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Memoir of Norman MacLeod, D.D
Some Characteristics


IT is unfortunate that no record of his "Table-talk" has been preserved, for every one who knew him would at once fix on his conversation as the sphere in which he alone displayed the riches of his imagination, wit, humour, and sympathy.

"Much as one enjoys," writes Principal Shairp, "many things that come from his pen, full as they are of healthy life and human heartedness, nothing he has written is any measure of the powers that were in him. The sermons he preached, with the language warm from his heart, were far beyond the best he published. His addresses to public meetings were better than his sermons, for they allowed him to flavour his earnest thoughts with that overflowing humour which would have been out of place in the pulpit. Sometimes when he met a congenial party at dinner, or on an evening, his talk impressed them more than his best speeches, so rich was it, so varied and versatile. But the time to get him at his best and fullest was when you sat up with him till midnight, all alone in his study, with none to hear but one familiar friend in whose sympathy he could fully rely—it was then that his whole soul came out in all its breadth and rich variety, touching every chord of human feeling, and ranging from common earth to highest heaven. The anecdote, reflection, argument, bright flashes of imagination, drollest humour, most thrilling pathos, and solemn thoughts wandering through eternity, all blended into one whole of conversation, the like of which you never before listened to. In a moment he would pass from some comical illustration of human character to the most serious reality of sacred truth, and you would feel no discord. In any other hands there would have been a jar, but not in his. Those who knew him well will understand what I mean, to others it cannot be described. At such times I used to think that if all the pleasantest, ablest conversations I had ever heard at Oxford from one's best friends had been rolled into one, it would not have made up such a profusion of soul as came from Norman then. No one, however well he might otherwise know him, could estimate his full breadth and depth of nature, unless they had spent with him some such solitary evenings as these."

Another who knew him well wrote after his death:— [See Good Words for 1872, p. 515.]

"How he taught me—as he taught many whose happiest fortune it has been to share now and again in those quiet hours in his back study—that ail of the bright and beautiful in life, all that could gladden the spirit and cheer the heart, gained yet a brighter tint in the light reflected from a Father's love: that mirth became more deep, and so much more real: that each good gift became much more cherished from the recognition of the Great Giver of all. And here truly, it has seemed to me, did he especially prove himself a minister of the Gospel.....Nothing was more strange

to me at first—nothing came to be accepted by me as more natural afterwards—than the constant evidence which each opportunity of private intercourse with this great, large-hearted, noble-minded man afforded me of the deep undercurrent in his thoughts and life. I never knew him in all my meetings with him force a reference to religious thought or feeling. I never was with him for a quarter of an hour that his confidential talk, however conversational, however humorous even, had not, as it were of itself and as of necessity, disclosed the centre round which his whole life revolved."

The "ceaseless mimicry," which had provoked his father when Norman Macleod was a boy, and the wit and humour, which grew with his growth, were invaluable possessions to himself in his later years, as well as sources of delight to others. Harassed by work almost to despair, worried past endurance by all sorts and conditions of men and women, then, as per contra, he would indulge in some humorous grimaces and apostrophes, give a fresh touch to a ridiculous rhyme, or draw a series of funny faces. Odd caricatures were, at such times, dropped into letters, even the most serious—sometimes as a heading, more usually by way of signature.

[A fac-simile is here given of one of these illustrated letters, written to the late Mr. Murray, of Melrose, in reply to one asking for his autograph:—

"My Dear Mr. Murray,

"Did I ever reply to your note requesting autographs? I believe not.

"The reason is that I have been studying ever since to write a telling, graphic, remarkable signature. The fact is, I Vary my signature with my correspondents. When I write my wife or mother, it is in this wise--------------. When I write my children, it is so---------------, singularly clear and beautiful. To crowned heads I am more aristocratic, as---------------. To Abraham Lincoln I never give more than

"Yours, &c.

"To the Pope it is

"Yours, old cock,

"Barony. "Ditto with Canterbury. When I write a gentleman like yourself, I always subscribe myself as

"Your faithful serv.

which I call a wearable, good, healthy signature.

"To my brothers and sisters I use signs, such as intellectual, serene, —. Inqusitive, respectable, orthodox, doubtful.

"How came that note of yours to turn up in my bag with one hundred other letters, when on a wet day I have returned from lunch to dinner to reply to them? Such a reply ! When you have received this evidence of my remembrance of you, burn it, or I will—you."



]

These tricks of humour were to him refreshing as well as amusing.

One of his favourite studies in the way of drollery was Highland characters, and Highland drovers in particular. As he recollected the boyish awe with which he regarded these men on their return from the great "Trysts" of Falkirk or Dumbarton; the absorbing interest taken by the people in their accounts of the markets, and prices of "stots," "queys," and all varieties of sheep; their utter indifference to every human concern except cattle and collies; then the absurdity of the contrast between these old memories and his immediate cares and troubles would fairly overpower him, and result most likely in a dramatic representation of a debate about the quality of "stock." He had formed for himself an ideal drover, whom he named Peter Mac-Tavish, round whose figure a world of ridiculous fancies was grouped. Only a person well acquainted with Highland character could have appreciated the wit and dramatic truthfulness of this conception Often, when his father was oppressed with the weakness of extreme age, Norman would go down of an evening to cheer him, and before approaching those more solemn subjects with which their intercourse always closed, he would stir his old Highland associations and tickle his genial fancy by a personification of this "Peter," mingling, in broken Gaelic, reflections on men and manners with discourses on "beasts," till from very pain of laughter his father would beseech him to desist. "Peter" was more than once introduced by him into strange scenes. When in Italy, he concocted a long narrative, showing the connection between the Pope's Bulls and the other species "Peter" had sold at Falkirk, and in not a few hotel books the sonorous rendering Pietro Tavisino was entered. At Moscow, the temptation of bringing the drover under the shadow of the Kremlin was so great, that I believe he gave himself no other designation than "Peter Mac-Tavish, from Mull."

