Imágenes de páginas
PDF

OF THE
uwestern Highlands.

No. IV.

(Lond. Lit. Gaz.) MURDOCH GAIR.

Murdoch. He partook of this milk, M ACLAINE of Lochbuy, who was and asked the woman what she meant

killed in battle about three hun. by the words “God with Murdoch," dred years ago, left but one son, then for he already knew that the usurper an infant; and his uncle Murdoch, of of his rights was unpopular. The woScallasdale, assumed his guardianship. man sighed deeply, and he asked her He soon showed a disposition to take name. When she had told it, he knew the property to himself, and the unfor. her to have been his nurse. He bared tunate minor, after many hardships his bosom, and showed her a mole on found his way to Ireland, where he was his left breast, cautioning her to be received with kindness in the house of guarded. The faithful nurse instantly O’Niel. The uncle, at home, was igrecognized him. Her first husband, norant of his fate; and a report was the foster-father of Murdoch, was dead, industriously spread by the friends of and she was then married to the doorthe boy, that he had been drowned. keeper of the castle, an office of great Murdoch strengthened his interest by trust, and highly important to the purmarriage with the daughter of Stewart, pose of the stranger. of Appin, a neighbouring family of His nurse proposed, that on the great influence; and he calculated on night following she should contrive that enjoying, without interruption, bis ill- the calves should mix with the cattle at gotten wealth.

- midnight, and she knew that their lowThe nephew, whose name was also ing would be heard within the castle. Murdoch, did not, however, lose sight Her husband would open the gate to of his right. He was educated by the give her access to her charge, and the generous and princely O’Niel, of whom young Murdoch was to enter with his the bards of that day said that party and gag the door-keeper. The 6 Guests were in the house of O'Niel project succeeded, and the adventurous more numerous than trees in the forest, youth obtained possession of his paterand that he was more liberal of his nal stronghold. means than the great sea of its shell Murdoch Gair, (short Murdoch) an fish.” He was at a very early age dis- appellation by which he was afterwards tinguished for his intrepidity, and soon distinguished, was soon joined by his acquired much popularity among his people; but his uncle had been absent associates. When he arrived at man- when the castle was taken, and he was hood, he obtained the consent of his determined to keep possession of the patron to return to his native isle, estate. Many skirmishes were fought with a select party of young Irish ad- between them, and many feats of vaventurers, who volunteered to follow lour are still related of both sides. A his fortunes.

pitched battle was at last fought, in They landed in a sequestered place, which Murdoch of Scallasdale was asstill well known, and the young Loch- sisted by the Stewarts of Appin, and buy set forward alone, to reconnoitre the nephew, by the Macleans of Ross. the ground and collect information. The nephew was victorious; but the He reached the vicinity of his native uncle still adhered to his claim. Murcastle in the twilight. The com's were doch Gair, however, by accident found in the fold, and, passing by the dairy- the usurper sleeping in a cavern, and maid in the act of milking, the cow twisting a lock of his hair around his started and spilt the milk. The wo- dirk, on which his pame was engraved. man cried out, “God with Murdoch !” he stuck it into the ground, and thus and the young stranger heard the left him. When the other awoke, he words. It is still a custom in that soon discovered what had happened, country, that milk should be offered to and exclaimed, “ The son of my bra every one who passes through a fold, ther has conquered me at last! his and it was on tbis occasion offered to generosity has done what his braver

could not effect, and never shall my havoc around the banks of Lochlo. sword again be unsheathed against mond, in company with a very remarhim !"

kable person, who, in that narrative, is Murdoch Gair appears to have ac- dignified with the designation of Allan quired a relish for war and plunder, as Maclean, the robber. Murdoch died we find Abercromby, in his Martial in the end of the reigo of Mary Queen Achievements of the Scots, states, that of Scotland. many years after this he played sad

