Search just our sites by using our customised site search engine


Click here to get a Printer Friendly PageSmiley

The Father of St. Kilda
Chapter XIV - A Visit to Scotland, England, France and the United States


“When silent Time wi’ lichtly foot Had trod on twenty years,
I sought again my native land Wi’ mony hopes and fears;
Wha kens gin the dear friends I left May still continue mine,
Or gin I e’er again shall taste The joys o’ auld lang syne?”

After a few days in Winnipeg I stepped on board the steamer Minnesota, bound for Fisher’s Landing, on the Red Lake River, on 13th October, 1877, the exact day and month on which I had arrived at the Red River eighteen years before. There were many passengers, notably the lovely twin daughters of the Hon. A. Morris, of the Beardy interview already described, attended by the Lieutenant-Governor’s private secretary.

My good friend J. A. Grahame, Esq., our chief commissioner, was also on board, and last, but not least, our inveterate opponent Dr. Schultz, now a member of the Federal House of Commons at Ottawa, where he represented an Indian constituency, whose lands have nearly all become the property of Pharaoh’s. That bone of contention, the Company’s charter, being now out of the way, the doctor was more amiably disposed, feeling no doubt that he had conquered, and we made a merry trio, past disagreements being happily forgotten. Time in its flight had sapped the vigour and vitality of this son of Thor, and there were evident signs of something wrong with the respiratory organs. It was,-however, quite evident that his ambition was still alive and unsatisfied.

Above the American boundary the course of the Red River is very tortuous, and our progress through Dakota was slow, so that the boat did not reach her destination until the 16th. On that day I had my first railway ride, which brought me into Duluth, on St. Louis Bay, at the west end of Lake Superior, and the extreme eastern limit of the prairie country. High above the present margin of the lake rises the terrace, five hundred feet high, which has been left dry by the subsidence of the waters, and at the foot runs the narrow margin of beach at the present level. The terrace is broken by a river which flows into the Bay, and on one side of the river is a flat reach of low, swampy ground; on the other the ground rises sharply into a bluff. On this high land the houses of Duluth are perched, like goats grazing on a steep hillside —an arrangement one sees at Quebec, at Bar Harbour, and at some small places in the English counties of Cornwall and Devon, but scarcely anywhere else. From here the steamer Manitoba conveyed us to Fort William, once the headquarters of our bitter opponents the North-West Company, who had made it a really formidable fortress, with regular works and a heavy armament, so as to terrorise their savage allies and dependants. At Michipicoten Fort we took on board a Mr. Bell, who, with a surveying party, had been examining the natural resources of James Bay. A run through the splendid American locks of Sault St. Marie, and we entered Lake Huron, journeying then to Port Huron, River St. Clair, Toronto, and Ottawa.

On the day upon which I left Winnipeg, Mr. Bannatyne, a member of Parliament of the Federal House at Ottawa, kindly asked 'f he could do anything to help me on “entering the realms of civilisation.” I thanked him, but could think of nothing. He insisted, however, on giving me a letter of introduction* to the Premier, the Hon. A. McKenzie, who was his warm friend, and who took a keen interest in all that concerned the Far West. He was kind enough to add that he knew of no other person so well qualified to satisfy him in this respect as myself.

On reaching Ottawa I duly presented myself and my letter, and after a few preliminary forms of etiquette I received intimation at the British Lion Hotel, where I had taken up my quarters, that the Premier was ready to receive me. This was my first encounter with the man who virtually ruled Canada from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific. He was a spare man, of medium height, with a well-set head, and spoke in a fatherly manner, with a strong reminiscence in his accent of his native Perthshire hills. “I am glad to meet you, Mr. Campbell,” he said. “1 know Mr. Bannatyne very well. 1 have seen several very interesting quotations regarding your travels from the Manitoba Free Press and the Toronto Globe and Mail. It is quite evident that we have in our North-West Territory a country of vast possibilities. Yes, our duty now is to get those vast prairies stocked with good hardy settlers. You are on your way to Scotland, I understand. Well, you know the importance of the country over which you have been travelling for these two years. Do please impress that upon the people you come in contact with. Many hard-working people in the old country would be glad to know of such a place where they could become prosperous and enjoy a free life.”

Then we ran our fingers over an old map of the country, together with a rough sketch of my own. I ventured to suggest that the Canadian Pacific Railway, then under survey, was surely out of place, being at least two hundred miles too far north, and that the North-West capital should be on the Bow River, near the Rocky Mountains, instead ot on Battle River. If on the former river, I added, ranchers would homestead round it, the district being much frequented by buffaloes, and in every way rich and fertile. The projected railway should start from Winnipeg and go directly over the plains to the first pass in the Rockies without diverging so far north as the survey before us indicated.