This sense of the ludicrous was a passion which seized him at the most unlikely moments. The following verses, for example, were mostly written when he was enduring such violent pain that the night was spent in his study, and he had occasionally to bend over the back of a chair for relief:—

CAPTAIN FRAZER'S NOSE.

Air.—"The Lass o' Gowrie."

O, if ye'r at Dumbarton Fair,
Gang to the Castle when ye'r there,
And see a sight baith rich and rare—
The nose o' Captain Frazer!

Unless ye'r Win' or unco glee'd,
A mile awa' ye'r sure to see't,
And neerer han' a man gauns wi't
That owns the nose o' Frazer.

It's great in length, it's great in girth,
It's great in grief, it's great in mirth,
Tho' grown wi' years, 'twas great at birth-
It's greater far than Frazer!

I've heard volcanoes loudly roaring,
And Niagara's waters pouring;
But oh, gin ye had heard the snorin'
Frae the nose o' Captain Frazer!

Tae waukin' sleepin' congregations,
Or rouse to battle sleepin' nations,
Gae wa' wi' preachings and orations,
And try the nose o' Frazer!

Gif French invaders try to lan'
Upon our glorious British stran',
Fear nocht if ships are no' at han',
But trust the nose o' Frazer.

Just crak' that cannon ower the shore,
Weel rammed wi' snuff, then let it roar
Ae Hielan' sneeze! then never more
They'll daur the nose o' Frazer!

If that great Nose is ever deid,
To bury it ye dinna need,
Nae coffin made o' wood or lead
Could haud the nose o' Frazer.

But let it stan' itsel' alane
Elect, like some big Druid stane,
That a' the warl' may see its bane,
"In memory o' Frazer!"

Dumbarton, September 1, 1771.

[He afterwards introduced this song into a story, which was not completed, and has never been published, and added the following note:—

"No one can read this song without being painfully struck with the tone of exaggeration about it. Anxious, however, to investigate as far as possible into this matter, we wrote to Mr. MacGilvray, the keeper of the Antiquarian Museum at Dumbarton, who, sympathising with us, obligedly sent us a long communication, from which we quote with his permission. He says: 'I am confirmed in your views regarding the exaggerated account given in the poem of "Captain Frazer's Nose," by a long correspondence on the subject, as a scientific question, with two distinguished savans. They both decidedly think that a human nose, by the constant application of snuff to its nostrils, and of Athole brose, which they properly assume to possess a considerable amount of alcoholic ingredients, might, acting upon it from within through the nervous system, if continued for a vast and incalculable series of ages, be developed at last into a proboscis so large as ultimately wholly to absorb the person of its possessor. Arguing from this fact, they also believe that, by a recurrent law of Nature, the original organization attached to a man might return to the form of a huge annelide, or possibly earthworm, which might, like the dragon of romance, prove a terror to the country, and might thus originate a new age of romantic poetry, or even a religion! But they treat as purely mythical the existence of any nose in this age such as is alleged to have belonged to Captain Frazer or to any other of our race at the present stage of its progress. If this is asserted, they demand the bone of Frazer's nose for scientific examination.' If more full and complete information on this great subje«t is sought by our more scientific readers, we must refer them to the learned Professor H.'s paper, 'On the Development of the Nasal Organ in Man, with its natural selection of snuff among some savage nations,' read before the last meeting of the British Association, and which was received with prodigious sneezes. 'With my profound reverence for Science,' Mr. MacGilvray goes on to say, 'I need hardly say that I heartily concur in these conclusions of the learned gentleman, and leave the whole question in perfect peace to be finally decided by the races which shall appear as our descendants in future ages. But as all true science, as the great Goethe once remarked (so, at least, I read in a newspaper), first departs out of sight like an eagle, then returns as a servant to our kitchen to make itself useful— the true thus ending always in the. practical—so do these grand speculations lead to this agreeable conclusion, that, for the present generation, at least, savages and civilised, clergy and laity, may snuff and partake even of Athole brose without any fear of their noses becoming a burden to themselves or a terror to the country.'

"We are glad to serve the cause of Science by communicating this splendid result of its profound researches to the world!"]

No one who recollects the importance he attached to district visiting will misunderstand the verses which follow, as if they were meant seriously to discourage such efforts:—

PATRICK MACPHUDD.

HINTS ON DISTRICT VISITING BY GOOD LADIES.

Miss Jemima MacDowal, the parson's sweet jewel,
Is fair and red as a rose coming out of its bud,
But och, "by the powers," what attention she showers,
On that thundering blackguard, big Patrick MacPhudd.

She says she is sartain and shure to convart him,
And to lift the ould Catholic out of the mud,
And so she is walking, and every day talking,
To Mistress, or Misses, or Mister MacPhudd.

She's so sweet a bit cratur, and humble by natur
As to carry down soup, or a cast away Dud;
A cap for the lady, a frock for the baby,
Or a top-coat for ragged ould Patrick MacPhudd.

"May the saint blessings send you, and always defend you
From pestilence, famine, from thunder and flood;
May archangels guard you, and Mary reward you,"
Says the oily ould father, Patrick MacPhudd.

