« AnteriorContinuar »
between Loch Crieran and Loch Etive. Down a steep romantic glen falls the river Deargan 13- the river of the red stain-into Loch Crieran. High rocks rise on each side of the valley, whence streams descend broken into deep black pools. At the entrance of this valley is a ford over the Deargan, marked by four or five huge stepping-stones. It was when Donald Campbell 14 reached the second of these stones that he was overtaken by Stuart of Appin, with whom there had long been a mortal feud. Stuart caught him and slew him on the spot. The place is still called Murder Ford, and the deed goes by the name of the Murder of Loch Crieran. The tradition has no account to render of what became of Donald's body. It was never found, and it is conjectured that Stuart of Appin carried it up to the old burial ground which is on the bare hill top immediately above the ford, and there interred it. He then-whether as following his original intention, 15 or as endeavouring to throw himself on the protection of the murdered man's brother-followed the stream, which by a direct, but at that time almost trackless path, led straight to Inverawe. The glen is still unchanged; the wild deer 'desiring the water-brooks,' may still be seen rushing through the bracken and crossing the stream; the overhanging boughs still intertwine over the pass, until at last the glen becomes inaccessible, and the path mounts over the side of the hill. It is called Glen Saleach—the dirty pass either from its associations with this deed of blood, or from the dark umbrageous character of the woods and rocks. We can imagine how, like James Fitzjames in the Lady of the Lake,
The broom's tough roots his ladder made;
till the murderer had reached the top of the ascent, and then plunged down by Bunaw, the ford over Loch Etive, and thence rushing over the side of the hill reached the house of Duncan Campbell. Here we leave our informants at Barcaldine, and we find ourselves at the gates of Inverawe. Inverawe 16 is situated on a slight acclivity above the Awe-as its name implies, near enough to its discharge into the loch to deserve its name, 'the Awe's mouth.' It stands beneath a wooded hill; on one side is a craggy eminence, called the Quarry Hill, from quarries in its bosom; on the other side rises the magnificent pyramid of Ben Cruachan. Far behind it in the distance are the Three Herds of Etive. Much modernised, it yet still retains the ancient hall,
Deargan' means anything of the colour of red.
"According to the more authentic version in the family, he was not the cousin, but the brother. Another version represents him as a foster-brother of the name of M'Niven.
15 The story as told by Sir Thomas Dick Lauder has many amplifications. One which may possibly have some foundation, but which I have heard nowhere confirmed, is that Campbell of Inverawe had been under obligations to the murderer, whom he had encountered in a dangerous exploit some years before.
16 My information about the house was obtained during a visit on which I ventured before reaching Barcaldine.
where we may suppose that Campbell reclined as the unexpected guest threw himself on his mercy. What passed between them has been sufficiently described. According to the version current in the Campbell family, he was taken at once to a cave in Ben Cruachan, whose lofty peak rises high above the whole scene. There is one chamber at Inverawe which bears the name of the Ghost Room, with oaken panels all round, and an oaken bedstead. Here it was that the apparition gave its threefold warning."7
There are three final touches to the fatal story added by the inheritors of the tradition. The first is a slight variation from the story as first communicated to me. On the night before the battle Campbell went out to explore the village, and traversed the bridge, or one of the bridges, that spans the rapids of the descending river. It was a storm,18 and he wore in consequence a grey overcoat. On the bridge he saw a figure approaching him also in a grey surtout. The face was hidden or imperfectly seen, but on the breast he saw a wound, with blood streaming down over the grey coat. He approached it and extended his hand. The figure vanished away. He knew that by the laws of second sight it was the shadow of himself." He inquired of the inhabitants of the village what they called it. They answered 'Carillon.' He asked again whether there was no other name. They answered Ticonderoga.' 20 On this he made his will, and he conjured the officers, if he fell, to search out his body. On the morrow took place the fatal conflict. They sought everywhere, and at length they found him wrapped in his overcoat, the wound in front, and the blood streaming over the grey coat, as he described the figure to his brother officers.