The Premier listened to every word with attention, and looked at me in some surprise.

“What if war should break out between England and America?” he said. “In that case the further the railway is from the boundary the better.” This he regarded as the most important point, and I of course insisted no further. He presented me with a book containing his pub’ic speeches made during a visit to the old country the year before, and we parted.

This man, whose blameless and honourable life has been one long record of devotion to Canada, had been wholly the architect of his own fortunes. He was a born orator, but the want of early education stood in his way as a politician in the high sphere to which he had attained. When I saw him his Government term of office had almost expired, and an arduous campaign was in view. His opponent, Sir John A. Macdonald, was an astute politician, of inexhaustible fertility of resource and untiring energy. He saw that some amusement must be provided for Canada 'ust then, something to keep her busy, and he was quite willing to take the leading role in the play. The country was a victim to contradictory cravings, a symptom of her awakening life: a craving for Free Trade; a craving for a “national policy” (though no nationvel awhile); a craving for any new and violent emotion. She wished to assure her interests and gratify her imagination at the same time. “J. A.,” however, was an old campaigner, and there was no fear of any yielding or any indecision on his part. His unfortunate association with the “Pacific scandal” was already almost forgotten; and, in view of his distinguished record of political service, he was almost entirely reinstated in the good opinion of his fellow-countrymen. I gathered from the Premier in my conversation with him that he was going to the country on a Free Trade platform. I told him bluntly that he could not carry it. It was quite premature in a country so young and with an enormous financial burden already on its shoulders by the acquisition of our vast territory.

From Ottawa I travelled to Montreal, the chief commercial centre of Canada, and once the pride of Louis of France. I must, however, leave it undescribed. Poor France! It was not her outward enemies, but her own unstable mind, that lost her this glorious country.

Wonderful progress this Canada has made, when :t is remembered that no more than three centuries have passed since Jacques Cartier, of St. Malo, sailed up the St. Lawrence and took possession of the picturesque penin sula of Gaspe in the name of Francis I. Truly this part of Canada is full of attraction, of inspiration, particularly on the historical side, for the future fiction writers. As it comes through the mellowing mists of the years, a wonderful, many-coloured tissue of stirring incident and striking adventure, there is no more fascinating and absorbing story than that of the French regime in Canada, from its beginning in the sixteenth century to its splendid, heroically tragic close on the Plains of Abraham in 1759.

Hardly less replete with suggestively picturesque material are the narratives of the early explorers and pioneers, Jesuit missionaries, traders, and fur hunters, coureurs de bois who penetrated the pathless wilderness of the interior, set their frail barques afloat on the great lakes, discovered the father of waters, the mighty Mississippi, and passed beyond the barrier of the Rocky Mountains to the Pacific Ocean.

On 8tb November I was in Quebec, and, like the Greeks of old, I was ready to shout, “Thalatta! Thalatta!” It was more than eighteen years since I had seen the sea, far away in the Arctic North, and now there was something vivid, poignant, indescribable, in the sensations with which I again looked upon it. The essential spirit of all the tasks and struggles, all the successes and failures, all the outer incident and inner development, of these years seemed concentrated in that moment when the smell of the ocean, though still many miles away, suddenly brought back the sensations of my far boyhood, and showed me, as it were, in an isolated picture the life that had come between. Trilling incidents sometimes mark an era in a man’s life. That first breath of the sea formed the colophon to the principal chapter in mine.

As for Quebec, she has little to tell us to the credit of her mother-country, though many of her children still keep for her a loyal corner in their hearts. Her wonderful rock citadel might well seem a leisurely, a restful haven, safe from all the powers of waste and ruin. But the writing was on the wall, and such gallant sons of France as Biencourt, De Chastes, La Verendrige, and poor Lally might fight and toil and die without a glance or a word of thanks from the revellers at Versailles or St. Cloud. Such men gave to France nearly half a continent, but she despised the gift, so fate took it back again. Britain got it, though the life of brave James Wolfe was a high price to pay, and as I stood, hat in hand, on the Heights of Abraham, the British flag was floating over the citadel. I found monuments to the English Wolfe, the French Montcalm, and the American Richard Montgomery, who fell here in 1775 while heading an American storming party during the War of Independence. Thus Quebec has its threads of connection with the history of three great nations. It has too other associations with the greater and older world beyond its boundaries. In the Protestant cemetery is the grave of Major Thomas Scott, the brother of Sir Walter Scott. The mother of Napoleon III. sprang from a Quebec family. The father of our beloved Queen Victoria was a resident of the fort. And, as a poi it of special interest to myself, I recalled that Lady Matheson, the wife of the proprietor of my native island, was born here. In the early days of the colony, Abbe de Fenelon, half-brother of the famous author of Telemachus, lived in Quebec. And Audubon was once a visitor on St. Louis Road, collecting data and leaving his name to an avenue on St. James le Moine’s Place.

