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154
THE CELTIC MONTHLY.
Whether Captain Macbean was married or left
male issue I am not aware — the last occupant of
the name of Macbean, being Mrs. Ketty Macbean.
I have many of her letters running on from
1750 to 1780, and I presume she was Captain
Macbean's step-mother, for she never refers to
him. She removed from Faillie at the sale, and
her letters are afterwards dated from Dundee.
From these I should infer that she was an
excellent specimen of the kindly and true hearted
Highland lady of the past. The house of Kail lie,
with a few ancient trees, stands imposingly on
a high bank of the river Nairn, the sketch taken
expressely for this paper giving a very good idea
of the place. The bridge which is also given is
well done, and was the first erected by General
Wade on his new road from Inverness to the
south. Across this bridge Prince Charles rode
after the battle on his flight from CuUoden
towards the west, and a very tine picture showing
his passage over the Faillie bridge was exhibited
in London some years ago, drawing much atten-
tion from every Highlander who saw it. During
the many years Faillie was occupied by the
present Sheritt" Fraser of Portree as agricultural
tenant, the place was known all over the north
for its breed of Highland cattle.
(To be continued).
A TALE OF THE EVENING STAR.
^fcA LL day long, through the pearly summer
'^^M haze, we had been slowly making our
&^ way northwards before the favouring
south winds. The passage through the racing
tides of Kyle Rhea had been accomplished
while the morning sun was still low on the
horizon. And as the day wore on we passed
successively the flat island of Pabbay, and
Scalpa, and the green bays of Raasay, imtil the
evening found us lying in a calm, shining,
■windless sea far up the sound, between EUean
Eona and the gloomy clifls of the Skye shores.
Rona, with its long line of barren rocks, was
steeped in the light of the afterglow. Through
the dusk of twilight we could just make out
the entrance to a little bay, almost landlocked,
with two treacherous looking rocks guarding its
approach. Gradually our eyes become accus-
tomed to the light, and some one noticed among
the shadows a star of fire beginning to shine
steadily between the two rocks.
"Hamish! what is that light on Rona ? Is
there any house in that desolate spot ? "
"Oh yes," answered the old Highlander who
stood with a slack tiller-rope in his hand, "that
is Camusbeg in behind the rocks. And the
light is the light in old Widow Mackenzie's
house. It is a ferry sad story, mirover, the
story of that light. The fisher lads about here
call it the Evening Star. And it is Ailasa
Macleod herself that, I have heard, \\i\\ be
going up every night to help Mistress Mac
kenzie with the trimming of the big lamp that
the Government man from London will give
her, with the good oil and the round wick, every
year since the " Waterwitch " was wrecked."
And as we sat on the deck of the motionless
yacht, with the sails hanging ghostlike in the
night and the ruddy glow from the cabins
lighting up the great boom, Hamish told us
the Tale of the Evening Star.
The men of Camusbeg were all fishers.
The women stayed at home to spin the wool
and milk the cows. Many a night in the
springtime would the men set out in their boats
for some distant fishing ground and leave the
clachan with no man in it, unless it might be
old Callum who was bedridden and had the
second sight. But it was the coming back to
Camusbeg that both men and women feared,
for if the night was dark with a gathering
storm, or if they had to beat in o the bay
against an easterly wind, the Skerries were like
two devils' death traps with the waves breaking
over them. In the old days, more than one of
the Camusbeg boats had been wrecked there,
and the brave fellows drowned within sight of
the women as they stood on the rocks across
the bay crying for the men who would return
no more.
It was after one of these wild nights that
Callum with the second sight told the wife of
Duncan Mackenzie that if she set a light in her
window it would shine between the devils'
Skerries, so that a boat coming in to Camusbeg
in the dark would run safely between the rocks,
provided her head were kept always on the
light. So the light in the JMackenzies' house
became a star of hope for the men and women
of Camusbeg. The fisher lads always steered
by it, and sang softly to themselves as they
sailed their boats home on the summer nights.
There were no more wrecks at Camusbeg.
The lamp was always lit at the going down of
the Sim. So they called it the Evening Star.
* -■;: * *
There came a day when young Ewan Mac-
kenzie succeeded his father as owner of the
' Waterwitch.' The fishing that year was good
away down to the south of Raasay, and the
Camusbeg boats would sometimes be away for
a number of nights without returning.
One morning in August Ewan Mackenzie sat
in the ' Waterwitch ' mending his net in the
sunshine. He was to see Ailasa in the evening
before starting. She had gone up to the

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