Ould Patrick so grateful, sends out for the nadeful,
And drinks till he lies like a pig in the mud;
There his wife too is lying, while the children are crying,
And both are well thrashed by sweet Patrick MacPhudd.

Every day he is muddled—every night he gets fuddled,
On pay-days he's fighting and covered with blood;
He's a Catholic Sunday, and a Protestant Monday—
"Och, I'll not tell a lie," says honest MacPhudd.

"You thundering old blackguard," says Father MacTaggert;
The Priest trembled over with rage where he stood;
"Is it true ye're convarted, and by swaddlers pervarted?
Look me straight in the face, and deny it, MacPhudd."

"Convarted! Parvarted!" howled Pat broken-hearted,
"I wish I could drink up her Protestant blood;
I vow by Saint Peter, I'd roast her and eat her,
And crunch all her bones," says sweet darling MacPhudd.

And now all good ladies, who visit bad Paddies,
Be advised just to let them keep quiet in the mud,
And spend all your labours on dacent Scotch neighbours,
And not on ould blackguards like Patrick MacPhudd.

December, 1856.

"The Waggin' o' our Dog's Tail," in which were embodied the supposed reflections of his dog Skye upon men and manners, was frequently sung by him in later years. The earnest, meditative countenance, and the quaint accentuation with which he rendered it, accompanied by a suggestive twirl of his thumb, to indicate the approving " wag" of the tail, lent indescribable drollery to the words.

"THE WAGGIN' O' OUR DOG'S TAIL."

Air.—"The barrin' o' the door."

We hae a dog that wags his tail
(He's a bit o' a wag himsel' O!)
Every day he gangs down the town,
At nicht his news to tell O!
The waggin' o' our dog's tail, tow-wow!
The waggin' o' our dog's tail!

He saw the Provost o' the town,
Parading down the street O!
Quo' he, "Ye're no like my lord,
For ye canna see your feet O!"
The waggin', &c.

He saw a man grown unco' poor.
And looking sad and sick O!
Quo' he, "Cheer up, for ilka dog
Has aye a bane to pick O!"
The waggin', &c.

He saw a man wi' mony a smile,
Wi'out a grain o' sowl O!
Quo' he, "I've noticed many a dog,
Could bite and never growl O!"
The waggin', &c.

He saw a man look gruff and cross,
Wi'out a grain o' spite O!
Quo' he, "He's like a hantle [Many.] dogs
Whose bark is waur than their bite O!"
The waggin', &c.

He saw an M.P. unco' proud,
Because o' power and pay O!
Quo' he, "Your tail is cockit heigh,
But ilka dog has his day O!"
The waggin', &c.

He saw some ministers fighting hard,
And a' frae a bit o' pride O!
"It's a pity," quo' he, "when dogs fa' out
Aboot their am fireside O!"
The waggin', &c.

He saw a man gaun staggerin' hame,
His face baith black and blue O!
Quo' he, " I'm ashamed o' the stupid brute,
For never a dog gets fou' O!"
The waggin', &c.

He saw a man wi' a hairy face,
Wi' beard and big moustache O!
Quo' he, "We baith are towsy dogs,
But ye hae claes and cash O!"
The waggin', &c.

He saw a crowd in a bonny park,
Where dogs were not allowed O!
Quo' he, "The rats in Kirk and State,
If we were there might rue't O!"
The waggin', &c.

He saw a man that fleeched [Flattered.] a lord,
And flatterin' lees did tell O!
Quo' he, "A dog's owre proud for that,
He'll only claw himsel' O!"
The waggin', &c.

He saw a doctor drivin' about,
An' ringing every hell O!
Quo' he, "Ive been as sick's a dog,
But I aye could cure mysel' O!"
The waggin', &c.

He heard a lad and laddie braw
Singin' a grand duet O!
Quo' he, "I've heard a cat and dog
Could yowl as weel as that O!"
The waggin', &c.

He saw a laddie swaggerin' big
Frae tap to tee sae trim O!
Quo' he, "It's no' for a dog to laugh
That ance was a pup like him O!"
The waggin', &c.

Our doggie he cam' hame at e'en,
And scarted baith his lugs O!
Quo' he, "If folks had only tails,
They'd be maist as gude as dogs O!"
The waggin', &c.

Another of his favourite songs was one which he composed while on a visit to a friend in Ayrshire, who was an enthusiastic curler. Norman, who never even attempted to curl, heartily enjoyed the exciting scene on the ice, and the keenness displayed by "tenant and laird" as they strove together for the honours of the "roaring game":—

CURLING SONG,
[This song was afterwards published in Blackwood's Magazine.]

Air.—"Come under my plaidie."

A' nicht it was freezin', a' nicht I was sneezin',
"Tak' care," quo' the wife, ''Gudeman, o' yer cough."
A fig for the sneezin', hurrah for the freezin',
For the day we're to play the Bonspiel on the loch!
Then get up, my braw leddy, the breakfast mak' ready,
For the sun on the snaw drift's beginnin' to blink,
Gie me bannocks or brochan, I'm aff to the lochan,
To mak' the stanes flee to the 'T' o' the rink.
Then hurrah for the curling frae Girvan to Stirling!
Hurrah for the lads o' the besom and stane!
Ready noo! Soop it up! Clap a guard! Steady noo!
Oh curling abune a' the games, stands alane.

