The Long Glen Chapter XIV - The Queen's First Visit to
It is necessary now to go
back from the time of Old Janet's death to the
early part of the same autumn. It is a
beautiful Saturday. The sportsmen's guns are
loudly reporting deaths of grouse from the
hills. The sun shines on Conversation Bench.
There is a full muster of the men of age, and
Gilleasbuig Sgoilear and several other casual
visitors are with them.
The Queen is in the
Highlands, and the loyalty of the Gael is
overflowing. The distracted state of the Kirk
and the low prices for wool and beasts are
forgotten for the moment. Clannishness and
loyalty supersede all things else.
old men are expecting to get hold of Diarmad and
Ewan Mor, who, because their fathers rent some
hill grazings from the Marquis, have been at
Inch-adin, "boden in effeirs of war," that
is, with kilt, plaid, targe, and claymore, to
welcome and guard Her Majesty.
beguile the time with talk about the long ago.
Calum"How long may it be, according to the
printed books, since Charles Mac Chariot was
crowned King of Alba at Scone, in the time of
the Cuigae War?"
Gilleasbuig"As far as I
can renumber, it will be two hundred years, all
Calum"I am thinking he was the
last of our Kings that saw the Highlands. King
George, when he was at Edinburgh, did not come
to see the hill country."
was his loss; but a good many Highlanders,
gentle and simple, went to Edinburgh to see
Iain Og-"Aye, and you and I were
among them; but if it had not been for General
Stewart of Garth's kindness, I think we could
not have seen him after all."
Duncan Ban"Well, thanks
to Garththe best of Highlanderswe did see him,
and king-like he looked, whatever might be the
faults of his private life."
back to Charles Mac Charles, he and his brother Seumas, who was driven beyond seas, were surely
the worst of the Stuart race."
Gilleasbuig"Aye, and their father, Charles the son of Seumas,
was not a king who could be justly praised by
Scotchmen, although he was in his life and
family a good man. His word could not be relied
upon, and he treated the land of his fathers and
of his own birth like an enemy's country."
Iain Og"And did not his father, Seumas, the
son of Marie, also forget his fatherland when he
got the Saxon Crown?"
Duncan Ban"Nay, that
he did not. The mouth report (beul-aithris) has
come down to us from our ancestors, who knew him
well, because he came among them every summer to
hunt the deer in the Drumalban forest, that
Seumas the son of Marie was the last of our
Kings who spoke the Gaelic and loved to listen
to Gaelic songs."
Iain Og"The mouth report
from our ancestors is as you say, and I think
they must have liked Seumas the son of Marie
very well, although he was no hero ; but for
sure they say he was not a good King of Alba,
after getting the Saxon Crown. Were you not
sitting by the side of me at the meeting the
other day when the big minister of Clachan-an-diseart
told us how Seumas. the son of Marie brought
back the Bishops, and forced on the Kirk the
Black Articles of Perth?"
Duncan Ban"O yes; I heard the big minister. He is one of the
firebrands whom the Non-Intrusionists are
sending over the country to make the people
drown their reason in their rage. I wish his
mission was as good as his excellent Gaelic. He
was only telling us one side of the question;
and that was just the side which suited the
purposes of the present disturbers of our Kirk,
who, I fear, are in
their blindness hatching a greater evil to
Scotland than would have resulted from the
Eaglais Easbuigeach of Seumas the son of Marie.
There must have been a deal of good about the
last Stuart King who spoke the Gaelic, and
loved to hunt the deer of the bens and corries
of heath."Calum"Well, the old times were
full of wars and clan feuds, which we may well
hope will never return an)' more thank God!"
Duncan Ban"I am not so sure we ought to be so
hopeful or thankful either, for what may not
turn out true, and what even, if true, may be
bad for our race. The Gael are much fitter for
war than ior thraldom. In the rough old times,
chiefs and clans kept a pretty firm hold of
their fathers' land. If Saxons or Lowland carles
dared to meddle with them in their glens and
hills, why, the meddlers in the end always got
the worst of it. The fealty of calpa, and
clanship, and fosterage was stronger than death.
In the clan high and low stood shoulder to
shoulder. Then nobles and chiefs were leal-hearted,
brave, hospitable Gael, speaking the language of
their ancestors, and living among their people
in time of peace, and their natural captains
when the crois-tarra went round."
Gilleasbuig"Here, look you, come at last the young men we
are waiting for, Diarmad and Ewan Mor, with
their fathers' horses to be shod by Alastair."
