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24th April 2009

Alastair McIntyreElectric Scotland's Weekly Email Newsletter

Electric Scotland - The No.1 Scottish History Site The Aois Community brings you message forums and lots of community services
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Dear Friend

It's your Electric Scotland newsletter meaning the weekend is nearly here :-)

You can view what's new this week on Electric Scotland at  and you can unsubscribe to this newsletter by clicking on the link at the foot of this newsletter. In the event the link is not clickable simply copy and paste the link into your browser.

See our Calendar of Scottish Events around the world and add your own at

Electric Scotland News
The Flag in the Wind
Poetry and Stories
Book of Scottish Story
The Concise Household Encyclopaedia
Social Life in Scotland
The Writings of John Muir
Home and Farm Food Preservation
Fraser's Scottish Annual
The Autobiography of Dr. Alexander Carlyle of Inveresk
Wonder Tales from Scottish Myth and Legend
Robert Burns Lives!

Homecoming Scotland Leadership Conference “Scotland and Her Diaspora – Partners for the Future”. Monday July 27, 2009. Queen Margaret University, Musselburgh, East Lothian, Scotland.

Should you be interested in attending this conference in Scotland you can learn more at


This week I added a couple of books in pdf files...

Ledger of Andrew Halyburton
Conservator of the Privileges of the Scotch Nation in the Netherlands (1492-1503)

This book is the oldest known book that details business transactions done by Scots with Holland and is often referenced in other antiquarian publications. I've actually had a copy of this book for several years but each time I picked it up to put it on the site the task just looked so great I decided to defer to a later date. I was thus very pleased to find a pdf file of the book and so have made this available at 

Waifs and Strays of Celtic Tradition
By Lord Archibald Campbell (1889) in 5 volumes

I did consider doing this set as normal ocr'ing but there is a great deal of Gaelic in these volumes. For example in Volume II a lot of the stories have the Gaelic version on one page and the English translation on the next one. As I really wanted these volumes on the site I ended up deciding to put them up as pdf files.

From my personal point of view these volumes give us something of the old folklore and traditions that the Scots had well back in time and some say back to BC. It is to be regretted that hundreds of these old tales have now been lost to us for ever. This makes these volumes even more important as they provide a glimpse into our past.

These are the kind of books you can download and just dip into when you get the time.

You can get to these 5 volumes at

I might add that other pdf files I've provided on the site can be found at


I should also explain that while looking for books to put up on the site I sometimes come across a book about a clan or family. When I do spot such I will add it to the site and place a link to it from the appropriate clan history page. I don't always remember to tell you about this so it might be worth checking your clan history page out to see if I have added a link to one :-)

The clan pages can be found at


I got in a copy of the Clan MacIntyre newsletter today and when reading the Message from the President he made a lot of sense. For example, he noted the hard times that a lot of us are facing and suggested that being a member of your local clan society can be yet another way of networking. He also made the point that as many will not be able to take a holiday this year there can be lots to do locally including attending your local Highland Games. He also noted with surprise that his local St Patrick's Day event had been a huge success both in attendance and income. He then noted that many families spend thousands of dollars for their annual holiday and so by not spending that it meant that people actually had more to spend on local events.

Should you have time on your hands you might consider helping out at a local clan tent or other event in your locality. It's also a good time to start writing down some of your own family history and getting your family involved. You might say that this is all part of social networking and who knows what might come out of that :-)

Some of the stories in here are just parts of a larger story so do check out the site for the full versions. You can always find the link in our "What's New" section at the link at the top of this newsletter or on our site menu.

This weeks Flag is compiled by Mark Hirst who talks about Labour dirty tricks and also explores the nuclear issue.

In Peter's cultural section he tells us about the Beltane Fire Festival...

Growing daylight and increased heat from the sun must have been a great boon to our ancestors. No wonder they celebrated it in style and the ancient Celtic festival of Beltane on 1st May must have been a red-letter day in all communities. A reminder of days langsyne will once again take place on Calton Hill on 30 April 2009, as the annual Beltane Fire Festival will once again spectacularly herald the coming of Beltane. Visit for full details of the Fire Festival. Some 12,000 people are expected to share the sight and thrill of the spectacular procession.

