Tobias Smollett, The Expedition of Humphry Clinker: Ch. 57

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We have had princely sport in hunting the stag on these mountains. These are the lonely hills of Morven, where Fingal and his heroes enjoyed the same pastime; I feel an enthusiastic pleasure when I survey the brown heath that Ossian wont to tread; and hear the wind whistle through the bending grass — When I enter our landlord's hall, I look for the suspended harp of that divine bard, and listen in hopes of hearing the aerial sound of his respected spirit — The poems of Ossian are in every mouth — A famous antiquarian of this country, the laird of Macfarlane, at whose house we dined a few days ago, can repeat them all in the original Gallick, which has a great affinity to the Welch, not only in the general sound, but also in a great number of radical words; and I make no doubt that they are both sprung from the same origin. I was not a little surprised, when asking a Highlander one day, if he knew where we should find any game? he replied, 'hu niel Sassenagh', which signifies no English: the very same answer I should have received from a Welchman, and almost in the same words. The Highlanders have no other name for the people of the Low-country, but Sassenagh, or Saxons; a strong presumption, that the Lowland Scots and the English are derived from the same stock — The peasants of these hills strongly resemble those of Wales in their looks, their manners, and habitations; every thing I see , and hear, and feel, seems Welch — The mountains, vales, and streams; the air and climate; the beef, mutton, and game, are all Welch — It must be owned, however, that this people are better Provided than we in some articles — They have plenty of red deer and roebuck, which are fat and delicious at this season of the year. Their sea teems with amazing quantities of the finest fish in the world. and they find means to procure very good claret at a very small expence.

Our landlord is a man of consequence in this part of the country; a cadet from the family of Argyle and hereditary captain of one of his castles — His name, in plain English, is Dougal Campbell; but as there is a great number of the same appellation, they are distinguished (like the Welch) by patronimics; and as I have known an antient Briton called Madoc ap-Morgan ap-Jenkin, ap-Jones, our Highland chief designs himself Dou'l Mac-amish mac-'oul ichian, signifying Dougal, the son of James, the son of Dougal, the son of John. He has travelled in the course of his education, and is disposed to make certain alterations in his domestic oeconomy; but he finds it impossible to abolish the ancient customs of the family; some of which are ludicrous enough — His piper for example, who is an hereditary officer of the household, will not part with the least particle of his privileges. He has a right to wear the kilt, or ancient Highland dress, with the purse, pistol, and durk — a broad yellow ribbon, fixed to the chanter-pipe, is thrown over his shoulder, and trails along the ground, while he performs the function of his minstrelsy; and this, I suppose, is analogous to the pennon or flag which was formerly carried before every knight in battle. — He plays before the laird every Sunday in his way to the kirk, which he circles three times, performing the family march which implies defiance to all the enemies of the clan; and every morning he plays a full hour by the clock, in the great hall, marching backwards and forwards all the time, with a solemn pace, attended by the laird's kinsmen, who seem much delighted with the music — In this exercise, he indulges them with a variety of pibrochs or airs, suited to the different passions, which he would either excite or assuage.

Mr Campbell himself, who performs very well on the violin, has an invincible antipathy to the sound of the Highland bagpipe, which sings in the nose with a most alarming twang, and, indeed, is quite intolerable to ears of common sensibility, when aggravated by the echo of a vaulted hall — He therefore begged the piper would have some mercy upon him, and dispense with this part of the morning service — A consultation of the clan being held on this occasion, it was unanimously agreed, that the laird's request could not be granted without a dangerous encroachment upon the customs of the family — The piper declared, he could not give up for a moment the privilege he derived from his ancestors; nor would the laird's relations forego an entertainment which they valued above all others — There was no remedy; Mr Campbell, being obliged to acquiesce, is fain to stop his ears with cotton; to fortify his head with three or four night-caps and every morning retire into the penetralia of his habitation, in order to avoid this diurnal annoyance. When the music ceases, he produces himself at an open window that looks into the courtyard, which is by this time filled with a crowd of his vassals and dependents, who worship his first appearance, by uncovering their heads, and bowing to the earth with the most humble prostration. As all these people have something to communicate in the way of proposal, complaint, or petition, they wait patiently till the laird comes forth, and, following him in his walks, are favoured each with a short audience in his turn. Two days ago, he dispatched above an hundred different sollicitors, in walking with us to the house of a neighbouring gentleman, where we dined by invitation. Our landlord's housekeeping is equally rough and hospitable, and savours much of the simplicity of ancient times: the great hall, paved with flat stones, is about forty-five feet by twenty-two, and serves not only for a dining-room, but also for a bedchamber, to gentlemen-dependents and hangers-on of the family. At night, half a dozen occasional beds are ranged on each side along the wall. These are made of fresh heath, pulled up by the roots, and disposed in such a manner as to make a very agreeable couch, where they lie, without any other covering than the plaid — My uncle and I were indulged with separate chambers and down beds which we begged to exchange for a layer of heath; and indeed I never slept so much to my satisfaction. It was not only soft and elastic, but the plant, being in flower, diffused an agreeable fragrance, which is wonderfully refreshing and restorative.