Thus rich in its associations, Quebec is rich too in natural beauty. As I stood beside the flagstaff and saw the soft light on the grey walls of the citadel, and bright gleams of sunshine on the spires and windows of the buildings sloping to the river, the white cottages of the outlying straggling villages, and the purple haze over sailing boat and ocean liner, in which 1 was to sail on the morrow, I thought indeed that one might wander far and not find so fair a scene as in this ancient fortress of the St. Lawrence. What most surprised me was however it happened that we conquered it at all. But General Wolfe sent his troops up a path that the French thought was practically invincible, to the Heights of Abraham. If there had been a corporal’s guard at the top of the path, our men would never have reached the heights. When he reached the top Wolfe was without cannon, and Montcalm had only to keep within his defences in order to be safe from assault. But the French general issued forth from those, and fought the enemy in the open plain, with the result that he was defeated, and Quebec taken.

General Wolfe, undoubtedly, was a brave and skilful general, but had it not been for the follies on the part of his foe that he hardly could have anticipated, he would have had to give up all hope of taking this enormously strong fortress I was now examining, and his name would not have stood out in history as one of our greatest warriors.

On gth November the steamship Polynesia steamed out of the river, and the fortress sank out of sight beneath the western horizon. On the 20th I landed in Glasgow, and on 13th December in Inverness. On 7th February, 1878, I crossed the Minch to Stornoway in the steamship Ferret, where I learned that the “titular governor of the Lewis,” who treated me so severely in my “ herd-loon ” days, had been dismissed from office and struck off the roll of solicitors, and narrowly saved from still further unpleasant consequences. I had no wish to be vindictive, but the memory of his unkindness had long been sore in my boyish heart. It struck me strangely that the first news to greet me on my return should be of his disgrace, which I received with sorrow. On the gth I reached my old home, Ness, and after an absence of nineteen years found I had nearly forgotten my mother tongue. I may say with Edmund, “The wheel is come full round; I am here.” What a havoc time had wrought! My second sister now lived in the old house all alone of us. To me it seemed infinitely lonely, infinitely sad, as lonely as the great prairie itself and much more sad. History repeats itself. Things turn themselves as of yore, only they cannot bring back “the touch of the vanished hand,” nor “the sound of the voice that is still.” The minister, the miller-elder, and other heroes of my so-called school days had passed over to the majority, and I found a generation had grown up which “knew not Joseph.” To all outward appearance my native parish had remained during these two decades in status quo, only things seemed smaller than they did. The granite cliffs of the Butt seemed to have sunk into the Atlantic at least two hundred feet, and the rivers were but silver threads. Well, the prairie is wider than the Lewis, but not dearer; there are memories in the brook that ran by my mother's door that all the vast waters of the big Saskatchewan could not wash away.

“Everybody should graduate in the university of Paris,’’ said Disraeli. So to Paris I went, though not, alas! to the university. To visit Paris to good purpose demands a preliminary education, except perhaps the Exhibition, which was being held at the date of my visit. That spectacle was to me very wonderful, intoxicating the imagination. After .so long in the inhospitable northern wilderness I found it indescribably gorgeous, fantastic, fairylike.

How to secure and bring away all the varied impressions which a review' of its history suggests — the Paris of Richelieu, of the Louis’, of Madame Elizabeth, of Marie Antoinette; Paris imperial, with a Buonaparte at its head ; Paris republican, with the Royal princes plotting round the corner—that was too great a task for a passing visit. France has been a republic for thirty years, yet in that soil of surprises the fortunes and characters of the princes of Bourbon and Orleans may w’ell be observed with interest. I watched a military review' in honour of the Shah of Persia (Nasir-ed-Din) at Chalons, whence Napoleon III. set out to meet disaster at Sedan. I had gone to France with a certain prejudice against the French army as compared with the German, but the review changed my opinion. The physique of the men seemed excellent, and their faces wore a look of endurance and determination, as if, conscious of lost ground in the past, they had resolved to recover their prestige and their provinces. They w'ere splendidly equipped too both with metal and with teams.