THE FLORIDA. Many of the vessels which formed English Queen spoke the Gaelic lanthe Spanish Armada, intended for guage, and wore the Highland dress. the conquest of England, perished on He went to Mull as a dealer in cattle, the north and west coasts of Scot. and easily found his way on board the land. The ship Florida appeared Florida, where he formed an intimacy, to have been more fortunate than any and, along with other strangers, had of her consorts ; she found her way frequent opportunities of seeing every to the bay of Tobermory, on the sound part of the ship. He at length found of Mall, one of the finest harbuurs in a convenient time for his diabolical the world. Scotland being then a neu- object, and placed some combustible tral country under James, the sixth of substance in a situation where it was that name, the Spaniards considered likely to produce the desired effect. themselves perfectly secure, and re. He immediately got ashore, and made mained long in that station, repairing the best of his way southward. the damages they had sustained, and He had travelled to a distance of six refreshing the crew and troops. or eight miles, when he heard the ex

The Florida was, no doubt, an ob- plosion of the Florida; and the spot ject of great interest and curiosity in where he stood is still marked for the that remote situation, and all the prin- execration of mankind. The ship was cipal families in the neighbouring coun- blown up, and nearly all on board pertry and islands were received on board ished. Together with the crew and as visitors, where, tradition says, they troops, many of the first men in the were hospitably and splendidly enter- country were destroyed by this perfiditained. Elizabeth, the ever watchful ous and bloody act, which reflects eterand well-informed Queen of England, nal disgrace on the planners, and infahad intelligence of the Florida through my on the perpetrator. Tradition her ambassador at the Scotch court, states, that the poop of the ship was and it was ascertained that this ship blown to a great distance, with six men, was extremely valuable: she had on whose lives were savedMaclean, of board a large sum of money intended Duart, had procured some cannon for the pay of the army; she contain- from the Florida, for the purpose of ed, besides, a great quantity of costly battering the castle of a neighbouring stores. The law of nations should chieftain ; and a few Spanish gunners, have protected the Florida from inju- who assisted in that service, were prery; but Elizabeth resolved on her served by their absence from the destruction ; and it was accompanied ship. by one of the most atrocious acts, per- This melancholy story, which would haps, ever recorded of any civilized have formed a memorable æra in government. The English ambassa- a more public place, is still, in that dor soon found an instrument suited to country, a fertile source for traditionahis purpose, and his name was Smollet, ry tales. We regret to state, that he was an an- The universal belief among the more cestor of the celebrated writer of that illiterate natives is, that one of the name, who himself alludes to this cir- Spanish Infantas, who is said to have cumstance in one of his novels, apga. been on board the Florida, became enarently unconscious of the inference moured of Maclean, and that his wife which followed. This agent of the had cinployed a person to blow up the ship; thus transferring that crime from been superior, and it still continues so, the Queen of England to the wife of probably from this cause. their chief, who was, indeed, very un- The English ambassador at Madrid popular. It is alleged, that the body having procured information of the of the Infanta had been found, and bu- precise amount of the treasure which ried with great pomp in that vicinity; had been on board the Florida, a ship that a ship had afterwards been sent by of war was sent by the English Governthe Spanish Government to convey her ment to Tobermory in the beginning remains to Spain. It seems, in col- of the eighteenth century with divers, lecting these remains, the last joint of for the purpose of recovering the speone of her royal highness's ring fingers cie. The wreck was soon found, and could not be found ; and it is said that many articles were raised, but no money her ghost has often been seen searching was acknowledged. The ship, how. for this bone by torchlight. This cir- ever, never returned to England, and it cumstance is frequently mentioned as was suspected that she had taken reauthority for the pious caution with fuge in France, for evident reasons. which the Highlanders preserve the In the year 1787, the celebrated direlics of their deceased friends. ver, Spalding, made an attempt to re

Some Spanish mares and horses liad cover this treasure, but he failed entire been landed, to pasture, and these re- ly as might have been expected, the mained in the island of Mull. The remains of the ship having sunk into breed of horses in Mull has ever since the clay, and totally disappeared.

THE PHYSICIAN.--NO. XIII.

(New Mon.)