The ice it is splendid, it canna be mended,
Like a glass ye can glowr in't an' shave aff yer beard;
And see how they gaither, comin' owre the brown heather,
The master and servants, the tenant and laird.
There's braw J. O. Fairlie, he's there late and early,
Batter curlers than he or Hugh Conn canna be;
Wi' the lads frae Kilwinnin', they'll send the stanes spinnin',
Wi' a whurr and a curr, till they sit roun' the 'T.'
Then hurrah for the curlin', &c.

It's an unco' like story, that baith Whig and Tory,
Maun aye collyshangy, [Quarrel.] like dogs owre a bane,
An' that a' denominations are wantin' in patience,
For nae kirk will thole [Endure.] to let ithers alane.
But in fine frosty weather, let a' meet thegither,
Wi' brooms in their hauns, an' a stane near the ' T';
Then Ha! Ha! by my certies, ye'll see hoo a' parties
Like brithers will love, and like brithers agree!
Then hurrah for the curlin', &c.

His way of training his children was a practical illustration of the teaching given to parents in his "Home School." The key-note of it all was loving companionship. He was so much in sympathy with them that he seemed to grow with their growth from their earliest years. When he was worn out with study his resort was the nursery, where he would invent all sorts of games, turn chairs upside down to represent ships, rig up newspapers as mimic sails, and give the baby an imaginary voyage round the room. Or he would in the evenings lie on the sofa or floor, with all the little ones nestled about him, listening to music, or telling them the wonderful adventures of "Little Mrs. Brown" and "Abel Feragus." These stories went on like the Arabian Nights, with new incidents invented for each fresh occasion. They were all told dramatically, and often the fun was so great that he would himself laugh as heartily as the children. But he had a higher object in view than mere amusement when composing his nursery tales; they were never without an undercurrent of moral teaching, and never failed to impress lessons of kindness, generosity, bravery, and truth.

He never left home for any length of time without bringing some little memento to each child, and to each servant as well.

Carrying out this principle of companionship with his children, he would watch for their return when they had been at any holiday entertainment, and have them "tell from the beginning" all they had seen and heard. When in the Highlands during Summer, he entered like one of themselves into all their amusements. They remember with special delight one moonlight night, when, sciatica notwithstanding, he insisted on playing "Hide and Seek" with them, and became so excited with the game, that although both shoes had fallen off, he continued rushing over the grass and through the bushes till they were all exhausted, his wife in vain entreating him to take care. His desire was, in short, to possess their frank confidence, and to make their memory of home thoroughly happy, and in both these respects his efforts were rewarded with abundant success. It was quite characteristic of him that he made it a principle always to keep his word with his children, even in trifles, and to avoid the irritation of fault-finding in little things. Only on two points was he uncompromising even to sternness. The slightest appearance of selfishness or of want of truth was at once severely dealt with; but when the rebuke was given, there was an end of it, and he took pains to make the culprit feel that confidence was completely restored, for he believed that the preservation of self-respect was as important a point as any in the education of a child.

These Summers, spent with his family in the Highlands, were full of a glory which every year seemed only to deepen. Whether at his favourite Cuilchenna, on the Linnhe Loch with its majestic views of Glencoe or Glengoar, or at Java Lodge in Mull, commanding "one of the finest panoramas in Europe," or at Aird's Bay, fronting the Buachaill Etive and Ben Cruachan, or at Geddes, with its hallowed associations, he entered into the joy of nature with a rapture even greater than in youth.

He thus describes the scenery round Cuilchenna:—

"Suppose ourselves seated on a green headland, rising a few hundred feet above the sea-level. In itself this elevation is remarkable for nothing more than the greenest of grass; consequently, in the estimation of the shepherd, it is one of the 'best places for wintering sheep;' and it is the more fitted for such a purpose owing to its being broken up by innumerable hollows and dykes of trap, which afford shelter to the sheep from every wind. Moreover the snow seldom lies here, as it is speedily thawed by the breath of the temperate sea. It has its own secluded spots of Highland beauty, too, though these are seldom, if ever, visited by any one save the solitary herd-boy. In these nooks, nature, as if rejoicing in the undisturbed contemplation of her own grace and loveliness, lavishly grows her wild flowers and spreads out her drooping ferns. Nay, she seems unconsciously to adorn herself with tufts of primroses, bluebells, and crimson heather, and slyly retires into little recesses, to enter which one has to put aside the branches of mountain ash clothed with bunches of coral fruit, as well as the weeping birch and hazel, in order to get a glimpse of the rivulet which whishes between banks glorious with green mosses, lichens, ferns, honeysuckle, and wild roses. In the spring such recesses are a very home of love for piping birds. At the base of our unknown, untrodden, promontory, are clefts and caves, worn and cut into the strangest shapes by the everlasting beat of the ocean tides. In each round rocky bowl, filled with pure sea-water, is a forest of fairy-like trees of all colours, strangely mingled—brown, green, and white. Molluscs, and fish almost microscopic, together with a solitary crab here and there, move about in this their little world of beauty, in which, to the observer, there seems indeed to be nothing but purity and joy.

