Letters From High Latitudes By Lord Dufferin


While descending towards the strand, I tried to amuse
Sigurdr with a sketch of the fortunes of the great house - Page 5
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While Descending Towards The Strand, I Tried To Amuse Sigurdr With A Sketch Of The Fortunes Of The Great House Of Argyll.

I told him how in ancient days three warriors came from Green Ierne, to dwell in the wild glens

Of Cowal and Lochow, - how one of them, the swart Breachdan, all for the love of blue-eyed Eila, swam the Gulf, once with a clew of thread, then with a hempen rope, last with an iron chain, but this time, alas! the returning tide sucks down the over-tasked hero into its swirling vortex, - how Diarmid O' Duin, i.e. son of "the Brown," slew with his own hand the mighty boar, whose head still scowls over the escutcheon of the Campbells, - how in later times, while the murdered Duncan's son, afterwards the great Malcolm Canmore, was yet an exile at the court of his Northumbrian uncle, ere Birnam wood had marched to Dunsinane, the first Campbell i.e. Campus-bellus, Beau-champ, a Norman knight and nephew of the Conqueror, having won the hand of the lady Eva, sole heiress of the race of Diarmid, became master of the lands and lordships of Argyll, - how six generations later - each of them notable in their day - the valiant Sir Colin created for his posterity a title prouder than any within a sovereign's power to bestow, which no forfeiture could attaint, no act of parliament recall; for though he cease to be Duke or Earl, the head of the Clan Campbell will still remain Mac Calan More, - and how at last the same Sir Colin fell at the String of Cowal, beneath the sword of that fierce lord, whose granddaughter was destined to bind the honours of his own heirless house round the coronet of his slain foeman's descendant; - how Sir Neill at Bannockburn fought side by side with the Bruce whose sister he had married; how Colin, the first Earl, wooed and won the Lady Isabel, sprung from the race of Somerled, Lord of the Isles, thus adding the galleys of Lorn to the blazonry of Argyll; - how the next Earl died at Flodden, and his successor fought not less disastrously at Pinkie; - how Archibald, fifth Earl, whose wife was at supper with the Queen, her half-sister, when Rizzio was murdered, fell on the field of Langside, smitten not by the hand of the enemy, but by the finger of God; how Colin, Earl and boy-General at fifteen, was dragged away by force, with tears in his eyes, from the unhappy skirmish at Glenlivit, where his brave Highlanders were being swept down by the artillery of Huntley and Errol, - destined to regild his spurs in future years on the soil of Spain.

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