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TO

DONALD CAMPBELL, Esq., M.D.,

OF

CRAIGRANNOCH, BALLACHULISH,

IN PLEASANT RECOLLECTION OF HAPPY HOURS AT ONICH AND CRAIGRANNOCH,

AND

OF MANY A DELIGHTFUL MIDSUMMER RAMBLE,

THIS VOLUME IS INSCRIBED

WITH MUCH AFFECTIONATE REGARD BY HIS FRIEND

THE AUTHOR.

PREFATORY NOTE.

The contents of this volume made their first appearance in the shape of a series of papers from “ Nether Lochaber” in the Inverness Courier, a well-known Northern Journal, long and ably conducted by the late Dr. ROBERT CARRUTHERS. They are now presented to the public in book form, in the hope that they may meet with a friendly welcome from a still larger constituency than gave them kindly greeting in their original shape, as from fortnight to fortnight they appeared.

At one time it was the Author's intention to rewrite and

rearrange all, or almost all, these papers, adding, altering, or expunging as might be considered best.

On second thoughts, however-second thoughts, besides, approved of by many literary and scientific friends, in whose judgment and good taste the Author has the utmost confidence—it was resolved to let them retain very much the form in which they first attracted attention, in the belief that any good that could result from a rewriting and reconstructing of them would be dearly purchased if it

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interfered, as it was almost certain to interfere, with their prima cura directness of phrase and freshness of local colouring.

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In a volume dealing so largely with the Folk-Lore of the West Highlands and Hebrides, there are necessarily many Gaelic rhymes and phrases which at the first blink may tend to startle and repel the southern reader. These Gaelic quotations, however, the Author has taken care to translate into fairly equivalent English, so that even in this regard it is to be hoped the volume may prove equally acceptable to the Saxon, who is ignorant of the language of the mountains, as to the Celt, who knows and loves

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it as his mother tongue.

NETHER LOCAABER,

June 1883.

NETHER LOCHABER.

CHAPTER I.

Primroses and Daisies in early March—"The Posie"-Burns—"The Ancient Mariner"

William Tennant, Author of Anster Fair-Hebridean Epithalamium-A Bard's Blessing-A Translation-Macleod of Berneray.

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The weather [March 1868] with us here still continues wonderfully genial and mild : taken all in all, the season may be noted as in this respect perhaps without precedent in our meteorological annals. The sun, with nearly eight degrees of southern declination, is not yet halfway through Pisces; we are still three weeks from the vernal equinox, and yet on our table before us, as we write these lines, there is as pretty a posy of wild-flowers as you could wish to see, consisting of daisies, primroses, and other modest beauties, the “firstlings of the year,” culled from bank and brae at a date when in ordinary seasons the country, snow-covered or ice-bound, is but a bleak and barren waste. Older and wiser people than ourselves confidently predict “a winter in mid-spring” as yet in store for us; but mcliora speramus, we had rather believe that to one of the mildest winters on record will succeed a genial spring, a splendid summer, and an abundant harvest. In any case, as somebody said of Scaliger and Clavius, Mallem cum Scaligero errare quam cum Clavio rectè supere: I had rather, that is, be a partaker in the

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