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"But farther consideration for them was extinguished for a time, by the loud screams that proceeded from the gardener's wife and children near the offices at Moy. They hastened thither, and found the flood rushing strongly about the house. It was not yet too deep to wade, but the river was making rapid advances, whilst the people were debating what was best to be done. 'I will go myself and save them!' cried Mr. Suter. 'God forbid that ye should risk yoursell alane, sir!' said an elderly woman standing by; 'I'll gang wi' ye.'-' Come along then, madam,' said he, offering his arm to the old lady, whom he now recognised to be Widow Ross, his washerwoman, who had only a short time before escaped with her children, from her house at Stripeside, with the loss of everything she had in this world. 'Come along! we shall try it at all events.' They entered the water, and, after three or four paces, it became deep. They had to pass through a gate, where the current was strong. No fear, widow!' said Mr. Suter, 'lean more on my arm.' By this time they were up to the middle in water. 'Haud mair to that side, sir,' cried the widow, ( there's a deep well here, and we may fa' intil't.' They reached the cottage door. 'What's the meaning of this delay?' demanded Mr. Suter. 'Come, young fellow,' said he, addressing himself to the gardener's youngest son, and bending his body to receive him, 'leap upon my back.' The little urchin joyfully obeyed, and, in ten minutes, the whole family were saved."
The stormful blackness of the night made it impossible to assist either the Kerrs or Funns, but Mr. Suter said "Let candles be placed in all the windows of the house, that poor Whins, if yet in existence, may know that he is not forgotten amidst the horrors of this awful night. But, alas! his light no longer burns!" At daybreak Dr. Brands hurried down to the offices,
and ascended the tower to look out from the top. The prospect was awful-all the extensive plain of Forres being one wide-weltering flood, down to the expanding Frith and German Ocean. The houses of Stripeside were still standing; and he saw too the far-off dwelling of poor Funns, its roof rising like a speck above the flood, that had evidently made a breach in one of its ends. Mr. Suter, about seven in the morning, went to his own offices, and there he found one of his servants, Alexander. Kerr, son of the old people in jeopardy in Stripeside, weeping in agony for the inevitable destruction of his parents. As Mr. Suter was trying to comfort him, the whole gable end of old Kerr's dwelling gave way, and fell into the raging current. Dr. Brands, who was looking intently the while through a telescope, observed a hand thrust through the thatch of the house-it worked busily, as if in despair of life-a head soon appeared-and then the whole body of old Kerr, who began drawing out his wife and niece. They all crawled along the roof, towards the northern chimney. As soon as they had left the roof it fell into the flood. Old Kerr let himself drop from the eaves on a small speck of ground higher than the rest, close to the foundation of the back wall of the building, which was next to the spectators. The brave Dr. Brands set off on horseback-and the lad Alexander also, in another direction—to endeavor to find a boat. But after many narrow escapes from danger, intrepidly encountered, the Doctor was forced, without having attained his object, to return to Moy. At this time poor Funns, and his family, were thus situated :
"They were huddled together on a spot of ground a few feet square, some 40 or 50 yards below their inundated dwelling. He was sometimes standing, and sometimes sitting on a small cask; and, as the beholders fancied, watching with intense anxiety the progress of the
flood, and trembling for every large tree that it brought sweeping past them. His wife, covered with a blanket, sat shivering on a bit of log, one child in her lap, and a girl of about 17, and a boy of about 12 years of age, leaning against her side. A bottle and a glass on the ground, near the man, gave the spectators, as it had doubtless given him, some degree of comfort. Above a score of sheep were standing around, or wading or swimming in the shallows. Three cows and a small horse, picking at a broken rick of straw that seemed to be half afloat, were also grouped with the family."
At last a boat was seen launched from the garden at Earnhill, about a mile below:
"The young man who went in the direction of Kincorth, found that Mrs. Grant had already ordered out a pair of horses to convey the boat to the spot where it was committed to the waves; and it was immediately manned by Donald Munro, overseer to Mr. Loudon at Earnhill William Smith, salmon-fisher-and Tom Fraser, floater-who nobly volunteered to proceed, in the first place, to the rescue of the family of a man named John Smith, who were in the most perilous situation imaginable, in the island opposite to Earnhill. The gentlemen on the tower watched the motions of this boat with the liveliest interest. They saw it tugging up till an intervening wood hid it from their view. Again it was seen beyond, making, as it were, for Rodney's cottage, as they hoped with the intention of reaching Stripeside. But in an instant it dashed into the main stream, and disappeared behind the wood with a velocity so fearful that they concluded its destruction certain. But in a moment it again showed itself, and the brave fellows were seen plying their oars across the submerged island of Earnhill, making for John Smith's cottage, the thatch, and a small part of the side walls of which, were alone visible above the
water; so that, by means of the telescope, the gentlemen saw the poor inmates actually dragged out of the windows, from under the water, having been obliged to duck within ere they could effect their escape. The boat then swept down the stream towards a place called the Lakes, where John Smith, his wife, and her mother, were safely landed.
