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The Scottish Gael


The list here given is an Appendix to what has been said of Tartans in the Sixth Chapter of this work, and contains as many specimens as I could procure and authenticate. I have noticed some variations in the patterns worn by different families of the same name, but I have not inserted any fancy tartan. The plan which is adopted in the following table, in perfecting which I had the valuable assistance of Captain MacKenzie of Gruinard, is sufficiently simple, as will be seen by the accompanying plate, which exhibits a square of plaid in its full size. Should any one desire to supply himself with this pattern, for instance, by copying the scale, and applying it to the web, the object will be accomplished. In like manner these descriptions are a guide to manufacturers, who will now, it is hoped, produce the true patterns.

A web of tartan is two feet two inches wide, at least within half an inch, more or less, so that the size of the patterns make no difference in the scale. Commencing at the edge of the cloth, the depth of the colors is stated throughout a square, on which the scale must be reversed or gone through again to the commencement. There is, it may be observed, a particular color in some patterns which can scarcely admit of description, but which is known to the Highlanders, as, for example, the green of the Mac Kay tartan is light. The plaid which the clergy wore is popularly believed to have been used by the Druids and Culdees. The Highland ministers, it has been shown, went armed and generally dressed in the national costume. Martin describes a lay Capuchin, whom he met in Benbecula, clad in the breacan, and several within the memory of man continued to preach in their native garb.

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