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and parapet walls on the lower side. Here is an amusing picture :
"On Wednesday, the 5th of August, Mr. Peter Forbes, farmer at Urlarmore, on the south side of Livat, despatched his servant, Donald Cameron, a tall, handsome, athletic man, about twenty-five years of age, to carry a message to Mrs. Forbes, then at Aitnoch, near the banks of the Findhorn. On arriving at the Bridge of Spey, and seeing its state, he quietly mounted the extremely narrow parapet. The river was still raging in all the fury of a flood, and loud were the cries and expostulations of the spectators. Disregarding these, however, but without saying one word, Donald coolly and steadily walked onwards, with an air of perfect complacency, till he came to that part where there was a gap in the masonry of forty feet, save in the single parapet alone. The increased cries of the beholders were luckily drowned by the roaring of the surges. Donald staid but one moment to cast his plaid more tightly about him, and again continued his dangerous path to the farther end of the parapet, where, leaping lightly down, he pursued his way without once looking over fis shoulder for applause, or showing the slightest symptom of being conscious that he had achieved anything extraordinary. A certain shopkeeper in Grantown, too, nicknamed Dear Peter, pressed by the urgency of some favorable chance of sale, did also essay the adventure of the perilous parapet. But, having a large pack on his back, he took the good mercantile precaution of doubling his security, by planting four legs instead of two under him. Squatted on hands and knees, Peter pursued his path, whilst his pack kept vibrating to and fro, like the pendulum of a clock, his features being, all the while, twisted in an opposite direction to that of his load. The spectators, notwithstanding their anxiety for their Dear Peter, were convulsed with laughter, till their shouts, mingled with the thun4 ATHENEUM, VOL. 5, 3d series.
ders of the Spey, had nearly made
The flood, both in the Spey and its tributary burn, the Knockando, was terrible at the village of Charlestown of Aberlour. A picture of more sustained harrowing and agonizing passion than that prevailing through the following passage, we never remember to have met with either in the records of real miseries, in poetry, or in dreams.
"On the 3d of August, Charles Cruickshanks, the innkeeper, had a party of friends in his house. There was no inebriety, but there was a fiddle; and what Scotsman is he who does not know, that the welljerked strains of a lively Strathspey have a potent spell in them that goes beyond even the witchery of the bowl ?
On one who daily inhales the breezes from the musical stream that gives name to the measure, the influence was powerful, and it was that day felt by Cruickshanks with a more than ordinary degree of excitement. He was joyous to a pitch that made his wife grave. I have already noticed the predestinarian principles prevalent in these parts. Mrs. Cruickshanks was deeply affected by her husband's unusual jollity. Surely my goodman is daft the day,' said she gravely, 'I ne'er saw him dance at sic a rate. Lord grant that he binna fey!'
"When the river began to rise rapidly in the evening, Cruickshanks, who had a quantity of wood lying near the mouth of the burn, asked two of his neighbors, James Stewart and James Mackerran, to go and assist him in dragging it out of the water. They readily complied, and Cruickshanks, getting on a loose raft of wood, they followed him, and did what they could in pushing and hauling the pieces of
timber ashore, till the stream in- the point where the burn met the
creased so much, that, with one voice, they declared they would stay no longer, and, making a desperate effort, they plunged overhead, and reached the land with the greatest difficulty. They then tried all their eloquence to persuade Cruickshanks to come away, but he was a bold and experienced floater, and laughed at their fears; nay, so utterly reckless was he, that, having now diminished the crazy ill-put-together raft he stood on, till it consisted of a few spars only, he employed himself in trying to catch at and save some haycocks belonging to the clergyman, which were floating past him. But, while his attention was so engaged, the flood was rapidly increasing, till, at last, even his dauntless heart became appalled at its magnitude and fury. A horse! a horse!' he loud and anxiously cried; 'run for one of the minister's horses, and ride in with a rope, else I must go with the stream.' He was quickly obeyed, but ere a horse arrived, the flood had rendered it impossible to approach him.
Seeing that he must abandon hope of help in that way, Cruickshanks was now seen, as if summoning up all his resolution and presence of mind, to make the perilous attempt of dashing through the raging current, with his frail and imperfect raft. Grasping more firmly the iron-shod pole he held in his hand, called in floater's language a sting, he pushed resolutely into it; but he had hardly done so, when the violence of the water wrenched from his hold that which was all he had to depend on. A shriek burst from his friends, as they beheld the wretched raft dart off with him, down the stream, like an arrow from the bowstring. But the mind of Cruickshanks was no common one, to quail before the first approach of danger. He poised himself, and stood balanced, with determination and self-command in his eye, and no sound of fear, or of complaint, was heard to come from him. At
river, in the ordinary state of both, there grew some trees, now surrounded by deep and strong currents, and far from the land. The raft took a direction towards one of these; and, seeing the wide and tumultuous waters of the Spey before him, in which there was no hope that his loosely connected logs could stick one moment together, he coolly prepared himself, and, collecting all his force into one well-timed and well-directed effort, he sprang, caught a tree, and clung among its boughs, whilst the frail raft hurried away from under his foot, was dashed into fragments, and scattered on the bosom of the waves. A shout of joy arose from his anxious friends, for they now deemed him safe; but he uttered no shout in return. Every nerve was strained to procure help. A boat!' was the general cry, and some ran this way, and some that, to endeavor to procure one.
