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The Long Glen
Chapter XIV - The Queen's First Visit to Scotland


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.

To-day the 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.

Meanwhile they 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 but ten."

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."

Duncan Ban—"That was his loss; but a good many Highlanders, gentle and simple, went to Edinburgh to see him."

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 Garth—the best of Highlanders—we did see him, and king-like he looked, whatever might be the faults of his private life."

Calum—"To go 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 Queen?"

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 married man."

Duncan Ban—"And what are your thoughts of the Queen?"

Ewan—"That she 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 too."

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 ever !"

All raising their bonnets—"God bless the Queen for ever and ever!"

Calum—"And what about the Queen's married man, and what is his semblance?"

Gilleasbuig—"It is much that must depend on him."

Calum—"Aye for sure. The old Dominie of Kilma-chaoide—peace be to his soul—maintained 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."

Duncan Ban—"Let bonnie unhappy Queen Marie alone, she has dreed her weird."

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 young fiath."

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 it?"

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 young men."

Diarmad—"What we saw at the mouth of a fine morning was the Marquis's men—among whom were Ewan and I—drawing 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 our hearts."

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."

Diarmad—"Well, 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."

Duncan 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 march, too."

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 advising peace."

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?"

Ewan—"For 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 chariot—I suppose because ordered by the Queen—fell 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."

Calum—"Are not 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?"

Ewan—"Yes, indeed, there's great talk about that."

Diarmad—"And 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 three kingdoms?"

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 Gaelic?"

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 become Saxons."

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 years."

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 to law."

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."

Iain 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 "------

Duncan Ban—"To the oppressor of the Land of the Gael ! To the brutal Butcher of Culloden!"

Ewan—"The 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!"

Calum—"Ewan, 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."

Ewan (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 help."

Duncan Ban—"It is the good-hearted fine Gille-Gaelach :; Ewan is, for all his neonachas."

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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