OF THE INFLUENCE OP TIE WINDS ON HEALTH. IT seems to be the effect of a particu- occasions contagious fevers, and the

lar Providence, that we are usually experience of all succeeding physicians visited in Spring by high winds and proves, that the air, when impregnated storms. Indeed, upon the whole, I with damp vapours, produces dangecannot for my part consider the winds rous diseases of that kind. Hence it is so pernicious to health as they are conn- easy to infer, that Spring would be promonly accounted, or coincide with lific in such diseases, but for the preHoffman when he says, that “God valence at that season of high winds has placed his chemical laboratory in which dispel these vapours and purify the earth, whence issue winds and ma- the air. lignant effluvia.” Essential as it is But, it may be objected, do not these that we should live in a pure air, if we winds bring noxious vapours along would remain healthy, so essential is it with them? This case is possible that there should be winds to purify enough. Darvieux relates, that Barut our atmosphere of the many noxious was formerly rendered very unbealthy vapours, which would but too speedily by the sea-winds, but that, to screen it corrupt and infect our juices. In from them, an Emir caused pines to be Spring, the warm breath of milder planted, and these trees keep off the breezes opens the bosom of the earth, pernicious marine exhalations, so that which was closed throughout the wine the place is now as healthy as any part ter. The changeableness of the wea- of the surrounding country. When the ther fills the atmosphere with aqueous Illyrians, apprehensive of a pestilence, vapours. The beneficial frost which consulted Hippocrates on the means of purified it in winter, now leaves us; preventing it, he took advantage of and we should therefore have just rea- this enquiry, and warned the Greeks to son to apprehend unwholesome air and guard against the winds which blev malignant diseases in Spring, did not from Illyria; “ for,” said he, “bestorms supply the place of frost and yond those mountains rages the plague, cleanse the atmosphere. Hippocrates, and these are the passes of those mounin his time, observed, that a wet Spring tains. At such' and such a time, the

winds of the dog.days will blow and

contrary, first sweeping as it does over

to Greece: therefore close up those nature, and our invalids are but too passes." By this counsel he rescued sensible of its pernicious effects upon Greece from the danger of the plague ;. then. A physician, therefore, is liaand the whole prediction rested on the ble to involve himself in many contraknowledge which Hippocrates had of dictions by pronouncing unconditionally the course of the regular winds which on the qualities of the wiods. The cewere accustomed to blow into Greece. lebrated Hoffmann considered the east Had he in this case quieted their and north-west winds as salubrious, alarms, and assured them that these and the west and south as unhealthy. winds, which were otherwise account- What would our invalids say, if I were ed salubrious, would not do them any to assure them in the very words of that injary, he might have brought a dread- eminent physician, that “the east ful calamity on his country. It is only wind renders body and mind more in the case of winds which recur regu- alert, improves the appetite, sharpens -larly at a particular season, that such the senses, invigorates the fibres, and anticipations can be formed. When, imparts a lively colour ?" Boerhaave on the other hand, 'irregular winds was more cautious. He would not waft pestilential effluvia along with venture to determine the properties of them, this danger cannot be foreseen; a wind till he was acquainted with the and in this manner the winds may, un- country into which it was to blow, and der certain circumstances, prove as de- its whole vicinity. Frommond re

.

are beneficial.

wind when it blows in the Azores. · This objection warns me, then, not “ The inhabitants,” says he, “then go to bestow on the winds in general about as melancholy as if some great greater or more unqualified praise than misfortune had befallen them. The they deserve. So little as we can as little children stay within doors quite sert without qualification, that this or dull: none of them are to be seen runthe other kind of food, drink, or medi- ning about and playing in the streets. cine is absolutely wholesome or perni- But as soon as the north wind again cious,so little can the same thing be said begins to blow, all is once more life of the winds. The winds render the air and bustle.” Who would be so bold