"But the grand and commanding object at the head of Loch Leven is Glencoe. Seen from our promontory, its precipices rise like a huge wall, dark as though built of lava. Tremendous buttresses, from base to summit, disengage themselves from their surface, and separated from each other by depths such as might have been cut and cloven by Thor's great hammer, wielded in stormy passion. The mountain is scored across, too, by deep lines and platforms of trap, as though they marked the successive floods of molten rock poured out by volcanic forces. Nothing can be more utterly sombre, sad, and desolate than this Glencoe. We have watched it in its every mood; sometimes when it seemed to sleep like a wearied giant, wrapped in the sun-mist; sometimes when it began to arrest the western clouds, until, as if overcome by their stifling power, they covered it with impenetrable masses black as night; or, again, when slowly and solemnly it unveiled itself after the storm, and the sun crept up to it, after visiting the green fields and trees below, and pouring itself on white cottages and the sails of fishing-boats, until at last it scattered the clouds from the dark precipices and sent the mists flying—not fiercely but kindly, not hastily but slowly—in white smoke up the glens, tinging with auroral light the dark ridge as they streamed over it, while the infinite sky appeared without a cloud over all, and as if supported by the mighty pillars of the glen.

"Turning to the east the scene is still characteristic of our Highlands. To right and left, to north and south, is the sea-river of which we have spoken. Southward, it flows past the green Lismore, on past Oban, Mull, until it is lost between misty headlands in the far Atlantic, whose waves boom on the western steeps of Jura.

"The scenery to the west, which hems in this stretch of inland sea, is utterly desolate.

" . . . . Amidst this scenery we spent a considerable portion of last summer, and gazed on it from day to day, and from morn to even, with delight and reverence. We have fished along its sea-coast almost every evening.

"What unsurpassed glories have we thus witnessed! It verily seemed to us then as though the setting sun dropped down nearer earth to concentrate all his powers on that one landscape; to display untold beauty and adorn it with glory from the head of the western glen above the loch down to the sea; and compelling even dark Glencoe, as well as the surrounding hills, to do it honour and bow before it with their golden crowns and purple robes. First of all, the sun began to collect round himself clouds spread out into seas, grouped into islets, with colours such as no pen or pencil has ever conveyed the faintest impression of. Then beams of soft silver sheen shot through every crossing valley and down through every cleft and cranny in the serrated ridges, penetrating the nether dimness, illuminating the curling smoke of the valleys, and transfiguring the dark pines and precipices, and lighting up hidden corners. It touched the green pastures of the shores of Loch Leven as with a magic rod; it kindled the mountain ridges to the east, so that these, after all the lower valleys were dark, retained the light of day. Having glorified Glencoe from base to summit, it concentrated its beams, ere parting, on the loftiest peaks, until they shone in a subdued ruby light, and then they were tipped with such bright burnished gold as is never seen anywhere except on the icy aiguilles of the Alps. Gradually the halo seemed to pass from earth to heaven, and lingered for a space among the clouds with that splendour and wonder of glory so overpowering, yet so variable—a revelation of the Almighty Artist, which, once seen, remains a precious gift stored in the memory, never to fade away.

"On these evenings the marvel nearest to the eye was the appearance of the sea! It was wholly indescribable. But merely to mention it will recall similar spectacles to others. The waves undulated in gentle swell with, a heavy, dull, molten, hue. Save for the movements of flocks of birds, which swam and dived wherever the shoals of fish disturbed its glassy surface, it seemed cold and dead. But as the setting sun began to kindle its waves with subdued lights, aided by glowing cloud and mountain of every imaginable hue, there spread over the wide expanse of still water such a combination of colours—ruby, amethyst, purple, blue, green, and grey— gleaming, sparkling, and interchanging like the Aurora, until every gentle undulation was more gorgeous than the robes of Eastern kings, when unrolled from the looms of Benares! " [From an Essay on Highland Scenery which he wrote for a volume, published at her Majesty's desire, illustrative of "Mountain, Loch, and Glen."]

These scenes afforded him more than "tranquil restoration;" they were a continual " passion and delight." And the joy they conveyed to him he tried to share with his children, in this, as in so many other things, evincing his eagerness to recreate for them the same Highland associations as had made his own early days so happy. None of his boys showed more excitement than he when they were out fishing on the loch, and when there happened to he a good ' take.' On the croquet green, competing with his children, he was the keenest of the party. When a chance piper arrived, and the floor was cleared for a reel, he heartily enjoyed and cheerily applauded the merriment of the dancers. What he felt at such times he has thus expressed:—

"'Dance, my children! lads and lasses!
Cut and shuffle, toes and heels!
Piper, roar from every chanter
Hurricanes of Highland reels!

"'Make the old barn shake with laughter,
Beat its flooring like a drum;
Batter it with Tullochgorum,
Till the storm without is dumb!

"'Sweep in circles like a whirlwind,
Flit across like meteors glancing;
Crack your finger's, shout in gladness,
Think of nothing but of dancing!'

"Thus a grey-haired father speaketh,
As he claps his hands and cheers;
Yet his heart is quietly dreaming,
And his eyes are dimmed with tears.

"Well he knows this world of sorrow,
Well he knows this world of sin,
Well he knows the race before them,
What's to lose, and what's to win!

"But he hears a far off music,
Guiding all the stately spheres,
In his father-heart it echoes,
So he claps his hands and cheers."

