Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

heas an upon buntireas many

and the Black— by the bestowal other; any more than the of the earldom of Angus upon crosses of St Andrew, St George, illegitimate son of the George, and St Patrick have first Earl of Douglas in 1397, any significance except as comthe Red Douglas quartered his ponents of the national flag. paternal coat with the lion of The red ensign, and that alone, Angus, which remained ever is all that every British subject after a conspicuous figure in is entitled to fly in his own the arms of his descendants. right, unless he has arms and On the fall of the Black chooses to hoist his own banner Douglas in 1455, his lands and or pennon. For a couple of power were transferred to the guineas anybody can have his fourth Earl of Angus, who, arms done upon bunting twelve being Warden of the West feet by four; but whereas many Marches in 1452, appointed people feel restrained by charDouglas of Cavers his keeper acteristic British dislike of of Hermitage Castle. It is swagger from hoisting their probable, therefore, that the rightful banners, let these but lion on the Cavers flag is that reflect how greatly they would of Angus, and that this was contribute to the interest and the standard displayed by the variety, not only of festive keeper of Hermitage.

occasions, but of everyday Now, although we have for- travel through the country, gotten all about heraldry, we were they to display when at are still great people for flags. home their proper banners, What with our jubilees, corona- often of ancient historic assotions, royal progresses, and sociation, from the flagstaffs of forth, the consumption of bunt- their mansions. ing in this country during the Oh but, one will say, the world last ten years must have been is too serious and busy to fret prodigious; yet the result of itself about obsolete frivolities. it all is a trifle monotonous. The age has gone by when When an occasion arises for common gravity would tolerate throwing up of hats, we repair a lady's garter being taken as to the stores and lay in a the emblem of the premier order stock of cheap Union - jacks of knighthood. (By the by, if and Royal Standards, either of one may speak from hearsay, it which it is a grievous breach of appears that the garter is no privilege for any private citizen longer an article of feminine to display. Perhaps we vary attire, any more than the nightthe scheme by investing in cap; and that if the most noble what used to be, but no longer of British brotherhoods had are, the Royal Standards of chanced to be founded in the the individual realms com- twentieth century instead of posing the United Kingdom, the fourteenth, it must have ignoring the fact that the arms been named the Order of the of England, Scotland, and Ire- Suspender !) Well, it may be land have no heraldic existence so, and the day may be at hand except as quartered with each when the display of bunting in

oftime their to disp the couryday

botany, the verso intelligibhould starlet come

any form may be discarded as heraldic painting. If you have childish. All I urge is that, so to represent an azure lion with long as we do hoist flags, it scarlet tongue and claws, you were well that they should only make the beast ridiculous mean something intelligible. by making it anatomically cor

Even the serious science of rect; and presently you will be botany has found it consistent landed in that preposterous with its dignity to borrow its eighteenth century attempt to nomenclature from heraldry. introduce landscapes, pyramids, There is no more cosmopolitan palm-trees, and what not upon plant than the common brake the escutcheons of distinguished fern, which has made itself at men. home in almost every quarter The precocity and scope of of the globe. Take a bracken Japanese civilisation is a trite root, cut it across with a sharp subject : even in such superpenknife, and the brown veins fluities as heraldry they have in the white pith will present caught the true spirit of abyou with a very fair repre- straction. They have chosen sentation of a double-headed as their national flag the rising eagle. This, the emblem of sun, but they are too good the Holy Roman Empire, was artists to make any attempt claimed by its heralds as a at realism. A scarlet orb, token of its supremacy wher- emerging from the dexter flank ever the bracken might be of the shield, sends scarlet rays found — practically the whole across the argent field. Nothhabitable northern hemisphere. ing could be simpler; nothing Hence Linnæus named this less like actuality; yet nothing plant Pteris aquilina, the eagle could be a more perfect emfern, a title which has been blem, or fulfil more admirably confirmed to it in modern the purpose of an ensign. classification,