I saw all the sights: Notre Dame, with its famous tapis des souverains, the finest Gobelins work in the world; the boulevards; the Sainte Chapelle; the Palais de Justice; the Pantheon and Invaliles, where Buonaparte :s buried; the Place de la Concorde ; the Champs Elysees ; the Palais de l’Industrie; the Louvre; Versailles ; St. Cloud ; St. Denis ; the resting-place of the kings, and the Ilall of Mirrors, with its two hundred and forty-two feet of polished floor and its unique views over the long gardens; the Opera ; the wonderful tower of St. Jacques la Boucherie; and lastly the Ceil de Boeuf, which students of Carlyle and of the Revolution know so well, and in which so many public mischiefs had their origin.

I found it difficult to explain to myself why France had lost her North American possessions. Her colonial “sphere of influence” from Senegal to Siam was still great. Do civilised nations lose the courage of their primitive ancestors? Undoubtedly the love of la gloire is strong in the French, and they have a dash and a chivalry far removed from cowardice. The famous householder who stayed quietly in bed when burglars were in the house, because he “would rather be a coward than a corpse,” had no French blood in his veins. It seems that life has increased in value, and in imperilling it, either in war or travel or other adventures in colonisation, the nation is staking more. Even the high-strung sensitiveness of a cultivated race may sometimes tell against it in conflict with ruder temperaments. It seems indeed in the struggle for life that that race most prospers which, by constant practice in meeting hazards, trains itself out of fear. But there are statesmen who find dangers in over-colonisation. Land-hunger may become land-fever, and nations have been known to suffer from land-indigestion Possibly Canada was overtough a morsel for France.

In London I went, of course, to the House of Commons, honoured by the invitation and escort of the nephew of England’s greatest Lord Chancellor, Sir George Campbell. General Roberts had just made his famous march on Candahar, and Lord Beaconsfield was fresh from the Berlin Congress with “Peace with Honour ” in his satchel. I had long ardently wished to hear Mr. Gladstone speak, and on that evening my wish was gratified. 1 listened to him for an hour and a half as he stood there on the left of Mr. Speaker Brand, and felt that I had never heard oratory before. It was amazing, enthralling, exquisite. The next day Sir George accompanied me to the House of Lords, where I found MacCallum Mhore himself, or MacCaileem Mor, son of Big Collin, Duke of Argyle, upon his feet, briskly denouncing the Government for the massacre of Balak ordered by the Sultan, Abdul Hamid.

There was something almost comically bellicose about his appearance :n debate— “the Rupert of debate”—the small figure, with lifted head, crowned with a crest of waving hair, rising, as some thought, like the plume of a Gaelic chief’s bonnet, and, as others saw it, like the comb of a fighting-cock. While coming south, early ’.n June, the Duchess lay dead in London, and much sorrow was felt in the west coast of her native land. And an innkeeper at Oban expressed himself to me, while talking about the noble family, thus: “Weel, ye see, the Duke is in a vera deeficult position: his pride o’ birth prevents his associating with cordiality among men of his ain intellect; and his pride of intellect equally keeps him from associating pleasantly with men o’ his ain birth.” Unquestionably the descendant of Earl Archibald, who fell at Flodden field, and of the unfortunate first Marquis of Argyle, executed at the Cross of Edinburgh in 1661, the chief head of my clan, was a striking personality.

Lord Beaconsfield rose for his Government, and said: “I look to the individual character of that human being as of vast importance. He is a man whose every impulse is good. However great the difficulties he may have to encounter, however various may be the impulses that may ultimately control him, lr's first impulses are always good. He is not a tyrant; he is not dissolute. He is not abject; he is not corrupt.” Such was the graceful panegyric on the Assassin of Turkey, pronounced by the man whom Daniel O’Connell once described as “the lineal descendant of the impenitent thief who died on the cross.”

As for London itself, what can I say of the marvel of its throbbing life? I looked at it from the dome of St. Paul’s, and thought how many notable Scots had here earned the oatmeal upon which to cultivate literature comfortably—Murray, Macmillan, Blackwood, Chambers, and the rest. I looked at it from the Monument, and overwhelmed myself in statistics, wonderful enough to me at the time, though small compared to the facts of to-day. The Lord Mayor, notwithstanding his high-sounding title, rules over but a single square mile of territory; but that square mile contains the financial pulse and heart of the world, and is the richest possession in the universe. Yet we are told on high authority the day is coming when the archseologically-disposed New Zealander will stand on Westminster Bridge and sketch the ruins of St. Paul’s.