"The boat was now again brought up by the Kincorth horses to a point near the bridge over the Moy Burn. There Donald Munro again sprang forward, and Sergeant John Grant, an old pensioner from Findhorn, with David Reat, from Kinteasock, and Robert Dallas, claimed the honor of the Stripeside adventure. After bringing the boat across the flooded bridge, they, with great difficulty, crossed the stream on the south side of it, and pulled along the road till the current became so strong that the people, who waded breast deep to meet them, were compelled to haul them up by means of ropes. There was one individual in that boat whose exertions, Mr. Suter says, he can never forget. The others were sufficiently active, but he was both physically and morally more energetic than they, and his conduct was so conspicuous, as to call forth the frequent and united plaudits of all present. This was Donald Munro, who, from certain remarkable parts of his dress, was that day called Straw-Hat and Yellow-Waistcoat,-titles under which he gained so much honor, that he may well be proud of them for the rest of his life. He was now at the prow, now at the stern, now in the water to the neck, and again he was tugging hard at the oar in short, he seemed to be the chief instrument of deliverance.
"Having pulled up as far as they could in the still water, they approached the desperate current formerly noticed as having swept away the two elms, and fearlessly dashed into its tumultuous waves. For a moment the spectators were in the
most anxious doubt as to the result; for, though none could pull a stronger oar, yet the boat, in crossing a distance equal to its own length, was swept down 200 yards. Ten yards more would have dashed them to atoms on the lower stone wall. But they were now in comparatively quiet water; and availing themselves of this, they pulled up again to the park, in the space between two currents, and passed, with a little less difficulty, though in the same manner, the second and third streams, and at length reached the houses. The spectators gave them three hearty cheers. By this time the Kerrs had been left scarcely three feet of ground to stand on, under the back wall of the houses, A pleasing sight it was to see the boat touch that tiny strand, and the despairing family taken on board. After they were safely stowed,, Yellow-Waistcoat was observed wading, and sounding his way with a pole, till he reached the west end of the building, where he pounced upon an enormous hog, which he lugged down to the boat, and threw it in as easily as if it had been a rabbit. My indignation was stirred up against the Kerrs, said Mr. Suter, thinking that, at such a time, they could have thought of risking Munro's life for such a purpose. But I was afterwards pleased to learn, that it was to preserve 'poor Widow Ross's soo, which was a' that was now left till her." "
"How anxiously did the spectators watch every motion of the little boat that was now so crowded as very much to impede the rowers! They crossed the two first streams, and finally drew up for the last and dreadful trial. There the frail bark was again whirled down; and, notwithstanding all their exertions, the stern just touched the wall. The prow, however, was in stiller water; one desperate pull; she sprang forward in safety, and a few more strokes of the oar landed the poor people amongst 50 or 60 of their assembled friends. Then was there
a meeting between parents and son! What gratulations! What greetings and embracings! What grappling of hearts and moisture of eyes ensued! All crowded round them to obtain one squeeze of their hands. Hoot toot, nonsense!' cried the weather-beaten Rodney, dashing his rough hand across his eyes; What's this o't? Toots! I canna stand this mair than you, bairns. Od, I maun just greet it out.'
Again, Yellow-Waistcoat and his gallant fellows plied their oars, on the work of deliverance. And first they rescued from death, in a lonely cottage among the alders, a little way above the blown-up bridge, three helpless old women, one of them for years bedrid. They were found sitting on chairs, placed in a wooden-roofed bed, nearly dead with cold, and could not have existed many hours longer.
Again the boat was manned and launched on the flood-for the Broom of Moy. Dr. Brands was one of the gallant crew. The first house they made for was that occupied by a family of the name of Cumins, consisting of a poor invalid old man, father-in-law to Funns, his wife, nearly as infirm, their daughter an elerly woman, and her son, a boy. At first the silence seemed to denote death. But there the whole family were, roosted like fowls on the beams of the roof. They were all half dead with cold; and the old man's mind, being too much enfeebled to withstand the horrors, was now utterly deranged. The next house of the hamlet the boat went to, was that of the Widow Speediman, an old bedrid woman, with whom resided her niece, Isabella Morrison, an elderly person. What follows is worth reading,and William Shakspeare's fiction never surpassed Isabella Morrison's truth :—
"One of the walls of this house was gone, and the roof was only kept up by resting on a wooden boarded bed. Here those in the boat beheld a most harrowing spec
tacle. Up to the neck in water, sat the niece, scarcely sensible, and supporting what was now the dead body of her aunt, with the livid and distorted countenance of the old woman raised up before her. The story will be best told in her own words, though at the risk of some prolixity.