"It was now between seven and eight o'clock in the evening. boat was speedily obtained from Mr. Gordon of Aberlour, and, though no one there was very expert in its use, it was quickly manned by people eager to save Cruickshanks from his perilous situation. The current was too terrible about the tree to admit of their nearing it, so as to take him directly into the boat; but their object was to row through the smoother water, to such a distance as might enable them to throw a rope to him, by which means they hoped to drag him to the boat. Frequently did they attempt this, and as frequently were they foiled, even by that which was considered as the gentler part of the stream, for it hurried them past the point whence they wished to make the cast of their rope, and compelled them to row up again by the side to start on each fresh adventure. Often were they carried so much in the direction of the tree, as to be compelled to exert all their strength to pull themselves away from him
they would have saved, that they might avoid the vortex that would have caught and swept them to destruction. And often was poor Cruickshanks tantalized with the approach of help, which came but to add to the other miseries of his situation, that of the bitterest disappointment. Yet he bore all calmly. In the transient glimpses they had of him, as they were driven past him, they saw no blenching on his dauntless countenance, they heard no reproach, no complaint, no sound, but an occasional short exclamation of encouragement to persevere in their friendly endeavors. But the evening wore on, and still they were unsuccessful. It seemed to them that something more than mere natural causes was operating against them. His hour is come!' said they, as they regarded one another with looks of awe; 'our struggles are vain.' The courage and the hope which had hitherto supported them began to fail, and the descending shades of night extinguished the last feeble sparks of both, and put an end to their endeavors.
"Fancy alone can picture the horrors that must have crept on the unfortunate man, as, amidst the impenetrable darkness which now prevailed, he became aware of the continued increase of the flood that roared around him, by its gradual advance towards his feet, whilst the rain and the tempest continued to beat more and more dreadfully upon him. That these were long ineffectual in shaking his collected mind, we know from the fact afterwards ascertained, that he actually wound up his watch while in this dreadful situation. But, hearing no more the occasional passing exclamations of those who had been hitherto trying to succor him, he began to shout for help in a voice that became every moment more longdrawn and piteous, as, between the gusts of the tempest, and borne over the thunder of the waters, it fell from time to time on the ears of
his clustered friends, and rent the heart of his distracted wife. Ever and anon it came, and hoarser than before, and there was an occasional wildness in his note, and now and then a strange and clamorous repetition for a time, as if despair had inspired him with an unnatural energy.
But the shouts became gradually shorter, less audible, and less frequent, till at last their eagerly listening ears could catch them no longer. Is he gone!' was the half-whispered question they put to one another, and the smothered responses that were muttered around but too plainly told how much the fears of all were in unison.
"What was that?' cried his wife in a delirious scream—' That was his whistle I heard!' She said truly. A shrill whistle, such as that which is given with the fingers in the mouth, rose again over the loud din of the deluge and the yelling of the storm. He was not yet gone. His voice was but cracked by his frequent exertions to make it heard, and he had now resorted to an easier mode of transmitting to his friends the certainty of his safety. For sometime his unhappy wife drew hope from such considerations; but his whistles, as they came more loud and prolonged, pierced the ears of his foreboding friends like the ill-omened cry of some warning spirit; and it may be matter of question whether all believed that the sounds they heard were really mortal. Still they came louder and clearer for a brief space; but at last they were heard no more, save in his frantic wife's fancy, who continued to start as if she still heard them, and to wander about, and to listen, when all but herself were satisfied that she could never hear them again.
"Wet, and weary, and shivering with cold, was this miserable woman, when the tardy dawn of morning beheld her, straining her eyeballs through the imperfect light, towards the trees where Cruickshanks had been last seen.
was something there that looked like the figure of a man, and on that her eyes fixed. But those around her saw, alas! too well, that what she fondly supposed to be her husband was but a bunch of wreck, gathered by the flood into one of the trees, for the one to which he clung had been swept away.
having muttered, as he went, something about wisdom coming out of the mouths of fools.'"
There is another tale of dangerbut of rescue-farther down the Spey, in the plain of Rothes-almost equal to this in intense interest— that of the family of the Riachs. Mrs. Riach, the grandmother, Sir Thomas afterwards saw in her own cottage. How beautifully does he tell the meeting!