I passed on to Edinburgh, once the centre of the intellect of Britain, lime was when Sidney Smith and De Quincev were attracted to the home of Dugald Stewart and Mackintosh, of Cockburn and Scott and the Blackwoods, and when Jeffrey and Wilson and Brougham formed a literary tribunal which could crown a man or slay him. Now, alas! Scottish lairds and Scottish nobles complete their education on the banks of the Isis.

So 1 had seen my native land, and, my tour over, the end of September found me snugly on board the S.S. Devonia, bound for New York. In the saloon or on the after-deck of an Anchor line steamship steering west, there can be seen at this season of the year more of the American lounging class than can easily be found anywhere else out of the States. Notwithstanding this lounging habit, and the hereditary vice of inquisitiveness, I found them very pleasant, free and open as their native air. With Bunker’s Hill in view we steamed into the shallow water which narrows into Sandy Hook, and on 5th October we were in New York harbour.

Wall Street was a confusion of tongues. The failure of the City of Glasgow Bank was the eagerly-discussed topic of the day. The great East River suspension bridge was then in course of construction, and on each bank lay great blocks of hard red granite from the quarries of home. Scotland has done her part in the work of empire-making. She has laid the foundation of a good many of the wonders of the modern world. New York was in a sunshiny mood, and I left it almost praying for smoked glass, lest, like Milton, I should be “blasted with excess of light.”

In Ottawa I found that all my political prophecies had come true. The McKenzie administration had gone to pieces on the rock of Free Trade—an excellent thing, only premature. Sir J. A. Macdonald was undoubtedly the more accomplished politician of the two leaders. He was a curious mixture of rashness, patience, and prudent calculation, and he believed in his star. He had a knack of twisting the Canadians round at his will, and an even more useful knack of finding pleasant ways cut of difficult positions. He got round people, deputations, nations, and played with them and used them for his own ends, and kept on good terms with them all the time. He gave Canada what it wanted, a toy—a catchword. Beaconsfield came home proclaiming “Peace with Honour.” Macdonald proclaimed the “National Policy,” and set all Canada shouting with delight. Beaconsfield advised the Queen to style herself Empress of India. Macdonald entreated the Princess Louise to come to Ottawa to win Canadian hearts. He was a man to be studied rather than criticised.

The ex-Premier, on the other hand, was an unassuming man, remarkable chiefly for a sound acuteness of mind, a great knowledge of human nature, and a considerable fund of common sense, which he applied in his own frank unconventional way to the questions that came before him.

I do not know that either of these gentlemen wanted these appreciations written, and my fear is that when we meet in heaven they may be displeased. One thing they will not deny, and that ts, that the work of a Prime Minister even in a colony is arduous. No ordinary man can think of it without a shudder, or be other than devoutly thankful that the risk of being called upon to take this office is comparatively small.

Making my way gradually westwards by the Lakes, I stopped at Chicago. Of course, the stockyards were the first objects of interest. They can hardly, however, be described as pleasure grounds. Eighty per cent, of the Chicagoans tell you, “ Oh no, I have never been to the yards myself, but you ought to see them before you leave the city.” It may be added that the other twenty per cent, are employed in or about these stockyards. Chicago was unknown until one day towards the middle of the century some one slaughtered and packed the first lot of cattle and hogs. To-day the stockyards cover miles of ground. From the top of a Chicago “ sky-scraper” the place must look like a town of cattle-pens. When I was there (1878) they had thirty miles of feeding-troughs and fifty miles of railway connecting the yards with the outer world. Six millions of hogs, three of cattle, and three of sheep found their way into these yards annually. The men, wearing broad soft hats and riding on wiry nags, gave a certain picturesqueness to the scene, but the atmosphere was, on the whole, just a trifle “bluggy.” Those who made their fortune here preferred to have a retreat in another suburb. Though I did not see any machines into which a hog went squealing at one end to come out sausages at the other, I certainly saw enough to convince me that if these yards were by any miracle to bob suddenly out of existence, the effect on the world’s feeding arrangements would be serious.

