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The municipality has been freed from debt; the taxation revised; the new cemetery (the foundations of which had to be reconstructed) is finished; the schools, which before can scarcely be said to have existed, having been rearranged and provided with competent masters and mistresses, are well attended; even the evening school, constituted for the grown-up villagers who cannot read or write, counts many members; and the asilo infantile for children from three to six, who are provided with their dinners, washed, combed, and amused all day, is always full. All these things have not been obtained without difficulty and much personal sacrifice. There has been opposition from those for whose benefit they were devised; there have been murmurings and discontent; there have been disturbances, for the evil had left its roots behind it. But the spectacle of order, cleanliness, and comfort, in a place where so lately reigned confusion, squalor, and misery in a supreme degree, is more than sufficient reward for much labour and much suffering.'

If Madame Galletti has been the pioneer of such a reform as this, helping to remedy and make known a great and growing evil, Italians and lovers of Italy may well pardon her a few harmless shafts of ridicule in consideration of the substantial benefit she will have conferred on her adopted country.

ART. VI. The Douglas Book. By WILLIAM FRASER, C.B., LL.D. In four volumes 4to. Edinburgh: 1886. (Privately printed.)

Y ET another of Mr. William Fraser's monumental works on Scottish family history is before us, not assuredly the least interesting or important of the series. Scotts of Buccleugh, Stewarts of Menteith, Stirlings of Keir, Mackenzies, Montgomeries, Maxwells, Colquhouns, Lennoxes and Frasers, must all yield the palm to the descendants of that dark, iron grey man,' Sholto Dhu Glass, who hovers, dimly seen, and intangible by the utmost antiquarian industry, on the confines of authentic narrative. Scarcely the unborn progeny of Æneas mustered a more imposing company in the Shades, or the predestined scions of Este in the grotto of Merlin, than the long procession of Douglases, Black and Red, who defile across the ample pages of the gorgeous volumes we are proud and fortunate to possess. Nor is their learned author unworthy to take a place beside even such well-versed genealogists as Anchises or Melissa. It is true he professes to read, not the future, but the past; his knowledge is no gift of Persephone,' but the fruit of the toil

some researches of a lifetime. The spirits at his commandun gran numero eletto-dwell in antique muniment-chests, whisper their secrets from black-letter grants and charters, own as the symbols of their bondage armorial seals, escutcheons, half-defaced inscriptions, yellow and tattered manuscripts. To his possession of the ferrea vox denied to the Sibyl, not the present voluminous work alone bears witness, but many others of the same class, reviewed at intervals in these pages. Already in the days of the Bruce the sexton of St. Bride's had a story to tell of Douglas deeds and heroes, too long for the patience of Sir Aymer de Valence. A less matter,' he protested, would hold a well-breathed minstrel in subject for recitation for a calendar month, Sundays and holidays included.'* Yet the House was then only in its beginnings. Six eventful centuries have since added their quota of vicissitudes to the tale.

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The inheritance of the Douglas and Angus estates, which devolved upon the late Countess of Home by the death of her mother, the Dowager Lady Montagu, in January 1859, brought in its train the possession of an extensive collection of family papers. The printing of the more important among them was suggested by and entrusted to Mr. William Fraser, already distinguished as a genealogist; and much interest was taken in the progress of the work both by the Earl and Countess of Home. Its completion neither of them lived to witness; but their son, the present Earl, has spared no cost or pains in carrying out the design of his parents. He has unquestionably raised a noble monument to the best kind of family pride. Even the grand old gardener,' reputed more than commonly indifferent to the claims of long descent,' could scarcely, one would think, remain wholly unimpressed by the splendours of the Douglas ancestry thus detailed and commemorated. Towers, castles, palaces moulder into ruins; hosts of retainers drop off like withered leaves; lands can be alienated, dignities disappear, titles become extinct; but a printed book survives as long as civilisation itself; it confers a species of terrestrial immortality upon those whose deeds it records; its emergence from the press marks the beginning for them of a new kind of vicarious existence in the thoughts of others. As Shakespeare says in the powerful rhyme' of one of the most beautiful of his sonnets::

Castle Dangerous, c. ix. Referred to at p. lxxxviii of the 'Douglas • Book.'

'When wasteful war shall statues overturn,
And broils root out the work of masonry,

Nor Mars his sword, nor war's quick fire shall burn
The living record of your memory.

'Gainst death and all oblivious enmity

Shall you pace forth; your praise shall still find room
Even in the eyes of all posterity

That wear this world out to the ending doom.'

Inscrutability of family origin was a traditional Douglas vaunt. You may see us in the stem,' they used to say, 'you cannot discover us in the root; you may see us in the 'stream, you cannot trace us to the fountain.' Towards the close of the twelfth century, accordingly, they abruptly present themselves before us, already possessors of Douglasdale in Lanarkshire, and already a power in the State. How they came to be what and where they were, of what ethnical ingredients their masterful natures were composed, whether the land gave its name to the lords or the lords to the land, it has proved vain to enquire, and would profit little to know. The wonder of their selection by destiny (so called) to play the part they did would be no whit the less could we trace back their pedigree in a line of unbroken descent to Japhet, and map and date the vagaries of their footsteps from the plateau of Pamir to the skirts of Cairntable. Their presence, however, if of uncertain origin, was undeniable in its effects.