The 21st Century Fire Spectacle is a vivid reminder that our ancestors used Beltane as a symbol of rebirth and the coming growing season. The fires kindled on 1st May have very ancient origins, leading back to early Sun worshiping. Beltane was marked until Victorian times, particularly by hill shepherds, who would meet in a secret place, on some high hillside, to remember a festival which stretched back into the mist of history. At Beltane shepherds cut a circular trench and lit a fire of sacred wood. They made a caudle of eggs, butter, oatmeal and milk, spilling some on the ground to ensure the safety of their flock in the coming season and to placate the old Gods. They drank it with beer and whisky. Often an oatcake was baked with nine knobs dedicated to various deities and each shepherd broke off a piece and said, "This to thee, preserve my sheep."

This recipe makes a tasty, thick oatcake without the need for a griddle!

Thick Oatcakes

Ingredients: 8 oz oatmeal; 1/2 teasp salt; 4 oz self-raising flour; 1 teasp sugar; 2-3 oz cooking fat; cold water

Method: Mix the dry ingredients. Rub in the fat, and add sufficient cold water to form a stiff dough. Turn out on to a board which has been lightly sprinkled with oatmeal. Knead lightly, and roll out to a quarter of an inch in thickness. Cut into small rounds or into quarters of a large round. Place on a greased tray and bake in a slow oven for 20 minutes. Mark 3 or 350 deg F.

You can read the Flag, listen to the Scots Language, enjoy the Scots Wit and lots more at

Christina McKelvie MSP's Weekly diary is available at

Poetry and Stories
John sent in another poem this week...

"Fell Wedder" at

You can also read other stories in our Article Service and even add your own at

Book of Scottish Story
Our thanks to John Henderson for sending this in for us.

This week have added a new story...

Legend of the Large Mouth
by Robert Chambers

Here is how it starts...

Arriving one evening at an inn in Glasgow, I was shown into a room which already contained a promiscuous assemblage of travellers. Amongst these gentlemen—‘commercial’ gentlemen chiefly—there was one whose features struck me as being the most ill-favoured I had ever beheld. He was a large pursy old man, with forehead “villanous low,” hair like bell-ropes, eyes the smallest and most porkish of all possible eyes, and a nose which showed no more prominence in a side-view than that of the moon, as exhibited in her first quarter upon a freemason’s apron. All these monstrosities were, however, as beauties, as absolute perfections, compared with the mouth—the enormous mouth, which, grinning beneath, formed a sort of rustic basement to the whole superstructure of his facial horrors. This mouth—if mouth it could be called, which bore so little resemblance to the mouths of mankind in general—turned full upon me as I entered, and happening at the moment to be employed in a yawn, actually seemed as if it would have willingly received me into its prodigious crater, and consigned me to the fate of Empedocles, without so much as a shoe being left to tell the tale.

The company of a traveller’s room is generally very stiff, every man sitting by his own table in his own corner, with his back turned upon the rest. It was not so, however, on the present occasion. The most of the present company seemed to have been so long together in the hotel as to have become very gracious with each other; while any recent comers, finding themselves plumped into a society already thawed and commingled, had naturally entered into the spirit of the rest. Soon discovering how matters stood, I joined in the conversation, and speedily found that the man with the large mouth was one of the most polite and agreeable of mankind. He was one of those old, experienced gentlemen of the road, who know everything that is necessary to be known, and are never at a loss about anything. His jokes, his anecdotes, his remarks, were all excellent, and kept the rest bound, as it were, in a chain. The best of him was, that he seemed quite at ease on the subject of his mouth.

The rest of this story can be read at

The other stories can be read at

The Concise Household Encyclopaedia
Added four more pages including Cough, Counterbore, Counter Irritant, Counterpoise, Countershaft, Countersink, Countess Pudding, Course, Court Plaster, Cover, Coverlet, Covert Coating, Cowheel, Cowpox, Cowslip, Cox's Orange Pippin, Crab, Crab Apple, Cracker, Crackle Ware, Cradle, Crambo, Cramp, Cramp: The Tool, Cranberry, Crane Fly, Crane's Bill, Crank, Crankcase, Crankshaft, Crape, Crash, Crassula.