Calum"And art thou still growing like the green
bay tree planted by the river side, Ewan Mor mo
Cheath-arnach,1 and hast thou thy head and thy
heart in the sunshine, Diarmad, lover of the
ancient lore and of the songs of the days gone
by? And have you been to Inchadin and seen the
Iain Og"Aye, indeed, and what think
you of the Queen, and what is her semblance?"
Ewan"For sure we saw the Queen man)- times,
several days running, and we rowed her boat on
the loch, and were out hunting the deer with her
Duncan Ban"And what are
your thoughts of the Queen?"
is the leal-hearted, kind faced, bonnie
Sovereign Lady, for whom brave men and true
would willingly go to battle and to death. But
you must not think the Queen goes about with
crown and sceptre, and glittering with jewels
and gold, although it is plenty of both she will
have at home."
Diarmad"The Queen is almost
as simply dressed as a Highland farmer's
daughter who puts on her new gown and bonnet on
the morning of Communion day. And in face and
form, height, and colour of hair, she is more
like Duncan Ban's granddaughter, Mary Macintyre,
than any one else I know. And so thinks Ewan
Ewan in his heart believed Mary the
dearest, nicest girl in the world, and he
blushed scarlet when the fancied resemblance
with the young Queen was mentioned by his
comrade in the presence of her grandfather.
Iain Og"Happy be the young Queen; and the
faith and swords of the Gael, should she need
them, shall never fail her, for sure."
Calum"For sure they never shall. And is there not good
cause? Is she not our true Sovereign Lady? And
has she not come all the way from her London
palace to see us? And does not everybody say she
loves the Highlands already, just almost as much
as if she had grown up from her birth in the
bosom of the hills?"
Duncan Ban (raising his
bonnet)"God bless the Queen for ever and
All raising their bonnets"God bless
the Queen for ever and ever!"
what about the Queen's married man, and what is
Gilleasbuig"It is much
that must depend on him."
sure. The old Dominie of Kilma-chaoidepeace be
to his soulmaintained against minister and all,
that bonnie unfortunate Queen Marie would just
have been the good- Queen and the happy mother,
and turned Protestant to boot, if she had been
well married, and to the man of her heart."
Iain Og"She had to lie, I am thinking, on the
bed she made for herself."
bonnie unhappy Queen Marie alone, she has dreed
Calum"Aye, aye, but let us hear
what these young men think of the husband of our
present young Queen."
Ewan"Prince Albert is a fine-looking
Calum"And there is
no bad, back or side, glance in the tail of his
eye, and he does not seem likely to run wild."
Diarmad"No, no. Me is far more likely to
become an elder of the Kirk."
One of the
Seanairean"And that, indeed, would be the
grand thing for Alba and the Kirk."
Gilleasbuig"But how would Saxon pride stomach
Duncan Ban"Devil take Saxon pride and
Lowland greed; it is too much we have of both."
Calum"Now, Diarmad, tell us the whole sgeul of
the Inchadin muster."
Diarmad-"It has been
already told, and better too, by the letters of
news, which I am sure have been read and
interpreted at most Highland firesides."
Duncan Ban"But we old men, who had to stop at
home when the others went to the muster, wish to
hear the story in our own tongue from our own
Diarmad"What we saw at the mouth
of a fine morning was the Marquis's menamong
whom were Ewan and Idrawing up in their ranks,
and getting their orders and instructions from
the officers. It was a goodly sight, and we were
divided into tall men and men less tall; but
there was not really any little man in the whole
array. The tall men wore the clan tartan of the
Siol Duibhne, and the shorter men wore the black
and white garb of the followers of the deer. We all
had on our bonnets the boar's head and sprig of
bog myrtle. And by this time, having been
exercised for days, we were well acquainted with
sword, shield, and Lochaber axe. And the morning
sun shone on loch, hill, field, and wood. And
the green and gold flag of Siol Duibhne waved
from the Castle tower, the church steeple, and
St Aidan's lofty rock. And when the pipers
struck up ' Bodaich nam Briogan,' we marched
with martial stride; and a sort of war-joy,
mixed with love for Queen and country, filled
Ewan"Yes, indeed; I should
have liked to march off to another Waterloo or
Bannockburn, just without the delay of a minute,
if it were not for the good feast that was
waiting for us at the Fort."
after feast and rest we mustered again, and,
with pipes sounding and flags flying, marched
down from the Fort to the Castle green, which it
was our business to guard for the rest of the
day. The sides of the road, and much of the
Castle green, too, were crowded with men, women,
and children, old and young, who had gathered to
see and welcome the Queen from many a baile,
clachan, and secluded glen. They shouted a
little as we passed through them ; but their
hearts were too full for noise then, and many of
their eyes were moisture-dim, just from pride of
race, and love of Queen and country."