"It was about eight o'clock, an' my aunty in her bed, fan I says till her, "Aunty, the waters are cumin' about's ;" an' I had hardly spoken fan they wur at my back. Gang to my kist," says she to me, "and tak oot some things that are to be pit aboot me fan I'm dead." I had hardly tukken oot the claes fan the kist was floated bodalie through the hoos. "Gie me a haud o' your hand, Bell," says my aunty, "an' I'll try an' help ye into the bed." "Ye're nae fit to help me," says I, "I'll tak a haud o' the stoop o' the bed." And sae I gat in. I think we war strugglin' i' the bed for about twa hours; and the water floatit up the cauf-bed, and she lyin' on't. Syne I tried to help her up, an' I took a haud o' her shift, to try to keep her life in. But the waters were aye growin'. At last I got her up wi' ae haun to my breest, and held a haud o' the post o' the bed with the ither. An' there wuz ae jaw o' the water that cam' up to my breest, an' anither jaw cam' an' fuppit my aunty oot o' my airmes. "Oh! Bell, I'm gane !" says she and the waters just chokit her. wuz a dreadfu' sight to see her! That wuz the fight and struggle she had for life! Willin' wuz she to save that! An her haun', your honor! hoo she fought wi' that haun'! It would hae drawn tears o' pity frae a heathen! An' then I had a dreadfu' spekalation for my ain life, an' I canna tell the conseederable moments I was doon in the water, an' my aunty abeen me. The strength o' the waters at last brak the bed, an' I got to the tap o't; an' a dreadfu' jaw knockit my head to the bed-post; an' I wuz for
some time oot o' my senses.
The corpse of the poor old woman Speediman was put into a cart, together with her niece Bell, whose state of exhaustion was so great, that it was difficult to tell which was the living and which the dead body."
The boat next rescued three old women, one of whom died, in Elgin hospital, of dropsy, brought on by cold and wet. Then a family of the name of Monro were relieved, but the horrors of that dreadful day affected Mrs. Monro's mental, as well as bodily health.
It was now about six o'clock in the evening, and Funns and family had for four-and-twenty hours been in peril. During all these rescues they had been seen far over in the midst of the inundation, clustered like flies on their little speck of land. The boat of the deliverers had gone to the rescue of those
* This poor woman has since become a perfect cripple from rheumatism.
within easiest reach, or had been to and fro on a low seat, called a
forced to obey the flood. Funns had never been for a moment forgotten, and it was now his turn to be saved. Through the wide inundation that surrounded the tiny spot where that family stood, five tremendously tumultuous streams raged furiously with elevated waves. The moment the boat dashed into the first of these, it was whirled down for a great way; but having once got through it, the bold crew pulled up in the quiet water beyond to prepare for the next, and in doing so, Sergeant Grant stood in the prow, with a long rope, the end of which was fixed to the boat, and whenever he thought he had footing, he jumped out and dragged them up, and thus, finally, they reached Funns, and after many dangers all the family were brought to Moy-House. The youngest daughter fainted, on being brought near the fire; and on the wise suggestion of Dr. Brands, as sensible as brave, to restore the animal temperature she was put into Mrs. Suter's bed, already occupied by "five bairns;" and warm wine, and warm broth, and a good night's sleep, perfectly restored her to strength.
Reader, weep for the poor Cumins's. You have seen that poor, frail, and both bodily and mentally infirm couple, rescued from death, in their cottage in the Broom of Moy. In the appendix flood of the 27th, they were again nearly drowned in their bed in a cottage near the burn of Raulsmill-but were saved. Here is a picture of human
Sunkie, before a fire, which she in vain tried to make burn, complaining to herself of a hurt in one of her legs, received at the time the flood filled the house, when the daughter, by an almost miraculous exertion of strength, raised her parents and her son up to the place whence they were rescued. Unconscious whence the blessing came, the poor creatures eagerly drank. the wine the lady had brought them; and when, a little afterwards, she looked for the bottle, that she might give a glass to their daughter, she found that, with the selfishness dotage sometimes brings with it, the old woman had contrived to hide it in a corner of her bed. Their daughter, who is quite deaf, was employed in digging various articles out of the sand. Her hand had been severely cut by an adze, while in the act of dragging up her parents from danger. It will be o' nae use,' said she, refusing to have it bound up, for I maun ay be dabbling.' It was the lady I allude to who made them comfortable in the cottage, where they were disturbed by the flood of the 27th. succession of miseries to which they have been exposed, have not been without their good result, since they have but widened that field for benevolent exertion, in which a truly angelic mind delights to occupy itself."
We have not room to accompany Sir Thomas in his account of all the incidents of the flood on the plain of Forres, on the right bank of the Findhorn, to the seaport. These details are nearly as interesting as those we have now abridged.
The old military bridge of Spey, below Grantown, rose with a steep ascent from the low left to the high right bank, and had its roadway and northern wing walls heightened, which occasioned such a concentration of the power of the stream that the least of the three arches gave way, all except about three feet, which supported the spandral