You can read about these at

Social Life in Scotland
From Early to Recent Times by Rev. Charles Rogers in 3 volumes (1884)

Have now started the third and final volume of this publication with...

Chapter XVII.
An Eighteenth Century Correspondence

Here is how it starts...

BELONGING to the same race of sturdy borderers which afterwards produced Thomas Carlyle, the illustrious essayist, Dr Alexander Carlyle was born on the 26th January 1722. Ordained minister of Inveresk at the age of twenty-six, he there ministered till his death, which took place on the 25th August 1805 —his parochial incumbency extending to fifty-eight years. His career was singularly eventful. He witnessed the public execution at Edinburgh which led to the Porteous mob. In his youth he met at dinner the vacillating Simon Fraser, Lord Lovat. He saw Prince Charles Edward enter Edinburgh in September 1745, and from the church steeple at Prestonpans watched the progress of the battle which was there fought between the Prince and the royal troops under Sir John Cope. With the gallant Colonel Gardiner, who fell in the conflict, he dined on the day which preceded the engagement. Among those with whom in early life he was brought in contact was the Honourable James Erskine, Lord Grange. An heritor of Prestonpans parish, Lord Grange had brought thither as its pastor Carlyle's father, who was previously minister of Cummertrees in his native Annandale. As a personal friend, Carlyle the elder was with Lord Grange frequently in the evenings, and they often remained together till late hours. Dr Carlyle believes that they were frequently occupied in prayer, or in settling points of Calvinistic doctrine, for Lord Grange was as remarkable for pious talk as he was notorious for social error. According to Dr Carlyle, he erred and repented by turns. For a season regular in attending religious ordinances, he for another would occupy his Sundays in intemperate pleasures. Days which he dedicated to prayer were followed by nights spent in debauchery. Partially insane he certainly was, but in a lesser degree than his wife, Rachel Cheislie, whom Dr Carlyle describes as in physique realising the notion which in early life he entertained respecting the aspects of the woman represented in Scripture as embodying the impurities of Babylon.

Known to Robert Blair, author of "The Grave," Dr Carlyle enjoyed with John Home, his successor at Athelstaneford, a life-long intimacy. With several reverend brethren he was subjected to censure for being present at a theatre in 1756, when Mr Home's tragedy of "Douglas" was for the first time acted. He attained considerable privileges and honours. In 1762 he was appointed almoner to the King, in 1770 was elected Moderator of the General Assembly, and in 1785 was nominated one of the Deans of the Chapel Royal. Devoted to the interests of his order, he procured for his brethren an exemption from the window tax. Collins's "Ode on the Superstitions of the Highlands," long lost, was through his instrumentality recovered. Possessing a lofty mien and an urbane and gracious manner, he attracted some by his demeanour—others by his benevolence. A leader of the Moderate party, he exercised an important influence in ecclesiastical affairs. At an advanced age he prepared his autobiography, ["Autobiography of Dr Alexander Carlyle, minister of Inveresk," containing memorials of the men and events of his times. Edinburgh, 1860. 8vo.] but it was not printed till many years subsequent to his death. This did not embrace his correspondence, which, however, he had arranged with a view to publication. For this purpose it was entrusted by members of his family to his personal friend, Dr John Lee, latterly Principal of the University of Edinburgh. Dr Lee was one of the most learned persons of his time, but he lacked the virtue of application, and what he eagerly undertook and fully intended to carry out, he generally left untouched. At Dr Lee's death Dr Carlyle's correspondence was secured by the University of Edinburgh. The more interesting portions form the substance of the present chapter.

You can read lots more from this chapter at

You can get to the index page of the book at

The Writings of John Muir
Continuing with Volume 3, Travels in Alaska with...

PART I. The Trip of 1879

Chapter XII. The Return to Fort Wrangell
Chapter XIII. Alaska Indians

PART II. The Trip of 1880

Chapter XIV. Sum Dum Bay
Chapter XV. From Taku River to Taylor Bay
Chapter XVI. Glacier Bay

PART III. The Trip of 1890

Chapter XVII. In Camp at Glacier Bay
Chapter XVIII. My Sled-Trip on the Muir Glacier

Here is how Chapter XVIII starts...