The next story must be told in the words of the actual inheritor of the name, Campbell of Inverawe, the grand-nephew 21 of Duncan Campbell. His tale is as follows:
About forty-five years ago an old man was carrying a salmon for me up to the Inn at Taynuilt.22 When I offered him money for his trouble he declined, saying, 'Na, na, mony a fish have my forbears carried for yours.' So
17 In another version that has reached me, it is stated that it was Campbell's custom to read for some time before retiring to rest, and that he observed the figure of a man coming betwixt him and the light. The figure held up his hand with a threatening and supplicating gesture, and then came the demand for the surrender of the murderer.
In the story as told to me it was a 'snow-storm.' But snow in July on the American lakes is only to be paralleled by such a miracle as caused the erection of S. Maria Maggiore on the ground covered with snow in July in the streets of Rome. 19 Compare Waverley and The Legend of Montrose.
20 Perhaps in the story of General Abercrombie giving the wrong name, Carillon was the alias. Another version describes the false name as being Fort Hudson.
21 He died suddenly in the course of this year 1880. It may be worth remarking that whereas Sir Thomas Dick Lauder represents Campbell's son as perishing in the battle, their kinsman states that his son Alexander was a captain in the same regiment and severely wounded,' but that 'he reached Scotland and died at Glasgow, where he was buried in the Greyfriars Cemetery.'
22 Taynuilt is on the Awe, nearly opposite Inverawe.
of course we had a crack together about old times, and he told me that his ancestors had been in charge of the stall nets at the mouth of the Awe for generations-that his grandfather was foster-brother to Macdonnochie (the Gaelic patronymic of the Laird of Inverawe, 'the son of Duncan'). Then followed the story. His father, a young lad, was sleeping in the same room with his father, but in a separate bed, when he was awakened in the night by some unaccustomed sound, and behold there was a bright light in the room, and he saw a figure in full Highland regimentals cross over the room and stoop down over his father's bed, and gave him a kiss; he was too frightened to speak, but put his head under the coverlet, and went to sleep again. Once more he was roused again in like manner, and saw the same sight. In the morning he spoke to his father about it, who told him it was Macdonnochie he had seen, who came to tell him he had been killed in a great battle in America. And sure enough, said my informant, it was on the very day that the battle of Ticonderoga was fought, and the Laird was killed.
There was a third story told, something of the same kind :—
As two ladies, a Miss Campbell and a Miss Lindsay, were walking in the neighbourhood of Inverawe, they saw a battle in the sky, and recognised. many of those who fell, amongst them their two kinsmen. They came home and told the marvel to their friends. A note of the event was taken, and it was found to correspond in every particular with the historical account of the attack on Ticonderoga, and to have been seen at, or nearly at, the same time as the battle took place.
Such is this singular Highland story, which needs a Walter Scott to adjust the proportions of the natural and preternatural which have so inextricably blended together. In the pathetic story of the Highland Widow' he has shown how beautifully the scenery which forms the framework of this tale can be lighted up,-the Bridge of Awe, the waters of Loch Awe, the heights of Ben Cruachan. The only title that I possess for the repetition of the tradition is that I am probably the only person now living who has seen the Murder Ford at Barcaldine in all its beauty, the haunted castle of Inverawe, the ruined fortress of Ticonderoga, and (almost) the old brown head-stone which marks the grave of Duncan Campbell.
A. P. STANLEY.
A GREEK HAMLET.