Before releasing the reader One cause of the degradation from what he may denounce as of heraldic art towards the a tiresome dissertation, let me close of the seventeenth cen- notice one term in heraldry, tury was the increasing know- commonly used and as comledge of zoology on the part of monly misapplied. It has come heraldic painters. So long as to be the practice, even of good people in general had never set writers, to apply the verb “to eyes upon a lion, they found blazon” in a sense wholly no fault with the attenuated different from its meaning creature of terrific aspect which in heraldry. Professor Skeat, represented that creature in whom it would be difficult early heraldry ; but so soon as to catch tripping, gives two conventional drawing was sacri- different words—(1) blazon, a ficed to an attempt at realism, proclamation, to proclaim, the rampant lion became an which he assigns to an Angloabsurdity, with no more dig- Saxon or Scandinavian source; nity than a dancing poodle. and (2) blazon, to pourtray There is no middle course in armorial bearings, from the

French blason, a coat-of-arms. sense but that of describing or He quotes Brachet's Etymo- proclaiming. logical Dictionary' to the effect that, in the eleventh century,

Beatrice. The Count is neither sad, blason meant a buckler or

nor sick, nor merry, nor well ; but civil,

Count, civil as an orange, and someshield. It may be so, though thing of that jealous complexion. one may venture to doubt it; Don Pedro. I' faith, lady, I think but, technically, to blazon never your blazon to be true.” means “to pourtray armorial bearings.” To do so in colour

“He hath achieved a maid," is “ to display” or “to limn” says Cassio about Desdemona, arms; to draw them without

“one that exceeds the quirks colour is “to trick" them. “To

of blazoning pens.” Here the blazon.” says Guillim. " is to reference is clearly to literary express what the shapes, kinds, description; whereas the Ghost and colours of things born in

in “Hamlet” alludes to oral Armes are, together with their communicationapt significations.” Ruskin had quite lost sight of the true sense

“But that I am forbid

To tell the secrets of my prison-house, when he wrote: “Their effect I could a tale unfold, whose lightest is often deeper when the lines word are dim than when they are Would harrow up thy soul, freeze thy blazoned in crimson and pale But this eternal blazon must not be

young blood. gold” (“Modern Painters'). It To ears of flesh and blood.” may be said that literature has no concern with the technical Modern usage may be held to meaning of words; yet it con- sanction the use of this word duces to understanding that to signify the illumination of words should not be misap- arms; but Dr Johnson knew plied. Readers may remember better than so to interpret it, the uncertainty caused by a for he cited Addison for the recent historian, who, in at- primary meaning of the verb tempting to describe Crom- being “to explain in proper well's wars, several times writes terms the figures on ensigns of a “division” of infantry, armorial.” However, all this is when he means a battalion or matter fitter for the precise discompany. Shakespeare, at all putants of ‘Notes and Queries' events, frequently uses the than for the sparkling pages of term blazon, and never in any “Maga.'

a

A HIGHLAND GENTLEMAN.