This participation in the amusements of his children passed naturally as they grew older, into the higher companionship of sharing all their pursuits and studies. His method of conveying to them religious instruction was as effective as it was simple. He trained them to speak to him on religious subjects, and tell him their difficulties, and so educated them in the truest sense. Especially in later years, when his Sunday evenings were not so fully occupied with public duty, he spent hours that were as happy to them as to himself, in hearing what they had to say, while some part of Scripture was read in common. However trivial the idea or the difficulty of the child might seem to others, he always dealt carefully with it, and tried by means of it to impress some principle which was worth remembering. "When I asked him about anything I did not understand," writes one of his daughters," my dear father would say, ' That's right. On your way through life you'll come across many a stumbling-block that you will think quite impassable, but always come to your father, for he's an old traveller who can show you a path through many a difficulty.' I treasure what he said to me when I spoke to him about some fault of natural temperament. ' Don't be discouraged. It involves in many ways a benefit. The cure is to think more about God. Look at yourself as much as you can as you think He would look at you, and look on others in the same way.' Oh that I were like him! Such trust, such love, such utter forgetfulness of self, such sympathy and charity and energy! Surely these things are born with people, and not acquirements. Yet he once said to me, ' You have no right to blame your natural disposition. By so doing you blame God who gave it to you. No quality is bad unless perverted.' "

There was a characteristic of his later life which was the more remarkable that his youth gave no promise of it. He was naturally impatient of details, careless about hours and arrangements, hurried and impulsive, hut experience taught him the importance of punctuality and forethought, and in later years his attention to minutiae, and the careful and businesslike manner in which he fulfilled his public engagements, surprised those who had known him with other habits.

His later manner of preaching differed from his earlier, and as a rule, admitting many exceptions, partook more of the nature of teaching— sometimes of homely talk—than of set discourse. Simplicity was its constant characteristic, hut there was more; for ever and anon came hursts of indignant denunciation against what was mean or selfish, or brief but thrilling touches of imagination or pathos that broke the even flow of instruction. "His style reminds me," said an auditor, who was himself a celebrated preacher, "of the smooth action of a large engine, moving with the ease of great power held in restraint." "It was not," says another hearer, "so much what is called earnest preaching, as the speaking of a powerful and earnest man who wished to do you good, and threw everything else aside for that end."

"I am persuaded we will all acknowledge that we never listened to any man whose word came so home to the heart. For myself, at least, I can say that no preacher ever had such power over me; nor was the secret of his power hard to discover. . . . That which told more than all upon me was the total absence of all thought of self which characterised his preaching. While listening to him, the thought never crossed my mind that he had been making a sermon. Whether composed in his study, or left, as was so often the case, to such language as the impulse of the moment might suggest. His sermons always appeared to me of a purely extemporaneous character; because whether wholly or partially written, or not written at all, they were the spontaneous outflowing of his heart at the moment, with no more art or effort than what is seen in the natural rush of one of his own loved Highland rivers; clear, and deep, and strong as they, but with as little consciousness of any private aim, or any desire to gratify a selfish feeling or to win human praise."  [From a sermon entitled "The Hearer's Responsibility," preached in the Barony Church on the 12th January, 1873, by the Rev. William Robertson, D.D., of New Greyfriars, Edinburgh, on the occasion of his introducing the Rev. Dr. Lang as successor to Dr. Macleod.]

"Other preachers we have heard," wrote Dean Stanley in the Times, "both in England and France, more learned, more eloquent, more penetrating to particular audiences, but no preacher has arisen within our experience, with an equal power of riveting the general attention of the varied congregations of modern times .... none who so combined the self-control of the prepared discourse with the directness of extemporaneous effort; none with whom the sermon approached so nearly to its original and proper idea—of a conversation—a serious conversation, in which the fleeting thought, the unconscious objection of the listener, seemed to be readily caught up by a. passing parenthesis—a qualifying word of the speaker; so that, in short, the speaker seemed to throw himself with the whole force of his soul on the minds of his hearers, led captive against their will by something more than eloquence."

Although at one period he occasionally wrote his sermon seven times over before he preached it, there were years during which he seldom wrote any discourse fully out, [He was once preaching in a district in Ayrshire, where the reading of a sermon is regarded as the greatest fault of which a minister can be guilty. When the congregation dispersed, an old woman overflowing with enthusiasm, addressed her neighbour, " Did ye ever hear onything sae gran'? Was na that a sermon?" But all her expressions of admiration being met by stolid silence, she shouted, "Speak, woman! Was na-that a sermon?" "Ou aye," replied her friend, sulkily, "but he read it." "Read it!" said the other, with indignant emphasis, "I wadna hae cared if he had whustled it!"] but preached from notes in which the sequence of ideas was clearly marked. These notes, though often jotted on Saturday afternoon, were the result of constant cogitation during the week.

As might have been expected from his temperament, he was deeply interested in the movements of modern thought. As he had long forecast the coming storm in the theological atmosphere, he was not taken aback by its approach, and, in order that his hearers should be prepared for it, he was in the habit of enforcing guiding principles, rather than of discussing special questions. The ground which he generally took was moral more than intellectual. Without ignoring the issues raised by modem inquiry, he sought, as the ultimate basis of religious conviction, to appeal to the moral instincts, and to reach that spirit in man, which he believed is bound to recognize the spiritual glory of God on the face of Christ, as much as intellect is bound to confess the conclusions of reason. He clung with such firm faith to Christ, and loved God with such fulness of childlike affection; holy Scripture was to him so verily the Word of God ; and its salient truths were so self-evident to his heart and conscience, that no verbal criticism, no logic of the lower understanding, could for a moment shake his loyalty to the eternal fitness of the revelation of love and holiness in Christ which was self-evident to his spirit. But while he was thus firmly anchored to essential catholic beliefs, he ' could swing with a free cable,' as he used to say, in reference to many minor questions. For that hard negative criticism, whose only instrument is keen or coarse intellect, and which is prepared with callous determination to deny whatever cannot be logically demonstrated, he had no liking. He was too sympathetic not to be deeply affected by the religious doubts and difficulties which were pressing as a heavy burden on many, who in utter perplexity were crying for light. But some of the theories of modern critics, some of the most portentous attacks on the faith, provoked his sense of humour more than his alarm. "The devil is far to clever," he he would say, " not to be intensely amused at all this. What frightful fools those men must seem to him! Can you not imagine how Mephisto, when he is alone, must chuckle at the absurdities of which clever men can be guilty?"