I STARTED off the morning of July 11 on my memorable sled-trip to obtain general views of the main upper part of the Muir Glacier, and its seven principal tributaries, feeling sure that I would learn something and at the same time get rid of a severe bronchial cough that followed an attack of the grippe and had troubled me for three months. I intended to camp on the glacier every night, and did so, and my throat grew better every day until it was well, for no lowland microbe could stand such a trip. My sled was about three feet long and made as light as possible. A sack of hardtack, a little tea and sugar, and a sleeping-bag were firmly lashed on it so that nothing could drop off however much it might be jarred and dangled in crossing crevasses.

Two Indians carried the baggage over the rocky moraine to the clear glacier at the side of one of the eastern Nunatak Islands. Mr. Loomis accompanied me to this first camp and assisted in dragging the empty sled over the moraine. We arrived at the middle Nunatak Island about nine o'clock. Here I sent back my Indian carriers, and Mr. Loomis assisted me the first day in hauling the loaded sled to my second camp at the foot of Hemlock Mountain, returning the next morning.

July 13. I skirted the mountain to eastward a few miles and was delighted to discover a group of trees high up on its ragged rocky side, the first trees I had seen on the shores of Glacier Bay or on those of any of its glaciers. I left my sled on the ice and climbed the mountain to see what I might learn. I found that all the trees were mountain hemlock (Tsuga mertensiana), and were evidently the remnant of an old, well-established forest, standing on the only ground that was stable, all the rest of the forest below it having been sloughed off with the soil from the disintegrating slate bed rock. The lowest of the trees stood at an elevation of about two thousand feet above the sea, the highest at about three thousand feet or a little higher. Nothing could be more striking than the contrast between the raw, crumbling, deforested portions of the mountain, looking like a quarry that was being worked, and the forested part with its rich, shaggy beds of cassiope and bryanthus in full bloom, and its sumptuous cushions of flower-enameled mosses. These garden-patches are full of gay colors of gentian, erigeron, anemone, larkspur, and columbine, and are enlivened with happy birds and bees and marmots. Climbing to an elevation of twenty-five hundred feet, which is about fifteen hundred feet above the level of the glacier at this point, I saw and heard a few marmots, and three ptarmigans that were as tame as barnyard fowls. The sod is sloughing off on the edges, keeping it ragged. The trees are storm-bent from the southeast. A few are standing at an elevation of nearly three thousand feet; at twenty-five hundred feet, pyrola, veratrum, vaccinium, fine grasses, sedges, willows, mountain-ash, buttercups, and acres of the most luxuriant cassiope are in bloom.

You can read the rest of this chapter at

The rest of the chapters can be read at

Home and Farm Food Preservation
By William V. Cruess (1918)

Have now completed this book with...

Chapter XXXV - Recipes for Dairy Products

142. Gouda Cheese
143. Cottage Cheese
144. The Preservation of Butter by Salt


All the chapters can be read at

Sketches of the early days of New Zealand, Romance and Reality of Antipodean life in the infancy of a New Colony by John Logan Campbell (1881)

We now have up several more chapters...



Chapter IV.
I Learn what Taihoa Means
Chapter V.
Waiting in Expectancy
Chapter VI.
My Maiden Venture in the Field of Commerce
Chapter VII.
The Capital is Born to Us.—The Flagstaff that never was Erected
Chapter VIII.
We Change the Current of our Lives.—We Visit our Newly-born Child
Chapter IX.
How we Shave a Pig
Chapter X.
We Adopt our Child

Here is how Chapter X starts...

The first month of summer was now drawing to a close. Christmas—not white snow-clad Christmas as at home, but the bright and brilliant floral Christmas of the sunny Great South Land, was at hand.

My last Christmas, and first one away from the parental roof, had been spent where the "experienced surgeon" got eclipsed by the "cow," and where I walked on shore to try my fortune wvith the world.

The year which had elapsed had brought its experiences, and a certain amount of my utter greenness had given way to a modicum of that worldly wisdom without which no man can elbow his way beyond the ordinary bread and butter of life.

