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of England about 1747. The gentry, at Litchfield races, wore tartan; at Bath a Highland ballet of Prince Charles and Flora Macdonald was applauded in the playhouse. In 1754 a

grieved member of Parliament told the House that he had been shocked by seeing a coloured print of a young kilted Highlander in the shop windows at Oxford. Johnson gave to the world a view, a very metropolitan view, of the Islands, where he had found modern conditions rushing in. Macpherson's Ossian, too, had interested all reading mankind in the Celt, but Macpherson's Celts were a misty kind of creatures—giants of the Brocken who had little but their country in common with the actual historic clans. Scott had a liking for Ossian derived from his early boyhood, but he thought that most of it, incalculably the greater part,' was pure Macpherson as it is. 'There were no real originals,' Scott wrote, at the same time as he wrote the first chapters of Waverley, that is, five years before he began The Lady of the Lake.

In spite of Ossian, to the ordinary Englishman the Highlanders were still a set of plaided

ruffians, or beggarly peasants, more predatory or dirty than picturesque. In their clan legends, their tartans, and feuds, the Southron in general took no interest. Indeed, he still conceives Lowland Scots to be the language of Ossian.' But the Highlands had always been dear to Scott, and he was destined to make them fashionable. Though he had first visited the Macfarlanes' country as a writer's clerk engaged in an eviction, his remote strain of Campbell blood warmed to pipes, dirks, and the Fiery Cross. He himself knew Stewart of Invernahyle, who had sent the Fiery Cross through Appin in 1745.

'Yet live there still who can remember well,
How when a mountain chief his bugle blew,

Both field and forest, dingle, cliff, and dell,
And solitary heath, the signal knew ;

And fast the faithful clan around him drew.'


The poetic signal of the bloody cross' meant, in fact, that the huts of the faithful clan would be burned, and their cattle driven away, if they did not turn out. By the time of Scott's friends, in 1745, they generally wished to do nothing of the sort Lovat's and Cromarty's men were

especially reluctant to stir. In Appin the Stewarts really were enthusiastic, and in Invernahyle, Scott, as a boy, luckily met one of the purest representatives of the Lost Cause in its stainless poetry. When he wrote The Lady of the Lake the last Royal Stuart had recently died: the Highlands had ceased to be the terror, and the clans had become the sword and buckler, of England. For celebrating the

Celt, the hour and the man had come.

As a boy of fourteen Scott had automatically drawn rein, and stopped his pony, when the beauty of the Vale of Perth first broke on his view. He needed no one to to open his eyes. Again, in 1793, he visited most of the country described in The Lady of the Lake and in Rob Roy, the Macgregor country, the realm of the dispossessed Clan-Alpine. With that clan Scott had a singular sympathy. Their excesses, from ancient days, had made the country too hot to hold them. Campbells, Grahams, Colquhouns were hounded on them by the Scots Government, which usually set a clan to catch a clan. The Macgregors lost the wide lands ruled by Roderick Dhu in the poem, Their very name

was proscribed; 'The clan has a name that is nameless by day.' Many went to the Lowlands, and became, under Lowland patronymics, very honest citizens. Those who remained were outlaws and robbers. The great Macdonnell thieving company of Barisdale and Co. had a kind of branch establishment among ClanAlpine, and cows stolen in Sutherland went by way of Rannoch to the Lennox, while cows of Campbells and Grahams travelled to Knoydart and Lochaber.1 The result of an outlaw thieving life on lands once their own produced those two brave but inveterate traitors, Rob Roy and his son James Mohr. James died within easy memory of Scott's own father; and Scott, whose own ancestors had been as great cattle thieves as any Macdonnell or Macgregor of them all, became the minstrel of Clan-Alpine, now an association of most respectable British subjects.

But he preferred to regard them in a totally different light, though he makes Fitzjames express a Lowland sentiment as to the propriety

1 MS, 104, King's Collection, British Museum,

of plundering the peasantry. The days of reiving being by this time extinct, the handle of the picturesque was, no doubt, the proper handle whereby to take up the Macgregors. But nobody had thought of doing this before, and here lay the originality of Scott. Had he lived in Edinburgh sixty years earlier, he would probably have mounted the black, not the white cockade, and the Edinburgh Volunteers would have had one serviceable recruit. But while 'all for law and order and that kind of thing' in the present, in the past he preferred the reverse, and, in the country near Loch Katrine, collected the reiving legends as faithfully as he did later in his own Liddesdale. Unluckily he never learned Gaelic.

Thus provided with materials, he set himself to his poem in 1809. He has told how a lady discouraged him: 'Do not rashly attempt to climb higher.' 'If I fail,' he said, 'I will write prose for life: you shall see no change in my temper, nor will I eat a single meal the worse.' The first Canto of The Lady was read, at Ashestiel, to Scott of Knowesouth; and every one has heard of Knowesouth's agitation, when

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