Ban"But besides the green and gold of Siol
Duibhne, there would, for sure, be many other
tartans of the clans seen that day; and there
would be more war marches sounded than Bodaich
nam Briogan, which, however, is the very good
Diarmad"Well, you see the
Queen was coming to be the guest of the Marquis.
The host's men were, therefore, in full force,
while other nobles and chiefs came with their
pipers and a few gillies. They were all in
Highland dress. So there were many tartans seen,
and many clan pibrochs were also sounded."
Iain Og"Mac-Cailein-Mor himself was there."
Diarmad"Yes, and his
son and heir, who, although quite a young man,
has written a good book about the kirk quarrel
Duncan Ban"I am glad to
hear it. There is no doubt that is the good
advice entirely; and when all his forefathers
did for Presbyterianism is remembered, who in
the wide world has a better dualchas
(hereditary) right to be listened to than Oighre
Mhic Cailein? But I fear the firebrand and
madly angry people now would not listen to an
angel from heaven."
Evvan"And the Duke Catach was there with his wife, who is surely
the handsomest big lady in the world."
Calam"Did you see the Ridire Peel?"
sure we saw him face to face many a time."
Calum"And what is his semblance?"
Ewan"That of a badly-washed Lowland blacksmith who
feels ill at ease in his Sunday clothes."
Diarmad"It is Ewan surely who has got the scadalous tongue. When the Queen arrived at
Inchadin, the Ridire Peel came with her. He is
going the round with her as her Chief Councillor
in State affairs. On the Queen's coming, nobody
at first had eyes for seeing him. The crowds of
country people lined the sides of the Castle
avenue in dense ranks, and the fine-looking
Irish troopers who formed the escort of the
Royal chariotI suppose because ordered by the
Queenfell behind, and left the people
themselves to guard Her Majesty. Prince Albert
stood up in the chariot waving his hat, and the
Queen kept bowing and smiling with, I daresay,
the tear of pride-ful trust glistening in her
eye. And behind, before, beside, and everywhere
the shouts of welcome rose and rolled like
gladsome thunder. Blue bonnets, both broad and
biorach, were thrown wildly into the air.
Children shrilly screamed 'failte.' Old women
clapped their hands, and lame old grandfathers
became brisk and lively enough
to dance the Tulaichean. The Marquis received
the Queen at the Castle door, with his knee bent
on his bonnet. Then in a twinkling the flag of
Siol Duibhne disappeared from the tower, and the
silken Royal Standard was hoisted in its stead.
The cannon of the Fort sent forth a royal
salute, which startled the deer in their secret
places, and woke the echoes of a hundred hills.
Down swarmed the crowds, gathered now into one,
to the Castle front, pressing close on the
Marquis's men, who were drawn up. And, very soon
after she entered the Castle, the Queen, with
the Prince, Mac-Cailein, the Duke Catach, the
Marquis, the Ridire Peel, and many ladies and
gentlemen besides, came out through a
window-door upon the farra (balcony), right in
face of all the people. Then we all went just a
bit gloriously mad for the time, and we cheered
as our ancestors must have cheered the Bruce
after Bannockburn. It seemed as if the Gaelic
people had been long dead and buried, and as if
the coming of the young Queen had suddenly waked
them to new life and hope."
people saying the Queen and her married Flath1
will now be wanting to have a shealing place of
their own in the land of the Gael, to which they
can come every summer, away from the smoke and
dirdum of London?"
there's great talk about that."
it is likely to prove true talk too ; for it is
to be seen in her face that the Queen is in
downright love with the land of the Gael."
Duncan Ban"God bless her ! And it is the love
that will be on both sides. Who knows but that
she will make her little children speak Gaelic
from the cradle? And who knows but that the
very next king will be a Gael in tongue as well
as in blood."
Calum"That would be the
grandest gospel ever heard among the hills since
the Saxons were beaten at Bannockburn."