Now I had the ambition to soar higher than this, and nothing less than cakes and ale ad libitum was going to satisfy my youthful aspirations.

The inexperienced youth of a surgeon had now thrown physic to the dogs," and was with a still greater inexperience, and with a cool self-reliance belonging only to the self-conceit of immature years, going to boldly try his unfledged wings in the flight of commerce.

I once laboured under the delusion that modesty was the one beautiful trait in my character, but when I revise my past life I am a little shaken in that belief, and now have more than a mere suspicion that there was what other people would designate as egregious conceit stamped on one or two passages of the early career of my young manhood, or else how could I have had the presumption to take the appointment of the "experienced surgeon?" And now I had dubbed myself merchant without ever having "walked the hospitals" of commerce.

Truly the boldness of ignorance is often bliss. Happy indeed that we are not always wise before our wisdom teeth are cut—heaven is my witness I was not—but as I never fell into any great mishaps I suppose a kind Providence must have taken compassion on me and bridged over the difficulties.

The time had at last arrived when I must make my new departure in life and commence the role of merchant. The die was cast, for better for worse I had taken the leap, and must risk whether I landed on my feet or came ignominiously to the ground.

The tub Dart lay once again at anchor a few cables' length from the shore, opposite our whare, and we were plying the canoe to and fro. I was taking my departure for the capital to establish its first mercantile firm! There in the hold of the schooner lay the now historical little tent. You have seen it put to many various uses at various places, but the climax of its history had now come; it was about to be pitched at the embryo capital to represent the business premises of the embryo firm, and therein I was to be representative thereof. The senior partner could not be spared as yet from the graver stake we had in pig-run, and as it had to be watched over by the more experienced member of the firm, he had to remain on the island for a time, looking forward to joining me when I had succeeded in a Maori whare erected to replace the tent as more befitting business premises.

You can read the rest of this chapter at

You can read the rest of the chapters at

Fraser's Scottish Annual
These are articles from the 1900 - 1904 issues of Fraser's Scottish Annual.

Antiquity of the Celtic Speech
Gaid Sir Gun Tur
A Scotsman in Early Canada
Notes on Canadian Banking

A Scotsman in Early Canada

By James Bain Jr, Toronto

The CHANGED conditions which existed in the Highlands of Scotland after Culloden forced many of the inhabitants to look abroad for new homes. Poverty stricken landlords, coal tax, salt tax, and many other burdens were resting heavy on the people. The reports which had been received from the new settlements in New York State, the Carolinas, and also Georgia, had been favorable, and undoubtedly a considerable emigration would have flowed into the colonies if the revolutionary war had not broken out. The same spirit of loyalty, however, which led them to follow Prince Charlie, turned them from the now United States. The letters of those who had followed the British flag to take up their residence in the newly explored lands of Canada diverted attention in that direction, supplemented as they were by the stories of many a returned Highland soldier. With characteristic Scottish caution, however, Scotsmen were for many years in the habit of coming to spy out the land and report upon its possibilities and capabilities for settlement, and among the earliest was a Mr. Campbell. From the title page of his book, which was published in Edinburgh in 1793, we glean no information about him, except that his Christian name commenced with S., but from conversations reported in the text we gather that he had been in charge of the deer forest of Mamlorn, and that he had given up his position owing to some misunderstanding with the steward.

"I betook myself to farming, trading a little by sea and land, by which I made out so well as now to be enabled to give up all business and gratify a passion for travelling." A Scotsman of Scotsmen, he marks his journey by the distance from one Scotsman's home to another, he is of the opinion that if the revolutionary war had been managed by Scotsmen, the result would have been different. All the English generals failed, and the only successful officers were Sir Archibald Campbell, Generals Campbell and M'Lean.

"Does it not verify what the great Lord Chatham said, 'That he sought for merit everywhere, and found it in the healthy mountains of the North?'" "'Tis a barren clime, but breeds a generous race." A casual allusion gives us a hint as to his religious views. When passing a Quaker settlement, he says: ''I suppose their religious tenets, in point of morality and decency, to be the best in the world, and they in that respect come nearer the Scotch Presbyterians than any other class of men whatever."

