formed in the tower there, containing a curious and interesting family tree, painted by Jameson, the Scottish Vandyke, uith the portraits of the successive barons introduced. The walls are hung with a paper in imitation of gilt leather, and they are covered with large miniature portraits of the distinguished characters of British history. This room forms a vestibule to the Grand Hall, a magnificent Gothic apartment, of truly baronial character, 44 feet 9 inches long, by 27 feet 10 inches wide, and 26 feet 4 inches high. The vaulted ceiling is divided into ninety compartments, by massive oaken moulded ribs, partly gilt. In each is painted an heraldic emblazonment, containing a shield surrounded by foliage, and vellum scrolls, giving the names belonging to the arms, thus illustrating the descents and alliances of the house of Breadalbane. On the one side is its descent from the blood royal of Scotland through the Stuarts, and its alliances through the lines of Lochow and Glenurquhy from the twelfth century, and on the other side that from the blood royal of England, through the Black Knight of Lorne, who married Queen Jane Beaufort,—its descent from the Lords of Lorne and the Lords of the Isles,— and the alliances of the house of Lauderdale. At either corner of the southern end of the hall, are screens exquisitely carved into the most delicate pervious Gothic work, from the door-wa}*s of which are hung tapestry cartoons, of rich colours and gold. The Dado is of oak, elaborately ornamented. The chimney-piece is very large, and entirely formed of a greyish stone, most delicately and beautifully carved in Gothic ornaments, with niches, and golden figures of knights in armour. On the walls, which are simply stone, arc arranged demi-suits of armour, shields, lances, two-handed swords, and various other curious specimens of ancient weapons ; and above these, and immediately under each arch where the ceiling meets the lofty walls, are hung the silken banners of the Queen, Prince Albert, and all those of the principal nobility who were present at Taymouth on the late occasion. There is one very large Gothic mullioned window at each end, filled with rich stained glass of ancient German manufacture of a very fine description, the deficiencies being made up by modern work, so well executed as to be in perfect keeping with the old.

Passing through the Gothic screen in the south-western angle of the Hall, the entrance to the Gallery is guarded by some human figures carved in wood, of the full size, and of the most perfect foreign workmanship, — very old, and representing the religious Reformers in purgatory. The Gallery runs west from the Hall,—is 54 feet long,—and receives a quiet subdued light from one large window at its western extremity. The ceiling is oak, divided into square pannels by moulded ribs, the walls are covered with a tapestry paper, of a Morisco pattern, in which crimson and gold give an excessive degree of richness to the more sober colours with which they are associated. On the walls are hung a series of portraits of the old lords of Glenurquhy. Fine old carved cabinets are ranged along some parts of the sides, and between them very choice Etruscan vases are placed 011 pedestals. The window affords a passage directlv into the lawn, by means of an external iron staircase. The curtains are of crimson velvet, and the carpet of simple imitation oak. Near its western end, the Gallery opens on its southern side in three tall Gothic archways, giving entrance beneath rich draperies to that which may be considered the gem of the castle—the Library. This apartment, 42s feet long by 19 feet wide, and 17 feet high, is ornamented in the most elaborate Gothic style, from the well-known Crosby Hall in London, the vaulted ceiling being divided into compartments by rich pendant ribs, and subdivided into pannels of ornamental tracery. The carved posts are in oak, relieved with gold, and the intervening ground is laid in ultramarine blue. There are two beautiful perforated carved screens at the southern end of the room, and the windows are of rich stained glass. The books are arranged in carved oak book-cases, and these, with the two screens, and the grand chimney, executed in grey stone, present most successful examples of Gothic work. These public rooms of Taymouth Castle, and especially the Gallery and the Library, are exquisitely beautiful, and exhibit the finest possible taste in their decoration. The architectural pai't of the decoration is the work of Mr. Gillespie Graham of Orchill, and the paintings and other ornaments of that description, were all designed by Mr. Crase. They remind one more of the glories of the Alhambra Palace, when Spain was under the Moorish dominion, than any thing else that one can fancy. From the Library there is a passage through a concealed door into the Tapestry Chambers—two rooms fitted up with Beauvais tapestry, of great beauty. The subjects represented, are admirably designed, as well as executed with all the softness, richness, and freshness of painting. They are arranged in pannels, having stiles of polished satin wood. The ceilings are divided into pannels, in which is a gold me lie ornament, on a light buff ground, introducing crests and Breadalbane initials, with oak stiles and enriched cornices relieved with gold. The windows and shutters are of massive oak, with draperied pannelling, and on the doors are also introduced carvings and inlaid ornaments. The hangings to these rooms are silk brocade, of crimson laid on a bronze green ground, arranged with rich vallances and carved oak cornices. The furniture is of walnut wood, some of it elaborately carved, and the carpets are of rich Arabesque design of the style of the 15th century. Over the doors arc placed pictures of some of the Breadalbane family. Regarding these princely apartments of Taymouth Castle, it may be well said that whilst every one of them, taken separately, is perfectly harmonious in itself, a general harmony runs throughout the whole of them, that makes them perfectly charming.

The Gallery and the Library formed the Queen’s private sitting apartments. The Queen’s boudoir, dressing-room, bed-room, and Prince Albert’s dressing-room, were en suite entering immediately from the northern side of the gallery. These are known by the name of the Chinese Rooms, from the fine China paper with which they are hung. The bed-room is large, lofty, and beautiful. The state-bed is in the old French style, framed of satin wood, enriched with highly finished carved mouldings and ornaments richly gilt. The pillars are twisted, and entwined with wreaths of the rose, thistle, and shamrock, and each supports the coronet of a marquess. The canopy is twelve feet in height, of an oval form, and splendidly carved and gilt. The drapery is of the richest white satin, lined with peach-blossom silk, and trimmed with deep gold bullion fringe. The tester is of silver tissue, uith beautiful antique perforated and richly gilt carving laid over it, with the imperial crown and the Queen's cipher in the centre, and the coronets of all the various degrees diverging from it. The counterpane is of the same rich satin lining, and gold edging, and the mattresses, bolsters, and pillows, are covered with the same. Her Majesty never uses a feather bed. The sheets are of the finest linen, and the blankets of beautiful white cassimere, finished with white satin. Such is the detailed description of the bed—but it is quite impossible to convey any just idea of the chastity and elegance of its general effect. The toilette table is covered with white satin, finished with gold rope and tassels, with fine lace thrown over it. On the toilette is a hand mirror, of an oval form, and of exquisite beauty and workmanship. The border is of fine gold, friezed, and studded with large Scottish pearls found at Taymouth, the handle and top are made of large and perfect topaz-yellow cairngorms, and the uhole is surmounted with Lord Breadalbane’s coronet and crest, wrought in fine gold. This exquisite bijou was executed by Messrs. Mackay and Cunningham of Edinburgh. The sitting room is fitted up with beautiful green silk damask hangings, with ottomans, inlaid tables, and every thing necessary to the comfort of the occupant. The dressing-rooms are in a similar style of refinement. These apartments were furnished by Mr. Trotter of Edinburgh, who also executed the whole of the oak carvings, done to complete the antique specimens already noticed in the Great Hall, the Library, the doors and dado of the Baron’s Hall, doing credit to him as well as to Mr. Gillespie Graham, who designed their arrangement. As a stair led from the Queen’s apartments to those of the Duchess of Norfolk, directly above, and as those of the dressers were below, Her Majesty had thus a little private palace of her own, altogether detached and shut off from the rest of the castle; and she had it always in her power to go out to walk by the window at the end of the Gallery, and the iron stair leading directly down to the lawn.


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