Preface to Second
I AM for many reasons
peculiarly gratified by the reception which has been given to these sketches
of Highland life and manners in several of their least-known aspects, and
these reminiscences of a state of society which has almost passed away with
the old people of the land.
Several mistakes in the
earlier chapters, of a local and personal kind,—in no way, however,
affecting the truthfulness of the narrative, or the impression intended to
be conveyed by it,—have been pointed out to me. I have, in this edition,
corrected as many of them as possible.
If I have recorded little in
these pages regarding the inmates of the manse during the later years of its
history, it is only because delicacy to the living forbade my doing what
otherwise would have been prompted by affection, and by happy memories,
which connect the past with the present. Indeed, so mingled in my thoughts
are my earlier and later days in "the Parish," that some incidents recorded
here as having belonged to the one, I find belong in reality to the other.
It is alleged—with what truth
it is not for me to determine—that a Scotchman cannot understand a joke;
but, judging from the grave manner in which allusions made by me to the
bagpipes, peat-reek, &c., have been commented on by some of the southern
newspapers, I am disposed to think that this dullness of apprehension is not
always confined to one side of the Tweed.
I have only further to add,
that the translations from the Gaelic were made by my brother-in-law, the
Rev. Mr. Clerk, minister of Kilmallie, one of the best Gaelic scholars