the many independent states which so long disputed between themselves the supremacy of Greece, Corinth is, after Athens and Sparta, the city of which we hear the most; indeed, in the years before the Ionian revolt, that is, before the time at which Greece began to take a prominent position in the ancient world, Corinth is as prominent in history as even either of these great states. This, however, is no wonder: the wonderful position of the city for commercial purposes ensured its greatness during times of peace, and in the years of which we would speak there appears to have been almost undisturbed peace throughout Greece, and Corinth with its two ports, one on either side of the isthmus, its commercial activity, and that genius for shipbuilding which, later on, made the Corinthians victorious in an important naval battle, occupied a prominent place, and had extended its victorious expeditions as far as the coast of Epirus, where it possessed the important island of Corcyra. Many an interesting story belongs to the development of the Corinthian rule. About Cypselus, their first tyrant, a beautiful tale is told. When his mother, Labda, was about to give birth to the future ruler, the then reigning family were warned by an oracle that this child was to overthrow their rule, and ten of them went accordingly to the house of the mother to slay the babe. After much debate, each of them refusing to undertake the task, it was decided that the first into whose hands Labda should deliver the babe should kill it. But here the natural feeling which no political schemes can destroy did its work; the child was, as was expected, put into the hands of one of the visitors, and smiled upon its destined murderer. The smile disarmed the man, and, unable to fulfil his vow, he transferred it into the arms of his neighbour. All in turn were subjected to the same test, and all failed. When they went out they fell, as was natural, to mutual reproaches, and, plucking up their courage, went back again, steeling themselves against the innocent enchantment. But the mother had taken fright, and the child was hidden-in the family meal-chest, we are told-from which he derived his name. Cypselus lived to fulfil the prophecy about him, and reigned in Corinth, and transmitted his throne to his son Periander, who, among other peccadilloes, killed his wife Melissa, and of whom the following tale is told.
Periander, tyrant of Corinth, had two sons: the elder, weak in mind and without intelligence; the younger, a high-spirited and vigorous youth, full of promise, the hope of his family. There is nothing in the story to lead us to suppose that the severe and stern despot was other than a tender father, or that, when the boys went
to Epidaurus to visit their uncle Procles, there existed any feelings between them but those of natural affection. Procles, who was the uncle of their mother, received the young princes with every kind of respect and honour, holding games and banquets for their entertainment, and offering them all the pleasures and enjoyments which his city could produce. But through all the feastings and the mirth a sombre purpose of revenge, perhaps a rankling of old sorrow, was in his mind. It was not, however, till the very moment of parting that he sowed the bitter seed which he had reserved to the last. Perhaps something in the aspect of young Lycophron, some hint of higher feeling, some indication of an impassioned nature, had pointed him out as the instrument of a terrible revenge; or perhaps it was only that inability to keep silence as to an appalling secret which has always been natural to humanity, that brought the irretrievable words to his lips: Have you ever heard, oh my sons, the history of your mother? Know ye how Melissa died?' It had happened long before, and the incident had been kept from their knowledge, as was natural. One of the young men gazed at the questioner with mere curiosity; the other, with an awakening of darker and stronger feeling. Then Melissa's kinsman saw his opportunity for such a vengeance as few have had within their reach: Periander killed her,' he said.
With these words like an arrow in their hearts, the two lads were escorted from the gates, and turned their steps towards home. The way was not long, yet long enough for thought. As the cavalcade went onward, encircled in clouds of dust, with the prancing of the horses, and the jingle of their furniture, and the bumping of the chariots, making a monotonous accompaniment to the voices and shouts of the horsemen, the elder youth soon forgot all that had been said, in the pleasure of detailing the entertainment they had received to his attendants and anticipating the reception which was to come. But for Lycophron life had suddenly stopped short. His mother was to him little more than a dream; but Periander had killed her. He had heard of her in her native city more than he had ever known in all his life before. The older people, from the nobles to the slaves and attendants, remembered Melissa, and their lips were opened by the sight of her children. She was to them the beautiful princess who had left their city long ago in her bridal pride, and whose face they saw reflected in the faces of her sons. Some of them had wept; some of them had grown darkly red and wroth when they heard her name. Why? Periander had killed her. He tried to cast out that haunting horror, but it came back and back. Melissa, who had left her city young and blooming and happy, amid songs, and shouts, and all the sounds of gladness-Periander had killed her. What confusion, what darkness, what cruel strife was in the heart of the youth as those slow leagues of way disappeared under his horse's hoofs, and the sweep of the cavalcade filled all the dusty and sultry air! Periander, his father, the man of all