His manner of treating doubters was powerful and sympathetic. After one or two straight cuts of common sense or humour had sundered the meshes of sophistical argumentation, he would carry his auditors away from doubtful disputations, into the wide pure heaven of his own convictions and aspirations, appeal to what was most human in them, enlist every better sympathy on his side, and flash light into the mysterious depths of conscience. Many a man beset by difficulty on "questions of the day," came away from his teaching, not perhaps feeling every doubt removed, but under the sense that truths had been spoken which "could perish never," and that convictions had been awakened which no chatter of the schools could destroy.

His frequent lamentations over that deficiency in pastoral work, which was forced on him in later years by the pressure of public duty, may convey a false impression of the extent to which this held true: It was certainly impossible for him to visit his congregation as he once did, but the sick and distressed were never forgotten by him; and those who knew anything of his ministry at such times bear witness to the wonderful tenderness of his sympathy, and delight to tell how his eye would swim with tears, and how the minutest circumstance of each case was attentively considered by him. His power, indeed, out of the pulpit as well as in it, lay in that genuine bigheartedness which everywhere claimed and inspired confidence.

"I write as one who knows, whose own burden has been made easier by him, as one around whom his arms have been, and on whose cheek the kiss of his deep sympathy has fallen. Few, indeed, who knew him only as the genial companion, the ready platform speaker, or the powerful preacher, can, even remotely, conceive of the way he had of talking to, and acting upon, human hearts, when alone with them. It was then that the glory of the man came out; then you knew with what a vision he saw into you and comprehended you; then he spoke words that went straight into your soul, and carried healing with them, for he never kept you down to himself, but took you up with himself to the Father. I cannot say what is in my heart to say, but this one thing I would like all who have never been alone with him when spiritual things were spoken about, to believe and know, that he was a grander, broader, deeper, diviner man than he could ever have appeared to you to be. Nearly thirteen years ago, as a young lad, a stranger to this country, I first met him, and from that hour his great heart, which always warmed to the stranger, was ever ready to open, and his kindly hand to help. When I went abroad to engage in the work which lay nearest to his own heart, it was with no formal prayer that we parted, but one ever to be remembered; with no formal farewell of a formal divine, but with a loving embrace ; and when I returned, most unwillingly, but through necessity, the same arms were ready to welcome me. This is not the way unknown men are wont to be dealt with by known men; young men by old; men feebly struggling, or baffled and beaten, by those who are secure on the platform of life: but it is the way to win souls, for all that, and it was the way in which he won many." [Letter from the Rev. C. M. Grant.]

"His power of sympathy," said Dr. Watson, in his beautiful funeral sermon, "was the first and last thing in his character which impressed you. .... I never knew a man bound to humanity at so many points; I never knew a man who found in humanity so much to interest him. To him the most commonplace man or woman yielded up some contribution of individuality, and you were tempted to wonder which of all the various moods through which he passed, was the one most congenial to him.

"'When he came to see me,' said a blacksmith, 'he spoke as if he had been a smith himself, but he never went away without leaving Christ in my heart!' "

To his eldest Son when he was a very young boy on a visit to Fiunary. The original is carefully written in large Roman letters :—

"Glasgow, August 4, 1862.

"I am so glad you are in Morven, and so happy there. I never was so happy in all my life as I used to be when I was a boy there. I think of you as if you were myself young again. For I fished with Sandy and uncle John for cod among the rocks in the bay, and in the burn for trout, and went to the Byre for warm milk, just as you are doing. But then all the old terriers are dead. There were Cuilag and Gasgach—oh, such dogs ! If you saw them worry an otter or a wild cat! They would never give in.

Ask your uncle John about them, and ask him to show you the otter's den at Clachoran. Oh, Nommey, be happy! for when you are old like me you will remember Fiunary as if it was the garden of Eden without the serpent.

"I wish you could remember, as I can, all the dear friends who were once there, and who would have loved you as they loved me—my grandpapa, with his white hair and blind eyes, and my grandmamma, so kind and loving; and aunts Margaret, Mary, Grace, Archy, Jessy. I see all their faces now before me. They were all so good, and loved God and everybody. Dockie, dear! thank God for good friends, and for having so many of them.

"Did they show you where I lived when I was a boy, and the school I used to be in?"

To his eldest Daughter, when she went to school at Brighton :—
" Glasgow, April 30, 1865.

"Do you remember your old father? I'm not sure if you do—old Abel Feragus, the friend of Mrs. Brown?

"So you were very sorry, old girl, when we left you that day? You thought you would not care. Hem! I knew better.

"And so the poor lassie cried, and was so lonely the first night, and would have given worlds to be at home again ! And your old dad was not a bit sorry to leave you, not he—cruel-hearted man that he is ! Nor was your mother, wretched old woman that she is! And yet 'you would wonder' how sorry we both were, and how often the old man said 'Poor dear lassie !' and the old wife 'Poor dear darling? But no tear filled our eye. Are you sure of that? I'm not. And the old father said, 'I'm not afraid of my girl. I'm sure she will prove herself good, kind, loving, and obedient, and won't be lazy, but do her work like a heroine, and remember all her old dad told her!' and her mammy said the same. And then the mammy would cry, and het old dad would call her a fool (respectfully). And so we reached London, and then we got your letter, which made us very happy; and then the old man said ' Never fear ! she will do right well, and will be very happy, and Miss------will like her, and she will like Miss------!' and ' we shall soon meet again!' chimed in the mammy. 'If it be God's will, we shall !' said the dad, ' and won't we be happy!'