SCOURIE is a hamlet some more individual. It is the twenty miles south of Cape country of the Macleods and Wrath. It consists of a few the Mackays. General Hugh crofters' houses, two shops—one Mackay, who fought at Kilis also the post office-and a liecrankie, was Mackay of comfortable inn, and is domin- Scourie. The Macleod who ated by the Factor's House, surrendered Montrose lived which looks down upon it from under the shadow of Cuna pleasant eminence on the neach; but north of the other side of a sandy bay. The great arm of the sea which Free church and manse are divides into the two lonely about a mile distant; the parish lochs, Glendhu and Glencoul, church and manse, where the you come to the Mackay coundistinguished Celtic scholar who try, which stretched north to edits the volume before us the Cape and west to Caithness. ministers, are still farther off, There are few Macleods in at Badcall, with its bay of the Assynt now, and the Mackays hundred islands. Here is the are to be sought in Canada. wildest and most striking Scourie seen from the sea scenery in Scotland. The coast- seems but a waste of rocks line on the map gives promise of surrounded by patches of green bays and lochs and islands; but grass, with here and there a no map can give any idea of the potato- or a corn-field the size strange, rugged, and majestic of a pocket-handkerchief. A hills, each with a strong person- few hayricks show that grass ality, from Suilbhein, the great does grow, but the first imlandmark, to Cunneach with pression is grey rocks in unendits crown of rugged peaks, on ing sequence till they rise to to the graceful Ben Stack and the placid cone of Ben Stack. a way to the majestic Loyal. Were, however, a traveller to No one who has come under arrive by night and wake up the glamour of these mountains, on a summer day at Scourie all of which rise almost sheer House, he would find, sheltered two to three thousand feet from by a belt of trees, a garden the water's edge, can ever get lying in terraces to the south, away from the memory of their rich in vegetables, fruit-trees, majesty and their beauty. rare plants and shrubs, and There is nothing like this land gay with flowers, and beyond in Scotland. It is not like it a sandy bay on which the Norway: it is more personal, Atlantio, its force broken by

Memoirs of a Highland Gentleman, being the Reminiscences of Evander Maciver of Scourie. Edited by the Rev. George Henderson, M.A. (Edin.), B. Litt. (Oxon.), Ph.D. (Vienna), Sch. Hon. Coll. Jesu. Oxon. Edinburgh : 1905. Printed for the Subscribers by T. & A. Constable.

the giant cliffs of Handa, laps or thirty years ago in Suthergently.

land, the Duke was Providence The grey rocks frame this and the factor was his prophet. picture of a Highland home It has a benign tyranny, temand emphasise its comfort. pered by the law of the land. Twenty years ago such a Whatever opinions may be traveller would have found held as to the wisdom of the for his host a stately Highland “Sutherland Clearances " gentleman, with snow - white which took place under the hair and clear light-blue eyes, rule of an English nobleman and for his hostess one of who married the heiress of the the kindest and most fascin- ancient Earls of Sutherlandating of Highland ladies, who, there cannot be two opinions in spite of being the mother as to the wisdom of the desof eleven children, felt impelled potism exercised in West to mother every young man Sutherland by Evander Maciver who came within her ken. and the late Duke,-not his Hospitality is understood only "employer," as a brutal Saxon in the Highlands, and its high would say if he knew no better, priestess was the gracious lady but his constituent.” Then, who for fifty-six years was the at any rate, whatever may be wife of the subject of this the case now, the factor was memorial volume. The break- not a paid servant, nor was fast of porridge, fish fresh he a vizier. He was the reprefrom the bay, "lamb-cakes," sentative of the landowner, he turkey's eggs, home - cured was also the representative bacon, with an endless variety of the tenants and feuars. He of scones and “preserves,” à had to do the best for the Duke, melon grown from seed sent but he had also to do the best home by a son in South for the Duke's people. His was Africa, or a bunch of grapes, no mere policy of getting the or a dish of peaches from the highest possible rental from the house in the garden, with tea land,—he had to see that no served from a teapot which had rent was higher than the tenant been Flora Macdonald's, made could afford to pay. He had the idea of but two meals a- to suggest and carry out imday a pleasant prospect with- provements. Churches, schools, out austerity. Then came the roads, the administration of substantial lunch of sandwiches Justices' justice, public health, on the hillside or by the were indeed among the minor stream, and whisky and a of his cares. The improvement plum-cake at five o'clock de- of flocks and herds, the proprived you of all feeling of vision of fresh seed-potatoes, even nominal asceticism. oats, and barley, the introduc

Such were the surroundings tion of new agricultural main which the last of the chinery, manures, and appliHighland factors lived. The ances,—these were his care and Southron has but a vague idea duty all his life. But in a life of the factor's powers. Twenty which extended from the reign

« AnteriorContinuar »