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Scottish clergy celebrated the festival of Easter, and their form of tonsure, and these were for long subjects of contention. The difference in the mode of calculating Easter is easily accounted for, as the Scottish Church adhered to the method which was common to the whole Western Church, previous to 457, when all connection between Britain and Ireland and the Continent ceased; and during the time of isolation a new method of computation was adopted by the Roman Church ; but the mode of tonsure is not so easily accounted for. The Columban Monks tonsured the front of the head from ear to ear, while in the Roman Church the crown of the head was tonsured. The former mode of tonsure was that adopted at one time by the Eastern Church, and it may point to some Eastern influence on the Irish Monastic Church at the time of its development.
(To be continued.)
LIVES ON GENERAL GORDON.
Tha bratach bhröin an diugh ’n’ar tir
YACHTING AND ELECTIONEERING IN THE
HAVING lately had the opportunity of a month's tour in the Hebrides and on the West Coast in a steam yacht, I think that a recital of the journey, with notes of the various places visited, may prove interesting to every reader of this Magazine.
Strome-Ferry was our starting-place proper, and, before fairly launching out upon the account of our trip, I must not forget to mention the ruins of the old Castle upon the north side of Strome Ferry. From the south side they are hardly distinguishable from the grey rock upon which they are perched, so much do they resemble it in appearance.
In Mackenzie's History of the Camerons we are told that in 1472 Allan Cameron, XIII. of Lochiel became a vassal of Celestine, Lord of Lochalsh, and Constable of his Castle of Strome. On 6th March, 1539, the Castle of Strome, with the lands attached, was granted by James V. to Alexander of lengarry and Margaret of the Isles, his spouse, in liferent, and Angus, their son and heir-apparent, in fee. In the early part of the seventeenth century, Donald, VIII. of Glengarry, in a skirmish with the Mackenzies of Kintail, took prisoner one Duncan Maclan Mhic Ghillechallum, and incarcerated him in Strome Castle. About a year after this, Kenneth, first Lord Mackenzie of Kintail, gathered his forces and laid siege to the Castle, which at first defied all his efforts. An act of careless-ness, however, upon the part of the women in the Castle destroyed the hopes of the defenders, and ultimately rendered the fortress an easy prey to the invaders. The women had been out at night for water, and, bringing it in in the dark, they inadvertently poured it into a vat containing the whole store of gunpowder, instead of into the proper water-vat, rendering the powder of course absolutely useless. Duncan Maclan Mhic Ghillechallum, who was still a prisoner in the Castle, heard of the state of
matters next morning, and, looking over the battlements, perceived, to his intense disgust, that the Mackenzies, despairing of being able to take the Castle, were preparing to raise the siege and depart. Seeing his hopes of release thus vanishing, Duncan formed a sudden and bold resolve. Flinging his plaid over the head of the man who stood next him, he jumped over the ramparts on to a large manure-heap just below. Before the Macdonalds had realised what had occurred, Duncan had picked himself up out of the mire, and was running with all his might towards Mackenzie's camp, which he reached in safety, and informed Kintail of the defenceless state to which the Castle had been reduced by the loss of the gunpowder. The chief, highly elated at the welcome news, at once recommenced the siege, and, seeing that the case was hopeless, the Macdonalds thought discretion the better part of valour, and gave up the Castle, on condition of their lives being spared and their being permitted to bring out their baggage. This being granted, the Castle was formally surrendered to Kintail, who blew up the building, of which nothing now remains but the moss-grown walls.
Our yacht was named the Carlotta, of 37 tons register. She carried a crew of eight, all told, including the steward, and was very comfortably fitted up, but, as we afterwards found, also very slow. The others on board were—Mr. FraserMackintosh, M.P., and the writer. We left Strome-Ferry about noon on Saturday, the 5th of September, 1885, and, steaming down Loch-Carron, entered Kyle Akin, “the Strait of Haco.” At the entrance to this Strait, in the year 1263, the proud Norwegian King anchored his noble fleet of over a hundred war-galleys, to beard the Scottish Lion in his den, and establish the authority of the Norse Raven over the Western Isles and shores of Albyn. But a few short months and that gallant fleet was scattered and destroyed by the furious tempests that came as it were to protect our land from the invader, whilst Haco, leaving the flower of his golden-haired warriors dead upon the blood-stained field of Largs, sailed to Orkney, and there died broken-hearted
" And they buried him in Orkney, and Norsemen never more
Set sail to harry Scotland, or plunder on her shore.”
Upon a large rock jutting out into the Kyle are the ruins of Castle Moil, anciently known as Dunakyne, or Haco's Fort, said to have been erected by a Norwegian Princess for the purpose of levying a toll upon all ships passing through the Strait. She had a strong chain stretched across the Kyle, the ends being attached to iron rings fixed in the rock on either side. The Castle afterwards became a seat of the Clan Mackinnon. It now presents, from certain points of view, a very picturesque appearance, looking as if it had been split in half by some great convulsion.
Passing through the Kyle, where we saw several shoals of herring, we entered Loch-Alsh, and soon after steamed up LochDuich, without doubt the most beautiful of our Scottish sea-lochs. The day was lovely, and the shores of the Loch, fringed with wood and clothed with verdure, all reflected in the blue mirror below, presented a charming picture. In the distance towered in magnificent grandeur the snow-crowned mountains of Kintail, with the historic Tullochard, the gathering-peak of the Seaforth Mackenzies, rearing its proud crest to the skies. At the junction of Loch-Duich and Loch-Long, opposite the pretty little village of Dornie, we dropped anchor, and rowed across to inspect the picturesque ruins of Eileandonan Castle, the ancient feudal stronghold of the Mackenzies.
In 1263, after the battle of Largs, Walter Stewart, Earl of Menteith, is said to have built this Castle for the purpose of overawing the Western Islesmen. There is a tradition that Robert the Bruce was sheltered for some time in the Castle by John Mackenzie, II. of Kintail, until the exiled monarch was able again to gather an army and release Scotland from the bonds of the tyrant usurper.
In 1331, "Schyre Thomas," Earl of Moray, and Lord Warden of Scotland, under King David II., sent his “Crownare" or Lieutenant to Eileandonan to prepare the Castle for his reception, and to execute summary justice upon sundry lawbreakers in that part of the country. Wyntoun, in his Chronicle, describes the proceedings as follows :
“ Off hys byddyng (than) alsa fast
Till Elandonan his Crownare past,
Quhare that mony that tyme ware,
The spectacle of the fifty human heads, “grinning right ugly,” which made the Warden “right blythe," was unhappily not an uncommon one in the “good old days.”
In 1452, Euphemia Leslie, Dowager Countess of Ross, who had fallen in love with Alexander lonraic, VI. of Kintail, sent for him to come to her Court at Dingwall, and there declared to him her passion. Finding, however, that her love was unrequited, she determined to have revenge, and accordingly had Kintail apprehended and lodged in prison. Eileandonan Castle was then under the charge of one named MacAulay, whose orders were not to leave the Castle, nor permit anyone to enter it without receiving Kintail's gold ring as a token. The vengeful Countess managed, by force or fraud, to gain possession of this ring from Mackenzie's page, and she at once sent a gentleman to Eileandonan with it, bearing also the message that Kintail was about to wed the Countess of Ross, and desiring MacAulay to repair to Dingwall forthwith, and leave the Castle in the messenger's hands. MacAulay, on seeing the ring, did not for a moment doubt the truth of the story, and accordingly gave the guardianship of the