'An exhaustive history of the families of Douglas and Angus,' Mr. Fraser justly remarks, almost includes the history of Scotland. At an early period in the annals of their country the Douglases are found prominent in battle, in the Church, and at Court. In the national struggles for freedom and independence, their names and memories are cherished second only to those of Wallace and of Bruce. As warriors, they long held the distinguished position of leading the van of the royal armies in battle, and as senators of giving the first vote in Parliament, and also of carrying the crown at royal coronations. They thus long held the hereditary right of doing what in modern times was ascribed to one great member of another illustrious house, who was said

"To shake alike the senate and the field."'

The great qualities of the race developed in the adversity of their country. Sir William Douglas, surnamed the Hardy,' was as good a patriot as the distracted nature of the times allowed. He did homage to Edward I., but fought under Wallace, forfeited his estates, and died a captive in the Tower of London in 1298. He appears to have given himself up on a point of honour, and was never released. Yet he was no tame gaolbird. From within his

cage, flappings of helpless furious wings are by chance audible to us. He is said to have comported himself at Berwick in a 'very savage and very abusive' fashion; and his temper is unlikely to have become mollified with the fuller persuasion of his hopeless captivity. But the Tower has closely kept the secret of his end.

The eldest son of William the Hardy was still a boy when his father's career thus came to an untimely close. His prospects were not bright. A stranger was in possession of his inheritance; Scotland lay prostrate at the tyrannous feet of the English king; his own safety and education were provided for in exile. In due time, however, he made trial of his fate. Presenting himself in the English camp before Stirling, about 1302, he demanded the restoration of his paternal estates, which had been handed over to Sir Robert Clifford. Under the lash of a stern denial, he left the royal presence in wrath which proved inextinguishable, and with that deep hatred of the Southron planted in his heart which nerved his strong arm to many a desperate deed.

'Among the many heroes,' our author writes, 'of the wars for Scottish independence whose names are cherished in the remembrance of a grateful posterity, the Good Sir James of Douglas takes rank with Wallace and the royal Bruce. Succeeding to the misfortunes of his heroic but martyred sire, and withal inheriting his dauntless and unbroken spirit, Scotland had no more successful champion for her liberties and freedom than the "doughty Douglas." Side by side with his king he laboured with unfailing fidelity and devotion amid dangers, privations, desertions, defeats, painful toilings, and hairbreadth escapes, until by a series of successes, to which he largely contributed, his country was redeemed from an alien yoke, and he had at length the satisfaction of seeing the independence of his country settled on a basis of enduring stability. No wonder he was beloved of his sovereign, and entrusted by him when dying with a most sacred mission, to bear his heart to the Holy Sepulchre at Jerusalem, nor less wonder can it be that the story of his life and deeds of chivalry are recounted to the youth of every succeeding generation, as an example alike of pure and ardent patriotism and of heroic daring.

'So closely associated with King Robert the Bruce in all his sufferings and wanderings, as also in his victories and ultimate success, was Sir James of Douglas, that the historians of the one cannot discharge their task without in large measure detailing the history of the other. Hence in the noble epic poem of Barbour, which traces the life and battles of "The Bruce," the Good Sir James occupies a position little inferior to that of the king himself.' (Vol. i. p. 105.)

6

Through his exploits it was that Castle Douglas became known as the Adventurous Castle.' Three several times he captured the place by stratagem or surprise, burning, devas

tating, finally razing it to the ground. It was not in his humour to stand a siege in it. He loved better to hear the lark sing than the mouse cheep.' But if he could not hold it himself, he succeeded in making it a sore holding for others. The hideous incident of the Douglas Larder' finds a place in every history of Scotland. The problem to be solved was how to render the enemy's stock of provisions offhand and completely unfit for human food. Not without a shudder can the solution found for it be detailed. To endless bushels of flour and meal, grain and malt, piled up in one vast heap on the cellar floor, were added, in plenty to correspond, stove-in hogsheads of wine and ale; the carcases, still palpitating, of slaughtered sheep and oxen were flung in the midst; then, by a ghastly consummation, the prisoners of the garrison were massacred on the spot, and the reeking mass was soaked with their blood, and crowned with their corpses! Yet this was done by a pattern of chivalry!

The third capture of the stronghold had more romantic associations.

The story is told of a wealthy heiress of noble English birth, beset with suitors, assembling them all at a festivity, and a minstrel having sung the deeds of the redoubtable Douglas in his own lands, and the danger of holding such a hazardous but honourable post as Douglas Castle, she openly declared her intention to bestow her hand upon the knight who should hold it for a year and a day in the interests of the King of England. Of all the knights who surrounded her table only one, Sir John de Wanton, was found brave enough to accept the conditions. His offers to hold the post were accepted, and he it was who at this time was in command of Douglas Castle, with a stronger garrison than any of his predecessors.

Understanding that the castle was not over-well stocked with supplies, Douglas conceived a stratagem whereby he might draw out the governor with his troops into an ambush, and then overthrow them. On the morning of a great fair day at Lanark, after placing his men in ambush at a convenient spot, he instructed fourteen of them to fill sacks with grass, throw them over the backs of their horses, and, concealing their armour under countrymen's frocks, to drive their beasts past the castle as if they were traders on their way to market. The passage of the large cavalcade with provender so much needed by the garrison was reported to Sir John de Wanton, who at once ordered his men to start in pursuit, and rode at their head. They passed the ambuscade unheeded, and drew near their supposed prize, when suddenly the sacks were thrown away, the rustic garments followed, and Douglas's men leaping on their horses, the English were confronted with a body of well-armed and resolute warriors. Sir John de Wanton at once attempted a retreat to the castle, but only turned to find himself beset on all sides, and in the struggle which ensued the garrison

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