"She had her Bible in her hand, apparently the only wreck of property she had saved; but in that she had found consolation. Her soul had been already well attuned to affliction. In this her widowed state, she had recently lost her son,
for, when I visited her farm, not a vestige of new or of old crop was left. The house had indeed been built up, but the offices were still in ruins, a great ravine was dug out between them and the dwellinghouse, the surface of the farm was reduced to one waste of devastation,
"The body of poor Cruickshanks was found in the afternoon of the next day, on the Haugh of Dandaleith, some four or five miles below. As it had ever been his uniform practice to wind his watch up at night, and as it was discovered to be nearly full wound when it was taken from his pocket, the fact of his having had self-possession enough to obey his usual custom, and now nearly her all was gone; under circumstances so terrible, is as unquestionable as it is wonderful. It had stopt at a quarter of an hour past 11 o'clock, which would seem to fix that as the fatal moment when the tree was rent away, for when that happened, his struggles amidst the raging waves of the Spey must have been few and short. When the men, who had so unsuccessfully attempted to save him, were talking over the matter, and agreeing that no human help could have availed him, 'I'm thinkin' I could ha' ta'en him oot,' said a voice in the circle. All eyes were turned towards the speaker, and a general expression of contempt followed, for it was a boy of the name of John Rainey, a reputed idiot, from the foot of Belrinnes, who spoke. 'You!' cried a dozen voices at once, 'what would you have done, you wise man?'
I wud hae tied an empty ankercask to the end o' a lang lang tow, an' I would hae floated it aff frae near aboot whar the raft was ta'en first awa', an' syne, ye see, as the stream teuk the raft till the tree, maybe she wud hae ta'en the cask there too,-an' if Charley Cruickshanks had ance gotten a haud o'
the rope > He would have finished, but his auditors were gone. They had silently slunk away in different directions, one man alone
yet, with all this, pure religion had produced its effect, and the pale mild countenance of the widow, lighted by a celestial smile, met me at her unpretending threshold, wearing the expression of Christian resignation and gratitude, for the merciful salvation which had been vouchsafed to her. There was no lisp of complaint,-every word she uttered was expressive of the deep sense she entertained of the goodness of that God, who is ever the widow's friend, who had so wonderfully preserved herself and those whom she held most dear. One sight of that woman's face, after having seen and heard the sum-total of her afflictions, was worth a volume of sermons. It is pleasing to think that her lot is cast on an estate where the hearts of both the manager and his constituent are too much fraught with the finer feelings of humanity not to show the tenderest mercy towards the shorn ewe.""
As a relief to these deeply tragic,
the astonished loon, and went a full round of the floor with him, ending with a fling that surprised every one.
The fiddle had been found in the neighborhood of Arndilly, whither it had merrily floated on the bosom of the waves. But what was infinitely more extraordinary, the watch, which had hung in a small bag, suspended by a nail to the post of her bed, was found,watch, bag, post, and all,— -near Fochabers, eight or ten miles below, and was safely restored to its overjoyed owner."
or tenderly pathetic tales, turn to the following humorous scene :"The haugh above the bridge of Lower Craigellachie was very much cut up; and the house and nursery at the south end of the arch are gone. The widow of James Shanks, amidst the loss of her furniture, house, and her son's garden-ground, lamented nothing so much as her deceased husband's watch, and his fiddle, on the strings of which hung many a tender recollection. That fiddle, the dulcet strains of which had come over her 'like the sweet south breathing upon a bed of violets,' stealing the tender affections of her virgin heart, till they all centred on her Orpheus Mr. James Shanks; that fiddle, to the sprightly notes of which she had so often jerked out her youthful limbs, and whirled round in the wild pirouette of the Highland fling, to the animating tune of Bogan-Lochan; that fiddle, in fine, which had been the fiddle of her fancy, from the heyday of her youth upwards, 'was gone with the water, and was now, for aught she knew to the contrair, in Norrawa or Denmark!' The grief of Mrs. Shanks for the loss of this valued violin was more than I shall attempt to paint. Great artists often envelope the heads of their chief mourners in drapery, from a conscious inability to do justice to the passion, and so must I hide the lachrymose head of Mrs. Shanks. And how indeed shall I describe her joy, some days afterwards, when an idle loon, who had been wandering about the banks of the river 'findin' things,' as he said himself, appeared before her astonished and delighted eyes, with the identical fiddle in his hands? The yell of Mrs. Shanks was said, by those who heard it, to resemble the wild shriek with which her husband was wont to inspire additional fury into the heels of the dancers, already excited by the power of his wonderful hand. She kissed and hugged the fiddle, and, as if its very contact had music in it, she laid hands on
We have now, by quotations, abstracts, and abridgements of Sir Thomas's volume, and by occasional description or remark of our own, given our readers, we presume, some conception of the might and majesty, the pride and peril, of the Great Moray Floods. A thousand humorous incidents, affecting or striking illustrations of general nature, and of individual character, are scattered over the work, which it is impossible for us to collect. The love of property in poor people is, from the necessities of their condition, strong as that of life; and, in people not absolutely poor, passionate, from the endearing thoughts and feelings that cling to objects in themselves valueless, but, from associations stretching deep and far into the soul, above all price. Many facts proving this truth are related by Sir Thomas in a philosophical spirit, but simply and without parade. One old gentleman of the name of M'Intosh, after getting hold "o' something he wad hae done ill wantin'," risked his life to save his " specs. "Trouth," said he to Sir Thomas, "I cou'dna see to read my Bible without them-and mair than that, they were silver specs, sent me hame in a present frae my son, the Yepiscopal minister in Canada.' One of the sufferers in the Streens, the morning after the flood, had his heart nearly broken by the fate of his great store-chest. He saw it settled on an opposite bank. But while looking at it with longing eyes,