The start was made on June 11th, 1791, from Fort William, arriving at Greenock on 18th, where he took passage in the brig Argyle for New Brunswick. The ship sailed on the 21d of July, but meeting with a severe storm off the Mull of Kintyre, was forced to return to the Fairly roads until the 8th. It was not till the 27th of August that the traveller reached St. John's, after what he calls a fine passage of fifty-six days.

The rest of this article can be read at

The other articles can be read at

The Autobiography of Dr. Alexander Carlyle of Inveresk (1722 - 1805)
It is said that this is one of the top 5 books to read if you wish to understand more about Scottish Life.

We now have up...

Chapter VII
Sketches of society — Lord Milton — Lady Hervey —Smollett's visit—Cu lien's mimicries—Notices and anecdotes of David Hume, Adam Smith, Adam Ferguson, Dr. Robertson, Dr. Blair, John Home—Foundation of the Select Society—Completion of the tragedy of Douglas —Adventures of its author and his friends in conveying it to London—Admiral Byng—The Carriers' Inn.

Chapter VIII
Preparations for acting the tragedy of Douglas in Edinburgh—Carlyle attends—A war of pamphlets—The "Libel" against Carlyle—The ecclesiastical conflict—Characteristics of the combatants—The clergy of Scotland and the stage—Conduct of Dundas and Wedderburn—Home and his success—Archibald Duke of Argyle.

Chapter IX
Finds Robertson in London about his history — Home joins them—Their friends and adventures—Chatham—John Blair the mathematician — Bishop Douglas —Smollett and his levee of authors—A clay with Garrick at his villa—Feats at golf there—The clergy of Scotland and the Window-tax—Adam the architect—An expedition to Portsmouth—Adventures by land and sea—Meeting with Lord Bute—The journey home—Oxford—Woodstock—Blenheim—Birmingham—Lord Lyttleton —Shenstone at the Leasowes.

Chapter X
Visit to Inverary—Charles Townshend and the hospitalities of Dalkeith—A story of a haunch of venison—Wilkie of the Epigoniad — A corporation row in Dumfries—Andrew Crosbie—Ossian Macpherson —The militia pamphlet.

Chapter XI
His marriage—Adam Ferguson and Sister Peg—Death of George II. and the Duke of Argyle—Change in the administration of Scotch affairs—Newcastle and its society in 1760—The Edinburgh Poker Club—Lord Elibank's sentimental adventures—Dr. Robertson and the leadership of the Church of Scotland—Harrogate and the company there—Andrew Millar the bookseller—Benjamin Franklin—Lord Clive.

Here is how Chapter X starts...

IT was in the month of August this summer that Robertson and I passed two days at Minto with Sir Gilbert Elliot, who was very open and communicative. About the middle of October I rode to Inverary, being invited by the Milton family, who always were with the Duke of Argyle, and who generally remained there till near the end of the year. I got the first night to my friend Robin Bogle's, at Shettleston, near Glasgow, where I found him very happy with his wife and family. He was an honest, gentlemanly man, but had been very dissipated before his marriage. From Glasgow I went all night to Roseneath, where, in a small house near the castle, lived my friend, Miss Jean Campbell of Carrick, with her mother, who was a sister of General John Campbell of Mamore, afterwards Duke of Argyle, and father of the present Duke. Next day, after passing Loch Long, I went over Argyle's Bowling-Green, called so on account of the roughness of the road. As my horses were not frosted, and the ice was strong, I had to walk about six miles. This made me late in getting to St. Catherine's, directly opposite to Inverary. I wished very much to get across the loch, as it was but six in the evening; but the mistress of the house, wishing to detain me and my servant and horses all night, pretended that the boatmen were out of the way and the oars a-seeking, and that I could not get across that night.