Iain Og"So it
would be, for sure. And it is the Queen that is
by right High Chief of the Gael; and it is the
Gael that should be her first defenders, and the
guards of her person; for is it not because of
her Gaelic blood that she wears the crown of the
Ewan"Men of age, the breisleach is on you all. The Queen's ancestors
were the German Guelphs, whom our bards reviled
with bitter mockery. The Queen's married man is
German too. How, then, can the children be
Gilleasbuig"Ewan, there is not a dadum (mote) of sense in all that. Even the
Guelphs were not Germans, to begin with, but
Italians, from that part of I aly which, to
Caesar's time and later, was called ' Gaul on
tfc nearer side of the hills.' So the Guelphs
were certainh ot Germans, and they were almost
certainly Celts of our own race. Then what but
her Gaelic blood has made the Queen Sovereign of
these realms. When the Stuarts came in after the
son of Bruce, it was because of their Gaelic
blood, and Bruce himself came after the old
kings, because he inherited their Gaelic blood
and rights. The Guelphs came in after the
Stuarts were driven out, because, being
Protestants, they were the next legal heirs of
Seumas, the son of Marie."
Ewan"And if the Guelphs are not Germans, they have for sure
Duncan Ban"Bad end to the
big Amadan? I have heard a book-scholar say
that with all their pride the Saxons have never
had a king of their own rice for eight hundred
Gilleasbuig"It is just the truth.
Even Cromwell was not of their race. His mother
was of the Stuart clan, and his father's people
came from Wales."
Diarmad"Aye, it is just
the truth when one comes to think of it. First
they had the long line of French Kings. Aftei
them came the Tudors, who were Britons of our
own kindred. After the Tudors came the Stuarts.
And when the
Stuarts were driven out, because nothing could
hold and keep them from ruling contrary to law,
and after William, Mary, and Anne, who all died
childless, the Elector of Hanover, who was the
iar-oe of Seumas the son of Marie, was called
in, and he and his descendants ruled according
Duncan Ban"Aye, aye, it is natural
and right enough for thee to uphold William of
Orange and the two Electors, for thy ancestors
fought on their behalf, and the flag of thy clan
was always in the front of their battles. But
for all that the Third George, a good man and a
good farmer, was the first of the Brunswick line
that acquired a just title. My fathers fought
against the Electors, but I maintain that since
the Stuart line ended long ago, the Queen is now
the right heir of Seumas the son of Marie, and
the whole regiment of old Gaelic Kings."
Og"For sure it is the greatest folly in the
world to quarrel about finished quarrels, such
as the wars of the Stuarts and the wars of the Cuigse. Let us give the peace of the grave to
those who once fought on different sides, to
Gilleasbuig Gruamach, who fought for the Kirk,
and of Montrose, who fought for the King ; to
Claverse, who conquered and fell, and to Mackay,
who was defeated and lived; to Mar and the
great Mac-Cailein ; to Prince Charlie and the
Duke of Cumberland "------
the oppressor of the Land of the Gael ! To the
brutal Butcher of Culloden!"
saviour of Kirk and State! The champion of
liberty and the Protestant faith! The conqueror
of the Devil, the Pope, and the Pretender ! The
glorious subduer of the cattle-lifting robbers
of Lochaber and Moydart!"
Ewan, it is the black-hearted ceard thou art
this day; for to breed foolish contention among
old men is what thou art minting at."
Iain Og"Aye, and he is the bad bird to foul his own
nest, .too. Was not Lochiel with Prince Charlie
; and are not the Camerons a Lochaber clan?"
Calum"Go into the smithy, Ewan, and take thee
the ord morx to beat the red-hot gad into
horse shoes. Alastair is there in the doorway
waiting for thee."
Alastair"Indeed I am not
so much waiting for him as listening to the
talk. But come away, Ewan. Thou art the proper
man to swing the ord mor any day."
(laughing and disappearing)"Ach, Culloden was
nearly fought again. Well, Alastair, come to the
anvil, and let Diarmad stay with the bodaich. We
two will make his mare's shoes without his
Duncan Ban"It is the good-hearted
fine Gille-Gaelach :; Ewan is, for all his
Iain Og"Aye, that he is; and
like Macfarlane's geese he loves his fun better
than his meat."
Calum"Math Martainn! (St
Martin) he looks, too, as if he loved his meat,
and as if his meat agreed with him right well.
Look you, the Camerons at a full muster of their
clan could hardly find another man to match him
in size and strength."
Calum"He is deeper,
too, than one would think. How the big ceard
tried to set us by the ears about the Oueen's
Gaelic descent and the old wars?"
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