At St. Paul’s a spare, nervous man joined the train. “I guess we shall reach Winnipeg in a month,” he remarked, with a strong American accent. I was much impressed with the extraordinary transparency of his slender frame. Seldom, I thought, had a body more fragile encased so energetic and active a spirit. He was exceedingly frank and talkative, full of jokes and anecdotes, a welcome companion on a lonely journey, and we soon became fast friends. Here also Mr. William Ilardisty, of my Company, joined me. “My name is Anderson,” said the American, “so you see I am a bit Scotch, as I take you to be.” Little did I guess how soon the bright sunshine which was about him was to be darkened.

The railway to the north not being yet finished, it took a week by waggon, etc., to reach the village of Emerson in the extreme north of the States. I had travelled two thousand miles upon their soil. A magnificent heritage indeed the Pilgrim Fathers left to their descendants. And who can predict its future ? Nothing is too great to hope for it. Let but this youthful giant among the nations set herself to protect by justice what has been won by prayer and by the sword, and then we shall see what may be done in time to come by a nation armed with all the resources of wealth and civilisation, and sustained by a Christian ideal.

Mr. Anderson and I put up at the same hotel in Emerson, a tiny village standing out lone and distinct on the prairie, I to await a conveyance to Winnipeg, he to await his destiny. Here we enjoyed a maximum of luxury at a minimum of cost, as the villages clustered on each side of the boundary line were by stealth doing their best to rob each other of their customers. We beguiled the time ir various ways, the most novel being in teaching me to lounge “American fashion.”

One night, whilst I was reading in this new attitude, my friend hurriedly entered and began nervously pacing the room. Halting suddenly behind a door which was just being opened, he shouted at the top of his voice, “Up hands, or you are a dead man!” A shot, a whiz, and a bullet had grazed the bridge of my nose, and entered the wall at my side. The “American fashion” had saved my life. Had I been in my usual posture I should have been the first of the trio to enter eternity. A succession of shots followed, and Anderson lay on the floor quivering in a pool of blood. The big, burly desperado who had followed him into the room was the last to fall, but soon he staggered over the chair my feet had rested on only a few seconds before. There he lay, blood spurting from mouth and nostrils like a buffalo bull. He who had killed many a man and feared none lay trembling now under the hand of death. Through the last spasm, the last quiver, the last convulsion, he firmly held the revolver, with finger on trigger, as if to guard him through the valley of the shadow. I was stupefied at the suddenness of it all. One ought, I suppose, to be astonished at no revelation of human tragedy, but I confess I was completely taken aback. He turned out to be the last of a gang of desperadoes, and the United States Government had offered ten thousand dollars for his capture, dead or alive.

When I reached Winnipeg I found myself ready to say, like the Doge of Genoa in the Palace of Versailles, “What most surprises me about it is to see myself here.” On the whole Winnipeg was a disappointment. It seemed given over to two classes of men, viz., the social derelict and the self-constituted derelict. The first were men of the Jean Valjean type, who, having made a mistake and been ostracised from society, had sought new fields, where they made herculean efforts to live down the past and become respectable citizens. The others were those who had not learned to make of failure a stepping-stone to higher things. Having left their country for their country’s good, they were there under a change of sky without any change of purpose. These are the men who are not wanted in a new country. Most of them should be kept at home in an asylum for inebriates. The colonies of Great Britain want the best and most enterprising of her sons.

But my task is done. Winnipeg is a city now, and it is not for me to enter upon a long account of civilised life. That would be encroaching upon the ground of civilised authors. I profess only to write — very imperfectly—of savage life.

I have given merely an outline of my story, leaving out the beginning and the end, and cutting short the middle. Such as it is, I can only ask for it the reader’s lenient judgment. Whatever of error he finds n it, let him, like the recording angel, “drop a tear upon the damning page.” I have given a simple record of a unique career, a career which has offered opportunities, perhaps, exceptionally wide and varied, of toiling tirelessly, of watching vigilantly, of reflecting deeply, of suffering patiently. These great solitudes have a speech and a language of their own, which need no telling, a wisdom calmer, perhaps, and wider than the wisdom of the hurrying multitude. One lesson at least they seem to teach — that out of suffering comes the serious mind, out of salvation the grateful heart, and out of deliverance faith—“Soft stillness and the night become the touches of sweet harmony.”

“Beannachd lcibh” = Fare ye well.

FINIS.


Return to Book Index Page

This comment system requires you to be logged in through either a Disqus account or an account you already have with Google, Twitter, Facebook or Yahoo. In the event you don't have an account with any of these companies then you can create an account with Disqus. All comments are moderated so they won't display until the moderator has approved your comment.

comments powered by Disqus