This vexed me, as it was a miserable house to sleep in; however, I called for a mutchkin of whisky, and prevailed with the good woman to taste it without water. As she became so familiar as to ask where I was when I was at home, I told her I was a schoolfellow of M`Callum More, and was much disappointed at not crossing the lake, as I had letters of importance to deliver to his Grace. She stared, and said I was a stalwart carl of such an age: my grisly undressed hair favoured this deception. I added that, if I could cross the loch, I intended to leave my servant and horses all night to her care, to come round by the head of the loch in the morning; but if I could not cross, I must venture to ride the nine miles round, dark as it was. She took another sip of the whisky, and then left the room. In five minutes she returned and told me that the boatmen had appeared and were seeking for their oars, and would be ready in a few minutes. This was good news to me, as I knew the inn at Inverary to be pretty good, as I had been there two nights when I went to their country, in 1754, with Jamie Cheap of Sauchie. I was very soon summoned to the boat, and after recommending my man, John M'Lachlan, to the care of the landlady, I bid her farewell. We got very soon over, the night being calm, and the distance not much more than two miles.

I did not go that night to the Duke's house, as I knew I could not have a bed there (as he had not yet got into the Castle), but I went in the morning, and was very politely received, not only by the Milton family, but by the Duke and his two cousins, the present Duke, and his brother Lord Frederick, who were there. His Grace told me immediately that Miss Fletcher had made him expect my visit, and that he was sorry he could not offer me lodging, but that he would hope to see me every day to breakfast, dinner, and supper.

It would be quite superfluous to say anything here of the character of Archibald, Duke of Argyle, as the character of that illustrious person, both as a statesman and an accomplished gentleman and scholar, is perfectly known. I was told that he was a great humorist at Inverary, and that you could neither drink his health nor ask him how he did without disobliging; but this was exaggerated. To be sure, he waved ceremony very much, and took no trouble at table, and would not let himself be waited for, and came in when he pleased, and sat down on the chair that was left, which was neither at the head nor foot of the table. But he cured me of all constraint the first day, for in his first or second glass of wine he drank my health and welcomed me to Inverary, and hoped that as long as I stayed, which he wished to be all the week at least, I would think myself at home. Though he never drank to me again, I was much more gratified by his directing much of his conversation to me. His colloquial talent was very remarkable, for he never harangued or was tedious, but listened to you in your turn. We sat down every day fifteen or sixteen to dinner; for besides his two cousins and the Fletcher family, there were always seven or eight Argyleshire gentlemen, or factors on the estate, at dinner. The Duke had the talent of conversing with his guests so as to distinguish men of knowledge and talents without neglecting those who valued themselves more on their birth and their rent-rolls than on personal merit.

After the ladies were withdrawn and he had drunk his bottle of claret, he retired to an easy-chair set hard by the fireplace: drawing a black silk nightcap over his eyes, he slept, or seemed to sleep, for an hour and a half. In the mean time, Sandie M'Millan, who was toast-master, pushed about the bottle, and a more noisy or regardless company could hardly be. Milton retired soon after the ladies, and about six o'clock M'Millan and the gentlemen drew off (for at that time dinner was always served at two o'clock), when the ladies returned, and his Grace awoke and called for his tea, which he made himself at a little table apart from that of the company. Tea being over, he played two rubbers at sixpenny whist, as he did in London. He had always some of the ladies of his party, while the rest amused themselves at another table. Supper was served soon after nine, and there being nobody left but those with whom he was familiar, he drank another bottle of claret, and could not be got to go to bed till one in the morning. Jack Campbell of Stonefield, [John Campbell of Stonefield was raised to the Bench as a judge in 1763, and took the title of Lord Stonefield. He married Lady Grace Stuart, fourth daughter of James, second Earl of Bute, and sister of John, third Earl.] who had lately married his niece, Lady Grace Stuart, came to us on the second day. I may add that the provisions for the table were at least equal to the conversation; for we had sea and river fish in perfection, the best beef and mutton and fowls and wild game and venison of both kinds in abundance. The wines, too, were excellent.

I stayed over Sunday and preached to his Grace, who always attended the church at Inverary. The ladies told me that I had pleased his Grace, which gratified me not a little, as without him no preferment could be obtained in Scotland.

You can read the rest of this chapter at

You can get to this book for the other chapters at

Wonder Tales from Scottish Myth and Legend
By Donald A MacKenzie

We now have up a number of stories from this book...

