Skip to main content

‹‹‹ prev (247)

(249) next ›››

(248)
  
  174
  THE CELTIC MONTHLY.
  X. — Lachlan Macbean, 12th of his family, born
  16th February, 1833. Mr. Macbean married
  on the 10th June, 1862, Miss Jane Macbean
  Moore, and he, like his father, had thirteen
  children. Duncan Moore, his second child,
  born 19th March, 186-1, is his heir, and will
  ultimately succeed to, and represent the old
  and respected family of Tomatin.
  There are many eminent Macbeans spread
  over the North and abroad. Take Sir James
  Macbean, a native of Inverness; the Macbeans
  of Ardclach, of whom sprung the late worthy
  and learned Mr Eneas Macbean. W.S , friend
  and intimate of Sir Walter Scott; the Macbeans,
  long Consuls at Leghorn, afterwards in Rome,
  at whose hospitable board were for years to be
  found the elite of Scottish gentry, and casual
  sojourners, and which after the lapse of thirty
  years I gladly recall. Space alone prevents
  adding more.
  The next tribe to be dealt with, ere I leave
  Strathnairn and Strathdearn, is that of Mac-
  phail and the family of Inverairnie, to be
  followed by Macqueen.
  (Til be continued.)
  THE QUEEN OF THE HEBRIDES.
  By W. C. Mackenzie, London.
  c^in\,Y this imposing title is Lewis, the princi-
  yH^, pal island of the Hebrides, locally, if
  ==^ not generally, known. The word
  "Lewis" is probably derived from a combina-
  tion of 'Liot,' or 'Leod,' and ' hus ' = Leodhus,
  signifying, in Norse, "the house of the people."
  Martin gives it a Celtic origin, but present day
  antiquarians are agreed that the name is non-
  Celtic. To be strictly accurate, Lewis is not an
  island at all, for Harris, "where the tweeds
  come from," must be reckoned with, in entitling
  it to that distinction. " Lewis- with- Harris " is
  the correct designation of the combined island-
  territory. As Parliamentary divisions, how-
  ever, Lewis and Harris are distinct; for while
  the former is part — and an important part — of
  Ross and Cromarty, the latter, like Skye, forms
  a portion of the constituency of Inverness-shire.
  The area of Lewis is 404,000 acres, and its
  population approximates 30,000, of which
  number nearly seven-eighths are crofters, or
  fishermen, or both. Stornoway is the capital
  of the island. Like Lewis, the name is supposed
  to be of Norse origin, meaning ' the Governor's
  Bay'— (from Srn,inai=a Governor). It is a
  clean and well built town, overlooking a
  charming bay, which constitutes one of the
  finest harbours in Scotland. From small
  beginnings, in which the Fife adventurers, to
  whom James VI. gifted the island, played a
  leading part, the town has grown to be the
  chief commercial and political centre of the
  West Highlands. Its inhabitants have, by
  their enterprise and intelligence, achieved
  results in the development, more particularly,
  of the fishing industry, of which they may well
  be proud.
  The herring fishery is prosecuted most
  vigorously during the months of May and
  June, when boats from all parts of Scotland
  unite with the native wherries in forming a
  fleet of nearly a thousand sail, each manned by
  a crew of, generally, seven men. During the
  season, the population of Stornoway is therefore
  of a very heterogeneous description. On a
  Saturday night, the streets of the town are
  crowded with fishermen, and the Highland
  accent of the Lewismen and Argyllshiremen
  may be heard contrasting strangely with the
  broad Doric of Buckie and Wick ; whilst an
  occasional conversation in Gaelic lends further
  variety to the babel of sounds. Even the
  south of England accent is not wanting, for
  representatives of English " fresh buyers " and
  "kipperers" find their way to the remote
  island, and share in the scaly spoils of the
  Minch. Years ago, it was no uncommon thing
  to find smacks from the Channel Islands
  berthed at the quay, laden inwards with salt or
  other fishing accessories, and outwards with
  barrels of cured herrings, destined for the
  Continental markets. But steam has taken the
  wind out of the sails of these trim craft, and
  the berths that once knew them now know
  them no more.
  One of the most pleasing sights imaginable
  is to watch the herring fleet proceeding sea-
  wards on a fine June evening. The beauty of
  the scene is enhanced by the glorious sunsets
  of those regions, deepening into the mysterious
  twilight which softens every point of the lands-
  cape. The fishermen, however, are more intent
  upon the prospects of a good haul than upon
  the charms of nature which surround them.
  The season is short, and they must make the
  most of it, for their " wives, and mithers, and
  bairns" at home must be fed somehow.
  Dependent as they are upon a capricious sea
  and upon weather no less changeable, it is but
  natural that the fishermen should have an
  anxious time. In former years, the crews hired
  themselves to the curers for the season at a
  fixed rate per cran (a "cran " is four baskets);
  and the bounty which they received at the
  commencement of the season tended to mitigate
  the disappointments of small catches. Now,
  however, they have to take their chance of the

Images and transcriptions on this page, including medium image downloads, may be used under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Licence unless otherwise stated. Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Licence