"God bless you, my darling! May you love your own Father in heaven far more than you love your own father on earth, and I know how truly you love me, and you know how truly I love you; but He loves you infinitely more than I can possibly do, though I give you my whole heart.

"Will you write a line to the old man! And remember he won't criticise it, but be glad to hear all your chatter."

To the Same:—

"It is now, I think, thirteen years, my clearest------, since your old dad and your mother first saw with joy and gratitude your chubby face, and received you, their first-born, as a gift from God. It was indeed a solemn day to your parents to have had an immortal being given to them, whom they could call their own child; and it was a solemn day, though you knew it not, for you, clearest, when you began a life which would never end. You have been a source of great happiness to us ever since; and you cannot yet understand the longings, the earnest prayers offered up by us both that you may, by the grace of God, make your life a source of joy and blessing to yourself, and be a joy to Jesus Christ, to whom you belong, who has redeemed you to God with His own blood, and who loves you inconceivably more than your own loving parents do. I hope, dearest, you will thank God for all His kindness to you—do speak your heart out to Him. He likes you to do it, and I am sure you do feel grateful for your many mercies.

"Oh, my own darling! you little know how your mother and I desire and pray for this, as the one thing to obtain which we could suffer and die, that you may love and obey Jesus Christ; that you may know Him and speak to Him, trust Him, obey Him, as your Friend, Brother, Saviour, who dearly loves you, and desires you clearly to love Him in return. There is no blessing God could give me in this world to be compared for one moment to that of seeing my children, who are dearer to me than life itself, proving themselves to be children of God. Let me have this joy in you first, as my first-born ! God will give the unspeakable blessing if you pray to Him, and speak to Him about it, simply, frankly, as you would speak to me—but even more confidingly than you could even to me. In the meantime, dearie, thank Him for all He has done for you and given to you. I am sure I thank Him for His gift of yourself to us both.

"I dare say you have sometimes home-sickness. Eh? But you cannot suffer from this youthful disease as much as I did when I went first from home. So you need not wonder—at least I do not—if you should sometimes think yourself on the other side of the globe, and get into sad fits, and weary longings, and think everything at home most beautiful! But this is just a part of our education, and a training for life, and must be made the most of.

"Now write to your dad, anyway you like. I won't criticise. Miss------ won't look at your letter, as I wish you to write freely to me. She kindly agreed to this. All our correspondence maybe quite secret, Miss Macleod! Now, my lassie, cheer up ! Be jolly ! Work like a brick, and enjoy yourself like a linnet. I am sure you will come on famously—'Never say die!'"

To the Same:—
"Balmoral, June 12, 1865.

"I want to send you a loving word from this, to prove to you how your old dad remembers you.

"I came here Saturday, and preached yesterday, and you may be sure the Queen is very good and kind, when she is so kind to your old dad. But he loves her very much, and is proud to serve her.

"I am always glad to hear from you, clearest, and I hope you seriously and prayerfully try to do all I told you in my long letter. I would sooner see you sick and poor with the love of Christ, than the queen of the whole world, for ever and ever, without it."

"Shandon, April 18, 1866.

"Your dad has come here for rest—that is, to reply to a ton of letters ; among others, to yours of March 3. Oh, I wish you were here to enjoy the delicious air! No! for you have got better at Brighton. To see your mammy % No! for you prefer Miss ------ to all your family. To be clasped to the buzzum of your old dad? No ! you are too refined for that. But to get your dad his slippers, for his unfeeling family left them behind in Glasgow!.

"This day is lovely—the sea is calm, and the gulls are floating about without coughs or colds. No flannels on their throats, no nightcaps on their heads, or warm stockings on their feet. No gruel or warm bath before going to bed. No 'Gregory' in the morning. The birds are singing most correctly, and never were in a boarding-school. The old hills are as strong as ever, and if they are not MacLeod's they Make Clouds. Yesterday lots of rain fell on them, and they had no umbrellas. But though their noses ran with water for a while, they are all dry now, and no sneezing. The winds are kissing the sea, and the sea only laughs. Naughty sea and winds! No wonder the good steamer is indignant, and blows smoke at the wind, and whips the sea with its paddles till it foams with rage. The lambs are playing about like little idle fools, never thinking of the coming days of mint sauce or roast mutton. They think that the world was made to enable them to suck their mothers and wag their tails. They don't believe in butchers, nor do their mothers. The quiet is great, but for Willy. His song is louder than the birds.' He flies like the -wind, kisses his mother like the lambs, is as hearty as the gulls, and patronises the cruel butcher."

To the Same:—
"Ems, May 7, 1871.

"My dearest old girl, I send my parental blessing to you on your birthday. That was a joyous day to your father and mother, and every return makes us more and more thankful for you, and-------. But I won't praise you,—what? but I will say that------. No, I won't! One thing is certain. What? Guess! Well, then, of all the girls I ever knew, you are one that —what? It is for you to say. This only I will say, that------. But there's no use ! You know what, my darling ! So kiss your father. As for------, poor body, the less said about her the better! But this I will say, she never snores—never! and she also—yes of course—loves the children, but not—who?"


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