Chapter I. Beira, Queen of Winter
Chapter II. The Coming of Angus and Bride
Chapter III. Combats they never end
Chapter IV. The Princess of Land Under Waves
Chapter V. Nimble Men, Blue Men, and Green Ladies
Chapter VI. Conall and the Thunder Hag
Chapter VII. Story of Finlay and the Giants
Chapter VIII. Heroes on the Green Isle
Chapter IX. A Vision of the Dead
Chapter X. The Story of Michael Scott
Chapter XI. In the Kingdom of Seals

Here is how "In the Kingdom of Seals" starts...

The sea fairies have grey skin-coverings and resemble seals. They dwell in cave houses on the borders of Land-under-Waves, where they have a kingdom of their own. They love music and the dance, like the green land fairies, and when harper or piper plays on the beach they come up to listen, their sloe-black eyes sparkling with joy. On moonlight nights they hear the mermaids singing on the rocks when human beings are fast asleep, and they call to them: "Sing again the old sea croons; sing again!" All night long the sea fairies call thus when mermaids cease to sing, and the mermaids sing again and again to them. When the wind pipes loud and free, and the sea leaps and whirls and swings and cries aloud with wintry merriment, the sea fairies dance with the dancing waves, tossing white petals of foam over their heads, and twining pearls of spray about their necks. They love to hunt the silvern salmon in the forests of sea-tangle and in ocean's deep blue glens, and far up dark ravines through which flow rivers of sweet mountain waters gemmed with stars.

The sea fairies have a language of their own, and they are also skilled in human speech. When they come ashore they can take the forms of men or women, and turn billows into dark horses with grey manes and long grey tails, and on these they ride over mountain and moor.

There was once a fisherman who visited the palace of the queen of sea fairies, and told on his return all he had seen and all he had heard. He dwelt in a little township nigh to John-o'-Groat's House, and was wont to catch fish and seals. When he found that he could earn much money by hunting seals, whose skins make warm winter clothing, he troubled little about catching salmon or cod, and worked constantly as a seal-hunter. He crept among the rocks searching for his prey, and visited lonely seal-haunted islands across the Pentland Firth, where he often found the strange sea-prowlers lying on smooth flat ledges of rock fast asleep in the warm sunshine.

In his house he had great bundles of dried sealskins, and people came from a distance to purchase them from him. His fame as a seal-hunter went far and wide.

One evening a dark stranger rode up to his house, mounted on a black, spirited mare with grey mane and grey tail. He called to the fisherman who came out, and then said: "Make haste and ride with me towards the east. My master desires to do business with you."

You can read the rest of this at

The other chapters can be read at

Got in a couple of articles on Freemasonary by Kelly D. Whittaker...

"Freemasonry from an Outsider’s View" at

"1000 Years of Freemasonry in Scotland" at

Robert Burns Lives!
By Frank Shaw

In this article "Address to the Burns Club of Atlanta by Bill Dawson" you'll be interested to know that Bill is President of The Robert Burns World Federation.

You can read his address at

And finally, while working on the Waifs and Strays of Celtic Tradition I came across a wee word picture of what croft life might have been like in the old days and so thought I'd share it with you...

LET the reader picture to himself a winter night in a Highland cottage seventy years ago. The fire is in the middle of the floor, and the smoke rising from it escapes through a short funnel of wicker-work stuck in an opening in the roof. In a corner, called the peat corner, is a pile of peats, from which the fire is from time to time replenished. Over the fire hangs a pot, which is attached to a chain suspended from one of the cross-beams. On one side of the room is a box-bed, and on the other is a dresser fitted with racks in which plates stand on edge with their hollow sides outwards. Elevated on a table, with the shell-like lamp or the torch-like grey candle near him, sits a tailor cross-legged, who, while he plies his needle, recites one of the popular tales of the country. Every chair, and stool, and chest, and even the box-bed, are occupied by eager listeners, many of whom have gathered in from the neighbouring cottages. The night is often well advanced before the tale is finished, and if it be too long to be finished at a single sitting, it is resumed on the following night. This scene is repeated night after night during the tailor's stay in the township. Such is the manner in which the winter nights were wont to be spent in the Highlands within the memory of men still living. [As this was written in 1890 it would have referred to a period around 1820]

And that's it for now and hope you all have a good weekend :-)


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