thy, according as they bring with them ral, on the strength of this observation, from different regions certain vapours. as an enemy to our comfort ? and in which produce a change either from what a delectable situation we should the better or worse in the atmosphere be placed by a Persian, if he were to of that country. If damp sea-winds add to Frommond's observation the blow over an arid, parched tract, they result of his own experience respecting improve its atmosphere, which dry the west and south-west winds ? It is winds, on the contrary, would deterior. known that in Persia these winds, ate; but the self-same winds would when they pass over heated rocks and produce the very contrary effect, if it marble mountains, carry along with were a low, damp, and swampy region. them hot and suffocating vapours; and It is generally hazardous to pretend to that, to avoid their dangerous effects, determine the qualities of winds in ge- people are obliged to lie flat on the neral. We cannot positively assert, ground, and in that situation to endure for example, that an east or a north heat and anxiety, if they would not wind is dry, and that a west or south drop down dead on the spot. It is onwind is damp; for if an east wind has ly in the night-time and on rivers that to traverse an extensive, low, and they are able to withstand it, and for swampy plain before it arrives at a this reason the Persians are not fond of certain country, it must fill the atmos- travelling by day. This extreme dry. phere of the latter witb damp and de- ness of the air in Persia is probably the leterious efluvia. With us, on the cause of a circumstance which Varro

relates, on the authority of Xenophon, incessantly mixing together vapours of concerning the Persians; namely, that totally different kinds; and she theretheir bodies were so exceedingly mea. by improves the air in the same manner gre and dried-up, that they never had that a skilful cook mixes up a variety of occasion either to spit or to blow their ingredients, which taken separately,are noses. Herodotus gives us another pernicious, in order to compound with story on the same subject. He tells them a dish that is wholesome. us, that owing to the drought of their Such is, then, the relation in which climate the heads of the Persians are the winds stand to the health of manso brittle, that a stone thrown at them kind. But now we come to the ques. passes right through the skull ; where- tion: What are the particular effects as those of the Egyptians are so hard, which they produce on every human that no stone can make any im- body? Here a distinction is to be pression on them. It may be so; we made. The winds operate on the huwill not fall out with the writers of an- man body, in the first place, inasmuch tiquity : but I shall only say, if the as they change the gravity and properPersians were to desire us to throw ties of the atmosphere; but in this reourselves at full length on the ground spect they do not act in reality as winds. whenever a south wind blows, how we The second effect is, that which they should laugh at them!

produce inasmuch as they are air in Every town, then, and every coun- motion; and it is on this point that I try has its good and its bad wind, ac- propose to subjoin a few remarks. cording to the nature of the atmosphere When the air is in rapid motion, it

and on this account I readily admit, become heavier on the surface of the that we cannot assert generally that all human body : for it is a well-known storms purify the atmosphere. If winds axiom of natural philosophy, that the blow long, and without intermission, power of a body is augmented not only from unhealthy places, they are not by the increase of its bulk, but also by beneficial to a country. But were I to the increased velocity imparted to it be asked whether an uninterrupted This augmented pressure of the air calm or variable winds were more salu- , particularly affects the lungs, especially brious, I would give the preference to of those who are weak in the chest ; and occasional storms. Every thing on every body knows how difficult it is for

It revolves itself upon its axis. The rid of the air that rushes of itself into vegetables are shaken by the winds, the lungs. It is, therefore, necessary and mountains and provinces by earth- that such persons should be cautious quakes. The sea would soon become not to injure the chest by too rapid maputrid, were its' waters not kept duly tion against the wind. mixed by its incessant agitation. The The principal effect of winds, howwhole animal kingdom is constantly in ever, is, that they dispel the warm atmotion. Here are tribes which soar mosphere which constantly surrounds into the clouds and sport in the atmos. the body, and in which, if it were visiphere—there are others which burrow ble, we should look like saints encomin the ground. This species creeps, passed with a nimbus or glory :-or, in that hops, a third swims, and a fourth other words, the winds cool the human walks. Should the atmosphere alone, body. They would constantly supthen, be able to repose without detri- press the transpiration so essential to ment? -No. Nature knew how to health, if we were not to use some preorder matters better. She has charged caution to keep the pores open by an

quarter, and seldom long together from end spirituous liquors and bodily exerone point. By their means she not on- cise are subservient. When recourse ly dissipates the stagnant vapours in is had to these means, the wind must the atmosphere, which are like the rather tend to augment than to stop swamps in low valleys, but also keeps transpiration ; for the transpiration of

« AnteriorContinuar »